Greet the new month!: Welcome to Monday, February 1, 2021, and a triple food holiday: National Cake Pops Day, National Baked Alaska Day, and National Dark Chocolate Day. It’s also food months for the following items:
Canned Food Month
National Chocolate Lovers Month
National Cherry Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Snack Food Month
National Potato Lovers MonthReturn Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
3rd Weekend of February: National Margarita Weekend“Superbowl Sunday” : National Pork Rind Day (aka National Pork Rind Appreciation Day)
News of the Day:
The protests against the detention of Alexei Navaly continue in Russia, with thousands taking to the streets yesterday. Over 5,000 people were arrested, and Putin appears to be taken the hard line. I’m hoping this is the end of his oligarchy.
Big trouble in Myanmar. The leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi, my erstwhile hero who fell from grace (she’s a Nobel Laureate in Peace), has been detained after the military deposed an elected government and seized power for at least a year. After spending 15 years under house arrest, Suu Kyi fell into disrepute (in my view) when she didn’t lift a finger to prevent the country’s genocide of the Rohingya minority. She’s been in office for five years, but the military decided that the last election was “fraudulent” and took control.
Suu Kyi (before she fell from grace):
At the NYT, Roger Cohen bemoans a Paris that is shuttered, and that was the first place I wanted to go when I was able to travel. But if the restaurants are closed, well, there’s no point.
Paris is gone for now, its lifeblood cut off by the closure of all restaurants, its nights silenced by a 6 p.m. curfew aimed at eliminating the national pastime of the aperitif, its cafe bonhomie lost to domestic morosity. Blight has taken the City of Light.
Taboos fall. People eat sandwiches in the drizzle on city benches. They yield — oh, the horror! — to takeout in the form of “le click-and-collect.” They dine earlier, an abominable Americanization. They contemplate with resignation the chalk-on-blackboard offerings of long-shuttered restaurants still promising a veal blanquette or a boeuf bourguignon. These menus are fossils from the pre-pandemic world.
Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post‘s media columnist, denies that cancel cutlure exists—or at least gives no examples of it that she considers valid. Instead, she says it’s just “bad faith squealing,” simply representing people being held accountable for what they say. In one sense she’s right, but she simply can’t fathom the difference between being held accountable for ideas on one hand and having an angry mob trying to ruin your life on the other. Denial of “cancel culture”, which surely exists, is, along with “free speech butterism,” a sign of a woke mentality.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 441,296, an increase of about 1,900 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The death rate is now falling, but we’re still likely to exceed half a million deaths in less than a month. The reported world death toll stands at 2,239,013, an increase of about 8,100 deaths over yesterday’s total, another daily drop in the number of cases.
Stuff that happened on February 1 includes:
- 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- 1884 – The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
Here’s the first edition of volume 1:
- 1893 – Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.
Here’s the famous studio, which was lightproof:
- 1896 – La bohème premieres in Turin at the Teatro Regio (Turin), conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini.
- 1918 – Russia adopts the Gregorian calendar.
- 1950 – The first prototype of the MiG-17 makes its maiden flight.
Used widely, and by many Russian bloc countries, the plane is still in use, owned by 17 people in the United States:
- 1960 – Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Here are the four brave students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College who, adopting the now-obsolete nonviolent tactics of Gandhi, sat quietly at the white part of the lunch counter while they were reviled. There were no arrests, and students kept coming every day, swelling the seated and then spreading to other segregated facilities. Four years later, the Civil Rights Act declared such segregation illegal.
- 1964 – The Beatles have their first number one hit in the United States with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
- 1968 – Vietnam War: The execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan is recorded on motion picture film, as well as in an iconic still photograph taken by Eddie Adams.
This photo, which you can see here (the video is here, both are disturbing), produced considerable antiwar sentiment. Wikipedia is debating eliminating the photo, which is a mistake. It was historically important and won Adams a Pulitzer Prize.
- 1979 – Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.
- 1981 – The Underarm bowling incident of 1981 occurred when Trevor Chappell bowls underarm on the final delivery of a game between Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Here’s a video of that infamous bowling incident, something that the Kiwis have not fogotten or forgiven. The delivery was legal under the rules of that match, but was considered unsportsmanlike, and underarm bowling was soon banned.
- 2002 – Daniel Pearl, American journalist and South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped January 23, 2002, is beheaded and mutilated by his captors.
Pearl’s kidnapper was just released from a Pakistani jail and his sentence overturned.
- 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during the reentry of mission STS-107 into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
Here’s a news report of the disaster:
- 2009 – The first cabinet of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was formed in Iceland, making her the country’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay head of government.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1901 – Clark Gable, American actor (d. 1960)
A famous scene between Gable and Vivian Leigh from Gone with the Wind:
- 1902 – Langston Hughes, American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright (d. 1967)
- 1931 – Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician, 1st President of Russia (d. 2007)
- 1937 – Don Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1947 – Jessica Savitch, American journalist (d. 1983)
- 1969 – Andrew Breitbart, American journalist, author, and publisher (d. 2012)
Those who crossed the Styx on February 1 include:
- 1851 – Mary Shelley, English novelist and playwright (b. 1797)
- 1944 – Piet Mondrian, Dutch-American painter (b. 1872)
- 1966 – Buster Keaton, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1895)
- 1976 – Werner Heisenberg, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
Heisenberg was the physics equivalent of Calvin Bridges: literally and figuratively the “golden boy” of his field. His pathbreaking work was published when he was 25, and he won the Big Prize at 31.
- 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia crew
- Michael P. Anderson, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1959)
- David M. Brown, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1956)
- Kalpana Chawla, Indian-American engineer and astronaut (b. 1961)
- Laurel Clark, American captain, surgeon, and astronaut (b. 1961)
- Rick Husband, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1957)
- William C. McCool, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1961)
- Ilan Ramon, Israeli colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1954)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili blames Putin for the weather. As Malgorzata explains, “Hili dislikes all dictators, no matter whether they are from the left or from the right of the political spectrum. Hili is a liberal cat.”
Hili: Is this a high pressure front from the East?A: Yes.Hili: It’s Putin’s fault
Hili: Czy to jest wyż ze wschodu?Ja: Tak.Hili: Wina Putina.
From Jesus of the Day:
For those afraid of the Pfizer vaccine:
From Charles, a new theory of how religion got started: The Argument from Chapeaux
From Luana, a tweet about a new paper in Cell. Note the figure’s implication that the reviewers are racist. You can see the original paper here; it more or less explicitly states that the deficit of African-Americans as faculty in molecular biology is due to racism that prevents them from getting grants. In other words, it sees lack of “equity” (equal outcomes) as prima facie evidence of racism.
This part jumped out at me. Studies have investigated the reasons for these disparities. However, the authors of this paper don't care about what may be causing the disparity. They view the disparity itself as the problem.
They want equal outcomes, not equal opportunity. pic.twitter.com/hZfR2snInf
— Colin Wright (@SwipeWright) January 31, 2021
A tweet from Jez via his wife (I may have posted this before; sound on):
Sorry, but this made me laugh..
Sound on pic.twitter.com/CHOFHWOvpI
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) January 28, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, a bull-goose loony who is apparently allowed to drive:
These people are allowed to drive. Fucking scary.
— devon sawa (@DevonESawa) January 24, 2021
This photo belongs on the Facebook site Crap Wildlife Photography, which has some doozies:
— The Inept Birder (@TheIneptBirder) January 26, 2021
Nearly a century before its time:
When We All Have Pocket Telephones
(From England’s Daily Mirror (January 23, 1923) pic.twitter.com/eEyCkO9Zio
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) January 30, 2021
Nevertheless, she persisted. See the article about this intrepid fox in the Guardian.
— The Ice Age ❄️🌞 (@Jamie_Woodward_) January 30, 2021
The bees have no chance; the hornets chomp them to death at an astounding rate. I describe this scenario at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Why Evolution is True.
— FUMIHIKO HIRAI🐝昆虫スローの人 (@uta_31) November 14, 2020
Well done! That’ll do dog; that’ll do.
Maximum job satisfaction of the day. pic.twitter.com/jXI5uMYGrc
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) January 30, 2021