The Thing About Today – November 16

November 16, 2020
Day 321 of 366

November 16th is the 321st day of the year. It is Statia Day in the Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius, a special municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It celebrates the “First Salute”, when Sint Eustatius (known locally as Statia) became the first country to recognize the United States.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fast Food Day, National Button Day, and National Indiana Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1836, Kalākaua of Hawaii, the last king and penultimate monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, was born.
  • In 1852, the English astronomer John Russell Hind discovered the asteroid 22 Kalliope.
  • In 1855, David Livingstone became the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia-Zimbabwe.
  • In 1904, English engineer John Ambrose Fleming received a patent for the thermionic valve (vacuum tube).
  • In 1907, actor, singer, director, producer, and screenwriter Burgess Meredith was born.
  • In 1914, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opened.
  • In 1920, Qantas, Australia’s national airline, was founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.
  • In 1933, the United States and the Soviet Union established formal diplomatic relations.
  • In 1938, LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.
  • In 1945, UNESCO was founded.
  • In 1952, Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was born. A video game designer, producer, and game director at Nintendo, he serves as one of its representative directors. He is the creator of some of the most acclaimed and best-selling game franchises of all time, including Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
  • In 1958, actress Marg Helgenberger was born.
  • In 1962, Canadian writer and artist Darwyn Cooke was born.
  • In 1964, Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Diana Krall was born.
  • In 1965, the Soviet Union launched the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus, which was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.
  • Also in 1965, Walt Disney launched Epcot Center. EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
  • In 1970, actress Martha Plimpton was born.
  • In 1973, NASA launched Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts  – Gerald P. Carr, Edward G. Gibson, and William R. Pogue  – from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission.
  • In 1974, the Arecibo message was broadcast from the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico. It was aimed at the current location of the globular star cluster Messier 13 some 25,000 light years away. The message will reach empty space by the time it finally arrives since the cluster will have changed position.
  • In 1976, Renee MacRae and her son Andrew disappeared from Inverness. The disappearance is currently Britain’s longest-running missing persons case.
  • In 1977, Australian singer-songwriter and actress Gigi Edgley was born.
  • Also in 1977, actress and singer Maggie Gyllenhaal was born.
  • In 1979, the first line of Bucharest Metro (Line M1) was opened from Timpuri Noi to Semănătoarea in Bucharest, Romania.
  • In 1990, pop group Milli Vanilli were stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.
  • In 1992, the Hoxne Hoard was discovered by metal detectorist Eric Lawes in Hoxne, Suffolk. The Hoxne Hoard is the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain, and the largest collection of gold and silver coins of the fourth and fifth centuries found anywhere within the Roman Empire. In 1993, the Treasure Valuation Committee valued the hoard at £1.75 million (roughly equivalent to £3.59 million or $4.74 million in 2019).

November 16th is the International Day for Tolerance.

The International Day for Tolerance is an annual observance day declared by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.

Every year various conferences and festivals are organized in the occasion of International Day for Tolerance. Among them, “Universal Tolerance Cartoon Festival” in Drammen, Norway which organized an International Cartoon Festival in 2013.

The day is observed in Bangladesh with Peace Summit. Peace Summit is organized by Preneur Lab and the EMK Center. The conference is a platform to talk and share on country’s challenges on issues like peace, tolerance, fake news, online safety, and hate.

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 – November 15

November 15, 2020
Day 320 of 366

November 15th is the 320th day of the year. It is America Recycles Day in the United States, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bundt (Pan) Day, National Philanthropy Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, and National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike spotted a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It would later be named Pikes Peak.
  • In 1887, painter and educator Georgia O’Keeffe was born.
  • In 1920, the first assembly of the League of Nations was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • In 1926, the NBC radio network opened with 24 stations.
  • In 1929, actor, singer, and producer Ed Asner was born.
  • In 1939, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
  • In 1940, actor Sam Waterston was born.
  • In 1951, actress, singer, and producer Beverly D’Angelo was born.
  • In 1966, Gemini 12 completed the program’s final mission when it splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In 1971, Intel released the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.
  • In 1981, actress Krysten Ritter was born.
  • In 1988, in the Soviet Union, the unmanned Shuttle Buran made its only space flight.
  • In 1991, actress Shailene Woodley was born.

November 15th is the Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is an annual, international day intended to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. It was started in 1981 by PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action, in the form of donations and letters of appeal, on behalf of the selected writers.

The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007 and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.

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 – 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.

The Thing About Today – November 13

November 13, 2020
Day 318 of 366

November 13th is the 318th day of the year. It is Sadie Hawkins Day in the United States, a folk event and pseudo-holiday originated by Al Capp’s classic hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner. The comic strip inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins events, which are based on the premise that women ask men for a date or dancing.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Indian Pudding Day and World Kindness Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1841, James Braid first witnessed a demonstration of animal magnetism, which leads to his study of the subject he eventually called hypnotism.
  • In 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, and essayist Robert Lewis Stevenson was born.
  • In 1851, the Denny Party landed at Alki Point before moving to the other side of Elliott Bay to what would become Seattle.
  • In 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.
  • In 1940, Walt Disney’s animated musical film Fantasia was first released on the first night of a roadshow at New York’s Broadway Theatre.
  • In 1948, actor John de Lancie was born.
  • In 1953, actress Tracy Scoggins was born.
  • In 1955, actress, comedian, and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg was born.
  • In 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States declared Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, thus ending the Montgomery bus boycott.
  • In 1969, Scottish actor Gerard Butler was born.
  • In 1971, actor Noah Hathaway was born.
  • In 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered his entire family in Amityville, Long Island in the house that would become known as The Amityville Horror.
  • In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.
  • In 1995, the seventeenth James Bond film, Goldeneye, was released.
  • In 2013, Hawaii legalized same sex marriage.

November 13th is World Kindness Day.

World Kindness Day was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness NGOs. It is observed in many countries, including Canada, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Notably, Singapore, Italy, and India also observe the day.

The purpose of World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and zip codes.

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 – November 12

November 12, 2020
Day 317 of 366

November 12th is the 317th day of the year. It is both Father’s Day and National Health Day in Indonesia.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National French Dip Day, National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day, and National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1439, Plymouth became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.
  • In 1912, the frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men were found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • In 1918, Austria became a republic. After the proclamation, a coup attempt by the communist Red Guard was defeated by the social-democratic Volkswehr.
  • In 1929, actress Grace Kelly was born. She was later known Princess Grace of Monaco.
  • In 1936, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to traffic in California.
  • In 1943, actor, comedian and playwright Wallace Shawn was born.
  • In 1946, Walt Disney’s Song of the South premiered at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Actor James Baskett was unable to attend the film’s premiere because he would not have been allowed to participate in any of the festivities. At that time, Atlanta was still a racially segregated city.
  • In 1954, Ellis Island ceased operations.
  • In 1956, comedian Rhonda Shear was born.
  • In 1958, actress Megan Mullally was born.
  • In 1969, independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the My Lai Massacre.
  • In 1970, the Oregon Highway Division attempted to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.
  • In 1980, the NASA space probe Voyager I made its closest approach to Saturn and took the first images of its rings.
  • Also in 1980, Canadian actor, producer and singer Ryan Gosling was born.
  • In 1981, mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marked the first time a manned spacecraft was launched into space twice.
  • In 1982, actress Anne Hathaway was born.
  • In 2014, the Philae lander, deployed from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe, reached the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
  • In 2019, the Walt Disney Company launched Disney+, their exclusive streaming service.

November 12th is World Pneumonia Day.

World Pneumonia Day provides an annual forum for the world to stand together and demand action in the fight against pneumonia. Pneumonia is a preventable and treatable disease that sickens 155 million children under 5 and kills 1.6 million each year. It is the top killer of children under 5, claiming more lives in this age group than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Yet most people are unaware of pneumonia’s overwhelming death toll. Because of this, pneumonia has been overshadowed as a priority on the global health agenda, and rarely receives coverage in the news media.

World Pneumonia Day helps to bring this health crisis to the public’s attention and encourages policy makers and grassroots organizers alike to combat the disease.

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.