The Thing About Today – November 14

November 14, 2020
Day 319 of 366

November 14th is the 319th day of the year. In Colombia, it is the Day of the Colombian Woman in honor of the anniversary of the death of national heroine Policarpa Salavarrieta. Also known as “La Pola”, she was a Neogranadine seamstress who spied for the Revolutionary Forces during the Spanish Reconquista of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. She was captured by Spanish Royalists and ultimately executed for high treason, but is considered a hero of Colombian independence. 

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Seat Belt Day, National Family PJ Day, National Pickle Day, and National Spicy Guacamole Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1770, James Bruce discovered what he believed to be the source of the Nile.
  • In 1840, French painter Claude Monet was born.
  • In 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville, was published in the United States.
  • In 1886, Friedrich Soennecken first developed the hole puncher, a type of office tool capable of punching small holes in paper.
  • In 1889, pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (the nom de plume of Elizabeth Cochrane) began a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completed the trip in 72 days.
  • In 1900, composer, conductor, and educator Aaron Copeland was born.
  • In 1907, author, illustrator, and sculptor William Stieg was born. He created Shrek!, which inspired the film series of the same name.
  • In 1910, aviator Eugene Burton Ely performed the first takeoff from a ship in Hampton Roads, Virginia, taking off from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham (CS-2/CL-2) in a Curtiss pusher.
  • In 1920, Mary Greyeyes was born. She was the first First Nations woman to join the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • In 1922, the British Broadcasting Company began radio service in the United Kingdom.
  • In 1927, actor and screenwriter McLean Stevenson was born.
  • In 1933, astronaut Fred Haise was born.
  • In 1954, Greek-American pianist, composer, and producer Yanni was born.
  • In 1959, actor Paul McGann was born. He portrayed the Eighth Doctor on Doctor Who.
  • In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.
  • In 1962, actress Laura San Giacomo was born.
  • In 1967, physicist Theodore Maiman was given a patent for his ruby laser systems, the world’s first laser.
  • In 1969, NASA launched Apollo 12, the second crewed mission to the surface of the Moon. It was crewed by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard F. Gordon Jr., and Alan L. Bean.
  • In 1971, Mariner 9 entered orbit around Mars.
  • In 1979, Ukrainian-French model and actress Olga Kurylenko was born.
  • In 1988, Murphy Brown premiered on television.
  • In 1997, Disney’s Lion King set a Broadway record of $2,700,000 in daily sales.
  • In 2003, astronomers Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz discovered 90377 Sedna, a Trans-Neptunian object.
  • In 2006, the twenty-first James Bond film, Casino Royale, premiered in London.
  • In 2016, Disney’s Moana premiered.

November 14th is World Diabetes Day, a global awareness campaign focusing on diabetes mellitus.

Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), each World Diabetes Day focuses on a theme related to diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is a largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers worldwide. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections.

While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.

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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