Monday: Hili dialogue

July 8, 2019 • 6:30 am

Unless you get up very early this Monday, July 8, 2019, I’ll be back in Chicago when you read this. (I’m writing this in the United Lounge at the Honolulu Airport). It’s National Chocolate with Almonds Day (I remember when you could get a big Hershey Bar with almonds for only 5¢, which dates me as very old). It’s also Body Painting Day as well as National Blueberry Day and  Video Games Day.

Congrats to the US team, which won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in soccer for the fourth time, beating the Netherlands 2-0. The Google Doodle celebrates the victory (below)

Here’s a short video of the highlights:

The score would have been even more lopsided had the Netherlands keeper not made two great saves:

Stuff that happened on July 8 include:

  • 1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.
  • 1776 – Church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
  • 1889 – The first issue of The Wall Street Journal is published.
  • 1898 – The death of crime boss Soapy Smith, killed in the Shootout on Juneau Wharf, releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip.
  • 1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22. [JAC: It’s now nearly 27,000.]
  • 1994 – Kim Jong-il begins to assume supreme leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-sung.

Notables born on this day include

  • 1831 – John Pemberton, American chemist and pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola (d. 1888)
  • 1838 – Eli Lilly, American soldier, chemist, and businessman, founded Eli Lilly and Company (d. 1898)
  • 1838 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German general and businessman, founded the Zeppelin Airship Company (d. 1917)
  • 1839 – John D. Rockefeller, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Standard Oil Company (d. 1937)
  • 1895 – Igor Tamm, Russian physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1971)
  • 1906 – Philip Johnson, American architect, designed the IDS Center and PPG Place (d. 2005)
  • 1951 – Anjelica Huston, American actress and director
  • 1962 – Joan Osborne, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Those who expired on July 8 include:

  • 1695 – Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (b. 1629)
  • 1721 – Elihu Yale, American-English merchant and philanthropist (b. 1649)
  • 1822 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet and playwright (b. 1792)
  • 1939 – Havelock Ellis, English psychologist and author (b. 1859)
  • 1979 – Robert Burns Woodward, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917)
  • 1994 – Kim Il-sung, North Korean commander and politician, President of North Korea (b. 1912)
  • 1999 – Pete Conrad, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1930)
  • 2008 – John Templeton, American-born British businessman and philanthropist (b. 1912)

This is a sad day, because when Templeton died he left all his dosh to foundations with the mission of blurring science and religion: of showing that science could in fact give evidence for the divine.

  • 2011 – Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, a feral black cat has been hanging around Andrzej and Malgorzata’s house, and apparently has been seen outside with Hili. They have been leaving out cat food and cream for the animal, who has been coming closer to the house and even just a few feet from Andrzej. (They also put a nest box for the cat on the veranda.) They’ve also given the cat a name: Czarnuszek.

Could this be a substitute for Cyrus as Hili’s BFF? Who knows? But here’s the first dialogue with Hili and Czarnuszek. May there be many more!

Hili: Why is the black cat afraid of me?
A: He can see that you are bigger.
Hili: But I’m not hissing at him.

In Polish:

Hili: Dlaczego ten czarny kotek  się mnie boi?
Ja: Pewnie widzi, że jesteś większa.
Hili: Przecież ja na niego nie syczę.

And some tweets. I found this one, and it’s very soothing. Oh to be a capybara in Japan!

Three tweets from Nilou. The first: “Such is life on the steppes.” But the UV urine-train detection is new to me.

This fish is also new to me:

And another remarkable display of head stabilization in birds:

From Gethyn: tent-licking lions. Would you want to or not want to experience this on safari? I would!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This cat really enjoys having its toes massaged:

Not many cats would soak in their own kitty pool:

And three tweets from Matthew. In the first, the Jodrell Bank Observatory, run by Matthew’s University of Manchester, becomes the first “science site” to gain status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. See more information here.

Good question: why are the peas upside down? I don’t think this is an illusion.

Worth seeing again:



27 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Hili has a new friend. Looks like a good deal for both. Having two cats or two cats having us, I know what that is like.

    1. It has it’s downside ,one of my three cats has just bought the same mouse in twice today .

      Good luck to Hili if she can strike up a friendship with the new cat on the block .

      1. I think in professional sports, you really cannot ask to be paid equally. Pay is based on whoever is willing to pay for your market value.

        1. Yeah, so what is the market value of men’s soccer in America compared to the women with four world cups? What is the value of work? What is the value of success? And what is the value of losing?

          Just as example, the Yankees are nearly always the highest paid baseball team in the pros. Yet some years they play like a high school team. The guy with the money has a different set of values.

    1. I think the peas were copied from another photo, rotated to fit the space, and pasted. Obviously there was no one in charge of checking for gravitational effects.

    2. No, I don’t think so Mark. It’s an unvarnished, un-photoshopped, poorly set up shot from a compact, pocket-sized camera using the, too close, in-built flash & a secondary very low angle light off to the right.

      The resultant image was cut out digitally & slapped onto the blue menu background with the over-scaled pie in a foil creeping in from the left. I’ve removed all the distractions in my image below.

      Looking from behind the camera… the in-built flash sits just to the left of the lens & it’s too close to the plate to use flash properly – it’s preferentially lighting the left of the plate & has washed out any sense of depth in the pale pie & pale chips on a pale plate. We can see it’s the in-built flash because the pie shadow is falling away from the lens.

      By contrast, the darker peas are being lit by additional light to the right & forward of the plate – [there’s no shadows from it on the left side of the plate because the flash counters those shadows]. This second light is nearer the tabletop than the camera thus the shadows of each pea falls to the left & up the back of plate edge. The secondary lighting being almost horizontal causes the weird inverted effect.

      1. Quite plausible. I knew of a photographer that made a pretty good living snapping objects for sale. He had $100,000 worth of equipment in his studio.

      2. Sorry, Michael, but I don’t agree with any of your analysis. I agree with rickflick – this is a digitally-manipulated composite image.

        Who in their right mind would waste their time on such a complicated lighting arrangement, to deliberately produce such a bizarre image? Remember, you’re trying to sell a meal, and using nightmarish low-angle harsh light perfectly masked on just the peas makes no sense. Just rotate the image 180° and you’ll see that the peas look more natural and appetizing, because they’re illuminated properly.

        By “perfectly masked” above, I mean if there were the second light as you suggest, you’d have to go to extraordinary measures to prevent the light from spilling off the peas and onto the fries and plate. The plate is illuminated in a smooth gradient, not showing any signs of another light source. The fries just millimeters from the contrasty peas show no deep shadows or extra light.

        On top of that, there are tell-tale signs of an inept cut-and-paste job. At the top of the peas, the shadows of 2 or 3 peas were cut off, and possibly one pea was slightly cut off too. At the very bottom of the peas, there are two peas that seem to float in space. And look at them – they’re translucent and you can see the outline of the underlying fry! I suspect that this is inept and pointless use of ‘feathering’.

        So what’s going on here? I have two possible scenarios to offer: (1) the producer of the image was working solely from stock photos and couldn’t find one that had all three items on the plate, so they found another stock photo of a plate with peas (at the left of the image) and put the two images together; or (2) the restaurant changed the menu item after the picture was taken and instead of reshooting the plate, the producer just kludged it as above.


        1. Oops – I meant that I agree with rickflick’s initial assessment, that you responded to, not his subsequent response immediately above mine. Sorry about that.


  2. For some reason, FIFA has blocked the YouTube videos from playing on WEIT. Why? I haven’t a clue, except maybe something to do with ad revenue.

    Still, some amazing play, even though I’m not a sports fan.

    And, yes, the women deserve a pay raise. Pharyngula has a video of the crowd chanting, “Equal pay.”

    1. Obviously, that’s because some Muslim fundamentalist soccer nut in Pakistan complained that WEIT was a site for infidels and infidels shouldn’t get any perks.

  3. I agree with Rickflick. I think the peas are from a different image and have been manipulated into place with Photoshop. The light source for the peas is sharper and appears to come from the right while the light source for the other parts of the image are diffuse and from the left. The peas appear to be upside down because the direction of the light is so different and the image has been flipped around. When the light source comes from the right, it can fool the eye and brain into thinking something convex is concave. Hence, the Martian Face image seen all over the internet. This is why, when photographing paintings before conservation with raking light, I always place the light source on the left.

    1. Photoshopped or not, the dish must only look appetizing to those that are really hungry.

  4. Christiaan Huygens is also considered by some to be the inventor of the telescope (or at least what we would call a telescope now with 2 lenses) and of the pendulum clock. He also solved the problem of Saturn’s rings, and the wave character of light, among many other achievements. He is a bit of an unrecognized or under-recognized genius.

  5. I knew about kestrels following the UV mark of rodent urine, but did not know about the Golden Eagle. Can all raptors see UV? Can all birds? I guess so, they are all tetra-chromates (four cones) and have coloured oil droplets to even enhance colour vision.

    As mammals we primate tri-chromates maybe good, since most mammals are bi-chromates, but compared to birds and some reptiles and fish we are poor. Lampreys are penta-chromates.
    And the mantis shrimp has thirteen different colour receptors. I think that is the record.

    The octopus and relatives do it differently, not receptors with different absorption spectra, but they use chromatic aberration, the different breaking angle through the lens of different wavelengths.

    1. Fascinating. * raises on eyebrow *.
      Especially the colored oil droplets. I think it would be fantastic to have bird, or ever Lamprey, eyes. Although you might have to work at getting used to seeing urine everywhere. Especially where it wasn’t supposed to be. 😎

  6. Truly, the education one gets on the (sensible bits of) the Internet is astounding. I had never heard of Soapy Smith before today. What a career!

    I especially like this quote of his: “I consider bunco steering more honorable than the life led by the average politician”.

    Some things don’t change.

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