Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 3, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Sunday, September 3, and greetings from Jerusalem, site of all kinds of mythical miracles. But it’s still ancient and beautiful, even if Jesus didn’t get resurrected here. Today I’ll do a bit of touring and get taken for lunch (hummus, I hope!).  The sightseeing, however, will begin in earnest tomorrow.  My jet lag enabled me to sleep 9 hours last night: a paradise.

It’s National Baby Back Ribs Day, a Chicago speciality. There are many famous places to get rib tips (pork, of course), often accompanied by hot links (big fat sausages). But the best, Uncle J’s on 47th Street, is now closed. No other place, including the reputed Lem’s and Leon’s, comes close. Here: mourn what is no more. Its closing broke my heart.

My usual order was a large tips with mild sauce; it was good for two meals.

It’s also National Skyscraper Day, National Welsh Rarebit Day, Merchant Navy Day Min the UK, and the Feast of San Marino and the Republic, celebrates the foundation of the Republic of San Marino in 301.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the September 3 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Obituaries first: Jimmy Buffett, the original Parrothead, died on Friday at only 76.  It was announced on his website this way:

From the NYT:

Jimmy Buffett, the singer, songwriter, author, sailor and entrepreneur whose roguish brand of island escapism on hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” made him something of a latter-day folk hero, especially among his devoted following of so-called Parrot Heads, died on Friday. He was 76.

His death was announced in a statement on his website. The statement did not say where he died or specify a cause. Mr. Buffett had rescheduled a series of concerts this spring, saying that he had been hospitalized, although he offered no details.

Peopled with pirates, smugglers, beach bums and barflies, Mr. Buffett’s genial, self-deprecating songs conjured a world of sun, salt water and nonstop parties animated by the calypso country-rock of his limber Coral Reefer Band. His live shows abounded with singalong anthems and festive tropical iconography, making him a perennial draw on the summer concert circuit, where he built an ardent fan base akin to the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads.

But my favorite song of his—by far—isn’t mentioned until later in the article, and although it was his first big hit (1974), who remembers it now. Here’s the original video, which I believe shows Buffett’s wife and his own pickup truck.

Although he had only one top-ten single (“Margaritaville, which I’m not that keen on), he was wildly popular, and his net worth this year, according to Forbes (in the article) was a billion dollars!

*A sad but true headline from the WSJ: “Trump is top choice for nearly 60% of GOP voters, WSJ poll shows.” Oy, my kishkes!

Donald Trump has expanded his dominating lead for the Republican presidential nomination, a new Wall Street Journal poll shows, as GOP primary voters overwhelmingly see his four criminal prosecutions as lacking merit and about half say the indictments fuel their support for him.

The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest in which Trump, for now, has no formidable challenger. The former president is the top choice of 59% of GOP primary voters, up 11 percentage points since April, when the Journal tested a slightly different field of potential and declared candidates.

Trump’s lead over his top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has nearly doubled since April to 46 percentage points. At 13% support, DeSantis is barely ahead of the rest of the field, none of whom has broken out of single-digit support.

Look and weep:

. . . and here’s the sick part:

The poll highlights one of the remarkable features of the 2024 primary race: Criminal prosecutions that in past eras might have sunk a candidate have only strengthened the leading contender. Two of Trump’s indictments involve his efforts to remain in power after his 2020 loss, which included repeated false claims of widespread election irregularities.

Asked about the indictments of Trump, more than 60% of Republican primary voters said each was politically motivated and without merit. Some 78% said Trump’s actions after the 2020 election were legitimate efforts to ensure an accurate vote, while 16% said Trump had illegally tried to block Congress from certifying an election he had lost. About half, or 48%, said the indictments made them more likely to vote for Trump in 2024, while 16% said they made them less likely to support him for a second term.

*My Chicago colleague, political scientist John Mearsheimer, who’s well known but heterodox, has written a Substack post called “Bound to lose: Ukraine’s 2023 offensive.” He thinks Ukraine will lose the war, as I recall, but here’s some of what he said in his recent essay (I’ve omitted the footnotes, and h/t: cesar):

It is now clear that Ukraine’s eagerly anticipated counteroffensive has been a colossal failure.  After three months, the Ukrainian army has made little progress pushing back the Russians. Indeed, it has yet to get beyond the so-called “grey zone,” the heavily contested strip of land that lies in front of the first main line of Russian defenses. The New York Times reports that “In the first two weeks of the counteroffensive, as much as 20 percent of the weaponry Ukraine sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed, according to U.S. and European officials. The toll included some of the formidable Western fighting machines — tanks and armored personnel carriers — that the Ukrainians were counting on to beat back the Russians.” According to virtually all accounts of the fighting, Ukrainian troops have suffered enormous casualties. All nine of the vaunted brigades that NATO armed and trained for the counteroffensive have been badly chewed up on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive was doomed to fail from the start. A look at the lineup of forces on both sides and what the Ukrainian army was trying to do, coupled with an understanding of the history of conventional land war, make it clear that there was virtually no chance the attacking Ukrainian forces could defeat Russia’s defending forces and achieve their political goals.

Read the piece if you want to get depressed. A bit more:

. . . many in the West will argue that the time is now ripe for diplomacy. The failed counteroffensive shows that Ukraine cannot prevail on the battlefield, so the argument will go, and thus it makes sense to reach a peace agreement with Russia, even if Kyiv and the West must make concessions. After all, the situation will only get worse for Ukraine if the war continues.

Regrettably, there is no diplomatic solution in sight. There are irreconcilable differences between the two sides over security guarantees for Ukraine and territory, which stand in the way of a meaningful peace agreement. For understandable reasons, Ukraine is deeply committed to getting back all the land it has lost to Russia, which includes Crimea and the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. But Moscow has already annexed those territories and made it clear that it has no intention of returning them to Kyiv.

The other unresolvable issue concerns Ukraine’s relationship with the West. For understandable reasons, Ukraine insists that it needs a security guarantee, which can only come from the US and NATO. Russia, on the other hand, insists that Ukraine must be neutral and must end its security relationship with the West. In fact, that issue was the main cause of the present war, even if American and European foreign policy elites refuse to believe it.[62] Moscow was unwilling to tolerate Ukraine joining NATO. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to see how both sides can be satisfied on either the territorial or neutrality issue.

*A guest essay in the NYT by two physicists shows us that no, it’s not “the end of science” (regardless of what the chest-thumping John Horgan maintains): “The story of our universe may be starting to unravel.” Whaaaa?

Not long after the James Webb Space Telescope began beaming back from outer space its stunning images of planets and nebulae last year, astronomers, though dazzled, had to admit that something was amiss. Eight months later, based in part on what the telescope has revealed, it’s beginning to look as if we may need to rethink key features of the origin and development of the universe.

Launched at the end of 2021 as a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb, a tool with unmatched powers of observation, is on an exciting mission to look back in time, in effect, at the first stars and galaxies. But one of the Webb’s first major findings was exciting in an uncomfortable sense: It discovered the existence of fully formed galaxies far earlier than should have been possible according to the so-called standard model of cosmology.

According to the standard model, which is the basis for essentially all research in the field, there is a fixed and precise sequence of events that followed the Big Bang: First, the force of gravity pulled together denser regions in the cooling cosmic gas, which grew to become stars and black holes; then, the force of gravity pulled together the stars into galaxies.

. . . The Webb data, though, revealed that some very large galaxies formed really fast, in too short a time, at least according to the standard model. This was no minor discrepancy. The finding is akin to parents and their children appearing in a story when the grandparents are still children themselves.

Take the matter of how fast the universe is expanding. This is a foundational fact in cosmological science — the so-called Hubble constant — yet scientists have not been able to settle on a number. There are two main ways to calculate it: One involves measurements of the early universe (such as the sort that the Webb is providing); the other involves measurements of nearby stars in the modern universe. Despite decades of effort, these two methods continue to yield different answers.

At first, scientists expected this discrepancy to resolve as the data got better. But the problem has stubbornly persisted even as the data have gotten far more precise. And now new data from the Webb have exacerbated the problem. This trend suggests a flaw in the model, not in the data.

Two serious issues with the standard model of cosmology would be concerning enough. But the model has already been patched up numerous times over the past half century to better conform with the best available data — alterations that may well be necessary and correct, but which, in light of the problems we are now confronting, could strike a skeptic as a bit too convenient.

And we still don’t know what dark matter or dark energy is. I’m not a physicist, and so can’t judge how serious these problems are. Physicists should weigh in below.

*Finally, you’ve surely read about the Nebraska man who was given a ticket for transporting a huge Watusi bull with giant horns (named Howdy Doody)in the front seat of his car.  Here’s a video:

Now the WaPo defends this, as will all right-thinking people, in a piece called, “The Watusi bull riding shotgun is what makes America great.” (I hope Trump doesn’t coopt this MAGA trope!” An excerpt:

The nation’s unseemly recent obsession with politics and cultural strife has been an unhappy distraction from the great American pastime of wacky undertakings. Policy brings out the worst in us. The mystic chords of our better angels are strummed by episodes of loony brilliance: a man who takes flight in a lawn chair lifted by balloons; another who makes a modern Stonehenge from half-buried Cadillacs; some person who paints a monumental likeness of the Mona Lisa on the side of an isolated barn. As a boy, I was entranced by billboards advertising the World’s Largest Prairie Dog on the remote plains of western Kansas, and felt mixed disappointment and admiration when, old enough to drive at last, I pulled off to discover a weather-beaten statue some eight or 10 feet high.

In this grand tradition comes Lee Meyer. By now, there’s a good chance you’ve met him on the internet. “Full grown bull riding shotgun” is what you call clickbait, but unlike most things fitting that description, the bull in the car is even better than the tease. He is an adult male of the Watusi breed, known for their almost comically enormous horns. In the viral video, the bull appears blissful riding down the highway in the retired police cruiser that his human friend has modified to contain his tonnage. The license plate reads: “Boy & Dog.”

. . . A sedan with half the roof and windshield sliced away to make space for a large animal stall, containing a monstrous beast with a cheerful disposition, is exactly the sort of parade feature that keeps America daffy and great. Let other nations goose-step. We’ll take the shiny fire engine with little kids tossing candy from it, and the girls in braces twirling batons, and the grown men driving figure eights in tiny cars, and the eccentric neighbor who enjoys taking his pet bull for a ride.

There are, as of this writing, 1485 comments on this piece!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are on the prowl:

Szaron: We have to check the northern part of the orchard.
Hili: Try to convince me because my motivation is weak.
In Polish:
Szaron: Trzeba sprawdzić północne krańce sadu.
Hili: Spróbuj mnie przekonać, bo mam słabą motywację.

First, see this Facebook video on Jesus of the Day.

And another from that site:

Two examples of confusing English from The Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

And another:

Three from Masih. First, a hijabless Iranian woman gets tear gas sprayed in her face by the cops.  We need to hear more about this from Western feminist vehicles like Teen Vogue, a shamless apologetic for Islamist oppression of women.

Sound up:

Two more. Dancing in the streets in Iran could be a capital crime. Sound up.

In hospital before he died.  There is no excuse for treating protestors this way, but it’s not rare:

From Malcolm. I wouldn’t think a McDonald’s sign would be tasteless, but this one is. McCrispy!

From Luana, whose humor is always political:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, an entire family extirpated:

From Matthew: a cat brings presents to its girlfriend (sound up):

Look at the snout on this mole!:

A BBC reporter gives a lousy simulacrum of the supermoon!

30 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    301 – San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus.

    1777 – American Revolutionary War: During the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the Flag of the United States is flown in battle for the first time.

    1783 – American Revolutionary War: The war ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain.

    1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

    1878 – Over 640 die when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alice collides with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames.

    1879 – Siege of the British Residency in Kabul: British envoy Sir Louis Cavagnari and 72 men of the Guides are massacred by Afghan troops while defending the British Residency in Kabul. Their heroism and loyalty became famous and revered throughout the British Empire.

    1895 – John Brallier becomes the first openly paid professional American football player, when he was paid US$10 by David Berry, to play for the Latrobe Athletic Association in a 12–0 win over the Jeanette Athletic Association.

    1916 – World War I: Leefe Robinson destroys the German airship Schütte-Lanz SL 11 over Cuffley, north of London; the first German airship to be shot down on British soil.

    1925 – USS Shenandoah, the United States’ first American-built rigid airship, was destroyed in a squall line over Noble County, Ohio. Fourteen of her 42-man crew perished, including her commander, Zachary Lansdowne.

    1933 – Yevgeniy Abalakov is the first man to reach the highest point in the Soviet Union, Communism Peak (now called Ismoil Somoni Peak and situated in Tajikistan) (7,495 m).

    1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.

    1939 – World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia declare war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allied nations. The Viceroy of India also declares war, but without consulting the provincial legislatures.

    1939 – World War II: The United Kingdom and France begin a naval blockade of Germany that lasts until the end of the war. This also marks the beginning of the Battle of the Atlantic.

    1941 – The Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

    1942 – World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn leads an uprising in the Ghetto of Lakhva (present-day Belarus).

    1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.

    1954 – The People’s Liberation Army begins shelling the Republic of China-controlled islands of Quemoy, starting the First Taiwan Strait Crisis.

    1967 – Dagen H in Sweden: Traffic changes from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.

    1976 – Viking program: The American Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

    1981 – The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international bill of rights for women, is instituted by the United Nations. [Spoiler: It’s still not been eliminated.]

    2004 – Beslan school siege results in over 330 fatalities, including 186 children.

    2016 – The U.S. and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both formally ratify the Paris global climate agreement.

    2017 – North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

    1704 – Joseph de Jussieu, French explorer, geographer, and mathematician, (d. 1779).

    1710 – Abraham Trembley, Swiss biologist and zoologist (d. 1784).

    1803 – Prudence Crandall, American educator (d. 1890).

    1849 – Sarah Orne Jewett, American novelist, short story writer and poet (d. 1909).

    1875 – Ferdinand Porsche, Austrian-German engineer and businessman, founded Porsche (d. 1951).

    1878 – Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, English tennis player (d. 1960).

    1899 – Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australian virologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1985).

    1907 – Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist, philosopher, and author (d. 1977).

    1913 – Alan Ladd, American actor and producer (d. 1964).

    1915 – Memphis Slim, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 1988).

    1923 – Glen Bell, American businessman, founded Taco Bell (d. 2010).

    1923 – Alice Gibson, Belizean chief librarian and educator[15] (d. 2021).

    1925 – Hank Thompson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2007).

    1931 – Albert DeSalvo, American serial killer known as the Boston Strangler (d. 1973).

    1934 – Freddie King, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1976).

    1938 – Caryl Churchill, English-Canadian playwright.

    1942 – Al Jardine, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1955 – Steve Jones, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, essayist, and critic.

    1970 – Gareth Southgate, English footballer and manager.

    I long to believe in immortality. I shall never be able to bid you an entire farewell.
    1658 – Oliver Cromwell, English general and politician (b. 1599).

    1883 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian author and playwright (b. 1818).

    1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894).

    1963 – Louis MacNeice, Irish poet and playwright (b. 1907).

    1970 – Alan Wilson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1943).

    1991 – Frank Capra, Italian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1897).

    2001 – Pauline Kael, American film critic and author (b. 1919).

    2007 – Steve Fossett, American aviator (b. 1944).

    2015 – Chandra Bahadur Dangi, world record holder for shortest man (b. 1939).

    2017 – Walter Becker, American musician, songwriter, and record producer (b. 1950).

  2. When academics or journalists assume the role of pundit, they are playing with fire. John J. Mearsheimer thinks Ukraine is bound to lose. Yet, just a few days ago, Mick Ryan posted a piece at the prestigious Foreign Affairs site entitled “How Ukraine Can Win A Long War.” I have no idea whom to believe. All I know is that whenever even a so-called expert makes a prediction, I view it with skepticism. I wonder how many “experts” predicted an inevitable German victory in World War II. The beauty of being a pundit is that no matter how wrong the person may be, you’ll never find one that will say “I was so wrong in my prediction, I’m resigning as a pundit!” It must be wonderful to have a job that no matter how badly you screw up, there are never any consequences.

    1. And I just read a recent article (NYT iirc) that said Ukraine broke through a key section of Russia’s defensive line. I don’t think anyone has a clue what will happen to future Ukraine as it seems no one knows what is happening in present Ukraine even while it’s happening.

    2. Having followed mapping, twitter reports and youtube channels since day 1 of the war it frustrates me how little westerners know of the situation, the implications of a Putin victory or frozen conflict (or peace deal as some call it) or quite how many lies about Ukraine have been accepted in the West. TBH I have utter contempt for Mearsheimer and his ilk, people who either hate “Western hegemony” or try to fit a specific conflict, in which the participants have agency and their own motivations, into their pet geopolitical model and reduce the actors to puppets or victims of the US.

      Mearsheimer’s assessment of the offensive looks like a Russian MOD press release. It is wildly off the mark. After a false start in the first few days, Ukraine adapted their tactics and have been slowly degrading Russian reserves, logistics and artillery while creeping slowly forward. The immediate primary goal is not territory, it is reducing the ability of the enemy to man the “Surovikin line” and reduce the ability to plug gaps. It looks to be starting to pay off and Ukraine certainly have NOT used up their offensive reserves. The Russians are now having to shift forces south from other areas to try to shore up the front. Many of the Russian milbloggers are full of doom and gloom. Instead of using the forward “security zone” to slow and sap the Ukrainian strength and falling back to the main defence structures as per doctrine, Russians have been doggedly trying to hold onto every treeline and nearly always counterattack. They have to some extent thrown away the defender’s advantage and may have hung themselves. They are heavily artillery reliant but have been losing between 15 and 30 artillery pieces per day for months now. If Biden lost his timidness and fear of a Russian defeat and the Pentagon stopped the “leaks” undermining Ukraine this war would be over fairly soon.

    3. If memory serves, at the start of the war John Mearsheimer attacked the idea of anyone helping Ukraine, said it would quickly be conquered by the Russians, and blamed the entire war on the west, since all those eastern bloc countries kept joining NATO (hmmmm, I wonder why…it’s not like Russia used to have an empire and regularly invaded its neighbors!).

      Mearsheimer calls himself a foreign policy “realist,” but reality has refused to obey his predictions. His latest article sounds like wishful thinking. Punditry demands that one have an immediate opinion on the Ukrainian offensive, but wars are not conducted on a pace conducive to the demands of pundits.

  3. I like “Margaritaville.” It’s one of the earliest songs I remember hearing on the radio. (Probably memorable because at eight years or so old, the lyrics didn’t make complete sense. Imagery like “stepped on a pop tart” stood out, though.) I like “Come Monday” and “Volcano”, but my favorite is “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” RIP Jimmy Buffett.

    1. That’s “stepped on a pop top,” DrB. Those were the ringed pull tabs you’d tear off the top of beverage cans — soda pop or beer — that did away with the need for the “church key” style can openers that punctured the top of the can.

      I don’t think stepping on a pop tart could blow out your flip flop, just make a mess.

      1. My wife used to think the line was “step on a pop rock.” She probably first heard it when pop-rocks candy was the shit (as the kids say). My favorite mondegreen (though I never heard it like that, but could hear it once I knew) “‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy.”

  4. I’m an amateur astronomer. I originally planned on becoming a professional astronomer but took a detour into computer science and went a different path. Still, I never lost my interest in astronomy and try to keep up with it. So that’s the background of my opinion. I read that “Universe unravels” article yesterday. My main thought is that most likely there will be new wrinkles but no fundamental revolution. It’s not a surprise that JWST has shown us things we didn’t expect – that’s what usually happens when we can see deeper into the universe. There are a lot of unknowns about galaxy formation so I fully expect there will be changes in the models. And on measuring expansion there are lots of factors to get accurate measurements so I’m not convinced there is anything extraordinary there. Revolutions in fundamental physics and cosmology are rare, so I would bet against one happening here. On the other hand, I’d love to see a revolution, since that always leads to an explosion of new science. Also, as I expect most here know, popular news stories on science tend to push a sensationalistic angle because most readers would ignore a story that just said something was found that’s interesting to subject matter experts. Something has to be shocking, revolutionary, shows the current paradigm is wrong, etc. to get more eyes on the article. So I recommend taking the tone of the story with a grain of salt.

    Two notes on Trump: I’m seeing increased interest in the 14th amendment and how it might block his eligibility to run. I’m seeing both pro and con arguments but it’s looking like it could get serious with some states not putting him on ballots or people suing to keep him off. The other thing is that I’m seeing stories saying much of his PAC money has gone to paying his lawyer bills which may mean he won’t have much left over to pay for his election campaign. These things could make his campaign bid harder.

    Here’s one example story on PAC money:

  5. Cosmology, and physics in general, are in a far worse state than they were in the late 1800s when they thought that Newtonian mechanics explained everything. There were only a few seemingly minor “clouds on the horizon”, the strange null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment trying to measure the difference in the speed of light when an observer was moving relative to the source, a small discrepancy in the precession of Mercury, and the incorrect prediction of the frequency distribution of blackbody radiation. Just a few years later, each of these three little clouds completely overturned physics; the first cloud led to relativity, the second to general relativity, and the third to quantum mechanics. Today’s clouds are far worse. Cosmologists tell us that most of the matter in the universe is “dark matter” and we don’t have the slightest idea what it is. There are numerous other big problems. The calculation of the age of the universe may or may not be one of these; it is hard to get accurate measurements of red shifts in galaxies that old, and many early reports of high red shifts proved to be wildly wrong. But no matter how that turns out, fundamental revolutions are guaranteed in the near future (if humans are up to the challenge, which we may not be).

    1. Einstein did not use the Michelson-Morley result. He refers to something like it in his 1905 paper, but dismisses it, and he actually used Maxwell’s conclusion about the speed of light.
      General relativity was based on the symmetry of accelerated frames of reference. The precession of Mercury’s orbit was explained by relativity, not an input to it.
      Certainly Planck’s solution to the “ultra violet catastrophe” led to quantum theory, but while there are still issues, quantum theory is so wildly successful as far as it goes that it is a major influence in modern life.

      1. Yes, I know that, and didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. I shouldn’t have said “led”….The three “clouds” I mentioned were just indicators of problems. It turned out the solutions to these three little clouds were each deeply fundamental. But in Einstein’s case the solutions were not inspired by these problems, but solved them anyway. I suspect the current situation will be the same. The real solutions will not be those designed specifically to solve these issues, but some deeper insight that automatically solves them without even trying.

  6. Only a few days ago Ukraine took out about 10% of the Russian fleet of heavy transport jets – what they use to ferry tanks and such around with – using drones made from cardboard. I wouldn’t call that chopped liver.

    1. I was thinking about “Come Monday” shortly before I heard about Jimmy’s death, since the song is set over the Labor Day weekend.

      My favorite Buffett tune is “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” a song Jimmy wrote about an old buddy of mine (and a local Key West legend), Phil Clark. Phil disappeared from Key West under mysterious circumstances about the same time I left town to go to law school. A couple years later, Phil’s body washed up on a beach in Sausalito, CA, supposedly having fallen off his sailboat a couple miles offshore in the Pacific, which only fueled rumors of foul play.

  7. PCC: it took me a second or two to compute that it is National Baby Back Ribs Day with the fact that you are in Jerusalem!

  8. Well, we learned long ago that Trump supporters don’t care if he abuses women (and now he’s even convicted of such an act and it wasn’t just “locker room talk”). So I don’t see why anyone is surprised that other criminal acts don’t faze his supporters and actually excite them; it’s a cult, Jake! Though make no mistake, these indictments aren’t garnering him any new supporters. The MSM is helpless in this regard by insisting on a political horse-race and continuing to frame the GOP as a legitimate political party, and Trump as the leader of this so-called “party”.

  9. Just hours ago, several news media reported about the “breach of the first defense” by Ukraine – according to the Ukrainian generals.
    I would be interested in what the war expert which was mentioned in this sunday dialogue would have to say about this seemingly positive progress as the article sheds a dark light on the future of the Ukraine. Could it be a lie? Why would they lie? Could they have really made progress?

  10. I noticed the shrew-looking mole has as a part of its binomial: fansipanensis. I don’t understand why they would choose that word (assuming I’m not completely missing something). What would a mole like this have to do with something that is “fancy pants?” Maybe if it had some “pant like” marking or feature, but the real definition of fancy-pants, pretentious in a high-class way, is a strange name for a mole. Well, I guess the discoverer can name it anything they like, and I’m off my soap box.

    1. Species names ending is ‘ensis’ are in the latin genitive case and indicate ‘of’ somewhere e.g. ‘senegalensis’ = of senegal. In this case the newly named mole was discovered in the Mount Fansipan region of Vietnam so the name is referring to its geographic origin.

  11. Re the super moon.
    A precocious little five-year old was at our house in the outer suburbs on Friday for a sleepover with her grandparents. She really wanted to look at stars “and planets” from our driveway which she has done from the front steps in the past. Where we live we can see more of the sky and it is darker than at their house in the city although there are more street lights now than there used to be. Her bedtime is two hours before the sky got dark enough and the rising waning moon would wash everything out before full deep darkness. But this was our night. Make the best of it. The night was clear and warm, after some patches of clouds during the day.

    So we put her to bed (on parental orders), then woke her up about a quarter to nine. We took her down to the driveway in the darkened house so as not to impair her night vision and the two of us lay down beside her on a sleeping bag with pillows. “Just look up.” Directly overhead was Vega. She was able to distinguish that Vega was white and a nearby faint star (not sure from the sky map) was yellowish. I’m not sure she was totally convinced of the difference. But when we shifted to look toward the other side of the house, she readily saw that Arcturus was red-orange. That the stars are different colours was a revelation to her.

    Saturn was the only planet (low in the ESE) that cooperated by being up this hour. This was all naked-eye viewing, no rings. I want her to see Jupiter’s moons with binoculars, Galileo’s observation that shook everything the Church thought it knew about the cosmos. The winter will bring earlier sunset, clear cold air, and the spectacular winter constellations.

    She enjoyed seeing the Big Dipper. It was clear enough that I could see Alcor’s double. She said she couldn’t quite make that out. I told her the trick of shifting gaze to just beside the star and it will sometimes pop into view. Observing is a skill that she wasn’t expected to be good at first time out. Maybe by the time she is six. 🙂

    Then, just as we were all getting sleepy, the still nearly-full moon rose up through the trees past the higher ground in the east and gave a spectacular display as it lit up the night, almost painful to look at with “dark” eyes. Perhaps you can tell that we enjoyed it as much as she did. We even saw a “UFO”….which was a single-engine piston plane flying low enough to see all its various flashing navigation lights.

    1. A wonderful experience, and well told.

      When my kids were young I would often set up my telescope whenever there was something interesting to view. Before long the neighborhood kids and their parents would show up too. It’s fun to see the reactions of people that have never had the opportunity before see things like Saturn’s rings, Jupiter and its major moons or Mar’s polar cap for the first time. Good times.

Leave a Reply