February 21, 2017 Day 32 of the First Year - History

February 21, 2017 Day 32 of the First Year - History

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10:00AM THE PRESIDENT will speak with THE VICE PRESIDENT by telephone


4:40PM THE PRESIDENT departs Mar-a-Lago en route to Palm Beach International Airport

5:00PM THE PRESIDENT departs West Palm Beach, Florida en route to Washington, D.C.

Palm Beach International Airport

7:25PM THE PRESIDENT arrives at the White House

Broad Institute

The discovery of the CRISPR-Cas microbial adaptive immune system and its ongoing development into a genome editing tool represents the work of many scientists from around the world. This timeline presents a concise history of the seminal contributions and the scientists who pushed this field forward, from the initial discovery to the first demonstrations of CRISPR-mediated genome editing. For a narrative perspective of the history of CRISPR research, read "The Heroes of CRISPR," by Eric S. Lander, in the January 14, 2016 edition of Cell.

Discovery of CRISPR and its function
1993 - 2005 — Francisco Mojica, University of Alicante, Spain

Francisco Mojica was the first researcher to characterize what is now called a CRISPR locus, reported in 1993. He worked on them throughout the 1990s, and in 2000, he recognized that what had been reported as disparate repeat sequences actually shared a common set of features, now known to be hallmarks of CRISPR sequences (he coined the term CRISPR through correspondence with Ruud Jansen, who first used the term in print in 2002). In 2005 he reported that these sequences matched snippets from the genomes of bacteriophage (Mojica et al., 2005). This finding led him to hypothesize, correctly, that CRISPR is an adaptive immune system. Another group, working independently, published similar findings around this same time (Pourcel et al., 2005)

Discovery of Cas9 and PAM
May, 2005 — Alexander Bolotin, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)

Bolotin was studying the bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus, which had just been sequenced, revealing an unusual CRISPR locus (Bolotin et al., 2005). Although the CRISPR array was similar to previously reported systems, it lacked some of the known cas genes and instead contained novel cas genes, including one encoding a large protein they predicted to have nuclease activity, which is now known as Cas9. Furthermore, they noted that the spacers, which have homology to viral genes, all share a common sequence at one end. This sequence, the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), is required for target recognition.

Hypothetical scheme of adaptive immunity
March, 2006 — Eugene Koonin, US National Center for Biotechnology Information, NIH

Koonin was studying clusters of orthologous groups of proteins by computational analysis and proposed a hypothetical scheme for CRISPR cascades as bacterial immune system based on inserts homologous to phage DNA in the natural spacer array, abandoning previous hypothesis that the Cas proteins might comprise a novel DNA repair system. (Makarova et al., 2006)

Experimental demonstration of adaptive immunity
March, 2007 — Philippe Horvath, Danisco France SAS

S. thermophilus is widely used in the dairy industry to make yogurt and cheese, and scientists at Danisco wanted to explore how it responds to phage attack, a common problem in industrial yogurt making. Horvath and colleagues showed experimentally that CRISPR systems are indeed an adaptive immune system: they integrate new phage DNA into the CRISPR array, which allows them to fight off the next wave of attacking phage (Barrangou et al., 2007). Furthermore, they showed that Cas9 is likely the only protein required for interference, the process by which the CRISPR system inactivates invading phage, details of which were not yet known.

Spacer sequences are transcribed into guide RNAs
August, 2008 — John van der Oost, University of Wageningen, Netherlands

Scientists soon began to fill in some of the details on exactly how CRISPR-Cas systems “interfere” with invading phage. The first piece of critical information came from John van der Oost and colleagues who showed that in E-scherichia coli, spacer sequences, which are derived from phage, are transcribed into small RNAs, termed CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs), that guide Cas proteins to the target DNA (Brouns et al., 2008).

CRISPR acts on DNA targets
December, 2008 — Luciano Marraffini and Erik Sontheimer, Northwestern University, Illinois

The next key piece in understanding the mechanism of interference came from Marraffini and Sontheimer, who elegantly demonstrated that the target molecule is DNA, not RNA (Marraffini and Sontheimer, 2008). This was somewhat surprising, as many people had considered CRISPR to be a parallel to eukaryotic RNAi silencing mechanisms, which target RNA. Marraffini and Sontheimer explicitly noted in their paper that this system could be a powerful tool if it could be transferred to non-bacterial systems. (It should be noted, however, that a different type of CRISPR system can target RNA (Hale et al., 2009)).

Cas9 cleaves target DNA
December, 2010 — Sylvain Moineau, University of Laval, Quebec City, Canada

Moineau and colleagues demonstrated that CRISPR-Cas9 creates double-stranded breaks in target DNA at precise positions, 3 nucleotides upstream of the PAM (Garneau et al., 2010). They also confirmed that Cas9 is the only protein required for cleavage in the CRISPR-Cas9 system. This is a distinguishing feature of Type II CRISPR systems, in which interference is mediated by a single large protein (here Cas9) in conjunction with crRNAs.

Discovery of tracrRNA for Cas9 system
March, 2011 — Emmanuelle Charpentier, Umea University, Sweden and University of Vienna, Austria

The final piece to the puzzle in the mechanism of natural CRISPR-Cas9-guided interference came from the group of Emmanuelle Charpentier. They performed small RNA sequencing on Streptococcus pyogenes, which has a Cas9-containing CRISPR-Cas system. They discovered that in addition to the crRNA, a second small RNA exists, which they called trans-activating CRISPR RNA (tracrRNA) (Deltcheva et al., 2011). They showed that tracrRNA forms a duplex with crRNA, and that it is this duplex that guides Cas9 to its targets.

CRISPR systems can function heterologously in other species
July, 2011 — Virginijus Siksnys, Vilnius University, Lithuania

Siksnys and colleagues cloned the entire CRISPR-Cas locus from S. thermophilus (a Type II system) and expressed it in E. coli (which does not contain a Type II system), where they demonstrated that it was capable of providing plasmid resistance (Sapranauskas et al., 2011). This suggested that CRISPR systems are self-contained units and verified that all of the required components of the Type II system were known.

Biochemical characterization of Cas9-mediated cleavage
September, 2012 — Virginijus Siksnys, Vilnius University, Lithuania

Taking advantage of their heterologous system, Siksnys and his team purified Cas9 in complex with crRNA from the E. coli strain engineered to carry the S. thermophilus CRISPR locus and undertook a series of biochemical experiments to mechanistically characterize Cas9’s mode of action (Gasiunas et al., 2012).They verified the cleavage site and the requirement for the PAM, and using point mutations, they showed that the RuvC domain cleaves the non-complementary strand while the HNH domain cleaves the complementary site. They also noted that the crRNA could be trimmed down to a 20-nt stretch sufficient for efficient cleavage. Most impressively, they showed that they could reprogram Cas9 to target a site of their choosing by changing the sequence of the crRNA.

June, 2012 — Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley

Similar findings as those in Gasiunas et al. were reported at almost the same time by Emmanuelle Charpentier in collaboration with Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley (Jinek et al., 2012). Charpentier and Doudna also reported that the crRNA and the tracrRNA could be fused together to create a single, synthetic guide, further simplifying the system. (Although published in June 2012, this paper was submitted after Gasiunas et al.)

CRISPR-Cas9 harnessed for genome editing
January, 2013 — Feng Zhang, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, Massachusetts

Zhang, who had previously worked on other genome editing systems such as TALENs, was first to successfully adapt CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing in eukaryotic cells (Cong et al., 2013). Zhang and his team engineered two different Cas9 orthologs (from S. thermophilus and S. pyogenes) and demonstrated targeted genome cleavage in human and mouse cells. They also showed that the system (i) could be programmed to target multiple genomic loci, and (ii) could drive homology-directed repair. Researchers from George Church’s lab at Harvard University reported similar findings in the same issue of Science (Mali et al., 2013).

Barrangou, R., Fremaux, C., Deveau, H., Richards, M., Boyaval, P., Moineau, S., Romero, D.A., and Horvath, P. (2007). CRISPR provides acquired resistance against viruses in prokaryotes. Science 315, 1709–1712.

Bolotin, A., Quinquis, B., Sorokin, A.,and Ehrlich, S.D. (2005). Clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats (CRISPRs) have spacers of extrachromosomal origin. Microbiology 151, 2551–2561.

Brouns, S.J., Jore, M.M., Lundgren, M., Westra, E.R., Slijkhuis, R.J., Snijders, A.P., Dickman, M.J., Makarova, K.S., Koonin, E.V., van der Oost, J. (2008) Small CRISPR RNAs guide antiviral defense in prokaryotes. Science 321, 960-964.

Cong, L., Ran, F.A., Cox, D., Lin, S., Barretto, R., Habib, N., Hsu, P.D., Wu, X., Jiang, W., Marraffini, L.A., et al. (2013). Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systems. Science 339, 819–823.

Deltcheva, E., Chylinski, K., Sharma, C.M., Gonzales, K., Chao, Y., Pirzada, Z.A., Eckert, M.R., Vogel, J., and Charpentier, E. (2011). CRISPR RNA maturation by trans-encoded small RNA and host factor RNase III. Nature 471, 602–607.

Gasiunas, G., Barrangou, R., Horvath, P., and Siksnys, V. (2012). Cas9–crRNA ribonucleoprotein complex mediates specific DNA cleavage for adaptive immunity in bacteria. Pnas 109, E2579–E2586.

Hale, C.R., Zhao, P., Olson, S., Duff, M.O., Graveley, B.R., Wells, L., Terns, R.M., and Terns, M.P. (2009). RNA-Guided RNA Cleavage by a CRISPR RNA-Cas Protein Complex. Cell 139, 945–956.

Jinek, M., Chylinski, K., Fonfara, I., Hauer, M., Doudna, J.A., and Charpentier, E. (2012). A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity. Science 337, 816–821.

Makarova, K.S., Grishin, N.V., Shabalina, S.A., Wolf, Y.I., Koonin, E.V. (2006). A putative RNA-interference-based immune system in prokaryotes: computational analysis of the predicted enzymatic machinery, functional analogies with eukaryotic RNAi, and hypothetical mechanisms of action. Biology Direct 2006, 1:7.

Mali, P., Yang, L., Esvelt, K.M., Aach, J., Guell, M., DiCarlo, J.E., Norville, J.E., and Church, G.M. (2013). RNA-guided human genome engineering via Cas9. Science 339, 823–826.

Marraffini, L.A., and Sontheimer, E.J. (2008). CRISPR interference limits horizontal gene transfer in staphylococci by targeting DNA. Science 322, 1843–1845.

Mojica, F.J.M., D ez-Villase or, C.S., Garc a-Mart nez, J.S., and Soria, E. (2005). Intervening Sequences of Regularly Spaced Prokaryotic Repeats Derive from Foreign Genetic Elements. J Mol Evol 60, 174–182.

Pourcel, C., Salvignol, G., and Vergnaud, G. (2005). CRISPR elements in Yersinia pestis acquire new repeats by preferential uptake of bacteriophage DNA, and provide additional tools for evolutionary studies. Microbiology 151, 653–663.

Sapranauskas, R., Gasiunas, G., Fremaux, C., Barrangou, R., Horvath, P., and Siksnys, V. (2011). The Streptococcus thermophilus CRISPR/Cas system provides immunity in Escherichia coli. Nucl. Acids Res. 39, gkr606–gkr9282.

Seasonal Summaries

Winter (December 2016 through February 2017)

In brief:
  • The average winter temperature for the Lower 48 was 35.9°F, 3.7°F above the 20 th century average. This was the seventh warmest winter on record for the CONUS. Thirty-five states across the contiguous U.S. had a winter temperature that was much above average. Texas and Louisiana had their warmest winter on record.
  • The December-February average temperature is rising at a rate of 2.2°F per century since records began in 1895.
  • It was the ninth wettest winter for the CONUS and the wettest since 1997/98. Twelve states across the West, Northern Plains and Midwest had winter precipitation totals that were much above average. Nevada and Wyoming were record wet. California had its second wettest winter helping alleviate a multi-year drought.
  • Alaska had a near-average December-February temperature and was slightly drier than average.
  • Hawaii had a dry winter with nearly all locations across the islands observing below-average precipitation. Parts of the Big Island received above-average precipitation. By the end of February about seven percent of the state was in moderate drought.
  • There were three weather and climate disaster during winter that had losses exceeding $1 billion &mdash a January severe weather outbreak in the South, a severe weather outbreak in the central U.S. and Southeast and a flooding event in California.

The January temperature was 33.6°F, 3.5°F above average. This marked the 18 th warmest January on record and the warmest since 2012. Above-average temperatures were observed for most locations from the Great Plains to East Coast with much-above-average conditions in the South, Midwest and Northeast. Below-average temperatures persisted in the Northwest and Northern Rockies that began in late 2016. January was much wetter than average with a precipitation total of 3.22 inches, 0.91 inch above-average. This was the seventh wettest January on record and wettest since 1998. Above-average precipitation was widespread with 12 states across the West, Rockies, Central Plains, Southeast and Midwest being much wetter than average. Below-average precipitation accumulated in the Northwest and Northern Rockies. During January, drought improved by several categories across California and Nevada where a series of Pacific storms dumped significant amounts rain and snow. According to the USDA, as of February 1, mountain locations across California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Colorado had snowpack totals more than 180 percent of normal. Despite the heavy precipitation, multi-year precipitation deficits persisted. Drought also improved across parts of the Southern Plains, Southeast and Northeast. For the first time since March 2011, no location in the country was experiencing Exceptional Drought (D4), the worst category. On the other side of the country, a strong storm system swept through the Southeast during January 20-22, spawning tornadoes from Texas to South Carolina. There were over 80 preliminary tornado reports. Southern Georgia and Mississippi were the hardest hit areas with over 20 tornado-related fatalities. The deadliest single tornado from the event (and for the entire year) was an EF-3 that tracked 24 miles across southern Georgia, killing 11 people. Most locations across Hawaii were drier than average in January with abnormally dry conditions expanding to 55 percent of the state. Lihue, on Kauai, had its driest January on record with 0.20 inch of rain, only 5 percent of average. Reliable records in Lihue date back to 1905.

February was exceptionally warm for the contiguous United States. The national temperature value was 41.2°F, 7.3°F above the 20 th century average. This was the second warmest February on record, only slightly cooler than February 1954. A notable number of station-level temperature records were broken during February, including numerous cities setting warm daily and monthly temperature records. There were 11,743 daily warm temperature records broken or tied (6,309 warm maximum temperatures and 5,434 warm minimum temperatures), compared to 418 daily cold records (290 cold maximum temperatures and 128 cold minimum temperatures). Of those, 1,151 daily records (709 warm maximum temperatures and 442 warm minimum temperatures) also broke the warmest temperature record ever observed during February, compared to just 2 cold records (one cold maximum temperature and one cold minimum temperature). Forty one-states had much-above-average temperatures, seventeen of which were record warm. Only parts of the Pacific Northwest was not warmer than average. The February contiguous U.S. precipitation total was 2.24&rdquo, 0.11 inch above average, ranking near the median value. Above-average precipitation across the West offset below-average precipitation in the Midwest and along the East Coast. Most of the western United States was wetter than average, with heavy precipitation causing widespread flooding and mudslides in California and Nevada forcing area residents to evacuate impacted areas. Above-average snowpack was observed for most mountain locations in the West at the end of the month, with record snowpack in parts of the Central Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mountains. Below-average precipitation was observed in the Midwest stretching into the Southeast and coastal Northeast, where 10 states were much drier than average. The above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation were accompanied by a marked lack of snow for many locations in the East.


In brief:
  • The average spring temperature for the Lower 48 was 53.5°F, 2.6°F above the 20 th century average. This was the eighth warmest spring on record for the CONUS. Above-average temperatures spanned most of the nation with 20 states much warmer than average. No state was record warm or record cold.
  • The March-May average temperature is rising at a rate of 1.5°F per century since records began in 1895.
  • It was the 10 th wettest spring for the CONUS and the wettest since 2011. Three states in the Northwest and twelve states across the Central Plains, Midwest and along the East Coast were much wetter than average. Parts of the Northern Plains, Southwest and Southeast were drier than average. Alaska had its 10 th driest March-May on record.
  • By the end of May, drought had started to develop in the Northern Plains. Extreme drought was also observed in Florida, where numerous wildfires burned.
  • There were six weather and climate disaster during spring that caused losses exceeding $1 billion &mdash three individual severe weather outbreaks, a freeze events in the Southeast, significant flooding in Missouri and Arkansas and the start of a significant drought in the Northern Plains.

The March contiguous U.S. average temperature was 46.1°F, 4.6°F above the 20 th century average and the ninth warmest on record. Much-warmer-than-average conditions stretched across the Southwest into the Central Rockies and Great Plains. Colorado and New Mexico were record warm. Below-average temperatures were observed in the Northeast. The cool March following the record breaking warm February in the East caused several impacts including contributing to a devastating freeze in the Southeast, after many crops bloomed early due to the February warmth. In the Northeast, some locations had a March temperature cooler than the February temperature &mdash an unusual, but not unprecedented occurrence. The Alaska statewide average temperature was 4.1°F, 6.7°F below average. This was the 12 th coldest March in the 93-year record for the state and coldest since 2007. This ended Alaska's stretch of 17 consecutive months, beginning in October 2015, of an above-average statewide temperature. The March precipitation total was 2.58 inches, 0.07 inch above the 20 th century average, and ranked near the middle of the 123-year period of record. The Northwest, Northern Rockies, and parts of the Plains and Midwest were wetter than average while parts of the Northern and Southern Plains and Southeast were drier than average. In the South, warm, windy and relatively dry conditions increased wildfire danger, with 2 million acres burning during the month. This was nearly seven times the 2000-2010 average and more than 600,000 acres above the previous record set in 2006. Alaska had its fifth driest March on record. The above-average precipitation in the Plains and Midwest was accompanied by severe weather outbreaks including damaging tornadoes. Abundant snowfall earlier in the season from California to the Central Rockies, combined with above-average March precipitation across the Northwest and Northern Rockies, resulted in above-average snowpack at most mountain locations on April 1 st .

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 53.8°F, 2.7°F above the 20 th century average during the month of April. This was the 11 th warmest April on record for the Lower 48 and warmest April since 2012. Record and near-record warmth was observed along the East Coast and into the Midwest with near-average conditions in the Northwest. Alaska had its sixth warmest April on record. The April precipitation total was 3.49 inches, 0.97 inch above the 20 th century average, making it the second wettest April in the 123-year period of record. Much-above-average precipitation was observed in the Northwest, Central Plains, Midwest, and along parts of the East Coast. A significant flooding event impacted Missouri and Arkansas in late April extending into early May. Missouri had its wettest April on record. During April there were over 200 preliminary tornado reports. Large tornado outbreaks impacted the central and southern U.S. in early and late April resulting in eight tornado-related fatalities in Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas. Alaska had its second driest ton April. April is climatologically the driest month of the year for Alaska.

The May average temperature was 60.6°F, 0.4°F above average, ranking near the median value. Above-average temperatures were observed along the West Coast and into the Great Basin and Northern Rockies as well as along the coastal Southeast. Below-average temperatures were observed in parts of the Great Plains, Upper Midwest, and Lower-Mississippi Valley. No state had a record warm or record cold May temperature. The May precipitation total for the Lower 48 was 3.36 inches, 0.45 inch above average and the 20 th wettest May on record. Above-average precipitation fell across most of the East and parts of the Rockies and Great Plains. Areas along the East and Gulf Coasts were particularly wet, with 14 states much wetter than average. Below-average precipitation was observed in the West, Northern Plains and Rockies, southern Florida and the Southern Plains.


In brief:
  • The average summer temperature for the CONUS was 72.7°F, 1.3°F above the 20 th century average. This was the 15 th warmest summer on record for the CONUS, but the coolest since 2014. Much of the West was warmer than average with California and Nevada each having their warmest summer on record. Parts of the East Coast were also warmer than average.
  • Near- to below-average temperatures were observed across large parts of the central U.S. to Gulf Coast.
  • The June-August average temperature is rising at a rate of 1.5°F per century since records began in 1895.
  • It was the 13 th wettest summer for the CONUS. Above-average precipitation accumulated along the Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Northeast. Louisiana and Mississippi were record wet. Below-average precipitation fell in the Northwest, Northern Rockies, and parts of the Northern Plains and Midwest.
  • Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas in late August causing record breaking flooding and over $100 billion in damages. Harvey was the second costliest weather and climate disaster on record to impact the United States.
  • There were five weather and climate disaster during summer that caused losses exceeding $1 billion &mdash three individual severe weather outbreaks, the start of the wildfire season in the West and Hurricane Harvey.

The June nationally-averaged temperature was 70.3°F, 1.9°F above average and tied 1977 as the 20 th warmest on record. Above-average temperatures were present for locations from the West Coast through the Great Plains and along parts of the East Coast. Five states in the Southwest were much warmer than average, in addition to Delaware on the East Coast. Maximum temperatures along the Gulf Coast were particularly cool where Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi had monthly maximum temperatures that ranked among the 10 lowest on record. Conversely, Arizona observed record warm maximum temperatures. The June precipitation total was slightly above average, and ranked near the median value. Many locations across the East, particularly the Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Northeast observed wetter than average conditions. Parts of the Great Plains and Mid-Atlantic were drier than average. The above-average precipitation along the Gulf Coast helped to suppress daytime temperatures. Three severe weather outbreaks impacted the central U.S. during June causing damages exceeding $1 billion each.

The July nationally-averaged temperature was 2.1°F above average and was the 10 th warmest on record. Much-above average temperatures were observed across the West and along parts of the East Coast. Parts of the central U.S. and Northeast had near to below- average temperatures, with maximum temperatures being particularly cool across the Great Lakes and Northeast. Alaska was particularly warm in July with a statewide average temperature of 56.2°F, 3.5°F above average and the third warmest July on record. The July CONUS precipitation total was near average, masking some regional extremes. The Northwest and Northern Rockies to Plains were much drier than average with much-above-average precipitation in the Southwest, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

The August CONUS temperature was slightly below average, once again masking regional extremes. The below-average temperature in August ended a record-long streak of above-average temperatures for the nation that began in March 2015. Record warmth was observed along the West Coast with California, Oregon, and Washington being record warm. Much-below-average temperatures were observed in the Central U.S. with six states in the Plains and Midwest having a top 10 cold August. Daytime maximum temperatures were much below average for a large portion of the central U.S. with eight states having a top 10 cold August maximum temperature. Louisiana had its second coolest August maximum temperature on record. The nationally-average precipitation total was 3.41 inches, 0.79 inches above average, the fifth wettest August on record. Texas was record wet, mostly due to powerful and slow-moving Hurricane Harvey and its remnants. Precipitation across the state averaged 7.01inches, 4.70 inches above average. Louisiana averaged 12.94 inches, 8.30 inches above average, tying its record wettest August on record that occurred in 2016, which also saw widespread very heavy rainfall and flooding. Locally in areas of Texas and Louisiana, precipitation amounts were historic due to Hurricane Harvey. At least 22 stations reported more than 500 percent of normal, or five times their normal rainfall for August. Monthly totals in excess of 60 inches were recorded by local observers in far southeastern Texas. Above-average precipitation was also observed in parts of the Central Plains and Upper Midwest with continued below-average precipitation in the Northwest.


In brief:

The September average temperature for the CONUS was 66.3°F, 1.4°F above average and ranked in the warmest third of the historical record. Much-above-average temperatures were observed in the Northeast and Great Lakes with the rest of the country experiencing near to slightly above average monthly temperatures. The temperature pattern across the contiguous U.S. shifted dramatically in mid-September. Early in the month, record and near-record warmth spanned the West with below-average conditions across the East. For the last two weeks of September, record or near-record warmth was observed in the East with below-average temperatures in the West. During September, the Alaska statewide average temperature was 42.8°F, 2.2°F above average. North-central and southeastern Alaska were much warmer than average. The temperature in McGrath did not drop below the freezing mark until September 29, the latest such occurrence on record. The precipitation total for the CONUS was 0.22 inch below average, ranking in the driest third of the historical record. Above-average precipitation fell across the Rockies, Great Plains, and Southeast. Below-average precipitation fell across the Midwest, Northeast and the Lower to Mid-Mississippi Valley where five states were much drier than average. Louisiana had its driest September on record, on the heels of the state&rsquos wettest August on record. Drought conditions began developing across the Lower Mississippi Valley and Southern Plains late in the month, especially in the locations that missed out on the heavy rains from Harvey. September was an extremely active hurricane month for the North Atlantic Basin with five hurricanes &mdash four of which were major hurricanes. One measure of tropical cyclone activity&mdashthe Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which takes into account the combined strength and duration of tropical cyclones &mdash was record high in the North Atlantic during September. Hurricane Irma devastated parts of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida. Then Hurricane Maria delivered a second punch, causing unprecedented impacts on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The nationally-averaged October temperature was 55.7°F, 1.6°F above average and the 21 st warmest on record. Much-above-average temperatures were observed in parts of the Southwest and were widespread in the Midwest and Northeast. The six New England states each had their warmest October on record. Below-average temperatures were observed in the Northwest. The October precipitation total as 2.60 inches, 0.44 inch above average and ranked in the wettest third of the record. Above-average precipitation fell for most locations East of the Mississippi River and in the Northwest and Central Plains. Michigan had its wettest October on record with 246 percent of average precipitation. Below-average precipitation fell in the Southwest and parts of the Northern and Southern Plains. Drought conditions expanded and intensified in parts of the Southwest, Southern Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast. Outside of the contiguous U.S., drought conditions improved across parts of Hawaii.

November was the eighth warmest for the CONUS with an average temperature of 45.0°F, 3.3°F above average. Much of the warmth during the month was across the West and Southern Plains. Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were each record warm. Arizona surpassed its previous record by more 2.0°F. Near-average temperatures were observed across much of the northern U.S. and along much of the East Coast. Much-above-average temperatures were observed along the western and northern coasts of Alaska where Arctic sea ice extent offshore was record and near-record low for the month. Barrow had its warmest November on record with a temperature of 17.2°F, 16.4°F above the 1981-2010 normal, and 1.9°F warmer than the previous record in 1950. The monthly precipitation total was 1.62 inches, 0.61 inch below average and ranked as the 21 st driest on record. Below-average precipitation accumulated for most locations from the Southwest into the Great Plains, Southeast and along the East Coast. Record low precipitation totals were reported in parts of the Southwest and Deep South, with five states having the tenth driest, or drier, November on record. Mississippi ranked third driest, Alabama and Arkansas fourth driest, Oklahoma fifth driest, and Louisiana tenth driest. Little Rock, Arkansas, had its driest November on record with only 0.41 inch of rainfall. Above-average precipitation was observed in the Northwest, Northern Rockies and parts of the Midwest. Ohio had its ninth wettest November on record.

For information on December, please see our December 2017 report.

Why do Chinese New Year dates change every year?

Chinese New Year dates vary slightly between years, but it usually comes during the period from January 21st to February 20th in Gregorian calendar. The dates change every year because the festival is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The lunar calendar is associated with the movement of the moon, which usually defines traditional festivals like the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Day.

The lunar calendar is also associated with 12 animal signs in Chinese zodiac, so every 12 years is regarded as a cycle. 2022 is a Year of the Tiger, while 2023 turns to be a Year of the Rabbit.


Although women were not allowed to join the military at the time, many women still served as secret soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

These female soldiers usually disguised themselves as men by cutting their hair, binding their breasts with bandages and adopting masculine names.

Woodcut of an armed female combatant from “A New Touch on the Times” circa 1779

Their motivations for signing up vary but, since most of these women were young, unmarried and poor, many of them joined in order to earn money for their families as well as for the rare opportunity to fight for America’s independence.

It’s not surprising that since the American Revolution began in Massachusetts, many of these women soldiers were from Massachusetts.

Some of these women soldiers include Deborah Sampson from Plympton, Mass, who fought in New York under the alias Robert Shurtliff in 1781 and served for over a year before she was discovered.

Another female soldier was Ann (or Nancy) Bailey of Boston who enlisted in 1777 under the alias Sam Gay and was promoted to Corporal before her true identity was discovered just a few weeks later, resulting in her arrest and imprisonment.

After her release, Bailey signed up again and served as a soldier for a few weeks before she was discovered and jailed again, according to the book The Revolutionary War.

Some women didn’t disguise themselves or join the military but instead armed themselves and took to the streets, such as Prudence Cummings Wright did in Pepperell after two suspected Tory spies came through her town and she recruited a group of armed women to capture them.

February 21, 2017 Day 32 of the First Year - History

  • American Heart Month
  • An Affair to Remember Month
  • Black History Month
  • Canned Food Month
  • Creative Romance Month
  • Great American Pie Month
  • National Bird Feeding Month
  • National Cherry Month
  • National Children’s Dental Health Month
  • National Grapefruit Month
  • National Weddings Month
  • Spunky Old Broads Month

3rd Week International Flirting Week

February 2021 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days:

The Day the Music Died - Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash in 1959.

Bubble Gum Day - first Friday of the month

Send a Card to a Friend Day - obviously created by a card company

Boy Scout Day - celebrates the birthday of scouting

February 10

February 11

February 12

February 13

February 14

February 15

February 16

February 17

February 18

February 19

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 23

February 24

February 25

February 26

Purim - begins at sundown, date varies

February 27

February 28

Future Events:

Leap Day -The next February 29 is in 2024.

1. 2022 dates are available later in 2021.

2. Holiday Insights is one of the original holiday calendar sites. We are proudly one of very few who actually researches each holiday and special day prior to publishing them.

Holiday Insights, where everyday is a holiday, a bizarre day, a wacky day ,or a special event. Join us in the fun each and every day of the year.

The digital economy is transforming the world of work. Over the past decade, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing, and data have led to the proliferation of digital platforms, which have penetrated several sectors of the economy and societies. Since early 2020, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities, further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy. The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information ICTs and access to the internet, deepening existing inequalities.

While digital labour platforms provide workers with income-generating opportunities and benefits from flexible work arrangements, including for women, persons with disabilities, young people, and migrant workers, they also present some challenges. For workers, these relate to the regularity of work and income, their rights to fair working conditions, social protection and adequate standard of living, skills utilization, and the right to form or join trade unions. Algorithmic monitoring practices, in some cases augmenting to workplace surveillance, are also a growing concern. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are exposing the risks and inequalities of workers engaged in location-based platforms. For traditional businesses, the challenges include unfair competition from platforms, some of which are not subject to conventional taxation and other obligations because of their novel nature, including with respect to their workforce. Another challenge for traditional businesses is the amount of funding required to continuously adapt to digital transformations, especially for small and medium enterprises, and inadequate availability of reliable digital infrastructure, in the global South.

The regulatory responses from many countries have started to address some of the issues related to working conditions on digital labour platforms. However, there is a need for international policy dialogue and coordination since digital labour platforms operate across multiple jurisdictions. The promotion of national, regional, and international multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and coordination is also vital to ensure regulatory certainty and the applicability of universal labour standards, given the diversity of responses by countries and platform companies.

Transformations, especially for small and medium enterprises, and inadequate availability of reliable digital infrastructure, in particular in the global South. The regulatory responses from many countries have started to address some of the issues related to working conditions on digital labour platforms. However, there is a need for international policy dialogue and coordination since digital labour platforms operate across multiple jurisdictions. The promotion of national, regional, and international multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and coordination is also vital to ensure regulatory certainty and the applicability of universal labour standards, given the diversity of responses by countries and platform companies.

This year's commemoration supports efforts by the international community to search for solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all. Consequently, it aims at fostering dialogue with member States and relevant UN institutions and other stakeholders on actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities,, and protect labour and human rights in the modern era of digital technologies.


The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

This landmark Declaration is a powerful reaffirmation of ILO values. It is the outcome of tripartite consultations that started in the wake of the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. By adopting this text, the representatives of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations from 182 member States emphasize the key role of our tripartite Organization in helping to achieve progress and social justice in the context of globalization. Together, they commit to enhance the ILO’s capacity to advance these goals, through the Decent Work Agenda. The Declaration institutionalizes the Decent Work concept developed by the ILO since 1999, placing it at the core of the Organization’s policies to reach its constitutional objectives.

The Declaration comes at a crucial political moment, reflecting the wide consensus on the need for a strong social dimension to globalization in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all. It constitutes a compass for the promotion of a fair globalization based on decent work, as well as a practical tool to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda at the country level. It also reflects a productive outlook by highlighting the importance of sustainable enterprises in creating greater employment and income opportunities for all.

The General Assembly recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security, or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It further recognizes that globalization and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world, while at the same time there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies, and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries, as well as some countries with economies in transition.

On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared that, starting from the sixty-third session of the General Assembly, 20 February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

Virtual Event

23 February 2021, 10:00 a.m. EST

Over the past decade, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing, and data have led to the proliferation of digital platforms, which have penetrated a number of sectors of the economy and societies. Since early 2020, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities, further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy. This event will foster dialogue on actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities and protect labour rights in the modern era of digital technologies. The event will also present the findings of the latest ILO flagship report, "World Employment and Social Outlook 2021: The role of digital labour platforms in transitioning the world of work."

February used to be called cabbage month?

Before we adopted the Latin name for our second month, Old English used much more vibrant names to describe the month now known as February. The most common Old English name was Solmonath, which literally means “mud month.”

A lesser-used term was Kale-monath, which meant “cabbage month.” Perhaps, the medieval English were eating a lot of cabbage in February? Strange.

The term “Black Friday” (in the retail sense) was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last-minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped-for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted. However, prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel.

Black Friday is a long "day," with many retailers traditionally opening up the afternoon of Thanksgiving to hordes of people waiting anxiously outside the windows. For those who don't want to line up outside of stores, online Black Friday sales generally kick off at the same time, or even a bit earlier than in-store sales. Online and in store, shoppers can expect to find numerous doorbusters – prices so low the store may not make a profit – to entice shoppers. Most large retailers post their Black Friday ad scans, coupons and offers online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. Other companies take a different approach, waiting until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads, hoping to create a buzz and keep customers eagerly checking back for an announcement.


IMPORTANT Starting in July 2020, all Windows Updates will disable the RemoteFX vGPU feature because of a security vulnerability. For more information about the vulnerability, seeCVE-2020-1036 and KB4570006. After you install this update, attempts to start virtual machines (VM) that have RemoteFX vGPU enabled will fail, and messages such as the following will appear:

If you re-enable RemoteFX vGPU, a message similar to the following will appear:

“The virtual machine cannot be started because all the RemoteFX-capable GPUs are disabled in Hyper-V Manager.”

“The virtual machine cannot be started because the server has insufficient GPU resources.”

"We no longer support the RemoteFX 3D video adapter. If you are still using this adapter, you may become vulnerable to security risk. Learn more (”

As of February 11, 2020, Internet Explorer 10 is no longer in support. To get Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 Embedded Standard, see KB4492872. Install one of the following applicable updates to stay updated with the latest security fixes:

Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Server 2012.

Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8 Embedded Standard.

Watch the video: Ελληνική ιστορία - Ελληνιστική περίοδος 323-31. (September 2022).

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