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By Lorraine

Wednesday’s Weekly Reader: Blinded by Science

On 10, Mar 2009 | No Comments | In Inspiration, Typography | By Lorraine

As many of you know, I’m a (not-so-) reformed science nerd. (By the way, if you can name the song today’s title comes from, you win my eternal esteem.) As such, I’ve been both delighted and a tad bit perplexed by all of the Periodic Tables that keep popping up across my feed-reader (where do they all keep coming from??). I thought I’d share a few of my favorites this week with some commentary on their organization. But first, a bit of back-ground, nerd-speak on the actual Periodic Table of Elements: feel free to skip to the actual links if you so choose.

First developed by Mendeleev in the late 1800’s, the Periodic Table is organized to show reoccurring trends in elements’ properties based on their atomic arrangement and color-coding is used to distinguish between elemental groups. The left half are metals, the middle are transition-metals, the right nonmetals, and the far right column are the Noble Gases. (Or, as my favorite chemistry teacher put it, the metals are boys, the nonmetals are girls, and hydrogen is the cross-dresser.) The Lanthanide and Actinide series actually lie in the middle section of the Periodic Table, but are typically broken out and listed underneath to conserve space. Ok, on to the links!

Periodic Table of Cupcakes (via Coudal)
Table of Cupcakes
This Table
, developed by Women’s Day magazine, gets points for tastiness. I like that clicking on each element takes you to the appropriate cupcake recipe. Bonus points are given for  the correct use of color-coding, and abbreviations seem to be used cleverly. That said, there seems to be a natural progression as you move across the table from one cupcake to another (ex: Yellow, Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet), however there doesn’t seem to be much correlation between rows of cupcakes. Therefore, although semi-organized, I can’t award it a complete Seal of Approval. (I will, however, eat it.)

Periodic Table of Typefaces
Table of Typefaces
Squidspot’s Periodic Table of Typefaces has been getting a lot of press today: and with good reason! I’m amazed at the amount of cataloging that had to have gone into the effort of ranking the top 100 or so fonts, categorizing them according to family/class, and researching their origins. Excellent use of the various information fields in each “element-box” to break out each one’s information. Huge bonus points are given for organizing all typefaces according to family or class to correspond with the actual elemental groups (ex: faces that have both a sans-serif and a serif such as Scala are in the middle where the transition-metals go). It doesn’t necessarily read from left to right or top to bottom in a progression, but it does make for easy comparison. The only confusing issue is that the rank doesn’t progress in numerical order, but overall a very handy reference.

Periodic Tables of Adobe Shortcuts
Table of Shortcuts
These tables
, by Vent, has also made the blog rounds of late. Unfortunately, even on the original site, I can’t zoom in close enough to read the key. I’m assuming that each shortcut is color-coded by menu or kind. Points are given for the eye-candy aspect, but without seeing it close-up, it’s hard to compare it to the actual Periodic Table.

Random Chemistry-Nerd Links

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  1. THE PERIODIC TABLE OF TYPEFACES IS SO LOVELY! It has now replaced suicide cupcakes as my background. On the topic of other science-themed items, when I studied orgo, I strongly desired a shirt with a caffeine molecule. Yep, negative cool points.

    • Lorraine

      Are you kidding me?? I almost posted some nerd-shirts on here! Wanting one gives you definite cool points in my book! Besides, I may have owned a glow-in-the-dark buckyball shirt that I won at a competition…in fact, I still have it.

  2. Very excited about that periodic table of typefaces…

    I love that you love science!

  3. You WON it? That implies a stunning physical (mental) feat!

    • Lorraine

      @Sara Jo: I am too! I’m tempted to print it for my wall.
      @Tricia: Yeah, I won it in high school during the Chem-a-thon tournament. Another year, I got a cute little stuffed animal mole (get it?) wearing a lab coat which was actually a higher place than the t-shirt. First prize was a TI-89 calculator…alas! I never won that…

  4. Love those vintage science illustrations!

    • Lorraine

      @Kat: Aren’t they cute? She always finds great stuff: I really wanted both of those t-shirts. (Further proof that I love nerdy-shirts)

  5. Oh how tragic! I have had many good memories with my TI89.

    • Lorraine

      Don’t worry: I broke down and bought my own…and installed tetris on it. πŸ˜‰

  6. Yikes! I have been so terrible about keeping up with my feed reader lately. That makes me a sad Lindy. πŸ™ Maybe I need to zero it out, unsubscribing mercilessly.

    Besides the self-flagellation, I LOVE THIS POST! I like the number mole because it has my entire favorite number in it, 10-23 (I usually just go with 23). Do you still have your mole prize? I still have and use my TI-83. I just use it for basic calculations now, but I love the large display for seeing my last few queries. πŸ™‚

    • Lorraine

      Ha! I’m having the same trouble with my feed reader too. πŸ™ Mostly because I’m not working, so I’m not at a desk all day.

      But yes, I do still have little Avagadro: complete with the little splash goggles I made him out of some crafting wire and the lids of film canisters. I have graciously borrowed my TI-89 to first my little sister and now my little brother, although I was careful to warn them not to let our parents know about the 10+ video games I have installed in a hidden place. Bwahahaha! After they are done using him, I’m keeping him for sentimental reasons: chief among them that with the help of that TI-89, I was able to place 3rd in Dynamic Planet at the National SO tournament. πŸ˜€ (and now you know just how nerdy I can be…)