Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, July 9, and I find myself wondering whether something good will happen in the world this week. In fact, I can’t think of anything good that happened last week, except that Trump continues to drop in the polls. It’s a sad state of affairs when one can’t even envision some good things that could happen. But, as Kurt Vonnegut said, so it goes.

On this day in 1816, Argentina (the only country in the world named after a chemical element—a good party question), gained independence from Spain. Exactly 52 years later, American states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing citizenship to all African-Americans, as well as due process and equal protection to all citizens. And, in 1962, Andy Warhol exhibited his first dumb pictures of soup cans in Los Angeles.

Notables born on this day include Franz Boas (1858), Oliver Sacks (1933; he died last year), O. J. Simpson (1947), Tom Hanks (1956), and Courney Love (1964). Those who died on this day include Paul Broca (1880) and my former colleague, paleobiologist David Raup (2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, farmer Hili pretends to be inspecting the grapes, but I suspect she’s really looking for grape-eating birds.

A: What do you see there?
Hili: Oh, nothing. I’m just looking to see how the grapes are growing.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Och, nic. Patrzę jak winogrona rosną.
As lagniappe, enjoy this cartoon and remember: it’s a sin to disturb a sleeping cat:


  1. jimroberts
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    O. J. Simpson (1847)?

  2. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Whenever I need to think of something good, I think of that the world is happily continuing on its trend towards peace. At least that is what the data tells the Uppsala Data Conflict Program, the then trend-breaking increase of conflict-related killings peaked 2015 (even if they are now dominated by islamism). Or so it seems thus far, according to the pre-publish release articles. (They should publish later this month, IIRC.)

    Did Pinker ever explain why we are becoming ever more peaceful? I need to read that book of his.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 9, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Here is an article translated to english describing the upcoming analysis: ; from

      It doesn’t tell when the work is/was published (so I don’t know where I read that), but it Pinkerizes it:

      “In the years since the Arab spring, there has been a trend towards ever bloodier wars. But this trend is now broken, the new data shows.

      The total number of battle fatalities in all types of armed conflict decreased by some ten percent from 2014 to 2015. The figure, 118.000 deaths, is still a lot higher than before 2011, but the long term trend points downwards. The worst years of the first four decades after World War II were several times more lethal than 2014.

      According to the researchers one chief explanation for the long term decline is that governments are less and less involved in armed conflicts against each other. A state’s capacity for unleashing violence is far greater than that of any separate grouping, no matter how bloodthirsty they may be.”

      Those paragraphs reminds me of the Bush/Blair debacle, of course. Democracy have room for improvements…

  3. Posted July 9, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I think the arrival of the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter was something good that happened last week. Though maybe it does not count as something good in this world.

  4. Lurker111
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    My cat has this habit of falling asleep on my lap, then beginning to slide off, then waking up and grabbing hold for dear life.

    The last time I went for an annual checkup, my doc took a look at my thighs and said, “How the hell did that happen?” Followed up by, “When’s the last time you had a tetanus?”

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted July 9, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Back when our tuxedo cat Lucky was alive (we inherited the superstitious name from the previous owners) my thighs always had such marks in various stages of healing.

      Being black on top meant I wouldn’t see him sneak up beside me as I was sitting at the computer in the dark. He would be looking for my attention to either feed him or let him out when he reached up and laid his claws into me. My aggrieved shout would send him fleeing, but not for long if out of pique, I tried to ignore him.

  5. Posted July 9, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    It looks to me that the Trump/Clinton race is still too close to call and will depend largely on turnout. This does not bode well. Trump supporters are energized, while many Democrats will reluctantly drag themselves to the polls to vote for someone they strongly dislike.

    • Posted July 9, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I’ll bet you $100 that Clinton will win. You on? It’s a bet you can’t lose: if Clinton wins, you’ll be glad to pay me the dough!

      • Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Hmmm….I do think Clinton is more likely to win than Trump, but I think Trump has more of a chance than most Democrats believe. Therefore I would bet $75 to your $100. Are you on?

        • Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          You mean I get $75 if Clinton wins and you get $100 if Trump wins? You’re ON! Let this be known to all!

          • Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

            Yes that’s what I meant, let’s hope I lose!!!

          • Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            I have this covered either way…my father is a right-wing Trump supporter who believes every anti-Obama mass emailing he gets. So I bet $300 that no, Obama is not going to outlaw US currency and take over everyone’s money by making it all electronic by the end of his term.

            • Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

              “..I bet HIM $300 that…”

            • Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

              By the way, I find that making a Republican like my father put money on his fringe beliefs is a really good way to get them to look at the evidence more objectively! This works especially well with climate change deniers.

              • Dale Franzwa
                Posted July 9, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

                It’s not what the polls show concerning Hillary vs The Donald. Those numbers seem to be all over the place depending upon the poll and relevant events. It’s that 25% or so of undecided voters that concerns me. Maybe that will narrow down in time but who knows how that vote will end up. No bets for me. The A/C on my little old Honda broke down (again) and will likely cost around $1000 to fix.

  6. bluemaas
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    An inegalitarian concept — due process. Even still, of course, in very many, many places. Sentence one of Wikipedia’s explanation of it states thus, “Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all .legal. rights that are owed to a person.”

    As of all Not Males of y1868, nor for some decades yet after that even, due process in the United States did not include for Women who were African American or for Any of any other color the legal right to cast a ballot for any elective office, let alone, to present herself as a candidate for same.

    Film documentarian Mr Ken Burns states that within the whole of the 1900s, the impacted number of American people by a 24 – year – old and his not – legally righted mama, Phoebe Burn (no s) of that .now. notoriously inegalitarian state of Tennessee, was more than the number positively impacted from any other entire event of that Century.

    Yellow roses (Annually on every 26 August, I take my due process of a legal right with which to do so and spread these around my workstation) because of from this:

    And think on, too, the sons and spouses and compadres that it took (over all of Time) to finally help these people (in this reenactment featuring another Hilary) attain their legal right thus gaining that due process – protection in America .less than. even one century ago:


  7. Barney
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “Argentina (the only country in the world named after a chemical element—a good party question)” – though Ghana was called Gold Coast before it became independent.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted July 9, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Of course there are numerous towns called Silver City, Goldsboro, and the like. Right now I’m sitting less than 20 miles from Copperopolis, California.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Hahahahaha! I love that cartoon – it combines all the elements of horror movies with cuddliness.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 9, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I liked it too. The twin cigars are a rather bizarre detail – dunno what [if anything] it signifies.

  9. Posted July 9, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Something good that happened last week:

    I discovered that Seattle has a “cat cafe” within walking distance of my home.

    The goal is creating a sense of community around the kittehs and optimizing their chances of adoption.

    Brilliant, no?

  10. Christopher
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Never knew that about Argentina. Who woulda thunk it?!
    Continuing the chemical connections, Dr. Sacks, who tied his birthdays to the periodic table, would have been celebrating his Bismuth birthday (atomic # 83). And I would be remiss if I failed to urge any on WEIT who have not yet read his wonderful autobiographical book “Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood” to do so.

  11. Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m saddened by the realization that our thoughts our consumed by so much negativity as to not even have one report of something good.

    I’ve found one. And it has to do with the police in Texas. Inmates broke out of a room when they saw an officer (with a gun) fall over, risking their lives because doing so could have gotten them shot, either by the officer had he awoken or other guards. They didn’t steal the downed guard’s gun. No, they made noise, capturing the attention of other guards. Imagine. Just imagine seeing inmates broken out of a room. The guards could have fired at them. They didn’t.
    The quickly directed the guards back into the room they’d escaped from and started CPR. The downed guard had had a heart attack and is alive.

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