Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tennis + question

Federer won again! What an inspirational game!


In the spirit of tennis, here's a question for you:

One thousand and twenty four tennis players compete in a singles competition (one player play against another - loser cannot play any further, winner stays in the game and play another winner, etc.). Assuming all players play, how many games are there until there is a champion?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Time and money

I will probably settle with this watch from Ventura...


...since I don't have enough money to buy...


Actually, I don't even know how much the first watch costs, might not even afford it.

Ok, just checked the price for the first watch: $2000 US!! I can only wonder how much the Cartier costs. That's it! I will rely on the sun to keep track of time from now on!

Sigh... time > money

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gold is not forever with aqua regia

Concentrated hydrochloric acid or nitric acid alone cannot dissolve gold.

Aqua regia, a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, can dissolve gold because each of its two component acids carries out a different function. The nitric acid is a good oxidising agent. Chloride ions from the hydrochloric acid from coordination complexes with the gold ions, removing them from solution. Reducing the concentration of the Au3+ ions shifts the equilibrium towards the oxidised form.

Nitric acid/hydrochloric acid with gold on either side, aqua regia with gold in the centre


Au(s) + 3NO3-(aq) + 6H+(aq) ---> Au3+(aq) + 3NO2(g) + 3H2O(l)

Au3+ (aq) + 4Cl-(a) ---> AuCl4-(aq)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Calories and so on

How much is 200 calories actually? Well, it's about 800 joules. What is a joule?

As a rough guide, 1 joule is the amount of energy required to lift a one kilogram object up by a height of 10 centimetres on the surface of the Earth.

Or

The energy required to lift a small apple (102 g) one meter against Earth's gravity.

Or

In chemical energy stored in food.



Goodies: Celery (Apium graveolens dulce)
It is sometimes grouped as a low-calorie fibre bulk food. Not only does eating it will result in very few calories (actually negative, because digesting it requires more energy than the celery contains), it has a lot of vitamin C and fibre.


Baddies: Bacon (Sus scrofa domesticus)
Ewww.... I hate bacon. Not only does it tastes gross, it is full of fats: saturated, and worse unsaturated. Out of unsaturated fats, there are cis and trans fats (cis-trans or geometric isomerism - if you take chemistry).

cis

trans

Now it's the trans fats that we all talk about. Even your grandparents know what they are. Trans fats are bad for you! And indeed they are. It's all down to geometric isomerism. The C=C double bond in the trans isomer of the fat cause its rigidity and high density and make them hard to remove out of your body. I say they stay in your body forever (well a very long time)!


Anyways, some biology, some chemistry, some physics for you. What a happy post!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Foreign languages: oui or nein?

When I started learning foreign languages (French and German), I loved it! I was young (about 10 years old) and I absorbed vocabulary fast. But as more complex grammar and vocabulary sunk in, and as there are more essay assignments, my love for language faded.

When I was fifteen or so, I attended language lessons solely because of exams. By then, I hated and dreaded language lessons!

As soon as I dropped languages at A-level, I was so relieved and happy! No more essays, stupid grammar, loads of vocabulary to learn, weird accents - extremely hard work really!

But unexpectedly, I kind of miss it now...

So, I am planning to brush up my foreign languages with the following podcasts. Feel free to do so too - these are for beginners. I will probably take up a foreign language at university too. I feel that knowing more languages open up so many more opportunities.

Podcasts
Deutsch (it's hilarious!): http://mygermanclass.com/
Fran├žais: http://frenchecole.libsyn.com/

Online dictionaries
Deutsch: LEO
Fran├žais: ARTFL

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Exam frenzy

What a lovely way to start the new year! Revision, revision, and more revision!


KEY:
Pink - revision
Red - actual exam

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy new year!

Fireworks | Laughter | Balloons | Champagne | Jumping people

We all deserve one!