Assorted Science Links (Feb 2020)

Leap day edition of my monthly science links (aka monthly cleaning out my bookmarks).

Nuclear Physics

"Windscale Piles: Cockcroft's Follies avoided nuclear disaster"
"They were labelled a waste of time and money, but in 1957 the bulging tips of two exhaust shafts rising above Sellafield arguably saved much of northern England from becoming a nuclear wasteland..."

"Cosmic ray spallation"
Many light elements (lithium, beryllium, and boron) and radioactive isotopes of many other elements would be less common if not for cosmic rays breaking up the nuclei of material on the surface of the Earth.
"Uranium Tile"
TIL before we discovered the whole radioactivity thing, and that it was dangerous, the main use for uranium was for colouring ceramics. Not great for the future of the kids crawling around on the tiled floor. As late as 1972 it was still used in ceramic glazed plates and bowls.

Nutrition and Food Science

"Science of bread making"
Great explanation of what is going on to your dough during all phases, including great photos of the gluten matrix in the final proof and the changes that occur as the baked loaf reaches different temperatures.

Parascience and Pseudoscience

"The ethics of opting out of vaccination"
"When parents make choices with the potential to impact not only themselves and their kids but also other members of the community, they have a duty to do what is necessary to minimize bad impacts on others... If you're not willing to do your part for herd immunity, you need to take responsibility for staying out of the herd."
"'Wellness' is a completely made up industry and it's making women sick."
"Sure, if you're unhealthy, or certainly sick, being more well than you are is a good thing. It could probably save your life. And, of course, there are qualified doctors who can help you with that. But the wellness industry isn't backed by doctors. It's mostly driven by thin white celebrities and influencers with no qualifications, and your friend Suzy who did a homeopathy course on the weekend, and Beth at school drop off who's an expert in essential oils. It's about taking expensive vitamins without first having a professional determine if you're deficient. About drinking celery juice because it's 'magic'. About eliminating food groups and wearing the right brand leggings..."