Greetings on Thursday, September 16. By the time you read this I’ll either be at the airport or in the air on my way to Boston. It’s National Peach Pie Day, and I hope you can have some. Posting will likely be lighter than usual for a week.
It’s also Mexican Independence Day(see below), which goes along with the fact that it’s Free Queso Day (but only at Moe’s Southwest Grill), and National Guacamole Day. Further, it’s National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, Mayflower Day (the day the ship left Plymouth in 1620), World Play-Doh Day (it was introduced on this day in 1955), Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (see below).
News of the Day:
It’s been 239 days since the Bidens moved into the White House and still, as far as I know, there is no First Cat. WHERE IS THE PROMISED CAT, JOE?
*The SpaceX launch, for which I gave a live feed last night, was a big success, with the booster successfully returning to Earth and all four astronauts happily in orbit for three days. It was, as they say, “nominal”.
*North Korea’s on a really aggressive path: on Wednesday it launched two ballistic missiles, after having launched two cruise missiles last week. According to the NYT, this violates “multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from conducting such tests.” Also, on the very same day, South Korea did its first ballistic missile launch from a submarine, joining the U.S., Russia, Britain, India, China, and France as countries capable of submarine launches. The U.S., of course, has nuclear-missile-launching subs around the Korean peninsula, but no nukes on the peninsula itself.
*Here’s a U.S. tentative response to China, who, the U.S. fears, might become yet more autocratic or even emboldened to take over Taiwan. In collaboration with the UK, the U.S. is helping Australia acquire nuclear submarines.
“The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have long been faithful and capable partners and we’re even closer today,” the President said. “Today, we’re taking another historic step to deepen and formalize cooperation among all three of our nations, because we all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.”
I guess Aussie nuclear subs are some kind of deterrent, but how much more deterrence will we need? If China attacks and takes over Taiwan, will they fire those nukes?
*Another sign of global warming. Mount Shasta in California (height 14,179 feet or 4322 m) invariably has snow on the summit in the summer. Not this year. The glaciers on the north side have lost 50% of their usual mass just since 2000, and here’s a series of photos showing the amount of snow on the mountain (green splotch) in July or August:
Here’s a tweet of the sadly denuded mountain:
Just flew past Mt. Shasta and it is so bare is is practically unrecognizable. pic.twitter.com/bfTw8nVqMc
— Emma Marris (@Emma_Marris) September 8, 2021
*In his newest column in the NYT, John McWhorter neglects race and returns to language. His topic today is about the best way to learn another language, and he has a definite answer, involving a program. (I don’t know how many languages he speaks, but it must be a lot.)
. . . I have spent my life compulsively teaching myself to get around in languages — I have the polyglot disease — and I know of a way to get farther than people usually get. There is no reason that Glossika shouldn’t be as well known as Duolingo and Babbel. It teaches you real language, and it gets you used to just hearing the language, rather than relying as much on text as sound. After all, there are no subtitles in real life.
The method is pretty simple. You get recordings of 5,000 sentences in the language of your choice. Glossika comes in more than 60 languages at this point: If you feel your life isn’t complete without immersing yourself in some Slovenian or Uzbek, Glossika is for you. But the important part here is that the sentences are real ones. The first time I used it, the first sentence was about being good at tennis. Think: In a foreign language you know, were you ever taught how to say “good at”? To speak a language is to know how to say things like that.
. . . After that, the next move is immersion with real people. After I did one set, a speaker told me, “You know a lot of words!” That hedged but sincere compliment was dead on; I spoke roughly like a bright 4-year-old, and Glossika did that.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 666,816 an increase of 1,943 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,675,036, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 16 includes:
This was a small merchant ship, with 102 Pilgrims crammed together during the 66-day trip (two died). And, during the first winter, half of the rest died. Here’s a drawing showing how everyone was crammed together:
- 1810 – With the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo begins Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.
“Grito de Dolores” means “Cry of Dolores”, and Dolores is a city in Central Mexico. On this day in 1810, “Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the call to arms that triggered the Mexican War of Independence.” Here’s the church from whose portico the call to arms was issued, Our Lady of Sorrows:
- 1880 – The Cornell Daily Sun prints its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
- 1908 – The General Motors Corporation is founded.
- 1955 – The military coup to unseat President Juan Perón of Argentina is launched at midnight.
This was the end of his second term as President. He went into exile but returned and was re-elected in 1973. Here he is with his famous wife Eva (“Evita”):
- 1959 – The first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.
Here’s what I think is that commercial:
- 1966 – The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
- 1976 – Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saves 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.
The word “hero” is flung around carelessly these days, but if anybody is a true hero, it’s Shavarsh Karapetyan. Here’s a 7-minute summary of his life and heroic act:
- 1987 – The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.
- 1992 – The trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ends in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Noriega, still incarcerated, died of a brain hemorrhage in 2017. His mug shot:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1886 – Jean Arp, Alsatian sculptor and painter (d. 1966)
- 1893 – Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian-American physiologist and biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1986)
Szent-Györgyi isolated vitamin C and worked out the citric acid cycle (“Krebs cycle”), both of which contributed to his Nobel Prize in 1937. Here he is around 1948:
- 1924 – Lauren Bacall, American actress (d. 2014)
Remember this scene from “The Big Sleep”:
- 1925 – Charlie Byrd, American singer and guitarist (d. 1999)
- 1925 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2015)
Here’s what is perhaps his most famous song, “The Thrill is Gone“, performed in 1993:
- 1950 – Henry Louis Gates Jr., American historian, scholar, and journalist
- 1971 – Amy Poehler, American actress, comedian, and producer
Those whose lives were quenched on September 16 include:
- 1936 – Jean-Baptiste Charcot, French physician and explorer (b. 1867)
- 1977 – Maria Callas, Greek operatic soprano (b. 1923)
Here’s La Callas singing my favorite operatic aria in Paris:
- 1980 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (b. 1896)
- 2009 – Mary Travers, American singer-songwriter (b. 1936)
Here’s a rare melange of great singers: Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell, and Mary Travers, singing the Dylan song, “I shall be released.” The performance was in 1969 on Mama Cass’s television show.
- 2016 – Edward Albee, American director and playwright (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is having her customary thoughts:
A: What are you musing about?I wonder when the next meal will be.
Ja: Nad czym dumasz?Hili: Zastanawiam się kiedy będzie następny posiłek.
And a photo of Kulka and Szaron on the windowsill, taken by Paulina:
From smipowell. This is my Teddy, Toasty!
Also from Facebook:
From Simon, which shows you who is pro- and anti-vaccination:
Better chance of the GOP winning in 2024 with or without Trump as nominee? (Among Republicans)… 60% of Vaccinated GOPers say without Trump. 66% of unvaccinated say WITH Trump. https://t.co/xQ8aBcglPh
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) September 12, 2021
From Barry. I think more religions should chart their beliefs like this, as it would show their craziness:
My husband @terry2070 had a devoutly religious coworker with whom he’d often engage in lively debates. One day he gave my husband this timeline detailing his beliefs. When I asked Terry what religion it was, he only recalled it was a Christian sect. Do any of you recognize it? pic.twitter.com/wNSh6Kc439
— Godless Liz 😇 (@GodlessLiz) September 12, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
16 September 1936 | A French Jewish girl, Suzanne Mol, was born in Paris.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 16, 2021
From Luana. Polygenic scores are of course underestimates because, based on even medium-sized samples, they don’t account for low-frequency variants affecting a trait, so most correlations are probably underestimates as well.
People will mock genetics research by saying that a polygenic score only correlates, say, 0.3 with an outcome. But this isn't a small effect in the social sciences!
Parental income "only" correlates ~0.3 with offspring income. Is this an irrelevant effect to be ignored? No. pic.twitter.com/Ht5o5cDIm9
— Inquisitive Bird (@Scientific_Bird) September 12, 2021
From Dom: a nefarious parasite that makes ants bite grass before they die so the next host, sheep, eat the ants and get infected too. Then sheep poop out eggs that infect snails, who release eggs that are eaten by an ant, and the cycle starts again. One parasite and three hosts: an old but classic “zombie ant parasite” story.
(2/2) Apparently, the eggs then end up in the mammal poop and are consumed by various snail species. The snail then distributes the parasites in slime balls that are then eaten by the ants. Weird stuff! Pic from wikipedia pic.twitter.com/0y8JY7rYSN
— Phil (@myrmecoPhil) September 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. He and I both love the Dodo videos with kittens. As Matthew noted, “Yes if the world were like the Dodo everything would be fine.”
Growling kitten was scared of his golden retriever sister until she taught him how to play with cat toys 😻 pic.twitter.com/3pPoywW4z1
— The Dodo (@dodo) September 15, 2021
These are wonderful sculptures; be sure to look at each photo:
If you visit Japan’s Niigata Prefecture during the region’s annual rice harvest, you can easily stumble into these towering sculptures, part of the Wara Art Festival, an event displaying massive creations made from the crop’s leftover straw [see more: https://t.co/73vlqPkyGR] pic.twitter.com/ngDQdPiOG3
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) September 14, 2021
Colorful mushrooms in New Zealand, including a blue one!
Not something you would see every day let alone any day. Very strange mushrooms deep in the Waitaanga forest. This is their real colour, and extremely bright. The blue one is on our New Zealand $50 dollar note and is called Entoloma hochstetteri. Such a strange site to see. pic.twitter.com/NZGmRtNPqU
— Jonathan Saunders (@199Jonathan199) September 13, 2021