Thursday: Hili dialogue

August 24, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Thursday, August 24, 2023, and National Peach Pie Day, a delectable treat, rarely seen in its large form but often offered in the south as a “hand pie” for an individual dessert:


It’s also Can Opener Day, National Knife Day, National Waffle Day, Independence Day or Den’ Nezalezhnosti, celebrating the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kobe Bryant Day, a proposed federal holiday in the United States, in reference to his 2 jersey numbers, as well as the day after his birthday, and, finally, National Burger Day in the UK. In honor of that day, I present to you Britain’s champion eater, Leah Shutkever, downing burgers as fast as she can. She works out so she doesn’t get fat, but there are dozens of videos on YouTube showing her setting rapid-eating records.

Five huge burgers in less than ten minutes! This Jewish lass is after my own heart.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 24 Wikipedia page.

There’s a Google Doodle today (click below) celebrating the first successful landing of a spacecraft and rover on the Moon’s south pole. This was accomplished by India, days after a similar Russian attempt failed because it crashed. From the NYT, some nooz:

Two visitors from India — a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan — landed in the southern polar region of the moon on Wednesday. The two robots, from a mission named Chandrayaan-3, make India the first country to ever reach this part of the lunar surface in one piece — and only the fourth country ever to land on the moon.

“We have achieved soft landing on the moon,” S. Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said after a roar ripped through the ISRO compound just past 6 p.m. local time. “India is on the moon.”

Sadly, it’s also a feather in theocratic PM Modi’s cap:

Indian officials have been advocating in favor of a multipolar world order in which New Delhi is seen as indispensable to global solutions. In space exploration, as in many other fields, the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been clear: The world will be a fairer place if India takes on a leadership role, even as the world’s most populous nation works to meet its people’s basic needs.

Da Nooz:

*We’re still on truncated news until I get more sleep, but we have a few items, and there’s a big one first, called to my attention by reader Simon, who sent these tweets and said:

“I noted in a message to you, that I thought this guy might fall out of a window when he moved to Belarus. Apparently though that was not to be his fate.”:

A while back I too noted that the life of the head of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, wasn’t worth a plugged nickel when he went back to Russia. He had, after all, started a rebellion against Putin—a death sentence in Russia. But he was still alive—until yesterday, when he was killed in a deeply suspicious plane crash, and I bet one created on Putin’s orders.  From the NYT:

Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group who staged a brief mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in June, was listed as a passenger on a plane that crashed Wednesday, killing all 10 people aboard, according to Russian aviation authorities.

“An investigation of the Embraer plane crash that happened in the Tver Region this evening was initiated,” the Federal Agency for Air Transport of Russia said in a statement, according to the state news agency Tass. “According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list.”

Frustrated over the country’s military leadership, Mr. Prigozhin, the outspoken tycoon who built the private paramilitary force that has fought on Russia’s behalf in Ukraine and across Africa, instigated a short rebellion two months ago with his Wagner forces that posed a grave threat to the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Despite his actions, he has appeared to move about freely in the mutiny’s aftermath, including meeting with Mr. Putin on June 29.

. . . Video shared on the messaging platform Telegram appears to show the aircraft that reportedly crashed burning on the ground. The paint and a partial registration number visible on the aircraft in the video aligns with a jet the Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is known to use, RA-02795. Flight tracking websites indicate that the flight ended abruptly near Tver, northwest of Moscow, around 6 p.m. local time.

That video shows a plane completely destroyed and in flames. But maybe he didn’t die, as the report adds this:

Russian media reported that eight bodies had so far been recovered.

. . . Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fate remains unclear. Several Russian news outlets are reporting, citing anonymous sources, that he was indeed on the plane that crashed. But Grey Zone, a Telegram account associated with Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary group, just posted that it remained uncertain whether the warlord was dead or alive.

What caused the crash? The Russians are pretending it was some type of safety violation:

Russia’s Investigative Committee, a top law enforcement body, announced the opening of a case on the plane crash, on suspicion of a violation of air transport safety rules. It said investigators had been dispatched to the site of the crash.

Rule violation my tuchas! The Wall Street Journal adds this:

Social-media channels close to Wagner said Russian air defenses shot down the jet, an Embraer Legacy 600. Video footage posted by onlookers showed what looked like the trail of a missile and the plane falling from the sky with one wing missing.

Well, it’s Russia, Jake, and we may never know for sure.

Here’s a video of the plane crashing; apparently it looks as if one wing was missing:

*Merilee reports that Jordan Peterson has at last received some punishment (I’m not implying that this is proper, I’m just the messenger).

An Ontario court has ruled against controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson, upholding a regulatory body’s order that he undergo social media training or potentially lose his licence to practice.

In a decision released Wednesday, three Ontario Divisional Court judges unanimously sided with the College of Psychologists of Ontario in a case stemming from some of Peterson’s contentious language and online statements.

Justice Paul Schabas wrote that the college’s order that Peterson undergo a program on professionalism in public statements balanced its mandate to regulate the profession, “is not disciplinary and does not prevent Dr. Peterson from expressing himself on controversial topics.”

Peterson had said his statements were not made in his capacity as a clinical psychologist, but instead were “off-duty opinions” – an argument the court rejected

“Dr. Peterson sees himself functioning as a clinical psychologist ‘in the broad public space’ where he claims to be helping ‘millions of people,’” Schabas wrote.

“Peterson cannot have it both ways: he cannot speak as a member of a regulated profession without taking responsibility for the risk of harm that flows from him speaking in that trusted capacity.”

. . .Specific complaints listed in the case before the divisional court included posts directed at Canadian politicians, a plus-sized Sports Illustrated model and transgender actor Elliot Page.

Last November, the college’s complaints committee found Peterson “may be engaging in degrading, demeaning, and unprofessional comments” related to an appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, where he identified himself as a clinical psychologist and appeared to demean a former client. The college’s ethics code requires members to use respectful language and not engage in “unjust discrimination.”

The complaints committee concluded that some of Peterson’s comments posed “moderate risks of harm to the public” including “undermining public trust in the profession of psychology” as well as the college’s ability to regulate the profession. It then ordered the social media coaching program at Peterson’s expense, emphasizing that failure to comply could result in an allegation of professional misconduct.

My guess: he will not accept training and will lose his license, but won’t care. He makes his living from public appearances and writing, not mostly from individual patients, and he’s loath to be forced to change his behavior by any authority.

*From Jez and Matthew. The first known spotless giraffe (and I don’t mean “very clean”) has appeared, a new birth at a Tennessee Zoo (see here and here; h/t Matthew and Jez).

One of the rarest sights in the animal kingdom has appeared in the unlikely setting of a Tennessee zoo, which has hosted the birth of what is thought to be the world’s only singularly colored giraffe.

The female giraffe, born on 31 July, is a uniform brown color, lacking the distinctive patched pattern that giraffes – along with their exceptionally long necks – are known for. Brights zoo said the giraffe is already 6ft tall and is under the care of her mother and zoo staff.

Of course you want to see it her. Isn’t she a beaut?


The zoo believes the giraffe is one of a kind, given that giraffes are very rarely born without their mottled appearance, which primarily serves as a form of camouflage in the wild.

. . . Brights zoo said it hoped the unusual birth would help highlight the challenges faced by giraffes in the world. The world’s tallest animal is threatened by the fragmentation of its habitat in Africa, as well as from illicit poaching.

“The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,” the founder of Brights zoo, Tony Bright, said to the local television news station WCYB. “Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40% of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last three decades.”

The zoo has announced a contest for the public to name the new giraffe. The shortlisted options are Kipekee, which means “unique” in Swahili; Firayali, which means unusual; Shakiri, which means “she is most beautiful”; and Jamella, which is “one of great beauty”.

And a video. What do you think it should be named? Giraffey McGiraffeface?


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is nervous about an interloper cat:

Hili: A strange cat.
A: So what?
Hili: It might have fleas.
In Polish:
Hili: Obcy kot.
Ja: I co z tego?
Hili: Może mieć pchły.


Reader Simon’s cats, with his caption: “Here are the two kitties (Harry, closest, and Balian), pretty much full grown now, catching up on their ornithology classes.”

More from Simon:

Balian is the contemplative kitty, Harry just dives in head first – he’s not really the brains of the operation! They are keeping us entertained. For size contrast, here is the adoption pics from November [JAC: I may have posted this one before]:

From Stash Krod, an excellent duck cartoon by Gary Larson:

From Merilee, a Mark Parisi cartoon:

From the Pieces of My Soul FB page:

From Masih, more defiant Iranian women (sound up). The chant at the end is “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Farsi.

A long tweet from Dawkins. There’s a lot to absorb so click “read more”:

From Simon, who comments that it’s funny, but he’s glad the poor woman can’t see it. I presume the joke is that she’s underground.

From Barry. I don’t know what kind of frog this is, but it’s clearly saying, “Feed me!”:

From Malcolm: “Flight of the Bumblebee” from the Canadian brass:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, two young siblings murdered upon arrival.


Tweets from Professor Cobb. To the first one he says, “See the replies. What do you think?” I think she should MOVE:

Owls do not run with great dignity:

Ocelots in the U.S.! Who knew?

36 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    394 – The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom, the latest known inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphs, is written.

    1185 – Sack of Thessalonica by the Normans.

    1215 – Pope Innocent III issues a bull declaring Magna Carta invalid. [I had no idea that this had happened.]

    1349 – Six thousand Jews are killed in Mainz after being blamed for the bubonic plague.

    1690 – Job Charnock of the East India Company establishes a factory in Calcutta, an event formerly considered the founding of the city (in 2003 the Calcutta High Court ruled that the city’s foundation date is unknown).

    1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze. [I learned about the burning of the White House while on a tour of it as a kid.]

    1857 – The Panic of 1857 begins, setting off one of the most severe economic crises in United States history.

    1909 – Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.

    1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).

    1937 – Spanish Civil War: Sovereign Council of Asturias and León is proclaimed in Gijón. [I just returned from Gijón on Sunday after a visit to my father-in-law.]

    1938 – Kweilin incident: A Japanese warplane shoots down the Kweilin, a Chinese civilian airliner, killing 14. It is the first recorded instance of a civilian airliner being shot down.

    1949 – The treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization goes into effect.

    1950 – Edith Sampson becomes the first black U.S. delegate to the United Nations.

    1954 – The Communist Control Act goes into effect, outlawing the American Communist Party.

    1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

    1970 – Vietnam War protesters bomb Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, leading to an international manhunt for the perpetrators.

    1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.

    1991 – Ukraine declares itself independent from the Soviet Union.

    1995 – Microsoft Windows 95 was released to the public in North America.

    1998 – First radio-frequency identification (RFID) human implantation tested in the United Kingdom.

    2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.

    2012 – Anders Behring Breivik, perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, is sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention.

    1552 – Lavinia Fontana, Italian painter and educator (d. 1614).

    1556 – Sophia Brahe, Danish horticulturalist and astronomer (d. 1643).

    1759 – William Wilberforce, English philanthropist and politician (d. 1833).

    1787 – James Weddell, Belgian-English sailor, hunter, and explorer (d. 1834).

    1852 – Agnes Marshall, English culinary entrepreneur, inventor, and celebrity chef (d. 1905).

    1862 – Zonia Baber, American geographer and geologist (d. 1956).

    1872 – Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist (d. 1956).

    1890 – Jean Rhys, Dominican-English novelist (d. 1979).

    1899 – Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator (d. 1986).

    1899 – Albert Claude, Belgian biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1983).

    1904 – Ida Cook, English campaigner for Jewish refugees, and romantic novelist as Mary Burchell (d. 1986).

    1905 – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1974).

    1915 – Wynonie Harris, American singer and guitarist (d. 1969). [Harris is attributed by many music scholars to be one of the founding fathers of rock and roll. His “Good Rocking Tonight” is mentioned at least as a precursor to rock and roll.]

    1915 – James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Bradley Sheldon), American psychologist and science fiction author (d. 1987).

    1926 – Nancy Spero, American painter and academic (d. 2009).

    1936 – A. S. Byatt, English novelist and poet.

    1945 – Molly Duncan, Scottish saxophonist (d. 2019).

    1945 – Marsha P. Johnson, American gay liberation activist and drag queen (d. 1992). [Often wrongly claimed to have been a transwoman.]

    1947 – Paulo Coelho, Brazilian author and songwriter.

    1948 – Jean Michel Jarre, French pianist, composer, and producer.

    1948 – Alexander McCall Smith, Rhodesian-Scottish author and educator.

    1952 – Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jamaican dub poet.

    1957 – Stephen Fry, English actor, journalist, producer, and screenwriter.

    1973 – Dave Chappelle, American comedian, actor, producer and screenwriter.

    I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
    1595 – Thomas Digges, English mathematician and astronomer (b. 1546).

    1770 – Thomas Chatterton, English poet and prodigy (b. 1752).

    1821 – John William Polidori, English writer and physician (b. 1795). [Credited by some as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction. His most successful work was the short story “The Vampyre” (1819), the first published modern vampire story. Although the story was at first erroneously credited to Lord Byron, both Byron and Polidori affirmed that the author was Polidori.]

    1895 – Albert F. Mummery, English mountaineer and author (b. 1855).

    1932 – Kate M. Gordon, American activist (b. 1861).

    1943 – Simone Weil, French philosopher and activist (b. 1909).

    1978 – Louis Prima, American singer-songwriter, trumpet player, and actor (b. 1910).

    2003 – Wilfred Thesiger, Ethiopian-English explorer and author (b. 1910).

    2014 – Richard Attenborough, English actor, director, producer, and politician (b. 1923).

    2021 – Charlie Watts, English musician (b. 1941).

    1. Also it would be perfectly rational to walk right past her. Her claim that “it’s the same if I move now or later” depends on others continuing to respect her failure to move as maintaining position in line.

    2. She is basically being selfish. I don’t know how that airport is configured, but if the line is very long, there might be people standing outside in the rain just because she won’t move.

    3. She reminds me of drivers who leave too much space in front of them when they’re at a stoplight, completely oblivious to the fact that they are blocking drivers who want to get in the left turn lane.

    4. “it’s the same if i move now or later.”

      Not really. She’s got a lot of luggage to move, and the bigger the gap, the longer it will take. And inconvenience those behind her.

      And if it was in a US airport, I doubt those behind her would be as patient and understanding as these people were.

  2. Our aviation expert, Juan Browne said the record of that specific model jet was very good and zero fatalities. Now it has 10.

  3. To be fair, the Giraffe looks very clean as well.

    I am not sure Dawkins realize that the people he references don’t want a debate. That’s the point.

    I think the fog is saying “Papa-oom-mow-mow.”

      1. Thought-terminating clichés to induce non-thought – James “Conspiracy Theorist” Lindsay discusses them on YouTube, citing Robert Jay Lifton.

    1. Working for Putin is very much like working for Trump. Sooner or later he’s going to get you. The circle of friends gets very slimy and small.

        1. No. The term get you could mean an number of things. I did not think it would take a lot of thought. In Trump’s case it could be jail, or indicted, voted out, disbarred, or just poorer than when you started. Almost never does it end well. Trump uses people, Putin kills them.

  4. I have little sympathy for Putin and/or Prigozhin. However, there were 9 other people on that plane. They are just as dead as Prigozhin. What about them? A deeper point is that this ‘crash’ will make Russia look even worse. Is that even possible?

    1. Most of the people on the plane were Prigozhin’s generals. The three crew members were innocent victims. I’m sure Putin was not concerned about that.

  5. I’m wondering why Putin didn’t just have Prigozhin arrested and put in jail where he could be done away with in the usual way. Why the theatrics of a plane crash? Supposedly it might give Putin cover and deniability, but why does he care? Is he trying to preserve his reputation as a noble statesman? Not likely. Maybe he’s a little like Trump – life as a reality TV show with plenty of spectacle.

    1. Or he might be trying to preserve his reputation as a sociopathic exemplary product of the KGB that when crossed won’t come right at you, but instead will patiently wait and devise an elaborate plan that results in your death when you aren’t looking.

      1. Like SMERSH in the James Bond novels, Putin is letting the world know that any disobedience to Mother Russia will be punished. No traitors or backsliders can escape the strongman’s retribution.

    1. I don’t know whether it is a sign of the end, but I bet there is at least one creature thinking: I just knew that you were hanging out with that white tailed buck.

  6. Was Prigozhin’s coup attempt really even aimed at Putin? I thought it wasn’t. So I am not entirely ruling out that it was one of the Russian generals who took him out since they really hated him.

    1. I’ll toss in my guess. This was likely done on Putin’s orders. But if it wasn’t him, then it was more likely Ukraine than one of Putin’s underlings.

      I’m waiting for “the CIA did it” stories to start circulating in the fevered swamps of social media.

  7. The frog is an albino clawed frog, Xenopus; they are common in the pet trade. I don’t know why its skin is so “puffy”– I’ve never seen that before.

    And, I did know there were ocelots in the U.S. There are several medium to large carnivores found in the Southwest that have the largest parts of their distributions extending south from Mexico. Most have had their ranges reduced in post-Columbian times, but all still hang on in the U.S. In addition to the ocelot, they are the jaguarundi, jaguar (just barely in the U.S. now), coati, and ringtail (the most widely distributed, reaching Orgeon and Kansas). The margay (similar to an ocelot but smaller) has been recorded just once in the U.S., and the record might be in error.


  8. Prigozhin’s plane engaged in erratic steep climbs and dives in the minute before it exploded, consistent with trying to avoid missiles.

    Re: the burning of Washington in 1814. One Stephen Pleasonton was charged with protecting the nation’s founding documents [Declaration, Constitution, etc.], a task he successfully accomplished. Otherwise seemed to be a rather mediocre bureaucrat. His son Alfred was a piece of work. Union general who seemed to favor an independent Confederacy, but thought their army needed to be destroyed. Could not handle the loss of his brevet general rank, ended up hating the army and disavowing his military career. [Probably why his Bureau of Engraving and Printing intaglio portrait shows him in civilian clothing. Portraits of all the other generals are in uniform.] Later head of the IRS, though he opposed the income tax. Noted braggart and prevaricator.

  9. My convictions about free speech (thanks to this website) are definitely shaken by the idea of individuals in public giving out medical guidance – especially when they hold credentials.

    But I suppose that’s what the professional societies are for – to intervene. It seems reasonable for Peterson, as he can go about his business unimpeded. But all the recordings are still out there.

    So his speech is still free-as-in-freedom. But will he give his degree abbreviation? This further convinces me that using a degree abbreviation like “M.D.” needs a very good justification.

  10. The War of 1812, leading to the British invasion of Washington DC should lead to the question – Just what kind of President was James Madison? Answer, not much. Known as the Father of our Constitution, in reality he kind of bombed out.

    1. The fledgling United States came out on top in the War of 1812. While you didn’t achieve your stated war aims,– the conquering of what is now Canada and the end to the Royal Navy’s claim to stop your ships on the high seas and impress your citizens into the Service of His Majesty –, you did accomplish three things whose importance would become apparent only later.

      1) British attempts at influencing your policy in the Upper MidWest through “strings from the grave” were repudiated by the victories at Michilimackinac and on Lake Erie. Any British dreams of reconquering the 13 Colonies were dashed. Neither side (with the British pre-occupied by Napoleon) was able to take and hold the territory of the other and the boundary ended up in the same place. A draw was actually a win for you because you ended up with an ally on your northern border instead of having to fight a rebellion all over again.

      2) The United States Navy established itself as a potent fighting force in its own waters, punching above its weight in single-ship actions although it could not defeat the Royal Navy blockade, especially as the Napoleonic sea wars wound down and freed up warships. The effects of the blockade caused Massachusetts business interests to call on President Madison to seek terms. So ultimately a British naval victory.

      (A tradition of naval prowess was established which would become decisive during the Civil War and later. The US Navy also participated (with the RN) in the suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade long before slavery was abolished in either country and proved it could operate at sea for prolonged periods far from ports. So that was a win for humanity.)

      3) Shawnee Chief Tecumseh’s death during the British defeat at the Battle of the Thames/Moraviantown (a few miles from where I went to high school) extinguished any hope for an Indian Confederacy that would interfere with American hegemony in the Louisiana Purchase territory. The natives who fought on both sides were playing their own game. That all ended with Tecumseh.

      How much credit President Madison gets for all this, I don’t pretend to know. The war was largely precipitated by “war hawks” in Congress and featured much military incompetence on both sides. But you did muddle through and won.

  11. Love the spotless giraffe. I hope that it is bred and produces more of the same. Don’t know what will happen in heterozygotes, but my guess is that the (probably multigenic) trait is recessive. But perhaps more crosses can produce a new spotless variant.

    And what’s with that awesome ballooned out frog! Awesome!

  12. Is it possible that Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the Moon, because Putin thought Yevgeny Prigozhin was on board?

  13. Russian Air Transport Safety Rules:
    #1: Do not carry Yevgeny Prigozhin on your aircraft.
    Yep, a clear violation.

    Name of the giraffe: Paternity Suit.

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