Labor Day - See You in September
Volume 1, Issue 13 — August 28, 2019
Labor Day in the US began as part of the labor union movement to recognize the “contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the country.” Today, for many, it symbolizes the last hurrah of summer and the unofficial kickoff of NFL season. Whatever your taste, we’ve put together these interesting facts to amuse you…should you have the day off.
- President Grover Cleveland and the US Congress made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894.
- Most other countries celebrate International Workers' Day (aka May Day) instead. Same concept, only it’s observed on May 1.
- The first Canadian Labour (just went to battle with my autocorrect) Day was in 1872, 10 years before the Americans got in on it.
- Guess which holiday ranks #1 for the greatest number of injuries and trips to the ER? Yep, Labor Day = traffic accidents-a-plenty.
- 25 percent of Americans plan to get out of town for Labor Day weekend (see above statistic), and more than 41 percent will enjoy BBQing with friends.
- Big discounts turn Labor Day into a full-on shopping extravaganza for some, but turn workdays into misery for many others, specifically retail employees who comprise the largest US labor group.
- Labor Day is also seen as the end of hotdog season. And the beginning of Pumpkin Spice season (mock if you will, but PS is a $500 million industry).
- For years, wearing white (or seersucker) clothes after Labor Day was a serious faux pas met with frowns and citations from fashion police. Attributed to upper class vacationers returning home and stowing away their lightweight, white summer clothes, fashion magazines boosted the tradition into mainstream culture. Thankfully, today’s fashionistas agree that the tradition is kaput.
- Though Labor Day is considered the unofficial end of summer, you still have time to catch some waves and rays. The official end of summer is September 21.
- Top grossing movie opening on Labor Day Weekend? According to Box Office Mojo it was ‘Halloween’ in 2007 bringing in $30,591,759.
- Thousands of moms will go into labor on Labor Day resulting in about 10,829 babies being born. Amazing, for sure. But typical of every day.
- The #LaborDay hashtag on Instagram has been used nearly 1.5 million times.
A Diverse Team is a Happy (and Successful) Team
Volume 1, Issue 15 — September 25, 2019
Research shows that lack of diversity in an organization is costly, decreases employee retention, and discourages innovative thinking. Once considered a token word in a mission statement, diversity in the workplace is today recognized as critical for innovative businesses and a socially sound investment for corporations. AUTM wants to be on the forefront of diversity of technology transfer and the new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee is working to support this initiative for technology transfer organizations worldwide. This month, The List
delivers a small sampling of reasons that the world celebrates Global Diversity Awareness each October.
- Research suggests that racially and ethnically diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35%.
- Diversity of workforces provides a greater range of talent with varied world-views, boosting intellectual performance and output.
- Inclusion results in additional insights into the needs of a wider section of client or customer bases, leading to improved innovations and approaches.
- Diverse teams may process information differently, resulting in additional views, which can challenge stale ways of thinking.
- Businesses who hire culturally diverse team members introduce more innovations into the world marketplace.
- Diversification keeps biases in check by questioning standards of practice.
- Culturally diverse teams approach problems and challenges more carefully and are more creative about solutions.
- Teams where men and women are equally represented are more profitable, earning 41% more revenue.
- Racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%.
- Inclusive companies are more likely to be innovation leaders in their markets.
- Teams that mix people across genders, sexual identities, ages and ethnicities have stronger mindsets.
- Diverse teams expanded networks and partnerships, creating new avenues for business to expand and succeed.
AUTM’s EDI Committee is hard at work looking at ways to provide AUTM members tools and actionable suggestions to increase diversity and improve inclusivity in the technology transfer workplace and in the communities they serve. Watch your inbox for more information soon!
If You’ve Got It, Haunt It
Volume 1, Issue 17 — October 23, 2019
Halloween is a spooktacular time worldwide. It’s also big business, second only to Christmas. This installment of The List
will help you up your season of fun with fangtastic Halloween facts and lore.
- In the US, Halloween is a $9 billion industry.
- Among its most successful social media campaigns, USPTO's #CreepyIP features bizarre costume ideas, decorations and other gruesome patents culled from patent archives to get you in the spirit for Halloween.
- The name Jack-O-Lantern originated from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack, who walked the Earth after death with only a carved-out turnip and burning coal to light his way.
- The majority of Halloween pumpkins (1.31 billion pounds) in the US are grown in 6 states — Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, with Illinois producing up to five times more pumpkins than any other state.
- A sure fire way to get your house egged by mischievous trick-or-treaters is by doling out the most hated Halloween candies: Circus Peanuts, candy corn, Tootsie Rolls and Good & Plenty. Opt instead for the most popular candies, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Skittles.
- Trick-or-treating began as "going-a-souling," with soul cakes given to beggars by wealthy families in exchange for prayers for dead relatives.
- Trunk-or-Treating is a modern alternative to hitting the pavement for candy on Halloween night. Event-goers park their cars in a circle at a school or church parking lot, decorate their open trunks, and dress in costumes to hand out treats.
- One of the most iconic lines in Peanuts history, “I got a rock,” was uttered by Charlie Brown while trick-or-treating in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
- Samhainophobia is the medical term for an intense and persistent fear of Halloween. Yikes!
- According to legend, if you put your clothes on inside out and walk backward on Halloween, you’ll see a witch at midnight.
- 50% of children prefer chocolate over other Halloween treats. 10% would choose gum. Toothbrushes, not so much.
- The world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown is 2,323 pounds.
- Back in the day, young women would mark apples for apple bobbing events. If a young man captured her apple, that girl had found her match. Original Tindr?
- November 2 is ‘Day of the Dead’ in Mexico. Celebrants dress up as ghouls and roam the streets with angry spirits from the gates of hell.
- Though often associated, a full moon on Halloween is quite rare. The next one is expected on Oct. 31, 2020.
- Because it was on such a tight budget, producers of the movie Halloween (1978) chose to use a William Shatner Star Trek mask for its sinister character Michael Meyers.
- 'Monster Mash' by Bobby "Boris" Pickett reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October 1962.
I Yam What I Yam – US Thanksgiving Fun Facts
Volume 1, Issue 19 — November 20, 2019
Halloween has come and gone, which in the US signals that the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. Often represented by Normal Rockwellian white bread imagery, Thanksgiving is actually a multicultural event centered on community, inclusiveness (family bickering
) and, for some, football. In this installment of The List
, we celebrate the traditions and deliciousness of the season and extend pumpkin pie wishes to all.
- Though a staple, it is unlikely that turkey made an appearance at the first Thanksgiving. The real headliner for the autumnal feast of 1621 was venison. According to one of the only two first-hand accounts of the event, the Wampanoag Indians brought five slaughtered deer, lobsters, clams and eels with them when they turned up for dinner.
- If it’s cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes that tickle your giblets, you wouldn't have enjoyed the first Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce was not invented until 50 years after the first feast and sweet potatoes were only just beginning to be cultivated in America.
- The first TV dinner came from Thanksgiving leftovers. In 1953 a worker at Swanson Foods ordered too many frozen turkeys (260 tons too many) so Jerry Thomas, a company salesperson, had the idea to create a packaged dinner on aluminum trays. Voila! The TV dinner was born!
- The woman who wrote "Mary Had A Little Lamb" is also responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the US. After petitioning the government for 17 years, writer Sarah Josepha Hale finally convinced Abraham Lincoln to make it a national holiday in 1863.
- In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up one week to help boost retail sales during the Depression. People complained so much that it was moved back to the original date (fourth Thursday of November) in 1941. The Thanksgivings between those years are referred to as "Franksgivings."
- The tradition of making secret wishes while breaking wishbones was inherited from the British, who got it from the Romans, who adopted it from the Etruscans, who believed that birds had oracle powers.
- In 1966, the Philadelphia Police Department began referring to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, hoping that it would deter people from adding to the traffic and commotion before the Army-Navy football game being held that same weekend.
- Benjamin Franklin proposed that the turkey be the official bird of the United States. He was unhappy when the bald eagle was chosen instead, citing the eagle’s “bad moral character.”
- 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which translates to more than 280 million turkeys, or $553 million.
- Fossil evidence shows that turkey-like creatures roamed the Americas 75 million years ago. While the gobblers have certainly changed, there are still some giant birds among us. The Guinness Book of Records states that the heaviest turkey on record was 86 lbs. (dressed). Uh, we’re going to need a bigger platter.
- “Thanksgivings” for Pilgrims occurred at different times throughout the year and were religious events when people spent the day praying.
- The Thanksgiving menu of turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce originated during the Victorian era, when Abe Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving proclamations.
- Contrary to popular belief, Pilgrims did not dress in black, or wear those funny buckles, weird shoes, or black steeple hats.
- The first Macy’s Parade in 1924 was six miles long and featured live zoo animals and floats pulled by horses. Imagine that cleanup nightmare! By comparison, today’s parade route is a snappy 2.6 miles long.
- Introduced in 1927, Felix the Cat was the first-ever giant balloon in the parade. The most replicated balloon honor goes to Snoopy, who debuted in 1968 and was recreated seven times.
- In early Macy’s parades, the giant character balloons were released into the air instead of deflated. The balloons carried a return address, and finders could claim a prize for returning one to Macy’s. The parade held its last balloon race in 1932 after two incidents involving airplanes.
- It takes 90 minutes to inflate one of the giant balloons, which, on average, contain 12,000 cubic feet of helium. Each requires up to 90 handlers, who have to weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health.
- In 1980, Seth Tibbott created ‘Tofurky’ (a blend of tofu and wheat) as a protein alternative for vegans at Thanksgiving. Since then more than 5 million Tofurky roasts have been sold.
- 4 US towns are named Turkey. Turkey, Texas, Turkey Creek, Arizona, Turkey Creek, Louisiana, Turkey, North Carolina.
- Each Thanksgiving, the Butterball Turkey Hotline answers more than 100K questions about how to safely prepare a turkey.
- In order, the top three favorite Thanksgiving dishes are turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
- Of the 54 million people that travel for Thanksgiving, 89% of them drive to their destination.
- It would take a person 10.5 hours on a treadmill to burn off the 4,500 calories consumed at a typical Thanksgiving meal.
- In 1857, the song "One Horse Open Sleigh" was composed by James Pierpoint for children celebrating Thanksgiving. It became a huge hit associated with Christmas instead and the title was officially changed to “Jingle Bells” two years later.
- What’s in a name? Some believe that if it is cooked inside a turkey, it’s stuffing, and if it's prepared outside the bird, it’s dressing. However, south of the Mason-Dixon Line cooks call it dressing, regardless of its preparation, citing the unpleasantness of the word stuffing.
- Most agree that cranberry sauce (in whichever form) is a must at Thanksgiving. The Ocean Spray company produces 5 million gallons (70 million cans) of its wiggly, jiggly canned sauce (with signature ridges) per year. The average number of cranberries used per can is 200, and a single, quarter-cup serving is loaded with 22 grams of sugar. No, Virginia, it ain’t Keto!
- Deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving can be mighty delicious, if not risky. Every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for 5 deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15-million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- There is no more tryptophan in turkey than in other common foods like chicken and beef, nuts and cheeses. If you are extra tired after your Thanksgiving gorge, it is likely because you should have counted your carbs in addition to your many blessings. Just sayin’!
- And no tech transfer Thanksgiving list would be complete without a nod to the innovations that the holiday inspired. Here then are Frozen Turkey Stuffer, Apparatus for Extracting Creamed Corn, Automatic Mashed Potato System, Pie Filling Device, Chestnut Roaster, and Thermally Responsive Signaling Device (aka Pop-up Timer).
Upping Your Game in 2020 - Professional Resolutions For Success
Volume 1, Issue 21 — December 18, 2019
As we close out another amazing year, The List
explores professional development (mostly) New Year’s resolutions to help you be better at what you do. Like all resolutions, the proof will be in the pudding (note to self: cut way down on pudding consumption in 2020
), and it’s all about you. But take comfort in knowing that you have the support of the best darned professional tech transfer organization (that would be AUTM) behind you. Go forth, dear readers, and good luck!
1. Be clear about your goals
This is not the time to be vague or wishy-washy. You can’t fully appreciate the sweet taste of victory if you haven’t first clearly identified your goals, their purpose and benefits. Be creative. Add a scoring scale if that’s how you roll, or an asterisk to items that present risks or challenge you to go out on a limb. It’s all good. You have our permission.
2. Get organized
Whether it’s your desk, files, device or closet, it’s time to get organized. You’ll be amazed by how good it feels to freshen your surroundings by removing clutter. It increases productivity and gives you time to focus on more important things. Give yourself extra points for donating items that can be repurposed by others.
3. Confront productivity-zapping habits
Sure, responding to every friend request or commenting on the photo your BFF just posted of their lunch is hard to resist, but added up, these distractions can cause you to be a late arrival in Achievementland. Small changes can produce big results. Plus, you can post about it later!
4. Find a mentor
There are few better ways of productively honing your professional skill set than connecting with a mentor. A mentor can point you in the right direction when opportunities arise, help build your self-awareness, bring needed clarity to your goals, and challenge you to maximize your potential. BTW, AUTM happens to have a tech transfer mentor program
. Did you know that? Hmm, did you?
5. Ramp up your communication skills
Don’t skim past this one just because just you’re a pro with many years on the job. Everyone can benefit from a communications review. You know very well the areas of communication that consistently trip you up or cause self-doubt. So why not face and overcome them? Examine (honestly) and refine the tone, style and content of your communications. Enhance your vocabulary, if needed. Make it a point to do a last-minute review of your email or copy before you hit send to be sure it is clear, concise and complete. Recipients will be grateful and it helps cut down on the inevitable follow-up exchanges seeking clarification. Time saved and banked!
6. Stay focused and be productive every day
Don’t just go through the motions at work. Make a commitment to fully engage each day. Improve your success rate by dialing back your infatuation with the latest social media squabbles or adorable puppy/kitten videos and staying focused on the job at hand. By the end of the day, your To Do list will look like a redacted government document. Except in a good way.
7. Update your own branding
Opportunities have a funny way of popping up when you’re at the end of your rope or least prepared to throw your hat into the ring. Nip that dilemma in the bud by updating and polishing your CV or resume and Linkedin profile and be ready to pounce when the perfect situation presents itself. Be prepared!
8. Join AUTM
Joining AUTM is a take-charge move and one of the easiest ways to broaden your knowledge, build a more impressive resume, and enhance your networking connections. And if you go the extra mile by volunteering
for a committee or task force, it’s entirely possible that you’ll make some life-long friends. This is a no-brainer resolution that you can easily accomplish with a great ROI.
9. Network like your life depends upon it
Whether you’re trying to do a deal or land the next big opportunity, success truly is often about who you know. Move making contacts, reconnecting with fellow professionals, colleagues, and friends to the top of your 2020 list. We have!
10. Keep learning
Make a goal to learn at least one new tech skill, and check in with programs and platforms that you’re already using to find additional tools for being more efficient. Don’t confine learning to only your job though. Open your mind and explore ideas, cultures, neighborhoods or opinions outside of your comfort zone. You’re likely to garner a memorable new learning experience, and quite possibly discover fascinating new insights about yourself. Oooh, intriguing!
11. Keep reading (or listening)
Go to your favorite independent bookstore, hop on Amazon, or go old school and get yourself a library card. Start by making a list of things you’d like to read or learn about. Then turn your commute, or quiet home time into relaxing (and productive) reading or listening “me time.” Besides being a stress reducer, it provides conversation and small-talk fodder for when you’re networking. People will be impressed!
12. Unplug for a weekend
For most, this is much easier said than done. No question about it. In fact, we got the shakes from just suggesting it. But seriously, think back to a time when you weren’t tethered to a device while cooking, cleaning or dining out with friends. The world will keep spinning if you shut down for few hours. We promise. Give cutting the cord a try, for at least for 48-hours, every now and then. It might become a cherished new habit!
13. Be a hobbiest
Your work is important. No doubt about it. But don’t limit your perspective by staring at a computer all day, every day. Nurture your creative impulses and become an even more interesting person by picking up (or reconnecting with) a hobby. Pursuing interests other than your work will help increase your chances of achieving the allusive healthy life-work balance that we’ve all heard about, and may even lead to improved problem solving or project management prowess at work. Double score!
14. Evaluate and track your progress
You’re no stranger to quantifying things. You do it all day long at work. So why not stay on top things by tracking your personal goal progress? Set small, incremental goals that you can achieve in a month or in a quarter. Then scratch them off your list (so satisfying), check a box or give yourself an extra special reward when you reach a goal. Seeing your progress on paper (or device) goes a long way to building confidence and motivates you to do even more good. Try it, you’ll like it!