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Posts

March 25, 2014

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2:48 PM | What's the story with Phenomenex?
Can anyone talk (in the comments, or by e-mail) about what kind of company Phenomenex is to work for, and why they keep posting the same 3-4 positions ("organic surface chemist", etc.)?
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5:37 AM | What's Genentech doing on Google's "Do Not Cold Call" list?
PandoDaily has been doing great work covering Google's involvement with Apple and other Silicon Valley companies in agreeing not to recruit other companies employees and avoiding driving up wages. But here's an interesting new little tidbit from the lawsuit:The following companies have special agreements with Google and are part of the “Do Not Cold Call” list. Effective March 6, 2005: • Genentech, Inc.• Intel Corporation• Apple Computer• Paypal, […]

March 24, 2014

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9:13 PM | Age discrimination in Silicon Valley
I really wish it had a few more statistics attached to it, but this Noam Scheiber article about age discrimination was really eye-opening:...Just because overt age-discrimination is illegal doesn’t mean it never happens. In 2011, Google settled a multimillion-dollar claim brought by a computer scientist named Brian Reid, who had been fired when he was 54. Reid said colleagues and supervisors had frequently referred to him as “an old man” and “an old fuddy-duddy” […]
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8:55 PM | People v. Patrick Harran continued yet again
From Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone: University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran had another trial court status check last week. The result is another status check scheduled for June 5. Harran faces trial on four counts of felony violations of the state labor code relating to the 2009 death of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji from injuries sustained in a fire in Harran’s lab. The case is on hold in the trial court while a California appellate court […]
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6:51 PM | What were the regulatory failures with the MCHM disaster?
From this week's C&EN, a letter stating a fairly common view of chemistry and industry and environmental issues:A recent issue of Wired magazine features a science blog by Deborah Blum on the toxicity of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM). It is a well-written piece of history and current information by a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer. Reading the blog made me, as a chemist, feel ashamed of the harms that have been visited upon our society by the chemical industry and those who […]
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3:27 PM | This week's C&EN
Interesting tidbits in this week's C&EN:Another Indian plant gets the FDA import ban treatment. (Jean-Francois Tremblay)In other news, a consultant lays into Indian pharma manufacturing (and C&EN) in the letters section. Looks like federal R&D spending is going to be flat for a while. Loved this Stephen Ritter article on process chemistry. Lots of great reading here. Anyone want to talk new faculty mentoring? Rigoberto Hernandez does.

March 23, 2014

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3:38 PM | A Three-Week Hiatus - Posting to Resume April 13
A crush of consulting work, a heavy travel schedule and an impending move (closer to downtown Portland) necessitate a three-week hiatus in posting. I expect to resume posting on Sunday, April 13.
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12:01 AM | A fun product development story
This article has been knocking around my coffee table for months, regarding the birth of Hobie Alter's surfboards:One day in 1957, my resin salesman at Reichold Chemicals came by and handed me a piece of polyurethane foam. I poured some styrene and resin on it, and it didn't melt. So I started building a fiberglass mold for a surfboard with it, which I knew was the future. I rented a building in Laguna Canyon that became a secret shop, and after two years of experimenting, we built the molds […]

March 22, 2014

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2:08 PM | Tia Pythia’s advice
Aunt Pythia is coming to you from Costa Rica, where she’s been on vacation all week and is officially 100% sunburnt, relaxed, and happy, except for the occasional digestive issue. To commemorate the occasion and location she’s temporarily changed her name to “Tia Pythia”, but don’t worry, you can expect consistent obnoxious and over-the-top advice […]

March 21, 2014

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2:15 PM | Here we go again
Those of us who get irritated at media coverage of the chemical industry will be especially excited with this coverage from The Atlantic Monthly of Landrigan and Grandjean's latest publication in The Lancet Neurobiology, titled "Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity." Here's those authors' list of bad compounds:In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, […]
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1:14 PM | Billionaire money and academic freedom
If you haven’t seen this recent New York Times article by William Broad, entitled Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science, then go take a look. It generalizes to all of scientific research my recent post entitled Billionaire Money in Mathematics. My favorite part of Broad’s article is the caption of the video at the top, which […]

March 20, 2014

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7:56 PM | Has anyone had an offer rescinded for negotiating?
This has zinged its way around Twitter already, but I thought I would talk about it a little. From Inside Higher Ed: The candidate, identified in the blog as “W,” sent the following email to search committee members at Nazareth College, in Rochester, N.Y., after receiving a tenure-track job offer in philosophy: “As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]1) […]
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12:56 PM | Optimizing for Einstein and other homo-erotic theories
Jointly posted with Naked Capitalism. At 41, I’m a grown woman. I’ve had enough weird and bad experiences as a woman in the mathematics part of “STEM,” inside and outside of academia, that my skin is relatively thick, a fact I’m proud of. Most of the time I let stuff roll off of me. Even […]

March 19, 2014

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3:17 PM | Paula Stephan at the Spring National Meeting at ACS
Paula Stephan, the author of "How Economics Shapes Science" (and noted STEM surplus skeptic) spoke yesterday at ACS Dallas. Here's Carmen Drahl's Storified tweets of her talk. Gotta love this comment by Prof. Stephan:"Take note grad students- re jobs "Advisors have incentives to tell you everything's fine." -Stephan"Very true. 
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1:53 PM | Let’s not replace the SAT with a big data approach
The big news about the SAT is that the College Boards, which makes the SAT, has admitted there is a problem, which is widespread test-prep and gaming. As I talked about in this post, the SAT mainly serves to sort people by income. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone when a weak proxy gets […]
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