It’s also Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (WHY?), Girl Hug Boy Day (be sure to get written affirmative consent), National Milk Day, National Secret Pal Day (you know who you are!), National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day (who thought that one up?), and, on a more serious note, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
It’s going to be a sloppy day today in Chicago, with mixtures of rain and snow and high temperatures a few degrees above freezing. This evening we may get between one and three inches of snow.
News of the Day: After denying it for several days in the face of incontestable evidence, Iran finally admitted that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran, killing 176. And in the U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced she’ll finally send the two articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week, so that a trial could begin as soon as mid-week. Her delay apparently accomplished little.
Stuff that happened on January 11 includes:
- 630 – Conquest of Mecca: The prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city, Quraysh surrender.
- 1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
- 1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
- 1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
- 1922 – First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.
The patient was 14 year old Leonard Thompson, who had an allergic reaction that nearly killed him (he was on his deathbed anyway, weighing only 65 pounds). But they quickly purified another batch of insulin, and Thompson responded favorably. He went on to live 13 more years taking insulin, dying at age 26 of pneumonia.
This is again one of the great achievements of our species. Here’s are before and after pictures of Thompson with the treatment, and then a photo of him as a young man:
- 1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
- 1946 – Enver Hoxha, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Albania, declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as head of state.
Hoxha (who ruled Albania for 41 years) and Albania itself, a reclusive Marxist-Leninist state, fascinated me when they were closed off. as a youth I once hitchhiked to the border just to look at Albania, and listened to Radio Tirane on my transistor radio. Now, I gather, it’s a nice place to visit. Heeeeere’s Enver:
- 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
- 1972 – East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
- 1973 – Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1638 – Nicolas Steno, Danish bishop and anatomist (d. 1686)
Steno, who made notable contributions in paleontology and geology, was canonized in 1938 but still has not yet become a saint.
- 1755 – Alexander Hamilton, Nevisian-American general, economist and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury (d. 1804)
- 1807 – Ezra Cornell, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Western Union and Cornell University (d. 1874)
- 1859 – George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, English politician, 35th Governor-General of India (d. 1925)
- 1887 – Aldo Leopold, American ecologist and author (d. 1948)
- 1889 – Calvin Bridges, American geneticist and academic (d. 1938)
Bridges was a very great geneticist who did research at the very beginning of modern Mendelian genetics, working in T. H. Morgan’s lab with fruit flies. Among other things, Bridges discovered the linkage of sex in flies to their X and Y chromosomes. He was also very handsome and a famous womanizer, frequently in trouble for dallying with the ladies. Here he is in the fly lab (he also made many innovations in fly husbandry)
- 1903 – Alan Paton, South African author and activist (d. 1988)
- 1923 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver, engineer, and businessman, founded Carroll Shelby International (d. 2012)
- 1946 – Naomi Judd, American singer-songwriter and actress
Those who bought the farm on January 11 include:
- 1843 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and songwriter (b. 1779)
- 1882 – Theodor Schwann, German physiologist and biologist (b. 1810)
- 1941 – Emanuel Lasker, German mathematician, philosopher, and chess player (b. 1868)
- 1988 – Isidor Isaac Rabi, Polish-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1898)
- 2008 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (b. 1919)
- 2010 – Miep Gies, Austrian-Dutch humanitarian (b. 1909)
Gies was one of the Dutch people who hid Anne Frank, and also hid her papers, which she returned to Anne’s father after the war; those papers included the famous diary.
Others who died on this day include:
- 2010 – Éric Rohmer, French director, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1920)
- 2011 – David Nelson, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1936)
- 2014 – Ariel Sharon, Israeli general and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is visiting the upstairs lodgers in a Biblical way, even quoting Jesus! (the photo is by Paulina).
Hili: Do not think that I have come to bring peace.Paulina: So why have you come?Hili: To see how our neighbours are.
Hili: Nie sądź, że przyszłam głosić pokój.
Paulina: A po co przyszłaś?
Hili: Dowiedzieć się co słychać u sąsiadów.
And in nearby Wloclawek, Leon gets some respite from his rambunctious brother Mietek:
Leon: A moment of rest until this little ginger-haired kitten climbs up here.
A gif from Facebook (h/t: Beth). What an awesome cat!
A true fact:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Bad Cat Clothing on Facebook. This one really cracks me up:
One of Titania’s latest (the original tweet, about a teacher musing about burning books, has disappeared, along with the account!)
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a dolphin tries to mate with woman.
The lovely fox Snowdrop, one of Mr. Lumpy’s friends:
Snowdrop, getting comfy, closing her eyes and savouring every mouthful, she really does take my breath away 😍🐾🐾🦊❤️ pic.twitter.com/YfLWn0EHik
— Mr Lumpy & Friends (@LumpyandFriends) January 9, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. In this first one, Trump’s spiritual advisor speaks in tongues. This stuff really freaks me out, but I can’t look away:
If you are still having trouble translating "Christian" Donald Trump's "spiritual advisor" Paula White's "tongues" sideshow, here is a Duolingo refresher course: pic.twitter.com/0PnQ1F1DuJ
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) January 10, 2020
This 99 year old Holocaust survivor Agnest Keleti is the most decorated Jewish woman athlete, having nabbed five gold medals for Hungary in gymnastics in the 1952 Olympic games. I’ve put a video of her performances below the tweet:
— Stéphanie Trouillard (@Stbslam) January 10, 2020
I really need to get some of these bat quarters! You can buy them now in proof sets, and I hear they’ll be released to banks at the beginning of February. But I wouldn’t want to spend them!
— Michelle Krell Kydd (@glasspetalsmoke) January 9, 2020
Another goose parade (we can’t see too many of these!). This appears to be in Germany, and the geese appear to be imprinted on the woman. Or else they’re just really well trained.
Geese parade of the day.
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) January 8, 2020