Chemical formula: WTF

Apparently there exists carbon-free sugar:

Carbon-Free Sugar

TYWKIWDBI points out:

Let’s see … sugar is C12H22O11. Subtract the carbon…

That leaves H22O11 = H2O.

In retrospect, I should probably be grateful I gave up the idea of becoming a chemist.

Of course, what they’re trying to say is that they bought enough indulgences from some medieval Pope carbon credits to offset the production, but someone else can mock them for that.

(Seen in TJICistan.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 October 2009 · 1:32 pm


    I’m surprised they’re not touting it as a “calorie free” sweetener as well, considering what TYWKIWDBI said about sugar – carbon = water.

    (Also, they can’t very well call it “organic” if there’s no carbon…)

    The whole “end global warming by buying “carbon credits” is going to soon become as insane as the height of the latest Atkins diet popularity, where pork rinds were being sold as “diet food,” but whole wheat bread was verboten.

  2. Lisa Paul »

    4 October 2009 · 2:16 pm

    At least they’re going in the right direction, if their grasp of clear English is not.

    Contrast that with an earnest hippie who raked me over the coals one day in Whole Paycheck because I was reaching for the C&H sugar which comes from Hawaii and is processed down the road from SF in Richmond. “You shouldn’t eat that cane sugar!”, she barked. “YOu should choose this pure non-glycemic, organically grown, whatever, whatever sugar over here.”

    That would have been the sugar distilled from something in Mali in Africa, which is possibly the furthest point on the globe from SF, then shipped over — with LOTS of carbon — to our local Whole Foods.

    Whatever sugar is fairly local to you — whether from beets or cane or whatever — is going to be the most, if we use the package language here — “carbon free”.

  3. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 3:20 pm

    Yea, verily. We don’t grow a lot of cane out here on the prairie, alas, although beets can be had.

    I’m trying to guess the difference in miles traveled from source to store between the ordinary bananas (65 cents a pound yesterday) and the organics right next to them (69 cents).

  4. Lisa Paul »

    4 October 2009 · 4:24 pm

    Since bananas only grow in the tropics, I’d guess they both came from about the same place. As I’ve heard it explained to me, by someone very sensible, the most eco-wise way we can shop is to eat 80% local and in season. Then spice up our diets with what he called “responsible eco-treats” — say coffee, bananas, spices, chocolate, tropical nuts that are sustainably grown and where fair wages are paid. Places like South America and AFrica where there is rapid deforestation, need the American consumer to keep a viable market for food products that require the maintenance of the canopy, don’t poison the earth and offer living wages to the locals. If your purchase does that, doesn’t really matter what the carbon cost to get it to you. You’re probably on the side of the angels.

  5. Daily Pundit » WTF? »

    4 October 2009 · 4:39 pm

    […] ┬╗ Chemical formula: WTF Apparently there exists carbon-free sugar: […]

  6. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 4:57 pm

    I did trace the bananas — lots of fine print on those little labels — to a Colombian source which apparently has Control Union certification, so at least we know that the process has been overseen by a third party, though not much more than that.

  7. fillyjonk »

    4 October 2009 · 7:33 pm

    Sorghum syrup. Or honey. That’s what we’d use here if we were going to be locavores about things. Other parts of the country, lucky dogs, would be able to use maple sugar.

    (They can take my tea and chocolate, though, when they pry them from my cold dead hands. And despite what is claimed may come as climate change, I doubt we’ll be growing tea in Oklahoma any time soon, much less cacao.)

  8. Charles Pergiel »

    4 October 2009 · 7:50 pm

    Chemistry, what a lovely subject. Shell has been advertising that their gasoline has nitrogen in it. Why? Because it makes it more … something, I suppose, but I dunno what.

  9. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 8:22 pm

    Big whoop. My tires have nitrogen in them. (Actually, most people’s tires have nitrogen in them, that being the major component of air.)

    Shell has a history of coming up with stuff like that, though. Remember “Platformate”?

  10. fillyjonk »

    4 October 2009 · 8:28 pm

    Doesn’t all gasoline, being the remains of long-dead sea critters, have nitrogen in it, in at least trace amounts?

    (I admit to being disappointed, being just old enough to remember the waning of the Sinclair stations’ heyday, to learn that gasoline does NOT come from dinosaurs)

  11. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 8:54 pm

    On the other hand, on automotive message boards, there exist two kinds of motor oil: synthetic and “dino.” I wonder if the latter had originally been intended as a pejorative: some vendors of synthetics have shown a marked hostility to the, um, more “organic” product.

  12. McGehee »

    4 October 2009 · 10:44 pm


    Tungsten, what? and flourine.

    That “what” must be what brings the sweetness.

  13. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 10:59 pm

    Hmmm. Tungsten most commonly has a +6 oxidation state, and fluorine -1 (as fluoride ion). This implies something that works out to -5 and that starts with T.

  14. Kirk »

    5 October 2009 · 7:45 am

    Once upon a time, there was a fairly substantial sugar beet factory in Swink, Colorado, which isn’t all that far from you, Chaz. It closed, though, due to the vagaries of sugar beet economics. The nearest plant now is likely the one up in Fort Morgan, CO.

  15. Opining Online » Monday Morning Rounds »

    5 October 2009 · 9:00 am

    […] Politically Correct Chemistry┬ánoted at Dustbury. […]

  16. McGehee »

    5 October 2009 · 11:23 am

    I was unable to find an element whose symbol is an unadulterated T. Could it be unobtainium?

  17. CGHill »

    5 October 2009 · 11:26 am

    If it could, we couldn’t get any for experimental purposes anyway.

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