One of the pioneering chemistry blogs closed their doors earlier this month. As a brethren to the class of 2006 , I feel the need to pay homage to the great Kyle Finchsigmate’s influential chemical blog. TheChemBlog came online in June of ’06 and with his anonymity still intact he was able to get away with his potty-mouth antics in a way to be informative, cutting, and always entertaining.
All good chemistry blogs have a mix of literature reviews, opinion, and funny life as chemists posts. If you examine his early writing they focused mainly on dissecting the chemical literature. The blog served as a vehicle for his wry sense of humor and to develop his capacity to analyze literature and communicate his insights to the chemical community. I mention this only because an examination of his final posts at the blog reveals a complete lack of the literature reviews, and I think this switch is telling for why he closed the doors.
All that being said, I am sure we will hear from Kyle again. As Web 2.0 platforms continue to expand and evolve everywhere in our lives, it will only be a matter of time until Kyle finds a new one to his liking. With the recent very promising blogs Chemical Crystallinity and Chiral Jones he leaves a chemical blogosphere that I believe is in good hands.
 In 2006 this blog was started and known as the ChemicalForums Blog; it was January 2008 when we moved to this domain.
Story is from UCLA Newsroom (Jan 19th):
A UCLA research assistant who was seriously burned in a laboratory fire last month has died of her injuries.
The 22-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, died on Jan. 16 at Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks. She was transferred there after initial treatment for second- and third-degree burns at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
The accident occurred Dec. 29 while the assistant was working with T-Butyl lithium, a highly flammable compound, in UCLA’s Molecular Sciences Building. The fire was extinguished by a colleague.
The fire is under investigation by UCLA’s Environment, Health and Safety department.
Link to article: Research assistant dies of injuries suffered in December lab fire
Update 1: More experimental details are coming out.
A 23 year old female research associate/laboratory technician intended to add an (unknown) aliquot of 1.6 M t-bu-Li (in pentane) to a round bottom flask, placed in a dry ice/acetone bath. She had been employed in the lab for about 3 months. The incident occurred on Dec. 29, during the UCLA holiday shutdown between Christmas and New Years. Researchers are granted permission to work during the shut down for “critical research needs.” There were two post doctoral researchers working in the lab and the adjacent lab, with limited English proficiency.
The principal investigator had trained the employee to slightly pressurize the bottle (an ~ 250 ml Aldrich Sure Seal container)...
The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) has flirted with web 2.0 with it’s recent JACS β initiative. It has been warmly received around the blogosphere [CSB, TCB, CBC]. Although, I don’t have any complaints about the website, what I really wanted was less hand-holding and more of a shotgun approach to navigating through JACS online.
The nicest thing about thumbing through the print edition of JACS, is reading all the various chemistry that is outside your research tunnel-vision but still interesting. If you go to the JACS homepage, here, you’ll see a list of 20 of the most recent articles, but not all of them! For example, 31 papers were added to ASAP today and only the last 20 are shown on their website, hardly a dire circumstance, but the fact is you miss some by using that setup. JACS also offers a nifty RSS feed of their articles, but I’ve never come across an RSS reader that’ll nicely format an active feed, 30+ submissions a day, in a format that will ever make me want to read it.
So how does one go about designing a more attractive JACS online browsing environment? Below is my attempt, it is as busy and attractive as a conference poster, but it lets you see a huge list of the most recently added papers to JACS ASAP.
The website parses through the JACS RSS feed. I was a bit worried about incorporating the graphical abstracts, but since they are included in the RSS feed, I’m going to claim fair use. The site isn’t...
Science ethics is the new flavor of the past couple weeks around the chemical blogosphere (TCB, CB, TCB, SB) and continuing that trend is the story of Richard Lenski and conservapedia. Richard Lenski being the E. Coli evolving citrate consumption guy (pnas), was responding to which stipulations he would agree to before sending out samples of his evolved E. Coli to other scientists. The one thing that caught my eye was the following…
Richard E. Lenski
Photo courtesy of Bruce Fox, MSU.
“I would also generally ask what the requesting scientist intends to do with our strains. Why? …I would not be happy to see our work “scooped” by another team”
The question is then what constitutes a fair request from a fellow scientist. PNAS terms state that the corresponding authors should “…allow others to replicate and build on work published in PNAS, authors must make materials, data, and associated protocols available to readers.” But one scientist’s fair use of materials could be considered “scoop” territory for an other. How many of you would readily hand over your precious final products for others to score papers on? In the end these types of things should be easily solved by having a healthy (even if bloated) author list.
If you do get scooped with your own work, and assuming your reputation is also somewhat high profile, no one will ever question your place in the field. More people will wonder about the voracity...
The chemical blogosphere has had their little pretty picture tangos in the past: CF, CBC, TCB, H.D
But, now you can put your SEM where your mouth is. Cris Orfescu proclaimed scientist-artist hybrid is hosting a NanoArt competition, details found here: http://www.nanoart21.org/html/nanoart_2007.html
The competition is truly open to anyone, since he offers 3 images to color if you don’t actually get to take cool nano pictures yourself. The seed photos are shown below.
So if you know how to use photoshop, you’ll be set. Good luck!
A lot of recent discussions in the chemical blogosphere have centered around making Chemistry visually more stunning: TheChemBlog, Carbon, Kutti. I present my own work below. The molecule is an acetylacetate complex of Rutherfordium.
If your going to be showing off your beautifying molecule skills, bring your A+ game.
Note 1: Oddly enough, I believe that is the correct geometry of the complex.