Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 26, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Saturday, June 26, 2021: National Chocolate Pudding Day. It’s also Bartender and Mixologist Day, Tropical Cocktails Day, Great American Picnic Day (too rainy in Chicago), International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, International Day in Support of Victims of TortureRatcatcher’s Day in Hamelin, Germany, and World Refrigeration Day.

News of the Day:

As far as I know, Franco is still dead, and the Bidens still haven’t brought a cat into the White House.

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck as he died, has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for second-degree murder. He could have gotten 34 years, while the defense, unrealistically, asked for probation plus time served. The judge said his sentence was levied not to “send a message” or to “cater to emotion”; the statement that he was not using it as a deterrent was interesting.

Van Jones thinks the sentence is too lenient:

CNN political commentator Van Jones reacted moments after the judged sentenced Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison, calling the sentence “very disappointing” and saying the judge should have handed down the maximum possible penalty for the murder of George Floyd.

“I know people doing 15 years for nothing, for victimless crimes of drug possession,” said Jones, referring to the minimum time Chauvin is likely to serve in the case. “Very disappointing.”

Jones pointed to aggravating factors the judge had identified in the case, saying they should have resulted in harsher sentence both as a punitive measure for Chauvin, but also as a warning to other law enforcement officials.

But Chauvin still faces federal charges on top of the state ones, and his sentence will likely be longer. As a cop in prison, he’ll have a tough row to hoe. When the sentence was announced on last night’s NBC Evening News, the sentence was called part of America’s “racial reckoning,” yet everyone forgets that Chauvin was not charged with a hate crime, and that his reprehensible and murderous act was not shown to have involved racial animus.

The three other cops on the scene face their own federal charges, and their trials haven’t yet begun.

I don’t level the charge of “racism” lightly, but all the new voting rights laws passed in the South make sense to me only in light of states trying to make it harder for black people to vote. Fortunately, Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced a government lawsuit against Georgia’s new “voting rights” law—on the basis of racial discrimination:

“Recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” Garland said Friday at the Justice Department.

Good for Garland, who himself was sabotaged by Republican perfidy.

The search for survivors in the Surfside Florida condo collapse continues, but things are looking grim. Now 159 people are unaccounted for, and 4 have died.

Chris Carter, who created the X-Files show, has an article in the NYT in which he think the new government report on “UFO”s will be inconclusive. Click on screenshot:

While it does give both sides (disbelievers: “where are the deathbed confessors if they’ve seen UFOs and aliens?), Carter generally seems to have some confirmation bias. His op-ed ends with the words, “I want to believe.”  Well, don’t we all? But wanting to believe means that you have to be even more skeptical than usual.

Sure enough, as I wrote this an article by Shane Harris in the WaPo came across my news feed, and the report is inconclusive:

The U.S. government was unable to determine whether more than 140 unidentified flying objects, many of them reported by Navy aviators, were atmospheric events playing tricks on sensors or crafts piloted by foreign adversaries, or whether the objects were extraterrestrial in origin, according to a long-anticipated report released Friday by the nation’s top intelligence official.

The report finds no evidence that the objects, characterized as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs, were the handiwork of alien beings. But in almost all of the 144 cases that a team of government experts examined, a lack of data stymied their efforts to say definitively what they were.

The largely inconclusive results of the report, which was required by Congress, are sure to fuel Americans’ long-running interest in unexplained sightings, which have received unprecedented levels of attention in recent years from government officials and lawmakers.

You can read the full report here.

Some of the possible non-alien explanation for the UAPs (UFOs are know called “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”) are in the article; see for yourself.  Aliens are grouped in the “other” category.

The NYC Pride Parade has, for the first time, banned LGBTQ cops from marching in the parade in uniform. The ban will be in effect until at least 2025. The reason? Apparently a growing animus against police. If you ask me (and nobody did), this is counterproductive, for what could improve relationships between the LGBTQ community and the cops more than cops openly participating in the march? Otherwise, how would we know they were police? (Could they carry a sign?) Andrew Sullivan doesn’t approve of the ban.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 603,370, an increase of 312 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The reported world death toll is now 3,926,090,, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 26 includes:

  • 1409 – Western Schism: The Roman Catholic Church is led into a double schism as Petros Philargos is crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon.
  • 1483 – Richard III becomes King of England.

Here’s the earliest surviving portrait of Richard III, painted in 1520, after he had died in battle. His remains were found under a car park in Leicester in 2012; one of the identifying features was his twisted spine, a result of scoliosis:

  • 1541 – Francisco Pizarro is assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego de Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed.
  • 1870 – The Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.
  • 1886 – Henri Moissan isolated elemental Fluorine for the first time.
  • 1917 – World War I: The American Expeditionary Forces begin to arrive in France. They will first enter combat four months later.
  • 1945 – The United Nations Charter is signed by 50 Allied nations in San Francisco, California.
  • 1948 – Cold War: The first supply flights are made in response to the Berlin Blockade.

The blockade lasted three months and involved more than 250,000 flights over Berlin. Here’s one landing at West Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport

Here’s an image from the patent; we all know what happened to Shockley:

  • 1948 – Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery is published in The New Yorker magazine.
  • 1959 – Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson becomes world champion of heavy weight boxing, by defeating American Floyd Patterson on technical knockout after two minutes and three seconds in the third round at Yankee Stadium.

Here’s round 3; Patterson really took a beating!

Here’s that famous phrase. I’m told, though I don’t know for sure, that the phrase should have been “Ich bin Berliner,” and using the “ein” meant that Kennedy said “I am a jelly donut.” This appears to be somewhat incorrect, because real Berliners use the phrase Pfannkuchen for a jelly donut, although “ein Berliner” does mean “a jelly donut” elsewhere in Deutschland.

A note from Wikipedia:

The first UPC-marked item ever to be scanned at a retail checkout was a 10-pack (50 sticks) of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum, purchased at the Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio, at 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974. The NCR cash register rang up 67 cents. The shopping cart also contained other barcoded items but the gum was the first one picked up at the checkout. The gum packet went on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s American history museum in Washington, D.C.

  • 1977 – Elvis Presley held his final concert in Indianapolis, Indiana at Market Square Arena.
  • 2000 – The Human Genome Project announces the completion of a “rough draft” sequence.
  • 2013 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

and, in a related decision:

  • 2015 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Notables born on this day include:

Doubleday (photo below) was the Union commander at Fort Sumter where the shots were fired to begin the Civil War. Many think he invented the game of baseball, though this is disputed.

  • 1892 – Pearl S. Buck, American novelist, essayist, short story writer Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
  • 1898 – Chesty Puller, US general (d. 1971)
  • 1908 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (d. 1973)
  • 1911 – Babe Didrikson Zaharias, American golfer and basketball player (d. 1956)
  • 1974 – Derek Jeter, American baseball player

Jeter, a shortstop for the Yankees, is a Hall of Famer, elected with 396 of 397 ballots on the first try. He was fantastic both at the plate and in the field; here are some of his defensive highlights:

  • 1976 – Dave Rubin, American political commentator
  • 1993 – Ariana Grande, American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress

Those who perished on June 26 include:

Lansteiner not only discovered the common blood groups (A, B, O and AB), but also discovered the polio virus. Here he is:

  • 1957 – Malcolm Lowry, English novelist and poet (b. 1909)
  • 1993 – Roy Campanella, American baseball player and coach (b. 1921)
  • 2003 – Strom Thurmond, American general, lawyer, and politician, 103rd Governor of South Carolina (b. 1902)
  • 2012 – Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1941)

Here’s Ephron on When Harry Met Sally, one of the movies she wrote:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is preparing herself for some physical activity:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m preparing for a leap.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Szykuję się do skoku.

From Fat Cat Art:

From Nicole:

From Lenora:

A tweet from Ginger K.  I don’t remember this dictum from Deuteronomy, nor does it make a lot of sense. Readers?

From Barry, who says this is “your groan-inducing line of the day”:

Tweets from Matthew. The first will take you to a description of the new species of Homo recently discovered in China: “Dragon Man”, or the Harbin cranium. It’s very large, with a brain capacity the size of modern humans (about 1400 cc), and  an age estimated between 300,000 and 146,000 years. The article says that Dragon Man is a member of a “sister species to modern H. sapiens”, like Neanderthals, but even more closely related to H. sapiens sapiens than are Neanderthals. But I don’t consider Neanderthals a species distinct from H. sapiens, but a subspecies of the species: H. sapiens neanderthalensis..  (There was fairly extensive interbreeding between the two forms.) Neanderthals and ‘modern’ H. sapiens are thought to have diverged roughly 500,000 years ago, presumably as initial geographical isolates that later met and interbred a bit. We have a lot yet to learn about “Dragon Man.”

I’m not sure what the “kitty” is here:

The key word here is “apparent”, for there are many species of animals in which males and females look alike, including dragonflies, and there are other explanations besides “minimizing male harassment” (e.g., species identification)

A curmudgeonly cat. Look at that face!

This will work on Saturday, too. Is there any baby bird cuter than a duckling? (These are baby Pekins, the white ducks that are simply domesticated and selected versions of wild mallards.)

Read Kelly Zamudio’s touching obituary for the well known and well loved evolutionary herpetologist, Dave Wake:

96 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. i could swear i’ve seen Dragon Man playing bass in at least half the bands i’ve seen.
    (in the other half, he was on drums…)

  2. Actually, Abner Doubleday was second in command at Fort Sumter. Per Wikipedia: “By the start of the Civil War, he was a captain and second in command in the garrison at Fort Sumter, under Major Robert Anderson. He aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment on April 12, 1861. He subsequently referred to himself as the ‘hero of Sumter’ for this role.”

    Robert Anderson became a Union hero because of his actions at Fort Sumter.

  3. just so you know, it might be advisable before you call the banning of cops from pride “counterproductive” and blame “the growing animus” towards cops, to do some history research. I suggest asking such questions as “what is pride?” “what happened at stonewall?” and, while you’re there, maybe just talk to some transgender women or black people about what happens when they interact with the cops. I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with “growing” public views on the police and everything to do with the day in, day out violence visited upon LGBT people by police whenever the opportunity presents. oh, and rape. cops love to rape LGBT women, a problem they have refused to deal with for half a century.

    anyway, what’s actually counterproductive is having police, at all, anywhere. I suggest you join most of your scientific colleagues, including myself, in the real world when it comes to the issue of police, and I hope you don’t have to do that because a cop is actively beating your head in at the time.

    1. I actually did that research and know about the Stonewall stuff behind the ban. But I don’t accept your claim that police enact violence on LGBT people every time they can.

      As for eliminating police completely, you’re a blithering idiot if you think that would help. And where on earth do you get the idea that “most of my scientific colleagues” favor banning the police. Do you have a survey showing that? I highly doubt it.

      This is just a rant combined with rudeness and an accusation of ignorance that I actually remedied before I wrote the piece. Just so you know, you should go away.

      1. Exactly, and I’ll add that in case nobody noticed, there has been quite a bit of progress since 1969. What is with the woke regressive belief that things are still as bad as they’ve always been?

  4. To be fair to Southern lawmakers, they’re trying to make it hard for poor people to vote, who happen to be disproportionately black.

    1. And the Republicans who favor this just see a decline of black voters as “collateral damage” to the real motivation to prevent poor people from voting? I don’t believe that.

      1. I’m not so sure that the legislation seeking to suppress the vote in Georgia (and elsewhere around the country) is motivated so much by racial animus per se, as by a desire to suppress the vote of a group that turns out overwhelmingly for Democrats. Still, the efforts to suppress the ballots of eligible voters is an affront to democratic values in the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest democracy,” and is particularly unseemly in a state, such a Georgia, with a long and tawdry history of denying the franchise to its black citizens.

        1. Yes, if most blacks voted for Republicans, you would hear nothing about “voter integrity.” The legislation’s intent is to help elect Republicans. Georgia is a purple state and suppressing the black vote is a way for white Republicans to continue to control state government when statewide elections are closely contested. This type of legislation also serves to placate the Trump base that is paranoid about alleged and unfounded “voter fraud.” Thus, in my view, the legislation is not racist in intent, but racist in effect. I do not know if this differentiation has any legal significance. It is racist in effect in two respects: (1) it falls disproportionately on black voters and (2) reduces the chances of the election of legislators that would vote for bills helping minorities that white Republicans oppose.

          1. The disparate impact on the black vote would have kept the Georgia legislation from satisfying the old “preclearance” provisions of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act prior to that section’s invalidation by SCOTUS in Shelby County v. Holder (2013). It would also be enough to invalidate it under the various voting-rights acts pending in congress — and may invalidate it per the federal lawsuit brought this week by the US Justice Department challenging the Georgia statute.

          1. Wasn’t it the underlying soundtrack to the “collateral murder” videos leaked by Chelsea ([e] Bradley) Manning?

            Incidentally, does any Francophone know if should be née? Does the genderisation (?) of the noun phrase refer to the past state or the present state?

            1. It’s the equivalent to English past tense “born”. Though which to use in Manning’s case is a can of worms I don’t presume to open…

              1. Yes, Wikipedia goes for “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is an American activist and whistleblower”, which is good enough for me.

              2. I have enough French to know that I don’t know which choice to use to conjugate the verb.
                The French do have a national linguistic Authority, but asking a Francophone would probably be a lot quicker.

    2. To be fair you say? That is rubbish. Much more fair to say this set of laws is about as racist as voter surppression gets. And worst of all it gives the republican controlled legislature the ability to overrule the election results and push the voters aside. If you are not from Georgia maybe you should be.

      1. I suspect that the “to be fair” was tongue-in-cheek, but I do suspect that Historian is right that it’s more about maintaining political power than about specific racial animus. If Black people and poor people tended to vote Republican, they would receive nothing but support from the GOP. That’s not any better, and the motivations are not mutually exclusive, of course. In any case, the people involved really should be ashamed of themselves. And if they’re not, they should be ashamed of THAT. Ad infinitum.

    3. Would it be more accurate to say that southern republicans are trying to disenfranchise democratic voters, that due to a majority of black citizens voting democrat they will then bear the brunt of the disenfranchisement, along with poor people of all races regardless of party affiliation? I suppose this is favorable in the minds of Republican Party leaders to the other option available to them: to construct a party platform that a majority of voters would approve of, appealing to a broad base of persons across the socio-economic, racial, and gender spectrum instead of repeatedly attempting to undermine democracy and suppress voter turnout. And United Airlines might hire a whole passel of porcine pilots…

    4. Regardless of whether one thinks there was any cheating in the 2020 Presidential race, both parties should be interested in making voting procedures rigorous in order to forestall allegations of fraud. Compared to the voting laws of other states, the Georgia bill (again, does anyone bother reading these, or do they just read the NYT?) does not seem out of line. The DOJ’s suit is long on rhetoric, but falls short in demonstrating how the provisions of the Georgia act are Jim Crow 2.0. Don’t forget the Dems have as much at stake in staying in power as the GOP does in regaining it, and neither party is composed of angels.

      1. You seem to conveniently forget that there were no significant voting problems in GA’s 2020 election. So what exactly was the new voting law supposed to fix? It’s only purpose is to help Republicans and hurt Democrats in the next election. The law’s mere existence, and the speech and actions of GOP leaders in the state leading up to it, make mincemeat of your “both sides” argument. If you need the details, I refer you to the many articles that list them. One of the main problems with the law is that it gives broad scope to election officials to declare ballots as somehow deficient and cause them to be thrown out. Here’s one such article:

  5. Yes, Franco is still dead but far as the Biden cat thing, possibly a question for PCC might be — how long has it been since a cat shared the same roof with you?

      1. I am only pointing out that going after Biden for not following through with the idea of having cat might seem a bit light when you have none yourself. If that seems odd to you then so be it. Most cat crazy people that I know of actually have cats. They are a big responsibility but then cat crazy usually find a way. I had to move several time with my cat crazy wife and the cat made every move including 4 months in quarantine in Hawaii.

      2. I think Randall has a good point there. If you, as an undisputed ailurophile, have no felid in your home, you can hardly go after Mr Biden. Reminds us of : “Do as I say, not as I do”.
        His argument that there is a new doggie, that might be aggressive to a cat, is not worse than your argument of frequent absences.
        Don’t tell me that, with your huge fan base, it would be difficult to find someone that would not be honoured to serve as the staff of the cat you usually serve.

      3. The White House is big and has a huge staff to take care of cats.

        Surely then, it would be “the White House cat”, in the same way that Larry is “First Mouser of the Treasury”, not “Boris/ Theresa/ Dave (sub Nick)/ Gordon/ Tony ‘s cat”?
        In terms of the “Biden Family cat”, then the “I travel too much” issue applies as well to them as to your CeilingCat-ness.
        As per (purr?) “what is best for the cat”?, probably having a more-or less permanent staff of cooks, security, tourist guides etc, with intermittent transitory politicidal staff is a more stable situation for the cat then moving in/ out at least twice in a normal life.

  6. The three other cops on the scene [of the George Floyd murder] face their own federal charges, and their trials haven’t yet begun.

    I believe the other three officers on the scene of Floyd’s murder — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J Alexander Kueng — will first face Minnesota state court charges for aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. Their trial on those charges is scheduled to start in March 2022.

  7. I looked up some apologetics on the dictum from Deuteronomy. Looks like God is trying to tell us that reproduction is so important that even in self defense one should never risk sterilizing thine enemy. So, off comes the woman’s arm to help make the point. Not much crazier than the rest of the book.

    1. Indeed. The very next chapter goes on to set out in lengthy detail what should happen if a woman’s husband dies and his brother refuses to marry her.

  8. Van Jones uses anecdotes to show how unfair the criminal justice system is towards black people…I wonder if he has ever talked to Sylvia Bennett Stone of Voices of Black Mothers United. Her story, as shared with Glenn Loury on his podcast recently is hard to listen to but it needs to be heard. Our justice system is a mess, and while I can’t decide if 22 years is fair or not, I also can’t even tell what “justice” really is anymore. I think what most call justice is actually retribution, eye for an eye vengeance and punishment and beyond execution in the same manner as the death inflicted upon the victim, I expect many would still claim justice had not been served. Sylvia Bennett Jones certainly never saw justice.

    1. The best solution for having heavy sentences for both non-violent drug crime and for murder is to not greatly extend sentences for murder. Rather, the best solution is to reduce sentences for non-violent drug crimes (coupled with other measures to reduce recidivism).

      1. I like Sam Harris’s point that it’s very strange to restrict what a person can do to control/alter their own consciousness in the privacy of their own home in a way that doesn’t involve directly endangering others in a country that is supposedly all about individual liberty. It’s fairly absurd to criminalize non-violent drug use in the first place.

      2. (coupled with other measures to reduce recidivism)

        Why do you want to hurt the shareholders of for-profit prison corporations so much? Don’t you know how much they depend on that revolving door continuing to revolve.

  9. 1959 – Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson becomes world champion of heavy weight boxing, by defeating American Floyd Patterson on technical knockout after two minutes and three seconds in the third round at Yankee Stadium.

    Here’s round 3; Patterson really took a beating!

    Just under a year later, on June 20, 1960, Patterson won their rematch by giving Johansson an even worse beating, knocking him out cold with a vicious left hook in round five. Here’s the fourth and fifth rounds of that bout:

    1. In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine the place Floyd Patterson held in the national consciousness in the late 1950s. He was an icon of the early civil-rights movement, a man born into poverty who had pulled himself up by the bootstraps, leading an exemplary life — the “good Negro” beloved by white liberals as a credit to his race, a symbol of what an articulate black family man could accomplish if given the opportunity

      Unfortunately for Patterson, he then ran into a thuggish ex-convict named Sonny Liston and lost his heavyweight title. (Liston, in turn, lost his title to a brash young braggart from Louisville, KY, named Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali.)

    2. Patterson and Johansson fought four fights in all: Johansson won the first, Patterson the second and third, and Johansson the fourth.
      It is reputed they became good friends, a detail I somehow like for two guys beating each other senseless.
      I think that nowadays that fight shown would have been stopped much earlier, after the third or fourth knockdown at most.

      1. Yeah, I’ve heard the same about Patterson and Johansson (as was also the case with Joe Louis and Max Schmeling), and it seems to be borne out, at least in part, by Patterson’s immediate and obvious concern for Johansson’s wellbeing as soon as the latter was counted out in their initial rematch above.

        And I agree with you about the fights being stopped earlier, particularly the first fight (per the clip embedded in by our host above), which should’ve been stopped after the second knockdown when Patterson was clearly already out on his feet. (Floyd made a mistake, I think, by not taking a knee until the eight-count, to buy himself some extra recovery time, after the first knockdown.)

      1. I would so love to see at least fragments of DNA of this fossil, but I’m afraid that if there were any, we would already know. There should/could be some residual enamel protein, though, as was found in much older Homo antecessor.

    1. I guess the same.
      What I’m wondering is, where the heck did they get nearly half a dozen of baby sloths? Don’t sloths have only one offspring a year?
      Excessively cute though.

    1. In this case, either this is an example of homosexual courtship or the suggestioon of frequency dependent female mimicry is correct. This species has bright blue males and dowdy females. But if you look at the insect in the female position you can see that it’s abdomen has dark longitudinal marks which the other insect, in the male position doesn’t have. It seems as though there is some female mimicry of males here, although the reason is unclear and how it works even more complicated. If this is such a good strategy why don’t all females do it?

      1. Hi Mark and Matthew, I wrote what I believe is the first paper proposing the females-mimicking-males paper on this topic as a postdoctoral fellow at UW Madison. I believe work on this phenomenon over the past three decades has largely supported the idea. Hugh

  10. 1993 – Roy Campanella, American baseball player and coach (b. 1921)

    And a Hall of Famer. Campy was one of the second group of black ballplayers to cross the color line after Jackie Robinson, coming up with fellow Dodger Don Newcombe in 1948. All three were mainstays in the great “Boys of Summer” Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s, until a car accident in 1958 left him a paraplegic, ending his playing career.

  11. “1483 – Richard III becomes King of England. […] His remains were found under a car park in Leicester in 2012” – it was the most expensive dig that the Archaeology Department of Leicester University has ever conducted. BBC Radio 4 joked recently that this was because he was discovered in a short stay parking space….!

    1. Regardless of what is claimed in Wikipedia, JFK’s statement is incorrect according to German grammar usage. The basic rule is that no article is used when one states where one is from with names of cities, areas, or countries. It would be like saying in English, “I am Philadelphian”–no “a” (or “an).

      The word “Pfannkuchen” is used throughout Germany to mean “pancake.” Only in the area around Berlin does it sometimes refer to a jelly donut. And people from every other part of Germany use the word “Berliner” for that type of jelly donut. Several of my friends in Germany said they were initially confused when they heard JFK make that statement, but then it dawned on them what he was trying to say, which they appreciated. Especially at that time, when grammar rules were stricter than they are now, he would clearly have been saying he was a jelly donut. That’s why having a good translator can make a lot of difference in world affairs!

      1. I’m afraid, You are mistaken. I wasn’t born then, but am a native german speaker, and had never heard of it. Thus, I looked it up. There is a language blog (german) who discusses this in detail: it is a anglo-american urban myth.

        (1) Berlinians could not possibly hear “I’m a jelly donut” since, as you correctly say, the donut is called “Pfannkuchen” there.

        (2) Even if you said “Ich bin ein Hamburger”, very few people if anyone would chuckle, because there really is a city called Hamburg and this context is too strong to make people think of fast food. The donut is a staple of bakeries, but it’s even weaker than the hamburger.

        (3) It’s also not grammatically wrong. The article is added in cases where the speaker identifies subjectively with something, which may be a stronger effect than in English. You can say “I’m duck-friend” in German, to make it sound matter-of-fact, or add an article to soften it up a little. It‘s actually better to add the article because otherwise he claimed he was factually born in Berlin or lives there.

        I can’t believe I have to defend JFK, who I detest forever as the burn-people-alive-with-napalm guy.

        1. A German woman in my neighborhood has an “Ich been ein Rottweiler” bumper sticker. She is from Rottweil and loves dogs, but has never owned a Rottweiler, fwiw.

          1. How many of her … associates have used the “She’s not a Rotweiler, but she is a bit barking” joke behind her back?

            1. 😹I don’t think “barking” in that context is used much hereabouts (Ontario), plus she’s German. (I think I put an extra “t” in Rotweiler…😬)

              1. What is the Ontarian for “Upney”? Which is one stop beyond Barking on the scale from “mildly eccentric” to “totally hatstand” (or the Underground – it’s own special form of insanity).

      2. If I am so wrong, then how do you explain the following rule from the “Grammatik der deutschen Sprache” by Schulz/Griesbach: Rule #2, “Der Artikel entfällt … bei Berufs- und Nationalitätenbezeichnungen nach den Verben sein, werden, bleiben als Ausdruck der Zugehörigkeit zu einer bestimmten Gruppe. [Beispiele:] Mein Bruder ist Lehrer. Ich werde Ingenieur. … Er ist Spanier.”

        1. One more point. It was Willy Brandt (chancellor of West Germany) who translated “I am a Berliner” into German for Kennedy.

  12. “Never discuss infinity with a mathematician,
    You’ll never hear the end of it.”

    You can count on it.

    ^^^^infinity can be countable.

          1. Even if we do miss “most of what is real”, with what is real we do have effective control of materials and energy. What does your “way of knowing” tell me about the history and future of the rocks I slip into a sock in the “interesting” areas of town?

            1. I am not seriously saying there are other ways of knowing 🙂 You maybe taking my comment literally. It was meant to be a pun. The rationals are a set of measure zero in the reals.

              1. I’m sorry, I don’t know the Cantor to that song.
                Sorry. Slightly.

              2. 🤣this mathy read your comment before reading what you were responding to. I thought what does the guy who sings in a sinagogue have to do with the price of eggs??

  13. I’m not sure I would call the proposed voting laws racist, at least the part that requires voter ID. But I think the disparate impact argument has gone way too far overall. From polling data a pretty good majority of democrats and black people actually support voter ID laws that require someone to show an ID to vote. I’m not certain what percentage of people don’t have an ID, but think it’s probably pretty low regardless of racial group. Even most people living in severe poverty have an ID. How much, if any, voter fraud would the proposals stop? I don’t know the answer to that, but think it’s certainly possible it could stop some. How many people would it prevent from voting that are legally doing so vs. how many people it would prevent from voting that are illegally doing so? And if the laws offer free ID to those that cannot afford it, I think that even further invalidates the racism or racial discrimination argument to be made. I’m not sure though if the voter ID requirement is to what people think is racist or it’s some other part of these bills.

    1. I think the ID issue often boils down to exactly which IDs are accepted and which not. It’s as if the GOP leadership in these states made a list of IDs along with statistics on their presence/absence among Democrats and/or among Black voters. They then decided to accept those that Black/Dems aren’t as likely to possess.

    2. “How much, if any, voter fraud would the proposals stop? I don’t know the answer to that, but think it’s certainly possible it could stop some.”

      There is no voter fraud; you can’t stop something that isn’t happening. I think in the 2020 election they found a couple people who voted twice for Trump and that’s it. So in essence, there is no voter fraud and these laws are created to “solve” a problem that doesn’t exist.

      It’s all bullshit, and there is already a proven system that works. It’s the system enacted in states like Washington, Colorado, Oregon where there is only mail-in voting. Signatures (bio-metrics) are used to verify the voter and bio-metrics are far superior at stopping fraud than ID’s which are easy to fake. Plus, mail-in voting states have a much higher “turn-out”. No lines, no hassle. Of course, red states don’t want mail-in voting because it makes it too easy to vote and Republicans lose when the turn-out is high. So their solution is to gerrymander and/or restrict the vote. Republicans are anti-democratic don’t cha know.

      1. Isn’t it possible that there were cases of voter fraud that weren’t caught BECAUSE there weren’t stricter voter ID laws on the book? Especially with massive increases in absentee voting where there was no ID requirement and in cases where absentee ballot request forms were sent out to every address. I think it’s certainly likely there were fraudulent cases of voting that without stricter requirements we would never be able to catch it or stop it. How many is really impossible to determine, but there almost certainly was more than was caught. This is a trend overall I see on the left though. Any racial disparity or any law or rule which causes (or is believed will cause) a racially disparate impact is said to be racist or racially discriminatory. That’s why I said disparate impact theory I believe has went too far. In this particular case I think the evidence is certainly not conclusive that the law in question would even cause or increase any racial disparity in voting.

        1. It’s possible but that needs to be shown first before election laws should change to fix it. This should be easy to check. One would take a random sample of ballots from a previous election and track down the voters. I believe this has been done a number of times in various areas, though I don’t know the details. There was even a task force created by Donald Trump to look into voter fraud and they came up with virtually nothing.

      2. It’s odd that Republicans are against mail-in voting. I thought that it was more used by older people and they tend to be more Republican. Trump decided mail-in voting fit his fraudulent voting story better. It is easier to imagine fraudulent voting by people who don’t appear at the polls in person. Of course, the fact that such fraud was and is virtually non-existent made no difference to Trump. Mail-in voting also foils GOP efforts to make voting in person difficult. If they force every voter to show up in person at a polling place, they can play games like providing only one polling location for an entire city. This is probably what the voter ID requirement is really about.

      3. The few cases of large-scale voter fraud that happened Germany were from mail-in voting. ID is required in the form of State-issued passport or Personalausweis (costs at least 50 Euros and several trips to the registration office) plus you need registration as local citizen in your place of residence (costs you a trip to the registration office). Counting is done by groups of humans who control each other, not machines, there is a voting station within walking distance for practically everyone unless you live in an isolated rural hamlet, voting is on Sundays and it takes 5 minutes as there are no queues. Mailed votes that arrive after the closing of the polling stations are not counted.

    3. Given there’s ALMOST NO ACTUAL VOTER FRAUD… ID laws are unnecessary and do disenfranchise people.
      About 10% of Americans are “unbanked” – many of them b/c of ID requirements. IDs are not so easy to procure for the poor or those with disordered lives. So we’re punishing the poor for no good reason other than to help Republicans with these ridiculous ID laws.
      There ARE voter ROLLS, you know.

      Forget race for a moment (if anybody in this country can…) it is the poor who are most effected unnecessarily.
      D.A., J.D.

  14. I’ve often sort of thought the “ein Berliner” thing might be a bit like of someone saying, “I am a Danish,” instead of “I am Danish”, which might indicate one was a pastry instead of showing solidarity with Denmark, for instance.

    Regarding Chris Carter’s take on the UAPs, I am glad he’s at least somewhat skeptical. Though I loved the first few seasons of The X-Files, I definitely sympathized with Scully, and I hated Mulder’s “I want to believe” poster (and attitude). I even did my own photoshopped version where I inserted into the original extra words so that it read “I [don’t] want to believe. [I want to be convinced by evidence and argument]” Fiction is fine, and I love shows like the X-Files when they’re done well, but reality is much more interesting still.

  15. I don’t get the Jesus meme– there’s a black boy on the right, and everyone else is white, which is about what you would expect in Jerusalem in the first century. Can someone explain?


    1. I assumed it was because of the tendency to make a pale-skinned (and sometimes even blue-eyed) jebus in religious paintings that make him look suspiciously European and conveniently ignore his middle eastern origin which would lead one to expect a darker skin tone and dark eyes, if he had actually been a real person, that is.

  16. The NYC Pride Parade has, for the first time, banned LGBTQ cops from marching in the parade in uniform.

    Well, they’re not on duty, so they are civilians, no?

    Otherwise, how would we know they were police? (Could they carry a sign?)

    Anyone can go to a fancy-dress shop and hire a police costume. So the only way you could know they were police would be if they displayed their warrant cards- or whatever the local equivalent is. Which is pretty impractical for a demonstration.
    Besides which, if they’re not on duty, they’re civilians. If they are on duty, they’re required to not display discrimination in political, gender identity, etc issues, and should be spending most of their time watching the audience not the demonstration. Which is hardly “participating” in the demonstration, i nany meaningful sense.
    Is there something along the lines of a [Region name] LGBT+ Police Club, who can manage their own membership and run their own contribution to the demonstration? No issues of “who are they” – it’s written on their placard, banner, whatever ; the group is responsible for controlling both the composition of their membership and their activities.
    I suppose there is a potential clash between the police’s (arguable) need for more officers (on overtime) to police a large demonstration, and various officers wanting to book an afternoon off to attend. So, you get your leave-day form in as soon as possible, and if you’ve got an Onan-stain of a manager, be prepared to bump the request up to HR, because it’s a company interfering in your right to Free Speech.
    Does Ken have a relevant legal precedent? I very much doubt this would be exactly ploughing a new furrow. It should come back from HR with a very snotty note from HR to the Onan-stain manager.

  17. Going through the material about “Dragon Man” (or “Harbin”, per the long-standing tradition of naming a skull for it’s locality) …
    – One of the linked videos gives a quick run-through of the features of the skull that differ from well-known types. What you could call a “differential diagnosis, lite”. One thing I’ll have to look for in the paper (also in the data package) is that I think the left and right mastoid processes were appreciably different. (The video file name includes “not to be shared”, so I guess that you’ll have to go to the NHM’s site to dig it out. I guess they’re planning a prettier version later. It does look like it was done at the kitchen table.)
    – Next video isn’t working for me … oh, no, long buffering. Much the same content, but Prof Stringer isn’t terribly convinced by the arguments for calling it a separate species. Lumperville versus the Confederated states of Splitteria, again. The skull has a frontal left-right asymmetry, which is as meaningful as any other sample-of-one.
    – third video is the digital skull on a virtual turntable. Still that mastoid asymmetry, but the facial one looks more like some un-preserved cheek on one side.
    The rest of the material is press releases and pictures for the media.

    Just scanning the paper, I learn a bit of Chinese geography – Harbin city is pretty well north. Over 45deg, which is significant;y north of any part of North Korea. This is not going to be a gentle environment, particular in mid-winter, mid-ice age. (Wiki give the location of Harbin as 45°45′27″N 126°38′27″E in lots of formats and map-links.)

    That mastoid asymmetry is there in the left- and right lateral views. Looks odd. The facial asymmetry looks like one the videos was flipped horizontally.

    The phylogenetic tree (paper, fig 3) shows why Prof Stringer chose those characteristics to emphasise in his “differential diagnosis” – because it justifies the grouping of various recent hominids that comes out from their cladogram. And puts the Harbin skull (and a few others, previously classified as “Neanderthals”, if I remember the names correctly) as a sister taxon to the group including us, the Cro Magnon (sense : location) specimens, Omo (an Ethiopian specimen) and several middle East “usual suspects”. Then the “rest of the Neanderthals” are a sister group to “Us”+Harbin, and heidelbergensis and erectus groups further out. Which is a “Splitter” point of view. But from the Lumper’s perspective, since “Us” and the “Neanderthals” definitely exchanged genetic material, then Harbin is just another member of the family.
    How does Harbin relate to the Denisovan sparse fossil material and less sparse genetic material? Quoth the paper, “Finally, and perhaps significantly, the morphology and large size of the surviving Harbin M2 (second molar tooth) is matched most closely in the Middle-late Pleistocene record by the permanent molars from Denisova Cave.” Which says what it says, and no more than it says.
    On morphological data, we can see lots of intermixed features in different places (the paper’s fig 4), which in the preamble of the paper they describe as a “braided stream”. On the genetics, Neanderthal, Denisova and AMH (Anatomically Modern Human) were capable of mutual interbreeding.

    Blending morphlogical, genetic and geographical data presents a “geographical” version of the phylogenetic tree in figure 4. Note the abundance of gene flow arrows in this synthesis, with, for example, 19% of character dispersals going from Africa to Asia, but 9% going back. European ancestry is equally simple, with 46% of characters coming in from Africa+Asia, and 36% going the other way. It looks as if “humans” have been big travellers for the thick end of a million years. And every area is the ancestor of a lot of the other areas’ characteristics.

    I bet that’s going to please not one single knuckle-dragger on the planet, and so they won’t address it. I won’t insult Neanderthals by likening the knuckle-draggers to them.

  18. “ The blockade lasted three months and involved more than 250,000 flights over Berlin. Here’s one landing at West Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport”

    That’s well over one plane per minute—-for months!

  19. While nothing in it is incorrect, the link discussing Kennedy’s speech misses several essential points.

    First, what is a Berliner? Yes, in many other parts of Germany it is a jelly donut, while in Berlin the same thing is called a Pfannkuchen. (In most other places, Pfannkuchen are pancakes; in Berlin they are called Eierkuchen (egg cakes).). But that is irrelevant because, although he was speaking in and to Berlin, many more people outside of Berlin in Germany heard or even watched the speech (and of course many outside Germany). So, the fact that Berliner does not mean jelly donut in Berlin itself is true but irrelevant.

    Second, there is the question of the grammatical article. In English, one says “Death” as an abstract noun but “I am a professor” to describe one’s, errm, profession. In German, “Death” is “der Tod”, with the article, even when used in an abstract sense, whereas one would say “Ich bin Professor” without the article. Same for nouns denoting origin, thus people from Berlin would say “Ich bin Berliner”, not “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Similarly: ich bin Hamburger, ich bin Frankfurter, ich bin Wiener.

    However, everyone knew that Kennedy didn’t speak German, and in the context of the speech, it was completely clear to everyone what he meant. I doubt that anyone even thought of a jelly donut while listening to the speech. Also, while usually ungrammatical, in this sense, i.e. that Kennedy didn’t mean it literally but figuratively, the “ein” isn’t as much of a mistake (if it is at all).

    More embarrassing is that later presidents referenced the phrase. Reagan: Berlin bleibt noch Berlin (Berlin is still Berlin); Clinton: Berlin ist frei (Berlin is free).

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