Sep 3, 2009

Seeing Molecules

Scientists at IBM Research in Zurich have, for the first time, made an atomic-scale resolution image of a single molecule, the hydrocarbon pentacene.

Atomic-force microscopy works by scanning a surface with a tiny cantilever whose tip comes to a sharp nanoscale point. As it scans, the cantilever bounces up and down, and data from these movements is compiled to generate a picture of that surface. These microscopes can be used to "see" features much smaller than those visible under light microscopes, whose resolution is limited by the properties of light itself. Atomic-force microscopy literally has atom-scale resolution.

Until now it hasn't been possible to use it to look with atomic resolution at single molecules. Researchers overcame this problem by first using the microscope tip to pick up a single molecule of carbon monoxide, which they used to make an image of pentacene. They hope that looking this closely at single molecules will give them a better understanding of chemical reactions and catalysis at an unprecedented level of detail.

Cup of Joe

Josephus Daniels, 1862-1948, was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his reforms of the Navy were inaugurating the practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for entrance into the Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the abolishment of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as 'a cup of Joe'.

Mickey Rooney

September birthdays include Mickey Rooney, who was born Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920, He started acting at 17 months old. The five foot three inch star has a way with the ladies and ran up a total of eight wives. His latest wife, Jan Chamberlin, and him have been married since 1978.

He has 320 movies to his credit. In 1944, Rooney Rooney entered military service for 21 months during World War II as a radio personality on the American Forces Network.

Name Years Children
Ava Gardner
Betty Jane Rase 1944-1949 Mickey Rooney, Jr. (born 1945)
Tim Rooney (1947 - 2006)
Martha Vickers 1949-1951 Theodore Michael Rooney (born 1950)
Elaine Devry 1952-1958
Barbara Ann Thomason (Carolyn Mitchell) 1958-1966 Kelly Ann Rooney (born 1959)
Kerry Rooney (born 1960)
Michael Joseph Rooney (born 1962)
Kimmy Sue Rooney (born 1963)
Marge Lane 1966-1967
Carolyn Hockett 1969-1974 Jimmy Rooney (adopted from Carolyn's previous marriage) (born 1966)
Jonelle Rooney (born 1970)
Jan Chamberlin 1978-present

What is he up to these days? Mickey and Jan brought their off Broadway musical: Let's Put On A Show! to the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois on August 30, 2009, to be followed with a 13 performance tour of Ontario, Canada from September 21 through October 6, 2009. Wow, not bad for his age.


"You always pass failure on the way to success." - Mickey Rooney

Breathalyzer Test

A new use for breathalyzers has been developed to detect lung cancer with eighty six percent accuracy.

The device could provide an early warning system before tumors become visible in X-rays. The sensor uses gold nanoparticles to detect levels of so-called volatile organic compounds, measured in a few parts per billion, that become more elevated in cancer patients. Currently, only 15 percent of cases are discovered before the disease has begun to spread.

A team of researchers took breath samples from 56 healthy people and 40 lung cancer patients. They found 33 compounds that appeared in at least 83 percent of the cancer group, but in fewer than 83 percent of the control group.

Then they designed an assembly of chemical sensors using gold nanoparticles measuring five nanometers across. (An average strand of human hair is about 100,000 nanometers in width.)

The devices were able to "distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls.

"Given the impact of the rising incidence of cancer on health budgets worldwide, the proposed technology will be a significant saving for both private and public health expenditure," they say.

Lung cancer claims some 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all deaths from cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Sep 1, 2009

Three Little Pigs

This one is just plain fun. No redeeming features. A guy builds an air gun to see if he can blow down the houses of straw, wood, and bricks. Here is the link.


Charles Tanqueray’s path through life seemed pretty clear while growing up. He followed three straight generations of Bedfordshire clergymen, so it seemed natural that he would grow up and be a man of the cloth himself.

Instead, he started distilling gin in 1830 in a tiny plant in London’s Bloomsbury district. Fifteen years later, he was shipping his gin to colonies around the British Empire, where many plantation owners and troops had developed a taste for Tanqueray and tonic.


The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity,
and tolerates shoddiness in government because government is an exalted activity,
will have neither good plumbing nor good government.
Neither its pipes nor its promises will hold water.

Did You Know?

Spider silk is very light weight. 25,000 miles – the circumference of Earth – of a single fiber would weigh about 16 ounces.