Link roundup: Jan 2019

4 minute read


Nature | Can quantum ideas explain chemistry’s greatest icon?
Quizzes from Harvard’s The Music Lab If you have always suspected that you are tone deaf, have I got a quiz for you.
Nature | Extreme chemistry: experiments at the edge of the periodic table

This is somewhat as expected: the strength of chemical bonding tends to decrease down a periodic group, as atoms get larger. But to fully explain superheavies’ chemistry, Pershina’s calculations must also take into account relativistic effects. In very heavy atoms, which have super-strong interactions between the innermost electrons and the highly charged nuclei, the electrons are travelling so fast (potentially at more than 80% of the speed of light) that their mass increases, as special relativity predicts. This pulls them farther in towards the nucleus, which can mean that they screen the outer electrons from the nuclear charge more effectively. That alters the outer electrons’ energies and, consequently, their chemical reactivity.

Nature | Flying squirrels are secretly pink
Harvard Business Review | Time for Happiness
In the Pipeline | Exercise And Its Signaling
In the Pipeline | Quinine’s Target Quinine’s target has been identified. This is significant step in malaria research.
BBC | A bit of meat, a lot of veg - the flexitarian diet to feed 10bn
The Smithsonian | The Statistician Who Debunked Sexist Myths About Skull Size and Intelligence
PopSci | Saturn is ancient, but its rings are only as old as the dinosaurs
Nature | Watch: Robot reveals how ancient reptile ancestor moved It’s cool that they even make interactive demo
Nature | Cryptic DNA sequences may help cells survive starvation
In the Pipeline | Nivien’s Shot Drug research is hard
In the Pipeline | Come One, Come All to These Kinases.
Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
Nature | Designer protein delivers signal of choice Layman summary of a new paper
The Conversation | The periodic table is 150 – but it could have looked very different
Science | Four lessons about transitioning from academia to the ‘real world’
Brain Pickings | Love After Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed Wife
The Guardian | Why exercise alone won’t save us
The Scientist | Can Viruses in the Genome Cause Disease?
The Atlantic | Why Exaggeration Jokes Work
Wired | How a Reclusive Lizard Became a Prize Find for Wildlife Smugglers
3 Quarks Daily | The vast and mysterious real numbers
PLOS Comp Bio | Inherent versus induced protein flexibility: Comparisons within and between apo and holo structures
Science | An enantioconvergent halogenophilic nucleophilic substitution (SN2X) reaction
Science | Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors
PLOS Comp Biol | Ten simple rules on how to create open access and reproducible molecular simulations of biological systems
ACS Catalysis | Structure-Guided Triple-Code Saturation Mutagenesis: Efficient Tuning of the Stereoselectivity of an Epoxide Hydrolase
Cell Chem Bio | What Makes a Kinase Promiscuous for Inhibitors?
Nature | Enzymatic assembly of carbon–carbon bonds via iron-catalysed sp3 C–H functionalization
It’s nice to see that even though Frances Arnold just received the Nobel Prize, she is still actively publishing papers. Or maybe I notice just because I am on the lookout for publications on protein design ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
PNAS | Dietary sugar silences a colonization factor in a mammalian gut symbiont [via Scientific American]
What Was It About Animorphs? I never finished reading Animorphs when I was a teenager because the library didn’t have the complete collection. Reread everything last year and glad that I did.
Language Log | Slavs and slaves
NYT | Virginia Woolf? Snob! Richard Wright? Sexist! Dostoyevsky? Anti-Semite!

I think we’d all be better readers if we realized that it isn’t the writer who’s the time traveler. It’s the reader. When we pick up an old novel, we’re not bringing the novelist into our world and deciding whether he or she is enlightened enough to belong here; we’re journeying into the novelist’s world and taking a look around.

As Tintin turns 90, the comic book hero is still teaching children about the world
I have a similar anecdote with the author about the informativity of comic books. Though it was with Doraemon, of all things.
Language Log | Sinographs for “tea” Fascinating. Adding The True History of Tea to my to-read.
Buzzfeed News | How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
The Next Level of Data Visualization in Python

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