It’s Sunday, February 23, 2020, and—I remind you again—this afternoon I’m off to Paris for a week of R&R&E. Matthew will handle the Hili dialogues when I’m gone, but posting is likely to be much lighter for this week. As always, I do my best, and thank Dr. Cobb for handling the Hilis.
It’s National Banana Bread Day, and, for the canids, National Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. It’s also Diesel Engine Day, National Rationalization Day, and Play Tennis Day (it’s predicted to be warm enough in Chicago to play tennis: 50°F or 9°C). In Japan it’s The Emperor’s Birthday: Emperor Naruhito was born on this day in 1960, and so turns 60 today. Happy birthday, Mr. Emperor!
Here’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. He’s the first Japanese Emperor to have studied abroad—at Merton College, Oxford. They have one daughter, Princess Aiko, who is 18.
News of the Day: The big news in the U.S. is, of course, Bernie Sanders’s big win in the Nevada primary, his numbers far outstripping those of any other candidate. The Bern did well across a diverse range of voters, giving him strong momentum for upcoming primaries, including Super Tuesday. Below are the convention delegates each candidate picked up (from the NYT); Sanders got more than twice the number of delebat the second-place finisher, Joe Biden, and nearly four times those of Elizabeth Warren. We’ll discuss this in a post soon, as I’m off to Paris today.
One might say that the wonderful tweet below is a metaphor of the diverse groups that came together to form a vote-consuming coalition in Nevada (h/t Matthew):
This is crazy 😳😳 pic.twitter.com/DMOAApyPnM
— Rare Breed nigga🧬 (@bel_is_A_ninja) February 20, 2020
Stuff that happened on February 23 includes:
- 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
There are 49 copies or nearly complete copies of this world’s most valuable book; here’s one at the New York Public Library:
- 1739 – At York Castle, the outlaw Dick Turpin is identified by his former schoolteacher. Turpin had been using the name Richard Palmer.
- 1836 – Texas Revolution: The Siege of the Alamo (prelude to the Battle of the Alamo) begins in San Antonio, Texas.
- 1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.
- 1886 – Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of aluminium from the electrolysis of aluminium oxide, after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister, Julia Brainerd Hall.
- 1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.
- 1917 – First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The beginning of the February Revolution (March 8 in the Gregorian calendar).
- 1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.
- 1941 – Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.
- 1942 – World War II: Japanese submarines fire artillery shells at the coastline near Santa Barbara, California.
- 1945 – World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag.
And of course I must present the iconic photo, perhaps the most famous of all America war photos, photographed by Joe Rosenthal. They’ve since all been identified, and three of the six Marines were later killed on the island:
- 1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh
- 1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army demands $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1633 – Samuel Pepys, English diarist and politician (d. 1703)
- 1868 – W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (d. 1963)
- 1940 – Peter Fonda, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2019)
- 1950 – Rebecca Goldstein, American philosopher and author
- 1960 – Naruhito, Emperor of Japan (see above)
- 1979 – S. E. Cupp, American journalist and author
Here’s a video link to Cupp saying she’s an atheist but “aspires to be a person of faith some day.” That completely baffles me. If you’re an atheist because you see no evidence for God, which is the only good reason there is, then why would you aspire to become religious. Does that mean that you are hoping some evidence for God appears, or simply that you hope to change your mind even in light of the paucity of evidence?
Those who breathed their last on February 23 include:
- 1792 – Joshua Reynolds, English painter and academic (b. 1723)
- 1821 – John Keats, English poet (b. 1795)
- 1855 – Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (b. 1777)
- 1931 – Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and actress (b. 1861)
- 1965 – Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (b. 1890)
Here’s a Joshua Reynolds print, “Muscipula“:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is doing her editorial job as Elzbieta comes for a visit:
Elzbieta: Lately I often see you on this desk.Hili: Yes, I’m trying to somehow control this mess.
Elżbieta: Ostatnio często cię widzę na tym biurku.
Hili: Tak, próbuję jakoś kontrolować ten bałagan.
A baby rabbit from Wild and Wonderful:
From Jesus of the Day:
And from reddit’s “political humor section”:
The daily tweets:
The first one should spark a discussion about whether racially-segregated spaces on campus are justifiable or advisable. It’s surely the next big thing in campus social justice, as it’s being promoted by students on several campuses—including mine. I can see arguments on both sides, but tend to come down against self-segregation because it erodes the aims of campus diversity. By all means talk about it in the comments. The viral video that started this discussion is in this tweet.
A tweet from Heather Hastie, who adds this:
If you go to the Business Insider article in this tweet, you’ll see a pic of Boris and Trump shaking hands recently. As he always has with Putin, Trump now shakes Boris’s hand with his hand on the bottom and Boris’s on the top.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled his planned trip to the White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him in a moment of 'apoplectic' fury.
The visit has been repeatedly delayed amid a series of disagreements between the two toddlers.https://t.co/CdyKH3Nah5
— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) February 14, 2020
A tweet from reader Barry: a bird aspiring to be a mouse:
Tweets from Matthew. First, the Master Cat:
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) February 22, 2020
One of these is a real ant, the rest are ant mimics, probably preying on ants. Can you identify the species. Answer below the fold:
Mimetismo e suas maravilhas!
Na imagem existe apenas UMA formiga! pic.twitter.com/B13bo0Rw5W
— César Favacho (@CesarFavacho) February 15, 2020
Mother and baby dine together. What’s a potoroo? Go here.
A mother and baby potoroo spotted at South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park enjoying a little snack in the sunshine. pic.twitter.com/9VQKLEHptx
— Jen: Let's turn the Senate blue w/ GA January 5th! (@jenjavajunky) February 14, 2020
This is an amazing illusion, but convince yourself that the cubes are stationary:
— じゃがりきん (@jagarikin) February 14, 2020
Click “read more” to identify the ant and its mimics in the tweet above
Answer, from Matthew: Top left ant, top right spider, bottom left mantis, bottom right assassin bug