Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

December 2, 2019 • 6:30 am

Good  morning on a cold Monday (33ºF, 1ºC) in Chicago, Dec. 2, 2019!  The northeastern U.S. has suffered a big, debilitating snowfall, and is expecting more, but in Chicago we had only a bit of drizzle. Still, it’s just above freezing, and I worry about the dozen or so ducks that still frequent the pond for food (Honey isn’t among them). It’s National Fritters Day, National Mutt Day, and International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

I haven’t done a Hili dialogue for over five weeks and so am out of practice. First, though, many kudos to Matthew Cobb, who was busy reading the proofs for his next book, for keeping it going when I was traveling. But now, with him on academic strike (it’s over on Thursday) and me back in Chicago, it’s time to start hefting the cross. As I still need to catch up with various tasks, appointments, and commitments, posting may be light for a few days.

I’ve missed virtually all the impeachment hearings, though I haven’t really missed them, as it would have been a bummer hearing them at the same time I was seeing penguins (yes, they have CNN and other stations in the cabins, but I barely turned on the television). And I completely missed news of the unrest in Iran, where up to 450 anti-government protestors have been killed: the biggest protest since the Islamic Revolution, with marks its 40th anniversary this year.  I also missed any Democratic presidential debates and most of the latest news on Trump’s follies.  You can see a gruesome 5.5-minute Amnesty International video of Iranian security forces firing on unarmed protestors over at the New York Times (trigger warning: blood).

I remind you that Coynezaa, my personal holiday, begins on December 25 and extends through my 70th birthday on December 30. I will be officially old, and it doesn’t really make me happy.

Stuff that happened on December 2 includes the following, beginning with three church-related events:

Notables born on this day include:

Those who kicked off on December 2 include:

There were actually seven Ringling Brothers who founded the circus, and John died on Charles’s birthday, though ten years after Charles’s demise.

  • 1986 – Desi Arnaz, Cuban-American actor, singer, businessman, and television producer (b. 1917)
  • 1993 – Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug lord
  • 2008 – Odetta, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress (b. 1930)

Who remembers Odetta? Here she is singing “Give me your hand”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sitting on the veranda and doesn’t want to go out in the cold:

Hili: The more I look, the colder it is out there.
A: Yes, it’s December already.
In Polish:
Hili: Im bardziej patrzę, tym bardziej tam jest zimno.
Ja: Tak, to już grudzień.

And Wloclawek, Mietek the kitten is helping Elzbieta crush walnuts, which come from Andrzej and Malgorzata’s tree. Look at that little furball! (He’s healing nicely, thank you.)

Mietek: Are we going to bake cookies?

In Polish: Będziemy piec ciasteczka?

From Zach Weinersmith’s SMBC strip; a riff on evolution (h/t: Olen). It highlights one of the misunderstandings of evolution: that organisms evolve because they are striving to evolve to cope with environmental change. In reality, there’s no striving, just a passive process of gene sorting. But I don’t think that’s the biggest misconception about evolution. In my view, that one is the idea that evolution is a “random” process, and thus unable to create “designoid” features that impress us all.

Matthew posted a notice about the Antarctic treaty yesterday from Dr. Emma Johnston, an Aussie scientist who works in that frozen land, and on her thread I found this paean to Antarctica. Sound up, and check out her Antarctica photos at her Twitter site. (She’s also a science presenter.)

Some tweets from Matthew, including a series on a student’s erroneous calculation, as shown on a clay tablet, some four thousand years ago. That tablet happens to reside in the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, which I pass every day walking to and from work.

The second comment, about the “University of Chicago thing”, refers to our reputation for geekiness:

big falcon:

A kakapo has survived an aspergillis infection to be returned to the wild. A good day!

A long-horned beetle on a screen:

And I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen this one:

From Heather Hastie, we get a tweet showing once again that you should never put clothes on either cats or penguins. It detracts from the dignity of a cat and the unclothed cuteness of a penguin.

From reader Barry, we get a tweet about a tortoise who enters people’s houses. At least he’s not asking if you’ve heard the Good News!

And from Gethyn, another Dick King-Smith tweet in which a cat has a Eureka Moment:

I’ll be here all week, folks! Make that all year.


27 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

    1. Thanks for the info and link. Indeed! What’s behind the red button is especially amusing. Readers must click the red button.

  1. Welcome back.

    Don’t worry about your ducks. There are lots of ducks, geese, and swans in the creek here, with temperatures in the low 20s F, and no one is feeding them.

    1. I know but there’s precious little food in Botany Pond. They can’t feed themselves there, and so we’re debating cutting their rations off so they’ll go elsewhere. That pond will freeze before long.

  2. I recall Odetta being one of the musicians who performed at the 1963 Washington, DC, Freedom March where Martin gave his Dream Speech:

  3. Is 70 officially old? It is a rather large number I suppose. Be there very soon myself. The impeachment events turn to the judiciary committee this week with civic lessons. Can the congress educate the masses? Can they educate themselves?

  4. I would have failed that math quiz too mostly because I have no idea what number 16;40 is, much less how to multiply it by itself. The result is, apparently, 4,37;46,40 which I think is somewhere between 100 and eleventy billion.

    1. As it happens I am currently rereading a great book on numerical notation systems. If I recall, that’s our transcription for something representing 16(+)40/60.

      Ah, the joy of having proper placevalue notation!

      On the other hand, 60 is a convenient base sometimes, given how many integral divisors it has (but many of the ancient base 60 systems were not PV so got some of the worst of both.)

      1. The UofC’s Oriental Institute couldn’t explain what the mathematics notation means? My problem with the accompanying note is the belligerent pedantry; sometimes museums seem to go out of their way to make descriptions of their items completely unintelligible by anyone but other pedants. I’ve noticed this phenomenon most often in the Arts but it also occurs with distressing frequency in Anthropology. YMMV, of course.

        1. I agree – I find myself trying to ignore the description in art galleries. But I do want to learn about materials and age and nationality of the artist, so …

          As for the notation, that’s the archeological/history of math standard for such things, and yes, not explaining it is sort of unfortunate, to say the least.

  5. Welcome back. I appreciate all the time and effort you put in to keep us informed of your trip. It was a great vicarious experience– from the plottings of the destination, various descriptions, and all the pictures–icebergs, mountains, people, and especially the penguins–from rookeries, to sliding, and all of the different varieties. I am, however, awaiting for more pictures of your travel cuisine–>to antagonized me while on my diet. Looking forward to all the followup pictures and videos from your trip. And thanks to Matthew Cobb for his efforts while you were gone.

  6. MAKING THE FULL ROTATION OF THE MOON ANIMATION is explained HERE. In essence it is many, many strips of the lunar surface imaged by the LRO as it orbits only 50km above the surface. These strips are stitched together onto a virtual globe – the stitching is the easy bit. There are 11 sets of these strips – each set with the sun at a different angle & by clever maths one can combine the 11 virtual globes into one with the sun behind the viewer throughout.

    Looking at the result for a while…
    It’s far from perfect [although brilliant that it has been done!]:

    ** The bottom & top of the Moon are fudged because the LRO only goes to 80° north & south
    ** The Moon rotates at slightly different rates in different latitudes
    ** The centre of the view bulges out towards the viewer too much. This ‘illusion’ is because the perspective used is orthogonal I think [easier to compute] rather than a real single point perspective.
    ** Shadows are not represented because the sun is where the viewer is [at orthogonal infinity] – a sun off to one side a few degrees would allow one to see the craters better with shadow lengths changing
    ** A shinier moon to show reflectance would be good too

    1. “the viewer is at orthogonal infinity”
      That’s how I felt all morning until I’d had two cups of coffee.
      I remember once we had no idea what the far side of the Moon looked like.
      I notice, even at full screen, the resolution isn’t what I would have hoped. I’m sure the image from 50 km has vastly better resolution. Still, impressive.

      1. Two cups? That would give me a buzz! I have a cafetière filled 0.4 Imperial pint [not the US pint] of Sumatra Mandheling – my current fave – after breakfast & that’s my lot for the day. Did you notice the freaky movements of the lunar landscape too?

        Yes it’s a pity we can’t zoom in & get an LRO perspective of a patch of the moon as it rotates. The best res seems to be 1080p on full screen here below, although I notice smaller Apollo 8 images from space are more detailed & have a better 3D quality [shadowing & shading] & the best ones are telescope images from Earth. A lot of detail sacrificed to stitch & even up the lighting & reduce computing. Shame:

  7. And I think it is a Magellanic penguin in the pig suit. I have penguin learnings thanks to PCC(E).

    Welcome back, hope you get over your PASS soon.

    Thanks Matt for keeping the HDs afloat.

  8. You will not be OLD come Coyneza, officially or not. Yours was the most dynamic lecture on the MS Roald Amundsen, so you are obviously still young at heart!

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