Dig It? Happy Mole Day: October 23rd

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Mole Day

What Is Mole Day?  Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.

For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amadeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death.

New American Spelling Of English Words by Noah Webster: 1758 October 16th

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National Dictionary Day is held on October 16th in honor of Noah Webster’s (1758-1843) birthday.  Webster was a spelling reformer that believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex.  One wonders whether he really made things simpler, or rather just made them different.  He spent 27 years compiling 70,000 words for his dictionary.  In his publication, he introduced new, Americanized spellings that reflected his belief that the U.S. should have its own individual literature.  Observe this National Dictionary Day with some of these ideas.

He completed his dictionary during his year abroad in Paris, France, at the University of Cambridge.  Of his seventy thousand words, twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before.  It seems that he did not come to his senses even with the time in France.

Noah is responsible for changing the spelling of British words into what we know as American words.  Examples include replacing “colour” with “color,” substituting “wagon” for “waggon” and printing “center” instead of “centre.”  Webster also added American words such as “skunk” and “squash” that did not appear in British dictionaries.

  1. During his first career as a schoolteacher at the time of the American Revolution, Webster was concerned that most of his students’ textbooks came from England.  It could be argued that he should not have been surprised given the scholarly connection to England and its language.  So in 1783 he published his own American text, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. The “Blue-Backed Speller,” as it was popularly known, went on to sell nearly 100 million copies over the next century.
  2. Webster subscribed to the biblical account of the origin of language, believing that all languages derived from Chaldee, an Aramaic dialect.  He had a desire to get to the source words which the English had gathered from other countries.
  3. Though he fought for a strong federal government, Webster opposed plans to include a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. “Liberty is never secured with such paper declarations,” he wrote, “nor lost for want of them.”
  4. Even though he himself borrowed shamelessly from Thomas Dilworth’s New Guide to the English Tongue (1740) and Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Webster fought vigorously to protect his own work from plagiarists. His efforts led to the creation of the first federal copyright laws in 1790.
  5. Webster’s Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806), a forerunner of An American Dictionary, sparked a “war of the dictionaries” with rival lexicographer Joseph Worcester. But Worcester’s Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory English Dictionary didn’t stand a chance. Webster’s work, with 5,000 words not included in British dictionaries and with definitions based on the usage of American writers, soon became the recognized authority.
  6. In 1810, he published a booklet on global warming titled “Are Our Winters Getting Warmer?”
  7. Although Webster is credited for introducing such distinctive American spellings as color, humor, and center (for British colour, humour, and centre), many of his innovative spellings (including masheen for machine and yung for young) failed to catch on.
  8. In 1833 he published his own edition of the Bible, updating the vocabulary of the King James Version and cleansing it of any words that he thought might be considered “offensive, especially for females.”  The guy just did not know when to stop.  It seems that he felt the “offensive” parts of the Bible were acceptable for male readers.  He elaborate of why.

The “Sloopers” Are Coming: 1825 October 9th / Happy Leif Erikson Day

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October 9, 1825, the sloop Restauration arrived in the United States, marking what is frequently considered the first planned emigration from Norway to the U.S.  Norsemen from Greenland and Iceland were the first Europeans to reach America, led by Leif Erikson around the year 1000. They founded a settlement in present-day Newfoundland, Canada, but didn’t endure due to struggles with the indigenous people.

On July 4, 1825, a group of 52 Norwegian immigrants boarded the single-masted sloop Restauration (also known as Restauration, Restoration, Restaurasjonen, and Restorasjon) in Stavanger harbor. Often called the Norwegian Mayflower, it was only about half the size of that famous ship. During the three-month voyage, the ship’s habitation increased by one, with the birth of Margaret Allen Larsen.

The Restauration finally arrived in New York on October 9, 1825. Upon entrance in America, the captain was arrested for carrying 52 passengers, far too many for such a small ship. President John Quincy Adams pardoned him a month later. The passengers from the ship established their first settlement at Kendall, New York.  Over the next century, some 800,000 Norwegian settlers would follow them to North America, with most settling in the U.S

Leif Erikson Day is a United States observance happening on October 9. It honors Leif Erikson, who led the first Europeans known to have set foot on North American soil. In 1964, Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery