Good morning on Tuesday, April 14, 2020: National Pecan Day. It’s also National Dolphin Day, National Library Workers Day, and Children with Alopecia Day (shoutout to the talented and genetically depilated Molly Tuttle).
The two-week series of Google Doodle thank-yous to “coronavirus helpers” continues with encomia to public-transit workers (click on screenshot to see the thanks)
News of the Day:
Stuff that happened on April 14 includes:
- 1561 – A celestial phenomenon is reported over Nuremberg, described as an aerial battle.
This was probably a sun dog. But here’s the depiction given in a news bulletin published the same month in 1561. (If it was a battle, Satan won.)
- 1775 – The first abolition society in North America is established. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage is organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
- 1828 – Noah Webster copyrights the first edition of his dictionary.
- 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln died the next day.
- 1881 – The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight is fought in El Paso, Texas.
Three of the four dead were killed by Marshall Dallas Stoudenmire, using a pair of .44 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers. Stoudenmire himself was killed in a gunfight the next year. Life was tough in the Old West. Here’s Stoudenmire:
- 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 23:40 (sinks morning of April 15th).
- 1939 – The Grapes of Wrath, by American author John Steinbeck is first published by the Viking Press.
- 1958 – The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days. This was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a female dog named Laika, who likely lived only a few hours.
- 1981 – STS-1: The first operational Space Shuttle, Columbia completes its first test flight.
- 1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded (1 kilogram (2.2 lb)) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
Here’s what purports to be a video of that hailstorm, with ice balls the size of grapefruits (or so Wikipedia says). No wonder people were killed!
- 1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.
Yes, another hailstorm. Here’s a short news report on the disaster:
- 2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1629 – Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (d. 1695)
- 1866 – Anne Sullivan, American educator (d. 1936)
You may remember Sullivan as the woman who taught Helen Keller language (Sullivan herself was partly blind). The scene in Keller’s autobiography where she first associates a “sign” with an object (water, as I recall), is extremely moving. Here is the pair in a photo described as “Helen Keller [left] in 1899 with lifelong companion and teacher Anne Sullivan. Photo taken by Alexander Graham Bell at his School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech.”
- 1904 – John Gielgud, English actor, director, and producer (d. 2000)
- 1927 – Alan MacDiarmid, New Zealand chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2007)
- 1932 – Loretta Lynn, American singer-songwriter and musician
Here’s Loretta singing what is undoubtedly her most famous song. Actually, the lyrics are dreadful in places, including these lines that always make me cringe:
The work we done was hard
At night we’d sleep ’cause we were tired
that last word should be spelled “tard” to rhyme.
Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner’s pay
Mommy scrubbed our clothes on a washboard ever’ day
Why I’ve seen her fingers bleed
To complain, there was no need
Awkward construction in the last line.
Others born on this day:
- 1936 – Frank Serpico, American-Italian soldier, police officer and lecturer
- 1940 – Julie Christie, English actress and activist
Christie is 80 today.
- 1941 – Pete Rose, American baseball player and manager
Those who took the Dirt Nap on April 14 include:
- 1759 – George Frideric Handel, German-English organist and composer (b. 1685)
- 1925 – John Singer Sargent, American painter (b. 1856)
- 1935 – Emmy Noether, German-American mathematician and academic (b. 1882)
- 1964 – Rachel Carson, American biologist and author (b. 1907)
- 1995 – Burl Ives, American actor, folk singer, and writer (b. 1909)
- 2007 – Don Ho, American singer and ukulele player (b. 1930)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron wants to be friends with Hili, but Hili looks poised to jump on Szaron (she didn’t).
Szaron: We are one step closer.Hili: Or one step further away.
Szaron: Jesteśmy o krok bliżej.
Hili: Albo o krok dalej.
A Jesus/virus meme from Muffy:
Posted by Irena:
Posted by Isabelle:
There are quite a few videos of cat versus d*g obstacle courses. Cats always win. I tweeted this one (h/t to Arno for the video):
Another product of prolonged staying at home: cat versus dog obstacles courses (cats always win)https://t.co/D73eVcflmq
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) April 13, 2020
And a tweet from Muffy, who suspects someone was pulling on the cat’s chin. That’s a good hypothesis.
I tell you, that voice soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last person on Earth felt free. pic.twitter.com/dRzS6k1RCZ
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) April 13, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. As he’s gone off Twitter cold turkey for a few days, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. Readers can help by sending me one or two awesome tweets.
My mate has been dressing up everyday to cheer the neighbourhood up while he takes the dogs out 🤣 pic.twitter.com/r2CDWRuvc3
— Jack (@jackp593) April 8, 2020
There’s a whole thread of this; go see the others. I prefer to think of this as a “short thread of cats being cats.” The kid in the second video certainly deserved what he got!
— Jon (@giftedrascal) April 6, 2020
Cougar fight! I hope nobody got hurt.
— Ted Stankowich 🦔🦌🦓🐺 (@CSULBMammalLab) April 7, 2020
This is what’s known in the trade as a “groaner”:
The King of Spain has just been quarantined on his private jet, this means that the Reign in Spain will stay mainly on the plane
— margaret murphy (@mgtmaryrose) April 6, 2020
I may have already posted this, but if I have, you can see it again. Check the link if you don’t believe it.
— bean (@christapeterso) April 6, 2020