Ireland repeals its 8th amendment

by Grania Spingies

When I look at the video of Savita Halappanavar dancing in the streets of Galway back in 2011, it brings tears to my eyes, because she will never dance or smile or laugh again. Ireland killed her. When she miscarried a year later, Ireland’s draconian position on abortion prevented her from getting the medical intervention she so desperately needed, and she died a few days later from septicemia.  I cannot even contemplate the anguish and anger of her husband and parents. This should never have happened in the 21st century.

Savita’s harrowing story was by no means unique, however it sparked a nationwide conversation in Ireland, one that was many decades overdue.

The campaign to repeal Ireland’s 8th Amendment has steadily grown in numbers and intensity from a time when few thought that a referendum would ever happen, to the point when the Repeal Campaign not only had the support of Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, but also the leader of the major opposition party Micheál Martin.

Only a few years ago this seemed unthinkable, not because many people did not want provision to be made for abortion, but because people genuinely feared that there would be little support in a country where traditionally so many of the laws were written under the influence of the Catholic Church. Under Irish law, a rape victim who procured an abortion was liable to serve a longer jail sentence than her rapist.

In recent years however, the Catholic Church has lost nearly all of its influence over the people of Ireland, in spite of still nominally being the majority religion of the country. The scandals of child abuse by the clergy, the exploitation of women in “Laundries” and the steady march of modernity and socioeconomic affluence has caused the Church to steadily lose members. More importantly, the Divorce referendum in 1995 and the Same-Sex Marriage referendum of 2015 showed that Irish Catholics no longer took their cues from the clergy.

 

So tarnished is the Church’s reputation that they deliberately tried to play a muted role in the No campaign, although they just couldn’t quite contain themselves, and the Bishops had Pro-Life letters read out in as many parishes as they could manage during Sunday Mass a couple of weeks ago. There is no such thing as separation of Church and State over here. The No side has fought a vigorous if at times bizarre campaign over the months leading up to the referendum. It’s been marked by unapologetic misinformation, scaremongering and outright lies that have had to be combated by doctors who publicly campaigned to repeal the amendment. I don’t mean to be glib. I am sure that there are anti-abortion people who have honest arguments for their position. The No campaign, however, chose to go with sensational and lurid schlock and horror instead, displaying crimson photos of unborn fetuses and an outright denial of medical reality.

There’s also been a visible presence of Pro-Life American evangelicals who blagged their way into Ireland for the purpose of trying to sway the vote against Pro-Choice. This may unintentionally have done more damage than good to their cause. Ireland is a small country, and it doesn’t take much for news to spread across the entire land. In addition, American-style religious witnessing and testifying doesn’t play well over here. Not only does it not generate a currency of respect, it is regarded as bad manners at best and more likely as the sign of an unhinged mind.

 

A sample of the No campaign’s supporters on Twitter: short on facts, high on melodrama, incapable of hiding their religious roots. Many of the below are also not Irish accounts which created a false impression of how much support the No side had. Tactically this isn’t smart as it generated a sense of urgency on the side of the Yes campaign to ensure maximal turnout at the voting station.

A final verdict on Friday night once the Exit Polls were published, and that verdict is Dances With Goats.

Some points worth noting:

Although the older demographic was expected to be guaranteed to vote ‘No’, a surprising number publicly chose to support the Yes to Repeal campaign. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising at all, as they—more so than anyone else—have lived through the worst human rights horrors in Ireland.

 

Around 40,000 Irish ex-pats are still eligible to vote and many of them returned to cast their ballot, as they did during the 2015 Same-Sex Marriage referendum. There are a multitude of stories of people crowd-sourcing the funds to purchase tickets to travel from all over the world, many of them Millennials who largely supported the Repeal campaign.

People also posted thoughts as they voted.

Final tallies of the vote confirm what last night’s exit polls promised. Ireland has voted to repeal its Eight Amendment allowing for legislation to make provision for abortion to be passed. The No campaign has conceded defeat. The mood is triumphant but emotional: the cost of reaching this point has been high and the cruelty of the past can never really be undone.

On a more long-term note, the Catholic Church has lost another major battle for the hearts and minds of the Irish people. Two last places remain to it: schools and hospitals. I predict that at least one of those will fall too once the Church tries to undermine abortion procedures (and it will) carried out in hospitals that it claims authority over. Just to be clear, the hospitals are entirely funded by Irish taxpayers. However the Catholic Church still has control over some hospitals as members of Boards of Directors. Legislators are going to have to address this in the coming months.

Caturday felids: Google cat maps; Mostik the bridge-supervising cat, a mouse-dunker; and the Yamato transport company

The city of Hiroshima has created a Google street map with a cat’s-eye view. Here’s the skinny from Business Insider:

If you’ve ever wanted to explore Japan as a cat, there’s a map for that.

The tourism board of Hiroshima recently created a site with street views from a cat’s perspective. It’s the first of its kind.

The map features streets in Onomichi, a port town east of Hiroshima. You can explore in 360 from a cat’s-eye view.

I can’t get the link to work, but let us know if you do. Here are some photos:

You can change the angle of the view, or even learn details about local shops that have blue icons (if you speak Japanese). You can also click any of the cat icons on lefthand side to teleport to a different location.

‘We’re seeking to introduce a different way to look at our cities,’ a Hiroshima tourism official told the Wall Street Journal. They chose to feature a map of Onomichi, because it boasts a very large population of stray cats.

The tourism board will add more locations to the map this month, including a famous shrine area in Onomichi. Now all cats will know where it’s at.

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Reader j.j. sent links about Mostik, a famous Russian cat. Her words are indented:

The bridge linking Crimea to Russia was just inaugurated by Putin by leading a convoy of trucks across the span; but did you know that a cat beat him to it?  The cat, Mostik (which means “Little Bridge,”), was the “chief supervisor” of the bridge construction and was the first one to cross it.  Here’s an article about him. Yeah, I know it’s a Russian news site, but this ain’t fake news.  It has the most comprehensive info on Mostik.  Also, here’s an excellent short video featuring this very hip cat. No subtitles.  I like his looks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NCLmFTs28A

Mostik, a former stray kitten taken in by builders and made the Kerch bridge project’s unofficial mascot in 2015, has a major following on social media, garnering nearly 20,000 followers on his Instagram and Facebook accounts, and the Russian social networking platform VKontakte.

The honorary ‘chief supervisor’ of the construction site has his own personal photographer. He’s also regularly driven around the construction site by a man named Mikhalych, inspecting progress made and allowing his followers to get the inside scoop on the current stage of the project.

On his days off, Mikhalych takes Mostik home, where he behaves like an ordinary cat and sleeps on his favorite red couch, the Crimean Bridge Information Center explainedto Sputnik’s sister agency RIA Novosti.

No one knows for sure when the orange and white cat was born, but workers choose to celebrate his birthday on November 29, the professional holiday of bridge builders in Russia. Last month, the cat celebrated his second birthday, and received a delicious bowl of shrimp from the builders.

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One of the most awesome cat videos ever posted. The nerve of that moggie!

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h/t: Snowy Owl, Barry, j.j.

Readers’ wildlife photos

Out in Iowa, reader Randy Schenck touts the benefits of a water bath for birds:

If one ever wonders how birds and water mix, do what I did.  Put a rock fountain in the yard, very close to the house.  Then just turn it on and wait.  The examples here are Cardinalis cardinalis and Turdus migratorius.  I try to get photos while the bathing action is in progress so you can see the water flying.  It is very easy to see in person but a bit harder to capture in photos while shooting through the window.  Birds line up on a hot day for this and they really go nuts.  Good entertainment.  The bath is self-cleaning and the water never runs out.

And while we’re on urban wildlife, reader Lorraine Brevig sent some photos that her friend Doug Hayes took.

The duck in the photos is a Mallard (A. platyrhynchos) and the squirrel with the blonde tail is an Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Both photos were taken in Forest Hill Park, Richmond, VA. 

Takeoff!

I’ve attached two more photos of Blondie. I know you’re fond of squirrels and she’s a beauty.

Does she or doesn’t she?

 

Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on a to-be-hot Saturday in Chicago: May 26, 2018, and National Blueberry Cheesecake Day. I’m a purist, and prefer mine plain, though with a bit of arm-twisting I can tolerate cherries on top. It’s National Sorry Day in Australia, a day of contrition for the horrible way the European settlers treated the aboriginal people.

As you’ve probably heard, yesterday’s referendum for repealing the anti-abortion part of the Irish constitution gave a resounding “Yes!”. Good news! Grania, our reporter on the ground in Ireland, will give a full report in a bit.

Ten years ago yesterday, the Phoenix Lander successfully touched down in the polar regions of Mars. Although it completed its mission in August, and gave up the ghost in November of 2008, it was successful as all the data planned for collection was in fact collected. Here’s a tweet from Mission Control at the moment of touchdown. I can only imagine the angst and then the glee in that room:

On this day in 1857, Dred Scott, the escaped slave who petitioned the Supreme Court for his freedom, only to have the Court rule (on March 6) that neither Scott nor any other person in America of African descent could be citizens, much less be absolutely free of slavery, was finally freed by his original owners. His freedom, though, was short-lived: he died of tuberculosis in September of 1858. On this day in 1868, the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson ended with his aquittal by a single vote.  On this day in 1896, Nicholas II became the last Tsar of Russia; he and his family were of course executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Here they are, photographed in 1913 or 1914. I don’t favor monarchies, but killing royal families is just out:

On this day in 1897, Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published. On this day in 1998, two events occurred: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the immigration gateway for millions (including my maternal grandparents) belonged mostly to New Jersey, not New York. Also, the first National Sorry Day was held in Australia (see above). I think such a day is great, but it has to be accompanied by provisions to overcome segregation.

Notables born on May 26 include Al Jolson (1886), photographer Dorothea Lange (1895), Peggy Lee (1920), Miles Davis (1926), Levon Helm (1940), Stevie Nicks (1948; she’s 70 today!), Sally Ride (1951), Lenny Kravitz (1964), and Zola Budd (remember her?) in 1966.

Dorothea Lange took many iconic photos of poverty during the Great Depression: here’s one of them:

A family traveling between Dallas and Austin, Texas. “The people have left their home and connections in South Texas, and hope to reach the Arkansas Delta for work in the cotton fields,” Lang wrote in her notes. “Penniless people. No food and three gallons of gas in the tank. The father is trying to repair a tire. Three children. Father says, ‘It’s tough but life’s tough anyway you take it.’  Dorothea Lange/Library of CongressAn

And, once again, what may be Nicks’s greatest performance, an impromptu accompaniment to a tape while she was being made up for a Rolling Stone Shoot:

Notables who died on May 26 include the monk Bede (735), Samuel Pepys (1703), Jimmie Rodgers (1933), Edsel Ford (1943). Martin Heidegger (1976), Art Linkletter (2010), and Zbigniew Brzezinski (2017; I once sat at a table next to that of  Brzezinski and his family in a Chinese restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is a bit arcane in her words. Malgorzata explains:

“Ecosystem” is a fashionable word. You do not have countryside, forest or a meadow any longer. You have “ecosystem” (which, of course, humans are destroying). Hili wants to follow the fashion but she means that when you are out in nature you have to be observant: any moment something edible (a mouse) can show itself, or something dangerous (an alien dog) can chase her.
Hili: One has to have open eyes.
A: On what?
Hili: On the ecosystem.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba mieć oczy otwarte.
Ja: Na co?
Hili: Na ekosystem.

From Matthew. A heartbreaking photo taken 74 years ago today.

A gray fox is serenaded by a scrub jay.

Watch the video: so many mayflies that they show up on radar:

What a great job! I’m fostering too, but my charges go back to nature, not to other people.

Not a face!

See?

A nice video showing inertia.

From Heather Hastie. Bats are our friends!

A tenacious kitten:

And a noble kakapo from Heather Hastie:

Pinker’s latest TED talk: Is the world getting better?

In case you don’t have the moxie to read Steve Pinker’s two latest books—The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now—you can see a summary of both in Steve’s new 18.5-minute TED talk. Posted three days ago, it concisely summarizes his theses that the world is getting better in almost every measurable way, that many liberals hate this progress as well as the general notion of progressivism, and that pessimism about the future is dangerous. He also analyzes what’s responsible for the progress he documents with endless data, and discusses why people simply don’t recognize that progress. It’s a good talk, dotted with humor, and also shows some defensiveness that’s come from Steve’s books being attacked by anti-progressives like the dolorous John Gray.

It’s hard to imagine that there are those who, in the face of data like these, think that the world’s getting worse. Yes, we face new challenges like global warming (these are discussed in Steve’s latest book), but would you choose, say, to have lived 200 years ago rather than now? You’d be a fool to make that choice.

h/t: Bryan

Evergeen State, facing budget crisis, cuts positions and downgrades services

From the conservative website Campus Reform comes a memo sent to the faculty and staff of The Evergreen State College (TESC) on Tuesday. It’s from John Carmichael, Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Board of Trustees in the Office of TESC’s president. In case you can’t read it, it shows the result of the continually declining acceptance and lower enrollment at TESC which, I think, is the direct result of the Authoritarian Left taking over the place, with the resulting fracas, departure of Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, and negative national publicity. Parents, even progressive ones, don’t want their kids going to a place peopled with thuggish, authoritarian students, faculty who are but overgrown children, and a President (George Bridges) without a backbone.

To summarize, TESC are cutting 24 faculty lines, partly by not renewing the contracts of adjuncts (aka wage slaves). They’re also eliminating 19 staff positions that are currently vacant. Further, they won’t be able to support college theater, library and media support will be reduced, and they can’t do in-house equipment repair of computers and AV equipment.  They also won’t be able to fill vacant custodial positions, which will further begrime the campus.

 

It’s a pity that marginal schools like TESC (it has a 95% acceptance rate) have to learn lessons the hard way, but schools like Yale, Harvard, and Middlebury College don’t suffer, for their reputation and lower acceptance rates guarantees that they’re not suffering like TESC.  But believe me, I won’t be sad to see TESC go down the tubes. They’re getting what they deserve.

More evidence that a caring government erodes religiosity

I’ve written many times about the increasing evidence that religiosity is negatively correlated with the well being of a society and its inhabitants. That is, those countries (and U.S. states) that have higher indices of well being are those that are the least religious. Of course, this is a correlation and doesn’t prove causation, but there are some data that the improvement of social welfare is causal in eroding religion. In the U.S., for instance, a fall in the GINI Index, which means more income equality, is followed in subsequent years by an decrease in religiosity, suggesting that people become less religious when they feel they’re on a level playing field of life.

A new paper by Miron Zuckerman, Chen Li, and Ed Diener in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (free access and pdf with the legal Unpaywall application; full reference below) adds more evidence to not only the negative relationship between government care of its people and their religiosity, but also suggests that the former causes changes in the latter. The former relationship holds not just for countries of the world (155 were assessed) but also the 50 United States, and data from the U.S. suggests that increased government welfare actually reduces religiosity.

I’ll try to be brief. The authors compiled data from 155 countries and the 50 U.S. states on

a. Religiosity (the proportion of people who answered “yes” to the question “Is religion an important part of your life?)

b. Quality of life. For the countries this was a composite index that incorporated educational attainment, infant mortality, percentage of population in urban areas, life expectancy, proportion of physicians among all inhabitants, and percentage of the population below the poverty level. Similar data, but using eight factors, was the index of quality of life in the U.S.

c. Index of government services. This used two statistics: health expenditures and education expenditures as percentages of the gross domestic product (GDP)

d. The Gini Index. Data from the World Bank: a value of zero means that all incomes are equal, while 1 means that one family has all the income and everyone else has none. The value thus ranges from zero to one, with higher values meaning more income inequality.

e. Subjective well being (SWB). These data were taken from a Gallup World Poll, and includes the components of life satisfaction, positive emotions, and negative emotions.

The authors tested several hypotheses in both countries of the world and U.S. states.

1.) The government can replace God as a service provider. That is, the hypothesis is that, as the authors say, “the government provides an extra layer of security and can replace God as an agency of last resort.” As Marx noted, religion may well be the last resort of people who have no hope from other people or their society. This would predict that, holding other variables equal, including SWB and Quality of Life, higher government services would be associated with lower religiosity.

2.) They tested the further hypothesis that religiosity would be lower ONLY with a combination of government services and higher quality of life. Do these factors need to be present simultaneously, or do they act in an additive way, having pretty independent effects?

3.) Finally, does higher SWB also correlate with reduced religiosity?

Along the way, they were able to use the U.S. longitudinal data to study temporal relationships between these variables, suggesting that it is social services that erode religion rather than the other way around. ]

In all cases, the relationships were controlled for other variables using hierarchical regression analyses, so that each factor’s effects could be studied independently.

The main results (read the paper for more).

For countries

a. Higher Gini scores (more inequality) were, across countries, associated with higher religiosity. This itself shows no causality; in fact, you could posit that more religious countries somehow increase income inequality, though other data (below) suggests that if there is a causality, it is between inequality and belief.

b. Better government services were associated with lower religiosity. Higher quality of life was also associated with lower religiosity (remember, each variable is controlled by holding the others constant).

c. There is an interaction between government services and quality of life: if you have higher levels of both, your country is even less religious.

d. Subjective Well Being was negatively associated with religiosity when government services were low, but not when they were high, implying that high government services are by themselves enough to reduce religiosity and efface any relationship between SWB and religiosity.

For U.S. states

These results are for the U.S. by itself, looking at the 50 states, and they also did a time series of measurements over six years. Quality of life included eight variables, which you can see in the paper.

a. Holding other factors constant, higher quality of life was associated with lower religiosity in a state, as was higher average government services. The interaction between higher quality of life and government services was of borderline significance (p = 0.069), but the lowest religiosity was still found in states having both higher quality of life and better government services. This mirrors the results above for different countries.

b. Interestingly, the level of government services in a given year predicted the level of religiosity (a negative relationship) one and two years in the future, implying that if there is a causality, it’s an erosion of religion by government services rather than an erosion of government services by religion. This temporal relationship did not hold for quality of life, nor did it hold in the reverse direction except for one-year data (but not two-year data) with a p value of 0.02 (religiosity predicting government services in the future)

The upshot. In general, the authors’ hypotheses, which are also those advanced by Norris and Inglehart in their excellent book Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide, were confirmed: there is a negative correlation between government care of its people, as well as social well being, and religiosity. States and countries that take better care of their people are less religious, and the temporal analysis suggests that an improvement in government welfare erodes religiosity, as predicted by many sociologists—as well as by Karl Marx. Further, as we already know, there’s a negative correlation between quality of life (and happiness, too!) and religiosity. The most religious countries are the least well off and have the unhappiest people. 

So much for the claim that religion makes things better, and for the other claim that religion is essential for people’s well being. In fact, religion is a substitute for material well being, and goes away when people’s well being improves. The happiest countries in the world, those with the most well being (material, medical, and so on), as well as the best government services, are the least religious countries—countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and so on.  This is a message that we can’t shout too loudly. Religion doesn’t improve people’s well being. (I suppose the goddies will argue, “yes, but they’re spiritually better off.” But if that’s the case, why aren’t they also happier?)

Finally, as the world improves and people increase their well being (see Pinker’s talk that I’ll post later today), religiosity will decrease. Of that I am sure. You don’t need god in a world where people feel secure and taken care of by their society. Eventually, as the rising tide of well being lifts all boats, religion will become a vestigial belief.

________

Zuckerman, M., C. Li, and E. Diener. 2018. Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin: First published April 12, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218764656

Grania explains today’s Irish referendum on abortion

Today Ireland is at last holding a referendum on abortion. Grania, who of course lives in that country, explains it to us concisely:

Today Ireland is holding a referendum to poll whether the people wish to repeal the 8th amendment. Here’s some background.

Article 40.3.3, known as the Eighth Amendment, was voted into the Irish Constitution by referendum in 1983. The amendment states: “The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.:

The amendment equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus, and has created an unworkable distinction between a pregnant woman’s life and her health.

The amendment was set in place specifically and deliberately to prevent abortion in Ireland. As a direct result, pregnant women were denied life-saving medical interventions if such interventions could interfere with the health of the fetus. In addition to this, it meant that nobody could obtain abortion under any circumstance—not rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities.

Women in Ireland have only one option, to travel to the UK where they could obtain an abortion—dependent of course on whether they are physically or financially able to do so.

In 1992, Ireland held a referendum to try to ban women from travelling outside of Ireland to obtain an abortion. Fortunately, this attempt failed and Ireland was left with the hypocritical, dangerous and bizarre position of having condoned abortion so long as it happens outside of the country’s borders.

The need for the referendum is because the Irish Constitution cannot be amended unless ratified by a simple majority.

The effect of the referendum is only to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Later legislation will have to be enacted. Currently proposed legislation would allow for unlimited abortion up to 12 weeks, and afterwards only for medical reasons.

Grania will report tomorrow on the outcome, but people are hopeful it will pass. The Catholic Church, of course, is weighing in heavily on the “no repeal” side, but polls show that more than 50% of voters are in favor of repeal.  I am heartened by the many people on Twitter supporting the repeal. This one, in particular, warmed my heart: these people all met at the airport; they were independently returning to Ireland just to vote:

Grania found these tweets and pictures; three Twitter hashtags are Together for YES, Repeal the Eighth, and Home to Vote (see also here).

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Colin Franks (Instagram page here, Facebook page here, website here) has graced us with another batch of lovely bird photos. The IDs are his.

 California Quail (Callipepla californica):

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus):

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechial):


Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas):


Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum):


Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor):


Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis):


Redhead (Aythya americana):

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta):

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus):

Friday: Hili dialogue

Good day, friends; it’s Friday, May 25, 2018, and the beginning of a three-day weekend in the U.S. (Memorial Day). But there’s no rest for Duck Tenders; the little ones need to be fed.

It’s a great culinary holiday for humans: National Wine Day, and I may crack a bottle of aged Rioja. Douglas Adams fans will also know it’s Towel Day, and if you know that you may want to celebrate another holiday today: Geek Pride Day.

On this day in 1521, the Diet of Worms ended (I bet the participants were greatly relieved when they could eat real food) when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, declared Martin Luther to be an outlaw. On May 25, 1878, the Gilbert and Sullivan opera H.M.S. Pinafore opened in London.  Exactly 17 years later, Oscar Wilde was convicted of homosexual behavior (“acts of gross indecency”) and was sentenced to two years in prison, which broke him.

A banner day in the history of teaching evolution; on this day in 1925, John Scopes was indicted in Dayton, Tennessee for teaching that humans evolved. This day in 1955 saw the first ascent of Kangchenjunga (8,586 m.), the third-highest mountain in the world (do you know the second?). A British expedition led by Charles Evans put Joe Brown, George Band on the summit on this day, followed by Norman Hardie and Tony Streather on May 26. On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy declared before Congress that the U.S. would put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. We did! Here’s what he said (the Moon part starts at 2:22):

On May 25, 1977, Star Wars was released in theaters. I still haven’t seen it. And on this day 7 years ago, Oprah Winfrey aired her last show after 25 years on television. No tears from me.

Today’s Google Doodle (below) celebrates the Chinese-American cinematographer James Wong Howe, nominated ten times for an Oscar (he won twice, for Hud and The Rose Tattoo). From C|Net:

Howe worked on more than 130 films during his career, including the 1934 comedy-mystery The Thin Man. The movie, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, was added to the US National Film Registry in 1997, having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Howe, who served as cinematographer on the movie, was honored Friday with a Google Doodle on the anniversary of the film’s release.

. . . This doodle was scheduled to run a year ago, but was withheld out of respect when Hurricane Harvey struck the South.

“Though we don’t usually run Doodles more than once, Howe left such a unique and indelible mark on American cinema that we decided to run the Doodle this year on the anniversary of the release of one of his most notable works,” Google said in a statement.

Notables born on this day include Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Ralph Waldo Emerson (both 1803), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878), Igor Sikorsky (1889), Beverly Sills (1929), and Anne Heche (1969). Those who died on this day includes William Paley (1805), photographer Robert Capa (1954), and Sloan Wilson (2003; father of Group Selection Fanatic David Sloan Wilson).

Capa was a brave man, and one of the few photographers who went ashore with troops on D-Day, snapping pictures under fire. Here’s the US. landing on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944:

 

 

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, for once Cyrus is smarter than Hili:
Hili: The more I think the more pessimistic I am.
Cyrus: Stop thinking.
In Polish:
Hili: Im dłużej myślę, tym bardziej jestem pesymistyczna.
Cyrus: Przestań myśleć.

Up in Winnipeg, Gus is enjoying the balmy weather:

Grania says that this is an important use of Twitter. When you vote you will see the results:

The Monty Hall problem, whose solution (switch doors if you see one that you didn’t choose opened without a prize behind), is counterintuitive. I’ve never seen the problem instantiated in real life beyond the game show, but here it is. Many people still don’t believe you should switch doors, but I will bet anyone $50 (one person) that it’s the best strategy. Switching burritos gave this guy a higher chance of getting the steak.

What should have been the Trump/Kim Jong-un summit coin. I tried to order one of the real ones yesterday, but the website was overloaded.

From Matthew. LOOK AT THOSE BIRDS!

What is a group of wolverines called?

Drosophila costumes! One has a white-eye mutation.

Vestiges of evolution:

A sarcastic remark:

And a burning question:

From reader Barry:

And from reader Dennis: