December 25, 2012

Advent Finish Line

89 articles, 24 days, 8 topics, and a partridge in a pear tree (Which was actually the name for a kind of bamboo bird cage, rather than a fruit tree). Thank you for everyone who was reading, and especially everyone who was writing, every single...

December 24, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Post-bout curry

The final whistle blows, the head ref signals the end of the game… so what happens now? (No, don’t start singing that song from Evita!) There is often a lot of hugging straight after the end of a bout. Skaters hug their team-mates, their opposition,...

Advent Chemistry: N-glucoside

Well, it’s the 24th of December, the last day of Advent. We’ve looked at some of the fundamentals of organic chemistry: bonds, functional groups, resonance (“shuffling electrons around”), aromaticity, chirality, conformation (shape) and stability, along with some other aspects of chemistry like ionic bonds and...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 24

I have chosen another of my very favourite Christmas-related fifteenth-century works for the final entry in this advent calendar: Larger version here And this is the whole thing: Adoration of the Magi Gentile da Fabriano 1423 From the Strozzi Chapel, the Church of Sta. Triniata,...

December 23, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Arsole

Today, it’s time for something a bit silly. ” This is the second-best pun in the whole of chemistry: arsole, pronounced exactly the way you think. Arsole is actually its correct systematic name. I mean, it wasn’t called that for a joke. If you apply...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 23

The Circumcision of Christ Master of the Tucher Altar c.1440-50 Mixed Media For the day before Christmas Eve, I bring you a very naked baby Jesus indeed, and a subject that we might not today expect anyone to have painted. But it was an important...

December 22, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Nicotine

We’ve covered two popular recreational drugs, ethanol and caffeine, so let’s look at a third. Nicotine is the major active ingredient in tobacco, and is usually ingested by burning tobacco leaves and inhaling the smoke. The nicotine is absorbed through the membranes of the mouth...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 22

Presentation at the Temple Master of the Polling Panels 1444 Mixed technique on wood This painting has the same subject as the scene from Melchior Broederlam’s Dijon Altarpiece that I used for the first day of this calendar. The painter’s name is unknown, and so...

December 21, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Silicon Dioxide

Yesterday we took a whirlwind tour through liquid crystals. Today, let us consider another strange phase of matter – glass. Technically speaking, ‘glass’ is actually the name of a phase just like ‘solid’ and ‘gas’ are phases, but in common usage glass means a mixture...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 21

The Virgin of the Rose Garden Stephan Lochner c.1448 51 x 40cm This is a very courtly image, where the Virgin and Child are surrounded by musicians, in a reflection of the kind of entertainment available to contemporary royal women. Another courtly touch is her...

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