Archive for the ‘Practical Applications’ Category

Some Fantastic Christmas Presents

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Bethany Halford and the crew at C&EN‘s Newscripts blog run an annual holiday gift guide with some cool gift ideas for chemists, but sometimes it’s more exciting to be surprised by the creativity of your family.

I got a few great chemistry presents for Christmas. The first was a Periodic Table of Magnets that I’ll put on my office door. Next, from one of my new brothers-in-law, I received a fail button in the colors of SLU that plays the sad trombone sound. I’m not sure if all of my students will appreciate this gift, so maybe I’ll keep it in an inconspicuous location. My orgo lab instructor at NYU used to have a bullseye taped to his wall captioned “hit head here”. He would point to it when students realized a silly mistake they made on a exam. I thought the sign was hilarious, but some of my classmates thought it was obnoxious.

From my other new brother-in-law, I received a copy of “How to Live Longer and Feel Better” signed by Linus Pauling. Very, very cool. Apparently, signed chemistry texts by Pauling command a much higher price tag, but I would much rather have something signed relating to Pauling’s medical quackery than chemical bonding or crystallography.

Finally, from my lovely fiancée wife, I received this:

stuffed_animal_chembark_ed

That, my friends, is total victory: a stuffed animal version of ChemBark’s mascot, Ed the Dog. I am a very lucky boy.

That’s it for the chemistry presents, but I got a bunch of other great gifts and had a wonderful wedding three days later (that will be the subject of another post). I hope everyone had as good a holiday break as I did, and best wishes for a happy and productive 2014!

Nocera on BBC Horizons

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Nice…

 

Of course, it’d be even nicer with safety glasses.

Also, beautiful new labs. Yum.

Chemical-Free Fruit Washing

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A friend sent me the following picture on Facebook:

chemical_free_fruit_washing

 

Cleaning Fruit – Chemical-free and EASY!

Fill sink with water, add 1 Cup of Vinegar, and Stir. Add all fruit, and Soak for 10 minutes. Water will be dirty, and fruit will sparkle with no wax, or dirty film. Great for Berries too, as it keeps them from molding. Do this with strawberries, and they last for weeks!

SHARE this post with your friends!

 

Oh, I will share this post with my friends all right…

No chemicals, you say? Fantastic! I am glad you’ve managed to remove the acetic acid impurity from your vinegar. :|

Of course, you’ve seen this on ChemBark already. What I find more interesting are the comments attached to the post:

fruit_facebook_discussion

Oh, you think vinegar works well? Have you tried mixing vinegar and baking soda? It’s magic!

What a discovery!  “Magic” = sodium acetate + bubbles of carbon dioxide.

I bet these people would be frightened to learn how baking soda is made. It’s not exactly the most “natural” of processes.

H/T: M.E. for the link. Thanks!

ACS President-Elect Tom Barton Seeks Input on Fracking

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Tom Barton won last year’s ACS national election for President (and was kind enough to answer our questionnaire about important issues facing the society). Yesterday, President-Elect Barton asked that I share this message with the readers of the blog:

In my ACS presidential year of 2014 I’m considering hosting a symposium on fracking with, of course, emphasis on the involvement of chemicals.  I would appreciate hearing from anyone suggestions for particular areas for inclusion, and potential speakers.  I seek a balanced set of presentations from experts in the various aspects, and would certainly be interested in any germane research.  I myself am not an expert in this arena, but I am trying to get smart in it.  In advance, I appreciate your assistance.

Feel free to weigh in using the comments. I will leave the first…

Fish and Chips for Chemists

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

This image of a fish-and-chips shop in Glasgow was kindly sent in by longtime reader/commenter Eugene. (Thanks!)

organic_fish_and_chips

While “organic” oil is great, a silicone oil might help control customers’ gas.

I wonder if this restaurant is owned by the same people as the Boston dry cleaners boasting about their “organic” solvents?

WWWTP? – Garnier Fructis Shampoo Edition

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Sometime last year, my girlfriend DVR’d a copy of this commercial for Garnier Fructis shampoo because she saw it had chemistry in it and because she is awesome:

 

If you pause the video at 0:13, you will notice quite a few chemical atrocities:

 wwwtp_garnier_fructis

Basically, nothing is right. Note the surfeit of Texas carbons. I also love the asymmetry of their elemental fluorine, though maybe those things labeled “F” are atoms of fruit? And what is up with that ideal gas law? You’d think they’d be able to get a structure for biotin in there, considering how big they wrote the word on the chalkboard. Argh…

Anyway, great catch by the ol’ g/f…whom I am now happy and proud to call my fiancée.