Last updated 12-17-14
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Online Final Exam: CHM107
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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 5 examples of "technobabble", 5 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?

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: (Building Blocks) Earth's atmosphere is abundant with oxygen, but all other planets in our solar system (including Mars) have no oxygen. The red surface of Mars comes from iron (III) oxide [Fe2O3]. What temperature would you need to heat iron (III) oxide to get it to release oxygen?
Sand paper ruby

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

#9b: What element is responsible for making rubies red?

#10: 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). 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. (#11) 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. (#12) 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).

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

#13: 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. #14: 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. #15a: What element in coal will create the pollutant, sulfur dioxide?

#15b: 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 tab above the image of the United States.
#16: Name a couple of areas where you see the map is showing pollution especially with orange, red, or purple colors?
#17: What do you think is contributing to that pollution in those areas?


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.

#18: Name 3 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).

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.

#19: Unfortunately, he is not at home during the day time, so what does he need to take advantage of the solar panels' power and use that power at night?

Evaluation of a dietary (nutritional) supplement:

Use Google or some search engine and do a search for "essential sugars".  Be sure to put quotes " " around "essential sugars". That narrows the search for those words together and not simply "essential" or "sugar".
#20: Report how many hits was reported. That's shown at the top of the page.  Notice that many mention "8 essential sugars" and the word glyconutrients. If you read any of these pages, most will brag about the benefits of these essential sugars (also called glyconutrients).

#21: Go to our government's website for health issues. Click on the Heading, "Institutes at NIH". A new page appears with a list of the "27 Institutes and Centers that makeup NIH. Scroll down and check out the names of the different institutes. Scroll back to the top and use the search box and type in "essential sugars" (be sure to put quotes around "essential sugars" otherwise you find articles just about "sugars" and "essential" but not just "essential sugars"). How many articles were found in the databases of 27 health institutes? (if none, report none)

#22: What does NIH's number of articles on "essential sugars" tell you about essential sugars?

#23: Go to the website (below) of the multi-billion dollar manufacturer of the "8 essential sugars". You may need to choose "United States" and then click Continue button. Click "Real Products" at the top of the Mannatech home page. The page that comes up is titled "The Real Difference: One Body, One Mind, One Real Path to an Amazing Quality of Life".   The end of the first paragraph ends with "...ingredients that have been scientifically proven to benefit the human body. *" Notice the asterisk "*".  Scroll down and notice that many of the descriptions end with an asterisk (*). Another asterisk is at the bottom of the page. What does it say?

The statement at the bottom is a disclaimer which keeps them from being regulated like medicines. In other words, they can make wild claims, but the disclaimer means they don't have to back them up.

#24: Move cursor over the "Real Product" button at the top of the screen. Then click on Health under the Products to Live By text. You will see many products that have a statement about how good it is.  Notice those have an asterisk "*" after the statement.  The asterisk at the bottom of the page is a disclaimer that these products have not been tested and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  That's in contrast to what they say these products do.   See if you can find "Ambrotose Complex".(Click on the "Learn More>" link.  What is its retail price? 

#25: On the same page that have the Product Label and the Supplement Facts.   Notice that first ingredient is Vitamin A.  It's only 2% of the Daily Value.  So that's nearly nothing and useless.  The next ingredient is "Ambrotose complex, 150mg".  It's made from Arabinogalactan, which is a starch.  Next is Aloe Vera, which is a plant found in the yards of thousands of homes in Phoenix and surrounding cities.   The next two are Ghatti gum and Gum Tragacanth.  All of these ingredients are followed with the † symbol. Below them is the † symbol followed by the text: "Daily Value not established". Daily Value is an amount that is recommended for daily consumption. If no Daily Value has been established for these Ambrotose ingredients, then the U.S. Food and Drug administration has not recognized any nutritional value for these ingredients. Arabinogalactan is made from two sugars, arabinose and galactose. Arabinose comes from gum arabic.  Do a search for gum arabic in Wikipedia and find out what foods contain this sugar. (Look in the Usage section).     

#26:   Under Overview they have four bulleted statements: Increase immune system support; Support digestive function; Improve memory and cognitive function; Enhance mood and decrease irritability.  Notice each has an asterisk following it. Why did they add the asterisk?

#27: Now at the top of the screen roll cursor over the title, "Real Possibilities" and then click "Real Income within Reach".  This is the page where they want you to be a seller of these products. Remember all the hits you got when you did a search for "essential sugars" in Google or a search engine? Why do you think you found so many?

#28: Finally, what does your research into glyconutrients tell you about consumers in general?

The previous group of problems focused on the gullibility of people. Skepticism and knowledge are the best defenses against poor choices. Citizens of all societies need to be more skeptical and have good research skills.   The Federal Trade Commission is dedicated to protecting America's consumers.  Below is the link to their scam alert pages:

On the left is the partial list of the Scam Topics they cover. I will be having you click on the following topics of Education and Health to answer the next 3 questions.  You are welcome to browse any of the other topics as well. 

#29: Click on Education and when  that page comes up, click on the article called "Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams".   When that page comes up, look down the page for "The FTC cautions students to look and listen for these tell-tale lines:"  They show six common lines (statements) that should raise a red flag that the company is a scam.   Give three of those lines (statements).

#30:   Use the back button twice to get back to the page that let you Browse Scams by Topic.  Click on the category named "Health".   When that page opens, scroll down and click on the article titled "Scammers Out to Profit on U. S. Supreme Court's Ruling on the Affordable Care Act".  When that page opens, read it and on the third paragraph, what do they say to do if someone claims to be from the government and asks for personal information?  And why do the say to do that?

#31: Use the back button once to get back to the page that says "Scam Tag: Health".   On that page look for the link to the article called "Trusting Your Sources".  Click that link and when that page comes up, read the article and report what this article is warning you about.  This page also has a video called "Free Trial Offers:  A message from the Federal Trade Commission".  What the video and report what lesson you learned from watching the video.

Kent cigarette
#32: In the 50'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?
Nissan Leaf

Two 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.
#33: What are some of those emissions from a coal-fired power plant?

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

Comment: Even though something is said to be zero emission, you can't be like an audience at a magic show and accept that as true. You have to think about it's past and future.

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

#35: 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.


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Since May 8, 2004