Sunday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning, or <insert time-appropriate greetings here/>. Jerry’s winging his way to Europe and will check in with us when he can.

JAC addendum: I arrived in Amsterdam about 1.5 hours ago. I’m exhausted, but it’s a beautiful city.

In history today:

Notable birthdays:

  • 1874 – Harry Houdini, Hungarian-Jewish American magician and actor (d. 1926)
  • 1883 – Dorothy Campbell, Scottish-American golfer (d. 1945)
  • 1901 – Ub Iwerks, American animator, director, and producer, co-created Mickey Mouse (d. 1971)
  • 1912 – Dorothy Height, African-American educator and activist (d. 2010)
  • 1921 – Vasily Smyslov, Russian chess player (d. 2010)
  • 1962 – Star Jones, African-American lawyer, journalist, and talk show host

Today Hili is trying her hand (well, paw) at classification.

Hili: Is a snake a head with a long tail?
A: Something like that.

In Polish:

Hili: Czy wąż to głowa z długim ogonem?
Ja: Coś w tym rodzaju.

From Twitter today:

Further evidence of the gracefulness of cats

You may want to not watch this one, it cannot be unseen.

An historical note

A good thylacine photograph:

Trying for a Darwin award:

The Brits are not happy about Brexit.

Mason Bee nests:

Snails eating (high speed version):

Every kid’s going to want one of these for Christmas. Start saving now.

And finally, a happy canid.

Hat-tip: Matthew

58 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “1832 – In Hiram, Ohio, a group of men beat and tar and feather Mormon leader Joseph Smith.”

    What did they do that for?

    • rickflick
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      He refused to drink tea or coffee, and swindled the townspeople and slept with his friend’s wives, and…

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Among other things, Mormons were notorious counterfeiters.

  2. Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    In response to the
    “option this” tweet, I really don’t think you can do better than what the man holding the camera said: “holy shit”.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Probably also the best caption for the video of the anti Brexit march.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Good point, holy shit!

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Or something about’Florida man…’.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    SCOT FREE: The phrase originating in the 15th C with the Dymchurch sea wall seems to be a bare assertion without documentation. The website HERE makes the claim [in the info box to the right of the page], but there’s no reference there to it in a written form.

    Another assertion I found is that the first reference in print to “scot free” is in the 11th C Writ of Edward the Confessor OR in a 13th C forged copy of it. Again, no paperwork that I can find.

    There is supposedly an American slave, Scott, who was set free, but I highly doubt that’s the origin of “scot free” as claimed!

    • gscott
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      As someone descended from a long line of Scotts, I can assure you that Scotts do not get everything free.

      The derivation I’ve seen is explained at https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/04/15/scot-free-origin/
      A short extract:
      the scot of scot-free is related to the noun shot (associated with the verb shoot), influenced by cognate words in Scandinavian languages. The modern Scandinavian equivalents are Swedish and Norwegian skatt, Danish skat, and Icelandic skattur, meaning ‘tax’.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        Yes I saw that, but when & where was it used in the form “scot free”?

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        I always assumed it was derived from ‘shot’, like not being shot in a shooting, unharmed.
        Although I didn’t know about ‘scot’ meaning a ‘tax’, I still think my assumption remains somehow plausible.

  4. Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    If the Thylacines became critically endangered today, their chances of survival would have been much higher. We are much better at managing this problem today.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Much more than the woolly mammoth or the quagga, I hope we will be able to bring thylacine back.
      Btw, that photograph is terribly sad.

  5. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning! More (old) news today is that the sect of Jehova’s Witnesses have their own pedophile sex abuse suppression scandal [ https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/the-secret-jehovahs-witness-database-of-child-molesters/584311/ ].

    And the Qingjiang “Lagerstätte of Lagerstätte” is still doing the rounds. Seems so far they found *many* jellyfish and other soft bodies, 20,000 fossils and counting. And since it promised to be extensive with local ecologies (50 % new species in the current locale), it’s Darwin Times [BBC].

    More biology news is that last video reminded me of the morning’s such downer, the discovery of systematic wolf-dog hybrid breeding in Sweden. It is forbidden since the wolf population is marginal (on purpose, also sad).

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I mean to say “Darwin Time”. Since I can now post another link without the comment being hold up for busy Jerry’s acceptance, here is the BBC link:

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-47667880

      “The fossils are estimated to be about 518 million years old, and are particularly unusual because the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their skin, eyes, and internal organs, have been “exquisitely” well preserved.

      Palaeontologists have called the findings “mind-blowing” – especially because more than half the fossils are previously undiscovered species.

      The fossils, known as the Qingjiang biota, were collected near Danshui river in Hubei province.

      More than 20,000 specimens were collected, and a total of 4,351 have been analysed so far, including worms, jellyfish, sea anemones and algae.”

      • Christopher
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        I just read that on the BBC. What an amazing soft bodied fossil cache. I hope someone writes a decent book on these discoveries!

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Not even remotely surprising about the JW scandal. It can be expected that all religions have their forms of this.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    While a screwed up America waits to see what is in the Mueller report we look in amazement at what is going on in Britain. Putin must be holding parties nightly.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Only question is if they are (c)rave or crow parties.

      But Putin cannot last much longer, The bigger problem is that Russia, like US and UK, willingly dig themselves deeper into the pit.

      Estonia had a liberal election reversal just now. Many around Europe are thanking UK for the exposure of populism dysfunction. But then for unknown reasons the centrist part turned to the right extremist populist party in a non-democratic move. I don’t think that will stand though, so the new government may become liberal.

      Thank you, UK! PS. We can still be best buddies at the same pub, just make a democratic poll again. (Preferably an advisory one this time, plz give the system some leeway.) I checked the poll numbers yesterday, and AFAIK the majority has wanted to remain in EU ever since the vote.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Democratic *vote*. [leaving the laptop for some much needed coffee]

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        The second referendum was also only advisory. The government could have ignored it legally.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Perhaps there is a principle to be defined. When extremism takes hold, people react positively until the negative becomes apparent. If that applies to the US, DT will be repudiated and replaced by a heroic liberal. One can at least hope that’s true.

        • Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          I am afraid, however, that there is yet no heroic liberal at the horizon.

          • rickflick
            Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            Oh, contrair! There are 18 or 20 on the horizon. 😎

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I checked the poll numbers yesterday, and AFAIK the majority has wanted to remain in EU ever since the vote.

        What a coincidence! The polls had a majority wanting to remain just before the vote, too.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    BEST MARCH PLACARDS:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      queen

    • BJ
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      That’s fantastic.

      I long to return to the days where everyone gets Rickrolled. Even Brexit has been Rickrolled now.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        An instructively vast difference in the Leave & Remain marches. The above Remain march in London was calm, orderly, humorous & plenty of kids & pets – utterly safe. A smattering of eccentrics, but no loons that I saw.

        • Ross Foley
          Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Exactly, Michael. A carnival atmosphere with a very serious purpose. Tim Adams, in the Observer, captures it wonderfully: “…a spirit that the Brexiters have failed over the past three years ever to begin to convey: that of creative optimism.”

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            Exactomon Rossbabes! As Del boy of Peckham might say.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

              ‘…chattering liberals, dinner parties, bein pensants, elites, sneering, dinner parties, liberals, sneering, dinner parties, parties at dinner, globalists, sneering at the working class at dinner parties, liberal sneering parties for globalist elites at dinner,’

              This is what it’s like talking to the other side at the moment.

              I always thought the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for because it might come true’ was a daft saying, but it really makes sense right now. The Leavers got what they apparently wanted and now they haven’t got the slightest fucking clue what to do with it. It turns out all those tiresome experts might have known what they were talking about all along.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 25, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

                Indeed. And let’s not forget many of the political core of the Leave persuasion who lied to the disenfranchised, austerity whipped, unknowledgeable type of voter. And those asshole pols sail on unaffected by their own vile, self-interested mendacity.

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

        Imagine how fantastically wealthy Rick Astey would be if he got residuals from all the rickrolling?

  8. Christopher
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Because they thought their imaginary friend was jealous of his imaginary friend.

  9. Roger
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Wiki: “Smith’s authority was undermined when Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, and other church members also claimed to receive revelations. In response, Smith dictated a revelation which clarified his office as a prophet and an apostle, and which declared that only he held the ability to give doctrine and scripture for the entire church.”

    Dude had a revelation for everything didn’t he.

  10. BJ
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Well, I’m glad to hear that things in Syria are so much better now…

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    You may want to not watch this one, it cannot be unseen.

    Worst hair-grooming maneuver since Dubya’s neocon Deputy Secretary of Defense (and Iraq War architect) Paul Wolfowitz famously licked his comb on camera.

  12. FB
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Someone should create AI to count how many people go to marches and presidential inaugurations.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      That’s a huge march. Possibly even more people than turned up for Mr tRump’s inauguration.

      😎

      cr

  13. Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Leave (a.k.a., “Brexit) won 52% v. 48% over Remain. It was a binding referendum. The UK government has an obligation to bring it to fruition. That is how democracy works — you don’t get to keep holding elections until you get the result you like.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Binding? Not in law:

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        I stand corrected.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      It was an advisory referendum, i.e. literally not legally binding. Also, I don’t see how holding a referendum is anti-democracy. It may be frustrating, but there perfectly good reasons for putting the question to the voters again; the main one being that what “Brexit” actually would entail is still not clear even years later. If it were then the UK would not be so perilously close to a “no-deal” Brexit.

      /Grania

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        I see now that is was not binding. But did not Cameron and then May pledge to abide by the result? (Cameron at least had the dignity to resign.) If May is unwilling or unable to honor that pledge and to respect the will of the people, she, too, should step aside.

        The referendum text had no caveats about ‘hard’ vs. ‘soft’ exits; it strikes me as quite patronizing to assume hoi polloi were too naive to realize what they were getting into, and should be offered a second chance to get the ‘correct’ answer to the question.

        While I personally believe the UK would do better long-term by remaining in the EU, the Leave vote seems a reasoned response to both the oligarchs in Strasbourg and the elitists in the Conservative & Labour parties who continue shove their economic globalism and multiculturalism social engineering down the throats of an unwilling electorate.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Patronising or not, it is perfectly true that nobody, at the time, understood the complications that were involved. And that a large factor was the ‘fuck you’ vote.

          Your position is that the entire population, having had the chance to reflect, should be penalised at length for a momentary unwise decision *even though it is entirely possible to allow them to change their minds and come to a more sensible decision* and *even though it will be vastly easier, cheaper, less disruptive and better all round to reverse it*?
          In the name of what? A twisted view of ‘democracy’? To teach them a lesson? (What lesson, exactly?)

          That’s just perverse.

          cr

          • Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            … the entire population, having had the chance to reflect, should be penalised at length for a momentary unwise decision *even though it is entirely possible to allow them to change their minds and come to a more sensible decision*…

            Here again on display is the arrogant elitist attitude that you all know better than the masses, who could realize the error of their ways, if only they’d heed educating from their betters.

            • rickflick
              Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

              True enough, but it is also true that some elitist attitudes could actually know better than the masses. It’s just a matter of particulars and specifics.

              • Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

                True enough, but it is also true that some elitist attitudes could actually know better than the masses. It’s just a matter of particulars and specifics.

                Well, we all think we’re right, don’t we?

                If you are in the minority, you need to persuade the majority. That obviously failed terribly in 2016. Banging on for two years about “particulars and specifics” only exposed the elites’ detachment from the common people and a complete misunderstanding of brexit sentiment.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

              It would appear that ‘the masses’ *have* learnt the ‘error of their ways’, judging by every public opinion poll since the stupid referendum. I’m not saying I know better, I’m saying *they* know better.

              Who are you to deny them the chance to change their mind?

              cr

              • Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

                It would appear that ‘the masses’ *have* learnt the ‘error of their ways’, judging by every public opinion poll since the stupid referendum.

                The polls were stunningly wrong just before the stupid referendum. What if they are wrong again? How many do-overs will you demand until you get the result you like?

                FWIW, I think the UK should stay in the EU and adopt the Euro for that matter. But it’s not my call — and it’s not Theresa May’s, and it’s not the losers’ of the referendum, either.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted March 25, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

                As I said: You’re just being perverse. You think they should do what you agree is the wrong thing because – what?

                Even I, in my ‘shit happens’ cynicism, don’t think shit should be obligatory.

                cr

  14. Dave
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    It was sold to us as a binding referendum, and both Labour and Conservative parties fought the subsequent general election on a platform of respecting the result and delivering Brexit – a commitment that large sections of both parties have since devoted themselves to undermining. The only “perfectly good reason” for putting the question again is to try and get the result that the political establishment wants, after which the issue will be declared settled for all time, thereby removing any lingering danger that the “little people” might imagine that their opinions actually matter.

    • TreenonPoet
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      As Michael Fisher has pointed out by referencing Briefing Paper 07212, Parliament were asked to allow an advisory referendum, even though the Government had promised a binding referendum in their 2015 election manifesto. Parliament debated the EU Referendum Bill accordingly, and did not override the advisory nature.

      Had the Referendum been binding, the legislation would have been different. For example, it would have been appropriate to require a supermajority. For a 72% turnout, this threshold would have been much higher than the level reached by Leave voters.

      Yet during the Referendum campaign, an official Government leaflet promised that the Government would implement what the electorate decided (falsely implying that the Referendum was binding). In the courtroom, the Government admit that the Referendum was advisory, but elsewhere it repeatedly claims that the Referendum was binding by saying, for example, that the Referendum result was a mandate, an instruction, etc.

      There are repeated claims that the Referendum must be respected, when what is meant is that (1) the voting ratio (52% Leave: 48% Remain) be treated as 100% Leave; 0% Remain, (2) the Referendum status (advisory) be treated as binding, and (3) the Referendum question be treated as if it included details such as whether the UK should be part of the European Single Market) rather than as a simple Leave/Remain choice. In this way the 2016 Referendum is disrespected.

      I accept that much of the electorate were given the impression that the Referendum was binding. What would you say to those (such as myself) who knew the Referendum was advisory and acted accordingly? In what has been a mendacious process (though considered constitutional by those accepting the legality of triggering Article 50), the lie about the status of the Referendum was, in my opinion, the greatest lie of all.

  15. Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The UK joined the EEC in the seventies (the forerunner to the EU as far as i can tell) and we being in the commonwealth NZ, felt it, with our exports and little bits of WTF moments, ANZAC’s and all that 2nd WW stuff, to wit, a body blow. So what did we do? we turned to the pacific rim countries. Now, the UK is rejecting the EU, hold on a minute, no we’re not, yes we are… perhaps you should try Africa, oops, been there, not a good result. ummm… where were we? ok, remain calm, have a cuppa.

  16. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    The British people appear to have come to their senses, now the politicians…
    Is there still hope?

    • rickflick
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      There is an issue here – what is it about vast numbers of people (i.e. populations) that are distinct from and alienated from rational cognition?


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