Monday: Hili dialogue

April 27, 2020 • 6:30 am

Another work (from home) week has commenced: it’s Monday, April 27, 2020, and about six days until the ducklings hatch and jump. It’s National Prime Rib Day, Marine Mammal Rescue Day, World Tapir Day, Babe Ruth Day, marking his end-of-life honoring at Yankee Stadium (“The House that Ruth Built”) on this day in 1947. Many, including my late baseball-maven friend Kenny, think that Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. On his day of honor in 1947 he was already dying of head and neck cancer, but survived until August of 1948. Here’s a short video bio of Ruth. Note that, at 1:02, it showed him playing Santa Claus to kids when he was dying of cancer. Note his gravelly voice because of the tumor (or his treatment):

Ruth still holds the highest slugging percentage in baseball, which is the total number of bases gained divided by the number of times at bat. In other words, it’s the expected number of bases you’ll get each time you appear at the plate. (It excludes walks.) Ruth’s, almost 0.7, means that every two times he was at bat, he’d expect to get more than a single but less than a double. That’s an excellent value, and he ranks well above #2, the great Ted Williams:

News of the day: Still bad. Officially reported coronavirus deaths in the U.S are now 55,417; those throughout the world are roughly 207,000. Trump had another meltdown about reporters and tweeted about their lack of “Noble Prizes”. Called out on this he claimed once again, that it was sarcasm. He not only misspelled the Nobel Prize, but mistook it for the Pulitzer Prize(journalists don’t get Nobels) and then lied once again about his supposed sarcastic intent.

Here’s a useful article that will allay some of your worries about contamination. You probably don’t have to change your clothes after going to the grocery store, and the chance of inhaling an aerosolized droplet when you’re walking about and keeping a big distance from other people is very low. In any case, read it. I hope this will stop the mask-shaming of my on my distanced maskless walks by the “pandemic fascists” among us.

Today’s Google Doodle is apparently touting “stay at home” activities again; this one is coding. If you click on the screenshot you’ll go to an animated coding game, but I didn’t even try, as I’ve never written a line of code in my life.

Stuff that happened on April 27 include:

  • 711 – Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn Ziyad land at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).
  • 1521 – Battle of Mactan: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives in the Philippines led by chief Lapu-Lapu.
  • 1667 – Blind and impoverished, John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10.

Ten pounds! If you wonder why Milton went blind, speculations are that he had either glaucoma or bilateral retinal detachment.  The latter speculation is supported by a 1993 paper in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

  • 1945 – World War II: The last German formations withdraw from Finland to Norway. The Lapland War and thus, World War II in Finland, comes to an end and the Raising the Flag on the Three-Country Cairn photograph is taken.
  • 1945 – World War II: Benito Mussolini is arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.
  • 1974 – Ten thousand march in Washington, D.C., calling for the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon.
  • 1978 – Former United States President Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman is released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months for Watergate-related crimes.
  • 1981 – Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse.

There appears to be considerable controversy about who introduced the first computer mouse used commercially. says that Telefunken introduced it before the Xerox Parc mouse; here’s the Telfunken mouse from

  • 1992 – Betty Boothroyd becomes the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.
  • 1994 – South African general election: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote. The Interim Constitution comes into force.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1593 – Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal empress buried at the Taj Mahal (d. 1631)
  • 1759 – Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher, historian, and novelist (d. 1797)
  • 1791 – Samuel Morse, American painter and inventor, co-invented the Morse code (d. 1872)
  • 1822 – Ulysses S. Grant, American general and politician, 18th President of the United States (d. 1885)
  • 1891 – Sergei Prokofiev, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1953)
  • 1899 – Walter Lantz, American animator, producer, screenwriter, and actor (d. 1994)

Here’s Walter Lanz, who invented Woody Woodpecker, explaining the onerous process of making a cartoon. It’s a lot harder than I thought!

  • 1927 – Coretta Scott King, African-American activist and author (d. 2006)
  • 1953 – Arielle Dombasle, French-American actress and model
  • 1969 – Cory Booker, African-American lawyer and politician

Notables who became quiescent on April 27 were few, and include:

  • 1521 – Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese sailor and explorer (b. 1480)
  • 1882 – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and philosopher (b. 1803)
  • 1936 – Karl Pearson, English mathematician and academic (b. 1857)
  • 1965 – Edward R. Murrow, American journalist (b. 1908)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are at least keeping a close “unsocial” distance on the steps. Szaron looks like a cat with two heads!

Szaron: What do you see there?
Hili: The same as you.
In Polish:
Szaron: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: To samo co ty.

A meme from reader Bob: an evolution riff from Zach Weinersmith’s SMBC:

And from Divy, who’s afraid that she might catch her cats’ legs in the fridge (this is not her cat):

Reader David sent a gif of what seems to be a skydiving cat. But according to CNN, this is a fake advertising video produced by a Swedish insurance company.

Here’s the explanatory video, but it also shows d*gs who skydive for real:

And from Moto. Let’s hope this is true next week!

From Titania. If the LibDems really are fasting during Ramadan in solidarity with Muslims—and reports say they are—then they’re doing it RONG!

Simon sent this one, showing the inability of bench scientists to “work from home”:

Tweets from Heather Hastie: Watch to the end of this first one: the cat goes into Wile E. Coyote mode!

Well, this cat’s almost there; but it needs to learn how to flush as well:

Tweets from Matthew. The first one is a TRUEFACT:

Can you guess what creature this is? The answer is in the thread:

This really is a lovely scene. Be sure to turn up the sound and watch until the end:


29 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. … and he [Babe Ruth] ranks well above #2, the great Ted Williams …

    Ted Williams lost five seasons to military service — three to WW2 and another pair to the conflict in Korea. These were prime playing years for Williams, while he was in his mid-twenties and early thirties. No telling the stats he might’ve put up had he played in those seasons.

    And the best all-around ballplayer of our lifetimes doesn’t appear on the list: Willie Mays, who could do it all — hit for average, hit for power, field, throw, run the bases, all better than any of his contemporaries.

      1. Yes, nobody equaled Ruth. Imagine how good he could have been if he worked out, didn’t drink and run around all night.

    1. The discussion of the Babe and his slugging “percentage” raises my one big ongoing gripe with baseball stats: Unless the Babe got on base fewer than once every hundred times he got to bat, those numbers are not percentages. In a sport that does such a careful and admirable job of tabulating stats, it would be nice for them to provide a good terminological example for the young.

      Okay, that’s enough of that unimportant rant.

      1. One definition of percentage is a rate or number in a hundred, but another is “any proportion or share in relation to a whole”. “Heads” is 50% of the faces on a coin.

        1. “Per cent” is “out of each hundred” in pretty straightforward etymology and standard usage. And heads IS 50% of the faces on a coin in the strict, standard usage of percent (discounting the edge, of course). The quoted, secondary “definition” as “any proportion or share in relation to a whole” is given as used when a nonspecific amount is discussed, e.g. “only a small percentage of black Americans have Caribbean roots” in the Google dictionary example attached to that meaning.

          This may be mildly pedantic point, but it’s a term with a straightforward meaning, and it would be trivially easy to convert the given stats to ACTUAL percentages conveying the same information. Instead, for many people, their primary exposure to the use of percentages (in the otherwise rather impressive and precise use of statistics in baseball) is marred by this inconsistency. I don’t know how many people this actually affects in a detrimental way — probably a very small percent (ha) — but there’s just no need for it.

          1. Interesting and amusing

            Cento is maybe Latin for one hundred… no, it’s centum (Google Translate)


            Latin for two is … duo


            Per duo!

          2. Words are weird. Sometimes they have multiple meanings, sometimes they even obscure the word’s origins. Percentage does come from the term “per cent” but of course, it now means more than that. Does “terrific” mean “to terrify”? What does “sanction” mean?

            “…it would be trivially easy to convert the given stats to ACTUAL percentages conveying the same information.”

            Ok, then do it. Babe Ruth went to bat 8399 times in his regular season career and got a total of 12172 bases from those at bats (single = 1 base, double = 2 bases, etc).

            What is his “ACTUAL” slugging percentage?

  2. As far as Dolt 45’s “sarcasm”, serious question: has he ever told a joke, or even something remotely resembling one? I don’t recall one.

  3. 1667 – Blind and impoverished, John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10

    Not quite so bad when you realise that’s about £2,400 now. Still only about a month’s income, though.

  4. Trump had another meltdown about reporters and tweeted about their lack of “Noble Prizes”. Called out on this he claimed once again, that it was sarcasm.

    Sounds like a crock of covfefe to me.

  5. Most people do not even know that Babe Ruth was a pitcher. When he came up in 1914 with Boston he was a pitcher. From 1914 to 1919 he had 94 wins and 46 losses. ERA 2.26 and also pitched 29 scoreless innings in world series play. I do not think Boston knew what kind of a hitter he was – too bad for Boston.

  6. “ a useful article that will allay some of your worries about contamination”

    The article discusses interesting factors but the question is about the abundance of caution of interest in the moment, as well as how that is accounted for by taking responsibility where prudent.

    If it’s easy to wash up then I personally do so. If I have some gloves, I’ll use them. However, if there were more groceries entering the house, I might give up some of the cleaning of grocery items. I’m already slacking on this.

    I think it’s clear from all this that the high-value target is the airways.

    I also not the NYT claimed I will “feel better” after reading it. Perhaps it will take a while?

  7. As a kid I made an animation that was about 10 seconds long, and shot it on 8 mm film. It took many hours, but it was enough to satisfy my curiosity.

  8. Wonder what Titania would say about the Muslim hijabi drag queen who sashayed down the runway on Ru Paul’s Drag Race last Friday, a day after Ramadan began?

    Jeff Goldblum was unfortunate enough to ask questions about Islam’s treatment of women and gays, and the woke brigade went after him with their verbal scimitars.

    This inspired Helen Pluckrose to write this essay

  9. “Check cat arm b4 closing”

    As a student of cognition, cat and human, I marvel at the difference between the “intuitive physics” that humans understand vs cats. Beyond a certain age, humans would not risk sticking a finger through a space like that for fear of getting it squashed. Cats have their physical fears too, of course, but I often notice them doing stuff like this, seemingly oblivious to the risk. Much can be learned about the cats thought process by observing which things they fear and which they don’t. I suppose it is because we can assume they are highly motivated to self-preservation.

  10. Found this nice description of the transparent eel larva with this video:

    “This large size leptocephalus must be a species of Muraenidae (moray eels), and probably the larva of a long thin ribbon eel, which is metamorphosing, not feeding, and is entering shallow water to finish metamorphosis into a young eel. (Larva identified by Michael J. Miller) Leptocephali are the unusual transparent larvae of eels and their close relatives. Because they are transparent they are so hard to spot and are hardly ever sighted. We were lucky enough to see one of them!! Filmed by Barry Haythorne and Rob Rutgers, HRF U/W Production”

    The eel curls up too!:

  11. You probably don’t have to change your clothes after going to the grocery store, and the chance of inhaling an aerosolized droplet when you’re walking about and keeping a big distance from other people is very low.

    Has anyone said any of that!? But it’s good if there is some specific evidence for this virus that also happen to agree with the generics of pandemics (social distancing, washing hands, …).

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