Shakespeare In Space
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Government work is a thankless job. Working for a government agency can mean having a boring, low paying job that is surrounded by a labyrinth of bureaucracy. Even though they may not be the most exciting jobs in the world (although technically astronaut is a government job) people working in the government do vital work that impacts all of our lives whether we know it or not. That is why in 2002, a non-profit organization called the Partnership for Public Service began hosting an Oscars-like award ceremony for government workers known as “The Sammies”. The official title of the awards ceremony is the Samuel J. Heyman (Sammy) Service To America awards which is where the nickname “the Sammies” came from. Each year, distinguished members of the federal government are invited to a black-tie gala and presented with awards to commemorate the achievements made by the U.S. government. What achievements you ask? Well last year’s Sammy winners led efforts to stop the spread of infectious diseases in Eastern Africa, redesigned the healthcare system for wounded veterans, and helped facilitate the construction of thousands of homes in Haiti after a Category 4 hurricane decimated the island. Pretty incredible feats accomplished by some of our countries most dedicated civil servants. Without the Sammies those men and women would never have received the recognition that they deserve. To all the government scientists, researchers, and economists doing great things around the world, we salute you! Sammies Website 10 Inventions That Came From NASA
“My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Nachos” is a common pneumonic device for memorizing the names and the order of the planets in our solar system. When we translate that saying into the planets names (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune…Not Pluto) we start to see a pattern. All the planets, other than Earth, are named after Greek and Roman gods. In fact, the planets and their moons are all named after deities from the Greco-Roman pantheon with one glaring exception. The moons of the 7th planet Uranus, are named after Shakespearean characters. Uranus was discovered in 1781 by British Astronomer William Herschel and up until the time of Herschel’s discovery, all of the planets were named after Roman gods like Mercury, the messenger god, and Venus, the goddess of beauty. Hershel knew of this tradition, but he was a proud Englishman who just discovered a planet and he wanted to claim his achievement for the British Empire. After discovering what we know as Uranus, Hershel wanted to name the planet in honor of King George III (the bad guy from the American Revolution) and intended to name his new planet “George”. For a long time, the solar system almost included a planet named George until others in the scientific community persuaded Hershel to reconsider. Being a non-conformist, Hershel decided to change the name from “George” to “Uranus” creating the only planet named after a Greek god instead of a Roman god. The scientific community agreed that the Greek name was better than “George” and officially welcomed the new planet of Uranus into our solar system in 1782. Not satisfied with having to conform to scientific naming standards, Hershel took it upon himself to claim his planet’s moons for the British crown. He named each of the moons discovered orbiting Uranus after a character from English literature, mostly Shakespeare. Today, there are 27 moons orbiting Uranus including Puck (Midsummer’s Night Dream), Desdemona (Othello), and Juliet (Romeo & Juliet). It’s nice to think that a planet and its moons 1.9 billion miles from earth were named just to piss off a bunch of 18th century scientists. Thug Notes- Othello 20 Most Amazing Moons In Our Solar System
“Beware the Ides of March”. Last Sunday marked the Ides of March (March 15th) the day that Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate. In honor of the anniversary of his untimely death, it is important to remember Julius Caesar for his most important accomplishment, creating the calendar that we use today. Back in ancient Rome, the earliest calendar had ten 30 days months which aligned with the rotation of the moon around the earth. Later, two more months, January and February, were added to the calendar to bring the total number of days to 360 (12 Months x 30 Days). Because the Romans believed that the even numbers were bad luck, the Roman King Numa removed or added one day from each month so that each month would have an odd number of days (29 or 31). This brought the total number of days in the year to 355. The problem with this calendar is that the year is actually 365 ¼ days long, so each year the calendar was off by 10 days. The romans knew their calendar was off and assigned an official to add extra days throughout the year to bring the calendar back on track. It just so happened, that in 45 B.C. Julius Caesar was the official in charge of adding extra days to the calendar. By 45 B.C. Julius Caesar had neglected his duty of updating the calendar for nearly 10 years while off fighting wars in France, Egypt, and Northern Africa. By the time he returned to Rome, the calendar was off by more than three months! April was really January, September was really June, it was chaos. To fix the calendar that he had broken so badly, Caesar decided to start fresh with a new calendar. He added 67 days to the existing calendar including two new months called “Undecimber” and “Duodecimber”. Once the calendar was reset, Caesar went about redesigning the calendar to avoid having to adjust it every year. He added 10 extra days to the year making all the months have either 29, 30, or 31 days. Later, he took a day from February and moved it to August. February was considered bad luck due the Roman tradition of honoring the dead throughout the month of February. By shortening February, Caesar reduced the amount of bad luck for all of Rome. Unfortunately, there was still the problem of the ¼ day remaining on each year. To account for this, Caesar created leap day which would make the month of February one day longer every four years. This year was a leap year and we had a little extra February. By the way things are went in the world in February 2020, the romans may have been right that the month was bad luck…
This Week in History
On this week in 2008, the investment bank Bear Stearns was sold to J.P. Morgan Chase for just $2 per share in order to avoid bankruptcy after the collapse of the housing market that triggered “The Great Recession”. Bear Sterns built a substantial portfolio of mortgage-backed securities which suddenly became worthless as more and more people defaulted on their mortgage payments. With the collapse of the housing market, the 85-year-old bank couldn’t pay its debts and had to seek help from a bigger bank, JP Morgan Chase. The company was sold at a 93% discount from its original share price of $28.
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