Welcome to Wednesday, June 9, 2021: National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. I decry, deplore, and denounce this pie, made as it is with a sour and stringy VEGETABLE. I know many readers are fond of this sorry excuse for a pie, but give me a straight strawberry pie any day.
It’s a very thin day for holidays, for the only other one of note is Donald Duck Day, celebrating the anniversary of the pantsless mallard’s first appearance in the cartoon “The Wise Little Hen” on this date in 1934. Well, here’s Donald. who appears at 2:06 dancing a hornpipe.
Today’s Google Doodle is a gif (click on screenshot) celebrating the life of Shirley Temple (1928-2014). As C|Net reports, this is neither the day on which she was born or died, but rather “the anniversary of the 2015 date that the historical museum in her hometown of Santa Monica, California, opened Love, Shirley Temple, a special exhibit featuring a collection of her rare memorabilia.”
News of the Day:
The Moral Arc Bends Upward: Reader Ken sent this link, adding, “A Gallup poll released today shows that support for same-sex marriage among Americans has gone from 27% in 1996 to 70% today. That’s the most amazing 25-year public-attitude turn around of my lifetime, I think. For the first time, even a majority of Republicans (55%) support SSM. Only among evangelicals does support remain low.” Who says that morality doesn’t improve?
Why do Uber rides (and other amenities) cost so much more than they used to? For me, an Uber to Midway Airport used to cost about $20, cheaper than a cab. Now the Uber ride could be $55 and the cab fare is about what it was: $24 sans tip. The NYT explains the rise in prices of stuff once considered a bargain.
The BBC reports on a new paper in Current Biology showing that a parthenogenic bdelloid rotifer (a species that reproduces asexually) has been carbon-dated at 24,000 years old after being defrosted from the Siberian permafrost. As far as I know, only worms, bacteria, and plant seeds can survive biological “stasis” for this long. Matthew is quoted in a Guardian article on this Lazarus rotifer. (h/t: Jez)
Reader Ginger contributed a link to a BBC article describing a reconstruction of Noah’s Ark in England. Unfortunately, the faux-ark has been detained in Ipswich as “unseaworthy”. And that is in normal conditions, not those obtaining in the Biblical description!
Reader Laurie sent a link to this BBC video (made by Isabelle Rodd with a drone) showing a remarkably huge pod of humpback whales migrating and feeding en masse. Pods are usually only a handful of individuals, but this one has 20-90 whales. It’s also the only video of “bubble-net feeding” from Australia (It’s a mystery whether this efficient behavior is innate or must be learned from other whales.) Click on the screenshot to go to the video and short article:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 597,906, an increase of 438 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,763,628, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 9 includes:
- AD 53 – The Roman emperor Nero marries Claudia Octavia.
- AD 68 – Nero commits suicide, after quoting Vergil’s Aeneid, thus ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
- 1856 – Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa for the Mormon Trail.
Here’s a map of the entire Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah:
- 1930 – A Chicago Tribune reporter, Jake Lingle, is killed during rush hour at the Illinois Central train station by Leo Vincent Brothers, allegedly over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.
Lingle is shown below. His murderer, caught after a $55,000 reward was offered (the equivalent of almost $900,000 today), got only 14 years in jail and served but eight. It’s Capone, Jake!
- 1957 – First ascent of Broad Peak by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger, and Hermann Buhl.
Broad Peak, 8,047 meters high (26,414 ft) lies on the border between Pakistan and China. Here’s the mountain, the 12th highest in the world:
- 1968 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a national day of mourning following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
- 1973 – In horse racing, Secretariat wins the U.S. Triple Crown.
Here’s Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes victory, giving this horse the Triple Crown. Look at that victory—by 25 lengths!
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s the tomb of Peter the Great, which I photographed in St. Petersburg in July, 2011, nearly a decade ago:
Avril, a can-can dancer, was made famous by the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec; here’s a photo of her and a poster by the painter:
- 1915 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (d. 2009)
- 1960 – Steve Paikin, Canadian journalist and author
- 1963 – Johnny Depp, American actor
- 1981 – Natalie Portman, Israeli-American actress
Portman turns 40 today.
Those who croaked on June 9 include:
- AD 68 – Nero, Roman emperor (b. 37)
- 1870 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (b. 1812)
Here’s a Daguerreotype portrait of Charles Dickens taken by Antoine Claude in 1852:
- 2017 – Adam West, American actor and investor (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is having a spring kvetch:
Hili: There will be grass mowing again.A: So what?Hili: I don’t like the noise.
Hili: Znów będzie koszenie trawy.Ja: No to co?Hili: Nie lubię hałasu.
From Paulina: Kulka and Szaron sniff a tasty “cat sausage”:
Reader Divy isn’t much on making cookies, but when she saw this unique cookie cutter she changed her mind. You can get one for only $5 on Etsy.
It’s time to remind ourselves of the plight of women in Iran. Be sure to watch the video with Masih:
“I often get this question from western journalist or even sometimes from Iranians who live in the West: “compulsory hijab is a small issue. Why you’re fighting such a small issue?” This is what I do to them. You do the same”
Masih Alinejad founder of #WhiteWednesdays campaign https://t.co/JKR79bsPrk
— My Stealthy Freedom (@mystealthyorg) June 5, 2021
Two tweets from Ginger K. Turn the sound up on this first one to hear the blissed-out cheetah:
Purrr bliss 😍 pic.twitter.com/bIHaoJIEiG
— Nature & Animals🌴 (@AnimalsWorId) June 2, 2021
This isn’t the famous “pale blue dot” photo, but it’s even better. And yep, that’s Earth at the tip of the arrow:
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
-Carl Sagan pic.twitter.com/T02xCaqsZP
— Andrew Rader (@marsrader) June 1, 2021
Tweets by Matthew. His assertion is right, but he still doesn’t comprehend America:
West Virginia is offering guns with your jab, Washington is giving out joints. The USA is a very weird place. https://t.co/gCgRoTMm0H
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 8, 2021
Here I am touting Dr. Cobb’s writing (the book is excellent, by the way):
A nice article by Matthew showing how scientists found that the genetic code was a triplet code and details how it was decoded. If you want to go deeper, I highly recommend his book (written for the curious layperson), "Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code." https://t.co/7gtrdIk88R
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) June 8, 2021
I love the captions on these old paintings. That moggie is BAKED!
— Emily Brand (@EJBrand) December 8, 2020
— caenhillcc (@caenhillcc) June 8, 2021
This tweet even explains leucism:
LOVE this close-up/swim-by video of a leucistic* Alligator Gar by @growingedgeltd!
*genetic condition involving partial loss of pigment (different from albinism)
— Dr. Solomon David (@SolomonRDavid) June 8, 2021