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The Single Swap Rule

I don’t think there are that many “tricks” to doing well in organic chemistry, but there are a few. I was kind of surprised last

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The Lies We Tell

Zed Shaw teaches a course in writing Python called “Python the Hard Way“. Because the hard way is easier, he says. In the end, he’s

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The Power of Laziness

What would you do to save 5 seconds? Let’s say it takes 10 minutes to walk from the gym to class.  Would it matter much

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The Magic Wand of Proton Transfer

When textbooks (or your teacher/TA/tutor) start writing down reaction mechanisms, sometimes  you’ll see hell of a lot of curved arrows. The curved arrow notation is useful

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A simple trick: The (R)-(S) Toggle

Instead of redrawing the whole molecule, just leave the hydrogen (or other 4th ranked substituent) in front and figure out whether the substituents ranked 1,2, and 3 go clockwise or counterclockwise. Then toggle (i.e. reverse direction CW to CCW or vice versa) to account for the fact that the 4th ranked substituent is in the front, and assign (R) or (S) based on that. You end up with the same answer without having to redraw anything.

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