Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s the weekend: Saturday, December 9, 2017, and a week before I arrive in India. It’s also Nation Pastry Day and, according to the UN, International Anti-Corruption Day. I’m at work early as I have to do shopping later for India (my friends want some stuff not available there), and I’m waking up with a homemade giant latte in my favorite cup:

On this day in, 1531, The Virgin of Guadalupe made her first appearance: to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in Mexico City.  On December 9, 1793, the first daily newspaper in America, the American Minerva, was established by Noah Webster.  In 1897, Parisian activist Marguerite Durand founded the feminist daily newspaper La Fronde.  Exactly seven years later, France passed the law separating church and state.  On this date in 1946, the Indian Assembly met to begin writing the Constitution of India.  And on December 9, 1960, the first episode of Coronation Street—the world’s longest-running t.v. soap opera (it’s still on), was broadcast in the UK.  And it’s a banner day in science and medicine: on this day in 1979, the World Health organization certified that the smallpox virus had been completely eradicated from the planet—still the only human disease driven to extinction. Here’s the last person to get it: two-year-old Rahima Banu from Bangladesh, who contracted the disease in 1975. She survived, and now has four children of her own:

But we’ve also driven an animal disease to extinction; do you know what it is? Finally, on this day in 1987, the first Intifada began in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Notables born on this day include John MIlton (1608), Peter Kropotkin (1842), Fritz Haber (1868), Joseph Pilates (1883; yes the inventor of the racist discipline of Pilates), Tip O’Neill (1912), Kirk Douglas (1916), Judi Dench (1934), and Donny Osmond (1957). Those who fell asleep on this day include Anthony van Dyck (1641), Edith Sitwell (1964), Branch Rickey (1965), Ralph Bunche (1971), and Mary Leakey (1996).

Here’s a lovely van Dyck:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s dialogue is subject to interpretation (she’s not telling), but I’m pretty sure I know what it means.

Hili: Which invention was more important: a bed or a wheel?
A: It depends on time of the day.
Hili: I’m not sure.
In Polish:
Hili: Który wynalazek był ważniejszy – łóżko czy koło?
Ja: To zależy od pory dnia.
Hili: Nie jestem pewna.

Here is a tweet from Grania: Roy Moore accuses evolution of corrupting children.

Tweets from Matthew Cobb:

Red kites (Milvus milvus) in the snow (play video):

And the most perfect cat ball:

Another cat from reader Charleen:

And a video of a kitten that appeared yesterday. LIVING THE DREAM!


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink


    You know I was discussing vaccination with someone and countered their argument that vaccines are a scam by asking why they don’t have a small poxvaccine? If they really wanted to get rich off people, they’d vaccinate you for eradicated diseases…

    • Hempenstein
      Posted December 10, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Thx! Rinderpest came to mind but I wasn’t sure why.

  2. Posted December 9, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Ironic how those who oppose evolution are always the first to act like chimps. (Those who forget evolutionary history are doomed to repeat it.)

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Ha ha! How true.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        More on Roy Moore — a speech he gave a few months ago (but just now coming to the attention of the media) in which he commented on slavery and family values and how to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN He made these remarks in response to a question asked by a black woman. Wow!

        • Mark R.
          Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I heard that insane quote too.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          (This isn’t a dig at you of course.) I notice that every report out of the US I’ve seen about these comments mentions he made them to a black person. I’m not sure it should make a difference what colour the person he was speaking to was. What he said wouldn’t be any less disgusting if he said it to a white person. The comment was stupid, ignorant, racist, and more, whoever he says it to.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    At first glance I thought the cup was from Alabama but no, not with that hard word on it – evolution. Roy Moore is an example of evolution that missed that fork in the tree.

  4. colnago80
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    It should be pointed out that Kirk Douglas is still with us at 101!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Hooray for Kirk Douglas- last year there were lots of actor/actress deaths and I had to cheer up the scene by saying Kirk just celebrated his 100th

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    By my reckoning, that makes Kirk (born “Issur Danielovitch”) 101 today.

    Even Willard Scott would give him a shout-out for that one!

  6. nicky
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Mr Moore appears not to make much sense (honestly, I hardly understand what he’s getting at), did males and females -since ‘scientists’ cannot explain- henceforth originate from ribs? A sparrow rib, a gaboon adder rib an elephant-shrew rib, a herring rib, a river frog rib? Oops, frogs have no ribs, nor does any protostome (and still, there are male and female insects). If ribs cannot be, what is his explanation?

    Apart from the pertinent, exquisite non-sequitur, acting like animals? Since when are animals doing ‘drive by’ shootings? It comes close to “not even wrong”.

    Personally I think this is worse than his lecherous longings for adolescent girls.

  7. nicky
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Puss in beans?

  8. nicky
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    And a self-contained Yin-Yang cat! We are spoiled today!

    • lkr
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Note that one dinner-bell/can opener sensor is deployed.

  9. W.Benson
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Roy Moore claims evolutionary biologists cannot explain how/why sex (meiosis) evolved? I think his assertion from 1997 is correct and remains true today. Is there any good theory for the evolution of sexual reproduction by the natural selection of small ‘continuous’ variations?

    • nicky
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, there is a reasonably good explanation, but it is long if you want it detailed. Basically competition between mitochondria of fusing cells. For a more elaborate explanation read Nick Lane’s “Sex, Power, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life.”

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      There are multiple ‘good’ theories! Perhaps there is no simple answer in messy, fuzzy biology.

      Nevertheless, I like the one that claims the cost of having males can be explained by increased parasite resistance. It’s called the Red Queen Hypothesis. WIKI EXPLANATION IS HERE

      • nicky
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        The Red Queen and the ‘competing mitochondria’ are not mutually exclusive at all.
        The red Queen (parasites) and Mark Ridley’s hypotheses of getting rid of deleterious mutations, explain why cells would have meiosis and fusion.
        The ‘mitochondrial’ theory explains why there are males (lean and contributing only nuclear DNA) and females (contributing nuclear DNA plus all the rest, mitochondria in particular) when there is fusion.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Do you mean Matt Ridley? I didn’t claim they were mutually exclusive – I couldn’t have because I didn’t see your comment. I posted without refreshing the browser page first – clearing unexpected snow & breakfast elbowed into my browsing.

          I’m now asking myself why no prokaryotes have ever [I believe] evolved a sexual reproduction mechanism rather than horizontal gene transfer? Is it the size of prokaryotes or the costs are different or chance or something else? And why are mitochondria much more diverse in plants compared with other ‘kingdoms’ [animals & fungi I think].

          • Steve Gerrard
            Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            “why no prokaryotes have ever [I believe] evolved a sexual reproduction mechanism”

            In the broad view of evolution, they have: they are called plants, fungi, and animals!

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              Yes, but I’m saying eukaryotes arose as asexual organisms & later on eukaryotes invented sex

              As in: prokaryotes > much of Earth history happens > eukaryotes > much more waiting > multicellular life > I’ve read all these mags, dammit > sex arises in eukaryotes

              But I’ve just checked & it’s now hypothesized sex was likely present in a common ancestor of all eukaryotes & [in a way] is part of the definition of being a eukaryote these days. This is news to me & probably you too 🙂

              That’s what happens when you look away for one minute – facts change

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Those red kites: I think that’s what’s known as the “largest bird table in the world” or Gigrin Farm, address: up in the hills, bloody sheep everywhere, in the middle of nowhere, nowhere, Wales. The farm puts out rabbit scraps at 2 hours past noon [by the sun, not human clock] & red kites compete with buzzards & ravens for choice pickings.

    This has brought the Welsh red kite back from extinction. MORE INFO HERE [THEY HAVE PHOTOGRAPHER HIDES & SUCH]

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi ,i l live in Shropshire ,next to Wales ,only seen one or two Red Kites in the County .
      Seen plenty when driving on the motorway.
      I did read somewhere that Farmers feeding the Kites is stopping them from spreading out further in to England ,don’t think that is the case.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Yeah. Until very recently there was only a few breeding pairs left in one part of Wales & no others anywhere in Britain. They have spread from there surprisingly quickly, but also the RSPB has reintroduced them in key places all over.

        I’ve seen red kites around Worcester & the River Severn since the late 90s. I saw the same one daily patrolling up & down a straight, flat, rural, 10-mile stretch of the A38 Worcester Road looking for movement in the grass verges & hedges. She used to start work at the same time as me.

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi ,just had a look on the website ,didn’t know about this feeding site ,there is one on the way down to Pembroke and one in north wales .
      Might pay it a visit when it gets warmer ,got snow on the ground here at the moment.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        phone ahead & usually closed to visitors Thurs & Fri.

        • David Coxill
          Posted December 10, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

          Hi ,thanks for the info .

  11. Jacques Hausser
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Random unrelated comment:

    I just got “Fantasyland – How America Went Haywire – A 500-year History” by Kurt Andersen.

    He was in San Harris’ podcast recently.

    The book which I just started is a page turner – well written I’d say.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      … and the title gives us every indication as to what it’s about – WTF Trump is the president his the H did THAT happen?!?!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      1. Typo : how not his

      2. … I just started reading this, so I go out on a limb by saying “you gotta drop everything you’re reading and READ THIS!”

      … I mean, my Karl Popper is still collecting dust over there… one day….

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the tip. If it’s good enough for Lawrence O’Donnell, it’s good enough for me.

  13. mikeyc
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    ThyroidPlanet got it….rinderpest.

  14. Ken Pidcock
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I used to do a lecture on smallpox eradication, and I could never get through The Who certification without choking up. It’s a human achievement without parallel.

    • nicky
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      In my modest opinion vaccination, and the many we have now, is the best of modern medicine.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        … unless you consider basic plumbing of water supply and sewage treatment to be a medical intervention. Which is an argument that could be had.

    • Blue
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I concur, Dr Pidcock, on the “choking up”
      part in re “human achievements” and, in
      particular, in re science’s microbiological

      Which is why I state, and have very many
      times before, that as re “without parallel“
      for over half of the World’s population of
      beings who are its human ones, chemical birth
      control … … The Pill … … is without parallel
      / IS unequivocally … … The Greatest of All
      Inventions over All the World over All of

      Vaccines rank high up there, too o’course,
      along with untoward organisms’ eradication;
      yet over All of Time over All the World
      puerperal fever killed more lives … …
      considering humans who are the species’
      female ones … … than has any one organism.

      BSN (labor, delivery, postpartum, nursery,
      emergency, OR theatres)
      DVM, PhD (Veterinary Microbiology)

  15. Roger
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Why does Roy always sound like a two-year-old. Not exactly a rocket scientist.

    • claudia baker
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      He *does* sound like a bloody idiot, doesn’t he?

  16. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Re Ralph Bunche — it’s weird to see the name of someone you knew listed in the daily vitals, and I didn’t know the date of his death, nor of his birth. Live and learn.

  17. Mark R.
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Moore is a living example of how religion turns one’s brain to mush.

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