Saturday: Hili dialogue

December 3, 2022 • 6:45 am

Greetings on a CatSaturday, December 3, 2022: It’s National Peppermint Latte Day. Shoot me now! This vile “libation” instantiates Coyne’s Fifth Law: “All snacks ultimately evolve toward candy” (granola bars, fizzy water, and now lattes.)

No! Just no!

It’s also National Apple Pie Day, but then things go downhill, for it’s also National Green Bean Casserole Day and National Rhubarb Vodka Day (!!!) To top it off, it’s also National Earmuff Day, Let’s Hug Day, and International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The Google Doodle today doesn’t link to anything; it’s just holiday themed:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 3 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Well, Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy after facing a bunch of civil suits for defamation in conjunction with the Sandy Hook shooting (he claimed it was a government plot to take away people’s guns). His fines are up to at least $1.5 billion.

The filing comes atop the bankruptcy filing by Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, in late July. The new filing could further delay payment of the damages to the families, who would need to seek payment through the bankruptcy courts alongside other creditors. But it could also force a greater degree of scrutiny on the finances of Mr. Jones’s empire.

For more than four years, Mr. Jones has stonewalled the courts on providing business records, financial information and other records in the Sandy Hook cases. In a separate lawsuit, the victims’ families have accused Mr. Jones of improperly siphoning assets from his business and channeling them to himself and his family. He will now ostensibly be required to reveal more about those assets.

“The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did,” said Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the families in the damages case in Connecticut. “The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.” In that case, in October, Mr. Jones was ordered to pay $1.4 billion. Two other cases were litigated in Texas.

*Over at Bari Weiss’s site, Nellie Bowles has her usual snarky but funny take on the news; this week’s is “TGIF: Protest Edition.”  A few excerpts.

→ Trump, Milo, Kanye, Fuentes: A rough collection of names for a rough item. Last week, our former President beclowned himself by hosting Kanye West and the white supremacist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago for dinner. He claimed not to know who Fuentes was.

Add to this sick brew one Milo Yiannopoulous. Once a firebrand gay conservative, Milo has rebranded as a Christian nationalist selling Christian paraphernalia. Now he’s running Kanye West’s 2024 presidential campaign and gleefully joining in with the antisemitism, claiming Trump will lose because he has been “continuing to suck the boots of Jewish powers that be who hate Jesus Christ, hate our country, and see us as disposable cattle according to their ‘holy’ book.” It’s subtle, sure, but if you read it closely you pick up on the antisemitism.

On Thursday, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes went on Infowars. I think it’s worthwhile to see the rhetoric for yourself. You know things have gone off the rails when Alex Jones is the most sane person on a panel.

Be sure you listen to this one:

→ Stop trying to make me eat insects: Every single week there is a story from the mainstream press trying to convince me that I need to eat insects. This is a Davos-set obsession. The World Economic Forum has published literally hundreds of pieces like “5 Reasons Why Eating Insects Could Reduce Climate Change.” Steak, chicken, fish are all special treats that are bad for the environment, you see. And like private jets, these should be reserved only for Davos attendees, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Taylor Swift. For the good of the world, you and I should be eased into a bug-based diet. Last weekend’s installment comes from the Washington Post’s health section: “Salted ants. Ground crickets. Why you should try edible insects.” No.

It’s clear that Nellie isn’t big on soccer:

→ World Cup news. America is set to play the Netherlands Saturday. Thank you for coming to our Sports Section.

*I don’t often post on op-eds at the WSJ, and they’re predictably right wing. This one, however, says something that’s obvious but needs repeated emphasis: Roland Fryer‘s column “Disparity doesn’t necessarily imply racism.” Fryer is a black Professor of Economics at Harvard.  (h/t Luana)

Determined to show that income gaps were due to racism, Fryer eventually realized, using statistical analyses that they were instead due largely to differences in skills:

. . . Taken together, an honest review of the evidence suggests that current racial inequities are more a result of differences in skill than differences in treatment of those with the same skill.

I write this with some degree of trepidation, in part because I still have my grandmother in my ear [JAC: she really was the victim of personal and vitriolic racism] and in part because I am keenly aware of the harm in underestimating bias. But there is also a cost to overemphasizing its impact. A black kid who believes he will face daunting societal obstacles is likely to underinvest in trying to climb society’s rungs. Every black student in the country needs to know that his return on investment in education is, if anything, higher than for white students.

The solution is neither to stop fighting biased behavior nor to curb honest inquiry about race in America. We shouldn’t stop searching for and penalizing discriminatory employers, or trying to reduce racial differences in police brutality, or estimating whether the value of a home appraisal depends on the race of the homeowner, or reducing bias in bail decisions by using artificial intelligence. I could go on, like the conversations stuck to those slipcovers. The solution isn’t to look away from discrimination. It does exist. But we also can’t point at every gap in outcomes and instantly conclude it’s racism. Prejudice must be measured rigorously. Statistically. Disparity doesn’t necessarily imply racism. It may feel omnipresent, but it isn’t all-powerful. Skills matter most.

This should be obvious as an alternative (and now somewhat supported) explanation of “inequity,” defined as a disproportional representation of groups. But we all see inequities and pretend that they prove—prove—the existence of “systemic and structural racism”. Woe to they who say otherwise, for they’ll be tarred as “racists.” At least Fryer can’t be accused of that!

*Here are yesterday’s World Cup results and some footie news:

Uruguay was knocked out of the World Cup on Friday despite its win over Ghana, but players on the field turned their frustrations towards the officiating crew, grabbing at them as they angrily followed them into the tunnel.

Uruguay defeated Ghana 2-0 in the final Group H match before the Round of 16, but a win by South Korea over Portugal bumped them down to third place, eliminating them from the tournament.

As soon as the final whistle was blown, players from Uruguay’s bench swarmed the referees as they attempted to exit the pitch.

The highlights: Uruguay scores at 1:20 and 2:05, and you can see a bit of referee-swarming at the end. I’ve added a tweet below showing that:

South Korea moved on to the knockout stage for the first time since 2010, while Portugal moved on with its first group win since 2006.

From the NYT:

As Brazil’s reserves clashed with Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland played a game that included a paroxysm of goals and then a ruthless barren stretch taunted both teams. When it was over, Switzerland had won, 3-2, and advanced to the knockout stage, to a date Tuesday with the Group H winner Portugal. Serbia’s players crumpled to the turf in disappointment. Brazil faces South Korea on Monday.

Cameroon is the first African team ever to beat Brazil in a World Cup.

Here are the highlights of the Serbia/Switzerland game. The first goal for Switzerland (0:43) is excellent, following a short backward pass, and the second Serbian goal (1:54).

*You may have read that a man fell overboard from a Carnival Cruise ship last week and, after more than 12 hours, was actually rescued. How was that possible? The NYT recounts the incident and others like it, and discusses the protocol ships use when there’s a man or woman overboard.

The passenger, according to the Coast Guard, turned out to be James Grimes, 28, who had been traveling with his parents and siblings on the five-day cruise. His family had last seen him the night before, around 11 p.m.

But by 10:45 on Thanksgiving morning, when there was no sign of him, the family notified the crew, the Coast Guard said.

At 8:10 p.m., more than nine hours after his family reported him missing, a passing tanker spotted the man near the mouth of the Mississippi River and alerted the Coast Guard.

Rescuers found Mr. Grimes struggling in the water, waving frantically and trying to keep his head above the surface.

When the crew of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter lifted him out, he was in shock, had mild hypothermia and was extremely dehydrated, said Lt. Seth Gross, who managed the search and rescue operation for the Coast Guard. But he was alive and in stable condition.

Mr. Grimes, whose family described him as an exceptional swimmer, had treaded in 65- to 70-degree water for hours, withstanding rain, 20-knot winds and three- to five-foot waves in the Gulf of Mexico, where bull sharks and blacktip sharks are common, Coast Guard officials said.

It’s not clear how Grimes fell overboard (he clearly didn’t jump as a suicidal move). Was he inebriated? That seems to be a common way that people fall into the drink (pun intended)

. . . In 2019, 25 people fell overboard, and only nine of them were rescued, according to CLIA.

In February, a woman aboard the Carnival Valor jumped off the 10th deck of the ship while fleeing security officers who were trying to detain her after she had scuffled with them. Her body was never found.

In December 2016, a 22-year-old man fell off the 12th deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship after a night of heavy drinking. His parents sued the cruise line in federal court in Florida, but a jury decided in favor of Royal Caribbean.

Alcohol is a factor in at least 11 percent of falls from cruise ships, which often offer all-inclusive drink packages that encourage drinking onboard, said Ross Klein, a professor of social work at Memorial University of Newfoundland, who researches cruise safety.

The ending is all good except for this (my emphasis):

Lt. Gross said he called the man’s mother and stepfather to tell them he had been found.

When he told them their son was stable and being treated at a hospital in New Orleans, he heard them cheer and cry.

Ms. White [the passenger’s mom], who lives in Hampton, Va., and runs an anti-bullying organization, said she was flooded with relief when the ship announced that Mr. Grimes had been found alive.

That was nothing but God that he survived,” she said.

No, it wasn’t God, it was the man’s determination AND the help of many searchers. A nonexistent god had nothing to do with it.

*Reader Jim “Bat” Batterson favors us with an update on the Artemis-1 mission, now about to leave the Moon to return to Earth, splashing down on December 11:

Two days ago (Thursday Dec 1), at 4:54 PM EST, a 105-second thruster burn from its main engine kicked the Orion capsule and support module (which carries the main maneuvering engine that will be jettisoned just before it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere) out of its distant retrograde orbit of the Moon, beginning its return to Earth.

This took it out of its lunar orbit that extended to 40,000 miles above the lunar surface and into a trajectory that will pass 71 miles above the lunar surface on Monday, December 5. Then a second firing of its engine will kick it out of lunar orbit altogether, beginning the final stage of its return to Earth. The capsule is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.  I do not have the schedule of exact times for the Monday maneuver at the Moon or the maneuvering on approach to Earth for re-entry on December 11, but I’ll pass those times on when I see them.  The exact timing likely depends on how the big Dec 5 maneuver and follow-up small correction maneuvers go.

I expect readers might want to watch the return preparations and splashdown on December 11.

During last night’s presser, and in press releases, NASA has said that everything has gone better than expected—to the point where they added additional objectives to further stress-test some of the systems during the distant retrograde orbit over the past week.  Fingers still crossed!

I’ve asked Jim to give us more commentary when the splashdown takes place.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili dilates upon reverse evolution. She’s right, too!

Hili: Evolution is retreating.
A: Why do you think so?
Hili: Humans have stopped talking and are starting to tweet again.
In Polish:
Hili: Ewolucja się cofa.
Ja: Dlaczego tak sądzisz?
Hili: Ludzie przestają mówić i znów zaczynają ćwierkać.

. . . and Baby Kulka asleep on the dresser:


From Bruce:

A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon contributed by Stash Krod:

Yet another Far Side cartoon, this one sent in by Thomas:

A tweet from Masih:

Hanukah is coming, and Simon shows us that it’s has a different atmosphere this year (note that the Tweeter is a urologist):

From Barry: a rant by comedian Trae Crowder. The subject is in the title; sound up.

From Luana. No, biological sex is real—and binary.  This person mixes up sex and gender, and is apparently ignorant of gamete-size disparities.

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Two women. First, one who survived Auschwitz:

And one who did not.

Tweets from the estimable Professor Cobb. First, a new book, and look at the table of contents. Matthew says, “Looks interesting thought some seem straw men to me, and who decides what a “myth” is anyway?”

Some genetic and biogeographic data on the evolution of canids and their ecological novelty. Watch the ten-minute video.


Yes, it’s silly, but some of the jokes are good. They’d never show stuff like this today!

27 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Woe to they who say otherwise, for they’ll be tarred as “racists.” At least Fryer can’t be accused of that!

    … so they went after him for “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature” instead. It’s unclear to me whether the sanctioning of him for this was fair enough and deserved, or whether his faults along these lines were exaggerated in order to take him down.

  2. Even though I myself eat hardly any meat and think that one should make sacrifices to curb one’s emissions, I second Nellie here: “Steak, chicken, fish are all special treats that are bad for the environment, you see. And like private jets, these should be reserved only for Davos attendees, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Taylor Swift.”
    One really has the impression that the jet set and the oligarchy media are pushing an agenda where for the good of the planet, the masses have to adjust downwards to minimal living standards to save the planet (and the fossil fuels) for them so they can keep their luxury life style.
    It’s Soylent Green year, by the way. Fitting somehow.

    1. the jet set and the oligarchy media are pushing an agenda where for the good of the planet, the masses have to adjust downwards to minimal living standards to save the planet (and the fossil fuels) for them so they can keep their luxury life style.

      That may be, but I assume that you and I are both in or from developed countries – as are maybe 10-15% of humans worldwide. I’ve heard the argument repeatedly that we are in the jet set compared to the other 85-90% of humans, that if people in the developing world consumed meat and other goods the way we do, the environment and the economy wouldn’t be sustainable/reparable. In a sense, our living standards depend on keeping the living standards of the developing world much lower than ours. It’s comfortable to be second-class citizens in a world with a dozen classes; I’ve lived in countries with rigid caste/class systems, and members of the second class in a multi-class system usually feel the same way.

      I won’t swear by the argument, but it seems to make sense, at least until we hit a post-scarcity society. For me as a science fiction junkie, the only question is whether human posterity is only the descendants of the today’s global upper classes, or of all (well, most) humans today; whether classes die off because the members of lower classes are dying off, or because the classes themselves are merging. And then I start wondering about our human cousins, the Denisovans, Floresiensis, and Naledi.

  3. I love my grilled ribeye, but with the world population now at 8,000,000,000 people, alternate and more sustainable sources of protein are needed. Seventy percent of the soybeans grown in the USA are used for animal feed, and the efficiency of conversion of feed to edible protein is very low for cattle. It takes much less water, feed, and space to produce 1 kg of edible protein from an insect compared to a cow. Cattle also produce much more greenhouse gases. Raising cattle to eat is simply inefficient and not environmentally friendly.

    Anyway, insects are routinely eaten everywhere except in Europe and the US and Canada. It’s not that people are grubbing in the dirt eating insects to stave off starvation, it’s part of their culture and culinary heritage. Twenty years ago I’d teach in class that insects will enter the US food chain. Now I say that they are already in our food chain.

    1. Fifty yrs ago one of my college pals used to get fairly large tins of fried grasshoppers. They were quite tasty, and I wouldn’t mind having a tin of them beside me right now.

    2. This aging hippie remembers one of my hippie friends husbanding earthworms for food back in the day. I never tried them, but my friend swore they were delicious. I also remember, during a year particularly thick with 17-year locusts, encountering someone who grilled these insects on the barbie and claimed they tasted like shrimp. I didn’t taste test those either.

      1. It’s fascinating to watch the push forward past ‘traditional’ mammalian meat/protein, and seeing the various directions the push is taking. Invertebrate protein is an interesting option, but I think the US food industry is more-or-less leapfrogging it directly into lab-grown meat. Once lab-grown meat is cheap, how long do you think it will take before PETA et al. start protesting that we should not be eating invertebrates?

        I’m surprised how little I have read on this site about vegetarian/vegan activists. It seems like they would be a fair target here.

    3. “Seventy percent of the soybeans grown in the USA are used for animal feed, and the efficiency of conversion of feed to edible protein is very low for cattle”

      Most of that 70% goes to poultry and pigs, not cattle. Dairy cattle, in fact, produce twice as much protein than they eat human-comestible feeds. Globally, 86% of what cattle eat is NOT human comestible, and the percentage of US beef is likely higher.

      It is difficult to imagine a more sustainable food than US beef, all of which is grass-fed until reaching 2/3 to 3/4 of final weight, on nothing more than grass and rainfall, with no fertilizers or pesticides on land which is primarily unfit for other agriculture. Like bison, properly-managed cattle grazing can actually significantly improve soil depth and carbon sequestration.

      The GHG emissions of cattle are also greatly exaggerated by current measurements, so much so that the IPCC is promoting a different standard to be used. I don’t think we should feel we are ethically bound to consume insects. We don’t yet have a food production shortage in the world, although that may change due to global warming.

    4. Greg, I’m a little uncomfortable with your argument, ethically and logically. You say that you love your grilled ribeye and then launch into why it’s not sustainable. Nowhere do you say you are going to stop loving steak (or eating it, more to the point.) Are you saying that you are going to continue to eat beef but think everyone else should stop? What if they feel the same about you?

      In argument analysis, I would say the word “but” in your first sentence is an ambiguous connector. Does it mean, “I love beef but I am going to stop eating it and here’s why:”? Or does it mean, “I love beef so much that I’ll never stop, but I’m not uneducated. I do realize it’s bad for the planet.”?

      As for me, I will continue to eat meat and fish as long as I can afford it. If my affording it means other people can’t, well, that’s life. They’d do the same to me if they could.
      Those who can’t afford to eat beef can healthfully eat insects if they want to. Or soybeans. If that’s how you plan to look at it, I’m on your side.

      1. Cattle can be raised in places where agricultural plants cannot. They can graze in places that are rocky, steep, and with sparse vegetation. They can coexist with elk, deer, rabbits, and all manner of bugs and birds. The land we have our cattle on is not irrigated, cleared or plowed.
        I will not be easily convinced that cattle, unless overgrazed or raised in boxes, are bad for the environment.

        It does seem like the WEF folks have turned into Bond villains. I can see them flying in their jets over the rest of us, troubled by the fact that there are so many single family homes down there, many with pools in the back and a boat in the driveway. Individually, those middle class folks do not represent all that much wealth, but there are a lot of them. If those people were living in Stalinist concrete dormitories eating bugs in the dark, the WEF folks could buy more solid gold houses and jet cars.
        I do think they are fixated on getting us to eat bugs more for their own egos than for any sound environmental reasons. A century ago, someone like that might advocate for the lower classes to be kept in cages, or at least chained up.

  4. The German referee who was in charge of the Uruguay-Ghana match did not have a good day when he did not give a penalty for Uruguay, although the video referee explicitly pointed out the scenes to him.

    However, this possible misjudgement in no way excuses the aggressive unsporting behaviour of the Uruguayan footballers.

  5. “That was nothing but God that he survived,” she said.

    Do religious people never ask themselves why god is always so late to the party? If god didn’t want poor Mr. Grimes to die why did he let him fall off the ship in the first place? God could save himself (and our emergency services) a lot of trouble if he’d be a little more proactive on the front end.

    I know, I know — either there’s supposed to be a lesson in these circumstances somehow, or we just don’t understand god’s ways. But if we don’t understand god’s ways when it comes to the bad stuff, why do they claim to understand that all the good stuff in life is proof of god’s existence (and love)?

    1. > there’s supposed to be a lesson in these circumstances somehow

      Not a lesson, but a test, a crucible. Look at the Roko’s Basilisk thought experiment, the idea that a superintelligent AI is simulating us to see which humans would actually help create AI, while punishing anyone who does not. In this case, the belief is that a deity allows uncomfortable circumstances to occur at arbitrary intervals, and that some of the people upon whom uncomfortable circumstances have been visited will experience desired circumstances later (Avoiding terms like ‘lucky’, ‘fortunate’, ‘random’, etc., is a linguistic / philosophical exercise in constrained writing.). All of that is a crucible, with trying circumstances, highs, lows, and known unknowns, to see who is pure enough to meet a set of guidelines; it’s not about protection for the sake of protection. Of course, knowledge that there is belief in thousands of gods undermines any requirement that someone pick the ‘right’ god.

      Anyway, though, there’s never any consistency, so different believers will give different responses.

  6. Eating bugs that still have their legs and wings is disgusting but that isnt how most insects are consumed (unless you are in a filthy Indian restaurant, which I was with a friend at one point….she got the cockroach, not me…but survived). Except for ants, most of them are consumed in the larval stage, which is sort of like a large Rice Crispy. At my first post college job decades ago a colleague at work passed around a box of chocolates to all the secretaries and workers. I ate one; it tasted like hazelnuts, very light and crispy. After everyone had eaten theirs he showed them the box: BUGS…larvae of course, not legs or wings. Quite edible and a bit tasty if you like hazelnuts. Years later, in Bucaromanga, Colombia’s airport, there was a guy selling whole boxes of hormigas (ants), which apparently are a great holiday treat in that city. I would have tried one if he had offered samples but I didnt feel like buying a whole box. I imagine they were a kind of ant that produces sugary syrup after they feed on leaves. If anyone knows more about this, let me know. PS: when you eat crab or lobster you are eating a relative of insects of course, minus legs and claws).

  7. Insects as sweet treats and delicacies are one thing. The argument that they could (or should, because compulsion is such a feature of the New World Order) replace meat as a source of daily protein is quite another. The various claims made such as by the UN that they are “better for the planet” than livestock can be rebutted. There is even an article entitled,

    Crickets Are Not a Free Lunch: Protein Capture from Scalable Organic Side-Streams via High-Density Populations of Acheta domesticus:

    Comment in

    Nellie Bowles isn’t going to eat insects. Neither am I. Lobster and crab, sure, legs and claws and all. I don’t care who their relatives are. They taste good.

  8. This post raises two thoughts.

    First, the tweet about Leslie Nielsen reminded me that, in my comment about my favorite movies yesterday, I forgot to include that some of my favorite comedies are the Naked Gun movies.

    Second, re: Ye and his antisemitic ilk, I am genuinely mystified:

    Kanye is black and pro-Nazi. But the Nazis were almost as virulently ANTI-BLACK as anti-semitic.

    And then there’s Yiannopoulous. He’s gay, pro-Nazi, and Christian. But Nazis and Christians were and are both overtly ANTI-GAY.

    Also, given that Ye’s pals, Fuentes and Yiannopoulous, are both pro-Nazi, shouldn’t they also be ANTI-YE, since he’s black? And shouldn’t Ye and Fuentes both be anti-Yiannopoulous, since Yiannopoulous is gay? And of course, since Yiannopoulous is gay and Christian, and Christians hate gays, shouldn’t he hate himself?

  9. You note that Alex Jones has declared personal bankruptcy months after professional bankruptcy, but fail to note that both are years behind his declaring moral bankruptcy.

    A nasty, foul individual.

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