Wednesday: Hili dialogue

July 28, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on arriving at midweek: Wednesday, July 28, 2021: National Hamburger Day (again?) It’s also National Milk Chocolate Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World Nature Conservation Day

Wine of the Day: I see online that this 2016 chardonnay got a near perfect rating from my wine guru Robert Parker, though I probably bought it ($39) based on advice at the store. It’s the premium cuvée of Hartford Court chardonnay, and Parker says this:

Already in bottle, the 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard opens with lemon tart, pink grapefruit, pineapple and ripe apple notes with touches of nutmeg and croissant. Medium to full-bodied, rich and with a pleasantly oily texture, it delivers ripe tropical fruit flavors and a long, creamy finish.

Okay, well let’s try it with chicken and hoisin sauce, rice, and green beans.  And yes, it earned its rating, if for nothing else than its complexity. Any wine with a slight scent and flavor of grapefruit is a wine I like, but there was a lot going on here (though I didn’t detect Parker’s “croissant” flavor). Is it worth $39? If you like superb chardonnays, yes it is.

News of the Day:

Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s time to consider masking up again. The CDC reversed course and recommended that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas where the dreaded delta variant of the virus is pervasive. Which parts? These parts:

The guidance on masks in indoor public places applies in parts of the U.S. with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. That includes 60 percent of U.S. counties, officials said. New case rates are particularly high in the South and Southwest, according to a CDC tracker. In Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, every county has a high transmission rate.

Don’t worry, you’ll find out what your local rules are. This is all the fault of the eligible chowderheads who chose not to get vaccinated (there are 100 million of them out there). Joe Biden is considering requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated, which I think is an excellent move. Surely a lot of vaccination-resistant people work for the government, and they’ll have to choose between their job and their ignorance.

Simone Biles, the one true Olympic superstar this year, left the team competition after she performed (for her) a substandard vault. At first the news suggested that she might be injured, but that doesn’t seem to be the case; she’s now said to be having mental health issues. She’s also withdrawn from the individual all-around competition and might not compete in any individual events at the games (she was favored to win gold in three of those four events. The NYT says it’s “a matter of her mental health”.  The U.S. team, still game, persisted and won the team silver medal, with the Russians taking gold. I can surely sympathize with Biles: she’s the best gymnast in the world, and the pressure to keep on top in the Olympics must affect one’s head.

The New York Times has a 16-minute video about Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who was the real discoverer of pulsars in 1967, even as her Ph.D. advisor, Antony Hewish, repeatedly doubted her results. Nevertheless, when the paper was published, Hewish was first author Bell (her name at the time) was second, and there were three other authors. Hewish, along with Martin Ryle, got the Physics Nobel Prize for the discovery in 1974, and Bell was ignored (she later got a lot of accolades, though). This is one of the most egregious cases of a discoverer being ignored at Nobel Time, but Bell had the grace to say the following:

First, demarcation disputes between supervisor and student are always difficult, probably impossible to resolve. Secondly, it is the supervisor who has the final responsibility for the success or failure of the project. We hear of cases where a supervisor blames his student for a failure, but we know that it is largely the fault of the supervisor. It seems only fair to me that he should benefit from the successes, too. Thirdly, I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them. Finally, I am not myself upset about it – after all, I am in good company, am I not!

No, it does not demean Nobel Prizes a bit if they were given to research students: they are awarded for discoveries, not the position of the discoverer. At any rate, she is not nearly as kind to Hewish in the video. The video should make you angry at the sexism surrounding this incident (and pervasive in science at the time), but it’s also a well made and informative piece. Watch it.

Every year at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, they hold a Hemingway Look-Alike contest, with elderly bearded chaps vying to look the most like Ernest Hemingway, who once frequented that bar. This year’s winner is 63-year-old Zach Taylor, an electrical and plumbing supply company owner from Georgia, who beat 136 other entrants on Sunday (previous winners judge each year’s contest).  Here’s a video of the winner and some entrants, though, compared to some of the competitors, I don’t think he looks a whole like like Hemingway. (h/t Jez)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 611,128, an increase of 290 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,194,208, an increase of about 9,900 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 28 includes:

  • 1540 – Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
  • 1821 – José de San Martín declares the independence of Peru from Spain.
  • 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is certified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
  • 1914 – In the culmination of the July Crisis, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, igniting World War I.
  • 1917 – The Silent Parade takes place in New York City, in protest against murders, lynchings, and other violence directed towards African Americans.

The parade, which was indeed silent save for the beat of muffled drums, was organized by W. E. B. Dubois and instigated by lynchings and by the East St. Louis riots in May and July of that year. 8,000 to 15,000 blacks marched down Fifth Avenue.  Here’s an appropriately silent newsreel from the time:

  • 1932 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.

This was a group of 43,000 WWI veterans who were awarded cash certificates for their service, which couldn’t be redeemed until 1945. Because of the depression, they marched on Washington to demand early redemption.  Here is a photo of them camped in front of the Capitol, and then after Hoover’s order of eviction, which drove them away;

Made around 625 A.D., and part of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial, the helmet was found as hundreds of rusted metal fragments, which were painstakingly reconstructed—twice. Here’s the latest reconstruction at the British Museum (you can see the bits that are original):

Here’s a replica showing what the helmet may have looked like. The artistic motifs were actually found in the fragments. The helmet was made from iron, leather, and bronze, but we don’t know who it belonged to, or who was part of the ship burial.

The plane struck the building after becoming lost in the fog. One of the injured was a badly burned woman who was transported down in an elevator, suffering a double accident (from Wikipedia):

Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver was thrown from her elevator car on the 80th floor and suffered severe burns. First aid workers placed her on another elevator car to transport her to the ground floor, but the cables supporting that elevator had been damaged in the incident, and it fell 75 stories, ending up in the basement. Oliver survived the fall but had a broken pelvis, back and neck when rescuers found her amongst the rubble. This remains the world record for the longest survived elevator fall.

Here’s a photo of the plane embedded in the building, which opened for business only two days after the collision:

I was there! And I got to hear the the Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers (I’ve since heard the last two again.

  • 2005 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty-year-long armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland.

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

  • 1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (d. 1889)
  • 1866 – Beatrix Potter, English children’s book writer and illustrator (d. 1943)

My favorite Beatrix Potter Book:

Those who rested in peace on July 28 include:

  • 1741 – Antonio Vivaldi, Italian violinist and composer (b. 1678)
  • 1750 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German organist and composer (b. 1685)
  • 1968 – Otto Hahn, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1879)
  • 1996 – Roger Tory Peterson, American ornithologist and academic (b. 1908)
  • 2004 – Francis Crick, English biologist and biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1916)

One of the smartest scientists of our era:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains Hili’s actions: “Hili has heard about a scapegoat but she didn’t get the meaning. She thinks it’s an exotic animal and she wants to see it.”

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m waiting for a scapegoat.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Czekam na kozła ofiarnego.

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe, a smackdown between Popeye and God, both claiming that they am what they am:

Another superfluous sign from reader David:

From Jesus of the Day:

A tweet from reader Ken, with some explanation:

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, perhaps the most loathsome opportunist in the House of Representatives. She ran as a moderate in 2014, but fell in line behind Donald Trump in 2016, and burrowed ever deeper down the rabbit hole the longer Trump remained in office.

When Liz Cheney was stripped of her Republican leadership position for having the temerity to criticize Trump after the January 6th insurrection, Stefanik maneuvered to replace her as Republican Conference Chair. Here she is blaming the January 6th riot on, of all goddamn people, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

A tweet from Divy with a seacat’s passport. I’m not sure how authentic it is, but I’ve found it in a couple of places (that, of course, doesn’t establish authenticity):

From Barry. Why is an alpaca walking into a Chinese restaurant? It’s almost too cute to be real.

From Ginger K.:

Tweets from Matthew:

Is this a big cat, a small boy, or both?

A funny riposte to a biology tweet. (The humpbacked scaly bee fly is a dipteran with a characteristic hump-backed posture, and probably mimics a bumblebee.)

And this should make you skeptical of all those fantastically colored animals you see on the Internet. This is the Indian Giant Squirrel (also known as the Malabar Giant Squirrel), Ratufa indica. Other pictures of the species online aren’t nearly as colorful, and I suspect Avinash is right. But this could be an unusually bright individual. . . .

50 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Surely a lot of vaccination-resistant people work for the government, and they’ll have to choose between their job and their ignorance.

    We’ll have to see what AFSCME, AFGE, and other government workers’ unions have to say about that. I saw a story yesterday that one of the health care workers’ unions was pushing back on mandatory vaccinations. Certainly, any change to terms of employment is going to be an issue for unions. Not in other news is any indication that Biden is going to do anything about managing Covid for immigrants at the Texas border, either by testing and refusing entry or by forcing vaccinations. This is an area where the Federal government has complete control, and they are doing nothing. The cynical might say that the Biden administration is more interested in having a crisis than in solving one (per Rahm Emanuel’s ‘never let a crisis go to waste’).

    1. There seems to be a wringing of hands and walking on eggshells by employers and employee organizations over FDA approval versus FDA emergency use authorization. Paul Offit has clearly explained the difference on TWiV which simply leads me to …. it’s an emergency Jake…get the damn vaccine!

      1. There should be a bit more weight behind the mandate for Covid vaccinations of government workers once the vaccines are fully approved by the FDA. Surely they are required to have other vaccinations that are FDA approved.

        1. Vaccine laws are at the State level, and vary dramatically. Short of a State law mandating a Covid vaccine, or a Federal one, I would think that this would require some bargaining. The FDA and the CDC do not have the statutory authority to mandate a vaccine, I assume, or they would have done so already.

        2. That’s an open question, probably depending on each worker’s exposure.
          For example, I was first required to get a vaccine (rabies prophyllaxis) prior to travelling into Russia for work (several others later, for different bugs). In the same blood vessel, I wouldn’t be surprised if (say) federal park rangers in the SW USA were required to get vaccinated against plague because of a non-trivial risk of exposure, while a park ranger in … Oh, say Central Park NYC wouldn’t really need plague vaccination, but could make an argument of PEP (pre-exposure prophyllaxis) against AIDS, on account of risk of needlestick injuries.

          1. A few things wrong here: In 25 years I don’t think I’ve ever seen a needle in Central Park. Further, HIV infection from needle sticks are vanishingly rare, almost unknown as the blood has to be pretty fresh for it to survive in a needle and infect somebody later.
            I think you’re right with plague in NM though that and Hantavirus are also extremely rare there.

    2. There are reasonable intermediate levels – for example requiring vaccinations amongst all staff spending more than an hour per (average) working day face-to-face with other staff members or members of the public. Which frames the intention very much more in the “Health and Safety At Work” (HSAW Act, 1974 ; whatever the USian equivalent(s) is(are)) vein than the “arbitrary diktat from on high” artery.
      It also leaves a get-out-of-vaccine road for those with genuine medical issues, or those who can work from home, or those who do field work.

      I suspect that having a greater degree of proportionality, realistic options for non compliance, would make it (1) much harder for blanket opposition and (2) harder to have legal challenges (cue Ken).

      Almost completely unrelated :
      Why are arguments in one vein or the other, instead of in a vein, an artery, or intramuscularly?

    1. It could, of course, be a perfectly serious fake. “Ha ha, but serious” serious.

      I remember reading certification that an oil drum barbecue was “safe to use in flammable and/ or explosive atmospheres”. I know it said that because I forged it myself. (And we had an effective gas monitoring system in effect at the time. It was about a week before the Piper.)

  2. It seems to me that CDC and other official guidance is not served up in simple to understand language leaving us to carefully parse words that may not have been that carefully thought out or vetted by the Official issuing them. For example a careful look at the 50 case criteria (per 100,000) for high community risk apparently is 50 per week while often the published rate is a daily rate or really daily count. Epidemiologists have also said that case rates are an undercount of infection rates because they are counting confirmed cases leaving asymptomatic and mild cases unaccounted for. At various times, During the past year the infection rate has been estimated at between four and ten times the published case rate. Finally, i expect that many people do not know their community population to calculate a rate per 100,000. So once I figured out about 18 months ago that the ubiquity of the virus was NOT like the ancient angel of death lurking on my doorstep waiting for me to simply stick my head outside, my self-guidance has simply been to stay a few feet distant from other people both outside and inside; to always wear a mask when indoors; hardly ever wear a mask outdoors, and to minimize my time indoors unless the venue is sparsely populated like a food market at mid morning. As i have said in this column before i really miss dining out, but still consider it too risky indoors. My wife is a retired nurse who works, double-masked in a clinic four mornings a week giving vaccinations and of course we are both fully vaccinated ourselves since February. Bottom line: vaccination, physical distance and moving air are your friends.

    1. I suspect CDC guidance is directed primarily at state and local public health agencies, not the public. But they should know that what they say is widely publicized, and they could certainly add some plain-language guidance for the lay public.

      1. Good points. In Virginia last week, the state dept of health and the state dept of education released masking guidelines to the 132 school divisions in the state. Basically they interpreted and added value to the cdc guidelines by giving specific examples of things like high risk (like wrestling, football), medium risk, and low risk (like tennis or golf) sports and extracurricula activities and numbers for low, medium, and high community infection and recommendations for in classroom behaviors for different grade levels and community infection rates. In other words the state agencies interpreted the cdc professional language into a document that lay educators can better understand and thus make operational in policies and procedures.

    2. I agree with all your points. In fact, I’m very leery of “infection numbers” from MANY countries – in part because of the way the definitions are contrived: In India, for eg, you’re only counted as a COVID death if you die in the hospital, NOT at home.
      And further, all these infection numbers come from gvt health services and GOVERNMENTS LIE – particularly in a situation like this where tourism and national prestige are on the line.
      Why do we take, say, Uganda’s word for their infection rate when everything else their government says we pretty much laugh at? (not picking on Uganda though it is badly run). YOu get my point

      Like about 10% of Manhattanites, I mask all the time when not at home: “precautionary principle”

  3. about Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who was the real discoverer of pulsars in 1967, even as her Ph.D. advisor, Antony Hewish, repeatedly doubted her results. Nevertheless, when the paper was published, Hewish was first author Bell (her name at the time) was second, and …

    It’s worth pointing out that Hewish had spent decades developing better and better radio telescopes, and designed and led the team that built the “IPS Array” that detected the first pulsars. Once that facility was up and running, pulsars were “low-hanging fruit”, and Bell was the graduate-student on observing duty when it scanned across the first of them. So it wasn’t really “her” results, it was “their” results, it was a team discovery (including the others in the team as well). And, when a brand-new type of instrument discovers something unexpected and new, they should indeed spend a lot of time wondering whether it is real or an instrumental artifact. It often falls to the team leader to play the “devil’s advocate” role.

    Having said that, I think it would have been better had Bell been awarded the Nobel along with Hewish and Ryle, but it’s not necessarily the gross travesty that is sometimes depicted. As Bell-Burnell herself says, it could have been more about overlooking the contribution of graduate-student members of the team than “because she was female”.

    Modern fashion is that the junior graduate-student is first author on the publication and the team-leader takes last place. But it was different then, and the author order was not out of line for the time. Hewish really did deserve a large share of the credit for the overall discovery.

    1. And, interestingly, as a lay reader of astronomy, I have been aware of Jocelyn Bell’s name for the discovery and not getting the Nobel much longer than that of Hewish who did receive the award.

    2. Just to add, on that “low-hanging fruit” comment. The paper announcing the first pulsar was February 1968. By April 1968 they had a paper announcing three more. That paper was led by John Pilkington, another student on the team, and someone who also deserves credit for the “discovery of pulsars” along with Bell-Burnell and Hewish.

  4. Every year at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, they hold a Hemingway Look-Alike contest, with elderly bearded chaps vying to look the most like Ernest Hemingway, who once frequented that bar.

    When Hemingway patronized the original Sloppy Joe’s, the bar was around the corner on Greene Street, where Captain Tony’s Saloon is now. Plus, I’ve never gotten the look-alike contest’s always being won by old guys with white hair and beards. Hemingway lived in Key West in the 1930s when he (born in 1899) was in his thirties himself. The old guy with the white hair and beard lived in Havana and then in Ketchum, Idaho.

    When Hemingway lived in Key West, he still had dark hair and a mustache. He looked like a slightly older, slightly thicker version of the actor, Corey Stoll, who played him in the movie I posted a clip of yesterday, Midnight in Paris. I thought Stoll did a first-rate Hemingway in that film, voicing the words Woody Allen’s script put in his mouth. Sure, it was on the cusp of parody, but Papa was always on the cusp of self-parody himself.

  5. “The U.S. team, still game, persisted and won the team silver medal, with the Russians taking gold.” – weirdly it wasn’t “the Russians” but ” the ROC”. It’s complicated, but here goes…

    Russia is officially barred from the Olympics after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report on its past state-sponsored doping. Russian athletes that satisfy WADA that they are clean are competing as “ROC” – while this stands for Russian Olympic Committee, under the rules of the Tokyo Olympics this mustn’t be written or spoken in its full form because that would mean saying “Russia[n]” so the team can only be referred to as “ROC”. This is problematic for the Tokyo organisers, because it can’t be written in Japanese characters.

    The only reason I know about this is because I couldn’t understand how Taiwan (officially “Republic of China” i.e. ROC and not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China…) were so high on the medal table, and so I investigated. (You’re welcome!)

    1. Thank you! I thought they meant Taiwan as “ROC” is often used for Taiwan.
      But WTF is Russia even doing there? They’re known and notorious cheats!

  6. Here is a photo of them [the Bonus Army protestors] camped in front of the Capitol, and then after Hoover’s order of eviction, which drove them away …

    Leading the troops and tanks that evicted the Bonus Army was how Douglas MacArthur, then the Secretary of the Army, made his authoritarian bones.

    1. There are Republicans making rapid written notes from wikipedia (well, Ctrl-C, Alt-Tab, Ctrl-V is a bit complicated for them) for how to deal with the next election’s campaigning.

      1. The only two historical figures I’ve ever heard Donald Trump reference in any of his public remarks are generals Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton — the first a would-be American Julius Caesar, the second who ended his days as something of a Nazi-symp.

        I doubt in the extreme that Donald Trump has read a biography of either one, or that he knows anything of substance about their careers, other than that they had reputations for being strongmen.

            1. the thongs of adoring Fascisti – wasn’t that January 6th this year.
              Couldn’t have been inauguration day – no thongs on the streets.

        1. You leave out Andrew Jackson. He was a real fan of that guy, the duel loving president with lots of slaves. Didn’t care much for banks which does not fit with Trump who loves banks.

          1. Trump didn’t know Andrew Jackson from Michael Jackson when first he entered the White House. It was Steve Bannon what filled his noggin with that Jacksonian BS and got him to put the portrait of Old Hickory in The Oval.

  7. Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s time to consider masking up again: Here in Idaho, people stopped wearing masks a month or so ago and now < 1% can be seen in stores wearing masks. I began wearing a mask regularly again when the Delta variant came on the scene. It will be interesting to see if and how much mask use people can muster following the new guidelines.

    1. I began wearing a mask regularly again when the Delta variant came on the scene.

      It’s almost as if … you don’t believe that God gave your phenotype dominion over the Earth and all it’s creatures, and simultaneously, you do believe that organisms can evolve in response to reproductive pressures applied to them.
      Your pastor/ imam/ rabbi and shaman should be ashamed of how poorly they’ve indoctrinated you.

    2. The argument to re-mask undercuts the argument to vaccinate. Either the vaccine is effective, or it isn’t.

      1. All the reports I’ve read have been of the form “[this] vaccine is [a number, say 80%] effective against infection with [whatever] strain of the virus”, with the number varying for different strains, different vaccines, and probably, different people (say, lactose-tolerant versus lactose intolerant).
        If our society needs 90% protection against infection, and only 75% of people are vaccinated with 80% effectiveness in each person, then we still need to get some (90%-(80% of 75%)=30% of protection from somewhere other than vaccines. That can be masking, social distancing, and hand-washing.
        I do hope you were being sarcastic.

      2. Sam Harris’ recent podcast discusses the issue with Dr. Eric Topol is quite informative on the subject. I won’t bother to repeat, since I’ve already forgotten the exact stats but I can agree with the sentiments expressed in the podcast that the CDC, WHO, and FDA have trashed their reputations during this pandemic and the J&J and Pfizer vaccine that I have so far appears to be between 88-92% effective against delta, with most cases of infection being mild so any new mask mandates will appear to undermine the government talking points, the vaccines, and the science behind it. Fodder for the anti-vax spin machine. Still, I gladly follow whatever rules are put in place for the sake of peaceful coexistence with fellow humans, especially those poor sods put in positions of authority by stores or airlines to enforce company mask policy.

        And no, I’m not a doctor, don’t play one in Tv, but only do what I can with the information that is available. Right now that information suggests I need not panic and mask up or hide at home again.

      3. Your logic is faulty. The vaccine is highly effective in that it prevents most people from being infected, but, as is well known and has been said thousands of times, it cannot prevent all infections in the totally vaccinated. Moreover, per the CDC, it is possible that the fully vaccinated may get infected but show no symptoms. However, they could shed the virus and infect the unvaccinated with deleterious results. Thus, the purpose of masking is to protect the unvaccinated as well as the fully vaccinated person.

        1. The purpose of the vaccine is to protect the unvaccinated, the masks were a stopgap while waiting for them. The vast majority of unvaccinated are not due to compromised immune systems or other health-related issues. They also have the option to wear a mask and again the vast majority refuse. If you have issues with the vaccine and the science behind them, take your own faulty logic and argue it over with Harris and Topol, asI mentioned in my last post, this is what they discussed. And per the roolz, I’m done before I say more.

    3. Got to go shopping for the first time this week. I’ll check what the local masking levels are. From behind my mask, with a spare one in my wallet, of course.

  8. I am not unsympathetic to the pressure Simone Biles was under and certainly not to mental health issues in general. That said, I am surprised to see that many people are praising her for prioritizing her mental health. She pulled out of a team competition mid-way through; it looks to me like she “lost her bottle” on the big stage.

    1. If athletes are worried about stress and pressure, perhaps they shouldn’t compete in the Olympics. The best way to avoid stress and pressure is to not compete at all. They can sit on the couch at home and drink beer instead.

    2. Personally, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have achieved what Simone has, or how I would cope with the pressure she is under. A slight mistake in her vault, say, could lead to serious, possibly career-ending injuries – I guess she is better placed than we armchair athletes are to assess the physical and mental risks she faces. Her bravery in her past performances is unquestionable, so I think that we should cut her some slack. You are, of course, welcome to think otherwise.

      1. Certainly I can’t assess the physical risks Simone Biles faces and I wouldn’t want to see her severely injured. Perhaps she made the right decision. However, if the mental aspect is central to her performance then that would presumably be part of what she works on in training and would know she needs to get right in competition. Yesterday, she didn’t get it right and I find it hard not to think that she let down her teammates to some extent. What about the pressure it suddenly placed on them? Maybe it was better to withdraw than perform badly but I would have been more impressed if she had taken a brief time out to put herself into a better mental frame of mind. She deserves admiration for her amazing performances in the past and shouldn’t be vilified for this; but I can’t buy into the spin that this was one of her finest moments.

        1. “Gymnastics is obviously physically demanding with a high injury rate. But it is extremely difficult psychologically as well. Many of the skills could kill you. When Kevin Durant’s foot was off by an inch in Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals, his shot was worth two points instead of three, and the Brooklyn Nets lost in overtime. When Riley McCusker’s foot was off by an inch on her beam dismount at the 2017 American Cup, she slammed backward onto her neck and then rolled over it.”

          Given the pressure that Biles is under to perform, walking away from the competition in the full glare of the global media takes some guts I should think.

    1. Of course, my favourite has no puddleducks: “pit pat paddle pat! pit pat waddle pat!” Cats and ducks – no wonder The Tale of Tom Kitten has such fond memories for PCC(E)…!

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