Life Day 24094: Time: What a Concept

June 30, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Today is Sunday, June 30, 2013.
Good morning clockwatchers. The first holiday today is Leap Second Time Adjustment Day.  “Time is a concept created by people in need of structure in their lives.”  I don’t remember where I heard that saying, or if I coined it myself, but I’ve been using it for decades, and since I have been retired, it certainly is apropos to my lifestyle. However, for those of you who still care about ‘time’, Leap Second Time Adjustment Day is the day that the sciency types at the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) make adjustments. 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 Universal Coordinated Time (UCT) 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 that 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.
Since 1972, a total of 24 seconds have been added. This means that the Earth has slowed down 24 seconds compared to atomic time since then. This does not mean that days are 24 seconds longer nowadays. Only that the days on which the leap seconds are inserted had 86,401 instead of the usual 86,400 seconds. Leap seconds are inserted at the end of the last day in June or December. When that is the case, UCT 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 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.
According to the IERS, there will actually be no adjustment made to the time tonight. The last adjustment was on June 30th 2012. If they maintain their schedule of adjusting time every year and a half, that means that your party this New Year’s Eve will be extended by one second; but you’ll probably be too drunk to notice. Oh well. Wahoo! Party on!

The next holiday is Meteor Day. The word “meteor” refers to a visible streak of light that is produced by debris falling to the Earth from space. We also call this beautiful phenomenon a “shooting star” or “falling star.” The tradition of wishing upon a shooting star can be traced all the way back to 127 AD. Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, hypothesized that the Gods occasionally liked to peer down at Earth from the other world. From time to time, a star or two would slip past them and fall through the heavens. Anyone who saw a shooting star knew that the Gods were paying attention so it was the perfect time to make a wish. Shooting stars are actually quite small. The average meteoroid is about the size of a pebble. Around 15,000 tons of meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere every day, but very few of them actually reach the surface. When they do, they are called “meteorites.”
To celebrate Meteor Day, spend some time star-gazing tonight, or find out when the next meteor shower is going to take place. If you see a shooting star, remember to make a wish.

The third holiday today is Log Cabin Day. Log Cabin Day celebrates a quieter, simpler, era. A couple hundred years ago, life was far more rugged. Americans moving West 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. In the summer, the only “air conditioning” they had was to remove the shutters from the windows and prop the doors open. The insulation was usually mud to seal the gaps between the logs. Log cabins have a strong association with rustic and rural North America, but historically log construction has its roots in the timber-rich regions of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Although their origin is uncertain, the first log structures were probably built in Northern Europe in the Bronze Age (about 3500 BC). By the time Europeans began to settle in America, there was a long tradition of using logs for houses, barns, and other outbuildings in Scandinavian countries. It was settlers from these Scandinavian countries that popularized the building of log cabins on the frontier. These crude structures bear little resemblance to the modern “log cabins” built as vacation homes today.

Another holiday today is  Descendants Day. Descendants Day is always celebrated on the last Sunday in June. It is the day each year that: “all the world’s citizens take an accounting of their activities during the preceding year that will impact our descendants and our neighbors across time.” Well now, isn’t that special. Pardon me while I go “lose my lunch”.

Today’s final holiday is NOW (National Organization For Women) Day. NOW (National Organization For Women) Day celebrates the date in 1966 when the National Organization For Women was founded. This link will go into much more detail about it’s creation than I can in this Blog.

The food-related holiday today is  National Ice Cream Soda Day. An ice cream soda, sometimes regionally called a ‘float’, is a beverage that consists of ice cream in either a soft drink or in a mixture of flavored syrup and carbonated water. It is a great summer cooler, and a flavorful way to cool off. Be creative with your ice cream and soda flavor choices.
Factoid: There is a right way and a wrong way to make an ice cream soda. If you add the ice cream first, then the soda, you get too much foam. The correct way is to first add the soda to the glass, then “float” the ice cream on top; hence the name ‘float’. There is a scientific reason for this phenomenon. This link will explain it all.

On this date in 1908 – An explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 40-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away. It was believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.
Also on this date in history:
1841 – The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.
1859 – Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1934 – Adolf Hitler purged the Nazi Party by destroying the SA and bringing to power the SS in the “Night of the Long Knives.”
1935 – Fascists caused an uproar at the League of Nations when Haile Selassie of Ethiopia speaks.
1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s book, “Gone with the Wind,” was published.
1950 – U.S. President Harry Truman ordered U.S. troops into Korea and authorizes the draft.
1953 – The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. It sold for $3,250. 1958 – The U.S. Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union.
1962 – Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets.
1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the New York Times to continue publishing the Pentagon Papers.
1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified when Ohio became the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.
1974 – Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto, Canada.
1977 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced his opposition to the B-1 bomber.
1986 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
1994 – The U.S. Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
1998 – Officials confirmed that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
And, in 2000 – President Clinton signed the E-Signature bill to give the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following people of distinction:
Lena Horne 1917 – Singer, Actress.
Susan Hayward 1919 – Actress.
June Valli 1930 – Singer.
Harry Blackstone, Jr. 1934 – Magician.
Nancy Dussault 1936 – Actress. (Too Close for Comfort)
Florence Ballard 1943 – Singer. (The Supremes)
David Alan Grier 1955 – Actor, comedian. ()In living Color)
Vincent D’Onofrio 1959 – Actor. (Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
Mike Tyson 1966 – Boxer.
Brian Bloom 1970 – Actor.
And finally, Brian Vincent 1970 – Actor.

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