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It's elemental, my dear Tungsten
November 29, 2006 4:32 PM   Subscribe

"Gold is one of the few elements you can find just lying on the ground. This one-ounce pure gold nugget was found in Alaska around 1890 by Hogamorth Marion, while on a trip to sell shoes to Eskimoes. Seriously."

An interactive periodical table.
posted by Terminal Verbosity (34 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The "Find out more about x" links work, but are strangely finicky. Usually worth the work for extra pictures, though, including this mercury fountain.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 4:33 PM on November 29, 2006


All you need is lead
lead is all you need
posted by nervousfritz at 4:43 PM on November 29, 2006


Lutetium has almost no applications, which is one of the reasons why it used to be the most expensive element in the world.

Ha! What the hell?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:46 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh, and cool post. Takes me back to chemistry lessons at school.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:48 PM on November 29, 2006


Hmm, looks like they finally gave UnUnUnium (111) a proper name. Lame.
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on November 29, 2006


I got lost at The Periodic Table Table Construction History at the Theodore Gray site. Damn.
posted by jessamyn at 5:09 PM on November 29, 2006


They called radon "radium." Twice.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:17 PM on November 29, 2006


Fun! Bismuth is beautiful.
posted by owhydididoit at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2006


Terbium is a vital ingredient of magnetorestrictive alloys that change length when exposed to a magnetic field. These alloys are used in loud speakers designed to push against solids rather than against air.

And I thought they were kidding.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2006


I was expecting something that might be useful, but i find something produced by Popular Science.
posted by wumpus at 5:47 PM on November 29, 2006


A periodical table?

Damn, I wanted magazines.
posted by rokusan at 6:05 PM on November 29, 2006


The Theodore Gray site is amazing, and I wasted hours there when I first came across it. You think the mercury fountain is cool? Go to the main mercury page and scroll down to the picture of a guy sitting on top of a pool of mercury.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:06 PM on November 29, 2006


I didn't know plutonium was used in pacemaker batteries... is that still the case?
posted by stewiethegreat at 6:07 PM on November 29, 2006


Another interactive table and another
posted by hortense at 6:19 PM on November 29, 2006


rokusan: that's a great idea...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:46 PM on November 29, 2006


Hell, I got about a pound of Lutetium over by my dirty sock pile... hey, I think someone took it! Didn't realize it was so valuable...
posted by muppetboy at 7:39 PM on November 29, 2006


where is the unobtanium?
posted by Iron Rat at 8:44 PM on November 29, 2006


I prefer WebElements, which gives some uses for Lutetium, and explains why it is difficult to separate from other rare elements.

I have applied to be listed, to no avail.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:53 PM on November 29, 2006


Sponsored by Dow! C2H3NOpal disaster.
posted by The White Hat at 9:06 PM on November 29, 2006


I've been considering buying some molybdenum for my daughter Molly. She'll appreciated that when she's older, I'd hope. Right now she'd just try to chew on it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:30 PM on November 29, 2006


Theodore Gray is the man. If you like either site, read his essay on Why he built the periodic table.

...
At the end of one of those books, Uncle Tungsten, Oliver Sacks describes the process of growing out of his youthful enthusiasm for chemistry as a painful feeling of loss. I know exactly what he's talking about.

And I also know that there are a lot of kids who never feel this sense of loss, because by the time they are teenagers, they have nothing left to lose. Whatever enthusiasm, creativity, and focus they started with has long since been driven out of them, destroyed by television, video games, horrible schools, horrible opportunities, and horrible role models.
[....]
There's a lot of talk these days about the problems with our schools and our children (perhaps there should be more about the problems with our parents), but in my opinion not nearly enough is being done to address the fundamental question: What's a kid to do these days? How can we give them the tools to let them see a path from here to there?
posted by honest knave at 12:23 AM on November 30, 2006


"Oxygen liquefied at -183.0°C is pale blue, but as a room-temperature gas, it is colorless. This gas comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere, which as luck would have it is just the concentration humans need for survival."

It's not luck, assholes!
posted by redteam at 12:55 AM on November 30, 2006


It's not luck, assholes!

Yeah, it's all thanks to our intelligent design!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:10 AM on November 30, 2006


Whoa, maybe you're joking, but I would like to state that I did not make my statement from an ID standpoint. What I meant is that an environment with (around) this level of oxygen in it is what we, and all of the creatures that came before us, lived and evolved in. Luck has nothing to do with it.
posted by redteam at 1:17 AM on November 30, 2006


I wonder if anything comes after Ununoctium?
posted by skepticX at 5:54 AM on November 30, 2006


We just bought some of the posters for the museum where I work. They're totally gorgeous - and they were kind enough to give us a big one free for classroom use.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:35 AM on November 30, 2006


redteam, you beat me to it!

I mean, what a lucky break for us humans that we didn't show up on Saturn needing the exact conentration of Oxygen we find here on Earth.
posted by lyam at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2006


Thanks, honest knave, for the link to Theodore Gray's website. Certainly, best of the web.

Good post too.

I'm a layman, so I don't know much about science, but I know this:

Crow T. Robot from MST3K is made out of Molybdenum. (Not the actual puppet...but you know, on the show...)
posted by Colloquial Collision at 7:45 AM on November 30, 2006


This gas comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere, which as luck would have it is just the concentration humans need for survival."

Not only is it not luck, it's not even true.

21% oxygen at sea level gives a partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) - a better measure of concentration than percent of the total, since the total can vary - of about 160 torr. But humans don't live only at sea level - some live permanently at 5100m1, where the total atmospheric pressure is 402 torr, and the PO2 is about 84 torr. A PO2 of 84 torr at sea level would be about 11% oxygen, so humans could survive in an 11% oxygen atmosphere at sea level.

Nice presentation, but apparently quite a few errors in the actual facts.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:30 AM on November 30, 2006


I wonder if anything comes after Ununoctium?

Very possibly - read about the island of stability.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:32 AM on November 30, 2006


They called radon "radium." Twice.

I don't see that. They called radium(Ra) radium, and radon(Rn) radon.
posted by solotoro at 8:46 AM on November 30, 2006


I don't see that. They called radium(Ra) radium, and radon(Rn) radon.

Weird, I thought I spotted the same mistake (radon was referred to as radium) yesterday but now they definitely are different.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 PM on November 30, 2006


Speaking of Alaskan gold... bacterial biomineralization.
posted by porpoise at 3:38 PM on November 30, 2006


/me high fives DevilsAdvocate
posted by redteam at 7:28 PM on November 30, 2006


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