kimwipes claim science

February 26, 2009 at 9:38 am | | everyday science, stupid technology

Apparently, “science” is a term trademarked by Kimberly Clark:


* Trademark of Kimberly Clark

I don’t really think that’s fair.

nuclear duct tape not so hot?

February 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm | | hardware, wild web

Geekologie and elsewhere reported that 3M sells nuclear-grade duct tape, which is true.

But not everybody is satisfied with the tape.


I guess you can’t please everybody.

fluorescent cognac

February 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm | | nerd, science@home

I was watching bad TV the other day, and I got bored and started playing with a cool LED pen Thorlabs gave me. I was also drinking some VS (the cheap stuff) Courvoisier cognac. I was surprised to see fluorescence coming from the cognac when illuminated with the blue LED (the fluorescence is the greenish glow):


I suppose that it shouldn’t be surprising, given that cognac is so aromatic! But a visible absorption and green fluorescence isn’t from benzene or something—it’s from a real fluorophore. Cool.


So I wonder what fluorophore is in cognac. I know that coumarin (general structure above) is found in some plants, such as cinnamon, and some coumarins absorb in the blue. And there are a lot of tannins in wooden barrels.


I found these fluorescence spectra of brandy (B), whisky (W), slivovice (S), and juniper spirit (J). Note that the brandy—cognac is a brandy—does fluoresce in the blue/green.

no one wants to collaborate with Mitch?

February 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm | | literature, science community, wild web

No one wants to write an easy book with Mitch? I’m writing a page. Just choose a name reaction and draw it, yo!

DIY oobleck on a speaker

February 10, 2009 at 11:34 am | | nerd, science@home

Remember those Oobleck fingers in PRL? I finally got around to trying it at home.


And a video (more below):

(YouTube link)

My cousin and I bought a crappy old speaker to $3, tore off the cover, and spread a thin polyethylene bag (like the bags you put vegetables in at the grocery store). We used a free waveform generating software to apply sinusoidal waves at a range of frequencies—anywhere from 10-200 Hz had an effect. The oobleck was just a mixture of corn starch and water.

I was totally surprized that we actually saw those strange finger things! They weren’t as cool as in the PRL paper, but ours was a fairly ghetto setup. I couldn’t get those persistent holes to form, but whatev.

Here are the rest of the videos.


Mea Culpa

February 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm | | science and the public

Dear Internet,

Recently, I published two posts concerning an e-mail I received from a rather confused individual regarding his theories on evolution.  Shortly after the threads went up on this blog, I received a very frank message from a reader who knows the author.  Out of respect, I’ve taken down my previous posts.

And now, for a geeky unicorn chaser:

Look Around You: Germs (YouTube)

i am not an NMR

February 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm | | grad life

I am a physical chemist.

My office is directly across from the NMR room. Students (undergrads? first-years? I dunno) keep knocking on my door and asking me if I have a key—of if someone is coming to train them—or if this is the NMR room. WTF?

I’ve never used the NMRs alone and I’m not trained on them and I don’t have a key.

Leave me alone.

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