From: Curtis Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Mar 27 2005 - 10:48:58 CST
on 2005-03-27 05:18 Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
> Which Unicode characters would be most suitable as symbols for chemical
> bonds? By visual appearance, one might think about using
> - em dash (or en dash) for single bond
> - equals sign for double bond
> - identical to for triple bond
> - strictly equivalent to for quadruple bond
> but these would differ quite a lot from the usual semantics of the
> characters (except for the em dash, which is rather general-purpose
> anyway). Besides, there would hardly be any guarantee that all the glyphs
> would be of the same width in a given font.
Perhaps add to this list MIDDLE DOT for free radical.
But the semantics of bonding in plain text is not all that
cut-and-dried. The triple bond in acetylene, H-C≡C-H, is a covalent
bond, but the triple bond linking cytosine to guanine in DNA, C≡G, is a
hydrogen bond. The situation seems comparable to the Plane 1 math
letters: (1) is there a need to maintain semantics of chemical bonds in
plain text, and (2) is the absence of semantics in the existing corpus a
source of future ambiguity?
Much like the apostrophe/glottal stop issue, I can envision a situation
where IDENTICAL TO and as-yet unencoded TRIPLE COVALENT BOND and TRIPLE
HYDROGEN BOND would all have the same appearance in a given font. And
then we would be pointing out how few web pages use them correctly, and
how H-C≡C-H.com is subject to major spoofing.
-- Curtis Clark http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/ Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona +1 909 979 6371 Professor, Biological Sciences +1 909 869 4062
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