A Chemistry-Themed Book Launch
Apr27

A Chemistry-Themed Book Launch

During the book launching party for Jacqueline Jaeger Houtman children's book, "The Reinvention of Edison Thomas," Houtman provided guests with cupcakes in the form of a periodic table.  But she took the nerdiness a few steps further than simply labeling cupcakes with elements. The sweets were flavored according to their chemical group; noble gases were lemon, lanthanides were chocolate mint, halogens were chocolate peanut butter, etc. Houtman also made sure guests earned those extra calories, and required them to learn a little something about their element before chowing down.  For more information on Houtman's book, visit her...

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Move Your Vitamins
Mar29

Move Your Vitamins

Like many people, unless I take my multivitamin first thing in the morning, I won’t take it at all. For me, the most obvious place to sit the bottle of Centrum is in my bathroom right next to my toothbrush. According to new research, however, I couldn’t pick a worse place in my home to store it. In a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, researchers Ashley N. Hiatt, Lynne S. Taylor, and Lisa J. Mauer monitored stability of two forms of vitamin C—sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid—under high heat and humidity. The researchers discovered that when exposed to such conditions vitamin C becomes prone to a process called deliquescence and starts to dissolve and clump. This can render the product useless, depending on the conditions and formulations, and isn’t reversible. “If you get some moisture present or ingredients dissolve, they’ll decrease the quality and shelf life of the product and decrease the nutrient delivery,” Mauer stated in a release. In as little as a week “you can get complete loss of vitamin C in some products that have deliquesced,” she continued. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most common areas for this to occur, thanks to varying temperatures and humidity in those rooms. “The humidity in your kitchen or bathroom can cycle up quite high, depending on how long of a shower you take, for example, and can get higher than 98%,” Mauer said. Some signs of product breakdown to look out for include liquid in vitamin containers and brown spots, especially on children’s vitamins. Although the vitamins aren’t necessarily unsafe at this point, Mauer still suggests discarding them. “Why give a vitamin to a kid if it doesn’t have the vitamin content you’re hoping to give them?” she said. “You’re just giving them candy at that point with a high sugar content.” Looks like I’ll be relocating my supplements to my bedroom. Here's a video of Mauer explaining the process of...

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Periodic Table Parodies
Mar25

Periodic Table Parodies

OMG, I TIAIL w this T! JP! (Translation: Oh my gosh, I think I am in love with this T-shirt! Just playing!) Don't fret if you had to resort to the translation to make sense of the previous sentence; it's not exactly English. It's text speak, and if you have a teenager, know a teenager, or have any desire to text like a teenager, than Newscripts has a shirt for you. I happened upon this scientifically blasphemous cotton nightmare while sifting through the junior section of TJ Maxx, but you can order it online here. T-shirt designers just love making parodies of the Periodic Table and, thankfully, most of them are at least mildly amusing. My personal favorite is the Chuck Norris shirt, included below. It reads, "Chuck Norris destroyed the Periodic Table because he only recognizes the element of surprise." Hilarious. Have a favorite  Periodic Table shirt we missed? Include it in the comments...

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A 'Barenaked' Science Song
Sep22

A 'Barenaked' Science Song

A few days ago, we posted some excellent chemistry-themed music videos from Tom Lehrer and They Might Be Giants. Well, these guys aren’t the only acts getting in on the science songs. The Barenaked Ladies penned the theme song for my favorite comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” but what you might not know is BL also wrote an extended version of the catchy ditty. “Big Bang” had its third season premiere last night, and in honor of the show’s triumphant return let’s have a listen to the full version: In case you’re wondering, the season premiere did not disappoint. Sheldon didn’t prove string theory after all, but Leonard was able to finally catch a break with a certain Nebraskan who, as Sheldon so kindly pointed out, will not be winning a Nobel Prize in...

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Another Emmy For 'Breaking Bad'
Sep21

Another Emmy For 'Breaking Bad'

If you watched the 61st Emmy Awards last night, you may have come away with a strong sense of déjà vu. The award show was full of repeat wins, including Bryan Cranston once again taking home the golden statuette for “Lead Actor in a Drama Series” for the AMC drama “Breaking Bad." In the series, which is in its third season, Cranston plays terminally ill high school chemistry teacher Walter White, who uses his chemistry knowledge to manufacture meth. “I'm just a poor kid from the Valley," Cranston said in his acceptance speech. " I don't know what I'm doing here. I'm like Cinderfella." Cranston beat out favorites such as Hugh Laurie from "House" and Simon Baker from "The Mentalist." It wasn't a sweep for science, however. Jim Parsons was nominated for "Lead Actor in a Comedy Series" for his role as Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory," but lost out to Alec Baldwin for his work on "30 Rock." Ah, well. Here's betting that Parsons could school Baldwin in a rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock battle any day of the...

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