Friday Potpourri

Just a few things to sate your appetite for the ol' CBC this weekend:

  • James Watson, as it turns out, is a complete prick. Shocking. Given his treatment of Rosalind Franklin in The Double Helix, frankly nothing that comes out of this man's mouth surprises me- he's always had a lack of tact. The concept of "race" is a purely socioeconomic one, which has a long, sordid, awful history in this country. No amount of science is going to fix that. If Watson has his way, such science would only make things worse.

  • I think this is a point worth repeating. There are some things that science can't fix. Race discrimination is undoubtedly one of those things.

  • Roger Kornberg does chemistry! Who knew? *epic lulz* In an incredible paper that came out in Science this week, the Kornberg group isolated and got a crystal structure of a gold nanoparticle with 102 Au atoms capped by 58 mercaptobenzoic acid ligands. Given the difficulty of generating sufficiently monodisperse nanoparticles to even make crysals, this is quite an achievement. A great read! (thanks to anonymous for the tip, whoever you are.)

  • Another cool paper from Advanced Materials, aka that one journal with the awesome research and no supporting information: the Japanese have succeeded in fabricating a gel that walks. On its own. Using metal redox chemistry and no biologicals. I, for one, submit to our walking jelly overlords, which I suspect will take over Japan, and soon the world, in the next twenty years.

  • In the "yet another paper on carbon nanotubes" department, a Nano Letters paper from the Burke group at UCI, where they made a carbon nanotube radio. The nanotube acts as the AM demodulator of the radio source, and they even made a video demonstrating how it works with those newfangled iPods all the kids have nowadays. The music choice is pretty dumb (it was like muzak or something- why not some real music?), but the concept is cool.

  • EDIT: The video is on YouTube! woot

  • And finally, in the self-congatulatory deparment, an article in this week's Science about this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry going to Gerhard Ertl has the following quip:

    "In an earlier phone interview with Science, Ertl was quick to offer credit to fellow researchers. His field, he says, was propelled by the parallel development of many surface characterization techniques. And, he adds, many scientists were adept at applying them--including Gabor Somorjai of the University of California, Berkeley, with whom he shared the 1998 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for their work in surface science. "I was a little bit disappointed he didn't share [the Nobel Prize] with me," Ertl says. Last week, several chemistry bloggers went further, arguing that Somorjai deserved recognition for his vital role in laying the foundations of surface science."

    So basically 1. Gerhard Ertl is a nice guy; 2. Ertl also thinks Somorjai should have won; 3. Apparently the chemblagosphere whined loud enough about this that Science took notice and felt it necessary to add that last part in. I feel partly responsible. Yay me!

There, that should keep you occupied for the weekend. See you Monday!


Uncle Al said...

James Watson, as it turns out, is a complete prick. James Watson, as it turns out, is 100% empirically correct. Blacks as a group perform 1.2 sigma below European Whites on tasks involving language skills or mathematics - anywhere on Earth.

SAT (Verbal + Math)/10 = IQ. The 22,500 enrollment Compton, CA Unified School District's massively subsidized best college-bound on the average scored (384 + 380)/10 = 76 IQ in 2005. Diversity assures them automatic university admissions and full scholarships.

Head Start with an annual budget substantially exceeding that of the National Science Foundation is a 40+ year disaster - according to the Department of Education. Ask Al Sharpton for research grant funding. Bedtime for Bonzo plus social advocacy equals Bonzo Goes to College.

Would you like a Black doctor, lawyer, or accountant? How 'bout a Jewish or Asian doctor, lawyer, or accountant? The problem with stereotypes is that they are true - and you know it.

46,768 kids failed the 2006 California high school exit examination, 10.7% of the entire enrolled California high school senior population. 34% of the total entering high school population - the exceptionally stupid ones - had already dropped out. "Students with a learning disability were exempted from the test" and given automatic diplomas. Guess which racial and ethnic groups in 12th grade cannot pass an 8th grade skills test with 55% correct given unlimited attempts and the same piece of paper each time. Bravo, James Watson, for having balls as well as brains.

Dennis said...

I'm curious, is "prick" the insult of choice for Watson because it rhymes with Crick?

Ψ*Ψ said...

The nanotube radio is super cool! Glad the group took a video.

Uncle Al, either get your own blog or shut the hell up.

Energy Turtle said...

I watched a movie in an undergrad biology class called "The Race for the Double Helix" or something like that. Jeff Goldblum played Watson. He definitely played Watson as a tool, but it was more of a lovable loser type-thing. He was awkward around women, he was a fish out of water (being an American in Europe), etc. Turns out, he's a eugenics-promoting racist homophobe. Go figure.

Sherry said...

Franklin is my hero. after reading The dark lady of DNA. i know that i am not paranoid about my secret codeing of my compounds and hidding my chemicals.

Mitch said...

Paul, stop congratulating yourself. Woops I mean Excimer... :P


Ψ*Ψ said...

the walking gel is a super-cool idea. plus it's colorful!! :)

mevans said...

Why does the American always turn out to be the bad guy? :-(

Liat said...

I for one would love to have Johnnie Cochran as my lawyer. Also, James Watson spoke at UC Berkeley a few years ago, and I could tell that the dude was slipping. He outlined the basic principles of eugenics, ragged on Rosalind Franklin, and self-congratulated himself for working ball and stick models. The man is a hack, and I am damned sorry that the Swedes ever gave him any of that money.

Great job with the science reporting. Ertl shouldn't get knocked because Somorjai was robbed.

Uncle Al said...

Yo! Ψ*Ψ. If only the USSR had been allowed to proceed for a longer period with a bigger budget and more vigorous pursuit... a workers' paradise would be ours! US Social Security implodes by 2015.

United States of Stooopidity
Income redistribution
Education social advocacy
Carbon footprints
Empirical global warming

Why is California burning from Malibu to Mexico? 40+ years of Enviro-whinerism accumulated dead dried resinous brush up to 20 feet thick over thousands of useless (fragile and endangered) square miles. It prohibited natural small fires and drastically overplanted (Enviro-subsidies!) semi-desert. How many high efficiency fluorescent lamps should Uncle Al buy to offset the carbon footprint of one million Enviro-whiner acres burned?

Watson is empirically correct. Bedtime for Bonzo or Algore and PowerPoint, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled," Richard Feynman. "Best efforts will not substitute for knowledge," W. Edwards Deming.

cynnamoyl said...

Eximer :The music choice is pretty dumb (it was like muzak or something- why not some real music?), but the concept is cool.

Test other music style on

(*.qt -video files)

cynnamoyl said...

Ok. This is mistake. In Nano Lett ASAP are two different article about radio on CNT.