In Which I Defend The Virtue Of Nitrogen Against Less Chaste Molecular Combinations

From Tony’s profile on one site (important part italicized):

The SIX Things I Could Never Do Without

1. Sleep. 2. My computer. 3. Books. 4. My precious bodily fluids (Dr. Strangelove reference). 5. Oxygen. 6. Cheese.

(07:25:17 PM) Kevin: Incidentally, you also could not do without nitrogen, though nobody gives it the love it deserves.
(07:25:25 PM) Tony: I can.
(07:25:28 PM) Tony: I’m part cyborg.
(07:26:01 PM) Kevin: Sir, 75% of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen, yet nobody understands this! We always talk about “oxygen.” That floozy of a molecule gets all the attention, while the workhorse of air gets short shrift!

I will not allow some ill-bred tart of a compound suck up all of the oxygen in the room.  Durn it!  See what I mean?  It’s not “all of the 75% of the air which is nitrogen,” but rather that 20% which gets all of the attention.

6 thoughts on “In Which I Defend The Virtue Of Nitrogen Against Less Chaste Molecular Combinations

  1. Nitrogen gas is underrated, but I believe you are wrong in calling it in any way “chaste.” Ionic bonds are the only chaste bonds. Nitrogen bonding with nitrogen? Umm, no. I never want to see the two subscript in any chemical bond. Then there’s water. One oxygen with two hydrogens. Abhorrent. And it’s everywhere! Now, take good, old-fashioned table salt. NaCl. One sodium atom and one chlorine atom. That’s the way to do it.

  2. I think you’re taking it a bit too far, sir. I would consider two nitrogens as more like two guys who are good friends and live together, like in a wacky sitcom. They have formed a strong bond and are there for each other, but it is not like they are reproducing, given that atoms do not have sexual reproductive organs.

    C5H11N, however, is just right out. That is Cyclopentanamine, and might be part of the reason I did so poorly in O-Chem…well, that and I didn’t read the book…

  3. You know, I’m glad you said something, because I’ve given this a lot of thought since my comment. Ionic bonds are the only bonds where anything is “exchanged,” i.e., an electron or two. So maybe covalent and hydrogen bonding is really only friendship. Metallic bonds are like office friendships and van der Waals bonds are like friendly acquaintanceships where you’re always happy to “play catch-up” every once in a while. I think I may have been a little hasty in my judgment of the chemical community.

  4. I accept your series of relationships. These now seem very reasonable and more in tune with reality.

    But this means that Carbon is kind of the big fat party animal of the periodic table, seeing as how it’s always got a bunch of other elements around. And this fact means that from now on, I shall think of carbon as wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts.

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