Interesting Things to Know
December 2018 calendar: Looking for something to do or visit?
1-31, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
1, World AIDS Day.
1, Chester Greenwood Day Parade. Farmington, ME. Earmuff-themed parade commemorating inventor of the earmuff. Web: franklincountymaine.org.
1 and 8, Christmas Candlelightings. Roscoe Village, Coshocton, OH. Web: roscoevillage.com
1-31, Christmas New Orleans Style. New Orleans, LA. Concerts, caroling Web: fqfi.org.
1-2, Christmas On The Prairie. Saunders County Museum, Wahoo, NE. Web: saunderscomuseum.org.
1-2, England: Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival. Rochester, Kent. Web: rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk or visitmedway.org.
1, Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Natchitoches, LA. 92nd annual. Web: natchitocheschristmas.com.
2, Advent, First Sunday. Advent includes the four Sundays before Christmas, Dec 2, Dec 9, Dec 16 and Dec 23 in 2018.
2, Hanukkah Begins At Sundown.
2, Christmas To Remember. Laurel, MT. 33rd annual.
2-Jan 6, 2019, Netherlands: Midwinter Horn Blowing. Midwinter horn blowing, announcing the birth of Christ, begins with Advent and continues until Epiphany, Jan 6.
2-10, Hanukkah, Festival of Lights.
5, Austria: Krampuslauf. Salzburg region. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, Austrians celebrate the Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Children are invited to throw snowballs at the devilish Krampus who punishes bad children.
6-8, Clute’s Christmas In The Park. Clute Municipal Park, Clute, TX.
6, National Miners Day.
6, Saint Nicholas Day. One of the most venerated saints of both Eastern and Western Christian churches, of whose life little is known, except that he was Bishop of Myra (in what is today Turkey) in the 4th century. He has been especially noted for his charity.
7-8, Christmas Walk And House Tour Geneva, IL. Web: genevachamber.com.
10, Nobel Prize Awards Ceremonies. Oslo, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden.
14-Jan 5, 2019, Christmas Bird Count. Web: audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.
15-16, AKC National Championship. Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. Web: akc.org.
16-24, MEXICO: Posadas. A nine-day annual celebration. Processions of pilgrims knock at doors asking for shelter.
23, Community Carol Sing. Mystic, CT. Web: mysticseaport.org.
24, Christmas Eve.
24, ENGLAND: Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols: 100th Anniversary. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge University, Cambridge. Since 1918, a Christmas Eve service of carols and readings from the Bible performed by the Choir of King’s College. Web: kings.cam.ac.uk.
26, Boxing Day. Dec 26. A day when Christmas gift boxes have been expected by a postman, the lamplighter, the dustman and generally by all those functionaries who render services to the public at large, without receiving payment therefore from any individual.
28, Holy Innocents Day (Childermas). Commemoration of the massacre of children at Bethlehem, ordered by King Herod, who wanted to destroy, among them, the infant Savior. Early and medieval accounts claimed as many as 144,000 victims, but more recent writers, noting that Bethlehem was a very small town, have revised the estimates of the number of children killed to between 6 and 20.
31, First Night. Family-oriented, nonalcoholic community celebrations of the New Year-first observed in Boston, MA, in 1975.
31, Leap Second Adjustment Time. One of the times that have been favored for the addition or subtraction of a second to or from clock time (to coordinate atomic and astronomical time).
31, New Year’s Eve.
31, SCOTLAND: Hogmanay. Traditions include fireworks and torch-lit processions.
Interesting Things to Know
Mission to Mars ends with a fond farewell
After four years, the reddish Martian dust that coated the surface of the Insight lander won, as NASA engineers had expected all along. The grit built up on the lander’s solar panels, which in turn reduced the amount of power that the robot could generate for itself.
On Dec. 15, 2022, NASA communicated with Insight for the last time. After two more attempts to reach the robot with no response, NASA declared that the Insight Mars Lander Mission — a tremendous success for science and humanity — had ended.
Speaking in the voice of the lander on Dec. 19, 2022, NASA posted a final message on Twitter, along with its dusty last images taken on the surface of Mars: “My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me; my time here has been productive and serene. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will — but I’ll be signing off here soon.
Thanks for staying with me.”
Insight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport, landed on Mars in November of 2018 and contributed enormously to our understanding of the red planet over the course of its four-year mission’s interior, including the mantle and crust. Though its retirement was well-deserved, more than a few tears were shed as it joined its decommissioned predecessors, including Curiosity and the legendary Opportunity, which stretched a 90-day mission into 15 years and signed off with, “my battery is low, and it is getting dark.”
Mars and all its mysteries have captivated humanity for hundreds of years, from ancient astronomers to modern authors who spin tales about human settlements on its surface and interior. It is one of our most enduring icons — a god of war, the mythological father of ancient Rome, a symbol of virility, and the setting for countless sci-fi movies and children’s cartoons.
Perhaps no one summarized man’s fascination with Mars better than Carl Sagan, in a message he recorded for future Mars explorers just a few months before his death: “Whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.”
Interesting Things to Know
The global hobby with millions of fans
They look exotic, like butterflies and ballerinas. They have faces like monkeys, figures like humans, or long trails of petals like hair.
They smell like nothing or chocolate, vanilla, mint, pepper, and roses. To a bee, they smell like a bee. Some smell like rot to attract flies. Their scents have been called liars and seducers, yet they are beloved.
They are orchids, and their fans are legion.
Orchid cultivation is one of the world’s most widespread hobbies and is surprisingly social. In every state and every country, orchid enthusiasts meet regularly to exchange tips and tricks for growing this flower of many faces. Orchids attract every type of person, from farmers to attorneys. In fact, you can travel along ‘orchid trails’ to visit the greenhouses of growers in every state.
Travel destinations from California to Malaysia attract enthusiasts worldwide to see some of the 28,000 accepted species. In fact, there are more orchid species than species of birds and mammals. Only the number of species of bony fish comes close to the number of orchids.
Yet despite the orchid’s vast numbers, they were once very difficult to find and considered rare and exotic. So rare that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, people were thrilled with the adventures of orchid hunters who roamed the world looking to find unusual specimens.
Because of their historical link with wealth and style, growing orchids is sometimes said to be expensive and difficult, but it really is neither. You can buy a stem for about $20 at a grocery store these days. The flowers are best grown in pots since the microscopic seeds require specialized conditions. Orchids mostly require bright light but not direct sunlight. They require the grower’s attention since they need water and airflow, but not too much, and some may need mist, but only at certain times.
Interesting Things to Know
Key things positive people do differently
You’ve probably noticed that successful people seem to live in a different world than everyone else. They have an attitude of gratitude, exude confidence, and appear to be in a better place in life.
Many people are trying to succeed in their lives, but they don’t know how to get there.
Successful people do things differently, and it’s important for you to adopt those habits if you want to move forward in life.
Everyone has heard about positive and negative people. It seems like it should be easy to tell who is a positive person and who is a negative person, right? Well, it’s not quite that easy. Many factors go into determining who is a positive person and who is a negative person.
How do you become more positive? Is it possible to change your mood? Is there a secret to becoming more positive? If you’re like me, you’ve often heard the term “positive thinking” tossed around.
For a long time, I thought that positive thinking was all it took to become happy and successful. Then I realized that my mind was playing tricks on me.
So let’s take a look at the difference between positive thinking and genuine positivity.
Positive people are often the ones who appear to have it all together. They seem always to find a way to make things work. They always seem to have the energy and motivation to do what they need.
And while there are definitely benefits to being positive, there are drawbacks to being positive too.
If you want to understand the differences between positive and negative people, you’ll need to understand why each of them has the traits they do.
Positive people don’t think negatively. They don’t see problems everywhere. They don’t expect failure to happen every single time. Instead, they focus on being grateful for everything they have and on getting even better and better at what they do.
It’s easy to see what kind of people do this, but sometimes it can be tough for people who don’t do that to see that. If you’re one of those people, read on to discover some things to look for in others that tell you whether they’re positive.
If you see that they think negatively, they’re probably not positive. They’re focusing on the negative side of things and seeing problems everywhere. For example, you might think that you have a hard day at work, and then you come home, and your family is fighting. You’re already having a bad day, and that’s adding to the stress.
Then, you focus on all the other things you could do to fix the situation. You’re thinking about all of your problems, and you’re just expecting to fail at everything you do. You’re not expecting to succeed.
Instead, you should be focused on being positive and seeing what you can do to improve your current work. You should focus on what you’re grateful for and see the positive side of things. You’re not always going to get things perfect, but you can always get better and better each day.
You shouldn’t just focus on what you’re doing wrong, but you should also see what you’re doing right. Even if you’re not a very good cook, you can still be grateful for the fact that you can eat dinner tonight, and you can appreciate that even if you’re not perfect.
It’s not a matter of not thinking negatively but rather thinking positively. Think of yourself as a positive person and see the good in everything that you do. Don’t expect things to work out perfectly, but don’t be upset when they don’t, either.
The key to becoming a positive person and feeling good about yourself is to eliminate all the negative thoughts you allow yourself to think about yourself.
Sometimes, you might find it difficult to do, but you can easily learn to control your thinking. It’s much easier to think positively rather than negatively, so you need to be mindful of what you’re thinking about yourself.
One thing you can do is change the way you think about things that happen to you. When something negative happens, rather than saying to yourself, “I’m a loser” or “this person is mistreating me,” you can try thinking of it as “I’m a winner,” “this person is treating me nicely,” “I’m a good person,” or something else like that.
At the moment when these thoughts come up, you can just think back on them and realize that they’re not true. These thoughts are the exact opposite of what you really are, and you don’t need to believe them because they’re only thoughts in your head.
The more you do this, the more you’ll get used to thinking positively about yourself and your achievements, and the more you’ll be able to control your thoughts and feelings. You won’t feel like a failure all the time, and you’ll be able to stop yourself from falling into negativity.
Another thing you can do to be positive is to be active, even when you feel like you’re not in the mood. You’ll find that you’ll be more positive and happier when you’re doing things you enjoy, whether watching television, playing a video game, or reading a book.
It’s okay not to feel like doing anything, but you can easily make up for it by doing something that makes you happy. Doing things you love can give you a much bigger boost than you might think, and it’s important to make sure that you don’t let your feelings of boredom get the better of you.
No matter what you’re doing, if you’re not positive, you’ll end up with no motivation or drive to keep doing it. That can make it very difficult to succeed in anything since if you’re not motivated, there’s little chance of you being productive.
When it comes to being productive, the biggest factor is whether you’re motivated or not. You can only be productive when you’re motivated to do what you’re doing, and you can only be motivated to do what you want to do when you’re positive.
Successful people are all positive and optimistic. They have a positive attitude that keeps them going even when the odds seem to be against them.
If you’re not positive, then you can’t expect yourself to be productive. You won’t have any confidence in yourself, and you’ll start to doubt yourself before you even get started. You might even start to worry about the fact that you’re not even doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
That’s not going to help you be productive or keep yourself motivated. Instead, you’ll just get yourself discouraged and demotivated, which is something that will only lead to failure.
How do you become a positive person? First and foremost, you need to start acting and feeling more positive. You might find that you feel negative about things you’re currently doing, but that’s not going to help you be more productive. Instead, you need to act more positively and start thinking more positively.
It’s much easier to think positively than it is to act negatively. You’ll get more done if you start to think more positively. You can do this by being more enthusiastic about your actions and keeping a positive attitude about them.
It’s also helpful to surround yourself with positive people. Having positive people around you makes it a lot easier to have a positive attitude and feel more energized.
Positive people don’t dwell on the negative things that happen but rather focus on the positive side of things. Being positive makes you more productive since you’re not worrying about the negative aspects of what you’re doing but instead are only thinking about the positive ones.
It’s not just a mental thing, though. It can affect your behavior as well. If you’re a positive person, you’re naturally going to be a more pleasant person to be around. It’s also easier to stay focused and get things done when you’re having a positive outlook.
Being a positive person also makes you happier. You’ll be much more motivated to do things.
Interesting Things to Know
5 things to consider when choosing golf shoes
A good pair of golf shoes can go a long way to improving your game and increasing comfort while walking long distances on the course. Here are five things to consider when choosing a new pair.
1. Material. Leather is the most popular choice because it’s breathable, flexible, and stylish. Many leather shoes also come with a waterproof lining. Gore-Tex has many of the same benefits as leather but comes with a higher price tag, which may be worth it if you often play in wet or cold conditions. Polyester shoes are ideal for occasional golfers looking for value.
2. Style. Golf shoes range in style from Oxfords and sneakers to sandals and boots. The first thing to remember is that many golf courses have dress codes, so not all kinds may be suitable. Additionally, consider the golfing you do. For example, sneaker-style shoes may be great if you’re a casual golfer. If you often golf at business meetings, you may want to choose a more upscale style.
3. Spiked or spikeless. The decision between spiked or spikeless shoes comes down to climate and landscape. For instance, if you play in wet environments or on hilly courses, the enhanced grip of spiked shoes is hard to beat. Spiked shoes can be heavy but provide excellent overall support. Spikeless, however, are lightweight and can be worn off the course.
4. Laces. Traditional laces are the most popular because you can easily exact the fit of your shoe. However, Velcro fastenings and mechanical fittings are gaining popularity for their ease of use.
5. Size. Golf shoes usually fit tighter than everyday shoes to keep your foot secure and close to the ground. You should have no pain or pressure when walking and have about 1/4- or 1/2-inch of toe space.
Visit your local pro shop for personalized advice and fitting recommendations.
Interesting Things to Know
Spring revelry: An ancient and riotous tradition
Soon it will be that time of year that delights students and worries parents. Spring break is upon us.
Despite newer destinations like Cancun beginning to rival Florida’s dominance, Florida will see hundreds of thousands of revelers.
Since Connie Francis sang “Where the Boys Are” in the 1960 movie, things have changed. Breakers today have little more money and are more likely to be younger. Even high schoolers are joining the trek south.
Something about spring urges young people to get out, relax, and rejuvenate. It has been true since Socrates proposed a rite to welcome spring and allow young people to vent their energies. At the time, local Greeks complained that the hordes of celebrants had poor morals and caused hardship to the residents of seaside towns.
In the Middle Ages, armed bands of monks stopped the spring revelry. But in spite of many objectors, spring break went on through more modern times.
During WWI, American soldiers in France watched in wonder as Europeans temporarily halted spring offensives to party. From 1929 to 1959, America was too busy with the Great Depression, World War II, and rebuilding. In the 1960s, however, spring break was back and more riotous than ever.
By the 1980s, the ritual had evolved and grown somewhat, and record numbers of students broke their parents’ pocketbooks by going south.
There is some good news. Since the 1990s, overindulgence has eased up, and corporate sponsors are helping with entertainment that includes concerts, shows, and giveaways.
Interesting Things to Know
Scientists create liquid terminator robot (on a small, non-murderous scale)
In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the heroes flee from the T-1000 terminator, a liquid metal murder-bot, in a psychiatric prison.
As the T-1000 pursues them down a hall, it’s seemingly stopped by barred gates. Except the terminator melts straight through the bars, barely losing a step.
Scientists at China’s Sun Yat-Sen University have made a small robot that, like the T-1000, can turn liquid and then reform back as a solid. They even recreated the eerie through-the-bars scene, jailbreaking a Lego-shaped bot from a barred cell.
How? Scientists created a Lego figurine made of liquid metal. Then, using magnets, they melted the figurine down, allowing the tiny robot to slip through a set of bars. This was achieved using a metal called gallium, which has a melting temperature of just 86 degrees F. They then embedded magnetic metals within the liquid metal, allowing them to heat up the gallium with magnetic fields, turning it into liquid. After that, the liquid was moved using magnets, and the original Lego-shaped robot was reformed. Scientists have labeled the bot a magnetoactive solid-liquid phase transitional machine.
Mind you, the current liquid robot is far from a sentient killing machine.
Scientists think this may have more benign uses, such as using the liquids to encapsulate objects, say a sharp piece of metal, in the body. Once encapsulated, the objects can be more safely evacuated from the body.
Interestingly enough, the biggest inspiration for the liquid robot was not science fiction but instead science-fact. Real-life sea cucumbers can alter their own rigidity to reduce physical damage and increase their weight-bearing capabilities. Meanwhile, octopuses aren’t quite liquid but can change their rigidity to squeeze through tight spaces, among other things.
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