Monday: Hili dialogue

August 9, 2021 • 6:30 am

Top o’ the week to you: it’s Monday, August 9, 2021: National Rice Pudding Day, a dessert beloved by my landsmen. Once in Paris there was the world’s best rice pudding, and I say “was” because the presentation, the quality and the quantity, as purveyed at the Parisian restaurant L’Ami Jean, was unbeatable. You were given a huge crock of the world’s best rice pudding, along with little bowls of praline, candied fruit, and other garnishes. You could keep helping yourself until you were gorged. It was a very rich concoction with cream (below). Sadly, the last time I went to the restaurant, the dish was greatly debased: you got an individual portion, with a few garnishes sprinkled on top. No second or third helpings. PIKERS!

It’s also National Hand Holding Day, National Polka Day, Book Lovers Day, and the UN holiday International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

News of the Day:

Both the US and Great Britain have advised their citizens to get out of Afghanistan—ASAP. That tell you all you need to know about what’s happening there. I weep for the Afghans, especially the women, who will find their opportunities narrowing to virtually nothing.

The map is below is from a New York Times article documenting the rate at which Americans are receiving Covid vaccinations. Lots of data in the piece, but here’s a soupçon: at least 194.3 million Americans have received one or both doses of the vaccine—out of 281 million Americans over the age of 12 (i.e., those qualified to get jabbed) and out of 322 million total. 50.1% of all Americans have been vaccinated twice and 58.5% have had at least one dose. Of all states, Vermont leads with 67.9% of the populace fully vaccinated, while the State of Shame, Alabama, has a mere 28.8% fully vaccinated.

The customary weekend violence in Chicago continues. Since just 7 pm on Saturday (and I’m writing this at 4 pm Sunday), 66 people in our town have been shot, of whom 10 died—including a police officer (see below).  And it was a young woman police officer with a newborn baby. (h/t: Randy). Another officer is in the hospital in critical condition. The weekend isn’t nearly over yet, but we’ve already exceeded the 51 shot last weekend.

Below: the dead officer (h/t Luana). Do you still want to say “ACAB”?

Like many places in the U.S., Chicago’s having a serious wave of deadly crime this year. Yet our mayor, who’s getting more evasive all the time, pretends that things are rosy. As the local NBC News says:

When Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a press conference last month that the city was seeing a downward trend in violent crime, she was technically right.

Aggravated batteries, robberies and sexual assaults had declined. But Lightfoot’s critics, including many conservatives, were quick to point out that her claims brushed past numbers that were not as rosy — such as jumps in shootings and homicides.

Homicides so far this year [2021] have risen 33 percent compared to the same time period in 2019.

Any solution to this problem has to involve reducing the number of guns on the street. And I doubt that it would involve “defunding the police.”

According to the Associated Press, Facebook is starting to add a new “prayer tool” to its site, which enables commenters to weigh in with an “I prayed for you” emoticon. Or so it seems from the report. I guess it’s harmless, and may give solace to those who want prayers, but I don’t think God is paying attention. An excerpt (h/t Greg):

The social media giant has rolled out a new prayer request feature, a tool embraced by some religious leaders as a cutting-edge way to engage the faithful online. Others are eyeing it warily as they weigh its usefulness against the privacy and security concerns they have with Facebook.

In Facebook Groups employing the feature, members can use it to rally prayer power for upcoming job interviews, illnesses and other personal challenges big and small. After they create a post, other users can tap an “I prayed” button, respond with a “like” or other reaction, leave a comment or send a direct message.

Facebook began testing it in the U.S. in December as part of an ongoing effort to support faith communities, according to a statement attributed to a company spokesperson.

Nearly all the pastors interviewed thought it was a great idea, but what do atheists get?

Here’s a simulation created by Facebook:

Finally, something on the Olympics that’s not full of pro-American jingoism and comparative medal counts bragging about the USA’s bag of gold. It’s a NYT piece called: “Seven Olympic moments worth revisiting“, and only two of the seven moments feature Americans. You’ll also meet the oldest Olympic medalist in this year’s games: 62 year old Andrew Hoy of Australia, who nabbed both a silver and a bronze medal in equestrian competition. Here he is:

Yesterday, Joni Mitchell Celebrated International Cat Day!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 616,594, an increase of 516 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,308,544, an increase of about 7,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 9 includes:

Here’s the tower. Now guess what the angle of lean from the vertical is. Answer at the very bottom of this post:

  • 1842 – The Webster–Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the United States–Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • 1892 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.

This is Edison, and I believe it’s a two-way telegraph, which can receive and send messages at the same time (correct me if I’m wrong).

And a drawing from the patent application:

  • 1936 – Summer Olympic Games: Games of the XI Olympiad: Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the games.
  • 1945 – World War II: Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bombFat Man, is dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar. Thirty-five thousand people are killed outright, including 23,200–28,200 Japanese war workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers.

This, and the Hiroshima bomb, raise all kinds of moral dilemmas: is it the best expedient to save overall lives by dropping bombs rather than invading. And what about killing civilians rather than the military? You be the judge.

Here’s a short BBC of the dropping of the “Fat Man” bomb on Nagasaki and its effects on the Japanese willingness to surrender:

The three “Manson Girls” tried, photo from ABC. Caption: “Charles Manson followers, from left: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, walk to court to appear for their roles in the 1969 cult killings of seven people, Aug. 20, 1970, in Los Angeles, Calif.”

Here’s Nixon leaving the White House for the last time:

  • 2014 – Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male in Ferguson, Missouri, is shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer after reportedly assaulting the officer and attempting to steal his weapon, sparking protests and unrest in the city.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1593 – Izaak Walton, English writer (d. 1683)
  • 1896 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (d. 1980)
  • 1922 – Philip Larkin, English poet and novelist (d. 1985)
  • 1963 – Whitney Houston, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (d. 2012)
  • 1968 – Gillian Anderson, American-British actress, activist and writer

Those who clocked off on August 9 include:

Here’s a section from Bosch’s fantastic painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights” (1490-1510). Wikipedia notes, “Hell panel from The Garden of Earthly Delights. It is alleged that Bosch’s self-portrait is in the upper centre at right under the ‘table'”. I’ve circled the putative portrait of Bosch.  I’ve seen this painting in the Prado; it was of course on my bucket list. 

  • 1943 – Chaïm Soutine, Belarusian-French painter and educator (b. 1893)

Here’s a Soutine that was up for auction two years ago:

Here’s Hesse, who looks pretty much like you’d imagine: desiccated. I read several of his books and didn’t like any of them:

  • 1969 – Sharon Tate, American model and actress (b. 1943)
  • 1995 – Jerry Garcia, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1942)
  • 2003 – Gregory Hines, American actor, dancer, and choreographer (b. 1946)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a feeling. . .

Hili: I’m reacting to incentives.
A: What incentives?
Hili: Something tells me that I have to check what’s behind the lilies.
In Polish
Hili: Reaguję na bodźce.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Coś mi mówi, że muszę sprawdzić, co jest za liliami.
And a picture of Little Kulka taken by Andrzej:

From Facebook via Jean:

From Divy. Yes, my cats always seemed to vomit on rugs when there was plenty of bare floor. Why do they do it?

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

No, light cannot escape from a black hole, but a new finding shows that it appears to because the hole bends space time, bending light (X-rays) that then appears to come from behind the hole when it really doesn’t. This is related to Eddington’s solar-eclipse test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

I’ve seen this rock, which was just moved at the cost of $50,000 because it was deemed racist. But read the tweets: the racism (the rock was called “n-word head rock”) occurred nearly 100 years ago, and appeared just once, in a local  newspaper. For that sin, people anted up $50,000 to move the geologically informative boulder. Will moving it mitigate harm?

A tweet from Ginger K.:

Tweets from Matthew. I wouldn’t have thought that crabs liked cherries. But at least this one does. It’s mesmerizing, too.

Cats win! Cats win!

These are all innocuous insects that are Batesian mimics of dangerous ones—a resemblance favored by natural selection to deter predators. The colors in the second tweet give the taxonomic groups: moths, flies, and beetles. The simlar wasp- and bee-like colors and patterns are an example of “convergent evolution”.

Matthew found the idea of steamed cheeseburgers disgusting, but that’s because he hasn’t had this Connecticut speciality.  Watch the second video!

Answer about the Leaning Tower of Pisa: The angle of lean from the vertical is only 3.97 degrees. I bet you overestimated!

54 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. About that boulder on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus: the boulder had been moved once before when it was named after Chamberlain and was obviously a landmark on campus, and it will still be used as a geologic example of a glacial erratic in a new, less prominent location. The boulder because of the past name attained a status of an offending statue and was removed for a similar reason. I’m not sure it was worth it, given the blowback I’ve seen online from people who ask what the poor rock did and question the expense, even though it did assuage the feelings of those who had petitioned for it to be removed.

    1. My guess is the petitioners will not be satisfied for long. They’ll call for the offending rock to be vaporized or ground down to sand and distributed such that it can’t reform.

      1. In the UK in the 1970s we had a movement called “Rock Against Racism”, but I never thought I’d live to see “Racism Against Rock”…

      2. They could have had a contest to repaint the rock, or find some way to “rebrand” it. There could have found dozens of creative solutions and people willing to do it. But no, spend $50,000 to make a statement that people are… ridiculous, (the most charitable word I can think of) and will to spend any amount of money to prove it.

    2. In ye olde times animals used to be tried for crimes before being executed. Surely the rock should have been entitled to a fair trial before being cancelled.

  2. I’m confused about the sun picture. It’s definitely the same place, but I’m pretty sure the sun goes down at different times throughout the year.

    1. Apparently at the equator the sunrise and sunset times to vary by about a half hour through the year with extremes around the 3rd of November and around the 11th of February.

    2. In the thread below the tweet the person who claims to have taken the photos says

      Location: Dabouq, Amman – Jordan
      Period: Dec2018 – Dec2019
      Photographer: Zaid M. Al-Abbadi (published on Facebook Dec 2019)
      Unfortunately this photo is being spread over the Internet with wrong information and credited to wrong person

      He doesn’t make the “same time” claim although I guess that “sunrise” is a relative time albeit not an absolute one.

  3. Well, thank god, with that new Facebook feature people can finally do something more concrete than just sending hopes and prayers! (sarcasm)

      1. Me too, but then I changed my guess to 11. Of course all here know for sure how lucky those two are.
        So far I win for worst guess.

      1. Your guess could be right. According to wikipedia, the maximum tilt was 5.5 degrees in 1990, but has since been straightened up a bit. So the tilt shown in the picture would depend on when the picture was taken.

      2. Same here.

        When my wife, daughter, and I visited Pisa a few years ago, I was surprised by how disorienting it is inside the tower. It seems like such a small tilt that it shouldn’t be too bad, but it really kind of throws you off.

    1. I guessed 3.14 because for some reason I thought the lean was pi. Don’t know why that was in my head. I was sort of close though.

  4. “I weep for the Afghans, especially the women, who will find their opportunities narrowing to virtually nothing.” – Indeed. And not to forget the 47,245 civilians, 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan military and police, and 3,502 coalition forces killed in the twenty years since “Operation Enduring Freedom” (yeah, right!) was launched.–present) And more than 51,000 Taliban fighters have died, too. It’s a humanitarian disaster all round.

    1. I hope there aren’t any more historical sites to destroy, like the Buddhas of Bamiyan. There’s probably not much standing in that country anymore. What a world. At least the Biden admin. is implementing a plan to evacuate Afghanis who helped the allies. Hopefully they will succeed.

  5. A few days ago I was listening on YouTube to Freeman Dyson, one of the physicists who were involved with the A-bombs’ design. He said that in reality, the bomb played only a secondary role in Japan’s surrender. The main reason, he says, was Russia’s declaration of war and the fear that the Japanese homeland would soon be invaded by them.

    It is worth noting that more people died in the firebombing of Tokyo than in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    There is some argument that the bomb accelerated the Soviet decision to declare war. Only in that sense might the bomb have had a critical role on the timing of the surrender.

    Dyson said he long believed the standard story that the bomb ended the war, and he said that he really wanted to believe that, to assuage his conscience. But his recent work with a Japanese historian caused him to change his mind.

    1. I am not too sure about those findings. The U.S. wanted Russia to get involved in the pacific war, although that was not a good move. Half of Korea was lost because of it. I suspect the bomb was used because of what was known at the time. The cost of invasion was going to be very high. The fact is that both Germany and Japan did not give a damn for their own people and both countries had to be bombed completely before there was any surrender. I might add that 1/3 of the civilian population of Okinawa was killed during that battle in 1945. That is about 100,000 people and there were no atomic bombs.

      1. “That is about 100,000 people and there were no atomic bombs.”

        Precisely. Same for the bombing of Tokyo. So you can see that the “small” number of casualties in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would also not have caused the surrender. It was fear of a two-front war with Russians invading on one side and Americans on the other.

        1. If this information was coming from Japan it might have some merit. Japan had nothing left to fight with but mainly rocks and sticks. If you think the two bombs had nothing to do with surrender, that is your privilege. If Dyson thinks he has the answer, let us see the evidence.

          1. Japan had nothing left to fight with but mainly rocks and sticks.

            That’s a bit hyperbolic. Japan still had 5000 kamikaze aircraft, I think; B29s were still being shot down; while on a mission, after hearing on their radios that Japan was surrendering, four Hellcats and their pilots were lost to Japanese fighters.

            With regard to your main point, I agree. The attack in Manchuria was decisive in that it raised the possibility of a Soviet invasion as well, and destroyed the delusion of a last-moment peace negotiated with the US via Moscow after the Japanese army had fought invading US forces to a bloody stalemate; but the emperor and some of his war cabinet reached that conclusion only after massive, cumulative losses (in which the A-bombs were an apparent escalation) already inflicted on Japanese forces and civilians.

        2. It’s not the casualties but the fact that, in each case, they were caused by one bomb dropped by a single bomber.

          We know now, that the USA only had two atom bombs at the time, but for all the Japanese knew, the USA had the capability to level every single one of its cities at will.

          Previous raids needed hundreds of bombers and exactly the right conditions: the Allies bombed German cities almost daily during the last part of the war, but these raids took a thousand bombers and only occasionally resulted in destruction like that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

          Anybody who thinks the atom bombs didn’t play a significant part in Japan’s eventual surrender is denying reality.

      1. I guess people are free to speculate all they want but they are also free to actually read the history on the war and what took place in Japan at the highest levels at the end of the war. I would warn against making one conclusion or one reason your pat answer to why the Japanese surrendered and who they surrendered to. It was not the Russians. The Japanese had no knowledge of how many more bombs we would drop on them, they were told 100. Unfortunately our much earlier agreements with the Russians were that they declare war on Japan as soon as possible. Hindsight in history causes people to come to all kinds of ideas. I have already broken the rules on this subject and will stop.

    2. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria, “Operation August Storm”, was a treaty agreement among the allies – Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin — made at Yalta in early 1945. According to the agreement, the USSR would begin military operations against the Japanese in Manchuria within 3 months of the defeat of Nazi Germany (technically on May 9, Moscow time). Stalin followed the agreement to a T. A Soviet Army moved to Pacific Russia by rail, and on August 9, 1945, launched a million-man pincer operation that overran and completely defeated the similar sized Japanese occupation army after only 11 days of fighting. The Soviet success played heavily on Japan’s decision to surrender. The USSR only moved limited troops into Korea and respected the 38th parallel, south of which by previous agreement was left to the Americans. The American occupation of South Korea began on Sept. 8, 1945 and continues until today. The USSR, in contrast, withdrew all its forces from Korea, Manchuria and Mongolia within 9 months of the invasion, leaving the Chinese communists, who were beating the pants off old guard Nationalist Chinese anyway, in control. In Korea the Marxists were already strong and did not need Stalin’s or Mao’s help to hold the north, although the south needed America to keep communism out.
      I think most of this is well enough known not to require documentation.

    3. I’ve also read about this reason. I think it was in “Lies My Teacher Told Me”…or one of those debunking American history books.

        1. And a good closer:

          “Even Hasegawa, a fervent opponent of the traditional narrative, has admitted that the Soviet invasion did not deliver a ‘knockout punch’ that lead to immediate surrender. It seems like there is no easy answer to the questions surrounding surrender, and historians will continue to debate the issue.”

          Moving to the American perspective, using a new and powerful superweapon instead of sending in more troops after Okinawa would have been a no-brainer.

    4. It should be mentioned that when the USSR declared war on Japan it dashed the hope that Japan could somehow get the USSR to help them negotiate a peace with the U.S.A. That emboldened those seeking peace in the Japanese government to urge acceptance of the Allied terms and the result was a deadlock that finally Emperor Hirohito broke by deciding on Japan’s surrender. It’s impossible to say whether it would have happened without the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, although given Hirohito’s mention of “a new and most cruel bomb” in his radio announcement to the nation it was certainly a reason that was given to the people of Japan to justify the surrender.

      1. I view the bombs as allowing the Emperor to cover his ass. Can you imagine Hirohito saying “The Russians are in the war now, so I guess we should surrender.” I don’t think so. But this new and horrible bomb, unlike anything ever seen before in its destructive capacity – yes, that can be an excuse to surrender. And I don’t think there would have been a surrender without the Emperor’s concurrence.

  6. As someone who has always felt as if he were from some other planet, if not some other plane, I would like to wish the rest of you a happy “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.”

  7. I guessed 4, but I also spent decades navigating ships, where most of the day is spent estimating and measuring such angles.

  8. I was just wondering about the Leaning Tower of Pisa and earthquakes, and discovered this interesting (well, to me anyway…) fact:

    At east four strong earthquakes have hit the region since 1280, but the apparently vulnerable Tower survived. The reason was not understood until a research group of 16 engineers investigated. The researchers concluded that the Tower was able to withstand the tremors because of dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI): the height and stiffness of the Tower, together with the softness of the foundation soil, influences the vibrational characteristics of the structure in such a way that the Tower does not resonate with earthquake ground motion. The same soft soil that caused the leaning and brought the Tower to the verge of collapse helped it survive.

  9. It was sad to hear about CPD police officer and young mother Ella French being killed by bandits during a traffic stop in Chicago. However, being a police officer is not a particularly dangerous profession. The last Chicago officer killed in a shooting was in 2018. Two others died accidentally during pursuits. That is approximately one service-related fatality a year for the 12,000 uniformed police officers employed by Chicago, or roughly one job-related death per 10,000 years of service. Google reports the average salary of a Chicago PD officer to be approximately $75,000/yr, or ab. $40/hr. Police officers do not need to be worshiped for courage and sacrifice, which is not to say we should not lament officer French’s needless death and thank her for her service to society. We should. Officer French’s killers were reportedly taken into custody and will be punished for their crime.

  10. LOL at the Pizza D’Action sign. The dive bar is known for being a car magnet, having had cars crash into it on multiple occasions. As Rock City Eats put it: “More cars have driven through that building than the Chick-fil-a drive thru.”

  11. Stupid Facebook’s “prayer button”. Is there are level of dumb below which this asshole of a company won’t sink? I’m so glad I’m not “on” it – were somebody to cyber pray for me in my life I’d fire them. Actually I do fire people who try that in real life anyway so …no change. 🙂 But seriously…..
    On another – equally sigh inducing topic – did you hear the one about the 7 year old Hindu boy who took a wiz in a religious library in Pakistan? Well it isn’t a joke and the masses of morons are out for his sinful blood: the family are in hiding and the local Hindu community is (rightfully) terrified.
    Pakistan is less a country than a Pakistan shaped embarrassment in Sth Asia.

  12. In the Hili dialogue I believe there is a mistranslation. “Incentives” does not seem right in the context and Google translate says “stimuli” which makes much more sense.

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