December: 31 Days of Fun and Celebration

It's Christmas and Hanukkah and Advent and Boxing Day and Santa and the reindeer and carols and much more, all rolled up into one.


Dueling Protests as Parliament Brexit Vote Looms
December 9, 2018 Brexit logo
Ahead of a Parliamentary vote on the proposed Brexit plan, to facilitate the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, thousands of people took to the streets in London and elsewhere to voice support for their causes, on both sides of the issue. The U.K. government has invoked Article 50 of the EU constitution, which provides for measures to be taken in order for one country to leave the Union; it is the first time that such measures have been taken. Negotiations between the U.K. and EU have been ongoing, in fits and starts, with a March 29, 2019, deadline looming. That is the day on which the official split is to happen, as the last day of the two-year provision set for in Article 50. The vote by Parliament is on the latest proposal put forth by Prime Minister Theresa May and by EU negotiators. The government is a minority one, meaning that opposition parties have more seats in the House of Commons than does May's Conservative Party. Opposition in Parliament to the proposed deal is expected to be strong.

Objections Scuttle Agreement at Climate Change Conference
December 9, 2018 COP24 logo

Negotiators at the COP24 climate change conference in Poland have ended their first week's tasks without reaching agreement on how to treat a landmark report. At the end of the first week of the two-week conference, which is taking in Katowice, negotiators from Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. joined together to ensure that the conference would not "welcome" the recent IPCC report that listed stark consequences of the world's leading nations' not taking action to reduce the increase in global temperatures. The vast majority of the other nearly 200 countries in attendance were willing to accept the report, meaning that it would be a blueprint for actions to take in the future. But the four objecting nations would not agree to use the word "welcome" because of a belief that that would constitute an endorsement of the report. Instead, those four nations agreed that the report would be "noted," a stance that requires no consequent action.

Murray Keeps Heisman Trophy in Oklahoma's Hands
December 9, 2018 Kyler Murray, Heisman Trophy winner
Kyler Murray won the 2018 Heisman Trophy. The Oklahoma junior quarterback was a runaway winner, with 517 first-place and 2,167 total points. Runner-up was Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, with 299 first-place votes and 1,871 total points. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins finished third. It was the second straight year that a quarterback from Oklahoma won college football's top award. In 2017, it was Baker Mayfield taking home the trophy; Mayfield has gone on to play in the National Football League, for the Cleveland Browns. Murray had college football's highest quarterback rating, second-highest completion percentage, second-most passing touchdowns, and third-most passing yards. He threw for 4,053 yards, including 40 touchdowns. He was intercepted seven times and sacked 15 times. He led Oklahoma to a 12–1 record; their lone defeat was a 48–45 loss to Texas. Oklahoma will play Tagovailoa's Alabama team in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29, with the winner advancing to the national championship game.

Discord Rules the Day at GCC Summit
December 9, 2018
Top officials from the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council attended a one-day summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. International disputes were top of mind for much of the discussions.


South Pole 'Discovered'
Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer, led a team of adventurers who were the first known people to set foot on the South Pole, on December 14, 1911. Amundsen led one of several teams bent on reaching the North Pole, but Robert Peary and Matthew Henson had gotten there first. Amundsen instead set his sights much farther south. His team packed supplies for two years but needed only one year's worth, despite the freezing cold weather and lots of inactivity due to glaciers and icepack.

The Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prize is a series of awards given each year to outstanding people in a number of varied fields of study and work. Named for famed inventor Alfred Nobel, the Prizes were first awarded on December 10, 1901.

43900o9Every year, Swedish academies and institutes name winners in the following fields: Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Medicine or Physiology, and Physics. Also, the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Peace Prize. Each winner gets a diploma, a gold medal, and a large sum of money. The Economics Prize is not an original Nobel Prize, since it was established only in 1968, long after Nobel's death and the awarding of the first Nobel Prizes.


Why Is It?

Why Is It That the House of Representatives Has 435 Members?

Why 435? The U.S. has only 50 states. What gives? The answer is, quite literally, because Congress says so. But there's more ...

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Significant Sevens are the highest, the lowest, the deepest, the farthest, the oldest, the youngest, and a host of other lists in economics, geography, history, and much more.

Cultural Icons are the instantly recognizable monuments, landforms, buildings, and many other kinds of landmarks that define a people, place, or culture.



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