Saturday: Hili dialogue

Welcome to the weekend (if you remember it’s the weekend): it’s Saturday, May 30, 2020, and National Mint Julep Day, an excellent and refreshing drink if made right. It’s also National Creativity Day, and Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago.

News of the Day: Bad, because on top of the virus, racial tensions in the U.S. have broken out into widespread demonstrations over the brutal and unconscionable killing of George Floyd in police custody. The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck has been charged with third-degree murder; I think the officers who stood by should also be charged as accessories or given some other criminal charge. After all, they stood by, heard Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe,” and did nothing.

But the demonstrations across the U.S., including in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, have turned violent, with arson, shooting by rioters (reportedly) and pervasive looting. This is also unconscionable: looting for a cause is not supporting your cause, and plays into the hands of your opponents. As always, I feel that all demonstrations should be peaceful ones, regardless of the severity of your grievance. Dr. King, I’m sure, would decry this kind of response.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll  The U.S. toll is now 102,810, an increase of about a thousand from yesterday. The world toll is now 364,473.

Stuff that happened on May 30 includes:

  • 1431 – Hundred Years’ War: In Rouen, France, the 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. The Roman Catholic Church remembers this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.
  • 1536 – King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.
  • 1806 – Future U.S. President Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel.
  • 1899 – Pearl Hart, a female outlaw of the Old West, robs a stage coach 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona.

The details of Hart’s life (and crimes) are unclear, but she was convicted of stagecoach robbery in 1899 and sentenced to 30 years in jail. She served only three, and died in 1955. Here’s her photo, taken while she was wearing men’s clothes:

Here’s Harroun’s car at the museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; I’ve seen it as I used to live in Indianapolis. His win took 6.7 hours as his average speed was only 74.6 miles per hour. The times now are around 2 hours and 40 minutes with an average speed of close to 190 miles per hour.

 

Here’s a grim picture of the time when Mengele worked at Auschwitz/Birkenau: the selection after the train of prisoners arrived. Almost all of these would be gassed within a couple of hours:

  • 1989 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: The 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.
  • 2012 – Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1908 – Mel Blanc, American voice actor (d. 1989)

Mel Blanc voiced many of our favorite cartoon characters, including Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny. Re Porky: Here’s Blanc’s gravestone, inscribed as per his instructions, in Hollywood Forever Cemetery:

  • 1912 – Julius Axelrod, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1964 – Wynonna Judd, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress

Those who started pushing up daisies on May 30 include:

  • 1431 – Joan of Arc, French martyr and saint (b. 1412)
  • 1778 – Voltaire, French philosopher and author (b. 1694)
  • 1946 – Louis Slotin, Canadian physicist and chemist (b. 1910)
  • 1947 – Georg von Trapp, Austrian captain (b. 1880)
  • 1951 – Hermann Broch, Austrian-American author (b. 1886
  • 1955 – Bill Vukovich, American race car driver (b. 1918)
  • 1960 – Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1890)
  • 1964 – Leó Szilárd, Hungarian-American physicist and engineer (b. 1898)
  • 2000 – Tex Beneke, American saxophonist and bandleader (b. 1914)

And here’s Tex, looking like a giant nerd, singing his most famous song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” from the movie Sun Valley Serenade (1941). The Glenn Miller Orchestra provides the music (Tex is on the sax, and Miller in front with his trombone).  You may recognize a famous comedian standing on the sidelines (Uncle Milty). This song is corny but I do love it:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili saves her milk from Szaron’s thievery, but she really is doing him a favor, as Szaron cannot digest milk very well.

A: So you are drinking this milk after all?
Hili: Yes, because it may be bad for him.
In Polish:
Ja: Jednak pijesz to mleko?
Hili: Tak, bo jemu może zaszkodzić.

 

Two memes from Bruce Thiel:

BunGeeZus is awesome!

From reader Divy, who swears that her cat does this when she’s gone.

The latest from Titania (click on arrow):

Tweets from Matthew. Here again we see nice cops rescuing ducklings and their mom, but they never show the outcome. Where did they wind up?

Note how mom follows her babies!

This is a cool result, though the paper hasn’t gone through the review process yet. It shows that mutations that truncate (prematurely terminate) proteins, as well as delete them, when correlated with the measured fitness (offspring number) of their carriers, have on average a much strong negative effect on male than on female reproductive success. This suggests that these mutations have been weeded out by sexual rather than natural selection:

A rough ride home for a bad baby badger:

By now you should all have learned about the marvels of mimicry. Here’s a photo by Andreas Kay of a spider that mimics an ant (count the legs). Kay, you may recall, was a superb wildlife photographer, a friend of reader Lou Jost, and the rediscoverer of Atelopus coynei.

I tweeted this a few days ago, but didn’t post it. So here’s the Dean not missing a beat when a cat goes under his robe.

The hobby is a small falcon, and there are four species. They eat both insects and other birds:

 

37 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    “ The U.S. toll is now 102,810, an increase of about a thousand from yesterday.”

    We were discussing the US projections at ihme a while back, and I made a mental note for June 1st.

    Before their big update it was 10 deaths per day on June 1st, and after the update I think it was ~1000/d. I’ll have to dig for the comments.

    There was discussion at that time about peak deaths. By now it’s clear the deaths show a repeating pattern (that I do not explain) and are decreasing.

    ihme.org <- should work?

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    WordPress has really screwed things up. Left side of the page is now at the very bottom. Nothing on the right.

    Nonviolent protest is always best certainly but it also does not always work. It has not solved many civil rights problems and there are other important times in history it did not work or was not even attempted. Hell, sometimes violent protest does not work.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      In the current situation I think it is becoming obvious the rioting and demonstrations are for more than this one incident in Minnesota. This is also on the last 3 plus years of Trump. Not an expert on violence in demonstrations but some who are say the violence is about power.

      Now Trump says he may call out the military. He is dumber than even I thought.

  3. JezGrove
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Pearl Hart was only sentenced to five years in jail (her accomplice was given 30 years, but escaped after less than two). She was pardoned after serving three years, on condition that she leave the Arizona territory. Like many of the details of Hart’s life, the reason for the pardon are unclear but may have been because of the authorities’ embarrassment that she had become pregnant while in jail. (There is no record of her having a third child, so she may have successfully tricked the prison governor.)

    • Dom
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Wikipedia needs an edit as the heading birth date does not match that of the biographical section on the right!
      Hint!

  4. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, violent protest seems to be the only way blacks get attention paid to their mistreatment. Violence and fear are also basic motivators for Republican voters and research has shown that fear makes people more conservative. Let’s hope the violence stops soon, it will just increase support for tRump.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Will they increase support for Trump though? Fear makes people more conservative in their choices, but it’s not at all clear that the conservative(small c) response to this chaos would be to double down on support for the man who is responsible for fomenting much of it.
      The conservative option would seem to me to be a return to the normality of boring old liberal democracy, where things sort-of worked and people were sort-of happy. And that’s Biden. He’s the conservative option…and the progressive option.
      Trump represents not just reactionary nastiness but also social chaos. That’s not a good look politically.

      I also think Trump looks weak and indecisive in the face of all this, regardless of how many posturing tweets he writes.
      He’s a coward, he hates being put on the spot in situations where there are no easy answers. This is one of those situations and his clueless vacillation, lurching from insane threats of violence to autocued attempts at impersonating a normal human being, might not be helping him with his supporters.

  5. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, violent protest seems to be the only way blacks get attention paid to their mistreatment. Violence and fear are also basic motivators for Republican voters and research has shown that fear makes people more conservative. Let’s hope the violence stops soon, since it will just increase support for tRump.
    Preliminary autopsy results claim Floyd did not die of suffocation and that his death resulted from a combination of “being restrained” as well as “underlying health conditions” and “possible intoxicants”. If this preliminary result is upheld rioting will probably continue.

  6. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Reported preliminary autopsy results claim that Floyd did not die of suffocation and that his death resulted from a combination of “being restrained” as well as “underlying health conditions” and “possible intoxicants”. If this preliminary result is upheld rioting will probably continue.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I’m sceptical of those results. They sound rather too politically convenient for the authorities.

      I heard that Floyd’s family is not accepting the initial autopsy and is paying for a private one.

      • Charles A Sawicki
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        It looked like murder to me, so I hope the results are clear and support charges for all the cops.

        • Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

          Yes, the question is, would he still be alive today if the police had not been kneeling on his neck for over 8 minutes? Follow up question, would he still be alive if when the lack of pulse was noticed, he had been given artificial respiration/CPR?

    • Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      I’m guessing this report led to the long wait until charges were brought. It’s hard to claim 1st or 2nd degree murder with this autopsy but manslaughter is probably easier. I’m not buying the results so much either but I guess you take what you get until we see what a second autopsy might find.

  7. rick longworth
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I wonder why spiders want to be ants. Are ants not as tasty to predators? Wouldn’t it be simpler for them to adopt a bad taste of there own rather than to reform their entire body shape?

    • Dom
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      It could be predator related or prey related. For a start they may not sen as a threat by their prey if they look like ants, then maybe they prey on the ants, or maybe live among the ants & have other mimicry characteristics that involve scent. It could be that the ants offer protection against predators. A number of these things could be working together to cause the mimicry. That is a nice graduate problem, design experiments to test these ideas!
      🤓

    • Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I have read that ant mimicry in spiders is driven largely by the presence of spider wasps which avoid ants.

      • Dom
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        There you go – avoiding predators. Even if wasps choose to parasitise ants there are a whole lot more ants to choose from. But you would expect the red queen to keep running…

    • W.Benson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Ants are all over the place and nothing much in the line of birds seem to eat them. Ants that are big enough to matter are filled with irritating chemicals that can be rubbed or sprayed into bites or administered via painful stings.
      There is a problem with spiders adopting a bad taste. If ants have a bad taste, predators will take a few, learn, and the ant colony survive. If a spider suffers a mutation giving it a bad taste, the predator eats it, learns it is distasteful, but then the mutation is irretrievably eliminated. Social animals like ants can evolve colony altruism through kin selection. Spiders, which do not (generally) live in family groups, cannot.

  8. rickflick
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I wonder why spiders want to be ants. Are ants not as tasty to predators? Wouldn’t it be simpler for them to adopt a bad taste of there own rather than to reform their entire body shape?

  9. kyuss
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “If you don’t like the mask ya gonna hate the ventilator” is a shit meme. It parrots the false narrative that everyone who gets the covid is going to suffer a negative health outcome. it’s preposterous bullshit.

    • Paul Topping
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      “It parrots the false narrative that everyone who gets the covid is going to suffer a negative health outcome.”

      So are you saying some who get COVID suffer a positive outcome? That’s one I haven’t heard. I take it you’re not a mask wearer?

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        “are you saying some who get COVID suffer a positive outcome? That’s one I haven’t heard.”

        That’s because you’re one of those lily-livered libs. Truth is COVID toughens you up, gives you giant muscles and makes your penis grow an inch for every day you have it. And that’s just the women.

        Real men don’t die. If you’re that much of a wimpy leftist bleeding heart that you allow yourself to stop breathing, and just let your heart stop working, like some lazy welfare scrounger, then no wonder you end up dying.

        I eat five bowls of COVID every morning, and I’ve never been fitter.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          🙂

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      No, it’s a perfectly normal meme with a punchy message. Only someone looking for offence would object.

      Besides, since when do memes generally include the kind of caveats that you suggest this particular one requires? Memes aren’t subtle and they don’t tend to have disclaimers.

    • Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      A friend of mine likes to say “believing a mask will stop coronavirus is like believing your underwear will stop a fart.” That is funny, but a mask does limit outgoing saliva droplets plus provides some modest protection against incoming. I wear one in public places largely for the latter reason because I know I do not have the virus and pose no danger to others. However, it puts others at ease because they don’t know that I do not have the virus.

    • Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      The real problem with the meme is that the masks don’t so much protect YOU from the virus as protecting other people from you, in case you are minimally symptomatic but contagious. It should read, “If you don’t like the mask, you must hate not being able to drive drunk,” or something along those lines.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        That’s a good slogan

  10. Robert Van Orden
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    There is some preliminary info that some of the agitators of the violence might not be what it seams.

    Possible domestic terrorist group(s). We’ll have to wait.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Ive been hearing that since yesterday and I tend to give credence to the reports: it’s no secret that white supremacist groups have infiltrated and disrupted demonstrations protesting racism in the past (as has antifa); they’ve been active in trying to co-opt the anti-lockdown movement and now they’re itching to get into the current protests over the killing of George Floyd if they haven’t already done so. This article https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/they-want-their-civil-war-far-right-boogaloo-militants-embedded-themselves-in-the-george-floyd-protests-in-minneapolis/ sheds some light on the matter.

      Of course, now Trump is evermore actively fanning the flames and stirring the pot. He doesn’t need coded language any longer; his dog whistles are now trumpet blasts summoning white supremacists and his base. Not only did he tweet “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” but last night he tweeted that if the demonstrators/rioters had breached the White House fence, they’d be met by “the most vicious dogs and the most ominous of weapons.” He’s beginning to sound more and more like Kim Jong Un or is it George Wallace? He also called for” MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE.” The Independent may be out of favor with some but I think this piece gives a good account of Trump’s actions in goading the situation https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-twitter-george-floyd-death-protests-white-house-dogs-guns-a9540216.html.

      One can’t minimize his threats to unleash troops on the crowds. The Yale psychiatrist, Bandy Lee (who admittedly is not credible to some but she is highly credible to me and a Cassandra if there ever was one), has this to say about Trump’s threats to bring in the military “Donald Trump cannot wait to deploy the military. If he goes ahead in bypassing the governor and the mayor of Minneapolis, he will have reached the point we warned against: the point at which he is uncontainable.” He’s backed into a corner, the virus is raging, the cities are burning, he’s made enemies all over the world. Like Bandy Lee, I fear that he will become uncontainable. One must also not forget that all the while, he and his pals are not only looting the treasury but they are hell-bent on destroying every environmental regulation on the books, including this latest one https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/28/trump-rule-changes-permit-alaskan-hunters-kill-bear-cubs-dens/5276756002/

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    … National Mint Julep Day …

    Reckon this’ll have to tide us over for the time being since the Kentucky Derby’s been postponed until September.

    • harrync
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Then there is this classic recipe for a “Mint Julep made right”: In one glass, put ice, sugar syrup, crushed mint. In another glass, pour your best Kentucky bourbon. Throw out the first glass, drink the second.

  12. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Voltaire, one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment (and atheist) died in style, sarcastic as ever. It is said that, when the candles surrounding his death bed flamed up, to have said his last words: “Les flammes, déjà?” (the flames, already?).
    Even if apocryphal they are great last words. Defiance never conquered.

    • revelator60
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Alas, Voltaire was not an atheist but a deist. He even criticized the major atheist work of the era (Baron D’Holbach’s “The System of Nature”) and edited older atheist books to make them deist (such as Jean Meslier’s “Testament”). But he was certainly an enemy of organized religion and its abuses.

      Someone (not me) has recently collected and translated Volataire’s anti-atheist writings:

      http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Defense-Writings-Atheism/dp/1704057426/

  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Voltaire, one of thengreatg thinkers of the Enlightenment (and atheist)is reputed to have quipped on his deathbed, when the candles flared: “Les flammes, déjà?” (The flames, already?).
    Sarcastic and defiant as ever, even if the story might be apocryphal.

  14. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Whether the guy choked to death or had a heart attack, it’s still police murder in front of witnesses. The guy was outnumbered, he was handcuffed, he was surrounded by cops with guns and probably tasers, there was no risk of him getting away even if the cop had got off him.

    I have to admit to a feeling of schadenfreude watching a police cars’ windows getting smashed in by a mob. I know that’s wrong and the police in that car likely had nothing to do with the incident. It just satisfies my instinct for vicarious retribution, which is probably the most dangerous instinct we have.

    But the whole incident points to a toxic and defective culture in that police force, in that the other cops apparently saw nothing wrong with a ‘suspect’ being mistreated that way, not even to the extent of bothering to hide it from the public. They really should learn that if they’re going to murder people, they should first shoot any witnesses with cellphones. [Oops, that last sentence was sarcasm]

    cr


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