Chemistry

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Chemistry

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I spent with friends in Lansing, Michigan, but on the 28th I packed up my car, kissed Pepper goodbye, and headed to Lexington, KY to hang out with Steve of OmniBrain for a few days. His sister lives there, and they were nice enough to give me a post-holiday home…

There are a few plants and fungi that rely on extremely offensive odors to attract insects and spread its pollen or spores. These odors, to people, stink like decomposing, rotten meat, but to flies they are highly attractive. The stinkhorn is a phallus-shaped mushroom which produces a sticky spore goop which (you guessed it) stinks.…

The Magic of Sake Fermentation

In keeping with my discussion of Japanese foodstuffs (see fugu) this week, I thought I’d post a bit about the alcoholic drink sake. Sake, often called rice wine, has polished rice kernels as its raw material and is produced from the combined effects of a mold and a yeast. However the term “rice wine” is…

The Wonderfully Tasty, and Deadly, Fugu

One of the more, uh, interesting culinary experiences I have had in Asia was ordering fugu (pufferfish) sushi at a Japanese restaurant in China. A few moments after my order, a plate was sat in front of me that contained lots of fresh, white sushi slices…positioned just below the still-gasping decapitated fugu head. My dad…

Cone snail shells are beautiful, but their venom is a potent cocktail used to paralyze passing fish. The venom is a witch’s brew of hundreds of novel compounds, many more than are found in snake venom (which has been used by science extensively as well). One compound in particular is a pain killer many times…

On my way over to a friend’s house last night, an unusual thing happened: a firefly which was in the process of lighting up got squashed against my windshield at that exact moment. While there wasn’t much resembling an insect left, smeared across the glass was a streak of glowing green goo which continued to…

Yes, someone tested out the caffeine soap and blogged the results! Seems like he felt a bit of a buzz, however whether its caffeine or a bit of the placebo effect, well who can say. I jumped into the shower and lathered up with the Shower Shock. Now, in addition to containing roughly 2400mg of…

From the BBC on down, in the past few days the headline “Alchohol Makes Fruit Healthier” has been highlighted in nearly every news venue. The fruit contains compounds [antioxidants] that can protect against cancer, heart disease and arthritis. But having them with alcohol, such as in a daiquiri, boosts these antioxidant properties, the Journal of…

One reason that treatments for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are particularly difficult to develop is that HIV is quite good at adapting resistance to drugs. Many of the virus’ surface proteins–natural targets for inhibitory drugs–have a high turnover rate and are easily changed. There are a few exceptions; a few well-conserved surface proteins that…

According to CNN, the guards who roughed up a Florida teenager at a military-style bootcamp, who later died, will be charged in his death. This incident, which took place around Pensacola, was a huge scandal for Florida which resulted in the resignation of Florida’s top law officer and the end of state-run bootcamp. Apparently what…