Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 28 2015

Biological Clock Day

Tick tock. Tick tock. Can you hear your biological clock ticking away?  I am pretty sure that I can. I am certainly not looking at having anymore children! 

Our biological clock does so much more than tell us the perfect time to get pregnant. In fact, both men and women and the young and old are subject to the influence of the biological clocks that we all have.

For example, have you ever stayed awake for an all-nighter and felt off for many days afterwards or flown from one time zone to another and felt the affects of jet lag? The impact is due to a disruption to our internal clock.

All living organisms have an internal biological clock, called the Circadian Rhythm, which helps their bodies adapt to the daily cycle of day and night as the Earth rotates.

Circadian rhythms are controlled by “clock genes” that carry the genetic instructions to produce proteins. These instructions control everything from when we sleep and rest, body temperature, heart activity, hormone secretion, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, and metabolism. They may even influence our mood, particularly in the form of wintertime depression known as seasonal effective disorder.

Our biological clock has three parts: a way to receive light, temperature or other input from the environment to set the clock, the clock itself, and genes that help the clock control the activity of other genes.

The human Circadian Rhythm is actually 10 to 20 minutes longer than 24 hours. The biological clock keeps working even when the we are removed from natural light. Without daylight, the biological clock will eventually start running on its own natural cycle. But as soon as morning light hits our eyes, our clock will reset to match the earth’s 24-hour day.

Sleep is essential to our mental and physical health.  Clock genes normally keep us awake during the day and asleep at night.  But when a clock gene mutates, it can disrupt the normal sleep cycle. Sunlight, air travel and even the seasons can disrupt our Circadian Rhythms and the quality and quantity of sleep that we get.

What are the health implications of clock genes? Understanding exactly how clock genes work may help scientists develop new medicines that adjust or reset the human biological clock to treat the ill effects of jet lag, night shift work or wintertime depression. Clock genes may also offer clues to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, which makes people feel sleepy during the day.

Our internal clock controls hormone levels, which can effect the way our bodies respond to certain medications. Better knowledge of circadian rhythms may improve the effectiveness of medications by revealing the best times to take them.

Clock genes may some day help scientists treat cancer. At least eight clock genes are known to coordinate normal functions such as cell proliferation (which is uncontrolled in cancer) and cell suicide (which fails to occur in tumor cells).

Simple blood tests may one day help predict the age at which a woman will begin menopause. If the accuracy of the test is confirmed, women could take the test early on in their reproductive life to find out their expected age at menopause and their optimal pregnancy window.

How To Celebrate Biological Clock Day:
  • Celebrate – whatever age you are, or whatever life stage you are in.
  • Determine your ‘real’ age vs your actual age and see how you are doing. On one site my actual age is 49, my virtual age is 38.8 and my life expectancy is to 86.2 years old. Not bad!  Check out http://www.sonnyradio.com/realage.html
  • Schedule a doctor visit especially if your sleep difficulties are interfering with job and other responsibilities.
Maintain a healthy sleep-wake program by:
  • Not napping if you find that it throws you off in the evening.
  • Getting up at the same time every day.
  • Being strict about your sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Trying light therapy. This should only be done under a doctor’s care to ensure that you are not creating additional issues.
  • Avoiding night light. When possible, avoid bright and outdoor light close to bedtime and keep your surroundings as dark as possible at night. Cover the lights of your alarm clock, so that you are not tempted to look at it or have its glow disrupt your sleep.
  • Avoid eating or exercising too close to bedtime. Also watch out for caffeine and nicotine, both of which are stimulants.
  • When traveling to different time zones – look for natural ways to align your new sleep-wake schedule with the time zone that you are in.  Some strategies require you to start several days before you take off the ground, so plan ahead.
Something to leave you smiling….
  • A class consisted of a particularly well-motivated group of students. They were encouraged to ask their teacher any questions on any subject that concerned them. One afternoon a girl raised her hand and asked the teacher to explain a woman’s “biological clock.”
  • After she had finished, there was a moment of silence and then another hand shot up. “Teacher,” a student asked, “is your clock still ticking or has the alarm gone off?”

Cubicle Day

Cubicle Day is celebrated on April 28th every year around the world.

To maximize on space, many offices now have cubicles for their employees. All of them try to personalize the space with plants, photos and other memorabilia. Of course, humans are not designed to spend their lives in cubicles. If spending a day in a cube makes you feel boxed in, take some time to change the way you feel about your space and the 4 walls around you. The number 4 represents balance – 4 seasons – Spring, Summer Autumn and Winter. There are 4 Elements – Earth, Water, Fire and Wind.

Many companies try to encourage their employees to get away from their cubicles and mingle with their colleagues. Or go for a walk during lunch. Cubicles are generally considered to be a status symbol and come with a promotion at work. They accord a degree of privacy to senior staff – so that they can conduct delicate negotiations.

On Cubicle Day, try to organize a contest for best decorated cubicle. Award prizes for the best decorated cubicle. Of course it is a given that people have to spend time at work and in their cubicles – try to maintain a good work/life balance.

Great Poetry Reading Day

Today is Great Poetry Reading Day! This holiday celebrates all of the fantastic poetry and poets out there. Poems are words written to express an idea or emotion with imagery and metaphors. Poetry is believed to predate literacy, and all of the oldest written works are in poetry form.

There are many different types of poetry, all unique in their own way. Four popular kinds of poems are ballad, free verse, haiku, and epic. A ballad is a narrative poem that explains a story, made up of four-line stanzas, in which the second and third lines rhyme. A free verse poem has no rhyme scheme and no specific length; it is a free-form poem to write as the poet wishes. A Haiku is a poem focusing on nature, with three lines- 5 syllables on the first and third lines and 7 syllables on the second line. Lastly, an epic is a long narrative poem that tells the story of a heroic journey.

Poetry is an impressive and beautiful type of literary work. Celebrate today by reading some great poetry, throw a poetry reading party, or try writing a poem of your own!

Here are some Online Resources
  • Poets.org - A great website from the Academy of American Poets, with tons of poems, essays and information on craft as well as biographies of poets. Looking for a poem on a specific theme or topic? This site also has a great search engine. What I love about this site, though, is the wealth of resources they have for beginners. Check out their Poetry 101 section for tips and articles on how to read poetry, book recommendations and more.
  • The Writer’s Almanac - The website for NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac presents a different poem each day, plus facts about poets and writers, and a podcast. A great RSS feed to subscribe to.
  • Poetry 180 - A poem per day for the 180 days of the school year. That’s the concept behind this fabulous website, which includes 180 poems, plus other resources as well.
  • Poetry Foundation - Another association dedicated to poetry and a great website. You can search through their database of poets and poems, or read articles and listen to podcasts.
  • Poetry Society of America (PSA) - And yet another poetry association with a fantastic website. I’m especially a fan of their collaboration with the MTA (and now public transit systems across the country) called Poetry in Motion, where they place poems in buses and subways to raise readership of both new and established poets.
National Blueberry Pie Day

It’s National Blueberry Pie Day! Americans have been filling their pies with delicious, fresh-picked berries since the colonial era. Today, blueberry pie is one of the most popular pie flavors in the United States. Blueberry season begins in May and ends in the late summer, so blueberry pie is a perennial favorite at Fourth of July celebrations.

Did you know that Maine produces more blueberries than any other state? In fact, 25% of all low bush blueberries grown in North America come from Maine. That makes this New England state the largest producer of blueberries in the world!

 Blueberries have the highest antioxidants of all fruits and vegetables, can improve memory, are packed with vitamin C and fiber, can reduce the risk of heart attack and heart failure, help stop the degradation of the skin's collagen, can improve brain function, may combat the start and/or progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, is helpful in combating colon, liver and ovarian cancer, and have low glycemic level.

Head to your favorite local bakery or make your own tasty blueberry pie today to celebrate National Blueberry Pie Day!

National Kiss Your Mate Day

Kiss Your Mate Day is celebrated on April 28. The day is a great opportunity to cuddle your partner and bless with kisses. Kissing on the lips is a physical expression of affection or love between two people in which the sensations of touch, taste, and smell are involved. 

The kiss is an important expression of love and erotic emotions. Romantic kissing in Western cultures is a fairly recent development and is rarely mentioned even in ancient Greek literature. Kissing in particular has been studied in a controlled experiment and it was found that increasing the frequency of kissing in marital and cohabiting relationships results in a reduction of perceived stress, an increase in relationship satisfaction, and a lowering of cholesterol levels. 

Surveys indicate that kissing is the second most common form of physical intimacy among United States adolescents (after holding hands), and that about 85% of 15 to 16-year-old adolescents in the US have experienced it. In many cultures, it is considered a harmless custom for teenagers to kiss on a date or to engage in kissing games with friends.

Workers Memorial Day

Workers' Memorial Day, International Workers' Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured or Day of Mourning takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

Workers' Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. The slogan for the day is Remember the dead – Fight for the living.

Although April 28 is used as the focal point for remembrance and a day of international solidarity, campaigning and other related activities continue throughout the year right around the world.

Workers' Memorial Day was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984. The Canadian Labor Congress declared an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28, which is the anniversary of a comprehensive Workers Compensation Act (refer to the entry Workplace Safety & Insurance Board), passed in 1914. In 1991, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations (UN) actively promote the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 every year.

The UN, ILO and other organizations, communities, individuals, and government bodies with an interest in workplace health and safety unite on or around April 28 to promote an international campaign known as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The UN posts this event in its events calendar each year.

Community leaders and organizational representatives often promote the day by speaking out on issues such as workplace health and safety standards. Various media have promoted the day through news articles and broadcast programs. Different types of events and activities that center on workplace health and safety are held in many countries on or around April 28 each year.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) started observing the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, 2003. The ILO is devoted to advancing opportunities for people to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. It aims to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, boost social protection, and strengthen dialogue in work-related issues.