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(LA Times)   Exfoliating microbeads may wipe humanity off the face of the planet   (latimes.com) divider line 41
    More: Scary, Los Angeles River, Los Angeles, polyethylenes, toiletries, polypropylene, plastic debris, confluence, wastewater treatment  
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6797 clicks; posted to Geek » on 26 Jan 2014 at 2:31 AM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



41 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-26 12:51:09 AM  
"Microbeads".
 
2014-01-26 01:08:44 AM  
fta In a statement, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, for example, said it has "stopped developing new products containing polyethylene microbeads." The company expects by 2015 to have replaced microbeads with alternatives in half the products that currently use them

So I only have until next year to get my fill of hookers and blow? Damn you to hell, Johnson & Johnson!
 
2014-01-26 02:44:10 AM  
testing - I'm having posting issues.
 
2014-01-26 02:51:50 AM  
Yeah, because shell fragments were too farking expensive.
 
2014-01-26 03:02:14 AM  
static.ddmcdn.com
 
2014-01-26 03:15:10 AM  
Yeah, but we will die with healthy, vibrant looking skin.
 
2014-01-26 03:45:58 AM  
www.surfrider.org
 
2014-01-26 04:12:38 AM  
About time I've had one of those poofders for ages and no extermination i was told they where exfoliating!.
 
2014-01-26 04:28:03 AM  
Exfoliation is a stupid concept in any case. The dead layers of your skin act as a physical barrier between your living skin, and therefore entry into you body, and the various infectious agents and, more importantly, the various toxins now present in our environment, most notably semi-combusted hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. Remove that barrier and those toxins have a free ride into your body, which can cause any number of health issues. I can't find the study right now but i know i saw one about the correlation between this and the increased number of children suffering from various allergies.

Ever since i stopped scrubbing my skin off when i shower my hayfever has almost disappeared, with only a handful of really heavy episodes during a year, as opposed to the near constant hayfever attacks year round i used to get during high-school.
 
2014-01-26 04:46:03 AM  

Smoking GNU: Exfoliation is a stupid concept in any case. The dead layers of your skin act as a physical barrier between your living skin, and therefore entry into you body, and the various infectious agents and, more importantly, the various toxins now present in our environment, most notably semi-combusted hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. Remove that barrier and those toxins have a free ride into your body, which can cause any number of health issues. I can't find the study right now but i know i saw one about the correlation between this and the increased number of children suffering from various allergies.

Ever since i stopped scrubbing my skin off when i shower my hayfever has almost disappeared, with only a handful of really heavy episodes during a year, as opposed to the near constant hayfever attacks year round i used to get during high-school.


Do you shave?
 
2014-01-26 05:35:47 AM  
The 'r' must be too small to see.
 
2014-01-26 05:47:38 AM  

Smoking GNU: Exfoliation is a stupid concept in any case. The dead layers of your skin act as a physical barrier between your living skin, and therefore entry into you body, and the various infectious agents and, more importantly, the various toxins now present in our environment, most notably semi-combusted hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. Remove that barrier and those toxins have a free ride into your body, which can cause any number of health issues. I can't find the study right now but i know i saw one about the correlation between this and the increased number of children suffering from various allergies.

Ever since i stopped scrubbing my skin off when i shower my hayfever has almost disappeared, with only a handful of really heavy episodes during a year, as opposed to the near constant hayfever attacks year round i used to get during high-school.


But you'll be living a life of loveless solitude with your creepy sandpaper face...
 
2014-01-26 07:14:34 AM  
"You waited so long to heed us, EarthDeirdre, Almost we pruned you, as we may yet prune your branches."
-Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversations With Planet"
 
2014-01-26 07:27:57 AM  
So, if the treatment plant is filtering them, where are they coming from? Are creek washin' hobos using exfoliatin' soap?
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-01-26 07:51:59 AM  
That means that thousands of years from now, alien archeologists will study us and discover that out civilization was destroyed by Irish Spring?

And does the Drake equation take exfoliating soap into account?
 
2014-01-26 08:11:05 AM  
Just one example of the hundreds of thousands of ways we're sealing our own doom, and many of them tie into the cheapest, fastest way to manufacture consumer products marketed for the most vapid and puerile of reasons.

/boned
 
2014-01-26 09:24:36 AM  

Notabunny: fta In a statement, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, for example, said it has "stopped developing new products containing polyethylene microbeads." The company expects by 2015 to have replaced microbeads with alternatives in half the products that currently use them

So I only have until next year to get my fill of hookers and blow? Damn you to hell, Johnson & Johnson!


What's even dumber is the environmentalist is screaming "that's not good enough!!!!" I guess because if they are changing and he has nothing to biatch about any longer.

I saw one of his videos, he had to churn up the bottom of the body of water he was in to find the beads. So it seems only the tiniest creatures are effected by this and not all of them eat it.

Sure, change the process but let's stop with alarmist and bullshiat headlines since when it doesn't happen complacency sets in for the people.
 
2014-01-26 09:43:03 AM  

wildcardjack: So, if the treatment plant is filtering them, where are they coming from? Are creek washin' hobos using exfoliatin' soap?


It says in the article that the beads are small enough to pass through the filters at some water treatment plants.  Some doesn't sound that bad but I have a strong suspicion that it may include the ones servicing major metropolitan areas.

The interesting thing is that the little plastic balls do seem to be doing some good at certain points, they are absorbing toxic materials like oil from the water; the problem is really getting them back out.
 
2014-01-26 09:58:39 AM  

GWSuperfan: [www.surfrider.org image 533x487]


Only if you eat seafood.

/the ocean, humanity's bread basket and toilet.
 
2014-01-26 09:59:44 AM  

GWSuperfan: [www.surfrider.org image 533x487]


And remember, once that water goes down the drain, it's gone.
 
2014-01-26 10:37:08 AM  
You can exfoliate with a rough wash cloth.

Oh, sorry, not sexy enough for advertisement.
 
2014-01-26 10:52:34 AM  
farking plastic - in some senses a wonder material, light, cheap, incredibly useful, but environmentally one of the worst inventions ever. It doesn't biodegrade, it's dangerous to living things, and it's everywhere.

I hate to say "there oughta be a law" but in regards to shiat like microbeads, there should be. They serve no useful purpose, can easily be replaced, and turn into waste that doesn't degrade.

A society that allows this type of behavior to the environment is a sick society.
 
2014-01-26 11:17:38 AM  

LargeCanine: You can exfoliate with a rough wash cloth.

Oh, sorry, not sexy enough for advertisement.


The best possible way is with something that feels deceptively soft - a $1-for-4 microfibre cleaning cloth.

It's so good, it means you also don't need any cleanser, and your skin will start looking dramatically better and younger within days.

They're exactly the same cloths spas sell for $40.
 
2014-01-26 11:20:51 AM  

steamingpile: I saw one of his videos, he had to churn up the bottom of the body of water he was in to find the beads. So it seems only the tiniest creatures are effected by this and not all of them eat it.


You mean those tiny creatures at the bottom of the food chain, the creatures that support every single organism above them and are directly consumed by them? The creatures that have a biomass many, many times the weight of every human on earth?

No problem then.
 
2014-01-26 12:19:33 PM  

Bonanza Jellybean: [static.ddmcdn.com image 360x300]


As someone working in nanophysics, I admit I find a grey-goo scenario... unlikely.

Because if that were even feasible energy-wise, I'm pretty sure bacteria would have DONE that by now.

/I'm also not super-worried because we are so, so far from nanobots it's not funny.
 
2014-01-26 12:28:05 PM  

Felgraf: Bonanza Jellybean: [static.ddmcdn.com image 360x300]

As someone working in nanophysics, I admit I find a grey-goo scenario... unlikely.

Because if that were even feasible energy-wise, I'm pretty sure bacteria would have DONE that by now.

/I'm also not super-worried because we are so, so far from nanobots it's not funny.


I think a total Grey Goo scenario is highly unlikely, but I can see potential for small scale disasters that fizzle out.

And we're not *that* far, considering it's conceivable that today is within the lifetime of someone born into a world of candles and chalk slates. There to now is considerably less technically challenging than now to nanobots.
 
2014-01-26 12:49:04 PM  
Ok.  Going back to pumice is fine with me

ecx.images-amazon.com
It's 100% natural

/like asbestos
 
2014-01-26 01:46:54 PM  
Bungles:

And we're not *that* far, considering it's conceivable that today is within the lifetime of someone born into a world of candles and chalk slates. There to now is considerably less technically challenging than now to nanobots.

Non-sequitur

Progress is not necessarily linear.  We're in a plateau right now, only slowly making incremental improvements.  Many of the inventions that caused dramatic rises were very basic things like education and communication being available, not to mention the even more painfully obvious, there are more of us.  Barring an apocalypse, those vast jumps in our recent history are not likely to happen again, which leaves us somewhat where we were before, simply waiting on new scientific breakthroughs and muddling along with what we have.

Hate to rain on an optimists parade, but that's how it works.  Advances in science and technology are not exactly happening at sustainable/predictable rate.  In a lot of ways, we've reached our maximum potential and rely more on refining and adapting what we have, which is a very slow process.  The rest, the real innovation and advances, are more a matter of luck, if you will, or random chance.
 
2014-01-26 02:44:27 PM  

omeganuepsilon: Bungles:

And we're not *that* far, considering it's conceivable that today is within the lifetime of someone born into a world of candles and chalk slates. There to now is considerably less technically challenging than now to nanobots.

Non-sequitur

Progress is not necessarily linear.  We're in a plateau right now, only slowly making incremental improvements.  Many of the inventions that caused dramatic rises were very basic things like education and communication being available, not to mention the even more painfully obvious, there are more of us.  Barring an apocalypse, those vast jumps in our recent history are not likely to happen again, which leaves us somewhat where we were before, simply waiting on new scientific breakthroughs and muddling along with what we have.

Hate to rain on an optimists parade, but that's how it works.  Advances in science and technology are not exactly happening at sustainable/predictable rate.  In a lot of ways, we've reached our maximum potential and rely more on refining and adapting what we have, which is a very slow process.  The rest, the real innovation and advances, are more a matter of luck, if you will, or random chance.


That's not true at all. We're leaping forward quicker than ever before - just look at the technologically advancement in 2012-2013 compared to at the "height" of one of the previous booms like 1945-46... the advancement it multiples larger, in far, far more fields. It's less "obvious" because our technology is so incredibly diverse that's impossible for one person to keep abreast of it (unlike 1945, for example, when an exceptional person could).

You sound  a little like the old wives' tale of wanting to close down the patent office in 1901 because everything had been invented.
 
2014-01-26 03:06:21 PM  

Bungles: You sound  a little like the old wives' tale of wanting to close down the patent office in 1901 because everything had been invented.


Ha.  Not at all. Maybe shut it down because it's a stagnating mockery of what it was created for, but not because we're "done".

Bungles: leaping forward


Maybe a bit vague, but I wouldn't use "leaping" at all.  Creeping.  Most of our improvements are a matter of course, and not leaps at all, but systematic steps.  Kind of like round edges on something that goes in a pocket.  It just makes sense, has more merit than something with sharp edges near our crotchal area.

Bungles: technological advancement in 2012-2013

FTFY...and...

Such as?  The new iProduct that's a smidge faster, with a smidge more storage?

Bungles: compared to at the "height" of one of the previous booms like 1945-46... the advancement it multiples larger, in far, far more fields


Unable to FTFY. What is that? I don't even.. Did you accidentally a word?


Again, the main point of my post is that progress is not linear.  It varies, the uptick is sometimes steep, and sometimes fairly level.  I did not say we were plateaued for good.  If that's what you took away from my post, I pity you.
 
2014-01-26 03:30:05 PM  

Bungles: I think a total Grey Goo scenario is highly unlikely, but I can see potential for small scale disasters that fizzle out.

And we're not *that* far, considering it's conceivable that today is within the lifetime of someone born into a world of candles and chalk slates. There to now is considerably less technically challenging than now to nanobots.


Okay, no, we're really not that close.

Let me put it this way:

We have gotten really, really good at making nanomaterials in certain shapes and sizes. These alone can do REALLY interesting things, and some have fantastic optical properties.

Now, there are two ways of building nano-scale *structures*.

The first is top down, which is starting from bulk material and 'carving' it up. The most common method for this is photolithography. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photolithography )
However, photolithography has its limits. You're limited by the wavelength of the light, and you're limited in what you can build, and where you can build it.

The other method is bottom-up: That is, starting with base nanoparticles (spheres, rods, etc), and getting them to combine with each other. This is REALLY HARD to do in a controlled fashion: a lot of times you get a *high* degree of disorder. SAy we just wanted to make a barbell shape: Spheres sticking to the ends of rods. Easy, right?

NOPE. Unless you're clever, you get rods sticking to each other, and spheres sticking to the sides of rods, etc etc. And you can't just use a filter or a set of tweezers to sort the good from the bad at that scale. Now, what I'm working with as a grad student is a method to use some of the optical properties of nano-gold and nano-silver (as well as a photocleavable molecule) to make an optically-driven reaction that would, in theory, allow us to eliminate a lot of those errors-

But, that still doesn't mean we're close to nanobots.

Here's one of the major problems, and one of the reasons it's *really* hard to react nanoparticles in a controllable way: Nanoparticles are *inherently unstable*. There are a few explanations you can use for this, but the simplest is that bulk matter is a lower energy state than nanoscale particles (otherwise, why would we *HAVE* bulk matter?).

So if you have a bunch of gold nanospheres in a solution, and they're just spheres? Very quickly, they're going to clump together and form bulk gold (generally a black-ish coating on the bottom of a container.. r sometimes even visible gold flakes).

To get them to stay in solution, you need to coat them with something that will repel the other nanoparticles. This can either be a charged coating (basically, you coat 'em in something that's negatively/positively charged) or a steric coating (think Teflon).

But now you've got a problem: If you want to react them, you need to find a way to swap the coating in specific parts, or coat them in something that will only cleave at specific parts, etc. It's really, *really* tricky. (Which is why, despite being about a year away from my physics PhD, half of what I'm doing is chemistry at this point.)

And that's just operating under the assumption that nanobots are feasible/worth the energy cost. Just because we can dream something up in sci-fi doesn't mean it will be energy feasible (Think the flying cars from the Jetsons.)

You can't really just say "It's a bigger jump from chalk to computers than from nanospheres to nanobots!", because...

Well, the best way I can describe it is that we are at the "UG MAKE WHEEL" stage of nanotech. We can make really neat shapes with interesting properties (small sharp rock is a knife! Large sharp rock is an axe! Small curved rock is a shovel!). We are working really hard on "UG PUT STICK *THROUGH* WHEEL! MAKE AXLE!"

(That is not meant to be condescending. I just find it to be very illustrative.)
 
2014-01-26 04:05:26 PM  
Come on, submitter, the correct word in that headline was "scrub", not "wipe".
 
2014-01-26 04:26:20 PM  

Felgraf: Well, the best way I can describe it is that we are at the "UG MAKE WHEEL" stage of nanotech. We can make really neat shapes with interesting properties (small sharp rock is a knife! Large sharp rock is an axe! Small curved rock is a shovel!). We are working really hard on "UG PUT STICK *THROUGH* WHEEL! MAKE AXLE!"

(That is not meant to be condescending. I just find it to be very illustrative.)


And at that, look at how long we had the wheel and axle before robots.

And still, even our full size robots are not all that independent.  Any sort of real AI is still a pipe dream as well.  Haven't made any headway in those arena's for a while.  A lot of miniaturization of circuits, but really, that's all, and there is a necessary barrier there as you point out, when it gets too small to manipulate, the difficulty increases dramatically.

We can create these materials only on a tiny scale procedurally.  Much further manipulation is simply beyond our current grasp, not to mention powering and controlling said structures.  It's not simply a matter of keeping at it.  When you hit a roadblock, sometime's you just end up waiting it out, maybe even shelving a project until another science area catches up and produces something useful.

Optimistic outlook =\= reality, as I tried to vaguely describe above.

Glad I'm not the only one who understands the concept(when you've got a rational point on fark, indeed, the internet, it can be a lonely place), and you've experience in the field to boot.  Thanks for posting, it was very illustrative.
 
2014-01-26 06:00:50 PM  

omeganuepsilon: Bungles:

I did not say we were plateaued for good.  If that's what you took away from my post, I pity you.


omeganuepsilon: those vast jumps in our recent history are not likely to happen again,

If you carefully reread what you originally wrote, I suppose you are right, but that point isn't very clear.
 
2014-01-26 06:46:42 PM  

New Farkin User Name: omeganuepsilon: Bungles:

I did not say we were plateaued for good.  If that's what you took away from my post, I pity you.

omeganuepsilon: those vast jumps in our recent history are not likely to happen again,

If you carefully reread what you originally wrote, I suppose you are right, but that point isn't very clear.


It is fairly clear if you care to, you know, take it in context.

You cannot replicate suddenly being able to communicate across the globe and share idea's that way, you can only refine the process.  We've got it down now, that change will not happen again, unless, like I said, we experience an apocalypse.

Same goes for all of the advances we've made.  Human life spans, for example, used to be much shorter.  A few basic concepts and we've more or less doubled that span, things like sanitation and sanitization.  The further you take any technology or science, the more difficult it gets to gain ground.

We now struggle with some things that can add a few more years, even with all of our modern technology, 5-10 for the lucky elderly, maybe more for others, but there are limits to what we can do.

Pushing those boundaries slowly over time =\= leaps and bounds that got us where we are.

In a nutshell:
www.kurzweilai.net

That's why some optimism is borderline retarded.
 
2014-01-26 09:21:40 PM  

omeganuepsilon: New Farkin User Name: omeganuepsilon: Bungles:

I did not say we were plateaued for good.  If that's what you took away from my post, I pity you.

omeganuepsilon: those vast jumps in our recent history are not likely to happen again,

If you carefully reread what you originally wrote, I suppose you are right, but that point isn't very clear.

It is fairly clear if you care to, you know, take it in context.

You cannot replicate suddenly being able to communicate across the globe and share idea's that way, you can only refine the process.  We've got it down now, that change will not happen again, unless, like I said, we experience an apocalypse.

Same goes for all of the advances we've made.  Human life spans, for example, used to be much shorter.  A few basic concepts and we've more or less doubled that span, things like sanitation and sanitization.  The further you take any technology or science, the more difficult it gets to gain ground.

We now struggle with some things that can add a few more years, even with all of our modern technology, 5-10 for the lucky elderly, maybe more for others, but there are limits to what we can do.

Pushing those boundaries slowly over time =\= leaps and bounds that got us where we are.

In a nutshell:
[www.kurzweilai.net image 461x295]

That's why some optimism is borderline retarded.


You're welcome, and I admit I will say this:

One of the things I love about nanotech is it is, comparatively, a relatively new field, and we ARE probably going to see a lot of exciting things coming out of it soon. We're currently building the tool-sets for it (like my research with my advisory), and once that gets better honed we're gonna see some AMAZING things.

I just don't think we're going to see "Can move individual atoms and replicate themselves" nanobots anytime soon.
 
2014-01-26 09:23:29 PM  
"We believe that 80% of it comes from coastal watersheds like Los Angeles."

So most stuff in the ocean comes from rivers that drain into the ocean? These guys are brilliant, why didn't we figure this out before?
 
2014-01-27 06:02:58 AM  

Felgraf: You're welcome, and I admit I will say this:

One of the things I love about nanotech is it is, comparatively, a relatively new field, and we ARE probably going to see a lot of exciting things coming out of it soon. We're currently building the tool-sets for it (like my research with my advisory), and once that gets better honed we're gonna see some AMAZING things.

I just don't think we're going to see "Can move individual atoms and replicate themselves" nanobots anytime soon.


I completely understand.  There are a plethora of useful things that could come from it, as well as many other sciences advanced just slightly.  We are doing good pushing boundaries and each area is getting good kickbacks from other area's of study.

Some things that were shelved are coming down and getting looked at or even used once again, like the ion thrusters on Deep Space 1...  Originally examined by actual scientists in the early 1900s.
 
rpm
2014-01-27 11:06:48 AM  

omeganuepsilon: Any sort of real AI is still a pipe dream as well.  Haven't made any headway in those arena's for a while


Huh? Self driving cars and Watson seem to be some serious headway.
 
2014-01-27 11:08:08 AM  
It was finding the beads in sediment, not wondering about where they went from soaps, etc. that led to the concern.

Based on my own experiences, I suspect the primary source of the microbeads is actually manufacturing (microscopic abrasion) and laboratories (cell separation), and removing them from cosmetic products will do diddly and squat.
 
2014-01-27 12:01:14 PM  

rpm: omeganuepsilon: Any sort of real AI is still a pipe dream as well.  Haven't made any headway in those arena's for a while

Huh? Self driving cars and Watson seem to be some serious headway.


Watson is data archiving  and retreival based on language interperetation.  Not artificial intelligence.

Self driving cars?  Plug in a rule set and navigation software....Plug in the wrong rules, an bam, car accident.

They can hardly just pick up any old video game and figure it out while carrying on a conversation about micro anal beads, then decide what to have for dinner.

Those are cleverly written programs, sure, but not intelligent, you have to specifically code them for specific tasks before hand.
 
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