Tuesday: Hili dialogue

August 3, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the first Tuesday in August, the third day of the month, 2021: National Watermelon Day. It’s also Clean Your Floors Day and Grab Some Nuts Day (they’re referring to edible nuts).

I am feeling a little grotty today (tummy ache and listless, but it is not Covid!), so posting may be a bit light.

News of the Day:

Covid continues to surge, with the U.S. now entering its “fourth wave” of infections, as Reuters’ daily total of infections and deaths show. We’re approaching 100,000 infections per day again, and the NBC News reported last night that that figure could double by the fall.

Here’s the worldwide map of weekly changes in infection rates from Our World in Data, with the U.S. up 53.6% over last week. Not many countries exceed us.

The good news: Biden finally achieved his goal (a month late, but hey), with 70% of adult Americans fully vaccinated as of yesterday. I’m not sure what figure would represent herd immunity now that the new delta variant is spreading: each person infected with the delta strain could infect five others, twice that of the “normal” variant.

Our pandemic of gun violence continues in Chicago: this last weekend the damage was 51 people shot, 8 of them fatally, including a father of five. The July total: 614 people shot, with 105 dying, or 3.5 people killed  per day in our city. This is about the same as last year, but significantly higher than 2019, when there were “only” 44 murders and 232 shootings in July.

According to the Washington Post, congressional liberals are “furious” at Joe Biden for letting the pandemic eviction moratorium lapse (it was really the CDC’s decision, but they say Biden should have extended it by executive order).  An excerpt:

“It’s too little too late,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The White House did not handle this well. I think they did not think about this eviction moratorium in a serious way.”

As for the broader tensions, Jayapal warned Biden not to take the party’s liberals for granted. “I think that, you know, every relationship needs tending,” she said, adding, “The president has also told me a couple months ago that he was looking forward to meeting with the Progressive Caucus, and we’re still waiting for that to happen.”

In a hastily called, expletive-laden videoconference call of the caucus’s executive board Sunday that included nearly two dozen lawmakers, members railed against the White House and House Democratic leaders over the eviction strategy, according to several Democrats with knowledge of the discussion.

Many liberals believe that this could be their only chance for years to enact major change, because Democrats could lose control of Congress next year, a fear that helps explain some of the current passion.

But is this “major change”? This moratorium will last only as long as the pandemic, but real “major change” is in the offing with measures like the pending infrastructure bill.

Speaking of that, the Senate has finally started the debate over Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which is badly needed. Professor Ceiling Cat’s (Emeritus) prediction: it will pass, for no Senator wants to be seen as against our crumbling infrastructure. Where will the money go? The Associated Press lays it out:

Among the major new investments, the bipartisan package is expected to provide $110 billion for roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail. There’s also to be $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure as well as billions for airports, ports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations.

Simone Biles seems to have overcome her “twisties,” at least insofar as planning to participate in an individual gymnastics event: the balance beam event on Tuesday. Look for a more conservative routine from her. UPDATE: The routine finished a few minutes ago (I’m writing at about 5 a.m.) and Biles nabbed a bronze medal—her second medal of these games and seventh over all the Olympics.

This I didn’t expect: the U.S. is out of the gold medal round in women’s soccer, losing 1-0 to Canada via a penalty kick in minute 74 (below).

And Jussie Smollett is back on trial in Chicago for his 2019 report of being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, an attack judged as a fabricated fantasy by Dave Chap[elle and all other people with more than one neuron. Although original charges against Smollett were dropped by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (who almost lost election because of her decision) , Smollett is again, this time on trial for disorderly conduct in filing a fake police report.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 613,436, an increase of 341 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,250,289, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 3 includes:

  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
  • 1527 – The first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut while at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter given in Wikipedia:

It was at St. John’s, Newfoundland on 3 August 1527 that the first known letter in English was sent from North America.[1] While in St. John’s, Rut had written a letter to King Henry on his findings and his planned voyage southward to seek his fellow explorer. The letter in part reads as follows:

Pleasing your Honourable Grace to heare of your servant John Rut with all his company here in good health thanks be to God.

The conclusion of the letter reads:

…the third day of August we entered into a good harbour called St. John and there we found Eleuen Saile of Normans and one Brittaine and two Portugal barks all a fishing and so we are ready to depart towards Cap de Bras that is 25 leagues as shortly as we have fished and so along the Coast until we may meete with our fellowe and so with all diligence that lyes in me toward parts to that Ilands that we are command at our departing and thus Jesu save and keepe you Honourable Grace and all your Honourable Reuer. In the Haven of St. John the third day of August written in hast 1527, by your servant John Rut to his uttermost of his power.

La Scala has been restored several times, and reconstructed after WWII, when it was largely destroyed by bombing. Here’s what it looks like today, after another two-year reconstruction that began in 2002:

The original in the 18th century:

  • 1852 – Harvard University wins the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race is also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.
  • 1914 – World War I: Germany declares war against France, while Romania declares its neutrality.
  • 1921 – Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirms the ban of the eight Chicago Black Sox, the day after they were acquitted by a Chicago court.

Yes, they were acquitted even though there was strong evidence that eight Chicago White Sox players conspired (with payment from a crime syndicate) to lose the 1919 World Series to Cincinnati. Here are the eight acquitted malefactors, includihng Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Here’s the navigator’s report indicating their position at the North Pole. The sub is now a museum at Groton Connecticut; you can go aboard but some areas are off limits.

I’ve seen it! Standing 328 metres (1,076 ft), the Sky Tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere:

The Waitemata Harbour, the Ferry dock and the Skytower on the back. Auckland skyline. New Zealand

Notables born on this day include:

Brooke, described by Yeats as the “handsomest young man in England”, died on a military ship of an infected mosquito bite at 27. Since he was part of a group on the way to invade Gallipoli, he was doomed anyway. His photo is below:

Tony’s 95 today and still going strong.

Those who conked on August 3 include:

Veblen. Mencken’s take on The Theory of the Leisure Class: “What is the sweating professor trying to say?”

Cartier-Bresson is without a doubt my favorite street photographer. Using a small Leica, he had a great eye for composition. It’s hard to choose a favorite, so here are three that I like a lot:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili waffles, but we know not what about. Is she thinking about going outside? Her next meal? A nap?

Hili: After taking everything into account, I’m still unsure.
A: This may be a sign of maturity.
In Polish:
Hili: Biorąc pod uwagę wszystkie względy, nadal jestem niepewna.
Ja; To może świadczyć o twojej dojrzałości.

An ironic photo contributed by Stephen:

A dog-shaming photo from Laurie:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Barry: A rare view of a lightning strike:

From Simon.  The ‘roo appears to be fine, but I’m not sure about the biker:

From Ginger K. These aren’t fruit, but a stone formation. And it’s real: see more about the mineral here.

Tweets from Matthew. Yes, the red color here is illusory; I posted a screenshot I took of the “red” part of the bus below the next tweet:

Here’s a screenshot of the area of the bus indicated by the right circle:

John Cleese and his moggies, one of which resembles him:

The official sign that Facilities put at Botany Pond is very similar to this:

And, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, and comrades, the Tweet of the Year. Be sure to turn the video on, though you may want the sound off. . .

23 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I wonder what those fellows who caught the lightning strike on film thought they were going to be filming?

  2. The US did not achieve 70% fully vaccinated, but 70% having at least one dose. Fully vaccinated US adults = 60%

    1. Several states are much lower than 60%. Not to worry, the delta virus is taking care of that. The U.S. is also experiencing a big labor shortage. I wonder why.

      1. I think much of the labor shortage is due to people having to get new jobs and/or moving away from the area. In industries that had to shut down and lay people off (eg, airlines, restaurants, bars), workers were forced to change their lives and haven’t gone back to their original jobs. In the long run, this should be a good thing as it represents a reevaluation and realignment of working conditions, wages, profession, education, etc. A perturbation to the system that overcomes some of its friction resulting in a temporary acceleration of trends.

  3. A comment on vaccine penetration/uptake. If we are to understand correctly that the vaccine protects against serious disease and death, but that infection can still occur in vaccinated individuals, and furthermore, vaccinated and infected individuals are just as good at spreading it as the unvaccinated, then we have a problem with the concept of herd immunity in this case. I have read some experts believe that we may expect to be infected multiple times through our lives, and periodic booster doses will be needed to keep such infections trivial. But where does that leave herd immunity? It means the unvaccinated cannot expect to be successful free-riders, as the infected but practically asymptomatic vaccinated population will pass on their infections to the unvaccinated. This is NOT an argument against trying for herd immunity, rather it is an argument to persuade the unvaccinated to change their minds before they claim their Darwin Awards.

    1. Just ball parking, based on a paper I dragged out (Fine et al Vaccines, 52, 911, 2011) an increase in R0 from around 2 to around 5 results in a herd immunity threshold increase from around 40% to around 80% – of the total population needing to be vaccinated or infected to knock out the spread.

      Per Bloomberg yesterday, the US is at 54.2% coverage overall (with wide regional variation (37.2-73.2, Mississippi vs Vermont). We have additional individuals who have been infected and can be included in the herd total. And, as noted above, breakthrough infections are always possible, so the effective total is lower than the total of vaccinated or infected individuals.

      Presumably, once the under 12s can be vaccinated and the unvaccinated either wise up or get infected we will reach some level of stability. However, in areas with high vaccine penetrance, especially among older individuals the strain on hospitals should be much lower than in the previous wave.

      In the meantime, the chances of hospitalization or death for vaccinated individuals remains vanishingly small.

  4. … there was strong evidence that eight Chicago White Sox players conspired (with payment from a crime syndicate) to lose the 1919 World Series to Cincinnati.

    A crime syndicate reputedly led by Arnold “the Brain” Rothstein — the mentor to Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel and a generation of other New York mobsters, and the model for Meyer Wolfsheim in Gatsby.

  5. congressional liberals are “furious” at Joe Biden for letting the pandemic eviction moratorium lapse

    SCOTUS basically told the CDC they had exceeded their authority and not to do it again. Meanwhile the bill to extend the moratorium (again) was sitting in Congress, and Congress chose not to vote on it before adjourning. Sounds to me like they’re trying to blame the executive branch for their own legislative branch dysfunction. Mr. President, why didn’t you defy SCOTUS and do what we had all legal authority and opportunity to do, but chose not to do!?!

  6. My mouth absolutely started watering at the sight of those sweet bunchy purple grape agate clusters. Even the name sounds yummy.

  7. I am normally a big fan of Megan Rapinoe, the outspoken captain of our women’s soccer team, but I am not seeing where she actually congratulates Canada for their hard won victory.

    1. In fairness, interviewing an athlete immediately after a hard-fought loss often results in ill-considered remarks. They’re tired, emotional, probably their willpower/self-control is stretched pretty thin.

      …Which I’m sure is part of the reason the press does it…

      1. Per today’s NYT, Rapinoe inferred to the effect that the team’s woes were caused by the team’s coach’s approach to rotating players. (Is the coach to blame for the U.S. foul resulting in the successful Canadian penalty kick?) The Times article is significantly more about the U.S. loss than the Canadian victory.

    2. Earlier the Canadian women’s team eliminated Brazil on penalties. It will go to the finals against Sweden, which eliminated Australia with a last-minute overtime goal. In men’s soccer, Brazil (defeating Mexico) will go against Spain (defeating Japan) for the gold. Makes more sense. The Canadian women just revealed that they have a trans athlete [Rebecca] Quinn playing for them.

  8. I studied Conrad in grad school, and was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the original manuscript of “The Secret Sharer,” which was a fascinating look into the creative process. I have often wished that I had the same aptitude for language as Conrad, who didn’t become fluent in English until his twenties. Also, if you haven’t read the story, please do so–it’s a worthy competitor for PCC’s pick (“The Dead”) as the best short story–at least IMHO.

    1. The UK is only at 73% fully vaccinated but it still looks like new infections have peaked, hospitalisations too. Deaths are still going up but the signs are they are going to peak soon too.

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