Bring Back OTA
Aug31

Bring Back OTA

I spent part of last week excavating my office desk in the wake of the ACS meeting in Washington, D.C., and a week’s vacation in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. I came across a July 24, 2009, letter from Ralph Nader urging me to support an effort by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) to reinstate Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment. I have never been a big fan of Nader’s, but here’s an issue on which...

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Poster Ingenuity
Aug28

Poster Ingenuity

In a sea of posters at a chemistry conference it is hard to stand out from the crowd. But graduate student Natalia Shustova of Colorado State University managed to do so at the combination 19th International Symposium on Fluorine Chemistry/3rd International Symposium on Fluorous Technologies this week with a 3-D presentation. Shustova’s research is on encapsulating metal atoms inside fullerenes that have fluorinated groups on the...

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Pictures from an Exposition
Aug28

Pictures from an Exposition

  Every exposition at a national ACS meeting is a wonder of magnitude, logistics, specialty knowledge, personalities, marketing and promotion innovations (and desperations), and business diversity. The microculture of the journals and book industry, for example, is so different from that of the lab automation industry. For me, though, the biggest draw at each Expo is the opportunity to browse the material culture of the...

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Time Out
Aug28

Time Out

Organizers of the fluorine conferences taking place in Grand Teton National Park this week did a lot of thinking ahead when planning the technical sessions. Fluorine meetings tend to be a bit relaxed, and fluorine chemists a bit verbose, with speakers running over their allotted time and ensuing discussions dragging things out even further. But with so many lectures on the schedule, the organizers knew they had to keep speakers on...

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Cal/OSHA Investigates UCLA, Again
Aug27

Cal/OSHA Investigates UCLA, Again

(Post updated at end.) The University of California, Los Angeles, is still under the microscope of state regulators. California Division of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA) officials paid the school’s chemistry & biochemistry department a surprise visit on Tuesday, Aug. 26. Cal/OSHA spokesperson Erika Monterroza says that the inspection marked the opening of a new investigation into laboratory health & safety...

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