The United Nations’ (UN) World Humanitarian Day is held on August 19 each year. The day honors all humanitarians who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause, and those who have lost their lives in the cause of duty.
The day aims to increase public awareness about humanitarian assistance activities worldwide and the importance of international cooperation.
What Do People Do?
World Humanitarian Day is a day dedicated to humanitarians worldwide, as well as to increase public understanding of humanitarian assistance activities. The day aims to honor humanitarian workers who have lost their lives or injured themselves in the course of their work, and to acknowledge the ongoing work of humanitarian staff around the world.
Many communities and organizations try to increase the importance of humanitarians by distributing publicity and information material. Additionally, some try to speak to the press to help spread these key messages of World Humanitarian Day, while other groups organize public events worldwide that feature humanitarian work.
For the year 2010 and beyond, it is anticipated that World Humanitarian Day will focus on particular humanitarian themes to help increase public awareness.
World Humanitarian Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.
Humanitarians provide life-saving assistance to millions of people worldwide. They place their own lives at risk to help others in conflict zones and areas of natural hazards. More than 700 humanitarian workers have died or experienced the most dangerous situations while trying to help those in need. Humanitarians provide support for different world challenges such as hunger, gender-based violence, refugees and displaced people, help for children, as well as clean water and access to sanitation.
World Humanitarian Day was established by the General Assembly of the UN in December 2008 and was first observed in August 2009. The date of August 19 is the anniversary date of the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad where twenty-two people lost their lives including, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
The total number of people affected by natural disasters has risen over the past decade, and about 211 million people are directly affected each year. Women and children are especially affected because of their ongoing struggles with poverty, insecurity, hunger, poor health and environmental decline. There are new and difficult challenges that arise each year that will require more flexible funding and adaptable humanitarian work. The increasing economic crisis and global challenges such as poverty, global health problems, increase prices and the rising number of people on the move, increases the need for humanitarians each year.
World Humanitarian Day does not have a logo because the day does not “belong” to the UN or any other agency or organization. The media documents support the day by capturing images that show people helping others that are in need of assistance.
Lauren Bacall, the actress whose provocative glamour elevated her to stardom in Hollywood’s golden age and whose lasting mystique put her on a plateau in American culture that few stars reach, died on Tuesday in New York. She was 89.
Her death was confirmed by her son Stephen Bogart. “Her life speaks for itself,” Mr. Bogart said. “She lived a wonderful life, a magical life.”
With an insinuating pose and a seductive, throaty voice — her simplest remark sounded like a jungle mating call, one critic said — Ms. Bacall shot to fame in 1944 with her first movie, Howard Hawks’s adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not,” playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, who became her lover on the set and later her husband.
It was a smashing debut sealed with a handful of lines now engraved in Hollywood history.
“You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve,” her character says to Bogart’s in the movie’s most memorable scene. “You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”
The film was the first of more than 40 for Ms. Bacall, among them “The Big Sleep” and “Key Largo” with Bogart, “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, “Designing Woman” with Gregory Peck, the all-star “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974) and, later in her career, Lars von Trier’s “Dogville” (2003) and “Manderlay” (2005) and Robert Altman’s “Prêt-à-Porter” (1994).
But few if any of her movies had the impact of her first — or of that one scene. Indeed, her film career was a story of ups, downs and long periods of inactivity. Though she received an honorary Academy Award in 2009 “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures,” she was not nominated for an Oscar until 1997.
The theater was kinder to her. She won Tonys for her starring roles in two musicals adapted from classic films: “Applause” (1970), based on “All About Eve,” and “Woman of the Year” (1981), based on the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie of the same name. Earlier she starred on Broadway in the comedies “Goodbye, Charlie” (1959) and “Cactus Flower” (1965).
Though often called a legend, she did not care for the word. “It’s a title and category I am less than fond of,” she wrote in 1994 in “Now,” her second autobiography. “Aren’t legends dead?”
Forever Tied to Bogart
She also expressed impatience, especially in her later years, with the public’s continuing fascination with her romance with Bogart, even though she frequently said that their 12-year marriage was the happiest period of her life.
“I think I’ve damn well earned the right to be judged on my own,” she said in a 1970 interview with The New York Times. “It’s time I was allowed a life of my own, to be judged and thought of as a person, as me.”
Years later, however, she seemed resigned to being forever tied to Bogart and expressed annoyance that her later marriage to another leading actor, Jason Robards Jr., was often overlooked.
“My obit is going to be full of Bogart, I’m sure,” she told Vanity Fair magazine in a profile of her in March 2011, adding: “I’ll never know if that’s true. If that’s the way, that’s the way it is.”
Ms. Bacall was an 18-year-old model in New York when her face on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar caught the eye of Slim Hawks, Howard Hawks’s wife. Brought to Hollywood and taken under the Hawkses’ wing, she won the role in “To Have and Have Not,” loosely based on the novel of the same name.
She played Marie Browning, known as Slim, an American femme fatale who becomes romantically involved with Bogart’s jaded fishing-boat captain, Harry Morgan, known as Steve, in wartime Martinique. Her deep voice and the seductive way she looked at Bogart in the film attracted attention.
Their on-screen chemistry hadn’t come naturally, however. In one of the first scenes she filmed, she asked if anyone had a match. Bogart threw her a box of matches; she lit her cigarette and then threw the box back to him.
“My hand was shaking, my head was shaking, the cigarette was shaking, I was mortified,” she wrote in “By Myself.” “The harder I tried to stop, the more I shook. … I realized that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down, chin low, almost to my chest, and eyes up at Bogart. It worked and turned out to be the beginning of The Look.”
Ms. Bacall’s naturally low voice was further deepened in her early months in Hollywood. Hawks wanted her voice to remain low even during emotional scenes and suggested she find some quiet spot and read aloud. She drove to Mulholland Drive and began reading “The Robe,” making her voice lower and louder than usual.
“Who sat on mountaintops in cars reading books aloud to the canyons?” she later wrote. “I did.”
During her romance with Bogart, she asked him if it mattered to him that she was Jewish. His answer, she later wrote, was “Hell, no — what mattered to him was me, how I thought, how I felt, what kind of person I was, not my religion, he couldn’t care less — why did I even ask?”
An Impulsive Kiss
Ms. Bacall’s love affair with Bogart began with an impulsive kiss. While filming “To Have and Have Not,” he had stopped at her trailer to say good night when he suddenly leaned over, lifted her chin and kissed her. He was 25 years her senior and married at the time to Mayo Methot, his third wife, but to Ms. Bacall, “he was the man who meant everything in the world to me; I couldn’t believe my luck.”
As her fame grew in the ensuing months — she attracted wide publicity in February 1945 when she was photographed on top of a piano, legs draped over the side, with Vice President Harry S. Truman at the keyboard — so did the romance, particularly as she and Bogart filmed “The Big Sleep,” based on a Raymond Chandler whodunit.
But her happiness alternated with despair. Bogart returned to his wife several times before he accepted that the marriage could not be saved. He and Ms. Bacall were married on May 21, 1945, at Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, the home of Bogart’s close friend the writer Louis Bromfield. Bogart was 45; Ms. Bacall was 20.
Returning to work, she soon suffered a setback, when the critics savaged her performance in “Confidential Agent,” a 1945 thriller with Charles Boyer set during the Spanish Civil War. The director was Herman Shumlin, who, unlike Hawks and Bogart on her first two movies, offered her no guidance. “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” she recalled. “I was a novice.”
“After ‘Confidential Agent,’ it took me years to prove that I was capable of doing anything at all worthwhile,” she wrote. “I would never reach the ‘To Have and Have Not’ heights again — on film, anyway — and it would take much clawing and scratching to pull myself even halfway back up that damn ladder.”
“Dark Passage,” her third movie with Bogart, came after several years of concentrating on her marriage. Had she not married Bogart, she told The Times in 1996, her career would probably have flourished, but she did not regret the marriage.
“I would not have had a better life, but a better career,” she said. “Howard Hawks was like a Svengali; he was molding me the way he wanted. I was his creation, and I would have had a great career had he been in control of it. But the minute Bogie was around, Hawks knew he couldn’t control me, so he sold my contract to Warner Bros. And that was the end.”
She was eventually suspended 12 times by the studio for rejecting scripts.
‘And We Made a Noise’
In 1947, as the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated Americans suspected of Communism, Ms. Bacall and Bogart were among 500 Hollywood personalities to sign a petition protesting what they called the committee’s attempt “to smear the motion picture industry.” Investigating individual political beliefs, the petition said, violated the basic principles of American democracy.
The couple flew to Washington as part of a group known as the Committee for the First Amendment, which also included Danny Kaye, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, John Huston, Ira Gershwin and Jane Wyatt. “I am an outraged and angry citizen who feels that my basic civil liberties are being taken away from me,” Bogart said in a statement.
Three decades later, Ms. Bacall would express doubts about “whether the trip to Washington ultimately helped anyone.” But, she added: “It helped those of us at the time who wanted to fight for what we thought was right and against what we knew was wrong. And we made a noise — in Hollywood, a community which should be courageous but which is surprisingly timid and easily intimidated.”
Nevertheless, bowing to studio pressure, Bogart later said publicly he believed the trip to Washington was “ill advised,” and Ms. Bacall went along with him.
A year after that trip she had what she termed “one of my happiest movie experiences” starring with Bogart, Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor in John Huston’s thriller “Key Largo.” It was Bogart’s and Ms. Bacall’s last film together. “Young Man With a Horn” (1950), with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day, in which she played a student married to a jazz trumpeter, was less successful.
Ms. Bacall’s first son, Stephen H. Bogart (named after Bogart’s character in “To Have and Have Not”), was born in 1949. A daughter, Leslie Bogart (named after the actor Leslie Howard), was born in 1952. In a 1995 memoir, Stephen wrote, “My mother was a lapsed Jew, and my father was a lapsed Episcopalian,” adding that he and his sister, Leslie, were raised Episcopalian “because my mother felt that would make life easier for Leslie and me during those post-World War II years.”
Rat Pack Den Mother
Ms. Bacall, however, wrote that she felt “totally Jewish and always would” and that it was Bogart who thought the children should be christened in an Episcopal church because “with discrimination still rampant in the world, it would give them one less hurdle to jump in life’s Olympics.”
She was, she said, happy being a wife and mother. She was also “den mother” to the so-called Hollywood Rat Pack, whose members included Bogart, Frank Sinatra, David Niven, Judy Garland and others. (It would evolve into the better-known Rat Pack whose members included Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.)
In 1952 she campaigned for Adlai E. Stevenson, the Democratic candidate for president, and persuaded Bogart, who had originally supported the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, to join her. The two accompanied Stevenson on motorcades and flew east to help in the final lap of his campaign in New York and Chicago.
Her film career at this point appeared to be going nowhere, but she had no intention of allowing Lauren Bacall the actress to slide into oblivion. In 1953 her fortunes revived with what she called “the best part I’d had in years,” in “How to Marry a Millionaire,” playing alongside Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable as New York models with sights set on finding rich husbands.
In the early 1950s the Bogarts dabbled in radio and the growing medium of television. They starred in the radio adventure series “Bold Venture” and, with Henry Fonda, in a live television version of “The Petrified Forest,” the 1936 film that starred Bogart, Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. In 1956 Ms. Bacall appeared in a television production of Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” in which Coward himself also starred. She would occasionally return to the small screen for the rest of her career, making guest appearances on shows like “The Rockford Files” and “Chicago Hope” and starring in TV movies.
Bogart was found to have cancer of the esophagus in 1956. Although an operation was successful — his esophagus and two lymph nodes were removed — after some months the cancer returned. He died in January 1957 at the age of 57.
Romance With Sinatra
Shortly after Bogart’s death, Ms. Bacall, by then 32, had a widely publicized but brief romance with Sinatra, who had been a close friend of the Bogarts. She moved to New York in 1958 and, three years later, married Mr. Robards, settling in a spacious apartment in the Dakota, on Central Park West, where she continued to live until her death. They had a son, the actor Sam Robards, and were divorced in 1969. She is survived by her sons, Stephen Bogart and Sam Robards; her daughter, Leslie Bogart; and six grandchildren.
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx on Sept. 16, 1924, the daughter of William and Natalie Perske, Jewish immigrants from Poland and Romania. Her parents were divorced when she was 6 years old, and her mother moved to Manhattan and adopted the second half of her maiden name, Weinstein-Bacal.
“I didn’t really have any love in my growing-up life, except for my mother and grandmother,” Ms. Bacall said in the Vanity Fair interview. Her father, she said, “did not treat my mother well.”
From then until her move to Hollywood, Ms. Bacall was known as Betty Bacal; she added an “l” to her name because, she said, the single “l” caused “too much irregularity of pronunciation.” The name Lauren was given her by Howard Hawks before the release of her first film, but family and old friends called her Betty throughout her life, and to Bogart she was always Baby.
Although finances were a problem as she was growing up — “Nothing came easy, everything was worked for” — her mother’s family was close-knit, and through an uncle’s generosity she attended the Highland Manor school for girls in Tarrytown, N.Y., where she graduated from grade school at 11. She went on to Julia Richman High School in Manhattan and also studied acting at the New York School of the Theater and ballet with Mikhail Mordkin, who had on occasion been Pavlova’s partner.
After graduation in 1940, Ms. Bacall became a full-time student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts but left after the first year; her family could no longer subsidize her, and the academy at the time did not offer scholarships to women.
So she turned to modeling, and in 1941, at 16, she landed jobs with David Crystal, a Seventh Avenue dress manufacturer, and Sam Friedlander, who made evening gowns. During lunch hours she would stand outside Sardi’s selling copies of Actor’s Cue, a casting tip sheet, hoping to catch the attention of producers. She also became an usher at Broadway theaters and a hostess at the newly opened Stage Door Canteen.
Her first theater role was a walk-on in a Broadway play called “Johnny 2 x 4.” It paid $15 a week and closed in eight weeks, but she looked back on the experience as “magical.” Another stab at modeling, with the Walter Thornton agency, proved disappointing, but her morale soared in July 1942, with a sentence by George Jean Nathan in Esquire: “The prettiest theater usher — the tall slender blonde in the St. James Theater right aisle, during the Gilbert & Sullivan engagement — by general rapt agreement among the critics, but the bums are too dignified to admit it.”
Later that year she was cast by the producer Max Gordon in “Franklin Street,” a comedy directed by George S. Kaufman, which closed out of town. It was her last time onstage for 17 years.
It was about this time that she saw Bogart in “Casablanca.” She later recalled that she could not understand the reaction of a friend who was “mad” about him. “So much for my judgment at that time,” she said.
In 1942, she met Nicolas de Gunzburg, an editor at Harper’s Bazaar, who took her to meet Diana Vreeland, the fashion editor. After a thorough inspection, Vreeland asked her to return the next day to meet the photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Test shots were taken, and a few days later she was called.
A full-page color picture of her standing in front of a window with the words “American Red Cross Blood Donor Service” on it led to inquiries from David O. Selznick, Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks, among others. The Hawks offer was accepted, and Betty Bacall, 18 years old, left for the West Coast by train with her mother. She returned to New York less than two years later as Lauren Bacall, star.
In her 70s, Ms. Bacall began lending her distinctive voice to television commercials and cartoons, and her movie career again picked up steam. Between 1995 and 2012 she was featured in more than a dozen pictures, most notably “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996), in which she played Barbra Streisand’s monstrous, vain mother.
The role brought her an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actress; the smart money was on her to win. But the Oscar went to Juliette Binoche for her part in “The English Patient,” to the astonishment of almost everyone, including Ms. Binoche.
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Ms. Bacall — who received a consolation prize of sorts when she was named a Kennedy Center Honors winner a few months later — was perhaps prepared for the Oscar rebuff. Shortly before the Academy Awards ceremony, she told an interviewer that she hadn’t been happy for years. “Contented, yes; pleased and proud, yes. But happy, no.”
Still, she said, she had been lucky: “I had one great marriage, I have three great children and four grandchildren. I am still alive. I still can function. I still can work.”
As she said in 1996: “You just learn to cope with whatever you have to cope with. I spent my childhood in New York, riding on subways and buses. And you know what you learn if you’re a New Yorker? The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing.”
Correction: August 15, 2014 An obituary on Wednesday about the actress Lauren Bacall misidentified the borough in New York in which she was born. It is the Bronx, not Brooklyn.
Extreme Volcanoes on Jupiter’s Moon Io
Even on Io, a world known for spouting off, the titanic volcanic eruption seen on August 29, 2013, was among the most powerful ever recorded there – or anywhere else in the solar system.
Mars Orbiters Duck for Cover
Mission planners have devised an unusual strategy for protecting orbiting spacecraft when Comet Siding Spring passes the Red Planet in October.
Tour August’s Sky: Sagittarius and Scorpius
Late summer offers the Teapot of Sagittarius and the nearby arc of the Scorpion’s Tail in the evening, the Perseid meteor shower, and a spectacular pairing of Venus and Jupiter before dawn.
The 2014 Perseid Meteor shower is coming tonight, and you will not want to miss this most sought-after yearly celestial event.
Staring as early as July 17, 2014 and lasting through August 24, 2014, originating in the constellation Perseus, which is the radiant that Comet Swift-Tuttle passes through, the Perseids promise a spectacular viewing. Even though tonight has a bright, waning gibbous Supermoon, while looking east-northeast, if you look away from the Moon, you should be able to see activity during the peak hours of August 12-13, 2014 from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 a.m.. For those who cannot get out tonight to see the shower, you can see the Perseids live online courtesy of the Slooh Community Observatory and NASA. Broadcast live from the Canary Islands, west of the southern border of Morocco. (Africa), these two free webcasts of the meteor shower begin at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Slooh’s website, http://www.slooh.com.
NASA graphic visibility map for the 2014 Perseid meteor shower around the world.
NASA will also stream the Perseids live from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT). At 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT), NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office chief Bill Cooke hosts a live online chat with his colleagues Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw. You can follow the NASA webcast and online chat here: http://www.nasa.gov/watchtheskies/perseids-2014.html#.U-oCUfldWSo.
Even Google gets in on the action with another one of their lovely doodles by honoring the meteor shower:
Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: Constellation Perseus
Active: 17 July — 24 Aug. 2014
Peak Activity: 12-13 Aug. 2014
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Up to 100 meteors per hour
The Perseids usually generate about 60 to 100 meteors per hour. The Moon’s light will block out much of the shower, but you can still see about 30-50 meteors as they descend into Earth’s atmosphere, giving us the bright flash of their beauty. Heck, you may even be lucky to see a fireball, or two.
The Perseids are the most well-known of yearly meteor showers, second only to the Geminids, which occur in December. So, grab yourself a blanket, pull up a comfortable chair, sit back, relax and watch one of Nature’s most beautiful marvels.
Radiant of the Perseid metoer shower. Illustration credit: NASA
The 2014 Perseid meteor shower will peak between August 10 and August 13. A waning Gibbous Moon (the Moon’s phase after a full moon) may make it harder for observers to see the shower. Despite this, astronomers suggest that observers try their luck to catch some Perseids before dawn on August 11, 12 and 13.
The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occur every August, peaking around August 9-13. Consisting of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation, Perseus. This is because, their radiant or the direction of which the shower seems to come from lies in the same direction as Perseus. The constellation lies in the north-eastern part of the sky.
While the skies light up several time a year by other meteor showers , the Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers alike. This is because at its peak, one can view 60 to a 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.
Where to view
The Perseids can be viewed by observers in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are planning to view the shower, look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky and the zenith (the point in sky directly above you). But don’t worry, you do not have to make any major astronomical calculations. Just lay a blanket on the ground, lie down and let your eyes wander around the sky – you will be bound to spot the shower sooner or later.
When to view
The best time to view the Perseids, or most other meteor showers is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.
How to view
There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Perseids:
Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you – viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. It also aims to promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.
International Youth Day focuses on young people all over the world.
Many activities and events that take place around the world on International Youth Day promote the benefits that young people bring into the world. Many countries participate in this global event, which may include youth conferences on issues such as education and employment. Other activities include concerts promoting the world’s youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people’s achievements.
The UN’s International Youth Day is a United Nations day of observance but it is not a public holiday.
The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population. Many of these young men and women live in developing countries and their numbers are expected to rise steeply. The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN’s World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.
In 1998 a resolution proclaiming August 12 as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. That recommendation was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1999. International Youth Day was first observed in 2000. One of the year’s highlights was when eight Latin American and Caribbean youth and youth-related organizations received United Nations World Youth Awards in Panama City, Panama.
The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in black against a white background.
The distance from moon to Earth varies throughout the month and year. On average the distance is about 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers). During a month, when the moon is farthest away from Earth it’s called apogee, when the moon is closest to Earth it is called perigee. When the full moon coincides with being closest to Earth, or perigee, it is called a supermoon. The term Micro Moon refers to a full moon that occurs when the moon is farthest from Earth, or apogee.
No universal definition
There are no universal rules as to how close the moon must be to qualify as a supermoon or a micro moon. timeanddate.com uses the following definition:
If a full moon is closer than 360,000 kilometers (ca. 223,694 miles) at perigee, it is considered a supermoon.
If a full moon occurs when the Moon is farther than 400,000 kilometers (ca. 248,548 miles) at apogee, it is considered to be a Micro Moon.
Supermoons in 2014–2016
Sunday, August 10
Sunday, September 27
Monday, November 14
The technical term for a supermoon is “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system”. In astronomy, the term “syzygy” refers to the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies, which also occurs during a full moon.
Although the sun and the moon’s alignment cause a small increase in tectonic activity, the effects of the supermoon on Earth are minor. Many scientists have conducted studies and haven’t found anything significant that can link the supermoon to for example natural disasters, as some astrologers claim.
According to NASA, the combination of the moon being at its closest and at full moon, should not affect the internal energy balance of the Earth since there are lunar tides every day. There is a small difference in tidal forces exerted by the moon’s gravitational pull at lunar perigee. However, they are too small to overcome the larger forces within the planet.
Typical effects of the moon
Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite and the second brightest object in the sky after the sun. In synchrony with Earth, the moon spins at about the same speed and direction as it orbits around the Earth. This means that the same side always faces Earth, and the half of the moon’s surface that is facing outwards is never directly visible from Earth.
The tides on Earth are mostly generated by the intensity of the moon’s gravitational pull from one side of the Earth to the other. The moon’s gravity can cause small ebbs and flows in the continents called land tides or solid Earth tides. These are greatest during the full and new moons because the sun and moon are aligned on the same or opposite sides of the Earth.
James S. Brady, the White House press secretary who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and then became a symbol of the fight for gun control, championing tighter regulations from his wheelchair, died on Monday in Alexandria, Va. He was 73.
His family confirmed the death but did not specify a cause.
On the rainy afternoon of March 30, 1981, Mr. Brady was struck in a hail of bullets fired by John W. Hinckley Jr., a mentally troubled college dropout who had hoped that shooting the president would impress the actress Jodie Foster, on whom he had a fixation. Mr. Hinckley raised his handgun as Reagan stepped out of a hotel in Washington after giving a speech.
Reagan, a couple of paces from his limousine, was hit, as were a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer. But it was Mr. Brady, shot in the head, who was the most seriously injured. The bullet damaged the right section of his brain, paralyzing his left arm, weakening his left leg, damaging his short-term memory and impairing his speech. Just getting out of a car became a study in determination.
“What I was, I am not now,” Mr. Brady said in 1994. “What I was, I will never be again.”
What Mr. Brady became was an advocate of tough restrictions on the sale of handguns like the $29 pawnshop special that Mr. Hinckley had bought with false identification. “I wouldn’t be here in this damn wheelchair if we had common-sense legislation,” Mr. Brady said in 2011.
Mr. Brady and his wife, Sarah, campaigned for a bill that Congress passed 12 years after the shooting. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, as it was known, ushered in background checks and waiting periods for many gun buyers. The Bradys also pressed for the restoration of a federal ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004.
They issued statements calling for renewed restrictions after episodes like the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Last year, after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York pushed a gun-control bill through the state legislature, the Bradys appeared in a commercial thanking Mr. Cuomo for, as Mrs. Brady put it, “leading the way.” Mrs. Brady said they had been asked to record the commercial by Mr. Cuomo’s sister Maria Cuomo Cole, a friend of hers.
Mr. Brady returned to the White House occasionally. In 2011, he spoke briefly with President Obama — whom he endorsed in 2008 — on the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt. Mr. Brady wore a blue bracelet with Representative Gabrielle Giffords’s name on it and told reporters that he had shown it to the president. Ms. Giffords had been wounded a few weeks earlier in a shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and 12 others wounded.
Mrs. Brady said that the president agreed with “everything that we are for,” but that he had told them the process in Washington took time. She said Mr. Brady had told the president, “It takes two years to make Minute Rice.”
The Bradys later sent recommendations to a White House task force on preventing gun violence, calling for universal background checks. They also recommended safety programs for the nation’s gun owners; Americans own almost 300 million firearms.
After 32 people were killed in shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, the Bradys supported a bill that closed a loophole that had allowed the gunman to buy weapons even though he had earlier been committed to a mental hospital. President George W. Bush signed the measure into law in January 2008.
When he was pressing for the Brady bill, Mr. Brady dismissed as “lamebrain nonsense” the National Rifle Association’s contention that a waiting period would inconvenience law-abiding people who had reason to buy a gun. The idea behind the waiting period was to give the seller time to check on whether the prospective purchaser had a criminal record or had lied in supplying information on the required documents.
Mr. Brady said that five business days was not too much to make purchasers wait. Every day, he once testified, “I need help getting out of bed, help taking a shower and help getting dressed, and — damn it — I need help going to the bathroom. I guess I’m paying for their ‘convenience.’ ”
As the Bradys worked the phones, shoring up supporters, opposition to the bill softened in Congress in the wake of a surge in gun-related violence across the nation and public opinion polls showing crime and violence to be top priorities among voters. On Nov. 30, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady bill into law, with Mr. Brady at his side in a wheelchair.
Still, the Brady bill made it to the White House only after an intensive series of negotiations in the Senate. Eventually, Republicans agreed to a vote in exchange for Democratic assurances of future modifications.
“How sweet it is; how long it took,” Mr. Brady said on the way to the signing ceremony. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimated the restrictions in the Brady bill have blocked two million gun purchases.
Advocating gun restrictions was not the role Mr. Brady had envisioned for himself when he became the White House press secretary in 1981. He was clearly proud of having what he called, with equal parts seriousness and humor, “the second-most challenging job in the free world.”
He had a reputation as a Washington insider. He was also known for his wisecracks, though they sometimes boomeranged on him. As Reagan’s director of public affairs and research during the 1980 presidential race, he was barred from the campaign plane for a week. The offense: He and another Reagan aide had shouted, “Killer trees, killer trees!” while flying over a forest fire. The remark was a not terribly subtle reminder that Reagan had once identified trees as a major source of air pollution.
On his 84th day at the White House, he followed Reagan to a midday speech at the Washington Hilton. As they stepped out into the rain afterward, Mr. Hinckley pulled out his .22-caliber revolver and fired six shots in less than two seconds, hitting the president in the chest and lower right arm and Mr. Brady above one eye.
They were taken to George Washington University Hospital, where one team of doctors operated on Reagan while another operated on Mr. Brady. He remained hospitalized for nine months, and after he was discharged he returned for physical therapy every day. He could manage only a few steps at a time, and sometimes he would blank out. A year or so later, when he started trying to write his name, it would come out JIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
As for the gunman, “maybe he’ll be out on the streets someday soon,” Mr. Brady said in the authorized 1987 biography, “Thumbs Up,” by Mollie Dickinson. “I can’t remember things, I’m here at the hospital every day. Wouldn’t you be depressed?”
Mr. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 and has been confined to a Washington mental hospital since, although he has been allowed to travel to his family’s home in Williamsburg, Va.
Mr. Brady filed a civil suit against Mr. Hinckley, and 14 years after the shooting, Mr. Hinckley agreed to give Mr. Brady and two other victims the profits made from selling his life story. Mr. Brady and the others — Thomas K. Delahanty, a former District of Columbia police officer, and Timothy J. McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent — stood to divide up to $2.9 million selling book and movie rights about Mr. Hinckley.
Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, recalled in a statement released Monday how she and Mrs. Brady spent the hours after the assassination attempt. Mrs. Reagan said they “sat together in a tiny room near the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital, trying to comfort each other while we both were gripped with unspeakable fear.”
“The bond we established then was unlike any other,” she added.
Thinking of Mr. Brady, Mrs. Reagan said, “brings back so many memories — happy and sad — of a time in all of our lives when we learned what it means to ‘play the hand we’re dealt.’ ”
James Scott Brady was born on Aug. 29, 1940, in Centralia, Ill., the only child of Dorothy and Harold Brady, a railroad yardmaster. James Brady grew up to be a train enthusiast with fond memories of the times he had sat in the engineer’s lap and run a switching locomotive.
Before graduating from the University of Illinois in 1962, he served as the president of the campus Young Republicans and the district governor of the state Young Republicans organization. He entered the University of Illinois law school that fall, and in 1963, he was chosen for a summer internship at the Justice Department in Washington. To cover his expenses, he also sold encyclopedias door to door and collected empty soft-drink bottles, redeeming them for the small change he got from the deposits.
Eventually, he quit law school, tried accounting (but gave it up) and earned a doctorate in public administration at Southern Illinois University. He returned to Washington, where he worked for three federal agencies, the House of Representatives (as a communications consultant) and Senators Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois and William V. Roth Jr. of Delaware before he signed on with Reagan.
After the shooting, he also served as the chairman of the National Organization on Disability, a nonprofit group that advocates better conditions for handicapped people, and as a spokesman for the National Head Injury Foundation.
Besides his wife, Mr. Brady’s survivors include a son, James Scott Brady Jr., and a daughter, Melissa Brady Camins, from his first marriage to Susan Beh Camins, which ended in divorce. Mr. Brady lived in Alexandria.
Mr. Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, in 1996, and in 2000, Mr. Clinton presided at the renaming of the room in which White House news briefings are held. It became the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
Later, one of the organizations with which the Bradys were associated changed its name from Handgun Control Incorporated to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Another, the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, became the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Mr. Brady was an honorary trustee of both groups.
Mr. Brady — who said he did not remember much about the day he was shot — said over the years that he had remained concerned that guns were still available to people with mental problems like Mr. Hinckley.
“He scares me,” Mr. Brady told CBS News in 2006, “because he doesn’t have 52 cards in his deck. He didn’t the day that he shot at us. He got six rounds off and hit four of us.”
But when Mr. Brady was asked if he was bitter toward Mr. Hinckley, he said, “Well, it’s not classy to be bitter, and I try to be classy.”
Correction: August 4, 2014 Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this obituary misspelled, in one instance, the surname of the congresswoman who was wounded in a shooting in Tucson that left six people dead. She is Representative Gabrielle Giffords, not Gifford.
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