Monday: Hili dialogue

June 18, 2018 • 6:30 am

We’re back at Monday again: June 18, 2018. It’s International Picnic Day, but didn’t we just have that? It’s also Autistic Pride Day.  And in Botany Pond, all eight ducklings were afoot (or apaddle) this morning and everyone, including Honey, got a substantial three-course breakfast. There were no signs of raccoons or drakes.

On this day in 1178, there was a report of monks seeing an asteroid or comet strike the Moon. As Wikipedia reports: “Five Canterbury monks see what is possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon’s distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision.”

It is a banner day in the history of evolutionary biology, for it was on June 18, 1858, 160 years ago, that Darwin got in his mail a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace describing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Flummoxed and distressed by another biologist independently hitting on those ideas, Darwin sent the letter to his close colleagues asking what to do. This wound up with Darwin’s hastily written paper and Wallace’s letter being read on the same day (July 1) at the Linnaean Society in London and subsequently published together. Darwin went on to get most of the credit because he followed up the paper with The Origin in 1859. On June 18, 1873, suffragette Susan B. Anthony ws fined $100 for trying to vote in the previous year’s Presidential election.  And on June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill delivered his “Finest Hour” speech in the House of Commons.  Here is the highlight, but you can hear the complete 30-minute speech here.

On June 18, 1948, the LP, or long-playing record album, was introduced by Columbia Records in a demonstration in New York City. Finally, on this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, helping staff the STS-7 Space Shuttle. This was 20 years after the first woman in space, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tershkova. Sadly, Ride died of pancreatic cancer in 2012, aged only 61.

Not a lot of notables were born or died today. Births include Roger Ebert and Paul McCartney (both 1942), Carol Kane and Isabella Rosellini (both 1952), and physicist Lisa Randall (1962).  Those who died on June 18 include Samuel Butler (1902), Roald Amundsen (1928), Ethel Barrymore (1959), John Cheever (1982) and I. F. Stone (1989).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, being a Jewish cat, is perpetually dissatisfied and dolorous—except when she has a bowl of cream.

A: Why do you look like that?
Hili: I’m waiting for better times.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu masz taką minę?
Hili: Czekam na lepsze czasy.

And right across the pond, in London, Theo the Coffee Drinking Cat communes with Gethyn, part of his staff. Theo shows his often-hidden eyes and makes purry little meows:

Some tweets from Matthew, who is in Zermatt and sent his own tweet:

A butterfly caught in a spider web escaped, but left behind some remnants:

Sea dragons, which aren’t really seahorses but are related. This one, the common seadragon ((Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) is found off Australia.  They mimic seaweed and lack the prehensile tails of seahorses.

The wind that shakes the barley (or, in this case, wheat). It’s a heaving sea of grain:

Heather Hastie sent a tweet about the building-climbing raccoon:

. . .and one about her favorite animal, the hedgehog.

From Grania. I get the precision part, but “elegance”?

A room with a view:

28 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. With respect to the audio file of the Finest Hour speech, at the time the proceedings of the House of Commons were not recorded so recordings were made later for radio broadcast. Sometimes Churchill used an actor to deliver the radio broadcasts, so it is possible that the audio is not of Churchill.

    1. It seems odd to us to contemplate how laborious sound recording was, technically, in the 40’s. Basically cutting a groove like a gramophone record. Magnetic tape technology was a German development and exclusive to them until after the war.

      I seem to recall reading that British Intelligence were puzzled by the way Hitler could broadcast a speech from Berlin and then, apparently, broadcast another from Munich an hour later. For while they suspected that Hitler was using stand-ins to read his speeches.


    2. “Sometimes Churchill used an actor to deliver the radio broadcasts…”

      To this day, this remains a highly contentious and unproven rumor. David Irving (an anti-Churchill, Holocaust-denying “historian”) helped spread the rumor, which was originally claimed in the 1970’s by actor Norman Shelley. Nobody knows, but, unless evidence does show up, I think we should believe that it’s Churchill on the recordings.

      1. Hmm, next you’ll be telling us it wasn’t an impersonator that was almost shot near a country house in Norfolk during a failed raid by German paratroopers to try to kidnap Churchill.

  2. Quote from OP [which in turn is quoting the WIKI FOR TODAY’S DATE :

    On this day in 1178, there was a report of monks seeing an asteroid or comet strike the Moon. As Wikipedia reports: “Five Canterbury monks see what is possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon’s distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision”

    I think the bolded part is most probably creationist poppycock added to the WIKI by a malicious creationist mole 🙂

    Dr. Donald B. DeYoung is a ‘creation scientist’ & a young Earth/young Moon fruit loop. In 2000 he argued that the lunar crater Giordano Bruno formed from an impact in 1178 AD as per above. I have an idea that it was DeYoung who made up the idea that the Moon has an “unexplained” oscillation consistent with a large recent impact.

    I am not aware of the existence of an unexplained oscillation in the moon & the explained oscillation does not effect the Earth-Moon distance – I think someone, somewhere has confused LUNAR LIBRATION with a change in lunar orbit

    1. Reading a bit more I see that Jack B., Hartung in 1976 produced a paper: “Was the Formation of a 20-km Diameter Impact Crater on the Moon Observed on June 18, 1178?” So the connection is before DeYoung in 2000, but DeYoung used it as support for a young moon.

      I’m still assuming it was DeYoung who injected the ‘oscillations’ error

      There are also some details that don’t support that crater being only 500 years old
      ** No mention in other astronomical records of the time
      ** We would have had spectacular meteorite shower [shooting star] displays in our skies for years, or decades? after 1178
      ** Crater & ejecta markings don’t look that recent

      I see that the linked Wiki notes that the monks may have seen an object in line with the Moon’s crescent burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.

      1. It seems to me if the crater was formed by an impact only 500 years ago it’s rays and rim would overlay every other observable feature in the area. That would make it a remarkable discovery and very well known subject of study, and probably a target of one of the moon landings. If you look at pictures of the crater, you can see many smaller craters pitting the rim which indicates it its many thousands or millions of years old. Wikipedia says – “The actual age is unknown but is estimated to be less than 350 million years.”

      2. From the New York Times, Feb 24, 1978:

        “The moon may still be wobbling front a colossal meteorite impact 800 years I ago.

        This is reported in the Feb. 24 issue of Science by two astronomers on the basis of laser observations from the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas and a calculation of the moon’s status on the night of June 18. 1178.

        The two astronomers, Dr. Odile Calame and Dr, J. Derral Mulholland, credit The New York Times of Oct. 26, 1976, with bringing this account to their attention. It told of a report by Dr. Jack B. Hartung of the State University of New York at Stony Brook to the annual meeting of the Meteoritical Society at Lehigh Unibersity.

        Their effect would cause laser reflectors at the various lunar landing sites to appear out of position, periodically, if it was assumed that lunar rotation had remained uniform. The relative positions cf the reflectors left by Apollos 11, 14 and 15, plus the Soviet Union’s Lunakhod 2, are such that the most marked variations in range would be those of Lunakhod 2.

        These, it was calculated, should amount to from 25 to 30 feet, which is well within the sensitivity of laser distance measuring over the earth‐moon distance of 240,000 miles.

        The observations disclose what appears to be such an oscillation. They do not “prove” the hypothesis, the authors say. But the proposal, they add, “seems at worst no less believable” than that of meteor plunging into the earth’s atmosphere.

        Drs. Calame and Mulholland worked on the problem at the Centre d’Etudes et deg Recherches Geodynamiques et Astronomiques. an observatory at Grasse in southeast France. Dr. Mulholland is now at the University of Texas in Austin.”

        So it sounds a legitimate hypothesis at the time. Someone may have disproved it since, of course.

        1. Authors: Jin, W. & Li, J.
          Title: Determination of Some Physical Parameters of the Moon with Laser Ranging Data
          Journal: Earth, Moon & Planets, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp. 259 – 265


          Bottom of pp. 262: “The precision of our results is higher than that obtained by Calame because the span of data is three times longer […] Calame & Mulholland [1978] & Yoder [1981] had explained that the plausible mechanisms of free librations were
          [1] meteorite impact at Gordano Bruno and
          [2] the turbulent core-mantle friction […] Although the results calculated with different hypotheses are consistent with the determinations of the free librations from lunar laser ranging, it is hard to say that…” Top of pp. 263: “…the meteorite impact is the continuous excitation source. Most scientists are in favor of the latter hypothesis [core-mantle friction] since it seems more reasonable as a continuous cause of excitation”

    2. There’s a bit in the Carl Sagan version of Cosmos which discusses this case. Apparently one *can* measure slight oscillations in the moon’s movement with the right sort of pattern as an impact of the appropriate time and place.

      (Where’s an astronomer when you need one? I’m just reporting.)

      1. I was commenting on this statement which is incorrect:

        “It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon’s distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision”

        It is the distance from the Earth laser to the moon-based reflector that’s changing cyclically, but the measure of the Moon’s distance from the Earth isn’t the distance between two surface features – that physical measurement is used to determine the distance between the Earth/Moon centres. There obviously has to be corrections for around nearly a dozen factors such as the Moon orbits in a slight oval, both bodies wobble on their spin axis, lunar libation, Earth laser moves up & down on a 12-hour cycle due to tides

        Scientists have determined that part of the libation element must be due to some influence active still today [the Moon is still ‘ringing’ like a bell from it] & they’ve identified two possibilities
        [1] A lunar impact [or impacts I suppose] within the last two million years which is still ‘ringing’
        [2] There’s a friction still today between the lunar core & the lunar mantle – the lunar interior isn’t totally solid

        Scientists have nearly all come down on the side of option [2], but it is still not entirely resolved because there are cycles within cycles & some of the cycles are on the order of 10s of thousands of days.

      2. Good memory Keith!

        Cosmos, Carl Sagan, Series 1, Episode 4: “Heaven and Hell” SCRIPT SOURCE

        “If a small drifting mountain were to hit the moon it would set our satellite swinging like a bell.
        Eventually, the tremors would die down, but not in a mere 800 years.

        So is the moon still quivering from that impact? The Apollo astronauts emplaced arrays of special mirrors on the moon.

        Reflectors made by French scientists were also put on the moon by Soviet Lunakhod vehicles.
        When a laser beam from Earth strikes a mirror and bounces back the round trip travel time can be measured.

        At the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas a laser beam is prepared for firing at the reflectors on the moon 380,000 kilometres away.
        By multiplying the travel time by the speed of light the distance to that spot can be determined to a precision of The width of a hand.

        When such measurements are repeated over years even an extremely slight wobble in the moon’s motion can be determined. The accuracy is phenomenal. The error is much less than one-millionth of a percent.

        The moon, it turns out, is gently swinging like a bell just as if it had been hit by an asteroid less than 1000 years ago. So there may be physical evidence in the age of space flight for the account of the Canterbury monks in the 12th century.

        If 800 years ago a big asteroid hit the moon the crater should be prominent today still surrounded by bright rays thin streamers of dust spewed out by the impact. In billions of years, lunar rays are eroded but not in hundreds. And there is a recent ray crater called Giordano Bruno in the region of the moon where an explosion was reported in 1178.

        1. So, it seems there’s a chance Giordano Bruno caused the moon to ring. If so, I would think the amount of dust which has settled thereabouts would be considerably less than in more ancient craters. I’m for sending NASA’s space launch system to Bruno with a dust depth gauge.

          1. You mentioned the numerous small craters on top of its continuous ejecta – Morota [and coauthors] IN THIS REPORT – a jolly good read – estimate from HiRes images acquired in 2008 by the Terrain Camera on board the Japanese lunar orbiting spacecraft SELENE, that Giordano Bruno is between one to 10 million years old. And there’s all the other counter-evidence I listed.

            I’d bet a lot that crater is 7 or more digits old

            My favoured option for a far side Moon trip [series of moon trips] would be the setting up of a robot radio telescope array – nice & quiet. The bots could pop over & do some sampling too. Though it might be better to put them in permanently shadowed rims of craters so that nearby solar towers in the sunlight could deliver power.

            More use than a Mars mission

  3. The “elegance” in the Chinese sign probably means something about not waving it around all over the place.

    I saw a LOT of eccentric English when I was in China, like at our restaurant “your hospitality will be enhanced”.

    1. Actually the sign is in Japanese. The key kanji (kirei) can be translated as clean, beautiful and (presumably) precision and elegance!

  4. Imagine seeing something like an asteroid impact on the moon when you have no remotely close to being correct understanding of the solar system, etc. Terrifying. It is always examples like this I think of when I contemplate Lucretius’ admonishment to remove the fear introduced by religion.

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