Saturday, April 26, 2014

Holidays and Observances for April 26 2014

Audubon Day

John James Audubon (1785-1851) was America's foremost ornithological illustrator. After studying drawing in Paris under the French painter Jacques Louis David, Audubon struggled for many years to make a living from his art, shuttling back and forth between Europe and the United States and supplementing his income by giving drawing lessons, turning out portraits, playing the flute or violin at local dances, and at one time running a general store.

In 1820 he began a flatboat excursion down the Mississippi River to seek out new varieties of birds to paint. Eventually he had enough bird portraits to publish in book form. Birds of America, produced with the help of engraver Robert Havell, Jr., contains 435 hand-colored plates and was published in "elephant folio" format to accommodate the life-sized portrayals of birds on which Audubon insisted.

After his death in 1851, Audubon's wife Lucy returned to teaching to support herself. One of her students, George Bird Grinnell, became the editor of Forest and Stream magazine and in 1886 organized the Audubon Society for the study and protection of birds. Today there are many branches of this organization, known as the National Audubon Society, and it remains dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Its members honor Audubon on his birthday, April 26. In some states, Audubon Day and Arbor Day are celebrated together by planting trees in bird sanctuaries.

Hug an Australian Day

Hug An Australian Day is an annual event that was founded by Thomas and Ruth Roy of the website.

Though the origins of this event are unclear, Hug An Australian Day has quickly become popular over the last few years, and is celebrated by sending the likes of greeting cards and e-cards to Aussie friends.

Event ideas for Hug An Australian Day include listening to famous Aussie music artists, from The Seekers to Kylie all day long with a can of Foster’s or Castlemaine XXXX, or holding an Aussie movies day – beginning with ‘Crocodile Dundee‘, naturally enough.

Hug An Australian Day shouldn't just stop with just a hug for Aussies living overseas. They’re bound to be appreciative of a present that reminds them of home, like a toy koala bear or kangaroo for instance – or a DVD of great Aussie cricket moments.

If you really want to celebrate Hug An Australian Day why not plan a trip around it? It is the perfect time to travel to the land down under, especially if you have friends or relatives there that need a good hugging. It could be Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, it doesn't matter, there’s bound to be Australians to hug wherever you choose. With the timing right before the big holiday season beginning in May, most travel sites will even be offering discounts. You can check for hotel deals in Adelaide on Expedia and similar sites, or shop around for the best flights to Sydney. Whatever it’s going to take to get you there. While you’re there you even have a guaranteed pick up line: “Do you know what today is?”

National Kids and Pets Day

National Kids and Pets Day has been going strong since 2005, this very special day was set up by Colleen Paige who is a mother and pet lover herself. There are lots of great reasons for a child to have a pet companion - the biggest reason being that a child who is shown how to be compassionate towards pets as a child is very likely to carry that compassion on into adulthood, in both their behaviour towards animals and people.

It is also claimed that children with learning disabilities can improve their skills by reading to an animal - and that pets can help shyer children grow more confident.

Growing up, I had a cat from the age of five until I was 16. She was so good-natured, and although other members of the family cared for her, she really was my cat! We were very close and I'll always treasure the memories I had with her!

Coleen talks about how animals 'innocently' pull on tails or ears. I can vouch for this one - as a very young child I thought it would be fun to pull my cat's tail - she soon told me in no uncertain terms (with a swift scratch) that it wasn't on! Most of the time animals who lash out are generally affectionate and not aggressive, so teaching children not to do these things is very important. To follow Colleen's tips on on bringing a baby home, go to the National Kids and Pets Day website. She can tell you all about how cats and dogs temperaments and reactions might vary - and how to deal with it!

The main point of this day is to encourage you to adopt a pet. There are millions of extremely cute and loving animals out there, just waiting to be part of your family unit! As long as you and your family are ready, you could be safe in the knowledge that you are giving an animal in need a great home.
National Pretzel Day

It’s National Pretzel Day! Centuries ago, Catholic monks created the first pretzels from scraps of leftover dough. The unique knot shape represented the Holy Trinity, but the significance of this symbol has evolved over the course of history. During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated! Today, traditional soft pretzels are popular at sporting events, carnivals, and festivals.

There are numerous accounts on the origin of pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most agree that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by German monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, in 610 AD " Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, 'pretiola' ("little rewards")". Another source locates the invention in a monastery in southern France. The looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek ring bread, derived from communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago. In Germany there are stories that pretzels were the invention of desperate bakers held hostage by local Dignatories.  Meyers Konversations-Lexikon from 1905 suspects the origin of pretzels in a ban of heathen baking traditions, such as in the form of a sun cross, at the Synod of Estinnes in the year 743. The pretzel may have emerged as a substitute. The German name "Brezel" may derive also from Latin bracellus (a medieval term for "bracelet"), or bracchiola ("little arms").

The pretzel has been in use as an emblem of bakers and formerly their guilds in southern German areas since at least the 12th century. A 12th-century illustration in the Hortus deliciarum from the southwest German Alsace region (today France) may contain the earliest depiction of a pretzel.

Within the Catholic Church, pretzels were regarded as having religious significance for both ingredients and shape. Pretzels made with a simple recipe using only flour and water could be eaten during Lent, when Christians were forbidden to eat eggs, lard, or dairy products such as milk and butter. As time passed, pretzels became associated with both Lent and Easter. Pretzels were hidden on Easter morning just as eggs are hidden today, and are particularly associated with Lent, fasting, and prayers before Easter.

Like the holes in the hubs of round Swedish flat bread (which let them be hung on strings), the loops in pretzels may have served a practical purpose: bakers could hang them on sticks, for instance, projecting upwards from a central column, as shown in a painting by Job Berckheyde (1630–93) from around 1681.

To celebrate National Pretzel Day, pick up a bag of your favorite type of pretzels to enjoy today!

National Rebuilding Day

National Rebuilding Day is the signature event of Rebuilding Together. Held on the last Saturday in April, National Rebuilding Day is the day when affiliates plan projects to celebrate the organization’s mission and to bring national attention to the plight of America’s low-income homeowners. The day is embraced by community leaders and national corporate sponsors as a way of bringing impact to America’s communities in a single day.

Rebuilding Together (or RT) is a national US non-profit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing free home repairs and modifications to low-income homeowners. By utilizing CapacityCorps members, RT's own branch of AmeriCorps members, neighbor volunteers, skilled trades people, the support of local businesses and donors, and major corporate partners, RT is able to offer every repair at no cost to the homeowner.

Celebrating more than 25 years of service, Rebuilding Together collectively has completed work on more than 100,000 homes across the nation, which amounts to roughly 10,000 homes per year. With the help of 3.4 million volunteers and donors, RT has delivered over $1.5 billion in market value since its founding, transforming every $1 donated to RT into $4 to the community. Today, the Rebuilding Together Affiliate Network consists of 187 offices throughout the United States. Community-level RT offices act in partnership with and on behalf of Rebuilding Together Inc national headquarters, located in Washington D.C.. These local offices are called Rebuilding Together "affiliates," often abbreviated RT with the corresponding community affiliation (ie Rebuilding Together New orleans is known as "RTNO").

Rebuilding Together continues forward with its mission of seeking to provide a safe and healthy home for every person by bringing neighbor volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners. Inside this core mission, Rebuilding Together has several targeted programs that address the needs of specific homeowner populations: veterans, elderly, disabled, and others. The work of Rebuilding Together positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well, through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and homeowner education. Home by Home, Block by Block, entire communities are transformed.

National Richter Scale Day

Richter Scale Day is celebrated on April 26th of each year.

The Richter magnitude scale (often shortened to Richter scale) was developed to assign a single number to quantify the energy released during an earthquake.

The scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale. The magnitude is defined as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of waves measured by a seismograph to an arbitrary small amplitude. An earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0, and corresponds to a 31.6 times larger release of energy.

Since the mid-20th century, the use of the Richter magnitude scale has largely been supplanted by the moment magnitude scale in many countries. However, the Richter scale is still widely used in Russia and other CIS countries. Also worth noting is that earthquake measurements under the moment magnitude scale in the United States—3.5 and up, on the MMS scale—are still usually erroneously referred to as being measured under the Richter scale in the general public, as well as the media, due to the familiarity with earthquakes being measured by the Richter scale instead of the MMS scale.

National Sense of Smell Day

National Sense of Smell Day is an annual event sponsored by the Sense of Smell Institute. It is held on the last Saturday of April at children’s museums and science centers across the United States. The day is focused on how the sense of smell plays an important role in daily life and how it interacts with other senses (particularly taste). Typically, museums and science centers celebrating the day will feature hands-on activities and informational displays about the sense of smell.

It was established in 1993 by The Sense of Smell Institute, the educational arm of The Fragrance Foundation. Though efforts on the part of both nonprofit institutions to promote National Sense of Smell Day have dwindled, interest in the subject of olfaction has grown. A large part of this is due to the link between flavor and fragrance which makes the sense of smell more tangible. Say the word “smell” and noses turn away. Say the word “aroma” and suddenly you have everyone’s attention. There’s another reason why the sense of smell is beginning to resonate in the culture; people are losing it.

Anosmia is the loss of the sense of smell. It collaborates with tongue cancer as a protagonist In Grant Achatz’ memoir “A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat.” Anosmia visits writer Molly Birnbaum who was preparing for classes at The Culinary Institute of America when she was injured in an automobile accident that affected her sense of smell. “Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way” tells the story of Birnbaum’s encounter with anosmia and her efforts to regain her sense of smell (which included an immersion in the perfume arts). Gardener Bonnie Blodgett used Zicam® Nasal Gel and soon found herself with a case of anosmia, (the product was removed from store shelves after a warning issued by the FDA in 2009). Ms. Blodgett shares her odyssey in “Remembering Smell: A Memoir of Losing – and Discovering – the Primal Sense.”

Anosmia is linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and is thought to be an early indicator of both degenerative diseases. This fact pushes anosmia into the spotlight. Still, there is something taboo about the sense of smell. Let’s face it, everything that falls under our nose isn't pleasant. Imagine if you never had a sense of smell. Would you feel like you lost anything? In an upcoming post  Glass Petal Smoke will interview a woman who was born with anosmia. What you find out will change the way you think about the sense of smell.

Fun Facts about the Sense of Smell per The Sense of Smell Institute:
  • No two people smell the same odor the same way.
  • Your sense of smell is least acute in the morning; our ability to perceive odors increases as the day wears on.
  • A woman’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s.
  • Our sense of smell becomes stronger when we are hungry.
  • Our sense of smell in responsible for about 80% of what we taste. Without our sense of smell, our sense of taste is limited to only five distinct sensations: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and the newly discovered “umami” or savory sensation. All other flavors that we experience come from smell.
  • Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of loss of sense of smell (Anosmia,) though this type of Anosmia is reversible with supplementation of vitamin A.
  • The 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (announced 4 October 2004,) was won by Richard Axel and Linda Buck for their work explaining olfaction, doccumenting the human genotype for sense of smell. Their work was published first in a joint paper in 1991 that described the very large family of about one thousand genes for odorant receptors and how the receptors link to the brain.
  • There are more genes dedicated to smell than any other of our five senses.
National Help A Horse Day

Horses are extremely intelligent, sensitive animals and true American icons. They have been central to the ASPCA’s work since our founding 148 years ago, when Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for the mistreatment of a horse on April 26, 1866. Today, the ASPCA continues to assist domesticated and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.

Thousands of horses, donkeys, mules and other equine find themselves homeless each year through no fault of their own. Hundreds of rescues, many of them all-volunteer groups, toil long hours every day of the year to care for these at-risk animals. On Help a Horse Day 2014, help us shine a light on their exemplary work and lend a hand!

April 26, please join us in celebrating our nation’s horses by supporting the ASPCA and your local horse rescue in the fight to end equine cruelty and neglect.

Here’s how you can help:
  1. Consider making a donation to the ASPCA. The ASPCA Equine Fund supports the work of selfless horse rescues and sanctuaries nationwide.
  2. Locate a participating group near you and join in their Help a Horse Day celebration. Check below for an event near you!
  3. Can’t find an event near you? Search for a horse rescue or equine welfare group near you and send a donation or an item off their wish list.
The ASPCA Equine Fund is running a Help a Horse Day Celebration Contest and will award $10,000 grants to the top five equine organizations whose events inspire the most community engagement and support.

Please help us spread the word and let equine welfare groups how grateful you are for the work they do as a safety net for the nation’s at-risk horses.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and participating local law enforcement are coordinating a nationwide drug "take-back" day on April 26th from 10 am to 2 pm. This one-day event will provide residents with no cost anonymous collection of unwanted and expired medicines.

Click here to find a DEA collection site near you.

It's a great time to clean out your medicine cabinet! Protect our kids, families and environment by properly disposing of your unwanted and expired medicines. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting our waters. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high - over half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without their knowledge.

What if I miss this event, what I can do? For the safety of our kids, families and environment, some communities, pharmacies, and law enforcement are paying for temporary ongoing take-back programs to help you properly dispose of unwanted and expired medicines in your homes until a permanent statewide program is in place. Click here to find a temporary ongoing take-back program.

Experts agree: Take-back programs are the first choice. Law enforcement, public health, and environmental professionals stand united in support of take-back programs, such as the DEA’s take-back event on Saturday, April 26th, as the safest and most responsible way to dispose of unwanted and expired medicines to protect your family and to protect our waters.

Although needed, events like this aren’t a permanent solution. The DEA’s National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day is a great one-time opportunity, but it provides only a band-aid solution to an ongoing need. Year-round programs are required to ensure families in Washington have ongoing access to safe disposal of unwanted and expired medicines.

Funding to provide a permanent solution is still needed. A dedicated and adequate source of funding is needed to provide our communities with a secure and environmentally sound option for disposal of leftover medicines. Our over-stretched local law enforcement and local government budgets cannot absorb the costs of providing a permanent take-back system.
Save The Frogs Day

Save The Frogs Day is the world's largest day of amphibian education and conservation action. Last year our supporters held 270 events in at least 30 countries, directly reaching over 17,000 participants. Please get involved and help spread the word so we can make Save The Frogs Day 2014 even more successful! Save The Frogs Day 2014 events are scheduled to take place in 22 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ghana, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the USA.

Frog populations have been declining worldwide at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Up to 200 species have completely disappeared since 1980, and this is NOT normal: amphibians naturally go extinct at a rate of only about one species every 250 years!!! Amphibian populations are faced with an onslaught of environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades. Unless we act quickly, amphibian species will continue to disappear, resulting in irreversible consequences to the planet’s ecosystems and to humans.

Tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae. Adult frogs eat large quantities of insects, including disease vectors that can transmit fatal illnesses to humans (i.e. mosquitoes/malaria). Frogs also serve as an important food source to a diverse array of predators, including dragonflies, fish, snakes, birds, beetles, centipedes and even monkeys. Thus, the disappearance of frog populations disturbs an intricate food web, and results in negative impacts that cascade through the ecosystem.

Most frogs require suitable habitat in both the terrestrial and aquatic environments, and have permeable skin that can easily absorb toxic chemicals. These traits make frogs especially susceptible to environmental disturbances, and thus frogs are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress: the health of frogs is thought to be indicative of the health of the biosphere as a whole. Frogs have survived in more or less their current form for 250 million years, having survived countless ice ages, asteroid crashes, and other environmental disturbances, yet now one-third of amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. This should serve as an alarm call to humans that something is drastically wrong in the environment.

Frogs produce a wide array of skin secretions, many of which have significant potential to improve human health through their use as pharmaceuticals. Approximately 10% of Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine have resulted from investigations that used frogs. When a frog species disappears, so does any promise it holds for improving human health.

A group of Russian researchers found over 76 different antimicrobial peptides on the skin of the European Common Brown Frog (Rana temporaria). "These peptides could be potentially useful for the prevention of both pathogenic and antibiotic resistant bacterial strains" the scientists concluded.

The Northern Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus vitellinus) lived exclusively in the Eungella Range in Queensland, Australia. These amazing frogs could actually shut down their gastric juices while rearing their young inside their stomachs! They therefore held great promise for advances in human medicine, as research on these frogs may have resulted in a cure for peptic ulcers, which affect 25 million people in the United States alone. Unfortunately, the gastric-brooding frogs vanished within a few years of being discovered by scientists. The health of humans and frogs is clearly intertwined. 

World Veterinary Day

World Veterinary Day is an important initiative of one of IVSA’s main partners; the World Veterinary Association (WVA). This year it will be celebrated on the 26th of April 2014 and will focus on the theme of ‘Animal Welfare’. As always, World Veterinary Day is aimed at bringing the importance of the Veterinary Profession to the general public by underlining the vital role of veterinarians in ensuring animals health and welfare, food safety, food security, safe world trade in animals and animal products as well as protecting public health. Many of our partners, such as OIE and AVMA, participate in World Veterinary Day by organizing their own activities, and this year it’s IVSA’s turn to get involved. In other words: your chance to get involved!!

For the World Veterinary Day Project we are looking for members of MO’s that would jump at the chance of spreading knowledge about our profession, by organizing a local project at one (or more) High Schools during the week before WVD (21-25 April 2014). The setup of the project is pretty free, to ensure you can find a suitable format that fits both you and the school involved. However, it must fit in the context of Animal Welfare, showcase the different roles of veterinarians and be both interactive and informative for high school students.

Experience shows that projects like these are fun to organize and can really motivate high school students! You and your MO can really make a difference!

World Intellectual Property Day

World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to "raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life" and "to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe". April 26th was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.

Following a statement made at the Assembly of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in September 1998, the Director General of the National Algerian Institute for Industrial Property (INAPI) proposed on 7 April 1999 the institutionalisation of an international day for intellectual property, with the aim of
"[setting up] a framework for broader mobilization and awareness, [opening up] access to the promotional aspect of innovation and [recognizing] the achievements of promoters of intellectual property throughout the world."
On 9 August 1999, the Chinese delegation to the WIPO proposed the adoption of the "World Intellectual Property Day"
"in order to further promote the awareness of intellectual property protection, expand the influence of intellectual property protection across the world, urge countries to publicize and popularize intellectual property protection laws and regulations, enhance the public legal awareness of intellectual property rights, encourage invention-innovation activities in various countries and strengthen international exchange in the intellectual property field".
In October 1999, the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) approved the idea of declaring a particular day as a World Intellectual Property Day.

International Marconi Day

International Marconi Day celebrates the huge part Guglielmo Marconi played in the invention of radio.

People had been trying to create wireless telegraphy for years but Marconi improved and made it marketable and successful.  And do you want to know an interesting fact?

The radio operators on board the Titanic were employed by Marconi - and using his equipment they were able to alert the Carpathia, the ship which rescued around 700 survivors.

International Marconi Day (IMD) is a 24 hour amateur radio event that is held annually to celebrate the birth of Marconi on 25 April 1874.  This year IMD will celebrate its 27th year.   The event is usually held on the Saturday closest to Marconi’s birthday and in 2014 it will be held on 26 April.

The purpose of the day is for amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to make contact with historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those used by the great man himself.