Friday, April 25, 2014

Holidays and Observances for April 25 2014

Arbor Day

Arbor Day (from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Today, many countries observe this holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season.

On Arbor Day, people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. A wide range of events are organized to promote Arbor Day. These include: communal tree planting ceremonies; proclamations by city governments; exhibitions and educational activities on trees and their importance to local communities and the planet as a whole; and fairs, musical performances and open days in garden centers. Schools are encouraged to plan lessons around the theme of trees. Arbor Day awards are also presented to individuals and organizations across the United States and around the world. These are awarded for outstanding service to trees, forestry or related ecological themes.

In 1854 J Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to the area that is now the state of Nebraska. At that time there were virtually no trees in the area and he and the other pioneers desired to have them in their surroundings. They also noticed that trees were needed to act as windbreaks to stabilize the soil and to provide shade from the sun, fuel and building materials. Morton planted many trees around his own home but wanted to encourage and enable others to do the same.

At a Nebraska State Board of Agriculture meeting on January 4, 1872, he proposed a holiday to plant trees on April 10, 1872. This was known as "Arbor Day" and prizes were awarded to the counties and individuals who planted the most trees on the day. A total of about one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. In 1874, Governor Robert W Furnas officially proclaimed that Arbor Day would be observed on April 10, 1884. In 1885, it became a legal holiday and was moved to April 22, which was Morton's birthday. In 1989 the official state holiday was moved to the last Friday in April. In Nebraska, Arbor Day is now observed on the last Friday in April, which is also when National Arbor Day is observed. Former President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day during his presidency in 1970.

All states in the US now have an official Arbor Day, usually at a time of year that is has the correct climatological conditions for planting trees. Many observations of this day are in April, but the following states hold them at different times of the year: Florida and Louisiana (January); Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi (February);  Arkansas, Arizona, California, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee (March); Alaska, Maine, North Dakota and Vermont (May); Hawaii (November); and South Carolina (December). Similar events to encourage the planting or care of trees are arranged in many countries around the world. The dates are usually chosen to coincide with the optimal season for planting or caring for native trees.

Arbor Day is symbolized by the trees that are planted on the day or as a result of fundraising activities. The official Arbor Day logo shows a mature deciduous tree and the words "celebrate Arbor Day". The symbol of the Arbor Day Foundation is a similar tree in a circle, symbolizing the importance of trees to the whole planet. Local initiatives may use their state tree as a symbol.

National DNA Day

Celebrate the 11th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project and learn more about genetics and genomics on National DNA Day, April 25th.

National DNA Day is a special day when teachers, students, and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health has sponsored DNA Day for the past ten years, to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 and of Watson and Crick's discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA--short for deoxyribonucleic acid--was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.    In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that "we had found the secret of life." The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science--how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick's solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals. 

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson's book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.

World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day is commemorated every on 25 April. It recognizes global efforts to control malaria. Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. In 2009, 781 000 people died from malaria, mainly women and children in Africa

World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The day was established to provide "education and understanding of malaria" and spread information on "year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas." 

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas. The disease results from the multiplication of malaria parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma, and death.

Malaria is not just a disease commonly associated with poverty but also a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development. Tropical regions are affected most, however malaria's furthest extent reaches into some temperate zones with extreme seasonal changes. The disease has been associated with major negative economic effects on regions where it is widespread. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was a major factor in the slow economic development of the American southern states. 

National Hairball Awareness Day

The last Friday in April is National Hairball Awareness Day. If you live with a cat, chances are that you have heard a retching hacking sound coming from your cat at one time or another. Don’t ignore it: hairballs at the very least are unpleasant to your cat and at the worst can create severe problems.

A hairball is a small collection of hair or fur formed in the stomach of animals that is occasionally vomited up when it becomes too big. Hairballs are primarily a tight elongated cylinder of packed fur, but may include bits of other elements such as swallowed food. Hairballs are sometimes mistaken for other conditions of the stomach such as lymphosarcoma, tuberculosis, and tumour of the spleen.

Cats are especially prone to hairball formation since they groom themselves by licking their fur, and thereby ingest it. Rabbits are also prone to hairballs because they groom themselves in the same fashion as cats, but hairballs are especially dangerous for rabbits because they cannot regurgitate them. Because the digestive system of a rabbit is very fragile, rabbit hairballs must be treated immediately or they may cause the animal to stop feeding and ultimately die due to dehydration. Cattle are also known to accumulate hairballs, but as they do not vomit, these are found usually after death and can be quite large.

According to the folks at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “Hair accumulates in the cat’s throat or stomach and at some point causes enough irritation to trigger vomiting—a quick fix to the problem. In a few cases, however, hairballs can create a real problem in a cat’s digestive system. Hair that passes beyond the stomach can accumulate and harden in the intestines. Ultimately, the hairball can block the intestinal track, preventing the cat from regurgitating the hair or passing it in feces. In severe cases, these hairballs must be surgically removed.”

National Zucchini Bread Day

Zucchini bread is a delicious type of quick bread that is sweet and moist. The primary ingredient in zucchini bread is of course zucchinis, but you can also add various other ingredients. Many people like to add dried cranberries, orange zest, or cinnamon to make the bread spicy. Many chefs agree that zucchini bread is a great recipe for beginner cooks because it is so easy to make.

Did you know that zucchini is actually just a small summer squash? They're usually yellow or light green in color and are shaped like a cucumber.

In addition to being used to make zucchini bread, zucchini is great when grilled or incorporated into stir-fry dishes. You can steam it, fry it, bread it, or grill it. Any way you cook zucchini, it's healthy and delicious!

Enjoy a slice of zucchini bread today in honor of National Zucchini Bread Day!

Plumber's Day

Most people take plumbing for granted. It works so well we never think about it. But that's no accident. It's a testament to America's hardworking, highly skilled plumbers - from the industrial hydraulic engineer to the guy who turns the wrench.

Of course, it wasn't always thus. People hand-carried water from rivers. Did their business in the bush, or in cesspools, out-houses and chamber pots they'd toss into foul, unsanitary streets. Think about all the squalor and disease that plumbers have saved mankind from suffering. Has there ever been a  more noble Profession? 

Plumbing takes expertise, and accreditation. It's often hard work, shimmying under foundations, dodging dirt and spiders, digging septic tank holes, lugging 200 lb. showers up stairs. Not to mention a certain unmentionable: what plumbers call “solids.” Truly, these guys do our dirty work

So when we heard there was a holiday dedicated to Plumbers — declared by congress no less — we thought it high time it was paid some attention!

(We're talking about Plumber's Day, Monday April 25th, celebrated as part of National Plumbing Industry Week, which is declared by resolution in the U.S. House and most state legislatures for the last week of April.)

Red Hat Society Day

The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization originally founded in 1998 in the United States for women age 50 and beyond, but now open to women of all ages. As of 2011, there were over 40,000 chapters in the United States and 30 other countries.

The founder of the Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper, who lives in Fullerton, Orange County, California. In 1997, Cooper gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red bowler purchased at an antique store along with a copy of Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning". The opening lines of the poem read:
“When I am an old woman I shall wear purpleWith a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me.”
Cooper repeated the gift on request several times, and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party on April 25, 1998.

After spreading by word of mouth, the Society first received national publicity in 2000 through the magazine Romantic Homes and a feature in The Orange County Register. Cooper then established a "Hatquarters" to field the hundreds of e-mail requests for help starting chapters. She now serves as "Exalted Queen Mother", and has written two best-selling books about the Society, "The Red Hat Society: Friendship and Fun After Fifty" published in April 2004 and "The Red Hat Society's Laugh Lines: Stories of Inspiration and Hattitude" published in April 2005."

World Penguin Day

April 25 is World Penguin Day. On the 25th of April every year, the Adelie penguins in the Antarctic begin their annual northward migration. The Adelies start migrating in the Antarctic fall season and won’t return to their colonies until the following spring. In true synchronized fashion, the Adelies dive into the frigid waters answering their Nature’s call to migrate. They will swim north for only a few hundred miles (around 600km) and stay among icebergs that are floating about, feasting on krill and other penguin delicacies.
In actuality, these penguins don’t technically go anywhere when they migrate. They’ll bob around in the ocean and rest on the ice until it’s time to head back home to Antarctica. Actually, the reason they do this is because the days in Antarctica are becoming darker during this time of year. Adelies do not see too well in the dark so they migrate north so they can hunt for food, otherwise they would starve.

Penguins are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands. Penguins are probably the world’s most popular bird – think of Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, Pingu and penguin books to name a few uses in popular culture. These charismatic flightless birds are funny to watch on land but are graceful and rapid in water. They occur only in the seas of the Southern hemisphere; there are seventeen species of penguin ranging from the Galapagos to Antarctica.

Penguin facts:
  • Volunteer Point on the Falkland Islands is the world’s largest accessible king penguin colony with 1000 pairs of breeding penguins.
  • Unlike many other penguins which get around obstacles by sliding on their bellies, Rockhoppers will try to jump over them as their name suggests. Rockhopper penguins are the smallest of the Falkland penguins and they come to the Falklands to breed on cliff tops in October. 70% of the world’s Rockhopper population is in the Falklands.
  • The macaroni penguin is probably the most abundant penguin species in the world; the estimated world population exceeds 11 million pairs.
  • The gentoo penguin is the third largest species of penguin after the emperor and king penguin.
  • Magellanic penguins ( named after Ferdinand Magellan) are also known in the Falklands as the jackass penguin because of their braying call. They arrive in September but leave in April to migrate as far as Brazil. They breed in underground burrows, up to 6 meters deep, providing effective protection from predators and the harsh weather.
  • The Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin specie that ventures north of the equator in the wild.
  • Penguins can drink sea water.
  • Chinstrap Penguins get their name from the thin black band under their head. At times it looks like they’re wearing a black helmet, which might be useful as they’re considered the most aggressive type of penguin.
  • Penguin’s black and white plumage serves as camouflage while swimming. The black plumage on their back is hard to see from above, while the white plumage on their front looks like the sun reflecting off the surface of the water when seen from below.
  • Little Blue Penguins are the smallest type of penguin, averaging around 33 cm (13 in) in height. The Emperor Penguin is the tallest of all penguin species, reaching as tall as 120 cm (47 in) in height.
How to celebrate World Penguin Day
This is a holiday to have fun with and put your penguin passion front and center. So have a blast and try to do lots of things “penguinish”, whether dressing in plenty of black and white, wearing penguin apparel and / or accessories, eating fish (healthy), waddling every now and then (remember to stretch first), telling penguin jokes (keep them clean), watching a penguin video (be it a nature film, animated or something in between like Mr. Popper’s Penguins), read about penguins (plenty of kids and adult books are available), visit penguins at your local zoo or aquarium, adopting a penguin or maybe even treating yourself by buying up hordes of penguin merchandise.

Hairstylists Appreciation Day

Hairstyle Appreciation Day is observed on April 25. It celebrates the uniqueness of all styles of hair and honors the people who make artful hairstyles possible. Hairstyling is an artful skill, on April 25 you can show your favorite hairstylist your appreciation. 

A hairstyle's aesthetic considerations may be determined by many factors, such as the subject's physical attributes and desired self-image or the stylist's artistic instincts. Physical factors include natural hair type and growth patterns, face and head shape from various angles, and overall body proportions; medical considerations may also apply. Self-image may be directed toward conforming to mainstream values, identifying with distinctively groomed subgroups, or obeying religious dictates, though this is highly contextual and a "mainstream" look in one setting may be limited to a "subgroup" in another.

A hairstyle is achieved by arranging hair in a certain way, occasionally using combs, a blow-dryer, gel, or other products. The practice of styling hair is often called hairdressing, especially when done as an occupation.

Parental Alienation Awareness Day

Parental Alienation Awareness Day takes place on April 25, 2014. April 25 has been chosen as Parental Alienation Awareness Day (PAAD), part of a global awareness campaign to raise awareness about parental alienation. The idea was introduced in Canada by Sarvy Emo in late 2005, with the original date being March 28. This was changed after the start of the campaign for marketing reasons and was put into practice in 2006. 

Parental alienation is a social dynamic, generally occurring due to divorce or separation, when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible. These feelings may be influenced by negative comments by the other parent and by the characteristics, such as lack of empathy and warmth, of the rejected parent. The term does not apply in cases of actual child abuse, when the child rejects the abusing parent to protect themselves. 

Parental alienation is controversial in legal and mental health professions, both generally and in specific situations. Terms related to parental alienation include child alienation, pathological alignments, visitation refusal, brainwashing, pathological alienation, the toxic parent and parental alienation syndrome though the last term is a specific formulation of a medical syndrome proposed by psychiatrist Richard Gardner that is not well accepted.