Fashion Police: Science Shoes
Mar27

Fashion Police: Science Shoes

Today’s post is by Emily Bones, a production editor and Newscripts contributor here at C&EN. Eating vegan food is a well-known practice, but wearing vegan shoes is new to the Newscripts gang. Now that the shoe company TOMS has added a periodic table design to its Vegan Classics line, perhaps chemists should consider sporting a partially vegan wardrobe. With a canvas top and a sole made of rubber or rope, these simple but recognizable shoes debuted in 2006 after Blake Mycoskie, founder and “chief shoe giver” of the company, took a trip to Argentina. Many children in Argentina are impoverished and shoeless, which is a detriment to their development, he observed. To help them, Mycoskie devised a One-for-One plan when the company was born: Every time a pair of TOMS shoes are purchased, the company sends an additional pair to children in need through giving partners. Originally, underprivileged Argentinian children were the “sole” recipients, but with the success of the company and the program, children in more than 50 countries can now benefit. The distinct style of all TOMS shoes is inspired by Argentinian culture, where they are known as alpargatas. The company has taken some creative license for shoes available for purchase, however. The shoes that they donate are usually black slip-on style; if they had laces, families wouldn’t be able to afford to replace them if they break. The periodic table shoes and all of its Vegan Classics companions go a step further in their global awareness – they are made with pesticide-free cotton and suede-free insoles. And they're nerdy cool. More than 2 million shoes have been donated because of the One-for-One program, and with the trendy periodic table shoe, chemists can do their part to help the movement. A TOMS representative says it is up to the production team to choose the designs, so she isn’t certain why the periodic table was the lucky print for TOMS to feature. “They are an online exclusive dedicated to our science-loving supporters, and to promote planetary friendliness. They are light and colorful, just like the periodic table,” she says. If you want to be stylish and splash some chemistry in your wardrobe, these are the shoes for you. And they’re closed-toe, so appropriate for the lab!...

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A Comic-Book Fanboy’s Take on the Periodic Table
May20

A Comic-Book Fanboy’s Take on the Periodic Table

Earlier this week, a colleague sent me this comic-book take on the periodic table. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes and yawn a little bit. After all, we here at C&EN have seen every manner of periodic table categorizing vegetables, fruits, beer, wine, and even text messages. However, this table doesn’t just put a superhero in each element slot; it seems a little different and worth noting for its sheer entertainment value. “The Elements of A Super-Hero,” as it is called, represents comic-book characters by categorizing their origins (for example, they are a scientist or mutant), physical powers (they can control the weather, have X-ray vision, or my favorite, their arms fall off), and mental abilities (they can perform telepathy). Each of these items has its own element slot. Thus, “Scientist” is Sc—element 8—and “X-ray Vision” is Vx—element 19. So, as the table’s creator points out, Wolverine of the X-men can be represented as XWxHSn (X for mutant, Wx for claws, H for healing, and Sn for super-senses). I thought this was worth pointing out because A) I, too, love superheroes, wanting desperately to be Wonder Woman when I was little, and B) the “Comments” that this table has received are both amazing and amusing. One commenter says that his “inner science nerd” is telling him he’d have liked the table to be a bit more organized like a real periodic table, with similar abilities stacked in vertical rows. For instance, he says, “Vx—X-Ray Vision—and Vh—Heat Vision—should be stacked and not sitting next to one another.” Duh. Currently, the only divisions that appear are that physical powers reside in the spots where metals normally go, mental powers sit in the metalloid area, and origin stories are found in the nonmetal region of the table. Another commenter says that he’s waiting patiently for an addendum with the actinides and lanthanides. “Maybe personality elements (dark & gritty, goofball, robotic, etc.),” he says, could be one series, and “alternate realities (evil version, gender-switched version, animal version)” could be the other. Still other fanboys (and girls) are begging the creator for a poster-sized version that they can display on their walls with pride. Some are trying to puzzle out what certain element symbols are derived from (for example, Rr—element 49, which stands for “stretching”—MUST come from the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards). Finally, some commenters are expressing their disappointment that certain abilities are missing. For example, one reader misses the “ability to control density (Anissa Pierce)” and the “ability to do weirdo shit with people’s souls (Secret, Raven),” and so on. So, take a look and see what you think is missing...

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Periodic Tables Galore
Jan11

Periodic Tables Galore

As I was scrolling through boing boing today, I came across a familiar face - the Periodic Table of the Elephants elephant, which hangs out here at the ACS building in Washington. Now, we've chronicled various periodic tables from beeriodic table t-shirts to a video periodic table to baked goods ones, but Mark Leach has taken the chronicling to a whole new level with the Internet Database of Periodic Tables. Take a gander at his extensive collection of periodic tables, great and small (including said elephant). (Hat tip to Maggie Koerth-Baker at boing boing) Photo credit:...

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Baked Goods Periodic Tables
Dec11

Baked Goods Periodic Tables

There's not much to say about these periodic tables constructed out of cookies and cupcakes other than that they're just plain awesome. And it's Friday. Enjoy. Not So Humble Pie:...

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