Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Wednesday, June 17, 2020: National Apple Strudel Day (yes, cultural appropriation; strudel is not an American “national” invention). It’s also National Eat Your Vegetables Day, World Croc Day (the reptile, not the shoe), Global Garbage Man Day (shouldn’t that be “Garbage Person”?), and an international holiday: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

News of the day:

Over in Austria, as reported by (!) the New York Times, a man has been fined 500 Euros for, well, here’s the headline (h/t: Ken):

A summary (my emphasis):

The Oesterreich newspaper reported that the fine stemmed from an incident on June 5 and that the offender was fined for “offending public decency.”

City police wrote on Twitter that “of course no one is reported for accidentally ‘letting one go.’” They added that the man had behaved “provocatively and uncooperatively” during an encounter with officers that preceded the incident.

He got up from a park bench, looked at officers and “let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent,” they said. “And our colleagues don’t like to be farted at so much.”

Police noted that the decision could be appealed.

All the news that’s fit to print! In fact, I can barely stand to read the New York Times any longer, as it’s blurred the distinction between news and editorial views, and is totally obsessed with identity politics—not just in news and op-eds, but in food, books, and every section.

But I will mention in passing, and with distress, that the coronavirus is on the uptick in many American states as they re-open, in particular Florida, Texas and Arizona, which have set records for new cases reported in a single day—all over 2300.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 116, 979, an increase of 772 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at 443,423, an increase of about 7,000 from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on June 17 includes:

I’ve visited the Taj several times, and it’s always worth seeing, no matter how many tourists. Views of the beautiful building often show the whole thing, but the sculpture and inlay of semi-precious stones in the marble, including calligraphy from the Qur’an, is stunning. Here are two photos:

There are 26 Qur’anic verses inlaid in the marble, with the calligraphy in onyx:

Source: DepositPhotos

Here’s part of the statue in Paris before it was shipped to New York and assembled:

Well, the trip was in stages, took 18 days, and used three different biplanes. Here’s the route with the stops:

  • 1933 – Union Station massacre: In Kansas City, Missouri, four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash are gunned down by gangsters attempting to free Nash.
  • 1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is executed in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison.

But private guillotinings went on. As Wikipedia notes:

On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles. The “hysterical behaviour” by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Executions by guillotine continued out of public view until the last such execution, of Hamida Djandoubi on September 10, 1977.

Unknown to authorities, film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee (then seventeen years old) also witnessed the event.

You can see the video here if you wish.

  • 1940 – World War II: RMS Lancastria is attacked and sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France. At least 3,000 are killed in Britain’s worst maritime disaster.

And a banner day for secularism:

  • 1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
  • 1987 – With the death of the last individual of the species, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.

This was not a species, but a subspecies of the seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens.  The last known individual was in captivity, and died at, of all places, Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s one of the final individuals:

  • 1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act which required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
  • 1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Do you remember watching that chase on live television? Here’s a report with video:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1882 – Igor Stravinsky, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1971)
  • 1920 – François Jacob, French biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
  • 1943 – Newt Gingrich, American historian and politician, 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
  • 1943 – Barry Manilow, American singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1980 – Venus Williams, American tennis player

Those who made their exeunt from the mortal coil on June 17 were few, and include:

  • 1631 – Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal princess (b. 1593) [JAC: see above]
  • 1898 – Edward Burne-Jones, English soldier and painter (b. 1833)
  • 2008 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)

Burne-Jones is perhaps the best known of the pre-Raphaelite painters. Here’s one of his works, “The Briar Wood (1874-8), from The Faringdon Collection Trust:

And, a surprise to me, he also painted a cat, or rather “Cat and Kitten”:


Meanwhle in Dobrzyn, Hili is showing off again:

Hili: We cats are very creative.
A: I’ve noticed.
In Polish:
Hili: My, koty, jesteśmy bardzo kreatywne.
Ja: Zauważyłem.

From Stephen Barnard:

From Stash Krod (and his cat Qbit):

From Jesus of the Day:

From Titania: it’s been argued that people of color aren’t really bona fide PoCs if they don’t have the proper opinions (cf. Glenn Loury):

Here’s the full picture from the tweet above; click on the screenshot to read the tut-tutting:

From Simon, a nerd science tweet (CRISPR is of course a way of editing genes to your specification):

From reader Barry, who says “I hope they give that cat a break.”

Tweets from Matthew. First, a sociological result that may be correct, but it’s just so wrong!

But wait! There’s more cat stuff! From ZeFrank!

This is a damn MILLIPEDE! Run!


A sunfish convention:

16 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. One of my secret pleasures is to ‘virtually visit’ places I encounter, using Google Earth or Wikipedia.

    I commend Fernando de Noronha as worth one such visit.

    1. Check out Google’s treatment of museums – I recall one in Amsterdam is substantially virtualized… ooo, I want to try my Google Cardboard with it now….

  2. I bet the Statue of Liberty could be shut down for numerous building code and safety violations.

    1. I’d just give the inspector a bottle of claret. “Oh, pour moi? Merci. Vous pouvez continuer comme avant.”

  3. How is anyone looking at case numbers any more and stating that things are getting worse and better? The only metric that could possibly made sense is a case/test ratio. Is that reported in these ‘worsening states’?

  4. I thought we were lucky when we saw a single Mola mola in Monterey Bay. When you first see the fin it can look like a shark but the sunfish fin moves side to side while a shark fin is rigid. They are gigantic. Large group like that in Monterey is likely a result of warming waters, which can be accompanied by and increase in species that the sunfish eat. Or so I have read.

  5. Possibly some good news: the first putative life-saving drug for covid-19 (for serious cases from on oxygen to on ventilators).

    “The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.

    The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.

    It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.”

    “Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need help with their breathing.”

    [ ]

    It’s available and cheap too. I dunno about the science – it doesn’t seem peer review published yet – but Sweden has allowed its use for the time being (despite having much lower death rate in covid-19 cases in ventilators than in UK where this was tested).

    World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

    There used to be an educational meme that the world was under net desertification. Luckily, the modern observations says otherwise. (Drought is an increasing problem, though!)

    1. Yes. Good news, but preliminary. My sources tell me, with steroids, dosage is critical and must be carefully monitored. Side effects can be organ failure.

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