Posting will likely be light this week as I’m on vacation. Hey, if Andrew Sullivan can stop posting when he’s vacationing in Provincetown, don’t I get some time off? Do bear with me. I will do my best.
Greetings from Cambridge, Massachusetts on Friday, September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day17/sept. It’s also and Constitution Day, the day in 1787 when the document was signed in Philadelphia, and National Bakery Day, International Grenache Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and National Monte Cristo Day (not the Count but a sandwich “fried and usually made with Swiss cheese and ham. Other types of cheese can be used, and sliced turkey or chicken are sometimes added as well. The sandwich is usually dipped in egg batter before being pan-fried or deep-fried until it is golden brown.”
Here’s a Monte Cristo sandwich; for some reason they sometimes put powdered sugar on top:
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life and work of Japanese scientist Michiyo Tsujimura, whose research focused on the components of green tea. Born on this day in 1888, she became a research student at Riken, a research institute, and made her name by isolating the components of green tea. With her 1932 thesis, “On the Chemical Components of Green Tea”, she obtained her doctorate in agriculture from Tokyo Imperial University, becoming the first Japanese woman to get a doctorate in that field. She died in 1969. I’ve put a photo below the Doodle.
News of the Day:
I have almost no news today as I was traveling and schmoozing, and so haven’t read the papers. Readers are welcome to put the events of yesterday (or today) in the comments.
Over at the NYT, Ellen Pao, described as “a tech investor and chief executive of Project Include, a diversity, equity and inclusion nonprofit,” decries the prosecution of Elizabeth Holmes of ex-Theranos as an example of sexism.
. . . Ms. Holmes is also exceptional for the basic fact that she is a woman. Time and again, we see that the boys’ club that is the tech industry supports and protects its own — even when the costs are huge. And when the door cracks open ever so slightly to let a woman in, the same rules don’t apply. Indeed, as Ms. Holmes’s trial for fraud continues in San Jose, it’s clear that two things can be true. She should be held accountable for her actions as chief executive of Theranos. And it can be sexist to hold her accountable for alleged serious wrongdoing and not hold an array of men accountable for reports of wrongdoing or bad judgment.
Questionable, unethical, even dangerous behavior has run rampant in the male-dominated world of tech start-ups. Though never charged with crimes, WeWork’s Adam Neumann and Uber’s Travis Kalanick hyped their way into raising over $10 billion for their companies, claiming they would disrupt their stagnant, tired industries.
Perhaps Pao is right, though I don’t know the details of these two cases (she describe several others). The solution, of course, is for the law to go after all accused malefactors, regardless of their sex. The thing about Holmes, though, is that the law was almost forced to take action after John Carreyrou’s reports came out in the Wall Street Journal, followed by his damning book.
Taking a cue from George Church, scientists, according to The Onion, have created a new hybrid form of life. It ain’t a woolly mammoth, but on the screenshot to see what they made.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 670,231 an increase of 1,969 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,685,793, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 17 includes:
- 1677 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek writes a letter to the Royal Society describing “animalcules“, later known as protozoa.
His observations, the first of protozoans, are described in Matthew’s first book, The Egg and Sperm Race. He also observed this, according to Wikipedia. But Wikipedia gives the data above as 1683, which is WRONG.
He was also the first to document microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa, red blood cells, crystals in gouty tophi, and among the first to see blood flow in capillaries.
The spermatozoa was, I believe, from the scientist himself, collected from his wife, which caused somewhat of a scandal.
- 1787 – The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia. [see above]
- 1849 – American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.
There’s been a delay, but Tubman is schedule to be on the U.S. $20 bill. Here’s a photo:
- 1908 – The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashes, killing Selfridge, who becomes the first airplane fatality.
Here’s the wreckage of the plane, which nose-dived into the ground from 150 feet up. Orville survived:
- 1916 – World War I: Manfred von Richthofen (“The Red Baron”), a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, wins his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.
The “ace of aces”, Richtofen is credited with 80 victories. Here’s the Red Baron:
- 1939 – World War II: The Soviet invasion of Poland begins.
- 1961 – The world’s first retractable roof stadium, the Civic Arena, opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- 1978 – The Camp David Accords are signed by Israel and Egypt.
- 1983 – Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America.
Sadly, she reigned only a year after Penthouse published nude photos of Williams before she was crowned. But she got her revenge, as now she’s a successful singer and actress:
- 2011 – Occupy Wall Street movement begins in Zuccotti Park, New York City.
- 2013 – Grand Theft Auto V earns more than half a billion dollars on its first day of release.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1859 – Billy the Kid, American gunman (d. 1881)
- 1907 – Warren E. Burger, American lawyer and judge, 15th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1995)
- 1923 – Hank Williams, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1953)
Here’s Williams, the year before he died (at 29), singing “Cold cold heart“:
- 1931 – Anne Bancroft, American actress (d. 2005)
- 1935 – Ken Kesey, American novelist, essayist, and poet (d. 2001)
- 1944 – Reinhold Messner, Italian mountaineer and explorer
Many,including me, regard Messner as the greatest Himalayan climber of all time. His greatest feat was a SOLO climb of Everest without oxygen (1980) but he has many other intrepid feats under his belt. Here’s a “selfie” of him on the summit from that 1980 climb; he must have used a self timer:
- 1968 – Cheryl Strayed, American author
Those who checked out on September 17 include:
Scott was of course the plaintiff in the famous 1857 case where the Supreme Court declared, in a 7-2 vote, that African Americans could not be American citizens. Scott:
- 1899 – Charles Alfred Pillsbury, American businessman, co-founded the Pillsbury Company (b. 1842)
- 1993 – Willie Mosconi, American pool player and actor (b. 1913)
Mosconi clears the table. Remember, he’s always calculating where the cue ball will wind up for his next shot:
- 1994 – Karl Popper, Austrian-English philosopher and academic (b. 1902)
- 1996 – Spiro Agnew, American soldier and politician, 39th Vice President of the United States (b. 1918)
- 2019 – Cokie Roberts, American journalist and bestselling author (b. 1943)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hil isn’t too successful on the hunt:
A: What did you find?Hili: A little worm.
Ja: Co tam znalazłaś?Hili: Robaczka.
From Stash Krod:
From Jesus of the Day:
Also from JotD:
From Titania, and she’s right (look at all the photos). Britain has got to ratchet down this hate-crime prosecution:
Hate crime is an extremely serious matter.
That’s why the police will be reporting anyone who mocks their rainbow helmets and fluffy gay unicorns. pic.twitter.com/UblSl3ljt8
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 16, 2021
From Barry. It sure looks as if this cat is imitating its staff’s hairbrushing. What do you think?
Cat learns to mimic hair brushing pic.twitter.com/mEmp9Rt0eV
— Char Adams, PhD MPH MA (@_cdadams_) September 15, 2021
From Luana. I can’t verify where this picture came from, or where (if it’s genuine); but there are lots of copies on the Internet, with one saying it “came from a military sponsored preschool program.”
So this is happening in a pre-k classroom. Yet the administrative state denies a race/color-based ideology in K-12. Parents need to be extra vigilant! pic.twitter.com/9W3IIFXcMT
— Wenyuan Wu, Ph.D. (@wu_wenyuan) September 11, 2021
This is the last goodbye between a mom and dad. Their innocent son, Ramin Hossein Panahi, was executed 2 years ago by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Sadly, as the regime doesn't even tell them where he was buried, the ailing father couldn't even visit his grave for the last time https://t.co/eq4LOTzW2M
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 15, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a bit of history; see above.
17 September 1939 | The Soviet Union invaded Poland, assisting the Germans, as agreed in the German-Soviet Pact & its secret protocol that divided Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland & Romania into German and Soviet "spheres of influence." https://t.co/yxr87GBN03 pic.twitter.com/rEf8gBveeN
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 17, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Look at these flying squid!
OMG FLYING SQUID FLYING SQUID FLYING SQUID!!!
Flying squid can travel long distances by spreading their fins and arms like wings after jetting out of the water. SO COOL!!! [see pics in thread ⬇️]
https://t.co/kp86oAi3VJ (in Japanese)pic.twitter.com/1lScgXpRhB
— Open Ocean Exploration (@RebeccaRHelm) September 16, 2021
Goat and rooster saving chicken from hawk attack.. pic.twitter.com/IlgL4jy2CP
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) September 15, 2021
Here’s a cat who will be glad to become an empty nester:
Imagine being a mama mountain lion and raising these three teenagers in Colorado. They'll be leaving her very soon.
📽️Tiffany McCauley, Colorado Parks & Wildlife pic.twitter.com/Sgsk4mcDC6
— Russ McSpadden (@PeccaryNotPig) September 16, 2021