Steamboat Willie premieres ….

Steamboat Willie, an animated short film directed by Walt Disney, debuted this day in 1928. The cartoon is considered to be the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie and was the first fully synchronized sound cartoon.

In 1994, members of the animated field voted Steamboat Willie 13th in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons that listed the greatest cartoons of all time. In 1998 the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for being deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” (from Wikipedia)

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Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and geologist, is best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and, in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted in a process he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence this date, in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, Darwin examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and was honored by burial in Westminster Abbey.

Black Friday

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Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The term dates back to at least 1966, although its usage was primarily on the East coast. The term has become more common in other parts of the country since 2000. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November. According to Reuters, in 2007 135 million people participated in the Black Friday shopping rush.

Black Friday is not an official holiday, but as many workers have the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday, this increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas and holiday season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers (depending on the location) such as Sears, Best Buy, Macy’s and Walmart have been reported to open as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout the day until midnight the following Saturday. Upon opening, retailers offer door-buster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the term “Black Friday” has been traced back only to the 1960s.

The term “Black Friday” may have originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit). (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)

Thanksgiving is here

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Thanksgiving is an annual tradition, which since 1863, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. During Thanksgiving Day families and friends usually gather for a large meal. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year in the US, and therefore flights and hotels are very expensive around this time. Thanksgiving is at least a four-day weekend vacation for schools and colleges. Most business and government workers are given Thanksgiving and the day after (Black Friday) as paid holidays. As people reunite with friends and family at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Eve — the night before Thanksgiving — is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars and clubs.

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In New York City (Manhattan), the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually. This huge celebration is televised nationally and features popular large balloons of cartoon characters and TV personalities. The Santa Claus float traditionally ends the Thanksgiving Parade, as this holiday is unofficially the sign for the beginning of the Christmas season. On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, people start buying their Christmas gifts.

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The first Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive the cold winter that year. The feast lasted for three days. A note of the Governor of Plymouth Colony regarding the turkeys eaten during the very first Thanksgiving celebration probably gave rise to the tradition of having turkey at Thanksgiving since turkey is the featured item on nearly any Thanksgiving table all over the country. Unofficially, the day is often referred to as “Turkey Day.” (from www.cute-calendar.com)

Children’s Day

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Universal Children’s Day, first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, first to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and second to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children. It was also chosen as the day to celebrate childhood and is celebrated annually.

November 20 is also the anniversary of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the same day in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 countries.

In some areas, UNICEF holds events to draw particular attention to children’s rights. These may be to stimulate interest in the media around the world or to start nationwide campaigns, for instance on the importance of immunizations.

(from http://www.cute-calendar.com)

Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address is a speech by President Abraham Lincoln, one of the best known in American history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the Civil War on the afternoon of this day in 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, was one of the greatest and most influential statements of national purpose. In just over two minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis, with “a new birth of freedom,” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens. Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.

Beginning with the now-iconic phrase “Four score and seven years ago”—referring to the Declaration of Independence in 1776—Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States as stated in the Declaration of Independence. In the context of the Civil War, Lincoln also memorialized the sacrifices of those who gave their lives at Gettysburg and extolled virtues for the listeners (and the nation) to ensure the survival of America’s representative democracy: that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (from Wikipedia)

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)