March 8, 2014 archive

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On This Day In History March 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 8 is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 298 days remaining until the end of the year.

International Women's Day 2014 photo 8march_landysh_zpsb1db1e26.jpg On this day in 1911, International Women’s Day is launched in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on the 8th of March every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The idea of having an international women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions.

In 1910, Second International held the first international women’s conference in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset). An ‘International Women’s Day’ was established. It was suggested by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified. The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19. In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the united Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”

2014 International Women’s Day

he UN theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Equality for Women is Progress for All”.

The Google Doodle on the eve of IWD 2014 (7 March 2014) featured an International Women’s day doodle video, showing images and videos of women around the world, with music by Zap Mama

I don’t discount Arthur’s opinion

I do not discount the opinions of Arthur Silber & Chris Floyd in the least with respect to the fact that the billionaire P. Omidyar is funding the new investigative journalism venture at First Look.  My basic understanding of Arthur’s objection is that Snowden, Greenwald et al have no right to declare themselves gate-keepers of information.

That criticism is unassailable in a true democracy.  I let it stand, pretending that we live in one.

At the same time, should Greenwald’s, Scahill’s, Wheeler’s, Poitras’s and Taibbi’s integrity hit rock bottom simultaneously, as a result of being funded by a billionaire patron, as Bob Woodward’s certainly did, I will be publicly kissing many asses on the courthouse lawn.

Arthur, if you’re right (and I’m not certain he isn’t), I will kiss your ass on the courthouse lawn and consider it a privilege.

With Love,


Late Night Karaoke

Daylight Saving Time: Love It or Hate It, It’s Here

dst photo imagesqtbnANd9GcTFLoa01_4oYxnUAWSW__zps54be39ed.jpg Love, or hate it, Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins at 2 AM on Sunday March 9, when the clocks on the US, Canada and most European countries jumps ahead one hour and everyone loses an hour of precious Sunday morning sleep. Damn, that’s tonight!

Why do we do this? To understand that question, we have to look at the history of DST which began, not fooling, in ancient Rome. BTW, it has nothing much to do with farmers, except that they hate it.

Although not punctual in the modern sense, ancient civilizations adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than modern DST does, often dividing daylight into twelve hours regardless of day length, so that each daylight hour was longer during summer. For example, Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year: at Rome’s latitude the third hour from sunrise, hora tertia, started by modern standards at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes.

Then there was inventor, diplomat, American Patriot Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase, “early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” While he was envoy to France, he published an anonymous letter suggesting that Parisians needed to get out of bed earlier in the summer to save candles. He tongue in cheek proposed “taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise.” He didn’t exactly advance DST since standardization of time was unknown in the 1700. That came about with industrialization and railroads.

So who and when was DST actually put forward? The most obvious suspect for that is New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson who liked collecting insects after work. He wrote two papers in 1895 and 1898 that he submitted to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift. There was interest but it went nowhere.

In 1905, English builder and golfer William Willett came up with the idea of DST after riding through London early one morning noticed that most Londoners were sleeping late on Summer days. He also didn’t like having to end his golf game at dusk. He published a proposal in 1907 that was taken up by the House of Commons. The bill failed, as did several others over the years. Willett lobbied for the proposal in the UK until his death in 1915.

Then came World War 1.

Starting on 30 April 1916, Germany and its World War I allies (Austria-Hungary) were the first to use DST (German: Sommerzeit) as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918.

It’s been adjusted and changed any number of times and not every country plays this silly game. Russia ended DST in 2011. In Summer, that’s just fine but in winter it doesn’t get light in Moscow until after 10 AM. Many residents are not thrilled leaving for work in pitch darkness and the DUMA proposed reinstating DST in 2013

In the US not all states will switch. Arizona, Hawaii and Indiana have adopted a uniform time system. This year Tennessee and Florida, have legislation pending to join them.

The claims that DST saves energy are minimal since the offset by increased use of air conditioning offsets any savings from turning off lights. And then there are those farmers. The blame for it doesn’t lie with them since DST doesn’t benefit them

Contrary to popular belief, American farmers did not lobby for daylight saving to have more time to work in the fields; in fact, the agriculture industry was deeply opposed to the time switch when it was first implemented on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure. The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules, so daylight saving was very disruptive. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules. Agrarian interests led the fight for the 1919 repeal of national daylight saving time, which passed after Congress voted to override President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades.

Yes, it confuses the cows. Anyone with a pet knows that they can tell what time dinner is. I know when it’s 8 AM, 5PM and 10 PM in my house, the cat tells me. But this clock thing just totally messes with her internal clock that says it’s time for me to feed her.

The other issue is health, especially heart health.

It is easier to go to bed later in the Fall, than to go try to go to sleep earlier in the Spring. Since most heart attacks take place early in the morning when the body starts to wake up and blood pressure starts to rise, losing an hour of sleep could put extra strain on a vulnerable heart.

In a 2008 study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that in Sweden the risk of having heart attack goes up in the days just after the spring time change. This is most likely due to the loss of that precious hour of sleep and the disruption of circadian rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are biological cycles that occur in humans, animals, insects, plants, and even bacteria with a period of approximately (circa) one day (diem). These rhythms are determined internally by a part of our hypothalamus and are synchronized perfectly to our 24-hr days by the sun and other cues. This internal clock mediates daily variation in everything from hormone levels, to sleep/wake cycles, feeding behaviour, thermoregulation, to bowel movements and cardiovascular function, among many others.

It is largely due to these predictable circadian rhythms that risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) is significantly highest in the morning (by about 40% as compared to other times in the day). Right as we awake, our cardiovascular system is in the most compromised state -systolic blood pressure and heart rate show the largest upward spike in the morning, blood vessels ability to dilate in response to increased blood flow is compromised (relative endothelial dysfunction), blood clots are more likely to form, and the ability to break them up is at its lowest point in the day.

Pets DST photo petsDST_zps6a1d54c8.jpg Sleep disorders are exacerbated, as well, since it is easier to sleep that extra hour or go to bed later in the Fall, then trying to go to sleep earlier. For the days after DST, many people are more tired during the day due to the loss of sleep and sleeplessness caused by the one hour change. A 2008 study showed that fatal traffic accidents increased following DST.

My problem with DST is the same one I have in the fall, adjusting my sleep to the time change, And then there’s my cat. who thinks it’s weird that I’m feeding her an hour she is not accustom.

Whatever your problem is with DST, it’s coming at 2 AM. So get busy resetting those clocks before you got to bed and check the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

Random Japan

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Special subway cars in Kyoto are perfect for travelling anime fans

    Casey Baseel

Kyoto is best known as a bastion of Japan’s traditional past, where the visual and performing arts developed during the feudal era still command the highest respect. Japan’s former capital is also making a bid to become a center for modern popular culture as well, though. 2006 saw the opening of the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and the city also plays host to the annual Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair.

Kyoto’s love for anime is truly a two-way street, as the city serves as the setting for numerous animated series. Apparently the relationship between anime and Kyoto has progressed to a point where the two feel comfortable with an overt display of public affection, in the form of a special subway train plastered with anime graphics.

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Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

The Pasta Is Gluten-Free

Gluten Free Pasta photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zpsceedf18a.jpg

Gluten-Free Fettucine With Brussels Sprouts, Lemon and Ricotta

Creamy ricotta and Brussels sprouts add color and texture to this dish.

Quinoa Spaghetti With Cauliflower, Almonds, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Cauliflower is often matched with pasta in Italy; this version is all about texture.

Gluten-Free Spaghetti With Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms and Walnuts

The walnuts add texture and flavor to this pasta dish.

Gluten-Free Penne With Peas, Ricotta and Tarragon

A simple dish that is sweet with tarragon and a breeze to make.

Gluten-Free Spaghetti With Shrimp, Kale and Tomatoes

A robust winter pasta with a spicy kick.

Maryland set to protect transgender people from discrimination

On Tuesday the Maryland Senate approved the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 which would expand Maryland’s anti-discrimination laws to add transgender people to the list of classes of people protected against discrimination in housing, employment, access to credit, and public accommodations.  The bill exempts religious organizations, private clubs, educational institutions, small businesses and owner-occupied rentals.

There was virtually no debate on the bill, though Anne Arundel Republican Bryan W. Simonaire tried to raise “the bathroom question.”  

Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County and Montgomery County all have protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and officials in those locales say they have had no complaints concerning restroom usage.

The bill passed by a margin of 32-15, with four democrats (John Astle (Anne Arundel), James E. DeGrange Sr. (Anne Arundel), Roy P. Dyson (Southern Maryland), James N. Mathias Jr. (Lower Eastern Shore) joining the mostly republican opposition.  Howard County Republican Allan H. Kittleman, on the other hand, spoke in support of the bill.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, Jr (D-Montgomery).