Time: What a Concept

June 30, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning clock-watchers. Today is Thursday, June 30th. The holidays today are:

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 scientific 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 atomic 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 the days are 24 now seconds longer, 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, 2015. The last time an adjustment was made on December 31st was in 2008. That means that your New Years party that year was extended by one second — too bad you were probably too drunk to notice.

Meteor Day (aka Meteor Watch Day and Look Up in the Sky 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 stargazing 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.

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 its creation than I can in this Blog.

National Ice Cream Soda Day

According to my food-related holiday sources, today is National Ice Cream Soda Day. An Ice Cream Soda is a refreshing drink that combines ice cream and any carbonated beverage.
Ice cream sodas were invented by Robert Green in 1874 during Philadelphia’s 150th-anniversary celebration. Legend has it that Mr. Green added vanilla ice cream to the soda he sold after he ran out of ice (though Mr. Green claims he had dreamt up the innovation prior to the event). Intentional or not, it was a delicious way to keep the sodas cold, and they were an instant hit. Green was so proud of his creation that he even had the phrase “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” engraved on his tombstone.
To celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day, all you need is soda, a scoop (or two) of ice cream, and a straw.
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.

Blink-182 Day

Social Media Day

On this date in:

  • 1841 – The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.
  • 1859 – Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
  • 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.
  • 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 – President Harry S Truman ordered United States troops into Korea and authorized 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 Supreme Court allowed the New York Times to continue publishing the Pentagon Papers.
  • 1971 – The 26th Amendment to the United States 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 – President Jimmy Carter announced his opposition to the B-1 bomber.
  • 1986 – The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • 1994 – The United States 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.
  • 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.

Celebrity Birthdays:


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