McNASA and whale oil

April 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm | | stupid technology

This is the strangest paragraph I’ve read in a while:

“But during the 1980s, [NASA] lost much of its old high-quality data. Its early tracking stations recorded satellite data on high-resolution master tapes that used whale oil to bind iron particles to the acetate. The whale oil made the tapes far more durable, but when commercial whaling was phased out in the mid-1980s, NASA couldn’t get such long-lasting tapes. So it reused old ones. NASA engineers taped over some 200,000 previously recorded master tapes, including high-resolution records from spacecraft as diverse as early Landsat satellites and Apollo 11, and preserved only low-resolution copies.” (source)

I checked to make sure it wasn’t the April 1st issue of Science. The entire article is weird, including the fact that researchers are working out of an abandoned McDonald’s.

Just another reason to start hunting those smug whales again.

lost my library proxy

April 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm | | grad life, literature

Stanford already took away my off-campus access to journal articles. I thought I’d have a couple months of access after I graduated, but I guess not. So keeping up with the literature means going to campus and sitting in the library like an undergrad.

I suppose I could rent articles, but I’m too spoiled by free access! Ah well, I’ll catch up reading my PDFs, then keep up better once I start my postdoc in a couple months.

obscure paper

April 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm | | grad life, literature

I was recently looking for a prep for p-bromophenylphosphine, and I found exactly 1 reference for it’s synthetic prep that’s cited by every paper that uses it.

It happens to be in (possibly) the most obscure journal in the world – “Phosphorus and the Related Group V Elements.”  It had all of 6 volumes in the 70’s before it merged with the “International Journal of Sulfur Chemistry” to form “Phosphorous and Sulfur and the Related Elements.”

I finally found TWO places in the world that had hard copies – the North Carolina State University library, and, of course, the National Library of Australia.

I’m beginning to think what I want must be some obvious synthesis, and that I’m just an idiot.  However, I did fail organic chemistry and am now working in a synthesis lab, so the “idiot” part is probably appropriate…

Energy and Fuels RSS

April 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm | | literature

Apparently, if you believe the Google (or is it Topeka?) statistics, I’m the only person who reads the RSS of Energy and Fuels on Google Reader.  As opposed to the 364 of you currently reading this on Google Reader.

Powered by WordPress, Theme Based on "Pool" by Borja Fernandez
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS.