Bleats

Your Sunscreen Is Killing The Environment So Hello Skin Cancer

Skin cancer or saving the planet, that's a tough choice.

With the temperatures reaching unlivable levels in certain parts of the Earth, it’s more important than ever to slip, slap, slop on some sunscreen whenever you’re exposed to the sun, lest you want to face the wrath of sunburn and skin cancer.

But we’re at a critical juncture because it turns out all that skin-protecting sunscreen is doing massive harm to our precious environment.

The environment is crying right now at this heinous act.

A new study by the University of Cantabria and the Institute of Marine Sciences Andalusia found that your cancer-preventing sunscreen is releasing worrying amounts of metals and inorganic nutrients into seawater.

This isn’t just a case of sunscreen rubbing off your face while you’re frolicking around in the waves. Researchers found that not only are metals and nutrients getting released by sunscreen, the amount of UV light can either speed up or slow down this polluting process. This can result to algae blooms and considerable damage to marine ecosystems, which in turn will affect tourism since no one will be flocking to holiday at a dead beach.

Throw in other established links between sunscreen chemicals and unsavoury environmental-killing things like coral stress, hormonal changes in dolphins, birth defects in mussels and sea urchins, and changed reproductive patterns in fish, and it seems like sunscreen isn’t quite the safe thing we all assumed it was.

But hey, at least you and your skin will be safe from cancer!

The effects of sunscreen runoff in seawater on the health of swimmers aren’t exactly clear, but we do know that ingesting a lot of metal and inorganic material is bad for the human body so there’s bound to be some sort of negative effect awaiting us in the water at some point.

This leaves us between a rock and a hard place: Do you put on sunscreen and protect yourself from all the cancer-spreading UV light or do you forego the sunscreen and risk getting melanoma in order to save the environment?

Now before you think about throwing out all your sunscreen in order to save the polar bears, doctors and dermatologists still recommend you to slip, slop and slap because well-intended sunscreen boycotts may help the environment but it’s a slippery slope to sunburn and skin cancer.

The onus then is on cosmetic companies to develop an environmentally safe sunscreen that won’t kill off marine life or poison us with its chemicals. Or you could just wear a bunch of clothes, which will provide you UV protection at the expense of being roasted alive.

Hey, no one said that this whole saving the Earth thing was going to be easy.

Women Aren't Actually Better Than Men At Multitasking, They Just Work Harder

Turns out the ol' "I suck at multitasking" excuse is complete rubbish.

Here’s a loaded question for you: who’s better at multitasking, women or men?

It’s a an age-old hypothetical and I’m willing to bet that you answered “women, duh.”

It’s a pretty common answer that adheres to cultural stereotypes. If we look back on how society views multitasking, women are seen to have no trouble juggling children, a job, a household and a various other life tasks whereas men can barely function while doing one thing at a time.

But according to a new study published on PLOS One, it turns out that women are actually no better at multitasking than men are.

Spongebob gets it.

Researchers got 48 men and 48 women and tested their ability to swap between activities quickly, how well they identified letters and numbers, paying attention to two tasks at once and swapping attention between tasks.

After measuring the reaction times and accuracy for the tasks between the men and women, it was found that there was no notable difference between the groups and humans in general suck at the multitasking thing, period.

So you’re not wrong when you say “I suck at multitasking”, it’s just everyone else does as well.

Hooray!

If science dispels the whole mulitasking myth, why does it seem like women have it all sorted while men are next to useless when confronted with more than one task?

Well it’s because women simply work harder than men.

Despite more men spending time doing housework these days, a majority of it is still done by women. Australian bread-winning mothers end up spending four extra hours a week doing this sort of work compared to bread-winning fathers and it’s taking a heavy toll on their mental health.

Debunking this whole multitasking myth is important in ensuring workloads are evenly spread out but there’s more to be done beyond science telling us that we all suck at doing stuff.

Not only do women need affordable, high-quality childcare that’s widely available but men also need access to things like paternal leave and flexible work in order to help share the labour, especially with the steadily increasing number of dudes getting invested in equal sharing and co-parenting.

So to all those dudes who are helpless at juggling multiple tasks and chalking it up to women being better at multitasking, science says that myth is completely wrong and you need to take a leaf out of their book and simply work harder.

The Bachelor Isn't Just Winning Hearts And Handing Out Roses, He's Also Helping To, Uh, Discover Alien Worlds

Hey, every Bachelor has to have a hobby.

In case you’ve missed it, Australia’s new Bachelor, Matt Agnew, is an astrophysicist and is incredibly *checks notes* smart. Hell, he’s only one gamma radiation accident away from turning into a super good-looking version of the Incredible Hulk.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that when he isn’t charming everyone in Australia or handing out roses to the women on The Bachelor, he’s, uh, helping to discover alien worlds.

Professor Jonti Horner, who was the external supervisor for Matt’s PhD work prior to his ascendancy as the latest Bachelor heartthrob, revealed on The Conversation that Matt’s PhD work is “amazing” and it will prove to be important in the search for new alien worlds.

Now I’m no science or astro whiz so I’m going to do my best to understand what’s going on here and why Matt’s work is so crucial.

The problem for astronomers in this field of alien world prospecting is that they’re discovering new stars, planets and systems way too fast for the amount of available resources they have to properly keep up and analyse.

Since astronomers are forced to work more efficiently, it makes more sense to go looking for new worlds in areas where we know there are planets exist rather than painstakingly scanning every inch of a host star looking for a new planet and hoping they strike gold.

This is where Matt’s work comes in.

His PhD revolves around using computers to simulate planets and systems, thereby narrowing down undiscovered areas of space to places where planets are almost certain to exist. These computer simulations can cover “millions of virtual years” in “a few hours, or a few days at most”, which is a massive resource saver.

So in short, rather than have astronomers looking at space through telescopes and spending inordinate amounts of time and resources hoping to find an alien world, Matt’s work will help narrow down the spots where astronomers should look for new planets and get everyone will be able to get home from work in time to watch The Bachelor.

It seems like Matt Agnew, astrophysicist and Bachelor, is here to charm, give out roses and prospect for new alien worlds. And he’s already done the first two.

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