Thursday, December 17, 2015

Martin Shkreli Arrested; Prosecutors Seek Indictment On Three Counts

New York, NY

Federal prosecutors announced today that they had arrested controversial venture capitalist Martin Shkreli on three separate securities fraud related charged.  Jonathan Weil, spokesperson for the SEC had this to say:

"Early this morning, Mr. Shkreli was arrested for federal agents on charges related to his activities as CEO of pharmaceutical company Retrophin."

According to Weil, prosecutors plan on indicting Shkreli on two separate charges of being a smug, unrepentant bag of dicks in the first degree, and conspiracy to holy shit how is any of what he's doing even remotely legal, god damn.

He also indicated that the prosecution is considering seeking a third indictment for oh my god, just look at that asshole's face, what a douche.

Sources present as his arraignment indicated that Mr. Shkreli paid his $1,000,000 bail with cartoonish moneybags stashed with hundred dollar bills.  When reached for comment, Shkreli did not speak with the press, but instead threw both middle fingers into the air and briefly smirked before stepping into the back of his chartered limousine.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Area PI Orchestrates Perfect Hostile Work Environment

Boston, MA

Associate Professor James Smith spoke to C&EN Onion Thursday morning from his office in the Harvard affiliated Boston Children's Hospital to report on his successful creation of the ideally hostile work environment.

Professor Smith, who employs six post-doctoral researchers and three graduate students, described the atmosphere of veiled fear and tense suspicion he had meticulously crafted within his lab.  "I find that the goals of science are better served when my researchers are deeply mistrustful of each other and in constant fear of having their funding cut.  Really makes everyone put in a certain je ne sais quoi."

"It's actually really simple to keep the J-1's [visa holders] in line.  Just the implication that I might not continue to fund them is enough to coax at least another 2-3 months of 70-hour weeks out of them."

"Every now and then I bring in a candidate to interview; you know, just so my post-docs sweat a little."

Smith went on to explain his method for ensuring the lab was bustling with activity during nights and weekends.  "Last group meeting, I photocopied the employment contract each of my group members signed and highlighted the line stating each employee must work 'no less than forty hours' per week."

"I also find it's critical to encourage competition between group members," Smith continued.  "If two of them are working on similar projects, I'll throw a couple tasks at them that overlap slightly.  Gets 'em worrying about author order."

"Now, if I could just figure out a way to eliminate those damned hour-long lunches they keep taking."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ACS President-Elect Allison Campbell Announces Bold Reform Plans

Washington, DC

Just days after winning a close election over G. Bryan Balazs, Allison Campbell, president-elect of the American Chemical Society, took to the podium to announce sweeping reforms to the professional organization this morning.

"After collecting the results of numerous polls and focus groups of ACS members, I am very pleased to announce significant changes to the way the American Chemical Society will be run during my tenure," began Dr. Campbell.

"We have long deliberated the issues which matter most to our members: stable employment, wage stagnation, and industrial safety, among others.  After much consideration, we are taking concrete steps to address these issues.  First, each ACS member will receive a commemorative key chain in addition to the traditional coffee mug on each anniversary of their ACS membership."

"I am also pleased to report that, in addition to receiving a 15% discount from Hertz car rental, ACS members will henceforth receive a similar discount at all Denny's restaurants in the 48 contiguous United States," she added.

"Finally, we are rolling out a new feature exclusive to members; SciFinder-Facebook integration.  All the powerful features you are familiar with can now be shared with your friends and family across your favorite social network."

In her closing remarks, president-elect Campbell disclosed that the long-standing 25 complimentary ACS journal downloads annually allocated to each member would be replaced by a two month trial of LinkedIn Premium.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

3 Reported Dead After Paperwork Exposure Event Results In Drowning

St. Louis, MO

Two technicians and a process chemist were reportedly killed early Tuesday evening at the SynTech custom chemical plant in St. Louis, MO.  The incident occurred when an internal safety review board generated enough hot gas to rupture, showering the three in paperwork.

The accumulation of the noxious paperwork, a myriad of inane and redundant forms, check-box SOP's, and boilerplate hazard warnings, initially began slowly following the adjournment of a process safety review meeting.  However, by mid-afternoon enough paperwork had been evolved from the discussion to increase the stress on the system's self-importance relief valve to critical levels.  Investigations are ongoing, but it is suspected that the valve's pressure was not properly monitored due to management's failure to check the autonomy levels of the review panel.

A spokesperson from SynTech expressed sympathy with the families of those affected.  "We wish to express our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the three workers lost today.  SynTech is working closely with federal investigators to determine the precise cause of yesterday's paperwork exposure, and to ensure that such a tragedy will never occur again."

The spokesperson went on to describe an emergency safety review board incident review panel, which had been formed immediately following the rupturing of the safety review board.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Martin Shkreli Announces Plans To Purchase, Hollow-Out Dormant Volcano

New York, NY

Following news that Imprimis Pharmaceuticals had entered the market for Daraprim -- the subject of Turing Pharmaceutical's recent controversial price increase -- Turing CEO Martin Shkreli announced his firm's plan to relocate their headquarters to a hollowed-out volcano somewhere in the south pacific.

"Due to recent corporate restructuring, we have decided that a private island fortress in the form of a long-dormant, but hopefully still smoldering volcano will ideally suit Turing Pharmaceuticals as a new base of operations," stated Shkreli.  "As you are all well aware, Turing is committed to spending at least 50% of its total accrued profits on efforts toward world domination."

Mr. Shkreli then proceeded to extol the benefits of such an aquatic lair.  "The fortress will, of course, be located in international waters and be accessible only by chartered helicopter.  Construction is expected to take approximately eighteen months to complete, which places Turing in an ideal situation to begin construction on a ICBM-equipped moon base by no later than Q2 of 2017."

As of press time, Turing's board of directors was reportedly investigating the costs associated with procuring a small army of child soldiers from the failed state of Somalia, as well as several hovercrafts to patrol the waters around their proposed headquarters.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer Intern Offers To Pay For Broken Vacuum Dewar

Boston, MA

Sources within Boston-area technology firm Syntadyn indicated that Alexander Jepsen, a co-operative transfer student from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, graciously offered to finance the replacement of a 2.5-liter glass-lined vacuum dewar flask after inadvertently shattering it while performing his laboratory duties earlier this morning.

Mr. Jepsen, who will be beginning his junior year as a chemistry major next week, was cleaning glassware in the lab sink when he knocked the vessel to the ground causing it to implode violently.  Fortunately, Jepsen was not injured in the incident.  After sweeping up the glass shards which littered the lab floor, Jepsen reported the breakage to his supervisor, Dr. Kelsey Smith, stating he had broken "some light-bulb looking thing," which he elaborated made "a wicked loud noise" upon shattering.

When reached for comment, Jepsen stated he apologized profusely for the incident.  "I went over to Kelsey's office and was like 'I broke something downstairs in the lab, I'm so sorry.'  Then I offered to pay for a new one.  It looked like a bunch of metal and glass; couldn't cost more than a hundred bucks, tops, right?"

Fortunately for Alexander, who in his brief experience as a co-op has not had the opportunity to contextualize the exorbitant cost of scientific equipment, glassware, and reagents, Dr. Smith declined his gracious but ultimately naive offer to "take a dock in pay."

C&EN Onion reporters reached out to Jepsen's supervisor, who indicated this was not the first incident involving broken equipment.  "Some people are just all thumbs, I guess.  I've got a laundry list of stuff this guy has broken: round bottoms, NMR tubes, a couple beakers, even a Schlenk line."

As of press time, a one-liter graduated cylinder had escaped from Jepsen's grasp and was rapidly accelerating toward the floor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

C&EN 'Talented 12' Compete for "Most Talented" Superlative

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


It's pretty sweet to be labeled an up-and-comer among your professional peers. But, to quote Highlander: "There can be only one!"

This might explain the ongoing competition among the Talented 12 scholars. "It started so innocently," claimed fluorescent probe master Luke Lavis. "Hosea [Nelson] sidled up to me to challenge me to a foot-race, and, next thing I knew, we were sprinting up and down the halls of the Marriott." Synthetic wunderkind Kami Hull has since challenged contact lens pioneer Karen Havenstrite to an arm-wrestling match; Troy Lister and Matt Kanan were last seen engaged in a pie-eating contest. 

Remarked C&EN Editor Bibiana Campos Seijo: "Really, they're all equally gifted, but we'll be keeping close watch to see which one survives the conference with the most street cred."

Baran Invents Time Machine, Returns To 2015 To Report On Maoecrystal V

Boston, MA

To an audience of eager chemists, Professor Phil Baran of the Scripps Institute presented his future self from the year 2019 who in turn presented the results of his present self's eventual optimized total synthesis of maoecrystal v.  Baran, who will have had completed the elegant, 12-step route by late 2018, extolled on the difficulties of the project.

"Optimizing and cutting down on junk steps took almost two full years of work by seven post-docs.  From there, it was a trivial matter of correctly orienting the polarity of several flux capacitors, allowing me to be here with you today," said future-Baran.

Baran did, however, acknowledge some difficulties in implementing his time travel machine.  "It turned out the baryon transistors were exceedingly sensitive to tachyon magnetization.  The result was inconsistent end-points of time travel.  I regret to report that, in the course of debugging, two graduate students were lost, we believe sometime in the mid-to-late cretaceous period."

Upon completion of his talk, the future-present Baran system auto-annihilated, resulting in a singular meta-Baran, which itself transcended both time and mortality, as well as human consciousness.  

All those in attendance were reportedly filled with an overwhelming feeling of tranquility and understanding of the collective human condition. Meta-Baran then disintegrated into pure energy, a sight so beautiful that many were driven insane by the jarring epiphany that nothing in the duration of their metaphysically unimportant lives would ever compare.

As of press time, a small slip in the fabric of space-time had allowed fleeting contact with Professor Yoshito Kishi from the year 2021, who uttered a drawn out "MAIIIITOOOOOTOOOXIIIIIIN" before fading from existence.

ACS Conferee's "Black Sunday" Exposition Hall Camp-out Yields Tchotchke Fortune

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


For some, it's a tradition akin to stalwarts lining up outside Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving eve. "I bring a small pup-tent to all ACS National Meetings," says Susan Ortiz, a safety officer from UNH. "If you want the best free schwag from the top vendors, you'd best be at those glass doors at 5:59PM."

"My advice? Bring tennis shoes, and be ready to sprint."

Ms. Ortiz's haul this year set records: a dozen T-shirts, 58 pens, countless pieces of Halloween candy and myriad USB drives. "Really, I'm set until Christmas - my whole family knows to expect branded sunglasses, KNF keychains, or that special Sigma Aldrich solvent guide under the tree."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ACS Meeting Provides Boon to Local Costume Shop

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


 With the American Chemical Society's 250th set to kick off this weekend, rentals of mole costumes are up a stunning 200%. 

"Usually, I just have this fuzzy brown shell sitting in the back of a U-Haul" remarks George Sullivan, the lucky entrepreneur of Boston Costume. "I mean, there was that weekend last October, when those guys from Durham College rented out my best suit for 8 hours, but these ACS guys are looking for two costumes for an entire week? Jackpot!"

Mr. Sullivan could not be reached for further comment; the C&EN Onion staff last observed him pitching a potential "Mass Lobster" mascot to ACS past-President Bassam Shakhashiri. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

ACS Official: Entire Meeting Schedule Set To Inconvenience Single Graduate Student

Boston, MA

Sources within the American Chemical Society have confirmed that the entire schedule of the 250th National Meeting was put together with the express purpose of fucking with area graduate student David Weiss.

"We took a look at numerous configurations, schedules, and venues, and decided that the current format of the 250th National  Meeting of the American Chemical Society allows us to dick over Mr. Weiss to the greatest extent possible," an anonymous source within the ACS stated.

The conference organizers poured over metadata from Weiss's journal access over the past year, and combined with a complex sorting algorithm, determined which talks he would be most interested in seeing.  They then scheduled those talks in such a way as to make it impossible to attend more than 50% of them.

"Every meeting we pick one lucky graduate student as tribute, and this time second-year graduate student David Weiss from Tufts got the short straw," stated ACS President Diane Grob Schmidt.  "The organizers really get a kick out of it," she added.

Citing overlapping talks, poster sessions on opposite sides of the conference hall, or in an auxiliary hall all together, and frequent conflicts between the Organic and Biological Chemistry technical division sessions, ACS officials confirmed that they had achieved the ideal level of inconvenience for Mr. Weiss.

As of press time, Weiss was incredulous that both Professors Phil Baran and James Bradner were giving talks at the same exact time on Wednesday.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Boston: A Visiting Chemist's Guide

Welcome to Boston!  You've landed at Logan International Airport, checked into your hotel, and are eagerly awaiting the talks to start at the 250th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  We've put together a handy list of some basic Do's and Dont's while visiting this beautiful city.


  • See how many family pictures you can photobomb in front of MIT or Harvard.  Boston locals keep a tally, and some even go as far as tagging themselves when these gems later inevitably appear on Facebook.
  • Wear a pea coat.  The thick wool will keep you insulated from the icy August weather, and Bostonians find them quite fashionable.  Remember, it could begin snowing at literally any time.
  • Rent a car.  Feel free to drive around the city as much as you'd like.  Locals will especially appreciate this, as most do not know how to drive and will take kindly to learning by your example.
  • Go to brunch in the South End.  This is not to be confused with South Boston or "Southie."  The former offers a broad assortment of bourgeois dining options;  the latter has an unsettlingly large number of public storage units.
  • Order an "Irish Car-Bomb" at any of the Irish Pubs in Boston.  Many of these establishments have employees of Irish descent who will appreciate your homage to their nation's history.
  • Take a picture with the Benjamin Franklin lookalike at the Union Oyster House.  There are, like, six of them that rotate around.  And they try to charge you afterward.
  • Go to the top of the hub.  In Boston, there are plenty of places to get belligerently drunk that are not suspended 1000 feet in the air. 
  • Pahk your cahh in Havaahhdd Yahhd.
  • Use Uber.  Despite the convenience of this car service, angry mobs of taxis drivers have been known to descend upon unsuspecting Uber patrons.
  • Go to Allston.  Just don't.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Impact Factor Stolen In Daring Heist

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports

Nottingham, UK

Thieves made off with a large quantity of impact factor in a carefully orchestrated raid on a Thomson–Reuters facility, just days before this year's consignment of the controlled substance was due to be distributed to academic journals around the world.

Despite its low-key appearance – an anonymous warehouse on the outskirts of Nottingham, UK – entry to the building known as the Impact Factory is tightly controlled. The heavily armed gang smuggled themselves into the facility in a shipping container stuffed with unprocessed citations. Once inside, they forcibly looted the impact factor vault before escaping, according to a police source, "in the usual manner: zipline across the river and then fleeing by dogsled across the fields to a waiting hovercraft."

Responding to anxious scientific publishers' demands to know precisely how much impact factor was missing, Thomson–Reuters stated: "It would be absurd to attempt to put a precise figure on what is at best a slippery approximation. However, we estimate that impact factor totalling 7318.031 has been taken." The stolen impact factor, corresponding to approximately 17 deca-Natures, will likely be broken up and sold piecemeal to predatory journals or adulterated with cutting agents such as baking soda, amphetamines and Altmetrics before being sold on the street.

Handling guidelines for impact factor, an intractable brown tar described as toxic and corrosive, recommend storage in a well-sealed container and the avoidance of all contact with science. Despite this, it has been known as a drug of abuse for many years under the street names "JIF" and "Garfield's thunder." Most impact factor addicts are relatively high-functioning and able to maintain senior positions in research, publishing, and on tenure and funding committees. Medical professionals urge users to protect themselves from the worst effects by taking their impact factor with a pinch of salt.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cal Graduate Changes LinkedIn Headline To "Synthesis Rockstar"

Berkeley, CA

Sources indicate that Keith  Laing, expectant Cal chemistry graduate, has recently completed radical changes to his professional image in a severely misguided attempt to impress potential employers.

Laing, 23, is expected to receive his bachelors of science in chemistry next month from the University of California, Berkeley, at which time he hopes to "hit the ground running in kickass position somewhere near the bay," according to the "objective" section of his newly polished resume.

Keith recently spoke with C&EN Onion reporters regarding the millennial's decision to "spice-up" his online presence and resume.  "I want to really stand out from the other chemistry graduates in the area.  Sure, there's a lot of R&D work here, but the talent pool is huge too.  Plus, I want potential employers to see that I 'get' it.  You know?  Like, I'm someone who can crush it in the lab from nine to five, and then grab a beer with crew after-hours."

Despite his overly optimistic use of the term "crush it," Laing has a positive outlook on his employment prospects.  "Managers should be able to see that I'm not just a stick in the mud.  So I bought the domain ''  You want to see my resume?  Boom.  Right there."  

Indeed, Laing's resume reflects his attitude, with "chromatography wizard" and "process-development guru" listed under skills.  In a similar tone, Laing's recently created LinkedIn profile boasts "Synthesis Rockstar" as a headline, as well as stating his ability to "kill it" across a wide variety of disciplines.

As of press time, Mr. Laing was pondering adding "computational chemistry ninja" to his resume, despite not knowing what "DFT" even stands for.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cheap, Ubiquitous Carbon Capture

As told to See Arr Oh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking

Billings, MN

Want to reduce environmental carbon dioxide? Forget MOFs, and suspend your underground injection plans. Turns out there's a cheap, easy way to "fix" atmospheric CO2 into value-added products like sugars and building materials. 

"I was shocked, actually, to hear about biological carbon capture," exclaimed George Switchgrass of the NSF's Fuel Research Division. "You get so many benefits, and the reaction conditions - air, water, sunlight, room temperature - are amenable to just about any location." 

Climatologist and landscaper June Birch mentioned in a press release that "...these units are cheap, widely available, and come in all shapes and sizes - perfect for home lawns or your office break area."

Biochemist Wallace Poinsettia remarked "I've had a $2 million grant for the past four years to try and crack this problem, and some little leafy thing in the parking lot is kicking my butt."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Study: Zucchini Market In Flux Due To Increasing Zucchini Stockpile

Washington, DC

The United States Department of Agriculture released a study today commenting on the market flux of zucchini and zucchini related recipes and products.

"Many have long argued that the agricultural market in the United States has been bogged down by under-production of zucchini.  However, our most recent analysis of the current market conditions points to an excess in zucchini supply, coupled with falling demand for domestically grown summer squashes in general, as the real culprits," stated study author Francis Ericsson, PhD.

The report goes on to state that chief among those touting the purported zucchini shortage is the zucchini bread lobby, whose employers pump hundreds of millions of dollars into perpetuating unsupported ideas about the state of the zucchini market.

The study also notes that the federal government, through various tax rebate programs and even direct funding, effectively subsidizes the production of domestic zucchinis, and that the "idea of a supply-side shortage of American-grown zucchini is farcical."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Overhaul In University's EH&S Policy Pledges To "Put Safety Third, Maybe Fourth"

Ithaca, NY

A comprehensive overview of campus safety policies at Cornell University has led to a "complete overhaul" in the institution's attitude and culture surrounding laboratory safety, stated Dean of Research Mark Thompson.

In an open letter to staff, faculty, and students, Thompson stated that safety procedures at Cornell have been thoroughly evaluated, and redesigned "from the ground up."  The letter also indicated that university administrators and faculty had rededicated themselves to "putting safety third, maybe fourth."

"Safety has always been at the heart of all research policy enacted at Cornell.  For this reason, we have performed an exhaustive evaluation of both our policies and practices.  This effort has allowed us to state unequivocally that this university places safety as the third most important criterion in evaluating the effectiveness of a research group, sitting only behind 'ability to generate grant revenue' and 'tenure,' respectively."

Thompson also acknowledged that "in an increasingly digital research landscape" the "online presence" of a given investigator might soon overtake "safety," effectively making the latter the fourth most important evaluation criterion.

The letter closed by reassuring students that under no circumstances would safety ever drop below the "seventh most important thing [sic]". 

C&EN Onion reporters were contacted by a source inside the university who indicated that the Dean's staunch stance on laboratory safety might be less than authentic.  "They [campus administration] went through the same song-and-dance routine a couple years ago with the whole 'green science' thing," stated a graduate student, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.  "Nothing changed, the department just slapped some posters on the doors telling people to keep their sashes down to cut energy use.  And they bought an acetone recycling system, which I might add has been used, like, twice."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sigma-Aldrich Unveils Artisanal Organic Building Blocks

St. Louis, MO

In a press release immediately following a publication in Science some say heralds the end of synthetic organic chemistry as we know it, a spokesperson from fine chemicals manufacturer and distributor Sigma-Aldrich stated that the firm is introducing a new line of artisan-prepared synthetic building blocks in Q3 of this year.  The new product line, termed Arti-Blocks™, likely aims to retain customers in the face of on-demand, automated synthesis.   In addition, the company announced plans to open a new production facility in Waltham, MA, which is expected to employ 400 scientists, technicians, and administrators.

Jamie Carmichael, spokesman for the firm began, "Sigma-Aldrich aims to provide new, innovative products to its customer base.  As such, we are proud to introduce our artisanal organic building block product line.  Customers can rest easy knowing that their coupling reagents, precursors, and other synthons were generated using traditional borosilicate glassware, the old-fashioned way."

Carmichael continued, "In addition, we are now offering Arti-Plus™ reagents, which, in addition to being handcrafted by our chemists, and purified in small batches of no more than 50 grams via flash chromatography."

"These products include certification indicting they have been handmade by real chemists, and not by any automated system."

As of press time, the company had issued a second press release indicating that their St. Louis production plant would be "undergoing significant reorganization with regard to personnel."  The announcement did not indicate how many jobs would be affected, but did state that "innovative, and stream-lining automation solutions" were planned for late FY15.  Analysts have generally responded favorably to the announcement, with some predicting the firm's second quarter earnings will increase by as much as 5.4% over Q1.

Rampaging Synthetic Chemists Smash Synthesis Machine

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports


Urbana, IL

Ugly scenes today marred the unveiling of what may become a landmark paper, as an angry mob of organic synthesis researchers invaded the chemistry department at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign before seizing and ultimately destroying a so-called "synthesis machine."

An article in the journal Science, describing the development of what is in effect a cyborg post-doc, prompted an initially peaceful protest outside the chemistry department under placards carrying the slogans KEEP NATURAL PRODUCT SYNTHESIS NATURAL, SUZUKI COUPLINGS ARE CHEATING and GIVE ME C–H ACTIVATION OR GIVE ME DEATH. However, witnesses described a marked increase in tension after the arrival of a counter-demonstration of inorganic chemists, who taunted their organic counterparts with highly charged epithets including "pot-boiler" and "column monkey".

An anonymous demonstrator later told C&EN Onion: "It all kicked off when the fucking stamp collectors showed up. The was always an undercurrent of anger, but that was when it boiled over and you became keenly aware just how many people had brought BuLi with them."

Asked to explain the motives of the inorganic counter-demonstrators, a hooded organometallic researcher said, "We're just here looking for trouble. I've got no dog in this fight, unless you're gonna tell me that thing's got an onboard SQUID magnetometer."

Anger having now reached fever pitch, a large group stormed the building, making directly for the lab housing the controversial machine. Minutes later, the helpless automaton was flung from a second floor window, landing amongst cheering protesters and breaking, ironically enough, into a number of fragments. Amid frantic shouts that the machine may have developed the capability to heal itself, clamp-stand-wielding synthetic chemists smashed what little remained. To their credit, many of them first donned appropriate personal protective equipment.

John Wiseman, a technician present during the break-in, remained sanguine as he detailed the damage to the lab. "The automated synthesis platform was what they came for, of course, but someone also found time to steal a bunch of NMR tubes and a fresh batch of DMP. You know what these people are like."

Wiseman also claimed that clashes involving armed factions of researchers were not without precedent: "You'd be surprised. There are a lot of radical chemists out there."

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."

Friday, January 2, 2015

Solitary First-Year Graduate Student Only Lab Occupant On Day After New Year's

Irvine, CA


Sources indicate that Jonathan Wilkins, a first year graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, is the sole occupant of his advisor's research laboratory.  The Smith lab, ordinarily bustling with research endeavors, is reportedly entirely empty, save the small desk occupied by Wilkins.

"He [Smith] told everyone we could have New Year's Day off, but we were expected back in the lab today.  So I show up like I'm told.  And what do I find?  Crickets.  Not a single other person bothered to show," commented Wilkins.  "Someone could have given me a heads up, maybe?"

"I mean, I'm here now, so I might as well run a couple columns or something so today isn't a complete wash."

"Goddammit," he added dejectedly.

When reached for comment, Jessica Anderson, a fifth-year PhD candidate in Smith's lab told reporters the lab is always empty after New Years.

"Yeah, Smith always leaves early on New Year's Eve, then takes the rest of the week off.  So the more senior members of the lab follow suit.  But with the first-years, we play along with Smith's hardball stance on lab attendance."

"Wait, you mean to tell me Jon actually showed up?" she added.