Blog November 2015

THE MODERN CONCEPT OF THANKSGIVING

Posted On: November 24, 2015

We owe the modern concept of Thanksgiving to a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book and author of the famous "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme, who spent 40 years advocating for a national, annual Thanksgiving holiday.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, she saw the holiday as a way to infuse hope and belief in the nation and the Constitution. So, when the United States was torn in half during the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln was searching for a way to bring the nation together, he discussed the matter with Hale.

Lincoln Sets Date

On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November (based on Washington's date) to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise." For the first time, Thanksgiving became a national, annual holiday with a specific date.

FDR Changes It

For 75 years after Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, succeeding presidents honored the tradition and annually issued their own Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November as the day of Thanksgiving. However, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not.

In 1939, the last Thursday of November was going to be November 30. Retailers complained to FDR that this only left 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push Thanksgiving just one week earlier. It was determined that most people do their Christmas shopping after Thanksgiving and retailers hoped that with an extra week of shopping, people would buy more.

So when FDR announced his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1939, he declared the date of Thanksgiving to be Thursday, November 23, the second-to-last Thursday of the month.

What Happened to Thanksgiving the Following Year?

In 1940, FDR again announced Thanksgiving to be the second-to-last Thursday of the month. This time, 31 states followed him with the earlier date and 17 kept the traditional date. Confusion over two Thanksgivings continued.

Congress Fixes It

Lincoln had established the Thanksgiving holiday to bring the country together, but the confusion over the date change was tearing it apart. On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would occur every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

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NASA STUDY REVEALS ICE CAP GROWTH

Posted On: November 05, 2015

A New Nasa study finds Antarctic ice growing, countering earlier studies

Snow that began piling up 10,000 years ago in Antarctica is adding enough ice to offset the increased losses due to thinning glaciers, according to a NASA study

The latest findings appear to challenge other studies including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 report, which found that Antarctica is overall losing 

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology, said in a statement.

“Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally said, adding that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”

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DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, FULL TIME?

Posted On: November 03, 2015

Ever think about making Daylight Saving Time Year-Round?

I heard of this option this weekend, what do you think of it?

This option is growing in popularity it seems. Just think of all the advantages of eliminating Daylight Savings Time, but allow us to have some sunlight after work instead of before—when we would probably just use it to sleep.

Advantages: More people would get more sleep, which could prevent the workplace accidents and auto collisions which result from tired and weary people operating their machinery after a work shift. And since cars tend to injure more people after dark, having DST all the time would mean that people would enjoy more light for evening drives, which could lead to a decrease in accidents, and save an estimated 366 lives every year. Farmers wouldn’t have to subject cows to an arbitrary change in milking schedule. We’d get more light at a time when we’d more likely use it for something other than sleep.

Disadvantages: Of course students would have to go to school in the dark (assuming school hours stay the same), and farmers would have to get up really early to get the milk and eggs collected in time for the next steps of the supply chain. “Morning people” (whoever they are) might not like the change all that much.

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