My undergraduate degree is in chemistry (well, actually "biological chemistry", but at my university that was essentially a chemistry degree with a requirement to take the bio for majors sequence and some graduate level biochemistry classes). I may not be doing lab work anymore, but I still think of myself as a scientist, and the bad press chemistry and- gasp!- chemicals gets annoys me. (Which is not to say that the bad press is not sometimes deserved. I'm looking at you, American Chemistry Council.)
(Amusing aside: a friend of mine was once stopped by a sale clerk in the make up department of a department store. The clerk touted her brand of make up as being "chemical free". My friend couldn't stop herself. She told the sales clerk that she actually hoped there were some chemicals in those bottles, because otherwise she was selling bottles of nothing. Even pure water is a chemical. Scientists must be a marketer's worst nightmare.)
Anyway, I think we sometimes forget about all the wonderful things that chemistry, and science in general, has give us. So tonight, I'll tell you about two marvels of modern chemistry that make my life easier:
1. Enzymatic cleaners, specifically Bac-Out, made by Biokleen. OK, so maybe this is really "better living through biotechnology", but biotechnology is based on molecular biology, which is just chemistry with molecules made by cells. So there.
This product is probably the sole reason that my bathroom does not give off an overwhelming odor of urine, since on a bad day, I can have more than 5 pairs of rinsed out peed on pants and underwear hanging over my shower rod. But, wait! There's more! We originally discovered this product during Pumpkin's first year. Petunia runs a fever every time she gets a runny nose. Pumpkin threw up. And then there were the actual bouts of norovirus. Let's just say that we got good at cleaning up baby vomit and this stuff takes the smell out of the carpet and other things you can't load into the washer.
During Petunia's newborn-hood, we learned that this product also does a great job of cleaning up the projectile poopsplosions she was prone to. How did she know to time her gigantic poops for when her diaper was off? And why did this always happen in the middle of the night? I'll never know, but at least we got it all cleaned up.
In short, it is a miracle of modern science. What did people use for this sort of thing before biotechnology?
2. My tablecloth made from recycled plastic bottles. Yeah, I get to feel all smug about closing the loop on recycling. But the real reason I love this tablecloth is the fact that it feels like cloth and looks like cloth but water (or milk or whatever else Pumpkin spills on it) beads up on it, and can be wiped up as easily as it was on the old, sort of ugly vinyl tablecloth it replaced.
It is like magic!
(The ugly/tacky factor of the old tablecloth wasn't bothering me. It was replaced because there was a hole in it. How do you get a hole in a vinyl tablecloth? Your toddler bites it.)
Your turn. What marvels of modern science make your everyday life easier?