Friday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Happy Friday! I’m always glad to see it.

Today was the birthday of Charlie Chaplin (1889 ), Spike Milligan (1918) and Gerry Rafferty (1947).

Apollo 16 was launched on this day in 1972, NASA’s second-last trip to the moon.

JAC addition: today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of George Peabody (1795-1869), an American financier known as “the father of modern philanthropy”. (Today is the day on which he got the Congressional Gold Medal for his generosity):

Here are a few of the many institutions he helped fund, and his foundation continues to dispense money:

1852 The Peabody Institute (now the Peabody Institute Library),Peabody, Mass: $217,000
1857 The Peabody Institute (now the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University), Baltimore: $1,400,000
1866 The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University: $150,000
1866 The Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University: $150,000 (at the suggestion of his nephew, Othniel Charles Marsh, early paleontologist)
1867 The Peabody Academy of Science, Salem, Mass: $140,000 (now the Peabody Essex Museum)
1875 George Peabody College for Teachers, now the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. The funding came from the Peabody Education Fund
Peabody Hall, housing the college of Human Science and Education, Louisiana State University.

On the internet today, we have a very tiny squirrel. It’s found in the central mountain ranges of Borneo and adults are around 83 mm in size, which is practically Pokemon size.

God got mean on Twitter yesterday. It seems he prefers scientists to evangelists.

In slightly weird news, you can listen to the speech that JFK never gave,  his voice recreated and pieced together by sound engineers. The paranoid part of me thinks it’s wonderful that we now have the technology to construct speeches and put them in the mouths of people who never uttered them. This can only be used for good things. You’ll see.

Random factoid of the day that makes me smile.

In honor of this weekend’s Paddy’s Day celebrations, here’s a silly cartoon.

PSA from Ireland: if you hear someone calling it St Patty’s Day, please admonish them and direct them to this handy chart. The Irish get quite testy about this distinction.

Finally, if you haven’t heard about Steve before, it’s an Aurora Borealis-like light seen in Canada further south than “northern lights” are typically seen. It finally has a research paper all of its own

From the abstract:

Observations from the Swarm satellite as it crossed the arc have revealed an unusual level of electron temperature enhancement and density depletion, along with a strong westward ion flow, indicating that a pronounced subauroral ion drift (SAID) is associated with this structure.

From Poland today it seems the pets are restless and the humans are tardy. (Pro-tip: four-footed friends about to go on a walk always think this of humans).

Cyrus: He’s still looking for something.
Hili: Let’s go, he’ll catch up with us.

In Polish:
Cyrus: On jeszcze czegoś szuka.
Hili: Chodź, dogoni nas.

JAC addendum II: Let’s all thank Grania for doing the Hilis while I’ve been gone, producing them after a full day at her regular job.


  1. Christopher
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    As I find myself careening precipitously towards middle age I admit an increasing fear of the exact issue afflicting that poor squirrel. It’s difficult enough to scour the ears for erupting aural pelage when equipped with tweezers, a mirror, and opposable thumbs so it comes as no surprise this poor bastard has given up entirely.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I just use garden clippers and toss the trimmings in my mulch pile.

  2. glen1davidson
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    But at least Medusa’s date didn’t end up being stiff and cold, for once.

    Glen Davidson

  3. busterggi
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    That owl may be the tiniest I’ve ever seen – look at them tufts!

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Sqrrl. But it does add to the ongoing mystery about why some critters have prominent ear tufts.

  4. Dominic
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Saint Patrick, Ireland’s most famous Briton!

  5. Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    h/t: Peppermint Patty

  6. Jim batterson
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Yes. Thank you Grania!

    • GBJames
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Mil Gracias, Grania!

      • claudia baker
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Yep. A big +1 here too.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Nicely done, as always. Thanks.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Grania!

  7. Liz
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Nice song choices.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Just like the mail, the Hili must get through. Thanks Grania.

  9. marina
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Sorry to bother, but Chaplin was born on April, 16th, not March.

  10. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    That squirrel is so cute! It’d be interesting to learn more about its ecology. Maybe something I’ll look into today.

  11. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Grania!
    🍷 *clink* 🍷

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Toast Grania today and tomorrow with an Irish Boilermaker: Guinness and Jameson.

  12. Paul S
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I get squeamish when I hear Stuck in the Middle With You. Can’t get Michael Madsen out of my head.
    Great song though.

    • Robert
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Exactly the same feeling. GC should do a survey – What movie scenes are the most affective?

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Agreed 😀


  13. merlynleroy
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    At least St. Patrick’s date didn’t end this badly:

  14. Serendipitydawg
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Grania.

    I was always pleased to share a birthday with Spike Milligan and Charlie Chaplin, I didn’t realise Gerry Rafferty was also included, bonus 🙂

  15. kieran
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Go raibh míle maith agat Grania
    Liam O’Flynn playing Dark slender boy on the Uilleann pipes, died 2 days ago.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Sorry ALL these birthdays are April 16th.

    I am aware of Chaplin’s birthday, because he was haunted by many similarities between his childhood and that of Adolf Hitler, including their both being born 4 days apart. I am also aware that Hitler’s birthday is April 20th, since I take a slightly perverse pride in my mother’s birthday being exactly 6 months opposite of AH’s, October 20.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      If I had to pick the most notable birthdays of today, I would pick James Madison (US Prez #4), Pat Nixon (wife of Richard), actress Isabelle Hupert, and actor Leo McKern.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I have thought that I shared a birthday with Chaplin and Spike Milligan for many years, sad it’s not so. No idea where I got the idea from but it predates the world wide web, so some newspaper probably printed it incorrectly.

  17. Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    So is “Steve” visible from the arctic or just south of the normal aurorae?

    I ask because I have a wonderful book on Inuit “sky lore” and of course the usual green aurorae are mentioned. But I don’t recall anything else. (I’ve never seen anything like this for any other group, either. Maybe the Cree can be recorded next – they would live in some of the “minimal” version of the range.)

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      According to AURORASAURUS – see points 1 & 7.

      1. Steve appears ~10-20° (in latitude) closer to the equator (south in the Northern hemisphere) than where the normal green aurora is overhead. This means it could be overhead at latitudes similar to Calgary, Canada.

      2. Steve is a very narrow arc aligned East-West and extending for hundreds or thousands of miles.

      3. Steve emits light in mostly purple-ish colors. It is quite faint but is usually photographed with 5-10 second exposures.

      4. Sometimes, it is accompanied by a rapidly evolving green short-lived picket fence structure.

      5. Steve can last 20 min or even longer.

      6. Steve appears to have a season. For instance, it has not been observed by citizen scientists from October 2016 to February 2017.

      7. This phenomena has been reported from the UK, Canada, Alaska, northern US states, and even New Zealand**.

      ** presumably for the ‘Anti-STEVE’ [my coinage]

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        I vote for Stephanie for the southern hemisphere version.

      • Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the information, Michael.

        The aurora has been seen in Gatineau Park, just north of Ottawa – it apparently depends on where the magnetic pole is. One of the reports is from 1970, when my father lived in the area, so things might be different now.

        So I guess we could look out for Steve here for sure. If there weren’t too much light pollution, anyway. Grr, astronomy is hard. 🙂

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          The North magnetic pole is very interesting – it’s ‘hurtled’ from 68 ish degrees north latitude [around Cambridge Bay, Canada] back in 1859 [from memory] up to 85 degrees latitude in 2010 [memory]. And we think we have had around 170 polarity reversals since around the end of most dino’s [KT thingie].

          The ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 – the northern Aurora visible in the Caribbean

  18. W.T. Effingham
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The thing about Stealers Wheel is that near-perfect quantity of cow-bell.

  19. Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Go raibh maith agat, Grania.

  20. Mark R.
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Grania for having Jerry’s and Hili’s back. 🙂

  21. Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Grania!

  22. Dale Franzwa
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Me too. Thank you Grania. You’re the best.

%d bloggers like this: