January 02, 2006

The Name

So, I've relaunched the blog with a new name. I've gotten rid of the somewhat silly Just-in-casionally and the very silly Not-so-oftenally, as well. And I've replaced it with what I hope will be a more permanent name: Quicksilver Sulfide.

Why this name? Let's just say that this particular chemical compound, mercuric sulfide, has particular resonance with me. But beyond the eponymous reasons, I also like the fact that it combines two alchemical elements: Quicksilver, or Mercury; and Brimstone, or Sulfur.

Quicksilver was believed to transcend both solid and liquid states and is one of the seven metals of alchemy. It also represents Hermes (or Mercury) — the messenger of the gods — and is called Hydrargyrum ("silver water") leading to it's modern abbreviation: Hg.

Sulfur is one of three heavenly alchemical elements, but is also associated with Athena (and, in that weird way of Greek mythology, with Hecate and Demeter too via their shared name, Brimo). And so, eventually, it is linked with Hades or Hell.

Alchemist believed that if they could "marry Hermes and Athena" — or, in other words, combine Mercury and Sulfur in the right way — that they could create gold. But no one succeeded.

And now, we know better. We know that all you are likely to get from HgS is Vermillion. Posted by richard at January 2, 2006 12:56 AM