12 Dec 21:32

[ASAP] Single-Atom Alloys as a Reductionist Approach to the Rational Design of Heterogeneous Catalysts

by Georgios Giannakakis, Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, E. Charles H. Sykes

TOC Graphic

Accounts of Chemical Research
DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00490
12 Dec 06:04

Comic for December 12, 2018

Dilbert readers - Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.
14 Dec 18:49


Both arXiv and archive.org are invaluable projects which, if they didn't exist, we would dismiss as obviously ridiculous and unworkable.
12 Dec 17:04

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Review: A Sequel That Can Never Escape the Shadow of the Original

by Josh Spiegel

Mary Poppins Returns is the cinematic equivalent of a cover band performing a beloved musical act’s hits: it recalls memories of what you loved when you were younger without stepping out of the shadows and working on its own. With Rob Marshall behind the camera, this 54-years-in-waiting sequel could have been a lot worse; of the three films he’s directed for Walt Disney Pictures, this is surprisingly the most tolerable. (Enjoy your pull-quote, Disney marketing!) But Mary Poppins Returns cannot help but serve as a reminder of just how special and irreplaceable the 1964 original is.

Set in the “middle of the Great Slump” in England (circa 1935), Mary Poppins Returns once again begins on Cherry Tree Lane with the Banks family. This time, though, it’s about a grown-up Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), his elder sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), and his three self-reliant children. The kids here are largely as all right as Michael and Jane once were—they’re not in need of discipline, as much as a reminder of why they should act more like kids as opposed to tiny adults. In the wake of losing their mother and with the looming possibility of the old family home being repossessed by the same bank where Michael works (and where his father worked in the first film), these kids just need to have some fun. So of course, out of the sky comes none other than Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), who looks just as young and practically perfect in every way as she did when Michael and Jane were children. It’s up to Mary, her lamplighter friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and a whole host of eccentric new characters to help liven the spirits of the Banks family.

Down to each musical sequence, the effect of Mary Poppins Returns is akin to one of its visual gags, itself a callback to the original: Mary looks at herself in the mirror, impressed at her never-aging appearance, and then the mirror version of Mary watches the non-mirror version walks away. Mary Poppins Returns is the mirror-version of Mary, always watching the real McCoy instead of striking out on her own path. In the original film, Mary first introduces the Banks children to her magical ways by making the task of cleaning a room have “an element of fun” with “A Spoonful of Sugar”. In this film, to get the children to take a bath, she creates an exciting twist by making their nautical bath toys massively life-like as she sings “Can You Imagine That?” In the first film, the chimney-sweep Bert and his friends sing and dance in “Step in Time”; in this film, Jack and his fellow leeries sing and dance to “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”. In the first film, Mary’s eccentric uncle (Ed Wynn) finds himself on the ceiling and sings “I Love to Laugh”; in this film, her second cousin (Meryl Streep) goes upside down on the ceiling and sings “Turning Turtle”. And so on.

It’s both unfair to compare this to its predecessor, and also impossible not to. Outside of a cameo appearance from Dick Van Dyke (and a wordless walk-on from Karen Dotrice, who played Jane), this is an entirely new cast, but all playing at variations of what made the first film so special. If there’s a standout sequence here, it’s when Mary and Jack take the children inside the porcelain animated designs of a supposedly priceless bowl, equivalent to the animated sequence in the original. The rousing music-hall song Mary and Jack belt out, “A Cover is Not A Book”, is the film’s best musical number as well, but it can’t help but recall images and memories of the original. Blunt, to her credit, is quite charming as Mary — she’s not as immaculate as Julie Andrews, but really, who is?

The issue is less the cast, which is largely quite good, and more the slavish devotion Marshall and the co-writers have to the original film’s structure without improving upon it. Even Blunt, who’s pretty solid, isn’t playing Mary Poppins as much as she’s playing Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Miranda, typically so winning (never more so than in his Broadway phenom Hamilton), feels mildly trapped by playing a newer version of the Cockney-accented chimney-sweep from the original. The arguable standout is Whishaw, who sells Michael Banks’ heartbreak at the loss of his wife as well as his desperate terror at losing his old family house. He sells it, in fact, so well that you get cognitive whiplash as the story shifts from Mary Poppins’ goofy nonsense to Michael struggling to be a single father.

Then there’s the real stumbling block: the musical sequences, which all desperately want to be crowd-pleasers. While composer and lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman mostly do a very good job of keeping the songs in the same early-20th-century style as those in the first film by the Sherman brothers, the songs quite simply fail to be memorable at all. A day after seeing this film, I would not have been able to recall the rhythms or lyrics of the film’s songs if my life depended on it. (Whatever else can be said of “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Feed the Birds”, and the other original songs, they’re pure earworms.) Seeing as every new song feels like it’s mirroring one from its predecessor, Mary Poppins Returns cannot help but fail to measure up.

Mary Poppins Returns serves as a wonderful reminder that the 1964 film, one of the first Disney epic events and arguably the most quintessential film they made for decades, is worth revisiting. It’s not so much that anyone in the cast stands out like a sore thumb — though both for story reasons and because of the musical number in question, the Meryl Streep-driven scene could have probably been entirely removed. It’s that Mary Poppins Returns suffers from standing in the shadows of the giant that inspired its very existence. This movie could have been worse, but that’s not good enough.

/Film Rating: 4 out of 10

The post ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Review: A Sequel That Can Never Escape the Shadow of the Original appeared first on /Film.

12 Dec 15:18

Russian cosmonauts spend nearly eight hours cutting into their spacecraft

by Eric Berger


On Tuesday, over the course of nearly eight hours, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokopyev performed an unprecedented spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

The two Russians spent about three hours moving across the station, setting up a workstation from which they could stabilize themselves and cut into a Soyuz spacecraft attached to the station. Then, with an assortment of tools including a knife and pair of scissors, they tore through a wide swath of insulation protecting the orbital module of the spacecraft.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

12 Dec 08:41

Comic: The Orb In All Of Us

by Tycho@penny-arcade.com (Tycho)
New Comic: The Orb In All Of Us
12 Dec 08:06

Girl Genius for Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Girl Genius comic for Wednesday, December 12, 2018 has been posted.
13 Dec 21:45

[ASAP] Design of Iron Coordination Complexes as Highly Active Homogenous Water Oxidation Catalysts by Deuteration of Oxidation-Sensitive Sites

by Zoel Codolà, Ilaria Gamba, Ferran Acuña-Parés, Carla Casadevall, Martin Clémancey, Jean-Marc Latour, Josep María Lluis, Julio Lloret-Fillol, Miquel Costas

TOC Graphic

Journal of the American Chemical Society
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b10211
13 Dec 10:20


that postscript pun is the greatest thing I have ever written

14 Dec 06:04


by David M Willis

Just a few more days for folks who live in the United States to order stuff from my store and get it before Christmas!  This is your holiday reminder!  (Sorry, folks who live Not Here.  Make yourselves feel better by remembering your health care system is likely not a murder machine like ours.)

The post office signs say the cut-off date for Before Christmas Delivery for Priority Mail within the United States is the 20th.  It’s the 14th now, so you got, like… five days.  Five, not six, because you gotta allow me a day to put things in the mail.  If you order at 11pm on the 20th, I’m, uh, not gonna get to the post office in time with your stuff.  Post office is closed!

(I mean, I guess it could still arrive on time by then, if you’re lucky, it’s just not something you can count on.)

Oh, and if you order a single Dina magnet, those go by stamped mail, not Priority Mail, so those probably won’t arrive in as quickly a manner, so pay mind to that.


12 Dec 17:31

Order of the Stick 1148: The Rainbow Rejection

12 Dec 23:02

Subtle Hate

12 Dec 14:32

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Gold

by tech@thehiveworks.com

Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Pyrite is actually much more visually interesting than gold, but after the apocalypse comes, you won't be able to trade it for dune buggies, scimitars, and spiked helmets.

Today's News:
12 Dec 22:26

Atomically dispersed Mo catalysts for high‐efficiency ambient N2 fixation

by Lili Han, Xijun Liu, Jinping Chen, Ruoqian Lin, Haoxuan Liu, Fang Lu, Seongmin Bak, Zhixiu Liang, Shunzheng Zhao, Eli Stavitski, Jun Luo, Radoslav R. Adzic, Huolin Xin

NH3 synthesis by electrocatalytic N2 reduction reaction (NRR) under ambient conditions is an appealing alternative to the industrial method that requires high temperature and pressure. Herein, we report single Mo atoms anchored to N‐doped porous carbon, which works as a cost‐effective catalyst for NRR. Benefiting from the optimally high density of active sites and hierarchically porous carbon frameworks, this catalyst achieves a high NH3 yield rate (34.0 ± 3.6 μgNH3 h–1 mgcat.–1) and a high Faradaic efficiency (14.6 ± 1.6 %) in 0.1 M KOH at room temperature. These are considerably higher values compared with those for previously reported non‐precious‐metal electrocatalysts. Moreover, this catalyst displays no obvious current drop during a 50,000‐second NRR. Similarly, high activity and durability are also achieved in 0.1 M HCl by the catalyst. This work may provide a promising lead for designing efficient and robust single‐atom non‐precious‐metal catalysts toward electrolytic NRR.

14 Dec 09:47

Comic: Switcharoo 2

by Tycho@penny-arcade.com (Tycho)
New Comic: Switcharoo 2
13 Dec 06:51

SSSS page 29

SSSS page 29 is up.
12 Dec 22:37

Hollow Metal–Organic‐Framework Micro/Nanostructures and their Derivatives: Emerging Multifunctional Materials

by Di Liu, Jiawei Wan, Guangsheng Pang, Zhiyong Tang
Advanced Materials Hollow Metal–Organic‐Framework Micro/Nanostructures and their Derivatives: Emerging Multifunctional Materials

Hollow metal–organic framework micro/nanostructures and their derivatives have demonstrated significant applications in the fields of catalysis, electrocatalysis, gas sensors, lithium‐ion batteries, and supercapacitors owing to their hierarchical porous properties and easily accessible metal active sites. The state‐of‐the art synthetic strategies and applications are summarized and discussed, providing a comprehensive overview of the current progress and future development of MOF‐based hollow materials.


Hollow metal–organic framework (MOF) micro/nanostructures and their derivatives are attracting a great amount of research interest in recent years because their hierarchical porous structures not only provide abundant, easily accessed metal sites but also endow 3D channels for rapid mass transport. As a result, they demonstrate significant advantages in many applications including catalysis, gas sensors, batteries, supercapacitors, and so on. Nevertheless, studies on hollow MOFs and their derivatives are still at the beginning of this field, and the relationship between their structures and application performances is not yet reviewed comprehensively. Herein, the synthetic strategies and practical applications of hollow micro/nanostructured MOFs and their derivatives are summarized, and their corresponding prospects are also discussed.

13 Dec 06:05

Comic for December 13, 2018

Dilbert readers - Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.
12 Dec 22:26

NiH‐Catalyzed Asymmetric Remote Hydroalkylation of Alkenes with Racemic α‐Bromo Amides

by Fang Zhou, Yao Zhang, Xianfeng Xu, Shaolin Zhu

Here we report a terminal‐selective, asymmetric remote hydroalkylation of olefins with racemic α‐bromo amides, through NiH‐catalyzed alkene isomerization and subsequent alkylation reaction that can enantioconvergently introduce an unsymmetrical sec‐alkyl group from a racemic α‐bromo amide onto a terminal sp3 C–H position along the hydrocarbon chain of alkene. This mild process affords a range of structurally diverse chiral α‐alkylalkanoic amides in excellent yields, high regioselectivities, and enantioselectivities. In addition, the synthetic utility of this protocol is further highlighted by the regioconvergent conversion of industrial raw materials of isomeric olefin mixtures into enantioriched α‐alkylalkanoic amides on large‐scale.

13 Dec 10:13

The Titanic Was on Fire for Days Before the Iceberg Hit

13 Dec 15:24

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Skimmed

by tech@thehiveworks.com

Click here to go see the bonus panel!

My new website, skimmedit (tm) is just reddit but you can only read headlines and comment on what you think the article is about.

Today's News:
14 Dec 05:36

A Concise Total Synthesis of (±)‐Vibralactone

by Sepand K. Nistanaki, Luke Boralsky, Roy Pan, Hosea M. Nelson

Disclosed is a five‐step synthesis of (±)‐vibralactone, a biologically active terpenoid natural product. A key photochemical valence isomerization of 3‐prenyl‐pyran‐2‐one forges both the all‐carbon quaternary stereocenter and the β‐lactone at an early stage. Cyclopropanation of the resulting bicyclic β‐lactone furnishes a strained housane structure that is converted to the natural product through a sequential ring expansion and reduction strategy. Our concise and modular route to the natural product provides the shortest total synthesis of (±)‐vibralactone reported to date.

13 Dec 21:19

Applications of Metal–Organic‐Framework‐Derived Carbon Materials

by Wenping Yang, Xiaxia Li, Yan Li, Rongmei Zhu, Huan Pang
Advanced Materials Applications of Metal–Organic‐Framework‐Derived Carbon Materials

Metal–organic‐framework‐derived carbons represent a promising kind of material for many fields of applications. Synthesis strategies, tailored material properties, and different electrochemical performances are prominent features of energy‐storage materials. Metal–organic‐framework‐derived carbons materials are comprehensively summarized, and evaluations are provided.


Carbon materials derived from metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have attracted much attention in the field of scientific research in recent years because of their advantages of excellent electron conductivity, high porosity, and diverse applications. Tremendous efforts are devoted to improving their chemical and physical properties, including optimizing the morphology and structure of the carbon materials, compositing them with other materials, and so on. Here, many kinds of carbon materials derived from metal–organic frameworks are introduced with a particular focus on their promising applications in batteries (lithium‐ion batteries, lithium–sulfur batteries, and sodium‐ion batteries), supercapacitors (metal oxide/carbon and metal sulfide/carbon), electrocatalytic reactions (oxygen reduction reaction, oxygen evolution reaction, and hydrogen evolution reaction), water treatment (MOF‐derived carbon and other techniques), and other possible fields. To close, some existing problem and corresponding possible solutions are proposed based on academic knowledge from the reported literature, along with a great deal of experimental experience.

13 Dec 16:05

Windows 10 Collects Activity Data Even When Tracking Is Disabled, But You Can Block It [Updated]

by Brendan Hesse

Another day, another tech company being disingenuous about its privacy practices. This time it’s Microsoft, after it was discovered that Windows 10 continues to track users’ activity even after they’ve disabled the activity-tracking option in their Windows 10 settings.


14 Dec 08:18

Comic: Switcharoo 2

by Tycho@penny-arcade.com (Tycho)
New Comic: Switcharoo 2