Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning; it’s Thursday, March 7, 2019, and National Cereal Day. I can’t remember when I last had cold cereal, though I enjoy a hot bowl of oatmeal now and then.

Today’s Google Doodle marks what would have been the 97th birthday of Olga Ladyzhenskaya (born 1922, died 2004). Although her father was arrested and shot by Stalin’s NKVD, she worked her way up to a distinguished career in mathematics.

Although comprehending her accomplishments is above my pay grade, here’s what iNews says about her.

Authoring over 250 papers, Ladyzhenskaya developed a stellar reputation for her work in partial differential equations and the field of fluid dynamics, with her work still highly influential today.

She is most celebrated for her work exploring 19th century ideas for explaining behaviour of fluids known as the Navier-Stokes equations, whose practical applications include predicting the movement of storm clouds in meteorology.

Parallels were drawn between her work in partial differential equations and John Nash, the American mathematician portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind.

It’s a thin day in world history. On this day in 321, according to Wikipedia, “Emperor Constantine I decrees that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) is the day of rest in the Empire.” On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was given a patent for what he called the “telephone.” On this day in 1936, in a harbinger of WWII, and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

It was on this day in 1965 (“Bloody Sunday“) that civil rights protestors in Selma, Alabama, after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to Montgomery, were attacked by police with tear gas and billy clubs. They were brutally turned back but were allowed to pass two days later.

It was footage like this, from the March 7 incident, that helped turn the tide of American sentiment in favor of civil rights:


On this day in 1986, divers from a Navy ship located the crew cabin of the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger, which went down on January 28, killing all seven crew members. I didn’t know until yesterday that their bodies were recovered. The details are below but be warned, they are gruesome and may be upsetting. 

Inside the twisted debris of the crew cabin were the bodies of the astronauts, which after weeks of immersion in salt water and exposure to scavenging marine life were in a “semi-liquefied state that bore little resemblance to anything living”, although according to John Devlin, the skipper of the USS Preserver, they “were not as badly mangled as you’d see in some aircraft accidents”. Lt. Cmdr James Simpson of the Coast Guard reported finding a helmet with ears and a scalp in it. Judith Resnik was the first to be removed followed by Christa McAuliffe, with more remains retrieved over several hours. Due to the hazardous nature of the recovery operation (the cabin was filled with large pieces of protruding jagged metal), the Navy divers protested that they would not go on with the work unless the cabin was hauled onto the ship’s deck.

During the recovery of the remains of the crew, Gregory Jarvis’s body floated out of the shattered crew compartment and was lost to the diving team. A day later, it was seen floating on the ocean’s surface. It sank as a team prepared to pull it from the water. Determined not to end the recovery operations without retrieving Jarvis, astronaut Robert Crippen rented a fishing boat at his own expense and went searching for the body. On April 15, near the end of the salvage operations, the Navy divers found Jarvis. His body had settled to the sea floor, 101.2 feet (30.8 m) below the surface, some 0.7 nautical miles (1.3 km; 0.81 mi) from the final resting place of the crew compartment. The body was recovered and brought to the surface before being processed with the other crew members and then prepared for release to Jarvis’s family.

Finally, it was on this day in 2007 that the British House of Commons voted to make the House of Lords a fully elected body.

Notables born on this day include Luther Burbank (1849), Julius Wagner-Jauregg (1857, Nobel Laureate), Piet Mondrian (1872), Maurice Ravel (1875), Anna Magnani (1908), Willard Scott (1934), and Bret Easton Ellis (1964).

It was not a good (or bad) day for the deaths of notables. Those who bought the farm on March 7 include Thomas “Yes, the Bible is literally true” Aquinas (1274), Wyndham Lewis (1957), Alice B. Toklas (1967), Stanley Kubrick (1999), and Gordon Parks (2006).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is thoroughly sick of winter and decides that it’s over:

Hili: I’m announcing the spring.
A: According to the calendar it’s still winter.
Hili: I’m not a stickler for rules.
In Polish:
Hili: Ogłaszam wiosnę.
Ja: Kalendarzowo to nadal jest zima.
Hili: NIe jestem formalistką.

It’s getting warmer in Poland, and Leon and Elzbieta are out for a hike:

Leon: Do you think we are going in the right direction?

Leon: Myślisz, że zmierzamy we właściwym kierunku?

Grania reported this church notice celebrating yesterday’s Catholic holiday with a misspelling, though this is almost too good to be true. I suspect it’s a fake, but I may be wrong. responds to a worshipful article in Forbes about Kylie Jenner who, thanks to the credulity of the American people, is now a billionaire:

From reader Paul, who says this is his favorite animal video of all time. Is that Snowball on the right?

Tweets from Grania. This is Ireland for you: a waterfall that falls UP:

Clearly somebody can’t do simple arithmetic:

I love this pensive philosopher cat (watch the video):

A sad case of canine logophobia:

Tweets from Matthew, who’s off doing Resistance broadcasting in Paris with the BBC. First, cat cosmology (lower tweet has a video):

First exorcism in the Vatican and now cannibalism?

Binna Burra is in Queensland, Australia, and a land mullet is a skink (reptile):

Finally, the scariest road I know. I’ve ridden over many roads in Nepal but, thank Ceiling Cat, not this one:




  1. GBJames
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Time for my oatmeal.

  2. Serendipitydawg
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Finally, it was on this day in 2007 that the British House of Commons voted to make the House of Lords a fully elected body.

    They may have dumped a load of hereditaries but I have certainly never voted to elect any of them. As far as I am concerned it just allowed political cronyism to find a new outlet – I can’t remember whether the ‘cash for honours’ scandal revealed that any peerages had been bought (probably massive party donations don’t count).

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Currently, 92 seats in the Lords are reserved for holders of hereditary peerages. Since there are untold hundreds of hereditaries, they hold elections among themselves to decide who should be the lucky 92.

      The rest of them have been appointed by successive Governments.

      I didn’t elect any of them, either, and if we are to have a second chamber at all I want a say in who should be in it. The current system is wide open to cronyism and corruption, and is basically indefensible.

  3. Mark Jones
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    FYI, the footage for Bloody Sunday covers the incident of the same name during the troubles in Northern Ireland, not the Selma one.

  4. Mike
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    You have the wrong Video for Bloody Sunday, that one is the Bloody Sunday from 1972 in Derry during the Troubles.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I second Hili, let Spring begin.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink


      It was -21 C when I got up this morning. Stoked up the wood stove and quickly got back into bed ’till the house warmed up a little.
      More than ready for Spring!

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Holy Jesus Christ, that road in Nepal is unbelievable. That is every nightmare I ever had all rolled into one. If I had been somehow magically deposited on that road, I would still be there days later, totally immovable, curled up hard against the rock and sobbing quietly to myself.

    I’ve driven over Alpine passes and roads in the Vercors that scared the fritz out of me, but nothing remotely like that.

    It rivals the Caminito del Rey *before* they rebuilt it.


  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    ‘Butt dust’ – the tweet implies that spellcheck wood have fixed it butt that is of coarse wrong. 🙂

    Re Walmart, the two offers are not identical – the set of ‘2 for $5’ includes the set of ‘4 for $10’ but not vice versa – that is, if you only want 2, or only have $5, then ‘4 for $10’ excludes you.


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

      I don’t think that’s right, cr. “4 for 10” doesn’t mandate “not 2 for 5″.

      • GrahamH
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        We don’t know the unit price but presumably it’s more than $2.50 or there’s no point in either offer. If so then two would be two times the unit price not $5.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        If the special offer requires you to buy 4, for $10, then the implication is, you have to buy 4 to get the special price.

        OTOH, if it’s 2 for $5 then you can always buy 4 for $10 (unless they limit it to 2 per customer).


        • GBJames
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          I’ve often had the equivalent-for-fewer pricing honored on these “n for x” offers. But that’s beside the point. “4 for 10” does not logically require that “2 for 5” doesn’t exist.

          • Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            But nor does it require that the 2 for $5 does exist, which is the point.

            • GBJames
              Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

              I think we’ve almost probably driven this one deeply enough into the ground, but no. It started with: “then ‘4 for $10’ excludes you”. It doesn’t. It only allows ambiguity as to whether ‘2 for $5’exists.

              • Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

                Yeah, it does.

                If I am selling something at $3 and I advertise a special offer of “Four for $10” – a discount of $2, I do not have to give you a discount of $1 if you only buy two items or a discount of $1.50 if you only buy three items, or a discount of $0.50 if you buy one item.

                If you came into my shop arguing that I should sell you two items for $5 in this scenario, I would say “sorry sir, but you have to pay full price unless you buy four items”.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

                “…I do not have to…”

                No, you don’t have to. But you aren’t prevented from doing so.

                Maybe if I could draw a Venn diagram here this wouldn’t be so contentious.

                Regardless of what you might say, and regardless of what most automated systems might calculate, the set of “4 for 10” and “2 for 5” are not mutually exclusive. The circles on the Venn diagram overlap.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        The commercial logic of a discounted price on multiple purchases is to get you to spend more than you otherwise would. If the offer generates enough unit sales this makes the reduced profit per item worthwhile. I doubt that many shops would agree to apply the discount pro rata for smaller multiples than the stated offer.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          It is true that that is the commercial logic. It is true that most people who respond to the pricing will purchased the advertised number of items.

          It is also true that shop-owners often will honor the relative pricing for a smaller number if you ask because one of their prized possessions is a happy customer.

          All of that is irrelevant.

          What is not true is that “4 for $10” means “2 for $5” doesn’t exist. The pedant in me demands that the logic be correct.

      • Jeff Lewis
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        To borrow from Ray Little’s example below, if the price per bag is $2.79, and the sale is advertised as 4 for $10, then buying 2 bags would cost you $5.58. You haven’t bought enough bags to qualify for the bulk discount.

        Yes, that really is the way a lot of these bulk discounts work, at least in the state I live now (Texas). If you don’t buy the quantity specified in the sale, you pay full price. (My dad always said it was the law in Pennsylvania that stores had to honor the sale unit price no matter how it was advertised, but I moved out of PA before I ever did much shopping on my own.)

        • GBJames
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          Happily, I don’t live in Texas.

        • Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          Absolutely and if you took the logic to its extreme, you could buy the items individually at the discounted price. “One for $2.50”.

          Here in the UK, the prices and special offers are often encoded into the checkout software. If there were an offer of “four for £10” and I only bought two or three, the checkout assistant would have to charge full price because that is what would be rung up when the bar codes are scanned.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      As we can see even in this thread, a lot of consumers treat bulk pricing as a math problem when it isn’t. This can be quite exasperating for retail workers trying to explain that 2 for $5 does not mean 1 for $2.50.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Interestingly enough, the supermarket checkout software (which obviously can’t foresee how many items of one kind are being bought until after it’s scanned them all) lists each item at the full retail price, then subtracts the correct discount after the second (or fourth etc) item has been scanned.


      • Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Alternatively: a lot of “math” problems people are used to are actually minimodels of the real world. If you disagree with the assumptions of the model, you’ll get “the” answer wrong.

        One of these assumptions that seems to always happen is extrapolations of proportions etc.

    • Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      I’ve recently returned from a holiday in your lovely country. When buying pizza at Domino’s one night, I noted that I could increase the size of a $5 pizza by 50% for only another $3! What a bargain.

      • Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        By “size” do they mean diameter or area? If it means increase a six inch pizza to a nine inch pizza, it would be a bargain.

        • Rita Prangle
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          Pizza sizes are always expressed in size of diameter, not area.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Re the “Don’t Be Cruel” video:

    Would that Elvis’s Jordanaires had such plumage!

    • Lurker111
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      That video with the cockatiels had me clap my hands and laugh out loud. Especially when that one cockatiel put up her(?) foot to keep away the other one.


      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        I believe they are cockatoos not cockatiels. (But I agree with your comment).

      • DrBrydon
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        It was crazy. Half-way through I had to go get my wife.

  9. ohnugget001
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty confident that video is from The Troubles in the UK, not anywhere at all in the US.

    Several of the military vehicles are identifiably not US.
    The helmets worn are not US.
    The buildings by one man are referred to as flats, which I have never heard outside of the UK or at least The Commonwealth.
    Some accents sound like the British dialect of English and the priest sounds Irish to me.
    Plus, they referred to one organization/group as Catholic in some fashion.

    I think this vid is a recording of events on Bloody Sunday in Ireland, 1972.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Mark Jones and Mike (comments #5 and #6) agree with you.

      But the first video on this webpage NOW is undoubtedly American (and shows the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.)

      Somehow the video got changed?


      • Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Yes, I asked Grania to change it when I was downtown. I worked too fast when I put it up this morning–I was in a hurry.

  10. Ray Little
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    On the walmart notice: actually, it’s not as stupid as you seem to think. To get the $10 price, you’d have to buy 4 bags, to get the discount, at $5, only two, so it’s a better deal. If you only bought 2 on the first deal, at, say, 2.79 each, you’d obviously pay more, so, better. Apart from the encouragement for gorging on the 4/$10, that is.

    • Kahlil Jabroni
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      So let me get this straight: I have to buy one before I can get one free?

  11. David Harper
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    “Finally, it was on this day in 2007 that the British House of Commons voted to make the House of Lords a fully elected body.”

    Alas, the House of Lords is still an entirely unelected body. Most of its members were appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of the day, mainly for political purposes, but in a few cases, in recognition of significant public service in the arts or science or sports. There are also 26 bishops of the Church of England and a rump of 92 hereditary peers who survived the cull of 1999.

    The House of Commons did indeed vote in 2007 to make the Lords wholly elected, but this was only an indicative vote, not an actual piece of legislation.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the House of Lords subsequently rejected the proposal from the Commons by a large margin:

    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      So much for those who defend the British system of hereditary government (in part).

      • David Harper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        The Commons has tried repeatedly to reform the Lords further, as in 2007, but it’s a challenge when the thing you’re trying to reform has a constitutional veto.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          A bit like the Senate?


    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Does the House of Lords have any real power? I did not think they had any.

      • David Harper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The role of the House of Lords is to revise legislation that originates in the House of Commons. They can block any legislation they don’t like, but only temporarily, because the Parliament Act of 1911 removed the power of the Lords to reject legislation. The Commons can ultimately force through any legislation after it has been revised or rejected twice by the Lords.

        • Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Excep, apparently, for legislation that reforms the House of Lords. Anything else they can veto?

          • David Harper
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

            The Commons *could* force through reform of the House of Lords, especially if it had been part of the governing party’s general election manifesto (under an arrangement known as the Salisbury Convention). That’s how the 1999 reforms were enacted, removing all but a handful of hereditary peers.

            The reality, alas, is that there is no longer the political will to continue reform of the Lords. It’s certainly not a top priority of the current government, for obvious reasons.

            The Commons is also reluctant to create a second elected chamber which could claim the same level of democratic legitimacy as the Commons. It actually suits the Commons to be the only elected chamber of Parliament. If the Lords were partly or wholly elected, it might re-assert its power of veto over legislation.

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    RE: Kylie Jenner: “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

  13. Roger
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Wait, I thought Thomas Aquinas invented the Five Layer Burrito.

  14. Jiten
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I think you last had cold cereal when you had the Weetabix when you were in England 2 years ago!

  15. Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I like Cheerios, etc. cold without milk. Milk makes them soggy. Can’t handle that. Crunchy us good.

    On that road in Nepal, how do they keep vehicles from meeting each other. Is it one way only?

  16. Steve Pollard
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Good to see Google celebrating Ladyzhinskaya. Her work on fluid dynamics and Navier-Stokes is a great rebuke to the pseuds like Luce Irigaray, and others who were skewered by Sokal and Bricmont, for asserting that ‘masculine’ mathematics was inadequate to model ‘feminine’ phenomena such as the flow of liquids.

    • Gordon Anderson
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      From a New Zealand newspaper:
      “Google is honouring influential mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya, a woman whose work from the 1950s is still relevant and useful today.
      Though researched and published in the 20th century, her findings have stood the test of time and aided research today.”

      Not sure how they cope with Newton

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      “for asserting that ‘masculine’ mathematics was inadequate to model ‘feminine’ phenomena such as the flow of liquids.”

      It is of course true that fluid dynamics is extremely difficult. (Not least because viscosity causes non-linearity, which plays hell with any computations – that’s my take on it, could be wrong).

      *Any* mathematics dealing with fluid dynamics is going to be diabolically complicated. All kudos to Olga Ladyzhenskaya.

      (Obligatory link to Richard Dawkins’ essay Postmodernism Disrobed: )


  17. Gordon Anderson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I can’t resist this from our local paper in NZ:
    “Google is honouring influential mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya, a woman whose work from the 1950s is still relevant and useful today.
    Though researched and published in the 20th century, her findings have stood the test of time and aided research today.”

  18. Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo at your service! No, that is not me in the video as I’m a MUCH better dancer. The medium sulphur crested cockatoo in the video should attend “Snowball’s School of Dance” in New York City. I’d be happy to teach him some moves.
    HRH Snowball

  19. Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    That’s human sacrifice, not cannibalism! I’m offended on behalf of cannibals everywhere!

    -Ryan (cannibal ver.)

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