Slinn Pickings – chemical happenings

Guest blogger and chemist Robert Slinn contributes his favorite news snippets from the world of chemistry

  • EteRNA, an Online Game, Helps Build a New RNA Warehouse – Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University are attempting to harness the wisdom of crowds with the creation of an online video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules.
  • The good, the bad and the ‘green’ — harnessing the potential of bacteria – A diverse family of bacteria that can cause a potentially fatal illness in humans but could offer a greener alternative to petrol to power our cars will be the subject of a talk by a University of Nottingham academic at an international conference. Professor Nigel Minton, one of the world’s leading experts on the Clostridium bacteria, will be presenting at the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) annual Winter Meeting, being held at the Royal Society in London on January 12.
  • Chemistry World blog » Eco-friendly funerals – A local crematorium is offering two new eco-friendly alternatives to cremation. Freeze-drying or dissolving could be the green way to go after death for all you environmentalists out there.
  • BBC News – Ammonite diet revealed in X-rays – Ask someone to name their favourite fossils and the chances are they will point to the ammonites. These coiled remains of ancient squid-like creatures are in every child's rock collection. The animals were a big success, filling the oceans for 350 million years before going extinct with the dinosaurs. Now, exquisite X-ray images featured in Science magazine are providing new insights on how the ammonites lived and perhaps also on why they died out.