Skepticism

Calendar Curiosities: October 23: Mole Day!

The 2008/2009 Skepchick/Skepdude Calendars are selling well, and the Skepchicks especially are dwindling something fierce.   Also, the 2010 Application is up, so get your sexy self in gear and apply!

Very short backstory:  Mole Day commorates Avogadro Number, which is the number of atoms in a mole, or:  6.022141 x 1023

(See?  10/23?  October 23rd? )  If you do something celebratory between 6:02am and 6:02pm, even better.

“Hey A, you’re a chemist, so what’s a mole?” you ask.  Yeah, since I mostly push paper around my desk these days, I’ll just let the real scientists explain that one for you.

Skepchick point of interest:  Everyone needs another reason to celebrate, don’t they?  And, if you’re really dedicated to Mole Day, you might enjoy ‘Mole’asses cookies, or perhaps some lovely Mexican cuisine with mole sauce today.   Also, it’s a killer excuse to post cute photos of moles!  (This one seems rather LOL-able.)

 

Photograph by Michael David Hill, 2005

Not-so-Skepchick? Well, we are a very serious organization, dedicated to representing the stoic and sober distaff skeptic, scientist, and critical thinker.  I sully the very image of Skepchick by posting such silliness.  Rebecca will very likely make me do extra chores around here, all the while wearing my gender-neutral, none too cute Scully-like suit.  But I do it for you guys, so that makes it all worth it.

a.real.girl

A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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14 Comments

  1. Well, Kimbo, now you know.

    Tomorrow all this year’s candy and decor will be on sale for half-price, but it’s all the crap no one wanted at full price, including that “chocolate” wrapped in foil that’s supposed to be just like the mainstream brands, but really is some cleverly disguised nanobot technology, sent out into the mainstream to convert the masses into mindless, Hallmark-holiday-loving, and why-the-hell-isn’t-there-a- holiday-for-spagetti-o’s-anyway?

    You catch my drift. Next year- shop early. Bake a cake. Don’t get caught off guard again, or the terraces win.

  2. Besides the avacado number (named after the predominant decor color in 1973 kitchens — fact!) what I like about a mole is that a mole of any gas weighs its atomic weight in grams and occupies a volume of 22.4 liters at standard temperature and pressure. That lets you compare gases.

    A mole of pure nitrogen gas has a mass of about 28 grams (remember, it’s N2, not just N) for a density of a bit more than one gram per liter. Air is mostly nitrogen, so that’s roughly the density of air at sea level.

    One mole of helium has a mass of about 4 grams, so it has a density of about 0.18 gram per liter, which is why it floats!

    Also, you get one mole of any gas in 22.4 liters. That means there are very roughly 2 x 10^19 molecules per cc at seas level.

    Good stuff to know when you write sciencey stuff.

  3. @Kimbo Jones: My high school Chem. teacher was a large bearded man named Dr. Ruth.

    I avoided paying attention and instead spent oodles of time writing bad poetry. 12 years later, someone has finally explained what the heck a mole is, why I should care, and I have actually bothered to pay attention.

    Happy Mole Day to All!

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