Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ACS Announces New "Open-Access, Grass-Fed, Free-Range" Journal

Washington, DC

In a press release earlier this morning, Gillian MacDonald, spokeswoman for the American Chemical Society, announced that the organization would be introducing a new "experimental" journal, tentatively named ACS Open Access Letters.  The release also revealed that the proposed journal would be "grass-fed, certified organic, and fair-trade sourced."

"The American Chemical Society is dedicated to the ideals of open access research," began MacDonald, "and additionally, we wish to demonstrate commitment to sustainable journal publishing practices."

MacDonald continued, "In our new journal model, authors will pay a nominal fee to ensure that their research is freely available to all, forever, and that the journals are given adequate open pastures to roam in, natural grass to eat, and that editors are paid a fair living wage for their journals."

By this afternoon, the announcement had already drawn sharp criticism; detractors point out that the open access journal model is inherently unsustainable.

"Look, I get it, I really do.  'OA' gets info out there for everyone.  But who's paying for it?  The authors, that's who.  Either the quality of the journal will suffer, or the quality of research will," commented CalTech's Professor Daniel Pearson.  "Plus, if we're honest, we all know those poor editors aren't seeing one extra cent from all this 'fair-trade' nonsense," added Pearson.

Supporters were equally quick to defend the announcement.  "It's definitely a step in the right direction," stated Emily Sharpe, PhD., a staff scientist at Johns Hopkins.  "We need to transition to a model of completely open access publishing in order to end institutional favoritism.  And did you know that journals' digestive systems didn't evolve to process grain?  They deserve to eat a natural, all grass diet."

MacDonald also indicated that ACS was exploring the idea of a non-GMO, chemical-free journal, possibly to be introduced in mid-2016.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lab Demonstrator's Basic Competence Appears as Wizardry to First-Year Undergraduates

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports

St. Andrews, UK

Second-year graduate student and part-time teaching lab demonstrator Karen Davies, 23, was hailed as "God-like" by breathless, wide-eyed undergraduates after performing a routine crystallization. Students were left speechless by Davies' ability to coax the readily crystallizable product out of solution using only a glass rod and, according to one onlooker, "the power of her mind."

Davies attempted to play down the incident, explaining, "We give them something dead simple for the first practical. They make this dicarboxylic acid that's just about the easiest thing in the world to crystallize. But they never manage it, because they're too impatient or ham-fisted or something. So I was showing them how to promote crystallization by scratching the flask with a stirring rod when they all flipped out."

However, her students remained awestruck by what they witnessed. David McLean, 18, spoke exclusively to C&EN Onion: "It was wild. She had this flask of liquid, like water or mercury or whatever, and she touched it with this, like, wand thing and bang, white solid from nowhere. It was some Harry Potter shit, dude."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Boston Area Scientists: Month of February "Total Wash"

Boston, MA

Citing unprecedented snowfall and rapidly deteriorating transportation infrastructure in the Boston area, scientists across the northeast technology hub are already calling the entire month of February a "complete and total fucking waste of time."  

Early Monday morning, researchers spanning the breadth of the greater Boston Metropolitan area released a joint statement declaring that "absolutely nothing of any consequence has gotten done, nor is likely to occur, in the entire month of February."

"Storm after goddamn storm" stated Waltham resident Michelle Davies, a post-doctoral researcher at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.  "Three consecutive Monday's we've had closures at the the lab.  The whole MBTA is even shut down today.  I can't remember the last time that happened."

"It took me two and a half hours to drive into work yesterday, so I'm not even bothering today."

"There's snow banks 4 feet high in the middle of my street" commented Cambridge resident and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student John Williams.  "It's like they just said 'fuck it' with plowing everything.  I haven't been able to reliably plan a single experiment in almost three weeks," added Williams with visible frustration.

"They said we're supposed to 'work from home if possible.'  Like what?  I'm supposed to just jury rig a fume hood in my garage?  Maybe cobble together an LC-MS from duct-tape and a toaster?  Christ."

When reached for comment, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh suggested all residents of eastern Massachusetts "chill the fuck out and make some snowmen or some shit."