NYT endorses both Klobuchar and Warren for President

Today’s New York Times broke with precedent, endorsing two candidates for President as the Iowa caucus approaches.  Those candidates are Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. (Read the editorial for why they don’t endorse the others: Biden and Sanders, for instance, are deemed too old, and should make room for younger folk).

It’s curious that the paper would endorse two candidates when the editorial’s purpose in endorsements is to name the candidate the paper most favors. Further, they endorsed both a centrist and a “progressive.”

Why did they do this? My cynical view is that their real favorite, given the paper’s increasing wokeness, is Warren, but they knew that if they endorsed only her, they would a.) lose readers and b.) perhaps actually hurt Warren because the GOP would tar her as a “New-York-Times-endorsed liberal.” So they tempered their endorsement by adding someone more towards the center, but still on the Left.

Klobuchar of course has no chance to get the nomination—FiveThirtyEight puts her polling numbers at 2.9%—so the Times is merely hedging its bets, throwing in an unelectable but centrist candidate to complement whom they really endorse.

But of course I may be wrong. Weigh in below, preferably after reading the endorsement.

Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday, January 20, 2020, and, sadly, my time in Cambridge is waning: I fly back to Chicago in two days. It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day, and once again they misplaced the apostrophe, implying that this day celebrates only a single cheese lover. Who is this person? I suspect it’s the well-known Käsefresser Elise Katzenellenbogen, a woman of German ancestry who lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (It’s also National Buttercrunch Day.)

All Americans know that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrating the birthday of the great civil rights leader (he was actually born on January 15, 1929, but the federal holiday is designated as the third Monday in January). Few people will be working in the U.S. today, and there will be no postal deliveries as government employees (including Senators) aren’t working. Today’s Google Doodle (with a link to relevant sites; click on the screenshot) marks the occasion. (More information on this Doodle is here.)

Finally, it’s Penguin Awareness Day, so give a thought to these threatened species (global warming will do them all in). Here’s a picture of a chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) I took in Antarctica:

Here’s a tweet sent by Matthew (the hashtag #PenguinAwarenessDay will take you to many more lovely penguin tweets). My friends and I are going to the refurbished New England Aquarium this morning to celebrate the penguins.

Exactly one year from today it will be Inauguration Day, when the next President and Vice-President are sworn in. We’re all biting our nails lest the Orange Man be re-elected. The countdown to that moment is here (days, hours, minutes, and seconds!).

News of the Day: This link gives a scathing review at Ars Technica of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Goop show on Netflix, which is even worse than you can imagine. A summary:

In so many ways, the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow is exactly what you’d expect based on what we already know about the Goop brand. The series provides a platform for junk science, gibberish, and unproven health claims from snake-oil-salesmen guests. It’s a platform on which respected, trained medical experts are not considered the authorities on health and medical topics; where logic and critical thinking are enemies of open-mindedness; where anecdotes about undefined health improvements are considered evidence for specific medical treatment claims; where the subjective experiences of a few select individuals are equivalent to the results of randomized, controlled clinical trials; and where promoting unproven, potentially dangerous health claims is a means to empower women.

Stuff that happened on January 20 includes:

  • 1649 – Charles I of England goes on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.
  • 1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signed preliminary articles of peace with France, setting the stage to the official end of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War later that year.
  • 1788 – The third and main part of First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decides that Port Jackson is a more suitable location for a colony.
  • 1921 – The first Constitution of Turkey is adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.
  • 1929 – The first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.

Here’s a clip from that movie, or, if you want to watch the whole thing, go here.

  • 1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President; it is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20 since the 20th Amendment changed the dates of presidential terms.
  • 1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish question“.
  • 1961 – John F. Kennedy is inaugurated the 35th President of the United States of America, becoming the second youngest man to take the office, and the first Catholic.

What went for JFK went for every other President since FDR; all since 1937 were inaugurated on this day.

  • 1986 – In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1888 – Lead Belly, American folk/blues musician and songwriter (d. 1949)

Here’s Lead Belly, in a rare video, singing the standard he made popular, “Goodnight, Irene”:

  • 1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate (d. 1975)
  • 1910 – Joy Adamson, Austria-born Kenyan painter and author (d. 1980)

Adamson, of course, wrote the immensely popular book Born Free. Here’s a half-hour documentary about her and her lions, particularly the famous Elsa.

  • 1930 – Buzz Aldrin, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut
  • 1946 – David Lynch, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1953 – Jeffrey Epstein, American financier and convicted sex offender (d. 2019)
  • 1956 – Bill Maher, American comedian, political commentator, media critic, television host, and producer
  • 1967 – Kellyanne Conway, American political strategist and pundit
  • 1972 – Nikki Haley, American accountant and politician, 116th Governor of South Carolina

Those who perished on January 20 include:

  • 1779 – David Garrick, English actor, producer, playwright, and manager (b. 1717)
  • 1900 – John Ruskin, English painter and critic (b. 1819)
  • 1947 – Josh Gibson, American baseball player (b. 1911)
  • 1984 – Johnny Weissmuller, American swimmer and actor (b. 1904)
  • 1993 – Audrey Hepburn, British actress and humanitarian activist (b. 1929)
  • 1996 – Gerry Mulligan, American saxophonist and composer (b. 1927)
  • 2005 – Miriam Rothschild, English zoologist, entomologist, and author (b. 1908)
  • 2018 – Paul Bocuse, French chef (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili had an adventure. As Malgorzata tells it:

The picture is taken by Paulina [the upstairs lodger]. Hili is on the outside window sill upstairs. She climbed on the verandah’s roof and jumped on our lodgers window. We got her back that evening at 11:30 p.m.
Hili: I know it’s late, but you are not going to sleep yet, right?
Paulina: Of course not, please come in.
Hili: And you haven’t eaten supper either?
In Polish:
Hili: Ja wiem, że jest już poźno, ale chyba nie idziecie jeszcze spać?
Paulina: Ależ nie, proszę, wejdź.
Hili: A kolacji też jeszcze nie jedliście?

From Wild and Wonderful, a rare albino koala:

From Jesus of the Day. If only . . .

A cartoon from Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz’s series War and Peace, found on Bored Panda by Su Gould:

Titania says “It’s denunciation time!” You might have heard about this kerfuffle (the video is here).

Sent by both Heather Hastie and Barry: A lazy (but smart) bird bums a ride:

And another sent by Heather:

Tweets from Matthew. If you want to see more torrent ducks, watch the excellent PBS Nature show on ducks, “An Original DUCKumentary” (it’s free online).

Catlike, but not a cat (i.e., not in the family Felidae but in an extinct family, and in the suborder Feliformia with other “catlike carnivores,” including hyenas and mongooses).

This is so true: funny but very sad:

A biology lesson with emojis:

An appeal Matthew forwarded to me:





Photos of readers

I’ve resumed posting photos of readers; please send one or two in, preferably with you doing something characteristic or interesting, and certainly with a description. Photos of you with your pet are welcome.

Today we have reader Max Blanke baling hay on his Colorado farms (I think this is our first picture of a reader on the farm). His notes are indented:

I took this image in early September, right after baling the last of this year’s hay. I am not one for selfies. I probably take two per decade.

This is one of our hay fields. The ranch is mostly in southern Colorado, but one corner extends into New Mexico. We grow the hay on flat flood plains of 35 to maybe 200 acres each alongside the river. This image shows a medium sized, late model tractor. Kubota seems to be popular these days. They are pretty reliable and can be fixed right here, by us.

I set the camera on a small bale and took the shot. The baler is older than I am. It makes small 75 pound bales wrapped with wire.Those little bales are good for people who might have limited livestock. They’re easy to carry and stack. We also do the big round rolls. Those are a commercial product.

I enjoy my summers here. The view is always wonderful. The work is hard, and trying to plan it efficiently is mentally engaging, as are repairs when things break. My real job is working with a big shipping company. I serve aboard ships as Chief Officer, and do a lot of security for our fleet’s ships and other facilities, mainly in the middle east and Asia.

Anyway- Here is Max and tractor:



Andrew Sullivan on the Democratic candidates

Andrew Sullivan’s “Intelligencer” column is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly woke New York Magazine. His Friday pieces are usually in three parts, and this week’s (click on screenshot below) is no exception. The three topics are, in order, the progress we’ve made in gay rights and women’s rights, and those who deny it (Sullivan doesn’t mention the demonization of Steve Pinker for his progressivism), the Democratic candidates with Sullivan’s assessment, and a bit of “shade” thrown at Meghan Markle for marrying into the royal family, knowing what she was getting into, and then kvetching about it. (“Sorry, but if you choose to marry into royalty, you have to take the rough with the smooth: The fame and luxury of being a princess comes packaged with bad press, intrusive photographers, and constant public duty. If Meghan didn’t expect this, it’s hard to understand how not.”)

Surprisingly, Andrew, who still calls himself a conservative, seems to favor Bernie above the others, but is down on Warren and Buttigieg (who, like Sullivan, is gay) and has mixed feelings about Biden. But Sullivan is still pledged to vote for the Democrat. Here are his takes on Warren and Sanders:

On Warren:

The Democrat I think is most likely to lose to Trump is Elizabeth Warren. I admire her ambition and grit and aggression, but nominating a woke, preachy Harvard professor plays directly into Trump’s hands. And picking someone who has bent the truth so often about so many things — her ancestry, her commitment to serving a full term as senator, the schools her kids went to, the job her father had (according to her brother), or the time she was “fired” for being pregnant — is an unnecessary burden. The video she produced insisting that she was partly Native American, using genetic markers, should have been a disqualifier by itself. The lack of judgment was staggering.

On Sanders:

. . . Which leaves us with Bernie. I have to say he’s grown on me as a potential Trump-beater. He seems more in command of facts than Biden, more commanding in general than Buttigieg or Klobuchar, and far warmer than Elizabeth Warren. He’s a broken clock, but the message he has already stuck with for decades might be finding its moment. There’s something clarifying about having someone with a consistent perspective on inequality take on a president who has only exacerbated it. He could expose, in a gruff Brooklyn accent, the phony populism, and naked elitism of Trump. He could appeal to the working-class voters the Democrats have lost. He could sincerely point out how Trump has given massive sums of public money to the banks, leaving crumbs for the middle class. And people might believe him.

. . . On two key issues, immigration and identity politics, Bernie has sensibilities and instincts that could neutralize these two strong points for Trump. Sanders has always loathed the idea of open borders and the effect they have on domestic wages, and he doesn’t fit well with the entire woke industry. He still believes in class struggle, not the culture war. But he doesn’t seem to be trying to capitalize on any of that. Take a look at his immigration proposals.They are the most radical I’ve seen: essentially an end to any control of illegal immigration, with enforcement of the law at the border solely for human traffickers and gun smugglers; a moratorium on all deportations; an end to any detention of illegal immigrants; an open-ended amnesty for basically anyone who has gotten here. How you distinguish these policies from the “open borders” Sanders used to oppose is beyond my understanding. I believe that immigration control will matter in this election. The Democrats don’t. That’s their gamble, and Sanders is doubling down on it.


. . . So where am I? Not thrilled, I have to say. Bernie has the edge on energy and populism, but he’s so far to the left the Democrats could end up where the British Labour Party just found itself: gutted. Biden has an advantage because of Obama, his appeal to the midwestern voters (if he wins back Pennsylvania, that would work wonders), and his rapport with African-Americans. But he also seems pretty out of it. The others are longer shots. Bloomberg? The ads are good, but a billionaire who helicopters into a race late isn’t the right messenger in these times.

I guess I’m not that thrilled either; none of the candidates spark me the way Obama did. But, like Sullivan, I’ll vote for whichever Democrat survives the primaries. Since the Washington Post poll shows me as a Left-centrist, I lean away from both Bernie and Warren, but I’d be glad to have either as President, particularly considering the alternative.

h/t: Simon


NY Times publishes readers’ selections of life-changing books (mine didn’t make it)

On January 9, the New York Times “Letters” section requested that readers write in describing, in 200 words or fewer, a book that had changed their life. Here’s what they posted:

What book — new or old, fiction or nonfiction — has influenced how you think, act or look at the world? Tell us how it did, in no more than 200 words. The deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m., Eastern time.

Well, that was a challenge to me, but I forgot to alert readers to it. But did send in my own submission, which didn’t make the published cut. But I invite readers—nay, implore them—to add their own life-changing book. Here’s mine (199 words):

I was well on the road to becoming a scientist, living a cramped and monastic college life, when I read Nikos Kazantzakis’s Zorba the Greek, the tale of a life well lived. I identified with the unnamed narrator who, like me, spent all his days working and scribbling. Meeting Zorba changed his life—as it changed mine. I still worked, of course, but was captivated by Zorba’s total engagement with the beauty and squalor of existence, and by his love of conversation, dancing, eating, playing the santouri, and, of course, women. Inspired by his enthusiasm and life’s finitude, I resolved to live more fully, working hard but not neglecting the passions beyond science. As Zorba said on his deathbed, “I’ve done heaps and heaps of things in my life, but I still did not do enough. Men like me ought to live a thousand years.”

One scene sticks with me. As the narrator and Zorba sail to Crete to start an ill-fated lignite mine, Zorba sits on the deck sniffing a lemon. His whole being is caught up in that moment, immersed in the perfume of the fruit. And this produced my mantra: “When life gives you lemons, smell them.”

Since I ‘fessed up, you can, too.

And yesterday the Times published the selection its editors liked (click on the screenshot below):

I won’t show an excerpt of submissions, but will list the books chosen as life-changers. I’ve put asterisks next to the ones I’ve read

Mastering the Art of French Cooking* (I have both volumes and have cooked from them.)
Go, Dog. Go!
The Color Purple*
Atlas Shrugged*
On Beyond Zebra*

The Meditations
The Feminine Mystique
The Stranger
When Breath Becomes Air
A Gentleman in Moscow
Recollections of a Picture Dealer
The Violent Bear It Away
Look Homeward, Angel*
(JAC: One of my favorites!)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull*
Be Here Now
Infinite Jest*
A Circle of Quiet
The Road* 
(Reading now.)
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays*
(I read just the title essay.)
Little Women
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Fast Food Nation
Johnny Got His Gun
Scaredy Squirrel
Calling on Dragons
Welcome to the Monkey House*
The Little Engine that Could
Animal Farm*
Being Mortal
The Overstory
An Unknown Woman
Peace Like a River
The Diary of Anne Frank*
A Prayer for Owen Meany*
Great Expectations*
Charlotte’s Web*
Normal People
Remembrance of Things Past*
(Half of volume 1, then gave up)

Go over and see how these books changed people’s lives.

Which Democratic candidate best aligns with your views?

Reader Simon called my attention to this quiz in the Washington Post that asks about your views on issues like gun control, immigration, government-sponsored health care, voting rights for felons, the Electoral College, and other stuff that we’ve been talking about. You get to answer 20 multiple-choice questions, and after giving each answer you are shown which Democratic candidates agree with you.

At the end, they tally up your answers and tell you which candidates agreed with you most often overall.

Take the test by clicking on the screenshot, and put your results below. Big fun!

And here are my results. I guess that makes me a centrist rather than a “progressive” Democrat. So be it. I’d still vote for any of these folks were they the candidate.

SpaceX launch today at 10 a.m. EST (coverage starts at 9:40)

Reader Jon called my attention to a SpaceX launch today at 10 a.m. EST (it was originally scheduled for 9 a.m.), or exactly one two hours after this post goes up at 7 a.m. Chicago time. I’ll let Jon give the details and sites where you can watch it (his words are indented):

Today SpaceX will attempt the final, major test before astronauts fly aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

For this test, Crew Dragon will intentionally trigger a launch escape at about 1 min. 30 seconds into flight to demonstrate Crew Dragon’s capability to safely separate from the Falcon 9 rocket in the unlikely event of an in-flight emergency.

You can watch live coverage here starting 20 minutes before the six-hour launch window opens at 9:00 a.m. ET. Teams are currently targeting a T-0 of 9:00 a.m. ET, one hour into the six-hour test window. However, the exact launch time will depend on weather conditions at both Cape Canaveral Florida and downrange at the recovery site in the Atlantic. There may be fireworks.

Click on screenshot to watch live:

Shortly after separation, the Falcon 9 booster is expected to aerodynamically break up or explode offshore over the Atlantic. Here’s an animation of the inflight abort test. If successful, SpaceX should be certified by NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station sometime later this year.

I’ve put the animation below.

There’s a six-hour launch window, and the flight may be scrubbed today. In that case, it’s rescheduled for tomorrow at the same time.


Sunday: Hili dialogue

a deWell, it would be the Lord’s Day if there were a Lord, but it’s actually just Sunday, January 19, 2020— National Popcorn Day.  It’s also New Friends Day, World Quark Day, World Religion Day, and National Gun Appreciation Day (God and guns always go together).

We had a decent amount of snow in Cambridge last night: somewhere between 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm).

Like Maru, I have done my best at posting while on R&R, and have succeeded so far. Aren’t you proud of me? The ladies of the Salt Lake City Morning Running Club (SLAM) bet that, despite my warning, my posting wouldn’t fall off, and they were right.

Stuff that happened on January 19 includes:

  • 1788 – The second group of ships of the First Fleet arrive at Botany Bay.
  • 1853 – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il trovatore receives its premiere performance in Rome.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.
  • 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
  • 1915 – Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.
  • 1920 – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is founded.

I once volunteered for the ACLU in gratitude for their having gotten me out of being illegally drafted as a conscientious objector (this was after I’d worked 13 months in a hospital). But now they are growing increasingly woke, even criticizing free speech (see here for some of their missteps). They are converging on the Southern Poverty Leadership Conference.

  • 1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

Here’s Hughes landing after his flight; this was well before he lost his mind and became a recluse:

  • 1940 – You Nazty Spy!, the first Hollywood film of any kind to satirize Adolf Hitler and the Nazis premieres, starring The Three Stooges, with Moe Howard as the character “Moe Hailstone” satirizing Hitler.

And here it is—the full episode!

  • 1953 – Almost 72% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
  • 1969 – Student Jan Palach dies after setting himself on fire three days earlier in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to protest about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. His funeral turns into another major protest.
  • 1978 – The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America continues until 2003.
  • 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.

Here’s a Lisa (did anybody have one?), with the Wikipedia caption “Lisa, with an Apple ProFile external hard disk sitting atop it, and dual 5.25-inch “Twiggy” floppy drives.”

  • 2007 – Four-man Team N2i, using only skis and kites, completes a 1,093-mile (1,759 km) trek to reach the Antarctic pole of inaccessibility for the first time since 1965 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1736 – James Watt, Scottish-English chemist and engineer (d. 1819)[10]
  • 1807 – Robert E. Lee, American general and academic (d. 1870)
  • 1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, American short story writer, poet, and critic (d. 1849)
  • 1839 – Paul Cézanne, French painter (d. 1906)
  • 1908 – Ish Kabibble, American comedian and cornet player (d. 1994)
  • 1923 – Jean Stapleton, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
  • 1933 – George Coyne, American priest, astronomer, and theologian

Coyne is the former director of the Vatican Observatory and I suspect is no relation to me. (He is an accommodationist, of course.)

  • 1939 – Phil Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Everly Brothers) (d. 2014)
  • 1943 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (d. 1970)
  • 1946 – Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress
  • 1954 – Cindy Sherman, American photographer and director

Those who Met their Maker on January 19 include:

  • 1729 – William Congreve, English playwright and poet (b. 1670)
  • 1968 – Ray Harroun, American race car driver and engineer (b. 1879)
  • 1980 – William O. Douglas, American lawyer and jurist (b. 1898)
  • 1998 – Carl Perkins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1932)
  • 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
  • 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
  • 2008 – Suzanne Pleshette, American actress (b. 1937)
  • 2013 – Stan Musial, American baseball player and manager (b. 1920)

Stan Musial (real name Stanisław Franciszek Musiał, the son of a Polish immigrant) is my favorite baseball player of all time. He was always a gentleman, never questioned an umpire’s call, and was really fast, able to score from first on a single. I saw him play once, at the end of his career, and my dad, as a Cardinals fan, saw him play many times.  Wikipedia summarizes his stellar career:

Musial batted .331 over the course of his career and set National League (NL) records for career hits (3,630), runs batted in (1,951), games played (3,026), at bats (10,972), runs scored (1,949) and doubles (725). His 475 career home runs then ranked second in NL history behind Mel Ott’s total of 511. His 6,134 total bases remained a major league record until surpassed by Hank Aaron, and his hit total still ranks fourth all-time, and is the highest by any player who spent his career with only one team. A seven-time batting champion with identical totals of 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 hits on the road, he was named the National League’s (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and led St. Louis to three World Series championships. He also shares the major league record for the most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

Stan the Man:

  • 2016 – Richard Levins, American ecologist and geneticist (b. 1930)

Dick Levins, a close friend of my advisor Dick Lewontin, had an office on our floor at the MCZ Labs at Harvard along with his group of graduate students. The lab operated as a Communist collective, even having Chinese-Marxist-style “criticism sessions,” in which one person would be selected to be vilified for ideological missteps. I remember seeing the group exit from the office after one such session, with the student victim in tears.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows some scientific curiosity:

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I wonder what was before the Big Bang.
A: It’s difficult to tell, we don’t have enough data.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Zastanawiam się nad tym, co było przed wielkim wybuchem?
Ja: Trudno powiedzieć, mamy za mało danych.

From reader Bruce (the Goop candle memes just keep coming):

From Stash Krod:

And the photo of the day from Wild and Wonderful:

The argument below is made frequently, and I can understand why minorities get fed up with calling out instances of bigotry. On the other hand, who better to understand and point out racism? Had Martin Luther King not done that, we would not have had the Civil Rights Act of 1964 until later. And isn’t it the job of we Jews to educate people about anti-Semitism? I think it is.

This has got to be the Tweet of the Year so far:

From Merilee: a caterpillar with penguin markings on its back:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a badger greeting:

I wonder what became of this kitten (or, for that matter, the soldier).

Four tweets from Matthew. He says this first woman is on vacation in Hawaii:

One of the great jazz/pop drummers of all time. He was born on January 15, 1909:

And an optical illusion—Matthew’s favorite genre:


Leah Shutkever: A fit competitive eater

Meet Leah Shutkever, formerly a Woman of Size who lost a ton of weight, hits the gym six days a week, and, on the side, is one of the most accomplished competitive eaters in the UK. Here is her story, along with some of her Food Challenges.

Anti-woke spoof censored in Psychology Today

Yesterday at Psychology Today, a website that can be pretty dire, Lee Jussim, a professor and social psychologist who happens to be chair of the Psychology Department at Rutgers, published an “Orwelexicon”:  a spoof of a genuine Woke Lexicon published by another journal. For spoofing wokeness, Jussim had his piece taken down by the Psychology Today.

First, though, we should note that Jussim has street cred in social psychology. According to Wikipedia,

He has published and spoken extensively on scientific integrity and distortions in science motivated by politics, stereotype accuracy, prejudice, bias, self-fulfilling prophecy, and social constructionism. His works have won professional awards: his 2012 book Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Bias and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy won an American Association of Publishers’ Prize for best book in psychology, and his 1991 book Social Belief and Social Reality: A Reflection-Construction Model received the Gordon Allport Prize for Research in Intergroup Relations. During his recent 2013–2014 sabbatical, he worked with colleagues at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in the Behavioral Sciences and co-founded Stanford’s Best Practices in Science group.

Jussim’s piece was meant as a response to a woke and humorless lexicon published a year ago in BMJ, the new name for the former British Medical Journal. That piece resides behind a paywall, but you can see a run-on transcript here, or a judicious request might yield you a pdf:

Here are some of the neologisms created by Choo, DeMayo, and “Glaumoflecken” (obviously a coward who won’t reveal his/her/hir name). They’re neither clever nor funny, they can be perceived as somewhat misandristic in that they single out white males for special criticism (they could never do this with other groups which, of course, are perfect compared to white males), and this kind of woke stuff doesn’t belong in a medical journal, which is simply flaunting its virtue.

(I do like “Ovalooked, though!)

Well, if you think this kind of mockery is suitable for a scientific journal, more power to you. But apparently it rubbed Jussim (as it rubs me) the wrong way, and he responded by putting up his own “Orwelexicon” mocking the woke mentality that produced the BMJ glossary. You could have seen Jussim’s piece yesterday if you clicked on the screenshot, but what you get if you do that now is the second screenshot:

The article has disappeared!

Jussim is angry about this, as his Orwelexicon (a clever name) was a spoof. The journal simply removed it:

But you can still see it! You can see it at the Imgur link here, and I also have a transcript and screenshot. Here’s Jussim’s introduction and a few terms he coined:

In an article published in BMJ, a major biomedical journal, Drs Choo & Mayo presented a “Lexicon for Gender Bias in Academia and Medicine.”  They argued that “mansplaining” was just the “tip of the iceberg” and so they coined terms such as:

Himpediment: Man who stands in the way of progress of women.


Misteria: Irrational fear that advancing women means catastrophic lack of opportunity for men.

This Orwelexicon is offered in a similar spirit of capturing biases, albeit quite different ones, that pervade academia.  It is also a bit different, at least sometimes, because these words often capture the Orwellian disingenuousness with which some terms are used in academia.

A few examples of neologisms—psychological syndromes—from Jussim’s original Orwelexicon:

If you want to see all Jussim’s examples, go to the Imgur site above.

Well, we all know that every venue of mainstream or liberal journalism (at least those I read) is becoming more woke, so it’s not that surprising that Psychology Today would take down this post mocking Wokeness at the same time that BMJ publishes an article that mocks male behavior. Granted, men in academic situations often behave in a peremptory, sexist, or domineering way, but the medical lexicon is grating and cringeworthy, as well as being a form of racism/sexism that would not be tolerated if directed at any other group—unless all other groups behave perfectly and in a non-tribalistic way.

And, at any rate, Jussim’s spoof is not directed at any ethnic or gender group in particular, but at the pathologies of Wokeness itself. It didn’t deserve to be censored, as it does make fun of things that need to be mocked.

We’ll see if Psychology Today puts it up. Jussim is hopeful; I’m not. For if they reinstate the piece, the Woke will hound the journal to death, calling for the editors’ resignations, and probably for Jussim’s as well. So it goes.