Wednesday: Hili dialogue

July 13, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a Hump Day (or, as they’d say in Greek, “Ημέρα καμπούρας ): it’s Wednesday, July 13, 2022: National French Fry Day (we no longer have to call them “Liberty Fries”). The Philly Voice tells us how many we should be eating:

The Department of Agriculture lists a serving of fries as three ounces, which amounts to 12 to 15 individual potato sticks, or about 140 calories.

“I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six french fries,” said Eric Rimm, a professor in the departments of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in the Times report.

Here are six French fries as recommended by the Leisure Fascists; it’s a pathetic serving. “I think it would be nice if your meal came with . . . . six french fries????”  What the deuce?

Dr. Oz, who’s going to be running for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, also recommends “single digit fries”. That should be sufficient reason to vote against him, even if he were a Democrat! Here’s a video report from the Leisure Fascists; I like Padma Lakshmi’s comment:

It’s also World Softball Day, Sewing Machine Day, and Weed Your Garden Day (I suggest that the last holiday should be metaphorical).

The logo on a Bobcat earth mover I saw on the way to work:

Today’s Google Doodle honors the Webb Space telescope and its first five “official” photos. Click on the screenshot to see the relevant links. I’ve put two of the five released photos below, and highlighted the first one (inside the second “o”) below:

Stuff that happened on July 13 includes:

We really don’t know what the First Temple looked like, but here’s one attempt at a visualization:

  • 1793 – Journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.

Here’s the famous painting of the incident, The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David (1793). Corday was guillotined four days after this assassination. 

Here’s the smoking gun: Butterfield’s first mention of the White House tapes:

. . . and a four-minute take by Butterfield (a deputy assistant to Nixon) on the tapes and on Nixon many years later.

This is what happens when there is no police protection, and resembles the Montreal police strike in 1969. Here’s a photo of lower Manhattan during the blackout:

The famous set Queen performed at Live Aid, beginning with “Bohemian Rhapsody”:

  • 2016 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron resigns, and is succeeded by Theresa May.

Da Nooz:

*It was a wild day at the January 6 hearings. First, Liz Cheney said that Trump recently tried to contact a witness who was appearing before the hearings.

Former president Donald Trump recently attempted to contact an unnamed witness in the House select committee investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot — an effort that the panel has since referred to the Justice Department, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the panel, said Tuesday.

“Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously,” Cheney said.

But the NYT reports that the witness didn’t take the call and alerted their lawyer, who told the committee, who told the Department of Justice. I guess if Trump didn’t talk to the witness, no crime was committed. The fact that there was such a call is being unnecessarily blown up and overinterpreted.  Cheney didn’t have to say that this was an “effort to influence witness testimony”, though she was right to mention the call’s existence.

But it gets worse: Trump was planning to lead a march to the Capitol on January 6, but wanted to make it look spontaneous:

President Donald J. Trump planned to lead a march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 but wanted it to look like a spontaneous decision, people involved in the plans told the committee investigating the mob violence that disrupted the certification of the 2020 election.

According to documents obtained from the National Archives, Mr. Trump reviewed a tweet that said: “I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!”

The tweet was never sent, but Mr. Trump let his allies know in advance that his plan was to direct the crowd to the Capitol.

After a Jan. 2 phone call with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, Katrina Pierson, a former spokeswoman for Mr. Trump who was helping to organize the rally, sent an email to fellow organizers saying that president’s expectation was to “call on everyone to march to the Capitol.”

And in a Jan. 4 text message, Kylie Jane Kremer, another rally organizer, said it was important to keep the plan secret to avoid alerting the National Park Service, which issues permits for demonstrations in Washington.

Here’s the tweet put up today by the committee, which apparently wasn’t sent:

*But there was an earlier tweet with the same aim, subverting the election. From the NYT:

  • The committee reconstructed an unhinged, hourslong meeting in the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, in which Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, the pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and the former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne pressed to seize voting machines and name Ms. Powell as a special counsel to work to overturn the election. When White House lawyers pushed back against the extreme plans, they were told they weren’t “tough enough,” according to Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer who attended parts of the meeting.

  • After the Dec. 18 meeting ended, Mr. Trump sent out an inflammatory tweet, summoning his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 and saying it “will be wild.” The committee showed how far-right commentators and extremists immediately seized on the posting, and encouraged followers to storm the Capitol and commit violence. One called for a “red wedding,” a reference to a scene of mass slaughter in George R.R. Martin books.

I cannot believe that these revelations, combined with the testimony of everyone else, especially Cassidy Hutchinson, won’t scupper Trump’s chances to run for President in 2024. Yes, plenty of people still love the lying grifter, but aren’t a lot of Republicans going to be nauseated by this stuff? Well, maybe not. . . . but centrists should be.

*By now we’ve all seen the latest photos from the Webb Space Telescope now, but I may do a post on them. If not, here’s a good one called “Cosmic Cliffs“:

This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.

Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.

The blistering, ultraviolet radiation from the young stars is sculpting the nebula’s wall by slowly eroding it away. Dramatic pillars tower above the glowing wall of gas, resisting this radiation. The “steam” that appears to rise from the celestial “mountains” is actually hot, ionized gas and hot dust streaming away from the nebula due to the relentless radiation.

You must click to enlarge this! Damn, what stunning photos!

Oh hell, I have to show one more: a nebula, this one seen to be in the center of a massive dust cloud as the star dies. The two photos were taken detecting different wavelengths of infrared light. And I’ve included the NASA caption.

Some stars save the best for last.

The dimmer star at the center of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has revealed for the first time that this star is cloaked in dust.

Two cameras aboard Webb captured the latest image of this planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 3132, and known informally as the Southern Ring Nebula. It is approximately 2,500 light-years away.

This side-by-side comparison shows observations of the Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared light, at left, and mid-infrared light, at right, from NASA’s Webb Telescope. This scene was created by a white dwarf star – the remains of a star like our Sun after it shed its outer layers and stopped burning fuel though nuclear fusion. Those outer layers now form the ejected shells all along this view. In the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) image, the white dwarf appears to the lower left of the bright, central star, partially hidden by a diffraction spike. The same star appears – but brighter, larger, and redder – in the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) image. This white dwarf star is cloaked in thick layers of dust, which make it appear larger. The brighter star in both images hasn’t yet shed its layers. It closely orbits the dimmer white dwarf, helping to distribute what it’s ejected. Over thousands of years and before it became a white dwarf, the star periodically ejected mass – the visible shells of material. As if on repeat, it contracted, heated up – and then, unable to push out more material, pulsated. Stellar material was sent in all directions – like a rotating sprinkler – and provided the ingredients for this asymmetrical landscape. Today, the white dwarf is heating up the gas in the inner regions – which appear blue at left and red at right. Both stars are lighting up the outer regions, shown in orange and blue, respectively. The images look very different because NIRCam and MIRI collect different wavelengths of light.

You can see the rest of the images (5 total) here.

*Both sides had “victories” of sorts in the Russian/Ukraine war. First, Ukraine used what appears to be a U.S.-made precisely guided missile to blow up a Russian ammunitions dump in southern Ukraine.

An overnight rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, the Ukrainian military’s southern command said. Nova Kakhovka is located about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces.

The precision of the strike suggested Ukrainian forces used U.S-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to hit the area. Ukraine indicated in recent days that it might launch a counteroffensive to reclaim territory in the country’s south as Russia bombards the eastern Donbas region.

Russia’s Tass news agency offered a different account of the blast in Nova Kakhovka, saying a mineral fertilizer storage facility exploded, and that a market, hospital and houses were damaged in the strike. Some of the ingredients in fertilizer can be used for ammunition.

A video of the blast and its aftermath:

The Russians don’t care about precision, as they just want to blow up everything. And I strongly suspect that the hits on apartment buildings and other facilities were deliberate. To wit:

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian shelling over the past 24 hours killed at least 16 civilians and wounded 48 more, Ukraine’s presidential office said in its Tuesday morning update. Cities and towns in five southeast regions came under Russian fire, the office said.

Nine civilians were killed and two more wounded in Donetsk province, which makes up half of the Donbas. Russian rocket attacks targeted the cities of Sloviansk and Toretsk, where a kindergarten was hit, the presidential office said.

The British military said Tuesday that Russia was continuing to make “small, incremental gains” in Donetsk, where heavy fighting led the province’s governor last week to urge its 350,000 remaining residents to move to safer places in western Ukraine.

The death toll from a Russian rocket attack that struck a Donetsk apartment building Saturday rose to 41, the emergency services agency said Tuesday afternoon. It said four more bodies were found and nine people were rescued from the rubble of the building in Chasiv Yar.

The Russians are going to wind up with, au minimum, a big chunk of eastern Ukraine.

*Jill Biden is in trouble with the language police for saying this:

She’s being attacked for comparing Latinos to “bogedas” (sic), blossoms, and “breakfast tacos in San Antonio”. The first two are okay even though she pronounces “bodegas” wrong, but it’s apparently not okay to compare Latinos (Latines?) to “breakfast tacos“.

The backlash came fast after the speech, namely from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region,” the organization wrote. “NAHJ encourages Dr. Biden and her speech writing team to (take)the time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and communities.

“We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions. Do not reduce us to stereotypes.”

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio responded to the first lady’s comment by changing his Twitter profile picture to an image of a taco.

Oh for crying out loud! She was not implying that Latinos were tacos; she was saying that Latinos were as “unique” as breakfast tacos. I’m not even sure that breakfast tacos are a big deal in San Antonio, at least for Hispanics, but the members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists clearly don’t have enough journalism to do, and have resorted to looking for insults.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is needy once again. But she is the Queen!

Hili: You are neglecting me.
A: But you are sitting on my lap.
Hili: Yes, but you stopped paying attention to me.
In Polish:
Hili: Zaniedbujesz mnie.
Ja: Przecież siedzisz na moich kolanach.
Hili: Tak, ale ty przestałeś zwracać na mnie uwagę.

Shhhh. . . Szaron is sleeping (again):


From “15 of the funniest signs from restaurants”:

A Gary Larson “Far Side” cartoon from Divy:

From Seth Andrews, who captioned this “For the atheist cookout”:

The Tweet of God:

The Tweet of Titania:

OMG! A Lego Drosophila with adjustable parts! (h/t: Malcolm)

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who was in Auschwitz 10 weeks before she died.

A tweet that Matthew made. The finish of this race, the 4 X 400 women’s relay at the 2014 European Championships. Matthew notes: The last leg was run by Flora Gueï. She ran at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, too, at the age of 31!” What a finish! (Sound up, esp. if you speak French.)

Poor ChewBarka!

Three tweets from a skydiving “incident”. See if you can figure out what happened:

A news item explaining it (this apparently happened in 2013). Yet all 13 people on both planes survived!

This skydiving stunt worked like a charm, but crikey, it was still stupid!


Oops, the tweet is gone (the no-chute guy hooked up mid-jump with another guy who later deployed a chute, and they both landed safely. I have no idea what the “white guy” stuff is about, but it might be the reason the tweet isn’t there any more.

But here’s a braver guy: he jumped about five miles without a chute aiming for a net on the ground!  And he made it!

27 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I’m an inveterate power napper. I finally found my spirit animal in the splendid Szaron! Dziękuję, Andrzej i Małgorzata!

  2. The six french fries reminds me of the dorms in college at University of Chicago. We would be served steak (butt steak) once a Quarter with onion rings. That was the only time we got onion rings, and we got three, no seconds.

  3. I am not sure that contacting a witness in a Congressional investigation carries the same significance as contacting a witness in a trial would. Given the many other unjudicial aspects of the forum, it seems unlikely.

  4. … Weed Your Garden Day (I suggest that the last holiday should be metaphorical).

    “Weed your garden” could also be the 21st century revised edition of Candide’s rejoinder to Pangloss in the last line of Voltaire’s novel (or maybe Candide would put it instead simply as “but let us cultivate our weed”).

    1. It just made me think of the Gary Delaney joke: “I asked my nan what she’d been doing today and she said, ‘Weedin’ the garden.’ And I said, ‘Well, at least you didn’t sh*t in it.'”

  5. Here’s the smoking gun: Butterfield’s first mention of the White House tapes …

    Counsel for the minority-party members of the Watergate committee questioning Butterfield is future actor (No Way Out, Cape Fear) and future Republican US senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson.

  6. 1977 : There are a couple lights lit on one of the WTC towers.

    BTW James Burke examines the technology of the 1977 blackout with some dramatization in his Connections show from way back.

    JWT : I’m just letting the pure emotion work for now – I think it is clear how the results are up many levels from anything else like it to date. I’m intrigued by the exoplanet spectroscopy – will have to see.

  7. 1977 – New York City: Amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.

    I remember the Big Blackout of 1965. It had NYC’s lowest crime rate in history. And about nine months later there were reports of a mini-baby boom. Hey, ya gotta find something to do to kill the time while the lights are out. And it’s a lot more fun than arson or looting.

    1. Everybody’s favourite Watergate hero, G. Gordon Liddy, describes in his memoir being assigned, as a young Army captain in his first command, to an anti-aircraft missile battery on, IIRC, Staten Island in 1965. Idling looking out the window of his office his first night on duty he saw the Manhattan skyline go dark. A few seconds later the phone rang on his desk. It was a full four-star general calling from the Pentagon.

      “Brief me!” the general barked down the wire.
      Liddy had not a clue what to tell him. Finally he stammered out, (no quotes because from memory) Uh, well, Sir, all I can say for sure is at least we still have telephone communication, Sir.

  8. President Donald J. Trump planned to lead a march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 but wanted it to look like a spontaneous decision …

    This puts the lie to the claims made by Trump apologists that the “real scandal” of Jan. 6th was the failure to have beefed up security at the Capitol (since Team Trump had kept the plans to march on the Capitol under wraps and had pulled no permit for a demonstration down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capitol). It also puts the lie to Trump’s claim, first made months after the Capitol attack, that he (Trump) had warned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others to have the National Guard on standby that day.

    It also raises the question of just how Trump expected his revved up crowed to pressure VP Mike Pence to “stop the steal” on Jan. 6th. If you’ve ever been to the Capitol, you know that the soundproofing and acoustics are such that members of congress in their chambers couldn’t possibly hear peaceful protesters out on the streets surrounding the Capitol, no matter how loud their chanting may have gotten. Hell, if you watched the Jan. 6th attack in real time on tv, you know that members in the House and Senate chambers couldn’t hear the rioters even as they broke windows to gain access to the Capitol building and began rampaging through the Rotunda and Statuary Hall, but had to be notified by security in their chambers of the break-in and warned to stop the electoral-college count and begin sheltering in place until they could be evacuated.

  9. I was going to say I don’t have fries with my burger, but just now for our company group order I just contradicted myself and got curly fries with my eggplant parm. In my defense, they are curly fries (yum!) and I split the meal for two days and toss out the half portion of fries (fries don’t keep well).

    Back in the days when I ate meat and had a Five Guys burger, I skipped the fries. Now I just get the delicious Five Guys fries and skip the burger. 😉

  10. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio responded to the first lady’s comment by changing his Twitter profile picture to an image of a taco.

    After his failed run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, Marco Rubio said he hated being a US senator and planned to retire. Then, at the last minute, he ran for reelection (because he wanted to spend less time with his family, I guess?)

    Presumably he did so to give himself platform to make another presidential run, but according to the latest Republican preference polls, he doesn’t even register a mention, polling at something less than Mike Pompeo’s 2%.

    Rubio has no interest in legislating; his only interest now is in trolling, and he’s terrible at that. I saw his taco profile picture and it looks like the world’s worst commercial taco — something even Taco Bell would be ashamed to serve.

    Rubio is up for reelection again this November, and I hope the leading contender for the Democratic nomination, Orlando congresswoman Val Demings, kicks Little Marco’s ass. Let him finally fulfill his wish to be rid of the US senate.

  11. While Trump’s call-that-didn’t-go-through might not be a crime, it should be investigated and might it not be justification to obtain call records to find out who else he’s been calling? A judge would presumably only allow that based on a list of witnesses though and perhaps they are already monitoring witness calls.

  12. The First Lady’s mispronunciation of “bodegas” was way worse than her “breakfast taco” line. Still, has she learned nothing about our cultural situation? Basically, you never use elements from another culture in your analogies. This was even true before the current Wokeness. It was always a bad idea. No reason anyone should be offended by the remark, of course. It simply reflects on her skills as a speaker.

  13. The LEGO Drosophila warms my heart. Thank you for sharing, Dr. Coyne!

    Now, for extra credit, they should make a version with green glow-in-the-dark blocks, to represent a transgenic GFP+ fly.

  14. I know there’s lots of stuff going on, but I am fixated on and mesmerized by the new space images. Holy crap! is all I can say.

  15. 2016 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron resigns, and is succeeded by Theresa May. That had me going for a moment, until I realised that he only announced his resignation on 24 June, the day after his disastrous Brexit referendum backfired. He did indeed officially resign (well, submit his resignation to Queen Liz *sigh* – what a farce…) on this day in 2016.

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