Sunday, October 22, 2006

It’s Elemental

I don’t often take requests.

Although I receive one or two e-mails almost every week with suggestions to write posts about, my topics usually come to me in bursts of revelation. Like seeing something on the news … or glimpsing something online that just screams to be mocked. My mood drives my choice.

But not today.

I opened my inbox a few days ago and found a link to this story about the creation of a new chemical element. Apparently, Russian and American scientists recently smashed together atoms of calcium and californium—yes, that’s really an element—to create a new atom with 118 protons in its nucleus.

What’s notable about this? Well, for one, it’s the heaviest element ever made. And it would be the first manmade inert gas—joining natural elements like helium, argon, neon, and radon.

Only one problem. It’s as unstable as a Willem Dafoe character.

Even under the ideal laboratory conditions for its creation, the new element lasted for just one millisecond. That’s even shorter than the amount of time 2005’s Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo lasted in theaters.

But, if confirmed, the discovery will enable the element’s creators to name it. They can add another barely pronounceable member to the heavy-element club, joining existing winners like Seaborgium, Meitnerium, and Darmstadtium.

Yes, those really are elements.

As you might expect, I have a few suggestions for what they should call Element 118:

Malawium. If the country is good enough for Madonna to adopt a baby from, it’s good enough for the periodic table.

Harrypotterium. The best-selling book series of all time hasn’t had a planet named after it; the least we can do is throw the boy wizard an element.

Halloweenium. With the best holiday of the year coming up, it would be a ghoulishly appropriate tribute.

Deucebigelowium. Let’s make this Rob Schneider’s contribution to future generations. The movies themselves sure don’t count.


At October 22, 2006 11:55 PM, Blogger Death Warmed Over replied to my musings ...

Seanpennium. You did say the element was unstable.

Oprahium. Why not she probably owns everyting else why not an element. Of course when she's off her diet this element's name then becomes ironic.

Congressium. The element is probably worthless as well.

Northdakotaium. If its good enough for California...

Element118ium. Why not just keep it simple?

At October 23, 2006 12:30 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

HAHA i liked your suggestions. My favorite is totally the harry potter one. Halloween the best holiday?! WHAT?! you nuts! I dig it but would never give it that title.

Duke Duke Duke how your team teased me Sat, looking for the world like they'd get the W, then WHAM pulled that football away from like Lucy and Charlie brown.

At October 23, 2006 2:35 AM, Blogger Jim replied to my musings ...

the 'californiums' I know have aleady been smashed for years

At October 23, 2006 6:14 AM, Blogger goldennib replied to my musings ...

And how much did I pay for this wonder of modern science?

At October 23, 2006 6:54 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe replied to my musings ...

Harrypotterium sounds a bit radioactive to me! :P

At October 23, 2006 7:54 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

I SO AGREE with you on Halloweenium! actually LIKE Rob Schneider...:)

At October 23, 2006 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

Amuletium: slightly unstable but it has its uses. Oh sure, no one knows what yet but there's gotta be something.

At October 23, 2006 10:01 AM, Blogger Maggie replied to my musings ...

Sometimes when a Discovery News article screams your name, ya just gotta respond.

I'd go fo the Deucebigelowium...they both lasted the same amount of time.

At October 23, 2006 11:00 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

This story exemplifies what science is really trying to do. As my profile says, they just want an excuse to blow shit up.

I think Ben Affleck and J. Lo's "Gigli" was in theatres much shorter. So let's name it "Gigliium"

At October 23, 2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

WilliamHungium- it's really bad, but you can't look away for some reason.

At October 23, 2006 4:50 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I think we have a whole new periodic table now. And it's so much better than the old one. Boron is just so ... boring.

-- david

At October 23, 2006 4:54 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Phats: They almost did it, didn't they? Maybe if Miami would have suspended everyone who deserved it from that hideous display last weekend, the Blue Devils would have triumphed. Sorry about your Boilermakers ... sigh.

GoldenNib: As far as I know, no taxpayer dollars were used in this event. But if you'd like to pay me for telling you about it, I'm OK with that.

Stacy: I knew there was somethind very wrong with you--now I know exactly what it is!

Jenna: Perfect! Thankfully, I last much longer than a millisecond.

Maggie: Was that you who sent it??

-- david

At October 23, 2006 5:17 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Republicium ~ with a half-life of 12 years, after which it self-destructs.

At October 23, 2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I like Halloweenium, but some christian group would probably be up in arms over an element named after this holiday.

At October 23, 2006 8:55 PM, Blogger Trundling Grunt replied to my musings ...

Iraqium or Kimjongilium - something that unstable should be recorded for posterity

At October 23, 2006 9:46 PM, Blogger goldennib replied to my musings ...


The check's in the mail; D


At October 24, 2006 4:30 AM, Blogger X. Dell replied to my musings ...

I say you can call it Hoffaium because of it's disappearing act.

At October 24, 2006 10:45 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

Yes, Harry Potter has been unforgiveably overlooked.

At October 24, 2006 11:52 AM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

It is short and heavy. Therefore it should be named after Judge Mablean Ephraim.

At October 24, 2006 7:19 PM, Blogger DaBich replied to my musings ...

Bichium....extremely unstable...but very volatile ;)

At October 25, 2006 4:33 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Good ones David...

I'm thinking,
AXLROSEIUM - Highly unstable, volatile, burns out in seconds, and like Democratic Chinese takes a long long time to fuse.

At October 25, 2006 5:08 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

More great ideas! Who know the periodic table could be so much fun?

I also just read that the estate of Kurt Cobain made $50 million between October 2005 and October 2006--largely due to Courtney Love's sale of a 25-percent stake in Nirvana's catalog to PrimeWave--making his the highest paid dead celebrity. So let's add Cobainium to the mix.

-- david

At October 25, 2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Maggie replied to my musings ...

Yep! That was me! I knew as soon as I saw Californium, that you needed to read it.

I'd vote for Cobainium. At least the local sophomores would get one right in Chemistry!

At October 25, 2006 11:28 PM, Blogger Beth replied to my musings ...

It’s as unstable as a Willem Dafoe character.
Best line I've read all week. Brilliant!

At October 26, 2006 12:49 PM, Anonymous starbender replied to my musings ...

add another barely pronounceable member to the heavy-element club!
I luv the names U pick'd - they are excellent! They need 2 take U'r advise!
: )

At October 26, 2006 3:28 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I think Heidi Klum deserves one as what I feel is the best looking woman alive:


It has a nice ring to it.

At October 26, 2006 9:12 PM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

This is hysterical. I read another element post not too long ago. Now if only I could remember where. Would they be considered "carbon" copies?! lol

At October 27, 2006 1:39 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Getting closer to Basketball season David, do I still have to root for the Devils? haha :)

At October 27, 2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

Have a wonderful weekend!

At October 28, 2006 12:25 AM, Blogger Gyrobo replied to my musings ...

Why just name the element? Naming is so 19th century. In this day and age, element 118 needs not only a catch phrase, but a home page, a T.V. show, and a line of cologne.

#118: for the heavy, unstable man.

The commercials practically write themselves!

At October 28, 2006 6:28 AM, Blogger Isabella Snow replied to my musings ...

Sounds like a bomb just waiting to happen.


At October 30, 2006 6:24 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Maggie: Thanks for the lead!

Beth: Somehow that idea spoke to me. I'm glad someone got it.

Starbender: If you think these are bad, you should see the names they've assigned to the unfound elements--check out wikipedia's entry on the periodic table of elements and you'll see what i mean.

Jim: I'll put her in for that right after they name an element Jolieium. (Wow, that's a lot of vowels.)

Janet: You are just so-dioum funny.

Phats: The deal remains. I've kept up my part of the bargain!

Lee Ann: Thanks. I hope you had a good one.

Gyrobo: Interesting idea. I wonder if Element 118 has a YouTube page already.

Isabella: Welcome to the show. And yes, these higher elements do scare me ...

-- david


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