World Snake Day

World Snake day takes place annually on 16 July. The purpose of World Snake Day is to educate people about the habits and behaviour of thes fascinating, diverse reptiles which can range in size from several inches to 30 feet long, and from friendly and docile to aggressive and deadly.

Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes. Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with several more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes’ paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca. Lizards have evolved elongate bodies without limbs or with greatly reduced limbs about twenty-five times independently via convergent evolution, leading to many lineages of legless lizards. Legless lizards resemble snakes, but several common groups of legless lizards have eyelids and external ears, which snakes lack, although this rule is not universal (see Amphisbaenia, Dibamidae, and Pygopodidae).

Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, and on most smaller land masses; exceptions include some large islands, such as Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, the Hawaiian archipelago, and the islands of New Zealand, and many small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific oceans. Additionally, sea snakes are widespread throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. More than 20 families are currently recognized, comprising about 520 genera and about 3,600 species. They range in size from the tiny, 10.4 cm (4.1 in)-long Barbados thread snake to the reticulated python of 6.95 meters (22.8 ft) in length. The fossil species Titanoboa cerrejonensis was 12.8 meters (42 ft) long. Snakes are thought to have evolved from either burrowing or aquatic lizards, perhaps during the Jurassic period, with the earliest known fossils dating to between 143 and 167 Ma ago. The diversity of modern snakes appeared during the Paleocene epoch (c 66 to 56 Ma ago, after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event). The oldest preserved descriptions of snakes can be found in the Brooklyn Papyrus.

Most species of snake such as the Boa Constrictor are nonvenomous and they either swallow prey alive or kill by constriction. Snakes that do have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. However Caution should be taken as Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans such as the Rattlesnake, Cobra, Fer-de-lance, black mamba and Boomslang.

More International and National Events happening on 15 July

  • Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
  • Personal Chef Day
  • Corn Fritters Day
  • Fresh Spinach Day

Apollo 11

July 16 2019 is the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. It was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16 1969 at 13:32 UTC and was the fifth crewed mission of NASA’s Apollo program . The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a command module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that returned to Earth; a service module (SM), which supported the command module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module (LM) that had two stages – a descent stage for landing on the Moon, and an ascent stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit.

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21.5 hours on the lunar surface at a site they named Tranquility Base before rejoining Columbia in lunar orbit.

After being sent to the Moon by the Saturn V’s third stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. The astronauts used Eagle’s ascent stage to lift off from the lunar surface and rejoin Collins in the command module. They jettisoned Eagle before they performed the maneuvers that propelled the ship out of the last of its 30 lunar orbits on a trajectory back to Earth. They returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 after more than eight days in space. Armstrong’s first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. He described the event as “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy: “of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”

Stewart Copeland(The Police)

Stewart Copeland, the drummer with rock band The Police was born 16July 1952. The Police were Formed in London in 1977 and consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz.

Their 1978 debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, reached No. 6 in the UK. Their second album Reggatta de Blanc became the first of five consecutive UK No. 1 albums with its lead single, “Message in a Bottle”, their first UK number one. Their next two albums, Zenyatta Mondatta (1980) and Ghost in the Machine (1981), saw further critical and commercial success. Their final studio album, Synchronicity (1983), was No. 1 in both the UK and the US, selling over 8 million copies in the US alone. “Every Breath You Take” became their fifth UK number one single, and first in the US. The Police have sold over 75 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. The Police disbanded in 1986. However The Police reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008 and They became the world’s highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to this reunion tour.

The band has won a number of music awards, including six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group once, an MTV Video Music Award, and in 2003 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Four of their five studio albums appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. They were also included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1’s lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Goerge A.Romero

Best known as an influential pioneer of the horror-film genre, and for his series of gruesome and satirical horror films, about an imagined zombie apocalypse, the American-Canadian filmmaker, writer and editor, George Andrew Romero Sadly died July 16, 2017. He was born February 4, 1940 in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the son of Ann (Dvorsky) and George Romero, a commercial artist. Raised in the Bronx, he would frequently ride the subway into Manhattan to rent film reels to view at his house.He was one of only two people who repeatedly rented the opera-based film The Tales of Hoffmann; the other was future director Martin Scorsese. Romero attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

After graduating from college in 1960, Romero began shooting short films and TV commercials. One of his early commercial films was a segment for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in which Rogers underwent a tonsillectomy. With nine friends, including screenwriter John A. Russo, Romero formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960s, and produced Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by him and co-written with John A. Russo, the movie became a cult classic and a defining moment for modern horror cinema. Among the inspiration for Romero’s filmmaking, was the British film, The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962).

Romero then released the films There’s Always Vanilla (1971), Jack’s Wife / Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973) which dealt with a bio spill that induces an epidemic of homicidal madness. Sadly these were not as well received as Night of the Living Dead or some of his later work. So in 1978 Romero returned to the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead. Shot on a budget of $1.5 million the film earned over $55 million internationally. Romero then made a third entry in his “Dead Series” with Day of the Dead in 1985. Between these two films, Romero shot Knightriders (1981), about a group of modern-day jousters who reenact tournaments on motorcycles and Creepshow written by Stephen King, an anthology of tongue-in-cheek tales modeled after 1950s horror comics. The success of Creepshow led to the creation of Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, a horror anthology television series that aired from 1983 to 1988. In 1988 Romero made Monkey Shines, about a killer helper monkey; Two Evil Eyes (a.k.a. “Due occhi Diabolici”, 1990), an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation in collaboration with Dario Argento; The Dark Half (1993) written by Stephen King; and Bruiser (2000), about a man whose face becomes a blank mask.

Romero updated his original screenplay and executive-produced the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini who was also responsible for the makeup and special effects in many of Romero’s previous films including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Monkey Shines. Romero also had a cameo appearance in Jonathan Demme’s Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as one of Hannibal Lecter’s jailers.

In 1998, he directed a live-action commercial promoting the videogame Resident Evil 2 in Tokyo. The 30-second advertisement featured the game’s two main characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, fighting a horde of zombies while in Raccoon City’s police station. The project was obvious territory for Romero; the Resident Evil series has been heavily influenced by the “Dead Series”. The commercial was popular and was shown in the weeks before the game’s actual release. Capcom was so impressed with Romero’s work, That they wanted him to direct the first Resident Evil film. He declined at first although in later years, he reconsidered and wrote a script for the first movie. It was eventually rejected in favor of Paul W. S. Anderson’s version.

Universal Studios produced and released a 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, with which Romero was not involved. Later that year, Romero kicked off the DC Comics title Toe Tags with a six-issue miniseries titled The Death of Death. Based on an unused script that Romero had previously written for his “Dead Series”, the comic miniseries concerns Damien, an intelligent zombie who remembers his former life, struggling to find his identity as he battles armies of both the living and the dead. Romero has stated that the miniseries is set in the same kind of world as his Dead films, but featured other locales besides Pittsburgh, where the majority of his films take place. In 2005 Romero, who lived in Toronto, released a fourth Dead movie, Land of the Dead,. The movie’s working title was “Dead Reckoning” and it starred Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, and John Leguizamo. There is often social commentary in much of Romero’s work. They view Night of the Living Dead as a film made in reaction to the turbulent 1960s, Dawn of the Dead as a satire on consumerism, Day of the Dead as a study of the conflict between science and the military, and Land of the Dead as an examination of class conflict

In 2006, Romero began his next project, called Zombisodes. Broadcast on the Internet, it is a combination of a series of “Making of” shorts and story expansion detailing the work behind the 2007 film George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead which was released on DVD And Bluray in 2008. Next Romero released the film Survival of the Dead in 2009 which was to be a direct sequel to Diary of the Dead, but features only Alan van Sprang, who appeared briefly as a rogue National Guard officer, reprising his role from the previous film, This film centers on two feuding families taking very different approaches in dealing with the living dead on a small coastal island.

Romero also made an appearance in the second downloadable map pack called “Escalation” for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. He appears as himself in the zombies map “Call of the Dead” as a non-playable enemy character. Romero is featured alongside actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund, all of the four being playable characters. He is portrayed as a powerful “boss” zombie armed with a movie studio light. In 2010, Romero was asked to direct a 3D remake of Deep Red (1975) but he declined. In 2012, Romero returned to video games recording his voice for “Zombie Squash” as the lead villain, Dr. B. E. Vil. Then In 2014, Marvel Comics began releasing Empire of the Dead, a 15-issue miniseries written by Romero. The series, which is broken up into three five-issues acts, features not only zombies but also vampires and was also being developed into a TV series written and executive-produced by Romero and Peter Grunwald.

In 2017, Romero announced plans for George A. Romero Presents: Road of the Dead, a film that he co-wrote with Matt Birman, who would direct and Produce the film with Matt Manjourides and Justin Martell Birman had previously been the second unit director on Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Birman stated that the movie would be like The Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a NASCAR race, with significant inspiration from Ben-Hur. Road of the Dead is set in a sanctuary city where this fat cat runs a haven for rich folks. and one of the things that he does to entertain the wealthy residents is to stage drag races in a modern day coliseum using zombie prisoners. There’s also a scientist there doing genetic experiments, trying to make the zombies stop eating us, and he has discovered that with a little tampering, they can recall certain memory skills that enable them to drive in these races. It’s really The Fast and the Furious with zombies”.

Sadly though Romero died in his sleep following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”, while listening to the score of one of his favorite films, The Quiet Man, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter from his second marriage, Tina Romero, at his side.

Romero’s influence, and that of Night of the Living Dead, remains huge and he has inspired inumerous filmmakers and artists, in particular those who have worked in the zombie subgenre, including comics writer Robert Kirkman, novelist Seth Grahame-Smith,and filmmakers John Carpenter, Edgar Wright and Jack Thomas Smith. He has left an impressive legacy and is Regarded as the “Godfather of the Dead” and the “father of the modern movie zombie”. The first episode of season 8 of The Walking Dead, “Mercy”, was also dedicated to the memory of Romero and stuntman John Bernecker.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse will be visible across the UK, much of Asia, all of Africa, the eastern part of South America and the western part of Australia on 16 July 2019. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth, Sun and Moon all line up, leaving the Moon hidden from the Sun by the Earth, which sits in between the two. As the Moon moves into the shadow the Earth, it dims dramatically as it is covered by the lunar eclipse. What light does fall on it comes from around the Earth’s atmosphere, meaning that it is given a deep red tinge. It is that leads some to call the event a “blood moon”, because of its rich colour.

In the UK, the Moon will rise shortly after it has entered into the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, meaning that it will already be eclipsed when it becomes visible. It will come up around 9pm in London, and will arrive later the further north and west it is seen from. The sun does not set until shortly after, so it will rise up into a brighter sky. The eclipse will be visible for hours after, however, giving people the chance to see it as the sun sets and the surface of the Moon changes in appearance.

The partial lunar eclipse will occur exactly 50 years to the day since the beginning of the Apollo 11 mission, when the Apollo 11 mission to the moon blasted off, with the first people ever to touch the lunar surface arriving just a few minutes later.

Clive Cussler

American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist Clive Eric Cussler, was born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois. His exciting thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than seventeen times. Cussler is also the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and numerous other notable sunken underwater wreckages. He is the sole author or lead author of more than 50 books. Born in Aurora, Illinois, Cussler grew up in Alhambra, California and was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. He attended Pasadena City College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his service in the Air Force, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation’s most successful advertising agencies. As part of his duties Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Clive Cussler began writing in 1965 when his wife took a job working nights for the local police department where they lived in California. After making dinner for the kids and putting them to bed he had no one to talk to and nothing to do so he decided to start writing. His most famous creation is marine engineer, government agent and adventurer Dirk Pitt. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective, such as“what if Atlantis was real?” or “what if Abraham Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, but was kidnapped? ”The first two Pitt novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, were relatively conventional maritime thrillers. The third, Raise the Titanic!, made Cussler’s reputation and established the pattern that subsequent Pitt novels would follow: a blend of high adventure and high technology, generally involving megalomaniacal villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure. Cussler’s novels, like those of Michael Crichton, are examples of techno-thrillers that do not use military plots and settings. Where Crichton strove for scrupulous realism, however, Cussler prefers fantastic spectacles and outlandish plot devices. The Pitt novels, in particular, have the anything-goes quality of the James Bond or Indiana Jones movies, while also sometimes borrowing from Alistair MacLean’s novels. Pitt himself is a larger-than-life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage and other characters from pulp magazines.

Clive Cussler has had more than seventeen consecutive titles reach The New York Times fiction best-seller list. Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler’s first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis. This was the first time in the college’s 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded. In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration. Cussler is a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers. As an underwater explorer, Cussler has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and has written non-fiction books about his findings.