Unmitigated gallium

We’re all entirely too familiar with the phrase “all the good ones are taken.” Several times a week I hear from someone who wants a really good — and really relevant! — user name for Twitter or Tumblr or Instagram, or a short and snappy domain name. I used to inform them that the time to have asked for such a thing was N months ago, where N = more than they ever imagined. And it’s true even in highly specialized areas of interest:

So, you’re a chemist and you’ve finally decided to find out what all the fuss is about with this thing called Twitter. You decide to sign up, but, for whatever reason, you don’t fancy using your own name. Maybe an element; that would be cool wouldn’t it?

Indeed it would. But how many elements are there, anyway?

[T]here are 114 named elements (we’re ignoring those ununelementium placeholder names) to choose from. Surely some of the more exotic elements must be there for the taking? Well, no. Gone. All of ‘em.

“There may be many others,” said Tom Lehrer, “but they haven’t been discovered.” Fat lot of good that does you now, though.

And what about @gallium, anyway? He is a chemist, but not a very talkative one.







6 comments

  1. fillyjonk »

    24 January 2013 · 7:19 am

    I’d be willing to bet botanists and zoologists have fewer problems in that arena. I don’t even KNOW how many different phyla of plants are currently recognized, but it’s way more than the currently-occupied spots on the periodic table.

    Then again, a lot of them are awfully hard to spell, and I’d bet that someone with the handle “@Symphyotrichum” wouldn’t get many mentions.

  2. CGHill »

    24 January 2013 · 7:46 am

    For the heck of it, I typed that into the Tweetdeck searchbox, and got an offer to sell me some.

  3. fillyjonk »

    24 January 2013 · 8:14 am

    And now we see the problem with pharmaceutical researchers being on Twitter….

  4. sya »

    24 January 2013 · 8:34 am

    Or microbes. There’s bound to be one not taken yet.

  5. fillyjonk »

    24 January 2013 · 8:49 am

    I think it would be amusing to set up a twitter account with the name of a microbe, and tweet in the “persona” that microbe would have, if it had sentience. I suspect it would be hard to keep up for long, there are only so many sex pili and virulence jokes a person can make.

  6. McGehee »

    24 January 2013 · 8:57 am

    Several times a week I hear from someone who wants a really good — and really relevant! — user name for Twitter or Tumblr or Instagram, or a short and snappy domain name.

    Do what I did: get a ham radio license.

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