Good morning one and all!  At approximately 6:02 AM today (Oct 23rd) an event took place whose repercussions will be felt throughout the North American continent throughout the day and even into early evening.  The immediate response from the scientific community has been overwhelming, as they recognize the lasting ramifications of this morning’s events.  Throughout the country thousands are solemnly gathering to acknowledge the event

Today at 6:02 AM…  Mole Day began!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Tell me you know about Mole Day.  What?  You don’t know?  Well, it’s time you became educated on this important scientific holiday that I have been religiously celebrating for a decade now (did you like how I worked a form of “science” and “religion” into the same sentence without using either as a “noun”.  That’s what high school English can do for ya’ baby.)*

*  Though I should note, it did nothing to help my spelling.

Mole Day is the official celebration of the Mole – a number used by scientists to convert the atomic weight of a molecular into grams.  (Of course!  Now you remember, right?) In 1811, Amadeo Avogodro published his findings first introducing the Mole, though it took over a century before high school kids began to celebrate this special day.

 And why, you may ask, do we celebrate from 6:02 AM to 6:02 PM on Oct. 23rd each year?  Simple:  the mole is 6.02 x 10^23.

                And why, you may ask, do we call this amazing number the Mole?  Simple: because a four letter word is much easier to spell than “Avogodro’s Number”.  And we all know how scientists are about spelling…

Let’s take a moment to explore the cultural diversity of Mole Day celebrations occurring today:

The National Mole Day Foundation (this is for real – check it out at http://www.moleday.org) suggests eating a variety of Mole Day foods such as:

·         Avogodro Dip

·         Taco-mole sauce

·         Moleasses cookies (I recommend NOT breaking down the syllables of this suggestion too thoroughly… of course now that I’ll told you not to, you can’t help but do it.  Mwha ha ha!) (David and Becca – you just lost the game.)

For you Fantasy readers out there, Robert Jordan has reached back from the grave to celebrate Mole Day by FINALLY releasing the final book in his trilogy   dodecagy   infinigy  series… well… actually the publishers have decided to break the final book into three parts, each sold separately.  And I hear they may break the final chapter into three separate sections, each sold separately.  How can Robert Jordan’s posthumous book release possible be related to the Mole?  Simple – his original goal in the Wheel of Time series was to write a story with exactly 6.022*10^23 characters in it.  Check it Out

The federal government has undertaken a creative acknowledgement of the Mole.  With Obama’s passion for education, he wanted there to be a lasting memorial to the Mole, but what, oh what could possibly make kids remember a number so astronomically large it hurt them just to think about it?  Well, the NATIONAL DEBT could do that!  So why not aim to make the National Debt exactly 6.022*10^23 dollars!  Congratulations, with the accelerated growth rate of the National Debt over the past year, we could reach a Mole of debt in just 135 years.  (really… that should scare you if you think about it, even a little)

 

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Microsoft wanted in on the fun of Mole Day too, but Microsoft being Microsoft, they decided they needed to force out the competition, so they chose Oct 22nd as their launch date for Windows 7, presumably preempting Mole Day and stealing all its national excitement.  Even the name of the operating system was chosen to one up the Mole.  (Get it?  One up… one more than 6 is ___.  Get it? Get it??)  Of course Microsoft never anticipated that they had an informant in their ranks who leaked the secret plan, allowing scientists the chance to write a Linux based computer virus that reprogrammed human minds to become disenchanted with Microsoft products.  The virus was delivered to human subject through subliminal messaging in the last Harry Potter movie, ensuring that 98% of the world’s population would be infected.  (The other 2% are the still using Apple 2Es, so they’re safe)  Microsoft is conducting an internal investigation to find the culprit, but they just can’t seem to find (wait for it… wait…for…it…) the mole.  (Get it?)


Truly the celebration (or in Microsoft’s case – the anti-celebration) of Mole Day is a glorious thing.  But let us remember that celebrating the Mole is only a small acknowledgment of the great works happening in science everyday.  Take for example NASA’s spectacular LCROSS mission earlier this month.  The mission crashed two probes into the surface of the moon to discover if there is water present.  If you don’t understand how this works, you may want to chat with my redneck neighbor who once crashed his Ford truck into the liquor store to discover if there was any beer left in it (he was out).  The concepts are relatively similar, and as an interested side-note, after being read aloud a draft of this letter, my neighbor has decided to sue NASA for stealing his idea.  (His dog, Brian, will be representing him in the case)

Back to LCROSS.  NASA, in its excitement to get the public involved, eagerly encourage individuals, and even families, to experience the epic moment of impact at local observatory and though personal telescopes.  So anxious was NASA, that they even but together an “Impact Kit” to include:  (I swear I’m not kidding here)

·         A music video called “Water on the Moon” with animations of the mission
·         Posters of EACH of the three separate components of the mission’s vehicle
·         A children’s storybook about the mission and it’s significance

Talk about exciting huh?  Forget Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, make way for Water on the Moon by various NASA contributors.  The moment arrives just a few weeks back on Oct 9th.  This was the moment that made celebrating Mole Day worth.  NASA had told spectators exactly where to look and exactly when.  They had even provided exciting “artist renderings” of what you should be looking for.
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The moment arrived and all across the country a hush could be heard, as if the nation held its breath in anticipation of hearing the obliteration of spacecraft that would never reach their ears.  (There’s that high school English coming in again).  Exhausted 5-year olds tugged on Daddy’s sleeve to get a look at what was so momentous that it brought them out before the sun.  Avid amateur astronomers stayed absolutely still so as not to shake their telescope and possible lose their view of the dramatic image.  Let me share with you what they saw.

 

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 Stunning in its simplicity really.  It captures the conflict of astronomical struggle towards achievement in the face of the simple laws of nature.  Truly an image that will last in the hearts of those blessed to have seen it.  (Which, btw, is artistic babble for “I don’t see what the hell everybody else is looking at.”  Don’t worry neither do any of the other observers… including the ones at NASA.)  Lest you think I am pulling one over on you, here is the actual TV footage of the impact where this photo was taken from.   - I warn you though, this footage, is as uneventful as my redneck neighbor showing up for a chess club meeting.

NASA, ever eager to not let the tried 5-year olds down, quickly did some PR damage control and released this exciting photo of the event.

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A picture is worth a thousands words.  In this case it may even be worth a whole Mole of words.  On the other hand, “I don’t see what the hell everybody else is looking at."

 So why, you may ask, is this Mole Day special to YOU?  “Simple” I’d reply, if I weren’t already too busy writing this letter to actually give you a reply, “because as of the misspelling of chuloopa in this sentence, I have successful misspelled exactly 6.022*10^23 words…

…since starting college.  Which, as many of you know, I completed last week.*