I am going to the dentist this morning, so posting may be light. But you’ll be glad to know that my post-op appointment for hernia surgery inspection showed all was healing perfectly.
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot below) celebrates Benoit Mandelbrodt, born on this day in 1924 and considered the “Father of Fractal Geometry”. Clicking on the picture takes you to an intractive site where you can explore fracalism or fractality, or whatever they call it
Here’s the new state flag adopted by Mississippi. The old one had the Confederate “stars and bars”. The old one is odious; the new one is merely unconstitutional (h/t Stephen):
Matthew is even more famous than before! His new book, The Idea of the Brain, has gotten a very positive review in the Guardian. The money quote:
“So runs the argument of the zoologist Matthew Cobb’s rich and fascinating book, which divides neatly into two parts, or hemispheres. . .”
In other news, Franco is still dead and Trump, whose loss is being confirmed, still won’t concede the election. Yesterday, Georgia’s recount of its votes confirmed Biden as the winner, by 12,284 votes.
In his continuing mendacity, Trump, who lost Michigan by a substantial number of votes, is trying to overturn the electoral process there by iinviting Michigan state Republican lawmakers to the White House. As the NYT explains, this is likely an attempt to get the legislators to overturn the rules (all Michigan’s electoral votes go to Biden). Biden’s getting ticked off:
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that President Trump was showing “incredible irresponsibility” by contesting the results of the presidential election and delaying the beginning of a transition process.
“Incredibly damaging messages are being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” Mr. Biden said, adding that Mr. Trump’s reaction would ensure that he is remembered “as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 252,373, a big increase of about 2,000 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,367,5721, a huge increase of about 9,800 over yesterday’s report. Nearly ten thousand people died!
Stuff that happened on November 20 include:
- 1789 – New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
- 1805 – Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, premieres in Vienna.
- 1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks and sinks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America. (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick is in part inspired by this story.)
- 1945 – Nuremberg trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.
A tweet found by Matthew showing the Nuremberg Court:
#CeJourLa Le 20 novembre 1945 s’ouvre à #Nuremberg le procès de 24 hauts responsables nazis, sommés de répondre de leurs actes devant la justice. Il dure 10 mois et pose les bases d'un nouveau droit international en intégrant la notion de crime contre l'humanité. pic.twitter.com/SgGXSu3ryv
— Fondation Shoah (@Fondation_Shoah) November 20, 2020
Here’s a short newsreel showing the Nuremberg verdicts (I believe I’ve posted this recently):
- 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ends: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
- 1969 – Vietnam War: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) publishes explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.
Here’s the headline that day, and if you want to see some of the photos (gruesome) go here.
- 1993 – Savings and loan crisis: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issues a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his “dealings” with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1733 – Philip Schuyler, American general and senator (d. 1804)
Scuyler was the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton; we met him the other day.
- 1889 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer and cosmologist (d. 1953)
- 1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-American journalist and author (d. 2004)
- 1923 – Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist, short story writer, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2014)
- 1936 – Don DeLillo, American novelist, essayist, and playwright
Have you read any DeLillo books? If so, which do you recommend.
- 1939 – Dick Smothers, American actor and comedian
- 1941 – Dr. John, American singer and songwriter (d. 2019)
Here’s Dr. John (real name Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. ) with one of his great songs, “Such a night”:
- 1942 – Joe Biden, American politician, 47th Vice President of the United States, current President-elect of the United States
- 1943 – Suze Rotolo, American artist, and former girlfriend of Bob Dylan
Suze Rotola, a friend of a friend of mine, died a while back; somebody needs to correct the Wikipedia entry to reflect her death. Here is her moment of glory with Dylan on the cover of his “Freewheelin” album:
- 1948 – John R. Bolton, American lawyer and diplomat, 25th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Those whose lives ended on November 20 include:
- 1910 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian author and playwright (b. 1828)
- 1973 – Allan Sherman, American actor, comedian, and producer (b. 1924)
- 1976 – Trofim Lysenko, Ukrainian-Russian biologist and agronomist (b. 1898)
Lysenko is the model of a. confirmation bias and b. what happens when a government adopts an ideology that goes counter to the facts. Millions died because of this man and Stalin, and Lysenko suffered no punishments. He looks evil, doesn’t he? He was: a miscreant and a charlatan:
- 2006 – Robert Altman, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1925)
- 2018 – Aaron Klug, Lithuanian-English chemist and biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is getting impertinent as winter comes on:
Hili: I’ve read that cat food is unhealthy for cats.A: Really?Hili: Yes, you should buy me a fresh sirloin every day.
Hili: Czytałam, że ta karma nie jest dla kotów zdrowa.Ja: Naprawdę?Hili: Tak, powinieneś mi codziennie kupować świeżą polędwicę.
A meme from Nicole; cartoon by Mark Parisi:
From Jesus of the Day (and I hope this isn’t “fake news”):
I tweeted this, but the article with photos came from reader David:
Mesmerizing pictures of starling murmurations from the Black Sun project. I don't think scientists know why these huge flocks fly around in formation before settling in for the night. https://t.co/wD4bECNoYs pic.twitter.com/S3HY9KsZ7Y
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) November 19, 2020
Titania on International Men’s Day:
For those of you tweeting about “International Men’s Day”, a quick reminder of what it is you’re celebrating… #InternationalMensDay #ToxicMasculinity #Patriarchy #MenAreScum #YesAllMen pic.twitter.com/DzGFIZykgs
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) November 19, 2020
From Barry, who adds, “A hedgehog and your least favorite domesticated animal (with a great expression)”:
Jeeves & Wooster
"We rescue ALL animals, though dogs need us the most. But we rescue cats, bunnies, rats, snakes, small exotics, eleflumps, bears, big cats, wildlife, sea life, primates…"-@ElayneBoosler
📹IG funanimalvids pic.twitter.com/RSKzqxEVwv
— Elayne Boosler's Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) November 18, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The Rodent of Size was set free:
An absolute 2020 icon https://t.co/rB9f8zXCgx
— Amy Schwartz (@lizardschwartz) November 19, 2020
🚨This is shocking: Trump apparently "reached out" to the two Republican Wayne County Commissioners. The next day, they signed an affidavit saying they want to rescind their votes to certify the results.
— Josh Douglas (@JoshuaADouglas) November 19, 2020
Matthew and I both have beloved but time-battered bears:
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) November 19, 2020
There is precious little good news these days:
A country on the road to an even bigger catastrophe https://t.co/o4LSdrOMT3
— Caspar Henderson (@casparhenderson) November 18, 2020
Mr Crow sez: “If you don’t have a playmate, play with yourself.”
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) June 11, 2019