Science Birthdays, December 10

Today is the birthday of Howard Temin, born in 1934, he discovered the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which upset the widely held belief of Central Dogma described by Francis Crick.  Crick was one of the co-discoverers of DNA and said that the flow of genetic information was from DNA to RNA to protein and never in reverse.  Reverse transcriptase carries that information in reverse.

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Natural Disasters, December 10

1033    1033 Ramala Earthquake, 70,000 people killed

1992    nor’easter

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Dog Tip of The Day, December 10

Like they say; “When you’re away, the dog will play”.  Dogs tend to get in trouble when they are left alone and become bored. This is when they chew and tear things up.  Crate training helps, but consider leaving the dog alone for shorter periods of time.

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Science Birthdays, December 9

Today is the birthday of Claude Berthollet, born in 1748, he showed how chlorine could be used for beaching in 1785, he met Napoleon in 1798 and taught him chemistry, in 1803 he showed that the rate of a chemical reaction was due to more than just the affinities alone. He along with Antonine Lavoisier developed a chemical nomenclature or system of names for naming chemical compounds. He also determined the composition of ammonia.  Potassium chlorate (one of my favorite compounds) is called Berthollet’s salt after him.

Karl Scheele, born 1742, apprenticed to an apothecary at age 14 because he was one of 11 children. He taught himself chemistry. He discovered tartaric acid, citric acid, benzoic acid, malic acid, oxalic acid, galic acid, lactic acid, uric acid, molybdic acid, arsenious acid, he was involved in the discovery of Chlorine, manganese, barium, molybdenum, tungsten, nitrogen, and oxygen, however he does not get credit for any of their discoveries. He actually discovered oxygen before Priestley but his published didn’t publish the book in time. He was not healthy and had rheumatism. He did not have any social life, and only got married when he was ready to die at age 43 which was hastened by his habit of tasting his chemical compounds.             

Fritz Haber, born 1868, studied under Hoffman and developed the glass electrode used on ph meters. He also studied under Bunsen so he studied gas reactions. He developed the Haber process in 1908 and then went on to develop poison gases.  He was so patriotic he tried to find a way of extracting gold from seawater to pay off Germanys reparations. When Hitler came to power he had to leave his beloved Germany because he was Jewish.

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Natural Disasters, December 9

1965    The Kecksburg UFO incident: a fireball is seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania; witnesses report something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh, Pa. In 2005 NASA admits that it examined the object.

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Dog Tip of The Day, December 9

Water freezes below 32 degrees and it is also the law in many places that a dog cannot be chained up below that temperature. I wish there was a law where they couldn’t be chained up anytime, but we are not there yet. Just make sure the dog has food, water and warm bedding.

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Science Birthdays, December 8

Today is the birthday of Jan Ingenhouz, born in 1730, he discovered photosynthesis when he showed in 1779 that plants take up carbon dioxide only in the light and give off carbon dioxide and use up oxygen in the dark. He successfully inoculated members of the Habsburg family against smallpox. He probably discovered Brownian motion before Brownian because he described the motion of coal dust on the surface of alcohol. He also introduced the use of cover slips on glass slides.
Whitney Eli, born in 1765, inventor invented the cotton gin in 1793 and interchangeable parts in 1798, the cotton gin might have played a role in the Civil War because slavery was dying out before the cotton gin made cotton big business. Whitney did not prosper from the cotton gin but became rich with interchangeable parts and division of labor

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