Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday,  February 19, and a holiday—Presidents Day—in the U.S. I think it’s a national holiday (it’s always the third Monday in February, celebrating both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday), so no mail will be delivered, but people are even now at work at the University. In honor of the day, Matthew found a tweet about the only Official White House Raccoon: Rebecca:

And another animal-themed “celebration” from photographer/biologist Piotr Naskrecki:

It’s the 50th day of the year, and also National Macchiato Day, with this confusing explanation: “A caffè latte is espresso added to milk. While a Macchiato is milk added to freshly brewed espresso.” (Bad grammar!) Well that certainly clarifies it, doesn’t it? It’s the order of pouring! But no, it’s really the ratio of milk to espresso (macchiatos have the lowest among milk+espresso drinks, and a larger amount of foam as well). In Bulgaria, my friends are celebrating (or so I think) Vasil Levski Day, commemorating the death of that Bulgarian patriot in 1873.

I’ve been neglecting the animal-and-Olympic-themed Google Doodle animations, but this one, featuring a dung beetle rolling a snowball, is quite nice. Click on the screenshot to go to the animation:

It’s another day with a paucity of history: On February 19, 1847, the first group of rescuers reached the stranded Donner Party in the Sierra Nevada (no, it wasn’t a celebration going on). Of the 87 settlers trapped in the mountains for the winter, only 48 survived, some by eating the bodies of the dead (for some reason, cannibalism of the dead as a means of survival is regarded as horrifying). On this day in 1878, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph. And, according to Wikipedia (and I’ve checked this), on this day in 1913 “Pedro Lascuráin becomes President of Mexico for 45 minutes; this is the shortest term to date of any person as president of any country.” On February 19, 1942, Japanese warplanes attacked the Australian city of Darwin, killing 243 people. I was only recently aware that the Japanese had attacked Australia.  On this day in 1949, Ezra Pound, locked up in St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital after conviction for treason, was awarded the first Bollingen Prize in Poety. Finally, on this day in 1963, Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique was published, arguably launching Second-Wave Feminism.

Notables born on this day include Nicolaus Copernicus (1473), Svante Arrhenius (1859), Carson McCullers (1917), Lee Marvin (1924), Smokey Robinson (1940), Will Provine (1942), Lou Christie (1943), Karen Silkwood (1946), Amy Tan (1952), and Seal (1963).  Those who died on February 19 include Ernst Mach (1916), André Gide (1951), Knut Hamsun (1952), and Umberto Eco and Harper Lee (both 2016). It was a day for authors to expire.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej II (half of Leon’s staff) came to visit, bringing treats for both Hili and Cyrus:

Cyrus: Mine is wonderful and yours?
Hili: Mine is even better.

In Polish:

Cyrus: Moje jest wspaniałe, a twoje?
Hili: Moje jeszcze lepsze.

From Matthew, a cat scientist, demanding replication:

And Plato saying “Get off mah lawn!’:

A new word for you: a “smeuse”:

OMG; poor d*g (not!):

Another biology find from Dr. Cobb:

And a guide to the spiders of Australia:

 

41 Comments

  1. George
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Not sure why we attach such horror to the eating of human flesh for survival. The most famous recent case was Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed in the Andes in 1972. It led to numerous books, movies, tv shows, nusic and more.

    As long as you do not kill someone with the intent of turning them into a meal, I think it is OK. Meat is meat. And it led to that great bumper sticker – “Rugby players eat their dead.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      So, did you just say that it’s okay to kill someone as long as you do not eat them?

      • George
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Nope – no killing period. At some point (not yet) I may be forced to agree with Peter Singer and extend that to animals.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          But what if your comrade is just lingering, barely alive, and you know they’re going to die in a few days or a week, but you need food now? While no one’s looking you could put him out of his misery and assure your own survival and that of others with you. What’s the right thing to do?

          • David Coxill
            Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            In that case ,maybe you could just start small and nibble on a finger or toe .

            According to Christopher Hitching’s in “God Is Not Great ” a lot of firefighters don’t eat pork because it looks like human flesh .

          • een
            Posted February 19, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            The right thing to do, should you and your companions all agree that someone should be eaten to ensure the survival of the others, is to then agree to draw lots to identify who gets eaten. I believe that’s the “Custom of the Sea” for shipwrecked sailors back in the 1800’s.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 19, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

              That’s only fair if all are in the same shape. Say there are 5 of you, and one is bleeding internally and can’t survive. Are you going to draw straws and potentially kill and eat the most robust of the group? Possibly dooming the whole bunch to a lingering death that could have been avoided?

    • glen1davidson
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Not sure why we attach such horror to the eating of human flesh for survival. The most famous recent case was Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed in the Andes in 1972. It led to numerous books, movies, tv shows, nusic and more.

      As long as you do not kill someone with the intent of turning them into a meal, I think it is OK. Meat is meat. And it led to that great bumper sticker – “Rugby players eat their dead.”

      Just so long as it done tastefully.

      Glen Davidson

  2. philfinn7
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    There would be a large number of Australians who don’t know that Australia was bombed by the Japanese.

    • George
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Not many Americans know that the continental United States was also bombed by the Japanese. First were the Lookout Air Raids by a float plane launched from a submarine. Second time was fire balloons which actually killed people.

      • George
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        And by bombing, I mean attacks from the air. There were s few incidents of shellings carried out by Japanese submarines.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          That was covered by Belushi, Aykroyd, and Spielberg in the movie 1941 — not many Americans know about that movie either, since it bombed at the box office. 🙂

          • David Coxill
            Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            The Japanese were working on a 6 engine bomber ,but the war ended before it got into service.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

              Not true. Japan’s 6-engine bomber project was cancelled in mid-1944 – Japan had a serious scarcity of raw materials by that stage & such a bomber was a pipe dream. Also the engine design proved too complex it never left the drawing board.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

                It woulda had to run on something other than petrol, too.

              • David Coxill
                Posted February 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

                Sorry my mistake ,should have looked it up before i posted .

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Grace Coolidge was as likely to get conversation from Rebecca as from her notoriously taciturn husband. Was raccoon generally considered a Thanksgiving delicacy in those days, or only among New England Republicans?

    • Christopher
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      I’ll bet today Tofurky could whip up a reasonably tasty vegetarian raccoon loaf.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Wonder if there’s a mammalian version of the turducken — maybe a possum inside a nutria inside a raccoon?

        • Christopher
          Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Welllll doggies! Are you channeling your inner Jed Clampett? 🤢

  4. Mike
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I would have very little compuction about eating Human Flesh, in the Donner Situation,but I would refuse to kill to do so. That Sabre Tooth Cat problem is exactly like one of my Grandsons, who has two Adult incisors growing whilst still in possesion of his baby Incisors, which he should have lost by now as he is 11 yrs old.Recessive gene ?

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      “very little compunction about eating Human Flesh”

      From a rational point of view it would be foolish not to in a Donner-type scenario and I would add that if I were ever in such a situation I would also entirely endorse those who survived me using me for food.

      That said, there is a powerful taboo against eating human flesh (fortunately!) and I would imagine that even in extremis it requires a substantial effort of the will to chow down on a fellow human.

      • Mike
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        I entirely agree, I didn’t mean to imply i would enjoy it, but if it’s between life and death,there is no choice really.

    • Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Such “shark teeth” are fairly common. My sons also had them. Our dentists give the milk teeth some reasonable time to fall off on their own, and if the tooth perseveres, they extract it.

  5. John Dentinger
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I start every day with a macchiato, which I understand to mean “stained,” because it’s a cappuccino with twice as much espresso. I then follow that up with a lot more regular coffee. Good times!

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Poor old USA bat

  7. Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Years ago when living in San Diego, CA I was a docent at their natural history museum. We were given tours behind the scenes, including their excellent collection of bones from the La Brea tar pits. The highlight for me was to hold an adult sabre tooth skull. It was very sobering. That thing was a big and heavy.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Tar Pits as a child, scaring myself silly fantasizing that the animals would emerge from the bushes after dark. Sometimes I’d sneak out of the house and ride my bike down there late at night to really scare myself. Later, I worked as a volunteer in the paleo. department at the LA Co. Natural History Museum. It was thrilling to be around all the specimens from the Tar Pits. I was hoping to snag a job with Dr. Downs, who was the Tar Pits guy at that time, return to school and study paleo; but I’d unwittingly plighted my paleontological troth to a paleoicthyologist, and it wasn’t considered kosher to jilt him and his herring bones for dire wolves and saber tooth tigers, etc., so that came a cropper. But what an environment that was.

  8. Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    WORLD PANGOLIN DAY!

    • Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      oh that was Saturday – sorry… 😦

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Seriously, do people in Australia go around in environmental suits all the time?

  10. Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Interesting irony that the reason we remember Plato is writing. Even the great ones can be wrong.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Coming back to the Donner party and others, I think I would refuse to eat my own dead child.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        In the book “Hungry Ghosts ” by Jasper Becker about the Chinese famine caused by Mao .
        Starving Chinese peasants got around that problem by exchanging their dead children with their neighbours .

        If only there was an hell, Mao should be in it

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Grace Coolidge was by all accounts I’ve come across, a pretty cool lady. And then there’s the famous story about her and Cal visiting an experimental government farm.

    When she came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” Upon being told, the President asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” President: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

    In looking that up, it seems that that’s the story underlying the bio/psych term, the “Coolidge effect”

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Coolidge was getting his hair cut when the local doctor came in & asked, “Did you take the pills I gave you?”

      Coolidge was silent for a few minutes, then said, “Nope.”

      The doc asked if he was feeling better. Another long pause, then Coolidge replied, “No.”

      After his haircut, Coolidge started to leave & the barber pointed out he’d not paid. “Oh, I’m sorry, I was so busy gossiping with the doctor, it slipped my mind.”

  12. Posted February 19, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Raccoon? Never hear about people eating that, though I am sure that Native Americans of various kinds did.

    As for human – I have an Inuk friend who pointed out that going to a (Anglican?) church service for the first time was terrifying because in part because of the talking about eating a human. To an Inuk, one only does that when one is starving, and these people are obviously well fed, so what sort of evil is this?

    Personally, I would have to be pretty desperate – I don’t want kuru!

    As for Plato, he was right, in a way, but the good parts of literacy outweigh the bad parts, IMO.

    It might be that he thought that writing *dialogues* was the compromise, though there is at least one letter scholars also regard as genuine.

  13. glen1davidson
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Problems to be solved by cat science: 1. Does it taste good? 2. Is it fun to chase? 3. What happens when I knock this down?

    The effort to find out is exhausting. Or at least a good excuse for a nap.

    Glen Davidson

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Plato obviously never played the children’s game “telephone”.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Ezra Pound was in the same Federal mental hospital (St. Elizabeth’s) as Reagan’s would-be assassin, John Hinckley.
    The latter liked to boast that it was now he, not Pound, who was St. Elizabeth’s most famous resident.

    Hinckley was released in late 2016. In 1964 while in 4th grade, I lost an election for homeroom president to him.

  16. Posted February 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    A few notes about the “macchiato” from an Italian expert (just like any other Italian).
    In Italy there are both “caffé macchiato” (an espresso coffee with some cold or hot milk, respectively “macchiato freddo” or “macchiato caldo”) and “latte macchiato” (a cup of milk with some espresso coffee).
    Of course the hot milk must have a dense foam like a cappuccino.
    “Caffé e latte” or “caffellatte” is more or less the same of “latte macchiato” but is a name more used at home while the others are more used in a bar.
    The pronounce is mah-keea-toh and it means stained.


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