Leonid Meteor Showers

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(Painting of a Leonid shower in the year 1833. Copyright: E. Weiß (ca. 1888)

The Leonids are a meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle (which takes 33+ years to circle the sun), happen every year around the middle of November. The peak this year is tonight. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky.

Earth moves through the meteoroid stream of particles ejected by the comet as its frozen gasses evaporate under the heat of the Sun when it is close enough. The Leonids, in particular, are well known for having bright meteors or fireballs that may be 9 mm across, have 86 grams of mass, and punch into the atmosphere with the kinetic energy of a car hitting at 60 mph. An annual Leonid shower may deposit 12 or 13 tons of particles across the entire planet. (from www.cute-calendar.com)

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Articles of Confederation

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The Articles of Confederation was an agreement among all thirteen original states in the United States that served as its first constitution. It was approved by the Continental Congress this date in 1777.  The formal ratification by all thirteen states was completed in early 1781. Government under the Articles was superseded by a new constitution and federal form of government in 1789.

Even unratified, the Articles provided a system for the Continental Congress to direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with Europe and deal with territorial issues and Native American relations. The new Constitution provided a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive (the President), courts and taxing powers. (from Wikipedia and cutecalendar.com)

Veteran’s Day

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Veterans Day is an annual, federal American holiday honoring military veterans. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice).

After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in the United States and to Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Veterans Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields.” These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red color an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war. It’s estimated that 20 million people died in World War II. (from Wikipedia and Cute Calendar)

 

U. S. Marines Day

 

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The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. Today they celebrate U. S. Marines Day.

Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on this date in 1775 as naval infantry in Philadelphia. Since then, the mission of the Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th Century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II.

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By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become a major theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to rapidly respond on short notice to expeditionary crises gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)

Giant Pandas discovered

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The giant panda, also known as panda bear or simply panda, was discovered this date in China in 1927. The name giant panda is sometimes used to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda’s diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity in addition to bamboo, they receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges and bananas.

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The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China. As a result of farming, deforestation and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. Population estimates vary, but there are anywhere from 1,590 to 3,000 giant pandas left in the wild, and the giant panda has been upgraded to a conservation vulnerable species. Due to the captive breeding program at home, the Chinese have won the gratitude of people everywhere for loaning out their pandas to zoos in other countries.  (from me and Wikipedia)

xx-panda-red For comparison purposes, a red panda (not related to giant pandas).

 

Civil Works Projects Leads to WPA

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was a short-lived U.S. job-creation program established by the New Deal during the Great Depression to rapidly create manual labor jobs for millions of unemployed workers. The jobs were merely temporary for the duration of the hard winter of 1933-34.

The CWA created construction jobs, mainly improving or constructing buildings and bridges. It ended on March 31, 1934 after spending $200 million a month and giving jobs to four million people.

The CWA’s workers laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or improved 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and nearly 1,000 airports (not to mention building 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America).

Although the CWA provided much employment, there were critics who said there was nothing of permanent value. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told his cabinet that this criticism moved him to end the program and replace it later that year with the WPA, which would have long-term value for society, in addition to short-term benefits for the unemployed (More about the WPA on May 6,  2018, it’s official beginning with an Executive Order signed that date).

The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings, roads and dams,  during the Great Depression.  Almost every community in the U.S. had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, and national parks benefited also. Work relief was preferable to public assistance because it maintained self-respect, reinforced the work ethic and kept skills sharp.

It was liquidated on June 30, 1943 as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II. The WPA provided millions of Americans with jobs for eight years.  (from Wikipedia)