Sunday, October 13, 2013

Holidays for October 13th 2013

31 Day of Halloween Horror
13. Halloween 6

International Skeptics Day

Non-believers, conspiracy theorists and Doubting Thomases will get a kick out of today’s holiday. Then again, maybe they won’t. But believe it or not, October 13th International Skeptics Day. Or is it? While there is not enough concrete evidence about how or when this annual “holiday” began, International Skeptics Day is also celebrated on January 13th and/or the first Friday in January.

Famous Conspiracy Theories
Skeptics are folks who doubt the truth and question the validity or authenticity of something most believe to be factual. For instance, some skeptics question the validity of global warming despite claims made by experts in the scientific community. Other skeptics do not believe we ever landed on the moon and the famous images of the moon landings are fakes.

Some refuse to believe President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald while others believe the late Princess Diana was murdered. And some wonder if Elvis faked his own death? And some people believe the horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were part of a conspiracy. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, check out Area 51 and the controversial incident that took place in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947.

So, is it wise to automatically believe everything we are told or is it better to question? What do you think?

Websites for Skeptics - Hoaxes, Conspiracy Theories & Urban Legends
  • Mythbusters – If you downed Diet Coke and Mentos, would your stomach explode? If you ate a few poppy seed muffins, would you test positive on a drug test? Watch popular mythbusters Jamie and Adam, prove or dispel popular myths in this Emmy-nominated television series on the Discovery Channel.
  • Comprised of scientists, scholars, historians, educators and investigative journalists, Skeptics provides “sound scientific viewpoint on claims of the paranormal, pseudoscience, fringe groups, cults and claims between: science, pseudoscience, junk science, voodoo science, pathological science, bad science, non science and plain old nonsense.”
  • Snopes is the place to go for information on urban legends, myths, rumors and folklore.
  • David Emery is the Guide to Urban Legends. He’ll share current hoaxes and legends and the classics too.
  • From historical “facts” and politics, to aliens, technology and celebs,Theories of Conspiracy runs the gamut when it comes to conspiracies.
  • With more than 244,000 members, Above Top Secret is the “largest and most popular discussion board” on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, political scandals and more.
  • Created in 1994, the Skeptic’s Dictionary provides a look on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, supernatural, alternative medicine and more. There is also a Skeptic’s Dictionary for Children too!
  • Infowars is a popular website from radio host, documentary maker and publisher, Alex Jones. You’ll find interviews, podcasts, forums, world news and special reports displayed like a traditional news site.
It is what it is. Or is it?

Train Your Brain Day

Today is "Train Your Brain Day". Our nation is encouraged to expand their minds and show the scientific community (who thinks that humans only use a minute percentage of the brains capacity) that everyone is able to learn something new and everyone is able to improve their cognitive skills.

Need a good idea on something to teach and train the brains of your children? Here is an activity for preschoolers who are learning letters and theirbeginning sounds. With your children create the body of a spider (without legs) with black construction paper. Get an index card and write the letter "S" and glue it to the body of the spider. (This can later be done with the other letters of the alphabet). Next, cut out 10-15 legs and at the end of each leg, paste a picture of various nouns. Some should start with the letter "S" (at least eight) and some should not. A child chooses a leg and decides whether the picture's name begins with /s/. If it does, he positions the leg on the spider. If the picture's name does not begin with /s/, he puts the leg aside. After he has reviewed all of the legs, he checks his work by counting to see whether the spider has eight legs.

Making the legs with the pictures should be done ahead of time so that the activity flows efficiently and keeps the child interested. If you want to get really creative, you can make other things besides spiders to emphasize the letters and their beginning sounds. For example, you can make a flower with the letter "F" in the middle, and each petal of the flower could be different pictures and the child chooses the petal of the picture that startes with the /f/ sound.

Turning the TV off today and concentrating on some great learning exercises such as puzzles and board games are also a great way of training your brain today. If you have children that love to help making dinner, use a new recipe today and have your child help in measuring out the ingredients. Then the kids can't whine, "why do I need to learn fractions? I don't need to know this!!!" Little do they realize, the more they train their brains now, the smarter and more successful they will be in life in the years to come!

National Yorkshire Pudding Day

Today is National Yorkshire Pudding Day! Yorkshire pudding is an iconic British pastry similar to a popover. The first recipes for the dish appeared in the 1700s, but the exact origin is unknown. Yorkshire Pudding is made by combining flour, eggs, salt, milk, and pan drippings from prime rib or roast beef. The result is a light, doughy roll with a small well in the center that is usually filled with gravy.

Yorkshire Pudding is still a very popular dish in modern-day Britain, and often makes an appearance at big Sunday dinners. In fact, culinary historians refer to it as the national dish of England. To celebrate National Yorkshire Pudding Day, make a delicious homemade batch to enjoy with your family!

English Language Day - English The Global Language

This year English Language Day celebrates 'English the Global Language'. A language that was the tongue of three tribes 1,500 years ago is today the language of nearly two billion people. It has three-times more non-native speakers than native speakers. No other language comes close to matching that, and it is that that makes English global. It is the modern lingua franca, the language used by the Russians to talk to the Nigerians, the Germans to talk to the Spanish, the Chinese to talk to the Brazilians.

English is found on every continent. It has major speech communities in over seventy countries. It is the language of the internet. It is language of air-traffic control, of international travel, and of international business. It is the language of science.

English comes in a huge variety forms across time from Old English through Middle English to Modern English and through space from Australian through Jamaican and Indian to Zimbabwean. It exists in a thousand dialects, slangs and street forms. It exists in two major written forms, American and British. Those forms are not materially different, and the uniformity of written English provides the world with a consistent, and flexible mode of intercommunication.

With the role of being a global language goes the need for a large vocabulary, and the vocabulary of English is huge. The online Oxford English Dictionary has over 600,000 headwords; word collectors claim counts of one million and more words. Remarkably, the vocabulary of a university-educated person is about 50,000 words, and any one speaker can only use a tiny portion of the full range of English. Trades, groups, professions and activities have all their own vocabularies; the International Scientific Vocabulary is the largest with 200,000 words though each scientific area has its own subset of that great number. English has borrowed words from 350 languages, mainly from French (20,000) and from Latin (20,000). English has given words to as many languages as it has borrowed from, and it has probably given to very many more.

The English language is not only the vehicle of our heritage; it is the greatest jewel in that heritage. If we celebrate the English language, we do not do so with any sense of its superiority to other languages spoken in our community but only to recognize that English is the foundation of our heritage and the one language that we all have in common. It involves us all. It is a heritage so rich and diverse that is not possible to sum it up, but the English language is important to absolutely everyone in the United Kingdom. Salman Rushdie puts it best: ‘What seems to me to be happening is that those people who were once colonized by the language are now rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and more relaxed about the way they use it—assisted by the English language’s enormous flexibility and size, they are carving out large territories for themselves within its frontiers.

The US Navy's Birthday

The Chief of Naval Operations has stated that the Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates to be celebrated annually. This page provides historical information on the birth and early years of the Navy, including bibliographies, lists of the ships, and information on the first officers of the Continental Navy, as well as texts of original documents relating to Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.

After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.

Not to be confused with the Navy Birthday or the founding of the Navy Department is Navy Day. The Navy League sponsored the first national observance of Navy Day in 1922 designed to give recognition to the naval service. The Navy League of New York proposed that the official observance be on 27 October in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been born on that day.

In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navys birthday. In contrast to Navy Day, the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."