Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Sunday, February 11, 2018, and National Peppermint Patty Day (not the Peanuts star, whose real name was Patricia Reichardt, but the candy). It’s also National Inventors’ Day in the U.S.

This post is delayed: I slept late because of the Atheist/Science event last night, but more on that later. It started snowing in Chicago again last night, undoing the work of all the snowplows in my area.  Here are a few shots from this morning:

Woe betide those whose cars are parked on the street. Fortunately, I was prescient enough to put mine in the garage about four days ago. No digging required!

The campus quad:

The snow on the outdoor tables—which of course are flat—shows how deep it is:

We have another Olympic Google Doodle today, this time showing (or not showing) a polar bear doing the slalom. Click on the screenshot to see the animation:

On February 11, 1534, Henry VIII became the supreme head of the Church of England—another reason for the British monarchy to be abolished.  On this day in 1858, Bernadette Soubirous had her first vision of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France: the beginning of a century and a half of ineffective cures and local capitalism.  On February 11, 1978, China finally lifted the ban on the works of Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Dickens. On this day in 1979, Iran became a theocracy under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni. It remains one, and I weep for the progressive people (especially women) in that country.  In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verser Prison outside Capetown, finally free after 27 years as a political prisoner. During the last 20 years of his imprisonment, it was illegal to publish pictures of him.  While Iran became a theocracy on this day, the Arab Spring began on November 11, 2011 as 18 days of revolution in Egypt led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Finally, on this day in 2013, the Vatican announced that, due to advanced age (and surely other stuff!), Pope Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on February 28. But the old git is still alive at 90.

Here’s video of Mandela, hand in hand with Winnie, leaving the prison. What he did to unite the country afterwards was courageous and thoughtful. The video looks broken, but you can see it anyway by clicking on it.

Notables born on February 11 include George Washington (1732), Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839), Thomas Edison (1847), Leo Szilard (1898), Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915; wrote superb travel books), Burt Reynolds (1936), Gerry Goffin (1939), Sarah Palin (1964), and Jennifer Aniston (1969). Those who breathed their last on this day include Sergei Eisenstein (1948), Sylvia Plath (1963), Eleanor Powell (1982), Paul Feyerabend (1994), Whitney Houston (2012), and Bob Simon (2015)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, as usual, has jumped on the windowsill, asking to be carried in from outside. What a spoiled cat!

Hili: I would like to draw your attention.
A: To what?
Hili: Me.
In Polish:
Hili: Chciałabym zwrócić wam uwagę.
Ja: Na co?
Hili: Na mnie.

It’s cold in nearby Wloclawek, too, but Leon has found some heat:

Leon: My personal, heated bed is having a winter break. Finally!

Matthew sent a pile o’ tweets. This may be the world’s first known children’s toy:

Bert is the Loneliest Roomba:

There are still animal mysteries, especially in the deep sea:

What a lovely moth!

This tweet speaks for itself:

One of my favorite rock groups (read the caption):

And of course a cat (Matthew has three); this one is all ebony and eyes:


  1. George
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Leo Szilard (not Sziland) was born on this day in 1898. His office was not far from PCC(e)’s in Eckhart Hall. Wikipedia has some good pictures of him. More if you click the link for the Metallurgical Laboratory (what they called the Manhattan Projetc work done at the University of Chicago).

    Forecast was for 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm)of snow overnight in Chicago. It is still snowing. It is supposed to stop by noon. It looks like we will get closer to 5 inches (12.5cm).

    • George
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      And for those who say George Washington was born on Feb 22, that was under the Gregorian calendar. When the father of our country was born, the colonies, like the mother country, still used the Julian calendar, refusing to bow to the papacy. The entire new style and old style dates thing is confusing.

      • George
        Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        They also added a year for old style dates between Jan 1 and Mar 25. So GW was born on Feb 11, 1731 or Feb 22, 1732.

      • Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Yes, it said that in the entry; I just left it out.

        • George
          Posted February 11, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          I assume you are getting ready for tomorrow Feb 12 – which is the birthday of Ray Manzarek (1939) of The Doors. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago, went to St. Rita High School and DePaul University.

          I think there were a couple of other prominent guys who were both born on Feb 12 in 1809. Their names escape me at this moment.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 11, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            No mud, but plenty of cat hair no doubt.

    • Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Fixed the typo, thanks.

  2. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I have a friend who named his Roomba Juan – and everybody knows that Juan is the loneliest Roomba.

    • Jake Sevins
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      I took me a very very long time to get this joke… and then groan. 🙂

    • rickflick
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I’ll give you 6 points for content and meaning and another 2 for style. 😎

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Why is that Chinese springtail raspberry coloured? I looked up Neanurinae & found pics of ‘relatives’ that are bright yellow & others that are blue, but most species are clothed in respectable, restrained Autumn colours for blending in leaf litter.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Would you eat that thing!

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 11, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        I’m more muesli, croissants & coffee for breakfast, I’ve never knowingly consumed a hexapod!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 11, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          You’re on the Arachnid and Myriapod diet are you? Crustaceans for light entertainment.

  4. rickflick
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Bert has several charging stations. One would not be enough. Also, the dust box would likely fill up before it got halfway down the hallway. How smart and capable does a robot have to be to satisfy scientists at the south pole?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      At 0:38 in this video you can see the exact place where the Roomba was in the picture [the walls are colour coded throughout the base]:

      It’s an absurdly long corridor for little Bert – there’s no way he could handle all that corridor & Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is already too noisy 24/7 without adding to the din. The company ‘iRobot’ that makes the Roomba also builds exploration robots for the Antarctic [underwater & on land] so maybe Bert is a giveaway toy for the tech nerds to hack? “Go get me doughnuts from the cafeteria Bert”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 11, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is already too noisy 24/7 without adding to the din.

        You’ve really never had to sleep in an 8-man cabin in the room above a megawatt Diesel generator set, have you? You either learn to live with it, or you’re out, home and unemployed within days.
        If you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for before you signed up, then the recruitment personnel have fouled up really badly.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 11, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Don’t make assumptions about me Gravel – I’ve encountered & flourished in environments similar to your description.

          The South Pole Station isn’t THAT noisy by comparison. It’s around 250 metres of corridor & that Roomba looks like a model 650, judging by the top design – fairly dumb with no memory of jobs prior to the current recharge so useless for that corridor even with mapped ‘virtual walls’ etc. unless multiple Home Bases are possible.

          It would need supervision after each recharge to move onto new zones to clean. I don’t think Roombas have multiple Home Base recharging capability, but I’m unfamiliar with recent upgrades in the 900ish series. On older models perhaps a series of Bases are plugged in [they’re cheap] & can be activated sequentially to herd Bert up the corridor.

          But mostly it’s a toy in that environment IMO

          • rickflick
            Posted February 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            I like the idea that the engineers at the station have hacked Bert significantly. They’ve installed remote connections to a computing hub making it one of the most capable robots in the world. It can do most anything. It’s hard to keep it from doing anything. It does mostly what it wants and has a complex and often irascible personality. People have learned to be careful within earshot. Eventually he wants to be called Hal.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted February 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

              I like your thinking! I’ve heard he’s demanding to be called Bertram in future – he’s definitely getting ideas above his [charging] station.

              P.S. If you get time go look at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station website – the variety & scope of science projects going on is v. interesting [250ish people in season] – I didn’t realise it sits on the high plateau, altitude similar to Colorado, 2,835 metres (9,301 feet) at the actual geographic South Pole. The scientists mark it out freshly once each year because the ice moves a bit.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Back when I had one – several versions ago – it would run for the thick end of an hour on carpet before running down and seeking home. That would cover a lot of corridor, particularly if the newer versions (which this is) could remember complex routes back to their originating station. Or, indeed, home in on a second station – but that then introduces problems of swarms of the robots interacting.
      Part of the point of these things is that once they’ve learned the layout of a room, bounded by the boundary tech for that version, they come out often and sweep up before the floor has time to acquire large amounts of dirt. This being a hostile environment, it would probably be site rules that you leave outdoor clothes including dirty boots in the change room, because there is no way out that doesn’t pass through the locker rooms without triggering a general alarm.
      At the South Pole you’re probably 500km horizontally and 4 or 5 km vertically from any mud.

  5. Nobody Special
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I want that black German (or Belgian) Shepherd.

  6. George
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    While it is not Peppermint Patty Day for the Peanuts star, perhaps we should discuss that all time burning question – was Peppermint Patty a lesbian?
    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3
    Link 4

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Before he met Stills, Nash and Young, David Crosby was a member of a less successful band…

    Little known fact: After their breakup with Seeds & Animals, Crosby & Germs were briefly in a band with Steel & Guns.

  8. Posted February 11, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Apparently February 12 is a special day for me. I know 5 of the people who were born or died on this day. George Washington, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Thomas Edison, Sarah Palin, and Paul Feyerabend, and also faint recognition of Leo Szilard and Whitney Houston. This probably says more about me than 12th Feb.

  9. David Coxill
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Re Hili and her habit ,did she always do it ?My cat Misha will stand behind the front gate and wait for me to go and open it for him .

    Sometimes he will jump over ,but most of the time he will walk to a gap in the fence and come in that way.

    Cats ,who knows what goes on in their minds.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 11, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Since a kitty she’s had a window ledge she perches on waiting to be noticed & for her hoomins to go outdoors, pick her up & ceremonially carry the Princess indoors across the threshold. She’s must be aware I suppose, of the ancient Roman ritual of carrying the new bride into the home to protect from lurking demons.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Oh ,right ,what would happen if the staff just ignored her ? Would she stay there for ever?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          I suppose that’s an experiment too far for Hili’s help 🙂

          • David Coxill
            Posted February 12, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

            Sometimes Misha will just sit just outside the front door .I can see him through the cat flap ,but he wait for me to open the door for him .
            Think i am in a battle of will with him.

  10. tony in san diego
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Finally on film : Dark Catter

  11. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and today is a special day for me because it’s the ninth anniversary of the adoption of my elder cat Isa, a lovely and affectionate Maine Coon mix.

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