Friday: Hili dialogue

November 12, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday, and the weekend draws near on this chilly November 12, 2021: National Pizza With the Works (Except Anchovies) Day. Indeed, who was the miscreant who had the idea of putting these malodorous fish on pizza, for crying out loud!

It’s also Chicken Soup for the Soul Day (better for the Stomach), Happy Hour Day, Fancy Rat and Mouse Day, French Dip Day (a French dip is a roast beef sandwich au jus, with gravy on the side for dipping), and World Pneumonia Day.

Here’s a luscious French dip sandwich avec frites et jus:

There is yet another Google Doodle today, celebrating the life of Johannes Vermeer (click on screenshot, and find the letters of “Google”.  His life was short: from 1632-1675, but what works he created! He was neither born nor died on November 12, but C|Net says this:

Although only 35 of his paintings survive, Vermeer is considered one of the greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age. To celebrate his talent, Google dedicated a Doodle to Vermeer on Friday — the 26th anniversary of the opening of an exhibition at Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art featuring 21 of his works.

Greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age? He is one of the greatest artists of all time.

News of the Day:

*Most of us have been wondering how long our Covid-19 vaccinations will protect us. The NYT has the latest on this in an article called “What we know so far about waning vaccine effectiveness.”  The upshot is that the protection against infection wanes over months, but the protection against hospitalization and death wanes only very slowly. I’m not sure, though, that I agree with the first sentence here:

“The main objective of the Covid vaccine is to prevent severe disease and death, and they are still doing a good job at that,” said Melissa Higdon, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who leads a project to compile research on Covid vaccine performance.

But the decline in protection against infection will have an impact, she added.

“With true declines in vaccine effectiveness, we’ll likely see more cases overall,” said Ms. Higdon.

I thought the main objective was to keep you from getting infected. Yes, I’m glad that, with my booster, my chances of hospitalization or death is slim, but I could still get sick and I could infect somebody else who might not be as protected. I suspect we’ll need a booster every year from now on.

*”What happened to Eric Clapton?” is the title of a new Washington Post article, referring to his anti-mask and anti-lockdown, and anti-vax stands (h/t: Merilee).

Interviews with more than 20 musicians and acquaintances who have known Clapton over the years, from his days in the Yardbirds to his most recent concerts in September, shed light on why he may have thrust himself into the covid debate. Among friends and collaborators, there’s hope that Clapton can repair the damage he’s done to his reputation. But their frustration is apparent.

“Nobody I’ve talked to that knows Eric has an answer,” says drummer Jim Keltner, who has known Clapton for 51 years. “We’re all in the same boat. We’re all going, ‘I can’t figure it out.’ ”

Well, that doesn’t shed much light on Clapton’s views, but maybe this does (it’s a long article):

“At one point, I said, ‘Eric, how are you doing?’ ” Feldman says. “And [Clapton] sounded kind of like a 17-year-old, if you will. He says, ‘I just don’t have anyone to play with.’ It was kind of real and heartfelt.”

This has emerged as the main theory as to why Clapton has responded so strongly to covid shutdowns. At 76 and with a long list of health problems — from nerve issues in his hands and legs to hearing loss — he can feel the clock ticking and is desperate to squeeze in as much playing as he can.

“That’s what he lives for,” Keltner says. “You can’t take [his] gigs away. It’s like breathing for him.”

Or not breathing. Well, they were forced to take his gigs away and his response—if the theory above be true—was to act like a petulant child, becoming an anti-vaxer and a terrible role model for others.

*Op-ed writer Charles Blow has a column in the NYT called “The War on Wokeness.” It’s about how the usage has changed so that the word is now derogatory. People like AOC say it’s an “old people’s word”, using James Carville as an example. Fine: as I quoted someone the other day, I don’t care what you call this kind of performative, ineffectual social justice “activism”, just give me a word. Blow’s ending:

The opponents of wokeness are fighting over an abandoned word, like an army bombarding a fort that has been vacated: They don’t appear fierce, but foolish.

Okay, give us a word, then! Blow also says this:

No wonder young people are abandoning the word. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic.

Shouldn’t that be “opponent of the idea”?

*Nikole Hannah-Jones, head of the NYT’s 1619 Project, has not only revised American Revolutionary War history, but now is revising World War II as well. Two tweets:

*According to the Guardian, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, a centenarian+ (she’s 105) has set the world record for the 100-meter dash for people 105 and over. Julia (h/t: Matthew)

A quote:

Like all elite athletes, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins has a ruthless streak. So, despite setting a 100m world record on Sunday at the Louisiana Senior Games, she still wants to go faster.

“It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute,” the 105 year-old said after the race, where she recorded a time of 1:02.95, a record for women in the 105+ age category. When someone pointed out that 102 is less than her age and asked if that made her feel better, Hawkins answered: “No”.

Here you can see The Hurricane set the world record. I wish I were as hearty as her at that age. No, I wish I could even LIVE to that age!

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 759,310, an increase of 1,158 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,098,267 5,091,548, an increase of about 6,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on November 12 includes:

What a name! Here’s Pudge in his Yale sweater; his first paid gig was with the Allegheny Athletic Association. He went on to become a successful coach and then died in 1954.

Here’s the dispirited group of British explorers at the South Pole, where to their dismay they found the remnants of Amundsen’s team, who had beaten them there. This was taken, I believe, with a strong. People: Oates, Bowers, Scott, Wilson and Evans.  Not one of them made it back to base. 

  • 1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
  • 1948 – In Tokyo, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.

In 1945, Tojo shot himself in the chest as American soldiers tried to arrest him. He missed his heart, was restored to health, and then tried and hanged in 1948. Here’s Tojo after his unsuccessful suicide attempt:


Here’s a view of the island (captions from Wikipedia). I took a tour of it years ago, and if those are still on, it’s worth visiting. My maternal grandparents both passed through Ellis Island on their way from Eastern Europe and Russia (they hadn’t met yet):

Seen from east. From left to right: contagious diseases ward; lawn; hospital; ferry basin; main building, kitchen, dormitory, and immigration building

And here it is in its heyday (1904):

Immigrants arriving:

And “radicals” waiting to be deported (1920).  They were apparently apprehended in the U.S. and sent back to where they came from. I see but one woman.

New York, New York, USA — 1/3/1920-New York, NY: Photo shows anarchists, reds, and radicals who were rounded up in NYC in last nights raids, arriving at Ellis Island. These undesirables will remain at Ellis Island until investigation and deportation proceedings have been completed. Many arrested in Newark and other nearby cities arrived at the Island during the afternoon. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The Nose was once thought impossible to climb, but Harding and his mates did it. Here’s the face and Harding climbing it. It took them four days. Lynn Hill, a woman, free-climbed it (the first ascent like that) in less than a day.

Harding climbing El Cap in 1970:

  • 1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.
  • 1996 – A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collide in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349 in the deadliest mid-air collision to date.
  • 2001 – War in Afghanistan: Taliban forces abandon Kabul, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.
  • 2003 – Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record of 501 kilometres per hour (311 mph) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for unmodified commercial rail vehicles.

This is the world’s fastest train, pictures below coming out of Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. The cruising speed is reported to be 431 km/h (268 mph).

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1815 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American activist (d. 1902)
  • 1840 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917)
  • 1908 – Harry Blackmun, American lawyer and judge (d. 1999)
  • 1917 – Jo Stafford, American singer (d. 2008)
  • 1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982)
  • 1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017)

  • 1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

One of my favorite live performances by Young: “Old Man” in 1971 on the BBC:

Here are Nadia Comăneci’s performances on the uneven parallel bars at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, which won her the first perfect 10 in gymnastics in Olympic history.

  • 1970 – Tonya Harding, American figure skater
  • 1982 – Anne Hathaway, American actress

Those who hopped the twig on November 12 include:

  • 1916 – Percival Lowell, American astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855)

Here’s Lowell at his scope, which you can still see outside of Flagstaff:

(From Wikipedia). Percival Lowell in 1914, observing Venus in the daytime with the 24-inch (61 cm) Alvan Clark & Sons refracting telescope at Flagstaff, Arizona

Here’s the trailer for the 1954 film Sabrina, starring Holden, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn:

  • 1993 – H. R. Haldeman, American diplomat, 4th White House Chief of Staff (b. 1926)
  • 2018 – Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922)

Several readers sent me this cartoon. I think it’s from the New Yorker but I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s a great cartoon.

From Nicole:

From Bruce; an “ad” for the libraries of Vanderbilt University:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili and Andrzej have a philosophical discussion:

Hili: Leaves are falling and ants are hiding underground.
A: That’s life.
In Polish:
Hili: Spadają liście, a mrówki uciekają pod ziemię.
Ja: Takie czasy.

Over at Twitter, the beat goes on. I have popcorn but I’m staying in the audience. It looks like Bret, who (like Heather Heying) hasn’t been vaccinated because he thinks it’s dangerous, is walking something back. When Ivermectin eventually proves to be ineffectual, which is my guess, he’s going to do some very rapid back-walking.

From Ken, who notes, “Here’s the candidate that Donald Trump has endorsed for the next US senate election in Pennsylvania.”  He needs a course in evolutionary biology.

From Simon, who adds, “I thought this was a cool illustration, I know this doesn’t show the LTRs [long terminal repeats], but it’s still amazing amazing how compact viral genomes can be. I’m sure computer code could be similar if there was appropriate selection pressure. Instead it’s more like a eukaryotic genome!”  It is a very nice illustration.  Note the dreaded spike protein at 9 o’clock. 

Tweets from Matthew. First, an entire sperm whale is preserved in plastic:

Punctuation is important.

This gets Tweet of the Month so far:

41 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Anchovies contain glutamates, guanylates, and inosinates, which contribute umami flavor. Red sauce can contain them – added at the sautéeing step so they dissolve, bones and all – and the diner might be unaware of it.

    Putting fish on pizza is another story. I mean, who does that?!? A fish!

    1. I decided to experiment with this “joke” about pizza and love them! Yes! Some of us are out there adding fish to pizza…anonymously. But I am a genetic non-taster, so my opinion may be biased.

    2. “Surrender was coming”. No it wasn’t. Japan did not surrender for day after the second bomb on Nagasaki. Even though Stalin declared war on Japan the same day the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, which had already put Japan in an untenable position. (And if they did surrender sooner likely there wouldn’t be a country named North Korea with us today.) Evenso, there was so much resistance against it, the emperor/”devine leader” had to step in personally. (Which he almost never did otherwise, and that was what saved his life, unlike prime minister Tojo.)
      In other news-Stalin almost annexed Japan’s northern Hokkaido Island-and Japan’s map would look very different today if that happened-except for Truman’s intervention on behalf of Japan. The same Truman who authorized the nuclear attacks. After the war America gave Iwo Jima back to Japan-despite the bloody battle it took for America to capture and the iconic picture taken there. Whereas Soviet Union and then Russia never return the Kurill Islands back to Japan. And that is why Japan is today’s one of America’s closest allies in the world but it has never been friendly to Russia since.
      The 1619 “journalist” doesn’t know or doesn’t care to mention any of this. As always she produces a rich mix of lies and half truths to mislead. While it is an established truth that American nationalism can be dogmatic and dishonest-the 1619 attempt at historical revisionism is living proof that the same goes for anti-Americanism.

      1. Hannah Nikole-Jones is startlingly uninformed about modern historical events and seems to dislike her country. She is, of course, a Democrat.

    3. I’ve eaten a delightful pizza made with smoked salmon. Not a fish, but I also enjoy shrimp on pizza. Yes, anchovy in red sauce is classic- Puttanesca is one of the best examples. There’s nothing wrong with anchovies on pizza though, just do it sparingly and it needs to be paired well- use parmesan instead of mozzarella, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and sweet sausage are all good accompaniments.

      But the most important attribute of using anchovies is actually liking them. If you don’t like anchovies in the first place (and I assume Jerry doesn’t) then you won’t like them on pizza or anything else.

    4. I tried shrimp and scallops on pizza. I consider it the culinary equivalent of an operatic “triumph” at La Scala or the Metropolitan. Anyway, what’s the critical difference between shrimp scampi and shrimp on pizza? Exquisitly delicate visual aesthetics requiring a “trigger warning”?

  2. And “radicals” waiting to be deported (1920). They were apparently apprehended in the U.S. and sent back to where they came from. I see but one woman.

    I believe Emma Goldman was deported in 1920, at the height of the First Red Scare, but I can’t tell from the photograph whether that is she.

    1. I think it is usually forgotten that the First Red Scare took place under the administration of Woodrow Wilson. It peaked with the Palmer Raids that took place between November 1919 and January 2020. Wikipedia notes: “The raids and arrests occurred under the leadership of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, with 3,000 arrested. Though 556 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders, Palmer’s efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the U.S. Department of Labor, which had authority for deportations and objected to Palmer’s methods.”

      Wilson had a debilitating stroke on October 2, 1919, so perhaps Attorney General Palmer felt he could carry out his anti-socialist crusade without worrying what the White House thought. Some historians think that Wilson’s wife was really running things, so perhaps she had no objections to the raid.

      In any case, the whole sordid affair, with ramifications to the present day, is another reason why the honoring of Wilson through various memorials can be questioned.

  3. Check out Tim’s Vermeer – fascinating documentary with art and science led by Penn & Teller, of all people.

  4. I thought the main objective was to keep you from getting infected.

    What’s the biologist/epidemiologist definition of ‘infected’?

    Pretty clearly the antibodies produced in response to the vaccine are only going to work on virus in the body, so the vaccine works by attacking Covid organisms that you have in your body. A layperson like me is tempted to say that if there’s virus in your body, you’re infected, and what the vaccine is doing is (giving your body the tools to) kill that infection before it reproduces enough to affect you and (usually) before you become contagious.

    I’m asking about definition because I could see ‘preventing the virus from reproducing enough to affect you or become contagious’ as another reasonable definition of ‘not infected.’

    1. You are correct. Aborting infection before it made you sick would count as success. Unfortunately, as you acknowledge, at least some people for some period of time can shed enough virus to be contagious. For epidemic control the individual success may not be good enough. This is hard to study in real life because you can’t tell people to attempt to infect contacts deliberately.

      Some infections and some vaccines stimulate production of abundant antibodies of the IgA class which are secreted into the mucus on the surfaces of the body, like the bowel and the respiratory tract. These surfaces are topologically outside the body. Antibodies in mucus that “neutralize” the viruses prevent their attachment to the cell and thus prevent infection into the body altogether. (In the case of SARS-COV-2, the relevant attachment is between the virus’s spike protein and the cell’s ACE receptor.) I don’t know how much IgA is secreted with either vaccination or natural infection in SARS-COV-2. But good mucosal immunity would indeed prevent infection altogether.

      This is the Holy Grail of vaccine development. Oral live attenuated (Sabin) polio vaccine comes close and should allow the eradication of polio. Because it is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, you have to immunize the gut to stop spread. (The wrinkle is that the live virus occasionally reverts to full virulence and causes polio paralysis. Countries using Sabin must therefore immunize all children first with injectable killed (Salk) vaccine before follow-on Sabin. This is not related to the mucosal immunity. It’s just an explanation for the curious as to why we don’t use Sabin in North America even though it’s “better”.)

  5. Re covid vaccines and hospitalization. This was something that was discussed when FDA were holding their committee meetings to consider data, pending approval of the Pfizer vaccine (there was a live stream online, so I had it on in the background). The issue of “a case of the sniffles” vs hospitalization and intubation was discussed, and the impact of severe disease was considered to be the most important criterion (versus stopping all infections). That being said these are still really good vaccines, at least in the short term. It’s not clear to me why some vaccines/diseases seem to give very long term immunity (e.g. measles) vs some that are much shorter term (any of the endemic coronaviruses or covid vaccine for example). Does anyone have insights on this?

      1. Live virus vaccines are propagated in cell culture through many generations until they accumulate enough mutations — one may be all it takes — to attenuate their virulence to where they won’t cause disease in healthy recipients. But because they replicate in the body’s cells and stimulate a broad range of immune response they work better than killed viruses at producing immunity whose duration approaches that of natural infection. The healthy immune response eliminates the vaccine virus as smartly as it does natural infection.

        Live attenuated virus vaccines (and the BCG vaccine against TB) can’t be given to people with certain immune disorders like HIV infection because the virus will replicate uncontrollably and cause serious disease. This is the only circumstance I am aware of where the virus would stay in the body and is not a desired outcome.

        As a rule, infectious diseases are targeted for vaccine development when it is known that natural immunity is lifelong, particularly for mass vaccination of children. Strep throats, croup, ear infections, influenza, endemic coronas, urinary tract infections, and gonorrhoea commonly recur as selection pressure favours the presentation of novel epitopes which evade the immune response or take advantage of weak mucosal defences. Indeed the question is why diseases like measles and polio don’t do this — to our great good fortune for making highly effective vaccines against them.

        The mRNA vaccines are interesting because they contain no complete virus particles (alive or dead) yet can translate great quantities of spike protein mimicking in some ways natural infection…with immunity directed only against spike, of course. What this means in terms of duration of protection, of the individual and of the public, is still for the future. Edit: as is the case for immunity from natural infection.

  6. I have to agree with Nikole Hannah-Jones on one thing: “Propaganda is not history” -even if it’s her propaganda.

    1. Re: Tojo and Hannah-Jones:
      Errol Morris, director of the documentary “Fog of War”, speaking on NPR’s “All Things Considered” in 2009, presented a soundbite from an interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
      In this, McNamara recalled that, with regard to the war on Japan, “[General Curtis] LeMay said, if we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he’s right,” McNamara continued, “He, and I’d say ‘I’, were behaving as war criminals.” The program host clarified that McNamara’s remarks referred to being “a war criminal with respect to the fire bombing of Japan” in which McNamara helped plan terror bombings of residential areas around Japanese cities. These fire bombings by American B-29s killed upwards of 400,000 Japanese civilians, including almost 100,000 in a single raid on Tokyo. This does not include the 200,000 deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
      My own view concerning the Roosevelt-Truman nuclear attack is that neither president very much considered “Japs” [the word used when I was a kid] as human beings and both were as much interested in showing off “The Bomb” to the Soviets as in defeating Japan . . . before Stalin could get any more credit for winning WWII than he already had. But I am not an historian.

  7. Ida Bae Wells is an excellent example of a person who learns very little attempting to study history because it all comes from 21st century judgement of everything. Certainly one who should not bother making the trip. How many young minds she feeds these judgements is the real damage. I would call it crap history.

    1. I don’t think she studies History. She’s just cherry-picking highlights, and fitting them into her own world view. That said, I chuckle every time I see her twitter handles. It’s clever.

      1. Actually you are right, she is not a historian. She apparently did get a BA from Notre Dame in history & African-American study. Later a Masters in Journalism. it is a shame she did not learn anything at Notre Dame.

  8. The Dutch forger Han van Meegeren successfully fooled art experts with his fake Vermeers:

    As a child, Van Meegeren developed an enthusiasm for the paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, and he set out to become an artist. Art critics, however, decried his work as tired and derivative, and Van Meegeren felt that they had destroyed his career. He decided to prove his talent by forging paintings by 17th-century artists including Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch and Johannes Vermeer. The best art critics and experts of the time accepted the paintings as genuine and sometimes exquisite. His most successful forgery was Supper at Emmaus, created in 1937 while he was living in the south of France; the painting was hailed as a real Vermeer by leading experts of the day such as Dr Abraham Bredius.

    During World War II, Göring traded 137 paintings for one of Van Meegeren’s false Vermeers, and it became one of his most prized possessions. Following the war, Van Meegeren was arrested, as officials believed that he had sold Dutch cultural property to the Nazis. Facing a possible death penalty, Van Meegeren confessed to the less serious charge of forgery. He was convicted on falsification and fraud charges on 12 November 1947, after a brief but highly publicised trial, and was sentenced to one year in prison. He did not serve out his sentence, however; he died 30 December 1947 in the Valerius Clinic in Amsterdam, after two heart attacks. It is estimated that Van Meegeren duped buyers out of the equivalent of more than US$30 million in 1967’s money, including the government of the Netherlands.

    Some of his fakes may still be on gallery walls since testing them is an expensive and time-consuming process that might result in a considerable drop in a collection’s worth. Ironically, Van Meegeren’s success led to a rise in the value of his paintings and so other paintings created forgeries of his own work.

  9. This librarian loves the photo from the Vanderbilt U libraries.🥰 That’s what I was taught when I was in library school 30 some years ago. My peers and I have been rightly proud of this declaration and still accord with it. Sad to say, though, the higher-ups at the American Library Association have all but gone fully woke, so I wonder how long this core value of librarianship will stand.

      1. I have been thinking of forming an alternative professional association, yet to be named. (Any suggestions?) This is along the same line as the recently announced University of Austin. I believe we will see alternative, non-woke professional groups sprouting up soon. Are you still a member of the AMA? Are you aware of any talk about an alternative medical association?
        BTW, the Great Library of Alexandria has been reborn as the magnificent Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

        1. That’s very nice about the Bibliotecha Alexandrina!!

          And, no, I’m not still a member of the AMA. I’m afraid I stopped being a member quite a while before I left practice. I thought they poked their noses into too many places they didn’t really belong, and I disagreed with them often enough that they weren’t worth sending money. So I’m not aware of any specific plans for alternatives, but I would certainly have been eager for such a thing even nearly twenty years ago.

          I’ll have to put my subconscious on the task of possible name suggestions, and if anything pops into my head, I’ll let you know.

    1. I love the sign too, but I wonder how long it will stay up, since some student will undoubtedly be offended by it.

      1. If I were dean of libraries at Vanderbilt U, I would respond to such a student thusly, a la Richard Dawkins: “You’re offended. So what? The sign stays up!”

  10. I don’t know why anyone is listening to the Woke who object to other people using their own term in order to identify them. It’s not like the Quakers, whose enemies created the term to denigrate them. I also don’t buy the arguments we’re seeing that some of these terms are too imprecise, and we need to say more things to clarify what we are talking about. It’s just the Woke trying to deflect from attention to their terrible, terrible ideas. Although, if we needed a different term. . . how about Equidiots?

  11. Fan of anchovies on pizza here, checking in.

    Also love pineapple on pizza.

    Sometimes both together.

    *Don’t get up, I’ll see my way out*

      1. Adventurous eater here. I’d eat a shrimp & pineapple pizza, no problem. But pineapple & anchovies? I’d eat it if it were there & I were hungry, but I have a hard time imagining ordering that combination.

        I’ll eat all kinds of combos on pizza. But the first time I try a new place, I order plain cheese — which if the joint is worth a damn, oughta be pretty good all on its own.

        1. The question is : is a whole fish allowed to flop down on your pie?

          … but you know – thinking it over… I bet a nice flaky piece of bass, or maybe halibut (is that greasy?) would be amazing on pizza. Grouper maybe. Already cooked of course.

          But a cured – meaning extreme salt – whole strip of fish with all the bones? Or a sardine? My face is shriveling just imagining it!

  12. I dove in to Bret Weinstein’s twitter feed a while back and was frankly shocked. It really did have the vibe of someone who had gone down a rabbit hole and was constantly railing at the world and how “everyone is being fooled.” While there were of course nods to science, in tone it was so much like every anti-vaxxer/conspiracy thread I’ve ever seen.

    Trying to explain how someone who seemed so grounded early on has ended up there is difficult.
    But I think Jerry hit on the most likely explanation a while back: that these folks are just contrarians to the core, which can lead to this kind of misfire.

    One overriding characteristic I find in the conspiracist/anti-vax crowd is a cynical nature, in particular cynical about other human beings. Of course lots of people who are cynical about people aren’t conspiracy nuts, but it does seem to be a consistent feature o those who are, and a deeply contrarian and “I Know Better” disposition perhaps pushes some down the rabbit holes.

  13. What happened to the reasonable, articulate Weinstein who refused to give in to the Evergreen College mob? A while back I began listening to one of his podcast episodes, had to stop and unsubscribe when he & his wife started peddling magnetic soles or some other snake oil stuff, can’t remember. I suppose it’s naive not to expect bumping into a Linus Pauling disciple now and then.

  14. Hannah-Jones seems to argue that the atomic bomb would never have been used against white people, and only Americans could countenance such a weapon. I disagree on both points. She may not know the British gift for pitiless cruelty in the King’s service.
    Curtiss LeMay learned how to do incendiary night bombing from the British Bomber Command, in which many Canadians flew, both as crew on RAF squadrons and in our own RCAF under British command. In 1943 the RAF made a firestorm out of Hamburg.

    Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris was explicit in a CYA letter he wrote to Churchill that his night raids had the goal of killing German civilians. We have to keep killing them, he wrote, until Germany can no longer fight. In public this was euphemized as operations against enemy “morale” or as unfortunate collateral damage from the vagaries of night targeting. But even in the face of appalling losses the remorseless Harris never flinched from what he saw as the objective: kill Germans. He believed he could kill more Germans his way than the squeamish Americans could by day with their Norden bombsights and heavy defensive armament but risking so many more men per 100 tons of bombs than he did. Yes, he had the statistics, too.

    “Kill XXXs” was then not a uniquely American anti-Asian sentiment. If the atomic bomb had come soon enough, Churchill would surely have urged Pres. Roosevelt to use it against Germany if it could force surrender (assuming Hitler was still rational, as Hirohito was and the militarists weren’t.) Harris would have relished the task of getting it there: the only bomber then in use in England that could have lifted either one was his beloved Avro Lancaster. And the targets would likely have been lightly defended and undamaged cities,…such as Dresden.

  15. My wife and I were in DC on Nov 12, 1995. We were about to head out of town; the government was shutting down and all the museums would close [thank you, Newt]. Somehow we learned that the Vermeer exhibit had been saved by private donations. [Can you imagine the damage to the National Gallery’s reputation of all these museums had loaned one of their most precious paintings to them, and no one got to see them?] Anyway, we showed up on the Pennsylvania Ave side at opening time. Less than 100 people there, IIRC. Security lead us through the otherwise closed museum to the exhibit. Nothing like seeing a Vermeer exhibit with no hordes of people.

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