Tuesday: Hili dialogue:

March 29, 2022 • 5:30 am

Where we are now: The ship’s real-time map shows that since we left Puerto Natales at noon yesterday (and once again traversed the White Narrows), we’ve been wending our way north through inland passages.

Today we’re scheduled to pass by the remote town of Puerto Eden, (pop. 176),  but do to covid and the law there’s no stopping in these small hamlets. I was here in 2019 and we did walk around, but the town is so small that we overwhelmed the inhabitants, and it seemed that many of them hid in their houses. I felt like a gawker.

Villa Puerto Edén is a Chilean hamlet and minor port located in Wellington Island, in Natales commune, Última Esperanza Province, Magallanes Region. It is considered one of Chile’s most isolated inhabited places together with Easter Island and Villa Las Estrellas. The village is known for being the home of the last Kawéshkar people. Owing to the large tidewater glaciers caused by the region’s super-high precipitation, it is only accessible by sea, on the Navimag ferry from Puerto Montt in the north, or Puerto Natales in the south. There is also a monthly boat from Caleta Tortel.

I had photos at the time, but hadn’t learn to downsize them for posting. It’s just as well.

We’re also scheduled to see Brüggen Glacier, noted in our itinerary as “the largest glacier in South America”, which, according to Wikipedia, seems to be true:

[The glacier] is the largest western outflow from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Now about 66 km (41 mi) in length, it is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica.

And indeed, after breakfast I saw a huge glacier from my balcony (it was still pretty dark at 8 a.m.):

We may take Zodiacs to see it up close; stay tuned.

Greetings on the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, March 29, 2022; I’ll be home in a week. It’s National Chiffon Cake Day. But pie is better than cake (especially for breakfast), and almost any decent cake is better than a chiffon cake, which is basically air, eggs, sugar, and flour. One exception: sponge cake, but only when served with fruit (strawberries are best) and whipped cream. Here’s a fancy example, though more strawberries are needed:

If you want to help out with “this day in history”, go to the Wikipedia page for March 29 and give us your favorite notable events, births, and deaths.

Here’s today’s headline from the NYT; click to read.

The news summary:

Diplomats from Ukraine and Russia are meeting in Turkey on Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks in more than two weeks, an effort that comes as a Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed back Russian forces in a hard-fought area near Kyiv, the capital.

The talks are being held at a critical moment, with Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials cautioning that despite Ukrainian success in driving Russian troops from the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, Moscow’s forces continue to try to cut off eastern Ukraine and are exacerbating a humanitarian disaster with attacks against critical infrastructure across the country.

Diplomats from Ukraine and Russia are meeting in Turkey on Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks in more than two weeks, an effort that comes as a Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed back Russian forces in a hard-fought area near Kyiv, the capital.

The talks are being held at a critical moment, with Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials cautioning that despite Ukrainian success in driving Russian troops from the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, Moscow’s forces continue to try to cut off eastern Ukraine and are exacerbating a humanitarian disaster with attacks against critical infrastructure across the country.

It seems to me inevitable that Kyiv will be entered and largely destroyed, though Ukrainian stealth and guerrilla attacks could continue for months or years. Zelinsky has offered Russia a few crumbs, but one of them implies that Ukraine would not join NATO.  According to Ukraine’s finance minister, the war so far has cost that country $565 billion.

*The tweet below threw me off, because I thought it meant that the Russians had attacked Ukraine was attacked with chemical weapons and the peace negotiators were accidental victims. Actually, as the relevant Wall Street Journal story reports, it’s possible that the Russians government itself poisoned some of their negotiators. Read below the tweet:

From the WSJ:

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Abramovich, Ukrainian lawmaker Rustem Umerov and another negotiator developed symptoms following the March 3 meeting in Kyiv that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said. Mr. Abramovich has shuttled between Moscow, Belarus and other negotiating venues since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Mr. Abramovich was blinded for a few hours and later had trouble eating, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Some of the people familiar with the matter blamed the suspected attack on hard-liners in Moscow who they said wanted to sabotage talks to end the war. A person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.

However, the NYT says the evidence for deliberate poisoning is almost nil:

But another U.S. official, briefed on intelligence reports, said the incident appeared to be environmental, something like run-of-the mill food poisoning, rather than some kind of chemical agent.

Yet this morning the WSJ is still floating the possibility of poisoning.

This seems more plausible and I don’t see a good reason why Putin would countenance the poisoning of his own negotiators.

*The Washington Post and other venues report that, according to a federal judge. Trump may have committed crimes connected with the January 6 insurrection:

A federal judge said Monday that then-President Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed federal crimes in trying to obstruct the congressional count of electoral college votes on Jan. 6, 2021 — an assertion that is likely to increase public pressure on the Justice Department to investigate the former commander in chief.

The determination from U.S. District Judge David O. Carter came in a ruling addressing scores of sensitive emails that Trump ally and conservative lawyer John Eastman had resisted turning over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and related efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result.

. . . “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” wrote Carter, who is based in California and has jurisdiction because that is where Eastman filed the case.

*Glory be! MIT has announced that it has reinstated required standardized tests (the ACT and SAT) for admission. (h/t cesar) Stu Scmill, MIT’s Dean of Admissions, says this:

After careful consideration, we have decided to reinstate our SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants, and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT. We believe a requirement is more equitable and transparent than a test-optional policy. In the post below —  and in a separate conversation with MIT News today —  I explain more⁠01about how we think this decision helps us advance our mission.

This is what the UC Berkeley study concluded as well, but its decision to retain the tests was overturned and they have been eliminated in the UC system.

We all know why the tests were eliminated—the pandemic temporary suspension was largely a ruse—and I thought that eliminating tests would become permanent. I still think it will be for most schools, as it’s an effective way to increase diversity without explicitly saying so (the euphemism is “holistic admissions”), but MIT adds this:

To briefly summarize a great deal of careful research:

  • our ability to accurately predict student academic success at MIT⁠02 Our research shows this predictive validity holds even when you control for socioeconomic factors that correlate with testing. It also shows that good grades in high school do not themselves necessarily translate to academic success at MIT if you cannot account for testing. Of course, we can never be fully certain how any given applicant will do: we’re predicting the development of people, not the movement of planets, and people always surprise you. However, our research does help us establish bands of confidence that hold true in the aggregate, while allowing us, as admissions officers, to exercise individual contextual discretion in each case. The word ‘significantly’ in this bullet point is accurate both statistically and idiomatically.is significantly improved by considering standardized testing — especially in mathematics — alongside other factors
  • some standardized exams besides the SAT/ACT can help us evaluate readiness, but access to these other exams is generally more socioeconomically restricted⁠03 relative to the SAT/ACT
  • as a result, not having SATs/ACT scores to consider tends to raise socioeconomic barriers to demonstrating readiness for our education,⁠04 relative to having them, given these other inequalities

*Here’s a screenshot of a letter to the New Zealand magazine The Listener by Bryan Boyd, a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand who hasn’t yet resigned, but might. I wrote about the slimy omission of the sentence to which Boyd refers here:

*The  kind of renaming described below getting so common that it no longer deserves a post of its own—except this one was prompted by the Right.  Reader Tom sent me a link from the Orlando Weekly about a new renaming, this one prompted by right-wing students:

The University of Florida has renamed a study room honoring economist and philosopher Karl Marx following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The room in UF’s Library West was named for the Prussian historian as part of a wider initiative to celebrate influential thinkers. A plaque outside the room has explained the impact of the “revolutionary critic” since 2014. The move to remove it comes after pearl-clutching, conservative college outlet Campus Reform reported on the plaque earlier this month.

This is clearly yet another knee-jerk reaction for several reasons, including the fact that Marx was German, died well before the Russian Revolution and Soviet Union came into existence, and, according to the paper, didn’t have anything to do with that Revolution. Well, that’s not completely true, as Marx had a substantial influence on Lenin and other Russian and Chinese communists.  But, as the paper says, this is a merely a reflexive response to deep-six anything considered “Russian”. Still, I’m surprised that the University of Florida had a “Marx reading room” in the first place!!

*Finally, the formerly reasonable CBS News “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan, who was let go over errors in reporting, joined the Fox News Network and has since gone bonkers—even more so than other Fox correspondents. Recently she criticized evolutionary biology in a bizarre rant:

LARA LOGAN: What is the only thing on Earth that is actually renewable? It’s life. And they can, you know, go back to the big-bang theory and Darwin. I mean, when I found out, does anyone know when, who employed Darwin? Where Darwinism comes from? Well, I mean, you know, look it up, the Rothschilds. It goes right back to 10 Downing Street and the same people who employed Darwin and that’s when Darwin, you know, wrote his theory of evolution and so on and so on. And I’m not saying that none of that is true. I’m just saying Darwin was hired by someone to come up with the theory. Right? Based on evidence. OK, fine.

MediaMatters says this lunacy was emitted on a QAnon show!

If you think I’m making this up, there’s a video of this rant, and the accuser is indeed Logan. This isn’t the only conspiracy theory she’s floated, but it’s the only one I know of claiming that Darwin was in the pay of Jews and Brits, and that he was hired to confect a theory of evolution. That’s not even wrong.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is excited as there’s a sign of Spring (she doesn’t catch or eat moles):

Hili: The moles have woken up.
A: LIke every year.

In Polish:
Hili: Krety się obudziły.
Ja: Jak co roku.

And here’s a picture of little Kulka licking Szaron. They are fast friends, and always have been. Hili is okay with Szaron but still wary of Kulka.

From Divy, though the results of this exercise are temporary:

A Venn Diagram from Anna:

From Lorenzo the Cat:

And a painting I like from a young Ukrainian artist, which I saw posted by Barbara on the FB page “Animals in Art Through History“. The details:

Maria Chepeleva b.1985. Ukraine.
“Her First Snow” n.d. Oil on canvas.

God gives the requested sign:

From Simon: a comment from Titania after the Oscars kerfuffle between Will Smith and Chris Rock. (Smith finally apologized for slapping Rock on camera.)

How Ricky Gervais would introduce the Oscars (sound up):

Reader Simon says that “For some reason, this paper is all over my Twitter feed.” And no surprise, either: look at the subject and click on the picture to go to the highlights, which I’ve also put below:

No surprise here! But they should have tried the Beatles (or the Carpenters):


From reader Ken, with an introduction:

For its combination of stupidity and bigotry, it’s hard to beat the comment below by Marjorie Taylor Greene, made at Donald Trump’s hate rally this past weekend in Georgia. She seems to be suggesting that electric cars and bicycles are gay and that married gay men are secretly pedophiles who prey upon little girls in women’s restrooms.

How did that women get elected? See CNN’s deconstruction of this rant here.

Tweets from Matthew. All I can say in response to this first one is, “Indeed!”

Yes, it’s Cat Crazy Hour!

55 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue:

  1. On this day:
    1549 – The city of Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, is founded.

    1857 – Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry mutinies against the East India Company’s rule in India and inspires the protracted Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

    1867 – Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act which establishes Canada on July 1.

    1886 – John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.

    1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.

    1971 – My Lai Massacre: Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

    1973 – Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.

    1974 – Terracotta Army was discovered in Shaanxi province, China.

    1990 – The Czechoslovak parliament is unable to reach an agreement on what to call the country after the fall of Communism, sparking the so-called Hyphen War.

    2002 – In reaction to the Passover massacre two days prior, Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield against Palestinian militants, its largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

    2004 – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join NATO as full members. – And breathe a sigh of relief…

    2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are performed.

    1824 – Ludwig Büchner, German physiologist, physician, and philosopher (d. 1899)

    1869 – Sir Edwin Lutyens, British architect (d. 1944)

    1896 – Wilhelm Ackermann, German mathematician (d. 1962)

    1899 – Lavrentiy Beria, Georgian-Russian general and politician (d. 1953)

    1912 – Hanna Reitsch, German soldier and pilot (d. 1979)

    1920 – Clarke Fraser, American-Canadian geneticist and academic (d. 2014)

    1929 – Richard Lewontin, American biologist, geneticist, and academic (d. 2021)

    1943 – Eric Idle, English actor and comedian

    1990 – Teemu Pukki, Finnish footballer

    Those who went to lie lightly, at last, on the last, crossed Hill, under the grass:
    1751 – Thomas Coram, English captain and philanthropist, founded Foundling Hospital (b. 1668)

    1772 – Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish astronomer, philosopher, and theologian (b. 1688)

    1912 – Henry Robertson Bowers, Scottish lieutenant and explorer (b. 1883)
    1912 – Robert Falcon Scott, English lieutenant and explorer (b. 1868)
    1912 – Edward Adrian Wilson, English physician and explorer (b. 1872)

    2020 – Krzysztof Penderecki, Polish composer and conductor (b. 1933)

      1. Nie ma za co, Stephen. (I’m taking Google Translate on trust so I hope that means what I intended!)

        1. Close enough to “ne nada” for it not to matter if you were aiming for Russian, Polish, or Ukrainian.

    1. Thomas Coram, English captain and philanthropist, founded Foundling Hospital (b. 1668)

      I have a tenuous connection to Thomas Coram. The Foundling Hospital moved from London to Berkhamsted in the 1930’s. It became a state school in thew 1950’s and I attended it between 1979 and 1984.

  2. Richard Lewontin :

    I am reading Richard Lewontin’s Human Diversity from 1982. Part of a colkection from Scientific American.

  3. Wow – lots of juicy stuff today

    Clever Venn diagram – never saw the connection to “You are here” on maps.

    I love “This [point down]” – reminds me of the spoken word-induced crystal growth “experiment” – but seems this one is scientific.

    MIT SAT – excellent piece. Just as long as they don’t have questions with the words “oarsman” or “regatta” – because as we know, to this day – five out of four people struggle with math(s).

  4. The depressing and frightening thing about people such as Marjorie Taylor Greene is not that they exist, but that they can be elected to public office by people that endorse their bigoted and irrational rants.

    1. Every time I see a “Save America” sign at a Trump rally, I’m reminded of one that
      was seen some years back in Germany: “Deutschland erwache !”

    2. Bigoted and irrational rants? They are blerry crazy.
      From Jewish space Lasers to Gays interested in girls’ bathrooms.
      In other countries she might have been ‘institutionalised’ to protect her from harming herself.

      1. Hastily commenting here for no good reason

        Richard Hofstadter
        The Paranoid Style of American Politics
        And more

        Not sure I typed that out correctly but “read and weep” – though I think I’m relatively a newcomer to Hofstadter, actually reading, after hearing about it for a long time.

        There’s a nifty compilation from that American Library publisher.

        1. Richard Hofstadter is probably the most influential historian of American historian. Although dead for more than a half century, his views are still being quoted today. His essay on the paranoid style in American history, originally published in Harper’s magazine, is still often found on its most popular reading list. His book, “The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It”, originally published in 1949, is what got me interested in history. It is still being sold today and well worth reading it. It helped puncture the fairy tale version of American history.

  5. Just, if I may, this quote from the MIT piece is worth it :

    “Of course, in contemporary discussions of educational equity, the entire concept of “merit” — which appears as a keyword in our mission statement — has been critiqued as merely laundering intergenerational privilege. However, what we mean by “merit” in this context is something like: “someone who we think will do very well at MIT, and in the world afterward, based on what they have done with their opportunities, relative to what we would have expected given those resources.” In other words, it is defined pragmatically and contextually for the specific needs of, and goals for, an MIT education, and is not intended to pass universal judgment of who “deserves” or has “earned” our education.”

    … thanks.

  6. as a result, not having SATs/ACT scores to consider tends to raise socioeconomic barriers to demonstrating readiness for our education,⁠04 relative to having them, given these other inequalities

    Exactly. Those that fail to learn from history…. Standardized tests, like standardized public schooling, tends to help the less well off to compete with the better well off. It’s education you don’t need to buy and a score money can’t buy very well. But somehow, the left forgot that.

    according to a federal judge. Trump may have committed crimes connected with the January 6 insurrection

    Keep in mind this doesn’t mean he will be prosecuted. My understanding is that this was a procedural finding related to what can be released to the Congressional Committee. So it means that Congress gets more info, it doesn’t mean Trump will go before a court.

    Re: music on cell growth. Whoa, so Hatebeak is a potential cure for cancer? I knew it!

    1. Yes, Judge Carter’s decision was made in the context of finding that emails from lawyer John Eastman were not subject to the attorney-client privilege because they were subject to the crime-fraud exception.

      Whether Trump and his enablers will be prosecuted for illegally endeavoring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is up to Merrick Garland’s Justice Department and to the prosecutors’ offices in the swing states, such as Georgia, wherein Trump et al. tried to interfere with the election’s legitimate outcome.

    2. I don’t think the Left forgot anything. The error we make is in assuming that the goals of Leftists are what they say they are. They aren’t. The Left are just not interested in spotting and elevating talent in deprived corners or anywhere else. They want to destroy the meritocracy, not populate it with intelligent but overlooked Black, Latino, or Indigenous students. An efficient way to do that is to flood the universities with large numbers of students who can’t possibly succeed and exclude those who can. An efficient way to do that is to force affirmative action policies that allow no screening of entrants for intellectual ability. The flag of racial equity is just a ruse to hide the goal of the policy: to fill the university with people who will fail. If you had a policy of forcing the admission of stupid people of any race and sending the smart ones off to work on road gangs, the advocates would be asked questions — Why on earth do you want to do this?— that affirmative action shields them from.

      Meritocracies, especially intellectual ones, are an impediment to Leftist goals, no matter what the cosmetic diversity looks like. Thinkers resist being bidden. Even worse, they think they should get to do the bidding.

      1. I am not so cynical as you, and I think you have fallen afoul of Hanlon’s Razor: you see malice where incompetence is a sufficient explanation.

        The position you describe is more akin to Steve Bannon’s right-wingers. He has explicitly stated that his goal is to “flood the zone with s**t”, so that the current system completely breaks down. That’s because he think that it is only after the system is completely broken and chaos reigns that he and his ilk can rise up and remake the country anew into his right-wing paradise. To me, THAT position is the one you’re describing…and it isn’t a leftist one, it’s a rightist one.


        1. Malevolence among advocates, right or left, can certainly co-exist with incompetence among policymakers — the former depends on the latter for success. First, to praise competence, hats off to MIT for bringing back standardized testing. Perhaps the school recognized its earlier mistake in cancelling Prof. Dorian Abbot’s invitation to speak there because he promotes merit over cosmetic diversity. I’m sure the decision took courage, acknowledging openly what their purpose is, namely,

          “. . .not having SATs/ACT scores to consider tends to raise socioeconomic barriers to demonstrating readiness for our education,⁠04 relative to having them, given these other inequalities”. [from Jerry’s quotation of the MIT release, emphasis added]

          I believe from their words and deeds that Steve Bannon, Vladimir Putin, BLM, and the Chinese Communist Party are all malevolent actors. None need be incompetent, although one hopes they all are, if incompetence be defined as failure to achieve policy goals. Policy makers must show competence in the face of malevolence. To frustrate their aims, they must have the courage to take a principled stand, and mean it. I took a swipe at the Left in my remarks about MIT because demands for affirmative action and opposition to standardized testing come from Leftist quarters.

          Hanlon’s Razor is a tongue-in-cheek Farmer’s Almanac aphorism, like Murphy’s Law, without empirical evidence or probative value. The arc of history is malevolent extremists gaining sway over incompetent guardians of the centre. The Right has no monopoly on it.

      2. Great rant! However, you don’t really make clear what the real goals of ‘the left’ actually are. Care to elucidate us?

    3. ‘classical music’ is a very large domain. My sisters tell me I’m operating faster and better (less complications) when Bach is playing. I’m not sure they made a serious statistic though, or are just try to ‘carry favour’ through my great love of baroque music.

  7. I don’t think I would ascribe nefarious motives to the sentence removal from the RSNZ report.

    The panel considered there was no evidence that the fellows acted with any intent of dishonesty or lack of integrity.

    I think the sentence, as written is simply false.

    For a start it implies that there was some sort of wrong doing, but it’s OK because it wasn’t deliberate. It’s saying they did wrong but they didn’t mean too.

    Secondly it states that the panel considered the motives of the two fellows, whereas it seems to me that they just looked at the complaint and decided it had no merit. I doubt if the panel ever got as far as considering the possibility of dishonesty or lack of integrity on the part of the fellows. This is why I believe the sentence is false.

    I think the sentence was removed because somebody – possibly a panel member – told them it wasn’t true.

  8. Meanwhile:

    “The entire archive of On Contact, the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube. […] I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t. I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, …”


    This sort of thing brings out the Voltaire in me.

    (And yes I know that Youtube is owned by a private company, but it’s also a de facto monopoly, and private monopolies should be broken up or regulated for the public good.)

    1. PS Elon Musk has been trolling Twitter, suggesting that he might either buy out Twitter and turn it into a free-speech zone, or set up an alternative.

      With anyone else this wouldn’t be taken seriously, but with Elon …?

      1. On an aside, yes, with Elon Musk one never knows.
        I thought his donation of Starlink units to Ukraine was one of his PR stunts, comparable to his mildly ridiculous challenge to Putin for single combat. How mistaken nicky’s can be.
        It turns out that Starlink is used by the Ukrainian army with great success in nightly target acquisition. Is there anything more demoralising than to be systematically, one by one, taken out in the darkness of the night, where your enemy can see, but you are basically blind? Starlink probably was instrumental in the routing of the Russians on the northern front.

  9. Re the “‘Sex slave ‘ woman wanted for burglary” clipping, as the tabloids say, “You won’t believe what she did next!” :

    In July 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division (VTD) named McKinney as the person involved in a fatal hit and run that took the life of Gennady Bolotsky, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor. The incident took place in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Valley Village on Monday, 16 June 2019, at around 5:40 a.m. Bolotsky was walking his dog at a crosswalk on Magnolia Boulevard and Wilkinson Avenue when he was struck by a white 2006 GMC pick-up truck. The incident was captured by surveillance video from a nearby business. Stills from this video were released by police, and locals identified the vehicle as belonging to a then-unidentified homeless woman who had been the subject of frequent police reports.


  10. The article you linked to is important. Democrats need to concentrate on winning seats where they have a reasonable chance to unseat a Republican incumbent. Greene is not such an incumbent. Recent polls predict a looming Democratic catastrophe in the November election. The only thing they can hope for is to limit the damage. But, regardless of what they do, it will take a political miracle to prevent the Republicans from turning Congress into a three ring circus. This likely result is a reflection of how, by and large, over the past four decades Republicans have been so much better than Democrats in persuading (or perhaps we should say manipulating) public opinion.

    1. Yes, I fear that too. I dunno, Biden delivers excellent work (such as vaccination, and now max support for Ukraine while avoiding WWIII), but Americans do not appear to appreciate that.
      To an outsider such as I am, he appears outstanding.

  11. Lara Logan has proved herself to be an idiot by her rant, and an antisemitic idiot at that. One can credit Fox News for enabling her to show her true colors. Better to be in the open where we can criticize her than hidden under the cloak of credibility at 60 Minutes.

    Elsewhere in the news, MIT is fighting the good fight on this side of reality by reinstating standardized testing. Thank you.

  12. Will the boat’s current complement of passengers and (sort-of, lecturing) crew be going far enough up the coast to meet the Chiloe Archipelago which Darwin visited on the Beagle – to no great note, as I recall. Or Valparaiso, where the Beagle had significant surveying work (had some of the harbour approaches been rearranged by the great earthquake a few months previously?) leading to Darwin undertaking one of his “anything but seasickness” trips onshore, up into the mountains, with consequent geological observations on the Andes.

    Concerning the Deranged Trump Woman “Lara Logan” and her questions about who employed Darwin, she seems to have fundamentally misunderstood the fact that Darwin was a Victorian (and Williamsian(?), for a few years) gentleman, and of course, gentlemen were, by definition, of independent means. Essentially, Darwin’s work was paid for by the sweating bottom-knockers and slipmen of Wedgewood’s pottery factories. IIRC, the refitting of the Beagle to accommodate a “Gentleman scientist” for Capt. Fitzroy’s ease and society was paid for out of Fitzroy’s own pocket (he was another gentlemen, but of sub-class “landed gentry”, so his crusts were earned from land rents and farm labourers). I’m not sure if Darwin “inherited” the Navy’s wages when he took over the job as expedition naturalist when that officer quit, early in the expedition. But navy wages wouldn’t have exactly been an abundant living. The extended jaunts ashore mentioned above rather suggest he wasn’t subject to naval discipline.

    On his return from the voyage, the only “employment” I remember for Darwin was as Hon.Secretary to the Geological Society for about 4 years, until after his move to rural Kent. Then he pleaded that the frequent travel “to town” for this job’s duties was an excessive imposition on his time, and passed the task on to someone else. I don’t even think he got his travel expenses. Why would he ? He was a gentleman.
    (Darwin mostly thought of himself as a geologist, rather than a biologist. He may also have been a Fellow of the Linnean Soc, who are now next-door-neighbours “underneath the Arches” at Burlington House – I forget. Or the infamous “joint paper” presentation of his and Wallace’s work could have been sponsored by someone who was a Fellow. … … I checked ; Darwin’s affiliations are listed as FRS and FGS (in order of seniority), but he got his FGS before leaving on the Beagle and his FRS on his return. No mention of an FLS. I’d put my 1€ stake on it being Hooker with the right alphabet soup.)

    Deranged Trump Woman – a keenly contested post – is going to be really outraged if she ever finds out who measured gravity for the first time.

    1. I also seem to remember that Dr Darwin, Erasmus’ son and Charles’ father, apart from being a successful medical Dr, was also lending money at a handsome profit all around England.
      Charles Darwin was a wealthy gentleman. He was, however, well aware of his privilege. He referred more than once about how privileged he was to be able to carry out his studies as he saw fit.

  13. When I look at the maps, and the hight of the mountains,the Norwegian Fjords nearly appear to vanish. However, the Norwegian Fjords generally appear to have steeper sides.
    I’m still coming to terms with these maps. How incredibly intricate and large this network of fjords and islands is in Southern Chile.

  14. In the comment sectionss of the German media I have often read suggestions that Ricky Gervais should lead the Oscar ceremony. The general opinion, however, was that this would never happen because the Oscar event is far too well-behaved and politically correct. 😛

    1. Ricky G. would be a(ny) hideous award show’s only saving grace. Few things are more irritating, irrelevant and just plain dumb as a bunch of idiotic celebrities (there are very few non-idiot celebs*) awarding themselves. Awards show, like the celebrity narcissists they celebrate are obnoxious and intellectually embarrassing on every level.
      *Gervais is a very rare exception to the “All Celebrities Are Idiots” rule. And they are dangerous – consider just about every guest of Oprah Winfrey’s including famous anti-vaxers. How many Covid dead unvaxed Americans died today?

  15. I am VERY skeptical of the increased cell growth due to (certain types!) of music “study” – though I don’t have the interest to read it in full. Smells like something for the “too cute to be true” file of BS. Such a large file but much of the popular press (TheDamnedGuardian, even NYTimes) open that file constantly. (sigh)

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