Thursday, March 26, 2009

is your drywall off-gassing poisons?

ABC News ran a story this evening about a woman in Florida who is claiming her house has made her sick, and that Chinese drywall may be to blame. The story included no details worth mentioning--it was a classic case of little information but lots of "two sides" reporting.

CNN does a much better job, reporting that the materials have been tested and shown to contain some strontium sulfide, which potentially could lead to the production of H2S, explaining both a sulfurous smell and problems with corrosion of pipes and wires in the house, which is quite new.

You can read more here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Science News reports on a group that has devised an efficient way to substitute at the normally-resistant meta position on aromatic rings. Thanks to Sean for the link.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MSRA among the piggies

Thanks to my college advisor for posting a link to this article about drug-resistant staph in pigs. And of course, thanks also to Nicholas Kristof for researching and writing it in the first place.

Monday, March 9, 2009

SciAm on Sustainability

I was tipped off to this article today, and although I haven't read it I'd bet you a dollar it's good.
So I'm posting it without a pre-read. Meanwhile, out in the news, the conversation about changes in funding for research involving embryonic stem cells is heating up rapidly.

nuclear forensics

National Geographic News has posted an article describing the emerging field of nuclear forensics. The article appears to suggest that the nuclear decay products of an unknown sample were used to determine its origin, which happens to be the first nuclear bomb test.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

EJ Corey and Retrosynthesis

Check out this little gem of a synthesis, credited to EJ Corey, the esteemed developer of retrosynthesis: Trabectedin (from Wikipedia). Astounding.

My Synthesis professor in grad school used Corey's book as a foundation for our course and told us his (not Corey's) 9 days in jail for a BUI offense provided a stretch of uninterrupted time for reading. The book is called The Logic of Chemical Synthesis, and it's becoming a classic.

a tragic accident

It is unfortunately too easy for any of us to forget the hazards associated with some of the stuff we work with. The LA Times reports that this recent fatal accident involved tert-butyllithium, an organometallic reagent that is used as a base, but that has similarities to the organolithium reagents used for generating carbon nucleophiles in organic synthesis reactions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

10 best?

While poking around the web looking for full-text versions of Djerassi's original papers I discovered this list of the "10 best organic chemists of all time." I couldn't help but notice that many of you, Readers, will know the reasons for nomination if not the actual names.

I smile as I read these names and their contributions. They are an amazing bunch of minds. I can't comment about the drinking: I have no first hand experience with any of them.

I didn't find the Djereassi papers, by the way, but I think I have them in my office. Somewhere.