Posts

October 20, 2014

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6:08 PM | Cameras being cheaper than higher wages...
From the Wall Street Journal, an interesting comment on regional labor shortages from the Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” report, released Wednesday, offered a generally upbeat outlook on the U.S. economy in September and October from anecdotes offered from its 12 regional banks... In the Dallas region, residential construction contacts “noted persistent labor shortages.” Indeed, in Houston, “a few builders were placing cameras […]
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6:03 PM | My challenge to those who believe in (s)low economic growth
"A more sustainable economy" has long been a theme of Rudy Baum's C&EN editorials -- the latest column in this week's C&EN is a rerun of a column from 2004*:I will review “Red Sky at Morning” in an upcoming issue of C&EN. Here, I want to take up one issue that Speth returns to repeatedly in his book: For our global economy to become a sustainable economy will require a fundamental shift in the economic paradigm that governs human activity today. Specifically, Speth […]
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5:46 PM | Something for California taxpayers to grouse about
I have been extremely remiss in noting that Kim Christensen of the Los Angeles Times has revealed UCLA spent over 4.4 million dollars defending Professor Patrick Harran from felony charges in relation to the death of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji in 2009 due to an accident in his laboratories with tert-butyl lithium:After UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran walked out of court in June, his lawyers issued a news release hailing the "first-of-its-kind" deal that all but freed him from […]
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4:27 PM | Reversible tractor beam could be used to retrieve nanoparticles
Laser physicists have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects, using a hollow laser beam that is bright around the edges and dark in its centre.
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4:21 PM | Springer and Tsinghua University Press award Nano Research Award
Professor Charles M. Lieber of Harvard University receives the first-time honor.
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4:20 PM | Ahmed Zewail and the challenges of intercultural chemistry
A few days ago I was reading the fine biography of the Caltech chemist Ahmed Zewail who won the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his wonderful work on laser femtosecond spectroscopy which allows us to literally peer into the secret lives of molecules.The book and the associated Nobel Prize website biography are instructive because they document in fond detail the inculturation of a highly talented and aspiring immigrant in the United States - an experience that has been shared by hundreds of […]
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3:28 PM | The weirdest dietary theory you will see today
Also from this week's letters to the editor, a very strange theory:What a great scaremongering article “The Case against Sugar” is (C&EN, Aug. 4, page 11). Let’s be a touch more logical. So sugar has been bad for generations of people. Nevertheless, removing calories by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners in soft drinks seems not to have made a difference. Doesn’t that point at the fattening effect coming from another soft-drink ingredient, such as […]
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3:23 PM | Victor Snieckus is a perceptive guy
Much more perceptive than me, regarding the ephemeral nature of electronic communications:The cover story on crystallography is a marvelous piece of journalism and riveting reading, at least to older generations of chemists. What stands out is the tingling thrill of discovery and the convolutions of thought of what would have happened if there had been slight turns of events and selective available knowledge. More apropos to our times, the various articles show how chemistry was a more […]
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3:17 PM | This week's C&EN
Lots of interesting tidbits in this week's C&EN: Marc Reisch notes that Agilent is getting out of the NMR business; sigh. One of the interesting aspects of getting the American Chemistry Council's morning newsletter is seeing them consistently back Republican senatorial candidates. Not a surprise, but perhaps something I was not fully aware of. Glenn Hess takes note of the trend. Also interesting to see that Mary Landrieu (D - LA) is strongly supported by ACC. I am […]
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2:50 PM | See-through, one-atom-thick, graphene electrodes to study brain disorders
Researchers have used graphene to fabricate a new type of microelectrode that solves a major problem for investigators looking to understand the intricate circuitry of the brain.
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2:42 PM | Goldilocks principle wrong for particle assembly: Too hot and too cold is just right
Micro- and nanoparticles that bind under low temperatures will melt as temperatures rise to moderate levels, but re-connect under hotter conditions, a team of scientists has found. Their discovery points to new ways to create 'smart materials', cutting-edge materials that adapt to their environment by taking new forms, and to sharpen the detail of 3-D printing.
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2:19 PM | Towards controlled dislocations
Scientists have used atomic-resolution Z-contrast imaging and X-ray spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope to explore dislocations in the binary II-VI semiconductor CdTe, commercially used in thin-film photovoltaics. The results may lead to eventual improvement in the conversion efficiency of CdTe solar cells. These novel insights into atomically resolved chemical structure of dislocations have potential for understanding many more defect-based phenomena.
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2:13 PM | Facetless crystals that mimic starfish shells could advance 3D-printing pills (w/video)
In a design that mimics a hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells, engineers have made rounded crystals that have no facets.
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1:45 PM | Martin Sheen and His Hypocritical Hate of Plastics
Last Friday I wrote of Lindsay Lohan's love of plastics. Her feelings are not shared by all of Hollywood however. Martin Sheen is a good example. On Saturday, he had a new boat christened after him. The boat is a research vessel for studying ocean plastics. While I've written many times that plastics have no business being in the ocean (or polluting any other part of the natural environment for that matter), the importance of ocean to plastics to mankind's survival is...open to debate. Sheen […]
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12:47 PM | Work for us as a Publishing Editor
Great opportunities available now to work for the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of the world's major scientific publishers, as a Publishing Editor. Find more details of how to apply here If you want to find out more about what a Publishing Editor does, take a look at their blog Applications are open now, so what are you waiting for??Posted by Julie FranklinOct 20, 2014 1:47 pm
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11:44 AM | Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium Selects Project to Optimize Human Performance Monitoring Techniques
The AzCIM project's goal is to assess different sweat collection methods and devices for their ability to collect different volumes of sweat under a variety of human-body conditions, the results of which will help determine the best method for integrating into a wearable sensor system.
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11:40 AM | GLOBALFOUNDRIES To Acquire IBM's Microelectronics Business
IBM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced that they have signed a Definitive Agreement under which GLOBALFOUNDRIES plans to acquire IBM's global commercial semiconductor technology business, including intellectual property, world-class technologists and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics, subject to completion of applicable regulatory reviews.
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6:27 AM | Nanomaterial boost for stone conservation
Castles and cathedrals, statues and spires - Europe's built environment would not be the same without these witnesses of centuries past. But, eventually, even the hardest stone will crumble. EU-funded researchers have developed innovative nano-materials to improve the preservation of our architectural heritage.

October 19, 2014

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8:06 PM | Hitler Reacts to Inorganic Chemistry
If you’ve ever taken an Inorganic Chemistry class you may sympathize with this video. Warning: may be offensive – it is a video involving Hitler, after all. Also, I didn’t make this. Blame the random YouTube guy if you don’t like it.
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5:12 PM | Molecular magnets swirl together
Efficient transfer of information with organic molecules and skyrmions.
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4:10 PM | Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires
Physicists have used a new imaging technique, electrostatic force microscopy, to resolve the biological debate with evidence from physics, showing that electric charges do indeed propagate along microbial nanowires just as they do in carbon nanotubes, a highly conductive man-made material.
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4:04 PM | Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream
Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices.
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11:18 AM | This Week in Chemistry: Improving Autism Symptoms, & Making Batteries Safer
It’s been another bumper week in the world of chemistry research, with a range of stories to choose from for this week’s graphic. Highlights include the discovery that a compound found in broccoli could help improve behaviour in autism, and a new detection method for metal contamination in water using DNA. As always, links to studies […]

October 17, 2014

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7:32 PM | Crime Scene Chemistry – Luminol, Blood & Horseradish
Anyone who’s watched CSI or similar shows knows that, whenever the investigating team are on the scene of a gruesome and bloody murder, luminol solution gets sprayed liberally over absolutely everything. The result is a pale blue luminescence whenever the solution meets blood, which itself is a consequence of a chemical reaction that the blood […]
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7:22 PM | The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to three Japanese...
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to three Japanese researchers for developing the first commercial blue light-emitting diode (LED), but the original technology for a blue LED was developed in the early 1970s in Princeton, New Jersey.   In this video Benjamin Gross (fellow at CHF and curator of the Sarnoff Collection at the College of New Jersey) and Jonathan Allen (a retired physicist) attempt to turn on the original blue LED built in 1972 at RCA’s laboratories in Princeton. […]
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7:22 PM | The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to three Japanese...
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to three Japanese researchers for developing the first commercial blue light-emitting diode (LED), but the original technology for a blue LED was developed in the early 1970s in Princeton, New Jersey.   In this video Benjamin Gross (fellow at CHF and curator of the Sarnoff Collection at the College of New Jersey) and Jonathan Allen (a retired physicist) attempt to turn on the original blue LED built in 1972 at RCA’s laboratories in Princeton. […]
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5:24 PM | Jimmy John's employees and non-compete agreements
Via the Huffington Post, I see that the sandwich shop Jimmy John's is requiring non-compete agreements:Employee covenants and agrees that, during his or her employment with the Employer and for a period of two (2) years after … he or she will not have any direct or indirect interest in or perform services for … any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches and which is […]
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5:13 PM | The paradox of capitalism
I read articles so fast that I tend to skip important things -- this paragraph by Laura Cassiday in this week's C&EN is one of them. Thanks to one of the ACS' innumerable e-mail newsletters, it was put in front of my face again: Who says big companies are cold, heartless behemoths, where employees are numbers and every decision is based on the bottom line? The three companies highlighted in this year’s C&EN profile of top companies for chemists are out to dispel this […]
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3:49 PM | Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms
A new study has cracked one mystery of glass to shed light on the mechanism that triggers its deformation before shattering. The study improves understanding of glassy deformation and may accelerate broader application of metallic glass, a moldable, wear-resistant, magnetically exploitable material that is thrice as strong as the mightiest steel and ten times as springy.
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3:41 PM | When modern microscopy was still in its infancy in the 1870s, a...
When modern microscopy was still in its infancy in the 1870s, a German physicist and microscope manufacturer named Ernst Abbe stated that optical microscopes would never be capable of showing something smaller than 0.2 micrometers in size. He calculated this limit based on how small a glass lens could be built that still focused the wavelength of visible light. That’s small enough to let us see really tiny things, such as the main structures inside animal cells like mitochondria, but not […]
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