8 Creative Periodic Tables

The Periodic Table of the Elements is a wonderful aid in understanding chemistry, if you understand the reasons the elements are sorted the way they are. The table itself is a model of information classification. No wonder folks want to use this structure to classify other types of information -although science geeks can see right away whether the artist really understands the original table. That said, we can all enjoy periodic tables of items other than elements.

1. Advice Animals

In the past year or so, the internet has experienced a proliferation of image macro memes featuring animals giving (humorous but useless) advice. To keep up with the barrage, Know Your Meme constructed the Periodic Table of Advice Animals. This is a large table; only a small portion is shown here. And since it was published two-and-a-half weeks ago, there are probably newer memes that are not included.

2. Storytelling

DeviantART member Computer Sherpa made the Periodic Table of Storytelling for a Visual Design class. The shape differs a little from the periodic table of elements, but that's because this one really works for the purpose of classifying the elements of storytelling. Exploring the tropes in this table could cause you to miss work today, so you might want to save it for the weekend. Shown here is a screenshot taken from the middle of the table. You can buy this table as an art print.

3. Sandwichery

The Periodic Table of Sandwichery is an art poster containing instructions for making 58 different sandwiches. As far as I can tell, you'll have to buy one to actually read any of the ingredient lists, but I am always open to a new sandwich recipe!

4. Baseball Hall of Famers

The Periodic Table of Hall of Famers is headed by Babe Ruth on the left and Walter Johnson on the right. We only have room for a part of it here, but at Wezen-Ball, you can see that the full version classifies players as The Nobles, Highly Temperamental, The Radioactives, Relievers, 500 Home Run Club, 3000 Hits Club, Short-Lived, 300 Wins Club, Traditional, and Primarily Defense. Sports fans can argue all day about who belongs where.

5. Middle Class

The London creative agency Not Actual Size produced the Periodic Table of the Middle Class to promote The Middle Class Handbook, which explores how Britain's middle class is becoming fragmented into subcultures that coalesce around tastes instead of income level. Only a portion is shown here; luckily, the website includes an explanation for each "element."

6. Cookies

The last three periodic tables in this list are the original table of elements, with a twist. Mrs. Humble at Not So Humble Pie made cookies and arranged them into a periodic table! The resulting Science Cookies were a hit for Thanksgiving. She says cooking is a lot like chemistry.

Really the only difference is, in chemistry you never get to lick your spoons.

7. Building Blocks

Periodic Table Building Blocks are designed for science students from one to three years old, although adults love them as well. The twenty blocks contains all the elements, so you'd need to buy three sets in order to see them all at once, but that's not really necessary for learning the elements -or for building a baby fort!

8. The Periodic Coffee Table

The Periodic Coffee Table of Elements is expensive, but oh-so-impressive. The cells contain samples of the actual elements!

By embedding all element samples in clear acrylic, they are beautifully presented and also protected from tarnishing. This format also helps to addresses health and safety issues, as all potentially toxic or corrosive substances are permanently encased in a thick layer of robust resin. Argon gas and mineral oil is further used to ampoule reactive samples and preserve their freshly cut appearance. Individual acrylic blocks are available for sale, although read the shipping section carefully as some elements are costly to send internationally.

The table was designed in partnership with Theodore Gray, who produced the periodic table of elements as a pieces of furniture with element samples. Gray's original table was featured in the first post of this series.

Previously:

The earliest post on this subject, Periodic Tableware includes comic book characters, desserts, and funk music. And a couple of real tables you can work or eat at!

More Periodic Tableware covers those of candy, vegetables, website, and mathematicians. And don’t forget the periodic table shower curtain available in the mental_floss store!

8 Alternative Periodic Tables looked at the subjects of cupcakes, typefaces, printing projects, cartoons, video game characters, videos about the real elements, LEGO® bricks, and something called awesoments which will become clear when you take a look.

8 Odd Periodic Tables has tables for elephants, Chuck Norris, social media, game controllers, mixology, rejected elements, interacting elements, and vulgarity.

9 Strange Periodic Tables was heavy on food, as we looked at periodic tables of pumpkins, beer, Gummi Bears, Scoville Units, Canada, smellaments, a picnic table, and a periodic table of periodic tables.

8 Curious Periodic Tables covered Mad Men, rock-n-roll, breakfast cereals, cheese, herbs and spices, produce storage, super powers, and irrationality.

No Venom, No Problem: This Spider Uses a Slingshot to Catch Prey

Courtesy of Sarah Han
Courtesy of Sarah Han

There are thousands of ways nature can kill, and spider species often come up with the most creative methods of execution. Hyptiotes cavatus, otherwise known as the triangle weaver spider, is one such example. Lacking venom, the spider manages to weaponize its silk, using it to hurl itself forward like a terrifying slingshot to trap its prey.

This unusual method was studied up close for a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio. They say it's the only known instance of an animal using an external device—its web—for power amplification.

Hyptiotes cavatus's technique is simple. After constructing a web, the spider takes one of the main strands and breaks it in half, pulling it taut by moving backwards. Then, it anchors itself to a spot with more webbing in the rear. When the spider releases that webbing, it surges forward, propelled by the sudden release of stored energy. In the slingshot analogy, the webbing is the strap and the spider is the projectile.

This jerking motion causes the web to oscillate, tangling the spider's prey further in silk. The spider can repeat this until the web has completely immobilized its prey, a low-risk entrapment that doesn’t require the spider to get too close and risk injury from larger victims.

The triangle weaver spider doesn’t have venom, and it needs to be proactive in attacking and stifling prey. Once a potential meal lands in its web, it’s able to clear distances much more quickly using this slingshot technique than if it crawled over. In the lab, scientists clocked the spider’s acceleration at 2535 feet per second squared.

Spiders are notoriously nimble and devious. Cebrennus rechenbergi, or the flic-flac spider, can do cartwheels to spin out of danger; Myrmarachne resemble ants and even wiggle their front legs like ant antennae. It helps them avoid predators, but if they see a meal, they’ll drop the act and pounce. With H. cavatus, it now appears they’re learning to use tools, too.

[h/t Live Science]

Bad News: The Best Time of the Day to Drink Coffee Isn’t as Soon as You Wake Up

iStock.com/ThomasVogel
iStock.com/ThomasVogel

If you depend on coffee to help get you through the day, you can rest assured that you’re not the world's only caffeine fiend. Far from it. According to a 2018 survey, 64 percent of Americans said they had consumed coffee the previous day—the highest percentage seen since 2012.

While we’re collectively grinding more beans, brewing more pots, and patronizing our local coffee shops with increased frequency, we might not be maximizing the health and energy-boosting benefits of our daily cup of joe. According to Inc., an analysis of 127 scientific studies highlighted the many benefits of drinking coffee, from a longer average life span to a reduced risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Sounds great, right? The only problem is that the benefits of coffee might be diminished depending on the time of day that you drink it. Essentially, science tells us that it’s best to drink coffee when your body’s cortisol levels are low. That’s because both caffeine and cortisol cause a stress response in your body, and too much stress is bad for your health for obvious reasons. In addition, it might end up making you more tired in the long run.

Cortisol, a stress hormone, is released in accordance with your circadian rhythms. This varies from person to person, but in general, someone who wakes up at 6:30 a.m. would see their cortisol levels peak in different windows, including 8 to 9 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Someone who rises at 10 a.m. would experience cortisol spikes roughly three hours later, and ultra-early risers can expect to push this schedule three hours forward.

However, these cortisol levels start to rise as soon as you start moving in the morning, so it isn’t an ideal time to drink coffee. Neither is the afternoon, because doing so could make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. This means that people who wake up at 6:30 a.m. should drink coffee after that first cortisol window closes—roughly between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.—if they want to benefit for a little caffeine jolt.

To put it simply: "I would say that mid-morning or early afternoon is probably the best time," certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Lisiewski told CNBC. "That's when your cortisol levels are at their lowest and you actually benefit from the stimulant itself."

[h/t Inc.]

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