Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on September 10, 2020: National Hot Dog Day. If you haven’t had one lately, the wurst is yet to come. It’s also TV Dinner Day, International Makeup Day, and World Suicide Prevention Day. Here are the suicide rates across the globe for males (top) and females (bottom), along with a key (suicides per 100,000 people). Note the sex difference in rates—the patriarchy is no picnic!

News of the day: Jessica Krug, the George Washington University professor who posed as Afro-Latina her entire academic career, has resigned her position. I still don’t have a take on this because, after all, although she was duplicitous, she also contributed through her teaching and her books, towards racial equality.

Am I getting the wrong impression, or has the New York Times’s science section gone seriously downhill. Carl Zimmer, always willing to dig a little deeper, doesn’t seem to write much there any more, and most of the posts are gee-whiz posts in the “Trilobites” column.

Norm sent in this video of a mini-Trump lipsynching to some Trump mimic; it’s The Preschool Apprentice.

According to CNN, Bob Woodward’s new book Rage contains a description of Trump’s knowledge about the coronavirus early on. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the President, but what does. However, you’d think he remembered that he said stuff like this before he started downplaying the thread of the virus. Remember when he said that it would likely disappear over the summer? From CNN:

President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”

“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7.
In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. “Pretty amazing,” Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times “more deadly” than the flu.
Trump’s admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”
On the other hand, when I watched the news on Wednesday night, I saw Anthony Fauci refusing to criticize Trump for his downplaying of the threat, saying that all health care doyens were pretty much downplaying the threat! I don’t buy it, especially in light of Trump’s subsequent statement, which contradicted those of the doyens.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 190,714, an increase of about 1,200 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 903,262, an increase of about 6,300 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on September 10 includes:

  • 1515 – Thomas Wolsey is invested as a Cardinal.
  • 1608 – John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.
  • 1776 – American Revolutionary War: Nathan Hale volunteers to spy for the Continental Army.
  • 1846 – Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.

Here’s that patent:

  • 1939 – World War II: Canada declares war on Germany, joining the Allies: Poland, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
  • 1960 – At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.

Sadly, Bikilia died at 41, four years after he was in a horrific car accident. But here’s his great barefoot victory (he was from Ethiopia). He won again four years later, but this time wore shoes.

  • 1961 – In the Italian Grand Prix, a crash causes the death of German Formula One driver Wolfgang von Trips and 13 spectators who are hit by his Ferrari, the deadliest accident in F1 history.

Here’s a video of the crash, but don’t watch it if you’re sensitive:

  • 1967 – The people of Gibraltar vote to remain a British dependency rather than becoming part of Spain.
  • 1977 – Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.
  • 2008 – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.

Notables born on this day include:

Correns was one of three people who rediscovered Gregor Mendel’s principles of heredity, publishing his paper (along with the other two) in 1900. Correns also discovered cytoplasmic inheritance.  Here’s the Herr Professor:

the Wayback Machine has saved some photos and reminiscences of Gould by Jill Krementz. Here’s a photo of Gould taken on November 4, 1983, when he was battling mesothelioma, a cancer that’s nearly always fatal. If you knew Gould, you can see how extraordinarily thin he is here, certainly because of his treatments. Amazingly, Gould survived the cancer and lived another twenty years, dying of an unrelated cancer in 2002.

  • 1945 – José Feliciano, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1968 – Guy Ritchie, English director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1982 – Misty Copeland, American ballerina and author.

Here’s a short segment of Copeland in Swan Lake:

Those who went to glory on September 10 include:

  • 1797 – Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher, historian, and novelist (b. 1759)
  • 1935 – Huey Long, American lawyer and politician, 40th Governor of Louisiana (b. 1893)
  • 1965 – Father Divine, American spiritual leader (b. 1880)

Here’s a short video of Father Divine and his flock (his given name is, as with many aspects of his early life, unknown):

  • 1975 – George Paget Thomson, English physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1892)
  • 2005 – Hermann Bondi, Austrian mathematician and cosmologist (b. 1919)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is, as Christopher Smart wrote, “rolling upon prank”:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m trying to get more comfortable.
In Polish:
Ja: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Szukam, w której pozycji jest mi najwygodniej.

Some pictures of the BFFs Szaron and Kulka, one with Szaron grooming the kitten:

Dining together:

From Facebook:

From Moments in Time, found by reader Ken. You can get yourself a Bible signed by that old atheist Donald Trump. Price: $37,500.

From Jesus of the Day:

Titania’s still banging on about “womxn”:

Two tweets from Simon. This first one is sort of “viral”; it’s shows businessman whose office overlooked a mallard nest a floor above the ground, and who realized the babies would have to jump to the cement. When they hatched, he went down and caught nearly all the babies, scooping up the stragglers. And then he led them to water. What a fantastic guy! (There’s music here if you want the sound up.)

Well, I don’t have the spoons today to figure out exactly what is going on, but this is a cool experiment.

Tweets from Matthew. Loaches often hang on to vegetation underwater, but some species climb out on vegetation to bask for a while.

I hope this lovely little mutant seal will be all right. You can read more, and see more photos, at the link:

Spot the three (very small) beetles. The second photo gives the answer.

Do you know what this is? Hint: count the legs.

42 Comments

  1. jezgrove
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    “I still don’t have a take on this [Jessica Krug] because, after all, although she was duplicitous, she also contributed through her teaching and her books, towards racial equality.” – this piece in The Guardian explains some of the anger directed at Krug: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/09/jessica-krug-white-scholar-black-latina

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    “Correns was one of three people who rediscovered Gregor Mendel’s principles of heredity, publishing >>his<< paper (along with the other two) in 1900.”

    Whose paper – Mendel’s?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Yes. But I was going to ask who the other two were. (Was one of them Rollin Emerson, seen here with at least two future luminariessby any chance?) I’ve seen Emerson mentioned obliquely as having been involved in the rediscovery but have never been able to figure out what role he had, if any.

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      No, his… see this interesting article page 13 on

      Click to access 2001_2.pdf

      • Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Oh sorry Jerry! Embedded rather than just link ! 🙁

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 10, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Ah I see – that’s an intriguing article.

        So Mendel’s Paper (with a capital P) was in published journals ever since it was published, and therefore had been sitting in libraries right in front of everyone the whole time.

        That is, The Paper wasn’t a handwritten treatise, guarded in the monk residence (he was a monk after all), and hidden in a secret lair, (I apologize but I’m having fun with this) until a biological Indiana Jones sought it out and THEN re-published it as an important scientific relic.

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Correns’s paper. Mendel was dead in 1900.

  3. chrism
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Trump admitting he lied about the seriousness of Covid-19 will not immediately damage him, in that his supporters will tend to say he lied in order to prevent panic, to save our economy etc. Presidents are economical with the truth all the time in the national interest. Some will figure out though, that this was not lying in the national interest, it was lying in Trump’s interest. He didn’t want the economy to tank just before an election, and he was willing to expend a couple of hundred thousand lives to protect his chance of re-election. Even worse than that, people believed him, and still do. They won’t wear masks, they won’t distance, and they are killing themselves and others with infection. And they think they are defending their liberty, when all they are really defending is Trump’s chance to remain in power (please don’t let him change the constitution!) and rake in money.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I had forgotten about that crash in formula one. The improved safety in this type of racing is truly amazing. They just ran the Monza F1 last Sunday. It continues to be the fastest F1 track and they run much faster today than ever before.

    • Posted September 11, 2020 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      The circuit they used at the time of the crash was an absolute beast in that in consisted of the modern circuit and a high speed oval with banking. After you exited the Parabolica which is now the last corner, you entered the first straight of the oval. After the final turn of the oval, you were back on the main straight of the existing track, which was actually the same piece of tarmac as the first straight of the oval. The two streams of traffic were only separated by a line of cones. 1961 is the last year that layout was used in F1.

      To emphasise your point about safety, Charles Leclerc had a crash during the race at Parabolica (which is just down the road from where Vn Tripps was killed). He would have been going much faster, even though he was in a turn, but he walked away uninjured.

  5. Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    THat is just how a gyroscope works. If you use an angle grinder or spinning saw you can feel it wanting to turn.
    Corren & de Vries & Spillman
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Jasper_Spillman
    & von Tschermak
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_von_Tschermak
    See this article p 13

    Click to access 2001_2.pdf


    Also note Bateson’s contribution. Naughty people not to credit Mendel until nudged!

    • David Harper
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I beg to disagree. The physics demonstration doesn’t show the gyroscope effect. It shows how the angular momentum of the spinning bicycle wheel is transferred into the person on the chair, causing them to begin rotating.

      You’ll note that the professor says that it is *difficult* to turn the spinning bicycle wheel, which is precisely because that changes the angular momentum vector, requiring a torque, or turning force, to accomplish.

      Having done exactly this demonstration many years ago, I can confirm this from my own experience. The bicycle wheel was lined with lead, and we used an electric drill to spin it up.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    The good ship Trump is foundering, lying dead in the water without engine power or steering, gaping holes in its hull below the water line, from torpedoes coming at it from multiple directions.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      And the problem is, we are all on that boat. Look out below!

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      The S.O.B. can still win. I have hope, but I don’t have confidence.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Yeah, me, too. I remember thinking Trump was dead in the water after release of the “Access Hollywood” hot-mic tape in October 2016, too. Once bit, twice shy.

        Though there’s a world of difference between decade-old “locker-room talk” by a reality tv star and blatant malversation in office by a sitting US president, much of it just this year, potentially at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives.

        Still, my stomach will be churning everyday from now through election night right until January 20th when, fingers-crossed, the rotten s.o.b. gets run outta the White House for good.

      • sugould
        Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        +! yes!

      • GBJames
        Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        My hope is tempered by the thought that tRump is not trying to win the election, he’s trying to stay in power. I fully expect some attempt to declare himself the winner regardless of the actual results.

  7. Alan Clark
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I wonder why the suicide rate is higher for women than men in China? It looks like the only country where this is true.

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I noted that too. Women are not as valued in the society as much as elsewhere (seems to me).

      Though on the flip side, things may change. Because of the 1-child policy, there is a bolus of young men who will never find a (hetero) partner, at least in China (maybe they will import brides? export the surplus young men?). Maybe their suicide rates will increase?

      • Posted September 10, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        If women not being valued were the cause, I’d expect the female suicide rate would be very high in Muslim countries, like Pakistan.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I recall watching some of the ’60 Summer Olympics as a little kid on our old black & white teevee — especially that African cat winning the marathon in his bare feet, and Wilma Rudolph, a childhood polio survivor, cleaning up in the women’s sprints, and a brash young boxer from Louisville name ‘o Cassius winning the gold medal as a light-heavyweight.

  9. busterggi
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    ” National Hot Dog Day. If you haven’t had one lately, the wurst is yet to come.”

    BALONEY!

    • Doug
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      I never sausage a pun.

  10. GBJames
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Stephen Jay Gould looks a little like Charlie Chaplin in that photo!

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think the shadow of his nose on his upper lip enhances the effect.

      I almost (almost) didn’t recognize him because he was so thin in that photo.

  11. Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    We (Americans) would probably do fairly poorly in the social distancing thing no matter who is president, even if their directives were proper and urgent and compelling. If we had a democrat in the White House at the time, the conservative media would immediately attack their science based advice as being somehow duplicitous. And conservative citizens form their beliefs and actions around conservative pundits, not from liberals.
    Liberals can act irrationally too, and plenty of them also really suck at social distancing. But those on the right who do not accept social distancing and mask wearing don’t need to hear lies from the White House to form their own lies.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Policy matters. There is no national policy for fighting the pandemic. The result is nationwide chaos as states and localities try to figure out for themselves what to do. There is no reason Americans have to suffer a quarter of the world’s deaths with four percent of the world’s population.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        What is also shows is the sickness in this country, that people will continue to support someone who is killing them. That is a real cult, just like religion.

        • GBJames
          Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Cult, indeed. It is significant that the base is substantially comprised of Christian nationalists.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I think it would make a difference. Of course you’d still have non-compliers. Europe has those people, Canada has those people, Australia has those people….stupid is everywhere. But, I think a leader that communicated clearly, enforced legislation fairly, and inspired sacrifice and perseverance could make a major difference. Imagine Trump was president during the space race or Cold War or 9/11? I’m sure outcomes would be much different. It’s easy to underestimate the influence of good leadership but if you look at organizations, especially terrible ones, you can always see that this starts at the top.

  12. rickflick
    Posted September 10, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    It seems Howe had a hard time getting his sewing machine to market.
    “Howe was forced to defend his patent in a court case that lasted from 1849 to 1854… because he found that Isaac Singer with cooperation from Walter Hunt had perfected a facsimile of his machine and was selling it with the same lockstitch that Howe had invented and patented. He won the dispute and earned considerable royalties from Singer and others for sales of his invention.”

  13. Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Angular momentum: My physics prof. did that same demonstration in class. It is a wonderful demonstration of the something that was NOT intuitive to me.

    • Posted September 10, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      And, as David Harper notes at 5 above, you have to work hard to twist that gyro away from its initial axis of motion.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 10, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I first discovered angular momentum, though I had no idea it even had a name, as a little kid playing with pots and pans in the kitchen. There was a flat lid for a frying pan that had a riveted handle around which the lid would rotate. I got it spinning one day and noticed the weird way it would act when I tried to move it about. Not long after that, I got one of those toy gyroscopes in my Xmas stocking.

  14. Posted September 10, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Apparently Gould’s mesothelioma came about from exposure to asbestos while researching specimens in Harvard’s MCZ basement. Who could have imagined that researching old dinosaur fossils in a basement could be hazardous?

  15. Posted September 10, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    One of the key parts of Bob Woodward’s reporting on Trump is that there are tapes! Lordy! Nothing like hearing Trump spell his crimes out in detail. His words are so spot-on, it’s almost like his enemies told him what to say!

    This won’t matter to his solid supporters, of course. However, it’s important for several reasons: (1) It will dominate the news cycle at a critical time as people will be voting soon. (2) Trump supporters can no longer make the claim that he was simply doing the best he could in a bad situation. (3) It will give massive support to all claims that Trump screwed up the COVID-19 response. “Just listen to the tapes!”

  16. Posted September 10, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say that your second sentence is the very BEST pun I’ve heard, but it is far from…well…you know.


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