Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

October 23

Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Ethelfleda, Saint John of Capistrano, Saint Romanus, and Saint Boethius.

NOW HERE is an interesting tidbit: Saint John of Capistrano was a saint born in Capistrano, Italy, in 1456. Mission San Juan Capistrano is a California mission named for that saint which was founded by Padre Junipero Serra on November 1, 1776. Every year the cliff swallows that nest in the mission return on March 19th and depart on October 23. (They are in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina, during the off-season.) The mission was not named for Saint John of Capistrano because of this--it is just one of those great coincidences that make you wonder about coincidences in general.

If you want to learn more about the swallows, go here.

Click the Audubon picture on the left to hear the call of the cliff swallow.



Happy Birthday, Planet Earth

October 23, 2008, is the 6,012th birthday of the planet Earth. This was covered in yesterday's Saint Report due to lack of space on this date. Click on Adam and Eve and become enlightened.


Alfred Matthew (Weird Al) Yankovic turns 41 today. So do millions and millions of other people, some of whom are famous, but I am not going to mention any of the others out of respect to Weird Al.


Celebrate the MOLEnnium

No, not that kind of mole. The MOLEnnium celebrates the mole that is a weight measurement, not the mole that is busy ruining your lawn: the chemistry mole, not the zoology mole.

I am tempted to stick a Route 66 sign here and write a few paragraphs about trapping moles, because I already know how to trap moles. Oh, well. I will try to do this right, but I realize there is some reader out there who is going to write to tell me I should have stuck to the trapping story.....

OK...someone finally did. Here is her letter:


Loved your site- I also happen to teach chemistry-re10/23- Here's a simple explanation of the mole- You might want to update your calendar's info. Irreverance for chem. is one thing (and quite humorous). Inaccuracy gets no points!

A mole is a number, just like a dozen, only it's quite a bit larger- 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd power. 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. It's significant in that you need this number of atoms of any element to be grouped together before you can get to a mass (which you can then put on a balance and weigh) that is equal to that element's molar mass (which is the same number as the atomic mass(which is in AMU), but has the units of grams.) Example: 27.0 grams of Aluminum has in it 602000000000000000000000 atoms of aluminum. 4.0 grams of helium gas has in it 602000000000000000000000 atoms of helium.

The molar masses are different because the atoms are made up of different numbers of particles (protons, neutrons and electrons) which have masses on the order of 0.00000000000000000000000167g and smaller. By the way- that really small number of grams is equal to one AMU.

Why don't we do this with eggs? Because eggs are big enough to weigh on a balance alone or by twelves! (Just kidding) Anyway- [the Italian scientiest Amedeo] Avogadro [1776-1858] is given credit for the reasoning behind the number. He worked with gases in the old days when men had nothing better to do since the women were domestic slaves, (similar to today?).

Any textbook obscures the true logic, so I'll quit here. AT one point in life, I may have understood that too. Some abstract concepts are best left that way-as abstracts.

(signed) Mathematical Mole

I still don't completely understand, of course.

Some mole jokes from the site you can reach by clicking on the blue "Celebrate the MOLEnnium":

Q: What did Avogadro have on his pancakes? A: Molasses Q: What does Avogadro do when he wants to go to town? A: He jumps in his Auto-mole-bile Q: How would you have described Avogadro's room while he was a teenager? A: A Molar mess Q: What is Avogadro's favorite kind of music? A: Rock & Mole. Q: What do you use to flatten hot asphalt? A: A steam-Moler

I am glad that the site contained these jokes, because I hated to think that my mind was just too unsophisticated to grasp the concept of the mole.

On to October 24
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Marilyn Jones 2000-2008