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!