World Water Day …


World Water Day was first observed this day in 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 as World Day for Water. It was first formally proposed in the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance has grown significantly ever since.

The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world’s water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.

In addition to the UN member states, a number of non-governmental organizations promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. (from Wikipedia and


Alcatraz closes …


The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (often just referred to as Alcatraz) was a maximum high-security federal prison on Alcatraz Island, one and a quarter miles off the coast of San Francisco, which operated from 1934 to this date in 1963 when it closed.

The main prison building was built in 1910–12 during its time as a United States military prison; Alcatraz had been the site of a citadel since the 1860’s. Acquired by the United States Department of Justice on October 12, 1933, the island became a prison of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in August 1934 after the buildings were modernized to meet the requirements of a top-notch security prison. Given this high security and the location of Alcatraz in the cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, the prison operators believed Alcatraz to be escape-proof and America’s strongest prison.

Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons. One of the world’s most notorious and best-known prisons over the years, Alcatraz housed some 1,576 of America’s most ruthless criminals including Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman of Alcatraz”) and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. It also provided housing for the Bureau of Prisons staff and their families. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts during the 29 years of the prison’s existence, the most notable of which was the violent escape attempt of May 1946 known as the “Battle of Alcatraz,” and the arguably successful “Escape from Alcatraz” by Frank Morris, John Angelin and Clarence Angelin in June 1962 in one of the most intricate escapes ever devised. Faced with high maintenance costs and a poor reputation, Alcatraz closed in 1963.


The prison cells typically measured 9 feet by 5 feet and 7 feet high, were primitive and lacked privacy, with a bed, a desk, and a washbasin and toilet on the back wall, with few furnishings except a blanket. African-Americans were segregated due to racial abuse being prevalent. D-Block housed the worst inmates, and five cells at the end of it were designated as “The Hole,” where badly behaving prisoners would be sent for periods of punishment, often brutally so.

Today the penitentiary is a public museum and one of San Francisco’s major tourist attractions, with some 1.5 million visitors annually. The former prison is now operated by the National Park Service. (from Wikipedia)


First day of Spring ….


Today is the first day of Spring, according to the astronomical definition. It is also called the spring equinox. Spring, one of the four temperate seasons, is the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth.

The specific definition of the exact timing of “spring” varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox or the first day of spring, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses.

In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to “spring forth,” giving the season its name. Snow, if a normal part of winter, begins to melt, and streams swell with runoff. Frosts, if a normal part of winter, become less severe.

Unstable weather may more often occur during Spring, when warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Flooding is also most common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year because of snowmelt, accelerated by warm rains. (from Wikipedia and

St. Patrick’s Day …


Saint Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day that celebrates Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of Irland’s patron saints, and is generally celebrated on 17th of March.

The day is a national holiday of Ireland: it is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland. In Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Argentina and New Zealand, it is widely celebrated, but is not an official holiday.

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by those of Irish descent and increasingly by people of other ethnicities as well, notably in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Celebrations are generally themed around all things Irish and, by association, the color green. Both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green, eating Irish food and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink and attending parades, which have a particularly long history in the United States and in Canada. (from

First Liquid Rocket Launched by Robert Goddard


Robert Hutchings Goddard was an American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor who is credited with creating and building the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on this date in 1926, ushering in an era of space flight and innovation. Goddard and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941, achieving altitudes as high as 1.6 miles and speeds as fast as 550 mph.

Goddard’s work as both theorist and engineer anticipated many of the developments that were to make spaceflight possible. He has been called the man who ushered in the Space Age. Two of Goddard’s 214 patented inventions — a multi-stage rocket (1914), and a liquid-fuel rocket (1914) — were important milestones toward spaceflight. His 1919 monograph A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes is considered one of the classic texts of 20th-century rocket science. Goddard successfully applied three-axis control, gyroscopes and steerable thrust to rockets to effectively control their flight.

Although his work in the field was revolutionary, Goddard received very little public support for his research and development work. The press sometimes ridiculed his theories of spaceflight. As a result, he became protective of his privacy and his work. Years after his death, at the dawn of the Space Age, he came to be recognized as the founding father of modern rocketry. He not only recognized the potential of rockets for atmospheric research, ballistic missiles and space travel, but was the first to scientifically study, design and construct the rockets needed to implement those ideas. (from Wikipedia)


The rubber band was invented this date in 1845. Can you imagine life without them?


Ides of March


The Ides of March is the name of the 15th day of March in the Roman calendar. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. His death marks a turning point in Roman history. Some Romans celebrate the Ides of March as new year celebrations. In Canada, the day is celebrated with the drinking of Bloody Caesars. (from

Cotton Gin Patented


Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin in 1793. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. Whitney’s invention made upland short cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States.

A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation. The fibers are then processed into various cotton goods such as linens, while any undamaged cotton is used largely for textiles, including clothing. Seeds may be used to grow more cotton or to produce cottonseed oil.


Although simple handheld roller gins had been used in India and other countries since at least 500 AD, the first modern mechanical cotton gin was patented this date in 1794 by Whitney. However, the Indian worm-gear roller gin, invented sometime around the sixteenth century, has remained virtually unchanged up to the present time. Whitney’s gin used a combination of a wire screen and small wire hooks to pull the cotton through, while brushes continuously removed the loose cotton lint to prevent jams. It revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States, but has been identified as an inadvertent contributing factor to the outbreak of the American Civil War. (from Wikipedia)

 PHOTO:  A model of a 19th-century cotton gin on display at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden, Connecticut.