Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, January 26, 2019, and the weekend is here. It’s shaping up to be the coldest week in the 33 years I’ve been in Chicago, with two snowstorms between now and Monday and sub-freezing temperatures next week. Here are the high and low temperatures for both days in Fahrenheit and Celsius. At the moment it’s -5ºF (-21ºC). Look at Wednesday!



It’s National Peanut Brittle Day, which is an okay treat if made with good peanuts and lots of butter, and also Australia Day in Australia, marking the anniversary of the arrival of Britain’s “First Fleet” in 1788, a fleet of 11 ships carrying about 700 convicts to found a penal colony. The group landed on January 26 at Port Jackson in what is now New South Wales.

On this day in 1564, the Council of Trent, reacting to the Protestant Reformation, declared all forms of Protestantism to be heresy. On January 26, 1838, Tennessee enacted the first U.S. Prohibition law in the U.S., banning the sale of spirits in stores and taverns. I can’t find out how long it lasted, but it surely lapsed before nationwide prohibition began in January, 1919.  Exactly three years later,  Commander James Bremer took possession of Hong Kong for the British.

On January 26, 1905, the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan, weighing 3,106.75 carats (about 1.3 pounds!) was unearthed at the Premier Mine near Pretoria. South Africa. It was bought by the Transvaal Colony and given to King Edward VII on his birthday. Wikipedia describes the disposition of the big uncut stone:

Cullinan produced stones of various cuts and sizes, the largest of which is named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, and at 530.4 carats (106.08 g) it is the largest clear cut diamond in the world. Cullinan I is mounted in the head of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. The second-largest is Cullinan II or the Second Star of Africa, weighing 317.4 carats (63.48 g), mounted in the Imperial State Crown. Both diamonds are part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Seven other major diamonds, weighing a total of 208.29 carats (41.66 g), are privately owned by Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited them from her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1953. The Queen also owns minor brilliants and a set of unpolished fragments.

Here’s the rough stone, the Great Star of Africa in the Sceptre, and the Cullinan II in the Imperial State Crown:

On this day in 1926, Scottish engineer John Logie Baird made the first demonstration of television to the Royal Institution and the London Times.  In 1945, Audie Murphy, born to a family of sharecroppers in Texas, standing atop a flaming tank and wounded in the leg, held off a huge group of Germans single-handedly, killing or wounding 50 of them (he was a good shot). For this he won the Medal of Honor and went on to act in many films. He was perhaps America’s most decorated soldier in World War II. Here are his decorations, with the Medal of Honor around his neck:

On January 26, 1965, Hindi became the official language of India. And in 1998, Bill Clinton went on television to deceive the American public. He said, among other things, this:

Notables born on this day include Alexander Carlyle (1722), Douglas MacArthur (1880), Maria von Trapp (1905), Stéphane Grappelli (1908), Paul Newman (1925), Angela Davis and Jerry Sandusky (both 1944), Jacqueline du Pré (1945), Gene Siskel (1946), Anita Baker and Ellen DeGeneres (both 1958), and Wayne Gretzky (1961).

Those who died on this day include Edward Jenner (1823), Théodore Géricault (1824), Abner Doubleday (1893), Nikolai Vavilov (1943; geneticist who died in the gulag for promoting the truth about science), Lucky Luciano (1962), Hugh Trevor-Roper (2003), and Abe Vigoda (2016).

Here’s Vigoda playing Sal Tessio in The Godfather, being taken away to be killed for treachery towards the Family:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have a Hili dialogue with a title! Backstory: the cream container is sitting on the table, but there’s not a drop in Hili’s bowl. Oy!

Hili: This cream is taken out of context.
A: What is its context?
Hili: My bowl.
In Polish:


Hili: Ta śmietanka jest wyrwana z kontekstu.
Ja: A jaki jest jej kontekst?
Hili: Miseczka.

Tweets from Matthew. The first one came from a “sort of cat”:

A lovely chimeric cat, with a video in the thread:

Neil Shubin is apparently camping in Antarctica, and also apparently looking for fish fossils (remember, it used to be much warmer there):

The latest on Matthew’s moggie Harry the Cat and his Cone of Shame (he had to wear it because he hurt his toe). Too bad there are no photos of this. . . .

Be sure you turn the sound up on this one. What stately geese!

Tweets from Grania. The first begins a thread that’s well worth reading. Tweeted by a journalism professor, it explains why newspapers are dying.

A slime-producing starfish. Can any reader enlighten us?

For the 12 year olds among us:

This is a biology video; guess what it is (partial solution in the thread):

Twitter’s translation of the above:

[Presentation of research results] the movie was observed by a fluorescence microscope the state of intercellular signaling when the slime cells that expressed camp-sensitive fluorescent probes were set. It is understood that the signal is transmitted as a spiral wave in the group. Photographed by Mr. Hashimura.

Some great photos of cats looking at themselves in the mirror:

I think this is a margay kitten (Leopardus wiedii) but I’m not sure.



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Time to break out the Bronco Nagurski thermal underwear

    (That’s a reference to Click and Clack)

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I’ll be looking forward to what Shubin’s group discovers

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Heavy lies the crown … in some instances literally.

  4. GBJames
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Yeah, baby, it’s cold outside. -9F up here at my house in MKE but it should get up to +10F later in the day. But -9F is slated to be the high on Wednesday.

    • Barbara Radcliffe
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      On Thursday we broke records here! 46.6 C at West Terrace and 47.4 C at Kent Town. Those are positive values, not negative. So I send you warm regards.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I thought it would be Clemenza, but it was the smart move, and Tessio was always smarter.

    And how about Robert Duvall, huh, still going at it? I saw him a few weeks ago playing Colin Farrel’s daddy in Widows, and my first memory of him is, as a kid, watching him as Boo Radley in Mockingbird.

    That’s one long-ass career.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Regarding that chimeric cat — shouldn’t Matthew be dropping by to tell us its eyes are actually the same color?

  7. Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Check your car antifreeze and keep a faucet dribbling in the house

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The spiral animation is from a culture of cellular slime molds. These are ‘social amoebae’ that aggregate together to form a fruiting body. They are drawn in by a signal (in the species I know the signal is cyclic AMP). No idea why the signal goes out in a spiral fashion.

    Good luck, Neil Shubin! Find us another marvel.

  9. Historian
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    You may have used this source for stating that on this day Tennessee passed the first Prohibition law in 1838:

    It states:

    “The first Prohibition law in the history of the United States is passed in Tennessee, making it a misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages in taverns and stores. The bill stated that all persons convicted of retailing “spirituous liquors” would be fined at the “discretion of the court” and that the fines would be used in support of public schools.”

    Yet, the Tennessee Encyclopedia tells a more detailed story:

    “Early statutory efforts focused on the regulation of a legitimate trade without attempting to prevent the making or consumption of alcohol. In 1831 the Tennessee General Assembly began to exert some regulation of the liquor trade by authorizing licenses for operating saloons. Under the requirements of the law, applicants gave bond to the county court clerk and secured a license for a fifteen-dollar tax. The number of saloons increased fivefold under the law. In 1838, under pressure from constituents, including a petition signed by 374 Nashville women, the general assembly repealed the earlier measure and passed a “Quart Law,” which restricted the sale of alcohol to containers of one quart or more. This law applied only to liquor; wine, beer, and cider could be sold without restriction, as had been the case under the old law. Eight years later in 1846, this poorly enforced law was replaced by another, which again licensed saloons to sell liquor by the drink. Saloon keepers could not sell to minors, if their parents forbade it in writing, or to slaves without permission from their owners.”

    The Tennessee Encyclopedia notes that that liquor could still be sold, but in containers of one quart or more. Also, not all alcoholic beverages were banned. This law was repealed in 1846, once again allowing liquor to be sold by the drink.

    What’s the lesson from this? Not all sources are accurate and need to be checked. Without doing further research to be sure, it seems to me that the article in the Tennessee Encyclopedia is likely relating a more accurate account. The first source gives the mistaken impression that the sale of all alcoholic beverages was totally prohibited.

    • Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Sadly, I don’t have the time to do multiple checks of every statement from Wikipedia, but I appreciate the readers following up for me.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It is probably true that most people in the U.S. today do not know who Audie Murphy is and never heard of him. History is not much of a subject in schools these days. But also interesting is that more than 71% of our people age 17-24 are not even eligible for military service. This is apparently due to health problems, physical fitness, education and criminality. That exceptionalism some seem to believe in is really just a myth.

  11. Blue
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Darlingest – e v e r: Mr Paul Newman !

    I ‘ve stated it here before: I fell, and
    fell hard and lifelong, for Mr Newman at my wee age
    then of 13 … …
    = of Ms Woodward’s and his … … the Long Hot Summer !

    … … with this one of y1958 ! me a farm kiddo who loved. loved. her two kitty cats’ barns ! which sheltered at any one time upwards of my, and my Daddy’s, beloved
    13 to 41 barn cats and … … him n o t the barnb u r n e r … … o’which
    Mr Quick, Mr Newman’s character, was so accused !

    NO afterlife for dead folks, no. But with me and Mr Newman ?
    Oooo, he lives … … forevah ! I love him !


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I think you are not alone in that. Paul Newman was both a woman’s man and a man’s man to be sure.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      There’s still Newman’s Own tomato sauce.

      • Andy Lowry
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        And the pizza is damn good, too.

    • Merilee
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Me, too😍

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Good to see none of us has a failure to communicate about this one. 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink


      • Blue
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Oooo, Mr Kukec ! Attorney that you ( and
        One of m’Boys ) are: you very well know
        of it so, so t r u e and perfect next followup
        to that precise line, ” Some men ya’
        just cain’t reach … … ”

        COOL ( Hand Luke ) that Attorney Kiddo o’Mine
        is exactly … … like !


  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Call me a 12-year-old if you wanna, but that Moby Dick cover made me laugh to beat the band.

    Reminded me of exactly what a buddy of mine in 8th grade would’ve done on purpose. He was a funny little bastard — always in hot water with the nuns, too.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Being in hot water with a nun would be pretty funny. The smaller the tub, the funnier. 😎

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        First nun : “Where’s the soap?”
        Second nun : “Yes, it does, doesn’t it.”
        Personally, I blame Dave Allen.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 27, 2019 at 2:12 am | Permalink


          … a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste

  13. Blue
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Sweet musical goose parade ! From my memory out upon that farm, I am thinking that
    if one does not anger them, then geese are,
    indeed, quite trainable !

    ( If one does anger them ? Why, (s)he has had it !
    They WILL come after you ! )


  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Hey, those geese haven’t been properly trained. They aren’t marching goose step.

    • Andy Lowry
      Posted January 26, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I took a gander, and you’re right.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Ha Ha!

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Thief! You are going to be made to give him back. No goose eggs for you!

  15. Posted January 26, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve found Google Translate does better translations than Twitter. Of course, I don’t know Japanese. It just seems to make more sense:

    “Presentation of Research Results】 The movie is a fluorescence microscopic observation of the state of intercellular signal transduction during the assembly of slime mold cells expressing cAMP-sensitive fluorescent probes. You can see that the signal is transmitted as a spiral wave within the group. Shooting Hashida.”

  16. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    One does hope that Shubin has luck fossicking. Fossil hunting in Antarctica has a long and distinguished history. Somewhere in the bowels of the NHM are about a dozen kilos of fossil plants collected at the behest of one of the founders of palaeobotany, Dr Marie Stopes, by the Scott expedition. And carried with them to their deaths. They’re Carboniferous in age, which is the time period that Shubin’s programme of searching for the tetrapod fossils marking the development of land-dwelling characters focuses on, so there’s a pretty good chance he’s working in historically important areas.

  17. Posted January 26, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    The creature all men feared became one man’s obsession


  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 27, 2019 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    So the first kitteh in the video’s a margay, but what’s the second one?


  19. Posted January 27, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The chimaeric cat has its face “cut” along the midline into two different colors. I have seen the same with many females heterozygous for X-linked color-determining gene. I’d wish to know details about morphogenesis of head that could explain this effect.

  20. Posted January 28, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Do the South Africans want their crystallized carbon back?

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