Chicago poet and Austin resident Janet Kuypers was honored to join poets and musicians at the Dripping Springs City Hall, where she was asked to do a feature for Thirsty Thursday on September st 2017 (9/2/21, or 20170921).
Included in her poetry show, she started with guitar from John while singing and performing her poem “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”. In the remainder of her show, her poetry reading about all of the seasons as they change was accompanied by music recordings from the HA!Man of South Africa (including “big drops falling on my walk” and “the cold feeling of touch”, from his “Hotel Music”). The entire show was also accompanied by a random art generation on a computer screen of her images from around the world.
Before the show started she also released a chapbook of all of the short poems she read in this show, and this chapbook “Seasons Change” is still available online even during her reading, so anyone could (and can) download the chapbook titled “Seasons Change” as a PDF file for free any time.
Janet Kuypers (bonus poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series) based on the original name (before Natrium) for Sodium, #11, Na started 1/16/15, edited and completed 1/29/15
I’ve been studying elements in the Periodic Table, and when I heard the word “Nitrium,” it made me laugh (thinking of Nitrous Oxide). So I looked it up online… The only thing I could find was from the Memory Alpha in Star Trek Wikia, and they could only guess that Nitrium was either an alloy or a metallic element.
But the history buff in me remembered that Nitrium is a variant of natrium, and it was the original name for the element Sodium.
(I mean, doctors even call low sodium levels in the blood hyponatremia…)
So as I read up at my Star Trek Wikia — I suddenly realized how essential this Nitrium really was:
If you remember basic chemistry, sodium reacts violently with water, disintegrating, or even exploding (no no no, you’re thinking of salt, that’s not straight sodium, that’s why it mixes with water…)
And as I read, Nitrium (which was the first name for Sodium) was prevalent in asteroids and it was used in so many places in the construction of Federation starships.
Now, when it comes to our own bodies, Sodium (or should I say Nitrium) controls blood pressure and blood volume — it’s essential in our bodies to keep them running smoothly.
So it makes total sense that Galaxy-glass vessels used Nitrium in their ships, from computers, to engines to their life support systems.
Nitrium was so crucial to the Cost of Living — you see, I expanded my research from Star Trek Wikia to straight-up Wikipedia and discovered that parasites were eating the Nitrium all over the Enterprise, jeopardizing the ship’s integrity.
Because as I’ve learned, with every Periodic Table element out there there’s a good side and a bad side: if Nitrium is used all over the Enterprise, something could easily come along to destroy it as well.
I mean, think of it in our own bodies: when Sodium (or Nitrium) reacts with water and forms Sodium Hydroxide, but this reaction gets the Hydrogen so hot that it burns.
And if Nitrium was the original name for Sodium, that probably explains why you never see a Galaxy-class starship entering a planet’s atmosphere, where there’s water in the air. Because really, the people at Star Trek learned that even just a little water in the air would be enough to make their starship disintegrate around them.
…Really, whenever the Enterprise actually goed to a planet, they never land on the planet with their big Galaxy-class starship, they send a shuttle, or they beam someone down, because in this case, the water in the air that’s embedded in the atmosphere, that water could react with the Sodium — oops, I mean, that water could react with the Nitrium — and it might actually do the Enterprise in.
As I said, with all the elements I’ve studied, there’s a good side and a bad side to them. We might desperately need them, but they also may somehow do us in if they’re mixed in the just the right way.
Because if you sit in a lab in the twenty-first century, you can watch this element react with water in a beaker — and if you’re going where no one has gone before in the twenty-fourth century, you might have to be sure your Nitrium-rich ship finds no water in space, and finds no parasites that may eat you out of your only way home.
Janet Kuypers from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#90. Th) 7/1/14
Think of how many times you’ve heard scientists say (or maybe you’ve heard it from people on daredevil tv) “do not try this at home” — knowing that someone, somewhere won’t heed this advice and end up with an unintended explosion instead of a fantastic discovery from their radical experiment…
Well, good thing one Swedish chemist didn’t decide to “not try this at home”, doing groundbreaking experiments in his kitchen flat. Though Jöns Jacob Berzelius < !—(yens yoke-ub bear-zeal-ee-us)—> discovered a few elements, he seemed so psyched to name one new element for the Scandinavian god of thunder, Thor.
And it’s kind of funny that with his affinity for Thorium, he never understood Thorium’s radioactivity (because, well, when he discovered Thorium, radioactivity hadn’t even been discovered yet).
But after Thorium was discovered, Thorium was used for powering gas lamps back in the day when the world’s light disappeared at nightfall. But wait, Thorium’s radioactive, and back in the day they didn’t know this, so did people get cancer from radiation poisoning?
Well, maybe if there was enough Thorium in those gas lamps, and maybe if that Thorium wasn’t stopped from getting to humans by the glass surrounding the lamps… Because only if you’d eat Thorium (and maybe only the supernatural God Thor would eat Thorium) maybe only if you ate it only then might it make you sick. I mean, they still sell it today in camping lamps, unless you actually look for a lamp that’s Thorium-free…
But even when it came to eating Thorium, some people would do it back in the ‘30s with x-rays for detecting their cancer, because at the time Thorium was perfect for saving lives thanks to those x-rays. So with Thorium for cancer x-rays, the new cancer risk seemed like a fair trade-off before they could find a safer x-ray detection agent.
So yeah, there’s no way a Swedish chemist could have guessed it when he discovered the element Thorium and wanted to name it after the God of Thunder, but Thorium can bring some light into our world, as long as we use Thorium in just the right way.