Periodic table of the elephants
It's competition time! And while there may be no point(s), that doesn't mean there can't be prizes!
Update Tuesday 2nd July, 7pm: If you have never commented on this site before, your entry will be held in a moderation queue. Re-submitting the same comment will lead to an error message. Don't worry, I am approving all valid entries regularly.
Earlier today, Jamie Gallagher tweeted a picture of the answers people gave when asked to name an element. I re-tweeted it on the basis that it was worth at least few seconds of attention & some of my followers might be interested.
Then, @spookyjulie replied:
[I] read that really quickly as "name an elephant". Then got really confused by the image.
It is big, heavy and lovely to look at.
While I hadn't thought of it that way, I quite like the post-hoc justification for my feeling.
So now I would like to play a game, which I'm apparently calling the Periodic Table of the Elephants. I would like you, dear reader, to submit your own suggestions for what other things or ideas the names could be named after elements.
It's a bit like the Meaning of Liff, a book by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd wherein the names of places in the UK are re-assigned to things which otherwise have no name. One of my favourites is Shoeburyness:
The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat which is still warm from somebody else's bottom.
(You can read all the original entries here; I've also been hearing rumours of a much-anticipated sequel...)
The first entry is "Bismuth: a good first name for an elephant", but I'm sure you can do better! And as if the fun of the game weren't enough, whoever writes the best/funniest/prettiest/least expected answer will win a postcard from the CERN gift shop (at my own expense, no less - don't I treat my readers well?!), whereupon I will write out the winning entry. I will even stick it in the post, with a stamp and everything! How old-fashioned.
- You can enter by leaving a comment on this post (below).
- The deadline for entries to be considered for the prize is this time next week, i.e. 8pm (Swiss time) on Monday, 8th July 2013. Late entries will most probably be read, but not included for the prize.
- You can enter as many times as you like.
- If you submit more than one entry, they can be for the same element, or more than one.
- You don't have to post separate comments for separate entries, but you can if you want to (e.g. if you submit one then think of another the next day).
- You do not have to enter in English - any language will do.
- You can use an element someone else has already done.
- Keep your answer short. It doesn't have to fit in a tweet, but any more than about 30 words and I might think you're trying too hard.
- This whole affair is entirely at my own discretion, the winner will be picked by me against no fixed set of criteria, other than surprise & delight at your answers. There could easily be more than one winner. I might even make categories!
- Good answers will probably not have any connection to reality. For instance, "hydrogen" being re-assigned to anything to do with water will most likely be viewed as fairly predictable. Something to do with the city of Hyderabad would be better. Except now I've given you that one. Similarly for helium and the Sun, etc. For ideas about the kind of answers I like, you might want to take a look at a similar competition I ran last year.
- You don't have to mention elephants.
On the off chance that it isn't obvious to a moron in a hurry, I would like to make it clear that this competition is meant entirely as a bit of fun for me on a personal basis. It is in no way endorsed by CERN, John Lloyd, the estate of Douglas Adams, SciLogs.com, Nature Publishing Group, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, or elephants. By submitting an entry, you agree not to hold me to anything that you couldn't hold me to had you not taken part. Or else.
Over to you:
- Is there a name of an element which you think would suit something else?
In case you can't remember the names of the elements, here's Tom Lehrer to help you out:
That being said, a few more since been disc'arvard...