Tuesday: Hili dialogue

November 23, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the cruelest Day: Tuesday, November 23, 2021: National Espresso Day, the perfect pick-me-up in the drowsy afternoon.  Here’s the espresso machine and bean grinder I have in my office. They were always the most important piece of lab equipment I had:

It’s also Dr. Who Day, celebrating the airing of the first episode (see 1963 below), Eat a Cranberry Day, National Cashew Day, Repudiation Day in Frederick County, Maryland (the day in 1765 when the colony repudiated the British Stamp Act), and Fibonacci Day. explained thusly:

November 23—or 11/23—is the date of Fibonacci Day because the first series of numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 1, 1, 2, and 3. The sequence is created by adding the previous two numbers to get the third number, so it begins as follows: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and 144.

News of the Day:

*Today is the deadline for all U.S. federal workers to have been vaccinated or met other covid restrictions. Compliance isn’t perfect: the White House estimated yesterday that 90% of federal workers have had at least one vaccination, while 95% are vaccinated or “have a pending religious or medical exemption request.” We’ll see how hard the government cracks down on the refusers. My view is they have to be put on leave or fired.

*The death toll at Waukesha, Wisconsin, where a man out on bail ran his SUV into a Christmas parade, remains at five, ranging in age from 53 to 81, but 48 people are injured, some of them children and some of them critically.  It wasn’t a terrorist attack, but the accused killer had just been involved in a domestic dispute and may have been working out his anger.

The driver, identified by the authorities as Darrell E. Brooks, 39, who had a long history of arrests, had left the scene of a domestic disturbance involving a knife moments before the incident, police said.

The cops caught Brooks after a chase, and it’s likely that this will be the last act of crime in his career.

*Out in San Jose, California, accused Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes, deciding to testify in her own defense, was put on the stand and fed softball questions by her attorneys. Her testimony was how she really, really believed in her blood-testing machine (even though previous testimony showed that she knew it was deeply flawed. She was cast as a visionary:

“We thought this was a really big idea,” Ms. Holmes said of Theranos’s attempts to remove human error from steps involved in the testing process by automating it.

Ms. Holmes’s narrative is an effort to strike back at prosecutors’ allegations that Ms. Holmes knew Theranos’s blood-testing technology was inaccurate and unreliable when she solicited hundreds of millions of dollars from investors and the startup rolled out its testing to patients. She has appeared confident and relaxed on the witness stand.

But is she going to be the only defense witness?

Ms. Holmes first took the stand Friday, hours after the government called its last witness. Her testimony followed two other witnesses presented by the defense, including a former board member who joined after Theranos’s problems came to light. The defense could call other witnesses after Ms. Holmes’s testimony concludes, though criminal-defense lawyers say defendants typically take the stand last.

I can’t believe that this is the only defense they could mount, though Holmes will probably testify that her business and romantic partner Sunny Balwani was really pulling the strings. She’s hoping to win over the jury just as she won over her investors.  Her questioning continues Monday, and then the prosecution gets a cross-examination, which will really be a show.

*Have a look at the short article in Persuasion by French feminist Caroline Fouret: “How women from different generations can understand each other” In France, Left-wing feminists have fractured into two camps, the ‘”universalists” who hold classical liberal ideals, and the “identitarian” who we’d call “woke”.   (h/t: Steve):

There’s a big difference between the universalists and what we call in France “identitarians”: those who are obsessed with identity. It’s an obsession you find on the extreme right; but also, these days, on the extreme left. Intersectional feminists seem to believe that being born a woman, or gay, or black, or Muslim is, in itself, what gives you the right to be listened to as a victim, or even the right to forbid someone else from speaking. And they don’t forbid someone from speaking because he or she necessarily is an oppressor. They forbid them because he or she is white, straight, or non-Muslim, and born into the camp of the “oppressors”.

Personally, I belong to the type of feminism that believes in freedom of speech, deconstructionism, and universalism. I believe in a feminist movement that includes everyone who wants sincerely to demolish the patriarchal system, rather than canceling potential allies.

Fouret’s solution doesn’t bode well:

The question should not be: “Tell me what your identity is and I will tell you whether you can speak!” The question should be: “What are you doing for equality?” This is a far more effective way to obtain allies and convince people. But I am not sure that some identitarian feminists want to convince. They want a “seat at the table”—for them, first. Many come from privileged backgrounds, rich families, and the top American universities. It’s an elite strategy to obtain more power, rather than obtaining equality.

*Reports from Afghanistan via the IPT (the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which specifically investigates Islamic terrorism, reports widespread and brutal violence against peaceful Afghans, especially women.

 A young man was shot to death in Badakhshan last week for listening to music. At the end of October, the Taliban shot three people to death for playing music at a wedding. We know that impoverished and starving families are selling their 9-year-old daughters to strangers for food money; and, I’ve been told that criminals are offering money for human organs.

The Taliban have been hunting house by house, in district after district, for known women’s rights activists. Suddenly, a woman—a friend, a colleague, a neighbor—disappears and is never seen again.

This was all predictable, and on the recent nightly NBC News there were scenes of an distraught Afghan man selling his 9 year old daughter into marriage with a much older man, because they needed the money for food. The Taliban asserted that they wouldn’t trample on women’s rights, but anybody who believed that was a fool.

*The NYT put up a list of the “100 notable books of 2021“, exactly one of them, Life’s Edge by Carl Zimmer, is a trade book about science, and there’s a book about the reconstructed lives of the Neanderthals from archaeological data. At most, 2% of the books deal with science. I suspect this is more about what interests the NYT and its public than about a paucity of science books this year.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 773,106, an increase of 1,092 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,177,568, an increase of about 7,000 over yesterday’s total.

Reports suggest that we may be headed into yet another Covid spike this winter. Oy!

Stuff that happened on November 23 includes:

  • 1644 – A tweet from Matthew:

  • 1876 – Corrupt Tammany Hall leader William Magear Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) is delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.

The great political cartoonist Thomas Nast was on a ceaseless campaign against Boss Tweed and his henchmen. Here’s a cartoon with the Wikipedia caption, “A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to “Blow Over”—”Let Us Prey.” by Thomas NastHarper’s Weekly newspaper, September 23, 1871. “Boss” Tweed and members of his ring, Peter B. SweenyRichard B. Connolly, and A. Oakey Hall, weathering a violent storm on a ledge with the picked-over remains of New York City.”

  • 1924 – Edwin Hubble’s discovery, that the Andromeda “nebula” is actually another island galaxy far outside our own Milky Way, is first published in The New York Times.
  • 1963 – The BBC broadcasts An Unearthly Child (starring William Hartnell), the first episode of the first story from the first series of Doctor Who, which is now the world’s longest running science fiction drama.

Here’s that first episode, with the first Doctor entering the Tardis for the first time:

Here’s a video of Mayol deep-diving; note that his “free” dives are assisted by a motorized device. He set the world record of 105 meters when he was 56 years old. Turn the music off, though!

  • 1981 – Iran–Contra affair: Ronald Reagan signs the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
  • 1992 – The first smartphone, the IBM Simon, is introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here’s the unwieldy Simon phone in its charging base:

The first elected woman to head an African state, and here she is:

  • 2015 – Blue Origin‘s New Shepard space vehicle became the first rocket to successfully fly to space and then return to Earth for a controlled, vertical landing.

Here’s a 3-minute video of that first successful launch and landing. Music is dreadful!

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1804 – Franklin Pierce, American general, lawyer, and politician, 14th President of the United States (d. 1869)
  • 1883 – José Clemente Orozco, Mexican painter (d. 1949)

Along with Diego Rivera, Orozco was one of Mexico’s finest muralists. Here’s his “The Epic of American Civilization” (1932-1934), which you can see in the reading room of Dartmouth’s library! It has 24 panels:

  • 1888 – Harpo Marx, American comedian and musician (d. 1964)

Harpo was actually a member of the famous Algonquin Round Table, where famous wags convened to drink and be witty. Here’s a photo with the caption from Wikipedia. I’ve circled Harpo, who is unrecognizable without his wig.

Members and associates of the Algonquin Round Table: (standing, left to right) Art Samuels and Harpo Marx; (sitting) Charles MacArthur, Dorothy Parker, and Alexander Woollcott
  • 1924 – Colin Turnbull, English-American anthropologist and author (d. 1994)
  • 1942 – Susan Anspach, American actress (d. 2018)

Anspach in Five Easy Pieces:

  • 1946 – Bobby Rush, American activist and politician

Rush is my Congressional representative. Doesn’t he look a bit like Barak Obama with the thin face and big ears? Cover his beard to improve the resemblance.

  • 1953 – Rick Bayless, American chef and author
  • 1954 – Bruce Hornsby, American singer-songwriter and pianist
  • 1992 – Miley Cyrus, American singer-songwriter and actress 

Those who succumbed on November 23 include:

  • 1814 – Elbridge Gerry, American merchant and politician, 5th Vice President of the United States of America (b. 1744)
  • 1990 – Roald Dahl, British novelist, poet, and screenwriter (b. 1916)
  • 1991 – Klaus Kinski, German-American actor and director (b. 1926)
  • 1992 – Roy Acuff, American singer-songwriter and fiddler (b. 1903)
  • 1995 – Louis Malle, French-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1932)
  • 1995 – Junior Walker, American singer and saxophonist (b. 1931)

Junior Walker playing my favorite song of his. Great sax solos!

The great O’Day with a jazz version of “Honeysuckle Rose”:

  • 2014 – Marion Barry, American lawyer and politician, 2nd Mayor of the District of Columbia (b. 1936)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again acting enigmatic:

Hili: Something must be done.
A: What must be done?
Hili: I don’t know yet.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba coś zrobić.
Ja: Co trzeba zrobić?
Hili: Jeszcze nie wiem.

There is a new book for teenagers and young adults with text by Andrzej and photos of Kulka and other non-felid animals by Paulina. Malgorzata describes it as “a quite serious description of the way morality evolved among humans with quite a lot of biology in it.”

Here’s a picture and a promotion for the book put on FB by Andrzej. The promo has been translated from Polish by Malgorzata.

I separated the light from the darkness by one meow and it was good but I was still hungry. I created mice and other creatures and it was good, too.  Still though there was a lack of a creature which would praise and serve me. I made it out of flesh and bone and I gave it reason so it would know where to place my bowl and what to fill it with.  Having created humans [człowieków – this is gramatically very incorrect form often ascribed to talking cats when they speak about people. MK] in two copies I said: go forth and multiply but not excessively, and I saw that these humans were good, at least from time to time they were good. You can read more by yourself in a book you can buy by yourself here and in many other places, and you will find in it plenty of pictures of me, so that you could start peregrination with my picture by clicking on the right link.

Here’s the entry on Andrzej’s Facebook page: and an illustration from the book. It is, of course, Kulka, photographed by Paulina.

The book: The title is Skąd się wzięło dobro i zło; i kilka innych pytań, which means: Where good and evil came from; and a few other questions (the second bits are in smaller letters)

A meme from Matthew:

A meme from Nicole:

I found this tweet: it’s a lovely video in which singer Adele is surprised by one of her favorite teachers, whom she hasn’t seen in years. An outburst of love and tear ensues. Note that the person asking the question is Emma Thompson:

A tweet from Ginger K.:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. This is an example of a character exaggerated in males, and so implies the action of sexual selection. The flies most likely butt heads with other males, and the one with the longer eyes wins, getting the female.

Matthew tweeted this cool courtship ritual, and Ziya Tong sent hearts, which makes me jealous.

Well how many of them had even seen an elephant? They couldn’t draw cats, either, but at least they’d seen moggies!

Oy, they’re onto us!

24 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Junior Walker played the brilliant sax solo on Foreigner’s “Urgent”. If I recall correctly, he recorded it long before the song was otherwise finished; perhaps he had only a chord chart or whatever.

    1. Not all federal workers are back in the office and not all jobs require in-office presence. In fact I’d guess most aren’t physically back in their offices, though it will vary significantly by agency and job function. There is no need to fire a refuser or put them on involuntary leave if their job can be done by telework and they can be told to telework. However like all employers, the federal government treats telework as a privilege, not a right, so if they decide your job description requires you to come in, and you refuse to, well that’s a different story.

      Federal office buildings must also obey state and local health codes. So if the city, county, or state says masks are required indoors, and some federal employee is a mask refusenik, their federal employer testing them is not going to be enough to allow them into the building.

  2. “she really, really >>believed<< in her blood-testing machine "

    That – belief – is the fundamental force in Fantasyland.

    Read Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen.

    1. That’s a defense no juror should buy in this case.

      Look, believing in your technology means you tell your sales partner that while the test isn’t ready on schedule, you have high confidence in the outcome and please continue to work with us because this thing will be massive when we get the kinks worked out.

      What she did was to tell her sales partners that it is ready, go ahead and order units, put them on the shelves, have people take the blood tests and send in the results, and Theranos will analyze them. That’s fraud, not belief in your technology.

      1. In her head, she probably considered this the cutting edge of risk-taking – risk-taking and thrill-seeking a behavior trait associated with some tech figures or entrepreneurs that come to mind.

        1. Again though, there are legit ways to take risks and non-legit ways, and hers was the non-legit way. “We will have it ready by the time the first samples come back” would’ve been a legit way to tell Walgreens that the company’s tech was a risk, but a risk you believed in. “Our technology works now” is just playing lying/fraud. What they told Walgreens, AIUI, is the latter.

  3. But is she [Elizabeth Holmes] going to be the only defense witness?

    Due to the so-called rule of sequestration of witnesses (often referred to colloquially as invoking “the rule”), a defendant is the only potential defense witness in a criminal trial who is permitted to remain in the courtroom to hear all other witnesses testify. It is therefore generally considered prudent, where the defendant elects to take the stand in his or her own defense, for the defendant to testify as the final witness in the defense case-in-chief. The defense wants to avoid having another defense witness get on the stand after the defendant testifies and to give testimony that in any way contradicts the defendant’s.

    Keep in mind, too, that testifying at trial is one of the three decision that lie solely in the defendant’s discretion (along with whether to represent oneself or to be represented by counsel, and whether to plead guilty or go to trial). All other decisions concerning how the defense is conducted are made by defense counsel (although prudent counsel will, of course, make such decisions in consultation with the client).

    1. Rittenhouse trial – At least 2 million dollar fund for his court review. Which also proves the rule, money can buy happiness and get you off from murder. Jury selection the same as OJ Simpson.

  4. I find only a handful of actual History books on the list as well (I don’t count memoirs and biographies, which seem to dominate Non-Fiction). I was surprised and pleased, though, to see McWhorter’s Woke Racism on the list.

    1. I have accepted “Woke Racism” as a wiser title than “The Elect” – even though I loved “The Elect”.

      “Woke Racism” has a strong, almost bludgeoning effect on the woke scene, which – until the book came out – cast the aura of a pure sort of salvation outwards …

      I assume the excellent term – proper noun? – “The Elect” – is preserved in the writing… maybe I can use that when I get asked for my pronouns.

  5. Rush is my Congressional representative. Doesn’t he look a bit like Barak Obama with the thin face and big ears? Cover his beard to improve the resemblance.

    Jeez, Jerry, you lookin’ to start a new conspiracy theory? Every proper wingnut already knows that Barry’s real daddy was the Marxist anti-colonialist philosopher from Martinique Frantz Fanon. 🙂

  6. “The cops caught Brooks after a chase, and it’s likely that this will be the last act of crime in his career.”

    So chalk up a zero for the “Good Guys with Guns (that are not police)”.

    Oh, Brooks had a SUV.

    Well, I guess the Good Guys are off the hook then…. still, what was holding them up? Holsters were stuck? Had too many layers of clothing to reach through?

    1. AIUI they shot at him as he was driving through their barricade. They stopped shooting at him once the vehicle was past the barrier though, because at that point a miss could’ve hit a bystander at the event. Seems reasonable to me. Sometimes there are no good options. Whether to shoot or not shoot at a vehicle driving through a crowd is a “no good option” situation.

      What little I read on the incident, the police and city are blaming the courts for setting his bail from his most recent crime at an unusually low value of $1,000.

    1. I must have heard wrong on this detail. The reports i got was, the police was just arriving at the place where he was involved in a domestic dispute with a knife. As they arrived there reports came out about the disaster at the parade. If true….there was no chase?

      1. Perhaps I heard wrong. The way they showed it on the evening news, I thought the police were chasing him but perhaps I just assumed that. That said, the perpetrator was obviously in a hurry to get away from someone. As far as I know, he had nothing against the parade other than a blatant disregard for human life. Nothing personal!

        1. I don’t mean to say the law did not screw this one up. He never should have been out driving a car. He had a long list of criminal behavior and was out on a small $1000 bail from assault and running over a woman. Just 5 days before killing 5 and injuring 48.

    2. Yup, notwithstanding prior events the poor dude was just trying to escape police brutality. Just like the saintly Jacob Blake…

  7. Love the teacher reunion. Was this a case of racism white supremacy in action? Just checking the narrative. This is what we should be striving for. Heartfelt joy from both sides. Excellent stuff

  8. Seems to me that NYT list is a fail if it doesn’t include Greg Zuckkerman’s “A Shot to Save the World,” about the long roads to the COVID vaccines. Since there’s plenty of science in it, I assume it’s not on the list.

    Also, um, aren’t there 5wks left in 2021? Or have all the books to be released in 2021 already been released? Maybe they have on accounta Krimmis?

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