It’s the end of the week as we know it—formally, though, the beginning of the week. Yes, it’s Sunday, December 6, 2020: National Gazpacho Day. It’s also National Microwave Day and St. Nicholas Day, the day when, in Europe, kids get presents placed in their shoes, stockings, or under their pillows. (By the way, it’s only 19 shopping days until the beginning of Coynezaa, and 24 until its end.)
News of the Day:
Yesterday the Devil went down to Georgia, ostensibly to help elect two Republican Senators from that state. But instead of stumping for them, the President-Eject spent most of his time claiming that he’d won the election and beefing about rigged votes. He will not go gentle into that good (for us) night, and of course we have to pay for his Secret Service protection for the rest of his life.
The Washington Post has a survey of Republicans’ views about who won the election (h/t: Linda). It’s depressing but not surprising. Two figures tell the tale (note the number of cowardly Republicans!). The buggers won’t answer!
ArtNet News has an article and a lot of fantastic photos of the recently-discovered series of ancient paintings covering seven miles of rock face in remote areas of the Amazon rain forest. They’re dated to about 12,500 years ago, not long after humans migrated to the area after their ancestors crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia. Here are a few photos of the paintings, some of which show extinct Ice Age creatures like giant sloths and mastodons. (h/t Jon):
Matthew went sown to Cambridge yesterday to pick up one of his daughters at Cambridge Uni. He sent two lovely pictures of the town, which I’ve visited only once. The first is of Newnham College, where his daughter goes to school. I haven’t seen a punt before, but it looks like the second photo shows them. Punting on the Cam! I wonder if what applies in Oggsford applies here (my poem):
You have to be a don
To set foot on the lawn.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 281,202, a big increase of about 2,200 from yesterday’s figure, representing about 1.5 Americans dying per minute. The world death toll is 1,535,979, a huge increase of about 9,500 over yesterday’s report—about 6.6 deaths per minute, or more than a death every ten seconds.
Stuff that happened on December 6 includes:
- 1534 – The city of Quito in Ecuador is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.
- 1790 – The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia.
- 1884 – The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is completed.
- 1897 – London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.
Here’s one of those first London cabs, a Daimler Victoria gas-powered vehicle. It looks like a horse carriage without the horse:
- 1912 – The Nefertiti Bust is discovered.
Here’s the Nefertiti bust, now residing in Berlin’s Neues Museum. The limestone and painted stucco bust, which the Egyptians have been demanding back (and they have a case for its repatriation), was found in a sculptor’s workshop in the ancient city of Akhetaten,. Wikipedia notes, “The bust of Nefertiti is believed to have been crafted about 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose. The bust does not have any inscriptions, but can be certainly identified as Nefertiti by the characteristic crown, which she wears in other surviving (and clearly labelled) depictions, for example the “house altar”.
It’s truly a beautiful piece of work.
- 1917 – Finland declares independence from Soviet Russia.
- 1917 – Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion near Halifax, Nova Scotia kills more than 1,900 people in the largest artificial explosion up to that time
Yes he did Yes! A first edition of Ulysses (1000 copies were printed) will run you about $90,000 U.S. Mrkgnao! But that’s cheaper than I thought:
- 1956 – A violent water polo match between Hungary and the USSR takes place during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
- 1969 – Altamont Free Concert: At a free concert performed by the Rolling Stones, eighteen-year old Meredith Hunter is stabbed to death by Hells Angels security guards.
Here’s a video of the melee showing some of the violence and the stabbing of Hunter in slow motion.
- 2006 – NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.
And here’s one of the photos that indicated that, at least at one time, liquid water was present on Mars. The Wikipedia caption:
This image taken by Mars Global Surveyor spans a region about 1,500 m (4,921 ft) across, showing gullies on the walls of Newton Basin in Sirenum Terra. Similar channels on Earth are formed by flowing water, but on Mars the temperature is normally too cold and the atmosphere too thin to sustain liquid water. Nevertheless, many scientists hypothesize that liquid groundwater can sometimes surface on Mars, erode gullies and channels, and pool at the bottom before freezing and evaporating.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1896 – Ira Gershwin, American songwriter (d. 1983)
- 1898 – Alfred Eisenstaedt, German-American photographer and journalist (d. 1995)
- 1901 – Eliot Porter, American photographer and academic (d. 1990)
Here’s one of Porter’s many wonderful nature photos: “Frostbitten Apples, Tesuque, New Mexico” (1966):
- 1908 – Baby Face Nelson, American gangster (d. 1934)
- 1920 – Dave Brubeck, American pianist and composer (d. 2012)
- 1948 – JoBeth Williams, American actress
Those who became extinct on December 6 include:
- 1882 – Anthony Trollope, English novelist, essayist, and short story writer (b. 1815)
- 1889 – Jefferson Davis, American general and politician, President of the Confederate States of America (b. 1808)
- 1955 – Honus Wagner, American baseball player and manager (b. 1874)
- 1956 – B. R. Ambedkar, Indian economist and politician, 1st Indian Minister of Justice (b. 1891)
- 1988 – Roy Orbison, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1936)
- 2017 – Johnny Hallyday, French singer and actor (b. 1943)
Voilà: Le Johnny, a phenomenon in France, unknown (and rightly so) elsewhere:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is eating like the queen she is:
Hili: There is no other solution.A: To what problem?Hili: We must buy more of the sirloin we just ate.
Hili: Nie ma innego rozwiązania.Ja: W jakiej sprawie?Hili: Trzeba kupić więcej takiej polędwicy jak ta, którą już zjedliśmy.
In nearby Wloclawek, Elzbieta is reading a story to Leon:
Leon: Do you think this story will end happily?
From reader Scott, a Gedankenexperiment:
From Malgorzata: an anti-racist black woman who’s also anti-anti-Semitic. Of course she’s also Jewish and Israeli. The panel she refers to was a real one.
#Antisemites don't get to define antisemitism!
No other minority would be expected to sit on the sidelines while people who aren't part of the community, who don't represent our mainstream views, speak on our behalf. pic.twitter.com/I9dpuAQNcL
— Ashager Araro (@AshagerAraro) December 3, 2020
From reader Peter, who shows that Jordan Peterson really does have some wacko beliefs, one being that the ancient Chinese didn’t just know about DNA, but also realized that it was a double helix! I may have previously posted his dumb opinion, in the first tweet, on atheists and art.
Jordan Peterson actually believes the DNA double helix, discovered in 1953, is depicted in ancient Chinese, Aboriginal and Egyptian art pic.twitter.com/Rg4pjJclXE
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) November 25, 2020
From reader Barry. Guess the species!
Wake me when 2020's over.
"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 realfunnyanimals pic.twitter.com/PlkPSjuTAR
— Elayne Boosler's Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) December 4, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. What a delightful sight—I hope they got some fish!
3 hungry otters turned up in central Salisbury today. They seemed undisturbed by the crowds of shoppers. pic.twitter.com/BdjvLLFw37
— Happy Salisbury (@HappySalisbury) December 5, 2020
A beaver who needs air:
— Brisk God (@brisk_god) December 5, 2020
Matthew noted that this should read “Jerry and his duck”:
— World of Moose (@World_of_Moose) December 5, 2020
A dog-herding cat? Indeed, as it should be.
'Like herding cats' is an idiom denoting a futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable…
But nobody talks about the ease with which cats can herd dogs. pic.twitter.com/QQzr7DpeIW
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) December 5, 2020