Well, it’s Monday, November 2, 2020: the day before the Big Election. It’s also National Deviled Egg Day, Cookie Monster Day, All Souls’ Day, and International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (a UN holiday).
Tomorrow morning I report to the hospital at 6 a.m. where, after a long period of waiting and another long period of prep, they’ll slice me up like a stack of lamb for gyros. I will prepare a Tuesday Hili dialogue in advance, but don’t expect much posting for a day or two—assuming that nothing goes, as the Brits say, “badly wrong.”
News of the Day:
Anthony Fauci, interviewed by the Washington Post, was both pessimistic about the pandemic and, remarkably, he implicitly supported Biden insofar as the virus is concerned:
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, said in a wide-ranging interview late Friday. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
Fauci said Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country.”
I think he’s counting on a Biden victory. But even if Biden wins, many think there will be chaos as the courts take up a Trump challenge and fractious Trump supporters take to the streets (many have guns!). I’m laying low. Does Trump have it in him, if he loses, to conceded the election gracefully? I don’t think so; it’s not in his nature. Stores are being boarded up, including Macy’s in New York City.
Some science news: read about how the octopus can taste with its arms using a novel sensory system.
More science news: Researchers in Australia have found a huge section of the Great Barrier reef that is huge and, importantly, healthy, teeming with fish. A lot of the reef has been killed by bleaching, but it’s not certain whether this healthy section will give any clues about how to save this dying and fantastic ecosystem. (h/t: Reese)
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 230,937, an increase of about 440 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,206,112, an increase of about 4,900 over yesterday’s report.
Stuff that happened on November 2 includes:
- 1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
- 1917 – The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”.
Here’s the declaration, the first to mention a “national home for the Jewish people”. It lay on a straight-line path to Mandatory Palestine and then to Israel:
- 1920 – In the United States, KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the 1920 United States presidential election.
- 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service. Renamed BBC1 in 1964, the channel still runs to this day.
- 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
Here’s a very short documentary on the Spruce Goose featuring Hughes. It flew for less than a minute and less than a mile, attaining an altitude of only 70 feet. The wingspan was nearly 321 feet (98 m), longer than a football field. You can see it at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
- 1959 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty-One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
- 1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.
- 1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- 1984 – Capital punishment: Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.
- 2016 – The Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, ending the longest Major League Baseball championship drought at 108 years.
Ah, I well remember that day, with the Series going down to game 7, 10 innings, and winning by a run with one man on base. The town went bonkers. Here’s the last out and some of the local celebrations:
This is a lovely video:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1734 – Daniel Boone, American hunter and explorer (d. 1820)
- 1755 – Marie Antoinette, Austrian-French queen consort of Louis XVI of France (d. 1793)
- 1815 – George Boole, English mathematician and philosopher (d. 1864)
- 1908 – Bunny Berigan, American trumpet player (d. 1942)
Berigan died of 33 of alcoholism, the classic death (along with drugs) of jazz musicians. But here’s his best and most famous song, “I Can’t Get Started” (1937):
- 1913 – Burt Lancaster, American actor (d. 1994)
- 1942 – Shere Hite, German sexologist, author, and educator
- 1961 – k.d. lang, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
Those who fell asleep on November 2 include:
- 1887 – Jenny Lind, Swedish operatic soprano (b. 1820)
- 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, Irish author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
- 1961 – James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist (b. 1894)
- 1990 – Eliot Porter, American photographer, chemist, and academic (b. 1901)
Porter was renowned for his color photos of scenes from nature. Here’s one of his photos, “Aspens in early spring, New Mexico” (1953):
van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Moroccan-Dutch terrorist; a note pinned to his chest with the murderer’s knife also threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali, driving her into hiding.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the last of the apples are being picked, but Hili begs off helping:
Hili: I think I will leave you alone with apple picking.A: Why?Hili: I have a feeling that I’m starting to be hungry.
Hili: Chyba zostawię cię z tym zrywaniem jabłek samego.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: Mam wrażenie, że zaczynam być głodna.
Here’s a picture of Matthew’s cat Ollie on his perch. He’s the one who clawed my nose open. Britain goes into another lockdown today.
Leon took a walk and found a mushroom!
Leon: See what a nice mushroom I found for you?
From Jesus of the Day. The poor dude—and I bet it was a dude—failed twice!
A music meme from Bruce:
Part 29 and 30 of Titania’s continuing series. But I think Uncle Ben was a racist image. It wasn’t the “Uncle” that made it racist.
THINGS THAT ARE RACIST
• Fried chicken
• School uniforms
• Hawaiian pizza
• Mozart pic.twitter.com/HVZ2Vh4WBC
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) November 1, 2020
From Eli: Some evidence that the new administration might be woker than we think:
There’s a big difference between equality and equity. pic.twitter.com/n3XfQyjLNe
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 1, 2020
From Barry, Pumpkin-loving animals:
— Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) October 31, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Here’s a good heating system for cat lovers:
What happens when you have heated tile flooring https://t.co/UN7OPA6wZf
— Popular Cats (@PopuIarCats) November 1, 2020
Yep, the Dead released this on November 1, 1970: half a century ago!!
50 years! Happy Birthday American Beauty! 💀🌹🐻 pic.twitter.com/PnePjVSaDr
— SESevers (@edge_nature) November 1, 2020
Matthew says, “Never fails to impress,” and I agree 100%.
Natural selection builds mechanisms that human engineers still struggle to match. Exhibit A: The neural structures underpinning head stabilization in this hawk. (Head stabilization has the same function as image stabilization in cameras: to maintain a steady view despite motion.) pic.twitter.com/NrONccvBwA
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) October 17, 2020
Foppish cows come home for the winter. How lovely!
this video of swiss cows celebrating their autumn tradition of leaving the alps to go down to their other home in valley while wearing big bells and flower crowns brings me so much joy i cannot explain it pic.twitter.com/x2dDIacqXc
— persephone (@peterseepeterdo) October 30, 2020
Finally, a Halloween bon mot:
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) October 31, 2020