Wednesday: Hili dialogue

November 9, 2022 • 6:30 am

FLASH NEWS!  The Democrats didn’t do as poorly as expected; I’ll put up an early post on this half an hour after this one goes up.  Save your comments on politics until then.  GOOD NEWS!

Welcome to a Hump Day (“День горба“, as they say in Ukraine. November 9, 2022: National Greek Yogurt, a day of cultural appropriation. It’s also National Scrapple Day (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), Carl Sagan Day (he was born on this day in 1934), Go To an Art Museum Today Day, and World Freedom Day.

Greek yogurt is the best yogurt, and here’s a recipe, but start with a good culture of yogurt (Cabot’s full-fat yogurt in America is good). When I lived in Sitia, a (then) tiny village on the northeastern end of Crete, there was a wee shop with one table that sold two things: sheep’s milk, and sheep’s milk yogurt, along with rusks. I’d go there every day for the month I lived in town, alternating between these treats for breakfast. Alas, Sitia is now, like all towns on the north shore of Crete, a tourist enclave, and I doubt that shop is still there.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 9 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz, of course, is all about the elections. I usually write this the evening before publication but I’ll give some highlights when I fill in the blanks this morning. The news is better than expected—for us Democrats.

*But here’s Nate Silver’s prediction from yesterday evening, followed by his new prognostications in an article from Five Thirty Eight called, “Final election update: The Forecast is more or less back where it started.” First, the Congress:

And the individual Senate races: reddish is Republican, bluish is Democratic. Not much change since June, but Lordy, both Pennsylvania (Dr. Oz) and Georgia (Herschel Walker) are predicted (narrowly) to go for the kooks, quacks, and loons. [n.b., Walker and Oz apparently both lost).

Nate Rakich from the site:

Our forecast also predicts that, on average, Republicans will win 230 seats in the next House, and Democrats will win 205. That would be a 17-seat gain for Republicans, which would be below average for a midterm election. However, those seat projections come with very wide confidence intervals, which means a wide range of scenarios is possible. For example, our forecast says there’s an 80 percent chance that Republicans will gain between one and 33 House seats.

From Geoffrey Skelley:

Just about no part of the 2022 midterms is more uncertain than the race for control of the U.S. Senate. The chamber is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans,1 but Democrats hold a precarious majority via the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. As a result, a one-seat gain by Republicans would be enough to give them control, whereas Democrats need to avoid any net losses to retain their advantage.

But the fate of the Senate looks to be on a knife’s edge. Republicans have a 59-in-100 chance of taking control of the chamber, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Deluxe forecast, which is now frozen. That isn’t much better than the probability of calling a coin-flip correctly, although the GOP may have the slightest of edges. Considering the midterm environment and the seats that are up this cycle, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Republicans have a slightly better chance than Democrats of capturing the Senate. But the GOP’s fortunes have also improved markedly in the final weeks, as Democrats had about a 7-in-10 shot of controlling the Senate in late September.

*I’m neither surprised nor disappointed, but somewhat satisfied that Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes, according to the Wall Street Journal, has lost her bid for a new trial. She’s tried getting a new one three separate times, but it’s all come to naught.

A federal judge denied Elizabeth Holmes’s bid for a new trial, the latest setback for the Theranos Inc. founder who was convicted of fraud in January.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who oversaw Ms. Holmes’s trial which began last year, said in a ruling late Monday that the arguments in her three motions for a new trial didn’t introduce material new evidence or establish government misconduct, adding that a new trial was unlikely to result in an acquittal.

Ms. Holmes is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 18. Earlier Monday, a court probation officer submitted a presentence report, an investigation into Ms. Holmes’s legal and personal background.

The judge previously denied her request for an acquittal. He also denied requests for an acquittal and new trial from Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Ms. Holmes’s former boyfriend and deputy at Theranos, who was found guilty on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in a separate trial that concluded in July.

Holmes could get eighty years in the slammer, but won’t come close to that. However, since she’s shown no remorse, I hope she gets more than a slap on the wrist. Just because she’s young and attractive is no reason to go lighter on her, and, as for her baby, well, as I’ve said (and I’m not alone here), I wouldn’t put it past her to have gotten pregnant as a “get out of jail” card.

Ms. Holmes was convicted in January on four counts of criminal fraud for deceiving investors while running a yearslong scheme at Theranos, a blood-testing startup, where she was chief executive. She faces up to 20 years in prison, plus fines, for each guilty count. Lawyers following the case have said she almost certainly won’t receive the maximum penalty, based on outcomes of other white-collar prosecutions. Ms. Holmes, who is visibly pregnant, has remained out of jail after posting bail.

*Via reader Daniel, a bit more about Salman Rushdie’s condition after the odious attack on him, almost certainly stemming from the Satanic Verses fatwa. This comes from Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, interviewed by the Spanish paper El Pais:

Question: How is Salman Rushdie doing?

Answer. [His wounds] were profound, but he’s [also] lost the sight of one eye… He had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso. So, it was a brutal attack.

Q. Is he still in the hospital?

A. I can’t give any information about his whereabouts. He’s going to live…That’s the more important thing.

Q. Do you think that the attack on Rushdie so many years after Iran issued the fatwa against him means that we’re living at a particularly dangerous time for freedom of expression in the world?

A. I think the attack was probably something that Salman and I have discussed in the past, which was that the principal danger that he faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed is from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him]. So, you can’t protect against that because it’s totally unexpected and illogical. It was like John Lennon’s murder.

His eye, his hand, and 15 wounds in his chest. Thank Ceiling Cat he’s alive! I expect the next thing he writes (and he will write) will be about the attack.

*Lotteries have been called a “tax on the stupid,” since one’s expected return is always less than one’s investment, and I’ve never played. But somebody did, and just won $2.04 billion in Powerball, nabbing the world’s largest lottery prize ever:

The ticket was sold at a Joe’s Service Center, the California Lottery said on Twitter. Results posted to similarly said there was one winner who matched all six numbers in California – the odds of which were 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

The winning numbers, which were announced Tuesday morning after Monday night’s drawing was delayed, were 10-33-41-47-56 and the Powerball was 10, according to the association.

And while you likely weren’t the jackpot winner, lotteries are urging players to check their tickets on the chance you won one of the other – albeit smaller – prizes: Per the Multi-State Lottery Association, more than 11.2 million tickets won cash prizes totaling $98.1 million, including 22 tickets that won $1 million prizes for matching the five white numbers but not the Powerball.

The jackpot was a record $1.9 billion but grew to $2.04 billion by the time of the drawing, the association said in a statement, “making it the world’s largest lottery prize” – just as its organizers intended when they changed the odds in 2015.

(from the AP):

The $2.04 billion jackpot was by far the largest lottery prize ever won, topping the previous record $1.586 billion prize won by three Powerball ticketholders in 2016. Only four previous jackpots have topped $1 billion, but none of those are close to the current prize, which started at $20 million back on Aug. 6 and has grown over three winless months. No one has won the jackpot since Aug. 3.

Joe Chahayad, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, also gets a million bucks for selling the winning ticket.

*And let’s not forget there’s a war—a just war—still going on between Ukraine and Russia. The latest report, this from the NYT, is that although Ukraine is getting a passel of sophisticated new weapons systems from NATO and especially the U.S., the Russians are fighting back by getting missiles from our erstwhile negotiating partner and killer of its citizens, Iran.

Even as Ukrainian officials celebrate the arrival of more advanced Western air-defense systems and claim growing success at shooting down Russian rockets and drones, they are warning that Moscow is on the hunt for new long-range weapons against which Kyiv’s forces have little defense — specifically, ballistic missiles from Iran.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said the Kremlin had plans to buy Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from Iran, which the Ukrainians say will almost certainly be used to continue to target civilian energy infrastructure that has already been battered by barrages of attacks in recent weeks.

“We have information that they achieved some agreement on delivery,” the spokesman, Yurii Ihnat, said at a news conference on Monday.

Iran has denied plans to sell ballistic missiles to Russia. But Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence directorate, has said delivery of Iranian missiles could happen by the end of November.

“It’s a serious threat because Iranian missiles, unlike Russian ones, are quite high-precision, very high-speed, and those features have been battle-proven,” he said in a recent interview with the War Zone, an online publication focused on military matters.

Ukrainian officials have declined to disclose details about the number of missiles Russia may be seeking to acquire. But Mr. Ihnat said Ukraine was in discussions with its Western allies over how to counter the threat.

“It is theoretically possible to shoot them down, but it is actually very difficult to do this with the capabilities we have at our disposal today,” he noted.

I would be more than happy were the citizens of Iran to overthrow its odious, patriarchical, theocratic, and inhuman regime. Now would be an especially good time, but of course that would go along with a bloodbath.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t quite comply with Paulina’s request:

Paulina: Say “cheese”.
Hili: Mouse.

(Photo: Paulina)

Paulina: Powiedz ser.Hili: Mysz.

(Zdjęcie: Paulina)


From Divy:

From David:

From Rick:

God is really ticked off at Elon Musk, whose latest gambit is to ensure that parody accounts are clearly labeled as parodies (I’m not sure what I think about that):

From Masih; the demonstrations continue in Iran, the females with uncovered hair.

From Luana: the crazy theories of the Nation of Islam (see here and here):

From Rich, a cat and a concert piano. He says, “I’d love to know the story there.” Me too!

From Malcolm: a comparison of tsunami sizes:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy gassed at eight.  The statement, “SS doctors did not select anyone from this transport to be registered” means that every person on the arriving train was immediately murdered in the gas chamber.

Tweets from Matthew. First, a great parody of “Titanic” starring Owlkitty. “Draw me like you draw one of your French cats.”

No damage done to the coat, I presume:

These are the kind of waves we experienced on two crossings of the Drake Passage from Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula. One of them toppled tables, chairs, and food in the dining rooms.  We had waves of about 15

28 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Joe Chahayad, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, also gets a million bucks for selling the winning ticket.
    That’s good – I don’t think the UK’s national lottery rewards the seller of the lucky ticket in this way.

    Fingers crossed for the mid-term results…

    1. I don’t think the UK’s national lottery rewards the seller of the lucky ticket in this way.

      I don’t think they get rewarded in this way either. I think they get a small cut (several percent) of the turnover of the ticket machine, completely regardless of the results statistics for that machine and location. Which for 99.9% of the ticket machine hosts is probably a considerably better deal.
      There’s a substantial “passing trade” effect too, for the machine-hosting shops. There are two corner shops near me that have a pre-pay-electric machine – one being run by a “sub-continental” family (I deduce Muslim not Hindu ; regardless of whether they’re Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi) who don’t sell either alcohol or lottery tickets (my grounds for deducing “Muslim”), and a Polish-run shop which sells both alcohol and lottery tickets. The Polish shop is the busier, by a substantial margin.

  2. Birthday of Ivan Toergenjew (1818) and of Spiro Agnew (“Spiro Who?”; 1918). Death of Neville Chamberlain (1940), Chaim Weizmann (1952) and Dylan Thomas (1953)

  3. When I was still a Christian, I prayed every week to win the lottery. “Dear God”, I’d pray. “Please grant me a win on the lottery so I can stop living in poverty.” However, I never won the lottery. My faith was being tested but then, one day, God answered me saying “can you at least meet me half way? Buy a ticket.”

    Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

    1. My sister, who is an addiction counselor, told me that joke years ago. She also told me this one: Q: How many addiction counselors does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.

  4. That comparison of tsunami sizes is pretty scary. Even a three foot way can be powerful if you are wading in the ocean.

    1. The comparison of tsunami sizes is pretty misleading. The figure given for the height of the Lituya Bay tsunami is not the height of the wave (as the CGI video shows) but the height of the trimline, i.e. how high up the slope the forest was destroyed. 525 meters is way up the slope, but that slope is just one mile across an inlet from where the wave originated; there was not a wave which built up to a crest height of 525 meters anywhere. (Also, that wave was in 1958, not 1946 as the video says. See this for details.)

      I don’t know if any of the other wave heights are similarly misleading.


      1. The “1980 Mt St Helens” tsunami referenced at about 200m (I was gasting my flabber and didn’t keep notes) is probably a reference to the impact of the lateral blast on … I forget the name of the lake, but a lake of several miles by a mile-ish, on the NE flank of the mountain. I’m not sure of the evidence base for that height either. (Your description of the trimline measure for Lituya Bay is accurate, TTBOMK). It’s not something that gets a big write up in the geology reports, compared to the lateral blast itself.

  5. Lotteries have been called a “tax on the stupid,” since one’s expected return is always less than one’s investment

    The expected return on Powerball balances once the jackpot hits $500M, ignoring taxes. At $1B, it’s an investment – if you can organize a team of people to spend $585M to buy all 292M permutations; the number includes millions of lesser prizes. Of course, it would take roughly 200 people buying tickets for 40 hours straight… I’m not sure how to account for the risk of multiple winners, though.

    1. The expected return is whatever the lump sum amounts to. People often don’t get what they expect though.

      1. > The expected return is whatever the lump sum amounts to.

        If you spend $584M to buy all 292M permutations, not only will you have won the lump sum (which should increase by 30-50% of the $584M you put in – I think, but I can’t find precise numbers) [divided by the total number of winning tickets], you are also guaranteed to win $93.9M in lesser prizes, not divided by the total number of winning tickets. Plus, in my understanding, losing tickets are tax-deductable from winning tickets.

        Anyway, a college friend once gave me a great rule of thumb: compare the hourly price of your selected entertainment with the price of a cinema trip ($15-20 for 90 minutes these days).

        I spent less than the price of a cinema visit on Powerball tickets. Limit your magical thinking to the period you would suspend disbelief for a film. For less than the cost of 90 minutes of (what passes for) entertainment, I spent a dozen hours thinking happy thoughts and finding my dream house in Quebec. That is not a stupid decision; that is me making a rational decision about how I am happiest spending my disposable income. People spending money they *need*, on the other hand, are a separate issue.

  6. The 11-inch highspeed wind tunnel designed and built in 1928 at NACA’s Langley Memorial Laboratory (now NASA Langley Research Center) was the prototype for hypersonic ground-based aerodynamic testing. In those days, the large tunnels at Langley that moved large volumes of air had to run tests overnight because of the limited amount of electrical power available in Hampton, VA. The 11-inch used the waste air from a large tank of compressed air that served another tunnel and would otherwise just be wasted into the atmosphere. A very clever design that was the basis for designing measurement tools and understanding supersonic behavior of airflow on propellers and other airfoils as well as hypersonic flight up to Mach 6.

  7. Anyone can wish the “citizens of Iran to overthrow its odious, patriarchical, theocratic, and inhuman regime”, but a secular Iran might well pursue nuclear capabiity as well. And regional dominance, given geography and history as a great nation.

    1. I would guess differently from you, and since neither of us knows, my guess is as good as yours. A secular Iran might NOT pursue nuclear capability. In fact, I think I can make a better argument than you on this point: it’s not in the interest of a modern secular regime to spend tons of money on nuclear weapons, particularly when that blocks them from getting aid from the West.

    2. a secular Iran might well pursue nuclear capabiity as well

      Almost certainly they would. The “Ukraine Doctrine” (“don’t give up control of any nukes you get, at peril of your death, and or territorial destruction”) would amply confirm them, and their differently-God-fearing North Korean colleagues in continuing their nuclear policies.

  8. And let’s not forget there’s a war—a just war—still going on between Ukraine and Russia.

    I think defensive wars are by their nature jus ad bellum. And, pace Putin’s bogus allegations to the contrary, the Ukrainians have conducted their side of the war jus in bello, per the criteria of “Just War Theory.”

  9. Here’s a fun peek at the Drake Shake …

    Not so much fun, I bet, back in the days of wooden ships and iron men.

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