Wednesday: Hili dialogue

We’re nearing the end of August: it’s Wednesday, August 29, 2018, and National Chop Suey Day—not even a Chinese dish and a prime example of cultural appropriation. It’s also International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

News of the day via a cartoon from reader pyers that appeared in the Torygraph. As pyers said about Trump, “Even the Tories ( well most of them anyway) detest that man.”

And a related cartoon, this time from The New Yorker (h/t: Gregory):

On this day in 1831, Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction: that the movement of a magnet through an electromagnetic field could produce electricity. On August 29, 1885, Gottlieb Daimler patented the first motorcycle, the Reitwagen, with an internal combustion engine.  Here’s a replica:

On this day in 1911, Ishi, often considered the last Native American to make contact with descendants of Europeans, emerged from the forest in northeast California. He died five years later.

And this is a story not known to me. As Wikipedia notes, on this day in 1930, “The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda are voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland. As the entry notes, they drowned all the working dogs on purpose before the evacuation, which pisses me off. Why did they have to kill the dogs? Read about why St. Kilda was evacuated here.

On this day in 1949, only a few months before I was born, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb (“First Lightning”) in Kazakhstan. On August 29, 1966, the Beatles performed a concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, which turned out to be their last concert before paying fans. (There was of course the later one atop the Apple Studio.)  On that same day, the Egyptian activist and writer Sayyid Qutb was executed for plotting the assassination of President Gamal Nasser. Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning book The Looming Tower traces much Middle Eastern terrorism, including that of ISIS and the Muslim brotherhood, back to Qutb’s writings. On this day in 1997, Netflix was launched as a rental DVD service. And on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina did a number on the U.S. Gulf Coast, ultimately killing about 1800 people and causing $125 billion in damage.

Notables born on this day include John Locke (1632), Ingrid Bergman (1915), Charlie Parker (1920, died at 35), Richard Attenborough (1923), Dinah Washington (1924, died in 1963), John McCain (1936), James Brady (1940), Temple Grandin (1947), Michael Jackson (1958), Chris Hadfield (1959), Neil Gorsuch (1967) and Lea Michele (1986).

Here’s Dinah Washington singing her most popular song, “What a difference a day makes.” I remember when this Grammy-winning version was on the charts in 1959. It was originally a Spanish song; does that make this version cultural appropriation. similar to chop suey?

Notables who died on August 29 include Brigham Young (1877), Sayyid Qutb (1966, see above), Éamon de Valera (1975), Lee Marvin (1987), Honeyboy Edwards (2011) and Gene Wilder (2016).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili comments on the madness.

Hili: Do you think rationalism has a chance?
A: Of course, nobody can be irrational all the time.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy sądzisz, że racjonalizm ma szansę?
Ja: Oczywiście, nikt nie potrafi być irracjonalnym przez cały czas.

A tweet found by me: Sarah Jeong, hired as the New York Times‘s chief tech editor despite her history of racist comments on social media, is now trying to keep a low profile, posting totally innocuous stuff. But if you look at the comments following this tweet, her strategy hasn’t worked that well. Those people who would want somebody fired for racist comments against Asians hypocritically want us to forget Jeong’s history.

A tweet from reader Gethyn: the CPS is the British Crown Prosecution Service and they mistook a dog for a person. This story is said to be fake, but see here for some evidence that it’s authentic.

Tweets from Grania: a demon with a foot fetish:

My question is this: why would Brian Cox want to squash a mosquito?

I’m not sure what this is about, but it must be ART!

This may hurt a bit, but I’d love this despite the pain:

Tweets from Matthew:

A goose with moxie!

This is a stunning fossil:

A good reason not to deliver a package:

Pecksniffery!! And the offensive word is “wiener”, not “Weiner”!!


  1. enl
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    What site rejects frankfurters?

    Or is it Anthony that is the objection?

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “Why do homes in the UK have separate hot and cold taps?”

    Well, why not? I presume the alternative is one of those swivelling faucet things. But I’d find it hard to make a strong case why one alternative is better than the other.

    Probably more significant is whether houses have separate toilets and bathrooms (that is, ‘bathrooms’ containing a handbasin and a shower or a bath, NOT a euphemism for a toilet). I strongly favour the separate arrangement.

    Why pull cords in bathrooms (I presume this is for heater or light switches). I think this is to reduce the risk of electric shock when operating a switch with wet hands.


    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Swivel faucets are mandatory here I believe, since they save water by allowing simultaneous adjustment of (often preset) temperature and flow. (Maybe that is a “strong” reason?) So also saves time for the user.

      Cheaper too I think, less material and installation used.

      On cords, I did not know that! Here mandatory earth current guard switches removed that need long since, which is presumably why I haven’t picked up that reason. When I first visited UK I thought it was cultural inertia.

      • grasshopper
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Earth-current-guard-switches/residual-current-devices/safety-switches minimize the risks of harm when an electrical system is faulty. And a system is faulty if it relies solely upon safety devices
        What happens when your safety device goes faulty itself? And they are of little protection if a person gets connected across both wires. When no earth current flows in such a situation, you are toast.
        Primary protection against injury and death from electricity is derived from workmanship, proper materials, and adherence to the appropriate wiring code. And maintenance.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Cultural inertia, or maybe just that there are a lot of old installations. Why change it if it works?

        My obsolete toilet cistern has an old rotate-the-handle style syphonic flush – but it still works perfectly. I have in the workshop/junkpile a newer identical-shape bolt-compatible push-button one in its box, which I bought 20 years ago lest they changed the shape and thus made replacement harder. I haven’t swapped it in yet because I don’t need to.


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      I would suspect the two handle faucet is just indication of the older style plumbing. You sometimes see it in the newer bathrooms although I do not know why. The single hand makes it much easier to adjust the water temp. Another thing we always see in England is the lever type door handle. When I was stationed in England, long ago, we use to ask, when are you going back to the land of the round door knobs? The door handles in England were something different for us.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        Lever type handles are preferred here too. Maybe it is easier to know how to maneuver? Or is it impossible to turn the round knobs wrong? My experience from US was that there were no standard on which side the hot and cold taps went on, the way they had to be turned et cetera. Same with light switches.

        Today there is a definite advantage with lever handles, since they are used to have an integrated lock “up/wrong way” position for bathroom doors. So I would not expect to see knobs much.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          The hot and cold are standard. Cold is always on the right, hot on the left. On the door knobs, most are set up so you can turn either way to open.

        • John Conoboy
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          In the US lever handles on doors meet the standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

          • Diane G
            Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

            As a local humane shelter found out, they also let dogs open doors.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Another advantage of lever handles – you can operate them with your elbow (or even your knee) if you’re carrying stuff.

          When I was a student, we did a bit of shop work (lathes etc), thus getting our hands oily. And the door to the toilets/washroom had a very big polished stiff brass knob, requiring a firm grip and impossible to turn with oily slippery hands. Boy did we curse that stupid knob.


    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I should add on the swivel taps that they likely allow a hotter final water temperature too, assuming the warm water taps have a thermostat.(Which is the more expensive taps, but nice if you have kids/elders or just a bad day. Also, more precise “preset” angle.)

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        You don’t see the thermostat temp control on many faucets in the U.S. See it more in showers now but still, high end mostly. Most houses just control the water temp on the hot water heater – maybe set at 120 degrees. But that can burn you.

        I always thought of the two handle faucet similar to the manual transmission. Time to upgrade…

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          But just like automatic transmission, more complicated (especially those single-handle ones), less controllable and harder to service. (That was a good analogy, GBJ). I get a leaky tap, I buy a 50c tap washer (or fish one out of my little jar of spares). Replaceable with a couple of spanners.

          The other thing with those swivel ones (disclaimer: we got one. Nudged by wife, I fitted one a while ago) – is this: If the wife has just run a sink full of hot water for the washing up, and you want a cup of cold water, what do you do? The swivel arm and nozzle is still full of hot, which you’re going to have to waste by running cold through until the arm has cooled. Do you dump that in the sink (angry yelps from wife?) Or accept a cup of warm water to drink (ugh).

          This problem does not arise with separate hot and cold taps.


    • Dionigi
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      If I remember right when swiveling faucets were introduced to the UK they had to be made so that the water does not join until the very end of the outlet. This was to reduce the risk of hot water being in the tap when the water was used as drinking water reducing the likelihood of water being contaminated by bacteria from the heated water system.
      Pull cords in bathrooms are to reduce the risk of electric shock only protected shaver sockets are allowed inside the bathroom and all sockets in the rest of the house must be away from sinks.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that background.

        Here (NZ) there’s no such restriction on swivelling faucets. But I can certainly agree with the logic.


  3. ChrisS
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It’s Jesus, bungee jumping from the cross!

    He dived for our sins!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      If you could hit that Jesus with a ruler-launched rubber band or a pellet from a two-finger rubber-band catapult, or even a thrown ball of paper, I’m sure He would bounce up and down in most entertaining fashion.

      (If there are any small boys from the congregation reading this, please feel free to adopt my my suggestion. A short clip of cell phone video would be even better…)

      (a.k.a. Satan)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Ooops. Sorry for the implied sexism. Any small girls are most welcome to join in.


  4. Sarah
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The Wiener Library in London is an extremely respectable research establishment. I hope they don’t have to deal with this prurient hang-up!

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I wonder who erected the Wiener Library?

      Just asking.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

        Bloody too-clever web forms that ‘pre-check’ input, that demand all boxes be filled even when irrelevant, or that offer only a pre-set range of options, are a complete pain.

        Often they are preset for a particular country (often the US). For example Postcode or State may mean nothing in other countries.

        (This is doubtless why ‘90210’ is the most-quoted postcode ever, filled in by exasperated non-US users in forms that will not accept a blank for a postcode so they put the first bit of nonsense they can remember (Beverley Hills 90210).


  5. BJ
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    That motorcycle reminds me of this classic: The Menstrual Cycle

  6. BJ
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I spent a few hours by the pool with my family this past Sunday. I got eleven mosquito bites on my ankles (why only my ankles?!?). So, I can’t help but wonder why someone wouldn’t want to kill a mosquito. Screw mosquitoes. I’ve gone through half a bottle of anti-itch cream in two days!

    • Frank Bath
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      I’ve been told the ones you hear are males and don’t bite, but the ones you don’t hear are female who do.

      • BJ
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m too lazy to find it.

      • chris english
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        The wingbeat of both sexes emit sound. But as the males never bite it’s unlikely they’d be buzzing around your ears.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Yeah, they only seem to bite my bony bits, like elbows and ankles, which then itch like hell.

  7. Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    When I used to foster care kittens, one of the best parts was when I’d return home and they’d all scale me to perch atop my head & shoulders.

  8. busterggi
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    First a curse on the St. Kildains for killing those dogs.

    Second, separate hot & cold faucets were standard for decades. As to pull cords, lights &/or fans mounted on ceilings often didn’t have wall switches so unless you had a ladder there waas no other way to turn them on/off.

    Third – damned wasps!

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      To me, the curse belongs to the organizers of the evacuation – they said it was impossible to take the dogs (I wonder why; I guess red tape).

      I think the islanders did the right thing. They could no longer be there for their best friends, so they killed them quickly. It would be worse if the dogs were left alone to eat each other and to prey on wildlife.

  9. David Coxill
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Talking of Motorbikes ,just found a Triumph topbox on the side of the road ,well i might be a side pannier .
    Left a few notices around the web ,such as the Triumph owners club ,would like to return it to the poor sod who lost it ,there seems to be something inside it ,there is a bit od strap or something hanging out of it .

    It must be built like a brick outhouse as there are just a few scratches on it .

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