Monday: Hili dialogue

June 17, 2019 • 10:00 am

It’s Monday, June 17, 2019; and as you begin the work week reading this, I’ll be luxuriating in Hawaii for some well-deserved R&R. It’s National Apple Strudel Day, but if you eat that stuff you’re engaging in cultural appropriation. It’s also World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Do your bit.

On this day in 1579, Sir Francis Drake claimed California, which he named “Nova Albion” for England. On June 17, 1631, Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, died in childbirth. The emperor spent the next 17 years building her tomb, which is this:

Only a few hours from Delhi, the Taj is a must see; it is one of the three sights, along with Mount Everest and Machu Picchu, that was on my bucket list as a youth. I’ve been lucky enough to see all three, and although the Taj can be crowded and touristy, it is well worth the trip. I was once fortunate enough to see it at night during a full moon, and it was otherwordly, assuming a bluish pearly cast and appearing to float above its base.

On June 18, 1673, the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reached the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, eventually traveling south to its junction with the Arkansas river, becoming the first Europeans to chart part of the Mississippi’s course.

A lot happened on this day in history. On June 17 in 1885, the Statue of Liberty, made in France, arrived in New York Harbor in 350 pieces. Remember that it was a gift from the French people, and the Americans crowdfunded its assembly in the U.S. Here is a foot upon arrival:

On this day in 1901, the College Board introduced its first standardized test, later to become the rapidly-disappearing SAT. In 1939, the last public guillotining in France took place, with a convicted German murderer, Eugen Weidmann, beheaded in Versailles.

On June 17, 1944, Iceland became a republic, declaring its independence from Denmark. 19 years later, in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp,  the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against recitations of the Bible and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. The vote would certainly not be that extreme today.  In 1967, China announced its first successful test of a thermonuclear weapon.

On this day in 1972, five operatives, directed from the White House, were arrested for trying to burgle the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex. What a time that was! It eventually led to Nixon’s downfall and his resignation from the Presidency on August 9, 1974.

On June 17, 1991, the South African Parliament repealed the “Population Registration Act,” which had required all South Africans to be racially classified at birth. Three years later, after the famous low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was, of course, acquitted, but I think that was a miscarriage of justice.

Notables born on this day include Igor Stravinsky (1882), M. C. Escher (1888), Martin Bormann (1900),  François Jacob (1920, Nobel Laureate), Newt Gingrich and Barry Manilow (both 1943), and Jello Biafra (1958).

Here is “Black and White Cat Tessellation” by Escher:

Notables who expired on June 17 were few, and include Kate Smith (1986), Cyd Charisse (2008), and Rodney King (2012).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej talk about books:

Hili: It’s best to look for tranquility among old books.
A: I know, I often escape to them as well.
In Polish:
Hili: Najlepiej szukać spokoju wśród starych książek.
Ja: Wiem, też często do nich uciekam.

A tweet from reader Barry. D*g saves cat from plastic bag while another cat looks on helplessly. Canids do have their uses!

A tweet from Heather Hastie, who notes, “We used to have a couple of kittens that both loved curling up in the lid of the Trivial Pursuit (board game) box. The more dominant of the two (Annie) would come along and lick and otherwise annoy the other one (April) if April was the one who got the box first. It looks like these two have a similar issue.”

Two tweets from Nilou in honor of Father’s Day. First: what a cruel thing to do to a dad on Father’s Day!

We all know of Wisdom, the Laysan albatross on Midway who is about 68: the oldest confirmed wild bird (and oldest banded bird) in the world. She had another chick last November, making 37 (they have one chick at a time), and has flown more than three million miles. But who remembers Wisdom’s mates? Here’s the latest one, Akeakamai, honored on Father’s Day, and sharing parental duties.

Here’s Akeakamai with the pair’s latest chick:

And here’s that latest chick getting banded.

Tweets from Matthew. Here’s some biology that will make you the hit of any cocktail party:

I don’t think that my ducklings can jump this high:

I’m sure at least one reader will know what this chemical reaction is (I don’t):

Tweets from Grania. For you cat-loving gamers (Grania fits both slots), here’s a new cat-themed game:

I guess racing backwards is faster:



57 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

    1. I’ve just looked at a book with basically all Esher’s etches and prints.
      What strikes me, besides the brilliance of the ideas, is how very much 40’s and 50’s most of his works appear.
      Can’t really put my finger on it though. Maybe it is the other way round (although I doubt it) Esher determined what we now consider the 40′ and 50’s style?

      1. I went to a wonderful Escher exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) last year. It didn’t have the cat tesselation, but was still mind-blowing. The exhibition was designed by a Japanese company and truly enhanced the art works and the entire experience. I don’t know where (or if) it is being shown now, but if anyone gets the chance I would recommend seeing it.

  1. OJ just opened a twitter account a couple days ago and badda bing boom just like that he’s a celebrity again.

    1. “OJ just opened a twitter account a couple days ago and badda bing boom just like that he’s a celebrity again.”


      And in his first Twitter video he stated that he was going to “get even” with people. Not something you’d think a felon would say in a public venue like Twitter. But I never did think O.J. was the smartest cookie in the jar.

      Guess we’ll see where this goes.

  2. … in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against recitations of the Bible and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.

    SCOTUS is having another busy June 17th this morning (as tends to be its wont as the Court’s term comes to an end and the justices prepare for their long summer recess until the first Monday in October).

    So far this morning, the Court has issued opinions upholding the dual-sovereign exception to the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy; finding that Virginia legislators lack standing to appeal a lower-court decision striking down their racially discriminatory gerrymandering; and punting again on another case involving a homophobic baker refusing service to a gay couple.

    1. Come on Ken, what does that mean? You generally do better than that. “..opinions upholding the dual-sovereign exception to the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy.” Can a normal mortal/layman understand that? I guess I do, but I’m far from sure,
      Are they obliged to redistrict now (that is what I think it means) or is the status quo accepted?

      1. Sorry to disappoint, Nicholas. The Double Jeopardy clause prohibits a defendant from being twice tried for the same criminal offense. There is a 160-year long line of precedent that says the prohibition does NOT apply to prosecutions by separate sovereigns — which is to say, a defendant can be tried once in state or federal court and then (win, lose, or draw) be tried again in its opposite.

        Today, in Gamble v. United States, SCOTUS upheld this doctrine by a 7-2 vote. (Nota bene: the US Justice Department has a policy — known as the “Petite Policy” — of not prosecuting someone who has been prosecuted for the same crime in a state court, and most states have followed suit with policies of their own of not prosecuting defendants who have been tried in federal court. But these policies are matters of prosecutorial discretion, NOT constitutional guarantees.)

          1. In the gerrymandering case, a lower federal court determined that the state of Virginia had drawn its redistricting line in a manner meant to disadvantage black voters. Virginia saw the errors of its ways and decided not to appeal that ruling. The Virginia legislators who had been behind the racially discriminatory redistricting nevertheless tried to take an appeal on their own. SCOTUS decided those legislators lacked legal standing to pursue that appeal. So Virginia will have to redraw its districts in a non-discriminatory manner, per the lower court decision.

            1. Just for readers’ info, the virginia executive branch (governor, lt gov, attorney general) are dem; the legislature is republican majority in both houses.

              1. Further request for clarification : the Virgins who

                saw the errors of its ways and decided not to appeal that ruling

                would be the

                executive branch (governor, lt (Lieutenant?) gov(-ernor), attorney general)

                But the

                legislators who had been behind the racially discriminatory redistricting

                would have been the

                republican majority in both houses

                Quite how the US divides it’s government into channels, branches, twigs and pseudopoda is less than clear to those on the outside.

                When – I’m sure you’ve heard the interviews – Chthulhu’s Pathfinder General bypasses the 21st (22nd?) Amendment to get a third and subsequent terms for himself and his heirs, the guiding pseudopoda of the Ancient One will be visible in the sky.

        1. That dual-sovereign exception seems to leave your citizens potentially worse off than those of less ‘free’ countries that don’t enjoy the advantages of federal/state separation.

          (Along with the OJ case which demonstrates that you may be found Not Guilty at trial – and then the aggrieved family can sue you and try to ruin you.)

          Really SCOTUS should have fixed that.


      1. Thx, jblilie. I try to add a little value by posting occasional comments on a subject I know something about to make up for all my puerile wisecracks on subjects that I don’t. 🙂

    1. Not sure about the peroxide. Googling ‘peroxide and yeast’ on Youtube, most reactions are far slower than the one in the video. They most certainly managed to soup it up somehow.

      From the colour, I’d say more likely potassium permanganate or potassium iodide was involved.


      1. The definition on the video is very poor. However the liquid appears to be brown or purple (hence my suspicion of permanganate or iodide). I think more likely permanganate since I suspect iodine compounds are likely poisonous.

        Because of the colour I’d discount peroxide. Unless they’ve just added some dye to it for visual effect.

        But the reaction in the video is way faster (and more spectacular) than any of the ones I’ve found on Youtube. So if it’s the usual peroxide ‘elephants toothpaste’ one, they’ve found a way to soup it up massively. Admittedly many reactions are highly temperature and concentration – dependant.


        1. According to the thread in Tw*tter, it’s 35% hydrogen peroxide (which explains in part why it goes off so well, most Youtubers just used 20%, and we know that peroxide reactivity is highly dependant on concentration); dish soap (for the foam); food colouring; and potassium iodide.


          at 3:00 demonstrates 35% peroxide, food colouring, dish soap, and a ‘catalyst’ – an unspecified yellow liquid. It’s the nearest I’ve found to the tweeted video.

          (I was wrong about iodine compounds being poisonous, by the way. Not particularly).

  3. Those little duckies are determined. I found it interesting to see the way they use their feet to grasp the ledges and pull themselves up. I didn’t know they could do that.

      1. I didn’t know they had claws on their feet. But that last one is quite remarkably strong.


  4. Note that Nixon won easily in the 1972 election well after the Watergate break in. Journalism by the Washington Post broke the case and informed the public – where would we be without the free press?

    Simpson confirmed his own guilt well before the pathetic circus trial by simply taking off, with a driver, in that white bronco down the freeway. He continues to look for the real killer on the golf course.

    1. Wasn’t that taking off in the white Bronco well after hid ‘acquittal’ for murder?
      I agree with the OP, he almost certainly was the murderer.

      1. No, the bronco ride on CNN live was the first thing we heard about the murders almost. OJ knew the cops were after him and he took off with a friend. They thought initially he was headed for Mexico but were spotted by the police and helicopters on the freeway. The guy driving said, OJ has a gun and everyone was thinking he might shoot himself. Had he used a gun instead of a knife to do the murders, they would have nailed him.

    2. What with every political scandal getting GATE stuck onto the end ,i wish them Democrats had stayed at Howard Johnson’s or a Motel 6 .

      A few years back here in GB we even had a Gate Gate ,i kid you not.

  5. “On June 17, 1944, Iceland became a republic, declaring its independence from Denmark.”

    In Iceland, the day is known as þjóðhátíðardagurinn.

      1. Pretty much guaranteed to be inaccurate – possibly entertainingly badly.
        I had a disagreement last week over the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull with another geologist. That was probably increasingly confusing to by-sitters.

    1. Which looks like it is celebrating by creating a word that is maximally hard to spell with any other character set but the IcelandiC one, thus guaranteeing that the Icelanders will always be unique in one respect!

      1. The only letters that are peculiar to the Icelandic character set are the letters thorn (Þ & þ), edh (Ð & ð), which represent the voiceless and voiced* variants of the sound Modern English spells ‘th’ (with no voicing differentiation), and Æ/æ, which is pronounced like “aye”. To the best of my knowledge, only Faroese also uses the edh and Æ/æ but not the thorn. Icelandic also considers vowels with the acute accent marks (Á,á,É,é,Í,í,Ó,ó,Ú,ú,Ý,ý) as well as (Ö ö)to be separate letters rather than variants. There is no C, Q, W or Z except in foreign words or names, giving an alphabet of 32 letters.

        In English, þjóðhátíðardagurinn is spelled thjodhhatidhardagurinn. Icelandic, like German, tends to form long compound words and þjóðhátíðardagurinn can be analyzed like this: “þjóð” = nation; hátíðar = festival; dagur = day; inn = the” – “The National Festival Day”.

        Edh, thorn and Æ/æ were once used in Old English. Thorn survived halfway through the Middle English period, but it later became so thoroughly forgotten that it was often mistaken for a cursive variant of ‘y’, which is how “þe”, which was pronounced “the” gave rise to the nonexistant fake archaic word “ye” (as in the abominable “Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe”).

  6. I just ran across more on the Oberlin college case. This thing is an endless pit of insanity. Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, just wait, there’s more! The faculty was afraid the students would throw a tantrum in the cafeteria, throwing any food made by Gibson’s on the floor and stomping on it! This is not a college, this is day care.

    Gibson’s attorney Lee Plakas asked Protzman what was the reason for cutting ties with the business they had worked with for more than a century. He pointed out emails from various administrators that the student might have throw a “tantrum” on campus, specifically in the cafeteria while eating dinner, and that might be a good reason to get their cookies and bagels elsewhere.

    “The concern was that the students were angry?” Plakas asked. “The fear was that angry students would throw food [made by Gibson’s] on the floor [of the cafeteria] and stomp on it?”

    “Yes, that was one of the concerns,” Protzman answered.

    “Doesn’t that sound more like a nursery school than a college?” Plakas continued.

    “Nursery school students do throw food on the floor, yes,” Protzman said, adding “We are not the students’ parents,” as the reason the school could not tell the students to quit threatening to throw food on the floor and eat their dinner like nice people do.

    1. That would be very funny if it were not so sad.
      I agree, this is kindergarten stuff, but with a price tag of 44 million.
      I take exception to the comparison with nursery schools, most prospective nurses show exemplary behaviour. 🙂

    1. I considered sending that one into Prof CCE. And I’m hoping that the Tuesday (?) bullshit flinging session – sorry, “Prime ministerial Candidate Debate” have a pig-based filter applied to it.
      Were Cameron to appear, they’d have to reposition the pig.

    1. To strike a sour note ,didn’t that Shah fellow have the architect blinded so he could not build anything to outshine the Taj Mahal ?

      1. That story exists. But also, the invoices exist for the Taj Mahal’s architect working on the Red Fort of Delhi after submitting the designs for the Taj, and while it was being built.

        Architects are not builders. They complete a design, which people then start to build while they move on to their next commission. Well, to a first and second approximation, at least.

  7. Not sure I know what to say about the little girl jumping on dad: 1) Is it real, because I think he would have been in more distress; 2) Are the girls determined that they shouldn’t have any more siblings; 3) Who the hell recorded that, and didn’t intervene to stop it?

    1. Did you hear about … someone on the current cycling scene, whose name I forget … cycling full tilt into a brick wall while trying to blow his nose on a training ride. Not very funny – multiple broken bones and some time in the ICU – but he must have been effin’ leathering it to crater that comprehensively.

    2. “Eddy Merckx (1945), one of the greatest bike racers ever”.

      I would say THE gratest ever. Nobody has won nearly as many major races as he did.

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