Oy, we’re back at the beginning of another damn week: to be precise, Monday, August 10, 2020. It’s National S’Mores Day. Whoever invented this concoction of two graham crackers enclosing a toasted marshmallow melting a few squares from a Hershey Bar was a genius. The photo below shows square marshmallows, and I’m not sure where they were obtained.
It’s also World Lion Day, International Biodiesel Day, Victory Day (formerly “V-J Day”, the day the Japanese surrendered in 1945 during WWII), and National Duran Duran Appreciation Day (WTF?) Here’s a lion tweet that Matthew sent, along with a link to a cool paper.
#worldlionday2020 so here is my photo of an impressive male in Copenhagen zoo. This was also the cover of the PNAS issue with our lion genome paper which had the first genomes of extinct Pleistocene cave lions, cape lions, and Barbary lions. https://t.co/Co2lAYKeHl pic.twitter.com/l4AQbFaiqf
— Dr Ross Barnett (@DeepFriedDNA) August 10, 2020
Here’s the very famous photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt taken on V-J Day in Times Square, New York City. There’s a long Wikipedia article about the photo and who the participants were (note: unresolved). What’s clear is that Americans were over the moon since nearly four years of war had finally ended, and people were kissing strangers.
News of the Day: Not much good is happening, but the “Trilobites” column in the NYT does describe a cool piece of science: mosses can grow in the desert beneath the right kind of quartz crystal:
To humans, a desert oasis may conjure an image of a blue pool encircled by a coronet of palm trees. But to certain mosses, an oasis takes the form of a pebble of milky quartz. The cloudy crystal dilutes the sun’s piercing ultraviolet rays and, in the dry desert heat, traps moisture beneath it, creating a microclimate perfect for a moss.
After a Saudi hit squad, presumably acting on orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, it’s now come out that there was another hit squad. This one was sent to Canada to murder another dissident, but Canadian authorities nipped it in the bud. The target has filed a lawsuit, and, as a piece in the Washington Post notes, “The new allegations, if proved, reinforce the conclusion that the kingdom is led by a crown prince who commands death squads and continues to evade accountability for murder.”
How is Katie Hill faring after she resigned from Congress after nude photographs of her surfaced as well as claims that she had an affair with not only a campaign staffer, but a legislative director? The New York Times has a story on her recent doings, and Hill’s had a hard time of it. She has a memoir coming out called She Will Rise.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 162,481, an increase of about 500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 730,553, an increase of about 5200 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 10 include:
- 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. The Basque second-in-command Juan Sebastián Elcano will complete the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.
- 1628 – The Swedish warship Vasa sinks in the Stockholm harbour after only about 20 minutes of her maiden voyage.
The Vasa was recovered in remarkably good shape in 1961, and now has its own museum in Stockholm. Here’s a photo:
- 1675 – The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, England is laid.
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: Word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London.
- 1793 – The Musée du Louvre is officially opened in Paris, France.
- 1846 – The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donates $500,000.
- 1954 – At Massena, New York, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint Lawrence Seaway is held.
- 1969 – A day after murdering Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson’s cult kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
- 1977 – In Yonkers, New York, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) is arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of one year.
- 1988 – Japanese American internment: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.
I still can’t believe that American citizens were interned during World War II, and it’s a shameful episode in American history. I visited the Manzanar internment camp in the Owens Valley, and if you’re in that area it’s well worth visiting the museum. Most of it is gone, but when it was active it looked like this:
- 1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are indicted for the bombing. Michael Fortier pleads guilty in a plea-bargain for his testimony.
- 2003 – European heat wave: The highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom, 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) in Kent, England.
In Chicago that would be a hot summer’s day, but the Brits, not used to weather that hot, were sorely afflicted. And across Europe, where parts were even hotter, 70,000 people died.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1874 – Herbert Hoover, American engineer and politician, 31st President of the United States (d. 1964)
- 1889 – Charles Darrow, American game designer, created Monopoly (d. 1967)
- 1913 – Wolfgang Paul, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
- 1959 – Rosanna Arquette, American actress, director, and producer
- 1963 – Andrew Sullivan, English-American journalist and author
Happy Birthday, Andrew!
This song, by Toto, may have been partly written for Rosanna Arquette, who was dating one of the band members at the time. (The group also did the well known song “Africa”.)
Those who boxed on August 10 include:
- 1932 – Rin Tin Tin, American acting dog (b. 1918)
- 1945 – Robert H. Goddard, American physicist and engineer (b. 1882)
- 2008 – Isaac Hayes, American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)
Remember this song that Hayes wrote?
- 2019 – Jeffrey Epstein, American financier (b. 1953)
Has it been a year already since he supposedly hung himself in jail?
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili prognosticates:
Hili: A second wave of pandemic is coming.A: Where do you see it?Hili: It’s not visible yet, but we are already hearing about it.
Hili: Idzie druga fala koronawirusa.Ja: Gdzie ją widzisz?Hili: Jeszcze jej nie widać, ale już o niej słychać.
And here’s Kulka inside the house, photographed by Andrzej from the outside. Elzbieta says that this looks like the soul of a cat exiting from a human:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Stash Krod (New Yorker cartoon by Pia Guerra).
From Jesus of the Day: I’d totally get exorcised for all the fried chicken I could eat!
Puberty is an oppressive social construct invented by fascists to uphold cisnormative hegemony.
RT if you agree. pic.twitter.com/rqa6sQ9qLu
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 9, 2020
A tweet from the long-lost Dom:
This is literally something that I would find in the Church Missionary Archives. Missionaries also carried disease to indigenous peoples along with their prosletysing impulses. Maybe a pandemic isn’t the time for a mission? pic.twitter.com/VD3CxR7enZ
— Aparna Nair (@DisabilityStor1) August 9, 2020
From reader Barry, a display of the striped cuckoo (Tapera naevia) from Central and South America. Is this a mating ritual? (The species is sexually monomorphic, meaning males and females look alike.) Note that the head remains absolutely stationary.
Bruce Lyon says that this display may well be to startle insect prey items to make them visible for nomming .
The curious dance of the saci, also known as the striped cuckoo.
🎥 Ednilson Pereira. pic.twitter.com/2eQLkaGEA4
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) August 9, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First one: Snake 1, heron 0.
A great white heron battles a green snake in the Florida Everglades; the fight was eventually won by the serpent after 20 minutes when the bird was forced to release its prey. The image, captured by Jose Garcia. 🙏🐦🐍 pic.twitter.com/isEFrWAZoR
— World birds (@worldbirds32) August 9, 2020
David Crosby replies to a miscreant who thinks “Blood on the Tracks” is better than “Blue”.
This is just my opinion but …for me Joni was as good poet as Bob and roughly ten times the musician and maybe twenty times the singer https://t.co/2m126l4rS2
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) August 7, 2020
And here’s a lame reply, with an inappropriate apostrophe and faulty logic:
Funny, I don’t remember the Byrd’s having a hit with one of Joni’s songs?
— Rob Perdue (@planetcarmel) August 9, 2020
A true tweet from Matthew with a lovely linked video. I too never get tired of watching potter wasps. Imagine that complex behavior coded in a brain the size of two grains of sand.
How architecture is represented in the brains, and ultimately the genes, of animals, never ceases to amaze me. We really have no idea. https://t.co/eNvfWYj5gp
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 9, 2020
If you don’t know about lynx feet by now, it’s time to learn:
important fact: lynx footies pic.twitter.com/LPiZB48wgQ
— em “em meurer” meurer (@lacroixboys) July 10, 2020