Grad Student Time Waster Tip #2: Line Rider

The newest addition to our Grad Student Time Wasters is Line Rider.This champ of a time waster has no goals, no competition, no particular strategy it just exists. Its essense is that of a simple toy you might of had as a kid, say a Hot Wheels car. The Hot Wheels car didn’t do anything in particular but sit there, but you could push it around make it go down slopes and have it collide into walls or other cars. This game is the same way. You will physically have to draw the slopes and the jumps that the little-robot does and the amount of fun you get from it will depend on your imagination. Enjoy, let me know what you think of our latest addition. Click screen shot to take you to our collection.


By October 22, 2006 0 comments Uncategorized

Pounding back the booze with 2006 Nobel Physics Winner

The picture below shows the celebration Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory had for George Smoot today. I sneaked behind George and made my friend take this picture. My hand is blurry because I was in the middle of drinking champagne.


By October 3, 2006 0 comments Uncategorized

Top 5 Chemistry Blogs, Terderbutton’s death but not Dylans’, and pulp Mitch

None of these topics are really worth an individual blog post, but together they just barely scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Chemical Forums has been linking to Chemistry related blogs for 3-months now and I thought you might be interested in which blogs have been the most popular. Votes are based on outclicks from our on-site blog reader. Since the reader only displays the latest blog entries, the bloggers that are most active in creating new chemical content get linked to disproportionately. Assuming their little blog summary catches our readers attention.
Note: The link to the Chemical Forums blog is always shown on the site so it might “slightly” change the results. Wink

Top 5 Chemistry Blogs

Tenderbutton‘s last day has arrived. Apparently he’ll be writing for Chemistry World professionally now. So, Mitch was right and it isn’t the last time we would be hearing from Dylan.

When I was at the ACS meeting my goodfriend Greg took some photos of me. Which is fine, but he had some photoshop fun with them. Here is one below. The others are not being released! At least by me…


By October 1, 2006 0 comments Uncategorized

Flammable Bubbles: The old methane in soapy water demonstration

YouTube has a new video floating around featuring one of the coolest Chemistry demos, Flammable Bubbles.

This is one of my favorite experiments to perform. Actually, I’ve forced all my students in my synthetic labs to allow me to do this to them in order to pass my lab section. The actual setup for this experiments is quite straight forward. Add aquinox to a large beaker, add water until its 1/2 to 3/4 full. Get a hose and attach it to the natural gas spigot in the lab. Bubble gas through the soapy water until you have a lot of bubbles.Now before everyone goes and tries this, please follow the below safety tips. The video above violates every single safety consideration I could think of.

  • Make sure appropriate eye protection is warn by everyone
  • Make sure to do this experiment in a lab with a high ceiling or you might literally put the roof on fire.
  • I’ve done this demo over a hundred times and it can sometimes burn a bit past your comfort level. One way to deal with this is to dip everybody’s hands in water before you apply the soapy bubbles to them. Wet hands will also have the added bonus of preventing bubbles from popping before you bring a flame near it.
  • Turn off the gas line while having an open flame
  • Make sure everyone has their hair pulled back
  • If anyone has any wrist bands(See video above) make sure you have your students remove them
  • Have your students extend their hands as far away from their body as possible.
  • Some students get scared during this demo and as the flame develops will automatically try to retract their hands to their body. Make sure you tell them repeatedly and often to every single one of them that it is very important that they not move.

Have fun with the Flammable Bubbles demo just be more careful and safe than those in the video. Thanks Borek for bringing this video to my attention.


By September 24, 2006 2 comments Uncategorized