Links 5/8/2022

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.

* * *

Astronauts Have Distinct Brain Changes Even Months After They Return to Earth Science Alert

Twitter bots, explained Trung T. Phan


‘Record after record’: Brazil’s Amazon deforestation hits April high, nearly double previous peak Guardian

Red Hill Water Contamination Sickened Some 2,000 People, Survey Finds Honolulu Civil Beat. The US Navy built a fuel storage tank on top of an aquifer, good job.


Expect rise in US COVID deaths, hospital admissions over next 4 weeks: CDC forecast ABC Philadelphia. NC readers will not be surprised by this.

We’re living with COVID but more of us are dying than ever The Age. Or this.

* * *

In-person schooling and associated COVID-19 risk in the United States over spring semester 2021 Science. “Here, we use data from a massive online survey to characterize changes in in-person schooling behavior and associated risks over that period…. By May to June, risks of all COVID-19–related outcomes disappeared when four or more mitigation measures were reported….. hese findings were consistent across the study period even as vaccination rates increased, emphasizing the importance of layered mitigation measures to reduce the risk of transmission in schools.”

Most US kids have caught the coronavirus, antibody survey finds Nature. “Researchers looked for COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples from more than 86,000 children under 18 years old — including some 6,100 children aged between one and four. In the youngest children, the number of infections more than doubled, from 33% to 68% between December 2021 and February 2022.” Quite a change from Spring 2021 to December 2021. Joe, Rochelle, Tony, Jeff: Take a bow!

Your health is in your hands? US CDC COVID-19 mask guidance reveals the moral foundations of public health The Lancet. Important. As the first link shows, layered “mitigations” (including non-pharmaceutical interventions) remove risk and save lives. One can only wonder why the CDC and the Biden administration are sabotaging them.

* * *

Managing an evolving pandemic: Cryptic circulation of the Delta variant during the Omicron rise Science of The Total Environment. From 2022, still germane. From the Abstract: “In contrast to the expected dynamics whereupon the Delta variant diminishes as Omicron variant increases, representative results received from wastewater detection indicated a cryptic circulation of the Delta variant even with the increased levels of Omicron variant…. According to the developed model, it can be expected that the Omicron levels will decrease until eliminated, while Delta variant will maintain its cryptic circulation. If this comes to pass, the mentioned cryptic circulation may result in the reemergence of a Delta morbidity wave or in the possible generation of a new threatening variant.” Musical interlude.

BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 escape antibodies elicited by Omicron infection (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “Together, our results indicate that Omicron can evolve mutations to specifically evade humoral immunity elicited by BA.1 infection. The continuous evolution of Omicron poses great challenges to SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity [sic] and suggests that BA.1-derived vaccine boosters may not be ideal for achieving broad-spectrum protection.”

Quantifying the relationship between sub-population wastewater samples and community-wide SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “The study demonstrates how results from serial stratified randomized serological sampling of the community can be used to build a longitudinal model that can interpolate and extrapolate community levels of infection beyond specific testing dates…. The study demonstrates that convenience sampling obtained data from health department reporting seriously underestimates community-wide prevalence of infection. In contrast, wastewater-based epidemiology may be a faster, cost-effective, and more robust method of estimating the prevalence of viral infections within specific urban areas.”

Sri Lanka president declares state of emergency amid unrest Channel News Asia


Shanghai lockdown tests Xi Jinping’s loyalties in China’s Communist party FT

China lockdowns are not causing shipping chaos, say liner CEOs Hellenic Shipping News

China’s robot-built 3D-printed dam ready in 2 years: scientists South China Morning Post

U.S. Presses Taiwan to Buy Weapons More Suited to Win Against China NYT. Not agreement-capable (1):

Not agreement-capable (2):


Breaking: Starmer’s #Beergate was planned dinner – and even advertised that lockdown was in place The Sqwawkbox. Just like BoJo. And to think I believed Starmer was one of the good guys….

Sinn Fein calls for united Ireland debate after historic election win Reuters

New Not-So-Cold War

Inside Azovstal Territory: First Western Journalist Inside Azovstal In Mariupol (Special Report) (video) Patrick Lancaster, YouTube. This is the on-the-ground reporting we have:

Ukraine Evacuates Civilians From Steel Plant Under Siege Republic World. A round-up, not only Azovstal. Interesting that, even in India, the story has become getting civilians out of Azovstal, instead of whacking the Nazis who held them as hostages.

Better weather may shift Russia’s fortunes in Ukraine Asia Times

* * *

Incompetence or the realities of war? Turmoil for Canadian-led foreign battalion in Ukraine National Post. The organizer’s “black sun” tattoo finally appears in paragraph 32.

* * *

The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It Thomas Friedman, NYT. “[W]e are dealing with some incredibly unstable elements, particularly a politically wounded Putin. Boasting about killing his generals and sinking his ships, or falling in love with Ukraine in ways that will get us enmeshed there forever, is the height of folly.” What’s the world coming to? I’m agreeing with Friedman…

Chartbook #119: Lend-Lease & Escalation Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Return of the King Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review

Putin’s Next Power Play Is a Parade Foreign Policy


Fertilizer issues threaten South American soybean crops The Western Producer

Baby formula shortage worsens: About 40% of popular brands sold out across US USA Today

Nigeria Is First Nation to Ground Flights as Fuel Costs Soar Bloomberg

Biden Administration

George Cheeks, the president of CBS, tests positive for coronavirus after attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. NYT. “The network’s leader sat between the president and first lady, all unmasked, at the event.”


The New Abortion Battleground (PDF) Columbia Law Review. From the Abstract:

Judges and scholars have long claimed that abortion law will become simpler if Roe is overturned, but that is woefully naïve. Overturning Roe will create a novel world of complex, interjurisdictional legal conflicts over abortion. Some states will pass laws banning their citizens from out-of-state abortions while others will pass laws insulating their providers from out-of-state prosecutions. State legislatures are already introducing and drafting bills to this effect. The federal government will also stake a claim. Beyond promoting access to medication abortion, federal regulations may preempt state abortion bans and federal land could provide shelter for abortion services. Ultimately, once the constitutional protection for pre-viability abortion disappears, the impending battles over abortion access will transport the half-century war over Roe into a new arena, one that will make abortion jurisprudence more complex than ever before.


Never, ever buy “smart” products.

Why I, As a Libertarian, Think You’re Silly To Worry About Your So-Called Abortion Rights Roy Edroso Breaks It Down

Democrats en Déshabillé

A top California official pushed hard for a $600-million mask deal. Fraud claims followed Los Angeles Times. Betty Yee.

Rules For Conservative Radicals The American Conservative. TAC thinks liberal NGOs are more effective than they are.

The Bezzle

“Throwing hazardous objects in front of the vehicle”:

Worth watching.

AI research is a dumpster fire and Google’s holding the matches The Next Web

Blink, Bid, Buy London Review of Books. Digital advertising.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Watchdog group finds F-35 sustainment costs could be headed off affordability cliff Defense News

Sports Desk

Rich Strike, an 80-1 Long Shot, Surges to a Shocking Upset in the Kentucky Derby WSJ

‘The Last Days of Roger Federer’ Review: Running Out of Time Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Amazon Abruptly Fires Senior Managers Tied to Unionized Warehouse NYT

Labor regulators find merit in accusations by unions at Amazon and Starbucks. NYT

Less immigrant labor in US contributing to price hikes AP (dk).

Workers on Vikings development claim over $100,000 in wage theft Minnesota Reformer

The Guitar as the Instrument of Seducers The Honest Broker

Getting in the groove Aeon

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Sardonia

    “The State Dpt removed from their website the fact they recognize that Taiwan is part of China (under PRC gvt) and that they don’t support Taiwan independence.”

    With elections coming up in 6 months, perhaps the Biden administration thinks that starting a war with China will distract voters’ attention from their war with Russia which is distracting voters’ attention from their mishandling of Covid which is distracting voters’ attention from Inflation.

    Don’t underestimate them – these folks can play 4-D Candyland.

    1. jackiebass63

      This administration is no different from past administrations. People are delusional if they think the government is honest with the people.

    2. KD

      If Biden can’t have a second term, why should anyone get a second term? If we can just provoke a nuclear war with Russia and China before 2022, the Democrats don’t have to worry about losing Congress, or 2024. Besides which, nuclear war will accomplish de-population and reverse global warming and will result in radical conservation for the dwindling human survivors–and no more disinformation on-line–they’ll have to use smoke signals if they can find the wood. Just be glad we don’t have a madman like Trump in the White House. . .

    3. flora

      They’ve also created a brand new ministry of truth. / ;)

      Interesting long thread from The Last Refuge:

      (1) The FBI is the codependent agency for Antifa.
      (2) Homeland Security (DHS) is run by U.S. Intel agencies under the umbrella of the ODNI office. [Office of the Director of National Intellegence]
      (3) Nina Jankowicz works for U.S. Intelligence.
      (4) “Disinformation” is information adverse to the interests of U.S. Intel.

    4. NYG

      On numerous occasion over many years The Pentagon has war gamed a hot war with Russia and a hot war with China. Those games always conclude with total nuclear war and the destruction of civilization. There is no other end. So the underlying question here is why take such risk now after avoiding it for so many years?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Because it’s either a unipolar world or no world at all?

        I’m sure it was the case when Indus Valley civilization collapsed (1800 BCE) the Harappans very ready to take the known world with them, or when the Xia dynasty lost it’s power (1600 BCE) they tried to take their world with them not to speak of the Kiovan Rus wanting to end it all rather than to submit to the Mongols (1200 CE).

        But people get over it and eventually realize that every population that exists for a longer period of time will have it’s ups and downs. Something new will follow whether you yield or fight, the latter just makes it less probable what follows is good and more likely the transformation will destroy exactly the things you wanted to retain.

        1. NYG

          That is only possible if nuclear war will be very limited; if both sides will use only the smaller tactical nukes; and if neither side will use the strategic megaton nukes that will destroy civilization and render the planet uninhabitable for hundreds of years. The problem is that not a single one of the many war games ended in that result.

          1. Aumua

            The problem is that not a single one of the many war games ended in (limited destruction).

            I’m curious to know how true that assertion actually is. A very cursory search didn’t turn up any conclusive results.

            1. David

              This is an old misunderstanding that’s been going round since the Cold War. Exercises of this sort are not intended as predictions, but as ways of testing procedures and seeing if you need to change or improve them. As a result, the scenario writers deliberately include everything that might conceivably need to be done, or might be imposed by events, so that these procedures can be practised.

              1. Tor User

                Very true. The simulations I participated in where always setup to test the NATO side, in order to learn something. If the rules didn’t enable NATO to ‘lose’ they were not worth the time. Not that every simulation covered everything and a loss didn’t mean the Soviet tanks where on the Rhine in 7 seven days.

          2. neo-realist

            I tend to think that limited nuclear war is akin to saying a limited pregnancy. You will still have a lot of people get killed, plus a lot of people who will die a painful death from the ensuing radiation. Plus, there is an enormous risk of escalation from the country or countries that are hit with limited nuclear strikes to raise the ante to full blown nuclear war.

            1. John

              Why would you dream of testing a proposition whose most likely result is total destruction? Why would you gamble with billions of lives and an entire civilization in pursuit of a geopolitical bauble? It is insane.

              1. neo-realist

                I hope that is intended for the comment above. I have no desire to test any proposition that involves nuclear war and death for millions.

      2. fresno dan

        Lincoln: one war at a time
        And if you can’t accept Lincoln’s wisdom, how about Germany’s lesson of fighting a 2 front war?
        Alas, we seem to be getting dumber and dumberer

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s that adolescent invulnerability thing. Every 200-year-old nation does something stupid like that.

      3. Noone from Nowheresville

        I guess I’d ask: After flooding the world with dollars as well as juicing up both the crypto and the asset markets since the beginning of the pandemic, how many global resources can the US and its global financial partners / corporations buy up, tie up or control indirectly without triggering a nuclear war?

        Adding look at how many battles are going on in all these different places. NC does great coverage. But even NC doesn’t capture the entire picture. There really are too many players and locales involved. Now throw in how purchasing power has filtered down to the overseer and regional kingpin classes to do the same thing to local communities. Maybe it’s not actual atomic devastation but many communities may end up feeling that the nuclear option has been applied to their way of life.

        1. Eudora Welty

          Honest question: What does NYG stand for? New York Giants is what I get when I do a web search.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      The full text of the Shanghai Communique is available online. For example, here.

      In a portion of the ” US side says this” part of the communique, I see these words which were just as I remember having heard about them years ago.
      ” The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.” To me this seemed like a too-clever-by-half effort to create some weasel-words for future creative re-interpretation. How so? If ever ( as now, apparently), the majority of people on Taiwan were to decide that they were “Taiwanese” as in “not Chinese”, then supporting their independence from China would not be inconsistent with the formulation that “all Chinese” on both sides of the Strait can think Taiwan is part of China all they like, but if only a minority of the people on Taiwan are “Chinese”, then that minority thinking Taiwan is part of China does not make Taiwan part of China. And America supporting the “not-Chinese-anymore” Taiwanese doesn’t violate the Shanghai Communique. Not reeeeeaaaaa . . . ly

      Neat, huh?

  2. Samuel Conner

    > As the first link shows, layered “mitigations” (including non-pharmaceutical interventions) remove risk and save lives. One can only wonder why the CDC and the Biden administration are sabotaging them.

    They’re talking like they have confidence in “herd immunity”, but perhaps the real goal is herd precarity.

    A line from The Neverending Story comes to mind: “People who have no hope are easy to control.”

    1. Pat

      Funny, I think it might be exactly the opposite. People with no hope might be more likely to burn the whole thing down. As in “I’m taking you with me.” This can be especially dangerous when you are dependent on the most hopeless to be your cannon fodder. Weapons and weapons training could be used in ways our idiot leaders never considered.

      How well do you think Congress would do with real insurrectionists? Ones perfectly willing to die to take out all of them?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you might be right here. Certainly the people in France in 1788 had no hope at all. How did that work out for the ruling elite? When you see that sentence “People who have no hope are easy to control”, it could also be seen as “Never try to cheat someone that has nothing to lose.”

        1. Stick'em

          I don’t think people have lost hope. It’s just that our hope comes in individualized forms of magical thinking, such as “If i get my own YouTube channel, I can be rich’n’famous just like ____ celebrity” or I’ll hit the jackpot with this scratch’n’win ticket” which keep us at competive odds with our neighbor.

          We also can do group narcissim, such as joining your favorite highschool cliques or political party or other identity group:

          but the main feature of the group is to define its members by the exclusion of non-members, right? Thus are we divided and conquered.

          The result is what divided individual citizens can’t do is affect change in the political duopoly, surveillance state, forever wars, climate crisis, and so on. In these vital arenas where there is no realistic hope, we have learned helplessness. The big bully says, what can you do about it?” and we respond, “nope.”

          So the game is to give the average citizen this sense of agency in a fake hyper-reality such as social media, with no agency in the real world. Atomized by neoliberalism, we all compete for clicks and views and cheer our favorite WWF wrassler/politician, while in the vital matters, as Joe Biden said, “Nothing’s going to change.”

        2. Mark Gisleson

          No hope ≠ desperate. Revoutions are born of absolute desperation. So long as the neolibz manage to feed people and keep the electricity on there won’t be a revolution and the authorities will be allowed to come for anyone they please so long as they don’t try to arrest everyone all at once.

          Once food becomes scarce and power intermittent, all bets are off.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              Europe will always have options. For example, they have a couple of seed banks they could turn into bakeries. Insects are edible, as are many kinds of tree bark. Fermented beverages have food value, as do your neighbors.

          1. Polar Socialist

            I was taught that revolutions are born from middle class loosing it’s future or current status. Of course it helps to have a lot of desperate people as a critical mass / cannon fodder, but IIRC all revolutions have been led or taken over by the middle class.

            I could be saying the same thing as you, though.

            1. haywood

              Cuba would very much disagree.

              Revolutions and coups are different and similar. Politics of political upheaval are not the same everywhere across time. While it’s true that most coups and revolutions generally require the buy in of the military and middle-classes to succeed, it’s often toward the end of destabilization periods that these groups join with the revolutionary cadres and classes, after seeing the writing on the walls.

              These lawyers and colonels often assume positions of power in the new governments as reward for their timely support in toppling the old regime and also because of their familiarity with the institutions of state power. But that doesn’t mean that they were foundational parts of the Revolution.

              1. Polar Socialist

                I’m not disagreeing with you, but I must say that both Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara were indeed doctors of law and medicine respectively, so definitely middle class.

                Maybe I should have stated that successful revolutions are co-opted/taken over by the middle class.

              2. ACPAL

                Revolutions can also come about due to the influence of a single person such as Che Guevara. I think the US is ripe for a charismatic individual who opposes the US Government to gather enough adherents to threaten the current status quo. Once the government begins to fear them, that person would have to lead from exile but this might gain them even more popularity.

                We could even see multiple such personalities rise to power in local or regional areas. Today Militias and militarized religious groups are rapidly growing, many with charismatic leaders. They have learned well how to operate and grow without drawing attention, unlike those who participated in the January 6 protests. Many of these groups are regional or nationwide and are already competing for members. This could be the basis for the government’s comment that their biggest threat is from within.

              3. Mildred Montana

                ♫ You say you want a revolution,
                Well, you know,
                How we all so love the web.♫

                I’d say three days without an internet connection for hundreds of millions should about do the trick.

          2. playon

            What kind of revolution we are talking about? Far right (as with most American militias and anti-government movements) or far left as with many Latin American revolutions? Cuban communists vs Cambodia’s Pol Pot. The right-wing type of revolt is much more likely in the USA, the right is much more organized while the left is divided.

          1. lance ringquist

            or when they no longer fear bullets, or once you radicalize your people, its hard to get them back.

            jimmy dore had a pro nafta democrat ana k. of the young turks in a epic meltdown over nafta democrat polices.

            i guess the pro nafta democrat PMC will still try to hang this on susan sarandon.

          2. One Man

            Or as Marx wrote somewhere (paraphrasing): “the proletarians / workers have nothing to lose but their chains.”

    2. ChiGal

      still germane but from last summer and no surprise to us here at NC; pretty sure it was linked here a year ago when first published.

  3. Louis Fyne

    —Better weather may shift Russia’s fortunes in Ukraine Asia Times—
    The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It —

    The UA-side of the Donbas line of contact is the 2nd most fortified area on the planet after the Korean DMZ. The media is conflating Russian patience with Russian weakness, and taking UA PR as fact without any independent effort. (and media is ignoring that the RU army is one offensive away from reaching the Romanian border along the Black Sea, likely phase 3)

    Wait until the final, independently verified UA casuality numbers are determined. The UA death toll will be horrific, in my opinion.

    The West is fighting the spirtual and institutional heirs to the same army that defeated the bulk and the best of the Germn Army. Sheer hubris to belittle their capabilites. We are not in Kansas anymore.

    Happy Victory in Europe Day.

    1. timbers

      “Russia wins because the weather”

      Awe, shucks. Better luck in Taiwan hopefully.

      Russians taking Popasnaya is being headlined as a key strategic break though to move against AUF in Donbas yet it happened in stages over a substantial period of time if I’m reading correctly.

      I seeing claims that the Canadian General the Russians captured in the Azovstal plant was in charge of a biological facility and had many who reported to him. The suggestions include deadly viruses. Have you noticed anything credible regarding this?

      1. hunkerdown

        Biolab No. 1 chatter rings to my ears like alt-right sizzle in the style of Pizzagate. It’s not rational to colocate a clandestine biological facility with a not especially covert command center, because it makes the former more discoverable and the potential event of discovery far more complicated. It would be like finding anthrax in Kyle Rittenhouse’s pocket during arrest. It would recharacterize the entire narrative.

        1. Yves Smith

          First, that complex is absolutely enormous, so normal assumptions may not apply. And it goes to eight floors below ground level.

          More generally, scientist GM pointed out the way the biolabs were located were nuts anyhow, way too close to population centers. If some of the lower sections of the factory have ventilation separate from the rest of the factory, this would not be crazy. And it also depends on the level of risk and if the labs were current. There might be evidence from older use and it was shut down/relocated. From GM:

          The whole biolabs thing is very weird.

          Why would anyone have such labs in Ukraine? Secrecy is of paramount importance in that kind of work, which automatically means Ukraine is off the list of desirable locations for any large such operation. You do serious such work somewhere underground in Wyoming, not in Kharkiv. Ukraine is one the absolute most corrupt societies in the world, on all levels. The “oligarchs” barely scratch the surface of it — every daily transaction involves corruption there, education, healthcare, administration, whatever you can think of. Nobody can be trusted under any circumstances. On top of that. prior to 1989 probably one in ten people was working with/for the KGB in some capacity, and a lot of those links still remain.

          There is something extremely off about having dozens of US-funded labs doing bioweapon R&D there given that background. Such an operation would involve hundreds, even thousands of people, almost all of them Ukrainians. How can you ensure security of the operation if it is really sensitive?

          Even more so, you generally don’t do this work close to major population centers. The Soviets were generally, though not always, taking that into account — Koltsovo and Obolensk are close to Novosibirks and Moscow, but Omutminsk is deep in the forest in Kirov oblast, and Aralsk-7 was on that infamous island in what used to be the Aral Sea, i.e. very far away from civilization. For a good reason.

          Dozens of labs in densely populated Ukraine is an extreme security risk that nobody in their right mind would accept. Again, why not do this in US facilities hidden somewhere far away from population centers?

          From what I saw as publicized research activities, there was nothing particularly alarming, but that was just some abstracts, so obviously far from everything that was going on there was shown.

          Second, Azovstal may not have been a “command center” prior to the outbreak of the war. It’s a bit remote for that. It may have always been envisaged as a bunker, as in a secondary HQ.

          1. Greg

            It just occurred to me that there is one context in which things being done in completely illogical reasons is the normal order of business – and is american pork barrel politics.

            Is it possible that the “biolabs” are just part of a wider program of fitting bribes to ukrainians into a range of already funded american projects, as a way of getting funding without explicitly asking for funding?

            I haven’t seen a comprehensive analysis of all the things in ukraine that americans were funding pre-war, would be interesting.

    2. Polar Socialist

      The news yesterday, with videos to prove it and Ukrainian announcement today, was that after two months of heavy fighting, Russians* finally took Popasna, a small town in Luhansk.

      It’s supposed to be significant, since the town is a road network hub and is located on a height that governs a huge area around it. For all practical purposes, the Ukrainians in the Severodonetsk-Lysitshansk area are now surrounded to the effect that Russians* can target all the roads to the West.

      * “Russians” meaning troops from Russia, Luhansk Republic, Chechnya and Wagner Group**.
      ** Apparently founded in Popasna itself in 2014, so on their “home turf”.

        1. Yves Smith

          Alexander Mercouris reported the same yesterday and he’s careful about his sourcing. Today in his discussion, he indicated that the troops there are pretty much encircled and their path of retreat is over “open country”.

          And I don’t trust anything from Ukraine sources, which this clearly is. They’ve been caught lying so regularly that you need to assume 95% is false (Scott Ritter says 100%).

          His report today is on two Ukrainian offensives, which he thinks were more intended as PR victories on the eve of May 9. He deems one, to retake Snake Island, to be a debacle and might even have been a Russian trap. The second, around north Kharkiv, amounted to Russian troops withdrawing from a few villages where they had only limited manpower. The result Mercouris deems to have been “punching air”.

          Recall that Ukraine troops have been ordered to fight in place and not withdraw, no matter what the cost. Mercouris pointed out this is very similar to the orders Hitler gave, which have been widely criticized by military historians and experts. The Russians do want to clear Donbass and are likely to want to take Odessa if nothing else to make a point, but they aren’t attached to holding territory. Their objective is to destroy Ukraine’s war making capability.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If an army tries to take a lot of territory like the US 1st Army did in Europe back in WW2, you can see the results on a map and they look impressive. But if an army tries to destroy another army like Patton’s 3rd Army did in WW2, there is not much to see – until the other army collapses. The later is what I think that the Russians are doing both slowly and methodically. Why launch mass attacks which will cause hundreds of your own casualties when you can just attrite them with your artillery while destroying their supplies lines and supply dumps? Sooner or later they will break and Scott Ritter has said that for every Russian casualty at the moment, the Ukrainians are losing 10 to 15 guys. No army can sustain that disparity for long. I have no idea why the US is talking about a 20 year war when the Ukrainians are running out of guys already.

      1. Polar Socialist

        The brag of the day seems to be that the surrender of over 1000 strong Ukrainian Marine Brigade in the Iljits factory in Mariupol was to a 140 strong Russian Marine Company which stormed the factory allegedly without casualties to themselves.

        Of course that has a strong smell of propaganda, since it leaves out the fact that Russians had artillery, air support, medicines and food. I’m putting this here only because the numbers actually support what Scott Ritter is saying, with the exception that the Ukrainian Marines chose not to die in a completely hopeless situation.

        1. Susan the other

          The clip above by Patrick Lancaster reporting “from inside Azovstal territory” was absurd. Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone all over again. The last footage shows casual comments by Russian soldiers that the actual “enemy is 1 km away” and that “There is a green corridor for Ukr. soldiers to evacuate” as well as one for civilians. Gosh, nobody told Guterres that? That must be why he parked all those busses where sick and starving soldiers have to walk a mile to get to them? Right. Clearly, if they were evacuated they were hauled off by the truckload. No subtlety involved. And that changes the whole face of the Russian response to the Azov soldiers in the steel plant begging for mercy, food and medical attention. If that isn’t a de-facto surrender I dunno what is. But did Guterres say one word about this “green corridor”? No. Just the civilians. Nothing to see here. And, of course, the numbers were all fudged. Because NATO will not allow Ukraine to surrender. NATO wants the war to continue regardless of the losses.

          1. Timbers

            I’ll give him credit for doing what US media used to do, but isn’t anymore – actually going to where the news. Plus…the Russian soldier on the right had an incredible handsome masculine face I couldn’t stop looking at so I’m prejudice.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden wants no official resolution or collapse of the Kiev government until the mid terms. 2/3rds of the Russian defense budget in additional spending to get what? No money for climate change.

        1. timbers

          Or healthcare. Paying 10% of your income for ACA insurance with crappy coverage and high deductible meanwhile $33B more for wars approved at light speed that make us much more worse off in terms of cost of living yet Dems don’t even so much as ask themselves why they lose so many elections.

      3. Janie

        Rev @7:59 “20 year war” Maybe because he and others see Ukraine as the prelude.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve heard that Poland has its eye on western Ukraine as that region was actually Polish until WW2.

      4. Tor User

        Ground war almost always favors the defender.

        I find the idea that UA losses 10-15 guys for each Russian very, very unlikely. More likely is an even exchange. But even that will grind down Ukraine.

        The Russian artillery has not performed up to it’s expectations. They don’t seem to be using airburst rounds. Instead the rounds don’t explode until they hit the ground. They did the holes you see in the pictures. Airbursts rounds leave behind spots that look like the grass was cut very low, but no hole.

        But the Russians are making progress.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, Ukraine is most assuredly showing losses way out of proportion to “Russian” forces (actually mainly the DNR/LDR militias plus the Chechens; the rest is artillery, including tanks, and air support; the only Russian infantry so far is involved in the push south from Izyum). BBC tried to find Russians losses and could come up with only 2000 as of last week, which is consistent with Russian reports of about 1300 of their own dead as of late March. Russia also taking less losses than in their initial assaults, where they underestimated the Ukraine willingness to fight and had some bad losses in some skirmishes.

          They are grinding down the Ukraine forces by taking out all resupply: fuel, equipment, ammo. Ukraine forces regularly caught having to use passenger vehicles. Surrender vids show disconcertingly high representation of middle aged and older men, consistent with a high kill/disablement/capture rate.

    4. Safety First

      Russian sources have reported that Ukraine has adopted rules forbidding the disclosure of KIA/WIA/MIA status to families (or to anyone else) for 90 days. They have also previously noted that Ukraine has refused any attempts to exchange war dead as opposed to prisoners.

      In other words, Ukraine authorities are not in the slightest interested in public disclosure of casualties, which makes sense as their Washingon masters plan to fight this thing to the last Ukrainian, and it is rather easier to get new recruits into the army if they are not told what had happened to the previous batch. In other words, I am guessing we will not know the extent of the carnage until the war comes to some sort of an end, or at least a status quo, and even then I would expect the only data we’d have would come from Russian releases of body counts in areas they occupy at that juncture.


      Insofar as the West’s view of the Russian army, I find the CNN interview with retired general Mike Repass – who, by the way, had spent the bulk of his career in or around SOCOM, not regular army – to be instructive. He literally compares the Russian army of today to the Iraqi army of 1991 (in terms of the inferiority of their equipment relative to that of Western forces), which just boggles the mind. But he cannot be alone in thinking this. Ditto other generals that appear on CNN, e.g. one calling the Russians “unexpectedly competent”. Because Syria wasn’t a thing, I suppose…

      …which, by the way, is nothing new. If you read through Western documents and reports from the eve and early phases of World War 2, the Soviets are ranked as having something like the 8th or 10th strongest army in Europe. Poland’s was either 2nd or 3rd, if memory serves. It got ridiculous enough that in late 1939 the British and French briefly, but seriously, considered the possibility of launching a combined invasion of the Soviet Union so as to deprive Germany of Soviet trade. The point is that at the time, that was the overwhelming perception of Russian military capabilities, and clearly not much has changed in that department.

      1. Yves Smith

        Scott Ritter is completely dismissive of the retired generals who appear on TV. He said most of them have no actual war experience, and to the extent they do, it’s in counterinsurgency wars, which are not relevant to the sort of combined arms operation on now. Plus the bigger point he makes is they would never get on TV unless they sold what the Biden Admininistration wants sold.

        And as for the Russians being behind, Aftershock News has 2 post which list 27 Russian weapons systems to which the West has nothing closely comparable. Needless to say, that is more than the different types of hypersonic missiles.

  4. The Rev Kev

    The cute turtle on today’s Antidote du jour. Is it…is it giving the photographer the finger?

    1. GramSci

      Given the following demonstration of turtle altruism I’d prefer to think it’s a thumbs up! Happy Mother’s Day!

    2. Nikkikat

      I’m with you, he is giving the photographer the finger, sea turtles can be quite belligerent you know!

    3. Samuel Conner

      It’s a metaphor of our rulers’ attitudes toward the ruled, riffing on an ancient cosmology:

      ” it’s fingers all the way down “

  5. timbers

    Gardening tip

    For any who are interested, I’d like to pass along a gardening experience about roses. I’ve tried several roses over the years, so when I chance upon on that takes hold and thrives it is an unusual event for me. Last year I bought one called “Pinkerbelle” attributed to Meilland in France. It is easily available at places like Lowes.

    This spring it’s branches emerged from winter at least 90% intact. My experience is that this is astounding, branches usually die back to near ground level…at least for me. This rose blooms profusely all growing season in lush clusters.

    Taste varies so you can easily find pictures online. The size of the bloom is on the large size. Color variation within the pedals is striking but trends towards pink with many creamy variations in between.

    1. Watt4Bob

      I read an article years ago describing how rose growers buried their plants for protection from the winter cold. Basically digging a shallow trench extending away from the rose and laying the whole plant down in the trench and covering it with soil. Come spring, uncovering the plant and standing it up.

      Have you tried this technique?

      1. timbers

        Have read about and no boubt it does work. Sadly being a worker bee, time is scarce. But I do pile mulch above the node.

    2. Lexx

      I couldn’t grow roses in Washington, they had too many fungal problems in such a wet climate. But in Colorado where the weather is mostly dry and there are months of continuous sunshine, roses do better with a little care, and in spite of the crappy heavy clay soil.

      To ensure success and continuous blooms, I use a local organic rose food. In April I pull the bark away from the base and work in at least a cup of food, then repeat in June and late August. Here is the food and a list of ingredients:

      ‘Mile-Hi Rose Feed. This mostly organic rose fertilizer, formulated for Colorado soils, has proven itself for 10 years at the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse garden and at the private gardens of many rose society members. Its primary ingredients are alfalfa, kelp meal, bone meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal and fish meal. ‘

      I don’t know where you’re located; there is usually some version of this kind of rose food at local plant nurseries.

      After fungus and insect depredation, the chief killer of roses was… well… me, by over-watering. Are the leaves at the base of the bush turning yellow? Is the yellow working upward? We are told that roses are high maintenance; they’re not really. Roses like to dry out a bit ( and maybe a a lot) and dig in. I was a serial murderer of plants, rotting their root systems and tenderly – with the very best of intentions! – loving them to death… may they rest in peace. I corrected that unfortunate pathology with a moisture meter. If the meter said there was enough moisture in the soil, I chose to believe the science… or be prepared to replace a lot of poor innocent plants.

      Number 1 porker here at the rose buffet: grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Yeah, there are sprays and you can even find them in this time of supply shortages. I choose not to use them and there are much more satisfying remedies… like smacking the mortal bejesus out of them. Crickets and hoppers don’t like to get wet. With the hose in my non-dominant hand and a sturdy flyswatter in the other, I point a gentle spray at a plant and watch to see what immediately hops out and freezes in place, then the fun begins. I must have sent a hundred to the Great Beyond last summer. Over stay their welcome at the buffet and I’ll turn into Lizzie Borden. I don’t stop smacking ’em until they stop moving. So, so satisfying.


    3. CitizenSissy

      NC is truly a full-service blog. Come for the economic and political commentary, stay for the gardening tips!

  6. Milton

    MOA not loading for me this morning. Also, is NC’s rss feed viable? Has it changed? The one (feedburner) listed no longer pulls the latest items and breaks when being consumed into my site.

    1. super extra

      There was a site migration yesterday that probably changed the underlying ip addresses and domain routing. Suggest reloading the site into your RSS reader to pick up the changes as their migration did not remove any functionality, so it should work after it picks up the new address.

      1. Carolinian

        I can get both with no change of RSS address. Don’t think there is a problem.

  7. Aaron212

    The other day I met an older friend of mine to escort her home post-colonoscopy and she told me her 44 year-old daughter (vaxxed and double-boosted) was very sick with covid and refused to go to the emergency room even though she had severe difficulty breathing and has auto-immune issues and was quarantining from her family. Last night my friend texted me to tell me that her daughter and her partner took her to a Broadway show for Mother’s Day. (BTW, the Michael Jackson show was fantastic!)

    1. sd

      Proof positive of why I continue to avoid public places during busy hours. Saturday nights are fantastic for grocery shopping….no one’s there.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > ….no one’s there.

        Depending on how good the ventilation is, the sparcity of physical bodies might be deceptive — there could be a lot of exhaled virus lingering from earlier in the day.

        Early as possible Sunday AM might be better. There will have been workers in the building overnight, especially if the price changes and specials run from Sunday to Saturday, but there will also have been no customers during the overnight air exchange. The net level of virus in the air might be lower than 8 hours previously.

        It’s an interesting, and perhaps consequential, question. I’ll take a CO2 meter (I thank Lambert for his recommendation of the Aranet 4 Home meter) with me next Saturday late, and again the following Sunday AM, and see what things look like.

        Of course, at whatever hour of day, wear a tight-fitting N95 respirator, or better.

        Stay safe, all.

        1. Nikkikat

          Yes, Samuel, I also go early mornings, the air would be less later in the day. I also keep moving as much as possible. As the air is pushed along by movement.
          Neighbors all have covid. It started with an in person meeting at his job. The Boss has started pushing people to meet in person instead of zoom. No one wore a mask. He got covid took it home to wife and kids, who played with kids next door and they got it. Now half the neighborhood has it. Everyone except kids became very ill. They are vaxxed and boosted.

      2. playon

        The problem I have with shopping on the weekends is that around here, the shelves can be decimated by then. I prefer very early in the morning for that reason, and there are usually fewer people at that time.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Incompetence or the realities of war? Turmoil for Canadian-led foreign battalion in Ukraine”

    You wonder if this guy ‘Hrulf’ also has a tattoo of the face of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz on his body somewhere. This article mentions a Canadian sniper named ‘Wali’ who quit after ‘Hrulf’ challenged him to a fist fight. I suppose that ‘Walo’ going back to Canada had nothing to do with him being next to two Ukrainians who got shredded by Russian tank fire by any chance. The whole thing is a s***show and I think that ‘Wali’ saw this and exited, stage left-

      1. Polar Socialist

        …some soldiers “schemed” to steal a $500,000 shipment of American-supplied weapons…

        I believe two people in Lviv were detained yesterday just for this; selling military equipment (helmets and ballistic vests) donated by West.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        And a sitrep from the Saker
        Tweet from Gonzalo Lira: Yesterday was a catastrophic day for the Zelensky regime forces: ►Disaster at Snake Island ►Popasnaya lost to the RF ►Azovstal civilian hostages freed. Plus
        info that Ukraine mining chemical plants where there are hostages so that they can blame the Russians for more “war crimes”.
        Lira is still a conundrum. There are two explanations for his disappearance imo.
        Either it was faked to confuse the Ukrainians and get him somewhere safer. Or
        He was taken by the SBU, and has been turned into conduit for those spooks in the SBU who want the end of Zelensky and his US owners. Which puts Lira under protection.
        Wouldn’t be the first time factions in a secret service organisation were stabbing each other in the back.
        But he certainly was not captured by the SBU and then let go unharmed to do as he pleases.

        1. Yves Smith

          He’s under house arrest and left with only one 2013 Macbook Pro.

          A shit ton of people called the Chilean Embassy about him. As Lira contends, the Ukies concluded he was a porcupine: he’d wind up being painful to kill/ruin and not much nutritional value.

          Plus Ukraine is losing in Kharkiv, so the local forces probably have higher priorities. His new channel is getting way lower views, and frankly, he’s not saying anything new now, while he was before.

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Ok thanks that clears things up for me. The US/Ukraine not wanting to stir up a hornets nest, so they just clipped his wings.
            Once he was arrested by the SBU and then let go basically unharmed, he lost his credibility.

            1. Yves Smith

              I don’t know that that was the original plan but a fallback.

              I’m not sure about lost credibility but he did lose all of his old channels, YouTube, Telegram, Twitter, because the Ukies plugged a device into his iPhone, got all his passwords in <3 minutes, and changed all his social media account passwords, therefore locking him out.

              His YouTube vids are now getting 15-20K views, whereas before, 60K was low for him before. His Victoria Nuland video got 239K views. So just getting his old audience to his new accounts really dented his traffic.

  9. digi_owl

    That Tesla video, good grief.

    The whole thing reeks of shitty priorities thanks to marketing.

    Why oh why is their object recognition system so busy with trying to ID the object, and not the size and movement vector, if any, to calculate avoidance path or breaking?!

    Reminds me of that video a while back of a Tesla behind a municipal truck loaded with mobile traffic lights, and the system constantly triggering claiming a yellow light ahead.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that what really surprised him in that series of tests is how the Tesla never tried to reduce speed at all in those tests which would have not only give it more time to make a decision but to give the human driver a chance for input as well. By the last test, it appeared that he had lost all faith in that software when it came to it identifying a BBQ as an actual hazardous object and took over manual control. Stupid Beta software.

        1. sd

          Elon Musk is into showy gimmicks, the gimmicks don’t actually need to work, they’re just marketing devices.

        2. wilroncanada

          Time to replace all those Polish, Ukrainian, Newfie (in Canada) jokes with Tesla jokes. No need for 1950s Studebaker = two rear ends comments, or gelded Mustangs in the 60s. What do you call somebody who climbs out of a Tesla?–Survivor.

    2. SocalJimObjects

      Wait till the whole system is augmented with a voice recognition module trained on Twitter discourse. “To infinity and beyond!!!” or is it “My car, my choice!!!”

    3. Louia Fyne

      The CPU probably was already at its capacity.

      When your hardware is fixed, software can only get you so far.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Red Whittaker’s entry won the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge/Urban Challenge with two regular laptops providing all the processing power.

        Of course, they used LIDAR. I was lucky enough to chaperone a bunch of robotics students to Red’s test track in Pittsburg, where we all took turns riding shotgun around a simulated urban environment. Some of his team members would throw stuff in the path of the vehicle (beach balls), the vehicles systems would immediately detect and brake. Hard.

        When the path was clear, the vehicle would accelerate. Hard. Again, we passengers were bounced around. I asked Red why. His response: “I wanted to win.” Can’t argue with that. Perhaps his repeated losses to a former co-worker, Sebastian Thrun, may have had something to do with that.

        Processor power isn’t the issue. Arrogance combined with ignorance led Musk to omit an active ranging system (imho).

    4. petal

      Thank you for the video, it was helpful information. It’s good to know how they will and won’t react. I have to walk my dogs along a fairly main road with heavy traffic and there are lots of Teslas. It’s nerve-wracking enough.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      The human driver could recognize things and do something about them in a way that the tesla thing-sensing-and-response system could not. And probably never ever will.

      Let the early adopters buy these systems until they stop winning Darwin Awards with them.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’ve always wondered why they didn’t start the robodriver tech in rail traffic. Not as many problems for the computer to solve (especially if tracks are underground or elevated) and certainly much smaller solution space.
        Say, elevated rails, slower speeds and lighter carriages to reduce a risk of bigger accidents and a human “driver” in every third carriage so that there’s still somebody to deal with emerging issues only one carriage away.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Wolfgang Steek, New Left Review, on the return of the king.

    Many of us here have discussed whether the folly, incompetence, and contempt that characterize the U.S. elites and U.S. State Department are signs of decadence and imminent collapse. We may be guilty of apocalyptic thinking, all-too-common in the English-speaking world and its religious legacy of fire and brimstone.

    Streek differs: To quote:

    The most important reason may be that in Ukraine, especially on the radical right of the political spectrum, the name Steinmeier is known and hated above all in connection with the so-called ‘Steinmeier algorithm’ – essentially a sort of roadmap, or to-do-list, for the implementation of the Minsk Accords drawn up by Steinmeier as Foreign Minister under Merkel. While Nord Stream 2 was unforgiveable from a Ukrainian perspective, Minsk was a mortal sin in the eyes not just of the Ukrainian right (among other things, it would have granted autonomy to the Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine) but also of the United States, which had been bypassed by it just as Ukraine was to be bypassed by Nord Stream 2.

    Steinmeier is currently in a dustup with thuggish Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk, which is unseemly–given that Steinmeier is Germany’s president. But it’s all part of a campaign, a purge in Streek’s words. There are more telling details about Germany’s economic necessities, Merkel, Melnyk, and Ukrainian tactical drama-queenery.

    A disturbing article. EU is a subsidiary of NATO.

    And note the symbolism of the meeting at the Rammstein airbase–something I hadn’t thought through. Emperor Joe (Number Seven in the latest Era of Bad Emperors) summons the satraps to obey.

    1. GramSci

      “EU is a subsidiary of NATO”

      Or, as I recall Michael Hudson putting it, the EU is a small office in the basement of the Pentagon.

      1. chris

        Dr. Hudson has been on a roll lately. My new favorite quip from him is “the goal of neoconservativism is to make the world safe for neoliberalism.”

        1. Stick'em

          “the goal of neoconservativism is to make the world safe for neoliberalism”

          because the goal of neoliberalism is to sell neoconservativism to the world.

          That’s why in the Matrix, it doesn’t matter whether Neo takes the Red pill or the Blue one, because they both lead to the same place – NeoConservoLibidoLand!

      2. Susan the other

        Streeck’s “Return of the King (NATO, aka the USA) fleshes-out Hudson’s comment that we, USA, have now destroyed Germany for the second time. We have the same regard for Germany that we do for Ukraine. It took a lot of very diplomatic behavior on the part of the Ostpolitik Germans to establish a relationship with Russia. Always avoiding conflict with us. But, imo, nothing short of Russia voluntarily signing over all its oil/gas fields to the West could prevent this prolonged war. Because this is a war for those resources. To control them. We are frantic. And with political guidance from Joe Biden and Anthony Blinkin there is good reason to be. We have effectively isolated ourselves and since our only skill is war mongering we are going to lose. So, maybe if Germany can survive their coming recession, they will come out better than the King. Still, being a witness to our ignorance, makes me sick.

        1. Samuel Conner

          The thought occurs that we aren’t warmongers so much as Necromongers, with the hydrocarbon resources of Earth our equivalent of the Underverse.

          1. digi_owl

            I have seen the term ghoul being bandied about lately.

            And it kinda fits based on the point you raise, as ghouls feed on the dead.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Aeon’s groove–

    Interesting article. Teaser:

    But talk of ‘visceral, non-cognitive grasping’ sounds hopelessly vague from a philosophical standpoint. In philosophy, it’s common to describe the mind as a kind of machine that operates on a set of representations, which serve as proxies for worldly states of affairs, and get recombined ‘offline’ in a manner that’s not dictated by what’s happening in the immediate environment. So if you can’t consciously represent the finer details of a guitar solo, the way is surely barred to having any grasp of its nuances. Claiming that you have a ‘merely visceral’ grasp of music really amounts to saying that you don’t understand it at all. Right?


    To know without knowing is best.

    Tao te Ching #71 (Le Guin version)

    Re: effects of space on astronauts–

    Might it be a reasonable rule of thumb that the further humans stray from their evolutionary history and setting, the more problems they incur for themselves?

    1. wol

      Thank you.
      ‘To know without knowing is best.’
      “It now seems to me that the attitude toward the arts that I took for granted when I was growing up—the belief that the arts have their own, independent significance—has prevailed during only a couple of periods in the United States and Western Europe in the past 150 years.” -Jed Perl, Authority and Freedom

    2. GramSci

      I dunno. Whether humans started off as bonobos or chimps, I suspect life has ever been a pile of dukkha. The invention of ideologies language wants a more agentive verb: the further humans have strayed from their evolutionary history and setting, the more problems they incur have made for themselves.

      As to the Aeon article’s underlying question, “Is resonance without representation always a mindless affair?”, moving beyond Diderot, I once again refer the reader to the work of Stephen Grossberg, whose model of mind was built around the concept of “adaptive resonance”.

      Rather than looking to the migration of birds for an example of resonant entrainment, I was disappointed to see the author not refer to birdsong. As one of Grossberg’s students put it, bipedalism is the underlying rhythm from whose entrainment song and language emerged: The reason Mr. Ed (a TV talking horse famous to USians of a certain age) couldn’t walk and talk at the same time is that four legs gave him a confusing number of gaits to entrain (walk, trot, canter, gallop, pace and a potpourri of “ambling gaits”). Birds, humans and cetaceans, by contrast have one dominant gait available for entrainment. This makes possible a consistent neural organization of percepts and behaviors, and, I would argue, the sense of time.

    3. Mel

      I’m still taken with Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary. It posits a left/right cerebral hemisphere split in the brain, and assigns some functions to each. (To me, they dovetail with the two kinds of thinking from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.) The right hemisphere carries out pattern matching and Gestalt awareness, similar to Kahneman’s Fast thinking, and the left does rational cogitation and logic, resembling Slow thinking. McGilchrist cites a lot of neurological research supporting his idea about the split, then goes on to consider the effects such a split would have on Art, Philosophy, and life in general.
      One effect is that since these modes have separate implementations, they’re both concurrent and running all the time; it’s never a matter of which mode you’re using, though there’s constantly a choice of which impulses are going to inform your next action. Another effect is that neither mode is derivative of the other, and neither mode is adequate to comprehend the other – not in the sense of include, nor in the sense of understand.
      For instance it looks to me as though Taleb, in Antifragile, is using a unitary mind model, and as a dedicated rationalist, is wrassling with the problem of explicating a logical grounding for his intuitions. In McGilchrist’s schema, the grounding is not there because the intuitions come from a totally different process than the explications. McGilchrist’s discussion of modern philosophy runs along this thread.

      For me, music runs more on the intuitive side. Writing about music is not music, it is writing, although some good music critics have produced some fascinating writing. Talking about music is talking. Singing about music is music, but not so much because of the lyrics. If I got back in practice, I could comment on a guitar solo in another guitar solo, pointing out the most salient ideas, and pondering alternatives. The original guitar solo would probably have to be pretty easy.

      I read somewhere that Kant once wrote that the scandal of philosophy was that it had not produced a proof of the existence of the external world. Some later philosopher (somebody wrote that it was Heidegger) said that the real scandal of philosophy was that Kant should think that such a thing was necessary (or, I think, even possible.)


      “the further humans stray from their evolutionary history and setting, the more problems they incur for themselves”

      Chuang Tzu: Once upon a time there was a man who was terrified of his own footprints. He ran and ran to get away from them, but no matter how fast he ran, they were always right behind him.

      1. GramSci

        Following Grossberg, neural oscillators (“bipoles” as in “bipedal”) are controlled by inhibitory interneurons. Because of the short-distance axonal surround of these interneurons (contrast pyrmidal cell axons which can project the length, width, and depth of the brain), rhythmically based capacities like language and temporal order preferentially and adaptively organize on one side of the brain or the other. The normal left-brain preference is possibly an entrainment of the heart rhythm, superseded for language when children start to walk by the bipedal rhythm.

        1. katiebird

          I saw your trouble posting and I have to remind you that complaining about moderation and posting duplicate comments is against site policies.

        2. Skunk

          Language acquisition begins in the womb. The rhythms of language are closely connected to the prosody of the individual language. Newborns can already recognize prosodic aspects of their native language prior to acquiring a lexicon.

      2. Thorstein

        Also following Grossberg’s Adaptive Resonance Theory, temporal/sequential behavior is learned by “bipoles” whose oscillations are controlled by inhibitory interneurons. Since the axonal surround of these interneurons is short (compared to pyramidal axons which can project across the breadth of the brain), these bipoles must adaptively organize on one side of the brain or the other. The left side is perhaps initially entrained to the fetal heartbeat, but for purposes of serial learning, this is superseded by the bipedal rhythm as the child begins to walk and talk.

        Consequently, many fMRI studies have found that while trained musicians largely process music in the left prefrontal cortex, naive listeners process music more in the right hemisphere.

      3. linearperk

        This kind of content is what keeps me coming back to NC.

        Thanks for writing this one Mel. I agree!

      4. Yves Smith


        This is a huge and misleading oversimplification. See for instance:

        Why do the hemispheres differ? I think it is because even small differences in something like the strength with which areas are connected can lead to very different dynamic patterns of activation over time – and thus different functions. For language comprehension in particular, my work has shown that left hemisphere processing is more influenced by what are sometimes called “top-down” connections, which means that the left hemisphere is more likely to predict what word might be coming up next and to have its processing affected by that prediction. The right hemisphere, instead, shows more “feedforward” processing: it is less influenced by predictions (which can make its processing less efficient) but then more able to later remember details about the words it encountered. Because of what is likely a difference (possibly small) in the efficacy of particular connections within each hemisphere, the same brain areas in the two interact differently, and this leads to measurable and important asymmetries in how words are perceived, linked to meaning, remembered, and responded to.

        This is unlikely to be the only difference between the hemispheres, of course. But I think the answer to your question is that what we see across the pattern of asymmetries is neither a random collection of unrelated differences nor divisions based on one or even a small set of functional principles (e.g., the left hemisphere is “local” and the right hemisphere is “global” … another popular one). Rather, some of the underlying biology is skewed, and this has far reaching consequences for the kinds of patterns that can be set up over time in the two hemispheres, leading to sets of functional differences that we can hopefully eventually link systematically to these underlying biological causes, and thereby deepen our understanding of how the brain works.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘Annalee Newitz
    The year: 2035
    Today, your smart toilet sent you a text: “Urinalysis shows you are pregnant. Congratulations. Your mobility status has been updated. You will not be permitted to leave the state until this life is born.” ‘

    But wait, there’s more. It will also inform you that your cholesterol system is too high so you so more eggs for you for awhile. And your toilet has decided that you don’t really need bacon if you are to meet the algorithmically determined weight that has been determined that it thinks that you should be at. And as your blood pressure appears to be rising, coffee is too stimulating for you obviously so it is tea for you from now on – no milk or sugar of course.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      In this future, smart toilet seats would not be optable-out-of. They would be manadatory and they would be forced.

  13. super extra

    I usually skip commenting about Linux stuff (day job adjacent, I have those conversations enough) however I saw Yves’ comment yesterday about Linux and Wordperfect. I actually missed yesterday’s discussion in the comments about Linux so not trying to revive the neverending distro debate. I just wanted to share some computer things I’ve been reading about this weekend that might be of interest to others here:

    Did you know you can 100% legally get and run Wordperfect for free?: Good lj(!) post with tons of links on using one of the free vintage versions of Wordperfect on a modern Linux distro
    Project Gemini FAQ: “Gemini is a new application-level internet protocol for the distribution of arbitrary files, with some special consideration for serving a lightweight hypertext format which facilitates linking between files.”

    I’ve been writing a lot of command line applications lately for work and have accidentally made myself into some new type of techno-restorationist, where I am developing crackpot ideas like all user interaction should be going through a terminal. BUT it turns out this is some new trend among computer people and there is a small but thriving segment of the internet building more and more to support this idea (see the Gemini link above). It enables stuff like ultra-low network bandwidth and low power/resource computing, so old computers or mini computers like Raspberry Pi or weird off the shelf ARM devices can still do useful personal computing stuff.

    1. GramSci

      Thanks for the link to Gemini. The WWW made a huge wrong turn when it let Hollywood and the TV networks onto the information superhighway. So in my dotage I still play around with lowest common denominator IT (Lisp!??).

      But the Gemini link you provided specifies “no inline images”. Is there a plan to allow images as block elements?

      1. Polar Socialist

        I don’t think so. The developer(s) seem to hold onto the ides that “one url == one request”, which is not completely unreasonable.

        So, the user will have to click a link to see the image. Of course, nothing prevents writing a browser that either opens the image as a block element within the text when clicked, or even automatically. There seems to be more leeway allowed for the browsers than in the HTML universe.

        1. super extra

          Yes, exactly. Most of the gemini clients i’ve played with are terminal apps, so getting an inline image into the terminal means some kind of image translation, like ascii or ‘pixels’ made up of a monospace font. There are TUI frameworks that handle that somewhat nicely with stylization tools, like the whole suite (bubble tea and lip gloss are, I think, the specific libraries), and I’ve seen stuff like RSS readers and in-terminal web browsing built with that (Canard/Journalist).

          1. GramSci

            Alas! I prefer Polar Scientist’s answer, but I think you’re right. When the web falls down in the next Carrington Event (or is otherwise finally and fatally shuttered), we’ll need small, lightweight information systems. I had been hoping communications could be maintained using 802.11 standards across greater distances could be rebuilt more sanely using mesh-like hacks. I can do without third party images and eye candy, but I’d regret going back to teletype and losing images.

        2. digi_owl

          Depending on the image, opening up in a new tab would be preferable anyways. This because quite often the image holds details that are not visible when constrained to fit the text, but is readily visible when opened on its own to allow for enlarging etc.

    2. digi_owl

      Of late i find myself musing about going back to a DOS like setup, forgoing large internal storage and instead spreading my data and software across multiple storage media that i swap out as needed.

      And on that note, a RPi4 can rival many a cheap desktop or laptop system these days. The main limitation will be the GPU. And once we move beyond the Raspberry Pi, all manner of oddities crop up. One recent contender i read about even sported a slot for the same kind of onboard storage used in most laptops, while still having the same footprint as a RPi board.

      1. super extra

        The RPI4 compute module supports NVMe (solid state) storage over PCIe via a carrier board with the correct connector, might be what you’re thinking of? The RPI’s microSD card IO time is actually what slows down app opening, switching to the PCIe connector brings performance in line with a mid-grade 2015 laptop or so. For non computer people reading this, the overall size of the ‘computer’ I’m describing comes out to be something like 6″x3″ without the screen and keys. And no moving parts! You can even make the carrier board retain the GPIO headers so you can connect a weird sensor or whatever.

  14. Medbh

    The article about covid and kids states that “Infections in children aged 5 to 11 reached the highest level, 77%.” I thought that antibody levels quickly decrease and are not detectable within a few months.

    Would the 77% figure reflect the number of kids who had EVER gotten covid, or just the ones who had been infected relatively recently? As a country, we’re in for a nightmare situation if there are significant long term impacts of infection. What a monstrous, evil gamble.

    1. antidlc

      >>What a monstrous, evil gamble.
      Children get long Covid, too, and it can show up in unexpected ways

      It’s not clear how many children go on to develop long Covid, because there’s not enough research on it in this age group, some experts say.

      Almost 13 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Studies suggest that between 2% and 10% of those children will
      develop long Covid, but the number may be larger. Many parents may not know their child has long Covid, or the child’s pediatrician hasn’t recognized it as such.

      In adults, some research puts the number around 30% of cases.

      “I personally believe that this is a very much an undiagnosed issue,” said Dr. Sara Kristen Sexson Tejtel, who helps lead a long Covid pediatric clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

      Many doctors treating children at long Covid clinics across the country say they have long waits for appointments. Some are booked through September.

      1. chris

        You’re going to see the effect of long covid in young kids when middle school and high school teachers in the US complain about impossible levels of behavior disorders in their classrooms. We’re getting a glimpse of it where I live and the 10 3rd graders who are regularly part of neighborhood gatherings are not at all similar in behavior pre to post covid. One in particular is acting out in ways that are incredibly uncharacteristic. I’m familiar with the families and the children enough to say that there aren’t any other significant challenges or changes to these kids to merit what we’re seeing. It makes me wonder what it must have been like to deal with a significant population of teens being affected by lead poisoning

    2. Lexx

      There is one other player in the microbial game that I haven’t heard mentioned… antibiotics. Every time we dose ourselves with antibiotics we kill the bad that plagues us at the time, and the good that are susceptible to the drug. What’s left are those microbes that aren’t susceptible, those with the variant gene and so resistance increases. Real estate in the microbiome becomes available, new fleet-footed neighbors expand their numbers and move in, and the balance of the gut changes, but less diverse than before.

      The problem is how we’ve been drawing lines between good and bad. H. pylori turns out to be good, a keystone microbe, and there’s been a war on H. pylori for a long time for it’s association with ulcers.

      From ‘Missing Microbes’ by Martin Blaser, M.D.:

      ‘High diversity affords protection to all species within the ecosystem because their interactions create robust webs for capturing and circulating resources. Loss of diversity leads to disease or to collapse of the system when keystone species — ones that exert a disproportionately large effect on the environment relative to their abundance — are lost.’

      I’ve had to wonder how many of these kids have been repeatedly dosed with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Fertile ground has already been created for long COVID. In the billions-of-years old war between bacteria and viruses, we humans are tipping the advantage to the virus by hamstringing our microbiomes.

  15. Pat

    Just a thought, could the White House super spreader be Joe Biden?!?!

    Just one more way for him to be noxious.

      1. chris

        If the president was the super spreader, perhaps because he’s dosed up with super drugs and doesn’t feel any symptoms, you can bet that Major Biden and Kamala will be blamed for it…

  16. Dan Lynch

    Re: “Inside Azovstal.” Graham Phillips disses Patrick Lancaster’s reporting: Graham Phillips on Patrick Lancaster

    I’m not nearly as hard on Patrick as Graham, but admit that Patrick tends to over dramatize and exaggerate things. My take is that is just Patrick’s personality while Graham believes it is a deliberate act to generate more revenue (in fairness, lots of monetary youtubers over-dramatize to generate more viewer interest).

    The bottom line for me is that on-the-ground reporting in Donbas has been scarce so I appreciate the information Patrick has provided over the years, while acknowledging that he is a bit clownish. Graham is the more serious reporter, and I appreciate Graham’s reporting, too.

  17. Carolinian

    Re prosecuting out of state abortions–isn’t that a bit of gaslighting? Which is not to say some state legislatures may not try it. Here’s an article that looks at such laws.

    A 2007 Missouri state Supreme Court case struck down a similar type of law for minors needing parental consent for abortion, saying the state could not apply its laws to conduct taking place wholly outside of Missouri, noted David Cohen, a professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, while speaking to Newsweek.

    “For conduct that takes place partly in Missouri and partly outside the precedent isn’t clear,” he said.

    The proposed Missouri bill, like many of the so-called “trigger laws” across the country, is anticipating a world without Roe v. Wade and the day when abortion bans are lawful, said Murray.

    “If abortions are no longer lawful, it is perhaps easier to justify all measures to prevent them, including prohibitions on leaving the state,” she said.

    Murray added that the Virginia law ultimately overturned in the Supreme Court’s 1967 Loving v. Virginia ruling both prohibited interracial marriages and made it unlawful to leave the state in order to transact an interracial marriage.

    Of course anything is possible but then “anything is possible” is the premise of gaslighting itself–a prey on the imagination. Undoubtedly there are rightwingers who won’t be satisfied with the SC decision and who will try to disrupt abortion clinics in legal states. To some of us the real flaw in Roe was its failure to embrace a much stronger Constitutional priniciple, the necessary separation of church and state. By this reasoning Roe was the left’s way of hiding from a much bigger can of worms. Their true enemy could be less the rural state yahoos and more the very urban Catholic church.

    1. Screwball

      There are some pictures on Twitter of protestors in front of a couple SC justices homes. I don’t think that will play well for team blue come elections. I’m in rural Ohio, Trump country for the most part, and these people are tired and fed up with the democrats. I expect Ohio to be a bloodbath in the mid-terms for the dems.

      1. Wukchumni

        What is all this talk about politicians outlawing apportions, a bunch of hangers on if you ask me, sweatballs dripping from their noses.

        {with apologies to Emily Latella, i’m sorry-never mind}

    2. CitizenSissy

      Given that Sen. McConnell is already floating a nationwide abortion ban, this speculation may already be moot. The Handmaid’s Tale, which scared the beejeezus out of me when I read in the the late ’80s, is looking more prophetic by the day.

      i think it rich that many of the same people who’ve had no problem with years-long militia initimidation of Democratic officeholders, often at their homes, get all persnickety when the tables are turned on conservative jurists.

      1. Carolinian


        And how is he going to accomplish that?

        Of course the promise to do so is the usual political football.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          On his part, maybe. And the DemParty officeholders will probably think the same way from their end.

          The political operatives think it will be a whole new decades-long round of Democrats waving the Bloody Coat Hanger and Republicans waving the Bloody Fetus, all holding hands in one big happy sixty-nine daisy-chain circle jerk for decades to come.

          But the Forced-Birth rights-terminators will be pursuing National Abortion Ban in all seriousness and then many other Bans after that.

          Beau of the Fifth Column did a drab and serious video about how the Persecutors of Rights and Culture got this level of power and offers his thoughts on how the Restorers/Defenders of Rights and Culture will have to develop an even bigger amount of the same kind of power to beat down the Persecutors of Rights and Culture in order to make Rights and Culture legal again in America. ( I paraphrase)

          I found it worth watching, and since there is no transcript, I offer a link to the video.

          I suspect the Restoring Defenders of Rights and Culture will have to pick out a few states they can take overwhelming control over, and set up state level Armies and Militias to protect the rights In Reality that they protect In Legality. Perhaps build up their National Guards to the level where an Anti-Rights Federal Government would be genuinely afraid to enforce Federal Anti-Rights in a Pro-Rights State with a “National State Guard” powerful enough to inflict unpleasant casualties on an invading Federal Anti-Rights invasion force.

      2. Carolinian

        re the picketing–it’s not exactly the same–lawmakers are “representatives” while justices are not–but if you think it’s a fair tactic then let’s publish the info on all our public servants and especially Pelosi who never complains about such things.

        The problem with the Dems going all Gingrich is that it merely heightens the TINA for those not batting for either team.

        1. CitizenSissy

          A cursory google search brings up numerous reports of protests outside Speaker Pelosi’s home. The pushback is long overdue.

    3. Fraibert

      It’s understandable (like in the Newsweek article) that the legal issues with regulations concerning traveling out of state for an abortion are framed in familiar Constitutional terms (right to travel and dormant commerce clause). And those rights are potentially triggered.

      But, the real issue is the very obscure area of “legislative jurisdiction.” I don’t think there’s much case law in this area, and I bet a lot of law professors have never heard of it. The basic concept is that in our system of federalism a state can only regulate conduct that has a sufficient connection to the state. As the concept of federalism is inherent to the Constitution, it’s a part of Constitutional law, even though it’s not explicit in the words of that document.

      Some hypothetical questions to illustrate the basic issue. Generally speaking, Texas cannot punish a random murder that happened in Mississippi. But, what if the murder instead was part of a conspiracy involving a gang that is based in Texas? Or, what if the Mississippi murder happened because this Texas gang was trying to gain control of the Texas market and the victim was tracked from Texas over to Mississippi? Etc. At some point, the murder starts having enough connection to Texas that it seems fundamentally fair to permit Texas to punish that out-of-state murder.

      The best discussion of the general issue (that I know of) is pretty old now. It’s a law review article from 1978 ( — paywall unless one has academic access, etc.)

    1. antidlc

      “The projection of 100 million potential infections is an estimate based on a range of outside models that are being closely tracked by the administration and would include both the fall and winter, a senior administration official told CNN. Officials say this estimate is based on an underlying assumption of no additional resources or extra mitigation measures being taken, including new Covid-19 funding from Congress, or dramatic new variants.”

      They know it’s going to be bad, so they are setting it up to blame the Republicans. See? Those nasty Republicans wouldn’t help pass funding to stop it. It’s their fault.

      1. jsn

        Wasn’t it President Manchin that vetoed any additional social spending?

        IIRC he’s supposed to be a Democrat.

        At leas Schumer and Pelosi were celebrating his election, I get so confused any more.

  18. marcyincny

    But my big question of the day is did they ever get those roses on that horse?? I can’t find the usual classic photo anywhere!

    1. Pat

      They did. And the jockey even did the traditional throwing of some. The horse was only really fractious with the unfamiliar pony taking charge after a race. Getting cleaned up for the photos with his very proud usual groom they were fine.

      It was an upset on so many levels. Gotta love it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I used to frequent the oval office with another numismatist, and when we couldn’t figure out which nags to wager on, we’d rely on his hoard of a dozen Lincoln Cents marked in blue sharpie pen with numbers 1-12, so as to better help the bettor in making selections.

        Santa Anita always had giveaway days, and the real RTD’s (racetrack degenerate) ensemble would include a t-shirt and baseball hat received gratis and worn often thereafter.

        We thought it was bad luck to keep any giveaway gewgaws, and one time there was a buyer for a t-shirt coupon for a buck after you passed the turnstiles-because markets, and my erstwhile partner and I consummated the sale with the proceeds going towards the daily double (you pick the winning horses in the 1st & 2nd races) which we would rely upon the latter day window mites to make our selection by pulling them out of a hat.

        The race played similar to the Kentucky Derby in that a speed duel set it up for a dark horse closer, and the front end of our daily double was the 1 horse @ 90-1 when I last looked.

        And damned if the 1 horse doesn’t win @ 110-1, and came out of nowhere and won by a nose, and I accidentally tossed the ducat on the ground, and once a ticket hits the pavement, it falls into stooperville (what’s a stooper? A stooper is always seen somewhat bent over in prowl for winning tickets tossed on the floor-something like 5% of all winning tickets are never cashed) and despite our feverish attempts to be stoopers, no dice. My buddy was seriously pissed off at me, tossing a ticket before the results were official, what was I thinking?

        We had the 4 horse in the 2nd race on the ticket, and it was a 20-1 shot, and the only thing we could do to assuage my guilt was to bet on it to win, to somehow salvage something from the wreckage (the $2 daily double ticket would have paid around $5k) but it was only content in bringing up the rear.

      2. Nikkikat

        Pat, I really enjoyed yesterday! Love when the little guy wins! Secret oath win the day before was also cool. Lucas is a great guy. My husband and I spent a few afternoons talking to him. Great stories and just the nicest man. Also nice that he who shall not be named was on suspension……..hope he never comes back.
        All around enjoyable Derby.

    2. Nikkikat

      They did get the roses on the horse and he actually took it quite well. Once they took that pony away, he was pretty happy. That was quite entertaining, although not for the pony and the outrider! Lol

  19. Gawr Gura

    >George Cheeks, the president of CBS, tests positive for coronavirus after attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

    Yeah! Get they ass! I’ll be lighting a candle for La Rona.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      May all their covids be long and may God crush them under the knuckles of His Fist.

  20. Wukchumni

    It was howling @ the top of Walker Pass with every tree turning into an ad hoc left turn signal bent to the will of the wind, with a lone PCT thru hiker with thumb out when I stopped to pick him up. ‘Where to? I asked…’

    Kernville ideally, but Lake Isabella would work-said the fellow about my age.

    Kernville it is, I replied as I was going that way winding through the 2020 Castle Fire further afield, and he was from Bellevue, Wa and had walked 627 miles from Campo and hadn’t slept a wink the past few nights, the winds just never let up and had booked a motel room in Kernville for a night of rest before hitching a ride back to Walker Pass to continue on his quest. He related how awkward it was to hitch-hike, his right thumb hadn’t stopped a 2 ton vehicle in over 45 years, ha ha.

    He had retired a week before starting the PCT and was kind of like me in that while i’ve done many 10 day backpack trips (about the furthest you can go from a carrying food standpoint) i’ve never been on anything longer than a 80 mile backpack, as it isn’t mileage i’m so much after as an aging out backpacker, but exploration-which isn’t possible all that much when you’re cranking out 23-25 mile days, as my passenger was doing through ho hum high desert.

    That said, I kind of envied him and his hike back home, essentially. The good stuff in the Sierra was about to engulf him in canyons of granite laid bare by scant snow, and he’d never set foot in the range of light previously, what a delight.

    Dvorak, New World Symphony (Going Home)

    1. YuShan

      Thanks for giving a ride to a PCT hiker! I hiked the entire trail in 2018 myself and was struck by the generosity and helpfulness of locals giving us stinky hikers rides into town and stuff!

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend did the PCT in 2017 and I walked the Big Bear-Interstate 15 (home of the McDonalds $20 challenge! full of thru hikers) part, and it was a different world than what i’m used to where I mostly hike in Sequoia NP where you’d never encounter an ice chest laden with fresh fruit & other must have quick energy foods and water in a stretch where H20 was few and far between in the SoCal section. Bears would be on it in a relative heartbeat in the Sierra.

        And thanks to Colonel White, the park superintendent in the 1920’s-40’s, he didn’t want any roads bisecting Sequoia NP, so no rides are possible.

        That said, I like the idea of giving rides to backpackers. The first time I walked the High Sierra Trail some 30 years ago, I hitch-hiked back to my car @ Crescent Meadow in about 4 rides circumnavigating the Sierra.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Most US kids have caught the coronavirus, antibody survey finds”

    To be expected. Got to thinking about this and began to wonder. During the very first year of the Pandemic in countries like the US, the UK, Oz, etc. there was this mania about getting kids to go to school. All the political leaders were saying that this HAD to happen and of course there were predictable results. One health department spokesman in Victoria was saying this on TV and the next day the school had to close anyway as cases had been detected. At the time I was convinced that the reason behind this vehement insistence was that if the kids had to stay home, then their parents would have to stay home as well to take care of those kids thus taking the parents out of the workforce and “hurting” the economy.

    Now I am not so sure. Based on what I have been seeing the past coupla years, I think that a calculation has been made. If you were the sort of group that was convinced by the idea of herd immunity, you would want a good way to spread this virus both near and far. And if you think about it, schools would be a great superspreader vector. All those kids in small classrooms for several hours a day and then spreading back out into the community to give it to their families who could then spread it to relatives and neighbours. The kids themselves would be – mostly – safe from their part in it. Yeah, yeah, I know. Herd immunity does not work with a Coronavirus but our leaders still seemed convinced that it does. But what about the medical experts advising them you ask? They will only tell their political masters what they want to hear. Or else they will be replaced by those who will. This mechanism explains why you have so many medical experts like at the WHO who are still talking about hand-washing and not aerosol spread. Those kids were sacrificed for people’s portfolios.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What cattleman would let hoof and mouth disease run amuck waiting for herd immunity? What mink breeder would let the Corona flu run amuck waiting for herd immunity? Our Elites are not good shepherds.

      1. GramSci

        Kids are worth a lot less to Our Elites than cattle and mink. Especially other peoples’ kids, and especially here in Pentagonia, where the schools were largely closed last year. Last semester a couple of my grandkids’ classes closed for a week when one or two cases appeared in the classroom. This semester, three cases in a classroom of 25, and nothing closes.

      2. jsn

        We’ve allowed a system to be corrupted into place wherein chronic illness and death are a significant and growing segment of GDP.

        This inevitably perverse outcome of for profit healthcare, like it’s equally lethal MIC twin, has become a self licking ice cream cone who’s being ensures future expansion: participants are rewarded handsomely for what in a sane world would be criminal acts.

        The Med/Mil ICs combine with the fossil fuel and other extraction industries to literally convert death to profits while generating incentives to accelerate the process. The sooner we can toss a spanner in the works, the better.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The elites don’t view us as their cattle or mink to be managed. They view us as their potential competitors or even overthrowers if we all wise up at once in one vast vulcan mind meld. They spread covid to all the children in order to get Jackpot started early.

  22. DanB

    The Lancet article on our government’s “your on your own” response to Covid states, “The social impacts of this scientific guidance, combined with the emergence of new variants, have exposed the fallacy of this approach…” Well, it’s not scientific; it’s a political response from the neoliberal thought collective. Public health has been denatured; its administrative leaders are loyalists to politics, not to the collective health of the public. Many public health officials have resigned, retired, or otherwise left the field in the last two years. This is known as Exit; the major problem is they have no alternative institutions to Exit to that will protect public health; the field is left to the (political) loyalists like Wen , Fauci, Walensky -Zients is the epitome of neoliberal destruction of the discipline’s mission.

  23. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Your health is in your hands? US CDC COVID-19 mask guidance reveals the moral foundations of public health The Lancet. Important. As the first link shows, layered “mitigations” (including non-pharmaceutical interventions) remove risk and save lives. One can only wonder why the CDC and the Biden administration are sabotaging them.”

    Yes, ‘wonder’, as in “Ghosts [of needlessly dead COVID-19 victims] crowd the young child’s fragile eggshell mind.” Perhaps the obvious, as usual, is too obvious. As in, what is the most important thing in the whole wide world, even more important than human life itself?

    Why money of course, lots of money, more and more, because enough is never enough. And besides how much is really enough? Is that not the common refrain from the usual suspects?

    ‘Freedoms’ too, maybe, because the tensions that build up in individuals [For example, the stresses and strains involved in daily living; such as, working for a living, paying bills, raising families, dealing with innumerable difficult people on a continual and sustained basis, ect., ect.] have to be released in a controlled fashion and extra rules [masking, social distancing] hamper the release [in the form of entertainment, play, and socializing] of those same tensions. Even as, in this age where all information is available to anyone at the click of a button, the very basics of ‘the germ theory of disease’ are still not even remotely understood by large subsets of the general popualtion.

    In any case, the old Mule is dreaming of sitting in a folding lawn chair, out in the backyard, covered in lots of sunscreen and drinking a cool beverage. Just sitting back and watching the world ‘burn’.

    As in Burn, Baby, Burn! “… disco inferno (Burn baby burn) burn that mother down (Burn baby burn) disco inferno (Burn baby burn) burn that mother down”

    1. Alex Cox

      The Trampp makes a point that he “ain’t talking about burning down buildings, you know.”
      The right theme music might be Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House”!

  24. dday

    Re Abortion. Many black parents have “the talk” with their young sons regarding American survival protocol. I think many parents will now have “the talk” with their daughters.

    1. Stock up on pregnancy tests. Pay cash.
    2. If having unprotected sex, use the morning after pill religiously.
    3. If pregnant, use a VPN to research options.
    4. Do not tell anyone your status.
    5. If possible, stock up on the two pill medication abortion before hand.

    1. Pat

      Stock up on contraception s, the morning after pills and the two step abortion pill …while you can.

      While the first is the longest shot to be banned, all of them are in line to be illegal. And right now I would say the odds are better that the last two get chopped than the chances were for Rich Strike to win the Derby last Thursday.

  25. Michael Ismoe

    Rich Strike, an 80-1 Long Shot, Surges to a Shocking Upset in the Kentucky Derby WSJ

    By the middle of May, Donald Trump will declare himself the “real winner” of the Kentucky Derby. I expect a “riot” at the Preakness where his supporters protest the official results.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Is it true that Your Kevin was sent to Washington to be matched up with a horse’s head for assembly?

      1. Wukchumni

        My Kevin (since ’07) is a rainmaker in a land of little rain, $104 million worth…

        They’re gonna make me speaker in the House
        They’re gonna make a big star out of me
        We’ll make an inroad for an ex-pres that’s sad and lonely
        And all I gotta do is act naturally

        Well, I’ll bet you I’m a-gonna be a big star
        Might win accolades you can’t never tell
        The move is gonna make me a big star,
        ‘Cause I can play the part so well

        Well, I hope you come and see me gesticulating with a gavel
        Then I’ll know that you will plainly see
        The biggest fool that’s ever hit the big time
        And all I gotta do is act naturally

        We’ll make a scene about a man that’s sad and lonely
        Begging down upon his bended knee
        I’ll play the part but I won’t need rehearsing
        All I’ll have to do is act naturally

        Well, I hope you come and see me wield the gavel
        Then I’ll know that you will plainly see
        The biggest fool that’s ever hit the big time
        And all I gotta do is act naturally

  26. griffen

    Guitar as instrument for seduction, well sure that’s not difficult to cypher the reasoning. Nonetheless, an interesting article with a dash of nostalgia regard to piano sales and the role played in the custom of dating and courtship.

    He left out the violin / fiddle, one supposes on the need to focus on the strings. Or maybe that follows in his next article. I’m betting Charlie Daniels had little trouble in finding company.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Because our political class is incapable of introspection, I wouldn’t expect ongoing COVID deaths and morbidities to make any difference in official policy, unfortunately.

    Stay safe!

  28. howseth

    Tested positive for Covid (rapid antigen home test – free govt. kit) on Wed. April 27. Tested Negative Tues, May 3.
    I look online for Covid symptom information – see a lot of articles from 2020 some 2021 – a few this year. Change search engine from Google to Duck Duck Go or Bing – not much different.
    Sites report the same stuff. General Symptoms… and not much on individual experiences. I don’t have any of the cold symptoms they usually list first – no congestion, shortness of breath, no loss of taste and smell. I do have headaches and higher temps. I do have the same symptoms after testing negative as before. My temperature reached a high of 101.5 last night. Sweating while asleep. In the morning temp lower – will rise as the day goes on. I’m double Pfizer vaxxed and had a booster in late October. I’m not taking any meds for it – just a bit of zinc and Vit C…. teas.

  29. LawnDart

    Dead man walking:

    Brazil’s Lula proposes creating Latin American currency to ‘be freed of US dollar’ dependency

    Brazil’s left-wing leader Lula da Silva has proposed creating a pan-Latin American currency, in order to “be freed of the dollar.”

    A founder of Brazil’s Workers’ Party, Lula served as president for two terms, from 2003 to 2011. He is now the leading candidate as Brazil’s October 2022 presidential elections approach.

    1. Alex Cox

      Surely this will not occur. El Salvador and Ecuador have given up on national currencies and use the dollar, a trend one hopes will be reversed. But based on the dire experience of the Euro, a Latin American currency would tend to be dominated by the richest and most powerful member of the currency community – probably Brazil. Lula might favour that, but it’s unlikely that the other Latin American states would.

      1. Jacob Hatch

        ….An Latin American currency would tend to be dominated by the richest and most powerful member of the currency community – probably BrazilAmerica….

        The issue is how many of the leaders are in Wall Street’s pockets, much more than any concern that Brazil will replace Uncle Sam as the bully on the block. Lula is simply proposing the original Bretton Woods drawing rights plan, before Dean Acheson under orders from Wall Street bullied UK and France into line, so I’d expect Wall Street will put a stop to it, just like 1944

      2. Polar Socialist

        I assume it’s not as much like Euro but more like the currency EAEU and China are working on – something to use in the trade between the members instead of dollars. Each country would retain their own (floating) currency, but they could get rid of dollars in their mutual trade.

        If I’m not completely mistaken, there would also be some sort of limited Special Drawing Rights for members to defend their currencies or for domestic use. Almost as if to make them less dependent on IMF “help”.

        It’s a brainchild of Gabriel Galípolo, a Brasilian banker and a political economist.

    2. chuck roast

      Is Lula proposing a ‘Brazilo’, kind of like the ‘Euro’? Then Brazil can be kind of like Germany, and say Ecuador can play Greece in the futurismo tragedy. Or will the ‘Brazilo’ be the currency in a fully integrated fiscal and monetary policy of the new ‘Pan-Latin America’? Chatter from Ukie mouthpieces not withstanding, I nominate this tid-bit as biggest pile of b-s of the day.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      He was pretty stupid to talk about this before having been elected.

      He would need to be elected with an overwhelming majority of the vote, together with an overwhelming majority of his party people in Brazil’s national legislature and in almost all State legislatures there. Then he would have to purge the security and intelligence services of every trace of EUro-Britanic-America presence or personnel. Then he and Latin America in general would need to think about whether to try their “own” currency or whether they should all at once adopt the Ren Min Bi as their official Latin American Currency with full Chinese diplomatic and military backing.

      If he ( and they) actually want some chance of living long enough to get away with it.

    4. Wukchumni

      Brazil like all Latin American countries, went through many bouts of hyperinflation in the 1980’s & 90’s, and they changed the name of their currency-which is a strange way to combat it, here’s what went down…

      Cruzeiros were in circulation from 1970 to 1986, which was replaced by Cruzado (1,000 Cruzeiros = 1 Cruzado) which lasted until 1989 and was replaced by Cruzado novo (1,000 Cruzado = 1 Cruzado novo) until 1990 when it was replaced by Cruzeiros (the 3rd variant) which lasted until 1993 when it was replaced by Cruzeiro Real (1,000 Cruzeiro (3rd variant) = 1 Cruzeiro Real, and finally the Real in 1994. (2,750 Cruzeiro Real = 1 Real)

      A saving account in Brazil from around 1985 might be worth about 2 Cents, no matter the amount.

  30. LawnDart

    People See Political Opponents as More Stupid Than Evil

    Affective polarization is a rising threat to political discourse and democracy. Public figures have expressed that “conservatives think liberals are stupid, and liberals think conservatives are evil.” However, four studies (N = 1,660)—including a representative sample—reveal evidence that both sides view political opponents as more unintelligent than immoral.

    I must agree– both sides are right.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I agree. My enemies and opponents are stupevilid.

      Though I must say that the Christianazi Satanofascist Right are pure evil and also very smart. At least very smart about winning bigly, which so far they have done, and will keep doing for years to come.

  31. jr

    Congressman Burchett on the DoD’s reluctance to discuss UAP’s (UFO’s):

    Boy, I hope the Others intercede if the primates go nuclear. If there are Others, that is. I, as usual, remain uncertain.

  32. Mikel

    Re: ”The Guitar as the Instrument of Seducers” The Honest Broker

    “My honest opinion is that none of our new-fangled technology has changed any of this. Just imagine you’re a musician heading off to play outside the bedroom window of your beloved, and you only get to bring one item from your equipment room. Do you pick the laptop loaded up with Pro Tools, Ableton, and Finale? Or a guitar?”

    The “code” is nowhere near the feeling the “vibration”.

    And this:
    “Here is Caravaggio’s version—deliberately androgynous. The musician depicted may have been the castrato Pedro Montoya…
    As this image suggests, the seductive gaze of the musician is not always associated with traditional definitions of masculinity. Although most of the paintings in this category feature young men, women could also fill the role…”

    And I remembered where I’d read something similar:

    Robert Jourdain writes in his book, “Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy”:
    “Musicians also tend to be androgynous, meaning not that they (necessarily) dress in unisex clothing and wear medium length hair, but that they eschew society’s usual gender roles. The men are on average more sensitive, the women more forceful. Anyone who has mastered an instrument understands why. In virtuosity, the musician at once commands the notes and is ravished by them. Studies show that androgyny increases with time in the profession…”

    “Necessarily” added by me. RJ’s focus tended to be a lot on the classical musician and some modern performers of various genres have removed the subtlety of the androgynous nature people sense.

    1. howseth

      “Do you pick the laptop loaded up with Pro Tools, Ableton, and Finale? Or a guitar?”

      Not sure about today’s youths… The generation that has grown up on line – and venerating the Web, the laptop and of course the one true faithful companion for life – the Smart Phone. (I suppose no one below 25 calls it a ‘smart phone’ what do they call it?: ‘Love of my life’? or just phone? or What?)

      The again I’m old, tired with Covid symptoms. I play guitar too. (I do notice Fender Corporation making a big push to include young, happy, attractive women in their guitar and bass guitar ads… I think a smart move – so, I was being to cynical.
      Just don’t get me started on what I think of Tattoos. (unless you are a sailor – and it is an anchor tattoo – or a ‘heart with mom’.

  33. RobertC


    I’m not understanding this Global Report on Food Crises: Acute food insecurity hits new highs [4 May 2022]

    ROME – The number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent life-saving food assistance and livelihood support continues to grow at an alarming rate. This makes it more urgent than ever to tackle the root causes of food crises rather than just responding after they occur. This is a key takeaway from an annual report launched today by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) – an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together.

    …“Acute hunger is soaring to unprecedented levels and the global situation just keeps on getting worse. Conflict, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and surging food and fuel costs have created a perfect storm – and now we’ve got the war in Ukraine piling catastrophe on top of catastrophe. Millions of people in dozens of countries are being driven to the edge of starvation. We urgently need emergency funding to pull them back from the brink and turn this global crisis around before it’s too late,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

    Has Director Beasley developed a technology to convert currency into edibles?

    I think not. Perhaps the director likes the power of money flowing under his control.

    A faster response to the crisis is national direct food donations and even distributions under the authority of the UN FAO based on its Agricultural Market Information System

    The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is an inter-agency platform to enhance food market transparency and encourage international policy coordination in times of crisis. It was established at the request of the Group of Twenty (G20) in 2011. Countries participating in AMIS encompass the main producing and consuming countries of major food crops covered by the initiative: wheat, maize, rice and soybeans. AMIS is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome/Italy and supported by a joint Secretariat, which currently (September 2016) consists of eleven international organizations and entities.

  34. jr

    Thanks for the Aeon article about entrainment. Firstly, it encapsulates what I believe to be the primary problem with discussions of consciousness:

    “But talk of ‘visceral, non-cognitive grasping’ sounds hopelessly vague from a philosophical standpoint. In philosophy, it’s common to describe the mind as a kind of machine that operates on a set of representations, which serve as proxies for worldly states of affairs, and get recombined ‘offline’ in a manner that’s not dictated by what’s happening in the immediate environment. So if you can’t consciously represent the finer details of a guitar solo, the way is surely barred to having any grasp of its nuances. Claiming that you have a ‘merely visceral’ grasp of music really amounts to saying that you don’t understand it at all. Right?”

    The notion of “grasping nuance” is readily comprehensible under idealism, which refutes the mechanical vision of consciousness proposed under materialism. Through the idealist lens, we do not produce representations of nuance, we experience them directly, albeit in a filtered form. No need to find a mechanism to “represent” the nuances, rather our brains have evolved to receive the nuances. A finely tuned antenna, in one sense, that can distinguish minute experiences that are already in existence.

    The author’s discussion of “entrainment” seems part and parcel with Jung’s concept of synchronicity. For him, synchronicity describes events that are strikingly similar in form yet have no readily identifiable source to connect them. “Meaningful coincidence”.

    “The spontaneous synchronisation of oscillating systems has since become known as ‘entrainment’, and it has been observed in a vast array of physical and biological systems – from the illumination patterns of fireflies to the wingbeats of free-flying barnacle geese to the tendency of an applauding audience to start clapping in synchrony.”

    Why do vibrations tend to merge? I’m reading Bernardo Kastrup’s book “Decoding Jung’s Metaphysics” and he proposes that utterly random quantum events, while irreducible, do converge into what Jung described as “archetypes” or universal patterns that overarch our experiential reality. It seems that entrainment is a candidate for a form of archetypical pattern.

    1. Skunk

      It’s a phase change, presumably because there is some energy advantage in the ensemble to synchronizing. Maybe in a way it’s an increase in entropy.

  35. jr

    Now this looks fun!

    This is why NYC is such an awesome place, or rather why it used to be. Alas for COVID, I’d never feel comfortable in such a setting. I’d love to meet these people though. Someday, after all the Corona lineages have become common colds, a few decades from now perhaps. Or if nasal vaccines are actually allowed in the US. Sigh.

  36. justsayin

    when you have lost Tom Friedman…

    by the way, those turtles will never get a job on wall street

  37. Kouros

    What is the west leaving out about the freed civilians from Azovstal? That they were kept there forcefully.

    This woman doesn’t want to have anything to do with Ukraine any longer. Like Saul, she has whipped the Ukrainian dust of her shoes for good:

  38. lance ringquist

    we are well past the point where things can remain hidden or ignored, its why the clintonian picked perez gets boo’ed where ever he goes: the clintonian democrat performing flea thomas freidman of the N.Y.T.’s gets ridiculed again

    the reason why perez gets boo’ed, and the performing flea gets ridiculed, is because cheap communications has revealed whom did what to whom, and we want them gone now.

    thomas paine was correct,

    “Thomas Paine once suggested that panics have their uses. Their peculiar advantage, he wrote, is that they are “the touchstone of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.”

    The Earth versus capitalism
    Unfortunately, as of Earth Day 2017, capitalism is winning the war it has been waging against the planet.

    Belen Fernandez
    Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

    “During one of numerous failed attempts to establish himself as an environmentalist, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman enthusiastically reported in 2010 that – in honour of Earth Day on April 22 – the United States Navy had test-flown a fighter jet “powered by a 50-50 blend of conventional jet fuel and camelina aviation biofuel made from pressed mustard seeds”.

    Armed with this and other bits of trivia, Friedman concluded that the US military was thus in fact on the front line of the battle for a clean Earth.

    Never mind that, mustard seeds or not, the US Defense Department remains one of the top polluters on the planet.

    To be sure, the neoliberal media’s toxic alignment with military and corporate agendas produces lucrative returns for those involved.

    And as long as the arms industry and other pillars of the international capitalist order remain healthy, the long-term health of Earth and its inhabitants matters little.”

    In a March 28 New York Times article, Thomas Friedman wrote:

    “For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is… The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      “Perez” . Thank you.

      Perez is the Mister Skullface I referrenced a few days ago as using profanity in his speech to show that he was ” down with the people, man”.

      Perez. I did not know he was picked by Clinton for something. I know he was recently picked by Obama to lead some important Democratic Party Conspiracy Group. Picked by Clinton and Obama both? He should have two 666 images branded on his forehead.

  39. antidlc

    Expect rise in US COVID deaths, hospital admissions over next 4 weeks: CDC forecast

    Coronavirus wave this fall and winter could potentially infect 100 million, White House warns

    “Most US kids have caught the coronavirus, antibody survey finds”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    Whoever is responsible for let it rip is a monster. I hope they rot in hell.

  40. VietnamVet

    Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” was originally published in September 2007. The current hedge fund run imperial regime has always had the mafia problem. If everything is corrupt, incompetent, and lawless; it is simply impossible to keep one’s wealth or livelihood. They always “go to the mattresses”. Sure, to divide and rule, the overlords can create a new southern confederacy and store their wealth overseas. But the first thing the Southern indentured worker owners/rulers will do is order the militias to invade the Caribbean offshore banking centers.

    With the First Wife spending Mother’s Day in a war zone, Lake Mead’s highest water intake uncovered, and coronavirus spiking again; good government is desperately needed to end the wars, address climate change, and mitigate the coronavirus plague.

    Will the collapse of western civilization be sudden (diesel fuel shortages & food riots)? Or, can it be dragged out over decades? Europeans discover blankets and Japanese heating tables (kotatsu) next winter.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      The collapse can be “dragged out” by sending the population to war. All these “reports” about the “incompetence” of the Russians were designed for Generation Cannon Fodder, many of which will be pi**ing themselves in the trenches, crying for their mothers once the Russians and Chinese start shelling their positions.

      By 2030, most of the population will have nothing and they will be happy. It’s all going to plan.

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