This amused me. It might amuse you too.
The other night Ed Yong asked on Twitter if anyone could remember mention in a recent blogpost of the fact that salts of arsenic often contain phosphate. I’m guessing he was preparing for his latest #arseniclife post (which — to be serious for a second — is refreshingly candid about his initial treatment of all this arsenic-munching bacteria brouhaha). I thought I had read a note about the phosphate content of arsenates on Rosie Redfield’s blog, but I was mistaken.
Then I wondered about looking up sodium arsenate on the web-site of Sigma-Aldrich, purveyors of fine chemicals to the world’s scientists. I remembered that they often included analyses of the most common contaminants of their products. The page I got to is shown below — unfortunately it doesn’t report on the contaminating salts.
But it does reveal something quite interesting.
Sigma-Aldrich have gone a bit, um, Amazon. You will see towards the top that the site invites you to write a review.
This was too much for my imagination. I couldn’t resist:
What a great product! Had been feeling peckish and was delighted to come across this product at Sigma-Aldrich. Was impressed with the speedy delivery and the quality of the salt. Really great taste with none of the nasty phosphatey residue that you get with cheaper products. Shared it with my buddies at the lake who all agreed it was awesome!
GFAJ-1 (and the gang)
And not only do Sigma-Aldrich want reviews; they are now also suggesting additional purchases based on your selection. At first this seemed a bizarre innovation for a site dedicated to hard-working, focused scientist shoppers. But then I wondered what would be the impact if Sigma-Aldrich were to adopt a random chemical selector to generate these suggestions? Who knows what uncharted zones of chemistry might be discovered!