The Thing About Today – September 28

September 28, 2020
Day 272 of 366


September 28th is the 272nd day of the year. It is Freedom from Hunger Day, an event started in 2006 to increase awareness about global hunger and promote Freedom from Hunger’s empowerment of women around the world.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day, National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, National North Carolina Day, and National Family Day (typically observed on the fourth Monday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1836, English plumber Thomas Crapper was born. While he didn’t invent the modern toilet, he did hold nine patents, three of them for water closet improvements such as the floating ballcock. He also improved the S-bend plumbing trap in 1880 by inventing the U-bend.

Of note, it has often been claimed in popular culture that crap, a slang term for human feces, originated with Thomas Crapper because of his association with lavatories. One common version is that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang.

The word crap is actually of Middle English origin and predates any application to bodily waste. Most likely, it comes from the combination of two older words: the Dutch krappen (to pluck off, cut off, or separate) and the Old French crappe (siftings, waste or rejected matter, from the medieval Latin crappa).

In English, it was used to refer to chaff and also to weeds or other rubbish. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded application to bodily waste was in 1846, 10 years after Crapper was born, referencing a crapping ken. That was a term for a privy, where ken meant a house.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming… 

  • In 1868, English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall was born. She was best known for her biography of Voltaire and wrote under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre.
  • In 1889, the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter.
  • In 1912, Corporal Frank S. Scott of the United States Army became the first enlisted man to die in an airplane crash.
  • In 1925, computer scientist Seymour Cray was born. The “Father of Supercomputing”, he founded the CRAY Computer Company.
  • In 1928, Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.
  • In 1934, French actress Brigitte Bardot was born.
  • In 1951, CBS made the first color televisions available for sale to the general public, but the product was discontinued less than a month later.
  • In 1968, English-Australian actress and producer Naomi Watts was born.
  • In 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on television.
  • In 1991, the Strategic Air Command stood down from alert all ICBMs scheduled for deactivation under START I, as well as its strategic bomber force.
  • In 2008, Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fuel ground-launched vehicle to put a payload into orbit.
  • In 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the international project Tree of Peace was established. One of the trees was planted personally by Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic.


September 28th is the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Initially known as Access to Information Day, it was designated by the UNESCO General Conference. It was inaugurated in November 2015 and was first held in 2016.

The day had been recognized as International Right to Know Day since 2002, and it was developed by international civil society advocates beginning in 2012. The UNESCO resolution that created the day was heavily driven by African civil society groups seeking greater information transparency.


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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