math limit humor

November 30, 2008 at 11:10 am | | nerd

I dunno why, but these really cracked me up:


ACS feeds revisited

November 21, 2008 at 2:07 pm | | wild web

The TOC images returned to JACS RSS feeds, but they’re so small to be worthless. I used Yahoo Pipes to edit the feed to show the “medium” images. Here’s the new JACS RSS feed with medium images.

Alternatively, you can use Mitch’s nice Chemfeeds.

Maybe ACS will fix the feeds, but in the meantime, feel free to use our edited feeds.


November 18, 2008 at 11:55 am | | science community

I just sat through one of those “sales-pitch” type science talks. You know the kind: some amazing nanoshit is going to save the world and make investors a trillion dollars—nevermind if/how/why/when it works.

Anyway, my favorite part was when the title on one slide had the word “Intrasellular” by mistake. Great Freudian slip.

acs feeds lost images

November 17, 2008 at 11:39 am | | literature, news, wild web

I’m fine with the ACS redesign. What I’m not fine with is no longer having the TOC images in my RSS feeds from ACS. What are they thinking?!? Hopefully that gets fixed soon.


I received this email from ACS:

We are aware that the journal RSS feeds are currently not displaying the TOC graphics that were present before we moved to our new Web platform. Please be patient as we work to bring these graphics back to the feeds. Thank you for voicing your concerns and making sure that we recognize their importance. We truly value your feedback and hope that this will be resolved soon.

So we need to be patient.

UPDATE 2: The images returned, but they’re so small to be worthless. I used Yahoo Pipes to edit the feed to show the “medium” images. Here’s the new JACS RSS feed with medium images.

UPDATE 3: Looks like everything is fixed finally. No need for my Yahoo! Pipes edits anymore.

ACS’ new website

November 13, 2008 at 2:30 pm | | literature, news, open thread, wild web

ACS is upgrading its website. It looks like the Supporting Info link will be a little more visible, which is a very good idea. And an option for PDF with links. It looks like the new ACS site will be even more slick than it already is. Actually, ACS has one of my favorite publisher/journal websites. Better than ScienceDirect. Far better than PNAS, I’d say. ACS is clean and neat and obvious. It doesn’t look like they’ll lose those characteristics with the redesign.

I’m sure some bad will come with the redesign. For instance, it looks like they’re adding a coverpage to each PDF with the TOC figure. I see the reasoning—otherwise the TOC figure is not in the PDF at all—but I’ve never liked coverpages on articles: just an extra page that I rarely need. (Oh well, I’ll just print from pages 2-end.) Also, they include social networking links, like Facebook, but leave out CiteULike. Maybe they’ll fix that. Who posts JACS articles to their Facebook page??

On a side note, one feature that they should fix is in the Advanced Article Search tab: you used to be able to just insert the volume and page, and the engine would output all articles with that combination, regardless of which journal. It was a nice shortcut, because there were rarely more than three or four matches. Now the search forces you to choose a journal, which adds a slow, often unnecessary step to the search.

What do y’all think? Good or bad?

someone told the editors

November 11, 2008 at 9:57 am | | literature, news, scientific integrity

A while back, David posted two paragraphs from two different papers with different authors; they were nearly identical. Since then, someone has alerted the editors, because they retracted the paper:

Whoa. (Thanks for the heads-up, Roberto.)

room for moms

November 10, 2008 at 11:48 am | | EDSELs, grad life

A few years ago, our Department Chair (Dick Zare) extended the maternaty leave for students. That was nice. But the Chemistry Department doesn’t have any lactation rooms, so students were forced to go to the biology building (gross).

Now Zare has found a room. Therefore, I award Richard N. Zare an EDSEL Award for his current and previous efforts for pregnant students in the Stanford Department of Chemistry.

I really do think that Stanford Chemistry treats its graduate students quite well. I suggest all you undergrads out there apply to Stanford. It’s a wonderful place (most of the time).

i get some strange emails…

November 7, 2008 at 9:35 am | | stupid technology, wild web

Check this one out:

Hi Sam,

My name is John Foster and I work for a company called Solitaire Creative and we are working with The Johnson Space Center (NASA) and their research arm, Wyle, to promote a Flight Analogs Project (Space Flight Simulation/Bed Rest Study) for NASA and I would like to speak with you about writing an article on the study.  Would you be interested?  I believe your readers would be very interested in learning about the Bed Rest Study because if and when the study is completed, the participant gets paid a minimum of $17,000.  The study can even be branded as an article on “Weird Jobs.”

Here’s alittle about the study:  The ten-year Flight Simulation Study, which takes place in Texas, uses long-term bed rest to simulate the effects of micro-gravity an astronaut would experience during extended space flight (Space Flight To Mars).  Subjects are placed in bed with the head of the bed tilted down at a minus-six-degree incline.  The subjects must remain in bed for 90 days.  If you’re interested in contacting and/or arranging a meeting with a NASA representative feel free to let me know and I will facilitate your request.  We are currently looking for participants, both men and women, from around the U.S.  You can research the topic by visiting and I am also available to send you more information.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Thanks much,


John Foster

Public Relations/Media Specialist/Radio Relations

Anyone interested?

clamp that AOM, boy!

November 6, 2008 at 11:14 am | | everyday science, hardware

Sometimes you can’t find that nice new equipment. Like the quick clamps that were sitting on the bench for weeks: now that you need them, they’re nowhere to be found. So you find the old hardware:

My labmate didn’t want to hold that AOM on the mount while the epoxy dried, so it was either tape or these monster C-clamps.

I just liked the juxtaposition of the monster clamp and the fragile little quartz Bragg cell.

voted; and an alaska carbon?

November 4, 2008 at 10:22 am | | literature, nerd, news

I voted this morning. The polls opened at 7, but I slept in. By the time I got to my polling place, there was no line at all. The poor folks that got there at 7 (or before) waited in an hour-long line.

Also, check out that Alaska (?) carbon.* Man, JACS is really screwing up lately.


* Heck, this is a Jovian carbon!

vit D and time of year

November 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm | | literature, science@home

With the shorter days of winter fast approaching (in my hemisphere, at least), we should all be concerned with getting enough vitamin D.

In a recent paper (Kazantzidis, et al. Calculations of the human vitamin D exposure from UV spectral measurements at three European stationsPhotochem. Photobiol. Sci. 2009), some scientists measured the UV doses in some European cities. The plot below looks at seasonal UV doses—converted to vitamin D effective dose (VDED)—averaged over 10-15 years.

Note the log scale on the y axis.

The blue line is somewhere in Greece, lattitude around 41 ºN, which is north of San Francisco. That means I get the most vitamin D in the summer, and more than an order of magnitude less in the winter.

So maybe I should take a supplement?

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