Province Almanac for April 20, 2015

George Takei in Hamm, Germany 1996. Photo courtesy Diane Krauss by Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

George Takei in Hamm, Germany 1996. Photo courtesy Diane Krauss by Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

Today has historically been a turbulent day, with a lineage of both accomplishments and tragedy. I was an undergraduate in 1999—sitting in a break room waiting for class to start—when news broke of the Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado. In the span of an hour, two senior students from the school opened fire on their own classrooms killing thirteen and injuring two-dozen more. The shooters ended the rampage by committing suicide. 

Eleven years later, the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 people and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. An estimated 210 million gallons of oil entered the ocean, killing wildlife, halting the Gulf fishing & tourism industries, and turning southern U.S. beaches black with crude. It was one of the worst environmental disasters in history, and more than a million barrels of oil are still "missing" since 2010. Also missing are the bodies of the 11 men who perished in the Deepwater Horizon explosion- their loss mostly overshadowed by the enormity of the disaster itself.

In more uplifting news, 2008 saw Beloit, Wisconsin native Danica Patrick win the Indy Japan 300 race, "making her the first female winner in IndyCar racing history." Wisconsin has even more to be proud of today. In 1836 Congress established Wisconsin as a territory. Today Wisconsin is one of 3 states that celebrates the civic holiday Patriot's Day, recognizing the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The other two celebrating are Massachusetts and Maine.

George Takei was born on this day in 1937. The 78 year old actor made famous by the Star Trek series, has since become an internet sensation and LGBT activist. With 8.4 million followers on Facebook, his opinions and op-eds tend to have significant socio-political influence.

Maybe the moon is to blame for our April turbulence. According to Stardate.org, a lunar triumvirate will transfix our gaze tomorrow night when "The crescent Moon and the planet Venus stage a beautiful encounter...Venus is the "evening star", and stands to the right of the Moon. As a bonus, the bright orange star Alderbran, the eye of the bull, stands close below..."

Captain's log, stardate 92903.31. Destination: San Francisco, Earth, birth place of Captain Sulu, year 2237.