Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 31, 2019 • 6:30 am

by Grania

Good morning! I hope you’re having a great weekend.

In history today:

  • 1492 – Queen Isabella of Castile issues the Alhambra Decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish and Muslim subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. Presumably she didn’t know about the atheists.
  • 1774 – American Revolutionary War: The Kingdom of Great Britain orders the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.
  • 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.
  • 1918 – Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States for the first time.
  • 1921 – The Royal Australian Air Force is formed.
  • 1959 – The 14th Dalai Lama, crosses the border into India and is granted political asylum.
  • 1970 – Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere after 12 years in orbit.
  • 1998 – Netscape releases Mozilla source code under an open source license.

Notable birthdays:

  • 1596 – René Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (d. 1650)
  • 1685 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German organist and composer (d. 1750)
  • 1732 – Joseph Haydn, Austrian pianist and composer (d. 1809)
  • 1809 – Nikolai Gogol, Ukrainian-Russian short story writer, novelist, and playwright (d. 1852)
  • 1938 – Patrick Bateson, English biologist and academic
  • 1948 – Al Gore, American soldier and politician, 45th Vice President of the United States, creator of the Internet. Or not, as it happens.

In honor of Descartes, here is Monty Python.

In Poland Hili has a new angle on Plato’s Cave. Take that, C.S. Lewis.

Hili: I’m proud of my shadow.
A: Why?
Hili: It’s always in a good company.

In Polish:

Hili: Dumna jestem z mojego cienia,
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Jest zawsze w dobrym towarzystwie.

From Twitter today:

It’s not Mother’s Day everywhere in the world, but if it is, have a good one.

It’s not just monkeys apparently…

When good cats go bad.

There’s always someone who doesn’t appreciate you.

Someone else who didn’t quite know what was going on when the camera was pointed at them

Mimetics. This is actually a spider that looks like an ant.

AI is learning, even if at times it resembles a legless drunk.

And it’s going to be replacing humans soon.

If you’re interested in rocket engine exhausts, click through to this excellent thread about them.

The end of an asteroid

Baby snake

A spiny caterpillar

Lunchtime for corals

I love following pianists on Twitter, because you wake up to this in the mornings

Or this:


Enjoy the rest of the weekend.


Hat-tip: Matthew

23 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Interesting to note : the Bach Google Doodle on March 21 (?) was for Bach’s birthday by the old (Gregorian?) calendar.

  2. When looking at the reasons for the closure of the Boston port by the British in 1774, one could include nepotism. The Boston Tea Party is blamed so in looking at that event, the Royal Governor, Thomas Hutchinson was in charge and insisted the cargoes of tea be unloaded. Two of the consignees were his sons so his orders went to them. In three other colonies with shipments of the same tea the cargo was not unloaded and so further demonstration was eliminated. So lets blame Thomas Hutchinson and nepotism for the Boston Tea Party.

  3. The 1774 “Boston Port Act” was the first of the four “Intolerable Acts” that consolidated anti-British sentiment in the 13 American colonies. A year later, shots were fired at Lexington and Concord, and a year after that the ur-United States sent its famous missive to King George dissolving their political bands with Britain and holding certain truths to be self-evident. (Spoiler alert: the Yanks won their independence.) Thanks, Parliament!

    1. Pardon, Monsieur l’avocat but here’s a video of Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., dancing it as well as singing it.

      1. Even better! I looked for this, but couldn’t find it in the short time I had to spend.

        Merci beaucoup, mademoiselle.

    1. Last summer I came across a Robin trying to eat a worm. It would pick it up, then drop it, pick it up again, drop it. As I got closer the bird flew off, and the worm turned out to be a baby snake. I think it was trying to bite the bird. It slithered off into the brush, apparently unharmed. Cute wee reptile. “They make the best kinda pet” 😉

      1. By coincidence, one of our cats, Brio, found a small lizard yesterday. As is usually the case with well-fed cats, he had no interest in eating it but just wanted to torment it to death. I have found that often I can separate the two and the victim is able to run off. This particular time, I could not get Brio to drop the lizard no matter how hard I tried. Then I realized that the lizard had attached itself to the cat’s face and was not actually in his mouth. Poor Brio didn’t know what to do with it. Eventually the lizard must have sensed a break in the action, let go and ran off. I prevented Brio from chasing it and it got clean away.

  4. The 14th Dalai Lama, it appears, will probably be the last. He has said he thinks the usefulness of the role may be over, but has not made a final decision about his “reincarnation”.

    “Gyatso has also expressed fear that the Chinese government would manipulate any reincarnation selection in order to choose a successor that would go along with their political goals. In response the Chinese government implied that it would select another Dalai Lama regardless of his decision.” Stay tuned. Or not.

  5. Ah, Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. Perhaps my favorite classical piece of all time. Just fills me with wonder and calm.

  6. The artificial intelligence agent has learned to keep it’s balance by flailing it’s arms. This is reminiscent of how toddlers learn the same process. It is also very similar to the way we save ourselves when we are suddenly tipped off balance. One would have thought there was a component of genetic programming in the case of humans, but if the AI agent does it, it must be more a function of the basic physics of motion.

    1. I suspect that their model of the human body was off a bit to lead to flailing arms as an efficient and desirable way to keep balance. Alternatively, their optimization process got trapped in a local minimum. We’re not going to see humans doing this in the Olympics any time soon.

      1. I’d very much like to see humans doing this in the Olympics. Well, maybe not…but it amuses my imagination.

  7. Boston Dynamics is freaking me out again, too. Years ago I worked in a place with a manufacturing line that had just acquired a robot to move heavy castings through some fairly complex processing steps. The company president came by with his entourage the see the thing in action. When they turned it on it picked up a casting weighing over 100 lb, and flung it against the wall. The demo was canceled until they could work out the bugs. No one was physically hurt.

Leave a Reply