Good morning! It’s Sunday, February 12, and you know what that means: it’s Darwin Day, marking 208 years since The Great Man was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1809. (Across the Atlantic, Abe Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on the same day.) We’re celebrating this day with three–count them, three–food holidays: National Plum Pudding Day, National PB&J Day (peanut butter and jelly, my probable lunch), and National Biscotti Day. In the U.S., it’s also National Freedom to Marry Day.
Sadly, Google chose not to mark this day with a Doodle, which I can understand only as a sop to creationists (every Feb. 12 should be commemorated!). But they did mark it in 2014 with the Doodle shown below. Do you know what that diagram is? If you don’t I request—no, demand—that you read the short explanation at Darwin Online. (The sketch was made in 1837, the year after Darwin returned from his Beagle voyage.)
On this day in 1554, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason. She had been Queen of England for nine days. In 1832, Ecuador annexed the Galápagos Islands—on Darwin’s 23rd birthday. On this day in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded, and the name remains unchanged despite the “CP” part no longer being acceptable. On February 12, 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was exiled from the Soviet Union, four years after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature (he was the graduation speaker when I got my Ph.D.) And, on this day in 2004, San Francisco, on orders of its mayor, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which explains today’s Freedom to Marry holiday.
Notables born on Darwin Day include Jan Swammerdam (1637), Abe Lincoln (1809), Tex Beneke (1914; he sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo”), Lorne Greene (1915), and Christina Ricci (1980). Those who died on Darwin Day include, beside Lady Jane Grey, Immanuel Kant (1804), Sal Mineo (1976), and Sid Caesar (2014).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hungering for fowl:
Hili: These birds must be freezing.A: There is nothing we can do about it.Hili: We could let them inside.
Hili: Tym ptaszkom musi być zimno.
Ja: Nic na to nie można poradzić.
Hili: Można je wpuścić do domu.