272 posts · 287,106 views
I am a freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England, I trained as a chemist and am a chartered member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Currently, I write for several magazines and websites on science, technology and medicine, covering everything from astronomy to zoology, with a special focus on all things chemical, which includes materials, pharma, nano, analytical sciences.
We are, the media tells us, either on the verge or diving head first into a global recession the likes of which we have never seen. Countless financial headlines have screamed Credit Crunch, which sadly isn’t a wholegrain breakfast cereal for day-traders, for a year now. Banks are borrowing billions from taxpayers to allow them [...]... Read more »
Jenifer Piesse, & Colin Thirtle. (2008) Genetically modified crops, factor endowments, biased technological change, wages and poverty reduction. International Journal of Biotechnology, 10(2/3), 184. DOI: 10.1504/IJBT.2008.018354
A $2 egg-beater could save lives in developing countries, according to a report from the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry. A piece of inexpensive plastic tubing taped to a handheld egg-whisk could be used as an ad hoc centrifuge for separating out blood plasma in a matter of minutes and allow life-saving diagnostic medical tests to be carried out much faster and at far less cost than with conventional lab-based centrifuge equipment.... Read more »
Amy P. Wong, Malancha Gupta, Sergey S. Shevkoplyas, & George M. Whitesides. (2008) Egg beater as centrifuge: isolating human blood plasma from whole blood in resource-poor settings. Lab on a Chip. DOI: 10.1039/b809830c
US researchers have used NMR to study the products of research into a new high explosive material that can nevertheless be melt cast into a charge with any shape.... Read more »
Today, a portable hard-disk with personal data on 100,000 members of the British Armed Forces was mislaid or stolen (they don’t yet know) from government contractor EDS. The same company lost data on prison staff in September, previously records of…... Read more »
Silvana Faja, & Silvana Trimi. (2008) Privacy concerns in e-commerce: an empirical investigation of gender differences. International Journal of Electronic Business, 6(4), 386-404. DOI: http://www.inderscience.com/offer.php?id
Most internet users will be unaware and unconcerned by the computer science and technology that underpins their daily web surfing, emails, chats, and Twitter updates. But, there are, of course, thousands of incredibly bright people working behind the scenes to make the internet work. One aspect of the backroom work that goes on, is the [...]... Read more »
Impure forms of illicit drugs are almost as big a problem as the drugs themselves. Now, researchers in Spain have used diffuse reflectance near-infrared spectroscopy (DR-NIR) to quickly determine the purity of heroin.... Read more »
Javier Moros, Nieves Galipienso, Rocío Vilches, Salvador Garrigues, & Miguel de la Guardia. (2008) Nondestructive Direct Determination of Heroin in Seized Illicit Street Drugs by Diffuse Reflectance near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Analytical Chemistry. DOI: 10.1021/ac800781c
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has revealed a reason why the excitement of unwrapping presents dwindles as our brains get older and more jaded. According to a new study, a biochemical pathway is responsible for mellowing our expectations.... Read more »
J.-C. Dreher, A. Meyer-Lindenberg, P. Kohn, & K. F. Berman. (2008) Age-related changes in midbrain dopaminergic regulation of the human reward system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0802127105
A mutant enzyme that breaks down cocaine in the bloodstream 2000 times faster than the body's natural enzymes could lead to a rapid-response treatment for acute overdose or lead to a new therapeutic approach to treating drug addiction.... Read more »
Fang Zheng, Wenchao Yang, Mei-Chuan Ko, Junjun Liu, Hoon Cho, Daquan Gao, Min Tong, Hsin-Hsiung Tai, James H. Woods, & Chang-Guo Zhan. (2008) Most Efficient Cocaine Hydrolase Designed by Virtual Screening of Transition States. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 130(36), 12148-12155. DOI: 10.1021/ja803646t
Astroscientists are using various spectroscopic techniques to root out relatively complex molecules lurking in the interstellar medium. The complexity of naphthalene, discovered in space, and corannulene, could provide new evidence of a cosmic origin for the precursor molecules of life on Earth... Read more »
Gaël Rouillé, Cornelia Jäger, Mathias Steglich, Friedrich Huisken, Thomas Henning, Gabriele Theumer, Ingmar Bauer, & Hans-Joachim Knölker. (2008) IR, Raman, and UV/Vis Spectra of Corannulene for Use in Possible Interstellar Identification. ChemPhysChem. DOI: 10.1002/cphc.200800387
S. Iglesias-Groth, A. Manchado, D. A. García-Hernández, J. I. González Hernández, & D. L. Lambert. (2008) Evidence for the Naphthalene Cation in a Region of the Interstellar Medium with Anomalous Microwave Emission. The Astrophysical Journal, 685(1). DOI: 10.1086/592349
Nothing more sophisticated than a lump of graphite, a roll of sticky tape, and a wafer thin sliver of silica are needed to inflate ideas about nanochemistry. Raman spectroscopy and other techniques have been used to reveal the details of the DIY construction of a balloon-like membrane of graphene.... Read more »
A new X-ray technique, time-resolved wide-angle X-ray scattering (TR-WAXS) could defeat even high-field NMR spectroscopy in allowing researchers to monitor very fast, nanosecond-scale movements in the context of the overall three-dimensional protein structure.... Read more »
Marco Cammarata, Matteo Levantino, Friedrich Schotte, Philip A Anfinrud, Friederike Ewald, Jungkweon Choi, Antonio Cupane, Michael Wulff, & Hyotcherl Ihee. (2008) Tracking the structural dynamics of proteins in solution using time-resolved wide-angle X-ray scattering. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1255
Gossip and rumours, they are the life force of cultural interaction. Just ask Guy Kawasaki, whose Truemors.com website took off last year, the hundreds of hacks who peddle the minutiae of celebrity lifestyles complete with the Photoshopped products of the paparazzi, or Perez Hilton. But, there is a serious side to rumours. In the midst [...]... Read more »
What can online businesses learn from their web logs? According to Xueping Li of the Intelligent Information and Systems Laboratory, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and colleagues, analyzing the information you can gather about the traffic to your website, whether…... Read more »
Xueping Li, Laigang Song, and Alberto Garcia-Diaz. (2008) Adaptive web presence and evolution through web log analysis . IInt. J. Electronic Customer Relationship Management , 2(3), 195-214.
why do leaves turn red in the fall? It's all down to chemistry. Red pigments known as anthocyanins form in leaves from many plant and tree species at the same time as the green photosynthetic apparatus is dismantled by the plant. New research in PNAS this week explains abscission - the how and when of leaf fall.... Read more »
S. K. Cho, C. T. Larue, D. Chevalier, H. Wang, T.-L. Jinn, S. Zhang, & J. C. Walker. (2008) Regulation of floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0805539105
Chernobyl. The very name strikes fear into the hearts of those who hate everything about the nuclear industry. It conjures up images of an archaic, burning industrial site spewing out lethal fumes, of farm animals dying of radiation poisoning in their thousands and contaminated meat, of ecosystems devastated, and of people with radiation sickness and [...]... Read more »
Young Woo Jin, Meeseon Jeong, Kieun Moon, Kwang Hee Yang, Byung Il Lee, Hun Baek, Sang Gu Lee, & Chong Soon Kim. (2008) Health effects 20 years after the Chernobyl accident. International Journal of Low Radiation, 5(3), 263. DOI: 10.1504/IJLR.2008.020255
Ultimately, the only truly safe sex is that practised alone or not practiced at all, oh, and perhaps cybersex. However, that said, even these have issues associated with eyesight compromise (allegedly), repetitive strain injury (RSI) and even electrocution in extreme cases of online interactions (you could spill your Mountain Dew on your laptop, after all). [...]... Read more »
Courtney D. Corley, Armin R. Mikler, Diane J. Cook, Karan P. Singh. (2008) Dynamic intimate contact social networks and epidemic interventions. International Journal of Functional Informatics and Personalised Medicine, 1(2), 171-188. DOI: http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action
Your washing machine or air-conditioning unit could one day be networked in a giant global grid and used to help efforts such as the SETI@Home project, Folding@Home, the now ended Lifesaver project, or even LHC@Home.
Well…not quite, but a simple system for…... Read more »
Takehiko Demiya, Tomoki Yoshihisa and Masanori Kanazawa. (2008) Compact grid: a grid computing system using low resource compact computers. Int. J. Communication Networks and Distributed Systems, 1(2), 231-247.
Years ago when BioMedNet’s HMSBeagle was still sailing the high seas, I wrote a feature for the Adapt or Die careers column on scientific jobs in museums, the feature, which is available on Sciencebase is still relatively valid, but one big aspect of museums that has changed significantly since the Beagle was abandoned in dry [...]... Read more »
Thomas Fotakis, & Anastasios A. Economides. (2008) Art, science/technology and history museums on the web. International Journal of Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism, 1(1), 37. DOI: 10.1504/IJDCET.2008.020134
A discussion a while back, over a few beers, with a Buddhist friend about life, the universe, and everything (what else?) got around to the subject of null physics and the notion that the universe may always have existed and may exist for eternity to come.
Sciencebase regulars will know that this concept is covered in [...]... Read more »
Anthony Alexander. (2008) Different paths, same mountain: Daoism, ecology and the new paradigm of science. International Journal of Green Economics, 2(2), 153. DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2008.019997
For Scousers, Londoners, fans of BBC’s Have I Got News for You satirical news quiz, and especially to everyone who watched this Beijing to London Olympic handover this week the name Boris Johnson likely drums up an image of some blonde, floppy haired, bedraggled and totally confused Tory toff, who just happens to be Mayor [...]... Read more »
et al. (2008) Geography. Nature.
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