Face the facts: Milk, cigarettes, and astronaut customs

January 11 is Milk Day

It is believed that Milk Day celebrates the first time milk was delivered in glass bottles. Prior to this, conditions for milk delivery were quite unsanitary but the new bottles enabled safe and clean storage.

Many schoolchildren are encouraged to take part in Milk Day so that they start the good habit of drinking milk from a young age. They can also learn about the various ways milk can be used to create different foods like cheese.

This Day in History: January 11, 1964: The landmark report ”Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States  is published.

US Surgeon General Luther Terry declared after reading the report that “Cigarette Smoking may be hazardous to your health.”  While this was not the first time a US official had made a similar statement, this report and Dr. Terry’s warning became world famous, causing a noticeable shift in the smoking habits of the general public.

The report's publication had wide effects across the United States and the world. It was deliberately published on a Saturday to minimize the negative effect on the American stock markets, while maximizing the coverage in Sunday newspapers. The release of the report was one of the top news stories of 1964.

It led to policy and public opinion changes such as the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 and the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969, which mandated warning labels on cigarettes and instituted a ban on the broadcast of cigarette ads.

Strange but true: Astronauts fill out US customs forms upon returning from the moon.

Apollo 11 made world history. It was the mission in which human beings first walked on the moon, the first time anyone had ever stepped on an extraterrestrial surface. After a 4 day voyage through space, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins arrived in orbit around the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong and Aldrin went down to the surface in the lunar lander while Collins kept their spacecraft in orbit and awaited their return.

All went well, and the heroes splashed down in the Pacific ocean on July 24, 1969, 8 days after their departure. The astronauts then entered several weeks of quarantine until they could be given a clean bill of health to insure they had not brought back any alien viruses, and then it was on to a hero’s welcome with ticker tape parades in New York and worldwide fame. Pretty standard history lesson.

But, what is not as well known is that upon their return from the moon, the astronauts had to fill out a US Customs form. NASA has confirmed that this happened, but has also said it was treated as a joke. Nevertheless, the document is signed by all three astronauts, although none claimed anything.

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