Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I am looking to contact Frederik Heinz Barth, we had a written exchange in 2008 but I've since been unable to get messages to you. If you read this please send me an email as I would like to reconnect to ask a question about the synthesis of substituted 1,8-naphthyridines.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I am contemplating some hypothetical difficulties in the synthesis of 2,5-dibromohexane from 1,5-hexadiene. I am aware that this is a simple reaction that can be achieved in many ways but I would like to accomplish it in such a way that a messy separation is minimally necessary, be it via selective chemical extraction, column chromatography, or fractional distillation. The main unwanted side-products in this synthesis would be the mixed-Markovnikov product and the full anti-Markovnikov product. My first option is simple bromination with (aq) HBr and an appropriate phase transfer catalyst or a similar reaction involving hydrogen bromide gas. My second option is oxymercuration-demurcuration yielding hexane-2,5-diol which can then be subjected to a high yielding and selective bromination with PBr3. The third option is acid catalyzed hydration to the diol with H2SO4 and water followed by bromination with PBr3.

I would prefer not to use hydrogen bromide gas or mercuric acetate (which will require recycling of the metallic mercury liberated during demercuration) and so I lean toward acid catalyzed hydration. Would anyone with practical experience using the above methods enlighten me regarding their relative regioselectivity for the Markovnikov product? I believe it would be something like this: oxymercuration-demurcuration>acid catalyzed hydration>HBr addition.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012


This Thursday with Adam Green and Daniel Pinchbeck. I hope to see you there. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I am now working on a children's show about the science of smell and so I've been doing a good amount of research on historical theories of olfaction. One of the famous monographs on smell is John E. Amoore's Molecular Basis Of Odor in which he uses space filling molecular models (non-computer generated physical models, this was 1970) to try to find correlations between the gross molecular shape of odorant molecules and overarching classes of "primary odors". Amoore is best known for making generalizations like: camphoraceous smells are molecularly "bowl-like" and accepted by a "bowl-like" receptor, musky smells are molecularly "petrie-like" and accepted by a "petrie-like" receptor, floral smells are molecularly "key-like", and so on.

The book is worth skimming even if many of its hypotheses are disproven or based on dated concepts of the senses but one thing I found particularly interesting is the way that some of the odorant molecules are illustrated using a combination of space filling models in silhouette and skeletal notation. Amoore used this as part of what he called the "shadow-matching method." I had never seen this before and was surprised because it is actually a great way to combine the best features of both modes of representation. Spacial dimensions are indicated without looking like a confusing, botryoidal jumble of spheres and all of the readability of skeletal notation is left intact. Obviously this can present some problems, especially for non-planar molecules, which are sometimes forced into a planar conformation for skeletal diagrams but still it's interesting you don't see it more often in textbooks. I know programs like pymol can do similar, more complex versions of this where the 3D Van Der Waals surface envelopes a 3D ball and stick model but what about just a simple representation like the below, are there any programs that do (a clear better aligned version of) that?

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The weird science issue is now printed and available in select locations. The articles are being incrementally uploaded to accompanied by a few articles I had nothing to do with (e.g. something about "bath salts" that I did not see until the day before the issue went to press). Certain articles are online in an expanded version (e.g. there will be two additional pages of Alexander Shulgin's lab notebook at and in European editions of the magazine) other things are only featured in the print editions (e.g. two unpublished photos by Carsten Höller). Stanislaw Lem's short story A Puzzle and my guest-editor letter are now available online, enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 A short story by Stanislaw Lem translated into the English for the first time
⌬ Unpublished pages from the laboratory notebook of Alexander Shulgin featuring the details of his first psychedelic synthesis
 A new short Story by David Ohle, author of Motorman
⌬ Unpublished pages from Timothy Leary's lost prison manuscript, The Periodic Table of Energy
⌬ An interview with a clandestine 2C-C chemist
A laser etched tribute to great medicinal chemists of the 20th century.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species––if separate species we be––for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Does anyone know how these hatched, B&W space-filling model illustrations were generated for The chemistry of mind-altering drugs? The book was originally published in 1996 and I'm not aware of any current programs that produce these kinds of representations:

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Doing so will aid a murder investigation. The music/muzak is playing in a diner/restaurant in 1983 either from the radio, a record, or television. The diner/restaurant was likely located in San Antonio or Castle Hills, Texas. As the recording currently stands it is not recognized by Shazam but a friend suggested running it though a program called izotope RX, which I do not have access to. Using a demo version of Sound Soap did not make the audio sufficiently clear to be recognized by Shazam. I have submitted it to reddit/r/classicalmusic without it being recognized by any users. Though one user suggested running it through a music search engine that allows you to identify pieces by tapping notes to the melody, but I don't have perfect pitch and was unable to identify the notes in the music fragments. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Enjoy my review of Carsten Höller's new book in The Brooklyn Rail: CARSTEN HÖLLER: Artist's Portfolio


Enjoy my investigation of the Cactus of the Four Winds: CRACKING CRYPTOCACTI

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Bonnie Bassler talks about how drugs that inhibit bacterial quorum sensing could be novel treatments for antibiotic resistant infections but from what I can tell the drugs she describes would not inhibit (or might even induce) mitosis. It seems people taking these inhibitors would harbor high concentrations of pathogenic bacteria while not suffering from their presence i.e. become asymptomatic carriers who would spread the disease to others forcing enormous numbers of people to also take quorum sensing inhibitors to survive, has this been identified as a possible risk or am I confused?

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Did anyone backup the contents of the Euphoric knowledge forum? If so email me, it contained a lot of interesting, funny, and valuable information. 

Friday, March 30, 2012


[via Google Translate]
RIO - At only 24 years old, the writer, chemist and Hamilton Morris documentary is already one of the best known psychedelic specialists today. Son of renowned filmmaker Errol Morris, he signed a controversial column in the magazine "Vice" and also runs a series of documentary videos on the site of the magazine: Hamilton's Pharmacopoeia (The Pharmacopoeia of Hamilton). In them, desbrava the world behind any phenomenon related to psychedelics - as, for example, the legend of Haitian zombies, people who are supposed to be placed in a vegetative state for years - without resorting to any kind of cliche and an admirable lucidity.

Performing a kind of gonzo journalism, combining scientific evidence with an extremely seductive narrative, he engages deeply with the culture and the objects of their research, often serving as guinea pigs in experiments crazy. Therefore, himself a psychonaut, someone who uses altered states of consciousness to investigate the mind itself.
We talked to Morris by e-mail about their projects and trips while he was preparing for one of his psychedelic research.

What type of project you're working on now?
HAMILTON MORRIS: I am investigating the mysterious murder of an expert on fungi of Texas and trying to organize a trip to capture, preserve and analyze a hallucinogenic fish in the western Mediterranean.

You've been through some kind of spiritual experience with any chemicals?
If you're talking about a magical realm of divine spirits, I never experienced anything like that. The world as we interpret it as a phenomenon is illusory, mediated by our sensory organs. What can there are variations of this illusion. The fact that a physical system as the brain could reach such a high level of complexity is something incredible. If there is anything that is worth to be worshiped is the variety - and depth - of illusions generated by the brain.

Do you think medical treatments that use psychedelics should be disseminated?
Depends on the treatment. Practically there is no evidence that psychedelics improve cognition. The performance on mental tasks most often decreases, but there is the tantalizing possibility of improving creativity, something that is still very difficult to quantify in a scientific study. It's always interesting to note that two of the most important discoveries in the history of biochemistry, polymerase chain reaction and the structure of the DNA double helix, were both made under the influence of LSD.

What was the biggest disappointment you've had in your research?
I really wanted to interview a named Zoe7 psychonaut, who claims to have solved the murder of JonBenét Ramsey (contestant beauty contest child died at age 6 in 1996) psychically to go back in time using a substance. But he never replied to my emails.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


In keeping with the utilitarian purpose of this blog I am now look for a roommate. My luxurious pleasuredome/loft will have an open room beginning on the first of April. The rent is $1000/month and could be less depending on your educational background, potential roommates with graduate degrees in chemistry or any of the biological sciences, particularly neuroscience, will not have too much trouble bargaining me down a bit.

Friday, February 17, 2012


When seeking answers use,, or Google instead of asking someone. If you ask someone there’s a chance they’ll need to Google it themselves to find the answer, making it a situation where you’re simply and belligerently telling people to do things for you. Refrain from utilizing someone as your “information desk” even if you plan on qualifying your request, in an inconsiderate attempt to convey you aren’t inconsiderate, with “I could look it up myself but I’m too lazy” or “I tried but gave up,” sentiments you should instead use privately as motivational statements to stop being lazy and stop giving up, rather than as “ends” to utilize as explanations to deliver, with what can seem like pride, to the people you’re targeting.

If you know the other person knows the answer to your question, and can provide it faster than the internet, it’s still recommended that you use the internet. People will appreciate you’ve considered their time, resources, priorities and chosen to refrain from interrupting their lives; these people, in the future, may appreciate your considerateness to such a degree that they feel the desire to preemptively ask if they can help you with anything—ultimately actually saving you time in the long-term (as a considerate person, however, you won’t care, ideally, about [saving time in a one-person situation], arguably an “inherently inconsiderate” concept).
Accepting no

Additionally, categorically eliminating [interrupt someone else's existence] as an option in your never-ending quest, as a conscious being, to get what you want can have the effect of increasing your levels of patience, self-control, acceptance—qualities that (1) can make it easier for you to be considerate (2) will ultimately increase your ability to get what you want.

Finally, it has been shown that with advanced forms of considerateness, often resulting less from wanting to be nice than from feeling bored by conventional goals in life, people will actually feel excited, or something like excitement—it’s been described by some, simply, as a feeling of “artistic satisfaction”—to successfully occupy a worldview that allows them to earnestly prefer [spending 90 minutes learning how to underline text in Photoshop] over [spending 30 seconds learning how to underline text in Photoshop] if the first option does not involve interrupting anyone else’s existence. (continued)

-Tao Lin 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012



My beloved research assistant Peter Fusco has left the United States and so I am now in search of another scholarly man or woman who would like to assist me in my current sclerotium research project. The work will largely entail transcribing long, often tedious, technical discussions about mycology. The payment will be in burrito and/or tea when appropriate. Email me if you are interested.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


ON camera Hamilton Morris has smoked Amanita muscaria fungi in Iceland, interviewed a woman who endured torture by psychedelics, rubbed the secretions of an Amazonian frog into his burns and, in Haiti, dusted himself with the voodoo zombie poison Tetrodotoxin, which was thankfully an inactive batch, since even at low doses, this neurotoxin is lethal...(continued)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Please contact me as I would very much like to interview you, I have looked for your whereabouts post release with no success.