Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday again: December 3, 2018, and National Peppermint Latte Day (shoot me now!) On a sober note, it’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which, as Wikipedia notes, started as a UN initiative in 1992 and “has been observed with varying degrees of success around the planet.”  I’m not sure what they mean by “success” here.

On this day in 1775, the USS Alfred, commanded by John Paul Jones, became the first ship to fly the Grand Union Flag, a combination of a Union Jack and American stripes. It’s the first flag regarded as an “American flag,” and here it is:

On this day in 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. State. And on December 3, 1910, the first demonstration of neon lighting was put on, at the Paris Motor show, although another site says December 11. I am getting more and more dubious about the dates given by Wikipedia.  If you believe that site, then it was on this day in 1927 that the first Laurel and Hardy film was released, Putting Pants on PhilipHere’s the entire 20-minute film:

On December 3, 1960, the musical Camelot, by Lerner and Loewe, opened on Broadway. You may remember that it became associated with the glamorous administration of John Kennedy and his wife Jackie. The movie was based on the T. H. White book The Once and Future King. On this day in 1967, Christiaan Barnard and his team in Cape Town performed the first heart transplant on a human. The recipient, Louis Washansky, died of pneumonia 18 days later.

On December 3, 1971, Pakistan attacked India, beginning the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It ended only 13 days later, making it one of the shortest wars in history. On this day in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the first “Supreme Leader of Iran.”  Exactly five years later, the Bhopal Disaster occurred in central India: a leak of methyl isocyanate killed 3,800 people on the spot (6,000 more died of injuries later). Between 150,000 and 600,000 people were injured, making it the worst industrial accident in history. It was a Union Carbide plant, and the punishments for those responsible were light. Here’s an iconic photo of one small victim being buried:

Finally, on this day in 1990, Mary Robinson became the first woman president of Ireland.

Notables born on this day include Gilbert Stuart (1755), Joseph Conrad (1857), Anna Freud (1895), Sven Nykvist (1922), Andy Williams (1927), Jean-Luc Godard (1930), Julianne Moore (1960), and Amanda Seyfried (1985). Stuart is, of course, most famous for his 1796 (and unfinished) portrait of George Washington (below). It is the portrait that has adorned American one-dollar bills since 1869. Check your wallet.

Those who died on this day include Carl Zeiss (1888), Robert Louis Stevenson (1894), Mary Baker Eddy (1910), Oswald Mosley (1980), and Lewis Thomas (1993).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej and Hili are discussing theology.

Hili: Is theology a social construct?
A: Yes, supported by revelations, i.e., deluded voices.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy teologia jest konstruktem społecznym?
Ja: Tak, wspartym objawieniami, czyli głosami urojonymi.

A cartoon about cats and Christmas:

And another cat LOL:

A tweet sent by reader Gethyn. Listen to that purr! I hope the leopard is either released in the wild or given a sanctuary with a lot of space.

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Look at this beautiful and friendly white duck!

Tank cat!

Some tweets from Grania. An owl on a Segway—everything possible appears on the Internet:

Confuse-A-Fox with arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus):

Do you know this eagle? It’s endemic to Africa and parts of the Middle East. Watch the owl-like video:

Tweets from Matthew. I heard about this story the other day, and it was scary. And how generous of Frontier Airlines to provide a FREE BREAKFAST VOUCHER!

The largest known insect eggs, larger than some hummingbird eggs. Have a gander!

Fossilized kitty and camel footprints. I’d dearly love to have this fossil:


  1. Mike
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    That Leopard is gone.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jerry for the Laurel & Hardy film. I loved the swooning ladies and the relentless music.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The African spotted Leopard Panthera pardus pardus is named VooDoo – that little clip in the OP is from 2010 making him 18 years old today. He’s been at Cedar Cove Tiger Park, Kansas since 5 months. Purchased at three months by a private couple from a breeder with the intention of making him a house pet and playmate to two full grown Rottweiler dogs. He was declawed on all paws but still overpowered his purchasers and was too rough and aggressive to keep, at which point he was brought to William Pottorff at Cedar Cove. I hope he’s been moved on to a better place than The Cove appears to be LINK
    – breeders & buyers eh. Makes me angry.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      P.S. Frontier Flight 260: Not a “shredded engine” – part of the engine cowling [cover] was probably not secured properly & it’s popped up & got caught in the airstream. The engine continued to work throughout the return & landing.

      • Posted December 3, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I’d rather have had a free voucher for new underpants I think.

        • R.Pardoe
          Posted December 3, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          News articles that I am reading indicate Frontier refunded the airfare of all passengers. Some articles also mention a $500 credit on a future Frontier flight.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Can you imagine the mechanic who failed to put the screws in? He’ll probably have to go work for another airline.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 3, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          From the customer facing POV Frontier have a terrible reputation – but that’s the low fare world where nothing is for free. They have a 7/7 safety rating & no accidents in over two decades.

          I honestly don’t know how these low cost carriers keep up standards when all aircrew today are paid peanuts – and ground side too. There’s going to be a massive expansion in planes/crews over the next decade what with India & China having a new[ish] middle class. I think we’re already seeing cracks in some of the Indian & other south Asian operations. Stick with the big, established operators out of the west or Oz I reckon.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            When we were in NZ for a flying vacation(2012), the FBO(Canterbury Aero Club) was also a large flying school. A large portion of their students were Chinese. Years earlier the U.S. had a lot of Middle Eastern students as well as Europeans. I believe the Chinese now have a big contingent in the U.S.. Shortages are still likely to arise, which may increase salaries.

        • Posted December 3, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          I bet it is one of those “I thought you did it. No, I thought you did it. Oh shit!” moments.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            …and the shit hit the turbofan blades.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Just as well the engine did continue to work. The drag and loss of lift over the adjacent wing caused by those cowlings sticking up would be quite significant. The crew would have to make considerable control inputs to compensate, they certainly wouldn’t need an engine-out condition to add to their handling problems.

        Lucky the cowlings didn’t rip off and damage parts of the wing or other systems, (like e.g. the Chicago DC10, though that was, admittedly, an entire engine departing); the consequences could have been much more serious.


  4. Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The Bhopal Disaster led to one of the most famous political pranks. The Yes Men activists appeared on television as Dow Chemicals spokespeople assuming full responsibility of what happened.

    You can view the clip, and surrounding controversy here, and following clips in the playlist.

    Their pranks derive their serious yet satirical nature from juxtaposing hypocritical public relations with what anyone knows is actually true. We know companies want to make money above everything else, yet, (like with religion) we are conditioned to accept utter nonsensical PR and advertisement about values, care, doing something good etc on a daily basis. They either take the sounding-good side and play through it as if it was real and honest (e.g. the Bhopal case), or package the corporate greed we know is reality into well-sounding PR (e.g. the “Arctic Ready” campaign which was enthusiastic about melting ice caps because of exciting new opportunies).

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      I dunno about other nations, but ads have to be well referenced/supported here in Sweden. Then again you can wonder about the translation between codes and outcome.

      In any case, (regulated and socialized) capitalism – warst and corporations and all – is making this world observably better. Like democracy perhaps, ‘the worst system except for all the others’.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Spelling: warts.

      • Posted December 3, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Companies generally advertise with the means to make money (“great product”) towards customers, and advertise the end (profits) towards business and shareholders (“buying our stuff makes you more money”).

        It has nothing to do with regulations. They can donate a tiny amount and say the company “invests” in the wellbeing of the rainforest or whatever, if it comes down to it.

        Take the Arctic Ready campaign. It was humouristic because energy companies love to emphasise “new opportunities”. The melting ice really offers new opportunities to oil companies for polar oil rigs. There’s a lot of money and Shell and Gazprom really love to exploit the oil in previously infeasable areas. That’s what they totally tell shareholders: “there’s a lot of money in arctic oil”. But they would be foolish to tell that the public, where such companies emphasise how they see new opportunities in switching to renewable energies — so that the general public sees them as “green” or greener than they are.

        The Arctic Ready exactly switched this around (Greenpeace and the Yes Men teamed up for it).

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    The mechanic working on that engine on the airline probably got a last paycheck. However, one might ask what the pilot was doing on his walk around. I assume they still do those.

    • Posted December 3, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Why don’t all doors/hatches on the outside of the plane have some kind of door open/closed detector? Even my car has those!

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        The aircraft commander for the flight designates someone on the flight crew to do the Pre Flight External Check – she may even do it herself under special circumstances. It is a very serious business because she’ll be signing a document [part of the Aircraft Technical Log] before the plane moves anywhere, where she accepts full responsibility for the aircraft prior to take off. An insecure access panel around or on the engine nacelles is a well known thing to look out for & they look hard.

        Sensor overload – if everything is sensored up the wazoo the net result is reduced safety & efficiency. A sensor activates shortly after take off what’s the right decision once you’ve got 100s of the buggers all over the place with some % of sensor alarms going to be false positives?

        I think that might be the heart of the problem – sensors are yet another thing that can fail so it’s best to restrict them to critical things. But I’ve just read the Honeywell have brought out a range of self-diagnosing sensors for aircraft so that the cabin crew can be absolutely sure an alarm isn’t a sensor fault. I think that aircraft sensors [except vital ones] these days are not hard wired – they are in an aircraft WiFi net so maybe more sensors are in the near future.

        • Posted December 3, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Don’t pilots routinely decide to ignore an alarm signal and fly anyway? Even if door alarms give a false signal once in a while, they would give the crew a chance to check the door out with their own eyes and make their own decision.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your general drift though not your choice of words [routinely, ignore]. 🙂

            If a sensor looks like it’s playing up then it’s logged for investigation [never ignored] the next time it’s possible to do so. But we were speaking of all the doors, hatches & access panels on the aircraft skin being sensored up like the doors on your car ~ most of those points can’t be seen from inside the pressure cabin. There’s dozens of places on the skin of a jetliner where there’s hatches & doors [forgetting the undercarriage doors which are usually ridiculously complicated]. And like I said – it may not pay to be able to monitor everything to that detail because maintenance is already hugely complicated.

            I remember a story though where a sensor would have been very handy – a particular RAF BAE Hawk T1A [two seat, single turbofan military trainer] kept pulling to the left ever so slightly after a few minutes flight time requiring a retrim of the control surfaces, but only when a certain experienced, knowledgeable pilot flew it – another pilot at another flight line couldn’t replicate it over weeks of trying. Turned out the oik who helped strap in the pilot wasn’t shoving home the onboard retractable step correctly & that would slide back out in flight due to vibration. Nobody noticed it sticking out on landing – perhaps everyone though someone else had pulled it out after landing to assist the pilot dismounting – dunno.

            • Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

              Of course I didn’t mean for the alert to be ignored forever. The pilot would obviously log it so it could be addressed. I thought smart people could have such a conversation without getting into the weeds like this.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

                Michael is a weeds animal. He lives and breaths through them and among them and he seldom gets out of them so he can seldom be caught getting into them. You might suspect he even smokes weed. I doubt it though. 😎

          • rickflick
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            Based on FAA rules you can’t fly without a certain set of basic flight instruments in operating order. instruments required for IFR flight in addition to those that are required for VFR flight are: heading indicator, sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure, clock with a sweep-second pointer or digital equivalent, attitude indicator, radios and suitable avionics for the route to be flown, alternator or generator, gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator that is either a turn coordinator or the turn and bank indicator. For other equipment it is often a judgement issue. OK, enough in the weeds already, let’s head up for a breath of air.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 3, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

              There is a Minimum Equipment List that has to be conformed to. If something on that list is not working, you don’t take off, full stop.

              Other items are ‘allowable defects’ (I’m not sure what the technical term is).

              The Lion Air 737 that recently crashed into the sea had three notifiable defects but none of them, individually, banned it from flying. But they were enough in combination to defeat an experienced crew and fly the plane into the sea.

              Described in this report

              but summarised more clearly in the first few minutes of this lengthy video:


              • rickflick
                Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

                Very interesting video. A 737 pilot explains the failures very well. The crash plane was not actually airworthy until fixes and tests had been done, but the fixes didn’t improve the plane’s performance. As you can see from his description, there are often requirements to report failures and have them fixed but it still requires judgement(a culture of safety) to implement the rules as intended. The manufacturer (Boeing in this case) cannot specify exactly what to do in every possible situation.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Sensors can cause their own problems.

          Like the Lion Air 737 that just flew itself into the sea against all the crew’s efforts to restrain it, because of a dodgy angle-of-attack (MCAS) sensor? (And also a couple of other systems were on the fritz, which probably didn’t help their concentration).

          I note a headline “Boeing insists pilots could have saved doomed jet”. This reminds me of McDonnell Douglas right after the DC10 lost its engine at Chicago and the left wing slots promptly folded back in, insisting that the pilots *could* have saved the plane – yes, if they’d had 100% accurate information and been blessed with clairvoyance about what was happening.


  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Excellent “trivia” in here – the flag, the portrait- I have been ignorant!

  7. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I think facts are pulling our legs.

    Jerry is providing a very interesting and informed analysis of biological sexuality and cultural gender. I was reminded of that when I this morning saw a paper on social sexual learning – predicting mate-choice “traditions” – in from us distant split animals: fruit flies!

    Now who likes to work with those … was it not JC himself?

    Published in Science and looking passable on statistics from a very quick overlook [ ]. But I leave the buzz to the experts.

  8. Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    also Daryl Hannah born 1960. “Splash”

  9. kieran
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink Just after she won the election. Constitutional lawyer and senior counsel for David Norris case against the criminalisation of homosexuality. Currently involved with climate change through her foundation.

    Won’t lie, I’m a bit of a fan.

  10. rickflick
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Southwest Airlines was said to have given passengers breakfast vouchers after the loss of the engine fairing. But, at another site it says “Passengers were also given a refund and a $500 voucher for a future Frontier flight.”
    Not so bad.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    As I recall, Kennedy’s fondness for the musical “Camelot” was now public knowledge until after his death, although his fondness for James Bond novels was well-known in his lifetime.

    I’m not sure if Kennedy was interested in Arthurian stories generally, or merely a fan of that one “incarnation” of the stories.
    If the former, he might have enjoyed the 1990s movie in which Sean Connery played King Arthur.

  12. Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Awww… Hili is so cute in that photo. Nice kitty!

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