Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Happy April Fools' Day
Thank goodness March is now over!! It was one very busy and hectic month, and now the evacuations begin.
This is a
very extensive and ambitious issue of The Akumalian. Get a large mug
of coffee and a comfortable chair, and enjoy the news from Akumal, the Jewel
of the Riviera Maya.
MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF
We are now into Spring and will be turning the clocks ahead – remember ‘spring forward’ – this weekend in Mexico. This will bring us back to the 1-hour time difference with the east coast and our (most of us) ‘normal’ TV programming time.
In the section WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN, we mention a new publication in Puerto Aventuras, and it would be a gross disservice to the Extended Global Akumal Community if we did not recognize and promote two other local publications, Sac-Be, The Costal Source for Travel in the Riviera Maya, and the CEA Newsletter. Both publications are also monthlies, and you can go to their web sites to subscribe. And, do not forget the Akumal Council.
The BIG EVENT of March, besides Robin’s Best Shirt Award, was Oscar Night at the Lol-Ha Kodak Theatre, where a parade of stars and celebrities made their way down the red carpet. You gotta see who won the Best Dressed Red Carpet Category award at Oscar Night.
There's a couple of smallish "events" posted on the Events Index at Check These Out you might find mildly interested if you are out that way.
Wednesday, March 31, there was a very nice red moon rise over the Caribbean
Sea, and the question came up, Why is the moon red-orange sometimes?
The Akumalian has "the rest of the story."
following “Letter to the Staff” points out another element of The Akumalian
web site, namely
The Akumal Telephone Book, which is also good for e-mail addresses.
LETTERS TO THE STAFF
Just wanted to say a big thank you to The Staff of The Akumalian for their wonderful telephone directory. It saved our lives yesterday (3/12). After waiting for hours for a Fed Ex delivery, we saw on-line that the driver had supposedly attempted a delivery and we would therefore not be receiving our packages. Frustrated, we called the 800 Fed Ex number, but became even more frustrated by their inability to help. We Googled Fed Ex Cancun, but could not find a telephone listing. We then consulted The Akumalian telephone directory, and there was the number we needed! We called and arranged for the driver to leave our packages at a packaging center in Playa del Carmen. We drove up and retrieved our packages. Thank goodness for The Akumalian telephone directory!!!
Alice and Bud Blatner
IMPORTANT APRIL FACTS
Aries March 21-April 20
Taurus April 21-May 20
Birthdays and Anniversaries ¡Feliz cumpleanos!
There must be more than this. Let’s hear about YOUR birthday before it happens.
Missed March Birthdays / Anniversary
PI REVISITED AT MIT
admissions as easy as pi
Yes, in true Geek fashion, MIT released its admissions decisions at a time that would hold a deeper meaning for only those mathematically inclined enough to apply – on Pi Day, March 14, 1:59, as an homage to the mathematical constant.
"We thought it was pretty neat and fitting,'' said Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions and a 1986 MIT graduate. "Pi is a special number. And this is one way for us, as a science and technology centered place, to celebrate it."
MIT’s version of March Madness.
Though there was no explicit reference to Pi Day, Schmill said, "Most of our applicants are clued in."
This is the
second year in a row that the university has been able to release its
decisions on Pi Day (coincidentally the birthday of Albert Einstein). But
MIT is not making Pi Day admissions -- and rejections -- a tradition just
yet. It lands on a Monday next year. And, Schmill said, "We won’t release
decisions when our applicants are in school."
PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES TULUM AIRPORT, MARCH 22ND
After much speculation, the new Riviera Maya airport project was officially launched in Tulum, on Monday, March 22, by Mexican President, Felipe Calderón. The project on the coast near Cozumel, will need an investment of some $254 million. It will give visitors arriving to Cozumel a third choice of airport, in addition to Cancun airport and the island's own international terminal.
The President started the bidding process to construct and operate the airport and the "bases" for the competition will be published on April 15, 2010.
The new Tulum airport will be built with an investment of some $254 million, the job will go out to tender in April 2010 and competitors are expected to include international investment consortiums and other airport operators.
Reuters news service said, "The government wants the Riviera Maya international airport because the region, just south of Cancun, is a booming tourist area especially around Playa del Carmen, which is popular with U.S. and European visitors."
The Riviera Maya airport in Tulum will be the first in the country to be constructed by private investors under a concession scheme and will have a capacity for up to 3 million passengers per year. The new terminal forms part of an ambitious government infrastructure project. It will occupy 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) on the edge of the Tulum real estate market and will have a capacity for up to 3 million passengers per year.
Potential bidders are thought to include: ASUR, operator of Cancun airport; OMA, operator of northern Mexican airports including Monterrey and Acapulco; OHL, one of Spain's largest construction companies; and Advent International, a private investment company.
Local politicians have described the new Tulum airport as an “economic trigger” that will turn this part of the coast into one of the most prosperous areas in the Mexican Caribbean.
Details for the new Riviera Maya airport from the government’s agency for Airports and Auxiliary Services (ASA):
· The airport will be in the the municipality of Solidaridad, to the east of Xel-Ha, between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, on the road to Cobá.
· It will be 40 miles (65 km) from Cozumel airport and 63 miles (102 km) from Cancún airport at map coordinates s 20° 20’ 30” (N) and 87° 30’ 30” (W), 10 miles (15.8 km) from the coast at Punta Cadenas, to the south of Tankah. See the exact location here on Google Maps.
· The main runway will have orientation to 120°-300° as in Cancun and Cozumel and in accordance with prevailing winds.
· The main runway will be 2.2 miles (3.5km) long by 50 yards (45m) wide, corresponding with international aviation recommendations.
· The total area of the Tulum international airport land is estimated at 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares).
· The land where the airport will be built is 65.6 feet (20m) above sea level.
As well as the airport, major highway improvements have been completed along the Riviera Maya and more are underway, such as the Playa del Carmen bridges. This heavy public investment has had an affect on Tulum real estate prices and the number of foreign property developers in the area has risen rapidly.
the Tulum beach in 5 years. ARE YOU READY?
APRIL FOOL’S DAY, APRIL 1st
Unlike most of the other non-foolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.
The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.
However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fool’s errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.
In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.
counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28.
Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent
children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration
involving pranks and trickery.
ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, APRIL 2nd
Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.
It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar.
This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, is ready to once again be the judge and jury as she selects the “Best Shirt” for April.
was the winner for March, and you can see the other photos at
Best Shirt Award, March.
LOL-HA FEATURES “FRESH CATCH”, April 2nd
This Friday, April 2nd, the Lol-Ha Restaurant is featuring “Fresh Catch.”
Chef Reynaldo will take the “Fresh Catch”, displayed on ice, to your table. Choose how you want it cooked, or ask him for a suggestion!
You can also ask Chef Reynaldo to hold a portion of fresh fish for you!
The A La
Carte Menu is also available.
VENUS AND MERCURY CONJUNCTION, APRIL 3 & 4th
On April 3rd and 4th, the conjunction of Venus and Mercury will be clearly visible in the western sky about 45 minutes after sunset. Binoculars will be helpful.
Conjunction is a term used in positional astronomy and astrology. It means that, as seen from some place (usually the Earth), two celestial bodies appear near one another in the sky. The event is also sometimes known as an appulse.
On the evening of April 3, Venus and Mercury will appear closest together, just a little over 3 degrees apart. Though it will be shining brilliantly at a magnitude of -0.6, Mercury still appears only 1/21 as bright as Venus, which literally dazzles at magnitude -3.9. Thereafter, the two planets will very slowly separate.
Interestingly, this is not a conjunction between these two planets...at
least in the "official" sense. At no time do Mercury and Venus have the same
right ascension or ecliptic longitude.
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME IN MEXICO IS April 4th
In Akumal, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April (the 4th). On the last Sunday in October (the 31st ), areas on Daylight Saving Time fall back to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time. Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), and so forth. The state of Sonora does not observe Daylight Saving Time.
three time zones. Most of the country uses Central Standard Time.
EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 4th
On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion, is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.
In Western Christianity, Easter marks the ending of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.
Annual Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
Where is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival in Akumal? There’s three
days to organize something.
EASTER IN MEXICO
For Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week - Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday). For most Mexicans, this 2 week period is THE time of year for vacation; good time to not be on the highways - just stay put and enjoy Akumal during this holiday season.
Semana Santa celebrates the last days of the Christ's life, and Pascua is the celebration of the Christ's Resurrection. It is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent.
communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the
Betrayal, the Judgement, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the
Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection. In some communities,
flagellation and/or real crucifixion is included. The enactments are often
wonderously staged, costumed and acted, with participants preparing for
their roles for nearly the full year leading up to Semana Santa.
PASSOVER, MARCH 30 – APRIL 6
Passover (Hebrew, Yiddish: פֶּסַח, Pesach, Tiberian: pɛsaħ, Israeli: Pesah, Pesakh, Yiddish: Peysekh) is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Israelites when he killed the first born of Egypt, and is followed by the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.
Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan (equivalent to March and April in Gregorian calendar), the full moon of that month, the first month of the Hebrew calendar's festival year according to the Hebrew Bible.
In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons. However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover". When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also called חַג הַמַּצּוֹת (Chag HaMatzot), "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday. This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo.
with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of
the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish
populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men
participate in public worship.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Coming in April
HST PASSOVER, APRIL 5th
On Monday, April 5th, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will passover – really nothing to do with the Jewish Passover – Akumal at 8:27 pm, flying in a WNW–ESE flight path. Get out on the beach or up on the roof tops and watch the HST.
was launched on April 24, 1990 at 8:33:51 am EDT and weighs 24,500 pounds.
The HST orbits the earth every 96–97 minutes at a height of 559 km (347 mi),
traveling at a speed of about 5 miles per second.
REGISTER CELL PHONES, APRIL 10th
From April 10 Your phone must be registered on the National Register Mobile Phone Users. See Telcel and get Google to translate the pages to English.
All mobile lines must be registered before April 10, 2010. If not registered, the Federal Telecommunications Act provides that, after the legal deadline, the line will be suspended without liability for the service provider.
Registration of Mexicans is very simple; they need only go to the web page and register the cell phone number with an e-mail address. Telcel the call your cell phone with a PIN, and then they enter the name name (if two or more separated by space, period, father's name, period, date of Full birth (day, month and year without space) and where born in Mexico.
This does NOT
work for non-Mexicans, because they apparently do not have a match of your
birth date and birth in Mexico. There’s something about going to the “local
office” with a passport, but this has not been verified or tested. More to
follow once this is uncovered.
MAXIMUM WIND GUST, APRIL 10th
the passage of Tropical Cyclone Olivia on 10 April 1996, an automatic
weather station on Barrow Island, Australia, registered a maximum wind gust
of 408 km/h (220 kt; 253 mph). The wind gust was evaluated by the WMO
Evaluation Panel who found that the anemometer was mechanically sound and
the gust was within statistical probability and ratified the measurement in
2010. During the cyclone several extreme gusts of greater than 300 km/h
(160 kt) were recorded, with a maximum 5 minute mean speed of 176 km/h (95
kt), the extreme gust factor was in the order of 2.27-2.75 times the mean
wind speed. The pattern and scales of the gusts suggests that a mesovortex
was embedded in the already strong eyewall of the cyclone.
MT WASHINGTON MARKS “THE BIG WIND”, APRIL 12th
On April 12, 1934, the second highest surface wind measured anywhere on earth was clocked by the staff of the Mount Washington (New Hampshire) Observatory. This "World Record Wind" of 231 miles per hour has become the stuff of legend, but what is the meaning of that decades-old record?
First and foremost, the World Record Wind is a testimony of the real extremes that can rule on Mount Washington. Significant cold, abundant snowfall, dense fog, heavy icing, and exceptional winds are a prominent feature of Mount Washington's environment. Yes, there are colder places, such as Antarctica, and snowier places, such as some peaks in the Cascade Range. However, Mount Washington, a small peak by global standards, really does have weather that can rival some of the most rugged places on earth. There are days each winter when the combination of life-threatening weather factors on Mount Washington is remarkably similar to weather extremes which have been recorded in the polar regions and on peaks three or four times Mount Washington's height. The World Record Wind is one benchmark testifying to the mountain's truly severe weather.
New Hampshire's Presidential Range includes the highest peaks in the Northeast. Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest in the range, and is the only peak in the Northeastern United States which exceeds 6,000 feet in elevation.
The Presidential Range forms a ridgeline, about twelve miles in length. Perhaps the Range's most remarkable feature is its extensive area above treeline, the greatest contiguous alpine area in the United States east of the Mississippi. Treeline here, which averages about 4,500 feet, is significantly lower than in mountains in the west, thanks to the extreme climatic conditions, including cold temperatures, high winds, and frequent atmospheric icing. The unusual conditions above treeline have led to a fascinating landscape, seemingly barren, but decorated with low spruce and fir scrub and a variety of alpine plants, whose bright blooming usually occurs in a brief period from mid-June to late July.
England it is said, “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere”.
EMANCIPATION DAY, APRIL 16th
Emancipation Day is celebrated in various locations in observation generally of the emancipation of slaves.
In the United States, the municipality of Washington, D.C. celebrates April 16 as Emancipation Day. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. The Act freed about 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation telegraphing the eventual end of slavery to the rest of the nation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to free enslaved persons.
4, 2005, Mayor Anthony Williams signed legislation making Emancipation Day
an official public holiday in the District. Each year, a series of
activities will be held during the public holiday including the traditional
Emancipation Day parade celebrating the freedom of enslaved persons in the
District of Columbia. The Emancipation Day celebration was held yearly from
1866 to 1901, and was resumed under the leadership of Councilmember Vincent
Orange as a tradition and historic celebration in 2002.
WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?
Coming to Akumal
a Gas Canister for a Gas Grille
That did not make any sense at all, but ….. So, we had him go and try to get the tank filled, and then we’ll go from there.
As it turns out, at least from this one person and account, the ‘best’ way to get the canister filled is to locate one of the small gas trucks – not the big ones that do houses – in Chemuyil, Akumal Pueblo, and/or Akumal, and they will take it to be filled/re-filled, and then return it the next day. This cost $100 pesos, but it did work.
Patrick’s Day at the Beach Bar
To begin this program in Akumal, CEA will pick up recyclables in North Akumal, Jade Bay, South Akumal and Aventuras Akumal. CEA must decide on a pickup site in Aventuras and South Akumal. For North Akumal we will be going from house to house (or condo to condo). A schedule will be delivered to each property, along with information about the program, and contact information. CEA will provide training for condo and hotel staff so they learn how to manage the recyclables until pick up. CEA must charge for this service in order to maintain it.
There will be a monthly fee for the pick-up of all recyclable materials. The cost is 12 USD for homes (one house or villa, plus a casita) and 5 USD per unit for condos (any building with more than 3 condos).
There’s a little more on this at the CEA site.
in Akumal Pueblo
They also provide delivery service, and the telephone number is (984)-105-3859. Initial reports are "very good".
Dave Host Small Dinner Party
Catholic Church Needs Your Help
There will be a raffle on May 10th, Dia de la Madre. Tickets cost $50 pesos each, and the prizes are:
· GRAND PRIZE: Nissan Tsuru car
· SECOND PRIZE: $25,000.00 PESOS
winners will be selected by a number system in the national lottery. This
seems to be VERY secure. The tickets are printed and ready for sale, and
while Bob does not have books of tickets, he can help facilitate the
transaction. Contact Bob Mulgrew
firstname.lastname@example.org to buy raffle tickets for this worthy cause.
"There's a new restaurant just south of Akumal called Sahara Cafe. The atmosphere is great, and the food is delicious, and the service is wonderful. You should give it a try. There is something for every palette... fish, seafood, chicken, meat, tapas, soup, salad, and great desserts."
LocoGringo Message Board, Kay Walton says, "Sahara Café is open in the
evenings for dinner. The landscape lighting of the palms, and lit pool,
make for a great view. The walls of the restaurant are all screens, so you
can feel the openness and air of the jungle and sea environment. Sahara
Cafe specializes in seafood and pasta. Appetizers start about $65 pesos. It
is not inexpensive, but the quality of food, service and atmosphere make for
a wise investment for a special night out."
PelicanPress of Puerto Aventuras
Most people got over that scam by asking for a specific amount of gas, like $200 pesos, so it could be paid with the exact amount and no change needed. Now, it appears that the latest ruse is to set the pump to automatically stop at 20 liters and not $200 pesos. The ‘new’ Pemex station just south of the Toyota dealership outside of Playa del Carmen has gotten, or at least attempted to get, a number of gringos.
Moral of the story when getting gas on the Riviera Maya: get out of the car, make sure the pump is set to $0.00 pesos, and diligently watch the meter without being distracted.
If you do get ripped off, get the station number and as much data as possible, and then go to PROFECO Consumer Reporting to report it. There’s other info here too.
Another story from the outskirts of the Extended Global Akumal Community reports that Salvador de Montesinos is having an art show at the Somos Opening Reception in the Pillsbury Mansion on April 10th, 5:30 – 9:00pm.
paintings can be seen at
Salvador’s FaceBook site.
WORLD’S WEALTHIEST MAN IS MEXICAN
Carlos Slim Helú, simply known as Carlos Slim, is a Mexican Engineer, businessman and philanthropist largely focused on the telecommunications industry. He is currently the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of around US$53.5 billion through his holdings
Slim has a
substantial influence over the telecommunications industry in Mexico and
much of Latin America. He controls Teléfonos de México (Telmex), Telcel and
América Móvil companies. Though he maintains an active involvement in his
companies, his three sons—Carlos, Marco Antonio and Patrick Slim Domit—head
them on a day-to-day basis.
PATRIOT’S DAY, APRIL 19th
Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day arefour distinctly American tributes to liberties, freedom and democracy, commemorated by a holiday in the United States.
Then there is Patriots' Day. For New Englanders, Patriots' Day remains the quintessential observance: the anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War with skirmishes between British troops and the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, and preceded by Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride.
The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriots' Day holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, marked a turning point in the long struggle between England and her American colonies. In a march of protest and petition, which turned into revolution and independence, the fighting on April 19, 1775 foreshadowed the rebellious action of the American colonies in ultimately creating a new nation, the United States of America. Originally celebrated on April 19, Patriots' Day was moved to the third Monday of April in 1969.
For runners, Patriots' Day has become synonymous with the Boston Marathon or, as locals often refer to the day, Marathon Monday. While "the shot heard 'round the world" continues to reverberate in re-enactments of the historic events, the sound of gunfire also will ring clearly in Hopkinton this Patriots' Day to signal the start of the 112th Boston Marathon and to recall the ideals of the American Revolution.
The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon. In 2010 more than 25,000 runners, cheered on by 500,000 spectators, are expected to participate as the Boston Marathon celebrates its 114th anniversary.
The Boston area is a uniquely and profoundly American locale; there's no better venue and no better occasion than the Boston Marathon and Patriots' Day to showcase the spirit. And then there’s the Red Sox.
Every year, on
the third Monday in April, the Red Sox play host to the only morning
game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule. The annual 11:05
a.m. game at Fenway Park is part of the festivities of Patriots’ Day, a
federally recognized holiday in Massachusetts. The Boston Red Sox are
playing the Tampa Bay Raya at Fenway Park.
LYRIDS METEOR SHOWER, APRIL 21 - 22
swift and bright Lyrid meteors disintegrate after hitting our atmosphere at
a moderate speed of 29.8 miles per second. Lyrid meteors tend to be bright
and often leave trails. About 10-20 meteors per hour are to be expected at
peak. Uncommon surges can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 per hour, but
these rather rare outbursts are not easy to predict. That’s one of the
reasons why the tantalizing Lyrids are worth watching. The radiant is in
the constellation Lyra, which rises in the northeast at about 10 p.m.
Fortunately the thin waning crescent moon won’t obtrude on this year’s
Lyrid shower. The Lyrids typically produce the most meteors in the wee
hours before dawn. The best viewing night should be between midnight and
dawn on Wednesday, April 22. But a day or two before and after the peak
date may offer a decent sprinkling of meteors too.
EARTH DAY, APRIL 22nd
Earth Day 2010, April 22, will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day
What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.
Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.
I I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.
After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?
I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.
At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.
Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated and it is now observed each year by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist in the U.S. Senate, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda. He modeled it on the highly effective Vietnam War protests of the time.
Check out the CEA web site
www.ceakumal.org and watch for the CEA Newsletter for up-to-date
information on the Earth Day Programs CEA is organizing.
FULL MOON, APRIL 28th
The Full Pink Moon is on April 28, 11:12AM AST.
grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of
the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon,
and -- among coastal Maya tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, when the barracuda
swam inland to the cenotes to spawn. This is also the Paschal Full Moon;
the first full Moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the
Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed three days
later on Sunday, April 12.
IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK AND LOOKS LIKE A DUCK. . . .
The sticky stuff you use to remove warts, make wallets, and occasionally seal a leaky seam: Is it “duct tape” or “duck tape”?
You may think the matter is settled, and that’s understandable: In the past few years, the “duck tape” adherents have been on the march, and the story they promote has considerable appeal. In the 1940s, the tale goes, the US military asked Johnson & Johnson to come up with “a waterproof, strong cloth based tape that could keep moisture out of ammunition cases.” The tape J&J produced was (allegedly) called “duck tape,” either because its cloth base was cotton duck (a plain-weave fabric, lighter than canvas) or because it repelled water (as in “off a duck’s back”). “Duck tape,” by this account, became “duct tape” only during the postwar building boom, when its chief use became taping heating ducts.
Not only is this a good story, it’s the “official” version, taken from Johnson & Johnson’s company history (viewable at the blog Kilmer House). And even the Oxford English Dictionary says that “duct tape” may “perhaps” be an alteration of “duck tape.” But is there any evidence that “duck tape” was the earlier name of “duct tape”?
Something known as “duck tape” does indeed predate “duct tape,” but this tape has no adhesive properties. “Tape” means simply a narrow strip of fabric, and “duck” is linen or cotton cloth. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest mention of “duck tape,” dated 1899, refers to a decorative trim on a garment.
The dictionary’s 1902 “duck tape,” from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle story about the Williamsburg Bridge, sounds more promising: “100,000 yards of cotton duck tape must be wrapped around the cable with neatness and exactitude.” This “duck tape,” however, doesn’t start out sticky. Workers make the “tape,” the article explains, by cutting cloth into strips, which are then coated with waterproofing, wrapped around the cables, heat-sealed, and coated again. Only once, in fact, is the covering called “duck tape”; the bridge engineer calls it “cotton duck wrapping.”
Other early mentions of fabric tape or duck tape also refer to the cloth layer of a product, not to an adhesive tape. “Rubber belts are made by cementing together plies of cotton duck with india rubber” (1899). “A strip of cotton duck...was immersed in the bitumen...after an immersion of about 1 hour, the treated duck strip was peeled off” (1915). “Adhesive tape can be made by coating a strip of cotton tape with the compound [of melted rubber and rosin]” (Popular Mechanics, 1930).
From the ’40s into the ’60s, the popularity of Venetian blinds — with their vertical “ladder tapes” made of cotton duck — brings “duck tape” into print more often. But if servicemen really transferred the name to the new wartime adhesive tape, they’ve left no trace: “Duck tape” in that sense isn’t recorded till the 1970s, when “duct tape” is already current. And the duck version doesn’t take off till the ’80s, when Manco trademarks its “Duck Tape” brand.
The official story has some holes on the “duct tape” side as well. In fact, Johnson & Johnson didn’t wait for the military request to make a strong, waterproof cloth tape. Martin H. Gerstel, product manager for J&J’s Permacel company, outlined the latest developments in adhesive tapes in a 1938 article that offered photos of workers taping heating and air ducts, “typical applications” of the product. “A special silver colored tape is available for this use,” Gerstel noted.
He didn’t call it “duct tape,” however, and apparently neither did anyone else, even in the immediate postwar era when the product was so popular. The earliest citation I’ve found comes from a Montana newspaper ad, dated December 1960, advertising duct tape at $5.98 a roll. The New York Times doesn’t mention the tape till 1973, and it thinks readers may need a definition: “duct tape — a fiber tape used to seal the joints in heating ducts.”
So what happened in those crucial decades, the ’40s and ’50s? Did people start referring to the new cloth adhesives as “duck tape” at some point? Did the silver tape invented in the ’30s become “duct tape” during the war or the postwar building boom? We simply don’t know.
I’ve appealed to the J&J historian for evidence. (I’m especially dubious about the “duck’s back” etymology, since waterproof electrical tapes had been around for decades; why weren’t they called “duck tape”?). But Michael Quinion questioned the official story five years ago, in a report at World Wide Words, and got no response, so I’m guessing no proof is forthcoming.
Meanwhile, you’re free to use either variation, though “duct tape” is unquestionably the style in most publications. But “duck tape was the original name”? That remains a statement of faith, not fact.
EL DIA DEL NINO, APRIL 30th
El Día de los Niños Celebrating Young Americans is a gift from the Latino community to all children. Many nations throughout the world, and especially within the Western hemisphere celebrate “Día de los Niños” on April 30th to honor and celebrate children—who represent the hope and dreams of every community.
growing number of cities, schools, libraries, museums, churches and other
community organizations are embracing this celebration by planning
activities and events that:
Once again, Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, was not the only “Event” of the March. Check these other ones out too.
Robin's Best Shirt Award, March 5, 2010
Academy Awards, Akumal Style, March 7, 2010
SteveC’s Birthday, March 8, 2010: not really an “event” per se and no biggie
Cartoon Caption Contest, March 18, 2010