Florida adopts Kansas periodic table

In a surprise move today, Florida’s state education committee adopted a new standard for chemistry science classes. “Why should biology get all the attention? We have to have balanced educational standards in chemistry as well,” said committee member Denise O’Liarty-Ratsarse. The periodic table is only a theory. Those Medeleevists are trying to suppress scientific debate. We want to see a fair treatment of all theories. Besides, the Bible doesn’t mention hydrogen, so how do we know it even exists?”

Periodic table only a theory

Why do people laugh at creationists? 1

Why do people laugh at creationists? See for yourself.

Such ignorance can be attained only by determined striving.

"Just add water"

Thanks to Nanobiology Notes for this article on biochemistry in water. As the article points out, many biological molecules work only in water.

(Hat tip to Bora Zivkovic’s Link Love at Science & Politics)

Apocryphal elements

I like science humour, so I’m linking back to this Pharyngula thread about made-up element names.

Apparently, the bogus table of the elements is from a book called Science Made Stupid.

A star with a tail in the tail of the Whale

A star in the constellation Cetus is trailing a tail 13 light-years long. The tail, hot gasses thrown off the red giant, is made up of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Scientists believe that the gasses will form the nuclei of new solar systems. These elements are, with hydrogen, the ones that make up organic molecules atoms such as amino acids and sugars.

Our own solar system is made of atoms that have passed through another star at least once. The original atoms were almost all hydrogen and helium; anything heavier came from the fusion of a star’s dying aeons.

Stanley L. Miller has died

Stanley L. Miller has died. Working under the supervision of Harold Urey, he ran the first experiments that produced the molecular building blocks of life from hydrogen, water, methane, and ammonia. Blog commenter Zeno sums it up:

The experiment showed definitively that chemical compounds associated with organic life could be generated in the absence of life. If Miller and Urey made assumptions about the early earth that are no longer generally accepted, that’s entirely beside the point. Since the Miller-Urey breakthrough, their seminal experiment has been run under many different assumptions about primeval environments and the results confirm the original key finding: precursors of organic life can arise in many different circumstances.

Read an interview with Dr. Miller.

Chemical interaction harmed pets

Researchers at Ontario’s University of Guelph have discovered that an interaction of two chemicals forms crystals that can damage the kidneys of animals that eat contaminated foods.
–Source: CTV news.

Dr. Perry Martos and colleagues from the Agriculture and Food Laboratory at Guelph’s Laboratory Services announced Friday they have discovered a dangerous reaction when melamine and cyanuric acid — the two contaminants found in the imported wheat gluten used in the pet food — are combined. The two chemicals react to form crystals that could block kidney function…..

John Melichercik, Director of Analytical Services for Laboratory Services, was quick to point out that the university’s findings were only a small part of the research needed to find out what caused pets to become sick from the recalled pet food….

Officials estimate nearly 39,000 pets were sickened in the U.S. after nearly 100 brands of now recalled pet food were sold, which equated to about one per cent of the overall U.S. pet food supply.

At this point, factory workers in China have admitted to adding melamine to pet-food ingredients. The melamine would falsify the protein analysis to give an artificially high reading and thus cheat their customers.

See alsoRecalled contaminated pet food goes to pigs” or “Tainted pet food gets into our food supply” and, for ongoing news, “More about pet-food recall.”

Primordial soup is on again!

Jeffrey Bada has re-run the famous Miller and Urey experiments with creating “primordial soup” of amino acids from basic chemicals. The original experiment, run in 1953, created organic chemicals, including amino acids, when energy was run through the estimated compostion of ancient ocean and atmosphere (methane and ammonia). However, when the atmospheric content was adjusted to carbon dioxide and nitrogen and the experiment was repeated, it became too acidic and did not accumulate amino acids.

Now Jeffrey Bada has realized that primitive ocean would be in contact with iron and carbonates. When he added those to his mixture, it began making amino acids again. So it looks as if Miller and Urey were on the right track–they just didn’t go far enough.

If enough amino acids formed, they could take part in a process of chemical evolution — already observed in the lab — that would favour some molecules over others. Stay tuned…

(See RNA World.)

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