National Geographic Society Newsroom

10th Anniversary of My Decimal Birthday

Today is my birthday. I was born over a month premature on November 7th, 1973. I suppose the stork ran or rather flew out of gas and may have crash-landed several weeks early. Every year, on or near this day of celebration or recognition, I contemplate whether my birthday is deserving of the same attention...

Nat Geo News Watch

Today is my birthday. I was born over a month premature on November 7th, 1973. I suppose the stork ran or rather flew out of gas and may have crash-landed several weeks early.

Every year, on or near this day of celebration or recognition, I contemplate whether my birthday is deserving of the same attention as the birthday of some one who arrived on schedule.  In fact, my early arrival may throw off my Decimal Birthday which technically fell unrecognized on my 10,000th day of life–approximately 10 years ago today.  I can’t believe I missed such a milestone!

And what about my half-birthday? I have an approximate idea of when it is, but I never tried to determine a precise day.  It is not exactly challenging arithmetic, but for some reason I never felt compelled to pay attention to the occasion. I suppose if others called for its celebration I could come up with it quickly.

Many, but not all Westerners celebrate birth dates. Some regard them with contempt while many of us surround them with all kinds of by pomp and circumstance. However you feel about birthdays, they clearly define us for better or worse.  I’m not sure if I’m of age to start looking forward to birthdays or to be more inclined to celebrate them with reluctance.

And then what about my unbirthday which is every other day of the year, but today. I suppose if we celebrated unbirthdays, the one day that would still be different and perhaps more or less festive would be our birthday.

We do permit birthdays to define us, don’t we?

Think of how many of us have a greater acumen for astrology than astronomy. In the West, we attach significance to astronomical phenomena associated with the day of birth.

Western astrology is very much horoscopic.  I suspect you may know more people who know something about sun sign astrology than have a clue about extragalactic astronomy.

I do know my sun sign, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the Magellanic Cloud. If it is your birthday today, have a happy one.

Below are some others who share this day of birth:

07 – Nov – 1964Dana Plato (47)

07 – Nov – 1959Keith Lockhart (52)

07 – Nov – 1943Joni Mitchell (68)

07 – Nov – 1926Joan Sutherland (85)

07 – Nov – 1922Al Hirt (89)

07 – Nov – 1918Billy Graham (93)

07 – Nov – 1903Dean Jagger (108)

07 – Nov – 1879Leon Trotsky (132)

07 – Nov – 1867Madame Curie (144)





About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

Author Photo Jordan Carlton Schaul
With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife, as well as conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (While Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (While executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition he was an ex officio member of council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. Contact Email: