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Friday, 1 January 2021

Words To Use Today: bicarb.

 All words today should be said softly, gently, and considerately. 

Even though most of the riotous parties that traditionally take place on the last night of the year will have been illegal because of you-know-what, few countries have made alcohol illegal as a result of this crisis, and today there will be plenty of hangovers making their presences felt.

Bicarb is a white powder, NaHCO3, quite often called baking soda or bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate. It's called bicarbonate because it has twice as much carbon in it as sodium carbonate, but nowadays a serious chemist might call the stuff sodium hydrogen carbonate. A non-serious chemist will probably just call it bicarb.

It makes cakes rise, it stops the growth of fungi, it's used in swimming pools and fireworks, and it makes old books less smelly. It's found in toothpaste and in cleaning products.

It's said to absorb smells if left in a fridge, but there's no proof that it works and the idea seems to have been started as a marketing campaign by the company Arm and Hammer, who make the stuff.

The stuff does, however, seem to be good for settling for queasy stomachs. Its use brings hope, anyway.

And hope is one thing we need, at the moment.

Word to use today: bicarb. The bi- bit comes from the Latin bis, which means twice. The carbonate bit is to do with carbon, which word comes from the Latin word carbō which can mean charcoal or coal.



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