Moles... Not the rodents but equally annoying engineering entities.

So what is a mole? An Avogadro's constant? 6.023E23? # of particles in 12 grams of 12C?
Nah son. Those answers do nothing but create *%$ loads of other questions.

It is a number of atoms (or molecules) when the sum of the neutrons and protons in that particular atom (molecule) is numerically equal to the mass of that number of atoms.

Why no give real definition chem text books? That answer solves almost every single mystery surrounding moles, AMU, gm-mole, lb-mole and molar mass. AND it's not dependent on system of units.

More facts and explanation

There s a relationship between the mass and moles (number of basic building blocks of matter atoms, molecules ions etc..., identified as atoms for the sack of brevity ). Mass of the matter is related to the number of atoms by it's atomic weight. They never told you explicitly but the atomic weight is arbitrary assignment of only logical when considered relative to different types of molecules. Hydrogen has i proton (P) in it's nucleus and oxygen has total of 16 [8 N(Neutrons) + 8 P] making it 16 times as heavy as hydrogen atom. Now it doesn't matter how many number of oxygen atom you'll take, the total mass of oxygen atoms is always going to be 16 times heavier than the mass of the that many hydrogen atoms. Now they went ahead and mass of an single atom a new unit (Atomic mass unit) which is mass of a proton or neutron. So 1 AMU = mass of a proton/neutron. Now mass of the different are directly related to number of the Ns and Ps they have and are relative to each other.

Now it is possible to find the number of atoms where the total mass (in a different unit of mass, say gram) of the atoms will be numerically equal to the total number of Ns and Ps in that particular atom. Furthermore that number of atoms for a different element will be numerically equal to the total number of Ns and PS in that element. This sounds like a magic. Let's explore the above sentences numerically:

Hydrogen: Atomic mass = 1 AMU,

Oxygen: Atomic mass = 16 AMU

Hence mass of an oxygen atom/mass of a hydrogen atom = 16/1 =16

or mass of x atoms of oxygen/mass of x hydrogen atoms = 16*x/1*x = 16.

In other words ratio of the masses of different elements is constant as long as the number of atoms are equal. or if we flip it back, the mass of a number of the atoms of different elements will be always related by the ratio of their atomic masses. So when mole was defined, it was nothing but the attempt o find x where the total mass of x atoms equals atomic mass of that element in grams. The reason behind the mole has the same number of atoms regardless of the element is because the elements mass are defined relative to each other where 1 atom of hydrogen weighs 1 amu arbitrarily and all other elements are integer multiples of hydrogen atom mass.

Now on Volume and moles:
The equal number of atoms of different gaseous atoms at same pressure and temperature will occupy the same volume. 1 mole of any gas at stp will always occupy 22.4 L of space.

More on this coming up:

Paneer Bhurji

It is here! This curry demands hard work but it's worth it. If you are
like me you would delegate all cutting/chopping.grinding parts to somebody else and still claim the credit for the dish. ;)
paneer 150 gms.(homemade or packaged)
3 onions
5 tomatoes
2 fresh yellow corn cob or 1 bag frozen corn kernels
2 potatoes
2-3 garlic cloves (if you want really strong flavor go with 4)
3 chilly
3 tbs vegetable/sunflower/corn oil
1 tbs red chili powder
1/2 tbs cumin seeds
1 tbs cumin powder
salt to taste
lemon zest

If you want to be adventurous like my sister you could make paneer at home. she just heats up the 3 cups of milk on stove and when it comes to boil she adds half to three quarter worth of lemon juice. I tried to get exact proportions but this the best she could do. When curd starts separating she turns off the gas and takes paneer in paper napkin and squeezes out water in a strainer. This does not give nice little cubes like packaged paneer but it works for this recipe. Caution: it won't look as pretty as packaged paneer.

ok the Bhuraji part:
  1. Pressure cook/Microwave potatoes and corns or alternatively use frozen corn. Then microwave only potatoes.
  2. Microwave potatoes: Dent the potatoes with fork and microwave it for 3-5 minutes/potato, depending on size. When skin starts peeling out it's done. peel them and cut into cubes. I prefer pressure cooked potato.
  3. Chop up the onions in really small pieces. it needs to be small, no cheating allowed. If you don't want to chop onions you could just grind them in a blender with little water. keep aside.
  4. Chop up tomatoes and grind them to make puree (I don't like taste of canned puree in Indian cooking, tomato puree is quite easy. little messy, yeah.)
  5. Chop up ginger, chillies and garlic in fine pieces, no cheating. Again, you can use ready made paste too.
  6. Take a heavy bottom pan, heat up the oil, add cumin seeds and wait until it starts spluttering.
  7. Add ginger-chillies-garlic and saute it for about a minute.
  8. Now add onions and saute it until transparent.
  9. Add tomato puree, keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes
  10. Add all the seasonings, red chili powder, cumin powder and salt.
  11. Add potato and mix it into the sauce.
  12. Add corn and paneer to it. Stir it frequently so paneer is broken down in fine pieces, almost like in grain size.
  13. Cook for about 7-8 minutes more, stirring it frequently.
Additional options for you:
  1. Use the bag of mix vegetables instead of potato or even with potato. I hate green peas so I can't use frozen mix vegetables. 
  2. Substitute soft tofu for paneer. I hate tofu too. This will make it VEGAN! Huzzzah! If I did not love milk-tea, butter, yogurt, cheese and hate Tofu, I'd go vegan. So yeah no chance of going Vegan in this life time.
It makes an awesome dish. What's more it provides protein in a same dish! No need of cooking dal or leaving out protein from your diet.

I won't steal empty cans...

I have to share this. too funny to let it go unheard.
So I exit out on the street from my apartment, there is this hobo in front of me with his cart full of empty cans and other trinkets. The side walk is too narrow for me to pass with my bike, this guy and his cart. Street is lined with car so I am trying to figure out how to get on street, all the while walking in his direction. I notice this guy is staring at me intently. I am little uncomfortable so I wished him good morning, he replied GOOD MORNING DARLING with the enthusiasm of a cheer leader. finally I found little room between two cars to get out and he was right there so I had to walk around his cart to get out, I am mid way through and he jumped on my side with covering his cart with his hand as if I was gonna steal those precious empty cans! ha! I was startled at first but then I could not resist and laughed out loud and he stared at me some more and started to yell but I just hopped on my bike and ran away.
I don’t know what I did to experience this. ok, I tried to get in the bathroom before my sister even though she had to leave first but that’s not that big of a offense, right?
ok, I promise the next post will be my driving adventures in Ca. I swear!

Holi: "funny brownies"

Good morning toastmasters, today I will talk about my favorite festival Holi. It is the best festival in the whole wide world! What a boisterous thing to say! Right? Well, That's what Holi is about: boisterous, rowdy fun. Holi is the festival of cool colors, tasty treats, frivolous fun and for the lack of better expression “funny brownies”. Yes you heard that right! Even with this carefree demeanor the underlying message behind Holi is universal brotherhood and love.
 First I will tell you the story behind the message and then we will take a look at celebration itself.  Once upon a time young Krishna asked his mother that why Radha, his girlfriend, was so fair and he was so dark. Yashoda, his mother advised him to cover her in color and then see. Of course Radha sprinkled the color back on him and that cascaded into everybody spraying colors and water on each other. Lord Krishna made this as a part of the traditional harvesting festivities to signify love and unity.  India is a conservative place with a palpable class and gender distinction. Holi defies all these social and cultural restrictions and bridges the gap between man and woman and between all the layers of social strata.
 Holi is a two day festival. It begins on the first full moon day of spring. The first day is a traditional celebration of new harvest. The bonfire is ceremoniously kindled in the moonlight and people walk around fire singing songs. The fire signifies the cleansing of dirt and filth.
 The second day celebration is the reason Holi is known as a festival of colors. The day starts with power pack breakfast of dates and milk. Then people don their most worn out clothes as they won't be able to wear them ever again. Then they arm themselves with colors and water guns. The celebration begins with the family and is mild enough, just a smudge of color here and there. No water yet. As the day gets brighter the braver family members go out and form a group. First they sprinkle color on each other and then water gun fight begins, when everybody is thoroughly soaked in water the group ends the fight. The groups prowl through streets to find a new groups to have water gun fights. As the day gets warmer and warmer celebration gets wilder and wilder with water. The kids throw water filled balloons on unsuspecting passers bys If you resist the result could be as dire as being hosed down them with the a garden hose or even being dunked into pools.
 As the Sun reaches to the pinnacle people drenched in colors and water gather up in open space where a pot of buttermilk is hung 20 feet high in the air, goal is to break the pot without stones or sticks. This sight is something to behold. Sea of kaleidoscopic faces forming a human pyramid and trying to break the terracotta pot. It's a pure euphoria.
 Speaking of euphoria, what would be the most appropriate subject other then? any guesses? Yes! “funny brownies” Frivolous fun is so much woven with the Holi that it's the only time when it is socially acceptable to use drugs for recreation, even in the dry state of Gujurat! Cannabis Pakora, that is deep fried fritters and cannabis thandai that is almond and milk drink are consumed throughout the day.
 You know how you would crave oily, fatty food after big downfall, Holi food is prepared with that in mind. It ranges from tongue tickling mint chat, to savory yogurt fritters to cold, creamy thnadai to mouthwatering curries and flat breads. The day ends with total exhaustion and food coma.
In the closing I would say Holi is my favorite festival for three reasons. The first is obviously kaleidoscopic colors and splash of water in scorching heat. Ahh good times! The second is the shear variety of sweet, spicy savory food. The last one is, how altruistic message of love and unity is blended into seemingly a rowdy show of indulgence.

confession of a cheater

Laser Tag

So we went to Laser tag few weekends ago. Apparently  one of my friend had gone before with this group and he had fun. So he invited me along this time but he bowed out last minute. I went anyway. Thought, what the heck, I would make new friends a least. I did not know any of them. This is very important later in the entry.

Laser Tag: It's a high tech version of Hide and Seek with 40 people playing at a time. You get a harness, laser gun and a chip to insert into your gun. This chip keeps your score on namely, how many times you were tagged and how many time you tagged others. You go into a dark, maze like room. You choose a hiding place and try to tag as many people as you can while moving further deep into the room. oh and you try not to tag by others. Harness have four receivers: front, back and two on shoulders. You get highest points if you tag the front receiver and lowest if you tag the back, shoulders are somewhere middle. [Laser tag people won't tell you any of this until after the game by the way] oh I know! Patience my dear patience! I will tell you in a minute how and whom I cheated. We had decided to play two games. I never had played this before so I was like hide and seek, meh! They  recited us rules but I was too busy thinking one of the guy indeed was wearing flamingo pink jeans?! oh and the attendant guy had a cold so I did not understand most of his introduction speech. Who cares about it anyway! You go in, point your laser at people and have fun! They actually do care. The Laser tag guys keep your score and upload on the big screen outside for all to see!
Now I was given a chance to choose my tag name. Foolishly enough I had chosen oi! so everybody knew the only person with negative scoring was me! Daymn! Negative scoring! 5 people whom I never had met before were judging me like a piece of candy! and a piece of rotten candy was the verdict at that!

One of the guy(A) asked me in all seriousness that why did I get negative scoring. [Yeah I love to be a  chocolate flavored candy corn, you know] He insisted that I should not get negative scoring  it's kinda bad looking. [duh?!] Yeah he was a real charmer. He also showed me piece of paper with tips, that was his score card! So It is actually a very serious business. They hand you score card! huh! I thought this this was a game?! and I was suppose to have fun! He tried to analyze my score card which showed that I was hit by 50 people! [Out of 40] My score card said that I did not kill anybody but my gun made this really cool zapping sound so I thought I was killing people. Turned out laser gun makes zapping sound regardless of hitting the receiver or not. [Really intuitive, right!]  I played it cool.  A kept showing me all "rules" and "tips" from that damned score card which I ended up tearing up in his face [I did not say I kept my cool forever, alright?, Jeez!] and he left me alone. So I bore those snickers and doodles for 15 more minutes, they said this was the best game they ever had. Yes of course! The second game started and I was determined not to get negative scoring this time.

This time I went in first, I did not care if 10 years old wanted go in before me. [I was the last person to enter in the first game because I let all kids go in before me] I found a corner and started killing all the entering people. Rug rats or senile 60 years olds, you are going down if you choose to enter into oi's path of destruction. [Insert evil laugh here]

Suddenly I heard those snickers again and I felt I need to do something. I acted fast. I removed my harness and put on one shoulder in such a way that so nobody can tag me and positioned myself in a dark corner, never moved from there and tagged hell outta everybody.  One guy (B) from our group saw me with my harness on one shoulder and he was like: "aha! so clever of you! Don't worry I won't tell anybody." I was like: "hey what are you talking about dude? oh harness! It was too heavy and hurting my back [it really was] so took off to get some fresh air ok?" I probably had receivers blocked for 5-6 minutes, [ok 7-8, alright! alright! no more than 10 ok? stop looking at me! Jesus Christ!] out of a 20 minutes game. I put on my harness back and finally after ages the game was over and we went out to see our scores! I was in first five! omg! everybody in my group almost kissed my feet. All I wanted was not to get negative scoring and here I am being interviewed to the death by A on how to get high scores?! He was like,"wow! give me tips too. You are so awesome." oh and B kept appearing around me with a knowing smile. I think after 20 minutes of insane praise he could not hold it anymore. He appeared besides me and casually mentioned that some people had cheated with their harness on the one shoulder. He tried to hint people that he was talking about me by side way glances towards me but one of the guy was like" "I know right! C(The highest scorer guy who was not in our group) had his harness on shoulder, I saw that" Ha! Poor B! oh sorry, I am not suppose to be happy here.

I can not bear this pain of being a cheater and I have decided to come out clean by confessing to you guys. This cheating has haunted me day and nights. I lost my sleep, appetite, and comfort. oh by the way I hear that that's how you feel when you fall in love?  Really?! Anybody out there can confirm this? I mean I will hate to loose my sleep you know.
There you go, you have a confession of a cheater.  Do you cheat on something that is not a professional competition, something that suppose to be fun past time? [Not that I support cheating in professional competitions!]