Monday, March 05, 2007

Information just wants to be free

The ACS is finally taking a step in that direction, albeit a baby step.  Authors can now pay a fee so that the ACS will allow free access to their article.  This option has been available since October, but it seems that only 3 authors have taken advantage of this wonderful service so far. At $1000-$3000 an article, the fees would quickly add up for authors with huge publication lists.  With an average article currently costing ~$30, that means that the average article currently is accessed less than ~30 times. 

You can tell from my satirical tone that I favor free access of all information, as both the author and the readers gain.  The middle man (the publisher) is the one that is hurt.  I don't have any easy solutions.  One option that I am in favor of is to base the access fee on the popularity of the article: the more it is accessed, the more it costs to access it.  Articles that no one reads would be available very cheaply.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Detox via Intox

From the true tales of an MSDS: (I know, I know.  A huge book could be written of all the humorous writings in MSDS's). This is from section 4 of an MSDS to gamma-glycidoxylpropyltrimethoxysilane, a common coupling agent.  The three methoxy groups are rather labile, and will displace themselves when moisture is present. 

"This product reacts with moisture in the acid contents of the stomach to form methanol.  The combination of visual disturbances, metabolic acidosis and formic acid in the urine is evidence of methanol poisoning.  The therapeutic intravenous administration of ethanol (10 ml per hour) allows it to be preferentially oxidized and reduces production of methanol metabolites."

So take a swig of this, and then go the hooch.  "Sorry boss, you can't fire me for drinking on the job.  I have to.  Doctor's orders!"  Granted, 10 ml/hr won't get anybody drunk except for Calista Flockhart, but it still is an unusual therapy.