Off the Beaten Path News Open Thread

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

Before getting to a few off the beaten path stories floating around the interwebs we’ll start out with a not so off the beaten path of Biden’s schedule for today:

When Richard and Mildred Loving awoke in the middle of the night a few weeks after their June, 1958 wedding, it wasn’t normal newlywed ardor. There were policemen with flashlights in their bedroom. They’d come to arrest the couple.

“They asked Richard who was that woman he was sleeping with? I say, I’m his wife, and the sheriff said, not here you’re not. And they said, come on, let’s go, Mildred Loving recalled that night in the HBO documentary The Loving Story.

The Lovings had committed what Virginia called unlawful cohabitation. Their marriage was deemed illegal because Mildred was Black and Native American; and Richard was white.

Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the couple won.

Now, each year on this date, “Loving Day” celebrates the historic ruling in Loving v. Virginia, whichdeclared unconstitutional a Virginia law prohibiting mixed-race marriage — and legalized interracial marriage in every state.

NPR; June 12

“You must admit there is some irony here,” Kayatta observed.

Lynch agreed and quipped, “Someday a historian will look into this.”

The Pentagon Papers — which mark 50 years since their release this weekend — revealed that the U.S. government had been far more involved in the Vietnam War early on than the general public knew, and that political leaders had lied about both the extent of the war and the military’s success.

Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst involved in a study of the war at the Pentagon, leaked some of the 7,000-page document to The New York Times. This led to extensive litigation over the press’s right to publish the report, with the Supreme Court ultimately allowing publication to go forward on June 30, 1971.

Ellsberg was indicted by a grand jury in Los Angeles for the leak, but the case was thrown out after it came to light that the Nixon administration broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist looking for documents that could discredit him.

Court House News; June 10, 2021

A former Tennessee governor’s administration helped fund a contract murder of a key federal witness decades ago while embroiled in the state’s largest political scandal, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

The new details revealed for the first time Wednesday have elements that ring of a movie: a trusted ally of union boss Jimmy Hoffa gunned down after testifying about a corrupt governor selling prison pardons and a gunman who donned a wig and blackface to throw authorities off the scent.

Investigators in Hamilton County, which encompasses Chattanooga, have been chipping away at the 42-year-old cold case of Samuel Pettyjohn since they renewed their investigation in 2015. No new charges will be filed because all of the major players involved are now dead, but authorities say closing the case provides closure to one aspect of a complicated piece of Tennessee history.

ABC News; June 9, 2012

h/t to Plato’s Cave for this one.

Licensed commercial lobster divers literally pluck lobsters off the sandy bottom, and as Packard, 56, dove down Friday morning, he saw schools of sand lances and stripers swimming by. The ocean food chain was in full evidence, but about 10 feet from the bottom Packard suddenly knew what it truly felt like to be part of that chain.

Cape Cod Times; June 11, 2021

“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard recalled Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”

Here are some interesting facts you may not know about humpback whales

Type Ia supernovae are an important tool for modern astronomy. They are thought to occur when a white dwarf star captures mass beyond the Chandrasekhar limit, triggering a cataclysmic explosion. Because that limit is the same for all white dwarfs, Type Ia supernovae all have about the same maximum brightness. Thus, they can be used as standard candles to determine galactic distances. Observations of Type Ia supernova led to the discovery of dark energy and that cosmic expansion is accelerating.

While these supernovae have revolutionized our understanding of the universe, they aren’t quite as standard as we first proposed. Some, such as SN 1991T are much brighter, while others, such as SN 1991bg are much dimmer. There is also a variation known as Type Iax, where the white dwarf isn’t completely destroyed by the explosion. We can generally take these variations into account when calculating stellar distances, but it would be good to have a better understanding of the mechanism behind their maximum brightness.

Universe Today; June 12, 2021

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