Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday, October 23, 2018, and National Boston Cream Pie Day. Scientifically, it’s the unofficial holiday Mole Day. Wikipedia explains (it’s not the animal mole):

Mole Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated among chemists, chemistry students and chemistry enthusiasts on October 23, between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m., making the date 6:02 10/23 in the American style of writing dates. The time and date are derived from Avogadro’s number, which is approximately 6.02 × 1023, defining the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole (mol) of substance, one of the seven base SI units.

A few hours after this is published, I’ll get the pleasure of having breakfast with the two great apostates from The Evergreen State College, biology professors Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, who are in town because Bret is doing a dialogue with Richard Dawkins. Report, such as it is, to follow. But crikey, the cheapest seat in the theater is $46.50! Re Evergreen State, on Thursday I’ll be doing a Skype call with Mike Paros’s new class at TESC as well: “Liberal education in the college bubble: crossing the political and cultural divide.” (The course was designed in response to the Evergreen State fracas last year.) I’m not going to pull any punches about what I think of how the students at TESC behaved, or about freedom of speech. Paros, by the way, was sympathetic to Weinstein and Heying’s plight at TESC. I’m amazed he’s still at the school.

On October 23, 1707, the first meeting of Great Britain’s Parliament took place. Exactly 210 years later, Lenin called for the October Revolution in Russia. On October 23, 1929, the New York Stock Market began to crash, with the first big fall taking place on October 24, “Black Thursday”. Over the next months the market lost 89% of its value, and this crash marked the formal beginning of the 12-year-long Great Depression.  On this day in 1941, Soviet General Georgy Zhukov took command of the Red Army, instructed to to stall the German army before it reached Moscow. He did his job, and was a great general, but also sanctioned brutal reprisals against Germans, including many civilians.  On October 23, 1946, the UN General Assembly met for the first time—in an auditorium in Flushing, Queens. Exactly a decade later, thousands of Hungarians protested the Soviet occupation, a protest crushed on November 4 by the USSR.

On October 23, 1973, President Richard Nixon finally agreed to turn over the Oval Office tapes that damned him, ultimately leading to his resignation. Finally, on this day in 2002—and you may remember this—Chechen terrorists took over the House of Culture theater in Moscow and took 700 people hostage. Russian officials, stymied by the theater’s layout, pumped gas through the ventilation system; eventually all 40 terrorists were killed but so were 204 of the hostages, many by the gas.

Notables born on this day include Felix Bloch (1905, Nobel Laureate), Ned Rorem (1923), Pelé (1940), Ang Lee (1954), and Randy Pausch, who gave the “last lecture” (1960, died of pancreatic cancer in 2008).  Pausch gave this lecture when he knew was dying, and used it to sum up the lessons he learned from life. He outlived doctors’ expectations, dying 10 months later at 48. If you want to watch it, here it is; it’s remarkably upbeat given the circumstances:

Those who died on October 23 include Zane Grey (1939), Al Jolson (1950), Jessica Savitch (drowned 1983), and the Christian creationist cartoonist Jack Chick (2016). A sample of his work:

Chick, of course, was also wrong.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sad that the mice will be running free as she sleeps:

Hili: There is no one to hunt mice.
A: And you?
Hili: I’m going to sleep.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie ma kto łowić myszy.
Ja: A ty?
Hili: Ja idę spać.

Lagniappe: Matthew sent this photo, from today’s Guardian,  which he said is “A replica of Rome’s Spanish Steps at Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg.” I sense a Japanese horror movie in the offing!

More lagniappe: a cartoon sent by Diane G.:


A tweet from reader Barry. The chameleon is going after that dragonfly–and gets it!

Tweets from Grania, beginning with the amazing mobility of scallops:

Grania says, “No comment” on this one:

I don’t understand why people hate pandas, but one of the real haters is my friend Melissa Chen:

Moon explorers as Keystone Kops:

From Heather Hastie: a remarkable case of brooding:

Via Ann German. Be sure to see the other tweets in this animal thread:

Heather notes of the tweet below, “The Labrador we had as kids used to do this – when you caught him doing something he shouldn’t be, he’d pretend to be doing something else.”

Liquid kitten shows others how to escape:

You can’t see this too often!



  1. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 23, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Ohmigods, that deranged woman with her energy drink conspiracy theory. She probably believes every word of those Chick tracts. Where in the universe can we find enough derision for people like that?

    And she keeps insisting that the letter phi (the ‘o’ in Monster) is a cross. Actually it’s being misused by the manufacturers, ‘phi’ is generally used to denote the number zero. So – that’s saying that the manufacturers identify the cross with nothing, a zero.

    So far so good, but the ‘phi’ in Cyrillic (that cryptic lettering used by those godless communist Russians) is actually the equivalent of our letter ‘F’. And look, elsewhere she’s going on about the ‘F’ word. So the manufacturers are saying ‘F’ the cross, that is, ‘F’ Jesus.

    Nobody tell her. (Or maybe I should, just out of perverse malice. I can always say the Devil made me do it).

    (It is, in fact, fiendishly easy to come up with this sort of crap.)


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 23, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Christine Weick is somewhat of an attention seeker. See this video, but don’t read the comments!

      • Diane G
        Posted October 23, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        How Christian of her.

        • rickflick
          Posted October 23, 2018 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

          I wonder if she is self aware. She could be completely sincere, or perhaps she enjoys the excitement of acting crazy. Hard to tell without a full brain fMRI with biopsy.

          • Diane G
            Posted October 24, 2018 at 2:52 am | Permalink

            I’ll second that. Where can I contribute?

    • Christopher
      Posted October 23, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Well it’s nice idiots like her have expanded their nuttery beyond playing rock n roll records backwards.
      I worked with a woman who fell for this kind of shite. It was sad, really, that she took such nonsense so seriously. And as I recall, my son had a school mate who couldn’t go to a birthday party because the invitation had Harry Potter on them. I cannot conceive how anyone over the age of 3 could mistake those for non-fiction books about the real lives of young wizards. Yet, they do. It’s like the last 400 years of knowledge has passed these people by.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 23, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink


    BTW great RWP today.

  3. Posted October 23, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing that some biologists hate pandas because of the unfair amount of public attention they get for being so cute while, at the same time, uglier species go extinct without much notice.

    • Posted October 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      People do talk derisively about “charismatic megafauna”.

    • Posted November 2, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      This is the leitmotif of an entire book, “Ugly Animals” by Simon Watt (bragging alert: I have translated it).

  4. rickflick
    Posted October 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Randy Pausch was an amazing guy. I’m sure he’d be impressed by progress in virtual reality. Amazingly poised for someone with his clock running out. Makes me wonder how I’d handle it. I guess as we get older the issue is there waiting for all of us.

  5. Posted November 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Great videos! The “au revoir” reminded me of Kipling, the episode where little Jaguar whines to his mom: “They are too clever on the turbid Amazon for poor me!”

%d bloggers like this: