Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

The weekend is here: it’s Saturday, February 24, 2018: National Tortilla Chip Day. As for me, I’m going to Costco and buy another gigantic pie (rumors are that they have cherry!). And it’s Flag Day in Mexico. First, another banner day for evolutionary biology, though Bressen left out that the book was The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. It extended evolutionary biology to humans (fobbed off in one sentence in the 1859) and proposed a theory of sexual selection in animals. (h/t: Matthew for the heads up)

On this day in 1803, in the case of  Marbury v. Madison, the U.S. Supreme Court established its power of being able to declare laws unconstitutional.  On February 24, 1854, a “penny red” stamp in England became the first perforated stamp to be issued for postage. Here’s what they looked like then (clearly the perforating process hadn’t been perfected):

On this day in 1868, Andrew Johnson became the first U.S. President to be impeached; the impeachment was by the House of Representatives, but Johnson was acquitted in the Senate.  On February 24, 1920, only two years after the end of World War I, the Nazi Party was founded, which would lead to the second world war. On this day in 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” was completed, with the U.S. Hockey team defeating Finland 4-2 to win Olympic gold.  Here’s the end of that game:

On this day in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeni issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, offering $3 million US for the author’s murder. The cause was, of course, Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses. Finally, on this day 8 years ago, Fidel Castro retired as President of Cuba after 32 years in the job. He remained head of its Communist party for three more years, and then died on November 25, 2016.

Notables born on this day include the botanist Joseph Banks (1743; he botanized on Cook’s first expedition and named Botany Bay), Winslow Homer (1836), Honus Wagner (1874), Helen Shaver (1951), Steve Jobs (1955), and Judith Butler (1956, ↓). Those who fell asleep in this day include Henry Cavendish (1810), Robert Fulton (1815), Malcolm Forbes (1990), Dinah Shore (1994), Henny Youngman (1998), Don Knotts (2006) and Harold Ramis (2014).

I can’t find any cat paintings by Homer, an underappreciated American artist, but here’s “The Fox Hunt”, from 1893 (foxes are Honorary Cats™ on this site):

One of his students, however, did produce a cat painting, “The ginger fog warning” (see here for Homer’s original; h/t: Stephen Barnard):


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Cyrus are kvetching about the sofa—MY sofa when I’m in Dobrzyn! They’re wearing it out!

Cyrus: This sofa is too narrow.
Hili: And quite worn out.
Cyrus: They could buy a new one.
 In Polish:
Cyrus: Ta sofa jest za wąska.
Hili: I już trochę zniszczona.
Cyrus: Mogliby kupić nową.

And in Wloclawek, Leon is helping with the housework:

Leon: I’ve washed the dishes and now it’s time to rest.  (In Polish: “Pozmywałem,pora na odpoczynek.”)

From Matthew: A wonderful parasitic wasp. Look at the backward projections on the thorax, the fancy antennae, the metallic sheen, and that narrow “wasp waist”. What a creature!

Another cat that can always find the ball. How do they DO this?

The way things should be in the best of all possible worlds:

A resourceful pair of buzzards taking noms from an owl. I’m glad the owl wasn’t hurt.

A gorgeous moth from Africa (two views):

The headline of the day:

Pigs too cute and furry to be made into bacon:

And one of those crazy pastors who has Secret Powers to knock people down:

From Grania: Inside of a Drosophila, it’s too dark to read:



  1. peter
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Can the cat hear the object under the cups moving, or can the cat smell where it is?

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I think the cat can see it. Those cups are translucent.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        I suspect there is a ball under each cup

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        In one case the cat did not follow the shuffling the whole time..

        Possibly translucent cups, but it could also be a trained or involuntary “clever Hans” routine of tells.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          I think the cat can hear the slight rattle made by the ball.


  2. busterggi
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    When I see religious displays like that pastor does I wonder why humanity ever needed artificial recreational drugs.

    • Geoff Toscano
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      What, you mean it wasn’t real!!?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      ‘cos LSD is way more fun?


  3. Paul Beard
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The cute pigs are mangalicas and are very common in Hungary where they were first bred. They grow very large and are more active than most breeds of pig and very much smarter than sheep.

    I have seen adult mangalicas run across the field and stand with their forefeet on the fence to beg for a piece of chocolate.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that. Being from Iowa I should have known about this pig.

      How about that miracle on ice yesterday…
      USA team beat Sweden for gold. Curling

  4. chrism
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Costco? Shortcrust pastry is pretty easy when you have the knack, and the homemade is nothing like the industrial cardboard crusts of boughten pies. You should learn next trip to Poland, or even next trip to NS! I confess there is one drawback – all that stuff about great power and great responsibility. Just because you can have a freshly baked pie of any kind you fancy whenever you want, you probably ought not do so. I keep my pastry making to an occasional treat or I’d be as fat as my squirrels in the autumn.

    • Posted February 24, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Well, let’s see here. You told me

      a. I shouldn’t buy a pie at Costco (they are good, by the way).

      b. I should learn how to make my own pies, perhaps when I visit Poland.

      c. I shouldn’t buy a pie when I want to, or I’ll get fat.

      Anything else you want me to do about my food habits or diet so I can live my life according to your dictates?

      This is about as peremptory as they get.

      • Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        “Costco” is a trigger word for some people.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like one noted cat lover woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning .
        LOL .

        • David Coxill
          Posted February 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          This might cheer you up ,the tory MP who has been spreading lies about Jeremy Corbyn has said he is sorry .
          He has made a contribution to a charity to make amends.

      • Posted February 24, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I too am a fan of Costco pies – as you note, quite good!

      • chrism
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Terribly sorry, Jerry, I simply meant that homemade pies aren’t hard and I’d be happy to teach. If that offer offends I think you’d best think about who is the real Pecksniff!

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “and Judith Butler (1956, ↓)”

    I’m not getting the down arrow here – what’s it mean?… he asked timidly….

    • Posted February 24, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      It means I’m not a huge fan of Judith Butler.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Ah. That idea had occurred to me. Well placed, in that case.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    CAT: A white ball at the start & a yellow ball at the end of the sequence of clips.
    [1] Could easily be balls under all of the cups since we don’t see the setting up stage for any of the clips. Or
    [2] We are shown only the successful runs. Or
    [3] It’s real & simply the sound cue of the ball. The other video was better because no edits & we see the setup stages each time. Nice cat – I’m sure the cat is honest & above board so I pick [3]

    MOTH: What am I supposed to see in the pattern? I don’t see anything

    DROSOPHILA: Amazing. That’s a live creature imaged non-destructively in slices [AND each slice scanned in lines by a moving focus] & then computeratedized! So is the fly sedated? How quick to scan through so as not to get blur from moving parts? From the abstract of the paper:

    In a previous paper (McConnell et al., 2016) we showed a new giant lens called the Mesolens and presented performance data and images from whole fixed and intact fluorescently-stained 12.5-day old mouse embryos.

    Here we show that using the Mesolens we can image an entire Drosophila larva or adult fly in confocal epifluorescence and show sub-cellular detail in all tissues. By taking several hundreds of optical sections through the entire volume of the specimen, we show cells and nuclear details within the gut, brain, salivary glands and reproductive system that normally require dissection for study. Organs are imaged in situ in correct 3D arrangement. Imaginal disks are imaged in mature larvae and it proved possible to image pachytene chromosomes in cells within ovarian follicles in intact female flies. Methods for fixing, staining and clearing are given.


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Maybe not alive: “Seeing inside Drosophila: our latest work @biorxivpreprint uses the #Mesolens to image whole cleared adult and larval”

      “whole cleared” suggests not! Is that a kind of fly enema?

  7. steve oberski
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Watch as Pastor Uses Invisible Power to Knock Down Church Members

    And his not so invisible power to extract money from their wallets …

  8. GregZ
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The lovely green wasp is a male in the family Eucharitidae, perhaps the genus Kapala. They have an unusual biology in that the wasp larvae are parasites of ant larvae. But the wasp eggs are laid out on plant tissue, and a mobile first-instar wasp larva must attach itself an ant or other insect and be carried into the ant nest.

  9. harrync
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Until the early 20th century, postage stamps were printed on wet paper. It would shrink unevenly [and somewhat unpredictably] as it dried, so the perforations didn’t always match up. And note the letters in the bottom corners. They give the column and row where the stamp was on the plate. Just a coincidence that one is “C” column, “K” row, the other “K” column, “C” row.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that, those unexplained letters always niggled me on a subconscious level.


  10. GBJames
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Too many good things for one Dialog post!!!

  11. Christopher
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    That photo of Leon is fantastic. It has some sort of classical painting composition feel to it. Really lovely.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I noticed that too. With Leon framed by the wall stuff, the flat lighting softens the image and makes it very dramatic. Leon’s expression is contemplative.

    • Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      +1 “Still Life and Leon”

  12. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Wtf is wrong with those people? I mean, I understand the theory behind what’s happening, but I still don’t get it. I just can’t imagine reacting like that to anything.

    And the thing is, if I met some of those people and said I didn’t understand, they’d think there was something wrong with me, or at the very least that I was missing out because of my lack of a connection to their imaginary God. They’d never consider they might be the ones who are wrong or deluded.

    (In the spirit of Douglas Adams: long though it is, that sentence makes sense. Read it again. 🙂 )

  13. Sarah
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Note that the stamps, like modern British ones, have a profile of the reigning monarch but not the name of the country. This is a sort of hat-tip to the country where postage stamps originated, since all other stamps in the world have the name of the country. The profiles alternate left and right; George VI faced west, Elizabeth II faces east.

  14. glen1davidson
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It looks to me that the power of the Holy Ghost weakens with distance, and perhaps with height. It didn’t affect people in the balconies much. A lot of badly staged falls were caused by the HG, though.

    God gets to do something there. Clearly he’s not interested in feeding the starving or healing the sick, but making people fall down is pretty cool, I guess.

    Glen Davidson

    • Zetopan
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      The gods used to live in the trees and rocks and they controlled pretty much everything that people didn’t understand. As people learned more the gods had to retreat to the sky and then even farther away and also stop controlling the weather, planets, etc. and resort to using cheap tricks instead. Sadly, the preacher is neither the stupidest nor most credulous person in those videos.

      I have had coworkers turn to revealed religion and as a result they also managed to disable their logical thinking so much that things that they could have easily understood before suddenly become totally impenetrable mysteries that could never be understood.

      Voluntary brain death is extremely attractive for those who don’t want to have to think for themselves, since they could be wrong if they had to actually think.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    They mostly weren’t very good at falls, were they? You’ll see a lot better in any action B-movie, though I suppose it is only fair to note that the B-movie stunties have had practice and the stunt co-ordinator will have rehearsed them.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      (That was meant as a reply to glen davidson’s comment, wordpress strikes again…)

  16. cyan
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Another great painting of a fox is “Fox in Snow” by Gustave Courbet, at the Dallas Museum of Art:

  17. Wayne Y Hoskisson
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Winslow Homer did include cats in a few paintings but the best I know is the drawing “Child seated in a wicker chair.”
    Winslow Homer was not great at cats. I know of three paintings with cats, none are great.

  18. Posted February 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Who knew that Christians were so good with “external qi”? 🙂

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