December 8, 2013

Link to Precipitation

Advent Chemistry: Precipitation

Precipitation, when it doesn’t mean rain and snow, means roughly the opposite of dissolving. It means taking a solution, and persuading the interesting thing to come back out of solution and be a solid. We already covered rotary evaporation, which is one way of doing...

Programs without compilation

Advent Computing: Programs without compilation

Both assembled and compiled languages require some form of translation to convert them from a language a human programmer can (more-or-less) understand to the machine language the computer can understand. But what about if we could skip that step? That’s where interpreted languages come in....

Advent Oil & Gas: Processing 1 – stabilisation

As I’ve already mentioned, the exact composition of petroleum and natural gas is very variable.  In order to produce high-quality fuels a lot of processing is needed; this takes a number of steps, starting at the oil and gas field. When extracted from the ground...

December 7, 2013

Advent Oil & Gas: Components

Having spent millions and millions of dollars surveying, exploring, appraising, designing, and developing a site, what do we have to show for it?  This depends very much on the type of reservoir.  ‘Oil and gas’ isn’t just one category (or even two), but covers a...

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...