Welcome to Thursday, October 21, 2021: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. What a travesty! Either pumpkin pie or cheesecake are good on their own, but not this ill-conceived combination! It’s almost as bad as the popular pumpkin latte.
It’s also Apple Day (mostly celebrated in the UK), International Day of the Nacho, Garbanzo Bean Day, Celebration of the Mind Day, Reptile Awareness Day, Birth of the Báb, and Back to the Future Day, so called because the movie Back to the Future, Part II “starts out set in 1985 where the previous film in the series left off. Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, along with Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, and Jennifer Parker, played by Elisabeth Shue, travel to the future in Doc’s DeLorean to save Marty and Jennifer’s future children. The date they travel to is October 21, 2015.”
Here’s the opening scene of that movie (see 4:08 for the date of October 21, 2015).
News of the Day:
*Brian Laundrie, a “person of interest” in the widely publicized murder of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, had gone missing for over a month, but may now have been found—dead. Some of Laundrie’s possessions, along with a body, were found in a nature reserve in North Port, Florida. The curious thing is that investigators were led to the area by Laundrie’s parents. Did their son call them before he killed himself? For those remains are almost certainly those of Laundrie.
*Have a look at Megan McArdle’s op-ed in the Washington Post: “Democrats cannot afford to cater only to a hyper-educated class. It’s time to pop the bubble.” She worries that what matters to that class and to the media may not matter to the average American, and Republicans shouldn’t beef about a left-wing media bias:
Lately, though, I’ve begun doubting whether Republicans and those who agree with them are right — wondering whether media defenders shouldn’t just say: Hell yes, Republicans, the media has a left-wing bias, but don’t worry, that hurts Democrats more than you.
My most recent occasion for these musings was a column that Ezra Klein of the New York Times wrote about David Shor, a progressive election analyst. Shor thinks the left has a major problem with its youthful and well-educated activist base, which staffs left-leaning newsrooms and runs campaigns. They focus, naturally, on issues that excite them, and Shor told Klein “the things that are most exciting to activists and journalists are politically toxic.”
There’s a lot more, and we need to think about these things before November, 2022 rolls around.
*If you’re as young as 40 (but not younger), and got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, it looks as if the government will soon authorize Covid-19 boosters for these youngsters. Further, according to CNN:
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and said any of the three authorized vaccines could be used as a booster in a “mix and match approach” for eligible individuals.
*The gang that kidnapped the 17 missionaries in Haiti is holding firm in its demands, still asking for $1 million ransom per hostage. The FBI is on the ground trying to find the hostages, which according to NBC News last night are likely to be held in the area where they were kidnapped. I fear carnage, for the FBI and US is not inclined to negotiate a price, and may try an assault to free the hostages.
*The fracas over Dave Chapelle’s latest Netflix show, for which he’s been deemed transphobic, has escalated as hundreds of Netflix staff walked off the job and picketed the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. According to Variety, however, they clashed with Chappelle’s fans, who were also there:
Counter-protesters were also out in full force, bearing signs with messages like “Jokes Are Funny,” and “Netflix Don’t Cancel Free Speech.” At times the situation threatened to devolve as counter-protestors pushed up against trans speakers. One man’s “Jokes Are Funny” sign was ripped out of his hand by a pro-trans protestor and split in half, leaving him with a stick and little else. Crowd members said he was wielding a weapon and asked for his removal. Chappelle’s supporters said they were demonstrating in support of free speech.
My prediction: this will not die down, and Netflix will both apologize and meet some of the demands already been made by the protesting staff.
*The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports good news for Bright Sheng: the University of Michigan professor and composer booted from teaching undergraduates after he showed the movie “Othello” to his students. The problem was that the 1965 movie had Laurence Olivier in blackface, which is taboo (see John McWhorter’s take on it here). The University was actually going to open a formal investigation of Sheng, which is unbelievable. Fortunately, Michigan came to its senses. As FIRE reports:
UPDATE 10/19/21: The University of Michigan, which had been considering opening a formal investigation into Professor Sheng for his classroom showing of Othello, has determined that it will not do so after reviewing the complaints against him.
Sheng’s attorney, David Nacht, confirmed the development to FIRE.
While it remains discouraging that Sheng has “stepped away” from teaching this semester, Michigan’s decision not to launch a formal investigation into a professor’s course content was the right one to make. Such investigations produce profound chilling effects inimical to a university’s role as a marketplace of ideas. FIRE hopes that this controversy over Sheng’s protected expression will signal to Michigan faculty and administrators that it’s time for the university to make a serious effort to protect and defend faculty members’ First Amendment rights and academic freedom.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 731,512, an increase of 1,532 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,939,737, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on October 21 includes:
- 1512 – Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.
- 1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.
- 1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched.
- 1854 – Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses are sent to the Crimean War.
Nightingale, pictured below around 1858, was somewhat of a polymath, too; Wikipedia notes:
Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in data visualization with the use of infographics, using graphical presentations of statistical data in an effective way. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.
- 1879 – Thomas Edison applies for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.
The patent was granted on January 27, 1880, and here’s the drawing accompanying the patent. The birth of the light bub!
- 1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivers the first speech by a sitting U.S. president against lynching in the deep South.
- 1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is published.
A first edition and first printing of this puppy, signed by the author, will run you about $17,500.
- 1944 – World War II: The first kamikaze attack damages HMAS Australia as the Battle of Leyte Gulf begins.
The ship suffered several kamikaze attacks; here’s the aftermath (this is supposedly the first allied ship hit by kamikazes, though some hold that the damage was by Japanese non-suicide fighters that decided to ram the ship):
- 1966 – A colliery spoil tip collapses on the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, 116 of which were schoolchildren.
Why so many kids? Because the coal spoils destroyed not only a row of houses, but also a school. Here’s a photo of the village showing the damage right after the collapse (the spoils were mixed with water from a heavy rain, creating a slurry that engulfed much of the village.
- 1973 – Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.
Usually, a safety occurs when someone with the football is tackled in his own end zone; two points are then awarded to the opposing team.
- 1983 – The metre is defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
- 2019 – In Canada, the 2019 Canadian Federal Election ends, resulting in incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remaining in office, albeit in a minority government.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1772 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, philosopher, and critic (d. 1834)
- 1877 – Oswald Avery, Canadian-American physician and microbiologist (d. 1955)
Avery, along with his colleagues Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty, did the crucial 1944 experiment showing that the genetic material was almost certainly DNA. They did this by seeing which fraction of a bacterial cells could “transform” the properties of living cells. It wasn’t protein, but the nucleic acids. It was a thorough and careful experiment, and the trio deserved the Nobel Prize for this feat. But they didn’t get it. Here’s that classic paper. Look at the subtitle, which tells the tale.
I know that many readers loved his columns in Scientific American, but did you know he was a University of Chicago product? (He was also a Lewis Carroll expert, and produced the bestselling book The Annotated Alice.) Here’s the man:
Gillespie playing his famous “Salt Peanuts,” and trying to get the audience to cooperate. Those cheeks are amazing; they would do a chipmunk proud.
- 1956 – Carrie Fisher, American actress and screenwriter (d. 2016)
- 1980 – Kim Kardashian, American reality television personality, actress, model, businesswoman and socialite
Those who were called away on October 21 include:
- 1805 – Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, English admiral (b. 1758)
- 1969 – Jack Kerouac, American novelist and poet (b. 1922)
Kerouac (right) with his pal and crazy man, Neal Cassady—the model for Dean Moraiarty in On the Road:
Yes, that Asperger, the one who created the diagnosis of autism. Here he is with a patient in Vienna, ca. 1940:
- 2012 – George McGovern, American historian, lieutenant, and politician (b. 1922)
I campaigned for McGovern, and even wrote a little poem about him that I still remember:
Yes, he’s the man for me!
Though his head is as bald as a billiard ball,
He’s the freakiest one of all.
(Repeat first three lines.)
- 2014 – Ben Bradlee, American journalist and author (b. 1921)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is making a nuisance of herself:
A: Hili, you are lying on my mouse mat.Hili: You have another one.
A: Hili, leżysz na mojej podkładce pod mysz.Hili: Masz drugą.
From Stash Krod:
Grooming a lynx, from Fabulous Nature Photos and Videos on FB. Look at the size of that cat!
Here’s a thread I came across giving
a few reasons why IKEA is a psychological manipulator. Since I’ve never been in an IKEA store, I can’t vouch for its accuracy or analysis. I’ve added the first reason of the twelve.
1/ IKEA's first psychological hack is the business model: sell furniture that requires the effort of self-assembly.
A 2011 Harvard study found people assign higher value to self-assembled goods (willing to pay 63% more vs. pre-assembled).
Shocker: it's named "The IKEA effect" pic.twitter.com/hodK28o6qT
— Trung Phan 🇨🇦 (@TrungTPhan) October 20, 2021
From Masih. I hope the women of Afghanistan as well s Iran start communicating more with her so we can understand what’s going on with the Taliban. Meanwhile in Iran, things for women are as bad as ever.
Brigadier-General of the Iranian Police, Kamal Hadianfar, has announced that it's a crime for women to ride motorcycles and that they'd deal with them harshly.
The gender apartheid in the Islamic Republic of Iran continues. This regime has written its ideology on women's bodies pic.twitter.com/N3kAYJNJO7
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 20, 2021
From Ken, who explains, “This is a tweet from an actual, currently serving member of the United State House of Representatives abetting persons to obtain illegal, phony Covid vaccine records — you know, ‘hypothetically;'”.
ETHICAL my tuchas!
I believe if a person were to find a vaccine provider who would fake the administration of the vaccine, this would be an ethical form of non-compliance for both the provider and the receiver, legality notwithstanding.
It would also be hard to prove this happened
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 15, 2021
From Simon: I only wish these were real robot ducks! Also, their sombreros are ideologically incorrect. Sound up, though.
Boston Dynamics have done it again pic.twitter.com/i259acXulC
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) October 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew: I haven’t yet read the paper yet, but I will; it’s about the reasons people “detransition.”
I'm delighted to share my latest peer-reviewed publication: Individuals Treated for Gender Dysphoria with Medical and/or Surgical Transition Who Subsequently Detransitioned: A Survey of 100 Detransitioners. https://t.co/QB2SiX5Z1I
— LisaLittman (@LisaLittman1) October 19, 2021
This is your brain on. . . nothing. What an amazing photo!
A glimpse inside the base of the human brain https://t.co/KiA5Cr0aVb
— Marina Picciotto (@MarinaP63) October 16, 2021
I love border collies. When I spent time in the UK, and the show was still running, I would always try to watch “One Man and His Dog.” I could watch this stuff for hours! Sound up.
When you do your job, when you love your job, when you’re the best at your job… pic.twitter.com/4bCpmaywwG
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 17, 2021