Sunday, November 2, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 2 2014

Daylight Saving Time Ends

Daylight saving time (DST) or summer time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months so that people get up earlier in the morning and experience more daylight in the evening. Typically, users of DST adjust clocks forward one hour near the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn.

The New Zealander George Vernon Hudson proposed the modern idea of daylight saving in 1895. Germany and Austria-Hungary organized the first implementation, starting on 30 April 1916. Many countries have used it at various times since then, particularly since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

The practice has received both advocacy and criticism. Putting clocks forward benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but can cause problems for evening entertainment and for other activities tied to the sun (such as farming) or to darkness (such as fireworks shows). Although some early proponents of DST aimed to reduce evening use of incandescent lighting(formerly a primary use of electricity), modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.

Problems sometimes caused by DST clock shifts include: they complicate timekeeping, and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment, and sleep patterns. Software can often adjust computer clocks automatically, but this can be limited and error-prone, particularly when various jurisdictions change the dates and timings of DST changes.

Industrialized societies generally follow a clock-based schedule for daily activities that does not change throughout the course of the year. The time of day that individuals begin and end work or school, and the coordination of mass transit, for example, usually remain constant year-round. In contrast, an agrarian society's daily routines for work and personal conduct are more likely governed by the length of daylight hours and solar time, which change seasonally (in most places the day's daylight is longer in summer and shorter in winter), due to the Earth's axial tilt. This effect is greater as one moves away from the equator.

By synchronously resetting all clocks in a region to be one hour ahead of Standard Time (one hour "fast"), individuals who follow such a year-round schedule will wake an hour earlier than they would have otherwise; they will begin and complete daily work routines an hour earlier, and they will have an extra hour of daylight after their workday activities. However they will have one less hour of daylight at the start of each day, making the policy less practical during winter.

While the times of sunrise and sunset change at roughly equal rates as the seasons change, proponents of Daylight Saving Time argue that most people prefer a greater increase in daylight hours after the typical "nine-to-five" workday. Supporters have also argued that DST decreases energy consumption by reducing the need for lighting and heating, but the actual effect on overall energy use is heavily disputed.

The manipulation of time at higher latitudes (for example Iceland, Nunavut or Alaska) has little impact on daily life, because the length of day and night changes more extremely throughout the seasons (in comparison to other latitudes), and thus sunrise and sunset times are significantly out of sync with standard working hours regardless of manipulations of the clock. DST is also of little use for locations near the equator, because these regions see only a small variation in daylight throughout the year.

Although they did not fix their schedules to the clock in the modern sense, ancient civilizations adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than modern DST does, often dividing daylight into twelve hours regardless of day length, so that each daylight hour was longer during summer. For example, Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year: at Rome's latitude the third hour from sunrise, hora tertia, started by modern standards at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes. After ancient times, equal-length civil hours eventually supplanted unequal, so civil time no longer varies by season. Unequal hours are still used in a few traditional settings, such as some Mount Athos monasteries and all Jewish ceremonies.

During his time as an American envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin, publisher of the old English proverb, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise", anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. This 1784 satire proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. Franklin did not propose DST; like ancient Rome, 18th-century Europe did not keep precise schedules. However, this soon changed as rail and communication networks came to require a standardization of time unknown in Franklin's day.

Modern DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight. In 1895 he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift, and after considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, New Zealand, he followed up in an 1898 paper. Many publications credit DST's proposal to the prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett, who independently conceived DST in 1905 during a pre-breakfast ride, when he observed with dismay how many Londoners slept through a large part of a summer's day. An avid golfer, he also disliked cutting short his round at dusk. His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, a proposal he published two years later. The proposal was taken up by the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Pearce, who introduced the first Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons on 12 February 1908. A select committee was set up to examine the issue, but Pearce's bill did not become law, and several other bills failed in the following years. Willett lobbied for the proposal in the UK until his death in 1915.

Starting on 30 April 1916, Germany and its World War I ally Austria-Hungary were the first to use DST (German: Sommerzeit) as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918.

Broadly speaking, Daylight Saving Time was abandoned in the years after the war (with some notable exceptions including Canada, the UK, France, and Ireland for example). However, it was brought back for periods of time in many different places during the following decades, and commonly during the Second World War. It became widely adopted, particularly in North America and Europe starting in the 1970s as a result of the 1970s energy crisis.

Since then, the world has seen many enactments, adjustments, and repeals. For specific details, an overview is available at Daylight saving time by country.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

Over the past decade, more than 700 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

The focus on impunity of the resolution A/RES/68/163 stems from the worrying situation that over the past decade, more than 700 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. In 2012 alone, the UNESCO Director-General condemned the killing of 123 journalists, media workers, and social media producers of public interest journalism. In 2013, the figure decreased slightly to 91, but still represented the second deadliest year for journalists.

These figures do not include the many more journalists who on a daily basis suffer from non-fatal attacks, including torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations. Furthermore, there are specific risks faced by women journalists including sexual attacks.

Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle.

According to the forthcoming UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, less than six percent of the 593 cases of killings of journalists from 2006-2013 have been resolved. A quarter of these cases are considered as “ongoing” referring to their continued investigations over the various stages of the judicial system. In 60 percent of the cases, no information on the judicial process was made available to UNESCO notwithstanding the Director-General’s requests for such.

When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, a very negative message is sent that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get ordinary people in trouble. Furthermore, society loses confidence in its own judiciary system which is meant to protect everyone from attacks on their rights. Perpetrators of crimes against journalists are thus emboldened when they realize they can attack their targets without ever facing justice.

Look for Circles Day

This is one of those amazingly random days where you can’t help but wonder why on earth someone would create it. It’s November 2, so we could be celebrating National Deviled Egg Day, or Zero Tasking Day, but . . . I’m celebrating Look For Circles Day.

Yes, circles. I’m certain I searched for circles as a preschooler, learning my shapes, and I definitely remember taking pictures of various circles and polygons found in everyday life for my high school geometry class, but I don’t think I've really looked for circles since then.

A circle is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry that is the set of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the center. The distance between any of the points and the center is called the radius. It can also be defined as the locus of a point equidistant from a fixed point.

A circle is a simple closed curve which divides the plane into two regions: an interior and an exterior. In everyday use, the term "circle" may be used interchangeably to refer to either the boundary of the figure, or to the whole figure including its interior; in strict technical usage, the circle is the former and the latter is called a disk.

A circle can be defined as the curve traced out by a point that moves so that its distance from a given point is constant.

A circle may also be defined as a special ellipse in which the two foci are coincident and the eccentricity is 0, or the two-dimensional shape enclosing the most area per unit perimeter, using calculus of variations.

I’m making up other celebration ideas as I go along, but I’m thinking that we can just consider sphere’s 3D circles and eat some celebratory oranges, meatballs, or crackers and bologna; play ball (basket-, soccer-, base-, etc., but not American foot-); or take a long bubble bath. Sound good?

National Deviled Egg Day

It’s National Deviled Egg Day! Did you know that another name for deviled eggs is eggs mimosa? This dish is a traditional favorite in both American and French cultures. Deviled eggs are made with hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasoning, and can be served as a side dish, appetizer, or main course.

Serving deviled eggs at picnics and cocktail parties may have been de rigueur in post-World War II America, but these classic creamy concoctions did not originate in the United States. Although they weren't prepared the same way, the roots of modern-day deviled eggs can be traced back to ancient Rome, where eggs were boiled, seasoned with spicy sauces and then typically served at the beginning of a meal—as a first course known as gustatio—for wealthy patricians. In fact, serving eggs while entertaining was so common that the Romans had a saying, “ab ova usque ad mala”—literally from eggs to apples, or from the beginning of a meal to the end. In Petronius’s satirical fiction “Satyricon,” written around 61 A.D., the wealthy freedman Trimalchio invited guests to a banquet in which the menu included fig-peckers (small songbirds) marinated in peppered egg yolk and stuffed into peahen eggs.
According to Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes believed to have been compiled sometime between the fourth and fifth century A.D., boiled eggs were traditionally seasoned with oil, wine or broth and served with pepper and laser (which was also known as silphium, a plant driven to extinction by the first century A.D.). Another recipe called for poached eggs to be dressed with soaked pine nuts, lovage (an herb of the parsley family with an anise, celery flavor), pepper, honey, vinegar and broth.

Sometime in the 13th century, stuffed eggs began to appear in Andalusia, in what is now Spain. An anonymous cookbook from this time period instructs the reader to pound boiled egg yolks with cilantro, onion juice, pepper and coriander and then beat them with murri (a sauce made of fermented barley or fish), oil and salt. After stuffing the mixture into the hollowed egg whites, the two halves were then fastened together with a small stick and peppered.

By the 15th century, stuffed eggs had made their way across much of Europe. Medieval cookbooks contain recipes for boiled eggs that were often filled with raisins, cheese and herbs such as marjoram, parsley and mint and then fried in oil and either topped with a sauce of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and raisins with verjuice (a tart juice made from unripe fruits) or powdered with sugar and served hot. In the United States, stuffed eggs began making an appearance in cookbooks by the mid-19th century.

The first known printed mention of ‘devil’ as a culinary term appeared in Great Britain in 1786, in reference to dishes including hot ingredients or those that were highly seasoned and broiled or fried. By 1800, deviling became a verb to describe the process of making food spicy. But in some parts of the world, the popular egg hors d’oeuvres are referred to as “mimosa eggs,” “stuffed eggs,” “dressed eggs” or “salad eggs”—especially when served at church functions—in order to avoid an association with Satan.

A recipe from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 “Boston Cooking-School Cookbook” was one of the earliest to suggest the use of mayonnaise as a binder for the filling. However, despite the fact that mayonnaise began to be distributed commercially in the United States in 1907, the condiment was not commonly featured in deviled egg recipes until the 1940s. The classic version of deviled eggs is now widely considered to include a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and paprika, but professional chefs and home cooks around the world have experimented with numerous variations on the filling throughout history—including pickles, dill, bacon, crab meat, sriracha, kimchi, wasabi and caviar among many others.

Make your favorite family recipe tonight to celebrate National Deviled Egg Day!

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 is a short text honoring a deceased person. Strictly speaking, it refers to text that is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense. Some epitaphs are specified by the person themselves before their death, while others are 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. From the Renaissance to the 19th century in Western culture, epitaphs for notable people became increasingly lengthy and pompous descriptions of their family origins, career, virtues and immediate family, often in Latin. However, the Laudatio Turiae, the longest known Ancient Roman epitaph, exceeds almost all of these at 180 lines; it celebrates the virtues of a wife, probably of a consul.

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. A wry trick of others is to request the reader to get off their resting place, inasmuch as the reader would have to be standing on the ground above the coffin to read the inscription. Some record achievements (e.g., past politicians note the years of their terms of office). Nearly all (excepting those where this is impossible by definition, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) note name, year or date of birth, and date of death. Many list family members and the relationship of the deceased to them (for example, "Father / Mother / Son / Daughter of").

Zero Tasking Day

November 2nd is Zero Tasking Day. This day takes place each year on the same day that we end Daylights Savings. This day was created by Nancy Christie, author of The Gifts of Change. According to Christie, this day is to fill that “extra” 60 minutes with nothing. In other words, give yourself a break from your everyday life.

When we set the clock back an hour we, say, get an hour back. Not really, but you get my drift. If we look at that time as if it were a gift, a time for us to take a step back and relax, it becomes an opportunity for us to create time in our calendars for doing absolutely nothing.

Look at your schedule. Do you see specific blocks of time that you have designated for doing absolutely nothing? If you’re like most, probably not. We spend so much time scheduling everything and jamming it into those precious 1,440 minutes that we get every day. We put ourselves last, and it’s necessary for that to change, so that we place ourselves at the top of our priority list, not just to set aside time to do things for ourselves and to treat ourselves to the things that we enjoy, but it’s also necessary to spend time doing absolutely nothing. It’s just as important as doing the things on our list that we designate as important.

When was the last time that you did absolutely nothing? Do you need some “zero tasking” time? Click here to take a quick quiz created by Nancy Christie to find out.