Saturday: Hili dialogue

This will be the last Saturday and Caturday posts for a while, though Matthew has promised to post the Hili dialogues (just the dialogue itself) every day when I’m gone. With luck, Matthew and Greg may weigh in on other matters from time to time.

At any rate, good morning on Saturday, October 19, 2019: National Seafood Bisque Day.  It’s also Dress Like a Dork Day, Evaluate Your Life Day (best to skip that), International Gin and Tonic Day, Rainforest Day and, in Albania, Mother Teresa Day, a public holiday honoring the old charlatan.

Stuff that happened on October 19 includes:

  • 1469 – Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella I of Castile, a marriage that paves the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.
  • 1512 – Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology.
  • 1789 – John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.
  • 1900 – Max Planck discovers Planck’s law of black-body radiation.

Here’s the first page of Planck’s paper, which could be said to have marked the beginning of quantum mechanics:

  • 1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.

This is another case of a supervisor getting credit for a graduate student’s discovery. As Wikipedia notes,

Streptomycin was first isolated on October 19, 1943, by Albert Schatz, a PhD student in the laboratory of Selman Abraham Waksman at Rutgers University in a research project funded by Merck and Co.  Waksman and his laboratory staff discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, streptomycin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, and candidin. Of these, streptomycin and neomycin found extensive application in the treatment of numerous infectious diseases. Streptomycin was the first antibiotic cure for tuberculosis (TB). In 1952 Waksman was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition “for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic active against tuberculosis”.  Waksman was later accused of playing down the role of Schatz who did the work under his supervision

Waksman got the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1952, Schatz got the shaft, and even sued Waksman (I don’t know what became of the suit). Later inquiries revealed that Schatz did deserve some credit, but he had to be satisfied with the Rutgers Medal, a far cry from the Nobel.

  • 1950 – Korean War: The Battle of Pyongyang ends in a United Nations victory. Hours later, the Chinese Army begins crossing the border into Korea.
  • 1960 – The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.
  • 1973 – President Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.
  • 1974 – Niue becomes a self-governing colony of New Zealand.

Niue, of course, is where the beloved migrating mallard Trevor the Duck lived, and then met his end at the hand (or mouth) of a d*g. His sad demise is recounted in this BBC article (click on screenshot). I fault the people of Niue for not sufficiently protecting Trevor.

  • 1987 – Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.
  • 2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II. [See above.]

Notables born on this day include:

Brown was known as “Three-Fingered Brown” because he had lost bits of two fingers in a farm accident as a child. Here’s his pitching hand and his grip. Despite the injury, he was an excellent pitcher with a good curve ball, and pitched in the major leagues until he was nearly 40.

  • 1882 – Umberto Boccioni, Italian painter and sculptor (d. 1916)
  • 1895 – Lewis Mumford, American historian, sociologist, and philosopher (d. 1990)
  • 1910 – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American astrophysicist, astronomer, and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995)
  • 1929 – Lewis Wolpert, South African-English biologist, author, and academic
  • 1944 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1987)
  • 1967 – Amy Carter, American illustrator and activist
  • 1983 – Cara Santa Maria, American neuroscientist and blogger

Notables who snuffed it on October 19 were few, and include:

  • 1745 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (b. 1667)
  • 1937 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1871)
  • 1950 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet and playwright (b. 1892)
  • 1988 – Son House, American singer and guitarist (b. 1902)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Editor needs her beauty sleep:

A: Hili, are you here?
Hili: Yes, but I’m very busy.
A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m resting.

Photo by Sarah Lawson

In Polish:
Ja: Hili, jesteś tu?
Hili: Tak, ale jestem bardzo zajęta.
Ja: A co robisz?
Hili: Wypoczywam.

From Stash Krod:

From In Otter News:


And from Merilee, a great piece of satire:

From Masih Alinejad, Iranian human rights activist (in exile of course) and campaigner against compulsory hijab. Now the government of Iran is trying to punish her via punishing her brother. Sound up to hear her singing (also illegal) to her then non-incarcerated brother:

A tweet from reader Barry, who adds, “Not your favorite animal, but this is pretty cool. And you have to admit: A cat would just sit and watch.”

Yes, I’ll admit that, but a cat couldn’t save you even if it wanted to. Besides, that’s clearly a trained d*g!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie.  Two cats that can’t quite mother properly:

And a quartet of tweets from Matthew Cobb. First, an adorable sleepy duck:

Yes, we destroyed our only native parrot, though I’m not sure about the male ‘dying of grief’:

Here’s a stuffed and mounted specimen from Chicago’s Field Museum:

Matthew tweeted a pair of courting jumping spiders:

Sound up for this honker!



  1. amyt
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Jerry, have a fantastic trip. Looking forward to many pictures and stories when you return. Safe travels.

  2. Karen Fierman
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I really like Sarah’s photos of Hili.Not that ALL of the photos of Hili aren’t good, but Sarah’s are esp good.

    Bon voyAHj, Jer. Don’t forget your long undies! We await your return.

    • Sarah
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Karen.

  3. chrism
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Ah, streptomycin, my old friend. There was a brief fashion in the early sixties to treat otitis media with a single IM shot of streptomycin. Brief, because the resulting ototoxicity caused many people to become vertiginous or deaf as the auditory nerve was damaged. Since I was eight I have had 50% hearing in my right ear and zero in my left as a result. It did make me be extra careful about monitoring blood levels of gentamicin and tobramycin in later life, though.

  4. Roger
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    As I recall Martin Luther sometimes would describe supernatural events he witnessed. So yeah, I smell a charlatan.

    • Blue
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Roger, and thus outta Mr Luther of his
      16th and s u b s e q u e n t such bagazillions o’his
      very theologian – types’ worth over th’centuries:
      “ … … woman was no more than a machine
      to make babies for him.

      ‘Let them bear children TILL THEY DIE OF IT,’
      Martin Luther advised. That is what
      they are for.’ ”

      — — Historian Dr Rosalind Miles,
      “The Sins of the Mothers,” in her / my
      scripture: The Women’s History of the World,
      y2001, p 102.

      Mr Luther I credit as ONE o’my very many
      reasons for my brain’s ability to reject … …
      All Things Religious.


  5. Eli Siegel
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Schatz and Waksman settled out of court. Schatz got about $120,000 (real early 1950s money) and $12,000 for the next 5 years. The lawyers got 40 % of the 120,000. Schatz also thought he should have shared the Nobel with Waksman. The conflict marked Schatz as a trouble maker and had a negative effect on his life. Compare Hewish and Bell Burrell.

    • sted24
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Or compare Franklin and Gosling. He, not she, took that famous image. As Nature reports:

      “A humble paperclip was biophysicist Raymond Gosling’s choice. Late one night in May 1952, in a chemistry lab in London, the PhD student wrapped DNA around a paperclip to keep the molecule’s fibres stretched taut in front of an X-ray source so that he could analyse their structure. The result was the celebrated ‘photograph 51’ — the image that told James Watson that DNA strands curl around each other like a twisted ladder, and that the specific pairings in the rungs are key to the mechanism of inheritance.”

      I was lucky enough to meet Gosling, who told me the story, in about 1973. He was a very sweet man. As Nature continues:

      “a humble Gosling fondly recalls that Franklin’s response to Crick and Watson’s model of the double helix was gracious and sanguine: “She didn’t use the word ‘scooped’. What she actually said was, ‘We all stand on each other’s shoulders’.””

  6. Blue
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Along the way thereto, Dr Coyne, but
    especially thereupon that specific continent,
    please regale us all … … when ya’ can … …
    with your usual, lovely and fine pix
    of the particular joint’s … …
    c u i s i n e. I have no idea, but I ‘ld wager
    that the dishes of Antarctica are, ah well,
    d i f f e r e n t than your darlingest ones
    of nearly all o’your other travels ! Not ?


  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Nice letter by Merilee but maybe we need a memorandum right now to Trump. Just a couple of items for the rough draft, such as:

    Great idea that G-7 choice, possibly it will be another article of impeachment by itself. Aside from being the most detested and despised person to hold the office you have now become the most impeachable. Great job getting yourself over the top with actions in Ukraine and Syria. Instead of the satisfied stable genius we have the deranged freak. All we have left is to convince the wooden statues in the senate and we are on our way.

    • Harrison
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I’ve joked elsewhere “so where do the G-6 plan to meet for real?” But I really think that this arrangement will be unacceptable for at least some G-7 members. So if it doesn’t change, I’d expect it to turn into a G-4 or less by the time it rolls around.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I think if, in the meantime, Trump gets impeached in the House, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, holding the G-7 at the Trump Doral facility in Miami next June could be lotsa fun for everyone (well, almost everyone). 🙂

      • merilee
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Maybe a toga party??

    • merilee
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Uh, Randall, I hope you realize that I did not compose that letter. Just saw it on FB and passed it on. I like your ideas for a letter TO Trump. Btw, I heard that Erdogan just through his letter from The Moron into the trash,

  8. GBJames
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    We’re gonna miss you while you are away, Jerry!

    • EdwardM
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed. In the interim, I hope we will get dispatches from Terra Australis

  9. Blue
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    O Crikey ! I could not ‘ve guffawed louder
    when, upon viewing Mr Bronks’ ” The maternal
    instinct is strong with this one, ” Mama just
    up and does the truly felid – deal o’
    ” Get in the g*ddamn box, Kiddo ! ”

    I am sorry. I am a mama, yes; but, O !,
    I so c a n relate. When the kiddos dither and
    hesitate and just will not, why then, what is a
    mama – in – a – hurry to do ? Anyhow ?


  10. rickflick
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    What ever happened between Schatz and Waksman?

    “Waksman and Rutgers settled out of court with Schatz, resulting in financial remuneration and entitlement to “legal and scientific credit as co-discoverer of streptomycin.”

    • rickflick
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Woops. Covered above at 5.

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Have a great trip, Jerry! Watch out for the all the sci-fi nasties that are supposed to inhabit the poles.

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I think that first mother cat was caught in the mother/counter paradox, and didn’t know whether she was supposed to help the kitten, or knock in off. Obviously, she gave into the later impulse.

  13. Harrison
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I can buy the “grief” story for the parakeet, or at least a version of it. Lots of animals get extremely stressed out when isolated which can lead to premature death.

  14. Alicia
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Farewell, Jerry. Have a wonderful journey and keep warm. I’ll be waiting for your return and (hopefully) tons of pictures!

  15. Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Grey momcat tabby did just fine. It was a loving “Get back in here kid!”

  16. Vaal
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Guilty on the charge concerning calculators!

  17. Wayne Y Hoskisson
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Bon voyage. Sounds like a great adventure.

  18. Matthew North
    Posted October 20, 2019 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    You don’t know that the dog is trained. That guy probably played this game with the dog before but he may not have “trained” it. I’ve seen many dogs show spontaneous, selfless behavior towards people in my lifetime, including myself. My nephew, who was four years old at the time, wandered out a little too far from shore at the beach so my brother’s Labrador, Belle, who was nervously watching and whining, promptly swam out to him, grabbed him by the seat of his swim trunks and started pulling him back to shore. When in my teens, my brother and his wife buried me in the sand so only my head was showing that same Lab couldn’t be held back trying to dig me out. Also, my my mother told me about how our Poodle, Snoopy, when I was just a toddler, grabbed me by the sleeve to stop me from walking into the street.

    If a pet cat was a 120 Lbs. and strong enough to pull that guy out of the water it would probably look curiously at the dude for a few moments, maybe lick it’s paws and then take a nap.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 2:28 am | Permalink

      maybe lick it’s paws and then take a nap


      • merilee
        Posted October 20, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink


    • rickflick
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 2:30 am | Permalink

      Actually, cats have a moral sense. When I was a kid I used to wrestle with my brother on the living room carpet. Our cat would become agitated and upset and attack whoever was on top. She was for the underdog. 😎

    • starskeptic
      Posted October 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      A smarter dog would have gotten the human with the camera to do something….

  19. Barbara C. Radcliffe
    Posted October 20, 2019 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I do hope you have a great time on your Antarctica cruise. If it includes the Falkland Islands, you might see the wonderful Flightless Steamer Duck. We spent two weeks in the Falklands about 20 years ago and found these ducks wonderful company!

  20. starskeptic
    Posted October 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The sleepy duck is cute but I’m suspecting loose bearings….

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