Author Archives: alan

Freakin’ Farmers

I spend a lot of time at tea shops and I’ve noticed that public sharing of words starting in “f” (well, certain f-words) feels more frequent today than in times past. Fantasy? Or fact? According to How farming reshaped our … finish reading Freakin’ Farmers

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Divestment = Politics or Morals?

Demands that Reed College divest its endowment funds from some dubious source of profit or another have percolated around campus for as long as I have taught here. At my first convocation ceremony in the Reed gym (Aug. 1989) I … finish reading Divestment = Politics or Morals?

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The Carbon Footprint of Academic Travel

The 18 January 2019 issue of Science contains a letter, Airborne in the era of climate change, written by two European scientists, Kévin Jean and Chris Wymant. They write, “The IPCC’s 2050 target of carbon neutrality is strongly challenged by sectors … finish reading The Carbon Footprint of Academic Travel

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The First Day of Spring

Was today the first day of Spring? How does one tell? In other parts of the country Spring’s heralds are sunshine, warmth that penetrates to your bones (not yet, Portland, not yet), a second robin, and daffodils in bloom. Portlanders … finish reading The First Day of Spring

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Lab Safety 10 Years After Sheri Sangji

C&E News has published an article, 10 years after Sheri Sangji’s death, are academic labs any safer? (Dec. 28, 2018), that is a must-read for all chemists who either go into labs themselves or are responsible for sending others into … finish reading Lab Safety 10 Years After Sheri Sangji

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Church of England promises to divest from fossil fuels

Science magazine (13 July 2018) reports (News | In Brief, p. 114) that the Church of England has decided to divest itself from fossil fuel companies. The Church divested itself of £12 million in assets from tar sands and coal … finish reading Church of England promises to divest from fossil fuels

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PSU Chemists May Have Unlocked Juul’s Appeal

E-cigarettes are often promoted as a “healthy” alternative to cigarettes (“The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul” New Yorker, 14 May 2018). The public health appeal of this is simple: nicotine is notoriously addictive (even without the flavorings … finish reading PSU Chemists May Have Unlocked Juul’s Appeal

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Real News About the Climate

Here are two recent “real news” stories that should make you worried about the self-serving fools in charge of our government, corporations, and just about any other person or institution with a financial incentive to keep things as they are: … finish reading Real News About the Climate

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Forced From Home exhibit – this week only

Doctors without Borders has mounted a free exhibition, “Forced From Home,” in Pioneer Courthouse Square on the refugee crisis. Hours are 9 am – 5 pm. Days Mon 10/16 (that’s today) through Sun 10/22. Here’s a brief description of what you will … finish reading Forced From Home exhibit – this week only

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Are Chemists Ready for Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR), once the province of supercomputer labs, is going mainstream. A few months ago, I strapped on a VR headset in Prof. Joel Franklin’s computer lab so that I could explore multi-hued computer-generated landscapes, some realistic, others purely fanciful. … finish reading Are Chemists Ready for Virtual Reality?

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