Thursday: Hili dialogue

April 8, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, April 8, 2021, Empanada Day as well as the day that Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) comes home from Texas. By the time many of you are reading this, I’ll be flying back to Chicago. It’s gonna be a hot one in Austin today, with a high of 92°F (33.3°C). Tomorrow will be a few degrees hotter.

News of the Day:

The insanity in Arkansas continues. House Bill 1701, which would allow creationism to be taught in all public schools from kindergarten through high school, passed by a big majority, one that split strictly along party lines: there were 72 “ayes” (all Republicans), and 21 “nays” (all Democrats). Seven people abstained. This bill is unconstitutional, as was determined in the 1982 case of McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, but I suppose they’re hoping for a Supreme Court review, just as with Arkansas’s new law that bans nearly all abortions. The creationism bill still has to pass the state Senate, and be signed by the Governor, but that is pretty much a fait accompli. (h/t: Guy)

Ben Franklin is on the list to be canceled! In his younger days as a printer, Ben Franklin employed two or three slaves in his shop, an action that he later publicly regretted. He then became one of the most progressive and vociferous abolitionists of his day. But for his use of slaves, the Parish of Orleans in Louisiana is considering renaming two schools named after Franklin. Tom Sancton, a former Time Magazine writer with a blog, got his ex-colleague Walter Isaacson, who wrote a biography of Franklin in 2004, to address this issue on that website.  Isaacson is clearly not in favor of the renamings. Here’s a quote (h/t Scott):

. . . . as someone who once wrote a biography of [Franklin], I thought I would explain why I think that judging him based on the moral arc of his life and his quest for improvement would send the right message to students. People are not perfect. Our nation is not perfect. But we should celebrate those who realize that our nation has flaws, confront them honestly, and publicly take the lead in making themselves and our union more perfect. Students (and the rest of us) should be inspired by those who achieve moral growth. That is a basic goal of education.

Is there a new physics in the works, one that will replace the well-used “Standard Model” of particle physics? Scientific American reports an anomaly in the behavior of muons not predicted by Standard theory (h/t: Woody):

Muon g-2 is an experiment at Fermi National Laboratory in Batavia, Ill, that aims to precisely measure how magnetic muons are by watching them wobble in a magnetic field. If the experimental value of these particles’ magnetic moment differs from the theoretical prediction—an anomaly—that deviation could be a sign of new physics, such as some subtle and unknown muon-influencing particle or force. The newly updated experimental value for muons, reported on Wednesday in Physical Review Letters, deviates from theory by only a minuscule value (.00000000251) and has a statistical significance of 4.2 sigma.* But even that tiny amount could profoundly shift the direction of particle physics.

Other physicists, while intrigued, aren’t as breathless about this.

In today’s NYT, Ezra Klein (founder of Vox) has an interesting analysis of why Biden’s administration has gone further to the left than one would have suspected, “Four ways of looking at the radicalism of Joe Biden.” His explanations, in short, are the intransigence of Republicans as negotiating partners, a new generation of Congressional and administrative staff concerned with inequality, less general trust of economists, and Biden’s role as a politician, meaning having the ability to “[sense] what the country wants, intuiting what people will and won’t accept, and then working within those boundaries.”

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 558,580, an increase of 2,564 deaths over yesterday’s figure (this is almost a tripling of the deaths that occurred two days ago. The reported world death toll stands at 2,904,226, 2,889,945, an increase of about 4,300.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is giving a sermon to the rodents: “Sinners in the hands of a hungry cat.

A: Are you hunting?
Hili: No, I tell the mice about brotherly love.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Ja: Polujesz?
Hili: Nie, opowiadam myszom o miłości bliźniego.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

From reader John:

From Cats Without Gods:

From Jesus of the Day:A meme from Nicole:

Tweets from Matthew. Have a look at these videos; you don’t have to be a scientist to do science!

Statler the geriatric fruit bat is back! I love him so much!

Matthew says, “Wait for it,” but there’s nothing to wait for:

Cat altruism:

And from the same “Cats—Gorgeous & Funny” Twitter site, mirror-fighting cats:

Still moar cats, probably Turkish Vans:

If I owned this cat, I wouldn’t feed it in a metal bowl!

 

39 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. You may have watched the UK BBC TV series “Vicar of Dibley” where Owen has a duck perform on stage with a “wait for it, wait for it”?
      Watch a short video clip here:
      youtu.be/f-tktCZfy0M

    2. You may have watched the UK BBC TV series “Vicar of Dibley”
      where Owen has a duck perform on stage with a – “wait for it, wait for it”?
      Watch a short video clip here:
      youtu.be/f-tktCZfy0M

  1. The insanity in Arkansas continues. House Bill 1701, which would allow creationism to be taught in all public schools from kindergarten through high school, passed by a big majority, one that split strictly along party lines …

    Passing a bill mandating the teaching a creationism that directly contravenes not only the federal district court decision from that state cited by our host but also subsequent binding US Supreme Court precedent — precedent that’s never been called into question by legal scholars or any other serious people — reveals a political party at its reactionary nadir.

    1. My opinion, which is my own, is that the strict party-line vote indicates this is more about optics than SCOTUS review. I expect we would have seen at least a couple GOPers break ranks, if they seriously thought SCOTUS would use it as a case to overturn McLean or Edwards. Very much like the US Senate and health care, I think at least some of these AR GOPers are happy to get the votes extreme rhetoric provides, but don’t seriously want those extreme positions to become law. It’s a gamble we must despise them for making, while unfortunately still hoping they win.

        1. The bill (assuming it becomes law) will never make it past the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, if it even gets that far. No way would SCOTUS — even the lopsidedly conservative SCOTUS we have now — grant certiorari to reconsider Edwards v. Aguillard.

          This Court may be willing to lurch to the Right on some issues, but it won’t do anything as stupid as embrace creationism. There aren’t four votes for it on the Court needed to grant review, let alone the five votes required to reverse Aguillard.

          1. I think you’re right. I think some of the AR GOPers who voted for it think you’re right, too. I think they’re counting on it, in fact.

            Alito and Thomas concern me on this issue. I think they’d be fine letting creationism back in schools. Barrett is still an unknown to me. Kavanaugh is also a bit of an unknown, though on no evidence whatsoever except not being as religious as Barrett, I’d say he’s less likely than Barrett to say ‘yes’ to creationism. Roberts is a definite ‘no’ in my book, and Goresuch is an almost certain ‘no.’ The liberals are all ‘no.’

            So yeah, hard to see how they’d get four votes to even take the case. Almost impossible to see how they’d get five to overturn precedent.

    2. Circling the toilet if you ask me. There’s no end to the “Fairy Tale Believer’s” ignorance.
      It always seems like half the population (of Earth!) is trying our best to move forwards and the other half is “driving me backwards”. “Driving me backwards” Brian Eno https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPAov2pfH9k

      I stopped writing for Forbes Magazine b/c they wouldn’t let me flaunt my atheist plumage! They were driving me…

      D.A.
      NYC
      https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

  2. Sound like you are getting out of Texas just in time. Actually the real heat does not get going until end of May. The wild flowers will soon be long gone.

    I’m not sure why some think Biden is becoming further one way or the other. He is just a plain old democrat and acting like one. He is where the democrats are today. The question that must be asked is, does the U.S. have any other party. I think not. The primary goal of that other party today is scamming their followers on line of lots of money. There are a lot of stupid people out there and they are determined to find them all.

  3. Wasn’t aware of Ben Franklin’s personal history, but it seems perfectly reasonable for liberals to celebrate someone like that. But, no doubt for the woke, becoming an abolitionist means you just weren’t put on the pyre soon enough.

    1. I think this would be a good time to bury the woke and just move on. I do not believe they are worth the ink. Their new motto could be – We are all extremely ignorant of American History and with good reason, we judge everything.

      1. NO! Let’s NOT bury the woke, they are changing things and not in a good way.
        PCC (E)’s frequent reportage of the Wokerati and associated madness means we don’t have to find it ourselves – and it is good to know. Also contributions of regular loud mouths here (like me). 🙂

        “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…” etc.
        D.A.
        NYC
        https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

    2. But for his use of slaves, the Parish of Orleans in Louisiana is considering renaming two schools named after Franklin.

      What are they going to rename the schools to? Franklin’s slaves, or in favour of a local pork-barrel politician and the town’s biggest Facegram “influencer”?

    3. Seems to me that the Parish of Orleans should be canceling itself for allowing slavery for over a century.

    4. If you want to see the real Benjamin Franklin and the depth of his racism, a must read is
      William E. Juhnke. 1974. Benjamin Franklin’s view of the Negro and slavery. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 375-389.
      http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/PH-1974.pdf

      and Ben’s 1755 ten-page social-Darwinist pamphlet, “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc.” (Boston), in which Franklin complains of the world-wide scarcity of rosy white Anglo-Saxons, the excess of “swarthy” and dark-skinned peoples in general, and the importation of slave “that has blacken’d half America.”
      https://archive.org/details/increasemankind00franrich

      Juhnke quotes and references the following slave ads from Franklin’s “Pennsylvania Gazette” (the “Printer” is, of course, Franklin himself):
      1. “To be sold: A likely Negro wench about fifteen years old and talks English. Inquire of the printer hereof. A breeding Negro woman about twenty years of age. Can do any household work.”
      2. “A Negro Man twenty-two Years of Age, of uncommon Strength and Activity, . . . and is very faithful in Employment: Any Person that wants such a one, may see him by inquiring of the Printer hereof.”
      In short, Franklin negotiated the selling of men, women, and child slaves from the front office of his newspaper. We don’t know the commission he charged sellers..

  4. His [Ezra Klein’s] explanations, in short, are the intransigence of Republicans as negotiating partners, a new generation of Congressional and administrative staff concerned with inequality, less general trust of economists, and Biden’s role as a politician, meaning having the ability to “[sense] what the country wants, intuiting what people will and won’t accept, and then working within those boundaries.”

    Add in the health and economic crises inherited from his predecessor, and it sounds a helluva lot like the “radicalism” of FDR’s first 100 days in 1933.

  5. Come on buddy, let’s mirror fight.

    Neither of them knows where tengen is in this game.

  6. I wonder what (if anything) is behind the big jump in US Covid deaths today. It’s too soon to be related to Easter or even to Passover…though perhaps “Spring Break” could be involved. I wonder how the deaths were localized. I suppose I can find out that bit (or more likely several kilobytes…one bit just wouldn’t be enough to answer the question) if I’m curious enough…

        1. Yes, daily death toll is not a good tool to measure. Weekly or fortnightly running averages avoid most reporting hiccups.

    1. A more mysterious question I have is why do we not hear more about the known treatments for covid-19 that are available and not being used nearly enough. I understand most of them involve transfusion and should be given before a person gets extremely ill. They work and they save lives, yet we hear very little about them. When I got the virus and eventually went to the hospital for a couple of days I was never told about any of this.

  7. If I owned this cat, I wouldn’t feed it in a metal bowl!

    Does this cat know how rock bands deal with drummers?

    Many many years ago I picked up an ashtray of a beautiful dark red Portsoy “Marble” (actually a serpentinite, but it is marketed as “marble”) from the “oops” pile at the workshop. Weighed about 5 kilos. I gave it to my sister, who used it for the cat’s water-bowl. “Spill that, ya bas!”

  8. What’s wrong with metal bowls for feeding cats? We have a couple of stainless steel ones that don’t seem to bother the cats at all. We also have nice-looking ceramic ones.

      1. Oh, now I get it. I hadn’t played the video. Our metal bowls sit in a wooden frame so this isn’t possible at our house.

        It’s interesting that this cat is fascinated by the sound. In my experience, cats are interested in moving things but not making noise. In fact, they mostly avoid any kind of noise, presumably because it interferes with their ability to hear predators sneaking up on them or the sounds of prey.

        1. I currently have a cat that is VERY interested in making noise, and not only to get my attention. I think he genuinely enjoys having control over the sound that things make– a pushbutton desk bell, his metal bowl, music keyboard, and other things. Only when indoors (he has supervised time outside– he came to me feral and we came to terms regarding his desire for at least a little outside time), though. Outdoors, he is silent and stealthy.

  9. Today, April 8, is “Holocaust Remembrance Day,” and a day to remember and contemplate all the other evils of rampant extreme nationalism.

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