Thursday, February 28, 2013

Today is the last day of February. Today we observe Rare Disease Day.  Rare Disease day is held on the last day of February to raise awareness of rare diseases and improve access to treatment and medical representation for individuals with rare diseases and their families. It was established in 2008 because, according to the European Organization for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS), treatment for many rare diseases is insufficient, as are the social networks to support individuals with rare diseases and their families. In 2009 Rare Disease Day went global as NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) mobilized 200 rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the United States while organizations in China, Australia, Taiwan, and Latin America also lead efforts in their respective countries to coordinate activities and promote the day. In addition, leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations including the Global Genes Project have joined forces to promote Rare Disease Day.

Some of the writers born on February 28th include:

Michel de Montaigne (1533), Berthold Auerbach (1812), Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov (1882), Pádraic Ó Conaire (1882), José Vasconcelos (1882), Ben Hecht (1894), Marcel Pagnol (1895), Stephen Spender (1909), Ketti Frings (1915), John Montague (1929), Bruce Dawe (1930), Don Francisco (1946), David R. Ross (1958), Megan McDonald (1959), Lotta Lotass (1964), Daniel Handler (1970), Tristan Louis (1971), Jeanne Cherhal (1978), and Markéta Irglová (1988).

Also born today, in 1915, was Sir Peter Brian Medawar. He was a Lebanese/Brazilian/British biologist whose work on graft rejection and the discovery of acquired immune tolerance was fundamental to the practice of tissue and organ transplants. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet. Until he was partially disabled by a cerebral infarction, Medawar was Director of the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill.

Today we remember Henry James, who passed away on this day in 1916. He was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of the 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. He is primarily known for the series of novels in which he portrays the encounter of Americans with Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allows him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting. James contributed significantly to literary criticism, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest possible freedom in presenting their view of the world. James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognizable to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting. The concept of a good or bad novel is judged solely upon whether the author is good or bad. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and possibly unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to narrative fiction. An extraordinarily productive writer, in addition to his voluminous works of fiction he published articles and books of travel, biography, autobiography, and criticism, and wrote plays, some of which were performed during his lifetime with moderate success. His theatrical work is thought to have profoundly influenced his later novels and tales.

The Methodist Church was chartered by John Wesley on February 28, 1784.

On this day in 1811, Cry of Asencio occurred. The Cry of Asencio (Spanish: Grito de Asencio) or Admirable alarm (Spanish: Admirable alarma) was a 1811 pronunciamiento that took place at the Banda Oriental (modern Uruguay) against the Spanish rule in Montevideo. Made in support of Buenos Aires, which had already ousted the viceroy and established a local government during the May Revolution, it is considered the beginning of the Oriental revolution.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated February 28, 1827, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada on this day in 1838. This area is now Quebec.

A gun on USS Princeton exploded on February 28, 1844 while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise. Eight people were killed, including two United States Cabinet members.

Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began on this day in 1849 with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor..

The Republican Party of the United States was organized in Ripon, Wisconsin on February 28, 1854.

The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire on this day in 1870. The Bulgarian Exarchate was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical See in 1945 and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was restored in 1953.

One of the longest cases ever heard in an English court ended on February 28, 1874 when the defendant was convicted of perjury for attempting to assume the identity of the heir to the Tichborne baronetcy.

The first vaudeville theater opened in Boston, Massachusetts on this day in 1883.

The USS Indiana was launched on the twenty-eighth of February, 1893. She was the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time.

The United Kingdom ended its protectorate over Egypt through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on February 28, 1922.

The Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake struck northeastern North America on this day in 1925. It reached 6.2 on the moment magnitude scale. It was one of the most powerful measured in Canada in the 20th century, with a maximum perceived intensity of VIII (Destructive) on the Mercalli intensity scale and its epicentre in the area of Charlevoix-Kamouraska along the Saint Lawrence River near île aux Lièvres and not greater than VI (Strong) in the United States. The quake was felt in Quebec, Shawinigan, Montreal, as far south as Virginia, and as far west as the Mississippi River.

On February 28, 1928, C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect. Also known as Raman scattering, Raman effect is the inelastic scattering of a photon. When photons are scattered from an atom or molecule, most photons are elastically scattered (Rayleigh scattering), such that the scattered photons have the same kinetic energy (frequency and wavelength) as the incident photons. However, a small fraction of the scattered photons (about 1 in 10 million) are scattered by an excitation, with the scattered photons having a frequency different from, and usually lower than, that of the incident photons. In 1922, Indian physicist C. V. Raman published his work on the “Molecular Diffraction of Light,” the first of a series of investigations with his collaborators that ultimately led to his discovery (on 28 February 1928) of the radiation effect that bears his name.

DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented nylon on this day in 1935.

On February 28, 1939, the erroneous word “dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation. The word was defined as “density”. Philip Babcock Gove, an editor at Merriam-Webster who became editor-in-chief of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, wrote a letter to the journal American Speech, fifteen years after the error was caught, in which he explained why “dord” was included in that dictionary. On July 31, 1931, Austin M. Petterson, Webster’s chemistry editor, sent in a slip reading “D or d, cont./density.” This was intended to add “density” to the existing list of words that the letter “D” can abbreviate. The slip somehow went astray, and the phrase “D or d” was misinterpreted as a single, run-together word. On February 28, 1939, an editor noticed “dord” lacked an etymology and investigated. Soon an order was sent to the printer marked “plate change/imperative/urgent”. In 1940, bound books began appearing without the ghost word but with a new abbreviation (although inspection of printed copies well into the 1940s show “dord” still present).

Basketball was televised for the first time on this day in 1940. The game was Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburg in Madison Square Garden.

The heavy cruiser USS Houston was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Straight on February 28, 1942. Six hundred ninety three crew members were killed, along with HMAS Perth which lost 375 men.

On this day in 1947 in Taiwan, civil disorder was put down with the loss of an estimated 30,000 civilians. This became known as the 228 massacre.

James D. Watson and Francis Crick announced on February 28, 1953 to their friends that they had determined the chemical structure of DNA. The formula announcement took place on April 25 following publication in April’s Nature.

The first color television sets using the NTSC standard were offered for sale to the general public starting February 28, 1954.

A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hit a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River on February 28, 1958. The driver and 26 children died in what remains one of the worst school bus accidents in U.S. history.

Discovery 1, an American spy satellite that was the first object intended to achieve a polar orbit was launched on this day in 1959. It failed to achieve orbit.

The Shanghai Communiqué was signed by the United States and People’s Republic of China as part of the Sino-American relations on the twenty-eighth of February, 1972.

On this day in 1975 in London an underground train failed to stop at Moorgate terminus station and crashed into the end of the tunnel. Forty-three people were killed.

On February 28, 1980, Andalusia approved its statute of autonomy through a referendum. Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities in Spain. Andalusia is in the south of the Iberian peninsula, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castile–La Mancha; west of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea; east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean; and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco, and the Atlantic Ocean. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar. An autonomous community is a first-level political and administrative division of Spain created in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978, with the aim of guaranteeing the autonomy of the nationalities and regions that integrate the Spanish nation.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Contabulary police station at Newry on this day in 1985. Nine officers were killed in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

On February 28, 1991, the first Gulf War ended.

Twenty years ago today Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians died in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck on this day in 1997 in Armenia and Azerbaijan and killed around 1,100 people. On that same day an earthquake in northern Iran was responsible for about 3,000 deaths.

Also on this day in 1997 GRB 970228 struck the Earth for 80 seconds. This highly luminous flash of gamma rays provided early evidence that gammaray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.

Fifteen years ago today was the first flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.

A dozen years ago today the Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hit the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

Over one million Taiwanese participated in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally form a 500-kilometer (310 mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.

hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Today we would like to highlight Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a novel by Jamie Ford. We have New copies in stock. This trade paperback is about three hundred pages long. Amazon gives the following description:

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.


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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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