Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Monday is with us again: it’s March 26, 2018, and National Nougat Day, one of the few confections I don’t like. And it’s Purple Day in Canada and the U.S., designed to raise awareness of epilepsy. For those of you who haven’t yet demonized Richard Dawkins, he’s 77 today (see below).

In this day in 1484, William Caxton, who had the first printing press in England and was the first Brit to sell printed books, printed his own translation of Aesop’s Fables. Here’s a rare version of that book from the Bodleian Library at Oxford. You might recognize at least one of the fables:

On this day in 1812, the political cartoon shown below appeared in the Boston Gazette, giving rise to the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly-shaped political districts designed to help a certain party or candidate win elections. The description from Wikipedia is under the cartoon:

Printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts, as a dragon-like “monster”. Federalist newspaper editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry’s last name.

On March 26, 1830, the Book of Mormon was first printed, in Palmyra, New York. And on this day in 1934, the UK driving test was instituted to get a driver’s license. Licenses had been issued since 1903, but no driving test had been required. On this day in 1942, the first female prisoners arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp near Krakow, Poland.  On March 26, 1971, East Pakistan declared independence from Pakistan, forming Bangladesh; and the Bangladeshi wars of liberation began. On this day in 1979, Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter signed the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty at the White House in Washington, D. C.  Finally, on March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found in Southern California, all having committed suicide expecting the next “stage of life.” Wikipedia offers this bizarre description, and I’ve put in a not-too-gruesome photo:

The members took phenobarbital mixed with apple sauce and washed down with vodka. Additionally, they secured plastic bags around their heads after ingesting the mix to induce asphyxiation. Authorities found the dead lying neatly in their own bunk beds, faces and torsos covered by a square purple cloth. Each member carried a five-dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets: the five dollar bill was to cover vagrancy fines while members were out on jobs, while the quarters were to make phone calls. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike Decades athletic shoes, and armband patches reading “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” (one of many instances of the group’s use of the Star Trek fictional universe’s nomenclature). The adherents, between the ages of 26 and 72, are believed to have died in three groups over three successive days, with remaining participants cleaning up after each prior group’s deaths. Fifteen members died on March 24, fifteen more on March 25, and nine on March 26. Leader Applewhite was the third to last member to die; two people remained after him and were the only ones found without bags over their heads. Among the dead was Thomas Nichols, brother of the actress Nichelle Nichols, who is best known for her role as Uhura in the original Star Trek television series.

It’s beyond me how people can believe in this stuff!

Notables born on this day include A. E Houseman (1859), Joseph Campbell (1904), Tennessee Williams (1911), Sandra Day O’Connor (1930), Gregory Corso (1930; I once saw him in San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore), Leonard Nimoy (1931), Richard Dawkins (1941), Erica Jong (1942), Diana Ross (1944), Steven Tyler (1948), and Keira Knightley (1985).  Those who fell from their perch on this day include John Winthrop (1649), Walt Whitman (1892), Cecil Rhodes (1902), Sarah Bernhardt (1923), Edmund Muskie (1996), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (2003), and Geraldine Ferraro (2011).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the weather has improved, and Hili has issued an order about Listy:

Hili: From today on, editorial meetings will be conducted in the fresh air.
Cyrus: I agree.
In Polish:
Hili: Od dziś zebrania redakcyjne będą na świeżym powietrzu.
Cyrus: Akceptuję.
And in nearby Wloclawek, Leon is out taking Spring hikes:

Leon: I’m going to rest a bit. These Sunday treks are long.  (In Polish: “Odpocznę, długie są te niedzielne szlaki.”)

A cool tweet sent by Matthew, showing ice patches on a comet!:

Were I this person I’d get an inoculation against Lyme disease:

Pluto versus Australia:

If you know the rabbit/duck illusion, here’s life imitating art:

And a gutsy woman!

Matthew is writing (and struggling with) his next book on the brain, and had a strange moment (yes, it’s another Cobb):

A strange book:

Grania calls our attention to a new policy of Skype, which appears to ban not only offensive language, but the erotic purposes for which many separated paramours use the application:

20 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Background for Caxton

    “Johannes Gutenberg, […] developed, circa 1439, a printing system by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes,”

    That was in Germany.

    Source :
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press

    • nicky
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      It is maintained in Holland that Laurens Janszoon Coster invented movable print (first in wood*, later in tin with a non-running ink) in the 1420’s in Haarlem and that his invention was later taken to Mainz, where Gutenberg refined the method and became the ‘hero’ of printing. I guess the Chinese preceded all of them.
      I really like the fact that Caxton printed Aesop’s fables instead of a Bible.

      * prints left in the mud allegedly were his inspiration!

  2. Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I thought Skype conversations were encrypted end to end. Microsoft will not be able to enforce the ban unless they are snooping on our conversations somehow.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      That’s what I would expect also but perhaps their ban gives them legal cover regardless.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I haven’t used Skype for years because it’s often used as a vector for ‘backdooring’ devices. It was supposed to be secure in the pre-Microsoft days & it had a false reputation as being end-to-end encrypted. When MS bought Skype the security dropped even more over time – if your Skype comms go through MS servers at any point you should expect it to be readable by MS no matter what Skype T&Cs might say.

      Microsoft cooperate with law enforcement & governments [plural!] at the drop of a hat & will provide info to various agencies often without a court order. MS & many other computer h/ware & s/ware giants care only [“only” is 90% true] about market penetration & will ‘bend’ their products to suit local conditions e.g no OneDrive connection on Chinese Windows, digital printers & digital photocopiers/scanners with built in ID watermark to identify document hardware source to the NSA etc

      Reading around on various sites & not 100% reliable…

      In the current MS era it is not end-to-end encrypted by default – you have to turn on ‘private conversations’ [end-to-end encryption] each time. But that info is from Jan ’18 & may no longer apply. At that time only some functions were end-to-end, but perhaps that’s changed.

      THIS is what Skype themselves say. I don’t trust the words myself!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Can’t imagine why I would demonize Richard Dawkins but then, can’t think there would be anything Donald Trump said that was true. Did you ever have a lawyer that would just give some stranger $130,000?

    Leon is looking very serious today.

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    On March 26, 1830, the Book of Mormon was first printed, in Palmyra, New York.

    Showing that people can believe just about anything.

    Weird, though, that the bit on the Book of Mormon was gerrymandered into the districting explanation.

    Is it time to demonize Richard Dawkins?

    Glen Davidson

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Oops, fixed the Book of Mormon bit.

    • Christopher
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Of course it’s time to demonize Dawkins, don’t you know? He won’t fall at the feet of muslims and praise their peaceful, feminist ways, and he admitted to being touched on the butt by a paedophile as a kid in school and said it didn’t ruin his life. This clearly makes him a pro-paedophile islamophobe!

      Unless there’s some other trivial reason the leftistas hate him that I don’t know about (life sans tw@tter is lovely) I do wish him a wonderful birthday. I’m so happy to have gotten to hear him speak during his book tour promoting his autobiography.

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Dawkins mentioned the Heavens Gate mob in “The God Delusion ” ,i think .
        They are supposed to have bought a Telescope to look for the spaceship ,they took it back to the shop saying it was faulty because they didn’t spot the spaceship.

        • loren russell
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Heaven’s Gate — Oh man, that brings memories! ‘He’ [Applewhite] and “She” brought their road show to western Oregon and the Oregon Coast in the late ’70s. Lots of local newspaper publicity, mostly amused at their premise. But they did recruit some locals, and I suspect a few of the decedants at the end were Oregonians.

          If my sister is to be trusted — and she’s rarely been caught out in false rumors, one of my high school classmates, “DK” back in nw Washington did ‘get on the bus’, leaving his wife and children behind. In any event DK was not part of the ‘transitioning’ as I saw he a couple years later. But strange in many ways, and physically so — it would make sense if he had had the Applewhite surgery..

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Why are we allowing tech companies to act as proxies for the goverment in controlling our speech?

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Because their spying is linked to the services they provide in an unwanted and usually undisclosed manner.

  6. David Coxill
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Didn’t know about Purple day ,my twin brother who i care for suffers from complex partial Epilepsy .

  7. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Gerry actually pronounced his name with a hard “G.” It’s not Jerry, it’s Gerry.

  8. Yana Makarevitch
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Cats as awesome as always:))
    Happy birthday to Professor Dawkins!

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never been tempted to demonize Dawkins, but if I was I’d be inhibited by the high praise he heaped on my comments the two times I saw him at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, more than I really deserved IMO.

    He was on a separate occasion very snippy with my father, and I’ve met a strong atheist (employee of Camp Quest) who came away with a very negative impression with him after meeting him, but RD was a gracious gentleman to me.

  10. nicky
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the explanation of Gerry, if pronounced with a hard G it sounds kinda Dutch (again!) and the Salamander.
    The Dragon picture is brilliant, btw.

  11. nicky
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Love the Ted Cruz photo.
    However the lady is mistaken, not just Texas, but any place deserves better.
    Which brings us to ask the question: would Mr Cruz have been an even worse POTUS than Mr Trump? A difficult one, ne?

  12. Kelcey BURMAN
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I have a copy of the Book of Mormon, gotten when I looked in their temple before it was made sacrosanct and forbidden to us heathens. What a shocking bad taste example of interior decoration it is too. Anyway my young son would ask me about my Book of Norman so that is now what we call it. It too is worth reading as ignorance is no defence for its incomprehensible load of bollocks


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