Links 4/15/2021

Dutch citizens are using a “doorbell” to help fish get past barrier New Atlas (furzy)

Nepal rhino numbers rise in ‘exciting’ milestone BBC

Ancient Greece’s Army of Lovers New Yorker (dk)

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff dies in prison at 82 Associated Press (Kevin W)

Boy, 12, dies after doing TikTok blackout challenge Independent. :-(. Too young to be Darwin Award material, you need to be of the age of consent.

The first swarm of genetically modified mosquitos is about to hit the US Popular Science (resilc)

These sneakers are woven by robots and have 3D-printed soles Boing Boing. Resilc: “Great, more unemployment in Bangladesh. Maybe they can code….”

Encryption Lava Lamps Atlas Obscura (Chuck L). Very cool.

New Zealand Just Passed a Climate Change Law No Other Country’s Dared to Tackle Science Alert (David L)

STDs reach all-time high for 6th consecutive year Fox5NY (Kevin W)

First evidence drug-resistant malaria mutations gaining foothold in Africa, study suggests Independent (resilc)

A Mystery to Itself: What is a brain? London Review of Books (Anthony L)


Outdoor classrooms will play key role in “pandemic-proof” school in Peru Dezeen (resilc)

A gold nose pin, boxes of eggs, or a tax rebate: Covid vaccine incentives around the world Guardian


In world first, Denmark ditches AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot Reuters

EU Commission to end AstraZeneca and J&J vaccine contracts at expiry – paper Reuters

Authorities investigate death of NSW woman who developed blood clots after Covid vaccination Guardian. Mum as to which vaccine.

NIH director says J&J vaccine pause will give researchers time to do more study on certain groups CNN (Kevin W)

Former world leaders call on Biden to suspend Covid-19 vaccine patents Financial Times. We’ve been featuring posts on this idea by Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram for some time.



Finland’s Covid Situation Eases as New Cases Drop Significantly Bloomberg


Buffalo Bills To Require Vaccine Passport For Fans, Allowing For Full Capacity At Stadium Forbes

Airports Step Up Mental Health Assistance as Passenger Anxiety Soars KHN. Help me. They make Atlanta, the biggest passenger airport in the world, a focus of this piece. Why don’t they reduce passenger anxiety by providing adequate services, starting with wheelchair attendants? In the last month as flight volumes have picked up, the airport has not meaningfully rehired these assistants. I got parked at a waiting post in March for 40 minutes, and earlier this month say a man with a very substantial cane (the type with three feet) get out of his chair at a waiting point and start hobbling towards his gate in another terminal because he was going to miss his flight. (And don’t get on my case, I have been in search of treatment and now surgeons for a busted hip).


China warns of military action against Taiwan to block relations with US on eve of American visit South China Morning Post (furzy). From yesterday, still germane.

U.S. spy chiefs warn of ‘unparalleled’ China threat in return to Congress Reuters. “Well, they would say that, now wouldn’t they?”


The UK’s Northern Irish Brexit Blues CounterPunch

New Cold War

U.S. to Sanction Russia, Expel Diplomats Over Alleged Election Interference, Hacking Wall Street Journal. We have lost our minds. But John Helmer has an explanation in light of an announement early in the day European time that Russia was considering a summit offer, but its response depended on US conduct:

As I understand, Putin has agreed to the “climate summit” (virtual), and that negotiations for the bilateral summit meeting in a third country were still under way. If so, then this move is intended to provoke Putin in cancelling an offer Biden and his minders hoped would not be accepted. In Biden’s condition, I cannot see how Blinken-Burns-Nuland would allow the Russians so much intelligence on how incapacitated Biden is. I see that US banks can trade Russian bonds in the secondary market.

Russia Is Still Testing Its Terrifying Apocalypse Torpedo Popular Mechanics

What Did the U.S. Get for $2 Trillion in Afghanistan? New York Times


What will be the Mideast Crises facing Biden in the Coming Year? US Intelligence Threat Assessment Juan Cole

Trump-era spike in Israeli settlement growth has only begun Associated Press

European allies: Iran’s uranium move ‘a serious development’ Politico

US Claims Preventing Fuel Ships From Docking in Yemen Is ‘Not a Blockade’ Antiwar (Kevin W)

Why Invading Iran Is the Last Thing America Should Ever Do National Interest (resilc)

Israel Rejects ICC Investigation: What Are the Possible Future Scenarios? CounterPunch.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

We finally know how the FBI unlocked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone The Next Web (David L)


Democrats to introduce bill to expand Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices NBC. Much outrage from the other side of the aisle, natch.

House and Senate Democrats Plan Bill to Add Four Justices to Supreme Court Intercept

Gensler confirmed as top Wall Street cop, bringing new era of tough scrutiny Politico

Border Patrol Is Leaving Migrants in Small Arizona Towns Intercept

Robbins: Country catching up to Bernie Sanders’ way of thinking Boston Herald (furzy). Translation: Buyer’s regret.

GOP Civil War

Republicans Are Making Millions Pushing Trump’s Election Lies Vice

Republicans are in a messy divorce with big business. Democrats could benefit Guardian (resilc)

Ted Cruz puts copy of John Boehner’s book in fireplace after ex-Speaker dubbed him ‘Lucifer in the flesh’ Independent (resilc)


Explainer: More guns than people: Why tighter U.S. firearms laws are unlikely Reuters

Biden Fires Up the Waco Controversy Anew CounterPunch (resilc)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter charged with manslaughter of black motorist Daunte Wright (Kevin W)

Daunte Wright shooting: How can you mistake a gun for a Taser? BBC (resilc)

Police State Watch

Maryland trooper shoots, kills teenager who had airsoft gun Associated Press (resilc)

AT&T/Verizon workers’ union urges states to regulate ISPs as utilities ars technica

Will Future Electric Vehicles Be Powered by Deep-Sea Metals? Wired

Class Warfare

The big issue for Amazon warehouse workers isn’t money—it’s autonomy Quartz

Amazon’s warehouse boom linked to health hazards in America’s most polluted region Guardian

Japanese AI robots and the American union’s last hurrah Asia Times (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (retaj):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John

    America Catching up to Bernie’s way of thinking and Tulsi’s video message; Sanders and Gabbard would have been the ticket had I had my way

    We get “too soon old and too late smart”

    1. Tom Stone

      John, George Washington Plunkitt’s little book was assigned to me in HS, to paraphrase him
      “I don’t care who does the Voting so long as I do the Nominating”.
      There’s more rat feces in the sausage these days but some things haven’t changed.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Meh. Joe Biden just barely beat Trump. Not sure that Bernie would have survived the self-inflicted “socialist” gun-shot wounds.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              I love that song, although the MTV video has gotta be one of the all time cheesiest of that era… so obviously a vehicle for a series of LA casting couch sessions in which various ‘models’ ahem, competed for the right to appear (superfluously) in a video on tha’ MTV. The heyday of Bob Guccione, TRUMP, and of course Harvey Weinstein….

              Soul Coughing: Screenwriters’ Blues

        1. km

          Great, but the popular vote is irrelevant.

          Trump lost AZ, GA, WI and PA by relatively small margins. A little over 100,000 votes, total, out of millions of voters.

          Had Trump sort of made a half-hearted effort to enact his 2016 agenda, had he sort of pretended to care more about the COVID, hell, had he just acted a little less like a jackass in public, and he could have easily won re-election.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            But if the rules were different Hillary would be President! I mean the rules have only been in place since 1789!

      1. neo-realist

        self-inflicted “socialist” gun-shot wounds? It would have been more like corporate elite socialist radical nuclear bomb drops on his campaign, with some back of the front help from neo-liberal dems.

        1. tegnost

          Bloomies entire purpose imo for entering the fray was to run a bunch of we ain’t no socialists ads. No one can raise the min wage or cancel student debt, that would crimp the style of the 100 billionaires. For myself I don’t blame bernie for removing himself as a target. If they want to crash it, if that’s the only thing they’ll understand, then let’s get on with it.

        2. Rod

          for those waiting for a NYTs reporters honest expression, on Sanders:

          New York Times reporter Amy Chozick recounts missing the meaning of Sanders’ message in 2016, nearly blowing off the opportunity to interview him early in that campaign in favor of a physical fitness class. “I initially brushed Bernie off with such casual nonchalance, such ill-informed elite media snobbery,” she has written, “that I almost canceled our first one-on-one coffee because I didn’t want to miss abs-and-back day at boot camp.”

          my bolding of the perceived truth

      2. John

        Four states were somewhat close. The popular vote margin was 8,000,000, the electoral vote margin 306-229. Take a look at 1960. There were problems in Illinois and Texas. Flip them and Nixon would have been president. Unlike 2020 the potential fraud in those two states was real and not wishful thinking

      3. bassmule

        I take it you missed this the other day:

        “Why Sould We Vote For A Party That Holds Us In Contempt”

        from the story:
        Come along to 2016, we have the primary in Wisconsin. Bernie Sanders won every single county except for one, but who got the general election? Trump, we went for Trump and why? Oh, this is just so weird, nobody can figure it out and we get the media, mainstream media, MSNBC, CNN, all the talking heads.

        They went for Trump because there are a bunch of fascist racists.

        Well, no. Not everybody’s a good person in Wisconsin, but this isn’t really a big thing, especially maybe in Milwaukee or especially in rural western Wisconsin, it’s never really been part of the zeitgeist. The reason people voted for Trump, I believe, is because we have seen time after time after time. With the trade deals, the deregulation of agriculture, corporate agriculture, everybody losing their living, and on top of it, Hillary said everyone who supports Trump is deplorable.

        …when she said that, I thought, I don’t know if I can vote for you, I plug my nose and did it again, but man, I don’t want to hear that, and then she goes on, oh, all the areas of high GDP voted for me.

        Yeah, you think? When you gut out the middle of the country, hollowed out, deindustrialized flyover states, and point at them and say, you’re so stupid, you vote against your own interests when the Democrats gutted welfare as we know it, stopped the regulations, didn’t enforce antimonopoly rules, are indebted to high finance, and then they pointed to us and said we’re so stupid, we’re supposed to find an opportunity zone, I guess it’s like West Virginia and Obama teaching the coal miners how to code, but there are no coding jobs.”

        1. Estuary

          That provides more background and color to the recent revelations by Project Veritas about CNN and their producer propaganda motivations. As if people didn’t see through them enough before, now there is video. If only the other networks could be next!

      4. Aomoa

        I don’t know, the faithful Trump adherents all believe that Biden is practically Chairman Mao, and the right wingers are always going on about the “radical, far left, socialist Democrats” anyway so… how much difference would all that rhetoric really have made if it was Sanders running? I’d have been more afraid of ongoing sabotage from the Democratic side in the general, which is what really took him out regardless.

        1. c_heale

          How is it possible to know what all the faithful Trump voters believe. I know at least one who was quite open to voting for Sanders, but no way on Earth would have voted for Hilary or Biden.

          1. Aomoa

            Fair enough. But I don’t know how devoted that person could really be to Trump, if they would consider voting for Sanders as well. But it also proves my point somewhat that attacks on Bernie for being a Socialist in the general might not have had as big an effect as some think.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Tulsi’s video message sounds like she is trying to push old Joe left. Isn’t this what the progressives said that they were going to do after getting him elected?

    4. Fireship

      Catching up to Bernie Madoff’s way of thinking alright.

      Everything in the US is a scam of some sort. Tulsi must have a new workout video to sell.

      “Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won’t be.” Gore Vidal

      Just relax, sit back and enjoy the show as America slides ever deeper into delusion, bufoonery and irrelevance. Once you accept that it’s over, you can get on with life.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve accepted the inevitable happening as shift happens, and there is no need for the continued abuse, a word which oddly includes USA in it, Go Team!

        1. Fireship

          “Not only are we killing each other off with a vengeance that is breathtaking, and imposing this violent way of life on other nations (or trying to); it is also the case that every day seems to turn up another murder that is gruesome. We stuff babies into garbage cans, or snuff out innocent animals, or the cops gun down unarmed civilians and then lie about it. The list goes on and on. Meanwhile, as Ronald Dworkin and Paul Fussell pointed out years ago, we are wallowing in corruption: literally every institution is riddled with fraud, and the sabotaging of those institutions for personal gain.

          Our path without a heart is hustling, competition, and personal advantage. You can even see this in popular sitcoms, or in the way high school students relate to one another. There was no interest in the Yaqui path, or any Native American path; instead, we just butchered all of those people and stuck them in reservations, out of sight, so we could get on with ‘progress’. That, as a few dissident voices tried to tell us, was a path with a heart; we weren’t interested. And thus, as Don Juan told Carlos, the path is ready to kill us; is killing us, to be more precise. You don’t destroy the sacred and get off scot-free; that’s not how the world works. America is just now discovering how the world works, and it is hardly working in its favor. Our time, and our way of life, are fast running out.”

          Morris Berman

  2. Tom Stone

    Ruby ridge happened as the result of Randy Weaver refusing to become an FBI informant,the Fibbies hounded him for years and the murder of unarmed Vicki Weaver while she held her infant. by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi was never prosecuted. he was looking through a 9X sniper scope at a range of @100 yards, it was cold blooded murder.
    Waco happened because the ATF was facing budget cuts and they needed to make a splash.
    Koresh and the Branch Davidians were perfect, so what if the agents lied on the affidavit to procure the warrant, look at what was at stake.
    Rice bowls.
    The ATF budget did increase after WACO, mission accomplished.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      From the article:

      Biden declared, “We’ve got to wait to figure out what happened before we have hearings.”

    2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      The local sheriff did admit that if the feds had asked, he could have picked up Dave any old time.

    3. The Rev Kev

      One of the things that struck me about the Waco affair was that a fortnight after the fire, the whole site was bulldozed. One of the one important crime scenes of the 1990s and they sent in bulldozers to destroy that site and contaminate any future evidence probes. And in a epic case of blowback, two years to the day after that tragic raid which killed 76 people, you had the Oklahoma City bombing which killed 188 people in revenge.

      1. Jason

        One of the one important crime scenes of the 1990s and they sent in bulldozers to destroy that site and contaminate any future evidence probes.

        They did the same thing at the World Trade Center site after 9/11. It didn’t prevent Niels Harrit and others from discovering truths they didn’t want uncovered.

    4. Wukchumni

      Ruby Ridge was really the start of obsessive ‘…they’re coming for our guns…’ mantra in the aftermath, combined with incredibly cheap ex-Soviet Bloc Party ammo being widely available as it was one of the few leftovers* that had demand after push>met<shove when Communism nabbed the silver medal in the Cold War Games. I remember being @ the Pomona gun show in the 90's, and old commie ammo was selling for around $5 per 100 rounds, and as opposed to the current shortage there was as much as you could ever desire, oodles of it.

      * one of the interesting items to come out of hidey holes in the Soviet Union was 1922 $100 Gold Certificate banknotes of the older 'horseblanket' size, about 40% larger than current cash of the realm.

      I'd reckon many hundreds if not a thousand of these showed up on the marketplace in the early 90's-all in nice condition, some a bit brittle from having been stored in one place for 70 years, say a wall. coCertificate-/174496076209

      1. Charger01

        Com-bloc used firearms were also quite inexpensive for almost a decade after that as well. The last gasp I can recall were Yugoslavian SKS in 2001-2004 selling for $100-125, or you could buy the crate of 10 and get a discount. Now they start at $349.

        1. ambrit

          Just four years ago, “Spam Cans” of 7.62X39 ammo (Tula 640 rounds) were selling for $149 USD at Academy Sports. That’s roughly .23 a round. Now, it is going for .50 per round and up, and spam cans are nowhere to be found.

          1. fumo

            When those 7.62s are instead going for $50 or $500 a round, we’ll be in a much better place.

            1. Procopius

              It’ll probably help, but that’s not the ammo used to kill Americans. If 5.56 mm rounds get up to $5 a round or more, that might help — a little.

                1. rowlf

                  I know some would-be instant millionaires if that happened. A year or so ago some Native Americans did some math and found out they could buy manufacturing bins from ammo producers. This was a post production bin on a pallet, unlike the four 7500 round drums that can fit on a pallet.

                  They had some logistical excitement when the freight company asked them to have it off the shipper’s dock by a certain time.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “New Zealand Just Passed a Climate Change Law No Other Country’s Dared to Tackle”

    It certainly is a novel law this and directly calls on the FIRE sector to come clean with their investments which is interesting. It is at this point that I wonder if this was a result of the present pandemic. Over the course of the past 16 odd months it has become clear which countries have good leadership and which didn’t. Trump, Bolsanaro, Merkel, Boris, etc. have shown themselves to be failures while the leaders of other countries have shown themselves to be good at what they do.

    This being the case, will it work out that those successful leaders will be able to introduce new laws like the NZ one reshaping their economy and the like because the people now have their confidence in them? Of course you have to be nuanced here. In Oz for example, it was not the Federal leadership that handles the pandemic well but the State leaders. And PK has mentioned that until the pandemic, South Korean did not have that much faith in their government. Still, it will be something to watch out for.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Trump, Bolsanaro, Merkel, Boris, etc. have shown themselves to be failures while the leaders of other countries have shown themselves to be good at what they do.


      In Oz for example, it was not the Federal leadership that handles the pandemic well but the State leaders.

      In these comments I’ve lamented leadership wrt COVID, but reading your comment(and probably the gestalt of our hosts postings) just now sparked what I think is a mini epiphany. It’s not soley the leaders, but the country as a whole, willingness to cooperate, competent experts, infrastructure, etc. But I’d agree if you said leaders could make things worse.
      Apologies if you are already hip to all this…

    2. Basil Pesto

      Of course you have to be nuanced here. In Oz for example, it was not the Federal leadership that handles the pandemic well but the State leaders.

      That’s fair enough to an extent, but then I just read this:

      London: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there would be at least 1000 coronavirus cases in Australia every week if the international borders were to open, even when vulnerable people are vaccinated.

      Mr Morrison was asked by Perth radio 6PR to clarify Health Minister Greg Hunt’s comments earlier this week that international travel could remain off limits even if the entire population is vaccinated.

      The Prime Minister also laid out future plans to allow Australians to travel overseas for business and funerals and potentially quarantine at home, before allowing mass travel again. But he said the nation had become used to dealing with no cases and opening the borders would end the national cabinet’s stated goal of zero community transmission of COVID-19.

      “If we were to lift the borders and people were to come, then you would see those cases increase and Australians would have to become used to dealing with a thousand cases a week or more,” Mr Morrison said.

      “Now it is true that our most vulnerable populations would be vaccinated but I don’t think Australians, particularly Western Australians, would welcome restrictions and closures and border shutting and all of those things again out of states’ concerns about the rising numbers.

      “So everyone needs to get on the same page about that.”

      The caution is notable. Now, Morrison’s essentially a wasteman, but it’s clear he’s getting serious, sound advice and taking it seriously, which is about the best you can hope for from an Australian leader, it seems to me. That doesn’t begin to compare to the UK and US.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘But he said the nation had become used to dealing with no cases and opening the borders would end the national cabinet’s stated goal of zero community transmission of COVID-19.’

        Don’t forget that all last year he wanted a learn-to-live-with-the-virus policy which was why he was listening to that UK guy that was telling Boris that herd immunity was the way to go. And remember his fanatical, though unsuccessful, insistence that the State governments must, must keep all their borders open. Think too when he backed billionaire Clive Palmer’s lawsuit to open up the borders because something-something Constitution. And he was getting Oz’s chief medical office Brendan Murphy to back him up on all this.

        He originally wanted the whole country to be vaccinated by October so that he could open up the whole country to tourist, business people, overseas students, etc. but after the Astrazeneca fiasco, those plans are all toast now. Yes, I dislike the man but not because he is a Coalition PM. I dislike him because his actions have been getting people killed, first during those massive fires and now the pandemic. That I will not forgive nor forget.

  4. fresno dan

    Encryption Lava Lamps Atlas Obscura (Chuck L). Very cool.
    My last two lava lamps have been disappointing – one, the lava never really moved – after it melted, it would rise to the top and just stay there in a mass until it was turned off and than settle back down. In the other lamp, the lava as a mass never separating, but slowly rising and falling as one big lump.
    Now I got these last two at Spencers, so maybe the supplier is at fault. I need to see how many lava lamp makers there really are. Of course, this could be foreshadowing of perturbations in the groove…
    Of course, it goes without saying, that the lava lamps did the encoding of my transmissions to Putin…

    1. flora

      ah ha! ..your pink bunny slippers use lava lamps for sending and receiving encrypted messages to fearless leader. ;)

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Is Still Testing Its Terrifying Apocalypse Torpedo”

    This is a terrifying weapon to Washington this but not for the reasons that you might think. Supposing that Biden launched an attack on Russians in the Crimea to “teach them a lesson” so in response, Putin launches these torpedoes against the east and west coasts. Have you any idea what that would mean? Suddenly both the coasts are now irrelevant and it is “fly-over America” which is now the most important part of America. Can you imagine the wails of agony as Congress now has to abandon Washington DC & New York and relocate the capital to (shudder) Des Moines, Iowa or Toledo, Ohio? Will Wall Street now have to relocate to Omaha, Nebraska? So, no great restaurants, shows, “Hamilton”, exclusive clubs and all the rest of it that made their lives so comfortable. It would be beyond endurance for those legislators. Better that they settle for peace instead. Maybe that is why Washington suddenly decided to not send those two warships to the Black Sea after all.

      1. Pelham

        Yes! As a native Kansan, I’ve advocated this for many years. I would include free housing for all federal employees in the form of barracks and quonset huts. Plus a razor-wire perimeter with an entry point exclusively for lobbyists through which they would have to register as they passed. This would be a public record.

        We probably ought to move the Pentagon, too.

        1. newcatty

          Ha, ” a private pig farm” is the true center of the lower 48 states is in the great state of Kansas. Reality is often stranger than irony. Besides having to relocate to fly-over America, the capital denizens and coastal refugees would be in great distress from extreme cognitive dissonance. With big eyes and mouths wide open: We’re not in DC , NYC, ( name your former home) anymore! Sigh…The world really is turned upside down. Uh, is that a pig in my front yard?

  6. Tom Stone

    I’m sure “Red Flag” gun confiscation laws won’t be abused, nope, not a chance.
    And the seeming contradiction with “No person shall be deprived of Life,Liberty or Property without Due Process of Law” should be easy to resolve with the right Judicial attitude.which a larger SC should provide.

    1. ambrit

      FDR tried to “pack the Supreme Court” way back in 1937.
      It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
      This is grandstanding. I’m now convinced that the Democrat Party will not put through any ‘real’ reforms. When Biden said that “Nothing will fundamentally change,” we should have taken him at his word.

        1. John

          Suppose it happened and Biden appointed four who voted with the current three in the minority. 7-6 decisions for a while. Then a different president a retirement, a death and who knows. IIRC there were 15 justices for a time in the late 19th century. Made no material difference. This would not either except for the first moments.

        2. BlueMoose

          And when the republicans get back in it will go to 20. I propose 1 supreme court justice for each congress critter and senator. /s

        3. JTMcPhee

          It might result in more cases getting a hearing before the Supreme Court. Not of course that this would result in “justice.” Or Equality.

  7. zagonostra

    >What Did the U.S. Get for $2 Trillion in Afghanistan? New York Times

    The final total is unknown, but experts project another trillion dollars in costs over the next 40 years as wounded and disabled veterans age and need more services.

    Still, life has improved, particularly in the country’s cities, where opportunities for education have grown. Many more girls are now in school. And democratic institutions have been built — although they are shaky at best.

    Today, opium cultivation is a major source of income and jobs, as well as revenue for the Taliban. Other than war expenditures, it is Afghanistan’s biggest economic activity.

    American taxpayers have supported reconstruction efforts that include peacekeeping, refugee assistance and aid for chronic flooding, avalanches and earthquakes.

    Much of that money, the inspector general found, was wasted on programs that were poorly conceived or riddled with corruption.

    Well, “America” may not have gotten much, but those on the receiving end of 3 Trillion dollars made out pretty well.

    The much better question would have been what did both America and Afghanistan lose, what were the opportunity costs of not spending that $3T on lifting people out of precarity in the U.S. and poverty in Afghanistan…and who/how was that decision made, “democratically?” I wouldn’t expect that kind of question to be posed by the NYT.

    1. Robin Kash

      Who came away with the contracts for extracting the squillion or so dollars of rare earth elements from Afghanistan?

      1. Procopius

        Were such contracts actually let? My (unreliable) memory is that there are no roads to the areas where the minerals are, and that the real reason for the continuation of the “war” is the hope of donors that the military can be induced to build roads so the private companies can come in and rape the country profitably, which they can’t now.

  8. Mikel

    RE: “Boy, 12, dies after doing TikTok blackout challenge” Independent

    These kids don’t even know that they are participating in porn and not a game.
    How many others read between the lines about who this “game” would appeal to?

    1. curlydan

      Tik Tok’s age requirement is 13. Does Tik Tok care? Nah. They’ve learned from others (Google, Facebook) that regulatory and fact checking stuff doesn’t really matter, um, until it does.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Road block in Tanzania..”

    Excuse me for asking but is…is that a field of catnip off to the left?

  10. Mikel

    Re: “Authorities investigate death of NSW woman who developed blood clots after Covid vaccination” Guardian

    Question for doctor..
    Should running out and just getting these shots without a check-up first? Everybody doesn’t go to the doctor every year or even every couple of years.
    And with this thing about clots and diabetes, should people, even non-diabetics check their blood sugar levels before the shots?

    1. Maritimer

      In my jurisdiction, no consultation needed. Vaccines solve all!

      One professional commenter on this site pointed out that he was concerned about “one-size-fits-all medicine”. So, as far as CDC/FDA endorsed Covid vaccines, no questions asked, just take one for the Herd. Ignore any particular medical conditions you may have. Nor do you need to consult a Doctor.

      And now: “Dr Anthony Fauci has warned women who have had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be alert for symptoms of an adverse reaction, as U.S. health agencies advise against the vaccine’s usage until more research can be done.”

      So now having pushed the vaccines whole heartedly, he says you should “be alert for symptoms”. Just absolutely amazing chutzpah. One can only imagine the stress, fear, anxiety this has caused.

      Welcome to the Mass Medicine Age. Soon Prozac in the water free for all?

  11. upstater

    A Reaper drone crashed at Syracuse’s airport. Why wasn’t the public told? paywall

    An Air National Guard MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed shortly after takeoff last summer at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, but military officials decided not to inform the public until now.

    A U.S. Air Force accident investigation board disclosed details of the crash in a report issued last week, almost a year after the unmanned aircraft lost engine power while taking off for a training mission.

    No people were injured in the June 25 crash, which investigators blamed on errors by operators who piloted the drone remotely from the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field.

    The Air Force report did not explain the lack of transparency in reporting the crash to the public. The Reaper drone fell less than a mile from a busy commercial strip lined with gas stations and businesses on East Taft Road in North Syracuse.

    If a drone falls in the field and civilians are not there, did it crash?

    1. hunkerdown

      Prominent electrical engineer Alan Blumlein died in a plane crash during WWII but they kept it secret so as not to give the Axis a morale boost. Apparently it worked.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It is a military tactic that goes back a long way before WWII. Its actually the plot of the Kurosawa samurai film Kagemusha (the shadow warrior).

    2. upstater

      I don’t get the replies. SYR airport was the first and only commercial airport to allow military drones. The airport is surrounded by residential and commercial development. My in-laws live about a mile away. What does WW2 or imperial Japan have to do with the USAF running robots out of an airport and that in 5 years 2 of the 9 MQ9 Reaper drones stationed there have crashed? I cannot recall crashes of commercial or general aviation here. I guess people are inured to present day militarism… Ho-hum…

      1. Milton

        Welcome to my world as I live a few miles west of Miramar MCAS. Though the flight paths tend to be over business and the less-tonier areas we get the occasional flyover. Though there have been crashes into homes not more than 2 miles from ours, the public look upon them as prices to pay for our exceptional way of life.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Saudi’s must have chosen Newcastle as the only club where they could look respectable compared to the existing owners.

      1. Basil Pesto

        and, amazingly, a large Newcastle supporters group welcomed – nay, were apparently desperate for – the move on apparently similar grounds!

  12. Andrew Watts

    RE: U.S. spy chiefs warn of ‘unparalleled’ China threat in return to Congress

    The weirdest thing that’s been said about China lately is that if they were in NATO we’d be haranguing them for not spending enough on their military. It’s funny because it’s true. I don’t think they’ve spend over 2% of their GDP on their military budget since the PLA’s military modernization programs started.

    1. flora

      Increasing the mil budget is always a goal, imo. Never let a CRI$I$ go to waste. / ;)

      See for example:

      WASHINGTON — In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Defense Department should dramatically increase its funding for biological defense initiatives in order to deter other nations from seeking to exploit America’s perceived vulnerability to a medical crisis according to a new report from the Council on Strategic Risks.

      The report calls for doubling the agency’s funding “to at least $2 billion in the next year,” followed by increasing it to a range of $6.5 billion to $7 billion annually in the coming years.

      1. flora

        adding: Even the Fed seems to be getting in on the CRI$I$ bandwagon to do what would otherwise be objectionable. The ‘China threat’ is a useful stalking horse for many US agencies’ budgets and plans, imo.

        Cyberattacks are the number-one threat to the global financial system, Fed chair says

        Digital dollars?

        Asked whether the United States plans to launch a digital US currency in response to moves by China to do the same, Powell demurred. Officials are thinking about the issue, he said, and there are studies taking place all around the country. But no decision has been made, he said, because it is not clear whether digital dollars would help serve Americans.

        1. Synoia

          Not clear whether digital dollars would help serve Americans…

          To whom are they planning to Serve Americans? The Banks?

    2. John

      And look at what China has accomplished with that budget; then look at what The USA has accomplished. (Well, MIC profits are great even in the F-35 is just OK … depending on the weather.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      We’ve been here before but I doubt that the Oz government will be letting in many Afghanistan allies in as emigrants. How can they in the middle of a pandemic anyway? We can’t even bring home the tens of thousands of Aussies still stuck overseas after over a year. No, we’ve been here before-

  13. Mikel

    Re: “Republicans are in a messy divorce with big business. Democrats could benefit”Guardian

    The Democratic Party is going to save the Reoublicans IF they are in any serious trouble. It’s a duopoly. It’s good cop/bad cop, etc…

  14. Carolinian

    Re Gunz–out driving in rural North Carolina yesterday and still lots of Trump signs and, in one instance, “Trump” over a painting of a guy in a flak jacket with a giant Rambo style assault rifle. Battle of the symbol manipulators? Seems we have one side saying that society must conform to the “rules based” social order (as long as we make the rules) and the other “you’re not the boss of me.” On the plus side didn’t spot any Confederate flags.

    Clearly guns are a huge problem in this country but failing to understand their popularity could also be a huge problem. If the rulers who rule us from afar think we must be more socially cohesive then maybe they need to put up or shut up.

    1. curlydan

      In my drives through rural central Missouri, Trump signs are on the wane, but the confederate flag flyers are a constant. I even saw a confederate flag flown with a U.S. flag and just shook my head.

      1. newcatty

        Noted. In our pleasant and pretty neighborhood, northern AZ, we have the combo of American flag and a confederate flag flyer, too. Know our county is a picture of AZ Republican stronghold, but still felt saddened and amazed. Most other flyers just have American flags. Federal holidays they add red, white and blue banners and bunting. Biden and entourage were talking up the exciting goal of a “real” 4th of July celebration! All we Americans have to do to go back to “normal” is get vaccinated when it’s our turn. We usually hide-out. My cats hide under our legs or under the table when gunz and fireworks pop. I have a weird feeling about this year.

    2. fumo

      Stricter gun laws are clearly popular with a majority of US citizens. The minority is just very vocal and well organized (mostly by the firearms industry). Here’s one source, but there are hundreds that say essentially the same thing.

      I think the failing to understand what is actually popular mostly falls on the gunz side, who clearly exist in a bubble as hermetically sealed as any SF liberal’s.

  15. Mikel

    Re: “)Japanese AI robots and the American union’s last hurrah” Asia Times (Kevin

    “A totally automated warehouse, of course, would not require break times, would not complain about being watched or about the speed of the workflow. Robots don’t need health care or retirement packages either.”

    So Robots wouldn’t need to purchase health insurance (though owners would want a good “warrenty” LOL), invest in a retirement portfolio, need any loans, or need to be entertained…

    Grab your popcorn…this is the “don’t make me shoot myself in the foot” moment…

  16. Wukchumni

    Spring meltoff is in full swing here with rising temps and the melt-freeze cycle in the higher climes going to all melt all the time, our river has risen but not too much as I was able to cross the mighty foot high torrent in water shoes yesterday.

    This drought is starting off as bad as the worst years in the 2012-16 saga, or probably more akin to the 1976-77 dry spell.

    1. Linden S.

      All the drought metrics look nightmarish out West, and it’s just warm + dry weather on tap.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everybody I know with a long baseline of visual memories around these parts say the same thing…

        ‘i’ve never seen it go so dry-so quick’

        That said, i’m off to Oriole Lake which is pretty much a ghost town inholding in Sequoia NP with 5 cabins, 4 of which i’d turn down an offer to stay in them-they’re that bad. The place has a ‘the hills have eyes feel to it’ which is why i’m glad to have a couple companions along, as it’s also a groovy area to grow ganja for the cartel types, with an easy water source in Squirrel creek. There’s a few token Sequoia trees, as an added bonus.

        There’s a 2 story home that was in ok condition that had a grand piano in the living room, looking through the window, last time I was there about 5 years ago. The owner built himself a runway and would fly in and out of SoCal in the 60’s. The ‘airport’ hasn’t been used in a long time, as there’s a 50 foot pine smack dab in the middle of it.

        There’s also 1960’s heavy equipment, a gas tanker, a spreader, bulldozer, etc., all gracefully rusting into the ground, the tires have sunk so low.

        One thing I want to see again is a bank of 7 large ‘Indian Bathtubs’ not too far from the lake, sunk into a granite boulder. This is one of 7 sites in the Mineral King area i’m aware of that has these. The rest have 3 or 4 tubs.

        Here’s somebody else hike to Oriole Lake:

      2. fumo

        We’ve got a nice snowpack up here in the PNW, as we usually do. Even in California drought years.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “What will be the Mideast Crises facing Biden in the Coming Year? US Intelligence Threat Assessment”

    ‘Syria is another place where the US has no national interest whatsoever. It is poor, ramshackle, and lacks natural resources. The US should get out militarily but remain available to play a diplomatic role. Rather than interfere with Syrian reconstruction via heavy sanctions, the US should use aid as a carrot to move the needle in directions it favors.’

    Yeah, that whole section really needs rewording. So how about this-

    ‘Syria is another place where the US has Israel’s national interest in mind. It is poor, ramshackle, and lacks natural resources because the US is occupying its oilfields to loot and Syria’s bread-basket. The US should get out militarily but remain available to play a diplomatic role. Rather than interfere with Syrian reconstruction via heavy sanctions, the US should use aid as a carrot to move the needle in directions it favors by saying ‘Let the Jihadists win.’

    1. km

      The lamentable situation in Syria is not solely the result of Obama/Trump/Biden efforts to please Israel.

      We also are performing the equivalent of obscene sexual favors for Saudi Arabia.

  18. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Counterpunch NI Blues – As far as I can gather the surrealism of the UK electorate comprises of denialism in relation to Brexit & Bojo’s handling of the pandemic, not to mention the cronyism highlighted by Cameron’s adventures in lobbying. Maybe the Tories are right to promote flag waving & the last refuge of a scoundrel, which Starmer appears to be imitating, then that 44% could fully imitate the Prods ( not Prots ) in NI who also appear to have a slender grasp of certain realities while flying Union Jacks, painting kerbstones red white & blue, which are often overlooked by road spanning metal arches containing a portrait of the now presumed Grandmother of the Nation.

    Personally I would be glad to see the back of Starmer for many reasons, but no doubt he would be replaced with someone else less lard like, who would maintain the Tory tribute band’s direction.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I continue to look with puzzlement and despair at the way the UK electorate just won’t budge on their generally high opinion of that crowd of crooks and incompetents. It does go to show, as an article posted her last week suggested, that the institutional intelligence of the conservative party (with regard to winning elections) is vastly greater than the intelligence of nearly all its members and leaders.

      I think Starmer has totally misjudged the public mood. The sole strategy seems to be to look vaguely prime ministerial and wait for Tory errors to drop power in his lap. Maybe at some stage in the past this was a viable strategy (as it was in the mid-90’s when the British public had clearly had enough of the Tories), but these are very different times. But unfortunately I don’t see any evidence that there is anyone in Labour, left or right, who would have the charisma and strategic intelligence to make much of a difference.

      As for Brexit – mostly I think that thanks to the the supine (or mendacious) media, Covid and the usual circus has ensured that most people are simply not recognizing how damaging it will be. NI Loyalists have been abandoned and they seem to have no clue what to do. As you say, all they can do is wave the flag of a nation that really doesn’t like them and throw stones in a desperate plea for attention.

      Incidentally, the redoubtable Unionist and bigot, Ruth Dudley Evans, writing in the Telegraph yesterday, showing her usefulness as a sort of weathervane for that sort of opinion, has been gaslighting by pretending that she and all the other Brexiteers weren’t cheerleading Boris’s Irish sea border idea, now that its suddenly dawned on them that it has cut NI off from their Union. They are stirring up a lot of trouble, I wouldn’t discount the idea that some want to simply ditch the agreement and blame the ensuing chaos on the EU.

      1. David

        I’ve come to the conclusion that the Labour leadership don’t actually care what the electorate thinks. At the moment, the electorate have got it wrong about Johnson, but, given time, they’ll become disillusioned with the Tories and put Labour back. All that matters in the meantime is to avoid saying or doing anything controversial. I suspect also that they are heavily influenced by what the small and cliquey “woke” (let’s call it) media thinks of Johnson. If your sources of information are the Grauniad, the Independent and your Twitter feed, then you have no idea of how the man is perceived in the country. Every day, you see stories beginning “Labour leader Keir Starmer destroyed the last faint shreds of Bojo’s credibility yesterday when the so-called PM was completely unable to explain the distinction between Article 5(7) and Article 31(4) of the key Draft Supplementary Accord on Goldfish Exports which his own government have agreed to.” If the British people put Johnson ahead in the polls after that, it’s because they are stupid.

        The problem is that politics is a zero-sum game. The electorate are not, in fact, judging Johnson in isolation against some absolute standard, but in the context of what the other options are. And they obviously feel the other options are not impressive.

      2. Eustachedesaintpierre

        The marching season could become horribly interesting & I imagine that vaccine certificates might become a demand item, for the annual exodus around the inglorious 12th into Donegal in particularl if the Republic requires them.

    2. R

      That article was rubbish, wasn’t it? Prots!

      Also the contradicted-by-logic assertion that England determines the outcome at Westminster because of first past the post voting. Well, no, population size and equal population constituencies are the root of English dominance and the problems of FPTP in plural political conditions led to NI and specifically the DUP being the kingmakers in the last parliament (helped by Sinn Fein refusing to be made by the king and further inflating Tory majority by not taking their seats).

  19. flora

    re: Democrats to introduce bill to expand Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices – NBC.

    Ohhh.. so that’s why all the talk comparing B to FDR: they’ve chosen to emulated FDR’s worst policy proposal. FDR proposed it (if failed to pass) to get his policies past a Court that in many cases found them unconstitutional and blocked them. What policies are the Dems cooking up that they’d need a ‘packed court’ to sign off on? New domestic terrierism bill?* Over riding state’s Constitutional authority to set and run their elections?

    *and about that, Krystal and Saagar wonder who or what stood down the Capitol police in Jan.

    1. Duck1

      Yes the stand down seems to be a thing according to an inspector general report. The NYT has apparently had a look at it, but I read about this on a crank RW site. Prolly will elegantly slide beneath the waters, surrounded by a screen of smoke bombs. “Nothing to see here”.

    2. Sutter Cane

      I assume that if such a thing were to come to pass, it would be to maintain the illusion of legitimacy for the court. Like with Roberts voting “left” sometimes.

      If the SC appears too right wing for too long (as opposed to appearing to be a nice Democratic neoliberal court) then eventually even RBG worshippers might start to question it as an institution.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      If there were 13 Justices just imagine the names that people would call the unfortunate tie-breaker Justice in a closely split court.

  20. russell1200

    Tac nukes have long been used in anti-submarine warfare (ASW), a bomb-torpedo this big could also be used to take out a carrier/amphibious assault group.

    Seems like a far more practical, and likely, uses for the device.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Interesting idea. I’ve been wondering what the purpose of it is – if you want to vaporize coastal US cities, then there are quicker and cheaper ways of doing it efficiently (i.e. ICBMs or SLBMs or cruise missiles). Any attack on a US city would mean a nuclear war would go global, so it can’t be considered a tactical device if that is its purpose, and if its strategic then it looks like massive overkill considering existing nuclear capacity.

      One possible target would be well protected island bases like Guam which may have efficient anti-ballistic and cruise missile defenses. Or it may of course just be a bluff intended to spur yet more pointless US military expenditure.

      1. David

        Yes, nuclear depth bombs were extensively deployed in the Cold War as SSBN killers, since they were the only weapon which you could pretty much guarantee to be effective if you dropped them in roughly the right place. But this weapon, like several other recent Russian ones, seems to be a technically clever solution looking for a problem. As you say, it’s hard to see what advantages it would have over a conventional BM, even for attacking coastal targets. It’s an order of magnitude slower, as well as less reliable and accurate, and could only be launched after a nuclear war had already started – in which case, what would be the point? The actual effects of an underwater nuclear attack seem to be very much a question of controversy: there’s quite a useful Wikipedia page.
        But it’s much easier to see their use against very large floating targets like Carrier Battle Groups. Much would depend on speed and accuracy, but you could do a lot of damage with a 1MT warhead in approximately the right area.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The Russians, of course, already have very high speed long range torpedoes with nuclear warheads, so its difficult to see what this adds to the mix. As you say, it looks like an idea in search of a problem to solve. Presumably, the Russians aren’t immune to the sort of wishful thinking and cronyism and corruption that plagues every other countries defense industry, so this might be just a silly idea that has gone too far because it has the right backers.

          Its also possible that its intended target is not the US – but maybe another strategic competitor who could be threatened by something which isn’t an all out nuclear assault, but still needs a hard lesson (a future Pacific independent nuclear power with lots of ports?)

          Or, it could be an elaborate bluff intended to keep the US (and everyone else) guessing.

          1. John

            Real or bluff, if it doesn’t sober up some the arm chair warriors masquerading as diplomats and national security ‘experts’, we are doomed. Do they ever pay attention to what Russia says? I think not. Just look at the sanction of the week announced today.

            What passes for US foreign policy is too loony to b a B-Movie plot.

          2. David

            I see there’s a bit of literature on this, including a 2016 article, unfortunately behind a paywall, which discusses the possibility of the warhead being a “cobalt bomb”, which would have a smaller blast effect, but produce much more contamination.

            What’s the point of that, you may ask? Well, it depends whether the Russian state has inherited the old Soviet view of war, which was, frankly, apocalyptic, and foresaw widespread and indiscriminate use of nuclear weapons. The issue was then what was called “recovery capability”, in other words, how many years, or decades, it took to get your country and your society back together. If you could do that in ten years, but it took your enemy twenty, then you would have won. Thus, the Soviet plans to use biological weapons after a nuclear strike, to introduce diseases which would target recovery capability. If the Russians have inherited this mentality, then cobalt warheads would produce radioactive fallout which decays such more slowly than other types of nuclear material, and would be targeted at the coastal cities of an opponent, making them uninhabitable for a very long time. It’s a last-strike weapon, in other words.
            Fun stuff you can always use.

        2. hunkerdown

          How about the mouth of the Potomac? One might be able to send cobalt-infused water all the way up to Langley. Or how about the mouth of the San Francisco Bay? The Internet would all but disappear, and if one could get some of that spicy water into the Central Valley agriculture, we could have a Carthage on our hands.

    2. Martin Oline

      I read Charles Pelligrino’s book Dust printed in 1999 soon after it was released. There was a situation in the book that develops during a war between India and Pakistan, I believe the war had gone nuclear, and the United States had a fleet offshore. Pakistan thought they were going to interfere and detonated a nuclear mine somewhere in the area of the fleet. It was suspended some distance above the relatively shallow sea bed and the force of the explosion was bounced off the earth and directed back to the surface, hugely amplifying the effect of the weapon. The entire fleet was destroyed,
      Pelligrino is a scientist and I believe there is a basis in fact for this fiction, I read this on Amazon’s website but do not know if the movie plans are still in the works. “Jan de Bont, the director of Speed and Twister, has recently signed on to direct the film adaptation of Pellegrino’s Dust.” Jan de Bont has not made a movie in quite a while and this project is unlikely to be completed. The book is worth reading however. Oliver Stone bought the movie rights for The Plot To Seize The White House but no movie was ever made.

    3. Procopius

      Sounds more like a typical budget-expanding report from our “intelligence” services. I remember the bomber gap, the missile gap, the MIRV gap, the mobile missile gap and I think there were five or six other gaps that all required huge investment in the military. Do the Russian (and Chinese) hypersonic cruise missiles even work? I tend to think they probably do, but ours don’t yet, so maybe theirs don’t either. Look, all they need is to load a hydrogen bomb into a commercial shipping container and send it to the target city. It can sit in a storage yard for years, waiting to be activated. I think there probably already are a dozen or so such devices already in place.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Who could possibly have guessed that linking basic rights for women to the demands of an imperial power could possibly backfire on women.

    2. Andrew Watts

      It isn’t an outcome I’d rule out entirely. Biden eliminated the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund in the latest military budget. The OCO has been used as a slush fund by the Pentagon to finance the war in Afghanistan from the beginning.

      Of course, Congress could fund additional operations there.

      1. Procopius

        I’m sorry to be so callous, but I don’t believe we have a Responsibility to Protect. We simply can’t, unless we’re willing to put several millions of troops in Afghanistan alone, and then what about the whole Gulf region? Who’s going to protect the rights of their women — or do I mean the women there?

  21. Mikel

    Scanned thru the Biden topics.
    Just spitballin’ and sure it’s occurred to others here that the best thing to happen for Trump was to get the social media suspensions. He should be wanting Biden to get more interviews and scrutiny. And we know why even if it’s not said in polite company.
    It puts the focus squarely on the Biden administration and Biden as much as the MSM distorts the view. The establisment thinks this is a good thing because they over-estimate this administration’s appeal.

      1. Phillip Cross

        The only people I have met that care about Biden are all Trump supporters. Everybody else I know seems relieved to not have to listen to The President impotently bloviate all day and night.

        Trump’s tenure made it clear The President is just a figurehead that can easily be ignored or sidestepped as necessary. So who really cares if Biden is a doddering old man? What difference does it make?

        It’s not like gives a damn what any of us think, so just let them get on with it. They will anyway!

  22. The Rev Kev

    “EU Commission to end AstraZeneca and J&J vaccine contracts at expiry – paper”

    In a year’s time we will probably be saying how Astrazeneca was a first generation vaccine but nobody uses it anymore. Just like the Chinese vaccine. Probably the variant of the virus that will be spreading around the world by then doesn’t even exist at the moment. But if Brussels is going to focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, that does not sound like a reason to celebrate either. Maybe they should consider other options?

    I see that Serbia has now started to produce the Russian Sputnik V vaccine but the EU itself is still slow-walking accepting this vaccine in spite of the high death count. So right now ‘The European Medicines Agency will now examine whether Sputnik V trials met ‘good clinical practice’ – not in its technical dimension but in its ‘ethical’ dimension. In particular, the EMA is questioning whether military servicemen and state employees who took part in trials did so under pressure from their superiors. It is crystal clear that the intention of EU regulators is to disqualify Sputnik V on the basis of spurious denunciations that have been solicited for this purpose.” Unbelievable, and morally reprehensible-

    1. Mikel

      Is all the halting because of the blood clots?
      Then get ready because some of you may have already seen the reports coming that Pfizer and Moderna also have issues causing blood cuts.
      They are saying..”just not as much as the others…”

      I’m not doubting that ALL of these are going to be considered first generation vaccines by the end of this year.

      1. Rabbit of Caerbannog

        Recent Australia blood clot death is likely Pfizer because it’s given to at-risk individuals such as those with diabetes & also AstraZeneca now not given to below 50’s. Her age was 48. Currently only two vaccines in use for Australia, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

  23. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Ancient Greece’s Army of Lovers

    Having just finished Paul Cartledge’s recent book on ancient Greek Thebes, I’m looking forward to this new one from James Romm. There isn’t actually much that has made its way to us from the ancient writers on Thebes, and Cartledge’s book was somewhat disappointing in that regard. Much of it was more directly related to Sparta and other city-states so hopefully Romm does a better job and isn’t dragging out what could have been said in 30 pages into 300. Romm is a very readable classicist and has a couple other very well written books for those interested in ancient history – one on Seneca and another on the ancient world right after the death of Alexander. I highly recommend both of those and you can find them at his website:

    The “army of lovers” wasn’t a new idea even in the 4th century BC. It was relatively common in classical Greece for younger men to have relationships with older adolescents and it was seen as a rite of passage to some extent – Mary Renault discusses this in her fictional histories set in ancient Greece. One ancient Greek writer (whose name escapes me at the moment) even insulted Alexander’s Macedonians by saying they took lovers with beards – the rest of the Greek world considered that to be a little to old for a male lover. Fighting together may date back to at least the heroic bronze age era circa 1100 BC which is the setting of the Iliad. My undergrad classics professor mentioned that Achilles didn’t rejoin the battle on Patroclus’ death just because they had gone to grade school together and it is widely assumed that they are to be understood as having had an intimate relationship. Whether the way this relationship is portrayed came right straight from the oral poetry tradition of Homer, or it was a later addition when Homeric verse was written down by others much later in the 6th or 5th century BC to reflect the mores of the times, I’m not sure. There’s lots of controversy as to what was original to Homer and what was an addition by later Greek writers who wanted to give a shout out to their own χώρα.

    I didn’t get around to reading the link from a few days ago about why the classics are still relevant, but to me the relevancy comes from the context they provide for contemporary issues. Solomon was right and there really isn’t anything new under the sun. The issues we deal with today have all been dealt with before, and sometimes, such as with gays in the military, they weren’t even “issues’ back in the day.

    1. Late Introvert

      Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve stubbornly made my way 3/4 through Complete Works of Thucydides but could use more readable options.

      One thing I’ve come to appreciate is the large number of smaller city states, if that’s the right term, and how messy and chaotic the battles were, on land and sea both. And as they all begin turning away from the rich and bossy Athenians, the writing is on the wall.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        You might like Cartledge’s book – it’s not a bad book, it just talks a lot about city states other than Thebes. It’s not necessarily a linear narrative and presumes you know a bit about Greek history so you should be fine with Thucydides under your belt already.

        Have to say I kind of like the city state form of government. Might be nice to try today, minus the constant warring.

  24. roxan

    Yves, concerning orthopedic issues–everyone around Philly goes to Rothman, which is the local orthopedic service. They did good with diagnosing my knee problem. Haven’t heard anything bad about them. Hope you feel better!

    1. Carla

      Yes, Yves, you are very much in my thoughts. I do hope you find a resolution to your (I believe) longstanding hip problem soon.

  25. PlutoniumKun

    A gold nose pin, boxes of eggs, or a tax rebate: Covid vaccine incentives around the world Guardian

    I suggested, half joking, to a doctor in my family that they should do with vaccines what the Irish Blood Transfusion Service has done for decades in Ireland – give a bottle of Guinness to every blood donor. As a poverty stricken student, this was certainly a significant incentive (even a bottle give quite a lovely woosy hit when you’ve just given a pint of blood). The almost certainly wrong medical justification was that the high levels of iron in Guinness helped in red blood cell generation, but the real reason of course was just to give a little incentive to people to give, and it always seemed to work.

    Unfortunately, instead of gentle incentives like this, so many authorities are going instead for moralizing and bullying. Once again, I can just despair at the poor judgement of health authorities.

  26. flora

    re: Dutch citizens are using a “doorbell” to help fish get past barrier – New Atlas

    Great idea! Thanks for the story.

  27. rjs

    not usually an issue for me, but that Independent article on the 12 year old who died jumps all over the place, from one train of thought to the other, as if someone dropped the original paragraphs on the floor and picked them back up at random…where were the editors? just shaking my head…

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