Monday: Hili dialogue

May 3, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Monday, May 3, 2021, National Chocolate Custard Day. It’s also National Raspberry Popover Day, Melanoma Monday, World Press Freedom Day, Wordsmith Day, and International Sun Day, celebrating solar power. I saw a single bunny on my walk to work this morning.

Today’s animated Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week by recounting five stories of teachers who made a difference

News of the Day:

After six months at the International Space Station, four astronauts returned to Earth early yesterday morning in a SpaceX “Dragon” capsule, splashing down in the sea at night—the first nighttime recovery since Apollo 8 in 1968. Here’s a great video of the landing and recovery:

Everthing’s bigger in Texas, including the hailstones. For some reason Texas gets tons of hail (when I recently rented a car there, although the vehicle was nearly new, its roof was pocked from hailstone strikes). And, according to the Washington Post, a storm in South Texas dropped hailstones that the paper describes as “the size of grapefruits”. GRAPEFRUITS!  Somebody could have been killed! Below is a Texas record hailstone, more than six inches across! (The U.S. record is an eight-inch behemoth that fell on South Dakota.)  h/t: Tim


Catilyn Jenner, who you might know is running as a Republican for the governor of California, has declared that she doesn’t favor transgender women competing in women’s sports (see also here). She is of course facing serious backlash, including the usual accusations of being transphobic, which means she’s afraid of herself. It goes to show you can be both transgender and a transphobe. (h/t: Divy) A tweet:

Slavery in this era? Apparently sometimes! A black South Carolina man with a cognitive disability was forced to work 100 hours per week for five years without pay or benefits. Not only that, but he was beaten and tortured. The “enslaver”, though is now in jail for ten years, and the abused employee has been awarded nearly half a million dollars in restitution.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 576,638, an increase of 694 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,217,378, an increase of about 9,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 3 includes:

  • 1715 – A total solar eclipse was visible across northern Europe, and northern Asia, as predicted by Edmond Halley to within 4 minutes accuracy.
  • 1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city after Congress abolishes the Board of Commissioners, the District’s founding government. The “City of Washington” is given a mayor-council form of government.
  • 1913 –, the first full-length Indian feature film, is released, marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.

Here’s a clip, with a movie poster below that. Most of the movie appears to have been lost.


  • 1921 – Ireland is partitioned under British law by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.
  • 1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Shelley v. Kraemer that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.
  • 1952 – The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time, on the CBS network.

Here’s the first Kentucky Derby that was televised; the winner was Hill Gail, ridden by the legendary Eddie Arcaro

Here ia a short video of the Birmingham police attacking protestors in 1963:

  • 1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial email (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
  • 1979 – Margaret Thatcher wins the United Kingdom general election. The following day, she becomes the first female British Prime Minister.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1849 – Jacob Riis, Danish-American journalist and photographer (d. 1914)
  • 1860 – Vito Volterra, Italian mathematician and physicist (d. 1940)
  • 1903 – Bing Crosby, American singer and actor (d. 1977)
  • 1919 – Pete Seeger, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist (d. 2014)

Here’s Seeger with one of his banjos, inscribed with a slogan:

I’ve shown the music video of Hopkin’s most famous song, “Goodbye,” before, but here it is again. It was written by Paul McCartney, shown in the video, but who thought it was pretty schlocky. I happen to like it, and it reached #2 on the British charts. (You can here McCartney’s demo here.) From Wikipedia:

For the recording, Hopkin sang and performed acoustic guitar, while McCartney played bass guitar, an acoustic guitar introduction and solo, along with lap-slapping percussion and drums. Backing vocals, horns and strings, in Hewson’s arrangement, were overdubbed. The session was filmed by Apple’s Tony Bramwell for a promotional clip. In the footage, Hopkin can be seen miming to the song inside the studio, combined with shots of her and McCartney in the control room listening to a playback.

Those who expired on May 3 include;:

  • 1779 – John Winthrop, American mathematician, physicist, and astronomer (b. 1714)
  • 1991 – Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-American novelist and screenwriter (b. 1933)
  • 2007 – Wally Schirra, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1923)
  • 2014 – Gary Becker, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1930)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is upset, as he knows that Malgorzata and Andrzej don’t like moles digging up their yard:

Hili: We have a problem.
A: What problem?
Hili: The moles have gone crazy.
In Polish:
Hili: Mamy problem.
Ja: Jaki?
Hili: Krety oszalały.

This is remarkable: Hili and Szaron asleep together on “my” sofa in Dobrzyn. They are managing to tolerate each other!

Kulka resting on the windowsill:

From John; a Bizarro strip by Dan Piraro:

From Rick, a very good one:

From Bruce:

Two tweets from Barry. The first is about the famous Trolley Problem:

And here’s some Commie Cats who come running when they hear the Commie Anthem, which seems to be as attractive to them as hearing a tuna can being opened (second tweet):

Tweets from Matthew. I love aged fruit bats, though I don’t know why. Remember Statler, who lost his ability to fly and had to have his wings exercised in faux flight. Well, meet Enzo, who is depilated.

These squares are actually square!

This is ineffably sweet: dog brings home orphaned kitten, and even holds it gently in his mouth:

I love this one:

Well, I guess Pluto has less mass than the Moon:



43 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Imagine the wind it takes to create hail of that size. One reason why you never fly into a thunderstorm.

  2. Surely Mary Hopkin’s (all these years I’ve thought her name was Hopkins: I’m shocked, shocked) best known hit was Those were the days? Also, fun fact, she was in a short-lived group called Oasis. They should have sued.

    1. Yes, “Those Were The Days” was a bigger hit. I have always liked “The Fields of St. Etienne.”

      1. See my post earlier about “Those Were The Days” used as public expectation music in Equatorial Guinea – a wild ride.

  3. That’s it; I gotta get to Pluto. I’ve always wanted to take off from the foul line and dunk, the way MJ used to. That’s about the only chance I’ve got left.

  4. Multiple choice question: 0% isn’t an option, leaving either 25% or 50% so I’l take C, 50%. Final Answer.

    1. And your Final Answer is wrong.
      – It cannot possibly be 50%, since you have only a 25% chance of randomly hitting 50%.
      – It cannot be 0% since you have a 25% chance of hitting 0%.
      – Nor can it be 25%, since you have a 50% chance of randomly hitting 25%.
      It is a great version of the Epimenides paradox (all Cretans lie all of the time), but then watertight.
      There is no answer.

      1. I should have read that question more carefully. Logically, if there is no correct answer then there is 0% chance of randomly picking the right answer, meaning that paradoxically 0% is the right answer which means that 25% has to be correct, and that means that my head hurts now.

        1. Add. to above: as there are two 25% options then 50% is also correct. There is only one 50% option which has a 25% chance of being selected so every bloody answer is equally right and wrong.

          1. The same principle can be illustrated with the following, which is almost exactly the same, but much more irritating:

            Give ONLY ONE choice, but put in any percentage EXCEPT 100%.

            This relates to the liar paradox (“This sentence is not true”), and, at least certainly in my opinion, relates more fundamentally to the following:

            1/ Absolutely the most important thing in teaching elementary formal logic is to get across the idea of the formal language (AKA object language) versus the metalanguage which discusses that earlier language.

            2/ All sorts of philosophy-trained, as opposed to mathematics-trained, people, who think they have a good grasp of formal logic, seem to completely miss 1/.

            The idea really came from Frege (~1890), but even Russell-Whitehead’s famous book (~1910) just afterwards, very valuable in getting the subject onto its feet, also screwed that up badly—and some philosophy courses seem to be stuck there, back 100 years ago.

            N.B. Russell is to me one of the great intellectual heroes, despite that.

            Analogously to the above slam at so-called “philosophical logic”, you don’t teach basic classical non-relativistic physics using Newton’s Principia.

      2. I finally thought about this puzzle!

        “It cannot be 0% since you have a 25% chance of hitting 0%”

        But we know the true answer will never be zero, so the zero% displayed on the board is a false answer choice. 25% is falsely displayed twice. So the only two answers are 25% and 50%, so it is 50% – one out of two.

        What was the official answer?

  5. And Caitlyn Jenner surely speaks with some knowledge and authority having won the gold medal for men’s decathlon for the USA in the 1976 Olympics…in her earlier incarnation.

    1. I am glad she found happiness in transitioning, and a family that has loved and accepted her. I tend to lean more towards agreeing with her than against her on the transwomen in sports issue.

      But California doesn’t need more politically-incompetent attention-seekers running for Office. Not Governor. Not legislator. Not local dog-catcher.

      1. Yes. My comment above was limited to her narrow but deep subject matter expertise on athletic competition. I certainly have no interest in her being governor though as one among many legislators she would bring something unique to the table.

    2. Kudos to Jenner. If more transwomen were like her in these questions, they certainly would find more acceptance.

    3. For me, the best thing about the video was that it was taken at the Trancas Starbucks/mall parking lot. Best apple fritters ever at the old Trancas market; alas, it is no more. And I agree it is about fairness, but the details of figuring out what is fair are not straight forward.

    4. Jenner’s athletic accomplished are celebrated because Jenner competed in a fair competition and through a combination dedication, coaching and physical ability, Jenner was the best. If Jenner had competed in the women’s events, it would have been a totally different story.

    5. Part of a nest of tiresome narcissists, Jenner volunteered to be Trump’s “Trans Ambassador” 5 years ago, while endorsing Trump, before killing somebody by car on the PCH.

      Which ever way the wind blows blows that entire family of useless, ugly self promoting grifters. Not “brave”, not “beautiful”. “God” help California.

  6. The jump stats on planets is interesting. I especially liked that the height we could jump on Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were pretty close to the value for Earth even though they are much bigger than Earth. I think it’s because their density is relatively low and their “surface” is distant from their center. (Those two are related, of course.)

    1. Yes that must be it. Closer to the center I doubt we could jump at all, not to mention the sun. I note with satisfaction that on these gaseous giants the jump was made on a ‘floating’ platform.

      1. Actually, at the very center of a planet the net gravity is zero because the mass of the planet is distributed evenly all around. That means there is a specific distance from the center at which gravity is highest. Yes, the floating platforms were a nice touch.

        1. Agreed. The question remains: are these hypothetical floating platforms floating at ‘the level of greatest gravitational pull’, of at the -ill defined- surface?
          I would not dare -way above my pay grade- to calculate the level of greatest gravitational pull.

          1. Although the surface of these gas planets is ill-defined, I suspect they calculated based on the diameters commonly accepted for them. I’m guessing this is basically at the point where the surface appears to be in the visible light range but perhaps they have a better method. It’s probably somewhat arbitrary but the gravity wouldn’t differ much over a short distance range anyway.

            1. Correct me if you see I’m missing a point, but I am rather suspicious of that video. It seems that either they are wrong, or they are taking an astronaut doing the jump way, way out from the surface of the giant gas planets.

              The reason is that distance cubed can be much bigger than distance squared. The force of gravity on a planet twice the radius would be 8/4=2 times stronger for the same object at the surfaces of the two, ASSUMING they have the same average densities, since the volume, hence the mass, of the planet is 8 times bigger, whereas the distance squared to the surface is 4 times bigger.

              Well, earth does have the largest density, but I didn’t think it was that much bigger than say Jupiter’s. After all, that ‘gas’, going in a ways on Jupiter, is hugely compressed, so the average density is much greater than a bottle of hydrogen at the surface of the earth.

              If you make your own fizzy water, you can illustrate the last by noticing how much heavier your new bottle of CO2 is than the empty.

              But maybe that average density difference is much bigger than I thought—must be some expert here to correct me—actually you could get all those figures easily on the internet these days. I’m assuming the astronaut gives the same push each time. I thought near the surface of Jupiter, a human would be pretty much squashed flat against the platform, and physically helpless without some technological help.

              1. Perhaps we can believe Google. If I search for “planet surface gravity” (w/o quotes), I get one of their info cards:

                3.7 m/s² Mercury
                3.721 m/s² Mars
                8.87 m/s² Venus, Uranus
                9.807 m/s² Earth
                10.44 m/s² Saturn
                11.15 m/s² Neptune
                24.79 m/s² Jupiter

                Don’t know if this jives with the video. All the gas giants but Jupiter have near Earth’s gravity at their surface.

              2. Looked it up, and that’s where I erred: density of earth is over 4 times that of Jupiter. The radii are about 12 times in ratio. So the jumps won’t differ by nearly as much as I thought; more dramatically, it’d be a real effort standing on that platform near Jupiter’s surface, but nothing like the squash I suspected.

              3. Paul, I had not seen yours before my self-reply, but our numbers agree very well: your Jupiter number is a bit less than 3 times your Earth number. My 12 with a bit more than 4 also give that <3 when divided. I assume the video is essentially correct based on that.

      2. Remembering my A-level physics now. As you get closer to the centre of a planet (of uniform density), the force due to gravity decreases linearly until it reaches zero. This is because all of the mass further out from the centre than you are counts for nothing (force due to gravity inside a hollow sphere is zero). Although the force follows an inverse square law with respect to the radius, the mass below you is decreasing with the cube of the radius.

        Obviously the gas giants aren’t of uniform density but I’m just saying it isn’t as obvious as you might think what happens to gravity when you get closer to the middle.

  7. When you look through your lashes, blurring out the little steps on the constituting black and white blocks, you can clearly see that the 2 squares are actually straight squares.
    Seeing sharper misleads the mind. A paradox too?

  8. I’m going with C/ 50% for the quiz question. I’ve never seen a question which didn’t have answer so I guess you must have to consider what would happen if you went 50/50 !

    1. The question “how many letters are there in the answer to this question?” has the answer “four” in English, but there is no equivalent answer in the French version…..

    2. Of course there is an answer, but no correct answer.
      C/(50%) is wrong, since you only have a 25% chance of randomly hitting ‘50%’ (see 5 above).

  9. THose were the days is surely the most well known Hopkins? I’ never heard any of her others though!

  10. I like Mary Hopkin also and you just KNOW Paul Mac “had her” at some point. Well.. he’s Paul Mac! Once a reporter asked him what the best part of Beatlemania was and he replied, without missing a beat: “The girls.” hehehe

    On an interesting and macarbre aside: Ms. Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days” song reached fame as the “accompanying music” to a mass execution of political prisoners in the Malabo Stadium in Equatorial Guinea by their psychotic dictator Marcias Nguema in the mid 1970s.
    She’s a doll, though, and a great musician. President Nguema, less so.
    For further reading:

    1. Good grief – that atrocity was a new one on me. I see he was executed himself in the end; I disapprove of the death penalty, but there’s certainly some poetic justice (if not actual justice) in that fact I suppose.

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