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December 22, 2008

  • Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas —It's Dec. 22, so there's precious little time left for holiday shopping. In desperation, you could go for the mundane, or you could go with gold...Read more

December 15, 2008

  • Chemical-Free Gifts, Viagra —It's that time of year again. Everyone's struggling to find the perfect holiday gifts...Read more

December 8, 2008

  • Born Digital? Die Young —In our mania to digitize every word, sound, image, and every other form of expression, an anxious cadre of library and information scientists (LIS) fears that the collective eschewing of traditional could bring on ???THE DIGITAL DARK AGE.???...Read more

December 1, 2008

  • As American As Chemical Pie —Sometimes the best chemistry experiments happen in the kitchen With Video...Read more

November 24, 2008

  • What To Do With All That Turkey Waste —Thanksgiving week is here. So let???s take a moment to talk turkey...Read more

November 17, 2008

  • Biological Color Preferences —Chris de Burgh, the singer-songwriter who penned the popular '80s love song "The Lady in Red," may have been onto something...Read more

November 10, 2008

  • The Highs And Lows Of Oxygen —Hollywood trendsetters and American Chemical Society national meeting exposition attendees can claim at least one common experience this year...Read more

November 3, 2008

  • Dancing With The Doctorates, Antiterrorism Lingerie —Samba-savvy scientists, it's time to dust off your dancing shoes. Nov. 16, the deadline for the 2009 "DANCE YOUR PH.D." contest, is swiftly approaching....Read more

October 27, 2008

  • Catfish Tales —It's the week of Halloween, so a few spooky fish stories seem apropos....Read more

October 20, 2008

  • Winds of Change, Forest of Dreams —Traditional energy sources either are all but tapped out or threaten to wreck the environment, so it will take any number of new technologies to bring more sustainable power to the people...Read more

October 13, 2008

  • Golden Years —While a GOLDEN WEDDING RING may be the most visible symbol of the everlasting bond between you and your spouse...Read more

October 6, 2008

  • 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes —This has been a big year for top echelon competitions???the Summer Olympics, the U.S. presidential election, "Dancing with the Stars."Read more

September 29, 2008

  • A Bite Of The Apple, Stick-to-itiveness —Steven Jobs has just lowered the risk of taking a bite out of the Apple.Read more

September 22, 2008

  • Speck-Sized Water Bears Don't Just Die In The Vacuum Of Space —In 1965, at what is now known as the Johnson Space Center, a National Aeronautics & Space Administration test subject unwittingly wearing a leaky space suit entered a pressure chamber where he accidentally experienced exposure to a near equivalent of the vacuum of space. Read more

September 15, 2008

  • Dirty Money, Barotraumatized Bats, Living In A Tree —We all know money is dirty. You pay in cash for a meal, but you wash your hands before you eat in case the person who had the bill before you sneezed on it.Read more

September 8, 2008

  • Cuckoo For Kiki, Beauty Brains —Dr. Kiki, a beautiful 34-year-old with a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, and integrative physiology, otherwise known as KIRSTEN SANFORD, is doing her part to bring science to the general public in a way that's fun, engaging, and accurate. Read more

September 1, 2008

  • Memorial Space Flights — Early last month, the privately funded rocket Falcon 1 failed during launch, and all of its precious cargo was lost. Read more

August 25, 2008

  • Save the Chocolate, a Scientific Mission —It???s one of the most wrenching deflation-elation-deflation cycles for chocoholics: They first suspect they might be living in a chocolate-free house, then frantically search the kitchen for an overlooked piece of their desire and actually find one, only to discover that the coveted viand is covered with a grayish-white film, or what chocolate industry insiders call ???FAT BLOOM.??? Read more

August 18, 2008

  • Probiotic Allergy Relief, Fighting Crime With Pollen —Many people look forward to the arrival of spring. Read more

August 11, 2008

  • Electronic cigarettes—a digital way to light up —Addiction, it seems, has gone electric. Allow me to introduce you to the e-cigarette. Read more

August 4, 2008

  • Conference Surveillance —Last week, amid Spanish tapas and cocktails at a conference mixer in Barcelona, I was served something far less appetizing: the news that for five days, unbeknown to me, a radio-frequency infrared device (RFID) hidden in my name tag had been reporting my conference attendance habits to organizers. Read more

July 28, 2008

  • In search of fuel-efficient rental cars —During a business trip to Colorado Springs last month, I arrived at the counter of Budget car rental expecting to pick up the economy-sized vehicle I reserved weeks ago. Read more

July 21, 2008

  • High-Energy Physics Gadget —The world will not end in August when the switch is flipped on for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), an enormous HIGH-ENERGY PHYSICS GADGET, say officials at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Read more

  • Eucalyptus Leaves —Although Earth is safe, in theory, from particle accelerators, things might not be so rosy for koalas if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. Read more

July 14, 2008

  • Soda-Candy Explosions —It was only a matter of time. The Mentos-Diet Coke reaction has finally exploded itself into a peer-reviewed journal. Readers may recall a previous Newscripts item briefly describing the reaction way back in 2006 (C&EN, Jan. 16, page 48). Read more

  • Molecular Formulas Turned Art —On a less messy note, John L. Meisenheimer Sr. of Orlando, Fla., alerted Newscripts to a SCULPTURE currently on display at Hannibal Square in Winter Park, Fla., entitled "Molecular Dog/C3H8." Read more

July 7, 2008

  • Golf Carts gone bad —In the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from Ohio State University reported that GOLF CART INJURIES have risen 132% between 1990 and 2006. Read more

  • Chemistry Is No Laughing Matter —Sometimes chemists can be too smart for their own good. Earlier this spring, the New York Times published Pamela Paul's book review of "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex," by Mary Roach. Read more

June 30, 2008

  • The Seamy Chemical Underbelly Of The Internet —The Internet is an invaluable tool for everyone for entertainment, conducting research, and keeping in touch with friends and family. But it is also being used to spread the latest in a series of suicide fads in Japan. Read more

June 23, 2008

  • Sunspots, Japanese Waistlines, Cell-Phone Cooking —It seems that the SUNSPOTS are late. Earlier this month, scientists at an international solar conference at Montana State University discussed the fact that the sun???s surface had been devoid of sunspots for the past couple of years, a period when a new cycle of sunspots should have started. Read more

June 16, 2008

  • Pringles Newfangled Urns And Other Snacks —This is the story about a chemist proud of his accomplishments. If you are a potato-chip fanatic, Fredric J. Baur and his invention have undoubtedly affected your life in a positive manner. Never heard of him? Let's fix that.Read more

June 9, 2008

  • Unintended consequences, laser weapon movies, explosions —"Rules imposed by public authorities because they are for our own good should always be looked at with skepticism. But when smoking was banned in restaurants and bars in numerous jurisdictions for health reasons, it seemed like a move generally for the better. Now there's a wrinkle.Read more

June 2, 2008

  • From Fiction to Fact —"So how long do you think it will take the military to start developing an Iron Man suit?" I asked my moviegoing companion while exiting the premiere of "Iron Man." "I bet you it's already in the works," he replied. He was right.Read more

May 26, 2008

  • Advertising Infiltrates New Overhead Territory —May has been a banner month for Brian Glover, a North Carolina dentist-by-day and inventor-by-night, and partner Francisco Guerra, an Alabama-based special effects expert who is a go-to guy if you need vast amounts of foam or fake snow on, say, your movie set. Read more

May 19, 2008

  • DIY Chemistry Sets, Greening Greensburg, Dinosaurs And Chickens —"On Christmas morning 1964 ... Just as I???d decided that I hadn???t gotten the one gift that I really wanted .... My father said, 'This is from your mother and me. It is not a toy,'" writes Robert B. Thompson. Read more

May 12, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —This column could be titled "A Little Science is a Dangerous Thing." Here are a few of the resulting BOMBS I've run across. Read more

May 5, 2008

  • Reese???s Pieces, bits from the Festival of Whimsy —If you couldn???t get a seat in the "Festival of Chemistry Entertainments" last month at the ACS national meeting in New Orleans, we are more than happy to fill you in on a few fanciful moments from the standing-room-only morning session. Read more

April 28, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —If you think you know what H2O is, think again. That insipid, humdrum liquid has been vastly improved, thanks to 21st-century chemical technology. Let me give you a few examples.Read more

April 21, 2008

  • Priestley Medalist Namesakes —In keeping with C&EN's April 7 issue featuring 85 years of Priestley Medal winners and, specifically, C&EN Online's vignettes of now-deceased past winners, here's a peek at the notable accomplishments of some people who just happen to be NAMESAKES of medalists. Read more

  • Pondering Cremation —Apologies to readers who find the next item morbid, but Newscripts wondered if CREMATION is better than burial, environmentally. Read more

April 14, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —I have a 36-oz plastic bottle of Heinz ketchup with a wide cap that is flat on top, so the bottle can be stood on end. (Heinz calls it their Top-Down bottle.) Inside this flip-open cap is a nozzle through which one can squeeze out a stream of ketchup. Read more

April 7, 2008

  • Clicker Technology —A number of readers have buzzed Newscripts over an item about Edinburgh University's plan to give every student a handset that allows professors to pose multiple-choice questions to up to 400 students at a time. Read more

  • Carbon Tax —This ought to shake at least some motorists out of their environmental lethargy. Beginning in October, London plans to impose a CARBON TAX on drivers bringing their cars into the city during peak congestion hours.Read more

  • Pipettes —Moving from carbon dioxide emmisions into the atmosphere to chemical measurements in liquids, liquid-handling specialist Artel says that PIPETTES perform accurately and precisely in the humid conditions of the Olympic National Park west of Seattle.Read more

March 31, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —March came in right on schedule this year, hard on the heels of Feb. 29, wearing its traditional leonine garb. But somewhere around the Ides of March, one has a right to expect the lion's mane to start turning into lamb's wool. Not this year. That's when the ice storm hit, and my front walkway turned into a curling rink. I had to get rid of that ice fast, lest my letter carrier perform a "slip 'n' fall" (that's lawyer lingo) and Attorney General Mukasey show up to sue me on behalf of the U.S. government. Read more

March 24, 2008

  • The Solution Becomes The Problem —Around 1930, when chemist Thomas Midgely Jr. of General Motors was on the road selling the merits of Freon, the chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant he recently had invented, he would draw vapors of the stuff into his lungs in front of audiences and immediately after, with an exhalation, blow out a candle. Read more

March 17, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —Will all those who are wearing wristwatches please raise their left hands. (Southpaws, raise your right hands.) Now, will all those who think of their wristwatches primarily as jewelry or status symbols please lower their hands and leave the room. May I assume that those who remain think of their watches primarily as instruments for telling time? Read more

March 10, 2008

  • Feynman's Really Lost Lecture —Let's just say that this Newscripts writer has a privileged contact with a California Institute of Technology archivist. That's how I got hold of a ragged, hand-written, coffee-stained, and LONG-FORGOTTEN MANUSCRIPT of Richard Feynman, whose 1959 lecture titled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" is frequently cited, with liturgical gravity, as the theoretical genesis of nanotechnology.Read more

March 3, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —A couple of weeks ago, my wife, Marlene Parrish, came home from a department store's President's Day sale (I wonder which president they meant?) with, among other things, a bracelet set all around with dozens of diamondlike stones that sparkled and glittered more dazzlingly than any $12.95 bracelet had any right to do. Curious, I read the tag. It said, "Made exclusively with high-quality Swarovski crystal." Read more

February 25, 2008

  • School Buzzers —College students often get a buzz out of the many extracurricular activities available to them. But one university has decided that a device similar to a game show buzzer can enliven those endlessly long—and dare we say boring?—SCIENCE LECTURE CLASSES.Read more

  • Fingerprinting Diamonds —Shine a white light on the Hope Diamond and the brilliant blue gem will dazzle you. Shine an ultraviolet (UV) light on the distinguished gem and it will glow red-orange for about five minutes.Read more

February 18, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —Shortly after leaving academe to become a full-time writer, I spotted a highway sign that said "Watch For Falling Rocks." My first inclination was to speed up to decrease my cross section (collision probability). But then I realized that the danger wasn't falling rocks, but fallen rocks???rocks that were already on the road. The sign was misleading. Read more

February 11, 2008

  • Troublesome Turkeys —Berkeley, Calif., is so rife with eccentric characters that peculiar behavior is rather commonplace. And then the macho turkeys showed up. Yup, it's true. A GANG OF WILD TURKEYS is challenging the area's live-and-let-live philosophy, and they're wreaking havoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.Read more

  • Sexing Chicks —How to figure out a BIRD'S SEX when the plumage doesn't seem to say it all. Although feather fashion is often telling???boy birds tend to sport flashily colored quills???sex is hard to distinguish for most baby birds and for some exotic birds. You can't look under their wings, so to speak, because all birdie genitalia is internal. So what to do?Read more

February 4, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —I was kidding when I suggested in my Dec. 10 column that human adipose tissue might be converted into biodiesel fuel. But as it turns out, that has already been done. Shane Graber of Archbold, Ohio, tipped me off to a story about Pete Bethune, a former oil exploration engineer in New Zealand who plans to circumnavigate the globe in 65 days in a specially built, $3 million trimaran fueled entirely by biodiesel. Read more

January 28, 2008

  • Going postal over structural errors —Some bitter news was delivered to the U.S. Postal Service earlier this month. Namely, that a stamp commemorating sugar chemist and Nobel Laureate Gerty Cori features a chemical structure that is, well, wrong.Read more

  • Kids aren't clowning —As much as finding chemical inaccuracies is an act of sheer joy for C&EN staff, the glory should go to the reader. It's not just stamp designers who have been dished some bad news of late. In the escalating debate about whether CLOWNS ARE SCARY, University of Sheffield researchers and 250 young subjects, have determined that they are—at least when they appear in hospital wards.Read more

January 21, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —You may have heard of a television personality named Oprah. (To protect her privacy, I shall not reveal her last name.) One of her periodic amusements is to tap a book with her enchanted scepter, whereupon it instantly becomes a million-plus best seller, and its author a multimillionaire. Needless to say, she has not blessed any of my books.Read more

January 14, 2008

  • Crimes Of Chemistry —"It was Mrs. Schuster, in the chemistry lab, with the hydrochloric acid." Not a game of Clue, regretfully, but a real-life homicide. As the saying around the C&EN office goes, chemistry is indeed everywhere. And on July 10, 2003, chemistry played a leading role in the murder of Timothy Schuster, 45Read more

January 7, 2008

  • Science Friction with Bob Wolke —I did a double (or triple) take the other day, when in short order I saw a Chevrolet Cobalt, a Dodge Neon, and a Saturn Ion. When did they start naming cars for chemical elements and entities? Would I some day see a Pontiac Praseodymium? A Volkswagen Zwitterion?Read more