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Single Tasking Day

Today is Single Tasking Day. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to do just one thing at a time, without participating in the sham called multitasking.

single tasking day

Unlike computers, humans are not wired to work on many complex problems at once. Switching focus quickly from one thing to another can make us perceive that we’re managing multiple streams of information simultaneously, but each shift requires energy.

Our overall processing power becomes less efficient, even when dealing with things we do habitually—like scanning our phones, texting and going through emails—that don’t seem to require much attention but are, in fact, tying up the executive functions of our brains.

A study at Gresham College in London found that multitasking caused subjects’ problem-solving performance to drop by the equivalent of 10 IQ points. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller says our brains aren’t wired to multitask. “When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”

Per McGill University professor Daniel Levitin, “Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain.”

So feed your brain; just do it slowly so you don’t get a cramp. And have a happy Single Tasking Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

November 27 is Pins and Needles Day

Pins and Needles DayToday is Pins and Needles Day but it has nothing to do with anxiety, diabetic neuropathy or the creepy sensation you get after sleeping all night on your arm. On November 27, 1937, musical revue Pins and Needles opened on Broadway in New York City.

Comprised of skits lampooning fascist dictators and their sympathizers, bigoted Daughters of the American Revolution, anti-labor groups and advertising agencies among many others, the play was performed by members of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which was on strike at the time.

It became such a hit that the schedule was expanded and the players quit their day jobs to act in it full-time. New skits and songs were added periodically to keep the show topical. It closed on June 22, 1940, after 1,108 performances.

A revival ran for 225 shows in 1978. London’s Cock Tavern Theater mounted a production in November and December of 2010. In 2016, New York University staged an updated Pins and Needles, casting students who would’ve been roughly the same age as the original performers had been.

This play, which first entertained audiences in 1937, has reappeared many times, perhaps to remind us of the enduring spirit of satire and its important role in society. Have a fun-filled and happy Pins and Needles Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

November 10 is International Accounting Day

international accounting day pacioliWhat’s so exciting about International Accounting Day? On November 10, 1494, Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published “Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita” (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion).

It included a detailed description of double-entry bookkeeping, called the Method of Venice. Although this technique had been practiced for centuries, Pacioli’s treatise was the first of its kind in print and earned him the title of “Father of Modern Accounting.”

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Many in modern times have followed in Pacioli’s footsteps, with varying degrees of success.

Chuck Liddell is a former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion whose fighting skills have helped make mixed martial arts a mainstream sport. He also is a trained accountant, with a BA in Business and Accounting from California Polytechnic University. No one will be making any “boring bean counter” jokes to him.

Kenny G. is a world-famous saxophonist whose smooth jazz sounds have sold more than 75 million records worldwide. He also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting, which he credits with helping him manage his finances early on in his career and paving the way for future success.

John Grisham earned a degree in accounting, intending to become a tax attorney. Instead, he decided to pursue criminal law. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was based on evidence he observed at trial. He has written 27 legal thrillers, 9 of which were made into movies, and has over 300 million copies in print.

In 1962, Mick Jagger was studying accounting and finance—on scholarship—at the London School of Economics when he formed the Rolling Stones with Keith Richards and Brian Jones. We think you’ll agree that worked out for the best.

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Need more proof that accounting is cool? Click here to apply for a job at the FBI! According to the site:

Accountants have been woven into the fabric of the FBI since its creation in the summer of 1908, when a dozen bank examiners were included among the original force of 34 investigators. Today, around 15 percent of agents employed by the Bureau qualify as special agent accountants.

How many are there, exactly? We could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you. (Not really; we just don’t know.)

Happy International Accounting Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

November 7 is National Notary Public Day

Today is Notary Public Day, created in 1975 to “recognize notaries for their public service and their contributions to national and international commerce.” Today’s date was selected because the first American notary public, Thomas Fugill, was appointed on November 7, 1639, by the Colony of New Haven.
notary public day

Today, nearly 4.8 million notaries public in the United States carry on the tradition of service. Let’s take a look at a few of these trusted public officials who’ve witnessed American history.

New World
When Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492, King Ferdinand of Spain sent a notary to keep track of any treasure that might be picked up by the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. When Columbus landed in the New World on October 12, 1492, notary Rodrigo de Escobedo was there to document the momentous event.

American Revolution
Thomas McKean served as Delaware’s delegate to the Continental Congress and voted to support the colonies’ bid for independence from England. He also was a notary and the last person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Nathaniel Gorham, a Massachusetts notary and businessman, served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and his signature appears alongside those of John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton and others on that historical document.

19th Century Notaries
Charles Bellinger Tate Stewart became a notary in 1841 and served in the fledgling Republic of Texas government when it declared independence from Mexico. He also designed the iconic Lone Star flag.

Another Texas notary well-known in Western folklore was the eccentric Judge Roy Bean, who founded the town of Langtry in 1882 and was notorious for holding court in a saloon he owned. He called himself the “Law West of the Pecos” and offered notary services along with ice-cold beer.

national notary public roy bean

In 1864, author Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, was appointed a notary public in Virginia City, Nevada by his brother, acting Nevada governor Orion Clemens. He resigned a few months later and left for California. Clemens later claimed he’d left town to avoid legal trouble after challenging a local man to a duel following their argument over one of Clemens’ newspaper articles.

The Civil War
The American Civil War ended in 1865 when Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate forces, surrenders at Appomattox. Lee took an amnesty oath, swearing to remain loyal to the United States and abide by its laws. C.A. Davidson, a West Virginia notary,  witnessed and certified Lee’s oath.

The document was misplaced and Lee never received a pardon or regained his citizenship. In 1975, Lee’s citizenship was posthumously restored by Congress, following the discovery of the notarized oath in State Department records.

Swearing in the President
When President Warren Harding died in 1923, Vice President Calvin Coolidge was staying with family in Vermont. Upon receiving word of Harding’s death, Coolidge took the oath of office before the nearest qualified official, his father (and notary) John.

21st Century Notaries
Many modern-day celebrities have served as notaries. Humorist writer Dave Barry became a Florida notary in 1994 to officiate a friend’s wedding. Actor Stanley Tucci and singer Jennifer Lopez also have served as notaries.

If you’d like to join them, learn how to become a notary in your state. And don’t forget to thank a notary public today.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays