Tuesday: Hili dialogue

May 28, 2019 • 6:30 am

by Grania

Good morning from a Europe that seems to be depressingly pro-fascist this week in the aftermath of the EU elections, although it is a bit more complicated than that. In several EU countries voting has tended towards the extreme in both directions, and away from the center.

From the BBC:


Voters are disillusioned with politics and politicians.


In history today:

  • 585 BC – A solar eclipse occurs, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, while Alyattes is battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys, leading to a truce.
  • 1533 – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declares the marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn valid.
  • 1936 – Alan Turing submits On Computable Numbers for publication.
  • 1987 – A West German pilot, Mathias Rust, who was 18 years old, evades Soviet Union air defenses and lands a private plane in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
  • 2011 – Malta votes on the introduction of divorce; the proposal was approved by 53% of voters

Notable births:

  • 1858 – Carl Richard Nyberg, Swedish inventor and businessman, developed the blow torch (d. 1939)
  • 1908 – Ian Fleming, English journalist and author, created James Bond (d. 1964)
  • 1911 – Thora Hird, English actress (d. 2003)
  • 1939 – Maeve Binchy, Irish novelist (d. 2012)
  • 1944 – Rudy Giuliani, American lawyer and politician, 107th mayor of New York City
  • 1944 – Gladys Knight, American singer-songwriter and actress
  • 1968 – Kylie Minogue, Australian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

In honor of the birthdays, here’s Gladys Knight singing Midnight Train To Georgia.

And Kylie with a song that may not be good, but it certainly made people look.


Hili has established an Advance Warning System of sorts today. It may or may not be useful.

Hili: Be careful!
A: What of?
Hili: Me, I will attack you in a moment.

In Polish:

Hili: Uważaj!
Ja: Na co?
Hili: Bo zaraz na ciebie napadnę.

Finally, from Twitter for your delectation.

Factoid of the day:

This is something you don’t see every day. Cahir Castle is in County Tipperary in Ireland.

How to annoy your friends who have opinions about Game Of Thrones and still won’t shut up about it.

What to do when there’s nothing to do.

Why dogs are awesome. (And also expensive).

Details, baby


The largest moth in the world


And while we’re on the subject of Lepidoptera:


And finally, a thought for the day.



73 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

      1. I think the point is that the video –shows off her arse— is a very clever and subtle pastiche of 70s disco tropes.

      1. Huh. I know I’ve been out of touch with pop music for a long time but Kylie Minogue has been making music since at least 1994? I’ve heard the name on occasion but for some reason I thought she was much more recent.

        1. Her international start was in ’87/’88 with her OKish cover of Locomotion & a series of pop singles promoting her as wholesome girl-next-door. It was Michael Hutchence of INXS who put a stop to that nonsense in ’89, pop princess transformed into a sex diva.

      2. Thank you, I’d forgotten that one. Sonically excellent. Percussion & Indian instruments sounding great on my HiFi.

        I had high hopes for her collaboration with Nick Cave around that same time – thinking she might step into the indie world of music permanently – maybe show us she could write, develop the voice into something stronger & spread her wings. Unreasonable of me as she’s more naturally a ‘Showgirl’ persona & she’s excellent in that role. Never mind there’s PJ Harvey, Cyndi Lauper & Lady Gaga.

        1. I bought Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads a year or so before I really started to develop my musical tastes, so found it slightly baffling, but the Kylie collaboration on it is lovely in an overblown kind of way. And PJ Harvey’s on the album too of course. I never really got into Nick Cave though.

          I seem to remember Kylie going through an indie phase, collaborating with James Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers, but none of the actual music from that short-lived period has stuck in my head. If you’re not writing the music yourself then it seems pointless to pretend that that’s who you are. I much prefer it when pop singers embrace their strengths as performers, and just pick great, hooky pop songs to work with.

        1. You forgot to include the link 😛

          Ever get around to those Phish videos I posted some time ago? It’s cool if you simply don’t want to. I don’t mean to badger you, but I’m interested in what you thought if you did listen.

          1. I can see the link – I’ve checked in three browsers & it’s visible in all. Phish: I’ll get to it – still catching up after a ‘net holiday.

          1. A quality Anglo-Aussie product. Glad it’s US-viewable – dear Kylie needs the exposure…

            1. Exquisitely US-viewable. The undersea cables are hot to the touch, and the high-gain antenna sat beams are inducing some atmospheric ionization, but it seems to be negotiating the pond quite well.

  1. “Voters are disillusioned with politics and politicians” – ’twas ever thus… only a little over 50% of EU voters turned out…

      1. One trusts that all the Brexiters didn’t vote since if they get their way there won’t be any British Euro MP’s in the future…


        1. On the contrary. The Brexit Party, whose sole policy at the moment is to leave the EU received the greatest number of votes and the largest number of MEPs (under the d’Hondt system). They are also the largest single party (of many) in the next EU parliament.

          The Liberal Democrats, an explicitly Remain party, also did well.

          It would appear that the voters are disillusioned with politics and politicians particularly when the two main UK parties have not honoured the Leave/Remain Referendum of 2016, either deliberately or through incompetence.

  2. the item about oldham encyclopedia…. i had that as a kid and i remember that page…. my daughter still has the book. amazing
    shift key has quit….

  3. In several EU countries voting has tended towards the extreme in both directions, and away from the center.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    are full of passionate intensity. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold, as one of Grania’s countrymen once said.

    1. What are the positions of the Canadian Greens? In the US, the Greens indulge in pipe dreams and have shifted emphasis away from the environment to identity politics.

    1. A screen door.

      Had a cat once do something similar. She was a real beauty, but she was a real killer. Kitani was her name. Actually, I don’t thing she ever killed anything, except maybe the odd lizard, but she immediately and decisively dominated all cats, dogs and other critters that entered her presence, often with great force. When someone would knock at the door she would run to the door and growl. When we visited friends that had a malamute she immediately sent the curious dog packing with its tail between its legs. But she was always a sweetheart to me.

      Anyway, one fine spring day the sliding glass door out to our balcony was open, with the sliding screen door closed, when a bird landed on the balcony in full view of Kitani. She charged the door like a lighting bolt and hit the screen door full tilt. Blew that thing right out of it tracks and nearly sent it right off the balcony. Didn’t seem to phase her a bit. She was too busy trying to figure out what happened to the bird. I had to re-screen the door and straighten the frame out. It was never the same.

    2. A screen door.

      Tw*tter is really utter crap at pictures. They always have the bottom cut off when imbedded here, even when you go to Tw*tter the photo doesn’t show in the thread, you have to click again to see the photo, even then the full photo doesn’t show, you have to click *again* to see it. What an utterly rubbish interface.

      The sign says “3 hours after dad hung the new screen door I came through it like the Kool-aid man”


      1. Thanks CR, finally saw the whole thing.
        All I could see, at first, was 3 HOURS AFTER DAD HUNG THE…
        Not intuitively obvious what came next😬

  4. OK. Finally able to see the bottom half of the sign.

    Funny Kitani story😻. Haven’t even tried our screen with Lucy Poochie. Sure it would be demolished within hours.

  5. Scalzi makes an interesting mathematical inequality: very few people would have trouble consuming a single coke. Most people would wrestle with finishing six donuts unless they just ran 10km.

      1. My record meal: 1 large Dominos pizza, 1 medium Dominos pizza, 1 box of Entenmann donuts (8). (2400+1680+2240=6320 calories). Now I only buy pizza by the slice and it’s not uncommon that I use a knife to cut donuts in half. Very sad.

    1. It seems he’s only counting sugar, but I think most of the calories in a donut come from starch and fat. Six donuts is like 2000-3000 kilocalories, far greater than what’s in a coke. A misleading poster, but probably people shouldn’t be regularly eating donuts or drinking cokes. 😛

  6. There are a fair number of cannonballs embedded in the walls of Fort Sumter, too. AIUI, it’s not an uncommon thing.

  7. The rise of populist parties in Europe is the direct result of concerns about immigration and the establishment’s refusal to even discuss it while labeling anyone who does a racist. This haughty, dismissive stance drives voters into the arms of the far-right parties.

    Angela Merkel throwing open the gates was a mistake of epic proportions, the ripple effects of which will plague Europe for many years.

    1. Pure fiction. Merkel’s statement that is meant likely that from September 2015, after negotiations failed, and more importantly, after refugees were piling up in many countries from south to eastern Europe, the situation had turned into humanitarian crisis IN EUROPE and various countries deployed makeshift borders.

      Perhaps for you scratch whatever you think you know and start over.


      1. Unfortunately, if that is a general perception of how things went – and I suspect that it is – it can still contribute to a reactionary protectionist feeling in many people. I gratefully applaud your sharing of more accurate information, but the “Perhaps for you scratch whatever you think you know and start over,” is redolent of the “haughty, dismissive stance” to which Matt referred. I understand how you feel, but it’s probably not terribly useful to assume that tone.

      2. Aneris, so nice of you to drop in for a visit from your alternate reality where the Merkel didn’t let in 2 million immigrants in a single year then tell the rest of Europe they needed to take their fair share of them, leading to the collapse of the Schengen Agreement and the rise of groups like PEGIDA, parties like AfD, and the popularity of politicians like Orban and Salvini.

        1. What do you regard as “alternate” exactly.

          Merkel’s (in)famous statement was from September 2015.

          Pegida was founded in 2014. “Bachmann’s impetus for starting Pegida was witnessing a rally by alleged supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against the siege of Kobani by the Islamic State (ISIL) on 10 October 2014 in Dresden,[20] which he posted on YouTube on the same day”.

          The Refugee crisis was brewing for a decade, but was reaching a climax in 2015.

          11 May: The European Commission proposed that EU member states should take in refugees under a quota scheme.” This failed. “26 June: At a meeting of the European Council, it was agreed to relocate 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other EU member states.” They were already in Europe with vast camps at the borders about to burst. “23/24 and 29/30 June: A strike by ferry workers caused major traffic jams in Calais, France. Hundreds of migrants camped nearby exploited the situation by trying to break into lorries bound for Britain.” European states build internal makeshift borders, e.g. “13 July: Hungary began building a barrier along its border with Serbia […] 4 August: Bulgaria began building a new section of razor wire fence along its border with Turkey to stop migrants entering the country illegally.” and so it goes… “20–22 August: Macedonia sealed its southern border with Greece and declared a state of emergency to help it cope with a large influx of migrants, as the numbers trying to enter Macedonia rose to more than 3,000 a day.”

          Still not September. By then there were routine news of refugees drowning, or dying, by now counting in the thousands. As you can tell from the timeline, refugees en masse already were in Europe.

          1–5 September: Thousands of migrants gathered outside Keleti railway station in the Hungarian capital […] The Austrian chancellor said Austria and Germany had agreed to let the migrants cross their borders. The Hungarian government abandoned attempts to register the migrants and sent buses to bring them to the border.”

          1. Merkel’s (in)famous statement was from September 2015.

            I never referenced a statement. I’m speaking of Merkel’s actions: unilaterally abrogating EU asylum policy, getting played by Erdogan, letting in a net 1.5 million immigrants to Germany in one year, then attempting with only partial success to strong-arm the rest of Europe to take some of them off her hands.


            Pegida was founded in 2014.

            Soll ich das Wort “rise” für sie übersetzen?


            The Refugee crisis was brewing for a decade, but was reaching a climax in 2015. [WALL O’ TEXT REDACTED]

            Obviously no one considered sending most of them back, as most were not legitimate asylum seekers, but rather economic immigrants. Merkel didn’t even think it was worth the bother to assess their claims.

            Of course, your beloved Mutti and the rest of the globalist elite subscribe to the cockamamie notion that importing millions of uneducated young men with no marketable job skills will somehow boost their economies.

            1. You made the claim that Merkel “threw open” the gates, whether or not you refer to her statement (which is often cited). Merkel reacted late, as usual, when southern and eastern European states where already overrun, as you can see from the timeline. Why would Macedonia or Hungary erect fences, if they are European states and Merkel has not yet thrown open the gates? She can be blamed for taking too much on Germany, but what a hypocrite many are, since that’s hardly their concern. It was a failure of many, including Merkel, to not care about the situation earlier, and in a better organised fashion.

              The reason this makes many on the far right upset is for racist reasons, since when those refugees were located in the southern and eastern states, they would mingle with the more tanned people down there, and not with paler northern europeans, correct? It is also a Far Right talking point, since Merkel is a Conservative. Rallying against her by blaming the Refugee Crisis on her moves right wingers further to the right.

              I see no need to defend Merkel, a Conservative. I never voted for her. But I don‘t like neo-fascist propaganda.

              Pegida and the likes would “rise” in any way, as the crisis was happening with or without Merkel.

              If you want to blame someone, blame Americans and their interventions. Americans have funded their guy Saddam Hussein, or their man in Afghanistan, Bin Laden, then bombed the place to bits, and let the Islamic State flourish. Not to mention America‘s good ally, the Saudis, who invest the dollars in radical islam, which they export in the region. America is also the main villain in environmentalism these days. Not only through dependence on oil, but also by exacerbating global warming, leading to expansion of inhospitable climates in those already destabilised regions.

              1. “which they export in the region”

                And Europe, too. The Saudis, the Qataris, the Emirates, they’re the one responsible for at least 90% of the vilest messages which inspire not only terrorists, but people who preach that women without hijabs are for men to grab, or that the West is trying to make the muslims gay, or other amenities such s “the Jews invented porn to make muslims become immoral” (the other 10% is Iran).

                These reactionary ideas are then taught through books edited in the Persian Gulf theocracies, nd by teachers who studied in universities/schools/online forums located or funded by Persian Gulf theocracies.

                Reformers, liberals and atheists of muslim origin are persecuted and targeted by rectionry goons trained, inspired and often even directly paid by Gulf theocracies.

                The ideas of worldwide jihad, or of islam taking over the world, are ideas heavily promoted by newspapers (like the Arabic version of Al-Jazeera) financed by, you guessed it,Persian Gulf theocracies.

                From the Maldives to Indonesia, radical islamic groups are supported economically, politically, mediatically, even militarily, by the usual suspects, Persian Gulf theocracies.

                Matt, Aneris hs offered evidence that the common narrative of “Merkel just opening the gates” is rather flawed, and reality is more complex.

                The crisis was well underway when Merkel decided to try to do something about it. The migrants had already reached Italy and Greece, and were passing through Bulgaria or the Balkans.

                The common solution of quotas was, at the time, accepted at least formally by several European nations who then pulled out of the deal.

                Sure, the action on Merkel’s part was poorly coordinated, but so was practically everything about the crisis.

                The migrations were already happening. Erdogan was already threatening to use the migrant crisis as a bargaining chip. There was no way to keep people out completely except to use military force on civilians.

                The Italian navy tried to sink smuggler boats in Libya, which didn’t work, since the smugglers simply used less sea-worthy trawlers or even inflatable rafts (which increased the number of deaths, incidentally).

                So a compromise was found. It wasn’t perfect, it could definitely have been handled better, but it was either that or having to shoot people or leave them to die.

                The truth is that until Middle Eastern/North African/Sub-Saharan African countries are relatively politically and socially stable and offer enough opportunities to women to work and get educated, and so lower the TFR of some nations while improving their economies, the heavy migration fluxes will continue

                “Too Long, Didn’t Read” isn’t a very good argument. You’re usually better than that.

              2. Despite your typical prolixity, you’ve conveniently avoided several specific complaints I’ve leveled at Merkel. But you have provided confirmation of another regarding the elite, by calling me and all those concerned about immigration “racists” and “neo-fascists”, while dismissing statements of fact as “far right talking points.” Finally, you reveal your true colors by blaming it all on the USA.

                I should have known better than to engage with someone with a long track record of arrogance, pedantry, dissembling, and hyperbole. You’re dead to me, Aneris.

              3. Politicians ONLY* ever act out of compassion, dontchaknow?

                Well, at least the politicians who agree with us, right? They only got into politics because they are caring people…so much caring…how can you blame a politician for simply wanting to save the world?

                *Except for those politicians who don’t share our values, they are all evil evil evil.

                What happened to nuance? Oh right…nuance is a sign that one is an -ist or a -phobe. No, good people must be extreme and they must be extreme all the time! If you don’t see the world in black and white youre just a bad person…

            2. @Matt
              Concerns about immigration aren’t suspect, but …

              (1) “globalist elite” was once called “International Jew” and that’s brown talk from Alex Jones and further right. It’s what it is. Maybe you have been desensitised by now, but how can anyone write “global elite” without acute cringing. What are those “global elites”? George Soros? (((They))), the Illuminati and Bilderberger?

              (2) Far Right parties first blame N/W european states for not finding a solution, and then blamed Merkel for taking the bulk of immigrants in, which are contradictory points, which are however both to stoke anti-european, nationalist sentiment for advancing illiberal agendas.

              (3) The Far Right is ever concerned with ethno-nationalism, and are extra mad at Merkel or the Swedish government, because of the “white genocide” talking point.

              I didn’t call you a racist or neo-fascist, I wrote that these are talking points emanating from such far right sources, which is true. Does Brive still post his stream of identitarian videos? We both know how it went with the forum.

              Your ad-hominem complaining does you no good, but thanks for the info.

              1. I didn’t call you a racist or neo-fascist…

                … “globalist elite” was once called “International Jew” and that’s brown talk from Alex Jones and further right. It’s what it is…. how can anyone write “global elite” without acute cringing[?]

                You just can’t help yourself, can you?

    2. “…is the direct result of concerns about immigration and the establishment’s refusal to even discuss it while labeling anyone who does a racist. This haughty, dismissive stance drives voters into the arms of the far-right parties.”

      This rhetoric is getting very, very old. It’s a brand of reactionary apologetics that cleanly excises any racist or regressive motivations from the Leave narrative.

      Apparently everyone who expresses a concern about immigration is universally ‘sneered at’ or called a racist, and thus they are given no option but to turn to hatemongering populists.

      This rhetoric transforms every Leave voter into a brave concerned citizen battling against sneering globalist elites. It also removes any kind of moral responsibility from their actions, portrays them as helplessly turning to the far-right as though voting for anyone else would have been unthinkable.

      It’s an example of right-wing political correctness, the political correctness that says questioning the decisions of anyone who voted leave means you’re a sneering elitist who has nothing but contempt for the working classes. People are getting tired of this victimhood narrative, especially as it comes from a group of people who tend to spend the rest of their political energies exhaustively criticising left-wing victimhood politics.

      1. It’s an example of right-wing political correctness….

        So now complaining about being slandered as right-wing itself makes one right-wing. How very Kafkaesque.


        … portrays them as helplessly turning to the far-right as though voting for anyone else would have been unthinkable.

        As this dynamic has been documented, most recently in Quillette*, and also of late observed by such nasty alt-right apologists as Steven Pinker, Jonathan Haidt, Steven Fry, and Bret Weinstein, I suggest you take your gripe to them.

        But in the mean time, perhaps you can explain why anyone, who was alarmed about the intake in such a short time of millions of immigrants, would vote for any of the parties that have eagerly engaged in that policy?

        * https://quillette.com/2019/05/27/how-progressivism-enabled-the-rise-of-the-populist-right/

        1. If Antifa beat up some folks, or an Islamist drives over a bunch of people, the far left tells us that they were ‘forced’ (and therefore victims) into taking such drastic acts by anyone who is to the right of Stalin, but if ordinary folks start rejecting far left political parties because they feel that their concerns are being ignored, well, this is just even more ‘poof’ that they are all fascists to the right of Hitler!

          Kafka Trap indeed!

  8. I wondered whatever happened to Mathias Rust,
    the West German pilot. Turns out he was sentenced to prison the USSR but was released as a goodwill gesture during the Gorbachev era. But, not too surprisingly, he is a total crazy and has been in and out of prison in Germany.

  9. 585 BC – A solar eclipse occurs, [during a battle]

    While it is definitely possible, there are several recurrences of this trope, which start to stretch my credulity. Allegedly, one occurred during one of Columbus’ voyages, which tickles my suspicions that either Columbus planned the confrontation knowing of the date of the due eclipse, or it’s pure fiction.
    Actually, on third thoughts – did Columbus have a good enough knowledge of the longitude of the “Indies” to have made such a prediction?
    His error in the size of the Earth alone would have in itself shifted the ground track of the eclipse by 3 to 5 thousand km, which translates into several hours of error in the timing of the eclipse. Most people won’t notice a 90% partial eclipse as it is going on. To get noticeable dimming of the light, you’d need to get the ground track within at most a couple of hundred km, and I suspect tighter than that.
    Nope, my BS detector is going off on a full excrement alert now. I’m sure I’m not the first to cry “foul” on that story.

    1. As I mentioned last year – we have no idea what eclipse Thales predicted. The details of the report in today’s history news are invention. (See _The Presocratic Philosophers_.)

  10. When you see it. Ventilation grid of the Stockholm Metro. pic.twitter.com/5fyawNoXPG

    One, possibly more, of the Mars rovers has the dots and dashes in it’s wheels drilled in patterns which say things in Morse code (I forget what they say, probably something NASA-ily polite with a sub-text of “We could have said rude things about the Bean-Counters”).
    There is a practical reason – while the wheel hubs have revolution counters for dead reckoning navigation … in loose sand, the wheels could slip. So, being able to independently say “the wheel is at this rotary position at this track position” can correct for wheel slip, particularly if all the wheels are slipping by differing amounts over an interval and you don’t actually know at all how far you’ve travelled.
    Those “selfie” pictures and “looking back over the tracks” pictures are not a waste of bandwidth.

    1. That pattern in the ventilation grille is brilliant! I just love whoever did that.

      I wonder how many people ever notice it. It took me a couple of minutes to discover it.


      1. I do not get it! What is special in that grid except that five holes have a different shape?

        1. The different shapes are characters from a famous arcade video game named Pac-Man that first appeared in 1980. Rather than explain with words, here’s a picture

          The Pac-Man is the circular character and is controlled by the player. It eats everything as it moves along. The sort of rounded umbrella shaped characters are “ghosts” and they kill Pac-Man. Pac-Man scores points by eating. When it eats one of the bigger dots, a “power pill,” it momentarily has enhanced power and can eat the ghosts.

          Pac-Man is perhaps the most popular arcade video game of the 1st/2nd generation games that came out in the late ’70s to early ’80s, with the possible exception of Galaxian / Galaga.

          I am sad you did not know this. *kidding!*

            1. I’d say it’s a generational thing – except I didn’t see PacMan until well after it was a “thing”. Being “cool” and “a la mode” are matters I have to check up in the dictionary.

  11. That cannon ball imbedded in the stonework really surprises me.

    One of the tropes of action/sword & sorcery movies is where the hero fires an arrow or a piton or a spear into a wall then climbs on it. That always drops me out of the story. Though I can concede (for the sake of the story) that the hero’s superhuman powers could propel a super-tough arrow that fast, I always think the rock would just shatter.

    But there’s that cannonball…

    It would be interesting to get a modern tank to fire an armor-piercing round at a rock face and see what happens.


    1. Ineffective – the rock face fragments rather than flows. If it’s sedimentary rock a hardened steel shell with delayed fuze explosive charge would make a right old mess after penetrating say 8′ – not a typical tank ammo though. Barnes Wallis probably had something suitable, but too big for tanks other than some mega howitzer types.

    2. It depends on specific material properties of both the target and projectile, the shape of the projectile and the energy involved, but it is certainly possible for metal projectiles to penetrate stone work, masonry and concrete. Climbers drive pitons into stone with a hammer. There are manually driven nails used for attaching things to concrete. There are “powder actuated” pin guns that fire pins (nails) into concrete.

      But I’ve got to agree with about the arrow thing. Even in the unlikely event that the arrow does securely embed into the stonework wall, the arrow shaft sure as heck isn’t going to support the hero’s weight.

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