Links 1/9/2023

An Extremely Rare Green Comet Is Visiting Earth And You Can See it With Naked Eye Physics-Astronomy

Who Is Planting Weird Antennas All Over the Foothills of Salt Lake City? Gizmodo

How Your Brain Distinguishes Memories From Perceptions Wired

Want to avoid death? Maybe cryonics isn’t crazy Bloomberg


Brazil keeps protecting Indigenous land in the Amazon. It’s not stopping deforestation Grist

Texas ag agency says climate change threatens state’s food supply Texas Tribune

‘Holy grail’ wheat gene discovery could feed our overheated world Guardian

Loss of Hinman Glacier, North Cascade Range 1958-2022 American Geophysical Union


Warning about aquifer’s decline sets up big fight in Kansas AP


SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration and linked longitudinal seroprevalence: a spatial analysis of strain mutation, post-COVID-19 vaccination effect, and hospitalization burden forecasting medRXiv

The coronavirus is speaking. It’s saying it’s not done with us WaPo. Eric Topol

China is overwhelmed, yet an even bigger covid wave may be coming The Economist (Paul R)


Bolsonaro Supporters Invade & Vandalize Brazilian Congress & Presidential Palace Payday Report

The Koreas

South Korea considers purchasing Israeli ‘Sky Spotter’ Al Mayadeen


Under Ben-Gvir’s Orders, Israel Police to Enforce Ban on Palestinian Flags in Public Haaretz

Israel imposes travel restrictions on four Palestinian Authority officials amid UN row The National

US on alert as UAE seeks to join Turkish-Syrian reconciliation talks The Cradle

Old Blighty

The UK’s brain drain – and the countries trying to tempt away the talent The National

A quarter of Britain’s soldiers are classed as ‘dangerously’ overweight in the past five years, with more than 5,000 discharged for being overweight or obese since 2010 Daily Mail


China Wraps Up Two-Year Tech Crackdown, Top Official Says Caixin Global

Berlin’s China measures reflect Cold War mentality: Chinese Ambassador Al Mayadeen

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine denies Russian claim it killed hundreds of soldiers Al Jazeera

Russia offering ‘Korea-style‘ peace deal – Kiev RT

Germany won’t rule out deliveries of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, economy minister says Reuters

Now Fighting for Ukraine: Volunteers Seeking Revenge Against Russia New York Times


The view from Dubai Gilbert Doctorow

Sweden says Turkey asking too much over NATO application Reuters

The first US onslaught to ‘weaken’ post-Cold War Russia Asia Times

Biden’s existential angst in Ukraine Indian Punchline



Wave of Long-Term European LNG Contracts Seen Likely This Year Natural Gas Intel

Solicitous dictatorship. The political economy of authoritarianism – Aly v. Tooze revisited Chartbook

European Disunion

Why are the political stakes so high in Poland’s EU funding row? Notes From Poland

NATO turns down Serbia’s request to deploy troops in Kosovo Al Jazeera

Bosnian Serb leader awards Putin highest medal of honor DW

Imperial Collapse Watch

John Bolton confirms he will run for president in 2024 Just the News. A true inspiration for all aspiring war criminals.

“You Have No Rights” Sabri al-Qurashi Has Lived Without Legal Status in Kazakhstan Since His 2014 Guantánamo Release The Intercept

Realignment and Legitimacy

HAIL CAESAR? Left and Right get behind an American Empire Antiwar

America’s Theater of the Absurd The Chris Hedges Report

Police State Watch

‘It never stops’: killings by US police reach record high in 2022 Guardian

Book Bans in US Prisons Undermine Rehabilitation New Lines Mag

Groves of Academe

Supply Chain/Inflation

8 Grocery Shortages You Can Expect to See in 2023 Eat This, Not That

The Missing Minerals Foreign Affairs

Electric Vehicles Are Bringing Out the Worst in Us The Atlantic

Our No Longer Free Press


Class Warfare

On this flooded island of homeless people, climate change has never been more real LA Times

Southwest Airlines pilots to disastrous bosses: It’s your education, stupid ZDNet


Social Quitting Locus

Seattle Public Schools sues TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and others, seeking compensation for youth mental health crisis GeekWire

New York City schools blocked ChatGPT. Here’s what other large districts are doing Chalkbeat

Web3, the Metaverse, and the Lack of Useful Innovation American Affairs Journal

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. griffen

    Southwest Airlines was crippled by its own (managers and executives) short term planning and greedy practices of stock buyback. Investment in technology and operational improvements is an expense with a nebulous payback, it can be hard to nail down ROI / IRR. Buybacks give you that ROI !

    I don’t think the aggrieved customers or pilot union should hold just the Southwest executives with those accounting degrees as culpable. It’s the inherent nature of capitalism in our country, doing more with less and making your operational lines as efficient as possible. Whether it’s a Gordon Gekko move or a Jack Welch move, it’s been done before.

    1. Louis Fyne

      legacy code discussions have popped up fairly frequently in the comments here at nakedcapitalism over the years (hat-tip “Clive” among others).

      if someone went through the archives and collated the comments, it would be a very prescient series.

      keywords: COBOL Clive legacy mainframe language programming code

    2. floyd

      Putting in new enterprise software systems is what I like to call “heavy lifting”. It’s painful and very likely can go side ways or worse. It’s a true leader that goes forward with necessary company wide system upgrades. BODs are another problem. In my experience many board members have no operational experience and can barely send and receive email.

      1. orlbucfan

        “In my experience many board members have no operational experience and can barely send and receive email.”
        True and worse than imbecilic. Sad.

    3. Mikel

      “It’s the inherent nature of capitalism in our country, doing more with less and making your operational lines as efficient as possible…”

      Except it’s never really doing more with less.
      It’s making more profit with less.
      With less, less is being done in most cases (some type of service is cut in some way or some product cuts back on quality in some aspect).

      1. hunkerdown

        The preservation of wage system dominance is their objective. The game of profit is how they sell it to us as ‘real’, and ensnare us in all sorts of endowment traps. Here’s one of those from @urcommunistdad:

        The homeownership society was not a “mistake,” it did exactly what was intended. Effects the author understandably considers harmful are in fact highly desirable outcomes for the highest strata of society. Let’s talk about the history and political economy of homeownership.🧵

    4. Thomas Wallace

      Southwest is going to spend $2 billion digging out of this (based on an optimistic 500 million estimate). The company spent 51 years building a low-cost union carrier and will pay back 10% of its accumulated value of its 51 year effort on 2 weeks of weather associated chaos. The stock is already reflects this.
      A low cost, no frills airline isn’t for everybody. But your luggage is free.
      I’m sure they will also be fined, but simple competition seems like a suffient incentive to correct issues. It seems like was a combination of issues beginning with a weather catastrophe at annual peak season that caused it. Southwest suffered 37% shutdown compared to delta’s 7%. And all previous buybacks get the haircut as stock declines.
      As far as finding the exact executive and stringing him up … it has never worked that way. The innocent stakeholders share the pain. As long as Southwest fixes things and its customers are left with an option they deem attractive, financial markets will have delivered rough justice for an event with no loss of life and incentivized corrective action.

      1. griffen

        Other firms go out of business and the executives get fired. Rough justice, my eye. Travel free with your luggage is to hoodwink you into their clutches. As discussed here before, assigned seating is not a thing they do. I have flown previously on Southwest in the distant past but will make other plans. Oh, free luggage for when I don’t exactly land with it !!

        Feel welcome to defend the company though. They get all the abuse and vitriol and it is earned, weather constraints or not. I am less than sanguine I suppose that others. They were wholly not prepared. Big corporate CEOs and leading executive are paid and rewarded handsomely, and win or lose those fortunate few always seemingly land on top of the lower wage underlings.

        For reference, please see – Wells Fargo poster child of never acting like adults in the room.

        1. Thomas Wallace

          Anything vitriol they get from the public is fine, they should vote with their feet and dollars. I’m disagreeing with the NYT readership that almost universally called for the government to sort it out. And the commenter that blames it all on capitalism. That ship sailed.
          I expect competitive forces in the form of customers and potential customers to eliminate the likelihood of airline complacency.
          I don’t fly budget but am happy it is an option for others. Just because I don’t care about free checked luggage and flights from their flyover markets doesn’t make that feeling universal.

        1. Thomas Wallace

          it was 38/share a month ago, and lost about 10% of its market cap during this incident. If my estimate is correct, they will pay out $2 billion all in, vs the analysts $850 million. Southwest was selling for $60/share pre pandemic.
          If you think it will be unscathed, its a great opportunity for someone (but not me).

  2. farmboy

    Zip4.5B, the gene in wheat that controls access to suppression . Notice the term “excitingly”. “Next, they generated a novel ‘separation of function’ ZIP4 5B mutant plant which had lost the crossover suppression phenotype but had still retained the ability to promote correct pairing. Excitingly, the ‘promotion of correct pairing’ phenotype in the separation of function ZIP4 5B mutant wheat, maintained chromosome stability and preservation of grain number. Results showed that surprisingly, the loss of crossover suppression phenotype did not reduce wheat fertility when the other function was preserved. Professor Moore adds that “until now the importance of this second phenotype to the preservation of grain number has been unclear. Our study has shown that the new mutant should now be used in wheat breeding to maintain yield and, because it does not have the suppression function, to increase the chance of successful introgression of desirable wild relative chromosome segments into wheat.” from
    All this shows that linkage or dragging unwanted genes or traits into the next iteration is broken, halted. Bringing targeted genetic material from wild relatives that display drought and heat tolerance is now possible. CIMMYT will dive into this too. It will be most interesting to watch the interplay between hybridization efforts , which have been problematic and any efforts to patent specific materials. These efforts will be worldwide, political divisions don’t seem to matter much here. Attempted to post this yesterday, but fat fingered it terribly.

      1. ambrit

        More of a case of them being ‘burned’ by the “stake holders.”
        Burning at the stake was always a case of performitive violence at the behest of the Elite’s status quo.
        The cynical view would be that the Court Jester has always been a Court Functionary, not any sort of anti-Court actor.

    1. Bosko

      Thanks for that, really fascinating. There’s a decent balance in the story, though the title is rather loaded, and the inclusion of the obligatory ‘well, of COURSE there are a couple of Nazis in Ukraine…’ quote from a so-called expert is pretty standard at this point.

      1. truly

        It seems the story is missing the 14,000 to 15,000 citizens killed in the 8 year old civil war that preceded Russias involvement.
        But indeed, this is a challenging time for Anti War movements. The western empire needs to be brought to its knees. But what anti war activist wants to support war to end war?

        1. aletheia33

          what anti war activist wants to support war to end war?

          none, as you say,
          because war cannot end war.
          –the very basis of antiwar thought and movements.

          the western empire will be brought to its knees
          with or without antiwar movements.
          it is falling of its own weight,
          and this cannot be prevented.

          what will those who survive remember?
          how many of them will find in themselves
          the capacity to help others to survive?
          these are the most urgent questions now.
          unless we think that our total erasure
          would be beneficial to nature and Earth.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      $41 billion for a kleptocracy on the other side of the world. I caught Angus King praising Ukraine accounting methods and how we even had a Pentagon Inspector general. My gut is there is a reading point in there. The President is a dimwit. The VP is Harris, and the great white hope of centrist Dims ruined Christmas for so many. Any voice that isn’t in total lockstep is a threat.

    3. anon in so cal

      That linked piece itself seems to push the neocon narrative on Ukraine:

      “Bread and Puppet has so far produced two pieces about the war and neither explicitly addresses civilian casualties or Russian war crimes.”

      I’m familiar with several heinous Ukraine/US/NATO war crimes, which Russia has been framed for. Plus is there any recognition of Ukraine’s 8+ year deliberate (and ongoing) slaughter of civilians in Donbas?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Russia offering ‘Korea-style‘ peace deal – Kiev”

    The Russians have already shot down this idea and said that it was just a Ukrainian hoax-

    ‘The allegation that Russia has been secretly negotiating an end to the Ukraine conflict along the lines of how the Korean War ended is false, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Monday.’

    But seriously. The Korean DMZ has been an endless source of trouble since it was first created some seventy years ago. Why would Russia want to duplicate the same situation in the Ukraine with the Ukrainians in the role of the North Koreans? That would be nuts that. Perhaps the Ukrainians were floating this idea to see if the Russians would be interested in freezing this conflict but as that would leave the Ukraine in the position to carry on killing people in places like Donetsk city or bombarding that nuclear power plant, it would settle nothing about this war.

    1. KD

      Perhaps, but a Korean peace deal makes a lot of sense. Russia keeps de facto control of Crimea and the 4 Oblasts, Ukraine keeps its honor if not its integrity, and America has an excuse to maintain sanctions and coerce Europe into buying overpriced weapons and LNG from American companies. I don’t think such a deal is ripe until the Ukrainians leave or the front collapses in Donbas, but if Russia has territorial control of the 4 Oblasts, I don’t see such a deal as farfetched, its probably the only possible exit ramp.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Might “settle” some boundary issues, but the Neocons and NAFOs will forever be angling to get first-strike weapons and other extortion tools closer to Russia’s decision centers. Russian leaders are not stupid enough to waste all the good work of demil-deNaz so far for such a poisoned chalice. US idiots keep pushing in an attempt to prove that “Russia really has no red lines and we can escalate as far as we like without fear they will release the Kraken.”

        What’s next on the neocon shit-list? Where will the long-term PNAS global ambition focus its suicidal idiocy on next? (Of course tat /those new focus/Fock is already in motions. Just needing to work its/their way to the top of the pile of Maximum Stupidity.)

        Would be interesting to see if US puts nuke first strike weapons in Finland. Russian weapons and troops don’t seem to be as all-defeating as fans and friends hoped they might be, but Russians seem much more ready, willing and able to stay on task and figure out how to defeat the stuff the whiz kids and spooks will try. Bearing in mind that “defeating Russia on the way to owning China” is hardwired in the institutional genetic code and career pathways and corporate structures of the shits who rule the “Combined” (formerly “Free”) West.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          “Would be interesting to see if US puts nuke first strike weapons in Finland.”

          I very much doubt it. Estonia has been in NATO since 2004 and no nukes yet, despite its proximity to RU and its fiercely anti-RU foreign policy. I don’t see Finland taking such a wildly provocative step, given its long history of neutrality and profitably trading with RU.

      2. hunkerdown

        Both parties see the war as a shaping operation against the world. It only makes sense if one believes that kicking the can down the road favors any party but the television-addled USA. Contra the American ethic of milking everything to exhaustion, Russia’s long view is best served by crushing the other player’s hands, so that they don’t dare lay hands on her ever again.

        End stupid games, prevent stupid prizes.

    2. hk

      That doesn’t seem to even make sense: there is no actual peace deal in Korea, so what does “Korea style” peace deal really mean? The only interpretation would be just a “short term” armistice under duress, without an actual deal or recognition. This does not sound at all like what Russia would want. Rather, it sounds like the kind of deal Ukraine might accept when it runs out of war fighting capability

      1. KD

        As bad as war is for Ukraine, I suspect “peace” will be worse. They want a trillion in foreign aid, US will say they contributed the brunt of military aid, and want Europe to foot the bill. Europe will claim that their economic condition is so bad that they can’t pay. Ukraine will end up with insufficient foreign aid to realistically rebuild and will be subject to crippling foreign debt, and everyone who can leave, will leave, which will leave a country full of pensioners and disabled. I don’t see why Russia wouldn’t capitalize on that.

      2. John k

        I agree.
        Ukraine won’t accept any deal that concedes territory prior to total defeat. But in that case, would the Russian pop accept a deal that leaves the other 4 Russian speaking majority oblasts to the mercies of Ukraine and the west? Certainly they’re aware of how they’ve been treated since 2014. Or leaving a future Odessa a potential western naval base?
        Imo Russia won’t be sanctioned more if they incorporate them, too, which would conveniently connect Russia to transnistria. And maybe, after what’s left of Ukraine army is disbanded, Russia simply maintains control of east Ukraine with artillery and drones across the mostly flat farmland, and call it a day. Where is the need for negotiation? Just do what the us does, just tell the rump Ukraine what their options are…
        and why would Russia allow Poland to grab a bit, which moves nato closer? Let them invade and face what Ukraine did. De-mil another country.

    3. Lex

      In the usual manner of projection, I’m reading the “Korean scenario” as a situation the US is willing to accept so that it keeps its proxy (though one with huge economic problems to cope with) and doesn’t have to admit losing. For Russia there’s no current reason to accept an indefinite truce situation.

  4. Louis Fyne

    —-New York City schools blocked ChatGPT. Here’s what other large districts are doing —

    After having toyed with ChatGPT, IMO, it is like every other tech tool: can be both greatly beneficial and greatly harmful (beyond mere cheating by being a crutch that hampers learning. The cheating aspects of ChatGPT can be solved with the return of the ol’ school in-class essay exam.)

    What I imagine will happen is that for 1/6 of kids ChatGPT will be a virtual 2nd home tutor, pushing their learning. While for the bottom 3/6 of kids, ChatGPT will be used has an easy shortcut that hollows key skills (like GPS navigation apps terminated basic map reading skills)

    1. hunkerdown

      Anyone else remember that right-wing moral panic about how POC were being taught that the right answer to arithmetic problems wasn’t important? Now we’ll have entire generations of poor people being manipulated and disinformed by a machine that can’t decode a simple Caesar cipher correctly, even with patient and persistent tutoring.

      Go long popcorn, ferment your own cold beverages.

      1. anon in so cal

        “Anyone else remember that right-wing moral panic about how POC were being taught that the right answer to arithmetic problems wasn’t important?”

        Something like this?

        “Seattle schools propose race-centric “ethnomathematics” curriculum”

        “Promoting such concepts as the “oppressive” nature of math instead of real knowledge and skills is a terrible disservice to students and teachers alike. It is especially destructive to those young people who can ill-afford tutors or supplemental studies to make up later in life for academic deficiencies.

        It has been demonstrated time and time again that test scores and graduation rates correlate to socioeconomic status. Students living in poverty struggle with math, as they do all academics, not because the curriculum is “white,” but because they are being cycled through a broken public education system with out-of-date textbooks, lack of enrichments and stressed-out, underpaid teachers.

        The attempt to insert identity politics into the K-12 general curriculum has nothing to do with making math more accessible, increasing graduation rates among minority youth, or encouraging an examination of the long and fascinating history of mathematical inquiry across cultures. Identity politics aims to divide the working class and divert attention away from the real causes of academic problems in schools—the unremitting assault on school budgets, lack of staffing, and the growth of social inequality under capitalism and its two political parties.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Can’t find it but I came across a tweet earlier saying that ChatGPT can turn out work with the fluency and knowledge of a university professor but the actual reasoning as a little kid.

      1. TimH

        The trick, if you like, with ChatGPT is that the output uses word and grammar patterns associated with a high level of education, which comes across as authoritive and therefore correct. Similar response to uniforms; the authority of the wearer tends to be presumed.

        1. orlbucfan

          You know you’re in major RWingnut stupid mode when cursive writing is no longer taught in schools.

          1. Arcadia Mommy

            Check out Catholic schools. My boys learned cursive. I also learned cursive at Catholic school. I went K – 12 and so will they.

            They mostly use their laptops at their college preparatory school and print when they need to write. The lack of cursive doesn’t seem to slow them down.

            I am guilty of the same.

      2. Cetra Ess

        Can’t find it but I came across a tweet earlier saying that ChatGPT can turn out work with the fluency and knowledge of a university professor but the actual reasoning as a little kid.

        There’s a certain Canadian ex-prof who I believe meets that description, very successful, with a 12 step book having sold over 5 million copies. There’s a market for this stuff, obviously.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “John Bolton confirms he will run for president in 2024”

    I wouldn’t worry about the chances of John Bolton being elected President of the United States. America would be more likely to elect a geriatric old man with signs of encroaching dementia as President first.

    1. griffen

      Keep the popcorn handy, and a cold beverage nearby. The fireworks for election 2024 are just in the nascent stages. Bonus points if you are able to view from a land far away, preferably a few continents away over vast seas. Much like Australia.

      It will be the “Most Important Election Ever” in the History of Humankind ! This man, or this woman, will hold the keys to our very democracy and save the very soul of our nation. Oh, they’ll have the nuclear codes too so there is that.

    2. JohnnyGL

      I much prefer the neocons get out into public view and try to convince ordinary Americans that it’s a wonderful idea to start more, bigger wars that never end.

      They’ve been so successful at inserting themselves into key positions of power and influence that they never step out to find out what normal people think.

      Most of them probably know how hard it is to sell their ideas, but Bolton will be kind enough to really show us how unpopular they are.

      1. Lupana

        Are their ideas unpopular though? It seems to me that a lot of people are ok with forever wars as long as they don’t bear a personal cost. We’re literally constantly at war so it just seems like it’s become status quo and people neither notice or care about the cost to others. Maybe I’m becoming too cynical…

      2. hunkerdown

        What “normal people” think is irrelevant in politics. That’s the purpose of competitive politics, to misdirect antagonism, capture people’s emotions, and waste people’s time, money, and energy. As long as they believe politics is a source of truth, what they think about politics is exactly what some symbol manipulator tells them to think. Rev. Warnock’s little speech about the entirely immaterial nature of competitive politics was almost worth $600, if only people would have taken it as such. Better to get them turning their backs on the partisan theater.

      3. nippersdad

        I agree, he would be a Hindenburg scale trial balloon.

        He wouldn’t float this unless he had backing, though. The thought that anyone would vote for him is ludicrous, so my first thought was who would be the “lesser evil” neocon planned to run against him. Barring Biden, this looks like yet another Hillary redux. He might be just loathesome enough to get her over the finish line this time.

        Or, perhaps I just have Hillary Derangement Syndrome. What are the odds that Condoleeza Rice would run as a Democrat?

        1. Questa Nota

          Bolton must be angling for a book deal, as that seems to be the current money-laundering reward channel for aspiring pols.

          Good news and bad news on the Hillary Front.

          Good – at least now people know where she is part of the time. She splits precious hours between Gotham (Holy Bat-Candidate!) and Ireland as a global scholar, or could at least on paper, and the commute is shorter now from Chappaqua.

          Bad – still the same old Hillary. Loathsome, even by comparison to anyone Bolton. Where are those Seth Rich laptop files, anyway?

          1. nippersdad

            Those Seth Rich files are going to be the next JFK phenomenon. The FBI/CIA are not going to let go of them until every last PMC Democrats grandchildren are entombed, at which point Hillary may do a lecture on how Putin did it.

        1. nippersdad

          That moustache always reminds me of Lewis Carrol’s The Walrus and the Carpenter.

          There just aren’t enough oysters out there for him.

    3. Screwball

      He could get Liz Cheney as his VP, Adam Kinzinger to head up the War Dept., promise to oust Putin, and the PMC would probably fall over themselves to vote for them.

    4. Kouros

      Yeah, but Bolton and Pompeo competing with each other on the stage for the Republican vote will be the biggest reciprocal masturbatory contest ever…

    5. Karl

      Can you imagine Bolton saying something like this to Trump in a primary debate?

      “As your former National Security Advisor, sir, I have retained documentary proof that you spent more time playing golf and watching Fox News than doing your job. I have asked this list of your former senior aids whether they agree with this statement: if you had worked harder as President, the USA would have been so much worse for it. They all emphatically agreed.”

      Trump’s likely answer:

      Lyin’ disgruntled Johnny, I fired you and everyone on that list because I knew more than they did and were utterly incompetent. Plus they were disloyal to the point of treason.

      Who are the Republican voters going to heed, Trump or Bolton? (Rhetorical question.)

    6. fresno dan

      fresnodan’s corollary: every presidential election both candidates are worse than the previous election.
      2020 probably broke the maxim – I don’t think Biden was worse than Hillary, and Trump can’t be worse than Trump.
      But 2024?

  6. Alan Roxdale

    There is nothing that US imperialism will not try to co-opt and empty of meaning

    Yes! I think this is a strategy. A kind of post-modernist propaganda, where absurd, irrelevant, or even mutually contradictory or exclusionary messages and ideas are nevertheless all pulled in behind on common cause. A reply in the twitter thread puts it perfectly: Intersectional Imperialism

    I wonder how this operates? Intellectually? Emotionally? Personally? Financially? Is it enough to love-bomb someone into going along or do you have to sweeten the deal or strongarm? Force people to dance or leave the hall. Perhaps it just another ritual the precarious must follow, all the rituals having been commoditised.

    1. hunkerdown

      Neoliberal philosophers were doing that long before the post-Modernism movement. See Philip Mirowski’s Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.

      How does it work? Operant conditioning and the mimetic theory of desire seems like a good guess to me.

    2. pjay

      – “I wonder how this operates? Intellectually? Emotionally? Personally? Financially?”

      That’s the beauty of it. “Intersectional imperialism” can be directed at each of these levels, depending on the target audience or individual.

      The posting of Justin Raimondo’s 2003 piece from Antiwar (‘Hail Ceasar’) in today’s Links is very relevant. Although “liberal interventionism” has always been prominent within the Establishment, we can mark its real weaponization against the anti-war left from the destruction of Yugoslavia right after the fall of the USSR, as Raimondo points out. By 2003 the “good cop/bad cop” routine of the neocons and neolibs was transparent as each shepherded their respective constituencies to support the war. Today they don’t even have to try; after 30 years of global chaos and destruction by the US, *Russia* is the “colonizer.” Also, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, etc.

      Oh, and Russia’s invasion was “unprovoked”:

      1. agent ranger smith

        If we were to look at President Woodrow Wilson as being the “liberal interventionist” of his time, we could understand him to have set a precedent in that regard by exploiting his entry of America into WWI as being a handy-dandy cover to destroy a very real and growingly powerful Socialist movment in America at that time.

    3. Kouros

      And it is a lot of cognitive dissonance there, given the recent complaints of Hungarian and Romanian Foreign Ministers against the repressive Minorities Act just passed in Ukraine…

    4. Adam Eran

      Personally, I’ve found it’s designed to mobilize the “useful idiots” (technical term). Any lie’ll do.

      And don’t miss that article on historical background: The first US onslaught to ‘weaken’ post-Cold War Russia Asia Times

      I know this stuff is distressing, but it’s been in front of us for decades, heck since the founding of the nation. Still…distress visits me as I contemplate it. Even child-molester Thomas Jefferson said “…I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

  7. The Rev Kev

    “A quarter of Britain’s soldiers are classed as ‘dangerously’ overweight in the past five years, with more than 5,000 discharged for being overweight or obese since 2010”

    The British Army only has less than 80,000 people in it so 5,000 is a lot. I suppose that that is one way of getting out of the Army without getting a dishonourable discharge. if you were a British “squaddie” right now, you would be wondering how long it will be before the UK government decides that it is a great idea to try to establish the British Army of the Dnieper. So maybe these guys are eating their way to safety.

    1. Questa Nota

      New reality show and fund-raiser, with Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild fame to whip those squaddies into shape?
      Think of the sponsorship opportunities, from Weetabix to, well, Newcastle Brown some healthy quaff.
      Now, how to enlist those City Boys to develop some NFT for King and Country.

      1. ambrit

        Tell them that they will be “in on the ground floor” in a new brand of Soma; “Donbass Ale.”

      2. Kouros

        I see what you did there, making me think at those three bottles still waiting in the fridge…

  8. Alice X

    Bolsonaro Supporters Invade & Vandalize Brazilian Congress & Presidential Palace Payday Report

    The Guardian leads with this here.

    On Sunday night the supreme court justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered Ibaneis Rocha, the pro-Bolsonaro governor of the federal district, where Brasília is located, to be removed from his post for 90 days amid outrage that authorities had failed to prevent the attack.

    De Moraes wrote that the attacks “could only have happened with the acquiescence, or even direct involvement, of public security and intelligence authorities.”

    And the NYT here

  9. GramSci

    Re: Tooze on “Solicitous Dictatorship”

    «…we still lack an adequate social and cultural history of the Third Reich’s militarism that takes in its material manifestations and cultural accoutrements. …
    Not for nothing in the last thirty years, Volksgemeinschaft, or racial community, and ‘racial state’ have become the key terms in historical writing about Hitler regime.»

    I blame the Brothers Grimm and German philology. In 1786 Sir William Jones wrote

    The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists;

    Now that common source is called Proto-Indoeuropean, but back then, when ‘philologers’ set out to discover that common source, they called it “Aryan”. The Brothers Grimm, in support of their technical work, set out to find the epic roots of Aryan in German folk tales. The term Kaiser began to take on new meaning, investing the German language and the Holy Roman Empire with a pedigree more ancient than even Latin and Caesar. Shortly thereafter we had Wagner, and shortly thereafter the Volkesgemeinschaft Tooze seeks.

    1. Karl

      Thanks for that great post. I think racial and national consciousness seemed to bloom in Germany in the late 18th century, e.g. in the writings of Hegel, Fichte, Nietszche and many others. But the roots, I think, go even deeper.

      Germany, since Luther, was the center of Bible scholarship in Europe. Look no further than there for racial consciousness: first there was the chosen tribe of God, and then God’s break in the crucifixion (by one interpretation). A new chosen race was to rule. This was very convenient for Constantine, using the new religion to wed God with Pax Romana. This idea naturally extended later to Pax Britannia and Pax Americana. Wagner, by the way (to Nietszche’s horror) was highly influenced by Franz Liszt and had Christian themes in his operas, particularly Parsifal. There are arguably anti-semitic (and anti-capitalist) themes, e.g. Albrecht in the Ring Cycle. I’ve often wondered Wagner’s if amazing music intoxicated Germany to the point of madness. Religion, nationalism, racism and anti-semitism were a dangerous cocktail in most of Europe, culminating in WW II. It never quite disappeared in some parts of Europe, e.g. in Ukraine today. Now God is being tribalized there in the Russian-Ukrainian Orthodox split. Very sad all around, considering the universalist message of Jesus (imho).

      1. witters

        Nietzsche? He loathed nationalism generally, and he especially hated German anti-Semitic nationalism.

  10. Alice X

    So things in Brasilia, while resembling the US January 6, 2020 event, are unfolding somewhat differently. Bolsonaro Supporters Invade & Vandalize Brazilian Congress & Presidential Palace Payday Report

    On Monday, Bolsonaro’s former Justice Minister Anderson Torres was appointed Brasilia Secretary of Security by its local right wing governor. Torres then promptly left the country for the US. It appears that the Torres gave orders for military police to stand down and not prevent the takeover

    An arrest warrant has been issued for Torres, who is in the US.

    The Guardian reports that the ‘right wing governor’ has been ordered to step down.


    On Sunday night the supreme court justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered Ibaneis Rocha, the pro-Bolsonaro governor of the federal district, where Brasília is located, to be removed from his post for 90 days amid outrage that authorities had failed to prevent the attack.

    De Moraes wrote that the attacks “could only have happened with the acquiescence, or even direct involvement, of public security and intelligence authorities.”

    And the NYT here

    1. The Rev Kev

      That makes this a coup attempt with the hope of triggering the downfall of the new government. With Bolsanaro and his dodgy Justice Minister safely in the US waiting to be called back if it succeeded. If Lula had the brains god promised a duck, he should clean house of all those that showed their hand trying to help those ratbag protestors. Maybe start some criminal investigations with promise of charges to be laid. I wonder what would happen if Lula demanded that Bolsanaro be sent back to Brazil from the US for a very long question-answer session. One thing that this attack has done. It has united virtually all of South America in their support of Lula and in criticism of these attackers.

      1. ambrit

        Also, by seeking ‘refuge’ in America, Bolsanaro and his “ex-Justice Minister” have done nothing good for American “Soft Power” in Latin America.
        One heartening sign is the lack of ‘interference’ in events in Brazil by their armed forces.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Why are the political stakes so high in Poland’s EU funding row?”

    What I don’t understand about this story is why Poland does not use their leverage to push back against the EU. Tell the EU that if they keep on denying those funds, then perhaps they will not be able to afford to support so many Ukrainian refugees and may have to send a few hundred thousand of them on west. Maybe even give those refugees rail tickets to Brussels – one way. Jeez, the EU has paid billions to Erdogan to keep refugees locked up in his country instead of letting them flee west. Why doesn’t Poland get into the same act?

    1. Kouros

      Poland would rather accept being pulverized by the superior Germans than to suffer the stench of the inferior Slavic peasant Russians. Every Pole thinks he/she is a Pan and demands obeisance…

      1. Paul Jurczak

        inferior Slavic peasant Russians

        Poles and Ukrainians are Slavs. If you want to make this sort of argument, you have to use Asiatic Slav mongrels term. Russian orcs is also popular in many propaganda departments.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Funny thing is that the Novorussians called the Ukrainians Orcs for years now. But now that term has been seized on by the Ukrainians to call the Russians with.

  12. tevhatch

    Columbia / Hillary Clinton connection is a natural. Columbia has long been the home of double dipping graduates who work as journalist and CIA/NED agents at the same time.

    1. Mildred Montana

      That Columbia/Hillary email is important in one respect only. It reveals truth, but only unintentionally. It shows how administrators in academe spend a great deal of their time: Writing and reading vacuous material.

      How long did this one take to compose? Three days? I’m guessing that’s about right, with the help of a few other idlers and a thesaurus to find synonyms for “remarkable” to describe Hillary. That reference work provided them the adjectives “impressive”, “extraordinary”, “exceptional”, “singular”, “unique”, and “immeasurable”.

      All those for Hillary Clinton, two-time loser and reject of the American people. What a waste—of time and words.

  13. Lexx

    ‘Social Quitting’

    We’ve never have had much to do with social media around here, but I had a Pinterest account once upon a time. Was enjoying it too, building up about 40 boards, until Pinterest began to make changes that prevented the users from networking with each other. It was isolating and sucked the fun right out of it for me, and that’s when the decreasing social value outweighed the time, energy, and attachment to the boards. It was easy to just delete them and walk away. Yes, Pinterest kept the boards as their property but I was fine with that. I wasn’t willing to work for Pinterest for free anymore. There has to be some reward for that activity.

    1. LaRuse

      I liked pinterest too, until it decided that any time I searched a single topic, it would flood my feed with ONLY paid ad images of that topic for weeks on end.
      I gave up on Twitter when I lost my password and couldn’t recover the account because my account was so old, it was still associated with a Yahoo email account from the mid-00s. Oh well. I only miss the COVID topics and NC keeps me well informed, complete with relevant Tweets.
      And I abandoned FB when RBG died and the tidal wave of wailing blended with the undertow of people cheering her death (my associates have a wide range of political alignments) overran my feed and I decided enough was enough – the tenuous connections weren’t worth the emotional energy any longer.
      And that really sums it up – when any of these platforms became more of a drain on time/energy/emotions than any limited value I was getting out of it, it was really not that had to simply delete my account.
      All I keep these days in Instagram because I love knitting and cats and gardening – any single account that gets political or too emotional just gets unfollowed. But that means its not a social network but an aesthetically pleasing way to scroll away a little (but not excessive) time each day.

      1. marieann

        if you like knitting, are you on Ravelry…’s as political or non political as one wants it to be…and it’s all about knitting

        1. LaRuse

          I am on Ravelry but haven’t in all my 15 years really dipped into any of the forums. I definitely stay out any topics that aren’t directly discussing yarn or patterns so I didn’t even consider it as one of my Socials, but indeed you are correct. I am over there as LaRuse if you are on Ravelry.

    2. fresno dan

      This enshittification was made possible by high switch­ing costs.
      The post is worth reading alone to see the word enshittification used. And of course, the word explains modern American accurmaxilly.

  14. Lexx

    ‘8 Grocery Shortages You Can Expect To See In 2023’

    So, more of the same. Lettuce has been ongoing; I grab a head of romaine almost every time I shop. The produce department is the only area I’m consistently seeing empty shelves. Flour was an early pandemic shortage here but I haven’t seen it since. Lately it’s been eggs. Signs on the coolers over the holidays limited customers to 2 dozen (per store, of course).

    1. Craig H.

      They had bread, corn, and oranges on their list.

      That is difficult to fathom. Theoretically the supply of laying hens is elastic as any curve in the book so unless evil cackling regulators are doing illegal acts egg supply should not be a long term problem.

      1. GregLA

        In CA lately, there have been bird flu outbreaks which require culling large numbers of egg-producing birds. That is happening on top of the 2022 implementation of CA rules requiring egg-producing chickens to be cage-free/freer-range, meaning fewer hens per farm

        1. ACPAL

          Today in SW Idaho Albertson’s was low on eggs with the price marked at $7/doz and limited to 2 doz/customer. I had just given four dozen to my neighbors for “good neighbor points” because my spring chickens recently started producing. I really want to start a second flock a couple hundred yards from the first flock to make sure any diseases don’t jump from one to the other. Most of us more rural residents are doing what we can to reduce our store needs and stocking up on non-perishables. Trying to get the town folk to embrace emergency preparedness is like trying to get politicians to embrace honesty.

  15. vao

    The article “Electric vehicles are bringing out the worst in us” once again highlights the increased consumption of some minerals to manufacture the batteries powering those electric cars:

    Worse yet, enormous EVs are compounding the global shortage of essential battery minerals such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel.

    Funny thing about nickel: Russian nickel (23.4% of worldwide production) is theoretically not subject to EU sanctions; in practice, it has become unavailable since the 1st January 2023. The reason: Finnish (and Estonian) railways refuse to transport any kind of Russian freight. Hence, the Russian Norilsk nickel plant in Finland no longer receives any nickel — which it processes for a BASF plant in its neighbourhood erected specifically to produce batteries for EV…

  16. Carolinian

    Re Electric Vehicles Are Bringing Out the Worst in Us The Atlantic–I had intended to mention this great article that earlier was put up by MOA.

    As large as gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks are, their electrified versions are even heftier due to the addition of huge batteries. The forthcoming electric Chevrolet Silverado EV, for example, will weigh about 8,000 pounds, 3,000 more than the current gas-powered version. And there will be a lot of these behemoths: A recent study from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that carmakers are rapidly shifting their EV lineups away from sedans and toward SUVs and trucks, just as they did earlier with gas-powered cars.

    The gist is that Detroit, in concert with the US vehicle buying public, is in the process of turning a virtuous desire to address AGW into a business as usual promotion of deeply impractical monster trucks that feed psychic needs rather than the planet’s ecology. When Musk took over Tesla he was offered a design for a smaller, lighter electric car–a kind of EV Volkswagen–but elected to go with a sports oriented performance car instead. The marketing justification was that only well to do people such as himself would be able to afford the high cost of a vehicle built on top of thousands of tiny lithium batteries. While he did in fact help re-launch the electric car idea that had been tried and died earlier he did so via a car that required far more batteries and therefore weight to do so.

    Now Detroit is up to the same thing but even worse. And they’ve even brought back Unsafe At Any Speed as these huge trucks kill ever more pedestrians and cyclists and small car owners as the drivers enjoy their “safe space” on wheels. Rather than helping society it’s a trend that is in some ways is downright sociopathic.

    At any rate that’s a very good link.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I find it hard to believe that big truck EV’s have much of a future. The problem from a marketing point of view is that they make visible the long term costs of ownership as you also have to pay for that whopping big battery set – with ICE vehicles you can hide the cost as its not until its out of the showroom that people belatedly realise how much they pay for fuel for all those tons of steel. The sticker price of an EV truck will always be very high, even if long term ownership proves much cheaper (as it almost certainly will in time).

      The big missed opportunity was with BMW and the i3 series. They were alone among the big manufacturers in realising that for EV cars to work they would have to seriously reduce the weight of the vehicle, and they did an impressive job with it. For various reasons lost within internal BMW politics, they didn’t follow up seriously. Presumably, effective vehicles are not the same as profitable vehicles. VW seem to be trying their best to have it all ways, but it remains to be seen if they succeed. They are the only non-Chinese company that has seriously looked at the entire supply chain, but they say the big issue is in securing guarantees of raw material supplies as so much is already contracted to China.

      All the majors are hampered by the need to keep their existing supply chains and markets going. The Koreans did some number crunching a few years ago and saw that even if their EV’s were highly successful, it would wipe out major chunks of Korean industry as EV’s just need far fewer parts. Nobody is willing to completely revamp the concept of a private car, which essentially means recognising that its insane to use a ton or more of steel just to shift one persons lazy ass to work. Alternatives (mostly bikes and scooters and various mini-cars) are still largely peripheral in the market, even if they are becoming highly visible everywhere apart from the US. These are the threat that the car manufacturers want to see off. Plus the real threat to the major car companies – commodified packages (standardised drivetrains, chassis, etc., which would allow smaller companies to enter the market.

      1. Michaelmas

        Alternatives (mostly bikes and scooters and various mini-cars) are still largely peripheral in the market, even if they are becoming highly visible everywhere apart from the US.

        They are very visible in London.

      2. Carolinian

        And it’s not just EVs. The article links to another that talks about long standing USG encouragement towards bloated vehicles and the way this has been taken advantage of by Detroit. After all if you take away that 3000 lbs of battery in the Silverado (as much as my entire car) you still have 5000lbs.

        The loophole in question is the one that permits larger vehicles to pollute more, specifically by classifying vans, pickups, SUVs, and even some “crossovers,” depending on their characteristics, as “light duty trucks.” Not only does this category include obviously huge vehicles like the Chevy Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, or Ford F-150, but it also includes many smaller family vehicles like the Subaru Outback, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CR-V. Most absurdly, “medium duty passenger vehicles,” or MDPVs, are also categorized as “light trucks” for emissions purposes, even though they can weigh up to 10,000 pounds.

        This loophole dates back to 1975, when such large vehicles barely existed. At the time, the rule made some sense, because nobody in their right mind would have wanted to drive such a massive, expensive, gas-guzzling vehicle just for the hell of it. Larger vehicles that have jobs to do like haul big, heavy things necessarily need to be bigger and will therefore have basic limitations on how good their fuel economy can be. Plus, climate change wasn’t even a known thing back then. As such, making different rules for those cars at the time wasn’t the craziest idea.

        So even if these new electric trucks aren’t a hit, we here in the US will still have their giant carcasses taking Jr. to school every day (as well as pulling lawn equipment etc). There’s very little logic in a push toward EVs that doesn’t also address the so far larger problem of vehicular bloat.

        the rule has tremendous implications for fuel economy standards car companies must hit. Currently, automakers must hit a fleet-wide target for cars of 181 grams of CO2 emitted per mile, but 261 for light trucks, a 36 percent difference. By 2026, cars must average out to 132 grams of CO2 per mile compared with 187 for light trucks, a 34 percent difference. Under Biden’s rules, car companies will continue to be able to pollute more with the vehicles they sell the most of..

        1. cnchal

          > . . . encouragement towards bloated vehicles and the way this has been taken advantage of by Detroit.

          Not just Detroit. Have you seen the giant hulking Toyota’s with a grill that can chew the trunk off of the car in front? And all these giant pavement pounders typically carry one dork at the helm.

      3. heresy101

        There are dozens of great small EVs that we won’t get in the US because they are made in China, but they will be coming to the UK and Europe.
        One is SAIC’s MG4, which is a great little car at $29,000, 281 miles range, and fully functional. Some rated it as car of the year. Some called it the best EV ever.

        They also have the MG5 small estate wagon.

        These are only two of the many EVs built in China.

        1. fresno dan

          interesting to me that it is rear wheel drive. After 30 years or so of front wheel drive, the more things change, the more they stay the same…

        2. johnnyme

          The one I have my eye on is the Singulato IC3. As a very satisfied owner of a Toyota iQ, I’m happy to see the platform live on and would love to see these imported to the USA. Especially at its target price point of $15000 USD which is pretty close to the MSRP of the IC version of the iQ when it was sold here.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “psychic needs”

      And a huge pile of money has been expended over the years to create those “psychic needs.”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “German won’t rule out deliveries of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, economy minister says”

    Probably Germany would be telling Washington that they would send some of their Leopard 2 tanks when the US ships some of their M1 Abrams tanks to the Ukraine. And at that point the Pentagon would say ‘Aw hell no!’ and put their foot down. No way would they want to see some M1 Abrams tanks on display at Moscow’s military museum. It would be bad for the exports business.

  18. timotheus

    Re Zohran Mamdani thread on nurses strike:

    He is a Ugandan-born member of our (NY) state assembly and rather an inspiration, even to us terminally cynical observers.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for the tip! I will keep notice of this guy. We need all the worthy legislators we can get.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Do New York State hospital accreditation boards have staffing requirements to protect patient safety? If so — are they adequate and are they being enforced? If not, perhaps it is time for some state laws to augment hospital accreditation requirements. Minimal staffing levels should not be left to the whims of hospital managers. Nurses should not need to strike to address such a basic issue of patient and staff safety. And what about some laws about the operation and staffing of Emergency Rooms, and billing, and allowed ownership arrangements, and perhaps a few other things?

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    In case anyone was wondering, our president did finally “visit the border” yesterday by way of El Paso. Not much fanfare. I’d guess they didn’t want some big mouth noticing the emperor’s “new clothes.”

    El Paso’s mayor, a democrat who recently declared a “state of emergency” in his city, helpfully cleaned up the streets in advance of the “visit,” with buses full of “asylum seekers” seen re-entering Mexico. In a somewhat unfortunate choice of words, El Paso officials responded thusly when questioned about the clean-up:

    The city did not answer a question by email about who instructed local police to move immigrants out of the area, only that the city conducts garbage clean-ups two to three times daily, according to a response from Enrique Dueñas-Aguilar, El Paso Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management’s pubic affairs manager.

    One purported goal of the “visit” was to mend “fences” with the Border Patrol which, reportedly, is feeling abused and unappreciated. I could be wrong, but I get the impression it didn’t work:

    “El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened there. Just in time for Biden’s ‘visit to the border,’” tweeted the Border Patrol Union. “We suggest landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it’s El Paso. He’ll never know the difference.”

    Oh well. He’s president and they’re not.

  20. TimH

    Want to avoid death?

    Cryonics doesn’t all anyone to “avoid death”.

    Headlines and ledes that lie or mislead… arrrgh.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think they mean “avoid facing death.” What is it that has bred such elites who consider themselves above and beyond Nature? Don’t want to die? Be a rock. Be a grain of sand. The living die.

      1. semper loquitur

        And to live for what? More champagne? More cars? If you want to live forever, you haven’t lived at all.

  21. Roger Blakely

    OPINION: The coronavirus is speaking: It’s saying it’s not done with us
    By Eric Topol

    “We’ve moved from complacency to frank capitulation at just the wrong time.”

    “Beyond boosters, the use of high-quality masks, rapid testing before gatherings, distancing, air ventilation and filtration will all help protect against infections.”

    Eric Topol is big on boosters. However, these days more experts are beginning to question whether more boosters is better. The immune system is complicated, as the immunologists like to say.

    I say respirators. I say don’t gather. I say that you’re probably not going to avoid getting infected with XBB.1.5. Air ventilation and filtration will not prevent infection, but without them things will be worse.

  22. Ron Paul rEVOLution

    A picture of the antennas and solar panels would be nice if they are looking for help with ID… A small panel would be enough to power a Raspberry Pi picking up ADS-B signals. I’m not sure why crypto would come into play here.

    1. hunkerdown

      Exactly. There are plenty of electronics engineers in Utah who would be happy to reverse-engineer these things and find the narratives buried inside them. I bet Gizmodo didn’t even ask, didn’t even call in the FCC or local hams to study the site, triangulate the antennas back to their bitter ends. Just a fear of “more of them”. The first comment rightly calls this out as embarrassingly bad reporting. The author has written so much about ChatGPT they might well be an instance of ChatGPT themselves, or at least has internalized the dissembling mode of conversation it often uses.

  23. Eclair

    Re: Depletion of Oglala Aquifer in Kansas, Colorado, et al.
    We moved to Denver in 2008 and, looking around for a place to go camping over the weekend of the 4th and realizing that there were no reservations to be had in mountain locations, ended up with a campground on the shores of a lake in a state park near the Kansas border.

    We were the only campers. And the campsites were huddled far from the shores of a reservoir shrunken to the size of a mud puddle.

    We gave the lonely park ranger something to do the next day and he gave us the sad history of the Oglala Aquifer and the local rivers that once fed the reservoir. It took tens of thousands of years for the aquifer to develop and we were now sucking up the ancient waters at an ever increasing rate. Farmers were growing corn, dependent on huge irrigation systems (resulting in those crop circles you see in the flyover country.). A lot of that corn was then converted into ethanol, which is used to fuel autos and burned off into carbon dioxide.

    I started talking to everyone I met about the depletion of the Oglala Aquifer. That went over as you might expect.

  24. russell1200

    On Kansas water situation:

    Lucas Bessire – Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains Hardcover (2021)
    makes the whole situation very real. It also shows were in some places people (including local farmers) are interested in sustainable usage. But they are fighting an upstream battle.

  25. Mikel

    “Web3, the Metaverse, and the Lack of Useful Innovation” American Affairs Journal

    “…In many ways, the Metaverse and Web3 are merely a pivot by Silicon Valley, an attempt to gain control of the technological narrative that is now spiral­ing downward, due to the huThisge start-up losses and the financial failure of the sharing economy and many new technologies….”

    The other way the narrative is being revised is that the problem is that people are human and not that the “tech” is over-hyped. So get ready for clown world 10.0.
    This is despite the history of people adapting to various SillyCon Valley technologies along the way and after people do their adaptations, we’re told how “smart” the “tech” is.

  26. Objective Ace

    I love the cost example given for the social quitting article was that “Twitter got bought out by a low-attention-span, overconfident billionaire who started pulling out Jenga blocks to see whether the system would fall over”.. of course it must be that, not that Twitter was censoring and imposing its own narrative on its userbase, regardless of whether real life experts and data disagreed

    1. .Tom

      Doctorow’s very wordy article is almost completely uninformative. What does “mass exodus”, “social media sites are contracting at an alarming rate”, “circling the drain ” mean in numbers?

  27. fresno dan
    Does “disinformation” on the Internet actually do anything — even to persuade? When the freak-out over Russia-generated Facebook and Twitter memes began in late 2016, I repeatedly asked one basic question: where is the evidence that these campaigns changed even one single vote?
    Russian influence operations on Twitter in the 2016 presidential election reached relatively few users, most of whom were highly partisan Republicans, and the Russian accounts had no measurable impact in changing minds or influencing voter behavior, according to a study out this morning.
    The study, which the New York University Center for Social Media and Politics helmed, explores the limits of what Russian disinformation and misinformation was able to achieve on one major social media platform in the 2016 elections.
    Big Disinfo has found energetic support from the highest echelons of the American political center, which has been warning of an existential content crisis more or less constantly since the 2016 election. To take only the most recent example: in May, Hillary Clinton told the former Tory leader Lord Hague that “there must be a reckoning by the tech companies for the role that they play in undermining the information ecosystem that is absolutely essential for the functioning of any democracy.”

    Somewhat surprisingly, Big Tech agrees. Compared with other, more literally toxic corporate giants, those in the tech industry have been rather quick to concede the role they played in corrupting the allegedly pure stream of American reality. Only five years ago, Mark Zuckerberg said it was a “pretty crazy idea” that bad content on his website had persuaded enough voters to swing the 2016 election to Donald Trump. “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience,” he said. “There is a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw fake news.” A year later, suddenly chastened, he apologized for being glib and pledged to do his part to thwart those who “spread misinformation.”
    Disinformation – true information about Hunter Biden, and true information about the Steele dossier coming from the Clinton campaign.
    When a repub wins the presidential election, every voter has succumbed to Russian influence, when a dem wins, it is the fairest election in history.
    So, I will confess that my rabbit eared antennaed pink bunny slippers operation, in which I criss crossed the US in my Yugo girl auto as a false flag front to undermine Hillary had zero effect on the 2016 election (people hated Hillary without any help from me), other than amusing many, many anti Hillary zealots, even though it may mean my Hero of the Russian federation for defrauding the US presidential election may be recinded.

  28. TimH

    Food price update. Just bought 25lb flour at Costco for $9.49. Price trail is $7.99, $6.49, $5.79 going back to start of Covid (subject to my memory).

    Over 60% inflation in 3 years.

  29. bradford


    A couple of years back, I picked up a copy of John Opie’s “Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land” at a library sale. The book was from 1993 but I see there is a third edition, with some extra authors, from 2018. I found the history fascinating. The problems have been understood for a long time, but of course there is money to be made.

    1. flora

      Yes. Thank you. I’ll look for the latest version of the book.

      The problems have been understood in the high plains areas and their states’ leges (the Ogallala covers a huge swath of the high plains) have done a good job, an unpartitisan job, of trying to regulate and to sustainably manage water drawdowns over the decades. New information creates the constant rethinking of what is the best or the sustainable longterm drawdown allowance.

      Even past KS Gov. Brownback, (who I wasn’t a fan of on almost any issue), was serious about treating the aquifer’s drawdown in a sustainable way. He was very good on the issue of water and groundwater in Kansas. It may be the one issue where big money interests or national GOP political orthodoxy didn’t factor into his decisions. He comes from a Kansas farming family. / my two cents

      1. earthling

        If they did such a great job, it’s hard to see why they are now in a bad situation where they are mining out the aquifer. They may have done a great job of jawboning about it.

  30. Jeff W

    How Your Brain Distinguishes Memories From Perceptions Wired

    “This suggests that when the memory of the image was stored, only the highest-level representation of it was kept.”

    That doesn’t seem right—the memory of the image isn’t “stored” per se, just like you don’t “store” the motions of your fingers of Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat Major, Op.53 if you’re a pianist. The image is instantiated each time, in a process we call “memory.” Aside from that, the article does a great job of framing memory as a type of perceptual behavior—they’re so close there’s a question as to how to distinguish them—rather than as some stored copy, which goes all the way back to Aristotle.

    1. flora

      Or, if “only the highest-level representation of it was kept”, what inner something-or-other privileged that memory as the “hight-level” memory? What inner control system, as it were, negotiates this?

      Trying to map the mind’s reasoning and experiencing-beyond-reason-as-we-understand-reason thought process onto computer-type algorithms as an elaborate mathimatical binary of either/or determinatives is one thing. Trying to map a computer algorithm either/or algorithm backwards onto the human mind’s capability to “understand” is a reduction of fitting the real to fit the imagined. Recursion without understanding, perhaps. imo.

      Shorter: Is there a branch of philosophy concerning computer/digital epistemology? / :)

      1. Jeff W

        Exactly. Thanks, as always, to your brilliant reply to my far more mundane comment.

        “Is there a branch of philosophy concerning computer/digital epistemology?” I dunno—maybe “The Computational Theory of the Mind” (and its critics)?

        These accounts of memory and perception almost always fall back on (1) “stored representations,” the souped-up, modern-day equivalent of Aristotle’s copies, (2) some inner homunculus who is figuring out which “representations” to keep, which to turn its attention to at any given time, or (3) the mind-as-computer metaphor, which is probably about as right as the clockwork and hydraulic metaphors employed in the 17th century by René Descartes to explain whatever the brain and nervous system were doing, or some combination of the three. (B.F. Skinner noted parenthetically in About Behaviorism: “It is not the behaviorist, incidentally, but the cognitive psychologist, with his computer model of the mind, who represents man as a machine.”) Whatever’s going on, it sure isn’t any of these three things.

  31. Karl

    RE: Biden’s existential angst in Ukraine (Indian Punchline)

    I was struck by this quote:

    On January 4, Putin hailed the New Year with the formidable frigate Admiral Gorshkov carrying “cutting-edge Zircon hypersonic missile system, which has no analogue,” embarking on “a long-distance naval mission across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.”

    A week earlier, the sixth missile-carrying strategic nuclear-powered submarine of the Borei-A class, The Generalissimus Suvorov, joined the Russian Navy. Such submarines are capable of carrying 16 inter-continental ballistic missiles Bulava. 

    Westerner’s always denigrated Russia’s power (“Europe’s Gas Station” as Obama famously put it) because they used Western GDP measures. Russia is below Canada in GDP, but can Canada make nuclear submarines equipped with ICBM’s? Can it make S-400’s and hypersonic missiles? The U.S., #1 in GDP, can’t even make enough artillery shells per year that Ukraine uses in a week.

    We need to radically re-think the effectiveness of centrally planned economies in directing national resources toward national goals. It could well be that the neoliberal market economy is too chaotic and slow when it comes to nation-wide mobilizations.

  32. steve2241

    China Wraps Up Two-Year Tech Crackdown, Top Official Says Caixin Global.

    Caixin Global is a very closed website. It’s behind a hard paywall. The link brings one to an article with two very short paragraphs. Is that all the paying customer gets, too?!

  33. RobertC

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    CSIS offers this public service The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan because

    Despite the high stakes involved, there is little publicly available material on how such a conflict might play out. Much is classifed and unavailable to the public. Unclassifed material is either incomplete or too narrow for policymaking. By investigating many scenarios with a wargame based on analysis and
    running the wargame 24 times, this project fllls a critical gap and furthers the public discussion of three key questions:

    ● Would a Chinese invasion of Taiwan succeed in 2026?
    ● What variables most affect that outcome?
    ● What would be the cost to both sides?

    In NC Links last Sunday the mechanism “framework for domination through definition” was cited, bureaucratically known as Terms of Reference. This mechanism enables the framer to control the outcomes, as CSIS did. We can be sure China will be using different Terms of Reference … with different outcomes.

    The report is 165 pages long. I recommend reading the five page Executive Summary and then scanning the remainder for individual interest topics.

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