Monday: Hili dialogue

November 21, 2022 • 6:30 am

First, watch Artemis-1 go around the Moon!  Video here and more details below. Do it NOW!

If you go back to about 7:10 a.m. Eastern time, you can see the Earth disappear as Orion goes around the back side of the Moon. Here’s a screenshot:

Good morning on Monday, November 21, 2022: it’s Thanksgiving this Thursday, so most Americans will get a four-day weekend. In preparation for Thursday’s feast, it’s National Cranberry Day. Did you know that cranberries are evergreen shrubs, native to the Northern Hemisphere, and are cultivated in bogs? Here’s a plant in situ and a bunch of berries waiting for harvest:

It’s also Pumpkin Pie Day (I have a big four-pounder from Costco: it’s only $5.99 and it’s good), National Stuffing Day, National Gingerbread Day, World Television Day (United Nations observance), and Alascattalo Day:

Alascattalo Day honors Alaskan humor and is named for the alascattalo, a fictitious animal that is a cross between a moose and a walrus, that is said to have been bred by miners during the Alaskan Gold Rush around the turn of the twentieth century.:

The Google Doodle today (click on screenshot) is an animation that celebrates the life and work of Marie Tharp (1920-2006), whose discovery of the MId-Atlantic Rift provided strong evidence for continental drift.  Click the arrow at bottom right of each successive screen to advance the narrative:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 21 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I don’t know if Twitter is circling the drain, but Elon Musk has reinstated a previously banned account. You know who!:

Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump‘s account on Twitter Inc. after polling users on the platform, broadening the former president’s potential reach days after he declared another run for the White House.

The move also underscored how Mr. Musk has made himself the principal decider on all things Twitter after buying the platform for $44 billion late last month. Mr. Musk had previously said he would establish a content council to weigh in on account reinstatements.

The Twitter poll that Mr. Musk launched Friday recorded 51.8% of votes in favor of reinstating Mr. Trump’s account and 48.2% against.

“The people have spoken,” Mr. Musk tweeted Saturday evening. “Trump will be reinstated.”

Minutes later, Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was restored, though he hadn’t tweeted as of midday Sunday. His most recent tweet was dated Jan. 8, 2021.

As of this morning, the Donald still hadn’t tweeted; check his account to see if he comes back or, in another petulant fit, stays off Twitter permanently.  He has 86.3 million followers but is following only 49 people, including Mitch McConnell, Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Roma Downey (?), Laura Ingraham, Mike Pence, Tucker Carlson, Geraldo Rivera, Greta Van Susteren, and most of his family

*Yesterday afternoon, at least five people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Spring, Colorado. The gunman, who used a long rifle, was subdued by the patrons:

  • The police received an initial call about a shooting at the nightclub at 11:56 p.m., said Lt. Pamela Castro, the Colorado Springs Police Department spokeswoman. Within six minutes, officers had entered the nightclub, Club Q, and had taken a suspect into custody, she said, adding that the suspect was also injured and being treated at a hospital.

  • The city’s police chief, Adrian Vasquez, said in a news conference that the gunman had used a long rifle. Two guns were recovered at the club, the chief said. He identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, and said that officials were investigating a motive.

  • The injured were taken to several hospitals, Lieutenant Castro said, adding that some also drove themselves to seek treatment, making the exact number of injured uncertain. Not all of the injuries were from gunshot wounds, officials said.

  • The F.B.I. said that it was involved in the investigation, and several Colorado lawmakers condemned the shooting. In a statement, Gov. Jared Polis praised the “brave individuals” at the nightclub who had “blocked the gunman.”

The suspect hasn’t yet spoken to police, and no motive is yet known.

One more bit of information:

The man identified by authorities as the suspect in the nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs Saturday night appears to have been arrested last year, accused of engaging in a lengthy standoff with the police after threatening to hurt his mother with a homemade bomb.

I looked up Colorado Congresswoman Lauren “Glock Momma” Boebert’s Twitter account:

Prayers don’t help but more restrictions on guns might have.

*The incident above adds to the total of mass shootings this year, which is up to 601. That means we’ve nearly tied the record for years up to November 19, which was 633 last year.

Mass shootings — where four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed — have averaged more than one per day so far this year. Not a single week in 2022 has passed without at least four mass shootings.

Mass shootings have been on the rise in recent years. In 2021, almost 700 such incidents occurred, a jump from the 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019. Before that, incidents had not topped 400 annually since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking in 2014.

2022 is close behind the high reached last year when comparing the same time period.

The Washington Post gives a graph of mass shootings during the last nine years, which shows a palpable increase over time, more than doubling. 601 means an average of nearly 1.9 shootings per day so far this year.

*The NYT describes “The Royal Game of Ur“, the oldest board game in existence (see also Wikipedia, the source of the photos below). It’s way old!

The original name of this ancient game has been lost to time, but it was dubbed the Royal Game of Ur after a British archaeologist named Sir Leonard Woolley uncovered five worn playing boards in 1928 at the Royal Cemetery of the Sumerian city of Ur. Analysts estimated that the highly decorated boards, made of wood, inlaid shell and lapis lazuli, were made between 2,600-2,400 B.C., making the Royal Game of Ur the oldest complete tabletop game ever discovered.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the game (which is also called the Game of 20 Squares) was immensely popular with people of all classes. The boards were carried all over the Middle East — and sometimes scratched into clay or rock, if no board was available — by soldiers, missionaries, explorers and traders, who introduced it to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Cyprus and Crete. Variations of the game have been found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb, and etched into pillars in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon II.


(From WIkipedia): One of the five gameboards found by Sir Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, now held in the British Museum. Wooden game-board; the face is of 20 variously inlaid square shell plaques; edges made of small plaques and strips, some sculptured with an eye and some possibly with rosettes; on the back are three lines of shell triangular ornamental inlays.

The rules of the game were discovered on a clay table two millennia later:

Enter Irving Finkel, a curator and Assyriologist at the British Museum. In the 1980s, Dr. Finkel translated a cuneiform script on a crumbling clay tablet that had been brought to the museum by an antiquities dealer. The document sounded remarkably like the rules of an ancient game.

Written in 177-176 B.C. by a scribe named Itti-Marduk-balatu, the tablet was discovered around 1880 in the ruins of Babylon, according to an academic paper written by Dr. Finkel.

. . . Scholars tried to decipher the cuneiform over the years, but it was Dr. Finkel who was able to identify the text on the tablet as instructions on how to play the Royal Game of Ur after comparing it to the other game boards the museum had stored in its archives.

Da Roolz!:

(From Wikipedia) The rules tablet dated 177 BC (British Museum)

The Babylonian tablet revealed that the game is a race between two players to get their markers around and off the board.

Pyramid-shaped dice are used to indicate the number of squares a player can move, but strategy is involved as well: If a player lands on a square occupied by their opponent, they can knock that marker off, and the opponent must start over again with that piece. That can set a player back by quite a bit, and it is almost impossible to predict who will win, even near the end of the game.

But there was another aspect of the game that attracted people: It was said to tell a player’s fortune. According to the cuneiform tablet, some of the marked squares on the board were assigned signs of the zodiac and, with them, predictions that a player would win a beer, make a friend, eat well, or perhaps become powerful and wealthy.

The NYT article includes a paper copy of the game, so you can play it yourself, though astrological predictions are up to you.

*Farewell, Nancy Pelosi, who will stay in the House but has surrendered her leadership roles. I think Pelosi did a great job, and so does Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo, who extols the Speaker in an editorial called, “Distinguished pol of the week: The most powerful woman in American politics ever.” Rubin links to the video below, which I remember well (watch the first 30 seconds if you’re pressed for time). The graceful insouciance with which Pelosi rips up Trump’s speech is fantastic.

*Finally, an Artemis update from Jim Batterson:

(From NASA public schedules and and SpaceNews news releases)

It is almost there, folks!  As of yesterday morning, the NASA Artemis-1 Orion spacecraft is just one day out from the Moon:.  230,000 miles from Earth and 55,000 miles from the moon.  This morning it should pass around the back of the moon (as seen from Earth) starting at 0725 EST, passing approximately 80 miles above the lunar surface at 0757 EST and re-emerging into view at 0759 EST.  It will fire its main engine at 0744 EST, which I think is to start to elongate its lunar orbit.  Be sure to tune in about 8:00 AM EST.

Here is an excellent SpaceNews summary of the past week’s activity as well as what is scheduled later this week.

This morning’s event will be carried live on NASA LIVE TV starting at 0715 EST; the YouTube site will probably be this one.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is impatient:

Hili: I’m imagining spring.
A: Cool it, it’s not winter yet.
Hili: Wyobrażam sobie wiosnę.
Ja: Spokojnie, jeszcze nie ma prawdziwej zimy.

. . . and a photo of Baby Kulka by Andrzej:



From Merilee; I think you can translate the French:

From Stash Krod:

From Now That’s Wild:

God has left Twitter! OMG!

The latest news from Iran via Masih:

From Luana, who says, “This is hilarious! The remaining people know how to code”:

From Erik. The world is a duck!


From Barry: An obituary for Seth MacFarlane‘s cat, who just died:

Cat socks from Malcolm. I actually bought some, but as a present for Elzbieta when I visit Poland right after Christmas:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a heartbreaking photo. Be sure to look at the enlarged version:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a lovely murmuration:


I’m not sure what kind of sport this is, but it appears to be a hybrid between curling, triple jumping, and karate. Sound up.

20 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I saw that before-after-Musk (BM, AM?) pic come through. What, precisely, is the Tw3373r’s point? People apparently are enamored with its powerful message – which is….?

    Argument-by-pic. It’s even easier than writing headlines. Remember headlines? Now you practically don’t even need language.

    1. Trying a Mencken-inspired question :

      What is the glowing avatar trying to say?

      Needs work. Looking for something to counter “sweating” – like “effortless”… but if a thing is effortless… stuck on it…

  2. Well that was damn exciting i say! Even for a cynical old codger veteran of the space program since 1958. Starting around 0715 EST I tuned into NASA live coverage of Orion and was met by a live view of a big lunar surface and a smallblue disk of Earth to the lower left and, over several minutes, the apparent black distance between the two became less and less until the Earth disappeared behind the lunar surface image coincident with a loss of picture. Then i held my breath for about thirty minutes as the nasa commentator read out what was scheduled to be happening including a very serious burn of orion’s big rocket engine…we would not know if any of this happened and if so, successfuly, until orion reappeared from behind the moon. She reminded us that the engine was recycled from space shuttle flights of 40-50 years ago. Well it seems to have worked. Orion reappeared on time with a view of the little Earth and should now be heading outbound from its lunar perigee waiting one more boost to its elongated lunar orbit. Whew! I highly recommend accessing the nasa live video and dialing in he view and commentary around 0715 EST and watching the next 15-30 minutes or so.

    1. “… and dialing in he view and commentary around 0715 EST and watching the next 15-30 minutes or so.

      AH – that helps!

      Otherwise, looked like C-SPAN – I was confused!… I was expecting a live feed like with the ISS – I’ve seen that just going and going…. might make a cool computer background desktop pic….

      Oh, it’s the ISS now – beautiful! (8:57 EST)


      Maybe this cues to the exact time :

      … about at -3:48 …

      … -1:56 the Earth appears… otherwise, the telemetry-based animation can be seen (kinda obvious). If you scroll, you can see how much the craft is wobbling – the moon moves.

      So so so _something_!….

  3. “For the purposes of tracking crime data, the FBI defines a “mass shooting” as any incident in which at least four people are murdered with a gun.” Be wary of people (especially the NMVVRC) trying to redefine terms to support their position.

    1. Surely the only thing that matters as far as the graph shown is concerned is whether the definition used to create it has been consistent for the whole period under consideration? Unless you know this is not the case then would you not agree that the trend is disturbing irrespective of whether or not a different definition to the FBI one was used? It also seems that the data quoted come from Gun Violence Archive not from NMVVRC.

    2. For us foreigners, can you clarify or belabour your point, DrB? Are you implying that there are some types of mass shootings that we worry about, like the one in Colorado, and others that we don’t, like gangland shootings where the accuracy is better than average? And that the latter account consistently year over year for most of the total?

      Such differential concern need not focus on the race of the shooter or the shot. Rather, it’s the random nature and the random location of the scary shootings: you can’t avoid becoming a victim merely by avoiding bad neighbourhoods and bad career choices. 2A enthusiasts would say that avoiding gun-free zones might be wise.

      I find it hard to believe that 1.9 Colorado- or Uvalde- style shootings occur every day in America, and that’s perhaps your point. Why do the national media report so few, then?

      A statistic mentioned here a while ago said that only 1.6% of gun deaths occur from the long-barreled firearms typically used in this type of event. That seems to put the numbers in better perspective.

  4. Why does Trump staying off Twitter have to be “petulant”? He’s said repeatedly that he wouldn’t go back, and why should he? Musk has yet to prove that he isn’t just as arbitrary in his bannings as the prior regime or immune from pressure when it comes to banning users, and Trump has an online outlet now.

    1. Trump is a malignant narcissist who craves attention. Twitter provides him with lots of additional fawning sycophants who will stroke his insecure ego. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t go back.

  5. The ancient game of ur- very nice. This adds a layer of comfort to my old Sunday school books about the Patriarchs with Abraham wandering from Ur to Judea. In addition to preparing to sacrifice their children, apparently they carried their ur boards and game pieces with them and played board games after dinner in the deserts around Mesopotamia. I love what these archaeologists can so painstakingly discover.

  6. Regarding Iran: their football team played England today in the World Cup, in that paragon of democracy and human rights, Qatar. They all refused to sing their national anthem, as a gesture of support for the protesters. Several of them, mostly those who play outside Iran, have gone public with their opposition to the regime’s actions, and have been threatened (or worse, their families have been threatened) with retaliation. Good on them.

    PS: England won 6-2

    PPS: Wales play the US later this evening. Pob lwc Cymru!

  7. The alascattalo moose-walrus hybrid reminds me of the jackalope legend in the American Southwest. I wonder why these combination animals are a “thing”?

  8. The Twitter poll that Mr. Musk launched Friday recorded 51.8% of votes in favor of reinstating Mr. Trump’s account and 48.2% against.

    First time Donald Trump has won a national popular vote open to the general public.

Leave a Reply