Saturday, January 10, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Jan 10 2015

League of Nations Day

On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect.

In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the most costly war ever fought to that date. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, and in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war.

In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months later, the Allies met with conquered Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson urged a just and lasting peace, but England and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies. The League of Nations was approved, however, and in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

Wilson suffered a severe stroke in the fall of that year, which prevented him from reaching a compromise with those in Congress who thought the treaties reduced U.S. authority. In November, the Senate declined to ratify both. The League of Nations proceeded without the United States, holding its first meeting in Geneva on November 15, 1920.

During the 1920s, the League, with its headquarters in Geneva, incorporated new members and successfully mediated minor international disputes but was often disregarded by the major powers. The League's authority, however, was not seriously challenged until the early 1930s, when a series of events exposed it as ineffectual. Japan simply quit the organization after its invasion of China was condemned, and the League was likewise powerless to prevent the rearmament of Germany and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The declaration of World War II was not even referred to by the then-virtually defunct League.

In 1946, the League of Nations was officially dissolved with the establishment of the United Nations. The United Nations was modeled after the former but with increased international support and extensive machinery to help the new body avoid repeating the League's failures.

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

If your taste buds are screaming for a sweet treat to eat, you're in luck! January 10 is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Sweet! This annual "food holiday" celebrates the delicious dark chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is a sweetened form of dark chocolate made with cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla. Unlike milk chocolate or white chocolate, it does not contain any milk solids. According to FDA standards, bittersweet chocolate must contain at least 35% chocolate liquor (a non-alcoholic liquid produced from cocoa beans).

Chocolate as we know it today has come along way since it was first discovered over 2000 years ago. Throughout history, it has been used as a drink, a gift to the gods, a currency, a medicine, an exclusive drink only available to royalty and nobles and now, finally it has become the very popular, affordable luxury it is today, still retaining it's charm and intrigue.

The first evidence of the consumption of cocoa dates back to 2000BC and was discovered in the tiny village of Uloa in Honduras.

In 500-900AD the Mayans placed offerings of cocoa in the tombs of deceased dignitaries as a gift, the Mayans also worshipped Ek Chuah, god of cocoa, and made offerings to him of fruit feathers and animals when it was time to plant and harvest their cocoa crops.

Cocoa beans were used as currency in Mayan, Toltec and Aztec society and when Hernan Cortez and the Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico in 1519 they too used cocoa beans to buy slaves and food & drink. At this time, chocolate was consumed in the form of a drink known as Xocoatl, which was made by mixing the ground cocoa beans with herbs, spices and red pepper paste, dissolving the mixture in water and pouring it from one recipient to another until it foamed. The Aztecs believed that the foam made this drink delicious whereas the Spanish thought the drink was horrible and the rites and rituals surrounding cocoa were heretic.

The first sweetened version of this drink was introduced by Spanish monks in 1590, it was sweetened with honey and vanilla and formed the basis for today's chocolate.

By the end of the 17th Century, the chocolate drink had been introduced across Europe but was very expensive and was only consumed by royalty and the upper class. Owing to the Aztec belief that chocolate strengthened the body and was sensually stimulating, it was also widely used as a medicine for various ailments and diseases from the common cold to depression.

Between 1700 and 1900, chocolate was used less as a medicine and more emphasis was placed on its delicious flavour. In the 1800s, the Belgians led the way in inventing new methods of processing the cocoa and much progress was made towards modern chocolate. In Britain the Fry family claim to have created the first chocolate bar in 1846, in Italy chocolate was mixed with hazelnut paste to create Gianduja, and the first milk chocolate was created in Switzerland in 1875 after Henry Nestlé found a way to evaporate the liquid from milk to create milk powder. By 1894, there were laws in place in many European countries to protect chocolate and a product could only legally be labelled chocolate if it contained at least 32% cocoa solids (35% in Belgium). In the 20th Century the price of cocoa and sugar fell, and the government abolished taxes on cocoa which made chocolate much more affordable so it became popular with the middle classes.

Today chocolate is affordable for everybody and people are becoming more aware of the different qualities of chocolate available. BitterSweet chocolates use high quality couverture chocolate for their truffles, this is a much higher quality of chocolate than that found in many chocolates on the high street.

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits. Chocolate lovers have even more to celebrate. Besides tasting great, moderate amounts of bittersweet chocolate, is good for your health, too! Derived from cocoa beans, chocolate contains a large amount of antioxidants and flavonoids which are believed to have cardiovascular benefits. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and it increases blood flow, along with adding a little spring to your step - it's a source of energy as well. And the darker the chocolate, the better.

In honor of National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, enjoy a decadent and delicious heart-healthy bittersweet treat to eat.

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

If you are interested in cutting costs and saving a few bucks, today may be your lucky day! January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! Besides saving money, you will also help the environment too.

While some politicians refuse to believe or acknowledge global warming is real, most experts believe the Earth is showing real signs of climate change. In fact, climate change is the biggest environmental crisis of our time and is impacting animal populations, food and water supplies, health and basic human needs. More than one million species of animals face extinction by 2050 due to climate change.2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries have determined that the current global warming is “very likely” caused by humans.

But there are things we as individuals can do to make a difference not only for the environment, but for your pocketbook as well.

  1. Get a Programmable Thermostat - Why heat an empty house when you're not there? A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive improvement that’s worth its weight (and more) in gold. You can select and set daytime and nighttime temperatures for every day of the week.
  2. Zone Heat Your Home - Furnaces push large amounts of heat through the duct system to heat all areas of the home. Zone heating is simple – turn down the central thermostat and heat the areas where you spend the most time with your efficient gas-, wood-, or pellet-burning stove or fireplace. It can reduce heating bills by as much as 20-40 percent, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
  3. Install a Fireplace Insert - The U.S. Department of Energy says that open masonry wood-burning fireplaces can exhaust as much as 300 cubic feet of heated room air outside your home every minute the burn, while drawing cold air in through the windows and doors. It’s warm near the fireplace, but heated air is being sent straight up the chimney and outside your home. Transform it into a highly efficient heat producer with a fireplace insert.
  4. Change that Furnace Filter - Changing your furnace filter once a month during the winter is the best thing you can do to ensure your furnace operates properly. Dirty filters make furnaces to work very hard, increasing energy costs and potentially causing blower malfunctions.
  5. Use Energy Efficient Appliances - You can save money over time by switching to low energy consuming appliances when it’s time for replacement. In 2010 alone, ENERGY STAR rated appliances saved Americans close to $18M in energy costs.
  6. Insulate, Caulk and Weather-strip - The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 40 percent of a home’s energy is lost due to air infiltration from the outdoors. Air seeps in through ceilings, walls, and also from areas exposed to external elements like windows and doors. You can greatly reduce this by adding insulation, and weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors.
  7. Use CFLs - Change from incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). The initial cost is higher, but they last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy.
  8. Watch Water Usage - The average U.S. household uses 400 gallons of water per day, and 70 percent occurs indoors. Water costs money. Reduce usage by turning the water off while you brush your teeth and do dishes. Shortening showers by just a few minutes can save up to 150 gallons per month. Also, reducing your water heater temperature to 120°F save money and make it last longer.
  9. Wash Full Loads in the Dishwasher - Make sure the dishwasher is full before you run a load. Doing partial loads wastes energy and water.
  10. Plug into Power Strips and use Sleep Mode - TVs, computers and other home electronics are still using energy when they're not in use, but plugged in. Buy a power strip and plug everything into it. This makes it easy to turn everything off and on. Also, it takes power to run computer screen savers, so set your screens to “sleep mode” and let them go black.

You may also be interested to know that ENERGY STAR offers a free online service that allows you to compare your home’s energy use to similar homes across the country. You'll need last year’s utility bills and five minutes. Fire up your computer or tablet, go to ENERGY STAR’S Home Energy Yardstick and see how your home measures up.

The bottom line? You can significantly reduce your energy bills by doing these things – or even half of these things. So what are you waiting for?

Peculiar People Day

Though no one knows about the origin of the Peculiar People Day, there are a few references that define this day. Even till today the date or the originator is not known. This day is celebrated to have fun and to honor different people you know.

This may sound a little funny but yes, there is a day known as “Peculiar People Day”. This day is celebrated on January 10th and on this day unique and different people are honored. “Peculiar People” can be described as abnormal, odd, strange, unusual, extraordinary and different. All these characteristics of people can either be positive or negative. This day is also celebrated to look for something good in a peculiar person.

This day can be celebrated by anyone who thinks he/she is a peculiar person. You should appreciate and honor this day as it is special for you. If you don’t find anything peculiar about yourself, then think once again. Observe yourself and you would for sure find something odd or unique. There are chances that you may find everything okay about yourself then all you need to do is appreciate your peculiar friends or people you know.

There are a few interesting ways to celebrate this day, especially for kids. On Peculiar People Day which is celebrated on January 10th, you can look for something different in yourself. Try to find unique or odd things which you would have never noticed before.

To make this day more fun, you can conduct a game with friends. In this game each friend would tell something peculiar about the other. This game should be taken in a positive way as you would not want to hurt the other person. You can also tell something peculiar about yourself which will make the game more interactive.

This day can also celebrated by meeting different types of people. You can organize a party at home and also tell your guests to dress in the most peculiar way they can. This would add lots of fun. You can also make different cards that describe peculiar people in your life. After the cards are ready, you can give each of your friends this card.

If you see this from a creative side, you might even end up writing a poem about the peculiar side of you or about your friend. Many people write poems that can describe themselves or a person they known. Therefore, the Peculiar Person Day is celebrated to honor all the peculiar people you know. It is not only a time to know other people but to also know the peculiar side of you.

Save The Eagles Day

Save the Eagles Day is commemorated on the 10th of January every year to save the eagles from extinction. The eagles were once in extinction in the later part of 20th Century, but as on June 2007, the Bald Eagle- national bird of the United States, was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, due to the assiduous work of scientists and good stewards of both public and private lands.

There are more than 70 species of eagles throughout the world; except Hawaii, where the bird never resided. Other species of birds are not so fortunate as the Bald Eagle because of the threat caused due to habitat loss, poaching, and pesticides.

Throughout history, eagle appeared in both mythology and heraldry, and has been recognized as a symbol of power, courage, freedom and immortality since the antediluvian times. It is believed in some religions that a high-soaring eagle touches the face of God. Legends of Mexico's Aztecs so honored the bird that they built their capital, Tenochtitlan, at the spot where an eagle roosted on a cactus to raven a snake.

Eagles have a long life, great strength and majestic looks, and for this reason, the United States chose the bald eagle as its emblem. Not only the United States, Germany's coat of arms has a black eagle spreading its wings; Egypt's coat of arms portrays a majestic and tall eagle of black and gold. Albania's flag and its coat of arms also depicts a two-headed eagle. And the Turks and the Byzantine Empire shows a two-headed eagle as its emblem.

In ancient Rome, it was believed that the eagle represented God Jupiter and represented the senate. The eagle can be found in religions including Christianity and Hinduism as well. It is considered as a sacred bird in some cultures, and her feathers are used in many spiritual customs. Some Native Americans idolize eagle feathers as holy religious objects- the feathers and parts of bald eagle and golden eagles are in equivalence with the bible and crucifix. Feathers of eagle are used in ceremonies to honor achievements and qualities of leadership and bravery.

To honor Save the Eagles Day, we can look forward to protect eagles and the habitat of this most renowned and majestic bird. Donating to a wildlife sanctuary or turning to the government officials to strengthen environmental protection of waterways might help in saving the eagles. Planting trees and maintaining them in our own yards or local parks makes place for eagles to alight.

On the 10th of January, we can thank the United States for being able to enjoy watching these amazing birds soaring high in our sky. We should also send this intention to our world for it will help eagles continue their existence throughout the world now and for the years to come.