The Thing About Today – October 20

October 20, 2020
Day 294 of 366

October 20th is the 294th day of the year. It is World Osteoporosis Day, a day that launches a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Youth Confidence Day, National Brandied Fruit Day, and National Pharmacy Technician Day (which is observed on the third Tuesday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1803, the United States Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.
  • In 1818, the Convention of 1818 was signed between the United States and the United Kingdom. This settled the Canada-United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.
  • In 1882, Hungarian-American actor Bela Lugosi was born.
  • In 1932, actor and singer William Christopher was born. I know him best as Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H.
  • In 1935, actor Jerry Orbach was born.
  • In 1941, English actress Anneke Wills was born. She was companion Polly on Doctor Who.
  • In 1955, composer and conductor Thomas Newman was born.
  • In 1958, American-Danish actor and producer Viggo Mortensen was born.
  • In 1965, actor and producer William Zabka was born. He played Johnny Lawrence in the Karate Kid films and the current spinoff, Cobra Kai.
  • In 1973, the Saturday Night Massacre occurred. United States President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refused to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Cox was finally fired by Robert Bork.
  • Also in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is opened by Queen Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.
  • In 1977, actor and musician Sam Witwer was born.
  • In 1998, comedian Richard Pryor was awarded the first ever Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

October 20th is World Statistics Day, an international day to celebrate the science of statistics. It was created by the United Nations Statistical Commission and was first celebrated on October 20, 2010. The day is unique because it is celebrated every five years.

In 2010, 103 countries celebrated a national Statistics Day, including 51 African countries that jointly celebrate African Statistics Day annually on November 18th. India celebrates a similar day on June 29th, which is also the birthday of statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis. The Royal Statistical Society in the United Kingdom also launched its getstats statistical literacy campaign on the same day at 20:10 on 20.10.2010.

Because of the quinquennial nature of the celebration, the next World Statistics Day was supposed to be celebrated 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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