CaturSaturday, the first day of the Lusty Month of May, 2021. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember this song from “Camelot”:
It’s National Chocolate Parfait Day, but May is also these food months:
National Beef MonthNational Barbecue Month
National Loaded Potato Month
National Egg Month
National Hamburger Month
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Strawberry Month
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is a gif that urges us all to get vaccinated against covid:
News of the Day:
The news is scant today. If you have an interesting and not widely-read news item, do sent it to me from time to time.
Britain has stopped most incoming flights from India because of the coronavirus, which continues to ravage the country (I suspect both new cases, officially tallied at about 400,000 per day) and deaths are severely underreported). The New York Times has a report on the anguish suffered by Indians overseas, who have little way to help their relatives or relieve the anguish of the country. In a NYT op-ed, Armand Sethi describes how cremations are being conducted.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 575,637, an increase of 695 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,195,792, an increase of about 14,700 over yesterday’s total.
Lots of stuff happened on May 1 and includes:
- 1328 – Wars of Scottish Independence end: By the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, England recognises Scotland as an independent state.
- 1707 – The Act of Union joining England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain takes effect.
- 1753 – Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
Here’s the cover page of that famoous treatise. I found a listing for what appears to be a first edition, but it’s only $7500, which seems remarkably low.
Here is Josiah Wedgewood’s famous anti-slavery medallion from 1786, which helped promote abolition. Wedgewood was the grandfather of both Charles Darwin and his wife Emma:
Here’s one, featuring the likeness of Queen Victoria. They aren’t particularly rare as 68 million were produced in the print run, and one in mint condition can cost as little as £5000.
- 1851 – Queen Victoria opens The Great Exhibition at The Crystal Palace in London.
- 1852 – Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Spanish neuroscientist and pathologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1934)
Here’s a tweet about Ramón y Cajal (h/t Matthew):
Born #OTD 1852: Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal whose incredibly detailed investigations of the brain and other tissues embodied in illustrations as elegant as works of art made him one of the founding fathers of neuroscience. Nobel Prize for medicine in 1906. pic.twitter.com/6TWQEIbCOv
— Ash Jogalekar (@curiouswavefn) May 1, 2021
- 1886 – Rallies are held throughout the United States demanding the eight-hour work day, culminating in the Haymarket affair in Chicago, in commemoration of which May 1 is celebrated as International Workers’ Day in many countries.
A bomb went off, seven policemen and four civilians died, and four of the accused “anarchists” were hanged, while four were sent to prison. There was almost no evidence against most of the convicted. though one may have built the bomb. Here’s a contemporary depiction of the hanging (one man slowly strangled to death).
- 1915 – The RMS Lusitania departs from New York City on her 202nd, and final, crossing of the North Atlantic. Six days later, the ship is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland with the loss of 1,198 lives.
198 Americans were among the 1,198 people killed in the sinking by a German U-boat, and although we didn’t enter the war until several years later, the sinking of this passenger vessel helped bolster U.S. support for entering the war. Here’s the Lusitania:
- 1931 – The Empire State Building is dedicated in New York City.
- 1956 – The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.
Here’s Salk injecting a young girl. Given how many lives he saved, what he did, and that he refused to profit from or even patent the vaccine, he surely deserved a Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, but he never got one. I well remember the polio scares when I was a young kid; we weren’t even allowed to go swimming in public pools:
- 1960 – Cold War: U-2 incident: Francis Gary Powers, in a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, is shot down over the Sverdlovsk Oblast, Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis.
I also remember this, and worried that we’d go to war with the Soviet Union. After two years of imprisonment, Powers was eventually returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange, and died in a helicopter crash in 1977. Here’s a photo of him in Soviet custody:
- 1961 – The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.
- 1978 – Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, becomes the first person to reach the North Pole alone.
Here’s part of his story from Wikipedia: ” (February 12, 1941 – disappeared February 13, 1984) was a Japanese adventurer who was known particularly for his solo exploits. For example, he was the first man to reach the North Pole solo, the first man to raft the Amazon solo, and the first man to climb Denali solo. He disappeared a day after his 43rd birthday while attempting to climb Denali in the winter.” Here he is with his dog sled:
- 1999 – The body of British climber George Mallory is found on Mount Everest, 75 years after his disappearance in 1924.
It was identified as Mallory because he had a name tag on his clothing. Here’s the body that was found, bleached white after so many years. We sill don’t know whether he and Irvine successfully summited the mountain. You can see a video of the expedition that found his body here (there are five parts).
- 2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declares that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.
People born on this day include:
And here she is:
Theo looked a lot like his brother Vincent, and early photos of Theo have been mistaken as photos of Vincent. Below is a photo of Theo, and below that is the only known authenticated photo of Vincent van Gogh, who was 19 at the time:
- 1881 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French priest, palaeontologist, and philosopher (d. 1955)
- 1923 – Joseph Heller, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (d. 1999)
- 1925 – Scott Carpenter, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2013)
- 1939 – Judy Collins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1945 – Rita Coolidge, American singer-songwriter
- 1951 – Sally Mann, American photographer
Those who, bereft of life, began resting in peace on May 1 include:
Here’s Livingstone (I presume), who died at 60 in Africa of malaria and dystentery:
- 1904 – Antonín Dvořák, Czech composer and academic (b. 1841)
- 1945 – Joseph Goebbels, German lawyer and politician, Chancellor of Germany (b. 1897)
- 1945 – Magda Goebbels, German wife of Joseph Goebbels (b. 1901)
Goebbels and his wife of course committed suicide as the Russians approached the Hitler Bunker, but not before Magda, in collusion with Hitler’s doctors, dosed all their children (save the adult son Harald) with morphine and then, when they were unconscious, crushed cyanide capsules in their mouths. Here’s a picture of the family with Harald’s picture artificially stuck in (he survived the war).
Here’s a reenactment of that murder from the movie “Downfall”. I can’t imagine how it would be to kill all your children this way. I understand that Magda and Josef feared what would happen to their children should they fall into the hands of the Russians, but still, they had had offers to have the children smuggled out of Berlin and given into the care of others. . . . . (Don’t watch if you’re squeamish!)
- 1965 – Spike Jones, American singer and bandleader (b. 1911)
- 1998 – Eldridge Cleaver, American author and activist (b. 1935)
- 2000 – Steve Reeves, American bodybuilder and actor (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, a rare woodpecker has visited Andrzej and Malgorzata’s yard. Hili is warned away:
Hili: Either I’m mistaken or I see a woodpecker.A: You better not come close.Hili: Why?A: Because it will escape.
Hili: Albo mi się zdaje, albo widzę dzięcioła.Ja: To lepiej nie podchodź.Hii: Dlaczego?Ja: Bo ucieknie.
And a photo of Szaron:
A meme from Bruce:
From Stash Krod:
Bored Panda has a feature called “71 People who just realized they’re dating an idiot”. Here’s one example; go see the others.
From Titania. Be sure to read the bit on the right:
Teachers who refer to “boys” or “girls” are attempting to radicalise a new generation of bigots. This must stop NOW.
In addition, schools should assign numbers rather than names to children to ensure gender neutrality in the classroom. pic.twitter.com/n8Py8ZSykd
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) April 30, 2021
It’s World Robber Fly Day, celebrating a great group of dipterans. I showed a few in the Hili dialogue yesterday morning, and here’s one more:
#FurryFaceFriday bringing you this small Callinicus robberfly. It was perched below a flannelbush in a roadside near Mt. Pinos, CA. I need to get back there for more bugging.#publiclands #protectpubliclands #robberfly #moustache pic.twitter.com/hysHqGzx3T
— Nevin Cullen (@bombus_nevinii) November 22, 2019
Tweets from Matthew. Do you think this was done on purpose?
Someone at Science News deserves a raise pic.twitter.com/i4q4c48rf2
— Maggie Downs (@downsanddirty) April 30, 2021
Darwin did indeed have wide tastes; see part of his reading list here.
The London Library has published for the first time a list of the books that Charles Darwin borrowed between July 1843 and July 1845, when he was developing his theory of evolution, and the variety is wonderful, far beyond nature and science. https://t.co/prIArivdGN
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) April 30, 2021
If this owl doesn’t look happy, I don’t know what does.
Just a happy owl drinking water.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/ZaGd6jXAdC
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) April 29, 2021
A spider mimicking an ant (count the legs):
One of *many* Synemosyna seen today – mature male here – first time seeing one I think. pic.twitter.com/x3pq6GPsZA
— Thomas Shahan (@ThomasShahan) April 30, 2021
A response to the “Long Boi” mallard, which for some reason has gone viral. You’d think that nobody had ever seen an Indian runner duck before.
— Ben Babcock (@Hey_BenB) April 30, 2021