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Showing posts from March, 2011

Happy New Year, You April Fish!

Happy New Year … at least that's what I'd be saying if the Gregorian calendar hadn't been implemented in the late 16th century. But because of the calendar change in 1582, we have been able to plan nefarious deeds and shout "APRIL FOOLS!" this time of year.

All Fools Day has been around for a long time and has been celebrated by many different cultures, but its origins remain a mystery. Some historians have linked it to the Roman festival Hilaria that celebrated the vernal equinox, or the coming of spring. But the more common practices of April Fool's Day come around when the calendar was changed shifting the new year back 3 months.
When the calendar change was made, many European countries were slow to adopt the change. Even for the countries that accepted the new system, news traveled slowly to the outreaches of civilization. The people that didn't get the news didn't realize the start of the New Year had moved to January 1. In their ignorance, they…

Spectrum Industries Host Optimists

Bright and early Wednesday morning they rose and came to a meeting. You don’t have to be an optimist to do that, but it’s nice to be an Optimist. The Chippewa Falls club of Optimist International met for a 6:45 am meeting hosted at Spectrum Industries.
Optimist International is an association of more than 2,900 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to "Bring out the best in kids." Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be. Approximately 20 members of the club met in the Chippewa River Room in the First Avenue facility with coffee and pastry to start their day. A prayer began the meeting followed by members reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and birthday wishes sung to observe several members births. Some business matters were attended to and then off for a tour of Spectr…

Sometimes Higher Seeds are Just Upsets-in-Waiting

Predictions are down the tubes. Hopes for being known as the local Nostradamus are dashed. You played it safe by choosing the favorites and the favorites have let you down big time!

This is a common refrain heard from hoop enthusiasts during the regionals of this year's NCAA basketball tournament. It is also a very common refrain Spectrum Industries hears from our new customers. Some high-profiled competitors have slick marketing campaigns and very slick sales representatives that make big promises on products that just can’t deliver. Many of our customers have turned to Spectrum when the big guys’ products fall apart or when their customer service is simply no help at all.

Spectrum products are built to last using quality materials and quality, ISO 9001:2008-based manufacturing methods. Our lecterns and carts are not trendy ideas whipped together and hastily distributed just so that we can be first to the market square. We listen to what our customers really need and make sure that…

First Wiki Launched Today

WikiWikiWeb, the first wiki or user-editable website, was launched on March 25, 1995 and still is a valuable source of information and sharing.
The concept and development of the “Wiki” came from Ward Cunningham in a hope to create a web page that was quickly editable by the users. In Cunningham’s case, it was to establish and promote an exchange of ideas between programmers within his company.

Cunningham originally was going to call his new platform “QuickWeb,” but later he remembered a Honolulu language term for “fast” used by an airport counter employee. The employee told Cunningham to take the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, a shuttle bus line that runs between the airport's terminals. "Wiki Wiki" is a repeating of "wiki", a Hawaiian language word for fast.

From the “Front Page” of the WikiWikiWeb:

The idea of a “Wiki” may seem odd at first, but dive in and explore its links! The “Wiki” is a composition system; it’s a discussion medium; it’s a repository; it’s a mail syst…

Spring Forward - Daylight Savings Time 2011

It has been said that time stands still for no one. While that may be true, we might feel just a little bit cheated this weekend when we lose an hour. If you have a clock that doesn't set itself automatically and you’re up to the task, you can be official and add another hour to it at 2:00 am Sunday morning. Most of us, however, would probably prefer to wait until we wake up.

Either way, make sure to remember to spring forward, turn those clocks ahead one hour, and try not to feel too bad about the hour that Father Time has taken from us - he'll give it back to us eventually!

A Partnership that Traveled the Distance

On March 14, 1995 an historic space flight took place bringing many firsts with records broken and a new cooperation between two global giants.The flight of the Russian Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft and Russian Mir EO-18 mission marked American astronaut Dr. Norman Thagard with a lot honors. Thagard became the first American to train on Russian soil, enter space aboard a non-American craft, and the first American occupant of the Mir. Serving as the cosmonaut researcher, He helped conduct 28 experiments in the course of the 115-day flight. At the missions completion, Dr. Thagard was the U.S. record-holder for longest space flight and, with 140 days in space overall, was the most experienced U.S. astronaut ever.The flight, although several years after the demise of the Soviet Union, still had some disbelief of the union that the two countries now were joined. Thagard trained and worked side-by-side with his cosmonaut travel mates and despite years of conflict between the U.S. and former govern…

Alaska Highway: Connections Made Through Hardships

This week in 1942, the construction of the Alaska Highway project began after being spurred on by the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. foresaw a need to be able to better protect the most North-Western border of the United States and the highway would tie the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada to better defend and resupply the “Alaska Skyway,” a series of airfields along the Alaskan coast.

Also known as the Alcan Highway, over 11,000 soldiers with 7,500 civilians were assigned the job of building the 1,600-mile stretch of road and cost over $138,000,000 to complete. The construction was one of America’s greatest engineering feats of the era and completion was not an easy task because of the fluctuating temperatures, weather, and unfriendly terrain.
On September 24, 1942 two regiments, working from both the north and south, finally met at Contact Creek near the British Columbia-Yukon Territory border and the Alaska Highway was formally completed in less than a month later.

Texas Celebrates Independence

Faced with an impending military dictatorship and lacking public education and freedom of religion, the Republic of Texas formally declared independence from Mexico on this day in 1836. This set in motion what would become the 28th state in the U.S., and remains today the 2nd largest state in both area and population. Today also marks the birthday of a famous signer to the independence document, Sam Houston. Houston was the eventual Texas governor, as well as the first and third President of the Republic of Texas. Sandwiched between those 2 terms was none other than Mirabeau Lamar – the “Father of Texas Education”.

The great Lone Star State has come a long way since the days of unavailable public education. There are now over 1,000 school districts in Texas. To encourage diversity throughout their public university system, Texas House Bill 588 ensures admission to Texas-funded universities for the top 10% graduating high school students. With 6 state university systems and 4 independen…