Well, it’s back to work for those Americans with regular jobs. The holiday’s over now, and it’s Tuesday, July 6 2021: National Fried Chicken Day, celebrating a glorious dish that, while it might be found elsewhere, reaches its apotheosis in America—specifically at Stroud’s in Kansas City. It’s also International Kissing Day and National Air Traffic Control Day (do you ever ponder how important a job these people do?)
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life of Ángela Peralta, born on this day in 1845 (died 1883), a Mexican opera singer known as “The Mexican Nightingale”. Already internationally renowned by the age of 20, she died at only 38, along with most of her company, in a yellow fever epidemic in Mazatlán. I’ve put her photo below the Doodle.
Peralta at 30:
News of the Day:
It’s now 167 days since Joe Biden assumed the Presidency, and there’s still no trace of the promised White House cat. I can cut Joe some slack for not missing his target of 70% of Americans vaccinated by the fourth of July, but the felid duplicity is inexcusable.
The death toll from gun violence in Chicago was particularly brutal this weekend. Besides our undergraduate student killed Thursday on the CTA (subway) as an accidental victim, 97 people were shot over the holiday weekend, 17 of whom died, many in the University of Chicago’s emergency room. It’s ironic that as gun violence spikes in our neighborhood, some University of Chicago students still call for defunding campus police as well as Chicago police.
The British Parliament is now debating an “animal sentience bill” (proposed by, of all people, Boris Johnson), which involves determining whether animals have qualia, and to enact safeguards if they do. Now that’s a tough question, to be sure, but there are already anti-animal-cruelty bills that implicitly assume that. You can see the Animal Welfare Sentience Bill here.
A centerpiece of the proposed legislation is the creation of an independent body of experts — the Animal Sentience Committee — who will scrutinize government decisions to ensure that ministers have paid “all due regard” to the welfare of animals as sentient beings, or explain why not.
Which animals, you ask? Are all animals equal but some more equal than others, as George Orwell wrote? It appears so.
Perhaps to speed its passage, the bill as introduced applies only to vertebrates — animals with backbones — meaning mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, both wild and domestic.
That may well extend animal protections further than we humans have gone before. But activists are pushing for the bill to include some invertebrates, and based on the early debate in the House of Lords, many lawmakers agree.
You wonder: Is there a lobby for lobsters? Yes, there is. It’s called Crustacean Compassion. I for one would never countenance lobsters being dropped into boiling water.
After successful surgery for a narrowed large intestine, Pope Francis, 84, is expected to make a full recovery. He’s expected to be hospitalized for a week.
A controlled implosion brought down the remaining part of the condo that collapsed 12 days ago in Surfside, Florida. The standing bits were endangering the search for victims and survivors, though, at day 12, it’s hard to see this as a “search and rescue mission”. Absent access to water, it’s hard to imagine how any of the 118 missing could have survived. As of Monday evening, seven people are confirmed dead.
And some physics that’s been plaguing the internet. I turn you over to reader Mark Sturtevant:
This has been making the rounds. Can a wind powered vehicle go faster than the wind that pushes the vehicle? A $10,000 bet rides on the answer.
I am unable to intuit the answer, as I can see the point that the movement of wheels might generate electricity that could move the vehicle faster. What is conserved is energy, not speed. But I am not a physicist. What do you think?
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,793, an increase of 194 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,001,754 (exceeding 4 million for the first time), an increase of about 6,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 6 includes:
- 1415 – Jan Hus is condemned by the assembly of the council in the Konstanz Cathedral as a heretic and sentenced to be burned at the stake. (See Deaths section.)
- 1483 – Richard III is crowned King of England.
Here are Richard’s remains, unearthed in a Leicester car park. The scoliosis of his spine is evident. He was the last English king killed in battle:
- 1535 – Sir Thomas More is executed for treason against King Henry VIII of England.
- 1854 – In Jackson, Michigan, the first convention of the United States Republican Party is held.
- 1885 – Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.
Here’s Meister, who lived until 1940, serving as a caretaker at the Pasteur Institute:
- 1917 – World War I: Arabian troops led by T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and Auda ibu Tayi capture Aqaba from the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt.
Here is “T.E. Lawrence at Akaba, striding to his camel surrounded by his bodyguards, in April 1918.”
And, from the same source, “Auda abu Tayi of the Howeitat (center) drew together the Arab force that he led to capture Akaba. He is flanked here by his two brothers.”
Finally, the famous “capture of Aqaba” scene from Lawrence of Arabia:
- 1933 – The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game is played in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The American League defeated the National League 4–2.
You can see the roster here, which included Ruth and Gehrig starting for the American League, with Lefty Gomez on the mound.
- 1939 – Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany closes the last remaining Jewish enterprises.
- 1942 – Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
Here’s the entrance to the “Secret Annexe”, up stairs hidden behind a bookcase:
- 1944 – Jackie Robinson refuses to move to the back of a bus, leading to a court-martial.
Did you know that Robinson was the Rosa Parks of his time?
- 1957 – Althea Gibson wins the Wimbledon championships, becoming the first black athlete to do so.
- 1957 – John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet for the first time, as teenagers at Woolton Fete, three years before forming the Beatles.
Here is the duo, very young:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1747 – John Paul Jones, Scottish-American captain (d. 1792)
- 1887 – Marc Chagall, Belarusian-French painter and poet (d. 1985)
Here’s a Chagall featuring a cat:
Here’s Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”. The cat and monkey aren’t mentioned:
Harrar was one of the party that first climbed the North Face of the Eiger, and later, arrested by the British in India, escaped and spent seven years in Tibet, writing a famous book with that title. Here’s the Eigerwand that he climbed. It took them three days, which means they had to sleep two nights on the face, roped to the wall. I believe now it has been climbed in less than a day.
- 1925 – Bill Haley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1981)
- 1946 – Peter Singer, Australian philosopher and academic
- 1980 – Eva Green, French actress and model
Those who went to glory on July 6 include:
- 1415 – Jan Hus, Czech priest, philosopher, and reformer (b. 1369)
- 1893 – Guy de Maupassant, French short story writer, novelist, and poet (b. 1850)
- 1916 – Odilon Redon, French painter and illustrator (b. 1840)
And a nice Redon painting, “Bezon, the artist’s cat”:
- 1962 – William Faulkner, American novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1897)
- 1971 – Louis Armstrong, American singer and trumpet player (b. 1901)
Here’s the song that made Armstrong famous. It’s his 1927 recording, made in Chicago with his Hot Seven, of “Potato Head Blues“. His trumpet solo was unique at the time, and could be said to have started the trend of extemporaneous solos in jazz. This still stands up as one of the best songs in the history of jazz. The solo over stop time, beginning at 1:55, was a first.
- 1998 – Roy Rogers, American cowboy, actor, and singer (b. 1911)
- 2009 – Robert McNamara, American businessman and politician, 8th United States Secretary of Defense (b. 1916)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t feel like walkies:
A: Are we going for a long walk?Hili: No, we are enjoying life without unnecessary effort.
Ja: Idziemy na daleki spacer?Hili: Nie, cieszymy się życiem bez zbędnego wysiłku.
A meme from Nicole:
A sign sent in by reader David:
From Jesus of the Day. I can’t vouch for its authenticity.
From Rick: Steve Pinker rarely comes out so strongly against Wokeism:
A humanistic reply to the neo-racism (often mistakenly called "anti-racism") fed to intimidated students and employees. https://t.co/wenkJimscM
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) July 3, 2021
From Barry; TakeThatDarwin makes a good point:
The great thing about spirituality is that, untethered from any sort of objective reality, it can be whatever you like. You can believe God is a skink with Kevin Bacon’s face and you’re no more wrong than anyone else.
This is, coincidentally, the BAD thing about spirituality. pic.twitter.com/lFz1xIhyP5
— Take That Darwin (@TakeThatDarwin) July 4, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. He found this etched bone more amazing than I did, but Matthew had been more steeped than I in paleoanthropology and the view that Neanderthals had no capacity for symbolism—perhaps not even for language. The original paper with more figures is at the link.
"A 51,000-year-old engraved bone reveals Neanderthals’ capacity for symbolic behaviour"; new paper by Dirk Leder et al. on a Giant Deer bone from a Middle Palaeolithic context at the Einhornhöhle in northern Germany. https://t.co/HOKuMthiYf pic.twitter.com/fbR3o8X8S1
— Tom Higham (@tommyhigham) July 5, 2021
If you don’t like maggots (fly larvae), don’t look! Sound up. The tails of these maggots are snorkels that allow them to breathe underwater.
Take a peek at a horde of delightful rat-tailed maggots! https://t.co/YqmJRqZ2Kk
— Dave Goulson (@DaveGoulson) July 4, 2021
Matthew dedicates this trio of baby owls to the memory of Dick Lewontin:
— WildlifeKate (@katemacrae) July 5, 2021
Matthew says “Do NOT try this at home!”
One of the memorable parables from my childhood is the tale of two frogs in milk, one is a lazy frog who drowns, while the other paddles so hard that milk becomes butter and it jumps out. Guess I never questioned why the frogs were there in the first place.
— Maria Antonova (@mashant) July 4, 2021
This is incredible and will immensely please Dead fans. Have a look at those uniforms!
Wait this is actually incredible pic.twitter.com/X1p8LTH6gG
— Mike Korzemba (@mikekorz) July 4, 2021
An 1850s hipster, also run through an AI movement program:
I ran my restored Victorian photograph of this chap from 1850 through the animation program available on free trial at myheritage and thought I'd share the results with you, re-animated, 171 years after he was photographed. It brings the past a little closer. pic.twitter.com/M2KwGgLqft
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) March 11, 2021