South African Skeptics

The Disappearing Spoon

Offline Rigil Kent

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It can't be all to easy taking an ostensibly humdrum yet potentially intimidating theme - say, the Periodic Table of the Elements - and turning it into an unexpectedly  good read. But the young Sam Kean pulls it off beautifully. The Disappearing  Spoon  tells the story behind virtually every element, and the quirky scientists behind it. It colours in the gaps between the somewhat desiccated facts we learned at school with very bright crayons. It has a bit of everything: humour, suspense, envy, scandal and isotopes. If you enjoy chemistry - or the world around you in general - this book is sure to have a special place on your shelf. I rate it fluorine out of neon.

http://www.amazon.com/Disappearing-Spoon-Madness-Periodic-Elements/dp/0316051632

Rigil
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


Offline BoogieMonster

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There's a pretty cool youtube channel called "Periodic Table of Videos" that explores the elements in turn.

For instance: In an episode on Gold they managed to get into a London bank vault containing bullion.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7A1F4CF36C085DE1
"Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down. How they survive, so misguided, is a mystery. Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here" - Tool


Offline Rigil Kent

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There's a pretty cool youtube channel called "Periodic Table of Videos" that explores the elements in turn.
Nice - just watched the hydrogen installment! When my kid comes back from school, I'm getting out the steel wool, pool acid and a balloon... :)
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


Offline Mefiante

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… I'm getting out the steel wool, pool acid…
Aluminium foil also works — perhaps  better because aluminium is more reactive with hydrochloric than iron.

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline brianvds

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Will pool acid be concentrated enough though? How about sulphuric acid, if you use battery acid that can be bought at a hardware store? I have been thinking of showing the kids at the school where I work this, but I don't want to buy expensive chemicals unnecessarily.



Offline st0nes

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I have been thinking of showing the kids at the school where I work this

Famous last thoughts?
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.--Groucho Marx


Offline brianvds

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I have been thinking of showing the kids at the school where I work this

Famous last thoughts?

"It's perfectly safe, kids. Watch, I'm leaning right in and nothi..."



Offline BoogieMonster

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"What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

Allegedly these were among General John Sedgwick's final words. He was serving as a Union commander in the American Civil War, and was hit by sniper fire a few minutes after saying them, at the battle of Spotsylvania to his men who were ducking for cover, on May 9, 1864.
"Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down. How they survive, so misguided, is a mystery. Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here" - Tool


Offline st0nes

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My very favourite last words:--
Quote from: Voltaire, when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.--Groucho Marx


Offline brianvds

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"What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

Allegedly these were among General John Sedgwick's final words. He was serving as a Union commander in the American Civil War, and was hit by sniper fire a few minutes after saying them, at the battle of Spotsylvania to his men who were ducking for cover, on May 9, 1864.

One sometimes hears, inaccurately but far more entertainingly, that his last words were actually "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..."

Anyway, back to the topic of the thread...





Offline Rigil Kent

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The title of the book refers to a geeky chemical party trick whereby a teaspoon is fashioned from metallic element 31, gallium. Gallium has a melting point of just below 30 deg C, and the humour ostensibly derives from the surprised look on the tea drinker's face when he tries to stir in his sugar. :/ Oh well.

Rigil
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


Offline brianvds

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The title of the book refers to a geeky chemical party trick whereby a teaspoon is fashioned from metallic element 31, gallium. Gallium has a melting point of just below 30 deg C, and the humour ostensibly derives from the surprised look on the tea drinker's face when he tries to stir in his sugar. :/ Oh well.

Rigil

That's actually a pretty cool trick. Where can I get hold of some gallium? France, presumably?