Wednesday: Hili dialogue

December 22, 2021 • 7:00 am

Welcome to what the Chinese would call 駝峰 (Hump Day): December 22, 2021: National Date Nut Bread Day. The bread is okay, but I’d prefer to just eat straight Medjool dates (the best!) I buy organic Medjools from Amazon, and favor this brand, which is reliable and fresh–not to mention huge and delicious. Kept in the fridge, and then warmed in the microwave, they’re a real treat.

And while we’re on the wonderful Medjool, here’s how they’re farmed, which explains why they’re so expensive:

It’s a slim day for celebrations: only National Cookie Exchange Day and Abilities Day, honoring and celebrating people with disabilities and their caregivers.

News of the Day:

At last! The White House, via the Washington Post, has an update on the promised First Cat (they just got another First D*g):

The Bidens also had indicated early on that they had plans to adopt a cat, with Jill Biden going so far as to say that one — an apparent female — was “waiting in the wings.” However, no White House cat has yet materialized, much to the chagrin of the president’s feline-loving constituency.

LaRosa confirmed Monday that the new cat is a female and said she will join the Bidens in the White House in January.

I’ll believe it when I see it. We’ve heard this stuff before. (h/t Karl)

*I’ve now decided that Russia is going to start trouble in Ukraine. They’ve already massed many troops along the border, but now are threatening a cyberattack on Ukraine, and how can the West counter that? Further, Putin is now making ominous statements about NATO, statements that imply that Russia might take military action. As CNN reports:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country has “every right” to “react harshly to unfriendly steps” as the US and NATO continue to pressure Moscow over its aggression towards Ukraine.

He has blamed the current tensions in Europe on NATO’s expansion following the fall of the Soviet Union and said Russia has been forced to respond.

Putin also discussed the situation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, the Kremlin said in a statement

According to a readout published by the Kremlin, Putin reiterated his demands to Scholz.

“Vladimir Putin informed [Olaf Scholz] about Russian proposals for long-term, legally binding security guarantees, excluding any further NATO advance to the east, as well as the deployment of offensive weapon systems in countries adjacent to Russia,” the statement said.

My prediction, which is mine: Russia’s going to invade Ukraine, though it may begin with cyberattacks.

*Several big telecommunication companies, like AT&T and Verizon, are rolling out 5G Internet in December or January, and getting rid of the old 3G frequencies. (This is why I had to get a new iPhone, as my old 5s couldn’t handle 5G.) But now two big-time airline manufacturers—Boeing and Airbus—have warned that 5G internet near airports could interfere with radioaltimeters, devices crucial for landing planes. Internet providers have said “it’s not a problem”, which isn’t a very useful response. However, I have seen plenty of people use their 3G cellphones in the air when they weren’t supposed to, and haven’t seen any issues with navigation. Remember, we were always told to turn off our phones because they could affect navigation, and I always did, but there were plenty of people chattering away before landing.

*Remember the 12 missionaries kidnapped by a gang in Haiti 2 months ago? Five additional hostages had been freed, and I reported that the remainder were freed a few days ago. It wasn’t clear whether any ransom had been paid (the kidnappers wanted $1 million per hostage). Well, it turns out the 12 hostages weren’t freed but escaped—they walked away to freedom. As the AP reports:

Over time, the hostages agreed to try to escape, and chose the night of Dec. 15 to flee.

“When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path they had chosen to follow, and quickly left the place they were held, despite the fact that numerous guards were close by,” Showalter said.

. . .Captive missionaries in Haiti found freedom last week by making a daring overnight escape, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow, according to the agency they work for, officials said Monday.

The group of 12 navigated by stars to reach safety after a two-month kidnapping ordeal, officials with the Christian Aid Ministries, the Ohio-based agency that the captive missionaries work for, said Monday at a press conference.

*Now is the winter of our discontent, or at least that’s what yesterday’s poll suggests, with only 15% of responders thinking that next year will be a good one:

*Vinon Menon, chair of the Physics Department at City College of New York in Harlem, found a cardboard box sitting in the office of his department, addressed to simply “Chairman, Physics Dept.” of his college. It had languished there unopened for nine months. When he opened it up, he found this:

Yep, a cool $180,000 in $50 and $100 bills, with a letter that went this way:

An enclosed letter to Dr. Menon explained that the cash was a donation meant to help needy physics and math students at City College.

. . . The letter explained the donor’s motivations. “Assuming that you are bit curious as to why I am doing this, the reason is straightforward,” wrote the donor, who said he or she “long ago” took advantage of the “excellent educational opportunity” of attending both Stuyvesant High School and earning a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at City College, which helped lead to “a long, productive, immensely rewarding” scientific career.

All attempts to trace the donor, who used a fake name and a fake address, have been unsuccessful, but after a police investigation showed no evidence that the money came from crime, the department accepted the dosh, which will “two full tuition scholarships each year for more than a decade.” Now that’s what you call altruism (though probably not biological altruism)!

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 808,404, an increase of 1,351 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,388,050, an increase of about 8,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 22 includes:

Beethoven was already becoming deaf by then (by 18 he couldn’t hear a thing), and it’s amazing to me that he could play in this state and write music while deaf. He must have heard everything in his head, but I suppose some composers do that anyway.

Here he is as a samurai, and then as PM. A stint in the University of London convinced Itō that Japan should become Westernized, and so he gave up his sword.

As PM:

  • 1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography.
  • 1894 – The Dreyfus affair begins in France, when Alfred Dreyfus is wrongly convicted of treason.

Dreyfus in his cell on Devil’s Island (a stereograph) in 1898. He was freed the next year and eventually declared not guilty.

Here’s the message from the Germans to McAuliffe:

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.

The German Commander.

And McAuliffe’s famous (and true) reply, which was typed out and delivered by an American under truce:

To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander.

The German commander was confused at this reply, and asked the American what it meant. The reply, “In plain English? Go to hell.”

Here’s McAuliffe (circled) and his staff at Christmas dinner in Bastogne, December 25, 1944. The next day American troops relieved the troops.

And here being given the Distinguished Service Cross by George Patton for McAuliffe’s defense of Bastogne. (Note Patton’s ivory-handled pistol.)

One of my Chicago colleages, Manyuan Long, a geneticist, was forced to work several years as a farmer before resuming his education.

  • 1984 – “Subway vigilante” Bernhard Goetz shoots four would-be muggers on a 2 express train in Manhattan section of New York, United States.

Goetz served a year for possession of a firearm, but not for attempted murder or manslaughter. He later was convicted in a civil suit but pleaded bankruptcy because he couldn’t pay the $43 million judgement.  He’s still supposed to pay it off.

Here’s a news report showing the opening; it’s very heartening:

  • 1990 – Lech Wałęsa is elected President of Poland.
  • 2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

Here are the shoes, which failed to explode. Reid is serving a life-without-parole sentence in a Supermax prison, ADX Florence:

  • 2010 – The repeal of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Puccini with Toscanini. Can you tell which is which?

  • 1869 – Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet and playwright (d. 1935)
  • 1887 – Srinivasa Ramanujan, Indian mathematician and theorist (d. 1920)

The story of Ramanujan, born to a poor family in India, and how he achieved his potential when G. H. Hardy took him on in Cambridge. Here’s a group of scientists in Cambridge, ca. 1914-1919, with Ramanujan in the middle and Hardy (of “Hardy-Weinberg” fame to geneticists) on the extreme right. Ramanujan died at only 32 of tuberculosis.

Ramanujan on an Indian stamp:

And a famous (and true) anecdote about Ramanujan (from Wikipedia):

The number 1729 is known as the Hardy–Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital. In Hardy’s words:

I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. “No”, he replied, “it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.”

  • 1912 – Lady Bird Johnson, American beautification activist; 38th First Lady of the United States (d. 2007)
  • 1923 – Peregrine Worsthorne, English journalist and author (d. 2020)

I never heard of this dude but I like his name!

  • 1945 – Diane Sawyer, American journalist
  • 1949 – Maurice Gibb, Manx-English singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2003)
  • 1949 – Robin Gibb, Manx-English singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2012)

The Gibbs (born very close to the day I was in 1949) were fraternal twins, of course. Here’s a short video featuring them singing together. I can’t believe that there’s only one Bee Gee left alive—Barry.

Fiennes played Amon Göth, brutal commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in Poland. Here’s one scene of his performance (trigger warning: a shooting):

Those who expired on December 22 include:

Kraft-Ebbing’s most famous work:

  • 1939 – Ma Rainey, American singer (b. 1886)
  • 1940 – Nathanael West, American author and screenwriter (b. 1903)
  • 1979 – Darryl F. Zanuck, American director and producer (b. 1902)
  • 1989 – Samuel Beckett, Irish author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
  • 1995 – Butterfly McQueen, American actress and dancer (b. 1911)
  • 2014 – Joe Cocker, English singer-songwriter (b. 1944)

Cocker and his doppelgänger John Belushi on Saturday Night Live in 1976.  Belushi is fantastic:

Here’s some interesting stuff about Cocker from Wikipedia:

In 1978, Cocker moved onto a ranch owned by Jane Fonda in Santa Barbara, California. Pam Baker, a local summer camp director and fan of Cocker’s music, persuaded the actress to lend the house to Cocker. Baker began dating Cocker, and they married on 11 October 1987. The couple resided on the Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford, Colorado.

While performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 17 September 2014, fellow musician Billy Joel stated that Cocker was “not very well right now” and endorsed Cocker for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before his tribute performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends”. Cocker died from lung cancer on 22 December 2014 in Crawford, Colorado, at the age of 70. He had smoked 40 cigarettes a day until he quit in 1991. Cocker is buried in the town cemetery in Crawford, Colorado.

  • 2019 – Ram Dass, American spiritual teacher and author (b. 1931) 

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes her Christmas wishes known (notice that she doesn’t care about Kulka or Szaron!):

Hili: You have to buy something for the holidays.
A: Do you have any orders?
Hili: Yes, chicken breast for me and it doesn’t matter what you buy for yourself.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba kupić coś na święta.
Ja: Masz jakieś zamówienia?
Hili: Tak, dla mnie filet z kurczaka, a dla was wszystko jedno.

From Linda, a great xkcd strip:

From Stephen. The lesson is clear: d*gs are superstitious and cats are empiricists.

From Divy:

A physics-nerd tweet from Gethyn:

Moar Jesus from Ginger K.:

From Barry, two tweets (I like the kitty one, which isn’t fake):

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew: SPOT THE BOBCAT! The reveal is below the fold.

Capybara paradise in Japan. These are the chillest of all mammals save sloths, but they get a yearly warmup in a Japanese hot spring, complete with their favorite noms. A rodent onsen! Sound up:

A comparison: The dinosaur femur isn’t that much longer than the elephant’s, but is much more robust.

Amazing body art. Translation: “A beautiful peacock-of-the-day”, the French name of the European Peacock butterfly, Aglais io:

Here;s a real one:

Click “read more” to see the bobcat!

45 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

    1. Perfect pitch
      Progressive high frequency sense loss
      Tinnitus
      Perfect pitch drifting flat (hypothetical)

      … the examples Beato uses illustrate precisely the compound nature of these components in this fascinating video.

  1. “1885 – Itō Hirobumi, a samurai, becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan.
    Here he is as a samurai, and then as PM. A stint in the University of London convinced Itō that Japan should become Westernized, and so he gave up his sword.”

    He was one of the “Chōshū Five”, the first Japanese students to study outside Japan. They enrolled at University College London in 1863. All five went on to become eminent figures after they returned to Japan. The 150th anniversary of their arrival at UCL was marked by the College and by the Japanese Embassy in London:

    https://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/webmagazine/2013/12/choshu.html

  2. The lesson is clear: d*gs are superstitious and cats are empiricists.

    Many years ago my spouse and I bred and showed purebred Persian cats. I used to have great fun playing with the kittens and one thing I would do was place a small standing mirror on the floor. A common occurrence was for a kitten to come across the mirror and do a startle leap. Then the kitten would cautiously approach and examine the strange cat. After sniffing the mirror and then walking behind the mirror to find nothing there would completely ignore it having concluded it was not real and not worth paying attention to.

  3. The Peacock Butterfly appears to be a feline looking down – slightly happy and cute, in fact… as if wearing some silly hat?…

  4. 1989 – Samuel Beckett, Irish author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)

    Beckett dead? I was sure he was still around ghostwriting those Vladimir-&-Estragon-style lines every morning for Andrzej and Hili. 🙂

      1. Or choosing to not look in the direction of the noises, because they need a way out of the mess too.
        Do you think the bottom-rung muscle were going to get more than peanuts – if that – for their roles? Neither did they.

    1. But you must realize that Jesus was guiding them of course—well, that (about the 2nd person) will be in all the 1st person books on it published in the next 6 months.

      1. Jesus guided them out … but God allowed the initial kidnap.
        As well as inflicting an endless (well, 10s of millions of years long) sequence of devastating earthquakes, and some really nasty parasitic infections.
        But wait ! What light through yonder slough of atheistic despond breaks?

        The group of 12 navigated by stars to reach safety

        Truly an incontrovertible sign of God!
        Unless it is possible that one in twelve of them had the most trivial of childhood interests in astronomy and worked out how to walk in a straight line. But that would be impossible!

    2. WAAAY too good to be true. Probably bribe/ransom paid by other cross worshippers back in the US.
      Thanks, faith community, for putting a price on the back of every American in Haiti. Praise Jay-sus-ah!
      D.A.
      NYC

    1. I don’t really like the Bee Gees. I don’t hate them but I can’t remember the last time I had a desire to listen to them. Sometime in the early 80s maybe?

      However, for some reason I can still sing along word for word to at least a dozen of their songs. I know this because my digital music collection includes lots of their music and when listening to music on random selection, my norm, they pop up with some regularity and I sing along until I can get to the ‘skip’ button.

    2. Yes, that is a good documentary, and I think even a non-Bee Gee fan would appreciate it. For one, I had no idea about the homophobia their music evoked- to the point of violence. Though PCC(E) got the “last living Bee Gee” wrong. It wasn’t Maurice, he died in the early 2000’s, it’s Barry, the oldest who is still with us. And one of his quotes from the end of the doc went something like: I’d sacrifice everything — the music, the fame, the lifestyle — to be able to spend another day with my brothers. I found that immensely moving.

  5. 1912 – Lady Bird Johnson, American beautification activist …

    As I recall, one meanspirited wag suggested she start by keeping Lynda Bird and Luci Baines from making public appearances on behalf of their father.

  6. With reference to 5G telecommunications interference with aircraft systems. I spent quite some time during my aerospace career assessing these problems, not just 3G – 5G which are relatively recent but all portable electronic devices, (PED) going back further than the now ancient stuff such as “walkmans” and so on.
    Most modern aircraft have been tested and assessed quite comprehensively and the risk of interference with most Avionics Systems is relatively low this in no small part to the addition of system design improvements, installation techniques for separation and shielding etc.
    It is now quite common for inflight systems use of wifi, sat-phones laptop computers etc etc. There is as much if not more risk from some external interference to airborne and ground Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) for example from broadcast stations. The design of ILS dates from the 1950s and the techniques used have changed very little despite moves to replace it with Microwave Landing Systems (MLS) some years ago but rejected by the aerospace community as too expensive to retrofit aircraft and update the ground stations.
    We now have 5G and all the hype that goes with it and the conspiracy regarding the intelligence use and cell towers etc.
    5G uses a now fairly common modulation technique OFDM, this is not the place to go into these modulation and broadcast techniques sufficient to say it works as designed. The root problem is it uses the frequency band used by aircraft Radio Altimeters, specifically FMCW radio altimeters. FMCW is and has been in common use for many years, most recognize it from its common broadcast acronym FM, Frequency Modulation. There are also in use Radar Altimeters which do not use FMCW but use pulse techniques. These are not common in commercial aircraft.
    The Radio Altimeter is integrated with the aircraft’s Flight Control System and is specifically used in the landing phase for accurate height above ground data which is not available from Air Data Systems used in normal cruise operation. For Automatic Landing Radio Altimeter derived Altitude is essential and there is more than one Radio Altimeter System installed.
    5G has the potential to interfere with the Radio Altimeter during the landing phase particularly compounded by the aircraft flight phase i.e low to the terrain and the 5G mast locations commonly close to Airports. Both Boeing and Airbus and much of the aerospace community recognizes this potential and it is not sufficient for the 5G community to state that there is no problem without satisfactory testing and evidence.
    Apologies for the lengthy post but difficult to shorten because of the subject.

  7. I would assume the altimeter system will have to be modified if the interference is a problem. People must have their phones at all cost.

    1. Randall, Agreed, however a recognized testing process would reveal the problem and its extent, if indeed it exists then corrective action could be implemented. The problem with modifying the Radio Altimeter is all down to cost and there are LOTS of these systems and this would have to be absorbed some how by the global aerospace community and we know what state that is in. The Boeing Company is particularly risk averse at this time!
      The 5G implementation is worth billions but could they help??
      Only testing and results will determine the problem but what we do not need is an incident with the potential to become a catastrophic event. We shall see.

      1. I forgot to mention that further to our hosts comment relating to cell phone use before landing, the flight critical phase, the modulation technique OFDM used for 5G is used by both the ground tower and the mobile user PED unlike 4G which is only used by by the ground tower, hence the potential for airborne interference as well by the user not in “aeroplane mode”. Aeroplane mode is commonly not used by many people so more risk.

  8. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    (Matthew 6:1-2)

    1. This sort of anonymous altruism is difficult to explain; it aids neither kin nor oneself in the form of expected repayment. My amateurish explanation might be labeled heterozygous serendipity. If there were individuals among us with a recessive disease called altruism, then those who only carry the allele would benefit from having the “disease” in their family or community, even if the recessive altruists suffer a decrease in fitness.

  9. Beethoven … (by 18 he couldn’t hear a thing)

    I Googled this.

    “Beethoven first noticed difficulties with his hearing decades earlier, sometime in 1798, when he was about 28. By the time he was 44 or 45, he was totally deaf”

      1. 1818–his 48th birthday. See also

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heiligenstadt_Testament

        or any of the many Beethoven bios, re onset of deafness.

        Deafness symptoms had begun before age 30, so before the great and well known middle period (Eroica, 5th, all sorts of famous sonatas, concerti and string quartets), and entirely before the almost superhuman late period, somewhat less known to the general public (I think) except for the finale of the 9th symphony (somewhat atypical of late Beethoven, to my not-so-good ears).

        My taste only of course:
        last 3 piano sonatas, Diabelli variations, all 5 final string quartets plus Grosse Fugue, Missa Solemnis, 1st three movements of the 9th (all those composed when he was utterly deaf), and 3rd= Eroica perhaps, earlier—and so much else. But my musical extreme limitations meant I needed to listen to every bit of that time after time before finally ‘getting it’ to the extent that happened.

        Beethoven (but not only him) makes life worth living.

        1. The Rick Beato video above will be insightful to anyone interested in this topic – Beato uses examples to illustrate the phenomena. And the music to seek out is compelling.

        2. Beethoven is not the only composer that went completely deaf, but continued composing. Bedřich Smetana comes to mind

          1. I think Beethoven used mercury-containing cosmetics or balms. Read or heard it somewhere.

            But perhaps Smetana (I did not know was deaf) was exposed to similar products with ingredients we now know to be toxic, and it contributed to hearing loss.

    1. There are a variety of scaling laws for estimating the mass of an animal from the cross-sectional area of the weight-bearing bones. Obviously the details vary from bipeds to quadrupeds, and then you need to “re-train” your model for each body shape. But if you confine yourself to comparing (say) elephants with elephants, or ceratopsians with ceratopsians, or gazelles with gazelles then you can make some more or less defensible estimates.

      Just doing some first-approximation estimates (and implicitly assuming that elephants and ceratopsians are the same shape, and the bones are the same thickness in the depth-of-field direction), those pictures suggest to me that a ceratopsian was about twice the weight of the elephant, and 30-60 times the weight of the human (whose femur dimensions I guessed from the picture). Which estimate have about 1 significant digit in decimal (maybe 2 digits in binary).

      There are scaling laws empirically derived from ostriches, ratites in general, quadrupedal mammals, quadrupedal crocodiles … and that’s just the ones I remember being mentioned in papers, along with “I should write this down, check up the reference, write a ready-reckoner and tabulate the measurements needed.” Well, I’ve started the job – now all I need to do is find the papers again and start following the references.

  10. “I buy organic Medjools from Amazon, and favor this brand”

    Coynezaa gift achieved – should be there tomorrow.

  11. Thanks to Jerry for recording my early experience in the actually anti- “Cultural Revolution” in China, with my photo, in your post today. To that social disaster
    that threw me as so-called “Intellectual Youth” into the southwestern mountains and the Hainan Island, right after high school(1974-1977) to grow rice for merely physical survival, I can only express my feeling by one word I just learned more from General Anthony McAuliffe described in your post: NUTS!

    I read all you reported recently about the science and Maori mythology viewed as science in New Zealand. This very much resembles China half century ago
    in the movement of Cultural Revolution when Mao and his followers, almost the whole country, treated science and education crazily. I witnessed a lot of absurdity in that movement. I was then lacking imagination that many years later, I would see a similar farce or NUTS, in New Zealand.

    I am from an ethnic minority group, Miao (Hmong), whose history can be traced back long before 3000 years ago in east Asia. It also had a lot of mythology, witches, their customs, their version of creation. Today, if you visit them in several cites in California, Wisconsin and Minnesota, many young generations in the group do not like to be fooled by those superstitions and their traditional “ways of knowing”, and they want to learn real science. I understand and agree with them and Garth Cooper, the Maori scholar of the “Satanic seven”, for their negative feeling and thought against the anti-science movement.

    1. Wow, that’s quite a story. Interesting how you linked the Cultural Revolution to the Maori anti-science moves in NZ. We in the West aren’t taught much history other than our own (and even that, for me at least, was mediocre).Glad you made it out of that situation and “made it” here in America.

  12. My prediction, which is mine: Russia’s going to invade Ukraine, though it may begin with cyberattacks.

    Counter prediction : Belarus invades Ukraine ; Putin sends his forces in to “restore peace” and to “separate the two sides”.

    50:50 on whether they use Chernobyl as a pawn or a reason why an “urgent police action” is necessary.

    That would put the Donetsk region between two pincers. No points for predicting the future there. And to be honest, from my family connections ,a large proportion – plausibly over 50% of the population – would welcome it.

    NATO will do nothing.

    1. Without almost instant help from the jerk Putin, Belarus would be crushed very quickly. Any delay by him might also give US/NATO an excuse to go far beyond present aid in helping Ukraine, but they likely are too sclerotic to be quick enough.
      But don’t take me to be a war-mongerer, please!

      1. Without almost instant help from the jerk Putin,

        The decision to undertake a police action, plan it, select and prepare forces and deploy them would be taken in seconds if not milliseconds after the Belorussian forces arrive. Indeed, to a cynic (moi?) one might even suggest that the two operations were planned together like a steel glove fit around a steel fist.
        It would be terribly (well, “trivially”) embarrassing if the “police action” were launched before the internationally threatening assault started. So there would have to be some “independent report from the front”. Better make sure that there are a couple of BelTA people coincidentally close to where they’re to discover the attack.

  13. I appear to remember that in the film Göth, almost immediately after the murder of Reiter, orders the fundaments of the building to be demolished and rebuilt according to Reiter’s specifications. The fragment misses that part.

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