November 28 - Republic Day in Chad

Posted on November 28, 2020

Did you know that the nation of Chad has relatively untapped reserves of oil, uranium, and gold? It seems that it would be a rich nation, with all those (and more) resources, but actually it is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world!

You can see that Chad is land-locked.

Today is NOT Chad's Independence Day. That is on August 11, and it commemorates the African nation's independence from France in 1960.

Today, instead, commemorates November 28, 1958, when Chad gained "autonomous status" and was able to set up a republican government. But the government has been run for the last 30 years by a former general who gained power by overthrowing the president he was supposed to serve. There is a lot of political instability, attempted coups, violence, and human rights violations.

One thing that might lead to some of the lack of unity is that Chad has a lot of different ethnic groups and languages. Most everybody speaks two or more languages - with one of them being one of the two official languages (Arabic or French) - and there are more than 100 different languages and even more named ethnic groups. The names of these various ethnic groups are not familiar to me: Sara, Kanembu, Masalit, Bidio, Dadjo, Tama, Tupuri, and many more!

Above, two Kanembu brothers.
Below, an Ouaddaian girl.

Of course there are natural beauties in every country!

November 27 - Why-oh-why-oh-why???

Posted on November 27, 2020

Today is the anniversary of a hoax!

On this date in 1809, at 5:00 a.m., a chimney sweep arrived at 54 Berners Street, Westminster, London, England.

A maid answered the door and told him that they hadn't ordered a sweep! His services were not required. The maid probably thought that the sweep had got the wrong address - but a few minutes later another sweep arrived - and then another and another. Twelve chimney sweeps who hadn't been ordered arrived early that morning and had to be sent away.

But then a huge delivery of coal (that hadn't been ordered) arrived, and wedding cakes... Then doctors, lawyers, vicars, priests - these had been told that someone in the house was dying and needed medicine, wills, or last rites! Then fishmongers, shoemakers, and other tradesmen... A dozen pianos and an organ were delivered and sent away! Most startling of all, in my mind: The Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Mayor of London - all these important folks arrived, claiming to have an appointment that had never been made.

What was going on?

The street was super congested with carts and carriages - and soon onlookers. Two onlookers were Theodore Hook and Samuel Beazley, who were watching from the house directly across from 54 Berners Street. 

Soon police officers had to be stationed at each end of the street to stop deliveries and visits before they could dive into the narrow street and cause more confusion. A suprisingly large chunk of London basically came to a standstill!

Why was all of this happening?

I will explain how it happened, but you may still be wondering why-oh-why-oh-why! 

Theodore Hooke

You see, Hook made a bet with his friend Beazley: he said he

could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address in a week.

Then he wrote THOUSANDS of letters in the name of the owner of 54 Berners, a woman named Mrs. Tottenham. Of course the letters were order things like coal and pianos and wedding cakes, or they were ordering services like will making and chimney sweeping. Each letter stated recommendations from "people of quality." 

Of course, this sort of hoax has real consequences. People lost time and money over this "joke." Hook would have faced criminal charges - except for the fact that his guilt was never discovered.

Also on this date:

Birthday of artist Frederic Crowninshield

Maaveerar Naal in Sri Lanka

You're Welcoming Day
(Friday After Thanksgiving)

Black Friday
(Friday After Thanksgiving)

Buy Nothing Day
(Friday After Thanksgiving)

Sinkie Day
(Friday After Thanksgiving)

(Friday After Thanksgiving)
(Friday After Thanksgiving)
(Friday After Thanksgiving)
(Friday After Thanksgiving)

(Friday After Thanksgiving)

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November 26 - National Milk Day in India

Posted on November 26, 2020

Today is the birthday of "the father of the White Revolution."

"White Revolution"?

Dr. Verghese Kurien is also called the Milkman of India, and Wikipedia gives his occupation as a "social entrepreneur."

Kurien, who was born on this date in 1921, needed a scholarship to attend university, and apparently the only government scholarship left was one to study dairy engineering. But Kurien ended up "cheating" on the scholarship and - once he'd reached Michigan State University - studied metallurgical engineering and nuclear engineering! (Not necessarily the sort of "cheating" that means less work!)

Kurien returned to India with master's degree in mechanical engineering.

But the government still had Kurien pegged as a dairy guy, and he was sent to a run-down creamery. Dairy farmers in India, at that time, had a problem with having too much milk in some seasons and not enough milk in others, and the nation didn't have enough cows to meet its own dairy needs. Kurien started tinkering with primitive dairy equipment and ended up - with colleagues - pioneering a dairy co-op. With the collaboration Kurien helped build, the invention of making powdered milk, cheese, and condensed milk from buffalos' milk, rather than from cows' milk, was a game changer - because buffalo were plentiful!

When I say "buffalo" were plentiful,
don't think of American bison!
This is a photo of the buffalo commonly
used by dairy farmers in India.

Because of Kurien's work - along with all the other scientists and dairy workers - India went from being milk-deficient to being the world's largest dairy milk provider! In just 30 years, the milk output was multiplied by four!

More than that, Kurien also fought against multinational corporations like Nestle - and won! - and helped make India self-sufficient in edible oils because the "oil king" corporations used horrible and sometimes violent methods to maintain profits and market domination.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first European spotting Maui

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