Olympicene: just to see if we can

Not too long ago, a picture from the world's most sensitive atomic force microscope was published, which showed the internal structure of a fairly small organic molecule: a 5-ring snippet of graphene, which is currently a hot and sexy topic in carbon chemistry.

The AFM in question has a sensor "needle" made of a single carbon monoxide molecule, and it's small enough to measure the gap in the middle of a six-carbon hexagonal ring structure, of which olympicene has five.

Will olympicene be a useful compound? I don't know. It's one of a class of potentially useful compounds. Even if it turns out not to be useful itself, learning how to control the reactions to create it is useful in learning how to create other molecules, and learning how to get a clear image of it is useful in learning how to get clear images of other molecules, so we can directly see what shape they are.

And here's an interview with the people who made it:

A Tale of Two Studies

While looking up information on how ammonia takes the sting out of stings, I ran across two studies, both double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials of a sting relief formulation. The one that mentioned ammonia was the one I read first, because that's what I was looking for. The other one named a product brand name I'd never heard of before; I read it by accident, clicking on the wrong link in the search results. These two trials came up as the top two results when I searched google scholar for ammonia mosquito bite relief.

The two studies are: Effectiveness of Ammonium Solution in Relieving Type I Mosquito Bite Symptoms: A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study and The efficacy of Prrrikweg® gel in the treatment of insect bites: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Go ahead and read only the abstract; those are all I'm going to talk about, not the rest of the papers. The abstracts say it all.

How to be repellent

The chemical I want to talk about today is a widely used and very useful chemical called N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide. Most people know it by its acronym, DEET.

I was recently wondering just how DEET does its thing of making mosquitoes not bite people. (Why yes, the recent gap in my posts means I was on vacation. There may have been mosquitoes involved.) Obviously, I started by searching Google Scholar.