Links 10/20/2022

Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua still puzzling scientists 5 years after discovery Space

Finally, Scientists Have Figured Out A Key Molecular Mechanism Behind Human Hearing Science Alert (Rev Kev). Now do listening.


Battery Tech Breakthrough: 10-Minute Charge Time Paves Way for Mass Adoption of Affordable Electric Car SciTech Daily. Original.

The big sovereign carbon trade Carbon Risk

To Herd is Human The Elephant

Farm floods will hit food supplies and drive up prices. Farmers need help to adapt as weather extremes worsen The Conversation. Perhaps Australia’s autochthones had some good ideas about how to manage the continent….


We Advised Biden on the Pandemic. Much Work Remains to Face the Next Crisis. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Michael T. Osterholm, NYT. No. Much work remains to face this crisis. “Perhaps the most important missed opportunity was the failure to prioritize systematic improvement of indoor air quality. All sorts of respiratory infections, including flu and common colds, as well as asthma and other medical conditions, arise because of airborne pathogens and particulate matter.” Not a word on masks, which are the obvious first line of defense against a respiratory virus.

As Covid Hit, Washington Officials Traded Stocks With Exquisite Timing WSJ. And the story isn’t about the former guy’s political appointees, either. The rot is pervasive.

It’s Gotten Awkward to Wear a Mask The Atlantic

Aparna Nair, a historian and disability scholar at the University of Oklahoma who has epilepsy, told me that she thinks masks are becoming somewhat analogous to wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, and her own seizure-alert dog, Charlie: visible tools and technologies that invite compassion, but also skepticism, condescension, and invasive questions. During a recent rideshare, she told me, her driver started ranting that her mask was unnecessary and ineffective—just part of a “conspiracy.” His tone was so angry, Nair said, that she began to be afraid. She tried to make him understand her situation: I’ve been chronically ill for three decades; I’d rather not fall sick; better to be safe than sorry. But she said that her driver seemed unswayed and continued to mutter furiously under his breath for the duration of the ride. Situations of that kind—where she has to litigate her right to wear a mask—have been getting more common, Nair told me.

Is the phrase “death cult” too strong?

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses: systematic review BMJ. Metastudy from 2008 (!), still germane. From the Discussion: “In this systematic review we found that physical barriers such as handwashing, wearing a mask, and isolation of potentially infected patients were effective in preventing the spread of respiratory virus infections. It is not surprising that methods of the included studies were at risk of bias as these types of interventions are difficult to blind, are often set up hurriedly in emergency situations, and funding is less secure than for profit making interventions.” Note profit-making as a confounder (?).

* * *

The Ebola Gamble The New Atlantis. From 2015, still highly germane. And speaking of airborne transmission:


* * *

Covid: Number of weekly deaths in England and Wales jumps by nearly 40% Evening Standard. Coming soon to a city near you!

Global cholera vaccine shortage worsens amid rising cases, WHO says UPI

Nail Salon Workers Say Proper Ventilation Can Protect Their Reproductive Health Documented


China’s Xi Jinping sends ‘warning signal’ to the wealthy as he opens new front in ‘common prosperity’ push South China Morning Post. The deck: “Analysts expect a wider array of taxes to support poor families and bolster the social safety net, while wealthy Chinese could face a rocky road ahead.” Horrid to see our phrase “social safety net” appear without question in a Chinese newspaper, even an English-language one. Life should not be a high-wire act, let alone in a putatively communist society.

Corporate China shut out of Xi Jinping’s party congress FT (Furzy Mouse). That’s a damn shame.

China’s decade under Xi Jinping explained in seven charts Guardian

China GDP Is MIA. So Much for Economic Resilience Bloomberg


Sanctioned Myanmar Tycoons Find Shelter in Singapore Bloomberg

“Solidarity feels”:

NGOs…. Airdrop a few crates of rifles into NUG territory if you want to be helpful.

On borders in Southeast Asia, a thread:

Good news from Tonle Sap:

For more on Tonle Sap, see NC here.

The Koreas

Kakao disruption hits Covid-19 response system, too Korea Biomedical Review. Kakao is a chat app public health doctors use to allocate beds. One more item to add to your personal risk assessment checklist, I suppose.


Saudi Arabia and de-dollarization: today’s interview on Press TV, Iran Gilbert Doctorow

Why it is crucial to understand why financial markets move, rather than worry about the role of markets in aiding the downfall of a Chancellor and perhaps a Prime Minister Mainly Macro

Dear OId Blighty

Morning Bid: Truss drama deepens Reuters

Markets Calling: Forget It, Tories, You Can Go It Alone Bloomberg

European Disunion

Police Guard LNG Ports as Germany Fast-tracks Critical Infrastructure Law Maritime Logistics Professional

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian commander says Kherson situation “difficult” as Ukraine advances Axios. Surovikin. On Kherson, Yves writes:

Russia’s first principle in waging war with Ukraine: Destroy the Ukraine army. Acquiring and holding territory is secondary. However, Russia assumed that its public understood this principle, and failed to explain the military rationale for pulling out of Kharkiv and Izyum. That led to a firestorm of criticism and looks to have forced the timing of the referenda in the “liberated” areas and the partial mobilization.

In the ensuing uproar, I lost sight of this first principle. Hence, I initially missed the significance of General Surovikin’s remarks in his press conference yesterday about the possibility of Ukraine flooding Kherson city by blowing up the dam at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station and causing as many as 50,000 deaths. Kherson had a population of less than 300,000 before the fighting started and it has to be markedly lower now.

I don’t take seriously the idea that Ukraine military could take the city by force. They failed in their last Kherson offensive, over the same terrain, and took massive losses. They are in no better shape now when by contrast Russia has been able to resupply and has started moving more men in too.

However. Ukraine may finally get those 300km range HIMARS missiles. And it likely can shell the outskirts of Kherson now, and could do more with only incremental advances. Surovikin depicted the city as in borderline crisis now, with food and water supplies erratic.

I had deemed abandoning Kherson to be politically unacceptable. Surovikin appears to have persuaded the Russian public that the destruction of the Ukraine army and preserving Russian lives as top priority.

And in particular, if Ukraine does flood the city, the military will want maximum flexibility in how to respond. Taking Nickolaev and Odessa, for example.

Ukraine Faces Rolling Blackouts After Attacks on Power Stations Bloomberg

* * *

Ukraine Is the World’s Foreign-Policy Rorschach Test Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Will America end Zelenskyy’s dream? Unherd

Addressing Putin’s Nuclear Threat: Thinking Like the Cold War KGB Officer That He Was Just Security

* * *

More to Ukraine’s recent grain export success than meets the eye Hellenic Shipping News

High stakes:

Yves notes: “The Treasury’s detailed rules didn’t sanction tankers if they got representations from the buyers as in the traders. US version of sanctions decided to pin the liability/pricing tail firmly on the buyer donkey. I had assumed they’d be the model for the EU and I suspect that was Treasury’s intent.”

Underwater images show damage to over 50 m (165 feet) of Nord Stream 1 pipeline The Watchers. Videos.

The Caribbean

Is there a U.S. intelligence agency link to the assassination of Haiti’s president? Univision

Bolsonaro Pedophilia Crisis Engulfs Re-election Bid And Allies BrasilWire. Big if true.

Biden Administration

U.S. says seven board directors resigned under antitrust pressure Reuters

CFPB Funding Method Found Unconstitutional by Federal Appeals Court WSJ. Commentary:

The Conservative Stalwart Challenging the Far-Right Legal Theory That Could Subvert American Democracy Jane Meyer, The New Yorker (Furzy Mouse). Luttig.

Supply Chain

The great semiconductor drought may be about to break The Register


Sentience and Sensibility The Baffler. The Google and AI.

Police State Watch

Award-winning journalist missing since FBI ‘seized classified docs’ in home raid: report NY Post and FBI Raids Star ABC News Producer’s Home Rolling Stone

Zeitgeist Watch

Goodbye, Louisiana. I Tried Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Have Smart People Stopped Writing Books? The Honest Broker. No. I highly recommend the “New Books Network” family of podcasts, where authors are interviewed about their books (for example, on Clausewitz). There is still a lot of good books being written out there, and despite academia’s deep dysfunction, real scholarship.

Class Warfare

The Gig Law Causing Chaos in California Strip Clubs Wired

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists go on strike but some refuse to join the picket line The Inquirer and Dozens of Post-Gazette workers cross picket line as newsroom strike enters Day 2 Trib Live

Inside Wealth-Conference Con Man Anthony Ritossa’s Wild Web of Lies Vanity Fair (Furzy Mouse). Fun stuff!

Officials: Hadley woman uses bees to attack deputies during eviction Western Mass Live. On behalf of someone else, interestingly.

New Study Explains Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes More Than Others NDTV

Why wasn’t the Steam Engine Invented Earlier? Part III Age of Invention

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour 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. Antifa


    The season of the Druids is now
    You’ve put away your scythe and plow
    The harvests are all safe and dry
    We’ll live till spring we will scrape by
    The bears will sleep the wolves will not
    Beneath the leaves the worms and rot
    Will eat dead things and old manure
    A fate all creatures must endure
    As natural as baby’s breath
    All leave this world and enter death

    The gift of harvests you call yours
    Your great supply of winter stores
    Did not arise from all your toil
    But from the life deep in the soil
    The deep dirt where you’ll go to pieces
    When every mortal effort ceases
    In autumn pretty leaves will fall
    Beer and cheer shake every hall
    We set aside our harvest boast
    To give the realm of death a toast

    On Hallowed Eve the world of sprites
    And half-glimpsed shades that give us frights
    Rise up from graves and crypts and tombs
    To haunt the shadows of our rooms
    The monster underneath your bed?
    It isn’t gone as I have said
    Don’t stare at shadows — they take shape!
    Your window’s once again agape?
    No hiding ‘neath the quilt tonight!
    Will you be here at morning’s light?

    Be brave and join me in the street
    Go house to house to trick or treat
    When from the dark your name is heard
    Pretend it was some other word
    From dusty crypts departed people
    Howl from every roof and steeple
    Wishing to be with the living
    They wish and will not be forgiving

    Do not look behind you child
    The thing that’s there is large and wild
    It’s gone now golly that was close
    Good riddance to it — a Dios
    Looked like the monster ‘neath your bed
    Which isn’t there as I have said
    How ’bout we say we’re satisfied
    You’re looking pretty bleary eyed
    Let’s make this house our final ring
    You’ve got enough to last till spring

    1. juno mas

      Now inspired to carve my gourd
      Oh, a Dios and the Lord
      Knife in hand with no concern
      Let’s make a Jack O’ Lantern ;)

  2. griffen

    Article linked today from VF, well it’s a long form read. In short, it’s about a bull*hitter who manages to bull*hit his way around high wealth family offices but he also leaves a trail of nothingness in his wake. Scammers are always scamming.

    I’m always shocked when the apparent lack of compliance reveals an empty suit, or that mere due diligence steps are not simply adhered to.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Every age has men and women just like this guy. Remember that article in yesterday’s Links called “The Thoughtful Prick”? Casanova may have been the most famous of that cohort of people wandering the continent as he left the most notes but there were many, many more. Look at one of the first paragraphs in that article-

      ‘From Paris to Dresden, Warsaw to St. Petersburg, Venice to Naples, a rotation of the same characters moved in procession between the European courts. These ancien régime travelers weren’t Grand Tourists, aristocratic dilettantes cruising between ancient ruins and brothels, though the routes the two groups took often overlapped. They were men and women on the make, mobile and improvisatory, seeking to win their way by swindling, seducing, or performing. They might be unacknowledged illegitimate sons (as was the Comte de Saint-Germain, a mysterious philosopher and alchemist, who claimed to be descended from Transylvanian royalty and, thanks to his magical labors, hundreds of years old); or hustlers who rose from poverty to charm royal courts, à la the Sicilian Giuseppe Balsamo, alias the Count di Cagliostro, a self-made master of the occult (or “Quack of Quacks,” according to Thomas Carlyle).’

    2. Mikel

      Netflix series coming soon?
      Lately, they have had quite the list of docs on such grifters.
      Can we start calling the “economic order” the Fyre Festival Economy?

  3. Lex

    I find it amazing that we’re publicly debating germ theory in 2022. Every virus/microbe can be aerosolized and spread that way. The difference is only in how long it can remain viable without the liquid casing of fomite protection. Some might be just minutes and others hours. But they’re all aerosols. I mean in my technical world we refer to them collectively as bioaerosols for a reason.

    Masks, to be effective, need to be the last line of defense. Though they may be the most important line. Everything else that comes first, especially ventilation, is a means of reducing the concentrations of contaminants in the air. The lower the concentrations; the more effective the mask. (The higher the concentrations, the more technical the mask requirement. That is, going to powered air purifying or supplied air/SCBA.)

  4. Mikel

    “The Ebola Gamble” The New Atlantis

    What if the question about whether or not a pathogen is airborne or not was phrased another way: can the pathogen travel thru the air, from person to person, at any distance? Whether it be within an arms length away or suspended in air?

  5. hunkerdown

    Dropping a few rifles in NUG territory is the bare minimum. I must say I’m more impressed by women who work out their “solidarity feels” more productively, such as by buying a tank, learning to drive it, and rampaging on the enemy.

      1. Mildred Montana

        But as some wag on the radio said a few minutes ago, “Liz might be gone, but lettuce romaine calm.”

    1. Stephen

      To lose one PM was unlucky.

      To lose a second seems at least a trifle careless.

      Someone made a comment yesterday about Rome’s Year of the Four Emperors.

      The Roman Empire was in its prime in AD69 though. I fear that we are not.

      In the country, very few people care though about the antics of these “leaders”.

      Even if the corporate media is on about it 24/7.

      1. hunkerdown

        So loss number 3 will be interpreted as license to nuke anything Eastern, if James Bond’s Theory of Successive Attribution holds.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        Boris will try to do a Churchill. The Rt Hon Member for Lvov Central is required to stiffen the war effort. Truss was starting to get wobbly. Ben Wallace’s visit to Washington looks more significant now than at the time.

        1. Chas

          I think the only UK politician capable of doing “a Churchill” is Jeremy Corbyn. Like Churchill in 1939, Corbyn is the only leader willing and able to deal with the present situation.

          1. CarlH

            He wasn’t even strong enough to fend off the obviously politically motivated “anti-semitism” attacks. He wasn’t willing or able to fight for himself even .

            1. spud

              100% and taking advise from blairites, you can’t make this stuff up.


              “And the so-called progressive apparatchiks, economists and others, who were advising the Labour Party, not only told the Party leaders to ignore the warnings but actively set about vilifying those on the Left, including yours truly, every chance they could. The egg is … as they say! ”

              “If you cannot see that the traditional Labour heartland in the old industrial and mining towns in the north deserted Labour for the Tories then you are blind. ”

              “And if you think that the almost 100% correlation between the strength of the Leave vote and the change in seats in the heartlands is not meaningful then you lack analytical capacity (being polite)”

              “Last Thursday, Britain held the ‘second’ referendum that all those smart-alec, urban, educated, cosmos were demanding, and which so perverted the Labour Party’s message to the people.

              If the massive swing to the Tories is anything to go by, the Leave vote intensified.

              And it was entirely predictable.”

              “Labour did change. But they moved in the opposite direction to where it should have gone and finally reneged on its undertaking to its voters.

              Far from showing leadership on the issue, the Blairites forced the Labour leadership to dither and eventually cave into a Remain position.”

            2. JBird4049

              From what this American sees, he might not a spine, but he seems to be some of the very few “leaders” with some modest influence and a moral backbone. Give it time. I wonder just how long the next PM will last and what will be left after he is gone. Once the country is embers and ash, there might not be enough resistance to stop him although just what he could do with the ashes would be a good question.

    2. griffen

      Is that not so much in line for the year to date headlines in 2022? What a time to be living. Whether it’s a good time or not, well there is the inflation problem and energy shortages…

    3. Bugs

      Shortest term of any British PM. Forty-four days in office and now an annual stipend of £115,000/year.

      Nice work if you can get it.

      The Tory party is in a real shambles. I don’t see them giving it to Starmer by calling a general but who the hell knows. I never thought Truss would get anywhere near Number 10. Maybe Johnson will come back. He looks like a genius at this point.

      Here’s a link to the winning lettuce

      1. Old Sovietologist

        Others may know more than me but didn’t she have to last until Nov 6th to get the stipend.

      2. Tom Bradford

        Forty-four days in office and now an annual stipend of £115,000/year.

        No doubt with an unbreakable inflation triple-lock.

  6. Jon Cloke

    Liz Truss just resigned (UK time 13.40)

    Over here in the UK we’ve always enjoyed the clown show Tory PMs represent, and we’re really looking forward to the next one..

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Russian commander says Kherson situation “difficult” as Ukraine advances”

    Why do I get the impression that this is just a set up? That this Russian commander is trying to bait the Ukrainians into launching this attack and saying things that he knows Zelensky will be all over and who will order his commanders to attack, attack, attack. How many Russian battalion tactical groups were in the Kherson region a month or so ago? Wasn’t it about twenty five? And since then they have likely been reinforced and these new drone are coming into play. The dropping off of the power grid must have complicated Ukrainian logistics and they cannot have that many tanks and armoured vehicles anymore. And if the weather tuns those grounds even more muddy, things could go south for them real fast. This whole thing sounds like a bad brew for the Ukrainians. And I do rememeber what Russian Army General Surovikin said on his first day. He said ominously-

    ‘For the enemies of Russia, the morning does not start with coffee’

    1. Stephen

      I listened to part of his speech last night and had similar thoughts.

      Kherson is a city on a river surrounded by a plain. Was Stalingrad not a little bit like that. Similar time of year too.

    2. Old Sovietologist

      The Rev Kev – I have been thinking that myself.

      The Ukrainian attempts to make a breakthrough have not yet been successful so far and by attacking with a large force. The Russian’s can deliver massive missile strikes, which would lead to huge casualties and I mean huge for the Ukrainian’s.

    3. Reaville

      Simplest explanation is that the Russians are losing. Russia’s economy is not gigantic. Sustaining a large conventional war with material and blood is exorbitantly expensive. Russian morale cannot be high based on home front reports. The war has long since reached the point where Russians have used up the pre-war stockpile. They are now into industrial mobilization to sustain war material. I would not expect their industrial base to be able to fully sustain their logistical war effort based on their general level of efficiency, competence, and corruption.

      Grinding non-nuclear attrition is in the US interest IF you understand that Neoconservatves are defining our national interest. So far, so good. Bonus that the EU helpfully destroyed its economies.

      1. nippersdad

        No, they are not losing. The Russian economy is not gigantic, but it is not small, either. Based as it is on the export of raw materials, fossil fuels and food, they can withstand much more than has been ascribed to them. They will always have a market for their wares, and it has only gotten more lucrative since the beginning of the SMO.

        Russian morale is never high; they are a naturally dour people. That said, reports have been that what the public really wanted was to go in there and finish this thing. I imagine, with the posting of Surovikin, that is exactly what they will get. They are about to become a much happier people.

        As regards their military preparedness, this is something you might want to read:

        They can outlast us.

        This is what anti-war activists have been saying for twenty years now. These wars only serve to weaken us, and the neocons at State may be the last to find that out.

      2. GW

        “Russian morale cannot be high based on home front reports. The war has long since reached the point where Russians have used up the pre-war stockpile.”

        Sources? I’m like to check them out (assuming I haven’t already).

        I know Western media’s publishing lots of reports about alleged low Russian morale, among troops and RF citizens. Question is, what’s the credibility of these reports? Personally I’m reluctant to trust such sources because so many of them have long, lamentable, proven histories of putting an anti-Russian spin on the news.

        Keep in mind that Western media cherry picks its reports in order to overfocus on any negative developments in the RF that tend to suggest Russians are not happy with the Kremlin’s policies. The general tone of such reporting is the US/NATO/Ukraine cause is completely validated, the Russian cause is totally invalidated, and even the Russians themselves agree with us (the West).

        Meanwhile, Western media almost never publishes any articles that shed any light whatsoever on the fallout of the war on Ukrainian citizens. Are there signs of demoralization or war weariness? Any indications of resentment against Kiev’s policies? We have no way of knowing. That subject matter is taboo in Western media.

        Given these undeniable facts about Western media, what, then, is its value as credible news?

        I’ve seen the reports in Western media indicating that, supposedly, Russia’s equipment and munitions stockpiles are running out. But these reports have circulated since shortly after hostilities began. How do we know these forecasts are predicated on hard facts, as opposed to being speculation from pundits employed by think tanks and institutions that are expected to boost Ukraine’s (i.e., US/NATO’s) war effort in the information sphere?

        I’m not saying your claims (observations) can’t be true. For all I know you might be correct. But there’s the question of the credibility of your sources. I’d like to take a deeper look.

      3. ArvidMartensen

        Thanks for injecting a lighter note into proceedings. Was a great chaser after Liz Truss and Larry the Cat.
        But seriously, every bit of evidence so far this month points to the Russians removing the gloves. For a different perspective, Andrei Martyanov has commented on Truss and Ukraine and how the Russians are losing. , including comments from Douglas McGregor

    4. Roland

      I don’t really know what’s going on in the war, but whatever it is, it doesn’t look like an RF victory in the field.

      Let’s see, UKR army is getting so destroyed that…they’ve been advancing on two strategically important axes? By “strategically important,” I mean important to UKR. Perhaps RF can indifferently fall back to the Oskol, but for UKR, the Izyum bridgehead on the Donets is a definite victory. Perhaps RF can abandon Nikolaev and Kherson without grief, but if UKR restores a line on the lower Dnepr, that would be, again, a definite victory in the field for them. Besides, how would RF take Odessa, if they can’t secure Kherson?

      Does anybody here believe that RF invaded UKR last winter, with the intention of having their armies retreat before Ukrainian counter-attacks, come autumn?

      It goes without saying that the war has been a calamity for UKR, as has been the entire dismal post-Maidan regime. But dismal or not, calamitous or not, the UKR forces are still in action, and giving account of themselves. If UKR losses are as heavy as claimed, and they’re still attacking, wouldn’t that be at least indirect testimony to their morale? Zelensky’s wouldn’t be the first bad government to elicit big sacrifices from a suffering people.

      And here is a great danger for everybody in the world: all of the combatant powers are showing a high level of commitment. I’ve just remarked on UKR’s. RF is also highly committed, or else they wouldn’t have been desperate enough to invade UKR in the first place. As for NATO, I see all the leaders, except Erdogan, marching as if on parade, while there are no huge protests for peace. Consider: there were more Germans demonstrating against a few missile tests in 1982, then there are against an open war in 2022. Bizarre, but true, and I’ve lived to see it!

      Commitment, plus Frustration, equals Escalation. Unless one or more parties should back down, then nuclear weapons will be used. For commitment in war is not about a will-to-win, it’s about the will-to-die.

      UKR seems to have that commitment, and so does RF. Reasonably or not, so does NATO (remember that for the mighty, vanity can matter more than life itself–and today’s West is nothing if not vain).

      This war will go nuclear, not because it should happen, but because nothing else can happen. As for what that would look like, all I can say is that it probably won’t go according to any of the models. I predict something horrid, but at the same time desultory, tragedy and farce not each in turn, but together in more perfect union.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the Russian viewpoint. Russia has been trying to negotiate an agreeable settlement for years. When those efforts didn’t work, signed treaties were broken by the West and attacks by the Ukrainians were stepped up in the Donbass, Russia invaded and did significant damage to Ukrainian forces while doing its best not to harm civilian infrastructure. They then asked for more negotiations – for Russia war is still diplomacy by other means. According to credible reports, BoJo the Clown flew in to nix any thoughts of negotiation by Ukraine. The West sent in more arms and the war has continued, with Ukraine regaining some small amount of territory, but a cursory glance at an actual map will show those gains are minor at best and the Russians aren’t exactly on the run. A strategic and temporary withdrawal seems more likely, given the recently announced mobilization.

        Thanks to Western interference, I don’t believe Russia is particularly interested in any further negotiations at this point in time. I don’t believe evacuating Kerson is a sign of Russian weakness – I think they are trying to get as many people out of harm’s way before they take off the kid gloves off and finish off the remaining Ukrainian military. Once that’s been accomplished, they will be ready to negotiate again, but with far less favorable terms for Ukraine than they could have had back in the spring.

        Russia is telling Ukraine what Eastwood told the saloon crowd midway through the gunfight at the end of UnforgivenAny man don’t want to get killed better clear on out the back.

      2. GW

        ” If UKR losses are as heavy as claimed, and they’re still attacking, wouldn’t that be at least indirect testimony to their morale?”

        Not necessarily.

        That Ukrainian forces are capable of launching – and for now sustaining – offensive operations may mean something else. Namely, that the UAF still has an upper-crust of combat effective and politically motivated troops capable of leading the charge.

        Assuming my hypothesis is true, then the question is, what happens when Kiev burns through these remaining high-quality soldiers.

        Read about the Eastern Front during WW1 for an example of what I mean. Russia, in spite of catastrophically high KIA, WIA, and POW levels in 1914-15, shocked the world with its victorious Brusilov Offensive in the summer of 1916.

        But this operational success was something Russia could not afford militarily or politically. That’s because it cost one million casualties, including Russia’s remaining supply of combat effective and politically reliable soldiers. They were replaced by inexperienced, disaffected reservists whose attitudes were tinged by revolutionary propaganda they had been exposed to in their villages in Russia’s interior.

        For all we know, something similar may be unfolding in the Ukrainian military now.

        If Ukraine, which unquestionably has incurred extremely severe KIA and WIA levels, is expending its remaining combat effective troops in its current offensive, it is nearing military stasis and the terminal point of its war effort.

        Well have to wait and see what happens. Either way, I don’t believe the Western media myth about preternaturally high Ukrainian fighting morale. The truth is some Ukrainians possess this morale, many others don’t.

        1. Roland

          My point was that neither side is running away. Commitment on both sides is high enough to keep attacking. The stories of bad morale on either side have proven to be typical wartime lies.

          If you want to make a case for attrition, I can’t disprove it, because I can’t find an accurate UKR order of battle. I’m not sure of the strength or quality of their units, nor of what resources are available for the future.

          However, I can say that they’re still fighting, because that fact is right in front of me. Moreover, if UKR were depending on a dwindling cadre of reliable troops, then why do they seem to be attacking more effectively now, than they were a few months ago?

          How many times will historical analogies of last-fling offensives be cited? So far, I think, the UKR has managed to do a Bulge, a Michael, and now a Brusilov, all in a war less than a year long. I guess tomorrow it will be like poor old Hasdrubal on the Metaurus. Or will it be more like Hood in Tennessee? Or the Iraqis at Khafji?

          If you believe that you have a good grasp of the relative strengths, losses, and collective wills of the belligerents, then would you venture a prediction of when UKR must collapse? It’s unfair of me to ask, of course. OTOH, models are judged on their predictive power.

          What I think is that this war poses unprecedented dangers. I could raise innumerable examples from forty years’ worth of serious reading about people waging all sorts of wars, but this Ukraine War is something we’re going to have to figure out on its own terms, and during our own times. A bad outlook.

          The only possible good news for the world would be prompt, refreshing, word of a ceasefire, a peace conference, and a resumption of trade. Everything else is just deepening loss, and mounting hazard.

          1. Yves Smith

            With all due respect, you don’t understand this war.

            As I said above, territorial acquisition is not a first order goal. You are falling for the map fallacy. The gains will come comparatively easily after the Ukraine army is destroyed. Russia’s performance was extremely impressive given that it was fielding a peacetime expeditionary force, dealing with a messy command structure (LPR and DPR militias, Wagner Group, and Russian regulars) and was on the offense w/ only 1/3 the troop level of Ukraine. It is simply unheard of for such a comparatively attack force to keep winning.

            First, Russian had to crack extensive bunkering in Donbass. That is time consuming unless you want to turn everything into a moonscape, which the Russians do not want to do even though they have the means to do so, because civilians. Russian has to do this first as a significant aim.

            Second, Surovikin said that Russia will continue to grind going forward. That’s the least costly to civilians and Russian manpower. They don’t care about time. They care about efficiency (in humans, not materiel).

            Scott Ritter largely anticipated Surovkin. He said even after Russia cleared Donbass, he didn’t anticipate Russia making big arrow movements. They expose the attacker’s flanks. Russia has no reason to hurry. Ukraine doesn’t have winter uniforms for its troops. Russia is successfully disrupting Starlink and that looks likely to continue. Ukraine is running out of materiel, see Brian Berletic for details. And the electrical grid attacks will greatly degrade coordination and hurt morale.

          2. GW

            “Moreover, if UKR were depending on a dwindling cadre of reliable troops, then why do they seem to be attacking more effectively now, than they were a few months ago?”

            For what it’s worth, pro-Russian sources on Telegram claim Ukraine’s troops in the war zone outnumber Russia’s by a factor of two to three. Allegedly this explains why Russia’s fighting on its backfoot. For now at least.

            I’m eyeballing the idea of Ukraine losing by attrition because its military manpower pool is low. There are only 30 million people living in the country.

            Supposedly Ukraine’s mobilization ceiling is one million soldiers. We know for a fact 450,000 of them have already been activated.

            I remember during the height of the 2014-15 Donbass fighting that Western media reported evidence of growing anger, demoralization, and anti-war sentiment on the home from in Ukraine. Ditto for widespread draft dodging.

            If such things happened in 2014-15, it would be very strange if the same weren’t happening in Ukraine today, given that the UAF casualties are so much higher. But people like you and I wouldn’t know given Kiev’s imposition of martial law at home and Western media’s commitment to supporting the US/NATO/Ukraine war effort on a public relations level.

            The points made in your second comment are well received, BTW.

    5. Greg

      I’ve seen the words “difficult” and “tense” used by Russian military leaders regularly, to describe the situation anywhere where combat operations are underway. It may be a translation thing, maybe there’s a nuance to the Russian words that is lost in the English terms.

      I don’t think there is much to read into it other than “war is always difficult”. I think it’s had a big blowup in the western media because they’re grabbing anything that suggests Putin Has Lost.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Western “news” can’t even keep their propaganda straight. The news section on the local Yahoo page has the following:
        1. The Guardian says that the Russians are considering a major withdrawal from Kherson.
        2. The Telegraph’s news headline though says that the Russians are withdrawing civilians because a major battle is about to unfold.

      2. Yves Smith

        Russians are constitutional pessimists. They were over the moon with Surovikin’s talk. Anything less than “This will be HAARD but everything for victory” would be seen as lying happy patter.

    6. Tom Bradford

      ‘For the enemies of Russia, the morning does not start with coffee’

      Would that work in Russian?

  8. Stephen


    I think you are spot on. He is giving himself maximum flexibility to do what he deems militarily right and does not want Russian civilians in the way, nor to suffer unnecessarily (am sure his intent is very genuine there).

    Alexander Mercouris said last night that the speech has gone down very well on Russian Telegram channels. This General clearly looks the part in battle fatigues and showing zero medals. Smiling is definitely not a core part of the repertoire and nor ought it to be. He is clearly deadly serious and knows what war truly is.

    Might be an equivalent moment to when Grant (who hated war and wanted to get it ended) took command of the Union armies which up to then had fought with one hand tied behind their backs. The campaign he launched was also attritional and not based on some mythical, elegant war of maneuver. Seems this might be similar, in an up to date way but with far more attention given to life preservation (at least on his own side).

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Will America end Zelensky’s dream?”

    I do wonder what sort of information is flowing into the Biden White House and what they think is going on there. So you just had this turkey named Dan Rice, an advisor to the commander of Ukraine’s army, who went onto CNN today-

    ‘Aaron Maté
    Dan Rice, an advisor to the commander of Ukraine’s army, tells CNN that Russia is “trying to get to the negotiating table, to try to go back to the 2014 lines.” That means Crimea and the Donbas.
    But “Ukraine won’t have it. Ukraine wants all of their land back to the ’91 lines.” ‘ (17 sec video)

    I think that most people here will see how detached from reality what that guy is saying. That boat sailed back in 2015 but Zelensky won’t negotiate so the war will go on to its final conclusion. Maybe the White House is realizing only now the hard limits of what can be done as there is very few weapons that they can ship there. The problem will be if the Biden White House starts to panic and make even more stupid and reckless decision. And Zelensky? I wouldn’t worry about him. Why, he is about to come out with his new book full of speeches of his that he personally selected. Available in all good book stores-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Besides attitudes like the EU’s Borrell at play, the White House doesn’t want a loss or Zelensky forming a government in exile with Pete Buttigieg before the midterms. I don’t think voters would really care, but DC rats who read gossip rags like Politico would have tantrums on Scarborough.

    2. KD

      Zelensky was ready to do a deal in April until his Western backers told him they would leave Ukraine high and dry if he did so. Between his Azov buddies and his Western “allies”, he might as well be recovering from back surgery with all the flexibility he has right now. Part of me feels bad for the guy, because it seems like the West is getting ready to make him the fall guy, and possibly n(o)go him, as in Ngo Dinh Diem, if the Neo-Naughties or the Russians don’t hit him first. Remember he got elected as the peace candidate who promised to implement the Minsk Accords when this started. . . must seem like ages ago. Hard to see the conflict ending without his permanent retirement from government.

    3. Stephen

      The book will win The Pulitzer Prize, I guess.

      If that is awarded in time.

      Consolation for not getting the Nobel Prize.

    4. XXYY

      I see no reason to think that Russia would be willing to negotiate with either the Ukrainian leadership or its Western backers. The unspoken assumption in the West seems to be that the West can end this war any time they want, just by proclaiming themselves “willing to negotiate.”

      There probably was a time in the past when Russia saw the West as a good faith negotiating partner, but those times are long gone. The West has abrogated pretty much every treaty and agreement it has made with Russia in the last three or four decades, and the Russian leadership is very aware of that. Russia is now very well positioned to triumph by force in its conflict with the West, and I think they know this perfectly well and not terribly interested in wasting time or effort on a negotiated solution which will end up being ignored in a few months or years.

      I’m not sure if Western leaders are blithely unaware of this reality, or are all too aware of it and are just putting up a brave face.

    5. Tom Stone

      That book of Zelensky’s speeches deserves pride of place in your bookshelf, right next to “My Pet Goat”.

    6. Kouros

      Why ’91 lines? Why not ‘1954 lines, or 1922 lines? Otherwise one needs to back to 1600s to find other lines there…

    7. ArvidMartensen

      The US will start howling for negotiations once Russia rolls over Mykoliev and starts off towards Odessa.
      And only then will the msm groupthinkers be outraged that the virtuous Ukrainians want “negotiations and peace”, and the immoral warmongering Russians are not responding.
      Until that happens, puppet Zelensky will not negotiate with Putin.
      I notice that the velvet puppet, Obama, is starting to soften his stance on sending unlimited arms to Ukraine too.

  10. Sutter Cane

    It’s Gotten Awkward to Wear a Mask The Atlantic

    Here’s the thread for this article in the “Lockdown Skepticism” subreddit, if you’d like to read comments from people who are fanatically opposed to masking, like those mentioned in the article. The sub apparently still has a very active user base despite the US never having had a real “lockdown”, and with any half-assed ones we did have being over two years ago at this point:

    Quite a window into the minds of our fellow citizens.

    Is the phrase “death cult” too strong?

    No, Lambert, I think it’s an understatement.

    1. semper loquitur

      Good Lord, I read through some of the list. Here’s a choice bit:

      “The next day I texted her and said “I feel I owe you an explanation. I appreciate you caring for an elderly family member, but to mask in my home says to me that you don’t feel safe here, or around me, and I’m sorry, I find that highly insulting. That’s why I was off last night”.

      To her credit she acknowledged that was a legitimate response, apologized, and hasn’t done it since.”

      A few commenters recounted their “panic attacks” when they saw people in masks, one woman said that because no one cared about her reaction to the masks, she has no problem condemning people in their “misery rags”:

      “I had panic attacks from them too and was told I was selfish or exaggerating, and one person told me it meant I had some deep seated psychological problem. So if the people still clinging to their misery rags feel uncomfortable now, I give no fucks about their feelings.”

      To be fair, I can see how suddenly seeing everyone wearing a mask would weird someone out. Like wandering onto the set of a medical disaster movie or something. But the thread reveals the deep divisiveness and suspicion that riddles the country. The whole thing is shot through with Red v. Blue conflict, “Blue cities” as bastions of mask wearing Karens trampling on your liberty, mask wearers as mentally deficients who don’t understand the “science”. Truly the dumbest timeline.

      1. Yves Smith

        Sorry, I would have gone full New Yorker on them:

        “Yes, I don’t feel safe because I am not safe. Omicron is more contagious than measles. If you aren”t avoiding going out and wearing an N95 mask when you do, it is not safe to be around you. So if you don’t like my masking, I won’t be able to see you.”

        As for panic attacks, “I am not responsible for your neurosis and you not getting the therapy you admit you need.”

        Fuck apologizing.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I wear a red MAGA mask when I go out in my Republican mid-sized town – honestly, just to be a dick.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          Ive had a large rayon american flag bandanna forever. Used to wrap my head at protests and such.
          Not a very good particulate excluding material…but i have consideted using it as a mask…snd yes, just tobe a dick

    2. Mikel

      “The sub apparently still has a very active user base despite the US never having had a real “lockdown”, and with any half-assed ones we did have being over two years ago at this point…”

      I said to a friend back in 2020. People will chill for about two weeks max. And there are those who would’ve tried for longer, but a couple of thousand bucks on only goes so far.

    3. Lexx

      About Aparna Nair…

      It was Oklahoma, and I wonder if the color of her skin had anything to do with driver’s crappy behavior and the subject of the mask gave him some kind of legitimate cover for his racism. Also, throughout the rant what were the other passengers saying and doing? Oh, was she alone? Maybe something more than racism?

      My bias was to immediately picture a beefy red-faced blue-eyed white male driver with a deeply aggrieved sense of entitlement to… everything, and just not living up to his potential.

    4. coloradoblue

      I got the same sh*t as the lady in the taxi. I was in an elevator in a medical building where masking was required. I was on my way out after an appointment. The other two in the elevator had already taken their masks off and started berating me about masks in general, and then saying my N95 was just as bad as any other mask.

      Kept my mouth shut and just walked away.

    5. JBird4049

      >>>Aparna Nair, a historian and disability scholar at the University of Oklahoma who has epilepsy, told me that she thinks masks are becoming somewhat analogous to wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, and her own seizure-alert dog, Charlie: visible tools and technologies that invite compassion, but also skepticism, condescension, and invasive questions.

      As someone who wears hearing aids, my experience is that most people are very understanding about my hearing. However, those few persons who make an issue of my not noticing or understanding them have issues of some kind.

      There are people who insist that I am faking it, stupid, being disrespectful, is a racist, or whatever for reasons I have never understood especially when I am wearing the aids. I tend to think that their ego depends on my perfect understanding, which is just silly especially when talking to the back of a man wearing hearing aids in loud environments. However, it seems to be the best explanation.

      This also seems to be the best explanation for the overt mask hatred. I get people might not like them. Personally, it is hard to read a face when someone is wearing a mask, which makes my own comprehension difficult sometimes. It’s not necessarily a deliberate insult unless one’s ego’s voice says it is, as if being respectful of others is a bad thing, and you listen to it.

      I wish telling such people to grow up would do some good, but I don’t think that it would make any difference.

  11. Chet G

    I don’t believe this article from Common Dreams appeared in links, but I consider it amazing.
    It does leave open the question of how many people a nation must be responsible for tying to lamp posts or killing to receive a humans rights award:

    For their efforts to protect “democracy, freedom, and rule of law” amid Russia’s invasion, the people of Ukraine were named the collective recipients of the European Union’s most prestigious human rights award on Wednesday.

  12. ALM

    I’ve read Rod Dreher on and off over the years. He always seems to be deeply committed to someone or some place or some notion until he isn’t. As a fervid, conservative family values man, his broken marriage and decision to leave his children behind for the single life on another continent breaks a few sound barriers.

  13. ALM

    I’ve read Rod Dreher on and off over the years, and he always seems to be deeply committed to someone or some notion or some place until he isn’t. As a fervid, conservative family values man, his broken marriage and decision to leave his children behind for the single life on another continent breaks a few sound barriers.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > deeply committed to someone or some notion or some place until he isn’t.

      I think I read, decades ago, something (written by, IIRC, William James) about people’s thinking having the character of a multifaceted polyhedron, that would return to its resting face in response to smaller perturbations but, if given a sufficiently strong push, would roll to rest on a different face (which itself would thereafter be similarly stable).

      I sympathize with this phenomenon “from the inside”. What its psychological roots may be in myself and in others, I don’t know, though I suspect that (at least in my own history), “pride”, in the sense of “I understand things well enough to warrant having firm opinions (and acting on those opinions)”, played a big role. Or maybe it was a form of ideological sunk cost fallacy, or a combination of those and other things.

      Now I am old and cynical about myself and almost everything else. But I also think I am making fewer mistakes.

      One thing I have learned, which I suspect is valid, is that it may be prudent to not pay a lot of attention to most of the people who make their living by interpreting the world for other people.

    2. Eureka Springs

      I couldn’t finish the Dreher article. Why publish it if you are going to leave so much secrecy? The title could have been something like – When Faith, Like Liquor, Gets In The Way.

    3. Bugs

      Managed to slog through it. What a solipcistic mess of words. I give him a year and a half max in Hungary. Budapest is not a big place and winters are very continental.

      I’m old enough to remember when Garrison Keillor moved to Denmark. But at least that had some sex in the mix. And Keillor was an important American writer.

      1. Kouros

        I’ll take Budapest over Louisiana swamps any day and even commit to polish my Hungarian.

        The winters are very bearable, especially in the past 30 years or so, and one can hop on trains and planes to visit any part of Europe in the blink of the eye

    4. B flat

      TAC is one stop on my daily news/commentary stations of the cross. Dreher can’t seem to resist using his platform to settle family scores even as he claims to honor their privacy.

  14. jefemt

    Smart people writing books— HIGHLY recommend Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson.
    Timely, information packed, great thought experiment/provocative snippets. Terrific read.
    Also, The Overstory, by Richard Powers. Tangentially related — both about our Anthropocene.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “It’s Gotten Awkward to Wear a Mask”

    When it come time to write the history of this pandemic, what will they say about this whole thing about masks? If pushed, I would say that the whole thing about masks encountered the same thing as vaccines and as certain unmentioned drugs – it was politicized. It is that simple. From the viewpoint of medical treatment, it should have been mandatory N95 masks across the board but it never happened. Instead they were politicized so that governments could announce that you could throw them away now as the pandemic is over. And it was not just the US but other “advanced” countries as well. So now I am one of the few that wears a mask downtown. And yet a thousand or more people are dying in Oz each and every month. Those sorts off odds I might take risks with but knowing that you stand a one-in-three chance of Long Covid if you catch this virus is far too high a risk. But the medical authorities won’t tell you that bit. They too got politicized.

    1. Tom Stone

      They should auction it off, or get some of that alphabet pasta, shred the lettuce and make a word salad…
      If an NFT can bring north of $60MM…

  16. Carolinian

    Re Awkward to Wear a Mask–people still wear them in my town including me. In fact I’d say it has ticked up a bit recently if still very low use. But my impression is that if anything mask use has become normalized and accepted.

    1. Mikel

      I saw a teenage boy, tall and healthy looking, strolling across the crosswalk the other day -wearing his mask outdoors like a fashion statement.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘Oil Trading Europe
    ICYMI. Europe’s latest sanctions on Russia have a WILD provision. If ANY tanker moves a Russian cargo outside of the price cap (assuming Europe adopts it), that ship will be barred from ALL future access to EU services (including insurance).’

    The Greeks are going to love this. I understand that the country itself is run by the shipping interests. The White House was trying to tell OPEC that ‘The price cap due for Dec. 5 was designed specifically to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and will not be carried over to other producers’ and I am sure that they totally believed him. This is worse. The G-7 nations agreed to the cap in September but the EU only signed on to the plan earlier this month which left them just six weeks to resolve outstanding regulatory issues. And this is what the EU came up with. Goodby Russian oil and hello winter. But according to Bill Gates, there is a silver lining. He said ‘[The war is] good for the long run because people won’t want to be dependent on Russian natural gas…So they’ll move to these new approaches more rapidly.’ And with his Breakthrough Energy organization he will make out like a bandit. The tens of thousands of European deaths will just be Green collateral damage then-

    1. Tom Stone

      The unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of Europeans and the immiseration of Millions more is of no consequence to the “Deciders”
      Hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths from Covid in the USA with more coming daily were and are also of no consequence.
      Those lives do not matter, they are not “Real” people.

  18. diptherio

    Re: Ukraine Is the World’s Foreign-Policy Rorschach Test Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

    Walt lets slip his lack of knowledge of current events in Africa, when he refers to “the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.” There is none. The Eriteans are currently shelling Tigray, the region of Ethiopia bordering Eritrea, which has been in revolt against the Ethiopian gov’t for over a year (if memory serves). The Ethiopian and Eritrean militaries had been explicitly working together to crush the Tigrayans for several months, and while Ethiopia hasn’t officially signed off of the current shellings, they don’t seem to be complaining about it either.

  19. semper loquitur

    The Annals of Human Stupidity:

    Space crystals project aims to put human DNA on the moon in 2023

    Space Crystals LLC plans to crystallize client DNA in space and put those stable crystals on the surface of the moon via lunar landers. Space Crystals has booked payload space for its first such delivery on a lander mission in 2023, company representatives said.

    The tech, backed by commercial spaceflight company Waypoint 2 Space and its founder Kevin Heath, costs $150,000 for customers and is meant to “preserve one’s existence in the universe,” the company said in a press release Monday (Oct. 17). (Sign-up details are not yet available, and the website is not active.)

    Materialism truly is the dumbest ontology…

        1. hunkerdown

          Are instructions to build a monument considered a monument in themselves? That too would be true to form.

          The only real benefit is to make Damnatio memoriae that much more difficult. I half expect them to pull a Fauci: “We are History.” They’d be so right in so many ways: the Marxist way, the vernacular way, the solipsistic way, maybe more.

  20. Old Sovietologist

    Looks like Ukrainians are getting concerned about the possibility of a Russian offensive coming out of Brest (Belarus) down the Polish/Ukrainian border. It would be a bold move but I don’t think its doable.

    When the “Belarus Fist” hits the Ukrainians I think it will be on the east bank of the Dnipro towards Chernihiv.

    It’s getting tense on the Belarus/Polish border though and it wouldn’t take much for it to get hot.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Ugh. The Walgreens variant data for today is new, and the numbers don’t even make sense. Large drops in all kinds of things. In a week. Maybe I’m not reading it correctly? Comparing it to yesterday’s WC, it just feels off somehow.

    I guess there’s still wastewater data, at least.

  22. BeliTsari

    Nord Stream pipe had no concrete ballast coating, FBE or ID lining? How are we seeing what looks like a bevel, with a land? This just ain’t right. If the damage was from cuncussion of a limpet mine, style explosion at a girth weld, this still looks odd. The localized damage caused a rupture 5 DRL joints long (longitudinal seams, are ALL staggered?). Nah!

  23. Amfortas the Hippie

    Took mom to skin dr hour down the road.
    My tongue is hamburger, of course.
    Steered clear of farm talk..but she got on to news on way back.
    Putin=trump=evil= world domination,etc.
    Im using words like rada and dnieper and tranistria
    Glazed, incredulous look,lol.
    I mostly let her ramble.
    Veering into domestic politics, its all the gops doing.
    I recite 2 pages of bidens career, then a page of hillary….seething so i light a fag for cover.(makes her light up, too)
    Her..well they were forced to do all that by the gop….
    Oh, and putin wants to conquer europe, etc etc

    80yo next month
    Hard to tell where the narcissism and ordinary indoctrination ends, and the dementia begins.
    Watches maddow religiously.
    And has never,ever been wrong about anything.
    Prolly unfair, but i use her as my captive analog of pmc in general.
    Scary And exhausting

    1. jonboinAR

      disclaimer: I’m no Biden fan. Think he has no original thoughts in particular and may well be deeply, frighteningly corrupt.
      So, I was talking to another ordinary worker like myself, a nice guy as far as I know him. He allowed how Biden is responsible for the price of gasoline being as high as it is because he ended fracking for gasoline. I have no idea if Biden “ended” fracking in this country. If he did, it would have only marginally to do with price inflation, I think, and Biden wouldn’t have done it by himself. I haven’t bothered to Duck Duck Go it ’cause I don’t care much about that. Anyway, I mildly mentioned that, as far as I know, the per barrel price of petroleum is at least strongly effected by the world market and that ending or reducing fracking for petroleum would likely have little effect one way or the other on the current price of gasoline. He raised his voice, spoke more sharply, and said it was Biden’s fault.

      I’ve puzzled over his response for a couple of days. It works as a single datum confirmation of what I’ve felt for a long time makes decision making on a big scale really hard. Let’s say that if we ordinary folk voted wisely that somehow that could possibly affect policy decisions in a positive way. The trouble is that people quite strongly tend to make up their minds on a topic and that’s that. The opinion on which they’ve firmly made up their mind might only be tangentially related to the subject under discussion at this moment, but how they interpret that subject will either confirm more or possibly slightly weaken the topic about which they they’re more passionate. In this case, I got the feeling, not sure, that the passionately adhered to opinion was “Let’s Go Brandon!” The guy had already added added the subject of fracking to his list of why Brandon is evil, and any suggestion that that particular subject might possibly be less strong of a piece of evidence for that “fact” was also evil.

      I say “evil” to emphasize the adamancy with which many people hold on to their beliefs, large and small. They’re only willing to interested in entertaining data that confirm their more general belief and are quite annoyed by any argument about a bit of data that suggests otherwise. It may sound arrogant to assume this, but it seems like you watch their mind shut off, their defensive hackles rise. I don’t wish to single out a working class guy as one more likely to be vehemently “stuck” on an opinion. One of the fellows I see regularly in my travels is a retired business executive. Everything comes back to “Socialism!” being the problem. “Socialism” seems to be anything from Social Security to the minimum wage to out and out Soviet style central planning. When he starts going this way I turn my head so maybe he won’t see me rolling my eyes, as I did with the other fellow, and attempt to change the subject.

      So, what to do? Is this what’s known as “confirmation bias”? I’m going to call it that. It seems to permeate thinking on all levels. That’s what I’ve been puzzling about. How to get to good decision making, at least on the level I interact on, which is common voters. I don’t argue with either of these fellows beyond the points I’ve described, because I sense that there’s a much greater chance of losing an aquaintance/friend than in changing their minds. They’ve become very defensive, almost angry when we’ve hit those topics and it’s apparent I may not agree with them. But it’s discouraged me some. Is it possible for the voting public to make wise decisions, or it just hit or miss?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I suppose the temptation is there to rag your retired business executive friend by decrying the worse advocates of “socialism” – the military. Ask why they should get all that free food and accommodation and worse of all, socialized medical treatment. And it’s a scandal how they even get free dental. Ask why our tax dollars should go to all those military free-loaders who end up with a government pension for life, even after they leave the military. But of course you would lose your friend so no real point going there. :)

        1. jonboinAR

          The coolest guy I talk to is the retired military intelligence guy. He listens quietly to what I have to say and I to him. He told me once with a meaningful look, “Never trust the government. That’s all I can tell you.” I’m still wondering what he meant by that. Was he just messing with me?

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        have you any experience with actual sheep?(americans)
        or barnyard fowl?(anarchists)

  24. mistah charley, ph.d.

    In defense of the NY Times OpEd authors Ezekiel J. Emanuel, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Michael T. Osterholm, it is not true that there was “not a word on masks” – they said

    The government has yet to ensure a stable domestic production capacity and raw material supply chains for personal protective equipment, including N95 and KN95 face coverings, gloves and disposable gowns, much less pharmaceuticals.

  25. JBird4049

    >>> New Books Network” family of podcasts

    Thank you for the recommendation.

    While I am having a hard time reading right now. (for some unfathomable reason?) I am always looking for some good books, which means some good reviews. If nothing else, I can feed my tsundoku monster and look forward to some more good books to read. Eventually.

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