Debrief: Pop Pop Con Con

Pop Pop Con Con
October 16 through October 18, 2020


Last weekend was Pop Pop Con Con, a free virtual convention hosted by Shaun and Laura Rosado of PopCycled Baubles.

Three days of geeky discussions helped to fill the gap of conventions cancelled by the global pandemic, and it was a really fun event overall.

All of the weekend’s panels can be found on the PopCycled Baubles YouTube channel, and the videos from the panels I participated in can be found below.

I want to thank the Rosados and all of the panelists for a great weekend, and for experimenting with the path forward for events like this in the future. The entirety of the convention was hosted and run on Streamyard, including the transitions between discussion panels, video bumpers, and scrolling chyron banners. It was very well crafted.

I keep saying that this is the way new and smaller conventions should be run. There’s no need for renting physical space with this, and it would certainly help to build an audience and get the convention on its feet in the first few years.

The New Normal – VOD


Far Beyond the Stars

D&D Tips and Tricks (Player Edition)


Sci Fi Westerns


The Thing About Today – October 19

October 19, 2020
Day 293 of 366

October 19th is the 293rd day of the year. It is Constitution Day in Niue, observed in honor of the country’s independence in the form of self-governing in free association with New Zealand starting in 1974.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Kentucky Day, National Seafood Bisque Day, National LGBT Center Awareness Day, and National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day (typically observed on the third Monday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1386, the Universität Heidelberg held its first lecture, making it the oldest German university.
  • In 1469, Ferdinand II of Aragon married Isabella I of Castile. The marriage paved the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country that became Spain.
  • In 1789, John Jay was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.
  • In 1900, Max Planck discovered Planck’s Law of black-body radiation. Planck’s Law describes the spectral density of electromagnetic radiation emitted by a black body – an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation, regardless of frequency or angle of incidence – in thermal equilibrium at a given temperature T, when there is no net flow of matter or energy between the body and its environment. I know, that’s a lot to handle. At its core, this discovery was a pioneering insight of modern physics and is of fundamental importance to quantum theory.
  • In 1940, Irish-British actor Michael Gambon was born.
  • In 1943, Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, was isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.
  • In 1945, actor John Lithgow was born.
  • In 1966, actor, director, and screenwriter Jon Favreau was born.
  • In 1973, President Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.
  • In 1983, Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson was born.
  • In 1990, Dances with Wolves premiered.

As mentioned at the top of the post, today is Constitution Day in Niue. But, I asked myself, what is Niue?

Niue is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,500 miles (or 2,400 kilometers) from New Zealand. The island is about 100 square miles (260 km2) in land area and has a predominantly Polynesian population of 1,600 people.

The island is commonly referred to as “The Rock”, which comes from the traditional name “Rock of Polynesia”, and is is one of the world’s largest coral islands. The two-level terrain is made of limestone on the upper portion and a lower coastal terrace that slopes down to the sea in small cliffs. The coral reef has one major close to the capital of Alofi on the central western coast.

As mentioned before, the state is self-governing in free association with New Zealand, giving New Zealand the power to conduct most diplomatic relations on its behalf. Since it is part of the Realm of New Zealand, Niueans are citizens of New Zealand and Queen Elizabeth II is Niue’s head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand.

Between 90% and 95% of the island’s people live in New Zealand, including about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. Niue is a bilingual country, and 30% of the population speak both Niuean and English.

Niue is subdivided into 14 municipalities called villages. Each village has a village council that elects its chairperson, and those villages are electoral districts which send an assemblyperson to the Parliament of Niue. The state holds democratic legislative elections every three years.

The island has a tropical climate and focuses on solar power, but also has one of the highest rates of greenhouse gas production per capita in the world. Consider, of course, that their per capita is based on 1,600 people, so it’s a bit skewed.

Niue is also the world’s first dark sky country as of March 2020. The entire island maintains standards of light development and keeps light pollution limited, so visitors can enjoy guided “Astro-tours” led by trained Niuean community members.

It sounds like quite the place.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 18

October 18, 2020
Day 292 of 366

October 18th is the 292nd day of the year. It is the Independence Day in Azerbaijan as they celebrate their separation from the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Exascale Day, International Legging Day, National Chocolate Cupcake Day, and National No Beard Day.

National Exascale Day celebrates the scientists and researchers who make breakthrough discoveries in medicine, materials sciences, energy, and beyond with the help of some of the fastest supercomputers in the world. Exascale means one quintillion computations per second, written as 1018. Hence, October 18th as the day for the celebration.

Historical items of note:

  • In 320, Greek philosopher Pappus of Alexandria observed an eclipse of the Sun and wrote a commentary on The Great Astronomer (Almagest).
  • In 1648, Boston Shoemakers formed the first American labor organization.
  • In 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.
  • In 1867, the United States took possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. The day is celebrated annually in the state as Alaska Day.
  • In 1922, The British Broadcasting Company (later the British Broadcasting Corporation) was founded by a consortium in an effort to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.
  • In 1926, singer-songwriter and guitarist Chuck Berry was born.
  • In 1929, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overruled the Supreme Court of Canada in Edwards v. Canada when it declared that women are considered “Persons” under Canadian law. The anniversary is known as Persons Day.
  • In 1938, actress Dawn Wells was born.
  • In 1946, Canadian composer, conductor, and producer Howard Shore was born.
  • In 1947, actor Joe Morton was born.
  • In 1951, actress and producer Pam Dawber was born.
  • In 1952, director, producer, and screenwriter Chuck Lorre was born.
  • In 1954, Texas Instruments announced the first transistor radio.
  • In 1960, Belgian martial artist, actor, and producer, and screenwriter Jean-Claude Van Damme was born.
  • In 1961, the film adaptation of West Side Story premiered.
  • In 1963, Félicette, a black and white female Parisian stray cat became the first cat launched into space. Félicette survived the flight.
  • In 1967, the Soviet probe Venera 4 reached Venus and became the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet.
  • Also in 1967, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book premiered.
  • In 1979, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began allowing people to have home satellite earth stations without a federal government license.
  • In 1987, actor and singer Zac Efron was born. His first role was as young Simon Tam on Firefly.
  • In 2019, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch took part in the first all-women spacewalk when they ventured out of the International Space Station to replace a power controller.

October 18th is Necktie Day in Croatia.

The version of the necktie that spread from Europe traces its roots to Croatian mercenaries serving in France during the Thirty Years’ War which happened between 1618 and 1648. These mercenaries wore their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs which interested Parisians. Because of the difference between the Croatian word for Croats, Hrvati, and the French word, Croates, the garment became known as the cravat (or cravate in French).

The boy-king Louis XIV began wearing a lace cravat around 1646, when he was seven, and set the fashion for French nobility. This sparked a fashion craze in Europe, inspiring both men and women to wear pieces of fabric around their necks, and the lace cravat became known as the jabot. They took a large amount of time and effort to arrange and were tied in place by cravat strings, arranged neatly and tied in a bow.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 17

October 17, 2020
Day 291 of 366

October 17th is the 291st day of the year. It is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, an international observance to recognize the struggles of the impoverished and to make their voices heard by governments and citizens.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Edge Day, National Mulligan Day, National Pasta Day, Black Poetry Day, and National Sweetest Day (which is typically observed on the third Saturday in October).

Looking into National Edge Day, it is apparently a day about abstention from drugs, alcohol, and recreational drugs. It is linked to the Straight Edge movement, which is a subculture of the hardcore punk community. The movement started in the 1980s, but petered out around the turn of the century. When I was in high school, they had a negative reputation and were regarded as militant and violent. I don’t have a lot of information about the community as we enter the 2020s.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1604, Kepler’s Supernova was observed in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It is the most recent supernova in our galaxy to have been unquestionably observed by the naked eye, occurring no farther than 20,000 light-years (or 6 kiloparsecs) from Earth.
  • In 1771, the opera Ascanio in Alba premiered in Milan. It was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the age of 15. It is a pastoral opera in two parts to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Parini, commissioned by the Empress Maria Theresa for the wedding of her son, Archduke Ferdinand Karl, to Maria Beatrice d’Este.
  • In 1827, Vincenzo Bellini’s third opera, Il pirata, premiered at Milan.
  • In 1888, Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph.
  • In 1907, the Marconi Company began the first commercial transatlantic wireless service.
  • In 1914, author and illustrator Jerry Siegel was born. He was the co-creator of Superman.
  • In 1915, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Miller was born.
  • In 1918, actress, singer and dancer Rita Hayworth was born.
  • In 1919, RCA was incorporated as the Radio Corporation of America.
  • In 1931, Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion.
  • In 1933, Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany and moved to the United States.
  • In 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was released.
  • In 1947, singer-songwriter, actor, and director Michael McKean was born.
  • In 1948, American soldier and author Robert Jordan was born. He was the creator of The Wheel of Time fantasy series.
  • Also in 1948, Canadian-American actress Margot Kidder was born.
  • Also in 1948, actor and comedian George Wendt was born.
  • In 1956, the first commercial nuclear power station was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield, England.
  • Also in 1956, physician, academic, and astronaut Mae Jemison was born. She was the first black woman to travel into space, doing so as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-47, which was the fiftieth mission of the Space Shuttle program.
  • In 1959, actor Dolph Lundgren was born.
  • In 1960, puppeteer Kevin Clash was born.
  • In 1966, English actor, screenwriter and novelist Mark Gatiss was born.
  • In 1968, the film Bullitt was released.
  • In 1969, the Caravaggio painting Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence was stolen from the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo.
  • In 1979, Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. History having 20/20 hindsight, she really did not deserve it.
  • Also in 1979, the Department of Education Organization Act created the United States Department of Education.
  • In 1983, actress Felicity Jones was born.
  • In 2005, The Colbert Report, an American satirical news television program and talk show hosted by Stephen Colbert, premiered on Comedy Central.
  • In 2018, the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada.
  • Also in 2018, Caroll Spinney retired from Sesame Street after 50 years of portraying characters like Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

October 17th is Digital Society Day in India.

On October 17, 2000, the Information Technology Act 2000 was notified. It was the first law of the digital society in India and gave, for the first time in the country, legal recognition for electronic documents. It also provided a legally recognized method of authentication of electronic documents by means of digital signatures.

Additionally, the act recognized cyber crimes and prescribed a fast track grievance redressal mechanism for them.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 16

October 16, 2020
Day 290 of 366

October 16th is the 290th day of the year. It is World Food Day, an international day honoring the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Sports Day, National Liqueur Day, National Dictionary Day, Global Cat Day, Department Store Day, and Boss’s Day (or National Boss’s Day, held annually on October 16th unless the date falls on a weekend. If so, it’s the closest workday.).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1793, Queen Marie Antoinette was executed.
  • In 1841, Queen’s University was founded in the Province of Canada.
  • In 1843, William Rowan Hamilton invented quaternions, a three-dimensional system of complex numbers.
  • In 1847, Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre was published in London.
  • In 1854, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet Oscar Wilde was born.
  • In 1869, Girton College, Cambridge was founded, becoming England’s first residential college for women.
  • In 1909, William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz held the first summit between presidents of the United States and Mexico. They narrowly escaped assassination.
  • In 1923, The Walt Disney Company was founded.
  • In 1925, English-American actress, singer, and producer Angela Lansbury was born. She is well-known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher, mystery writer (and, perhaps, the most successful fictional serial killer ever) on Murder, She Wrote.
  • In 1936, English actor and screenwriter Peter Bowles was born.
  • In 1940, actor and producer Barry Corbin was born.
  • In 1950, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis was published.
  • In 1962, President Kennedy was informed of photos taken on October 14 by a U-2 spy plane showing nuclear missiles. The crisis would last for the infamous thirteen days starting from this point.
  • In 1964, China detonated its first nuclear weapon.
  • In 1975, actress, director, and producer Kellie Martin was born.
  • In 1981, actress and writer Brea Grant was born.
  • In 2002, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina opened in Egypt, commemorating the ancient library of Alexandria.

October 16th is World Anesthesia Day (or World Anaesthesia Day or Ether Day), an annual event commemorating the first successful demonstration of diethyl ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846.

This event ranks as one of the most significant in the history of medicine. It took place in an operating theater (now known as the Ether Dome) at the Massachusetts General Hospital, home of the Harvard School of Medicine. The discovery made it possible for patients to obtain the benefits of surgical treatment without the pain associated with an operation.

Special events have been held to commemorate the date since at least 1903. Celebrations are driven by the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists with over 134 societies representing anesthesiologists from over 150 countries.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 15

October 15, 2020
Day 289 of 366

October 15th is the 289th day of the year. It is Breast Health Day in Europe, a day of awareness of breast cancer and improvement of breast cancer services by promoting early detection, optimal treatment and research.

It is also White Cane Safety Day in the United States, a day to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Shawarma Day, National Aesthetician Day, National Cheese Curd Day, National I Love Lucy Day, National Grouch Day, National Get Smart About Credit Day (typically observed on the third Thursday in October), and Get to Know Your Customers Day (typically observed on the third Thursday of Each Quarter).

It is also National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1582, adoption of the Gregorian calendar began, eventually leading to near-universal adoption.
  • In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon made the first human ascent, piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.
  • In 1863, the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sunk, killing its inventor.
  • In 1888, the “From Hell” letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper was received by investigators.
  • In 1917, Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by France for espionage.
  • In 1924, actor Mark Lenard was born.
  • In 1939, the New York Municipal Airport (later renamed LaGuardia Airport) was dedicated.
  • In 1940, The Great Dictator, a satiric social commentary film by and starring Charlie Chaplin, was released.
  • In 1943, actress, director, and producer Penny Marshall was born.
  • In 1951, I Love Lucy premiered.
  • In 1955, actress Tanya Roberts was born.
  • In 1956, FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, was first shared with the coding community.
  • In 1991, The “Oh-My-God particle”, an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray measured at 40,000,000 times that of the highest energy protons produced in a particle accelerator was observed at the University of Utah HiRes observatory in Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.
  • In 1997, the Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.
  • In 2001, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passed within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.

October 15th is Global Handwashing Day.

Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.

The global campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50% through efficient and effective handwashing habits.

It’s vitally important, especially in the current pandemic, to prevent the spread of disease. The most I have been disgusted by handwashing habits was at Disney World when watching people from across the world walk right past the sinks after using the restroom.

At a minimum, twenty seconds with warm water and soap is the key.

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.

Timestamp #SJA17: The Eternity Trap

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Eternity Trap
(2 episodes, s03e04, 2009)

Timestamp SJA17 The Eternity Trap

Spooky fun.

Professor Rivers has returned, this time with the story of a haunted house. In 1665, Ashen Hill Manor was inhabited by magician Erasmus Darkening, who promised to replenish Lord Marchwood’s fortunes through alchemy. Marchwood’s two children, Elizabeth and Joseph, spied on the magician one night and vanished for eternity.

The professor tells this story to Sarah Jane, Clyde, Rani, and her assistant Toby. Sarah Jane is covering the story as Rivers studies the estate, and Luke remained home just in case something went wrong. They find out the estate has been plagued by other disappearances over the years.

It’s a beautiful home. It’s also haunted.

Sarah Jane doesn’t believe in ghosts. While the team roams the halls, they hear a series of church bells but cannot find the source. Clyde and Rani wander outside find a shed and a fountain while Sarah Jane examines a bookshelf. The books shuffle on their own, the fountain cycles on and off, and wet footprints appear in the shed as children giggle and music plays.

They hear a young girl crying, but it stops as Clyde pulls the sheet off of a mirror. The magician appears in the mirror and Clyde and Rani return to the house.

Everyone convenes around a lantern and talk about what they’ve all found. Toby gathers everyone’s mobiles after the gang calls home, and Rivers starts the experiment. The camera monitors flicker with the magician’s face before the nursery camera shorts out.

Meanwhile, Rani finds the magician’s face in the history book Sarah Jane was reading. The book had flipped itself to the right page. The gang returns to the control area as Rivers vanishes in the nursery and electromagnetic readings spike throughout the house.

The gang investigates only to find echoes of Marchwood’s children and the toys come to life. Rivers begs for help over the walkie-talkies, but the team can’t reach her. A message appears on the chalkboard: “GET OUT.”

Instead of getting out, the team tracks the energy and, against Sarah Jane’s better judgment, splits up.

Sarah Jane finds the echoes of Marchwood’s children. They warn her to leave before Erasmus takes her too. She ventures outside to discover a being with red eyes that is vanquished by the spirit of Lord Marchwood.

Rani and Clyde explore and find a secret passage to Erasmus’s lab. The discover a computer, which should not exist, along with Erasmus Darkening (who claims not to be a ghost). Before they are captured, they are rescued by Marchwood and his children.

Sarah Jane returns inside and hears the voice of Professor Rivers again, asking for help by name. She’s reunited with Rani and Clyde, then all three of them find Marchwood who beseeches them to leave. Sarah Jane reiterates that the curse doesn’t result in ghosts, and the gang meets up with Toby at the staircase in time to see all of the people who have disappeared in the house except Rivers. When Erasmus arrives, they all vanish.

Erasmus promises to come for the team and reveals that he is not exactly human. Sarah Jane and Toby seek out the computer while Rani and Clyde distract the so-called magician.

Toby tells Sarah Jane about a a creature that used to come into his room and watch him sleep. Meanwhile, Rani and Clyde are chased into the game room and watch as the pool table comes to life. They eventually run outside and are locked out of the house. They seek solace in the shed from the red-eyed being.

Sarah Jane and Toby find the computer and surmise that the house has been transformed into a portal to another galaxy, the pathway home for an alien who was stranded on Earth three centuries ago. The machine has malfunctioned and trapped the disappeared between dimensions.

Erasmus confronts Sarah Jane and Toby, preferring the eternal life of the accelerator over death in isolation. The red-eyed creature came through the portal, and Sarah Jane realizes that her friends are in trouble. After Lord Marchwood rescues Clyde and Rani, they are all reunited with Sarah Jane and Toby. Toby’s ghost-hunting technology inspires Sarah Jane.

After Erasmus took Marchwood’s children, the lord sought revenge and inadvertently damaged the device. Lord Marchwood uses that information to lure Erasmus into a trap that dissociates him into pure energy. The “ghosts” have all vanished and Rivers has returned, and Sarah Jane destroys the computer once and for all.

As the gang says farewell to Professor Rivers and Toby, they debate the existence of ghosts. Sarah Jane remains firm that ghosts don’t exist, but hesitates when she sees Marchwood’s family watching from the window.

This was a fun little romp that took advantage of actor Tommy Knight’s school exams to get the gang out of the house. For the first time, Luke, Mr. Smith, and the Bannerman Road house do not appear in the series.

The setting was quite beautiful. This location, Hensol Castle, was previously seen in Forest of the Dead and is used as a wedding venue in South Wales.

The story itself, which was quite relevant for the lead-up to Halloween for this publication, was an amusing ghost hunting expedition, but quite average otherwise. The spin on the haunted house story by making the menace a trapped malevolent alien was a good one.

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa’s Revenge


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

The Thing About Today – October 14

October 14, 2020
Day 288 of 366

October 14th is the 288th day of the year. It is National Education Day in Poland, formerly known as Teachers’ Day.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Dessert Day, Be Bald and Be Free Day, and National Take Your Parents To Lunch Day. It’s also host to four observances centered on the second Wednesday in October: National Curves Day, National Emergency Nurse’s Day, National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day, and National Stop Bullying Day. Finally, today is National Fossil Day, typically observed on the Wednesday of the second full week in October.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1322, Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at the Battle of Old Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.
  • In 1582, because of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, this day didn’t exist in in Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
  • In 1884, George Eastman received a United States Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.
  • In 1888, Louis Le Prince filmed the first motion picture, Roundhay Garden Scene.
  • In 1894, poet and playwright e e cummings was born.
  • Also in 1894, British marine engineer Victoria Drummond was born. She was the first woman marine engineer in the UK and the first woman member of Institute of Marine Engineers. In World War II, she served at sea as an engineering officer in the British Merchant Navy and received awards for bravery under enemy fire.
  • In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot and mildly wounded by John Flammang Schrank. Even with the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still lodged within it, Roosevelt delivered his scheduled speech.
  • In 1914, chemist and physicist Raymond Davis Jr. was born. He is best known as the leader of the Homestake experiment from the 1960s to the 1980s, which was the first experiment to detect neutrinos emitted from the Sun. For this, he shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • In 1926, children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, was first published.
  • In 1927, actor and producer Roger Moore was born.
  • In 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to exceed the speed of sound.
  • In 1949, actress Katy Manning was born. She played companion Jo Grant on Doctor Who.
  • In 1952, actor Harry Anderson was born.
  • In 1961, actress Melanie Wilson was born.
  • In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis began when an American reconnaissance aircraft took photographs of Soviet ballistic missiles being installed in Cuba.
  • In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
  • In 1966, the city of Montreal began operation of its underground Montreal Metro rapid transit system.
  • In 1968, the first live TV broadcast by American astronauts in orbit was performed by the Apollo 7 crew.
  • In 1974, singer-songwriter Natalie Maines was born.
  • In 1977, Anita Bryant had a pie thrown in her face at a news conference in Des Moines by gay rights activist Tom Higgins for her anti-LGBT commentary.
  • In 1978, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island premiered. It was the first TV movie based on a television series.
  • In 1979, the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights drew approximately 100,000 people.
  • In 1980, actor Ben Wishaw was born.
  • In 1982, United States President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs.
  • In 1998, Eric Rudolph was charged with six bombings, including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In 2012, Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped to Earth from a balloon in the stratosphere.
  • In 2014, Utah State University received a bomb threat against feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who was to give a lecture the next day.

October 14th is World Standards Day.

Also known as International Standards Day, this international celebration honors the efforts of the thousands of experts who develop voluntary standards within standards development organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The aim of World Standards Day is to raise awareness among regulators, industry professionals, and consumers about the importance of standardization to the global economy.

October 14th was specifically chosen to mark the date in 1946. On that day, delegates from 25 countries first gathered in London and decided to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization. Even though the ISO was formed one year later, it wasn’t until 1970 that the first World Standards Day was celebrated.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 13

October 13, 2020
Day 287 of 366

October 13th is the 287th day of the year. On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy, which was the predecessor of the United States Navy. As a submarine veteran, I would like to wish sailors past and present a happy 245th birthday.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Train Your Brain Day, National Yorkshire Pudding Day, National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and National No Bra Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1269, the present church building at Westminster Abbey was consecrated.
  • In 1792, the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) was laid in Washington, D.C.
  • In 1843, B’nai B’rith was founded in New York City. It is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world.
  • In 1881, the first known conversation in modern Hebrew took place between Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and friends.
  • In 1884, the International Meridian Conference established the meridian of the Greenwich Observatory as the prime meridian.
  • In 1885, the Georgia Institute of Technology was founded in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech selected the asshole of the insect world, the yellow jacket, as their mascot.
  • In 1892, Edward Emerson Barnard found the first comet discovered by photographic means.
  • In 1908, Margaret Travers Symons burst into the UK parliament and became the first woman to speak there.
  • In 1939, actress Melinda Dillon was born.
  • In 1941, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer Paul Simon was born.
  • In 1956, television producer Chris Carter was born.
  • In 1962, actress Kelly Preston was born.
  • In 1964, actor and producer Christopher Judge was born.
  • In 1976, the first electron micrograph of an Ebola virus was taken at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Dr. F. A. Murphy.
  • In 1983, Ameritech Mobile Communications launched the first United States cellular network in Chicago.

October 13th is the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

This international day encourages every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations. In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 13th as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction as part of its proclamation of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

In 2002, the General Assembly decided to maintain the annual observance as a vehicle to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including prevention, mitigation, and preparedness. The name and date became official in 2009.

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.

The Thing About Today – October 12

October 12, 2020
Day 286 of 366

October 12th is the 286th day of the year. It is Freethought Day, an annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Savings Day, National Vermont Day, National Farmer’s Day, National Gumbo Day, National Online Bank Day (typically observed on the second Monday in October), and National Kick Butt Day (typically observed on the second Monday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1692, the Salem witch trials were ended by a letter from Province of Massachusetts Bay Governor William Phips.
  • In 1773, Eastern State Hospital opened in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the first psychiatric hospital in what would become the United States.
  • In 1799, Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse became the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute.
  • In 1810, the citizens of Munich held the first Oktoberfest.
  • In 1847, Werner von Siemens founded Siemens & Halske, which later became Siemens AG.
  • In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt officially renamed the “Executive Mansion” to the White House.
  • In 1928, an iron lung respirator was used for the first time at Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • In 1933, the military Alcatraz Citadel became the civilian Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.
  • In 1945, Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the United States Medal of Honor.
  • In 1964, the Soviet Union launched the Voskhod 1 spacecraft into Earth orbit. It was the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew, and the first flight without pressure suits.
  • In 1968, Australian actor, singer, and producer Hugh Jackman was born.
  • In 1971, the 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire began.
  • In 1984, the Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted and failed to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. The bomb killed five people and wounded 31.
  • In 1992, actor Josh Hutcherson was born.
  • In 1994, the Magellan spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere of Venus.
  • In 2000, the USS Cole (DDG-67), a United States Navy destroyer, was badly damaged by two suicide bombers. Seventeen crew members were killed and thirty-nine were wounded.
  • In 2005, the second Chinese human spaceflight, Shenzhou 6, was launched. It carried two cosmonauts in orbit for five days.

The second Monday in October is observed as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

An official city and state holiday in various localities, it began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the United States federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many reject celebrating him, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere”, and that Columbus Day is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus’ actions such as enslaving Native Americans.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and then Governor Mr. George S. Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990. It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up as well.

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.