Tuesday: Hili dialogue

February 1, 2022 • 7:30 am

It’s February at last, and today, Tuesday, is February 1, 2022. And the lunar year has begun, which usually coincides with the Chinese New Year. It happens to be the Year of the Tiger, celebrated with a cute gif and link (click on screenshot to see the fun (and wait a few seconds after clicking):


It’s National Cake Pops Day (a meager dessert, eaten more for its novelty than its tastiness).


Much better: a nice sticky bun:

But it’s also these food months:

Canned Food Month
National Chocolate Lovers Month
National Cherry Month 
National Grapefruit Month
National Snack Food Month
National Potato Lovers Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
!st week of Feb- African Heritage & Health Week
3rd Weekend of February: National Margarita Weekend
“Superbowl Sunday” : National Pork Rind Day (aka National Pork Rind Appreciation Day)

Further, it’s National Sticky Bun Day, National Grain-Free Day, Presidents’ Day, National Freedom Day (the House and Senate approved resolution that resulted in the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery), and the start of Black History Month in the United States and Canada.

News of the Day:

*NATO and the U.S. are still squabbling with Russia over Ukraine, as the threat of invasion grows. Two bits from the NYT:

The United States and Russia engaged in a bitter diplomatic brawl Monday at the U.N. Security Council over the Ukraine crisis, as the Americans accused the Russians of endangering peace by massing troops on Ukraine’s borders while Kremlin diplomats dismissed what they called hysterical U.S. fearmongering.

. . . Just a week after top diplomats from the United States and Russia sat down in Geneva on Jan. 21 to seek a way of de-escalating tensions around Ukraine, the Pentagon warned that Russia had amassed a fighting force large enough to attack its neighbor, a nation of 44 million, on a scale and at a time of its choosing. That could include a full-scale invasion, which would be likely to result in fierce fighting and potentially the worst bloodshed on the continent since the end of World War II.

I’m guessing there will be a Russian invasion by mid-February. But, as always, I hope I’m wrong.

*According to the Guardian, polar bears, who are not stupid, have moved into an abandoned weather station on Russia’s Kolyuchin. Island (h/t: Jez).

Later I asked one of Russia’s top polar bear experts, Anatoly Kochnev, what causes the animals’ behaviour – why do they love to sit in the buildings? The biologist, who worked in Chukotka and on the island of Kolyuchin for many years, told me that, first of all, polar bears are very curious by nature, so they always attempt to get through any unlocked window or door. And secondly, unfortunately, these animals were traditionally hunted, and so they use these houses as a form of protection from humans.

But then he told me something even more interesting. It turns out that bears very rarely appear on the island in such numbers. No one knows why, but once every nine years the floating ice remains near the shore in summer. Consequently, the bears do not travel far to the north with the ice, as usual, and take up residence in the abandoned polar station. We saw proof of this later on when we met almost no bears on Wrangel Island to the north.

The photos are adorable. Here are two:


*Speaking of endangered wildlife, MarketWatch, of all places, reports that a professor in Texas is in trouble for smuggling exotic animal parts into the U.S.:  (h/t Reese)

Richard Kazmaier, 54, who is an associate professor at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, was indicted for allegedly importing protected wildlife items into the country without declaring them or obtaining proper permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

He was served with a summons last Thursday at his university office, according to court papers.

Prosecutors say that between 2017 and 2020, Kazmaier imported skulls, skeletons and taxidermy mounts of a number of exotic animals, including a golden jackal, a caracal, a Eurasian otter, a vervet monkey and a variety of exotic birds.

. . .The Endangered Species Act and federal regulations require anyone importing wildlife to declare what they are bringing into the country to customs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials. Special permits for certain protected species are also required, including for many of the animals Kazmaier was allegedly importing.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 if convicted, prosecutors said.

A biologist! If he’s found guilty LOCK HIM UP! Here’s his photo; does anybody know of him?


*Bari Weiss’s Substack piece from two days ago, “On decency and double standards at Georgetown [University]“, tells a new but still familiar academic tale.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about a tweet by a Georgetown professor.

Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement.

All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.

That tweet was written in 2018 by Georgetown professor Carol Christine Fair about Republican senators who supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Fair also writes a blog called Tenacious Hellpussy, which she describes as “a nasty woman posting from the frontlines of fuckery.” There she notes: “Cunty women get shit done.”

I fully agree, though I might call it chutzpah. For evidence, we need look no further than Fair herself.

When asked to apologize or explain her policy recommendation of mass castration and death she said this: “I will not use civil words to describe mass incivility.” She added: “Don’t expect me to. It’s an absurd request. I will use words that make you as uncomfortable as I am with this regime.”

Georgetown, as it should have, defended Fair’s freedom of speech.

But then another law professor made arguably less incendiary tweets, calling out Biden for using affirmative action to select a Supreme Court Justice. The tweets of Russian emigré Ilya Shapiro’s said this:

Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identity politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into the latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?

Because Biden said he’s only consider[ing] black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term.

In this case there was no academic protection from the University. The Dean of the Georgetown Law School sent out an email chastising Shapiro, calling his tweets “appalling” and “at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law.” This is hypocritical and unfair. What does “we” stand for at Georgetown. Could it be that some people agree with Shapiro but have had their speech chilled by an official pronouncement from the dean?

The Black Law Students group went further and now call for Shapiro to be fired. That’s absurd; do they not know about freedom of speech? Apparently not. This is why all schools should adopt Chicago’s Kalven Principles, which forbids our university and its constituent units from making “official” pronouncements on morality, ideology, or politics

UPDATE: I’ve just learned from a FIRE email and statement (they’re handling the case), that Shapiro has in fact been suspended for his tweets. That is absolutely unconscionable: a clear violation of freedom of speech and academic freedom. FIRE is handling the legal aspects of Shapiro’s case. In what kind of world would somebody been suspended for those two tweets, but defended for Fair’s hateful tweets? Ideally, in both cases the University should affirm its support of free speech and then shut up.

*Dr. Brydon sent this link and video from what he says is a conservative site. It shows a recent episode of the t.v. talk “The View,”  on which Whoopi Goldberg claims that the Holocaust wasn’t about race. Well, that’s not true (Judaism is a religion, but there are genetic commonalities among Jews), but it might as well have been, for the Holocaust was persecution of Jews, and race is supposedly an abiological social construct. Jews certainly count as a “protected” class along with “races.” But the conversation clearly shows that Whoopi is downplaying the persecution angle (the site’s emphasis):

As part of their discussion about a Tennessee school allegedly banning the Holocaust-themed graphic novel Maus (in reality it was simply removed from an 8th-grade reading list and they were open to bringing it back), Whoopi described the Holocaust as “white people doing it to white people. So, this is y’all go fight amongst yourselves.

I find her interpretation fascinating—and repulsive.

More of the conversation (listen to it yourself on the video at the link):

Immediately following her false declaration, you could hear a pin drop on the set. It was broken by co-host Sara Haines saying “no” seemingly in agreement and Whoopi doubling down. “No. It’s not about race,” she said.

This kicked off a cacophony of crosstalk where Behar and co-host Ana Navarro pushed back by pointing out that the Nazis were targeting the Jews based on race:


BEHAR: They considered Jews a different race.

GOLDBERG: It’s not about race. It’s not about race.

BEHAR: What is it about?

GOLDBERG: It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about.

ANA NAVARRO: But it’s about white supremacy.

Well, why isn’t racism against blacks about man’s inhumanity to man? This is a distinction without a difference, but you know Whoopi’s goal: to draw a false distinction by claiming, after all, the Holocaust was about whites vs. whites. Move along folks, nothing to see here.  And yes, the Nazis considered the Aryan “race” different from the Jewish “race”. This is the insidious way that anti-Semitism becomes mainstream opinion.

*As they say at end of the NBC Evening News, “There’s good news tonight!” Our good news—well, humorous news—comes from the Associated Press. It turns out that the city of Florence, Alabama wanted to publicize its amenities with a new logo, and came up with this:

The Pecksniffs have decided that this looks like F!, which could, at a stretch, be seen as an obscene expletive. But you’d have to be pecksniffing to see that:

When the city unveiled the new logo this week, it drew immediate backlash and an online petition demanding changes that had nearly 7,500 signatures. The city paid $25,000 to a Birmingham marketing firm for the branding, WAAY-TV reported.

Some people need to get a life

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 885,938, an increase of 2,558 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,693,527, an increase of about 10,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on Feb. 1 include:

  • 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • 1884 – The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.

A ten volume-set comprising all the entire edition goes for $10,000:

  • 1893 – Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

Here it is, the site where many early films were made, including Fred Ott’s Sneeze:

Saudi Arabia was the last country to adopt this calendar: in 2016!

Here’s Quisling signing an autograph in 1943. Two years later he was executed for treason. It’s not often a man’s name becomes a pejorative noun—even Hitler didn’t have that:

This was the first of many sit-ins by brave students, who were instructed to not fight back.  The first photo shows the first one in 1960, the second the racists who dumped sugar, ketchup and mustard on the protestors:

Note that the counterman is black.


A white protestor joins the demonstrations:

  • 1964 – The Beatles have their first number one hit in the United States with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
  • 1979 – Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.

Here’s his arrival on this date. The caption: “Arrival of Khomeini on 1 February 1979. When asked about his feelings of returning from exile in the plane, he replied Hich; ‘None’.”

Here’s his canceled passport:

A short video with W.’s announcement and an analysis of the disaster:

  • 2021 – A coup d’état in Myanmar removes Aung San Suu Kyi from power and restores military rule.

Notables born on this day include:

I just liked the name.

Here’s a video about Gable’s love life, which was wide-ranging. Carole Lombard is popularly known as his great love, but it didn’t stop him from having affairs.

  • 1902 – Langston Hughes, American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright (d. 1967)
  • 1904 – S.J. Perelman, American humorist and screenwriter (d. 1979)
  • 1931 – Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician, 1st President of Russia (d. 2007)
  • 1937 – Don Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2021)

This remains my favorite live video of the brothers (who didn’t speak that much by 1989). And it’s my favorite song from them. Don is the one who introduces them—the one with curly hair. Their harmonies were just about the same as when the brothers were younger. The song is lovely as well; it started as a French song called “Je t’appartiens” (hear it here). Phil died in 2014.

Those who hung on until January ended include:

A portrait, “Richard Rothwell’s portrait of Shelley was shown at the Royal Academy in 1840.” I suspect it was painted from life.

Mondrian was a representational painter before he went all square-y. Here’s Piet, Evening; Red Tree (Avond; De rode boom), 1908–1910:

  • 1958 – Clinton Davisson, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1966 – Hedda Hopper, American actress and journalist (b. 1885)
  • 1966 – Buster Keaton, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1895)

To cheer up Matthew, who’s busy grading (and his wife is in Scandinavia for a few days), here’s one of his favorite comedians:

  • 1976 – Werner Heisenberg, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)

Heisenberg lecturing. Can anybody tell what he’s talking about?

  • 1986 – Alva Myrdal, Swedish sociologist and politician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
  • 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia crew
    • Michael P. Anderson, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1959)
    • David M. Brown, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1956)
    • Kalpana Chawla, Indian-American engineer and astronaut (b. 1961)
    • Laurel Clark, American captain, surgeon, and astronaut (b. 1961)
    • Rick Husband, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1957)
    • William C. McCool, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1961)
    • Ilan Ramon, Israeli colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1954)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej have a rather opaque conversation. Hili wants to change the world somehow but Andrzej verifies her pessimism: she can’t do much.

Hili: What influence do we have on the world?
A: Infinitely limited.
Hili: I thought so.
In Polish:
Hili: Jaki mamy wpływ na świat?
Ja: Niezmiernie ograniczony.
Hili: Tak myślałam.

From Jesus of the Day. I love these weird takes on “do not” signs:


From Barry, an animal cartoon by Jimmy Craig:

From Bruce we have a Kitler:

I’m not quite sure what Wordle is except a word game, but everyone seems to be playing it. God doesn’t like that:

From Barry. I might have even posted this yesterday, but who cares when it’s so adorable? Sound up:

From Paul, who adds, “I like how it seems to glance upward briefly as if to see where the water is coming from.”

From Ginger K. I’d call it the “Stairway to Heaven.” I wonder if all the kittens are from a single brood:

Tweets from Matthew. I translated this first photo of weird wasps using Google:

And this couple of wasps from the Eucharitidae family, which parasitize ant nests?

The female is on the left, more robust, and the male is on the right, more slender. Their differentiated antennas serve to help locate the pheromones emitted by them.

Seeds bloom from an ancient cache:

From the great photographer Alex Wild, who tells us this is a Phanolinus rove beetle from Ecuador:

This is a nice thread (there’s more) on the evolution of distinct sex chromosomes:


79 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. It probably doesn’t help the conversation about the Holocaust that the ADL has redefined racism:

    Racism: The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.

    They apparently did this over a year ago, but people are just noticing. Here is the ADL’s previous definition, courtesy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine:

    Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another.

    1. Ah, so Black people pushing Asian-looking people into the path of subway trains because they’re Asian is not racism. And when Asian-looking people and Jews suffer hateful attacks at the hands of Black people, it’s evidence of American racism only because the dominant, privileged race in America is white. But the perpetrators themselves aren’t racists.

      The silver lining I see here is that most Americans think this is wrong, and ain’t buying it.

  2. Heisenberg lecturing. Can anybody tell what he’s talking about?


    Hope that helps 🙂

    I saw the Whoopi Goldberg story on the BBC web site this morning. I don’t know if the Jews are technically a race or not (for me the concept of “race” loses coherence as soon as you examine it in any detail), but the Nazis certainly thought so and six million Jews died as a result. The idea that it is somehow less important just because the Jews and the Germans had the same skin colour is, to my mind, racist and abhorrent.

    1. Re: Heisenberg

      I see some things that look like wave function symbols, and what looks like a complex conjugate of one there, so maybe he’s explaining something that uses the Born rule??? and there are definitely some integrals with a great many terms in there…and there might be some Energy involved, but maybe E stands for something else here??? I’m basically at a loss to put it together at all. I SOOO wish I hadn’t left Physics too early.

      But maybe it’s simpler than that; maybe Heisenberg is giving advice to aspiring professors that if they are ever giving a lecture using a chalkboard, they should always wear a white shirt so the chalk doesn’t show if you lean against it.

      In any case, as far as I know, nothing in the man’s life, and certainly nothing in the picture, could justify his name being linked henceforth in popular culture with the illicit production, distribution, and sale of methamphetamine by a former high school chemistry teacher.

      1. He seems to be working out the energy of a system, doing so by applying an operator to the wavefunction and then integrating over all space.

  3. Eucharitid larvae hop onto ants and get carried back to the nest. Sometimes they will use insects like thrips as an intermediate host before getting into an ant nest and parasitizing an ant larva. John Heraty at UC Riverside is the world expert on eucharitids.

    1. The translation of César Favacho’s eucharitid wasp tweet was pretty good, but the third sentence can be improved: “The differentiated antennae of males [‘deles’] serve to help locate pheromones emitted by females [‘por elas’].” You’re welcome.

  4. “1884 – The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published” – Simon Winchester’s book on the history of the OED, The Meaning of Everything is highly recommended.

      1. It was originally published in fascicles and the bound volumes came much later:

        The first dictionary fascicle was published on 1 February 1884—twenty-three years after Coleridge’s sample pages. The full title was A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society; the 352-page volume, words from A to Ant, cost 12s 6d[20]: 251  (equivalent to $67 in 2020). The total sales were only 4,000 copies.


        The 125th and last fascicle covered words from Wise to the end of W and was published on 19 April 1928, and the full dictionary in bound volumes followed immediately.

    1. If we were to follow the standard practice of the Elect, the apology should be insufficient, and it should be demanded that she be fired form her job. And what’s more, they should digitally remove her as Guinan from the TNG episodes in which she appears. However…I loved Guinan. And I liked Sister Act, and even Ghost, and The Color Purple was great. So…sigh.

      1. So she played sympathetic characters, as Emma Watson did. Big whoop. In reality they are both douches.

    2. Ironically {and their own irony is something the woke always miss), many of the woke claim that race is a social construct. There are movements to get “race” removed from penal codes and so on, in the naive view that if there are no races, there can be no racism.

      I was going to write that that is as stupid as claiming that there is no such thing as sex and that that would remove sexism, but it appears that the TRAs actually believe that and don’t see their own misogyny.

      Can anyone think of a better example of double-speak than “Nazis were not racist”?

  5. Re: Whoopi and the Holocaust. Behar nails it (IMO); the Nazis were attempting to make a racist policy, and that makes it racism. The fact that they had an unclear or unscientific notion of race doesn’t make it not “racism.” Just like if I discriminate against someone for being Mexican and it turns out they aren’t, I’m still acting racist.


    I agree with PCC, the Georgetown case makes it clear the school is defending progressive speech, not speech writ large. (Though as an aside, I disagree with Shapiro; I’m skeptical of the notion of their being *any* one best candidate for SCOTUS, rather I’d say there are probably a lot of well-qualified candidates. And I think he’s also wrong in implying that any black woman nominated must be due to affirmative action, as that amounts to saying there no black women lawyers or judges are in that well-qualified group…which I find hard to believe.)

    The Pecksniffs have decided that this looks like F!, which could, at a stretch, be seen as an obscene expletive. But you’d have to be pecksniffing to see that

    Oh I don’t know. My hypothesis would be that the city intentionally created a double entendre. So I’d guess that the pecksniffs are right in thinking the expletive reference is meant rather than coincidence. However I really don’t see any reason why folks should get upset about it. As a parent, I’d say that the kids who get the joke don’t need to be shielded from it, while the kids who don’t get it…don’t need to be shielded from it.


    1. And I think he’s also wrong in implying that any black woman nominated must be due to affirmative action, as that amounts to saying there no black women lawyers or judges are in that well-qualified group …

      If he names the group first (black women) and then selects from within that group, then that counts as “affirmative action” even if the resulting candidate is well qualified.

      Wiki: “Affirmative action refers to a set of policies and practices within a government or organization seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are underrepresented …”.

      1. The ABA as well as other legal organizations keep short lists of candidates that they offer to both parties (depending on who’s in office). I have no doubt that the WH had a list of qualified candidates first, and Biden told his staff ‘who’s in the list who is black and female.’ I say “I have no doubt” in this case because these sorts of lists predate the administration itself.

      2. I guess patron saint Ronald Reagan was guilty of affirmative action since he pledged to nominate the first woman to the Supreme Court, which he did – Sandra Day O’Connor. During his campaign, Biden pledged to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court because he did what politicians do – seek out votes. If he doesn’t nominate a Black woman the righties will be all over him for breaking a campaign promise. In fact, the righties will condemn him no matter what he does. So, despite your attempt to impugn Biden’s decision by calling it “affirmative action,” he has made the right one. No doubt his pick will be rated highly qualified by legal organizations.

        If you think Supreme Court nominees are decided by some undefined group of objective legal scholars, you do not understand the operation of American politics over the last two decades. Do you really think Trump picked the most “qualified” nominees? No, he picked nominees most likely to be applauded by his base for supporting and furthering the base’s objectives. It is a reflection of today’s polarization that this is the case with the Supreme Court. Few people, except for some of the Supreme Court justices themselves, actually believe that the Court is detached from politics and decisions are made by an objective interpretation of law. So, Biden should summarily reject right wing criticism. It’s a joke.Trump and Mitch McConnell can tutor him on the best way to accomplish this.

        1. Correct. If they want to look at affirmative action for the Catholic court they need look no further than Clarence Thomas. I cannot think of another reason he got there.

        2. Personally the ‘affirmative action’ I’d like to see is nominating someone with a criminal defense attorney background to the bench. There hasn’t been a justice with that background in something like 30 years. They’re (almost) all former prosecutors and DAs instead.

          Want a reason why SCOTUS more regularly supports government power over defense and individual rights? It’s not because of the conservative majority of 6, it’s because of the former prosecutor/AG/DA majority of 8. Barrett is the lone exception.

        3. “If you think Supreme Court nominees are decided by some undefined group of objective legal scholars…”

          All three of Trump’s picks came from the same SCOTUS grooming “think tank” the Federalist Society: an elite group of narrow-minded, ultra-conservative, ideologues who do not like the separation of church and state. Now 6 of the 9 SCOTUS justices are from this odious “society”. And what’s worse, several of these justices are drunk on power and are clearly at odds with stare decisis.

          I truly get depressed when I look at young children and toddlers/babies and try to imagine what type of America (and world) they will inherit. With over arching conservatism and religious fanaticism taking over the government to unmitigated climate change I fear they will be utterly screwed…I try not to dwell on the topic.

          1. I didn’t have the edit feature and forgot to add that my first paragraph is just preaching to the choir…I know I didn’t say anything novel, just felt good to get the rant out.

        4. “So, despite your attempt to impugn Biden’s decision by calling it “affirmative action,” …”

          Well it is, it fits the definition of “affirmative action” (and I never said that others hadn’t done similarly). Anyhow, a better way of doing things would have been to pick a black woman, but not promise or announce in advance that he was considering only that demographic.

          1. Since he made a campaign promise about this over a year ago, remaining neutral/ambivalent is impossible now. Silence would be interpreted as going back on his promise. Either he says ‘yes I will keep it’ or he says nothing which is taken as a ‘I’m going back on my word to do this.”

            And claiming he’s not going to consider race or sex, and then nominating a black woman, is just going to be seen as craven by everyone. That’s an attempt to dissimulate and have it both ways – signal to the middle and right that he’s not considering race, while signaling to progressives that he is.

            Lastly, my initial comment was an argument against Shapiro’s position. Regardless of Coel’s textbook definition, Shapiro is clearly suggesting that Biden’s affirmative action in this case is going to result in him picking an unqualified or less well qualified candidate. I disagree that that’s the case. Do you disagree too? Or do you agree with Shapiro?

            1. Shapiro thinks that the “objectively best” candidate is Srinivasan. If he thinks that then it follows that any other candidate (white male, black woman, whatever) would be a “lesser” choice. (Note, a “lesser” choice is not an “unqualified” choice.)

              I don’t see anything wrong with him thinking that (he’s in trouble only owing to today’s ridiculous hypersensitivity about race).

              (Personally I have no opinion, I know nothing about the possible candidates for the post, and have little idea whether narrowing the field as Biden has done will result in a “less qualified” choice.)

        5. Does Biden know how to play poker? I think he could have leaked a slate that included candidates of both genders, several colors, let his opponents show their hands, and then chosen the person that fulfilled his campaign promise. He showed his cards too early.

          1. Hope the Black woman Biden selects for the court has deep roots and is not Vietnamese-Congolese or similar, no matter how qualified she may be.

  6. The translation of the text about the wasps is technically correct, but it should be mentioned that the original text in Portuguese makes clear that the differentiated antennas of the males serve to help locate the pheromones emitted by the females.

  7. Da bearss looking out that weather station reminded me of Fort Hermann in Slovenia on the border with Italy on the approach to the Julian Alps. Built by the Austrians IIRC ca. 1900, it did not survive its first shelling in WWI. But the concrete ruins remain and were home to a herd of goats when I was there. It’s an easy ~30min hike from the road up to the place, and well worth a stop.

    Confiscated taxidermy: The US Fish & Wildlife Service maintains the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown WV on the eastern panhandle not all that far from DC. It’s a splendidly cool facility and any opportunity to partake in any meeting there should be taken, if for no other reason than to experience the facility. (It is also said that it doubles as a redoubt for gov’t officials in case of national emergency, with vast underground bunkers, but I digress). In the basement of the reception building there is a museum that includes ephemera from Rachel Carson, who was a FWS employee at one time, ans also confiscated specimens of the sort referred to. The message is, “Don’t bring stuff like this into the country or we will take it from you.” I remember one fairly large table made entirely of ivory.

  8. Speaking of Nazis, they were out in broad daylight the other day in Orlando, Florida demonstrating their free speech with lots of 4-letter words. It was well covered on MSNBC last night. I did not hear of it on any other media. I guess they were too busy covering Trump convicting himself.

    1. “…demonstrating their free speech with lots of 4-letter words…”

      Nazi? 🙂

      (Okay, those are a stretch, but you said Orlando…)

      1. Even showed video of these clowns standing by the road yelling out to cars passing by. But they did give a warning prior to showing it although I don’t know why. Maybe so you could get little kiddies out of the room? They also interviewed a state legislature to get his take. He said Florida is number 2 in hate groups.

  9. “I’m not quite sure what Wordle is except a word game” – Wordle is basically a word-based version of the old code-matching board game Mastermind. The aim is to correctly guess a five-letter word in six attempts or less. After each attempt the player is told how many letters (if any) are either correct and in the correct position or correct but in the wrong position. Unusually, the game can only be played once per day.

    The guy who designed Wordle, Josh Wardle (see what he did there?), refused to make money from people playing the game and aficionados are concerned that the NYT’s acquisition of it will end with it disappearing behind a paywall. (The NYT denies that this will happen, but given that they paid a seven-figure sum for it people are somewhat sceptical!)

    For some reason, people think that sharing their daily attempts at the game via social media is something other people will give a shit about (they don’t!)


    1. fivethirtyeight did an analysis of it in one of their weekly Puzzler articles. Probably several weeks back now.

      **** Wordle spoilers below ******

      ******* You sure?

      ******* Okay….

      Because Wordle word list is much smaller than the number of 5 letter words in the dictionary, it’s “solvable” in the sense that you can come up with an optimal strategy that gives you pretty good odds. For the English version of the game, start with the word TRACE. Then depending on your result, there’s a chart you can follow to tell you the optimal second word to guess. The net result being you can get your chances of guessing the word in three guesses up to 60%, just by following this algorithm.

      1. Wordle gets old and boring very fast. I just tried out your suggestion of TRACE for today’s puzzle and got the correct word on the next try.

    2. We have a Slack channel at work for posting our Wordle efforts. It’s quite good fun for those of us who do it. Those who don’t give a shit just ignore the channel.

      If the NYT paywalls it, Wordle will die. If I were them, I would just put a link in to their web site and subscription page. It would be pretty effective free advertising (other than the upfront cost).

      Wordle 227 3/6


    3. ” . . . the NYT’s acquisition of it will end with it disappearing behind a paywall.””

      In today’s hard-copy issue the NYT is good to report its acquisition of Wordle, but no update of its union travails.

  10. I lnew Rich Kazmaier when he was a grad student at Oklahoma State; he did a nice field study of Texas tortoise ecology. At the time he already had an impressive personal collection of skulls and turtle shells. I am certain that his poor choices reflect only a collector’s obsession and not a for-profit criminal enterprise.

  11. The cat may look like Adolf but Quisling looks stunningly like a seventy years old Adolf Hitler would look like.

  12. possibly cosmic ray showers
    heisenberg lectured on those in june 19436 at bohr’s conference

    [as a “white jew” he had to request permission for foreign conferences.]

    Werner Heisenberg.
    Type of Resource: still image
    Date Created: 1936
    Extent: 2 photographic prints (black and white; 7 x 5 inches)
    Abstract/Description: Werner Heisenberg lecturing in front of a blackboard with mathmatical equations at Niels Bohr institute, Copenhagen, 1936. Note on back of photo reads: “Heisenberg Danmarks Kongres 1936.”
    Identifier(s): Heisenberg Werner B14 (Catalog ID)
    Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

    Subject(s): Full-face
    Equations Numerical solutions
    Lectures and lecturing
    Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976
    Held by: Niels Bohr Library & Archives
    Copyright Holder: American Institute of Physics
    Related Title: Emilio Segrè Visual Archives General Collection.
    In Collections:
    Emilio Segrè Visual Archives General Collection

  13. Quisling was a Judas. That is the only other pejorative noun that popped into mind. John Ford was born on the 1st of February. I liked Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and . It means I like all I’ve seen of his work 🙂

    1. Another pejorative noun: Benedict Arnold. Quisling, Judas and Arnold should get together in Hell and form a club.

      1. In W.O. Mitchell’s teleplay, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon, they actually did….not those specific names although Judas was one of them. The were the Devil’s curling rink whom Wullie’s Presbyterians had to beat if Wullie was not to lose his immortal soul in a Faustian bargain. Warmly humorous Saskatchewaniana from a simpler time.

        Is it moral to cheat the Devil?

  14. At a couple places in the Keaton documentary I felt pretty sure we were hearing the distinctive voice of Studs Terkel.

  15. I for one am willing to give Whoopi Goldberg the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it is just because I am bad at reading people, but I don’t see that anything she said was obviously repulsive. [The video linked to seems to be out of order, opening in the middle of the conversation with the first part appended at the end. She actually said the same thing earlier on but it got no response then (any transcription errors mine).
    WG: … a Tennessee school pulled the graphic novel Maus out of their lessons on the Holocaust because it contained some nudity and some bad language. Personally I’m shocked because you know given the story of Maus I’m I’m surprised that that’s what, that’s what made you uncomfortable the fact that there was some nudity and I mean it’s it’s about the Holocaust the killing of six million people but that didn’t that didn’t bother you but the the naked

    Someone else interrupts: I’m not sure that they don’t use the naked part as a kind of a canard to throw you off from from the fact that they don’t like history that makes white people look bad.

    WG: Why this is white people doing it to white people.

    Someone else: yeah, yeah

    WG: This is you know y’all go fight amongst yourselves.


    Someone else: But you know and look at what kids watch these days and the music they listen to…]

    Yes, the Jews [and the Roma] were considered an inferior race by the Nazis. But I have filled out numerous forms that ask for race/ethnicity and have never seen a “Jew” category. The US census has “White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.” So I don’t see anything wrong with someone today not considering the Jews to be a separate race. In fact, it can be argued that this is evidence against anti-Semitism: a person who includes Jews as members of the “White” group doesn’t consider them to be a separate, inferior class. In Goldberg’s case, this is even more reasonable since she is black. [A dog being beaten doesn’t distinguish between a beggar and a king.]

    Many early Irish and Italian immigrants were discriminated against. Is that now considered racism? It wasn’t so termed when I went to school.

    Not being familiar with Whoopi Goldberg, I did a search to find any past incidents that might provide background.

    Her real name is Caryn Johnson. She picked the stage name Whoopi (whoopee cushion) Goldberg (various explanations given, one, from detractors, that she might have more success with a Jewish name). She apparently has no Jewish ancestors.

    Some stories, of unknown veracity:

    “Whoopi Goldberg has claimed she feels just as Jewish as she does black.
    Speaking this week at a charity event in London, the Oscar-winning actress said: “I just know I am Jewish. I practise nothing. I don’t go to temple, but I do remember the holidays. Religion is a lot of work, it’s exhausting. So I keep it simple, I have a pretty good relationship with God. We talk.””
    “Ms Goldberg, who is currently producing the musical version of Sister Act on Broadway, was in London to work with charity Film Without Borders, run by TV producer Jill Samuels. It supports young filmmakers from countries of conflict, including Israel and the Palestinian territories.
    She visited Israel “many moons ago” and planted a tree there. “I feel a real connection there, but also with Palestine as well. We are one people, we really are.””

    “Although she isn’t a Member of the Tribe, Whoopi Goldberg may have been feeling inspired by her Jewish-sounding last name when she designed her holiday sweater capsule collection for department store Lord & Taylor.
    The actress’ line of cheeky sweaters feature a multicultural, multi-species cast of characters, including a kippah-wearing octopus fashioning itself into a menorah.
    “Most of my Jewish friends are like, ‘The holiday thing is okay, but we are here too!’” she said, adding that she plans to include Kwanzaa- and Ramadan-themed sweaters in next year’s collection.”

    “Whoopi Goldberg’s recipe for “Jewish American Princess Fried Chicken” is leaving at least a couple of Jews with a bad case of indigestion.
    Her recipe, in a cookbook published to raise money for an environmental educational center in Connecticut, instructs readers to “send the chauffeur to your favorite butcher shop for the chicken,” shake the chicken in a bag while being careful to “watch your nails,” and to “hand the bag to the cook and go dress for dinner.”
    Finish the chicken by having the “cook prepare the rest of the meal while you touch up your makeup,” says Whoopi’s recipe.”

    So I don’t see that all the commotion and two-week suspension is necessarily called for.

    1. “WG: Why this is white people doing it to white people.
      Someone else: yeah, yeah
      WG: This is you know y’all go fight amongst yourselves.

      Regardless of how it was meant, describing the Holocaust as “white people doing it to white people” trivializes the suffering. With any other group (hey, oppression of women in Afghanistan is just some people doing it to their own) and/or with a White speaker it would be considered extremely offensive. It is not something to laugh at.

      As for her being Jewish in some sense, probably not according to Judaism’s own rules.

      1. ““WG: Why this is white people doing it to white people.
        Someone else: yeah, yeah
        WG: This is you know y’all go fight amongst yourselves.

        What I see in this is special pleading – “white” v. “white” is one thing. “white” v. “not white” is … what is it Whoopi? It is not clear.

        1. Yes, true, and your point is? That doesn‘t make it any better, which was what her white-on-white comment implied. I‘ve often heard “most gun deaths are black-on-black”. Whether or not it is true (I don’t know), it is clear what the intent is.

      2. I agree. “White people doing it to white people” projects an attitude I find disgusting even without getting into the Holocaust. It reinforces an us-against-them thesis that is totally divisive. I realize it was probably meant as humor but it’s just not that funny.

        1. Since I don’t know enough about American culture or language, I won’t say anything about Whoopi’s alleged “projected attitudes.” However, the literal meaning of what Whoopi said is 100 percent true.

          1. Yes, but the triviality of that fact tells you that the statement’s intended meaning goes beyond its literal truth. You don’t have to know anything about American culture to realize that.

    2. I agree with you.
      The Nazis were white and they killed Jews who were as white as the Nazis themselves. So Whoopi is absolutely correct in defining the Holocaust as “white people doing it to white people.”

      1. It is trivially true, but it misses the point completely, namely that the Nazis killed people whom they deemed racially inferior. And that was the main reason. Of course, the fact that they perceived the Jews as having too much power, and were political enemies of other parties, was a factor in killing these two groups, but that doesn‘t apply to Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, etc. They just killed everyone whom they thought was biologically inferior.

        I never thought that I would have to explain to people that Nazis were racists.

        Whether Jews are a race in a biological sense (yes, biological races of humans exist, as Jerry has pointed out here many times) exist and if so whether they have the same skin colour as their murderers is completely beside the point.

        Will those who defend Goldberg here also play down all other violence as long as it is within one race?

        1. Skin color and any other actual physical traits of Jews were “irrelevant” to the Nazis, showing that their concept of “race” was preposterous. Unlike the Nazis, Whoopi uses a sensible concept of “race”, based on the physical characteristics of individuals, and therefore considers the Jewish victims of the Holocaust “white”, because it is undeniable that they were white. Whoopi has been punished at work for telling the honest truth.

          1. You are completely missing the point. First, even if their concept of race had been correct, killing people of other races is wrong. Second, even if the Holocaust was mostly white-on-white, that doesn’t make it any better, which was what her remark (whether meant as humor or not) implies. Third, it was definitely racist as far as the Nazis were concerned. Why else would they base Jewishness on genetic inheritance?

            1. The Holocaust can be seen from two very different perspectives, the Nazi and the scientific. From the Nazi point of view, the Holocaust consisted in the elimination of an inferior race, the Jew, at the hands of a superior race, the Aryan. From a scientific point of view, it was about the elimination of white people at the hands of other white people. Whoopi was speaking from a scientific perspective, not from a Nazi perspective.

      2. I think what Whoopi was saying is that, as a black woman, she doesn’t care about the Holocaust and, by extension, any other battle not involving her race. In other words, the race war is the only war worth talking about. She may have meant it only as humor but it is a pretty disgusting point of view, IMHO.

        1. If what you say is true, Whoopi is a horrible woman who doesn’t deserve to be hired by any television network. Do you have any evidence to support such serious accusations?

        2. I really don’t see how that follows. She was the one who first brought up that some people were upset by the nudity but not the killing of 6 million people. What about people of the same ethnic etc backgrounds killing one another because some are Protestant and some are Catholic? By the same token, doesn’t this emphasis on race wars trivialize such conflicts? Again, I don’t understand how so many people can read so much about people’s opinions from such limited statements. She certainly has no Farrakhanian past.
          I am the same vintage as Goldberg but am white, male, and Southern. “Racism” when I was growing up always meant black/white. There was no implicit trivialization of other injustices.
          It seems to me that this is more of a complaint about labels rather than deeds.

          1. [ jumping in here for speed ]

            At this point, we must remind ourselves :

            Whoopi Goldberg’s job is entertainment – this is not an insult – that means using the expressive nature of the personality for the audience to reflect or ponder, etc., live – in real time, in the moment, improvised.

            My point is : she showed how limited that is in contrast to, for instance, writing or composing thoughts into a piece.

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