Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holidays and Observances for June 30 2015

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day

What are leap seconds?
They last only a heartbeat and go unnoticed by most - but without leap seconds our clocks would run too fast.

About every one and a half years, one extra second is added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and clocks around the world. This leap second accounts for the fact that the Earth's rotation around its own axis, which determines the length of a day, slows down over time while the atomic clocks we use to measure time tick away at almost the same speed over millions of years.

So, leap seconds are a means to adjust our clocks to the Earth's slowing rotation.

How many leap seconds have been added so far?
Since 1972, a total of 25 seconds have been added. This means that the Earth has slowed down 25 seconds compared to atomic time since then.

This does not mean that days are 25 seconds longer nowadays. Only the days on which the leap seconds are inserted have 86,401 instead of the usual 86,400 seconds.

When are leap seconds added?
Leap seconds are inserted at the end of the last day in June or December. When that is the case, UTC ticks from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before reverting to 00:00:00 (in the 12-hour format, this corresponds to 11:59:59 pm - 11:59:60 pm - 12:00:00 midnight). When that happens the last minute of the month has 61 instead of 60 seconds.

The last time a leap second was added to UTC was at 23:59:60 UTC on June 30, 2012 (see table). The difference between UTC and the International Atomic Time (UTC-TAI) from July 1, 2012 is -35 sec.

Who decides when leap seconds are added?
The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) observes the Earth's rotation and compares it to atomic time. When the difference between the two approaches 0.9 seconds, they order a leap second to be added worldwide.

National Mai Tai Day

Mai Tai’s could possibly be called the most famous and well-known drink of Hawaii.  And maybe one of the most delicious, after all, who doesn’t love a Mai Tai? Sweet and sensuous rum, mixed with golden glorious fruit juices and liquers, garnished with succulent pineapple. Mai Tais are great after a long, sunny day at the beach. Mai Tais are great with pupus, and great on their own.  Mai Tai’s are great to drink while (and perhaps even inspired by) watching the sun set.  Mai Tai’s are everyone’s favorite when on vacation.

“Maitai” in Tahitian means “good” and the Mai Tai has come to symbolize Tahitian-style, Tiki Bar and Hawaiian culture, reminiscent of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

In Honor of the Mai Tai, they’ve given the drink its own day … and that day is August 30. While there has been some dispute over the actual, official date of National Mai Tai Day, some say it is the 30th of August and others (notably “A History of Drinking Blog”) say it is June 30, I find the believers of the August 30 date to be the most convincing. In any event, there is no harm in celebrating Mai Tai Day on both days. 

For a little history on the drink, you should know that the Mai Tai was purportedly invented by Victor J. Bergeron is August 1944. Bergeron was the proprietor of Tader Vic’s in Oakland. There is some controversy here, too, because Don the Beachcomber, of Los Angeles, also claimed to have invented the drink, though he said he invented it years earlier, in 1933.  Both drinks taste different and have different recipes, and there seem to be many other different variations of the drink, as well.  But either way, this drink was not invented in Hawaii, but in California, though it is on just about every bar menu in the Hawaiian islands.

National Meteor Day

National Meteor Day is celebrated on June 30th of each year. A meteoroid is a sand- to boulder-sized particle of debris in the Solar System. The visible path of a meteoroid that enters Earth’s (or another body’s) atmosphere is called a meteor, or colloquially a shooting star or falling star. If a meteoroid reaches the ground and survives impact, then it is called a meteorite. Many meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart are called a meteor shower. The root word meteor comes from the Greek meteōros, meaning “high in the air”.

Around 15,000 tonnes of meteoroids, space dust, and debris of different types enters Earth’s atmosphere each year.

As of 2011 the International Astronomical Union officially defines a meteoroid as “a solid object moving in interplanetary space, of a size considerably smaller than an asteroid and considerably larger than an atom”. Beech and Steel, writing in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, proposed a new definition where a meteoroid is between 100 µm and 10 m across. Following the discovery and naming of asteroids below 10 m in size (e.g., 2008 TC3), Rubin and Grossman refined the Beech and Steel definition of meteoroid to objects between 10 µm and 1 m in diameter. The NEO definition includes larger objects, up to 50 m in diameter, in this category. Very small meteoroids are known as micrometeoroids (see also interplanetary dust).

The Minor Planet Center does not use the term “meteoroid”.

The composition of meteoroids can be determined as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere from their trajectories and the light spectra of the resulting meteor. Their effects on radio signals also give information, especially useful for daytime meteors which are otherwise very difficult to observe. From these trajectory measurements, meteoroids have been found to have many different orbits, some clustering in streams (see Meteor showers) often associated with a parent comet, others apparently sporadic. Debris from meteoroid streams may eventually be scattered into other orbits. The light spectra, combined with trajectory and light curve measurements, have yielded various compositions and densities, ranging from fragile snowball-like objects with density about a quarter that of ice, to nickel-iron rich dense rocks.

Meteoroids travel around the Sun in a variety of orbits and at various velocities. The fastest ones move at about 26 miles per second (42 kilometers per second) through space in the vicinity of Earth’s orbit. The Earth travels at about 18 miles per second (29 kilometers per second). Thus, when meteoroids meet the Earth’s atmosphere head-on (which would only occur if the meteors were in a retrograde orbit), the combined speed may reach about 44 miles per second (71 kilometers per second). Meteoroids moving through the earth’s orbital space average about 20 km/s.

A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that has entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteors typically occur in the mesosphere, and most range in altitude from 75 km to 100 km. Millions of meteors occur in the Earth’s atmosphere every day. Most meteoroids that cause meteors are about the size of a pebble.

The velocities of meteors result from the movement of the Earth around the Sun with about 30 km/s, the orbital speeds of meteoroids, and the gravitational attraction of the Earth.

National Organization for Women Day

On June 30, 1966, the Women’s movement took a giant leap forward when the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded by 28 women’s rights activists.  Soon, terms like feminist and Women’s Liberation became common, and a new force in the civil rights movement flexed its muscles.

Activists for women’s rights were frustrated by new laws and rules that supposedly protected the rights of women that were blatantly being ignored in the real world.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were supposed to equalize pay and hiring of men and women, but the reality was drastically different.

The first president of NOW (and one of the founders) was the author of 1963’s The Feminine Mystique, Betty Freidan.  NOW members were less than satisfied by the efforts of Washington politicians to make real changes rather than just posture and merely look like they were accomplishing something.  NOW campaigned for abortion rights (at that time, abortion was illegal in most states), the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, equity in hiring and promotions in the workplace, maternity leave, and increased access of women to college and graduate school as well as equity between men’s and women’s athletics in school and college.

NOW today claims 550,000 members in all 50 states, with 550 local chapters in each of those states plus Washington, DC.  The fight over abortion rights (and “reproductive rights“) and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) continues, as does the demand for “equal pay for equal work.”  Other issues such as gay rights, eliminating racism,  domestic violence, economic justice, and constitutional equality (through the ERA or other means) remain as “core issues.”  Sexual harassment in the workplace or elsewhere is also a topic under attack by NOW.

NOW is not without its enemies, and is opposed by anti-abortionists and conservative religious groups that believe women are ordained by God to occupy an inferior and submissive role in society.  Father’s rights organizations advocating for the father’s equal say so about abortion and perceived unfairness regarding child support and custody also go head to head with NOW (and other women’s rights groups) as well.

If there ever was a doubt that “you can’t please everybody” the fact that even some ardent feminists criticize NOW as being “too inclusive” and not radical enough.  How about you?  Do you support an Equal Rights Amendment?  Let us know.

Social Media Day

Social Media Day was launched by the popular website Mashable back in 2010, and often sees fans of the site going to real life meetups.

Social media seems to be everywhere these days. Though the days of social media pioneer Myspace are now long gone, we’re constantly hearing about trending topics on Twitter, laughing at social media fails and many people are obsessive about keeping up with their Facebook news feed. Even if Facebook and Twitter aren’t for you, there’s still blogging, Vine, Snapchat and even LinkedIn, among many others. Even businesses have recognized the value of social media for connecting with customers and selling their product, as well as quickly updating users about problems affecting their service.

Social media has become a major factor in the world. For many of us, it is how we keep up with what our friends are up to, even if they’re on the other side of the planet. It has also played a big part in world events. Twitter was used to organise protests and report on events during the Arab Spring, for example. On a more shallow note, Twitter is a great way to keep up with what your favorite celebrities are up to – as long as they don’t just use it to Instagram pictures of their lunch!

If we’re honest, most of us use social media for less than upright purposes ourselves. We use it to show off our holidays and what adventures we have planned for the weekend. Almost everyone presents an idealized version of themselves on social media, whether by detagging unflattering photos or implying their life is more exciting and glamorous than it really is. Never compare yourself negatively to your friends on social media as you’re only seeing what they want you to see!

So how best to celebrate Social Media Day? The answer is obvious! Let your networks know and spread the knowledge. Start a hashtag, upload a photo, update your status. You certainly won’t be alone as social media is still spreading like wildfire all over the world. Whatever you do, wherever you are, don’t forget to celebrate #socialmediaday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Holidays and Observances for June 29 2015

Hug Holiday Day

Feeling a little down-in-the-dumps these days? Has the hectic pace of day-to-day life taken its toll? If you or someone you know needs a little TLC right about now, you’re in luck! It’s Hug Holiday Day!

This annual “hugiday,” observed on June 29th, was created by the folks at the Hugs for Health Foundation in an effort to encourage people to hand out hugs to those who need it most – the elderly, sick, disabled or those who live alone. While many senior citizens in nursing homes and retirement centers do have friends and loved ones who visit, many do not and lead very lonely lives.

Hug Holiday Day is not the only holiday dedicated to hugging, either. There’s National Hugging Day, Hug an Atheist Day and Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith's Hug a G.I. Day. And our furry four-legged friends also get in on the hugging action with the 'purrfect' Hug Your Cat Day and Hug Your Dog Day 'howlidays' too!

Hugs are not only free to give, they have numerous benefits for the hugger and the recipient as well. This popular nonverbal form of communication not only reduces stress and lowers the heart rate, but also lowers blood pressure and improves your mood. Plus, hugs feel pretty darn good, too!

There’s nothing quite like the power of a mama’s hug. In a very 'touching' story, twins Jamie and Emily were born prematurely in 2010. Soon after the birth, baby Jamie was pronounced dead. Doctors placed the newborn on his mother’s bare chest so she could say her final goodbyes but within minutes, the infant began to move. Despite the fact the doctors said his movements were not a sign of life, mom kept on cuddling and hugging the newborn. Moments later, Jamie opened his eyes. Mom put a drop of breast milk on her finger and he ate it! Both babies are now healthy, happy toddlers.

In honor of Hug Holiday Day, why not stop by your local nursing home or hospital and hand out a few hugs to someone who could really use one? If you happen to have a neighbor who lives alone, why not drop by and give him or her a friendly hug? If you know someone who is having a difficult time, a simple hug can make all the difference in the world if you just reach out and hug someone!

National Almond Buttercrunch Day

It's crunch time! June 29 is National Almond Buttercrunch Day.

This nutty confection became increasingly popular in the 1940s, during World War II. The candy company Brown & Haley had developed their own recipe for almond buttercrunch a few years earlier, and J.C. Haley, the company's co-founder, had the nutty idea of storing it in tins. He figured that if tins kept his coffee fresh, they’d do the same for his beloved candy.

The buttercrunch was shipped to soldiers fighting overseas and soon became an international hit. Brown & Haley called it Almond Roca because most of the almonds during that time were exported from Spain, and "roca," the Spanish word for rock, is indicative of the candy's crunchy texture.

Almond buttercrunch requires only a few ingredients: butter, sugar, salt and almonds. The butter and sugar are melted together to form a toffee, which is then poured over crushed almonds.

Some recipes have chocolate chips in them, and some are dipped in chocolate. If the confection lasts long enough (i.e. you don't eat it all in one sitting), store your buttercrunch in an airtight container - perhaps even a tin.

National Camera Day

National Camera Day is celebrated on June 29th of each year.

A camera is a device that records and stores images. These images may be still photographs or moving images such as videos or movies. The term camera comes from the word camera obscura (Latin for “dark chamber”), an early mechanism for projecting images. The modern camera evolved from the camera obscura.

Cameras may work with the light of the visible spectrum or with other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. A camera generally consists of an enclosed hollow with an opening (aperture) at one end for light to enter, and a recording or viewing surface for capturing the light at the other end. A majority of cameras have a lens positioned in front of the camera’s opening to gather the incoming light and focus all or part of the image on the recording surface. The diameter of the aperture is often controlled by a diaphragm mechanism, but some cameras have a fixed-size aperture. Most cameras use an electronic image sensor to store photographs on Flash memory. Other cameras including the majority from the 20th century use photographic film.

The still camera takes one photo each time the user presses the shutter button. A typical movie camera continuously takes 24 film frames per second as long as the user holds down the shutter button, or until the shutter button is pressed a second time.

The forerunner to the photographic camera was the camera obscura. In the fifth century B.C., the Chinese philosopher Mo Ti noted that a pinhole can form an inverted and focused image, when light passes through the hole and into a dark area. Mo Ti is the first recorded person to have exploited this phenomenon to trace the inverted image to create a picture. Writing in the fourth century B.C., Aristotle also mentioned this principle. He described observing a partial solar eclipse in 330 B.C. by seeing the image of the Sun projected through the small spaces between the leaves of a tree. In the tenth century, the Arabic scholar Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) also wrote about observing a solar eclipse through a pinhole, and he described how a sharper image could be produced by making the opening of the pinhole smaller. English philosopher Roger Bacon wrote about these optical principles in his 1267 treatise Perspectiva. By the fifteenth century, artists and scientists were using this phenomenon to make observations. Originally, an observer had to enter an actual room, in a which a pinhole was made on one wall. On the opposite wall, the observer would view the inverted image of the outside. The name camera obscura, Latin for “dark room”, derives from this early implementation of the optical phenomenon.

The actual name of camera obscura was applied by mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler in his Ad Vitellionem paralipomena of 1604. He later added a lens and made the apparatus transportable, in the form of a tent. British scientist Robert Boyle and his assistant Robert Hooke developed a portable camera obscura in the 1660s.

The first camera obscura that was small enough for practical use as a portable drawing aid was built by Johann Zahn in 1685. At that time there was no way to preserve the images produced by such cameras except by manually tracing them. However, it had long been known that various substances were bleached or darkened or otherwise changed by exposure to light. Seeing the magical miniature pictures that light temporarily “painted” on the screen of a small camera obscura inspired several experimenters to search for some way of automatically making highly detailed permanent copies of them by means of some such substance.

Early photographic cameras were usually in the form of a pair of nested boxes, the end of one carrying the lens and the end of the other carrying a removable ground glass focusing screen. By sliding them closer together or farther apart, objects at various distances could be brought to the sharpest focus as desired. After a satisfactory image had been focused on the screen, the lens was covered and the screen was replaced with the light-sensitive material. The lens was then uncovered and the exposure continued for the required time, which for early experimental materials could be several hours or even days. The first permanent photograph of a camera image was made in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce using a sliding wooden box camera made by Charles and Vincent Chevalier in Paris.

Similar cameras were used for exposing the silver-surfaced copper Daguerreotype plates, commercially introduced in 1839, which were the first practical photographic medium. The collodion wet plate process that gradually replaced the Daguerreotype during the 1850s required photographers to coat and sensitize thin glass or iron plates shortly before use and expose them in the camera while still wet. Early wet plate cameras were very simple and little different from Daguerreotype cameras, but more sophisticated designs eventually appeared. The Dubroni of 1864 allowed the sensitizing and developing of the plates to be carried out inside the camera itself rather than in a separate darkroom. Other cameras were fitted with multiple lenses for photographing several small portraits on a single larger plate, useful when making cartes de visite. It was during the wet plate era that the use of bellows for focusing became widespread, making the bulkier and less easily adjusted nested box design obsolete.

For many years, exposure times were long enough that the photographer simply removed the lens cap, counted off the number of seconds (or minutes) estimated to be required by the lighting conditions, then replaced the cap. As more sensitive photographic materials became available, cameras began to incorporate mechanical shutter mechanisms that allowed very short and accurately timed exposures to be made.

The electronic video camera tube was invented in the 1920s, starting a line of development that eventually resulted in digital cameras, which largely supplanted film cameras after the turn of the 21st century.

Waffle Iron Day

Ahhh the Waffle Iron, creator of some of the most delicious breakfast delicacies the world round. There’s so many different types of them as well, you have your regular waffle iron, your deluxe multi-waffle irons that make more than one at a time, round ones, Belgian waffle-makers with their deep squares and thick waffles begging to be topped with strawberries and cream. Waffle Iron Day is the perfect time to celebrate this delicious breakfast staple!

Waffle Irons were first found in that area of Northwestern Europe known as the Low Countries, which includes Belgium and the Netherlands as well as other places. Originally they were made to be used over an open flame, and were thus constructed on the end of two long, typically wooden, handles with a clamshell system at one end, which would be held over a fire to bake.

The origin of the waffle iron can be traced back to the middle ages, where they were developed from a device known as the ‘wafer iron’. These were commonly used in the creation of the communion wafer, but larger varieties existed, consisting of nothing more than two flat irons often engraved with elaborate scenes. For the communion wafer, it was depictions of the crucifixion of Christ. While the larger secular designs varied widely, often engraved with artistic floral designs, illumination, or just about any other form of design you could imagine.

Later, during the 17th and 18th centuries, they were developed further by the Dutch. Sugar was particularly precious at that time, sometimes catching as much as a half an ounce of silver for a kilogram of sugar. During this time the mestiers were particularly popular among the rich, being made of only the finest ingredients, and sweetened with the precious sugar.

Waffle Irons are used to more than just the simple breakfast food that they’re well known for. Gouda in the Netherlands is the home of a delicious cookie type treat known as a ‘stroopwafel’. Developed by Gerard Kamphuisen, this sweet syrup filled confection was quite popular, leading to a boom where up to 100 stroopwafel makers were to be found in the city. The stroopwafel has since become quite popular around the world.

One of the most popular uses of waffles came about seemingly by accident, allegedly created by George Bang in 1904. He had run out of bowls to give out with his Banner Creamery Ice Cream, and started giving out rolled up waffles to use instead. It’s alleged because there are other origin stories as well, including a Belgium gent from Ghent, who moved to Norfolk, Virginia, and decided that a rolled up Waffle was the perfect place to put a scoop of ice-cream!

Waffle Iron Day is a great opportunity to head out and get yourself a new waffle iron. There are a ton of options available these days, even novelty ones shaped as everything from Mickey Mouse to the state of Texas. You can get particularly creative and make an entire menu from waffles, spanning from breakfast to dinner, and everything in between. Waffle-cone ice-cream, breakfast waffles loaded with whipped cream and berries, the always popular chicken and waffles for dinner, and snacks the day through served on specially seasoned savory waffles!

If nothing else, spend Waffle Iron Day looking into the history of this delightful and always creative food. There’s something inspiring about how so simple a concept spread to embrace the world and shape some of our favorite treats. Happy Waffle Iron Day!

Please Take My Children to Work Day

Being a stay-at-home parent can be one of most rewarding as well as an exhausting experience for parents. Please Take my Children to Work Day celebrated annually on June 25 first began as a tongue-in-cheek holiday for overworked and tired stay-at-home mothers to take a day off from their routines and their children and to pamper themselves.

Today, as times have changed, this day applies to any parent who would like to take a break from their parental duties.

The unofficial holiday, which is not be confused with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, was created by Jen Singer of MommaSaid.net - a parenting blog. The day began in 2003 as a way to give stay-at-home parents some much deserved time off. The holiday encourages the friends and family to take care of the children so that the stay-at-home parent can have some time to relax and rejuvenate before they are back to spending the day with a home full of children.

The holiday is also sometimes celebrated on June 30 or on the last Monday of June.

How to celebrate?

  • Ask your friends to take your children to work for you. Remember though to first tell them what the day is about or your request may sound weird. And if they refuse, don’t be mad at them. Instead, hire a babysitter and take the day off to pamper yourself. Go to the spa or take the day to go to the movies or shop or do anything else that you may not be able to do on a normal day.
  • If you know someone who is stay-at-home parent, take this day to show your appreciation of them. Do something nice for them - take them out of an adults only lunch or volunteer to babysit their children so that they can have some much needed time to themselves.

Did you know…
…that a new born child has 300 bones while a fully grown adult has 206? The excess bones fuse together as the child grows.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Holidays and Observances for June 28 2015

International Body Piercing Day

Throughout the world body modification has been used for many purposes, from self-expression, to rites of passage, shock value, even religious observances. There has been a growing movement in the western world driving body modification to the forefront of popular forms of expression and self-decoration. The history of body piercing isn't clear, as there is a lot of misleading information out there, but there is significant indicators that it has been practiced by both men and women since prehistory. Body Piercing Day is an opportunity for you to find a new way to express yourself with this age old practice.

Ear Piercing has been well known in Western Cultures for at least the last couple hundred years, and the evidence of it goes back quite a bit further, with evidence of ears and nose being pierced being discovered in the graves of many cultures, even as far back as 5,000 years ago. It was a well-known way of sending wealth along with the dead into the next life, and honoring them in their burial site.

But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, lip and tongue piercings have been present in throughout the world, particularly well documented in African and American tribal cultures. Nipple can be tracked back at least as far the Ancient Romans, while genital piercing made a perhaps unexpected debut in Ancient India.

Body Piercing Day is originally dedicated to Jim Ward, often heralded as “the granddaddy of the body piercing movement”. Jim Ward has been an incredibly influential part of the new body modification movement, with a specific focus on body piercing. He has been part of the forward driving force for piercings in the western world, and helped to develop the basic techniques for piercing, with a special focus on genital piercings.

He is directly responsible for introducing the incredibly popular barbell piercing style to the US, the internal threading style of them was a vast improvement over existing piercing techniques. This technique he picked up from ‘Tattoo Samy’ from Frankfurt, who had come to visit him a number of times in the US after this.

Body Piercing Day is a great opportunity to finally take the plunge, and get yourself that piercing you've been contemplating. With the ability to choose from the ever growing selection of piercings, from ear piercings, nose piercings, lip, and cheek piercings, you can display your individuality with a piece that’s meaningful to you. 

Those are just the ones that are easily visible, when you take into account nipple piercings, the always sexy belly-button piercing, and the incredibly daring variety of genital piercings, there are tons of options for enhancing your life in some rather creative ways. Recent innovations have also brought into light the ‘dermal’, where a circle of skin is essentially punched out of your skin, and a mounting plate slipped under the surface. These can be placed just about anywhere on the body, but are quite common at the top of the sternum, with sparkling jewels or a loop ring being fastened on.

Body Piercing Day is a day to join the ever growing number of people who have started getting piercings. In England in 2005, a survey was done that revealed that 10% of people over the age of 16 have piercings in locations other than their earlobe. Women, as usual, are leading the charge in the newest form of fashion, and the men aren't far behind. Body Piercing Day is your day to be daring, so get out there and get pierced!






 International Caps Lock Day is in fact a testament to the small mindedness of certain Western individuals: the majority of the world’s population writes in scripts which have no concept of letter casing. Therefore it is advised to laugh at anyone who invokes this day as an excuse to dismiss local typographical conventions: they are simply making an ass out of themselves.




Insurance Awareness Day

Insurance Awareness Day is celebrated on June 28th of each year. The staff at National Whatever Day were unable to discover the origin of Insurance Awareness Day. However, we believe it was established as a way to share the importance of being insured in case of an emergency.

Insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the insurance; the insured, or policyholder, is the person or entity buying the insurance policy. The amount to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage is called the premium. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.

The transaction involves the insured assuming a guaranteed and known relatively small loss in the form of payment to the insurer in exchange for the insurer’s promise to compensate (indemnify) the insured in the case of a financial (personal) loss. The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insured will be financially compensated.

Insurance involves pooling funds from many insured entities (known as exposures) to pay for the losses that some may incur. The insured entities are therefore protected from risk for a fee, with the fee being dependent upon the frequency and severity of the event occurring. In order to be insurable, the risk insured against must meet certain characteristics in order to be an insurable risk. Insurance is a commercial enterprise and a major part of the financial services industry, but individual entities can also self-insure through saving money for possible future losses.

National Log Cabin Day

National Log Cabin Day brings you back to a quieter, simpler, more rugged era. A couple hundred years ago, life was far more rugged. Americans moving West (west at the time may have been Ohio, or Tennessee) found an untouched wilderness, filled with pristine forests. They built their homes out of logs. These log cabins were solid, long lasting, and served them well.

Life was rustic and simple. Heat was provided by an open fireplace, where they also cooked their meals. Need air conditioning in the summer? Just open the window (there wasn't any glass or screening). There was no electricity (no television, stereos or boom boxes blasting, or computers). And, plumbing? Just look back towards the woods to the outhouse. The path to it is well worn.

National Log Cabin Day celebrates what was then the "Modern" home in America, and all of the lifestyle that accompanied it. Today is a day to appreciate the history and significance of log cabins. Visit them at historical museums today, or sometime this summer.

The Log Cabin Society, founded by Virginia Handy, and the Bad Axe Historical Society,  in Michigan created the annual Log Cabin Day on June 25, 1986. Their objectives included promoting the preservation of Log Cabins, and awareness and education of life during the era in America when log cabins were common.

National Tapioca Day

National Tapioca Day is an informal food holiday celebrated on June 28. National Tapioca Day is one of the many food holidays that do not have a clear, recognized origin, even though they appear in blog posts and food holiday lists online. There is no clear endorsement or announcement of National Tapioca Day by a retailer or manufacturer of tapioca, or by a government official.

Tapioca is a starch that comes from the root of the cassava plant, Manihot esculenta. This starch has many uses, not all of them for food. Due to its properties, tapioca starch has applications as an ingredient for glues and other products. Tapioca starch is also used in manufacturing processes, such as in the manufacture of alcohol, beverages, paper, confectionery, textiles, and other products.

Tapioca is gluten free, and contains almost no protein. As a food or ingredient, tapioca can take many different forms. When used in cooking, tapioca starch or tapioca flour can serve as a thickener or gelling agent, as a stabilizer, or to create the body of a glazy jelly for sweet pie fillings. It is a popular product for uses such as these due to its ability to withstand heat, cold, and even freezing.

As well as a flour, tapioca is also processed into other forms, such as flakes, small rectangular sticks, or round granules known as pearl tapioca. Pearl tapioca is also sometimes called tapioca seed, even though this is not an accurate description of what the pearls of tapioca are.

Pearl tapioca is the form seen in tapioca pudding and other desserts featuring the familiar round, soft bubbles. Some recipes which use pearl tapioca have the word sago in their name, even though sago is a different product from a different plant. This is probably because in many cases, recipes originally using sago balls now replace them with the very similar tapioca pearls. Pearl tapioca is also the form seen in bubble tea.

One of the earliest references to a concept of a special day for tapioca seems to be an episode of the animated cartoon series Garfield and Friends. An episode of the show from 1988 included a short gag entitled National Tapioca Pudding Day.

Sources mentioning National Tapioca Day do not give any official origin or reason for the existence of this food holiday.

Tapioca starch has been used in Western countries for many years, at least since World War II. Tapioca has been used in other places for much longer, although it is not clear exactly how much longer.

National Tapioca Day is celebrated only by those who are interested in special food holidays, or those who use food holidays as writing topics or party themes.

There are many enjoyable ways to celebrate National Tapioca Day, due to the sheer number of applications of tapioca. A great variety of exotic-looking desserts can be made from tapioca, and they have the added bonus of interesting textures due to different forms and shapes that tapioca is sold in.

You could also make and share some homemade bubble tea for the occasion, or go out to enjoy bubble tea or tapioca desserts at a restaurant, cafe, or bubble tea outlet. Look out for bubble tea coupons, deals, or special offers that may be promoted in connection with the holiday.

Paul Bunyan Day

Paul Bunyan Day is celebrated to remember and commemorate a giant American legend. This mythological lumberman is manifested, in the stories, to have been very adept. He accomplished several feats, for instance the organization of logging in the US and the training of carpenter ants to help loggers.

Paul Bunyan day is a US Folktale celebration. It is commemorated on different days in different parts of the U.S. Mostly it is observed in 27-28th of June every year.

The legend of Paul Bunyan begin with tales told by men in lumber camps, in 1800's and was considered to have initiated among French Canadians in the time of the Papineau rebellion of 1837.

Paul Bunyan transformed into a legend as stories of this giant lumberjack who had to his credit incredible feats spread. Some of these stories are: he scooped out the big lakes for his blue ox, Babe; he cleared the lands of North and South Dakota to make it feasible for farming; he taught ants to perform logging work; and he had also been instrumental in creating logging in the U.S.

If the averments in the book “Paul Bunyan” of writer James Stevens is to be believed, which published in 1925, French Canadians conceptualized the tales during the Papineau Rebellion of 1837, when they rose against the young English Queen.

Later historians believed that Paul Bunyan, and particularly the idea of Bunyan as a giant lumberman coupled with a giant blue ox sidekick, was generated in the 20th century for a marketing campaign. Nonetheless there is no substantial evidence is available to support this myth.

Bunyan's birth was quite strange, as are the births of several legendaries, as it required five storks to carry the kid. When after some time he clapped and laughed, the vibration broke every window in the house. At the age of seven months, he sawed the legs off his parents' bed at night. Paul and Babe the Blue Ox dug the Grand Canyon when he carried his axe behind him. He formed Mount Hood by accumulating rocks on top of his campfire to put it out.

Babe the Blue Ox, Bunyan's mate, was a huge creature with extraordinary strength. Most myths of Bunyan manifest Babe the Blue Ox as being of massive size compared to everything else. Among other stories, a myth about the creation of huge lakes was also a tale in which Paul Bunyan required to make a watering hole sufficient enough for Babe to drink from. There are also tales narrating that the 10,000 Lakes of Minnesota were created from the footprints of Paul and Babe while they wandered endlessly in massive snowstorm.

Tau Day

One of the major contributions Archimedes made to mathematics was his method for approximating the value of Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. There is now an online movement to celebrate Tau, the number you get when you use a circle's radius instead. Tau is approximately 6.28, instead of the familiar constant Pi, which is 3.14. There is much opinion and controversy surrounding this new movement. Nevertheless, Tau Day is celebrated on June 28. Here are some Tau resources for you to explore.

There aren't many things that Congress can agree on, but in early 2009 it passed a bipartisan resolution designating March 14th of each year as "Pi Day." Pi, the mathematical constant that students first encounter with the geometry of circles, equals about 3.14, hence its celebration on March 14. The math holiday had been a staple of geeks and teachers for years—festivities include eating pie the pastry while talking about pi the number—but dissent began to appear from an unexpected quarter: a vocal and growing minority of mathematicians who rally around the radical proposition that pi is wrong.

They don't mean anything has been miscalculated. Pi (π) still equals the same infinite string of never-repeating digits. Rather, according to The Tau Manifesto, "pi is a confusing and unnatural choice for the circle constant." Far more relevant, according to the algebraic apostates, is 2π, aka tau.

Manifesto author Michael Hartl received his PhD in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology and is only one in a string of established players beginning to question the orthodoxy. Last year the University of Oxford hosted a daylong conference titled "Tau versus Pi: Fixing a 250-Year-Old Mistake." In 2012 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology modified its practice of letting applicants know admissions decisions on Pi Day by further specifying that it will happen at tau time—that is, at 6:28 P.M. The Internet glommed onto the topic as well, with its traditional fervor for whimsical causes. YouTube videos on the subject abound with millions of views and feisty comment sections—hardly a common occurrence in mathematical debates.

The crux of the argument is that pi is a ratio comparing a circle’s circumference with its diameter, which is not a quantity mathematicians generally care about. In fact, almost every mathematical equation about circles is written in terms of r for radius. Tau is precisely the number that connects a circumference to that quantity.

But usage of pi extends far beyond the geometry of circles. Critical mathematical applications such as Fourier transforms, Riemann zeta functions, Gaussian distributions, roots of unity, integrating over polar coordinates and pretty much anything involving trigonometry employs pi. And throughout these diverse mathematical areas the constant π is preceded by the number 2 more often than not. Tauists (yes, they call themselves tauists) have compiled exhaustively long lists of equations—both common and esoteric, in both mathematics and physics—with 2π holding a central place. If 2π is the perennial theme, the almost magically recurring number across myriad branches of mathematics, shouldn’t that be the fundamental constant we name and celebrate?

If that’s all there was, the tau movement would likely be a curiosity and nothing more. But reasons for switching to tau are deeply rooted in pedagogy as well. University of Utah mathematics professor Robert Palais, who is considered the founding father of the movement, started the "pi is wrong" ruckus with an article of the same name in 2001[pdf]. The article, which should be required reading for all advanced high school students, creates a tantalizing picture of how much easier certain fundamental concepts of trigonometry could be in an alternate universe where we use tau. For example, with pi-based thinking, if you want to designate a point one third of the way around the circle, you say it has gone two thirds pi radians. Three quarters around the same circle has gone one and a half pi radians. Everything is distorted by a confusing factor of two. By contrast, a third of a circle is a third of tau. Three quarters of a circle is three quarters tau. As a result of pi, Palais says, "the opportunity to impress students with a beautiful and natural simplification is turned into an absurd exercise in memorization and dogma."

At its heart, pi refers to a semicircle, whereas tau refers to the circle in its entirety. Mathematician and poet Mike Keith once wrote a 10,000 word poem dedicated to the first 10,000 digits of pi. He is now a proponent of tau. According to a PBS article from last year, he said that thinking in terms of pi is like reaching your destination and saying you're twice halfway there.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Holidays and Observances for June 27 2015

"Happy Birthday to You" Day

Once upon a time (in 1893), a pair of sisters wrote a simple song for their nursery school and kindergarten students. Mildred J. Hill wrote a simple tune, and Patty Smith Hill wrote some equal simple, repetitive words:

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,Good morning, 
dear children,Good morning to all.

The two sang the catchy song with their young students, but they also published it in a songbook for children.

The song caught on. (That's the thing about catchy songs, isn't it? They catch on!)

In many classes, the young students sang the song to the teacher, so the words were changed a little – “good morning to all” became another repetition of “good morning to you,” and “dear teacher” was sung in place of “dear children.”

And somebody, somewhere, changed the song again to be a birthday song. Perhaps you have heard it somewhere?

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear so-and-so [insert name here],
Happy birthday to you.

Well, this latest version really caught on! It is by far the most well-known song in the English-speaking world—maybe the entire world!—and it's been used in millions of music boxes, watches, musical greeting cards, and other for-profit products. It's been sung on TV and on Broadway and in movies, in space and underwater living spaces, in homes and schools, businesses and hospitals.

(By the way, many people think that students who sang the Good Morning song spontaneously changed the lyrics at birthday parties. Which would mean that the most widely known song in the world was “written” by a bunch of five- and six-year-old kids whose names we do not know!)

Okay, here's the weird part...this super-simple, almost ubiquitous (heard everywhere) song—this song that was written in the 1800s, maybe by a bunch of kids—is still protected by copyright!

My sources are unclear about who filed copyright on “Happy Birthday to You,” when, on whose behalf. Some sources say that another Hill sister sued and received copyright protection for Patty and Mildred Hill, and that the Hill Foundation collects royalties even to this day, but another source says that the publisher of the Hill's original “Good Morning” song filed for copyright on the birthday version.

Whatever the case, it seems that some of the profit-making enterprises that use the popular birthday song do pay royalties—adding up to perhaps two million dollars worth of royalties per year! It's totally fine to sing the song in private, with small groups at birthday parties, for example, but it is technically a violation to sing it in profit-making venues with a lot of people. This is why a lot of restaurants use original songs or other birthday songs—they want to avoid any copyright lawsuits! Many movies and television shows show people singing just a few notes (apparently this is “fair use” and doesn't cost anything), but those who show people singing the entire song have to pay $10,000 for the privilege! Yikes!

By the way, copyright laws differ from nation to nation. The song will become “public domain” (free for anyone to use, even for-profit or large groups) in Europe in 2016, and it will move to public domain status in the U.S. in 2030. And, here's one more fact to confuse you: some lawyers think that the song is already in public domain, right now, because the actual “authors” of the song (who, remember, might be a bunch of kids) weren't the ones who filed for copyright.

Decide to Be Married Day

June 27 is decide to be married day. There are several ways to celebrate decide to be married day depending on where you are in your own life. Marriage is a huge responsibility and step in a person's life. The decision should never be taken lightly.

A single person might long to be happily married, and that is a wonderful thing to want to have. Before marrying that special someone, spend time thinking if they are really what you're looking for to spend the rest of your life with. Are they slow to anger? Do they share the similar goals? Do you have similar morals and ideas concerning children? These are important questions before entering into a lifetime commitment.

Being in love is truly terrific, but love and compatibility are both essential to the future. If you love someone, but have little in common, married life is going to be more difficult. The more you have in common, the happier and calmer your life will be.

If you are already married, today contemplate how you can improve on your marriage. Being selfless sounds ridiculous but so true to have a happy relationship. Putting their needs above yours might seem silly but sometimes that is what it's about. No, never accept abuse of any kind. However, in a normal relationship, being selfless has awards that you might not expect.

In honor of decide to be married day, surprise your spouse. Let your romantic side come out even if your marriage is not in the best condition. A little tenderness and love can go a long way, and at the very least, you will see a smile!

After you thought about all the important questions, decide to be married day would be an excellent day to become engaged or married. Plan a special proposal and incorporate the decide to be married day. You both will never forget the anniversary.

Decide to be Married Day, was inspired by Barbara Gaughen-Muller’s poem Decide to be Married:

Decide to be married
To become one heart, one body,

one mind and one soul

To share your joy
To live life as an art
And to make every moment precious
Whether together or apart

Remember as a couple
You are now more than one
To create harmony and perfect love

that will last through eternity
even after this life is done

Remember also there is a power
In this union of two

to protect this planet

And humanity too
As a couple you can do it

It’s in the deciding
To be united in love
To express your joyful oneness
To every person you meet, and
In every action you take
And together a perfect marriage you’ll make

Great American Backyard Campout

The Great American Backyard Campout is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of June. This is the effort of the National Wildlife Federation to help inspire Americans to protect wildlife. All you need to prepare for this event is a tent, some snacks and a couple of flashlights! This is an ideal way to introduce children the joys of tent camping in their safe own backyard.

Since 2005, thousands of people from many countries and regions have come together and joined in the Great American Backyard Campout. This annual event is organized with an aim to promote the benefits of camping as well as make it a great way to connect people with nature.

Today, National Wildlife Federation continues to be the sponsor of the Great American Backyard Campout and the nation's leading advocate for wild places and wildlife.

The Great American Backyard Campout was organized to coax more families outdoors by the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign. Today’s American child averages only 4 to 7 minutes outside per day, according to Anne Keisman of the Be Out There campaign. This shift has contributed to a variety of health issues, including rising diagnoses of obesity, ADHD, and depression. Backyard camping, Keisman says, offers “a way to slow down those busy family schedules, enjoy being together, and appreciate the simple joys only nature can deliver.” You can participate even if your campout is planned for another day. Just recruit some friends and register at backyardcampout.org. You’ll get access to packing lists and tips to cover all the safety and comfort basics. Then, start planning the fun.
  • Touch Nature
Prepare activities that focus on nature. For toddlers, Keisman says, organize a simple picture scavenger hunt with items like a flower, a rock, and a leaf. Lynn Brunelle, author of Camp Out! The Ultimate Kids’ Guide, says to look for signs of animals like “footprints, nests, feathers, or even wild animal poop!” Gather binoculars and magnifying glasses to admire nature near and far and field guides to study birds, bugs, flowers, or stars. Collect jars for catching fireflies and turn over rocks to see what other bugs you can find. Brunelle suggests you try to “sprout your socks.” Let your children wear socks over their shoes while taking a walk or hike. “It’s a wonderful way to see how plants send their seeds as hitch-hikers through the world,” Brunelle explains. “Then you can spritz your socks with water, stick them in a baggie, and let them sprout.” Plan to have at least one flashlight per person. Flashlights are a kid-favorite for play, but they’ll also make everyone feel more secure all night.
  • Cook out!
Cooking out might be the best part of camping, and kids love to help. Roasting hot dogs on sticks is a classic, or offer a buffet so that each person can make a personalized campfire dish. Start by cutting foot-long pieces of aluminum foil and labeling each person’s name with a permanent marker. Then let campers fill them with a selection of ground or cubed meat and potatoes; pepper strips, sliced mushrooms, or other vegetables; and about a tablespoon of butter or dressing. Seal packets tightly and put them into hot coals for 30 to 40 minutes. The result is so delicious that I still remember my first foil dinner as a Brownie decades ago, and the novelty of preparation might inspire your pickiest eater to try something new.

For dessert, roasted marshmallows are practically required, but you can also get creative. Brunelle suggests Banana Boats: cut a banana in half and open the peels a bit, canoe-style, then stuff them with goodies like chocolate chips and marshmallows and wrap the dessert in foil to heat for ten minutes. All these recipes are flexible because discovering what works is part of the adventure. On one of our campouts, rain began pouring just as we’d started to roast marshmallows, melting them into wet goo before we could produce a single s’more. I expected tears until I realized that my daughters were shrieking with joy through the rain to feast on plain chocolate bars in their tent.
  • Be together in the world
As you settle in for the night, enjoy the camaraderie of camping. Oya Simpson, a mom who organized a Great American Backyard Campout, says “There is no doubt that when the sun goes down, kids love the mystery it brings. Just to be outside with our fire pit to sit around and talk about the stars, the sounds of the frogs and watching the fire was enough for the kids. I think it helps families to focus on each other without the interruption of phones ringing, TV, or other chores we may have to do at home.” Tell stories or bring musical instruments for a jam-and-sing around the campfire. Have extra blankets on hand so that sleeping arrangements can be flexible. On a special night of camping, your usually-clingy child might want to join a tent slumber party, so be prepared to seize the night.
  • At bedtime
Just before bedtime, take a last visit to the bathroom and confirm that flashlights have batteries to last all night. Read books as usual, then play a quiet listening game, asking children to try to hear as many different nature sounds as they can. This is an opportunity to learn, but it will also calm everyone down and give you a chance to explain any noises that might seem scary if a child wakes up during the night.
  • When morning breaks
In the morning, offer a simple breakfast that won’t require the kids to enter the kitchen. It will be easier on you, and it helps preserve that special camping spell a little bit longer. Brunelle says that camping “creates an appreciation for the world and history and family and nature. It’s a great way to connect with each other, to get perspective, and to learn respect and awe.”

Once everyone is awake and the morning dew has dried, that awestruck spell is broken, and it’s back to normal life. Get the kids to help clean up, setting a precedent for future camping adventures. Then, plan to take it easy for the rest of the day. All of that fresh air and fun is exhausting!

Helen Keller Day

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. A normal infant, she was stricken with an illness at 19 months, probably scarlet fever, which left her blind and deaf. For the next four years, she lived at home, a mute and unruly child. Special education for the blind and deaf was just beginning at the time, and it was not until after Helen's sixth birthday that her parents had her examined by an eye physician interested in the blind. He referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and a pioneer in teaching speech to the deaf. Bell examined Helen and arranged to have a teacher sent for her from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston.

The teacher, 20-year-old Anne Sullivan, was partially blind. At Perkins, she had been instructed how to teach a blind and deaf student to communicate using a hand alphabet signaled by touch into the student's palm. Sullivan arrived in Tuscumbia in March 1887 and immediately set about teaching this form of sign language to Helen. Although she had no knowledge of written language and only the haziest recollection of spoken language, Helen learned her first word within days: "water." Keller later described the experience: "I knew then that 'w-a-t-e-r' meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free."

Under Sullivan's dedicated guidance, Keller learned at a staggering rate. By April, her vocabulary was growing by more than a dozen words a day, and in May she began to read and arrange sentences using raised words on cardboard. By the end of the month, she was reading complete stories. One year later, the seven-year-old Keller made her first visit to the Perkins Institution, where she learned to read Braille. She spent several winters there and in 1890 was taught to speak by Sarah Fuller of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. Keller learned to imitate the position of Fuller's lips and tongue in speech, and how to lip-read by placing her fingers on the lips and throat of the speaker. In speaking, she usually required an interpreter, such as Sullivan, who was familiar with her sounds and could translate.

When she was 14, Keller entered the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City. Two years later, with Sullivan at her side and spelling into her hand, she enrolled at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts. In 1900, she was accepted into Radcliffe, a prestigious women's college in Cambridge with classes taught by Harvard University faculty. She was a determined and brilliant student, and while still at Radcliffe her first autobiography, The Story of My Life, was published serially in The Ladies Home Journal and then as a book. In 1904, she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe.

Keller became an accomplished writer, publishing, among other books, The World I Live In (1908), Out of the Dark (1913), My Religion (1927), Helen Keller's Journal (1938), and Teacher (1955). In 1913, she began lecturing, with the aid of an interpreter, primarily on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind. Her lecture tours took her several times around the world, and she did much to remove the stigmas and ignorance surrounding sight and hearing disorders, which historically had often resulted in the committal of the blind and deaf to asylums. Helen Keller was also outspoken in other areas and supported socialism all her life. For her work on behalf of the blind and the deaf, she was widely honored and in 1964 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

"My life has been happy because I have had wonderful friends and plenty of interesting work to do," Helen Keller once wrote, adding, "I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times, but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers. The wind passes, and the flowers are content."

On June 1, 1968, Helen Keller dies in Westport, Connecticut, at the age of 87. Blind and deaf from infancy, Keller circumvented her disabilities to become a world-renowned writer and lecturer.

Industrial Workers of The World Day

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as "American" as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860's, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn't until the late 1880's that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services. Workers had seen first-hand that Capitalism benefited only their bosses, trading workers' lives for profit. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace, with life expectancy as low as their early twenties in some industries, and little hope but death of rising out of their destitution. Socialism offered another option.

A variety of socialist organizations sprung up throughout the later half of the 19th century, ranging from political parties to choir groups. In fact, many socialists were elected into governmental office by their constituency. But again, many of these socialists were ham-strung by the political process which was so evidently controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machine. Tens of thousands of socialists broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were "taken over" by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.

At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886." The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations. At first, most radicals and anarchists regarded this demand as too reformist, failing to strike "at the root of the evil." A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that "whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave."

Despite the misgivings of many of the anarchists, an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor. As more and more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for the 8-hour day, realizing that "the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction." With the involvement of the anarchists, there seemed to be an infusion of greater issues than the 8-hour day. There grew a sense of a greater social revolution beyond the more immediate gains of shortened hours, but a drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism.

In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:
  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World's misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.
Not surprisingly the entire city was prepared for mass bloodshed, reminiscent of the railroad strike a decade earlier when police and soldiers gunned down hundreds of striking workers. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public's eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.

The names of many - Albert Parsons, Johann Most, August Spies and Louis Lingg - became household words in Chicago and throughout the country. Parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets exemplified the workers' strength and unity, yet didn't become violent as the newspapers and authorities predicted.

More and more workers continued to walk off their jobs until the numbers swelled to nearly 100,000, yet peace prevailed. It was not until two days later, May 3, 1886, that violence broke out at the McCormick Reaper Works between police and strikers.

For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the "anarchist-dominated" Metal Workers' Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.

Full of rage, a public meeting was called by some of the anarchists for the following day in Haymarket Square to discuss the police brutality. Due to bad weather and short notice, only about 3000 of the tens of thousands of people showed up from the day before. This affair included families with children and the mayor of Chicago himself. Later, the mayor would testify that the crowd remained calm and orderly and that speaker August Spies made "no suggestion... for immediate use of force or violence toward any person..."

As the speech wound down, two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting that a speaker was using inflammatory language, inciting the police to march on the speakers' wagon. As the police began to disperse the already thinning crowd, a bomb was thrown into the police ranks. No one knows who threw the bomb, but speculations varied from blaming any one of the anarchists, to an agent provocateur working for the police.

Enraged, the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded was never determined, but an estimated seven or eight civilians died, and up to forty were wounded. One officer died immediately and another seven died in the following weeks. Later evidence indicated that only one of the police deaths could be attributed to the bomb and that all the other police fatalities had or could have had been due to their own indiscriminate gun fire. Aside from the bomb thrower, who was never identified, it was the police, not the anarchists, who perpetrated the violence.

Eight anarchists - Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg - were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred. The jury in their trial was comprised of business leaders in a gross mockery of justice similar to the Sacco-Vanzetti case thirty years later, or the trials of AIM and Black Panther members in the seventies. The entire world watched as these eight organizers were convicted, not for their actions, of which all of were innocent, but for their political and social beliefs. On November 11, 1887, after many failed appeals, Parsons, Spies, Engel and Fisher were hung to death. Louis Lingg, in his final protest of the state's claim of authority and punishment, took his own life the night before with an explosive device in his mouth.

The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first "Red Scare" in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.

Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs and those who established May Day as an International Workers' Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public's memory by establishing "Law and Order Day" on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still had the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!" at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.

Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:

Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted - people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we'll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.

National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day is a reminder that when you know your HIV status, you can take care of yourself and your partners. HIV testing is recommended, it’s empowering, and it’s easy. Have you been tested?

Get Tested on National HIV Testing Day, June 27
This year marks the 20th annual National HIV Testing Day, a time to promote one of our best tools for HIV prevention.

Too many people—one in six—who are living with HIV are not aware of it. That means they are not getting the treatment they need to stay healthy and may pass the virus on to others without knowing it.

HIV can be spread when someone with HIV has sex or shares injection drug equipment with someone who does not have HIV. If the partner with HIV is on medicine to treat HIV (antiretroviral therapy, or ART), or the partner who is HIV-negative is on medicine to prevent HIV infection (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP), the risk can be much lower.

Testing Is Recommended
CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and that some people with risk factors get tested more often. Gay and bisexual men, people with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and people who inject drugs are at high risk and should get tested at least once a year.

You should also be tested if you have been sexually assaulted or if you are a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Testing Is Empowering
When you know your HIV status, you can take care of yourself and your partner(s). If you find out that you are infected with HIV (if you test positive), you can seek medical care and get treatment. Besides allowing you to live a longer, healthier life, being on ART can protect the health of your partners because it can greatly reduce the risk that you can pass HIV to others.

If you don't have HIV (if you test negative), you can take steps to stay negative, such as using condoms consistently and asking your health care provider about PrEP if you are at substantial risk. Remember that if you have risky sex or share needles for drug use after you've tested negative for HIV, you need to get tested again to make sure you are still HIV-negative. Your HIV test result "expires" every time you have risky sex or share needles or related works.

Testing Is Easy
Getting tested for HIV is easier than ever. You can ask your doctor for a test, check National HIV and STD Testing Resources for a nearby testing site, call 1-800-CDC-INFO, or text your ZIP code to "KNOW IT" (566948). Health insurance usually covers the test, and some sites offer free testing. You can also use one of the FDA-approved home testing kits.

What You Can Do
Everyone can
  • Get tested at least once for HIV.
  • Get tested once a year or more often if you are at risk of getting HIV.
  • Lower your risk of getting HIV by using condoms, using PrEP if appropriate, limiting your number of partners, choosing less risky sexual behaviors, and getting checked for STDs, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission. See our Prevention Q&Asfor more HIV prevention options.
  • If you have HIV, get medical care and treatment as soon as possible to stay healthier longer and lower your risk of passing the virus to others.
Health care providers can
  • Offer patients HIV tests as a routine part of their health care, as recommended by CDC and the US Public Health Service. See resources for the HIV Screening. Standard Care. campaign.
  • Test women for HIV each time they are pregnant.
  • Connect people at high risk for HIV to services that help them lower their risk and prevent them from getting infected.
  • Work to ensure your patients who have HIV get treatment and the services they need to stay healthy and lower their risk of passing the virus to others. Currently only 43% of people who test positive for HIV are in care with their virus under control.
  • Download materials for health care providers (en Español) from CDC's Act Against AIDS website.
State and local health departments can
  • Coordinate National HIV Testing Day awareness and testing events to help prevent the spread of HIV and build a local network that responds year-round to address HIV in the United States.
  • Create programs and adopt policies to get people at high risk tested early and often. Create linkages to care so that those who have a positive test get care quickly. Currently, one in five people who test positive are not linked to care within 3 months.
  • Provide services, such as medical care, social services, and programs, shown to change behavior and lower risk to people at risk for HIV and those living with HIV.
  • Promote and use national referral systems for places to get tested, such as National HIV and STD Testing Resources, and let clients know about their home testing options.
  • Use CDC's Act Against AIDS (en Español) materials to promote HIV testing in high-risk populations.
  • Start Talking. Stop HIV. encourages gay and bisexual men to communicate about testing and other HIV prevention issues.
  • Reasons/Razones (en Español) promotes HIV testing among gay and bisexual Hispanic/Latino men.
  • Testing Makes Us Stronger encourages African American gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV.
  • Take Charge. Take the Test. encourages African American women to get tested for HIV.
  • Let's Stop HIV Together, a general-awareness campaign to reduce stigma, urges everyone to "Get the facts. Get tested. Get involved."
National Orange Blossom Day

Orange you glad we get to celebrate a warm summer day with a fresh and tasty cocktail? June 27 is National Orange Blossom Day!

Ah, the delicate orange blossom. When you think about orange trees, you usually only think about their fruit: bright orange rinds, the juicy citrusy flesh inside, the many foods and flavors associated with oranges. But those fruits, as all fruits do, have to come from flowers first! And the orange blossom is celebrated in its own right. The official state flower of Florida, the orange blossom is widely used in floral bouquets and as an essence in perfumerie. Culinarily speaking, the orange blossoms are steeped, much like tea, to make orange blossom water, useful for just a slight taste of orange, but lighter, and fainter than using the orange fruit. In Middle East cuisines, orange blossom water is used much like rosewater, to flavor desserts and baked goods, and gives it not only that familiar citrusy taste, but also the flowery flavor that many associate with rose-infused waters and teas. It’s that perfect blend of bright, vibrant orange flavor and the sweet, light floral accents of a flower.

The exact history of the Orange Blossom is unknown, but it rose to prominence in the 1920s during Prohibition, when orange juice was used to cut the rancid flavor of illegal bathtub gin. A.S. Crockett’s Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, published in 1935, contains two Orange Blossom recipes. Orange Blossom No. 1 is served neat and contains equal parts gin, vermouth, and OJ. It was allegedly invented by “some young bridegroom who wanted something novel to use at his final stag party.” Orange Blossom No. 2 is served in an old-fashioned glass with ice and omits the vermouth, calling for a 1:1 ratio of gin and orange juice. Since vermouth is sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the alcohol world – it truly gets no respect – I’m not surprised that this second recipe doesn't even bother with it.

National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD). 

According to the NCPTSD, PTSD is an anxiety disorder resulting from exposure to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

The mission of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is to raise awareness about child traumatic stress. The NCTSN joins this effort to raise awareness about PTSD. We offer the following resources to help educate individuals, families, professionals, policy makers, and communities about the significant impact that PTSD has on men, women, and children. Effective psychological interventions and drug treatments are available to assist those who suffer with PTSD to heal from their traumas and to lead healthy, productive lives. 

Sunglasses Day

It’s Sunglasses Day! Sunglasses are quite possibly the most important fashion accessory of the entire summer season. Humans have been wearing protective eyewear for centuries, but the stylish designs we’re accustomed to today are a much more recent invention.

While even in prehistoric time Inuit peoples wore flattened walrus ivory glasses to block harmful reflected rays of the sun, the earliest historical reference to sunglasses dates back to ancient China and Rome. The Roman emperor Nero watched gladiator fights through polished gems.

In China, sunglasses were used in the 12th century or possible earlier. These sunglasses were made out of lenses that were flat panes of smoky quartz. They offered no corrective powers nor they protect from harmful UV rays but did protect the eyes from glare. Ancient documents describe the use of such crystal sunglasses by judges in ancient Chinese courts to hide their facial expression when they interrogated witnesses.

James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles around 1752. Ayscough was steadfast in the belief that blue-or green-tinted glass could potentially correct specific vision impairments. Protection from the sun's rays was not a concern at this time.

Glasses tinted with yellow-amber and brown were also a commonly-prescribed item for people with syphilis in the 19th and early 20th century because one of the symptoms of the disease was sensitivity to light.

In the early 1900s, the use of sunglasses become more widespread, especially among Hollywood movie stars.

Inexpensive mass-production of sunglasses started in 1929 when Sam Foster introduced them to America. Foster sold his sunglasses on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk. These sunglasses were made to protect people's eyes from the sun's rays.

Polarized sunglasses first became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began using his patented Polaroid filter when making sunglasses.

Sunglasses even played a significant role during the World War II, when Ray Ban created anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarization. Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses became popular with the celebrities and the community in 1937 when they started to be sold for the public.

Today, sunglasses with UV protection has almost become an industry standard, and there are a lot of tints available for sunglasses, and sunglasses styles are changing every year.

To celebrate Sunglasses Day, pick up a new pair of shades at your local sunglasses store!