Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Thursday, March 22, 2018. Posting may be light today as I have a couple of meetings scheduled. It’s World Water Day, the most tasteless of food holidays, but also an important reminder of the value of fresh water. Let’s all send kindly but ineffectual thoughts—no prayers!—to Capetown, which is suffering from a severe drought.

Matthew sent his history tweet marking two things that happened on March 22:

Backtracking a bit, it was on this day in 1765 that the British Parliament passed The Stamp Act, requiring many documents in the American colony to be printed on British paper with a paid revenue stamp. The money was to be used to fund British troops in North America, and was one of the factors that whipped up sentiments against the British, ultimately culminating in the Revolutionary War.  On March 22, 1872, Illinois became the first U.S. state to require gender equality in employment.  On this day in 1960, Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes received the first patent for a laser; both eventually received Nobel Prizes, but in different years. On March 22, 1972, the U.S. Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the states for ratification: 3/4 of the states would have had to ratify it for the ERA to become a constitutional amendment, requiring that all citizens have equal rights regardless of sex. It has not passed, though sex equality is still de facto law, even if not under the Constitution. It’s shameful that it didn’t pass.

On this day in 1972, in the case of  Eisenstadt v. Baird, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people had the legal right to possess contraceptives. As late as 1972! Exactly two decades later, Communism fell in Albania when its Democratic Party won a majority in a parliamentary election. On March 22, 1997, Tara Lipinski became the youngest women’s world skating champion; she was only 14 years and 9 months old. She now does commentary on skating for the Olympics. Finally, it was a year ago today that a terrorist attack near London’s Houses of Parliament killed five people and injured 20.

Notables born on this day include painter Anthony van Dyck (1599), biologist Adam Sedgwick (1785), physicist and Nobel Laureate Robert Millikan (1868; he did his famous oil-drop experiments at the University of Chicago, and his former home, a fancy one, is but two blocks from me), Chico Marx (1887), Louis L’Amour (1908), Karl Malden (1912), Marcel Marceau (1923; the father of all mimes, who also fought for the French Resistance), Pat Robertson and Stephen Sondheim (both 1930), William Shatner (1931), Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), Fanny Ardant (1949), and Reese Witherspoon (1976).

Here’s a self portrait of Van Dyck, painted in 1622-1623, when he was 23 or 24:

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 98th anniversary of the birth of the Japanese geochemist Katsuko Saruhashi (died 2007). According to Wikipedia, she “made some of the first measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in seawater and subsequently showed the evidence in seawater and the atmosphere of the dangers of radioactive fallout.”

Notables who died on this day were few; they include Jonathan Edwards (1758), Karl Wallenda (1978; killed in a fall from a tightrope), Dave Guard of the Kingston Trio (1991) and Walter Lantz (1994).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the beasts saw an interloper! (They’re out of focus, too.)

Hili: What’s there?
Cyrus: A strange dog but it’s on the other side of the fence.
In Polish:
Hili: Co tam jest?
Cyrus: Obcy pies, ale za płotem.

Some tweets from Matthew. Look at the ears on this baby bat!

It’s Plecotus auritus, and here’s an adult:

A Kat Konclave at night:

This is a real animal breed, not a one-off mutant. Can you guess what it is?

Giant goats!

And a joke, but it’s always worth seeing a baby badger:

Grania sent a tweet about a pet donkey who lives in someone’s house. What a lovely pet! Put the sound on for an explanation.

The photo below is great, but the words refer to advice given to Donald Trump when he recently called Putin after the latter’s bogus election:

Yesterday a three-person crew—two Americans and a Russian—took off from Kazakhstan in a Soyuz spacecraft to replace the old crew at the International Space Station. The journey to the ISS will take fifty hours. Here’s the launch:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Happy anniversary soixante-huitards!

  2. Howard Neufeld
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Adam Sedgwick was technically not a biologist, but a geologist.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Adam Sedgwick (22 March 1785 – 1873) was a geologist of major standing in the field. If I remember correctly, between accepting the position on the Beagle and actually embarking, Darwin took a several-day field trip to Cwm Idwal (N Wales ; somewhat sub-tropical) with Sedgwick to practice his hard rock fieldwork. Cambridge being decidedly lacking in “hard rock”.
      Confusingly, Sedgwick’s nephew, also Adam, was a biologist – a zoologist according to Wiki – DOB 28 Sept.

  3. darrelle
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Is it a goat of some sort?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      It’s a Damascus goat: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        BTW, they have long ears like tresses, too, like the Pakistani goats, but in this photo, the ears have been lopped off to resemble cannoli tubes.

        • darrelle
          Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the ID. Sent me looking around on the internet for a while. That is one odd looking animal!

      • Pierluigi Ballabeni
        Posted March 22, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        A blind beholder?

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I would thing an hybrid between an ungulate and a gargoyle.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Sounds right to me.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    As to the ERA never being ratified: Screw you, Phylis Schlafly.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    If you ever wondered what too many Catholics looks like – think about that 1972 case, Eisenstadt vs Baird.

  6. murali
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    >Choose your anniversary. 75 years ago today >the gas chamber and crematorium IV at >Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp were completed.

    And now there is a holocaust denier standing for public office in Chicago — a bit of an embarrassment for civilization what?

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    On March 22, 1872, Illinois became the first U.S. state to require gender equality in employment.

    Suspect that was enacted to encourage wimminz to move to the midwestern wilderness of that time.

  8. Jim batterson
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Fyi on soyuz launch to iss: move the slider to around 55 minutes to catch a couple of minutes view of coemonauts cramped in capsule followed by lighting the rocket at just after 58 minutes and lift off.

  9. Doug
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    That’s not a bat; it’s a mogwai.

  10. Posted March 22, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Three *men* departing Earth would have been too much information I guess. NASA fig-leafing!

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Huurah for Tiny Tim the Donkey!!

  12. Merilee
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink


  13. David Duncan
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    “On this day in 1972, in the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people had the legal right to possess contraceptives. As late as 1972!”

    How can that be? Isn’t Massachusetts the most liberal place on Earth?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Seven years earlier, in Griswold v. Connecticut, SCOTUS established the constitutional right to contraception by married couples.

      That was the case in which Justice Douglas famously — or infamously, I suppose, depending on your point of view — discovered the “right to privacy” emanating from the penumbra cast by the bill of rights.

  14. Christopher
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Fanny Ardent?! I’ve never seen any of her movies, but what an unfortunate name (or interesting nickname) to have in English. Lucky she’s French.

    • Christopher
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Whoops! I made her name even worse by misspelling it! It’s one thing to be named Fanny, it a whole other issue to be an ardent fanny! 😳

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 22, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        The whole of the British tory party are ardent Fannies .

  15. Posted March 22, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Those are some ears on the bat. Not many creatures look like they might have ears bigger than the rest of their head.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I had a friendly acquaintance with laser co-inventor Charles Townes though in the last years of his life, his wife had to remind him of who I was.

    I only recently learned the the James Bond film “Goldfinger” (1964) is the very first film to depict a laser in any way, about 2 years before they became a common spece weapon in “Star Trek”.
    (The laser had not been invented when the novel was published. Bond was being threatened by a buzzsaw!!)

    Sondheim and Pat Robertson born the same day- THAT is a puzzle for an astrologer!!

  17. Nobody Special
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I had no idea van Dyke was so old. He must have been at least 365 when he played in Mary Poppins.

  18. Taz
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    “That’ll do badger, that’ll do.”

  19. Posted March 22, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always felt close to van Dyck because of his hair.

    Stockholm Water Prize recipients were announced today:

    • rickflick
      Posted March 22, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      “Professors Bruce Rittmann and Mark van Loosdrecht are named the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureates for revolutionizing water and wastewater treatment.”

      Wastewater management is a humble field of engineering. Something we take for granted if we consider it at all in daily life. Yet, if you think about it, (and I know we all do), it is a wonderful technological discovery and one of the most useful of sciences. It’s hard to imagine it’s absence. It dates to the Roman era, at least. Yet there are many places on earth where it either doesn’t happen or it’s in a weak state of development. Hooray for Rittman and Loosdrecht.

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