Independence Day Oddities
This July 4th marks the 237th anniversary of America’s independence from Great Britain… or does it? Though the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress actually voted in favor of the proposal drafted by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston two days earlier, on July 2nd. On that day, Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, touting July 2nd as a day that “will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival” that should include “pomp and parade… games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” Much to Adams’ dismay, lawmakers instead decided to commemorate the occasion on July 4th. The irritated Adams reportedly felt so strongly of his conviction that July 2nd was the proper holiday that he would turn down invitations to July 4th events in protest.
Here are some other little-known facts and weird coincidences surrounding Independence Day:
- The written Declaration of Independence is dated July 4, 1776, but was not actually signed until August 2nd. In all, 56 delegates signed the document, though at least five were not present for the signing ceremony, adding their signatures later.
- Whereas in pre-Revolutionary years colonists held annual celebrations to honor the king’s birthday, in the summer of 1776, citizens instead celebrated their newfound freedom by holding mock funerals for King George III, symbolizing the end of the British monarchy’s reign in America.
- In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize July 4th as a state holiday. It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress declared it a federal holiday, and 1941 before it expanded a provision to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.
- Former presidents—and notorious adversaries—John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration Independence. President James Monroe also died on Independence Day in 1831.
- The only U.S. president to be born on July 4th was Calvin Coolidge in 1872.
For more quirky history, check out history.com.
Drink to Good Health!
By now, everyone’s heard the hype about “juice cleanses.” The practitioners of these liquid fasts, including scores of celebrities, claim to lose large amounts of weight quickly while enjoying the benefits of eating a diet free of the colorants, preservatives and toxins found in processed foods. Although juicing’s effectiveness—and safety—as a weight loss tool and meal replacement is hotly debated, nutritionist Cherie Calbom, aka “The Juice Lady,” says, when used to supplement a healthy diet, these nutrient-dense veggie and fruit cocktails are a great way to improve mood, boost energy and help alleviate an array of physical ailments.
Below, Calbom addresses five of the most common conditions and complaints with these potent and palatable homemade juice recipes:
- The Arthritis Helper: 1 handful of flat leaf parsley; 1 dark green lettuce leaf; 3-4 carrots; 2 stalks of celery with leaves; 1 two-inch-chunk of ginger root; and 1 lemon, peeled.
- The Asthma Helper: 5 carrots; 5-6 radishes with leaves; 1 green apple; half a lemon, peeled.
- The Headache Mender: Half a ripe cantaloupe; half a cucumber, peeled; 1 two-inch chunk of ginger root.
- Cholesterol Buster Cocktail: 4 carrots; 2 ribs of celery, with leaves; 2 kale leaves; 1 green apple; 1 one-inch chunk of ginger root.
- The Adrenal Booster: 1 handful of parsley; 1 dark green lettuce leaf; 4 carrots; 2 tomatoes; 2 ribs of celery, with leaves; a dash of hot sauce; a dash of Celtic sea salt.
All of these recipes contain natural health boosters, from antioxidant-rich apples to ginger, whose anti-inflammatory properties fight joint pain and migraines. To learn more about the health benefits of juicing and find more recipes, check out Calbom’s newest book, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies, or visit juiceladycherie.com.
Three Cheers for Chocolate
Not only has the beloved dessert been known to reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease, new research suggests chocolate can ease anxiety and boost creativity and productivity. A study out of Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology found that polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in cocoa, have a similar effect on brain receptors as many anti-anxiety medications—enhancing mood, increasing calmness, relaxing inhibitions and helping to promote the free flow of ideas. The higher the cocoa content of a piece of chocolate, the more polyphenols it will contain. So the next time you experience a stress-induced creative block, consider indulging in a dark chocolate treat!
La Tour Musicale
The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol of the City of Love, but one man sees it as a grand instrument just waiting to be played. Equipped with a series of microphones and mallets, American composer Joseph Bertolozzi plans to gently bang on the Parisian landmark to “harvest” its natural, symphonic sounds and comprise his latest work, “Musique de la Tour,” set for release early next year. No stranger to transforming famous monuments into music, Bertolozzi’s 2009 composition Bridge Music, featured the pings, pangs ands gongs of New York’s Mid-Hudson Bridge, climbing to No. 18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Music Chart.
If you put your mind to it, anything is possible. A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed a miniature helicopter controlled by human thought. Using a technique known as electroencephalography, scientists were able to transmit the electrical impulses produced by subjects’ brains over a Wi-Fi network to signal the copter to change directions and even fly through an obstacle course of foam rings. The team hopes to someday adapt a similar brain-computer interface to augment or repair cognitive and sensory-motor functions in those suffering from paralysis and other disabilities. iBi