Monday: Hili dialogue

March 21, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where we are now: According to the ship’s real-time map, We’re in the islands off the Antarctic Peninsula, looking, I think, for refuge from the fierce winds and swells that are raging today. We were supposed to go on Zodiac cruises in Fournier Bay (red arrow in second picture below), but given the way the ship is rocking, I strongly doubt that will happen.  (The seas are very rough again, and stuff is falling over in the dining room.)

Our planned destination: Fourner Bay (red arrow) in Anvers Island, a large (2,432 km2) mountainous island. Were were originally bound for Paradise Harbor, shown on the map below.

I was called to the clinic downstairs for the mandatory PCR test for passengers, given on the fifth day of the cruise. I tested negative, thank Ceiling Cat. But they had scheduled me for 6 a.m. and I had no idea! I was the very first passenger to be tested (I got no advance notice that I was to be tested so early). You go back to your cabin, wait 10-20 minutes, and if you get no phone call, you’re good. This is about my eighth covid tests, four of them PCR tests, since the two days before I left for Chile.

Which reminds me of a joke:

One hydrogen atom says to another, “I’ve lost an electron!”
The other hydrogen atom replies, “Are you sure?”
The first one says, “I’m positive!”

I’ll be here all year, folks!

Good morning on Monday, March 22, 2022: World Water Day. I never drink enough water, as I don’t like it much, and the result is that I’ve unknowingly been dehydrated to the point of dizziness several times. While I criticize adults who swig on water constantly like babies with their bottles (the impulse must be similar), you can at least consume 6-8 glasses of dihydrogen oxide per day. Or have seltzer!

If you want to lend a hand, go to the March 22 Wikipedia page and highlight for us the notable events, birth, and deaths you find striking.

Today’s NYT headline notes that the fighting in Ukraine shows no sign of letting up, nor the Ukrainians of surrendering. Click on the screenshot to read.

The port city, of course, is the battered Mariupol, and here’s the news summary:

Ukraine rejected Russia’s demand that soldiers defending Mariupol surrender at dawn on Monday, with officials accusing Moscow of using the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the city as hostages.

The Ukrainian government was doing all it could to help people escape “that tortured place,” said Olena Zelenska, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Russian forces shelled what little was left of the city, its streets littered with rubble and the dead.

. . . Iryna Vereschuk, a deputy prime minister of Ukraine, told Ukrainska Pravda that her country rejected the Russian demand for surrender. She called on Russia to open a humanitarian corridor in Mariupol so thousands of civilians trapped with little food or water can escape.

Yesterday the Russians bombarded an art school in Mariupol. Many were trapped in the rubble, and the death toll may be high. Here’s what President Zelensky said about it:

“There were no military positions,” he said, adding that the 400 people sheltering there from relentless shelling in the city were mostly women, children or seniors. “They are under the debris. We do not know how many are alive at the moment.”

And for the first time, the Russians began bombarding Mariupol from ships.

A shopping mall was struck in Kyiv, killing at least four and perhaps up to a dozen.

Stuff to read

On his eponymous Substack site, writer Michael Tracey reveals that “Unfortunately, displaced Ukrainians are calling for World War III.” He interviewed many Ukrainian refugees, and nearly all of them support President Zelensky’s idea that we should “close the skies” {creating a “no fly zone” for Russian planes} over Ukraine. It’s a bad idea, because it would surely drastically widen the war. When apprised of this likelihood, this was the kind of response Tracey got:

When I brought up the possibility of a No Fly Zone, she was unequivocal in her support. “It will save those who can’t leave,” she said. I gently asked if she was aware what a No Fly Zone entails; that it would require direct US military intervention, and therefore war with Russia. “I am mother. I am not politician,” she said. “Issues with war should be decided by politicians.”

*This article on Bari Weiss’s Substack site, “The takeover of the American legal system,” by Aaron Silbarium, is a must-read. Yes, he writes for a right-wing site, but I’m familiar with many of his allegations and know them to be true. His point is that, increasingly, law schools are urging their graduates to abandon the “neutral justice” stance, which gives everyone a criminal defense and requires a “not guilty” finding if there’s reasonable doubt. Further, there is no pressure on criminal defense attorneys to reject “unpopular” clients like Harvey Weinstein, destroying a fundamental pillar of the American justice system. I’ll give one quote:

Starting this Fall, Georgetown Law School will require all students to take a class “on the importance of questioning the law’s neutrality”and assessing its “differential effects on subordinated groups,” according to university documents obtained by Common SenseUC Irvine School of LawUniversity of Southern California Gould School of Law, Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, and Boston College Law School have implemented similar requirements. Other law schools are considering them.

As of last month, the American Bar Association is requiring all accredited law schools to “provide education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism,” both at the start of law school and “at least once again before graduation.” That’s in addition to a mandatory legal ethics class, which must now instruct students that they have a duty as lawyers to “eliminate racism.” (The American Bar Association, which accredits almost every law school in the United States, voted 348 to 17 to adopt the new standard.)

There’s a lot more, so do read it. If Silbarium be right, a lot of our protections for defendants are going down the drain.

*The Washington Post has an article on Lia Thomas’s victory in NCAA swimming that seems to be slanted towards the view that all transwomen should be able to compete athletically against biological women. They don’t mention any science or data, but do quote this with approval:

But it was something Bailar [Schuyler Bailar, Thomas’s “friend and advisor”] said the day before that might linger as sports organizations grapple with legislation for transgender athletes.

“If you try to police Lia’s body or any other trans woman’s body, then you have to police all women’s bodies,” he said.

To exclude transgender women, sports officials will have to know which athletes are trans and which are not. Organizations will have to come up with a way to test all female athletes.

No, they simply ask the athletes and exclude them if they lie. And if they transitioned after puberty, that would be a matter of public record.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Hili dialogue below required some explanation for me. Malgorzata helped out:

We have just one word for “border” and “limit”. Russians think that there are no borders for their empire. And now people think that there are no limits to their cruelty in Ukraine. But sometimes there are also no limits to heroism and help by good people. So you can interpret this dialogue (in Polish) any way you want. I don’t know how English-speaking people would understand is because the double meaning of the word is lost.

Hili: Where are limits?
A: Sometimes there are no limits.
In Polish:
Hili: Gdzie są granice?
Ja: Czasami nie ma granic.

Lagniappe: a bonus picture: Andrzej with one of the two new Ukrainian guests who fled Kyif and are staying in Dobrzayn. Here is 8 year old Karolina, along with Szaron the cat. (Karolina loves the cats.) What a nice photo! Karolina’s mother, Natasza, is going to teach Malgorzata today how to make real Ukrainian borscht.

As I said yesterday, Karolina’s father and 20-year brother are still in Kyiv to fight the Russians. It’s a difficult situation for everyone; but Andrzej, Malgorzata, and their lodgers upstairs, as well as others in Dobrzyn, are doing what they can for the pair and a few other Ukrainian refugees who found their way to the tiny town of Dobrzyn. Karolina and Natasza are in good hands (and Andrzej loves children).

From Isabelle, a Russie Smollett!:

From Jesus of the Day: He’s right, you know.

Also from Jesus of the Day:

The man is a polymath, but “After Life” is his masterpiece.

From Barry, who says “Okay, so maybe dogs aren’t the smartest problem-solvers . . . but Fido here impresses.”  I’m not terribly impressed: the dog could have jumped unless he’s feeble, and a cat simply would have leapt onto the chair.

An oldie but a good from Gerd:

From Simon: any scientist who publishes papers will recognize this attitude.

Tweets from Matthew.  I know that these issues are easily resolved by presenting a fish:

Matthew says, “Thread of visitor to Petra; you’ll like the final tweet.” And so I did; it’s the fourth one below.  This is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.


I hope Kyiv doesn’t need a ghost:

45 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1556 – On the day of his execution in Oxford, former archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer deviates from the scripted sermon by renouncing the recantations he has made and adds, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.”

    1788 – A fire in New Orleans leaves most of the town in ruins.

    1925 – The Butler Act prohibits the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.

    1943 – Wehrmacht officer Rudolf von Gersdorff plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler by using a suicide bomb, but the plan falls through; von Gersdorff is able to defuse the bomb in time and avoid suspicion.

    1952 – Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

    1960 – Apartheid: Sharpeville massacre, South Africa: Police open fire on a group of black South African demonstrators, killing 69 and wounding 180.

    1965 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

    1970 – The first Earth Day proclamation is issued by Joseph Alioto, Mayor of San Francisco.

    1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet–Afghan War.

    1983 – The first cases of the 1983 West Bank fainting epidemic begin; Israelis and Palestinians accuse each other of poison gas, but the cause is later determined mostly to be psychosomatic.

    1994 – The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change enters into force.

    2006 – The social media site Twitter is founded.

    1685 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German Baroque composer and musician (d. 1750)

    1752 – Mary Dixon Kies, American inventor (d. 1837) – Some argue that she was the first woman to receive a US patent, but it isn’t settled.

    1839 – Modest Mussorgsky, Russian pianist and composer (d. 1881)

    1866 – Antonia Maury, American astronomer and astrophysicist (d. 1952)

    1902 – Son House, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1988)

    1904 – Forrest Mars, Sr., American candy maker, created M&M’s and Mars bar (d. 1999)

    1980 – Ronaldinho, Brazilian footballer

    Those who shortened Santa’s list by one:

    1617 – Pocahontas, Algonquian Indigenous princess (b. c. 1595)

    1656 – James Ussher, Irish archbishop (b. 1581) – Believed that the Earth was created at 6 pm on 22 (or 23, depending on the calender) October 4004.

    1991 – Leo Fender, American businessman, founded Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (b. 1909)

    1997 – Wilbert Awdry, English cleric and author, created The Railway Series, the basis for Thomas the Tank Engine (b. 1911)

    1999 – Ernie Wise, English comedian and actor (b. 1925)

    2011 – Pinetop Perkins, American singer and pianist (b. 1913)

    2017 – Colin Dexter, English author (b. 1930) – Creator of Inspector Morse.

    1. Just heard Segovia playing his gorgeous arrangement of Cello Suite prelude no. 1 – wonder if my music service calculated that

    2. JezGrove: like that you’re keeping up the tradition—
      “Those who shortened Santa’s list by one:”

      1. I am not of the Christmas culture. But doesn’t that only work for the good ones? I suppose it means that all in the above list have been good. Colin Dexter, for sure, was excellent. I don’t know about the rest.

  2. “… stuff is falling over in the dining room.”

    Ahhhh, the stories PCC(E) will be able to tell about this specific trip alone are gonna be priceless!

    1. Is it a control system issue? Well looking at the angle it went down, it’s either that or a deliberate crash. Some pictures on Twitter suggest it lost some control surfaces, but that need not necessarily have been before it started going down.

      I normally reserve my judgement until after I’ve seen the Blancolirio take.

      Note that this was a 737-NG not a 737 MAX, so not the MCAS issue.

        1. Yes – I learned about it here, actually – it’s so good, he has no reservations about losing his audience – I particularly like that.

          ‘Course, I also need time for it.

          I remember the Kobe Bryant crash analysis was excellent, insightful. But he said effectively it will be many many months before the conclusion is formed. I also like that.

          What was the conclusion on the Kobe Bryant helicopter tragedy?

          1. As best I remember it was pilot error. He should never have flown into the low clouds in that hilly terrain. He had VFR ability but maybe not IFR. As everyone knows, when you fly into fog or clouds or darkness without IFR you can easily loose all sense of direction. That is what got JFK Jr. It would be a good idea for all none pilots (passengers) to remember. Do not fly with anyone in bad weather or IFR conditions if they are not experienced IFR pilots.

  3. Water :

    I’ve figured out that the hangover-like headaches, that last forever, and can be inert to ibuprofen, are correlated with sodium or potassium intake – i.e. “salty food”. I am not sure it “dehydrates” the body as much as it does other things.

    I have figured this out by not merely drinking ample volumes of water during the day – (it rarely helps) – but drinking ample volumes of water exactly when eating the food. And it doesn’t need to be too much or too salty to be salty enough to induce a headache/malaise. There appears to be a delay between headache/malaise and the culprit comestible. Coffee is not the problem.

    The experiment continues. Worst offender : Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo – there’s almost a gram of sodium per serving! I can eat it now thanks to my method.

    Hope that helps someone out there enjoy tasty food without the hangover.

    1. Too much sodium lowers our potassium levels, so we need to get more potassium in. It’s a balancing act, and can be tricky. I recently learned that avocados are the best source of potassium.

      1. While your heart is in the right place, I have to say that never once in my life have I paid any attention to how much potassium I am eating. Balancing it can’t be that tricky, barring some chronic disease where closer attention is necessary. The best ways to avoid excessive sodium intake, if that matters to you, are to never eat anything bought in a gas station and to do most of your shopping around the walls of the grocery store. The aisles are where the salt is. Of course this requires that you, or someone who loves you, can cook.

      1. Sure

        Take a look also at your cans of tomatoes – sometimes, there’s unusual quantities of potassium – I want to say “San Marzano” products in particular.

        Then of course Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods products are clearly high in both sodium and potassium, I think deliberately so.

        Potassium chloride is, of course, in some countries, used as a “table salt” – i.e. it makes food more flavorful. I surmise manufacturers add it for that precise reason – and it flies under the radar of being a “high in sodium” food.

        [ looks for a can of tomatoes ]

        OK, check this out :

        “No Salt Added”
        Peeled Plum tomatoes
        794 g ( 1 lb. 12 oz.)
        Quantities per 121 g (1/2 cup) :
        Sodium : 15 mg (1 % daily value as of FDA in 2022)
        Potassium : 230 mg (4 % daily value)

        … thus, this can is a … jeez, I had to double check – yes, it’s “No Salt Added” – but the potassium! 230 mg ? That is not small, IMHO. The label only has calcium chloride, so the tomato itself must be grown and bred to contain the potassium, but I wonder if the same could be done for sodium. Hmmm.

        1. Before you throw out your tomatoes, note that most fruits and veggies are naturally high in postassium (K) and low in sodium (Na), with most sodium added during processing. And, high K intake with low Na intake is associated with much lower risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, etc. Google DASH diet.
          Na is your main extracellular (both intravascular and in tissues) cation, while K is mainly intracellular.
          You’ll retain more of your water intake if you also take in a lot of Na–good if you’re dehydrated for whatever reason, not so good if you’re not. Extremely high intake of water without Na can cause serious hyponatremia, with serious consequences. Has happened to endurance athletes who tried to maintain high levels of hydration during marathon-type events. I assume Dr Google can help you find plenty of examples, reports, etc.
          Unless you have kidney disease, or are on certain meds, your kidneys will rid you of any excess K fairly quickly.
          ((And, FWIW, while I don’t play one on TV, I am a (retired) doctor.))

          1. Yeah, interesting – but how high is high – especially if canned tomatoes vary so much – suggests it is breeding or growth conditions. I’ll have to go look at them again, and the daily value of potassium. But I’ll remember these Tuttorossos at 230 mg per 121 g because I wrote it down.

        2. Apparently tomatoes are a great source of potassium, and 230mg is not high at all. I just read that a cup of cooked tomatoes would deliver about 740mg, a cup of cooked spinach even more, and watermelon also has a nice amount of potassium.

          1. From that NIH link :
            Adequate daily intake (see site for definition)
            19–50 years 3,400 mg 2,600 mg 2,900 mg 2,800 mg

          2. And :

            “It is estimated that the body absorbs about 85%–90% of dietary potassium [1,2]. The forms of potassium in fruits and vegetables include potassium phosphate, sulfate, citrate, and others, but not potassium chloride (the form used in salt substitutes and some dietary supplements; see supplements section below) [16].”

        3. Dropping a line on the San Marzanos :

          Checked a 28 oz. can (the standard one – maybe 121 g SS) and NOT a “no salt added” one :

          Sodium 15 mg
          Potassium around 300

          … point is, my surmise about the sodium and potassium in San Marzanos is… well… the sodium is very low, not the potassium, but it sounds like that’s a typical canned tomato.

  4. What was that about controlling women’s bodies. I thought the republican/Trump party already did that?

    Very nice job there in Poland and lots of cats too.

  5. > And if they transitioned after puberty, that would be a metter of public record.

    It’s not as public as you might think. As a long-term expat, I can assure you that several of my biographical details that might be accessible in my home country are not public record in the various countries where I have subsequently lived. As many people are now talking about college athletes, I will mention that I have known quite a few expat/non-citizen student athletes.

      1. Barr-body testing despite its technical and theoretical limitations was a major advance in the adjudication of female-ness for competition over the old “pull-down-your-jeans” approach of athletic legend. It required only a buccal smear—no needles, a big deal for adolescents—and results were available almost while you waited if you had a microscope handy. As med students we all did them on ourselves as an afternoon lab exercise. Done with paid staff in an accredited lab, it would probably cost as much today as complete genomic analysis. But tests based on microscopy do lend themselves to immediate one-off testing: “The sex of our star gymnast has been challenged and the Olympic trials are tomorrow!”

        The test works because one X, at random, is permanently suppressed in early XX embryos, which was a major discovery in genetics. The Barr body is the suppressed X. It is therefore interesting in its own right.

        The point, and where WaPo is barking up the wrong tree, is that athletes registering to compete as women have always been subject to verification of their claim to be female… and to be not doping. Verification should be as accurate as possible and no more intrusive than necessary. But verification itself is not a big anti-woman ask. The big ask is getting XY-trans athletes to accept the results, instead of them demanding to compete even though they know they will fail the verification.

  6. Organizations will have to come up with a way to test all female athletes.

    I am not sure what the Post thinks would be the problem here. Obviously, sports organizations are already doing drug testing, so the process is in place. Or maybe the Post has let their ideology get ahead of biology and they mean we’d have to figure out a way to “test” for being a “female”?

  7. Malgorzata and Andrzej, is there a Polish word for ‘boundaries’? Hoping for safety for you all.

    Wrt the talking cats, I think they are saying they hope de humanz close de skyz.

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