It’s March: the month that entering like a lion and will supposedly exit like a lamb. In fact, it’s Monday, March 1, 2021: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (note that the apostrophe implies that only a single lover of peanut butter is being honored). And it’s also these food months:
National Fresh Celery Month
National Noodle MonthNational Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Nutrition MonthNational Peanut Month
National Sauce MonthNational Caffeine Awareness Month
I’m aware of it, and am starting the month right with a latte with two shots of espresso; this photo was taken about an hour before Hili is posted:
And. . . it’s also National Fruit Compote Day, National Horse Protection Day, National Pig Day, Self-injury Awareness Day, Zero Discrimination Day, and World Compliment Day. Here’s my compliment to the readers:
News of the Day:
OMG, last night I watched some excerpts of Trump’s speech at CPAC—the first speech he’s given since the President-Eject was helicoptered out of the White House. I’d more or less been able to forget about him, which was a blessing, but tonight I had to hear him puff out his chest, demonize his opponents, and continue to claim that the election was rigged. He called out, by name, every Republican in the House and the Senate who voted to impeach him (with special vitriol reserved for Liz Cheney), demanded their ousters, and even intimated that he might run for President again, saying “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.” That of course is a claim that he won last November.
Finally, he went after Joe Biden by name, a violation of the unspoken Presidential rule that you don’t criticize your successors, at least until they’ve had a year or so to govern. But what else do you expect of that horrid orange man?
What was even worse was the crowds of people who adore him, were cheering on his words (not wearing masks, of course), and who had their picture taken next to the “Golden Trump” statue. Some people interviewed went on the record saying they want Trump to be President again. It’s all a painful reminder of how deeply divided this nation is, and of the nightmare that was our last “President.”
The Golden Trump, by the way, was made in Mexico. I wonder if Trump made the Mexicans pay for it. . .
On a happier note, astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover went outside the International Space Station yesterday—for a bit over seven hours! They were installing upgrades to the ISS’s solar panels. Both astronauts had done spacewalks before, but this time Rubins had a high-definition camera affixed to her helmet, so you could get a good idea of what an astronaut actually sees in an EVA. Below is the entire video of the walk (scroll through it), and below that a comparison of the new high-definition video with the old style of video:
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) February 28, 2021
It’s BUTTERGATE in Canada! As the BBC reports, a tsunami of kvetching has swept over Canada, with our northern neighbors complaining that all of a sudden their butter has gotten hard to spread, even at room temperature. If this is true—and some people say it’s just confirmation bias—the most likely theory is that butter producers upped the production of milk during the pandemic by feeding cows with noms containing palm oil, a substance that yields butter with a higher melting point. Palm oil is not good for you! A quote:
“A Buttergate is not what the industry needs, or what Canadians deserve,” wrote Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in a widely published opinion piece this week that argues most of the country’s butter has definitely gotten harder.
Mr Charlebois said that palm fat is a legal ingredient in dairy cow feed, but research shows palm oil can increase heart disease risk in people.
Its production also harms the environment, he said, making it an “ethically questionable” practice for the dairy industry, which Mr Charlebois notes is heavily reliant on the Canadian government and, by extension, taxpayers.
It would break my heart if the polite and environmentally-conscious Canadians were using palm oil.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 512,979, an increase of about 1,100 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,544,226,, an increase of about 5,500 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 1 includes:
- 1692 – Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials.
Good was hanged, Osborne died in jail, and Tituba, thought to be a slave from South America, and then was “freed” before being sold to someone else.
- 1790 – The first United States census is authorized.
- 1805 – Justice Samuel Chase is acquitted at the end of his impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate.
- 1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park.
- 1893 – Electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri.
- 1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactive decay.
Here’s one of Becquerel’s photographic plates showing the effect of exposure to radiation (caption from Wikipedia). He won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Pierre and Marie Curie.
- 1917 – The Zimmermann Telegram is reprinted in newspapers across the United States after the U.S. government releases its unencrypted text.
Here’s the encrypted text of the telegram sent by the German Foreign Office to the German ambassador in Mexico on January 17, 1917, saying that if Mexico formed a military alliance with Germany, it would stand to gain Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico should war break out. The telegram was intercepted and decoded by the Brits. When its contents were revealed, it helped stoke American fever for the war, which was declared by the U.S. later in the year. Here’s the original typescript of the cable, part of the British decoding, and the English translation:
- 1950 – Cold War: Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union by disclosing top secret atomic bomb data.
- 1953 – Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later.
- 1954 – Armed Puerto Rican nationalists attack the United States Capitol building, injuring five Representatives.
- 1974 – Watergate scandal: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
- 1981 – Provisional Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands begins his hunger strike in HM Prison Maze.
After 66 days of refusing food, Sands died on May 5, becoming a martyr for the IRA. Here’s a memorial mural to him that still stands in Belfast:
- 1998 – Titanic became the first film to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
- 2005 – In Roper v. Simmons, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the execution of juveniles found guilty of murder is unconstitutional.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1810 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (d. 1849)
- 1880 – Lytton Strachey, British writer and critic (d. 1932)
I’m fascinated by Strachey for some reason, and quite like his books Eminent Victorians and Queen Victoria. He died at 51 of stomach cancer, and his platonic love Dora Carrington committed suicide two months later. (It’s worth seeing the movie about them, “Carrington“.) Here’s Strachey in either 1911 or 1912; the photo was taken by fellow Bloomsbury-ite Lady Ottoline Morrell. He looks a bit like a well-groomed Rasputin:
- 1904 – Glenn Miller, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1944)
Here’s Miller (on trombone) leading his orchestra in their signature song “In the Mood” (Tex Beneke plays the sax solo at 1:02). Miller joined the Army during World War II, though he was overage, and formed bands for the military. His plane disappeared in 1944 when he was flying over the English Channel; he was only 40 years old.
- 1914 – Harry Caray, American sportscaster (d. 1998)
HOLY COW! CUBS WIN!
- 1914 – Ralph Ellison, American novelist and literary critic (d. 1994)
Ellison’s book Invisible Man is a classic of modern American literature and, along with Richard Wright’s Native Son, one of the two best American novels about racism. Here’s Ellison:
- 1927 – Harry Belafonte, American singer-songwriter and actor
- 1994 – Justin Bieber, Canadian singer-songwriter
Those who bought the farm on March 1 include:
- 1991 – Edwin H. Land, American scientist and businessman, co-founded the Polaroid Corporation (b. 1909)
- 2012 – Andrew Breitbart, American journalist and publisher (b. 1969)
- 2015 – Minnie Miñoso, Cuban-American baseball player and coach (b. 1922)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is kvetching:
Hili: The world is not always friendly.A: You have the least reason to complain .Hili: But I do it better than others.
Hili: Świat nie zawsze jest przyjazny.Ja: Ty masz najmniej powodów do narzekania.Hili: Ale ja robię to lepiej niż inni.
And here’s little Kulka at the window, asking to come in:
From reader Charles, who says that the astronauts returning from the Moon had to fill out customs declarations, and this is the one for the three astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission. According to Space.com, this is for real:
Buzz Aldrin also filled out an expense report for ground transportation to and from Cape Kennedy from Houston, a grand total of $33.31 (the equivalent of about $270 in 2015 dollars). On the round trip from Florida to the Moon he apparently incurred no expenses.
Tweets from Matthew. There are more photos and explanations of this bizarre cloud in the thread:
— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) February 28, 2021
Since 2012, the British Government has raised the rent on the Geological and Linnean Society buildings, the latter where Darwin and Wallace’s papers on evolution were first presented in 1858. These places are HISTORICAL, and I’m wondering why the deuce the British Government has to charge rent in the first place.
Under threat: the birthplace of Darwin’s historic theory https://t.co/5NrzkDHAWI
— David Williams (@DavidMyWilliams) February 28, 2021
Well, people have started using the free MyHeritage “Deep Nostalgia” AI program to animate old photos and paintings. Matthew says, “Choose your best/worst from this very long thread.”
Well, you can do it for yourself and freak everyone out. Here are two of the ones I like:
Queen Victoria pic.twitter.com/rSOQSmM7WQ
— Fake History Hunter (@fakehistoryhunt) February 28, 2021
Here’s an ad for MyHeritage with an AI Abe Lincoln. But I don’t think that Lincoln sounded like that; I think he had a wee bit of a Southern accent; after all, he was born in Kentucky.
Matthew sent me this tweet that he retweeted with the addition, “Now why did we end up with Neanderthal genes?” That was clever, but I had to add my own caption.
"My eyes are up here, sapiens sapiens!" https://t.co/PlpROiPS4S
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) February 28, 2021
There’s a loincloth now, says Matthew, but there didn’t used to be. Is this equipment really deserving of laughter?
— Ria (@RiaSloan) March 23, 2014
We’ll be seeing real video of Mars soon (I hope) instead of collations of photos:
Mars is closer than you think!
— Roman Tkachenko (@_RomanTkachenko) February 26, 2021