Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Object Annex :: The Periodic Table Table

Now that Inky and Janitorial have FINALLY re-captured the sponge-cat recidivists*, we can start taking stock of the damage and rebuilding. Janitorial have cleaned up most of the scraps of chewed code and soggy shards of masticated museum fittings. Administration are doing their usual half-arsed job of getting the museum back up and visitable. And Inky has disappeared again. The embarrassment was too much for him, I suppose.

And I have taken on the arduous and, I have to add, thankless task of shopping for new museum furniture.** Well, at least I’ve found the table of my most elemental desires:
The Periodic Table Table >>


Theordore Gray built the periodic table table, by accident, in early 2002.
“One evening while reading Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks, I became momentarily confused. He begins a chapter with a description of a periodic table display he loved to visit in the Kensington Science Museum, and in mis-reading the paragraph, I thought it was a table, not the wall display it actually is. While my confusion only lasted a few seconds, when I found out there wasn't a Periodic Table in the British Museum, it left a hole I felt I had to fill.”

You know, I've had a very similar misunderstanding -- except that I thought that it was 'The Parodic Table' -- and ran out of elements after 'irony'...

Anyways, once Gray finished his construction, he felt obligated to find elements to go in to each of the display spaces. Then it went on the Internet – where there’s a table containing the elements of the periodic table table. This is viewable in several colourways and table views. Each element is presented visually with samples and objects made from it, and with large amounts of textual information detailing everything that you’d ever want to know about it. Also lots of ‘why science is exciting and how electronic media and contemporary life is robbing our kids of their access to it’ stuff. All very entertaining… you hardly notice you’re being educated .

Gray also has a very intriguing recipe for ice-cream made by pouring liquid nitrogen directly into a mixture of cream, eggs, sugar, and chocolate syrup. Apparently it results in the smoothest, silkiest ice cream ever, (like soft-serve but even smoother). This is because the liquid nitrogen freezes the cream so rapidly that the ice crystals have no time to grow, resulting in a very fine grain structure, whilst the expanding nitrogen makes it light with microscopic bubbles.

I know what I’m having for dessert tonight…

*Apparently they eventually had to use a new technique proposed by our correspondent Byram Abbott. Although Inky had commissioned several definitive and rigorous studies to demonstrate the futility of the entire concept, when push came to shove, it was the only thing that did work. Unfortunately, Mr. Abbott's original technique, which involved slowing the sponge-cat down by soaking it with a garden hose and then capturing it in a bucket, was a little underpowered for a problem of the magnitude of the recent crisis. In the end, we were forced to flood MoD up to the ceilings. This meant that what the sponge-cats hadn’t destroyed is now water-damaged.

** I told inky that blowing the sponge-cats up inside the Museum wasn’t going to work. And sponge-cat is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of upholstery…


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