Life Day 25106: How Do We Measure Up?

April 7, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning measurement system fans. Today is Sunday, April 7, 2013. The first holiday today is Metric System Day. The metric system was developed during the French Revolution by the Assemblee Constituante as a solution to the diverse measurement systems unhappily coexisting throughout Europe. The units in the various systems often had the same names but  used different standards to measure the same amounts. To avoid confusion, France decided to devise a completely new system.
Over time, the entire world has come to accept this measurement system based on units of ten, except for the United States, Liberia, and Burma. The United States uses the foot, the inch, etc. Burma has its own system of measurements. And, Liberia’s measurement system is a complete mystery. However, for purposes of international trade, all three countries use the metric system as well. It makes no sense to me. Why do we still cling to our archaic system of measurement based on completely arbitrary standards?
I have long been an advocate of converting to the metric system. Sure, it would take some time to adjust, but I think we would benefit overall from making the change. In 1999, NASA lost a $125 million Mars Orbiter because one team of engineers did an important calculation using the metric system while the other team used United States customary units. What a bunch of rocket scientists!
Try using the metric system today as much as possible. If your high school science class is a distant memory, you probably have a reference book or two in your house with conversion charts to help you. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet, where I am positive you can find all the help you need.

Since yesterday was New Beer’s Eve, it logically follows that today would have some sort of ‘beer-related’ holiday, and it does…the second holiday today is National Beer Day. The occasion for National Beer Day is the same as for yesterday’s holiday – The repeal of the 18th Amendment and legalization of beer; except instead of merely waiting in anticipation of their first legal drink of beer in 13-years, the participants get to actually taste and savor the ‘nectar of the Gods’. Cheers!

The third holiday today is International Snailpapers Day. International Snailpapers Day celebrates hard-copy media. Pick up a newspaper, savor the feel of natural fibers, enjoy the rustling sound as you turn a page, press your nose to the newsprint and wallow in its inky tones. Savor this multi-sensory reading experience, as it fades away, like papers themselves.
Unfortunately for society, we have arrived at a point in history where we are talking about the newspaper in the past tense. With the plethora of electronic readers available these days, such as Kindle or iPad, paper books, newspapers, and magazines are rapidly becoming obsolete. International Snailpapers Day is an opportunity to pause for a moment and if not smell the roses, inhale a little newsprint, before it disappears forever and becomes but a distant memory.
To celebrate International Snailpapers Day, buy a magazine or newspaper. Visit a library or bookstore today and pick out a good book, or two.

Another holiday today is No Housework Day. Doctors and health experts agree that it is essential for people with busy lifestyles to factor in time to relax. Relaxation can lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce headaches, and improve concentration. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that the average married American woman does 17 hours of housework per week. After a long day at school or work, housework is the last thing anyone wants to come home to do.
Housework is a daily, seemingly endless and repetitive group of tasks that often go unnoticed by others—until they aren’t done. If you normally do the housework around your house, make it abundantly clear that you are taking the day off from housework.

The fifth holiday today is  International Beaver Day. International Beaver Day celebrates nature’s engineering rodents and is intended to raise awareness of their dwindling numbers. Currently, America has 10% or less of the thriving beaver population prior to Euro-American colonization. As beavers were eradicated in past centuries, their dams no longer filtered silt from streams and the majority of wetlands were drained. As waterways became disconnected from their floodplains, rivers became more like canals or sewers, leading to today’s problems with water pollution, erosion, and escalating damage from regional floods and droughts.
By building dams beavers restore the land’s most valuable ecosystem, wetlands. Not only are wetlands havens of life with biodiversity comparable to tropical rainforests, they also provide essential services, such as water cleansing, climate regulation, and moderating the flow of streams. Today, manmade wetlands cost from $10,000 to $100,000 per acre to build, while each beaver family creates and maintains several acres of wetlands—for free.
Beavers use every bit of the trees that they fell. They eat the buds, bark and leaves, then gnaw the branches and trunk into smaller pieces with which to build their dams.
The largest beaver-built dam is in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada and is 850 meters long. That’s about 2789 feet or a bit over ½ a mile long [for those of you who insist on clinging to the archaic, arbitrary system of measurement still in use in America today].
Take time to learn about beavers today. Take a nature walk and try to spot a beaver dam, or if you’re lucky, actually see one at work.

The remaining holidays today, although noteworthy, are in that esoteric group of ‘touchy-feely’ holidays that I am loathe to expound upon. I will provide a link to each one should you want more information.

The food-related holiday today is National Coffee Cake Day. Coffee Cake is a yeast-leavened cake-like bread that is typically served at breakfast or as a snack with coffee or tea. It is often glazed with a white icing or topped with streusel. Coffee cake can contain raisins, nuts, other dried fruits and chocolate chunks. Most are flavored with cinnamon. More elaborate recipes incorporate cream cheese, jam and other fillings such as lemon curd.
The Danish came up with the earliest versions of coffee cake. Around the 17th century in Europe, it became the custom to enjoy a delicious sweet and yeasty type of bread when drinking coffee beverages. Later, French, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian immigrants brought over the coffee cake to America as a breakfast bread recipe. At this point in time, the dessert was more bread-like than the coffee cake we now know, containing flour, eggs, sugar, nuts, spices, dried fruit, and yeast.
Today, there are many different flavor combinations available, so treat yourself to some coffee cake today.

On this date:

  • In 1798 – The territory of Mississippi was organized.
  • In 1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh, TN.
  • In 1864 – The first camel race in America was held in Sacramento, California.
  • In 1888 – P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time under the name “Collier’s.”
  • In 1930 – The first steel columns were set for the Empire State Building.
  • In 1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.
  • In 1948 – The United Nations’ World Health Organization began operations.
  • In 1953 – IBM unveiled the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine. It was IBM’s first commercially available scientific computer.
  • In 1957 – The last of New York City’s electric trolleys completed its final run from Queens to Manhattan.
  • In 1963 – At the age of 23, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament.
  • In 1966 – The U.S. recovered a hydrogen bomb it had lost off the coast of Spain.
  • In  1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material.
  • In 1970 – John Wayne won his first and only Oscar for his role in “True Grit.” He had been in over 200 films.
  • In 1971 – President Nixon pledged to withdraw 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.
  • In 1987 – In Oklahoma a 16-month-old baby was killed by a pit bull. On the same day a 67-year-old man was killed by another pit bull in Dayton, OH.
  • In 1988 – In Fort Smith, AR, 13 white supremacists were acquitted on charges of plotting to overthrow the U.S. federal government.
  • In 1990 – In the U.S., John Poindexter was found guilty of five counts at his Iran-Contra trial. The convictions were later reversed on appeal.
  • In 1990 – At Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center a display of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs went on display. On the same day, the center and its director were indicted on obscenity charges. The trial resulted in acquittal.
  • In 1998 – Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono, won a special election to serve out the remainder of her husband’s congressional term.
  • In 2000 – President Clinton signed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits.
  • In 2002 – The Roman Catholic archdiocese announced that six priests from the Archdiocese of New York were suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following luminaries:

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