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CSB warns against using methanol in classroom or lab demos

Following up on the flash fire during a “tornado” demo in a Nevada museum, the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board released a statement today containing details of the incident and warning against using methanol in combustion demonstrations. CSB investigators responded to the museum fire, and their description of what happened confirms what the Associated Press reported: Our investigative team determined that the incident occurred during a “fire tornado”...

 
Oooops: NPR's non-research jobs link is dead
Posted in Chemjobber

What I got when I clicked on NPR's link for Ph.D. workin "other fields."NPR's Richard Harris is doing a pretty great series on the difficulties of biomedical researchers. (The second link features an assistant professor-turned-grocer - yikes!) In today's segment, he goes over the travails of biomedical postdoctoral fellows, talking to 3 postdocs, all of which are trying to find tenure-track positions unsuccessfully. And then there's this little paragraph:There actually are jobs – in indust...

 
Boosting global corn yields depends on improving nutrient balance

Ensuring that corn absorbs the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is crucial to increasing global yields, a study finds. A review of data from more than 150 studies from the U.S. and other regions showed that high yields were linked to production systems in which corn plants took up key nutrients at specific ratios -- nitrogen and phosphorus at a ratio of 5-to-1 and nitrogen and potassium at a ratio of 1-to-1. These nutrient uptake ratios were associated with high yields regardl...

 
Is combustible dust a concern for research labs?

In last week’s exploding pianos post, the experiments focused on the addition of flour to a theatrical “flash pot.” How important the flour was to the ensuing explosion was never resolved. Flour is, in fact, a combustible material–along with sugar, grains, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, and metals. The U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board has been warning about combustible dust hazards in industry for years. A CSB...

 
'Venus Zone' Could Aid Search for Earth-Like Alien Worlds

Exoplanet hunters have just made it easier to identify alien Venuses, in the hopes that doing so will lead to the discovery of more alien Earths. A team of researchers has delineated the "Venus Zone," the range of distances from a host star where planets are likely to resemble Earth's similarly sized sister world, which has been rendered unlivably hot due to a runaway greenhouse effect. The new study should help scientists get a better handle on how many of the rocky planets spotted by NASA's pr...

 
NASA's Reveals New-But-Familiar 'Flight Operations' Emblem

NASA's new "Flight Operations" emblem has a long history dating back decades. As displayed in mission control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Flight Operations insignia replaces the earlier "Mission Operations" logo, reflecting the merger of the flight crew and mission operations divisions. The newly-established Flight Operations Directorate (FOD) now has responsibility for the astronauts' activities as well as the planning and execution of their missions. The new directorate desc...

 
Do wearable lifestyle activity monitors really work?

Wearable electronic activity monitors hold great promise in helping people to reach their wellness goals. These increasingly sophisticated devices help the wearers improve their wellness by constantly monitoring their activities and bodily responses through companion computer programs and mobile apps. Given the large market for these devices, researchers analyzed 13 of these devices to compare how the devices and their apps work to motivate the wearer....

 
Novel capability enables first test of real turbine engine conditions

Manufactures of turbine engines for airplanes, automobiles and electric generation plants could expedite the development of more durable, energy-efficient turbine blades thanks to a new partnership. The ability to operate turbine blades at higher temperatures improves efficiency and reduces energy costs....

 
Wanted by NASA: Space Telescope Director with Spy Credentials

The leader of the James Webb Space Telescope must have clearance the allows access to the highest level of classified information, according to a NASA want ad -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com...

 
This week's C&EN
Posted in Chemjobber

Lots going on in this week's issue:Surely it means something that Indian pharmaceutical company Piramal is ending its drug discovery efforts in India? How odd. (article by Jean-François Tremblay)Enjoyed reading about Samantha Arnett, Ph.D. bioinorganic chemist and the State Department's Biosecurity Engagement Program's manager. (article by Deirdre Lockwood) (registration required)I found this letter by Martin Feldman of Howard University very interesting and a rather pointed critique of t...

 
Could Air Fresheners During Pregnancy Boost Childhood Asthma Risk?

The first study to look at prenatal phthalate exposure and later effects on respiration suggest some worrisome results   -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com...

 
What's wrong with this picture?
Posted in Chemjobber

Courtesy of Bubba at In The Pipeline, a truly amusing set of bad chemistry structures behind this fake chemistry teacher.(Surely correcting bad chemistry in Hollywood could be a paying job for someone, right?)Also, a very perceptive comment from him:"If you don't watch TV between 6 and 7pm, then you are entirely missing the public face of pharma."Oh, dear, I'm afraid that's true. ...

 
Ebola global security threat - Obama

US President Barack Obama calls the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to security worldwide while announcing a larger US role, including 3,000 troops, to help fight the virus....

 
The top 50 science stars of Twitter

Inspired by the flap over the Kardashian Index, Science has compiled a list of the most followed scientists on the social media platform...

 
World's Happiest Country Is ... (Hint: It Has a Canal)

Panama may be the happiest country in the world, racking up the highest score in the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index for 2013. In contrast, conflict-afflicted countries such as Syria and Afghanistan showed the lowest scores in this survey of 135 countries. The United States came in at number 14 in the poll. Only 1 in 6 adults (17 percent) worldwide were considered to be "thriving" in at least three of these five elements of well-being....

 
Richard III death injuries revealed

King Richard III was probably killed by two blows to the head during a "sustained attack", according to new research....

 
Ebola vaccine: Little and late

Scaling up production of Ebola vaccines and treatments will take many months...

 
Ebola vaccine trial begins

A trial of an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus is to begin in Oxford....

 
Leopards Wolf Down Fido In India Ag Area

A study of leopard droppings in agricultural western India reveals that the cats primarily eat domestic animals, mostly dogs, but only a small amount of livestock. Steve Mirsky reports.   -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com...

 
U.S. declares war on Ebola epidemic

President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate commit to help West Africa wallop the virus...

 
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