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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ Category

In-vitro bacon anybody?

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In-vitro bacon anybody?
Inside the meat lab: the future of food

With billions of mouths to feed, we can’t go on producing food in the traditional way. Scientists are coming up with novel ways to cater for future generations. In-vitro burger, anyone?

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

January 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Posted in chemistry, food, science

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Slow Coffee as Wine #foursquare #4sq

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I drink a lot of coffee, and I visit a lot of coffee places which is how I earned my Fresh Brew x2 FourSquare badge. I just drink it all the time. And after visiting over the 30th time the owner asked me whether I would be interested in further developing my palate. “How?” I said. “Slow Coffee,” was his answer.

Slow Coffee

There is coffee, and there is coffee making. Coffee like wine comes in many different flavours, and like wine there is an art to making a good brew which starts with the beans. His come from , a company where quite a few people I know work. They craft beans, different roastings for different purposes; espresso; filter; and others I have yet to learn about.

Slow coffee is filter coffee, made slowly first by measuring the beans – 24 grams – and boiled water – 240 grams at 95º. Then grinding the beans and placing them in a soaked untreated paper filter and pouring a small amount of the water over the beans in a gentle even way allowing the air to cause a bloom as the escapes. Then another amount, and another, and then the remaining water taking care to not allow the bean pulp which is spent on the side of the filter to be reused. Once the water stops flowing from the filter and starts dripping remove the filter.

And then you don’t just gulp it down, this is vinology. Sip and swirl then liquid in your mouth, then leave it to cool down and taste again. Again leaving it to cool until cold and tasting more. Savoring the texture and feeling the explosion of flavours in your mouth.

I’m slowly becoming a coffeeologist.

Image source: mine, foursquare

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

December 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Posted in chemistry, food, personal, social

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Just Finished Reading “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA” #books

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For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Brenda Maddox, unread on my bookshelf, I’m not exactly sure how it got to be there. I had heard of Rosalind Franklin, and the opinion that she had been robbed of a Nobel Prize. I gladly took the chance to discover much more about her.

The book is a biography of a woman best known for her enormously important contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA and RNA. A woman struggling with institutionalized sexism in post war Great Britain, yet highly regarded in the UK and overseas for her work with coal, graphite and X-ray crystallographer. A woman with a brilliant mind, who was apparently not even annoyed after Crick and Watson so obviously borrowed her work, leaving her to play second fiddle to them with a discovery which was entirely hers.

The book is divided into three parts, the first covering her family’s roots from Breslau (Wrocław, Poland) and their establishment in the UK. This establishes a context for Rosalind’s life and breakthrough into the male dominated scientific world. It proceeds to tell Rosalind’s story from birth, school, into academia through-out the Second World War, up to the point that she has made a success of herself in the UK and France, in her coal and graphite research, and decides to re-establishes herself in London at King’s College.

Part two mostly covers her work on DNA and her troubled times at King’s. And although not a highly scientific look at the process in which DNA was discovered, most informative to a layperson.

The final part starts with her move to Birkbeck College, her work on RNA and plant viruses, and travels round Europe and the United States for lectures, research and to make contacts. Maddox does explain that Rosalind’s untimely death was almost certainly the reason she didn’t get the Nobel Prize, as the rules of the Nobel Prize forbid posthumous nominations.

A sad tale, and fantastic read.

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Just Finished Reading “Forever Young” #books

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I like non-fiction and I loved Forever young: Science and the search for immortality.

The book covers Alzheimer’s, Genetics and Organ Replacement well and although it helps that I have some medical knowledge it’s not difficult for a layman to understand. The genetics portion is very interesting, and I learned a lot about enzyms and the inner workings of the human brain.

Naturally I’ve started taking my NSAIDs to prevent Alzheimer.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

March 9, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Airport Security on the 11th? #risk

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In 2001, on the first anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks, my father and I left New York on a Lufthansa bound for Frankfurt. I should even have the stubs somewhere. You would think that airport security would be heightened on the 11th or the days surrounding, as a precaution. Yet it isn’t. Added to this fact the [S]even in liquid bombs case to face retrial had occurred on the 10th.

On September 11th a friend of mine was travelling out from a UK airport. He had forgotten to put a 175ml bottle of liquid in his checked luggage, and without realizing the possible implications he had put it in his carry-on luggage. This wouldn’t be so funny if not for the fact that they made him take off his very long Dr Martin boots, which don’t contain any metal but a composite material. The bag and the boots went through the X-ray machine, and they then put the bag through a second time. They thanked him and he went on his way.

The problem? The bag contained 175ml bottle of a high quality nitrogen based liquid fertilizer in it’s original packaging.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

September 17, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Posted in chemistry, travel, uk

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Environmental Problem? Just Add Chemicals!

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In the article A dash of lime — a new twist that may cut CO2 levels back to pre-industrial levels they go into the details of removing CO2 from the air by adding lime to seawater. “Adding lime to seawater increases alkalinity, boosting seawater’s ability to absorb CO2 from air and reducing the tendency to release it back again. … The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore ‘carbon negative’. ” There is a nice Open Source project Cquestrate.

So we have a problem of our own creation, a problem from introducing too much of one chemical into the environment. The solution might be to pour a different chemical into the sea to fix the problem. It could also be completely misguided.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 28, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Posted in chemistry, science

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Granite Contains Uranium #health

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Your beautiful kitchen could be poisoning you! I though it was very funny when I started reading it. “Granite, as it turns out, contains levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays.1” According to the article it can also contain other nuclear materials such as thorium and potassium, although I can’t exactly remember when potassium became nuclear.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 28, 2008 at 9:57 am

Posted in chemistry, health, risk, science

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