Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s the last day of February: Wednesday, the 28th. And that means I have my bi-annual tooth cleaning this morning, so posting will be light. It’s National Souffle Day, and there’s a snowball’s chance in hell I’ll have one (I can’t remember ever eating one in the U.S., though I do in France). It’s also Rare Disease Day.

Grania reports a rare snow in Cork:

And, as Joyce wrote in The Dead, “Snow is general all over Ireland”:

But snow or no snow, Matthew is still on the picket line, striking for better pensions.

Reader Jeremy called my attention to the fact that today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent paper about MMR and autism. Here’s a BBC Radio 4 programme that discusses the paper  and what  happened over the last twenty years.

On February 28, 1525, the conquistador Hernán Cortés had the last Aztec king, Cuauhtémoc, executed. On this day in 1784, John Wesley chartered the Methodist church. And in Germany in 1933, only one day after the Reichstag Fire, Hindenburg, on Hitler’s advice, issued the Reichstag Fire Decree, removing many of Germans’ civil liberties.

On this day in 1939, according to Wikipedia, there was a big kerfuffle in lexicography:  “The erroneous word ‘dord’ was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation. Here’s the entry; the link explain how it got into the dictionary.

This is apparently a big deal, though I don’t know why.

On this day in 1953, Watson and Crick trumpeted to their friends that they’d determined the structure of DNA; the “secret of life.” The formal announcement was on April 25 after the paper was published in the April 2 issue of Nature. On February 28, 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H was aired; its 106 million viewer is still a record for number of people watching a season finale. On this day in 1993, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and firearms raided the Branch Davidian Church and compound in Waco Texas, with a warrant to arrest leader David Koresh. 4 ATF agents and 6 Davidians were killed, beginning a 51-day standoff that ended with a disasterous fire.

Notables born on this day include Linus Pauling (1901, who got the structure of DNA wrong), Bugsy Siegel (1906), Zero Mostel (1915), John Fahey (1939), Brian Jones (1942), Bernadette Peters (1948), and Paul Krugman (1953). Those who died on February 28 were few; they include Henry James (1916), Henry Luce (1967), and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (2007). As I write these death dates every day, and watch the birth years of the expired move ever closer to mine, it summons the Black Dog.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the animals are kvetching again:

Hili: If he doesn’t wash this car it will be embarrassing to go out into the garden.
Cyrus: Yes, this dirty car is lowering our status.
In Polish:

Up in Winnipeg, Gus got his very first taste of ice cream! Here’s a video made by staff Taskin:

Here is Qbit, the cat of an old college pal (Stash Krod), trying to get some learnings:

From Matthew, a young panda tenaciously holds onto its ball:

A tick recursion:

A feline jack-in-the-box:

Cat-raven encounter:

From Grania: A baby bat and its toy:

A guardian Sphynx. This creeps me out. Look how it’s sitting!

IF ONLY . . .

Finally, here’s your word for the day:

I’m not quite sure that all readers understand why posts have lately ended with a black dog, so they’re sending me pictures of black dogs to use!! Well, so be it. Here’s a black dog sent by reader Lucia:

Here 2 pics of my colleague’s black labrador, Kero. You always add a black dog at the end of Hilli dialogues, and I think Kero is perfect for WEIT.  He is very kind, living a happy life in Managua, enjoying time with his friend Lola the cat and Victor the hamster.

52 Comments

  1. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Despite having been well and truly discredited many years ago, Andrew Wakefield continues to push his anti-vaccine agenda and is finding Texas to be fruitful territory for his campaign:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/26/texas-vaccinations-safety-andrew-wakefield-fear-elections

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    A Ka! (Hili and Cyrus are standing beside a Ka!) Oh, how I wish I could buy a Ka in the US.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      To Suburbans, Yukon’s, F150s etc, a Ka is just a speed bump

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Yes the CEO of Ford’s excuse is the Ka is too small for the American market. “Let them have Ford Fiestas” [made up quote]

      • Hempenstein
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        That’s about right. The mindset might be different if corporate HQ was somewhere with a population density like Chicago or LA.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Perfectly fine to throw in the dog. After all we do have Cyrus. Make note to clean car.

    I must pass on some breaking news this morning – Dick’s Sporting Goods will discontinue selling Assault style rifles, large capacity magazines and to anyone under 21. This is the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer and I would say the kids are making a difference. Eat this Congress.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      They should be rewarded now by everyone making their sporting goods purchases from Dick’s. Slowly we will pry the power from the cold, dead hands of the NRA. Money talks.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        In past years the NRA has been able to squash companies who don’t toe the line (Smith & Wesson, for example). We can hope that they have finally lost that kind of power, but I fear not.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          I think we can say that power is in the past. Many companies have already cut ties with the NRA and stopped the discounts to their members. Dallas of all places would like it if they held their convention elsewhere.

    • tomh
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      After Sandy Hook, Dick’s pulled the same stunt and suspended selling assault rifles. Less than a year later they quietly resumed sales.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        How deeply disappointing. I’m sure they make billions in sales. Why get back into those weapons of carnage just to bump up the bottom line a small bit? Very sad.
        They sell the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles. Maybe they should be renamed the Schoolwaster AR-15.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          AR-5to18s?

  4. John S
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “As I write these death dates every day, and watch the birth years of the expired move ever closer to mine, it summons the Black Dog.”

    My favorite indicator of mortality is my (Amherst) College Alumni Magazine. Notice how close your class is getting to the front of the “Class Notes” section?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Ahh, Amherst – where there’s a steeple without a church!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      “watch the birth years of the expired move ever closer to mine,”
      It doesn’t work quite that way. There’s too much scatter.

      I agree it’s very disconcerting when someone dies and you realise they were *younger* than you…

      cr

  5. GBJames
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I do enjoy the summoning of the black dog.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Don’t know if you mentioned it, Jerry, but yesterday was the 50th anniversary of LBJ losing Cronkite on Vietnam.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Warms the heart to know Matthew is out there fighting the good fight, walking the picket line. Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, SCOTUS is considering whether to gut public sector unions, and it doesn’t look good for Labor.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Oh yeah, they will overturn this one. Affects 22 states they say. Apparently the other states do not require non members to pay. The only unions where I worked did not require fees from non members. Not sure if that was caused by the state I was in or just different union policies.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      McConnell was gloating the other day about this…one of the major reasons he held up Garland for Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a corporate hack and everyone knows it.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “ Linus Pauling (1901, who got the structure of DNA wrong),”

    I’m not sure if he published it.

    Philosophers say philosophers can be wrong in interesting ways.- it’s true! I think Pauling’s model was wrong in interesting ways. – but only in science does wrong mean absolutely completely wrong in the end.

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure if he published it

      Here is a scan of some of the pages of his published paper:

      http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/coll/pauling/dna/papers/1953p.9.html

      On Radio 4’s In Our Time (podcast version) his mistake was described as “elementary”.

      Of course, it’s slightly unfair to define Pauling as “the man who got DNA wrong”. His achievements were such that hew won the Nobel prize twice.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Hell, everybody got DNA wrong until Watson/Crick/Franklin got it right.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Thank you!

        …. imma let you finish, but Marie Curie got chemistry AND physics Nobel Prizes, no Peace Prize.

      • Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Interesting to see that!
        I had heard a story, perhaps apocryphal, that W and C had learned that Pauling had published on DNA structure. Fearful that they had been scooped, they got the paper and openned it to see… a triple helix. They knew then that Pauling had gotten it wrong since that structure would be too wide according to the X-ray crystalography data.

        • mikeyc
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          I recall that story too.

        • Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          I think IIRC (from I can’t remember where but possibly Watson’s own book) that the elementary mistake was in calculating the length of a certain bond which led him down the path of triple helix.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          I’m fairly sure that was in Watson’s book, and they got the information from Peter Pauling, who was at Cambridge with Watson and Crick.

          There’s some interesting further info here:

          https://paulingblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/peter-pauling-and-the-discovery-of-the-double-helix-1952-1953/

          (I do have to doubt the authenticity of one passage, however – “While Peter advised his father that a Jaguar Mark VII was absolutely the best buy of the season, Linus expressed a preference for the slightly more modest convertible Sunbeam-Talbot. Peter countered with the possibility of an Austin A-40 Sports 4-Seater”
          Seriously? An Austin A40 as an alternative for a Jag? Somebody had to be joking).

          cr

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            We’re talking mid-50’s Brit cars? They were piles of rusty, crusty crap as a general rule – unfit for UK driving conditions: Lazy car workers – you just had to hope yours wasn’t built on a Friday afternoon. Icy mornings, wind-driven rain, narrow roads [hardly any motorways back then]. Road salt. Feckin mud & gravel. The cars couldn’t take the bashing.

            [1] No!
            Jaguar Mk7 : The Queen Mum got one of these in ’55 & absolutely loved being chauffeured around in it for nearly two decades. A bit of a huge beast for our roads & not the sort of thing a young chap wants to be seen driving unless he’s a dickhead fat banker or European royalty. A bit ‘lumpen’ to look at.

            [2] Maybe.
            Sunbeam-Talbot MkIIA drophead coupé : A voluptuous, purring princess with perfect lines. Half undressed on a sunny day she turns heads! This is the car to catch the girlies.

            [3] You’d want to be paid
            Austin A40 Sports : Pretty & compact. Great lines. Aluminium body. Rotten performance – all curtains & no furniture.

            [4] Definitely!
            I would have got an AC Ace [later the AC Cobra of course] or the Jaguar XK120. Go look at a pic of this Jag – it’s bold.

            NOTES:
            After I got my new Brit car [including Jaguar by the way] I’d get it immediately rewired & all electrics better sealed against the wet. Door, boot & bonnet seals improved, under-chassis sprayed against salt & gravel. Then I’d put it through an MOT to snag it for worker cockups. I’d also have a heated garage.

            • rickflick
              Posted March 1, 2018 at 2:07 am | Permalink

              I’ll take the XK120. Please rewire before delivery. Why not the Aston Martin? If they’re good enough for Bond(James Bond), they’re good enough for me.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

                An excellent suggestion! The Aston Martin DB2-4 Mark I has Bond links, via the author rather than a car driven by Bond, and it’s the correct era. I believe there’s a few fakes out there so take your Walther PPK to the buy.

                Probably not needful of a rewire

            • Posted March 1, 2018 at 3:55 am | Permalink

              I had an AC Ace, traded it in for £300 off a Daimler Dart ca 1969. Worth six figures now 😦

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

                You must wake up screaming some nights! A horror story.

  9. Dave
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    “On this day in 1983, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and firearms raided the Branch Davidian Church and compound in Waco Texas,”

    Should be 1993?

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Yep, fixed, thanks.

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Been watching a two part documentary about the events. Wow, that was one mistake after another on all sides.

  10. Robert Bray
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Sometimes, to get rid of the Black Dog you have to get rid of the black dog:

    ‘Here’s me sheep-crook and me black dog,
    I leave them behind.’
    –Steeleye Span
    (and centuries of
    tradition)

  11. Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I wondered why there were black dogs lately.
    Mine is brindle, so it won’t do.

    If Watson and Crick made their discovery in this day and age, I suppose they would have announced it in a Tweet.

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      ‘Tis the same Black Dog that dogged Ernest Hemingway.

  12. Dominic
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    1915 Sir Peter Medawar was born ! Nobel 1960…

    • Walt Jones
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      1962 Walt Jones was born! No Noble (and other than some of the other births and the DNA announcement, not much good news in history, either).

  13. darrelle
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Led Zeppelin has a song named Black Dog. The song lyrics have nothing to do with black dog, or any dog, or black anything. While they were recording the song a vagrant black dog was hanging around the studio and the song was named after it.

    Good song, interesting story about how it was written and recorded.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      “Ah ah child way ya shake that thing
      Gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting…”

      That’s gotta be about the Black Dog’s tail. 🙂

    • Chris B
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Black Dog, one of the best song exit guitar solos in Rock music.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Uh oh. You are tempting the wrath of Dermot!

  14. Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    “Dord” is interesting because it became a word by not being a word. It is now defined “as a word that lacks a definition” which of course isn’t true because that itself is a definition. Russell’s paradox.

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      As well your Russell paradox explanation a quick search came up with this:
      New International Dictionary, second edition (1934), in which the term is defined as a synonym for density used by physicists and chemists.
      and this:
      In sorting out and separating abbreviations from words in preparing the dictionary’s second edition, a card marked “D or d” meaning “density” somehow migrated from the “abbreviations” stack to the “words” stack. The “D or d” entry ended up being typeset as a word, dord, and defined as a synonym for density.
      Good Dord! who would have thought

  15. Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    About the meta-ticks: I wonder what parasites *they* have?

  16. HBB
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    One of my graduate students, who is a genuine tick expert, says the small one is a male and the large a female. Ticks attach with their mouthparts during mating. They were probably disturbed during mating or deliberately moved to make the image. That’s not to say that parasites with parasites is not totally cool.

  17. Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    When I took the man, his cat, and his motorcycle to be my lawfully wedded family back in 1980, Odetta-cat was extremely fond of ice cream. She was also a championship hider. Husband ate ice cream regularly, and would scrape his spoon in the bottom of the bowl so Odetta would know there was an ice cream bowl to lick. On the rare occasions when we really, really needed to find her and she was hiding too well, he’d scrape a spoon in the bottom of a bowl to attract her.

    (I still have the husband, the Motorcycle got replaced with a car, and we’re many cats beyond Odetta now… but we both still miss her.)

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Lovely reminiscence


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