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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LSD

An artistic representation of LSD (in blue) fitting into
a serotonin receptor (the white ribbon). Bryan Roth
The guverment is hatching an evil mind control plot. Oh, wait, that's what the news media does. Here the NIH is poking around in molecular chemistry. The linked story gives a brief overview of what they have learned, but it poses more questions than it answers. They give names to some chemical constructs, but no explanation. Feel free to look them up and study them on your own time. That can be done with some time and money (for text books / academic access). This stuff is obscure enough you aren't going to find it on Facebook or any of those other useless social sites.

The questions that come to my mind is how they devil did they come by this information? How many people have been working on it for how long? What kind of machines did they use to get their images and other data? What kind of techniques did they use get the samples to a place where they could analyze them? How much of it was done in a laboratory using test tubes and petri dishes, and how much was done in a cluttered office, hunched over a computer keyboard?

Dr Becky Smethurst
For example, I'm watched a video about Dr Becky Smethurst, a woman astronomer, and this scene pops up (above, at the 7:38 mark) and look at the size of that display! I would like to have a display that size, and I could have one if I were willing to spend the money, but I'm not. What I have is perfectly adequate, or at least I tell myself it is. Of course, that's what I told myself when back when VGA was all the rage. With 640 by 480 you could get 80 columns of text on the screen, which was same number of characters you could get on printed page (12 characters per inch with a one inch margin on either side, more or less). That was great until I saw a Super VGA monitor and suddenly my horizons expanded.

I suspect researchers (whether chemists or astronomers) spend 99% of their time getting all their ducks in a row, an instant or two to collect their data and then a bit spent writing up the results. And if you don't get good data on your first attempt, you get to do it all over again.

Original link via Indy Tom.


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