Saturday: Hili dialogue

Well, we’re into the first full day of winter, which started around 4:23 p.m. yesterday, Chicago time. It’s December 22, 2018, and National Date Nut Bread Day. (I’d rather have a date shake, a delicious milkshake with date crystals that is indigenous to the area around Indio, California). And it’s National Mathematics Day, but that nation is India. It’s also 3 days until the six-day national holiday of Coynezaa.

As it’s Christmas and Coynezaa holiday for most people, posting will be light for a few days, and I’ll be out of the country for three weeks come next Thursday, so posting will be even lighter then. Like Maru, I do my best.

On this day in 609, Muhammad claimed to have received his first revelation (or “wahy”) from Allah. I’m not sure whether the first one involved the angel Gabriel. At any rate, the accuracy of the date is suspicious. On this day in 1808, Beethoven conducted and performed his Fifth and Sixth Symphones, as well as the Fourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy, with the latter two having Ludwig tickling the ivories.  On December 22, 1864, Savannah, Georgia fell to General Sherman, ending his March to the Sea meant to cut the Confederacy in half. On this day in 1894, Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly convicted of treason in France, beginning the Dreyfus affair in which he was ultimately exculpated.  On December 22, 1944, American troops in Bastogne, Belgium found themselves surrounded after a sudden offensive by the Germans. The Germans demanded the surrender of the Americans, whereupon U.S. General Anthony McAuliffe uttered the immortal reply, “Nuts!” The story, recounted in Wikipedia, is a good (and true) one. Under a white flag of truce, German officers visited the American headquarters with a surrender demand:

According to those present when McAuliffe received the German message, he read it, crumpled it into a ball, threw it in a wastepaper basket, and muttered, “Aw, nuts”. The officers in McAuliffe’s command post were trying to find suitable language for an official reply when Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard suggested that McAuliffe’s first response summed up the situation pretty well, and the others agreed. The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper, commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, to the German delegation. It was as follows:

To the German Commander.


The American Commander.

The German major appeared confused and asked Harper what the message meant. Harper said, “In plain English? Go to hell.” The choice of “Nuts!” rather than something earthier was typical for McAuliffe. Vincent Vicari, his personal aide at the time, recalled that “General Mac was the only general I ever knew who did not use profane language. ‘Nuts’ was part of his normal vocabulary.”

The artillery fire did not materialize, although several infantry and tank assaults were directed at the positions of the 327th Glider Infantry. In addition, the German Luftwaffe attacked the town, bombing it nightly. The 101st held off the Germans until the 4th Armored Division arrived on December 26 to provide reinforcement.

When I was a kid in Germany, my dad took the whole family to Bastogne to visit the site, so impressed was he at McAuliffe’s toughness (my dad was an Army officer).

On this day in 1968, the Cultural Revolution began in China when the People’s Daily newspaper posted Mao’s instructions that, “The intellectual youth must go to the country, and will be educated from living in rural poverty.”

On this day in 1984, Bernie Goetz shot four muggers on a subway train in Manhattan, making him a hero to gun-lovers and tough-on-crime people. One mugger was paralyzed for life, and Goetz was convicted of possessing an unlicensed firearm, serving 8 months in jail. He was also fined $43 million in a civil trial, but he had no money. Goetz is still alive.  On December 22, 1989, the Brandenburg Gate reopened after 30 years of closure by the Russians, and East and West German were once again united.  Exactly a year later, Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland.

On December 22, 2001, the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to ignite his footwear on American Airlines flight 63. He failed and was given three consecutive life sentences and 110 years with no possibility of parole. He’s serving them in the maximum security prison of ADX Florence in Colorado, along with other convicted Al-Qaeda operatives.  Here’s a picture of Reid, the design of the explosive shoes, and the failed shoe:

This, of course, is the reason that everybody in the U.S. has to take off their shoes for screening before they get on a plane. Security theater!

Finally, on this day 8 years ago, Obama signed into law a repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gays from serving openly in the U.S. Military. Oh, to have Obama back again!  Trump, it seems is becoming deeply mentally ill, or so I think.

Notables born on this day include Giacomo Puccini (1858), Connie Mack (1862), Lady Bird Johnson (1912), Peregrine Worsthorne (1923; don’t know who he is but I love the name), Diane Sawyer (1945), Ralph Fiennes (1962), and Ted Cruz (1970).

Those who fell asleep on December 22 include George Eliot (1880), Ma Rainey (1939), Nathanael West (1940), Franz Boas (1942), Beatrix Potter (1943), Darryl F. Zanuck (1979), Butterfly McQueen (1995), and Joe Cocker (2014).

In memory of Joe Cocker, who died at 70, here’s his fantastic performance of “With a Little Help from My Friends” at Woodstock. Remember when John Belushi imitated him on Saturday Night Live? (see it here)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili treads the frozen orchard, prognosticating like Sherlock Holmes at the end of “His Last Bow“. Is it Spring to which she refers—or global warming?

Hili: Everything is yet to come.
A: What is?
Hili: Warming.
In Polish:
Hili: Wszystko przed nami.
Ja: Co takiego?
Hili: Ocieplenie.

Grania sent a label for Japanese hand cream (it’s supposed to make your hands smell like cat paws—seriously!) I happen to love the musty smell of cat paws.

And here’s a pure-bread cat:

A tweet from reader Gethyn. What comfortable beds for these cats!

A tweet from reader Nilou, who apparently likes sea otters as much as I do:

Tweets from Grania. A cat defends its bag:

After watching the video, I still don’t know how this works, but it’s amazing:

I may have posted this before, but if so, it’s still worth seeing again:

A great animal video (and again one that I may have posted before):

This is truly a hero cat. Look at it go after that bear!

This is fricking MARS!!! And yes, that’s frozen water; read the link.

Tweets from Matthew: Look at this tweet and then the next one. It’s not a camera trick, as apparently Matthew thought.

An admission by scientists that they were WRONG!

This is from a webcam in WildlifeKate’s garden:

Can you figure this one out? Answer is in the thread:



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    There’s that word again – “PROVES” – is everyone confused, or only mathematicians?

    I am not confused. And also not a mathematician. FWIW.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Whoops – apologies – “proves” was all lower case.

  2. Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    On the ceramic zoetrope, there are 30 individual sectors. If you rotate the bowl at 30 rpm and use a frame rate in the video of 30 frames per second, you’ll get the effect you see.

    • Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      No, that’s rubbish, you need to do one full revolution in a second, so you need 60rpm.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      You want the bowl to rotate by 29/30ths of a turn (348 degrees, 6.074 radians) per frame, surely. Well, actually, per position. I’d probably have more than one frame per position to get the jiggles effect right.

      • Posted December 23, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        I guess it depends on how quickly you want the cubes to rotate. You can’t have more than one frame per position if the bowl is rotating continuously.

  3. Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    At the risk of having 75% of all comments, way in excess of the limit in Da Roolz, may I also proffer yesterday’s XKCD on Schwarzchild’s Cat.

  4. Serendipitydawg
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Peregrine was a fixture on BBC Radio at one time; his wife, Lucinda Lambton (known as Lady Loo because of her fascination with all things lavatorial… historical, not like that), is better known these days, though she has somewhat dropped out of the media limelight now (I generally put this down to either the media moving on from those of advancing years, or better offers from the likes of Sky, to whom I do not subscribe).

    • Mike
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      She made some wonderfully eccentric Films.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Indeed, and some of them do reappear from time to time on BBC4. Always a pleasure to watch 😀

    • Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      She’s 75. She might just have retired.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        That had occurred to me and it is our (collective) loss – the same thing happened to a friend of mine who was a BBC4 talking head and presenter (another historian as it happens, though engineering). Despite it looking like the proverbial doddle there was a lot of work involved, and at some point you just have to stop.

  5. Mike
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    The late great Joe Cocker, felt every note of every performance, you hear about”Divas” with outrageous demands, like all white dressing rooms for instance. Joe? shepherds pie…

    • Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I think Joe Cocker’s performance of “With a Little Help from my Friends” at Woodstock is horrific piece of self indulgent rubbish. I’ve no idea why people think that slowing a song down to half speed, adding loads of extra notes and singing (and looking) like you’re trying to have a crap having been constipated for a month is a good thing.

      Joe Cocker may have done many great things. This was not them.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Seems to becoming mentally ill – Trump. Likely has been there for many years, it is only now with more video, out there for the general public to see in color. He makes King George look very serious.

    The Battered Bastards of Bastogne, they were known, the 101st airborne.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I always think Trump is channeling Martin Sheen’s character in The Dead Zone… sadly, we didn’t get Christopher Walken coming to our rescue.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Yes, no rescue here. Unfortunately the dead zone in the brains of most of his base may not know they have been completely taken to the cleaners yet. Wait for those 2018 tax returns or the results of their 401k retirements. Those Trump loving farmers in the Midwest with all the corn and beans you cannot give away. Looks like a great year for Trump.

  7. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    That ‘laminar flow’ is completely astonishing.

    However, someone in the thread was arguing that it was a camera trick, similar to when a hummingbird’s wings look like they’re perfectly still because the framerate of the camera is in sync. I didn’t see anyone contradicting him, but surely that kind of camera illusion requires a very predictable, almost binary kind of repetition for it to work(eg. hummingbird wings flap in a pretty much perfectly regular way)…

    Similarly, I would’ve thought that the water flow would have to be regular and predictable to sync up with the camera’s framerate – whereas in reality water flow from a tap goes all over the place. (That’s why fluid dynamics are so infamously difficult to model with any real precision.)

    • Posted December 22, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I believe there was a monofilament string it was running down

      • Posted December 22, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        clear string of course

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        There is no monofilament string Byron – a hand passes through the flow at one point & would have captured the string.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Watch the Gif closely – it is two laminar ‘pipes’ of water travelling too fast to be drawn into one ‘pipe’ by surface tension. The effect is at the tap nozzle & a few inches below, but eventually it will break into turbulent flow further away from the tap because air friction slows the outer ‘skin’ of the water. Each ‘pipe’ is a spiral whose shape is fixed in space. In places I think I can see a gap between the spirals, but I’m unsure on that. In a way the water molecules in the two ‘pipes’ are orbiting each other.

      According to the mathematics of the Reynolds number any gas or fluid will flow smoothly in a ‘sheet’ or ‘pipe’ topology if the Reynolds number is low enough – the factors that make the number are very roughly the speed of flow, viscosity [in fluids] & fluid density.

      I think the tap nozzle must be of such a shape that if the water flow rate is small enough [but not too small] the water separates into two ‘pipes’ that are attracted to each other which sets up the spiral.

      In the case of the Gif everything is just right such that there’s no change in the spiral shape – it doesn’t drift up or down.

      I don’t think you need a camera ‘wagon wheel effect’ for this to happen.

      Here’s a brilliant bit of laminar flow with one ‘pipe’:

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        That’s absolutely breathtaking. I want one.

        And now I can see with the original gif that the water is spiraling downwards in two streams. At first sight I thought it was just the usual messy flow you see from a tap, only ‘frozen’ in space. That’s very cool.

        Re. the rest of your post, I’m going to nod my head and stroke my beard in the hope that it’s convincing. 🤔 ‘Hmm, yes. The Reynolds number of course. Good old Reynolds. I always approved of his numbers.’

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 22, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          You can have one. The heart of the device that creates the laminar flow is 200 Tesco plastic straws packed into a bundle. The water is forced through this grid of straws to tame the water into a smooth flow. Full instructions are in a vid at the same site [turn audio off – you’ll hate the music]. Or search for…
          Build “laminar flow fountain”

          Here’s a team of such fountains in a Dubai hotel lobby:

          • rickflick
            Posted December 22, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            So that’s what the Arabs do with their oil money.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 22, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

              Marble hotel lobbies designed in the West & built by craftsmen from the West [assisted by cheap, ‘slave’ Indian & Filipino labour]? A superior strategy to growing an educated, healthy native population who will go all Marxist on you. Swiss schools [bursting with children of dictators & gangsters from N. Korea, Colombia, Palestine etc] to London private hospitals, casinos & brothels have seen the benefit! 🙂

              • rickflick
                Posted December 22, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

                I attended a community college in Michigan where there were a hand full of Kuwaiti students. They drove in around in T-birds, had their cloths cleaned and folded at the dry cleaners, and all seemed to have girl friends from the local town. I wonder what they are doing now – probably in retirement in Kuwait in marble homes with fountains.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted December 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

                Kuwait: Strange place I imagine. Population half of London with 75%[?] being guest workers – loads of very well paid highly skilled jobs available eg the KAF has Kuwaiti aircrews, but nearly all the ‘back office’ from maintenance to ATC is Western contract workers. Lots of Americans, Germans & Brits to keep the hardware working with immature, playboy, prince jet jockeys doing the flying. Silly. One sqn of the IDF, blindfolded with hands tied behind back, eat them for breakfast no doubt.

                The critical civil infrastructure [roads, power, internet, hospitals] is similar with the top tier of managers being Kuwaiti who ‘shadow’ expert foreigners. Has to be this way because Kuwaitis not prepared to do the perceived crap jobs [nursing say] so no knowledge how institutions [such as hospitals] are run.

                Glittering towers & potholed roads.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 22, 2018 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

                Sounds like a formula for a major fall. When the oil stops flowing it’ll be back to goats and camels.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted December 23, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

            That’s about the coolest video of the lot. Especially the rhythm section fountain at the end. Amazing.

  8. rickflick
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Korolev crater looks so much like a bowl of kitty milk. You can imagine how big Martian kitties must be.

    • freiner
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Ha! You’re right! Nice observation. Still, probably not as bit as the dog that I hear is on Jupiter. (Big Red Spot)

      • rickflick
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink


  9. Vita206
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    FYI: Airport Security & shoes

    When you turn 75, you don’t need to remove your shoes when going through security.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Wait till you head for the airport with a pack of TSA employees who are working without pay. Should be fun.

  10. Posted December 22, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Date shakes are the best! Actually, they seem to be available a lot of places outside of LA. Even as a child in the 60s, whenever the family drove north toward Santa Barbara, I would request a stop at a shop in Santa Claus Lane (near Carpinteria, CA) for a date shake. I’ve also made them at home.

  11. Blue
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Loved.loved seeing and hearing Mr Cocker
    at Woodstock, 17 August y1969 … …

    Dead w a a a a y too soon. And
    four years ago upon my exact birthing day.

    THE finest air – piano piece of his
    for your workstation’s surface /
    your boogieing your fingers all up and down it !
    = ” Like a Bird on a Wire … … not ? ! !


    • rickflick
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Good one. Amazing how Cocker could make someone else’s song his own.

      • Blue
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        O ! Exactly, indeed, Mr rickflick !

        Here is another one … … thataway !
        ” You ain’t got t’sing. Jus’ play ! ”

        L O V E Mr Cocker’s comings and goings and doings !


        • rickflick
          Posted December 22, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          Another great choice Blue. It’s interesting to note the difference between the young and older Mr. Cocker. Early on his voice had a tight vibrato, fair clarity, and the rough aspect was not as strong. He was distinctive but closer to a standard voice. In the later Cocker the vibrato is almost gone, the hoarseness is overpowering, and he’s more of a folk/blues voice. I like him both ways.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Good Cocker choice Blue
      & Happy Birthday for today dear

    • Posted December 22, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Happy Bluebird day! Hope you enjoy it!

      Coincidentally, we’re watching the Woodstock concert on TV. Jimi is playing his heart out right now.

    • Blue
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      O ! MY thanks, All ! BEST birthing day gift
      of all ‘ld be … … a time machine pilgrimage
      back to 15 – 17 August y1969, and
      Mr Yasgur’s dairying acres there, not ? !

      Still w i l d and crazed ( certain ‘nes ‘ld concur ! )
      after all of these years’ time intervening !


      • Blue
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        … … a smashing click – through of images
        thereof those acres of then and also on
        my Pinterest’s f – and b – ucket list – page:


  12. revelator60
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    In my experience, flyers do not have to take off their shoes in European airports. Considering that Europe has experienced more terrorism than the U.S—and thus would have even more heightened security—leads me to believe that shoe removal is silly and useless.

    • Bob
      Posted December 23, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      I am 80 years old and fly once a year to Germany from the US. I am always required to remove my shoes here in the US when going through security. This despite my asking why, as the rules do not require it from me.

      In Europe is a different matter. Flying to Italy this year from Stuggart and to Ireland last year, I was not told to remove my shoes. However, returning to the US from Frankfurt am Main, I was required to remove my shoes.

      I add that not once in the past has security had a shoe horn to allow ease of putting my shoes back on.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 23, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        The shoe horn is a great idea. I’d also like a bench to sit on while taking shoes off. Someone is going to be seriously hurt while hopping on one foot trying to pry loose a stuck sneaker.

  13. BJ
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never smelled cat paws. It never occurred to me to try.

    “Those who fell asleep on December 22 include George Eliot (1880), Ma Rainey (1939), Nathanael West (1940), Franz Boas (1942), Beatrix Potter (1943), Darryl F. Zanuck (1979), Butterfly McQueen (1995), and Joe Cocker (2014).”

    And literally everyone else alive in the world at that time, except a few meth-heads.

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