And do this (just cut and paste from #2; h/t Matthew):
1. go to google
2. type in 5 + (-sqrt(1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2)) * cos(30*((1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2)))
3. press enter
4. ur welcome x
— Royal Institution (@Ri_Science) February 14, 2020
It’s Friday, February 14, 2020, and, of course Valentine’s Day, a Catholic and Anglican holiday, originally the Feast Day of Saint Valentine, reputed to have been a martyr. Here’s a meme that combines his religious and secular significance:
And one account of his connection with Valentine’s Day cards (from Wikipedia):
[Roman Emperor] Claudius took a liking to him until Valentinus tried to convince Claudius to embrace Christianity, whereupon Claudius refused and condemned Valentinus to death, commanding that Valentinus either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentinus refused and Claudius’ command was executed outside the Flaminian Gate February 14, 269. Saint Valentine is said to have ministered to the faithful amidst the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. An embellishment to this account states that before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to [Roman judge] Asterius’s daughter signed “from your Valentine”, which is said to have “inspired today’s romantic missives”.
And there’s a special extraterrestrial Valentine’s Day Google Doodle today. Clicking on it (screenshot below) takes you to a bunch of information about the holiday. About the Doodle itself, C|Net reports:
Love is in the air, as it always is the closer we get to. But this year, it’s also in outer space, with our extraterrestrial friends.
Indeed, for Google, the day we celebrate love and romance is “out of this world,” and the tech giant is celebrating that theme this year with a Valentine’s Day Doodle that features a pair of adorable aliens exchanging celestial sweet nothings.
The site also explains how to send extraterrestrial Valentine GIFS to your sweetie, but that’s rather cheap-ass, isn’t it? Anyway, here’s today’s Doodle:
Did you get a treat or present for your inamorata(o)? It’s not too late to buy some nice chocolates or goodies, which nearly everyone appreciates. In honor of the holiday, and as one suggestion, it’s National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day.
Finally, it’s bloody freezing in Chicago today: on my walk to work the temperature was -1° F (-18° C ), and with the wind it was -14° F (-25° C ). This is the first time this winter we’ve gone into negative Fahrenheit temperatures.
Lots of stuff happened on February 14; it includes:
- 1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
- 1556 – Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.
- 1556 – Coronation of Akbar.
- 1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
- 1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
- 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.
- 1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.
- 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago. [JAC: you can see the photo here, but it’s bloody.]
- 1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.
- 1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.
- 1989 – Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
- 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
- 1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later become famous as Pale Blue Dot.
The story of the “pale blue dot” photo is here, and reader Jon put together some notes:
For the thirtieth anniversary of the famous “Pale Blue Dot” image taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, NASA used image processing software to remaster and “improve” the original. Carl Sagan, who was an imaging scientist on the mission, reportedly negotiated with NASA to have Voyager 1 turn around to take the photograph which was part of a series of 60 images that Voyager 1 snapped to produce what was called “Family Portrait of the Solar System.” Shortly after the images were made the cameras on Voyager were shut down to conserve power. Carl Sagan’s eponymous book was partly inspired by the spaceborne photograph and his reading from the book accompanied by the photograph on YouTube is still moving. [JAC: do click that last link and listen to Sagan. The guy was fricking eloquent!]
The original image (the dot is in a beam of sunlight):
The remastered image:
- 2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.
- 2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
- 1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)
- 1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)
- 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
- 1951 – Terry Gross, American radio host and producer.
I listen to Gross along with the other NPR commentators, but never know what they look like. So I looked up Terry Gross, and here she is (of course they never look like you imagine they would):
Those who had their finale on February 14 include:
- 1779 – James Cook, English captain, cartographer, and explorer (b. 1728)
- 1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
- 1933 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (b. 1864)
- 1943 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1862)
- 1975 – Julian Huxley, English biologist and eugenicist, co-founded the World Wide Fund for Nature (b. 1887)
- 1975 – P. G. Wodehouse, English novelist and playwright (b. 1881)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t like her toy:
Hili: I will take care of this rainbow plague.A: But it didn’t do anything to you.Hili: But it is provoking.
Hili: Zaraz się zajmę tą tęczową zarazą.
Ja: Przecież nic ci nie zrobiła.
Hili: Ale prowokuje.
The Dover Public Library’s Facebook page is a real hoot; they have some wags for librarians there. Here’s one of their recent posts:
From Winnie: these fish have made a heart-shaped hole for Valentine’s Day:
An anti-campaign poster sent in by Meriliee. I have no idea where it’s from or if it’s real, but I’d like to think it’s genuine:
A photo from Laffn (note that the price went up):
This is fricking adorable:
Baby elephant runs straight to his mum when he trips while chasing birds. The same tendency is found in humans too: Youngsters use their mothers or other attachment figures as a secure base for exploring the world, returning if they get upset or afraid. https://t.co/DfpyTDS7Jx pic.twitter.com/Z98RoDfwsj
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) February 12, 2020
A tweet from reader Mary. I can’t recall if I’ve put this up before, but I grow old. Anyway, enjoy “Dueling Cats”:
Cant stop watching this pic.twitter.com/D0vdkkO9tE
— Giles Paley-Phillips (@eliistender10) October 21, 2019
From Dom. This is funny but also sad. They should have left some nuts at the base of the feeder!
Mum was fed up of the squirrels stealing all the bird food so she greased the feeder! pic.twitter.com/k2eAyqSWvK
— The Cute Plug (@TheCutePlug) February 11, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The first one, from the reliable Steve Stewart-Williams, is sad but true:
When natural selection trumps sexual selection… pic.twitter.com/E4ne4izquL
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) July 26, 2019
African army ants (“driver ants”) on the move, retweeted by Matthew. Do enlarge the video so you can see the guards and all the other castes:
The white things you can see being carried by the ants in the middle are the larvae, pupae and eggs (“brood”). The stationary ants on either side are guards. https://t.co/Tc7jrWug3Y
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) February 13, 2020
A good way to drive home the loss of species:
number of pixels = number of individuals left for each species. https://t.co/A4C70YQFmK
— Carl Safina (@carlsafina) February 13, 2020
I retweeted this with an explanation (also provided by Dr. Cobb):
Giraffe-necked weevil, with its eyes only 1/5 of the way up its rostrum (snout). h/tL Matthew Cobb https://t.co/qCjP2JfWaL
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) February 13, 2020