The Thing About Today – March 8

March 8, 2020
Day 68 of 366


March 8th is the sixty-eighth day of the year. It is International Women’s Day, a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. It’s also International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, an annual event to help raise awareness of women working in the brewing industry, especially as brewmasters.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Oregon Day, National Peanut Cluster Day, and National Proofreading Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1010, Ferdowsi completed his epic poem Shahnameh. It is the national epic of Greater Iran, and is one of the world’s longest epics.
  • In 1618, Johannes Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion.
  • In 1702, Queen Anne, the younger sister of Mary II, became Queen regnant of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
  • In 1775, an anonymous writer published “African Slavery in America”, the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery. Some believe that Thomas Paine was the actual author.
  • In 1817, the New York Stock Exchange was founded.
  • In 1822, Ignacy Łukasiewicz was born. A Polish inventor and businessman, he invented the Kerosene lamp.
  • In 1910, French aviator Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.
  • In 1917, International Women’s Day protests in St. Petersburg marked the beginning of the February Revolution.
  • In 1921, actor and Gilligan’s Island alum Alan Hale, Jr. was born.
  • In 1922, Ralph H. Baer was born. He was the video game designer who created the Magnavox Odyssey.
  • Also in 1922, actress and dancer Cyd Charisse was born.
  • In 1943, actress and singer Lynn Redgrave was born.
  • In 1974, Charles de Gaulle Airport opened in Paris, France.
  • In 1976, Freddie Prinze, Jr. was born.
  • In 1979, Philips demonstrated the compact disc publicly for the first time.


It’s the second Sunday in March, and that means that Daylight Saving Time has returned to time zones that observe it.

I heard that grumbling from here, mostly because I share it with you. We can all blame George Hudson, the British-born New Zealand entomologist and astronomer who proposed the idea in 1895. His shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and that led him to value after-hours daylight. In 1895, he proposed a two-hour daylight-saving shift in a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society. After considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, he followed up with another paper.

Another proponent of Daylight Saving Time was the prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett, who independently conceived the idea when he noted how many London residents slept through a large part of the summer day. He also fancied golf but did not fancy giving up early when the sun when down. His proposal led to a Daylight Saving Time bill in the House of Commons on February 12, 1908. That bill and several others failed, though Willett lobbied for his proposal until the day he died in 1915.

Daylight Saving Time became a reality on July 1, 1908, in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary picked it up on a national level on April 30, 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, its allies, and the European neutrals followed suit, as did Russia and the United States by 1918. Some nations gave it up after World War I, but it became common during World War II. The United States and Europe championed it during the 1970s energy crisis.

Of course, the practice is mired in controversy, and it has been since it began. From energy and public safety concerns to discussions on physical and psychological health, opinions and studies vary wildly. But, until a consensus is reached, it remains part of our lives.

If you are impacted by Daylight Saving Time, remember to spring forward one hour today.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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