Sunday, June 17, 2012

Going back to stereotypes

I saw this on twitter earlier today, and thought I'd post it here, as I have already sort of talked about it.  
Worth another mention: Why the Scientist Stereotype is Bad for Everyone, Especially Kids, , it's by

I do think that a fear of science and scientists hurts everyone, not just scientists like me.   I find it interesting that in this article, the suggestion that scientists need show humanity is made again.  I've heard that before-if you admit your biases people will be more likely to believe you.   And maybe that's true.   Anyone tried it?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Using dr.

I had a discussion at work about titles.  A friend just graduated with her PhD, and made a big point that this was the only time she was going to let us call her Dr.   And that brought up a much larger discussion-when do you use the title?
I generally find it to be "a PhD bomb" at work.  Sometimes that's a good thing-I can't count the number of difficult people that I've had to make understand that yes, I do know what I'm talking about, and yes, you do have to listen.  And other times I just want to say, "no, I'm not secretly judging you.  I don't think I'm smarter than you about your job.  I do want to hear what you have to say."   But I'm interested in hearing other perspectives.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Short nifty thing

Nifty thing, and I actually taught this lab!
C&E News article  about quantum dots.   Specifically this time using as a laser, which our dots were not monochromatic enough to pull off.   But never let anyone tell you that nobody learns anything useful in college.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How willing are you to experiment on yourself?

This is not going to be a detailed scientific post, but it does have something that I wanted to ask.   How willing are you to be your own guinea pig?  I make a lot of my own bath products-mostly so I can make them smell exactly the way I want to.  And I'm willing to experiment on myself by trying differing amounts of shea butter vs. coconut oil.  But I'm working on branching out-I want one single face moisturizer that will have all the effects I want, something I think is illegal to sell.   If anyone knows how to make anti-acne with sunscreen wants to chat, I'm interested.  But this is becoming a lot more of an issue for me-how do I safely test this.   I'm willing to risk dry skin, but skin cancer, less so.   So what are good options to get over this?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Was going to post about laws, got distracted

No, this isn't actually as bad as it sounds.  I've been doing research for my previously mentioned post(probably posts) on legally defensible science.  It's interesting, and I still do intend to do that writing, probably at this point as a series of posts.  Too much to go into in one single post-what to do, different standards under different laws, etc.   For example, the EPA can and does have two different sets of good lab practices, under two different laws.   And then I checked my personal e-mail when I got home from work (no, I don't violate the internet policies at work.  I'm no fun, I know) and found a very interestingly titled e-mail in my box-"Nation's Chemical Law Not Broken".   Now, I'm a member of the American Chemical Society, which is blatantly and by definition a group for industry-chemical manufacturers, even if they have to deal with academic chemists as well.  I do believe that industry is important.   I was honestly stunned by this blatant advertisement by the Competitive Enterprise Institute-I am not going to link them-claiming to be "a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group that studies the intersection of regulation, risk, and markets" in my e-mail when their website on the very front page, second level title claims "Free Markets and Limited Government".  I'm not so sold on this impartiality.  They claim that modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act-an act that I know from working in the chemical industry that it's easy enough to find exemptions to for everything other than PCBs, dioxins-claimed to be some of the most toxic compounds known to man, asbestos and lead paint(this you can still get away with, by the way, just generally not in places children are expected to be) if you work at it-is going to endanger safety by requiring more demonstration of safety.   I couldn't wrap my head around the level of . . . intellectual dishonesty and cognitive dissonance between the e-mail I had been sent and the actual article.  And now I wonder who sold them my name and e-mail address.   I always worry that I will find out it's the ACS.  I hold on to my identity as a chemist, and believe it's important to be a member of professional organizations.  Every time I hear something from them, however, they skirt the line between science and ignoring science for outright industry advocacy a little too closely.   Have they finally overstepped:?   Did any other ACS members get this e-mail?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gold and Mercury

A cool article on the C&E news website. Gold nanoparticles cleaning mercury.  I worked a lot trying to clean water in graduate school.   Also did a lot of ICP for metals.   One problem that I frequently came up against was vaporization, and contamination of the instrument.   Interestingly, adding gold helps this problem.   A simple google search will yield lots of papers about this effect.  Amalgams with mercury are popular for mining, dental fillings
Some mining examples mining questions and more mining
Dental amalgams are falling out of favor though it's hard to prove any link to specific health problems epa website on dental amalgams
So it makes sense that gold can be used to clean mercury.    However, I enjoy reading about it and hope you do too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yet again it's been a long time

You can tell when I have a 40/hr a week job, can't you?   I need to work on that.   Well, here I am.  blogging.   I do still have a job, so I guess that's something-both a blog and a job.  And a super spiffy apartment.  Well, I think so.  
I have a post in mind that I deeply want to get into-regulatory chemistry and defensible data.   Both from the sense that sometimes the regulations are really really important-sign your chain of custody if you're doing anything legal, people.  And sometimes the regulations do have to be followed because that's what you do to be consistent, even if no, that compound might not break down much in three days.
It's what I've been doing, and it is something that I am actually loving. But it's something that makes me get up in the morning, and so I don't really have time to draw out my thoughts tonight.
Also, I missed the local section here ACS meeting last week.   I'm unhappy.