It’s Monday, October 19, 2020, and I am weary from lack of sleep. Due to a massive coincidence, this morning’s report features a lot of CATS. It’s National Seafood Bisque Day, as well as International Gin and Tonic Day, Rainforest Day, Dress Like a Dork Day, and Evaluate Your Life Day.
And before anything else, here’s the political ad of the decade! How can you NOT vote for Biden? Sound up and play the video. (h/t Lenora)
We’ve got to come together to defeat Donald Trump –– Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and yes, even Demo-cats. pic.twitter.com/LtsTWy7MmI
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 17, 2020
News of the Day: As if we don’t need more reasons to dump Trump, the New York Times has a long interactive editorial (!) called “The case against Donald Trump“. And within that are a lot of sub-editorials about his mishandling of women’s rights, racism, immigration, the economy, the environment, and so on ad infinitum. I shudder to think what will happen if he wins in November, but I’m pretty confident that won’t happen. I’m still taking bets; I’m betting on Biden, and tell the suckers that if he wins, they’ll be GLAD to pay me. If Trump wins, they get $$ as consolation (granted, money isn’t much consolation for another four years of America’s destruction).
There’s been a big change in the distribution of world happiness according to the annual Ipsos Global Happiness Survey: the happiest country in the world is now–wait for it–China. Others at the top are the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, Australia, Great Britain, and Sweden. The unhappiest countries include Peru, Chile, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, and Mexico. (h/t Woody)
There are new details in the case of the decapitation by a terrorist of a French teacher who showed his students satirical cartoons of Muhammad as part of a free-speech lesson. The details include the fact that the teacher offered to let Muslim students leave the classroom before the presentation, that the cartoons shown were from Charlie Hebdo, that the killer was an 18-year old Russian immigrant of Chechen descent, and that nine more people have been detained (the murderer was shot dead by police).
Up in Canada, here’s how Tim Horton’s is dealing with social distancing. Cute but confusing; what’s the diameter of a timbit? (Yes, I know what timbits are.) h/t Rick):
Stuff that happened on October 19 includes:
- 1512 – Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology.
- 1781 – American Revolutionary War: The siege of Yorktown comes to an end.
- 1789 – John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.
- 1812 – The French invasion of Russia fails when Napoleon begins his retreat from Moscow.
- 1900 – Max Planck discovers Planck’s law of black-body radiation.
Here’s the first page of Planck’s paper, published in Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. Wikipedia is wrong that the law was discovered on October 19; it was published on October 19. Voilà: the beginning of quantum theory:
- 1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.
Here we have another example of possible credit appropriation, with the lab head getting a Nobel Prize for work done by a student.
Streptomycin was first isolated on October 19, 1943, by Albert Schatz, a PhD student in the laboratory of Selman Abraham Waksman at Rutgers University in a research project funded by Merck and Co. Waksman and his laboratory staff discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, streptomycin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, and candidin. Of these, streptomycin and neomycin found extensive application in the treatment of numerous infectious diseases. Streptomycin was the first antibiotic cure for tuberculosis (TB). In 1952 Waksman was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition “for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic active against tuberculosis”. Waksman was later accused of playing down the role of Schatz who did the work under his supervision, claiming that Elizabeth Bugie had a more important role in its development.
Schatz was actually the first author of the paper describing the isolation of the antibiotic, but his boss got the Nobel Prize. Schatz later sued Waksman for a share of the royalties, and settled out of court.
- 1950 – Korean War: The Battle of Pyongyang ends in a United Nations victory. Hours later, the Chinese Army begins crossing the border into Korea.
- 1960 – The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.
- 1973 – President Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.
- 1987 – Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.
- 2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II.
- 2005 – Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.
Here’s some video of the histrionics of the trial:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1862 – Auguste Lumière, French director and producer (d. 1954)
- 1876 – Mordecai Brown, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 1945)
- 1929 – Lewis Wolpert, South African-English biologist, author, and academic
I once sat next to Wolpert at a dinner (the 30th anniversary of The Selfish Gene celebration), and found him a kind and lovely man. He talked about his experiences with depression, which resulted in his book about his own experiences, Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression.
- 1937 – Peter Max, German-American illustrator
Max is one of the quinetessential Sixties artists, and even designed this 1974 U.S. postage stamp (postage only 10¢ back then):
- 1944 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1987)
- 1946 – Philip Pullman, English author and academic
- 1967 – Amy Carter, American illustrator and activist
It’s hard to believe Amy, who I remember as a little girl in the White House, is 53 today. She’s kept a low profile after a period of political activism, and she illustrated this children’s book written by her father (did you know Jimmy wrote this?):
- 1983 – Cara Santa Maria, American neuroscientist and blogger
Those who went underground on October 19 include:
- 1745 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (b. 1667
- 1937 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1871)
- 1945 – N. C. Wyeth, American painter and illustrator (b. 1882)
N. C. Wyeth, Andrew’s father, was part of a family of artists. Here’s one of his illustrations for Treasure Island:
- 1950 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet and playwright (b. 1892)
This is perhap’s Millay’s best-known verse.
My candle burns at both ends;It will not last the night;But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being altruistic:
Hili: An apple has fallen from that apple tree.A: You are sitting under a walnut tree.Hili: Yes, but I realise the danger.
Hili: Jabłko spadło z tamtej jabłonki.Ja: Siedzisz pod orzechem.Hili: Tak. ale uświadamiam sobie rozmiar grozy.
Here’s Szaron on the inside and his friend “kitten” Kulka on the outside:
From Frans de Waal’s public page. ELECTION TIME!
From Cole and Marmalade:
From Barry: The election has pitted neighbor against neighbor!
A tweet from Barry. Could this be mistaken for modern music?
OMG HAHAHA 😂 pic.twitter.com/P9IgCe2EY5
— Cats with Skills (@catswithskills) October 17, 2020
From Simon, who has an intro:
This is a nice little thread that an author put together to explain his paper (which happens to be on fly genetics and evolution). I think I’d have read the title and blown it off – but this is the sort of positive thing that social media can do.
Indeed! Have a look at the thread. The only question is whether Twitter users have the patience to scroll through 23 posts. Patience is minimal these days. . .
A thread explaining what we found: pic.twitter.com/rvpYUQ01VB
— Timothy Fuqua 🏳🌈 (@timothy_fuqua) October 14, 2020
And the remaining tweets are from Matthew. Forget what the fox says; listen to the seals:
A recording of Selkies singing in Levenwick, Shetland. Seals have been singing every day & night for the last week, just by the house. I got a recording of them this morning. Otherwordly beautifulness. (with a few starlings too). pic.twitter.com/4JCw0lAYf1
— Jenny Sturgeon (@Jenny_Sturgeon) October 18, 2020
Yet another cat (I assure you this is coincidence). Sound up:
Oscar for the most dramatic performance goes to pic.twitter.com/ctxynnjl8f
— broken animals (@broken_animals) October 18, 2020
And some Pope memes, which Matthew sent me when I asked about this one:
— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) October 18, 2020
— Jennifer Harrison⁷ (@GeneticJen) October 16, 2020
— Dipodillus Lividus (@furiousgerbil) October 16, 2020
Did you know that, when threatened, the Pope can spray venom at enemies up to 20 feet away…? pic.twitter.com/rU5482sJgb
— Mothra P.I. (@Hardywolf359) August 23, 2017