London, 1971. You sit at your typewriter, typing up a report while reflecting on your mysterious and troubling past. Your hands glide over the keys, but they are no normal hands and no normal keys. They are spy hands and spy keys.
The Goat Slaughter
When the first goat was killed, it took me by surprise. My husband Jorge and I had been invited by one of Jorge’s photojournalist friends to this nondescript compound in La Mixteca, the most impoverished region of Oaxaca, Mexico’s most impoverished state, to watch the annual slaughter of thousands of goats.[more inside]
"Welcome to the "Periodic Table of Videos". Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century - but this modern version will have a short video about each one."(YT subscription) (via kottke)
Meet the star-nosed mole. Capable of smelling underwater as well as the usual digging, it looks like some kind of bizarre mole-illithid hybrid and is the world's fastest eater.
This is the best news my moley ears have heard all day!
Redefining Avogadro's Number. A mole is the number of molecules in a gram of water: ~6.022 x 1023. Unfortunately "a gram" is defined by a chunk of metal in a vault in France, the last of the seven SI units still defined by a physical artifact. Since the reference mass (known as "Le Gran K") is actually changing over time (due to cleaning, handling, etc), the definition of a gram is currently temporally unstable. Now a new proposal has been put forward to explicitly define the number to be a known integer: 602,214,141,070,409,084,099,072, which would fundamentally change the way we define a gram. Le Gran K could become a historical curiosity like the original platinum meter stick.
FBI Probes Pentagon Spy Case - Interesting how bad news about the Bush Administration seems to always come out on Fridays - "the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon."
6.02x10^23. Anybody who has taken chemistry may remember that number as Avogadro's Number, the number of molecules of any gas present in a volume of 22.41 L and is the same for every element. Fun stuff, eh? Read more about one of the basics of chemistry at Chemistry.co.nz's Avogadro's Law page. For more mole fun, including jokes, try the National Mole Day Foundation. Why does Avogadro like blue cheese? Because it's mole-dy.