• Robotics and artificial intelligence: can they make today’s chemist obsolete?

    The latest from the Bureau of Frightening Statistics is that within 20 years, almost half of all U.S. jobs will be automated.  Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) routines are now able to tackle many routine ...
    ACS Industry
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  • Favorite Patents

    Favorite Patents   As a boy interested in  science, I read voraciously on the topic.  To this day, I can still see the images of the pages in books that  taught me about the great men of science an...
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  • The Scientific Literacy Paradox

    All that I know is that I know nothing (sometimes referred to as the Socratic paradox).   I know how Socrates felt.  Recent research uncovered a new paradox that worries me, one that questions my thought pr...
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  • Going in Circles

    There was a time when circular was bad.  Going in circles was considered a bad thing.  You had lost your way.  Circular reasoning?  Also not good.  Those times are gone.  The circular eco...
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  • The Degrading State of Composting

      I dumped my compost pile today.  It is a filthy activity, yet one that is strangely pleasant. Part of the pleasure is being outside.  Part is that it is an optimistic activity. I need the compost for...
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  • Where There’s Smoke: Getting Risk Right

    “Stay away from the fire” was a common refrain on my recent camping trip.  We camped with a group of friends that included a family with 5-year-old and 2-year-old boys. “The fire will hurt you!&...
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  • Chemistry on Display: Depictions in Ads and Art

      The world is changing, with positive views of chemistry and science appearing far more commonly on TV these days.  That is a great thing, though probably inadequate to swing public opinion pro-chemistry.&...
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  • Chemistry Failed Me: My battle with the Emerald Ash Borer

    My hands are a bit sore.  So are my shoulders.  I spent the last two evenings with an ax in my hand.  I really wish that wasn't the case.  I tried hard to keep the two ash trees that I hacked up al...
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  • Planting Trees You'll Never Use For Shade

    As I reflect on the 2016 ACS Spring National Meeting, I am now watching a gentle snow fall in Michigan. The San Diego meeting just ended, but it seems like oh so long ago and oh so far away.  San Diego did its be...
    ACS Industry
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  • I Just Wrecked My Platinum Footprint

      I pay attention to my ecological footprint.  I can’t say that I’ve tried them all, but I have completed most of the footprint calculators I can find.   I can’t recall one that ...
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  • Not Again: Flint and the Consequences of Following the Law Instead of Its Intent

    Chemistry and politics again collided.  On January 16, President Obama declared that an emergency exists in the State of Michigan, the city of Flint to be exact.[1] He authorized the Department of Homeland Securi...
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  • Industry Voices: 2015 Year in Review

    For the past year, the Industry Voices blog has brought you articles for and by members working in the chemistry-related industries.  Each week our writers have tackled a new subject, from tips for the workplace ...
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  • Sometimes the Axes Are Just Orthogonal

    The gas mileage of a car does not depend on the paint color.  They are orthogonal variables, independent of each other.  There is no functional dependence of one to the other and there is no mathematical fun...
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  • Is Education Really the Answer?

    Education has become the go-to solution for all societal problems or challenges. If we increase energy literacy, it will reduce energy use. If we educate about the real benefits of vaccines, vaccination rates will inc...
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  • They Lied to Me (and You)

    I used to be the proud owner of a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.  I still own the car, I am just not feeling proud these days.  My car failed a chemistry test.  TDI is a VW acronym that means diesel.  ...
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  • No Brand Love for Chemical Companies

    I recently visited the town where I grew up, Fredericksburg, Virginia.  There is not much chemical history in this town that bills itself as America's most historic city.  In colonial time, alum was mined, r...
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  • Cheap Enough To Eat?

    Making an entire crowd gasp can be quite rewarding. Jennifer Holmgren got the satisfaction of an entire crowd gasping at the recent BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology.  During her acceptance speech fo...
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  • Ambiguous Definitions Are The Enemy Of Agreement

    "Glass is nature's safest container" proclaims an ad that ran in my local newspaper, The Midland Daily News. Chicken with Broken Glass, one of our family recipes immediately sprang to mind. Broken glass clearly is a s...
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  • The Paradox of Making Something Everyone Needs

    “If you are walking behind a manure spreader, never lick your lips”.  My grandfather was a man of few words and, rare as the memorable quotes are, I don’t get to use this one. It always evokes a...
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  • Retractions

    “When the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of rese...
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