January is already in its twenties and I find I keep on getting dragged back to 2008. Only yesterday I discovered that last year was the International Year of the Frog. How did I miss that ? I don’t know where or when this was decided but I can imagine the endless jokes about it being a good thing to do in a Leap Year.
And the prize is surely more interesting than the Grammies, Emmies, Tonies or any other prize which sounds like a life-threatening snack sold in a over-coloured packet at supermarket counters. However i do find the Germans go a bit overboard, they also have a tree of the year, a mushroom of the year (the Blaue Rindepilz), a river landscape of the year, an insect of the year, a generic animal of the year and I forget what else.
But even if I didn’t know about the International Year of the Frog, I feel I did my bit, because I posted an anonymous poem called The Frog – almost. I also sort of addressed the issue of the International Year of the Potato and provided some interesting potato stats. But 2008 was also the International Year of the Reef, Sanitation, Languages and Planet Earth. I definitely contributed to confusion among languages, but I am not sure whether I had a positive effect on sanitation. Like most people with access to electricity, fuel and air freight, I most definitely made Planet Earth a worse place. And I certainly did nothing for the Reef.
2009 will among other things be the international year of the gorilla, the international year of natural fibres, and astronomy, reconciliation and human rights learning. I don’t expect to have a major impact in any of these areas but I was interested to discover that the year is also full of international days. 21 March, for example, is International Sleep Day and in autumn there is an International Day for Left-Handers.
I typed “jumping animals” into a search engine and was surprised with the candidates which appeared. Here they are:
I was expecting antelopes or fleas. (I am already prepared for the latter case: here is a study demonstrating that Dog Fleas jump further than Cat Fleas). This won a 2008 Ig Nobel Prize (other winners “The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Crisps” and “The Role of Armadilloes in the Movement of Archeological Material”. I really encourage you to read the complete Ig Nobel list) .
But I have a better idea. What better way to help the planet than to make 2012 INTERNATIONAL SLEAP YEAR so that we humans stay in bed for 366 days and give all the other species twelve well-deserved months of respite from us ?