New Year’s and Weight (Atomic and Otherwise)

It’s that time of year again, when old calendars hit the recycling bin and humans hit the gym. Yes, brace yourself for the annual flood of blog posts demonizing food and canonizing exercise. Or, as I prefer to call it, the season of shrinky self-destruction.

But this New Years Resolution post is not like the others. There’s very little new to say about weight loss, after all; we may be on the eve of 2011, but our backsides are still prehistorically accurate. No, let’s forget about our jiggly butts long enough to geek out about something even more interesting…

Chemistry. Yes, chemistry! It’s the science of matter and reactions – what’s not to love? And 2011 happens to be the International Year of Chemistry. As if we Geek Moms needed another excuse to dust off our periodic tables and make a mess of the house, right?

But wait! The periodic table of elements is changing in 2011. Ten elements are having their atomic weights updated from a single average number to a range of values. And since we’re somehow back on the topic of weight and value, don’t you think it’d be more interesting to acknowledge that, like other exciting things found in nature, human bodies occur in a range of forms, and that ‘average’ is just a number in the middle, after all? And like the periodic table of elements, sometimes that number needs an update? Food for thought.

Speaking of humanity’s vast range of forms, that number is getting bigger, too. The human population is supposed to top 7 billion in 2011. According to National Geographic, all of us could theoretically stand shoulder-to-shoulder in an area the size of Los Angeles, but one assumes they used an average value to arrive at that estimation…

With all that said, we finally arrive at my family’s New Year’s Resolution for 2011: We’re going to do more chemistry experiments together. If we happen to discover a better way to help the planet cope with obesity and 7 billion human inhabitants while we’re at it, that would be great. However, with New Years Resolutions as with fitness, the exercise itself is the goal.

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