Friday: Hili dialogue

July 10, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s the end of the “work week”: Friday, July 10, 2020: an appropriate time for National Piña Colada Day.  It’s also Nikola Tesla Day, honoring his birth on this day in 1856, Don’t Step on a Bee Day, Pick Blueberries Day, and, most important, National Kitten Day. The first person who sends me a photo of their kitten will have it added just below (kitten age limit: 60 days).

And here’s the winner: Peter Lindsay. His caption:

Here are a pair of kittens – litter mates from a cat we rescued several years ago. The mother showed up at the back door, half frozen in -30°C temps. We took her in, cleaned her up, fed her, and 6 six weeks later she presented us with this pair. They are four weeks old in this photograph. Both found homes. The mother lived with us for many years.

News of the Day: By two 7-2 decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that “President” Trump cannot withhold his financial records from a New York prosecutor, and that, although he is not immune to similar requests from Congress, at present they aren’t entitled to those records. Remember when he said that of course he’d release his tax returns?

The French government, thank Ceiling Cat, announced that Notre Dame will be rebuilt as it was before the massive destruction of the 2019 fire.  No swimming pools or modernist glass and steel!

The coronavirus is still surging. With more than 59,880 new cases reported yesterday, the U.S. topped the record for the sixth time in ten days. The cases have mostly occurred in those states that were first to ease quarantine restrictions—states in the South and Southwest. Damn them! Only 19 states, including Illinois, are not seeing an upswing in cases.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 133,079, an increase of about 800 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 554,627, an increase of about 5500 from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 10 includes:

  • 1553 – Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England.
  • 1850 – U.S. President Millard Fillmore is sworn in, a day after becoming president upon Zachary Taylor’s death.
  • 1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins of John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

I always add this photo, which I had taken by Ben Shelby at Scopes’s grave in Paducah, Kentucky. The Discovery Institute hates it because they think it shows me worshiping a racist (there was racist stuff in the biology textbook from which Scopes taught on the one day he substituted in biology, but he didn’t teach any of that stuff.  (Have a look at this piece of tripe.) The Discovery Institute is full of deluded mushbrains.

Here’s that Japanese Zero, which gave valuable information to the U.S. about the plane, as it was repaired and then flown by American test pilots to figure out ways to defeat it. Wikipedia caption: “The Akutan Zero is inspected by US military personnel on Akutan Island on 11 July 1942.”

The satellite looked like the photo below. And do you remember the eponymous song from 1962 by the Tornadoes?

The perpetrators of the bombing and killing spent only two years, and in exile, not in prison. A travesty!

  • 1991 – Boris Yeltsin takes office as the first elected President of Russia.
  • 1992 – In Miami, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.
  • 1997 – In London, scientists report the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which supports the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution, placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
  • 2019 – The last Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the line in Puebla, Mexico. The last of 5,961 “Special Edition” cars will be exhibited in a museum.

Here’s the very last Beetle, though of course they still make a somewhat-Beetle-looking car today.  Last sedan in the world!

“Última Edición” (Final Edition) in Aquarius Blue (2003).

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1802 – Robert Chambers, Scottish geologist and publisher, co-founded Chambers Harrap (d. 1871)
  • 1830 – Camille Pissarro, Danish-French painter (d. 1903)
  • 1839 – Adolphus Busch, German brewer, co-founded Anheuser-Busch (d. 1913)
  • 1856 – Nikola Tesla, Serbian-American physicist and engineer (d. 1943)
  • 1871 – Marcel Proust, French novelist, critic, and essayist (d. 1922)

Here’s the episode from Monty Python that includes the “Summarize Proust” contest (at the beginning; goes to about 5:02):

  • 1931 – Alice Munro, Canadian short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1936 – Herbert Boyer, American businessman, co-founded Genentech
  • 1939 – Mavis Staples, American singer
  • 1943 – Arthur Ashe, American tennis player and journalist (d. 1993)

Those who began singing in the Choir Invisible on July 10 include:

Here’s a very early daguerrotype, though the date given by Wikipedia (caption) antedates 1851. Someone should fix the Wikipedia attribution.

Still life with plaster casts, made by Daguerre in 1837, the earliest reliably dated daguerreotype[23]
  • 1884 – Paul Morphy, American chess player (b. 1837)
  • 1989 – Mel Blanc, American voice actor (b. 1908)

Here’s the gravestone of the man who gave voice to, among many others, Porky Pig (see below), Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck:

  • 2015 – Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor (b. 1932)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a question about the Good Old Days:

Hili: How did people live without computers?
A: Much slower.
In Polish:
Hili: Jak ludzie dawniej żyli bez komputerów?
Ja: Dużo wolniej.

From reader Barry. Who knew that Jesus had Covid-19? It should be called Covid-AD33 now!

From Jesus of the Day. How true this is!

From Charles, a cartoon of The Woke Police:

A tweet from reader Barry, who thinks I may have posted this before. If I have, too bad, because it’s certainly good enough to see twice:

From Heather Hastie. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

Tweets from Matthew. I’m sure you haven’t seen a flamingo eat from underwater.

Spot the Monarch butterfly egg. (Answer in the thread.)

Well, the shower may be ineffective at cleaning, but ducks do love rain and sprinklers:

This is presumably to protect against predators, but I can’t be arsed to look it up:

It must take a lifetime of work to get this good at freehand painting:

This isn’t too hard, but look closely:


74 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The woke police cartoon intrigued me because the officer had the rainbow flag on his jacket sleeve. Why was that I wondered. Was he trying to associate gay people with the woke? The answer is apparently yes. The cartoon was drawn by Pat Cross. I went to his website where his cartoons are posted. It didn’t take me long to discover that he is a religious far right-winger. Among other things, he associates both Black Lives Matters and Bernie Sanders with Marxism. I find him quite despicable. Some of his cartoons are mildly funny, but his message is repulsive because he attempts to associate legitimate protesters with Marxism and intolerance.

  2. “Here’s a very early daguerrotype, though the date given by Wikipedia (caption) antedates 1851. Someone should fix the Wikipedia attribution.” – do you mean he invented it after he died in 1851?

  3. The Supreme Court finally put down their bibles did a little Constitutional law yesterday. Too bad the whole business took way too long with the extremely slow courts making the whole business last forever when it should have taken about an hour. They probably won’t get to Trump until his time is about up but they will get him. The feds at the Manhattan office should be able to put him behind bars. Notice they grabbed up Cohen yesterday and put him back in prison to prevent him talking.

    1. I don’t think it’s ever been SDNY’s plan to try and prosecute Trump before he leaves office. So this case and the year it took to resolve it really didn’t slow them down in any meaningful sense.

      OTOH, it was likely the Dems in Congress’ intent to have his financial records in the news before the election, so the SCOTUS ruling there does prevent them from achieving that goal. As I’m not a huge fan of mud slinging and anyone not an idiot would already expect that Trump cheats on his taxes and business finances, I’m not too upset about that outcome. I think SCOTUS’ excuse for slowing down the release to Congress is lame, but I also think Congress’ subpoena was a political ploy and largely irrelevant given Covid-19 (i.e. the election will not be decided on Trump’s corporate tax dealings).

      1. I agree that the election would be little effected if Trump’s financial records were revealed before the election. Almost all people have made up their minds about his financial dealings. Among Trump supporters, they couldn’t care less about the legality of his financial dealings.

        By the way, it is NOT the SDNY (Southern District of New York) that was suing for Trump’s financial records. The SDNY is part of the federal Justice Department. Rather, the party suing for Trump’s records was the Manhattan District Attorney, a New York State office as part of a state investigation into possible state (not federal) crimes. In contrast to the SDNY, the D.A. is not under the thumb of Bill Barr.

        1. Ah, thanks for the correction. I don’t know anything about the DA’s schedule or plans, but just speaking as an ignorant layperson, I would also not expect them to move on financial charges until he’s out of office (if he loses…if Trump wins reelection, I’d guess they have little choice but to try and charge him while he’s a sitting President).

          1. Well, because of the ridiculous DOJ rule not to indict a sitting president, it was likely to be after he gets beaten and leaves office before they get him, but get him they will. You cannot send Cohen to prison for doing what he did for INDIVIDUAL no.1 and then let the guy who benefited go free. Of course I say that assuming all the bad stuff in the legal system will be gone with Barr and Trump. Additionally, the financial records from the banks will likely show a hell of a lot more of Trumps fraud, such as his complicity with Russia and lots of money laundering. His simple fraud to avoid taxes will continue to go on until he is dead.

          2. The Donald isn’t the only member of the Trump family or Trump company under investigation in New York. Nothing prevents the DA’s office — or the SDNY US Attorney’s office, for that matter — from indicting one of Trump’s children or employees between now and election day (although the Justice Department has a policy that no politically sensitive federal indictments should be brought within 60 days of an election).

            We’ll see if Attorney General William Barr follows the DoJ 60-day policy himself, or if he springs an “October surprise” by announcing indictments in the so-called “Obamagate” investigation he’s been peddling.

            The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barr bail on Trump before the election. It’s way too late for Barr to salvage his reputation, but I doubt he wants to be a legal laughingstock by going along with whatever harebrained schemes Trump launches either in the immediate run-up to or the lame-duck period following the election. Look for either Barr or his wife to develop some kind of unspecified medical emergency that requires him to resign late in the campaign.

            1. Barr’s suggestion to Geoffrey Berman that he could make more money if he quit his job, leads us to wonder if Barr is being paid to nudge things in the Justice Dept. Trump’s way. If so, that might stop Barr from quitting. Not only would the spigot be shut off, he would run the risk of it being discovered. Nothing scares these sycophants more than Trump lashing out at them.

            2. I do not share your ‘optimism’ when it comes to Barr. I think he’ll be happy to ride the ship all the way over the cliff, doing as much corrupt service to conservative interests against the neutral application of law enforcement as he can the entire way down.

      2. I’m not happy with the SCOTUS ruling on Congress requesting Trump’s tax returns.

        1) Whether or not it was a political ploy is entirely besides the point. It’s a non-sequitur.

        2) What written law and precedent there is regarding Congress’s authority to require the IRS to hand over anyone’s tax returns is pretty unambiguous. It’s not merely a request. What written law there is provides for no grounds to deny it. The IRS is supposed to simply hand the information over when Congress asks for it. The reasoning being that is that Congress is responsible for holding the executive branch accountable and in order to do that it needs the authority to require information from the Executive. Regardless of the specifics of the situation, in other words political ploy or not, SCOTUS should have unambiguously upheld this authority of Congress. Not doing so is yet one more bit of power taken from another branch of government and gathered to the executive.

        3) You say obvious political ploy, but what about the other side? What about the Trump administration refusing to hand over the tax returns, or all of the other information it has categorically denied to hand over? This is far, far worse than a political ploy, it is serious corruption and in any sense of legality that can be said to apply at this level it is blatantly contrary to the laws, rules and precedents. No other POTUS in our lifetimes has done this, not even Nixon.

        4) It’s Congress’s job to protect us from inept and corrupt Presidents. Call it a political ploy if you like but Congress has been attempting to do that and there hasn’t been a president in my life time that the US needs protection from more than Trump. Getting his tax returns is directly relevant to that end. Not just to expose run of the mill dirty business dealings. Several lines of evidence indicate that Trump is beholden to foreign powers, namely Russia. His tax returns could shed light on that, whether or not and to what extent Trump is under Putin’s thumb. If that’s not a valid concern in anyone’s book then I don’t know what could be.

        5) Who cares what unwavering Trump supporters think? This isn’t about trying to convince them to turn on Trump. It’s about trying to uphold the rule of law. It’s about trying to limit the serious and extensive damage that the Trump administration is wreaking on our institutions. If it takes political ploys to do that then I’m all in. Let’s ploy away.

        1. I have noticed that the Supreme Court decisions have already been dissected a million different ways by legal pundits. Did Trump win or lose? So, don’t totally despair. Read this Washington Post op-ed by Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer, which asserts that Trump suffered a smashing defeat. The key, they argue, is that “in deciding cases involving access to Trump’s personal financial records, the Supreme Court unambiguously rejected the core Trumpian view of the presidency as a complete shield from outside scrutiny.”

          1. Thank you Historian.
            I didn’t mean to imply that the ruling went Trump’s way. You are right, it didn’t. I’m just disappointed that it didn’t go completely Congress’s way and think that it is pretty cut and dried that it should have.
            Also, I was trying to dispel the notion that the efforts to get Trump’s tax returns is a relatively unimportant political ploy by the DP.

            1. The ruling on the Congressional request kicked it back to the lower court. I expect they’ll find exactly the way you hope they will, so I think the OpEd has it right, the net effect will simply be to cause Congress to get the reports after election day rather than before. Since leaking this information to the public is not part of Congress’ role as a co-equal branch of government, in theory, this shouldn’t matter to you. If it does matter so much to you, then I think you need to ask yourself whether your goal here is truly Congressional oversight or if you’re more interested in hoping they violate privacy laws to leak a citizen’s private financial information as a means of influencing the election. The leak is what I’m referring to when I say political ploy, and IMO consistent ethical liberals should hope they do not do it.

              As your yours and Paul T’s interest in seeing Trump’s possible illegal Russian connections, these are IRS tax records. He’s not going to report any illegal money transfers in it. At best it may show he owns property in Russia (which I thought was already common knowledge), but it seems to me a bit unrealistic to expect them to show funds or quid pro quo gifts he received from Putin. No criminal reports that stuff to the IRS.

              1. “Since leaking this information to the public is not part of Congress’ role as a co-equal branch of government, in theory, this shouldn’t matter to you.

                This makes no sense to me. Are you really saying that you think it’s unlikely or unusual that I, or anyone, would actually be concerned about corruption? You’re seriously suggesting that because I want Congress to be able to do the job it’s supposed to be able to do that what I really want is for some juicy gossip to be released to the public?

                I gotta say Eric, I’m surprised at you. Very low of you. You must think I’m a fucking idiot.

                As far as his tax records shedding light on possible unsavory Russian connections, that’s not my claim. It’s the claim of experts that do that sort of thing for a living.

                And, leaking a citizens tax records? Violating Trump’s privacy? LOL

      3. Yes, I agree. The only thing that I really want to see is why Trump favors Russia so much. I’m not so sure that his taxes would reveal that anyway. There may be no other reason than he likes dictators, approaches all countries by first trying to befriend their leader, and especially loves those that help him get elected.

        1. My feeling is that tRump isn’t being blackmailed by Putin. Notice tRump admires all authoritarian leaders. The more ruthless, the more he likes them. Power for it’s own sake, or more precisely, for the sake of the wielder of power. Russia just happens to be the largest, most famous example. He admires those leaders be cause they reflect his own perspective on life, which is psychopathic. No complex conspiracy needed.

    2. The party at interest in yesterday’s SCOTUS decision regarding prosecutors and Trump’s tax returns wasn’t the feds in the SDNY but the Manhattan district attorney’s office headed by Cyrus Vance, Jr.

      Trump is under investigation by both state and federal prosecutors in New York. Indeed, Geoffrey Berman, the former US Attorney for the SDNY whose firing Attorney General William Barr botched a couple weeks back testified before congress yesterday. His testimony was behind closed doors, but his opening statement has been released publicly.

      Berman, who was a donor to Trump’s 2016 campaign and who was appointed by him to replace Preet Bharara (whom Trump originally promised could remain SDNY US Attorney, but then fired because Bharara wouldn’t play ball by taking Trump’s phone calls regarding pending cases) was fired under circumstances that stink to high heaven, apparently for insufficient loyalty in acting as Trump’s Roy Cohn-like protector from whatever cases against Trump that office has on its front burner.

      In other Trump legal news, the DC circuit court of appeals brought the hammer down on Roger Stone, the clownish caporegime of the Trump crime family, ordering him to report to federal prison this Tuesday to begin serving his four-year sentence. Stone has been fairly begging Trump for a pardon in public (and, knowing a hoodlum like Stone, probably also threatening him in private). According to inside reporting by Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair, Trump wants to commute Stone’s sentence immediately, but has been cautioned against it by both White House counsel Pat Cippilone and AG Barr, who has made public statements vouching for the righteousness of Stone’s conviction and sentence.

      Barr has reportedly told Trump that, if he interferes in the Stone case, he can expect to have a “mutiny” on his hands at the Justice Department. If Trump does commute Stone’s sentence, look for it to happen tonight, since Trump likes to dump controversial news on Friday nights after the close of the weekly news cycle.

      Between this stuff and all the crises and corruption he’s mired in and his tanking poll numbers, Donald Trump is screwed six ways ’till Sunday.

      1. Unless a future President Biden pardons Trump in the name of “bringing the country together”. Though if he does that, he may well have a “mutiny” on his hands too.

        1. AIUI, the President can only pardon federal offenses. So whatever case the Manhattan DA is preparing couldn’t be pardoned.

          If Biden makes noise in that direction, I wonder if the SDNY would (or could?) simply hand all their info over to the DA.

          1. Yes, that’s my understanding as well. I still worry that Trump may never be brought to justice for the many crimes I imagine he’s committed. He’s shown the ability to drag things out interminably and he’s in his 80s and unhealthy. He may well lose the considerable protections of the presidency but he’ll still have billions of dollars, no conscience, lots of lawyers with few scruples, and a justice system with too many protections for a guy like him to take advantage of.

            1. He’s in his 70s.
              Yes it’s possible he’ll get off entirely free, and since he has no moral compass, he will never feel remorse. But, what might come out of this is a set of new laws to require all candidates to undergo psychiatric exams, release tax returns, etc. Silvery lining.

        2. Trump will try to pardon himself before leaving office.

          But a presidential pardon extends only to federal prosecutions; it provides no protection from whatever state crimes the Manhattan DA’s office is investigating.

            1. It’s an unresolved constitutional question, given that none of Trump’s 44 predecessors in the presidency has ever tried it.

              The constitution is silent on the question, just as it is silent on the question whether a sitting president can be indicted. There’s a prevalent school of legal thought that there is a quid pro quo of sorts per which a sitting president is immune from prosecution in exchange for his powerless to pardon himself thereby allowing him to be prosecuted after leaving office for the crimes for which he could not be previously.

              But, as I say, it’s unsettled. I suspect it will not remain so indefinitely, in that the courts will be forced to weigh in to decide this issue before all is said and done with the presidency of Donald Trump.

              1. The quid pro quo argument seems unworkable. What stops a President from enjoying immunity and then pardoning himself as he leaves. Can a President’s pardon be ruled invalid ex post facto?

              2. Either a president can or cannot pardon himself; that is a question SCOTUS has yet to answer (since no president has ever tried to do so).

                Whether a president can or cannot be indicted for a crime while still in office is also a question that has never been resolved by SCOTUS (since no prosecutor has ever sought to bring charges against a sitting president).

                There are legal opinions on these matters (including by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel), but these opinions merely provide guidance to prosecutors; they are not binding legal precedent on the courts.

                If either one of these eventualities occurred before Donald Trump leaves office — if, say, the Manhattan DA’s office returned an indictment against Trump or if Trump tried to pardon himself — then SCOTUS would have to give a definitive interpretation on that matter’s constitutionality.

                All I’m saying is that, although there is disagreement, the general consensus in the legal community is that a president can neither be indicted while in office nor issue himself a pardon. But, unless and until SCOTUS is called upon to resolve those questions, that is merely an informed guess.

              3. Perhaps Jerry will host a poll to ask if readers think Trump will try to pardon himself before he leaves office.

                Since there are unlikely to be any charges against him before Inauguration Day, the pardon would have to be general rather than for a specific crime. He would also only pardon himself after losing the election, right? Unless he can pardon himself more than once. Hopefully SCOTUS sees how silly all this is and rules against it.

              4. Thanks. I just hope tRump doesn’t manage to get immunity while in office *and* then pardon himself on the way out. If the bastard thinks he can, he will.

          1. I guess the safe thing to do, if you’re SDNY, is keep the future charges very close hold until February 2021, so that Trump only knows what charges are being leveled against him after he loses his pardoning power.

            Trump could still try something truly ridiculous such as pardoning himself from ‘any future prosecution regardless of subject,’ but it would at least make it harder for him to avoid prosecution.

            1. He’ll try to give himself a blanket pardon.

              A president has the power to grant a pardon regarding future prosecutions for ANY past crimes. That’s the type of pardon Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon.

              The one thing a president cannot do is pardon someone for FUTURE crimes.

              1. And a crime Trump has committed to this date, but only discovered after he leaves office, is not considered a “future crime”, right?

              2. Looks like the only alternative might be to round up a posse and bring a rope.

              3. Right.

                Nixon couldn’t be prosecuted for anything, including the malicious fuckery he pulled in office that wasn’t discovered until after he’d left office.

              4. Perhaps a president should be able to unpardon someone in the case where a blanket pardon has been issued but new, more heinous, crimes are discovered after. Probably only the president that issued the pardon in the first place could undo a pardon. Upon discovery of previously unknown crimes, Gerald Ford could have undone his pardon of Nixon. Perhaps if we have that Second Civil War, resulting in a new Constitution, I will suggest it. 😉 Actually, I would be in favor of eliminating the right to issue pardons altogether.

    1. What should we give him for his birthday — a pickle or a motor-sickle?

      Or maybe treat him to anything he wants at Alice’s Restaurant? 🙂

    1. Did she have anything to say about Sputnik about 5 years earlier? I remember watching it go over.

      1. I too remember Sputnik. It was about basketball-size and did nothing but ‘beep’. Now, after 60 years, we can watch the ISS pass over. It’s 357 feet long and weighs nearly a million pounds.

      2. I don’t know; I was only three when Sputnik launched. Plus, as I understand it, it was only in orbit for a couple weeks, and I don’t think it was visible with the naked eye from earth.

        I wish I could ask her, but we haven’t spoken in 20 years. 🙂

        1. Well, I would have been 7 years old at the time and I think it was visible. However, do not go by my memory from so long ago.

          1. Though Sputnik 1 was small, it was quite reflective and therefore visible from Earth through a pair of binoculars (and perhaps even with the naked eye, if you had good vision and knew exactly where to look).

          1. Interesting that Vanguard remains in orbit. I guess it’s because it has a perigee altitude: 657.3 kilometers. Well outside the area of significant atmospheric friction. It stopped transmitting in 1964.

              1. Retrieving it would be expensive! It would have to be one of the most expensive objects in any museum.

              2. Speaking of space junk, I recently learned that there’s a startup company that buys time from various imaging satellites in order to point them at other satellites and check if they are in working order – positioned correctly, solar panels deployed properly, etc. Perhaps there will be some entrepreneurial company that will make a business of de-orbiting things, though it would probably be too costly to de-orbit something without destroying it on re-entry.

              3. Indeed. The suggestion was to retrieve it on a space shuttle flight. But the apogee of the space shuttle was less than the perigee of Vanguard.

              4. A simple solution to de-orbiting junk is to build all new satellites with a tiny motor to move them gradually lower so they would catch atmospheric drag. Yes, it would cost more in weight at launch, but not a great deal more, I don’t think.

              5. Yes, I think they are actually doing that. But there will still be satellites that run out of fuel or become dysfunctional. Still, returning a satellite for display in a museum is a different matter.

              6. Despite being the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 was sort of space junk. As far as I know, it made no discoveries. The first US satellite, Explorer 1, launched three months after Sputnik made one of the most important discoveries (confirmation, actually) of the early space age—the Van Allen radiation belts. Someone thought to put a Geiger counter on board Explorer 1.

              7. Paul, what about nudging it into low orbit where it will eventually disintegrate? I’m talking about non-salvageable junk. I think a business could do well nudging such junk down the gravity well. Let’s do it! Ready for Shark Tank?

              8. Yes, nudging out of orbit is pretty easy. I believe that several companies are working on ways to do this as a service. It’s going to become necessary as space junk becomes a bigger and bigger problem. If I remember correctly, there are efforts to create a spacecraft which will collect a bunch of junk, tie it all together, and send it back to earth to burn up and drop into the ocean.

                I was most intrigued with the idea of bringing one down to earth intact for placement in a museum. Tough to do that cheaply. I was thinking SpaceX’s forthcoming Starship would be big enough to do it on a return trip which would otherwise be empty. I doubt it would come up very often so it would only be worth it for the PR value but what do I know.

    1. My wife’s new VW Big was 1970 and the same color as the one in the picture in the post. It was a great little car just no air conditioning.

      1. My uncle had a ’70 bug. He passed it on to my older brother who passed it on to my younger sister who then sold it to the son of a local cop. My sister says he still has it.

        I suspect sometime in the far future a bespectacled neurotic mench will find it in an cave and it will start right up. Though to my knowledge there is no NRA sticker on its bumper.

  4. “Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England.” Oh, I bet that didn’t last long.

    Re: Zero. Design details learned from that plane were used in developing the F6F Hellcat, the successor to the F4F Wildcat which was our lead carrier fighter at the start of the war.

    The secret to the Zero’s success early in the war was that it was very light weight, essentially unarmored and under gunned (which American aviators just wouldn’t put up with). It was fast, maneuverable and long ranged as a result.

    1. Designed to a very demanding specification, it saved weight wherever possible in its structure, making it very fragile in combat.

      Other weight saving measures were the omission of self-sealing fuel tanks and bungee cords instead of hydraulics for the control surfaces which consequently were relatively ineffective in high speed manoeuvring. The designer even used an older, less powerful but lighter engine to save weight.

      Once opposing pilots learned to never turn with a Zero and always keep their speed up, even the elderly Wildcat could almost cope with it, especially when employing the Thach weave countermeasure.

  5. I think with this hot weather that you’re having, you should ask Buildings and Grounds to install one of those showers at Botany Pond for your ducks. 😊

  6. The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in NZ waters was an atrocity and the world turned its back on NZ out of self interest. NZ is still not exactly enamoured with the French for their nuclear testing in the South Pacific and this bombing. They are staunchly anti-nuclear over this incident as well as the copious tests that resulted in dangerously high levels of stontium-90 in their milk.

    1. Yes, don’t know if it’s related but 1985-86 was also when NZ declared it would no longer host US nuclear-powered warships, which caused a partial breakup/rollback of the ANZUS treaty (as the US considered it a breach of the treaty).

  7. This is presumably to protect against predators,

    It’s bizarre, it’s a trait in least two species, and we do not know why it evolved.

    Their vertebrae have thousands of tiny, finger-like projections that allow them to lock into each other while also providing remarkable flexibility. Imagine a mammal that can scrunch up its body like an inchworm, Smith says.

    No one knows why the hero shrew evolved super spine strength and flexibility.

    One theory is that the animals’ spinal adaptations help them pry apart palm leaves in their central African forests to get at juicy insect larvae within. It makes sense, Smith says, although, she adds, no one has ever documented them doing that.

    Hero shrews are difficult to study in their natural habitat. They’re small and skittish, and much of their home range lies within the DRC, which has suffered decades of armed conflict.

    [ ]

  8. The coronavirus is still surging. With more than 59,880 new cases reported yesterday, the U.S. topped the record for the sixth time in ten days.

    Which reminds me – and this is the 3d and hopefully day I comment on this – a journalist has just uncovered that the economist [!] NYT article on Sweden’s pandemic situation is error filled and seemingly prejudged.

    The economist had tweeted on the erroneous article assumption that Sweden aimed for herd immunity in April, claimed that it was “actively embracing a crackpot strategy”.

    In the NYT article the new, but still erroneous, hypothesis that Sweden aimed for good economy before health was apparently raised.

    Here is a review of the article’s most serious misunderstandings and factual errors.
    Claim: The Swedish government chose to conduct an ”open-air experiment” to save the economy.

    False. And since this is the overarching premise of the article, it being incorrect is particularly serious: the economy has never been a beacon for Sweden’s choice of strategy. As early as mid-March, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell explained that “we have always worked very hard to ensure that we have the highest possible level of public health in Sweden. The economy comes second”. Neither the Swedish Government nor Parliament has given a divergent reason for choosing a strategy. The Swedish authorities have repeatedly stated that the reason for implementing a less restrictive strategy is its viability over a prolonged period.

    It goes on, with next the usual problematic comparison with death rates based on different ways of defining deaths (Sweden use deaths _with_ covid-19, US _of_ covid-19; et cetera). The journalist claims US easily have the higher rates, and now a rampant peak that we passed long since.

    While Sweden has aimed towards creating a sustainable strategy, acceptable to citizens over an extended period of time, the United States has locked down, opened up, and is having trouble getting acceptance on trying to lock down again. … Sweden is now back to normal levels of mortality.

    Here is what likely irks Swedes most:

    Claim: The daily lives of Swedes have continued largely unhindered

    That’s not what the statistics on street population density say, nor what we experience.

    It might be easy to believe for those who see Sweden from the outside, but for those of us in Sweden during the pandemic, daily life is largely different. City centers and restaurants have emptied, hundreds of thousands have worked from home and met neither the elderly, risk groups nor even friends. Many have lost their jobs due to disappearing infrastructure, with even more being furloughed.

    Almost all of this was achieved without new legislation, as the situation was not judged to require it. Legislators limited the number of people allowed to gather (a maximum of 50), and restaurants and other public institutions were given rules of conduct for their activities.

    Here, it’s important to understand that Sweden has a different political tradition than many other countries – including our neighbors – of having an administrative model where politicians both listen to and trust responsible authorities. While other countries made political decisions, the Swedish Public Health Agency’s recommendations in Sweden became indicative. It stated early on that every decision would have its foundation in science, which meant Sweden stuck to the idea of ​​not shutting down society entirely, and instead introduced a number of recommendations. The recommendations, in turn, led to large numbers of companies closing down, furloughing staff or asking employees to work from home. City centers and destinations were emptied. Self-imposed isolation began in Sweden, where there’s been very little ”business as usual”.

    More here: .

    I should add in the context that there is a fresh European study of school children health during the pandemic – it seems mostly dire, except in Sweden.

    1. This was quote that failed:

      While Sweden has aimed towards creating a sustainable strategy, acceptable to citizens over an extended period of time, the United States has locked down, opened up, and is having trouble getting acceptance on trying to lock down again. … Sweden is now back to normal levels of mortality.

      “hopefully day” = hopefully last day.
      “the erroneous article assumption” = the erroneous assumption.

    2. So everything’s cool in Sweden? OK. Thanks for the links. I don’t know, you are very earnest. Me, not so much.

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