Welcome to Tuesday, June 15, 2021: National Lobster Day. It’s also National Cherry Tart Day, National Electricity Day (see below), Native American Citizenship Day, Magna Carta Day (agreed to on this day in 1215 by King John; see below), Nature Photography Day (take some photos and send them to me!), Global Wind Day and, in the UK, National Beer Day (United Kingdom). Would some reader in the UK please drink a pint of Landlord for me? I keep asking readers to quaff a pint of my favorite British ale, but everyone says they can’t find Landlord.
I am rather low today, so posting is likely to be light.
Today’s Google Doodle (below), created by senior Milo Golding at Lexington (Kentucky) Christian Academy, was the winning submission among thousands of entries from K-12 in a national contest. Milo wins a $30,000 college scholarship on top of a $50,000 technology package for his school.
The Doodle honors MIlo’s dad, who died of a heart attack when the artist was just 13. As the Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
“Milo’s Doodle, titled ‘Finding Hope,’ speaks to the resilience and hope that lives in all of us,” Google officials said. “The Doodle is inspired by his father’s advice to find hope in all circumstances as a source of strength. It was inspired by Milo’s journey to find hope after the loss of his father”. . . .
“I am strong because I have hope,” Milo said, describing his entry and its inspiration. “I once asked my father how he overcame obstacles and became who he wanted to be. “
His father, Deeno Golding. replied, “Hope, hope keeps me strong.”
“After I unexpectedly lost him at 13 due to a heart attack, it helped me overcome grief and support other children who lost loved ones.,” Milo said.
An old photo with Milo, his mom, and his dad:
Congrats, Milo, and may you attain your dreams.
News of the Day:
The news is thin as Biden slowly wends his way towards Russia for the big summit with Putin. Some good news for conservationists, though: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has asked President Biden to restore environmental protections for three national monuments that were eroded by the Trump Administration. From the NYT:
In a report sent to the White House earlier this month that has not been made public, Ms. Haaland recommended that Mr. Biden reinstate the original boundaries, which included millions of acres at Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two rugged and pristine expanses in Utah defined by red rock canyons, rich wildlife and archaeological treasures.
Mr. Trump had sharply reduced the size of both national monuments at the urging of ranchers and many Republican leaders, opening them to mining, drilling and development. At the time, it was the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.
I’m pretty sure Biden will assent; so far, his efforts on the environment have been excellent.
BIG MOUSE PLAGUE DOWN UNDER! As the Washington Post reports, agricultural areas in Southern Australia are overrun with millions of mice, ruining the crops and costing farmers millions. They also carry diseases that can infect humans and die in the walls of houses, making an unbelievable stench. NOTE: if you like mice, don’t look at the pictures! One below just shows the density of the rodents. (h/t Randy)
Jump for Joe: You java drinkers should take heart, for a new piece in the NYT gives us good news, “The health benefits of coffee.” Coffee is no longer bad for you! And the benefits are many; here’s an excerpt:
The latest assessments of the health effects of coffee and caffeine, its main active ingredient, are reassuring indeed. Their consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer.
In fact, in numerous studies conducted throughout the world, consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates. In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee. Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects.
It’s not all positive: coffee can cause insomnia (duh!) but can also increase the rate of miscarriage. There’s also this: “When brewed without a paper filter, as in French press, Norwegian boiled coffee, espresso or Turkish coffee, oily chemicals called diterpenes come through that can raise artery-damaging LDL cholesterol.” Still, I’ll keep using my espresso machine.
This year’s Westminster Dog Show, held outside because of the pandemic, was won by a male Pekingese named Wasabi. Here’s a photo of the Best in Show winner from the NYT. Put a stick up its rear and you’d have a mop!
And for you dog lovers, here’s an eight minute video of the competition. Wasabi shows up at 5:58 and wins his crown at 7:20. I love the way he walks!
And for you lovers of Greece, a group that includes me, there’s a short but colorful article in the NYT on unvisited corners of rural Greece where people still wear their traditional costumes. Now I have a list of new places to visit. (My last visit, to the Peloponnese one September about 20 years ago, was one of the best trips I’ve ever had. The tourists had left, but it was still warm and the seas wonderful for swimming. Go see the Mani!)
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,486, an increase of 339 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will probably pass 600,000 deaths by Thursday. The reported world death toll is now 3,828,472, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total. Remember when 200,000 deaths was regarded as an unimaginable toll?
Stuff that happened on June 15 includes:
Here’s one of four surviving copies of the document, though the King’s wax seal has been lost. You can see this in the British Library:
- 1520 – Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther in Exsurge Domine.
- 1648 – Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
- 1667 – The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys.
Denys performed several transfusion (forcibly) on a madman abducted from the streets. The first one seemed to work, but the man died after the second one.
- 1752 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity (traditional date, the exact date is unknown).
- 1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.
The original additive to harden rubber was sulfur, discovered by Goodyear when he accidentally dropped a mixture of sulfur and rubber into a hot frying pan, and it didn’t melt.
- 1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.
Here’s Flipper who, predictably for a black officer, was court-martialed and discharged. He was first exonerated and then pardoned by Bill Clinton:
- 1878 – Eadweard Muybridge takes a series of photographs to prove that all four feet of a horse leave the ground when it runs; the study becomes the basis of motion pictures.
Here’s that series with the caption from Wikipedia; note that in two photos (second and third in top row) all the horse’s feet are off the ground. This was a long-standing debate that was settled with a single piece of empirical evidence. (Of course, one could argue that other horses’ feet never left the ground.
- 1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Brown complete the first nonstop transatlantic flight when they reach Clifden, County Galway, Ireland.
Alcock and Brown landed in a bog in Ireland, and the result is below, but neither were hurt and both feted as heroes:
- 1937 – A German expedition led by Karl Wien loses sixteen members in an avalanche on Nanga Parbat. It is the worst single disaster to occur on an 8000m peak.
The mountain, called the “Killer Mountain” was finally summited by Hermann Buhl in 1953. It’s a lovely peak:
- 1970 – Charles Manson goes on trial for the Sharon Tate murders.
- 1977 – After the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, the first democratic elections took place in Spain.
Latest news: Franco is still dead.
- 1992 – The United States Supreme Court rules in United States v. Álvarez-Machaín that it is permissible for the United States to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them to the United States for trial, without approval from those other countries.
- 2012 – Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to successfully tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls.
Here’s Wallenda’s walk; he seems to have no safety rope!
Notables born on this day include:
- 1914 – Saul Steinberg, Romanian-American cartoonist (d. 1999)
Here’s one of Steinberg’s cat cartoons:
- 1937 – Waylon Jennings, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2002)
- 1941 – Harry Nilsson, American singer-songwriter (d. 1994)
- 1943 – Johnny Hallyday, French singer and actor (d. 2017)
- 1963 – Helen Hunt, American actress, director, and producer
- 1970 – Leah Remini, American actress and producer
Those who relinquished their ghost on June 15 were few, and include:
- 1849 – James K. Polk, American lawyer and politician, 11th President of the United States (b. 1795)
- 1996 – Ella Fitzgerald, American singer and actress (b. 1917)
- 2014 – Casey Kasem, American radio host, producer, and voice actor, co-created American Top 40 (b. 1932)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili has a rodential “present” for Paulina:
Paulina: You brought something from the garden to the verandah, again.Hili: It’s a still life meant for later consumption.
Paulina: Znowu przyniosłaś coś z sadu na werandę.Hili: To martwa natura przeznaczona do późniejszej konsumpcji.
From the Harnish Vet Service’s Facebook page. The best thank-you note ever!
A bad groaner from Bruce:
A tweet from reader Ken, who helpfully adds, “Trump daughter-in-law Lara (wife of son Eric) tells Fox New’s Jeanine Pirro that the solution to problems at the US border (which consist in large measure of crossings by unaccompanied minors) is for locals on the border “to arm up, get guns, and take matters into their own hands”:
Lara Trump says people who live at the southern border should get guns and take matters into their own hands pic.twitter.com/2JL30va6nF
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 13, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Lovely photo in the first one. But where are the clowns? Well, maybe next year.
Circus performers line up to get a COVID vaccination in London. Photo by Matt Crossick. pic.twitter.com/P7inl8Ytdx
— Keith Humphreys (@KeithNHumphreys) June 12, 2021
A lovely portrait of a lion:
Henry Ossawa Tanner's study of Pomp the Old Lion from the Philadelphia Zoo. The work was created around ca.1880, after Tanner was encouraged to sketch at the zoo by his tutor Thomas Eakins. @PAFAcademy pic.twitter.com/dmFqpD9pgl
— Anne Louise Avery (@AnneLouiseAvery) January 30, 2020
I believe this is a fruit bat who needs something to cuddle:
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) June 12, 2021
Speaking of fruit bat, here’s a lovely video tweet from Bat World, home of Statler the geriatric fruit bat:
In order, you'll see in this video…
1. ALL of the African fruit bats
2. The Captain, Indian flying fox
3. Bionica, Jamaican fruit bat
4. Ronan & Meadow, African fruit bats
5. Sarah, Egyptian fruit bat
6. Sully, Egyptian fruit bat
7. Crinkles, African fruit bat
See next tweet! https://t.co/GpAe08chTV
— Bat World Sanctuary (@batworld) June 6, 2021
You do remember Statler, don’t you. He’s too old to fly, but the workers carry him about so he can flap his wings and remember the old days. . .
— Bat World Sanctuary (@batworld) February 4, 2021
Even though his cinematic roar was fearsome, Leo must have been pretty tame!
Alfred Hitchcock serving tea to Leo the MGM Lion, 1957 pic.twitter.com/3WV6YhxDjh
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) June 12, 2021
And the only cat gargoyle I know of, complete with a kitten as lagniappe!
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) June 13, 2021