Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s December 7, 2016, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. As President Franklin Roosevelt said on the day after, in a speech to Congress, it was “a day which shall live in infamy.”  (See below.) It’s thus “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day”. And on this day occurred an event I didn’t know about; as Wikipedia says, it was the day when “The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, [made] landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die.” The Church of England, as these organizations so often do, declared that this disaster was God’s retributions for the sins of England’s people. On this day in 1963, television had its first instant replay in a sporting event: the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.  Otherwise, this isn’t a notable day in history.

Here’s the typescript of Roosevelt’s speech to Congress on December 8, 1941. Note how he changed the first sentence: from “a day that will live in world history” to “a day which will live in infamy”, coining a phrase that’s with us still. An hour after Roosevelt delivered this speech, the Congress declared war on Japan:


Notables born on this day include Theodor Schwann (1810), Noam Chomsky (1928), Harry Chapin (1942, died 1981), and Larry Bird (1956). Those who died on this day include 2,403 Americans in the Pearl Harbor attack, Robert Graves (1985), Wolfgang Pauli (1993), and Jeane Kirkpatrick (1996, remember her?) Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is showing a kitten-like wonder at the world:

Hili: There is something astonishing in the fact…
A: Which fact?
Hili: Actually, all of them.

In Polish:
Hili: Jest coś zdumiewającego w fakcie…
Ja: W którym?
Hili: Właściwie w każdym.

From snowy Montreal, Anne-Marie’s new puppy (!) Linux Bernie (I suggested the “Bernie” bit) has had his first taste of snow—literally. Look at that furry muzzle!


Further west in Canada they had a blizzard, and Gus, in Winnipeg, looked on from his warm perch on the Katzenbaum:


Finally, a dog-shaming meme from reader S. Clark, who said he had “no choice but to send it to me”. A good determinist!



  1. Dominic
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Google Doodle for the speed of light!

    • Dominic
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The infamy speech is here –
      [audio src="" /]

      (They’ve all got it infamy…)

      Ole Rømer… 340 years ago today…

  2. Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Speaking of infamy, Mr. Roosevelt, have you signed Executive Order 9066 yet?

    Great speech, obviously. But Ex Order 9066 will live in infamy as well.

    I recently got a CD of Churchill’s best wartime speeches. I love it.

    • Dominic
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I seem to recall a film about that from the 80s or 90s… Can you remember what it was called?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Well the problem is that he did sign it.

      It’s shocking the number of people who don’t see a problem with treating Muslims the same way.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Without Googling it, I take it that XO 9066 was the one ordering the Japanese-ancestry portion of the American population into that great British invention – the Concentration Camps?

  3. rickflick
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I’m past 42 so that should tell you what I think about that!

  4. colnago80
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    According to Wiki, Wolfgang Pauli died on December 15, 1958.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      It’s weird; the bio gives one date (the one you note) but the “December 7” entry gives the other.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Some kind of strange quantum superposition effect perhaps? 🙂

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Surely that would be Heisenberg’s line? Pauli … was excluded from humour.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I am going with “December 15” as the Nobel Prize organization page [ ], on the basis of more principled vetting.

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          I have just removed Pauli from the Wikipedia December 7 article.

          In addition to the Nobel Prize page, also the University of St. Andrews and list his death as December 15.

  5. FloM
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Pertinent to Hili perhaps: On Dec 7th 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt on the war memorial in Warsaw in what was widely hailed as a powerful gesture of penance for what Germans had done to the people of Poland three decades earlier.

  6. Ken Pidcock
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Hmm. I don’t think of the Army-Navy game being that late in the year in 1963. I was a kid then and we used to take the train into Philly’s Suburban Station on Thanksgiving day. The station was always full of Army cadets coming into town for the game, so I assumed the game was that weekend.

  7. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Noam Chomsky had no intention of making any contributions to computer science but his Chomsky hierarchy is pivotal to computer language construction.

  8. Diane G.
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Darling shot of Linux Bernie, Anne-Marie!

  9. John Ottaway
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Also the day my daughter was born

    Happy Birthday Mirren x

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