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The periodic table of elements is seen by millions of people every single day.

It's an iconic image and the tried-and-tested map of chemistry.


Also available in placemat, coffee mug, and shower curtain. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

It's in basically every science classroom in the world along with that skeleton that your teacher named Boney, Skinny, Jerry, or whatever.

"Class, we have a new student today. His name is Jimmy McRib." Photo by Douglas Grundy/Three Lions/Getty Images.

What you may not know is that the periodic table is incomplete.

Well, sort of. There's no real limit to the amount of chemical elements there can be. Elements are discovered and identified by the amount of protons in their nuclei. For example, hydrogen: one proton in its nucleus. Lithium: three protons in its nucleus. Iridium: 77 protons in its nucleus, and so on.

So far, we've been able to observe and name over 100 elements and organize them by that atomic number into the periodic table — with only a few blank spots in the seventh row.

113, 115, 117, and 118 (in grey) were left unidentified until now. 114 and 116 were added in 2011.

On Dec. 30, 2015, scientists from around the world could officially, finally, fill in those blank spots.

Elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 were officially discovered and assigned by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), a U.S.-based agency that oversees global chemical nomenclature, terminology, and measurement.

The seventh-row "superheavy" elements are the first to be added to the periodic table since 114 and 116 back in 2011.

Until now, they remained theoretical and were given placeholder names like 117's "ununseptium," which means "one-one-seven" in Latin.

The new elements can be discovered in particle accelerators similar to the famous Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

There's little you can do with these superheavy elements, as they don't occur in nature and are incredibly unstable, decaying faster than you can even think about blinking.

However, a popular theory among scientists is that the more we learn about superheavy elements, the closer we get to a so-called "island of stability" wherein large atoms don't immediately decay and can possibly become useful.

In the coming months, the four new elements will receive official names and instantly render every chemistry textbook out of date.

Elements 115, 117, and 118 were credited to and will be named by teams of Russian and American scientists.

Element 113, however, is its own underdog story.

In 2003, Japanese scientists at RIKEN began "bombarding a thin layer of bismuth with zinc ions traveling at about 10% the speed of light," you know, like you do.

The result of that experiment was a single, fleeting glimpse of an element with an atomic number of 113. They kept at it, and eventually created 113 several more times.

While it only lasted less than a thousandth of a second, it was enough for the IUPAC to give Japan its first naming rights to an element.

Kosuke Morita, the proud dad of element 113. Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.

According to Kosuke Morita, Japan's RIKEN team leader, the honor of naming an element is "of greater value than an Olympic gold medal" for scientists.

Naming an element isn't like naming a bridge. When you name an element, you're putting your stamp on a fundamental and permanent building block of the universe. You've cemented your place in history.

I just hope Morita and his team come up with a better name for 113 than your science teacher did for that skeleton.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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