Sunday, April 6, 2014

Holidays and Observances for April 6 2014

Army Day

Army Day can be traced back to a little-known Defense Test Day, which was observed only twice: once in 1924 and once in 1925. Congress then disallowed any further observances of this day. In response, the Military Order of the World War under Colonel Thatcher Luquer established Army Day. Army Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1928. That date was chosen in hopes of dampening Communists' celebration of Workers' Day, which also occurs on May 1. But, starting in 1929, Army Day was changed to April 6, the anniversary date of the United States' entry into World War I.
Army Day was established as a nationwide observance to draw public attention to national defense and to acquaint the public with Army activities. In addition, the day was used to stress the need for military preparedness, which the nation had lacked as it entered earlier major conflicts. "The failure to make adequate preparation for the inevitable struggle, the consequent suffering from disease and death entailed upon the armies which were hastily raised, the prolongation of the conflict far beyond the time which sufficient and equipped forces would have required for victory, and the heavy costs of reconstruction" were caused by the lack of preparation of the nation.
On April 4, 1936, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation that Army Day be recognized by Congress as April 6 and observed nationwide. On March 1, 1937, Congress passed Resolution 5-75 which officially recognized Army Day
Army Day was last observed nationally on April 6, 1949.

Drowsy Drivers Awareness Day

Recently there have been legislative efforts to reduce the number of drowsy drivers on the road. Drowsy driving is implicated in 100,000 car crashes per year, which leave 71,000 people injured and 1,500 dead according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. New research on the need for adequate sleep in maintaining good health, coupled with the negative impacts of sleep deprivation are coming to the attention of policymakers, and legislation is beginning to be crafted regarding the role of drowsy driving in traffic accidents.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent – approximately eleven million drivers – admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
  • There is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication, i.e. a “Breathalyzer”.
  • State reporting practices are inconsistent. There is little or no police training in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor. Every state currently addresses fatigue and/or sleepiness in some way in their crash report forms. However, the codes are inconsistent and two states (Missouri and Wisconsin) do not have specific codes for fatigue and/or fell asleep.
  • Self-reporting is unreliable.
  • Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes such as alcohol. About one million such crashes annually are thought to be produced by driver inattention/lapses.
  • According to data from Australia, England, Finland, and other European nations, all of whom have more consistent crash reporting procedures than the U.S., drowsy driving represents 10 to 30 percent of all crashes.
Who is at risk?
Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children and shift workers. According to the NSF’s 2002 poll:
  • Adults between 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups (71% vs. 30-64, 52% vs. 65+, 19%).
  • Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs. 12%).
  • Adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children (59% vs. 45%).
  • Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month (36% vs. 25%).
  • Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash; the less people sleep, the greater the risk.
  • According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
  • A study by researchers in Australia showed that being awake for 18 hours produced an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, and .10 after 24 hours; .08 is considered legally drunk.
  • Other research indicates commercial drivers and people with undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and acute insomnia are also at greater risk for fall asleep crashes.
Nearly three-quarters of adults in America (71%) drive a car to and from work, and many are drowsy drivers, according to NSF’s 2001 Sleep in America poll. More than one-fourth of these respondents (27%) said they have driven drowsy to or from work at least a few days a month, 12 percent drove drowsy a few days a week, and four percent said they drove drowsy every day or almost every day.

Sleep deprivation and fatigue make lapses of attention more likely to occur, and may play a role in behavior that can lead to crashes attributed to other causes.
  • According to NSF’s 2000 Sleep in America poll, when they are driving drowsy, 42 percent of those polled said they become stressed, 32 percent get impatient and 12 percent tend to drive faster.
  • In the same poll, about one in five drivers (22%) said they pull over to nap when driving drowsy. Older adults are more likely to pull over and nap than younger drivers, who are most likely to drive when drowsy and least likely to pull over and nap.
  • People tend to fall asleep more on high-speed, long, boring, rural highways. However, those who live in urban areas are more likely to doze off while driving compared to people in rural or suburban areas (24% vs. 17%).
  • Most crashes or near misses occur between 4:00 – 6:00 a.m.; midnight – 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. are also peak times for crashes to occur. Nearly one-quarter of adults (23%) say they know someone personally who has crashed due to falling asleep at the wheel.
  • In NSF’s 1999 Sleep in America poll, 60 percent of parents with children who drive living in the household said they have not discussed the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel. In the 2002 poll, nearly all respondents (96%) agreed that information about driving while drowsy should be included in tests for a driver’s license.
Drowsy driving crashes can result in high personal and economic costs.
  • Several drowsy driving incidents have resulted in jail sentences for the driver.
  • Multi-million dollar settlements have been awarded to families of crash victims as a result of lawsuits filed against individuals as well as businesses whose employees were involved in drowsy driving crashes.
National Caramel Popcorn Day

If you are a popcorn fan, you’re in luck. It’s National Caramel Popcorn Day! Depending on who you ask, some folks celebrate this sweet and salty food holiday, also referred to as Caramel Popcorn Day, on April 6th, while others celebrate it on April 7th. Then again, some may prefer to celebrate on both days!

Not to be confused with National Popcorn Day in January or Popcorn Lover’s Day in March, today celebrates the ooey gooey sticky treat that’s fun to eat! Who can resist the sweet combination of caramel with the salty crunch of popcorn?

Caramel Popcorn History
Caramel popcorn has been gobbled up since the 1890s when brothers Frederick and Louis Rueckheim introduced their molasses-covered popcorn at the World’s Columbian Exposition. But their concoction was too sticky so back the drawing board they went. After a bit of tweaking, the perfect combination was created and Cracker Jacks were the result! And by the way, that secret recipe used in the 1890s is still the same one used today!

Whether you prefer plain, buttered, kettle, loaded with cheese or smothered in chocolate, American’s love their popcorn. According to The Popcorn Factory, the go-to place for gourmet popcorn since 1979, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popcorn annually. Now that’s a lotta popcorn! Popping more than 1 million pounds of “Made in the USA” popcorn annually, every day is Popcorn Day for the folks at The Popcorn Factory!

National Student-Athlete Day

April 6th, will mark the 27th celebration of National Student-Athlete Day. This special day will see high school and college student-athletes nationwide honored for their outstanding achievements in academics, athletics and service to their schools and communities. National Student-Athlete Day is celebrated annually and has seen 3,669,875 million student-athletes honored. In 2013 alone, 229,265 student-athletes were honored. It has become one of America’s strongest endeavors promoting the positive virtues of sport and student-athletes as a whole, and the positive affect they both have on society.

National Student-Athlete Day recognizes the accomplishments of student-athletes nationwide who excel in the classroom, on the playing fields and in their communities. National Student-Athlete Day was created by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and the Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, with partnership from the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. NCAA involvement began in 1994.

The NCAA provides financial assistance and administrative support to the NCAS by providing colleges and universities with nomination forms for the Giant Steps awards and other pertinent materials to promote National Student-Athlete Day. NCAA member institutions are encouraged to recognize outstanding student-athletes and to make National Student-Athlete Day a meaningful experience by placing posters around their campuses and participating in community activities. To find potential National Student-Athlete Day models, visit the National Consortium for Academics and Sports Web site.

College and university Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAACs) have created a variety of programs for National Student-Athlete Day. Some SAACs do community outreach by visiting patients at local hospitals, while other SAACs speak to elementary or middle school students about the importance of education. Some SAACs have hosted luncheons to recognize the accomplishments of their peers, while other SAACs have hosted interactive assemblies at their campuses for local students.

NCAA student-athletes are among the honorees for the Giant Steps awards each year. Amber Burgess, a softball student-athlete at the University of Nebraska and a former student at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and Dirceu Hurtado, a soccer student-athlete at Fairleigh-Dickinson University who recovered from a near-fatal aneurysm his freshman year, earned the Courageous Student-Athlete Giant Steps awards in 2001. The NCAS also honored Dr. Richard Astro, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University, NBA Hall of Fame inductee Julius "Dr. J" Erving, NFL Pro Bowler Derrick Brooks and high school coaches Herman Boone and William Yoast, who were featured in the widely-acclaimed film, Remember the Titans.

National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day is a US observance on April 6th each year. It commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on. It also recognizes achievements of Americans of Scottish descent.

National Tartan Day parades occur in major cities such as New York on or around April 6. These parades often feature bag-pipe bands playing Scottish music and people dressed in kilts with tartan patterns that represent their Scottish clans. Special award events are also held on Tartan Day, often organized by groups such as the American Scottish Foundation.

The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed on April 6, 1320. The American Declaration of Independence was, in fact, modelled on this particular document. Almost half of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent.

The US Senate Resolution on National Tartan Day was passed on March 20, 1998. From that point onward, National Tartan Day was designated as a day for all Americans, particularly those of Scottish descent, on April 6 each year.

Tartan clothing is often worn by Scottish Americans taking part in National Tartan Day.

New Beers Eve

New Beer's Eve is an unofficial holiday in the United States, which is observed on April 07, 2014. The day celebrates the end of Prohibition in the United States. Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, for 13 years in place from 1920 to 1933. 

In March 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an amendment to the Volstead Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of certain kinds of alcoholic beverages. Sales of beer in the United States would become legal on April 7 provided that the state in question had enacted its own law allowing such sales. 

On the evening of April 6, 1933 people lined up outside breweries and taverns, waiting for midnight when they would be able to legally purchase beer again. Since this date, the night of April 6 has been referred to as "New Beer's Eve”.

Beer is the world's most widely consumed and probably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat.

Plan Your Epitaph Day

Plan Your Epitaph Day is observed on April 6th. The day is a chance for control freaks to plan out what their gravestone is going to say. An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial. 

An epitaph may be in poem verse; poets have been known to compose their own epitaphs prior to their death, as William Shakespeare did. Most epitaphs are brief records of the family, and perhaps the career, of the deceased, often with an expression of love or respect - "beloved father of ..." - but others are more ambitious. Some are quotes from holy texts, or aphorisms. One approach of many epitaphs is to 'speak' to the reader and warn them about their own mortality.

Teflon Day

April 6th, 1938: Fiddling around in the lab one day, Roy Plunkett accidentally discovers polytetrafluoroethylene, soon to be known as Teflon, a slippery substance that will have practical applications in everything from nonstick cookware to a presidential nickname.

Plunkett, a chemist at DuPont’s Jackson research lab in New Jersey, made his discovery in the time-honored scientific way: as the result of a mistake, and with an assistant’s help.

Plunkett and his assistant, Jack Rebok, were testing the chemical reactions of tetrafluoroethylene, a gas used in refrigeration. The gas was contained in some pressurized canisters, one of which failed to discharge properly when its valve was opened.

Rebok picked up the canister, only to find that it was heavier than an empty canister would be. He suggested cutting it open to see what had happened and, despite the risk of blowing the lab to kingdom come, Plunkett agreed.

Of course, it was heavy: The gas hadn’t accidentally escaped. It had solidified into a smooth, slippery white powder as the result of its molecules bonding, a process known as polymerization.

This new polymer was different from similar solids like graphite: It was lubricated better and extremely heat-resistant, due to the presence of dense fluorine atoms that shielded the compound’s string of carbon atoms.

Setting other work aside, Plunkett began testing the possibilities of polytetrafluoroethylene, eventually figuring out how to reproduce the polymerization process that had occurred accidentally the first time.

DuPont patented the polymer in 1941, registering it under the trade name Teflon in 1944. The first products — most having military and industrial applications — came to market after World War II. It wouldn’t be until the early 1960s that Teflon became a household word when it was used to produce the most effective, heat-resistant cookware yet seen.

The word gained a certain pop-culture notoriety in the 1980s when the media began referring to Ronald Reagan as the Teflon president, a reference to his infuriating ability to avoid being tarnished by the various scandals plaguing his administration.

Teflon cookware, however, remained as steadfast and reliable as ever.

Teflon is found virtually everywhere today, coating metals and fabrics, from the aerospace industry to clothing to pharmaceuticals.

For his discovery, Plunkett, who retired from DuPont in 1975, was enshrined in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Hostess Twinkie Day

The Twinkie is an American snack cake, marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling". It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands and is again being sold under the Hostess Brands name. The brand is currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. Twinkie production in the United States resumed after an absence on American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013. Twinkies are produced in Canada by Saputo Incorporated's Vachon Inc. (at a bakery in Montreal) which owns the Canadian rights for the product and were still available during the absence in the US market.Twinkies are also available in Mexican stores, made by Marinela, a subsidiary of Mexican bread company Grupo Bimbo.

Twinkies were invented in River Forest, Illinois on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie. He said he came up with the name when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for "Twinkle Toe Shoes". During World War II, bananas were rationed and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This change proved popular, and banana-cream Twinkies were not widely re-introduced. The original flavor was occasionally found in limited-time promotions, but the company used vanilla cream for most Twinkies. In 1988, Fruit and Cream Twinkies were introduced with a strawberry filling swirled into the cream. The product was soon dropped. Vanilla's dominance over banana flavoring would be challenged in 2005, following a month-long promotion of the movie King Kong. Hostess saw its Twinkie sales rise 20 percent during the promotion, and in 2007 restored the banana-cream Twinkie to its snack lineup.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Sport for Development and Peace is an opportunity to recognize the potential of sport to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, the Day underlines that sports can foster peace and can contribute to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.

Sport, as a tool for education, development and peace, can promote cooperation, solidarity, tolerance, understanding, social inclusion and health at the local, national and international levels. Its intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game are understood all over the world and can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

For these reasons, states, the United Nations system and, in particular, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, relevant international organizations, and international, regional and national sports organizations, civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and all other relevant stakeholders are invited to cooperate, observe and raise awareness of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

On 23 August 2013, the Sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Previously, the Fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2005 as the International Year for Sport and Physical Education to promote education, health, development and peace.

Many organizations of the United Nations system, including the International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development, organized jointly with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, have already established partnerships with the International Olympic Committee. The mission and role of the Committee, as set out in the Olympic Charter, are placing sport at the service of humankind and promoting a peaceful society and healthy lifestyles by associating sport with culture and education and safeguarding human dignity without any discrimination whatsoever.

The General Assembly also recognizes the role that the International Paralympic Committee plays in showcasing the achievements of athletes with an impairment to a global audience and in acting as a primary vehicle to change societal perceptions of disability sport.