Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 30, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the last day of the month, Thursday, September 30, 2021: National Soufflé Potato Day (?).  It’s also Chewing Gum Day, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day, National Hot Mulled Cider Day, World Maritime Day, International Translation Day, Orange Shirt Day in Canada, and, finally, International Blasphemy Rights Day. I’m once again sleepless, so don’t expect substantive posts today.

News of the Day:

*A NYT article (mentioned in the tweets below) shows the expected positive correlation between Democrats in a state and the vaccination rate:

A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters.

The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state.

Here’s a correlation with vaccinations broken down by state, and the color of the state showing whether it’s Democratic (blue) or Republican (red). The plot for Covid deaths shows a similar relationship, but the relationship is not as tight.

*Speaking of Covid, the CDC has issued an urgent warning for pregnant women to get vaccinated pronto (only 31% of them are).  Both mother (i.e., “person with a womb”) and fetus face significantly higher risk than do non-pregnant women if they get infected:

“We are fortunate now to have extraordinary safety data with all of these vaccines. We know that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease, of hospitalization and ventilation,” Walensky told the briefing Tuesday.

“They’re also at increased risk for adverse events to their baby. We now have data that demonstrates that vaccines — in whatever time in pregnancy or lactating that they’re given — are actually safe and effective and have no adverse events to mom or to baby,” Walensky added.

*United Airlines has fired 600 employees who refused to get the Covid vaccine.  That’s a minuscule percentage of employees (99% have been vaccinated: another effect of the mandate), and United expects no interruptions of service. It’s the first major carrier to issue such a mandate.

*New York State has a similar mandate for healthcare workers, and a bunch of them got last-minute vaccinations so they could keep their jobs. Mandates work, and I don’t see them as immoral or an infringement of personal freedom—not when being unvaccinated puts other people at risk. But New York is still suffering a shortage of workers because of the mandate: the downside.

*Reader Paul sent a link to a Slate article about “impossible pork”: a plant based substitute for pig meat. The writer says it’s delicious, but, unexpectedly, it’s put many Muslims in a bind, with some rejecting it because, as one believer said, “Pork is like Muslim kryptonite.” And what if they LIKE it? They might upgrade to the real thing, and that’s forbidden. But Jews face the same dilemma, and they don’t even mention that!

*Does anybody like the U.S. Postal Service? If so, I don’t know them. And now it’s about to get worse.  Starting on October 1, not only will there be a deliberate slowdown of first-class mail, which in some cases could be substantial, but they’re going to raise the price of the damn postage again AND shorten hours at some post offices. Could it get worse? They already have the rudest and most imperious employees I’ve ever encountered among government workers: I think people take jobs at the PO so they can boss people around.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 695,232, an increase of 1,984 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,788,923, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 30 includes:

  • 1520 – Suleiman the Magnificent is proclaimed sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1791 – The first performance of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute takes place two months before his death.
  • 1882 – Thomas Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) begins operation.
  • 1888 – Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

Here’s a photo of the murder scene, labeled “Mitre Square. The body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered close to the fence seen at the centre of this image on 30 September 1888.” He killed at least five women, often prostitutes, and the mutilations of their bodies doesn’t bear speaking about. You can see some if you go to the Ripper link and those of his victims. 

  • 1915 – World War I: Radoje Ljutovac becomes the first soldier in history to shoot down an enemy aircraft with ground-to-air fire.

Liutovac didn’t use a rifle or pistol, but a Polish cannon! He must have had good aim.

  • 1938 – Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign the Munich Agreement, whereby Germany annexes the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

Yep, the major powers gave away part of Czechoslovakia to the Germans. The PM, Neville Chamberlain, became infamous for the last sentence in the description of the photograph below.  Hitler invaded Poland less than a year after Chamberlain’s cowardice, which, fortunately, was replaced by Churchill’s resolve:

Neville Chamberlain holding the paper containing the resolution to commit to peaceful methods signed by both Hitler and himself on his return from Munich. He is showing the piece of paper to a crowd at Heston Aerodrome on 30 September 1938. He said: “…the settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine (waves paper to the crowd – receiving loud cheers and “Hear Hears”). Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you …”. Later that day he stood outside Number 10 Downing Street and again read from the document and concluded: ‘”My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”

  • 1939 – NBC broadcasts the first televised American football game.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Babi Yar massacre comes to an end.

About 33,800 Jews were killed in those two days, but the massacre continued throughout the war, with people shot on the edge of a ravine. Total death toll there: between 100,000 and 150,000 people.

  • 1947 – The 1947 World Series begins. It is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.
  • 1962 – James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, defying racial segregation rules.

Meredith is now 88, and still with us. Here he is going to college in 1962:

  • 1968 – The Boeing 747 is rolled out and shown to the public for the first time.

The plane (below), the largest in commercial passenger service, holds about 500 people and production is scheduled to end next year:

Here are the two paintings. First, Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen (1884/85):

and View of the Sea at Scheveningen (1882):

These early paintings are not great works of art by any means; their value stems solely from their coming from Van Gogh.  It’s hard to see any intimations of his final style in these works.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1882 – Hans Geiger, German physicist and academic (d. 1945)
  • 1915 – Lester Maddox, American businessman and politician, 75th Governor of Georgia (d. 2003)
  • 1917 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, bandleader, and actor (d. 1987)
  • 1921 – Deborah Kerr, Scottish-English actress (d. 2007)

Kerr was nominated six times for the Best Actress Oscar, and didn’t win once: a record. One nomination was as the Captain’s wife in “From Here to Eternity”, where she was romanced by a sergeant. Here’s the famous “Beach Scene” in the movie with Burt Lancaster, which was considered quite erotic at the time:

. . and the poignant farewell, where Kerr learns that Lancaster won’t marry her:

  • 1924 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1984)
  • 1928 – Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American author, academic, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2016)

Here’s Wiesel in the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 16, 1945, five days after it was liberated. I’ve circled him.

These are slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena; many had died from malnutrition when U.S. troops of the 80th Division entered the camp. Germany, April 16, 1945. Pvt. H. Miller. (Army)
NARA FILE #: 208-AA-206K-31
  • 1931 – Angie Dickinson, American actress
  • 1935 – Johnny Mathis, American singer and actor

I think that Mathis had the finest voice of any male singer of our time (for women I see Barbra Streisand and Karen Carpenter as tied). Here he is singing “Chances Are”:

  • 1942 – Frankie Lymon, American singer-songwriter (d. 1968)
  • 1943 – Marilyn McCoo, American singer

McCoo was a plaintive and powerful singer; who remembers her from “The Fifth Dimension”?  I don’t know where this comes from, and it seems lip-synched, but it’s the recorded version of one of my favorites, “One Less Bell to Answer“, a Bacharach/David song.  They played for one of our dances at William and Mary.

  • 1957 – Fran Drescher, American actress, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1961 – Gary Coyne, Australian rugby league player

Don’t know him; perhaps he’s related to me.

  • 1964 – Monica Bellucci, Italian actress and fashion model
  • 1975 – Marion Cotillard, French-American actress and singer

Those who stopped pining for the fjords on September 30 include:

Here’s an interview about car racing. Ironically, Dean is asked whether he drives too fast on the highway, and says “no” (it’s a safe driving commercial of sorts). Ironically, he died at 24 in a car accident; he was speeding in his Porsche on a California highway.

Remember him and his mannequin Charlie McCarthy. Here they are performing at a tribute to Orson Welles:

  • 1990 – Patrick White, Australian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
  • 1994 – André Michel Lwoff, French microbiologist and virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
  • 2017 – Monty Hall, American game show host (b. 1921)
  • 2019 – Victoria Braithwaite, British research scientist who proved fish feel pain (b. 1967)

Read the Wikipedia entry to see how she Implied (didn’t “prove”) that fish feel pain. We can’t know that for sure because we don’t know what it’s like to be a fish, but all the correlates of the pain we feel are there.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is very needy:

Hili: Stop writing and pet me.
A: Is it urgent?
Hili: Very much so.
In Polish:
Hili: Przestań pisać i mnie pogłaszcz.
Ja: A to pilne?
Hili: Bardzo.

For some reason little Kulka is chewing on the spout of a pitcher:

A meme from Bruce:

From Vera: a short Facebook documentary on a Russian man who has a pet female fox, Alisa (“Alice” in English). Here’s her YouTube channel.

From Fat Cat Art:

An old tweet from Titania:

Two tweets from Simon. This bunny is amazing!

Eric Topol is a reliable source of information on the virus. If you want to see the whole NYT article, go here.

From the Auschwitz Memorial: This 21-year old lived but two months after arrival:

Tweets from Matthew, now an empty-nester. 🙁  First, though, a photo he calls “cats” hiding, showing all three of his moggies together: Ollie, Harry, and Pepper.

Kittens on an adventure!

Perseverance is right in the middle of the photo:

Matthew says this is a “bad non-apology, mainly devoted to defending the cover quote” from the Lancet. I’ve put the cover quote below the tweet (read it larger here).


82 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Boeing 747 … the largest in commercial passenger service:

    It lost that crown to the A380.

    I’ll be sad to see it go. I can’t remember a time when there weren’t 747’s and it always signified the ultimate travel excitement to me. To go to places in Europe you got on an anonymous twin engined thing. To go to America you needed a jumbo jet.

    re: COVID politics, I found an animation that expresses the same thing.

    It’s clear that the USA is suffering today because COVID has been politicised in a tragic way.

    1. Mandatory seems to be the clear way forward for most of those people. Too bad they did not start doing it much sooner. As we approach 700,000 dead — of course that is all just fake news.

    2. I remember when the 747 was introduced. Some airlines dedicated space on them to walk-up bars where patrons could chat with each other. That didn’t last long at all as the airlines realized they could make more money by using the space for paying seats.

      In the late 70s, I remember travelling across the US on the company dime. They would issue us “day coach” tickets that we would exchange straight up for “night first class”. A couple of times we got to travel on the 747’s upper deck, the ultimate in luxury at the time. Ah, those were the days.

      1. Yes, the 70s was the great transition for air travel when it use to be a good experience before deregulation and dozens of cheap charley airlines. It was also the end of cheap fuel and airline travel turned into another bus line. i’m surprised Greyhound did not start up an airline. It was also the hight of reputation for Boeing which has since gone way down hill. The only thing they engineer today is crummy air planes. And they are a real smash in aerospace.

        1. “The only thing [Boeing] engineer[s] today is crummy air planes.”

          They produce the most reliable airplanes every designed and manufactured. The air transport system (in the “developed world”, e.g. USA, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.) is the safest one ever devised by humans and it continues to get incrementally safer every year.

          We haven’t had a hull-loss crash in the USA (for Part 25 airplanes/operations) since 2009 (and that was a “commuter” airplane: Bombardier 400 twin turboprop). The most recent commercial jet transport hull-loss crash was American Airlines Flight 587 in November 2001, nearly 20 years ago (and it was an Airbus A300; I just flew on an A300 in August).)

          This is a remarkable record, especially considering the approximately 30,000 people who die on US roads every year.

          These are world-wide data:

          1. Ever heard of the 737 Max?

            Boeing used to make very good planes, but there was that reverse take over by MDD and that’s when the rot set in. When the CEO of an aerospace engineering company cites the longer distance between management and engineering as an advantage of moving the HQ from Seattle to Chicago, there’s a real problem.


            Now I would say Airbus makes better planes than Boeing.

            1. It might have been the long stretch without plane-caused crashes that led Boeing to get sloppy, resulting in the 737 Max crashes. Airbus shouldn’t rest on their laurels or the same will happen to them sooner or later. It’s just human nature. Perhaps it is in testing and quality control where we need artificial intelligence the most.

      2. I’ve travelled on the upper deck of a 747. It was a JAL flight from Shanghai to Tokyo. On this flight, the upper deck was standard class but I had a window seat which meant I had a ton of space all to myself because of the way the wall sloped. It’s the best cattle class experience I’ve ever had.

      3. I never had a seat on the upper deck of a 747, but back in the early ’90s, we were able to visit the cockpit of a 747 by explaining to the flight attendant that our 6-year-old son would really like to meet the pilot. They escorted us up the stairs, past all the sleeping 1st-class passenges, and through the tiny door into the cockpit. The view out the front of the plane is somehow much more spectacular than out the side windows, especially at 38000 feet above the Pacific.

        1. Those were the days! Now, though, there are many, many YouTube videos that show the view from the cockpit from various planes coming in and out of various airports. With 4k video quality, its almost as good.

          Even odder, the latest release of Microsoft Flight Simulator has sparked many such videos from the virtual world. While they aren’t real, they show more detail of what goes on in the cockpit and the view out the window. They are truly impressive.

      4. Back in the day, UK Civil Servants were permitted to travel business class for longer intercontinental trips. Around 20 years ago, BA offered a (very short-lived) deal whereby business class return travellers could upgrade one leg to first.

        A colleague and I therefore managed to travel first class from Jakarta to Heathrow, sharing the top deck with two other customers and three cabin crew. I do recall that we tasted our way through their entire Scotch inventory, but not a lot else.

    3. Thanks Jeremy (on the 747/A380). The 747s will continue flying for a long time. When I last worked for a operator (airline), we were flying 40+ year-old airplanes.

      The advance of twin engine airplanes is a huge win for everyone. Aerospace engineers (correctly) view additional engines as additional failure points (more delays, more cancellations, more returns to base, more diverted flights, and, in the end, more accidents).

      Having had a long-ish career at Boeing designing airplanes, I too have nostalgia for the 747. 🙂

  2. “Starting on October 1, not only will there be a deliberate slowdown of first-class mail, which in some cases could be substantial…”
    Why would they deliberately slow mail delivery? Where can I learn more about this?

    1. So fewer people use it. Not saying that is definitely the case here but, if I were running a service and I lost money on every unit and staffing levels were too low, I could alleviate the problems by making my service unattractive thus reducing losses and reducing the need to recruit.

      1. That seems excessively and unnecessarily paranoid. If you’re losing money per delivery (from post area to post area) and you are short-staffed on deliverers, it makes perfect sense to make less delivery trips. That helps address both problems at once – no malice need be attributed.

      2. The US Postal Service is a service and not a commercial business.

        The postal rates haven’t covered the costs completely pretty much forever (my lifetime).

        “The Postal Service is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality.”

        I’ve used the postal services in many places around the world (most of the world aside from Latin America). I think the USPS can be quite proud of their work on the basis of reliability and cost/service.

        1. That’s my point. If it was a commercial service, you would just shut it down. Since it’s not a commercial service, you either commit to it properly and fund it properly, or you sabotage it so that when you later repeal the law that says you have to have a postal service, nobody will object.

        2. re UPS: Not to mention about 15 years ago the GoP did its best to kill it by all sorts of taxation/ pension financial / shenanigans regulations.

          We complain about crappy gvt services here AFTER the GoP have done everything they can to defund, disable and kill effective gvt. It is their game plan.

    2. Republicans forced a long term funding straight-jacket onto the Post Office durning the GW Bush years. During Trump’s tenure they installed Louis deJoy to finish the job of destroying the post office.

      Here’s an example of the results. My wife ordered something on September 23rd from an outfit in Chicago-land (We live in Milwaukee, served by the Oak Creek facility). It still hasn’t arrived. Here’s the tracking history. (The package origin is at the bottom of the list.)

      September 30, 2021, 12:06 am
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
      Your item arrived at our USPS facility in SAINT LOUIS MO DISTRIBUTION CENTER on September 30, 2021 at 12:06 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

      September 29, 2021, 10:24 am
      Departed USPS Regional Facility

      September 29, 2021, 9:33 am
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 28, 2021, 6:05 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 28, 2021, 11:25 am
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 28, 2021, 9:38 am
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 28, 2021, 7:38 am
      Departed USPS Regional Facility

      September 27, 2021, 11:09 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 27, 2021, 10:24 pm
      Departed USPS Regional Facility

      September 27, 2021, 1:40 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 26, 2021, 1:35 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 26, 2021, 1:35 pm
      Arrived at USPS Facility
      MUSKEGO, WI 53150

      September 26, 2021, 1:34 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 26, 2021, 1:34 pm
      Arrived at USPS Facility
      MUSKEGO, WI 53150

      September 26, 2021, 1:08 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 26, 2021, 1:07 pm
      Arrived at USPS Facility
      MUSKEGO, WI 53150

      September 26, 2021, 1:06 pm
      Arrived at USPS Facility
      MUSKEGO, WI 53150

      September 26, 2021, 1:06 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 25, 2021, 3:35 pm
      Departed USPS Regional Facility

      September 25, 2021, 3:33 pm
      Arrived at USPS Regional Facility

      September 25, 2021, 2:18 pm
      Accepted at USPS Origin Facility
      DES PLAINES, IL 60018

      September 24, 2021, 8:56 pm
      Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item
      DES PLAINES, IL 60018

      1. yes, they know how to scan the hell out of a package don’t they? The Trump guy destroying the mail system gets his money by moving stuff for the post office so that really makes sense too.

      2. Just the other day, my sister in Oregon was making a similar point about deliveries that she’s been waiting (and waiting…) for.

    3. Do a little research on funding and management of the USPS in recent years (even decades).
      The conservatives have for years tried to strangle the service financially (e.g. radically early funding for retirement accounts) and now operationally under the current head who was brought in by the Trump administration.
      The Postal Service is now in competition with commercial package delivery companies (Amazon, UPS, FedEx) and that’s fine by me. But artificial constraints by corporate interests do not have public service in mind.
      And by the way, all the important material I receive still arrive promptly and that includes prescription medicine. My HMO advises its clients to order mail-delivered refills early “just in case” of administrative slowdowns of the mail.

  3. “*Does anybody like the U.S. Postal Service? If so, I don’t know them.”

    Yes you do. At least one.. And people might be more inclined to see it in more favorable light if they looked into the extreme measures used (mainly) by Republicans to cripple it. Which they effectively have done.

    Proposed H.R. 3076 bill is supported by Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly, is one measure to reverse the insane pre-funded mandates, should it ever makes it to the floor of the House.

  4. Please let us know if you find a solution to sleepless nights. As I grow old, it seems to happen more often. In college I might go truly sleepless once a year or so, connected with something like a Vonnegut paperback reading marathon. Then for many years, during my career work phase, I don’t recall ever being really sleepless. Then in the past 10-15 years (ages 60-73 and retired for most of it) I would have one sleepless or 1-2 hours of sleep night once in a while, but usually sleep well the next night. Now I have several 1-2 hours of sleep nights in a row. I have taken to turning on the light and reading after a couple of hours of tossing and turning in the dark. Usually I fall asleep with the book on my chest for a couple of hours and am not totally sleepless. I am sure that this is a bad habit, but at least I get some sleep and I do get a lot of reading done which seems to be more useful than continuing to toss and turn in the dark.

      1. It seems to me that someone who really wants to be a vegetarian enjoys the tastes of vegetarian meals, and may find beef flaver (particularly if artificial) repugnant.

        1. They may or they may not, depending on the reasons for being a vegetarian. I haven’t eaten meat (except seafood) for thirty years* and rather enjoy the taste of Beyond burgers (and Impossible) because they more closely approximate the taste/feel of actual meat burgers than other veggie burger options.

          * Exception: I had a traditional Mayan chicken dish in Guatemala a couple of years ago. It was fantastic. (So my new rule is that I only eat chicken once every thirty years.)

    1. I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 40 years. I think one part of the reluctance to eat meat-like/meat-flavoured dishes is because their existence suggests that vegetarians are somehow “missing out” or that the vegetarian diet needs to substitute another very similar substance in place of meat in some way. Another is that having deliberately chosen to avoid eating animals one doesn’t necessarily want to be reminded of the experience through either texture or taste: not in an “Ooh, I’ll be tempted to revert” way, more in a “Yuk! That’s what I’ve given up on, after eating animals for twenty years” one.

      Each to their own, of course, and if meat substitutes persuade some people to eat less animals so much the better; probably for themselves and absolutely definitely for the planet.

      1. Of course, being vegetarian quite literally means missing out on some culinary variety. It dismays me when fellow vegetarians (and vegans) pretend otherwise. Limiting one’s diet can not be otherwise. (Mostly vegetarian speaking.)

  5. 1947 – The 1947 World Series begins. It is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.

    A so-called “subway series” between the Yankees up in the Bronx and the Dodgers in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The Yankees won, as they did six of the seven times the two teams met in the Series in the ’40s and ’50s — every year but 1955, the Dodgers’ prepenultimate season in Brooklyn, before owner Walter O’Malley up and move the team to Los Angeles.

  6. Regarding the “bodies with vaginas” thing and related matters: I cannot understand how the people involved don’t find the use of such language frankly dehumanizing. I don’t understand the use of the term “Black bodies” or “bodies with vaginas” or any of the rest of the similar expressions. First of all, there are far more “bodies with vaginas” that are not human than are human, are we meant to be thinking of them as well? And when I hear the term “bodies”, referring to humans, I think of corpses. Am I the only one? It may seem implicitly dualistic of me, but it definitely feels dismissive and contemptuous to refer to people as “bodies”.

    And of course, “black bodies” makes me think of thermodynamics, the ultraviolet catastrophe, and the origin of Planck’s constant.

    “I begin to feel that I am shut up in a madhouse.”

    1. It is definitely dehumanizing, not to mention epically ironic for a movement that so “violently” claims to hold the moral high ground.

      When I hear “bodies” it immediately instigates a Drowning Pool ear worm. In fact the opening notes just started . . .

  7. I saw it suggested yesterday that the real split in vaccination was not party-based, but class-based. I question whether the potential harm from an un-vaccinated person is high enough to warrant the actual harm caused by firing 600 people? Or from firing nurses in New York hospitals, or soldiers, or Border Patrol agents? From the beginning of the pandemic, the government has pretended this entire situation as if there were no negative outcomes from anti-Covid policies. (It is, of course, governments’ standard practice to pretend that their policies are only ever beneficial.)

    1. I’m skeptical of that claim. The numbers for Black and Hispanic vaccine uptake now pretty much exactly match White uptake. Political party not only maps to disparity, the reasons for it being so are pretty much obvious to anyone who follows the news.

      The loss of 600 people’s jobs is “big” only if you ignore the size of the employee pool they were pulled from. And every one of those is a job that a person could have kept. As far as I’m concerned, they quit their positions.

      1. I was speaking about the impact on the individuals and their families. I am sure it’s very easy for the executives at United to sleep at night, knowing that they only had to fire so few, relatively.

        1. The impact on the individuals was self-inflicted. They aren’t victims, except perhaps of misinformation. Even that is really their choice. The properly vetted research is readily available. I suspect most of them are making an informed decision and are simply choosing to make some sort of a statement. That is their right, of course, but it is they who are choosing their path.

    2. I saw what you tried to do here. It’s not the harm from “an unvaccinated person” that should be compared to 600 fired workers, is it? It’s really the hard caused by 600 unvaccinated people. That could be considerable. It is also comparing COVID deaths to people choosing, against all medical advice, to go with “their research” and consequently lose their job. It is their choice that you should be questioning.

    3. Oh, and let’s remember that the Secretary of Homeland Security admitted yesterday that upwards of 20% of the folks crossing the southern border have Covid, and the admin doesn’t care in the least.

      1. As far as I can tell from the information I found on the net, the number is for people leaving border patrol custody, not people crossing the border, but this may be nitpicking as I do not know the difference between the numbers.

        Apparently all people get tested when they leave custody, but not necessarily before that, so it seems likely that at least some get infected while they are in custody. From NBC: ‘That document attributes the rise of Covid among undocumented immigrants to “the highly transmissible Delta variant combined with lengthier stays in crowded [Customs and Border Protection] facilities.”‘

  8. Neville Chamberlain appears to be as bad as history generally paints him. There is a terrific book by Lynne Olson called Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England, that details the struggle in Parliament to get Britain ready for a war in the face of Chamberlain’s intransigence. Well worth a read, especially for the “Speak for England, Arthur!” episode.

    1. I believe President Woodrow Wilson’s point 10 of his Fourteen Points, a 1918 proposal for a just peace in Europe, backed the Sudeten’s democratic transferal to Austria, given the high percentage (90+%) of ethnic Germans who had long inhabited the region. After WWI Czechoslovakia blocked the move, ethnic Germans living there became unruly, and we got what we got. The problem wasn’t so much Chamberlain and the Sudeten annexation by Germany as it was Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideology, at least that is my reading. Since Poland was in the way of conquering the Soviet Union, the invasion of Poland along with the rest of Eastern Europe — the Sudeten was small-change — would probably have happened anyway. What I wonder is, if there had been no Pearl Harbor and if Hitler had invaded the Soviet Union without overrunning most of Europe in the process, if the US would have ever gotten involved in WWII (outside of helping England) to begin with.

      1. I haven’t heard of Qobuz before. I take it that you recommend the service. They claim to be high fidelity. Do you use special speakers to play?

        1. I don’t have much experience with it as of yet, but so far I’m liking it. If you have a need for, or prefer, high quality recordings it is pretty convenient and they have a decent catalogue.

          I think you meant to imply that given the most popular playback devices these days, little Bluetooth speakers and ear buds, that high fidelity recordings are pointless? If so I completely agree. I do have a nice little JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker and love it for what it is, but when I really want to listen to music I listen to it over a system I invested in back in the early ’90s, a pair of B&W DM640 speakers driven by a B&K pre-amp and amplifier. For digital music input I use an Auris bluMe HD DAC. Still sounds great.

        2. I really like it, especially for classical. On most newer releases, of which there is an impressive number, you can download the booklet that would accompany a CD, even opera librettos! I connect my vintage NAD amp to a Schiit Modi3 DAC to stream in hi-res from a windows 7 laptop and listen over vintage KEF 103.2’s. It makes me happy.

          1. To answer your question, though: No, you don’t need special speakers nor even a stand-alone digital-to-analog converter (i.e., the Modi). You can listen any number of ways, even, God forbid, over the built-in speaker of a laptop. It just depends on how much detail and realism you desire from listening to recorded music.

            1. I do desire as much detail and realism as possible from recorded music. I now feel the need to ask Santa for a DAC. 🤓

  9. I very much appreciate the Auschwitz Memorials. I never scroll past but pause to try to see the person, consider the madness that led to this, the potential of this life and the loss.


      1. Yes, me too. Really look at the face and think about their age and what their hopes and dreams might have been. It’s the least one can do.

  10. I don’t believe that was Northwest’s livery in 1968, but what a remarkable aircraft. Did any carrier ever actually pack 500 souls into a regularly scheduled flight?
    Mr. Bergen’s daughter, Candice, appeared with him at least once on the classic quiz show “What’s My Line.” Jesus God, what a beautiful young woman.
    Was it John Byner who used to do a pretty funny impersonation of Mathis?
    Is there any value at all in lip-syncing outside of Dean Stockwell’s creepy take on Roy Orbison in “Blue Velvet”? Candy-colored clown…candy colored clown!

  11. *Does anybody like the U.S. Postal Service? If so, I don’t know them.

    I tend to be very fond of my postal carriers, if that counts. Once, one noticed my FFRF newsletters, and left me a ‘Thank God for Atheists’ bumper sticker in my mailbox. Later, he told me he was heartened that he wasn’t the only one in town.

    1. Cool, I like my USPS, too. I have a PO Box for any important things and I’m on friendly terms with the counter people. I’ve been known to talk people out of sending me things via FedEx or UPS.

  12. “Orange Shirt Day” has now been made a formal holiday called the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.” Federal workers and employees at federally regulated industries get the day off. The day has not yet been made a statutory holiday (this decision lies with each province), so whether or not folks have to work varies.

  13. When working at the Boeing Acoustics Lab (Seattle) I helped implement data analysis software for aircraft noise tests. Best experience was a new engine noise test in Glasgow, Montana at a former Strategic Air Command airbase. (Very thick concrete runway for B-52 bombers.)
    The plane I would have liked to picture here was a 747 with most passenger seats replaced with kegs filled with water to achieve max. takeoff weight — well over 800,000 pounds as I recall.
    Some of the ground crew, including Noise Lab folks, were invited to fly back to Seattle on the test plane. Very nice view looking forward from behind the pilot!

  14. A very nice account of the history behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, written in a way that should be understandable to competent non-scientists.

    I had thought that the key to success was getting the RNA into lipid nanoparticles. Instead, I learned that it’s the result of substituting pseudouridine for all the uridines in the message! Base-pairing is unchanged while translation is greatly enhanced. But the most important facet is that the inflammatory response, that would otherwise consume the RNA, is greatly reduced as a result of the pseudouridines!

    (The paper also shows the difference between Uridine and pseudo-U.)

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