Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s August! Monday, August 1, 2016, and in some places there are holidays, including Canada and Ireland, but I don’t know the occasions. All over the world, though, it’s World Scout Scarf Day, in which you’re supposed to wear your Scout neckerchief, even if you’re a businessman in London City, to commemorate your membership. I’m betting that not many comply. How many people will see a Scout scarf today?

On this day in 1774, Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen, although it had already been discovered (but published only later) by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist whose dilatory publishing habits—he’d also discovered molybdenum, tungsten, barium, hydrogen, and chlorine, but didn’t get credit—led Isaac Asimov to call him “Hard Luck Scheele”. On this day in 1834, slavery was abolished in the British Empire, and, exactly 110 years later, the Warsaw Uprising broke out, the largest resistance movement against the Nazis in WWII. It failed because of the Russian Army’s failure to enter Warsaw, and so the entire city was destroyed by the German army. (Note: this is not the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, which occurred in April, 1943.) The father of my host Andrzej’ was in the Polish Resistance army then, and participated in this operation in a maneuver—also a failure—to draw the Germany Army out of Warsaw. On this day in 1966, Charles Whitman killed 16 people at the University of Texas at Austin, sniping from atop the tower until he was killed by police. He was later discovered to have a brain tumor that might have influenced his behavior.

Notables born on this day include mountaineer Eric Shipton (1907) and evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton (1936), bizarrely identified by Wikipedia as an “Egyptian-English biologist, psychologist, and academic”. Hamilton was born in Egypt, but his parents were from New Zealand and he was brought up in Britain. (Could somebody fix this?) Further he was not a psychologist, although perhaps they mean “evolutionary psychologist,” but he wasn’t really that, either. Those who died on this day include Calamity Jane (1903; read about her) and Paddy Chayefsky (1981). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being helpful as we search for pie cherries (we’re pals):

Hili: Wait for me, I’m going with you.
M. But we are just going to pick some cherries.
Hili: I will show Jerry where the nicest cherries are.
In Polish:
Hili: Zaczekajcie, idę z wami.
Małgorzata: Ale my idziemy tylko zrywać wiśnie.
Hili: To ja pokażę Jerremu gdzie są najładniejsze.
And the Big News from Winnipeg: Gus played with a stick. The video is below; look at that face!

Gus also managed to slip out of his harness and venture next door, but he was recovered without incident.




  1. Robert
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    It’s also Swiss National Day.
    Happy 725th birthday, Switzerland!🙂

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I don’t recall any Scouting troops for Atheists so no scarfs here.

  3. Barney
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton (1936), bizarrely identified by Wikipedia as an “Egyptian-English biologist, psychologist, and academic”. Hamilton was born in Egypt, but his parents were from New Zealand and he was brought up in Britain. (Could somebody fix this?)

    I’m confused – when I look at the only mentions of Egypt I can see are 2 ‘born Cairo, Egypt’ uses. it mentions his parents from New Zealand, and calls him just ‘English’ and ‘British’. And the history shows it’s been like that for some time – certainly the last edit didn’t touch that, and that part of the version from a year ago looks the same too.

    • Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The identification I gave is on Wikipedia’s “August 1” page, not Hamilton’s biography page. It needs correction at the former.

      • Dominic
        Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Changed to “Egyptian born British” which seems to better reflect his birth & official nationality. He may well have considered himself ‘English’ of course. It shows how complex & elusive identity is!

  4. Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Also on the 1st of August in 1744: the birth of Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, better known by his title, the Chevalier de Lamarck.

    The first major evolutionary biologist, a great invertebrate systematist, coiner of the words “invertebrate” and “biology”. And definitely not the originator of the inheritance of acquired characters (it was a common belief then).

    Not a pseudoscientist or a crackpot, but a great figure in evolutionary biology.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I remember reading somewhere that there was a small closet in the Chem Dept at Stockholm U where someone wrote, “In this closet Scheele discovered oxygen. When he left, he took it with him.”

  6. Steve Pollard
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Not a lot of people know that 1 August is also Yorkshire Day.

    The estimable Huddersfield Daily Examiner has deemed it appropriate to publish some Yorkshire-based jokes for its readers’ entertainment. It will be interesting to see how far they travel outside Yorkshire:

    • Dominic
      Posted August 1, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Herman Melville’s birthday as well,1819.

      Yorkshire – ay oop! ’twas on t’ radio!

      Where’s my flat cap?

      • Dominic
        Posted August 1, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Come to think of it, where’s my cat flap!?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted August 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Wrigley’s gum joke was laugh out loud for me😀

  7. rickflick
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Baking cherries must be ripe around NY as well. I’ll be looking for them.

  8. Bethlenfalvy
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I) Carl Wilhelm Scheele was rather German-Swedish than Swedish as he grew up and attended school in German-speaking Hither Pomerania (then a part of the Kingdom of Sweden).

    II) Whether the Soviet Army really “failed” to enter Warsaw is doubtful. There are claims (though no clear archival evidence) that the failure was politically motivated.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    In Ontario, August 1 is Civic Holiday. I think in BC it is called BC Day. It’s one of those weird holidays where stores are still open but have reduced hours and most everyone else is off except restaurant employees and a few others.

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