First, watch Artemis-1 go around the Moon! Video here and more details below. Do it NOW!
If you go back to about 7:10 a.m. Eastern time, you can see the Earth disappear as Orion goes around the back side of the Moon. Here’s a screenshot:
Good morning on Monday, November 21, 2022: it’s Thanksgiving this Thursday, so most Americans will get a four-day weekend. In preparation for Thursday’s feast, it’s National Cranberry Day. Did you know that cranberries are evergreen shrubs, native to the Northern Hemisphere, and are cultivated in bogs? Here’s a plant in situ and a bunch of berries waiting for harvest:
It’s also Pumpkin Pie Day (I have a big four-pounder from Costco: it’s only $5.99 and it’s good), National Stuffing Day, National Gingerbread Day, World Television Day (United Nations observance), and Alascattalo Day:
Alascattalo Day honors Alaskan humor and is named for the alascattalo, a fictitious animal that is a cross between a moose and a walrus, that is said to have been bred by miners during the Alaskan Gold Rush around the turn of the twentieth century.:
The Google Doodle today (click on screenshot) is an animation that celebrates the life and work of Marie Tharp (1920-2006), whose discovery of the MId-Atlantic Rift provided strong evidence for continental drift. Click the arrow at bottom right of each successive screen to advance the narrative:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 21 Wikipedia page.
*I don’t know if Twitter is circling the drain, but Elon Musk has reinstated a previously banned account. You know who!:
Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump‘s account on Twitter Inc. after polling users on the platform, broadening the former president’s potential reach days after he declared another run for the White House.
The move also underscored how Mr. Musk has made himself the principal decider on all things Twitter after buying the platform for $44 billion late last month. Mr. Musk had previously said he would establish a content council to weigh in on account reinstatements.
The Twitter poll that Mr. Musk launched Friday recorded 51.8% of votes in favor of reinstating Mr. Trump’s account and 48.2% against.
“The people have spoken,” Mr. Musk tweeted Saturday evening. “Trump will be reinstated.”
Minutes later, Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was restored, though he hadn’t tweeted as of midday Sunday. His most recent tweet was dated Jan. 8, 2021.
The people have spoken.
Trump will be reinstated.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
Reinstate former President Trump
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
As of this morning, the Donald still hadn’t tweeted; check his account to see if he comes back or, in another petulant fit, stays off Twitter permanently. He has 86.3 million followers but is following only 49 people, including Mitch McConnell, Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Roma Downey (?), Laura Ingraham, Mike Pence, Tucker Carlson, Geraldo Rivera, Greta Van Susteren, and most of his family
*Yesterday afternoon, at least five people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Spring, Colorado. The gunman, who used a long rifle, was subdued by the patrons:
The police received an initial call about a shooting at the nightclub at 11:56 p.m., said Lt. Pamela Castro, the Colorado Springs Police Department spokeswoman. Within six minutes, officers had entered the nightclub, Club Q, and had taken a suspect into custody, she said, adding that the suspect was also injured and being treated at a hospital.
The city’s police chief, Adrian Vasquez, said in a news conference that the gunman had used a long rifle. Two guns were recovered at the club, the chief said. He identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, and said that officials were investigating a motive.
The injured were taken to several hospitals, Lieutenant Castro said, adding that some also drove themselves to seek treatment, making the exact number of injured uncertain. Not all of the injuries were from gunshot wounds, officials said.
The F.B.I. said that it was involved in the investigation, and several Colorado lawmakers condemned the shooting. In a statement, Gov. Jared Polis praised the “brave individuals” at the nightclub who had “blocked the gunman.”
The man identified by authorities as the suspect in the nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs Saturday night appears to have been arrested last year, accused of engaging in a lengthy standoff with the police after threatening to hurt his mother with a homemade bomb.
I looked up Colorado Congresswoman Lauren “Glock Momma” Boebert’s Twitter account:
The news out of Colorado Springs is absolutely awful.
This morning the victims & their families are in my prayers.
This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) November 20, 2022
Prayers don’t help but more restrictions on guns might have.
*The incident above adds to the total of mass shootings this year, which is up to 601. That means we’ve nearly tied the record for years up to November 19, which was 633 last year.
Mass shootings — where four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed — have averaged more than one per day so far this year. Not a single week in 2022 has passed without at least four mass shootings.
Mass shootings have been on the rise in recent years. In 2021, almost 700 such incidents occurred, a jump from the 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019. Before that, incidents had not topped 400 annually since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking in 2014.2022 is close behind the high reached last year when comparing the same time period.
The Washington Post gives a graph of mass shootings during the last nine years, which shows a palpable increase over time, more than doubling. 601 means an average of nearly 1.9 shootings per day so far this year.
*The NYT describes “The Royal Game of Ur“, the oldest board game in existence (see also Wikipedia, the source of the photos below). It’s way old!
The original name of this ancient game has been lost to time, but it was dubbed the Royal Game of Ur after a British archaeologist named Sir Leonard Woolley uncovered five worn playing boards in 1928 at the Royal Cemetery of the Sumerian city of Ur. Analysts estimated that the highly decorated boards, made of wood, inlaid shell and lapis lazuli, were made between 2,600-2,400 B.C., making the Royal Game of Ur the oldest complete tabletop game ever discovered.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the game (which is also called the Game of 20 Squares) was immensely popular with people of all classes. The boards were carried all over the Middle East — and sometimes scratched into clay or rock, if no board was available — by soldiers, missionaries, explorers and traders, who introduced it to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Cyprus and Crete. Variations of the game have been found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb, and etched into pillars in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon II.
The rules of the game were discovered on a clay table two millennia later:
Enter Irving Finkel, a curator and Assyriologist at the British Museum. In the 1980s, Dr. Finkel translated a cuneiform script on a crumbling clay tablet that had been brought to the museum by an antiquities dealer. The document sounded remarkably like the rules of an ancient game.
Written in 177-176 B.C. by a scribe named Itti-Marduk-balatu, the tablet was discovered around 1880 in the ruins of Babylon, according to an academic paper written by Dr. Finkel.
. . . Scholars tried to decipher the cuneiform over the years, but it was Dr. Finkel who was able to identify the text on the tablet as instructions on how to play the Royal Game of Ur after comparing it to the other game boards the museum had stored in its archives.
The Babylonian tablet revealed that the game is a race between two players to get their markers around and off the board.
Pyramid-shaped dice are used to indicate the number of squares a player can move, but strategy is involved as well: If a player lands on a square occupied by their opponent, they can knock that marker off, and the opponent must start over again with that piece. That can set a player back by quite a bit, and it is almost impossible to predict who will win, even near the end of the game.
But there was another aspect of the game that attracted people: It was said to tell a player’s fortune. According to the cuneiform tablet, some of the marked squares on the board were assigned signs of the zodiac and, with them, predictions that a player would win a beer, make a friend, eat well, or perhaps become powerful and wealthy.
The NYT article includes a paper copy of the game, so you can play it yourself, though astrological predictions are up to you.
*Farewell, Nancy Pelosi, who will stay in the House but has surrendered her leadership roles. I think Pelosi did a great job, and so does Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo, who extols the Speaker in an editorial called, “Distinguished pol of the week: The most powerful woman in American politics ever.” Rubin links to the video below, which I remember well (watch the first 30 seconds if you’re pressed for time). The graceful insouciance with which Pelosi rips up Trump’s speech is fantastic.
*Finally, an Artemis update from Jim Batterson:
(From NASA public schedules and Space.com and SpaceNews news releases)
It is almost there, folks! As of yesterday morning, the NASA Artemis-1 Orion spacecraft is just one day out from the Moon:. 230,000 miles from Earth and 55,000 miles from the moon. This morning it should pass around the back of the moon (as seen from Earth) starting at 0725 EST, passing approximately 80 miles above the lunar surface at 0757 EST and re-emerging into view at 0759 EST. It will fire its main engine at 0744 EST, which I think is to start to elongate its lunar orbit. Be sure to tune in about 8:00 AM EST.
Here is an excellent SpaceNews summary of the past week’s activity as well as what is scheduled later this week.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is impatient:
Hili: I’m imagining spring.A: Cool it, it’s not winter yet.
Hili: Wyobrażam sobie wiosnę.Ja: Spokojnie, jeszcze nie ma prawdziwej zimy.
. . . and a photo of Baby Kulka by Andrzej:
From Merilee; I think you can translate the French:
From Stash Krod:
From Now That’s Wild:
God has left Twitter! OMG!
Well, I'm out.
This is My final tweet.
From now on you can find Me at https://t.co/9gNNgte22R.
It's been a great ride, and the ride continues.
Fuck you Elon Musk, you anti-union, megalomaniacal, X Æ A-XII-son-calling piece of shit.
Please retweet this and then join Me.
— God (Not a Parody, Actually God) (@TheTweetOfGod) November 20, 2022
The latest news from Iran via Masih:
AbdolAbad, #Tehran, Nov 20;
Security forces are shooting at people in AbdolAbad district in southern Tehran. This district hosts part of Terhan’s #Bazaar.
Strike in Bazaar was a significant step during the revolution of 1979 in Iran.#IranRevolutionpic.twitter.com/Zk6vr8wHhD
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 20, 2022
From Luana, who says, “This is hilarious! The remaining people know how to code”:
Twitter before Elon vs Twitter after Elon pic.twitter.com/rnhsgWc2IN
— Lauren Chen (@TheLaurenChen) November 19, 2022
From Erik. The world is a duck!
— Terrible Maps (@TerribleMaps) November 19, 2022
From Barry: An obituary for Seth MacFarlane‘s cat, who just died:
Helix passed quietly and peacefully today. Loving as could be, friendly to people she knew and people she didn't, always sociable, always a great hang, and a world-class TV watcher. She had a long life, so to all reading this, have a drink tonight and raise a glass in her honor. pic.twitter.com/Ouz7o4JwVq
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) November 19, 2022
Cat socks from Malcolm. I actually bought some, but as a present for Elzbieta when I visit Poland right after Christmas:
🎁Funny Christmas Gifts🎁
The unique animal foot design makes your feet stand out and adds a lot of fun to your life.🤣
— Gopo Discovery (@GopoDiscovery) November 15, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a heartbreaking photo. Be sure to look at the enlarged version:
#WorldChildrensDay | A heart-breaking moment captured in an SS made picture of Hungarian Jews at #Auschwitz II-Birkenau in 1944. A child found a dandelion in the grass and is giving or showing it to an older boy. All the people in the picture were gassed soon afterwards. pic.twitter.com/ZLqvCFayF0
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 20, 2022
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a lovely murmuration:
I don’t think my videoing skills can fully show how breathtaking the Starlings were tonight. It actually moved me to tears!! I spent half an hour watching them as they all got themselves together before they all went down to roost in the Mere. pic.twitter.com/3VpzUXFNta
— MarburyBirds (@MarburyBirds) November 18, 2022
It’s a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLL! What were the chances?
— jonathan slater☮️(blue check mark) (@jonslater37) November 19, 2022
I’m not sure what kind of sport this is, but it appears to be a hybrid between curling, triple jumping, and karate. Sound up.
put this in the olympics pic.twitter.com/A8VzGMumFh
— Mr Steal Yo Signs (@ULTIMATEGRINGO) November 19, 2022