Thursday: Hili dialogue

March 10, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where we are now: Because of inclement weather further south, we’ve skipped the Orne Harbor landing (I hope we go there on the next trip) and are heading north again, back to Deception Island (the collapsed caldera), where we’ll enter again and hope to land at Whaler’s Bay, which apparently is full of seals.

Our plans are then to go around the tip of the Peninsula and head south into the Weddell Sea. I haven’t been on that side of the Peninsula before

We’re heading north and I’m on the port side, so there’s nothing to see but sea:

Today’s Hili will be truncated as I was told at the last minute that I must lecture twice: once in the morning and once in the evening

Good morning on an antipodean Thursday: March 10, 2020: National Ranch Dressing Day. It was a good invention (that was in 1954 at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch, but now they put it on everything.

Go to the March 10 Wikipedia page to find notable events, births, or deaths that happened on this day, and then report your favorites in the comments.

**********

Things are getting truly bad in Ukraine and I have no time to peruse the news. Here’s a bit I learned from a tweet by Matthew:

*As Matthew noted, and as was reported in the NYT, Russia is getting increasingly barbaric. Yesterday evening’s NYT headline was “Increasingly isolated, Russia escalates attacks on civilians.” The most odious thing I’ve seen was the bombardment of a maternity hospital in Mariupol:

Things were especially dire in the southern port of Mariupol, where Russian strikes hit several civilian buildings on Wednesday, including a maternity hospital, sending bloodied pregnant women fleeing into the cold. Hundreds of casualties have been reported, people have taken to cutting down trees to burn for heat and cooking, trenches have been dug for mass graves and local authorities have instructed residents on how to dispose of dead family members — wrap the bodies, tie the limbs and put them on the street.

There’s no evidence that the hospital was targeted directly, but no evidence to the contrary, either. Either the Russians want to terrorize civilians this way, knowing that no Russian will face punishment for this, or it was “collateral damage,” in which case the Russians are simply implementing a “scorched earth” policy, civilians be damned. Given that it appears Russian troops fired on fleeing civilians, I wouldn’t rule out the first alternative.

A photo of a pregnant woman being evacuated from the hospital. This heartbreaking photo will be circulated widely.

Photo credit from the NYT:: Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

People have also been told not to go outside to retrieve bodies as being outside is simply too dangerous.

Also, Russia and China are both stating that the U.S. was working on both biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine with Ukrainian collaboration. This surely cannot be true, but don’t put it past Putin to use that as an excuse for further escalation.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, denounced recent statements from Russia and China that claimed the United States had been working on biological and chemical weapons in laboratories in Ukraine. She said the conspiratorial propaganda could be used by President Vladimir V. Putin as cover, so that Russia could carry out attacks in Ukraine using biological and chemical weapons and paint them as the work of Ukraine, the United States or partner nations. “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s a clear pattern.”

The war has been characterized by a surfeit of arrant lies from the Russians. The NYT just reported this:

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, tells a Turkish reporter: “We are not planning to attack other countries. We didn’t attack Ukraine, either.” He was repeating Russian claims that the country was forced to conduct a “special military operation” in Ukraine to assure its own security.

I understand that the Russian media, now firmly under Putin’s thumb, are not even allowed to refer to this fight as a “war”, but only as a “special military operation”.  There are three definite lies and one probable on in the short statement above

*An article to read, free at Sarah Haider’s Substack site: “On being a token,” which uses her own experience as a token brown woman (an ex-Muslim from Pakistan) to criticize tokenism, which she sees as including Biden’s announcement that he was going to choose a black woman to be the new Supreme Court Justice, something that he shouldn’t have announced in advance and just appointed Ketanji Jackson without fanfare (I agree). She also sees tokenism affecting the humanist/atheist movement, which is also true:

And so, inordinate amount of time was spent trying to court the minuscule number of visible minorities who were also famous and also atheists for our event, and shockingly little in engaging the real stars of our movement who could reliably bring out large crowds.

But as these efforts came to naught, and the line-up remained too white – the open tokenizing began. I watched in disbelief as the pretense dropped altogether and the scrambling for brown faces began. Otherwise highly unexciting and unqualified people began to be considered for prime slots.

Incredibly, I even witnessed dissent to British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie because “if we threw him into our website lineup, he’d look like yet another white guy.”

The diversity gods required a paper-bag test, in other words.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka is being snarky towards Hili:

Hili: What are you looking at?
Kulka: At something you do not see.
In Polish:
Hili: Na co patrzysz?
Kulka: Na to, czego ty nie widzisz.
And Szaron sitting on a desk:

From Simon, who says that this is a genuine example of a Ceiling Cat:

From Ginger K. I admit that I too loved miniature lab equipment and had a collection of 10 ml graduated cylinders and the like:

Tweets from Matthew:

This may have been a local drone looking for apartments to loot, but the Ukrainian woman, Liubov, who works in a shop, apparently did take down a drone with a jar of pickled tomatoes. She also said this:

“I’m not going anywhere from Kyiv. I decided so instantly. This is my home, my land. I will stand, gnaw, fight, and fight some more. I’ll do all that is necessary.”

Even sacrificing her precious pickled tomatoes (with plums!)

WHAT?

Say it ain’t so, Amazon! From the Times article:

Amazon has been selling clothing and other merchandise marked with a “Z” that supports Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The symbol, used by the Russian army in Ukraine to avoid friendly-fire incidents, has gone viral in Russia and among the country’s supporters around the world.

T-shirts, sweaters and phone accessories with the symbol “Z” and explicitly advertised as “RUSSIAN Z SYMBOL MILITARY ARMED FORCES TANKS” were for sale on the tech giant’s site today. The description of items said they were sold and dispatched by Amazon.

Russians around the world have been daubing the white letter on black backgrounds to denote support for their army fighting in Ukraine. The adoption of the “Z” as a symbolic expression of support is viewed as particularly controversial as it was originally daubed on tanks attacking Ukrainian cities.

Do they sell clothing with swastikas on them, too?

The Ukrainians, despite everything, still have a sense of humor about what’s going one:

This is pretty damn funny:

And a cat tweet:

 

42 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. I was wondering if the popularity of the Z symbol was more about regular Russians supporting the troops, rather than support of the war. Maybe the media here is mis-reading the intention.

  1. Russia and China are both stating that the U.S. was working on both biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine with Ukrainian collaboration.

    Even Bush II had sense enough to propagate his chem-bio lie before he attacked, not after. So I must agree with Psaki; this isn’t so much an attempt to justify the invasion as it is a preamble to the use of chemical weapons on Ukrainians.

    including Biden’s announcement that he was going to choose a black woman to be the new Supreme Court Justice, something that he shouldn’t have announced in advance and just appointed Ketanji Jackson without fanfare (I agree).

    I think that’s an unrealistic post-hoc view of 2019-2020. Every candidate either got asked this question or was going to get asked it during the down-selection, and any hedging or dissembling on Biden’s part would’ve been interpreted as illiberal and thus could’ve cost him the nomination. Could he have come up with a better, more complex answer? Probably. But ‘more complex’ would have made for a weaker message, and Haider’s implied ‘better option’ of simply not addressing the issue was not IMO, a realistic option.

    Let’s look forward on this, and think about whether Haider’s preferred approach is realistic in the future either. It’s early 2024, some SCOTUS judge has announced retirement, and both candidates are getting asked litmus-test-like questions about the sort of judge they will elect.The GOP candidate is going to be asked about ‘originalism,’ ‘family values’, ‘parents rights’, and all sorts of other buzzwords for promoting right-wing judicial policies. And the Dem candidate is going to be asked about a constitutional right to abortion, police use of force, gun rights law…and also whether they’re going to get away from the pale stale christian male candidate mold. And neither candidate will realistically have the option of ‘no comment’ unless they want to take a big hit in the number of party members they bring to the voting booth. So simply avoiding the tokenism question, as Haider wants, is not something the Dem candidate can realistically do. They’re going to have to address the question of race, sex and how it plays into SCOTUS nominations one way or the other.

    Do they sell clothing with swastikas on them, too?

    A brief search for ‘swastika flag’ and ‘swastika tshirt’ didn’t bring anything up. They do sell WWII era collectible stuff with swastikas on it (coins, stamps, etc).

    I’m okay with them selling both. And I’m okay with people going elsewhere for their shopping in response to them doing so. I do not look to our greedy for-profit capitalist corporations for sound moral guidance.

  2. Here in Florida, both houses of the legislature have now passed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, largely along party-line votes, and the governor is expected to sign it into law tout de suite — ain’t nobody, but nobody, gonna out culture-war Ron DeSantis when it comes to queuing up for a run at the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, should the party’s Dear Leader in exile at Mar-a-Lago take a pass (or wind up in prison).

    1. My kid had a girlfriend in kindergarten, a ‘love triangle’ situation in 1st grade, and a ‘let’s just be friends’ on and off thing in 2nd grade. Nothing sexual of course, they don’t have the hardware hooked up yet. But emotionally, heck yes attraction, ‘relationships’, and consequently relationship problems happen in K-3. The notion that K-3 is an inappropriate time for teachers to field student questions about such topics is just Republican head in the sandnaive. Goodness, didn’t even their poster child The Beave have a case of puppy love in some episode?

    2. Florida is racing Texas to become the #1 dystopian state in the union. Way to go! Florida will soon be under water, BUT the GAYS!

  3. Worrying news from The Guardian:

    Australian virologists have uncovered a drug-resistant mutation in the Covid-19 virus associated with the drug sotrovimab and say without the monitoring of patients given the treatment the mutated virus could spread in the community.

    The world-first findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, are the result of an analysis of the first 100 patients in western Sydney during the Delta outbreak in 2021 to be given sotrovimab.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/10/covid-treatment-sotrovimab-can-cause-drug-resistant-mutation-study-finds

    On this day:

    1922 – Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.

    1969 – In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later unsuccessfully attempts to recant. (It was some birthday for Ray – see below.)

    1970 – Vietnam War: Captain Ernest Medina is charged by the U.S. military with My Lai war crimes.

    2019 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX, crashes, leading to all 737 MAX aircraft being grounded worldwide. – Three years ago, unbelievable!

    Births:

    1903 – Bix Beiderbecke, American cornet player, pianist, and composer (d. 1931)

    1928 – James Earl Ray, American criminal; assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. (d. 1998)

    1959 – Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabian terrorist, founded al-Qaeda (d. 2011)

    Started singing with the choir invisible:

    1948 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author, visual artist, and ballet dancer (b. 1900)

    2005 – Dave Allen, Irish-English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1936) – A comedy genius famous for his irreverent humour about religion.

  4. 1. The iPhone 13 takes good night sky photos. The Weather app says Antarctica has night from 8:01-4:49 – not sure how to interpret that. Maybe stars and planets would be interesting subjects down there.

    2. Ranch dressing can be found with “MSG” and its cousins like inosinate and guanylate… but I’d have to check again. Maybe parmesan too, and celery seed – a particular combination if flavors.

    1. “The Weather app says Antarctica has night from 8:01-4:49 – not sure how to interpret that.”

      AFAIK all one can say is ‘about 8h 48 min between sunset and sunrise’.

      When standing on the South Pole itself, are you in EVERY time zone or in NONE of them? I realize I’m idealizing with a perfect sphere and the need to dance very very slowly, not just stand, because of ice cap motion (or even continental drift, with ‘very, very, very, …’ !).

      More seriously, but blurting the obvious, no country in the world has land in every time zone, though the territory–better, continent–, Antarctica does.
      Presumably there was a time when continental drift caused Earth to have two such continents, and zero at a different time.

      If there were no rotation of the Earth, would there be any single point on the Earth with some kind of objective meaningfulness, such as only the two poles have now? —any other such curve besides the equator? Just think of any earlier time before humans had begun imposing their semi-arbitrary conventions–or of think of a ‘non-rotating Mars’. Actually with no rotation, perhaps the line from the centre of mass of the sun to the same for the planet gives a pair of pseudo-poles, but that’s all a non-constant function of time.

      Weather app should try to drag USians into the modern world, by giving 8:01 its much preferred name, i.e. 20:01. In any case, without AMs and PMs, they’re being sloppy, aren’t they?

      1. The “8:01” was “20:01” as my configs dictate, but I wrote the … vernacular… and… in doing so, of course forgot the PM…. the AM too…

        … which, as I write this out, doesn’t appear utilitarian at a pole… means something different there…

        Since lines terminate at a point, I think you are correct – at that point time zones are undefined. NaN. Indeed, even the intuitive sense of time-of-day is not working the same – i.e. this is not mere mathematical language nit picking. A different model would be necessary, perhaps… I don’t know why, but combing a hairy ball comes to mind.. and maybe reading that Antarctica time article too…

        1. Better first say I’m just joking, but if that hairy ball was rotating, maybe those hairs would fly all over the place!
          In case any non-mathematician is unfamiliar but curious, Thyroid is referring to the theorem, more-or-less that ‘you cannot avoid at least one crown when combing’.
          That still would be true in any science fiction world where the skull surfaces were even dimensional spheres, like ‘2’ is, in our world. Of course unless the spherical skull was not attached to anything else, the hairy part is less than all the sphere, so for us you just comb the back upwards and the top forwards etc. etc. to avoid any crown–more commonly, everything backwards and downwards.

          Bald people are nothing but crowns at every point, whether kings or queens or not, to make another really awful joke.

          But the details of odd dimensional cases were very interesting and of independent high importance in at least both topology and differential equations, though finally completely solved (by my Ph.D. supervisor, Frank Adams, as it happens) around 1961.

          1. That’s very interesting, but the important question is :

            Shower head : “removable” or fixed?!

            I kid I kid…. (see today’s Antarctica post)…

            A torus does not have a combing problem, but I’m not sure about a Klein bottle… hmmmm…

            1. My differential topology professor described a Klein bottle as being like “sticking your head up your butt and biting off your navel from inside”. Interesting image, but I’m not sure if it’s quite topologically correct.

              And if you had hair on the outside of your KB, you’d also have it on the inside.

              1. Ummm… oh gee, look at that – I just noticed, I’m commenting too much on this one post!

            2. You’ve opened yourself up to me to start droning on!

              (Anyway it’s me not you with too many posts, or at least too long. Surely Jerry has some small print in his Roolz, temporarily exempting people discussing topology!)

              I put “vector fields on orientable surfaces” into Google and got a good one:

              http://pi.math.cornell.edu/~apatotski/IHS2014/Lecture%2017.pdf

              It gets technical towards the end, but well illustrated with pictures. There’s even a theorem there, looking different from this discussion, but pretty interesting since we started with both weather and poles in our minds:

              Theorem
              At any moment, there are two antipodal points on Earth having exactly
              the same temperature and air pressure, — proved almost purely by algebraic topology.

              Anyway, as for your non-zero everywhere vector field on the torus, and question whether there are any on the Klein bottle:
              A fundamental aspect here is the famous Euler (‘oiler’) characteristic (see below), which is 2 and -2 respectively for the sphere and the double torus (pretzel surface), but 0 for the torus (donut surface). You need to get zero Euler characteristic to possibly (i.e. for at least one combing) have ‘no crowns’, so also necessarily having >0 crown(s) are the pretzel, the pretzlier pretzel, ….. (i.e. ‘surgery-ing’ handles onto the sphere, e.g. only one handle being the torus topologically) which Euler calculates to 2, 0, -2, -4,-6, ….. , depending on how many handles, starting with none, i.e. the sphere. So every combing job will have some crowns necessarily, except for the torus. Combing the hairy donut ‘parallel’ all the way round or similar which you mentioned shows that possibility of avoiding crowns.

              Euler: To get the characteristic, calculate (#vertices – #edges + #faces) for a ‘flattish’ construction of the surface–like as a cube, or pyramid (including square base), or pup tent, or tetrahedron, all giving the SPHERE topologically, so all giving the same, namely +2 (try it!), since his characteristic is a topological invariant—or make a donut (TORUS) out of rectangular stove pipes and you must get 0 any way you do it—pretzel (DOUBLE TORUS) gives -2, etc.

              The reference above sticks to orientables, so the Klein bottle is out. But its characteristic is also 0 like the torus. And I think you can half-imagine combing it roughly like suggested for the torus. One point here is that the non-orientability connects to the ability to embed it (self-intersection-free!) into ordinary 3-space or not, whereas vector fields are intrinsic to the surface ‘in abstracto’, believe it or not. (Gauss and Riemann were the first people to really understand this.) All this has many generalizations, including to higher dimensions, and of course to the infinite sequence of non-orientable closed–i.e. no boundary–surfaces e.g. for another besides Klein, imagine trying to knit the single circle edge of a Moebius band onto the single circular edge of a disc—you cannot do it in 3-space, as my wife will vouch, having worked assiduously at it about 50 years ago—it gives the so-called projective plane, also unrealizable as a sub-2-space of ordinary 3-space. But there it is harder to picture the immersion with some self-intersections, compared to Klein’s bottle, which long distance hikers should avoid as a water bottle.

              Gravity implies in physics that planet surfaces must be spherical topologically unless you count very small asteroids as planets. It will be interesting when and if a really powerful telescope finds a little asteroid with torus topology i.e. one hole all the way through it, a bit like those arches out west in US , but more common in the sea near the coast. So strictly speaking, ouir good old easrth is nowhere near to being sa sphere. How many of those arches are there, and 2-ended caves, etc.
              Probably Euler would gave a number in the millions, with a minus sign in front of it!

              1. Great stuff

                A dumb hasty q:

                In terms of vectors, what says you can’t comb the hairy ball with a boundary or part?

                -><-

                or

              2. Lots of variation I think in the introduced boundary, might complicate it for arbitrarily complicated closed surfaces. But topologically and insisting the result is still a manifold-with-boundary, the boundary is just a union of finitely many circles.

                Certainly if it’s done so you can flatten the guy onto the ordinary plane topologically, then you get to comb it neatly. So with the sphere, as soon as at least one point is omitted, no crown is a possibility. The sphere surface with one point removed is topologically the same as the ordinary plane of high school cartesian geometry.

                One needs to look up ‘surfaces with boundary’, or in more general dimensions, ‘manifolds with non-empty boundary’.

      2. There could never be a time when the earth doesn’t rotate. Eventually it will become tidally locked with the sun, as the moon is now with the earth, and this is the stable minimum-energy state. So the earth would rotate once a year as it revolves around the sun keeping solar noon at noon at the same line of longitude for all of time…or until the sun swallowed it up when it becomes a red giant. The only important curve on the earth then would be the terminator separating perpetual day from perpetual night, with only the winds and ocean currents, if either survived the loss of fast rotation, to carry heat from the light side to the dark. It would be a great game of roulette as all humanity tried to predict where the terminator would eventually end up during the final millennia — probably much longer but I’m taking dramatic licence — of ever longer days and nights. All would hope to build their cities along where it eventually came to rest as being the only desirable (or even habitable) zone (literally, zona = belt or girdle) on earth. I’m thinking the most desirable real estate would be where you had perpetual sunset or sunrise as long as it wasn’t too cold or too hot. If much of the terminator was over water, e.g., the Pacific Ocean, no way would we all fit into what was left.

        Would agriculture be possible? Where the sun was high enough to provide enough photons to support photosynthesis, would the perpetual day be too hot to support crops?

        By the way, some of these ideas were raised by U Chicago’s Prof. Dorian Abbott, whose lecture, “Climate and the Potential for Life on Other Planets,” planned at MIT was cancelled because he opposes affirmative action. He gave it by Zoom to a Princeton audience of 4000 on 21 Oct 2021. The thrust was the estimates of the Goldilocks Zone where solar radiation to an exoplanet is just right for life. His work suggested that climate, which derives from atmospheres and produces weather, can expand this zone considerably, especially in planets whose rotation has not become tidally locked.

        The Abbot affair was one of the first events I became “woke” to — sorry, but it’s apt! — about the dangers of Wokism after starting to follow Jerry’s website.

        1. Interesting stuff

          “There could never be a time when the earth doesn’t rotate. […] So the earth would rotate once a year as it revolves around the sun …”

          I think the definition of “revolve” and “rotate” needs special attention here. One might look back in Annalen Der WEIT for a classic puzzler on this, if desired – search term “SAT” and “coin” perhaps.

          But let’s leave that for now.

    2. Night needs to be defined. It is always shorter than the time between sunset and sunrise.

      Sunrise and sunset times are strongly dependent on latitude and longitude. The former stretches or compresses them, the latter shifts them. The info for Marambio Base, latitude 64 degrees 14′ South, (close to where Jerry is) for today is sunrise 06:15, sunset 19:36. Because of the high latitude and because we are so close to the equinox, Jerry’s full-daylight duration is shrinking rapidly, – 6′ 39” today. (At my latitude of 43 degrees N, the day is gaining just 2′ a day now.)

      https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/antarctica/marambio-base

      Now, of course it doesn’t become night the instant the sun sets and you can be doing things outside in pre-sunset dawn. There are three grades of twilight: civil (“Kids, I want you home by the time the streetlights come on”), nautical (when the horizon at sea is no longer distinguishable for “shooting” the stars by sextant) and astronomical (when it gets really really dark.) All these are formally defined as the number of degrees the centre of the sun is below the horizon, 6, 12, and 18. If night is defined as the period from the end to the beginning of astronomical twilight, when the most demanding visible-light astronomical observations are made, it would be 22:49h to 02:58h at Marambio Base, Jerry’s latitude, just 4 h 9′. But this would be a strict definition of night that doesn’t accord with everyday experience; the twilights are all much longer in the high latitudes and may not even occur near the summer solstice. Civil to civil would be 9 h exactly, which is getting close to your figures, allowing for any difference in latitude between the two sources. (The actual clock times depend on longitude, which shifts rapidly over small distances at those high latitudes.)

      Different sources give different definitions of “night”.

      1. Interesting

        “the twilights are all much longer in the high latitudes”

        I’ve noticed such a thing – I want to say near the edge of a large time zone,… but perhaps that doesn’t make sense…

  5. The bio-weapon claim is a travesty of the truth. The US government is funding a laboratory that is apart of a bioweapon REDUCTION programme and is being quite open about it. The Russians know that as well as anyone but they are twisting the truth to suit their own narrative,

    ua.usembassy.gov/embassy/kyiv/sections-offices/defense-threat-reduction-office/biological-threat-reduction-program/

  6. So which one in the picture is Hili and which is Kulka? They are both robust cats now with such similar coloring. Perhaps they should be marked so as to aid identification. Just kidding!

    1. I get them confused too, especially now that Kulka is becoming snarky and sassy. I think Kulka is the one with more white on the face. I also hope nobody tells them that we confuse them, because I think Hili at least would find that highly offensive, and, as you said, they are robust cats, and I don’t want to give offense to either of them.

  7. On a lighter note—I too have a collection of miniature lab glassware, acquired over the years. I didn’t think it would even occur to anyone else to do this.

    1. My collection is not extensive, but I still have my itty bitty Erlenmeyer, tiny beakers, and even a very small volumetric after all these years. We tend to carry all our belongings around with us from move to move the way some little crabs collect decorations for their shells.

    2. Yep, the (looks like) 24/20 stopper on that sep funnel is about the same size as the funnel itself! Somewhere I still have the little apparatus that my friend Imre Fazekas the glassblower made me for redistilling liquid ammonia (for a reaction that involved metallic sodium). I wasn’t sure that I really needed to do that, and it was probably unnecessary, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

  8. “…then to go around the tip of the Peninsula…”

    Will you, near there, get to see Elephant Island, of Shackleton’s marooned men?

    1. According to the BBC:

      As his ship was sinking through the Antarctic pack-ice, Ernest Shackleton allowed each member of his expedition to take 2lbs of possessions with them as they abandoned ship. One exception was made; Shackleton saved Leonard Hussey’s banjo saying, “We must have that banjo. It’s vital mental medicine”.

      In recognition of the recent discovery of Endurance at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row played a short clip yesterday of Hussey playing on that very instrument and talking about the crew’s activities on Elephant Island whilst they were awaiting rescue (about 41:15 minutes in): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00154dn

  9. Bombing hospitals is what the Russians did in Syria, and leveling cities to the ground, with no regard to the civilians in them, is what they did in Chechnya. I am saddened but not surprised to see this happen in Ukraine. Putin’s credibility is on the line with this war and he will do whatever it takes to “win.” The atrocities are just beginning.

    1. They also used sarin on civilians in Syria, too…*and*, IIRC, blamed detection of it by NGOs like the Red Cross/Cresent on use by the rebels.

      So if I had to guess what their last Orwellian accusation was about, it’s because they’re planning on using sarin in Ukraine, and they want to blame their use on it on Ukraine or the US when humanitarian groups start seeing chemical burn victims.

      Which is all just f@#$@#$ing horrible, but not beyond what anyone would expect from a murderous dictator. What will be yet another sink-to-a-new-low moment will be when former and potentially future President Trump says something like “well Putin told me he didn’t use them, I believe him, so it must be the Ukrainians.” If that happens, I may need to have an extra beer. Or avoid the TV, lest I throw heavy objects at it.

      1. Lots of typo and word use mistakes in that last post. My apologies, it’s because it gets me really upset to even think about it.

  10. ” ” Good morning on
    an antipodean Thursday: March 10, 2020: … … … … . ” ”

    Aaaah, no.
    Not so.

    Blue

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