Thursday: Hili dialogue

December 15, 2022 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Thursday, December 15, 2022: National Lemon Cupcake Day, which is better than no cupcake (but barely).

It’s also International Tea Day, Bill of Rights Day (the first ten amendments were ratified by Virginia on this day in 1791), and Cat Herders’ Day.  That reminds me of this commercial: in my view, the best ad ever televised. Watch it several times, as you’ll miss things:

Finally, it’s Zamenhof Day, the birthday of L. L. Zamenhof, who created the language Esperanto in hopes that it would become the Universal Language. He failed, but some 100,000 weirdos can still speak it, and I even tried when I was a kid. Here’s Zamenhof:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 15 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Reader Ken reports this: “Outgoing Oregon governor Kate Brown has commuted the sentences of all 17 prisoners on Oregon’s death row to life without parole.

In her final weeks in office, Gov. Kate Brown is commuting the sentences of those on death row and dismantling the state execution chamber in an effort to effectively end capital punishment in Oregon.

“I’ve been very clear to Oregonians I’m opposed to the death penalty because it’s both dysfunctional and immoral,” Brown said in an interview with OPB.

Brown will commute the sentences of 17 individuals on death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole, effective Wednesday.

The governor’s decision is the latest in an ongoing effort by Democratic lawmakers to stop executing people.

“The death penalty has never been administered fairly or equitably in Oregon,” Brown said. “And in fact, it’s been quite arbitrary. And that is not how a criminal justice system should work.”

Brown, who has used her power of clemency more than any of the state’s previous governors, said for the other commutations she cited personal growth as part of the reason for reducing a person’s sentence. This time, Brown said, the decision is solely based on her belief that the death penalty is immoral and a waste of taxpayer dollars that does not make communities any safer.

Yay for her and the execution-opposing Democrats! Now you may think that since the death penalty is still on the books in Oregon, these prisoners will eventually be replaced by others who will be executed, but that’s unlikely. Oregon has in effect decided to not use it again: only two people have been executed in the last 50 years, the last one in 1997. But the damn Republicans want their retributive punishment.

*Over at the NYT, Bret Stephens calls out the demonization mobs and cancel culture mavens in an op-ed called “Evil clowns and cowardly lions.”

We live in a time when the people who are in charge are scared of the people who aren’t. Professors report being terrified of their students. Publishing executives fear the wrath of junior employees. C.E.O.s worry about staff revolts. Museum curators watch what they say lest it lead to professional annihilation. Politicians in senior positions are nervous about the newbies — on their own side.

. . . But the fear is also doing a lot of damage: to the people on whom the fear is inflicted, on those inflicting it, on the welfare of the institutions to which they belong. In healthy institutions, leaders are supposed to teach, inspire and mold younger people so they can eventually inherit and improve those institutions when they’re ready to take charge. In many of today’s institutions, repeated abdications of authority by cowardly leaders have become invitations to arson by willful upstarts.

. . .It’s not hard to figure out who today’s arsonists are. They aren’t just Trump, Greene and Vladimir Putin. They are also the ideological entrepreneurs in universities, businesses, publishing houses and news media working almost openly to undermine the missions of these institutions — intellectual excellence, profitability, free expression, objectivity — in the name of higher social goals like representation, sustainability, sensitivity and “moral clarity.” Their aim isn’t to make their homes better. It’s to blow them up.

The harder challenge is to recognize our present-day Biedermanns: The university president who claims to believe in academic freedom, until he joins the arsonists in destroying the career of tenured faculty members; the magazine editor who claims to believe in vigorous debate, until he capitulates to those who don’t; the Republican House member who says enough is enough after Jan. 6, until he finds it much more convenient to let bygones be bygones.

These are some of the self-deluded weaklings who set the tone of institutional life in much of America today. It’s why so many others live in fear.

Stephens also castigates the Republicans for cowering to Trump, and for not speaking up when  Marjorie Taylor Greene recently said that if she and Steve Bannon had organized the Jan. 6 insurrection “we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.” Oy! Stephens is a conservative, but here he takes a liberal position that damns the chilling of speech.

*As expected, France beat Morocco handily, and so the Big Game, the Final, the title for four year, will involve France versus Argentina, and will take place Sunday. I’m rooting for Argentina.

The drums kept beating out their rhythm, the whistles kept pouring down from the stands, and Morocco’s players kept coming, again and again, their legs weary and their lungs burning, raging against the dying of the light. Morocco, at the last, ran out of road. At no point did it run out of fight.

The 2022 World Cup will have the blockbuster final that both FIFA, its organizer, and its Qatari host would have craved: Lionel Messi’s Argentina against the France of Kylian Mbappé, a squad seeking to become the first team in half a century to retain the most coveted prize in sports.

But regardless of what happens on Sunday, and despite falling, 2-0, to France in a breathless, furious semifinal at Al Bayt on Wednesday, on some plane this will always be Morocco’s World Cup. The tournament that made it a trailblazer, a record-breaker: the first African team to reach a semifinal, the standard-bearer for North Africa and the Middle East at the first Arab World Cup.

Even in defeat, Morocco did not wilt. Walid Regragui’s side recovered from conceding an early goal to Théo Hernandez, and losing all but one member of its defense to injury, to torment France for much of the second half.

Here are the highlights. Hernandez’s first goal, kicking down at the ball (0:37), was great,

*Yep, anti-Semitism is growing all over the Western world, and nobody seems to care. Check out the Wall Street Journal article, “Antisemitism is rising at colleges, and Jewish students are facing growing hostility.” After mentionin Adina Pinsker, a Rutgers student who tucks her Star of David into her sweater when she walks across campus, out of fear of harassment, author Douglas Belkin says this:

Ms. Pinsker’s actions are emblematic of rising fear among some Jewish college students around the country, who have begun shrouding their religious identity and political beliefs to avoid growing ostracism and harassment, according to interviews with dozens of students.

College campuses have long hosted heated debates about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But now, students say anti-Jewish antagonism is on the rise: Antisemitic incidents have increased, and a growing number of campus groups bar students who support Israel from speaking or joining.

Hostility, including vandalism, threats and slurs toward Jewish students on college campuses increased more than threefold to 155 incidents in 2021 from 47 in 2014, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based Jewish civil rights organization which has tracked reports of such behavior since 2014. The group counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. overall last year, up 34% from 2020 and the highest number in its records dating to 1979.

. . .Students at schools including the University of Vermont, Wellesley College and DePaul University have ejected Jewish students who support Israel from clubs and study groups, according to interviews with affected students.

Students at Tufts University, University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles tried to prevent Jewish classmates from serving in student government or attempted to remove them from positions in student government because of their support of Israel, according to students, administrators and campus.

. . . On campus, students say that stereotypical antisemitic slurs are directed at Jews, but that much of the hostility derives from growing criticism of Israel’s handling of its political and military conflict with Palestinians over land rights. Jewish students say harassment often compounds when criticism of Israel increases.

Yes, that’s true, and remember that many Jews, like me, want a two-state solution and aren’t fully supportive of Israel’s policies. (Remember, it’s the Palestinians who have repeatedly rejected such a solution.) But that doesn’t matter, because Palestine is just another excuse to hate Jews. Whenever you hear the word “Zionist”, think “anti-Semite.”

*I couldn’t resist reading this with a smile. The Prime Minister of Niceness, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, was caught calling an opponent a rude name on a microphone she thought was dead. Oy!

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was caught on a hot mic Tuesday using a vulgarity against a rival politician in a rare misstep for a leader known for her skill at debating and calm, measured responses.

After five years as prime minister, Ardern faces a tough election campaign in 2023. Her liberal Labour Party won reelection two years ago in a landslide of historic proportions, but recent polls have put her party behind its conservative rivals.

The comment came after lawmaker David Seymour, who leads the libertarian ACT party, peppered Ardern with questions about her government’s record for around seven minutes during Parliament’s Question Time, which allows for spirited debate between rival parties.

As an aside to her deputy Grant Robertson, Ardern said what sounded like, “He’s such an arrogant pr———,” after sitting down. Her words are barely audible on Parliament TV but are just picked up in the background by her desk microphone as House Speaker Adrian Rurawhe talks.

Ardern’s office said she apologized to Seymour for the comment. When asked by The Associated Press to clarify, Ardern’s office did not dispute the comment. In an interview with the AP, Seymour said she had used those words.

If you think that’s not rude, remember that we shouldn’t call people vulgar terms for genitals. Imagine if her opponent was a woman!

I’m sure you want to hear it, so here’s the best I can do. It’s at the end when the Speaker is saying something. I can barely make it out.

Jacinda is looking a bit hassled these days.

Fortunately, Kiwis have a good sense of humor, and here (at 0:49) the Arrogant Prick reacts to the slur in good New Zealand style:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili tries to proffer some wisdom:

Hili: Is it better to ponder over how things should be or over what can be done?
A: People prefer the first.

In Polish:
Hili: Czy lepiej zastanawiać się nad tym jak być powinno, czy nad tym, co można zrobić?
Ja: Ludzie wolą to pierwsze.
And Paulina’s picture of Baby Kulka in the snow:

**********************

From Butterflies and Wheels, a satirical issue (not too far from the truth, though) of Scientific American (h/t George):

From Divy:

From Merilee, an old Far Side cartoon:

A “toot” from God, who’s moved to Mastodon:

From Masih: about damn time!  The Reuters news story says that the removal of Iran was proposed by the United States. Good on us!

From Barry: A boy becomes an Uber driver for a chicken:

From Malcolm: a baby bear catching snowflakes!

A lovely mantis via Ziya Tong:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Dead at 15

From Professor Cobb: The jump of this collembolan  (a “springtail”) is incredibly fast! Translation: “I was able to take a video of a Martovimushi-type Collembola walking on fallen leaves, but when it reaches a high place, it stops walking, folds its antennae and jumps. I think it was like, ‘Let’s move at once.'”

Read the thread. And note that “The Warrimoo’s position was LAT 0º 31’ N and LONG 179 30’ W. The date was 31 December 1899.”  They moved the ship to where it had a status that no other vessel ever had!

A sound on Mars (sound up!):

57 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. I had forgotten about Ophelia Benson’s site. I used to look at it daily, but then it seemed to go quiet for a while and I stopped looking. I guess I need to catch up.

    The ship at the Equator and International Dateline reminds me of the scene in the movie Paul where the titular space alien convinces his human friends to jump back and forth between Pacific and Mountain Time: “If you think about it, it’s like time travel.”

    1. I had been following the Butterflies and Wheels site in Word Press Reader mode, but then it stopped showing up there. But now when I go directly to the site, there are always new posts that evidently aren’t making it into the Word Press Reader feed.

      1. Was Ophelia the one who got thrown out of FTB? It seemed important at the time, but I’ve forgotten, so probably it wasn’t.

        1. Indeed she was. She posts interesting content and commentary every day, and has a smart, vigorous community of commenters. I would say, however, that if you are at all wobbly about women’s rights vs. trans rights, you won’t enjoy it over there.

  2. From Wikipedia: on this date in 1970, the Russian inter-planetary spacecraft Venera 7 “softishly” landed on the surface of Venus. This was a particularly difficult mission due to a combination of the very dense, high pressure, high temperature atmosphere of Venus and large uncertainty regarding exactly what those data were a priori for spacecraft design purposes. Read of the exciting descent to the surface in the Wikipedia “landing” entry at url
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venera_7

  3. PM Jacinda Ardern’s hot-mic moment reminds me a bit of when Dubya got picked up on a campaign mic with his “Vice” calling The Times‘ late Adam Clymer “a major-league asshole”:

  4. Sundown on Sunday, December 18 begins the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights: Hanukkah. The tradition is to display the lit Hanukkiah (Menorah) proudly in a window, where passersby can see it.

    If you plan to celebrate Hanukkah, will you be displaying your Menorah where others can see? Or will you, like so many Jews, display it inside so as not to draw attention to your Jewishness? I’m not sure what I will do this year. When growing up, my family always kept the lit Menorah in private—away from a window.

    The percentage of Jews who hide the Menorah inside is a measure of Jewish fear. I don’t expect to see many houses with Menorahs in the window this year.

  5. “Ču vi paroles Esperante?”

    (That was the form taught when I also in my youth tried to learn a bit of it. The analysis was that the language name counts as an adverb! I have seen a different form in more recent materials.)

    1. Well, making it an adverb (by changing the final “o” to “e”) makes it mean “Do you speak in the Esperanto-manner?” More commonly one uses “Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?” which means “Do you speak Esperanto?” (The “n” on the end marks the direct object.)

      –from one of those weirdos who speaks Esperanto.

  6. I cannot compare to the Warrimoo, but several years back we departed on a three week trip to Australia in mid June. We left in the spring, arrived in the fall, left in the winter and returned home to the summer.

        1. Spoiler alert. The WHOLE year 2000 (Jan.1 through Dec. 31) was the final year of the 20th century, not the first year of the 21st century. Dec. 31, 2001 was the last day of the 20th century….last day of the FINAL DECADE of the 20th century.

          1. Sometime in 2000 I came across an item for sale – a small rock if memory serves me. I can’t remember what was supposedly so bloody special about it. The price was $20. On the bottom was a sticker which said to the effect that the 21st century would not start until January 1, 2001, but that “most people” were celebrating the 21st century starting in 2000. (So apparently that was why they were going ahead and selling the item in 2000.) I was sorely tempted to pay $20 to document this fatuous mindset, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. Were smartphones available at the time, I could have taken a photo to so document. Maybe someone somewhere has somehow taken a photo.

      1. Of course you’re right about the century.

        I was skeptical of this seafaring tale. It seemed too pat. If the event really happened, I would have expected someone to have reported the uncertainty in the position as part of the documentation. We can actually estimate this uncertainty today:

        A practised observer with a good sextant under ideal conditions can observe elevation of an object above the horizon to within 10 seconds of arc, 309 yards north-south. The actual estimate of latitude is less precise than this (a large fraction of a mile is quoted below) because the navigator needs to apply several corrections (looked up in Naval Almanacs) which may not be known to that level of precision. But let’s assume the width of the latitude estimate is 309 yards which, we hope, includes the true latitude but it doesn’t necessarily if the sextant has bias error.

        https://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Sextant

        Since the Warimoo was only 345 feet long, clearly it could not be proved to have hit the intersection with any part of its hull at any time, much less at the stroke of midnight. Even if longitude and time were known with infinite precision — on the Date Line at midnight — the ship couldn’t be known to have been on the Equator at that moment, only likely somewhere in a band at least 309 yards wide that had a high probability of including the Equator. Any error in longitude, in real life usually larger than for latitude, makes it even less possible to tell where the ship was at midnight local time.

        I consider the claim possible–any combination of position and time is of course possible–but so impossible to verify given the limits of technology of the day that it is specious to make it.

        1. I find it completely believable, with the caveat that open sea navigation at the time was not precise.
          It is completely normal for navigators to be aware of such curiosities, and to seek them out.

          To qualify that, it is entirely possible for the ship’s official DR position and heading to be as claimed, at 2400 local time on the date indicated.

          I do not believe that the navigator took a series of celestial observations at midnight, to determine position. In open waters, one takes such observations at morning and evening twilight, as you need to see both the horizon and the celestial body at the same time to get a line of position. I would expect the officer on watch to take an azimuth of a star, planet, or the moon, in order to make corrections to the compass each watch.
          When celestial observations are taken, the point is not to find out where you are, but to confirm and correct your ongoing dead reckoning progress, which is your projected position, from your last known position using your course and speed, corrected for weather, deviation, propeller slip, and other factors.

          But, the spot on the ocean’s floor that measures 0 Lat 180 Lon is not really a fixed position. Every time the datum that the charts are generated from is updated, it moves around. If the earth were a perfect sphere of unchanging dimensions, that might not be the case.
          When GPS was being introduced, we did fisheries surveys in uninhabited and isolated island groups. The charts used data from very old surveys, and it was not rare to find reefs or the islands themselves a mile or so from where they had been presumed to be. The errors were not because they took poor observations, but because the fundamental terrestrial dimensions were understood differently.
          The international date line itself is sort of arbitrary as well. It is regularly adjusted here and there, to allow people in several island groups to stay on the same page, calendar wise.

          Concluding, it is entirely possible that the ship was at that position, at that time, according to prevailing navigational practices of the age. Someone passing near the spot could reasonably alter their course and speed to be there, just for the whimsy of it.

          I write the above as a qualified and experienced Master Mariner.

          1. Thanks Max for explaining how it’s really done. I agree that the captain, on being told that they were within range of hitting 0 Lat,180 Lon by midnight in 31 Dec, could have decided to go for it, and hit it as best as he could tell. But I think you are agreeing that positions measured with modern techniques can be out by a mile or so from where they were charted to be. That is just another way of saying that the methods of fixing course, position, and ETA at another position, which you have personal detailed professional knowledge about, were limited by the instruments of the time. And by the hydrogeographic knowledge.

            If latitude can be fixed to only within 10 seconds of arc, in practice some fraction of a mile, (and longitude to some other precision), that will limit the precision of all deductions made from it in trying to steer a course to another point, also known with finite precision, so as to hit it at a certain time. And all those other measurements affecting the trueness to which your ship follows the plotted course have errors too. Your deduced position at 2400, ~6 hours after a sunset fix can’t be more precise and accurate than the fix, can it? After all, if, after the fix, you start drifting south 10 yards every nautical mile eastward, how can you detect that before your next fix at sunrise? Can you tell if the ship is not tracking exactly parallel to its keel? I don’t mean yawing in the water, I mean the ocean currents are carrying the ship partly sideways even as it maintains a compass heading.

            I can understand the whimsy of trying to pass through a particular point at a particular time and I can see how one would go about doing that, “according to prevailing navigational practices of the age.” The navigator would have reported his position as 0 Lat, 180 Lon, at 2400, not, as a scientist would do, 0 +/- 0.7 minutes, 180 +/- 1.2 minutes with the bounds being the 95% confidence intervals around the measurements. But he couldn’t know if his ship had indeed done it, even to within the precision of the size of his ship. All he could say was that his ship had probably passed over a small rectangle (0.7 arc minutes x 1.2 arc minutes in my imaginary example) applied over the curved surface of the ocean floor that probably contained the intersection, if there was not accumulating error (like drift) that biased the estimate systematically. The fun would be in hitting the calculated point at the desired time, not necessarily in “actually” hitting it.

            My goal was to stimulate thinking about how we know what we know. If I hadn’t made a stab at it, maybe you wouldn’t have amplified and corrected and then we’d all be assuming it was true just because it was on Twitter.

            1. “Can you tell if the ship is not tracking exactly parallel to its keel? ”
              You have to. Of course there are known currents, which can be accounted for. But you never forget that you are moving over a medium which is itself constantly moving, and also being affected by wind above the surface.
              The simplest way to correct for this is to take frequent fixes, compare them with your intended track, note the indicated error, and correct for it by changing course or speed a little bit. There is some art involved.
              In a static world, the ship could leave Vancouver and arrive in Brisbane on schedule, without need of external observations, beyond those needed to correct for compass error. The ship’s own effects on the magnetic compass are known and graphed, as are the properties of the hull and propeller regarding turns needed for a given speed through water.
              The reality of navigating in oceans prior to electronic aids, was that sometimes the weather does not cooperate, and you cannot get decent celestial fixes for days or weeks. You rely on dead reckoning, which of necessity became a complex science.
              In the Pacific, you would plan a track that takes you near enough to known islands to use them for terrestrial fixes. Of course, you choose those that you will see before you hit them, with no shoals near your path should you stray from the track a bit.
              In practice, certain routes become favored, and each time, knowledge of how to safely and accurately navigate that route is accumulated, recorded, and dispersed.
              As to precision, although a celestial fix only allows a certain level of precision, you do lots of them. You might have the watch officer and two cadets taking observations at every opportunity. Those are applied as any statistical data, discarding outliers and averaging the good ones. Sometimes you get lucky, and all of the lines of position (advanced or retarded to match the ship’s movements) form a tight, perfect little pinwheel. Even so, one second of arc is the smallest unit commonly used.

  7. And the former death row inmates can now do something with their new found time to perhaps heal victims of, or reduce the likelihood of crime, or help society – somehow.

    1. It can be argued that life without parole may even be worse than death, I’m not clear on that: precipitating the inevitable (we all die) vs a life in a prison, which probably entails quite a bit of suffering
      Yet our instinct to self preservation (undoubtedly due to evolution) will generally trump the choice of death

      1. Why not give that choice to the inmates that were just given their life back?

        How many would choose each option?

  8. “Whenever you hear the word “Zionist”, think “anti-Semite.”” I can go along with that, when “Zionist” is used as an accusation, for sure. But it is certainly possible to use the word in respectable ways – “I am a proud Zionist” for example.
    There was a pertinent comment in the thread about TFOM and the rife antisemitism there, about whether it is antisemitic to desire Israel be a secular state rather than a Jewish state. It made me think two things: firstly that I don’t know whether the concept of a Jewish state is based on religion or culture (I assume it varies in the minds of both Zionists and Israelis, depending on how observant they are), and secondly, yes, it is perfectly OK to wish that other nations are organised in a way you regard as ideal, but in the end it is up to their citizens to decide what kind of government they have (and wouldn’t it be nice if the citizens of all states had that choice?)

    1. Whenever you hear the word “Zionist”, think “anti-Semite”.

      When people say that they are ‘anti-Zionist’, it could be that they are hiding their antisemitism. I am not saying that everyone is like that, but it is plausible that such people exist. There are various ways to hide racism.

  9. In my neighborhood, a comfortably middle-class suburb of Chicago, I have three Jewish neighbors who are displaying their Menorahs in their windows. One has plastic dreidels with lights inside in the front yard, and another has a spinning dreidel light display on his garage door. I must say proudly that my neck of the woods is the most diverse place I’ve ever lived. We call ourselves the United Nations.

    1. This was meant to be a direct response to Norman’s speculation above but is suitable for general consumption too. 😉

        1. And we goyim like to spin the dreidel with our Jewish friends. I think the Hanukkah gelt has something to do with it…

          1. Hanukkah gelt. Those thin, brown disks of waxy goodness. 🙂 This year, my wife found some at Cost Plus that were made in Denmark and actually taste like chocolate. A rare find.

      1. Since I see that Norman is in this thread, i will reply to his comment 5 above, here. We always did Shabbos and Hanukah candles on the kitchen counter…just because that was where we were at sunset dinner time. Not a matter of hiding. But I will say that religious exercises were a more private family thing…not something to hide, but rather something intimate. I do know that a cousin who always displays a Hannukah flag in front of her house is reconsidering that idea this year as a matter of caution. With Bari Weiss, I am more concerned with the left’s recent antisemitism than the traditional and on-going nazi political right. I liked her 2019 book, “How to Fight Anti-semitism” and just recently re-read it. It still holds together well.

        1. I’ve been reading a number of books on antisemitism lately, most recently Noa Tishby’s Israel, A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, which I recommend. It’s a defense of Israel’s right to exist so, ultimately, it’s about antisemitism. (Ignore her gratuitous use of swear words, which don’t add anything.) I will read Weiss’s book.

          Still pondering whether to display our Menorah. All the houses in our neighborhood but two are fully embraced by incredible Christmas lights. We don’t have those, nor does the couple across the street. Maybe they’re Jewish, or maybe since they don’t have kids they’re not bothering.

          I, too, am concerned about the political left, which focuses on Israel’s right to exist. The political right, while dangerous, is at least a known commodity that we have experience combatting.

    1. Jews are not afraid to fight back. They’ve been fighting for generations. The Kraft Foundation to Stop Antisemitism ad is a good one. Thank you for drawing our attention to it.

    1. I went to YouTube to look up an old Ian and Sylvia song about biscuits and salty gravy (remorse-inducing prison food.) No luck–I have their Vanguard collection on CD anyway–but a long playlist of Nora Jones (not really the same genre but delightful) came up, to whom I’ve been listening to all afternoon. A bit like Holly Cole but a more expressive voice. I like!

  10. Regarding commuting death sentences to life without parole… They amount to the same thing! Here in Iowa we don’t have capital punishment per se — but there are nearly 800 people on death row all the same. They will all die in prison — most of them, slowly, receiving substandard medical care. The prisons even have hospice facilities. I just attended a memorial for a guy who spent more than half his life in prison — his crime was giving a ride to a relative who robbed and murdered a shopkeeper. Even the judge said that a life sentence without the possibility of parole was unfair, but that’s the law.

    1. Yes, that is the problem: about all prisoners are unfairly condemned -if you believe them. That makes it difficult for those that were really condemned unfairly.

  11. Yesterday regarding the Bankman Fried FTX mess, somebody here mentioned coffeezilla personal finance on youtube. Maybe Coffeezilla was down on crypto, maybe not, depends on who was paying him (he was mentioned as being “on the take” lately).

    I’m no expert though I worked on Wall St. for 20 years or so as a stockbroker, analyst, then as a proprietary trader. Finally an M&A consultant and lawyer.
    My advice is stay AWAY from ANY youtube finance advice. Goodness, just yesterday a social media pump and dump scam was taken down by the SEC for exactly that thing. a dozen arrests, hundreds of millions of dollars. And of course, stay way from all crypto.
    DON’T get investment or trading advice from social media.
    D.A.
    NYC

    1. > “DON’T get investment or trading advice from social media.”

      Or your barber, who was the social media of the day.
      “The Speculations of Jefferson Thorpe” in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, Stephen Leacock, 1912.

      The dangers of financial advice from your barber (described therein in lovingly ironic detail) should not be interpreted as impugning the excellent financial advice contained in The Wealthy Barber, a Canadian classic by David Chilton. It can be summarized as “pay yourself first”, or, even better, “Write a book that everyone wants to buy!” (His barber character is a fictional story-telling device.)

      1. Or your barber …

        Legend has it that Joe Kennedy knew to get out of the stock market ahead of the 1929 crash after the guy shining his shoes tried to give him a stock tip.

    1. That voice! The first unvoiced “Ahh” after he drinks from the well at 1:20 and you know it’s him even with your eyes closed.

      Two beautiful women, I must say.

  12. Willing to bet that that’s an orchid mantis. The nymphal stage of at least one species is a red and black ant mimic.

  13. I am delighted that Scientific American is campaigning for pronouns. This follows The Onion’s report some years back that the Serbs and Croatians were receiving air drops from the US of vowels, the absence of which was causing much suffering in those countries. Luckily the US aid relieved their lingual misery. We should never be stingy about foreign aid.

  14. Forgive me. Am reminded of Dawkins begging his editor to let him have a few copies of the first printing of one of his books which had a misprint. (She declined, saying that she wanted to keep her job.) Instead of “Large Hadron Collider,” it was “Large Hardon Collider.”

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