Monday: Hili dialogue

August 26, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s a new week: Monday, August 26, 2019, and National Cherry Popsicle Day. I suppose if you must have a quiescently frozen confection, this is the best flavor. It’s also Women’s Equality Day in the U.S., National D*g Day, and National Toilet Paper Day. (Although it’s not Toilet Paper Day in Canada, I presume Diana MacPherson will still want to remind us that the proper configuration of a toilet roll is “under”, with the paper pulled off from behind the roll. This is, of course, wrong.)

I’m feeling much better (a thank-you to the readers who expressed concern about my minor surgery). Right now it’s drizzling in Chicago, but the temperature is perfect. Good weather for ducks!

Stuff that happened on August 26 includes:

  • 1346 – Hundred Years’ War: The military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights is established at the Battle of Crécy.
  • 1768 – Captain James Cook sets sail from England on board HMS Endeavour.

Here’s Cook’s first voyage, from 1768-1771:

  • 1883 – The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa begins its final, paroxysmal, stage.

The Big Bang, however, occurred on August 27, and was heard 4800 km away. More on that tomorrow.

  • 1920 – The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote.
  • 1980 – After John Birges plants a bomb at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada, in the United States, the FBI inadvertently detonates the bomb during its disarming.

Here’s the bomb, which was fiendishly clever and, at least at that time, virtually un-disarmable. The FBI tried to disarm it with a shaped charge, but the bomb was constructed in such a way that that set off the whole device, largely destroying the hotel. Birges died in prison in 1996, 16 years and and one day after the bombing. Here’s what Wikipedia says is “Nevada State Fire Marshal Thomas J. Huddleston examining the bomb.” Fortunately, nobody was injured.  The motive? Extortion, as Birges had lost money at the casino, and demanded $3 million to inactivate the bomb.

Finally, one more bit of news from this day (ten years ago):

  • 2009 – Kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard is discovered alive in California after being missing for over 18 years.

Many of us remember this. Dugard is living anonymously somewhere, and the kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, is in prison for 431 years to life (???).

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1743 – Antoine Lavoisier, French chemist and biologist (d. 1794)
  • 1873 – Lee de Forest, American engineer and academic, invented the Audion tube (d. 1961)
  • 1901 – Jimmy Rushing, American singer and bandleader (d. 1972)
  • 1910 – Mother Teresa, Macedonian-Indian nun, missionary, Catholic saint, and Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997)
  • 1921 – Benjamin C. Bradlee, American journalist and author (d. 2014)
  • 1949 – Leon Redbone, Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2019)
  • 1952 – Will Shortz, American journalist and puzzle creator

Here’s Rushing, known to jazz aficionados as “Mr. Five By Five” (he was said to be five feet tall and five feet wide). He made his name as a vocalist with the Count Basie orchestra, but below he’s singing the blues. A great singer!

Those who snuffed it on this day include:

  • 526 – Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths (b. 454)
  • 1666 – Frans Hals, Dutch painter and educator (b. 1580)
  • 1723 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch microscopist and biologist (b. 1632)
  • 1910 – William James, American psychologist and philosopher (b. 1842)
  • 1989 – Irving Stone, American author (b. 1903)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is concerned with her image:

Hili: I’m thinking.
A: What about?
Hili: How to look like a thinking creature.
In Polish:
Hili: Myślę.
Ja: O czym?
Hili: Jak wyglądać na istotę myślącą.

From Facebook:

From The Cat House on the Kings:

From reader Michael: an adorable jumping spider leaps off a pencil eraser:

Grania sent me this tweet on March 22 of this year. A cat loses its dignity. (We’re running out of these unpublished Grania tweets, which is very sad.)

A vampire cat from reader Barry:

And yet another cat from Nilou. The sign is amusing:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one is a stunner, revealing once again the inexhaustible bounty of nature:

Ducks! Be sure to watch the video at the link:

Remember that Russian guy? (Read more about Eduard Khil here.)

This is great, it’s edifying, and it’s real:

Check out these splendid dinosaur tracks!

34 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Love the video of the dinosaur on the trampoline. Reminds me of this beautiful effect that – for some reason – baffled the otherwise rapier-sharp Stephen Fry when a similar video was shown on QI:

      1. I seem to remember him being baffled by it, even though it seems intuitively quite straightforward what’s happening, ie. gravitational pull is perfectly balancing the upward momentum of the bottom part, so it just hangs in space…while the top part moves down because it’s moving with gravity rather than against it(at least I hope that’s what’s happening otherwise I’ve made a bit of a tit of myself).

        Of course, Fry might have been feigning ignorance, but that doesn’t sound like him…when he knows something he’s not shy about it – which I like, by the way. I like the guy, full stop.
        My mum met him, along with Hugh Laurie, when she worked at the Radio Times in the eighties. She said they were the two loveliest celebs she met during her time there.

          1. Think of the slinky as a spring that is pulled at both ends so that it is in tension. Gravity is holding the bottom end and a person is holding the top end. The top end is let go by the person but the bottom end is still being held by gravity. The spring begins to return to its neutral state. Since the bottom end is still being held, by gravity, it doesn’t move. The force being exerted on the bottom end by gravity is opposed by the tension in the spring that is working to return the spring to its neutral state, so it doesn’t fall, until the spring reaches it’s neutral state.

          2. A different way of looking at it is to follow the movement of the centre-of-mass of the Slinky (TM?) : it is simply accelerating towards the ground at 9.81 m/s/s. Simultaneously and superimposed, the slinky is going from a stretched state to an un-stretched state.

          3. Darrelle and Aidan explain it better than I can but:

            Imagine if the slinky was stretched sideways above the ground, and you then released it: the left and the right sides would race towards one another(forget the fact that it would be falling to the ground). That’s intuitively understandable.

            But in the video it’s not stretched sideways, it’s stretched vertically; and so one of the ends, the bottom end, can’t contract because it’s being pulled downwards by gravity. It wants to travel upwards to meet its other end but gravity is exactly counterbalancing that desire so it kind of just hangs there in space. The top end has no such problem.

      2. Why I have never bungy jumped (aside from my cowardly fear of heights). The disconcerting knowledge that if the rubber band snaps at the top at the moment of maximum tension you will be propelled into the ground by a hundred feet of bungee cord hitting you in the ass at supersonic speed… 😉


    1. Take an arbitrary point anywhere along the slinky – the piece of slinky directly above it is ‘pulling’ up with a force that exactly equals the weight of slinky below it – it’s in balance. So it stays in the same place, and it will continue to do so – not moving – until the falling section of slinky coming down from above reaches it. Until that moment there’s no way for it to ‘know’ that the top of the slinky has been let go.

      The same thing happens with a water hammer ‘wave’ in a long pipe.


  2. THIS LINK HAS MORE PHOTOS & INFO re the Cal Orcko Parque Cretácico:

    “…largest concentration of dinosaur footprints in the world on a giant 3,900 ft. long by 260 ft. high wall. These 68 million year old impressions derive from the Late Cretaceous Period when the place that we now call Cal Orcko, 5 km west of Sucre, Bolivia, was the shore of a huge lake. A menagerie of prehistoric animals came here to drink, eat, run, romp and fight, and while doing so, they left their tracks behind. These impressions solidified in the clay shorelines during dry periods, only to be covered up by more sediment that would gather more prints. Hence, layer upon layer of dinosaur footprints are now visible in the crumbling cliff side at this incredible palaeontological site in South America”

      1. Apparently the NOAA has had a “why we don’t do that” FAQ for years.
        Here you go. Various great ideas under grouping C5.

        C5) Why don’t we try to destroy tropical cyclones by: (pick one or more)

        I vaguely remember some really bright ideas like nuking the Macondo blowout (Deepwater Horizons). Having drilled he pink concrete before, that’s a idea whose stupidity doesn’t finish with “do you have an off-the shelf nuke with 8.535in or smaller OD and a 20,000 psi rated housing?”

        1. Exclusive: Trump wanted to power west coast of America with homemade potato clock – White House aide defends president as ‘scientific visionary’.

  3. “I presume Diana MacPherson will still want to remind us that the proper configuration of a toilet roll is “under”, with the paper pulled off from behind the roll. This is, of course, wrong.)”

    Yes! If the paper separates behind the roll, many seconds of valuable time are wasted trying to find the end. This is, of course, not a problem with the proper roll orientation.

    1. My approach is dependent on the distance – short or long – between the roll and the end-user (Sorry!)

      If the roll is close to you, then the paper should come off the backside (What, again!?) so that the distance is increased and is more convenient. If the roll is far away, then it should come off the front so any inconvenience can be wiped away (NOW STOP THAT!)

      1. I remember the shortish term rental in my yoof where the TP was so far from the atoilet that you had to stand up to get it. Had to plan ahead.

    1. Thanks for the update from 2016. Loved what she had to say about the media labeling her with “Stockholm Syndrome.”

      “Dugard: “The phrase [Stockholm Syndrome] implies that hostages cracked by terror and abuse become affectionate towards their captors.” “Well it’s, really, it’s degrading, you know, having my family believe that I was in love with this captor and wanted to stay with him.

      I mean, that is so far from the truth that it makes me want to throw up. … I adapted to survive my circumstance.” said Dugard.”

      1. She seems to have survived remarkably well, many people would be an absolute basket case after that. All kudos to her. She must have an extraordinarily strong character.


  4. The mention of Matthew’s name reminds me that I think this is the same Matthew Cobb I heard last night in a very interesting segment on BBC Radio about De Gaulle returning to France.

    Here in the SF Bay Area, we get several BBC programs on two different stations but when they have special segments, one never knows what’s going to be broadcast, and unless one listens very carefully at the end of the program, they’re hell to find on the BBC website. I had no idea this particular program was going to be broadcast. Only happenstance that I heard it, but it was fascinating.

  5. Not sure what the “but” is indicating in the sentence about Jimmy Rushing and Count Basie, as hat is presumably Rushing with the Basie band, that is Count Basie at the piano (1:05). And, Basie band played plenty of blues tunes, too.

  6. The Automatic smile generator indicates that the cat thinks she’s feeling tickles in the sensory strip in the brain (somatosensory homunculus). By the looks of things the critical spot is right between the ears.

  7. 1723 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch microscopist and biologist (b. 1632)

    There’s a discussion to be had (a book theme, maybe?) over who did most to unseat humankind’s self-centred self-opinion – Copernicus, over our position in the universe ; van Leeuwenhoek, over our position on the size scale ; Hutton/ Playfair or Lyell over our position in “deep time” ; Darwin over our position in the tree of life ; or (very open for discussion) Svante Pääbo, for upsetting the apple cart over our position in the variety of human species.

    (I’m not trying to slant the topic towards geologists. Even Hutton’s friends admitted that his own writing was incomprehensibly turgid and unreadable, Playfair amongst them ; Lyell put a lot of evidential meat onto the bones of Hutton’s ideas.)

    1. The scale thing is important – approximate contemporaries of Leeuwenhoek, most notably John Locke, argued that microscopes were dangerous because they encouraged blasphemy. (Why? Because they allowed people to think they could understand the inner constitutions of things.)

      Additionally, I think that’s one of Aristotle’s root problems with atomism – an inability to think on the small.

      1. Is there a general problem of scales in human minds? Get more than a few orders of magnitude off the human experience and people can’t easily get their mind around it. So they have to think really hard at that point. And some people don’t like it when people think hard.
        Sheesh, I’m just thinking about the lunacy of our current situation, and I haven’t even looked to see what the Tangerine Shitgibbon has done today. Insanity upon insanity.

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