Wednesday: Hili dialogue

July 26, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on a hump day (কুঁজ দিন in Bengali), Wednesday, July 26, 2023, and National Bagelfest. If you don’t live in Montreal, good luck in getting the real thing:

The real thing, dense, chewy, cooked over a wood fire, and boiled with a bit of honey (with schmear):

It’s also Aunts and Uncles Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, World Tofu Day, and Esperanto Day, celebrating ” the publication of Unua Libro, the first book in the Esperanto language, by the language’s creator, L. L. Zamenhof on this day in 1887. As Wikipedia notes, “Esperanto was created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by L. L. Zamenhof, a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist from Białystok, then part of the Russian Empire, but now part of Poland.”  I tried to learn it when I was a kid, but gave up quickly, and I know nobody who speaks it now.  But it still has official uses, for example by the Chinese government.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 26 Wikipedia page.

Reader Rick writes in saying that it’s George Bernard Shaw’s birthday, and sends a quote:

I have never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from other men. There is not much harm in a lion. He has no ideals, no religion, no politics, no chivalry, no gentility; in short, no reason for destroying anything that he does not want to eat.

-George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (26 Jul 1856-1950)

Da Nooz:

*Israel is still recovering from the legislature’s passage of a law that weakens the power of the nation’s Supreme Court, and politicians are plotting their next move.

After a night of furious mass protests, Israelis on Tuesday confronted a divided nation, some celebrating and some seething over the passage of a highly contentious law that limits the Supreme Court’s ability to check governmental power.

Quiet generally prevailed across the country, as supporters and opponents of the law — the first step in a broader effort by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultraconservative government to curb judges’ influence — considered their next moves in a political standoff that could take weeks or months to play out.

Even as most demonstrators who had camped outside Parliament left after an eviction order, leaders of the protest movement, which has held mass rallies for 29 consecutive weeks, have vowed to fight on. Thousands of doctors scaled back medical operations in much of the country on Tuesday, hundreds of high-tech industry leaders said they’re considering moving their businesses abroad and the country’s biggest union said it was still considering a general strike.

How the deeper political crisis might be resolved remains unclear. Opposition activists said they had already asked Israel’s Supreme Court to review the law limiting its powers. A decision could take months, but the case would set up a crisis among the branches of the Israeli government.

And the doctors are on strike, too, which seems very unfortunate as the issue is a political, not a medical one:

The Israeli Medical Association, which represents 97 percent of Israel’s doctors, declared a strike in much of the country for Tuesday, saying its members outside Jerusalem, the capital, would handle only emergencies and critical care needs.

Israelis in the military have threatened to strike, though so far few have done so.

More than 11,000 Israelis in the military reserve said last week they’d resign if the government’s judicial overhaul went ahead. But now that the law has been passed, military officials and experts say it will take time to test the sincerity of those warnings.

The military says that the vast majority of those who participated in the joint declarations last week have yet to either send in their resignations or formally turn down direct call-ups. Since most reservists only get called up a few times a year, it may be weeks or months before significant numbers are forced to follow through with their threats.

“It’s still too early to say,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman. “People still seem to be sleeping on the decision.”

In the meantime, the military is trying to persuade the relatively few who have already withdrawn to change their minds, Colonel Hecht said. “We’re saying to them: ‘We need you, only together can we defend this house,’” Colonel Hecht said.

If you were an Arab state bent on eliminating Israel, you’d now be thinking about invading. But somehow I can’t imagine Israeli reservists refusing to defend their country.

*A federal judge has overturned Biden’s new immigration policy, which was aimed at restricting immigration at the southern border by regularizing the way immigrants applied for admission. This seems to be a blow to Biden but a boon to “progressive” Republicans:

A federal judge struck down on Tuesday a stringent new asylum policy that officials have called crucial to managing the southern border, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s strategy after illegal crossings by migrants declined sharply in the last few months.

The rule, which has been in effect since May 12, disqualifies most people from applying for asylum if they have crossed into the United States without either securing an appointment at an official port of entry or proving that they sought legal protection in another country along the way.

Immigrant advocacy groups who sued the administration said that the policy violated U.S. law and heightened migrants’ vulnerability to extortion and violence during protracted waits in Mexican border towns. They also argued that it mimicked a Trump administration rule to restrict asylum that was blocked in 2019 by the same judge, Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Judge Tigar stayed his order for 14 days, agreeing to a request by the Biden administration to give it time to appeal.

. . . A migrant surge could open up President Biden to attacks from Republicans, as campaigning gets underway for the presidential election next year. This policy, in particular, did not diverge greatly from the one introduced by President Donald J. Trump, according to legal experts.

. . . Even so, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit could put Judge Tigar’s ruling against the policy on hold while the government appeals, and the case could ultimately reach the Supreme Court.

Once again, I fault Congress for failing to pass sensible immigration legislation; there seems to be no will, especially among Democrats, to do so. And even that legislation might have to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court.

*This is past history by now, but the news has just been reported. According to the Washington Post, when  Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the mercenary Wagner Group, started his mutiny and March on Moscow, Putin was paralyzed with indecision, a distinctly un-Putinlike behavior.

When Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, launched his attempted mutiny on the morning of June 24, Vladimir Putin was paralyzed and unable to act decisively, according to Ukrainian and other security officials in Europe. No orders were issued for most of the day, the officials said.

The Russian president had been warned by the Russian security services at least two or three days ahead of time that Prigozhin was preparing a possible rebellion, according to intelligence assessments shared with The Washington Post. Steps were taken to boost security at several strategic facilities, including the Kremlin, where staffing in the presidential guard was increased and more weapons were handed out, but otherwise no actions were taken, these officials said.

“Putin had time to take the decision to liquidate [the rebellion] and arrest the organizers” said one of the European security officials, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. “Then when it began to happen, there was paralysis on all levels … There was absolute dismay and confusion. For a long time, they did not know how to react.”

This account of the standoff, corroborated by officials in Western governments, provides the most detailed look at the paralysis and disarray inside the Kremlin during the first hours of the severest challenge to Putin’s 23-year presidency. It is consistent with public comments by CIA Director William J. Burns last week that for much of the 36 hours of the mutiny Russian security services, the military and decision-makers “appeared to be adrift.”

It also appears to expose Putin’s fear of directly countering a renegade warlord who’d developed support within Russia’s security establishment over a decade. Prigozhin had become an integral part of the Kremlin global operations by running troll farms disseminating disinformation in the United States and paramilitary operations in the Middle East and Africa, before officially taking a vanguard position in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

As the local authorities didn’t get any information from the Kremlin, they assumed the Wagner March was okay with Putin, and let Prigozhin’s band march on.  Not good leadership. However, the Post adds that it also speaks as well to widespread dissatisfaction within Russian forces with Putin:

The disarray in the Kremlin also reflects a deepening divide inside Russia’s security and military establishment over the conduct of the war in Ukraine, with many including in the upper reaches of the security services and military supporting Prigozhin’s drive to oust Russia’s top military leadership, the European security officials said.

Putin appears to have righted himself, but the dissatisfaction within the Russian military and security services is heartening to supporters of Ukraine—unless those people are even bigger aggressors than Putin.

*From the Heterodox Academy comes a short essay by David Sacks, a Stanford Law School student, “How universities should consider diversity after SSFA” (the court decision in “Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. vs. President and Fellows of Harvard College“)

Diversity-related values, such as promoting a diverse academy or ensuring equality of opportunity, are laudable. In many ways, Justice Powell’s view recommends itself to those of us who embrace the Heterodox Academy’s values of viewpoint diversity and academic freedom. However, I see two problems with Powell’s approach: The Court is right about Affirmative Action’s unconstitutionality, and relatedly, it is functionally the wrong approach for promoting diversity. . .

An emphasis on diversity of experience better captures the values Justice Powell aimed to capture in Bakke — and it better accords with HxA’s values too. Diversity of experience not only can prepare students for a university’s academic rigor — it makes a more interesting student body, promoting viewpoint diversity. The university exists primarily to encourage students’ intellectual and spiritual growth, and to promote thoughtful, novel research.

Thus, there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing diversity in admissions — a student body with the widest variety of interests, perspectives, abilities, and worldviews will create a richer educational environment inside and outside the classroom. But doing so based on race misses the point. Eliminating this crude proxy may create more work for admissions committees to ensure that deserving disadvantaged students can earn their spot in the institution. But this work is worth the time it takes. It is the privilege of the university to elevate deserving candidates across all groups, and in so doing, create a richer, more viewpoint-diverse student body.

This, of course, will eliminate the number of minority students in elite colleges, for there are plenty of other students who have diverse viewpoints, and it’s fatuous to believe that, say, all blacks or Hispanics share a single homogeneous viewpoint. (Were that the case, then increasing ethnic diversity would decrease “viewpoint diversity.” Fortunately, I don’t accept this patronizing view of minorities. In the end, there’s no substitute for the hard work of going through application by application, ensuring that all are good enough to pass a bar of merit but then confecting a truly diverse student body.

*World Aquatics, the governing body of the sport, has announced that it has created an “open” category for transgender swimmers.

Swimming will set up an “open category” that will include transgender competitors, the governing body of the sport said Tuesday.

World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam said the event would take place in the future but gave no details. Reports suggest it could be this year.

“This is a very complex topic,” Al-Musallam said at the World Aquatics Congress. “But I am delighted to tell you today that we are now making plans for the first trial of an open category, and we hope to be able to confirm all the details soon.

“Our sport must be open to everybody,” he said.

World Aquatics had previously banned transgender competitors from major events such as the Olympics and world championships.

The topic has been divisive and many governing bodies in major sports have avoided it. And there will be many questions to answer as the first trial event unfolds under the eyes of lawyers and scientists.

“It was very important that we protected fair competition for our female athletes,” Al-Musallam said. “But you have heard me say many times there should be no discrimination. Nobody should be excluded from our competitions.”

This isn’t ideal, as it pits transgender male swimmers against transgender female ones, with the latter probably having an inherent advantage. But it at least allows trans people to compete in athletics—something that’s essential to have fairness for everyone in athletics.  I suspect more sports federations will be going this route.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn. I asked Malgorzata what Hili, lying on the windowsill, was kvetching about, and got this response, “To quite a lot of phenomena but mainly to wokeness and to behavior of Israeli elites (she read the article by Bret Stephens and marveled about the way this very intelligent man’s mind works).”

Hili: I have new data.
A: On what topic?
Hili: The rise of the level of irrationality among the enlightened.
In Polish:
Hili: Mam nowe dane.
Ja: Na jaki temat?
Hili: Wzrostu poziomu irracjonalności w populacji oświeconych.


From The Cat House on the Kings:

If you know your Oppenheimer, you’ll recognize this phrase, where and when Oppenheimer said the original, and where it came from. From Kristin:

And, given the day, this is appropriate. From Pet Jokes & Puns (or GTFO!):

Lagniappe: go here.

From Masih; the brave women of Iran #7,562. She’s not wearing a hijab, either.

I found this one. There’s either water or salt on that turtle’s head:

From Simon, who says “But why?” (Good question!). He adds, “I think the slow motion hurts even more!”

From Malcolm. But why is this cat angry? (sound up).

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a 30-year-old man who lived but two weeks in the camp before dying:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, about to have cataracts removed and new lenses installed. In the first one, Matthew likes the bear but I was more interested in the skunks.

Sound up. But why are these soldiers in England?

A byproduct of Matthew’s research on his Crick biography. The solutions, of course, involved how are proteins made, followed by the discovery of DNA, followed by the deciphering of the genetic code, the discovery of messenger RNA, and the way that proteins are synthesized on ribosomes.


40 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

      1. Funnily enough I was visiting a major UK army base which is next door to Stonehenge only last Saturday. A family gathering at the Royal Artillery Officer’s Mess at Larkhill which is only about a mile from Stonehenge.

        The whole of that area is riddled with army sites with, as others have mentioned, Salisbury Plain being its largest training ground.

        One aside: because it is under strict control by the UK MoD and is not available for farming or development, Salisbury Plain is a haven for wildlife and archaeology.

  1. The duality in meaning of the word “diversity” is the same duality as “critical”. They can be used as “weasel words” to give advantage to critical social justice/post-modernist ideology it its intellectually antagonistic plan.

  2. I should report that we went to Oppenheimer yesterday and can cross that off the list. It was a good movie, always easier to see the faults than the good stuff. The acting was very good and the story was well told. I am not a fan of movies that jump around and back and fourth a great deal and this one did lots of that. That mostly detracts from the story if done too much. People who know almost nothing about Oppenheimer and the story could be confused in the way it is told. These things would be better to flow in order. I rarely go to the theater because the volume is turned up way too much. I take ear plugs.

      1. Hear Hear The Critical Drinker – sometimes I don’t like / agree, but he makes a clear point enough times that I have to say he’s worth listening to occasionally…

        Hell, it’s entertainment! It’s easy!

        [ Scottish accent ]
        “Go away now.”

        1. I used to watch his videos but I lost faith with his judgement after watching his critique of The Glass Onion. He hates Rian Johnson to the point that he appeared to edit one clip to make a critical scene look incoherent.

          1. Ooo – this is what I mean – I watched that too – because I thought Knives Out was enthralling. OK, so I’ll try to work Glass Onion in one of these days…

            … heh… song titles.

  3. On this day:
    1579 – Francis Drake, the English explorer, discovers a major bay on the coast of California (San Francisco).

    1745 – The first recorded women’s cricket match takes place near Guildford, England.

    1775 – The office that would later become the United States Post Office Department is established by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania takes office as Postmaster General.

    1803 – The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opens in south London, United Kingdom.

    1847 – Liberia declares its independence from the United States. France and the United Kingdom are the first to recognize the new nation.

    1882 – Premiere of Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal at Bayreuth.

    1887 – Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

    1892 – Dadabhai Naoroji is elected as the first Indian Member of Parliament in Britain.

    1918 – Emmy Noether’s paper, which became known as Noether’s theorem was presented at Göttingen, Germany, from which conservation laws are deduced for symmetries of angular momentum, linear momentum, and energy.

    1944 – World War II: The Red Army enters Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine, capturing it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jews survive out of 160,000 living in Lviv prior to occupation.

    1945 – The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

    1948 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military of the United States.

    1953 – Cold War: Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution. The movement took the name of the date: 26th of July Movement.

    1956 – Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, sparking international condemnation.

    1963 – Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

    1977 – The National Assembly of Quebec imposes the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

    1989 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.

    2016 – Hillary Clinton becomes the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    2016 – Solar Impulse 2 becomes the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the Earth.

    1819 – Justin Holland, American guitarist and educator (d. 1887).

    1838 – Silas Soule, American soldier and whistleblower of the Sand Creek Massacre (d. 1865).

    1856 – George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1950).

    1875 – Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist (d. 1961).

    1893 – George Grosz, German painter and illustrator (d. 1959).

    1894 – Aldous Huxley, English novelist and philosopher (d. 1963).

    1895 – Gracie Allen, American actress and comedian (d. 1964).

    1904 – Edwin Albert Link, American industrialist and entrepreneur, invented the flight simulator (d. 1981).

    1919 – James Lovelock, English biologist and chemist (d. 2022).

    1922 – Blake Edwards, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2010).

    1928 – Stanley Kubrick, American director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer (d. 1999).

    1943 – Mick Jagger, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor.

    1945 – Helen Mirren, English actress.

    1949 – Roger Taylor, English singer-songwriter, drummer, and producer.

    1950 – Susan George, English actress and producer.

    1959 – Kevin Spacey, American actor and director. [Currently on trial in London.]

    1964 – Sandra Bullock, American actress and producer.

    1969 – Tanni Grey-Thompson, Welsh baroness and wheelchair racer.

    1973 – Kate Beckinsale, English actress.

    1993 – Taylor Momsen, American singer-songwriter, model, and actress.

    Sing with me, just for today
    Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away:

    1533 – Atahualpa, Inca emperor abducted and murdered by Francisco Pizarro (b. ca. 1500).

    1659 – Mary Frith, English criminal (b. 1584). [AKA Moll Cutpurse.]

    1680 – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, English poet and courtier (b. 1647). [Dad’s friend Doyne Byrd wrote and performed a one-man play about Wilmot, which he took to the Edinburgh Festival.]

    1952 – Eva Perón, Argentinian politician, 25th First Lady of Argentina (b. 1919).

    1971 – Diane Arbus, American photographer and academic (b. 1923).

    1984 – George Gallup, American mathematician and statistician, founded the Gallup Company (b. 1901).

    1995 – Laurindo Almeida, Brazilian-American guitarist and composer (b. 1917). [He and Bud Shank were pioneers in the creation of bossa nova. Almeida was the first guitarist to receive Grammy Awards for both classical and jazz performances. His discography encompasses more than a hundred recordings over five decades.]

    2009 – Merce Cunningham, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1919).

    2015 – Ann Rule, American police officer and author (b. 1931). [Best known for The Stranger Beside Me (1980), about the serial killer Ted Bundy, with whom Rule worked and whom she considered a friend, but was later revealed to be a murderer. Rule is also known for her book Small Sacrifices, about Oregon child murderer Diane Downs.]

    2020 – Olivia de Havilland, American actress (b. 1916).

        1. One of my favorite movies! I’m getting goosebumps thinking about the closing scene. Yes, watch it again!

    1. Kevin Spacey was acquitted of sexual assault charges in London. Thus, nothing remains of the accusations of almost 6 years ago. Spacey’s career, however, is in ruins. I wonder if he will be able to restart it. And if so, where could a new start work out? The European filmmakers, producers and directors have fewer fears, as the case of Woody Allen shows.

  4. “World Aquatics had previously banned transgender competitors from major events such as the Olympics and world championships “
    I keep seeing this alleged ban on transgender competitors reported as a fact in news outlets.
    In fact no sports governing body has ever “banned “ transgender athletes; they have simply been required to compete in their actual sex category. They have have no more been “banned” than Tyson Fury has been banned from boxing as a featherweight or Michael Phelps has been banned from competing in the Under 12s.

      1. I won’t fault you for being annoyed with me for making the same point below. I trust you will know your point was not visible to me when I was writing mine. I hope my larger point comes through, as to how the open category would work.

    1. Just so we follow – the relevant bit of news written by the linked source – i.e. not anyone here :

      “World Aquatics had previously banned transgender competitors from major events such as the Olympics and world championships.”

      So yes, that is an excellent point – but is that true, and how would we know? I.e. trans athletes were, it could be insinuated, always banned – until now..?

    2. People use the language to gaslight us into believing that trans woman competitors are banned when the reality is that they are only banned from women’s competitions.

  5. The article on World Aquatics like others is misleading. No sport bans transgendered athletes from competition. What is banned is male athletes competing against women. The activists frame this as saying, “transwomen are banned from competing against other women”, which is a trick with words.

    The swimming category open to transgender competitors announced by World Aquatics remains to be fleshed out. I don’t see it as pitting the two sexes unfairly against each other. The only sex that will be allowed to compete as trans-identitied will be men. Trans-identitied women will be disqualified on doping grounds if they have used testosterone to support female-to-male transition: pharmaceutical testosterone is an easily detected performance-enhancing substance banned for both sexes. If a trans-identified woman has not used testosterone or other illegal substances she would be able to compete without restriction in the women’s category as now.

    The only drawback of the trans-open category will be the tiny field. Trans-identified male athletes like Lia Thomas make headlines because one athlete beats out hundreds of women for a title. It will be another kettle of fish entirely to try to find enough trans athletes for each school to have a whole team of them in several sports. At many meets there will be one guy in the pool swimming all by himself. I can see a way to game this, too. Male swimmers who weren’t quite good enough to make the varsity men’s team would self-identify as women and compete in the trans-open category. Trans activists do say that you can’t deny someone’s claim to be trans. No one would object because they wouldn’t be taking medals and scholarships from women. The open category would become merely the second-rank competition for men. In the long run, the unstable open category will revert to the men’s category, with some wearing women’s Speedos, is all.

    1. I want nothing to do with this discussion but what about Ledecky. She seems to be on another planet.

    2. The only drawback of the trans-open category will be the tiny field.
      I read the World Aquatics proposal as introducing just two categories, Women, for women, and Open, for men however they “identify”. Transmen (women who identify as men) could compete in either provided that they aren’t using testosterone, but would be advised to compete in their real sex class if they want a chance of winning. As indeed happened at the NCAA competition – Lia Thomas got all of the attention, but there was a female-to-male transgender competitor in some of the same races.

      1. I remember her. She had had double mastectomy but remained eligible to compete with the women—and did so—because she delayed starting testosterone in her transition until after she finished her collegiate athletic career. She swam in a regulation wgomen’s maillot but after one race she pulled the top down to show off her scars.

    3. It seems to make more sense to me if their understanding of sex is more like a religion – as if male / female categorical segregation is an unjust religious one.

      And by “more sense” I of course do not mean “sensible”… right…

  6. A byproduct of Matthew’s research on his Crick biography.

    Hugh Huxley, who I listed amongst the deaths below the line in yesterday’s Hili, was originally going to do the protein research:

    Huxley studied physics at Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1941. During his second year, his education was interrupted by the Second World War, and he joined the Royal Air Force as a radar officer. He worked on the development of radar equipment for during 1943 to 1947, for which he was later honoured a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). His expertise in mechanical and electrical devices became useful throughout his scientific career. After completing his service, he returned to Cambridge for his final year, and he received his BA in physics in 1948. The war had completely diminished his interest in physics, particularly on the horrors of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He therefore joined Cambridge University to become the first PhD student in a newly formed Laboratory of Molecular Biology, then a small Medical Research Council MRC unit founded by Max Perutz and John Kendrew, who supervised him. (The LMB was then a small “hut” near the famous Cavendish Laboratory.) He was initially given X-ray analysis of proteins, but he turned to muscle. (The protein study was given to the other student Francis Crick, of the eventual DNA fame.) From there he earned his PhD in 1952 in molecular biology. For his thesis titled Investigations in Biological Structures by X-Ray Methods. The Structure of Muscle, he used low-angle, X-ray scattering of live muscle fibers.

  7. If you know your Oppenheimer, you’ll recognize this phrase, where and when Oppenheimer said the original, and where it came from.

    Oppie’s most famous use of the phrase came after the successful test of the Trinity device in the New Mexico desert. But in the Christopher Nolan film, his first use of “now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds” comes when he reads it in the original Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita to Jean Tatlock, his zaftig (and quondam commie) lover (played by the lovely, but nearly unrecognizable in the role, Florence Pugh).

      1. Here’s a clip of Oppenheimer saying he remembered the lines immediately after the Trinity test, though he doesn’t claim that he recited them aloud, let alone that he recited them aloud in a manner such that anyone else would have overheard him (though the Nolan film left that impression):

  8. Apologies for posting again, but the lagniappe was excellent! A $200,000 luxury penthouse for ducks, and their own dedicated member of staff?

  9. If you don’t live in Montreal, good luck in getting the real thing [Montreal-style bagels]

    Here in Ottawa, we have the good luck of having several outlets that offer Montreal-style bagels. My wife and I go to Kettlemans. IIRC, the owners came from Montreal and were trained there in how to make authentic Montreal-style bagels. They have three outlets in Ottawa, one in Montreal, and three in the Toronto area. At the Glebe outlet, you can watch the bagels being made and they’ve always been still warm from the oven when we bought them.

    Last time I checked, there were at least two other bakeries in Ottawa that offered authentic (Montreal-trained) Montreal-style bagels.

    PCC(e), next time you’re in Ottawa (and I hope you will come back so I can personally thank you again for this wonderful website), I would be honoured to take you to Kettlemans to check them out.


  10. Lots of people speak Esperanto now! An estimated two million people are fluent, some in almost every country in the world. That’s partly because you can learn Esperanto about four times faster than other languages.

    More about Esperanto in the United States:

  11. I would like to offer a few points concerning the judicial overhaul in Israel.
    1. To the best of my knowledge, in its decisions the Israeli Hight Court of Justice gives an elaborate explanation why and how the principle of reasonableness is applied. I checked a few of them – they are very long, clear and elaborate.
    2. In contrast to many other Western-style legal systems, Israel doesn’t and can’t have a constitution, and it also doesn’t have a comprehensive system of laws, so in many cases there is no relevant law a court can base its decision on. Instead, it uses the principle of “reasonableness” that is sometimes based on values rather than on clearly defined rules. The High Court promotes liberal values, which are not exactly the ones the current ultra-conservative government holds. There is a clash of values here.
    3. The use of the “reasonableness principle” is relatively rare. In many cases the High Court have decided not to intervene in the government policy or in the lawmaking process. It usually intervenes in cases when the injustice is obvious from the liberal point of view. For example, when Netanyahu appointed Arie Deri a health minister in the end of 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that Deri cannot hold a position in the cabinet because, inter alia, of his conviction for tax offenses and the terms of his plea deal in 2021. By the way, even before that, in 2000, the same Arie Deri was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as the interior minister, and he spent 2 years in jail. For many Israelis, even the right-wing ones, Deri is a symbol of corruption and dishonesty. But Deri is a prominent and very influential ultra-orthodox politician with close ties to Netanyahu, and his appointment is a matter of principle for the right-wing religious parties and for Netanyahu personally. This recent event is one of the triggers of the current crisis. This is just one example.
    4. The issue of reasonableness is just a part of a larger phenomenon of the judicial overhaul planned by Netanyahu and the Minister of Justice Levin. Other planned laws are no less problematic, in my view. Most importantly, I think all this needs to be seen in a wider context. It is basically all about the cultural conflict between liberal (and mostly secular) part of the Israeli Jews and the conservative (and mostly religious) one. There are a lot of ultra-conservative laws and decisions in the planning that are not even directly connected to the judicial overhaul. It is a very long story, and here I only want to remark that, in my view, the current Israeli ultra-conservative right-wing government despises quite a few of the values this site promotes. This is the basic reason why so many Israelis, including myself, are against the reform. It is all about values. There is a culture war here.
    Sorry for such a long comment.

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