Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday, August 13, 2019, and all I can say is thank god it’s not Friday, as it would be Friday the 13th. It’s National Filet Mignon Day, one of the worst cuts of steak, tender but without flavor. Get a ribeye or T-bone instead.  if you’re a lefty, then it’s your day: International Lefthanders Day. Finally, it’s National Prosecco Day.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is the winner of a contest. C|Net reports:

A Georgia teen has won this year’s Doodle for Google contest for her altruistic message. In response to the theme, “When I grow up, I hope… ,” Arantza Peña Popo’s crafted a selfless Doodle titled “Once you get it, give it back.”

Popo, of Lithonia, Georgia, returned her mother’s devotion with a soulful Doodle that shows her and her mother in front of a portrait of the pair at much younger ages.  In her words, the Doodle depicts “a framed picture of my mother carrying me as a baby (a real picture in my house) and below the picture is me, caring for her when she’s older in the future.”

I have business in the city this morning, so posting will be light. As ever, I do my best.

Stuff that happened on August 13 includes:

  • 1521 – After an extended siege, forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés capture Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc and conquer the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
  • 1889 – William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut is granted United States Patent Number 408,709 for “Coin-controlled apparatus for telephones.”
  • 1918 – Women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time. Opha May Johnson is the first woman to enlist.

Johnson was a clerk at Marine Corps Headquarters, working as part of the Marine Corps reserve. Of course women Marines weren’t sent overseas then, much less into combat, but here’s to a patriotic pioneer:

Opha May Johnson

Other stuff that happened on August 13 includes:

  • 1942 – Major General Eugene Reybold of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes the construction of facilities that would house the “Development of Substitute Materials” project, better known as the Manhattan Project.
  • 1954 – Radio Pakistan broadcasts the “Qaumī Tarāna“, the national anthem of Pakistan for the first time.

Here’s the Pakistani national anthem with its words; apparently “Qaumī Tarāna” means “national anthem” in Urdu:

Here are the murderers, with Evans on the left and Allen on the right. I doubt that anybody else will ever be executed in the UK again. Pity I can’t say that about the U.S.:

  • 1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts enjoy a ticker tape parade in New York City. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1860 – Annie Oakley, American target shooter (d. 1926)
  • 1895 – Bert Lahr, American actor (d. 1967)
  • 1899 – Alfred Hitchcock, English-American director and producer (d. 1980)
  • 1912 – Salvador Luria, Italian-American microbiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1991)
  • 1919 – George Shearing, English jazz pianist and bandleader (d. 2011)
  • 1926 – Fidel Castro, Cuban lawyer and politician, 15th President of Cuba (d. 2016)
  • 1930 – Don Ho, American singer and ukulele player (d. 2007)
  • 1982 – Sarah Huckabee Sanders, American political consultant and press secretary

If you’ve read Kerouac’s On the Road, you’ll remember when Shearing plays and Neal Cassady describes him as “the great god Shearing”. Here’s a vignette of a great jazz pianist:

Those who left this Vale of Tears on August 13 include:

  • 1863 – Eugène Delacroix, French painter and lithographer (b. 1798)
  • 1910 – Florence Nightingale, Italian-English nurse and theologian (b. 1820)
  • 1946 – H. G. Wells, English novelist, historian, and critic (b. 1866)
  • 2004 – Julia Child, American chef, author, and television host (b. 1912)
  • 2012 – Helen Gurley Brown, American journalist and author (b. 1922)

Delacroix was a great painter of cats and tigers, one of the few artists who could get the animal right. Here, from The Great Cat site (a treasure house of cat art) is Delacroix’s “Six studies of a cat”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seeks wisdom. Were I Andrzej, I’d reply with the old bromide, “The admission of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom”.

Hili: How to be wise?
A: This is a very difficult question, could you ask about something easier?
In Polish:
Hili: Jak być mądrą?
Ja: To bardzo trudne pytanie, czy mogłabyś zapytać mnie o coś łatwiejszego?

From Jesus of the Day:

Mark Sturtevant found this on Instagram under Tastefully Offensive:

A free-will cartoon from reader Pliny the in Between:

A tweet sent to me by Grania on January 29 of this year. A hominin killed by a felid!

A tweet from Nilou—a lovely video of a snowflake forming:

Three cat tweets from Heather Hastie. Mark Twain rented cats for the summer! He was a true ailurophile.

Heather says, “This is a really, really cool slo-mo. Note that one of the kittens doesn’t land on its feet either.”

And a really cool cat (the second tweet):

Three tweets from Matthew, the first shows an amazing display of synchronous avian diving:

What a lovely song of a morning!

At first I didn’t know how they made the “crushed” parts of the bus, but then I saw that it was just very clever painting. More buses should look like this:



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Looking closely at the original pictures of the bus, it would appear to be some truly artful application of black pigment that is creating the illusion. Certainly a fine effect 😀

    • Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      It reminds me of a raccoon photo somehow reproduced on a local “utility” mailbox by the city here. I wonder how these are done? A very thin layer of plastic? Reproducing arbitrary colours on a metal surface seems hard.

  2. GBJames
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

  3. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The video of the birds dive-bombing the lake was very cool. I guess doing it simultaneously gives them the element of surprise, rather than one person going in early and scaring the fish away for the rest of them.

    OTOH, if that’s the case you’d think that that kind of behaviour would be vulnerable to selfish freeloaders going in early and getting more fish for themselves…

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      “…one person…”?? D’oh. What’s wrong with me?

      (…That’s a rhetorical question btw, before the answers flood in.)

  4. merilee
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink


  5. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Without wishing to lower the tone of WEIT(god forbid) the illustration of the man being set upon by the leopard in the ‘Paleoanthropology’ tweet reminded me of a regular column in the British adult* comic magazine ‘Viz’:


    *not in an intellectual sense.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      *Snigger* – I love VIZ. It’s Quacking Good Value!


      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 13, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        There were about two or three commenters I thought would get the reference and you were near the top of that list…

        And I love the spoof ads. They’re much funnier than Private Eye’s spoof ads imo.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Tweet on the OP:

    Physics & Astronomy Zone @ZonePhysics

    How a drop of water turns into a snowflake [movie GIF]…..

    Snowflakes do not form inside blobs of water. Snowflakes grow by molecules of water attaching to the extremities of the existing structure, most often [but not always] while floating in water-saturated air. This looks like a snowflake melting recording that has been reversed.

    Only 99.9% sure though.

    • merilee
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      You might have a point there.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 13, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Actually, he has six points. 😎

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I am thinking the same (give or take some confidence).

  7. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    On the 13th of August 1865, the unsung hero Ignatz Semmelweiss died of his injuries -left the Vale of Tears- (as I mentioned yesterday).
    He saved the life of thousands of women during his lifetime, and probably millions posthumously.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes. “Wash. Your. Hands”.

      Shame JC, or whoever wrote his script, thought that washing hands before meals was just a bit of Pharisee dogma. See Matt. 15:2.

  8. rickflick
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I notice that Maggie’s voice is actually two voices together giving it an echo effect. Birds have a syrinx rather than a larynx. This can channel air from both lungs to separate sound organs, so they can sing and harmonize with themselves or sing two distinct songs at once.

    At this site, you can scroll down a bit and listen to a skylark illustrating this amazing skill:


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Arte Johnson says “verrrry interesting” & I agree! Didn’t know that re syrinx & looking it up I see it derives from the Greek for pan pipes.

  9. Scott
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    The first sentence of the Mark Twain quote contains four lines of text, 57 words, with four commas.

    I find that remarkable!

  10. openidname
    Posted August 14, 2019 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Re the felid and the poor hominid: How on earth did they both (esp. the felid) come to die and become fossilized in just that position?!?

    • rickflick
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      I suspect the two fossils were found separately and the juxtaposition is imposed for illustration.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        Australopithecus robustus SK-54 Juvenile cranium section, dated at 1.5 million years, was discovered in 1949 Swartkrans, South Africa by Robert Broom and J.T. Robinson. This juvenile calotte (skull cap) possesses two 6mm puncture wounds close to the intersection of the sagittal and lamdoidal sutures.

        First thought to lend evidence to Robert Dart’s “killer Ape Theory” (the theory of war and interpersonal aggression being the driving force behind human evolution), the depressed fractures were thought to be the result of an attack by pointed weapon. Years later, after subsequent excavations headed by C.K. Brain, a new, now generally accepted, theory was introduced: the punctures were produced by a leopard attack

        • rickflick
          Posted August 14, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Just so: “To demonstrate this, he matched the lower canines of an African leopard with the puncture wounds of the robustus. Both the canines and the puncture wounds were at equal distanced of 33mm (Brain 1981).”

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