Good morning on a humpish Wednesday, June 30, 2021: National Mai Tai Day (here’s a recipe for this “tropical” cocktail) and a photo of a Mai Tai below. The drink contains white rum, orange curaçao, freshly-squeezed orange juice, orgeat syrup, and dark rum.
It’s also National Parchment Day (still used for baking, but not in the animal-skin version), National Meteor Day, and International Asteroid Day, marking the day in 1908 when the Tunguska Event occurred in Siberia, flattening 80 million trees. It’s thought to have involved the atmospheric disintegration of a celestial body like a meteor or small asteroid. Below is a famous photo, taken in 1927 (19 years after the event), of some of the fallen trees it’s not known if any people were killed, but three might have been.
Most important, it’s my sister’s birthday, exactly six months from my own birthday; we were born precisely 2.5 years apart. (See below.) Happy birthday, Sis!
News of the Day:
It’s been 161 days since Joe Biden took office, and the White House is still catless. When will this discrimination end?
The East Coast of the U.S., and much of the midwest, has faced floods, the Southeast is under tropical storm warnings, and the Pacific Northwest (including parts of Canada) have experienced record heat. Look at these temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) reached in the NW, posted by the Phoenix branch of the U.S. National Weather Service. A new high temperature for all of Canada!
Reader Ken notes that Clarence Thomas, of all the justices, has issued a statement doubting whether the federal government can legally prohibit growing or using marijuana. The case was one in which the federal government denied a tax benefit to a Colorado marijuana dispensary despite the use of the drug being legal in the state (see more here). The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, allowing the tax denial to stand, and Thomas issued a statement implying that maybe the U.S. government has no right to regulate marijuana production or use.
Justice Clarence Thomas (really, no shit, Clarence Thomas) issued a statement yesterday regarding the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Standing Akimbo, LLC v. United States, in which he expressed grave doubts about the constitutionality of federal laws prohibiting the intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana.
(You may recall that SCOTUS upheld the constitutionality of such laws in Gonzles v. Raich in 2005, but the federal government has been all over the place regarding its enforcement of such laws ever since.You can read Thomas’s statement here.
And here’s a tweet with a short excerpt of his statement:
Justice Thomas has THOUGHTS on federal marijuana laws—like maybe they’re unconstitutional 😳 pic.twitter.com/Mo7w8yQCnt
— Elizabeth Joh (@elizabeth_joh) June 28, 2021
Here’s a hugely embarrassing own goal by Spain:
It’s a major tournament moment that Spain’s national soccer team goalkeeper, Unai Simón, will definitely want to forget.
A momentary lapse in concentration saw the shot-stopper score a shocker of an own goal during Spain’s second-round European Championships game against Croatia on Monday.
Midfielder Pedri passed the ball back to Simón, but it skipped off his boot and rolled into the net to give Croatia a 1-0 lead.
Fortunately, Spain redeemed themselves, winning 5-3 in extra time.
UNAI SIMON, WHAT IS GOING ON 😱 pic.twitter.com/GqHTbarCUo
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
This headline is unbelievable, and yet it’s true (click to read screenshot):
Here’s the offending anti-discrimination statement by April Powers (a woman Jew “of color”), which was considered offensive (it was issued when attacks on Jews worldwide rose following the recent conflict with Gaza:
The SCBWI unequivocally recognizes that the world’s 14.7 million Jewish people (less than 0.018% of the population) have the right to life, safety, and freedom from scapegoating and fear. No person should be at risk because of their heritage, religion, disability, or whom they love. In the last several years, antisemitism has been on the rise globally, and has fueled a 75% increase in hate speech and random violence against Jewish people in the last few weeks alone. Because antisemitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred, it has its own name. It is the example from which many forms of racism and violence are perpetrated. As writers, illustrators, and translators of children’s literature, we are responsible for promoting equity and humanizing people in our work-all children and all families.Silence is often mistaken for acceptance and results in the perpetration of more hatred and violence against different types of people. As proof, it saddens us that for the 4th time this year we are compelled to invite you to join us in not looking away and in speaking out against all forms of hate, including antisemitism.
But why did Oliver have to resign for a statement like that? Guess, and then read here. What a world! What a world!
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,069, an increase of 272 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,954,806, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 30 includes:
Here’s Blondin on the rope, and he has no safety line. This was his 1859 walk, but he did it several times thereafter, even putting a chair down in the middle of the rope and sitting on it.
- 1860 – The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History takes place.
This is, of course, the debate in which Bishop Wilberforce was put down by Thomas Henry Huxley. Wikipedia reports it this way, but there are several versions. All we know is that somehow Huxley clashed with the Bishop about human evolution:
The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey. Huxley is said to have replied that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth.
- 1864 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln grants Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation”.
- 1882 – Charles J. Guiteau is hanged in Washington, D.C. for the assassination of U.S. President James Garfield.
Guiteau killed Garfield (who took two months to die from infection) because the President failed to give Guiteau with a consulship as a reward for campaigning for the candidate. Here’s Guiteau, who looks pretty scary, and then his preserved skull with its rotten teeth:
Caption for the photo below from Wikipedia: “Skull of Charles Guiteau in the National Museum of Health and Medicine collection. Note the advanced tooth decay at age 40.”
- 1905 – Albert Einstein sends the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduces special relativity, for publication in Annalen der Physik.
This was Einstein’s “miracle year”, when he published on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and special relativity. Here’s the relativity paper:
- 1908 – The Tunguska Event, the largest impact event on Earth in human recorded history, resulting in a massive explosion over Eastern Siberia. [See above.]
- 1921 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding appoints former President William Howard Taft as Chief Justice of the United States.
- 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, takes place.
- 1937 – The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, is introduced in London.
- 1953 – The first Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.
Here is the first model of ‘Vette rolling off that assembly line:
- 1966 – The National Organization for Women, the United States’ largest feminist organization, is founded.
- 1972 – The first leap second is added to the UTC time system.
- 1990 – East Germany and West Germany merge their economies.
- 2019 – Donald Trump becomes the first sitting US President to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
Mission not accomplished! (Whatever the mission was. . . ):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1911 – Czesław Miłosz, Polish novelist, essayist, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
- 1917 – Lena Horne, American actress, singer, and activist (d. 2010)
Here’s Horne’s great classic from the eponymous movie in 1943:
- 1926 – Paul Berg, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1942 – Robert Ballard, American lieutenant and oceanographer
- 1952 – Susan Jane Coyne, sister of your host. Here’s a photo of the two of us with our mom; this was our passport picture when we traveled to Greece in the mid-Fifties:
Those who took their last breath on June 30 include:
- 1882 – Charles J. Guiteau, American preacher and lawyer, assassin of James A. Garfield (b. 1841) [See above]
- 1961 – Lee de Forest, American inventor, invented the audion tube (b. 1873)
- 1973 – Nancy Mitford, English journalist and author (b. 1904)
- 1984 – Lillian Hellman, American author and playwright (b. 1905)
- 2001 – Chet Atkins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1924)
- 2003 – Buddy Hackett, American actor and comedian (b. 1924)
Buddy Hackett was born to a Jewish family, and his real name was Leonard Hacker. Here he is telling a gypsy joke (now “Roma joke’) on Johnny Carson’s show (you’ll have to watch on YouTube).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili waxes philosophical
Hili: The world is full of illusions.A: Is this the first time you’ve noticed it?Hili: The first time today.
Hili: Świat jest pełen złudzeń.Ja: Pierwszy raz to zauważyłaś?Hili: Dzisiaj pierwszy.
A famous Gary Larson cartoon posted on Facebook. In contrast, I’m afflicted with Anatidaephilia:
From Beth, a Doug Savage cartoon:
A tweet from Ginger K. Don’t chuckle: he may be right!
PSA: BIPOC will soon be replaced with “melanated folx”—just as BIPOC replaced POC and POC replaced people of color, and people of color replaced colored people.
Lag behind at your peril.
— Benjamin🪤Boyce (@BenjaminABoyce) June 18, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, stag beetles in flight—afternoon delight! Two videos! Sound up:
Und hier mein Favorit: ein Flug gegen das Mikro des iPhones, Brummen gut vernehmbar! 😅 pic.twitter.com/EUZDMTHWnK
— Thomas Hörren (@thoerren) June 27, 2021
I think the cranes are checking out the gator.
Bruh, Cranes are escorting a Gator, across the street.. I done seen it all😂😂
🎥: Mallery Neptune pic.twitter.com/9e8WwX0NAO
— J- 🌎✨ (@MajorFactor2) June 28, 2021
The Wimbledon court goes wild applauding Dr. Gilbert, and well she deserves it!
Standing ovation at Wimbledon’s Centre Court for Dame Sarah Gilbert who designed the Oxford COVID vaccine.
Very moving. pic.twitter.com/q4NosT19eN
— Joe Pike (@joepike) June 28, 2021
The answer is probably “yes,” but it’s not certain:
A fly blowing a bubble which has then got air bubbles inside it !?!
As the bubble is the contents of the flies digestive system, does this mean that the contents of the flies stomach has air bubbles in it?
Seems very weird!
What I find with a macro lens! pic.twitter.com/OLfe3hbhCq
— Oliver C Wright (@OW_Photography) June 29, 2021
Read more about this original color photo and how they tracked down its subject here.
These magical autochromes were taken 107 years ago at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, in August 1913 – less than a year before The Great War. They were taken by Lieutenant Colonel Mervyn O’Gorman and show the young Christina Bevan (1897-1981). They are original colour & not colourised. pic.twitter.com/uzd50O2svZ
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) August 12, 2020
A cloned “worker” bee whose clones do not work is a danger to the ecosystem. Read the article linked below:
Over the past three decades, a single individual bee has successfully created millions of clones of herself thanks to hitting a bizarre genetic jackpot https://t.co/VRpNBQONhj
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 28, 2021