Tag Archives: Science

Air Calories

I wonder how many calories you get just by breathing. Would location matter? I think it would, because somewhere like a pizza place probably has more microscopic particles of food in the air than somewhere like your house. After all, they deal with a lot more food than your house (unless I’m completely misjudging the average household).

What about places like the forest, where there would be lots of pollen and stuff like that floating around? While that’s not food for us, it would certainly still have calories.

Finally, would it be possible to have a restaurant in which you only “eat” by smelling the food? I guess it’d be possible, but it wouldn’t last long…

~ George

The Scientific Ideal World

After reading this comic, I’ve been trying to find a site that has a scientific opinion on what the “ideal world” would be, but all my Google searches keep coming up with people philosophizing and talking about good people, or talking about dictatorships trying to rule the world and make everything “perfect”. If anyone could find a link to a site, article, video, etc., that approaches the question from a scientific point of view, please post it in the comments. I will continue looking for one, and when I’ve found one I’ll make this a real post. Thanks!

~ George

The Planets in Star Wars

My family an I just watched Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and I enjoyed it more than I ever had before by thinking of how amazing the galaxy of Star Wars is. Having just finished reading Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead, I have an even greater appreciation of what an interstellar society would be like.

What I thought was most interesting about the film was something its makers probably didn’t intend. When Qui Gon Jinn left the space ship and set foot on Tatooine without any preparation I realized just how much technology it would take to make it safe to do that. Think about it. What is the likelihood that so many planets have the perfect atmosphere and gravity to support not just humans, but aliens from thousands of different stars?

This is a feet of massive scale. Somehow, the sentient species of the galaxy have managed to make every planet compatible with every species in the entire galaxy! This could be accomplished by a combination of a few things that we currently know of.

Massive Terra-formation (the changing of the planet itself) would be required, ranging from increasing or decreasing gravity, changing or even creating an atmosphere, and maybe even moving the entire planet, so that the planet is the “right” temperature. And they would have to do this to almost every single planet they encountered, because face it, not very many planets would be even close to being able to sustain human life.

Now that there are planets that are uniform, every species needs to be uniform. Large changes in the very genetic nature of the aliens would be required. Every species of sentient life form (and some non-sentient life forms) would need to be genetically modified so that it could breathe the same air as every other species, survive the same level of gravity as every other species (so as to not be crushed because of stronger gravity or accidentally destroy everything because of weaker gravity), and endure the starkly different levels of radiation than their home planet would usually have. Biotechnology would be able to help in some cases, but not in every case. Biogenetics and Biotechnology would also be used to make every species more adaptable to different climates, because there is no way that every planet would be the exact same.

In addition to modifying the body, the brain, or whatever passed as a brain for different aliens, would also have to be genetically changed. Vastly different species would surely speak in vastly different ways, and something would need to be done for aliens who don’t “speak” like “normal” aliens do, instead using various forms of communication from body language to physic thought. There would also need to be a huge change in the culture and way of thought for some species. With vastly different cultures would come vastly different ideas, and many cultures would be completely incompatible with a uniform galactic government, among other things, with some cultures whose sole focus would be warfare and other cultures which would have no concept of government.

And even after all that, I haven’t even started to talk about what it would mean to have a planet with an aquatic center, or why everyone knows English, or what a moon sized spaceship would be. Star Wars has suddenly become a lot more interesting to me 🙂

~ George

Type-able Lewis Dot Structure

After messing up with Lewis dot structures on a chemistry test a while back (I forgot to draw any of the dots. Otherwise it would have been nearly 100% 🙁 ),  so I wanted to come up with an alternate to Lewis dot structures that doesn’t need dots. I still haven’t figured out a way to do that, but at the time I instead ended up with a way to format a Lewis dot structure in a way that you could type it. Note: you must already know how to draw out simple Lewis dot structures and the terminology behind them to understand this post.

Here’s a table to represent the various symbols that you use to type the Lewis dot structures

The symbol for (a)…

  • Single bond is a dash (-)
  • Double bond is an equal sign (=)
  • Triple bond is an equal sign and a dash (=- or -=)
  • Quadruple bond is two equal signs (==)
  • (If you need greater values, combine the dashes and equal signs until you have the number you need)
  • One valence electron is a period (.)
  • Two valence electrons is a colon (:)
  • Three valence electrons is a colon and a period (.: or :.)
  • Four valence electrons is two colons (::)
  • (If you need greater values, combine the periods and colons until you have the number you need)

To help with typing the Lewis dot structures, parenthesis will need to be used around each atom in the molecule. The first set is parenthesis (), the second set is brackets [], the third set is braces {}, and if you need more than either loop back to parentheses or don’t bother typing it. For example, Nitrogen’s Lewis dot structure would be (N:.), with the colon+period representing nitrogen’s three valence electrons. O2’s Lewis dot structure would be [::O=(O::)].

There are two colons next to each O to represent the four valence electrons that each oxygen has, and the equal sign to represent the double bond. Why one atom is in parenthesis and the other is not will be explained next.

A more complicated example would be CH4’s typed Lewis dot structure: [C-(H)-(H)-(H)-(H)]

None of the atoms in this molecule have any valence electrons, so there aren’t any periods or colons. Something more noticeable about it is that the hydrogen atoms, while seemingly connected in the typed version, aren’t connected in the drawn version. The way you get around that is by having the atom that is being connected to outside of the parentheses. The carbon atom has only the brackets around it, meanwhile all of the hydrogen atoms also have the parentheses.

You can even type the Lewis dot structure of a molecule by using all three bracket types, such as C2H3N’s molecule: {C-[H]-[H]-[H]-[C-=(N:.)]} .

Blog - Idea Level 3 - Type-able Lewis Dot Structure - H3C2N

The typed Lewis dot structure starts with the left carbon, showing it with only the braces surrounding it. That means that all of the atoms in the molecule that are only surrounded by both the braces and the brackets are connected to the carbon atom. Any atoms that are also surrounded by parentheses aren’t connected to the first carbon. The second carbon is surrounded by both the braces and the brackets, but not the parentheses. That means that any molecules that are surrounded by the braces, the same pair brackets that the 2nd carbon is surrounded by, and parentheses are connected to it. The nitrogen in the molecule fits all of those criteria, and as you can see in the drawn out version it is connected to the 2nd carbon but not the first.

Unfortunately this form obviously has limitations, such as those that a normal Lewis dot structure has, as well as the fact that the typed diagrams will rapidly get very complex.

Something I’m experimenting with is how to type the structure when it has rings in it, like carbon rings.

One possible way is to use something to communicate a linked section of a sort, like asterisks do for footnotes. So the above’s typed Lewis dot structure, starting with the bottom left carbon and going around clockwise, would be {C-[*]-[H]=[C-(H)-(C-{H}={C-[H]-[*C-(H)]})]}

For fun, and also to test this method of diagramming molecules, I Googled “Large Lewis dot structures” to see what came up, and decided that I would type it out myself at some point. Until I find the time to do what is probably going to be a long and difficult task, here’s the molecule I found:


Also, I’m thinking that there is some way to show the molecular polarity (or maybe the proper term is electronegativity) using greater than and less than signs (<>), but until I find my Chemistry book I can’t remember any of the proper terms, so until then just know that there’s more to come.

~ George