Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Elements of chocolate

A chocolate periodic table
Searching for information is a risky business.  On the rare occasions I enter a physical library, I risk enchantment in the stacks.  A book catches my eye, I pull it out, tap the dust from the top, and open it.  I have been known to sink slowly to the floor and read (nowadays hoping not to get crushed when another patron shifts the compact shelving); shaking myself 20 minutes later to find I still have not located the volume I was looking for, but richer for some piece of trivia.

I say this to point out that link diving is not a solely a modern malady.  Looking for some piece of arcana? Beware! You risk loosing minutes, if not hours and having your memory stripped of what you were originally looking for.

It began when I clicked on a link in a piece my sister-in-law shared with the chocolate bar above captioned "I eat periodically." I ended up in search of the trace elements in my favorite treat.  I also realized there is more than one way to answer the question, depending on what you mean by chocolate.

You can find what I discovered on my chemistry blog, but the short answer is there are a lot of trace elements in chocolate including iron and copper (all of your recommended dietary allowance of both those elements in a single bar). There quite a bit of potassium (which makes it significantly radioactive) and a tiny dollop of uranium.  Or looked at another way there's CHoCoLaTe:  Carbon, Holmium, Cobalt, Lanthanum and Tellurium.  Or you could think of it as a way to taste 20% of the periodic table in each and every bite.

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