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October 29 is National Cat Day (and International Internet Day)

Today is International Internet National Cat Day

National Cat Day Hell Yeah Kyrie because I said so!

Hell, yeah, it’s National Cat Day! Sure, it’s International Internet Day, too. On October 29, 1969, a few months after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the first message was sent across the Internet. The system crashed after the first two letters of the word “login” were shared, but that was enough to make history and change the world forever.

Approximately forty percent of the world’s population has an Internet connection today, up from less than half a percent in 1993, the year when a Web browser named Mosaic was introduced. Its development was funded through a U.S. government initiative championed by Al Gore. Yes, that Al Gore and no, he never said he invented the Internet.

In December 1999, there were 16 million Internet users. By the end of 2005, that number had topped 1 billion. In March 2011, it had grown to 2 billion; in June 2014, 3 billion. Three years later, in June 2017, the total stood at 3.885 billion.

So why are we looking at a cat right now? Because, in a cruel twist of fate, these brilliant innovators unwittingly created the medium that the furry monsters would eventually conquer. To be fair, Thomas Edison did get the ball rolling in 1894 with the first known cat video. 

First domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent 12,000 years ago, cats have been waiting to pounce on humanity ever since. With the rise of agrarian societies, cats became indispensable for keeping grain stores rodent-free.  Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

And so they bide their time, transmitting coded missives uploaded by their hapless documentarians.  It’s been estimated that over two million cat videos have been uploaded to YouTube, with a total of almost 25 billion views. (Those statistics are from 2014, the most recent we could find. Who knows how many there are now?) The Internet Cat Video Festival toured the world from 2013 through 2016 but its creator, the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, MN, has discontinued it to focus its funding efforts elsewhere.

Perhaps that’s because there’s no need to leave home to experience the stupefying, hypnotic power of our cuddly overlords. Need proof? Just watch the following video.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, here is another one. And another. Okay, one more and that’s all, we promise.

Just be sure to close your windows and doors so these adorable demons cannot get in and gnaw on your soft parts as you doze contentedly, lulled into a helpless state by a seemingly meaningless parade of cat hijinks.

If they learn how to open a can, none of us stand a chance.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY

international caps lock day

Today is INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, celebrated on June 28 and October 22 each year. Derek Arnold created the unofficial holiday in October 2000 to bring attention to those who abuse the caps lock key and, by extension, everyone who receives their emails, texts, and Internet screeds.

Arnold claimed he had a higher purpose in mind, stating:

International Caps Lock Day is in fact a testament to the small mindedness of certain Western individuals: the majority of the world’s population writes in scripts which have no concept of letter casing. Therefore it is advised to laugh at anyone who invokes this day as an excuse to dismiss local typographical conventions: they are simply making an ass out of themselves.

That’s a lofty goal, but we suspect its popularity has more to do with the joy of hitting the caps lock key and capitalizing with impunity.

With the rise of the Internet has come the evolution of netiquette, which dictates that writing in capital letters is considered shouting: boorish, rude and aggressive. Although many protest this reading, it has become an accepted interpretation of the practice.

Why do we celebrate this twice a year? Arnold added the second iteration to honor Billy Mays, the beloved pitchman who said everything in capital letters, who died on June 28, 2009.

Looking for the easiest possible way to celebrate? If you use Chrome, there’s an extension for that. Designed by Baptiste Candellier, on each holiday, it will make you unable to type in lower case and display almost every web page in upper case.

Or download Billy Mays Caps Lock by John Haller, another fan of the infomercial king. When you hit the Caps Lock key, you’ll hear Billy Mays say:

“Hi, Billy Mays here!”
“It’ll make your whites, whiter!”
“Order right now and we’ll double the value!” or
“Here’s how to order!”

When we first observed this holiday on October 22, 2015, we had a few niggling observations about capslockday.com: the site’s HTML listed the title as “internetonal caps lock day home page” and the page itself featured a photo of Billy Mays captioned, “GOOD NIGHT, SWEAT PRINCE.” Arnold also stated he was on SNAPCHET, which we can only assume is a social media network for country western music fans, and pointed out the caps lock key with the description “AT THE BOTTOM, WHERE IT SAY CASP LOCK.”

While we realize that correcting grammar and spelling is considered annoying by many these days, we can’t help but wonder: here are two holidays predicated upon the notion of irritating everyone else, yet there is no International Editors’ Day? THAT AIN’T ISN’T RIGHT.

On November 3, 2015, we noticed that the site had been taken down. With the help of the Wayback Machine, we captured the archived page. The Internet is forever….

CAPSLOCK DAY SITE SCREENGRAB

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY SCREENGRAB

INTERNATIONAL CAPSLOCK DAY SCREENGRAB

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, EVERYBODY!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 15 is Google.com Day

Google.com Day

Google Search – 1988

Today is Google.com Day. On September 15, 1997, Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the domain.

Page and Brin met at Stanford University in 1995. The following year, they collaborated on a search engine they named BackRub because it analyzed websites’ backlinks to determine their relative importance. It ran for a year but eventually took up so much bandwidth that it crashed Stanford’s servers.

By that time, they realized the name no longer fit their rapidly-evolving search engine. During a brainstorming session, graduate student Sean Anderson suggested “googolplex” and Page shortened it to “googol.” (Googol is the mathematical term for the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes, while googolplex is 1 followed by a googol of zeros.)

So what’s up with the spelling? When Anderson checked to see if that domain name was available, he accidentally typed in “google.com” instead of “googol.com.” Page liked that even better, and registered the name on September 15, 1997.

According to Google, the play on words “reflects Larry and Sergey’s mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.” They’re doing a great job so far.

Happy Google.com Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 12 is National Video Games Day

national video games day

Computer Space – Pong

Today is National Video Games Day. In 1971, a company named Nutting Associates released Computer Space, the first commercial arcade video game.

Although it wasn’t a huge financial success, it began a fruitful partnership between creators Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who left and opened their own outfit called Atari. They introduced Pong the following year.

In May 1972, Magnavox launched the world’s first home video game system. Initially dubbed the Brown Box by designer Ralph Baer, the unit later became known as the Odyssey and Baer, “the father of home video games.”

The Odyssey was sold exclusively in Magnavox stores; customers were told it only worked with the brand’s television sets, a convenient lie. By the end of the year, the company reported it had sold 100,000 units for approximately $100 each.

The box contained no microprocessor, only a board of transistors and diodes. The display consisted of white squares on a black background and was accompanied by a user manual and six cards that contained pinouts to change game settings. Custom plastic overlays had to be taped over the television screen to create color and very simple graphics.

In 1975, Atari introduced a home version of its popular arcade game, Pong, which quickly surpassed Magnavox’s sales. In 1976, Fairchild Camera and Instrument introduced the first cartridge-based system. RCA released the cartridge-based Studio II in January 1977, but it focused mainly on educational titles.

In October 1977, Atari released the Atari VCS with an initial offering of nine games, including Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Combat, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, Surround and Video Olympics. This system, later renamed the Atari 2600, would go on to dominate the industry for many years.

Celebrate National Video Games Day on your home console or enjoy the latest massively multiplayer online game. Throw a party with game-themed decorations and food. Pick up some old Atari 2600 joysticks on eBay, spray paint them and give them as trophies for the best costumes.

Happy National Video Games Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays