Tuesday: Hili dialogue

April 11, 2023 • 4:21 am

by Matthew Cobb

PCC(E) is en route to gai Paris, so there will be minimal service today. Feel free to pitch in with whatever is on your mind in the Comments. But please play nicely together while the boss is away.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleepy after philosophising.

Hili: I give up.
A: Why?
Hili: Looking for truth is too exhausting.
In Polish:
Hili: Poddaję się.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Poszukiwanie prawdy jest zbyt wyczerpujące.

20 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1727 – Premiere of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion BWV 244b at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony (now Germany).

    1909 – The city of Tel Aviv is founded.

    1945 – World War II: American forces liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.

    1951 – The Stone of Scone, the stone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned, is found on the site of the altar of Arbroath Abbey. It had been taken by Scottish nationalist students from its place in Westminster Abbey.

    1961 – The trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem.

    1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

    1970 – Apollo Program: Apollo 13 is launched.

    1976 – The Apple I is created.

    1981 – A massive riot in Brixton, south London results in almost 300 police injuries and 65 serious civilian injuries.

    1990 – Customs officers in Middlesbrough, England, seize what they believe to be the barrel of a massive gun on a ship bound for Iraq.

    1755 – James Parkinson, English surgeon, geologist, and paleontologist (d. 1824). [Best known for his 1817 work An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, in which he was the first to describe “paralysis agitans”, a condition that would later be renamed Parkinson’s disease by Jean-Martin Charcot.

    1908 – Jane Bolin, American lawyer and judge (d. 2007). [The first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association and the first to join the New York City Law Department. She became the first black woman to serve as a judge in the United States when she was sworn into the bench of the New York City Domestic Relations Court in 1939.]

    1914 – Dorothy Lewis Bernstein, American mathematician (d. 1988). [The first woman to be elected president of the Mathematics Association of America.]

    1946 – Bob Harris, English journalist and radio host. [“Whispering Bob” is probably most famous for presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test.]

    1953 – Andrew Wiles, English mathematician and academic. [ Best known for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem, for which he was awarded the 2016 Abel Prize and the 2017 Copley Medal by the Royal Society.]

    1964 – John Cryer, English journalist and politician.

    1969 – Cerys Matthews, Welsh singer-songwriter.

    1987 – Joss Stone, English singer-songwriter and actress.

    Harmony glanced to her left, and my gaze followed hers to the living room, where my aunt had died, my cousin had been restored, and I’d whacked a psychotic grim reaper with a cast-iron skillet. Weirdest. Tuesday. Ever.: [With apologies to Rachel Vincent.]

    1890 – Joseph Merrick, English man with severe deformities (b. 1862).

    1895 – Julius Lothar Meyer, German chemist (b. 1830). [One of the pioneers in developing the earliest versions of the periodic table of the chemical elements. The Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev (his chief rival) and he had both worked with Robert Bunsen.]

    1906 – James Anthony Bailey, American businessman, co-founded Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (b. 1847).

    1985 – Enver Hoxha, Albanian educator and politician, 21st Prime Minister of Albania (b. 1908).

    1987 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author (b. 1919).

    2001 – Harry Secombe, Welsh-English actor (b. 1921).

    2007 – Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1922).

    2017 – J. Geils, American singer and guitarist (b. 1946).

    1. “Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem is a proof by British mathematician Andrew Wiles of a special case of the modularity theorem for elliptic curves. Together with Ribet’s theorem, it provides a proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem.


      Wiles first announced his proof on 23 June 1993 at a lecture in Cambridge entitled “Modular Forms, Elliptic Curves and Galois Representations”.[2] However, in September 1993 the proof was found to contain an error. One year later on 19 September 1994, in what he would call “the most important moment of [his] working life”, Wiles stumbled upon a revelation that allowed him to correct the proof to the satisfaction of the mathematical community. The corrected proof was published in 1995.[3]”



      …. AKA another instance of white cis-dominated male hegemony and privilege that harms the indigenous and erases the existence of … violent white racist chalk on blackboards.

      Whew – my daily intersectional critical-theoretical exercise for the day is done!

  2. A rich trove to comment on. I’ll pick two. On a musical tour of Germany in the mid ’90s, I visited the St. Thomas Church, an experience of exalted joy. On the same trip, I visited Buchenwald, an experience of deep sadness. I treasure the memories of both experiences.

    1. I see an ant and things on Earth … so that’s like we are looking at each planet surface as if we are sort of prone position gazing at the bugs, but each planet simultaneously…


      The gaps and cracks, that’s how they appear. At certain, specified geographies. So, not at the North pole.

    2. Tom, there is a fan community which tries to explain XKCD, on the website ExplainXKCD.com . The entry for the cartoon in question is at https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2761:_1-to-1_Scale

      If I understand the point, “1 to 1 scale” means life size, so each planet would be represented by a huge rectangle or polygon, as large as the planet itself. What we see here is a cropped portion of a display where they are laid out, with overlapping corners here.

    3. I think it’s showing the surface roughness of the planets – notice how all the gas giants are perfectly smooth. The 1:1 scale just means that all surfaces are shown as if the planets were all the same size.

  3. Thank you Matthew! And bon appetit Jerry. I will simply add a “da nooze” follow-up: In January Jerry had an article in da nooze regarding a six-year old first-grader shooting his teacher in the classroom in Newport News, VA. I am from Newport News and said at that time that I had great trust in the police chief and the Commonwealth’s attorney to do the right thing, but little trust in the school board or the school administration. Not much has been heard since January other than that the boy will not be charged. However yesterday (and forgive me Ken if I do not get the legal words correct) it was announced that a grand jury has charged the boy’s mother with a felonyand a misdemeanor associated with the boy getting possession of the gun that she had said through her attorney was safely stored on a top shelf in her closet with a trigger lock. She’s supposed to turn herself in this week. There should also be a special grand jury meeting to assess the actions of school administrators and teachers. Anyway, just an update that the authorities are continuing to deal with the matter in a formal and careful way.

  4. … I propose a monicker for Professor Cobb :


    Meaning Professor Cobb (England)

    Anyone? No?

  5. Best Fermat Theorem reference in popular culture (from Wikipedia):

    “In The Simpsons episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer Simpson writes the equation 3987^{12}+4365^{12}=4472^{12}} on a blackboard, which appears to be a counterexample to Fermat’s Last Theorem. The equation is wrong, but it appears to be correct if entered in a calculator with 10 significant figures.”

      1. Thanks for that! I’ve just learned that one of the Simpson’s writers actually had studied with Ken Ribet, whose proof provided part of the foundations of Wiles’ proof of the theorem.

      2. Finding two large-power numbers that agree with” a^x + b^x – c^x = 0″ for the first (arbitrarily large) number of most-significant digits isn’t a trivial piece of computation. But I had to go off on a journey into the wonderful world of arbitrary precision calculators (and forgot that I’d got “bc” on the system) to work out that was what was happening.
        I’d actually thought the proposer had got the numbers to agree in their least significant bits – which any fule can do by hiding factors of 2 and 5 in the original numbers in equal quantities, before doing the exponentiation.
        Regardless, it requires a particular, one could even say “peculiar” type of error-handling in the putative “10-digit calculator”. I’m not sure I’ve seen one that would display the result of
        16134474609751291283496491970515151715346481 +
        47842181739947321332739738982639336181640625 - 63976656348486725806862358322168575784124416 =
        63976656349698612616236230953154487896987106 -
        63976656348486725806862358322168575784124416 =
        00000000001211886809373872630985912112862690 with all the leading zeros.

        Even the venerable HP-6610 [Edit : Honeywell, 66/80 ; I later worked with HP 98xx computers and was forever getting the two confused.] on which I cut my programming teeth would have discarded the leading zeros unless specifically told to include them, because ink on a teletype terminal costs money (as did the paper).
        Does this instance of WordPress honour the [CODE]tag[/CODE]? EDIT : it does.

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