Monday: Hili dialogue

Breaking news: the Brexit mess gets even more complicated (click on link to see the story)

And a response from Nick Cohen (h/t Grania):

We’re back at Monday again: December 10, 2018: 15 shopping days until Coynezaa. It’s National Lager Day, celebrating a lame brew that’s not even close to a pint of good British bitter. It’s also International Human Rights Day.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Nelly Sachs, playwright and poet, Nobel Laureate in Literature, and a woman who barely escaped being sent to a concentration camp. She fled to Sweden and spent the rest of her life writing about the experience of her fellow Jews under the Nazis. The Doodle manages to get all that into one drawing.

On this day in 1520, Martin Luther burnt a copy of the papal bull (is that redundant?) Exsurge Domine, which tried to refute Luther’s 95 Theses, in front of the Elster Gate in Wittenberg.  On this day in 1541, both Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were beheaded on the accusation of having had affairs with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII. The affairs were likely real ones, though the tryst with Dereham occurred before Howard’s marriage. On December 10, 1684, according to Wikipedia, “Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, [was] read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.”

On this day in 1868, the first traffic lights were reportedly installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London, although I’ve found other dates for this innovation.  On December 10, 1884, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published. As Hemingway argued, all American literature stemmed from that book.  On this day in 1901, the first awarding of Nobel Prizes took place in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of the death of benefactor Alfred Nobel. The winners were Wilhelm Röntgen in physics, Jacobus van ‘t Hoff in chemistry, Emil von Behring in physiology or medicine, Sully Prudhomme in literature, and Frédéric Passy and Henry Dunant for peace.  More Nobels: on this day in 1906, Teddy Roosevelt nabbed the Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese war. He was the first American to win a Nobel Prize.

Here’s an event new to me: the Brown Dog riots in London, a fracas over vivesection. On this day in 1907, the riots peaked when 1,000 medical students battled with 400 bobbies over a memorial to vivisected animals. Exactly two years later, Selma Lagerlöf became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

On December 10, 1936, Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication below, resigning as King of England to be with Wallis Simpson:

And here’s the speech he gave on December 11 announcing his decision:

On this day in 1953, Winston Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his history of World War II and his History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Finally, on this day in 1996, Nelson Mandela put forth the new Constitution of South Africa.

Notables born on this day include William Lloyd Garrison (1805), Ada Lovelace (1815), Emily Dickinson (1830), Nelly Sachs (1891), Dorothy Lamour (1914), Susan Dey (1952), Rod Blagojevich (1956), Kenneth Branagh (1950), and Heather Hastie (1963). Happy birthday to Heather!

Those who “passed” on December 10 include Alfred Nobel (1896; see above), botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker (1911; he helped broker the Darwin/Wallace joint papers in 1858), Damon Runyon (1946), Otis Redding (1967), Jascha Heifitz (1987), Rick Danko (1999), and Eugene McCarthy and Richard Pryor (both 2005).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has nodded off while reading:

A: You fell asleep over a book.
Hili: It happens to those who read books
In Polish:.
Ja: Przysnęłaś nad książką.
Hili: To się zdarza tym, którzy czytają książki.

Here’s a clever cartoon sent by reader Bruce:


From reader Ken, whose dental hygienist, Harvinder, sent him this video of her cat Fiona flossing. With permission I put it on YouTube.

A tweet from reader Gethyn. Synchronized cat parkour!

Tweets from Grania. The first one features Andy Serkis, who provided the body-movement cues and voice of Gollum in Lord of the Rings. This one nabs the honor of Tweet of the Week, and you’ll see why (it’s about Brexit):

Basket o’ kittens:

A holiday cat from Stephen Knight, aka the Godless Spellchecker. I didn’t know he had a cat, but of course cats are The Official Pet of Atheism®.

Still more cats, and expect to see other cats in mangers as the holiday approaches. Here we have HappyCat, the son of Ceiling Cat (fleas be upon him).  Reader Dave Andrews also sent a version of this.

I guess it’s all cats from Grania today! But this video is very important, and is runner-up for Tweet of the Week:

Tweets from Matthew.  Even MORE cats! I’m always dubious about the Scottish wildcat, though as I’m not sure they are in any sense a wild felid with a genome close to that of the ancestral Felis silvestris. There’s been so much interbreeding with feral cats. . . .

And now for something completely different. You should have learned by now that “true bugs” are in the order Hemiptera. Here’s a big one!

Check out the vampire bats on this wild boar. Creepy!

This should be tacked on the wall of the Discovery Institute:



  1. Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    In the 10 Commandments of logic, number 4 is wrong. An argument always assumes its premises are true. From Wikipedia

    A premise or premiss[a] is a statement that an argument claims will induce or justify a conclusion.[3] In other words, a premise is an assumption that something is true.

    Number 4 should really be “Thou shalt not construct an argument based on a premise whose truth is dependent on your argument’s conclusion”.

    • Historian
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Another logical fallacy that certainly should be on the list is what one writer calls the “divine fallacy,” often employed in a god-of-the-gaps argument. Here is the definition: “The divine fallacy is a logical fallacy where someone assumes that a certain phenomenon must occur as a result of divine intervention, simply because they don’t know how else to explain it, or because they can’t imagine that this isn’t the case.” For a nice summary of this fallacy, go here:

      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s what Richard Dawkins calls the argument from personal incredulity, or at least, one version of it.

    • Peter Taylor
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I spotted that as well.

      I also think 6 is not correct. There can indeed be cases that admit only one of two possibilities (many arguments in number theory for instance assume an integer is either odd or even).
      False dichotomy is (I believe) to claim that only two possibilities exist when further possibilities haven’t been excluded.

      • CJColucci
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        As I have had occasion to say many times, commandment 1 doesn’t apply unless you put a “therefore” into your attack on the person. Or, to put it another way, you can’t commit an ad hominem fallacy unless you’re making an ad hominem argument. There is no logical error in simply calling someone a jerk.

        • Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          And the attack doesn’t even have to be an insult to be ad hominem. “As a white male, your view is worthless”.

      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Your assertion is either right or wrong.

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I hesitated over that one too, but couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with it. That fixes it up neatly.

  2. Serendipitydawg
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    They have had years to get this sorted, I doubt that they will manage it before next March.

    I wonder how many there are like me who voted leave just to give the coward Cameron a kicking. Still, no regrets… they asked a stupid question and got a stupid answer.

    For anyone who decries us oldies who supposedly voted to join the EU: we didn’t; the government joined the EEC and we had a referendum about staying in back in 1974. The argument at the time made sense because the EEC was a free trade area. Subsequent goverments signed up to the change to the EU without consulting any of us, I still regard that as a retrograde step that will ultimately lead to a USU run from Brussels. I am just glad we dodged the Euro bullet.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Hear! Hear! The UK was smuggled into the EU.

      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Absolutely hear hear the EEC is not the EU of today and there never was any real information about this monumental change let alone consultation.

        • Richard
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          As I recall, the UK government refused to publish the details of the Maastricht treaty – we plebs were not even supposed to know what we were being signed up to.

      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        No it wasn’t. The intention to seek admission to the EEC was published in the Conservative Manifesto in 1970.

        The decision to join was re-afirmed in a referendum in 1975.

        The EEC has since evolved into the organisation we have today called the EU. That evolution was not at the instigation of faceless European bureaucrats but at the direction of the governments of the member states including our own.

        Now, because of some misguided sense of patriotism and a fear of foreigners, we are leaving and it’s totally chaotic. Brexit has been and will continue to be a disaster. It’s caused lasting damage to us and our relationships with our closest neighbours. It needs to be stopped.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I totally agree. I was a real enthusiast for joining the EEC, and voted “remain” in the 1974 referendum. Since then the creeping subjugation of sovereign nations to a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in the European Commission (comprising mostly failed national politicians) has become steadily worse. Democracy depends on the people being able to get rid of leaders of whom the majority disapprove, and there is no mechanism by which we can dispose of the commissioners. The European Parliament is a sham, with minimal powers. That is why the appalling UKIP did so well in the last election: a vote for UKIP was a protest vote against the EU with no adverse consequences. One of the most discouraging messages by the “remain” camp in the recent referendum was to admit the many problems with the EU (even Macron admitted to those) but to maintain that in order to fix them we had to be inside. EU supporters have been saying that for at least a couple of decades, and nothing has ever happened.

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, you based the most important electoral decision you will ever make on your dislike of one politician?

      I can’t comment on what I think of that because it would probably mean an instaban.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    In honor of the anniversary of Rick Danko’s “passing,” how about “It Makes No Difference,” for my money one of Robbie’s best and saddest tunes, and one of the greatest vocal performances in The Band’s catalog:

    • revelator60
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I second that motion! Great song, great performance, great band.

  4. enl
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “It’s National Lager Day, celebrating a lame brew that’s not even close to a pint of good British bitter.”

    Like scotches, there are lagers, and there are lagers. There are also bitters, and then there are bitters.

    Many US consumer grade “beer” products are technically lagers, but have none of the body, flavour, or character of a good beer. They are produced much too quickly to develop any character at all.

    A good (in my opinion) lager takes about 30 to 60 days (or more). A good ale takes about 15 to 30. Mass market brews are over in less than 7.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      There are several UK brewers of fine ales who also make pretty good lagers, though they are far from the pale yellow fizz that the name generally evokes. Cold Snap is my favourite though I generally only get a couple of bottles, preferring Newsome’s blonde ales such as Sleck Dust and Pricky Back Otchan.

      In the north of England at present, Tesco will sell you 4 bottles for £6 and you can mix and match from what they have (last week I scored Sleck as well as their two stouts for my better half). Other ales are included in the mix and match offer; I also scored Badger’s Fursty Ferret and I can heartily recommend it (bottles only, if they do cans I will never have tried it so can’t comment).

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Link to Fursty Ferret… no idea what happened to it in the reply 🙂

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        From many years of sampling, I think that most of the successful UK local brewers aim to produce the full range of ales and other beers, often depending on the time of year.

        For instance, one of may favourite SE English breweries, Long Man, does at least 14 great beers, from an American IPA to a full-bodied stout, but phases them appropriately throughout the year.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          I meant to add that they don’t do a lager because doing a proper one is a skilled, technical job. They stick to what they do best. Quite right!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      There is no accounting for the beer drinking by the masses in the U.S. I thought it might be due to knowing nothing better but I’m not sure. I have sat in a club on an American base in Germany, where a good German beer was available and yet watched many drink U.S. beer. It makes no sense at all.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        Perhaps it was a yearning for the tastes of home…

        I know plenty of people who actually prefer mainstream keg lagers and beers and regard a liking for the craft products from smaller brewers as somewhat fuddy duddy (I have been referred to as a member of ‘the tweed cardigan and slippers brigade’). Part of it is no doubt familiarity with the products that the Union bar or student pub purveyed, people tend to stick with what they know.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          I agree but it does not make understanding the idea any better. Knowing a good brown ale in the English pub or a German pilsner such as Licher. Oh well.

          • Serendipitydawg
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            I agree, it makes no sense but provides and explanation 🙂

            I vividly remember an overnight stay in Bruges where the hotel was having some work done: this led to the hilarious apology for there only being 80 different beers available in the bar. We managed to sample around 40 of them between our entire party and there were still a couple of people who didn’t fancy trying the bottles so they stuck with Kronenbourg 1664 because it was on draught.

            Happy days. I even had to wait 30 minutes to try one of the beers because they couldn’t find the glass (you have to have the correct glass!).

      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I bet the desire to consume poor, but American, beer when abroad correlates well with Trump support. As Bill Maher says, “I can’t prove it, but I know it’s true.”

        • CJColucci
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          I love that Anheuser-Busch is running two different ad campaigns: a populist one for their Bud Light swill — for the many, not the few — and an elitist one for a new product aged in bourbon barrels. Dilly dilly indeed.

          • Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            I’d try the stuff aged in bourbon barrels only if someone else paid for it. Sounds like complete BS to me. Beer with artificial bourbon flavoring maybe?

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

              There’s a lot of unnecessary innovation in the ale/beer/bier/lager world – we’ve had hundreds of years to try the main combos of ingredients & methods & it’s a solved problem.

              What isn’t solved is maintaining a standard high quality product, under mass production in a highly competitive market that’s oversupplied. The big brewers are scrambling for percentage point savings with small changes & misdirections – thus “Bavarian Beer” on the customer facing label, but actually now brewed in the Netherlands [small print on the back label]. Food conglomerates are rationalising their supply sources & their food processing plants to such a degree that the knowledge/experience re why certain cereals/grains are sourced from a specific place is entirely lost. Or there is an assumption that changing the source might not matter – without testing the hypothesis.

              I notice this problem most with beans & nuts – a huge Chinese export market, but the species of bean is different & the soil is different. Some cannelloni beans I bought recently from an Italian outlet were imported from china – they look identical to other cannelloni beans, but they need to be cooked twice as long & they are always al dente. Very strange – I wondered if they’re somehow artificial [which can happen with rice forgery incidentally]

              • Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I agree for the most part but someone has to innovate. Many of the food and drink concoctions we consume now didn’t exist a few hundred years ago, say. Most experiments in this area produce junk but once in a while someone comes up with something new and good, but it isn’t likely from a conglomerate.

                I totally appreciate your bean story and share your frustration with the inconsistency of ingredients. This is why good restaurants are so careful with their suppliers.

            • Serendipitydawg
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

              Scotch tends to be matured in old sherry casks, so I guess that there is something to be said for maturing in old bourbon casks. Not sure what it adds to that type of beer though… most of the craft brewers that I have come across don’t find it necessary; I think there was one at the Hull beer festival a few years back that did so but I don’t remember the beer having anything extra that the others didn’t (and I did try it early enough in the evening to still be able to tell :-0)

              • Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

                All cases of enhancing flavor via such things as this should be subjected to a blind taste test. I’m sure their effect is often non-existent or undetectable. Reminds me of the ridiculous varieties of salt that have no detectable difference in taste. Texture is another thing entirely though.

              • Steve Pollard
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

                Serendipitydawg, have you tried the Innis & Gunn barrel-aged strong ale? Blimey, that’s an acquired taste if anything is!

      • James
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Well, Americans have different tastes than Europeans. This falls under “neither breaks my bones nor picks my pockets”; there’s no need to understand the tastes of others, nor to explain ourselves to the rest of the world. I don’t mean to be hostile, but “Americans don’t act like Europeans” is a common theme in criticizing the USA, and it’s annoying. OF COURSE we don’t act like Europeans. If we wanted to be European, we’d move to Europe.

        I’m a Silver Bullet fan myself. It’s what we drank in college, so there’s a nostalgia aspect involved. It’s also easy to drink when you’re doing a lot of yard work–it’s basically fizzy water with enough alcohol to act as a mild anesthetic, which is nice. If I’m going to spend a lot of time in the yard, I’ll usually pick up a case on Friday night.

        I also drink Bush Light when I’m at home. It’s what my dad drinks and what my grandfather drank. I’ll usually pick up a six pack of something else, but….my relationship with my dad was rocky when I was young, so when he hands me a beer I take it. Not my favorite beverage, but it’s certainly not gag-inducing (if you think it is, you REALLY need to branch out more with adult beverages….).

        Basically, American lagers fill the role in our culture that small beer historically filled–something to drink through the day, with a bit of alcohol, but not enough to get you drunk. That’s one of the most traditional roles beer has played, and there remains a valid place for such beer in the pantheon.

        That doesn’t mean I won’t drink other beer. I’m a fan of heffs (though I can’t spell it to save my life), and it’s getting to be stout weather (something about a stout in Alabama in the summer is offputting, to say the least). A good IPA (Bass or its ilk, not the over-hopped “macho” undrinkable swill) is nice as well. Lambics are weird, but delicious. Cider too–I grew up in Ohio, so it’s sort of obligatory. If I’m in a place that serves local brews I’ll get one of whatever strikes my fancy. The great thing about beer is the variety–variability is built into its history as an agricultural product. And that means that I don’t need to stick within a narrow range.

        I’m not unique in this. The folks I know who drink American lagers also tend to enjoy a variety of beers. Think of it this way: we drink American lagers when we want to drink something and don’t care much what it is–when we’re not drinking for the sake of the beer, but because we’re thirsty after doing something else (ie, when we follow G. K. Chesterton’s advice). When we want to drink something to enjoy the drink itself, we get far more adventurous.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          You’ve got a question HERE James that’s beginning to go off! 🙂

          • James
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            Submitted my response. 🙂

        • Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Ok then Budweiser should start calling their swill “The Beer To Drink When You Don’t Care What You’re Drinking” instead of “The King of Beers”. Or “The Poor Stepchild of Beers” if that is too long.

          • James
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            You’re going to complain about an advertisement campaign? That’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.

            Don’t confuse what the beer is SOLD as with what the beer is USED as. Advertisers have to talk about their product like it’s the best thing ever; that’s rather their job. Doesn’t mean anyone’s going to believe it.

            And some people do enjoy Budweiser. They honestly think it’s a tasty beer. To the folks who drink Bud, it may be. Their wheat beer isn’t bad, by the way–not fantastic by any means, but at least when I tried it a few years ago (may have changed since then) it’s an okay wheat beer. The rest of the Budweiser products I’ve tried, by the way, make me violently ill–nothing to do with the flavor, there are just some drinks my body rejects, and most of Budweiser’s products fit that category. Same with Sam Adams and Dr. Pepper.

            A question that is, to me, far more interesting than “Why do people like beer I don’t like?”, is: Why do folks feel the need to insult others for their preferences? what difference does it make whether I drink a small-batch local Imperial stout with ingredients entirely sourced from within 5 miles, or a Bush Light? I’m not asking YOU to drink it, after all. What benefit do folks derive from mocking those who have different tastes? There’s a schoolyard bully quality to this discussion which goes beyond mere difference of culinary opinion.

            • Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

              I’m sorry but I am probably going to continue to feel superior to you when it comes to our taste in beer. You’ll just have to live with it. If you want to consider it a character flaw, I can live with that.

              • James
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

                That answers my question, I guess: It’s got nothing to do with the beer, it’s entirely about stroking your own ego. Sad way to live, in my opinion.

              • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                Wrong. It has everything to do with the beer and nothing to do with your opinion.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

                Preferences in beer are often based on mood…attitude:


  5. Ken Pidcock
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    When I saw the water bug, I immediately thought, Don’t put that in your hand. Maybe they retract mouth parts out of water.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink


    “On this day in 1868, the first traffic lights were reportedly installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London, although I’ve found other dates for this innovation”

    And below we see it – a peculiarly inelegant design consisting of semaphore arms & gas lit coloured glass above for smog/fog/twilight & night visibility – the contraption was operated by a police constable standing alongside. Note that it only lasted a month before a gas leak took it out. Un flic was injured:
    New Street Semaphore at Westminster

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Here’s a much better, Later NYC example from the 1920s. The finished job was electro-bronzed & the naked chap on top is presumably Mercury/Hermes [no he didn’t have winged ankles in all depictions]. I love the faked up ‘opening’ of the traffic light – before bronzing & resting on a couple of strips of wood. Class:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      “You call that a traffic light?”
      A stunning NYC 1920s example. Five of these were built in bronze & they’re perfect. Note the cop is up top & I suppose there’s a ladder for him to climb… Five of these were built for total $125,000 so we know that graft was going strong with the artist being somebodies nephew etc.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I’m going to think about these the next time I’m stopped at a light. This last one has the look of something tRump would want outside tRump tower.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Yes the one the left is pure Trump essence – it’s a model made to sell the scheme in, I presume, gold plate. It went for loadsamoney at auction recently.

          The built artefact is supposedly bronze [or bronze-plated cast iron I’m guessing] & weighed five tons. It’s also very Trump in that there’s no doubt a scam involved somewhere re overinflated costs – a classic Trump move.

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Heather!

    I had a spider joke I was saving and this cartoon stole my thunder:

    It has to be spoken and importantly not written, like I’m doing here, but you know me :

    Q: What kind of sight do spiders have?
    A: ________________

    … I probably messed it up.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Thanks very much. I appreciate it.

      Unfortunately, I’m not very good at jokes that require knowledge about insects, so someone will have to enlighten me.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Yes, perhaps a reader could point out the right thread.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Is that spider thread?

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            Why the venomous reply?

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

              That’s one way of spinning it

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                Alright, I think this is ballooning out of control.

  8. kieran
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Particularly interesting was Priti Patel wanting to threaten Ireland with starvation as negotiating strategy. If that is the caliber of the leave campaign it’s no wonder the UK is 4 months away to a no deal brexit.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Priti Patel was commenting on a leaked UK government paper that predicted Irish GDP could fall 7pc in the aftermath of a hard Brexit. These are her words:

      “This paper appears to show the government were well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario. Why hasn’t this point been pressed home during the negotiations? There is still time to go back to Brussels and get a better deal”

      • kieran
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        The paper in question points out that a large portion of food to Ireland passes through the UK via land bridge and a no deal brexit would hit Ireland harder than it will hit the UK both in GDP terms and food security. That isn’t news to Ireland, Brexit is a bad deal for us as it is for most people in the UK.

        Priti Patel wanted to use that report to scare Ireland, parts of the report deal directly with food security of Ireland.

        I’ve yet to see any leave politician actually come out with a plan for Brexit which wouldn’t inflict harm on the ordinary UK citizen or even more on an Irish citizen. Most show an incredible lack of understanding of history, economics and realpolitik.

        Vote is postponed due to the backstop to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The only people that’ll benefit from that border are the terrorists/gangsters/diesel laundering scum, who will only be too happy to have the “good” old days back.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          In 2017 Eire was judged the most food secure nation in the world [Economist Intelligence Unit] & currently it ranks second. According to the Irish Food Board, the country produces food for 50 million people, which is ten times what it needs [population of Eire 4,784,000 in 2017].

          There is absolutely no risk of Eire experiencing the famine/genocide of the 1840s! It is spiteful political spin to suggest that the rather odious Patel was thinking of starving the Irish out – especially as the facts DO NOT support it!

          • Kieran
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Ireland did well in that assessment and we are a net exporter of food. Very dependent on exporting and trade.

            We also import a large amount of produce from the UK including potatoes as we grow a large percentage of roosters(total potato 380 million tonne), fine potato but not for chips in a chips shop too high in sugar. The maris piper is better chipper potato, which we get from the east coast of England( around 80 million tonne).

            I interpret that she wanted an aggressive approach targeting Ireland specifically in relation to economy and the known issues of transport via the land bridge. That this is tone deaf when viewed through the shared history of these islands.

            Yes “Starvation strategy” was too far in my original post. Not going to defend it, was wrong and drove the conversation the wrong way.

            Now onto my pet peeve! Ireland in English or Éire as Gaeilge. Yes I know it’s a can of worms ….republic of Ireland is the soccer team ….it’s Football not soccer….Soccer is a English term for association football to differentiate from rugby football…it should be Phtyo physiology not plant physiology if the major sub-units are called phytochemistry and phytopathology!

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

              It is strictly incorrect of me to use Eire [or Éire in a Gaelic font] instead of Ireland & I know there are elements who find the use of either in an English language sentence to be an insult for various long winded historical, political & cultural reasons!

              And yet I find that problem [the perceived slight voiced by some Irish at me writing Eire] to be not worth worrying about. The people I care about… my Mum’s & aunt’s letters & clothes parcels back home to Mayo were addressed to Eire & the false return address for the turkey [with bottle of poitín up the arse] we got in exchange said “Eire” too. This nomenclature didn’t change with the Good Friday Agreement amongst my extended family.

              I prefer to use “Northern Ireland” & Eire [or the Republic or RoI] to keep it simple for foreigners such as the Americans who have no chance at all of knowing there’s a minefield around their boots when it comes to these matters 🙂

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

                PS sometimes a goose, but always a bottle

  9. rickflick
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday to Heather!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Ditto Bappy Hirthday Heather.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        x3 – Happy Birthday Heather!

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          And thank yoy too Claudia!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Michael!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rick!

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Still catching up after a busy weekend – happy birthday Heather. I’ll be in touch in the New Year.

  10. Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Technically NOT wild boar but feral pigs. Important difference. Unless someone introduced wild boar, which I doubt!

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      PS Alistair Cooke – what a great broadcaster he was Hili…

  11. Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Our two cats often “floss” in the morning using the long, thin, and strong leaves of a specific plant in our neighbor’s yard. The leaves stick out at the perfect cat-head height for pleasurable gnawing. I have watched them do this many, many times. They don’t actually eat the plant as its leaves appear undamaged. It goes on for perhaps a minute. I wonder what benefit they get from it.

  12. Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    It is crazy to put any large creature in your hand. Big creatures generally have big mouths and don’t like to be handled.

  13. Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I washed down a barbecue dinner last night with a Trumer Pils which is made in Berkeley, CA. It’s rated 3.83/5 (Very Good) on It was pretty good but nothing like the best ones from Europe.

  14. James
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I have never liked lists like the 10 Commandments of Logic. First, it’s necessarily incomplete–there are more than 10 fallacies (or far fewer, depending on how you count). More significantly, though: Identifying fallacies is fun, but not terribly useful in the long run. You can know all the fallacies in the world, but if you can’t construct a proper, reasonable argument, you can’t claim to understand logic. These lists tell you what NOT to do, but not what TO do.

    The result of people accepting that “logic” amounts to finding fallacies in arguments is someone who points out fallacies but who can’t support their own conclusions if their life depended on it.

    It’s not enough to know how to attack a faulty argument. One must also know how to determine if a conclusion is true (note that this is not the same!!) and how to construct an argument.

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      This is why many who are in the business these days think that fallacies should be discussed (inc. taught) in the context of _argumentation schemes_. Especially as many fallacious forms have near-relatives which are plausibilistic forms of reasoning. For example, the appeal to irrelevant authority: by studying this form one can see what sort of “critical questions” are needed for legitimate or plausible arguments from authority (e.g., that the authority be relevant to the subject matter, that the subject matter have authorities, etc.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    That Andy Serkis lampoon of Teresa May was brilliant!


  16. Posted December 11, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    A day late, but happy birthday Heather!

  17. Blue
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Same tweet but of our Darling Mr Bronks and
    his captioning !

    Whoa, Mary ! Divine intervention there ? !
    … … a NOT so immaculate conception there ? !


  18. Zetopan
    Posted December 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    “This should be tacked on the wall of the Discovery Institute …”

    The Discovery Institute does not even do “logic”. This would be the equivalent of sending the pope a book that shows that the supernatural is merely quite ignorant human imagination.

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