Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday, and greetings on February 16, 2018, National Almond Day (brought to you by Big Almond). It’s also the Day of the Shining Star in North Korea, celebrating Kim Jong-il’s birthday in 1941—the day when a big star shone brightly, cats and dogs lay down together, and the birds sang the Dear Leader‘s name in five-part harmony.

Before you do anything, have a look at this video of a cat watching the Olympic snowboarders on television. It is the best cat + t.v. video I’ve ever seen, and you should thank me for putting it up! (h/t: Avis)


Not much happened on this day in history. On February 16, 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun and saw the sarcophagus for the first time. On this day in 1937, Wallace Carothers got the U.S. patent for nylon (I told you not much happened!). On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after Batista was overthrown on the first day of the year.  On this day in 1968, the first “911” system for telephone emergencies went into service—in Hayleyville, Alabama.  In 1978, according to Wikipedia, “the first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago).” Finally, it was on this day in 2005 that the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions went into effect.

Notables born on this day include Francis Galton (1822), Henry Adams (1838), Sonny Bono (1935), Kim Jong-il (1941; see above), Natalie Angier (1958) and John McEnroe (1959). Those who expired on this day include Lesley Gore (1959; I TOLD you not much happened on February 16.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is out but had a bad feeling. . . .

Hili: I’m going back to the house.
A: Why?
Hili: My intuition tells me that it’s better that way.
In Polish:
​ Hili: Wracam do domu.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Intuicja mi mówi, że tak jest lepiej. ​


From Heather Hastie, a house with a passel of hyper cats:

From Matthew we have a really bizarre optical illusion. Figure out why the hearts look like they’re in different colors:

The fracas about Bari Weiss’s tweet continues, and now Soledad O’Brien, someone I used to respect, joins the pile-on (and is answered). The “problems” with Bari Weiss are, of course, her repeated failures to conform to Regressive Leftism. These tweets from Grania:

I’m a bit dubious about whether the explanation below is true, but judge for yourself:

and. . . sunrise on Mars!:

Nature imitates art:


  1. Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1968, the first “911” system for telephone emergencies

    I thought that had to be a typo because I could not believe that the USA didn’t have a standardised emergency telephone number in my life time. Turns out it is the correct date.

    What did you do before 1968 to call the emergency services?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      You actually called the police. Amazing idea.

      • George
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        I remember when phone books (remember them?) (new ones delivered every year) prominently had the phone number for the police and fire departments (they were different) on the front cover. Each police and fire department in every town had a different number. I think the last four digits for the CPD were 1313. Did not have to know the area code – the entire Chicago metropolitan area was 312. It was not split (into now 10 or so area codes) until 1988. 9-1-1 implementation began in Chicago in 1976. Some towns did not implement it until 1989.

        Some (most?) people just dialed the operator for an emergency.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Useless factoid, which I have no idea how to check : the area code that covers Kennedy Space centre is 3… 2… 1… – that’s it “321”. Allegedly.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            local resident Robert Osband lobbied for area code 321 to be used for Brevard County, Florida & Seminole County, Florida – thus Kennedy Space Center is +1 321-867-5000

            He also requested a new mobile phone number for himself: 407-543-8633 which can also be represented by 321-LIFTOFF on a mobile keypad! DETAILS HERE

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

              That “thing” of choosing phone numbers that spell out something memorable on the 12 digit keypad is just something that hasn’t taken off (sorry!) on this side of the pond.
              I wonder if the old GPO rotary dial phones had the lettering on? If not, then people just wouldn’t have developed the habit.
              – A brief Wikipediaing shows lots of variations – and many that just didn’t use the lettering at all. I honestly can’t remember whether we had letters on the dial when we went from 4-digit numbers to 6-digit numbers in the late 70s, when I first remembered writing the home number in my diary.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

                You realise I’m a Brit? [Well Irish by birth]. You must be younger than me Gravel, the use of letters in British phone numbers was the norm in the early days of Brit telephony, but only for indicating ones district. So my parent’s phone number was “ERD 3061” [for Erdington in Birmingham] & it is still ERD today expressed as “373” – see chart:

                0 & Operator

                I notice Mayfair in London is still “629” [or MAY] today – though the connection between digits & letters is now broken for most districts. I guess Mayfair residents had the political influence to retain theirs – a “I say old chap, that’s not on!” situation I guess.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

                I don’t know if I’m younger or older. I remember the phone being installed at home in about 1972, and changing to 6-digit numbers in about 1977, but I can’t actually remember when I first had to use a dialling code. I can’t think of any reason to have done it before 1980 or so.
                Since my parents dates for using phones would have been about the same, it’s possible that this was a technique that just never got transmitted to us.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

                Oh, incidentally, one of the GPO phones I looked up on Wikipedia had a different code to yours. They put “Q” and “Operator” as being meanings for “Zero”. Which makes the point – different countries used different dial layouts and pulse codings (eg, IIRC Sweden & Scandinavia used 1 pulse for zero, 2 for 1 … ). So the system described for (and popular in) America would have had to be dozens of different schemes and consequently limited availability.
                I deduce that it was a Scandinavian phone engineer who proposed the use of “112” as an emergency phone number.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:10 am | Permalink

                When I was but a wee one, I vaguely remember the use of the “CHerry” 2 letter prefix in Weston, Ontario, Canada. It sounded delightfully edible to me.

                WIK: The famous Glenn Miller tune PEnnsylvania 6-5000 refers to telephone number PE6-5000, a number still in service at the Hotel Pennsylvania (212 736-5000) in New York. Similarly, the classic film BUtterfield 8 is set in the East Side of Manhattan between roughly 64th and 86th Streets, where the telephone prefixes include 288. In some works of fiction, phone numbers will begin with “KLondike 5” or KLamath 5, which translates to 555, an exchange that is reserved for information numbers in North America.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted February 17, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

                Those film trivia would be completely missed this side of the world.
                Like I said, I’d probably lived in a house with a phone for nearly 10 years before I needed to figure out how to use a dialling code.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

                I was simply not of dialing age. For me it was all hearsay.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Not everywhere has 911 available on landlines in the USA to this day. If you didn’t know the direct number for your cop shop or hospital, then the usual system was to lift the receiver & dial “0” [or crank the handle] for the operator who connected you to the required service. Some cities had street phones for connection to the local fire station. Difficult to have one system on a continent with different phone companies, different exchange hardware on different voltages & so on.

      Calling 911 on a mobile can be a problem if you don’t know your locale! It isn’t possible always to triangulate the phone location.

      Although the UK got “999” early [1937] it wasn’t rolled out quickly [WWII & terrible post-war economy]. My area, Birmingham & Coventry, didn’t get it until 1946 & little hamlets maybe not until the ’70s I’m guessing.

  2. Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Also, then hearts thing is because of the colour of the stripes that go over the hearts, although I zoomed in quite close and still couldn’t dispel the illusion, so perhaps they really are of different colours.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      I took a screenshot & enlarged a lot. Then moved a green stripe across & it matches the blue stripe – same colour.

      • Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        I will have to try that. I zoomed in and used an edge of paper to help trace a stripe. Still could not ‘break’ the illusion.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I did that too. Yup, there both green. No blue at all.

      • ploubere
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        The values are not exactly the same. Open it in Photoshop and measure the RGB values of individual pixels, and there’s variation anywhere from 3/253/148 to 0/255/157. That’s not much, and is likely due to it being saved as a JPG, whose compression method is to average colors.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          OK. I’ll write for the THIRD time the following:

          No they are the ‘same’
          There is a slight bleed in the image & a green/blue stripe varies depending on the pixel you pick

          The ranges I’m getting in a blown up image are these across two hearts – the same ranges for both types of heart:

          R: 0 to 4
          G: 250 to 255
          B: 148 to 152
          Alpha 255

          • rickflick
            Posted February 17, 2018 at 3:01 am | Permalink

            Are you quite sure? “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted February 17, 2018 at 4:14 am | Permalink

              LoLing quietly 🙂

  3. Chris G
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the cat video – would have been more amazing if cat caught and ate the snowboarder!
    As for ‘the blue and green hearts are the same colour’ … well, I cut-and-pasted into MS Paint, zoomed in mightily, cropped and juxtaposed, and have concluded: they are different colours.
    What did I do wrong??

    • JohnH
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      I think all of the hearts are green and blue vertically striped. The red lines are in different positions. For the green hearts the red is covering the blue and vice versa.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      They are the same colour. Take a square from two hearts & join them together. Blow up square by factor of 4 or 6.

      Then take a green stripe from one square & slide it to the other square & place it next to a green stripe from there. You’ll see the green is identical.

      • David Heddle
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but not according to gimp. I also zoomed in, grabbed a blue stripe and dragged in into various places on the green. I could always tell the difference.

      • Barney
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        They’re not quite identical. If you enlarge it enough, you’ll see that the background is not simply lines of just 2 colours; while the centres of the stripes are magenta and orange, the edges are shades of each of those slightly approaching the other. And in the area of the hearts, again, the pixels are not just 2 colours, but stripes with cyan in the centre, and shading towards either magenta, or towards orange, on either side.

        So it’s not quite true to say “they are the same colour”.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          I’ve already written in this thread that there’s bleeding in the image
          I’ve already written that the ranges are as follows & it’s the same range for both types of heart:
          R: 0 to 4
          G: 250 to 255
          B: 148 to 152
          Alpha 255

  4. Jim
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I think they look like different colors, because the yellow lines run through the green heart, but not the blue heart. Also the red lines run through the blue heart but not the green heart.

  5. George
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Was Earth, Wind and Fire singing about Kim Jong-il?

  6. David Heddle
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Not the same colors (confirmed using Gimp), unless they are the same colors with different alphas. That is, if RGB only they are different. They might be the same RGBA over top of different colors.

  7. dabertini
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Yes thanks for that cat video. Call it the sequel to the Empire strikes back moguls video from the sochi Olympics.

  8. JohnH
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    For the optical illusion focus on the position of the lines over the hearts. Both sets of hearts consist of alternating blue and green vertical stripes. For the green hearts the vertical lines cover the blue stripes and for the blue hearts the vertical lines are shifted to the right or left and cover the green stripes.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      no. The background of all the hearts is one greenish-blue block of colour

      The general background is orange stripes alternating with magenta stripes

      In the green appearing heart only the orange stripes enter the field of the heart. The colour between the stripes is the greenish-blue.

      In the blue appearing heart only the magenta stripes enter the field of the heart The colour between the stripes is the greenish-blue

      • JohnH
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        I see what you mean. The shifting I referred to is actually alternating which of the 2 different colored background lines cover the heart.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          yes. Orange or Magenta.

      • nicky
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that’s correct.

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    In my opinion…

    The leapfrog cat: At 0.6 I can hear a fan blowing – I think the servants are playing games by blowing air across the threshold. The cat abhors the air movement on her whiskers. Cats don’t like their whiskers messed with! The music hides the fan sound for the rest of the clips.

    We are not being shown the clips where the cat walks around the obstructions & encounters the blowing air.

    I note that the feeding bowls & water bowls for the two cats are positioned at the threshold, to the right of the door, in the kitchen. The servants don’t understand their cats! Generally the feeding area should be further apart for the two kitties, with water well away from solid food & none of it should be in a trafficked area like that spot.

  10. Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Yeah, that lady in the video is definitely “deathly allergic to cats”.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    A blowup of the Hearts illusion indicates they really are NOT the same color. Plan to send e-mail to JAC.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      No. See my picture in comment 6.

  12. Ben
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Wow. And the mushrooms ON the book look like the magical variety as well — although without closer examination, it’s hard to be sure. They just look familiar…to my friend…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      They’re not Psilocybe (spp), which are the normal meaning of “magic mushrooms” here. It’s probably a very regionally variable term.

  13. Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    The hearts:

    The background is red and white stripes.

    For the blue looking hearts, the heart stripes alternate with white background stripes.

    For the green looking hearts, the heart stripes alternate with red background stripes.

    It’s the brain enhancing contrast.

    I did not google this or read any of the other comments.

    I noticed this once when I was about 10 years old, looking at an illuminated logo of the department store Target: The white rings looked intensely blue; but were white in fact.

    I never forgot it.

    • Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I did not blow up the image and maybe the lighter background stripes are orange; but the effect would be the same — including that fact that they look white next to the red ones — at least at the scale as shown (not enlarged).

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      What are you using? A mobile phone? There’s no white anywhere at any scale. There are three main colours in the image: Orange, Magenta & Green

      There is bleed which has muddied the edges of the stripes producing a murky brown & a dark blue. If I go to the original very large image at the author’s site the bleed colours aren’t there

  14. Ruthann
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Remember the days 30+ years ago when television sets were 6″ or more deep? I had a cat (William) who loved to sit on top, where it was warm, and lean over to watch tennis. He batted at the players and the balls and occasionally lost his balance and fell off. If he was watching from the floor, when a player ran off screen, he would run around to the back of the tv to try to find the person. Another cat spent over half an hour watching a PBS nature program about Greenland that was filmed from a canoe, so there was constant motion. Several others have watched for short periods,primarily programs about cats.

  15. Robert Janzen
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Just to note: Hayleyville got first 911 system in US, but Winnipeg, Canada was first in North America (1959). Admittedly, we started with 999, but switched numbers after the US agreed to use 911 as “the standard”.

  16. Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Also happy Lunar New Year everyone!

  17. Posted February 17, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Even if the colors in the stripes are not precisely the same, it is still an impressive optical illusion. I used the free Color Cop utility for Windows which offers a blown up capture of any group of pixels and allows me to determine the precise RGB color.

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