Good morning on Tuesday, the cruelest day: May 5, 2020. It’s Cinco de Mayo, which means that it’s National Enchilada Day, a blatant example of cultural appropriation. It’s also Oyster Day, even though May doesn’t have an “r” in it, Museum Lover’s Day (which museum lover is being singled out?), National Teacher Day, World Asthma Day, and International Midwives’ Day,
Today’s Google Doodle sees the return of a game, Lotería, a sort of Mexican bingo in which you place a bean on your card to match each picture that’s called out. If you fit the pattern specified, you win. (Others are playing online against you.) When this game first appeared a while back, I spent a fair amount of spare time playing it. Click on the screenshot to play—it’s easy. I love the sonorous voice of the Lotería man.
News of the Day: Bad to worse—or worst. The Trump administration, facing the facts, has now estimated that the coronavirus death tolls will be much higher than previously predicted. Here’s the dire report from the New York Times:
As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, a 70 percent increase from the current number of about 1,750.
The projections, based on government modeling pulled together by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases a day currently.
The numbers underscore a sobering reality: The United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks to try slowing the spread of the virus, but reopening the economy will make matters worse.
“There remains a large number of counties whose burden continues to grow,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.
An eightfold rise in the number of new cases per day!? That is unbelievable—and depressing. The reported death toll from coronavirus now stands at 69,680 in the U.S. and about 252,000 worldwide.
Elsewhere, there’s is nothing to look forward to in the news. A NYT columnist offers advice on how to stay sane and occupied during the pandemic, but the advice is lame: do arts and crafts or learn a language. If you’re not artsy and your concentration is gone, that’s useless. Humans are social mammals and we will suffer if constrained to do jigsaw puzzles in an empty house. The mantra, “Remember, we’re all in this together” becomes ever more grating.
The ducklings may hatch and jump today, but it’s about the worst possible weather for that: a high of 46° F (6° C) and it’s raining. I’m a quite worried about the fate of Honey and her brood, for even after they jump in this frigid and wet weather, they still must make their way around the building to the pond. I predict jumping will occur either today or tomorrow. It will not warm up for a week.
Stuff that happened on May 5 includes:
- 1260 – Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.
- 1821 – Emperor Napoleon dies in exile on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The consensus is that Napoleon died of arsenic poisoning, but the compound was not administered deliberately. He is of course buried in Napoleon’s Tomb in Paris.
- 1835 – The first railway in continental Europe opens between Brussels and Mechelen.
- 1891 – The Music Hall in New York City (later known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor.
- 1904 – Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, Cy Young of the Boston Americans throws the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.
If you don’t know baseball, a “perfect game” is one in which none of the opposing players get on base (i.e., reach first base). That means that the pitcher has either struck players out or they’ve hit into an out.
Young was one of the best pitchers of all time, and he still holds the major league records for career wins (511), most career innings pitched, games started, and complete games. Here’s some rare video of Young. Five players were in the first class at the Baseball of Fame: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. What a panoply of greats!
- 1912 – Pravda, the “voice” of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg.
- 1920 – Authorities arrest Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for alleged robbery and murder.
- 1925 – Scopes Trial: Serving of an arrest warrant on John T. Scopes for teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.
Remember that the Butler Act prohibited the teaching of human evolution, not evolution in general. It was not illegal to teach evolution so long as one didn’t imply that the human lineage had undergone that process.
Here’s a 2013 photo of me at Scopes’s grave in Paducah, Kentucky, where Ben Shelby, one of my hosts, kindly took me when I lectured at the University of Kentucky. (It was hard to find the tombstone!) The Discovery Institute, via their resident ignoramus Michael Egnor, had a field day with this photo, saying that this photo shows that I admired a racist eugenics advocate because the book from which Scopes taught on the one day he substituted as a biology teacher had a section on race and eugenics. Scopes apparently didn’t teach from that section, nor have I found any evidence that he was a racist (see my response here and another here).
This is just one more example of how, bereft of any evidence for intelligent design, advocates like Egnor will try to tar evolutionists with anything they can, to the extent of making up stuff. And even if Scopes were a racist and eugenicist (Darwin himself certainly believed in white superiority), that doesn’t do any work toward refuting the theory of evolution. IDers should be sufficiently self-aware to realize that, if they really want to replace evolution with Intelligent Design in the scientific community (one of their stated goals), they need to advance scientific arguments rather than irrelevant and ad hominem ones. But their real strategy is to influence the public by casting doubt on evolution, and then hoping the public was lobby for ID or making laws requiring it to be taught.
- 1961 – Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space, on a sub-orbital flight.
Here’s a one-minute video of that flight, which of course all of us watched live. He didn’t orbit the Earth—that was left to John Glenn. But Shepard, unlike Glenn, went on to walk on the Moon. Shepard died in 1998 at age 74.
And a final video of that great victory. This year they’re running a VIRTUAL Kentucky Derby, which seems to me pathetic. I believe Secretariat is favored in that one.
- 1981 – Bobby Sands dies in the Long Kesh prison hospital after 66 days of hunger-striking, aged 27.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1813 – Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher and author (d. 1855)
- 1818 – Karl Marx, German philosopher, sociologist, and journalist (d. 1883)
- 1914 – Tyrone Power, American actor (d. 1958)
- 1942 – Tammy Wynette, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1998)
- 1943 – Michael Palin, English actor and screenwriter
Plagued by multiple health problems, Wynette died at only 55. Here’s her most famous song, performed live on the Johnny Cash Show (she co-wrote the song with Billy Sherrill).
Those who were called home on May 5 include:
- 1902 – Bret Harte, American short story writer and poet (b. 1836)
- 1981 – Bobby Sands, PIRA volunteer and hunger striker (b. 1954)
- 2008 – Irv Robbins, Canadian-American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (b. 1917)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the only data Hili is processing is her dreams of mice:
A: Are you asleep?Hili: No, I’m processing data.
Hili: Nie, przetwarzam dane.
From Jesus of the Day:
A meme from Stash Krod:
Titania’s always looking out for problematic language:
The phrase “Asian giant hornet" is a racist dog whistle that perpetuates the stereotype of Asians as lively, volatile, and fond of eating insects.https://t.co/NpBmYtiGv6
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 3, 2020
From Simon: Pandemic “fun stuff” is getting old! Click on the picture to see the whole thing:
Quarantine Moments. pic.twitter.com/MJMrm1L5f6
— Raj Brueggemann (@RajBrueggemann) May 3, 2020
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. I wonder who “someone” is. . . .
Someone made some big bets on the story and they’re losing. https://t.co/UIv8wl4ekx
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 2, 2020
I don’t think there’s evidence of “brains” here; the chair removal was just an accident.
Tweets from Matthew. Is this a real photo?
— M A C (@miguelcolinart) May 3, 2020
Yes, there are zonkeys: hybrids between donkeys and zebras. They’re also known as zebonkeys, zebronkeys, zebrinnys, zebrulas, zebrasses, zedonks, and zebadonks.
He's a zonkey! ❤️️😍❤️️ https://t.co/5CJZTXP2Hs
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 4, 2020
This is okay, but it would be better if it were a duck. God had an off day when he made geese.
For anyone who's not been following the news from York: a goose has made a nest in the entrance hall of our city's train station. Our local newspaper is running daily updates on how she's doing, there's even a webcam so you can check in on her. https://t.co/sn0xRCl8vh
— Tim Wingard (@TSWingard) May 2, 2020
This is one of the few unpredictable but enjoyable aspects of the pandemic: