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December 24, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —A few weeks ago, I went to Seattle for my stepson's wedding. There were no direct or nonstop flights, so I had to change planes in Chicago. Now, I'm not the first to bemoan the torments of contemporary air travel: canceled or delayed flights, interminable waits to take off, cramped seats, wailing babies, and so on. But might I suggest that the word travel henceforth be spelled travail?Read more

December 17, 2007

  • Tournament Of Champions —And the answer is: "This short story, written around 1820, contains the line 'If I can but reach that bridge ... I am safe.' "
    Any ideas? No? That's okay. Not even Paul Glaser, General Electric Global Research Center chemist, and five-time "Jeopardy!" champion, knew the answer to this Final "JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions" quarterfinal question.Read more

December 10, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —It's amazing what one can learn from a pocket calculator. A simple calculation can reveal specific truths that are hiding within aggregate statistics, and as politicians well know, statistics can be used to either spotlight or conceal any specific truth.Read more

December 3, 2007

  • Chemical Coriolis Effect —The phone rang the other day, and it was Clark Eid, a drug discovery chemist at Wyeth. Eid called to say that he appreciated the C&EN article on chiral symmetry breaking (C&EN, Oct. 29, page 30). The article reminded him of a Journal of Organic Chemistry paper he once saw that described the synthesis of a chiral intermediate to make a diterpene (J. Org. Chem. 1988, 53, 3647). Read more

  • Disciplinarity — Once upon a time, naming the scientific disciplines was easy: chemistry physics, biology, and geology. But the antireductionism movement—that is, the effort to avoid keeping things simple—means that nowadays there are more scientific disciplines than one can shake a stick at. Read more

November 26, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —As the price of crude oil reaches historic heights and gasoline at the pump hovers around $3.00 per gal, think back to about 10 years ago, when we were horrified at the prospect of gasoline's crossing the dollar-per-gal threshold. That was when we all sold our SUVs, joined carpools, and stopped driving on weekends. Right?Read more

November 19, 2007

  • Designated Parking —Never find a parking space when you need one? It shouldn't happen, according to a study by Purdue University researchers, who say PARKING SPACES outnumber drivers 3:1. Read more

  • 'Lusuchemistry' — Athletes have cheated by using performance-enhancing substances ever since the original Greek Olympics. Not much has changed in 2,500 years, as DOPING IN SPORTS continues to make an inordinate number of headlines. Read more

November 12, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —I just read the Sunday newspaper, and boy, do I feel old! I don't mean the New York Times, which takes so long to get through that I really am significantly older by the time I finish it. I mean my local Sunday newspaper.Read more

November 5, 2007

  • Scientific Claptrap —Consumers can find any number of suspect products on the market today. Read more

  • Athletes have cheated by using performance-enhancing substances ever since the original Greek Olympics. Not much has changed in 2,500 years, as DOPING IN SPORTS continues to make an inordinate number of headlines. Read more

October 29, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —A few months ago, C&EN's Newscripts (Aug. 6, page 48)—not written by me???quoted a paper published in the British Medical Journal (1999, 319, 1600). It reported that a shaken martini contains almost twice as many healthful antioxidants than if it had been merely stirredRead more

October 22, 2007

  • Pythons —The government of Hong Kong is putting the squeeze on the local population of Burmese pythons. Read more

  • Gum — Students who chew gum before or during an exam may spit out higher scores. Read more

  • Nanoart Competition — Artists, get your brushes out. You scientists can join in, too. The NanoArt 2007 international online competition is now under way. Read more

October 15, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —How many ostensible "million-dollar ideas" have you had in your lifetime? And how many millions of dollars have you made from them? Uh, huh. I thought so. Me, too.Read more

October 8, 2007

  • 2007 IG Nobel Prizes —It's early October and everyone is waiting by the phone to hear if they've nabbed one of those renowned prizes. The Nobel Prizes? No, that's next week. This week, Newscripts is devoted to the SPECIAL WINNERS of the Ig Nobel Prizes, which honor "achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.Read more

October 1, 2007

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, it's not easy being a chemist. Upon hearing what you do for a living, how many times have you had a person blurt out, "Oh, chemistry was my worst subject!"Read more

September 24, 2007

  • Space Age Antiques —The mission was only supposed to last five years, but Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 just marked the 30TH ANNIVERSARY of their 1977 launches. Read more

  • Eau de Stilton — There are some smells that just beg to be bottled—the aroma of baking chocolate-chip cookies, the bouquet of fresh linens, and the scent of STILTON CHEESE. Read more

  • Exam Humor — The folks over at the chemistry webzine Reactive Reports have put together some humorous answers to questions on HIGH SCHOOL EXAMS. Read more

September 17, 2007

  • Genetic Tall Tales — Genetic research is reaching new heights-literally. After surveying 34,000 people, scientists have identified the first gene known to have a direct effect on how TALL people are (Nat. Genet., DOI: 10.1038/ng2121). Read more

  • New Nobel Prize — When it comes to accolades, nothing piques the interest of the scientific community like the word "Nobel." Read more

  • Counting Caffeine — To keep keen during late nights in the lab, chemists have been known to consume copious amounts of CAFFEINE. Read more

September 10, 2007

  • Top 10 tips for sleep-inducing scientific writing — Writing a scientific article so boring that it sends the reader into deep sedation takes a certain amount of skill, according to Kaj Sand-Jensen, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. Read more

September 3, 2007

  • Pigeon Birth Control — Pigeons planning to procreate in Hollywood better beware. According to a report by the Associated Press, the birds are ruffling the feathers of some Hollywood residents, who complain about the mess these avian pests are leaving behind. Read more

  • Science Idol — The Union of Concerned Scientists has announced the winner of its 2007 Science Idol editorial cartoon contest. Read more

  • Ode To Odile — Odile Crick, the woman who drafted the famous sketch of the DNA Double Helix in the April 1953 issue of Nature, died of cancer in early July. Read more

August 20, 2007

  • Friday Afternoons In The Lab — One lazy Friday afternoon in July, Alex Palazzo, a research fellow in cell biology at Harvard Medical School, and his baymate (lab neighbor) were discussing how they use their PIPETTE TIPS. Read more

August 13, 2007

  • Simpsons Science — Homer Simpson may work at a nuclear power plant, but you sure can't call him a science nerd, or mathematically inclined for that matter. Read more

  • Hospice Cat — Anyone who has had cats knows they can be peculiar animals; aloof, independent, and moody, many cats are perfectly fine with being alone. Read more

  • Woman's Intuition — Albert Einstein once said, "The only real valuable thing is intuition." Women are known to possess this ability, but is it real? Read more

August 6, 2007

  • 'Super' Mineral — Supervillain Lex Luthor no longer needs to steal KRYPTONITE from museums to fight Superman. Thanks to geologists at Rio Tinto, a London-based mining company, Luthor can get it free in Serbia. All he'll need is a shovel.Read more

  • Science: In The Cinema, In The Bar — "Who would have guessed that particular combination of elements would show up in a real compound?" says Sidney Perkowitz of jadarite. Perkowitz, a physics professor at Emory University, discusses how movies get science right and wrong Read more

July 30, 2007

  • Space Fashion — Space suits aren't sexy. According to NASA, the current suit weighs 280 lb on the ground and is made up of 12 thick layers.Read more

  • Vitamin C Myths Debunked — It's probably happened to everyone at some point in their life: It's COLD SEASON, and you clean out the local pharmacy of its vitamin C supply. Read more

  • Rare Species Found Alive — There's a reason New Guinea is known as the "lost world." The island houses perhaps 5 to 10% of the world's total species, and a large number are still undiscovered. Read more

July 23, 2007

  • The Life and Times of 'We' — Newscripts is sad to report that "We," the eight-year-old, two-headed albino RAT SNAKE covered in the Dec. 4, 2006, issue of C&EN, has died of natural causes in its home at the World Aquarium, St. Louis.Read more

  • Chemistry of Breatharianism — If I were to have a last meal choice, it would probably consist of sushi, cheese fries (with Ranch dressing), and soft-shell crabs. Read more

July 16, 2007

  • Doggie DNA — DNA testing has gone to the DOGS. The test that was once used primarily to settle paternity suits is now being used to tell pet owners more about their mutts.Read more

  • Round-The-World Rubber Ducks —In 1992, 29,000 RUBBER DUCKS, turtles, and frogs left China bound for bathtubs in the U.S.Read more

  • Smelly Tomatoes — Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? What if it were a TOMATO?Read more

July 9, 2007

  • Chemical-Free Sunscreen — Newscripts reader Stan Hutchings recently opened his newspaper to find this nonsensical headline.Read more

  • Skim Milk Cows —Health-conscious consumers could someday get their LOW-FAT MILK straight from the cow.Read more

  • Mooing Out Methane — Low-fat milk isn't the only thing coming from New Zealand's cows.Read more

July 2, 2007

  • Viagra For Hamsters — Newscripts was doubly surprised to learn that VIAGRA can ward off the effects of jet lag in hamsters.Read more

  • Crack For Cats —Inspired by a C&EN article about CATNIP and the feline-frenzying herb's active ingredient nepetalactone, reader Dylan Stiles developed an extraction.Read more

  • Marijuana For Mice — Cannabinoids—the active compounds in marijuana—can relieve mice from the itchiness of allergic skin reactions.Read more

June 25, 2007

  • Baby Bloggers — If we here at Newscripts had to guess, we'd say the average age of CHEMISTRY BLOGGERS skews younger than that of your average chemist.Read more

  • Elemental Names — We'd like to thank Newscripts reader Rick Samuelson.Read more

  • Chemical Ups and Downs — Need a reminder that chemical research has its ups and downs?Read more

June 18, 2007

  • Contaminated Food — According to an urban legend, Julia Child dropped a turkey on the floor during her cooking show, picked it up, dusted it off, and put it on a platter.Read more

  • Playing Games With Elements — The buzz at the recent TiEcon 2007 expo centered around 13-year-old entrepreneur Anshul Samar.Read more

June 11, 2007

  • Health Cola — Americans don't age gracefully. We welcome whatever liquid, pill, or panacea that promises to slow the aging process or at least help us look better. Sometimes, price is no object.Read more

  • Skin Care Beverages — Following the maxim "you are what you eat" is DRINKABLE SKIN CARE.Read more

  • Superfruits — The success of blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates as SUPERFRUITS has opened the door to more exotic fruits.Read more

May 28, 2007

  • Spring Babies — It's a widely held belief that the birthday tells a lot about a person. Take this reporter, for example. I was born in March, which makes me a Pisces.Read more

  • Frankenfruit — It sounds like a bad joke. What do you get when you cross a melon and cucumber? Apparently, a purple-striped, acorn-shaped, rather bland superfruit.Read more

  • Powered by Beer — In what is sure to bring new meaning to the college drinking game "power hour," Australian scientists have tapped into an unlikely alternative power resource.Read more

May 21, 2007

  • Sake Power — The national beverage of Japan may not be just for drinking anymore. Reuters reports that drivers in that country could soon be filling their cars' tanks with a fuel version of the fermented rice wine.Read more

  • Speak 'N Print — Most of us are not graphic designers. But most of us, from time to time, have had to put together a presentation or report, where knowledge of design elements can come in handy.Read more

  • Floating Science — Here's some news that fans of the 1996 Pauly Shore film "Bio-Dome" may appreciate. Anyone? Oh. Well then, here's some interesting news nonetheless.Read more

May 14, 2007

  • The Awards Edition — In March, C&EN ran an article about the recipients of 2006 Royal Society of Chemistry Honorary Fellowships (C&EN, March 12, page 46). The list is rife with the sort of professional titles and distinctions one would expect: chemistry professor, Nobel Laureate, chef—wait a minute—CHEF?Read more

May 7, 2007

  • Cures (Or Not) For What Ails You — Flying in the face of home remedies, a recent finding from researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the Archives of Dermatology (2007, 143, 309), once and for all settles an oft-debated question about getting rid of warts: No, DUCT TAPE is not the answer.Read more

April 30, 2007

  • All About Vices ??? We here at Newscripts think it's time to get in touch with the sweeter side of CRACKHEADS—the candy, that is. The confection, a mixture of white and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, also includes a feature that may be of interest to our readers—the box. On the back, there is a comparison of the amount of caffeine in the espresso beans with the levels in beverages such as soda and tea, accompanied by the chemical structure of caffeine. Intrigued, Newscripts went to the source.Read more

April 23, 2007

  • Earth Day Everyday ??? Yesterday was Earth Day, but Newscripts gathered a few environment-inspired tidbits that can also be kept in mind during the rest of the year.Read more

April 16, 2007

  • Searching ??? Looking for altruism along with your Internet searching?Read more

  • Skin Care — Newscripts searches (very casually) for product names that bring chemical terms into the mainstream.Read more

  • Student Science — Two girls in New Zealand said they were just "going through a juice phase." They didn't know their juice-based science fair project would end up in court three years later.Read more

  • Sold — Newscripts ribbed C&EN readers (especially organic chemists) for not buying CARBON in the sale of elements in a periodic table at Western Michigan University.Read more

April 9, 2007

  • The Birds and the Bees

  • Pigeons ??? The HOMING PIGEON must scoff at human dependence on global positioning systems. After all, these birds have had them for years???and they don't need fancy satellites.Read more

  • Owls — The magazine New Scientist recently reported more high-flying research studies. Dale Joachim and colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab are calling OWLS on cell phones.Read more

  • Bees — To a bee, the buzz is not just silly gossip. The difference between "buzz" and "BZZZZ" can distinguish between life and death. Apparently, BEES make different noises when they are exposed to toxic chemicals.Read more

April 2, 2007

  • Blast from the Past ??? DIANE LEATHER CHARLES, turns up twice in C&EN's photo "morgue" (C&EN, Feb. 12, page 104), plus a 1950s Gilbert chemistry set is a prize posession of C&EN's assistant managing editor for News & Special Features. Read more

March 26, 2007

  • Pseudo Sweat — You've just stepped behind the lectern. Two hundred pairs of eyes are watching you fire up PowerPoint. It occurs to you that operating the laser pointer may require techie tendencies possessed only by individuals born after 1985, a demographic that regularly seems to conspire against you. Chances are, your hands are a tad sweaty. Read more

March 19, 2007

  • Earthquakes and Bacteria — Microbes may not seem like high-profile players in earthquake prevention, but Bacillis pasteurii might beg to differ. Read more

  • Pills and Kitty Litter — Speaking of sending stuff underground, Newscripts notes recent government guidelines that urge citizens to cease and desist rampant FLUSHING OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS down the toilet. Read more

March 12, 2007

  • Elemental Purchasing Power — Have you ever loved an element? Really, really loved an element, with such passion that you wanted to buy it for you and only you? Read more

March 5, 2007

  • Breaking Bread — A recent paper with the keywords "bread, crust, kinetics" seemed like exactly the type of story Newscripts could sink its teeth into. Read more

  • Building Teeth — Now if biting into a super-hard crust spurs a dental crisis, never fear.Read more

  • Chocolate On The Brain — As if Newscripts really needs another excuse to pad its waistline with chocolate delights, researchers supported by the Mars chocolate bar company report that CHOCOLATE might benefit the brain.Read more

February 26, 2007

  • Lightly Salted — Following a mild December and early January, it has been colder than normal here at Newscripts headquarters in Washington, D.C. The first little winter weather event we had back in late January, a dusting of snow, turned into a thin slippery layer of ice.Read more

  • Surreal Crab — From the kitchen this week, Newscripts would like to pass on the good news that the Food & Drug Administration no longer requires that SURIMI be labeled "imitation crab."Read more

  • Human Nature — A recent study in the British Medical Journal reports that male surgeons are taller and better looking than other types of male doctors.Read more

February 19, 2007

  • Dazed by Doughnuts — Reported in the news the other day is the story of an unusual molecular virologist with a lust for coffee.Read more

  • Toasted Sponges — Another story that news outlets picked up recently is how heating a KITCHEN SPONGE in a microwave oven is a good way to kill microorganisms.Read more

February 12, 2007

  • World-Record Chemist — The American Chemical Society's photo archive, gently referred to as "THE MORGUE," is a large assemblage of rotating shelves set into a wall in the ACS headquarters library in Washington, D.C. It's chock full of photographs, some of which look like they date back to the invention of the camera itself.Read more

  • Public-Relations Recall — C&EN staff regularly get hit with e-mails and faxes about all manner of things from public-relations firms and press offices.Read more

February 5, 2007

  • Franklin's Extraordinary Science — "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of."Read more

  • Periodic Poetry — Using ELEMENT SYMBOLS to spell out words reached new heights this past year when two major companies rolled out ad campaigns.Read more

January 29, 2007

  • Living Longer — Pssst—want to know the secret to living longer? Research from the University of Warwick, in England, reveals how to EXTEND YOUR LIFE by two years—All you have to do is win a Nobel Prize.Read more

  • Sex-Changing Chemicals — Residents of the Washington, D.C., metro area have another reason not to swim in the Potomac River.Read more

  • A Very Rare Gecko — It's not every day that you find a Coromandel Striped Gecko hanging out at a suburban barbecue in New Zealand—especially because this particular GECKO was believed to be extinct.Read more

January 22, 2007

  • Psychic Squirrels — Are RED SQUIRRELS psychic? Read more

  • Viagra: The Anticancer Drug — In case anyone needs a fresh reason to love Viagra.Read more

  • Super Spuds — According to USA Today, biologists at Idaho-based J. R. Simplot are working to create the first GENETICALLY MODIFIED POTATO.Read more

January 15, 2007

  • CD-Eating Fungus — I once threw a Courtney Love album from a moving vehicle because it was so terrible it deserved it.Read more

  • Calculating Pi — Mathematicians have come up with hundreds of ways to CALCULATE PI.Read more

  • Wake Up On Time — Need 30 hours in a day? Who doesn't?Read more

January 8, 2007

  • The Taste of C&EN — When the Feher family from Copley, Ohio, can't find their issue of C&EN, all fingers point to the FURRIEST MEMBER of the family, Geebers, the cat.Read more

  • A Young Fan — What do you request when you're three years old and need a little LIGHT READING while going through some intense potty training?Read more

  • Reusable Paper — Xerox, in conjunction with the Palo Alto Research Center, announced in late November that they have designed "ERASABLE PAPER"Read more

January 1, 2007

  • Green Car — Cars are recognized as one of the major reasons for environmental problems around the world.Read more

  • See-Through Wheels — If your automobile tastes run more to the high-performance and exhibition end of the scale, we have something else for you.Read more

  • Congressional Chemist — Finally, we received a note from reader William A. Myers of the chemical engineering department at the University of Arkansas gently chiding us for omitting another member of Congress with a CHEMISTRY DEGREE.Read more

December 18, 2006

  • Fuel-Cell Lights — A Christmas tree is the recipient of HIGH-TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS in one venue this year.Read more

  • Fireproof Goat — And also in Scandinavia, the town of Gävle, Sweden, has been building a 43-FOOT-TALL CHRISTMAS GOAT out of straw since 1966 to evoke an old Swedish tradition. Read more

  • Fluorescent Tree — Finally, we received a note from reader William A. Myers of the chemical engineering department at the University of Arkansas gently chiding us for omitting another member of Congress with a CHEMISTRY DEGREE.Read more

December 11, 2006

  • Gene Names — The good folks at the Human Genome Organization's Gene Nomenclature Committee have decided that HUMAN GENES should not have embarrassing or offensive names.Read more

  • Dioxins Urban Legend — C&EN reader W. Harry Mandeville of Cambridge, Mass., has written to warn us that the e-mail scaring people about using plastics is still around and causing problems.Read more

  • Feuding Nomenclature — Nomenclature, sort of, is the topic of a note from Paul R. Jones of the chemistry department at the University of Michigan. He sent a newspaper clipping discussing advances in making fibers from PLANT MATERIAL for clothing.Read more

December 4, 2006

  • Snake Support — For presumably virtuous reasons, the Florida biopharmaceutical company Nutra Pharma has adopted a TWO-HEADED ALBINO RAT SNAKE, which resides at the World Aquarium in St. Louis.Read more

  • Chemists In Congress — The U.S. has another CHEMIST ON CAPITOL HILL. Newly elected congresswoman Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) is the second member of the House of Representatives with a chemistry degree.Read more

  • Chemistry Puzzles — If the sudoku number puzzles no longer hold your attention the way they once did, perhaps your interest could be raised by trying a puzzle that substitutes the symbols for the CHEMICAL ELEMENTS instead of numbers 1-9.Read more

November 27, 2006

  • Gifts for the science-minded, nanomaterials from cashews — This Christmas, give the gift of chocolate. Designer CHOCOLATE BAR company Bloomsberry offers a dark chocolate bar named Bochox that comes in what looks like prescription drug packaging.Read more

November 20, 2006

  • Thanksgiving Dinner Chemistry — When Thanksgiving rolls around, most college students are ready for a break.Read more

  • Seasoned Ammunition — There may be a new way to season that turkey.Read more

November 13, 2006

  • Calorie-Burning Beverage — If you want to burn calories, drink Enviga. That's the message that Coca-Cola and Nestlé want to get out to consumers about their new product.Read more

  • Deodorizing Gum — A new chewing gum from Japan can freshen your body as it freshens your breath.Read more

  • Sign Sightings — Our item on the Acura advertisement spelled out using elements of the periodic table.Read more

November 6, 2006

  • Elemental Greeting Cards — People may wrinkle up their noses when the words "chemistry" or "chemical" are mentioned, but certain elements of society have found it perfectly acceptable to adapt the periodic table of the elements to meet their own needs.Read more

  • Periodic Table Sports — A curious poster was spotted on a soda delivery truck. The University of Maryland, College Park, has fashioned a campaign for its 27 varsity sports, from baseball to water polo, into a quasi periodic table.Read more

  • Alternative Jewelry — Diamonds may be forever, but be prepared for the bling to sting.Read more

October 30, 2006

  • Science Project Runway — Science is in fashion these days—literally.Read more

  • Farming Fashion — A new crop of sustainable high-tech garments is getting the attention of fashion-forward consumers.Read more

  • Chemistry Costumes — If science has become so fashionable, why is it that "mad scientists" are the only chemistry Halloween costumes the Newscripts gang can find?Read more

October 23, 2006

  • Danger! H in H2O — Folks looking to beat Kentucky's heat this past summer with an illegal dip in the cascading fountains at Louisville's Waterfront Park found ominous "Keep Out" signs posted at the popular swimming spot.Read more

  • Organic Dry Cleaning — Simeen Sattar, who is spending a sabbatical as a visiting professor at Georgetown University, spotted another example of chemically confounding signage during her commute in Washington, D.C.Read more

  • Nano's Journalists — While certain signs may be discouraging, the future of the public's understanding of science might not be as bleak as it seems.Read more