Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday, February 26, 2018, National Pistachio Day. With cashews and macadamias, it makes up the Trio of the World’s Best Nuts. In the UK it’s National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease. Is anybody wearing red?

On February 26, 1616, Galileo was banned by the Church from teaching or defending the idea of a heliocentric solar system. But of course this had NOTHING to do with religion. Nope, it was political, personal animosities, the Pope’s hemorrhoids—anything but religion. (Just ask Ronald Numbers.).  On February 26, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act creating the Grand Canyon National Park, and exactly 10 years later Calvin Coolidge established the Grand Teton National Park.  On this day in 1980, to everyone’s surprise, Israel and Egypt established full diplomatic relations. On February 26, 1993, the first Islamic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took place with the explosion of a truck bomb parked in the garage below the North Tower (the bombers intended for the North Tower to fall on the South Tower, destroying both). Six people were killed and over a thousand injured. Six people were subsequently convicted.  Finally, on this day in 2008, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Pyongyang, North Korea. I didn’t know of this until this morning, and I wondered how it went. The link just above will tell you. Kim Jong-il didn’t attend the concert (what a churlish act!), but 300 foreigners were allowed in the DPRK and were also given unprecedented internet access. Wikipedia describes the program:

The program, conducted by Lorin Maazel, included the national anthems of both North Korea (“Aegukka”) and the United States (“The Star-Spangled Banner”), the Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin by Richard Wagner, Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”, and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Encores included the Farandole from Georges Bizet’s Second L’Arlesienne Suite, Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, and concluded with the popular Korean folk song “Arirang”. The Dvořák, Gershwin, and Bernstein works were each originally premiered by the New York Philharmonic, which is the oldest U.S. orchestra.

This was supposed to herald an era of cultural and diplomatic exchange. Fat chance! But here’s the folk song “Arirang” as played in Pyongyang. It is a lovely song and performed very well. Read about it here; it’s considered the “unofficial national anthem of North Korea.”

You can see the audience at the end; note that none of the Koreans are fat.

Notables born on February 26 include Victor Hugo (1802), Honoré Daumier (1808), Levi Strauss (1829), Buffalo Bill (1846), John Harvey Kellogg (1852; yes, the cornflake inventor), Jackie Gleason (1916), Theodore Sturgeon (1918), Fats Domino (1928), Johnny Cash (1932) and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the odious president of Turkey. Deaths were thin on the ground on this day; we have only Harry Lauder (1950), Roy Eldredge (1989), and Judge Joseph Wapner (2017; remember him?)  Here’s a drawing by Daumier “7 Heures du Martin”, with a lazy Frenchman being awoken by a dog-and-cat fight. 7 a.m.! Really? That is way late for a cat to wake someone up! (Note once again that the cat is not drawn well.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is having a preprandial wash:

Matthew sent a bunch of good tweets, including Kitty curling:

Floor Cat!!!!

A lynx meowing! It doesn’t sound like you’d expect. And look at the size of those paws. No Trump, he!

Dr. Cobb found this, too, and it’s funny:

A dog in a cow suit:

Old plants:

Amazing footage from a whale cam. I wonder how they attached it to the whale.

I never got an answer like this on a test, but legally it’s acceptable:


  1. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I’m very partial to a pistachio and also to a cashew – both very fine nuts – but for me the king of nuts has to be the almond.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      cashew? Bless you!

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    1. Are all non-hominins recorded in painted art as bad as the cats PCC(E) always describes in his theory (which is his)? I suppose cave art is an exception because it’s very good – but low resolution?

    2. You all gotta read Fantasyland- I cite for PCC(E) (PBUH), to spare him email, a piece of research from U. Chicago, “Conspiracy theories and the paranoid style (s) of mass opinion”
    JE Oliver, TJ Wood – American Journal of Political Science, 2014 – Wiley Online Library

    Google link:

    Ahhhhh …. that’s better.


  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink


    “The scientists put the camera on the whale using suction cups that can stay attached for up to 48 hours, so rest assured no whales were harmed in the making of this video.”

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Arirgang is quite a moving piece. Lovely.

  5. Dominic
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Wear red – new one to me! Not sure I own anything red…

  6. Carl Powers
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I love cashews too. We had a dwarf cashew tree in one of the greenhouses where I went to college. Sadly, it never flowered while I was there – probably because the days are to short in New Hampshire!

  7. Neil Wolfe
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1994 the legendary comedian Bill Hicks died at the age of 32(!) from pancreatic cancer.

  8. MKray
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Re `Note once again that the cat is not drawn well.’ But the human is also a caricature.

  9. glen1davidson
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    On February 26, 1616, Galileo was banned by the Church from teaching or defending the idea of a heliocentric solar system. But of course this had NOTHING to do with religion. Nope, it was political, personal animosities, the Pope’s hemorrhoids—anything but religion. (Just ask Ronald Numbers.).

    Nobody expects the Roman Inquisition.

    Not Ron Numbers anyway (so I gather from the above comments).

    Glen Davidson

  10. danstarfish
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The story of the cat and the doorbell reminded me of our cat we had when I was a child that really did ring the doorbell.

    There was a brick ledge under our doorbell and one time by accident our cat was rubbing against the house while on the ledge and rang the doorbell. After doing this a couple times by accident, our cat started doing it on purpose because he realized that when he rubbed against the house from that ledge someone would show up at the door and let him inside. I saw him doing it and you could tell he didn’t understand the button, he would just keep rubbing up against the house all around that area until someone came and let him in.

    Great collection of cat videos today. The curling cat made me laugh. The cat showing up in the heat register was intriguing. Cute cat.

  11. rickflick
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I had the Philharmonic symphony playing in the background as I watched the whale cam. What a great combination!

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Ronald Numbers seems to present data that both supports and goes against his own thesis on Galileo.

    He notes that Galileo ventured into the realm of theology, giving specific arguments against literal Bible interpretation, and that unlike Copernicus, Galileo wrote after the Protestant Reformation during an era in which the church was consequently on the defensive and in a position of retrenchment.
    In Galileo’s era, any attempt to reinterpret the Bible smacked of Protestantism, an unknown entity in Copernicus’ day.

    Numbers’ essay has three consecutive sentences, the <em?first of which I would judge true, the second kinda/sorta half true, the last of which I would regard as almost entirely false.
    Sentence numbering added by me (I do tutor SAT reading comprehension, where sentence numbering is done routinely.)
    “(1)The Galileo affair was a multi-faceted event.
    (2) Certainly it raised serious questions about the relationship between reason and revelation and the proper means of reconciling the teachings of nature with those of scripture.
    (3)Nonetheless, it was not a matter of Christianity waging war on science.”

    Shucks, Ronnie. There very well may be semi-political reasons- the rise of Protestantism- the church was now much tighter on Biblical interpretation, but if that’s a focus in the battle against Galileo, that is still a religious was against science.

    It is true that this is a war of one school of Christian thought within Christianity against science, but limiting it to one school of thought does not make it not a religion/science conflict.

    The relevant essay by Ronald Numbers may be found here.

    • Posted February 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, the specialists *in Galileo* like those in the Cambridge Companion and Wootton (who wrote a well regarded recent biography) disagree with Numbers.

      The way *I* put it (reading the stuff I mentioned and the primary texts for myself) is that it was a debate over the philosophy of science which served to *protect* the church from having to think too hard.

      This is elliptical, as this is just an off-the cuff remark. I do encourage Galileo-watchers to read Wootton’s pull-no-punches book.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted February 26, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        elliptical, like the orbits of the planets 🙂

        Certainly, the Catholic church was very entrenched at this point in maintaining inflexible static dogma. BUt I am not quite sure what you mean by “philosophy of science”. PHilosophers have been reflecting on science since ancient Greece, but as a distinct field called by that name it emerged in the mid-20th century.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          Lots of things exist prior to them being named. In this case, broadly methodological and conceptual investigations of science itself has been around since Plato at the earliest (though Aristotle was the first to do it explicitly). _The Assayer_ is arguably a work in this subject, for example.

    • glen1davidson
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink


      Nonetheless, it was not a matter of Christianity waging war on science. All of the participants called themselves Christians, and all acknowledged biblical authority. This was a struggle between opposing theories of biblical interpretation: a conservative theory issuing from the Council of Trent versus Galileo’s more liberal alternative, both well precedented in the history of the church.

      See, just a religious struggle over interpretation. What did it have to do with science?

      Cardinal Caesar Baronius reportedly said of the Galileo affair, “”The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” That is a position that is relatively open to science. Demanding that one not teach anything contrary to Scripture is not.

      To pretend that it’s just a matter of Biblical interpretation, when the fate of a reasonably free science in Christendom depended heavily on one method interpretation over the other, is seriously misleading.

      I don’t mind that people point out that it’s more than just evil religion fighting good science, and that there is a good deal of complexity (and religious clerics on the side of Galileo, although not enough) in the whole affir. But in the end it’s a matter of whether or not the religion will tolerate science, and at the time that religion would not.

      Glen Davidson

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        As I recall, Copernicus and Galileo’s theory involved circular orbits, so it did not ‘fit the observations’ any better than the old Ptolemaic theory of cycles and epicycles, worse if anything. This knowledge may have added a certain amount of heat to Galileo’s exchanges with the Pope, since he was proposing a theory that was contradicted by the data. And he certainly doesn’t seem to have been the most diplomatic or persuasive of men.

        It was Kepler who came up with the right answer, of elliptical orbits.


        • glen1davidson
          Posted February 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          That’s a better argument against Copernicus’ model, because, while it was a more simplified model (arguably better for that reason), it didn’t actually move prediction forward.

          But Galileo, while not improving the prediction of, say, the orbit of Mars, had some improvements in evidence. Having imaged the phases of Venus that weren’t possible with the traditional geocentric model (Brahe’s model took care of those, I believe, but it seems an ad hoc fix to save geocentrism), Galileo had evidence that pointed toward heliocentrism (of the solar system, anyway). Then there were the Galilean moons around Jupiter, which maybe didn’t “prove” anything, but certainly suggested the sorts of orbits that fit with heliocentrism.

          Despite the remaining epicycles, Galileo at least had a pretty good case for heliocentrism. That was, however, somewhat undermined by a faulty chapter in his book that tried arguing for geocentrism via tides. I’m not sure just how much role that played (if any) in the Inquisition’s understanding of the issue, but that plus his lack of diplomacy may have gone against him.

          At least with Galileo you have a more simplified heliocentrism consistent with the Galilean moons and the phases of Jupiter, that on the whole managed to convince a lot of people, especially outside of Catholic countries. It’s not like Kepler was a geocentrist who turned heliocentrist once he figured out the elliptical orbits of Mars, then for other planets. He began with heliocentrism, tried for Platonic forms to explain the orbits, but found that ellipses actually worked.

          Kepler improved the model, but presumably would not have if he hadn’t already been convinced of heliocentrism.

          Glen Davidson

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            Just a small point on Brahe’s model. It was essentially that everything went around the Sun except the Earth and the Moon and that the Sun and Moon go round the Earth.

            Geometrically, it is effectively the same as the Copernican model except that the Earth is fixed rather than the Sun. This has the advantage of explaining the lack of stellar parallax observed at the time. Copernicus had to “explain away” the lack of stellar parallax by claiming the stars were “very far away”. This was seen as somewhat implausible.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          I suspect the Pope was not too concerned by details of Galileo’s evidence and whether it had weaknesses. The conclusion alone would have been enough to condemn the theory as it contradicted religious dogma. There may have been papal astronomers that knew the straight dope, but they probably weren’t necessary for prosecution. Just my guess.

  13. Posted February 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I love C&H, especially that strip. I am glad during my academic days I never had to deal with *that*. I remember in retrospect I had some elementary school classmates like Calvin – intelligent but way off doing their own thing and likely to get in trouble if not handled. Some of them didn’t make it, and that’s a shame.

  14. Stonyground
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The Calvin & Hobbes cartoon reminded me of the song Loophole by Garfunkel and Oats. I’m not posting a link as I seem to recall that videos embed themselves automatically here and our host might not want that. It is easy enough to find it on you tube, just be warned that the song and video are a bit rude.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    What’s with the non-feline entity (d-*-g) at the bottom of PCC’s post? This seems to be a recurring event. Are Russian hackers subverting WEIT?


    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Here’s my guess. In China, this is the year of the dog. Does this mean Jerry’s planning a trip there sometime this year?

  16. Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    In the UK it’s National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease. Is anybody wearing red?

    I live in the UK, but I had no idea.Ironically,, I am more aware of heart disease than I am of the event created to raise awareness of heart disease.

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