“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen
March 26th is Make Your Own Holiday Day. The objective of today is to allow one day for any topic or event that has otherwise escaped recognition until now. Declare your special day on Make Your Own Holiday Day.
The fourth Tuesday of March is American Diabetes Association Alert Day. This one-day “wake-up call” asks the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider. Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round. Boar’s Head® – a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 26 through April 9, 2013, up to $50,000 for every Diabetes Risk Test taken.
Some of the writers born on March 26th include:
Benjamin Thompson (1753), Alfred Edward Housman (1859), Robert Frost (1874), Joseph Campbell (1904), Tennessee Williams (1911), Jacqueline de Romilly (1913), Hwang Sunwon (1915), Gregory Corso (1930), Acharya Kuber Nath Rai (1933), Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933), Erica Jong (1942), Bob Woodward (1943), Patrick Süskind (1949), Martin Short (1950), T. A. Barron (1952), Paul Morley (1957), Chris Hansen (1959), Natsuhiko Kyogoku (1963), Roch Voisine (1963), Hai Zi (1964), Martin McDonagh (1970), Jonny Craig (1986), YUI (1987), and Josiah Leming (1989).
Lawrence “Larry” Page is celebrating his 40th birthday today. He is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Sergey Brin, is best known as the co-founder of Google. On April 4, 2001, he took on the role of CEO of Google, replacing Eric Schmidt. He is the inventor of PageRank, which became the foundation of Google’s search ranking algorithm. Together, Brin and Page own about 16 percent of the company’s stock. His father, Carl Page, earned a Ph.D. in computer science in 1965 when the field was in its infancy, and is considered a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence.” Both he and Page’s mother, Gloria, were computer science professors at Michigan State University. Larry Page holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University. While at the University of Michigan, Page created “an inkjet printer made of LEGO bricks” (actually a line plotter), served as the president of the Beta Epsilon chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, and was a member of the 1993 “Maize & Blue” University of Michigan Solar Car team. His attraction to computers started when he was six years old when he got to “play with the stuff lying around”. He became the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor.” His older brother also taught him to take things apart and before long he was taking “everything in his house apart to see how it worked”. He said that “from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology and business. Probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually”. After enrolling in a computer science Ph.D. program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pursue this idea, which Page later recalled as “the best advice I ever got”. Page then focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page, with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind. In his research project, nicknamed “BackRub”, he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student. Brin and Page originally met in March 1995 during a spring orientation of new Ph.D. candidates. Brin, who had already been in the program for two years, was assigned to show some students, including Page, around campus, and they later became friends.To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones. It relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the back links that connected one Web page to another. In August 1996, the initial version of Google was made available, still on the Stanford University Web site. In 1998, Brin and Page founded Google, Inc. Page ran Google as co-president along with Brin until 2001 when they hired Eric Schmidt as Chairman and CEO of Google. In January 2011 Google announced that Page would replace Schmidt as CEO in April the same year. Both Page and Brin earn an annual compensation of one dollar. On April 4, 2011, Page officially became the chief executive of Google, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman of Google. Page also sits on the Board of Directors of Google. Page is an active investor in alternative energy companies, such as Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, a 244-mile (393 km) range battery electric vehicle. He continues to be committed to renewable energy technology, and with the help of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, promotes the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars and other alternative energy investments. PC Magazine has praised Google as among the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People’s Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards.” In 2002, Page was named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow and along with Sergey Brin, was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100, as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2003, Page, along with Brin, received an honorary MBA from IE Businesses School “for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses.” In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation Prize and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation’s president, congratulated the two men for “their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today.” Page is a trustee on the board of the X PRIZE and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004. Also that year, Page and Brin were named “Persons of the Week” by ABC World News Tonight. In 2005, Brin and Page were elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2002 the World Economic Forum named Page a Global Leader for Tomorrow and in 2004 the X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee for their board. Page received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan in 2009 during graduation commencement ceremonies.As of October 2012, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 27th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of 21.1 billion.
Today we remember Walt Whitman who passed away on this day in 1872 at the age of 72. He was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his work. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman’s major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to New Jersey, where his health further declined. He died at age 72 and his funeral became a public spectacle. Whitman’s sexuality is often discussed alongside his poetry. Though biographers continue to debate his sexuality, he is usually described as either homosexual or bisexual in his feelings and attractions. However, there is disagreement among biographers as to whether Whitman had actual sexual experiences with men. Whitman was concerned with politics throughout his life. He supported the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the extension of slavery generally. His poetry presented an egalitarian view of the races, and at one point he called for the abolition of slavery, but later he saw the abolitionist movement as a threat to democracy. Walt Whitman has been claimed as America’s first “poet of democracy”, a title meant to reflect his ability to write in a singularly American character. Whitman’s vagabond lifestyle was adopted by the Beat movement and its leaders such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1950s and 1960s as well as anti-war poets like Adrienne Rich and Gary Snyder. Lawrence Ferlinghetti numbered himself among Whitman’s “wild children”, and the title of his 1961 collection Starting from San Francisco is a deliberate reference to Whitman’s Starting from Paumanok. Whitman also influenced Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and was the model for the character. Stoker said in his notes that Dracula represented the quintessential male which, to Stoker, was Whitman, with whom he corresponded until Whitman’s death. Other admirers included the Eagle Street College, an informal group established in 1885 at the home of James William Wallace in Eagle Street, Bolton, to read and discuss the poetry of Whitman. The group subsequently became known as the Bolton Whitman Fellowship or Whitmanites. Its members held an annual ‘Whitman Day’ celebration around the poet’s birthday. Whitman’s poetry has been set to music by a large number of composers; indeed it has been suggested his poetry has been set to music more than any other American poet except for Emily Dickinson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Those who have set his poems to music have included Kurt Weill, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frederick Delius, Paul Hindemith, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem, Ronald Corp, George Crumb, Roger Sessions and John Adams. Whitman is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. The Walt Whitman Bridge crosses the Delaware River near his home in Camden.
We also remember Raymond Chandler today. The American novelest and screenwriter passed away on March 26, 1959. In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot”, was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been realized in motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective,” both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe. Some of Chandler’s novels are considered to be important literary works, and three are often considered to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as “arguably the first book since Hammett’s The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery”.
William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop’s Fables on this day in 1484.
On March 26, 1636 Utrecht University was founded in the Netherlands. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. The university is rated as the best university in the Netherlands by both the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2011 and the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities 2012, and ranked as the 12th best European university and the 68th best university of the world by the former ranking and 12th best European university and 53th best of the world by the latter. The university’s motto is “Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos,” which means “Sun of Justice, shine upon us.” This motto was gleaned from a literal Latin Bible translation of Malachi 4:2.
An earthquake destroyed Caracas, Venezuela on March 26, 1812. That same day a political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coined the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection.
The Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York on March 26, 1830.
SwissAir was founded on March 26, 1931 as the national airline of Switzerland.
The driving test was introduced in the United Kingom on March 26, 1934.
Explorer 3 (international designation 1958 Gamma) was an artificial satellite of the Earth, nearly identical to the first United States artificial satellite Explorer 1 in its design and mission. It was the second successful launch in the Explorer program. The United States Army launched Explorer 3 on March 26 1958.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memoria was held in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 1982.
Heaven’s Gate was an American UFO religion doomsday cult based in San Diego, California, founded in the early 1970s and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985). On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Comet Hale–Bopp, which was at its brightest.
Fourteen years ago today a jury in Michigan found Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man. Also on this day in 1999, the “Melissa worm” infected Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world.
Today we bring you the hardcover book Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother & Child (Julie Andrews Collection). This book is by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton. Amazon gives the following description:
Thanks to you . . . a cloud becomes a castle for a king
Thanks to you . . . I notice wonder in the smallest thing
Children learn much about the world from their mothers. But what about the unexpected wisdom mothers gain while parenting?
Julie Andrews Edwards and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton share their mutual discoveries and delight in the growth experiences of childhood and motherhood. Accompanied by photographs from the authors’ extended family collection, these personal exchanges between mother and child celebrate a special bond while reflecting a universal truth.
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.