January 16th, 2008 | Comments Off on panic panic panic

I am currently in PANIC mode over my appointment with a potential future employer tomorrow. I’m not really sure what to expect, which no doubt is the cause of all my PANIC.

I’m currently reading about his research, and now I’m wondering–why do I even bother? All this stuff is clearly over my head, I have no relevant experience, and while it’s interesting, I can’t think of a way to say that which isn’t trite.


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Posted in snippet
June 3rd, 2007 | 1 Comment »

Well, my research on artificial sweeteners has led to some people spouting very bad chemistry indeed. For my amusement, I present some questions from Splenda Exposed and my responses as a chemist 8D (that’s how I look with lab goggles, by the way).

Is chorine present in Splenda?
I have no idea what “chorine” is. I don’t even think it’s a word.

Ah, but chLorine? Well, there are chlorine atoms in the sucralose molecule.

Will the chorine in Splenda harm human health? Who says “yes” and who says “no”?
Again, what is this “chorine” business?

Does chlorine cause cancer?
Not according to some people. If chlorine caused cancer, wouldn’t swimming pools use ozone instead? And what about chlorinated drinking water, should we worry about that too?

Is the chlorine in Splenda natural or manmade?
What does this question even MEAN? If you find somebody who can create matter, please let me know.

Also, what difference does it make? If I make water from hydrogen and oxygen, is it any better or worse than water that I’ve distilled from a stream?

Does the chlorine in Splenda break down in the human body? (At least fifteen percent does—read on!)
I think this question wants to ask, “Does Splenda break down into ‘chlorocarbons’ in the human body?” Anyway, I have no answer for this–more research is needed on my part.

Is chorine a chlorocarbon?
(I still don’t know what they mean by “chorine.”) No. Chlorine is chlorine. (Duh.) There is no carbon in chlorine. There is carbon AND chlorine in chlorocarbons.

What is a “chlorocarbohydrate”? (Is there such a thing? Highly questionable.)
Why not? Chemists make up names for molecules all the time. Why does it matter what they’re called? Molecules don’t conform to, or draw their properties from, our names for them; names are after-the-fact pronouncements.

If we can have “chlorocarbons” or “chloroflurocarbons” (CFCs), why can’t we have the label “chlorocarbohydrate”?

Posted in ramblings
December 7th, 2006 | Comments Off on Chemistry sucks

I am so sick of chemistry it’s not even funny.

Someone save me from this horror >_< Oh, and if anyone is wondering what on earth I'll be working on next term, read all these journal articles and you’ll know better than me. That’s what I’m going to spend my winter break doing. Assuming I don’t flunk out of chem and am still able to work for the next term T_T

Posted in snippet
October 19th, 2006 | 3 Comments »

I want to test out a new WP plugin that I’ve just installed that lets me password protect parts of posts. Now I can be emo and you DON’T have to read about it!

In this case, though, I’ll just be talking about my new workplace–woo-hoo!

(Password is the three-letter acronym of my high school):

So I’ve been placed with DRDC (Defense Research and Development Canada), where I’ll be modifying and characterizing carbon nanotubes, which have possible applications in supercapacitors (think of them as very powerful rechargeable batteries. I don’t really know what to make of them myself.)

The position isn’t exactly local; it’s actually in Esquimalt. Luckily for me, I have family living in Victoria, who have very kindly agreed to put me up for the four months. I would really prefer to live on my own, but I’m not going to complain too too much.

I really can’t help but laugh at this; I’m about to become a “dog of the military,” just like Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist. That alone is worth something.

Anyway, so what’s stranger than fiction? One of my tongue-in-cheek career ambitions is to become the Fullmetal Alchemist, and I’ve already taken the first step.

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Posted in quotidian
September 22nd, 2006 | 2 Comments »

Okay, so in a desperate attempt to keep myself from falling into depression as a result of physical and organic chem, I’ve been reading stuff to remind myself about why I like chemistry.

I just found another reason. Apparently, there is a molecule named “Catherine,” (note the C!) and this is its structure:

catherine - the molecule

Plus, if you have the CHIME plugin installed, you can look at a 3D rendering, as well.

And if you just want to learn about other molecules with weird names: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/sillymolecules/sillymols.htm

Posted in snippet
March 26th, 2006 | 2 Comments »

(First off: Note to Sarah. Yes, I have heard of Vienna Teng, but I didn’t give the poor girl much of a chance–I think I downloaded “Harbor” just before the Great Format. So now, upon your urging, I’m kinda seizing upon every mp3 I come across. Sorry, I’ve been busy completing my CORE OF SOUL collection.)

I’m an organic chemist for all of three hours every week. Just so you Arts students (and non-organic chemists) understand what this feels like, I’m reproducing a page from my lab notebook):

10:10 Finish assembling app. Charge 50 mL rbf w/2 g 5-t-butyl-m-xylene and stirbar. Cool 5 mL HNO3/7 mL H2SO4 in Erlenmeyer.
10:15 Begin addition of cooled acidic mixture to reaction vessel. Reaction mixture turns pale yellow. Brown deposits on wall of flask?
10:25 Finish addition.
10:30 Switch ice bath for oil bath. Power: 7 Temp: 50 ºC
10:40 110 ºC reached. turn power to 5. Reaction mixture turns orange. Yellow/orange fumes being evolved into condenser.
11:15 Remove oil bath, switch for ice bath.
11:35 Transfer to 40 mL ice
12:00 Triturate + air dry crude pdt
12:10 Receiver weight: 48.78 Receiver + crude pdt: 54.70
12:20 Set up reflux apparatus. Add EtOH to cover crude pdt. Heat Thermowell.

And it kind of disappears after that. Of all the times to have a fire alarm–it just happens to be at the end of a lab. Just as I’m about to finish. (My observations should go on to recount the pale yellow crystals afforded from recrystallization, but I was just concerned about getting out of there. Besides which, they’re not collecting the observations from this lab, anyway.)

Posted in ramblings
March 20th, 2006 | Comments Off on Let me count the ways…

How many ways can you spell “owned by another organic chem midterm”?

I’ve got my list here:

  1. owned by another organic chem midterm
  2. pwned by another organic chem midterm
  3. 0wned by another organic chem midterm
  4. |owned by another organic chem midterm
  5. poned (Ed note: Hey, some people say it that way) by an organic chem midterm
  6. pwn3d by another organic chem midterm
  7. own3d by another organic chem midterm
  8. pwnd by another organic chem midterm
  9. |ownd by another organic chem midterm
  10. PWNED!!!!! by another organic chem midterm

Yeah, I think that’s enough for now.

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Posted in quotidian