Because the skills you learn as a scientist are valuable in every area of your life...

I was browsing my Facebook this morning when I came across an article from a friend/vendor. I'll save the whole hearted endorsement for the vendor bit later - the fact that I also consider her a friend should speak volumes, and if it doesn't, the fact that I'm currently citing her here should say something as well.

There are lots of smaller (read, not mass-marketed) brands of cosmetics and many pinterest recipes for do-it-yourself soaps, lotions, scrubs, or cosmetics. Hayley Croom, of Paintbox Soapworks, is not like many of them. She actually pays attention to the science and what she can and cannot claim about her product. For instance, when pinterest recipes for DIY sunscreen using coconut oil popped up, Croom quickly pointed out the dangers of this particular project - namely, that without proper regulation, there's no certainty in how protected you are, for how long, and the risks of not being protected include skin cancer. That's a big one, folks, and a known risk that's not to be casually ignored.

Today's article is a great lesson on how to read media in general. For those of you who are going into science, you absolutely must cultivate this skill. For the rest of the world? You really need to cultivate this skill. You have to learn to read past the clickbait title, dig for the actual sources, determine their validity (for instance, an article that says that crude oil does no harm to wildlife might be a little suspect if it's published by a petroleum company, especially if said company is under investigation for a recent spill, but an article that suggests that perhaps we've misunderstood the impact that crude oil has on the environment due to a previously understudied bacterial population may be less suspect if it comes from an environmental group or a university microbiologist), and then interpret what the actual study means - especially for you and the people with whom you interact.

Go read. See what it looks like when someone actually does what I'm talking about. And then, if you so choose, buy something. Because, no, really, Hayley makes some awesome soap. (Or, you know, don't. This article was not sponsored by Paintbox Soapworks or Hayley Croom. I just think she's the bees knees).