Why the rise of the machines is a good thing for chemistry.

No matter your research interests, I'll bet you depend more on computers — databases, scripts, templates, macros, electronic laboratory notebooks, sketching tools, machine learning — than ever before. Luckily, the chemblogosphere has you covered.

First of all, Mark Wolf, blogging at Magic Acid, wants to help you build a grad-school dream machine — capable of mapping 3D changes in battery electrodes — for less than US$1,000 (http://go.nature.com/9wNC9y). Need to learn a programming language? Then take a look at Chemistry Apprentice, who has laid out a nice (and free!) path (http://go.nature.com/4g38n8) to learn JavaScript and Python using online resources.

Next, Martin Stoermer, of the aptly-named Chemistry and Computers blog, opines (http://go.nature.com/LYXepL) on indexing open-access chemistry data. He desires a model similar to that set by physics (with arXiv) or biomedical research (with PubMed). Meanwhile, Egon Willighagen at Chem-bla-ics, makes budding programmers aware (http://go.nature.com/KzcR2U) of the Royal Society of Chemistry's efforts to promote open science. They are providing access to their databases in exchange for Wikipedia contributions.

Finally, there was a lively debate (http://go.nature.com/Q1GfCW) at In the Pipeline over some seemingly odd structures from a molecular dynamics paper published in Nature Chemistry. Derek took issue with an extra methylene group and a potentially unstable hemiaminal before the lead author of the study quickly confirmed in the comments that they were simply drawing errors. The discussion continued, however, with academic heavyweights Henry Rzepa and Peter Murray-Rust chiming in, calling for reforms against what they consider to be outmoded publishing customs in the Internet age (http://go.nature.com/ZN2Atf).