Welcome to Friday, May 22, 2020. I handed off Tiny Duckling Sam to the Bird Collision Monitor at 4:45 this morning, and I’ll miss him terribly. I spent another night with him nestled under my hand and in my armpit, and we’re BFFs. But he’s in good hands with the Chicago rehab people, and I trust he has a good chance of making it to adulthood. I took some videos and pictures this morning and will post them soon. CeilingCatSpeed, little one!
On other ducky news, all 17 of Honey’s mixed brood are thriving and getting bigger. They’re a bit over two weeks old now, and have a ducky rather than a round shape, and are starting to develop their spiky “punk” plumage.
As I’m totally exhausted, posting will be light today, and will resume over the weekend as I recover from a stressful bout of duck farming.
It’s National Vanilla Pudding Day (best with Vanilla wafers), as well as World Goth Day, Sherlock Holmes Day (Arthur Conan Doyle was born on this day in 1859), and International Day for Biological Diversity.
I forgot to note that yesterday was Ascension Day, but reader Steve sent an appropriate picture:
News of the day: Bad to worse. China is cracking down on Hong Kong again, this time imposing the same national security laws that apply on the mainland. Protest so far has been weak, but prepare for Hong Kong’s democracy to wane. Official deaths from coronavirus are approaching 100,000 in the U.S. now: the toll is 95,087. In the world, about 333,000 have died.
Stuff that happened on May 22 includes:
- 1370 – Brussels massacre: Hundreds Jews are murdered and the rest of the Jewish community is banished from Brussels, Belgium, for allegedly descrating consecrated Host.
- 1455 – Start of the Wars of the Roses: At the First Battle of St Albans, Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures King Henry VI of England.
- 1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.
- 1826 – HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.
This is not the voyage that Charles Darwin was on (1831-1836), which left five years later. There was a third voyage, too, and the ship was retired in 1843 for coastguard service.
- 1849 – Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats, making him the only U.S. president to ever hold a patent.
This invention, born of Lincoln’s experience on flatboats, was designed to help stuck boats float. As Wikipedia notes,
Called “Buoying Vessels Over Shoals,” Lincoln envisioned a system of waterproof fabric bladders that could be inflated when necessary to help ease a stuck ship over such obstacles. When crew members knew their ship was stuck, or at risk of hitting a shallow, Lincoln’s invention could be activated, which would inflate the air chambers along the bottom of the watercraft to lift it above the water’s surface, providing enough clearance to avoid a disaster. As part of the research process, Lincoln designed a scale model of a ship outfitted with the device. This model (built and assembled with the assistance of a Springfield, Ill., mechanic named Walter Davis) is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Here’s a drawing for the patent, and then the scale model described above:
The scale model with the caption, “Lincoln’s patent showing the ‘expansible buoyant chambers,’ inflatable bellows to lift a boat over obstructions. The bellows are now in a collapsed state, ‘contracted into a small space and secured against injury’.”
- 1906 – The Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine”.
- 1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson launches the Great Society.
- 1987 – First ever Rugby World Cup kicks off with New Zealand playing Italy at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
- 2015 – The Republic of Ireland becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum.
- 2017 – Twenty-two people are killed at an Ariana Grande concert in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.
Matthew noted that it was three years ago today that this bombing occurred, and sent a tweet that came from the Manchester Education Council, with Matthew adding, “This was our response.”
Choose Love. pic.twitter.com/cQ5qYWufAg
— MCR Education (@mcr_education) May 22, 2020
When I asked Matthew what the bee meant, he replied
It’s the symbol of Manchester since the 19th century. Worker bee. Industry and all that. Of course it isn’t a bee as it only has two wings (this is a deliberate design decision). It’s all over the city – on the bins, in the town hall etc. After the bomb, lots of people got the bee tattooed on them. Someone this year made the mistake of laughing at these on Twitter saying “huh huh those are flies cos they only have two wings you are dumb” (more or less). And then they got a pile on from Manchester folk pointing out why they had these tattoos made…
Notables born on this day include:
- 1813 – Richard Wagner, German composer (d. 1883)
- 1844 – Mary Cassatt, American painter and educator (d. 1926)
- 1859 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (d. 1930)
- 1927 – Peter Matthiessen, American novelist, short story writer, editor, co-founded The Paris Review (d. 2014)
- 1930 – Harvey Milk, American lieutenant and politician (d. 1978)
- 1942 – Ted Kaczynski, American academic and mathematician turned anarchist and serial murderer (Unabomber)
Here’s Mary Cassatt’s “Sara holding a cat“, painted about 1908:
Those whose time was up on May 22 include:
- 1802 – Martha Washington, First, First Lady of the United States (b. 1731)
- 1967 – Langston Hughes, American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright (b. 1902)
- 2007 – Pemba Doma Sherpa, Nepalese mountaineer (b. 1970)
You probably can’t tell from the name, but Pemba Doma Sherpa was a woman, and a great climber. Here are her accomplishments as recounted in Wikipedia:
[She] was the first Nepalese female mountaineer to climb Mount Everest via its north face, was the second Nepali woman to summit from both the north and south faces, and is one of six women to have summited Everest twice. She was the leader of the 2002 Nepalese Woman Everest Expedition.
She died while descending Lhotse (part of the Everest massif) at only 37. Here’s her photo on the summit of Everest on May 19, 2000
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron’s “budding friendship” has hit a bump:
A: A moment ago you were hissing at him.Hili: Yes, but now I’m showing him mercy.
Ja: Przed chwilą na niego syczałaś.
Hili: Tak, ale teraz okazuję mu łaskę.
Also in Dobrzyn, Szaron is thirsty:
Caption: Szaron at a watering hole
Two quarantine memes from Bruce Thiel. I especially like the first one.
From reader Frits:
Two from reader Simon: Trump inserts metatarsals in mouth again. Did he really get an education?
“When you say per capita, there's many per capitas…” pic.twitter.com/sMOEaNLlVx
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) May 21, 2020
I hope you get this one:
I made a 2020 commemorative candle pic.twitter.com/I3jo1HfC6X
— steph’s winning energy 😎🌻 (@Stephamaybe) May 19, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First, the mayfly, a symbol of transitory (adult) life:
The final act.
Male Mayfly displaying on the river bank last night. When they have mated they will die.
The pregnant females fly back to the river to lay their eggs and they to make the final sacrifice, all to preserve the next generation. Shakespeare could not have written it. pic.twitter.com/YbcNi4x9VG
— Amwell Magna Fishery (@amwellmagna) May 21, 2020
Look at the difference between the sexes here. In this beetle, the females retain many larval traits, but males look beetle-like. It’s one of the most extreme cases of sexual dimorphism—in this case for life stage—in any animal.
Some top-drawer insects over the last few days. First up is this one – the male of Drilus flavescens. The larviform females are relatively enormous, eat snails and are rarely seen – see the pic of a mating pair (by Kate Frankland) pic.twitter.com/ufYI28gzGZ
— Ross Piper (@DrRossPiper) May 20, 2020
I guess this is a mating ritual. I wouldn’t be standing so close to those reptiles if I were there:
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) May 20, 2020
You already knew this, right?
— Dr Mark D. Scherz (@MarkScherz) May 18, 2020
The ferocious capybara!
atenção para o video definitivo pra se sentir bem na quarentena pic.twitter.com/2hsbdyFK6V
— ave maria (@susse) May 16, 2020
This is not a bee but a hoverfly that mimics a bee, almost surely deterring predation. Wikipedia says there are several forms of this species, each mimicking a differt species of bumblebee. Note that it has two wings, while bumblebees, like all Hymenoptera, have four.
— Simon Knott (@SJBKnott) May 17, 2020