Monday: Hili dialogue

May 31, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the last day of May: Monday, May 31, 2020: National Macaroon Day (celebrating the American variety packed with coconut, not those pricey, fancy-schmancy French macarons). It’s also National Meditation Day, World Parrot Day, World No Tobacco Day and Memorial Day.

For Memorial Day, in memory of military forces killed defending America, Google has a special doodle in somber colors (click on the screenshot):

Your host is feeling low today; tell some jokes in the comments!

News of the Day:

It looks like Bibi is toast: a coalition of Israeli opposition parties have struck a deal that will oust Netanyahu and replace him with Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s former defense minister. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, is 71 and has been in power for 12 years.

In the meantime, Texas, along with other states, has passed restrictive new laws that make it not only harder to vote, but easier for judges to overturn election results. This can only be a Republican ploy to disenfranchise minority voters and show some support for Trump, despite the fact that there is no evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen anywhere. The new Texas laws, which the governor may have signed by the time you read this, even allows a judge to overturn election results when there is no evidence of fraud.

Some specifics:

The bill includes new restrictions on absentee voting; grants broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers; escalates punishments for mistakes or offenses by election officials; and bans both drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, which were used for the first time during the 2020 election in Harris County, home to Houston and a growing number of the state’s Democratic voters.

The bill in Texas, a major state with a booming population, represents the apex of the national Republican push to install tall new barriers to voting after President Donald J. Trump’s loss last year to Joseph R. Biden Jr., with expansive restrictions already becoming law in IowaGeorgia and Florida in 2021. Fueled by Mr. Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the election, Republicans have passed the bills almost entirely along partisan lines, brushing off the protestations of Democrats, civil rights groups, voting rights groups, major corporations and faith leaders.

Singer B. J. Thomas, famous for his rendition of the Bacharach/David song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, heard in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, has died at 78. Remember this with Paul Newman and Katharine Ross on the bicycle?

Remember the Ever Given, the container ship stuck in the Suez Canal in March, providing us with a lot of drama? The Egyptians have now blamed pilot error on the accident, and have impounded the ship, asking for $550 million to cover costs, including lost revenues and the cost of loosening the ship. The owners, on the other hand, claim that the Canal authority is to blame, allowing the ship to enter during a sandstorm and not providing at least two tugboats.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 594,051, an increase of 446 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,557,413,, an increase of about 7,900 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 31 includes:

  • 455 – Emperor Petronius Maximus is stoned to death by an angry mob while fleeing Rome.
  • 1669 – Citing poor eyesight as a reason, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.

Here’s that last entry:

Up very betimes, and so continued all the morning with W. Hewer, upon examining and stating my accounts, in order to the fitting myself to go abroad beyond sea, which the ill condition of my eyes, and my neglect for a year or two, hath kept me behindhand in, and so as to render it very difficult now, and troublesome to my mind to do it; but I this day made a satisfactory entrance therein. Dined at home, and in the afternoon by water to White Hall, calling by the way at Michell’s, where I have not been many a day till just the other day, and now I met her mother there and knew her husband to be out of town. And here je did baiser elle, but had not opportunity para hazer some with her as I would have offered if je had had it. And thence had another meeting with the Duke of York, at White Hall, on yesterday’s work, and made a good advance: and so, being called by my wife, we to the Park, Mary Batelier, and a Dutch gentleman, a friend of hers, being with us. Thence to “The World’s End,” a drinking-house by the Park; and there merry, and so home late.

And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journal, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and, therefore, whatever comes of it, I must forbear: and, therefore, resolve, from this time forward, to have it kept by my people in long-hand, and must therefore be contented to set down no more than is fit for them and all the world to know; or, if there be any thing, which cannot be much, now my amours to Deb. are past, and my eyes hindering me in almost all other pleasures, I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add, here and there, a note in short-hand with my own hand.

And so I betake myself to that course, which is almost as much as to see myself go into my grave: for which, and all the discomforts that will accompany my being blind, the good God prepare me!

  • 1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time.
  • 1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people die after a dam fails and sends a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Here’s a view of some of the damage:

  • 1911 – The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.
  • 2005 – Vanity Fair reveals that Mark Felt was “Deep Throat”.
  • 2008 – Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, with a wind-legal (+1.7 m/s) 9.72 seconds

The next year Bolt set another record, shown in the digital clock below. Here’s a video of that feat, and the 9.58 still stands.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1819 – Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, and journalist (d. 1892)
  • 1930 – Clint Eastwood, American actor, director, musician, and producer
  • 1938 – Peter Yarrow, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Yarrow was pardoned by, of all people, Jimmy Carter in 1981; Yarrow’s crime was sexual misconduct with a 14 year old girl. He served but three months in prison.

  • 1943 – Joe Namath, American football player, sportscaster, and actor

Here’s the great upset that was Super Bowl III in 1969; I was watching the game live. The underdog New York Jets, with Namath at QB, beat the Baltimore Colts, helmed by Johnny Unitas, by a score of 16-7. Here’s a short video of the highlights.

Remember this salacious ad for Calvin Klein Jeans by Shields. She was only 15 at the time, and the slogan caused a furor: “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Those who were planted on May 31 include:

Strayhorn was responsible for many of Duke Ellington’s most famous songs and arrangements, but Duke often withheld credits from Strayhorn. Billy didn’t mind too much, as he was gay and wanted to keep a low profile, but he deserves more praise for what he did. Strayhorn died of esophageal cancer, and Duke of lung cancer, for in those days jazz musicians drank and smoke like gangbusters. Here’s Billy:

  • 1976 – Jacques Monod, French biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
  • 1983 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and lieutenant (b. 1895)
  • 1996 – Timothy Leary, American psychologist and author (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Paulina engage in badinage. As you see, she’s been eating well!

Paulina: We have another day of the week.
Hili: I knew that it would come.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Paulina: Mamy kolejny dzień tygodnia.
Hili: Wiedziałam, że tak będzie.

Here’s a very good animated plot of the migration of modern humans since they went “out of Africa” over 100,000 years ago and spread across the globe. (h/t: Isabel).

From Nicole:

A meme from Bruce, which he calls either “think outside the box” or “find your own way”:

From Titania: a distinction without a difference:

Tweets sent by David. I have no words for this degree of stupidity.

These tweets apparently came from the owner of, hatWRKS, a hat store in Nashville, Tennessee, and Stetson, bless its heart, just decided to stop selling hats there:

A nice tweet from Simon: “A different angle on a familiar skill.” Very cool!

From reader Barry. Did you know that bunnies were this malleable?

Two more from Barry. An encounter of the Alces kind:

A tweet from Ginger K.:WooCat!

From reader Jeremy and his wife Lyn: the new sport of cat curling.

67 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. So a man walks into a bar, and sits down.
    He starts a conversation with an old guy next to him.
    The old guy has obviously had a few.
    He says to the man:
    “You see that dock out there?
    Built it myself, hand crafted each piece,
    and it’s the best dock in town!
    But do they call me ‘McGregor the dock builder’?
    No!
    And you see that bridge over there?
    I built that, took me two months, through rain,
    sleet and scorching weather,
    but do they call me ‘McGregor the bridge builder’?
    No!
    And you see that pier over there,
    I built that, best pier in the county!
    But do they call me ‘McGregor the pier builder’?
    No!”

    The old guy looks around, and makes sure that
    nobody is listening, and leans over to the man, and he says:
    “but you make out once only, with one sheep
    and they all call me ‘McGregor the sheep . . .’”

  2. I thought the Texas Dems had walked out, blocking the SB7 voting reforms because their departure made the meeting inquorate?

      1. The Dems should take a leaf out of the Oregon Republicans’ and travel out of state until the bill is withdrawn. Not at all democratic, but if only one side plays by the rules this is the mess you end up in.

  3. Worth noting that, at least on Worldometers, the US seven day rolling averages of both covid deaths and cases is now lower than at any point since the end of March 2020

    1. Yes, it certainly is worth noting and true, even though all the numbers are probably about 35% lower than correct in isolation, especially the deaths numbers. We’ll see the latter when the actual versus statistically expected deaths are settled.

      What is also true IMHO are

      1/ that this victory is due largely to the heroic achievements of the vaccine inventing scientific establishment, and

      2/ that it would be nowhere close to being that numerical comparison above if Mass Murderer Trump had been re-elected.

      And the goddam media should keep saying 1/ and 2/, but those chickenshit money-grubbers won’t.

  4. A man is at the doctor’s when he is told that the news is bad and that he doesn’t have long to live.

    “That’s terrible, doc – how long do I have?”

    “Just five…”

    “Five what, doc? Years? Months?”

    The doctor glances at his watch. “Four…”.

  5. Guy goes to see a psychiatrist, whose first question to him is, ‘Why did you decide to see me?’
    The guy says, ‘Well, it wasn’t my idea. My family made me do it’.
    The psychiatrist raises his eyebrows. ‘Hmmm. Well, why did they do that?’
    The new patient, rolling his eyes, tells him, ‘Because I like pancakes’.
    ‘What???’ says the astonished physician. ‘Just for that??’
    ‘Yep’, the guy replies grimly, ‘just because I like pancakes.’
    ‘But that’s no problem, surely’ says the doctor, smiling and shaking his head. ‘I like pancakes too!’
    The new patient’s jaw drops. ‘You DO?? You too???’
    ‘Actually’, the doctor goes on, ‘I love pancakes. I’ll tell you something else: I don’t know
    anyone who doesn’t!’
    ‘Really? You mean, it’s OK to like pancakes?!’, his patient asks breathlessly, his face showing relief and animation for the first time.
    ‘Absolutely’, the doctor happily tells him
    Eyes shining, the patient lowers his voice conspiratorially to a near whisper.
    ‘So you like pancakes too… Doctor, you’ve gotta come by my place sometime—-I’ve got
    closets FULL of them!’

  6. Johnstown flood – Thanks to Andrew Carnegie and his wealthy friends. Maybe he built you a library.

  7. Regarding joe biden investigating “brilliant”…., i recommend two recent episodes of This Week in Viology (TWiV episodes 760 and 762) at https://www.microbe.tv/twiv/ Episode 760 is an hour with three subject matter experts of the WHO international investigating team reviewing their visit to china and analysis. They comprise the one U.S. member and two from the Netherlands. They provide expertise in animal transmission, human transmission, and molecular biology. Important antidote to what has recently passed for science reporting in major media. One bottom line is that it is really hard to prove a negative. I highly recommend the first hour interview of episode 760 as well as the final twenty minutes commentary by vince racaniello, rich, and kathy if you have the time. Note: Episode 760 is the more general of the two, perfect for us lay-folks; while episode 762 is more technical.

    Sorry boss, but no jokes…not my forte.

    1. But i must add that episode 762 is only slightly more technical in places. Guest bob garry is a senior virologist at Tulane University and the discussion goes qualitatively deeper into some issues that were lightly hit by the international panel members in episode 760. Professor Garry is on for about an hour and fifteen minutes of the episode. Overall another excellent and scientifically informative TWiV episode.

    2. I agree it’s possible that SARS-CoV-2 came from nature via the wet market in Wuhan. It also seems very likely that the virus came instead from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. I don’t agree that an antidote is needed against the evidence for WIV as the source.

      And maybe we will never know for sure. But Peter Daszak (one of the guests in episode 760) is not an independent source of insight into that origin. He was the NIH grant holder who subcontracted gain-of-function experiments on bat coronaviruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He and other experimental virologists have a lot at stake in the answer to that question. Again not saying he’s a bad guy, and he certainly has relevant expertise, but he has a big conflict of interest specifically about the possible role of WIV in the origin of the virus, and he can’t be expected to report or interpret the evidence in an objective way.

      The goal of those gain-of-function experiments (passing bat coronaviruses through human cells to select for new virus strains that are better at infecting humans) was supposed to be to discover how the viruses might evolve in the future, see what evolutionary changes appear in those selected strains, get a head start on design of vaccines against those new strains, and protect us against a new future pandemic. I think we can agree that doing these dangerous experiments has not helped us avoid this newest pandemic. If we all dismiss the evidence for WIV as the source, then it seems unlikely we will learn much from this pandemic that will help us avoid future pandemics. So virologists should probably stop doing those experiments given the risks when weighed against the obvious lack of benefits.

      And again it seems too much to ask for the virologists who have devoted careers to gain-of-function experiments to be objective about the idea of banning that line of research as too risky given the lack of benefits.

      It’s an interesting question about the risks and benefits of experimental evolution.

      1. “Possible that it came from nature” vs “very likely from the wet market” ?? Seems like you are trying to sound objective but have imbedded a huge bias against not only peter daszak, but also thewhole international team which acts as a real time peer review panel. Do you think that they are all conspirators? I will trust the science and the consensus of these many scientists including the TWiV virologists over the intelligence community anyday.

  8. A philosophy professor calls a student into her office and tells him, “I’m concerned; you’re a bright student and you’ve been doing well, but you’re absolutely failing my course on Ethics.” The student shuffles his feet, hangs his head and jams his hands into his pockets, then pulls out a twenty, hands it to the teacher and asks, “How ’bout now?”.

  9. Here’s my joke (I don’t know what New Jersey has to do with it):

    A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.

    The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: ‘My friend is dead! What can I do?’

    The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: ‘Just take it easy. I can
    help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’

    “There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: ‘OK, now what?”‘

    1. Okay, that reminds me of the slightly off-color one about two soldiers out on a night patrol, bivouacked in the desert. Before climbing into their tents for some sleep, they walk over to a gully to take a leak. While they’re at it, a rattlesnake jumps out and bites one of them on the penis. The bitten soldier starts to panic and asks what are they gonna do. The other soldier says he’ll run back to the campsite, get the platoon medic on the field phone, and find out the proper first-aid technique for dealing with a snakebite.

      Back at the campsite, the soldier gets the medic on the field phone. The medic tells him to take off his belt, tie it as a tourniquet at the base of the bitten soldier’s penis, then use his field knife to make two slits next to the snakebite and suck out the poison.

      The soldier runs back to his stricken comrade who screams “What’d the medic say?!”

      “Sorry, man, he says you’re gonna die.”

      1. Jerry’s story sounds like an alternative ending to the one where Chris-tuh-fuh and Paulie Walnuts get lost in the Pine Barrens.

        1. A friend of mine was down at the Metropolitan Opera a few years ago. They had screwed up her reserved seats and gave her some really good ones up front instead. She turned around at intermission and Chris-tu-fuh was sitting right behind her! Who woulda thunk it, the one who sat on the effing dog🙀

          1. He was high when that happened. I felt bad for Chrissie when Tony snuffed him after they got run off the road by “Kennedy.” Felt bad about Adriana getting snuffed, too. But, hey, that one was “only business.”

              1. Tony wasn’t any too happy when Ralphie Cifaretto beat the pregnant stripper to death, either. Or when Ralphie decided to cut his loses by offing the thoroughbred, Pie-Oh-My. (If that’s in fact what Ralphie did; it was never clear).

                Which is why we all rooted for Tony despite what a rotten, mean sonuvabitch he was. (Well, that and Gandolfini’s inherent screen charisma.) I think the showrunner, David Chase, was speaking to us all when, in Season 3, he had Carmela’s shrink tell her to save herself and her children by divorcing Tony and running away as fast as she can. When she declined his advice, the shrink refused to accept payment in blood money and said, “One thing you can never say is you haven’t been told.”

                The show got darker from there.

      2. I think it pegs the joke’s origin to Pennsylvania, where New Jersey hunters are a thing.

    2. “Sam, my mule’s got distemper. What’d you give your mule when he had distemper?”

      “Turpentine.”

      Days later:

      “Sam, I gave my mule turpentine, like you said, and it killed him!”

      “Did mine too.”

  10. The underdog New York Jets, with Namath at QB, beat the Baltimore Colts, helmed by Johnny Unitas, by a score of 16-7.

    I watched that game (played at Miami’s old Orange Bowl) live on tv, too. Unitas had been injured most of the season and didn’t start the game; his back-up QB Earl Morral did. But Colt’s coach Don Shula put Johnny U in the game in the second half, in an unsuccessful attempt to rally his team.

    The Jets went into that game as something like 18-point underdogs. Between the Jets’ big upset over the Colts, and the Kansas City Raiders’ big upset over the Minnesota Vikings the following year in Superbowl IV, the old American Football League achieved parity with the National Football League, just in time for the completion of its merger into a single league with two conferences the next season, beginning in the Fall of 1970.

    1. That’s the Kansas City “Chiefs”; the Oakland Raiders were the Chiefs’ big AFL rivals, and the losers of Superbowl II to the Green Bay Packers, also played in Miami.

  11. Question about homo sapiens leaving Africa 100,000 years ago. Did any of them survive? According to the Toba catastrophe theory, about 70,000 years ago, the human race was down to 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs. All still in Africa I think. This was as a result of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia which brought about an extended cold period all over the Earth. So is the spread of homo sapiens all over the earth not from that first emigration, but from what happened after our species recovered from near extinction 70,000 years ago.

  12. … for in those days jazz musicians drank and smoke like gangbusters.

    To this day, I don’t think jazz musicians are famous for their abstemiousness.

    1. Someone once said “Duke Ellington must not pay his musicians much. I saw a bunch of them backstage and they were passing around one cigarette.”

  13. Re cat curling: I used to have a cat that liked to be spun. He would come up to me and lay on his side, and I would put my finger behind his front legs and spin him around in circles. I’m not sure how he would have felt about being “curled” down the hallway.

    1. With humans you also have to take into account the length of the thigh bone.

      Unless you’re particularly keen to get through that tight squeeze and discover Caverns Measureless To Man.

  14. The new Texas laws, which the governor may have signed by the time you read this, even allows a judge to overturn election results when there is no evidence of fraud.

    I just read Texas SB7, and it is unclear to what that might be referring. The NYT article is pay-walled for me, but for some reason I am unwilling to take their reporting at face-value. I wonder how many quotes from the bill it actually used?

    What’s meant by “grants broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers”? Perhaps this, amending a section of the existing law:

    Except as provided by Section 33.057, a watcher is entitled to observe any activity conducted at the location at which the watcher is serving. A watcher is entitled to sit or stand [the word “conveniently” removed] near enough to see and hear [the words “enough to see and hear” added] the election officers conducting the observed activity, except as otherwise prohibited by this chapter.

    I can’t confirm the change in voting hours either. The bill only specifies what hours the polls should be open (6am to 9pm). According to Ballotpedia, Texas polls were open 7am to 7pm last election. Interesting, that is longer than Delaware and California in the last election, where polls were open 7am to 8pm, and most other states.

    Obviously, all the state voting bills are intended to eliminate the areas of perceived fraud that came up during the last election. (If the Republicans really wanted to create electoral chaos, they would be loosening these restrictions to enable more challenges.) It is in the interest of every voter to ensure that the election process is secure. All such attempts will, to some extent, make it harder to vote. (Harder that is than just driving by the polling place and shouting “Trump!”) The press is not doing its job, and shows its bias, when it reports on these things only as “voter suppression,” and does not examine whether they comport with a serious effort to eliminate voting irregularities.

    1. Of course the law is written to sound fair and reasonable. I think it can be argued to be voter suppression based on its mere existence and the GOP’s current platform. I trust the GOP to have worked out the details. In fact, many of the GOP politicians, and Trump himself, have said the quiet part out loud, telling us that voter suppression is their goal. Should we not take them at their word?

      1. Indeed. It’s hardly a coincidence that so many states with Republican-controlled legislatures have embarked on voter-restriction laws after an election where Biden narrowly won several states.

    2. I just read Texas SB7, and it is unclear to what that might be referring.

      Did you happen to read the bill as originally passed by the Texas House, before the sponsor of the bill was embarrassed into removing the overtly Jim-Crow language? (See below.)

      Are you under the impression that the Texas law was meant to increase the turnout of eligible Texas voters?

      But, hey, at least you read the bill, which I’m sure is more than can be said for most of the Republicans in the Texas Lege who voted for it.

  15. “Here’s a very good animated plot of the migration of modern humans since they went “out of Africa” over 100,000 years ago and spread across the globe. ”

    There are a lot of shaky guesswork in the details I think.
    – Is there any evidence that modern humans had expanded specifically from Central Africa? The evidence I know, although inconclusive, but seem to point away from that region.
    – Is there any evidence that there was a western route via the Gibraltar strain for the first peopling of Europe that had significant impact? As far as I know Iberia is one of the regions with the longest lasting Neandertal presence.
    – Finally the 25 kya for the peopling of North-East Asia is certainly wrong. We have much older carbon dated (and even DNA analyzed) modern human remains from the region.

    1. For some reason the link didn’t come through here, but I’ll try to find it.
      Point 1 – (I’ll have to find the video).
      Point 2 – You’re right on the Neanderthals. But a Gib crossing isn’t technically much more demanding than the Bab el Mandeb. No archaeological support I know of for that hypothesis though – all the evidence I know of is of AMHs entering Europe through the Balkans.
      Point 3 – you’re probably right on that. Again, I’ll have to find the video.

    2. After enabling three sets of code from different parts of the Facebook network, I managed to get the animation.
      Point 1 – given the sloppiness in the rest of the presentation, I’d put this down to more simple sloppiness. Our fossil evidence for early human species is from arid to semi-arid environments in East and South Africa, but that is probably an artefact of both research and preservation. We’ve every reason to believe that several species of chimpanzee and gorilla existed in the same time interval, probably in the forests of Central Africa, but we haven’t got any fossils of them, partly because exposed rocks of that age in Central Africa are rare (there’s not been a lot of upthrusting west of the Western Rift to expose sediments deposited in that time interval), but also forest soils tend to be relatively acidic, which demineralises bone quite effectively, while arid soils tend to early deposition of additional mineral in sub-fossil bone. Remember the discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2004? Those were found in cave deposits where the acidity of forest groundwater was considerably buffered by the limestone of the cave environment – and even then, the bones in the ground were described as having the texture of papier mache. It was a prolonged struggle of delicate preparation work – as I recall, the “prep techs” got a lot more acknowledgement than is generally the case.
      So, there is every reason to believe that there were early members of the various Homo cladistic bunfights present in “Central Africa”, but there’s damned all evidence to support that suspicion. Apart from, the first time someone went Homo-fossil-hunting significantly west of the Rifts … boom, Sahelanthropus tchadensis.
      I wouldn’t hold out much hope for a repeat of that in the foreseeable future. ISIS-GS are lethally active in the area. I’d be wanting a lot more danger money to go in there than for, for example, working on the border with Somalia or rejoining some colleagues in Kurdistan.
      I don’t rate the “Central Africa” comment as deserving further consideration.
      Point 2 I think I covered adequately in my previous posting. The archaeological record in mainland Europe is very strongly towards AMHs coming in via the Levant and Balkans. Nothing at all I know of to support the “Gib” theory. It’s certainly not impossible, but I know of no evidence to support it.
      Point 3 – Pre-AMHs were certainly present in Northern Eurasia well before the given date. I see that new dating has appeared on Denisova Cave fossils since I last looked, suggesting multiple phases of occupation in the 285 ka, 150 ka, 120 ka, 100 ka, 70 ka and 60 ka time periods (sometimes Denisovans, sometimes Neanderthals ; both groups have left their DNA in non-African human lineages). Frankly, that looks more like repeated re-occupation and abandonment whenever the conditions permitted or halted occupation. That could have been any frequency between annual, generational, and ice age re-advance/ retreat (let’s say, a Milankovich 40 ka cyclicity).
      Short version – it’s a pretty animation, but either ludicrously out of date, or just making no defensible claim to accuracy.

      I think recent reports from the Indonesian-Philippene archipelago blow another few holes below the waterline. But I don’t think this horse is going to respond well to further flogging. Morale isn’t good.

      1. Thank you for the detailed answer. I was aware of the survivorship bias in African AMH (or any) remains that is due to climate differences. That is why I said the evidence is inconclusive. Regardless, we both agree on this: there is no known evidence that supports Central Africa as a source. (And I personally think it is a wrong guess, but my reasons lead a bit far away.)

        At point3 I feel you conflate modern human remains with earlier ones a bit. When I said that there are ones even with DNA, I meant these:
        https://www.pnas.org/content/110/6/2223
        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1279-z

        These are dated and DNA analyzed modern human samples and the Tianyuan Cave sample represents a population that already had East Asian specific attributes. Not full blown East Asian yet, but a diversified population on the way to it.

        1. Most of the Denisova cave fossils are very fragmentary, so assigning them closer than genus level is going to be a bit hairy. But they still show that hominids generically had been using the cave for a long time. The implicit dating of the cave to being humanoid-size over a quarter of a million years ago sits very comfortably with what I know of sedimentation and redeposition histories in British caves.
          I don’t recall anyone proposing a “East Asian” population of hominids – as distinct from the well known genetic characteristics of the Denisovan population.
          Regardless, the presence of hominids in the challenging environments of central and NE Eurasia well before 40 ka seems very well established.
          I think it’s clear that we’ve put more effort into this analysis than the original author did – unless he was working from sources a good few years old (probably 20+ years).

  16. 455 – Emperor Petronius Maximus is stoned to death by an angry mob while fleeing Rome.

    Hmmm, I’ll have to find a write up of that which doesn’t use long words. Send a copy to Mar al Largo.

  17. A man wakes up in the hospital bandaged from head to foot. The doctor comes
    in and says, “Ah, I see you’ve regained consciousness. Now you probably
    won’t remember, but you were in a huge pile-up on the freeway. You’re going
    to be okay, you’ll walk again and everything, however, your penis was
    severed in the accident and we couldn’t find it.”

    The man groans, but the doctor goes on, “You have $9,000 in insurance
    compensation coming and we now have the technology to build a new penis.
    They work great but they don’t come cheap. It’s roughly $1000 an inch.”

    The man perks up.

    “So,” the doctor says, “You must decide how many inches you want. But I
    understand that you have been married for over thirty years and this is
    something you should discuss with your wife. If you had a five incher
    before and get a nine incher now she might be a bit put out. If you had a
    nine incher before and you decide to only invest in a five incher now, she
    might be disappointed. It’s important that she plays a role in helping you
    make a decision.”

    The man agrees to talk it over with his wife.

    The doctor comes back the next day, “So, have you spoken with your wife?”

    “Yes I have,” says the man.

    “And has she helped you make a decision?”

    “Yes” says the man.

    “What is your decision?” asks the doctor.

    “We’re getting granite counter tops.”

  18. I don’t think the republicans are trying to disenfranchise minority voters, they’re trying to disenfranchise Democrats. That many minorities vote democrat is just icing on the cake for the anti-democracy thugs formerly known as the GOP. Now I’d admit that if minorities were to switch loyalty and start voting republican in any great numbers, these laws would go away, in fact I’d argue that the Greedy Old Pigs would start supporting mail-in voting, absentee voting, ballot harvesting, free transport to polling places, handing out water to voters in line… why, I’d have to be pretty cynical to think the GOP are THAT boldly bigoted. After all, tRump sure loved him some rich black folk like Kanye.

  19. So did Hewer kiss her, or fuck her? And was it Michelle or her mother? I know the french use embrasser for kids, but baiser also means to kiss.

  20. Apologies if this one’s been posted here before.

    General Melchett is on a tour of inspection of the local military hospital. The soldier in the first bed is lying to attention.

    “Ah, good afternoon, private. What are you in here for?”
    “Syphilis, sir”.
    “Ah. And how are they treating you?”
    “Caustic soda and a wire brush, sir”.
    “And what’s your ambition?”
    “To get back to the Regiment, sir!”
    “Jolly good, jolly good “.

    The soldier in the next bed is lying to attention, on his front.

    “What are you in for, private?”
    “Piles, sir”.
    “Ah, jolly painful, I’ve had them myself. And how are they treating you?”
    “Caustic soda and a wire brush, sir”.
    “And what’s your ambition?”
    “To get back to the Regiment, sir!”
    “That’s the spirit, jolly well done”.

    On to the third bed. Another soldier, sitting to attention.

    “What’s your problem, private?”
    (In a hoarse whisper): “Tonsillitis, sir”.
    “So how are they treating you?”
    “Caustic soda and a wire brush, sir”.
    “And what’s your ambition?”
    “To get the wire brush before the other two buggers, sir”.

  21. Remember this salacious ad for Calvin Klein Jeans by [Brooke] Shields. She was only 15 at the time …

    As I recall, by that time young Ms. Shield’s had already starred in Luis Malle’s film Pretty Baby, playing a 12-year-old hooker in New Orleans’s infamous Storyville red-light district, opposite the real-life character, photographer E. J. Bellocq, played by Keith Carradine.

  22. Here’s one so far down the laughter scale that “groaner” is high praise. Nevertheless, here goes:

    Three friends, an engineer, a physicist and a mathematician, were going to the same conference in Scotland. They decided to fly to London and take a train northward to see the countryside.
    When they passed a particularly scenic hillside the engineer noticed a large black sheep standing in heroic pose at the hilltop. He called to his friends, “Hey guys, there’s a black sheep out there. I didn’t know there were black sheep.”
    The physicist replied, “Well, all we can say with confidence is that there is at least one black sheep.”
    The mathematician announced, “Actually, all we can really say is that there is at least one sheep with at least one black side.”

    I warned that it was a groaner. But it gently highlights the practical, the experimental and the theoretical aspects of technical professions.

  23. A priest, an imam and a rabbit walk into a blood bank.

    The nurse asks, “What’s your blood type?”

    “I think I might be a type o,” said the rabbit.

  24. The description of the first musical interlude from the screenplay of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:

    What we hear will not be a song like ‘Bicycle Built for Two’. The song will be poignant and pretty as hell and, like the songs, for example, in ‘The Graduate’, they will make an emotional comment on the scene, not a literal one; they will make and emotional connection with the scene, not a literal one.

    The screenplay is just a google away.

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