Again we’ve reached the end of the “work” week, and July is waning: it’s July 24, 2020: National Jellybeans Day. It’s also National Tequila Day, Amelia Earhart Day (celebrating her birth on this day in 1897) and, in Ecuador, Venezuela, Colmbia, and Bolivia, Simón Bolívar Day, celebrating the liberator born on July 24, 1783.
News of the Day: In the two papers to which I subscribe (the NYT and WaPo), it’s all about race and coronavirus. To see a list and figure of the top ten countries for coronavirus deaths, go to this piece at the New York Times (yes, the U.S. is up there with the Persian Gulf, Israel, and South Africa.
A temporary lift for me: Why Evolution is True was named by the BBC as one of the “five best books on evolution” (h/t: Matthew)
Yesterday Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch to open the short 2020 Major League Baseball season. I saw him in an interview before the game, and he said he was “very nervous.” Indeed! It’s a good thing he’s a better immunologist than a pitcher.
Anthony Fauci, First Pitch Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/QxszDQJDuu
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2020
Over at the New York Times, David Brooks celebrates new platforms for heterodox thinkers, including Andrew Sullivan’s Weekly Dish and one I’d not heard of: Yascha Monck’s Persuasion on the Substack platform. (Brooks also claims, wrongly, I think, that Christopher Hitchens would be unemployable were he alive today.)
You already know that Trump has canceled the Jacksonville, Florida part of the Republican National Convention because of coronavirus (it had previously been moved from Charlotte, North Carolina).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 144,283, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. It is no longer unimaginable, as it was a while ago, that our country will reach 200,000 dead. (Deaths from “regular” influenza in 2019 were between 24,000 and 62,000). The world death toll now stands at 633,104, a big increase of about 9800 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on July 24 includes:
- 1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.
- 1847 – After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City.
- 1901 – O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio, after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.
- 1911 – Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”.
Here are two photos of Machu Picchu from HowToPeru, the first taken by Bingham before excavation began, and the second five years ago. Both photos are taken from roughly the same place. You must go if you ever get a chance!
- 1935 – The Dust Bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109 °F (43 °C) in Chicago and 104 °F (40 °C) in Milwaukee.
- 1937 – Alabama drops rape charges against the “Scottsboro Boys“.
The story of the Scottsboro Boys is a sad but familiar one of innocent blacks convicted by Southern all-white juries. All but one of the nine accused were convicted, and all but two served time in prison. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia with their great attorney (in the mold of Clarence Darrow) Samuel Leibowitz:
- 1959 – At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate“.
- 1966 – Michael Pelkey makes the first BASE jump from El Capitan along with Brian Schubert. Both came out with broken bones. BASE jumping has now been banned from El Cap.
Basejumping from El Cap wasn’t banned until fairly recently. Here’s a video about the brave and foolhardy souls who do it:
- 1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
- 1974 – Watergate scandal: The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.
- 1987 – Hulda Crooks, at 91 years of age, climbed Mt. Fuji. Crooks became the oldest person to climb Japan’s highest peak.
Here’s Crooks on Mt. Fuji. She died in 1997:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1783 – Simón Bolívar, Venezuelan commander and politician, 2nd President of Venezuela (d. 1830) [see above]
- 1860 – Alphonse Mucha, Czech painter and illustrator (d. 1939)
- 1897 – Amelia Earhart, American pilot and author (d. 1937) [see above]
- 1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author and poet (d. 1948)
Here’s a famous Christmas-card photo of Scott, Zelda, and their daughter Scottie:
- 1951 – Lynda Carter, American actress
- 1964 – Barry Bonds, American baseball player
- 1969 – Jennifer Lopez, American actress, singer, and dancer
Those who left the building on July 24 were few, and include these two:
- 1980 – Peter Sellers, English actor and comedian (b. 1925)
- 1991 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-American novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is spooked:
Hili: What was it?A: I don’t know. Perhaps the ghost of Hamlet’s father. He is often wandering around.
Hili: Co to było?Ja: Nie wiem, może duch ojca Hamleta. On tu często łazi.
A meme from Bruce:
From reader Charles (see this post if you don’t understand it):
Tweets from Matthew. This first one, of baby Muscovy ducklings, was intended to cheer me up, and it did. But the mixture of colors in the offspring implies that either one or more Muscovy females mated to a domestic white male.
— caenhillcc (@caenhillcc) July 23, 2020
Did you know that red fish are camouflaged below a certain depth?
Have u seen the whale fish? It lives very deep and is VERY RED pic.twitter.com/6l59XaoT7x
— KaiTheFishGuy (@FishGuyKai) July 23, 2020
This creature is the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), a South American canid that looks like a fox on stilts. It’s one of the things that you can’t imagine could be well adapted to anything. But it is! And it’s not closely related to any other canid.
Olha o tamanho no Lobo Guará, no Santuário do Carcará
— Berk™ (@CaioBerkley) July 22, 2020
Matthew sez: “Thread has references, other examples, etc.” The eyes resemble those of a jumping spider, which other insects want to avoid.
I’ve put up a following tweet with other possible examples of this mimicry; a jumping spider is at lower left.
I’ve never seen that fly before, but I’m fascinated by the moths and plant hopper that do it too! rather convincing even to a human eye pic.twitter.com/PdIJ0XRD3f
— bug (@crevicedwelling) July 22, 2020
Lots of luck, indeed!
Inertia, rotational energy, air suction and lots of luck…https://t.co/tDfX32gnZx
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) July 23, 2020
A huge ant mating lek (place where animals congregate to mate). I had no idea ants did this:
Pogonomyrmex barbatus mating lek, found on a desert ranch east of Portal, Arizona! These harvester ant queens and males congregate in the thousands before the females disperse to dig founding chambers. They leave behind crescent-shaped excavations. pic.twitter.com/XSjjNbq8Ca
— The Ant Network 🐜 (@AntNetworkSM) July 16, 2020
This is so lovely. I hope the foal will be okay.
this zebra foal’s mother was killed by lions so the keepers wear a stripy jacket to care for them. 🥺🦓 pic.twitter.com/n78h687bf8
— Dr Jess Wade 👩🏻🔬 (@jesswade) July 22, 2020