The Thing About Today – April 17

April 17, 2020
Day 108 of 366


April 17th is the 108th day of the year. It is World Hemophilia Day, commemorated in the quest to bring awareness to genetic bleeding disorders and raise funds for research.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Crawfish Day, International Bat Appreciation Day, National Cheeseball Day, National Ellis Island Family History Day, National Haiku Poetry Day, and National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day. That last one is typically observed on the third Friday in April.

I appreciate bats. I also appreciate how they can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1521, the trial of Martin Luther and his teachings began during the assembly of the Diet of Worms. He initially felt intimidated, so he asked for time to reflect and was granted one day.
  • In 1820, firefighter and inventor of the game of baseball Alexander Cartwright was born.
  • In 1907, the Ellis Island immigration center processed 11,747 people, a single-day record for them.
  • In 1942, David Bradley was born. He portrayed Walder Frey in Game of Thrones, Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films, and the First Doctor on Doctor Who.
  • In 1948, composer and producer Jan Hammer was born.
  • In 1949, twenty-six Irish counties officially left the British Commonwealth at midnight. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin ushered in the Republic of Ireland.
  • In 1951, the Peak District became the United Kingdom’s first National Park.
  • In 1954, professional wrestler and actor Roddy Piper was born.
  • In 1959, actor Sean Bean was born. He dies a lot in cinema.
  • In 1961, a group of Cuban exiles financed and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. Called the Bay of Pigs Invasion, it ultimately failed in its goal.
  • In 1967, actor Henry Ian Cusick was born.
  • In 1970, the ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft safely returned to Earth.
  • In 1972, actress Jennifer Garner was born.
  • In 1985, actress Rooney Mara was born.
  • In 2011, Marvel’s Thor premiered in Sydney, Australia.
  • In 2014, NASA’s Kepler space telescope confirmed the discovery of the first Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star.


In 2014, NASA’s Kepler space telescope confirmed the discovery of the first Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star.

Designated as Kepler-186f, the exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star Kepler-186, about 582 light-years from Earth. The Kepler space telescope detected it along with four additional planets orbiting much closer to the star.

Kepler-186f is about 11 percent larger in radius than Earth. Since atmospheric composition is unknown, conclusions cannot be made about its habitability, though studies have concluded that it may have seasons and a climate similar to our own planet.


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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