Last updated 12-17-14
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Online Final Exam: CHM107
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Magna Clean Systems Website

As a consumer, you always have to be on guard for bogus products, and believe me there are thousands of them. Here are some clues that something is wrong:
A. The use of technobabble (technical descriptions that are meaningless and have no basis in real science).  So if you read it and it doesn't make sense. It's not your fault. It's because they are using technobabble which is nonsensical.
B. Fantastic claims  You have heard the saying, "If it sounds to good to be true, then it's probably not." That's the thing to remember about fantastic claims.
C. Scare tactics
 People like to use scare tactics to get others to do what they want.

#1. Visit the Magna Clean site (click link under image) and look over their different Web pages and report 3 examples of "technobabble" (scientific-sounding words or phrases), 3 examples of "fantastic claims" and 3 examples of "scare tactics."

#2. (Art of Hiding). Here is an ice cream that is pushing its Carb Smart ingredients. With 5 grams of sugar, it's about 1/4 of the normal ice cream bar. So a person would be carb smart, but which item in the % Daily Value tells you eating this is not smart?

butter spray

(Art of Hiding). In this product, it appears that there's nothing in it because everything is zero. Products can show no fat (0%) if there's less than 0.50 grams per serving. Here the serving size is only 0.25 grams, so there can never be 0.50 grams of fat. That also explains why everything is zero even calories. The label says it contains 904 servings. (#3) How many grams is that? Oils are 9 calories per gram. (#4) How many calories are in the whole container?

bottled water bottles

#5. On the TV show, "Bullsh*t," with magicians Penn & Teller, they invented different exotic names for bottled water containers. The waiter presented these bottles to customers as if they were really from different countries. Many bought them and they praised the different tastes. All bottles were filled from the same water from a garden hose at the back of the restaurant. What type of trick was used to get such positive feedback from customers? (Hint: It's one of the nine tricks discussed in my tutorial below)

An early problem for the early humans was the extreme competition for food. It was hard getting food, keeping food, and not becoming food ourselves. Stone tool technology was the answer. The stones that were well suited for making into weapons or tools have a property called cryptocrystalline which allows it to be broken like glass.

#6: What does cryptocrystalline mean and name one mineral that has that property?

The electricity just went off and your freezer has a lot of meat in it. You are told it will take a few days before electricity is restored.
#7: How might you preserve the meat if you can't refrigerate it?

#8: "Fracking" is an abbreviation for two words.  What are those two words?
Sand paper ruby

#9: What is the common ingredient in sandpaper, rubies, and sapphires?

#10: What element is responsible for making rubies red?

#11: According to this graphic shown in the Organic Building Block tutorial, your body could not build muscle if you only ate carbohydrates (sugars/starches) and lipids (fats). According to this chart, what two elements are missing in those foods that are needed to make protein?
(Misconception of Air) In 1650 Otto Guericke invented a vacuum pump. To demonstrate the power of air pressure, he pumped the air out of a 12 inch radius sphere made from two halves. There was nothing holding the halves together except air. In one demonstration, Otto used a total of 30 horses which tried to pull the sphere apart but couldn't. (#12) If 30 horses could not get the two halves apart, how did he ever get the two halves apart?
Copper Spheres holds horses
suction marks on child's stomach
Every once in awhile we hear about a child being injured or drowned by the "suction" from the bottom drain of swimming pool or spa. The recirculation pump is very powerful but the real force that holds down the child is not the pump but air pressure. Remember there is no such thing as suction. Looking at the bruise, let's say the drain opening was 10 inches in diameter. Air pressure is 15 pounds per square inch and water at 2 feet deep adds about 1 pound per square inch. So that's a total of 16 lbs per square inch. (#13) How many pounds of force (over that 10 inch opening) was pressing down on the child from the combined pressure of air and water? (Hint: The formula for the area of a circle is pi x radius squared.   After getting area in square inches multiply by the 16 lbs per square inch).

We want a multitude of products that are cheap and readily available. The solution was mass production.

#14: Unfortunately, when mass production goes wrong, it can mean a big recall of the defective product. Read this article on the largest recall of beef. What part of this article worries you the most?

freon molecules
In the past, dangerous gases such as ammonia and sulfur dioxide were used as a refrigerant in refrigeration. We wanted a refrigerant gas that was safe to use. Freon was the answer. Unfortunately, the freons harmed the ozone layer. The R12 freon was used in cars until 1994. It was replaced with R134a.
#15: What element in R12 was harming the ozone layer?

Coal is burned to generate energy, but's burning coal causes pollution. The formula on the right is typical of coal.
#16: What element in coal will create the pollutant, sulfur dioxide?

#17: To prevent sulfur dioxide from getting into the air, coal power plants will use a calcium hydroxide solution to trap and neutralize the sulfur dioxide. The reaction produces calcium sulfate, which can be sold. What is calcium sulfate used for?


Go to the "Air Now" website below, which is sponsored by the EPA.

"AQI" is the Air Quality Index that combines particulate matter and ozone pollution levels. Click on the AQI Loop button above the image of the United States.
#18: Name a couple of areas where you see the map is showing pollution especially with orange, red, or purple colors?
#19: What do you think is contributing to the pollution in those areas?


Lead pipe
#20: The photo is a lead pipe used to carry water.  Romans built this pipe over 3,000 years ago.  The pipe can still be used to carry water.    Go to and type in the word "plumber".  Scroll down to the "British Dictionary definitions for plumber" and look at the Origin of the word "plumber".  What does it say?
Water test kit
#21: This is a drinking water test kit.   Does it test for lead?  If so, why do you think it does?

The heat from the sun strikes the Earth but most of it gets bounced back to space. Without greenhouse gases to intercept this energy, the Earth would freeze. Of course, too much greenhouse gases and the Earth overheats.

#22: Name 2 greenhouse gases that come out of a car's exhaust. (Note: Freon is a greenhouse gas, but it doesn't come out of the exhaust).

CO2 levels

#23: This graph shows the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere for the last 4 years.   The black line is an average (mean) reading which clearly shows CO2 levels are rising.  The red line is the actual readings.  The red line goes up and down each year due to plants on the Earth absorbing CO2 during times they grow the most.   The title said the the readings were taken at Mauna Loa.   What and where is Mauna Loa?

#24: There is a logo on the chart that says NOAA.  What does that stand for?


California drought

#25: The below website shows the current drought areas in California.  On that page on the right side in the middle it shows the population currently affected by the drought in California. How many people is that?

Harvard On the left is Harvard University in Boston.   If sea levels rise 25 feet, which is possible from the melting of Greenland ice and part of Antarctica ice, then Harvard won't look like this.  Roll mouse over the image to see what it would look like.
The below map of Florida shows the areas in red that will be under water if the sea level rises 25 feet.   From the map, it shows that Orlando, Florida will be under water.  
Name three amusement parks in Orlando that will be lost because of the rising sea levels.
Sea Level Florida
According to the data below about how much water is needed to produce the ingredients for a hamburger, w
#27: Which appears to require more water, meat (including cheese) or vegetables (including bread which comes from wheat)?
Toilet to Tap
#28: This photo is of an art project that reminds people that some cities in California (Los Angeles and other) have considered treating sewer water so that it can be piped back to people's home as tap water.      If they don't recyle water that way, the price of water for the home would triple in cost.     What would you prefer (A or B)?   A) Treat and clean up the sewer water so that it could be safe to drink. This would not change the cost of water.  or B) Triple the cost of water so you don't have to drink recycled sewer water.
Below is a photo of a solar still (distillation of water using the sun as source of heat).    The jug on the left shows tubing that goes into the black trays inside of the triangular box.    Beads of water appear on the walls of the triangular box which then run down the walls and accumulate on the bottom, front, right corner of the triangular box. A hose is connected to that corner and to a jug sitting on the ground.   
#29: Which jug is the water that is not drinkable and which jug is water that is drinkable?
Solar distillation

#30: In the below photo, one person is the skeptic and one is the cynic.     Below are two definitions.  Which one is for a skeptic and which one is for a cynic:

A) A person who questions what others claim and is unwilling to check out the evidence. (close-minded).
B) A person who questions what others claim but is willing to check out the evidence to see if it is true or plausible. (Suspicious but Open-minded).

Skeptic and Cynic

#31: In the below photo, one person is "Trusting" and one is "Gullible".     Below are two definitions.  Which one is for a "Trusting Person" and which one is for a "Gullible Person":

A) A person who believes the outcome will be good without any evidence that it should be good. (Blind Trust).

B) A person who believes the outcome will be good because they got to know who and what they are dealing with.

Trusting vs. Gullible
Smoke from Fire #32: In discussing pollution from smoke coming from forest fires or from factories, you will often see the term "PM2.5".  What does that mean?
Applying lotion that is white and black
#33:   This lady is applying some sort of lotion to her face; however, on the left the lotion is white, but on the right the same lotion is black.  What is going on here?
The left photo is of a woman taken with visible light and a camera sensitive to visible light.   The photo on the right was taken with an infrared camera using the infrared light from the Sun.    The caption says "SWIR (1500-1700nm)"    
 What does "SWIR" stand for and what does "nm" stand for?
Photo of woman in visible llight and infrared light
#35:  Referring to the photos below, why is the guy's reading glasses black in the Ultraviolet photo?   
#36: In the shortwave infrared photo, the guy's skin is very dark.   So does skin absorb or reflect shortwave infrared light? 
#37: In the near infrared photo, the guy's skin is almost white.  So does skin absorb or reflect near infrared light?
Photo taken with UV, visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared
#38:   The girl looks very different in each of the photos below.  Identify which one (A, B, or C) was taken with ultraviolet light?
#39:   Identify which one (A, B, or C) was taken with infrared light?
#40:   The photo on the left shows spots.  Most of them are not freckles, so what are those spots?
Girl's face in UV, IR, and Visible light

#41: The 8 portraits below are of a woman using 8 types of light and 8 types of cameras.    When taking a photo using a longwave infrared camera, there is no need for light because a living person emits longwave infrared radiation (light).  The parts of the face that is warmer is also brighter when seen in longwave infrared. So why is the nose darker than the rest of the face?
#42: Microwave ovens are tuned to the frequency that matches the energy to vibrate water molecules.   In other words, that frequency of microwave light will be absorbed by water.   If a microwave oven was used as the microwave light to light up a persons face, an image like the one below would be seen.  Why are the eyes and mouth of the girl dark in the microwave portrait?
#43: The X-ray portrait is different than the other portraits.  All other portraits are showing the different types of light bouncing off (or being emitted) from the girls face.  The X-ray portrait is actually just a shadow of her head.  In other words, you don't shine X-ray light on a person's face and the X-ray light bounces off.  The X-ray light passes on through the face.  So the camera (light sensitive film) is actually behind the person's face.  X-ray's photos are also different than the others because it is a negative image of what the face is doing to the light.   In other words, in most of these photos, when the light is reflected, it shows up white.  When the light is absorbed, that part of the portrait is black.   In X-ray films, it is reversed.   The part of the face (or bones behind the face) that absorb the X-ray light is shown as white rather than black (bottom far right photo).  That's why X-ray film are sometimes called "negatives".  To see what is actually absorbing X-rays, I created a positive image (image where absorption is dark and reflection is white).  Notice that teeth and bone are dark because they would absorb the X-rays more.  The positive image is a more accurate way a person looks under X-ray light.  We actually look like we are made of glass.  X-rays are the most dangerous of all of the types of light being shown. Why is that?

Girl portrait with 8 types of light
One apartment owner placed these solar panels on the side of his apartment to provide extra electricity. He said these panels produce 75 watts of electricity each. That's enough to run a computer or 10 compact fluorescent bulbs.

#44: Unfortunately, he is not at home during the day time, so what does he need to buy to take advantage of the solar panels' power and use that power at night? (Hint:  your car has one of these)

The Mannatech company claims that their sugar pills are healthy.   They also sell vitamins.  The link below is for one of their vitamin products.  On the page you will see a section called "Product Details".  Below that are 6 bulleted statements.  The first 5 statements talk about the benefits their product has, but these statements have an asterisk after them.   Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the sentence that has an asterisk at the start of the sentence. 
#45: What does it say?  (This is a disclaimer which says they don't have to back up the 5 statements they made.)

Under "Product Details" the last bulleted statement doesn't have an asterisk.  It is just a listing the vitamins in the bottle.  So they aren't making any health claims in that statement.  
#46: How much is their retail cost for this bottle of vitamins?

#47: Do an internet search and report what the normal price for multivitamins is.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is dedicated to protecting America's consumers.  Below is the link one page on the website that talks about miracle health claims:

#48:  On that page find the section titled "Arthritis".  They warn about dietary supplements (I would include homeopathy) and gimmicks like copper bracelets.  They mention one other kind of gimmick that you've hear me also complain about.  Which one is that?

The Federal Trade Commission has useful information for all kinds of topics that are of interest to students and consumers.   Remember to go there when you think you are getting scammed on something.

fake news site info

Just to show how far scammers will go, they even create fake news sites to promote their product.  Below is a page from the FTC where they talk about fake news sites to promote a fruit (acai berry) that is said to have miraculous weight-loss benefits.

#49: In this article they include information about the danger of "Free trial offers".  What do they say about that?

Kent cigarette
In the 1950's the Micronite filter was promoted as reducing the tar and nicotine being inhaled. They even said that it was the favorite of scientists and educators. It was true that it reduced the tar and nicotine being inhaled, but Micronite filters were made from asbestos; so smokers inhaled asbestos, which was more dangerous than tar or nicotine. 15 billion of these cigarettes were sold. 4 billion even after they confirmed the smokers were getting dangerous asbestos into their lungs.
What is asbestos and what is the danger of having asbestos in your lungs?
The below questions are extra credit questions.
Nissan Leaf

Four years ago I finally got to buy the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Of course, my interest is to reduce pollution and to get away from fossil fuels. The decals on the side say "100% electric Zero Emission". It is true the car has no emissions, but it has to be charged. If the car is charged with electricity from a coal-fired power plant, the emissions are not local but come out at the power plant smoke stack.
#51: What are some of those emissions (pollution) from a coal-fired power plant?

#52: If the car is charged from solar panels or from wind generators, what emissions are coming from those plants if any?

deer at car factory
A deer on the grounds of the auto factory

#53: Subaru is promoting their cars as being "green" because they are built with "zero landfill waste". I think this is a good idea. It makes buyers think about the factory where the products are made (the history of the product). Below is a link to an article about that. Tell me information you found that you thought was interesting or valuable.


Solar Impulse

#54: Solar impulse is a plane that is on a mission to fly around the world by only using the power of the sun.  It has solar panels built into its wings.  Just recently it flew from Hawaii to California and now it's in Phoenix (Arrived Monday May 2).   Watch the below 4 minute video on Youtube and describe what you think they are trying to accomplish by building a solar airplane and flying it around the world.

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