Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Thanksgiving Thursday in America: November 23, 2017. Today most Americans, save me, will stuff themselves until they’re insensate, then falling asleep in a food coma in front of a television football game. It’s also National Espresso Day, and Foodimentary informs us that it takes about 42 coffee beans to make one serving of espresso. And, of course, because it’s Thanksgiving (Fastgiving for me), there’s a Google Doodle of a turkey fleeing its preordained fate.

So far this is the thinnest day of the year, eventwise. Almost nothing happened on November 23 and few notables either were born or died. On November 23, 1644, John Milton published a pamphlet that Christopher Hitchens always recommended as required reading for free speech advocates: Areopagitica, a work that decried censorship. (His other recommendations included Mills’s On Liberty.) On this day in 1992, the first smartphone, the IBM Simon, was introduced in a convention in Las Vegas. Finally, on November 23, 2015, Blue Origin‘s New Shepard spacecraft became the first vehicle to return from space and land safely on Earth in a controlled vertical descent. Here’s a video of the takeoff and landing. What a clever species we are!

Notables born on November 23 include Franklin Pierce (1804), José Clemente Orozco (1883), Harpo Marx (1888), Susan Anspach (1942), Bruce Hornsby (1954), and Miley Cyrus (1992). Only one person of note died on this day, jazz singer Anita O’Day (1992).

Hili seems to be suffering from existential angst today; Malgorzata explained that she drank too much last night!

Hili: I doubt.
A: What do you doubt?
Hili: Today I think I doubt everything.
In Polish
Hili: Wątpię.
Ja: W co wątpisz?
Hili: Dziś chyba we wszystko.

Grania is back with a tweet:

Some tweets from Dr. Cobb. I’m mad at this fishmonger, who should have given the seal some fish! Matthew said that he didn’t “cos the seal would come back and want more”. My response: “So what’s the problem?”

. . . and a sad tweet reminding us of Earth’s fragility:



  1. Posted November 23, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    You can argue that the problem with the seal is much the same as the problem with humans and bears. If they get to habituated to humans, they stop eating their natural food. I suppose fish IS the seal’s natural food, but I think it is better that it finds it itself. Of course, it could be that humans have destroyed the fish stocks – which has happened & continues to around the world…

    It is possible a fisherman would shoot seals if they think they have ‘robbed’ their lobster/crab pots or their nets. Not sure if that is still done in the U.K.?

    I like wild animals to be wild, not like a petting zoo!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      And just because humans stuck them in a cage does not mean they are not wild. My guess is they would prefer to be out of the cage as well.

    • Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      I’m not suggesting that the fishmonger give the seal a bucket of fish–just one or two. That won’t make it stop eating its natural food.

      • Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Sammy the seal
        Mr Hegarty, the fishmonger, said to the BBC: “We feed him a little amount three times a day – at nine o’clock, one o’clock and four o’clock.
        Normally seals would eat around 10 kilos a day, we give him three.”


        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          Sorry. Didn’t see your similar, earlier Sammy post – I didn’t remember to refresh my browser tab & check before posting.

          • Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            There is really no need to apologize. Above all, you did all the work and provided the video right here. The funny story of Sammy the seal is definitely worth getting to know.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Sammy the Seal gets fed by the Wicklow town fishmonger daily [I don’t know what happens on Sundays] at 9am, 1pm & 4pm, but they want Sammy to accept the fish scraps only when he’s in the water, to stop him crossing the dangerous road. So when Sammy breaks the rules he’s not fed until he’s back in the water.

        VIDEO DESCRIPTION: “Interview with Alan Hegarty, from the Lighthouse Restaurant and the Fishman shop.

        Sammy arrived in 2012 when we opened the fish shop and he has actually trained me into feeding him 3 times a day at 9 o’clock, 1 o’clock and 4 o’clock. In the high tide he would jump out of the water on to the footpath since we opened the restaurant that has become a regular occurrence and it does not have to be high water, it can be 3 feet from the water’s edge and he will still jump.

        so we approached the seal sanctuary and asked them to help us train sammy to stay in the water so they gave us some tips and we now have a herding board that we lean up against sammy and he realises that’s a negative thing and he will stay in the water and he is not getting up as much. The problem with him getting up is that he could be injured and he is really good for business i don’t want it to be at any expense, he can also snap at people because people tendency to think he might be tame , but he is not tame he is a wild animal and he is an aggressive animal and all grey seals are so i have asked people not to ask to feed him and to keep their distance at the end of the day he is a wild animal and we want him to remain that way

        but he has done wonderful things for wicklow we have had a video online on youtube that has had 20 million hits which has mention wicklow in all parts of the world and we find that we are getting tourists coming down that would normally pass us by are getting off the ferry and coming down to see sammy the seal, Italian, American people, some people from England and even some people from the midlands are coming to see him, he is a bit of an attraction and hopefully he will be Wicklow’s Fungi”

        • Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          “even some people from the midlands” – presumably the Irish midlanders are rare seaside visitors! 😉

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            What do you think he means by “…hopefully he will be Wicklow’s Fungi”?


            • Dave
              Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

              “Fungie” is a bottle-nosed dolphin who has been a familiar figure around the Irish coastal town of Dingle for many years.


              • Michael Fisher
                Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

                Thanks – makes sense now! 🙂

      • Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Of course! 🙂

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Here I go :

    What is thanksgiving?

    Also – are you sure it wasn’t SpaceX first?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      I think their first successful landing was maybe one month after this – Dec. 2015. But they had been testing for sometime before this.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Oh, Thanksgiving was kind of a get together after months of starving to death and figuring out they had to grow some food in order to eat. Safeway was too far away.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Ergo – the latest White House press secretary just wrote in – PCC(E) is not allowed to write anything else until he says what he’s thankful for.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Yes, I am sure the press is always very thankful for those instructions from the white house. Sooo thankful for the fake news.

    • davidintoronto
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Needless to say, a “controlled vertical descent” (and landing) is much easier for sub-orbital flights (rockets that go straight up, technically reach “space” and then come back down.) For orbital or deep space reentries, you typical use aerodynamics and a serious heat shield.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        I believe what is referred to here is the return and landing of the first stage of the rocket that previously just fell back to earth, crashed into the ocean. Space X has perfected this to reuse the large first stage and reduce the cost of space launch.

  3. Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Why are you fasting today?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      He fasts every few days on a schedule.

      • Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        cool. thank you, Hempenstein.

      • Posted November 23, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        …it helps to shed the pounds before yule…

  4. John Dentinger
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The Daily Beast reminded me that today is the 106th birthday of Harry’s New York Bar (sank roo doe noo). To all you lucky expats in Paris, Happy Bloody Mary!

  5. Jim batterson
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the areopagitica reference. Read milton in sophmore required english lit, but had no notes in my norton anthology on this work though many notes on paradise lost. I now wish that my lit classes had tied the literary works to the social and political world that inspired them. The 60’s were much more stovepiped than today with few cross discipline courses. And as a physics and math major i at best tolerated humanities course because they were required. My grandchildren seem to be in a much broader university world crossing traditional disciplines within the sciences at least and broader required core coursework. A good sign to maybe balance some of the radical intolerance we read about.

  6. GBJames
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It never fails to amaze me when watching these rocket landings. Soooo cool!

  7. Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    No mention of Doctor Who? Okay…

    • GBJames
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink


  8. Filippo
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    “Credit: Blue Origin/Jeff Bezos.”

    I guess this is technically a video credit.

    Acknowledging that Jeff Bezos has invested a minimum half a billion of his own money in this venture and as a result should be reasonably acknowledged, it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally give credit to the scientists, engineers, technicians and craftsmen who actually DO something to make this a reality.

    I’m reminded of some money-bags who owns a Triple Crown thoroughbred or great work of art. (Re: the Elgin Marbles and the Codex Leicester. Is it now the Codex Gates?!?)

    The owning of something is not the same as the creating of it.

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