Monday: Hili dialogue

March 13, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Monday, March 13, 2023, and another cold and gray day in Dobrzyn.  But now it’s really Chicken Noodle Soup Day (I screwed up yesterday’s date).

It’s also National Coconut Torte Day, Fill Our Staplers Day (if this is importuning, you have to do that yourself), National Jewel Day, National Workplace Napping Day, Commonwealth Day (previously known as Empire Day), and Donald Duck Day, as depicted at the start of this short Disney cartoon from 1949, “Donald’s Happy Birthday”.

Notice how the nephews spell their names at the end: Huey, Dewey and. . . Luey? And how Donald abuses his nephews by making them smoke his birthday stogies.

And it is really National Elephant Day in Thailand.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the March 13 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Say it ain’t so, Joe! Today the Biden administration is expected to approve a massive oil-drilling project, a project that will despoil thousands of acres of pristine Alaska wilderness. Granted, the government owns that land, but isn’t this contrary to the administration’s goals of a green energy policy?

The Biden administration on Monday will formally approve a huge oil drilling project in Alaska known as Willow, according to two people familiar with the decision, despite widespread opposition because of its likely environmental and climate impacts.

The president will also impose sweeping restrictions on offshore oil leasing in the Arctic Ocean and across Alaska’s North Slope in an apparent effort to temper criticism over the Willow decision and, as one administration official put it, to form a “firewall” to limit future oil leases in the region. The Interior Department also is expected to issue new rules to protect more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska from oil and gas leasing.

The restrictions, however, are unlikely to offset concerns that the $8 billion Willow project, led by oil giant ConocoPhillips, will have the potential to produce more than 600 million barrels of crude over 30 years.

Burning all that oil could release nearly 280 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. On an annual basis, that would translate into 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution, equal to adding nearly two million cars to the roads each year. The United States, the second biggest polluter on the planet after China, emits about 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Who wanted this bill? Alaska natives, who get a big stipend check yearly from the oil revenues, labor unions, who stand to gain jobs, and of course Big Oil, who lobbied vigorously for this bill. Who was against it? Everybody opposed to despoiling the environment.

I can’t say I’m happy about this, and I’m not reassured by Biden’s lip-service order to protect other areas from gas and oil drilling; that order could easily be overturned by future administration.

As CNN reports:

“This is a huge climate threat and inconsistent with this administration’s promises to take on the climate crisis,” Jeremy Lieb, an Alaska-based senior attorney at environmental law group Earthjustice, told CNN. In addition to concerns about a fast-warming Arctic, groups are also concerned the project could destroy habitat for native species and alter the migration patterns of animals including caribou.

But who cares about the caribou?

*Here’s a partial list of last night’s Oscar winners, and I can’t say I’m happy about this, either. But really, who cares?

Best picture

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best actress in a leading role

Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best actor in a leading role

Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”

Best director

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert,“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Actress in a supporting role

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Actor in a supporting role

Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best animated feature film

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Best original song

“Naatu Naatu,” “RRR”

All I can say is that my two favorite movies, “Tár” and “The Banshees of Inisherin”, were shut out completely in favor of that extended piece of eye candy, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,”, a movie so unwatchable that I couldn’t keep watching it after half an hour. The only saving grace is that neither Tom Cruise nor “Maverick: Top Gun” won for Best Actor and Best Movie.

*A disaffected Canadian has some positive comments on Richard Dawkins’s argument, expounded during his recent visit to New Zealand, that Mātauranga Māori, or the indigenous “ways of knowing” is not the same thing as modern science. (h/t Leslie). And a few ignorant Tweeters weighted in:

Dawkins’ comments also saw a firestorm of Twitter criticism, most in support of his position, one which I have supported for decades as applied to Canada where I have repeatedly argued that indigenous practical knowledge and other “knowings” as rich and varied as they may be are not rooted in scientific understanding: indigenous science is an oxymoron, nothing more, nothing less.

A nonsensical tweet from self-proclaimed Canadian indigenous agitator Dr. Kisha Supernant (Métis/Papaschase/British), the Director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology and a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, read, “Richard Dawkins doesn’t get to determine what Indigenous knowledge is or is not. He doesn’t understand it and never will. But he’s right in one sense. Indigenous knowledge is not only science. It is so much more.”

Indigenous knowledge is not only science but so much more? I guess that means that religion, origin stories, and other confected fables are “science.”

Another painfully ignorant tweet was that “All knowledge (science) is culturally-situated. Western-trained scientists who ignore this in favor of imperialism and a false sense of objectivity are at risk of misinterpreting data and causing harm. This rhetoric is embarrassing, so inaccurate as to be absurdist, and harmful.“ Lauren Eckert@laureneeckert.

Eckert shows her ignorance by claiming a pure cultural relativism, with science being “imperialistic” and carrying “a false sense of objectivity.” And yet she’s getting a Ph.D. in science. Does she get her immunizations? Take antibiotics for an infection? Ride in airplanes? If so, she puts a lot of trust in science’s “false sense of objectivity.”

I can’t wait for the protestors carrying signs reading “Ideology, not biology!”

*A clam born in 1809? That’s what, according to the Washington Post, a Florida man found while clamming on the Gulf Coast.

[Blaine] Parker, an AmeriCorps member at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Fla., near Tallahassee, spends his days studying shellfish. This one he encountered on Feb. 18 left him speechless.

He was struck by its size, which indicated its age, he said. Generally, the larger the clam, the older it is. Most quahog clams found in U.S. waters are between 2.8 and 4.3 inches long, although they can grow larger.

“I’ve seen that species of clam, but never one that big or even close to that big,” said Parker, 23, explaining that the average quahog weighs about half a pound and that his discovery was 2.6 pounds and six inches long.

As trees do, clam shells form yearly growth rings. Parker counted the external rings with a fingernail and reached 214 — meaning the clam would have been born in 1809, just like Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president.

Parker decided to name his discovery “Abra-clam Lincoln.” People on social media loved it.

. . .He considered eating the clam. It would make a great addition to the feast he was cooking that weekend, he thought, and the shells would be large enough to use as bowls.

“At the time, we were planning to make a chowder out of it, but we thought about the fact that it probably was special,” said Parker, who kept the shellfish in a bucket of water. “We decided not to eat it, and I brought it to work on Monday.”

Fortunately, Parker released the clam back into the ocean, but also determined that he miscounted the “rings”, and it could in fact have been younger than 214 years.

Charles Darwin was also born in 1809—in fact, on the very same day as Lincoln, February 12. But I can’t think of a clam name that includes an allusion to Darwin.  Here’s Parker with his gynormous clam (caption: “Parker posing with his clam discovery. (Courtesy of Gulf Specimen Marine Lab”)

*And how can you resist a headline, like this in the WaPo, “Two widowed geese were lonely, so they were matched for a blind date“? (h/t Barry)

Frankie and Blossom had a lot in common. They’d both lost their longtime partners and were seeking companionship. They seemed to enjoy the same food and scenery.

On their first date, they walked along a lake, greeted the locals and shared a meal.

Their matchmakers were nearby, eager to see the two develop a bond. They could only guess how the blind date was progressing. After all, it was between geese.

Two residents of nearby Iowa cities connected the widowed geese last month in hopes they’d become soul mates. So far, the arrangement has worked.

Since that date, Blossom and Frankie haven’t left each other’s sides — and might even be in love, their matchmakers told The Washington Post.

“They just kind of wandered around and hung out with each other and got to know each other,” said Dorie Tammen, the general manager for Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa. “And the rest is history.”

. . .On Feb. 10, Tammen wrote a personal ad for Blossom, whom Tammen believes is about 7 years old.

“Lonely, widowed domestic goose seeks life partner for companionship and occasional shenanigans,” her Facebook post reads. “Come share life with me at Riverside Cemetery, where you’ll enjoy swimming in the lovely lake, good food, numerous friends, and peeking in the door of the office building. … I’m youthful, adventurous and lively, and I’ve been told I’m beautiful.”

(From WaPo): Frankie (front) and Blossom have spent all their time together since meeting last month. (Deb Hoyt)

Someone answered with a widowed male goose, and the rest is history.


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I once again feature in the Hili dialogue (and took the photo!). All three humans here spend a lot of time writing on websites.

Hili: What are you doing?
Jerry: I’m writing an article.
Hili: This is not a normal home.
(Photo: JAC)
In Polish:
Hili: Co robisz?
Jerry: Piszę artykuł.
Hili: To nie jest normalny dom.
(Zdjęcie J.A.C)


From Tom, a Far Side cartoon showing the origin of the man cave:

From Tom, another evolution-of-man sequence from Imgur:

From Doc Bill; the story appears to be true. Go here to see what they do in nature.

God tooted on Mastodon. He and Titania McGrath have largely stopped posting.

From Masih, another innocent Iranian dissident kidnapped (as they’d planned for Masih herself) and then taken to Iran to be killed. There are English subtitles.

From John Oliver via The Divine Sarah. Oy, indeed!

From Malcolm, who hopes these people get grounded.  Does anyone actually look at stuff around them any more—without the filter of a phone camera?

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a 20 year old who lived but a month before perishing:

Tweets from Matthew. First, another saved life in Dodoland, which must be what Heaven is like (if there were one!):

Remember this line from “literature”?

Duck and bubbles!

42 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1639 – Harvard College is named after clergyman John Harvard.

    1781 – William Herschel discovers Uranus.

    1845 – Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto receives its première performance in Leipzig with Ferdinand David as soloist.

    1862 – The Act Prohibiting the Return of Slaves is passed by the United States Congress, effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.

    1930 – The news of the discovery of Pluto is announced by Lowell Observatory.

    1943 – The Holocaust: German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.

    1969 – Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth after testing the Lunar Module.

    1996 – The Dunblane massacre leads to the death of sixteen primary school children and one teacher in Dunblane, Scotland.

    2020 – President Donald Trump declares the COVID-19 pandemic to be a national emergency in the United States.

    2020 – Breonna Taylor is killed by police officers who were forcibly entering her home in Louisville, Kentucky; her death sparked extensive protests against racism and police brutality.

    1770 – Daniel Lambert, English animal breeder (d. 1809). [He died weighing 52 stone 11 pounds (739 lb; 335 kg). Despite his coffin being built with wheels to allow easy transport, and a sloping approach being dug to the grave, it took 20 men almost half an hour to drag his casket into the trench.]

    1911 – L. Ron Hubbard, American author (d. 1986).

    1925 – Roy Haynes, American drummer and composer.

    1935 – David Nobbs, English author and screenwriter (d. 2015).

    1939 – Neil Sedaka, American singer-songwriter and pianist.

    1960 – Joe Ranft, American animator, screenwriter, and voice actor (d. 2005).

    Breathed their last:
    1842 – Henry Shrapnel, English general (b. 1761). [Inventor of the shrapnel shell.]

    1906 – Susan B. Anthony, American activist (b. 1820).

    1912 – Eugène-Étienne Taché, Canadian engineer and architect, designed the Parliament Building (b. 1836).

    1938 – Clarence Darrow, American lawyer and author (b. 1857).

    1995 – Odette Hallowes, French nurse and spy (b. 1912).

    1998 – Judge Dread, English singer-songwriter (b. 1945). [Notorious for smutty songs – he is the artist with the most records banned by the BBC – following his death, Rolling Stone reported, “He sold several million albums throughout his 25-plus year career and was second only to Bob Marley in U.K. reggae sales during the 1970s”. Dread was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica.]

    2016 – Hilary Putnam, American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist (b. 1926).

    2021 – Murray Walker, English motorsport commentator and journalist (b. 1923).

    2022 – William Hurt, American actor (b. 1950).

    1. 1925 – Roy Haynes, American drummer and composer.

      Mr. Haynes is still among the quick at age 98. Old jazz drummers never die; they just fade away, playing ever more softly using their brushes.

    2. I never knew or would have guessed that “shrapnel’ was named after a person. I thought it was based on the scrappy/’shrappy’ little bits flying around. Thank you for educating us.

  2. On this day in 1940, the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland ended. The Red Army had invaded Finland at the end of November 1939, but encountered much more resistance than expected. Finally, the Peace of Moscow was signed in which Finland ceded a number of areas.

  3. Á propos de Donald’s nephews, back in the good old days when funeral homes ran the ambulance service, ours was staffed by four guys: Thane, Dwayne, Shane and Wayne.

  4. I’m very happy that “Everything Everywhere …” and Michelle Yeoh won. Far from finding the movie unwatchable, I watched it twice 🙂

  5. Thanks for the two film tips. By the way, did you give The Last of Us series a try? (and do you like it?)

        1. So did I at first, but then I realized that urchins that get tumbled over by waves and turbulence have to have a way of righting themselves, and that would be through either tube feet (they are echinoderms, after all) or movable spines.

    1. The hats are cute and funny, but why put more plastic in the ocean? Fine if they are in aquariums, but in the open ocean it’s a bad idea imo. Maybe they use some kind of material that’s biodegradable, that would be cool, but I only know of 3D printers using plastic to print.

      1. These are in an aquarium, and NOBODY that I know of thinks that they should be put in the ocean. They’re for the amusement of the aquarium visitors. Where did you get the idea that someone was going to dump thousands of printed plastic hats into the ocean?

  6. “…but isn’t [drilling for oil] contrary to the administration’s goals of a green energy policy?”

    I don’t understand this argument. I understand arguments for not drilling in pristine land, but the argument here seems to boil down to “drilling for oil anywhere is contrary to green energy policy.” So, unless we are going to completely stop drilling for and using oil and any other sources of non-green energy — a prospect that would completely collapse both our and the global economy, and send all of our citizens into darkness, destroy our supply chains, create a ripple effect that would render us no longer even a global player on the world stage, etc. — drilling for oil is not contrary to green energy policy.

    Whether we drill here or somewhere else, energy independence for the US and the rest of the West is critical to maintaining our advantage over Russia, China, and the rest of that tenuous coalition. We cannot build green energy infrastructure overnight and, unfortunately, the Biden administration seems to have no interest in the one long-term solution that would help most: nuclear energy, as that well has been poisoned by the very environmentalists who are now the most vocal advocates of “green” energy. Even if Biden started an ambitious nuclear program, the plants would likely take anywhere between ten to 25 years to build in the current US regulatory environment.

    At the end of the day, we need oil, regardless of climate change. We cannot magically shift all of our cars, ships, jets, military hardware, etc. to green sources of energy overnight. I don’t understand what people are expecting. We can invest in green energy while also pursuing more oil, seeing as we have no choice but to use oil in nearly every economic sector that involves the movement of goods or production of energy.

    1. a. We could start funding the construction of nuclear energy plants. Only a single one is being built now. So your called for investment in “green energy” isn’t going very well
      b. We could stop drilling in pristine wildnerness with vulnerable wildlife.

      1. I 100% agree on nuclear. Honestly, I believe it is the only hope for a sustainable future; there is no other technology out there that can meet both the needs of consumers and the environment.

        Unfortunately, nuclear power has been rendered a wildly dangerous technology in the minds of the public, thanks almost exclusively to environmentalists who have zero understanding of how current nuclear power plants work. This is probably the biggest hurdle to embracing the clearest solution to clean energy. The second hurdle is the regulatory environment. By the time we build nuclear plants, it will be, at the very least, ten to fifteen years from now, and that’s if we started construction today.

        We need a nationwide plan to build nuclear power plants that can provide our energy infrastructure across the entire country. But who could actually get that done? How can our dysfunctionally sclerotic government, coupled with NIMBYs and anti-nuclear environmentalists, possibly get this done?

        I truly agree that a nuclear energy future is the only hope, but I am terribly depressed by the fact that I just don’t see it happening. Perhaps, ten years from now, as we see more of Europe and China adopting nuclear, we will be able to accept it as a society and begin building the infrastructure. That’s my greatest hope: that we finally begin construction of some plants ten years from now, and that means completion 20 to 30 years from now, at least in the US. Although, perhaps the regulatory environment will change as well. But a whole lot needs to go right just to meet the goal of moving partially to nuclear several decades from today.

        Meanwhile, we will continue to need oil for shipping, older car models, various industrial activities, and so forth. And I believe that energy independence for the West as a whole is an absolute necessity to maintain Western hegemony. We do not want to find ourselves at the mercy of a coalition consisting of countries like China, Russia, and Iran.

        1. “Unfortunately, nuclear power has been rendered a wildly dangerous technology in the minds of the public, thanks almost exclusively to environmentalists who have zero understanding of how current nuclear power plants work.”

          The most powerful opponent to nuclear power is Big Oil and their biggest lobbying group American Petroleum Institution. They are also responsible for funding a lot of the environmental groups fighting nuclear power, including the Sierra Club. Renewable energy companies also see nuclear as a threat to their bottom line and fund efforts to stop it. If you google “are oil companies against nuclear power” you’ll get a lot of information about it. Greed is the ultimate obstacle against fighting climate change, and what’s the solution to mitigate greed?

        2. “Unfortunately, nuclear power has been rendered a wildly dangerous technology in the minds of the public, thanks almost exclusively to environmentalists who have zero understanding of how current nuclear power plants work.”

          I wrote a lengthier comment to this, but it got eaten in the matrix. But essentially, you’re wrong. Nuclear Power’s biggest enemy is Big Oil. Big Oil also gives million$ to the environmentalists you unfairly blame. Green energy initiatives also downplay Nuclear. It’s greed all the way down, and it starts with petroleum interests.

  7. As a person who cannot avoid an argument about free will (see what I did there?), it is too bad you found EEAAO so repulsive. I found enjoyable, silly, and touching. But maybe many worlds isn’t your bag.

  8. Why the scare quotes around “literature” regarding the opening line of F & L in LV?

    I think that book clearly qualifies, as did HST’s peers and contemporaries, who recognized great writing when they ran into it.

    I’ve read that book many more times than I have anything by a fussbudget like Henry James (whom I nonetheless consider a great novelist in his own right).

    1. Yeah, just because it’s basically a wild fever dream doesn’t make it any less a piece of literature. Just as Cronenberg’s adaptation of Naked Lunch is no less of a movie as any other. And I think HST’s work fits within a category of literature that contains multitudes of similarly disjointed, wild, often stream-of-consciousness works, though it stands out for its singularly erratic and eccentric audacity. It’s a piece of literature that could truly only be written by Thompson. Nobody will ever match his style, though some have tried. Of course, Terry Gilliam did a wonderful job capturing its spirit in his film adaptation.

      1. It’s a piece of literature that could truly only be written by Thompson. Nobody will ever match his style, though some have tried.

        That’s because, before he ever went on the fever dreams of Gonzo, Hunter was a great, straight investigative journalist — “straight” being a relative term here, of course, 🙂 since he always had nose for offbeat stories and something of an outré lifestyle, and was little known outside of fellow journalists and readers of the so-called “little magazines” and the underground press.

        Thompson’s Gonzo work was included in Tom Wolfe’s famous anthology putting a name to The New Journalism. But Hunter’s pre-Gonzo stuff anticipated what’s come to be known as The New New Journalism — the immersive, investigative journalism by the likes of Jon Krakauer and Michael Lewis and Ted Conover (who spent a year undercover as a guard at Sing Sing to write his book New Jack and the better part of another year undercover at a meat-packing plant to write “The Way of All Flesh”).

        Foremost among this pre-Gonzo writing, of course, was Thompson’s first book about the Hell’s Angels. Dunno if you’ve read that one or not, but whether or not you have, it’s worth reading the longform 1965 piece on The Angles first published by The Nation that, IIRC, scored the 20-something-year-old Thompson a contract for that first book — a piece you can read for free here.

        It’s great, straight investigative writing about what was then a little understood underclass sociological phenomenon.

        1. I never read the book, but I did read the article in The Nation. Big fan of Thompson’s earlier (and gonzo) work as a journalist.

    2. Of course I’m a big fan of Thompson and have read all his books (how else would I know the quotes?); the “literature” was to say that some people don’t consider them literature. These square quotes seem to have gotten out of hand so now everybody thinks that I don’t think Dr. Gonzo produced literature. That’s far from the truth, but I guess at this point I should issue a clarification.

      1. I figured you dug the Doc, boss; after all, he’s in the line of succession from The Beats (whom I know you’ve read and admire). That’s why (given that you often criticize scare quotes) I sought some clarification about why you used them in this instance.

        Appreciate the explanation.

  9. That’s one giant quahog! It’s as big as a geoduck! I wonder about that clam’s telomeres. Someone should examine that thing’s biology (before eating it).

    1. I don’t think you mean “grounded”. Wouldn’t that make them the path of least resistance which would make a strike possible? Like being in a car vs. standing in water?

  10. (Ref to the kidnapped Iranian father): Yesterday over on my favorite virology podcast someone asked why Paxlovid doesn’t affect our own metabolism, and since I knew why the answer given wasn’t specific enough to suit me, so I went looking for a good review, which I found; it’s open access, and it was quite good, covering the glutamine at the cleavage site (which is usually followed by a glycine or another small amino acid residue. Our own proteases don’t target any cleavage sites with glutamine targets, so that’s the answer. Then I looked at where the au’s were from. Have a look. How can a country on the one hand operate on this kind of level and on the other hand they way it does to Mr. Sharmahd?

    At least I guess it gives some reason to think that intelligent life can take over there once the mullahs are gone.

  11. And then in Ukraine, Russian losses are getting so great that they are apparently going the Hitler Youth recruitment route and even recruiting suicidal mental patients encouraging them to “join the army and die for a good cause.” (About 2/3 of the way thru the video.)

    It’s probably wishful thinking to see this as the beginning of the end.

  12. I think Ukraine will win this war, despite a large advantage of Russia in artillery and manpower. The Russian forces are divided and appear unable to conduct even a single combined arms operation (the debacle at Vuhledar is testimony).
    I thought the Ukrainians would retreat from Bakhmut, but apparently the Ukrainian high command (which I hold in extremely high esteem) judged differently. They obviously know things we don’t know. I was wrong again.

    1. Yep, Ukrainians have every motivation to fight, Russians have none. If they’re really down to trawling highschools and mental wards, history suggests that the end is nigh. A shootout between P*tin and Prig*zhin would be nice.

  13. Not convinced adding plastics to the urchin’s habitat is a good thing in the age of marine plastic pollution…

    1. They’re in an AQUARIUM, which undoubtedly also has stuff like plastic bubblers and other stuff. They are not putting this stuff in to the ocean. I’m curious where people are getting that idea.

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