Monday, October 10, 2011

'Food Day' is in 2 Weeks!

That's right!  Food Day is just two weeks away!  I don't know if I can survive the anticipation!

Am I the only one getting tired of all of the special days, weeks, and months that are being calendared?

Here's just part of the U.N.'s list of special days:
  • February 21st is Mother Language Day
  • March 23rd is World Meteorological Day
  • September 16th is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
  • 2nd Wednesday in October is International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
This sounds like the 'Name A Star' scheme where you pay someone to publish a document naming a star after someone.  Then, because they file a copyright claim for that document, the one charging the fee makes it sound like it's official.  But the International Astronomic Union's website states:

Q: Who is legally responsible for naming objects in the sky?
A: The IAU is the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and surface features on them.  And names are not sold, but assigned according to internationally accepted rules.

Q: What does this mean in practice?
A: Simply this: Names assigned by the IAU are recognized and used by scientists, space agencies, and authorities worldwide.  When observing stars and planets or launching space missions to them, or reporting about them in the news, everybody needs to know exactly which location a particular name refers to.  The names assigned by the IAU are those that are used.  These rules are firm where claims of property could theoretically be made, i.e. primarily in the solar system (where also treaties negotiated through the United Nations apply).  Terrestrial makers of international law have so far had more urgent concerns than creating rules for "buying" totally inaccessible corners of infinite space, so there is no written text that can be twisted and interpreted - just a plain and practical fact.

Q: But if I want to, can I buy the name of a star anyway?
A: Sure, there are people who will be more than happy to take your money....

Every organization seems to believe they have the right to own a calendar day and that everyone should dedicate it just for them and their cause!  It's tiring, and it reduces the significance of those dates that we really should focus on a need, cause, or event.

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