It’s mid-February: Saturday, the 15th day of the month, 2020. That means it’s both National Gumdrop Day and National Chewing Gum Day, apparently designed to use up leftover Valentine’s Day sweets. Note: posting will probably be light today except for our wildlife and Caturday features, as I’m lunching (isn’t that a great word?) with reader Simon at a Vietnamese restaurant on the far North Side.
It’s also National Hippo Day, celebrating these whale-like mammals, Susan B. Anthony Day, celebrating her birth on this day in 1920, and two more animal days: World Pangolin Day and World Whale Day. If you’re into cargo cults, it’s also John Frum Day on Vanuatu.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony, the great civil rights and women’s rights advocate whose efforts led to the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote (she didn’t live to see it ratified). Click on the Doodle to read more about her.
Stuff that happened on February 15 includes:
- 1493 – While on board the Niña, Christopher Columbus writes an open letter (widely distributed upon his return to Portugal) describing his discoveries and the unexpected items he came across in the New World.
- 1879 – Women’s rights: US President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1923 – Greece becomes the last European country to adopt the Gregorian calendar.
- 1945 – World War II: Third day of bombing in Dresden.
- 1946 – ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, is formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Here’s ENIAC. Look at that monster! I bet my desktop computer could perform better:
- 1965 – A new red-and-white maple leaf design is adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.
Here’s the old Canadian flag, adopted in 1957 and retired in 1965. The new one is much better.
- 1971 – The decimalisation of British coinage is completed on Decimal Day.
- 1992 – Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is sentenced in Milwaukee to life in prison.
- 2001 – The first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1564 – Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician (d. 1642)
- 1809 – Cyrus McCormick, American journalist and businessman, co-founded International Harvester (d. 1884)
- 1812 – Charles Lewis Tiffany, American businessman, founded Tiffany & Co. (d. 1902)
- 1820 – Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist and activist (d. 1906)
- 1861 – Alfred North Whitehead, English mathematician and philosopher (d. 1947)
- 1948 – Art Spiegelman, Swedish-American cartoonist and critic
Remember Spiegelman’s Maus? A great graphic novel, and the first, as I recall, to win a Pulitzer Prize. The only problem is that the Nazis were cats. . .
- 1954 – Matt Groening, American animator, producer, and screenwriter
- 1964 – Chris Farley, American comedian and actor (d. 1997)
And this reminds us that it’s also Douglas Hofstadter‘s birthday: he’s 75 today:
Happy birthday Douglas Hofstadter. His 'Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid' just blew my mind as a teenager.
Here's one of my favourite paradoxes from his books
How many errors do you see in the sentence below?
"This sentense has three erors."
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) February 15, 2020
His photo is below: I have to admit that I couldn’t get through Gödel, Escher, Bach, but it’s surely my fault.
Those who decamped from life on February 15 include:
- 1928 – H. H. Asquith, English lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1852)
- 1965 – Nat King Cole, American singer and pianist (b. 1919)
- 1988 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a pun (if that is a pun):
A: Hili, you are sitting on my mouse.Hili: I wouldn’t sit on mine, I would keep it in my mouth.
Ja: Hili, siedzisz na mojej myszy.
Hili: Na mojej bym nie siedziała, trzymałabym ją w pysku.
From The Purrfect Feline page:
From United Humanists on FB:
From Dom, the mating call of a female puma. Sound up on this one!
Behold the mating call of a female mountain lion. Somehow both earthy & otherworldly. Have a wild Valentine's😻.
📽️Robyn Sloan, Vimeo pic.twitter.com/i3NxPZcjtI
— Russ McSpadden (@PeccaryNotPig) February 14, 2020
From Barry, yet another squirrel frustrated by a greased pole. I understand why people do this, but it’s mean. At least leave a bowl of nuts underneath the feeder!
And speaking of squirrels, here’s one of the world’s most beautiful women, ever, with an adorable Honorary Squirrel® (also from Barry)
Tweets from Matthew. The Sun visualized at night using neutrinos that came through the Earth! Millions of these are going through your body as you read this.
Image of the Sun. Taken at night. Not looking up at the sky but down through 8000 miles of rock to the Sun on the other side of the Earth. Not with light but with neutrinos. #SolarOrbiter pic.twitter.com/X3LKUEnegJ
— Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) February 10, 2020
There can be no music tweet greater than this:
Here’s the greatest tiktok I’ll ever make. pic.twitter.com/PdTouxopny
— Hart (@HartYT_) February 14, 2020
Panpsychism is going down, and it’s already been holed below the waterline by sarcasm like this:
Do panpsychists ever worry that they make the armchair they’re sitting in feel uncomfortable?
— Luke E. Miller (@LukeMillerNeuro) February 13, 2020
UC Davis computational biologist Mike Eisen has gotten out of the lab. What a lovely bird!
— Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) February 13, 2020
And a late Valentine message. How do dipterans court? They do it FLY WAY. . .
#HappyValentinesDay – why don’t you take a leaf out of a flies book and present a gift to your intended? One made out of your own silk, vomit or other bits of crap you find lying around? Many species of Empididae do just that…(image from @inaturalist) pic.twitter.com/xV7VkjpvZE
— Dr Erica McAlister (@flygirlNHM) February 14, 2020