Welcome to the the week’s end (or beginning, depending on how you view it; I always thought Sunday should be to the right of the calendar. Anyway, it’s Sunday, January 23, 2022: National Pie Day. Pie is the best thing to have for breakfast. EXCEPT that it’s also National Rhubarb Pie Day, which is not only the worst of all possible pies, but a pie made with VEGETABLES! It is not fit for human consumption. Would you make these gritty stalks into a pie? Yes, I know people do, and those with faux leather palates actually like said pie. Since this is a matter of taste, I can’t say they’re wrong; all I can say is that they have faux leather palates.
News of the Day:
*As Russia prepares to invade Ukraine (I predict by Feb 10), the U.S. has refused to promise that Ukraine won’t join NATO. The latest news is that 100,000 Russian troops are still massed on Ukraine’s border, and there seems to be a Russian plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a Russian stooge.
The U.S. and several of its allies have pledged to hammer Russia with economic and other sanctions if it expands an invasion of Ukraine that began in 2014. But the range of interventions available to Russia short of an outright invasion—from cyberattacks to disinformation to provocations—complicates the West’s response. Top Ukrainian officials say they believe that the Kremlin is more likely to seek to destabilize Ukraine and remove its leadership rather than launching a full-scale military invasion.
. . . The [British] Foreign Office’s statement named an ex-lawmaker as the Russian candidate for prime minister and cited Russian intelligence links with four former senior officials who fled to Russia in 2014 when their boss, then-President Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted during mass street protests.
Putin has ripped off his shirt, flexed, and is getting ready to mount his horse.
*As NBC News ends its daily newscast: “There’s good news tonight!” Here’s mine. Axios reports that a federal judge in Florida has barred the University of Florida from preventing its professors from testifying against voting-restriction bills. I’ve written about this before, but here’s the Axios quick summary (h/t Jean)
Catch up quick: The order comes after three professors brought a lawsuit against the University of Florida for being prohibited from serving as expert witnesses or filing amicus briefs in cases against the state.
- The professors were told that their actions could be considered against the university’s best interest.
- Three other professors — a pediatrics professor and two law professors — later joined the lawsuit.
What he’s saying: “UF has bowed to perceived pressure from Florida’s political leaders and has sanctioned the unconstitutional suppression of ideas out of favor with Florida’s ruling party.”
*Holy bouncing boulders, Batman! The NYT reports pretty good evidence of boulder tracks, indicate bouncing rocks, on the surface of Mars. This indicates seismic activity that rattles the bounders in a way that leaves traces. To wit:
If a rock falls on Mars, and no one is there to see it, does it leave a trace? Yes, and it’s a beautiful herringbone-like pattern, new research reveals. Scientists have now spotted thousands of tracks on the red planet created by tumbling boulders. Delicate chevron-shaped piles of Martian dust and sand frame the tracks, the team showed, and most fade over the course of a few years.
A study of these ephemeral features on Mars, published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, says that such boulder tracks can be used to pinpoint recent seismic activity on the red planet. This new evidence that Mars is a dynamic world runs contrary to the notion that all of the planet’s exciting geology happened much earlier, said Ingrid Daubar, a planetary scientist at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “For a long time, we thought that Mars was this cold, dead planet.”
Here are two photos of the boulder tracks:
Why do they mostly go in a straight line? That’s easy: the boulders are being bounced downhill by Marsquakes. What I don’t know is where Marksquakes come from, though I could look it up. On Earth, many earthquakes come from the shifting of the crust along fault lines, but there are other causes as well. I suspect Mars, which has no continental plates, has no fault lines, either. But some knowledgable reader will fill us in, right?
*The Democratic Party of Arizona has voted to reprimand Senator Kyrsten Sinema, giving her a gentle potch in tuchas for her desire to keep the filibuster (which in turn stymies Democratic legislation. This vote has no practical consequences for her, but it may presage this being her last term as an Arizona Senator (she has four more years till she’s up for re-election:
Sinema had said on Wednesday that although she backed the Democrats’ voting rights bills, she feared that eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote requirement for major legislation would add to the country’s divisions. With Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) joining Republicans in opposition to filibuster changes, Democrats’ immediate hopes of passing voting rights legislation were dashed.
. . .Sinema, who does not face reelection until 2024, could face a primary challenge from Rep. Ruben Gallego, who told CNN this week that he had been encouraged to run by other Senate Democrats.
Arizona’s other Senate seat is held by Mark Kelly (D), who had wavered on the filibuster but ultimately backed scrapping it to pass the voting rights bills. He is up for reelection in November, and his seat is expected to be among the most competitive in the nation this year.
*Escaped simians on a Pennsylvania highway! The New York Times reports this:
The Pennsylvania State Police said that a pickup truck with an enclosed trailer full of 100 monkeys had collided with a dump truck and that four of the monkeys had escaped.
The cynomolgus monkeys, which are often used in scientific research and can cost up to $10,000 each, had been on their way to a lab in Florida when the crash happened at about 3:20 p.m. on Route 54 near Interstate 80 in Montour County, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the State Police said.
No people were hurt, but troopers and state wildlife officials responded as the search for the monkeys intensified into the evening hours. A State Police helicopter was also put on standby but had not been deployed for aerial reconnaissance, Trooper Lauren Lesher, a State Police spokeswoman, said.
As of Saturday morning, only one monkey was unaccounted for, according to state troopers.
Well, they would have died from the cold, but they were bound for death anyway: they were being used for virus research. I wish they’d all gotten away in a warmer clime, where at least they’d have a chance. Here’s a cynomolgus monkey, also known as the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis):
*From Canada’s National Post, an article summarized by reader Chrstopher:
It seems like the Toronto District School Board isn’t the only one (remember they banned a book club from reading Marie Henein’s autobiography and Nadia Murad’s memoir of her time as an ISIS captive?) Now the Waterloo District School Board has banned a board member, a 20-year teacher, from school property, suspended her without pay and reported her to authorities for offending against the Ontario Human Rights Act. Why? She said she wasn’t sure it was appropriate to have books in elementary school libraries that encouraged gender transition, specifically one that dismissed the decision of whether to transition and lose the possibility of children in the future with the child’s reply “It’s cool.” And this was at a meeting intended to identify inappropriate books and cull them, but they were expecting to throw out racist and misogynistic authors like Enid Blyton, not to hear this kind of heresy.
Now I don’t think any teacher or library should ban these books, but neither should the school suspend a teacher who calls them into question. Canada needs to learn more about American-style freedom of speech!
*This looks like a great post-retirement job for me—but only if they’d let me serve Tatylor’s Landlord (click on the screenshot):
A mother-of-two who jumped through an ice hole in a frozen river to mark Orthodox Epiphany was swept away, presumed dead, by strong currents in front of her screaming children.
A deeply distressing video shows the woman, 40, plunge into the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.
There was immediate panic after the woman, a lawyer from St Petersburg was pulled beneath the ice by a powerful current of around 10ft a second.
Her distressed children scream and one is heard crying ‘Mama, Mama’, as a woman tries to comfort them.
A mother-of-two, 40, jumped into a frozen river to mark Christian Orthodox Epiphany on Wednesday
Here’s the plunge, and the video (on the fail: warning–distressing: children scream) shows her disappearing immediately. Her husband immediately jumped into the water, but the woman had already been swept away by the icy water:
The lawyer, from St Petersburg, intended to dip in the waters to mark Christian Orthodox Epiphany in a tradition followed annually by hundreds of thousands of Russian believers.
People believe that water blessed for the annual ceremony possesses special healing properties.
Some people go into the icy waters on their own, while others often take part in the celebration in groups as they remembered the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.
A hole had been cut into the thick ice and the air temperature was around -5C when the woman jumped in.
On the video you can her hear two children scream as the woman disappears. Divers were brought in but couldn’t find her body, either. Now if there hadn’t been religion, this woman would have lived and her two children would have a mom. It’s just God’s plan, I suppose. . . . he wants people to plunge into ice holes.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 865,116 an increase of 2,152 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,611,193, an increase of about 6,500 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 23 includes:
- 971 – Using crossbows, Song dynasty troops soundly defeat a war elephant corps of the Southern Han at Shao.
Here’s a Rajput painting of war elephants. Sometimes they had blades fitted to their tusks (second photo)!:
- 1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
- 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States’ first female doctor.
Here she is; she later gave up private practice to engage in medical education:
- 1937 – The trial of the anti-Soviet Trotskyist center sees seventeen mid-level Communists accused of sympathizing with Leon Trotsky and plotting to overthrow Joseph Stalin‘s regime.
All 16 defendants, of course, were convicted and sentenced to death: a bullet in the back of the head in the cellars of the Lubyanka.
- 1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.
Here’s a pro-neutrality speech by Lindy in 1941. He was a true Nazi sympathizer, an anti-Semite (note his mention of pro-war “Jews” below), and they should remove his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, from the Smithsonian.
- 1957 – American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the “Frisbee”.
Below: “A memorial disc containing some of the ashes of Ed Headrick [Wham-O’s general manager], on display at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, London”
- 1964 – The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, is ratified.
- 1968 – USS Pueblo (AGER-2) is attacked and seized by the Korean People’s Navy.
Here’s the photo of the captured Pueblo sailors flipping the bird to the photographer. Note the photo caption: “North Korean Propaganda Photograph of prisoners of USS Pueblo. Photo and explanation from the Time article that blew the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign secret. The sailors were flipping the middle finger, as a way to covertly protest their captivity in North Korea, and the propaganda on their treatment and guilt. The North Koreans for months photographed them without knowing the real meaning of flipping the middle finger, while the sailors explained that the sign meant good luck in Hawaii.”
- 1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
- 1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
- 2002 – U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered.
Pearl was beheaded, and the Pakistani courts acquitted the main suspect. Pearl in captivity:
- 2020 – The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 pandemic to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s Manet’s “Woman with a Cat” (1875):
- 1862 – David Hilbert, German mathematician and academic (d. 1943)
Hilbert looking cool:
- 1897 – Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian freedom fighter and politician (d. 1945)
- 1910 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and composer (d. 1953)
Perhaps the greatest jazz guitarist ever Reinhardt was even greater since he used only two fingers on the fretboard, the others having been injured in a fire accident. Here he is swinging with his longtime music pal, Stéphane Grappelli:
- 1919 – Ernie Kovacs, American actor and game show host (d. 1962)
- 1938 – Giant Baba, Japanese wrestler and promoter, founded All Japan Pro Wrestling (d. 1999)
Here’s Giant Baba in 1964. He had gigantism, and was 6′ 10″:
Another giant baba:
Those who exited stage down on January 23 include:
- 1516 – Ferdinand II of Aragon (b. 1452)
- 1803 – Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer, founded Guinness (b. 1725)
- 1806 – William Pitt the Younger, English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1759)
- 1883 – Gustave Doré, French engraver and illustrator (b. 1832)
I love Doré. Here’s his engraving of Puss in Boots:
Here’s Pavlova, who had abnormally arched feet and thus also invented the modern pointe shoe:
- 1944 – Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter and illustrator (b. 1863)
- 1947 – Pierre Bonnard, French painter (b. 1867)
“The White Cat’ by Pierre Bonnard:
- 1973 – Kid Ory, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1886)
- 1985 – James Beard, American chef and cookbook author for whom the James Beard Foundation Awards are named (b.1905)
- 1989 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1904)
Dali had a pet ocelot named Babou. Can you name another famous person who had a pet ocelot?
- 2004 – Helmut Newton, German-Australian photographer (b. 1920)
Here’s Newton’s well known photo “Woman Examining Man“:
- 2005 – Johnny Carson, American talk show host, television personality, and producer (b. 1925)
- 2015 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1931)
- 2021 – Larry King, American journalist and talk show host (b. 1933)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s still a bit wary of Szaron:
Hili: Take him away from there.A: Why?Hili: I don’t like it when somebody looks at me from above.
Hili: Zabierz go stamtąd.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: Nie lubię jak ktoś patrzy na mnie z góry.
From Stash Krod: An R. Crumb cartoon showing how prescient the artist was:
From Malcolm. All the claims here are “verified” on Wikipedia. Curiously, Triboulet suffered from microcephaly.
From Titania. I visited one university where professor had to undergo “furry training” to deal with students who identify as animals (they sometimes wore horns or tails), but I had no idea that catering to the needs of furries could go this far!
This so-called “parent” wants schools to get rid of the litter trays they’ve installed for pupils who identify as cats.
This kind of thing could cause serious damage to the mental health of transfeline children. pic.twitter.com/hRid9gIV2Y
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 22, 2022
Two from Simon. First, Boris Time!
Street protests we can believe in, https://t.co/j4odutPGk4
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) January 14, 2022
Isn’t it pretty to think so?
— Dwüdles (@Dwudles) January 11, 2022
From Reader Sue. I posted this recently, but I love the new interpretation (the goat reminds me of a Twitter muttonhead).
Twitter, explained in 15 seconds pic.twitter.com/4dp4qytgwf
— David Hobby (@strobist) January 10, 2022
From God. Who would put out a Christmas card like this. What are they trying to say?
The problem with government of the people, by the people, and for the people, is these people. pic.twitter.com/4HHEvdjsRf
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) December 4, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Pity that the water’s gone from here:
These mountains on Mars are the walls of an impact crater that formed over 3.5 billion years ago. A watery lake is thought to have filled the crater shortly after and since dried up. This is #AstroTwitter
Video made from images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover/JPL-Caltech/MSSS pic.twitter.com/VXENxjzmjL
— Dr. James O'Donoghue (@physicsJ) January 21, 2022
Every cat needs one of these!
— Clare Starling (@Clare_Starling) January 21, 2022
How fantastic: the joy of jumping around!
Baby flamingoes dancing is a genuine joy pic.twitter.com/virIDlAqIQ
— Giles Paley-Phillips (@eliistender10) January 20, 2022
Be sure to enlarge and read this concise but important piece of science:
— Severine Lamon (@LamonSeverine) September 30, 2021