Good morning on Saturday, June 20, 2020. It’s THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, with the solstice at 4:44 pm Chicago time. But I think that the Summer of 2020 will be the worst many of us have had in years. And it’s no compensation that It’s also National Vanilla Milkshake Day, a “meh” treat if ever there was one. It’s also Plain Yogurt Day (another meh), National Ice Cream Soda Day, American Bald Eagle Day, National Smoothie Day, World Refugee Day, and . . . World Humanist Day.
Note as well that there is a solar eclipse visible from some parts of our planet tomorrow:
See where the annular solar eclipse is visible June 21 2020 in the animation below.
— Mark Steven ☀️ 🌏 🌓 🪐 💫 🚀 (@_MarkSteven) June 20, 2020
I have fed the ducks and am now drinking a latte with four shots of espresso, as I am weary of the pandemic and of life. But it is the mystery of ducks that sustains me now.
(Thanks to “Tom” for sending me dosh for duck food!)
Here is a great ending of a decent but not great movie:
News of the Day:
Big news from the Trump administration: Attorney General William Barr has tried to fire Geoffrey Berman, the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan (Barr announced Berman’s “resignatin”), but Berman, who was investigating Rudy Giuliani and other Trump associates, is refusing to step down until a successor is appointed by Congress. Now that is an interesting situation!
Tonight is, of course, the occasion of Trump’s Big “Let’s Get Infected” rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and while at first I feared that there would be no protests against the Prez and his defiance of sanity (both personally and in holding this crowded event), the protestors are finally starting to gather. Let’s hope things remain peaceful.
Stuff that happened on June 20 includes:
The small cell 4.30 × 5.50 metres (14 × 18 feet) was designed to hole two people, but they jammed 146 prisoners into it overnight. 123 of them died.
- 1782 – The U.S. Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States.
Here it is, with the Wikipedia caption, “Obverse (top) and reverse (bottom) side of the Great Seal, adopted in 1782. The obverse depicts the national arms, while the reverse depicts “A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded by a glory, proper” and the mottoes Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum“. Diana MacPherson will, I hope, translate this for us.
Or, if you prefer this one:
- 1837 – Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne.
- 1840 – Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph.
- 1877 – Alexander Graham Bell installs the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
- 1893 – Lizzie Borden is acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother.
- 1900 – Boxer Rebellion: The Imperial Chinese Army begins a 55-day siege of the Legation Quarter in Beijing, China.
- 1942 – The Holocaust: Kazimierz Piechowski and three others, dressed as members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, steal an SS staff car and escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp.
And check out these two. von Braun, of course, was the technical director of the V2 project
- 1944 – The experimental MW 18014 V-2 rocket reaches an altitude of 176 km, becoming the first man-made object to reach outer space.
- 1945 – The United States Secretary of State approves the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.
- 1948 – The Deutsche Mark is introduced in Western Allied-occupied Germany. The Communists respond by imposing the Berlin Blockade four days later.
There used to be a semi-salacious joke about the Deutschmark, but it’s now outmoded since the Germans have the Euro as their currency. But here it is anyway:
An Australian tourist in Germany is lonely, so he finds himself a prostitute. They go back to her room and she performs the best sex that he’s ever had. He can’t believe it how good she is.
Once she has finished her amazing performance he pulls out his wallet and hands over fifty Australian dollars. The German prostitute examines the strange notes and in a strong German accent says, “I would prefer Marks”.
“OK”, says the Australian, “eight out of ten.”
I’ll be here all week, folks.
- 1963 – Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union and the United States sign an agreement to establish the so-called “red telephone” link between Washington and Moscow.
- 1972 – Watergate scandal: An 18½-minute gap appears in the tape recording of the conversations between U.S. President Richard Nixon and his advisers regarding the recent arrests of his operatives while breaking into the Watergate complex.
- 1975 – The film Jaws is released in the United States, becoming the highest-grossing film of that time and starting the trend of films known as “summer blockbusters”.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1819 – Jacques Offenbach, German-French cellist and composer (d. 1880)
- 1905 – Lillian Hellman, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 1984)
- 1909 – Errol Flynn, Australian-American actor (d. 1959)
- 1924 – Chet Atkins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2001)
Here’s the great Chet Atkins performing one of my favorites, “Mr. Sandman“. The song was written that same year
- 1925 – Audie Murphy, American lieutenant and actor Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1971)
- 1928 – Eric Dolphy, American saxophonist, flute player, and composer (d. 1964)
- 1942 – Brian Wilson, American singer-songwriter and producer
- 1945 – Anne Murray, Canadian singer and guitarist
- 1967 – Nicole Kidman, American-Australian actress
Those who bought the farm on June 20 were few, and I could only find one I thought of note:
- 1925 – Josef Breuer, Austrian physician and psychologist (b. 1842)
You might remember Breuer as the mentor of Sigmund Freud, both of whom were instrumental in developing the ludicrous “science” of psychoanalysis. Breuer in particular was renowned for his treatment of “Anna O.” (Bertha Pappenheim), which of course did nothing to cure her but made Breuer a lot of dosh.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is censusing the mouse and small rodent population:
A: Are you hunting?Hili: No, I’m checking the supplies.
Hili: Nie, sprawdzam zasoby.
Two memes from Terry. I always suspect these “children’s” notes and school assignments, but perhaps some of them are real.
I may have posted this before, but perhaps not everyone saw it.
From Diana MacPherson:
A tweet from Simon. What a spoilsport the man in the video is! That d*g is having a grand old time!
Man reluctantly gets into pond. pic.twitter.com/1YVaWitfMz
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) June 17, 2020
I may have posted this already, but if so you get to see it again. This is an Indian ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) torturing a cat:
Sound on, if you please. pic.twitter.com/ZWJRyqQUg8
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) June 12, 2020
Tweets from Matthew, beginning with a gorgeous astronomy photo:
What an extremely beautiful sight in the sky this morning, a crescent planet Venus and a crescent Moon. This was truly an amazing sight to watch. Video will follow later.
— Göran Strand (@Astrofotografen) June 19, 2020
This paper, which I read yesterday, is correct in its conclusion, but is abysmally written and makes a number of mistakes in population and evolutionary genetics:
In Humans, Sex is Binary and Immutable
by Georgi K. Marinovhttps://t.co/ulNEkx6yjk
— Emma Hilton (@FondOfBeetles) June 19, 2020
This monkey (what species?) doesn’t like those stringy bits on bananas.
they don’t like the stringy bits on bananas either!!!! i don’t know what i’m going to do with this info yet but it makes me happy to know. pic.twitter.com/pj1TgNMMq3
— emotional support canadian❁ (@nasacertified) June 19, 2020
When your dog thinks he is a crocodile 🐊 😏!!
Have a great day everyone. pic.twitter.com/YRYnCUZK4h
— PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE (@Protect_Wldlife) June 19, 2020
This tweet leads to a thread indicting R. A. Fisher. Matthew says “Aylward is a historian”, but I don’t agree with his conclusion that R. A. Fisher, one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century, and one of the founders of modern statistics, should be expunged from everything because he published eugenic views (they were never enacted in any British law or policy). He was one of those men whose work was brilliant, and moved the field forward, but was imperfect. (He also argued that tobacco didn’t cause cancer, arguably a more dangerous point of view in terms of causing deaths.)
The #FisherMustFall campaign is asking for the removal of a stained glass window in the dining hall of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where Fisher was a student (1909-12), Fellow (1920-26, 1943-62), and College President (1956-59). The window was installed in 1989. (1/n) https://t.co/kmAvT8cGBo pic.twitter.com/Q4bMBPVEtu
— Alex Aylward (@aylwardam) June 18, 2020
Is this duck gonna get bread, and the fish know that duck = bread? If not, what’s your explanation?
The duck : listen I’m not the messiah! Fish: HE IS THE MESSIAH!!! pic.twitter.com/1zTnKssvZV
— Nature & Animals🌴 (@AnimalsWorId) June 18, 2020