Life Day 26766 – What The Heck Is a Mole Anyway?

October 23, 2020 at 8:37 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning mole mavens. Today is Friday, October 23, 2020. It is the 297th day of the year and 69 days remain.

Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Mole Day

National Mole Day does not celebrate “mole”, the annoying, unsightly burrowing rodent; nor does it celebrate “mole”, the annoying, unsightly, potentially cancerous skin growth. It also does not celebrate “mole”, that traitorous weasel that rats you out to your boss for every minor infraction of company policy; nor does it celebrate “mole”, the informant embedded deep within a criminal organization or foreign government gathering information for law enforcement. Further, it does not celebrate “mole”, the seawall built in the ocean to protect a harbor. And finally, it does not celebrate “mole” (pronounced mo-lay), the Mexican sauce made with chilies and chocolate and served over meat.
What National Mole Day does celebrate is “mole”, the chemistry term. National Mole Day was created as a way to nurture children’s interest in chemistry and is celebrated by schools throughout the country. It was first conceived in an article in The Science Teacher in the early 1980’s.
In chemistry, a “mole” is: “The amount of a substance that contains as many atoms, molecules, ions, or other elementary units as the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon 12.” The number is 6.0225 × 1023, measured in grams, (hence the celebration on October 23 [10/23] from 6:02 AM to 6:02 PM). It was discovered by Italian chemist Amedeo Avogadro (1776 – 1856) and is known as Avogadro’s number  It is also called a gram molecule. For example, carbon dioxide, CO2, has a molecular weight of 44; therefore, one mole of it weighs 44 grams.
Quite frankly, I have no idea what any of that means and am not even going to try to convince you otherwise. However, if you are a chemistry buff I’m sure you understand it thoroughly and will be able to devise an appropriate way to celebrate National Mole Day on your own.

Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day

In America, and especially in California, we look forward to the return of the swallows to Capistrano every March 19th, as a sign that Spring is nigh upon us. However, before the swallows return to Capistrano, they must first leave Capistrano.
Historically, October 23rd is the date on which that happens. But, where do they go? Well, it seems that their winter vacation destination of choice is 6,000 miles south; in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. I wonder if Goyaites celebrate the return of the swallows to their city with as much excitement as we celebrate their return to Mission San Juan Capistrano?

TV Talk Show Host Day

Talk Show Host Day is celebrated on the birth date of legendary night-time talk show host Johnny Carson. Carson is considered the “King of late night Television”. He hosted The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992. His reign lasted a record 29 years, 7 months, 21 days. There were 4,531 episodes aired.
While this holiday is celebrated on Johnny Carson’s birth date, it is intended to show appreciation to all Television talk show hosts; daytime and nighttime. Celebrate this holiday by watching as many TV talk shows as you can today.

National iPod Day

It seems hard to believe that it was a mere 19 years ago, on this date in 2001, that Apple debuted the first incarnation of the iPod.
The iPod revolutionized the portable music industry. In a device that would fit in the palm of your hand, you could have at your fingertips, and playback, every song in your music library: And the storage capacity has increased with every subsequent version.
My iPod is about ten years old now and contains about 6500 of my favorite songs – and I am using only a small fraction of its capacity.

National Canning Day

National Canning Day is observed annually on this date. I could find no information in my sources regarding the history of this holiday.
Canning is a method of preserving food by removing the oxygen and enzymes that would otherwise cause a food to spoil. A well-sealed jar or can means that bad bacteria, yeasts, and molds have a more difficult time growing. Today, we take canned foods for granted, but it is a relatively new process when you consider the history of food preservation. By comparison, salting, drying, and pickling have been around for thousands of years.
We owe the modern-day canning process to, of all people, Napoleon Bonaparte. He famously said that “an army marches on its stomach,” and he needed a better way to feed his troops. In 1795, he had the French government offer a prize of 12,000 Francs to anyone who invented a new way to preserve food. The prize was finally won by Nicholas Appert*, a chef, confectioner, and distiller, who began experimenting when the award was announced and finally submitted his invention 14 years later, in 1809. He hermetically sealed food in airtight glass jars and heated them—a method similar to today’s home preserving in Mason jars. Appert thought that driving the air out of the containers prevented the spoilage, but 100 years later, Louis Pasteur demonstrated that it was actually the elimination of bacteria through sterilization that did the trick.
Though Napoleon tried to keep the new process a secret so that enemy armies would not have the advantage, the word soon leaked out. Appert’s method was so easy that it quickly became widespread. The following year another Frenchman, Pierre Durand, patented a method using a tin container. In 1812, an English company purchased both patents and began producing canned preserves.
Canning emigrated to America, where canneries began to preserve seasonal foods and perishables; but most Americans still cooked from fresh and dried staples, and canned food did not become the everyday food delivery system we know until the beginning of the 20th century (the company that produces Bar Harbor Foods was established in 1917).
Celebrate National Canning Day by eating some canned food. Or, if you feel adventurous, try canning some food today. While it’s not exactly the most complicated process, canning does require that you follow specific steps and use specific equipment to ensure that your food is safely preserved. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using either a boiling water canner or a pressure canner, depending on how acidic the food you’re canning is. First-time canners should start simply, by trying making a jam or a marinara sauce since both have relatively simple cooking processes. Start with a small batch so you don’t ruin all your ingredients.

*Appert is known as the “father of canning,” and also invented the bouillon cube.

National Boston Cream Pie Day

A French chef named Sanzian invented Boston cream pie in 1856. He worked at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, which is also where the Parker House roll originated.
Although it is called a pie, Boston cream pie is actually a cake. It consists of two round layers of sponge cake with a thick vanilla custard filling. It is usually frosted with a chocolate glaze but it can also be topped with confectioners sugar. The dessert is served in wedges just like a pie.
In 1996, Boston cream pie became the official dessert of Massachusetts in a bill sponsored by Norton High School. Boston Cream Pie defeated fellow contenders, Indian Pudding and Toll House cookies, to become the state’s official dessert.  Enjoy some for dessert today.

Other Holidays

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