Friday: Hili dialogue

May 20, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s the end of the week and, at sundown, the start of the one-day Cat Sabbath.  Yes, it’s Friday, May 20, 2022, National Quiche Lorraine Day, which may not be kosher if it includes meat.

It’s also World Bee Day, World Metrology Day, and Josephine Baker Day, an NAACP holiday celebrating the celebrated dancer, actress, and activist. She was neither born nor died on this day, but it’s still her holiday:

Baker also worked with the NAACP. Her reputation as a crusader grew to such an extent that the NAACP had Sunday 20 May 1951 declared “Josephine Baker Day”. She was presented with life membership with the NAACP by Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche.

She also helped the French resistance when she was in Paris during the war, and had a colorful life, including owning a pet cheetah:

 In later shows in Paris, she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah “Chiquita,” who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding another element of excitement to the show.

After a while, Baker was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw”. The author spent hours talking with her in Paris bars. Picasso drew paintings depicting her alluring beauty. Jean Cocteau became friendly with her and helped vault her to international stardom. Baker endorsed a “Bakerfix” hair gel, bananas, shoes, and cosmetics amongst other products.

I can’t seem to find a Picasso rendition of Baker, so if you have a link, please put it in the comments.

(From Wikipedia): Depiction, drawn by Louis Gaudin, of Baker being presented a flower bouquet by a cheetah

Stuff that happened on May 20 includes:

  • 325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, starting the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.
  • 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
  • 1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas.

Here’s the world from that Atlas. Not bad for 1570, is it? (click to enlarge):

Here’s the famous first publication:

Here’s the oldest known pair of Levis, dating from the 1870s and found in a mine. Worth over $100,000, they’re locked in a safe at the Levi Strauss company:

Everyone should visit Auschwitz (a short bus ride from Krakow, Poland) once in their lives. Here’s a photo I took of one of the many rooms of belongings confiscated from Jews who were gassed. These people thought they were going to get their luggage back:

The pair won the Nobel Prize for detecting the electromagnetic radiation associated with the big bang. They used this telescope (caption from Wikipedia):

The Holmdel Horn Antenna on which Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background. The antenna was constructed in 1959 to support Project Echo—the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s passive communications satellites, which used large earth orbiting aluminized plastic balloons as reflectors to bounce radio signals from one point on the Earth to another.
  • 1980 – In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejects, by 60% of the vote, a government proposal to move towards independence from Canada.
  • 1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by a team of French scientists including Françoise Barré-SinoussiJean-Claude Chermann, and Luc Montagnier. You can read about the priority fight in a free paper here

Montagnier won the Nobel Prize for this along with  Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen. Robert Gallo did not get a prize. 

*I’m not a huge fan of the NYT, but this kind of investigative reporting, backed by their financial resources, is what they’re good at. A combination of film, photography, and drone footage strongly suggests that a group of Russian paratroopers executed eight Ukrainian unarmed civilians (probably involved in defense forces) in cold blood. If this is the case, those men are guilty of a war crime.

To uncover what happened to these men, The Times spent weeks in Bucha interviewing a survivor, witnesses, coroners, and police and military officials. Reporters collected previously unpublished videos from the day of the execution — some of the only evidence thus far to trace the victims’ final movements. The Times scoured social media for missing persons reports, spoke to the victims’ family members and, for the first time, identified all of the executed men and why most of them were targeted.

They were husbands and fathers, grocery store and factory workers who lived ordinary civilian lives before the war. But with restrictions on men leaving the country, coupled with a resolve to protect their communities, most of the men joined various defense forces in the days before they were killed. Nearly all of them lived within walking distance of the courtyard in which their bodies would later lie.

*A recent Pew survey reveals which issues Americans think are the top problems facing our country. Here’s the chart, showing that “it’s the economy, stupid!”:

*From reader Ken, who says, “Now that they’re confident they have the demolition of Roe v. Wade under their belts, The Federalist has set its sights on contraception.” I should have seen this coming. From the piece:

In all of the furor surrounding the (likely) imminent demise of Roe v. Wade, it has become clear to me that women have been made to fear and resent their biology for far too long. Too many women have bought the lie that they have no options but to rely on hormonal contraceptives and, if that fails, abortion. But the broad dependence on these methods — making women responsible to manage their own and men’s fertility — is actually patriarchal and anti-women.

I truly believe that the more women come to understand and love their bodies and their cycles (instead of being taught to hate, fear, and suppress them), the more they will realize we’ve been sold a bill of goods on contraception and abortion — two things we’re told “liberate” us, while suppressing the very thing that makes us women.

*The magazine Science is kvetching because far more parasites are named for men than women (I would expect they’d applaud that tendency!)

When it comes to naming species they’ve discovered, scientists often like to have a little fun. There’s Ba humbugi, a Fiji snail referencing one of literature’s crankiest men. Or Spongiforma squarepantsii, a mushroom named after everyone’s favorite cartoon sponge. And for decades, researchers have named species after their colleagues or iconic researchers as a way to honor them, which is why some 300 species of animals are named after Charles Darwin.

But that tradition may perpetuate societal biases, according to a new study of parasite names. The scientific names of nearly 3000 recently identified bloodsuckers, hijackers, and other banes of the biological world mostly honor men.

Perplexed by some of the stranger parasite monikers that occasionally grace the headlines, Robert Poulin, a parasitologist at the University of Otago, Dunedin, and his colleagues combed through studies published in eight prominent parasitology journals between 2000 and 2020. Although discoveries of new species of mammals or birds are relatively rare, parasites represent the frontier of taxonomic research, with prodigious amounts of new species described each year. The year 2007 alone saw nearly 200 new parasites worm their way into the scientific record.

Of the 596 parasite species honoring an eminent scientist, only 18% immortalized women researchers, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The gender gap has remained consistent for the past 20 years. And 89% of researchers lucky enough to have two or more parasites named after them were men.

There’s one obvious alternative to the implicit accusation of ongoing “structural sexism”: not only were most famous parasitologists men, but they tend to be those who get animals named after them. This is one of those examples where the Pecksniffs feel good but accomplish exactly nothing. Do they really believe that a higher proportion of parasites named after men (the same, I suspect, would be true for nearly all animals) “perpetuates societal bias”? Eventually, of course, the disparity will disappear with time if women achieve equity in parasitology.

*Live Science reports that 5,200 Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) paraded ashore on a New Zealand beach in a single night (h/t Ginger K.):

As dusk fell over Australia’s Phillip Island last week, thousands of tiny black-and-white birds participated in the largest “penguin parade” seen on the island since record-keeping began in the 1960s, with more than 5,200 little penguins (Eudyptula minor) crossing the beach in a single night.

Phillip Island — known as Millowl to the Indigenous Bunurong people — hosts Australia’s largest colony of little penguins, which is currently about 40,000 birds strong, according to the Penguin Foundation, a group that funds research and conservation efforts on the island. This is the world’s smallest penguin species; the birds grow to be no bigger than about 15.7 inches (40 centimeters) tall, or about the height of a bowling pin, according to The Australian Museum.

Every day at dusk, a subset of the Philip Island penguin population swims back to shore after hunting for fish, squid, krill and small crustaceans in the ocean, and then heads inland toward their nesting grounds. This event, locally known as the “Penguin Parade,” draws large numbers of tourists to Phillip Island Nature Parks, where visitors can “sit and watch the penguins emerge from the water for 50 minutes” each night, Paula Wasiak, a Phillip Island Nature Parks field researcher, told Live Science in an email.

Here’s a video of the event:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t like seeing litter on her beat:

In Polish:
Hili: Byłam na końcu świata.
Ja: I co tam widziałaś?
Hili: Znowu jacyś ludzie naśmiecili.
Shhhhh . . . Szaron is still sleeping (he must be recovering from Karolina):

From Ken, who sent me the whole issue (available by judicious inquiry). He notes, “This is from the January 1974 ‘Animals’ issue of National Lampoon. It’s a pitch-perfect Popular Mechanics parody. Click to enlarge.

From Stash Krod: sad but true:

From Beth. After spending years trying to keep people from feeding bread to ducks, it’s time that the animals turned the tables:

Reader Barry sends us an aggressive fish:

This was suggested to me in my Mystery Twitter Feed. I never watched “Mad Men,” but I like this scene:

Also from Barry, an elephant pulls a prank. Note how he gives the hat back. (Sound up.)

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, some lovely music. Don’t miss this one!

This is bizarre but apparently true. Try it at home! And it even has medical applications. There are 8 tweets in the thread

I used to do this with toothpicks.

48 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Jerry, while there does seem to be a real Jarvis Dupont, that one is another creation of Andrew Doyle – so an imaginary sibling of Titania.

  2. *A recent Pew survey reveals which issues Americans think are the top problems facing our country. Here’s the chart, showing that “it’s the economy, stupid!”:

    I have to think that survey data was taken before the Dobbs draft was released. But put Abortion somewhere in the top 1-3 now, and it’s basically the same. The Dems’ ability to bring down inflation or otherwise improve people’s economic lives over the next 6 months is definitely going to be a huge factor…just maybe not THE huge factor it would have been.

    *The magazine Science is kvetching because far more parasites are named for men than women (I would expect they’d applaud that tendency!)

    Yeah, this seems like a no-win situation. If nothing changes, the far left is going to complain how nobody takes inequity seriously. If scientists say they’re going to start naming parasites after women to fix it, the far left is going to complain about how science is promoting a parasite-woman comparison.

    *Live Science reports that 5,200 Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) paraded ashore on a New Zealand beach in a single night (h/t Ginger K.):

    Correction needed: Philips Island is in Australia, not New Zealand (your quotes have it correct, just the intro sentence needs fixing). It’s close to Melbourne.

    We went there a bunch of times when I was a kid. I hear they have a whole building complex there now that keeps the people away from the penguins, but back in my day [shakes fist at grass] it was just a simple walking path down to the beach, with breeding grounds on the inland side, and you could literally be 2-4 feet from a baby in a hole chirping away. They would get the crowds corralled away from the area when the parents came back and made their way to their kids, but even then it was really up close and personal.

  3. Although there is no doubt that inflation, an economic issue, is the greatest worry of the American people, I am not sure that we can assume this factor will be the one to decide the November elections. First, the vast majority of elections on the state level (governors, senators, representatives) are decided well before the casting of ballots due to gerrymandering and the nature of the electorate. In these situations, voting is strictly pro forma. Second, we need to understand what decides elections that are actually competitive. Here, as in the non-competitive races, the vast majority of voters will vote for the candidates of their party, regardless of the issues, and they do so election after election. So, the outcome of these contests will hinge on the issues that will motivate the “persuadables,” those that generally do not come out to vote or those that are truly independent and can be influenced by campaign issues, to vote. So, the big question is what will mostly influence this relatively small, but critical slice of the electorate that decides close elections – economic or cultural issues? I don’t think foreign policy or Covid will play a big role.

    I have not been able to find an answer to this question. Clearly, the Republicans think that cultural issues (abortion, race, guns, immigration, CRT, the Big Lie, etc.) will prevail with the party’s domination by far right Trumpists. In their usual confusion, the Democrats have yet to issue a coherent message, at least I have not noticed it. Will they attempt to craft an economic campaign, despite inflation, or concentrate on far right extremism? How they answer this question could determine whether for them the November election results in relatively minor losses (which is typical for mid-terms, but, nevertheless, still ends up with loss of the House) or a catastrophic wipeout.

    1. … the vast majority of voters will vote for the candidates of their party, regardless of the issues, and they do so election after election. So, the outcome of these contests will hinge on the issues that will motivate the “persuadables,” those that generally do not come out to vote or those that are truly independent and can be influenced by campaign issues, to vote.

      And turnout, turnout, turnout.

  4. I am delighted to learn that my birthday is also Josephine Baker Day. As an art deco fan, I have long admired her – and even more when I learned of her work for the resistance in WW2 France.

  5. News from England, via The College Fix, that the University of Salford (Manchester) is decolonizing its curriculum and has “removed sonnets and other ‘pre-established literary forms’ from a creative writing course assessment. . . . ” The article helpfully provides a definition of de-colonizing “’a term used to describe refocusing curricula away from historically dominant Western material and viewpoints.’”

  6. Thanks to Jerry and Ken for referencing this Federalist article. Its quotation of Fulton Sheen reveals that Roman Catholic doctrine is upstream of its argument. Which reminds me of a joke: What do you call a couple who practice Natural Family Planning? Parents.
    Seriously, as the SCOTUS begins its scorched-earth campaign by blowing away Roe v. Wade, its ultimate target for destruction is Griswold v. Connecticut.

    1. I remember that old huckster Bishop Sheen from his tv show. Imagine women taking marriage advice from a virgin wearing a muumuu.

    2. Undoubtedly, if Griswold falls, the far right, i.e., Republican politicians will attempt to ban contraception and will succeed in many deep red states. They will want to do this because of religious reasons and the hope that it will result in more white babies. But, this may be their undoing. This is because it appears that even the vast majority of Republicans (thus including religious ones) oppose a contraception ban. Yahoo News reports the results of a Yahoo/YouGov survey:

      ———————————–
      Yet according to the new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, even legalistic arguments that cases like Griswold were “wrongly decided” are likely to fall flat with most Americans. Asked directly about Griswold and subsequent rulings from “decades ago” that found “both married and unmarried couples have a constitutional right to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction,” 79% of Americans — including 84% of Democrats, 82% of Republicans and 79% of independents — say they favor such decisions. Just 8% are opposed.

      Likewise, nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) agree that “access to contraception” is “a constitutional right that people in all states should be entitled to” rather than “something individual states should be able to outlaw” (12%).

      https://news.yahoo.com/poll-most-americans-will-balk-if-conservatives-challenge-contraception-and-gay-marriage-after-overturning-roe-202215040.html
      ——————————–

      In other words, the zealots will have gone too far. It would be an incredibly stupid political move for the Republicans to ban contraception, even if they should be allowed legally to do so. Yet, they may, which would be a bonanza for Democrats. Both the banning of abortion and/or contraception will see the rise of the equivalent of Prohibition era speakeasies. But, it could also result in the end of Trumpism or so I would hope.

      1. Yeah, I suspect when the initial fervor of pushing anti-promiscuity laws passes, Red America may discover it doesn’t much like living in Gilead — especially after a few scandals in which right-wing politicians who’ve pushed these laws are discovered to have sent their wives and mistresses and daughters out-of-state to secure abortions.

        1. I’m reminded that there is an old Spiritual/hymn, “There Is a Baum in Gilead.” Nowadays, some baum, eh?

    3. I don’t think Griswold will be overturned. You’re talking about an $8 billion industry (in 2021). Money talks, especially with this radical SCOTUS; there isn’t much financial risk in overturning Roe v. Wade. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised, given their Catholic poisoning.

  7. Morse always had that inner laugh.

    I was riding a NY subway circa 1978, looked over, and noticed that the guy hanging onto the strap next to me was Robert Morse. I think he was staring in something on Broadway at the time, but I recognized him mainly from the film adaptation of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

    Anyway, I was impressed that a guy that successful was travelling underground with us hoi polloi, rather than tooling around the streets in a limo, or at least a cab.

    1. I saw him at Yale when he was a student in musical called “Love in Buffalo”. He looked like the sure winner he became. Mom and I often recalled that show…..

  8. Maybe related to the popsicle sticks :

    Put a piece of paper over a conventional pencil which is extended over a typical desk edge. Maybe half-way. Keep the paper above the desk – not overhanging.

    Now give the pencil a really good whack. The result is not what is expected.

    1. What’s supposed to happen? I just tried it. I was expecting the pencil to break, but hedging my bets that maybe it would tear through the paper. What actually happened was just the paper getting creased where the pencil pushed up on it. Not sure how much harder I want to hit it lest I risk denting the edge of my desk.

      1. The pencil is fabled to break.

        I only ever got the paper to quite effectively hold the pencil enough so it doesn’t fly away.

        Perhaps pencils used to be cheaply made – I read this trick in a Martin Gardner book.

        1. Hmm. I only have one actual wooden pencil here at my desk that I could use to try it – all the rest of my pencils are mechanical. My wooden pencil does feel a bit more stout than the thin Dixon Ticonderogas I remember from my grade school days. I’ll have to give it another shot if I ever find another wooden pencil.

  9. My mom was a survivor of Auchwitz (Birkenau, actually). When I visited Auchwitz in 1991 I took a picture of the sign Arbeit Marcht Frei. When I developed the film, it turned out I used a double exposed role, and my mom and my dog (at her home in LA) were in the picture under the sign, 48 years after she had actually been there. Weird!!!

  10. Interesting PEW chart . . . I hesitated commenting on it, but what the heck . . .

    The results seems to track pretty well with what dominates the news. Meaning, respondents are only as engaged as the last newscast they watched and which “crisis” it highlighted.

    As for Democrats “reeling in” inflation (or anyone doing so), that notion overstates the influence an administration can wield on inflation, especially after years of various administrations saying that inflation was “too low” and years and years of huge federal spending and quantitative “easing”.

    The Fed (appointed by the administration) could bump the interest rates more aggressively, but then we’re talking about a wider economic impact and undesirable consequences (usually on people who have money, and hence power).

    When people say “inflation” they often don’t understand (or oversimplify) the fact that inflation is the result of many intertwined factors and influenced not just by local politics, but global affairs. I’d love to hear any suggestions of what the administration (any administration) could do to curb inflation, especially in the near-term (before the 2024 election).

    Disclaimer: I’m not an economist; just an observer of how things seem to work, so I could be wrong. It could be there’s a switch somewhere that one can throw and fix everything without negative consequences.

    Finally, I find it interesting COVID-19 is ranked last in that chart . . . it’s still killing some 300+ people a day (a rate of over 100K per year). For any other topic, that would be the headline every single day, with graphics and photos showing the tragedy of people’s lives being cut short . . . why, we might see it being ranked above inflation if that’s how it was reported.

    1. Most of the people dying now are people who went into an ICU during the Omicron spike in January and are just now coming out. The rest are frail elderly and people with lymphomas etc. who unfortunately will die even if vaccinated. 300 a day out of a population of > 300,000,000 isn’t too bad. How many die on the roads every day? And car crashes often kill young people with long lives ahead of them.

      It precisely was the saturation coverage Covid got that eventually educated people that most who die are over 80 and racial minorities died excessively. For blue states and most of Canada, this drove lockdowns and earnest mask wearing. For red states and little slivers of Canada, it was “Enough is enough.”

  11. Re: Hanger Reflex

    Since I’m now working from home, I just grabbed a wire hanger out of the closet and tried it.

    The involuntary motion of the head seems to be BS, at least for me. However, weirdly, there was a slight dizzy sensation with the spin in a certain direction, and when I swapped the hanger around, that slight dizziness was spinning in the opposite direction. And, very subtly, it seemed ‘easier’, or slightly more natural, to twist my head in the same direction as the dizziness.

    And in fact, I’m still very slightly dizzy as I’m typing this and haven’t had the hanger on my head for a few minutes.

    1. I tried it, too, and also found no involuntary motion, but we were primed by reading about the effect. If we hadn’t, perhaps we would have found ourselves moving involuntarily. I’m going to try it with my wife later without telling her about it.

      It did feel like I had an assist if I turned in one direction. I didn’t try turning opposite the inclination, so I can’t speak to a dizzy feeling.

      1. I’m going to try it with my wife later without telling her about it.

        Good idea, think I’ll give that a try, too. What time’s your wife get home, Dean, so I can bring my wire hanger over? 🙂

  12. On this day in history . .

    May 20, 1960: The Beatles begin their first tour, playing in Scotland as the backing group for a singer named Johnny Gentle.

    Exactly 10 years later, May 20, 1970, the Beatles’ swan song, the movie “Let it Be,” has its premiere in London.

    What a decade.

  13. With only 42% of Americans regarding climate change as a very big problem, I can pretty much assume we are doomed. By the time a large majority (say 70%) believe climate change is a very big problem, it will be too late (if it’s not already). And if Republicans win these next two election cycles, there will be at least another 6 years that US greenhouse gas pollution is exacerbated. As I get older, it seems more and more that my fellow Americans are immune to reality. Yep, this is Fantasyland.

    1. We’d better hope that some type of atmospheric carbon extraction technology can be developed and scaled, because there is no way we are going to cut our way out of this mess.

      I think some hail-Mary atmospheric geo-engineering project is going to be deployed eventually. I just hope the unintended consequences aren’t worse than the problem it’s trying to solve.

      1. Well, net-zero requires by definition that we remove CO2 from the atmosphere at the same rate we emit it. Since this is probably never going to happen at scale, they are really going to have to impose gross zero if they believe this stuff. Which means killing people, through starvation and energy poverty, after destroying trillions of dollars of wealth in trying to bottle unicorn farts.

        This is why I think the other 58% are just going to roll their eyes and hope the politicians eventually lose interest, just as China and India have already, and told us so in Glasgow. In reality, most of the 42% feel the same way, too. They just know that you’re supposed to say that climate change is an existential emergency when a pollster calls you. You do know how little that 42% is willing to spend or forgo of their own money to save the planet. “You mean recycling plastic trash isn’t enough?”

        If the planet gets too hot, your neighbours will just crank up the A/C. You just try to be the one who tells them they can’t.

        1. “If the planet gets too hot, your neighbours will just crank up the A/C. You just try to be the one who tells them they can’t.”

          What is “too hot”? Ambiguous blather; but should I invest in fan companies, just in case? Plus, as usual, when this topic is (barely) mentioned you like to troll with memes of hopelessness.

          1. Not trolling at all. I am sincerely optimistic that the worst things like extinction of humanity that are predicted to happen from climate change won’t. I also think the dystopian future of no personal transportation, no fresh vegetables in February, and an electricity grid that runs only 18-20 hours a day will not happen because voters won’t let it. It’s one thing to be struggling with gasoline prices that are due to market forces. It’s quite another to be told to pay those prices because of carbon taxes that are explicitly intended to make gasoline too expensive for most people to buy, even though supply could be abundant but for efforts to put the oil and gas companies out of business. People will vote out governments that try to do that, one hopes before too much damage is done.

            Collective-action problems are intractable, though. Your good behaviour doesn’t incentivize good behaviour in others. The “climate consensus” can be violated without cost, so it will be. That’s not something to be hopeless about. It just is.

    2. If it makes you feel any better, all other countries are increasing their emissions too, except for some European countries who have outsourced their industry to China, achieving a form of arbitrage in which they consume as much as ever but book the emissions in foreign countries. (This is one reason why supply chains are so fragile.)

      China intends to increase its emissions for the rest of this century so it can continue to be the world’s workshop and bring electricity to its rural people…and build more warships. India and Africa are right behind them and coal will power their industrial revolutions just as it powered ours. When they get rich they will pay the “green surtax” but not before.

      We’re not doomed.

      1. In 2009 a McClatchy paper reported that China had passed the U.S. in emissions. Nary a word about the U.S. and other countries offshoring their manufacturing to China. Not a word about the U.S. (still?) being number one in per capita emission.

  14. It mystifies me that the opioid epidemic is not even on the list of the nation’s problems. According to this very intelligent analysis opioid addiction accounted for the loss of 0.86M people from the labor force in 2016, just for starts, without even going into the number of OD’s.

    1. Problems that have no solution aren’t problems. They are just facts of life.
      The War on Drugs didn’t work. Safe consumption sites don’t work. Free drugs would reduce the excuse for mugging and shoplifting for drugs but would mean more addicts, and would be costly because a lot of the stuff they like isn’t even legal…and buying the legal stuff to give to addicts in the enormous quantities they consume would make legitimate medical use more expensive for patients. When 50 micrograms of (pure) fentanyl is a typical anesthesia dose, I can’t get my mind around 30 lb. even if it’s mostly baking soda and skim milk powder.

  15. Just last night, I was watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow from 2018, and a woman had two maps, one of them the Ortelius map.In good condition, the appraiser gave its value as being between $5,500 to $7,500. She bought it at a thrift shop for $13.

    1. Anecdotes like that are why everyone thinks their old junk might be valuable, when the vast, vast majority, while maybe interesting, doesn’t really have any significant monetary value.

      My great uncle collected all types of stuff, to the point of being a hoarder. He had a huge stamp collection, post cards, Matchbox cars, and just all types of weird objects. When he died, my dad was the executor, and had to sell off all these collections. Granted, a few Matchbox cars fetched up into the hundreds of dollars on ebay, which is quite a bit for a toy car, but my great uncle wasn’t exactly sitting on a fortune. I never have asked my dad straight up what it was all worth, but I gather that the entirety of his collections, which basically filled every room of his house and basement, amounted to low to mid five figures.

      In other words, you have to be extremely lucky to find one of those hidden gems at a flea market or thrift shop.

  16. Jerry: did you notice Chicago on the 16th c. map? 🙂 Actually it says “Chilaga”, a mythical place that may have something to do with the naming of Chicago.

  17. Trying to remember who was the woman who on her passport application to accompany her husband to Europe on his grant listed her occupation as “Parasite.” They made her change it.

  18. I think people are right to be worried about inflation. The problem, the real problem, is not new cars or any other voluntary expenses costing more. I think it is bigger than that, and the real effects have not yet arrived. Modern Agriculture is heavily tied to the prices of fertilizer and diesel fuel. The costs for those commodities have more than doubled in the last year.
    For us, we are lucky that we don’t have to fertilize often. Last year, we were able to sell as much hay as we could produce. At the low end, we sold small bales for $5.00 a piece “on the ground”, which means that we cut, rake, and bale it, but the customer drives down from Wyoming with a crew, who pick up the bales spread out over the fields, right where it came out of the back of the baler. On the top end, a bale can go for $10.00 in the late fall, if we have picked it up and stored it in the dry, then we use our truck to deliver it an hour’s drive away.
    I don’t know what is going to happen this fall. Logic would dictate that if it costs me three times as much to produce a bale of hay, I ought to charge something like 2.5x last years price, if I want to make the same modest profit per bale. Perhaps people just cannot afford to pay that.
    My hay prices are only going to affect people who eat really high end organic meat, or those who raise horses in our part of the country. But the same thing is happening at every stage of agricultural commodity production. This has a cumulative effect. The farther you are in the logistics chain from the source of raw materials, the worse the effects will be. A person in some third world country who relies on US-produced corn soy blend for their basic nutritional needs might discover that they are SOL.
    For us, we might get a taste of what my grandparents experienced in the 1930s, where they did without a great many things, but always grew enough to keep the family fed. That life required a lot of work and discomfort. I cannot really guess what conditions will be like for those of you who buy your food in little plastic or cardboard packages, far from where it grew or swam or grazed.

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