Messing with Academia

The following is an email that I sent to a couple professors at The University of Washington regarding a table that appears on their website (a table with incorrect information {see below}*).  Although I’m not special enough to have attended Havard I do know the correct formula for things like nitrite ion…

Dear Professors:

Not long ago I wished to look and see what tabulated information was available concerning acid strength.  I ran across a table with the following address

I printed this table out and posted it next to a work computer and promptly forgot about it.  During a fit of boredom I happened to glance over at it a few days later and noticed a number of errors in it.  For example, the formulas for nitrite ion, carbonic acid, and hydrogen sulfite ion are all incorrect.  As of yet, I haven’t given it much of a critical review but I wonder if this table contains other serious errors?  I suggest you take time to review it extensively (including Ka values) and revise it.


Stew (Dr. Stewart P. Lewis)

* I’m invoking fair use since this posting is not for profit and only for educational purposes and by the fact that the table was not marked as being copyrighted.  Should they request I remove it I’ll let my readers know…

Wash Univ acid strength table (with mistakes)

My Blog Readers

Since adding a blog to my website I’ve notice a disproportional number of readers from Latin America.  Although I do appreciate your patronage I’ve been unable to accept and post (thus far) 100% of comments coming from such readers.  Seeing that my targeted audience is those who have some sort of affiliation to the sciences I welcome commentary related to those issues and spam anything that is outside this realm or geared towards self-promotional purposes (e.g. websites that promote travel and other non-science related services).

Oddly enough, people from these regions apparently enjoy reading my blog series on the Goat Man.  Because of this, I want to take a few minutes and dispel any misunderstanding about the true nature of the Goat Man.  Although the Goat Man is an intellectual crook who steals ideas from others (including the assumed name that he has used while residing in the US) he is not a chupacabra (i.e. goat sucker).  No, unfortunately this individual is not as benign a being.  In fact, to make such an association is to malign the chupacabra.  Unlike the Goat Man (who hides behind the façade of being a great scientist and a self-proclaimed patriot of the U.S.) the chupacabra does not disguise its true nature.  Instead, everyone knows the chupacabra when they encounter it (just ask Coast to Coast AM listeners).  Still, there are some parallels between the Goat Man, the chupacabra, and their prey that I should point out.

Just as a chupacabra preys upon weak herding animals (e.g. goats and sheep) the Goat Man too has lived off the life blood of ideas of herd like research scientists and students.  This sort of prey too, is sheep-like in its behavior, mentality, and lack of courage.  Furthermore, the Goat Man one ups the chupacabra by stealthily feeding off the endless life blood of the public as a whole using their tax dollars to fund his feeding frenzy.  Unwilling to put up a fight, they too become a tasty meal for the “sucker of inventions” just as sheep and goats are for a chupacabra.  It is said that the chupacabra has the ability to put its prey into a trance-like state prior to feeding and thus reduces the effort required to fulfill its needs.  Likewise, the Goat Man has mastered this skill and fooled a great many individuals into thinking he is a prodigy as they offer their wealth of knowledge to him on their own free will when in fact he is nothing more than a parasite.

Fortunately, just as people are becoming aware of the chupacabra they too are waking up to the Goat Man.  Recently a student of a former student (now professor) of the Goat Man told me that the validity of works published by the Goat Man have been questioned and in some instances would appear to have been falsified.  Another comment was the proclivity of the Goat Man to publish so extensively in a certain journal, one which as it turns out he served as an editor to (that little fact seemed to escape these people’s attention).  I found it laughable that Sam informed me the Goat Man stated that is former student of his (now professor) “always steals my best ideas.”  One would think this former member of the Goat Man’s herd might have something to say about that but all I’ve heard is silence [ 🙁 ] despite contacting him directly.  As I have previously mentioned, the Goat Man has left a visible trail of deceit and thievery throughout the chemical literature (some of which has been and other which will be publically disclosed in the not too distant future).  These clues are similar to the corpses of livestock that the chupacabra leaves behind during its nocturnal feeding frenzies.  Just as farmers have taken extreme measures to protect their animals the witnesses to the Goat Man’s acts should be called to duty in carrying out long deserved justice.  Despite having raised the alarm to many (including previous prey victims), I have to note that it would seem that I am the only one to have what Latin Americans would refer to as “huevos.”  With that I’ll close with the following.  That being, the Goat Man’s time of reckoning is fast approaching!!!

Public Disclosure, Scandium(III) trifluoromethanesulfonate Coinitiated Polymerization of Isobutene (6/21/12)

For some time Innovative Science Corporation has been involved in basic R&D on new systems for the green polymerization of isobutene (IB).  This series of projects (conducted under contract) have yielded a number of interesting and valuable methodologies for the polymerization of IB where benefits include lower energy consumption, high yields, and no toxic solvents required.  In this blog we announce (publically) the details of one such system.

It has been discovered that scandium(III) triflate is capable of inducing polymerization of IB to both low and high MW grades of PIBs in neat monomer (and in aliphatic media) in conjunction with a number of initiator subsets (e.g. halogens, Brönsted acids, alcohols, ethers, nitroalkanes, and water {just to name a few}).  Depending on the identity of the initiator, products with high MWs can be obtained at elevated reaction temperatures.  For example, in one experiment reaction at 0 °C led to the production of PIB with Mw = 250 kg/mol (in limited yield).  In many instances, low MW grades of PIBs with high exo-olefinic end group contents (ca. 80-90 %) can be produced in high yields at room temperature.  Moreover, studies have indicated that the coinitator is itself recyclable and retains is activity upon reuse.

More specific details concerning this research will be disseminated in the peer-reviewed literature.  For those who have interest in owning US patent rights please contact our president, Dr. S.P. Lewis.  Release date 6/21/12

Youngevity®: Good Products, Bad Customer Service

Note: the following comments are not from a physician and are the author’s opinion.  Consult a health care professional before taking any nutritional supplements.

I wanted to write briefly about these products.  One is called “Beyond Tangy Tangerine®” and I find it to be a good overall supplement.  Steady low dosage of this (i.e. diluted at about 2 times the recommended concentration) along with frequent exercise led to an increase in energy level and weight loss.  There was a definite difference in these results compared to other supplements (at least in my case).  The supplement tastes good and in my opinion should be easier for your body to uptake since it is already solubilized.  One thing that I have noticed is occasionally insoluble material will still remain (although it is minor) and this appears to be Mg(OH)if I had to give an educated guess (no I didn’t try to analyze it).  The other Youngevity product I like is Osteo-FX plusTM.  It tastes good, has no sugar or other harmful sweeteners, and mixes well with both water and milk.  I would highly recommend this to anyone with young children or older adults who absolutely need to support healthy bones.  I’m also guessing that this would be an excellent supplement for pregnant women as well (again, consult a doctor first).

Given all that, I need to comment on two negative aspects of this company.  First is the high price of the products and second is their terrible customer service.  As for the first I believe you get what you pay for (usually).  So with that line of thought, superior supplements should (potentially) come at a higher price.  As for the second, I absolutely do not understand how a company can offer such high quality products and yet have such sucky (excuse this adjective; however, it adequately describes their service) customer service.  Here is just one example of several interactions I’ve had with them.  Not long ago I requested my auto-ship to be sent to a new address.  I went online and changed this myself and then I called Youngevity® and was told by their customer service that everything was good to go with the new address.  Well, guess what?  The package went to the old address.  So I attempted to contact Youngevity® by email (to both their customer service as well as Dr. Wallach).  Both emails bounced back due to problems with the mail accounts as provided on their website!  I then called Youngevity® and got a recording saying that it was outside their normal business hours and to leave a message.  So I left them with all my information and requested a return phone call but never received one.  When I began to explain this to the customer service representative (on my second call some days later) there was no sympathy, apology, or attempt to correct all these wrongs.  The best they could do was arrange for UPS to pick the package up to where it had been incorrectly delivered and reroute it to me (at my own cost of course).  So, if someone knows of a company that offers similar products at similar or lower cost with better customer service please let me know and I’ll review them as well.