Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.
And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.
P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:
Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.
This 715-song playlist is scientifically verified to give you the chills, thanks to “frisson” Big Think (David L). Annoyed the list is monetized on Spotify, so I can’t even see it. But from the ones in the article proper, Metallica does not do it for me. Generally it takes vocals for me to get frisson, not instrumentals. This is why I like big bombastic choral pieces. Readers?
Ancient human tooth discovered in Laos cave may be first Denisovan fossil from South-East Asia ABC Australia (Kevin W)
How to Write Software With Mathematical Perfection Quanta (David L). Notice apparent original headline from URL: computing-expert-says-programmers-need-more-math
Stimulating Brain Circuits Promotes Neuron Growth in Adulthood, Improving Cognition and Mood Neuroscience News (David L)
Flu vaccine could cut COVID risk Nature. Lambert: “Big if true”. Moi: 1. Possible sample bias, since you have to be in pretty good shape to be a health care worker (you are on your feet a lot). 2. In 2020, so wild type. May not hold much/at all for vastly more contagious Delta and Omicron variants.
Shanghai extends streak of infection-free days in non-quarantined zones South China Morning Post
Pakistan facing bankruptcy as the economy crumbles Asia Times. Resilc: “Failed state for ages cooking in 50 c, well done.”
UniCredit and Commerzbank merger talks derailed by Ukraine war Financial Times
Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncoveney has said the European Commission has been working hard on solutions that would distinguish between goods going to Northern Ireland from GB and staying there, compared to those goods entering NI but destined for the Republic.
— Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) May 16, 2022
Eurotunnel restrictions on coaches draw angry response Route One (guurst)
The Tripwire of Irish Borders CounterPunch (resilc)
New Not-So-Cold War
Vikas S per the item below: “Wow. The FT goes full Goebbels.” The soldiers surrendered unconditionally. The government in Kiev tried to pretend they had agreed to it so as not to look out of control of the situation.
Azov neo-Nazis far more useful as martyrs than as RU POWs, where they can be put on trial & milked for all the propaganda they're worth. Zelensky banked on Azov living up to their PR as willing to die defending "white Europe"—but like Protasevich they caved.
Never trust a Nazi.
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) May 17, 2022
Azovstal Surrenders as Russia Continues Offensive in Donbass Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Instructive media report, on what he could best infer re developments as they happened v. press accounts and how they changed over time.
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Russia will likely be shut out permanently from global energy markets, top oil execs say Business Insider (Kevin W). Wow, “global” = EU. Plus many experts believe any effort at significant self-sanctioning will simply result in quite a few years of Russian oil laundering with cutouts making very nice profits at EU consumer expense.
Serious conversation – Ukraine and Grain Aftershock.news. Lots of charts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
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Erdogan says Swedish, Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Turkey Reuters. From yesterday, but all that means is Turkey isn’t looking for
bribesconcessions from them. Another take: Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden Nato bids BBC
Right on schedule, just after putting the item above together: Turkey’s list of demands to NATO revealed by Bloomberg RT (Kevin W)
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US Set to Block Russian Debt Payments, Raising Odds of Default Bloomberg (Kevin W). A default is irrelevant since Russia does not need foreign financing and to my knowledge no private sector parties have foreign short term debt they need to refi. Russia would prefer to stay current. But the idea that Russia is defaulting when the West has stolen $300 billion is silly. So this is a talking point default.
Russian Econ Ministry sees GDP shrinking 7.8% in 2022 and 0.7% in 2023, 3.2% growth in 2024 Interfax. This a reduction in the estimate of 2022 contraction in 2022.
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Congress Approves 40 Billion Dollar Ukraine War Bill CounterPunch (resilc)
Pro-Hezbollah bloc loses Lebanese parliamentary majority Al Jazeera. Resilc: “A sad day when Lebanese have a more vibrant democracy than USA USA.”
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
ICE Is Tracking Your Every Move Intercept (furzy). Keep in mind license plate readers are on interstates and some (many?) state highways. Take local roads.
Imperial Collapse Watch
Paging Nina Jankowicz:
Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke told the people in his Tennessee tent church today, "You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation!"
He later threatened Democrats watching him, "You ain't seen [an] insurrection yet." pic.twitter.com/UDlqYVAEDF
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) May 16, 2022
Seems like Manchin actually gave base Dems a useful model for understanding why “centrism” sucks. Voters told the nyt they saw Conor Lamb as “another Joe Manchin” https://t.co/iFUUHRS2DY pic.twitter.com/DXnFaSnKZw
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) May 18, 2022
UFOs: Few answers at rare US Congressional hearing BBC (David L)
As of after midnight EDT: Steve Irwin, Summer Lee race for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district too close to call Pittsburg Post-Gazette
When we started this campaign, nobody thought John Fetterman could win the nomination.
Some people spent their time obsessing about how John would never get anywhere in Philly.
Tonight, we’re on track to get to 60% & win all of PA’s 67 counties and yes, that includes Philly. pic.twitter.com/nnILzRW1Gf
— Rebecca Katz (@RebeccaKKatz) May 18, 2022
Pennsylvania May Be Democrats’ Best Hope for a Senate Pickup in 2022 New Republic (resilc)
Swiss Billionaire’s Mega-Influence On U.S. Politics Real Clear Politics. Resilc: “The only certainty is my little one vote in NC is less than worthless.”
The Global Fertilizer Crisis American Conservative (resilc). We’ve warned about this for a while….but good detail here on America’s few and poor options.
Fish Farm Startup Hopes Deep-Ocean Technology Can Fuel Growth Bloomberg (resilc)
A deep underground drug-smuggling tunnel linked Tijuana to San Diego discovered Boing Boing. Resilc: “Hector Salamanca lives.”
More roadkill along the blockchain highway: Miami Mayor’s ‘MiamiCoin’ a disaster Boing Boing (resilc). Waiting for NYC mayor Eric Adams to need a bailout.
Walmart’s Black Swan Moment Heisenberg Report
Real Scarcity Informed Buffalo Shooter’s Racist Conspiracy Intercept. Resilc cites this part:
Addressing this violence, though, also requires considering the role of scarcity — not a conspiracy theory, but a very real system of extreme inequality and ecological destruction. It is a system in which the most wealthy and powerful continue to see their wealth and power grow — at the expense of the masses. Faced with actual strained resources and environmental calamity, some of these forsaken people are turning to dark fantasies like the “great replacement theory” to make sense of it all.
Is the Typical CEO Really Worth $15 Million? New Republic (resilc)
The Isolation of Social Media Harvard Medicine Magazine. Resilc:
I went to buy lunch at the Readsboro VT general store. I saw Tim and his wife, the owners, Lindsey the baker, Justin the UPS driver (who said I have something on his truck), hippie dude, the Fedex driver with my trees and Joe, my lumber guy. All in 15 min of meet, greet and chat to pick up lunch….no smart phones involved
Antidote du jour. Robert H: “Betsy finds a mysterious saprophyte along the Potomac River.”
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.