December 7, 2013

Link to Distillation

Advent Chemistry: Distillation

Distillation has a lot in common with reflux, except that instead of letting the condensate drip back down into the original mixture, you change the layout a bit and collect it into a second flask. Distillation is the usual method of making spirits from weaker...

Compilations

Advent Computing: Compilations

A computer will take a sequence of numbers and interpret them as instructions. It has to – a computer can only store numbers, and the meaning of those numbers (that they’re instructions the computer should perform, rather than, say, ingredient weights for baking a cake) comes...

December 6, 2013

Writing for a computer

Advent Computing: Writing for a computer

A number can represent some sort of “instruction” to a computer, and what instruction a given number means is determined by that computer’s “machine language”. The number sequence “27, 48, 19” might mean “store the number 48 in the bit of memory at address 19”,...

Advent Oil & Gas: Drilling for riches

Rigs and platforms are not all created equal.  There are a number of different types, each designed for a specific task and environment, from the most basic land rigs to the very advanced (and expensive) platforms used for deep-water drilling. Land rigs are the original...

Link to Refluxing

Advent Chemistry: Refluxing

As a general rule, heating a reaction up makes it go faster. Many reactions work better if you boil the solvent they’re happening in. Actually, many reactions happen fastest of all in the vapour that comes off the boiling solvent. The reaction takes place in...

December 5, 2013

Bytes and bigger

Advent Computing: Bytes and bigger

We now know a single “1” or “0” is called a bit, and eight of them is a byte, the standard unit most computers use for handling numbers. But that’s not actually true. Or at least it’s an over-simplification. See, our Turing machine only ever...

Link to Rotary Evaporation

Advent Chemistry: Rotary Evaporation

Consider this: You’ve got a flask of liquid. In the flask is some solvent, and dissolved in it (along with probably some leftover bits and pieces of raw material that you don’t care about) is your product. How do you get the product out? You...

Advent Oil & Gas: Well drilling – bits and string

I’ve already mentioned drilling as part of exploration and appraisal, but how does it actually work?  The well-publicised image of an oil derrick is only the visible part of a complicated engineering system, intended to drill through immense thicknesses of rock and to extract valuable...

December 4, 2013

More things with numbers

Advent Computing: More things with numbers

The last two posts have been about how a computer converts between the numbers it stores and letters and symbols you see on your screen or out of your printer. But computers don’t just use numbers for storing text. Computers use numbers for everything. One...

Advent Oil & Gas: Prospecting and exploration

Based on our knowledge of oil and gas formation we can make some reasonable guesses as to where they can be found.  The best places to look are sedimentary rock basins, especially those that are close to faults and plate boundaries – but there over...

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