It’s a hump day: Wednesday, April 28, 2021: National Blueberry Pie Day. It’s a great pie, with the best specimen to be had at Helen’s, in Machias, Maine (have a look at the photos here). It’s also Stop Food Waste Day, Denim Day, (not celebrating jeans, but denigrating rape excuses; read the link) Great Poetry Reading Day, International Guide Dog Day, and, in Canada, National Day of Mourning, commemorating “workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and occupational exposures.”
I saw no rabbits on my way to work, which means that this day will not go well.
And reader Rick found a “Thought for Today” from someone who died exactly six years ago:
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is a rumor going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist. -Terry Pratchett, novelist (28 Apr 1948-2015)
News of the Day:
The CDC now says that any fully vaccinated American can go maskless outdoors, even in small groups of people that include the unvaccinated. Masks are recommended only in big outdoor groups, and always when indoors, even when you’re vaccinated. Given that the chances that, if fully vaccinated, your chances of being an asymptomatic carrier are virtually zero, it seems to me that the vaccinated don’t need to wear masks at all except, perhaps, in large indoor crowds, the CDC seems hyper-cautious. Still, I do what they say.
The Washington Post has a pretty funny article about Richard Barnett, the guy who stormed the Capitol and put his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. He apparently left a note that said, ““Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.” Except the lawyers defending Barnett says that the note actually read, ““Hey Nancy Bigo was here biatd.” Biatd???? Either the guy can’t spell or “Biatd” is really “Biatch”, a kind of slang. This apparently makes a difference to his attorneys!
Reuters reports that a New York City man, Jarrod Powell, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, and that as a “hate crime”, after the horrific beating of Yao Pan Ma, a 61-year old Asian man. Isn’t it relevant, though, that the assailant was black, something that Reuters doesn’t mention? Doesn’t that bear on whether the act reflected white supremacy? ABC7 News reports this:
Ma’s wife was at the event but was too upset it speak. Instead, community activist Karlin Chan passed along her message.
“The Ma family understands this is the act of a single depraved individual and has nothing to do with the community of Harlem at large,” Chan said.
I’m horrified at what’s going on in India with the coronavirus: it’s the world’s largest dumpster fire. And although I predicted it, I take no joy in that. This New York Times article gives the view from Delhi (my favorite city in a country I love), where the positivity rate is an astonishing 36% (the paper reports that it was only 3% a month ago). Look at this horrifying photo:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 573,001, an increase of 696 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,150, 786, an increase of about 15,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on April 28 includes:
- 1253 – Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounds Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō for the very first time and declares it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.
- 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: Lieutenant William Bligh and 18 sailors are set adrift and the rebel crew returns to Tahiti briefly and then sets sail for Pitcairn Island.
- 1869 – Chinese and Irish laborers for the Central Pacific Railroad working on the First Transcontinental Railroad lay ten miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched.
The railroad’s western section was built largely by Chinese laborers. Here’s a photo of some of them:
Here’s an original ferrotype of Billy the Kid (the only photo I could find of him save a questionable one I’ve presented before); he was shot dead at 21:
- 1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot dead by Walter Audisio, a member of the Italian resistance movement.
After he and Petacci were shot, their bodies were hung upside down in public: here’s a photo from Wikipedia with the caption, “The corpse of Mussolini (second from left) next to Petacci (middle) and other executed fascists in Piazzale Loreto, Milan, 1945″. Their bodies were further defiled and beaten, and there’s a photo of them in the morgue, which you can see here, but it’s very gruesome.
- 1947 – Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to demonstrate that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.
But of course Heyerdahl was wrong: Polynesia was not settled by people from South America, but from Southeast Asia.
Here’s the original raft at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo:
- 1970 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard Nixon formally authorizes American combat troops to take part in the Cambodian campaign.
- 1973 – The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, recorded in Abbey Road Studios goes to number one on the US Billboard chart, beginning a record-breaking 741-week chart run.
- 1986 – High levels of radiation resulting from the Chernobyl disaster are detected at a nuclear power plant in Sweden, leading Soviet authorities to publicly announce the accident.
- 1988 – Near Maui, Hawaii, flight attendant Clarabelle “C.B.” Lansing is blown out of Aloha Airlines Flight 243, a Boeing 737, and falls to her death when part of the plane’s fuselage rips open in mid-flight.
It”s amazing that nobody else was killed, though a few were injured. Here’s what the plane looked like when it landed:
- 2004 – CBS News released evidence of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse. The photographs show rape and abuse from the American troops over Iraqi detainees.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1878 – Lionel Barrymore, American actor and director (d. 1954)
- 1906 – Kurt Gödel, Czech-American mathematician, philosopher, and academic (d. 1978)
Here’s Gödel, who, like many philosophers, was an eccentric. In his later life he’d eat only food that was prepared by his wife. When she was hospitalized for 6 months, he refused to eat and died of starvation, weighing only 65 pounds when he died!
- 1908 – Oskar Schindler, Czech-German businessman (d. 1974).
Schindler, who of course helped rescue Jews during WWII, died destitute, having spent his fortune saving people. He is the only member of the Nazi Party (he had to join to be credible) to be honored with the designation Righteous Among the Nations in Yad Vashem. Here is the hero:
- 1916 – Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian businessman, created Lamborghini (d. 1993)
- 1926 – Harper Lee, American novelist (d. 2016)
Lee wrote only one real book, To Kill a Mockingbird, but it as a classic, now in the process of being erased. A later manuscript was published, Go Set a Watchman, but is was poorly reviewed and it’s not clear that Lee was compos mentis when she agreed to its publication. Here’s her photo from the dust jacket of her famous first novel:
- 1937 – Saddam Hussein, Iraqi general and politician, 5th President of Iraq (d. 2006)
- 1948 – Terry Pratchett, English journalist, author, and screenwriter (d. 2015)
- 1950 – Jay Leno, American comedian, talk show host, and producer
- 1960 – Elena Kagan, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- 1974 – Penélope Cruz, Spanish actress and producer
Those who “passed” on April 28 include:
- 1903 – Josiah Willard Gibbs, American scientist (b. 1839)
- 1945 – Benito Mussolini, Italian journalist and politician, 27th Prime Minister of Italy (b. 1883)
- 1992 – Francis Bacon, Irish painter (b. 1909)
This is probably Bacon’s most famous painting: Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953.
Here’s Velázquez’s original:
- 2013 – Paulo Vanzolini, Brazilian singer-songwriter and zoologist (b. 1924)
As I said, Vanzolini was both a herepetologist and a famous writer of sambas; I met him when he’d come to Harvard to work with curator of herpetology Ernest Williams.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili must not be hunting very successfully:
Hili: Sparrows tell conspiracy theories to each other.A: On what subject?Hili: Some baloney about cats.
Hili: Wróble opowiadają sobie spiskowe teorie.Ja: Na jaki temat?Hili: Jakieś bzdury o kotach.
Hili and Szaron are getting along better these days. Here’s a photo with the caption “Rapprochement”:
From Nicole. I may have posted this before, but internalize the warning!
From Jesus of the Day. There’s no question about what I would do!
From Barry: a rooster who appears to pass out from crowing (hypoxia?)
This rooster crows for so long he passes out every day… pic.twitter.com/xvqlmveH29
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 22, 2021
Another from Barry. Checkmate, creationists! This site appears to be a spoof of creationist arguments, but it could have been a site that makes creationist arguments. The two purposes give very similar results!
Here a creationist claims that, if evolution were true, we’d eat only one food, wear no clothes, and have no concept of love.
I tested this and, after a week of eating nothing but Taco Bell bean burritos while nude, no one loved me. Evolution confirmed. pic.twitter.com/enr3HRIWHw
— Take That Darwin (@TakeThatDarwin) April 26, 2021
From Luana. Rufo is a conservative, but the thread after this tweet thread gives a number of anecdotes involving woke education that you can check. The ones I recognize seem accurate:
I've completed my eleven-part series on critical race theory in education. Here's a thread compiling all of my investigative reporting—everything from "spirit murder" to "white abolition."
Be forewarned: if it's not in your local district now, it will be soon.🧵 #CRTinSchools
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 27, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I found this first one very soothing at 4 a.m. after three hours of tossing and turning:
— Nikon Photographer (@Astrid_Tontson) April 27, 2021
From the 1860s! And the underwater painting is very lovely:
In the 1860s Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez devised and built his own submersible diving bell, weighted down with cannon balls, and used it to observe, record (and later paint) the underwater environment ~ with impressive results https://t.co/n27fSUGDPn pic.twitter.com/ROBSSkKB7O
— Journal of Art in Society (@artinsociety) April 27, 2021
I’d be excited to see this, too. Be sure to enlarge the video in the first tweet:
Once the Spider is in the chamber, the Wasp will lay its eggs on it. Larvae will hatch and eat the spider. Once they have pupated, they'll go on their merry way and do it all over again. Such an extraordinary life cycle and an amazing encounter! 🐝@BBCSpringwatch #Springwatch pic.twitter.com/AMbUlKRyMe
— Indy Kiemel Greene (@GreeneIndy) April 26, 2021
This is the first observation of sponge trails suggesting that the animals (yes, they’re animals) are mobile. See the original paper here.
— Emily G Mitchell (@EGMitchell) April 26, 2021
I like Matthew’s comment on this. The deep sea is about as unknown to us as is Mars.
Mars?! Pah! https://t.co/3HELbozNeF
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) April 26, 2021