Links 4/21/2023

Tiny Worms Get the Munchies, Too Smithsonian

SpaceX giant rocket explodes minutes after launch from Texas AP. “Everything after clearing the tower was icing on the cake.” Oh.

‘Getting on an elevator with no buttons’: How the 2-year Treasury became the financial instrument to watch in March and a Wall Street obsession MarketWatch


Defending Earth’s terrestrial microbiome (PDF) Nature Microbiology. Very important. From the Abstract:

[T]here is an emerging realization that Earth’s microbial biodiversity is under threat. Here we advocate for the conservation and restoration of soil microbial life, as well as active incorporation of microbial biodiversity into managed food and forest landscapes, with an emphasis on soil fungi. We analyse 80 experiments to show that native soil microbiome restoration can accelerate plant biomass production by 64% on average, across ecosystems. Enormous potential also exists within managed landscapes, as agriculture and forestry are the dominant uses of land on Earth. Along with improving and stabilizing yields, enhancing microbial biodiversity in managed landscapes is a critical and underappreciated opportunity to build reservoirs, rather than deserts, of microbial life across our planet. As markets emerge to engineer the ecosystem microbiome, we can avert the mistakes of aboveground ecosystem management and avoid microbial monocultures of single high-performing microbial strains, which can exacerbate ecosystem vulnerability to pathogens and extreme events. Harnessing the planet’s breadth of microbial life has the potential to transform ecosystem management, but it requires that we understand how to monitor and conserve the Earth’s microbiome.

The market is the mistake!

Why Earth’s giant kelp forests are worth $500 billion a year Nature. They’re not. They can’t be priced.

US inventory: old forests cover area larger than California AP. Not enough!

Mysterious case of Caribbean sea urchin die-off has been solved by scientists NBC


Tight junction protein occludin is an internalization factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and mediates virus cell-to-cell transmission PNAS. From the Abstract: “Although initial infection by Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) occurs via a cell surface entry pathway through its spike protein binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, subsequent spread largely involves direct cell-to-cell transmission and syncytium formation, processes in which host factors required remain largely unknown.” Syncytium: “An epithelium or tissue characterized by cytoplasmic continuity, or a large mass of cytoplasm not separated into individual cells and containing many nuclei. Syncytium may be formed by the fusion of two or more cells, forming a giant cell. An example of syncytium can be found in skeletal muscles, which is essential since it allows rapid coordinated contraction of muscles along the entire length.” Sounds ominous, but above my paygrade MR SUBLIMINAL It’s the tentacles. I’m tellin’ ya! Readers?

* * *

Sex-Specific Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Among Offspring of Mothers With SARS-CoV-2 Infection During Pregnancy JAMA. From March, still germane. N = 18,355. Finding: ” This cohort study of 18,355 infants delivered after February 2020 found that male but not female offspring born to mothers with a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test result during pregnancy were more likely to receive a neurodevelopmental diagnosis in the first 12 months after delivery, even after accounting for preterm delivery.” Yes, but can a little neurological damage really outweigh the beauty of a mother’s smile?

* * *

WHO Warns Covid Pandemic Still Volatile Agence France Presse

Coachella festival-goers suffering from ‘festival flu’ CBS. “Festival flu.” O-k-a-a-y.


Chinese Diplomacy Seen as Threat to US ‘Peace,’ ‘Stability’ FAIR

Asia Power Snapshot: China and the United States in Southeast Asia Lowy Institute

* * *

US war game on China invading Taiwan shows need for ‘decisive action’ to boost arms Channel News Asia

China building cyber weapons to hijack enemy satellites, says US leak FT. Love the way the Teixeira material is being dribbled out. In a totally non-tendentious, news-driven fashion, I have no doubt!

* * *

Cryptocurrency is property in Hong Kong, court rules for the first time, bolstering city’s efforts to promote industry South China Morning Post


What’s Wrong With The G7 Statement On Myanmar? Democratic Voice of Burma


An Indian Diplomat Narrates A Behind-The-Scenes Account Of India-Pakistan Diplomacy Madras Courier

Here’s Why ‘Syncretism’ Is the One Word I Loathe and Love So Much The Wire

European Disunion

Hospital staff, labor union in France lament country’s ‘disastrous’ health care situation Anadolu Agency

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Frustrating’: Ukraine slams EU for failing to deliver on ammo plan Politico

Kyiv Seeks U.S. Technical Support at ‘Maximum Proximity to the Battlefield’ Newsweek. Boots on the ground? That is, overtly?

Washington Post: Leaked documents show Ukraine planned attacks on Russian forces in Syria Kyiv Independent. Another stunt.

* * *

There can be no lasting peace with Russia until Ukraine liberates Crimea The Atlantic Council

NATO chief says Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in the alliance, but Kyiv likely won’t join any time soon CNN

Ukraine president calls leaders who stay neutral populist ABC

* * *

Report: Russia is Studying Europe’s Subsea Cables With Covert Fleet Maritime Executive

Putin’s Russia is headed for a military dictatorship – and total collapse Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, The Telegraph

Russia’s State Duma grants Wagner mercenaries right to status of “combat veterans” Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

GOP lawmakers urge Biden to stop sending ‘unrestrained’ aid, weapons to Ukraine The Hill. What does “unrestrained” even mean?

Dear Old Blighty

UK police arrests French publisher from work trip in London over anti-Macron protests in Paris FirstPost (zagonostra).

Biden Administration

GOP leaders scrambling to unite skeptical Republicans behind debt limit bill The Hill

Spook Country

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations The Intercept. From 2014, still highly germane.

Our Famously Free Press

House Democrats Have Lost Their Minds Matt Taibbi, Racket News. Today’s must-read. Here is the nub, or rather the nubbin, of the matter:

I did in a tweet conflate the Center for Internet Security (CIS) with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), saying that CISA was so close to Stanford’s Election Integrity Project (EIP) that Twitter staffers didn’t really distinguish between them.

In other words, Taibbi conflated — he is far too nice — an organ of state security (CISA) with an NGO within civil society (CIS). However, as Gramsci writes somewhere, state and civil society are separable only as (academic) objects of study. In reality, there is a single ruling class, of which state and civil society are different aspects (granted, with some institutions having more relative autonomy than others). In the state of exception declared by Democrats after Trump’s victory in 2016, Gramsci’s claim has become more and more self-evidently true: Wedel’s Flexians — there are countless examples in The Twitter Files — are increasingly running the show, “dissolv[ing] the particularities of office” (“Old Man Yells at Mush-Mouth Verbiage“). Hence, Taibbi’s “conflation” is not merely a blooper, but the sort of blooper that illuminates, like a flash of lightning, an essential, but shadowy structural reality. In my view, Taibbi should have given consideration to responding by asking a question: “CISA, CIS. What’s the difference?” Gramsci’s answer would be “none.” As a confirmed institutionalist, that would not, once, have been my answer (I would have thought Gramsci reductionist). Now, post-RussiaGate’s state of exception, my answer is “none” as well. “Don’t take any guff from these swine.” –Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Here is Taibbi’s follow up:

Clearly, Hasan and the Democrat goons backing him think things haven’t gone nearly far enough. Maybe Taibbi should lawyer up?

Twitter starts removing blue check marks from users who don’t pay CBS. Symbolic capital…. Poof! Hence the outrage:

SCOTUSblog is essential. That said, here’s why NPR got its knickers in a twist: “NPR quits Twitter after being falsely labeled as ‘state-affiliated media.” Apparently, making no distinction between “receives some government-funding” (17%) and being “state-affiliated” is very triggering for liberals. Sadly, Twitter caved to the yammering and dogpiling, and removed the “state-affiliated” label from NPR, BBC, and CBC, as well as Chinese and Russian sources. In my view, Twitter should have retained “state-affiliated” for all those sources, and applied it to the Washington Post and the New York Times as well, the concept of “solidarity” with all all of them being self-evidently absurd to anyone not in the club. (See also discussion of the distinction between state and civil society on Taibbi’s post, above).

Biden DOJ Indicts Four Americans For “Weaponized” Free Speech Caitlin Johnstone (flora). A central conceit of Liberal Thought being that their speech is the only speech that remains unweaponized.

* * *

How a small private equity firm took on ‘behemoth’ Fox — and won FT

Fox Can Claim Tax Writeoff For Defamation Settlement Lever News

The Bezzle

Fed governor says blockchain technology shows ‘considerable promise’ Anadolu Agency. Foreign exchange.

Alleged Crypto Scammers Used AI And Actors As Faux CEOs Forbes. AI seeks its own level.


A woman with tuberculosis is on the run from authorities after refusing to isolate. Here’s a timeline of events, from her first treatment to evading arrest. Insider. You do you!


Government spend precedes tax in the real world, but not for the reasons some supporters of modern monetary theory suggest Richard Murphy, Funding the Future. Hmm.

Zeitgeist Watch

Wife of Former Prominent TN Pastor Charged with Child Abuse, 2nd Degree Strangulation The Roys Report. I can’t help but speculate that the Nashville shooter’s manifesto, when released, will reveal something similar.

How Nashville became ‘ground zero’ for America’s culture wars FT

Realignment and Legitmacy

Idaho sheriff has a legal obligation to serve Ammon Bundy. He should uphold it Idaho Statesman

Class Warfare

West Coast Dockworkers Reach Tentative Deal on Port Automation WSJ

A State-Level Look at U.S. Labor Market Supply and Demand Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis

A History of the World According to Getty Images Colossal

When Will I Retire? How About Never WSJ. Shuffleboard is a death warrant.

Antidote du jour (via):

Yawning hippo, reacting to the meagre quality of the news flow.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Memphis Tennessee by Johnny Rivers, 1964)

    (The great Unkrainian diaspora landed a genuine babushka in our neck of the woods, and she has become a friend of our family. She has kin still in Ukraine, some of whom know people who who work at the phone company — when the electricity is on. They gossip about the constant calls these operators get — from Bakhmut especially — from enterprising soldiers trying to find someone up the chain who can be bribed to get them out of Ukraine. This is all routine corruption under Mister Zelensky.

    Some callers are mere boys. Most never call back. And where’d they get all that money?

    Hey, you may as well put the YouTube video on Loop — we’re gonna sing this thing three times)

    Long Distance Information, lemme Talk To Mister Z
    I’m calling you from Bakhmut with bad connectivity
    Can you tell the President I’ve got the wherewithal
    If cash will get me out of here then I want my curtain call

    Tell the Prez I’ve come up with his standard smuggler’s fee
    Fifty grand and he’ll arrange some guys to rescue me
    The Russians are about to blow our last remaining bridge
    And they’re moving lots of tanks and rockets up the northern ridge

    Tell the Prez we do not have the shells or the supplies
    To head down to Crimea, and we sure don’t have the guys
    Tell him I want outta here if he’ll give me the chance
    I found some dough and I want to go to Germany or France

    I’m tired of stacking bodies, this is worse than Stalingrad
    We’ve only got our rifles when we should be armor-clad
    We all have diarrhea, some intestinal disease
    I’ll pay to get me far from here, can ya tell Zelensky please?

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (Play It Again, Sam)~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Long Distance Information, get Zelensky on the phone
    He lives across the Dnieper, in the high corruption zone
    I found a wad of money and I’ll gladly pay his vig
    I’m tired of dodging shrapnel, this is such an awful gig

    My brother called from Paris where he’s living happily
    He helps with all the riots, burning cars out in the street
    He left Ukraine a year ago, if not he would be dead
    But I was only twelve years old, too young for war they said

    Come on, Information, finding Z can’t be that hard
    He strolls around in Kiev with his AZOV bodyguard
    Fifty grand in cash, he says, will get me to the West
    Getting somewhere that’s not here might be my very last request

    There’s a line of guys behind me who will pay to get brought out
    We’ve all got cash and jewelry, will you give the Prez a shout?
    He will not get a hyrvnia</em if he leaves us here to burn
    Just get us out of Ukraine, and we never will return

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (Play It Again, Sam)~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Long Distance Information, get in touch with Mister Z
    I wanna finish high school, and then go get my degree
    I’ve got the grades for Oxford, or for Harvard with the Yanks
    If I don’t retreat I’ll end up meat in the treads of Russian tanks

    It’s pretty wild to grab a child off the sidewalk near his school
    Me milking cows is over now, there’s a whole new set of rules
    But I hear that Mister Z will take straight cash to set me free
    He’s the working definition of the petit bourgeoisie

    Operator, tell someone to get me overseas
    This morning came a whiff of springtime wafting on the breeze
    And I realized we have to hide right where we have to shit
    But I’m no fool, a sewage pool will do when the rockets hit

    Help me, Information, for I miss my mother so
    With each attack we’re further back, we always let it go
    Tell Zelensky I can double up the cash I bring
    Here’s another young man next in line to beg for the same thing . . .

  2. KD

    GOP lawmakers urge Biden to stop sending ‘unrestrained’ aid, weapons to Ukraine The Hill. What does “unrestrained” even mean?

    You have understand “restrained” in this context to mean that GOP Inc. wants an opportunity to skim off the Ukrainian aid first, before all the Ukrainian officials steal from it.

  3. JohnA

    Re There can be no lasting peace with Russia until Ukraine liberates Crimea The Atlantic Council

    In addition to all the bluster about Russia losing in mainland Ukraine and sabre rattling about nuclear weapons, the piece claims:
    “Those who view Crimea as a red line for Vladimir Putin often stress the symbolic importance of the peninsula. They note that the seizure of Crimea ranks as by far the most significant achievement of Putin’s entire reign and therefore plays a key role in his claim to a place among Russia’s greatest rulers”

    Crimea is more than symbolic significance, it is the naval base of the Russian Black Sea fleet, legitimately leased for many more years to come. As such, the naval port was not seized, it was already in the legitimate tenancy of Russia. Further the US had already published documents inviting tenders to construct a US base there. Putin was purely acting in the interests of his country, and the people of Crimea, that had overwhelmingly since the dissolution of the USSR, sought to be part of Russia, not Ukraine. All this has absolutely nothing to do with Putin wanting to claim a place among Russia’s greatest rulers, it is to ensure the naval base remains Russian, and does not become yet another US base. Like most of the western media coverage, sheer projection by the west.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s not just the Atlantic Council that is being completely delusional. Just came across a tweet today by a guy reacting to Macron and China. You read the officer’s profile and you would think that he would have some professionalism behind him and so would be a bit of a realist. You would think so. Instead he wrote this-

      ‘Fred Hoffman, D.Sc. 🇺🇸
      Somebody needs to tell Macron that the only acceptable outcome of the war is for #Ukraine to drive out #Russian forces and achieve victory over the invaders.

      That would unquestionably result in #Putin’s downfall, which benefits everyone (including France)’

      Our professional managerial class are not fit for purpose.

    2. eg

      Either The Atlantic Council is wrong, or we will “always be at war with Eurasia.”

      They are either idiots or paid to make idiotic statements.

      1. paddy

        atlantic council is using the example of libya after obama as goal for russia.

        idiot may be kind.

        1. Pat

          The writer and editors having to live in Libya, or Haiti or any of the other cesspools that American foreign policy and intervention has created to support the empire and its oligarchs as a regular citizen, no recognition of their exalted status, is not going to happen but lord how I wish it would.

    3. digi_owl

      “Further the US had already published documents inviting tenders to construct a US base there.”

      Talk about selling the fur before shooting the bear.

        1. JohnA

          The Brits did build a new naval base for Ukraine, but it got destroyed by Russian missiles early on in the war

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Brits were supposed to build two naval bases on the coast that would host missile boats so that they could threaten the Russian Navy base at Sevastopol.

    4. XXYY

      Putin’s … claim to a place among Russia’s greatest rulers”

      I think dispassionate historians in the future will in fact suggest that Putin is indeed one of Russia’s greatest rulers. The guy seems to have risen up from among the corrupt post USSR oligarchs, ascended to the leadership of the country, withstood a decade of sanctions and rebuilt his country’s manufacturing base, and then refused to back down in the face of the a major imperial power when it threatened his country.

      He is now running a major war very effectively while having the support of 80% of the population of Russia, twice the level we are seeing for the leaders of Western countries.

      Quite remarkable by any standard. Try to imagine a recent US, British, French, or German leader amassing this track record, without laughing.

      1. Late Introvert

        Seriously, whenever I try to explain this to friends and family they just balk. First of all that a leader would do this, but then while an enemy of America.

        Putin is no angel, I also explain his conservative social policies re: abortion, gays, atheists, and that does rightfully dismay people. Life is not simple, another thing I try to model. Hard choices, confusing technology. Gah!

  4. zagonostra

    >Putin’s Russia is headed for a military dictatorship – and total collapse Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, The Telegraph

    Nobody I know with a hint of an intelligence background believes Putin travelled to the frontline this week; he rarely leaves the inner sanctum of the Kremlin. He can now only control Russia with his trusted military lieutenants meting out reverence to the ‘Supreme Leader”, and whispers suggest that illness or sudden treachery may see him leave the political picture far faster than he would like. In this state, paranoia and a desire for ever greater control are unsurprising.

    I think the paranoia is in the author’s addled brain. The author, Hamish De Bretton-Gordon is the “Director DBG Defence at Melksham, England, United Kingdom.” A list of his previous articles will give you a clue to where this (MI6?) “writer” is coming from. Anyone convinced by this hogwash, sorry hogs, is so blue pilled that they are not living in a world reality.

    The attempt to personalize this conflict in terms of evil “Putin” or demented “Biden” and ignore the deeper and historical antecedents is engaging in manufacturing consent and psychological warfare ,as opposed to telling the truth and reflecting reality.

    1. Stephen

      de Bretton Gordon needs to read this article from Links:

      UK police arrests French publisher from work trip in London over anti-Macron protests in Paris

      Although I suspect he might approve.

      Perhaps Russia is heading down a path of illiberal dictatorship (although I have not seen objective evidence to that effect) but Britain seems close behind if it is.

      Otherwise, the Telegraph article seems just total gibberish. I used to have a subscription, as well as to their Spectator stablemate. Not now. They are pure deep state propaganda.

      1. JohnA

        Was he the military general or similar rank who stated that were Corbyn to win the general election, this would not be accepted by the military?

        Of course, Pompeo also said the US would intervene in the event of a Corbyn victory.

    2. Eustachedesaintpierre

      While gnashing his teeth in frustration, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon sat in his exclusive gentleman’s club under the silent & seemingly reproachful gaze of old glory, in the form of the portraits of Marlborough. Wellington, Nelson & their like, before deciding to write an article.

    3. Mikel

      He’s promoting veterans of war for public office!!!OMG!!!

      At that point, I had to stop reading.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Elon’s fizzle–

    I know nothing about rocket science but wondered about all the cheering at SpaceX as the rocket wobbled and twisted in the wind. Is it supposed to work like clapping for Tinkerbell?

    Given Elon’s reaction to the many casualties due to Tesla’s overhyped auto-driving system, I don’t expect SpaceX to take it down a notch and proceed with a little more respect for the precautionary principle, especially since this disaster didn’t incur any casualties. And Abbott will do nothing either because freedom. Let’s hope during the next sure-to-be-successful test that that giant rocket doesn’t end up darting and diving its way into obliterating some Texas town.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You saw that too. It was weird seeing them cheering and celebrating the destruction of that rocket. Ooh look, it blew up! Is it like how some people go to the racetrack hoping for a car crash? All that was missing was for the Controller to say ‘Obviously a major malfunction.’

      1. Wukchumni

        According to SpaceX spokesman José Jiménez, the blast off went ok, as it was a test to see if the crash helmets on the dummies worked.

        1. ambrit

          Silly Elon. NASA already did that ‘experiment’ during a Space Shuttle launch. The helmets failed.

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        I was watching it on the news, and, having seen a lot of rocket launches in my life, at one point though: uh oh, that doesn’t look good, and then it blew up (or they blew it up, reports are somewhat unclear). But the audio feed of all the cheering and clapping certainly left me confused as to what was up.

        But, we have a great new term: “rapid unscheduled disassembly”. Right up there with “wardrobe malfunction”.

        1. digi_owl

          SpaceX blew it up after it started tumbling thanks to a problem with stage separation.

          And rapid unscheduled disassembly is an old in-joke among rocket scientists, from what i can tell. Basically a dry wit take on scientific verbiage.

          1. juno mas

            It’s been reported (LATimes) that software design in the rocket itself initiated the destruction. In any case, what is the environmental impact to the land/water that this launch/explosion occurred over?

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              What are the carbon emissions for this whole crazy project? Maybe the billionaires could wait to go where no man has gone before until the Earth’s carbon situation wasn’t past critical. I’m kidding myself. Billionaires don’t wait for anything.

              1. Paradan

                For every ton of methane burned you get 2.75 tons of CO2. the booster has 800 tons of methane and the starship maybe 300, so 3,000 tons of CO2, or 46 747 flights from NY to LA. It also generates over 1000 tons of fresh water!

      3. GC54

        SpaceX employees knew that this particular booster/ship combo was no longer state of art (spaceX iterates their design very quickly). They have several updated combinations almost ready to fly from their developing rocketship assembly line (!) So the decision was made to fly rather than scrap this one to learn about known unknowns and uncover some unknown unknowns. Provided it cleared the tedious to replace launch table & tower, what they learned just from ignition and partial assent was a win. Hence the excitement, real data no more simulations! It was instrumented up the wazoo and part of the delay of blowing it up 30 km above the evacuated ocean was to push the “spaceframe” through extreme contortions to see if it held up and to downlink all those data.

        Back on the ground the launch exhaust certainly dug a deep hole, whose debris flew for kms as well as destroyed some of the booster’s engines that eventually killed ascent so that they never got to test separation of the second orbital stage etc. It will be a half yr before they try again i bet, so much to rethink/redo on the ground. They are building an identical launch site at Kennedy Space Center in FL, where operational flights will take off AND LAND from once the bugs are out years from now.

        NASA has selected this SpaceX ship to land the first US crews to return to the moon. That means the heat is on, which has in past sometimes been disastrous. However, SpaceX’ assembly line means they can churn out these rockets at a remarkably low cost (in aerospace currency) to improve to the point where they will be as safe as passenger aircraft. We’ll see.

        1. tevhatch

          However, SpaceX’ assembly line means they can churn out these rockets at a remarkably low cost (in aerospace currency) to improve to the point where they will be as safe as passenger aircraft. We’ll see.

          You had me till this came up. Never gonna happen because of the difference in operating environments. While NASA and General Kutyna played a lot of tricks on Richard Feynman to divert him away from the real cause of the shuttle failure, he did get exactly right that NASA was guilty of selling space travel as much safer than it could ever be. You should go read his advisory.

          1. GC54

            I agree. More like “as safe as military aircraft” at best for years to come. Certainly their notional point-to-point aspirations are ridiculous. Now that pictures of the launch pad damage are out, i doubt that they’ll attempt flight again this yr.

    2. Acacia

      The AP article neglected to mention the press vehicles that got nailed by launch debris:

      Also, in honor of Elon, I watched this film last night:

      Trailers From Hell Joe Dante on CONQUEST OF SPACE (2:08)

      Joe Dante is a bit snarky, but while the SFX are fairly impressive for 1955 (largely thanks to Chesley Bonestell’s art), CONQUEST OF SPACE is pretty cornball, yeah, what with the captain of the Mars mission suddenly brandishing a Bible when the red planet comes into view, and then going full whackjob. Nevertheless, it’s kinda entertaining as the crew — best men for a very dangerous space mission — are definitely not your usual astronauts.

    3. Mike

      Elon’s employees were sold the goods- “as long as it takes off” etc. etc.- and, like good little robots, they cheered even when it exploded, all to present the public image of success.

      Damage to the launch pad is also a problem. This article explains:

      1. juno mas

        It appears you attempted to Link an article, but it doesn’t appear. I’ve had this same issue. Try just including the HTTP address without using the Link function. I was able to get a linked address to appear at the end of a comment yesterday. YMMV.

  6. Jeff Stantz

    About that “Coachella festival-goers suffering from ‘festival flu’ CBS. “:

    You know what they also are not saying? Coachella and the area around the Salton Sea has some of the worst air quality in California. But it is also what is in the air, the dust around there is toxic…

    But this one is the kicker…

    So it may not be COVID, just another one of the countless poisons capitalism has wrought on the world. And the media does not want you to know about it.

    1. Craig H.

      Have you ever seen one of those Rick Beato videos titled something like “I listened to the entire spotify top 10 and every one of them is garbage”?

      Every one of his modern music rants might sound the same. I only watched the one about if another Jimi Hendrix comes along probably nobody is going to know it.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Maybe Jimi himself will return. He sang that he had been here before:

        I have lived here before, in the days of ice,
        And of course. this is why I’m so concerned.
        And I come back to find the stars misplaced,
        And the smell of a world that has burned,
        A smell of the world that has burned.

        spoken during the bridge: maybe it’s just a change of climate.

        “Up From the Skies” 1968

    2. Questa Nota

      Recent attendees also mentioned to me the visual pollution, where the, uh, costumes leave little to the imagination.

      On a related note, the Festival joke that has gone around for years:
      Everyone I meet in town is so nice. What happened to all the A-holes?
      They all went to Coachella.

      Ba-dum-bum. Tip your server.

  7. zagonostra

    >Protesters storm Paris Euronext building in anger over pension law

    A topic that doesn’t seem to generate any interest. I guess the thinking is “just those crazy French protesting again.”

    Waving union flags, the group of a few hundred protesters occupied Euronext’s lobby, engulfed in red smoke from flares, and chanted words popular with pension protesters: “We are here, we are here, even if Macron does not want it we are here.”

    >Police block protesters as Macron faces down hostile crowds in rural France

    French police fired teargas Thursday in a village in southern France where President Emmanuel Macron visited a school, a day after he was booed and heckled over his unpopular pension reform.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Becky Quick reported the Euronext occupation yesterday on CNBC with some degree of alarm.

      The billionaires and PMC are aware of what’s happening even while they do their best to bury the story.

    2. Daryl

      I admire the energy of the French — they don’t let up, even in the face of violent and media suppression. I hope they get their way.

  8. digi_owl

    “SpaceX giant rocket explodes minutes after launch from Texas AP. “Everything after clearing the tower was icing on the cake.” Oh.”

    It was first launch of a experimental new rocket, with no practical payload onboard. I really do not want to defend Musk, but the history of NASA etc is littered with rockets exploding either on the pad or soon after launch while trying to figure out what works.

    “China building cyber weapons to hijack enemy satellites, says US leak FT. Love the way the Teixeira material is being dribbled out. In a totally non-tendentious, news-driven fashion, I have no doubt!”

    Got me thinking of how Norway fed UK information about Argentine movements during the Falklands War, thanks to intercepts from a soviet spy sat.

    “Report: Russia is Studying Europe’s Subsea Cables With Covert Fleet Maritime Executive”

    Heh, Norway knows that kind of activity all too well. The Norwegian navy has been sailing various vessels bearing the name Marjata on similar missions for decades. And now there are two of them. The latest bearing the name, while the older was renamed Eger. Oh, and the newest Marjata had a stop over in Virginia back when it was launched. So you can be sure it is carrying NSA equipment (and maybe personell).

    Oh, and are we sure that is not a cocaine hippo?

    1. curlydan

      Agree that the Space X blow up isn’t too bad either. My step-father, an actual rocket scientist (ok, he puts instruments on rockets), told me last winter that Space X basically has cornered the rocket market in the U.S. by making better rockets because… they’re not afraid to blow them up.

      If NASA blows up a rocket, it looks really bad, and people get yelled at by Congress. If Space X and richest man on the planet (sometimes), Elon Musk, blow up a rocket, it’s generally OK because they can afford it and will quickly fix the diagnosed issues and try again. After a lot of blow-ups, they generally have a decent product whereas NASA would have to grind out much safer rockets over longer periods of time.

      He’s basically employing a similar strategy with Tesla, but there he’s forced to use real people on real roads where we are his guinea pigs who die in service of Tesla’s QC.

  9. zagonostra

    >RFK Jr opposition research preview

    Exposés starting already on JFK jr’s private life. So far I’ve got “heron addict, sex addict, abusive husband, suspicious suicide of his wife Mary, and relations to Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” and that’s just the beginning.

    These articles, some very in depth, are starting to trickle out of various media orifices. I lament that more than likely discussions of M4A, Student Debt, Militarization of Police, MICC(congress) hijacking gov’t spending, continuous war mongering, a national security state on steroids, declining longevity, deteriorating opportunities for good jobs, etc…will not be debated in what passes for a public forum during the 2024 presidential campaign.

      1. Martin Oline

        I wish someone with the imagination of Dick Tuck was around. He died in 2018. From his Wiki entry:

        Tuck is credited with waving a train out of the station while Nixon was still speaking. Tuck at times took responsibility, claiming “Nixon’s up there talking and suddenly the crowd goes out like the morning tide” while at other times he denied it entirely saying that he did borrow a conductor’s hat and wave to the engineer, but the train stayed put.

        In 1968, Tuck utilized Republican nominee Nixon’s own campaign slogan against him; he hired a heavily pregnant black woman to wander around a Nixon rally in a predominantly white area, wearing a T-shirt that read, “Nixon’s the One!”

        Dick Tuck

        1. Questa Nota

          1968, with those memorable characters like Donald Segretti, he of SC Law, Rat F’ing fame and a short Watergate-induced prison stint.

          So there is nothing new under the sun.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      They’re really going to pull out “relations to Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” and a suspicious suicide? That didn’t stop a former Sec of State from running a couple of times.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      RFK, Jr. has the potential to become the dem’s very own dangerous-to-the-incumbent, Trump-like, Mr. Destructo candidate because he neither needs nor expects to win. He can say what he thinks pretty much without downside.

      It’s not as if biden has a vice grip on the electorate. Most democrats want him gone, and they don’t appear eager to replace him with the likes of harris or buttigieg. And if memory serves, Blacks, particularly the older ones who live in clyburn country, remember the Kennedy clan fondly. Not to mention that many Blacks were as suspicious of covid mass vaccination as RFK, Jr. was/is.

      In terms of oppo “research” aka baggage, it’s not like biden isn’t lugging a giant load named hunter around.

      biden’s handlers may already be feelin’ the heat. The abc news white house “reporter” gleefully “reported” this morning that an announcement of biden’s run for reelection may come next Tuesday, much sooner than anticipated. It seems that biden has a “sentimental” attachment to that date since it’s when he announced his candidacy last time.

      Uh huh.

      1. Martin Oline

        “Blacks, particularly the older ones who live in Clyburn country, remember the Kennedy clan fondly.” The decision to move the first Democrat primary from Iowa, primarily white, to South Carolina, may come back to haunt the party.

        1. some guy

          Will there come a time when elderly Black voters in South Carolina start saying things like . . .
          ” I liked the Kennedies. I voted for Kennedies. The Kennedies were a choice of mine. And son? you’re no Kennedy.” .to anyone other than RFKjr. himself?

          And if indeed RFK junior strikes them as a “worthy young Kennedy”, they may indeed vote for him on that basis.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Tiny Worms Get the Munchies, Too”

    Yeah, just going to freewheel it here. So if some stoner shuffles off his mortal coil and is buried, does that mean that any worms that find him will think that all their Christmases have come at once?

      1. José Freitas

        “the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the ones that go in, are lean and thin, the ones that come out, are fat and stout…”

  11. Lost in OR

    Defending Earth’s terrestrial microbiome

    For anyone interested in a deep dive into this topic I recommend:

    I’m about 3/4way through the Foundation Course and am enjoying it immensely.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I hope to hear more elaboration on soil transplantation in the future, as I have a personal interest in an oak savannah restoration project. Because when I hear the term, my initial, always skeptical, brain says, “umm, what about ash borers… and jumping worms?” I guess the ash borer transplantation issue can be dealt with by keeping transplantation local but jumping worms are a micro-local phenomenon, so even transplantation from a short distance away can be problematic.

  12. jsn

    To anyone who got through it, is the Richard Murphy piece worth it?

    Time constrained, I got maybe a quarter through to where, since he doesn’t like the history Forstater is referring to Marx for, he sets about constructing deductive logics for tax and money ahistorically from current globalists conditions.

    Does he arrive somewhere interesting or enlightening? Should I slog through this tonight? Murphy’s written some interesting things before.

    1. woozel

      Meh. He seems to be in an ongoing argument with some MMT folks and I don’t have the full history but in this article he’s arguing the standard MMT thesis that Goverment spending always precedes taxation is incorrect. His argument in a nutshell:

      “Impose a tax for which there is no means of settlement.
      Force labour to work for a currency they do not want, but have to acquire to pay the tax.
      Pay that labour.
      Accept their cash back as tax.

      The tax precedes the spend, always, in this particular case.”

      This is a semantics game. The MMT argument is that the imposition of a liability comes first yes, but the spend precedes the payment of that liability.

      1. Etrigan

        Yeah he’s referencing what sounds like a colonialist mechanism as described by Graeber et al and using it to prove…something?

      2. OnceWereVirologist

        Agreed, it’s just semantics. Tax and spend is a circular flow so of course there’s a chicken and egg problem if you insist on conceptualising it as a linear flow.

      3. cosmiccretin

        “Impose a tax for which there is no means of settlement.
        Force labour to work for a currency they do not want, but have to acquire to pay the tax.
        Pay that labour.
        Accept their cash back as tax.

        The tax precedes the spend, always, in this particular case.”

        No, it doesn’t.

        What precedes the spend in this case is the imposition of the tax (the liability to be taxed in due course) not the act of collecting it, which is what MMT alludes to.

        Murphy is just straw-manning – characteristically.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I think origin stories are important, or can be. After all, the debunking of the barter origin story is to me perhaps the most devastating critique of mainstream economics – the fraud that there is a pure “economy” separate from the state – and Marx’s primitive accumulation thesis regarding the origins of capitalism (which basically boils down to “you don’t get capitalism until proto-capitalists first steal a lot of proto-capital”) is to me the most compelling evidence in support of his analysis of the history of capitalism. And, reading Murphy’s piece, I did find his origin story more compelling than the story he attributes to Forstater and Mosler (though I have no idea if Forstater or Mosler accept his attribution as a correct one).

      But I do agree with OnceWereVirologist in that it seems be a chicken-and-egg problem that I’m not sure matters.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Thanks for this reference, of which I was not familiar. Agree, it seems to have held up well.

          1. jsn

            You’re welcome!

            After that I read Spaulding’s “History of the Paper Currency” about the greenback in the Civil War.

            Not only does this tell the story of baseline monetary economics, it also captures a timeless politics of greed and disingenuousness directly lifted from “The Congressional Record”.

    3. Cetra Ess

      I think Left In Wisconsin sums it up.

      Apart from that, there’s this weird bit:

      “He does so because he presumes that from a Marxist perspective the states that we are talking about are malign because they exist to promote capitalism. As someone happy to live in a mixed economy and who has no desire to replace our current overall society with one built on Marxist lines, unsurprisingly I have some problems with this premise. ”

      Except Marx didn’t advocate any system or society that could be described as “based on Marxist lines”, which is why Lenin filled the gap.

      But it’s a common argument form. Attribute to Marx a stance he did not hold, be vague about it, proceed to relate someone’s thesis to Marx via that tenuous strand, then dismiss with prejudice. It’s a sort of ad hominem straw dog combo, easy to do because odds are your readership or audience has the same unlikely grasp of Marx. In this case, however, Richard does provide other arguments, doesn’t entirely rely on this reductio ad Marxism or Marxist variation of Godwin’s law.

      But yes, to finally arrive at…spend came before taxes.

      1. jsn

        A “straw hominem”, I’ll use that!

        I wonder what other mixed fallacies we can come up with?

        I think the world is ready!

    4. eg

      My interpretation is that Murphy doesn’t like Mosler’s premise that the state system of money is coercive.

    5. Grebo

      A bizarre rant by Murphy. He seems to be triggered by the mere mention of Marx. Only Communists quote Marx or something.

      “the currency itself being acceptable without the requirement to tax because it was made of an inherently valuable commodity, hence the gold standard.”

      Nope. Surprised to see an accountant falling for that.

      1. Susan the other

        That comment about the value of the token was originally not really a token, it was a gold coin with its own value, so it was still a form of barter, no? And this logic extends throughout Murthy’s post because, as I read it, money, in whatever token form, is still barter. Today money is the token that makes all commodities fungible, including human labor. And clearly a healthy sovereign fiat must be based on a healthy population. Murphy almost says this. And even before gold coins were minted, transactions were fiated with trust and cooperation. As far as taxing goes, my takeaway is that taxes logically go into social progress and improvement. Sucking inflation back into control. Today we have such a deep debt to the environment that inflation should be no worry – we can spend into environmental repair and sustainability like there’s no tomorrow. Because if we don’t there isn’t.

  13. paddy

    about time, and why did kiev have to ask?

    ukraine asking for logistics support for all the donations…. technicians in country!

    have to ask lockheed and general dynamic if they want to set up shop, and how much it will cost.

    bc the dod buyers worried about logistics for these thing too late.

    us stuff is logistics heavy and any spares, equipment, maintenance data and technicians takes away from logistics support to other us “requirements”

    nice that we are sending entire systems 6000 miles to be blown up by local russians

    the same empire that forgets logistics for the stuff we send is saying kiev can attack!

    i sold my us war bonds 30 years ago!

    1. digi_owl

      Was there not an article the other day about Romania setting up an M1 maintenance depot near the Ukrainian border?

  14. KLG

    Regarding the occludin paper from PNAS, I participated in similar research in my previous life. Traveling today, but after a rapid read the data look very solid and convincing. Just another reason why spike was the wrong vaccine target? Maybe. It has been a long time since I have thought about this, but occludin does exactly what the name implies. It is essential for maintaining the tight junction seal between cells in every epithelial sheet of cells in the body (so far as I know). TMI but this seal separates the apical from basolateral domains of epithelial cell membranes. So, in addition to forming giant, multinuclear cells the process might also contribute to vascular leak? SARS-CoV-2, like all viruses, is very “smart” at what it does. And syncitium formation is one mechanism many viruses use to spread. Crafty little devils…

  15. Biologist

    In enjoyed this read this morning:

    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Meet the rednecks running a mutual aid auto repair shop in Alabama

    “He is a self-identified redneck (as in the original reference: communist-sympathizing miners in West Virginia), and once his Ph.D. was done, he dove into an anti-racist strain of Marxist political organizing in Birmingham, working on developing cooperative businesses, community land trusts, popular education, and community farming projects.”

    Apologies if it’s been linked before.

  16. Jason Boxman

    On Tight junction protein occludin is an internalization factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and mediates virus cell-to-cell transmission, so I’m sorry I don’t have the link, but someone’s substack was posted here maybe 6 months ago, and this was one of the transmission methods discussed, that once inside a cell, SARS-COV-2 was able to get other cells to kind of fuse with that cell and infect them as well. It sounded like serious game over, and it’s sad to read about it elsewhere, as a kind of confirmation.


    The world’s largest experiment on human physiology continues.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “‘Frustrating’: Ukraine slams EU for failing to deliver on ammo plan”

    What did they expect? NATO has been scrambling to find ammo from as far afield as South Korea and the Middle East and have drawn too deeply into their own reserves. We are talking about real world limits here to what is possible and the blowback of western countries outsourcing and ‘rationalizing’ their industrial capability. And this is something that you just cannot do with magical thinking whether it is by the Ukraine or any other country.

    1. digi_owl

      Do wonder how many uniforms has been screaming at the suits that NATO do not have the capacity for a war of attrition with Russia, never mind China and Russia at the same time.

    2. Acacia

      Maybe the coalition of the willing can send the Ukies some “refurbished” ammo along with those refurbished Leopard tanks.

    3. Cetra Ess

      And does the EU even have the capacity, what with metal production winding down and mills closing due to the combination of US economic tariffs and the fuel crisis? Is the production capability even there?

  18. jan

    I think my first comment has gone into the black hole. So try again.
    For those interested in the developments re Scotland and SNP.
    The best blogger on the SNP is Rev Stuart Campbell’s Wings over Scotland blog. He focussed of the lack of democracy within the SNP since Sturgeon’s rise to power, the cult of the Sturgeonites etc. He has been accused of being an unionist, conspiracy nut etc. Normally the msm in Scotland ignore him. But this week (accidentally?):

    An analyses of the internal (party) problems facing the new leader of the SNP, peter a bell’s blog:

  19. Stephen

    “as Gramsci writes somewhere, state and civil society are separable only as (academic) objects of study”

    I think as I believe you say, Lambert, this is an increasingly apt empirical description of western societies. If NGOs are government funded, corporations have a revolving door of executives in and out of government and media acts as an arm of law enforcement plus propaganda dissemination then civil society is by definition not independent of the state. But it is a very different situation to (for example) Victorian society when many people’s contact with the state was limited and there was a thriving network of bottom up NGOs such as Trade Unions, temperance groups and multiple religions denominations that were independent of the state. Not necessarily hostile to it but not linked to it either.

    Many years ago I was taught that fusion of state and society was one of the key tests for fascism, and in more extreme forms for totalitarianism (fascism itself arguably not being totalitarian, as distinct from Nazism that more clearly is with its overriding dialectic of racial hierarchy and conflict). Does seem to be where the west is heading but we sure like to fight wars to preserve “freedom” and “democracy”

    1. midtownwageslave

      In my view, corporations are extensions of the state. A layer removed and “independently” managed. This structure is useful when corporate crimes are abetted or ignored by the government that creates and/or enforces the legal frame work in which corporations operate. Corporate taxes can be seen as a fee (tribute?) for the right to exploit.

      Environmental crime? It was the corps fault. Crime against humanity (see COVID or western slave trade)? It was the corps.

      The illicit drug trade operates similarly. You want a lot of layers between the higher ups and the street dealers when the cops come knocking.

      1. digi_owl

        Their original premise was to perform say maintenance on a bridge over time, and this task would be part of the corporate charter.

        But over time such charters were allowed to be quite loose, bringing about the modern corporation.

        IMO the bigger problem is that much of the crap corporations get up to come at the instigation of the board. But thanks to the corporate veil, the board is insulated from legal blowback.

        On top of that politicians, or their next of kin, are more and more often shareholders in these corporations.

    2. Revenant

      Don’t forget class. Those Victorian NGO’s were all non-U, below the salt, not one of us etc. All that campaigning was the sort of infra-dig thing that Low Church types got up to, like temperance and street preaching. Methodists! Quakers! Dissenters! Women! Definitely not Establishment High Anglican (I.e. Episcopalian) types.

      There was no danger of NGO state capture while the ruling class’s pastimes were riding, hunting, breeding hounds and drinking port.

      The problem with the PMC is state-society fusion. The Establishment was Society and lived to run the State whereas the PMC is the State and lives to run Society….

      What we need us a dose of old fashioned snobbery and noblesse oblige to put the PMC back below stairs.

      1. hunkerdown

        Capitalist elites created the PMC for a reason, as Ehrenreich’s paper pointed out. Capitalists wil discard the PMC when and where they are unprofitable, as Elon showed recently. They will also transform them into a priestly institution if it suits them, the same way most Christian religions and think tanks came about. It turns out that church and state are actually inseparable; when you try, you get civil religion and anti-“election disinformation” laws with million dollar fines.

        It would be a much better idea to forget class in its entirety, actually, and maybe property and value too, than to childishly and self-regardingly live in fictions.

      2. Questa Nota

        State-affiliated, within hailing distance of QUANGO-adjacent.

        The general public, to the extent that it might consider such things, could be forgiven for thinking the following:

        Peer behind the curtain of both and find many familiar faces, often in multiple roles, or with common handlers.

    3. ribaraca

      It wasn’t a different situation in Victorian society, exactly the same thing is true in the sense that the division you’re referring to is based on class, not between state and civil society. Ruling class state and civil society were close-knit in Victorian society, while working class state and civil society were as well. Holding up ruling class state society and working class civil society as examples to show a division between the two is just obfuscation, not an argument against Gramsci’s essentially correct insight.

      1. Revenant

        No it is a different model. The Victorian electoral franchise was so restricted (men of property) that only the views and lives of the port swilling class mattered. Working with the lumpen proletariat created no more political base than working for the RSCPA/PDSA does today.

        We are not ruled by people who spend their time to police our thinking on cat spaying, gayness in penguins and the rights of whales as first peoples of the Arctic because cats, penguins and whales do not have power or provide a path to power.

        The drive behind veganism, against dairy is intriguing. Have cows been given the vote? Clearly insects haven’t if we must Eat Ze Bugs.

  20. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    Dominos Theory was the idea that if the Fed didn’t deliver in 30 minutes, you’d get free crazy bread-as much as you liked.

    We would call an order in and then go hide under the jungle canopy until say 34 minutes had passed, and then claim our booty.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “US inventory: old forests cover area larger than California”

    ‘Many members of Congress including some Democrats want to ramp up logging in the name of reducing wildfire risks’

    Well, yes. If you chop them all down for timber, there is no fire hazard from them anymore.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It certainly gets irritating when instead of just reporting on a story, that what they think and say is supposed to be more important than the story itself. They always have to put their own spin on a story.

      1. digi_owl

        They all seem to dream themselves the next Hunter S. Thompson, but invariably they do not have the worldly experience to base their writings on.

  22. Alice X

    >Maybe Taibbi should lawyer up?

    Last night Glenn Greenwald was all over Medhi Hassan’s mistakes in his grilling of Taibbi over the CIS v CISA issue and the resultant letter to Matt from Stacey Plaskett threatening jail time. Lee Fang did a piece on Hassan’s mistakes (he didn’t respond to Fang).

    System Update fed right into Kim Iverson (I rarely watch her) who had Matt on (and Larry Johnson). Matt does have a lawyer.

    I’m so old I remember a clip of Frank Church (The Church Committee) commenting on revelations that the Senators themselves had been spied on.

    Wasn’t the Pike Committee tougher? As its report was suppressed. It showed the orders for the CIA et al came from the White House.

  23. Veritea

    Regarding the SpaceX rocket – a bit of history on moon rockets is in order. The USSR moon rocket had ~30 odd engines and they were never able to get them to fire synchronously which is why they didn’t make it to the moon. The Saturn V on the other hand had just five massive engines, making the problem of synchronous firing much easier to solve.

    Per the link SpaceX had engine firing problems on their 33-engine cluster that cause the rocket to wobble and then later explode.

    It remains to be seen if SpaceX can solve the problem that doomed the USSR moon mission.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “What’s Wrong With The G7 Statement On Myanmar?”

    It may be not so much that the G7 can’t ramp up pressure on Myanmar as they have more important things to worry about – the Ukraine. It has been noted that the G7 – among others – is totally obsessed with that country and all other concerns have been thrown on the back burner. It seems too that the only interest that they have with the Global South is trying to get them to take part in the sanctions war with Russia, no matter how it effects their economy. So the military in Myanmar are probably figuring that they can keep on doing what they want as nobody cares right now.

  25. Lexx

    ‘Defending Earth’s terrestrial microbiome’

    I’m going to file this one under ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’. Every time I make another batch of yogurt or kombucha, put by food in the fall, compost leaves then redistribute in the spring, see another cluster of mushrooms ‘volunteer’ in this very dry landscape, I think about microbial diversity and I’m reminded humans are not really the leading actors we think we are in this drama. We’re bit players and ‘starving artists’ at best.

    There was this article in Science News from last fall… ‘you may avoid the Black Plague, but you and your descendants will live with Crohn’s Disease’. Covid-19… high pre-existing inflammation bad? Black Plague… high pre-existing inflammation good? Both affect(ed) the balance of the human microbiome.

  26. Wukchumni

    Disneyland computer crash traps massive crowds outside front gates in ‘crazy scene’ (Orange County Register)

    I’ve been trapped outside of Disneyland for eons…

    1. ambrit

      Disneyland really has pointed the way for Neo-liberalism for decades. Weren’t they the first “country” that had fixed money prices for entry visas? Now just about everyone notionally national has minimum wealth limits for extended stays.

  27. Mikel

    “In my view, Twitter should have retained “state-affiliated” for all those sources, and applied it to the Washington Post and the New York Times as well, the concept of “solidarity” with all all of them being self-evidently absurd to anyone not in the club…”

    And used the label for “state-affiliated” advertisers/corporations. Really capture the “solidarity.”

    1. Revenant

      Surely they should have corrected the record and labeled them ‘denies state affiliation” every time. What’s to complain about?

  28. Wukchumni

    Washington: In suburban Detroit, it was a lost 14-year-old looking for directions. In Kansas City, it was a 16-year-old who went to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers. There was a 12-year-old rummaging around in a yard in small-town Alabama, a 20-year-old woman who found herself in the wrong driveway in upstate New York and a cheerleader who got into the wrong car in Texas.

    All of them, and dozens more across America, were met by gunfire. Some were injured, some killed.

    A study published in 2022 by the JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that monthly homicide rates increased between 8 and 11 per cent in states with stand-your-ground laws.

    “I think it has commonly become known of as a licence to use deadly force whenever someone feels threatened,” said Geoffrey Corn, the chair of criminal law at the Texas Tech University School of Law. He has extensively studied such laws, which he believes are deeply misunderstood by the public.

    “The fear has to be justified by the circumstances,” he said. “You don’t get to kill somebody just because you fear them.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting thesis, I guess, but seems more like a case of the correlation is causation fallacy to me.

      More likely the effect of decades of encouraging citizens with differing opinions to despise each other to the point of wishing each other dead as a way of ensuring a rock solid political constituency to be exploited by one side or the other every 2 years, and then expressing “horror” when it actually comes to pass.

      It wasn’t that long ago, for example, that some pretty loud voices were advocating for denying medical care to MAGA scum vaccine refuseniks with the same outcome in mind. Different weapon, same idea, way different level of “horrificness.”

  29. Katniss Everdeen

    Apologies if this has been covered here, but I haven’t seen it.

    Apparently there’s a new home loan “policy” set to take effect May 1 and it’s a doozy.

    Homebuyers with good credit scores will soon encounter a costly surprise: a new federal rule forcing them to pay higher mortgage rates and fees to subsidize people with riskier credit ratings who are also in the market to buy houses.

    The fee changes will go into effect May 1 as part of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s push for affordable housing, and they will affect mortgages originating at private banks across the country. The federally backed home mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enact the loan-level price adjustments, or LLPAs.

    Mortgage industry specialists say homebuyers with credit scores of 680 or higher will pay, for example, about $40 per month more on a home loan of $400,000. Homebuyers who make down payments of 15% to 20% will get socked with the largest fees.

    So, pay your bills to maintain your credit rating and get penalized. Save your pennies for a downpayment and take a hit.

    Is there an industry anywhere in this robust, growing economy that could function without some sort of government subsidy?

    1. Questa Nota

      CRA lending targets, met with relaxed FICO scores, flexible down payment documentation and squirrely loan officer manipulations were followed as night follows day, with that GFC. Juice up the returns with those tranches to end all tranches, then factor in a CDO. Hell, make it a CDO squared. Keep that insurance company on speed dial, or an open line, to meet the quotas.

      The current racket is to go right to the source. Make one part of the market subsidize the other directly with some enforced savings. Gotta hand it to the lobbyists. They got the finance sector removed from part of the equation and put the homeowners on the hook.
      Now, how to get the middleman a piece of the action? Maybe work that out in Committee?

  30. Adam Eran

    One comment about the blockchain: My understanding is blockchain consists of a database duplicated (“mirrored”) in several locations, so one computer crash doesn’t lose data. But, in my experience, any “carrier grade” computer system has mirrored disks, mirrored databases, etc. It ain’t that new…and foolproof.

    NC computer nerds…any correction or comment here?

    1. Fraibert

      Blockchains are self-authenticating ledgers. They are not simple duplicated databases.

      Besides actual ledger data, each “block” (element of the ledger) includes a cryptographic hash of the previous block, as well as a time stamp. A cryptographic hash is a one-way mathematical function that transforms an input into an output that is unique to that particular input. Due to the presence of this chain of hashes, it is possible to assess whether a block has been retroactively altered because all subsequent blocks after the altered one will not contain the correct hashes.

      Blockchains are also designed to be distributed. A blockchain can be exist in many duplicate versions, with a system to handle when different branches of the chain are in inconsistent update status to eventually settle on a more definitive version.

      The point of blockchain, as far as I can tell, is more towards creating a publicly accessible ledger that is also not subject to retroactive alteration and prevents double payments and the like. In theory, blockchains don’t have to be publicly accessible, but the real world use seems to mostly be publicly-available cryptocurrencies, where such transparency is part of the normal ethos.

    2. Polar Socialist

      You are correct for a very, very loose definition of a database.

      The shortest description of blockchain is that it’s an immutable public ledger used between actors who don’t trust each other. Each actor can independently validate each transaction in the chain.

      A new block to the chain can only be added when enough of peers accept it as a valid block. And because the latest block in the chain contains a hash based on the hash of every previous block in the chain, no actor can change the contents of any of the blocks in the chain.

      That is, unless the majority of the participants actually accept the “hacked” blockchain as valid. It does have some other issues, too: computational overhead, signal to noise ratio etc…

      My personal opinion is that it’s mostly held back because it really has not that many uses: actors who don’t trust each other usually don’t share data that needs proof of not being tampered with.

      Except for bitcoin.

    3. hunkerdown

      A blockchain isn’t mirrored, it’s syndicated and replicated. If you recall UUCP or FIDOnet or NNTP or BitTorrent, blockchains operate more like them than like RAID. Unlike those distributed replication algorithms, blockchains generally require that you take the entire ledger so that you can cryptographically validate the ledger as a whole, unbroken chronicle of value.

  31. Willow

    re: NATO chief says Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in the alliance.
    Either ‘Ukraine’ is a rump left to join NATO of little concern to Russia or we’re heading for a hot war. I suspect the later because West is clearly trying to escalate things by putting this out there.

    1. some guy

      If what the NATO chief wants in the long run is a NovoNazi Holy EUroman Empire, then having a rump Galiciakraine be all that is left of Ukraine to join NATO is perfectly fine, because Galicikraine is where all the Ukranazis would be, and having Ukranazi Banderazovistan in NATO would help to NovoNazify NATO to harmonize NATO with the NovoNazi Holy EUroman Empire which the Lords of Brussels would like to create.

  32. KD

    Ukraine president calls leaders who stay neutral populist

    Populists call leaders who skim aid money crooks.

  33. some guy

    . . . ” Kyiv Seeks U.S. Technical Support at ‘Maximum Proximity to the Battlefield’ Newsweek. Boots on the ground? That is, overtly? ” . . .

    Well, if the US personnel on the ground are Special Forces, and they wear sneakers, they can be sent to the front without having any “boots on the ground”. All nice and shysterlegal.

  34. KnotRP

    The St Louis Fed must know companies (especially in tech) post job openings they have no intention of filling (in the US, at least).

    Adding a falsely inflated number (garbage in) predictably produces an inflated result (garbage out)

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