Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 23, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Thursday, September 23, 2021: National Pancake Day.  Have some today!

Sadly, today I return to Chicago after a swell visit with friends. I will commune with my ducks as the days dwindle down to the time of departure. I will be traveling much of the day, so this may be the only post you see.

It’s also National American Great Pot Pie Day, National Snack Stick Day (jerky, string cheese, etc.), Celebrate Bisexuality Day, National Checkers Day, and International Day of Sign Languages.

News of the Day:

*Yesterday the FDA approved booster shots in the U.S., and today they’ll ponder exactly who gets them.

On Wednesday evening, the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots of the vaccine for people over 65 who received their second at least six months earlier. The agency also approved boosters for adult Pfizer-BioNTech recipients who are at high risk of severe Covid-19, or who are at risk of serious complications because of exposure to the virus in their jobs.

The first bit is easy (and I’m qualified) but they have to decide who, exactly, is a risk because of risk of complications or risk on the jobs. And what about those who got the Moderna shots? With my doctor’s okay, I’m going to get the booster, and I will NOT take Ivermectin (see below).

*The trial of Elizabeth Holmes is in its third week (she must have some lawyers’ bill!), and yesterday former Secretary of State Jim Mattis testified that he invested $85,000 in the organization but became puzzled:

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified Wednesday in the criminal trial of Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes that he and other board members were blindsided to learn in 2015 that the company hadn’t been conducting all of its blood tests using its proprietary technology.

“There just came a point where I didn’t know what to believe about Theranos anymore,” the retired four-star general said.

Prosecutors presented Mr. Mattis’s testimony to support their allegations that Ms. Holmes and her top deputy lied to investors about having a profitable business relationship with the Defense Department and kept board members in the dark about the limitations of Theranos’s devices.

But, as reported on the trial’s live timeline, defense attorneys countered with what I see as a weak riposte:

During cross-examination of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, an attorney for Elizabeth Holmes tried to show Theranos Inc.’s board was accomplished enough to know how to ask questions if they had concerns.

I doubt that. Mattis didn’t ask questions; the big investors were not doctors or scientists.

*The first 28 minutes Sam Harris’s latest podcast, “Ask me anything,” can be heard for free here.  Reader Tom, who sent me the link, told me this:

Only 28 minutes in length, with Harris directly addressing [Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying’s] recent shenanigans about 10 minutes into the podcast after an interesting intro.

It actually starts at 10:32 and goes on to the end of the segment, with Sam very critical about the duo’s “lack of quality control about the information they’re putting forward” about the advantages of ivermectin and especially the problems with Covid vaccine.” He also raises several issues with their claims about the supposed ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccines.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 681,341, an increase of 2,075 deaths over yesterday’s figure. Remember when 200,000 deaths was an unthinkable figure? We may get to four times that number before this is over. The reported world death toll is now 4,734,397, an increase of about 10,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 23 was accidentally listed in yesterday’s Hili dialogue (I don’t screw up like that very often), so go here to see what happened on September 23. The rest of the information on births and deaths below is new:

Notables born on this day include:

The man who decreed the stately pleasure dome. Reread the great eponymous poem fragment by Coleridge here.

Valadon (photo below) is now more famous as a model (she modeled for, among others  Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec) but was a noted painter in her own right. She was also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo.

First, her photo (avec chat):

Her depiction in Pierre-Auguste Renoirs 1883 painting, Dance at Bougival:

. . . and one of her own paintings, “Casting the Net” (1914):

  • 1889 – Walter Lippmann, American journalist and publisher, co-founded The New Republic (d. 1974)
  • 1899 – Louise Nevelson, American sculptor (d. 1988)

Here’s one of Nevelson’s paintings, “Mrs. N’s Palace”:

  • 1915 – Clifford Shull, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2001)
  • 1920 – Mickey Rooney, American actor, singer, director, and producer (d. 2014)

Rooney was married eight times, including to the world’s most beautiful woman, Ava Gardner:

  • 1930 – Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (d. 2004)

Here’s Ray singing the Leon Russell composition, “Song for You” in 1997:

  • 1949 – Bruce Springsteen, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Those who croaked on September 23 include:

  • 1241 – Snorri Sturluson, Icelandic historian, poet, and politician (b. 1178)
  • 1889 – Wilkie Collins, English novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1824)
  • 1939 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1856)

Here’s Freud’s famous couch, which I saw when I visited the Freud Museum (his house) in London; he took the couch with him when he moved to England in 1938. It looks quite comfortable! (He was, of course, a fraud.)

  • 1973 – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1904)
  • 1987 – Bob Fosse, American actor, dancer, choreographer, and director (b. 1927)

Here are some miscellaneous clips of Fosse dancing, including on on “The Dobie Gillis Show”! The commentary is by Gwen Verdon, who danced in many of his shows and was also married to him.

  • 2013 – Ruth Patrick, American botanist and immunologist (b. 1907)
  • 2014 – Irven DeVore, American anthropologist and biologist (b. 1934)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a goal. When I  asked Malgorzata who Hili was pursuing, she said this:

“Hili, knowing what’s happening in Poland and around the world, concluded that forces of darkness intensified their attacks and it’s time to fight them. I’m not sure how she intends to do it.”

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m going into battle with the forces of darkness.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Idę walczyć z siłami ciemności.

From Lenora via Cole & Marmalade: Dances With Cats

A post from Facebook:

And from Not Another Science Cat Page:

Titania goes after Justin again:

From Masih, showing how odious some Iranian men are about the obligatory hijab. Watch the video:

From Barry; sound up for this great example of sexual selection:

From Ginger K.: Has anybody ever thought of this question before? Well, here’s the answer, guaranteed to make you the life of the party.

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. Only professional animal photographers have this worry. Walter Chandoha was the master.

Schopenhauer got reamed out by his mother:

Another issue I hadn’t thought of. Matthew says, “Can’t help thinking the person taking the film should have stayed further away, but no harm done.”

35 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Trudeau struggling to get LGBT&c out is awesome. I want a t-shirt with that as a quote on it.

    I wonder what the furthest one could walk without needing a bridge is? In the age of highways, we tend to ignore rivers as obstacles.

    1. Yes, as the leader of Our Natural Governing Party (TM), Justin should have an intersectional speech coach standing by at all times. Or maybe he does, and it’s the person face-palming behind his right shoulder.

      In other news, Justin and ONGP were re-elected on Monday to another term in a snap election that returned pretty much the same result as our 2019 election: a centre-left minority government, which won’t be able to follow its worst instincts for lack of a majority to pass legislation; a centre-right opposition party (Conservative Party of Canada – basically Clinton Democrats); and the balance of power held by English-speaking socialists (New Democratic Party – think AOC Democrats with a little less social media posturing) and French-speaking socialists (the federal separatist party called the Bloc Quebecois; I know the idea of a regional separatist party electing members of the national parliament doesn’t make any sense, it’s a long story).

      As a bonus from all this party diversity and strategic voting, our worst political tendencies were also blunted: the ultra-woke Green Party (google Jenica Atwin Noah Zatzman to get a flavour for it) won just two seats in Parliament; and the white nationalist People’s Party (too many refugees, too many immigrants, etc.) won 5% of the vote nationally (yikes) but no seats in Parliament.

      1. “I know the idea of a regional separatist party electing members of the national parliament doesn’t make any sense, it’s a long story).” – of course, the Scottish National Party (SNP) does the Sam here in the UK.

        1. That should be “the same”, of course… Will have to see if I can get the edit function back with my shiny new laptop!

  2. Rooney was married eight times, including to the world’s most beautiful woman, Ava Gardner …

    It was while Ava was married to Mickey Rooney in the early Forties that she first met Frankie from Hoboken, before either of them was famous. Sinatra reportedly told people at the time that someday he would marry Ava himself, although one of the people he told was presumably not his then-wife, Nancy née Barbato.

    Frank and Ava didn’t actually hook-up for another seven or eight years, until 1950, by which time both were very famous indeed, causing a scandal that rocked show biz, given that Frank was still married to Nancy.

    1. Rooney seems to have gone from marriage to marriage with almost no space in between. It’s like he could not stand not being married. He died pretty much broke for several reasons but all those marriages could not have helped.

      1. Seems the little fella couldn’t stand being married and, once he wasn’t married anymore, couldn’t stand NOT being married.

        I get the feeling Rooney was anything like Andy Hardy in real life.

  3. I think it isn’t quite accurate to call Freud a fraud. He was wrong, undoubtedly, about many things, but not because he wanted to cheat people for financial gain. He was wrong in the same way alchemists were wrong about chemistry, just the first to study something no one else had thought to study. He used the wrong methods (principally that old fallback of the clever when out of their depth, “It just sounds right”) and came to the wrong conclusions, but he did at least, inspire others to try and with better methods to begin to make sense of something that still largely eludes us.

    1. The sad thing about it is that people still assume and accept that there are scientific insights made in his observations and claim. For example, we still make fun of men’s penis size being compensated for with big trucks and guns. And that acceptance is actually cruel and sexist, because it’s unintended targets are men with small fully-functional penises, who take a hit because of dick-shaming. We talk about women with daddy issues as if they are sick for having an electra complex, too. I think he caused more confusion and damage than he fixed.

      1. Are big trucks and guns not compensation for (perceived) inadequate penis size? I’m not aware that that hypothesis was ever debunked.
        I decided long ago that if I couldn’t get it up anymore I would get a Porsche. But then Sildenafil, Tadalafil and the like were developed. No Porsche for me (sadly, but also luckily, because I doubt I could afford one).

        1. There is a television interview (in German) with Michael Gross, German swimmer (now a journalist in England). The (female) interviewer started asking him about his very expensive Porsche, then led the conversation into the penis-compensation territory. He sat back and let her go on and on, winding her up, then said “my mother drives the same model”.

  4. There’s a couple of problems with that walking route. It seems to go across both the Red Sea and the Black Sea. In both cases, there are slightly longer detours that could be used instead without resorting to a ferry.

    1. Also, when it comes to bridges, the Kolyma Highway, aka “Road of Bones” that runs 1,200 miles from Nizhny Bestyakh to Magadan is in disrepair. There are many bridges, and most are collapsed. There are a couple rivers that would be impossible to pass without some form of vehicle.

      Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman have a few shows where they travel around the world on motorcycles. I learned about the Road of Bones from their motorcycle adventure called “Long Way Round” where they ride from London to New York (of course, they take a plane from Magadan to Alaska). Enjoyable shows, and that Road of Bones is beyond brutal on a motorcycle.

    2. It crosses the gate of tears (Bab al Mandab) where according to some modern humans radiated out of Africa during an Ice age about 92000 years ago, there is definitely no bridge there.
      the black sea is ot crossed, but it’s coastline followed at the foot of the Causcasus mountains.

  5. Bravo to those Iranian women. Imagine what that society might be able to accomplish without the drain of all the religious motivation.

    Also, from the dash (@ 0:43) that they’re driving a Mazda 121 aka Kia Pride / Ford Festiva.

    1. The sadder part is that in societies where women are forced to cover due to religious reasons, ostensibly to protect them from men’s evil lust, sexual crime rates are higher than in our permissive and decadent societies.

  6. On the Theranos trial, surely the burden is not on investors to “ask the right questions” in order to avoid being defrauded by unscrupulous management. To avoid making a bad investment, yes, but that’s nothing to do with fraud. Also, the fraud in question doesn’t involve scientific knowledge. Theranos was selling a portable blood analyzer. If the analysis presented wasn’t actually done by the device, that’s knowledge that should be revealed.

    1. It is absolutely the board’s role to ask the company’s senior officers tough questions. However, much like the scientific peer review process, there’s a minimal level of trust and cooperation that’s just assumed. In both processes, the ‘independent review’ is geared towards ferreting out unexpected problems and mistakes, not outright fraud. Neither set of “reviewers” expects they are being blatantly lied to.

      1. The board’s failure to ask tough questions might give rise to a civil suit by investors in a privately held company (or shareholders in a publicly traded one) against the board members for negligence. But it doesn’t seem like any kind of defense to fraud by management — any more than it’s a defense to purse snatching that the victim had her purse just hanging there off her shoulder asking to be snatched.

            1. Yes, I understand you don’t want to go under the miniskirts (this time), but I think that ‘defense’ is/was used much more often than the handbag just asking to be snatched.

        1. Yeah what you’re talking about would be classified more as incompetence. That can happen too, and I guess if it’s considered bad enough there may be a way to sue the board. But what I was saying is, if the CEO is just flat out feeding them faked data or lying to them, and the board is giving their honest advice based on what’s presented, then it’s not really their fault. Their role and relationship to the senior officers isn’t intended to be adversarial, it’s intended to be cooperative. Just like a scientific peer reviewer will kinda take it as assumed that the paper they are given to review isn’t one where the data is completely fabricated.

          1. Yup, I can’t imagine the circumstances under which a board member would think to ask, “So, are you actually using our company’s own innovative blood-testing machines – its sole raison d’etre – to conduct the blood tests the company is carrying out?” Their trust was misplaced, but not unreasonably so as far as I can see.

          2. The thing that most strikes me about this the gullibility of people like Mattis, Kissinger, and the other prominent Theranos board members.. These are the people who run our world.

  7. Ms. Nevelson’s sculpture looks like nothing more than something I would expect to see on a Star Wars set (not that they make many sets for movies like that franchise today, but back in the day…), just spray-painted black. Color me unimpressed.

  8. Here is a discouraging footnote in regard to the Evergreen Two. There is a widely syndicated radio program (around 10 million listeners) called “Coast to Coast” which specializes in bullshit. That is, the
    host sympathetically interviews specialists in UFOs, crop circles, alien abductions, telepathy, angels, ghosts, past lives, and so on, and enthusiasts of these subjects telephone in. Very occasionally, the host interviews a different sort of specialist.

    Every now and then late at night, I tune down from a nearby classical music station to hear briefly what is happening on Coast to Coast. Last night, I was appalled to discover the Coast host interviewing Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying. Could it be that the couple don’t appreciate what this program is? Or has their ivermectin crusade now joined the cultural world of UFOlogy and alien abductions?

    1. Maybe the Ivermectin has addled their substantial brains? Little is known about chronic use of Ivermectin (apart from hepatotoxicity).
      On second thought, no, that is begging the question.

  9. On a different tack, I see that Ruth Patrick lived to nearly 106.
    I think Meselson and Stahl (see post of September 19) could, and should, still get the Nobel prize, after all they are both still alive.
    How does one nominate for a Nobel prize?

  10. Sage grouse! I’ve lived in their range for most of my life. They are under serious pressure from expanding human habitations and especially oil and gas development.

    It is amazing how a bird that large can disappear into sparse cover with their camouflage coloration, in contrast to their mating display.

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