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Author: the modern scientist | Views: 1956 | Comments: 1
Last by Redshift42 on Jul 01, 2010, 12:39pm
Greetings fellow scientists, science-enthusiasts, and LabSpaces paparazzi! For those who don’t know me from my *ehem* Twitter omnipresence, I thought I’d share a little about myself and how I ended up in a career commonly—and often appropriately—preceded by the word “mad.” If you do know me, don’t zone out just yet. You may discover something new, and this material might be on tomorrow’s pop quiz...

My infatuation with science began when I was young and fancied myself as something of an athlete. During high school, I played three sports, in addition to participating in a bevy of other extracurricular activities. Keeping up with athletic practice, homework, and a smattering of social events took an incredible amount of energy. I became interested in nutrition, which I saw at the time as a way to optimize the ratio of energy generated vs time spent eating. (Note that there were many flaws in the design of this study. The most important flaw was that, like most teenagers, I neglected to include the variable now known to me as “sleep” in the equation. Though the wisdom of age has made me aware of its importance, I continue to convince myself at times that its correlation coefficient is 0 . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 2714 | Comments: 4
Last by Alchemystress on Feb 16, 2011, 7:11pm
This week's guest blogger is Anthony Haugh who currently lives in New Mexico, and has studied Electronics Technology and Photonics Technology. He later plans on obtaining his third degree in Optical Engineering after visiting Europe. He can be found on Twitter as @Boltary.


To my eternal amusement, every time someone asks me "what are your majors?" I get blank stares when I give the reply "Photonics Technology and Electronics Technology." Most of everyone I meet immediately understands the degree with that now-commonplace word "Electronics," but almost without exception I am asked "What is Photonics?" I admit that when I entered college I only had a limited understanding of what "Photonics" was besides Photons and Lasers. Even my spell-checker says it is a made-up word, so what is Photonics, and why is it important?

It turns out that "Photonics" is an extremely diverse field, and is about as vague as saying "Chemistry" or "Physics" when trying to talk about a field of science. Specifically, photonics is a sub-set of physics that focuses on the studies and applications of photons (Such as detection, generation, etc). Photons are odd little concepts that defy . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 10437 | Comments: 12
Last by Unhappy on Jun 09, 2012, 1:16pm
Angela Monaghan is a geophysicist living in southwest Montana. In her spare time she trains and field trials her Hellfire Springer Spaniels, sporadically blogs as GeoFizz and tweets as MTHellfire.

*This entry contains a YouTube video*

"Tide goes in and tide goes can't explain that." Bill O'Reilly recently told Dave Silverman of American Atheists, during a recent airing on Fox News as they debated the integrity of religion.

Although I was disappointed Dave couldn't just blurt out "It's the MOON, moron" and melt Bill into a gooey puddle of religious ignorance, I did sympathize with him. (Just look at his stunned facial expression!) He was probably thinking the same thing I was, it's impossible to rationally argue with a person who thinks facts don't matter anyway.

The frightening aspect to a highly paid TV personality being so ignorant should be obvious. There are thousands, if not millions, of people watching who might be even more ignorant than "Bill-O The Clown", and who might believe every ignorant thing he says is true.

Recently, I was told through a Facebook i . . . More
Author: the modern scientist | Views: 1668 | Comments: 13
Last by the modern scientist on Oct 23, 2010, 3:24pm
Greetings LabSpaces readers! Several times this summer, I tried (and failed) to kick the dust off this blog. I've decided to let those partially finished posts simmer a while longer because I simply could not pass up the opportunity to incorporate my other passion–all things Mac–into a blog post. As you probably noticed, this post coincides with an ongoing contest here at LabSpaces to win one of these magical devices, so perhaps it will further motivate those who are in the running.

I admit I was skeptical of the iPad when it was announced last January. I have a very capable computer and phone, so why would someone like me need another device? When would I use something that is too limited for serious computing and too big to fit into my tiny (and staying that way) purse? I never found good answers to these questions, so I didn't investigate further. As serendipity would have it, I was given an iPad as a gift about a month ago. Having used it regularly since then, I have found several uses–some of them scientific–for which the iPad is my device of choice. I have decided to share this list and, while I don't intend for this to turn into a review of iPad applications, I felt it would be us . . . More
Author: Alchemystress | Views: 6286 | Comments: 12
Last by Alchemystress on Mar 05, 2011, 5:10pm
A lot of people have been very curious about my tattoos, so I thought that I could start my blogging life by explaining one of my biggest and most important tattoos (I have about 8 in all). I am working on a sleeve, which is also very important, but it is a work in progress. Once it is close to finished, I will delve into the explanation and pictures of that one.

I waited to get tattoos until I was about 22 years old. That was on purpose, as I didn’t think I was mature enough before then to know what it was that I wanted. I am so glad that I waited; my ideas at the age of 18 were vastly different than at 22. I am very happy with what I have chosen at this point.

Nature has always played a huge role in my life; I go to the woods or to the sea, or just outside, to collect myself and calm my thoughts. I have always found this solace in nature, even from a very young age. My family has always been the kind that went hiking and explored the outdoors, and I am very grateful for that. Not only did they introduce me to the great outdoors but, before I could even walk, I was taken to almost every sort of museum you could imagine, where I played with Tesla coils and looked at Rembrandts. To this day I have a great appreciation for art and museums. Art holds a special place . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 1785 | Comments: 6
Last by Dov Henis on Feb 05, 2013, 2:46pm
Back in the early 1900's, one of the many cool things Einstein found through his theory of General Relativity, was the theoretical existence of these things called Gravitational Waves.

As their name suggests they are predicted to be ripples, or fluctuations in the curvature of Space-Time, that propagate the way waves would, emanating from a source such as a black hole, neutron star, binary star, or any other ridiculously super massive object.

Apparently, Space-Time itself is curved, and becomes more or less curved depending upon the objects held in it. The more massive the object held in space-time is, the more curvature develops there.

When a highly massive object moves or gets accelerated, it affects that Space-Time significantly enough to cause these ripples or waves. The energy the waves carry and transport is called Gravitational Radiation, which travels at the speed of light and loses strength as it propagates, but never stops or even slows down.

Although there has yet to be direct observation of these waves, there is plenty of data to support their existence in the form of indirect observation. Like the observations of orbits of binary pulsars, that seem to be losing orbital energy at the exact rate that General Relativity predicted they w . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 2510 | Comments: 8
Last by Evie on Sep 11, 2010, 3:18pm
Hello boys and girls! Welcome to Flight 101!

I think it’s time we all got on the same page when it comes to understanding how a plane stays in the air.

Those are pretty nifty things, aren’t they? Airplanes? Did you ever wonder how it is they stay up there? Even though they are heavy as hell, and should come crashing down? Well.. No, it’s not magic, and it isn’t big J up in the sky giving a helping hand, it’s not even 'cause of all the people in the various houses of prayer throwing their hands up and chanting.. Nope. It’s actually just physics, geometry, and fluid mechanics at play.

This is a simplified explanation, 'cause it can get pretty messy and heavy on the math, but the concept itself is simple, and I think it’s worth knowing. Plus you will totally be able to impress the person seated near you on your next plane ride. *Note: you should probably avoid using this as a pick up line. Results may vary.

So, how do planes stay in the air? Lift! Lift is what we call the upward force that combats gravity, and keeps the plane afloat in the sea of gaseous molecules that make up our atmosphere. In order for Lift to be produced, the air and the plane must be in motion relative to each other.

Let’s take as an example, a 2D s . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 3040 | Comments: 8
Last by TheLeadingEdge on Apr 14, 2011, 11:58am
This week's guest blogger is Katie Fleming. She loves science, with an overwhelming Border collie-style bouncing enthusiasm. This crazy geeky love has gotten her a first class degree in biochemistry, a job as a freelance scientific production editor, and some serious aspirations to be a real-life science writer. She spends her spare time eating too much cake, gazing lovingly at molecular structures and blogging about biochemistry and the awesome science of everyday life at She would love to see you there. Katie can also be found on Twitter.


When I was first asked to feature here as a guest blogger I was a little nervous, my usual writing style is a bit like a scientific tea party, lots of excitable biochemical discussion and cake, so I wondered what subject I should pick. Then I remembered an article I read last year by Thomas Mayer and Andreas Marx about their five ‘desert island molecules’. These were the . . . More
Author: Alchemystress | Views: 44968 | Comments: 4
Last by Alchemystress on Mar 03, 2011, 8:33pm
I thought I would do a few blog posts here and there about aspects of my research. So I warn you now, it is very possible I may geek out…a lot. There are quite a few things I cover in my work, so piece by piece, quick and dirty explanations will follow. Please feel free to ask questions, and if there are areas you would like me elaborate on and maybe make another blog post about, I will be more than happy to oblige.

The first one that I think is important to understand in my work is mass spectrometry. So what the hell is it, and why is it useful? In this post I will take a stab at introducing you to this powerful instrument, and then I shall write another post in which I will introduce you to the one I use and some things I do on it. First, I think a good base understanding of mass spec. is important.

Mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique that is used to characterize, identify, and quantify unknown compounds (here I point out that many people interchange spectrometry with spectroscopy, and that is incorrect: for spectroscopy, think light, and spectrometry, think electromagnetics).It is used in research, medicine, forensics, pharmaceuticals, archeology, geochemistry etc. The applications are endless. This is a very common instrument and tool used in . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 5588 | Comments: 4
Last by Biff on Aug 09, 2012, 7:18am
Last week, 2007 chemical newsmaker 1,4-butanediol made it back on the front page with a US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruling on a lawsuit involving 1,4-butanediol contaminated children’s toy ‘Aqua Dots’ (left). In 2007, Aqua Dots contamination story first hit the news when Australia banned the product. The adhesive 1,5-pentanediol was normally used in Aqua Dots, but 1,4-butanediol was mistakenly used in the toy's manufacturing process. The one methylene group (‒CH2‒) difference between 1,5-pentanediol and 1,4-butanediol (below) led to Aqua Dots going from the most popular toy of 2007 to the most recalled toy of 2007-2009.

Why would using a chemical with one less a ‒CH2‒ cause such trouble? As . . . More