Happy National Hammock Day!

June 22, 2017 11:41 am

Yesterday was the first day of summer, so it's only fitting that today is National Hammock Day. There's no better way to celebrate the summer season than by posting up between two trees for a day of reading, relaxing or snuggling up with the one you love.

Here are some fun facts about hammocks that you might not know.

  • Hammocks were first invented by the Central and South Americans for sleeping off of the ground.
  • Later, hammocks were used by sailors aboard ships to save space and create a more comfortable bed than the hard ground.
  • In the 1920s, hammocks were used by parents to contain babies just learning to crawl.
  • The earliest hammocks were made of tree bark! Since then, hammocks have been made of rope, sisal, palm fronds and other natural materials.
  • The earliest hammocks prevented against disease and attack. Their breathable materials didn't get infected with viruses and disease the way blankets and mattresses did, and because they kept the sleeper elevated off the ground, they protected against bites from snakes, scorpions and other venomous creatures.
  • Styles of hammocks reflect the regions where they originated. For example, the Mayan and Nicaraguan hammocks have a loose weave made from a supportive net, while Brazilian hammocks are made of a cotton fabric that is a bit more durable.

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Happy Summer Solstice, Dahlgren!

June 21, 2017 11:19 am

Today is the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also the longest day of the year for anyone north of the Equator. Here are some fascinating facts about this annual phenomenon.

  • Because the Earth orbits the sun on a tilted axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets more sun exposure between March and September. The peak sunlight is between June 21 and June 22, hence the Summer Solstice.
  • On Tuesday, June 21, most people in America will get 1.5 extra hours of sunlight. This time gets longer the further north you are (for example, Iceland gets about 20 hours of daylight during the Summer Solstice!)
  • Just because the Summer Solstice gives us more sunlight doesn't mean that it's the latest sunset or the earliest sunrise of the year.
  • Every year, the Earth's rotation slows slightly due to tidal friction. This means that every year, the days get very, very slightly longer. 4.5 billion years ago it took just 6 hours for the Earth to complete a rotation, while today, of course, it takes 24 hours.
  • Despite the slowing of Earth's rotation, it doesn't mean that each year marks the new longest day in history. This is because there are other factors affecting the rotation besides just tidal friction (including melting glacial ice, geologic activity at the planet's core, earthquakes and more).

The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year [Vox]

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Happy Flag Day, Dahlgren!

June 14, 2017 11:26 am

June 14 is Flag Day, a holiday that many Americans know little about. This patriotic holiday commemorates the day when our newly founded country adopted our current flag back on June 14, 1777, but it wasn't until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson maade the hoiday official. In August of 1949, an Act of Congress established Flag Day, but it's still not recognized as an official federal holiday.

Here are some more facts about Flag Day:

  • Pennsylania was the first state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday.
  • The oldest Flag Day parade in the country is held in Fairfield, Washington. It began in 1909 or 1910.
  • The earliest written reference to Flag Day is cited in Kansas: a Cyclopedia of State History, published by Standard Publishing Company of Chicago in 1912. It credits George Morris of Hartford, Connecticut using the phrase.
  • In 1885, a schoolteacher named Bernard J. Cigrand held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at the Stony Hill School. Later, after he moved to Chicago, he held a public school children's celebration of Flag Day with more than 300,000 children.
  • William T. Kerr, a native of Pittsburgh, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888.
  • Today, Americans are encouraged to fly an American flag during the week surrounding Flag Day.
  • Many local government buildings fly their flags and hold ceremonies celebrating the flag's history on Flag Day.

The History Of Flag Day [US Flag]

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