Here’s a photo of a “blue jeans frog”, one morph of the “strawberry poison-dart frog” (Oophaga pumilio) that I took in the Costa Rican rainforest (La Selva field station) in January, 2012. It’s a tiny frog, smaller than your thumb.
News of the Day:
Reader Ken reports on a new and unanimous Supreme Court decision about compensation of college athletes. As he wrote me yesterday in an email titled “About damn time department”, (backed up by CNN):
A unanimous SCOTUS ruled today that college jocks can receive limited payments. I think this will prove to be an interim decision on the way to at least quasi-professional status for college athletes. Justice Keggers said as much in a concurring opinion — and on this, I agree with him.
I bet you can guess who “Justice Keggers” is! At any rate, he and all the others ruled that the existing caps on scholarship compensation, ostensibly in place to protect a false distinction between “amateur” and “professional” athletes, was unconstitutional.
Before there was Rosa Parks there was Martha White, who was thrown off a public bus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for sitting in the “whites only” section. This was in 1953, 2½ years before Rosa Parks was arrested for the same “crime”. White’s defenestration didn’t move the country the way that Parks’s did, but she was brave nonetheless. White died on Saturday at 99. (h/t verotaxis). Here’s a pictureof her and her friends as well as the caption from the NYT:
Another death: one of my French mentors, Jean David, has passed away at the age of 90. He was the force behind the evolutionary genetics of Drosophila in France, and produced a number of students and postdocs who carry on the tradition today. A lovely guy and a hard worker. In 1989 I did a six-month sabbatical in his lab at Gif-sur-Yvette outside Paris at the CNRS. What a time it was! (That’s where I met Matthew.)
Au revoir, Jean. (Photo below.)
Reuters reports that Laurel Hubbard, a 43 year old transgender woman, has joined the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team. She meets the Olympic criteria, based on testosterone titer, to compete with other women, but there are issues with a hormonally based criterion. Some women athletes have objected to her competing, but the New Zealand government and Olympic organization are supportive. (h/t: Luana)
An excerpt from Reuters (source tweeted by Colin Wright via Luana):
Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.
Some scientists have said the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.
Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.
As I reported a while back, though, two new studies show that even three years of testosterone suppression does not eliminate all the strength advantages of being born a biological male, which first appear at puberty. (Second tweet.)
2/ We KNOW this isn't fair.
Here are two major reviews from this year in top sports medicine journals. One is even first-authored by a trans woman—Joanna Harper. Conclusions highlighted.
— Colin Wright (@SwipeWright) June 21, 2021
Animal encounter news of the week: the Guardian reports, with cool video, that an elephant poked its head through a kitchen wall in a Thai village in search of noms. It wasn’t hurt, but it didn’t get any noms, either (h/t: Jez):
Most villagers were respectful of and sympathetic toward the elephants, Plotnik said. “They are frustrated that this is happening, and really want to find solutions to stop it, but they don’t usually blame the elephants.”
Itthipon said volunteers from the local community and an officer of the national park work together to monitor the elephants, and use loud noise and other deterrents to try to push them back towards the forest.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 601,730, an increase of 311 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,889,455, an increase of about 6,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 22 includes:
- 1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
- 1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Here are the King and Queen:
- 1940 – World War II: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.
Here are the Germans preparing that car (of course a deliberate attempt to humiliate the French) for the second armistice in 1940:
- 1941 – World War II: Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
- 1942 – The Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted by US Congress.
The words “under God” weren’t added until 1954. Remember that!
- 1969 – The Cuyahoga River catches fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to water pollution, and spurring the passing of the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
I remember this, and here’s a photo:
- 1986 – The famous Hand of God goal, scored by Diego Maradona in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and England, ignites controversy. This was later followed by the Goal of the Century. Argentina wins 2–1 and later goes on to win the World Cup.
Here’s that famous goal, which, experts agree, was indeed a handball. Of course Maradona’s other goal was both legit and superb.
Here’s the checkpoint photographed in 1963 from the American sector. My family and I actually walked through it when my Dad (in U.S. Army uniform) took us to East Berlin around 1964 (such tours were allowed then so long as my dad wore his uniform):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1837 – Paul Morphy, American chess player (d. 1884)
- 1887 – Julian Huxley, English biologist and academic (d. 1975)
- 1898 – Erich Maria Remarque, German-Swiss soldier and author (d. 1970)
- 1903 – John Dillinger, American criminal (d. 1934)
The Biograph Theater in Chicago, photographed six days after Dilliger was shot after going to a movie:
- 1933 – Dianne Feinstein, American politician
- 1936 – Kris Kristofferson, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
- 1941 – Ed Bradley, American journalist (d. 2006)
- 1949 – Meryl Streep, American actress and singer
Note that Streep is just six months older than I, so I can judge how I’m aging relative to her. She still looks damn good, so I am heartened.
- 1953 – Cyndi Lauper, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
- 1960 – Erin Brockovich, American lawyer and environmentalist
Here’s Brockovich; Julia Roberts won a Best Actress Oscar for playing her in the eponymous movie (which is very good):
Those who ceased to exist on June 22 include:
- 1956 – Walter de la Mare, English poet, short story writer and novelist (b. 1873)
- 1987 – Fred Astaire, American actor and dancer (b. 1899)
- 1988 – Dennis Day, American singer and actor (b. 1916)
- 2008 – George Carlin, American comedian, actor, and author (b. 1937)
Of course I must show this classic bit by Carlin on God and religion:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is sniffing about:
Hili: This smell reminds me of something.A: Do you know what?Hili: I have no idea.
Hili: Ten zapach coś mi przypomina.Ja: A wiesz co?Hili: Nie mam pojęcia.
Two memes from Facebook:
What is this about?
From Jesus of the Day:
Two tweets from Ginger K. The first shows exactly what kind of Father’s Day card a cat would send to its staff:
The most cat Father’s Day card ever pic.twitter.com/HOpujms4cs
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) June 20, 2021
And a great exchange on Twitter:
— Cathy Blinn (@blinn3580) June 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I have no idea what this sport is, but seems to be about getting butted by a bull:
What kind of sport is this?pic.twitter.com/mu6EJu7p91
— Figen.. (@TheFigen) June 21, 2021
I don’t know if this is a horse or a donkey, but it loves having its bum scratched. Sound up:
Nonverbal communication of the day. pic.twitter.com/7n45TezGrZ
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) June 20, 2021
A good one!
I spent the afternoon putting googly eyes on the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Worth it. pic.twitter.com/HZa0bGsMew
— Matthew Highton (@MattHighton) June 17, 2021
As Matthew said, “If only it were a duck”:
Life aim. https://t.co/4ad86SbiQR
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 18, 2021
Barnacles were one of Darwin’s great biological interests (he wrote a big and important monograph on them). This one is sculpted in metals—a fabulous work of animal art.
— D. Allan Drummond Art (@dadrummondart) June 17, 2021