Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on January 26, 2017, and it’s National Peanut Brittle Day. I haven’t had it in years, but when it’s made right, with real butter and fresh peanuts, it’s a toothsome morsel. It’s also Australia Day, the National Holiday of that land.

On January 26, 1861, Louisiana seceded from the Union, part of the run-up to the Civil War. In 1911, Glenn Curtiss successfully flew the first seaplane, and, in 1926, television was first demonstrated successfully. And on this day in 1998,U.S. President Bill Clinton, appearing on television having had “sexual relations” with “that woman”, the woman being former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Notables born on this day include Douglas MacArthur (1880), Bessie Colmean (1892, see below), Maria von Trapp (1905), Paul Newman (1925, in my view one of the handsomest actors ever), Angela Davis (1944), and Ellen DeGeneres (1958). Those who died on this day include Henry Briggs (1630, deviser of base 10 logarithms), Edward Jenner (1823), Abner Doubleday (1893), Nelson Rockefeller (1979), and Hugh Trevor-Roper (2003). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata and Andrzej are recovering very slowly from their viruses, with Malgorzata reporting, “Still alive if just barely,” and they’re intrepid enough to have produced another Hili dialogue. In this one the indolent Editor is, as usual, pretending to work:

Hili: Checking is the most difficult part in science and journalism.
A: That’s right but why do you say that?
Hili: Because I’m checking all the time.
In Polish:
Hili: W nauce i w dziennikarstwie najtrudniejsze jest sprawdzanie.
Ja: To prawda, ale dlaczego to mówisz?
Hili: Bo ja cały czas sprawdzam.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 1892 birth of Bessie Coleman, the first black female pilot in America, and the first to hold both a domestic and international pilot’s license. She became famous as a barnstormer and exhibition flyer, and, sadly, died at 34 in a plane crash.
Finally, reader jsp sent the latest Get Fuzzy strip—about evolution:



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    “Henry Briggs (1630, deviser of base 10 logarithms)”

    Great to learn of this interesting mathematician

    • Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      You logged your interest!

      • jaxkayaker
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Logged for the common interest.

  2. Posted January 26, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Today’s Radio 4 In Our Time was about parasites – featured Jerry’s mate Steve Jones of UCL
    Available later as a free podcast…

  3. Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I’m still trying to figure out how we got from a world in which one President was impeached by Republicans for mutually-consensual hanky-panky to one in which another was elected despite bragging about sexual assault of strangers and being a peeping tom of teenagers.

    What’s the message here? Sexual indiscretion is good when the woman (or girl!) doesn’t agree and bad when she does? Or, perhaps, Republican men can do anything they want to females but Democratic men must be monks?



    • eric
      Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      The message here is ‘the ends justifies the means.’ Or perhaps ‘tribal loyalty trumps all.’

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        I’ve heard them call themselves “one-issue voters” and that issue is who gets to nominate to SCOTUS.

  4. rickflick
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Coleman died because of a lack of federal regulations (I mention that as Trump rolls up his sleeves to get rid of 50% or 70% or, I don’t know, you tell me, how many regulations we can dump). Her mechanic picked up a used airplane that could hardly run. They both died because the plane croaked in mid air. A wrench was found in the engine gears.
    Today, mechanics have to be certified, and planes inspected based on FAA rules. Moving a non-airworthy aircraft requires a special permit. Fortunately the fatality rate of airplane crew and passengers has decreased significantly over the years, based on regulations.

  5. eric
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Like the comic. I could definitely see a real non-fiction book selling with the title

    The history of single-celled life in Earth’s first billion years.”

  6. Tim Anderson
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Australia Day events run the gamut from quiet reflections of regret at this country’s treatment of its indigenous population through to disgusting orgies of flag-waving self-congratulation. In between there are a lot of picnics involving burnt sausages.

    Patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel, I find myself indulging in deliberate non-participation.

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