Friday: Hili dialogue

October 29, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning as we approach November: it’s Friday, October 29, 2021, National Oatmeal Day. Brighten up your kids’ day by dressing up their oatmeal like this:

It’s also National Breadstick Day, National Bandanna Day [sic!], World Lemur Day (honoring these Honorary Cats®), and National Cat Day. Because it’s a national cat day, the first reader who sends me a picture of their cat with its name and a few words about it (don’t forget the cat’s preferred gender) will get it posted just below here.

. . . and, the winner, and avatar of National Cat Day, is Will Meyer, staff of a lovely tabby:

Happy National Cat Day!  This is Manny (he/him/his).  This email would have gotten to you quicker but he was on the keyboard.

Finally, it’s International Internet Day, explained this way:

It was on today’s date in 1969 that the first electronic message was sent from one computer to another. ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was the precursor to the internet. Funded by the US Department of Defense, the network used packet switching to connect four terminals: UCLA, Stanford, University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Charley Kline, a student programmer at UCLA, under the supervision of Professor Leonard Kleinrock, transmitted a message from the SDS Sigma 7 Host computer in UCLA’s computer science department to the SDS 940 Host computer, manned by Bill Duvall, at Stanford. Kline attempted to send the word “login,” but the connection crashed after the first two letters, and only “L” and “O” were sent. These letters became the first data sent over the first long-distance computer network.

News of the Day:

*Joe Biden’s social safety net bill has fallen from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion as he desperately seeks a compromise that will pass. This NYT article says what’s left in the bill and what’s left out (the letter includes paid family leave). Here’s the omitted stuff:

The framework leaves out several key planks of the economic agenda that Mr. Biden laid out on the campaign trail and shortly after taking office. It does nothing to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors, and it omits what would have been the nation’s first federally guaranteed paid family and medical leave for workers. It does not include free community college for all, as Mr. Biden had promised. It would expand Medicare coverage to include hearing, but not vision or dental services.

It also would not raise the corporate tax rate or the top individual income tax rate, and it would not impose a new tax on the unrealized wealth gains of billionaires, as Democrats had recently proposed.

This hasn’t, says the piece, met with either approval or disapproval from Sinema and Manchin, the Two Renegades, though Manchin is wavering. The bill also proposes to raise $2 trillion to pay for it, but I don’t believe they’ll get that much money. And why on earth did they leave out the Medicare bargaining for prescription drug prices? That costs nothing! Is that to propitiate those who support big pharma?

*Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been charged with a misdemeanor complaint of sexual assault: “forcible touching.” Ten other women have made similar accusations, but this is the first one to come to court:

The complaint, viewed by NPR, accuses Cuomo of forcibly touching “the genitals or other intimate parts” of an individual at the governor’s mansion in December of last year.

One of Cuomo’s former staffers publicly accused Cuomo of touching her under her shirt during a work-related visit.

*According to the Guardian, Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Stock is leaving the University of Sussex. The explanation—that she contravened the accepted wisdom of trans advocates—is here.  (h/t Williams). In the tweet below, the University defends itself by saying that it defended her right of free speech, and it did, but there’s nothing it could do to lift the curtain of opprobrium for her colleagues and social media that descended around her. Her announcement and a few words from Sussex:

*Big Biology News! According to The Atlantic, two California condor females reproduced parthenogenetically—that is, without having fathers. Their mothers apparently were capable of producing diploid eggs with two sets of chromosomes. This isn’t the first time it’s been seen in birds, as turkeys and chickens have shown the phenomenon, as well as many other species. We don’t know what happened, but the parthenogenesis was detected via DNA tests–after death. Both condors had health problems, and that may mean that somehow the process created complete homozygosity, which would expose recessive genetic defects. We wouldn’t want to do this to revive the endangered species, as the same mothers reproduced normally, and we don’t want a bunch of sick, inbred condors.

*In a column called, “A farewell to readers,” Nick Kristof announce he’s giving up his job as a columnist at the New York Times to—of all things—run for the governorship of Oregon. Why? Because he wishes to engage more fully in academic life. As he says:

I love journalism, but I also love my home state. I keep thinking of Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,” he said. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

I’m bucking the journalistic impulse to stay on the sidelines because my heart aches at what classmates have endured and it feels like the right moment to move from covering problems to trying to fix them.

I hope to convince some of you that public service in government can be a path to show responsibility for communities we love, for a country that can do better. Even if that means leaving a job I love.

Good luck to him; I hope he wins, but I have no idea whether a journalist with no political experience is electable.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 753,050, an increase of 1,381 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,998,691, an increase of about 8,700 over yesterday’s total. Tomorrow the world death toll will pas five million people. 

Stuff that happened on October 29 includes:

  • 1390 – First trial for witchcraft in Paris leading to the death of three people.
  • 1618 – English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.

Raleigh was imprisoned twice, the first time from 1603 to 1616, and then before his death. Here’s his comfortable cell in the Tower of London, and a contemporary portrait of the man by William Segar.

  • 1675 – Leibniz makes the first use of the long s (∫) as a symbol of the integral in calculus.

Here’s what purports to be his first use of the long s sign (I’ve circled it):

  • 1787 – Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.
  • 1863 – Eighteen countries meet in Geneva and agree to form the International Red Cross.
  • 1901 – In Amherst, Massachusetts, nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.

Toppan, below, confessed to 31 murders though only 12 were proven.  Her method was poisoning or injection with morphine or strychnine. Her ambition was “to have killed more people—helpless people—than any other man or woman who ever lived”. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity but institutionalized for the rest of her life.

Czolgosz, an anarchist, killed McKinley at the Pan-American exposition in Buffalo, New York, using a pistol wrapped in a handkerchief. The one wound in the stomach wouldn’t be lethal today, but McKinley died of infection eight days later, making Teddy Roosevelt the new President. Here’s a drawing of the assassination and the pistol and handkerchief Czolgosz used. The assassin was electrocuted 45 days after McKinley’s death.

  • 1921 – The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College, ending a 25-game winning streak. This is considered one of the biggest upsets in college football.

Here’s the Centre College team that defeated Harvard 6-0. They are quite proud of their achievement:

The news:

  • 1941 – The Holocaust: In the Kaunas Ghetto, over 10,000 Jews are shot by German occupiers at the Ninth Fort, a massacre known as the “Great Action”.
  • 1969 – The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. [see above]
  • 1998 – In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.
  • 2015 – China announces the end of One-child policy after 35 years.
  • 2020 – Jeremy CorbynLeader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition in the United Kingdom is suspended from the Labour Party following his response to findings from the EHRC on the issue of antisemitism within the party.

I told you Labour harbored anti-Semitic elements!

Notables born on this day include:

Her real name was Fania Borach (she was Jewish), and she was played by Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl”. A photo:

Her most famous song:

And the recreation by Barbra Streisand, a terrific rendition (she’s weeping because she’s just been dumped by Nicky Arnstein):

Here’s Goebbels’s famous Sportpalast speech in 1943 calling for “total war” (“totaler Krieg”) by Germany and the extermination of the Jews. He was a powerful orator. (There are English subtitles.)

  • 1910 – A. J. Ayer, English philosopher and author (d. 1989)
  • 1947 – Richard Dreyfuss, American actor and activist
  • 1971 – Winona Ryder, American actress and producer

Those who took Eternal Rest on October 29 were few, and include:

  • 1957 – Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American production manager and producer (b. 1885)
  • 1971 – Duane Allman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1946)

Killed in a motorcycle crash at 24, Allman was already one of the world’s best rock guitarists. Here’s a rare live recording of the Allman Brothers showing Duane in action: “Whipping Post” (1970)

  • 1971 – Arne Tiselius, Swedish biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
  • 1995 – Terry Southern, American novelist, essayist, screenwriter, (b. 1924)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is making important observations:

A: Hili…
Hili: “Don’t disturb. I’m observing how night is approaching.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili…
Hili: Nie przeszkadzaj, obserwuję jak noc się zbliża.

Baby Kulka on the microwave:

From Graham:

From Nicole:

From Barry:

Titania has a spoof article out:

From Barry, who adds “I love how he turns around for the other photographers: ‘Don’t I look magnificent?’ Sound off, by the way. The music is pointless.”

From Simon. The photo has been removed, but I put one below to show what was in the tweet:

Here’s the picture from iFunny:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. This woman lived less than two months after arrival.

Tweets from Matthew: sunrise over the Pacific.

Wide eyes and head bobbing say “Get away!”

A science joke for the chemists:

. . . and a wonderful photograph by Alfred Eisenstadt, who turned his camera on the audience:

22 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. My cat’s name is Grace and it was originally Graz the Austrian City my great-great grandparents emigrated from. And yes she is very much a girl

  2. Joe Biden’s social safety net bill has fallen from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion as he desperately seeks a compromise that will pass.

    It is a wise man who sometimes settles for half a loaf.

  3. In case anybody is wondering why the gun that killed McKinley, which is clearly a revolver, is captioned as an “automatic pistol”, it because that Iver Johnson model was, for some reason, called the “Safety Automatic” (Revolver). It was not because mischievous time travelers, bemused by today’s gun control arguments and confusions about the terms “semiautomatic” and “automatic” decided to get that ball rolling early.

    1. I believe it was called Automatic (semi-Auto actually) because the energy of firing the gun cocked the hammer and rolled the next cylinder in place. Also when the gun was opened for loading it automatically ejected the empty shells.

      1. ‘safety automatic’ because a bar automatically interposed and prevented the hammer from striking unless the trigger were pulled. Thus it could not be fired accidentally – supposedly.

  4. Nazis did that Larch tree thing with swastikas in Germany.

    I’ve been finding the The Babylon Bee to be particularly clever of late. The two best recently are “Pfizer Claims Vaccine Will Reduce Average Daily Child COVID Deaths From Almost Zero To Almost Zero” and “Picard Suspended From Twitter For Saying He Sees Only Four Lights” (a little obscure). I was surprised, though, to find them prescient, like Titania. In 2019 they joked “California School System To Feature Mandatory 2nd Grade Field Trips To Gay Bars”, and now in reality “Elementary school students taken to gay bar on field trip”.

    1. I don’t find that child COVID line particularly clever, humorous, or helpful. Sorry.

      More than 22,000 kids have been hospitalized and the number of deaths is “under 700” in the US alone. COVID now a leading cause of death in US kids, and at least 3500 kids under the age of ten have died globally. Hundreds of kids have died in Indonesia.

      At least one US doc says that of the children and adolescents he has seen in his ICU with COVID, none of them had been vaccinated and he is going to get his younger kids vaccinated as soon as it is possible.

    1. It’s a terrific picture capturing a magic moment in these children’s lives. Then I think of the Auschwitz photos we’ve seen…

  5. In the tweet below, the University defends itself by saying that it defended her right of free speech, and it did, but there’s nothing it could do to lift the curtain of opprobrium for her colleagues and social media that descended around her.

    The bit I emboldened is false. They could have disciplined a few members and staff and students for the bullying and harassment, but they didn’t because they are spineless or they agree with the people doing the bullying and harassment.

    1. Apparently: “The giant smiley face made of trees appears every fall as the trees’ needles change color. It’s visible near mile-marker 25 on Oregon 18”. This is in Polk County, but I’m going to go pull up a map. I’ve never seen it myself!

  6. Good luck to him; I hope he wins, but I have no idea whether a journalist with no political experience is electable.

    Don’t let BoJo, our liar-in-chief hear you ask that. Well, not if you value your ears. And time.
    I am very sure there are other examples, but he just leaped to mind. Does he still have the super-injunction running about how many kids he has?

    A science joke for the chemists: Chirality

    Oh, that one.
    A chirality joke, for the SF fans : how did the Moties (in Niven/ Pournelle’s Mote in God’s Eye) describe handedness?
    Graham’s cat-distractor computer MUST include a heating element.

    1. I loved the Moties, a creation of genius – I’m guessing something about on the one hand, on the other hand, and on the gripping hand? Yes, I agree about the heating element.

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