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#chemistry

So, this is a Hiccstrid one shot, but will reference unrelated Elsa/Anna for a hot minute, because I borrowed them from a two shot I wrote called Lights.

You’re only allowed to read this if you drink your Respect Sex Workers juice.

-HTTYD-

Like always, Astrid texted the address and name of the company to her mother as she was leaving for work; in order to stop her mother fretting constantly, Astrid gave her the where, the who and always let her know when her mandatory tests came back clear. So far, Astrid hadn’t been kidnapped and her mother hadn’t received a box in the post with any severed body parts. So, their system seemed to be working.

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I’m supposed to be sleeping, but fuck it, an idea from my distant past has come back to bother me and it won’t leave me alone until I physically force it out:

You know Avatar the Last Airbender? And how it’s built on the traditional four elements? Often with “traditional elements” tropes, there will be a few people who will decide to subvert it and go, “Aha, I’m gonna use actual elements, as defined by chemistry!” And often it goes great because those people tend to be good, creative writers with other interesting ideas to share (e.g. Rich Burlew).

But most “actual” elements are pretty boring. There’s noble gases, metals, dangerous metals, a bunch of elements that are rarely found by themselves, and radioactive stuff. Sure there’s some fun, relatively unique ones like mercury and hydrogen and so on, but they’re a minority and they don’t have all that much character to them, to be honest. YOU try building ATLA around those elements.

So, fuck “actual” elements. They’re stupid. BUT, as any organic chemist will tell you, the different kinds of organic molecules have a whole lot of character to them!

  • Hydrocarbons are floaty and volatile and combustible and smell like gasoline (because gasoline is made of them).
  • Alcohols are like hydrocarbons, but the smallest ones are polar and therefore behave more like counterfeit water than anything else, not to mention the whole connection to drinking (ethanol, methanol) and medicine (isopropanol). (I’d toss in water with the alcohols; it’s kind of like an alcohol with zero carbons. I’m also gonna toss in lignin, what wood is made of, into this group, because it fits everywhere else even worse.)
  • Carboxylic acids and esters have a huge variety of flavors and aromas. They represent practically everything that’s great about food. I’d lump fats and oils in with them as well.
  • Carbohydrates represent everything else that’s great about food. They’re also even more explosive than the hydrocarbons. Polysaccharides make great biopolymers, too; notably cellulose.
  • Terpenes are extremely sticky and nobody’s ever heard of them. They also constitute rubber.
  • Proteins do a whole lot of things, but in macroscopic quantities we mostly associate them with biopolymers, from the squishy collagen to the incredibly tough keratin.
  • Amines smell terrible but at least ammonia kind of behaves like water. Many important neurotransmitters are amines, so they’ve got that going for them at least.

The actual categories you lump organic compounds into don’t matter, because they’re fuzzy and overlapping anyway. The point is that an ATLA-like world built around categories like these would be totally sweet. A great starting point for the worldbuilding of each category’s culture is real-life traditional technologies/professions that revolve around said category’s compounds. So, obviously the water-and-alcohol-and-I-guess-lignin people are gonna have wonderful vineyards and irrigation techniques and so on. They’ll be peaceful and live in the forest for the most part. The carbohydrates people are gonna have massively helpful staple crops like rice and potatoes and of course sugarcane, helping support a very large population and a highly structured society. The hydrocarbon people are nomadic cryptids and people tend not to worry about their existence until a raiding party douses their village in naphtha, and uses the threat of burning everything down to extort whatever they want. The protein people are known for their excellent martial prowess and also their jell-o. And so on.

Idk if it’s worth fleshing out into an entirely separate concept from ATLA, or just an interesting tangentially-related ATLA AU. But SOMETHING demands to be written.

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yubbeeText

So.. here’s a life update I am studying Biology and so far everything is nice. I love learning and understanding those close to us and far from us. Super excited to continue on with my journey. Exams are challenging, and brain grinding but making it through with my pals coffee and snacks. Also an addition to biology courses in general come with massive headaches and stress. I am almost doneeeeeeee!


Next month: going to join a conference and present an awesome project.

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What paintandpreperatoins is about

Hi! I am a 17 year old junior who is attempting to balance healthy living, a rigorous academic life, social and work all while making decisions on my upcoming future, with this blog I’m hoping to share my personal experiences and learn about others!

I hope that you enjoy!

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