Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, January 9, 2019 (I can finally get the year right), and it’s National Apricot Day. In India it’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, or “Non Resident Indian Day,” celebrating the contributions of those Indians outside the country who have contributed to its development. (It was on January 9, 1915, that Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.)

We missed yesterday’s Google Doodle, which was an interactive “dino doodle” done by second-grader Sarah Lane. (If you go to the Doodle and click on each item, it moves.) It was the winner in Google’s contest to produce a Doodle about “what inspires me”. Here’s what Google says, and they produced a video that I’ve put below.

[The winner was] 2nd grader Sarah Gomez-Lane, who drew delightful dinosaurs to highlight her dream of becoming a paleontologist! We fell in love with Sarah’s rendering of her dinos, and were blown away by her big (you might even say “dino-sized”!) ambitions for her future, especially at her young age.

For the first time in Doodle for Google’s 10-year history, Sarah got to collaborate with the Doodle team to transform her artwork into an animated, interactive experience. She also received $30,000 toward a college scholarship, and her elementary school in Falls Church, VA will receive $50,000 to spend on technology to help students like Sarah continue to pursue what inspires them.

It was on January 9, 1349 that nearly the entire Jewish population of Basel, Switzerland, accused of having caused the plague of Black Death, was rounded up and incinerated. 600 adults were burned and 140 Jewish children forced to become Catholics. On this day in 1806, Lord Nelson, killed at the Battle of Trafalgar, was given a state funeral and interred in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. On this day in 1909, according to Wikipedia, “Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time. He didn’t make it, but Roald Amundsen and his men did on December 14, 1911.

On this day in 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected (succeeding Yasser Arafat) as President of the Palestinian National Authority. Meet the new boss—same as the old boss. Finally, four years ago today the killers in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the two brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, were killed in a standoff with French police. I can’t believe I forgot to post yesterday about the fourth anniversary of the massacre, in which 12 people were killed over cartoons.

Also on that day (January 9), an ISIS supporter killed four Jewish hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris.

Notables born on this day include Joseph Strauss (1870; designed the Golden Gate Bridge), Richard Halliburton (1900), Richard Nixon (1913), Bob Denver (1935), Joan Baez (1941), Jimmy Page (1944), and Michiko Kakutani (1955).

Those who died on this day include Caroline Herschel (1848), and that’s about it for notables. Herschel was a pioneering German astronomer, unusual for a woman of that era. She discovered eight comets and her honors include these:

She was the first woman to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).

There are no photographs of her, but here’s a painting:

Physicist Brian Cox also named his calico cat, Herschel, after the astronomer.  Here’s Herschel pretending to be soup:

On the subject of cats, our friend from Poland faces what is possibly the greatest struggle of her life and career.

Hili: I have a serious dilemma.
A: What dilemma?
Hili: How to chase you away from my chair.

In Polish:

Hili: Mam poważny dylemat.
Ja: Jaki?
Hili: Jak cię wygonić z mojego fotela.

Here’s a cartoon by Lee Judge, sent by reader Diane G.

A trenchant cartoon I found on Facebook:

Reader Gethyn says, “Watch this until the end!”

And reader Barry sent a pet palindrome:

Another from Barry, “When is it my turn to be groomed?”

Tweets from Grania, the first showing the moment of hatching of a beautiful cuttlefish:

Civets trying to drink milk. They bite it!

A lovely murmuration of starlings (I can never get enough of these). Sound up, too, to hear the wings:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a pugnacious pussycat. Watch till the end—the cat clearly won!

A heartwarmer: chimp greets former foster parents:

Some snark, though I think Adam is more or less right!

Of course, because pi are squared!


  1. John S
    Posted January 9, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink


    “It’s Wednesday, January 19, 2019 (I can finally get the year right), and…”

    yeah, but other difficulties seem to be still with you.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Weirdly, I missed all the important typos. I think that tells me all I need to know about my day.

  2. Posted January 9, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “It was on January 19, 2019 that nearly the entire Jewish population of Basel, Switzerland, …”

    Hopefully that’s a typo, not a dire prediction?

    • enl
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      we must stop this!

      • Posted January 9, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Wrong! We can only go *back* in time to fix stuff- the present is outta control! 😀

    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      The correct year is 1349 (according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia).

      • Terry Sheldon
        Posted January 9, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Also January 9, not January 19.

    • Julian C
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Fortunately the link is correct

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I knew that date must be wrong. I mean, Catholics stopped forcibly converting Jewish kids months ago, right?

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 9, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Let me see…

    C = 2 X 3.14159 X 18/2 =approx 6 X 9 = 54

    C = 2 X 3.14159 X 12/2 =approx 36
    2 X 36 = 72

    If the shop makes good crust – and this is a big deal, in my HO – you want the two 12-inch pis

    uh-oh – what’s the plural of pi? Greek, so… piodes.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Since we’re only dealing with proportions, and circumference is proportional to diameter, then 2 12’s are going to be bigger than one 18.

      Piodes, hah. 🙂


      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        You mean that the intuition serves well in the case of the crust because it varies proportionally- and the intuition works well with proportions. However in the case of area, it varies as the square of the radius and the intuition isn’t so good with squares.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:07 am | Permalink

          I agree that intuition isn’t so good with squares but (as I noted to Paul lower down) you still don’t need to bring Pi into it. 18 squared to 12 squared (x2) is still an accurate ratio, since Pi (being common to both) effectively cancels itself.


  4. Michael Watts
    Posted January 9, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Sadly the cats sharing video appears to be simply played through and then reversed.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      That’s the only way to undo cat greed.

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 9, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I doubt that adult civets can stomach milk! I found the original video & the civets are not trying to drink milk. These are tame civets kept with cats in a garden & the owners put out porridge every morning. The video description says the omnivorous civets are hunting out the oat flakes which they know from experience are hiding in the milk.

    HERE is a wild African civet lapping water normally.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Ha! Thanks for the correction. The interwebs are so hazardous with all that fake news out there.

  6. Posted January 9, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I always find it heartwarming and biologically interesting it seems that chimpanzees recognize their kinship with us and not just the other way around.

  7. Posted January 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The mention of the Nimrod Expedition reminded me that my mother used to call us kids “nimrods” whenever we did something silly. I never knew the etymology but perhaps this word refers to the failed expedition.

    • Posted January 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      It failed but I don’t find it silly. Like many others, I’d rather be in a failed expedition led by Shackleton than in a “successful” one led by Scott.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Nimrod was a great hunter, I believe.

      However in modern times I think it’s often used sarcastically.

      Oh, here we are, from that infallible source the Urban Dictionary:

      Name popularized by Bugs Bunny calling the Elmer Fudd, the hunter,”Nimrod”. This was mocking Elmer sarcastically for being a poor hunter of wabbits.


  8. Posted January 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I love the pizza logic. That will definitely come in handy.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      You don’t even need to bring Pi into it. Area is the square of length.

      18^2 = 324
      12^2 = 144, x 2 = 288

      Therefore the ratio of the two pizzas will be 324:288

      or, since 18 to 12 is 3:2, then 3:2 squared is 9:4, doubling the smaller one gives 9:8.


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