Monday: Hili dialogue

April 18, 2022 • 7:00 am

Good morning on Monday, April 18, 2022: National Animal Crackers Day. I loved them as a kid, and probably still would, but I haven’t eaten them in decades. One improvement is that the old box showed the animals in cages, while on the new one they’re roaming free:

Remember, a week from today I’ll be aboard a ship heading for the coast of Iberia (I’ll be gone, lecturing on another cruise, for two weeks after next Friday). Posting will be light until early May.

It’s also National Velociraptor Awareness Day, Newspaper Columnists’ Day, Boston Marathon Day (it will be held this year) and International Day For Monuments and Sites.

Stuff that happened on April 18 includes:

A Catholic website fills in the details:

Present at the laying of the foundation stone were some of the major figures of the Renaissance; such as Cesare Borgia, Niccolò Machiavelli, and three future popes. The pit for the foundation stone was very deep and Julius II, at sixty-three years old, had to climb down into it. There was a fear that the ground might give way while the Pope was inside the pit and he warned others to not come too close. Inside the hole for the foundation stone – a block of marble “four palms wide, two broad, and three fingers thick” was placed an urn holding one dozen commemorative medals symbolizing the twelve apostles. Each medal had on one side an image of the pope and on the other a picture of the new church. The image on the medal was probably that of Bramante’s design – seen in the image accompanying this post.

The actual construction of St. Peter’s would take the next 120 years and several papacies, finally being completed on 18 November 1626. One method of financing the construction of the new basilica was through the selling of indulgences – this would later lead to the attacks of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

No! It’s “advance”, not “advancement”!

Revere was a super silversmith in his day job, and here’s a portrait, painted during his lifetime, by John Singleton Copley:

This Revere-made tankard went for $112,500:

 

  • 1783 – Three-Fifths Compromise: The first instance of black slaves in the United States of America being counted as three fifths of persons (for the purpose of taxation), in a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation. This was later adopted in the 1787 Constitution.
  • 1909 – Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome.
  • 1912 – The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brings 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.

Here’s the Carpathia arriving in NYC with 712 survivors of the Titanic’s sinking. More than 1500 died after the Titanic struck an iceberg. The lifeboats, even if full, could hold only half the people on board, and after the accident there were still 500 empty spaces in the lowered lifeboats.

Here are some interviews with survivors:

And a photo of the putative iceberg, labeled “The iceberg thought to have been hit by Titanic, photographed on the morning of 15 April 1912. Note the dark spot just along the berg’s waterline, which was described by onlookers as a smear of red paint.”

  • 1930 – The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced that “there is no news” in their evening report.

How can there be no news? But Snopes checked, and the report about the lack of a report is true!:

As always, the more interesting element of this item is to understand the context behind it.

Back in the 1930s, both broadcast radio and the BBC were in still their infancy, having begun only in the previous few years. As the BBC’s program index from April 18, 1930, shows, programming in that era was quite limited and sparse.

A mere 15 minutes was devoted to reporting the news of the day back then. That was because, in large part, the ability of radio stations to cover news outside of their local areas was quite limited, leaving them heavily dependent upon wire services and government announcements for news content. On a day when no government announcements were forthcoming and little of interest was moving across the news service wires, radio programmers might very well have felt that there was “no news” worth relaying to their audience.

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

Here’s Clarence Darrow (his own voice) attributing crime to determinism (that’s one way he talked Leopold and Loeb out of getting a death sentence). Darrow was a well known determinist, and perhaps that’s once reason he nearly always fought for the underdog.

  • 1915 – Joy Davidman, Polish-Ukrainian Jewish American poet and author (d. 1960)

Davidman was of course the great love of C. S. Lewis, and she died tragically of cancer at only 45. She was born a secular Jew and became an atheist, but converted to Christianity long before she married the theologian. The 1993 movie Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, recounts their relationship, and it’s pretty good. The full movie is on YouTube for free (below):

  • 1946 – Hayley Mills, English actress
  • 1961 – Jane Leeves, English actress and dancer

Those mowed down by the Grim Reaper on April 18 include:

A member of the inbred Darwin-Wedgwood framily, Erasmus was grandfather to both Charles Darwin and Francis Galton, and wrote a book, Zoonomia, (1794-1796), which gave some early ideas about evolution. I happen to have a copy of both volumes third American edition (1809); they were a 50th birthday present from my friend Andrew Berry, a fellow Darwinophile.

  • 1945 – Ernie Pyle, American journalist and soldier (b. 1900)
  • 1955 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic (b. 1879)
  • 2002 – Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian ethnographer and explorer (b. 1914)

Here’s a video of Heyerdahl and his famous raft Kon-Tiki. He and his crew of six sailed from Peru to Polynesia in exactly 100 days. Their trip was an attempt to show that Polynesia might have been colonized from South America, but now we know that it wasn’t

  • 2012 – Dick Clark, American television host and producer, founded Dick Clark Productions (b. 1929)

x

Fresh hell from Ukraine: Here’s the NYT’s headline for breaking news on the war (click on screenshot):

And the summary:

Russian forces launched a rare missile strike on Monday on Lviv, killing at least seven people in the first known deaths from the war in the western city that until now had been relatively untouched by violence, according to the authorities.

Witnesses reported flames and smoke rising from what appeared to be at least three impact sites on the outskirts of a train complex in the western part of Lviv, which has taken in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence in the north and east of Ukraine. At least 11 people were injured in the attacks, including a child, the Lviv mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, said on Telegram.

The attack on Lviv came as Russia unleashed a broad series of strikes across Ukraine, hitting what Moscow said were more than 100 military targets in apparent preparation for a major offensive in the east. Russia has unleashed further destruction in recent days on the major eastern cities of Kharkiv and Mariupol, which are seen as crucial to Moscow’s attempt to consolidate control over a large arc of its neighbor after its effort to take Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was blocked.

Here’s Lviv (red symbol):

In battered Mariupol, which is almost gone as a city, a small group of Ukrainian soldiers remained, holed up in a steel plant and refusing Russian demands to surrender. It’s likely that city will be in Russian hands within a week (the Russia promise to allow evacuation of civilians was never fulfilled). And questions remain about the sinking of the Russian ship Moskva remain, as there are problems with both the Russian and Ukrainian accounts.

If the ship caught fire before sinking, as the Russians claim, then why did it not have a system to extinguish such blazes, the [Russian] television host wondered aloud. If the ship was sunk by two Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles, as Ukrainian and unidentified U.S. Defense Department officials have claimed, then why did it lack an antimissile system?

I tend to believe the Ukrainian account, but of course I’m biased. Meanwhile, Russians continue to bombard Kharkiv and Kyiv, and no progress has been made in peace talks.

“God forbid that the current political situation in fraternal Ukraine, which is close to us, should be aimed at ensuring that the evil forces that have always fought against the unity of Rus and the Russian Church gain the upper hand,” Kirill said days after Russia invaded.

*Patriarch Kirilli, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, continues to defend Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a stand that has deeply divided his church (remember, it has congregations throughout the world):

Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians.

“Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,” Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”

“Any war has to have guns and ideas,” said Cyril Hovorun, professor of ecclesiology, international relations and ecumenism at University College Stockholm. “In this war the Kremlin has provided the guns, and I believe the church is providing the ideas.”

Well, perhaps not ideas but justifications. And hasn’t it always done that. Theologians are good at rationalizing anything.

*I am starting to wonder if softness on religion is a characteristic of wokeness. Religious people can and do cast themselves as beleaguered minorities, and that would appeal to the victim narrative that pervades wokeness. The NYT, of course, has been soft on faith for a while, and today the Washington Post joins them with a cloying op-ed (by a political reporter!) called, “This religious season reminds us of faith’s liberating promise.” But faith never delivers on its promises, and has always spread divisiveness among humanity (see Patricarch Kirill above). Get a load of this:

The proximity of Passover, Easter and Ramadan on this year’s calendar is a reminder that religion can set loose profoundly liberating human impulses. That all three are celebrated in our country speaks to the fruitful interaction between a tradition of immigration and a commitment to religious freedom.

Many who regard theism as a backward-looking social force might usefully consider how each of these holidays contains the seeds of rebellion. Thinking about religion’s progressive side is especially important in light of the single most striking development in the American religious landscape over the past two decades: the rise of the “nones,” those who decline to associate with any organized religion.

Perhaps the article’s author, E. J. Dionne, Jr., might posit that the “nones” are increasing because organized religion has little to offer these days. Instead, he argues that the “nones” are really religious:

Meanwhile, a large share of those drifting from the old religious institutions are still declining to identify as atheists or agnostic. Sociologists have long noted the growth of those who self-identify as “spiritual but not religious,” but Braunstein sees this group as doing more than embracing vague feelings of transcendence. They, like members of more progressive congregations and traditions, are making a public statement “that not all religious people are conservative, and not all liberals are secularist.”

Yes, but the number of atheists and agnostics is increasing as well, and Dionne’s statement about what “nones” really mean by refusing to participated in organized religion is a risible rationalization.

*If you want to know what Elon Musk would do with Twitter if he manages to seize control of the platform. the Wall Street Journal reports that he’s going to do this stuff:

  • Soften its stance on content moderation [less censorship]
  • Enable writers to edit their tweets [this should be time-limited, as it is on this website
  • Make it a private rather than a public company [this gives him more control to implement changes
  • Make Twitter’s algorithm open source and put the code on GitHub. [this means that those outside the organization can recommend changes]
  • Create a new form of authentication with extra features for those who pay
  • Rely less on advertising
  • Try to stop spam and spam bots [aren’t they doing this already?]
  • Allow for longer tweets [no length specified]

Will this make Twitter less “toxic”? I have no idea. It’s inherent in the medium, and I favor as little content moderation as possible. Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter would probably become even more of a source of agitation and divisiveness than before, but hey, that’s America and it’s also free speech (see a post about social media later today).

*You’ve probably seen the gorgeous decorated Easter eggs, called pysanky, which are traditional in Ukraine. This 3½-minute video at the Washington Post recounts the tradition (including its use to bring on spring and to stave off world-destroying monsters) and gives a brief view of how these are made, which involves wax and dyes. Click on the screenshot to see the video and read a bit more. And for a longer how-to-video, see this YouTube video.

*Here’s a tiny handmade book of poems (photo below) entirely produced by Charlotte Brontë in 1829, including her sewing the cover.  (The Brontë sisters made several of these volumes.) One of two dozen produced by Charlotte, it was rediscovered after more than a century and is the last one in private hands. It’s up for auction, and it ain’t cheap:

“A Book of Rhymes,” a 15-page volume smaller than a playing card, was last seen at auction in 1916 in New York, where it sold for $520 before disappearing, its whereabouts — and even its survival — unknown. It will be unveiled on April 21, the opening night of the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair and, as it happens, Brontë’s birthday. The asking price? A cool $1.25 million.

The book contains ten poems whose titles were known, but this is the first time the poems themselves have been unveiled.

What I want to know is why this small and rare volume is being handled by someone without gloves!

Clark Hodgin for The New York Times

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, discussing Karolina’s overly abundant love of cats, has generalized this, observing the number of cat pictures and cat videos Hili sees in social media.

Hili: Humanity is exaggerating its love of cats.
A: Humanity exaggerates everything.
In Polish:
Hili: Ludzkość przesadza z tą miłością do kotów.
Ja: Ludzkość ze wszystkim przesadza.
Here are Szaron and Kulka looking out the window:

From Only Duck Memes. They aren’t really that different. But remember, only female ducks (hens) make the classic “quack”. Males (drakes) make a grunt-y quack. The French “coin” doesn’t sound like my last name, but like this: “kwah”.

A meme from Bruce:

A Duckroll!

Matthew made a pie (his family is out of the country). It’s apple rhubarb, and here’s a photo (he said it wasn’t that great, and I reminded him that rhubarb is not a proper ingredient for pie):

A tweet from Titania, who caught Crayola in an act of racism. Remember, it’s not the intent that matters, but the effect!

From Simon, who says this proves that elephants are not Honorary Cats®:

From Thomas. I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but wanted to show it again. If you could train a cat to do this regularly, you could make mucho dinero by selling “Cat Made Pottery”!

From reader Ken, who says:

Clip from Tucker Carlson’s latest “documentary,” apparently a paean to homoeroticism … er, I mean, masculinity, titled The End of Men. (Any idea wtf that radiating monolith is in front of the one guy’s groin?)

Can’t wait till it hits theaters!

Is this real?

From my magical Twitter feed:

From Ginger K.:

Tweets from Matthew:

What a lovely kayak trip!

63 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. One improvement is that the old box showed the animals in cages, while on the new one they’re roaming free …

    Dang, man, not a day goes by when I don’t learn somethin’ new from the Hili dialogue. I had no idea Nabisco had released the beasts. Good for them.

  2. “… while on the new one they’re roaming free:”

    … in… a zoo, where most kids see them now? With the bars out of frame?

    1. Seriously? You think the bars are there but out of the frame?
      And I suspect that most kids see wild animals on YouTube now, not in the zoo.
      I can’t say anything, however innocuous, these days without somebody picking at it. It’s getting tiresome.

      1. “Seriously?”

        I thought you disapprove of keeping animals in zoos – I found myself agreeing with you. So we are in agreement there.

        With Barnums Animals, it indeed appears innocuous. Yet, it is a corporation defending its product, in Fantasyland, which Barnum played a large role in.

        That’s all I’m really pointing at here – bamboozlement by Barnum himself. That is not a nitpick, in my view.

        Apologies.

    2. I notice that the polar bear and bison disappeared, but elephant, giraffe, zebra an gorilla were added, without bars, a great bargain! Kudos to Barnums’ crackers.

  3. Two Fields Medalists on tap today!

    Lars Ahlfors was born OTD 1907 (died 1996). He wrote the classic text on Complex Analysis, still ubiquitous nearly seventy years after its first edition was published. (It’s glorious, truly.)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lars_Ahlfors

    Charles Fefferman was born OTD 1949. He was a true prodigy, graduating from the University of Maryland at 17, getting his doctorate at 20, and becoming a full professor at the University of Chicago at 22, making him the youngest ever full professor in the United States. (His brother Robert is also a mathematician, now at Chicago.)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fefferman

  4. 1775 – American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements.

    Here is noted historical authority (half-term governor and current US senatorial candidate from Alaska, who has the “full and complete” endorsement of the Florida Man from Mar-a-Lago) Sarah Palin giving her gloss on Mr. Revere’s famous ride:

    1. I think she’s running to replace Don Young in the House, where she will be slightly less crazy than a handful of other representatives. Like the real estate advice not to buy the most expensive house on the block, maybe she doesn’t want to be the craziest senator in the next Congress.

  5. If you allow me to hark back on yesterday’s cheeseball: I was intrigued by the ‘low rating’ you gave the cheese ball. I’d never heard of it. Yes, I know the deepfried cheeseballs, but I’d call them cheese croquettes.
    So intrigued, I found a recipe for a ‘classical cheesball’ on Internet. Made it and it was a great success. Three of the four children eating it (on cream crackers) rated it ‘beyond lekker’, the highest acclaim possible, and te fourth child as well as 2 adults rated it very good. Not a single negative, or even indifferent report. Myself I’d rate it as pretty good too (and it is 100% Banting (no carbs), a sine qua non for me).
    So herewith I beg to disagree with you about the classical cheeseball.
    But I thank you for enticing me to find out about, and making, an excellent lunch.

  6. Patriarch Kirilli, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, continues to defend Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a stand that has deeply divided his church (remember, it has congregations throughout the world)

    Not surprising, I believe Putin helped the church regain prominence when he rose to power and Kirilli has been his gold-and-jeweled-encrusted toady for decades. It’s been what seems to be a mutually beneficial cooperation…until now.

    The “congregations throughout the world” comment is interesting to think about. Can’t imagine the congregations outside of Russia proper (or even inside it!) necessarily seeing eye to eye with him. Could splits be in offing? Maybe a Martin Lutherovich? Or maybe just a loss of power and credibility for the ‘home office’ over it’s widespread branches. Any way things fall, I can’t imagine Kirilli’s personal/political decision to hook his church to the attack is going to turn out well for Russian Orthodoxy in the long run.

    Paging Justice Hugo Black. We got another potential case of a union of government and religion tending to destroy government and degrade religion.

  7. “… rhubarb is not a proper ingredient for pie…”

    Rhubarb, when dried and shredded, might possibly be a proper ingredient for stable bedding.

    L

      1. +mucho. The rhubarb in my garden is already about an inch tall, despite today’s snow. Crumble or cake,with brown sugar and ginger.😋

    1. Rhubarb is marvelous as an additive to apple tarts, However, its sourness has
      to be tamed with generous amount of sweetener. I cook it down to a very sweet paste
      and us it as a foundation on a home made short paste crust and then covered with
      cooked and sweetened apple slices.

    1. I saw that. Couldn’t believe it, particularly since the speaker/burner never actually came to town. Though the article I read mentioned organized crime was involved, so maybe they were just using the protestors and counter-protestors for their own purposes.

      I also liked the mention that the last time he talked, the priests rang the church bells to drown him out. That seems like a good cross-religious way to show support. It’d probably be illegal civil disobedience here in the US if it violated noise ordinances, but probably such a light form of it the police likely wouldn’t act.

    2. I’m opposed to book burning on pronciple, but if there is one book deserving to be burned, the Qur’an is close to the top.
      I’m noting that Muslims – I’d be happy to qualify that as extremist Muslims- have succeeded in turning a large part of Sweden, a paragon of democracy and tolerance, into the arms of right wing extremists

  8. Darrow was a well known determinist, and perhaps that’s once reason he nearly always fought for the underdog.

    IIRC, according to a couple biographies of Darrow I’ve read — Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned and Clarence Darrow for the Defense — the only criminal case Darrow claimed he ever took on strictly for the dough was the so-called Massie Trial, in which he represented a group hired by a Hawaiian socialite to murder a prizefighter accused in the 1932 rape of her daughter.

    Darrow’s fee for the case was $30k, big bucks by Depression-era standards.

  9. “This religious season reminds us of faith’s liberating promise.” They could just as easily write, “This religious season reminds us of Bernie Madoff’s liberating promise.”

  10. . . . why did it [Moskva] not have a system to extinguish such blazes. . . why did it lack an antimissile system?

    It is inconceivable that it did not have both. The question is, why was the ship unable to use them effectively. As the recent case of the Bonhomme Richard has shown, a damage control system is reliant on people, too, and if they fail, it fails. Likewise, any defensive system relies on human decision-making (like turning it on). We’ve seen that the Russian army is struggling with its capabilities. How much more must the navy, which has always been second (if not third) in the minds of Russia’s leaders?

    I think of religion and wokeism as being the same side of a coin. They both eschew evidence in favor of wishful thinking. People forget that there is a religious Left, and there has been ever since the Social Gospel of the late 19th century.

    1. It’s a war. Nothing is certain. The missiles might have taken out the fire main as happened on HMS Sheffield. The air defences might have been distracted by decoy drones (so I heard).

      Even if the fire wasn’t started by a missile, if it was in the wrong place, e.g. a magazine or a missile engine it might have been uncontrollable.

      Not forgetting, that, if the Moskva was running to the usual Russian form, it’s unlikely that the fire suppression system or the air defences worked properly or that the queue knew howe to operate them.

      1. I think the sequence is quite clear, some drones distracted the defence system, 2 Neptune missiles hit the ship, igniting the arsenal stored. Once the arsenal explodes, there is no fire suppression system that would  or could possibly quell that. I’m mystified why that sequence of events remains ‘mysterious’, it appears pretty obvious.

    2. Of course they had both. Certainly multiple fire suppression systems. But decisions need to be made in shipboard fires. Co2 flooding systems work well in most spaces, but activating them will almost certainly kill anyone still in the space. Sometimes spaces containing explosives have a high pressure water fog system. But large volumes of water contribute to instability and buoyancy issues.
      Of course, you can send men with hoses.
      Supposedly this situation was caused by two missile strikes. So fires and likely flooding in multiple spaces, and all the general damage and mayhem from such strikes. Watertight closures were probably damaged, along with the piping that carries firefighting water or Co2. If you are down to sending fire teams and hoses, such an effort is not sustainable indefinitely. It is dangerous and very strenuous work, after about 20 minutes, each man needs to evacuate the space for fresh breathing air. Someone is filling air bottles as fast as they can, and switching them out. You might have a couple of fire teams fighting the fire itself, but other fire teams working to cool bulkheads in adjacent spaces to keep the fire from spreading. There are teams trying to patch any holes in the hull, and teams rigging pumps for dewatering flooded spaces.
      It is likely that this is being done under the power of an emergency generator, with limited fuel supplies and power output. The lights are out, and the spaces are full of toxic smoke. Communications between teams and leaders is very difficult.
      A well trained crew is probably able to deal with a fire or flooding in a compartment with little difficulty. When you have multiple fires and complex flooding, a very well trained and equipped crew is more likely to be able to sustain the effort long enough to at least stabilize things.
      To be prepared for such things, the crew needs to drill frequently on complex simulated casualties. And all the equipment needs to be ready to go at all times. “Readiness” is everything.

      One of the weaknesses of the Soviet and Russian military forces is the lack of a significant professional NCO corps. I was watching a video of a Russian vehicle in a convoy that had partially slid off of a bridge, and was blocking those behind it. They were confused and disordered. Russian officers do not know how to recover that vehicle, and the conscripts even less so. It is the NCOs that possess such knowledge, as well as how to lead a damage control or hose team.

    3. Photos of the abandoned hulk, still burning but still floating, have appeared and are discussed in this informative video:


      The photo itself appears at 1:21.
      The crew seems to have been taken totally by surprise. None of the defensive systems visible went into action. There was no central fire warning and suppression system.
      The Neptunes seem to have struck the ship just above the waterline without causing explosion or catastrophic deflagration of any missiles or gun ammunition. She just filled with water until she sank, fires likely impeding access by damage control personnel.

      The videographer has a related video from the day before discussing the attack itself, before the visual evidence became available.

      (I post the links to all videos using the script called out in Da Roolz but they always appear to me to be embedded, not as clickable links. Please advise if I am doing something wrong.)

  11. 1946 – Hayley Mills, English actress

    The first movie-star crush for some of us of a certain age who saw her play identical twins in the Disney film The Parent Trap.

    Annette was the first tv crush, but she didn’t make it to the big screen until a little later in those dopey beach-party movies with Frankie Avalon.

  12. If the ship caught fire before sinking, as the Russians claim, then why did it not have a system to extinguish such blazes …

    After the sinking, the Russians pulled their surviving fleet back from the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, beyond missile range — as one does, of course, to prevent accidental shipboard fires.

    The Russians are incapable of telling the unvarnished truth about anything regarding this conflict.

    1. “After the sinking, the Russians pulled their surviving fleet back from the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, beyond missile range — as one does, of course, to prevent accidental shipboard fires.” – Absolutely!

      1. I’m not sure, but if the remaining vessels are in international waters, there is no stopping the West to deliver weapons and ammunitions via Odessa. Is it?

  13. When thinking about what Musk would do with Twitter, one should separate Musk the tweeter from Musk the businessman. He wouldn’t have been able to create so many very successful companies if he was ONLY the petulant, silly character he portrays sometimes in person. He has a great track record of being able to attract the smartest and brightest to work on his projects. I’m sure that there are social media experts just itching to solve the Twitter problem and Musk knows how to recruit them to his causes.

    I am a big fan of his intention to open source Twitters algorithms. It would do far more than allow people to suggest changes. By revealing them, it lets analysts report on how they really work and give the public an appreciation for the difficulty of the problem. Even better, such a move would be a step towards making social media rules and algorithms a public resource. I envision a day when laws are enacted that define what good content and subscriber moderation looks like. I’m not talking about censorship, except perhaps of the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” kind. Instead, demand that they use algorithms that slow the spread of misinformation and disinformation, recognizing that lies travel further and faster than the truth and that bad actors seek to profit from this.

    1. He wouldn’t have been able to create so many very successful companies

      Musk has created exactly one successful company – SpaceX – and that company is actually on rocky ground at the moment due to the delays with getting Starship operational.

      All the others were either not created by him or have been failures. Tesla is in the former category and The Boring Company will almost certainly be in the latter category.

      1. Nonsense. Where are your references? Musk famously claimed that SpaceX could go bankrupt if it couldn’t get Starship off the ground soon but that was just him trying to scare people. It’s the kind of statement that everyone wishes he wouldn’t make. First, any company can go bankrupt so he’s right in a sense. Second, his company dominates the space industry right now. Of course, if a rocket blows up and kills people, things might change radically. Such is the space industry.

        1. Musk famously claimed that SpaceX could go bankrupt if it couldn’t get Starship off the ground soon but that was just him trying to scare people

          You’re right that it is the sort of statement people wish he wouldn’t make, but that one was an internal email that got leaked. The only people he was trying to scare were his own workers – into giving up their Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. What a wonderful boss.

          It’s impossible to say if Starlink will take down SpaceX because we don’t know what all the costs are. For example, we don’t know how much a Falcon 9 launch really costs, but if it’s anything like on the same scale as what SpaceX charges for a launch, Starlink will bring down SpaceX unless they can get Starship woking soon.

      2. “exactly one successful company” I suppose you define success differently than I do.
        Zip2 sold for $307M.
        X.com turned out to be a good venture, as it led, after merges and such, to Musk netting $175M
        Tesla is not insignificant, either. Musk did not start the company, but before he took over, they had not sold any actual physical cars. By the end of this year, they will be manufacturing cars in 6 factories. Tucker made 51 cars, and they made a film about him. According to Google, Tesla has sold 1,917,450.

        1. Yes I do define success differently to selling the company for a lot of money. Continuing to exist and generating good revenues count for more than the founders being able to unload it in my book.

          Tesla is successful but Musk did not found it and the vision is not his. He didn’t create that company. In fact, he nearly destroyed it with the changes he demanded for the original roadster that delayed putting it into production. He definitely screwed over the actual founders and he’s lied continually to the public about delivery schedules and the capabilities of FSD ever since. holders about the viability of Solar City, persuading them to approve its acquisition.

          1. The way capitalism works, the value of a company is most definitely defined when it is sold. This is fundamental. It may not be given the value that you personally would assign to it but that’s your problem.

  14. Regarding the tiny poetry book, it’s my understanding that gloves are no longer used for handling old books and documents. The reason being that bare hands allow a more delicate touch. Apparently more harm comes to the document from rough handling with gloves than would come from the minute amounts of oil from contact with skin.

    1. Yes… Clyde has it – but you will still see gloves used in some places. Maybe parchment is differently treated by archivists to paper? Though I’d suppose calfskin was tougher.

    1. I think the use of Strauss’s “Also sprach Zarathustra” in that trailer is Tucker’s way of letting everyone known that, like Nietzsche, he’s losing his mind from tertiary syph.

  15. What would lead to Ukraine ‘winning’ this war? More weapons. Zelensky and most military experts are on the same page there.

    Javelins, Switch blades, Stinger, Bayraktyar TB2 etc, but also more sophisticated and heavier weapons are flooding into Ukraine. The question is: will it be enough and timely enough? It can’t be made clear enough that the Ukrainians are fighting the ‘West’s’ war, our war. The West cannot possibly let Ukraine lose. That would mean WWIII.
    Make no mistake: we are at war, and should spare nothing -short of provoking a nuclear war- supporting Ukraine. I think Biden’s 800 billion (I think he does exceptionally well here) is still too little.

  16. The Orthodox Patriarch’s enthusiasm for the Russian aggression in Ukraine is an old story. In 1471, Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III decided that the merchant republic of Novgorod to his north was insufficiently obeisant to of the holy Orthodox faith, and acted. From the Novgorod chronicles:

    The pious sovereign and Grand Prince Ioan Vasilievich prayed to God and to the most pure Mother of God, shedding many tears before them, beseeching their mercy for the pacification of the world, and for the well-being of God’s holy churches and the Orthodox faith. His heart filled with sorrow, he said to himself. “It is known to Thee, Almighty God and everlasting King, who knowest the secrets of all men’s hearts, it is not of my own desire and will that I dare to do this which may cause much shedding of Christian blood upon this earth. I stand by the godly laws of the holy Apostles and holy Fathers and for the true Orthodox faith of the Russian Land, also for my patrimony and against their renunciation of the true faith and adoption of Latinism. …Thus did the Grand Prince advance with all his host against his patrimonial domain Novgorod the Great because of the of the rebellious spirit of the people, their pride and their conversion to Latinism. With a numerous and overpowering force he occupied the entire Novgorod country from border to border, visiting every part of it with the dread powers of his fire and sword.

  17. “. . .the single most striking development in the American religious landscape over the past two decades: the rise of the ‘nones,’ those who decline to associate with any organized religion.”

    Alarmingly, the loss of faith in organized religion seems to parallel an increasing loss of faith in science, especially scientific medicine. According to a Pew Research poll conducted in December of 2021 among 4,497 adults, confidence in scientists generally fell from 86% in January 2019 to 77%. Those saying that have no confidence in medical scientists surged from 13% in Jan. 2019 to 22%. The only bright spot here is that fewer and fewer people are going to put any stock in these numbers.

    1. Yup, that should have been “a reminder that religion can set loose profoundly liberating human impulses”.

  18. I’m not the sort of person who normally likes to take pleasure in the misfortune of others, but it appears that Alex Jones’ Infowars has filed for bankruptcy. Something to do with making scummy statements about the Sandy Hook shootings and being taken to court for it, apparently.

    1. I have no idea really but my guess is this is the standard escape from liability. He probably siphons all the Infowars profits into some other place in preparation for just such a day.

  19. “Any idea wtf that radiating monolith is in front of the one guy’s groin?” – I bet you wish you hadn’t asked!

    “The testicle tanning, or “red-light” therapy, shown in the video is explained further in an interview Carlson does with a self-proclaimed “bromeotherapy” expert. He claims that by dousing your balls in red LEDs, you can create higher levels of testosterone.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/18/tucker-carlson-masculinity-crisis-testicle-tanning

  20. The book is being held by the edges, the hands are not pawing the pages with sweatiness. I think you will find the use of gloves varies from library to library.

  21. Your comment about the three-fifth clause is inaccurate. No such clause appears in the Articles of Confederation; nor did the Aof C authorize taxation. The phrase first appears in the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

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