Links 4/2/2023

What is a group of pandas called? It’s surprisingly complicated ZME Science

The Imperial Fed Phenomenal World

Helen Keller Was One of the Great American Socialists Jacobin


How do you keep migrating birds off a giant toxic lake? High Country News

Bayer sues four Missouri farmers for illegally spraying dicamba, saving and replanting seeds from the company’s genetically-engineered crops Investigate Midwest


Drought or no drought? California left pondering after record winter deluge The Guardian

Venice Is Saved! Woe Is Venice. The New York Times


Long COVID exercise trials proposed by NIH raise alarm Nature



Israel’s Netanyahu has made himself persona non grata in Washington Al-Monitor

Thousands protest in Israel despite judicial overhaul pause Al Jazeera

Israel protests: “Democracy” in an apartheid regime? Liberation News

US Navy extends carrier strike group deployment following Syria attacks The Cradle

Old Blighty

UK’s economic crime plan ‘smoke and mirrors’ without new funding The Guardian

The colonial roots of the Metropolitan Police Red Pepper


Tense calm prevails in 4 Indian states after 2 days of communal riot Anadolu Agency 

La belle France

The French pensions revolt: A view from Marseille Canary

What’s the problem with pensions? Michael Roberts Blog. And not just in France.


How the IMF bailout is changing Sri Lanka’s foreign policy Himal Southasian

China & the Developing World Consortium News

European Disunion

Federal government: climate course remains bone of contention in the traffic light coalition News In Germany

Germany’s e-fuel fetish ain’t new. Just ask the Führer. Politico EU

New Not-So-Cold War

Cheerleading versus shivers down your spine: what will the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive bring? Gilbert Doctorow

UK-made Challenger tanks arrive in the Donbas with depleted uranium shells. Is that a war crime? BNE Intellinews

Did Russian Kinzhal Missile Take Out ‘NATO Command Center’ in Ukraine? Newsweek


Court places Metropolitan Pavlo under 2 months of house arrest Ukrainska Pravda

Zelensky slaps sanctions on ‘Hero of Ukraine’ RT

Russian UN Security Council presidency is absurd, says Zelensky France24

Global network aims to sue Wagner as a ‘terrorist’ organisation Al Jazeera

Top EU official says ‘real divergence’ between Georgian rhetoric and reality on accession BNE Intellinews

Georgia belongs in European Union, says German foreign minister Reuters

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Opinion: ‘Most U.S. banks are technically near insolvency, and hundreds are already fully insolvent,’ Roubini says Project Syndicate

These are the top US banks by proportion of uninsured deposits — and why you shouldn’t panic if you see your bank on the list Yahoo! Finance

Biden Administration

Biden administration goes easy on Medicare Advantage insurers after intense industry lobbying STAT News


‘This P*ssy Grabbed Back’: Stormy Daniels Speaks Out After Trump Indictment Common Dreams

Trump still has strong lead over DeSantis, Haley following indictment: poll The Hill

Trump campaign says it raised more than $4 million in the 24 hours after his indictment NBC News

“Back to 1902”: Virginia Governor Revives Lifetime Ban on Voting Bolts Mag


Craig Murray: The So Far Non-Existent Vulkan Leaks Consortium News

Democrats en déshabillé

CA bullet train faces delay due to floods, storms Fresno Bee

Groves of Academe

University of Michigan sues graduate union over strike, bargaining continues Bridge Michigan

Imperial Collapse Watch

US hypersonic failure reveals a glaring weakness Asia Times

Supply Chain

Global food supply risks rise as key traders leave Russia The Economic Times

U.S. share of world wheat production hit record low in 2022 Investigate Midwest

Norfolk Southern Chemical Bomb

CDC team studying health impacts of Ohio train derailment fell ill during investigation CNN

Our Famously Free Press

Pro-Trump Twitter Troll Found Guilty Of Spreading Disinformation About Voting In 2016 Forbes

Guillotine Watch

When a 9-year-old girl didn’t want her goat to be slaughtered, county fair officials sent deputies after it Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Chartbook 207 The trillion-dollar rebalancing: A new macrofinancial conjuncture? Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Starbucks fired the employee responsible for igniting the Starbucks Workers United union campaign CNBC

Meal debt is soaring after universal free lunch ended. How are Midwest states responding? Harvest Public Media

Franchise owners are colluding to suppress Minnesota workers’ wages Minnesota Reformer

A spot check on homelessness in Nebraska’s fastest-growing county left task force astonished Nebraska Examiner

Housing for ‘families’ or corporate rentals? 48 Hills. San Francisco

Sports Desk


Every Day is April Fool’s Day Now Vice

These Angry Dutch Farmers Really Hate Microsoft Wired

Flickr to copyleft trolls: drop dead Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic 

I just watched the future of supermarket shopping and I may run to the hills ZDNET

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Drought or no drought? California left pondering after record winter deluge The Guardian
    Decades of water mismanagement have drained California’s groundwater aquifers, which have supplied 60% of the state’s water during drought years. A recent study found that groundwater depletion has been accelerating in recent years, and estimated that groundwater in the Central Valley shrunk by about 36m acre-feet since 2003. That’s greater than the total capacity of Lake Mead, the biggest US surface reservoir.

    The state’s groundwater has declined so much that in parts of the agricultural Central Valley, where water is pumped to irrigate vast fields as well as cities and towns, the ground has been sinking by about 1ft every year. As water levels drop, layers of soil and clay are collapsing and compacting down as well.
    So freeway 99 runs down the center of the central valley in CA. So I had been away from CA for 26 years until I came back a few years ago, and my recent trip to Monterey CA was my first travelling on route 152 since I had left decades ago. I remember in my youth that the route was nothing but scrub land, dry and desolute, absolutely no irrigation. I was surprised and amazed on my recent journey that from 99 west to Casa de Fruta it was nothing but green fields and orchards. In this time of drought, where was all this water coming from??? When the aquifer is used up – it is not infinite – what is the plan?

    1. Carla

      “where water is pumped to irrigate vast fields as well as cities and towns, the ground has been sinking by about 1ft every year. As water levels drop, layers of soil and clay are collapsing and compacting down as well.”

      Land? Who needs land? We don’t need no f**king land. We got money! Moolah, you dig?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Land subsidence is no joke. Once that ground compresses, it can no longer hold water like it use to and be available for agriculture. Here is a photo that impresses me no end on the rate of land subsidence in California. Check out the years on that post. If the ground level at the base is 1977, how much lower must it be 46 years later in 2023?

        1. fresno dan

          from Google
          Valley oaks are endemic to California, meaning they are native to this specific region of the world. Valley oak trees may live for up to 600 years, so some trees we see today may have been living with indigenous people in this area, long before Columbus came.

          Why are oaks declining?
          Invasive pests, drought, fire suppression, and soil compaction from human activities are among the primary factors influencing oak decline in our region in recent years.
          hard to find a specific citation but I have read that the diminishment of the aquifer is causing the end of the valley oak, at least in the valley….
          Humans – if something can be used up, it will be used up

          1. some guy

            Indigineous Nations humans didn’t use it up. Industrial Market Civilization humans used it up.

    2. airgap

      Spoke with a lemon grower in the Porterville area, asking how his groves were doing and about the water situation.

      I came away with two points. The first related to the massive storms and how much water they dumped onto the parched San Juaquin Valley. He said the ranchers and growers during the first set of storms had petitioned Sacramento to allow them to use retention ponds to collect the water run off. Their requests were denied, being told they would first need to provide a formal plan and that this plan would need to include an environmental impact study before it would be considered. So they watched as millions of gallons of precious water flowed down the rivers and into the ocean. After this last series of floods the Governor granted an emergency provision allowing for water to be collected into retention ponds.

      The second takeaway was that the continuing cold weather was keeping the bees in their hives rather than out pollinating the various cash crops. He and other growers are watching bee activity as the next several weeks will determine yields for the new season. He didn’t feel optimistic.

      1. Questa Nota

        Plan filled out in triplicate, notarized, non-refundable fee attached, filed in person only with that one clerk who only accepts such on alternate Thursdays between 3:00 and 3:15 pm? /s

  2. Jeff Stantz

    A spot check on homelessness in Nebraska:

    “She said it is tough for many to “wrap their heads” around the fact that Sarpy has a homeless issue, given its “incredible” economic growth.”

    Just so people know, “incredible economic growth” is always the cause of increased homelessness.

    1. JBird4049

      Economy gets bad, more homeless. Economy gets good, more homeless. Time passes, more homeless. And repeat. Again, and again, and again. There are reasons for why there are a million homeless in these United States of America, and it ain’t the homeless’ fault. While the closure of the mental hospitals were a factor, it has been fifty years since that happened and wages never, ever even keep up with increases in housing costs.

      Also, while I have never been to Nebraska, the climate can’t be anywhere near as benign as San Diego, Los Angeles, or even San Jose. Just how are the homeless living in the outdoors?

      1. Ana

        Living? Not long at all. /s

        Ana in Sacramento

        PS: I live downtown in a senior apt building. It’s tents on sidewalks in all directions. Regarding my snark above regarding living, they have been freezing to death at night on the steps of old City Hall.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>The knowledge of this is as old as Henry George. What is with the amnesia in America?

        For the same reason as all the economic professors who were not followers of the Chicago School (not neoliberals) in the 1970s, and before that, all the socialists after all communists in the 1950s-60s, and before all that the word “political” economy was removed from economics; it is quite deliberate and effective erasing of any past knowledge that is inconvenient to the continuing acquisition of wealth, power, and privilege from the greater society into the 1%, really the 0.01, of the population.

        A good place to start a study of this is with the Creel Committee of the First World War.

  3. Aurelien

    No longer posting as David, to reduce confusion and the burden on the moderators.
    The Michael Roberts takedown of the pensions “crisis” in France (and elsewhere) is very good and well worth reading. In effect, the “crisis” is an entirely artificial creation, designed to induce panic where none is necessary.

    I’d just add a couple of things. First, the average age to which working class people in France live in good health is now 63,5 years: ie the average 64-year old worker has a good chance of being disabled or even dead at that point. Second, and as a result, a very large proportion of the 62-64 year old population is already out of the workforce because of injury, long-term disability, or simply because they can’t find a job. For decades now, French governments have opted to export jobs and to try to guarantee revenues, rather than providing work. This has created costly assistance programmes, while at the same time tearing the guts out of local communities, especially those that were built around manufacturing. In a neat irony, there simply are not now the jobs for people to be forced into.

    1. Stephen

      Thanks. I nearly missed that article but it is interesting.

      Pensions have always had an air of political cynicism around them. If I recall correctly, when Lloyd George introduced the British and Irish state pension in 1909 for those aged over 70 it was understood that not so many people would be alive to claim it. Just circa 10% of the population qualified.

      Reducing life expectancy in some western countries seems now to be entering popular discourse. Not sure why it is so concentrated amongst working class people. In my youth many of our parents worked in dangerous places such as factories / mines and there was a lot of smoking. One of my child hood friend’s father lost part of his finger in a factory accident that meant he felt the cold to a shocking degree and I remember the tragedies of explosions in chemical plants. These factors have largely but not entirely gone from the west, albeit transferred elsewhere. So the logical drivers for reduced life expectancy, as opposed to it being stagnant feel unclear. Perhaps the increased prevalence of processed food and associated obesity is one component, maybe the opiates crisis in the US is another but that is pure speculation. The world does not alter so much though: working class life was sadly always prone to injury and occupational health problems.

      A trend I do perceive (although I have not seen too much systematic evidence) is that people in the so-called PMC type sections of society seem to be working longer beyond age 60 whilst working class people are tending to be more likely to stop working earlier as a result of health issues. American politics is the most obvious example of the former but even in the corporate world it seems to be a thing. Guess that PMC careers are intrinsically more attractive.

      1. Aurelien

        Well, some working class jobs still involve physical effort. Just thinking back recently I’ve seen rubbish collectors (on strike recently), HGV drivers, building and construction workers, guys ripping up and relaying cables and resurfacing roads, guys delivering stuff to supermarkets humping boxes around, and other jobs that mean you are on your feet all day and always moving. There was an interview recently with a geriatric nurse in her fifties who spent a lot of her days physically manoeuvring patients in and out of bed, and she said she was close to cracking up. Then of course there’s shift-work, working in all weathers and all temperatures, and other things that academic economists don’t usually do, but which have a statistically significant effect on life expectancy.

        All this of course is in addition to the fact that the rich live longer than the poor (up to ten years now) irrespective of the kind of work done, just as senior people in organisation live longer than junior people, even if the organisation is well run.

        1. Stephen

          I agree. My caveat is simply that all of this was the case a decade ago and even more so several decades ago. Mining (for example) was tougher or at least as tough I believe than being a delivery driver. The occupational illnesses from it were legion. Nursing was just as tough in the past too. Or even more so.

          So I fully understand why the poor have shorter life expectancy than the rich. But I am less clear on why life expectancy is falling. That is my only point. It is a different question. Are the poor more frustrated today than in the recent past? What is happening that is worsening their situation relative to others? It is not necessarily obvious. But important to find out I think.

          1. Stephen

            Maybe greater disparity of income and wealth than in the recent past as measured by Gini Coefficients and so forth is part of the answer.

          2. AW

            Is life expectancy of poor people falling, or is the average coming down? I can well imagine that the rich have hit a ceiling and are now faced with novel factors not present a few decades ago and that nothing much has changed for poor people all along.

          3. Pooblius

            Because they are being murdered by intentional poisons in the food water and ‘medicines’?

      2. Fiery Hunt

        I would suggest the dclining life expectancy of working class is directly related to the stress and anger and frustration. The futility, never being able to get ahead, and things only get more expensive and harder physically….

        People break down.

        1. Stephen

          The question in my mind is why that is worse today than it was in the past. If life expectancy is reducing then something must be getting worse. Things for the poor were always bad. Acknowledging that does not unfortunately provide the answer in my view.

          1. some guy

            If you kill enough people with opiates, covid, etc. year after year after year, you can produce a lowered life expectancy for the whole population.

      3. AW

        Why do the rich live longer than the poor? Besides reasons of wear and tear, shift work, etc. already mentioned, I think a lot has to do with education and necessity. I am now poor and work with poor people so speak from direct experience. When I take a sandwich break, most of my colleagues have a smoke break; when I feel an injury approaching I see a doctor or chiropractor or dentist and might miss a day or two of work whereas my colleagues wait until the damage is done and end up missing a week or two, often more; in my work shoes are important so I invest in something appropriate, most of my colleagues spend a quarter of what I do on some rubbish that falls apart after a few months and end up with knee and hip problems; the list is endless. The reasons? A combination of education and spending priorities coupled with knowledge and understanding of their rights and when to show the middle finger to the employer. I might hazard a guess that the lazy and indolent stand a better chance at longevity than the conscientious and loyal.

        I almost forgot: diet!

        1. JBird4049

          It is also the ability to be able to buy quality and to have access to decent healthcare. A good pair of boots or shoes that will last decades starts at about five hundred dollars. It is the same with everything else. Food, transportation, housing, which is why people buy bad food, as not only does it taste better, it is often all that is affordable.

          Even if one has the money, eventually, often does not have the money right now. The car breaks down, new shoes for the kids, the x emergency, and there is almost always an emergency. You spend money you have for the immediate, need right now, disaster.

          1. AW

            Correct. And all this causes stress and hopelessness. And should these people have access to some kind of social security, they need to humiliate themselves in front of some well-groomed and manicured prat with the empathic capacity of razor wire. Even then, they place themselves in a situation not dissimilar to debt peonage. I have met plenty who don’t care about any of this, but they are usually the ones who ride the system and avoid work altogether. Those working are the ones who want out; who will work themselves into hospital in order to avoid dependency.

          2. Felix_47

            I think the 500 dollars for a serviceable pair of boots makes no sense JBiird. I find serviceable Chinese boots for 20 to 50 dollars. If some company is charging 500 more often than not if you inspect it they were made in China anyway except for maybe the label which was affixed in American Samoa so the maker and seller could claim made in the USA. I used to have a girlfriend from Italy whose father owned a well known shoe company. She and I would go to Sri Lanka where the shoes were made to their exact specs and they would send the parts to Italy for final assembly and sale at outrageous prices. She would check to make sure the product was being produced properly but final assembly was done in Turin. That was almost 40 years ago already. Anyway 500 seems on the high side.

      4. Adam Eran

        Also recommended: Ellen Schultz’s Retirement Heist which documents how, when 70% of the population had defined benefit pensions, firms conspired to loot them…entirely without penalty. The only defined benefit pensions that remain are mostly public sector workers’ and teachers. But hey, we’re working to loot those too!

        JFYI, defined benefit pensions are roughly twice as remunerative as defined contribution (IRA, 401K, etc.) ones.

    2. Ignacio

      Thank you Aurelien, David, for pointing us to it and thanks also to Gallagher for the link. The article makes a point that is IMO very important: pensions reform in France (as there has been other reforms elsewhere) may influence the same policies in other countries in that race to the bottom we seem to be running. The clearest of this manifestations come from those FT articles applauding Macron for the reform so everyone elsewhere duly notices that TINA!, your pension is going to be cut one way or the other.

      The final outcome in France is of utmost importance if the French can manage to reverse Macron’s neoliberal movement.

    3. spud

      and this is why i want a cartoon with a child holding the hands of her parents pointing out all of the ships sitting offshore of the american ports asking mommy and daddy why they are homeless, and the parents point out that those ships are loaded with stuff we used to make which employed us.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Back to 1902”: Virginia Governor Revives Lifetime Ban on Voting”

    Yeah, giving a politician the power to decide who can and can’t vote does not really sound like a good idea to me. You never know where such an idea will end. One guy said in that article-

    ‘I’ve never voted in my life. I was looking forward to voting this year. I can pay taxes, I can be held to the same standard as everyone else when it comes to laws and rules and regulations, but I have no say-so or representation.’

    I think that that guy unknowingly clarified this issue here. So just winging it here but is this not a case of no taxation without representation?

    1. Antifa

      One wonders how many patriotic citizens hereabouts would happily give up what passes for political representation in exchange for not paying taxes — to be excused from sales tax, state tax, income tax, licensing, DMV fees . . .

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well as they say, if voting made any difference it would have been made illegal. And when was the last US Presidential election where there was trust in the system and the results were respected anyway?

          1. JBird4049

            That might be too long. Maybe, just maybe G. H. W. Bush or Bill Clinton?

            Honestly, I think after the reforms from the Civil Rights Movement, there was some justified trust, but between the Neoliberal Democrats making it being “meritocratic” enough a requirement for voting in their criminal enterprise and the Republicans attempting to create Neo-Jim Crow, there’s nothing really to be concerned about as you don’t have a right to vote anymore.

            Just move along now. It is nothing that they will allow you to be concerned about.

        1. fresno dan

          RK & Antifa
          Sooooooo, lets review:
          2016 Hillary or Donald
          2020 Joe or Donald
          2024 ?Joe? and….?Donald?
          Uh, I think I’m due a refund of all taxes paid, with inflation adjusted interest. As well as a 10 thousand dollar rebate for all the false advertizing about how democracy gives me a “choice”

    2. jackiebass63

      For the most part our two political parties make voting rules and run the elections.They operate in a way to help them win elections. That is why our system is unfair. Independents are really shafted because they have no say about how elections are run.

    3. Felix_47

      I think the numbers were really big. Something like 100,000 new voting felons in Virginia. Given the margins in recent national elections it looks like getting felons to vote will be a game changer and I see why the dems are so eager to expand the electorate despite the fact that the turnouts are so poor. It is not like Americans are beating down the door to vote. Since voting implies that one should have a say in how the government spends it might make sense to require a certain level of literacy and industry to vote. Right now I think Alzheimers patients, psychotics, schizophrenics and mentally retarded can vote. What is the point of an election if people unfit to vote vote? The results speak for themselves.

  5. fresno dan

    Pro-Trump Twitter Troll Found Guilty Of Spreading Disinformation About Voting In 2016 Forbes

    A pro-Trump Twitter troll who spread disinformation about how to vote in the 2016 election has been found guilty on Friday of Conspiracy Against Rights in federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. And the verdict is already being denounced by prominent right-wing media figures.
    I commented on this couple of days ago which gives a little more background.
    fresno dan
    March 31, 2023 at 6:36 pm
    So the guy pretended to be a Hillary supporter on twitter and became the 107 biggest election influencer (according to the DoJ) and told his followers that they could vote by texting a certain number. Supposedly (I am unclear on this) the number did exist and I would assume told people that their vote was counted.
    The problem people on the right have is that there seems to be instances where Hillary backers did essentially the same thing, and no prosecution. Also, if you get into the whole Twitter/Facebook thing and the examples of anti Trump suppresion of Trump supporters, of course they are gonna have a fit.
    After all, if Georgia says it conducts elections without regard to race, yet black precints have voters waiting for hours to vote (and presumably, some give up trying to vote), while that doesn’t happen in white precints, isn’t it a lie that elections are held without discrimination? Where is the prosecution?

    1. marym

      He was convicted of lying with the intent of depriving people of a constitutional right. The analogy wouldn’t be with a governor lying about whether elections are fair, but with a governor/legislature passing laws which arguably deprive people of a constitutional right. The DOJ does act to oppose such legislation, though I won’t claim to understand the situations where it’s a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution.

      As to a comparison to Facebook/Twitter suppression, Russiagate claims, etc. and whether Clintonites have done comparable or worse from a civic and moral standpoint, or a legal one, I’m not making those arguments here, just responding to the one analogy.

      1. fresno dan

        He was convicted of lying with the intent of depriving people of a constitutional right. The analogy wouldn’t be with a governor lying about whether elections are fair, but with a governor/legislature passing laws which arguably deprive people of a constitutional right.
        Not to be too tendentious (well, maybe) I don’t think a govenor and/or legislature has to pass a law to thwart constitutional rights. What happened in Georgia really is a matter of administration. Was it purposeful or mere incompetance? Amazing how apparently the incompetantly ran precincts are predominantly black precincts but it could be coinkydink
        So my point would be is the govenor lying about how he is administering the mechanics of voting. Should that be looked into? Is it criminal, or is it one of those soverign immunity things?
        And maybe being a twitter influencer, heaven help us, is more important than being a govenor (although I doubt it)

        1. marym

          I’m not sure what you’re asking. Not a lawyer, but I don’t think lying in itself is illegal for politicians or social media influencers. There have been a numerous lawsuits and investigations of Georgia’s election laws and procedures by the US, voting/civil rights and other advocacy groups, both political parties, Trump himself, media, and local officials.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        The public has been led to believe, in far more high profile, important political “cases,” that “proving intent” is very, very difficult if not impossible. One such case, if memory serves, involved hillary clinton and 33,000 emails that she deleted from her basement server. Her “intent” was deemed impossible to discern, let alone prove.

        So, no harm no foul.

        But in this case, a “Trump twitter troll” was “convicted of ‘lying’ with the intent of depriving people of a constitutional right.”

        I hope the trial transcript is made public so that we can all see exactly how “intent” is “proven.” It could come in handy at some later date.

        Otherwise, some of us may be forced to conclude that this was precisely the politically motivated persecution in a kangaroo court that all those “far-right” media figures like Tucker Carlson are makin’ it out to be.

        PS. Let’s not forget about that most hallowed tradition of a “jury of his peers.” One could be forgiven for wondering if those “peers” in new york would be the same as those in Florida where this heinous “crime” was committed. I’ve heard the feds have offices in Florida, but I could be wrong.

        1. marym

          I only saw a couple of media quotes from testimony about intent. “Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER.”

          2/10/2021 – 2nd document says crime allegedly committed in Kings, Queens
          1/18/2023 – Venue argument was only about EDNY / SDNY
          3/21/2023 – Transcript availability

      1. Questa Nota

        Better training, and probably side-stepped that whole Use the Real Phone Number trap. Years of practice have honed the craft. /s

      2. Shortstack

        Sorry. If someone is willing to believe they can text in their vote, then . . .
        – I don’t want them voting anyway.
        – they are stupid.
        – they don’t deserve to vote.

        So. No crime in my opinion.

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    Craig Murray: On the new coordinated revelation that will rival NordStream and the yacht.

    Murray makes many insightful points.

    My favorite, though, doesn’t come from him, but from Der Spiegel (and when did the oh-so-clever Germans become so obtuse?): “Despite being all in Russian and extremely technical in nature, they provide unique insight into the depths of Russian cyberwarfare plans.”

    Translation from Spiegelese: Who’da thunk it? The Russians write in Russian!

    Yet Murray notes this, which is likely the reason for the non-scoop: “Revealingly all three articles include the comprehensively debunked claim that Russia hacked the Hillary Clinton or DNC emails. They all include it despite the fact that none of the three articles makes the slightest attempt to connect this allegation to any of the leaked Vulkan documents, or to provide any evidence for it at all.”

    The proxy war in Ukraine is very much about Hillary Clinton’s outraged virtue. She’s the Scarlett O’Hara of genocide. So the cover story of election meddling has to be maintained. And who better to do so than compliant media workers?

    1. The Rev Kev

      As soon as I saw the name Luke Harding mentioned as one of the reporters, I knew to suspect extreme dodginess to be going on. Craig Murray does make one mistake however. He says-

      ‘It took 30 MSM journalists to produce this gross propaganda. I could have done it alone for them in a night, working up three slightly different articles from what the security services have fed them, directly and indirectly.’

      In a night? If he employed ChatGPT, it would have taken only minutes to do. And even if ChatGPT made ups its own citations and made up facts, it still would have been more accurate than what the reporters from the Guardian, the Washington Post and Der Spiegel came up with.

    2. mrsyk

      I liked this bullet point. “Over 40 percent of the articles consist of descriptions of alleged Russian hacking activity, zero of which is referenced in the actual Vulkan leaks” heh heh

    3. fresno dan

      “Revealingly all three articles include the comprehensively debunked claim that Russia hacked the Hillary Clinton or DNC emails. …. The proxy war in Ukraine is very much about Hillary Clinton’s outraged virtue. She’s the Scarlett O’Hara of genocide. So the cover story of election meddling has to be maintained. And who better to do so than compliant media workers?
      Astounding. The mythology of Russia!Russia!Russia! has gone international.
      I used to believe in Hillary derangement syndrome, that a lot of what was said about her was over the top, but if this Ukraine situation escalates into nuclear armageddon, she really will be as evil as her worst detractors say she is.

  7. R.S.

    Re: The Vulkan Leaks

    Ok, so I took a glance at those articles.

    The nefarious “map of the US found in the leaked Vulkan files as part of the multi-faceted Amezit system” found in the Guardian is simply an example of an output using a map with proportional symbols.

    The very same map somehow becomes “a map of the United States with circles that appear to represent clusters of internet servers, which was part of the leaked documents” in WaPo. No idea where that part about “servers and clusters” comes from.

    What is labelled as “The Muhleberg Nuclear Power Plant is highlighted on one map” in WaPo, is actually the next page of the same document as in the Guardian. An example of some interactive output.

    The “screenshot from Amezit showing fake accounts created by Vulkan to mimic real social media profiles” is labelled “Log” (an activity log, I guess). And it says literally nothing about “fake accounts”, leave alone them being created or managed by the system. TBH it looks more like a tool to review social media posts/comments. The “publications” (I guess comments?) in the last column are either inane comments or spam.

    “[T]he Amezit system to disable [incapacitate] control systems for rail, air and sea transport” – that’s an item from a long list of something. Looks more like a list of tasks for a security audit of some sort, but that’s just my hunch.

    The leak contains screenshots of fake Twitter accounts and hashtags used by the Russian military from 2014 until earlier this year. They spread disinformation, including a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and a denial that Russia’s bombing of Syria killed civilians.
    A denial of what, come again?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Incredible when you learn the fact that the source of this arrest warrant for Putin came from a Yale think tank funded by the US State Department. I’m shocked, shocked. The bogus charge is that the Russians have been stealing kids from another country in a war zone to turn into their own citizens. Good thing that that has never, ever happened before-

          1. Milton

            Pfft. That’s all old stuff. We’ve been a rules-based empire only since the 90s. So in that regard, Putin bad.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I guess we knew that the European Union had no agency, but this is next level stuff.

      2. Kouros

        Similar approached was taken with the Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang, with that German lunatic publishing a study based on numbers from three villages…

    2. Bugs

      What really made me doubt the veracity of these allegations was that there were no interviews with parents who wanted their children back. I read one article in Le Monde where a mother who went to Russia to reclaim her daughter had nothing more to say than to complain that the Russian authorities made her provide copies of her identity documents and proof that the girl in their custody was hers. Moreover, she complained about her lodging while there. Of course the content of the article was seen as damning and irrefutable proof of “Putin’s war crimes” by the guileless reporters and the vast majority of the commenters. They really think we’re idiots.

  8. John

    The story about the nine-year-old girl’s goat.
    I grew up on a farm.I grew up knowing that if you planned on eating it you did not give it a name. You certainly did not treat it as a pet. How did I know? I just knew. It was one of those things that simply was.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t think that she lived on a real farm by the sound of it. The Shasta District Fair and county officials could have just taken the offered money and everything would have been sweet. The political rep that had put a bid on that goat was cool with it so no problem, right? Well no. The ‘County officials were clear that they wanted to teach this little girl a lesson.’ A nine year-old girl. And to enforce this bloody-mindedness, they had police travel some 800 kilometers across the State chasing after this goat like it was Donald Trump. Did they arrive with their siren wailing and their lights flashing? Were they wearing tactical gear in case the goat threatened their lives? So as far as teaching that little girl a lesson, mission accomplished. But I wonder what lessons that she actually learned. Don’t trust the police as they are not your friend. Suspect all adults until proven otherwise? Use the legal system to punish your enemies? I’d hate to think.

      1. The Heretic

        Those officials; one wonders if their minds have been so indoctrinated that their decisions making capacity is no better than that of AI; for their decisions displays the same quality; no sympathy for humanity.

        1. hunkerdown

          Values-based persons believe that values are superior to lived experience. That’s why they’re among those frequently called “bots” online. There is a lot more to be said for an error theory of morality than Google’s sensationalized summary would have one hear.

      2. Pelham

        One could have hoped the deputies in the search would have had enough humanity to fib and say they couldn’t find the goat.

      3. Cetra Ess

        On the positive side, I hope she learned the lesson she needs to learn about police and officials, and I hope she carries it forward, that it informs her life decisions. I hope she becomes a future activist.

    2. griffen

      I had a cynical thought, to owning a pet pig and naming that pig Hammy. Cause that just seems like something Homer Simpson would do. And while I didn’t grow up on a farm, I grew up around them as nearby cousins farmed, raising tobacco and peanuts, eventually cotton, I guess, in eastern NC.

        1. griffen

          I can’t call the pig Wilbur, that’s just low hanging fruit from the book of course. There is a local barbecue restaurant named Bubba’s, so maybe Bubba is a second choice.

          Hammy just tells the kids…one day this pig won’t be your pet. For one day, we must have our nutritional needs satiated and this dear Hammy will supply them. Sorry kids the world is cruel and life isn’t a Disney trip or Harry Potter either.

          1. MT_Wild

            Scrapple is a good pig name.

            I’m trying to convince the kids that if we get a couple of baby turkeys for the yard, we’ll eat them for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

            It’s a practical issue, there’s no room in the coup to overwinter turkeys. Kids are skeptical about it so we’ll see. But if I get them, they’ll be named Giblets and Gravy.

    3. Cetra Ess

      A while ago I watched a lifestyle documentary about families of Alaskan subsistence farmers. They also raised cattle as livestock and each of their their cattle had names. When it was time for a cow to be killed, the family experienced grief, needed to bring in someone from another farm to do it, went to great trouble to ensure the death was painless, that everyone had a chance to say goodbye, that the cow was soothed, calmed and felt love. They treated their cows as their own. The killing was done only when necessary (the cow was at an age where she wouldn’t survive the next winter), was not in vain, and no part of her was wasted as the food was distributed among the community. Everyone in the community knew the name of the cow whose meat they were eating, was thankful to her as the maternal grandmother of many of their own cows, so she was honored.

      I thought that was rather more humane than namelessness or assigning numbers. That and only taking what is needed, only killing when necessary. Naming seemed to create respect, duty, honor and responsibility, also love and compassion.

      And I think that’s what we’ve lost with mass produced nameless packaged meat, the cow becomes a mere bleached and sanitized abstraction.

      1. JBird4049

        Our meat is treated much like our fellow humans (or children). If humans are not only useable, but abusable and disposable, won’t our animals be as well?

      2. Cassandra

        I am very curious about how the farmers handled all of the male calves if they are not eaten as they reach early maturity. It is really not feasible to keep all of the 50% of male babies on a farm. The social structures of creatures like chickens and cattle are designed around a dominant male and a group of females. If there are too many males, there are fights and the whole society suffers. It is a problem for a farm with too many roosters; I can only imagine the havoc on a farm with many mature bulls. One really needs a wide open prairie for the less dominant males to be able to have their own space.

        1. Randall Flagg

          Castrating the bulls to be raised for meat only, instead of for breeding, changes their temperament. 9 of them out back, they get along fine and are mild mannered.

          1. Cassandra

            Absolutely, but on the farm cetra referred to, the animals were only used for meat in old age. Perhaps the males were not named and were humanely and respectfully slaughtered for meat (the best situation for farmers), but that is not what was described.

            1. Randall Flagg

              Understood. And could not agree more with keeping things humane as possible.

              As sad I have been at a few having to be killed on site, we take comfort that they had a pretty good life and it ended in the same place they spent their time since being a calf, eating a handful of grain, oblivious to what was going to happen in a few seconds.
              No stress, no trucking off to a strange place with other cows. If we have to send some off to a USDA inspected facility, two go at the same time, not that that matters, but we try to tell ourselves it helps.

  9. flora

    9 year old girl and her goat.

    That’s how sales at county fairs work. Kids raise a livestock – probably as a 4-H or FFA project – to show at the county fair. After show event concludes there’s an auction, right thn. The top prize winning entries probably already have declared buyers. Most young kids doing their first show end up crying as they hand over the halter of their cow-pig-goat-sheep to the buyer.

    It’s interesting to read a lot of headlines and comments for a lot of stories as an anthropology exercise. Who has farm experience and who does not.

    1. Objective Ace

      Its possible for something to be both 1) standard operating procedure and 2) not ethically or legally wrong to break from said operating procedure.

      This was clearly a civil matter. The fact that police drove hundreds of miles and were granted a warrant to bust down the door and use force should be abhorrent. Both as a matter of wasted taxpayer resources and because of the opportunity for things to have spiraled out of control. Thank god this little girl and her family were not injured physically, although psychologically I imagine they were. That is the more noteworthy part of the story rather than an anthropology excercise. Sure, we can concolude that the little 9 year old girl is “soft”.. but so what? Thats not why the story is important

      1. flora

        You’re right. Sounds like the ‘administrative state’ has come to California county fairs, even when dealing with children. (So glad I don’t live there.)

  10. flora

    Dutch farmers.

    Kicking Dutch farmers off their land has never been about climate. It’s a land grab.

  11. griffen

    So one has to suppose that $130,000 of hush money does little overall to actually hush someone. I mean that is me, and my very cynical take, but I digress. Her quote about Trump and the proverbial 10-foot pole, is an all timer. BTW, Trump will have more 2024 competition as of this Sunday morning on the east coast. Load up the clown car for the GOP candidates!

    Meanwhile and elsewhere, I’m still waiting on the private client list of one pedophile named Epstein. Maybe I should day trade some cattle futures while waiting….and other things that have no answers,

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trump should really have paid attention to that quote by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, about sex-

      ‘The pleasure is momentary, the position is ridiculous, the expense is damnable!’

      And that quote is over a quarter of a thousand years old.

      1. fresno dan

        two (sometimes more) sweaty, bodies flopping about like beached salmon. But it sure feels good…

    2. jefemt

      We should have a wager on which will happen first:
      -receiving the $600.00 from Biden
      -Epstein List being published
      -Musk paying all Citizen’s of the World each a royalty for Starlink’s use of our share of the commons of inner orbit earth.

    3. fresno dan

      the question I have, is the actual length of the pole subject to discovery? If so, whether there is follow up litigation by Trump will tell us all me need to know about the pole…

      1. ambrit

        Since this is all political in nature, will we have to appoint “pole watchers?” And will there need to be pairs of Democrat Party and Republican Party ‘pole-sters?’ We won’t even get into what the “Organs of State Security” will be up to, poking around the crannys and crevices of the Body Politic.

    4. flora

      Why do they hate T? Because he stopped the TPP and TPIP? Because he tried to withdraw troops from Afgha and Syria? Because he didn’t start new wars? He did give them tax breaks and OK’d Operation Warp Speed and the restart of GoF research. So I still can’t figure out why the absolutely hate him. OK, I understand why the neocons and the globalists hate him, but the entire MSM?

      Tucker and Greenwald. utube. ~2 minutes.

      1. hunkerdown

        Politics is religion, triangulated. He threatened the futures of the two-party political cosmology and those who were invested in it.

        1. semper loquitur

          Agreed. I’ve relayed the story here before of a Polish drinking buddy who would marvel to me when elections came around and all the Americans would go nuts talking about why they supported candidate X over Y. She would ask why they cared when so little actually ever got done. Didn’t they know the candidates were all crooks? In Poland, she said, everyone knows the politicians are all scumbags. No one pretends otherwise.

          I explained that this was the American civic religion. A ritual that reinforced notions of agency when in fact there was little to no agency allowed by the Powers That Be. We would then order another beer, maybe a shot.

          1. rowlf

            During a dinner after several business meetings three smart men in their early thirties who know everything and have everything figured out are having a heated argument on data analysis after several cocktails.

            To add context to the people involved, I turn to the older French woman next to me who is a program manager and we’ve worked together for several years, and mentioned the man from the company I work for believes in Democracy. Her reply: “He is young.”

          2. Samuel Conner

            > A ritual that reinforce(s) notions of agency

            this is a money quote, and one that I suspect is widely applicable to other realms of life

              1. ambrit

                Here in the North American Deep South many of us refer to it more truthfully as the “Right To Work For Less.”

          3. fresno dan

            She would ask why they cared when so little actually ever got done.
            so, so, soooooooo true. The entire political discourse is not worth even 1 blood pressure point. I have to constantly remind myself that all my interest and knowledge of politics is of no more value than my wife’s Dodger baseball fandom, and undoubtedly, a much bigger waste of time…

          4. hunkerdown

            Great turn of phrase. It’s a ritual that reinforces the notion of agency, while actually, systematically initiating participants into a posture of subordination to various mediators, a perfectly managerial-capitalist moment. I’ll get tequila for the next round, just because things aren’t weird enough yet.

      2. fresno dan

        I’ve said it before – see Chappelle’s monologue on Trump

        …. And watching the news now they’re declaring the end of the Trump era. Now okay, I could see how in New York you might believe this is the end of his era. I’m just being honest with you, I live in Ohio amongst the poor whites. A lot of you don’t understand why Trump was so popular but I get it because I hear it every day. He’s very loved. And the reason he’s loved is because people in Ohio have never seen somebody like him. He’s what I call an honest liar. And I’m not joking right now, he’s an honest liar. That first debate, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen a white male billionaire screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘This whole system is rigged,’ he said. And across the stage was white woman Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sitting there looking at him like, ‘No it’s not.’

        I said, ‘Now wait a minute bro, it’s what he said.’ And the moderator said, ‘Well Mr. Trump if, in fact, the system is rigged as you suggest, what would be your evidence?’ Remember what he said, bro? He said, ‘I know the system is rigged because I use it.’ I said Goddamn. And then he pulled out an Illuminati membership card, chopped a line of cocaine up in it and [mimics sniffing].

        No one ever heard someone say something so true and then Hillary Clinton tried to punch him in the taxes. She said, ‘This man doesn’t pay his taxes,’ he said, ‘That makes me smart.’ And then he said, ‘If you want me to pay my taxes, then change the tax code. But I know you won’t because your friends and your donors enjoy the same tax breaks that I do.’ And with that, my friends, a star was born. No one had ever seen anything like that. No one had ever seen somebody come from inside of that house outside and tell all the commoners we are doing everything that you think we are doing inside of that house. And he just went right back in the house and started playing the game again.
        I think Trump exposing Hillary and Barrack was unforgivable. That the richest most powerful people, who depend MOST on preserving American mythology, can’t have it undermined by speaking OBVIOUS truths…

        1. chris

          Don’t forget El Trump also pulled on the Ukraine threads too. I think he rattled so many cages that the elites decided he was an existential threat. I could imagine a scenario where he was offered an out if he kept quiet and left the scene to the real experts… which wasn’t going to happen. So here we are. The Blob vs. Trump. To the death. I don’t know who I’d bet any money on in that fight.

  12. bwilli123

    Is there any columnist as coruscating at private equity (in this instance Bain) in their country’s leading financial newspaper, as Joe Aston in the Australian Financial Review? (AFR)
    Viz this dismemberment of Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlickla

    Roll up, roll up, for Bain and Jayne’s pea and thimble trick

    ….” Bain is different but also Jayne is different. This is not robotic, bait-and-switch Jayne, this is honest Jayne. Investors won’t be ripped off because Jayne is there and you can trust her. She wears divine clothes and plays tennis. Her son plays tennis, too, and she’s a terrific mother. She will never fall into the clutches of those short-term, tax-dodging private equiteers who previously sold you buckets of shit at the top of the cycle. Oh no, Jayne is there for you…”

  13. jefemt

    A puzzlement: Did a hypersonic bomb destroy and was there a NATO bunker in Kiev? I have searched for read varying articles on this, one from an Indian Military source, that it DID happen. Fog of War.
    Is this on a par with Nordstream?

    As Michael MacDonald sang… “what a fool believes…”

    Also, Trump monetizes indictment: $4 million in a day….
    I am trying to see how that stacks up to Trumps $250M legal war chest monetization for post-2020 election loss to inaugural late Jan 2021… I think he will scratch a LOT less out of America’s pockets.
    And a 2021 dollar went a lot fuhthuh than a 2023 dollah

    1. Samuel Conner

      Was there a bunker there or not? It’s sort of like a Schroedinger’s cat thingey. Perhaps we should leave the question (and the missile strike site) unexplored; that way there may be a possibility that the inhabitants of the bunker, if there ever were any, are still alive.

  14. griffen

    The future of supermarket shopping. Yeah I’m selling that conceptual, retailer gobbledygook that is being discussed. Not really sure about the partnership with HPE, either. Just be done with it, stamp a number on my forehead, and leave me alone to make my purchases of consumables like a 24 pack of beer.

    People can use InstaCart or whatever retailer app of their choice to skip the lines and likely skip dealing with all the local “peasants” that visit the Wal-Mart. Let’s face it, some people are just weird and the less interaction maybe the better! \sarc

    1. The Rev Kev

      So Sensei claims to be ‘the leading European provider of autonomous store technology.’ OK then. All that high-tech crap sounds like that it will pull a lot of power to make it work. Not just the stuff in the store but all the servers off-site that will make this possible. With the skyrocketing cost of energy going on in Europe right now and into the future, just how viable will that be? I can take a guess, based on other stuff that I have heard about, how this will play out. So probably most of the supermarkets in a chain will charge higher prices to subsidize the costs of those you-beaut stores with this high tech stuff – which will just happen to be located in wealthier areas.

    2. wendigo

      Where I live shoplifting has become endemic with losses steadily increasing as prices increase.

      Larger stores are starting to employ armed guards as calling the police to arrest shoplifters is not possible anymore.

      Smaller stores are sharing photos of known offenders and trying to stop them from entering the store or closely following them.

      So a future of verifying identities before admittance and tracking every item a shopper touches to cut down on losses seems inevitable.

      1. skk

        Interestingly I’ve pondered if Amazon Fresh was lucky or prescient in getting such a lead in the cashless, checkout-less stores, bringing it all the way to market, so to speak. We have one nearby – I don’t like it but my wife does so we go there and I have some experience of it. It does work, their return and refund for a misprice system works too. And if they don’t let you in without a scanned Amazon account, so billing for anything you remove is pre-set….

        And yeah, having seen these multiple vids of people in stores just stuffing bags with goods like perfumes, clothing etc and fast-walking out with nobody stopping them at all, Amazon Fresh style technology will become de rigueur in due course.

      2. JTMcPhee

        When I was an assistant retail store manager, “shrinkage” in inventory was about 95-90 percent theft/wage supplementation by employees. The biggest single loss at my store was a massive looting by a key-holding manager and his friends.

        Does not excuse the enthusiastic crowds you see in the videos of opportunists carrying off stuff they could never use (guy with a shopping cart of “feminine products” and store shelves. Cuz property is sacred, right? And it’s fun to loot and get something back from the oppressors.

        1. Questa Nota

          Different forms of local currency, like those cases of soda that are popular in Appalachian towns and elsewhere. Somebody will acquire products in exchange for some recreational pharmaceuticals or similar diversion, or even food. Smaller, higher value items should be more fungible and popular. None of that pesky smart TV phoning home and then bricking.

          1. JBird4049

            Funny it is, but I have noticed that the worst that the employees are treated and the more unreasonable the prices, the more shrinkage occurs.

            People steal because they can especially when poor, and because they are treated as an afterthought. What prevents the most shoplifting is having enough employees to help and see everyone as well as paying them enough. But why do that as it cost money?

            Retail is no longer run as a business selling stuff, which requires affordable stuff worth buying from helpful staff all of which costs money, but doing all of this well means making a profit. But the financialized businesses don’t want to spend the money needed to have a successful business!

  15. fresno dan
    Big Tech is staffed with hundreds of former Department of Justice employees, some of whom have key insight into government antitrust investigative methods, according to a watchdog’s “revolving door” analysis.
    “When the levers of government are not available, they use the levers of Big Tech to push a woke agenda,”***
    Jones, the former opposition research program head for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign in 2016 and an ex-legislative director to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), added. “It is insidious and needs to stop.
    Excuse me if this has previously been posted.
    One of the things that most annoyed me when I worked at FDA is that I often got greater insights into what FDA policy actually was on inspections talking to people who worked in industry who used to be high level FDA managers. And I was a person who actually read all the relevant Federal Resigister notices and guidance documents. A cynic might say that FDA managers did not share this “inside” information with their own employees so that after they left FDA they could keep their market value high. My own view was that it was simply to avoid accountabiility and the work of having to defendany decision they actually made.
    Or do big tech firms hire former DoJ employees because former employees of DoJ are the most effective lobbyists (and that former DoJ employees are always heard by present DoJ employees to keep future former DoJ employment opportunities high?) That too….
    *** Seriously?!?? Big business isn’t trying to make as much money as possible??? This guy really believes Facebook, Amazon, Googles real agenda is wokism, and not profit??? Sooo, liberals, who also are suppose to hate capitalism, really aren’t trying to undermine big business, but are actually tying to enhance monopolies to advance wokism (isn’t wokism trying to destroy American business??? so confusing…). It is just a prime example of people who have ideologies who change the premise of their arguements so they can reach a predetermined conclusion: Liberals bad. Of course, it makes any serious discussion impossible. And of course, if “liberals” actually were trying to curtail monoplies, than the argument would be liberals hate American business and want to hamstring business from competing on a global scale.
    No conservative has EVER made the argument that big business (presumably they said this without excluding tech firms) can hire whoever they want? That there should be no hiring regulations? etcetera, etcetera. Or that this is really a Washington insider issue, and repub/dem liberal/conservative is totally irrelevant to the issue???
    Sorry, I just get so fed up with the incoherence of so much said with regard to every issue now a days. All kayfabee.

    1. semper loquitur

      DEI has proven to be a corporate fig-leaf. DEI officers are being laid off and their departments shuttered across the business sector:

      Hamstrung by ‘golden handcuffs’: Diversity roles disappear 3 years after George Floyd’s murder inspired them

      The attrition rate for DEI roles was 33% at the end of 2022, compared to 21% for non-DEI roles. Amazon, Applebees and Twitter lead the way with DEI layoffs since July 2022, according to Revelio Labs, a New York-based company that uses data to analyze workforce dynamics and trends.

      Another survey showed that Black employees represent only 3.8% of chief diversity officers overall, with white people making up 76.1% of the roles. Those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity make up 7.8% and those of Asian ethnicity make up 7.7%

      From this I think we can safely extrapolate that the Woke agenda’s acceptance by business was a fig-leaf nearly across the board. And how could it not be? PMC Woke is X-face. Profit and power are of course the real goals.

      1. MT_Wild

        Off the 76.1% that are white, I wonder how many are AWFLs. Affluent, female, white, liberals. I’m better it’s another 76.1%. DEI was always just a make work policy for the PMC.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          “DEI was always just a make work policy for the PMC.”

          Yes, and Wokeness a calling card and potential career booster – particularly in relation to older colleagues – in rapidly shrinking professions such as university teaching and journalism, where it just happens, in addition to the NGO industry, to be most prevalent.

          Personally, I’m happy to see these DEI parasites get it in the neck; on the university level, many of them were happy to be the (black) face of opposition to TA/adjunct unionization efforts, which told you all you ever needed to know about the phenomena.

        2. Questa Nota

          Can people still say SWPL? Or was that cancelled?
          If not, what trends portend? Eating, staying alive?

    2. hunkerdown

      The agenda of a corporation or every other institution is to secure the conditions of its own existence, which is most effectively done by preying on nature and laborers, not other institutions. The only real motivation to rivalry with other corporations in The Market™ is the modeling of Godly behavior to “improve” the slaves. That serves to keep labor believing that competition and social atomism are normal and natural. It’s a crusade on the outside but a potlatch on the inside.

      Important parts of the American social mythos were fashioned by and for the purposes of oligarchs. So, yes, I find it entirely believable that the purpose of a corporation is to preserve the capitalist order of private property, and that one might shape the habits of natural persons accordingly by paying honor to mythic folderol including the neoliberal “successor ideology” or that “liberals are supposed to hate capitalism”. When that stops working, they’ll spin up another fur-lined Santa Claus for us, mayeb this time with a generative AI.

  16. hunkerdown

    The EU brought a Türkiye to market. Tit for tat for consenting to NATO gobbling Finland, perhaps.

    📣Today,Türkiye🇹🇷has joined the🇪🇺EU’s #SingleMarket Programme, specifically its part dedicated to supporting the dev of SMEs
    This agreement will
    🔹support to businesses
    🔹promote economic growth📈
    🔹stimulate a more dynamic&cross-border business environment

      1. hunkerdown

        True, but so was Constantinople. TR’s reputation for negotiable realism being what it is, as realistic for a small country caught between two blocs, I suppose TR will peace out when the arrangement no longer suits, keeping the thousands of fresh, vigorous SMEs and putting the country in a strong economic posture compared to their Asian neighbors. EU should be careful about that “dynamic environment” they’re asking for.

        1. tevhatch

          I meant the function is to chain-store Turkey, undermine local businesses by placing them into debt to IMF/WB/EU vs. Turk finance ala Bain Capital, etc. It’s what’s inside the horse, the details, that are the killer.

  17. hazelbrew

    Two good educational chatgpt/ AI / LLM (large language model) related links for you today.

    The first is an interview with Geoffrey Hinton shown on CBS and recorded a month ago. He is considered the godfather of artificial intelligence, starting many decades ago. He stuck with a biology inspired approach of neural networking, while the rest of the AI discipline was exploring formal logic, symbolic AI, expert systems etc. interestingly his approach comes from a wish to understand human intelligence not create machine.

    It’s long, but it is absolutely worth watching in full.
    “Godfather of artificial intelligence” talks impact and potential of AI

    Second link is to do with Bloombergs announcement of a finance domain trained LLM
    Bloomberg announces purpose built LLM for finance

    and the research paper is here
    BloombergGPT: A Large Language Model for Finance

    1. skk

      Thanks for the link to the paper. I’ve downloaded it to read at leisure. I do do stocks so this will interest me.

      Separately, I found a use for chat-gpt. Somebody asked me how to do a mixed anova, in SPSS ( an established point and click, no coding, statistical analysis (“AI” even) tool used in social sciences. So something in a highly specialist domain using a highly specialized tool. In the past I might have said “lets google and then go to one or two of the links that look promising”. Now, I used CHAT-GPT.

      I was amazed. It gave very highly specific step by step SPSS instructions, click here, point there, then this, then that – these are the results and how to interpret them. Amazing… I passed the instructions on. Time saved… easily 4 hours.

      If its accurate of course :-) I await a reply from the somebody. But when this summer, after the NHL season ends, I do my next version of my sports bets predictions programs in Python I’m going to see whether CHAT-GPT will write Python code given specific instructions. And see if its accurate ( in terms of code, not predictions-that’s down to me) of course :-)

      1. hazelbrew

        you are welcome for the links.

        I’ve only seen the paper today. i have lots of others to read beforehand.

        mixed anova spss – out of my knowledge – but sounds like a great use. especially if you have a way to test the output quickly and iterate.

        NHL season and a python based program? great use case. there are loads of examples and articles out there already.
        if not accurate straightaway then iterate.

    2. Bazarov

      A good interview! The interviewer is much better than I’d expect from a CBS journalist. I appreciate his minimalist style, allowing the interviewee to talk as long as he wants even when his responses are somewhat complex and technical.

      As for autonomous weapons, I’m afraid that cat has long been out of the bag. Certain munitions can make their own way to a target using internal, algorithmic means. Loitering drones can already “find” targets on their own.

      It’s interesting the autonomous weapon angle is what bothers Hinton so much about AI. I think a far more dangerous development of these systems is how they combine with capabilities increasingly available to moderately-priced “home lab” type set ups.

      For example, let’s say you’re running a machine learning system trained on a corpus of biological data, and you yourself have a master’s-degree level grasp of organic chemistry. Using this machine learning system, you could probably synthesize a set of instructions that amplify your expertise such that you could produce a novel, deadly virus with CRISPR. This scares me more than the autonomous drone, honestly.

      I also think that much of the AI day-dreaming about the future is too bullish on smooth systemic function. Organized systems are subject to decay or “illness”. There will be AI systems developed to infect and distort AI systems. Such AI “viruses”, I think, will harm these systems once they’re deployed into everything. This begs the question: is AI secure enough to be trusted with socially vital functions? I don’t pose the question from an “alignment” perspective, but rather from an “illness” perspective: can you trust an AI with the healthcare of millions if that AI can go mad or develop senility due to a digital disease?

      Then there’s the problem of the material basis–AI systems depend on the continuing function of the industrial world system under increasing stress. Will the material basis of the economy degrade such that very few will be able to afford the services that these systems offer? Of course, if this scenario occurs, AI will be the least of our problems.

      One thing I do agree with, however, is that these systems do evidence understanding in the sense that paraphrase demonstrates basic understanding. So when an AI system paraphrases correctly or truthfully, it’s at least showing basic understanding, and when it fails in this regard, it’s showing basic misunderstanding.

      1. hazelbrew

        I think there are all sorts of dangers yes. your home lab example is one. and an example where this tech can increase the effectiveness of someone already highly educated with good critical thinking skills.

        is AI secure enough to be trusted with socially vital functions?

        lots of interesting thoughts in that paragraph. on this question? Not without significant further work , no. the alignment problem is hard enough, let alone your other ideas.

        on cats and bags. I’ve been using the phrase “the djinn is not going back in this bottle”. I think we’ve passed through a one way door.

  18. upstater

    Norfolk Southern’s Push for Profits Compromised Safety, Workers Say (NYT, a lenghty and informative piece, better late than never)

    Since 2012, the size of Norfolk Southern’s work force has dropped 39 percent, a bigger decline than at any of the other three large U.S. freight rail companies — BNSF, CSX and Union Pacific. Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern’s accident rate, which measures the number of accidents against the miles a company’s trains have traveled, soared 80 percent, the largest increase by far among the four railroads, though Union Pacific’s rate has been consistently higher. Rail accidents include derailments, collisions and fires.

    Precision scheduled railroading generally involves sticking to a strict operating schedule; cutting staff and assets like train cars, locomotives and rail yards; and running fewer but longer trains. Canadian National pioneered it in the late 1990s under its chief executive, E. Hunter Harrison, who later took his hyper-efficient approach to Canadian Pacific and CSX.

    Those changes have been a boon to railroad investors and executives. Norfolk Southern’s profits have soared, and over the past five years it has paid shareholders nearly $18 billion through stock buybacks and dividends. On Friday, Norfolk Southern said Mr. Shaw’s pay more than doubled last year to $9.8 million. In his statement, he said his pay and that of other executives would now be based partly on safety metrics.

    1. mrsyk

      “he said his pay and that of other executives would now be based partly on safety metrics.” LOL! I’d like to see the math. The NYT can’t even manage a sternly worded letter.

  19. mrsyk

    Long COVID exercise trials proposed by NIH raise alarm Nature
    The second to last paragraph. ““It is evident the NIH RECOVER initiative is made up of many folks who are dedicated and determined to crack open effective treatments for long COVID,” says Charles McCone, an advocate based in San Francisco who Nature identified as a patient representative for the RECOVER trial. But it is “baffling and discouraging” that the initiative is including exercise — a treatment that has been largely ineffective and often harmful for those with ME/CFS, he says. “Dozens of drugs [for long COVID] have been identified as promising candidates that need immediate further study,” but funding is limited, he adds. McCone could not discuss the exercise trial protocol with Nature because he signed a non-disclosure agreement with the NIH.”
    Last paragraph. The US Congress allocated US$1.15 billion to support RECOVER for four years, $172 million of which is being used to conduct clinical trials at the Duke Clinical Research Institute; the NIH declined to tell Nature how much of that money would be used to fund the exercise trials.

    1. Objective Ace

      This piece didnt make a lot of sense to me.

      the initiative is including exercise — a treatment that has been largely ineffective and often harmful for those with ME/CFS

      What are they basing that on? I understand exercise is much harder with long-covid.. but actively harmful? Maybe it is, but that is what this study is trying to uncover. If there are harms is it possible short term harms are outweighed by long term benefits? After all, We do know that, in general, exercise has better long term side effects then any drug on the market. If we cant conduct this study in an envirnment with doctors monitoring and on hand ready to step in should something go awry–then where can we ever do this study? It almost seems like they’re trying to hide something. Must not acknowledge there may be non-pharmacetical fixes that work

      1. mrsyk

        first hit on google from web md
        “A 2021 study found that 89% of participants with long COVID had post-exertional malaise (PEM), which happens when a patient’s symptoms get worse after they do even minor physical or mental activities.”
        If this is indeed the case, then it becomes an ethics issue I guess.

        1. Objective Ace

          If a normal person had their vitals taken while working out, a physician would think they were dying based only on the vitals. I can’t be sure know what symptoms the 2021 study is referencing — but symptoms in and of themselves are not an issue.

          I think its unethical to sentence an entire subgroup of people to vegetative states the rest of their lives. I realize I cant possibly know what’s going through there minds, but if its me–I’d be chomping at the bit to get in this study and trying to find out whats wrong with me, what my limitations are, and if there’s any fixes. We’ve heard of people commiting suicide because of how terrible the side effects of long Covid are. Relative to that baseline, preventing someone from taking an informed short term risk in a controlled environment administered by doctors sounds unethical

          1. aletheia33

            ace, i’m not sure i’ve fully understood your point. i think you are saying that “if it’s me”, you would want to join the study, taking an “informed short-term risk”. but part of what these patients are concerned about is that “trial participants will not be adequately informed about the potential risks” of the proposed exercise tests.

            but what follows here is not really specifically directed at you but at “CFS” and “long covid” skeptics in general.

            may i suggest that if it were you, if you came down with this illness or debility, as a smart, well-educated (i’m assuming) person, after a few months, if not sooner, you would be running your own experiments to “find out what was wrong with you and what your limitations are”.

            especially since–unless your contacts in medicine were extremely good (and perhaps even then)–you might well be the only person in your social network interested in finding these things out. you might well soon discover that no doctor or family member or other social contact was seriously interested. it might well be only you, you might well be on your own. over time, you might well find that people were dropping out of your life, probably due to their sense of helplessness about your condition. and your inability to carry on normal social activities and relating.

            you would not have a “diagnosis,” or if you had a “diagnosis”, it would be simply a descriptor based on observed symptoms only, not on any particular known treatment. all of this, in various permutations, is the reality for most people afflicted with this kind of illness or debility.

            you would want to discover and you would come to know, over time, how light exercise affected you, right afterward and in the days that followed. and after heavy exercise. you would be able to report with reasonable credibility what you thought you had learned/were learning from your own N=1 experiments. you would come to know, over time, what your body and mind could still do and what they couldn’t. at this point you would have become the only expert on your own condition.

            if you came to believe–based on your own self-observation, perhaps accompanied by actual tracking and recording of various exercise scenarios over time–that exercise could worsen your condition, you would have pretty good confidence in that belief.

            on the other hand, if you were a child, for example, you might have significantly less understanding of the effects of exercise on your condition, and if your parents were not conducting with you the kind of self-experiments that adults can conduct for themselves, you might have no clue of what exercise could do to your body.

            if you were one of the adult patients who might not be quite capable of carrying out the kind of experiments on their own condition that you had carried out, and who might not be exercising at all, for various reasons, you just might not know how even very gentle exercise would affect you.

            if you have discovered that POST exercising, NOT DURING exercise, you have experienced a severe debilitating fatigue that you’ve come to believe was somehow triggered by that exercise, you might not be willing to consent to undergoing the risk of such exercise, of making that sacrifice, for the sake of research. and you might be concerned to protect other patients who had not conducted the same self-experiments that you had and could be unknowingly subjected to making that sacrifice.

            collaboration, communication, and cooperation among patients, researchers, and doctors has a long way to go in our society before research and attempted treatment of nonunderstood illnesses like “CFS” and “long covid” becomes “affordable” for our society as a whole. last i heard, there are a few dozen doctors in USA who treat CFS. what these few doctors do for their patients is costly and complicated, out of reach for the vast majority of patients. these patients carry with them huge piles of test results that have led to no effective treatment. left to their own devices for the last 40 or so years, disabled and crushed as they are, they and their supporters have managed to form their own networks of information-gathering and mutual support, to the limited extent of their ability. they are well schooled and experienced in not being listened to/heard and being given no credibility.

            it would seem to be simply common sense and common humanity to take their reports of their experiences, their suggestions, their concerns, and their warnings very, very seriously.

            1. Objective Ace

              if you came down with this illness or debility, as a smart, well-educated (i’m assuming) person, after a few months, if not sooner, you would be running your own experiments to “find out what was wrong with you and what your limitations are”.

              Its easy to think this, but 90% of the country doesnt do this [exercise] already–pre long Covid. When it suddenly becomes even harder due to CFS, why would they suddenly start going to the gym?.. especially if the whole medical community is saying that will make the condition worse as they are here.

              Don’t get me wrong–I’m not a long covid skeptic. I fully believe its not psychological — they do suffer real physcial limitation. This would also be consistent with the increased cardio problems post Covid–increased strokes etc. (I believe the mechanism would be a lack of plasticity in the capillaries)

              A lot of your response delves into behavior without acknowledging differing people’s capicity for such behavior. I’d ask you to consider 2 buckets of people, given this assumption: a regular exercise regimen–resistance training along with modest Cardio–over many months, maybe even years prevents/clears CFS symptoms.

              1) Those who already excersise will tend not to get CFS in the first place
              2) Those who were unhealthy and did get CFS may try to push their limits and try to excercise – as you note. But they do not have the experiences or background to do so. Its not just the cost of a gym membership. You need to know how to effectively use gym equiptment and train. This takes either money in the form a personal trainer or years of experience — usually in youth sports. Things which, if you had/have, would have likely made you part of group 1

              This dynamic is just speculation on my part. But I have yet to see any studies that cast doubt on it. That’s why I look forward to seeing this one’s results.

              1. aletheia33

                thanks for honoring my long post with a reading and response.

                my sense is that we are talking past each other, and we would both need to be more precise in presenting our assumptions and arguments, a task i’m not up to on my end!

                my basic and rather simple point was that anyone can find themselves down with CFS for no clear reason/from no determinable cause. and that that brings one to a direct experiential confrontation with a situation so dire that, on that very basis alone, i believe, the concerns and reports of those who are experiencing it, and are seeking to have their knowledge and opinions respected and heard, merit careful attention from all researchers and medical professionals who embark on a campaign to identify and treat these patients’ condition.

                and i believe that due to our currently corrupt, inhumane, and overly specialized system of medicine and medical research, this is unlikely to happen.

                i believe that the few dozen MDs in USA who are treating people with CFS are doing it because they have listened to their patients at length, have assumed the reliability of their individual reports, and have respected their opinions. i believe that it has been these doctors’ humane approach that has been the best and perhaps only useful action taken by the medical profession to address these patients’ need. and i believe had they not chosen, out of their integrity as doctors, to practice medicine the way they have, these patients would today have no hope for any medical help.

                thus, if the funded entity decides not to listen to, respect, and assuage these patients’ doubts, which are based on their decades of collective self-observation, i will not be holding my breath for the new big chunk of $$$ that has been allocated to research on this illness to yield a constructive result any time soon.

                nonetheless i truly also hope for something better, sooner.

                i’m presenting my beliefs here, not trying to prove their validity–perhaps not measuring up to the high standards of discussion on NC. just FYI, you have not persuaded me to question the beliefs i’ve stated here.

                1. Objective Ace

                  I guess I just dont understand how patients can be so certain about anything. Their decades of experience is moot in the face of such a new phenomenon.

                  Your probably correct, we’re talking past each other to some degree. I’m not sure we necessarily even disagree on some of the broader points. A fellow poster pointed out how loaded the term excercise could be. I got all hung up on a prior comment specifiying *an* excercise regimen. But it could be as simple as getting out of bed 1 or 2 extra times where the patient wouldnt have otherwise. And similarly to you, I am by no means certain about any of this. I just feel like if I seemed doomed to being bedridden for the rest of my life, I’d be up for trying anything.. whats the downside at that point?

      2. Jason Boxman

        What’s interesting about this, is how hard those suffering from long-COVID/ME/CFS fought to get this money into the appropriations, and how adamant they are that exercise treatment is harmful to recovery, and now this money is being used to do what is contrary to the interests of the group that fought so hard to get the money for this research in the first place.

        You could perhaps say this is a cruel jape.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s odd how, whenever presented with a choice of paths with differing potentials for casualties, they choose to maximize.

        2. Objective Ace

          how hard those suffering from long-COVID/ME/CFS fought to get this money into the appropriations, and how adamant they are that exercise treatment is harmful to recovery

          I dont know if this is true or not. But what I do know is that the pharmacedical industry has a habit of both misrepresenting what suffers are advocating, and/or deceiving sufferers into believing something that is not true (see how much opiods were pushed as a benefit for patients)

          I would also question how patients would know what is harmful without studies being done in the first place. If its so obviously true — we must have data. The fact that they have a harder time working out the following day after a workout isnt really evidence of anything–at the very least not that excericse does longterm harm

          1. Cassandra

            I think, Ace, the difficulty here lies in the definition of “exercise”. You are using the word in the sense of a healthy person working out: going to a gym and engaging in strenuous activity. For a healthy person, a workout may bring some discomfort but leads to greater capabilities in the future.

            In contrast, for people with ME/CFS exercise could mean a fifteen minute expedition to the grocery store for essentials. The result is not “a harder time working out the following day”; it might mean being literally unable to get out of bed and make a piece of toast for the following week.

            In a standard cardiac stress test, the patient is monitored while completing challenges on a treadmill until the patient’s heart rate reaches 140+ bpm. For a patient with POTS, that can be the result of standing up from a seated position.

            Many people with Long Covid have these issues as well as other evidence of dysautonomia. It really is not just an issue of feeling tired or sore the next day.

            1. Objective Ace

              I do think there is a hangup here on excercise. If the patients are physcially unable to do it, [whatever it is] there’s no discussion to be had. It doesnt matter if the study wants to include it–they cant. So what are we talking about here? Personally, if standing up makes the patients heart race that much — lets start there. Do that a couple times a day. Build up from there — see what happens. Whats the alternative? The patients stays bed ridden their whole life?

  20. Jason Boxman

    So I wake up and can’t fall asleep, sometimes. I blame the world. In any case, I got to thinking about large data model text predictive system, aka (AI chat bots). Just the fact that the popular media is all agog over these predictive systems, and swallows and furthers the appropriation of the popular understanding of AI to do so, that is, actual artificial intelligence, is a tell as to how much bulls**t this is.

    This is just like self-driving cars, when fully autonomous driving cars is pure fantasy. So too are AI chat bots.

    We can already identify some key problems with this technology, but just to pick one for today. Inputs. Where does this massive predictive model come from, anyway? This is all fed from data on the Internets. And what can we actually say about data on the Internets? About facts?

    So how do you actually critically evaluate any response you actually get from a chat bot? For traditional Internet search with say, Google, you can evaluate each source in whatever result set Google determines is appropriate. You can consider the source. But the source is always potentially suspect.

    At Google, their magic search results was and maybe still is powered by a huge farm of piece-work contractors that verify that recent searches actually provided “accurate” results, based on an extensive document that describes what “good” search results are. This work was in ~ 2014 performed by an contracting outfit, LeapForce, which you can probably “google” for today. And these reviewers had at most 60 seconds to go through all the results for a query, and perform all sorts of quality checks to ensure that results were Google worthy based on Google’s guidelines to LeapForce. Each review performed by one of these contractors, and these needed to be done very quickly, think about how Amazon manages totes packed per hour or whatever, or LeapForce basically terminated you. And these are then double checked, probably with random sampling, by another contractor or Googler.

    In any case, these search results come from sources on the Internet, right, and required that level of introspection to deliver useful results from Google. (Ignoring crapification, Google preferencing its own properties, ect. in Search results today.)

    So all this data goes into these large data chat models. You cannot evaluate the source. You just have to trust Google, or Microsoft, that this next word predictive model returned text to you that’s accurate and correct, for some definition of accurate.

    Good luck. These models are never going to be able to do this for the general case. And no one can ever review these inputs, as is done for Google Search, to try to ensure the results are actually useful and correct. Even if you could, how is this review done? You’d need to hire domain experts to review all the sourcing for each query someone types into one of these chat bots and then confirm that the output is accurate. For example, you want to ask a question about Einstein’s special relativity; Great; Who’s gonna review all the inputs to ensure that the output for that isn’t a misstatement of theory today? These chatbots don’t understand context, so you can’t be sure it even knows. Google or Microsoft can’t pull a LeapForce here with an army of underpaid, exploited mechanical Turks to check on this. You’d need domain experts. And you can’t do this review in realtime, either; This happens retrospectively, so meanwhile a user might have gotten a bum result, and we’ve seen plenty of these in the news these past few weeks.

    So what percentage accuracy are you getting for your query? And people will take these responses as fact, not possibly with a grain of salt as you’d a random web page in a search result.

    Basically, this is all garbage in, garbage out, black box. But the predictive model is so seductively human, it’s “AI”, so it must be awesome.

    1. rowlf

      I am also skeptical about all this AI wonderfulness. Being a former maintainer and monitor of machines I am working with a programming team that is trying to do trend monitoring and alerting using data. The machines might have 5000 parameters that may be useful. I figure if my program that has evolved over 25 years using fairly reliable machine generated data is hard to get productive results with how can programs using human inputted data do any better?

      1. Jason Boxman

        Although see hazelbrew’s links earlier. I think these predictive models might be useful for domain specific areas, but these general purpose “AI” search bots are not it.

        Although you get back to the whole black box nature of these, and we already see how poorly that collides with say, the criminal justice system. Or Cigna’s claims denial system, which might even be simple rules-based, but could be expanded upon I have no doubts.

        This all is adjacent to Lambert’s “code as law” which is a terrifying reality we now live with.

        1. rowlf

          We’re having problems with leveraging machine generated data. If the easy stuff is tough what can the wonderful data do?

      2. semper loquitur

        It seems possible for a GIGO loop to form. AI draw from flawed databases and lie/confabulate to fill in the gaps. Those lies then work their way into the world. New databases draw from that flawed knowledge to create new GIGO. Wash, rinse, repeat.

        1. aletheia33

          the process of “lies working their way into the world” (thank you, semper, for that phrase) seems to be already working just fine already, as unreflective and/or propaganda-generating humans use the internet unthinkingly and/or with amoral and/or immoral intent. in the AI scenario, we’re just bringing in stupider actors to do the same things, merely accelerating and expanding the damage done by the activities already taking place. …the industrialization of the mind?

          it’s like, if we think what we’re doing is great, then great, let’s just keep doing it more and better. the essential problem has been with us for some time now. it seems as though certain actors have been working, with great dedication, for a long time now, completely unwittingly, on destroying the humanity of humanity.

          i am unable to fully contemplate or imagine the extent, in the most powerful and “intelligent” actors in this scenario, of such depravity, such ignorance, such overweening self-importance, pettiness, and greed.

    2. semper loquitur

      I too have been waking up very early. I haven’t had but two decent night’s sleep in weeks. Odd.

      1. ambrit

        With me it is waking up at 4:30AM, staying up for a few hours, and then trying to go back to sleep, with varying levels of success. It started during the past Fall. Sleep is now jumbled and of ‘inferior’ quality for me.
        Phyl laughed when the “problem” came up in conversation and suggested that I build a pyramid shaped de-gaussing chamber over the bed. [I knew a fairly well off man who built a Sleeping Pyramid Chamber in his bedroom at the top of his house. He claimed that it helped him sleep very soundly and suddenly begin to dream in colours.]
        Ah, the Mysteries of the Ancients.

        1. semper loquitur

          I’ve been trying the magic of an extra half a Trazadone but I still wake up early and struggle to fall back asleep. I’ve been dreaming vividly though, which is great, but I’m mentally exhausted a lot. I don’t know if my partner would appreciate a pyramid over our bed though…

        2. Jason Boxman

          Especially at the beginning of COVID, I’d wake up at 3 or 4 am and not be able to fall back to asleep, so I’d try to do work or whatever. These days it’s generally not that severe, but falling back to sleep is still frequently a challenge. And then I’ll go on a thought bender, like about this AI stuff, and come up with what seems an entire coherent narrative I’ll dump here later in the day, or I’ll start in on solving some programming problem in my head, but this makes for a bad approach to falling back to sleep, because it’s active thinking.

          I have the most success trying to envision being outside myself, or try to focus on breathing as an exogenous thing, or maybe trying to mentally mush my brain gently with my fingers conceptually. But if I can’t get my heart rate down, I’m screwed regardless. If I feel a few cold shivers, I know i’m on my way, as the body loses core temp when getting ready for slumber.

          I envy those that “just fall asleep”. I’ve never known it. Tinnitus also doesn’t help. Gotta see past that as well, almost like going into a new room and closing the door to it, in a sense.

          1. rowlf

            Breathing meditation is useful and maybe the simplest approach to meditation, but it is like trying to balance on top of a circus ball. Tough to do well. It takes a lot of practice.

            I have to admit that after being vaccinated Tinnitus can give me a hard time (Other side effects suck too). Sometimes it gets dialed up to 11. Some people think their Tinnitus tracks with their blood pressure.

      2. the last D

        We should all check in early to Hemingway’s ‘clean, well lighted place.’ We need it.

    3. Kouros

      Plus, is the web searched for only in English or for all languages?

      There might be different type of

  21. fresno dan
    Tenumah says 80% of companies think their customer service is going well, while only 8% of customers agree. He points to the fact that chatbots have a 75% failure rate, yet they are the fastest growing channels among businesses.
    reminds me of a poll…where 95% of men believed their intromittent organ was above agerage.
    The only thing… surprising is that it is FOX, bastion of American business cheerleading, reporting that the vaunted free enterprise system does not actually satisfy customers.

  22. Jason Boxman


    The Biden administration is also looking for solutions. The USDA proposed a new rule to expand something called the Community Eligibility Provision. It allows schools and districts with a lot of high-need students to serve free meals to all of their kids. The USDA wants to lower the threshold of high-need students from 40% to 25%, allowing more schools to qualify for the program.

    “We’re providing greater flexibility, more participation in the program, resources that take a little of the pressure off,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, while announcing the plan at a school in Greeley, Colorado.

    LOL. So like the Biden Administration somehow didn’t know the program was expiring? So glad that they’re looking for solutions, to a problem that liberal Democrats created, after it’s already caused foreseeable devastation.

    Well done!

    1. semper loquitur

      “take a little of the pressure off”

      Why in the world schoolchildren should be under pressure to get food is left undiscussed. Literally, the future of the country cannot access food with certainty. Dumbest timeline ever.

      1. chris

        The whole “Free and Reduced Meal Program” status is a big deal in many communities. Schools try to use it as data for socioeconomic purposes too, even when in the best of cases, it’s not a vetted data set. Or some people are counted twice if the leave the program and then qualify again in the same year. And regardless of whether you qualify or not, there’s usually a lot of paperwork involved with signing up. So I wonder how much of this is a problem due to understaffed schools and administrations not being able to process all the requests?

        I also wonder if this is a problem that’s been largely hidden and not can’t be swept under the rug anymore with inflation in food prices being so bad.

        There’s even a tech component in some communities. Like, where we live, the kids aren’t allowed to pay with cash. They have to have an account with money in it. An account that charges fees to use and fees to re-fill.

        I wish we could go back to what we did with the USDA grants during the pandemic shutdowns. All the kids got free breakfast and lunch. No questions asked. It was a much more humane way to manage the food program.

  23. ambrit

    Round here, Mississippi, a quick response to the “Georgia Belongs in the EU” headline would be that, really, large parts of the North American Deep South belong in the African Union. Liberian peacekeepers for Atlanta anyone?

    1. Screwball

      From the same thread;

      “This is going to give sweeping powers to the security state to surveil us, to prosecute us, to limit our internet usage. This is the biggest power grab and bait and switch they ever tried to pull on us. And again, if they really were concerned about Tik Tok — it’s one sentence.”

      Given the actions of this administration it fits right in, especially given how much in bed they are with the security agencies. Sell it as saving democracy and their loyal followers will cheer it with thunderous applause.

      This country has become so depressing.

  24. flora

    From The New Left Review on The French Uprising. / ;)

    In the space of a few decades, and especially since 2017, an entire social model has been brought to its knees. They have brought the country to its knees. Not the CGT, not the Intersyndicale (if only) – they and they alone have done this. The country has been ruined by the competent. It is in a state of total disorganization. As we know, to oust the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie promoted university degrees and meritocratic symbols as replacements for blood and lineage. Hence a paradox (of which there are many) within late capitalism: the incompetence of the bourgeoise has itself become a historical force, one which a minimal amendment to Schumpeter allows us to identify: destructive destruction. Or, to give it its proper name: McKinsey.

  25. fresno dan

    Some of you may remember the pink rabbit ears antenna slippers I wore when I worked for Putin to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign from my mother’s basement.
    I can honestly say, this incident where I mistook the actual Easter bunny for a slipper happened only once, when I wasn’t as aware of my surroundings as I should have been after an excessive vodka celebration't-get-my-slipper-on

  26. Joe Well

    >>What is a group of pandas called?

    TLDR: a pandamonium


    thank you, I’ll be here all night.

  27. Amfortas the hippie

    adjacent to one of the links:

    which sent me down a rabbit hole.
    its generally too dry/infrequently wet -enough to grow edible fungi around here.
    i’ve tried the kits…and the plugs, where you drill into a half-fresh log of a candidate tree…
    all such experiments were haphazard, at best…during my 7 year hip ordeal, or otherwise put on back burner.
    but i’m planning on planting a bunch of trees(soon as mom either dies or gets out of the way,lol)
    had the drip irrigation scheme worked out for 20 years.
    (such as to not stress the well and pump, until i can get clear to install a rainbarn or 2 out there)
    i like the idea of mycrorhisomian networks, connecting trees.
    very Avatarish.
    and if i can eat them, too?
    (almost all the extant fungi i’ve seen around here are toxic)

    also,beginning to research carbon credits/subsidies in ag policy, for potential 3rd use for the charcoal retort(which i finally have a date certain welding day in order to build it)
    govagencyspeak is not one of my fave languages…takes work to plow through all that crap.
    be cool if i could get paid for heating the big greenhouse with that device.
    especially without having to plug in to the whole gov-ag matrix, which is what i expect.
    cooked a couple of sheep parts(shoulder and saddle roast with thick caul)(and raised and butchered right frelling here)…after brining them, no less…and finally got around to the Siegel/Tablet bit from the other day…another rabbit hole
    to wit:
    i enjoy this kind of thing….gives ammo to think about the local class structure.
    new $ moving in, displacing the old, who are left with the meth trade and intimidation,lol.

  28. chuck roast

    The Imperial Fed

    Top-of-the-pops NC link…out of the ash-can of history. Fascinating…particularly when I see the name Nelson Aldrich. It always seems to surface whenever there is a scammy elite project issuing from the ancien regime. When the popular election of senators was legalized he was promptly, and thankfully shown the door.

  29. chris

    Interesting to read all the different prognostications about Ukraine lately. Seems like all the people who tried to appear like they knew what was going on are admitting they’re just as clueless as the rest of us who don’t read or write Ukrainian or Russian. Doctorow’s latest few articles admitting that he doesn’t know fully what could happen but is very concerned about all the possibilities seems like the most honest position. Interesting to read that he has a low opinion of Scott Ritter and Douglas MacGregor.

    I hope we do reach a cease fire soon. I hope that everyone sees the problems that will come with escalation. I hope that people realize the obvious realities of the situation that the US has held back on the worst of the weapons it could have given to Ukraine, and Russia has obviously not used all the weapons it has to target Ukraine. The only thing that will happen if we keep on the current path is many more people will die.

    1. Polar Socialist

      The Russians already commented on Lukashenko’s peace initiative by saying that there will be no diplomatic or political solution, only military. I assume this means that Ukraine will be pounded until they surrender unconditionally and accept neutrality, demilitarization and denazification.

      Same probably goes for the NATO and what’s left of EU. Or as folks here tends to say – play stupid games, win stupid prices.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Sorry for spamming but Mr. Bradhakumar makes the point that from the point of view of The Global South (if I’m allowed to generalize somewhat) Russia alone taking on The West in Ukraine and winning means that the world will avoid a bigger war in the future as The West is cut down to size.

  30. anon in so cal

    Hopefully B is taking a needed respite and not under some sort of government duress.

    Hard to know what’s in the works. I suspect GD is correct that the U.S. has been surreptitiously placing more weapons and troops in Ukraine than is acknowledged. Media reports and Milley statements that ammunition and supplies are low could also just be head fakes.

    SR and DG mean well but they underestimate the unimaginable treachery of the nat sec state. The U.S. keeps escalating, probably including today’s terror attack. SR thinks there’s a 70% chance of nuclear war but I suspect the likelihood is higher.

  31. LawnDart

    Russian economy:

    The Truth About Russia’s Economic Power: Is It Really as Small and Weak as the West Claims?

    This article strongly contrasts with what CNN is telling its viewership:

    Russia’s economy is surprisingly tiny. Here’s why it matters so much to you:

    Russia isn’t a superpower, at least not when it comes to the global economy.

    Its gross domestic product puts it as only the 12th largest economy in the world according to the International Monetary Fund, about 25% smaller than Italy and more than 20% smaller than Canada, two countries with a fraction of its population…

  32. LawnDart

    Chinese thinking and observations on China’s role in the world: somehow I don’t think that this is the New World Order that Westerners had in mind…

    On the Threshold of a New International Order

    It has become increasingly difficult to engage in reasonable discussions about the state of the world amid rising international tensions. The present environment of global instability and conflict has emerged over the course of the past fifteen years driven by, on the one hand, the growing weakness of the principal North Atlantic states, led by the United States – which we call the West – and, on the other, the increasing assertion of large developing countries, exemplified by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa)…

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