An Endangered Species

We don’t often think of male humans as being in peril. My generation was brought up to think of guys as the “stronger” sex, probably because men were the ones fighting WWII. (Nowadays, there are more sexes which tends to further confuse the issue). What “they” never adequately explained was that the “weaker” sex outlived …

It’s Even Worse Than We Thought

Several months ago, I postulated on history’s ranking of POTUS 45. I ranked him as, unequivocably, The Worst Ever. Little did I know how bad he really was. Like it or not, we need an update. Presidential historians used to rank the several weak sisters surrounding Abraham Lincoln (Buchanan, Fillmore, Pierce and Andrew Johnson), along …

O,Chem

During a recent medical appointment, along with the usual chit-chat, the Physicians Assistant mentioned how she had had trouble with “O Chem” as an undergraduate. Turns out she meant Organic Chemistry. The word “organic” has, in modern times, acquired several meanings it didn’t have, back in the day. We speak of a subclass of food …

Fun with Chemistry – Blowing Stuff Up

Profound question from my high school classes: “Mr. Canaff, are we going to blow stuff up? Blowing stuff up involves chemical reactions. For the most part, these reactions need to be rapid, exothermic and have one or more products which are gaseous. What do all these terms and conditions mean? Chemical reactions are not always …

Stoichiometry (What you really hated about CHEM 101)

It ain’t that bad. Just the darn numbers. If you read the last part of my previous post: 1 mole = 6.022 exp 23 = X grams What is a mole, anyhow? No, it’s not a burrowing furry animal, the bane of gardeners. It is a count of 6.022 exp 23 of……whatever. The number is …

Bean Counting 101 (Balancing Chemical Equations)

No, this is not an accounting paper. I can’t even balance my check book. The fundamental principle in chemistry is the Law of Conservation of Matter. Simply stated, stuff in an ordinary chemical reaction is neither created nor destroyed. (I can’t account for physicists who monkey around with matter and energy…….). Matter, of course, can …

Chemical Formulas (Formulae? It’s Geek to Me)

Now that we’ve looked into naming chemicals, we need to look into formulas. There are several types of formula, each providing us with information. At its simplest form (molecular) the formula provides us with the elements comprising the compound and the number of each. Previously we considered two oxides of carbon, one containing equal numbers …

Name That Chemical!

Betcha you didn’t know you had signed up for a foreign language. We need to (at least) look at classifying and naming this humongous mess of stuff we call matter. Again, we’re looking at an almost infinite number of items. To begin with, chemicals are either organic or inorganic. Generally, chemical compounds containing carbon are …

Electrons. Chemistry Where It’s At

In a previous post, we took a peek at the structure of the atom. We looked at how atoms (elements) build up in weight, most of which consists of positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons, roughly equal in mass to each other. The atomic number of each element is equal to its number of protons. …