Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Happy Mole Day!

 

Earnest Shepherd, Mole in "Wind in the Willows"He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before—this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver—glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

One of the surest and most comforting of my childhood literary companions was Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Rather more advanced, and infinitely less twee than Winnie-the-Pooh, it nicely bridged the anthropomorphic gap between Beatrix Potter on the one hand, and George Orwell and James Herriot on the other. I love its dual themes of wanderlust, and longing for and love of, home. (I suspect this has a lot to do with its immediate popularity in the face of much negative criticism when it was first published in 1908, as I daresay many expats, both young and old, found it reassuring and charming.) And I love the characters, many of whom I came to realize later in life behave not so much as childish little people (well, Toad, on many occasions), but rather mimic characteristics of Downton Abbey era English gentlemen, with their fast motor cars, their velvet smoking jackets, their vast estates and cozy homes, their classism, and their love of fine food.

It’s been a decade or so since I visited the River Bank (about as long as I’ve been on Ricochet. Glory be.). Perhaps it’s time. And when better to start than Mole Day, a celebration I knew nothing about until I started investigating likely topics for today’s quote of the day?

Whoopsie.

Wrong sort of mole.

Rewind. Starting over:

Today is the day we celebrate Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro, Count of Quaregna and Cerreto, and his formulation known as Avogadro’s Law, that under the same conditions of temperature and pressure, equal volumes of different gases contain an equal number of molecules, and that the number of molecules in a mole of any substance (a mole being that substance’s molecular weight measured in grams) can be represented as 6.02214076 × 1023.

Or something vaguely like that.

This realization has engendered unwelcome recollections of high school chemistry class and my struggles (which are lifelong) with math. It was so long ago that there were no computers, and no personal or handheld calculators. Just pencil and paper.

And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

It changed my life.

Thank you, William Oughtred.

Posting this at 06:02 (local time) on 10/23 just because I can.

Happy Mole Day!

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  1. Arahant Member

    I still have my slide rule collection around here somewhere. Also, I note that the mole day site uses a mole as a mascot. Your particularly chosen passage reminded me of this from a bit further north:


    This is the Quote of the Day. If you would like to share a quotation to educate, honor another, celebrate yourself, brag about your new acquisition, or just so you can rant, our sign-up sheet is here.

    Or, if you’re looking to write something a bit more creative, you might try our Group Writing Project this month: It was a dark and stormy night…

    • #1
    • October 23, 2020, at 3:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Your particularly chosen passage reminded me of this from a bit further north: 

    [Video: Flow Gently Sweet Afton]

    Oh, and this reminds me of one of the poetry competitions between Dad and a middle-aged Canadian fisherman who’d gone further than other male member of his family, having made it to the eighth grade before having to join the family business. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of English poetry, and Dad didn’t always win. Quinton loved Robert Burns, and Afton Water was one of his favorites.

    • #2
    • October 23, 2020, at 3:46 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Morley Stevenson Member
    Morley StevensonJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think that you should check the date of publication.

    • #3
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Morley Stevenson (View Comment):

    I think that you should check the date of publication.

    Oh, thank you. If more proof were needed that math and numbers have never been my strong suit, this has probably sealed the deal. I’ve fixed the post.

    • #4
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Avogadro’s Number is a great number. I won’t say it is necessarily the best number. There are a lot of great numbers out there. But one of them is Avogadro’s Number.

    But as great as Avogadro’s Number is, this is my favorite mole.

    I don’t know what Arahant would do with that mole. Put it on spinach, probably.

    • #5
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:28 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Arahant Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    I don’t know what Arahant would do with that mole. Put it on spinach, probably.

    Over spinach, cheese, and onion enchiladas, maybe.

    • #6
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:32 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I don’t know what Arahant would do with that mole. Put it on spinach, probably.

    Over spinach, cheese, and onion enchiladas, maybe.

    Over enchiladas al pastor, maybe.

    Hold the spinach. Between your knees.

    • #7
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:46 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in SeattleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ahh, The Wind in the Willows.  *contented sigh* It sat on my bookshelf for years and I finally read it over the Summer; such sweet satisfaction. Your summation of it is spot-on. I’ll be thinking of Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad while I go for my morning swim today. Thanks for this.

    • #8
    • October 23, 2020, at 6:46 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  9. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My chemistry teacher in high school had a series of jars with moles of different substances, and when introducing the number he would pull them out and set them on his bench.

    “This is a mole of water!” and out came the jar.

    “This is a mole of sulphur!” and out came that jar, filled with a yellow powder.

    “This is a mole of sulphur molecules. Sulphur forms itself in rings of 8 atoms, so this has 8 times as much as the last jar.”

    “This is a mole of sugar!”

    “This is a dead mole in formaldehyde! Loot at him! He must have been dead for a couple of days when I found him, because there are maggots also floating around. And hey, look! You can teach dead moles tricks. Play dead! Roll over!” He rolled the jar back and forth. “Stand on your nose!” He tipped the jar upside down.

    • #9
    • October 23, 2020, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    • #10
    • October 23, 2020, at 7:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Ontheleftcoast Member

    As it turns out, you can sing “PV=nRT” to the tune of “Camptown Races.” 

    My apologies for the earworm.

    • #11
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    Ah, but you knew that two decimal points was all you had. As opposed to the easy spurious precision obtainable by using an electronic calculator on data less precise than the calculator’s display allows you to think.

    • #12
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:39 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Ontheleftcoast Member

    A. A. Milne, apparently recognizing Kenneth Grahame’s superiority, wrote:

    One does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character. We can’t criticize it, because it is criticizing us. . . .

    • #13
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  14. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    Ah, but you knew that two decimal points was all you had. As opposed to the easy spurious precision obtainable by using an electronic calculator on data less precise than the calculator’s display allows you to think.

    And then there’s Excel….

    • #14
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Ontheleftcoast Member

    She (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    Ah, but you knew that two decimal points was all you had. As opposed to the easy spurious precision obtainable by using an electronic calculator on data less precise than the calculator’s display allows you to think.

    And then there’s Excel….

    The first poculators I bought had another feature: if you ran the same calculation several times, you didn’t always get the same answer.

    • #15
    • October 23, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    Ah, but you knew that two decimal points was all you had. As opposed to the easy spurious precision obtainable by using an electronic calculator on data less precise than the calculator’s display allows you to think.

    And then there’s Excel….

    The first poculators I bought had another feature: if you ran the same calculation several times, you didn’t always get the same answer.

    I know a lot of engineers liked HP’s reverse Polish notation ones, you must have gotten one of the other models meant for economists.

    • #16
    • October 23, 2020, at 11:57 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. Ontheleftcoast Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    She: And then we were introduced to something called the slide rule, an analog device with which we could perform complex calculations with precision, at amazing speed.

    “Precision” equaling two decimal points.

    Ah, but you knew that two decimal points was all you had. As opposed to the easy spurious precision obtainable by using an electronic calculator on data less precise than the calculator’s display allows you to think.

    And then there’s Excel….

    The first poculators I bought had another feature: if you ran the same calculation several times, you didn’t always get the same answer.

    I know a lot of engineers liked HP’s reverse Polish notation ones, you must have gotten one of the other models meant for economists.

    Oh, I liked the HP35 and then the HP45. But the last class I planned to take for which they would have been useful was physical chemistry, and both were $395 when released. By the BLS numbers that’s over $2400 in today’s dollars; Shadowstats’ CPI rise since 1980 when the USG changed how it calculates inflation is more like 1600%.

    • #17
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Giulietta Coolidge

    I loved The Wind in the Willows when I was little and I’d love to read it to my nieces and nephew sometime when they visit. It’s one of my favorite books and I have so many nice memories of reading it with my parents. Thank you for the pleasant memory on an otherwise bleak and rainy day:)

    • #18
    • October 23, 2020, at 3:38 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Randy Webster Member

    “Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

    • #19
    • October 23, 2020, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Giulietta Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    “Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

    Everyone should read this sweet little book for the sake of that snippet alone. 

    • #20
    • October 23, 2020, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Avogadro’s Number is a great number. I won’t say it is necessarily the best number. There are a lot of great numbers out there. But one of them is Avogadro’s Number.

    But as great as Avogadro’s Number is, this is my favorite mole.

    Is that precisely one mole of mole?

    • #21
    • October 24, 2020, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Suspira Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I still have my slide rule collection around here somewhere. Also, I note that the mole day site uses a mole as a mascot. Your particularly chosen passage reminded me of this from a bit further north:


    This is the Quote of the Day. If you would like to share a quotation to educate, honor another, celebrate yourself, brag about your new acquisition, or just so you can rant, our sign-up sheet is here.

    Or, if you’re looking to write something a bit more creative, you might try our Group Writing Project this month: It was a dark and stormy night…

    Very pretty tune, but not the one I’m familiar with.

    • #22
    • October 24, 2020, at 7:12 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    While not perfectly faithful to the book, the 1996 file Mr Toad’s Wild Ride is still wonderful.

    • #23
    • October 24, 2020, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Yet another mole.

    • #24
    • October 24, 2020, at 7:13 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Giulietta Coolidge

    She (View Comment):

    Yet another mole.

    The most famous one of all.

    • #25
    • October 24, 2020, at 7:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Avogadro’s Number is a great number. I won’t say it is necessarily the best number. There are a lot of great numbers out there. But one of them is Avogadro’s Number.

    But as great as Avogadro’s Number is, this is my favorite mole.

    I don’t know what Arahant would do with that mole. Put it on spinach, probably.

    Great minds think alike. I saw the title of the post and thought, I could really go for some Chicken Mole with Spanish Rice and warm tortillas.

    • #26
    • October 25, 2020, at 5:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Nohaaj Coolidge

    Thank you for this post. I just ordered the book for my grandchildren, along with the entire series of Rush Revere books. Trying to impress and save them. #2 son and his wife are both teachers; Sr. English lit and Jr. High Math respectively. He used to be conservative, they are now both flaming liberals. Academia is mind fouling. On FB recently, he was complaining about Trump defunding CRT training, and we debated it some. His wife’s cousin commented that he was reading to his kids a book about an old oak tree that witnessed over time all of the evils perpetrated by every one in the US, from Columbus to colonists and capitalists. He claimed it gave him a chance to discuss the realities of white supremacy, white privilege, and systemic racism with his young daughter. I deactivated my FB account the next day so that I wouldn’t be tempted to respond in a way that would forever deny me opportunities to visit my grandchildren.

    • #27
    • October 28, 2020, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m so sorry to hear all of that. The Rosemary Sutcliff series of books on the Roman occupation of Britain is fun (You can get them on Amazon, but the link lists them all and gives a short precis). If your grandchildren like stories about enterprising and adventurous children, they might like the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfield is nice for girls. And anything by E. Nesbit (co-founder of the Fabian Society, but I forgive her that), such as Five Children and It, or The Railway Children is good. Oh, and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Of course, there are so, so many more. But these are fairly anodyne from a political/religious standpoint and might pass muster with Mom and Dad.

    The key for me with children’s literature was always to avoid the self-conscious, the self-pitying, and the stuck-in-a-rut. For some reason, kid’s books of the 1970s abound with such themes, and that’s pretty much when I gave up on new stuff.

    • #28
    • October 28, 2020, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Nohaaj Coolidge

    She (View Comment):

    I’m so sorry to hear all of that. The Rosemary Sutcliff series of books on the Roman occupation of Britain is fun (You can get them on Amazon, but the link lists them all and gives a short precis). If your grandchildren like stories about enterprising and adventurous children, they might like the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfield is nice for girls. And anything by E. Nesbit (co-founder of the Fabian Society, but I forgive her that), such as Five Children and It, or The Railway Children is good. Oh, and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Of course, there are so, so many more. But these are fairly anodyne from a political/religious standpoint and might pass muster with Mom and Dad.

    The key for me with children’s literature was always to avoid the self-conscious, the self-pitying, and the stuck-in-a-rut. For some reason, kid’s books of the 1970s abound with such themes, and that’s pretty much when I gave up on new stuff.

    Thank you for the additional recommendations. I am bookmarking for future reference. 

    • #29
    • October 28, 2020, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Giulietta Coolidge

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    I’m so sorry to hear all of that. The Rosemary Sutcliff series of books on the Roman occupation of Britain is fun (You can get them on Amazon, but the link lists them all and gives a short precis). If your grandchildren like stories about enterprising and adventurous children, they might like the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfield is nice for girls. And anything by E. Nesbit (co-founder of the Fabian Society, but I forgive her that), such as Five Children and It, or The Railway Children is good. Oh, and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Of course, there are so, so many more. But these are fairly anodyne from a political/religious standpoint and might pass muster with Mom and Dad.

    The key for me with children’s literature was always to avoid the self-conscious, the self-pitying, and the stuck-in-a-rut. For some reason, kid’s books of the 1970s abound with such themes, and that’s pretty much when I gave up on new stuff.

    Thank you for the additional recommendations. I am bookmarking for future reference.

    For children’s literature, I love everything by James Marshall, the George and Martha stories in particular- two hippos who are best friends. There is nothing weird or heavy about the stories or the characters, and the children just love them. My niece just howled with laughter the first time she read the stories with her grandfather and she still does now three years later and she can read them to herself and little sister. Maybe we should have a new Ricochet chat about our favorite children’s books?

    • #30
    • October 28, 2020, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes