Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 in Stuff You Should Know

New Periodic Table Elements

Background illustration of the periodic table of the elements.

New elements are coming to the periodic table. Credit: Eyematrix/Getty Images.

Science classrooms all over will have to update their poster of the periodic table. The names of four new elements (with accompanying numbers), all discovered in recent years, were recently released. They are Nihonium (Nh atomic number 113), Moscovium (Mc, 115), Tennessine (Ts, 117), and Oganesson (Og, 118). All four are considered superheavy, radioactive elements. “Discovering” a new element is no easy task. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has a series of criteria that must be met in order for the discovery to be acknowledged.

The original names of the new elements were: ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctoium. But the IUPAC allows those who discovered the elements to submit permanent names, as long as they follow the proper guidelines (the name of a scientist, geographic place, mythological character or concept, a substance, or the property the element.) Three of the four most recent names were selected based on geography—Moscovium for Moscow, Russia; Tennessine for Tennessee; and Nihoniu, from the word “Nihon,” which is Japanese for “Japan.” The other, Oganesson was named for Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian.

Dig Deeper How many elements on the periodic table can you name from memory? Look at a chart and pick one element to do some research on and write a paragraph about its discovery.

Real Life Candy Crush

Usually, when a hugely popular American product expands into international markets, people are thrilled. Not so with M&Ms. When confectioner Mars introduced its shell-coated chocolates in Sweden in 2009, the country already had a hugely popular candy called M Peanut. Maker of that product, Marabou, took Mars to trial and won. During a recent appeal, however, Mars won. The suit follows the end of long-standing agreement between the two companies. In 1989, Mars agreed not to sell M&Ms in Sweden because of the conflict. The contract expired nearly ten years later and there was no measure put in place to extend it.

The most recent ruling found Mars to be guilty of trademark infringement. The court laid out penalties for Mars if it continues to sell its product in Sweden, including hefty fines. Representatives from Marabou said they were satisfied with the decision. The American brand has until June 30 to appeal the case, which could eventually lead to a ruling by the Swedish Supreme Court.

What Do You Think? Take a look at images of the labels of both brands in dispute. How much confusion do you believe exists between the two brands? Enough that m&m’s be banned where Marabou M Peanut is sold? Explain your answer.

“Hamilton” Big Winner at Tonys

Earlier this year, btw brought you news of the musical, Hamilton. It was no surprise that the Broadway smash hit would be nominated for some Tony Awards(the theater equivalent of the Academy Awards  or televsison’s Emmy Awards). But like its box office, the musical exceeded expectations and was nominated for a record number 16 awards. It won 11 of them, including the biggest prizes of the night – Best Musical, Score, Book (script), Orchestration, Choreography and three acting awards.

The Humans was the big winner in the non-musical category (often referred to as “straight plays.”) Written by Stephen Karam, the drama centered around one family’s Thanksgiving gathering, won Best Play and Best Actor and Actress in a Featured Role. Perhaps the biggest individual winner of the evening (behind Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda) was Scott Rudin, who produced six of the shows that received nominations this year, including The Humans and the winner of Best Revival of a Play, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.

What Do You Think? Did you watch the broadcast of the Tonys? If so, what did you think? What performances/presentations/speeches were the most memorable to you? Check out this list of all of the nominees. Pick one that you aren’t familiar with, do a little research, and write a few sentences about it.

Is the Period Coming to a Complete Stop?

In the continuing saga of “people freaking out over what millennials are doing (or not doing),” the period punctuation mark is the latest item on the culture’s endangered species list. This is according to language expert David Crystal. As you might suspect, this tendency is being blamed on our increased reliance on social media. Crystal, who lives in England, frequently analyzes the text messages of high school and college students.

The reasons for this trend run the gamut from the most obvious (saving time) to the more complex (seeing the period as hostile when used in a text). In a study conducted at Binghamton University in New York, undergraduates were asked to rate several exchanges via text. Overall, those using a period were seen as less sincere than those without. On the other hand, emphatic over punctuation (usually in the form of the exclamation point) were seen as appropriate. It is unclear if (or how) this tendency is bleeding over into other forms of more formal communication or settings such a the classroom or workplace.

What Do You Think? What is your opinion—for or against—the limited use of punctuation? Is your opinion situational? In what instances is it appropriate/inappropriate? Write a paragraph (punctuation optional) explaining your answer.