Teachers say #ArmMeWith classroom resources instead of guns

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In the wake of yet another tragic school shooting, teachers have started an eye-opening movement on social media to let the world know what preventative measures really need to be taken seriously to protect students.

In response to the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Trump suggested that some teachers receive gun training so they can be armed in their classrooms. But rather than adding more guns to educational environments, teachers are using the hashtag #ArmMeWith to share far more peaceful resources they wish to be armed with, such as school supplies, mental health resources and funding, impactful changes in curriculum, and stronger gun control legislation.

The movement was started by two educators: Brittany Wheaton, a teacher in Utah, and Olivia Bertels from Kansas. Both 27-year-olds met through Instagram, according to Buzzfeed, and eagerly asked the online teacher community to share their personal thoughts on how to ensure the safety and proper education of students.

Teachers across the U.S. have been using the hashtag.

One high school English teacher requested a “curriculum that tells the truth, the ability to teach the truth, a society that believes the truth, and political leaders who make laws based on the truth.”

Others asked to be armed with more on-site mental health professionals, like school counselors and social workers, as well as self-care classes, bullet-proof glass, an enhanced library, and a range of other resources that focus on the physical, mental, and emotional care of students and faculty members.

“Since teachers are the individuals in the classroom when it happens, I like to think we know what’s best for our students,” Wheaton told Buzzfeed. “If you’re an educator, you know that [more guns] is not a solution to stopping the violence that’s happening in our schools.”

For those looking to participate in the movement, Wheaton has shared a blank #ArmMeWith template that can be downloaded and filled out. 

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Why Non-Alcoholic Beer Is Germany’s Sports Drink

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Laura Lindemann (GER) enjoys a last slip of beer from the beer shower at the podium in the Team Relay World Championship at the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg on July 17, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Petko Beier/Getty Images)

I think I speak for all Americans (except Mike Pence) when I say: what the heck is the point of non-alcoholic beer? But it turns out to be popular in Europe as a sports drink. Which, to be fair, is no weirder than the way a lot of athletes here swear by chocolate milk.

Non-alcoholic beer is almost exactly what it sounds like: you make beer, but then you heat it to boil off most of the alcohol. Some near-beers have up to 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, which is little enough that it’s legal to sell to children.

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The two drinks are similar in their semi-scientific backing: studies funded by drink companies find benefits to beer or chocolate milk. A study funded by Erdinger Weissbrau found that marathoners who drank non-alcoholic beer had fewer colds and slightly lower concentrations of a blood marker for inflammation, compared to marathoners who drank a non-alcoholic beer whose polyphenols had been removed. (Polyphenols are natural chemicals that occur in beer, and include tannins.)

This isn’t exactly convincing evidence that O’Doul’s makes a good sports drink, but you’re probably going to be thirsty when you finish your workout, so if you like the taste of beer, why not?

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Silicon Valley is so expensive that people who make $400,000 a year think they are middle-class

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  • The Palo Alto Weekly recently asked residents of a ritzy Silicon Valley city: "How do you define your social class?"
  • The survey found that more than 80 people living in Palo Alto and earning up to $399,999 a year in income considered themselves part of the middle class.
  • Residents acknowledged that while they may be rich elsewhere in the US, they still cannot afford to buy homes in the Bay Area.

Some wealthy residents of Silicon Valley may be falling out of touch with how the rest of the US thinks about money.

The Palo Alto Weekly, a community newspaper published in Palo Alto, California, surveyed more than 250 residents in December and January. Among the questions: "How do you define your social class?"

Eighty-one respondents said they considered themselves "middle-class." Their self-reported incomes ranged from $10,000 to $399,999, according to the Palo Alto Weekly.

TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler first spotted the survey’s findings.

There is no broadly accepted definition of the middle class; it varies by state.

In September, the US Census Bureau released the 2016 American Community Survey, which measures various economic, social, and housing data among US residents.

That survey found that the national median household income rose by 3.2% over the previous year, to $59,039, the US middle class’ highest income level to date.

According to the Pew Research Center, people whose household income falls between 66% and 200% of the national median household income can call themselves middle-class. By that definition, the US middle class had household incomes from about $39,000 to about $118,000 in 2016.

In the Bay Area, residents said a different standard of wealth applies there.

Many Palo Alto residents say they’d be wealthy elsewhere

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto is home to Stanford University and several high-profile tech companies including Tesla, Palantir Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, and VMware.

Respondents to the Palo Alto Weekly’s survey cited the area’s chronic housing crisis and high cost of living as reasons for identifying as middle-class instead of upper-class.

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"In almost any other part of the country we would be wealthy," said one respondent who identified as middle-class. "Here, we are living month to month."

Another said: "Where I’m from, I’d own a house and be in the upper-middle class."

Others said they "never want for healthy food or clean clothing" but struggle to cover basics like child care. One person said both parents worked to support a family of four, while a 73-year-old said, "I don’t feel nearly as financially secure as I expected to be at my age."

The median sale price of a home in Palo Alto hit an all-time high of $3 million in December. Homes in the Silicon Valley city typically sell for 110% of the list price, and buyers put down 20% of the sale price for the down payment on average, according to the real-estate site Redfin.

According to the Palo Alto Weekly, 75 survey respondents said they considered themselves "upper-middle-class," with incomes ranging from about $50,000 to $400,000. Only 17 people said they were "lower-middle-class" or "working class," with incomes falling between $35,000 and $349,999. Four people said they were in the "upper class," with more than $400,000 a year, while 89 declined to answer the question or wrote in another reply.

As home prices continue to climb in Silicon Valley and the cost of living rises, some who identify as middle-class residents may be increasingly justified in saying so.

SEE ALSO: 9 of the 10 hottest neighborhoods in America are in this ritzy enclave for the tech elite

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Tim Ferriss explains why he left Silicon Valley

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Why I Work at Bars Instead of Coffee Shops

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Working from home is an extremely sweet gig. I don’t have to wear real clothing, I alone control the thermostat, and my only physically present coworker is a geriatric spaniel. But a lack of human contact can make one a little weird, so I try to get out and be among the people at least once a day. Most people accomplish this by heading to their nearest cafe; I prefer the bar.

Order in lunch, fire up Slack, and plan your afternoon shower. It’s Work From Home Week! From our couches and our local coffeeshops, Lifehacker is bringing you advice on maintaining your productivity, balance, and sanity, whether you’re working at home for just a day or a whole career.

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Working at the bar may seem oxymoronic, but I’ve found I actually get far more done at an alcohol-serving establishment than at a cozy, library-like cafe or a trendy coffee shop drenched in Scandinavian minimalism. (Coffee shops decorated in the Scandinavian minimalist tradition always have the most uncomfortable chairs.) I have worked in dives, breweries, and cocktail lounges, and have always found myself to be more productive and creative in these places than I ever have at any coffee-serving place of business. This may seem like a thinly-veiled excuse to drink on the job, but there are many reasons I like working at bars that have nothing to do with the ethanol they serve.

I can’t drink that much coffee

I am, by nature, a hamster-like individual. I fidget, I hide food, and my large, dark eyes are always darting around, looking for would-be attackers, even though I live in a very safe environment. As such, I do not do well with a ton of caffeine on board. It is, however, rude to hang out at an establishment and not buy anything, so a couple of hours at any given cafe means at least two cups of coffee (and maybe a pastry that gets crumbs in my keyboard), which means I get very twitchy.

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The beverages at a bar are much more conducive to my way of life, and I’m not talking about the alcohol (yet). Bars usually have Diet Coke—which has a mere 35 milligrams of caffeine per can—but they also have soda water, which you can get flavored with bitters for a very pleasant beverage with a negligible ABV, or—if your bartender is game—a mocktail option or two. Plus, when you’re done with your tasks, you can reward yourself with a cocktail, which is an excellent way to tell your brain “Your workday is done, friend.”

Bars snacks are better than overpriced pastries

Not all bars have food—well, all bars in Oregon do, but we’re very special like that—but the ones that do usually have French fries, and why would you want a dry raspberry scone when you can have French fries? Even if you’re at a dive that only serves beef jerky or bags of chips, I would still wager that these options are better (and cheaper) than whatever buckwheat croissant your local coffee shop is selling.

Bartenders talk just enough

The whole point of getting out of the house is to have just a bit of human interaction, and—if you sit at the actual bar, which I do—bartenders dole out just enough. Not only are they usually fairly charming conversationalists, but they usually have enough going so they don’t have time for much more than a quick “How’s your day going?’ or “I like your laptop stickers.” This type of banal, pleasant conversation simulates the kind of interaction I imagine people have in offices, and it makes me feel alive in the world without distracting me from the work I am trying to get done.

The atmosphere is better

Obviously there is a variation in vibe in both bars and coffee shops, but I usually find the atmosphere of a bar to be a bit more relaxed, lively, and loud. While a louder workplace might not be desirable for everyone, it sets me at ease, because I am a klutz who tends to drop things. The sound of me dropping my laptop charger just fades away into the rest of the noise at a busy bar, but in a quiet, serious coffee shop with lots of serious graphic designers and industry disruptors, it is quite noticeable. The conversations are also much more interesting to listen in on, thanks to a little substance known as “alcohol.”

Creative work is sometimes easier with a little booze

I’m not saying I do all my writing inebriated, but if it’s after five, and I’ve got the next day lined up pretty well, writing a first draft under the influence of a Campari or two can yield some pretty entertaining content. If I’m stuck on a particular piece, and the words just aren’t flowing, relaxing with a cocktail can calm me down and loosen me up just enough to bang out a first draft that I can quickly polish up in the morning. The promise of a drink is also a great way to bribe myself into doing tedious work like photo editing, or stuff that doesn’t fall into “official Lifehacker work,” like a book proposal.

Of course, as with working in any establishment, make sure you are a polite and good customer. Buy some stuff, don’t take up more space than the average, non-working patron, and take your phone calls outside. I applaud the confidence it takes to have an 20-minute conversation over FaceTime in a public space, but it is quite rude. Also, charge your computer before you go and/or bring a portable power source—unless a space is specially billed as a co-working establishment, they do not owe you an outlet, and asking the bartender to plug you in next to their well is unacceptable, Jenny. (I’ve seen Jenny do this many times.)

 

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Podcast #381: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children Is Failure

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If you’re a parent, you likely want your kid to flourish and succeed. And according to my guest today, the best way to do that is to let your kid fail.

Her name is Jessica Lahey and she’s a teacher and the author of the book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Today on the show, Jess gives us a quick overview of the history of parenting in America and why it’s gotten more protective and more involved in the past few decades. We then discuss the many downsides of helicopter parenting and why letting your kids fail is so important for their long-term development. Jessica then gets into the nitty gritty of areas where you should let your kid experience failure and how to make sure these failures become learning experiences. 

Show Highlights

  • The backstory that led Jess to writing this book, including her own failures at home
  • The culture shifts that have led us to an age of overprotective parenting  
  • From child-rearing to parenting
  • The ways in which parents freak each other out 
  • Downsides of overprotective parenting 
  • How to give your kids more autonomy 
  • Why frustration is important for kids to feel 
  • Why you shouldn’t tell your kids that they’re intrinsically smart 
  • Striving for “autonomy supportive” parenting 
  • How giving less guidance and advice can improve your relationship with your kids 
  • How do you resist the urge to just do things for your kid when they’re doing something the wrong way?
  • Process over product 
  • Why it’s so important to assign kids “household duties” (rather than “chores”) 
  • Why Jess doesn’t care if her kids’ rooms are clean 
  • How young to start kids on doing things around the house 
  • Letting your kids do “dangerous” things 
  • Your kids’ friendships; what to do when they’re hanging out with the wrong crowd 
  • Handling school, and the importance of getting good grades 
  • Why letting her kid go to school with a crappy science fair project was one of the best things she’s done 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Jess 

Jess on Twitter

Jess’ website

Jess on Instagram

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

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Listen to the episode on a separate page.

Download this episode.

Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.

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The post Podcast #381: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children Is Failure appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory saved from uncertain fate

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Arecibo Observatory, which is the second-largest radio telescope in the world, is under new management. A group led by the University of Central Florida will take over the operations of the telescope from the National Science Foundation, which was considering shutting down the observatory.

The telescope’s fate had previously been uncertain. Back in 2016, the National Science Foundation announced that it was exploring different options in regard to Arecibo. There wasn’t enough funding to continue supporting the telescope, so the NSF was looking at partnering with other organizations, scaling back or shutting down Arecibo entirely. That same year, the observatory was the first to capture repeating cosmic radio bursts, which have helped us understand the nature of our galaxy and the universe around it.

This murky situation was made much worse by the events of Hurricane Maria. The hurricane decimated the region of Puerto Rico in which the telescope is located, also called Arecibo. The telescope was damaged as well, but repairs were quickly made and the observatory was back up and running a week after the storm, albeit on generator power. (Almost one-third of Puerto Rico’s residents are still without power, five months after Hurricane Maria hit). While the NSF decided not to shut down the telescope, it wasn’t clear what would happen.

But now, this new agreement ensures that Arecibo Observatory will remain open. It is scheduled to take effect on April 1st. UCF and its partners, Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan and Yang Enterprises, Inc. in Oviedo, also plan to expand the operations of the telescope. It’s good news for the scientific community, and also for Puerto Rico.

Source: University of Central Florida

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The perfect iPhone’s imperfect geometry

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I’ll admit, I hate the notch. I see it as a necessity, and I acknowledge its presence (with red-hot hatred), and I’m sure you do too, but I promise you from this moment onward, you’ll look at it differently. Very differently.

What’s the notch? Or even the screen for that matter? A couple of straight lines meeting at right angles which are then rounded off, or beveled to look aesthetic. That’s what your eyes will have you believe, and honestly, as an industrial designer, that’s the most obvious solution. But when has Apple ever been the company to do the ‘obvious’? Interaction Designer Brad Ellis (and a few designers before him) picked up on a certain detail while closely analyzing Apple’s official design resources. Not a single radius was a true radius, and the notch you look at was in fact, an inverted trapezoid.

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That right there above you, is the screen schematic for the iPhone X. Below you is the screen schematic placed beside its most simplified form, aka, the form you’d build before applying radii. Let’s move on.

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Look closely at the image below and the gif below. There is a difference in curvature, and Apple moves very far from simple fillets/radii. What you’re looking at is a Squircle, a shape that Apple has increasingly begun adopting as an alternative to basic fillets. They do this not only because they’re a company devoted to the art of aesthetic beauty, but also to stand out from the rest. The Squircle, unlike two lines with a curved corner, is much easier on the eyes. “A ‘secret’ of Apple’s physical products is that they avoid tangency (where a radius meets a line at a single point) and craft their surfaces with what’s called curvature continuity.”, says Industrial Designer, Mark Stanton. Squircles can be found on most of Apple’s products today, from the corners of their Macbooks, to the iPad, to the iPhone, to even the Apple Watch. It made its digital debut in iOS7, when icons started employing the Squircle instead of the rounded rectangle. You’ll find some images below to show you the subtle yet rather important difference.

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Now onto the notch. Inverted trapezoid, as I called it earlier. The notch on the iPhone X employs zero vertical lines. In fact, the line you think is vertical, is actually at a 3.3° tilt (so if you’re a UX designer, make sure you watch out! P.S. be sure to use only Apple’s official design resources for your work!), thanks to Apple’s need to be visually pleasing. Because of the curve falloff, one curve doesn’t complete before the next one starts — they blend seamlessly into each other. As a result, no tangent line on this edge actually hits a perfect vertical.

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The Squircle, it can be argued, is probably the reason why Apple’s products look so visually pleasing. The highlights on the corner of the iPhone’s Piano Black variant follow through beautifully with visual continuity that one takes for granted, but is actually the result of a lot of sweating at Apple’s design labs. While I admit that the notch on the iPhone X is far from ideal, Apple’s work with geometry and details is definitely worth taking a page from. It has consistently pushed out products that embody a certain ethos of being a class apart, and has streamlined that approach to reflect in not just the hardware, but also the software. The result? Products that look subconsciously simple and beautiful but are often far from it… and now you know why!

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Image Credits: Brad Ellis & Mark Stanton
You can read the original piece by Brad on Medium and Mark’s breakdown on Hackernoon

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A Camera I Could Get Behind

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There are two types of people: those who believe no true photography happens without using a camera… and those of us who think our smartphones will do the trick! Admittedly, I’m the latter. I think a big part of why I never got into cameras (even a point-and-shoot) is because of their mechanical, not-so-user-friendly look to be quite intimidating. The Lytro Lüm, however, looks like one I might actually be able to wrestle with… which is exactly what designer Michael Soleo was aiming for.

From the mode dial to the power button, its controls are oversized and intuitive to use. Its fluid form looks robust and less delicate, inspiring confidence in the user’s grip. Even the tactile finish (seen here in a stunning pure white) is designed to look soft and inviting to touch. No word on specs, but it was built around Lytro’s revolutionary Light Field platform that allows post-photo custom focusing, it’s more than enough for beginners!

Designer: Michael Soleo

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Nokia Launches Blockchain-Powered IoT Sensing as a Service for Smart Cities

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Nokia is launching a set of services, based on Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and blockchain technologies, for economically and environmentally sustainable “smart cities.”

In the emerging IoT, billions of connected devices and sensors will generate vast amounts of data. Smart cities will need to retrieve, process, interpret and act upon real-time environmental data in a timely manner to ensure they remain sustainable environments for their citizens. To enable efficient IoT ecosystems for smart cities, it’s important to create new data monetization opportunities for IoT sensor network operators able to provide smart city authorities with real-time processed and analyzed environmental data.

"Cities need to become digital in order to efficiently deliver services to their habitants,” said Asad Rizvi, head of Global Services business development at Nokia. “Smart infrastructure, which is shared, secure, and scalable, is needed to ensure urban assets and data are efficiently used. We can help cities with that. In addition, we can help operators generate new revenue utilizing their existing network by providing solutions for smart city players, such as city, transport, travel and public safety authorities."

Nokia’s Sensing as a Service (S2aaS) provides intelligent analytics on environmental data gathered from IoT-connected sensors, which operators can sell to cities and other authorities. Nokia envisions IoT-based, real-time monitoring systems able to provide timely environmental information for smart city management. For example, S2aaS will detect unusual environmental behavior like illegal construction, trash burning or unusual particles in the air.

NetworkWorld notes that the idea behind the product is to provide a way for mobile network operators (MNOs), many of which use Nokia cell site equipment, to monetize existing infrastructure, such as towers, by selling live environmental sensor data to cities and others.

Nokia’s S2aaS is powered by a blockchain with a built-in micropayment platform, which supports smart contracts for “anonymized, private and secure micro-transactions that allow operators to monetize analyzed data and generate new revenue streams.”

“Our complete micropayment platform can help you quickly generate new revenue from your data,” reads a Nokia solution paper. “Based on blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that is taking finance, healthcare, and a range of other industries by storm, our platform allows you to easily integrate third parties into your data market — expanding your customer base and service offerings. And as every transaction is verified against other peers in the blockchain network, you can be sure that your platform is secure.”

Independent operators will have the option of a traditional CapEx (Capital Expenditure) business model, or a revenue sharing service model. Nokia stated that it will work with clients to identify optimal business models for their specific use cases.

Nokia will manage all hardware installation, equipping existing network sites with new environmental sensors and edge gateways. S2aaS will include a complete platform for collecting and processing sensor data hosted in Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Nokia’s private cloud, using a choice of Amazon IoT, and Microsoft IoT, or Nokia’s own AVA cognitive services platform. According to the company,  AVA “integrates cloud-based delivery, intelligent analytics and extreme automation to deliver instant and flawless personalized services.”

Nokia will present S2aaS and related services at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, held from February 26 to March 1, 2018.


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Oh good, e-cigarette vapor contains toxic metals, too

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Bad news, vapers. Your e-cigs might not be the healthier alternative to cigarettes you think they are.

A new study has found that vaping may be exposing e-cigarette users to harmful toxins and carcinogens, like lead, chromium, and even arsenic.

The study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives by researchers from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, sampled 56 vape devices. They gathered these e-cigs from actual vapers who they recruited for the study at smoke shops and vape conventions. Prior studies have only looked at newly purchased e-cigs, and the authors of this study wanted to test devices that people actually use for a more representative sample, since they often contain modifications and wear-and-tear.

The study’s authors tested three elements of the e-cigs: the liquid itself, the liquid inside of the vape pen’s chamber, and the aerosol (or vapor). They were specifically interested in whether the metal coil that vape pens use to heat the liquid in order to turn it into vapor was leeching or generating toxic metals. 

And it turns out, their hypothesis was right. There was not a significant amount of toxic metals in the e-cig liquid itself. But in over half of the e-cigs, the liquid inside the dispenser and the aerosol contained significant levels of chromium, nickel, and lead. According to the study’s authors, chromium and nickel have been linked to respiratory disease and lung cancer. And lead can cause neurotoxicity and cardiovascular disease — there is also no safe amount of lead exposure.

“It’s important for the FDA, the e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as currently made, seem to be leaking toxic metals—which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale,” study senior author Ana María Rule, PhD, MHS, an assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, said in a statement.

Troublingly, the authors also found arsenic in over 10 percent of the sampled e-cigs. Unlike the metals, arsenic was present in the liquid, liquid in the dispenser, and aerosol alike. While the study’s authors hypothesize that the metals appear in the e-cig vapor thanks to the metal coils, they do not know how arsenic apparently finds it way into the e-cig refill liquid itself.

I asked some acquaintances who vape what they thought of these findings. These vapers, who preferred not to be named, used to be daily smokers. But they almost entirely vape now; vaping, they have said, is what allowed them to quit cigarettes. 

“I’m not really surprised to be honest,” one vaper said. “I never expected them to be good for me.”

“My question is why is arsenic a necessary ingredient,” said another. “I would love to understand why these toxins are remotely necessary.”

Cigarettes, of course, also contain toxins including lead and arsenic — with the hugely unhealthy bonus of inhaling burnt tobacco, which itself is damaging to the lungs. And several studies have shown that vaping is far healthier than smoking. One showed that vapers have far fewer toxic substances in their bodies than smokers; another suggested that the cancer risk of vaping is one percent of smoking’s cancer risk. However, a study that claimed vaping was 95 percent healthier than smoking was widely criticized. And study author Dr. Ana María Rule sees a comparable risk in terms of metal exposure between e-cigs and cigarettes.

“We found the emission rates were similar between cigarettes and e-cigarettes for elements like chromium, nickel, zinc, lead and silver (all toxic to the lung),” Dr. Rule told Mashble over email. “We found lower concentrations in e-cigarettes for cadmium and arsenic.”

Plus, comparing e-cigs to cigarettes is complicated. Dr. Rule said cigarette risk is easier to quantify, because they can measure risk by cigarette. With e-cigs, risk is studied by a designated amount of puffs, which may or may not represent an accurate unit for any given user. 

Furthermore, comparing vaping to cigarettes was not the study’s authors’ primary aim. 

“We know there are many young vapers that have never smoked,” Dr. Rule said. “A better comparison for them is to breathing ambient air, so for them this represents an increase in risk.”

The study’s authors hope that their findings will prompt the FDA to regulate e-cigs for the presence of these toxic chemicals, as evidence mounts that vaping is not a risk-free endeavor.

“Our results add to the existing evidence that e-cigarettes are a relevant source of exposure to a wide variety of toxic metals,” the study’s authors write. “Due to potential toxicity resulting from chronic exposure to metals in e-cigarette aerosols, additional research is needed to more precisely quantify metal exposures resulting from e-cigarette use and their implications for human health, and to support regulatory standards to protect public health.”

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