Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, August 19, 2020: National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day. It’s also National Hot and Spicy Food Day, National Potato Day, “Black Cow” Root Beer Float Day, International Orangutan Day, National Aviation Day, World Humanitarian Day, and World Photography Day (see early photograph below).

Posting may be light today as I have my annual physical downtown this morning.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the 190th birthday of Julius Lothar Meyer (1830-1895), who helped develop the periodic table of the elements, noticing that if you plotted the elements by their atomic weights, they periodically fell into groups that had similar chemical properties.  One of his plots of the table is shown in today’s Doodle below.

News of the Day: Last night Joe Biden officially received and accepted the nomination as Democratic candidate for the President of the United States. I didn’t watch the convention again, but the important thing is that that ticket will get my vote.

Second, a nice video from the Democratic Convention touting Biden. Music, of course, is by The Boss (h/t: Ken):

About two weeks ago I discussed the Trump administration’s new fetal tissue advisory board, set up to give final vetting to important research proposals using tissue from aborted fetuses. As expected, the board is urging rejection of nearly all proposals—13 out of 14 in the most recent action. The board is stacked with opponents of abortion and fetal-tissue research, so this is what is expected. And it’s inimical to progress in human health. Just reason #45,672 to dump Trump.

Food news: A mouthwatering article in the NYT, below, is about chaat, an Indian street snack that comes in thousands of varieties, each a sensory overload of diverse flavors and textures. Read about the genre and, if you happen to lucky enough to live in Nashville, get your tuchas to the restaurant Chaatable, featured in the story. Good chaat is hard to find in America.

The University of Notre Dame is the latest to cancel live classes because of a coronavirus outbreak that infected 146 students. Only 8 days after school started, all live classes have been canceled. Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, facing the same situation, have started leaving school and moving back home. And likewise with Michigan State University:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 171,800, an increase of about 1,400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 780,310, an increase of about 3100 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 19 includes:

  • 43 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul.
  • 1612 – The “Samlesbury witches“, three women from the Lancashire village of SamlesburyEngland, are put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in British history.

They were found not guilty! Not so with the next entry:

Here’s an early Daugerre photo, the first photo to show a person. The Wikipedia caption is this:

View of the Boulevard du Temple, taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for several minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower right, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured. There is also what appears to be a young girl looking out of a window at the camera.

  • 1909 – Wilfred Bourque and his mechanic are killed during the first day of automobile racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • 1934 – The first All-American Soap Box Derby is held in Dayton, Ohio.

The cars are no longer made out of soapboxes, but are very fancy, and probably financed by parents (only kids are allowed to race). Here’s the winner in 2011 (there are no motors; cars are propelled only by gravity going downhill):

  • 1934 – The German referendum of 1934 approves Hitler’s appointment as head of state with the title of Führer.
  • 1936 – The Great Purge of the Soviet Union begins when the first of the Moscow Trials is convened.
  • 1944 – World War II: Liberation of Paris: Paris, France rises against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.
  • 1960 – Cold War: In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.
  • 1987 – Hungerford massacre: In the United Kingdom, Michael Ryan kills sixteen people with a semi-automatic rifle and then commits suicide.
  • 1989 – Several hundred East Germans cross the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events that began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • 2003 – A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq kills the agency’s top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1743 – Madame du Barry, French mistress of Louis XV of France (d. 1793)
  • 1830 – Julius Lothar Meyer, German chemist (d. 1895) [See above]
  • 1870 – Bernard Baruch, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1965)
  • 1871 – Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (d. 1948)
  • 1902 – Ogden Nash, American poet (d. 1971)
  • 1919 – Malcolm Forbes, American publisher and politician (d. 1990)
  • 1921 – Gene Roddenberry, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1991)
  • 1939 – Ginger Baker, English drummer and songwriter (d. 2019)
  • 1946 – Bill Clinton, American lawyer and politician, 42nd President of the United States

Those who took The Big Nap on August 19 include:

Hardin died at 42 after having killed 27 men, shot down in an El Paso saloon. Here’s a photo:

Diaghilev was a strict taskmaster with his dancers. Here’s a five-minute video about his career:

  • 1968 – George Gamow, Ukrainian-American physicist and cosmologist (b. 1904)
  • 1977 – Groucho Marx, American comedian and actor (b. 1890)

I can’t help but recount a (possibly aprocryphal) anecdote from ofGroucho’s “You bet your life” television show, which I watched as a kid. The show referenced below is here, but one remark was edited out:

“The show’s best-remembered remark supposedly occurred as Groucho was interviewing Charlotte Story, who had borne 20 children (the exact number varies in tellings of the urban legend). When Marx asked why she had chosen to raise such a large family, Mrs. Story is said to have replied, “I love my husband”; to which Marx responded, “I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile.” The remark was judged too risqué to be aired, according to the anecdote, and was edited out before broadcast.”

  • 1994 – Linus Pauling, American chemist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is taking advantage of quarantine rules to be diffident:

A: What are you doing there?
Hili: I’m discovering the charms of social distancing.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Odkrywam urok społeczego dystansu.

Here’s kitten Kulka, sitting on the table in the room where I stay when I visit Dobrzyn. She’s still very small, but her markings are just like those of Hili: brown tabby with white chest and four white socks. Malgorzata thinks that, because the village is small, Kulka is related to Hili. But Hili doesn’t like the kitten at all.

From Jesus of the Day:

From reader Charles we have “Trump’s sub-idiot”:

From Jesus of the Day:

Update to below: Titania is back!

A tweet from Andrew Doyle, creator of Titania McGrath, whose twitter account is now locked down. This was sent by reader Al:

A tweet from Simon:

From reader Barry:

Two contributions from reader Ken. First, Trump lies about coronavirus in New Zealand:

Second, Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks about their “surge” and Trump’s distortion (one minute video):

Tweets from Matthew. The first couple are on “bad academic diagrams”. Lord, what a pedant Latour must be!

I love these old pictures, and this one was originally in color!

22 Comments

  1. jezgrove
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    “View of the Boulevard du Temple, taken by Daguerre in 1838” by a bizarre coincidence, this photograph is mentioned in the book I finished reading yesterday. I just told my wife about the coincidence, and it turns out that the photo is reproduced (although with the image reversed) in the book that she is currently reading! (My book, Ali Smith’s Summer is a deliberately contemporary novel that came out two weeks ago, and is so up-to-date that it mentions the George Floyd protests; my wife’s is Chopin’s Piano, a nonfiction work from 2018.) I know that Daguerre’s photo is famous, but even so…!

    • rickflick
      Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      That would make a good conspiracy theory. Is Daguerre actually an existing publishing house run out of the old Hillary campaign headquarters? How can they be stopped before the election… before this photo takes over the world image base?

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    This Periodic Videos (I’ll watch soon) discusses whether the periodic table is upside down : https://youtu.be/lUpG-ziB0C8

    • Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      You’ve gotta love Professor Poliakoff (and Brady Haran, also, frankly).

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        This precipitated a lot of discussion where I am. The paper is in Nature Chemistry. It appears to only be useful for teaching students the Aufbau principle. Also, the conventional table is not apparently read like a book. They used human subjects. Another interesting entry.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    “healthism”!

    That essay is glorious!

  4. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The Democratic Convention video made me well up a little, at the part where we see members of the public expressing their gratitude to health workers, and just trying to remain in contact with loved ones during lockdown, all that stuff.

    There’s something about seeing grown men struggling not to cry that makes me well up too. I don’t know what it is; something about dignified sadness, or people struggling under a heavy load and bearing it, but only just. If I see that on the news or in a film or tv show, or read it in a book…the end of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road had me in a hucking, sobbing, shuddering heap. So did the end of Ian McEwan’s Atonement(film and book). Both have that quiet, dignified sadness to them.

  5. jezgrove
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “Worst academic diagrams” reminded me of the genius of Figure 1 from that esteemed journal paper What’s the Deal with Birds. (“Figure 1: Relationship between climate change (a), looks like a fish (b), and weird beak. X-values were scored between 0 and 1 for visualization purposes.”) Sadly, the original journal article has been airbrushed out of history by the publishers, who can’t even retract a paper in a transparent and honest way, it seems. Fortunately, PCC(E) preserved it for posterity: https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/04/16/hoax-a-crazy-hilarious-paper-in-a-predatory-journal/

  6. Robert Ryder
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Regarding Titania’s Twitter: The year 2020: where satire goes to die.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    1994 – Linus Pauling, American chemist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)

    Pauling was that rarity, a double Nobel laureate — one for chemistry, another for peace.

    • Posted August 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Pauling is the only person to have won two undivided Nobel prizes.

  8. BJ
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    “1839 – The French government announces that Louis Daguerre‘s photographic process is a gift ‘free to the world.'”

    Imagine Edison giving away something that potentially profitable as “free to the world”! Man, he was one nasty piece of work, but geniuses so often are.

  9. Adam M.
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Touching the “Critical Space Flight Hardware” was okay because “DO NOT TOUCH” was in scare quotes. 😛

  10. merilee
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    But Pauling was a bit whacky on vitamin C.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 19, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how he was on bleach and sunlight…

      • merilee
        Posted August 19, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Probably a hell of a lot better then the orange moron.

  11. Terry L Pedersen
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Hili is just jealous of the kitten

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    If you’re lucky enough to live in or near Berkeley, CA, get over to Vik’s Chaat Cafe and appropriate some culture.

  13. Posted August 20, 2020 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pic of the Belgian school. When I see old pics or movies like that I always think: “All those people are dead now.”
    And I’m not!

    Am I a ghoul?
    I think I’m a ghoul.
    Yeah. I’m a ghoul.

    “..aaaaand …. loving it”
    Agent Maxwell Smart
    (also dead)

    D.A., NYC


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