December 16, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Superglue

Superglue is marvellous. It sticks a lot of things to a lot of things. It’s not the best adhesive there is – it’s possible to drive four hundred miles with an engine held together by Araldite, for instance, which I doubt is possible with superglue...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 16

The Adoration, with the Infant Baptist and St. Bernard. Fra Filippo Lippi c.1459. Tempera on panel. We’ve seen a few works by artists who were trained by Filippo Lippi already this month, so I thought that I would show you one of my favourite works...

December 15, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Teflon

Well, we’ve done a couple of entries on medicines, so let’s go back to some more fundamental chemistry and look at a polymer. This here is a section of polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon as it’s better known. It’s a fairly ordinary polymer in chemical terms, except...

Link to Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 15

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 15

The Virgin of the Rocks (The Virgin with the Infant Saint John adoring the Infant Christ accompanied by an Angel) c.1491-1508 Leonardo da Vinci 1452 – 1519 You can enlarge the image if you follow this link. The National Gallery website has some good general...

December 14, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Pre-bout rituals

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people have things that they repeatedly do before events they are nervous about. If you have a big meeting coming up at work, you might go and hide in the bathroom and try to calm down a bit, or maybe make a...

Advent Chemistry: Sumatriptan

Sticking with the medical theme, this is sumatriptan: It’s a migraine cure, and it’s marvellous. It works. When I have a migraine attack, I spray twenty milligrams of this up my nose, and the pain goes away. It’s not perfect – in particular, it doesn’t...

Advent Trading: What can be traded: Forex

The second major instrument to be traded is called Forex, which stands for Foreign Exchange. This involves buying and selling currencies similar to how you’d do it in the post office. Currencies are traded in currency pairs and a currency is denoted by the three...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 14

The Virgin Adoring the Child Sandro Botticelli 1490 Sandro Botticelli is another one of those Florentines who we know by his nickname (it means little barrell). His given name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi. He was a student of Fra Filipo Lippi, who you may...

December 13, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Penicillin

We’re halfway through the month, and today is the day for looking at medical breakthoughs. There’s no actual reason for this, it just seems like a good idea. This is penicillin: Penicillin is, famously, produced by some kinds of mould as a form of self-protection,...

Advent Trading: What can be traded: Shares

Currently we’ve covered What a stock market is, and why the prices move on the stock market. In this article we’ll quickly cover the different types of instruments that can be traded on the stock market. The most common instrument traded is a share. A...