Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy International Mother Language Day. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on February 21st worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

Some of the writers born on this day include:

Jose Zorrilla y Moral (1817), Karel Matěj Čapek-Chod (1860), Walemar Bonsels (1880), Sacha Guitry (1885), Clemence Dane (1888), Suryakant Tripathi (1896), Anaïs Nin (1903), Raymond Queneau (1903), W. H. Auden (1907), Erma Bombeck (1927), Bobby Charles (1938), Bob Ryan (1946), Victor Sokolov (1947), Jeffrey Shaara (1952), Steve Wynn (1960), Chuck Palahniuk (1962), David Foster Wallace (1962), and Owen King (1977).

Rebecca Towne Nurse was born on this day in 1621. She was executed for witchcraft by the government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England in 1692, during the Salem witch trials. She was the wife of Francis Nurse, with several children and grandchildren, and a well-respected member of the community. Although there was no credible evidence against her, she had been hanged as a witch on July 19, 1692. This occurred during a time when the Massachusetts colony was seized with hysteria over witchcraft and the supposed presence of Satan within the colony.

The identical twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelley were born February 21, 1964. They are both retired astronauts. Mark was a U.S. Navy Captain and naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. He was selected to become a NASA Space Shuttle pilot in 1996 and flew his first mission in 2001 as pilot of STS-108. He piloted STS-121 in 2006 and commanded STS-124 in 2008 and STS-134 in 2011. STS-134 was his final mission and the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Mark is married to former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, the target of an attempted assassination in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011. After the shooting, in which six people were killed, both Kelly and Giffords were thrust into the media spotlight. His wife‘s shooting led to a broad national conversation ranging from the duties of a husband to what is acceptable civil discourse. The couple have penned a memoir (co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow) about their individual and shared experiences following the shooting, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (ISBN 978-1451661064), released November 15, 2011. Scott Kelley is a retired U.S. Navy Captain. He was commander of the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 26. The Kelly brothers are the only siblings to have both traveled in space.

Kevin Rose (born Robert Kevin Rose on February 21, 1977) is an American Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Revision3, Digg, Pownce, and Milk. He also served as production assistant and co-host at TechTV’s The Screen Savers. He is currently a venture partner at Google.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto on February 21, 1848.

As part of the American Civil War, the Battle of Valverde was fought on the twenty-first of February in 1862 near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory.

The Oakland Daily Tribune published its first edition on this day in 1874.

The first telephone book was issued in New Haven, Connecticut 135 years ago today. The first telephone directory consisted of a single piece of cardboard and listed 50 businesses in New Haven, Connecticut that had a telephone.

The newly completed Washington Monument was dedicated February 21, 1885.

The Carolina Parakeet was the only parrot species native to the eastern United States. It was found from southern New York and Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico, and lived in old forests along rivers. The last known wild specimen was killed in Okeechobee County, Florida, in 1904 and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo 95 years ago today. This was the male specimen “Incas,” who died within a year of his mate “Lady Jane.” Coincidentally, Incas died in the same aviary cage in which the last Passenger Pigeon, “Martha,” had died nearly four years prior. It was not until 1939, however, that it was determined that the Carolina Parakeet had become extinct.

The New Yorker published its first issue on the twenty-first of February, 1925.

On February 21, 1947, Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera” in New York City to a meeting of the Optical Society of America. This was the Polaroid Land Camera.

NASCAR was incorporated sixty-five years ago today.

Fifty-five years ago today, the Peace symbol was commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. It was designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.

Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on this day in 1965 by members of the Nation of Islam.

The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 is a United Nations treaty designed to control psychoactive drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and psychedelics signed in Vienna, Austria on February 21, 1971. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 could not ban the many newly discovered psychotropics, since its scope was limited to drugs with cannabis, coca, and opium-like effects.
President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations on February 21, 1972. On that same day the Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon.

Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Halderman and John Ehrlichman were sentenced to prison February 21, 1975 as part of the Watergate scandal.

The inaugural Winter Paralympic Games opened in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden on February 21, 1976.

Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada on this day in 1995. This made him the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.


baseball q and a

Today we highlight the children’s book, Baseball! Q&A by Gary Drevitch. We New have copies in stock. Amazon gives the following brief description:

In Baseball! Q&A

Check out cool Smithsonian websites and exhibits throughout the book

Meet a Smithsonian Specialist

See fabulous close-up photos

Read extremely fun facts about baseball


Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon.   Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.


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