It’s Thursday, July 4, 2019: Independence Day in the U.S., and a national holiday (see below). Appropriately, it’s National Barbecue Day, so go whole hog and dig inunless you’re a vegetarian. If you’re Norwegian, today you’ll be celebrating the birthday of Queen Sonja, a day when the Norwegian State Flag is flown ubiquitously.
I’ll be celebrating today with snorkeling, as we’re now in the Kona area, home of four or five excellent snorkeling spots. So far I’ve snorkeled every day for the past two days.
A lot of stuff happened on July 4 besides the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. Here are some events:
- 1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress. [This is why today is “Independence Day”].
- 1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.
- 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the U.S. people.
And this is one of the most poignant and remarkable coincidences I know of:
- 1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.
But wait—there’s lots more!
- 1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of his two years there, Walden, will become a touchstone of the environmental movement.
- 1855 – The first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published In Brooklyn.
- 1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.
- 1910 – African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.
If you haven’t seen Ken Burns’s biographical program on Johnson, by all means do. Here’s a summary of the fight, which took place in Reno in 110-degree heat (that’s 43°C)!
- 1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).
- 1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.
Here’s a video of that poignant moment with Shirley Povich recounting it (Gehrig’s ownwords are at the end). The great Iron Horse of the Yankees died on June 2, 1941.
- 1946 – After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.
- 1947 – The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.
- 1951 – William Shockley announces the invention of the junction transistor.
- 1960 – Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Acts (United States)).
- 1976 – Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.
- 2012 – The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1790 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (d. 1866)
- 1804 – Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1864)
- 1816 – Hiram Walker, American businessman, founded Canadian club whiskey (d. 1899)
- 1872 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933)
- 1883 – Rube Goldberg, American sculptor, cartoonist, and engineer (d. 1970)
Rube Goldberg is America’s equivalent of W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944): both cartoonists envisioned elaborate and funny devices to accomplish mundane tasks. Here’s one of each:
Goldberg (a reminder to mail a letter):
Robinson (removing a wart):
- 1905 – Lionel Trilling, American critic, essayist, short story writer, and educator (d. 1975)
- 1918 – Eppie Lederer, [“Ann Landers’] American journalist and radio host (d. 2002)
- 1927 – Neil Simon, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 2018)
- 1937 – Queen Sonja of Norway
- 1951 – Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, American lawyer and politician, 6th Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
- 1962 – Pam Shriver, American tennis player and sportscaster
Those who passed away on July 4 include:
- 1826 – John Adams, American lawyer and politician, 2nd President of the United States (b. 1735)
- 1826 – Thomas Jefferson, American architect, lawyer, and politician, 3rd President of the United States (b. 1743)
- 2002 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American general (b. 1912)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili becomes the Anti Pinker:
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: About the Enlightenment.A: And?Hili: I have a feeling that it is disappearing.
Ja: O czym myślisz?
Hili: O Oświeceniu.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że zanika.
Leon: I’m watching the surroundings. Not a mouse will slink by.
A gif I made, just for fun, so I could watch the First Flights over and over:
Speaking of which, here’s a cartoon I’m sure I’ve posted before. My ducks are now contemplating this issue:
Also from Facebook, something surely Photoshopped but still nice. Bonus points if you know the song:
From Nilou. Designating the “Naughty Penguin of the Month” and “Good Penguin of the Month” and then describing their transgressions or accomplishments, is a work of marketing genius! Good job, National Aquarium of New Zealand! Here are a few of the winners and losers.
So. Y'all remember this picture, right? It's adorable, charing and all over the shop since it first appeared in June last year. Well, there's more. Thing is, the National Aquarium of New Zealand has done it, as advertised, EVERY MONTH since then and, folks, it's a ride. Strap in. pic.twitter.com/FgQ7NBpGUB
— The Eponymous Jonny (@jonnywaistcoat) July 19, 2018
September gets violent, surpassing even Timmy's infamous push. Dora has been attacking her keepers! Especially poor Tall Matt – noone needs that workplace hostility. Oh, and Captain's back, being… I would say dull, but the capitalisation makes me wonder…
Penguin Antics 7/10 pic.twitter.com/vLiJtvVgtA
— The Eponymous Jonny (@jonnywaistcoat) July 19, 2018
It's August, and penguin love is in the air… Mo's fall continues, as Tux takes a break from pushing Timmy off piers to make a move on one of Mo's ladies. Meanwhile Betty (good swimmer) steps in to help single mum Elmo with parenting. Just gals being pals.
Penguin Antics: 8/10 pic.twitter.com/hs4ww7wkxQ
— The Eponymous Jonny (@jonnywaistcoat) August 7, 2018
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Heather loves hedgehogs (that sounds like a t.v. series), but why this one is displayed with strawberries mystifies me.
Saturday 15th June, 2019 pic.twitter.com/foyhHIiq4c
— Hedgehog of the Day (@daily__hedgehog) June 15, 2019
Okay, I don’t know about all of this aerodynamics, but it’s interesting to attach a camera to a helicopter blade:
This clip (slowed down 8x) shows the motion of a helicopter's blade in a typical forward flight phase. You can notice the blade pitch change and the motion of the damper weights https://t.co/3DnZIJGLUG [more: https://t.co/Sv6EpOhNsi] pic.twitter.com/YX7TqY4D3c
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 22, 2019
Tweets from Matthew, who often finds capybara tweets. Well, the caption of this tweet is exaggerated (read Better Angels of Our Nature), but the cat is helpful:
Everything's terrible so here's a cat massaging a capybara pic.twitter.com/JNGvDyzt49
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) July 3, 2019
A compliant mountain goat shares its enclosure:
A mallard mom is raising her fluffy family in the mountain goat habitat pic.twitter.com/1GxSrPlsPL
— Oregon Zoo (@OregonZoo) July 2, 2019
I guess the ticks don’t drown when the crock immerses itself, but crikey, look at the size of those things!
— 「VεεLoΧΧγ・BITΞƧ」 (@The_Episiarch) July 3, 2019
And, for the Fourth of July, Matthew sent this tweet for a dish that sounds a bit, well, dicey. The “red” comes from bacon, and bacon is not red! Matthew’s email header for this tweet was “!!!!!!”
— PBS (@PBS) June 29, 2019