Links 11/9/2021

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#CheetahCubdate #6: Smile with Your Teeth Smithsonian (furzy)

Winners of the Weather Photographer of the Year Contest Celebrate the Beauty of Nature MyModernMet

Baleen whale prey consumption based on high-resolution foraging measurements Nature (guurst)

NASA and USGS Release Stunning First Images From New Landsat 9 Spacecraft Science Daily (furzy)

Slave room discovered at Pompeii in ‘rare’ find PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Is This a Scene From a Sci-Fi Horror Flick a Rare Atmospheric Phenomenon? Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

A New Dementia Test Raises More Questions Than Answers Wired. Resilc: “Who at the FDA cashed in on this?”

Chile’s desert dumping ground for fast fashion leftovers Al Jazeera (resilc)

Erm, sample bias in who takes these tests:

The Way Out of the Fly-Bottle: Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus” at 100 Los Angeles Review of Book (Anthony L)


Singapore cancels free Covid healthcare for those ‘unvaccinated by choice’ RT (Kevin W)


We pointed out in 2020 that UK data clearly showed kids were major transmission vectors. Paper courtesy guurst: A need of COVID19 vaccination for children aged <12 years: Comparative evidence from the clinical characteristics in patients during a recent Delta surge (B.1.617.2). MedRxIv. Distressing to see the call for vaccines when they don’t do much to prevent transmission! But apparently no one is willing to keep kids at home or engage in much more serious mitigations at schools.

As we said, the US doesn’t believe in gathering data any more, so: The U.S. Is Relying On Other Countries’ Data To Make Its Booster Shot Decisions FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

New COVID vaccine design is easier to manufacture, doesn’t need cold storage MedicalXpress (Chuck L)


Rochelle Walensky said she’d ‘fix’ the CDC, but nine months in, she’s faltering STAT. Depicts the CDC’s fallen state at Trump’s doing, when the rot started much earlier.

Republican lawmaker misses his own anti-vaccine rally after catching Covid-19 Boing Boing (resilc)

COP26/Climate Change

COP26: Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Outnumber Any Nation’s Delegates ConsortiumNews

Forget COP26. The world needs COPPER 26 Reuters (resilc)

Large Methane Plume Spotted Near China Natural Gas Pipeline Bloomberg

As Earth Warms, Old Mayhem and Secrets Emerge From the Ice New York Times
(Kevin W)

World’s Largest Hydro-Floating Solar Farm Goes Live in Thailand Bloomberg (David L)

A Coal Mine for Every Wildfire London Review of Books (Anthony L). “Where are all the ecoterrorists?”


History dreams for Xi Jinping Asia Times (Kevin W)

China food security: Beijing residents stock up on cabbages for winter after warning triggers panic buying South China Morning Post

Immigration, ethnicity and religion (in ain’t as simple as it seems!) The Saker (Micael T)

The return of EU austerity Thomas Fazi

The Next European War Ecosophia


UK’s Brexit losses more than 178 times bigger than trade deal gains Independent

From yesterday: Irish minister warns EU could ditch entire Brexit deal Financial Times

Today. But DUP not a great source:

Police investigate suspicious Facebook ad after 12 passengers vanish from plane during emergency landing RT (Chuck L)

War in Ethiopia raises alarm across region as rebels near Addis Ababa Washington Post (resilc)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Robinhood Security Breach Exposes Data on Millions of Users Bloomberg

TikTok rescue: Girl got help using silent distress signal Associated Press (Chuck L)

Actually not a TikTok signal but designed for victims of domestic violence to ask for help:

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the Pentagon Is Equipping the F-35 With a Thermonuclear Bomb Popular Mechanics (resilc).


Here are the six latest Trump allies to be subpoenaed by Jan. 6 panel The Hill


USA TODAY POLL: Biden Approval at 38, Kamala Harris at 28 Mediate (resilc)

FBI Raids Project Veritas Writers . . . Over A Missing Biden Diary? Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

The Surprising Greatness of Jimmy Carter Washington Monthly. Um, this comes out when Biden is being compared to Carter?

US charges Ukrainian, Russian over major ransomware attack France24

Twitter flags GOP lawmaker’s anime video depicting him killing Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Biden as ‘hateful conduct‘NBC (furzy)


Russiagate has no rock bottom Aaron Maté (Chuck L)

Ray McGovern: The Man Who Got Russiagate Right and Tried to Warn the Public—To No Avail CovertAction Magazine (Anthony L)


Our Famously Free Press

Management by Metrics Is Upending Newsrooms and Killing Journalism Jacobin (Micael T). From last month, still germane.

Woke Watch

How Alan Sokal Won the Battle but Lost the ‘Science Wars’ Commentary (Micael T)

MIT alums: We can’t support a school that caved to woke mentality New York Post

Supply Chain

St. John’s asks for supply donations during global shortage Buck Rail. This is admittedly in flyover and so both remote and not a favored customer, but IM Doc has CEO patients and reports:

My understanding is that we are about 2 months or so of completely running out [of aluminum]. A large part of this is the shipping issue in LA and Long Beach – but apparently, recycled aluminum has to be manufactured with some very cranky equipment breaking down a lot. And there are apparently now no parts. Nor are there wisened old technicians that know how to fix the machines. At least not enough of them….

I understand from my ortho colleaugues that they have had to keep any number of patients in the hospital because they are not safe to do PT at home. No crutches. No walkers. No aluminum anything. This has been going on for the past 2-3 weeks or so. Literally none. The hospital has crutches that it uses but at this point the supply is so low that they will not leave the building.

Again, this is in his part of the world, which is likely to be shortchanged first. But they may be the canaries in the coal mine.

They executed people for the state of South Carolina. For some, it nearly destroyed them The State (Dr. Kevin)

Mobile Internet and Political Polarization Nikita Melnikov (resilc). Important.

Book Nook

The Most Ambitious Diary in History New Yorker (Anthony L)

Poe Boy The Smart Set (Anthony L)

Money Illusion in the Twenty-First Century Peter Dorman, Econospeak

Class Warfare

Manhattan Billionaires’ Row Homeless Shelter Opens After Years-Long Legal Battle THE CITY

Portugal makes it illegal for your boss to text you after work in ‘game changer’ remote work law Euronews. Resilc: “I would add a “stand your ground” armed defense rider to this bill.”

Antidote du jour (Ian P). The Times maintains this really is a photo:

And a bonus, from Harvey’s human bassmule:

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    1. Pat

      One might have thought that America might have set up a continental US production facility after the shortage when all the Puerto Rican production got shut down due to hurricane damage a couple of years ago. But no….Of course since the rentiers have purchased hospitals and medical practices better to do without then spend more for a supplier outside of the hurricane zone.

      I am thinking more and more that immediately banning anyone with a business degree from director or above positions might be one of the best things that could happen for America. (My degree may also be useless, but it isn’t malevolent.)

      1. Paradan

        Charge an MBA tax. For every employee with an MBA, businesses have to pay a tax equal to their total compensation.

    2. jr

      My anti-psychs are on that list. I’ve been hoarding and I have some on the way so I’m set for months. A lot of people are not so well positioned.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’m on the cusp of being a sexagenarian and i’m not getting any-that is no pharmaceuticals for me, maybe an aspirin once in a blue moon is as crazy as it gets.

      Am I an odd duck statistically, we lucky few not dependent on a regimen of Rx?

      1. Janie

        Judging by my friends and neighbors comments, yes you are. Possibly connected: Dr recommended I start cholesterol lowering drugs since I have a cholesterol level about 250 at will pass 60 years of age. According to the latest that I have read, that’s actually about the best level. This was a large managed Care system and I declined.

      2. mistah charley, ph.d.

        In my own case, I have five prescriptions – one to keep my mood on an even keel, one for cholesterol, and three for blood pressure. I get them all by mail, but once when I was at the pharmacy window I said, “and I don’t even feel sick” – the staffer replied, “they’re working”.

        I have a pill box with a slot for each day of the week – a cousin of mine has morning and evening slots.

      3. Oh

        Drugs, illegal or legal are have the same effect; the pushers are different. Maybe this “shortage” will serve to wean many people from unnecessary drugs.

      4. Mildred Montana


        A cusping septuagenarian here. Not overweight, no diabetes, but blood pressure 180/100, must be hereditary. All I take is an aspirin a day prophylactically. Aspirin, exercise, good diet, and half-a-pack of cigarettes a day, that’s my prescription for avoiding doctors.

        Nothing strikes fear in my heart more than the word ??????????, whereby the medical-industrial complex inflicts morbidity and even mortality on the sheep, er, patients, in search of effective treatments. All the while—and perhaps worse—wasting the patients’ time and vacuuming their wallets and purses.

        I’m hoping that my genes kick in. My aunt lived to be 96 despite high blood-pressure and a lifetime of smoking and eating the fatty German diet. If they fail me and I don’t post here in the next year or two or five, you’ll know my regimen didn’t work. ;)

      5. clarky90

        I too am completely pharma-free. (71 yo) When I, intermittently, become sick, I just stop eating (I fast). I start eating again when I feel like it. I have fasted for as long as six or seven weeks.- but usually for just a few days. So far, so good! (an old person joke)

        My childhood cat, Chippy (AKA Chipcat), taught me this. Back in the 50s, Chippy was run over by a car, and her back was broken.

        She dragged herself home, fasted, and healed up. She lived for another three or four years before disappearing. I have never forgotten her…….

      6. chuck roast

        I am well into geezerhood and am seemingly well protected by my mongrel genes. I go, vitamin D, zinc, big aspirin and vitamin pill in the morning.

        Of more interest to the readership would be the THC salve that I put on my eyelids for glaucoma. I works pretty well. So, when my shoulder-in-need-of-a-new-ball-joint began causing me serious pain recently, I went with a CBD aloe lotion and got me back to being pain-free…getting heavily involved in reefer madness.

  1. zagonostra

    >Vaccine Mandates

    I find myself in a strange political no-man’s land. I’ve always tended towards expansion of the social welfare State -M4A, better SocSec benefits, environmental protection, tighter regulation of banking and financial corporations, increased spending on infrastructure over hall, and less censorship. In the past this would have have made me lean toward an Elizabeth Warren type politician (before she revealed herself). Now I see that she wrote a letter trying to pressure Amazon from publishing a book by Dr. Joseph Mercola because of his anti CV19 vaccine perspective. Then I read below from Ron Paul, who is an MD, and I find myself more sympathetic to his views, at least on this issue.

    CV19 mandatory vaccination will shatter the political landscape, maybe we’re too close to the center to hear it now, but based on the patchwork of exceptions leaking out, such as for truckers, concerns raised that that Military and intelligence personnel are refusing to get jabbed could endanger “national security,” the recent disappearance of Gov. Newsom after having received a booster shot, celebrities and sports figures being demonized by MSM for not acquiescing to the mandates, push back from alternative news sites, and podcasters from religious, Right and Left leaning standpoints getting more views than MSM, I think this and many other developments/revelations will ensure that this issue will not fade away with the shifting, changing headlines.

    So why is the Administration pursuing this scorched earth policy on vaccine mandates? Maybe we should look at how many lobbyists Big Pharma has on Capitol Hill. Maybe look at the revolving door between the FDA, CDC, and Big Pharma. The word is “corruption” …Hold the line and resist the mandate!

    Trucking industry hails ‘huge victory’ after Labor Secretary says most truckers will be exempt from Biden’s vaccine mandate.

    Vaccine refusals in intelligence agencies raise GOP concerns

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO, a huge political realignment is brewing once the current octa/septa-gerontocracy leave office; 2016 was just the overture before the curtain is even opened.

      Dunno what is next. in the US, a “paleo-federalism” could thread the needle and be a workable compromise, but I doubt people will be in mood for a compromise in 2022/24….and people in power have too much hubris and have been too insulated to see anything wrong with their worldview.

      people will want to bulldoze the status quo at the current rate

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          This variously qualified “mandate” is supposedly in response to a “pandemic” of a highly contagious, deadly pathogen.

          If that was the case, there shouldn’t be any “exemptions” at all. And, for that matter, why is there a delay to accommodate the holiday shopping season?

          If you’re going to throw a dire “emergency,” you should at least try to make it look like one, and not cave within a nanosecond to any powerful government person who squeaks about technicalities, or economic interest that complains about the untimely hit to its bottom line.

        2. YankeeFrank

          Since when does the executive branch have power to order private corporations to force violate the bodily autonomy of their workers?

    2. Sawdust

      I strongly agree. I can’t remember a national political issue that had this much of an impact on my personal life. The same goes for millions, so it’s bound to have an enormous impact. What makes it interesting is that it’s basically orthogonal to the old left-right split. I came across this a few days ago, and I think it offers a much better framework for interpreting the vaccine mandate. It certainly explains the wrathful chasm that has suddenly opened between me and a number of people I’ve always been close to.

      1. zagonostra

        @Sawdust, thanks for the link. I agree with the intent of the concluding paragraph but I think it is a throw back to the days when laws had a basis in social contract theory. I think that the works of Rawls, Rorty and other modern-day political philosophers now use “positive law” theory to describe/explain the relationship between the individual and society. This is based on acknowledging that nobody really and freely enters into a contract based on consent. It’s a fiction, and it’s this “legal fiction” that upholds statutes that have the force of law behind them.

    3. Carolinian

      Another anti-mandate talking point is that Biden is friends with the head of Pfizer. But I doubt that this, if true, would have much to do with it.

      What some of us do worry about is that Biden has self control issues, yells at reporters, says things that have to be walked back, has a knee jerk view of his opponents that isn’t much different from that of shills like Maddow. My view is that he likes the mandate because it gives him an excuse to bully 80 million people and therefore is a power trip for someone who in many respects may be losing control.His incompetent staff don’t seem to realize that the country needs reassurance that Biden is all there, not that he is a big shot tough guy. Hence that poll at 38 percent.

      1. Judith

        The Bidens have started bullying parents about vaccinating their young children, guilt-tripping parents instead of being honest about how little is known about the effects of the covid vaccine on young children.

        Biden was introduced by a sixth-grader at the school named Everett, who espoused the importance of vaccines as well as vaccine incentives, which he said should include ice cream for everyone who gets the jab.

        In her remarks, Biden noted the many steps that parents take every day to keep their children safe, like cutting grapes in half to minimize choking hazards.

        “Parents, we do everything we can to protect our kids,” she said.

        “The president and I know how difficult this pandemic has been for your kids and your families. And I’m here today because we care about you and your beautiful children,” she said, encouraging parents to vaccinate their children ages 5 and older.

        1. Pat

          If Biden cared about the children she would have been on every morning show and in classrooms throughout America building Corsi boxes for months.* I almost wish she would only appear to show off the White House Christmas decorations.

          And when did cutting grapes in half become a thing?

          *hat tip to Lambert.

              1. skippy

                How the mind meanders though out life …. imagine being pulled up here in Oz in at in-laws house in the late 90s by sister in-laws guest for drinking out of a tallie beer whilst watching some sporting event on telleie … so garish… yet no clue to my past or lineage … last I heard she married some old Greek guy on a contract with sex presented on a semi weekly basis.

        2. outside observer

          I have never cut grapes or hotdogs for my kids, but have instead been working hard to hone their BS detection skills.

    4. JTMcPhee

      For the benefit of us mopes, do I dare to drive down to the VA hospital and get my Moderna “booster” or not? Should my wife drive to the Walgreens in the next town and get her own “jab?” And is there any reason our grandkids should get vaccinated, their parents are skeptical…?

      Bottom line — what is the bottom line?

      How the hell are we mopes supposed to figure this out?

    5. Grant

      A bigger question from all of this is how unlikely we are to last long as the environmental crisis grows. I agree with many concerns on mandates and the like. But, we also need comprehensive economic planning to deal with the environmental crisis, which is way beyond just carbon emissions. Fact of the matter is that there will be less enterprise autonomy and many decisions cannot realistically be done at the consumer and enterprise level. The planning must be democratic, but it none the less requires these things, a restriction on individual freedom, especially given how inequitable society now is. Many of the individuals that need to be much more restricted are the ultra wealthy and capital. I don’t think people are prepared for this and decades of propaganda is going to make addressing the environmental crisis very difficult, if not impossible.

  2. diptherio

    Re: FBI raids Project Veritas

    Turley is probably right that this is weird, but given the history of PV, I don’t think anyone left of Turley is going to care overmuch. Turley refers to them as fitting his definition of journalists, but I’d personally define them as political dirty-tricksters. As with everything in national politics, this is a pig fight.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Setting aside the “similarities” between the (still living) joe / jill offspring–drug / sex addicts with a penchant for documentation that they then lose track of–you do have to wonder at the timing of this fbi warrant and raid.

      I thought I followed politics pretty closely, and, even with joe’s “campaign” last year, I barely knew Ashley existed let alone anything about her personal issues. I think that’s probably true of many americans.

      Why conduct this raid now and so publicly, making people aware of something they may not have known anything about? Particularly when joe and his ostensible vp are so tremendously unpopular. And particularly when “inappropriate showers” are again involved.

      Could it be that uncle joe has outlived his usefulness? Or could it be that “we” need a domestic Julian Assange in advance of 2022?

    2. dcblogger

      dirty tricks? how about theft? invasion of privacy? and if the president’s daughter is not safe, no one is. And if they are not thrown into jail over this it really will be the alt right is a law unto itself. I really don’t understand making light of what strikes me as an extremely serious matter.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Veritas didn’t steal the diary. The diary was given to them by an anonymous person.

        And Veritas didn’t run the publish the contents of the diary as at best they couldn’t verify the contents,,,,and at worst they felt that it was a false flag.

        But as the FBi raided Veritas…the default presumption is that the diary is legit. Streisand Effect strikes again

    3. JP

      Turley is a piece of work. His commentary always excludes any pertinent information that doesn’t support his preconceived viewpoint, what’s commonly referred to as half truth. In this case he puts stolen in quotes and neglects to include that there is evidence of burglary. He does not furnish even hearsay evidence that there was no breaking and entering but just throws shade. He questions the FBI involvement as if stolen material crossing state lines is not FBI purview. Does Turley have a crime report or is he just making things up? Was there a local PD report? This is not investigative this is just sewing doubt sans evidence. At the same time, not saying that there isn’t a heavy handed state sponsored effort to stiffel adverse publicity but this is opinion mascquerading as journalism.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        This is my take as well after reading the obfuscatory, slanted language Turley used to describe the incident. He refers to her diary as being “left” in a “room”, and carefully refrains from mentioning where the room was, in what type of building, for what length of time. He intentionally made it seem as though she’d walked away from it in a restaurant restroom. She apparently reported the theft, and PV’s decision to not publish anything from it likely came after that…. which reveals them to be clever and self-protective, but far from innocent of knowingly receiving stolen goods*.

        Theft is theft. Transport of stolen goods across state lines has been within the FBI’s purview since the early 20th century. Except when you are members in good standing of the white ultra-right, apparently. Then it’s political persecution of good Christian martyrs.

        *(How many un-connected, poorly defended nobodies in towns and cities across America have been sent to prison for less over the decades? Our prisons are chucky jam packed with men who’ve been just as provably aware of the status of the goods they’ve received, and just as obviously interested in making a buck off of them.)

        1. Bruno

          Quite recently, in the course of the frame-up to destroy him politically and place a good Sarkozyist corruptionist (soon to be criminallyr convicted) at the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s cellphone was stolen from his hotel room (his report of the theft was what precipitated his arrest and “perp-walk” by the NY police) . Despite the frame-up having been completely discredited almost immediately (by disclosure that the designated “incriminating witness” had lied about her behavior) there was never any police inquiry into the theft, let alone a rappearance of the phone).

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Just recently, and call me naive, I realised that corruption permeates almost every political organisation, every business organisation, and probably non-profits as well.
        Using other people’s money to line the pockets of self and friends is a world sport.

        So media outfits of all political leanings have rich pickings.
        Right wing press hone in on the corruption of left wingers and capitalists – and they have a lot to report on
        Left wing press hone in on the corruption of right wingers – and they have a lot to report on

        Left wing voters read left wing media and come away with the idea that right wingers are utterly corrupt. Probably true.
        Left wing voters also form the misguided idea that since they see nothing reported of left wing corruption in their trusted left wing press, that left wingers are not corrupt. False.
        Right wing voters come away with the opposite views.

        Since corruption is endemic to every endeavor in life, left wingers and right wingers happily inhabit separate bubbles where their side is pure, and the other side are the mafia, can’t be trusted, make up stuff, peddle in half truths, fake news, outright lies. Because if their side was corrupt, they would have already read about it in their trusted media (no, seriously).

        And this is before the national “intelligence” (mwahaha) apparatus, businesses etc seed all the media with actual lies, half truths and general fake news.

        1. JP

          I agree but without evidence it is all muck raking and speculation. I’m all for pitch forks in the street on good information but I consider Turley about as reliable as a Q facebook post.

          There is a great deal of subtle and not so subtle coercion across many institutions to unethically protect the fellows from outside threats. Look at doctors for f**ks sake. I believe this is a major source of the endemic corruption you speak to. The other is, of course. schemes of enrichment.

        2. JP

          I have to add that the buddy corruption is currently most evident in Congress where towing the party line, over any modicum of ethical conduct, is the test of re-electability.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Why the Pentagon Is Equipping the F-35 With a Thermonuclear Bomb”

    As this article says, “a nuke is a nuke.” There may be fantasies of using the F-35A/B61-12 combo to take out Russian missiles and command centers but the first time one of them is used, then this invites a counter-strike by Russian nukes – and then it would be on for young and old. Of course what it really does is ramp up tensions with countries like Russia and China so its good to know that there will never be any blowback from doing so. Oh wait, there was – those hypersonic missiles that the Russians have deployed. If there was a nuclear war, then there would not be much of a difference made with this combo. There are nukes aboard Russian subs in the Atlantic and Pacific after all. But at least somebody is making bank building these things.

    1. Wukchumni

      Oh, that’s just great…

      A nuke laden Edsel of the air emanating from Naval Air Station Lemon-er Lemoore, accidentally incinerates the Sierra when the aviator hits the release button with his elbow in a mock dogfight @ 10k, which also sets off an EMP killing electricity in the CVBB, heavens to murgatroyd indeed.

      Trying hard not to win the pin the tale on the donkey contest, F-35 advocates stress the lessened need for firefighter aerial assault aircraft, since there is scant forest left, after more megatons than you can shake a stick at quickly disposed of formerly upright standing members of the community.

      The pilot is given the extinguished flying cross, a major award.

      1. JP

        I hope it is low yield. It will fall on your side of Dennison ridge so I will be somewhat shielded from the initial alpha radiation.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a couple F-35’s going through their paces above me as I peck away, practicing for when we eventually go to war again with a nation that has an air force, it being a long time since that has happened.

    2. Paradan

      These new small nukes are all about Iran. It has these huge underground missile complexes(non-nuclear) that look like something out of a video game. My guess is that it’s impossible to knock them out with conventional weapons rapidly enough to keep Israels reactors from getting hit.

      1. Cat Burglar

        Israel’s own nuclear facilities are the real nuclear weapons against it, not the ficitive Iranian Nukes.

        On a day with the right wind patterns, enough high explosives targeted in the right places could likely make the whole land pretty unhealthy, if not uninhabitable. A land without a people, indeed. (It would also mean the end of all the Palestinians, too — and from that point of view, the Palestinians are not Israel’s problem, they might be its insurance policy!) I imagine people are aware of this, and that would account for the attempt to include missiles in the renegotiated Iran nuclear deal.

        And I would also like to see the source for your observations.

        1. Paradan

          Sources for the missile complexes? There’s been a couple of videos released by Iran showing the inside of them.

    3. David

      I thought it was somehow appropriate that this (non)-article appeared in the same set of links as the Jacobin story on the crapification of news rooms and journalism in general. It shows signs of having been written on the author’s smartphone after a quick scan of Wikipedia and while simultaneously watching a sports broadcast and eating a pizza. I looked in vain for any original research, any citation of experts or even any official statements to quarrel with. It’s nothing more than the author’s own musings, as far as I can see. In themselves, most of the relatively few facts cited in the article are accurate, but the whole impression the article gives, of something new and interesting, is quite wrong.

      Aircraft have routinely been able to carry nuclear weapons since the late 1940s: indeed, the first strategic nuclear weapons were carried on aircraft, and many states today still have an airborne strategic nuclear capability. By that we mean bombs in the megaton range that can destroy cities. Whether this is a good idea or not is another issue.

      As nuclear weapons became smaller, low-yield versions could be mounted on smaller aircraft, for use in what were described as “battlefield” scenarios. In the Cold War, NATO did not even try to match the size of the Warsaw Pact armed forces, but intended, relatively early, to use tactical nuclear weapons to stop the attack, and, it was argued, to signal the risk of escalation. So front-line aircraft from the 1950s onwards were configured for nuclear attack (this was true of the Soviets as well of course). This included aircraft like the F-4 Phantom, the French Mirage series, the European Tornado and many others. Most NATO nations had such systems available, and the assumption seems to have been that they would use their weapons against large military concentrations, headquarters, logistics depots and suchlike. Again, whether this would have worked, or whether to was even wise, is another issue.

      Since the end of the Cold War, aircraft have continued to be produced with the capability to “deliver” nuclear weapons, although it’s become harder to see a scenario in which their use would make any difference. It was always argued that the escalation implied in using even tactical nuclear weapons might actually not be a deterrent, but the reverse. Even, now, although there are theoretical scenarios where such weapons could be used, they mostly amount to a solution looking for a problem. Against a nuclear-armed opponent they might escalate the conflict rather than the reverse, and use against a non-nuclear opponent would be such an apocalyptic event in human, history that it’s hard to imagine that even Hollywood could come up with a plausible scenario.

      None of which changes the fact that nations have been continuing to produce nuclear capable aircraft: the F15/16 etc. the French Rafale, the Eurofighter, the Swedish Grippen and many others come into this category, including virtually all recent-model Russian and Chinese aircraft. The weapons themselves, as far as anyone knows, are produced in very small numbers, and generally kept in service for decades, being re-manufactured from time to time. (disposal is a bit of a problem). It’s likely the F-35 will simply take over weapons from the aircraft it replaces: for obvious reasons the aircraft virtually never have the weapons embarked. So in other words, the fact that the F-35 will have a tactical nuclear capability will surprise exactly nobody who was paying attention: it would be astonishing if it didn’t. Now a headline along the lines of “In stunning about-turn, F-35 to be first USAF tactical aircraft in generations without nuclear capability” … now that really would get some clicks.

      1. ambrit

        Too true about the fact that almost all purpose built military combat aircraft can carry the smaller nuclear weapons. Worst case scenario is a suicide mission of a C-130 flying in low with a “Nuke” in the cargo bay.
        This smells like someone is trying mightily to manufacture another reason to keep the F-35 operational.
        Long range, in the purist sense of the word, the ramping up of the Imperial Space Force opens new vistas of destructivity. Dropping an asteroid onto a city or base could be the ultimate in “full spectrum dominance doctrine.” [Think Pentagon Apparatchiks of either gender, plus blends, dressed out in backless chaps, masks, and with whips.]
        This exercise in ‘message massage’ is another example of why the film “Dr. Strangelove” is still pertinent today. The basic message I got from that film, then, and with every re-viewing, is that our nations are being run by fools and madmen.

        1. Cat Burglar

          I still remember the assurances that Dr. Strangelove could never really happen.

          But Daniel Ellsberg and a colleague — both nuclear war strategists at the time — went to see the film. Ellsberg said, “That was a documentary!”

        2. Bill Smith

          Why is “Worst case scenario is a suicide mission of a C-130 flying in low with a “Nuke” in the cargo bay” any worse than other situations?

            1. ambrit

              Oh, don’t be too sure of that. Think Kamikazis, (of which there were several American examples during the Second World War,) or Fedayeen, of which there are numbers available from American religeous extremists.
              Lot’s of “self sacrificing” combatants think that they will be going to Heaven. That’s a very powerful inducement.

          1. ambrit

            It’s the worst case scenario for several reasons. One reason is that, by making a cargo aircraft nuclear capable, you give carte blance for your ‘adversary’ to shoot down all aircraft, ‘military’ or not. Think the US Navy submarine campaign in the Pacific during WW-2. Also, this can lead to all aircraft being banned from the skies. No ‘neutral’ flights, no medical flights, no ’emergency’ flights. Finally, the ‘cover’ of a non-combative flight will embolden the warlike. “If we can get in the ‘first punch’ doctrine.”
            In the “olde days,” adversaries could keep a watchful eye on each other’s military combat aircraft. The numbers were manageable. With all aircraft potential attack craft, the difficulties multiply.
            That’s my story….

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I think the reason for this is more straightforwardly commercial.

      Germany is currently in a bind trying to decide on how to replace its ageing fleet of Typhoons before it can develop a new fighter bomber with the French, which is probably a couple of decades away. They’ve been looking at the F/A-18, or possibly a very expensively redesigned Eurofighter (which was never intended for strike). For various reasons, neither are particularly palatable options for German politicians.

      One crucial requirement the German Luftwaffe insists on is that any aircraft can carry B61 warheads (yes, Germany has its own stock of about 20 US purchased tactical nukes). This rules out most of the obvious alternatives, such as the Gripen or the Rafale). So I suspect someone in Lockheed decided that getting the DoD to pay for this would open up a potentially very profitable deal.

      1. ambrit

        Bloody h—! Now we have to add Germany to the ranks of the Nuclear Powers?
        At this rate, it would be rational to enact some version of the (from the book ‘Dune,’) Great House compact regarding the Family Atomics. Any use of atomics by one Power triggers an automatic full out atomic response from the other Powers. Think the ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ doctrine, but dispersed.

        1. Zamfir

          This is very old practice, called “nuclear sharing”. NATO countries, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, in the old days Greece and Canada as well, each have a few US bombs that can be airdropped by their own planes. The bombs are under US control, on US bases, and would only made available during nuclear war, when the US ( and the UK and France) would be using their own weapons.

          The politics of it are somewhat opaque. I think it’s mostly a symbolic commitment from those countries to the US, something the US insists on as part of Nato. Basically, don’t pretend to have clean hands while relying on the nuclear shield of other countries.

          1. Kouros

            And since the implementation of NPT, the Soviets/Russians have accused the US of blatant proliferation…

            1. Bill Smith

              The practice predates the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

              But I would be interested if you have a link available where this was bought up in under the umbrella of NPT.

      2. Anthony Stegman

        Technically, what you say about Germany nukes is not correct. Nukes that are on German soil are under the command and control of the United States.

        1. ambrit

          I’m pretty sure that Uncle Sam would ‘lend’ them some.
          (I’m pretty sure that no sane German would consider using nukes in the Fulda Gap any more, but perhaps the Tannhauser Gate.)

  4. JohnA

    Apropos the return of EU austerity,
    The Social Democrat party in Sweden, that adopted the Clinton/Blair third way, neoliberalism, privatisation etc., and accordingly keeps shrinking in support, has just elected as new leader Magdalena Andersson, who in her previous role, revelled in the title ‘meanest finance minister in the EU’, and has strong connections in the IMF. And they wonder why the dogs won’t eat the dog food they keep offering.

        1. Kevin

          If this were to occur in most schools in the U.S., I would think the student would probably be expelled….whether the video was directed at a fellow student or a school official/teacher.

    1. ambrit

      Now, will one of these three “New Companies” end up holding the bag, as in housing all of the previous parent company’s money losing entities?

  5. Stephen Bunnell

    Guys, vaccination does reduce the risk of spreading COVID! However, you are correct that it doesn’t eliminate that risk. Still, less risk is way better than a high risk. In vaccinated people viral titers peak early, and then drop quickly. They are infectious for fewer days.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, that is not correct under Delta. It was somewhat true for wild type.

      Start with the study that showed no correlation between vax rates and Covid contagion. That result, and in particular surges in areas with very high vax rates like Ireland, Iceland, and Israel, would be impossible if vaccine did much of anything to reduce spread. This is an accepted article, the link below is an e-print prior to publication:

      Delta’s median time to symptom onset is 4 days, about one day faster than for wild type. Delta also produces a viral load 1000X or more that of wild type.

      The vaccines help you clear the virus faster. But that is AFTER you have been infected and AFTER you are symptomatic, if you wind up with a symptomatic breakthrough case. You are contagious a day or two before symptom onset and a day or two after. So basically the vaccines don’t mount an immune response fast enough to prevent spread.

      Studies in close quarters reach similar conclusions:

      The reduction in contagion is marginal.

      The CDC recently produced an embarrassingly dishonest analysis based on people with “Covid like symptoms” to try to claim the reverse.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Will the authorities ever admit my Pfizer anti-covid shots are not vaccines as we have learned to understand that word as preventing infectious disease?

      2. K.k

        “A new study in American veterans posted to the medRxiv* preprint server suggests severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines are less effective in preventing infection after six months. The decline was most significant with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with vaccine effectiveness plummeting from 88% to 3%.”

        This is the first paragraph of the article I linked. Is it any wonder so many people are so confused. The paragraph suggests that 88% number represents protection from infection as opposed to as I understand it to represent protection from hospitalization and death. Perhaps I’m the confused one.

  6. Michael Ismoe

    USA TODAY POLL: Biden Approval at 38, Kamala Harris at 28 Mediate

    Well, together they get up to 66%. If half the Democrats in Congress lose next year, does that mean that they have to day trade without insider information? That could be risky.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “St. John’s asks for supply donations during global shortage”

    I have to admit that I do not understand the helplessness on display here. Aluminium crutches? Look, how about going with wooden crutches and forget aluminium ones. I am pretty sure that there is no patent on them nor do they need constant software updates. Here are some plans that took me all of 20 seconds to find online-

    You put out a standard plan of them and ask help from any place that has a wood-shop. Schools, prisons maybe, home-handymen, hobbyists. Use the money that would have been spent on aluminium ones for timber and the fittings instead. It would not take long to build up a supply of them and probably in different sizes.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I appreciate the effort to be creative, but wood is way heavier than aluminum. And little rural hospitals are not in the business of setting up their own supply chains.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Of course you are quite correct here about aluminium versus wood crutches. The thing is, if the root cause is the supply issues wrecking chaos on supply lines, this issue will be ongoing until late into next year – or longer. If it goes on long enough, there may not be much of a choice. Worse yet, having to keep some patients in hospital instead of sending them home means that they will be more exposed to catching Coronavirus in a hospital setting. Not a lot of happy answers here.

      2. Otis B Driftwood

        Isn’t reconditioning used aluminum crutches a positive thing? It seems to me that, as a society, we need to wean ourselves from discarding durable items and develop systems for repurposing and reconditioning things that are costly to produce from scarce raw materials.

        1. sd

          Pasadena Convalescent Aid Society is a nonprofit that provides free medical equipment, accepts donations of used medical equipment, and restores equipment to put in to use again.
          Everything from bedpans to walkers, rollators, crutches, wheel chairs, hospital beds and more.

          The only exception is mattresses which they require you to buy new if you’re getting a hospital bed.

        2. Rod

          for any aid they sent you home with, Ask the Hospital–
          I did.
          get the deer in the Headlights look
          ReUse—-Novel thought in my part of the woods

          our prandparents ,et al, are spinning in their graves

      3. West of the Tetons

        St. John’s is in Jackson Hole, not exactly flyover country, more like fly-to for the 1% crowd. Even on the other side of the Tetons where I live, which was always the worker slum, the private airport in Driggs has run out of hangers for the billionaire jets. My buddy works there and sees everything short of custom 737s, and that’s only b/c the runway won’t support a jet that big.

    2. IM Doc

      Yes, this same issue is occurring at my hospital as well and I hear from docs all over that this is happening not infrequently. I heard yesterday that a big non-profit corp in one of our big cities has put a moratorium on all durable medical equipment leaving the buildings in any way.

      The wood issue brought above is very important. Modern ortho devices are not usually made of wood for 2 reasons. The one Yves brought up is one of them. It is easier for PT and rehab to work with patients with lighter and stronger equipment. Plus, when wood breaks it often causes injuries. I have really never seen an aluminum crutch break.

      The second reason is also very important. WOOD of any kind is a Petri dish. In the past 30 years or so, there has been a sustained move away from using anything made of wood in patient areas. Using metal where it is possible is a much better barrier for bacterial infections. There is a reason all the doorknobs in homes decades ago were made of brass or copper. The same issue applies to all the metal objects being used in patient care in modern hospitals.

      Just think – we have determined some very amazing ways to decrease infections in the hospital. How many of those are going to go bye-bye unless we can figure out this supply problem? I can think of multiple others that are vulnerable. How long is this going to last? And what will be left with in the wake?

      Something that has also crossed my mind – but I have heard literally nothing about is titanium. I do not even know if there is a problem. Titanium has become indispensable in modern medicine. All kinds of equipment – and implants like hip replacements. If we are struggling with aluminum – is titanium that far behind?

      As far as the other comment about medical waste. I could not agree with you more. Take one look at any hospital and you will see a Mt Everest of trash going out every day. If you think the consumer throwaway and crapification culture is bad – you haven’t seen anything until you look in a hospital.

      I am just old enough to remember when for example saline was given in glass bottles that were then recycled and autoclaved in the hospital and used over again. And again. Now mountains of plastic bags are thrown away every day. This is for two reasons – first of all MBAs run the hospitals – and CHEAP! Is literally the only consideration.

      Secondly, in modern medicine, saline is used as holy water. Every patient in the hospital is getting it in often exorbitant amounts. Saline was used quite sparingly when I was a young doctor. It is a constant struggle to get these young kids to break this cycle. You see – medicine is now a “check box” operation. Order sets magically appear and you just check boxes on a computer – no brain work involved. It is really that way. I cannot tell you how many situations I have been in with students and residents where they were literally flooding a patient’s lungs. It is a constant battle. And that is just saline. Mounds and mounds of plastic on every drug used in the hospital. Where reusable glass and metal was the rule just a generation ago.

      This society has a lot of lessons to learn.

      1. MK

        “Where reusable glass and metal was the rule just a generation ago.”

        And I suspect we’ll be back to that in a generation from now with the way things are going . . .

        1. Vandemonian

          I started my career in pathology labs in 1979. Blood draws were all done with glass syringes (glass barrel, glass piston) with a metal Luer lock for the needle. The syringes were washed and dried after use, packed in paper and autoclaved for re-use (in house).

          The needles were cleaned, sterilised and re-used as well. As a newbie, I got the job of honing the ones that were getting a bit blunt.

          After three or four years, both were replaced with disposables.

          Glass pipettes, beakers and test tubes were in routine use for everything in the lab for maybe another decade or so.

      2. IM Doc

        A question I forgot to ask – maybe someone here would have some insight.

        Much has been made in some corners about the disappearance of Gavin Newsome. I have heard all kinds of wild stuff – up to and including him having a bad reaction to the COVID booster.

        I think all of that talk is just a deflection for the masses.

        What I cannot get out of my brain at this point is the following. We have a supply crisis that has now officially landed in hospitals all over America…

        Forget the booster shot – this is a crisis for which the ports in HIS state are largely responsible.


        If we do not have our governors on the job and working during this kind of crisis – why on earth do we even have them?

        1. BlueMoose

          Or even Secretary of Transportation figure heads like PeteB? Maybe they are hunkering down somewhere working out the details. We should give them the benefit of the doubt. /s

        1. Greg

          Like most science, it depends. Some woods are remarkably good at keeping bacteria cultures low, for reasons that aren’t very well understood yet. Couldn’t tell you off the top of my head which ones sorry.

          Mostly what is dangerous in wood is that it is made of many cells in organic shapes, which means it is rough and pitted at a microscopic level in ways that encourage retention of thin films of water which can then create a habitat for bacteria (remembering wood is dead-at-maturity cells designed for water transport mostly along the “grain”).

          I’m curious about some of the treated-wood techs we’ve seen in links over the last couple of years (transparent wood and wooden knife), with chemical treatments to reduce the content of lignins and pectins to leave just cellulose which is then compressed. That sort of thing might reduce the viability of wood surfaces for bacterial infection.

          1. Jack Pine

            Thuja occidentalis (Eastern/Northern White Cedar) has potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. As does the southern cousin, Cypress. I believe most conifers have at least some anti-microbial properties, but those that grow in swamps have more for obvious reasons.

        2. Joe Renter

          Paint the wood with epoxy paint. Problem may be solved. Or overlay with fiberglass.
          Just off the top of my head respose (I am a painter).

          Side note…
          I have a close friend who has came down with Covid twice. Second time with Delta. He is Trump supporter and was not into getting vaccinated. However he did not long ago, and said his reaction form the vaccine was way worse than both cases of Covid! What a crazy world.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Most of the worlds titanium sponge (the primary raw material) comes from China, Japan and Russia. in pretty similar quantities. A lot of Chinese titanium products comes from Xi’an, up in the north. I don’t know where the main production centres are for titanium medical products, but I would guess its Japan. If it is Japan and Russia, there are likely to be less disruptions from Covid, etc.

        I haven’t heard of any disruptions in titanium (but this isn’t my area of expertise). So far as I’m aware, the main problem with sourcing aluminium is not the aluminium itself, but supply blockages in various alloys, in particular magnesium. But there has also been a surge in use of aluminium in China at the same time as many of its smelters had to shut down due to coal and electricity shortages.

      4. Zamfir

        Yeah, there are some struggles with titanium. Aerospace is the big user, and that’s increasing production from a pandemic low.

        Most titanium ore goes to make titanium oxide pigment, the paint industry is struggling with shortages there. That the low cost use for titanium.

        Medical titanium (for inside the body at least) is on the other side of the price spectrum, fairly low-volume stuff with a low price elasticity, and made form special allloys so everyone in the chain knows the end purpose. You’d expect those to be much later on the chopping board if there are supply struggles, but thats speculation on my side.

        Crutches on the other probably just use standard aluminium pipe – low-margin mass produced stuff, first on the block. There was electricity rationing in China, then people quickly turn off the aluminium plants.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          The subject has taken me back to the late 70’s when I was a young trainee manager for British Industrial Sand / minerals division. A long time ago but the main product that was milled from the raw material was Abra or ABRA ?, which was white & used in paint milled to mesh sizes 300, 200, 100, if I remember correctly – other names I recall are alumina, Bauxite, manganese & something labelled RASC.

          BIS is long gone but that one plant produced thousands of tons per week which was obviously used for various applications aside from paint & I am as ignorant now as I was way back then as to where the raw materials came from.

      5. JTMcPhee

        My brief experience as a floor nurse would convince me that wood or metal is a spurious binary. The hospital I worked at had plenty of nosocomial infections. Some of them may have been due to “fomites” from aluminum crutches or walkers or commode handles or the plastic grips on these, but that was because infection control via simply cleaning and disinfecting ANY of the places that pathogens accumulate was a rare thing. Filthy mops used to swab the floors, medical consumables and bloody and pus-laden bandages accumulating under beds, really gross stuff building up in the corners of rooms, the individual HVAC units in rooms almost never cleaned (not even the occasional squirt of disinfectant.) Bed frames and traction equipment got only the most cursory swishing between patients, since housekeeping staff was small, vastly overworked and crushed by the workload or just blew it off and hid out, and not even present outside day hours, and pausing to do infection control and antisepsis was anathema in the rush to fill beds (which must be much worse now that the system has been brought closer to collapse by MBAsturbation…)

        In the days of white-shoe nursing, I am told, disinfection and cleaning was a big part of the practice, and, of course, simple ventilation! Now we have medical errors and nosocomial/iatrogenic deaths and illness as one of the biggest life-shortening problems.

        I expect wood or bamboo crutches and other durables would be only minutely different than aluminum equivalents. And it is possible to build laminated wood structures that are as strong, if marginally wealthier, than aluminum. And I did see damaged durables, like walkers, that had failed and dumped the patient because they were so cheaply built of thin-walled tube with flimsy fasteners. A lot of patients of course are overweight.

        Of course there are people of good will, like IMdoc and many others, who are struggling valiantly and against the corporate pressures for profit and past their physical endurance limits, more and more work from fewer and fewer workers for less and less pay under ever more burdensome metric-based micromanagement, to maintain some sort of homeostasis in the homocentric systems that are failing, thanks to the nature of the Beast. God bless them.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I should add that I have had maybe 50 experiences with hospital care, either as a patient or as family of someone hospitalized, since my floor nursing experience in 2004-5. The lack of infection control measures and the poor quality of care, by everyone in the “patient care team,” has only gotten worse as far as I have observed.

          It is possible to adequately disinfect wood and bamboo, especially if they are coated with the appropriate finishes.

          There is no excuse for what we suffer today in this and so many areas of life, though of course as I learned in the Army, you don’t have excuses — you may have “reasons,” that can be laid out in florid depth and detail, but there are no excuses.

      6. Martin Oline

        “Where reusable glass and metal was the rule just a generation ago.” I was a mold maker for a company that made disposable medical diagnostic items in California; pipettes, centrifuges, test tubes, etc. I always felt that it was a waste of resourses but then I had a conversation with a nurse who had practiced in Eastern Europe. She was very enthusiastic about these products. It seems when there are problems with the sterilization of equipment, the ethics of medical waste is secondary. The conversation left me feeling somewhat better about it.

      7. R

        Wood is *not* a Petri dish. It is mostly antibacterial. There are extensive studies showing that, in catering hygiene at least, when wooden items and metal / plastic items receive similar washing, the wooden ones show fewer colonies forming. Apparently part of the effect is in the nature of the surfaces of metal and plastic, which lend themselves to biofilm formation and invisible but hard to clean scratches and pits. The other part appears to be antibacterial properties of wood.

        Clean and shiny does not equal hygienic!

        1. Josef K

          We should also be aware that bamboo is not a wood, it’s a grass. It’s covered in a skin which is much less permeable than bark, which suggests to me that it’s less likely to harbor germs. I’m not certain of that, but it would seem so.
          Nevertheless metals are certainly going to be more sterile and more easily sterilized.

          1. Greg

            The semi-permeable layers of bamboo are only on the outside of the physical plant – once you process the secondary growth (“wood”) that isn’t going to be there anymore.

            Also trees have a similar epidermal layer, it’s just underneath the bark, while it appears on the “outside” of bamboo.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Do you seriously think anyone can wash crutches? Or walkers? Utensils are not remotely the same use case.

          And the bugs you get in a catering context aren’t remotely like MRSA.

      8. Rodeo Clownfish

        I would agree that bare wood, as a porous material, should host abundant microorganisms. But sealed wood, as in varnished, shellacked, or lacquered wood, should be no different than solid plastic, since the surface is converted to a non-porous polymer. It can even be effectively treated with disinfectants.

        Perhaps there is something I am overlooking…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Shellacked wood would not make for a good grip surface. Back in my childhood, when you did see wooden crutches, I can’t recall any being shellacked.

          And with any use, they’d get dinged quickly.

    3. kramer

      I wonder how many people have one or more sets of crutches in their garage or storage unit (I have two sets). Aluminum crutches are pretty durable. Surely enough crutches have been produced by now that we should barely need any new supply at all if not for our weird need to own everything we use and for these things to always be new.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Thank you, I was thinking this too. Have a set in my basement, never used because a knee scooter was the better mobility choice for my broken ankle. The hospital sent me home with the crutches, a friend quickly recommended the scooter. Rather disappointing that the PT department didn’t do so. “Best healthcare in the world”

      2. The Rev Kev

        As it turns out, I have a set of crutches in my shed when my adult stepson injured himself. And these ones are made of wood.

  8. Questa Nota

    Mobile internet article provides some good insights. It would be interesting to see an extension outside the 3G framework for echoes of the Fairness Doctrine and its elimination. Call the current environment influence the Foulness Doctrine. Invite clickbait, manipulated, er, fact-checking, and other logical consequences of the neo-liberal virus. Bad information drives out the good, so mission accomplished.

    One technique mentioned in the article is testing for the omitted-variable bias. Given the revelations about US news sources it would be supplemented by the omitted-truth bias.

  9. Eudora Welty

    Re: Management by Metrics is Destroying Journalism:

    In Seattle, a medical organization announced the exploration of a restructure. It was printed in the news on the day of the announcement. I have been waiting for some type of in-depth exploration of how the 2 or maybe 3 huge medical behemoths function, what the restructure would do for Organization A, and how this restructure will impact medical care in the region, but I haven’t seen a word about this since the day of the initial announcement. I don’t have the right metaphor, but it’s something like, in politics, that’s a lot of power lying there waiting for someone to scoop it up. On the other hand, maybe the organization heads are happy that it is so under the radar.

  10. Jason Boxman

    LOL. So wasn’t there a famous movie with a plane that couldn’t be recalled…

    A crewed aircraft makes an ideal platform for maximum control. With a crewed delivery system, the President of the United States could order a F-35A armed with the B61-12 [nuclear bomb] to strike a target, then change his or her mind if the circumstances change. If the enemy suddenly calls for peace, the strike can be called off.

    How insane.

  11. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Moooorning Fiatnam!

    I had organized a $10k bank run for the unit with everybody decked out in BDU’s, but so many in the platoon were fiscally unfit and unable to compete, how do you make a withdrawal like that when there’s the low three figures in your account?

    Undaunted, I rallied my service charges to attempt at least a bank saunter, ‘how about you withdraw forty bucks?’ which garnered grimaces and I knew the idea of volunteers was now out of the question, i’d have to force them to withdraw from the front of an ATM, pacifying them by allowing the buck privates to be redeposited when I wasn’t looking.

  12. fresno dan

    Russiagate has no rock bottom Aaron Maté (Chuck L)

    Whether Hillary Clinton and her campaign were aware of Dolan’s role– and Dolan insists that they were not – it’s yet one more embarrassing Clinton tie to the Steele dossier, revealed long after the damage was done.
    Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest presidential candidate? Henry II aka Hillary I
    I think the evidence is overwhelming that the highest echelons of government knew there was nothing to the Russiagate investigation. Whether they in fact instigated, at the least they allowed it to continue. The investigation was the purpose and the punishment.
    Of course, there won’t be an investigation of the investigation because….well, its in the past and we must always move on when crimes (which are ALWAYS past events) are perpetrated by the rich and powerful. And the dems are in charge. What is that about a nation of laws, not men? If men are not enforcing the laws, it sure seems like its the political parties…

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Take a look at the John Helmer piece that is also in today’s Links. He asserts the Durham indictments are structured in such a way as to prosecute the perps of the “little lies” that were the foundation of the Russiagate scam, while leaving the “big lie” that Russia did indeed interfere in the election still standing.

  13. Otis B Driftwood

    I would like to share a climate presentation by Dr. Patrick Gonzalez delivered this past week at the Scientific Plenary 2021 ESA annual meeting. He is the chief climate scientist with the US Park Service and adjunct professor at UC Berkeley. He is also a principal author of a number of the IPCC climate reports.

    He is an authority on anthropogenic climate change and its ecological impacts. This is a valuable presentation and demands a wide viewing.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Slave room discovered at Pompeii in ‘rare’ find”

    So I was imagining what archaeologist might discover after excavating an old New York basement 2,000 years into the future. Suppose the only relics that they found were the remains of a mobile, an Uber ID card and papers that when deciphered proved to be student loan statements, a contract for DoorDash and an eviction notice. I wonder what they would say about the person that once inhabited that basement room.

    1. Wukchumni

      About 40 years ago, nearly $100k worth in face value of older banknotes were found hidden in the wall of a house in Cali where they’d been for the past 80 years or so. Most of it crumbled upon touch, the paper was getting the vapors from close to a century of standing in place. I remember turning a horseblanket (the slang term for older pre 1929 banknotes) into nothing as if it was flashpaper, poof it was gone-no structural integrity left.

    2. Sailor Bud

      David Macaulay wrote and illustrated a book back in 1979 called ‘Motel of the Mysteries’ that makes fun of nearly the same scenario. Archaeologists from the year 4022 try to make sense of the bizarre things they find in an American motel of the 1970s.

      They misinterpret everything, and the book is really making fun of Howard Carter and Tutankhamen’s tomb. Nearly every mundane object is turned into a religious one. The toilet lid becomes a headdress and the toilet itself becomes a sacred urn to pray into. They get the TV right, though: they conclude it is a Great Altar that represents the “essence of religious communication practiced by the ancient North Americans.”

    3. griffen

      What a really compelling find that will be in year 4019. And by compelling, I really mean sad! Okay maybe some vintage wheat pennies will store some value unless we really need them.

      All these empty bottles read Bud Light. Have they no taste in beer?

  15. nvl

    President of St John’s College in Annapolis who says universities treat professors as ‘thought criminals’ joins forces with ‘thinkers’, including Bari Weiss, to create NEW school ‘dedicated to the fearless pursuit of truth’ and for more, see

    At a glance, Larry Summers is on the board and Palantir money will be represented at soon
    to be established University of Austin.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s got to be a mistake that. Surely you are talking about an article from the Onion or the Babylon Bee. And historian Niall Ferguson is there as well? Who will be in charge of ethics there? Nikole Hannah-Jones?

  16. Pat

    Nice quilt, handsome happy kitty, now that’s what I call an antidote. Thanks to both bassmule and Harvey for a *true* moment of Zen.”

    (Guilty secret here, for the past decade those final nature segments on CBS Sunday Morning are some of my favorite times on network television. I know Stewart was mocking them when they did moment of Zen, but we really do need them. And antidotes….and plantidotes, …and birds…)

    1. Wukchumni

      The CVBB (central valley bible belt) is mostly in the orange, although what an outlier in terms of openness in Cali-it’s a closed book, about the only blue area in the state, compared to secular regions.

  17. David

    Thanks for the Wittgenstein story: the Tractatus exploded a bomb under philosophy a century ago, and the bits are still coming down. But it’s important to realise two things about Wittgenstein, each of which may make you more inclined to read the book if you haven’t done so. First, he was essentially a mystic, rather than a philosopher. He belongs with the pre-Socratics and Plotinus, with Taoist and Zen thinkers and with Christian mystics, and with the whole tradition that says, look, guys, there are just some things that humans are incapable of understanding, so let’s stop pretending we can. The second thing is that the Tractatus is really a work of poetry, not philosophy. The fact that Wittgenstein was a mathematician and trained as an engineer, and the fact that the book is set out as if it were a set of mathematical propositions (it isn’t) shouldn’t confuse the reader.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Most days I walk past a small sign marking where Wittgenstein lived in Dublin for a few years, the former Rosses Hotel (now a rather dull 1980’s hotel which pre-Covid full of German coach tourists and English stag/hen groups). The sign always attracts some casual interest, I guess because nobody expects it there. Apparently he used to like spending his days sitting in the tropical greenhouse in the Botanic Gardens. I guess that was one way to stay warm in an Irish winter in the 1940’s.

      I’ve never read Tractatus, I must give it a go.

      1. Lee Too

        You can “give it a go” but be prepared for a serious dose of symbolic logic. Mysticism or not, the book is a response to the contemporary work of Whitehead and Russell in the foundations of mathematics, and takes for granted a familiarity with that work. It’s true that, for all the formalism, the book has a beautiful directness of expression, but it also contains a rigorous exposition. It’s true also that the project of the book was to show the boundaries of what can “meaningfully” be said. But that must be understood, in part at least, as a response to a philosophic tradition Wittgenstein (and others) found to be specifically meaning-less. Calling the book itself “mystical” is, I think, an oversimplification.

        (Full disclosure: I haven’t read the link.)

        1. David

          I don’t think I said the book was mystical, so much that it’s a book written by a mystic, which isn’t quite the same. Yes, it’s rigorous in appearance and presentation (and as I said Wittgenstein was a mathematician) but under the bonnet this rigour is less evident, and the view that Wittgenstein was writing mystical poetry disguised as mathematics is relatively well supported . The mathematical notation doesn’t, I think, get in the way of the overall message – at least not for me, as a non-mathematician.

          1. Irrational

            IIRC Wittgenstein more or less changed views 180 degrees later on in life and said you could talk about certain things after all. But I have not read his works since school.

  18. Carolinian

    That Commentary/Sokal is a thoughty piece. Sampler

    For a postmodernist, this absence of objective facts is considered a wonderful thing. It allows the critic to treat any field of knowledge—about society, history, even science—as something akin to a literary text. Rather than grappling with stubborn facts, the postmodernist is now free to interpret that text as cavalierly as a literary critic might dig for Freudian symbolism in one of Shakespeare’s plays. This is why postmodernists like to describe their method as “deconstructing,” “unpacking,” or “interrogating” a text. In their view, the work of the critic is the highest form of intellectual activity. (This also explains why the journal Sokal hoaxed is called Social Text, and why left-wing academics like to append the word “critical” to any field of study they’re trying to subvert.)

    One immediately sees a connection to our “narrative” based media world where it’s all about telling a story–not necessarily a true story. Of course these postmodern critiques fall apart when it comes to applied science. Presumably all those English majors look at the miracle of human ingenuity that is the smartphone and presume it just sort of happened or that they are imagining the whole thing.

    But even that’s not the problem at the moment. We live in a country where people are presumably allowed to believe what they want, have freedom of religion and thought. The problem is when they start trying to force everyone else to believe the same thing. It’s less about scaling the intellectual heights than vulgar power.

    1. David

      Former English Lit scholar eons ago here. Much of post-modernism is simply an extension of the common-sense view that it’s impossible to have a final definitive interpretation of any text. If you find that surprising as a statement, consider the opposite possibility: next year a book is published which constitutes the absolute final statement and truth about, say, Hamlet, The Divine Comedy or War and Peace. At that point, scholars throw up their hands and decide that there’s nothing more to write or say about those texts, and they will no longer be studied or written about. Clearly, that would be nonsense. It’s also true that if you take more inherently objective texts such as scientific textbooks or laws and regulations, it is interesting to study them as texts, to see how they differ between the ages. A nineteenth-century textbook on medicine, for example, is different from a modern one in interesting ways: in expression, in assumptions and orientation as well as obviously in content. And it’s legitimate to imagine that medical texts in a hundred years time will be different again. The problem arises when the fact that it’s hard or impossible to be definitive turns into the opinion that therefore all interpretations are equally valid, which is clearly not the case.

      1. Carolinian

        The article is talking aboutt a critique that was made back in the 1990s, says that the postmodern craze then faded for awhile, and now is being applied to reality, not just texts. To your point

        Some prominent academics accused Sokal of having constructed a “straw man,” saying his article presented a wildly exaggerated version of postmodern concepts in order to poke fun at them. No legitimate postmodernist would take such silly ideas seriously, they said. That argument stumbled, though, on two points. First, some of the biggest names in the field had taken Sokal’s versions of postmodern ideas seriously—seriously enough to publish them in a prestigious journal. Second, the most absurd parts of Sokal’s article were not his deliberate misstatements of scientific concept; they were direct quotations from leading postmodern thinkers.

        Perhaps the problem is that a kind of revolving door these days has brought these academic disputes into our politics.

        1. David

          There, I agree. My point was that there are actually sensible and useful insights to be gained from what is usually referred to as “post-modernism”, “deconstruction” etc. provided that the clarity and sophistication (and the deliberate provocation) of the original ideas of people like Foucault, Derrida etc. are respected. But even by the 90s, it was clear that all this was getting out of control, and that people who once went to a lecture by someone who’d once read a bad English translation of one of Foucault’s lectures, were producing intellectual garbage at a rate of knots. It’s got a lot worse since, of course. Ironically, as you said in your first comment, it’s become all about power. Like the Marxism of the 1970s, it’s an utter and complete answer to everything and all dissent and disagreement is ruled out before you start. I just hope it eats itself soon.

        2. Acacia

          And on the subject of the revolving door, the article notes that:

          Social Text’s editors included Marxist literary critic Fredric Jameson and other top names in the field. They wanted to put those quibbling scientists in their place.

          Not to quibble on this (not a scientist, either), but most likely, Social Text wasn’t any different than countless other academic journals, with “top names” like Jameson on the board, but who in practice had very little to do with weekly editorial decisions. Speaking from some experience here, those decisions were largely made by grad students, who were trying to juggle the thankless task of editing horrid writing for publication in the journal whilst struggling with their own dissertations.

          I’d be very surprised if the “top names” on the board even saw the title of Sokal’s article before it went to print, and then had to try and defend the grad students when the whole thing blew up.

          I agree with David and Carolinian, above, adding that this state of affairs probably emerged because the goal of these journals was and is often more to build the social capital of those involved (and also to get lots of free review copies from academic presses!), more than serious intellectual inquiry.

  19. Jason Boxman

    Unsurprisingly, liberal Democrats, informed by the ‘paper of record’, have no clue what’s going on in transportation. If only they read NC!

    Some have also called for increasing the weight limits for trucks to allow them to haul more cargo, or permanently lowering the age limit for drivers. The pilot program in the infrastructure bill aims to help recruit more drivers by allowing people as young as 18 to drive interstate routes. But some industry representatives have expressed concerns about the program’s risks and say the federal government should instead focus instead on improving retention rates.

    Sure, that’ll fix it!

    The word “rail” is mentioned only in passing in the entire article. Monopoly doesn’t appear anywhere.

    To make up for the shortages, industry leaders and researchers say trucking companies need to make greater investments in recruiting women and people of color. Only 7 percent of truck drivers are women and 40 percent are minorities, according to a 2019 report from the American Trucking Associations.

    Not clear how that’s going to seriously address the issue, but identity must factor into it somehow, if you’re a liberal Democrat.

    Also no mention of deregulation or how owner-operators have been devastated over the years by shrinking margins.

    It is difficult to solve a problem, if one does not understand the nature of the problem. Instead, liberal Democrats prefer varying approaches to optics!

  20. Questa Nota

    Monetized genetic testing, who coulda node?

    Old thinking: If it is free, you’re the product.

    Variation, or mutation, you might think that added value is free, but you’re still the product. Those consequences aren’t really unintended. You’re just another node in the internet wall.

  21. HotFlash

    Dr. John Campbell has a new video up today, which he modestly calls “Interesting video”. The subtitle is New Pfizer antiviral and (redacted), a pharmacodynamic analysis New Pfizer antiviral, PF-07321332, C₂₃H₃₂F₃N₅O₄. As usual, jam-packed with primary sources and Dr. John’s excellent explanations.

    1. pjay

      Thank you for this. Very good, especially his concluding comment.

      I would love to hear those with relevant medical or biological background comment on Campbell’s analysis here (it’s only 20 minutes or so), but my requests usually fail to illicit a response. If he is correct, then this would seem to be important information about which we should all be outraged. But alas…

  22. griffen

    Since I relocated to SC about 5+ year ago, I clicked on the link regarding the ultimate penalty for the worst, or most heinous offenses and those few men tasked with actually carrying out the deed. To describe there individual histories in the role as mostly a traumatic experience is perhaps an understatement. Yes it is part of the job they were hired to perform and were compensated for doing so.

    I’m reminded of a few different films, and in particular Monsters Ball. Thornton played a father in the film to the late Heath Ledger, and as corrections officers they were tasked to carry out a death penalty in the film. Ledger’s character could not cut his teeth on the first go. I’ll stop there, but it makes one really think. Great movie, my humble opinion. Presented a stark reality of limited choices.

    1. Sardonia

      Great,, GREAT film, Peter Boyle more monstrous than when he played the creature in Young Frankenstein.

  23. Cat Burglar

    The detection of methane leaking from a pipeline in China demonstrates what satellites can detect. It is a great example of what Ray McGovern is talking about when he says that 80 percent of intelligence work uses public information — and the public can use it, too!

    Knowing about remote sensing capability — and being able to infer the likely classified remote sensing capabilities of the government — is very useful when debunking stage-managed international crises. During the Iraq War WMD propaganda campaign, it seemed as if nobody understood that the US had been building its ability to detect nuclear production using air sampling and satellite detection since the 1950s. My family living in the Columbia Basin were exposed to radioactivity during the Green Run tests to develop aircraft sampling methods for a specific type of nuclear weapons production. (A couple weeks ago we saw the dispatch of a US nuclear detection aircraft to the South China Sea.)

    It can also inform your political judgement. The House and Senate leadership, and their defense an intelligence committees, had access to the data. They did not publicly ask, “What is our surveillance telling us?” They knew it would tank the case for war, so they stayed silent. They are all war criminals that should be in prison now.

  24. Kouros

    Landsat 9 data will be available to the public, for free, from USGS’s website once the satellite begins normal operations.

    Living in Canada, I know that there is no data that is obtained through public money that is publicly available for free. There are portals with information, from more recent times, that will provide free information, which is fine, but the US should be recognized for what it offers to the public. I know that one time I made a request to the US Forest Service from Canada about some permanent plots data and lo and behold, after a month or so I got a CD full of information. For free. One has to give to Ceasar what it is owed!

  25. juno mas

    RE: Antidote

    That picture is not a photograph. The shadow from the cow in the grass to the right of the tall tree projects forward from left to right. So where’s the shadow for the tall tree?

    1. Dictynna

      Perhaps it was a painting created on an enlarged print of a photographic original. Some elements (the foreground trees) seem real, while others seem to be painted.

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