Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free Radicals

(Translation: Free radicals are everywhere...)
This is my daily weather website. For the past month or so, the advertisement at the top of page has been for Zellschutz (translation: cell protection) pills. According to the manufacturer's website, they contain a protective mixture of vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, selenium, and natural extracts from pomegranate, grapefruit, and green tea. Can antioxidants prolong your life and offer "cellular protection"? I think the verdict is still out on that.

But I do think it's funny that they've made the free radicals look like scary little bugs...They kind of look like bacteria (maybe), but certainly not free radicals...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Condensed Print

Starting this month, the printed version of ACS journals will appear in a new condensed-print format. Apparently the print-based journals are no longer in high demand (print subscriptions down 50% in just 2 years is quite a loss), so to save costs, they will be printing 4 columns of text on just one page. From the image on the website, it looks like the articles will be printed in “landscape” format, with the page turned 90 degrees and shrunken in size.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am a big fan of real paper issues of journals. It is nice to just sit down with the newest issue of any journal and flip through the pages, stopping if something catches my eye. Sometimes I end up reading some really interesting (and off-topic) research that way. You can’t just flip through the electronic version like that. Sure, if I’m looking for a particular compound or searching for a synthesis, I prefer the electronic version. Yes, I agree that there are MANY benefits to the electronic version of any journal. But, those rare times when I have a bit of free time and the geek in me actually wants to read about chemistry, I’d rather sit down at my desk and flip through the paper version. If I need to squint and get out my magnifying glass just to read the articles, I won’t be able to enjoy that time any more.

They try to make this sound better by saying that the new format is environmentally friendly. (Factoid: an annual subscription to all ACS journals weighs more than ½ ton!) I do like the idea of saving the environment (don’t get me started), but I don’t really know that a condensed-format journal is the way to go. If they really wanted to promote long-term sustainability, they would eliminate the print version of the journal completely.

Maybe I’m a little old fashioned, but I’m sad that paper is going out of style.

(After a quick search, I also found this article on the Chemistry Blog about condensed print).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday...kind of...

Well, it's not exactly my birthday, but it is my 1-year Ph.D. birthday, and that is certainly worth writing about! It is really difficult to believe that one year ago around this time I was out celebrating the new title and enjoying every second of it. Other than my wedding day, the day of my final defense was one of the most memorable of my life.

So what has changed in the last year? Other than my new job in a new country, not much. Well, I guess there is a new addition to the family...

...but you can see he fits right in.

Hopefully now that I've settled into my new job, I will have a little more time to write here once again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This is your desk:

This is your desk in grad school:

This is your desk in grad school 2 weeks before your final defense:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Plants and your health...

It's getting to be the time of year when I like to start putting all of my plants outside on the balcony. Usually I also like to plant a couple of windowboxes full of petunias. Add a couple of tomato plants, and I am set for the summer. This year though, with my final defense set for July 1 (GASP!), I don't have time for any of this "enjoying the sun" nonsense. Instead I'm limited to reading here about plants that are good for your heath.

Who ever thought that my spider plant could be cancel out the effects of the formaldehyde potentially found in my clothes?

Or that a gerbera daisy could protect me from the benzene in inks?

Not sure about the accuracy of these statements (I'd love to know their sources), but it is cool to think that my overabundance of plants (more than 20 in 600 sq. feet) is good for something other than just improving my mood.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Legal problems of Ph.D's in Germany

As some of you may know already, my husband is German, so what I read last night in C&EN (don't you think it is ridiculous that I often don't get C&EN until Friday?) really shocked me. Apparently some internationally-trained (non-EU) scientists in Germany are facing charges for using the title "Dr." on their websites and business cards. Before I started reading, I was sure that it must be something to do with the fact that the "Dr." title might be confused with a medical doctor in a foreign country. But as I read further, I realized this wasn't the case. According to Spiegel, this law stems from 1939--and in simplified terms states that foreign degrees are suspicious, and need to be verified. In those times, such a law might have made sense, but now it just seems outdated. Luckily, the German government has already started to fix things up; at a conference in Berlin last week (see point 5) it was decided that an American Ph.D's can use the "Dr." prefix in Germany as long as their degree was granted from an institution recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.