21 April 2011

#SmilesC

A coffee morning quiz for chemists ...
  • #SmilesC this cpd was designed as a weapon, what is it?  OC(c1ccccc1)(c2ccccc2)C(=O)OC1CN(CC2)CCC12
I'm going to post some SMILES structures with related questions on twitter under the hashtag #SmilesC (the C standing for chemistry); I'd be curious if anyone could work-out the answer without using any software; if you can, post the answer in the comments section below. Kudos to the first to post! Acknowledgement is due to K J Haxton who has been doing this sort of thing on her blog Endless Possibilities for quite a while. For those who are unfamilliar with SMILES - Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification - it is a method of describing the structures of molecules in 1D instead of representing them in 2D as is usual. The theory of smiles can be found from the Daylight company. A useful decoding webpage can be found at DEPICT. If you copy the following molecule, CC(=O)C into the form on the DEPICT website, the structure of the molecule (acetone) will be returned. Another useful piece of software - for checking purposes only - is ChemSpider.

Questions asked to date with links to answers (when the answer is posted in the comments section).
  1. #SmilesC what is the name of this vitamin? OC[C@H](O)[C@@H]1C(O)=C(O)C(=O)O1
  2. #SmilesC name this reaction c1ccccc1C=O>CC(=O)OC(=O)C.[O-]C(=O)C>c1ccccc1C=CC(=O)O
  3. #SmilesC what is this compound called? If not wonderland, where is it found? C=CC[S+]([O-])SCC=C
  4. #SmilesC what's special about this arrangement of atoms? [Rb+].[Na+].O=C([O-])[C@H](O)[C@@H](O)C(=O)[O-].O.O.O.O
  5. #SmilesC what has this compound got to do with the law? O=N(=O)C1=CC=C(O1)C=NN2CCOC2(=O)
  6. #SmilesC what is so controversial about this compound? [Na+].[S-]C1=NC(=O)C(C(C)CCC)(CC)C(=O)N1
  7. #SmilesC what is being prepared here? OCCSCCO>HCl.HCl>ClCCSCCCl
  8. #SmilesC whose degradation is used to prepare this compound? CC(=O)C1CCC2C1(C)CCC3C4(C)CCC(=O)C=C4CCC23
  9. #SmilesC some say this cpd has save more lives than any other, what is it? ClC(Cl)(Cl)C(c1ccc(Cl)cc1)c2ccc(Cl)cc2
  10. #SmilesC this cpd was designed as a weapon, what is it? OC(c1ccccc1)(c2ccccc2)C(=O)OC1CN(CC2)CCC12

19 April 2011

Reconciliation and Contrition

Excellent write up by Inforrm's Blog of The Citizen 1978 Ltd v McBride, a South African defamation case.
"In 1986, ..., as an operative of the African National Congress’s armed wing, detonated a car bomb outside Magoo’s Bar and the Why Not Restaurant in Durban, in which 69 people were injured and three women killed. He was sentenced to death, but was reprieved and released in the early ’90s."
The bomber went on to stand for election for the position of chief of police. This resulted in a slew of potentially defamatory newspaper articles about the bomber by The Citizen.

The bomber sued for defamation.

Inforrm's blog gives a better explanation than I could of what happened next, get the story, here.

Sceptics of Darwinism

Anyone who expresses any scepticism of Darwin is usually written off as some God-bothering crank. However, there are some interesting critics of Darwinism, a study of whom and why they are critical of the hypothesis leads to a deeper understanding of science. In that vein, here's Marcel-Paul Schützenberger
From The Miracles of Darwinism,
"In 1966, Sch├╝tzenberger participated in the Wistar Symposium on mathematical objections to neo-Darwinism. His arguments were subtle and often misunderstood by biologists. Darwin's theory, he observed, and the interpretation of biological systems as formal objects, were at odds insofar as randomness is known to degrade meaning in formal contexts. But Sch├╝tzenberger also argued that Darwin's theory logically required some active principle of coordination between the typographic space of the informational macromolecules (DNA and RNA) and the organic space of living creatures themselves -- which Darwin's theory does not provide."
.

14 April 2011

How Dare You Assume I Wanna Parlez Vous With You?

As the #coulson #metgate scandal unfolds with Operation Weeting making arrests and such I have the Fall's 'Telephone Thing' running through my mind ...
Gretchen Franklin

I wonder if I'm tapped?
"I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you?
Sorry to be so short with you
But I'm tapped
But I'm tapped

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

The use of [..] and your smug advertisements
of your tendril ocean bed achievements does not
justify your abuse of privacy piracy act

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I feel you Telephone Thing listening in

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you?
You Gretchen Franklin nosey matron thing

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

Sense you

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you?
You Gretchen Franklin nosey matron type

Does the Home Secretary have the barest faintest inkling of what's going down?

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

The use of [..] and your amug advertisements
Of your tendril ocean bed achievements does not justify your abuse of privacy piracy act

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I do you Telephone Thing listening in

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you
You Gretchen Franklin thing

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

Sense you

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

Sense you

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I hear you Telephone Thing listening in
I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you?

I'm tapped

I hear you Telephone Thing listening in

I HEAR YOU TELEPHONE THING "
lyrics from here.

06 April 2011

Iatrogenic Justification

The Activist Teacher has blogged about illness. In his note he compares the mortality rates of smoking and iatrogenesis - being harmed by your physician (note not murdered, simply killed or made ill).

In isolation, the stats may be stark and clear cut. (As yet, we don't have them in the UK; however, Margaret has taken steps to correct this anomally). The problem is that I don't think that these statistics should be read outside of their context. Usually, a person seeks medical help when they are ill; further, these medical treatments tend to have side effects. The patient is putting himself at risk in the hope of becoming well. So, when collating statistics how does one count someone who was seriously ill and so opted to take a risky procedure which killed him?

I'm not dismissing or excusing the problem of iatrogenesis, in the last six months I've met two people whose relatives went into hospital for a leg amputation and had the wrong one taken off! Instead, I would be very interested in how one should collate the figures. Perhaps, Margaret's FoI will yield an interesting discussion.

03 April 2011

A Different Class

In a previous post I asked whether or not anyone else had noticed how apt the quote from Animal Farm,
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
was when John Prescott went to the House of Lords. A person who everyone (apart from him) pretends to think of as working class becoming enobled.

Thinking of Prescott one thinks of class. He once said in a radio interview that he was middle class, famously, this caused a rift between himself and his father,
"The rift was said to have begun in 1996 when Mr Prescott told a radio interviewer on the BBC programme, Today: "I'm pretty middle-class."

His father, Bert, who is 89, disagreed, saying that his son was working class. He claimed his son had barely spoken to him since."
as reported in the Guardian.

This obsession with class runs deep within the British psyche where a very large number of Britain's middle classes, particularly the petit bourgeoisie, irrationally believe that they are working class. They may certainly have working class origins but that doesn't mean that they're working class now.

Unfortunately this belief has a negative effect on the politics of this country. The negative effect manifests itself when the middle classes vote for the labour party, a party supposedly for the working classes. This leads to politicians pandering to the middle classes, sometimes disingenously called middle England. Unfortunately, this 'we are working class' myth leads to an entitlement mentality which appears to be beyond criticism. An egregious aspect of this phenomenon is seen with the rigging of the UK economy so that the price of houses does not fall. If this was seen as a policy of pandering to the middle classes it would not be feasible; as a policy of pandering to the working classes, this policy is accepted and acceptable.

So, if the working classes are really middle class; what of the real working classes? They are describes as the underclass. As such they are alienated from the economy, their only function being to support the currency through need, they are dehumanised and objectified. They are a valuable source of income to a fairly large section of the caring middle class economy (health, education and social work) and the not so caring, eg landlords who live off housing benefit.

Expect this situation to continue as long as the myth remains alive.