↓ Expand ↓

Archive → June, 2008

The Art Of Science

Rudy sings high praises for Bill Green’s “Water, Ice & Stone: Science and Memory on the Antarctic Lakes” in his editorial this week.

Experimenting With Food

I’m in New Orleans at the International Food Technology show. Even before I left D.C., I made sure to tell everyone about it beforehand–“Did I tell you that I’m going to New Orleans for a food show?”–in order to inspire a little jealousy. So, I was having fun even before I got here.

But make no mistake, much like ACS meetings in New Orleans, this one is about The Science. The expo is enormous, and it covers the Alpha to Omega-3 of advances in formulating food with healthy or healthier ingredients.

Speaking of long-chain fatty acids, I met a longtime ACS member while he was trying brownies spiked with fish oil. (They were actually quite tasty.) Bryan Tungland (Isn’t that a great name for a food scientist?) says that if people want to spend less on health care and live longer, all they need to do is radically change their diets.

Almost every exhibitor had samples to try, but today, I am going to avoid the noshing. I got a little carried away yesterday and ended up with a heck of a stomachache.

Chemistry Newsbytes

Mud from Mars (the planet) could make a happy home for plants. C&EN

Scientists from Mars (the candy company) sequence the cacao genome, hoping to make genetically superior chocolate. Washington Post

Have you got a spare rotovap? Turn it into a flavor concentrator. CNET

Sea spray and tiny marine organisms are cleaning up greenhouse gases in the Caribbean. Guardian

In search of more accurate statistics on illicit drug use, chemists head for the sewers. LA Times

Don’t throw away your compact fluorescent light bulbs–they’ve got some mercury in them. Take the bulbs to Home Depot instead. NY Times

Deceased hobby chemist’s home chemical collection draws the attention of local news. Cincinnati Local 12

Forget Red Bull and vodka. Cocktail connoisseurs are getting hyped up on Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur. (Can anybody out there take a mass spec of this stuff? We’re curious about which of this beverage’s compounds have people buzzing.) Phoenix New Times

Chemistry Newsbytes

Are styrofoam cups really all that bad? A back-of-the-envelope calculation says no. SciGuy

Before you go crazy on the beer at the summertime BBQ, consider this study linking alcohol to mouth and throat cancer. Sciencebase

Could a molecule found in chickens be the key to future allergy treatments? BBC

Carbon dating reveals that we may grow and shrink, but our number of fat cells stays the same. In the Pipeline

An analytical chemist who once worked for the space shuttle program brings his chemical know-how to the kitchen. Orlando Sentinel

Smart girls eat fish. ScienceNOW

Microfluidics get to work sorting worms. NY Times

Have you got a spare high-pressure carbon dioxide gas system? This guy used his to make a toaster cannon. Gizmodo

Postcard From Estonia

When I arrived in Tallinn, Estonia, on a trip to visit some local chemists, I didn’t expect the city to be so wired. Here, even the green spaces have small signs that announce how to get connected.

For example, to access this park’s wireless password, you just need to send a text message. You’ll then get a response with the correct code. Paying for street parking or bus fare is also just a text message away. Even on a bus through the countryside, I snagged some of the free wireless that blankets most of the country, including the bucolic middle of nowhere.

Continue reading →

Chemistry Newsbytes

Wait, was that worm wearing diamonds? Mexican team prepares diamond films from tequila. New Scientist

Port Arthur, Texas, braces itself for 40 million lb of PCBs. NY Times

Pennsylvania chemist turns in his lab coat to pursue his true passion: beer. WGAL

And these Wisconsin chemists are making wine. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Invasive moths spared from pesticide spray. NY Times

GM mosquitoes enlisted to fight malaria. Baltimore Sun

Yo! Photosynthesis rap. Thus Spake Zuska

The Real Excitement At BIO

Walking the convention floor this afternoon, I heard a roar rise from somewhere on the floor, seemingly from the direction of the German pavillion. The cause of the commotion? A scientific breakthrough? An exciting deal announcement? Not even close. It seems Germany had been prescient enough to have a huge plasma-screen TV at their booth, and a crowd had gathered to watch Germany play Portugal in the Euro quarter-final.

Frameworks, Jobs, Fraud, And Stuff

In case you haven’t already flipped through this week’s issue of C&EN (or it hasn’t come in one piece yet), here are a few stories of interest:

  • Chemists aren’t necessarily thinkin’ outside of the box when it comes to frameworks of compounds in the CAS registry.
  • The U.S. job market isn’t looking so hot right now, but it’s looking less not-so-hot for chemists.
  • What is hot? Preventing fraud in journal articles.
  • Everybody’s favorite, What’s That Stuff?, returns to tackle liquid bandages.