duckbunny (duckbunny)

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  • More bits - So that's why when the punctuation goes wrong you get three symbols in place of the one! I am excited to know this!
  • Capsaicin - Honestly? I have no idea. Ask a biologist ;)

All Posts by duckbunny

Ice Cores and Ice Ages

There are places in Antarctica where the ice hasn’t melted for fifteen million years. We can’t drill that far down. Our longest ice cores go back about 740,000 years. Long enough to encompass the whole of human history. Long enough to show eight ice ages....

Benzonitrile

This is benzonitrile, a benzene ring (remember those?) with a nitrile group attached. Hermann Fehling discovered it in 1844. It smells of almonds, and is the substance which gave its name to all “nitrile” compounds. Benzonitrile is an excellent example of the kinds of thing...

Layer Cake

How exactly do we know what was going on in the atmosphere millions and millions of years ago? If we want to know what the temperature is today, we just stick a thermometer out the window and find out. It is rather more difficult to...

Hydrogen

It occurs to me that thus far I have not really talked about what bonds are. I’ve talked about how we can change them and how they can shuffle around to even themselves out, but not how we get them in the first place. There...

Algae

In the primordial soup era, when life first got started on Earth, it was anaerobic life. It worked without needing oxygen. It had to, because there wasn’t any oxygen around. At this point, the Earth still had a reducing atmosphere. Right now, we have an...

Acetone

This is acetone, one of my favourite solvents. Its systematic name is propanone and it’s the simplest possible ketone. A ketone is any compound with a carbon backbone and a CO group that isn’t on the end. Since when there are only one or two...

Carbonic Acid

Earth’s oceans did more for us than just sit there being wet. We started off the right temperature to have oceans in the first place, reaching enough pressure to make it rain before the planet was too hot for liquid water. And the oceans have...

Volcanoes and Snowballs

So. A problem. How did Earth get its water? We know it didn’t come from the primordial gas cloud, because it was too hot for that when the Earth was condensing out as a big ball of rock. So the water on our surface and...

Ethanol

Today’s exciting entry is ethanol: Ethanol is of course the alcohol commonly known as, well, ‘alcohol’. It’s found in whisky, rum, cider, ale, mead, wine, vodka, gin, and so on and so forth. It has an intoxicating effect on most animals including humans and is...

Ethanoic Acid

This is ethanoic acid, also known as acetic acid. It’s the part of vinegar that makes it taste and smell of vinegar. I’m rather fond of it, partly because I actually rather like the smell, partly because it’s a ‘weak’ acid that isn’t scary to...