Tuesday: Hili dialogue

June 30, 2020 • 6:30 am

Happy (?) Tuesday: June 30, 2020. It’s my younger sister’s birthday and my half-birthday (I was born on December 30, almost exactly 2.5 years before my sister Susan). Happy birthday, sis! Here’s the passport photo of my mom, Susan, and I before we went to Greece when I was five.

It’s also National Mai Tai Day (a drink in case you don’t know it), International Asteroid Day, National Meteor Day, and National Organization for Women Day (see 1966 below).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Marsha P. Johnson; described in a long article in Wikipedia that begins like this:

Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992) was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera.  A popular figure in New York City’s gay and art scene, Johnson modeled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the “mayor of Christopher Street”. From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.

Johnson was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, at the age of only 46.  Police ruled the death a suicide, but that’s not at all clear.

A photo:

News of the Day: It’s especially bad today. First, re the Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, it’s now apparent that Trump received a written briefing about this in February, though the White House denies that he was ever briefed. There has still been no statement from the “President” about this.

The pandemic is still surging in America, and at least a dozen states have rolled back their “reopenings”.  About 43% of the deaths in the U.S. have been connected with nursing homes. We’re all in trouble.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 126,160, an increase of about 400 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at 504,990, an increase of about 3300 from yesterday.

Matthew and I are both feeling low today, and, as I just wrote him, “You’re not alone, though of course that’s no consolation. The saddest words I hear on the t.v. during the pandemic are, ‘We’re all in this together’.”

To cheer yourself up, read this NYT piece about the amazing way that “flying snakes” glide through the air.

Stuff that happened on June 30 includes:

  • 1859 – French acrobat Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

Here’s a picture of the feat. No safety rope!

If you don’t know about the “monkey retort” of Huxley, you should:

According to a letter written 30 years later to Francis Darwin, when [Thomas Henry] Huxley heard this he whispered to Brodie, “The Lord hath delivered him into mine hands”.  Huxley’s own contemporary account, in a letter to Henry Dyster on September 9, 1860, makes no mention of this remark. Huxley rose to defend Darwin’s theory, finishing his speech with the now-legendary assertion that he was not ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used great gifts to obscure the truth [he was referring to Bishop Wilberforce].  Later retellings indicate that this statement had a tremendous effect on the audience, and Lady Brewster is said to have fainted. 

Reliable accounts indicate that although Huxley did respond with the “monkey” retort, the remainder of his speech was unremarkable.

Here’s the first page of the paper:

  • 1937 – The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, is introduced in London.
  • 1966 – The National Organization for Women, the United States’ largest feminist organization, is founded.
  • 1990 – East Germany and West Germany merge their economies.
  • 2013 – Protests begin around Egypt against President Mohamed Morsi and the ruling Freedom and Justice Party, leading to their overthrow during the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1817 – Joseph Dalton Hooker, English botanist and explorer (d. 1911)

Hooker, along with Huxley, was one of the participants in the Oxford Evolution Debate in 1860.

  • 1926 – Paul Berg, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1952 – Susan Jane Coyne, Professor Ceiling Cat’s beloved sister
  • 1966 – Mike Tyson, American boxer and actor

Those who went toes up on June 30 include:

  • 1961 – Lee de Forest, American inventor, invented the audion tube (b. 1873)
  • 2001 – Chet Atkins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1924)
  • 2003 – Buddy Hackett, American actor and comedian (b. 1924)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is bemoaning the dearth of rodents. Are they sheltering?

Hili: Can it be the effect of pandemics?
A: What?
Hili: That the mice are nowhere to be seen.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy to może być efekt pandemii?
Ja: Co?
Hili: To, że myszy nigdzie nie widać.

From Andrée we get one of the finest memes I’ve seen lately:

From reader Barry (and it’s true about the unicorns):

From Jesus of the Day. I’m pretty sure this is a real photo. (I suspect they’re catching an anesthetized bear that fell out of a tree.)

A tweet from reader Erik. Listen to that adorable little rodent (sound up!):

A surprise duck sent by two readers, Shelley and Gethyn. What a nice thing to find in the kitchen!

Tweets from Matthew. This first one shows unbelievable skill.

I fricking LOVE this hairless, water-loving cat! Be sure to watch the video of Cooper.

Can you believe it: this raptor got a SHARK! Translation: “Come on, shark, let’s go for a walk.”

So there! (I bet somebody actually said this once.)

Don’t ask me why this thing looks as it does. But it does look like a piece of jewelry.

Now this is truly stunning: preserved wing patterns millions of years old:

33 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Today is going to be 2 degrees hotter than hell. 100 predicted, that’s 38 for those elsewhere. I had a sister also, two of them actually. One was born almost one year before me on April 14th 1949.

  2. Those wing patterns are great!

    1905 – Albert Einstein sends the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduces special relativity, for publication in Annalen der Physik.

    As we see anti-science cropping up on both the left and the right, this article and ones like it become more important (IMO). Einstein wasn’t trying to undermine religion or do some sort of pomo paradigm shift. Instead, this work arose out of a desire by many physicists to try and apply Maxwell’s equation for EM to moving bodies. That’s it. A pretty normal and mundane motivation. The result was startling, of course, but articles like this are important for their historical and philosophical value as well as their scientific value, because they lance the boils of overeager lefties and righties attempting to appropriate Einstein’s work in the service of some social or religious program. There was no social purpose here. Physics had (and still have) these wonderful equations for EM, but which only applied to static situations. Einstein’s thesis advisor had told him to work on applying them to moving bodies. So he did. Special relativity was the resulting paper.

    And yes, you heard that right. Einstein’s miracle year was as a graduate student. Now that is a remarkable part of the story!

    1. Also note that this, relativity, is not what the Nobel was for, though that work was much more closely related than it might seem on the surface. The Nobel was for the photoelectric effect, which was also 1905, which pretty much established the roots of quantum electrodynamics, as well as being a building block in the modern theory of the atom.

    2. Well said. Thank you. I have no doubt somebody would have figured out Special and General Relativity sooner or later, but that Einstein guy had quite an exceptional mind (as did Maxwell). I’m still befuddled by the fact that he never got a Nobel for his Relativity work. He absolutely should have.

  3. Re what did Trump know and when did he know it? The AP reported last night that John Bolton briefed Trump about the Russian bounty on US and coalition troops in Afghanistan waaay back in early 2019! Even if it was later, and Trump has done nothing (except coo to Vlad on the phone a lot), is is it treason?

    The leaf-footed bug and the fossil beetle are very cool.

    1. Of course it’s not treason. That crime has a specific constitutional definition, and ignoring good info ain’t it, even if it gets American troops killed.

      I think this is a case of Hanlon’s razor. Trump incompetently forgot/ignored the issue because of his self-centeredness. He didn’t maliciously set out to see troops harmed.

      1. Ignoring good info, really? If you are commander and chief, and you took the oath, it cannot get much closer to treason. The only thread that does not make this treason is Afghanistan may not be a declared war. But it is a war. Not taking action should get the bastard thrown out.

        1. “…should get the bastard thrown out”

          I agree. He does or says something every week, or at least every month that could be considered cause for impeachment. It’s just that we’re so close to the election, he can get away with murder for the next few months.

            1. Now we’ve discovered he’s made hundreds of calls to foreign leader, “so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States.”

              Any recent president before tRump would be out on his left ear for this behavior. You can’t prove it, but you know it’s true.

              1. Maybe but he’s doing what he’s promised. He makes all his deals by force of personality. It’s really the only way he knows how to operate. Everything is one on one. He tries to be buddies with them or he bullies them, whichever fits the scenario. This is the main reason he “likes” foreign despots. He thinks he can negotiate with them. He can’t easily negotiate with leaders like Merkel or Macron as they have to answer to their governments and their people. In Trump’s mind, they aren’t empowered to make the deal. Any negotiating he does with them mostly has to be in public, not whispers in each other’s ears as with Putin, Erdogan, and the like. That’s my theory anyway. Of course this doesn’t work well for us.

  4. The club passing is considerably easier that it looks, much easier than two sets between two people. At work I used to juggle with a friend and the extra was to exhange a hat from head to head whilst swapping clubs as shown in the video. it is amazing what you can do if you practise, I suspect I would find it harder these days. Now where did I stash my fire clubs (yes, we used to pass fire clubs 😀 )

    1. Here is a video juggler Chris Bliss performing to the Beatles song Golden Slumbers. You might already be familiar with it.


      Voyager 1 should be recalled from the other side of the heliopause so the video could be included in the golden record which is supposed to inform other life forms of what human beings can do.

      The video used to be available in HiRes, but copywright considerations have caused its acuity to be downgraded. But stick with it, it’s awe-inspiring.

      1. Of course, it was the Pioneer spacecraft which carried the gold=plated vinyl records, not Voyager.

  5. That’s an amazing demonstration of juggling skills in that video.

    Onliest thing more amazing is that two brothers carrying clubs could make into that space without drawing heat or having some white woman dial 9-1-1. 🙂

    1. It’s the onliest time in eons that I’ve seen or heard “onliest” in a sentence; a locution I’ve loved since the day I first heard it in Texas.

      “One of the only” is a locution I detest.

  6. ‘Rapture Bear’ is actually Boulder’s famous ‘Falling Bear’. It was found in a tree on the University of Colorado campus, and, as you said, anesthetized and relocated to the mountains. Unfortunately, it was hit by a car and killed not much later. (Google ‘falling bear boulder’ for details.)

    The baby changing station meme is a few years old, but a classic. Any day you can turn a baby into a black cat is a good day.

  7. This is quite an amazing collection of memes and videos today, from the unicorn-cat-bible thing to the raptor carrying a shark. Not to mention the juggling duo. Hats off to PCCE.

  8. The cat who loves water sure reminded me of Curly Howard (Three Stooges) doing his hilarious oyster stew routine.

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