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15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in March

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If you're into cute animals, delicious food, beloved figures, or legendary betrayal (yeah), March is the month for you. Here are 15 offbeat holidays that celebrate a wide variety of quirky passions. 

1. MARCH 1: NATIONAL PIG DAY

Have you ever seen a more lovable oinker? We highly doubt it. 

2. MARCH 5: NATIONAL POUTINE DAY

Today, embrace this concoction—consisting of fries, cheese curds, and gravy—from our Canadian neighbors with open arms and open mouths.

3. MARCH 8: NATIONAL PROOFREADING DAY

Time to admit it: the red pen is your friend.

4. MARCH 13: NATIONAL OPEN AN UMBRELLA INDOORS DAY

This day is for facing down that age-old superstition. Open an umbrella indoors and shield yourself from the bad luck that may or may not follow. 

5. MARCH 15: BRUTUS DAY

Beware the Ides of March—and all the plotters and betrayers who might lead you to someday ask, "Et tu?"

6. MARCH 15: TRUE CONFESSIONS DAY

Speaking of shadowy plots and shocking revelations: March 15 is also a day to confess all your deepest, darkest secrets. Good luck!

7. MARCH 16: CURLEW DAY

Curlews are long-billed birds that live in the central and western parts of North America, and if you didn't know that, it's probably good that these feathered friends have their own special day. 

8. MARCH 16: LIPS APPRECIATION DAY

Pucker up and give your pout some well-deserved love and attention.

9. MARCH 18: PLAY-THE-RECORDER DAY

Limber up those fingers and celebrate this ubiquitous childhood instrument with a rousing rendition of "Hot Cross Buns." 

10. MARCH 20: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR DAY

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Everyone's favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, was born on March 20, 1928 and this holiday now serves as an occasion to remember the beloved TV star, and honor him by being kind, generous, and, well, downright neighborly.

11. MARCH 22: NATIONAL GOOF-OFF DAY

Relax, take a break, play hooky—or just goof off in your own quiet way at your desk. 

12. MARCH 23: NATIONAL TAMALE DAY

March 23 happens to be a Thursday, so we think this month would be a good one to institute Tamale Thursdays as a companion to Taco Tuesdays. 

13. MARCH 25: PECAN DAY

Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes that nut is a pecan

14. MARCH 25: TOLKIEN READING DAY

This annual holiday was started by The Tolkien Society back in 2003, and gives you a great excuse to start reading the entire The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings saga again, or for the very first time. 

15. MARCH 30: GRASS IS ALWAYS BROWNER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE DAY

Keep your eyes on your own lawn. You'll probably be happier that way. 

Holidays found in Chase's Calendar of Events 2017All photos courtesy of iStock unless otherwise noted.

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Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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How Common Is Your Birthday? An Interactive Map Can Tell You
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by James Hunt

At some point in their life, everyone counts back from their birthday and tries to figure out what anniversary, special occasion, or other excuse might have happened to their parents nine months before they were born. To make this backtracking exercise easier—and give us the chance to do it for a much larger population—data journalist Matt Stiles created an interactive "heat map" showing the most common birthdays in the United States for individuals born between 1994 and 2014.

Click on the map and you'll quickly notice that July, August, and September are by far the most common birth months. It's no surprise that nine months prior you'll find the dark and rainy period of October, November, and December when—to put it delicately—people have to make their own entertainment.

According to Stiles, "People generally seem to have time for baby-making during their time off. Several of the most common birth dates, in September, correspond with average conception periods around Christmas. September 9 is most common in this dataset, though other days in that month are close. September 19 is second. Following a customary gestation period, many of these babies would, in theory, have been conceived on December 17 and December 27, respectively."

But that's not all we can tell from the chart. When you take into account the fact that some people get to choose their child's birthday because of induced and elective births, they tend to want to stay away from the hospital during understaffed holiday periods.

"The least common birthdays in this dataset were Christmas Eve, Christmas [Day], and New Year’s Day," Stiles concluded. "Dates around Thanksgiving aren’t as common. July 4 is also at the bottom of the list. Conversely, Valentine’s Day ranks relatively high, as you can see in the graphic, as are the days just before a new tax year begins."

Amazingly, though it only comes around every four years, Leap Year babies aren't as uncommon as you might think: February 29 ranked 347th out of 366 on the list.

You can play around with the interactive graphic, and see the full ranking of birthdays, here.

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