It’s Thursday, March 19, 2020: the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s celebrated with a Google Doodle that links to the announcement (click on screenshot below).
It’s also National Oatmeal Cookie Day, the worst of all possible cookies, and National Chocolate Caramel Day as well as Oranges and Lemons Day. Finally, it’s National Poultry Day and, appropriately, Let’s Laugh Day and Certified Nurses Day.
Stuff that happened on March 19 includes:
- 1649 – The House of Commons of England passes an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”.
- 1861 – The First Taranaki War ends in New Zealand.
- 1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.
Here’s a 6.5-minute compilation of those first films from 1895, now 125 years old. These were the first movies that could be projected (Edison’s kinetograph was seen through a binocular-like apparatus, and his films weren’t this sharp). I find these mesmerizing, and the way people dressed seems much fancier than today:
And here’s their early motion-picture camera which was hand cranked:
- 1918 – The US Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time.
- 1931 – Gambling is legalized in Nevada.
- 1943 – Frank Nitti, the Chicago Outfit Boss after Al Capone, commits suicide at the Chicago Central Railyard.
- 1954 – Willie Mosconi sets a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio, setting a record that remains unbroken.
That’s an amazing feet of pool. Here’s a short video (2.25 minutes) recounting that record:
- 1962 – Highly influential artist Bob Dylan releases his first album, Bob Dylan, for Columbia Records.
Can you name one song from that album? (Click the link for answers.) However, I think his later albums, Highway 61 Revisited and Nashville Skyline, are better.
- 1982 – Falklands War: Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom.
- 2018 – The last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, dies, ensuring a chance of extinction for the species.
This is a subspecies of the white rhinoceros (the other being the northern white rhinoceros), and, since only two females are left, the subspecies will almost certainly go extinct—but not the species. Here’s a photo of one of the two remaining females from Smithsonian Magazine:
.Notables born on this day include:
- 1844 – Minna Canth, Finnish journalist, playwright, and activist (d. 1897)
- 1848 – Wyatt Earp, American police officer (d. 1929)
- 1891 – Earl Warren, American lieutenant, jurist, and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974)
Reader Rick sent in a quote from Warren, which came as a “Thought for the Day”:
Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism. -Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (19 Mar 1891-1974)
- 1904 – John Sirica, American lawyer and judge (d. 1992)
- 1905 – Albert Speer, German architect and politician (d. 1981)
- 1906 – Adolf Eichmann, German SS officer (d. 1962)
- 1933 – Philip Roth, American novelist (d. 2018)
- 1947 – Glenn Close, American actress, singer, and producer
- 1955 – Bruce Willis, German-American actor and producer
Those who died on March 19 but didn’t find eternal life include:
- 1930 – Arthur Balfour, Scottish-English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1848)
- 1984 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer (b. 1928)
- 1997 – Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter and educator (b. 1904)
- 2008 – Arthur C. Clarke, British science fiction writer (b. 1917)
Winogrand is one of the great “street photographers” of our time, a genre whose master was Henri Cartier-Bresson. Here’s a good Winogrand photo:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cherry trees are getting ready to bloom!
Hili: We have to hurry with pruning of the trees because everything is coming back to life.A: Yes, this year everything is happening earlier than usual.
Hili: Trzeba się spieszyć z przycinaniem drzew, bo już się budzą do życia.
Ja: Tak, wszystko jest w tym roku wcześniej niż zwykle.
A manipulated photo posted by reader Avis: Rock in the Time of Virus:
Titania has a new piece in The Critic Magazine (characterized as “a contrarian conservative magazine”) criticizing freedom of speech. An excerpt from the Queen’s article:
And in these days of the internet, it’s even easier for people to say wrong things to a wider audience. This is why we must campaign for tighter controls on internet freedom. As committed left-wing activists, our priority must be to ensure that corporations in Silicon Valley are empowered to set the limits of what we can and cannot say.
As the great social justice pioneer Mary Whitehouse put it, “Bad language coarsens the whole quality of our life. It normalises harsh, often indecent language, which despoils our communication.” Today we call this “hate speech”, a crime for which the death penalty ought to be reinstated. Militant state control of citizens’ thoughts is a small price to pay to enforce a tolerant society.
There is a pandemic sweeping the globe and it has to be stopped. It is called “free speech”.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 18, 2020
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a bear who craves a nightly swim:
He does this every night 😍😂 pic.twitter.com/Qz5GxSrmHU
— The Dodo (@dodo) March 15, 2020
We all know Trump’s Panglossian view of the pandemic, even now he says he predicted everything. The more he says, the more I despise him. For example, see below:
“I’ve always known…I’ve always taken this seriously.”
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) March 17, 2020
Tweets from Matthew:
Yes, the Earth has been slowing down over time. In the Devonian, we can tell that there were 400 days per year, and that’s exactly in line with the rate calculated from physics and this bivalve:
Science is sometimes amazing: you study a fossil bivalve shell and find out that the length a Campanian (Late Cretaceous) day was 23 hr and 31 min https://t.co/HqlmZqiuA9 Winter et al. 2020 pic.twitter.com/NPPjQrPMjK
— Mikko Kolkkala (@XCsci) March 17, 2020
Try your hand at this:
For those who are bored at home and looking for things to do: Goldbach's conjecture is still open https://t.co/JBj2lit58t
— Davide Castelvecchi (@dcastelvecchi) March 18, 2020
I hope this cheers you up:
The thread below this tweet shows a similarly aberrant lower jaw of a sperm whale. It was apparently somewhat functional, as it’s from an adult. I guess it could open and close, and that was sufficient for survival:
One of the strangest things you’ll see today.
The pathological lower jaw of a sperm whale.
It belongs to an adult, which suggests this abnormality did not prevent it from feeding.
— Dr Dean Lomax (@Dean_R_Lomax) March 18, 2020
#coronavirus Lockdown Day 6. Public galleries closed @NMIreland, but plenty of people working away behind the closed doors. Feeling a bit full after St Patrick's Day? Don't eat everything you see, a fatal mistake made by this European eel in 1929 which choked on a frog. pic.twitter.com/EPuxSTG3k1
— Nigel Monaghan (@KeeperNH) March 18, 2020