March 2, 2018


See, it's funny because scientists are known to reduce other branches of science to being just an applied version of their own. Chemists claim than biology is just applied chemistry, then physicists claim that chemistry is just applied physics and so on.

Then comes mathematics on which all of the sciences are based and which isn't necessarily - at least as far as this comic is concerned - based on any of the other STEM fields.

Plus it has a squirmy, stick-figure-style octopus and a psychologist with a stick-figure, folkster beard. That's inherently funny.

February 26, 2018

Bond..._____ Bond

See, it's funny because...well...if you don't know the phrase, check out this video.

Hydrogen bonds form between two molecules that have high electronegativity differences between hydrogen and another nonmetal (typically F, N, or O). Hydrogen and the highly electronegative element can get very close to each other due to hydrogen's small atomic radius, so the molecules attract very strongly.

That makes this joke especially ironic because James Bond almost never got emotionally close to any of his co-stars...except Teresa Draco, of course.

The joke has also been made about ionic and covalent bonds...because it's an easy joke to make...

February 21, 2018

The melting point of gallium is...

See, it's funny because gallium melts at - as the comic caption says - 85.58 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so the metal dog would likely melt over night meaning that dad wouldn't have to buy his boy a puppy but will be able to say that it's his boy's fault.

I am thinking, however, that this might be a bad idea, not really because of the toxicity (a pretty minor risk for gallium) but rather because of the challenge of explaining that the gallium didn't technically 'wet' the bed because its intermolecular forces are strong enough to hold mostly together and didn't attract to the bed sheets.

February 13, 2018

"Glassblowing kits, which taught a skill still important in today’s chemistry labs, came with a blowtorch."

See, it's funny because chemistry sets used to be a thing. In the early 1900's chemistry sets were sold, hoping to promote scientific exploration among young (admittedly pretty much just) boys.

From a Smithsonian article...
The safety-conscious 1960s brought a quick end to the chemistry set’s popularity. The Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act of 1960 required labels for toxic and dangerous substances, and chemistry set makers removed the alcohol lamps and acids from their kits. The Toy Safety Act of 1969 removed lead paint from toys but also took its toll on the sets. The creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1972 and the passing of the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976 resulted in further limits on the contents of the kits. Newspapers that once broadcast the arrival of new kinds of chemistry sets soon warned of their dangers, recommending that they only be given to older children and kept locked up from their younger siblings. “The death of the chemistry set is almost an unintended consequence of the rise in consumer protection laws,” says Cook.
Sadly, it looks like in the world of the webcomic, all chemicals possibly more dangerous than water have been removed from chemistry sets.

More readings about the decline of the chemistry set

February 8, 2018

Black hat...always helpful

See, it's funny because there are bunches of websites advertising that they can reduce your car payments, you mortgage payments, your tax bill.

Mostly they want you to pay them so they can help you take advantage of things you could do yourself - like asking companies to help restructure your bills. Be careful out there, folks.

Back to the chemistry, though...

Very few services, however, really help you reduce (in the chemical sense - meaning to have the compound or element gain electrons) your bills. It would be easy enough oxidize your bills in the chemical sense (meaning to have the bills lose electrons) by just burning them, but reducing your bills would be a little tougher.

Though sodium borohydride would be a fine starting point.

February 1, 2018

1:1 scale

See, it's funny because atoms are really small.

Go ahead, imagine the smallest thing you can think of, the smallest thing you can see.

That's made of more atoms than there are people on Earth.

It's made of more atoms than there are grains of sand on the planet.

Atoms are smaller than you think.

January 27, 2018

Watch as I turn water into phenolphthalein's basic form!

See, it's funny because most kids would not be excited about the magician being replaced by a scientist.

Then again, the experiment mentioned in the final panel does look pretty cool.