Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Holidays and Observances for October 13 2015

I want to extend an apology to all my friends family and people who follow this blog. I've decided to take a small sabbatical. Thank you 

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day is held every year on the second Tuesday of October. Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Ada Lovelace Day was launched in 2009 with a simple pledge on British civil action site, Pledgebank. Nearly 2,000 people signed up to blog about a woman in technology whom they admired on 24 March. The day was an astounding success, with contributors writing blog posts, newspaper columns and even a webcomic, Sydney Padua’s Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. The media covered Ada Lovelace Day with enthusiasm, including coverage from The Guardian, The Telegraph, the BBC and Computer Weekly amongst others.

In 2010, we had involvement from over 2,000 people who wrote about the women they admire. We held our first official event, with a keynote speech from technology journalist Maggie Philbin, most famous for her work on Tomorrow’s World.

2011 saw the first Ada Lovelace Day Live event, hosted by BCSWomen and featuring Helen Arney, Maggie Philbin, Gia Milinovich, Helen Keen, Kate Smurthwaite, Sara Pascoe, Dr Sue Black and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. BCSWomen also organised the Android Extravaganza, an afternoon event where people learnt how to create an Android app. We also had seven grassroots events organised in the UK, US and online.

In 2012, we partnered with the Women’s Engineering Society and held ALD Live at The IET. Our event featured the WES Karen Burt Award, with performances from Helen Arney, Dr Suzie Sheehy, Gia Milinovich, Dr Helen Scales, Helen Keen, Dr Alice Bell, Sarah Angliss and Sydney Padua. We also collaborated with the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment  and the London Games Festival to organise the XX Games Jam, and all-female two day event in which teams competed to design and build the best computer game. And the Royal Society held a Women in Science themed Wikipedia  Edit-a-Thon in association with Wikimedia UK. In all, there were 25 independently-organised grassroots events in the UK, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and the USA, as well as online.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009 and aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

The inspiration for Ada Lovelace Day came from psychologist Penelope Lockwood, who carried out a study which found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models. “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success,” she said, “illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”

Ada Lovelace is widely held to have been the first computer programmer. Close friends with inventor Charles Babbage, Lovelace was intrigued by his Analytical Engine and in 1842, she translated a description of it by italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea. Babbage asked her to expand the article, “as she understood [it] so well”, and this was when she wrote several early ‘computer programs’. Ada Lovelace died of cancer at 36, her potential tragically unfulfilled.

International Day for Failure

Maybe you already knew that October 13 was National Yorkshire Pudding Day and National Train Your Brain Day, but did you know that it’s also the International Day for Failure?

Started in Finland in 2010, the International Day for Failure is a new international holiday to rethink, share and learn from failure. This year the campaign has, perhaps ironically, been a big success and gone global with Day for Failure events in over 17 countries around the world, including Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

To be fair, Finland is hardly a failure. Just this week the Grant Thornton Global Dynamism Index , declared Finland the second best place on the planet to run a business (Singapore ranks first. The U.S., meanwhile, slipped to 10th).

The organizers of International Day for Failure are trying to create a cultural shift in how people think about risk-taking and entrepreneurship by acknowledging that not every endeavor is a success, however, it does open the door to the next great thing.

In Good Fail, Bad Fail: What Made Caterpillar And Unmade Enron, Fast Company looks at two business leaders and how they approached mistakes differently.
“Mistakes are part of taking healthy risk. They provide us with new ways of thinking and give us new insights into how we can improve as leaders. Real failure doesn't come from making mistakes; it comes from avoiding errors at all possible cost, from fear of taking risks to the inability to grow. Being mistake-free is not success—in fact, it's not even possible. Still, we often avoid risks and ignore (and sometimes even hide) our mistakes. We don't like to talk about our mistakes and bring attention to them. It feels safer to look the other way or sweep them under the rug. But doing so stifles growth and dooms us to repeat our mistakes--it's why so many have the same struggles over and over again.”
Without failing, you’re not living, according to this Seattle Post Intelligencer story which talks about a young lawyer who racked up a string of personal and professional failures before he became the 16th President of the United States.
But perhaps Chamber Executive Vice President and COO David Chavern said it best when he recently wrote:
The fact of the matter is that this nation was propelled forward by extraordinary people who were willing to do extraordinary things.  We should applaud the risk-takers and the dreamers who are willing to stand out from the crowd and create the wealth and prosperity that we all enjoy. “Rather than denigrate what these people have done, we need to encourage more people to be like them. 

International Plain Language Day

October 13th is International Plain Language Day (IPLDay), a celebration of clear communication and the plain language movement. In Vancouver, we celebrated IPLDay a week early at Communication Convergence, a conference that brought together communicators from different fields for an afternoon of discussion. I’m fairly new to the concept of plain language, and throughout the afternoon I began to reflect on how it fits in with my role as a science communicator.

Plain language is clear, succinct writing designed to ensure the reader understands as quickly and completely as possible. Plain language strives to be easy to read, understand, and use. It avoids verbose, convoluted language and jargon. In many countries, laws mandate that public agencies use plain language to increase access to programs and services. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities includes plain language as one of the "modes, means and formats of communication."

The plain language movement encourages writing that is clear and easy to understand. Plain language advocates argue that access to easy-to-understand information is a human right. Often, important communication is difficult to understand: think about medical reports, rental agreements or job contracts. We like to joke about legalese, but misunderstandings of legal or medical documents can have serious consequences. This TED Talk explains it best.

Many governments have passed laws that require government documents to be written in plain language. October 13th was chosen as IPLDay because it’s the day Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which states that all US government agencies must use clear communication in their documents. The Canadian federal government’s communications policy states that “Information about policies, programs, services and initiatives must be clear, relevant, objective, easy to understand and useful. To ensure clarity and consistency of information, plain language and proper grammar must be used in all communication with the public.” In 2013, the Canadian government introduced the Plain Language Labelling Initiative, which aims to make drug labels easier to understand.

International Skeptics Day

Non-believers, conspiracy theorists and Doubting Thomases will get a kick out of today’s holiday. Then again, maybe they won’t. But believe it or not, October 13 is International Skeptics Day. Or is it? While there is not enough concrete evidence about how or when this annual “holiday” began, International Skeptics Day is also celebrated on January 13th and/or the first Friday in January.

Skeptics are folks who doubt the truth and question the validity or authenticity of something most believe to be factual. For instance, some skeptics question the validity of global warming despite claims made by experts in the scientific community. Other skeptics do not believe we ever landed on the moon and the famous images of the moon landings are fakes.

Some refuse to believe President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald while others believe the late Princess Diana was murdered. And some wonder if Elvis faked his own death? And some people believe the horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were part of a conspiracy. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, check out Area 51 and the controversial incident that took place in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947.

So, is it wise to automatically believe everything we are told or is it better to question? What do you think?

Websites for Skeptics - Hoaxes, Conspiracy Theories & Urban Legends
  • Mythbusters – If you downed Diet Coke and Mentos, would your stomach explode? If you ate a few poppy seed muffins, would you test positive on a drug test? Watch popular Mythbusters Jamie and Adam, prove or dispel popular myths in this Emmy-nominated television series on the Discovery Channel.
  • Comprised of scientists, scholars, historians, educators and investigative journalists, Skeptics provides “sound scientific viewpoint on claims of the paranormal, pseudoscience, fringe groups, cults and claims between: science, pseudoscience, junk science, voodoo science, pathological science, bad science, non science and plain old nonsense.”
  • Snopes is the place to go for information on urban legends, myths, rumors and folklore.
  • David Emery is the About.com Guide to Urban Legends. He’ll share current hoaxes and legends and the classics too.
  • From historical “facts” and politics, to aliens, technology and celebs, Theories of Conspiracy runs the gamut when it comes to conspiracies.
  • With more than 244,000 members, Above Top Secret is the “largest and most popular discussion board” on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, political scandals and more.
  • Created in 1994, the Skeptic’s Dictionary provides a look on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, supernatural, alternative medicine and more. There is also a Skeptic’s Dictionary for Children too!
  • Infowars is a popular website from radio host, documentary maker and publisher, Alex Jones. You’ll find interviews, podcasts, forums, world news and special reports displayed like a traditional news site.
International Suit Up Day

Today we all have How I Met Your Mother to thank for the latest holiday to take the Internet by storm. Fans of HIMYM have borrowed Barney Stinson’s catchphrase – “Suit up!” – and declared Oct. 13 International Suit Up Day. Celebrating this new holiday is simple – all you really need to do is wear a suit anywhere you’re going today. Wear one to work, to school, to your favorite bar (bonus points if you drink at a bar called MacLaren’s), or even on the couch at home all day. (Think of Barney’s suit pajamas!) The websites InternationalSuitUpDay.com and SuitUpDay.com have even offered simple suggestions for those of us who do not own suits – buy a suit (duh) or just watch How I Met Your Mother. Who else plans on rewatching Monday’s instant-classic “Subway Wars” episode?

Not convinced that a suit is the perfect choice of attire for whatever you do today? Watch Barney’s ode to the suit, his fantastic “Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit” musical number from HIMYM, and maybe feel compelled to celebrate today – the right way.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is October 13th.

Metastatic breast cancer is when cancer makes its way through the blood stream or lymphatic system from the breast to distant organs in a woman’s body such as the brain, liver, lungs or in the bones. Under a microscope, the cancer in the new location will look similar to the original cancer in the breast, and it is still treated as breast cancer. Metastatic disease also is referred to as stage-four or advanced breast cancer.
Fortunately today, due to heightened awareness, regular screenings and self-exams, the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stages are cured. A small number of women (5 to 9 percent) are diagnosed with advanced disease at the time of their initial breast cancer diagnosis. There are instances, however, when breast cancer returns in another location; this can be months or many years later. Symptoms of recurrence may include bone or joint pain, a cough that won’t go away, pain or weakness, changes in bowel and bladder function, loss of appetite or weight loss. 

Different kinds of tests can confirm whether the breast cancer has spread. These tests also will guide the treatment options that women and their oncologists discuss and agree upon. At this time, metastatic disease cannot be cured, but new treatments are prolonging lives far longer than any time in the past. The goal of treatment at this advanced stage is to keep the cancer under control for as long as possible, while maintaining the best quality of life for the woman.

Treatment options include chemotherapy, usually given directly into the blood to reach the cancer cells; hormonal therapy intended to slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells; and targeted therapy, which attacks specific proteins or genes on the cancer cells which inhibit those cells ability to grow. Radiation therapy may be used to control the spreading of cancer. There also are many complementary medicine therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and meditation, which may provide comfort and relief. These various therapies often are used in combination for the best effect. 

Clinical trials and research studies of new therapies make this an especially promising time for women with advanced breast cancer. There are an estimated 155,000 women living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. – they are in the workplace, at the grocery store, carpooling, traveling and living each day as a gift. They are experiencing new challenges and opportunities. They are learning to live with uncertainty; coping with a treatment regimen and its side effects; managing pain and fear; acknowledging not only their own emotions but those of loved ones; being able to receive help and love; and looking to end-of-life decisions while living gratefully in the moment.

National Train Your Brain Day

Every year on October 13th, National Train Your Brain Day is a day in which awareness of brain health is encouraged. When we think of exercising it is usually in regard to our bodies, but our brain needs a workout as well.

It is important to continually exercise our cognitive skills by reading, putting together a puzzle, learning a new language, or any of the many different ways you can stimulate your brain. We depend on our brain for many things such as thinking, remembering, and sleeping. It is critical to our well-being that our brain stays healthy and motivated.

Your brain needs stimulation and training. Many people have not focused on training their brain. Do you want to get your brain in shape? Following the steps below can improve your brain's function, "exercise" your brain, and keep your brain from becoming lazy.

  1. Invest in a brain-training game. These aren't the only way to train your brain, but many think brain-training games are the best. Some examples of popular brain-training games include "Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!" for the Nintendo DS and "Brain Challenge" for Apple's iPod. These supposedly work all of the areas of the brain and can help you exercise your brain effectively.
  2. Include some basic problems in your day. These can include, but aren't limited to: basic arithmetic, puzzles like crossword and sudoku, games that require thought like Chess, etc. These problems require your brain to work and not only help train your brain, but make you better at these things(maybe you'll become a Chess master).
  3. Include exercise in your day. Not only can exercising your brain help it, but exercising other parts of your body may help, too. Exercise has many mental benefits such as improving cognitive functioning, reducing the risk of developing dementia, and many other benefits, too.[citation needed] You can also supposedly think better after exercise, so it would also be a good idea to exercise your body immediately before you exercise your brain.
  4. Eat a good breakfast. Eating the right breakfast can have quite an impact on brainpower. It has been shown that kids who have fizzy drinks and sugary snacks for breakfast perform poorly on tests of memory and attention.[citation needed] Eating a good breakfast everyday will also insure that you have the energy throughout the day to exercise your mind and body.
  5. Limit the television you watch. When you watch TV, your brain goes into neutral. In one study says that people watching TV had increased alpha brain waves—their brains were in a passive state as if they were just sitting in the dark.[citation needed] TV watching has been tied to low achievement[citation needed] of course, and why would you want that?
  6. Laugh. Studies have shown that people are typically better at solving exercises designed to measure creative thinking right after exposure to comedy. Subjects claimed that they felt more alert, active, interested, and excited after watching comedy. There's a caveat, though: Humor can be distracting and may decrease performance on non-creative tasks.
  7. Learn something new. By learning something else, you are exercising an important skill of your brain - the ability to learn.
  8. Don't do stuff you don't want to do. If you get bored doing mental maths problems, don't do them. Don't feel you have to do it just to make your brain better. If you don't enjoy it, you won't learn anything!

To celebrate National Train Your Brain Day, boost your brain health by taking part in some brain exercises such as a Sudoku puzzle or expand your mind by learning something new.

National Yorkshire Pudding Day

Today is National Yorkshire Pudding Day! Yorkshire pudding is an iconic British pastry similar to a popover.

The origin of the Yorkshire pudding is, as yet, unknown. There are no cave drawings, hieroglyphics and so far, no-one has unearthed a Roman Yorkshire pudding dish buried beneath the streets of York. The puddings may have been brought to these shores by any of the invading armies across the centuries but unfortunately any evidence of this has yet to be discovered. 

The first ever recorded recipe appears in a book, The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737 and listed as A Dripping Pudding - the dripping coming from spit-roast meat. 

'Make a good batter as for pancakes ; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton , instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.' 

The next recorded recipe took the strange pudding from local delicacy to become the nation's favorite dish following publication in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. As one of the most famous food writers of the time, the popularity of the book spread the word of the Yorkshire Pudding. 'It is an exceeding good Pudding, the Gravy of the Meat eats well with it,' states Hannah. 

Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like a pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire, take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire, when it boils, pour in your pudding, let it bake on the fire till you think it is high enough, then turn a plate upside-down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your meat is done and set to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish, melt some butter, and pour into a cup, and set in the middle of the pudding. It is an exceeding good pudding, the gravy of the meat eats well with it. 

Mrs Beeton may have been Britain's most famous food writer of the 19th century but her recipe omitted one of the fundamental rules for making Yorkshire pudding - the need for the hottest oven possible. The recipe was further wrong by stating to cook the pudding in advance before placing it under the meat an hour before needed. Yorkshire folk blame her error on her southern origins. 

Yorkshire Pudding is still a very popular dish in modern-day Britain, and often makes an appearance at big Sunday dinners. In fact, culinary historians refer to it as the national dish of England. To celebrate National Yorkshire Pudding Day, make a delicious homemade batch to enjoy with your family!

Silly Sayings Day

Don't get your dander up but it's time to spill the beans! October 13 is Silly Sayings Day, an annual "holiday" that celebrates silly sayings and phrases.

Like fashion, popular catch phrases, interesting expressions and witty sayings tend to come and go. While some of today's most popular phrases include a slew of easy-to-use acronyms like LOL, BFF and BRB, many popular phrases from days gone by are still used today. But have you ever really stopped to think what these sayings actually mean?

Take a peek at a few of the sayings below and try to figure out what these once popular phrases actually mean. Give it a go and take your best shot!

Silly Sayings and Phrases
  • It's raining cats and dogs
  • Look what the cat dragged in
  • The cat's pajamas
  • The cat's meow
  • Cat got your tongue?
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • Bats in the belfry
  • A dog is a man's best friend
  • Hair of the dog that bit you
  • Bark up the wrong tree
  • Barking mad
  • Your chickens will come home to roost
  • Dont count your chickens before they hatch
  • High on the hog
  • Knee high to a grasshopper
  • Bee's knees
  • Fly in the ointment
  • Snug as a bug in a rug
  • Like a bull in a china shop
  • Get your goat
  • Get off your high horse
  • Straight from the horses mouth
  • Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
  • Horse feathers
  • Chew the cud
  • You can lead a jackass to water, but you can't make him drink!
  • Long in the tooth
  • Go berserk
  • Off your rocker
  • Mind your Ps and Qs
  • Loose lips sink ships
  • Caught red-handed
  • Look before you leap
  • Tickled pink
  • Tickle my fancy
  • Funny bone
  • Skip to my Lou
  • For Pete's sake (who is Pete?)
  • Heavens to Betsy (who is Betsy?)
  • Heaven forbid
  • To hell in a hand basket
  • The jig is up
  • Face the music
  • Get your dander up
  • Fly by the seat of your pants
  • Head over heels
  • Beat around the bush
  • An empty gun makes the loudest bang!
  • Bite the bullet
  • Dead ringer
  • The sky's the limit
  • Straighten up
  • Kick the bucket
  • A drop in the bucket
  • Don't spill the beans
  • Slower than molasses in January
  • Fancy pants
  • A good man is hard to find
  • Hanky panky
  • Three sheets to the wind
  • Sticky wicket
  • Elbow grease
  • Old fogey
  • Hissy fit
  • Alive and kicking
  • Dead as a doornail
  • Where there is a will, there is a way
  • Always a bridesmaid, never a bride
  • Holy cow
  • Holy Toledo
  • Holy smokes
  • Jeepers creepers
  • Rise and shine
  • My stars
  • Come in if your nose is clean
  • That's the berries!
  • Hell bent
  • Don't get your dander up
  • On cloud nine
  • On the wagon
  • Once in a blue moon
  • Go to pot
  • Golly
  • Gee wiz
  • Gee Willikers
  • Dadgum it
The US Navy's Birthday

The Chief of Naval Operations has stated that the Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates to be celebrated annually. This page provides historical information on the birth and early years of the Navy, including bibliographies, lists of the ships, and information on the first officers of the Continental Navy, as well as texts of original documents relating to Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.

After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.

Not to be confused with the Navy Birthday or the founding of the Navy Department is Navy Day. The Navy League sponsored the first national observance of Navy Day in 1922 designed to give recognition to the naval service. The Navy League of New York proposed that the official observance be on 27 October in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been born on that day.

In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navys birthday. In contrast to Navy Day, the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."