Good morning on my penultimate day on the mainland U.S.: June 15, 2019—the Ides of June. It’s National Lobster Day, but I haven’t had a lobster in years. It’s National Beer Day in the UK, and, if you’re there, have a pint and report what you’ve had. I, for one, would fancy a pint or three of Tim Taylor’s Landlord, my favorite session beer in the UK. Reader Simon, who knows of my love for that pint, drank one in my honor the other day and sent two pictures:
Why Beer Day on June 15? Wikipedia explains:
The date was chosen because 15 June is also the date that Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 and ale is mentioned in clause 35 of Magna Carta, which states:
Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely ‘the London quarter’
It’s Graduation Day at the University of Chicago, so the campus with be thronged today with robe-clad students and their proud parents. Let us hope that the ducks survive the onslaught. The weather is predicted to be rainy this morning, turning to thunderstorms, which would put a damper on the ceremonies.
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the “jingle dress dance” of Ojibwe Native Americans, which is best demonstrated by the video below the Doodle:
On this day in 1215, as implied above, King John of England put his seal on the Magna Carta. In 1648, the first execution for witchcraft took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The unfortunate victim was Margaret Jones, a 35-year-old midwife. Here’s a guide on how to find witches by celebrated English witch-finder Matthew Hopkins. Just look for their “imps,” including Sacke & Sugar and the dreaded Vinegar Tom.
On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin supposedly proved that lightning was electricity, though the exact date is unknown. And although Franklin suggested the “kite experiment” to draw lightning from a cloud, it’s not at all clear that he, rather than someone else, actually did that experiment.
On June 15, 1844, Charles Goodyear received a patent for vulcanization, the addition of sulfur to natural rubber to harden it. In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A former slave, he served with distinction but then was dismissed on trumped-up charges of embezzlement. Here he is:
On this day in 1878, Eadweard Muybridge took the first photographs—a series—showing that at one point in a gallop, all four feet of a horse leave the ground. That was a subject of great contention in those days (the human eye couldn’t detect that brief moment), but here’s the proof (the original photo is lost, but here’a gif made from successive photos taken later by Muybridge.
On June 15, 1937, a German expedition led by Karl Wien lost 16 climbers in an avalanche on Nanga Parbat, still the worst single disaster on an 8000-meter peak. Nanga Parbat, a beautiful mountain, was first summited in 1953 by the great Austrian climber Hermann Buhl. I’ll add here that I would love to see the Himalayas one more time before I die (I was going to hike to Everest for the third time on my 60th birthday, but a party intervened). There is no sight more beautiful to me than the world’s highest mountains soaring up to the sun.
Here’s Nanga Parbat:
On this day in 1970, Charles Manson went on trial for the Sharon Tate murders. Exactly seven years later, after Franco’s death (and yes, he’s still dead), the first democratic elections took place in Spain. Finally, it was on June 15, 2012, that Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Oy! Here’s the deed (he appears to have safety gear):
Notables born on this day include Saul Steinberg (1914), Erroll Garner (1921), Harry Nilsson (1941), Johnny Hallyday (1943), Jim Belushi (1954), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), Ice Cube (1969), Leah Remini (1970), and Neil Patrick Harris (1973). Here’s a New Yorker cover by Steinberg:
Those who passed away on June 15 include James Knox Polk (1849), Ella Fitzgerald (1996), and Casey Kasem (2014).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s dialogue was a bit arcane, so I asked Malgorzata what it was about. She said this:
“We’ve recently posted an article about Traditional Chinese Medicine – a nice one, with all the history starting with its invention by Mao and all gullible Westerners buying this quackery wholesale. Hili is talking about this article.”
A: You are eating grass again.Hili: Yes, it helps with the digestion of meat, provided that you avoid Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Ja: Znowu zjadasz trawę?
Hili: Tak, pomaga w trawieniu mięsa, pod od warunkiem, że unikamy tradycyjnej chińskiej medycyny.
From Facebook: an awesome read for moggies:
And from this wonderful site, it’s the time of year for cake mistakes:
Sad but funny (sound up):
This is hilarious 😂👏 pic.twitter.com/GdW4ERklSw
— Amir Sariaslan (@AmirSariaslan) June 4, 2019
Grad students when there's free food after the talk but the professors are standing around chatting pic.twitter.com/WLtipHEHBa
— Sanjay Srivastava (@hardsci) June 14, 2019
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. I could do infinite pushups if I were this guy.
Heather shows off her nation’s most famous parrot (well, the kakapo is pretty famous, too). Look at those colors!
Happy #WorldEnvironmentDay! 🌍🌎🌏
Here's a Kea… they're only found in New Zealand and they're the world's only alpine parrot.
— New Zealand Trails (@NZTrails) June 5, 2019
Tweets from Grania. Francis, of course, talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. What else could we have expected? Here he says abortion is equivalent to “hiring a hitman.”
tHiS pOpE iS sO pRoGrEsSiVe
No. He still sucks and religion still poisons everything. https://t.co/7gZulFPs53
— Dan Broadbent, but 6+ feet away (@aSciEnthusiast) May 26, 2019
From Alice Roberts; have a look at some of the finds in the article:
The finds from an astonishing early Anglo Saxon tomb revealed! https://t.co/4Ab3YjW7ZL
— Prof Alice Roberts (@theAliceRoberts) May 9, 2019
Three tweets from Matthew. The whole “cats and computers” thread is a hoot:
Matthew says that this is not a satirical account, and, by god, I think he’s right:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 14, 2019