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Lab Rat

Holding molecules together - van der Waals forces

A while back, I did a post for Chemistry week about hydrogen bonds. In it, I mentioned why I find intramolecular forces so fascinating; they are interactions on such a tiny scale that hold together everything from small molecules like water to massive molecules like the enzymes and multi-enzyme complexes that I study.The hydrogen-bond post seems to pick up a fair amount of visitors each month, and I like to think it has been a useful post for those studying Chemistry for school, or trying to remember their schoolwork at university level...

October 9, 2011 — S.E. Gould
History of Geology

October 9, 1963: Vajont

" Know, that mountain - it will not stand still. Believe me it´s a troublemaker - you can ask whoever you will. "" La ballata di Longarone ", by Beppe Chierici 1969The valley of Vajont (also Vaiont ) is characterized in the upper part by a large catchment area, smoothed by ancient glacal activity, and a narrow gorge eroded by the river Vajont in the lower part.This geomorphology and the nearby industries made this valley a perfect site for a dam and a hydroelectric power station.Construction of the Vajont dam started in 1956 and was completed in 1960, at this time it was the highest double-curvature arch dam in the world - rising 261.6 meter above the valley floor it was 190m broad across the top, with a capacity of 150 to 168 million cubic meter of water...

October 9, 2011 — David Bressan

Ada Lovelace Day-Meet the founder of Bioinformatics, Margaret Dayhoff

Ada Lovelace Day allows us an opportunity to highlight the work of women in science.Today I'd like you to meet a pioneer in the field of bioinformatics, Margaret Dayhoff, a visionary who: created the first computer program to analyze molecular data created the single letter amino acid abbreviation developed the first public molecular database revolutionized the field of evolutionary classification by using mathematical matrices to examine protein similarities...

October 7, 2011 — Joanne Manaster
Extinction Countdown

Hellbender Salamander Gets Endangered Species Designation, but No Habitat Protection--and That May Be a Good Thing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) this week granted the Ozark hellbender ( Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi ) protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but made the unusual decision not to declare critical habitat for the rare, giant salamanders because, it said, doing so could open it to threats from those who would illegally collect the species for the international pet trade.Ozark hellbenders are North America's largest amphibians, often topping off at 60 centimeters in length, and because of that size they are highly valued by collectors...

October 7, 2011 — John R. Platt

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