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When I can't remember someone's physical appearance, I sometimes blame my height: "Don't ask me. From my perspective, everyone looks like a chin."

Turns out that's partly true.

Shorter people...see more apparent chin as a result of more often seeing faces from below.
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Three Americans share Nobel Prize for Medicine.

It's the first time two women have been among the winners of the medicine prize.
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This article reminds me why I first fell in love with chemistry, It's also an exceptionally well-written piece of science journalism:

Boron’s unusual properties come from the three electrons in its outer electronic layer. For similar elements like aluminum, one row down on the periodic table, the three outer electrons are easily torn away, and the element behaves as a metal. But boron is smaller, and so its nucleus holds on to the electrons tighter, more like an insulator.

“Boron is a truly schizophrenic element,” Dr. Oganov said. “It’s an element of complete frustration. It doesn’t know what it wants to do. The outcome is something horribly complicated.”

And here's the really cool part...

Starting with a number of trial crystal structures, the program calculates the energy needed to hold each together, and discards the versions that do not pack together comfortably. Then, as occurs in biological evolution, the crystal parameters are tweaked (the equivalent of mutation) and portions of the structure swapped (the equivalent of recombination). After generations of calculation, the answer converges on the stable form.

This algorithm had previously revealed new phases of iron sulfide, calcium carbonate, sulfur and even a superconducting form of oxygen, subsequently confirmed by experiment.

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The problem with historical photographs is that anything in sepia-tint or black-and-white acquires an otherworldly aura. We know that women joined the domestic workforce during World War II, worked in factories and repaired airplanes. But these events appear, to me at least, to be a myth we tell each other. Rosie the Riveter flexes her biceps for a few moments until we turn the page and see her baking a casserole; the inevitable progression of a story that lost all suspense a long time ago.

And then I came across a couple of photographs from the 1940s that have been restored to near true color and I see those women as more than monochrome relics; I can see them as actual people who could be in the lab next door, elbow deep in a jet engine, and I think, "Wow, she's cool. I should meet her," before I remember that she's long gone and sixty years later we still don't know where she is.
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Hemorrhagic pulmonary edema associated with meat tenderizer treatment for esophageal meat impaction

ML Hall and JS Huseby
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.

We describe a case of acute hemorrhagic pulmonary edema caused by aspiration of Adolph's meat tenderizer, used in an attempt to relieve an esophageal meat impaction. We performed an animal experiment in which bronchial instillation of a similar solution reproduced the clinical findings in our patient. This is a previously unreported and potentially lethal complication of a therapy that has never been submitted to clinical trials. We recommend against the use of this therapy for patients with complete esophageal obstruction or in those otherwise at risk for aspiration.
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What happens if you try to reconcile geological history with biblical history? You get a sublime work of humor!

Blame the octopos!
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Scientists discover passionate love lasts for a year. And they have the data to prove it...
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"My lab rats worship me as a goddess. I must admit, I don't discourage them."
- Frasier's wife on Cheers

Yay for female scientists with attitude.


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December 2012

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