Friday: Hili dialogue

April 1, 2022 • 6:45 am

Where we are now: We left Castro later than expected last night as there was a problem affixing the lifeboat or tender to the ship. The ship’s real-time map shows that we’re now cruising north toward Valparaiso, where we expect to land on April 3.

We are bypassing the large city of Puerto Montt, and will pass through a strait that takes us to the open sea for the rest of the trip.  Puerto Montt is at the end of the Reloncaví Sound, the north terminus of the inland passage along the coast.

From the dining room at breakfast: the Sun makes a crack between the sea and sky:

Greetings on the first day of the month; it’s Friday, April 1, 2022, and April Fool’s Day, but I promise not to fool you. It’s also National Sourdough Bread Day and National Soylent Green Day (but Soylent green is people!).

And as for the month (and one included week), all of April celebrates these comestibles:

National Florida Tomato Month
National BLT Sandwich Month
National Soft Pretzel Month
National Soyfoods Month
National Grilled Cheese Month
National Garlic Month
April 12-18: National Egg Salad Week

If you want to help out with “this day in history”, go to the Wikipedia page for April 1 and give us your favorite notable events, births, and deaths.

*Here’s this morning’s NYT headline. For the second day in a row they’ve replaced a banner headline with a smaller headline at upper left (the place where the most important news goes). Click on screenshot to read:

And the top three latest developments:

Weeks into a relentless Russian siege of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, there were hopeful signs on Friday amid the deepening humanitarian crisis there, with an aid convoy on its way to the port city.

Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials were also expected to resume by video link on Friday. Ukraine’s government has said it is willing to discuss forsaking any aspirations of joining NATO, as well as making territorial concessions if other nations provide security guarantees.

After discussions in Turkey this week, Russia vowed to reduce its presence around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and in the country’s north. But Western defense officials have said that Russia appears to be holding ground around Kyiv and repositioning troops rather than withdrawing them. And Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an assessment on Friday morning that air and missile strikes had continued in the Chernihiv and Kyiv regions.

The second item is the one that most concerns me, as it’s Zelensky saying that he’s willing not only to forsake joining NATO, but is also willing to make “territorial concessions”, i.e., give up part of Ukraine to the Russians. That is precisely what should not be happening. And another NYT article about these “security guarantees” spells them out:

Ukrainian officials envision an arrangement in which a diverse group of countries — potentially including NATO members like the United States, Britain, Turkey, France and Germany — would commit, if Ukraine were attacked, to defending it. To some security analysts, however, that sounds very much like NATO’s doctrine of collective defense by another name.

It’s not just another name for collective defense; it is NATO’s doctrine of collective defense. And it commits us and our allies to fighting Russia if it goes for other parts of Ukraine not covered in the “concessions.”

The advantage of this arrangement is that it stops the killing. The disadvantage is that it is a genuine victory for Putin: in the end he’s gotten what he wants, and I don’t think he cares that much about the death of Russian soldiers (and surely not about the death of Ukrainians), nor about the sanctions imposed on Russia. If this is the way that peace will be brokered, then I think the sanctions on Russia should remain in place so long as Putin remains in power. (And if his successor keeps his policies in place, the sanctions should also remain.)

*The Red Cross is traveling to Mariupol to ensure that the safe passage promised by the Russians actually takes place. It’s estimated that 100,000 people are still trapped in the city. And these “humanitarian” promises by Russia have failed before. But there are no guarantees:

It was not clear if the ICRC [The International Committee of the Red Cross] would be able to enter the besieged city — an adviser to the Mariupol mayor’s office warned residents that “the city remains closed to entry and very dangerous to leave in private vehicles.”

*A surge of terrorist attacks has again ignited clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, and, as usual, it’s Palestinians who initiated the attacks.

Clashes with the Israeli military in the West Bank left two Palestinians dead and an Israeli was stabbed on a bus by a Palestinian amid the deadliest surge of terrorist attacks in the country in years.

In the northern West Bank town of Jenin, Israeli forces conducting an arrest raid came under fire and a shootout ensued, leaving two Palestinians dead and 15 injured, including three seriously from bullet wounds, according to the Israeli military and the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Separately, a 30-year-old Palestinian stabbed and seriously injured an Israeli on a bus near the West Bank settlement of Elazar, near Jerusalem, according to the Israeli military. An armed civilian on the bus shot and killed the assailant, the military said.

Israel has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks in which 11 Israelis have been killed in the past week. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told civilians in a video message, “Whoever has a license to carry a weapon, this is the time to carry it.”

The attacks have come before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The month is usually a time of heightened tensions, especially around Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers travel to the Aqsa Mosque to pray. Israel earlier this week also hosted a summit of American, Arab and Israeli diplomats aimed at boosting economic and security ties and helping build an alliance against Iran.

Palestinians are angered up not just by Ramadan, but by the fact that Israel is actually fostering better relationships with Gulf States like the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain. As these ties strengthen, Palestine’s influence in the Middle East wanes.

*There may be a new covid-19 wave coming—and this useful article will help you prepare. (h/t Jean):

The culprit this time is BA.2, a subvariant of the highly infectious Omicron variant. Nobody knows for sure how much havoc it will cause, but BA.2 has already led to a surge of cases in Europe and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the United States and around the world.

Researchers are tracking an uptick in cases in the United States, and they’ve detected a rise in the viral particles recovered from nearly 150 wastewater-surveillance sites. Because people can shed the coronavirus even if they never develop symptoms, pieces of the virus collected in wastewater can serve as advance warning several days before official case counts rise, said Bronwyn MacInnis, who directs pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Over the past two weeks, Dr. MacInnis’s group has seen a rapid increase in levels of the BA.2 subvariant in the Northeast.

“I don’t think we’re looking at a crazy lockdown scenario in this part of the world with BA.2,” Dr. MacInnis said. “But we can’t be sure that we won’t have another curveball from this virus in the future.”

The suggestions for preparation including keeping those masks on hand, getting some rapid test kits just in case, get that second booster shot when you’re eligible and if you’re 65 and older or immunocompromised (my doctor disagrees, but ask your own physician), make sure you’ve at least gotten your first booster, get a pulse oximeter to monitor your blood oxygen (!), and familiarize yourself with the new oral antiviral medicines for people at high risk.

*You’ll certainly want to read this NYT article, “Want to see the weirdest of Wikipedia? Look no further“, especially after you read the first two paragraphs. This is how to grab a reader:

Did you know that there’s a Swiss political party dedicated to opposing the use of PowerPoint? That some people believe Avril Lavigne died in 2003 and was replaced by a look-alike? Or that there’s a stone in a museum in Taiwan that uncannily resembles a slab of meat?

Probably not — unless, that is, you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people who follow @depthsofwikipedia. The Instagram account shares bizarre and surprising snippets from the vast, crowdsourced online encyclopedia, including amusing images (a chicken literally crossing a road) and minor moments in history (Mitt Romney driving several hours with his dog atop his car). Some posts are wholesome — such as Hatsuyume, the Japanese word for one’s first dream of the year — while others are not safe for work (say, panda pornography).

I’ve left the links in because you’ll surely want to look at them—and others. the Instagram account was started by Annie Rauwerda, 22, as a pandemic project, and now she has nearly 780,000. The world is hungry for weirdness!

Her followers often pitch her Wikipedia pages to feature, but these days it’s hard to find an entry that will impress Ms. Rauwerda. “If it’s a fun fact that’s been on the Reddit home page, I’m definitely not going to repost it,” she said. “For example, there are only 25 blimps in the world. I’ve known about that for a long time, and it went around Twitter a couple days ago. I was shocked. I was like, ‘Everyone knows this.’”

Here’s one Wikipedia entry that I found on her page:

And here’s the “Meat-shaped stone” in Taiwan, which, according to Wikipedia, is a famous tourist attraction. I looked it up because I had to see it:

The Meat-Shaped Stone (Chinese: 肉形石; pinyin: ròuxíngshí) is a piece of jasper carved into the shape of a piece of Dongpo pork, a popular Chinese way of cooking pork belly. It is part of the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Although of only moderate importance from the point of view of art history, it is a great popular favourite with visitors and has become famous.

Well, you be the judge!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has been reading Sartre:

A: Where are you going?
Hili: In quest of freedom.
In Polish:
Ja: Gdzie idziesz?
Hili: W poszukiwaniu wolności.

A great meme from Diana MacPherson:

From Science Humor (I was born in St. Louis):

From Su. How Ceiling Cat makes rain:

From Titania. For once I think she’s been conned, as I can find no record of these people participating in that event. And even this item, especially the person on the right, is too bizarre to be real—even in these days when you can’t tell satire from truth. I’ve never seen Titania wrong, but this may be a first. Still . . . there is an announcement.

A tweet from Barry:

From Andrew, interspecific play:

From Dom. I wasn’t aware of these flies, and am having it checked out. But if it is real, I suspect it’s not to fend off ants but other predators who are afraid to attack ants (they can taste nasty, bit, and especially squirt formic acid on predators.

Tweets from Matthew. I still have my Christmas wreath up, but it’s a round pillow on the door of my flat, and I think it’s festive to leave it up. But these people have an even better reason:

This boy has a brilliant future ahead of him!

The difference here seems to be mainly sartorial:

The world would be a better place if it were like Dodo World:


41 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1789 – In New York City, the United States House of Representatives achieves its first quorum and elects Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its first Speaker.

    1873 – The White Star steamer RMS Atlantic sinks off Nova Scotia, killing 547 in one of the worst marine disasters of the 19th century.

    1918 – The Royal Air Force is created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. – I’ve no idea if it’s a coincidence, but the Royal Airforces of Canada and New Zealand were also subsequently created on this day in 1924 and 1937, respectively.

    1924 – Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years imprisonment for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch” but spends only nine months in jail.

    1939 – Spanish Civil War: Generalísimo Francisco Franco of the Spanish State announces the end of the Spanish Civil War, when the last of the Republican forces surrender.

    1954 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes the creation of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. – OK, what’s with airforces and April Fools Day?!

    1969 – The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational fighter aircraft with Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing capabilities, enters service with the Royal Air Force – Well, of course it does!

    1970 – President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law.

    1977 – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computer, Inc.

    1979 – Iran becomes an Islamic republic by a 99% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.

    1984 – Singer Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father in his home in Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, California.

    1997 – Comet Hale–Bopp is seen passing at perihelion.

    1578 – William Harvey, English physician and academic (d. 1657) – “the first known physician to describe completely, and in detail, the systemic circulation and properties of blood being pumped to the brain and the rest of the body by the heart, though earlier writers […] had provided precursors of the theory”.

    1647 – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, English poet and courtier (d. 1680) – “[A]s well known for his rakish lifestyle as for his poetry, although the two were often interlinked. He died as a result of venereal disease at the age of 33.” Indeed! His bawdy poem about the goings on in St James’ Park is not for the faint hearted…

    1776 – Sophie Germain, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (d. 1831)

    1868 – Edmond Rostand, French poet and playwright (d. 1918) – his Cyrano de Bergerac was recently filmed starring the excellent Peter Dinklage, in which the famous would-be lover’s impediment is his small stature rather than an enormous nose.

    1908 – Abraham Maslow, American psychologist and academic (d. 1970)

    1929 – Milan Kundera, Czech-born novelist, poet, and playwright

    1932 – Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 2016)

    1949 – Gil Scott-Heron, American singer-songwriter and author (d. 2011)

    1962 – Chris Grayling, English journalist and politician, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain – hot contender for world’s most useless politician ever, his blunders whilst Transport Secretary alone are estimated to have cost UK taxpayers £2.7 billion.

    Those who found the Canterville ghost’s “little garden [where] the yew-tree spreads out its giant arms over the sleepers”:
    1917 – Scott Joplin, American pianist and composer (b. 1868)

    1968 – Lev Landau, Azerbaijani-Russian physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1908)

    1976 – Max Ernst, German painter and sculptor (b. 1891)

    1994 – Robert Doisneau, French photographer (b. 1912)

    2021 – Marcus Clawrelius, toothless, good-natured and, above all, stoical cat

    1. According to Wikipedia, the first successful weather satellite was launched on this day in 1960.

      This might be apocryphal, but I heard that a congressman once said that he did not need weather satellites because he gets his weather news from The Weather Channel. I don’t know if the story is true; or if true, if the politician was being serious.

    2. 1997 – Comet Hale–Bopp is seen passing at perihelion.

      Still no evidence that the comet’s tail contained a space ship with the spirit of Bonnie Nettles, wife of the Heaven’s Gate cult founder Marshall Applewhite, despite Applewhite and 38 of his followers having awakened one morning, strapped on their Nikes, had a breakfast of phenobarbital with a vodka back, and tied plastic bags over their heads in the hopes of checking out and joining her.

      Weird, but no weirder, really, than most other religious beliefs, when you come right down to it.

      1. Here’s a transcript of (I think) Applewhite’s last taped “sermon”…pretty weird shit to be sure, but yeah, no weirder than most other religious beliefs, I suppose.

        Let me say that our mission here, at this time is about to come to a close in the next few days. We came from distant space and even what some might call somewhat of another dimension and we are about to return from whence we came. It requires that you- if you maybe
        moving into that evolutionary kingdom that you leave behind everything of human ways, human behavior, human ignorance, human misinformation. If I would title this tape, it would be
        ‘Last chance to evacuate planet Earth before it is recycled’

  2. For once I think she’s been conned, as I can find no record of these people participating in that event.

    The flyer on the left (Alexis Beaufoy-Salguero) is genuine; the one on the right (Belinda Belle-Fleur) is satirical. (One can understand that discerning truth from satire is getting difficult these days.)

    I take it that everyone has seen Titania’s April 1st Tweet?

  3. It’s not just another name for collective defense; it is NATO’s doctrine of collective defense.

    Well not exactly. I would argue that the difference between “can position forces in the country BEFORE any conflict” and “can position forces in the country AFTER a conflict starts” is a pretty big one, with Russia primarily upset at the thought of NATO doing the former.
    So I think (well, hope) that Putin might be open to a ‘land for peace’ deal where he gets Donetsk and Crimea, in exchange for Ukraine getting a treaty with the west for defense in response to any future attack…but does NOT allow NATO countries to position NATO forces in Ukraine in peacetime.

    And it commits us and our allies to fighting Russia if it goes for other parts of Ukraine not covered in the “concessions.”

    Yes, it does do that. Which is probably why Ukraine wants it and why Russia won’t agree to it.

    1. Yes, one only need look at the example of Belgium in 1914 and 1939 to see the a country that relies on strict neutrality is a sitting duck despite major power guarantees. In 1939, in particular, Belgium’s unwillingness to engage in military coordination prior to an actual German attack was ridiculous. The neutrality of Belgium was desirable for the United Kingdom, France, and Germany because its occupation by a hostile power would make invasion much easier (In the case of the UK by sea). I am not sure that a neutral Ukraine is advantageous enough for unilateral guarantees.

  4. You were born in “Meetmein”? ! I thought you were a Noo Yoiker, but you are a Mid-westerner! Which side of the Mississippi? I am sure that makes a difference, as it does in Kent with those born east or west of the Medway. East like me, Man of Kent, west, Kentish Man. The distinction is from the two parts being conquered in post-Roman times in two phases.

  5. It would be interesting to see video of these flies to see if they hold and move the wings in any way that enhances the resemblance to an ant. In any case, like many tephritid flies it is a very attractive looking insect whether or not there is any mimicry going on.

    1. I’ve seen pictures of either this species or ones that are very similar. They do hold their wings out away from their body, so at bug level they look like a pair of ants.

    2. There are several species of tephritids with wing patterns that resemble jumping spiders, and have been shown to repel real spiders, who view them as territorial rivals.

  6. “Palestinians are angered up not just by Ramadan” – I heard on the radio that in part the heightened tensions are because Ramadan, Easter, and Passover all happen to coincide this year which causes complications at the shared “holy” sites in Jerusalem.

    1. Why can’t we all just get along? Put some matza in a plastic egg, hide it, and only go looking for it after sundown.

      1. A KGB sleeper mole was being trained to operate under deep cover in the United States during the Cold War. After long, exhaustive training in American accent, civics, slang, movies, and cultural shibboleths, he was ready for his final exam before being inserted. The inquisition by several senior KGB trainers was going well and they were unable to trip him up. Finally they got to holidays. He aced Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day. He answered May Day with. “Huh? Whazzat?” Then they asked him to explain Easter.

        “On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified by the Romans and put in a tomb. On the third day he emerged, …and, uh, if he sees the Easter Bunny we’ll have six more weeks of winter.”

  7. I daresay that the improving relations between Israel and the Gulf states are a result of the derided or ignored Abraham Accords, negotiated by Jared Kushner during the Trump administration.

    1. I see The Kush had a friendly, name-naming interview with the House 1/6 committee yesterday. Plainly, he has no desire to take a fall with the coup-plotting wing of Trumpworld.

      Makes one wonder what Vanky (who, unlike her hubby, had a front-row seat on Insurrection Day) plans to do about daddy.

  8. Meanwhile, a triumph of epidemiological insight:

    Incidence of dengue fever is way way down for 2020, attributed to widespread sheltering at home during the COVID pandemic. How does that relate to a disease caused by an arbovirus (virus spread by arthropods = mosquitoes)? Residential areas are sprayed for mosquitoes, but public areas far less so, and the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, works by day, so staying at home during the day removes potential victims from at-risk areas.

    H/t TWIV 882 on that.

    1. For those with the appropriate analytical skills and access to the right data there must be a fascinating array of ways in which the covid pandemic has affected other public health issues waiting to be discovered. Some positive and some negative. This is a great example.

    2. I contracted neuroinvasive West Nile Virus (mosquito-borne) in late July 2014 and have mused more than once that I might have avoided that event had a covid-like public health emergency been ongoing at the time.

      1. Why? To avoid mosquitos all you have to do is choose to stay inside and put screens on your windows (not often available in the tropics), and some DEET when you venture out. The environmentalists won’t let us spray to suppress mosquitos and they (the insects) get resistant if you spray too often anyway. You might have preferred there to have been a covid-like (with lockdowns, you mean?) public health emergency declared — yes it can be a bad disease, as you experienced — but how exactly would that have protected you? Unlike with dengue, the reservoir for West Nile is birds, not people.

  9. Lots of news but one thing stands out. A day for BLTs but a whole week for Egg Salad Sandwiches! I actually like both. In fact, an egg salad with bacon is heaven on earth. Still, it just doesn’t seem right. Who decides these things?

  10. Zelensky saying that he’s willing [to] give up part of Ukraine to the Russians. That is precisely what should not be happening.

    Isn’t it the case — I’m open to correction here — that a large fraction of the population of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk would prefer to be part of Russia, and that those regions would likely vote that way in a referendum?

    If that is the case then I don’t see anything wrong with that being the eventual outcome. Granted, we don’t want Putin rewarded, but the wishes of the local population should ultimately prevail.

    If there were a peace deal along the lines of Russian withdrawal, no NATO membership for Ukraine, and referendums in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, wouldn’t that be ok?

    1. I think Ukraine should keep the ability to join NATO and/or the EU. Otherwise it’s too big a win for Putin. If Putin gets much of a win out of this, he’ll be back for more later and elsewhere.

      1. Isn’t it likely that Putin is pretty much toast once the reality of the invasion dawns on the Russian people, as it will have to as the troops return home?

      2. I wonder what the Russian populace’s collective opinion is of NATO expansion (if their opinion matters to the U.S./NATO) over the last two-plus decades. I haven’t seen that mentioned in the U.S. MSM. But then I can’t read/listen to every jot and tittle of the U.S. MSM’s pearls of wisdom, let alone those of the global media.

        1. Read this Twitter thread for one person’s understanding of what the Russians think. I don’t think he says much about their opinions of NATO. Instead, most Russians are patriotic and tend to believe what state-owned media tells them. Look how bad things are here with Fox News, etc. It must be much worse when media is so controlled and the country much more isolated from the world.

    2. This conflict is being fought by force of arms. There is no way for us bystanders to insist on some preferred outcome or to say such and such should not be happening. Ukraine will get out of the conflict and its associated negotiations precisely what it can fight the Russians for, and not an iota more. To say some concessions would be OK but some other concessions would not be pre-supposes that there is some higher authority, like a judge, or some powerful third country that both sides respect, who will decide the outcome based on the arguments and set down the peace terms that both sides sign. There isn’t, of course. If we think Zelenskyy is about to agree to something too distasteful in the Big Picture for us to live with, then we will have to provide more assistance on the battlefield to keep him in the fight, if he is willing. This has to be sufficient to force Russia to back off its demands and withdraw its soldiers. That essentially means killing more of them then they are now and destroying Russia’s ability to make war against Ukraine. (Russia is trying to do the same to Ukraine.)

      If Ukraine is unable to force a solution through force of arms that we are happy with because it doesn’t reward Russia with land, the liberal West will have some hard choices to make. Only Zelenskyy can decide if he’s had enough.

      As for something that we do have a say in, I think the sanctions should be permanent if, despite Zelenskyy’s efforts and the Ukrainian people’s sacrifices, Russia walks away with even a sliver of Ukraine. Wars of conquest are illegal under the founding United Nations Charter.

  11. Oh, Diana, I laughed at your traffic diagram. Early one snowy morning a deer jumped out of a ditch and barely cleared the hood of my car. He looked at me as he passed over, and this was exactly his YIKES! expression; I’m sure it was mine too.

  12. I would 100% read every issue of that Cat Town comic just for the expressions on the cats’ faces. The tails are great too.

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