Monday: Hili dialogue

Welcome to the first Monday of Summer: June 24, 2019. It’s muggy and uncomfortable in Hawaii: although the Fahrenheit temperatures are in the middle 80s (about 30°C), the humidity hovers around 70% and the trade winds are weak, so it’s oppressive. But of course that won’t put me off sightseeing and eating. I see that in Chicago it’s overcast and temperatures will be moderate for the next week.

It’s National Praline Day, honoring a sweet that is almost too sweet for me, and, in Scotland it’s Bannockburn Day, celebrating the victory of Robert the Bruce over the English army of King Edward II on this day in 1314.  Here’s an image of the battle (see caption for information):

This depiction from the Scotichronicon (c.1440) is the earliest known image of the battle. King Robert wielding an axe and Edward II fleeing toward Stirling feature prominently, conflating incidents from the two days of battle. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is a gif celebrating the ongoing Women’s World Cup in Soccer. And if you keep clicking on it, you get to yesterday’s outcome and today’s schedule. In about an hour, Spain will play the U.S. in Reims, with heavy odds on a U.S. win.

Stuff that happened on June 24:

  • 1314 – First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn concludes with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce.
  • 1374 – A sudden outbreak of St. John’s Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.

Historians still don’t know what caused these outbursts of dancing in medieval times. You can read about the Aachen episode here.

  • 1497 – John Cabot lands in North America at Newfoundland leading the first European exploration of the region since the Vikings.
  • 1880 – First performance of O Canada, the song that would become the national anthem of Canada, at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français.
  • 1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract.
  • 1947 – Kenneth Arnold makes the first widely reported UFO sighting near Mount Rainier, Washington.
  • 1948 – Cold War: Start of the Berlin Blockade: The Soviet Union makes overland travel between West Germany and West Berlin impossible.
  • 1949 – The first television western, Hopalong Cassidy, is aired on NBC starring William Boyd.
  • 1982 – “The Jakarta Incident”: British Airways Flight 9 flies into a cloud of volcanic ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung, resulting in the failure of all four engines.

Do read about the link. The passengers thought that they were going to die for sure as the plane glided slowly down toward the sea, but the engines restarted at lower altitudes and the plane landed safely using its instruments (the windscreen had been sandblasted into opaqueness by the ash).

  • 1995 – “Rugby World Cup final“: South Africa defeats New Zealand, Nelson Mandela presents Francois Pienaar with the Webb-Ellis trophy in an iconic post-apartheid moment.

That moment, and the game itself, was portrayed in the 2009 movie Invictus, but here’s a video of the real ending, with Mandela giving Pienaar the trophy at 1:50.

  • 2012 – Lonesome George, the last known individual of Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii, a subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise, dies.

Note that elsewhere in Wikipedia (as in the “Lonesome George” entry), the tortoises from different islands are identified as different species, not different subspecies of C. nigra. As far as I can see, the classification is rather arbitrary since the populations are allopatric (living in different places) and thus never get the chance to interbreed. (The inability of populations to interbreed and produce fertile offspring where they co-occur is the hallmark for being members of different species.) But Wikipedia should be consistent here.

  • 2013 – Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is found guilty of abusing his power and having sex with an underage prostitute, and is sentenced to seven years in prison.

But the next year his appeal proved successful and, despite being plagued by many other scandals, Berlusconi is out of the pokey.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1813 – Henry Ward Beecher, American minister and reformer (d. 1887)
  • 1842 – Ambrose Bierce, American short story writer, essayist, and journalist (d. 1914)
  • 1895 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and soldier (d. 1983)
  • 1915 – Fred Hoyle, English astronomer and author (d. 2001)
  • 1937 – Anita Desai, Indian-American author and academic
  • 1942 – Mick Fleetwood, English-American drummer
  • 1944 – Jeff Beck, English guitarist and songwriter
  • 1980 – Minka Kelly, American actress

Those who died on June 24 include:

  • 1519 – Lucrezia Borgia, Italian wife of Alfonso I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara (b. 1480)
  • 1908 – Grover Cleveland, American lawyer and politician, 22nd and 24th President of the United States (b. 1837)
  • 1987 – Jackie Gleason, American actor, comedian, and producer (b. 1916)
  • 2005 – Paul Winchell, American actor, voice artist, and ventriloquist (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seems to suffer from fear of murmuration:

From Facebook:From reader Bruce:

Here’s the last tweet Grania made on her site that was not a retweet. I remember her telling me how strange but wonderful it was that a bunch of Swedes, drunk in the street, danced to Abba in unison.  She died two days later.

Here are two tweets from the Lost Lode of Grania tweets that I found, which I’m rationing out. First, an angry bird:

Close up of an ant face:

A tweet from Nilou. This is George, the recently-hatched raven at the Tower of London. They do grow up fast!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This first one is really good:

I agree with Heather that “this is a really good idea”. A self-regulating speed bump!

Tweets from Matthew. I vote the selfie stick as “the worst tech item.” For some reason I get really angry when I see them being used. So solipsistic!

Here’s a tweet I can’t see, as when I try the link I get a notice that “this site does not exist.” Maybe I’m blocked? Anyway, Matthew sent me a screenshot, so he can see it:

A very profound quote, and one that theologists must squirm about:

Is it because German rodents are fat?



  1. enl
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    “But Wikipedia should be consistent here.”

    Surely, you jest?

    • JezGrove
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      It’s the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, so feel free to make any necessary corrections (provided you cite a reliable source).

      • Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Part of the problem will be that versions of the “biological species concept” that Jerry alludes to are sort of contentious – at least amongst philosophers of biology (and amongst microbiologists, if I recall correctly). So how does one have a consistent editorial policy on something that is, up to a point, not settled?

        • Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          Well, they don’t have to apply the BSC, although they should, as it’s the concept that most evolutionists use, but at least they should be consistent.

          I explain why the BSC is the best evolutionary concept to use for sexually reproducing species in Chapter 1 and the Appendix of my book with Allen Orr, “Speciation.”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      No, it is not in Jest.
      In the fields where I have expertise, Wikipedia generally gives a reasonably good introduction, reason I have some trust in Wikipedia.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    My dad’s Scottish friend’s mother used to tell my dad that the MacPhersons were traitors who sided with the English in the Battle of Bannockburn which we later discovered wasn’t true at all.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Sounds like she was stirring things up – the Scots love a good row. 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        She was kind of an evil woman and this is when they were children. She didn’t want her son to hang around with “that traitor MacPherson”. She also lost her shit when she saw their Dutch friend in a kilt because he was part of the The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          was she annoyed at him being Dutch or Argyll and Sutherland Highlander?

          • Posted June 25, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            Probably because he was an American.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

              Canadian – from Holland and come over after the war.

              • Posted June 25, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

                I should have put a smiley after that. I wasn’t being entirely serious

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            She was annoyed that a Dutchman would wear a tartan (which is the military dress uniform of that regiment)

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Yes, it’s that dew point temperature that really determines how nasty it is outdoors. Or without air conditioning, indoors. Anything above 65 starts to be rough. You should just hop on the Pali and go to the lookout. That will cool you down.

  4. jstackpo
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Robert The Bruce”

    What’s a “Bruce” – sounds like a noun for something.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      It means he’s from the Brus/Bruce family descended from Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale who came to England in 1106.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I can tell you what a Bruce ain’t: a poofter! 🙂

  5. DW
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” Manual has received Vatican approval?

      • DW
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Dick Cheney converted to Catholicism.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          Interesting. I wonder if his level of guilt and self loathing came into par with followers of the Pope. It would have be nudged upward by his time in office. Then there’s that utilitarian aspect, the confessional to purge the conscience for the next policy decision.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 25, 2019 at 12:13 am | Permalink

          The Cheneys assuming their rightful place alongside the Medicis and Borgias.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            Surely the Medicis and Borgias would be staring down their stilettos at Johnny-come-latelys like the Cheneies?
            It’s not as if one side of the conversation has class and the other are just thugs.

      • Posted June 25, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        I’m thinking that is probably a baptism in the Orthodox Church where full dunkings are more common, plus the priest has a beard and no head gear.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Total immersion baptisms, 8 minutes a-piece. God will look after her own, even if the boot is firmly on top of the skull.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    1895 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and soldier (d. 1983)

    The Manassa Mauler was also a famous restaurateur, with his iconic eponymous Broadway boîte in the Brill Building off Times Square.

  7. rickflick
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Oh, Hopalong Cassidy! I remember it. I was only 3 years old in 1949, so I am probably remembering later shows. Boyd’s white hair made him look too old to ride a horse. Something like an Allstate salesman.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Because Hopalong Cassidy was a staple of children’s Saturday morning cinema shows in the UK he was known a Popalong Saturday.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        After Cassidy broke his ankle (pursuing El Runtissimo across the rooftops after finding him in flagrente – Runty was the better climber by far), he acquired the nickname of “Slopalong Placidly”. And boy, did he not like it!

        Now I know where the name came from.

    • grasshopper
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      My father used to joke about two characters from a comedy show, who were named Hopalong Happily, and Side-saddle Sassafras. I never learned the name of the show.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Grania, I chanced upon Auden’s poem “In Memory of of W.B. Yeats” over the weekend, and the first stanza of the third section made me think of her:

    Earth, receive an honoured guest:
    William Yeats is laid to rest.
    Let the Irish vessel lie
    Emptied of its poetry.

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    A couple of Linda Smith snippets below, with more at THIS LINK – marvellous woman [RIP] with a fast draw wit.

    I do admire Van Gogh – I do think he was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. He did some very silly things. Top of the list, famously – after a row with Gaugin – absolutely ripped to the tits on absinthe – girlfriend had left him – so, he chopped his ear off and sent it to her. Do you think she came back? Do you think that did the trick? Hasn’t really caught on, has it? For a start, you wouldn’t try that trick today with our post, would you? Six months later, she’d be saying ‘Ooh! a sun-dried tomato!’ And what was he thinking? What was this girl going to do? Open up this package, fish out this lug, and go ‘Ooh, Vinny! I thought you were all mad and driven and weird and a loner, and our relationship was doomed, and you go and do a lovely thing like this. Ooh, you know how to get round me. I SAID, YOU KNOW HOW TO GET ROUND ME!’ (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)

    Shortly before her death:

    As Linda drifted in and out of consciousness, her fellow comedian Mark Steel noticed Joan Collins on the television. “I was on a chat show with Joan Collins,” he told fellow comedian Andy Hamilton. “How old is she?” Hamilton asked. “I think she must be close to 75,” replied Steel. From beneath the pile of bedclothes a little voice piped up: “How much is that in human years?”

    Sunday Times, 11 November 2007

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Frickin’ hilarious!

    • JezGrove
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Linda Smith is very missed. She became president of the British Humanist Association, and was voted “Wittiest Living Person” in 2002 by the listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth programme.

  10. Curtis
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    E-cigarettes are one of the greatest inventions not the worst. According to Public Health England, they are 95% safer than cigarette. If 1 smoker switches to e-cigarettes and 10 non-smokers take up e-cigarettes, there is an overall health benefits.

    “‘It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about safety,’ said Prof John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      The e cigarette fashion is doing today, what cigs did back in the 50s and 60s. Millions of young kids are doing it. I do not see that as much improvement. The e cigs contain the same habit forming chemicals that get you hooked. They do flavors as if they were selling ice cream to the kiddies. Yeah, it’s great stuff.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        It strikes me that should be illegal. Where is the bipartisan support for legislation? Which members of congress get e-tobbacco money?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          That last one can be solved easily : buy electric fags made in China – they all are anyway – and starve the corrupt USian politicians of their ill-gotten gains. There are plenty of other countries capable of growing tobacco than America.
          If indeed they use tobacco-derived nicotine, which may or may not be the case.
          (Personally, I’ve tailed down from 12mg liquids to 3 or 0 mg liquids.)

        • Curtis
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Why would you ban safer e-cigarettes and leave normal cigarettes alone? And if you want to ban both, do really want to create 30 million criminals overnight?

          • rickflick
            Posted June 24, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            I wouldn’t necessarily ban e-cigs. I’m just complaining about the way they seem to be marketing them to children with fancy flavors, etc. As a way to not quit tobacco, they probably serve a valuable role.

      • Curtis
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t you see it as an improvement? They are much, much safer than cigarettes. CIGARETTE SMOKING AMONG YOUNG ADULTS DROPPED 21% IN ONE YEAR (2016-2017). Smoking among teens has dropped 50% between 2011 and 2017. Those are numbers to celebrate and e-cigarette are the main reason.

        Obviously, it would be better if no one used e-cigarettes but don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      E-cigarettes are dangerous for a variety of reasons, beginning with the fact, as stated above, that they contain tobacco, which is habit-forming, so you’ll still be a nicotine addict.

      In addition, many of the flavorings are synthetic (who knows what’s in them; manufactures don’t state). “Glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are the most common nicotine solvents used in e-cigarettes (ECs). It has been shown that at high temperatures both VG and PG undergo decomposition to low molecular carbonyl comp​ounds, including the carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.” This from PubMed “Carbonyl compounds in electronic cigarette vapors: effects of nicotine solvent and battery output voltage”

      It’s well known that the batteries can explode and cause significant physical damage, often around the face and head, abd even death. Not so well known but also critically important is the fact that the heating coils in many batteries contain heavy metals that can leach into the vapor,

      It is my understanding that cannabis oil extraction for vaporizers is now usually done using CO2, which doesn’t carry the hazards of propylene glycol and glycerin; however, the dangers from the batteries and flavorings is the same.

      I think it’s dangerously short-sighted and almost criminally stupid for anyone, especially those in the public health sector, to tout the benefits of e-cigarettes and ignore the considerable and very serious health hazards in order to sell them as a “safe” alternative to smoking tobacco.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Should be “dangers are” and “and” for “abd.”

        It is also my understanding that CO2 extraction doesn’t contribute to carbon emission and climate degradation.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        E-cigarettes or e-pipes do not contain tobacco, but nicotine. One can choose the amount of nicotine, from 18 mg to 0 mg per ml of liquid. Nicotine can be dangerous in high doses, acute toxicity, but has little harmful effects in lower doses, even if used long term. However, nicotine is the addictive chemical in smoking.
        The negatives of smoking is the tar (lung cancer) and the carbon monoxide (heart and vessels).
        Don’t get me wrong, they are great devices for smokers that can’t or won’t quit. They should not, repeat: should not, be offered to non-smokers as an innocuous device.
        They do indeed produce aldehydes and are not healthy.
        However, the concentrations are much lower than in ‘burning’ tobacco, so it is a ‘less unhealthy’ alternative for smokers.
        A great invention if used properly (weaning smokers from burning tobacco).

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          In Canada, nicotine in e-cigs is illegal but people order them from the US online. They aren’t allowed to be sold here. The other vape products are though and with marijuana being legal I’m sure that will soon be allowed as well.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            The grottos and caverns of legislator’s and bureaucrat’s minds, even Canadian ones, appear impenetrable.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted June 24, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

              I’m actually wrong. The e-cigs are legal as of May 2018. I think there had to be legislative updates about sale or something.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          My fuzzy mind today: nicotine not tobacco, of course. Hope that doesn’t portend cognitive decline.

      • Posted June 25, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        Yes, but e-cigarettes are safer than inhaling the products of burning tobacco leaves. If you have to “smoke”, an e-cigarette is a better alternative.

        If you don’t want to get pregnant (or get somebody pregnant) or you don’t want to get sexually transmitted diseases, complete abstinence from sex is safer than using contraceptives and yet, when the Catholic Church pushes that line, we criticise them for being unrealistic (which they are).

        I don’t have a nicotine addiction, but I have friends who do and I prefer the World with them in it.

  11. Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Stuck rodents: maybe the holes are different/smaller in Germany?

    Non-Newtonian fluid: Are there other examples being used in technological contexts?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      The clue is in the name. The holes are man holes ; the rodents aren’t men. So why would you expect a clearance fit between one and the other?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Non-Newtonian fluids

      Almost all real fluids are non-Newtonian. A Newtonian fluid is one where stress and strain rate are linearly and positively proportional. Many fluids are approximately Newtonian at low strain rates, but almost everything departs from Newtonian behaviour at high strain rates.
      In practical terms, this is really important when you’re trying to pump fluids. In drilling we need a fluid with a high enough viscosity to suspend rock cuttings at low shear rates in the annulus of a well (otherwise the drill bit ends up re-working the cuttings time and again, slowing drilling rates and costing money. But at the high strain rates inside the drill pipe or jetting through the drill bit nozzles, such a high viscosity would result in excessively high pressures in the pumping system. So not only do you need a decidedly non-Newtonian drilling fluid, you need one with a negative viscosity-versus-strain rate slope. If for some reason (overheating, bacterial degradation changing the fluid pH) the chemistry changes to give a positive viscosity-versus-strain rate slope (not necessarily linear – we studied power-law, quadratic and logarithmic variations in non-linearity), then in fairly short order the pop-off valves on the pumps go “pop” (I’ve seen 6in diameter by 1in deep dents in 3/8in steel deck plates where the pop-offs “pop” – it’s not healthy for people in those spaces), then while the pumps are off for repair, all the cuttings drop out of the mud, packing-off around the drill string, preventing circulation and threatening the ability to move the drill string up or down.
      Controlling the non-Newtonianness of fluids is an important factor in efficient drilling.

      I did that guff for 3 years before escaping back to the microscope.

      • Posted June 25, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I took the use in the bump as a deliberate attempt to make use of where the usual (Newtonian) idealization breaks down … wondering if there are others where that’s on purpose (rather than a side effect). So, if I understand correctly, it is sort of “hazard” in pumps?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          People (“mud engineers”) get the sack for FSCKing the pumps.
          Managing fluid shear-rate vs viscosity is a real, and expensive business. Good mud men pull in high of $700/day.

  12. merilee
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m struck about how ancient Ambrose Bierce is, I always assumed he was about fully 20th century. Ahead of his time?

  14. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was settled that the ‘dancing’ outbreaks were due to ergotism, caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea, containing ergot/ ergotamine, basically a hallucinogenic drug (also causing gangrene), infecting cereals, especially rye.
    However, Wikipedia does not concur, but does not really give a better explanation either.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      That is certainly a popular explanation, but how, apart from symptom reporting, would you test the hypothesis? As a drug circulating in the bloodstream, you’re unlikely to get any genetic evidence. The drugs in question are organic compounds, otherwise spelled “food”. It’s going to be difficult to find relevant hard evidence to illuminate the hypothesis.

      (It’s worth noting that the hypothesis is generally given as
      – the fungus infects the crop (in damp storage)

      – producing a toxin which survives cooking which destroys the fungus
      – the toxin that produces the clinical symptoms, not the fungus itself.)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 25, 2019 at 2:52 am | Permalink

        I would cite the tweet from Grania and hypothesise that the occurrences were, in fact, outbreaks of Abba. 😉


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 25, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Could I volunteer for a day or two trying to persuade Agntha to give a … sample.

          Die … happy!

  15. Curt Nelson
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    “If God wanted us to believe in him he would have existed.”

    That’s what I’ve always thought.

    • jstackpo
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      A similar phrase (I forget whence it came…)

      “God is so great he doesen’t need to exist”

  16. Claudia Baker
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I love the drunk, dancing Swedes.

  17. revelator60
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    “1842 – Ambrose Bierce, American short story writer, essayist, and journalist (d. 1914)”

    There should probably be a question mark after 1914, since we still don’t know the date of Bierce’s death or much else about his disappearance in Mexico. Wikipedia states that he accompanied Pancho Villa’s army as far as the city of Chihuahua, and that his last known communication with the world was a letter to a friend—dated December 26, 1913—in which he wrote “As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination.”

    I would like to pretend that Bierce found the fountain of youth and is still alive today, leading a happy existence off the radar in one of the more idyllic parts of Mexico.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 25, 2019 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    While I think selfies are usually completely pointless, I think a selfie stick could be an extremely useful device for taking regular photos over the heads of a crowd or, for example, looking over cliff edges without climbing on the safety rails. Etc etc.

    A drone would be even better, of course.


  19. Posted June 25, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I think the fluid speed bumps look like a good idea at first glance. but I suspect they would be mostly defeatable by some young scamp with a Stanley knife who thinks owning non Newtonian fluid might be cool..

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