Monday: Hili dialogue

May 7, 2018 • 6:30 am

by Grania

Good morning! It’s Monday and being the 7th of May, we get a Bank Holiday here in Ireland.

Today in 1846 the Cambridge Chronicle was first published in Boston Massachusetts. It wasn’t actually the first paper published there, as every player of Fallout 4 knows, that honor went to  Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick that was founded in 1690.

In 1994  Edvard Munch‘s painting The Scream was recovered undamaged after being stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in February. It’s apparently a much-stolen piece.

In 1960 the U-2 incident unfolded when a United States spy plane piloted by Gary Powers was shot down in Soviet airspace. The first thing the US government did was lie about it, but later admitted to spying. The pilot was tried and sentenced to prison and hard labour but was later released in a prisoner exchange. Politics is a dirty business.


In the Twitters today we get a curious little insect eater. Click on the arrow to view the clip.

Vintage adverts with cats in them.

A weird sculpture in Athens

And a bit of moving sculpture from Scotland.

And a Rube Goldberg machine brought to life

Finally, Ricky Gervais and God have a heart-to-heart. (You’re going to have to click through on this one to read the whole conversation. In case you are wondering, yes, God is a real account on Twitter. God appears to be left-leaning and somewhat unappreciative of religious fundamentalists.

We get a triple serving from the Realm of Felids today:

Leon: “Travel is very exhausting”
In Polish: Podróże są bardzo wyczerpujące.

Gus – he’s on his Double Cat Scratcher

Hili is a little arcane for me today. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A: There are camels grazing by the river.
Hili: A good joke.

In Polish:

Ja: Nad rzeką pasą się wielbłądy.
Hili: Dobry dowcip.


Hat-tip: Matthew, Taskin, and of course, Malgorzata and Andrzej who write the Hili Dialogue every morning.

28 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Nice to see all the cats today. The U2 spy plane was a very successful asset in the spy business and has lasted for many years. Of course all we remember is the Russian event 58 years ago.

    1. They knew the U2 was going to get shot down sooner or later, which is why they hastened to develop the incredible SR-71. All of the Skunk Works’ products were pushing the limits to extremes in one direction or another, from the Starfighter to the (mis-named) Stealth Fighter.


      1. Maybe so but the U2 continues to fly and work in the world of Spy planes and the SR-71 is long retired. You mention the Starfighter, I assume you are speaking of the F-104. A fast airplane certainly but one with lots of problems. Of the series of fighters in the 100 series, the most successful by far was the F-100.

        1. I wouldn’t really call the U2 a ‘spy’ plane any more, more a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. I don’t think it’s used over defended airspace. The SR-71 hasn’t been superseded by any other aircraft so far as I know, but (partly) by satellites. But nobody ever managed to shoot down a SR-71.

          The F104 (Starfighter) – its problems arose from its extreme performance, attempting to get what is, even today, very high speed from moderate power. It left all the other Century-series in the dust. The German F104G’s (which were notoriously crash-prone) were used as fighter-bombers – with 20-20 hindsight, it doesn’t seem to be the most sensible use for a high-performance lightweight interceptor.

          Actually the U2 was also reputedly extremely tricky to handle – at maximum altitude there was only a few difference between stalling speed and a Mach compression stall. Known as ‘coffin corner’ – first seriously encountered with the B-47 Stratojet I believe.

 goes into some detail about this.

          I’m not looking to denigrate the Skunk Works – the SR-71 remains the most dramatic and extraordinary aircraft ever built IMO.


          1. I would continue to say the U2 aircraft continues in the inventory while the SR-71 does not. I think I know what they were designed for and you can call it reconnaissance if you like or we can call it spy plane. Since it is generally operated by the CIA you might consider the later.

            As stated earlier, in the development of the 100 series planes the 104 was fast and dangerous. The U.S. was willing to farm it out to other countries and did not use it much itself. I might be a little slanted in my view but the F-100 was a far more useful and most successful of the 100 series aircraft. Far more F-100Ds were built and deployed to the Air Force and flew thousands more hours than your 104.

            1. “I would continue to say the U2 aircraft continues in the inventory while the SR-71 does not.”

              So? So does the Antonov AN-2, if longevity is the criterion.

              It seems the U2 found a niche. But trying to argue which was the better aircraft is an apples-and-oranges thing.


            2. As you probably already know the primary reason the U-2 is still in service while the SR-71 is not is money and politics. The SR-71 was very expensive to maintain & fly. Flying the U-2 ain’t cheap, but it isn’t in the same league as the Blackbird. Numbers for the SR are all over the place, ranging from $38,000/hour to $130,000 +/hour. It’s usually not clear if numbers from different sources are based on the same parameters. Meanwhile recent numbers from the USAF for the U-2 are $2,380/hour.

              The only area in which the U-2 was/is capable of outperforming the SR is costs. The SR was of course capable of carrying any equipment the U-2 could so neither had an advantage there. In aircraft performance the SR had the advantage and was much more survivable in hostile situations. These days though it probably isn’t all that much more survivable. At least not against the latest SAM’s from the most modern militaries.

              Meanwhile the U-2, due to upgrades, is one of the youngest fleets in the Air Force inventory. It was scheduled to be retired around 2012 – 2015 at which time drones would be replacing it. But it now looks like it will be flying at least another 8 – 10 years and maybe a lot longer. And not just a few. The USAF fleet is over 30 aircraft.

              1. Interesting stuff. And by the way, I was never arguing which aircraft was cheaper to operate. The faster shinier airplanes always attract the boys to them, that is the nature of the thing. But just as the 104 seemed the attraction it was little used compared to other aircraft of the time. The idea of it as a fighter bomber was kind of a joke really.

    2. I have an especially fond memory of the U2. As a child, we lived in the departing flight path from Lockheed Airport (now Hollywood Burbank Airport, once Bob Hope Airport). One day I was in the back yard and a U2 made a graceful banking turn directly over me at low altitude. Just what a kid loves to see!

      1. Yes, as old as the technology was, it was built for a specific purpose and that was as a spy. The pilots would go on full oxygen an hour before take off just to get the nitrogen or whatever out of the blood. It was risky business always. On air force bases they tended to keep any of these planes way off in a remote area where the rest of us could not see them. Always classified and need to know.

  2. I call shenanigans. Didn’t Jerry already post a different tweet with the Pyrenean desman? Oh, well. It’s so cool and little-known, it’s worth a second look.

  3. I do enjoy following God on Twitter. Jesus H Christ (@ThatBloke_Jesus) is also worth following!

  4. Pyrenean desman! That is one interesting animal! Wikipedia says it’s semi aquatic. There are claims that it slaps the surface of the water to produce noises useful in echolocation, although this is mostly speculation.

    1. Well, it is on board the National Geographic Photo Ark. (Why am I not surprised by this allusion?) It might need to swim for its life if the rains don’t stop.

  5. The U2 event was earth shaking in a couple of important ways. First, it showed that the US was spying on another country – this came as a huge shock, spying was a sleazy underhanded and ungentlemanly act thought to be beneath the dignity of this great country. Second, our president lied to the country about it. Good God! Lied to us. As far as I knew at the time, nothing like this had ever happened before and it changed the way I, and many others, thought about our country.

    1. I’m not so sure. To deny what we were doing was the training. That is what you do and did in the spy business. Then, when you are caught, you are caught. This is the way it was done then and is done today. To pretend this is the same as, for instance, Trump telling lies every day and every hour, no it is not.

      That spying was a sleazy, or ungentlemanly thing? It has been done since our revolution and nothing sleazy about it. Did you ever hear of Nathan Hale?

    2. Charles Minus – you’ve been living in a bubble of mythic US history. Too many John Wayne westerns!

      Just from the CIA spook career of Miles Axe Copeland Jr. [father, I think, to Stewart Copeland of the Police] we have his ‘managing’ of the March ’49 Syrian coup d’état & the ’53 Iranian coup d’état.

      There are many more of these US spooky ‘managers’ of world affairs going back to the foundation of the States. They were particularly active in the post-WWI Russian Revolution & the setting up of the Middle-Eastern nations borders. Then from the ’40s to the ’70s we have the Seven Sisters “Consortium for Iran” oil company cartel [mostly US companies] who had their wheels oiled by various OSS & CIA political interventions [bribes, blackmail, hits, stoking of rivalries & wars]

      It’s part of the job, though the smart presidents farm out the disinformation to proxies. Every political leader lied. Maybe you should read Churchill on the absolute necessity of lying well.

      Here’s some non-fact checked stuff I’ve copy-pasted from here & there:

      Lincoln lied about whether he was negotiating with the South to end the war. He also lied about where he stood on slavery. He told the American public and political allies that he didn’t believe in political equality for slaves because he didn’t want to get too far ahead of public opinion.

      President James Polk lied to Congress in 1846 — claiming Mexico had invaded the United States — because he was determined to take the Southwest from Mexico. That lie led to the Mexican-American War, Contosta says.

      President William McKinley lied to the American public in 1898 when he insisted that Spain had blown up the USS Maine warship in Havana Harbor, Cuba, although he had no evidence. That lie led to the Spanish-American war.

      While preparing the country for WWII, Franklin Roosevelt told Americans in 1940 that “your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars”

      1. And just to update a bit of WWII history and to show history is being updated and expanded upon all the time. FDR was our Commander and Chief during most of WWII and he was very much the strategist regarding the planing and objectives of this war. I would refer anyone to later books by Nigel Hamilton on this point and a current book Commander in Chief. It will surprise many and open the eyes of others concerning who should get the real credit for this war and it’s results.

      2. I’m sorry that you misunderstood my post. I was trying to explain what it felt like to an 18 year old me when this event occurred. What I described is they way I and many others felt at the time and the way it was portrayed in the media. We all were still under the sway of WWII patriotism which saw our country as the moral leader of the world that could do no wrong. The fact that our country would stoop to spying on another country in peace time and then lie about it broke the bubble. It was a terrible shock. Of course I’m well aware now of all the nefarious things the US has done throughout history, but in those days these things were not known or dreamt of by most Americans. It was a very different world.

        1. The U2 incident was before my time, but I have heard other people who were around then say the same thing–they were shocked and disillusioned to find out that the US spied. I have to admit, I find such a response bizarre. I would expect every country to have spies, but maybe I grew up in a more cynical time.

          When I was around 10 or 11, we saw a film about the incident in history class; my parents were disgusted that the school was showing “propaganda.” This was around 1970.

          1. I was around then but I don’t remember anyone being shocked about U2 spy missions. I suspect that was more a press reaction than a man-in-the-street one. Like when CNN tells us that Donald Trump had an affair with a porn star. They treat it like headline news (and it is) but we just say, “Sure he did. Which one was it?”

      3. Well, it could be argued that the latter was not really a lie. IIRC, athelthough the US supported the Allies, it only sent soldiers into foreign lands after Pearl Harbour, and hence no ‘foreign war’ anymore.

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