[chemical|anisotropy] the clueless chemist chronicles

…jottings about working, writing and living as a Clueless Chemist in Manila

Archive for February 2008

[photo] Schmitt Hall

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Schmitt Hall

This photo was taken using my Holga 120CFN, loaded with expired Fuji Superia ISO100.

I studied here. And I’m working here as well. That’s a total of eight years–4 undergrad, 2 grad and I’m finishing up my 2nd year of work here. This coming schoolyear’s my third. By this time, I should be fed up of the place…but I’m not. This is my second home.

But with another exodus of people I knew, the people I grew up with from college, my wings are restless. This time, I promise, things will change, things will be different.

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Written by Oui

February 21, 2008 at 4:11 pm

[jottings] 15 seconds of fame

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The latest issue of the Loyola Schools Bulletin featured my article (which I previously posted here). Can’t say that I’m too, too pleased with my 15 seconds of local university fame. 🙂 Because the readers considered my blurb for “About the Author” as the best part in the discourse. So much for trying to write an in-depth analysis. >_>;

Delayed update–not so much as becoming netblind as to admitting laziness (and sickness) for the past week.  But, a lot of things happened this week (and it hasn’t ended yet): meeting up with the Medical City/ASMPH/SoSE people (and joining the fledgling journal club named “Stem Cell 101”), getting my long-delayed period, “moderating” a Sci10 plenary lecture given by Dr. Cuyegkeng, chasing the final tweaks on the NMR paper, etc. etc.

Hence this post, while listening to Tori Amos on iTunes in shuffle.  I’ve just encountered articles on musical molecules and blogging as a research tool.  And I will work on how to spin these into something bloggable while breaking my head over a set of client 2D-NMR spectra.

Written by Oui

February 21, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Posted in meanderings, real life

[jottings] happy evolutionary Sunday!

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A few days ago, I gave my usual Sci 10 (Science and Society) lecture to my class–our topic that time was “the origin of life”.  A student of mine raised his hand and asked, “Ma’am, do you believe that man descended from apes?”

Mm, a classic question.  And timely, too, after reading through an article from The Scientist about PhDs and parishioners and the proposal for Evolutionary Sunday.

And what was my answer?  Well…the issue is moot-and-academic. 😀 The classic question, in itself, was “defective” in form.  We did not literally descend from the genus Pongo, BUT we share the same common ancestor, making us not-descended from apes, but another type of ape.

Now, hear the post-Darwinian critics howl.

Written by Oui

February 10, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Posted in meanderings, science

[jottings] of anachronism and lomography

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There’s nothing like creative anachronism.  No, I don’t mean the Renfest and its relatives, not exactly.  But, in this (digital) day and age, using film cameras (or using film) to capture interesting and off-beat images is…so Luddite.

What just got me thinking now are two things: finally getting my cross-processed film roll scanned, and seeing a small exhibit of lomographs in ADMU (for Humanities Week).

Let’s Get Digital!

There’s nothing so convenient, powerful (and stylish) than a digital camera, right?  You don’t have to worry about buying and loading film, getting the rolls developed and sent to almost everyone.  Every image detail is recorded and stored electronically–no more messy chemicals, faded photographs and moldy negatives to store in a box, only to be forgotten.

Now, how do digital cameras work?  It’s….both simple and not-so-simple.  First, your recording medium isn’t light-sensitive film in a roll–it’s a CMOS sensor. This is a semiconductor unit that “senses” light pixel by pixel–imagine a sheet of tiny electronic devices arranged in an array, each one corresponding to one “dot” of light from an image.  So, the more sensors you have, the higher the definition of your photo, the more exact the image you reproduce.

What About Film?

The only advantage of using film is that it can still record images at the highest amount of definition as possible.  Why is this so?

Remember that the amount of sensors present in the camera determines image resolution–how the picture is defined exactly.  You can have millions of pixels (millions of sampled “dots” of light) in a CMOS sensor, but…film has more of these “sensors”–a sheet or a strip of film contains light-sensitive silver halide crystals which coat the surface.  Each crystal–no, each molecule of silver halide receives its “dot” of light, so light-sampling from the image is continuous and not limited to the number of sensors in a square area of semiconductor.

And What About Anachronism?

Digital photos are still cheaper than film photos…but why in the world am I posting shots taken with a film camera?

It’s a personal reason, really.  Aside from the fact that film records images “more precise” than digital cameras, I can do a lot of things with film rather than in digital.  By just picking the kind of film, camera angles, a certain play of light and odd ideas for film processing (courtesy of lomography), I can do crazy things like rendering modern Cubao a la 1970’s, even if Gateway Mall wasn’t there during the Seventies…

Of course I can do that in Photoshop using a digital camera. But, having worked with all sorts of digital cameras, I find the products…too crisp and error-free.  Easy, too.  Like any other electronic equipment.

Besides…film cameras (especially the plastic, toy ones) are dirt-cheap.  And no self-respecting thief would dare to steal one.

Written by Oui

February 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm