Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to lab today for the first time in almost a week, in many ways I love ACS meetings, in many ways my liver hates them.

A few weeks ago an acquaintance was in town for a night as he passed through, so Liam and I took him out to Adams Morgan for some drinks. While we were there he got flyered, and spent some time trying to pass it off on someone else for fun, while we made fun of him. Eventually I had a look at the flyer, which was covered in scantily clad chicks, so I kept it for later inspection. It's been sitting on my desk at home ever since, and periodically I pick it up and and check it out. This amazing little card never seems to disappoint and has revealed something new to me on almost every occasion.

hubba, hubba

Of course I grabbed it cause it's covered in scantily clad hot chicks, but the nature of the chicks is pretty intriguing, as well. All are black, all have pretty significant booty, and pretty much all are facing away from the camera or otherwise presenting their assets. "Birthday Sex Bash", "U Turn Me Out Sex Bash" ... wow! Now that's advertising!

Notice the completely naked girl in the forefront of the first side? That's not a pole wedged betwixt her cheeks, it's a sword.

A later assessment revealed some more details of interest, in nice small letters "No Athletic Wear" and "This is a Nigga Free Zone". Holy shit that's a bold statement.

Somehow, inexplicably, I missed what might be the best part. I was googling the names of the companies involved to see if there was any info about this place. Where was it? Is it a club, or a warehouse party-type set up? Were there police reports? I found an article describing this very flyer, which pointed out something very important I had missed. While on the front it says "Gentleman Only 25 years and Up", on the back it says "Ladies Night No Dudes Allowed 21 Years and Up". They are apparently trying to tap into a market of both chicks and dudes that want exactly the same thing in their smut! Absolutely amazing!

If that place was anywhere near here I think I would live there!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

then profit!

Today's Org. Lett. ASAPs had this gem.

Things like this piss me off a bit but mostly confuse me. At first blush everything seems fine, they even clarify that the mechanism is proposed. Step one is a straightforward sequence of additions which is (probably) inaccurately described as a Diels-Alder, but the second step is pretty interesting. It includes the addition of a nucleophile to a tertiary carbinol under basic conditions. I can think of a couple of reasonable mechanisms that lead to the drawn product, but they aren't immediately obvious. In fact the one I like best doesn't even use that particular intermediate. In any case it seems to me to be a significant intellectual leap to the final product, and the authors a) don't actually know what's going on, b) think that it's the direct displacement of the carbinol, or c) know what is going on, but can't be bothered to describe it, even though they wrote the scheme in the first place.

None of those options is particularly satisfying, and these types of half baked situations always remind me of the South Park episode with the underpants gnomes and their business plan.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


In today's JACS ASAP is a review of the 90th edition of the CRC Handbook. This thing has been around for so long that it never occurred to me that I didn't know what CRC stood for, until my octagenarian coworker asked to borrow my "rubber book". When he saw my confusion, he explained that the rubber book was a reference put out by the Chemical Rubber Company.

This huge tome may be the best know of all science reference books. I was actually really surprised to see a review of it. To me it seems that if you like reference information in book form, it's fairly obvious you need this book. I mean it's been out for 95 years, how could you not know about it?

As a side note, they seem pretty good about adding things to it, and seldomremoving old info. Sometimes the internet isn't the best place to find old information, but if it's chemistry and physics it's in the CRC handbook. They even take out errors from older versions. A collegue wanted to remove some water via an azeotrope that he found in the CRC. I thought it sounded like it wouldn't work (azeotropes tend to form between polar and nonpolar liquids, not polar and polar - good bit of minutiae to know), and after a little looking we found out it was a mistake that was removed from later versions.