We’ve made it through another damn week: it’s Friday, August 21, 2020. It’s National Sweet Tea Day, celebrating that hyperglycemic iced tea served with Southern cuisine. It’s known as “the table wine of the South,” and you either love it or hate it. I quite like it because it’s the perfect complement for heavy and greasy Southern food, like a nice lunch of “meat and three.”
Here’s a classic meat and three from the estimable food guide Roadfood. Not shown, but they better be there: cornbread and sweet tea. (Mac and cheese counts as a vegetable.) And I’d prefer country ham or fried chicken over the meatloaf below.
News of the Day: Another Putin critic meets a rotten fate: dissident Alexei Navainy, imprisoned several times and attacked several more, was poisoned before he boarded a plane in Siberia. Putin, of course, says he had nothing to do with it. Navainy is a brave man, and I hope he pulls through (he’s in hospital in Omsk, in a coma on a ventilator).
New York Times columnists describe the best and worst moments of Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention, as they’ve been doing every day. Obama is high on the “best” list. I didn’t watch the convention last night but will watch the highlights. Biden, of course, accepted the nomination and is officially the Democratic candidate for President.
Science of the day: Below, abstruse article title of the year. This is from the latest Science; click on the screenshot if you hanker to understand it (h/t: Matthew):
Here’s what HuffPo considers “news”. Without Twitter, the site would be devoid of content:
Of the nine largest secondary-school districts in America, eight are not having in-person classes this fall. The exception is New York City. But now NYC teachers, worried about the pandemic, are threatening to strike unless the city meets their demands for constant testing and an on-site nurse.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 174,137, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 793,257, an increase of about 6,300 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 21 includes:
- 1770 – James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.
- 1791 – A Vodou ceremony, led by Dutty Boukman, turns into a violent slave rebellion, beginning the Haitian Revolution.
- 1831 – Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, which will claim the lives of 55 to 65 whites and about twice that number of blacks.
Turner was hanged; I’m surprised he didn’t undergo torture beforehand.
- 1858 – The first of the Lincoln–Douglas debates is held in Ottawa, Illinois.
- 1888 – The first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs.
Burroughs was the grandfather of the famous beat writer William S. Burroughs III, author of Naked Lunch. The writer was independently wealthy from the family adding-machine business. Here’s grandpa’s first patent, dated August 21:
Peruggia, who claimed to be stealing the painting to return it to its home, Italy, was caught when he tried to sell the painting to an art dealer in Italy. He served only seven months for the theft.
- 1945 – Physicist Harry Daghlian is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Here’s the 6.2 kg “demon core” of plutonium and gallium onto which Daghlian dropped a tungsten-carbide brick, exceeding the critical mass and triggering fusion. It took Daghlian 25 days to die. The same core later killed another worker as it exceeded critical mass. That physicist, Louis Slotin, took nine days to die. It’s not a good way to go.
- 1959 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. Hawaii’s admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.
- 2000 – Tiger Woods, American professional golfer, wins the 82nd PGA Championship and becomes the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in a calendar year.
Here’s a short recap of Woods’s victory in 2000. He seems to have fallen on harder times lately, though I don’t know why.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s a lovely cat illustration by Beardsley, who died at only 25 from tuberculosis:
- 1904 – Count Basie, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1984)
- 1936 – Wilt Chamberlain, American basketball player and coach (d. 1999)
- 1986 – Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter
Bolt holds the world record for the 100-meter dash: 9.58 seconds, set in 2009. Here’s that race:
Those who went toes up on August 21 include:
Here’s part of Trotsky’s compound in Mexico city, designed to repel assassins, as Stalin kept sending people after him. (I took the photo in November of 2012). Yesterday I put up a picture of the desk at which Trotsky met his end, struck in the head with an ice axe. Trotsky was attacked by an assassin on August 20 but it took him a day to die.
- 1971 – George Jackson, American activist and author, co-founded the Black Guerrilla Family (b. 1941)
- 1974 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (b. 1937)
- 1995 – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American astrophysicist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili displays a new sense:
Hili: I’m going in the right direction.A: How do you know?Hili: Feline intuition.
Hili: Idę we właściwym kierunku.Ja: Skąd wiesz?Hili: Kocia intuicja.
Here are some nice pictures of kitten Kulka and her BFF Szaron. In the last photo, says Malgorzata, “Szaron is going together with Kulka like Winnie the Pooh with Piglet.” All were taken by Andrzej:
A New Yorker cartoon by Charlie Hankin from Jean:
From Stash Krod:
From reader Charles. The sign looks photoshopped, and I’m wondering if anything about this photo is real. Regardless, it’s funny:
It looks as if the placement of Titania’s book amongst genuine woke treatises at the Cal State Poly bookstore was a mistake, not a joke:
It looks as though @broncobookstore accidentally deleted this tweet.
It's good to see that my pioneering work is being finally being recognised. pic.twitter.com/N2mcNHOo2o
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 19, 2020
This is truly amazing. Try it!
Open the following link. You will see the entire Earth with numerous green dots. These green dots are local radio stations. Touch the green dot and play the local radio station of your choice. It is amazing.https://t.co/9pbWpcLreK
Technology gone beyond imagination!!!
— Ty (@tymusic) October 27, 2019
From reader Barry, who says, “Athena started it!” I agree.
My kitties being sisterly. Who started it? I can’t tell. Athena is on the left and Artemis is on the right. pic.twitter.com/VCNMvsvOF9
— AsianInvasion (@DoNaytion) August 19, 2020
From reader Simon who, like me, applauds the French for their behavior in this instance. They threw a passenger off the TGV in the middle of nowhere!
MASTERCLASS: French TGV high speed rail removed an anti-mask passenger *IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE* after he refused to wear a mask, even after 135 euro penalty. TGV stopped train🚊 and dumped him off the side of tracks at village in countryside. #COVID19 https://t.co/f8oxg3zJwe
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) August 19, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. I doubt there are many films of people born in the 18th century, like this 104-year-old weaver, born the year America’s Bill of Rights was ratified.
Consider the oldest person ever caught on movie film.
In 1905 the Manaki brothers filmed their grandma as she weaved wool.
She was born in 1791.
— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) August 20, 2020
What a lovely (and safe) way to observe the behavior of wasps in their nest:
— MounTmikeY (@mount_mikey) August 20, 2020
An informative tweet by Dr. Cobb himself:
Reminder that many of the grey pics of the moon you think are in black amd white are in fact in colour. https://t.co/szN0zhzimk
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 20, 2020
Matthew called my attention to UBC biologist Judith Mank’s new result, and I tweeted a bit about it. It’s her 100th paper, so congrats to her!
This is one of the most bizarre genetic/evolutionary phenomena I've encountered. The Y in this species contains almost no genes, but some genetic change has occurred. Why so many forms? Do females sexually select for novel males? https://t.co/vnYg5xtji0
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) August 20, 2020