It’s Wednesday, October 2, 2019, and in a few hours I’m off to Williamstown, Massachusetts to give a talk on free will (i.e., the lack thereof) at Williams College. If you’re free tomorrow evening, the announcement is here. It’s World Farm Animals Day, most of which are treated horribly, as well as International Day of Non-Violence (celebrating Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday in 1869; in India it’s also a national holiday, Gandhi Jayanti), World No Alcohol Day (screw that), National Name Your Car Day (25% of people have names for their cars, but I don’t; if you do, put your car’s name in the comments), and National Fried Scallops Day.
Fat Bear Week begins today (h/t gravelinspector), celebrating the fatness of Alaskan brown bears who beef up with salmon in the Brooks River before their winter hibernation. The livecam of bears in the water, scarfing up salmon, is here. Don’t miss it! There are also free e-books at the site, which include pictures like this, showing the Unbearable Fatness of Bears (top is before salmon, bottom after; click on screenshot to enlarge):
Stuff that happened on October 2 includes this (and the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi one year ago):
- 1187 – Saladin captures Jerusalem after 88 years of Crusader rule.
- 1789 – The United States Bill of Rights is sent to the various States for ratification.
- 1919 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke, leaving him incapacitated for several weeks.
- 1944 – World War II: German troops end the Warsaw Uprising.
- 1959 – Rod Serling’s anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS. The first episode is “Where Is Everybody?”
- 1967 – Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first African-American justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- 2002 – The Beltway sniper attacks begin, extending over three weeks.
- 2018 – Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1452 – Richard III of England (d. 1485)
- 1800 – Nat Turner, American slave and uprising leader (d. 1831)
- 1869 – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian freedom fighter, activist and philosopher (d. 1948)
- 1879 – Wallace Stevens, American poet and educator (d. 1955)
- 1890 – Groucho Marx, American comedian and actor (d. 1977)
- 1897 – Bud Abbott, American comedian (d. 1974)
- 1904 – Graham Greene, English novelist, playwright, and critic (d. 1991)
- 1933 – John Gurdon, English biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1945 – Don McLean, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
McLean is famous for his song “American Pie,” but I’ve gotten so tired of that one over the years. This one I didn’t like when I first heard it, but since I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and read the big biography of the man, it’s grown on me:
- 1948 – Donna Karan, American fashion designer, founded DKNY
- 1949 – Annie Leibovitz, American photographer
- 1951 – Sting, English singer-songwriter, bass player, and actor
- 1970 – Maribel Verdú, Spanish actress
Those who met their maker on this day include:
- 1803 – Samuel Adams, American philosopher and politician, 4th Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1722)
- 1927 – Svante Arrhenius, Swedish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
- 1968 – Marcel Duchamp, French painter and sculptor (b. 1887)
- 1973 – Paavo Nurmi, Finnish runner (b. 1897)
- 1985 – Rock Hudson, American actor (b. 1925)
- 1987 – Peter Medawar, Brazilian-English biologist and zoologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915)
- 1998 – Gene Autry, American actor, singer, and guitarist (b. 1907)
- 2016 – Neville Marriner, British conductor (b. 1924)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is deliberately ambiguous, conflating photographing and philosophy:
Hili: The background is very important.Sarah: I agree, but why do you say that?Hili: People don’t always notice.
Hili: Tło jest bardzo ważne.
Sarah: Zgadzam się, ale dlaczego to mówisz?
Hili: Ludzie nie zawsze to zauważają.
From Amazing Things, some scary peppers:
Maarten Boudry sent an exPURRiment:
What is it like to be a cat, and then what is it like to be a cat and see a cat?
— Cliff Pickover (@pickover) September 30, 2019
From Simon, and the piece is well worth reading. It’s not the first time that Woke Culture has been compared to an evangelical religion, but the article, by Valerie Tarico (a former believer), is particularly good.
Brilliant comparison. Please read it.https://t.co/BVFwvTQTyu
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) October 1, 2019
From Barry. The cat has found itself in a universe in which it doesn’t die:
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a cat with a resting bitch face (or is a queen face?):
She wants to know where you were last night and why you didn't answer your phone or reply to her text and where is this relationship even going anyway.
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) September 19, 2019
If only humans could act like that monkey. On second though, they do. . .
Every Twitter argument ever.
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) September 20, 2019
Tweets from Matthew. A salacious and cryptic fish.
That tongue though 😆😆😆Captured by @romanhurghada pic.twitter.com/uMkB4zodrT
— MaduroDive (@MaduroDive) September 30, 2019
And a New Yorker story well worth reading. Read the thread, too.
Mark Meadows is one of the most influential & outspoken Republicans in congress. I spent 6 months looking into his unreported relationship w/ creationist paleontology—including his role in a controversial film, "Raising The Allosaur"—for @NewYorker: https://t.co/8MXMqWWPRt [1/6]
— Charles.Bethea (@charlesbethea) October 1, 2019
Toads eat flies, but here’s a fly (or rather its larvae) that eats toads. This makes me sad, even though it’s just the result of evolution:
The toad fly lays its eggs in an unusual place: a toad’s nostrils. When its eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the toad’s face and body. Unfortunately, this leads to the toad’s demise. [📸: MallaurieBrach] pic.twitter.com/eGoxDICf2X
— American Museum of Natural History (@AMNH) September 30, 2019