The Thing About Today – August 8

August 8, 2020
Day 221 of 366


August 8th is the 221st day of the year. It is Ceasefire Day in Iraqi Kurdistan, commemorating the end of the Iran-Iraq War. The war has many names: The First Gulf War (جنگ ایران و عراق‎ in Persian, حرب الخليج الأولى‎ in Arabic), the Imposed War, and the Holy Defense or Sacred Defense (دفاع مقدس in Persian) in Iran. It started on September 22, 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, and it lasted for eight years.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as Global Sleep Under The Stars Night, National CBD Day, National Happiness Happens Day, National Frozen Custard Day, National Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day, National Dollar Day, National Bowling Day, and National Garage Sale Day. The last two are typically observed on the second Saturday in August.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1576, the cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on the island of Hven.
  • In 1709, Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the king of Portugal in Lisbon, Portugal.
  • In 1786, Mont Blanc on the French-Italian border was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr. Michel-Gabriel Paccard.
  • In 1876, Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.
  • In 1901, Nobel Prize laureate Ernest Lawrence was born. The American physicist and academic won the prize for the invention of the cyclotron. He is also known for his work on uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project, and for founding the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • In 1902, Nobel Prize laureate Paul Dirac was born. The English-American physicist and academic was one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century. Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, along with significant contributions to the reconciliation of general relativity with quantum mechanics. He formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behavior of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. He shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory”.
  • In 1908, Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans, France. It was the Wright Brothers’ first public flight.
  • In 1919, Italian actor and producer Dino De Laurentiis was born.
  • In 1926, actor Richard Anderson was born. He played Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.
  • In 1930, Welsh-American author and screenwriter Terry Nation was born. Especially known for his work in British television science fiction, he created the Daleks and Davros for Doctor Who, as well as the series Survivors and Blake’s 7.
  • In 1935, director, producer, and screenwriter Donald P. Bellisario was born. He is known for Magnum, P.I.Tales of the Gold MonkeyAirwolfQuantum LeapJAG, and NCIS.
  • In 1937, actor and director Dustin Hoffman was born.
  • In 1945, the London Charter was signed by France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States, establishing the laws and procedures for the Nuremberg trials.
  • In 1963, the Great Train Robbery occurred in England. A gang of 15 train robbers stole £2.6 million in banknotes from a Royal Mail train. The stolen money was equivalent to £55 million ($72 million USD) in 2019.
  • In 1969, photographer Iain Macmillan took a picture at a zebra crossing in London. This photo became the iconic cover image of the Beatles’ album Abbey Road.
  • In 1974, President Richard Nixon, in a nationwide television address, announced his resignation from the office of the President of the United States effective noon the next day.
  • In 1990, Iraq occupied Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq. This would lead to the Gulf War shortly afterward.


August 8th is International Cat Day.

It was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a day to raise awareness for cats and learn about ways to help and protect them. It is also referred to as World Cat Day, and while most countries now observe this unofficial holiday on August 8th, Russia celebrates National Cat Day on March 1st. The United States celebrates both International Cat Day and their own National Cat Day on October 29th.

In 2020, ownership of the observance passed to International Cat Care, a non-profit organization that has been striving to improve the health and welfare of domestic cats worldwide since 1958.


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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