December 20, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Communication

Communication is a big thing in roller derby. Skaters in each team tend to shout quite a lot at each other, or make signals to tell their team-mates what tactic to do so the other team don’t understand it. Referees have special hand signals for...

Advent Chemistry: Liquid Crystals

This is 4-cyano-4′-pentylbiphenyl, and it’s a liquid crystal. Now, to cover liquid crystals properly would take up another Advent’s worth of posts, so I’m not going to. I’m going to simplify things horribly. I’m going to tell you lies-to-readers, in the same way that teachers...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 20

Virgin and Child Enthroned Hans Memling c.1480-1490 Oil on panel, 81 x 55 cm For a closeup, click here and then click on the image. This is one of Hans Memling’s lesser known works, probably because it isn’t kept with the canon of his great...

December 19, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Cyclohexane

Today’s molecule, cyclohexane, was responsible for the second largest peacetime explosion in British history. Cyclohexane, as the name suggests, consists of six carbons in a ring, with their associated hydrogens, and nothing else. It isn’t interesting primarily for its reactions, but for its shape. Cyclohexane,...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 19

The Master of Flemalle (identificed as Robert Campin) Virgin and Child in an Interior c. 1435 22.5 x 15.4 cm Click here and then click once on the image for a close-up. It’s very worthwhile 😀 Earlier this month, I posted Robert Campin’s Virgin and...

December 18, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Cubane

This is cubane, so named because it’s an alkane and, well, it’s cubic. It doesn’t actually occur in nature. It’s a purely synthetic molecule, and if I were to guess I’d say that it was invented, not because of its possible uses, but because it’s...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 18

The Virgin and Child, from the Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove 1487 Hans Memling And here’s the whole diptych: This is one of my favourite late fifteenth-century images. Maarten van Nieuwenhove is shown in his own home, or an artistic reimagining of his home. His...

December 17, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Bout reporting

The roller derby media is still in its youth but, as with the majority of the community, it’s all about the DIY ethos. Here in the UK, there’s two roller derby magazines, Lead Jammer and Inside Line – both editors are skaters, and the majority...

Advent Chemistry: Hydrogen Fluoride

Speaking of things that are very good at what they do, let’s take a gander at hydrogen fluoride. This one doesn’t need a picture, because it’s just H-F, one hydrogen and one fluorine. (I have a terrible habit of spelling it flourine, but it is...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 17

The Adoration of the Magi Late 1480s Gerard David This illumination is from the Breviary of Isabella of Castile (Add. MS 18851, f. 41). Gerard David, like most painters of his time, worked on panel paintings, illuminations, and just about everything else that could be...