ACS Day 2: March 22nd

An interesting day at the 239th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco: The most popular booth at the expo, Open Access publishers, and Going meatless NOT the way to save the planet.

Aside from talks and meetings, the huge vendor exposition also takes place through Wednesday in Moscone South’s large Halls B&C.

As you can see, hundreds of vendors and many more hundreds of attendees showed up. An interesting and, after a quick headcount and comparison, the most popular booth at the Expo was Rod Griffin’s Australian Boulder Opal…jewelry display:

It just goes to show…even chemists can’t resist shiny things.

Also showing up were a few Open Access journals, such as Chemistry Central. These are free, online, peer-reviewed publications. A while back I wrote a pro vs. con on open-access journals here. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. Some “selling” points of Chemistry Central are:

  • free online access
  • peer review
  • authors retain copyright to their work
  • rapid publication

On the science side, an interesting report presented at the meeting concluded that decreasing the consumption of meat and dairy products won’t have a major effect in combating global warming. Unfortunately the misconception that the world “going meatless” will significantly reduce greenhouse gas production is becoming more popular. Initiatives like “Meatless Monday“, while we can respect their goal of improving our personal health, incorrectly believes that cutting back meat consumption will “improve the health of our planet”. There is even a European campaign called “Less Meat = Less Heat” that was launched late last year (although TreeHugger thought of that catch phrase first).

Now people who have read the 2006 UN report on climate change, which claimed that the livestock sector is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalents) than the transportation sector, will call foul on Frank Mitloehner, Ph. D. UC Davis; the air quality expert that presented the scientific rebuttal on Monday. He faulted the methodology of the UN report and contended that the numbers for the livestock sector were calculated differently from transportation. The calculated livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed, animals’ digestive emissions, and processing meat and milk into foods. The transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving and not all other transport life-cycle related factors. [ACS Press Release March 22, 12p.m.]

Mitloehner says that instead of focusing our efforts on cutting back meat consumption, developed countries should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food and archaic farming practices produce more greenhouse gases.

There were a couple of other things. Cold Fusion quacks were out in force with their new book. Also, the Sci Mix was a blast, even if I didn’t get any drink tickets (and unlike Mitch, didn’t go begging). I found a lovely example of recycling in chemistry that I’ll blog about later.


  1. It wasn’t begging. I simply put a rectangular piece of white paper into the cup and scurry away with the beer. (Members of the press are not given sci-mix drink tickets.)

    As for Mitloehner’s argument, I think he has a point that we can better serve the planet by improving nutrition in the 3rd world rather than skipping a Big-Mac every Monday.

  2. I’m definitely going to celebrate the meat-news with some serious grilling this weekend.

  3. You know how much I absolutely love the expos.

  4. Every time I walked by the Australian Opal stand, it had by far the most people.

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