The Thing About Today – September 10

September 10, 2020
Day 254 of 366


September 10th is the 254th day of the year. It is Gibraltar National Day, the official national day of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The day commemorates Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum of 1967, in which Gibraltarian voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Swap Ideas Day, National TV Dinner Day, and National School Picture Day (which is typically observed on the second Thursday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1846, Elias Howe was granted a patent for the sewing machine.
  • In 1858, George Mary Searle discovered the asteroid 55 Pandora.
  • In 1892, physicist and academic Arthur Compton was born. He won the Nobel Prize in 1927 for his discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time since the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted.
  • In 1918, famous canine actor Rin Tin Tin was born.
  • In 1932, the New York City Subway’s third competing subway system, the municipally-owned IND, was opened.
  • In 1941, paleontologist, biologist, and author Stephen Jay Gould was born.
  • Also in 1941, Japanese video game designer Gunpei Yokoi was born. He invented the Game Boy.
  • In 1958, director, producer, and screenwriter Chris Columbus was born.
  • Also in 1958, Irish singer-songwriter and producer Siobhan Fahey was born. She was a founding member of Bananarama.
  • In 1960, at the Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila became the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.
  • Also in 1960, actor and producer Colin Firth was born.
  • In 1993, The X-Files premiered.
  • In 2002, Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country, became a full member of the United Nations.
  • In 2008, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, was powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.


September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, an awareness day to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to host World Suicide Prevention Day. According to WHO’s Mental Health Atlas released in 2014, no low-income country reported having a national suicide prevention strategy, while less than 10% of lower-middle income countries and almost a third of upper-middle and high-income countries had.

As of recent WHO releases, challenges represented by social stigma, the taboo to openly discuss suicide, and low availability of data are still to date obstacles leading to poor data quality for both suicide and suicide attempts.

Most importantly, though, if you are reading this and you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to suicide prevention professionals. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

In other locations, please check on how to find help. The world needs you.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

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