What are Ammines (Not Amines)? How Are They of Interest?

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[caption id="attachment_24754" align="alignright" width="480"] tetramminediaquacopper(II) ion[/caption] Although most of us are not chemists, we recognize certain chemical terms. Some terms are more familiar than others. We know orange juice, tomatoes, and vinegar are "acid" or acidic. Other terms are less familiar, such as "free radical". We've heard them, and we have a faint idea of what they mean, but we don't really understand what they are. Amines, we may realize, are in part responsible for the fishy odor we seek to eliminate when cooking. To the chemist, an amine is an organic compound that includes at least one –NH2 group. N is the symbol representing a nitrogen atom, and H represents hydrogen. The word amine reminds us of the word ammonia, and rightly so. Ammonia is familiar to us as…
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Introducing Nutmeg: A Little History, A Little Chemistry

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[caption id="attachment_24498" align="alignright" width="480"] Grate nutmeg just before use.[/caption] Once, at the grocery store with my wife, the checkout girl picked up a small green bundle and rang it up. She wondered what it was. We informed her, it was asparagus. It shocked the two of us that anyone could fail to know what asparagus was. Introducing Nutmeg As with asparagus, I wonder how many people don't know what nutmeg is? Since it is used in sweets, perhaps only a small number. But how many people, if asked what nutmeg is, would say "It is a can of spice you buy at the store." The word nutmeg refers to a spice. But it also refers to the seed that is grated to produce the spice. Nutmeg grows on trees (Myristica…
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Is Gravity in Atoms Significant? No. Prove It!

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[caption id="attachment_23683" align="alignright" width="480"] Is there gravity in the atom?[/caption] Theories of the microscopic never seem to include reference to gravity in the atom. Should they? What do you think? Numbers don’t lie: The reality is, gravity inside the atom is pretty insignificant. Let’s look at this in terms of scale, and then examine the equations for determining gravitational pull. Atoms and our Scale of Reference It is the human tendency to draw conclusions – with reference to the extremely large and the extremely small – on the basis of what we experience in our scale of reference. In fact, much good science has been realized using such assumptions. But only much good science – by no means all. In fact, many of the most incredible discoveries have not been…
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Amino Acids and Proteins: Major Components of Meat

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[caption id="attachment_23573" align="alignright" width="480"] Image by LifeisGood[/caption] The meat we eat largely consists of proteins, which are made up of amino acids. Proteins may be broken down into amino acids – and, amino acids may be built up into proteins. Consider the basic structure of amino acids and proteins. Amino Acid = Amine + Carboxylic Acid Amino acids contain an amino group, an acid group, and an alkyl group. In an amino group, there is one trivalent nitrogen atom, which is attached to two hydrogen atoms. We write out an amino group as –NH₂. An amino acid also contains a carboxylic acid group. It is written –COOH, that is, it contains one tetravalent carbon atom that is double-bonded to an oxygen atom, and also it is single-bonded to one hydroxyl…
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Cane Syrup, Regular and Blackstrap Molasses

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Although there are a host of sweet syrups produced in the U.S. and other countries, molasses that finds its way to the table is derived made from the sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum. Curiously, sugarcane is considered a true grass! The juice of the sugarcane is extracted from the pulp in various ways. It is concentrated by boiling. Cooling yields an abundance of sugar crystals, sucrose. The remaining fluid is popularly called cane syrup. It is still quite sweet and was once popular in cooking. Another boiling and cooking yields additional sugar crystals. The remaining liquid is molasses. Upon removal and yet another boiling, a thick, dark, slow-pouring, not-so-sweet syrup results, called (you guessed it) blackstrap molasses. Nutrition in Blackstrap Molasses As is true of many other food items used in industrialized…
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What’s the Difference Between Turnips and Rutabagas?

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[caption id="attachment_20643" align="alignright" width="440"] Turnips - Image CCA 2.0 Generic License by thebittenword.com[/caption] There are two vegetables I'd always see at the grocery store as a child, though now I see them on a less regular basis -- turnips and rutabagas. They look a lot alike. Yet, they are different. How so? What's in a Name? The official or Latin names of the turnip and rutabaga are (you really do want to know, right?), Turnip: Brassica rapa var. rapa Rutabaga: Brassica napobrassica That doesn't tell us much, at least most of us. The first word is the same, Brassica. This word refers is the genus of a large group of plants, plants in the mustard family. They are sometimes referred to as cruciferous vegetables. In addition to turnips and rutabagas,…
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Colonel Jacob Bucher Ayres Married into the Royal Stewarts

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[caption id="attachment_18300" align="alignleft" width="380"] A young Jacob Bucher Ayres.[/caption] The Ayres family can be traced from England through Ireland through Scotland to Pennsylvania, USA. There are other lines of Ayres, but the line we discuss here descends from Samuel Ayres married to Margaret Richmond. Jacob Bucher Ayres, who went by his middle name only, was son of William, son of John, son of William, son of Samuel. [caption id="attachment_14222" align="alignright" width="244"] Bucher's father William.[/caption] [Jacob Bucher] "Bucher" and George Bucher Ayres, along with six others, were children of William Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Bucher Ayres. Mary had been married once before, in 1812, to one John Swift, having a son likewise named John. The author has not yet attempted to trace that family line. However, there has proved to be…
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Privacy Statement for Quirky Science

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If you require any more information or have any questions about our privacy policy, please feel free to contact us by email at vsummers@gmail.com. At www.quirkyscience.com/, the privacy of our visitors is of extreme importance to us. This privacy policy document outlines the types of personal information is received and collected by www.quirkyscience.com/ and how it is used. Log Files Like many other Web sites, www.quirkyscience.com/ makes use of log files. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol ( IP ) addresses, type of browser, Internet Service Provider ( ISP ), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, track user’s movement around the site, and gather demographic information. IP addresses, and other such information are not linked to any information that…
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The Cyclops Freshwater Copepod

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[caption id="attachment_6115" align="alignright" width="440"] Cyclops bicuspidatus - Image: NOAA[/caption] In Greek mythology, Cyclops was a violent, one-eyed giant humanoid monster. The most famous of them is Polyphemus. He was the son of the Greek god Poseidon and the sea nymph¹ Thoösa. It is that one eye that defines the cyclops. And so a tiny fresh water copepod possessing one eye (sometimes red, sometimes black) is named cyclops as well. Thanks to its small size (0.5 to 2 millimeters) and its jerky movements, it (also the daphnia) has been nicknamed “water flea.” It is instructive to watch this brief video of a male. Description Cyclops feeds on plankton. It thrives in stagnant ponds. It does not require sexual fertilization to reproduce. But it does engage in sexual reproduction during periods of…
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Ammonia Plus Bleach – Why a Bad Choice

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[caption id="attachment_5877" align="alignright" width="440"] Monochloramine[/caption] Housewives and others running the home are urged not to mix household ammonia plus bleach together. Why? Because the result is a poisonous gas. What gas? What is the chemical reaction that produces it? Bleach There are two varieties of household bleach. There is oxygen bleach. And there is chlorine bleach. It is the chlorine variety that causes the risk. Chlorine bleach is a solution of sodium or calcium hypochlorite in water. Its strength runs 3 to 5 percent in water. Ammonia 100% ammonia is not a liquid. It is a gas. Household "ammonia" is about a 5 percent water solution. Ammonia gas has the formula NH₃. The solution is sometimes written NH₄OH. NH₃ + HOH → NH₄OH In reality, most of the ammonia is…
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