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Why is This The Last Time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Will Occur on The Same Day?

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We measure time by the way things rotate. It takes one day for the Earth to spin one full rotation on its own axis. It takes a little less than 28 days for the moon to rotate once around the Earth. It takes a little more than 365 days for the Earth to go around the sun. It would be nice if all this rotating was perfectly synced up, but it isn’t, and since we can’t control the motions of the planets, we are stuck with a messy calendar system that needs a bit of adjusting now and then.

Leap years are one way we correct for mismatches. Having months of varying lengths is another. In the calendar we use, the months are only roughly inspired by moon cycles. If we measured months by the moon and the year by the sun, the seasons would start to drift and eventually the Fourth of July would be in the dead of winter.

The Hebrew calendar, used to determine the dates of Jewish holidays, follows the cycles of the moon more closely. Months are 29 or 30 days, but complicated adjustments are made, including the addition of an extra month every so often, in order to ensure that certain holidays show up in the correct season. Hanukkah is supposed to start on the 25th of Kislev, which after drift and adjustment, ends up falling between the end of November and the end of December. This year it’s on November 28th, the earliest date it can be, which also happens to be Thanksgiving.

The 25th of Kislev will fall on November 28th again, but not when November 28th is also Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of the month). Also, there is a tiny difference in the way adjustments to align the seasons are made in the two calendars, so tiny that they only matter after they accumulate for a few hundred years. By the time enough years have passed to get to the point where Hanukkah would fall on a November 28th that was also Thanksgiving again, that tiny divergence will have pushed Hanukkah over the line to the next day. And there’s no going back to the earlier date. The earliest date for Hanukkah will slowly keep getting later...

...unless another big adjustment by decree is made, which is what has happened every couple thousand years in the history of calendar keeping. If Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide again, it won’t be according to the systems as they are in place now, but through our improvised efforts to keep up with the sloppy, syncopated spinning of the spheres.

If you want more specific details on the adjustments, here is a more in-depth explanation of the numbers.

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Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
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From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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