Scholarly Google

Scholarly Google

Google is just so active these days what with its desktop search tool, the beta of Google Groups 2, and now something specifically for academic-type research – Google Scholar – a scholarly Google in other words. It looks at first glance rather promising, being potentially a replacement or a complement to Elsevier’s Scirus…but, you’ll notice my carefully worded description "academic-type". It seems that a lot of early adopters are already finding the fatal flaws in its results, so if you were looking for a serious web research tool for science this is probably just one to add to the arsenal rather than being the weapon of mass deduction you were after.

Post note: Moreover, although this is a scholarly Google, there are a growing number of scientific tools online now that circumvent the need for such an academic search engine. With the advent of Connotea, ChemRank, and ChemRefer, and other such wonders, finding scholarly information is almost a cinch.

Fat Gamblers Smoking

The UK government is set to introduce new warning labels on fatty and sugary foods (in the style of the warnings found on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products.) At the same time it announces that smoking in enclosed public places will be banned within four years and then tells us that it has plans to import Vegas-style super-casinos into the country and to open the pubs 24 hours a day!

What’s going on?

They want us to cut down on fattening food, give up smoking, drink more and take up gambling. Could it be that they’re simply worried that duties on rich foods and cigarettes will plummet in the next five years so they’re shifting the emphasis to booze and gambling to compensate? Your thoughts on that subject are most welcome.

Chemistry of Moores Law

Everyone knows a version of Moore’s Law that states: the number of components on a unit area computer chip will double every 12 months. Empirically, it’s turned out to be every 18 months, but it doesn’t just apply to chip density, but highest hard drive capacity at any given time, CPU speeds, and RAM requirements (the computer hardware and software industries form a self-perpetuating ascending double helix in case you hadn’t noticed). The Chemical Heritage Foundation is marking the fortieth anniversary of Intel co-founder Gordon E Moore’s Law in May next year a celebration of the fact that without an equivalent doubling in chemical savvy none of those advances in computing would have been possible.