Please don't eat the snow falling as a result of Storm Jonas

storm jonas snow eating snowy icy conditions bad weather streets ice blizzard
For all the purity and cleanliness associated with snow, these metaphors don’t seem to have much scientific grounding. And now that the east coast of the United States is being mercilessly pummeled by Winter Storm Jonas, it’s high time to remind you, dear friends, that as tempting as that snow may look, please don’t eat it. Really.

Believe me, I was more disappointed than anyone to discover that the untouched white drifts are actually chock full of toxic pollutants. At one point, I had grand plans about eating a bowl of snow with a drizzle of warm maple syrup to reward myself for staying inside all day. But alas, those dreams have all been dashed to pieces, thanks to some very timely research from Canada’s McGill University, which reveals that snow (particularly in urban areas like New York, Washington, D.C., and many of the other areas worst hit by Jonas) is no cleaner than the polluted air.

According to Professor Parisa Ariya, who teaches chemistry and atmospheric sciences at McGill, snow behaves something like a sponge, soaking up all the smog-causing chemicals in the atmosphere, including benzene, toulene, xylenes, and more.

“Snow flakes are ice particles with various types of surfaces, including several active sites, that can absorb various gaseous or particulate pollutants,” she told The Huffington Post. “As a mother who is an atmospheric physical chemist, I definitely do not suggest my young kids to eat snow in urban areas in general.”

Because of snow’s ability to quickly remove and then absorb chemicals from the air, Ariya and her team determined that the way in which cold temperatures and the freezing precipitation interact with gasoline exhaust may constitute a public health threat. Indeed, the scientists say, this new health hazard should be a consideration in ongoing climate change conversations.

Of course, if for some strange reason, you’re dead set on taking part in Winter Storm Jonas from a culinary perspective, you should at least wait a few hours after the snowfall has begun before eating it. Because snow effectively cleanses the air as it falls, the later in the storm it becomes, the cleaner the atmosphere, and by extension, the flakes. And given that Jonas looks to be a day-long affair, you’ll have many an opportunity to get your fix.

But still, we wouldn’t recommend it. Just drink some water instead.

Cars

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.