Another year, another #realtimechem week. If you don’t have a twitter account, this is the proper time of the year for getting in touch with many many chemtweeps.
Here you can find the FAQ, infos, prices and so on: http://doctorgalacticandthelabcoatcowboy.com
Remember that Jess is also hosting the #realtimechemcarniva, so if you have a chem blog, start using the # as well. http://theorganicsolution.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/realtimechem-blog-carnival/
Have you ever wonder how long is detectable in you urine that nice drug you took for breakfast this morning?
Or how does a day in a chem lab in South Africa looks like?
I’m quite busy lately (as you can check from the date of my last blogpost), but I’ll tweet some random chem pictures from my ol’ good days till one week ago.
Good tweeting to all of you, may the stupidest/funny tweet enlighten our day in the lab.
Planning to renew your lab? New space to fill? New instrument to set-up?
Did you think about the energy flow of the lab? No? Then do not complain if the phds are fighting each other, the rotavap is not working and the dry solvents are 20% water. The only real solution is to set-up the lab using the ancient Feng-Shui philosophy…
North, water: rotavap, water distillation, refluxes (pay attention that the fire should be in the south, so the oil bath should be in the south and connected with an unimaginable sets of tubing to the condenser in the north part of the lab), ice baths, cold fingers and so on. The water is your life path, put an old picture of you on the first year of university, and start crying.
Northeast, earth: Put here your collection of alkaline earth metal ions. Put here also the instrument that only you in the whole department know how to use and show your skills.
East, wood: Chromatography paper, cotton, white papers and whatever generated by a well destroyed and processed woods. Family? What?
Southeast, wood: Prosperity and abundance of dirty glassware to wash.
South, fire: Oil baths, metal baths, heat guns, ovens, and why not, an always burning bunsen…. Organic chemists love to have open flame in the lab. It keeps them always in the edge.
Southwest, wood: Again? there is wood everywhere. It seems to be in an old 1970’s lab. Southwest is also about love, put here the tiny and clean 5mL flask that you are hiding from the rest of the lab.
West, metal: It goes without saying, collection of transition metal. No children in the lab.
Northwest, metal: This is pretty close to north/water, so i would put all the alkali metals you have, just for adding a little bit of spices. Apparently you should also store helpful people here. There may me not that many around, so keep the few of them always locked in the northwest part of your lab.
Easy isn’t it? If you find it too complicated you can also use the standard lab arrangement: North=Northeast=East=South=Southwest=West=Northwest= MESS, MESS and more MESS. Southeast = few cubic centimeters for doing a column.
Please, please, please, when you are little bit depressed read this paper : http://innovativejournal.in/index.php/jpro/article/view/678 , it’s a laughing-tears-paper (LTP).
It should have dealt with the conversion of -OH to -NH2 in one pot, or at least the abstract state that.
Now, after the first three lines…. Where the hell the nitrogen come from??? React alcohol, sodium oxide, TsCl and zinc and you will magically get some nitrogen. Amazing.
Ahhhhhh sodium azide, not sodium oxide. Ok, ok, at least now it makes a little bit more sense. Let’s go check the experimental section then:
And here the apotheosis of hilarity… First of all we are back on using sodium oxide but now the zinc disappeared.
Then we are not using 65-70C but we raised a little bit the temperature to 650C.
Then we need to quench few mmol with the fair amount of 5 LITERS of water.
Ok, now we have 5 L of water in the flask, we should deal with it.
What shall we do? Extract it with 25mL of ether!!!
5L of water….. and 25mL of ether….. ok….ok….
Now filter the ether off… well, we cannot really filter it off, are two liquids….
Right, right, then filtur it off. Ok, now makes way more sense, thank you.
Now dry it over unhydrus sodium sulfate, pay attention that it must be unhydrus!!!
No, no please, stop, please stop, I’m dying. Please stop.
And then the last nail in the coffin…….
Purify it with a silica get!!!!
Applause, applause, applause.
And thanks to one of my colleague that sent me this paper, fun for everyone from 6+.
Because we reviwed the papers, not the webpage….
Shall we put a star on micropump. Why not?
I’m naturally talking about papers/grants/prizes/applications/orders rejection.
Open you email and search for “regret” and “pleased” and you will unequivocally see that “regret to inform you” >>> ”pleased to inform you”.
It’s monday morning, you are in a good mood, coming back in the lab for setting some experiment planned during the weekend. You pick up a cup of bad coffee and go to your desk, start the computer and start reading the work emails:
Object: Decision on Manuscript ID XX-SHT-04-2014-012345
When you open there are only two words you are screening in the first 5 seconds: “REGRET” or “PLEASED”. Then, depending by the one found, the scream could be of joy or of intense pain. How could you deal with the n-times rejection?
First of all let’s check what happens in your brain:
1- Denial and isolation.
Come on, it was a great paper, nice idea, months and months of work, unequivocal data. It’s impossible it was rejected, I need to read this mail again. And again. And again. Nope, still rejected. Maybe if I print this email I’ll manage to read it better. Printed and no, it is still rejected. Maybe it’s just because it was printed in black and white. Let’s try to print it in color. No, still rejected.
It’s impossible, they should have sent this email by mistake, it’s not for me, it’s not for my amazing paper.
Seriously? They reject this paper? How the hell can they do that? The referees must hate me, I know who they are. But why the editor didn’t say anything about this? He must be blind. I will never ever ever and ever submit another paper to this journal. Now let’s go smashing some 10mL cylinders in the lab, bleaching some dyes and shooting laser with MALDI.
Maybe I should write to the editor. It’s an interesting paper, all the data is correct. He must see it. Maybe he will see that the referees are wrong. Maybe, maybe, maybe.… I may add new spectra, new data, new conclusion, maybe a horse head (it usually works). I can change the title, the authors list and even the corresponding author. But please accept this paper, I’ll referee 50 new papers….. I will even put the name of the editor in the acknowledgment and the name of the journal in my presentation slides. I can tattoo the journal logo on my forearm. I’ll only publish with your amazing journal for the rest of my life, and even my kids will only publish there and their kids as well.
Why I am even doing all of this? Why I am doing research, and teaching, and writing grants, and papers than then will be rejected without any reason? I could have been in a company, earning 5 times what I’m earning now and for sure I would not working in the weekend. I could have been a barista on a beach somewhere in a warm place, and not here freezing in a cold lab. Ok, I quit. Let’s go to tell it to the rest of the people in the lab. Fu*k it, I’m done with this. They accept so many crappy paper and they cannot even realize how good was my paper. I’m soooo done with it.
So long rest of the people in the department. See you in hell losers!!!!
Nothing to do, the editor agreed with the referees. Ok, I know it, it’s part of the game. It’s the part of the game that I don’t like, but I like to play the rest. What can I do? Now let’s do the worst part of all of this:
Changing the citation format for the new journal……
How to deal with it? I like the Bernard Black way.
I’m not going to lie to you: Helix is a bad show.
Scientists mixing up DNA, RNA and proteins without any elementary knowledge of the subject, bright field microscope used for imaging nanometric viruses, cowboy pipetting and so on. I mean, it’s quite funny if you watch it with the proper spirit. I would recommend it to anybody with an elementary biology knowledge, you will have great time watching it.
Anyway, for some series I have a kind of Stockholm syndrome so I watched it till the end, like I did with Lost, how I met your mother and (unfortunately) I’m still watching the walking dead.
Here just a couple of frame shots (I could have written a book on how many things were wrong in the series):
I think the capture should be something like:
Girl: I have a terrible headache
Boss: It’s maybe because you are spreading your glove all over your face?
Now, the boss is in front of her, do you think he is going to say something about using her glove like a napkin? Not at all, not at all my friends. Here is what he did:
Boss: don’t touch your face with your gloves, it’s not enough. Here, let me spread my glove on your face as well. Here you go, you welcome.
Just in the same episode:
The blue thing you see in the spraying gun is not paint, no, is not even some fancy coating. It’s a cryogenic liquid….. Most probably nitrogen…
Please watch it, there are so many pearls in it that it’s difficult for me writing them all (one of the character even say “I’m your father”)
And remember to use the gloves properly:
how to put them:
and once you have them remember to not touch your face, and don’t put it in your mouth:
More than two weeks without any new blogpost….. Sorry but I’m kind of busy (and in holiday this week).
so….. May the DART Vader be with you, and see you soon with more amazing adventures from a chemistry lab….
A couple of literature from “anonymous” sources….
The first scientific paper using google glasses (or at least chemistry related paper) is out. And what’s better than sponsoring it with this kind of amazing TOC????
Few questions arise from this picture. Are the google glasses safe for the lab? I know quite some safety sheriffs that will be not so happy to see people working around just with the google glass. Then, why on earth the labcoat is striped????
The paper is here, enjoy.
Second paper of the day…. Apparently T-BAG is a well known term in the surface chemistry world…… if you don’t know the other meaning, DO NOT walk around the department asking explanation to random people…. DO NOT!!!
Reading filtrate grounds from a buchner filter…….
Using “Protruding Nanoballs” and “Recessional Nanosuckers” in the same title is not something easily achievable. Luckily someone managed to do it: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl4048042
In the paper some more amazing NanoThings:
“shrunken nanoball architectures”
“…produced a great amount of suction when applied to other surfaces, similar to the effect of suckers on an octopus’ tentacles”
“The overall structure changed from a nanosphere to a “nanosnowman”-like structure with a smaller ball affixed atop the larger one.”
“The nanocup structure had a relatively small opening mouth on top of a spherical cavity”
“No matter the length of immersion in acetonitrile or the size of the nanoballs, those nanoballs displayed homogeneity in size and the same period of sequence; that is, smaller nanoballs had larger spaces between them.”
“…the nanosucker design presented in this article is the only octopus- inspired design”
P.S. The research described in the paper is extremely interesting, and achieving such strong adhesion with dry film is quite impressive. Check the videos in the supplementary information for the stress test (and a brutal vertical video).
The facts narrated in this blogpost are based on a true story:
One of your labmate is writing his phd thesis in a building far far far away from your lab (ok, not that far away, but still…). You hear the alarm going on in that building multiple times in the same day. At this point you write an email to your friend, just for asking if everything is ok there. Something like:
“hey I heard the alarm going on there, is it everything fine?”
Then few minutes later you got this email:
“It’s such a mess!
Someone started a fire in a fumehood, and then it started to spread around.
The guy went on fire and started to run around. Then the alarm rang, but someone locked the doors, so not everybody could escape!
Unfortunately, the guy who was burning down was synthesizing a mutagenic compound, and since it was spilled all over him, he started getting crazy and attacked other people, biting them and somehow contaminating them. I could not escape, so I took refuge in my office by locking myself in. Then suddenly, after 10-15 min Seb (another guy working in the same building n.d.r) came knocking to my door, so I let him in, he told me that the situation is getting worse and worse, people on fire are contaminating everybody, but fortunately he came with some chemicals so that we can defend ourselves against those monsters.
I’m sorry but I don’t have much time to talk, they are now trying to enter the office, we are thinking about jumping from the window, it’s a bit high, but I’d rahter break a leg than get contaminated!
They are now destroying the door,
They are coming…“
True story…. I mean the email part. The guy who wrote it was Mathieu (the 50% brain of the Super Mario Bros Column Chromatography). Writing a phd thesis can drive you crazy ;)
P.S. Kudos to whoever knows the amazing comic book artist that did the drawing in the frontispiece.
This non-gmo salt have been recently rediscovered (read Twitter). I love sarcasm so, my favorite part of the whole story are the comments.
Please enjoy the fine selection of (hopefully) sarcastic comments:
“I was in the market for an organic salt such as sodium tosylate or pyridinium chloride in order to complete my evil science experiments to disprove the Gaia hypothesis. When I saw this product, I nearly jumped for joy! I thought it was a bit weird that the sellers don’t specify which organic salt they’re selling, but I figured it was a sort of grab-bag or mystery box-type deal. When my product arrived, the first thing I did was to get an IR spectrum to see which organic salt I had received. My smile quickly turned upside down as I saw that there was not a single peak in my spectrum! After several more failed IR’s I performed a crude analysis with my tongue which confirmed that this product is actually sodium chloride, AN INORGANIC SALT! And these sellers have the gall to label their product “organic”? This is a clear case of false advertising. WOULD NOT BUY AGAIN.”
“this just tastes so much better than the stuff made by the evil scientists who have managed to make salt into something living only to kill and torture it, then genetically modify the DNA they put into it.I heard that in some salts they even used STEM cell DNA from aborted fetuses, then modified that so that it only feels pain and excretes chemicals such as mercury and the stuff they put in chemtrails – you know, the stuff they use to control you into buying the evil GM stuff that will kill you slowly and painfully or whatever the hell chemtrails are meant to do to you.I’m sure that buying this pink salt will ward off spirits and those lizard people that David Icke warned us about (lizards hate salt but not the salt that the evil scientists make – they also genetically modify it to be safe to lizard people so when they do take over the planet we will have no defenses) I for one will be buying this in bulk and keeping it in my bunker so that when the end of the world does come I will be well prepared!”
“For too long, godless agronomists have harvested their Haram, Non-Kosher salt from a bland albino monoculture, pumped full of artificial sodium hormones and spliced with chloride transgenes. But now there’s No-Chemicals Non-GMO Organic Halal Kosher Gourmet Himalayan Pink Salt! It’s the perfect garnish for my Margarita made with All-Natural Unpasteurized Non-Homogenized Andean Tequila and Sustainably-Raised Free-Range Jhatka Aleutian Lime Juice.”
“I was super-enthusiastic to finally discover a salt that has not been genetically modified by Monsatan. It’s seems that Monsatan is everywhere, modifying genes in places I didn’t even know they existed! It is a relief to be able to cook my favorite Kosher meals without the worry of growing gigantic tumors all over my body.”
“We need to get off our salt dependency people! It’s made with sodium chloride (NaCl) and, when mixed with dihydrogen monoxide (used in commercial farming) creates a substance that is now polluting the oceans! Every dead ocean creature ever found has had traces of these two dangerous compounds.
I recommend only eating sticks you find on the ground.”
“I was really excited to finally find salt without chemicals, but when I took it to my lab and ran it through the AAS, I was dismayed to find it contained sodium, chlorine, and many other scary elements. Chlorine was used to kill many people during WWI. I certainly don’t want it in my food! If you want no chemical salt, look elsewhere!”
“It is pinker than the average salt. Pink is pretty. Pretty is good.
You may be able to source other salts which are equally kosher, halal and devoid of genetic manipulation, and equally full of sodium and chlorine. But do they have a delightful hint of pink? No? Well, this is clearly a prettier and hence superior product.”
“I used to work in the Himalayan Salt Mine recruiting center. Basically there was a squadron of us that yearly would demand the first born children from the locals and sent them to work in the mines. The “pink” color is the blood stains from those that resisted us. So, no GMO’s, just the blood of the rebels that resisted us! Viva La Himalayan Pink Salt!”
“I only buy single-sourced, free-range salt. This salt reeks of cruelty – it has probably never seen life outside the cramped salt coops.”
“As a Nepali citizen, I sincerely apologize for the confusion I have created. What’s being sold is not salt but frozen urine from my last hike to the Mt. Everest basecamp. So sorry.
P.S. I can ship you more ‘salt’ if you agree to pay via paypal. K thx bye.”
“I really love this. From eating it, to filling my salt box. It’s sexy and you know it. SAY TO TO GMO!”
Naturally if you still want to buy it, here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Himalayan-Chemicals-Non-gmo-Organic/dp/B007V8A34M/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
or you can join the Facebook group and start fighting this damn GMO-SALT!!!!
Even better is probably the carbon-free sugar…..
Another funny day with twitter. One rule: six words for the title of your paper….
Here my top something, in no particular order:
— Raymond B. Becker (@raybbecker) February 9, 2014
Everything Is Probably A Big Scam #SixWordPaperTitle
— Russell Barth (@Russell_Barth) February 9, 2014
Wrote this between Battlefield 4 matches. #SixWordPaperTitle
— Americo Alvarenga (@Americo76) February 9, 2014
I published first; screw you competitors. #SixWordPaperTitle
— James Banal (@AttoSci) February 9, 2014
Two Masters Students Died For This #SixWordPaperTitle
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) February 8, 2014
Who’s going to read this anyway? #SixWordPaperTitle
— David Evans (@profdaveevans) February 9, 2014
Got this idea from Star Trek #SixWordPaperTitle
— Simon Lancaster (@S_J_Lancaster) February 8, 2014
Theoretical and Experimental Results Agree – Hallelujah! #SixWordPaperTitle
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) February 8, 2014
Jesus I Learned MATLAB For This? #SixWordPaperTitle
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) February 8, 2014
Please Don’t Look at Figure Four #SixWordPaperTitle
— SJ Elliott (@Prof_SJE) February 8, 2014
Tenure committees can’t read, can count #SixWordPaperTitle
— Hope Jahren (@HopeJahren) February 8, 2014
— Alan Townsend (@alan_townsend) February 8, 2014
All this sounded great over drinks #SixWordPaperTitle
— Blake Huggins (@blakehuggins) February 8, 2014
Where’s Waldo? Finding Identity and Meaning #SixWordPaperTitle
— A. Rascal (@rascality) February 8, 2014
Sex Rolex Porn Free Prescription Graphene #SixWordPaperTitle
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) February 8, 2014
My second postdoc: the wilderness years #SixWordPaperTitle
— Simon Lancaster (@S_J_Lancaster) February 8, 2014
Good luck finding the supplementary data! #SixWordPaperTitle
— Jonathan Goya (@jkgoya) February 8, 2014
Good morning Nature it’s me again #SixWordPaperTitle
— Hope Jahren (@HopeJahren) February 8, 2014
— John Ratnaswamy (@JohnRSports) February 8, 2014
A novel approach to self-citation. #SixWordPaperTitle
— Taka Tanaka (@astrobassball) February 8, 2014
Data Sucks, But I Know Editor #SixWordPaperTitle
— Gentleman Professor (@GentlemanProf) February 8, 2014
Serendipitous, But Way Better Than Planned #SixWordPaperTitle
— Lori Burrows (@lori__burrows) February 8, 2014
Another day, another paper….
Finally papers are getting closer to the real lab life, and sooner or later I’ll be free to publish all the cursing I’m generally doing in the lab.
The paper is “Conventional transmission electron microscopy” http://www.molbiolcell.org/content/25/3/319.abstract
If you read the paper (it can be quite interesting if you like the TEM) you will find also some other pearls like:
“In any event, embedding and curing in any resin should yield a hard “block” with the sample in it: congratulations, you’ve created a fossil.”
If you are reading this as first post of the blog you should know something: nothing is serious on this blog. No, not even this post. This is just for fun and mainly based of maybe-true-maybe-not stereotypes.
Some topics connect all the labs in the world: the hate for alumina columns, the crappy university food, the mysterious ghost that steal clean NMR tubes, and naturally “are instruments male or female?”
It may be sounds a trivial question, but it is definitely not. After spending so much time working on a single instrument you start talking with him/her. Having a proper discussion with your instrument can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful experiment. You need to talk with the instrument, understand him/her, hug the instrument, caress and comfort him/her. “There there, don’t worry, here the new solvent my dear”
So, are the instruments in your lab male or female?
Male: He’s usually huge, not only the physical part, but his ego is expanding well behind his metallic shield. Usually traffic cones or yellow tape are used for outline his impressive ego.
He’s mono-thematic, ask him to do a 1H or a 13C and there will be no problem, ask to go for a 31P or a 15N and then he needs to change his mind, reflect a little bit and maybe, and only maybe, he will do it.
Female: She is still huge, but shiny and nice. Can destroy your credit cards in matter of seconds. Sometimes needs a lot of tuning foreplay before starting the measurement. It’s so hot you need liquid nitrogen to cool her down.
Male: He has a tip. Repetitive movement of the tip. I’m not going to add anything else here.
Female: She is oversensitive. No matters what, sooner or later she will go crazy for the minimum movement or sound you will do in the room. It’s like having a discussion with your lovely half, you will always end up saying something wrong. On the other hand, when she is in good mood she will give you beautiful pictures.
Male: He is repetitive, injecting the same stuff time after time after time after time…. Annoying.
Female: Her thermal sensitivity is impressive “It’s hot in here, no, now is going to be back to normal, now I’m ok, oh no, now is hot again…. Wait, now is going better….” And so on… Forever.
UV-Vis / Fluorescence:
Male: Usually his software is extremely old. Bad memory: “did I record the blank? I don’t remember, do you?”
Female: The software is far far away to be linear. Millions of sub menu, boxes to check or uncheck depending mainly by her mood.
Male: He can resist quite a lot of over pressure. Noisy, that kind of repetitive noise that can drive you crazy in few hours. Just stop talking. Just stop. Please.
Female: She is moody as well. Sometimes perfect separation other time a single huge peak. If too much pressure is applied she will start crying, spraying solvents everywhere. Requires daily care.
Male: Dude, I can measure from 1mg to 150g. Something outside that range it is not my damn business.
Female: Make up your mind once for all: “it’s 1.56g…. no 1.55g…. no, no, wait… 1.54g… yes, i’m sure about it…. 1.57g, this is the correct one, trust me….. 1.55g”. Make up you mind!!!
Male: Sensitivity? Not his best point. Throw something at him and he will destroy it.
Female: That noise that pass trough your skull directly to your brain.
That super old instrument that is still working:
Male: He is way older than you, sometimes you just want to drink a whiskey with him sharing good old stories from the lab.
Female: She is the grandmother you never had, you cover her with a warm blanket during the cold winter.
So, are your instruments male or female? Let’s check it out #MFInstruments
Seriously Aldrich? Magic? Seriously?
1. Of, relating to, or invoking the supernatural: “stubborn unlaid ghost/That breaks his magic chains at curfew time” (John Milton).
2. Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.
Why not “the mysterious Grubbs catalyst”, “the black art of C18” or “the superstitious pH indicator” ?
….. a LASAGNA
because chemistry is just like cooking:
Remember to clean your fumehood before going in holiday……
And (as you can see in the second picture) remember to leave a reaction for the new year, a token for the Gods of Chemistry.
Happy holidays to all of you.