I want to meditate, but I can’t stop thinking about science
I want to meditate, but I can’t stop thinking about science
While true happiness may have a different definition to each of us, science can give us a glimpse at the underlying biological factors behind happiness. From the food we eat to room temperature, there are thousands of factors that play a role in how our brains work and the moods that we are in. Understanding these factors can be helpful in achieving lasting happiness.
Infographic by Webpage FX
apparently it’s nineteen fucking twenty
Together We Are Stronger.
Extending the Body with Wearable Tech: Featured Speaker Chris Goodine
Technology has done a great job at augmenting our mental capabilities. We now have an infinite ability to know and remember things thanks to the internet and services like Google, IMDB, Wikipedia and the like. But when it comes to our physical skills like walking, seeing, touching and so on, technology hasn’t really played a part…until now. Integrating the tech with our body through wearable technology is starting to show us the potential of extending our physicality beyond our natural capabilities. One of these devices is the gesture control armband, Myo.
A paper from University of Kansas economist Koleman Strumpf (whose work we’ve featured here for years) empirically examines the impact of file-sharing on box-office revenues.
Tollens reaction - the silver mirror test
Traditionally used to detect the presence of aldehyde functional groups, a silver mirror will form on glassware during a positive detection. The reaction will not occur for the similar structured ketone due to the role the hydrogen has to play.
During the reaction the hydrogen gets swapped for an oxygen atom during oxidation and you get a carboxylic acid salt forming.
To make Tollens reagent, silver ions from silver nitrate are complexed with ammonia under basic conditions (sodium / potassium hydroxide is usually used).
Once the ammonia is added to the silver nitrate a silver oxide precipitate forms, which is redissolved by adding more ammonia. Potassium hydroxide is added, more precipitate forms and ammonia is added again till it’s completely dissolved. Finally, you add the solution you suspect has aldehydes in it. If it does your caboxylic acid salt will pull the ligands off the silver complex, converting it to it’s metallic form.
Not only does it test for aldehydes, this reaction also detects the presence of reducing sugars - for instance glucose which reduces the metal cations to form metallic silver - in fact this process is used to make silver coated mirrors.
Care however must be taken not to leave the solution for too long as Tollens reagent carries the risk of explosion. Once the test is completed the solution should be washed down the sink with plenty of water - do not leave it in the silver recovery waste bottle and always prepare the solution immediately before running the test - never the night before.
When a nanolaser casts a shadow, the grad student gets 6 more weeks of fabrication.
The pillar in the middle is one of the nanolasers our lab makes. It’s supposed to be a single column all by itself, roughly cylindrical with a bit of a funky coke bottle shape, about 1/100 the height of a sheet of printer paper. We etch out the column from a solid block of layered semiconductor, using a bombardment of high-energy plasma from the top. So, how did the nanolaser end up carving its shadow into solid semiconductor?
It seems that when we use the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to look at our nanolasers after various steps in our fabrication process, the microscope’s electron beam changes the properties of the semiconductor it hits, making it more resistant to our etching plasma. Since we’re usually imaging our lasers from the side, the electron beam hits each nanolaser pillar at an angle, and the area hidden behind the nanolaser gets shielded from the beam.
What this means, unfortunately, is that the more we use SEM to look at our fabrication progress, the less predictable the fabrication process becomes. A watched laser never lases.
Fabrication and SEM by Dr. Qing Gu.
My new favorite, the Eschweiler–Clarke reaction!
The Eschweiler–Clarke reaction (also called the Eschweiler–Clarke methylation) is a chemical reaction whereby a primary (or secondary) amine is methylated using excess formic acid and formaldehyde. Reductive amination reactions such as this one will not produce quaternary ammonium salts, but instead will stop at the tertiary amine stage. It is named for the German chemist Wilhelm Eschweiler (1860–1936) and the British chemist Hans Thacher Clarke (1887-1972).
The mechanism of the reaction is really simple, first methylation of the amine begins with imine formation with formaldehyde. The formic acid acts as a source of hydride and reduces the imine to a secondary amine. The driving force is the formation of the gas carbon dioxide. Formation of the tertiary amine is similar, but slower due to the difficulties in iminium ion formation.
The only problem was, that the yields were at a maximum 60%, but for the first run it’s not that bad.
Weighing 15.5 tons, this iron meteorite is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. The smooth surface melted during its blazing entry into the atmosphere, while the pits formed on the Earth’s surface.
The Willamette Meteorite was originally located within the Upper Willamette Valley of Oregon. It was revered as a spiritual being that has healed and empowered the people of the valley by the Clackamas Indians who occupied the region.
17 July 2014
Climatic Kidney Stones
This is not a bouquet of flowers or a strange succulent plant. It’s a kidney stone, pictured using a scanning electron microscope. A new study has revealed an unexpected consequence of global warming: an increase in kidney stones. Researchers found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients from all over the United States. Kidney stones are usually formed when waste products in the blood, such as calcium, ammonia and uric acid, form crystals inside the kidneys. These hard stones can cause severe pain, particularly as they pass down the urinary tract. The number of people suffering from kidney stones, especially children, has soared over the past three decades. Part of this rise may be brought on by higher temperatures, which contribute to dehydration, leading to a higher concentration of minerals in urine that promote the growth of kidney stones.
Written by Nick Kennedy
This new tune from A Capella Science is the bomb. It’s a hip-hop retelling of the difficult day when mankind harnessed nuclear fission and scientific progress came face to face with war… all set to an Eminem song.