Good morning as we approach November: it’s Friday, October 29, 2021, National Oatmeal Day. Brighten up your kids’ day by dressing up their oatmeal like this:
It’s also National Breadstick Day, National Bandanna Day [sic!], World Lemur Day (honoring these Honorary Cats®), and National Cat Day. Because it’s a national cat day, the first reader who sends me a picture of their cat with its name and a few words about it (don’t forget the cat’s preferred gender) will get it posted just below here.
. . . and, the winner, and avatar of National Cat Day, is Will Meyer, staff of a lovely tabby:
Happy National Cat Day! This is Manny (he/him/his). This email would have gotten to you quicker but he was on the keyboard.
Finally, it’s International Internet Day, explained this way:
It was on today’s date in 1969 that the first electronic message was sent from one computer to another. ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was the precursor to the internet. Funded by the US Department of Defense, the network used packet switching to connect four terminals: UCLA, Stanford, University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Charley Kline, a student programmer at UCLA, under the supervision of Professor Leonard Kleinrock, transmitted a message from the SDS Sigma 7 Host computer in UCLA’s computer science department to the SDS 940 Host computer, manned by Bill Duvall, at Stanford. Kline attempted to send the word “login,” but the connection crashed after the first two letters, and only “L” and “O” were sent. These letters became the first data sent over the first long-distance computer network.
News of the Day:
*Joe Biden’s social safety net bill has fallen from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion as he desperately seeks a compromise that will pass. This NYT article says what’s left in the bill and what’s left out (the letter includes paid family leave). Here’s the omitted stuff:
The framework leaves out several key planks of the economic agenda that Mr. Biden laid out on the campaign trail and shortly after taking office. It does nothing to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors, and it omits what would have been the nation’s first federally guaranteed paid family and medical leave for workers. It does not include free community college for all, as Mr. Biden had promised. It would expand Medicare coverage to include hearing, but not vision or dental services.
It also would not raise the corporate tax rate or the top individual income tax rate, and it would not impose a new tax on the unrealized wealth gains of billionaires, as Democrats had recently proposed.
This hasn’t, says the piece, met with either approval or disapproval from Sinema and Manchin, the Two Renegades, though Manchin is wavering. The bill also proposes to raise $2 trillion to pay for it, but I don’t believe they’ll get that much money. And why on earth did they leave out the Medicare bargaining for prescription drug prices? That costs nothing! Is that to propitiate those who support big pharma?
*Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been charged with a misdemeanor complaint of sexual assault: “forcible touching.” Ten other women have made similar accusations, but this is the first one to come to court:
The complaint, viewed by NPR, accuses Cuomo of forcibly touching “the genitals or other intimate parts” of an individual at the governor’s mansion in December of last year.
One of Cuomo’s former staffers publicly accused Cuomo of touching her under her shirt during a work-related visit.
*According to the Guardian, Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Stock is leaving the University of Sussex. The explanation—that she contravened the accepted wisdom of trans advocates—is here. (h/t Williams). In the tweet below, the University defends itself by saying that it defended her right of free speech, and it did, but there’s nothing it could do to lift the curtain of opprobrium for her colleagues and social media that descended around her. Her announcement and a few words from Sussex:
1) Sad to announce I’m leaving @SussexUni. Here’s the University statement. This has been a very difficult few years, but the leadership’s approach more recently has been admirable and decent. I hope that other institutions in similar situations can learn from this. https://t.co/eaYDERr03z
— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) October 28, 2021
*Big Biology News! According to The Atlantic, two California condor females reproduced parthenogenetically—that is, without having fathers. Their mothers apparently were capable of producing diploid eggs with two sets of chromosomes. This isn’t the first time it’s been seen in birds, as turkeys and chickens have shown the phenomenon, as well as many other species. We don’t know what happened, but the parthenogenesis was detected via DNA tests–after death. Both condors had health problems, and that may mean that somehow the process created complete homozygosity, which would expose recessive genetic defects. We wouldn’t want to do this to revive the endangered species, as the same mothers reproduced normally, and we don’t want a bunch of sick, inbred condors.
*In a column called, “A farewell to readers,” Nick Kristof announce he’s giving up his job as a columnist at the New York Times to—of all things—run for the governorship of Oregon. Why? Because he wishes to engage more fully in academic life. As he says:
I love journalism, but I also love my home state. I keep thinking of Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,” he said. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
I’m bucking the journalistic impulse to stay on the sidelines because my heart aches at what classmates have endured and it feels like the right moment to move from covering problems to trying to fix them.
I hope to convince some of you that public service in government can be a path to show responsibility for communities we love, for a country that can do better. Even if that means leaving a job I love.
Good luck to him; I hope he wins, but I have no idea whether a journalist with no political experience is electable.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 753,050, an increase of 1,381 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,998,691, an increase of about 8,700 over yesterday’s total. Tomorrow the world death toll will pas five million people.
Stuff that happened on October 29 includes:
- 1390 – First trial for witchcraft in Paris leading to the death of three people.
- 1618 – English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.
Raleigh was imprisoned twice, the first time from 1603 to 1616, and then before his death. Here’s his comfortable cell in the Tower of London, and a contemporary portrait of the man by William Segar.
Here’s what purports to be his first use of the long s sign (I’ve circled it):
- 1787 – Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.
- 1863 – Eighteen countries meet in Geneva and agree to form the International Red Cross.
- 1901 – In Amherst, Massachusetts, nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.
Toppan, below, confessed to 31 murders though only 12 were proven. Her method was poisoning or injection with morphine or strychnine. Her ambition was “to have killed more people—helpless people—than any other man or woman who ever lived”. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity but institutionalized for the rest of her life.
- 1901 – Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley, is executed by electrocution.
Czolgosz, an anarchist, killed McKinley at the Pan-American exposition in Buffalo, New York, using a pistol wrapped in a handkerchief. The one wound in the stomach wouldn’t be lethal today, but McKinley died of infection eight days later, making Teddy Roosevelt the new President. Here’s a drawing of the assassination and the pistol and handkerchief Czolgosz used. The assassin was electrocuted 45 days after McKinley’s death.
- 1921 – The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College, ending a 25-game winning streak. This is considered one of the biggest upsets in college football.
Here’s the Centre College team that defeated Harvard 6-0. They are quite proud of their achievement:
- 1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of ’29 or “Black Tuesday”, ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: In the Kaunas Ghetto, over 10,000 Jews are shot by German occupiers at the Ninth Fort, a massacre known as the “Great Action”.
- 1969 – The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. [see above]
- 1998 – In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.
- 2015 – China announces the end of One-child policy after 35 years.
- 2020 – Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition in the United Kingdom is suspended from the Labour Party following his response to findings from the EHRC on the issue of antisemitism within the party.
I told you Labour harbored anti-Semitic elements!
Notables born on this day include:
Her real name was Fania Borach (she was Jewish), and she was played by Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl”. A photo:
Her most famous song:
And the recreation by Barbra Streisand, a terrific rendition (she’s weeping because she’s just been dumped by Nicky Arnstein):
Here’s Goebbels’s famous Sportpalast speech in 1943 calling for “total war” (“totaler Krieg”) by Germany and the extermination of the Jews. He was a powerful orator. (There are English subtitles.)
- 1910 – A. J. Ayer, English philosopher and author (d. 1989)
- 1947 – Richard Dreyfuss, American actor and activist
- 1971 – Winona Ryder, American actress and producer
Those who took Eternal Rest on October 29 were few, and include:
- 1957 – Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American production manager and producer (b. 1885)
- 1971 – Duane Allman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1946)
Killed in a motorcycle crash at 24, Allman was already one of the world’s best rock guitarists. Here’s a rare live recording of the Allman Brothers showing Duane in action: “Whipping Post” (1970)
- 1971 – Arne Tiselius, Swedish biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
- 1995 – Terry Southern, American novelist, essayist, screenwriter, (b. 1924)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is making important observations:
A: Hili…Hili: “Don’t disturb. I’m observing how night is approaching.
Ja: Hili…Hili: Nie przeszkadzaj, obserwuję jak noc się zbliża.
Baby Kulka on the microwave:
Titania has a spoof article out:
“If all opinions that I disagree with were made illegal, fascism would be over.”
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 27, 2021
From Barry, who adds “I love how he turns around for the other photographers: ‘Don’t I look magnificent?’ Sound off, by the way. The music is pointless.”
This Griffon Vulture with a massive wingspan being released into the wild. pic.twitter.com/9J1j2U5Dar
— MERLINA ADDAMS (@sabri44220662) October 26, 2021
From Simon. The photo has been removed, but I put one below to show what was in the tweet:
David Hampton planted larch trees in the Douglas fir forest in Oregon to create a smiley face. It returns each fall and makes a happy showing. pic.twitter.com/KymQZW4Yhv
— Khai (@ThamKhaiMeng) October 26, 2021
Here’s the picture from iFunny:
From the Auschwitz Memorial. This woman lived less than two months after arrival.
29 October 1888 | A Polish woman, Zofia Burzyńska, was born in Wola Filipowska.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 29, 2021
Tweets from Matthew: sunrise over the Pacific.
— Prof Emma L Johnston AO FTSE (@DrEmmaLJohnston) October 27, 2021
Wide eyes and head bobbing say “Get away!”
look at this owlet nightjar telling me in no uncertain terms to piss off out of its nest pic.twitter.com/M41spEx1g0
— Dr SWIFT PARROT (@teamswiftparrot) October 26, 2021
A science joke for the chemists:
— Andrew Doig (@AndrewJDoig1) October 7, 2021
. . . and a wonderful photograph by Alfred Eisenstadt, who turned his camera on the audience:
Photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt at a puppet show during the exact moment the dragon was slain. (Paris, 1963) pic.twitter.com/xPbohoRL6U
— International Times (@intltimes) October 7, 2021