Thursday: Hili dialogue

December 12, 2019 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a chilly Thursday: December 12, 2019, and a chilly 26°F (-3°C) in Chicago this morning, though we will likely get a few degrees over the freezing point. Botany Pond is frozen, though, and the ducks are gone, as I had hoped when we stopped feeding them a week ago.

It’s  National Ambrosia Day, celebrating a rather vile concoction of fruit and shaved coconut. And if you want to get the taste of it out of your mouth, it’s also National 12-Hour Fresh Breath Day.

You can also celebrate the Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts (also known as Taboo Day), Gingerbread House Day, National Poinsettia Day, and, in Japan, the day the Kanji of the Year is chosen: the character best representing the year (last year it was “disaster”). It’s already been named in 2019 since it’s December 12 over there already, and the winner is “rei”, the first of two characters denoting Japan’s new “imperial era.”. As NHK World Japan notes,

The event’s organizer said “rei” reflects the Japanese people’s desire for happiness and a brighter future in the new era, which started when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on May 1.


N.b.: there are only 12 shopping days left until the beginning of Coynezaa.  And, as I have tasks to do, posting may be light today.

Today’s News: Paula White  a preacher who adheres to the duplicitous “prosperity gospel”, has been appointed by President Trump as special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative at the Office of Public Liaison. (Trump’s “faith advisor” is a scam: the man has no god save himself.) She’s a complete loon, and even talks in tongues. Here are two examples.

More speaking in tongues!

Stuff that happened on December 12 includes:

  • 1911 – Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India.
  • 1911 – King George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of Teck are enthroned as Emperor and Empress of India.
  • 1917 – In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys.

Boys Town, in Nebraska, became famous; Flanagan is in the process of being canonized and may well become a saint, though I don’t know what his miracles are. Make no mistake: two will come.  He was played by Spencer Tracy in the famous 1938 movie Boys Town, for which Tracy won a Best Actor Oscar. Here’s the movie’s trailer, with Spencer and Mickey Rooney, who played a Bad Boy.

More stuff that happened on this day:

  • 1935 – Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction program, is founded by Heinrich Himmler.
  • 1941 – Adolf Hitler declares the imminent extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery.
  • 1950 – Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, leads the congregation in her first services.
  • 1963 – Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 2000 – The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1731 – Erasmus Darwin, English physician and poet (d. 1802)
  • 1821 – Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (d. 1880)
  • 1863 – Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter and illustrator (d. 1944)
  • 1915 – Frank Sinatra, American singer, actor, and producer (d. 1998)
  • 1923 – Bob Barker, American game show host and producer [still alive at 96!]
  • 1937 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (d. 1974)
  • 1940 – Dionne Warwick, American singer and television personality
  • 1943 – Dickey Betts, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Those who passed to the Great Beyond on December 12 include:

  • 1204 – Maimonides, Egyptian religious scholar, philosopher and physician (b. 1135)
  • 1889 – Robert Browning, English poet and playwright (b. 1812)
  • 1939 – Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., American actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1883)
  • 1968 – Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (b. 1902)
  • 1999 – Joseph Heller, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright(b. 1923)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Paulina, the upstairs lodger, has a chat with Hili:

Hili: Science opens all doors.
Paulina: Except those humans have to open for cats.
Hili: Well, yes, there are always exceptions.
In Polish:
Hili: Nauka otwiera wszystkie drzwi.
Paulina: Z wyjątkiem tych, które ludzie muszą otwierać kotom.
Hili: No tak, zawsze są jakieś wyjątki.

A cat meme from reader Merilee:

From Fat Cat Art:

From reader Jon, a duck cartoon:

Matthew called my attention to a really dire piece in the Times Literary Supplement, a venue that has not only gone deeply downhill, but is also increasingly engaged in osculating religion. The article is by Rupert Shortt, the religion editor, and is called “Idle components: An argument against Richard Dawkins.” Among other things, Shortt makes the bogus claim that Dawkins’s “selfish gene” view is no longer current among evolutionists.  And he argues (erroneously) that, increasingly, scientists are embracing the view that teleology is inherent in evolution. Yeah—maybe religious scientists like Simon Conway Morris! Short knows nothing about evolutionary biology, but is intent on smearing Dawkins in the once-respectable pages of the TLS.

Reading the article made me peevish, but I simply don’t have the spoons to analyze it on this site. You can read it for yourself (link in the tweet below), and I’ve tweeted one quote in which Shortt uses a twisted theology to show how clever God is. (It reminds me of John Haught’s make-a-virtue-out-of-necessity argument that evolution makes God even more clever, because instead of creating everything de novo, he just devised a process in which animals and plants would pop out naturally.)

My tweet is below. God pulls evolution rather than pushes it, and isn’t that just fricking fantastic?:

I want this tea towel VERY BADLY; sadly, it seems to be available only in the UK:

Reader Barry says this video is “terrifying”, and wonders how people can just go up to animals like this. But I suspect this is a farm or refuge where the foxes are tame.

The War of the Wokes: this poor woman is getting a taste of what it means to make one slight misstep, even when you think you’re woke:

Some tweets from Matthew, beginning with the daily barn egress at Marsh Farm and it excitable narration:

According to Adam Rutherford, this is the first known art. I’ll take the experts’ word on it, because I can’t make out what it is:

Two more tweets from Matthew. I’ve put the video below the tweet, as I’d never heard of a mass swarm of sea turtles heading for shore:

This is confusing, but you should be able to work out what happened:

27 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. Or I suppose they could be foxes adopted from the famous Russian fox-taming experiment: I understand that they were allowing adoption of some of their foxes just to keep the numbers reasonable.

  1. Paula White a preacher who adheres to the duplicitous “prosperity gospel”, has been appointed by President Trump as special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative at the Office of Public Liaison.

    Chrissake, if I wanted to see a couple grifters join forces to pull off a long con, I’d rather just watch Newman and Redford in The Sting again.

    1. I’m surprised that she’s not putting her fingers in her ears while doing that “lalala” stuff. Worse than Ronnie’s Nancy’s medium.

    2. Brilliant move, though, on tRump’s part. He’s expanded his constituency to include thousands more low-information elementary school drop outs.

      1. Pretty sure Trump already had this constituency in the tank. This is just about keeping the rubes pacified and in line.

        1. Right. In fact, his approval has not grown even as the economy warms up. I think we can conclude his chances in ’20 do not look good.

  2. “If you can’t take criticism, then you’re not an ally.” That is, if we tell you that you’re wrong, take it, or else.

  3. I have the unfortunate feeling that Emperor Naruhito is not a great one to rely on for future happiness etc. In fact, I don’t think that he’s much of anything really. A very mediocre viola player if my late conductor friend’s opinion is to be trusted. What a horrible fate it must be to be born into that family! And his poor wife! What a waste!

  4. Re: Fat Cat Art: The original (as far as I know) text for the crow-and-cat pic was the cat thinking to itself, “If he says ‘Nevermore’ just one more time …”

    Just setting the record straight.

  5. I think Jerry makes a very good point

    “According to Adam Rutherford, this is the first known art. I’ll take the experts’ word on it, because I can’t make out what it is:”

    Here, below is a nice short, recent video [Dec 11th, 2019] from Griffith University showing the art in question & it has this description:

    “A team of archaeologists led by Griffith University has discovered a cave painting in Indonesia that is at least 44,000 years old and which portrays a group of part-human, part-animal figures – ‘therianthropes’ – hunting large mammals with spears or ropes, casting new light on the origin of modern human cognition”

    As you can see from the video, the cave art is severely degraded by “popcorn” [calcium carbonate? stuffz leaking out of the rock & covering the work, but great for dating purposes] & spalling – as much as 90% of the original is missing. What this team has done is drop their digital imagery [cave photos] into DStretch, which is a free visual enhancement plug-in for ImageJ – a public domain Java image processing program & push some presets & see what comes out as per below [put together & correctly scaled by moi]:


    Bottom: the confusing, colourful image in the Rutherford post – clearly it’s DStretch enhanced.

    Top: The original cave wall image [I took it from above video]

    Middle: The ‘therianthrope’ interpretation I took from the video also & added arrows. They say it is a hunting bipedal moving to the right [longest green arrow] with a tail [left green arrow] & animal head [right green arrow].

    This seems like a very generous interpretation! I can see from the context of lots of other bipedals in the art of a similar scale, that this also is a bipedal & those are arms to the right each side of the head. And I can imagine the hunter is wearing a pig skin with tail as a hunting tool [amulet or charm & also hides smell of nasty biped], but I don’t see anything in the mural that convinces me the bipeds [particularly this tailed one] are represented with animal heads.

    1. The video is a great find. It would appear these guys are pretty confident about what they are seeing. It’s hard to interpret for us, but it might be there are details when viewed directly that give an expert’s eye clues that are not evident to us.

      1. I agree. There’s a nice pictorial of the entire 4 metre ‘panel’ of art which adds context, but we don’t get to see what they see on site.

        It’s a difficult site to access & it has only been visually examined in normal light & it’s degrading – I think some billionaire needs to look in his sock drawer & cough up some spondoolicks for a media team to 3D laser record the space [the ‘canvas’ & environs] & record the surfaces to overlay on it in a range of wavelengths, just the same as has been done with classic renaissance stuff such as Michelangelo’s frescoes. They’ve done the original Lascaux caves [now available life size as a facsimile] & the Cosquer caves, a maze of huge caverns containing 200 prehistoric paintings that can only be reached by diving deep into the Mediterranean off the coast of Marseilles…

        Out Borneo/Sarawak way there’s 4 or 5 caves like this one – each [it is believed] with much more art than can be seen with the human Mk. 1 eyeball. $100M say for portable x-ray machines, cams, computers, generators, lunatic scientists, engineers & doughnut fuel? Bargain! 🙂

        1. “x-ray machines, cams, computers, generators, lunatic scientists, engineers & doughnut fuel?”

          Don’t forget the volunteers. I’ll volunteer, as long as my bones hold up.

  6. “…the Times Literary Supplement, a venue that has not only gone deeply downhill, but is also increasingly engaged in osculating religion”

    Indeed. Shortt’s article is not even a review of Dawkins, it’s an excerpt from Shortt’s new book “Outgrowing Dawkins: God for Grown-Ups.” In other words, the TLS has ignored Dawkins’ book but given free promotion to Shortt’s parasitical screed. Does Shortt have blackmail material on the Editor in Chief of the TLS? If not, why is such an important publication so in thrall to God-bothering?

    To be fair, the TLS still gets some things right. The reviewer it assigned to John Gray’s “Seven Types of Atheism” was Simon Blackburn, who was not impressed:

    “Noticing that atheists often insist that unbelievers can be highly moral people, Gray argues that ‘it does not occur to them to ask which morality an atheist should follow’. This is surprising coming from someone who for many years taught Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, since a large part of that course is devoted precisely to that question and the philosophers who have wrestled with it. It is scarcely credible that Gray failed to notice that he was surrounded by people of no religion who taught it, debated it, and examined it. But his historical methods are often unusual. He holds that a liberal belief that it would be better if everyone went in for a liberal society is a ‘vision inherited’ from the Christian belief that it would be better if everyone were Christian. I suppose that later ages can always be said to have inherited something from the past, but otherwise this is a bit like supposing that republicanism is a vision inherited from monarchism.”

    More of that and less Shortt please!

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