Good morning on Wednesday, March 24, 2021: National Cake Pop Day (this is a useless yuppified dessert). It’s also National Cheesesteak Day, National Cocktail Day, National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day , and World Tuberculosis Day. (also called “Rabbit Poo”), and World Tuberculosis Day.
Here’s a great Philly cheesesteak, this one is from the famous Pat’s King of Steaks®. And unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you’ll be wanting one of these right now.
News of the Day:
According to the Washington Post, North Korea fired “multiple short range missiles” last weekend, probably in response to joint U.S./South Korean military exercises, even though those exercises are “virtual.” Coyne’s Fifth Law dictates that all countries developing nuclear weapons will eventually produce them, and there’s little Biden can do to stop it.
Is there a new law of physics? The Guardian reports that experiments at the Large Hadron Collider may suggest that something’s wrong with the Standard Model of particle physics (h/t Matthew). A bit from the news:
The mathematical framework that underpins scientists’ understanding of the subatomic world, known as the standard model of particle physics, firmly maintains that the particles should break down into products that include electrons at exactly the same rate as they do into products that include a heavier cousin of the electron, a particle called a muon.
But results released by Cern on Tuesday suggest that something unusual is happening. The B mesons are not decaying in the way the model says they should: instead of producing electrons and muons at the same rate, nature appears to favour the route that ends with electrons.
. . . “If it turns out, with extra analysis of additional processes, that we were able to confirm this, it would be extremely exciting,” Parkes said. It would mean there is something wrong with the standard model and that we require something extra in our fundamental theory of particle physics to explain how this would happen.”
This is above my pay grade, so perhaps a reader or two could explain the significance of these observations.
Yesterday’s poll on whether Bret Stephens will leave the New York Times, whether it be by resignation or firing, gave these results (as of 6 a.m. today). Most say that Stephens’s days are numbered:
And some good news. The BBC reports that the world’s largest painting, by British artist Sacha Jafri, has been sold for £45 million. Jafri painted the 1,600 sq m (17,000 sq ft) piece in a deserted ballroom in Dubai, and, though he planned to sell it in bits, it was bought as a whole by “French cryptocurrency businessman Andre Abdoune.” It is the most expensive painting by a living artist ever auctioned off, and was inspired by drawings that children sent Jafri. As for the dosh and the good news:
Jafri said the money would be spent on healthcare and sanitation for “the poorest communities in the world” and to connect them to the internet so children can have access to educational platforms. “The biggest divide at the moment is those with the internet and those without,” he said.]
Here’s the artist and part of the painting (h/t: Jez):
Meanwhile, a painting by the cryptic artist Banksy, depicting healthcare workers as superheroes and called “Game Changer,” has been auctioned off for £16.7 million ($23 million), more than doubling his previous record. And, more good news according to CNN: “The proceeds from the hammer price will be donated to University Hospital Southampton as well health organizations and charities across the country, according to the auction house.”
Here’s the painting:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 543,479, an increase of just 892 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands 2,747,680, an increase of about 11,000 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 24 includes:
- 1199 – King Richard I of England is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France, leading to his death on April 6.
- 1721 – Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated six concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, now commonly called the Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046–1051.
The allegro movement of Concerto in B-flat major is my favorite piece of classical music. Does that mark me as a know-nothing? Here it is by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The violinists are good, and I like the way the tall guy moves around with the music.
Smith, jailed later in Nauvoo, Illinois, was killed by a mob in 1844.
- 1882 – Robert Koch announces the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis.
Here’s Koch in his lab:
There were ten events, all in track and field, and here’s the UK’s star athlete of the event, Mary Lines, who won four gold medals (two in relays). She went on to win five more golds in later Olympiads.
- 1944 – World War II: In an event later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape, 76 Allied prisoners of war begin breaking out of the German camp Stalag Luft III.
76 escaped but 73 were recaptured. Of those, fifty were shot by the Germans after recapture. Three men made it to freedom.
- 1989 – In Prince William Sound in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (38,000 m3) of crude oil after running aground.
- 2008 – Bhutan officially becomes a democracy, with its first ever general election.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1834 – William Morris, English textile designer, poet, and author (d. 1896)
- 1874 – Harry Houdini, Hungarian-Jewish American magician and actor (d. 1926)
- 1884 – Peter Debye, Dutch-American physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1966)
- 1902 – Thomas E. Dewey, American lawyer and politician, 47th Governor of New York (d. 1971)
- 1909 – Clyde Barrow, American criminal (d. 1934)
The end for Bonnie and Clyde:
- 1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American poet and publisher, co-founded City Lights Bookstore (d. 2021)
- 1930 – Steve McQueen, American actor and producer (d. 1980)
McQueen, of course, starred in the movie “The Great Escape,” which anyone alive back then has seen:
Here’s the trailer for that movie (1963):
- 1976 – Peyton Manning, American football player and entrepreneur
Those who relinquished their existence on March 24 include:
This purports to be a de Hooch, and there’s a cat in it. The moggy isn’t bad, either:
- 1882 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and educator (b. 1807)
- 1905 – Jules Verne, French novelist, poet, and playwright (b. 1828)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s on the hunt.
Hili: Something may be hiding behind this stump.A: How do you know?Hili: You never know with such stumps.
Hili: Za tym pniem może się coś ukrywać.Ja: Skąd wiesz?Hili: Z takimi pniami nigdy nic nie wiadomo.
Little Kulka’s climbing around in the hallway downstairs:
From Jesus of the Day:
Another bad placement of letters from Bored Panda, sent by reader Su:
From Stash Krod:
From gun nut and open-carry advocate Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and a response:
Maybe sit this one out. pic.twitter.com/7Q3zHWXK4D
— Jess Balzer (@jessicajbalzer) March 23, 2021
More of the Titania educates series. She’s really good at riposte:
(part 2) pic.twitter.com/tN9XBtgr0W
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 14, 2021
I retweeted a query that Matthew sent me, with my answer (below). Now if you ask me which example of mimicry I like, that would be hard. Perhaps caterpillars with fake snake heads?
Readers are invited to contribute their favorite adaptation below in the comments.
It would have to be (as a general adaptation) the various forms of mimicry, especially crypsis (camouflage). https://t.co/nZc5x9OlXq
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) March 23, 2021
More tweets from Matthew. This surely isn’t a three-headed ant, but what is it? I asked an ant expert, who said it could be a developmental aberration or a hoax, but the ant appears to be in the genus Camponotus.
A guy named Jim Parrish just posted this crazy three-headed ant in a FB group I'm in. Wild. pic.twitter.com/XkBuCXcwsJ
— June 🐛 (@GraellsiaMoon) March 23, 2021
“Finer football” means “a great display of incompetence”:
You will not find a finer 58 seconds of football. https://t.co/HJu2bCUjn1
— Raymond (@raubrey) March 22, 2021
I haven’t done this, but I would. Matthew, on the other hand, says, “No way!”
This observation platform on the 94th floor at the John Hancock Center in Chicago moves people forward to a 33° angle for a bird's eye view of the city 300 m below https://t.co/NFbZWpOZCf pic.twitter.com/k8Sypil6gT
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) March 22, 2021
A statistics expert takes down two misleading graphs:
[Addendum from GCM: Cairo seems to have gotten this wrong. The guy who made the graph Cairo criticizes was responding to a tweet that said capitalism was racism. So the guy made the graph to show that there wasn’t much of a relationship, and to the extent there was one, it was the opposite of what the ‘capitalism=racism’ tweet said. He reported the r^2 was .14, and was well aware that the relationship explained little. Cairo must not have looked at the context of the tweets.]
Some may see a straight line. I see a drunken chameleon pic.twitter.com/o2jCM7AQ16
— Alberto Cairo (@AlbertoCairo) March 22, 2021