Saturday, October 4, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 4 2014

Astronomy Day


Astronomy Day is a grass roots movement designed to share the joy of astronomy with the general population - "Bringing Astronomy to the People." On Astronomy Day, thousands of people who have never looked through a telescope will have an opportunity to see first hand what has so many amateur and professional astronomers all excited. Astronomy clubs, science museums, observatories, universities, planetariums, laboratories, libraries, and nature centers host special events and activities to acquaint their population with local astronomical resources and facilities. Many of these events are located at non-astronomical sites; shopping malls, parks, urban centers—truly Bringing Astronomy to the People. It is an astronomical PR event that helps highlight ways the general public can get involved with astronomy - or at least get some of their questions about astronomy answered. Astronomy Week encompasses Astronomy Day starting on the previous Monday and ending on the following Sunday.

In 2007, the League started promoting both a Spring and Fall Astronomy Day to see which one worked better for Astronomy Day hosts. Groups may host events on either or both dates. Spring Astronomy Day occurs sometime between mid April and mid May on a Saturday near or before the 1st quarter Moon. Fall Astronomy Day occurs sometime between mid September and mid October. Astronomy Week was created to give sponsoring organizations a longer period of time to host special events. Some local Astronomy Week celebrations have actually been longer than just one week.

Astronomy Day was born in California in 1973. Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided that rather than try to entice people to travel long distances to visit observatory open houses, they would set up telescopes closer to where the people were - busy locations - urban locations like street corners, shopping malls, parks, etc.
His strategy paid off. Not only did Astronomy Day go over with a bang, not only did the public find out about the astronomy club, they found out about future observatory open houses. Since the public got a chance to look through a portable telescope, they were hooked. Then wanted to see what went on at the bigger telescopes, so they turned out in droves at the next observatory open house.

Improve Your Office Day


October 4, has been designated as "Improve Your Office Day." Office workers around the world are encouraged to take this opportunity to find ways to make their work area and surrounding environment more pleasant and enjoyable, as well as cleaner and healthier.

A Staples.com survey conducted in anticipation of the Oct. 4 observation of “Improve Your Office Day” finds that new technology and furniture rank high on employees’ wish lists of office improvements. More than half the workers surveyed gave both their office furniture (52 percent) and office décor (51 percent) a “C” grade or lower, while 41 percent gave their office technology a “C” or lower.

Topping people’s wish lists for office improvements were:
  • Eliminating office politics (44 percent);
  • Allowing or encouraging telecommuting (41 percent);
  • Upgrading computers and other office technology (37 percent);
  • Getting nicer or more comfortable office furniture (35 percent); and
  • Providing more private work areas and more flexible work hours (tied at 34 percent each).
One thing respondents said did not need improvement was the boss, despite some common stereotypes. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents gave their boss a solid “A” grade, with a combined 78 percent rating their boss an “A” or “B.”

Well-stocked Breakrooms = Increased Productivity

Another interesting finding of the study is that 57 percent of office workers have to buy their own snacks and beverages at work. Consequently, one in two respondents reported leaving the office on coffee or snack runs at least once a day, with some making as many as five trips per day.

“As businesses consider ways to keep their employees motivated and productive, they can keep in mind various affordable options to improve their offices,” said Anabela Perozek,vice president of marketing for Staples.com. “Staples brings easy to offices with a full range of products, from breakroom supplies to technology to office furnishings.”

Addressing Top Wishes For Office Improvements

Staples.com offers these quick tips for improving the office in ways that both employees and employers will appreciate:
  1. Stock the kitchen or breakroom with coffee and snacks that will energize the staff and keep them running all day. Providing nutritious snacks keeps employees healthy and productive.
  2. Take inventory of your technology, and replace outdated equipment that may be impeding productivity. In the last few years, technologies such as wireless networks and all-in-one printers have advanced dramatically, while prices have actually fallen.
  3. Consider office décor and furniture upgrades that don’t require a complete overhaul. Simply replacing old, worn desk chairs and/or redecorating conference rooms can be easy, low-cost ways to make the office more attractive and comfortable.
  4. Arm employees with technology that makes it easy for them to telecommute. Tablet and notebook computers give employees the ability to take their work with them wherever they go, whether it’s on the road, at a client site, in a conference room or working from home.
  5. When expanding or redesigning the office, take employee privacy concerns into consideration. Many newer office furniture systems, such as Staples’ environmentally preferable e3 panel system, offer creative ways to preserve privacy while maintaining an open, collaborative environment.
Inter-American Water Day


Inter-American Water Day (IAWD) takes place annually on the first Saturday of October to raise awareness about the importance of water for health and sustainable development. Created in 1992, IAWD was jointly conceived by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (AIDIS) and the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA).  

Some health authorities have suggested that people drink at least eight glasses, eight fl oz each (240 mL), of water per day (64 fl oz, or 1.89 litres), and the British Dietetic Association recommends 1.8 litres. This common misconception is not supported by scientific research. Various reviews of all the scientific literature on the topic performed in 2002 and 2008 could not find any solid scientific evidence that recommended drinking eight glasses of water per day. In the US, the reference daily intake (RDI) for total water intake is 3.7 litres per day (L/day) for human males older than 18, and 2.7 L/day for human females older than 18 which includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water contained in food. The amount of water varies with the individual, as it depends on the condition of the subject, the amount of physical exercise, and on the environmental temperature and humidity. An individual's thirst provides a better guide for how much water they require rather than a specific, fixed quantity.

In terms of mineral nutrients intake, it is unclear what the drinking water contribution is. Inorganic minerals generally enter surface water and ground water via storm water runoff or through the Earth's crust. Treatment processes also lead to the presence of some minerals. Examples include calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphate, fluoride and sodium compounds.Water generated from the biochemical metabolism of nutrients provides a significant proportion of the daily water requirements for some arthropods and desert animals, but provides only a small fraction of a human's necessary intake. There are a variety of trace elements present in virtually all potable water, some of which play a role in metabolism. For example sodium, potassium and chloride are common chemicals found in small quantities in most waters, and these elements play a role in body metabolism. Other elements such as fluoride, while beneficial in low concentrations, can cause dental problems and other issues when present at high levels.

Profuse sweating can increase the need for electrolyte (salt) replacement. Water intoxication (which results in hypothermia), the process of consuming too much water too quickly, can be fatal.

International Toot Your Flute Day


October 4th, International Toot Your Flute Day, was intended as a day for shameless self-promotion. There is no need to be modest or shy about your strengths, skills, looks, capabilities or anything else that makes you great. Today is the day for telling everyone how great you really are. Self-promotion doesn't have to be "bragging." So go ahead, celebrate yourself, your strong points and all the wonderful things you do! 

In our hustle-and-bustle society, there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. Between the kids, chores, work, family and a slew of never-ending activities, who has time for primping and pampering? International Toot Your Flute Day reminds us all to slow down a little and to enjoy life.

Take the day off and do something nice for yourself. You've earned it! Get all dolled up and flaunt your fabulousness! Today is the day to acknowledge everything you've done in your life. Be proud and say it out loud! Go ahead – blow your own horn and toot that flute! No musical instrument required!

National Golf Day


National Golf Day is celebrated on October 4th. It is a charitable event, sponsored annually since 1952 by the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA). Golf is a precision club and ball sport in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course using the fewest number of strokes. 

It is one of the few ball games that does not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on a golf course, generally consisting of an arranged progression of either 9 or 18 "holes." Each hole on the course must contain a "tee box" to start from, and a "putting green" containing the actual hole.

Golf originated from a game played on the coast of Scotland during the 15th century. Golfers would hit a pebble instead of a ball around the sand dunes using a stick or club. After 1750, golf evolved into the sport as we recognize it today. In 1774, Edinburgh golfers wrote the first standardized rules for the game of golf.

National Ship in A Bottle Day


Shipwrights everywhere around the globe celebrate and are recognized annually on October 4th National Ships In Bottles Day, a day commemorating the rare art of building ships and other objects into bottles.

The technique of putting ships into bottles developed during the early years of the 19th century in the forecastles of the old sailing ships. In an era when sea voyages lasted months and years, and entertainment was self-evolved, off-watch sailormen occupied themselves creating bits of nautical folk art from whatever raw material came to hand. On whaling vessels the most abundant scrap materials were the teeth and bones of whales and walruses, which the whalermen fabricated into many familiar items collectively known as scrimshaw. But other materials such as wood and rope and yarn were also used, and many interesting and decorative objects were made from these. It is not surprising then that an empty bottle might have piqued the imagination of some long-gone salt and led him to devise the technique for displaying miniature ships in bottles.

Sailors were not unique in their use of bottles to house objects. Many other isolated souls have turned their efforts to this end, and significantly there are many old bottles which contain religious objects. Many also derive from the lumbering business where workers were often forced to live in the wilderness for extended periods.

Whatever the origin, the technique for putting ships into bottles was well known to sailormen of all the major seafaring nations. Evidence of their work can be found in nautical museums throughout Europe, North America, and Japan. Unfortunately, despite widespread knowledge of the technique, good early examples of the ship-in-bottle art have become scarce. Even well-known dealers in maritime art rarely have them available, and when they do, the price quoted is well outside what most individuals would be willing to pay. This is a shame for there are few decorations as evocatively nautical as a bottled ship.

National Taco Day


It’s National Taco Day! A taco is a traditional Mexican dish made with chicken, beef, vegetables, or seafood. The filling is folded inside a soft or hard tortilla and garnished with toppings such as cheese, salsa, or guacamole.

For a dish so widely available, the history of the taco is really unknown. But according to taco expert Jeffrey M. Pilcher, the word originates from the silver mines in Mexico in the 18th century, when taco referred to the little explosives workers used to extract the ore. These were pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder and placed into holes carved in the rock. “When you think about it, a chicken taquito with a good hot sauce is really a lot like a stick of dynamite,” says Pilcher in an online article at Smithsonian.com. “The first references [to the taco] in any sort of archive or dictionary come from the end of the 19th century. And one of the first types of tacos described is called tacos de minero—miner’s tacos. So the taco is not necessarily this age-old cultural expression; it’s not a food that goes back to time immemorial.”

Still others claim tacos predate the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico in the 16th century. Anthropologists say there is evidence suggesting inhabitants of the lake region of the Valley of Mexico ate tacos filled with small fish. The fish were replaced by small live insects and ants in the states of Morelos and Guerrero, while locusts and snails were favorite fillings in Puebla and Oaxaca.

Taco Bell is believed to have pushed the widespread popularity of Mexican food in the U.S. Founded in California in 1962, the chain of fast-food restaurants serves up a variety of Tex-Mex foods to more than two billion customers in 5,800 restaurants in the U.S. alone.

The hard-shell taco was invented long before Taco Bell, a discovery that would aid their expansion across North America. The U-shaped version is first noted in 1949 in a cookbook by Fabiola Cabeza de Vaca Gilbert. A device that would hold the taco in its U-shape as it deep fried helped in the mass production of this product. Kits are now available everywhere and 

Today, tacos are enjoyed all over the world. Invite your friends over for make-your-own tacos and celebrate National Taco Day!

National Vodka Day


National Vodka Day, celebrated annually on October 4th.

“The Water of Life”
The versatile, once virtually tasteless and odorless tipple accounts for almost 20 to 25 per cent of spirits sold today in North America, making it our most popular libation, a feat that occurred in the 1970s when it outpaced bourbon as America’s favorite spirit. We raise our glass on October 4 to toast National Vodka Day!

Why Celebrate October 4th?
While October 4th seems well documented as National Vodka Day, we have not found the origins of why, but it works for us. No harm celebrating responsibly on other days as well. October 4, 2014 is a Saturday!

The word vodka stems from the Russian word, voda, which means water. Rarely consumed outside of Europe before the Second World War, vodka would eventually draw many hard liquor fans with its flavorless and versatile appeal.

Today, vodka is made from many different things such as beets, potatoes, wheat and even grapes. The final product doesn’t depend on the ingredients so much as it depends on the methods of production. You’re unlikely to be able to taste the difference, since by law vodka is not even permitted to have a distinctive taste except for those that have been added in after distillation.

Because it’s filtered of many dangerous chemicals and has less of an after-effect on the body, many view vodka as one of the least dangerous alcoholic beverages. Still, thanks to an alcohol volume that ranges from 35 to 60 per cent, it is one of the more potent drinks, able to intoxicate quickly and effectively.

Ironically, unlike the drink itself, it’s not really clear where vodka was created, though many associate the clear drink with Russia. Its birthplace has also been linked to the grain-growing regions that surround Poland, Ukraine, Belarus as well as Finland and other Scandinavian countries. Still, it’s said that the taxation on vodka in Russia helps cover a large portion of the government’s revenue. The fact that vodka consumption in Russia is greater than any other country in the world must help must help.

The birthdate of vodka is pegged at around the 12th century. Made initially for medical purposes, it wasn’t until the 1350s that the drink gained a reputation for its intoxicating properties.

In Russia, people believed the drink held its own spirit and it was used at religious ceremonies and events. A vessel sometimes containing more than a gallon of vodka would be passed around and those who refused to drink would be considered sinful. By the 1600s, it was custom to drink vodka at Russian Imperial banquets, where all meals started with bread and vodka.

During Czar Peter’s reign there was a custom that each foreign ambassador attending the courtyard should drink the ‘Cup of the White Eagle,’ a nice euphemism for this drink of vodka, which totaled a whopping litre-and-a-half of the tipple.

Ten-Four Day


“Ten-four” means “message received.” “Understood,” “okay,” and “roger that” are some other translations.

Today is 10/4 (October 4), so some CB radio users thought it was a perfect day to celebrate 10-4, the 10 code, and Citizen's Band radio! 

Ten-codes, also known as ten signals, are code words used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and inCitizens Band (CB) radio transmissions.

The codes, developed in 1937 and expanded in 1974 by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), allow for brevity and standardization of message traffic. They have historically been widely used by law enforcement officers in North America but due to the lack of standardization, in 2006 the U.S. federal government recommended they be discontinued in favor of everyday language.

The development of the 10-codes began in 1937, when police radio channels were limited to reduce use of speech on the radio. Credit for inventing the codes goes to Charles "Charlie" Hopper, communications director for the Illinois State Police, District 10 in Pesotum, Illinois. Hopper had been involved in radio for years and realized there was a need to abbreviate transmissions on State Police bands.[2] Experienced radio operators knew the first syllable of a transmission was frequently not understood because of quirks in early electronics technology. Radios in the 1930s were based on vacuum tubes powered by a small motor-generator called a dynamotor. The dynamotor took from 1/10 to 1/4 of a second to "spin up" to full power. Police officers were trained to push the microphone button, then pause briefly before speaking; however, sometimes they would forget to wait. Preceding each code with "ten-" gave the radio transmitter time to reach full power.

Ten-codes, especially "ten-four", first reached public recognition in the mid- to late-1950s through the popular television series Highway Patrol, with Broderick Crawford. Crawford would reach into his patrol car to use the microphone to answer a call and precede his response with "10-4". Ten-codes were adapted for use by CB radio enthusiasts during its pop culture explosion in the late 1970s. The 1975 hit song "Convoy" by C. W. McCall depicting conversation among CB-communicating truckers put phrases like 10-4 meaning "understood" and what's your twenty? (10-20) for "where are you?" into common use in American English. A 1978 movie Convoy, loosely based on the song, further entrenched ten-codes in casual conversation.

World Animal Day


Did you know that a cow’s “moo” has a different accent depending on what region they originate from? Or that bats always turn left when they fly out of a cave? Zebras are actually white with black stripes, not the other way around. And flamingos can only eat when their heads are upside down! Here’s another head scratcher: a duck’s quack never echoes, anywhere, and nobody knows why! These are just a few of the million amazing animal facts – facts that prove just how amazingly wonderful animals are – and how their presence on this beautiful planet only enriches our own individual human journey through life.

There are a lot of things in the world that threaten the future of animals that call this planet home. Every day, natural resources are being misused, wetlands and forests are being destroyed for new cities to be built, and habitats are being fragmented for roadways. Harmful species are being introduced into ecosystems they do not belong in, and illegal wildlife trade and poaching are wiping out entire populations of animals. It’s estimated that nine percent of all species become extinct every million years. In other words, between one and five species go extinct every year. This rate of extinction has sped up five times in the Earth’s history. A mass extinction was last seen in full sixty five million years ago when the last of the dinosaurs became extinct.

As human beings, we are neighbors, roommates, and friends to these creatures, and it’s our responsibility to help protect them so that their future generations can grow and thrive, and, in turn, our future generations can be blessed with the joy of sharing their lives with them too. World Animal Day began in 1931 as a way to highlight the plight of endangered species. This day has since evolved into a day to honor all the animals of the world, regardless of the celebrators nationality, religion, faith, or political beliefs.

The mission of World Animal Day is to
  1. celebrate animal life in all its forms,
  2. celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom,
  3. acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives, and
  4. acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives.
This day is not linked to any person, organization, or campaign! It belongs to all of the citizens of the world and all of their animal neighbors! It's a day for advocacy, education, unity, involvement, and the raising of awareness for all of the animal issues that exist throughout the world. You can learn about what different activities and events are taking place throughout the world in celebration by visiting this link as new activities and events are being added everyday.

How Can You Get Involved on World Animal Day?

There are so many ways that you can get involved on World Animal Day! You can…
  • Educate people on the animals of the world, the many unfortunate plights some animal suffer through, and tell them what World Animal Day stands for! Many people are not aware of puppy mills and illegal dog fighting, and they need to have knowledge about such issues in order to take positive action! For some, they also don’t know just how awesome a no-meat lifestyle can be! You can also help dispel the negatively held beliefs about specific breeds and animals, and let people know how important it is to “adopt, not shop!” But remember not to nag, nobody likes that!
  • Expand your own knowledge and broaden your own horizons by picking up a book by an animal expert extraordinaire, such as Jane Goodall, or a children's book of the same style which you can share with some of the younger people in your life.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper, or put up a post on your favorite social media site, or blog informing people of the day and the meaning behind it.
  • Donate to a local animal charity or shelter. Local shelters are always in need of food, litter, and supplies. Check with your local shelter before going shopping as many have a giving tree/wish list.
  • Volunteer at your local shelter or look into fostering an animal. The Creatures Division will be talking more about this next month, so stay tuned!
  • Make your garden more animal friendly, add a birdbath, and include bee friendly plants.
  • Say “thank you” to all the people who spend day in and day out helping protect and save animals. Stop by a local veterinarian’s office or no-kill shelter and leave some sweet treats for the volunteers who celebrate “World Animal Day” every day! (Make sure you leave them in an animal free zone!) 
  • Surprise your own favorite animal companion with an unexpected treat and carve out some extra time during the day to enjoy their company. If you know somebody who doesn't have that same opportunity, volunteer to spend some extra time with their companion, too!
The purpose of this day is for people to “use this special day to commemorate their love and respect for animals by doing something special to highlight their importance in the world. Increased awareness will lead the way to improved standards of animal welfare throughout the world.” So go out and do something fun and positive! Empower. Educate. Collaborate. Be a part of something special this October 4th to celebrate all of the animals of the world!

World Card Making Day


World Card Making Day is a holiday especially for card makers around the world. Celebrate the creativity of handmade cards and the personal connection that they create between friends and family.
The first Saturday of each October, kicking off the holiday card-making season, the most popular time for creating and sharing handmade greetings.
The card-making community worldwide, including hobbyists, beginning card makers, manufacturers of card-making products, retail sellers of products, educators, and press are invited to come together to celebrate this holiday and creative passion.
It is a day to connect with fellow card makers both near and far, to applaud the creativity that powers the craft, and to provide an opportunity for card makers to connect and find resources that will empower, inspire, and encourage them in their card making.