Life & Everything

What a Wonderful Web We Weave | 3

January 15, 2014 | 2 comments


One of the many reasons the web is a wonderful place is that information about everything from here to there is only a mouse click or two away. Here are the favourite random things I’ve learned about lately.

Sometimes small things can make big headlines. The atomic weight for 19 elements have officially been changed. Lucky for me, I never managed to memorize all the atomic weights in chemistry class. Since all natural elements already have been discovered, scientists are focusing on making new elements in the laboratory. (Have you ever heard about element hunters? Neither had I.)

Lately, there have been a lot of new additions of these man-made elements to the Periodic table of Elements. Some of the heaviest ones are Flerovium, Livermorium and Unupentium. The latter (and many others) still need to get an officially approved name, and therefore goes by their Latin numbers. There’s a Ununtrium, Ununseptium, Ununoctium…

More interesting (for me at least) is the extensive list from The International Mineralogical Association with the approved names of new minerals. Some of my favourites are Oskarssonite (type locality is Eldfell volcano on Heimaey Island in Iceland!) and Qingsongite which is almost as hard as diamond. Some of the new names are a handful to pronounce. Try saying Diegogattaite, Manganokaskasite, or Hydroniumpharmacoalumite ten times as fast as you can. Some of the older mineral names are just as difficult to pronounce (fluorororororichterite anyone?). Geologists have never been famous for coming up with brilliant mineral names. Or what do you think of Eurekadumpite (found in the dump of the Centennial Eureka mine), Dickite (discovered by Allan B. Dick) or Cummingtonite (found in Cummington)? My all-time favourite has to of course be Swedenborgite although technically, it isn’t named after Sweden but after the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg.

What random interesting things have you recently learned about?