Posts

December 16, 2014

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10:07 AM | Line dancing bacteria on a chip (w/video)
By changing the direction of a magnetic field, so-called magneto-tactic bacteria are able to make a full U-turn. They can be taught line dancing in this way, inside the tiny micro channels of a lab on a chip.
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7:42 AM | New findings could point the way to 'valleytronics'
Researchers clear hurdles toward a new kind of 2-D microchip using different electron properties.
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7:36 AM | Self-repairing subsea material
Embryonic faults in subsea high voltage installations are difficult to detect and very expensive to repair. Researchers believe that self-repairing materials could be the answer.
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7:32 AM | Researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste
Researchers have found a solution using visible light to reduce waste produced in chemically activated molecular switches, opening the way for industrial applications of nanotechnology ranging from anti-cancer drug delivery to LCD displays and molecular motors.
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7:29 AM | Broadband graphene optical modulator on silicon
10Gb/s Graphene optical electro-absorption modulator outperforms state-of-the-art SiGe modulators.
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3:33 AM | laughingsquid: A Festive Explanation of the Chemistry of...
laughingsquid: A Festive Explanation of the Chemistry of Poinsettia Plants
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2:05 AM | Choosing to Leave Science Blogging: Goodbye for Now
This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:05 AM | A great article about graphene or, Did I catch The New Yorker in an error?
I am not a graphene expert, but I really liked this John Colapinto article about graphene research in The New Yorker. Also, if you like Rice University's Jim Tour, he gets the full The New Yorker profile treatment. But here's an interesting section on using graphene in 3D printing (emphasis mine):The group’s members were pondering how to integrate graphene into the objects they print. They might mix the material into plastic or simply print it onto the surface of existing objects. There […]

December 15, 2014

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10:42 PM | Best wishes to Carmen Drahl
Also in this week's C&EN, Carmen Drahl writes on the chemistry of holiday tinsel, including the fact that they used to have lead tinsel (good gravy.)This is just as good as any time to say that Carmen has announced on Twitter that she is resigning her position at the end of the year to become a freelance writer. I'm sad for the C&EN readership -- I will miss her articles. She's had a tremendous positive influence on me over the years and she has shaped the chemistry blogosphere from […]
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9:48 PM | Astrochemistry in Action: The Rosetta Observation
Last Wednesday, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the results of measurements conducted by the Rosetta space probe, currently in orbit of a 2.5-mile wide comet designated as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The measurements are the newest development in the quest to determine the origins of Earth's water - specifically, whether it was delivered by impacts from comets or asteroids. The findings revealed that the chemical composition of the water on the comet 67P was significantly different than […]
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8:59 PM | Les nosodes-vous connaissez?
Les Manchettes scientifiques d’Ariel Fenster Récemment, l'émission de consommateurs de la chaîne anglophone de Radio-Canada, Marketplace, a révélé que certains praticiens de «médecine alternative» suggèrent aux parents d'utiliser des nosodes à la place de vaccins pour des maladies infantiles telles que la rougeole, la […]
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8:54 PM | Molecular modelling is one of my favourite parts of protein...
Molecular modelling is one of my favourite parts of protein science theoretically, but by far the most infuriating practically. These are some screengrabs trying to align the PDB structure 1t4f to reproduce an image in a publication. The white 3D surface is HDM2, human Mouse Double Minute 2 (MDM2) Homolog. When p53 (green) slots in, it’s inhibited (as a tumour suppressor, this inhibition acts to stimulate cancer progression). The paper by Grasberger et al. describing the […]
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8:44 PM | Carbon-trapping nanopore sponges can cut greenhouse gases
In the fight against global warming, carbon capture is gaining momentum, but standard methods are plagued by toxicity, corrosiveness and inefficiency. Using a bag of chemistry tricks, materials scientists have invented low-toxicity, highly effective carbon-trapping 'sponges' that could lead to increased use of the technology.
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8:17 PM | This week's C&EN
Back to blogging (and here's to a complete week, he said):Andrea Widener writes on the new NRC report on postdoctoral work/life balance issues. I'll have to look into that more. Interesting Celia Arnaud piece on Tim Swager's sensors for gases that are enabled for communication with smartphones. Why it's taken 8 years for reality to catch up with the technology on CSI is beyond me. (Kidding!) This Michael McCoy piece about pine chemicals is wonderful; I did not know that they're […]
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5:09 PM | Don’t believe the Facebook lies : Okra water Cures Diabetes
So recently I came across a Facebook post, from a doctor on the social media website, allegedly stating that if you soak okra in water and drink it, it will presumably be able to make your diabetes “go away”. Obviously claims like this are difficult to believe straight away, because anyone can write and claim anything on social media and gullible people may believe it; since diabetes affects almost at least one person in all our families and we all wish there was a cure for diabetes […]
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5:00 PM | Platinum Group Metal-Catalysed Carbonylation as the Basis of Alternative Gas-To-Liquids Processes
Traditional Fischer-Tropsh synthesis for the conversion of gas into liquids for fuels and chemicals is uneconomic for many stranded natural and remote gas sources. This review presents platinum group metal (pgm)-catalysed carbonylation as the basis of a new generation of alternative GTL processes to produce petrochemical products from hydrocarbon gases. The pgm route may allow monetisation of stranded natural and associated petroleum gases by converting them into marketable products with high […]
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3:50 PM | Lead islands in a sea of graphene magnetise the material of the future
Researchers have discovered that if lead atoms are intercalated on a graphene sheet, a powerful magnetic field is generated by the interaction of the electrons' spin with their orbital movement. This property could have implications in spintronics.
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3:22 PM | Fast, accurate new nanoparticle-based sensor system for screening cancer drugs
Traditional genomic, proteomic and other screening methods currently used to characterize drug mechanisms are time-consuming and require special equipment, but now researchers offer a multi-channel sensor method using gold nanoparticles that can accurately profile various anti-cancer drugs and their mechanisms in minutes.
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1:47 PM | "While population genetics is very useful for putting some plausibility brackets around..."
“While population genetics is very useful for putting some plausibility brackets around interpretations of genetic data from populations, it is still largely a one-gene-(or one linkage group of genes)-at-a-time theory; that is, it doesn’t concern itself with actual traits or how they are manifest, and so on. Indeed, leading developmental geneticists have, rightfully in our view, complained about the self-proclaimed theory of evolution’s omission of the way that actual […]
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11:35 AM | Platinum Group Metal-Catalysed Carbonylation as the Basis of Alternative Gas-To-Liquids Processes
Traditional Fischer-Tropsh synthesis for the conversion of gas into liquids for fuels and chemicals is uneconomic for many stranded natural and remote gas sources. This review presents platinum group metal (pgm)-catalysed carbonylation as the basis of a new generation of alternative GTL processes to produce petrochemical products from hydrocarbon gases. The pgm route may allow monetisation of stranded natural and associated petroleum gases by converting them into marketable products with high […]
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10:26 AM | Countdown to the 2014 Chemistry World science communication competition
Chris Sinclair, whose piece on lasers won the 2012 Chemistry World science communication competition, writes about science and performing arts. In 2012, I won the first Chemistry World science communication competition for my piece about using lasers to remotely detect methane gas in mines, reducing the risk of disastrous explosions. Having previously worked with lasers for [...]
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9:21 AM | Control on shape of light particles opens the way to the quantum internet
Scientists obtain vital control on the emission of photons.
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8:48 AM | A sponge-like molecular cage for purification of fullerenes
New work presents a supramolecular nanocage which encapsulates fullerenes of different sizes and allows the extraction of pure C60 and C70 through a washing-based strategy.
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8:12 AM | Researchers combine logic, memory to build a 'high-rise' chip
Today circuit cards are laid out like single-story towns; Futuristic architecture builds layers of logic and memory into skyscraper chips that would be smaller, faster, cheaper - and taller.
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6:39 AM | High-performance phototransistor based on multilayer GaTe
In new work, researchers find Ga ion vacancy is the critical factor that causes the high off-state current, low on/off ratio of GaTe FET and large hysteresis at room temperature through electrical transport measurements at variable temperatures and first-principles calculations as well.
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6:33 AM | Picosun Enables ALD Production on Powders
Picosun Oy, a leading provider of high quality Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) equipment and solutions for global industries, now offers ALD systems for production-scale coating of powders.
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1:01 AM | Another year gone
This will be my last post for 2014, and as is customary at this time of the year, I thought I should survey what I thought were the highlights for me this year. I started this year with posts on how the ancients could have considered the heliocentric theory, largely to support my science fiction trilogy that I had written. The key here was to get this into the plot as a key element, and that gave me the chance to try to explain what I believe science is all about. Now the good news is I have […]

December 14, 2014

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2:40 PM | "Although the advantages and sometimes necessity of protein self-assembly are often clear, Lynch..."
“Although the advantages and sometimes necessity of protein self-assembly are often clear, Lynch (2013) cautioned that speculation on the functional benefits has often run ahead of the evidence. He emphasized that in some cases, nonadaptive, stochastic processes may adequately explain evolutionary variation in homomerization, so great care should be taken before ascribing an adaptive purpose to protein self-assembly (Lynch 2012, 2013). Furthermore, it seems that a strong propensity for […]
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1:05 PM | This Week in Chemistry: Controlling Weight Gain, & Smartphone Gas Detectors
Here’s the weekly summary of chemistry research and news, this week featuring stories on the development of a compound which could help prevent weight gain in overweight adults, and confirmation of a new form of ice. As always, links to further articles and original research papers are provided below, as well as links to further stories […]
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9:30 AM | Paper of the year 2014: Crystalline Sponge X-Ray
Quite a difficult choice this year, with so many quality papers published. My favourite paper is actually a short series dealing with x-ray structure determination but with a difference! The key publication was submitted by Prof. Fujita of the University of Tokyo to Nature last year with a follow-up to Nature Protocols this year. The methodology […]
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