Welcome to Thursday, November 18, as we barrel down the week. It’s National Apple Cider Day, and if you have patience, buy a few gallon jugs of unpasteurized cider and let them ferment for a while. They get better!
NB: An offer for today only (the 50th anniversary of the Egg McMuffin). You’ll need to have a McDonald’s app on your phone (click on screenshot to read):
It’s also National Vichysoisse Day (big time cultural appropriation), Nouveau Beaujolais Day (don’t bother drinking it), International Guinness Records Day, World Philosophy Day, and Mickey Mouse Day, celebrating the third appearance of the famous rodent on this day in 1928 in the cartoon “Steamboat Willie”. It’s considered Mickey’s birthday.
And here he is! It’s a good cartoon. Note that there’s a quacking duck at 2:07, who is also used as a bagpipe at 5:28. Minnie Mouse is there, too, and gets picked up by her underwear.
Finally, it’s Fly Day, which you can follow best at the first hashtag given below.
Apparently today is #FlyDay or #DrosophilaDay in honour of the day #Drosophila melanogaster line w1118 was isolated. Here are the flies that have passed through our lab this year (Thanks to @Dhobiptera @popgen_oumie @droso4nigeria @Bernard_Y_Kim @m_karageorgi @Dros_EU et al!) pic.twitter.com/C0BUO6mghb
— Darren Obbard (@DarrenObbard) November 18, 2021
News of the Day:
*Jacob Chansley, the “Q-Anon Shaman” who charged the Capitol on January 6 with a fur hat and Viking horns, with face painted and carrying a spear flying the American flag, has been given one of the harshest sentences yet for his behavior on that day of insurrection. Jacob will be cooling his heels for a long 41 months—about 3½ years, though he’s already served nearly ten months of the sentence while awaiting trial. The long sentence apparently comes from the judge wanting to make an example of Chansley, and other judges are likely to follow. The felony charge: obstructing an official proceeding before Congress. In his final statement, Chansley compared himself to Gandhi. I’m glad we won’t be hearing from him for a while.
*Two men convicted of murdering Malcolm X in 1965 are expected to be exonerated, with their recorded convictions thrown out after spending a total of 42 years in prison. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam were given an apology by Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the Manhattan district attorney:
A 22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal.
. . . Altogether, the re-investigation found that had the new evidence been presented to a jury, it may well have led to acquittals. And Mr. Aziz, 83, who was released in 1985, and Mr. Islam, who was released in 1987 and died in 2009, would not have been compelled to spend decades fighting to clear their names.
“This wasn’t a mere oversight,” said Deborah Francois, a lawyer for the men. “This was a product of extreme and gross official misconduct.”
Both men were ultimately released, but Islam died in 2009.
*The jury is still deliberating in the Kenosha, Wisconsin trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two men and wounding another. On their respective Substack websites, both Bari Weiss and Jesse Singal strongly suggest that although 17-year old Rittenhouse may be guilty of poor judgment carrying a semiautomatic rifle during unrest surrounding protests of a police shooting, he may not be guilty of murder. Both journalists say that Rittenhouse has a plausible claim of self defense, but the exculpatory facts have not been publicized by the liberal media because they contradict a desired narrative, which was thatRittenhouse was a white supremacist vigilante who killed two white men who were supporting Black Lives Matter and the killing of a black man by a cop.
Singal on poor media coverage:
Anyway, the point is the Slate article, like the Vice article, doesn’t reflect a sincere effort to fill readers in with all the necessary information they would need to understand and think through this situation. There is obfuscation afoot.
This worries the hell out of me. People aren’t stupid. There is already widespread distrust of mainstream media, and when stories like this one are covered in this manner, it undoubtedly drives people elsewhere, either to established right-wing news sources or to random YouTube weirdos, or what have you. You need to write about these stories in a complete and honest manner. It doesn’t make you a Trump supporter to provide the full context and to leave some ambiguous moral gaps for readers to fill in using their own values and judgement.
I can’t believe I even have to say this.
Read for yourself, and do subscribe if you read either site very often.
*Another school library kerfuffle: the Washington Post reports that a Spottsylvania, Virginia school board, which had previously decided to remove “sexually explicit” books from school libraries, have reversed their decision. As Jim Batterson wrote me, who sent me the link and was also on a Virginia school board:
A couple of parents complained to the school board about some books in the school library and the school board voted that night to have librarians remove the two books and immediately review content of all other possible offensive titles. One board member even suggested burning these two book! The good news is that the librarians, students, and public quickly rallied against this directive with four hours of public comment at a follow up school board meeting in which the board voted 5-2 to rescind their directive from the previous meeting and simply treat the parents’ complaint according to the existing book review policy already in place for such complaints. [The original banning did not follow school policy.]
Of course we all want to know, “What were the books they complained about?” The Post says this:
At the Nov. 8 meeting, a mother and father complained about two texts: “Call Me By Your Name,” an acclaimed novel that centers on a gay relationship, and “33 Snowfish,” a story about three homeless teens that was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association in 2004.
The mother called “33 Snowfish” “disgusting” for its discussion of sexual abuse. She added that she had searched the school system’s online library catalogue and found 172 hits for the word “gay,” as well as 84 hits for the word “lesbian.”
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 766,206, an increase of 1,088 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,142,093, an increase of about 9,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on November 18 includes:
Here’s the old Basilica as it looked between 1483 and 1506.
- 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island now known as Puerto Rico.
- 1626 – The new St Peter’s Basilica is consecrated.
Exactly 1300 years to the day after the old Basicila was consecrated! The new one (below) was designed in part by Michelangelo, and it is the largest church in the world in terms of interior space.
- 1872 – Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women are arrested for voting illegally in the United States presidential election of 1872.
Two great suffragetttes: Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (sitting):
- 1883 – American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
- 1910 – In their campaign for women’s voting rights, hundreds of suffragettes march to the British Parliament in London. Several are beaten by police, newspaper attention embarrasses the authorities, and the march is dubbed Black Friday.
The cops and many bystanders attacked and beat up the protestors. Here’s a report with a photo from the next day’s newspaper:
I’m disturbed by this photo of a suffragette being force-fed in Holloway Prison about 1911:
- 1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey’s birthday.
- 1963 – The first push-button telephone goes into service.
I still remember this; before that all we had were dial phones.
- 1978 – In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple to a mass murder–suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them in Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo Ryan is murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.
And I remember this photograph well, though it was hard to believe. Such is the power of faith. These people (and their kids) died by drinking Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid) laced with cyanide:
Here’s the 45-minute “death tape” which records Jones exhorting his followers to drink the poison and die. He then shot himself.
- 1993 – In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution, expanding voting rights and ending white minority rule.
- 2003 – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4–3 in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and gives the state legislature 180 days to change the law making Massachusetts the first state in the United States to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s an early daguerrotype with the Wikipedia caption, “View of the Boulevard du Temple, taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for four to five minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower right, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured. There is also what appears to be a young girl looking out of a window at the camera.
Gray, a professor of Harvard, was a big American supporter of Darwin after The Origin came out. Here’s Gray in 1864, five years after Darwin’s book appeared:
- 1836 – W. S. Gilbert, English playwright, poet, and illustrator (d. 1911)
- 1901 – George Gallup, American statistician and academic (d. 1984)
Gallup was instrumental in founding modern polling, but he screwed up big time on this prediction, which he made:
- 1906 – George Wald, American neurobiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997)
- 1939 – Margaret Atwood, Canadian novelist, poet, and critic
Those who went extinct on November 18 include:
- 1886 – Chester A. Arthur, American general, lawyer, and politician, 21st President of the United States (b. 1829)
- 1941 – Walther Nernst, German chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1864)
- 1978 – Jim Jones, American cult leader, founded Peoples Temple (b. 1931)
Jones apparently died on his birthday.
- 1994 – Cab Calloway, American singer-songwriter and bandleader (The Cab Calloway Orchestra) (b. 1907)
Calloway was a showman in front of his band. Here’s his most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher“, which he co-wrote:
- 1999 – Paul Bowles, American composer and author (b. 1910)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili warns Andrzej. Malgorzata explains, “If you are thinking again about what you will write you are not moving your arms. Without thinking the matter through Andrzej would start typing immediately and Hili, who is resting on his arm would be disturbed.”
Hili: Think it through.A: What am I supposed to think through?Hili: Whatever, as long as you don’t move your arm because that disturbs me.
Hili: Przemyśl to.Ja: Co mam przemyśleć?Hili: Cokolwiek, byleś nie ruszał ręką, bo mi to przeszkadza.
A Gary Larson cartoon from Thomas:
From Barry: an adorable video of a d*g helping a tiny kitten up the stairs:
Good morning Twitter and Happy Wednesday! pic.twitter.com/NHmm8NXEwv
— Coleen Ahearn (@AhearnColeen) November 17, 2021
A tweet from Ginger K., which helps refute those ostriches who claim that elements of Critical Race Theory don’t really make their way into schools. Note that this has nothing to do with the oppressions that occurred during the history of America.
This is from a "English Language Arts" class in a school here in NYC.
The people pushing this stuff should be run out of the institutions, before they ruin them. pic.twitter.com/IH368bb2dH
— Brent A. Williams, MD (@BrentAWilliams2) November 15, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
18 November 1942 | A transport of 1,000 Jews deported from the ghetto in Grodno arrived at #Auschwitz. SS doctors sent 165 men & 65 women to the camp. The remaining 770 people were murdered in gas chambers.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 18, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Look at this gorgeous and beefy lynx:
Absolute unit of a Canada Lynx.
(Photo: outdoor.planet) pic.twitter.com/gOF8NKzBvp
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) November 16, 2021
I had no idea that there were birds who carried their young in pouches! You can read more about them at the Tetrapod Zoology Podcast. Below the tweet is a single picture of a chick in the pouch of its father.
— Darren Naish (@TetZoo) November 16, 2021
Chick in pouch of dad; photo by M. Alvarez del Toro:
I guess the photographer somehow fixed his camera on the Milky Way, and the earth’s rotation is shown by the stationary galaxy:
This is literally a time lapse of the earth rotating. Coolest thing I have seen in ever. pic.twitter.com/yVCaR7itAO
— Avraham Z. Cooper, MD (@AvrahamCooperMD) February 13, 2021
A tough Bengal cat:
"i'm sorry but you know too much" pic.twitter.com/mslFereMNk
— Paul Bronks (@slender_sherbet) November 14, 2021
owls walking always look like they're headed straight to the headmaster to report you for insubordination pic.twitter.com/gndxeiSeQp
— Owl! at the Library 😴🧙♀️ (@SketchesbyBoze) November 10, 2021