This blog is my attempt to reconnect with the world of chemistry. I have a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and make a living doing research for a large company in Michigan. As times have changed, that company has changed its focus and I no longer have as much chance to do the basic, fundamental research which I most enjoy. Through this blog, I am hoping to recapture the magic which I felt during my graduate (and undergraduate) days in college. Expect topics on chemistry and alchemy along with some non-chemistry related items which I think might be interesting.

"The chymists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasure among smoke and vapour, soot and flame, poisons and poverty; yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that may I die if I would change places with the Persian King."

Johann Joachim Becher (phlogistonist)
Acta Laboratorii Chymica Monacensis, seu Physica Subterranea, (1669).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Musings

Just a few tidbits today. About 2 weeks ago, I posted that I didn’t like coffee and that I was quite happy about it. Well now it appears that drinking coffee lowers your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Jonathan Geiger, “Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky.” Damn, I guess my distaste for coffee wasn’t all that healthy after all. I can still get my minimum daily requirement of caffeine from soda, but it has been awhile since I’ve averaged a soda a day. Maybe I’ll have to start drinking green tea, too.

In Douglas Adams’ “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” one of the characters discovers that in the future, cows will not only be bred to taste good, but will be genetically engineered into “an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly.” The resulting conversation between Arthur and the cow is quite funny. That’s the first thing I thought of when I read this article describing how researchers at Newcastle University have successfully created part-human, part-cow hybrid embryos. Fortunately, these embryos will not grow into anything.

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