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March 11 is World Plumbing Day

World Plumbing Day

Today is World Plumbing Day, a day of observance established in 2010 by the World Plumbing Council to raise awareness of the vital role plumbers play in our daily lives.

We’re willing to bet that everyone must heed nature’s call. (Call it a hunch.) World Toilet Day celebrates the need for clean water and sanitation. Global Handwashing Day emphasizes proper hygiene. World Plumbing Day recognizes those who install and maintain the facilities so many of us are lucky enough to use.

According to the World Health Organization, 2.3 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. UNICEF reports that 450,000 children under five die from diarrhea every year. Drought conditions threaten much of the world, including California.

Lead and other contaminants have been poisoning the water supply of Flint, Michigan, since 2014. Three years later, the EPA allocated $100 million for cleanup, a federal judge approved a $97 million settlement, and the state agreed to pay to replace water lines for 18,000 Flint households by 2020.

So the next time you turn on the tap, raise a glass to the plumber who’s always there when you need him to unclog a drain, fix a leak or get the toilet back in business so you can do your business.

Happy World Plumbing Day!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 16 is National Personal Chef Day

BadgeToday is National Personal Chef Day, created by the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) to recognize the hard work and dedication of personal chefs across the country.

A private chef works exclusively for one client, sometimes living in the home. A personal chef can be hired by as many clients as his or her schedule allows.

They do more than just cook for dinner parties. They plan menus, shop for groceries, give cooking classes and prepare meals for a variety of people, including working couples, families, seniors and those with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

If you want to outsource your food prep chores and can afford it, use a member of the USPCA. If you don’t and/or can’t, we highly recommend our guy: Domino’s.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 26 is Sally Ride Day

sally ride day

Ride monitors control panels from pilot’s chair on the flight deck.

Today is Sally Ride Day. It celebrates the achievements of the astronaut, astrophysicist, engineer, philanthropist and author best known as the first American woman to travel to space. Today’s date honors her birthday on May 26, 1951.

Women weren’t considered for America’s space program until 1978. Ride was selected from the first group to apply after NASA announced it had changed its policy. Her training included learning to parachute jump, fly a jet plane, survive a water landing and handle extreme G-forces and weightlessness.

She was picked as a member of the space shuttle Challenger’s STS-7 crew, scheduled for liftoff on June 18, 1983. Commander Robert Crippen chose her in part because the mission required the use of a robotic arm that Ride had helped to develop.

At pre-flight news conferences, she was asked if spaceflight would affect her reproductive organs, if she planned to have children, how she would handle menstruation in space, if she would wear a bra and apply makeup. Asked if she cried on the job when under stress, Ride laughed and said, “Why don’t people ask (pilot) Rick (Hauck) these questions?”

Diane Sawyer of CBS News asked Ride to demonstrate how she would utilize the shuttle toilet’s new privacy curtain. On The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson joked that the flight would be delayed while she found a purse to match her shoes. At one NASA news conference, Ride said, “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.”

On launch day, she focused on the task ahead. In an interview on the 25th anniversary of the flight, Ride recalled, “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time, but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first (American woman) to go into space.”

After its successful mission to deploy two communications satellites, Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, on June 24, 1983. At the time, Ride told reporters, “The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”

She returned to space on October 5, 1984. (Kathy Sullivan, a fellow member of the STS-41G crew, became the first American woman to walk in space.) Ride’s third flight was canceled after the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff on January 28, 1986. She served on the Presidential Commission that investigated the accident and returned in 2003 after the loss of the STS-107 crew to serve on NASA’a Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

Ride left NASA in 1987 to become a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. Two years later, she became a physics professor and director of the University of California’s California Space Institute.

In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, which provides programs, materials and teacher training to schools in order to motivate students—especially girls and minorities—to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She wrote six science books for children. Intensely private about her personal life, she requested that NASA keep her health issues out of the press. She died of pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61.

“As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released shortly after her death.  “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools.”

Ride was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S., which was presented to her life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy at a ceremony at the White House on November 20, 2013.

“Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve,” said Obama, “and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”

Sources:
American Woman Who Shattered Space Ceiling, New York Times
Sally Ride Remembered as an Inspiration to Others, NASA

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 14 is Underground America Day

underground america dayToday is Underground America Day, created in 1974 by architect Malcolm Wells. After designing the RCA Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, which would be torn down only two years later, he came to the conclusion that every structure he built needlessly destroyed that which had previously lived in its footprint.

He described his epiphany this way: “I woke up one day to the fact that the Earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants.”

This led to his espousal of “gentle architecture,” construction in harmony with nature. He built his home and offices underground, wrote several books about environmental design and lectured at Harvard and elsewhere.

He had a great sense of humor about the day he’d created. “On May 14th each year, hundreds of millions of people all across this great land will do absolutely nothing about the national holiday I declared in 1974, and that’s just the way it should be, he said.

“It’s a holiday free of holiday obligations. You don’t even have to lose a day of work. But if you’re the partying type, here are some of the ways in which you can observe the big day.”

Wells died in November of 2009 at the age of 83. He penned his own obituary, which you can read here. It makes us wish we’d gotten the chance to know him. Happy Underground America Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays