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New Drugs Trail Many Old Ones In Effectiveness Against Disease

drjoeward Re:More than just effectiveness (230 comments)

i was just going to say, most of the old medications were found to be very effective, but not very targeted in where they work in the body. Hence lots of side effects, Modern medicinal chemistry and molecular modeling allow for the design of better molecules that work only where they are supposed to. you don't even have to go that far to see one. Look at Benadryl and Claritin. both are antihistamines, but benadryl did not target the Histamine receptors responsible for the allergic response, it also affected others and made most people sleepy. Claritin on the other hand is much more targeted and has dramatically less side effects.

you can go on and on about side effects and how many older meds have such issues and with those issues a patient is going to weigh benefit vs side effect and likely not take the damn med. So is it is better to only target what is broken and to have a med the patient will comply with, even if it is somewhat less effective, because in the long run it is better!

about a year ago
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California Sues Delta Air Lines Over Mobile Privacy

drjoeward Why is this news? (100 comments)

I agree you read the permissions and decide to install or not. putting a sandbox around the app? sure, but then more people will complain about broken apps and support will be even more difficult. i could list lots of examples where people set a control and forget they did, and then complain that something is broken, when it is in fact their fault its broken.

now what i want to know is why this is news on /. Calif. did this on Dec 6, and delta updated their app on Dec 7 (http://www.androidcentral.com/delta-updates-their-app-privacy-policy-california-safe-again) so why is this a current news item for us?

about 2 years ago
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Chemistry Tasks For the Computer Lab?

drjoeward Re:Another career (154 comments)

UGH no wonder they have to fire people.

Grand advice.

EVERYONE is firing and laying off nearly all fields at unprecedented rates.

These are high school kids he is talking about. You do realize that there are other fields who could use a decent chemistry background:
1) Physicians
2) Nurses (reminder that there is in fact a nursing shortage)
3) teachers (if our teachers had a better science background, our students would be better prepared to work in any field in the modern age)
4) journalists (how many stupid media stories have their been because a reporter doesn't have a clue)
5) politicians (well lets not go there, as I'm sure anyone in the chemistry community knows the story of the town council who nearly banned dihydrogen monoxide, because it was dangerous)

I could go on and on. Just because they are taking a chemistry class and he wants them to have a better experience and be a little better prepared does not mean that they will all aspired to be a paint chemist. Besides chemistry is also very important in interdisciplinary fields such as bio tech, molecular biology, materials, nano tech, etc. I have many friends who are chemists, who do not hold what you would likely call a chemist position.

besides in 5 years when these students graduate from college, the outlook may be very different, especially with the baby boomers retiring from their seniority protected positions.

more than 4 years ago
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Chemistry Tasks For the Computer Lab?

drjoeward Teach and Test and no experiments.... (154 comments)

I'm going to rant for a second.

It is classes like this that have made my job even harder. I teach college level chemistry (general, organic, and analytical). We have so many students who have come with "chemistry" on their high school transcript, but when they get into the first general chemistry class, they don't remember anything. Chemistry, as with most sciences is an experiential course, you HAVE to DO in order to learn. otherwise it's just memorizing facts from a book for some test, then that information is promptly forgotten (or more precisely inaccessible, since they are not being asked the same stupid test question)

With the number of students who have a visual and experiential learning styles, I find it sad that we do not have better science students coming out of high school.

I know it's not your fault, it's no child left behind and administrations that believe the only assessment of learning is a standardized test. I know chem teachers in my area who have had their labs shut down because of adminstrators who don't seem to want to understand what it takes to have a safe lab, and thus the first problem and everything is removed and you are relegated to theory only.

Also I have to agree with others, too much emphasis has been placed on calculators and the like in high school I have students who can't divide by 10 without their calculator, not that they can't do it, but because they are trained to need to do it. Also include some basic algebra, solve for x. make sure that you go over word problems and show them out it is a simple ratio or a straight line equation that just needs to be manipulated. All of these are simple skills that they should get out of high school, but seemingly don't.

That said I do have some ideas for resources.

one good place to check out is the chemcollective at http://www.chemcollective.org/ they have a lot of online simulators, including a virtual gen chem lab (although I find it rather limited). it is funded by the National Science Foundation and is part of the National Science Digital Library.
Also check out the rest of the NSDL. they have online and software resources for most sciences for K-12 and higher ed (don't be afraid to look at materials higher than the grade you are teaching, give them an extra challenge to apply their materials.

Maybe include some kitchen chemistry.

Someone mentioned chemdraw, It is the defacto standard in the industry and I used it for 10+ years. However, I highly recommend ChemSketch from ACD/Labs. they have a full featured free version that does nearly everything chemdraw can do and sometimes more. it does full IUPAC nomenclature w/ stereochemistry. it even interfaces with several online databases, such as pubchem.

As for excel, it can be useful, but mainly for crunching lab data. I can teach a student excel in a 1/2 of lab period, but their low algebra skills makes it difficult for them (and painful for me) to convert what we are doing in the lab to mathematical equations in excel.

lastly, check out the journal of chemical education. If you have access to it great. If not, it's not an expensive journal and it has a lot of good resources, both lab and computer.

more than 4 years ago
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Intel's Roadmap Includes 4nm Fab in 2022

drjoeward Re:Must not be using silicon then... (259 comments)

no, the diameter of a silicon atom is 0.22 nm still that makes it only about 18 atoms wide and 4nm is in the X-ray portion of the spectrum.

more than 5 years ago
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Students, the Other Unprotected Lab Animals

drjoeward Accidents happen and Students are not lab rats! (236 comments)

I worked as a grad student for 7 years in a chem lab. I had to go through school mandated safety for whatever I was working with chemical, biological, cryogenic, whatever. While OSHA and EPA did not breath down my labs neck, they breath down the schools neck on a regular basis.

a few things to keep in mind on the difference between industry and academia.

1) Academia is all R&D: there are very few reactions you do as process so you are constantly trying new things, new things lead to the possibility of accidents, regardless of training.

2) number of chemicals: I deal with this right now in my current job. in industry you have a very limited number of different chemicals on site related to your process. in academia you could have hundreds if not thousands on site as different researchers are working on various new projects.

3) grad student work hours: yes grad students are like medical residents they work long and hard hours. they are there to get their Ph.D. and leave not be all comfy in a job. the more you work the faster you leave. if you work too long, you'll make a mistake, it happens.

a few other items on this.

OSHA applies to anyone working in the lab, even undergrad students. Grade students are Employees, they are paid as graduate assistants.

Graduate students are not paid that poorly. when I was in grad school (late 90's) I made nearly $20k/year (which is not that much, but hey I was fresh out of undergrad) but I also got free tuition (9 credits a semester of graduate level courses is not cheap) and full medical and dental insurance. That is not a bad first job for someone just out of school with a bs in science. one of my students is going to be making closer to $30k/yr + tuition and benefits starting this fall. still NOT BAD for someone with little experience and just out of school

The most important thing to remember is that
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!!!! they happen everywhere, both in industry and in academia. You learn from making mistakes. one just hopes that you have enough sense in your head to make sure your mistake is not fatal! This person violated the golden rule of the lab. NEVER WORK ALONE! I may have worked with someone not in the same room, but I always have someone close by who can hear me scream if something happens.

In academia, the accidents tend to be personal. a single person is hurt or dies (this person or Karen Wetterhahn (which I'm surprised no one hasn't brought her up yet). If the popular news gets a hold of this tragic student story, it goes like gangbusters. Schools are public, the media is there and has good access and when you put a young face to a tragic accident we all feel for them and say that it shouldn't have happened, just like we say after every tragic accident that befalls a single person (car crash, house fire, etc)

if the guy working the viagra production line spills some chemical on the floor, do you think that accident makes it out of the plant? he's probably written up, maybe suspended, and sent for retraining. if an injury occurs, yeah OSHA finds out, but how many of those accidents are reported to the public as an individual hurt in a lab accident? Industry reports their accidents as faceless statistics. The industry accidents that make their way to the public are normally so large that it's a public health threat (i.e. Bhopal or three-mile island) Thus our response to them are different. Either we don't know the person hurt or it's so big that its the evil industry that is out to hurt us all. No not really, just industry is bigger and when someone or something screws up the accident is a whole lot bigger.

While I feel for the person, remember that training only gets you so far, if someone ignores it then something is going to happen. Training only gets you so far, after that its lab experience that helps you prevent accidents in the future.

If there was something wrong with the safety training or rules set up by the university, I hope something is done to fix it. HOWEVER, i certainly don't hope that anyone is thinking of placing more controls on what can be done in a lab. All that will do is stifle scientific advancement in this country, which is already being started in the high schools with the removal or decrease in science education (especially with labs). I doubt we as a country can afford to loose any more ground in this area.

The views and opinions expressed above are purely my own.

more than 5 years ago
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Should Organic Chemistry Be a Premed Requirement?

drjoeward Re:of course (567 comments)

I can't agree with you more. I teach organic chemistry and I am the Pre-med advisor. I have spent time talking to physicians, med school admission folks, etc. and the best answers I have are as follows 1) its necessary to properly study biochemistry which IS really necessary for the modern study of medicine. 2) you cannot memorize your way through organic chemistry. The mechanisms, syntheses, and reactions that you have to figure out, organize in your mind and THINK about. if the instructor is doing their job you really should not be able get through organic chemistry without critically thinking and applying your powers of observation, which are two traits I am sure we can all appreciate in a physician. other posts on this topic have indicated that organic is not as useful as biochem. I agree, but you need organic to study biochem. I for one, teach my organic class with a biochemical and biological slant. Since most of my students are pre-med or dent or vet, etc. they have more interest in the biological and biochemical so i keep their interest in my organic class by constantly trying to use examples that relate to those areas. for the most part it works better than the old organic chemistry I took when I was an undergraduate student. those are my 13 and a half cents worth of opinion. but I agree with this post and if you didn't say it first, I was getting ready to do so.

about 6 years ago

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