Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Ceiling Cat forgive me, for I have overslept again, as I still have Hawaii jet lag. It’s Tuesday, January 22, and back to work for all those Americans who had Martin Luther King, Jr. day off yesterday. Tonight I’ll be having a (literal) beef with Steve Pinker, but more on that later. It’s National Southern Food Day, honoring the one region of the U.S. that truly has produced a coherent and indigenous cuisine that’s more than just a few scattered dishes. It’s also Grandfather’s Day in Poland, though various countries have different dates for Grandfather’s and/or Grandmother’s Days.

On this day in 1901, upon the death of Queen Victoria (who also died on this day after a reign of 63 years and 7 months), Edward VII was proclaimed King of England.  Exactly four years later, Bloody Sunday occurred in St. Petersburg, in which disaffected workers marched to petition the Czar. Shooting ensued, with between 150 and 300 civilians killed. This led to disaffection with the Czar, formerly seen as the protector of peasants and workers, and ultimately culminated in the Russian Revolution 12 years later. Here’s a painting of the petitioners, led by the priest Father Gapon, near the city’s Narva Gate. Father Gapon, however, was discovered to be a police agent and was killed by his own people.

On this day in 1927, according to Wikipedia, “Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.” On January 22, 1970, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its commercial debut for Pan Am Airlines, flying from JFK airport in New York to Heathrow airport in London.

A banner day which, we hope, will not be relegated by today’s U.S. Supreme Court to the dustbin of history: it was on January 22, 1973, that the Court delivered decisions in the two cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing voluntary abortion in the entire U.S.

Finally, it was on this day in 1984 that the Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to use the “mouse” and graphical interface, was introduced during a commercial at the Super Bowl. I’ve put that amazing commercial below; how many of you remember it?

From Mac History, which put up the video:

“1984” is an American television commercial which introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer for the first time. It was conceived by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow at Chiat/Day, Venice, produced by New York production company Fairbanks Films, and directed by Ridley Scott. Anya Major performed as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as Big Brother. Its only U.S. daytime televised broadcast was on January 22, 1984 during and as part of the telecast of the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. Chiat/Day also ran the ad one other time on television, in December 1983 right before the 1:00 am sign-off on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year.

Notables born on this day include Francis Bacon (1561), Captain Kidd (1564; but Wikipedia gives no birth day on that year for Kidd), Lord Byron (1788), August Strindberg (1849), D. W. Griffith (1875), Lev Landau (1908; Nobel Laureate), Ann Sothern and U Thant (both 1909), Irving Kristol (1920), Sam Cooke (1931), Peter Beard (1938), and Linda Blair (1959).

Here’s one of Beard’s many African pictures (from the British Journal of Photography):

Those who died on January 22 include Shah Jahan (1666), Queen Victoria (1901), Duke Kahanamoku (1968), Lyndon Johnson (1973), Telly Savalas (1994), Craig Claiborne (2000), Ann Miller (2004), Heath Ledger (2008), and Ursula Le Guin (last year).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is scrounging between Andrzej’s and Malgorzata’s desks:

A: What did you find there?
Hili: Two pens, a tube of glue and some of your notes.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam znalazłaś?
Hili: Dwa długopisy, klej i jakieś twoje notatki.

A picture contributed by reader Merilee; the artist is a pastor, Cuyler Black:

A tweet from reader Jeremy, who noted that yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day and also found a Japanese website that’s dedicated to photos of squirrels eating human food like this.

Tweets from Heather Hastie, the first demonstrating the remarkable camouflage abilities of cuttlefish. In this case one of them disguises itself as a coral!

A hedgehog having a nice stretch:

Tweets from Grania. The first is from Titania McGrath, who—along with Godfrey Elfwick, almost certainly the same person—seems to have fooled a lot of people. Get this, folks: Titania and Godfrey are being SATIRICAL. I am sometimes excoriated for retweeting Titania by those who think her tweets are serious.

Grania says “This is a Star Trek joke; your readers will get it.” Well, I hope so, because I don’t.

An amusing typo:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at this fish jump! We don’t know its size so we can’t tell how high, but it’s certainly pretty high.

This really is a gripping introduction to a science paper. I wish I had written some like this, but it’s hard to spice up Drosophila speciation genetics:

Matthew says, correctly, that this is a flying squirrel. Another tweet in honor of yesterday’s Squirrel Appreciation Day.

A tree leaved with Bramblings!

And, in case you don’t know Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla), a kind of finch, here’s one:



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Evidently the Borg have downsized… good license plate though 😀

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      For the benefit of Jerry: the Borg were a connected hive of lifeforms who assimilated anyone they encountered.

      • Terry Sheldon
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        …and their spacecraft was in the form of a giant cube.

        • Serendipitydawg
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          Good point 😀

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        And unless I’m mistaken, they didn’t appear in the Kirk/ Spock series, but I’m not sure if it was the Picard/ Data series or the Janeway/ Someone series where they appeared.

        I’m struggling to remember the series names now.

        • maryplumbago
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Data and Picard

        • Serendipitydawg
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Picard was Next Generation, Janeway was Voyager. Voyager was my least favourite, especially since they went for the ‘one mighty bound’ solution to finishing at the designated number of series.

          I always remember the Borg as Next Generation, though my memory could be faulty. I certainly remember Locutus, the transformation back to Picard was particularly impressive, though he did have a clockwork heart, so I guess anything is possible.

          • Serendipitydawg
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            Also janeway/Chakotay (he of the mystic native origins).

            Picard’s first officer was Riker, I can’t for the life of me remember Janeway’s science officer.

        • Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          The Borg first appeared in Star Trek: Next Generation, then again in Voyager. The Borg were slowly making their way across the Galaxy, ‘assimilating’ entire civilizations then using them to churn out more Borg. Kind of like what the Frankfurt School has done to academia.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          The square and asymmetrical profile certainly fits the Borg haphazard “assimilation” technology.

          Originally from Star Trek New Generation/Picard + Data, a major antagonist in Star Trek Voyager/Janeway + Seven of Nine.

          • Torbjörn Larsson
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Oops, ninja’ed – or is it Vulcan pinched – in the last part.

          • Serendipitydawg
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            /Picard + Data

            I have only just realised the link to Data, duh! I quoted Chakotay above because I was thinking first officers.

            I don’t remember Data as having that much to do with the Borg in the TV show, beyond bailing Picard out once he had been converted. In the film he was a major protagonist, disposing of the Queen by dissolving her organic constituents.

            Was Next Generation known as New Generation in your neck of the woods?

    • chrism
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Recently a plate almost exactly the same was banned with much scandal in Manitoba. Although owned by a Star Trek fan, it was deemed to be horribly offensive to the indigenous. Here’s the Nat. Post take on it:

  2. John S
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    How, pray tell, does “Rare Bird Alert” comport with “a tiny part of a ‘mega flock’ of 5 million birds” ?

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      They have to have something to do while waiting for some poor bird to get blown off course and end up in the UK! It’s satisfying that they tweet about them.

      • John S
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        ‘Course it could be a rare sighting, not rare birds

        • David Coxill
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Bramblings used to be a common winter visitor to GB ,don’t know if they have declined .

    • GBJames
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      But we rarely get an alert.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        There was one for Hessle at the end of last year; I can’t remember the bird but it caused a great deal of excitement and made the local news… no idea if they tweeted it, I would hope so. Prior to that, last October I think, Hornsea had something that brought in the birders (never call a birder a twitcher, it’s Trekkiegeddon all over again) from all over the UK.

        My cousin used to be on an email list and would head off to the wilds to point a telescope at something small, brown and feathery from time to time, this is evidently the latest incarnation.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Ceiling Cat forgive me, for I have overslept again, as I still have Hawaii jet lag.

    Say, Mr. Deejay, do we have a tune we can dedicate to Professor Emeritus Jerry Coyne?

    Indeed, we do:

    You know me, boss, always with the kidding!

    • GBJames
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink


  4. dabertini
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    There is a nice google doodle of Lev Landau. PCC(E)’s tireless work is never done.

  5. Mark
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “Well, I hope so, because I don’t.”

    Resistance is futile.

    You will be assimilated!

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      “We are the Borg. Lower your sheilds and surrender your ship. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us.”
      That particular movie is among the best in the whole series.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        I always picture the line for lunch during filming: all those extras with cybernetic implants, larking around and enjoying a sandwich.

        • David Coxill
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          I remember seeing a film about the making of the first Planet of the Apes ,all the actors eating in their make up .
          One said Peas used to collect in the bottom jaw of the actors made up as Chimps .

          While i am here ,mu fav clip is when Charlton Heston is on trial and the three Apes judging him do the Three Wise Monkeys bit .

          What the heck ,in Blazing Saddles ,in the canteen scene ,someone asks the actor dressed up as adolf ,”How many days have you got left?”

          He replies “They Lose me right after the bunker scene 2.

      • Mark
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        “Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.”

        • Christopher
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          So what you’re saying is that the regressive left is the Borg?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      I am NOT a Trekkie and don’t like Trek much. But I get all those jokes thanks to reading thousands of taglines in the old BBS days, in which Trek memes featured prominently.

      Btw, that Cube has to be a contender for Ugliest Car Ever. What’s with the stupid asymmetric styling that makes it look as if it has no pillar on the right hand side? We know perfectly well it has one or it would never pass crash tests.

      … very funny Scotty. Now beam down my clothes too.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Jet lag, that undesirable effect that takes fun out of flying as if it were fun in the first place. The reference to roe v wade reminds me of the little white boys from catholic school who were harassing the native American in Washington DC the other day. Such a retarded start to life these kids achieve going to Washington to demonstrate against abortion. Doing all the things that makes Donald Trump so proud of them.

  7. Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure the fish is a king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla). They typically reach about 30lb but can get much bigger.

    Point deduction on the landing: 8.5

    • W.Benson
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I gave it 8.8, perhaps a little generous.

      • John Dentinger
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Offshore fishing in Key West, I only got into a school of kings once–in the middle of springtime–but yes, they were skyrocketing, sometimes as many as 4 or 5 in the air at once. That’s also when I learned that charter boat captains hate dolphins–a dolphin grabbed one king right off my line, and several other guys on board lost fish to them as well. The captain & mate said many unpleasantries.

        • Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          I’ve had sharks take bonefish a few times. The guide was always upset, but I looked at it as cool experience. I guess we had different priorities.

      • Posted January 22, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        The Russian judge gave it a 6.3

  8. Blue
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    from FFRF and me:

    Keep your paw off of MY law.

    IF men could get pregnant,
    THEN abortion ‘ld be
    … … a religious* S A C R A M E N T … …
    NEVER to be messed with e v e r !

    Thus within egalitarianism:
    do NOT be a – messin’ with MY law. E V E R.



    * the word or concept of abortion inside some’s
    bibles ? = NOT one time mentioned therein

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      They’d be offered at the Downtown Athletic Club, right next to the fresh towels and shoeshine concessions.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      You’ve made me think, what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supremes. I think the majority of women(and men) in the US wouldn’t stand for it. They’d probably go for new legislation or a constitutional amendment.

      • Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Exactly right. If abortion were criminalized the Republicans would be in the position of the dog that caught the car.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Were Roe to be overruled, it would be left to the legislature of each state to determine whether (and under what circumstances) abortion should remain legal.

        The ultimate goal of the forced-birth crowd, of course, is an amendment to the US constitution according “personhood” status upon the unborn. Were that to come to pass, abortion perforce would be treated as murder.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Were that to come to pass, abortion perforce would be treated as murder.

          Shortly followed by legislation against male masturbation. Enforced by motion monitoring implants and electric shock probes.
          Is it time for a resounding chorus of …
          Every sperm is sacred.
          Every sperm is great.
          If a sperm is wasted,
          God gets quite irate.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

            Here we are:


            In my view, the best ‘musical’ number ever.

            Let the heathen spill them
            On the dusty ground
            God shall make them pay for
            Each sperm that can’t be found

            – the mental image that conjures up cracks me up.


            • rickflick
              Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

              One of Python’s best. Those lines are sung by a sweet little girl! Almost erotic.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted January 25, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

              I’m just having a mental image. In the same way that the death of Thatcher was celebrated (note : no “scare quotes”) by a concerted effort to get “The Witch Is Dead” onto the top of the pop charts might be emulated. Next time a Pope (or Dalai Lama, to be slightly more even-handed) dies, we try to get “Every Sperm” to the “Number 1 slot”?
              Actually, I could imagine the Dalai Lama wanting to cut his own version. I can’t imagine the Pope doing so.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Numbers 5:11-31?

      • Blue
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Dr Stempels, but in re that one … …
        apparently not.

        My Emma Goldman Clinic abortionist- friend,
        a former state university medical school –
        obstetrics professor who has testified upon
        this matter before multiple federal judges
        and actually is herself a lifelong evangelical
        Christian, who having repeatedly read all of
        the Christians’ biblical scriptures,
        taught me thus and states in re that particular paassage thus with its final paragraph
        copied as ” If a wife was found guilty,
        the punishment was death (Leviticus 20:10). If the wife was found innocent, she would
        be “cleared of guilt” and “able to have children” (Numbers 11:28). So, AGAIN,
        Numbers 5:11-31 does not refer to abortion
        in any sense. Rather, it is describing
        a method that God allowed to be used to determine if a wife had committed adultery
        against her husband. ”

        AND that “scripture” … … as well as ANY of them ?
        at all ? = a certainty thus:
        NONE was written by a woman. One pregnant
        by way of an exalted spermatozoan or not.


  9. Serendipitydawg
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    The introduction to the paper cites some interesting thinking by a statistician: to deduce failure modes by the damage you don’t see in returning aircraft. Brilliant leap of imagination.

    • W.Benson
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      More on the “constrained coding regions” paper — with an informative illustrative diagram — can be found at the link. At its core, what the authors have achieved is analogous to what competent adaptationists do when considering fitness features of a creature’s natural history.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        I am trying to find a book that I have that details the plane research but, as you can imagine, it is not one of my daily reads and I have a lot of books.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Abraham Wald & the Statistical Research Group [SRG]. You are probably remembering the opening chapter to an OKish book ~ How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg.

      HERE is the relevant part with a fair amount of detail.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        That’s the one. Okayish, as you say, which is probably why I can’t find it! Whereas The Simpsons and their mathematical secrets by Simon Singh (Bloomsbury 2014, 9781408842812) falls to hand – that says a lot about either the book or me 😀

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        Hmmm. I think there are a lot of dubious assumptions there. It assumes that the incidence of enemy fire is uniformly distributed, but in fact a majority of attacks were from behind. The engines are hard to hit, I’d say the majority of attackers aimed at the fuselage and wings.

        It implicitly assumes that an aircraft that makes it back with the crew shot up is a better outcome than one hit in the engine(s) which glided to a crash landing or gave the crew time to bail out.

        I’d armour the fuel tanks, if anything.


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:31 am | Permalink

          And that table looks fishy to me.

          “Bullet holes per square foot:
          Engine 1.11
          Fuselage 1.73
          Fuel system 1.55
          Rest of Plane 1.8”

          That thing’s been absolutely riddled. I doubt many aircraft ever made it home with that many holes in them.
          And how is ‘fuel system’ defined? Does it include the fuel tanks? How would a plane make it home with that many holes in the tanks? Were they self-sealing tanks?

          And, most interestingly, what is this ‘Rest of plane’ that managed to collect more bullets than any of the other three items? Any time you see a ‘rest of’ item with a higher score than the specifically identified areas, it suggests something’s being missed.

          As an aside, a brand new De Havilland Mosquito has just rolled out of a hangar at Ardmore Airfield (Auckland) for the first time. Built for a Texan Warbirds collector, price tag $10M.


          • Michael Fisher
            Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:33 am | Permalink

            Yes that’s PZ474 [ZK-BCV NZ reg] for Rod Lewis of Lewis Air Legends, Texas. I think it was found in California by Avspecs & the [few] metal components were shipped to NZ – the wooden bits majority being too far gone.
            THIS IS WHAT THEY FOUND seven years ago.

            $10M is well cheap – perhaps it’s 95% new or something.

            • rickflick
              Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

              Too bad that this was the best copy he could find given that 7,781 were produced. Looks like it was stored outdoors. Chino, California is a pretty dry place(annual precipitation 13.34 inch), but time has taken it’s toll.

          • GBJames
            Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            “That thing’s been absolutely riddled.”

            I expect those numbers represent an average plane not an actual plane.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

              Umm, if that was an average plane, then many would be worse?

              I’m just a bit suspicious that something may have got misinterpreted or misquoted or over ‘simplified’ somewhere along the line.

              And also that some of the assumptions made may have been erroneous (though in the nature of things, that’s usually impossible to determine or prove).


        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:29 am | Permalink

          Wald looked at stats for B17 heavy bombers that successfully returned to base in England & at those recovered after [crash] landing in England off base.

          On the basis of survivorship bias the fuselage took twice the rate of bullet fire [bullet holes per square foot] as the engine platforms. The rest of the plane, including wings, saw even more fire than the fuselage. And even the fuel systems were more commonly hit than the aircraft’s engines.

          “Fuel systems” are tanks, pumps & lines. Here is a B17 Fuel & Oil tank diagram
          Items labelled A, B, C are fuel tanks [all in dark grey] & D, E & F are oil:-

          The fuel tanks are self sealing, the fuel lines are possibly the most exposed part of the system.

          You are wrong about Luftwaffe fighter tactics versus U.S. daylight heavy bombers. The B17 was poorly gunned at the nose & rolling upgrades were instituted around mid-’43 to change the the nose turret [where fitted] to .50 cal from .30 cal, the first Luftwaffe attack would be head on – opening fire at an extreme range of 1,000 yds, usually by a flight of four fighters [finger four]. The flight would fly straight through the box front to back & they’d concentrate on the leading group of aircraft – they would pepper the entire front of two or three bombers [all 4 engines & cockpit]. A combined closing speed of 560 mph was a lot safer for the fighter than a 240 mph rear attack against .50 cals!

          When the flight exited the rear of the bomber box they would climb towards the sun & wait for damaged bombers to lag behind the box. The second attack would be sideways on those straggler separated from the flock. A favoured attack point on stragglers was sideways into the fuselage at the wing root, this meant each bullet had multiple opportunities to cut a critical system [as is plain from the diagram above] – The Luftwaffe avoided rear attacks on B17s & never passed through the bomber box twice. Ammo shortage precluded more than two attacks on a box because firing began as far out as possible versus bombers – the opposite tactic to engaging fighters.

          • rickflick
            Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

            Your description gives me the heebie-jeebies. I cringe to imagine the ride in one of those tin cans when the enemy is spotted. Hearing the bullets spin through the hull would make your heart stop.
            I know a B17 pilot, in his 90s, who still works at a small airport in NY pulling gliders. He chews a cigar while he ambles about the place, like a film character. He spoke of landing in England after a mission at night when the runway would be temporarily lit by torches down each side.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

              British night bomber the Lancaster was the worse to escape from if going down – especially the tail gunner who had to exit the turret BEFORE donning a parachute. They also cut away the perspex & flew in a draught – all to improve the view [perspex introduced reflections & wasn’t exactly smooth like glass]. I suppose the ball turret on a B17 was a close second – for small aircrew only, locked in a sphere with the guns between your thighs. Very noisy even without the guns & bloody cold -50 F on clear days though they had electric heated flying suits.

              • David Coxill
                Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

                And the fact that they were armed with ,303 machine guns didn’t help them defend themselves ,although some Lancasters were fitted with a rear turret with 2 .50 machine guns .

                Recently read “A Higher Call ” .A German pilot flew along side a badly shot up B17 and escorted it out to sea ,he was trying to get it to fly to Sweden rather than risk flying over the North Sea .
                Very moving true story .

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:55 am | Permalink

          As you can see in the diagram below the fuel tank ‘acreage’ on a B17 is vast & it’s spread out along the main wing spar & into the fuselage at the spar root. This is to maintain the same CoG under all fuel loadings. It’s simply impossible to armour even some tank surfaces. The peak B17 was the B17G model – a complete dog in terms of speed now it had been ‘improved’ with chin turret, 13 x 50 cal guns & maximum armour – the Mossie could carry more bomb load to Berlin than the B17G at 50% greater speed on the way to Germany & 100% more speed on the return!

          • rickflick
            Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

            I had to look that up:

            Mossie: “Nickname of the De Havilland Mosquito… its frame was constructed almost entirely of wood. It was nicknamed The Wooden Wonder”

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

              Twas the dog’s bollocks – 10% of the losses of most other bombers fighter/bombers of any nation of the time, because it was fast & had the most talented & experienced two-man crews. Great at recce too. And low level precision bombing.

              • David Coxill
                Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

                Started out as a private venture by Geoffrey de Havilland ,rejected by the Air Ministry with the words “Aircraft are not made of wood any more ” .
                There is the de Havilland aircraft museum just North of London .

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

              The Mosquito was conceived as a wooden aircraft partly because metal – primarily aluminium – was in critically short supply. Also, it could be made by furniture makers who weren’t otherwise much in demand. It did make use of what would probably be called a ‘composite’ material now – panels made of soft light balsa wood sandwiched between two skins of much stronger wood (I forget which).

              The reason so few survived is that they (like other wartime aircraft) weren’t expected or designed to have a long service life; however aluminum resists weathering better than plywood. Also, the glues of those days were relatively primitive and didn’t last long either.

              I remember reading that one of the problems facing modern Mosquito restorers was that, though there are now excellent marine adhesives available, none of them had ever been certified for aircraft use.


              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

                “The reason so few survived”

                I meant of course their survival in years *after* the war. Their survival rate on operations was probably (I haven’t looked it up) better than most types. Very hard to intercept something going as fast as the pursuer.


              • rickflick
                Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

                I can see the problem. I’m happy to read also that there are indeed a handful of these that are flight worthy. I suspect the wooden parts are completely new. Apparently, the adhesives used were deemed legal. I hope to see one someday.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

                A flying Mosquito appeared at Oshkosh* recently:


                (*EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

              • David Coxill
                Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

                Herman Goering said the Mosquito made him so mad ,the allies had more aluminum than the Germans ,while the Germans had more wood than the allies .
                They did try to develop a mossie of their own .
                The FW TA154 .Not a great success.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          Those figures for bullet holes per square foot are obviously too high to represent an average across all B17 bomber sorties. The ‘average’ figures shown must be for a sub-group of bombers – perhaps the criteria was “B17s stood down for major repairs”, but Wald being a notable authority in his field, suggests to me his selection criteria & data adjustments were fancier stuff than just that.

          Abraham Wald’s work & results were fairly secret until 1984 when an analysis of it was presented in the Journal of the American Statistical Association by Marc Mangel & Francisco J. Samaniego. [Volume 79, 1984 – Issue 386 Abraham Wald’s Work on Aircraft Survivability]. Unfortunately access is a scandalous $28.

          MY GUESSES:

          Wald & the SRG was based at Columbia University during WWII. The data he worked with was shipped over from England in some form & probably went to a military intelligence section with a broad scope – looking at the effectiveness of weapons & tactics, new weapons, weaknesses in enemy equipment etc.

          I assume Wald worked from some sort of summary of USAAF 8th Air Force [the Mighty Eighth] damage & maintenance data. It must have been data that distinguished type & placement of damage – flak versus machine gun versus machine cannon say & so on. From that he selected his subset of survivor planes.

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    From Stanford.edu:- “Making the Macintosh: Technology and Culture in Silicon Valley” Xerox PARC & the Macintosh Mouse
    A nerdteresting convoluted story
    I’m making no claims of theft etc, especially as the mouse predates both Xerox & Apple, it is just interesting how the long term big successful tech players are very rarely first with innovation. Rather they tend to know how to integrate products at the right price for the marketplace they are about to create.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      Great ad. But not for the first time, reality was the opposite.

      It was the PC with its relatively ‘open’ architecture that allowed anybody to tinker with its programming, notwithstanding Microsoft’s persistent efforts to monopolise it. And the Apple Mac, in sharp contrast to the earlier Apple 2, was conceived as a sealed box that Apple controlled absolutely and users should just be content with what Apple gave them.


      • GBJames
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        That argument always makes more sense to people who think the purpose of a computer is to tinker with hardware. Those who prefer using it for other purposes tend not to see it that way.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

          Hardware nothing (although as I understand it components and accessories for PC’s are generally way cheaper than Apple’s. Because competition).

          I was talking about software, and the ability to run what I want on it. And maybe, just maybe, a feeling that it’s my damn computer, I paid for it, not Apple’s and not Microsoft’s either.

          (Disclaimer: Never had an Apple).


          • GBJames
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

            Really? You were talking about software? There’s hardly been a better example of monopoly than the game played by Microsoft.

  11. Linda Calhoun
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Um, may I respectfully disagree that the south is the ONLY region to have produced a coherent cuisine?

    OK, so NM isn’t a region, it’s a State. But, New Mexico’s cuisine is coherent and wonderful, complete with regional variations.


    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I would comment on my affinity for either or both of those fine cuisines, but since I am from the frozen northeast, that could easily be construed as cultural appropriation.

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I was going to mention something along those lines.

  12. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    There is an interesting paradox here to ponder. Jerry asks for forgiveness from Ceiling Cat, and yet he is (Professor) Ceiling Cat.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Haven’t you ever heard of the Trinity?

      OK, so there are only two incarnations of him, not three, but still, it’s the same idea.


      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        The cat, the duck, and the squirrel. Amen.

      • mikeyc
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        At the risk of being accused of heresy, there is only one Ceiling Cat. Dr PCC(e) is merely Ceiling Cat’s Chief of Staff. Sometimes it goes to his head, I suppose, but always remember that.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    This [Bloody Sunday] led to disaffection with the Czar, formerly seen as the protector of peasants and workers, and ultimately culminated in the Russian Revolution 12 years later.

    It led first to the 1905 Russian Revolution, which caused the Czar to allow some reforms, such as a written constitution and creation of the Duma, and set the stage for the events of February and October 1917.

  14. David Harper
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    “The 18th century was the golden age of squirrel ownership”

    I suspect that the squirrels remember it differently.

  15. rickflick
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    How HIGH do you think this king is?
    The height of the jump could, I think, be fairly accurately calculated by noting the time from emergence to reentry. It is, after all, a parabolic trajectory. The problem is it’s shown in slow motion. If it was shot at normal speed we’d need the original, or if shot in slow mo, we’d need the frames per second.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      But we don’t know the velocity at T0.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        The information we would have is the total time T, which means the time to a maximum height, Th, is 1/2 T. We also can estimate the angle at launch, A, as 74 degrees using a protractor against the image. Then the initial velocity, u, can be calculated from:

        u = (Th * g) / sin A

        Where g is gravitational acceleration, 9.8 m/s/s.

        • Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          All you need to know to calculate the height is the time elapsed between the exit and the entry, independent of the size of the fish and the details of the trajectory. The slow motion video tends to exaggerate our intuition — kind of a cognitive illusion.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          Are you sure? It has been a long time since I learned or used this stuff but to solve for launch velocity I seem to remember that you need to know either max height and range, or range and launch angle.

          Regarding solving max height knowing only time, I don’t think so. Again, I could be remembering incorrectly, but I’m pretty sure that you need to know two of the following three parameters to be able to solve for the third, launch velocity, flight time and max height.

          • Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            The only force acting on the fish is g (downwards). The maximum height would be
            h=(1/2)gt^2, where t=T/2 and T is the total duration of the jump.

            • darrelle
              Posted January 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              I think that is the equation for a free falling object in the special case when the starting velocity is 0. In this case the fish had a starting velocity, just like a cannon shell. The starting velocity has an x and y component that have to be accounted for.

              Finally taking a moment to look it up, here it is.

              “A projectile is an object that is given an initial velocity, and is acted on by gravity. The maximum height of the object is the highest vertical position along its trajectory. The maximum height of the projectile depends on the initial velocity v0, the launch angle θ, and the acceleration due to gravity.”


              [Maximum Height Formula

              • Posted January 22, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                When the fish reaches maximum height the vertical velocity is zero, which provides the initial condition we need. Since there are no horizontal forces that’s all we need. I think Galileo pretty much worked this out a long tome ago.

              • darrelle
                Posted January 22, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

                Everything I just looked up to refresh my memory disagrees. For example the link I left above. Unless of course I’m missing something, which is certainly possible. As far as I can tell this fish can be modeled just like an artillery shell. Initial velocity, angle, ballistic trajectory with only gravity acting on it. The only reference I found that agrees with your formula is the special case of initial velocity being 0, i.e. something dropped off of a cliff.

                I do understand your explanation. If you see what I’m missing I’d sure like you to clear it up for me cause this is probably going to keep me up tonight!

              • Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

                I think it’s not so much that you’re missing something as that you’re complicating things. You’re working backwards from ballistics. In this case we don’t care where the cannonball lands (assume the fish is spherical with no aerodynamic drag). So we don’t need to know its initial velocity or its angle of attack, just like we don’t have to take account of relativistic effects or variation in g. All we care about is the maximum height to a couple of significant digits, and that’s given by the duration of the jump.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                Yes it’s given by the duration of the jump OR the vertical velocity component at water exit – either measure will do as they are equivalent: greater initial vertical velocity maps to greater duration uniquely one-to-one.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

                Yes, that was my initial intuition, then I got off on trajectories and complicated things. Stephen is right. The fish at the top of it’s trajectory has a velocity 0 in the Y direction. Velocity in the X direction is does not effect the time to fall. In a vacuum.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        @darrelle I’m agreeing with Stephen

        ** We can ignore all horizontal forces & velocities
        ** We will assume a vacuum
        ** Take a rock to the max height the fish reached in its ballistic curve

        [1] When released the rock begins at zero velocity & some height which equals the top of the arc of the fish
        [2] The rock accelerates downwards under the force g
        [3] When the rock hits the water it will be travelling with the same vertical speed component, [but opposite sign in velocity terms] as the fish had as it exited the water

        Therefore to predict the max leap height of the idealised fish AND the travel time we need only know the vertical component of its speed as it exits the water & the value of g. Total time [exit water to enter water] is double the time to the max height.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          I think I see the problem with Stephen’s solution. When there is a + initial velocity the time from launch to H is not the same as the time from H to landing because g has to deal with the vertical component of the initial velocity.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            That is incorrect.

            At the start…
            the vertical-up velocity component of the fish exiting the water = + v

            At the [fin]ish…
            the vertical-up velocity component of the fish entering the water = – v

            At the top of the arc the vertical-up velocity is 0

            • Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

              Sorry. I didn’t see your explanation before I posted. 🙂

          • Posted January 22, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            The vertical component of the velocity is the same on exit and entry, with opposite sign. It’s determined by H and T.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      @rickflick We don’t need physics for a reasonable estimate of the height of the Kingfish [KF] leap – see my diagram below which clicks bigger I hope. The prow of the fishing boat [far right of picture] is on the camera horizon [YELLOW ELLIPSES]

      [1] I estimate the prow is 5′ or 6′ above water level, but I hope someone who knows these types of boats can pin that down better. by looking at the cabin height etc.

      [2] We know from perspective the distance from water level to horizon = 2KF & thus KF = 2.5′ to 3′

      [3] The kingfish leaps 2KF to the horizon line + 3KF to top of the arc = 5KF

      Therefore the kingfish leaps 13′ to 15′ above water level. Lots of assumptions of course such as the size of the boat & the effect of entasis if the camera is too close to the action.

      King Mackeral Flight

      • rickflick
        Posted January 22, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Nice compute. I’d say you’re close enough for my taste. And, you didn’t need the actual time/film footage.
        A similar geometric solution could be made by taking a measurement from other parts of the boat which might be more precisely know that the bow height. E.g. the radar tower and mast, etc.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          It was tough getting those five kingfish to balance vertically nose to tail – took a lot of practise & chum

          • rickflick
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          I was looking at the height of the windowed bit of the boat cabin. The roof is going to be above head height – say 2.5m ; the weather boarding is going to be at hand-level (because hands operate things at waist level, on opaque consoles). So I’d take the windowed area as being about 1.5m tall.
          That’ll give a wave height at the boat of 30-50 cm.
          So on the stack f fish, that’s looking like 1m/fish? Which is about where you got too.

          • rickflick
            Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            That’s pretty close to being a replicated experiment. Confirmed! Congratulations WEIT.

  16. Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’m no ichthyologist but isn’t the leaping fish a Tarpon? They are famous for their leaping ability.

    • Posted January 22, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Not a tarpon. I’ve caught tarpon. They’re spectacular leapers, but this is a king mackerel.

  17. E.A. Blair
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    George Orwell

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I Clicked “Post Comment” by mistake.

      George Orwell died on 21 January 1950, so the 1984 commercial ran one day after the 34th anniversary of his death.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I thought you were about to adopt an alias 😀

  18. Steve Pollard
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    ‘On this day in 1927, according to Wikipedia, “Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury”‘

    Also according to Wikipedia, the score was 1-1.

    Reminds me of the old joke: “Tell me, do you enjoy watching football?” “No, not really, I’m an Arsenal supporter”.

  19. Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Are there any good cephalopod blogs/regularly-updated websites? I assume Pharyngula doesn’t count.


    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Bruce Schneier, a IT security researcher, posts squid related posts on Friday to start open threads …

  20. David Coxill
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Yes Chino is hot as hell to boot .In August 2012 driving around waiting for the planes of fame museums to open ,going up a steep hill ,the road ended .
    When i was turning round i saw a Road Runner .

    Later photos show it with a leaf in its mouth .

  21. Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Constrained coding regions: do I understand this correctly – they are areas where mutations are often fatal or the like?

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