Day By Day

Friday, October 23, 2009

This Day In History

Happy Mole Day! No, I'm not referring to the little critters that drive gardeners crazy, but to the chemical term. It refers to a standard unit for measuring the amount of a pure substance.
The mole is defined as the amount of substance of a system that contains as many "elementary entities" (e.g. atoms, molecules, ions, electrons) as there are atoms in 12 g of carbon-12 (12C).[1]. A mole has 6.0221415×1023[6] atoms or molecules of the pure substance being measured. A mole will possess mass exactly equal to the substance's molecular/atomic weight in grams. Because of this, one can measure the number of moles in a pure substance by weighing it and comparing the result to its molecular/atomic weight.
From Wikipedia [here].

It's been a long, long time since I took chemistry [although I do recognize Avagadro's number in that mess] so I'm not sure just how to celebrate National Mole Day. It's something that chemists dreamed up. I suppose I'll just go out this evening and imbibe some chemicals. I urge you all to do the same.

And a very happy birthday to the World. According to Bishop James Ussher the world was created on this very day in 4004 BC, at precisely 9:oo in the morning.

And on this day in 1641 Felim O'Neill led a rebellion in Ulster that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands [estimates range between 40,000 and 100,000] Protestants. People in Northern Ireland still remember him, some of them fondly. That's scary, but true.

And on this day in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln tramples civil liberties underfoot by suspending the writ of habeas corpus in the District of Columbia for any matters relating to military activities.

And on this day in 1956 the people of Hungary rose spontaneously in revolt against their Stalinst government. Throughout the country people formed militia units and attacked government officials. Many of those officials were killed, others imprisoned. At the same time political prisoners were released and a new political leadership promised free elections and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. By the end of the month it seemed that Hungary had gained its freedom. It didn't last long, though. The Soviet Union invaded Hungary and crushed the revolt. Despite desperate pleas for assistance from the Hungarian patriots the Eisenhower administration, NATO and the United Nations did nothing. This was not, to say the least, America's finest hour.

Today is also the anniversary of the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. 237 U. S. Marines were killed in the blast and another 80 injured. President Ronald Reagan ordered the withdrawal of American forces from Lebanon, which only reinforced the conviction among Islamist radicals that America was, indeed, a weak horse. Another not-so-shining moment in our national history.

Happy Birthday to Michael Crichton [1942] and Johnny Carson [1925] two men who provided me and many millions of other people with lots of thrills, chills and laughter.