Today is … FRIDAY THE 13th.
The fear of Friday the 13th is so big that it has its own name. It’s called friggatriskaidekaphobia – or triskaidekaphobia for short.
Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words Triskaidekaphobia, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear.
Now Friday the 13th is not universally seen as a day of misery. For example, in Italy, Friday the 17th and not Friday the 13th is considered to be a day that brings bad luck. In fact, the number 13 is thought to be a lucky number!
In many Spanish-speaking countries and in Greece, Tuesday the 13th is seen as a day of misfortune. And …. For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday.
OK, that’s enough of this Friday 13th silliness! Get your notebooks ready, and put your chewing gum in the bin! Edumacation coming up!
On this Day in History
1773 – The Whirlpool Galaxy is discovered by Charles Messier. The famous Whirlpool galaxy Messier 51 (M51, NGC 5194) is one of the most conspicuous, and probably the most well-known spiral galaxy in the sky.
The Whirlpool Galaxy is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous spiral galaxies in the sky.
The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.
M51 is visible through binoculars on a dark night, but with modern amateur telescopes this galaxy is truly a sight to behold. It is very forgiving on the instrument, when seen even through a humble 10 cm telescope the basic outlines of M51 and its companion are visible. Under dark skies, and with a moderate eyepiece through a 15 cm telescope, one can detect M51’s intrinsic spiral structure. With larger (>30 cm) instruments M51 is simply breathtaking. The various spiral bands are very obvious and several HII regions appear to be visible, and M51 can be seen to be attached to M51B. The shape of the X-formation in the nucleus has often been compared to the Christian cross.
1775 – The United States Continental Congress orders the establishment of the Continental Navy (later renamed the United States Navy).
1792 – In Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) is laid.
1843 – In New York City, Henry Jones and 11 others found B’nai B’rith (the oldest Jewish service organization in the world).
The Independent Order of B’nai B’rith (IPA: /bəneɪ ‘brɪθ/; Hebrew: בני ברית, “Sons of the Covenant”) is the oldest continually operating Jewish service organization in the world. It was founded in New York City by Henry Jones and 11 others, on October 13, 1843.
The organization is engaged in a wide variety of community service and welfare activities, including the promotion of Jewish rights, assisting hospitals and victims of natural disasters, awarding scholarships to Jewish college students, and opposing anti-Semitism and racism through its Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy.
The organization’s main body is B’nai B’rith International, the entity that works with hundreds of countries around the world to increase the welfare of resident Jews.
1845 – A majority of voters in the Republic of Texas approve a proposed constitution, that if accepted by the U.S. Congress, will make Texas a U.S. state.
1881 – Revival of the Hebrew language as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (a key figure in the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language) and friends agree to use Hebrew exclusively in their conversations.
1884 – Greenwich is established as universal time meridian of longitude. Greenwich is a district in south-east London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Greenwich. It is best known for its maritime history and as giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. Which was chosen as the universal time meridian of longitude from which standard times throughout the world are calculated.
The town became the site of a Royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music.
The town became a popular resort in the 17th century with many grand houses, such as Vanbrugh castle established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the sitting of the Cutty Sark and Gypsy Moth IV next to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created.
(Greenwich is pronounced: Gren–itch = ‘Grenitch’.)
1894 – The first Merseyside ‘derby’ football match was played at Goodison Park between Liverpool and Everton, with Everton winning 3 – 0.
1917 – The “Miracle of the Sun” is witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people in the Cova da Iria in Fátima, Portugal. The Miracle of the Sun is an alleged miraculous event witnessed by as many as 100,000 people on 13 October 1917 in the Cova da Iria fields near Fátima, Portugal. Those in attendance had assembled to observe what the Portuguese secular newspapers had been ridiculing for months as the absurd claim of three shepherd children that a miracle was going to occur at high-noon in the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917.
According to many witness statements, after a downfall of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. It was said to be significantly less bright than normal, and cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the shadows on the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening some of those present who thought it meant the end of the world. Some witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became “suddenly and completely dry.”
Estimates of the number of witnesses range from 30,000-40,000 by Avelino de Almeida, writing for the Portuguese newspaper O Século, to 100,000, estimated by Dr. Joseph Garrett, professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra, both of whom were present that day.
The miracle was attributed by believers to Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young shepherd children in 1917, as having been predicted by the three children on 13 July, 19 August, and 13 September 1917. The children reported that the Lady had promised them that she would on 13 October reveal her identity to them and provide a miracle “so that all may believe.”
According to these reports, the miracle of the sun lasted approximately ten minutes. The three children also reported seeing a panorama of visions, including those of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people.
The most widely cited descriptions of the events reported at Fatima are taken from the writings of John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher. De Marchi spent seven years in Fátima, from 1943 to 1950, conducting original research and interviewing the principles at undisturbed length. In The Immaculate Heart, published in 1952, De Marchi reports that, “their ranks (those present on 13 October) included believers and non-believers, pious old ladies and scoffing young men. Hundreds, from these mixed categories, have given formal testimony. Reports do vary; impressions are in minor details confused, but none to our knowledge has directly denied the visible prodigy of the sun.”
Some of the witness statements follow below. They are taken from John De Marchi’s several books on the matter.
• “Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws — the sun ‘danced’ according to the typical expression of the people.” ― Avelino de Almeida, writing for O Século (Portugal’s most widely circulated and influential newspaper, which was pro-government and anti-clerical at the time Almeida’s previous articles had been to satirize the previously reported events at Fátima).
- • “The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat.” ― Dr. Domingos Pinto Coelho, writing for the newspaper Ordem.
• “The sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl, when suddenly a clamor was heard from all the people. The sun, whirling, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible.” ― Dr. Almeida Garrett, Professor of Natural Sciences at Coimbra University.
• “As if like a bolt from the blue, the clouds were wrenched apart, and the sun at its zenith appeared in all its splendor. It began to revolve vertiginously on its axis, like the most magnificent firewheel that could be imagined, taking on all the colors of the rainbow and sending forth multi-colored flashes of light, producing the most astounding effect. This sublime and incomparable spectacle, which was repeated three distinct times, lasted for about ten minutes. The immense multitude, overcome by the evidence of such a tremendous prodigy, threw themselves on their knees.” ― Dr. Formigão, a professor at the seminary at Santarem, and a priest.
- • “I feel incapable of describing what I saw. I looked fixedly at the sun, which seemed pale and did not hurt my eyes. Looking like a ball of snow, revolving on itself, it suddenly seemed to come down in a zig-zag, menacing the earth. Terrified, I ran and hid myself among the people, who were weeping and expecting the end of the world at any moment.” ― Rev. Joaquim Lourenço, describing his boyhood experience in Alburitel, eighteen kilometers from Fatima.
• “On that day of October 13, 1917, without remembering the predictions of the children, I was enchanted by a remarkable spectacle in the sky of a kind I had never seen before. I saw it from this veranda…” ― Portuguese poet Afonso Lopes Vieira.
Critical evaluation of the event
No scientific accounts exist of any unusual solar or astronomic activity during the time the sun was reported to have “danced”, and there are no witness reports of any unusual solar phenomenon further than forty miles out from Cova da Iria.
De Marchi claims that the prediction of an unspecified “miracle”, the abrupt beginning and end of the alleged miracle of the sun, the varied religious backgrounds of the observers, the sheer numbers of people present, and the lack of any known scientific causative factor make a mass hallucination unlikely. That the activity of the sun was reported as visible by those up to 18 kilometers away, also precludes the theory of a collective hallucination or mass hysteria, according to De Marchi.
Pio Scatizzi, S.J. describes events of Fátima and concludes:
- The … solar phenomena were not observed in any observatory. Impossible that they should escape notice of so many astronomers and indeed the other inhabitants of the hemisphere… there is no question of an astronomical or meteorological event phenomenon …Either all the observers in Fátima were collectively deceived and erred in their testimony, or we must suppose an extra-natural intervention.
Steuart Campbell, writing for the 1989 edition of Journal of Meteorology, postulated that a cloud of stratospheric dust changed the appearance of the sun on 13 October, making it easy to look at, and causing it to appear yellow, blue, and violet and to spin. In support of his hypothesis, Mr. Campbell reports that a blue and reddened sun was reported in China as documented in 1983.
Joe Nickell, a skeptic and investigator of paranormal phenomena, claims that the position of the phenomenon, as described by the various witnesses, is at the wrong azimuth and elevation to have been the sun. He suggests the cause may have been a sundog. Sometimes referred to as a parhelion or “mock sun”, a sundog is a relatively common atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with the reflection/refraction of sunlight by the numerous small ice crystals that make up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. A sundog is, however, a stationary phenomenon, and would not explain the reported appearance of the “dancing sun”. Nickell suggests an explanation for this and other similar phenomena may lie in temporary retinal distortion, caused by staring at the intense light and/or by the effect of darting the eyes to and fro so as to avoid completely fixed gazing (thus combining image, after image and movement). Nickell concludes that there was
“likely a combination of factors, including optical and meteorological phenomena (the sun being seen through thin clouds, causing it to appear as a silver disc; an alteration in the density of the passing clouds, so that the sun would alternatively brighten and dim, thus appearing to advance and recede; dust or moisture droplets in the atmosphere, imparting a variety of colours to sunlight; and/or other phenomena).”
However, there are marked problems with the sundog theory because the meteorological conditions at the time of the Miracle of the Sun were not conducive to such an occurrence. Sundogs occur in the presence of cirrus clouds, which are made out of ice, not water droplets. A sundog could have occurred prior to the rainstorm but not trailing the rainstorm, which is when the phenomenon occurred. A sundog would have to have occurred, at very least, hours prior to the storm, since cirrus clouds can precede a rainstorm by a few hours. The short and brief rain experienced before the sun event, on the other hand, indicates cumulonimbus clouds.
Not everyone reported seeing the sun “dance, including the children, who reported seeing Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph blessing the people. Some people only saw the radiant colours. Others saw nothing at all.
Paul Simons, in an article entitled “Weather Secrets of Miracle at Fátima”, states that he believes it possible that some of the optical effects at Fatima may have been caused by a cloud of dust from the Sahara.
Kevin McClure claims that the crowd at Cova da Iria may have been expecting to see signs in the sun, as similar phenomena had been reported in the weeks leading up to the miracle. On this basis he believes that the crowd saw what it wanted to see. But it has been objected that McClure’s account fails to explain similar reports of people miles away, who by their own testimony were not even thinking of the event at the time, or the sudden drying of people’s sodden, rain-soaked clothes. Kevin McClure stated that he had never seen such a collection of contradictory accounts of a case in any of the research he had done in the previous ten years.
Leo Madigan believes that the various witness reports of a miracle are accurate, however he alleges inconsistency of witnesses, and suggests that astonishment, fear, exaltation and imagination must have played roles in both the observing and the retelling. Madigan likens the experiences to prayer, and considers that the spiritual nature of the phenomenon explains what he describes as the inconsistency of the witnesses.
Author Lisa Schwebel claims that the event was a supernatural extra-sensory phenomenon. Schwebel notes that the solar phenomenon reported at Fátima is not unique – there have been several reported cases of high-pitched religious gatherings culminating in the sudden and mysterious appearance of lights in the sky.
It has been argued that the Fátima phenomenon and many UFO sights share a common cause, or even that the phenomenon was an alien craft.
Many years after the events in question, Stanley L. Jaki, a professor of physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, Benedictine priest and author of a number of books reconciling science and Catholicism, proposed a unique theory about the supposed miracle. Jaki believes that the event was natural and meteorological in nature, but that the fact the event occurred at the exact time predicted was a miracle.
The event was officially accepted as a miracle by the Roman Catholic Church on 13 October 1930. On 13 October 1951, papal legate Cardinal Tedeschini told the million gathered at Fátima that on 30 October, 31 October, 1 November, and 8 November 1950, Pope Pius XII himself witnessed the miracle of the sun from the Vatican gardens.
1924 – In Great Britain, – Labour Party leader Ramsay MacDonald became the first Prime Minister to make an election broadcast on BBC radio.
1940 – Princess Elizabeth, aged 14, (now Queen Elizabeth II), made her first radio broadcast to child evacuees.
1943 – World War II: The new government of Italy sides with the Allies and declares war on Germany.
The New York Times – front page news story
1958 – Burial of Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII on the 41st anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun”.
1958 – Michael Bond publishes the first story on Paddington Bear. Michael Bond, OBE, is an English children’s author. He is the creator of Paddington Bear and has also written about the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, as well as the animated BBC TV series The Herbs. Bond also writes culinary mystery stories for adults featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound, Pommes Frites.
Michael Bond was born in Newbury, Berkshire, England on 13th January 1926. He was educated at Presentation College, Reading. During World War II Michael Bond served in both the Royal Air Force and the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army.
He began writing in 1945 and sold his first short story to a magazine called ‘London Opinion’. This experience helped him decide that he wanted to be a writer.
It was while Michael Bond was working as a television cameraman for the BBC that he first came up with the idea for Paddington and he recalls in his own words how this came about:
“I bought a small toy bear on Christmas Eve 1956. I saw it left on a shelf in a London store and felt sorry for it. I took it home as a present for my wife Brenda and named it Paddington as we were living near Paddington Station at the time. I wrote some stories about the bear, more for fun than with the idea of having them published. After ten days I found that I had a book on my hands. It wasn’t written specifically for children, but I think I put into it the kind things I liked reading about when I was young.”
Michael Bond sent the book to his agent, Harvey Unna, who liked it and after sending it to several publishers it was eventually accepted by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins). The publishers commissioned an illustrator, Peggy Fortnum, and the very first book “A Bear Called Paddington” was published on 13th October 1958. After the first Paddington book was accepted, Michael Bond went on to write a whole series.
The polite immigrant bear from Darkest Peru, with his old bush hat, battered suitcase and marmalade sandwiches became a classic English children’s literature icon.
In fact – by 1965 his books were so successful that Michael was able to give up his job with the BBC in order to become a full-time writer.
Since the first publication the Paddington books have sold more than thirty-five million copies worldwide and have been translated into over forty different languages, including Latin.
Paddington books have been translated into thirty languages across seventy titles and sold worldwide. Over 265 licensees, making thousands of different products across the UK, Europe, USA, Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia and South Africa all benefit from the universal recognition of Paddington Bear.
In total Michael Bond has written almost 150 books, including his autobiography ‘Bears and Forebears’.
Michael Bond sadly passed away 4 1/2 months ago, in London on 27 June 2017, at the wonderful age of 91. Thank you Michael, for adding wonderfulness to children’s lives, and to the world in general.
1963 – The term Beatlemania was coined after The Beatles appeared at the Palladium, in London. They made their debut as the top of the bill on ITV’s ‘Sunday Night at The London Palladium.’
1967 – The first game in the history of the American Basketball Association is played as the Anaheim Amigos lose to the Oakland Oaks 134-129 in Oakland, California.
1971 – ‘World’ Series: The first night game in ‘World’ Series history is played at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates.
1972 – Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes in the Andes mountains, in between the borders of Argentina and Chile. By December 23, 1972 only 16 out of 45 people lived long enough to be rescued.
1983 – Ameritech Mobile Communications (now AT&T) launched the first US cellular network in Chicago, Illinois. A cellular network is a radio network made up of a number of radio cells (or just cells) each served by a fixed transmitter, known as a cell site or base station. These cells are used to cover different areas in order to provide radio coverage over a wider area than the area of one cell. Cellular networks are inherently asymmetric with a set of fixed main transceivers each serving a cell and a set of distributed (generally, but not always, mobile) transceivers which provide services to the network’s users.
Cellular networks offer a number of advantages over alternative solutions:
- • increased capacity
- • reduced power usage
- • better coverage
A good (and simple) example of a cellular system is an old taxi driver’s radio system where the taxi company will have several transmitters based around a city each operated by an individual operator.
1992 – In Great Britain, thousands of miners lose their jobs. The government announced plans to close one-third of Britain’s deep coal mines, putting 31,000 miners out of work.
BBC News Story
1993 – Captured American Pilot Mike Durant is filmed in an interview in captivity by a CNN camera crew.
Michael ‘Mike’ J. Durant (born July 23, 1961) is the American pilot who was held prisoner after a raid in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. Durant served in the United States Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers) as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. He retired from the Army as a CW4 Blackhawk helicopter Master Aviator in the 160th SOAR after participating in combat operations Prime Chance, Just Cause, Desert Storm, and Gothic Serpent. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, POW Medal, and numerous others. He and his wife Lisa have six children.
1994 – In Northern Ireland – Three main loyalist paramilitary groups announced a ceasefire following an IRA announcement weeks earlier.
BBC News on the Day complete with Video footage and Timeline of events
Born on this Day
1853 – Lillie Langtry, British actress (d. 1929)
1904 – Wilfred Pickles, English actor and broadcaster (d. 1978)
1917 – George Virl Osmond, Osmond family patriarch (d. 2007)
1925 – Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Known as ‘The Iron Lady’ she was the longest-serving Prime Minister for more than 150 years.
1934 – Nana Mouskouri, Greek singer and politician
1941 – Paul Simon, American singer and musician (Simon and Garfunkel)
1944 – Robert Lamm, American musician (Chicago)
1946 – Edwina Currie, British politician
1947 – Sammy Hagar, American singer (Van Halen)
1948 – John Ford Coley, American musician – most well-known for his partnership in the musical duo England Dan & John Ford Coley.
1959 – Marie Osmond, American entertainer
1962 – Kelly Preston, American actress – married to John Travolta since 1991.
1969 – Nancy Kerrigan, American figure skater
Thought for the Day
What makes you think that what you’ve done in the past is worth carrying with you, like an old burden, into this perfect moment.?
Let go of it.
Mentally, envisage it as a way too big, dirty, old, overcoat that you have forced yourself to wear, day in, day out, for years.
It’s heavy, … it’s grubby, … it’s horrible.
Imagine yourself shrugging your shoulders and shrugging the overcoat off. Feel it slipping down your arms, falling free of your hands and sliding to the floor around your feet.
Step out of it. Now take your first step away from it. Then stand for a moment and feel how much lighter your life feels without it.
Now – slowly – but in a better frame of mind . . . walk away from it.
DON’T look back. DON’T turn around. You don’t need to look at it – it’s of no use to you.
You don’t need it anymore. Leg it go.
With every step that you take away from it, feel how much lighter you become. Feel how your footsteps become faster . . . until you are almost skipping with joy!
Don’t drag old baggage around with you. Each day is a new start. What’s gone is gone. Start anew. Start NOW.
Well we’ve reached our full input of Edumacation for Friday, and now that you’re filled with information which will surprise and astound some of your family and friends, I want you to go out there and spread that information around, for just like spreading fertiliser around your garden, which helps makes things grow … so your newly learned edumacation will enrich the world. And quite frankly, at the moment, the world really needs as much enriching as possible.
Please, have a truly beautiful Friday. There may be a gremlin that might just get into the day, but remember, it’s not what happens to you which matters in the long run, it’s how you react to what happens to you. You have a choice. Choose wisely because I want you to do the best you can possibly do, for YOU.
Sending squidges in wheel barrow loads …. right to your door!