Thursday, September 10, 2015

Holidays and Observances for September 10 2015

Blame It on the Large Hadron Collider Day

Blame It on the Large Hadron Collider Day was first proposed in 2008 as a way to shift blame. Convenient, right? The Large Hadron Collider probably has your car keys, your missing socks, and your rent money, perhaps sucked into a black hole. The holiday was inspired by the fact that a real Large Hadron Collider was first fired up on this date in 2008, to test the Big Bang Theory in a controlled setting. Exciting and scary. Now, where are those car keys?

In the fall of 2008, CERN’s high-energy physicists ran into a problem. A faulty electronic connection at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—the biggest, baddest, most powerful particle accelerator ever built—caused a couple of magnets to overheat and melt, triggering an explosion of pressurized helium gas. The accident, which happened just nine days after the LHC turned on for the first time, led to months of delays. “It was pretty depressing when we broke the accelerator,” says Aaron Dominguez, a physicist at the University of Nebraska. “That was not a good day.”

Eventually, engineers fixed the LHC, and in 2012, physicists used it to do what the accelerator was always supposed to: Find the elusive subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. It worked, earning much fanfare and a Nobel Prize. But to prevent another accident, CERN’s engineers had run the LHC at only half its designed capability. Now, after a two-year hiatus in which engineers upgraded the accelerator to prevent such magnetic meltdowns, the LHC is set to smash protons together harder than ever—the way it was intended. “It’s like having a new accelerator, really,” Dominguez says. The increased power will mean more violent collisions that might create bigger, even rarer particles.

The first three-year run of the LHC was already record-breaking, slamming protons together with an energy of 7 teraelectron volts (a physicist’s unit of energy), equivalent to the 88,000-ton USS Harry S. Truman chugging along at about 6 miles per hour. All the protons at the LHC come from a small tank of hydrogen gas. As a series of machines accelerate them nearly to the speed of light, magnets steer the protons along a circular track almost 18 miles long. The accident that shut down the LHC in 2008 happened when a faulty wire connecting two of the magnets heated up. The magnet is a superconductor, so if it’s really cold, electrical current can speed through unimpeded, generating a strong magnetic field. But that faulty wire heated up the magnet, leaving the current to build up and boil away the liquid helium that’s supposed to keep the magnet cold. Within seconds, the accumulation of high-pressure helium gas exploded.

Engineers fixed the damage, replacing magnets along nearly 2,000 feet of the accelerator ring. During the recent shutdown, they made a slew of upgrades, but the most important one was just to make sure nothing blows up again. It took a year and a half for 300 people to reinforce the 10,000 connections between magnets with 27,000 pieces of copper. Now, if electric current starts to build up, the beefed-up connections will give all that energy someplace to go. The engineers also replaced 18 magnets that had worn out, upgraded electronics to make them more resistant to radiation, and added a new coating to the inside of the vacuum tube carrying the protons that should prevent stray electrons from forming a cloud that would interfere with the beam.

The plan was to turn on the beam this week, firing clusters of protons—each containing more than a hundred billion particles—at almost the speed of light. But on March 21, engineers found a short circuit, which could delay the restart as much as a few weeks. Once that’s fixed, it’ll be yet a few more weeks before they cross the beams and start smashing protons a billion times per second. That’s because the engineers have to warm up the magnets, slowly increasing the amount of current they can withstand. “It’s really like a runner,” says Jean-Phillippe Tock, an engineer at the LHC who was in charge of upgrading the magnetic connections. “You cannot immediately go and run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds.” The engineers will also test the electronics, the systems used to control the beam, and the system in place to dispose of the used protons

Then protons will finally begin slamming together, hopefully creating particles that physicists have only theorized to exist. At first, the collisions will be at 13 TeV. Only later, once engineers get a better feel for how the machine works, will they boost it to its maximum of 14 TeV. And higher energies mean more particles. The first run produced 500,000 Higgs bosons, but detectors only identified a few hundred of them for physicists to study. With more collisions, the LHC should create 10 times as many Higgs bosons. More data could be the key to discovering all kinds of new physics. The Higgs, for example, might be responsible for dark energy, the force that’s causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.

Or physicists might find evidence for supersymmetry, a theory that says every particle has a massive partner. Supersymmetric particles might decay into a Higgs, so the Higgs could provide clues for what they’re like. Supersymmetric particles might also decay into another hypothesized particle called a neutralino, which might be what makes up dark matter, the mysterious mass that’s a quarter of the universe. For physicists, this is all exciting stuff.

On the other hand, they might not find anything at all. During its first run, before the Higgs, the LHC was certain to turn out some sort of discovery. If theorists were right, the LHC would produce the Higgs. But if no Higgs turned up, that meant theorists were wrong. Either way, physicists would learn something new. This time, despite the higher energy, nothing’s for sure. “No one can give you a 100 percent guarantee,” says Howard Haber, a theoretical physicist at UC Santa Cruz. “There’s nothing missing in the same sense that the Higgs boson was missing.” Many of the theories predicting dark matter or supersymmetric particles, for example, are ambiguous. If the LHC doesn’t find these particles, it doesn’t necessarily mean the theory is wrong. It might mean you just need a more powerful accelerator.

For now, though, the new-and-improved LHC will do just fine. After all, physicists are finally getting the accelerator they’ve always wanted.

International Creepy Boston Dynamics Robotic Horse Day

I know you guys might have forgotten to get your favorite robotic horse a gift today, but this is International Creepy Robotic Boston Dynamics Robotic Horse Day, and it’s important to get out there and celebrate the magic of the creepy robotic horse.

This new Boston Dymanics robot, the Legged Squad Support System, is a new robot based on Big Dog designed to support squads in the field as they roll through enemy territory. This horsey can carry 400 pounds of payload and travel 20 miles on one charge. It also follows its human master around without the need for external controls.

The important thing here? This monster looks entirely untethered, and if I were coming up against a squad assisted by a creepy robotic horse, I’d probably run the opposite direction. As it stands, however, these creepy robotic horses deserve our praise and admiration if only because they’re so freaking cool.

International Make-Up Day

Those who let us down and make us frown may eagerly await September 10th each year. It's International Make-Up Day. It is a day for you to undo some wrongs you have made. Today you should apologize to someone you have hurt or treated badly in the past. Not only will it make their day brighter, but it's healthier for you too! When you harbor ill feelings, it takes a toll on your body, so pick one of those people you treated unfairly (an old classmate, ex-spouse, etc) and be the bigger person. Make up with them today.

This altruistic occasion has nothing to do with facial care or cosmetics. Instead, International Make-Up Day is all about reconciliation and the rebuilding of broken relationships.

Instead of singing another someone-done-someone-wrong song, how about extending the proverbial olive branch and seeking to make up with someone on September 10th?

National Swap Ideas Day

National Swap Ideas Day which is annually celebrated on September 10, encourages us to share a creative or helpful idea (or ideas) with someone and trade them for their idea (or ideas) in return.

The ideas that you receive from others may be good and helpful to you in your life that you may want to continue to pass them on and swap them with someone else.  This can continue throughout the entire day and by day’s end, you will have plenty of new information and helpful ideas to move forward with. 

Swapping ideas today does not have to be done on a one-on-one basis.  It would be fun for a group of people to get together and share ideas.  People could share their ideas, thoughts and concepts and also learn from each other, while gathered in a social grouping.

Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being. The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflexive, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place. 

TV Dinner Day

Freeze! September 10 is TV Dinner Day. If you're too tired to cook and just feel like vegging out in front of the TV, you’re not alone. According to the American Frozen Food Institute, the average American eats six frozen meals a month.

Gerry Thomas is the man who invented both the product and the name of the Swanson TV Dinner. In 1954, Swanson TV Dinners fulfilled two post-war trends: the lure of time-saving modern appliances and the fascination with a growing innovation, the television. More than 10 million TV dinners were sold during the first year of Swanson's national distribution. For $.98 per dinner, customers were able to choose among Salisbury steak, meatloaf, fried chicken, or turkey, served with potatoes and bright green peas; special desserts were added later.

The food groups in a TV dinner were displayed neatly in a divided metal tray. A representative tray was placed in the Smithsonian Institution in 1987 to commemorate the trays impact on American culture. Celebrity figures from Howdy Doody to President Eisenhower touted the dinners.

Swanson removed the name "TV Dinner," from the packaging in the 1960s. The Campbell Soup Company replaced the aluminum trays of Swanson frozen TV dinners with plastic, microwave-safe trays in 1986. That same year, the original aluminum Swanson TV Dinner tray was inducted into the Smithsonian Institute, sealing TV Dinners' place in American cultural history. In 1999, Swanson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Pinnacle Foods Corporation, the current owners of Swanson products since 2001 recently celebrated fifty years of TV Dinners and Swanson TV Dinners still remain in the public conscience as the dinner phenomenon of the 50s that grew up with television.

Sew Be It Day

Today is Sew Be It Day or Sewing Machine Day which celebrates a very important invention the sewing machine. The first sewing machines were made in France in the 1830s. It wasn't until September 10th 1846, that they were patented in the U.S. What a great invention. Prior to it's creation, clothes items were sewn together by hand...stitch by stitch.

People who know how to use a sewing machine are dwindling in number. Our mothers and grandmothers had a sewing machine in the house. They used it, too. But, look around your house. Do you have a sewing machine? Chance are, the answers is no.

If you have a sewing machine, enjoy today making things with it. If not, consider picking up sewing as a hobby.

September 10, 1846 Elias Howe patents the first practical sewing machine and threads his way into the fabric of history.

French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented a device in 1830 that mechanized the typical hand-sewing motions to create a simple chain stitch. He planned to mass-produce uniforms for the French army. His competition had different ideas.

About 200 tailors rioted on the morning of Jan. 20, 1831, ransacking Thimonnier’s factory, destroying 80 sewing machines and throwing the pieces out the windows. The inventor fled for his life. Thimonnier conceived of a machine that could sew a backstitch (which would be more durable), but resolutely spent the next two decades trying to perfect various permutations of his original machine and its unreliable chain stitch.

American Walter Hunt came up with a back-stitching sewing machine in the early 1830s, but was afraid it would result in the massive unemployment of seamstresses. So he declined to patent it.

(Hunt lives on instead as the barely known inventor of the safety pin, as well as a precursor of the repeating rifle, a gong for fire engines, a forest saw, a stove to burn hard coal, a knife sharpener, a streetcar bell, synthetic stone, road-sweeping machinery, bicycle improvements, ice plows and, oh yes, paper collars for shirts.)

Howe worked for Ari Davis, a Boston precision machinist who told him that whoever invented a practical sewing machine would get rich. Howe spent eight years of his spare time working on such a device. He was often ill, and his wife had to take on sewing jobs — oh, the irony! — to help the family make ends meet.

Howe thought that the complex motions of human arms, hands and fingers were far too complex to emulate with a machine. Rather than copy that, he would use established machine techniques.

He moved the eye of the needle to the point and devised a shuttle to move a second thread through the loop created by the needle. This created a tight lock stitch that was stronger than Thimonnier’s chain stitch.

At 250 stitches per minute, Howe’s machine was able to out-sew five humans at a demonstration in 1845. Selling them was a problem, however, largely because of the $300 price tag — more than $8,000 in today’s money.

He patented the device in 1846, but his American workshop burned down, and he got swindled out of the British royalties. He returned to Boston penniless. As an inventor, Howe seemed a lousy businessman.

But sewing machines were all the rage, thanks to Isaac Singer’s better marketing and improved design: a needle that went up and down instead of sideways, and power from a foot treadle instead of a hand crank. (Household electricity wasn’t in the picture yet.)

Howe mortgaged his father’s farm to raise the funds to sue Singer and others for patent infringement. It took years, but Howe prevailed in 1854, winning a judgment of $15,000 ($400,000 today).

Howe, Singer and other manufacturers pooled their patents two years later. Howe got a $5 royalty for every machine sold in the United States and a dollar for each one sold elsewhere. That added up to $2 million, or $50 million in today’s skins.

Howe’s 21-year patent and 48-year life both expired in 1867.

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Various events and activities are held during this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.

World Suicide Prevention Day gives organizations, government agencies and individuals a chance to promote awareness about suicide, mental illnesses associated with suicide, as well as suicide prevention. Organizations such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and World Health Organization (WHO) play a key role in promoting this event.

Events and activities for World Suicide Prevention Day include:
  • The launch of new government initiatives to prevent suicide.
  • Conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures.
  • Media programs promoting suicide awareness and prevention.
  • Memorial services or candlelight ceremonies to remember those who died from suicide.
  • Organizing cultural or spiritual events, fairs or exhibitions.
  • Launches of publications about suicide awareness and prevention.
  • Training courses about suicide and depression awareness.
  • Many of these initiatives are celebrated in various countries worldwide. Some of these events and activities are held at a local level, while others are nation-wide. 
Many communities around the world reaffirm their commitment to suicide prevention on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily, according to WHO. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. About one million people die by suicide each year. Suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death which is influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through worldwide responses that address these main risk factors. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.

World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is annually held on September 10 each year as an IASP initiative. WHO co-sponsors this event. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to:
  • Raise awareness that suicide is preventable.
  • Improve education about suicide.
  • Spread information about suicide awareness.
  • Decrease stigmatization regarding suicide.
WHO and IASP work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized. WHO's role is to build political action and leadership to develop national responses to prevent suicide, strengthen national planning capacity to establish the core building blocks of such a national response, and build the national capacities to implement these responses.