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Thursday, 23 August 2012 @ 23:12 | 0 Comment [s]

I love the metal aluminium.
Did you know? That:
Aluminium oxide and aluminium hydroxide are amphoteric oxides. It reacts with both acids and alkalis. (!)

Base (neutralizing an acid): Al(OH)3 + 3 HCl → AlCl3 + 3H2O
Acid (neutralizing a base): Al(OH)3 + NaOH → Na[Al(OH)4]
with acid: Al2O3 + 3 H2O + 6 H3O+(aq) → 2 [Al(H2O)6]3+(aq)
with base: Al2O3 + 3 H2O + 2 OH-(aq) → 2 [Al(OH)4]-(aq)

It's my favourite metal oxide and hydroxide because of its duality.

Also, Aluminium is my favourite metal because of its apparent unreactiveness. When aluminium is added to dilute sulfuric acid, no reaction seems to take place because it is coated by an inert, non-porous layer of aluminium oxide. Whilst other metals react either readily or unreadily, aluminium oxide requires work to get it to react - one has to use sandpaper to scrape off the aluminium oxide to get aluminium to react.

In other words, I'm aluminium personified, am I not?

In other news, today marks the 7th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar. Yes, it is Qixi Festival today, and for those who are not in the know of what this is, it's close to what you can refer to as Valentine's Day for the Chinese. The whole festival revolves around this simple little story, of two lovers...

A young cowherd, hence 'Niulang'(牛郎)came across a beautiful girl -'Zhinü'(织女), the seventh daughter of the Goddess, who just had escaped from boring heaven to look for fun. Zhinü soon fell in love with Niulang, and they got married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Xi Wangmu(Goddess of Heaven) (or in some versions, Zhinü's mother) found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhinü to return to heaven. (Alternatively, the Goddess forced the fairy back to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds, a task she neglected while living on earth with a mortal.) On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between Altair and Vega. Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children (his flanking star and or by their Chinese names Hè Gu 1 and Hè Gu 3). But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鹊桥), "the bridge of magpies", (Que Qiao) over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon.
Credits to Wikipedia.

People say that on this day it will rain, because of the crying in heaven. Others say that if you stand under grapevines on this night, you can hear the lovers talking.

Today, it rained. The very start of the day was marked by dark clouds that loomed over us all, threatening to block out the bright sun that delivered warmth. Wherever we walked, the cold shattered over our beings, prickling our skin, sending shivers down our spines and raising goosebumps on our arms. The rain, however, did not come until hours, and hours, later. At 10am today, it rained. The wind after the rain still whispered of the chilly droplets that landed upon the ground, and the soft teardrops from the lovers landed, silently, as they wept.

If you thought Romeo and Juliet was really all lovely, then read what us Chinese have to offer. Yes, we Chinese have a Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet, as well - and let's just say it's purified, cleansed and white. It's named Butterfly Lovers.

The legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is set in the Eastern Jin Dynasty.
Zhu Yingtai is a beautiful and intelligent young woman, the ninth child and only daughter of the wealthy Zhu family of Shangyu, Zhejiang. Although traditions of that era discourage females from going to school, Zhu manages to convince her father to allow her to attend classes in disguise as a young man. During her journey to Hangzhou, she meets Liang Shanbo, a scholar from Kuaiji (present-day Shaoxing). They chat and feel a strong affinity for each other at their first meeting. Hence, they gather some soil as incense and take an oath of fraternity in the pavilion of a thatched bridge.
They study together for the next three years in school and Zhu gradually falls in love with Liang. Although Liang equals Zhu in their studies, he is still a bookworm and fails to notice the feminine characteristics exhibited by his classmate.
One day, Zhu receives a letter from her father, asking her to return home as soon as possible. Zhu has no choice but to pack her belongings immediately and bid Liang farewell. However, in her heart, she has already confessed her love for Liang and is determined to be with him for all eternity. Before her departure, she reveals her true identity to the headmaster's wife and requests her to hand over a jade pendant to Liang as a betrothal gift.
Liang accompanies his "sworn brother" for 18 miles to see her off. During the journey, Zhu hints to Liang that she is actually a woman. For example, she compares them to a pair of mandarin ducks (a symbol of lovers in Chinese culture), but Liang does not catch her hints and does not even have the slightest suspicion that his companion is a woman in disguise. Zhu finally comes up with an idea and tells Liang that she will act as a matchmaker for him and his "sister". Before they part, Zhu reminds Liang to visit her residence later so he can propose to marry her "sister." Liang and Zhu reluctantly part ways at the Changting pavilion.
Months later, when Liang visits Zhu, he discovers that she is actually a woman. They are devoted to and passionate about each other and they make a vow of "till death do us part". The joy of their reunion is short-lived as Zhu's parents have already arranged for her to marry a man from a rich family called Ma Wencai. Liang is heartbroken when he hears the news and his health gradually deteriorates until he becomes critically ill. He dies in office later as a county magistrate.
On the day of Ma and Zhu's marriage, mysterious whirlwinds prevent the wedding procession from escorting the bride beyond Liang's grave, which lies along the journey. Zhu leaves the procession to pay her respects to Liang. She descends in bitter despair and begs for the grave to open up. Suddenly, the grave opens with a clap of thunder. Without further hesitation, Zhu throws herself into the grave to join Liang. Their spirits turn into a pair of beautiful butterflies and emerge from the grave. They fly away together as a pair of butterflies and are never to be separated again.

And all the while, we love each other.

[Song-Of-The-Post: Born To Be My Baby] (Check out the top!)

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