It’s Thursday, July 25, 2019, and we still have two months of summer to go, though the weather has turned refreshingly cool in Chicago. It’s National Parfait Day as well as National Wine and Cheese Day. For me it’s Fasting Day (Mondays and Thursdays).
News of the day (h/t Nilou): According to the BBC, the oldest known extract from Homer’s Odyssey has been found on a clay tablet, found in Olympia Greece and dated “to Roman times” (better dating is impending). The extract “contains 13 verses from the Odyssey’s 14th Rhapsody, in which Odysseus addresses his lifelong friend Eumaeus.” It will be interesting to compare this to other extracts to see how well an orally transmitted work was reproduced in writing. Here’s part of the tablet:
Stuff that happened on this day includes the following:
- 306 – Constantine I is proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops.
Constantine was, of course, the first emperor to convert to Christianity, and promoted Christianity heavily in the Empire, including calling for the first council of Nicaea.
- 1603 – James VI of Scotland is crowned king of England (James I of England), bringing the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland into personal union. Political union would occur in 1707.
- 1783 – American Revolutionary War: The war’s last action, the Siege of Cuddalore, is ended by a preliminary peace agreement.
- 1797 – Horatio Nelson loses more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife (Spain).
- 1866 – The United States Congress passes legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant becomes the first to be promoted to this rank.
- 1909 – Louis Blériot makes the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine from (Calais to Dover, England, United Kingdom) in 37 minutes.
Here’s some footage of Blériot making his flight in what looks to be a rather rickety plane:
- 1934 – The Nazis assassinate Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.
- 1965 – Bob Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.
There’s a whole Wikipedia entry on “Electric Dylan controversy” (link above), and here’s the very first song in his set, “Maggie’s Farm”. I can’t hear the audience boos on this video, but maybe you can:
- 1976 – Viking program: Viking 1 takes the famous Face on Mars photo.
Here’s that photo, and it is striking:
This fired up many believers in extraterrestrial intelligence, including those who thought that the “face” was evidence for an ancient civilization on Mars. But it would be remarkable, no, if the Mars aliens looked just like humans? It would be a spectacular case of convergent evolution, though one could argue that Earthlings somehow came from Mars. But, given evidence for human evolution on Earth, that seems impossible.
But over 20 years later, this picture of the “face” was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor:
And Wikipedia says this, giving similar instances of pareidolia on Earth:
Since it was originally first imaged, the face has been accepted by scientists as an optical illusion, an example of the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that “a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination”. Similar optical illusions can be found in the geology of Earth; examples include the Old Man of the Mountain, the Romanian Sphinx, Giewont, the Pedra da Gávea, the Old Man of Hoy, Stac Levenish, Sleeping Ute, and the Badlands Guardian.
Have a look at all the formations.
More stuff that happened on July 25.
- 1978 – Birth of Louise Joy Brown, the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation, or IVF.
- 1984 – Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the first woman to perform a space walk.
- 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes classified documents about the War in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history.
Brown, who turns 41 today, has a new book that she flogs on her website:
- 1848 – Arthur Balfour, Scottish-English lieutenant and politician, 33rd Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1930)
- 1870 – Maxfield Parrish, American painter and illustrator (d. 1966)
I’m a big fan of Parrish, and here’s one of his illustrations for Puss in Boots (1913):
- 1875 – Jim Corbett, Indian hunter, environmentalist, and author (d. 1955)
- 1920 – Rosalind Franklin, English biophysicist, chemist, and academic (d. 1958)
- 1921 – Lionel Terray, French mountaineer (d. 1965)
- 1941 – Emmett Till, American lynching victim (d. 1955)
Notables who expired on July 25 were few, and include:
- 1834 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English philosopher, poet, and critic (b. 1772)
- 1997 – Ben Hogan, American golfer (b. 1912)
- 2008 – Randy Pausch, American computer scientist and educator (b. 1960)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is wheedling for noms:
Hili: Why is the garage open?A: Because I’m going shopping.Hili: I will make you a shopping list in a moment.
Hili: Dlaczego garaż jest otwarty?
Ja: Bo jadę na zakupy.
Hili: Zaraz zrobię ci listę.
A meme sent by Stephen Muth:
Another cat meme from FB:
A tweet Grania sent me on November 29 of last year:
In an email titled “Lizard heaven,” reader j.j. sent a tweet showing a lizard enjoying a “never-ending snack of ants,” but wants to know what species the lizard is. Readers?
— Unusual Videos 🤔 (@UnusualVideos) July 22, 2019
Reader Simon has contributed his first tweet, and it’s a good one, showing a lazy Larry the Cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (that’s an official British government title):
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) July 23, 2019
A tweet from Nilou; Steve finally made it!
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This one is very cute!
All it took was a glare to stop this kitten in its tracks:
Two tweets from Matthew. The first is “Pet Fennecs Gone Wild”:
This one’s hard to read, so I pulled the photo and enlarged it below the tweet. What a jerk that woman was (and I mean the one who’s having a girl):