Wine of the Day: I see online that this 2016 chardonnay got a near perfect rating from my wine guru Robert Parker, though I probably bought it ($39) based on advice at the store. It’s the premium cuvée of Hartford Court chardonnay, and Parker says this:
Already in bottle, the 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard opens with lemon tart, pink grapefruit, pineapple and ripe apple notes with touches of nutmeg and croissant. Medium to full-bodied, rich and with a pleasantly oily texture, it delivers ripe tropical fruit flavors and a long, creamy finish.
Okay, well let’s try it with chicken and hoisin sauce, rice, and green beans. And yes, it earned its rating, if for nothing else than its complexity. Any wine with a slight scent and flavor of grapefruit is a wine I like, but there was a lot going on here (though I didn’t detect Parker’s “croissant” flavor). Is it worth $39? If you like superb chardonnays, yes it is.
News of the Day:
Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s time to consider masking up again. The CDC reversed course and recommended that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas where the dreaded delta variant of the virus is pervasive. Which parts? These parts:
The guidance on masks in indoor public places applies in parts of the U.S. with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. That includes 60 percent of U.S. counties, officials said. New case rates are particularly high in the South and Southwest, according to a CDC tracker. In Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, every county has a high transmission rate.
Don’t worry, you’ll find out what your local rules are. This is all the fault of the eligible chowderheads who chose not to get vaccinated (there are 100 million of them out there). Joe Biden is considering requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated, which I think is an excellent move. Surely a lot of vaccination-resistant people work for the government, and they’ll have to choose between their job and their ignorance.
Simone Biles, the one true Olympic superstar this year, left the team competition after she performed (for her) a substandard vault. At first the news suggested that she might be injured, but that doesn’t seem to be the case; she’s now said to be having mental health issues. She’s also withdrawn from the individual all-around competition and might not compete in any individual events at the games (she was favored to win gold in three of those four events. The NYT says it’s “a matter of her mental health”. The U.S. team, still game, persisted and won the team silver medal, with the Russians taking gold. I can surely sympathize with Biles: she’s the best gymnast in the world, and the pressure to keep on top in the Olympics must affect one’s head.
The New York Times has a 16-minute video about Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who was the real discoverer of pulsars in 1967, even as her Ph.D. advisor, Antony Hewish, repeatedly doubted her results. Nevertheless, when the paper was published, Hewish was first author Bell (her name at the time) was second, and there were three other authors. Hewish, along with Martin Ryle, got the Physics Nobel Prize for the discovery in 1974, and Bell was ignored (she later got a lot of accolades, though). This is one of the most egregious cases of a discoverer being ignored at Nobel Time, but Bell had the grace to say the following:
First, demarcation disputes between supervisor and student are always difficult, probably impossible to resolve. Secondly, it is the supervisor who has the final responsibility for the success or failure of the project. We hear of cases where a supervisor blames his student for a failure, but we know that it is largely the fault of the supervisor. It seems only fair to me that he should benefit from the successes, too. Thirdly, I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them. Finally, I am not myself upset about it – after all, I am in good company, am I not!
No, it does not demean Nobel Prizes a bit if they were given to research students: they are awarded for discoveries, not the position of the discoverer. At any rate, she is not nearly as kind to Hewish in the video. The video should make you angry at the sexism surrounding this incident (and pervasive in science at the time), but it’s also a well made and informative piece. Watch it.
Every year at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, they hold a Hemingway Look-Alike contest, with elderly bearded chaps vying to look the most like Ernest Hemingway, who once frequented that bar. This year’s winner is 63-year-old Zach Taylor, an electrical and plumbing supply company owner from Georgia, who beat 136 other entrants on Sunday (previous winners judge each year’s contest). Here’s a video of the winner and some entrants, though, compared to some of the competitors, I don’t think he looks a whole like like Hemingway. (h/t Jez)
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 611,128, an increase of 290 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,194,208, an increase of about 9,900 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 28 includes:
- 1540 – Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
- 1821 – José de San Martín declares the independence of Peru from Spain.
- 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is certified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
- 1914 – In the culmination of the July Crisis, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, igniting World War I.
- 1917 – The Silent Parade takes place in New York City, in protest against murders, lynchings, and other violence directed towards African Americans.
The parade, which was indeed silent save for the beat of muffled drums, was organized by W. E. B. Dubois and instigated by lynchings and by the East St. Louis riots in May and July of that year. 8,000 to 15,000 blacks marched down Fifth Avenue. Here’s an appropriately silent newsreel from the time:
- 1932 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.
This was a group of 43,000 WWI veterans who were awarded cash certificates for their service, which couldn’t be redeemed until 1945. Because of the depression, they marched on Washington to demand early redemption. Here is a photo of them camped in front of the Capitol, and then after Hoover’s order of eviction, which drove them away;
Made around 625 A.D., and part of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial, the helmet was found as hundreds of rusted metal fragments, which were painstakingly reconstructed—twice. Here’s the latest reconstruction at the British Museum (you can see the bits that are original):
Here’s a replica showing what the helmet may have looked like. The artistic motifs were actually found in the fragments. The helmet was made from iron, leather, and bronze, but we don’t know who it belonged to, or who was part of the ship burial.
- 1945 – A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building killing 14 and injuring 26.
The plane struck the building after becoming lost in the fog. One of the injured was a badly burned woman who was transported down in an elevator, suffering a double accident (from Wikipedia):
Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver was thrown from her elevator car on the 80th floor and suffered severe burns. First aid workers placed her on another elevator car to transport her to the ground floor, but the cables supporting that elevator had been damaged in the incident, and it fell 75 stories, ending up in the basement. Oliver survived the fall but had a broken pelvis, back and neck when rescuers found her amongst the rubble. This remains the world record for the longest survived elevator fall.
Here’s a photo of the plane embedded in the building, which opened for business only two days after the collision:
- 1973 – Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: Nearly 600,000 people attend a rock festival at the Watkins Glen International Raceway.
I was there! And I got to hear the the Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers (I’ve since heard the last two again.
- 2005 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty-year-long armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland.
Notables born on this day were few, and include:
- 1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (d. 1889)
- 1866 – Beatrix Potter, English children’s book writer and illustrator (d. 1943)
My favorite Beatrix Potter Book:
Those who rested in peace on July 28 include:
- 1741 – Antonio Vivaldi, Italian violinist and composer (b. 1678)
- 1750 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German organist and composer (b. 1685)
- 1968 – Otto Hahn, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1879)
- 1996 – Roger Tory Peterson, American ornithologist and academic (b. 1908)
- 2004 – Francis Crick, English biologist and biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1916)
One of the smartest scientists of our era:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains Hili’s actions: “Hili has heard about a scapegoat but she didn’t get the meaning. She thinks it’s an exotic animal and she wants to see it.”
A: What are you doing?Hili: I’m waiting for a scapegoat.
Ja: Co robisz?Hili: Czekam na kozła ofiarnego.
From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe, a smackdown between Popeye and God, both claiming that they am what they am:
Another superfluous sign from reader David:
From Jesus of the Day:
A tweet from reader Ken, with some explanation:
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, perhaps the most loathsome opportunist in the House of Representatives. She ran as a moderate in 2014, but fell in line behind Donald Trump in 2016, and burrowed ever deeper down the rabbit hole the longer Trump remained in office.When Liz Cheney was stripped of her Republican leadership position for having the temerity to criticize Trump after the January 6th insurrection, Stefanik maneuvered to replace her as Republican Conference Chair. Here she is blaming the January 6th riot on, of all goddamn people, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
F*ck off. https://t.co/1aXOmTRCxK
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 27, 2021
A tweet from Divy with a seacat’s passport. I’m not sure how authentic it is, but I’ve found it in a couple of places (that, of course, doesn’t establish authenticity):
Think “working cats” is a new thing? Think again! #Cats have been helping humans with pest control for ages! Are you looking for a feline to hire? Our friends at @ShadowCatsTNR have #workingcats looking for room and board in exchange for their expert mousing! #harfordcounty pic.twitter.com/J0HuexVYV2
— Harford Humane🐾 (@HSHCHumane) July 3, 2021
From Barry. Why is an alpaca walking into a Chinese restaurant? It’s almost too cute to be real.
An alpaca walks into a restaurant in Hangzhou. I dunno why… pic.twitter.com/gduYkrtil1
— przidnt🥭 (@przidnt1) July 19, 2021
From Ginger K.:
— Atheist Forum (@ForumAtheist) July 17, 2021
Tweets from Matthew:
Is this a big cat, a small boy, or both?
— Nicola Rodriguez (@Sailawaybook) July 27, 2021
A funny riposte to a biology tweet. (The humpbacked scaly bee fly is a dipteran with a characteristic hump-backed posture, and probably mimics a bumblebee.)
If "Scaly Bee Fly sipping on a Black-eyed Susan" isn't the first line of a country song, it should be. 🙂
— Bob Ingersoll (@ingersoll_bob) July 27, 2021
And this should make you skeptical of all those fantastically colored animals you see on the Internet. This is the Indian Giant Squirrel (also known as the Malabar Giant Squirrel), Ratufa indica. Other pictures of the species online aren’t nearly as colorful, and I suspect Avinash is right. But this could be an unusually bright individual. . . .
colour has been enhanced in those photographs. The ones I've seen weren't as brightly coloured.
— Avinash ಅವಿನಾಶ್ (@tnavinash) July 27, 2021