Good morning on Sunday, September 12, 2021: National Chocolate Milkshake Day! (It’s their exclamation mark, not mine.)
It’s also National Hug Your Hound Day, National Police Woman Day, Racial Justice Sunday, Video Games Day, National Grandparents Day, National Day of Encouragement, and United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation.
News of the Day:
Ceremonies throughout America yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorists attacks in 2001, including at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and the field in Pennsylvania where United flight 93 went down as passengers attacked the terrorists in the cockpit. (That, and the phone call messages that were played, are the most poignant bits of the day that stays with me.) Any words I can say would lie meaningless before the nearly three thousand innocent people who died.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a striking and increasing imbalance of the sexes in American 2- and 4-year colleges. There’s a huge glut of women and a dearth of men and it’s quite a serious inequity:
Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.
At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.
This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.
No reversal is in sight.
There are huge ramifications, of course, but the first thing I could think of was “well, I guess it will be easier for male students to get a date.” I am a horrible person.
What counts as a religious exemption for vaccination against the coronavirus? The New York Times describes a number of ways people are using religion to get their exemptions. The overwhelming impression one gets from the article is that conservatives are trawling the Bible looking desperately for reasons to get religious exemptions, but they’re not finding much fodder. However, authorities are all too eager to cater to the faithful. There’s a strong odor of mendacity about this. As I’ve written before, I don’t think there should be any religious exemptions from Covid vaccination. United Airlines is taking a good approach:
Some private employers are taking a hard line. On Wednesday, United Airlines told workers that those who receive religious exemptions will be placed on unpaid leave at least until new Covid safety and testing procedures are in place.
Below: “MMA” is mixed martial arts, and reader Bill tells me it’s a real sport, not a fake sport like “professional wrestling.” Now that you know that, go read this article from the New York Post (click on screenshot).
The article describes a fight in the women’s division:
Alana McLaughlin, the second openly transgender woman to compete in MMA in the United States, won her debut Friday night via submission at the Combate Global prelims in Miami, Fla.
The 38-year-old used a rear-naked choke against Celine Provost to end the match 3 minutes, 32 seconds into the second round.
McLaughlin, who began her gender transition after leaving the U.S. Army Special Forces in 2010, said she hopes to be a pioneer for transgender athletes in combat sports.
McLaughlin meets the hormone levels required to fight women, but look at those muscles (transitioning well after puberty doesn’t get eliminate of male bone density and muscle mass). Some cisgender woman is going to get killed this way.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 659,556, an increase of 1,666 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,639,025, an increase of about 6,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 12 includes:
- 490 BC – Battle of Marathon: The conventionally accepted date for the Battle of Marathon. The Athenians and their Plataean allies defeat the first Persian invasion force of Greece.
Here’s an eight-minute video of that famous battle, which, as you’ll see, was the source of the Marathon now run in the Olympics and elsewhere.
- 1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.
- 1846 – Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.
It was a great romance. Here’s Barrett with her son (ca. 1860), and Robert Browning in about 1888:
- 1885 – Arbroath 36–0 Bon Accord, a world record scoreline in professional Association football.
Here’s the victorious Arbroath team:
- 1910 – Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players. Mahler’s rehearsal assistant conductor was Bruno Walter).
- 1933 – Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.
The first controlled reaction, of course, was carried out at the University of Chicago, just a block from where I’m sitting now.
- 1938 – Adolf Hitler demands autonomy and self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
Here’s a four-minute video of the Germans invading Czechoslovakia, which began on March 15, 1939. Note the ebullient citizens, most of them surely of German descent. Hitler and Tito are both in here:
The caves are closed to visitors now, as their body heat and breath were eroding the paintings, but you can see a replica cave. Here’s what it looked like before it was closed:
- 1953 – U.S. Senator and future President John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
A two-minute video of the wedding. What a handsome pair they were!
- 1959 – Bonanza premieres, the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color.
“Hoss: Pass the potatoes, Adam.”
- 1962 – President Kennedy delivers his “We choose to go to the Moon” speech at Rice University.
Here’s that famous snipped from JFK:
- 1977 – South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko dies in police custody.
- 1984 – Dwight Gooden sets the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie with 276, previously set by Herb Score with 246 in 1954. Gooden’s 276 strikeouts that season, pitched in 218 innings, set the current record.
Here’s Gooden setting the record, though Wikipedia gives the wrong figure for Herb Score’s previous record. It was 245, not 246, and the strikeout below is Gooden’s 246th of the season.
- 2011 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City opens to the public.
In an article yesterday, HuffPo criticized the Museum for “having a problematic legacy.” Can you guess what the problems are?
Notables born on this day include:
- 1852 – H. H. Asquith, English lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1928)
- 1880 – H. L. Mencken, American journalist and critic (d. 1956)
There are very few records of Mencken’s voice, but here’s an interview he made in 1948 for the Library of Congress. Mencken is one of my favorite writers, with a unique (and acerbic) style. To get a good flavor of his prose, I’d recommend A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing.
- 1888 – Maurice Chevalier, French actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1972)
- 1897 – Irène Joliot-Curie, French chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1956)
- 1913 – Jesse Owens, American sprinter and long jumper (d. 1980)
- 1931 – George Jones, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2013)
In Ken Burns’s “Country Music” series, most of the famous singers, asked to name the archetypal country song, named “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones. Here he is performing it live:
- 1944 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)
I wasn’t a huge fan of either Barry White or Ally McBeal, but this clip from the show, in which a lawyer is given a live appearance by White as a birthday present, is pretty cool:
- 1967 – Louis C.K., American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter
Those who croaked on September 12 include:
- 1977 – Steve Biko, South African activist (b. 1946)
- 1977 – Robert Lowell, American poet (b. 1917)
- 1993 – Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor and director (b. 1917)
- 2003 – Johnny Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (b. 1932)
This is classic: Cash and June Carter singing “Jackson” on his t.v. show:
- 2014 – Ian Paisley, Northern Irish evangelical pastor (Free Presbyterian Church) and politician, 2nd First Minister of Northern Ireland (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka has learned not to try to steal Hili’s food when she’s eating:
Kulka: It’s better to escape.Hili: That’s the right choice.
Kulka: Lepiej uciekać.Hili: Właściwy wybór.
Big news! From Effing Chicago, a Facebook group, a newspaper header with the caption, “St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri, October 18, 1896.” (h/t Su)
From FB, a comic strip from Bizarro:
Titania has a new poem. Oy.
A poem by Titania McGrath.
You’re welcome. pic.twitter.com/C7AQ5fksPO
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 8, 2021
From Masih. She isn’t alienated from her mother (though her sister denounced her on Iranian television), but Masih can’t ever go back to Iran so long as the theocracy, which wants to kill her, is in power.
ما حق داریم دلتنگ مادرمان شویم. من حق دارم بگویم قلبم مچاله شده از بس مادرم را بغل نکردم. اما انقدر دردهای مادران داغدار سنگین است که آدم شرم میکند از دلتنگیهایش بگوید…. امروز چهل و پنج ساله شدم
Today is my birthday and I haven’t seen or hugged my mother for 12 years pic.twitter.com/10U0YKueYp
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 11, 2021
A tweet sent by Luana. Priorities!
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
12 September 1932 | A French Jewish girl, Marie Eve Deutsch, was born in Paris.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 12, 2021
From Barry, who says, “I love the cat on the right. Too bad there’s no sound. That would’ve added some fun to the proceedings.”
“Carl, we are trying to relax…” pic.twitter.com/aR2pSJX8IU
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) September 8, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Look at the belly on this bobcat! What did it eat?
— Melissa Crytzer Fry (@CrytzerFry) September 11, 2021
Pycnogonids, or sea spiders, are marine arthropods that are weird in many ways (just look at that thing!). But I didn’t know the males carried the embryos. Somebody needs to study this case of weird sexual selection. In pipefish and seahorses, in which males carry the embryos while females are the elaborately decorated sex, we know the cause. Females can produce eggs faster than they can incubate them, and males have brood pouches to carry the developing eggs (and give birth), but there’s a deficit of male pouches. Therefore, to get their new eggs incubated, females have to compete for males. And that’s why, when only one sex is ornamented in seahorses and pipefish, it’s the females–unlike birds or most other groups.) Anyway, we don’t know what’s going on with sea spiders, but only males incubate eggs and care for young.
Male sea spiders, not females, look after the eggs. This is similar to what happens in pipefish and sea horses etc. The cause is something to do with their ecology, but we are not sure what. https://t.co/ke2ADb8Ie4
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) September 11, 2021
Matthew loves Martian landscapes, and this one is undoubtedly a montage of photos taken by the Mars Rover:
— Seán Doran (@_TheSeaning) September 9, 2021