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  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: A Nasty Condensed Gas

    If you cool things down enough, you can turn almost anything into a liquid (or into a solid, if you’re really insane about it.) Chemists use liquid ammonia fairly often, for example, though it’s been some years now since I’ve needed any. People outside the field think of the aqueous solution of ammonia gas (household… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    The Problems That the Synthesis Machine Won’t Solve

    Martin Burke, a chemist at the University of Illinois, made a big splash some months back with his “synthesis machine”. And I have to confess, I probably helped some of the water fly through the air. I’d heard him talk about this technology, and I was very impressed, and I found the subsequent paper impressive… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    Things People Won’t Listen To?

    Here’s a podcast interview I did recently for “Science For the People” (formerly known as “Skeptically Speaking”, where they quizzed me about some of the “Things I Won’t Work With” compounds. The whole show is worth listening to (there’s Scicurious and ZeFrank in there, but I come in at about th… Read More
  • Cancer

    Watching PARP1 Inhibitors Fail To Work, Cell By Cell

    Here’s something that’s been sort of a dream of medicinal chemists and pharmacologists, and now can begin to be realized: single-cell pharmacokinetics. For those outside the field, you should know that we spend a lot of time on our drug candidates, evaluating whether they’re actually getting to where we want them to. And thereR… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Not Working Out So Well at Merck?

    Here’s a rather grim analysis from the AP of Merck’s current status. The company’s stock was recently downgraded by two analysts after last Friday’s earnings call didn’t go very well (links added by me below): Future sales of Vytorin, a controversial combination drug on sale since 2004 that includes Zocor, and prospect… Read More
  • Cardiovascular Disease

    Niacin: How Does It Work, Anyway?

    Here’s yet another chance to play the human biology game that might as well be called “Now what?” That’s when we find that what we thought we knew is actually wrong, more complicated, or a sign of something else entirely. Today’s entry is niacin. As many readers know, it looks like it should be a… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Who Follows These Things?

    My schedule is all over the place today – events at my kids’ school, new projects at work, etc. But I do want to put a quick question out to people: I keep seeing various scientific journals, etc. proudly advertising that they’re on Twitter, Facebook, etc. So, does anyone get any use out of that?… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Publish Your Work The Easy Way

    I say unkind things about various scientific journals here on occasion. But I have to say that I’ve never encountered a situation in chemistry that matches the affair of M. S. El Naschie, editor of the Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals. It’s nice to see the editor-in-chief show up with an occasional paper in… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Sand Won’t Save You This Time

    In a comment to my post on putting out fires last week, one commenter mentioned the utility of the good old sand bucket, and wondered if there was anything that would go on to set the sand on fire. Thanks to a note from reader Robert L., I can report that there is indeed such… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Evil Thoughts of Evil Things

    There was a comment on the “Airplanes and Chemicals” post that brought up something I’ve been meaning to address. Says Steve, after describing an old TV show that gave rather too detailed a picture of nitroglycerin synthesis: While I am first in line to defend freedom of speech and would balk at anyone trying to… Read More