Thursday, July 28, 2011

Djerassic Perk

Here's a long shot of a guess. I don't think the Norwegians will award a Peace Prize this year. Still reeling from the horrible Utoya massacre, they may just put it on hold this year to honor the silenced dead. It might be a fitting gesture.

Of course the Swedes award the science prizes. One name I've always been surprised to see passed over in Chemistry (as if I'm a judge of such things) is Carl Djerassi, co-inventor of the first oral contraceptive for women back in 1951. He had a long career at Stanford University (he's since retired).  He's also long been interested in the arts and even writes fiction. Djerassi didn't accomplish the Pill on his own, but many of the important others are now dead and thus ineligible. My casual read of Wikipedia suggests that George Rosenkranz could be a co-contender.

Djerassi foresaw the Pill's huge social impact, anticipating a far greater social impact on men than on women. He apparently also "foresaw the so-called 'feminization of men,' along with changes in laws and social values in favor of women in society as a whole." link


  1. Actually, it's the lack of a decent police response that's gonna stick in people's craw.

    While the piss prizes that went to arafat, and algore ... take away plenty of luster from a prize ... that Richard Feynman described as a JOKE!

    They forced him to wear a suit. (Where he preferred shirt sleeves.) And, he had to walk backwards in the "presence of the king." So he hopped like a bunny rabbit.

    You know it took them 4 more years to give Hans Bethe the prize. And, without Bethe, here, on earth ... people wouldn't have understood the temperature of the sun. And, how it gets to glow for 10 billion years.


    Explains how a hydrogen gives off energy on the way to becoming helium. Not that I can explain the math. I can't!

    Nor can I explain chemistry ... because I thought chemists took too long to produce results. And, they could stink up a room with what they were doing ... more than an out house.

    Also, if you turned your head around ... somehow the ingredients in the test tube would surprise you by becoming something else.

    I thought chemistry was invented by Penn & Teller.

  2. Since you mentioned Bethe and Teller, I have to tell you about "Mike", our first hydrogen bomb. The bomb was actually a gigantic refrigerator designed to hold enough liquifid hydrogen together just right-in order to be imploded (compressed) enough to under go fusion (they didn't actually use normal hydrogen but rather tritium deuteride). The bomb was proof of principle and could never have been weaponized, being essentially a huge heavy refrigerator. Here's where the Russkies got a bit ahead of us--they discovered that a relatively harmless solid, lithium deuteride, could become tritium deuteride upon irradiation with neutrons--much like thorium!
    This meant no refrigeration was needed and led to the miniaturization of the H-bomb.

  3. The hydrogen bomb had a name? Mike? You know, I never knew!

    Feynman said way back in 1942 that no one country had all the ideas. Which is why he accepted dropping finishing his thesis at Princeton. To go to work at Los Alamos.

    You know, Bruce, you make the study of chemistry sound less than awful.

    As to the diaphram ... first there was rubber that was found to work. (It's a sap from trees that I think you find in South America.)

    Then, someone came along ... maybe in 1865? Or 1885? And put a spring inside, causing sort'a a semi-globe. Margaret Sanger did NOT invent the diaphragm! (Yeah. I had thought so.) She was only willing to bring this to women in New York City ... who were dying from too much childbirth.

    back alley abortions and childbirth were real killers of young women. And, many women were married about as soon as they began to menstruate ... which going backward was close to the age of 15.

    I think this has dropped down, now.

    God knows a late onset can panic parents! Because I can remember not starting until I was a sophomore in high school.

    Imagine not having anything to interfere with pregnancy, except being pregnant. (Or what my mom said ... was to nurse each offspring for two years ... or more.)

    The churches really hate it when their congregations "wise up."

    Ahead? I hope we become an ARMY OF DAVIDS so we can counteract the con artists on both sides of Congress! They only "cut" they know is to "cut and run."

    By the way, when it comes to weight and airplanes ... we pushed the technology so we could drop tanks onto the battlefields.

    I'm not sure. But I think it was Winston Churchill ... during WW1 ... who proposed "tanks." And, to fool the enemy ... they were called "tanks" ... like they were a delivery system for water. to battling soldiers.

    Patton was a genius!

    Geniuses and our military are stories that don't end well.

    Is there a future for tank warfare? How should I know? The russians use tanks to scare the shit out of people without guns.

  4. The story of the Pill that I remember goes to Harvahd. And, the name of the professor escapes me. But he was Catholic! He went to Rome to try to convince the Pope ... that because it worked on a 28 day cycle ... the Pope should accept it as "rhythm." The Pope turned this Catholic man down.

    Now The Pill only needed 21 days to shut off the woman's production of an egg! There were 7 days of a placebo.

    And, the "container" ... made by a company called "OVID?" ... Was circular. One pill for each day of the month. (Men didn't think women had the brains to take a pill each day out of a pill container.)

    The Pill was used to help women who had terrible cramps. (Well, I thought my were terrible ... until I learned Labor was way worse!) ...

    But the Church has fought the Pill just like it fought everything else!

    Did you know, back before the Supreme Court handed down a ruling ... all pharmacists had to hide their condoms?

    Men were so ashamed to ask the pharmacist for condoms ... they'd usually buy something else ... and then just ask, in a quiet voice, for a "Trojan."

    You can buy this stuff now at the supermarket! You can even buy condoms that "tickle." Which surprised me to no end.

    My son, walking with his younger brother ... ran away from me ... as I picked different boxes of condoms off the shelf ... to buy. So my son could show these to his younger brother. (Without my going through labor, my ex-husband had two more wonderful kids.)

    And, my son was the older brother.

    Once we got home ... he and his brother opened each style I had brought home. I wasn't allowed to look.

    But I'm very open-minded, after all.

    And, yes. First the supreme court ruled on Condoms ... and 20 years later ruled on Roe V. Wade.

    Religious people are still screaming. (But I do believe they are in a minority. While for the Catholic Church ... they just raise funds by clipping donations from their faithful.)

    And, then? While we no longer believe in a flat earth ... there are people who want to believe life got started 6,000 years ago. And, humans coexisted with dinosaurs.

    In the beginning "we had chaos."

    And, then? We got entropy.

    With great music. And, great art.

    Or, as my mom said, on the way to her Fine Arts degree ... If it wasn't for the Pope, Michelangelo would have starved to death.

    And, Christmas used to be a season where the Malls put out great decorations! And, Fifth Avenue was a marvel ... where you could go from Altman's to Bergdorf's ... just looking into windows.

    Time marches on.

  5. Carol -- most of our early nuke detonations had names, frequently colorful ones like "Dominic Sunset" or "Castle Bravo" or "Ivy".

  6. I just reread a bit on "Mike." Its full name was "Ivy Mike" but it was often shortened to just "Mike." And it was fueled by liquified deuterium gas, D2, not DT, like I said earlier.

  7. In David McCullough's rendition of TRUMAN ... The atomic bombs we had were called "the patient is ready on the operating table." And, Truman was at Potsdam. In his only meeting with Stalin. When he wired back to Los Alamos: Anything after August 1st is good.

    I also remember one of the bomb's being called "Fat Boy." (It was bigger than the one that hit Heroshima?)

    Each bomb took out 100,000 civilian lives ... at their first burst.

    And, the Americans peppered all of Japan with messages ... for civilians to remove themselves from any area where munitions were produced.

    We were not going to show mercy. We were going to end the war.

    And, the second bomb "did the trick."

    Herohito was hept alive by General Douglas MacArthur's ORDERS! (He wanted the total surrender to be VALID.)

    And,then. Go look at your photo from the Missouri. (Named for Truman's state). And, you'll see NO ONE has a gun side arm, coming off their belts.)

    Halsey wasn't in command. The man from the ARMY was in command! Winning the peace belongs in MacArthur's win column. A prize I never thought was worth giving to Eisenhower.

    But it's just my opinion.

    Eisenhower wasn't a dummy. He delivered a system for calculus all on his own. When, he was just a teenage farm boy.

    And, yes. All humans make mistakes. MacArthur's in his fight against Truman ... will be remembered for getting the tactic right: FIGHT TO WIN ...

    But it was the wrong war. (Korean). At the wrong time and place.

    Easy to point fingers now. (Just like when I read Herodotus. I've got no skin in the game.)

  8. I learned all I needed to know about antisemitic Norway at Lillihammer.

    At Lilliahammer, where the Norwegians worked hand in glove with arafat and his minions ... they tempted the Mossad into making a mistake.

    The Mossad does not often-times make mistakes. But in Norway the crap slinger of the piss prize, arrested an entire Mossad team. After they killed a "look-alike" terrorist.

    This didn't stop the Mossad from creating havoc with Stuxnet. And, with the killing ... by motorcycle ... a passing iranian nuclear scientist working on a nuclear trigger. In Iran. (How do I know this? I read DEBKA.)

    And, it didn't stop the Mossad from taking out ONE terrorist in Dubai ... during a graduation ceremony for every single Mossad agent. Who had to go into Dubai and get captured on tape ... on one of their security cameras.

    Of course, you remember "Sherlock from Dubai" going nuts! You may even remember the "disguises" ... which seemed weak. And, the credentials used of ordinary travelers to Israel. Where to this day no one (except inside the Mossad) even know how the terrorist met his death.

    If someone isn't willing to do this dirty work, none of us would be safe.

    And, if you think Oslo escapes the stink bomb ... where they've now got a very local problem on their hands ... I think not!

    Let's say a piss prize gets awarded? What will the journalists who travel in to cover this do? Would any one of them ask a passersby how one maniac can get so many costumes? So many bullets. So much fertilizer ... while being "just a vegetable grower" ... who must know how to make money grow on trees.

    You know, if money could grow on trees ... right there ... you've got a topic where you can award a scientific prize ... and the world will come! Would they have to give the patent rights to Breivik?