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.)

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!

political science: more anti-science from Reps

October 24, 2008 at 9:53 pm | | news, political science, science and the public

Sorta like McCain and the bears and the projector:

ThinkProgress had the story.

reece roth

September 18, 2008 at 10:08 am | | news, science and the public, science community

Finally, the US is prosecuting the real terrorists: University professors!

Prof. Reece Roth of University of Tennessee was found guilty of exporting secret data to China and Iran because he had some Iranian grad student and he took his laptop to China when he went on a lecture series.

This is way worse than outing a CIA operative for political purposes. I hope he gets the death penalty.

Seriously though, this makes me sad. He looks like my grandfather. The one who was a spy for the Japanese during the war. jk.

are we still here?

September 10, 2008 at 7:29 am | | nerd, news, wild web

It’s important that we all keep up with the dangerous things that are happening in the world. Fortunately, there are people out there willing to slog through the data and pass on the results to the rest of the world. Of course, there is also this, but it has an obvious liberal bias.

(Thanks, Nanoscale Views.)

political science: McCain wants to cut science funding

August 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm | | news, political science, science and the public

While his campaign claims he supports science, McCain is going around mocking ecology research, getting conservatives riled up about federal spending on science:

“My friends, we spent $3-million of your money to study the DNA of bears in Montana. Now I don’t know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue,” he said to laughter from the crowd gathered at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California on Aug. 16, 2008, “but the point is, it was $3-million of your money.” (source)

In truth, the USGS study uses DNA to track populations of the endangered Grizzly Bear.

Regardless of what he says, McCain is anti-science and will continue Bush’s attack on science and science funding. At least that’s the stench I smell from him. I don’t think I can take another four years of Republicans, with their misleadership, truth-twisting, and corruption.

the economics of stupid

August 5, 2008 at 8:26 am | | news, science and the public

Someone has been firebombing scientists’ homes in Santa Cruz. Probably some antivivisection extremists, because the scientists work on animal research. This really disgusts me, as a scientist, as a vegetarian, and as an environmentalist.

Burning houses is certainly not carbon-neutral (or entropy-neutral)! And the energy that needs to go into repairing the structures and vehicles damaged is harmful to the environment and economy. If you don’t like animal research, why not just write letters and signs on the back of used paper and posters?

But seriously, these events are the result of a perverse philosophy. This is not chaining yourself to a tree, it’s in a different league of black-and-white thinking. Look, I’m an ethical vegetarian—you could even call me an animal-rights advocate—but I know that protecting animals should not extend to threatening or harming humans who disagree with you. Researchers are animals too: animals who think they are doing the best actions they can to benefit the world. Maybe they’re mistaken; maybe I am; maybe we all are. Let’s not kill people over this disagreement.

Antivivisection extremists and their apologists give all ethical vegetarians a bad name, and probably push back many years any rational effort to alter humankind’s tyranny over the animal kingdom. Maybe there could be a reasonable discussion about the need for animals in biomedical research, and more efforts to develop new reliable in vitro tests, but not while people are firebombing each other.

a photoactivatable fluorophore

June 24, 2008 at 7:45 am | | cool results, literature, news, single molecules

I have a chance to brag, so I’m going to take it. I just published a Communication in JACS.

The basic idea is to use an an azide to disrupt the push-pull character of a known fluorophore, rendering it dark. Because the azide is photoconvertible to an electron donor (the amine), you can photoactivate fluorescence.

The motivation for designing photoactivatable fluorophores that emit many photon include super-resolution schemes (described here and here).

Anyway that’s all. Just wanted to talk about myself a little. Which is what a blog is for.

dignity in a curious context

May 30, 2008 at 9:51 am | | news, science and the public, science community

The “dignity” of plants? I don’t get it.

This Nature news article discusses a legal quagmire that has resulted from a Swiss law requiring the “dignity” of creatures be considered in funding research.

By Merriam-Webster’s definition, dignity is “the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed” or “formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language.” The latter definition hardly applies, unless you think that one can determine when a plant appears reserved or serious—or when it doesn’t.

As far as being esteemed, I understand that some people would prefer to see a sapling on the forest floor than in a test tube, but scientific research in a laboratory has no effect on the natural beauty of a woods.

The bottom line is that, because plants are not sentient, we should not be concerned about their “well-being” or “dignity.” That’s not simply anthropomorphizing, that’s animopomorphizing.

Now, I might be biased, because I’m a vegetarian. In my more naïve days, I opposed animal experimentation. (Of course, I have always opposed violence or crimes against animal researchers or labs.) Today, I feel that the subject is too complex to blindly oppose all vivisection, or to stubbornly support cruel animal experimentation. The complications arise from the fact that animals are sentient—feel pain and have desires. Meanwhile, there are benefits to humanity as a result of animal experimentation that cannot be denied. While I hope that vivisection will be phased out over the next several decades, I do not support a ban.

Research on plants is a simple issue: plants are not sentient. The values we see in plants—independence, natural life, etc.—are only emotions that we place on them. Again, I understand the desire to see majestic trees in their natural habitat, but that should not interfere with our desire to learn. Anyway, it’s not as if plant researchers go clear-cut forests and do little experiments!

Whatever, I just needed to rant.

Fuel Economy and A/C

May 18, 2008 at 11:48 am | | everyday science, news, science and the public

So, I’ve heard from several people over the course of my life that it is more fuel efficient to run a car with the windows down rather than use the A/C.

However, a new article on Fuel Economy Myths from CNN-Money suggests that this isn’t so at high speeds.

There’s no question air-conditioning makes extra work for the engine, increasing fuel use. But car air conditioners are much more efficient today than they used to be. In around-town driving, using the A/C will drop fuel economy by about a mile a gallon.

Meanwhile, driving at higher speeds with the windows down greatly increases aerodynamic drag. As speed increases, drag becomes more of an issue, making A/C use the more efficient choice at high speeds.

At most speeds and in most vehicles, A/C use drains slightly more fuel than driving with the windows down, contends David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. “My final take on is that it’s very close,” says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for “It’s hard to measure the difference and every vehicle is different.”

The best choice—if temperature and humidity allow—is to keep the windows rolled up and to turn the A/C compressor off. You can keep the fans running to blow in air from the outside, but your car will be as aerodynamic as possible while still letting you breathe. You will save gas, but the fuel economy improvement will be slight.

Other myths include the idea the Premium gas gives you better gas mileage (false in modern cars – the car’s computer can tell the density of the fuel and adjusts the spark plug timing. Lower-octane fuel “slightly” decreases horsepower, but has negligible effect on fuel economy), and that over-inflating tires increase fuel economy (obviously true – less friction, but dangerous due to braking and turning issues).


Happy L.A.S.E.R. Day!

May 16, 2008 at 9:57 am | | history, news

When I hit the google front page, I almost leaped for joy.

I’m not really sure when the birthday of the laser really is. Anybody know whether a single date is even relevant? Weren’t there classified projects that predated Maiman’s work? What about the MASER?


April 29, 2008 at 8:46 pm | | news, science community

Steve Boxer has been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. (At last! I had just assumed that he was already a member.)

Other notable names include Ken Dill, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Timothy Swager, and Frances Arnold. Protein people are certainly well represented here!

Stanford Professors Speak Out about Bush’s Climate Strategy

April 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm | | conferences, everyday science, news, science and the public, science community

A few Stanford profs that were attending the GCEP workshop on Carbon Management in Manufacturing are featured in an ABC 7 News story.  This includes one chemistry professor interviewed, and another makes a cameo at the very end.  It’s only 2 minutes long and worth watching.

Watch News Story Here

(If anyone knows how to embed this rather than just linking to it, please let me know).

This is Your Brain on … SCIENCE!

April 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm | | news, science community

Quite a brouhaha building over at Nature and in the blog-o-babble about this little commentary that appeared in the magazine: Professor’s Little Helper. So Nature ran an informal online poll and here’s the result:

Shocked me a little. Am I too naive? I liked some of the more amusing comments to that article.

< Previous PageNext Page >

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