Archive by date | February 2007

I’ve got the power

I must admit, I really enjoy riding the bus to work – it’s not just because of the unusual people you tend to meet on public transportation (though that’s half the fun), but because the rides are long enough for me to skim through various journals to see if there’s anything I want to read later on in the day. Normally there are a few things that catch my eye, and I’ll set them aside for a lunch break (or while I’m waiting for the bus at the end of the day). But my plan to quickly skim through this week’s Science failed completely – it’s jam-packed full of interesting articles, and I needed to set aside a few hours to read through them all.  Read more

A cluster of chemists(?)

I’ve spent the last few days in Boston in the company of many of the other self-confessed chemists who work for Nature Publishing Group. We’ve been thinking of ways to focus and improve our coverage of chemistry and some of the changes you will see relatively soon – here on the blog and also a rejuvenated chemistry portal on  Read more

Labspeak, STAT

While all of us are familiar with a certain amount of brevity (via acronyms, such as ASAP) in our daily writing, it seems that the internet chat lingo and texting revolution is finally starting to catch up with even me, for whom writing this blog is by far the most technological thing I’ve ever done (even my email software knows that is a smiley face!). And now that I’m starting to tell people things ‘BTW’ or to send them emoticons, I’ve been thinking more about what could be done with this shorthand.  Read more

Soft science

I went to visit my sister recently, and her daughter has a toy pancreas. No, really! For a children’s toy, it’s pretty non-descript: it’s similar in shape and size to a yellow squash, but (I think) has a little face on it. Somehow, I am not able to enlighten you with a picture (the all-powerful internet has failed me), so you’ll have to imagine it. Not only is it funny that she plays with it in general, but that she, at 4 years old, could quite happily request it. “Mom! I want my pancreas!” or “Mom! Jack took my pancreas!” Actually, it’s starting to sound like an episode of ER…  … Read more

Day TRP-per

Looking for something to read while you’re waiting for the rotovap to free up or the PAGE gel to finish running? You might want to take a look at yesterday’s issue of Nature, which has a number of chemistry/chemical papers. In addition to the paper by Serreli et al. that Katharine and Stuart mentioned, there’s a News & Views piece from Steven Nolan on Craig Forsyth’s recent ACIE paper and a paper from Stern et al. that describes miniature, ultra-sensitive sensors that can detect unlabeled antibodies at concentrations below 100 femtomolar (and can monitor the cellular immune response in ‘real-time’).  Read more

Demons lurking

I was asked if Dave Leigh’s latest paper in this week’s Nature was all that special after all – Leigh claimed to have recreated James Clerk Maxwell’s famous thought experiment about the second law of thermodynamics and a demon (read the news story I wrote here). But in reality, Leigh didn’t actually recreate the demon, he made a molecular machine that can force a system to go against chemical equilibrium after being inspired by Maxwell. Is that so special?  Read more