Good morning on Tuesday, March 23, 2021: National Chips and Dip Day (make mine ruffled potato chips with sour cream-onion dip, or Doritos with guacamole). It’s also National Melba Toast Day, National Chia Day, National Agriculture Day, National Puppy Day, Cuddly Kitten Day, World Meteorological Day, and Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship.
News of the Day:
Below is a news video of the fracas at Miami Beach the night before last. The City has now set an 8 pm curfew in South Beach and closed off the area to nonresidents (it’s an island accessed by a causeway)—restrictions that will remain in place until April 12. Maybe it’s the pandemic, but there aren’t many masks to be seen. Maybe these kids won’t get very sick if infected, but they could infect others. And now the number of weapons recovered (WEAPONS?) exceed 100.
Oy vey! The BBC has a new show on the market of religious relics, many of which are sold on eBay. There are apparently several hundred pieces of the True Cross up for sale (go here to see them, some with “certificates of authenticity”). Lord, are people credulous!
The AstraZenica vaccine, briefly put on hold because of fears of blood clots, has now been cleared again and, as they say, “shots are ready to go into arms.” The vaccine has proven 79% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of coronavirus, a figure between the efficacy of the J&J vaccine on the one hand and the Pfizer and Moderna jabs on the other.
As I write this on Monday evening, there are reports of an active shooter who unloaded his ammo into people at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket. Police were shown on television perp-walking away a shirtless man with a bloody leg, but we weren’t told if he was the suspect, nor how many people were killed or injured. I expect that when I finish this post on Tuesday, we’ll have a death toll. So many shootings, so many guns. . .
And this morning the death toll is reported at 10, one of them a Boulder police officer. There are no details yet on who the suspect is or his motive.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 542,587, an increase of just 650 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands 2,736,721, an increase of about 8,100 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 23 includes:
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Patrick Henry delivers his speech – “Give me liberty, or give me death!” – at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia.
- 1806 – After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their “Corps of Discovery” begin their arduous journey home.
- 1857 – Elisha Otis‘s first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City.
Here’s a patent for an Otis elevator four years later:
- 1868 – The University of California is founded in Oakland, California when the Organic Act is signed into law.
- 1919 – In Milan, Italy, Benito Mussolini founds his Fascist political movement.
- 1933 – The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
- 1956 – Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic in the world. This date is now celebrated as Republic Day in Pakistan.
- 1977 – The first of The Nixon Interviews (12 will be recorded over four weeks) is videotaped with British journalist David Frost interviewing former United States President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal and the Nixon tapes.
Here are some highlights of those interviews:
- 1983 – Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.
Notables born on this day include:
Noether made many contributions to math and physics, the most notable being Noether’s Theorem, which showed that the symmetry of any physical law is invariably associated with a conservation principle (e.g., the conservation of energy). Here’s Noether and her pathbreaking paper (she had many others):
- 1900 – Erich Fromm, German psychologist and sociologist (d. 1980)
- 1904 – Joan Crawford, American film actress (d. 1977)
- 1912 – Wernher von Braun, German-American physicist and engineer (d. 1977)
- 1929 – Roger Bannister, English runner, neurologist and academic (d. 2018)
Bannister is of course the first human to run a mile faster than four minutes. (There must be a lower limit limit based on what’s possible given human physiology and morphology, but what is it? You can’t run a mile in 10 seconds, but you can in four minutes. Somewhere in between is the limit.) It was 1954, and he was 25. Here he is at the finish line:
Those who “passed” on March 23 include:
- 1842 – Stendhal, French novelist (b. 1783)
- 1953 – Raoul Dufy, French painter and illustrator (b. 1877)
- 1964 – Peter Lorre, American actor (b. 1904)
- 2011 – Elizabeth Taylor, American-British actress, socialite and humanitarian (b. 1932)
Here’s Brick and Maggie the cat in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958):
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, HIli’s helping everyone get ready for Spring:
Hili: It’s time to rake the leaves and take out the lawn mower.A: If you say so.
Hili: Pora zgrabić te liście i wyciągnąć kosiarkę.Ja: Jak tak mówisz.
And cute little Kulka gazes out the window:
More tweets from the “Titania educates” series in which her Twitter readers take her seriously.
(part 7) pic.twitter.com/FIWuqaqnQT
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 14, 2021
From Barry: a lovely blue-eyed cat.
To my delight, I met a Devon Rex on the subway. Check out her ocean-blue eyes. This breed emerged in England in the 1950s. pic.twitter.com/g3XainjtfW
— CD Adams 🌾 (@_cdadams_) March 14, 2021
From Dom. This woman really loves beeflies, and she should because she’s a fly expert. Beeflies are in the order Bombyliidae (sounds like a Tolkien name), are important pollinators, and often mimic bees and wasps—presumably the result of the evolution of Batesian mimicy that gives mimics an advantage because predators avoid them.
Oh HALLELUJAH – the bee flies have arrived in my garden #beeflywatch @SoldierfliesRS @Buzz_dont_tweet @NHM_London @NHM_Diptera @NHM_UKBiodiv @RoyEntSoc @amentsoc @WildlifeMag pic.twitter.com/Xqh0WdjsUl
— Dr Erica McAlister (@flygirlNHM) March 22, 2021
Tweets from Matthew: a lovely marginal sketch of a cat and its toy:
This is fascinating about the authorship and attribution of Dutch paintings, such as those by the van Veens, but mainly I loved this marginal sketch against the bit where Montaigne famously wonders if his cat plays with him when he is playing with his cat. https://t.co/CPuJ5Tbw3n pic.twitter.com/I1bdDFuu8u
— Hugh Aldersey-Williams (@HoooAW) March 22, 2021
A fluffy lynx strolling down the street. What I wouldn’t give to have seen that. See more photos at the linked Dodo article:
So fluffy 😍 https://t.co/Ottsx5mVOr
— The Dodo (@dodo) March 22, 2021
Two videos of the volcano erupting in Iceland. The second shows footage as a drone flies over it.
Google translation: “Here the well-known drone images from above from last night, without the banners that the news media think they have to stick on.”
Hier de bekende dronebeelden van bovenaf van afgelopen nacht, zonder de banners die nieuwsmedia erop menen te moeten plakken. pic.twitter.com/nAktXJW5b6
— Sam (@samgerrits) March 21, 2021
Who doesn’t love tardigrades? This one looks like an early tetrapod clambering about on land:
— Tardigradopedia (@tardigradopedia) March 22, 2021