Life Day 23986: Pi Anyone?

March 14, 2013 at 12:04 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning mathematical constant fans. Today is Thursday, March 14, 2013. Today’s first holiday is Pi Day. Pi Day is celebrated today because March 14th (3/14) represents the number used in mathematics to represent a constant, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is approximately 3.14159. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. It is an irrational number, and will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. The Greek letter “π”  (Pi) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent it. Coincidentally, or perhaps not,  Albert Einstein, one the best mathematicians ever, was born on this date in 1879. If you are a mathematician, at 3:14 this afternoon, solve an equation that involves the use of “π”. If you are not a mathematician, at 3:14 this afternoon, have a slice of Pi(e) for a snack, or better yet, 3.14 pieces. Maybe not the healthiest decision, but certainly appropriate.
The next holiday is International Ask a Question Day. Everyone has heard the old adage: “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” Well today is the day to ask as many questions as you want.  If you’ve been curious about something, unclear about something, or just want more information, ask a question. The best way to learn is by asking questions. A famous quote from the above mentioned Albert Einstein was: “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
The third holiday today is World Kidney Day. Most people pay little heed to their kidneys. The symptoms of kidney disease often mask themselves as other ailments, such as chronic back ache, or fatigue. Many people are currently unaware that their kidneys are damaged and they may not find out until it is too late. The need for dialysis or transplantation can often be avoided if kidney diseases are detected early. Did you know that  8 to 10% of the adult population have some form of kidney damage, and worldwide, every year millions die prematurely of complications related to kidney disease. This link will take you to a website that will give you some guidelines to maintain kidney health. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today to have your kidneys checked.
The last two holidays today will be of particular interest to my Entomologist readers. The first is Learn About Butterflies Day.  Take some time today to learn about butterflies.  They are beautiful and delicate creatures. Pay particular interest to the species that are native to your region. Find out the types of flowers in your area they favor and plant some. This will attract them to your yard and give you hours of viewing opportunities.
The other Entomology-related holiday today is Moth-er’s Day. No, that’s not a typo. Moth-er’s Day is  a day set aside to honor moth collectors and specialists. If your local museum has a moth collection, visit it today.
You may be asking yourself: “What is the difference between a butterfly and a moth?” The answer is that butterflies and moths are closely related, and share many of the same characteristics such as wings covered with scales. In general, butterflies are very colorful and are active during the day, whereas, moths are drably colored and active at night. However, Mother Nature, being the impish prankster that she is, created quite a few exceptions to the above rule. The most definitive way to tell them apart, if you can get close enough, is by their antennae. A butterflies antennae are shaped like a golf club, with a long stem with a ‘club’ at the end. A moths antennae are either single filament tapering to a point at the end, or are very complicated structures with many cross filaments, resembling radar antennas. For more information about moths and/or butterflies go to either this website, or this one.

There are two food-related holidays today. The first is Bake a Pie in Solidarity With Pi Day. It’s pretty much self-explanatory. Do you really need a reason to bake a pie other than the fact that you want pie?
The other food-related holiday is National Potato Chip Day. Just about everyone likes potato chips. They come in so many varieties and flavors these days it is often hard to decide which to choose. But, you might ask: “Who invented the potato chip?” Allow me to enlighten you. According to the Snack Food Association, the potato chip was born on August 24, 1853 in elegant dining room at the fashionable Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga, New York. A testy older diner, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (yes of “the” Vanderbilt family), sent his food back to the kitchen, complaining that the fried potatoes were not sliced thin enough and were too soggy. The cook, George Crum, cut and fried a thinner batch, but these, too, were rejected. Equally testy, Crum decided to fight back by slicing the potatoes wafer-thin, frying them to a crisp in boiling oil and over-salting them. They were too crisp to eat: they could not be pierced with a fork without shattering, and no gentleman of the day would have dreamed of picking up food with his fingers at the dining table. However, to chef Crum’s  surprise, his fit of pique was rewarded with compliments to the chef: the Commodore much loved the “crunch potato slices.” Other diners requested the potatoes (“I’ll have what he’s having”), and eventually, they appeared on the menu as Saratoga Chips, a house specialty. Soon the chips were packaged and sold, first locally, then throughout the New England area. And the rest, as they say, is history.

On this date in 2002 – A Scottish appeals court upheld the conviction of a Libyan intelligence agent for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. A five-judge court ruled unanimously that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was guilty of bringing down the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In 1489 – Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, sold her kingdom to Venice. She was the last of the Lusignan dynasty.
In 1629 – 1629 – A Royal charter was granted to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
In 1794 – Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.
In 1891 – The submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the bottom of the English Channel to prepare for the first telephone links across the Channel.
In 1900 – U.S. currency went on the gold standard with the ratification of the Gold Standard Act.
In 1901 – Utah Governor Heber M. Wells vetoed a bill that would have relaxed restrictions on polygamy.
In 1903 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Herran Treaty that guaranteed the U.S. the right to build a canal at Panama. The Columbian Senate rejected the treaty.
In 1914 – Henry Ford announced the new continuous motion method to assemble cars. The process decreased the time to make a car from 12½ hours to 93 minutes.
In 1923 – President Harding became the first U.S. President to file an income tax report.
In 1932 – George Eastman, the founder of the Kodak company, committed suicide.
In 1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane while in office.
In 1947 – The U.S. signed a 99-year lease on naval bases in the Philippines.
In 1951 – U.N. forces recaptured Seoul for the second time during the Korean War.
In 1958 – The U.S. government suspended arms shipments to the Batista government of Cuba.
In 1964 – A Dallas jury found Jack Ruby guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In 1967 – John F. Kennedy’s body was moved from a temporary grave to a permanent one.
In 1981 – Three Pakistani airline hijackers surrendered in Syria after they had exchanged 100 passengers and crewmen for 54 Pakistani prisoners.
In 1989 – Imported assault guns were banned in the U.S. under President George H.W. Bush.
In 1995 – American astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to enter space aboard a Russian rocket.
And, in 2003 – Robert Blake was released from jail on $1.5 million bail. Blake had been jailed for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following luminaries:
Lucy Hobbs Taylor 1833 – First female dentist.
Casey Jones 1864 – Railroad engineer.
Albert Einstein 1879 – Mathematician.
Les Brown 1912 – Band leader.
Max Shulman 1919 – Humorist.
Hank Ketcham 1920 – Cartoonist.
Frank Borman II 1928 – Astronaut.
Quincy Jones 1933 – Composer.
Michael Caine 1933 – Actor.
Eugene Cernan 1934 – Astronaut.
Raymond J. Barry 1939 – Actor.
Michael Martin Murphey 1945 – Singer/songwriter.
Billy Crystal 1948 – Actor, comedian.
Rick Dees 1950 – Radio personality.
Adrian Zmed 1954 – Actor.
Prince Albert 1958 – Member of Monaco’s royal family.
Tamara Tunie 1959 – Actress.
Chris Klein 1979 – Actor.
And finally, Kate Maberly 1982 – Actress.

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