Monday, April 30, 2012

Molecular Mondays: Sodium Carbonate

Just a new "feature" I've been thinking of. I'm kicking it off with something rather mundane, but a bit interesting to me.

You have 2 very closely related compounds: Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate. A modern name for Sodium Bicarbonate is Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate.

So, structurally sodium carbonate looks a bit like this (actually there should be 2 Na+ ions):

And Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate is subtly different:

Can you spot the difference?

Sodium carbonate is a stronger base than sodium hydrogen carbonate, and it's all due to the hydrogen tacked to one of the oxygens. Adding another hydrogen makes it an acid:

Which is formed when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water:

Oh, and incidentally, the bi in bicarbonate has to do with the fact that the carbonate ion is attached both to the sodium and hydrogen.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Received this happy pile-o-bullshit from CarreerBuilder, despite the fact that I have found a job, and have thus closed my resume, some still prefer to spam my e-mail with this. Lets do a blow-by-blow teardown of this spam. 

Dear Jobseeker,
We have recently reviewed your resume on and have decided to contact you with a rare job opportunity.

If you actually took one freaking look at my resume you'd realize very quickly just how utterly irrelevant the rest of your spam would be.  Either that, or your reading comprehension is so lacking you really belong in the 3rd grade, and not running a "recruitment" firm.

What we are looking for
Our company is currently hiring responsible and motivated individuals to help us improve our financial system and increase our cash flow. We are committed to improve ourselves and we value honesty and responsibility for which we reward our employees financially in a productive long-term employment.
What we offer
*     New income system: commissions without sales
*     Very attractive income based on a standard salary plus commissions and bonuses with each order [emphasis mine]

Did you mistake a resume for a technical person for that of a sales drone? It's a common mistake, I can understand...

*     No fees ever required

Oh, good to know I won't have to pay you to have such a wonderful job

*     You can start immediately
*     Net income up to $95,000 per year
*     You can work part-time or full-time

 Red Flags! This is how i know you're a spammer:

"You can start Immediately" translates to "we have no screening process and need warm bodies that will hopefully take orders for us."

"Net Income up to $95,000 per year" translates to "You'll be lucky to make $100 per year, but we're not gonna tell you that, 'cuz the more people you rope in, the more you can make, amwayiright?

"You can work part-time or full-time" translates to "Really, we couldn't give a rats ass. If you're at least half-intelligent you'll realize this is a golden opportunity you shouldn't toss your day job for. We know this, so we're desperate enough to take on part-timers to take orders.
*     Flexible vacations/holidays - you choose how much and when to work or have time off
Not necessarily a red flag, but shows desperation; what this really means is "We're desperate enough. if you decide to take a 6 month "vacation" while you're flipping burgers at Micky-D's we'll understand, after all, it's a much higher paying job that what we have to offer.

*     Job for a large and stable company which means higher financial security

Seriously, Amway, is that you?
What is required?
*     Microsoft Office (Word) - basic knowledge
*     Access to the Internet and e-mail

"We don't require much. Can you breathe without drooling? No? Well you're hired anyway!"

*     Good level of work ethics

Not really a hard requirement, after all you can set your own hours. So long as you actually get something right once in a while, we'll cling to you desperately.

*     Will to learn and perform tasks in a timely fashion
*     U.S. resident or green card holder
*     You are not required to quit your current job.

You're consuming oxygen, right? Great! you're hired! Enjoy your new career in telemarketing!

Obligations and responsibilities
*     Dedication in helping our company’s financial system and improving our business
*     Perform various basic financial tasks
*     Provide regular reports and updates on your orders and their status

By "helping our company's financial system" we mean hard selling to people who never wanted our crappy products in the first place.

"Perform various basic financial tasks" Can you do order data entry and take people's credit card numbers without stealing too many of them? Great! you're an excellent fit!

We are also offering the possibility of advancement inside our company for the more dedicated and ambitious employees. During the initial stage of this new job you will receive and depend upon precise instructions as well as help from our Support Department. Qualified candidates will be offered flexible schedules of work, competitive salary, bonuses and other benefits. Company covers all expenses needed to perform this job.

 Ready to climb the pyramid? We have some double-diamond(tm) opportunities waiting for you!

This job entails only a few hours of work per week so you will be able to plan your work schedule with ease.

In other words, we warned you: "Don't quit your day job"; now our asses are covered.

Looking forward to working with you, reply to this e-mail if you are interested.

Oh, and if you reply, thanks for helping us update our spam database. We need to confirm you e-mail is valid so our inbox on the crusty server at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Philippines  stops flooding with invalid address messages. You're helping our spamming operations become more efficient and irritating.

Human Resources

Cute... They think they're people.

What annoys me most, I think, is the total lack of regard for the job seeker's skills and desires. It would be a cold day before I even considered something like this. Also, did the author of this message even notice when they were "reviewing" my resume that I had flagged myself as unavailable for hire because I found a job? Or did they harvest my account name from the system before they did that?

In short: No. I don't even consider opportunities like this for a second. They have demonstrated utter contempt for the potential "employee" --and I use that word loosely --by offering something that doesn't even remotely match their skill set or interests.