Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Friday again, and we’re all a week closer to death on this eighth of March, 2019.  It’s National Peanut Cluster Day (macadamias are better), and International Women’s Day  (the Twitter site is here). In honor of that day, Google has an animated Doodle (click on screenshot, which shows 14 sequential quotes from women of the world:

On this day in 1618, Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion. A primer: First law = orbits of planets are ellipsoidal with the Sun at one focus; second law = area swept out by a line joining a planet to the Sun is equal for equal time intervals; third law: the square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit. How many of you knew that? On this day in 1775, the pamphlet “African Slavery in America,” calling for Americans to free their slaves and abolish the institution, was published, flummoxing the founding fathers, many of whom had slaves. The author is thought to have been Thomas Paine. On March 8, 1910, according to Wikipedia, “ French aviator Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.” Here she is; sadly, she died in a plane crash in 1919:

International Women’s Day has been going a long time: on this day in 1917 (Feb. 23 in Russia’s Julian Calendar), protests in St. Petersburg initiated the February Revolution. A photo from the protests:

(From Wikipedia): A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd (modern day St. Peterburg), Russia, during the February Revolution.

On March 8, 1965, 3500 U.S. Marines became the first U.S. ground forces to be marked for combat in the Vietnam War. Six years later, the “Fight of the Century” took place between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in New York’s Madison Square Garden, with Frazier winning by unanimous decision (both fighters were undefeated before this). On March 8, 1974, the world’s worst airport, Charles de Gaulle (Heathrow is a close second) opened in Paris. And on March 8 1979, the first compact disk was demonstrated by Philips. Forty years on and they’re almost obsolete already.

Notables born on this day include Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841), Otto Hahn (1879, Nobel Laureate), Cyd Charisse (1922), John McPhee (1931), Lynn Redgrave (1943), Mickey Dolenz (1945), Carole Bayer Sager (1947), and Jonathan Sacks (1948).

Those who expired on March 8 include Hector Berlioz (1869), Millard Fillmore (1874), William Howard Taft (1930), Billy Eckstine (1993), and Joe DiMaggio (1999; where has he gone?).

Eckstine is a favorite of mine, and nobody remembers him. Here’s one of my favorites, with Eckstine on trumpet and vocals, accompanied by a panoply of jazz greats:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is eager for Spring to arrive (two more weeks!):

Hili: This bush will have leaves in a few days.
A: It does look like that.
In Polish:
Hili: Ten krzak za kilka dni puści listki.
Ja: Na to wygląda.

Nearby, Leon wants to play with an uncooperative bird:

Leon: This swan doesn’t seem to be very sociable.

Leon: Ten łabędź wydaje się mało towarzyski.

Two tweets from reader Barry, who says about the first one (rightly), “Yep, that’s gotta hurt!”

A lazy bird who, though he can fly, prefers to walk:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the handsome wasp nest with a beautiful entrance:

Somebody read this paper and tell me what it’s about!

A pretty amazing diagram showing that a cockroach is mostly tracheal tubes for the passive diffusion of oxygen:

A wonderfully paternal frog moving his tadpole kids to the stream on his back!

Tweets from Grania. First, a stalking kitten:

Two loving snow leopards:

From James Lindsay, one of the three “grievance study” hoaxers:

Naima Lowe was one of the loony professors at The Evergreen State College who helped bring the university to its present low repute. This is a long video, and you’ll probably only be able to stand a few minutes.



  1. Robert Ladley
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Let us hope that this International Women’s Day we do not receive any stupid statements from Mrs Trudeau. Everyone remember the last one?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      If you’re talking about this:

      it doesn’t look stupid to me at all.

      Though doubtless the SJWokes who see all men as the enemy didn’t like it.


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

        I don’t see anything wrong with it, either.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    It’s Friday again, and we’re all a week closer to death …

    Been a bit since you’ve given us our Friday memento mori.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
      Racing around to come up behind you again.
      The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
      Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

      – Pink Floyd of course


    • rickflick
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      In order to remain consistent, I’d suggest the site adopt the crow and skull as emblems. Perhaps their image could be affixed to the top header of the page separated by the slogan: “closer to death”. 😎

  3. Jon Mummaw
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Kepler’s Laws for visual thinkers.

    • Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Thanks — I remember learning the first two laws from Sagan, but I’d forgotten about the third completely.

  4. Janet Dreyer
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The ‘licking’ video brings to mind the story a few days ago about a man in the Czech Republic who was mauled to death by his pet lion.

    • Vaal
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      When I see these “owners of pet lions cuddling with their pet” videos I can’t suppress the thought “It’s only a matter of time…”

      I’m fairly astonished that the Lion has even held back this long. I mean…the lion is licking what his regular instincts must be telling him is food.

      • darrelle
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Makes me think of all the times a cat of mine has started out gently grooming me only to get over excited and suddenly maul me. All in good fun when its a domestic cat but, even if the lion (or other large wild cat) were playing or merely slightly irritated it could maim or kill you for realz without necessarily intending to.

      • Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        I don’t worry so much that the lion will eat its owner but that it will just get play aggressive and do real harm. One of my cats occasionally loves to bite me and get my hand in a deadly grip with claws out, all while purring up a storm. I know he does it out of love and excitement but it hurts like hell nonetheless. It would be much, much worse if the lion did something like that.

        • Jim Swetnam
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Yup, that’s a cat. I’ve got one like that.

  5. Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    That video is pretty amazing. As the tweet says, you have to see it to be appropriately horrified by it. The thought running through my head was that they need to close the college. But, of course, there are students getting educated somewhere there, right? We would certainly not want to upset their lives. So how does this evolve and end?

    • Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      By “that video”, I’m talking about the Evergreen one.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      In that video things just kept getting worse and worse, crazier and crazier. I was agape and aghast. Those students would take down Frederick Douglass and Malcom X. They’re in training to be tyrants, and that includes their “allies.”

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      It very much called to mind the ‘re-education’ practices during the Cultural Revolution in China. The University President (or whatever position he holds) promising to deal with his own racism in the cafeteria meeting might just as well have had a painted sign hanging off his neck listing his crimes against the people.
      There is no doubt that racism is alive and kicking in many parts of the world or that black people are most often the victims of it in many parts of the world. I strongly doubt however, that calling every white person racist irrespective of any evidence to the contrary and getting university administrators – who very likely are not racist – to self abase themselves and publicly acknowledge their own supposed racism, will have any beneficial impact on the problem out in the real world.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Six years later, the “Fight of the Century” took place between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in New York’s Madison Square Garden, with Frazier winning by unanimous decision (both fighters were undefeated before this).

    When Smokin’ Joe knocked Ali on his keister with a massive left hook in the 15th, reactionaries across the land rejoiced that the uppity darkie from Louisville finally got what’s comin’.

  7. Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It‘s not simply International Women‘s Day, it‘s an anniversary too:

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      OMG, is that a katana the woman in the first poster is holding?

      Looks like the cover art for Kill Bill



      • merilee
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Loved Pulp Fiction, but found Kill Bill incredibly boring.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          I was moderately entertained by it, though the whole plot was purest fantasy. The bit that got me was the brief flash of the Bride walking through an airport trailing that bloody katana behind her… can you just imagine what would happen if somebody tried that now?


  8. W.Benson
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The first woman ever to fly solo in a motor driven aircraft did so successfully in Paris on June 29, 1903. The woman, 18 y.o. Cuban-American Aida de Acosta, piloted Alberto Santos-Dumont’s dirigible No. 9 (‘La Baladeuse’), powered by a 2 h.p. motor, for over an hour back and forth the several miles separating Nueilly St. James and Château Bagatelle. Arriving at the Château, the balloon’s landing interrupted an international polo match. Miss de Acosta had, of course, never flown before, and Santos-Dumont, to give instructions and suggestions, accompanied the flight by bicycle. de Acosta’s flight was half a year before the Wright Brothers made their first test flights of the Flyer I, the longest of which lasted about a minute, was 10 feet above the ground, and ended with Wilbur crashing. The “Smithsonian Air and Space” site misleadingly diminishes de Acosta’s accomplishment by referring to her as “the first woman of Latin American descent to solo an airship” in the two lines of text they devote to her.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I think the trick is, if you want to be appropriately remembered, you should invent and then develop something that will open up an entire technical field with a heroic impact on human culture rather than just a passing fancy.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        rickflick, I think you have to admit that
        ‘the first woman of latin american descent to solo an airship’ makes it sound like other women had flown things before her. A bit like saying the Wrights were ‘the first to fly a biplane on a beach’ would be.

        I suppose in historical terms it was a modest achievement, but I’m sure it needed a lot of courage and determination do do it at the time; no need to implicitly discount it.


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      What a load of cobblers W.Benson.

      You are referring to a 1998 PRESS RELEASE by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum announcing an exhibition examining the development of Latino aviation.

      In that context Ms. D’Acosta had absolutely no influence on Latino aviation & was lucky to get a mention. In the press release there is a bulleted list of exhibition “Highlights” & Ms. D’Acosta is up there at position #3:

      “…a Cuban-American, who became the first woman of Latin American descent to solo an airship in 1903, when she flew Santos-Dumont’s Dirigible No. 9”

      At position #1 we have Alberto Santos-Dumont – the guy who designed, built & first flew the horse she borrowed for a while:

      “…a Brazilian who designed, built and tested more than 20 aerial craft including balloons, airships, biplanes and monoplanes”

      An American teenage socialite in Paris persuades a Brazilian builder of dead end 50 year old technology [engine powered LIGHTER THAN AIR transport] to let her pilot his dirigible for a kilometre south along the flat, straight Allée Du Bord De L’Eau [parallel to the river] to the horse track & polo fields. Where she presumably had Champers & then flew back home!

      Her non-contributing achievement is then compared to the innovative, risky, revolutionary, engine powered, heavier than air, controlled** flight that took place a few months later.

      ** P.S. “controlled” is the essence of what the Wright Brothers AND the forgotten sister KATHERINE WRIGHT achieved – the “flying” bit not so much.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        I should emphasize her dad was a Cuban steamship exec & her mum was Spanish born nobility [the Alba branch]. She herself was born in & brought up in New Jersey & Te Smithsonian really went to some efforts to shoehorn her into “Latino Aviation” history 🙂

        But, it’s a good story.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


        a Brazilian builder of dead end 50 year old technology [engine powered LIGHTER-THAN-AIR transport]

        I’m unintentionally belittling him – so I’ll say here let’s not forget his later heavier-than-air, powered achievements, such as the 14-Bis – pipped by a few years by the Wright Flyer [under French rules re catapults & take off rails, although Brazilians tend to dispute this]

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          P.P.S. Duh

  9. Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Professor, for acknowledging that it’s Micky Dolenz’s birthday today, though Micky is spelled without the “e”.

    Here is the last time Micky, Peter and Mike played together as the garage band that they actually were, with Micky on the drums. With Peter’s death recently we will never see this again.

    This is a must see for all those who still think they couldn’t play a note of music and weren’t a real band. And Mike wrote both songs. Turn up the sound!

  10. Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    That last item could be a whole post in itself.
    If you characterize ‘racism’ in the very broad sense then I think it ok to say that every person is racist. I don’t think that racism, broadly construed, is even a conscious decision.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      If you go by Warren Mansell’s perceptual control theory described in the tweet above, it wouldn’t be a conscious decision just as Naima Lowe’s reprehensible histrionics aren’t. No free will. Further, some neurobiologists seem to go back to Plato and say that everything we call reality is an hallucination/illusion. I do not understand.

  11. Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    This is what a newspaper had to say about Mme. de Laroche in 1919: “Now take the case of Mme. de Laroche. That was a perfect example of the folly of woman attempting to drive an aeroplane. Had a man been at the machine, instead of Mme. de Laroche, I don’t believe there would have been an accident. But she lost her head and then lost control of the machine.” One hundred years ago all of us women were Woman, and incapable of anything. How the world has changed!

  12. ivan
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    In reference to Dr. Mansell and Perceptual control theory, I’m still not clear as to how it operates but this might help. and

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      The experiment showing that there are undecidable (undecipherable) motions in nature does not tell me anything new. So without digging into the details it looks like a sleight of hand. That wiki links seem to suggest motion control is against a (perceptual) model, but we already know that control starts out in the spine far from a single model (and even further distant from conscious models if that is the idea).

      Admittedly I should try to read the paper, but I just can’t be bothered until I am told by the experts there is anything in it. Meanwhile I recently learned an excellent not-too-committing English term for these things: Bollocks!

  13. CAS
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The Naima Lowe video is just another example of the far left working to destroy norms and rationality in society. It’s wishful thinking to assume that this doesn’t alienate the political middle and strengthen Trump and the far right.

    • ploubere
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Jerry was right, I couldn’t bear to watch more than a few minutes of it. Insanity.

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