Top of the morning to you on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Here I am, tired, dispirited with all the world’s troubles, and with nothing to say to the readers (yet). It’s National Burger Day. It’s also National Banana Lovers Day, National Pots de Crème Day, National Petroleum Day, World Rock Paper Scissors Day, and, in Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson Day, celebrating LBJ’s birthday in 1908.
To celebrate two holidays at once, here’s LBJ and Lady Bird, both eating burgers. Note the prices on the sign:
News of the Day: Hurricane Laura, perhaps the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. in recorded history, has made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. It’s been called “unsurvivable,” an adjective I’ve never before heard applied to a storm, and the storm surge could drive water 30-40 miles inland. Winds could be up to 150 mph. This is going to be a very bad one. Here’s a satellite image from the NYT:
Yesterday’s poll on what should happen to Professor Joel Poor, a Mizzou prof who remarked on a virtual teaching session that he should put on his mask when he learned that one of his students on Zoom was from Wuhan, gave the following results:
The readers here are clearly not part of Cancel Culture!
Speaking of Cancel Culture, here’s a new Bill Maher segment on it. After watching it, I decided that every statue of Jesus, an approver of slavery, should be taken down immediately. Why has Jesus not been canceled?
The New York Times has a comprehensive report on coronavirus cases at over 750 colleges and universities. Here are the top five, all in the South and three in Alabama. (Nine of the top ten are also in the South.) By comparison, the University of Chicago has had 44 cases.
More stupidity (actually, malfeasance) from the Trump administration about the pandemic. The administration apparently ordered the CDC to ease its guidelines for testing, removing recommendation that people get tested even if they are asymptomatic and have been recently exposed to the coronavirus. Anthony Fauci was not consulted, as he was under general anesthesia at the time, having a polyp removed from his vocal cords; he is of course concerned about the new guidelines, which have to be bad for contact tracing
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 179,598, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 824,963, an increase of about 6,100 deaths from yesterday. We’ll hit 200,000 deaths in the U.S. and 1,000,000 in the world before too long.
Stuff that happened on August 27 includes:
- 1859 – Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.
And here’s that well:
- 1883 – Eruption of Krakatoa: Four enormous explosions destroy the island of Krakatoa and cause years of climate change.
From Wikipedia: T”he 1883 Krakatoa eruption darkened the sky worldwide for years afterwards and produced spectacular sunsets throughout the world for many months. British artist William Ashcroft made thousands of colour sketches of the red sunsets halfway around the world from Krakatoa in the years after the eruption.” Here are three of Ashcroft’s sketches showing sunsets in London:
- 1896 – Anglo-Zanzibar War: The shortest war in world history (09:02 to 09:40), between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.
- 1927 – Five Canadian women file a petition to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking, “Does the word ‘Persons’ in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?”
- 1956 – The nuclear power station at Calder Hall in the United Kingdom was connected to the national power grid becoming the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale.
- 1979 – The Troubles: Eighteen British soldiers are killed in an ambush by the Provisional Irish Republican Army near Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland, in the deadliest attack on British forces during Operation Banner. An IRA bomb also kills British royal family member Lord Mountbatten and three others on his boat at Mullaghmore, Republic of Ireland.
- 2011 – Hurricane Irene strikes the United States east coast, killing 47 and causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage.
That was nothing compared to what is going to happen in the next week.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1865 – Charles G. Dawes, American general and politician, 30th Vice President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1951)
Dawes was the only Vice President, much less a Nobel Laureate, to write the melody for a song that became a pop hit. Do you know it? Think, and then go here. You can thank me later for this arcane fact, which will surely help you win trivia contests.
- 1871 – Theodore Dreiser, American novelist and journalist (d. 1945)
- 1906 – Ed Gein, American murderer and body snatcher, The Butcher of Plainfield (d. 1982)
- 1909 – Lester Young, American saxophonist and clarinet player (d. 1959)
Young is one of my favorite jazz musicians, and here’s a rare video, which was posted just this year, of him and his Quintet playing “How About You” in 1950. Personnel include Young on sax, Buddy Rich on drums, Ray Brown on bass, Hank Jones on piano, and Bill Harris on trombone.
- 1939 – William Least Heat-Moon, American travel writer and historian
- 1947 – Barbara Bach, American model and actress
- 1973 – Danny Coyne, Welsh footballer
I don’t know who Danny Coyne is, but he may be a distant relative. . . .
Those who kicked it on August 27 include:
- 1931 – Frank Harris, Irish-American journalist and author (b. 1856)
- 1958 – Ernest Lawrence, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
- 1963 – W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (b. 1868)
- 1971 – Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer and journalist (b. 1906)
One of my favorite photographers, Bourke-White took this iconic picture of Gandhi:
- 1975 – Haile Selassie, Ethiopian emperor (b. 1892)
- 1979 – Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, English admiral and politician, 44th Governor-General of India (b. 1900)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a hypocritical bout of empathy:
A: What are you looking at?Hili: At the birds, they are so cruel to the tiny flies.
Ja: Na co patrzysz?Hili: Na ptaki, które są tak okrutne wobec tych małych muszek.
A wag comments on a road sign, from Jesus of the Day:
Truth from reader Divy:
A tweet from Andrée, which is verified by Wikipedia in its entry on “office chair“:
One of the earliest known innovators to have created the modern office chair was naturalist Charles Darwin, who put wheels on the chair in his study so he could get to his specimens more quickly.
The earliest known prototype of the office chair was made by Charles Darwin: he added bed wheels to his wooden armchair.
— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) August 26, 2020
And here’s a picture of the Great Man’s wheeled chair. DARWIN SAT THERE!
Two tweets from Simon. First, one chill cat surrounded by potential food, which he declines:
Twitter relaxes me pic.twitter.com/4EHqp2zL4H
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 26, 2020
That same site likes to use metaphors about science from funny videos. This one is bizarre:
Strong ligand-receptor binding pic.twitter.com/Had6G42LSu
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 20, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Somebody please tell me what this cat is doing. I suspect it is unsavory.
This wasn't the first time that they had all wondered what the fuck Kevin was doing.
📹: Imgur user ALittleDistantShiningStar pic.twitter.com/LOr3sd6ZRF
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) August 26, 2020
Matthew’s words on the tweet below: “There’s a lot of ‘culture war’ over here about the legacy of the British Empire, the meaning/aceptability of ‘Rule Britannia’ etc. I’ll just leave this tweet.” I had no idea about the Tasmanian genocide.
Between 1803 and 1905 Britain perpetrated the complete genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines, a crime not even Hitler managed.
— Jason Michael (@Jeggit) August 25, 2020
This is a freaking amazing nature video:
Epic experience watching a Sand Wasp digging a burrow, stuffing in food, then filling & hiding the hole @RSPBMinsmere #DiggerAlley yesterday. Full version https://t.co/IgBDuJ8BLJ@StevenFalk1 @Buzz_dont_tweet @RSPBEngland @Natures_Voice @BBCSpringwatch pic.twitter.com/BbVqwIANL0
— Whistling Joe (@whistling_joe) July 30, 2020
I wish I could have this experience:
I’m in love ❤️
The most magical moment whilst I was sat on the grass and joined by this beautiful Cub for some chill time#fox pic.twitter.com/0VfLwjmtk9
— Soul Photography (@Siennaeva11) August 25, 2020
Now how did they figure this one out?
OMG 😱 If you divide 1 by 998,001 you get all three-digit numbers from 000 to 999 in order, except for 998. pic.twitter.com/b66rRNfrCc
— Math Lady Hazel 🇦🇷 (@mathladyhazel) August 26, 2020