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Almanac

From Academic Kids

For the album by the band They Might Be Giants, see Almanac: Live 2004.

An almanac from the arabic al-manaakh, "the climate" (also spelled almanack, especially in Commonwealth English) is an annual publication containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar. Astronomical data and various statistics are also found in almanacs, such as the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon, eclipses, hours of full tide, stated festivals of churches, terms of courts, lists of all types, timelines, and more.

The precursor to the almanac was the Greek weather-calendar, the parapegma. Ptolemy the Alexandrian astronomer (1st century CE) wrote a treatise, Phaseis—"phases of fixed stars and collection of weather-changes" is the translation of its full title— the core of which is a parapegma, a list of dates of seasonally regular weather changes, first appearances and last appearances of stars or constellations at sunrise or sunset, and solar events such as solstices, all organized according to the solar year. With the astronomical computations were expected weather phenomena, composed as a digest of observations made by various authorities of the past. Parapegmata had been composed for centuries.

Ptolemy believed that the astronomical phenomena provoked the changes in seasonal weather; his explanation of observed inexactness in the correlation of these events was that the physical influences of other heavenly bodies also came into play. Hence for him, weather prediction was a special division of astrology [1] (http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~ajones/ptolgeog/astroworks.html).

When almanacs were first devised, people still saw little difference between predicting the movements of the stars and tides, and predicting the future in the divination sense. Early almanacs therefore contained general horoscopes, as well as the more concrete information. One almanac, Poor Robin's Almanack parodied these horoscopes in its 1664 issue, saying "This month we may expect to hear of the Death of some Man, Woman, or Child, either in Kent or Christendom." This sort of almanac still exists as Old Moore's Almanac, although their more mainstream modern descendants are the Your Year in the Stars supplements in the New Year edition of some newspapers and magazines.

See also

ALMANAC is also the name of a major breast cancer trial (Axillary Lymphatic Mapping Against Nodal Axillary Clearance). This major randomised trial performed in several centres in the UK produced clear evidence that sentinel node biopsy (SNB), used to stage axillary spread of disease, can be used with low failed localisation and false negative rates, provided both radioisotope and blue dye are used to locate the sentinel node(s). Compared to standard axillary management, SNB results in greatly decreased arm problems and increased quality of life, without any increase in cancer-related anxiety. There is no evidence of a difference in local recurrence rates, though longer-term evidence on this is awaited from other studies.

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