Monday, October 20, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 20 2014

Information Overload Awareness Day


E-mail, texts, news, blogs, radio, RSS feeds, Youtube, ESPN…. already you’re starting to feel an overload, right? The sources of information available to the average person are, for all practical purposes, endless. No matter where you turn you’re receiving information, and sometimes you just want to say “enough!” and have done with it all. If so, then you’re going to love Information Overload Awareness Day. Each person only has so many hours, minutes, seconds in a day and every little thing we do adds up, especially those 57 unread e-mails sitting in your inbox that you just have to read. As the ability to be connected at all times extends its reach even further (if that’s even possible), experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the concept of Information Overload.

Origin of Information Overload Awareness Day
The Information Overload Research Group is dedicated to the spread of awareness for information overload, and to promoting ways to overcome the problem. Information Overload Awareness Day is sponsored by this group, and many high-profile companies are working to ensure the best communication and information policies possible.

The sources of overload are many and increasing every day, as social networks expand, mobile extends its reach ever further into our lives, and more people work in increasingly information intensive jobs. The little messages and notifications add up fast and take a real toll on the working person.

Observing Information Overload Awareness Day
Hopefully we haven’t given you too much information already and you’re still reading, looking for suggestions to observe Information Overload Awareness Day. Experts are analyzing the ways that we work and receive information, and from their observations we have a few potential improvements to start you off:
  • The majority of e-mails you receive each day are unimportant, so limiting your availability to those pesky time-snatchers is an excellent way to reduce information overload.
  • Stow the social-networking and perusal of the web for break time. All those distractions add up!
  • Once you’re home, leave the smartphone at the door and leave work outside. If it’s truly urgent, they’ll call you on your home phone.
  • Make a phone call instead of sending an e-mail! A phone call is much more personal, and if you really need something done it will be much more effective.
  • Don’t send an e-mail! If the e-mail is only mildly important, consider making a note and informing the person next time you encounter them in person. Or maybe you don’t need to say it at all.
Try to think up more ways to cut down on information overload as you observe this day. It has been shown that a tiny 30-second distraction takes five minutes to recover from, to readjust back to whatever you were doing before. Cutting out all those little distractions can really help decrease the feeling of overload.

Finally, tell your friends and co-workers about Information Overload Awareness and consider putting together a brainstorm session to produce ways in which you can all help each other reduce information overload and become more efficient in the workplace.

National Brandied Fruit Day


Happy National Brandied Fruit Day! Brandied fruit is a scrumptious treat that is easy to make and can be enjoyed anytime of the year. Storing fruits in brandy is a simple way to preserve the wonderful tastes of the harvest season without the hassle of canning.

Brandy is distilled from fruits such as grape, apple, blackberry, apricot and so on. Based on the region and the fruit, brandy can be divided into several categories: Cognac, Armagnac, American Brandies, and fruit brandies. Most brandies are bottled at 80 proof (meaning 40 % of alcohol). Brandy has been enjoyed over the centuries as cocktail and cooking ingredients. Most ordered brandy cocktails at the bar would be the Alexander, the Singer, and the Sidecar.

Long before the 16th century, wine was a popular product for trading in European region. In the early 16th century, a Dutchman trader invented the way to ship more wine in the limited cargo space by removing water from the wine. Then he could add the water back to the concentrated wine at the destination port in Holland. They called it "bradwijn," meaning "burned wine," and later became "brandy."

Cognac was born during the XVIIth century, when the Cognacais began double distillation. Cognac is still produced by double distillation in pot stills and aged in new oak casks for one year. After the distillation, it is transferred to used oak casks for aging. Back then, Brandy was one of the essential French products for their economic growth. It was first exported to Holland and spread to England, Far East, and New World. Cognac is made from while wine, which are produced from whole grape including seeds and skins. Cognac is only produced in Cognac area in France. There are 6 areas in Cognac. Well-known areas are the Champagne and Petite Champagne. The rest are Bois, Fins Bois, Borderies, and Bons Bois.

The major difference between Cognac and Armagnac is the distillation method. Armagnac is distilled once in a continuous copper still. On the other hand, Cognac is double distilled. Armagnac is often aged over 10 years, which is actually longer than Cognac. Most Armagnac brandies which have lived over 30 years could be considered as over-lived brandy. Preferred Armagnac is between is teenage years to mid-20s. Armagnac is produced in Gascony, France. Gascony is located in southwest of Cognac region. Like Cognac area, there are 3 important areas for Armagnac: Bas Armagnac, Haut Armagnac, and Tenareze. Most Armagnac is produced by four kinds of grapes: Baco, Colombard, Folle Balanche, and Ugni Blanc (Grebbiano). Armagnac bottles usually show the region. If the label doesn?t tell the region, it is often blended with more than two regions.

In the New World, brandy was first produced by the Spanish Missions in California. Today, American brandies are mostly distilled in California where the grape grows. According to the U.S. law, American brandies must be aged for at least 2 years in wood. They usually have liter taste than European brandies. Unlike European brandy makers, American brandy makers produce their brands individually, from growing grapes to bottling and marketing. 

Fruit brandies are also produced in several other countries other than France and the United States: Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, and South Africa and more. Fruits brandies are usually bottled at 80 to 90 proof and made from apple, peach, apricots, blackberry, and cherry etc. Applejack, Apple brandies and Calvados are distilled from apple cider. Representative countries producing those brandies are France, Germany and the United States. In the United States, Applejack is produced from fermented apple cider and aged for at least 2 years In the U.S., brandy must be bottled over 70 proof. Applejack can be bottled with or without blending with neutral grain spirits. Calvados is also applejack, but is aged much long than American Applejack, spending over 20 years of aging. Eau de vie, indicating "water of life" in French, refers brandies which are distilled from fruits other than grape. They are often bottled around 100 proof and are colorless.

To make your own brandied fruit, all you need is ripened fruit, sugar, and brandy (the higher the quality, the better). Wash the fruit, peel off any skin, and slice if necessary. Fill half a container with brandy and add the fruit. For each cup of fruit you add, stir in 1/6 cup of sugar. Make sure all the fruit is submerged in the mixture, cover the container, and store it in a dark place. You can continue to add fruit at any time. Your brandied fruit will be cured after a couple of months.

Serve a spoonful of brandied fruit over ice cream, with a dollop of whipped cream, or as a scrumptious breakfast side dish!

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day


The third Monday of October has been declared “National Clean your Virtual Desktop Day” by The Personal Computer Museum.

The statistics on the Museum website state: “If each and every person has an average of 10 unused icons on their desktop (and we think this is very low), that represents a staggering 169 acres of wasted virtual space on your desktop. Imagine how many beautiful photos have been obscured by unnecessary icons, the numbers are staggering!”

Like an office desk, the computer desktop can become a “dumping ground” of files and information. However, the virtual clutter created has the same drawbacks as any other – it is “virtually” impossible to find what you need. One tip for starting the process is to set up folders on the desktop in which to organize the myriad of icons. Such folders might include “Microsoft Office 2010” where “Word,” “Excel,” “PowerPoint” and “Access” are stored.

When asked how effective establishing the Day has been, Curator and Founder of the Museum, Syd Bolton said, “The first [event] was in 2010. The response has been surprisingly good. It’s difficult to measure how many people are doing it; however, we received a lot of feedback through Facebook the first year when we heavily promoted it through an event and we continue to get searches and hits on our site from year to year.”

National Suspenders Day


James Bond and Gordon Gekko wore them. Larry King was famous for his. What are they? On the “heels” of  Wear Something Gaudy Day, October 20 is National Suspenders Day!

The first suspenders can be traced to 18th century France, where they were basically strips of ribbon attached to the buttonholes of trousers. Benjamin Franklin is said to have worn them — although it's probably best not to ask how historians know that; back then, suspenders were considered an undergarment never to be seen in public. In fact, visible suspenders were considered risqué as recently as 1938, when a town in Long Island, NY tried to ban gentlemen from wearing them without a coat, calling it "sartorial indecency." The ban was later overturned after residents complained.

In the early 1820s, British designer Albert Thurston began to manufacture the first known modern day suspenders (known as "braces" in Britain). The fashion of the day dictated that men wear high-waisted pants — so high-waisted, in fact, that a belt could not actually be used to hold them up. Thurston's suspenders attached via leather loops; the company still sells them today.

Original designs show suspender straps made of a tightly woven wool (known as "boxcloth") and attaching as an "H-back," meaning they join together to make what looks like an uppercase H. This was later replaced by the X-back, which in turn morphed into the Y-back. Today, all three models are available — although, unless you're a U.S. firefighter, H-back suspenders are pretty rare.

One of the first U.S. patents for suspenders was issued in 1871 to Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) for "Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments," that attached to everything from underpants to women's corsets and were designed as an alternative to suspenders, which Clemens reportedly found uncomfortable. Metal clasps were invented in 1894 so that suspenders could be clipped on rather than buttoned, meaning that pants no longer had to come with buttons sewn in the waist, as they commonly did at the time.

Suspenders fell out of favor in the early 20th century, when lower-sitting pants no longer required them. But suspenders didn't disappear completely. Doctors even recommended suspenders to patients with extended bellies. "There are more big stomachs caused by the wearing of a belt than any other one thing I know of," said a Chicago doctor named Dr. V. S. Cheney in 1928, urging people instead to practice "posture, exercise and the wearing of suspenders." And actor Humphrey Bogart wore them in many of his movies, as did British actor Ralph Richardson, who liked his suspenders so much that when World War II broke out, he ran out and bought six pairs in anticipation of fabric rationing.

In the 1960s, British skinheads adopted suspenders as part of their working-class look — often attaching them to tight blue jeans that didn't really need help staying in place. One of pop culture's most famous hooligans, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm MacDowell), wore them in A Clockwork Orange.

Working women — or those who simply wanted to dress like them — adopted suspenders as part of the Annie Hall "unisex" look in the 1970s. A 1986 People magazine article recommended that "fashion-forward teens" let their suspenders hang from their waist, arguing that drooping suspenders were "very sensual." The following year, suspenders became associated with obnoxious wealth through Michael Douglas' portrayal of ultra-capitalist Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. Two years later, uber-nerd Steve Urkel from the TV sitcome Family Matters gave the fashion accessories a completely different vibe.

Suspenders were largely absent from people's closets in the 1990s and early 2000s — that is, until hip-hop style icon Fonzworth Bentley popularized the preppy dandy look. Recent years have seen a fascination with early 20th century culture (think: speakeasy-themed bars, mustaches, fedoras) amongst a certain subset of people — usually young, usually in major cities — who like to dress the part.

In honor of National Suspenders Day, now is the perfect time to dust off the old suspenders and strap on a pair! And just in case you've been celebrating National Brandied Fruit Day a bit too much today, at least you won’t have to worry about your pants falling down!

World Osteoporosis Day


World Osteoporosis Day takes place every year on October 20, launching a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. Organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) every year, World Osteoporosis Day involves campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world with activities in over 90 countries.

The concept for World Osteoporosis Day started with a campaign launched by the United Kingdom's National Osteoporosis Society and supported by European Commission on October 20, 1996. Since 1997, the day has been organized by IOF. In 1998 and 1999, the World Health Organization acted as co-sponsor of World Osteoporosis Day. Since 1999, World Osteoporosis Day campaigns have featured a specific theme.

Osteoporosis (porous bones) is a progressive bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density which can lead to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bone mineral density of 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; the term "established osteoporosis" includes the presence of a fragility fracture. The disease may be classified as primary type 1, primary type 2, or secondary. The form of osteoporosis most common in women after menopause is referred to as primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis. Primary type 2 osteoporosis or senile osteoporosisoccurs after age 75 and is seen in both females and males at a ratio of 2:1. Secondary osteoporosis may arise at any age and affect men and women equally. This form results from chronic predisposing medical problems or disease, or prolonged use of medications such as glucocorticoids, when the disease is called steroid- orglucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

The risk of osteoporosis fractures can be reduced with lifestyle changes and in those with previous osteoporosis related fractures, medications. Lifestyle change includes diet, exercise, and preventing falls. The utility of calciumand vitamin D is questionable in most. Bisphosphonates are useful in those with previous fractures from osteoporosis but are of minimal benefit in those who have osteoporosis but no previous fractures. Osteoporosis is a component of the frailty syndrome.