Welcome to the Dog Sabbath: Sunday, February 21, 2021. It’s National Sticky Bun Day, referring to either the toothsome pastry or what happens when you sit on bubble gum. It’s also National Grain Free Day (a day not beloved by farmers), and, in ancient Rome, February 21 was Feralia, a holiday celebrating the spirits of the dead. It is very similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead; here’s a description from Wikipedia:
Roman citizens were instructed to bring offerings to the tombs of their dead ancestors which consisted of at least “an arrangement of wreaths, a sprinkling of grain and a bit of salt, bread soaked in wine and violets scattered about.” Additional offerings were permitted, however the dead were appeased with just the aforementioned.
News of the Day:
I am getting worried about the Mars rover “Perseverance.” After all the brouhaha, all we get from NASA is radio silence: no photos! I hope the thing isn’t broken! Here are tweets (more on her site) by a well known planetary scientist and writer:
We were able to follow mission events by looking at the raw images feed. By now, @NASAPersevere should have deployed its high-gain antenna. Today is the day its mast should raise vertical, giving the Navcams, Mastcam-Z, and Supercam their first light on Mars.
— Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) February 20, 2021
However, NASA did release this cool photo of Perseverance dangling from the skycrane before it was gently lowered to the surface and the skycrane flew away:
A United flight from Denver to Honolulu suffered a bad engine fire yesterday, with pieces of that engine falling all around Boulder. The plane returned to Denver, landing safely with all 241 passengers and crew intact, and luckily nobody on the ground was injured by the engine parts. Here’s one passenger’s video of the mishap (h/t Matthew):
This was United Flight 328.
Exterior of one of the engine’s caught fire and exterior pieces of the engine fell into yards over Colorado. @michaelagiulia said: “my parents are on this flight 🙃🙃 everyone’s okay though!”
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) February 20, 2021
And heres some debris. Jebus H. Christ in a chicken basket!
JUST IN: Denver International Airport officials tell us United Airlines Flight 328 bound for Honolulu returned to the airport after an engine problem. Neighbors heard a loud boom, took these photos of what look like Boeing 777 engine nacelle in their yards. pic.twitter.com/mklpz3VG4F
— Pete Muntean (@petemuntean) February 20, 2021
And someone on the ground took a photo:
Several sources, including the Associated Press, report that Biden is signing on to studying the idea of “slavery reparations” for black Americans, as Congress is considering a bill. This is gonna be a tough one since who will be eligible if there are payments to individuals? And if you say that’s not the way it will come down, well read here:
A House panel heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would create a commission to examine the history of slavery in the U.S. as well as the discriminatory government policies that affected former slaves and their descendants. The commission would recommend ways to educate the American public of its findings and suggest appropriate remedies, including financial payments from the government to compensate descendants of slaves for years of unpaid labor by their ancestors.
You can imagine the issues that will raise. Besides eligibility, if it’s money to humans, is it a one-time payment or does it go on forever? And are payments of cash really going to alleviate unequal opportunities? There must be better ways to reduce inequality.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 497,403, an increase of about 1,900 deaths over yesterday’s figure We are likely to exceed half a million deaths within two days. The reported world death toll stands 2,473,463, an increase of about 8,100 deaths over yesterday’s total. The death rate continues to drop worldwide.
Stuff that happened on February 21 includes:
- 1245 – Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, is granted resignation after confessing to torture and forgery.
- 1804 – The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.
- 1828 – Initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah.
As Wikpedia notes,
[Sequoya’s] achievement was one of the few times in recorded history that a member of a pre-literate people created an original, effective writing system.(Another example is Shong Lue Yang in Laos in the late 20th century).
Here’s a notice in Cherokee writing, published in the Cherokee Phoenix. Sequoyah was illiterate until he created the writing system, which has 86 characters, one for each syllable in the spoken language.
Since Elias Howe generally gets the credit for the invention of the machine, I can assume only that Greenough’s was not practical.
I tried finding the price of a first edition, and saw that in 1986—35 years ago—a tattered first edition, missing the cover, went for $39,600. Here’s a first edition in German:
. . . and the only surviving page of the draft in Marx’s hand:
This is strange, and you Wikipedia editors should investigate it, for the picture of the first telephone directory given at the link says it was issued in November of 1878, and here it is:
Here it is ; photo by Matthew Brady around 1860:
It died in the same cage where Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, had died four years earlier. Here’s a mounted specimen of the Carolina parakeet from Chicago’s Field Museum:
- 1925 – The New Yorker publishes its first issue.
- 1947 – In New York City, Edwin Land demonstrates the first “instant camera”, the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.
- 1952 – The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.
- 1958 – The CND symbol, aka peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.
You need to know this (from Wikipedia):
The symbol is a super-imposition of the semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D”, taken to stand for “nuclear disarmament”, while simultaneously acting as a reference to Goya‘s The Third of May 1808 (1814) (aka “Peasant Before the Firing Squad”)
The symbol and Goya’s great painting:
One of the most striking part of Spike Lee’s film on Malcolm was the scene when he was heading to the ballroom along with his family, the attendees, and the killers. In the background you can hear the best civil rights song ever, “Change Is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cook, and in one scene Malcolm appears to roll rather than walk down the sidewalk. It’s very moving.
- 1975 – Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1621 – Rebecca Nurse, Massachusetts colonist, executed as a witch (d. 1692)
- 1903 – Anaïs Nin, French-American essayist and memoirist (d. 1977)
- 1907 – W. H. Auden, English-American poet, playwright, and composer (d. 1973)
- 1924 – Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean educator and politician, 2nd President of Zimbabwe (d. 2019)
- 1933 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2003)
- 1955 – Kelsey Grammer, American actor, singer, and producer
- 1962 – David Foster Wallace, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (d. 2008)
Those who became the Dearly Departed on February 21 include:
- 1677 – Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher and scholar (b. 1632)
- 1941 – Frederick Banting, Canadian physician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)
Banting and John Macleod won the Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1923. A Laureate at 32, Banting remains the youngest person to ever win the prize. His colleague, Charles Best, should have shared the award, but Banting gave him half the money. Here are Banting and Best around 1934; Banting’s on the right.
- 1945 – Eric Liddell, Scottish rugby player and runner (b. 1902)
- 1965 – Malcolm X, American minister and activist (b. 1925; assassinated)
- 1974 – Tim Horton, Canadian ice hockey player and businessman, co-founded Tim Hortons (b. 1930)
The man who made the donuts, killed in an alcohol-related car crash at 44. Two Canadians: Banting got the Nobel for curing diabetes, while Horton exacerbated it!
- 1984 – Mikhail Sholokhov, Russian novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
- 2018 – Billy Graham, American evangelist (b. 1918)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili thinks that Andrzej’s computer mouse needs replacing by the real thing:
Hili: I must bring you a different mouse.A: No, thank you.
Hili: Muszę ci przynieść inną mysz.Ja: Nie, dziękuję.
And Paulina has four pictures of Kulka.
Caption: Kulka is gamboling in the snow. (In Polish: Kulka szaleje w Śniegu)
Matthew sent me this tweet, and I angrily responded. Is the government going to get even more religious under Biden? Trump, I think, was a secret atheist, but Joe is a pious Catholic.
From Jesus of the Day:
I tweeted, but the original tweet came from Matthew:
This is from a government agency, and it's a blatant violation of the First Amendment. https://t.co/fpUroqUTAN
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) February 20, 2021
A tweet from Luana with the source in case you don’t believe it’s real:
To answer everyone’s question, I think this is from here…https://t.co/PR70vw9EV4
— KrisCantKeepQuiet 🤓 (@kris_keep) February 18, 2021
From Barry; putting sound on is critical here:
I googled scaredy cat
"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…"-@ElayneBoosler#tailsofjoyhttps://t.co/TxkYe1EHBb
IG funny.animals.clips pic.twitter.com/unCzEXSVOV
— Elayne Boosler's Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) February 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This thread goes on for a while . . .
Sick of their shit pic.twitter.com/L8EslOycdJ
— Stu Royall (@stu_bot3000) February 3, 2021
A few more:
Look at that face:
“My bowl is empty. You going to fix this or what.” pic.twitter.com/slu8VoWsMt
— MommyUnit of Waning Hope & Perpetual Waiting (@MommyUnit) February 20, 2021
I feel sorry for members of this team:
Slovakian team Tatran Cierny Balog have an actual railway running alongside their pitch.
Yes, seriously. pic.twitter.com/dQJjFAv5fZ
— The Blizzard (@blzzrd) February 15, 2021