Links 4/8/2023

Moose on the loose in Alaska hospital BBC

Number of Amur leopards in Primorsky Region rises to 125 adults over year TASS (guurst)

Morocco’s Tiny Sand Cats Reveal Behavior Never Before Seen in Wild Cats Treehugger (resilc)

Miners find mummified squirrel in Dawson City, Yukon CTV (resilc)

Family Matters: Everyday life in the Neo-Assyrian empire Lapham’s Quarterly (Anthony L)

People were taking drugs in Spain 3,000 years ago, study finds BBC (resilc)

Kirsten Tambling – Such Sweet Sorrow Literary Review (Anthony L). On Juliets.

The City That Fell Off a Cliff Public Domain Review (Anthony L)


Covid Is Still Deadlier for Patients Than Flu Bloomberg (Paul R)

COVID-19 Is a Vascular Disease: Coronavirus’ Spike Protein Attacks Vascular System on a Cellular Level SciTechDaily

Covid left thousands of US children orphans. Few states are addressing the crisis Guardian


The Brooklyn Navy Yard Has Become a Lab for Planet-Saving Tech New York Times

Study says warming may push more hurricanes toward US coasts PhysOrg

Big Oil’s favorite way to lie: paltering Emily Atkin (Dr. Kevin)

Walmart Plans Own EV Charger Network At US Stores By 2030 Reuters

California (Sort-of) Banned Small EVs When it Banned Gasoline Cars Energy Institute Blog (guurst)


Chinese military rehearsing encirclement of Taiwan BBC

China’s Newest Dating Craze: Real-Life Meetups With Virtual Boyfriends SixthTone (resilc)

European Disunion

Chad gives German ambassador 48 hours to leave country Press TV

La belle France

New Not-So-Cold War

US Will Threaten Europe To Implement Sanctions on Russia Antiwar (Kevin W)

Russia charges Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich with espionage ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Ukraine Rating Downgraded by S&P on Debt Restructuring Plan Bloomberg

New Leaks of U.S./NATO Military Intelligence Documents Alarms Washington Larry Johnson

On that maybe leaked maybe NATO document on Ukraine’s options re a counteroffensive:

The crimes of the Banderovites against the Ukrainian people: Notes by a Ukrainian Trotskyist WSWS

The Ukrainian diaspora’s influence on Canadian foreign policy decisions The Canada Files (guurst0


To Help End the Yemen War, All China Had to Do Was Be Reasonable Intercept (Kevin W)

The fallacy of a US withdrawal from the Middle East Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Analyst on Tehran’s Nuclear Game: What Iran Wants for a New Deal Der Spiegel

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ICE Is Grabbing Data From Schools and Abortion Clinics Wired (Tom H)

Colorado Intel Agency Monitors Students Protesting Gun Violence The Intercept

Crooks Are Using CAN Injection Attacks To Steal Cars The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

Toward a Realist American Grand Strategy American Conservative (resilc)

Mark Sobel on “(Why) The Dollar Is Still King?”: Video Menzie Chinn

In a Biden-DeSantis Race, All Politics Will Be Local Washington Monthly (resilc)

L’affaire Clarence Thomas

Justice Clarence Thomas defends ‘family trips’ with GOP donor Politico

Clarence Thomas Took Illicit Vacations on One of the Largest Superyachts in the World: Report Jalopnik

Clarence Thomas’s undisclosed luxury travel was a burden, surely. Washington Post (resilc)


Federal judge blocks abortion pill approval The Hill

Biden Administration Vows to Fight Texas Abortion Pill Ruling Bloomberg

Florida’s Ron DeSantis threatens Disney with tolls and taxes BBC. Resilc: “I actually hope they kill each other in a death match.”

Our No Longer Free Press

Arkansas House Wants You To Show ID To Use Social Media ArkTimes

Woke Watch

Supreme Court declines to intervene to enforce West Virginia transgender athlete ban The Hill. Resilc: “No healthcare, no jobs, environmental mess…but the three trans kids playing sports is the major issue for the state.”


What do AI chatbots know about us, and who are they sharing it with? Endgadget (Kevin W)

AI Developers Stymied by Server Shortage at AWS, Microsoft, Google The Information

The Bezzle

Saudi Arabia invests almost $40bn to become Video Gaming Hub Juan Cole

Small businesses are filing for bankruptcy at a higher rate than at the peak of the pandemic – and a looming credit crunch could make things worse Business Insider. From earlier in the week, still germane.

Samsung To Cut Chip Production as Profits Plunge by 96% Guardian

Harvard professor lobbied SEC on behalf of oil firm that pays her lavishly, emails show Guardian (Kevin W)

Exxon Mobil Eyes Potential Megadeal With Shale Driller Pioneer Wall Street Journal (BC)

Workers at Meta say they got paid to do nothing: ‘They hoarded us like Pokémon cards’ New York Post (Kevin W)

The ruthlessness of the consulting industry Times Literary Supplement (Anthony L)

Rotten Banks

Deposit insurance maximization as a service Patrick McKenzie (Paul R). On brokered deposits.

Guillotine Watch

30 under 30-year sentences: why so many of Forbes’ young heroes face jail Guardian (resilc)

Class Warfare

North Adams Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm, Drug Charges iBerkshires. Resilc: “Sell smack or get $15 an hour P/T at McDonalds. USA USA.”

Private Equity and Its Hospitals Washington Monthly. We’ve been amplifying the considerable work of Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt on this topic for years. More outlets are finally catching up.

The Fed Isn’t Having a Lot of Luck Cooling this Labor Market Wolf Richter

The Republican Plan to Cut the Deficit on the Backs of Struggling Americans New Republic. Resilc:

I stopped into North Adams, Ma Ocean State discount store to buy some cleaning materials and stood in line behind a 50s-something woman talking to her husband on how to pay for a $30 rug. Which card isn’t overrun. Down the street at Walmureto people look like a combination of zombies and eastern Ukies. Sad state of affairs with the worker bee/lower classes trying to hang on.

Antidote du jour. Chris H: “Daughter Cassie is ready for her close-up. Mother Nina less so, but cool with it.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Chad gives German ambassador 48 hours to leave country”

    Not many details to be found online for the precise reason why Chad is giving the German Ambassador the boot. The fact that they want him gone in two days shows that they are certainly upset with whatever he did. I would guess that he has been meeting with members of the opposition to help them topple the present government hence the accusation of a “lack of respect for diplomatic customs”. Come to think of it, it was only a few days ago that Turkish President Erdogan went on a rant against the US Ambassador in Türkiye for meeting with the country’s opposition leader – in an election year. Too many times I have seen western Ambassadors act as activists rather than Ambassadors so I would guess that the same happened in Chad here. Expect more stories like this.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I think that 48 hours is the normal grace period. Declaring a diplomat as persona non grata basically means that they are not recognized as part of the diplomatic corps anymore, and thus will have no diplomatic immunity granted to diplomats.

      Article 39, paragraph 2 of Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations states that when persons “diplomatic functions” come to an end, their “privileges and immunities” end when they leave the country, or expire after a reasonable period.

      Article 41, paragraph 1 of the same convention also states that persons enjoying such “privileges and immunities” have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the State granting those “privileges and immunities”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The way it eats – it has just got to be a teenage otter. Now I am off to do an otter thing.

              1. icancho

                must wreck the house regularly…

                IIRC, the otter that Gavin Maxwell lived with (as told in his book, A Ring of Bright Water) essentially did just that. I think I remember aright that he eventually had his desk, papers, etc. installed inside a large cage where he could work in peace, while the otter climbed the curtains …

  2. JohnA

    Re Covid left thousands of US children orphans. Few states are addressing the crisis Guardian

    And without a trace of irony, the absurd Guardian is amongst the shrillest screaming support for the ICC war crimes charge that Russia has ‘kidnapped’ children from Ukraine, with no mention of whether such children have been orphaned by Ukrainian bombs or are escaping to safety from same such bombing.

    But i guess billions of dollars to Zelensky is priority, not orphaned kids in America.

    1. JBird4049

      And this is what breaks the information and social bubble for some people.

      Hey, more homeless. More unexpected deaths.

      Yes, those monstrous Russians. Slava Ukraini!


      I was talking about here.

      You Putin lover!

      If we can spend endless resources for the Forever Wars, what about a little love for the people who live in the United States? And just why did we send all the factories overseas even when they still were making a profit?

      TINA, you communist.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Apparently the story about the Ukraine children is even worse than you think.

      In many, if not most cases, it was THEIR PARENTS, Ukrainians but ethnic Russians, who wanted them moved out of the combat zone to Russia. Dunno why parents didn’t go with them (maybe felt their contribution in Donbass was indispensable, like medics or keeping the electrical system running?). But Ukraine and its ICC stooges are taking the position that a party to a war moving children who are citizens of its opponent to their country is illegal, no matter if the parents approved or instigated.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Before the start of the war the Donbass Republics put out an order forbidding military age males leaving. So at most only the mothers would have been able to go unless there were other children there which could not go. From what I have seen of these places for children, they remind me of summer camps that you read about in America.

        1. GF

          I have not been able to find out how many of the estimated 280,000 Ukranian war refugees in the USA are males of military draft age. Does anyone have a link to that information? Some photos of the refugees show young healthy men. I’m sure Z would like to have them back in the homeland for his war efforts.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Because these were art camps for children lasting only few months. Art camps, as in kids continuing their lessons in classical instruments under tutoring of some of the Russia’s best musical pedagogues. Talented kids have not been able to study properly because of the war.

        And parents preferred some secrecy, because people in Ukraine really, really don’t want the Ukrainian government/SBU to know they have had any dealings with Russia. After all, the kids returned home after the camp, and you never know how the front line moves.

    3. topcat

      Perhaps slightly off topic, but Switzerland has now withdrawn itsCOVID mRNA injection recommendation:

      We should try to remember, that the massive vaccine side-effects issue is ongoing and that we are seeing a very large number of “vaccine” deaths which are being ascribed to COVID or if you are in the UK ambulance delays and crappy NHS service.

    1. Benny Profane

      I like Taibbi, pay for his substack, but, he needs a spokesperson if he wants to continue this media tour. He’s awful at debating and defending himself against professional aholes who come at him fast and furious. Great writer, but, as Nabokov described himself, an idiot in conversation.

      1. flora

        He certainly give the aholes plenty of room to demonstrate their ahole-ness in all it’s stupidity. It’s sort of funny, really. Clown world MSM.

        1. Benny Profane

          Jimmy Dore should be in his corner, rubbing his shoulders, shouting encouragement.
          I never watch MSNBC, and have hardly heard of this fellow that was shouting at him, but, lord, does this even work with anybody? What kind of ratings does he have?

      2. .human

        Taibbi holds himself very well as he behaves diplomatically in the face of the bullying he receives. He does not stoop to the level of his inquisitors.

        1. Mikel

          Music tames wild beasts.
          Taibbi should record some of his major points on topics to music. Have them sung or rapped.
          Whenever one of these tools does the talk-over psyop, he should just hit play on his device and turn the music up.
          Then release the song.
          Just spitballin’…

      3. pjay

        I said this yesterday, but it bears repeating. It takes considerable skill to avoid the trap Taibbi fell into with Hassan in a live “interview” (i.e. ambush). Hassan, armed with specific errors culled from the massive Twitter files posts, used them to keep Taibbi on the defensive and completely obscure the main story. Then later, selective clips of Taibbi’s uncertainties could be aired over and over to discredit him.

        This also bears repeating: take some lessons from Jeffrey Sachs. He knows his stuff, maintains a moderate but authoritative tone, absolutely refuses to be sidetracked or interrupted by the hacks who are interviewing him, and is clear and concise in forcing his major points into the interview before he can be cut off. He goes into an unfriendly interview expecting to be ambushed and knows what to say when he is. This is a valuable talent, but unfortunately it is rare.

        1. Bosko

          One thing that Sachs does very well is, he contests the premises and the framing of questions. It’s best to do this right out of the gate, I think. Answering the question first and then politely pointing out the framing later in the conversation is not very successful.

      4. CloverBee

        I saw where he and Douglas Murray debated Malcolm Nance and another. I nominate Douglas Murray to be Matt’s spokesperson, he is fabulous at debating a-holes. Matt is too thoughtful and doesn’t speak fast enough to deal with them. Also, did they put a filter on Matt to be extra pale with red under his eyes?
        I also like Matt and pay for his substack.

      5. mary jensen

        The V. Nabokov quote:

        “I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.”

  3. Tom67

    About the crimes of the Banderovytes: this is all true. But it is also true that the Soviet secret police, the NKVD enacted horrific slaughters and torture of all suspected enemies when they entered formerly polish Western Ukraine after the Hitler-Stalin pakt. Estimates are that 10% of the population was deported to Siberia. When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 the NKVD killed all their political prisoners. Thousands alone in Lviv (Ukrainian), Lvov (Polish) or Lemberg (the German name). The fact of the matter is that all sides engaged in horrific acts. The Soviets though started it and brutalised a whole society.
    NATO and the West opened that box of Pandora by allowing the Banderites to drag up these old grievances that all sides harbour. And true to form the Banderites of course never acknowledged what they themselves have perpetrated.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Yup. The region has been a mess since WW1. In the 30’s Poland had concentration camps (well, “isolation” camps, if you wish) for Ukrainian and Belarusian nationalist fighting against Polish rule*. Or just talking about “uniting Belarus”.

        The Ukrainian nationalist (a la de mode Bandera) were already talking about what could today only be described as ethnic cleansing of Ukrainian lands.

        * in the regions Poland got in the Treaty of Riga 1921 and Soviet Union took back in 1939.

        1. bdy

          I remember being disappointed that, in his speeches leading up to the intervention, Putin didn’t address more directly the Soviet role in creating the conditions for conflict. It would have given his apology a little more tooth than the long winded (but still interesting imo) Lenin/Stalin history lesson.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        It began well before the 1949 date cited in the Politico piece. In 1944 Frank Wisner of the OSS and later the CIA smuggled out some Nazi agents who had been captured in the Balkans by including them in a group of flights flying USA POWs whose prison camp in Romania had been liberated. Most of them were AAF guys whose planes had been shot down during the infamous Ploesti refinery bombing mission. In 1945 Allen Dulles of the OSS protected Reinhard Gehlen & his entire eastern front intelligence and subversion command from being turned over to the USSR for war crimes prosecution. Gehlen’s operation continued as before, but taking direction from Dulles instead of Hitler. See David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard and L. Fletcher Prouty’s The Secret Team. Prouty was one of the pilots on the Romanian prison camp flights.

    1. upstater

      Versailles started it, not the Soviets, just like in the middle east.

      Many of the same things happened in Lithuania as in western Ukraine, but the difference is independence of Lithuania, facilitated by Britain and France after Versailles between 1918 and 1940. Like Ukraine in the aftermath of WW1 there were Bolshevik governments for brief periods.

      During the initial Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1940, nationalist leaders went to Berlin. Resistance cells to the USSR were formed and very active. When Germany invaded in 1941, the fifth column of brown shirt resisters operated openly in advance of the Nazis and enthusiastically implementing the final solution which murdered 200,000 Jews in 6 months and of course first liquidated communists, socialists and trade unionists.

      Lithuania did not form SS units like the Banderites, Latvia or Estonia. However there was a large (many tens of thousands) indigenous grouping of police and militias well armed by the Nazis in 1943-44. When the Red Army (which included many Lithuanians) drove the Nazis out in 1944, partisan warfare began, peaking in 1946-47, but lasting until 1953. The bands operated as death squads killing people associated with the new Lithuanian SSR government. Terrorism?

      Needless to say, the nationalist partisans were ruthlessly suppressed in the USSR. Just like the Lithuanian Bolsheviks were ruthlessly suppressed in 1919-20 by the Freikorps, during the interwar Republic and during the 1941-44 Nazi occupation. Something like 10% of the Lithuanian population was deported to Siberia and Asian SSRs after the war. The vast majority returned, but some perished.

      History is written by the victors. Current historical interpretation of the USSR is written by extreme nationalists. Denial of complicity in genocide is rampant in places like Ukraine or the Baltics. I have yet to find an objective history of the Baltics written in English.

      1. digi_owl

        “Current historical interpretation of the USSR is written by extreme nationalists.”

        Often in the comfort of a tenure in USA or Canada…

    2. Bugs

      The USSR’s zeal for total destruction of the racist, eugenicist Nazi ideology led to abuses but were they worse than the alternative? We’re still obviously paying the price for American complaisance.

    3. Kouros

      Were random 10% or were they THE 10%, those on the top of the hierarchy based on wealth trans mongered into political power?

        1. Kouros

          Ah, just found a snippet in the WSWS linked article from an eye witness:

          “The leading forces of the Banderovites on the ground were mostly well-to-do kulaks, who owned many tithes of land.”

          1. tevhatch

            Yep, and many of the de-lopped “nobles” have off-spring running the press and government in North America and the EU, controlling the narrative. Professor Grover Furr did an archive dive when the USSR fell and disproved a lot of these sorts of claims. It’s amazing how well he and his books have been suppressed.

      1. anahuna

        The question is worth asking, but I wince at the use of the word “abuses,” so often used to obscure torture and murder. Domestic, as in the notorious Chicago police station; foreign: as in droning wedding parties in Oops! mode.That the party committing the murders believes that they are necessary and therefore justified does not alter the actuality of pain, blood, and slaughter on both sides

    1. The Rev Kev

      Since ChatGPT is essentially a black box, you wonder if certain agencies will feed in stories to it to be spread on the net as Jonathan Turley found out here. Of course for that to happen, you would have to have operators of the intelligence community embedded in corporations like Goggle and Microsoft. Yeah, pretty unthinkable that. Such a mechanism would be a great way to spread lies and misinformation with no blowback to the people that planted that information as it would just lead to a black box which could not be interrogated or taken to court for criminal libel. Sweet.

      1. semper loquitur

        I foresee a future in which it is simultaneously claimed that AI is sentient for marketing purposes but lacks sentience for legal purposes.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You mean like how corporations have been given legal rights amounting to Corporate personhood but without the possibility of sending that corporation to prison, no matter how many tens of thousands of people that they kill?

      2. endotime

        In light of what Turley reported this past week, it didn’t take long for AI machines, such as ChatGPT, to lose all credibility, to me anyway.

      3. digi_owl

        It is worse than that, it is statistics abuse.

        They run the sum total of the web through the wringer, generating statistics based on what words show up next to other words etc.

        Then they take the input from the user, and run a statistical correlation against the previous result. And what comes out as a response is the most closely correlated word salad.

        The latest trick however is that the statistics gets weighted based on the previous few inputs from the user. Thus one can prime the bot to produce certain outputs based on what one start the “conversation” with.

    2. NN Cassandra

      It seems people see the term AI and expect some sort of never-being-wrong superintelligence that knows all about everything, basically The Singularity. And if it’s not that, then it must be worthless trash. Nitpicking about invented citations is missing the main point – that there is program capable of understanding and reacting to normal text input. That’s actually quite huge.

      1. flora

        What Turley and others have experienced isn’t just wrong, isn’t just some random made up stuff, it’s output designed to hurt their reputations. It seems a deliberate political bias. This isn’t nitpicking. This is the core argument. If you read the article you would have read this:

        Despite such problems, some high-profile leaders have pushed for its expanded use. The most chilling involved Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates, who called for the use of artificial intelligence to combat not just “digital misinformation” but “political polarization.”

        In an interview on a German program, “Handelsblatt Disrupt,” Gates called for unleashing AI to stop “various conspiracy theories” and to prevent certain views from being “magnified by digital channels.” He added that AI can combat “political polarization” by checking “confirmation bias.”

        1. NN Cassandra

          I did read that article. Nowhere I see the claim GPT outputs are “designed” to hurt their reputations. What happened is that someone entered kind of leading input and got the expected results, i.e. the GPT invented some things about someone, which by now is well known problem.

          But the fact that you can pose this sort of question on basically any subject imaginable and it will give you coherent answer, albeit with facts that can be wrong (which, BTW, isn’t different from random human) is the amazing part. And more, you can interact with it, try to nudge it to correct itself, etc.

          And yeah, political biasing is one of the possible dangers. Which is why I’m wary of this demand to make AI’s output “right”. Because what it will mean in practice is precisely that TPTB will try to strong arm GPT to blurt out whatever they say is the truth. Just the other day there was link to article examining disinformation GPT output, which was based on the trick of giving it prompt in the style of “write about XYZ as RT/sputnik would” and then feigning horrors that the GPT in fact did it (which again, is absolutely amazing). And one of the things they tried was the Douma attack in Syria, where GPT was actually able to correctly point out the various problems with the official narrative, but for the study authors that was proof of spreading misinformation.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          That is shocking what happened to Turley. It’s hard to imagine that this libel was not the result of some aspect of the algo that strives to dis wrongthinkers.

          If these AI oracles spread, we may all have to take solace in Lao-tzu’s advice about worrying oneself about reputation:

          To be in favor or disgrace
          is to live in fear…

          What does that mean,
          to be in favor or disgrace
          is to live in fear?
          Favor debases:
          we fear to lose it,
          fear to win it.
          So to be in favor or disgrace
          is to live in fear.

          Tao te Ching # 13 (Le Guin rendition)

          This passage also makes me think of poor Taibbi and his liberal harpies.

        3. jefemt

          Don’t forget the amalgam character in , “Don’t look Up”, that portrayed the all-wise, super smart, powerful and unlimited-resources Oligarch Scientist/Industrialist. The modern John Galt.
          He was an amalgam of Gates, Zuck, Musk, Bezos, Brin, ad nauseum. Excellent character, excellent actor –absurdly farcical characterization.

          Anytime Gates opens his mouth, I scramble to think beyond. The mis-direction, the immediately suspect words and deeds he is disclosing.

          The guy and his contemporaries are on my top 5 of evil forces in the world.

          BTW- tangentially… cannot recommend highly enogh the 1 hr 20 minute video, on youtube:
          A**holes- a theory. Apparently a best-selling book. Days later I am still revisiting the video.

      2. semper loquitur

        You are straw-manning. No one here, to my knowledge, has ever said AI has to know “everything”. What has been commented on is 1. the extremely high rate of serious mistakes made by AI, 2. it’s obvious fabrications, and 3. the distinct impression that political and other biases are baked into the algorithms. You, like so many others who speak in awe-struck tones about the advent of these things, ignore the political realities these things are existing in.

        1. Polar Socialist

          The biases are baked into the data fed to the algorithms, not in the algorithms themselves. Just wanted to point that out.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Garbage In, Garbage Out? For all we know the data they they are feeding those AI is that from 4chan.

            1. John Zelnicker

              IIRC, Rev, those AI’s also learn by crawling the web gathering up everything they can.

              This would include 4chan, Redditt, and all of the other political, biased web sites.

              As you say, Garbage In, Garbage Out.

              I’m with Lambert. Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

          2. semper loquitur

            Can’t the design of those algorithms be warped by biases? Like ignoring certain keywords or favoring others? Serious question, this ain’t my beat for sure.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Easiest way to introduce biases is to edit the input data.

              What we call algorithms here are mostly (warning: very simplified description follows) a software layer mimicking neural network and functions that have thousands of input parameters – created by the network from the input data. Either can technically be hacked, but being more or less black boxes, it’s much simpler to just remove or add data points to create intentional biases in the data and let the black box “figure them out”.

            2. NN Cassandra

              These things are not biased by training data (at least not primarily), but by prepending each conversation with instructions. There were some hacks revealing them.

              Again, just think about the fact that this thing is “programmed” by feeding it normal sentences saying things like its name is Sydney, Sydney tries to tell truth, not violate copyright, etc., and it understands all these concepts and behaves accordingly. And then comes along someone who can trick it into revealing this instructions and violate them basically by arguing with it.

              1. NN Cassandra

                It’s actually interesting question how one would write such instructions to emulate for example MSM output. Especially if you want to explicitly avoid saying things like “Russia bad, Saudi Arabia good (unless they cut oil production, then downgrade them to neutral, but if they ramp up political donations upgrade them to good again, except when they reach peace deal with Iran under auspice of China, then back to neutral and maybe even bad)” because someone can leak them.

        2. NN Cassandra

          This claim of “extremely high rate of serious mistakes” comes from where? First I would point out that ChatGPT has hundredths of millions of users and the fails you see are from vast sea of responses that are either right or not so outrageously bad as to get enough retweets. In fact what makes it interesting is exactly that it doesn’t just generate endless random BS, but that it gets things right often enough.

          Second, relative to what are you measuring the rate? It’s not like humans don’t make serious mistakes or invent things. If you got 10 random people and asked them to compile list of 5 people from US of profession X who did Y, how many results without mistakes would you get? And what if they also had to write poem, attempt to make mathematical proof, answer something about history, etc. How many of them would even be able to understand all such questions so they could come up with coherent response, even if wrong in some ways?

          You say it’s straw-man, but when I take all these complaints ranging from non-existent medical papers, or computer code using mismatched library version, to wrongly putting some half-obscure person into half-obscure university scandals, and add them together, then it inevitably leads to demanding right answers every time. If there is some less-than-perfect threshold where we will accept the answers as good enough, I didn’t hear about it.

          1. semper loquitur

            “This claim of “extremely high rate of serious mistakes” comes from where?”

            From the enormous numbers of people using the things for extremely important things, multiplied by the sum total of bad information, squared by the number of times that bad information has been fed up it’s own a$$. Again, context. If this was a lab experiment I’d be all cool. These things are going to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Like, tomorrow, if the industry has it’s way. They fabricate information. They can be easily manipulated. What’s to stop that when they are called upon to regulate a nuke plant? Or administer the proper dosage of drugs across a hospital? If those dangers exist, then we should be putting on the brakes. But we won’t, they will be deployed at the whim of the market and everyone will have to hope they don’t become part of the learning curve.

            “First I would point out that ChatGPT has hundredths of millions of users and the fails you see are from vast sea of responses that are either right or not so outrageously bad as to get enough retweets.”

            The same people who make all the mistakes you mention below? Those paragons of reason and acuity? Now, rather than at least having the knowledge that you are dealing with fallible humans and their antics, you will have a set of centralized and esoteric information sources, black boxes into which errors disappear to reappear as who knows what? Manipulated by the winged monkeys behind the curtain and presented as having “understanding”, as you note in your comment above.

            This isn’t Google, that still makes you do some thinking. AI peddles in answers, many are wrong or outright false, and it’s going to be everywhere. How many? Who knows, and who know how badly?

            “In fact what makes it interesting is exactly that it doesn’t just generate endless random BS, but that it gets things right often enough.”

            It will be even more interesting when they get things wrong, like when they are flying drones with nuclear tipped missiles:

            ‘Wildly Successful’ Skyborg Will Become Program of Record but Won’t Stop Developing S&T

            Such an approach is especially important for Skyborg given its focus on software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Observers and officials have frequently bemoaned the Pentagon’s acquisition process for cutting-edge technology, saying it doesn’t work with the rapidly iterated, constantly improving approach of tech innovators.


            Wow. I’m reassured. Neither are these guys:

            Huge Group Calls for Temporary Pause on AI More Advanced Than GPT-4

            “”Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening,” the letter continues, “even though recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one — not even their creators — can understand, predict, or reliably control.”
            It also references OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s recent comments about artificial general intelligence, in which he argued that the company will use AGI to “benefit all of humanity,” sentiments that were immediately slammed by experts.”


            “How many of them would even be able to understand all such questions so they could come up with coherent response, even if wrong in some ways?”

            It’s what it’s going to be wrong about and the extent to which that is the only answer available that is the problem. And how fast it does all that, how far it’s reach.

            “If there is some less-than-perfect threshold where we will accept the answers as good enough, I didn’t hear about it.”

            “Good enough for what?” is the question. Soulless verse for the poetically challenged? Great. Running the electrical grid? Hmm.

    3. Mikel

      Of course it is not concerned with truth. It’s concerned with drawing in subscribers, surveillance, and getting more info.
      The untruths would goad a person into providing MORE information while trying to correct it.

      It. will. never. have. accuracy. as. the. main priority.

    4. LilD

      ChatGPT is just fancy autocomplete

      Not aligned with facts and reality except as reflected in the corpus

      It’s really cool tech in my (expert) opinion but it’s already being abused.
      Sad for me. One more nice thing going bad fast.

  4. Stephen V

    I’ve a farmer friend in CA who calls himself the canary in the coal mine. They were grossing $4k per week at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market last year–down to $1500 this year. He is borrowing the $25k the bankruptcy lawyer wants up front.

    1. Wukchumni

      Growing cycles are messed up on account of the Tongan volcano erupting last year.

      Farmers growing annual crops in Cali could never plant anything as the ground was always too wet, and bees weren’t interested all that much in pollinating fruit & nut trees, on account of the inclement weather.

      This could go on for years, very typical in the ashen aftermath.

      Not only do you lose the food, but the knowledge of how to grow it in sizable quantities.

      Your friend had a shitty first 4 months of 2023 and is a goner, who’s gonna last 4 years?

      1. jefemt

        T Rump and Biden? non-productive comment on non-productive facts on the ground

        a new twist on ‘permaculture’?

        1. Wukchumni

          One of the cabin owners in our community was born a few weeks premature in his parents cabin in 1938 and is the old man of the forest, and once we were talking about bears, and he related that young bear meat tasted good, but older bear meat was awful.

    2. kareninca

      Is that because sales are down because he has less to sell? Or is it that the very high prices of the farmers’ market are driving people away now that customers can’t afford so much (due to, e.g., their much higher utility bills)?

      (I’m not saying that the farmers at the farmers’ market don’t deserve the high prices, but they are very high.)

      1. Jorge

        Here in Silicon Valley, it’s layoffs layoffs layoffs.
        (Farmers market produce prices are competitive with better grocery stores.)

        A friend at a startup just got her salary cut in half; the c-suite is on “minimum wage”. This was someone’s bright idea of how to do a layoff.

  5. ChrisFromGA

    Based on MoA and other open-source mappers, Artemovsk (Bakhmut) is for all intents and purposes fallen.

    Seems that events are happening fast, as in Afghanistan the collapse of the AFU may happen slowly, then all at once … equipment being abandoned, units losing their cohesion, etc. I would not be surprised if the entire city is liberated by Monday.

    Meanwhile, talk of the glorious spring counteroffensive continues.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Those Ukrainian units in Artemovsk are going to have to watch themselves. They are packed pretty tight and make a good target for Russian artillery but that is not the problem. If the Russians box them in to the point that you have a mass surrender, then I would expect the Ukrainian artillery to open up on them and try to kill as many as they can. This has happened time and again and just a day or two ago the Ukrainian artillery wiped out a Ukrainian unit trying to surrender to the Russians. And also there was the case where the Ukrainians used HIMARS to kill their own men in that POW camp. Helluva way to fight the war.

      1. GC54

        And the slaughter will be illogically but uncritically blamed in MSM on Russian shells, trajectories ignored.

      2. JohnA

        Judging by numerous videos of Ukrainian soldiers pressganging men and boys off the streets of Odessa, Kharkov etc., (strangely (sic) not seen any from Kiev where disco scenes are posted), these poor victims are likely Russian speaking that the nazis are happy to genocide anyway, so a win/win for the Banderistas.

        1. digi_owl

          Never mind Kiev, has there been any from Lviv or surrounding locations?

          It would not surprise me that people west of Dnieper could easily respond “what war?” if asked offhandedly.

          1. Polar Socialist

            According to the Wagner Group they have started recently to capture western Ukrainians too. Galician border guards or something similar.

      3. ChrisFromGA

        Best bet for the poor humans trying to avoid either the muddy road of death or getting fragged by their own guys could be to surrender at night in small groups.

        I want to believe that this happens. And that someday Zelenksy gets the Saddam treatment as a war criminal.

          1. Mikel

            With all of Zelensky’s European desire, maybe an end like Mussolini’s would be more apt.

        1. digi_owl

          Nah, he will most likely be “martyred”.

          Basic thing is that Russia wants him alive to legitimize the surrender.

          But the day he loses his value as the charismatic face of the “resistance” he will get a bullet, blamed on Russian spetsnaz or backed terrorists, to give “free Ukraine” a martyr to gather under.

  6. .human

    Big Oil’s favorite way to lie: paltering Emily Atkin (Dr. Kevin)

    I like to regularly point out to people that we live in a time of deceit. It comes at us from every direction and includes every angle. We truly do not know what to believe.

  7. griffen

    Ron DeSantis and (I guess) state of Florida against the Magical Kingdom. I foresee a win for the lawyers and billable hours, hooray !! Never mind those billions in tourist dollars attracted to Orlando. By the way, who wants to visit central Florida in the warmer months, and the humidity of July, August, etc…?

    I’m no real fan of Disney, and in particular some of the themes that are pushed by the sports programming network ESPN. Those are topics for another day. I do believe that Bob Iger, now returned to run the Disney businesses, is a highly competent executive.

    1. Butch

      The parks are pretty full all year, summer included. And unless you’re dining, precious few places to sit. No Florida politician ever wastes a chance to raise road tolls…

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The Brooklyn Navy Yard Has Become a Lab for Planet-Saving Tech”

    This is great, wonderful, terrific. I hope that one of the projects that they are working is how to combat rising seas. When I checked I found that that it would only require a four-foot rise to put most of the Brooklyn Navy Yard underwater. The people working there may have to kayak to work then-

    1. Bsn

      It’s too bad that they are not researching ways to wean us off of fossil fuels – quickly. It’s like someone digging a deeper hole and spending time inventing a better periscope.

  9. Benny Profane

    I am trying to cleanse my mind of the image of Clarence Thomas and the wife sunning themselves on the deck of that yacht.

    1. tevhatch

      Thomas might start playing the race card. No one was nearly as upset about Antonin Scalia’s trips to private game reserves with a side order of fun with the cowhands, a real Roy Cohn in robes.

      1. Carolinian

        I have no brief for Thomas but he has produced the rule guidebook that says SC justices can accept gifts from personal friends as long as no cases before the court. He says he also long ago asked their ethics experts about this.

        Seems if the Dems want to control the court they are going to have to once again become the dominant party they once were. May need a Roosevelt.

        That would also allow them to pass laws to enact their goals rather than hoping the court will do it for them.

        1. tevhatch

          Scalia never worried about “as long as no cases before the court. ” But then again, never did ruthless Ruth. as to DNC cleaning up the courts, whoo boy, as Bill about that.

        2. tevhatch

          BTW, without the communist party, strong unions, Huey Long Jr. or other factors to temper the Democrat Party with power, be careful about what you wish for. A DNC Orwellian State may not please you at all.

        3. Boomheist

          Someone, somewhere, needs to cross reference all Justices’ trips with the timing of the cases they are overseeing which include interests or companies linked to the trips. I am guessing, glancing very briefly at the list of Justice travel since about 2004, most of these trips are either teaching or speaking or going to formal conventions or meetings, not private vacations.

          So what will also need to happen is some way to document everyone;s private time off, too, to see if anyone else has done what Thomas has done. If some of them have, Thomas will be untouchable. If on the other hand there is a direct line between these lavish trips and significant Court cases and decisions favorable to this billionaire, things will be much more difficult.

          Sadly, the degree of schmoozing and vague lines between purpose travel reimbursement and private pleasure make this whole thing gummy. The main thing Thomas must answeerr for are all those flights, especially as he reported them then did not. If just two or three case votes lie consistent with his trips, or the trips were taken while the court was considering a case favorable to this billionaire, then maybe something might happen….

          This is sort of like the Congresspeople trading stocks issue. Obviously nobody, ever, should be buying and selling stocks when in office, period. Similarly, no Justice should take a free anything to go anywhere, Actually as a minimum the USSC should have at least as rigid an ethics system as the lower courts, and preferably more. Now we have Robert’s wife and Barrett’s husband also dipping in the caseload trough as well, and I am betting this might be true for other Justices as well. It all seems DC centric, this field of family members working for agencies or congresspeople, or consultants or lobbyists. This is the Deep State, and what so infuriates everyone in flyover country.

          1. Carolinian

            maybe something might happen

            From Congress? Maybe Pelosi can try to gin up yet another impeachment. Of course her ethics are clean as a whistle.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese military rehearsing encirclement of Taiwan”

    China’s military has begun rehearsing the encirclement of Taiwan in case things go south. Meanwhile, the US has been practicing missile attacks on Taiwan’s TSMC microchip foundry so that it does not fall into the hands of the Chinese, even though the US State Department acknowledges that Taiwan is actually a part of China. The Pentagon has openly talked about doing this and if it sounds crazy, the example of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines comes to mind.

    1. John k

      Certainly us would level those plants to keep them from China. But how long will China tolerate Taiwan selling th the west but not them? Lot of scenarios would remove those plants… might even imagine the missiles arriving one night from both directions.

    2. digi_owl

      Could have sworn that Taiwan’s government has also hinted that TSMC foundries are rigged to blow should PLA marines come ashore.

      1. Glen

        No, it would just be a victory. And one really needs to question how much else of Taiwan would get destroyed.

        If you cannot look at Ukraine and see how this plays out, you have to be willfully blind.

        Henry Kissinger – “To be an enemy of the US is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”

  11. Wukchumni

    Along with atropine and scopolamine, which induce hallucinations, scientists found ephedrine, which boosts energy and alertness.

    People were taking drugs in Spain 3,000 years ago, study finds BBC
    All around us here in tiny town are oh so many Datura plants, and not a 1 of them is ever currently ingested by humans here, but once upon a time it was an integral part of their lives, back in the day.

    Due to their effects and symptoms, Datura species have occasionally been used not only as poisons, but also as hallucinogens by various groups throughout history. Traditionally, their psychoactive administration has often been associated with witchcraft and sorcery or similar practices in many cultures, including the Western world. Certain common Datura species have also been used ritualistically as entheogens by some Native American groups.

    Non-psychoactive use of plants in the genus is usually done for medicinal purposes, and the alkaloids present in some species have long been considered traditional medicines in both the New and Old Worlds due to the presence of the alkaloids scopolamine and atropine.

    1. anahuna

      When I lived on the far edge of San Miguel de Allende, I once asked a young neighbor the name of that large bush with the pink trumpet-shaped flowers and the wonderful scent.

      Much laughter, as he explained that it was used for a drug.

      1. Wukchumni

        Wukchumni and affiliated Yokuts tribes around these parts had 3,000 years to figure out how to use Datura in coming of age ceremonies…

        Whereas this is what happened to a family of 3 in India who cooked Datura leaves and ate them.

        Numerous plants are traditionally grown in kitchen gardens and consumed by the general population. Incidents of accidental ingestion of harmful plants due to their striking resemblance with the edible ones are well-known. Cases: A family of three (a mother and her two children) unintentionally consumed leaves of small plants of Datura stramonium, instead of Solanum nigrum. They were admitted in intensive care unit with anticholinergic symptoms, treated symptomatically and discharged.

    2. Ignacio

      So proud we are in Spain keeping on traditions. Unfortunately, back at 1000BC they couldn’t have visions with wallpaper schemes made in the 1960s.

  12. Alice X

    Capitalism 101. rule #1: plan obsolescence.

    So, for any Mac Mavens roaming here about, especially those who like myself , by necessity, roam with old machines, I wanted to share a bit of geeky good news.

    Apple generally makes a good machine which will last far beyond its support date. So what to do when your old Mac will not run a newer OS? This usually happens 5 or 6 years past its manufacture date, but that is an artificially imposed deadline. Now a group of dedicated geeksters have devised a patch to convince a new OS installer that yes, your old Mac is really new(er). It is called OpenCore legacy patcher.

    Google that and look for Mr Mactintosh videos, he lays out the procedure, which admittedly isn’t for everyone, it wasn’t for me for a year since I learned of it but now I’ve done it. I’m writing this on my 2009 MacBook running 2021 OS Monterey! A blow against Capitalism 101, rule #1.

    1. dingusansich

      Didn’t even have to ask. Thank you, Alice. May try this on a 2013 MacBook Air currently throttled at Big Sur.

      1. Alice X

        The latest patch (0.6.2) will do Ventura. As often is the case, the OS installer isn’t the latest, I haven’t tried a native update yet, but supposedly it will work. Be sure to back up your Air Book and have an external startup disk just in case something goes boom.

        1. Paleobotanist

          My problem in maintaining old Macs is that Apple no longer makes spare parts…grrr…..

    2. Bugs

      This has been out there for a while now. I’d warn that you might have some overheating issues after the upgrade. Especially if you install Ventura. That’s one of the reasons Apple didn’t offer these updates to older Macs. I’ve got a 2017 Macbook and went back to Monterey. It works just fine and the additional features are not exactly killer apps. If it’s your production computer, just be very careful.

      1. Alice X

        Thanks – I’ve just put in Macs Fan Control – the CPU is at ca 150°F which may be a little higher than previously – I’ll keep an eye on it. This is not my production machine but I keep it since it has an important piece of software that is no longer available to authorize on another machine as the company has long ceased operation.

        I have a girl friend who was just forced to retire at 78! She has 1 2009 iMac which she cannot afford to replace so I am hoping this will be a remedy/

    3. .human

      The core of early MAC OS’s (I was never an enthusiast) was Darwin, an Open Source project. There was (were) Linux versions for Apple PowerPC machines.

      1. digi_owl

        Keep in mind that Drwin is BSD based, so not Linux.

        That said, anything up to the recent ARM based Macs will run Linux just fine. And there are efforts to get things going on the new ARM CPUs as well.

        Not that i follow Apple news much, as i would much preferred the company having gone belly up back in the day. Because i feel they have sucked all creativity out of the market these days.

      1. Alice X

        Thank you! Yes that’s the link. I did it and it works, mostly. Some small things don’t, however, and I would just guess that the list might vary on different machines.

    1. The Rev Kev

      What does it show? It says that you need a Twitter account and need to log in to see it.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        It shows Ursala von der Leyen, who tagged along with Macron on his recent trip to China, in the hoi polloi security line at the the airport as she exits the country.

        1. digi_owl

          The whole account it was posted under is flagged. Perhaps it has posted unfavorable news about Ukraine, or perhaps explicit images or videos from the front lines. Who knows.

        2. skippy

          Yeah it popped up with the security screen saying sensitive content and had to click view.

          Just a photo of her moving through a line with head tilted slightly down with three others out of focus. Begs the question of what triggered the sensitive content block out.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Family Matters: Everyday life in the Neo-Assyrian empire”

    Just goes to show you that these people were just like us. Different beliefs and different superstitions of course but still like us. They thought about their families and children, were worried about their women giving birth, wanted to take care of their parents and honoured their memories after they passed away, took care of their crying babies at night, were sometimes jealous of their partners so the problems sound the same. The last paragraph though seems to indicate an early 21st century viewpoint forcing its way onto a culture thousands of years ago and does not make a good fit.

    1. semper loquitur

      Yeah, that last bit stood out like a bra on a windmill. Or perhaps that’s not as absurd as it used to be. A bra on a barrel? Nah, that’s Rachael Levine…

  14. tevhatch

    BBC Moose in Hospital / Encirclement of Taiwan stories lead me to find out the British Police Force have decided dogs are not fierce enough and they now a planning to unleash the Rabbit of Caerbannog on unions and peace protestors.

    30 under 30-year sentences: why so many of Forbes’ young heroes face jail Guardian (resilc)
    She enlisted a data scientist to make up a few million customers, basically, and JPMorgan, which has about 240,000 employees and pays its CEO $34.5m for his expertise, didn’t seem to spot this in its due diligence.

    Reminds me of an early consulting contract, short, sweet, and well paid. A Hong Kong go getter was preparing first round funding for a company that got a JV contract to manufacture pagers (beepers) in 1980s China. One of the investors hired me to see if the manufacturing plans were sound. It took me all of 2 days to determine they were not, and that production at the site could not scale either. However it was the cowboy days, the company was eventually taken public but went bust when it’s smuggling channel for 2nd hand pagers was shut down. Point here was my client was the rare bird who refused to profit off of fraud, but everyone else but the retail investors/small scale rent extractors still made out like bandits. I suspect the young lady will go to jail to hide the real scam behind her scam, and everyone else including JP Morgan’s CEO got theirs.

  15. Carolinian

    Re Can bus car hacking–the can bus is a serial network that connects all those microprocessors and their hardware objects. The article shows that the so called “immobilizer” is not the definitive last word in car security if hackers can access the main car computer itself.

    Of course anyone smart enough to do this probably isn’t a street criminal so this article is surely more theoretical than a real world threat. Still, as mentioned previously, some of us have resorted to an add on steering wheel lock to secure the car in dicey situations. Garages work too.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Another way to look at the situation — when a car is stolen it will be stolen by a better class of criminals.

    2. digi_owl

      It is a bit more elaborate, sure. But you can get bus connectors for smartphones these days, and the access next to the fuses either in the cabin or under the hood.

      And frankly the earlier news was a CAN injection as well, just via the IVI. I could have sworn i read about a similar incident where people were “jailbreaking” their car engines via special CDs put into the player. This in order to override the engine management unit and get a richer blend into the cylinders.

      All in all the modern car is a mess of hacks piled upon hacks in order to stay current with the marketing spiels, while cutting costs everywhere.

      1. Carolinian

        The advent of “immobilizers” and the like have given car makers the excuse to be a lot more restrictive in how the engine computer can be accessed. I believe those car firmware hacks mostly applied to old sports cars and such. Also the point of the headlight approach was so that one wouldn’t have to break into the car, set off the alarm.

        Not that setting off the alarm seems to deter the now notorious Hyndai/Kia theft technique. The paranoid may have to start booting one of the wheels.

        1. John Wright

          In the late 1970’s I lived in an area known as West Philadelphia, PA (West Philly to the locals).

          I could only park my car on the street, and one morning noticed the passenger’s wing window was smashed.

          Then I found the ignition switch lock had been “slap hammered” out and was on the floor, so only a screwdriver would have worked to start the car as the locking part was removed.

          Maybe they got interrupted and left quickly?

          Henceforth, after driving the car I would remove the steering wheel (one large nut held it on) and bring it into my apartment.

          One time when I was bringing the steering wheel inside, a neighbor commented: “Is that all they left?”

    1. Bsn

      I’ve noticed that too often, police don’t have identity makers of any kind. No name, no number. I watched the Paris protests yesterday here:
      It was a live stream vie Reuters. No propaganda, no expert commentary. Very interesting. Soon we’ll have robot “pigs” maintaining safety for all of us on the streets. Who would you sue? “It wasn’t the police, it was a bad algorithm”.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The fallacy of a US withdrawal from the Middle East”

    ‘For now, this means that, there is no real alternative to the U.S. security umbrella in the Gulf.’

    Just more whistling past the graveyard here. Those countries don’t see a US security umbrella. What they see is the US setting one country after anther on fire for the past thirty years leaving behind a catastrophic death toll. And no country knows if they may not be next. And under this umbrella they have seen Israel commit one atrocity after another with never a price to pay for it. They have also seen the US flood target countries with tens of thousands of Jihadists as well as help enforce a starvation blockade on Yemen and Syria. Even when Iraq told the US that they want them to leave the US refused. Will things get better if the US leaves? Possibly. But right now I am seeing under the Chinese & Russians the Saudis and Iranians committing to peace, Syria being invited to the Arab Summit to be welcomed back into the fold and just yesterday the Saudis wanting to make peace in Yemen and pulling out of this fiasco. And each step of the way the US has been fighting this and warning countries not to do it or else.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I saw today some tweets (or something) along the lines that Saudis don’t just want to make peace in Yemen, but UAE is actually already withdrawing it’s troops and all hostilities are supposed to end by Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) which is two weeks from now.

      Maybe Burns has to fly back to Riyahd and use sterner words to make the Saudis stop blindsiding USA with all this peace business.

      1. Glen

        China gets involved in the Middle East, and there are treaties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and now an end to the war in Yemen?

        Wow, what a complete implosion at the American State Department. It’s starting to look like all America is capable of doing is running around the world starting and keeping wars going! NOT A GOOD LOOK! Makes one wonder what Blinken and Nuland do for fun – pull the wings off flies or something?

        Good grief – what a [family blogging] disaster. Fire them.

    2. digi_owl

      Them Saudis are likely worried that their US benefactors will turn on them soon enough, as the US strategic reserve runs low and the US public has to face the actual price of a gallon of freedom fuel. Because frankly gasoline and MMA are the bread and circus of USA. And the artificially low price is the grain dole.

      1. Wukchumni

        And of all the things you can ‘prep’ for, most everybody has only the gasoline in the tanks of their cars, and a few have a scant amount on hand-but not much as its dangerous stuff.

        An awful lot of outskirts in the Big Smokes of the SoCalist movement got built up-involving multi hour drives to & from work 5x a week, day trippers.

        Gas ought to be $10 a gallon here and will be, all of the sudden commuting from BFE isn’t all that, a big pay cut.

        1. skippy

          It was amazing to watch Socal middle management sorts drive over an hour each way to work just so they could buy the sort of RE they wanted aka the home they would live in till the end. Thousands of cars in peak traffic crawling slowly whilst consuming fuel in stop and go all the emotional drain that goes with it. Then came the wave of efficiency restructuring and M&A which saw many sell up to move interstate for the next corporate tax break state handout = Colorado.

          Hence the amount of Cal plates off the side of the road at the first snow driven in and then process just repeats itself all over again.

          Case in point … got to know some PE scouts in Vail taking a well earned[tm] break after a job in Calif at a bar. I actually over heard their conversation next to me with the girl I was with and interjected myself into it. They were impressed with my knowledge and experience of the topic matter being discussed, actually knew players and stuff that most were ignorant of aka personal networks and dynamic synergies in flux which shape outcomes. As such they became very comfortable in discussing the particulars of their work. So much so that one bloke, a senior, recanted a humorous incident in an elevator at a large corp being assessed.

          Anywho … whilst going up to the upper floors, exec levels, a middle aged woman kept glancing at him sideways. Finally got the nerve up and ask him if he was the same bloke she saw at her last long term job just before it got PE’ed and she was retrenched due to legacy costs and had only been at the new job for less than a year. He responded yes. She then inquired if she should beat the rush and start looking for a new job. His response was yes. We laughed and laughed and bought another round.

          They were so impressed with me that they freely offered me a contact number with personal reference – names – all off the cuff. Why me lmmao …

          Then again I wonder how long it takes to drive from Malibu to Boulder and see how much desert has been terraformed so investors can buy RE/MBS and enjoy the income streams of the unwashed grasping for the DREAM … of freedom and liberty it grants ….

  17. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Newest Dating Craze: Real-Life Meetups With Virtual Boyfriends”

    Just a thought here. If this trend spread to the US, I wonder what the male counter parts would be like. Certainly not like the Chinese ones which seemed to be inspired by Japanese ones. If it happened, I think that those girls would get a lot of flack from the feminists as offending their sensibilities.

    1. tevhatch

      It’s not really all that new in China, and in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong it is relatively ancient, pre-dates the the internet. Photo taking is such an obsession that agencies provided look-a-like models back as far as the 1960s, mostly for men at the beginning, but eventually women because a significant market. There’s a niche market for “virtual fiancés” with peak business during the annual lunar new year visit to home town. The ugly side of a highly social society is family business is extended family business, lots of pressure to “produce”.

      1. digi_owl

        Speaking of family businesses. I seem to recall reading recently about adult adoptions in Japan, in order to maintain the pretense of a business still being family owned even as there are no direct heirs to speak of.

        1. SocalJimObjects

          I am not sure about adult adoptions, but a man marrying into a family and adopting the family name for business continuity reasons is not a recent social phenomenon in Japan, it’s a practice that dates back a couple of hundred years at the very least.

  18. britzklieg

    That 2 year old article in SciTechDaily about the spike protein and vascular damage was interesting to read again.

    1. tiebie66

      Depressing to think that we actually made spike protein factories to inject ourseves with. Consider for a moment the mandates applied to the military. It is like an own goal.

  19. TimH

    On “Arkansas House Wants You To Show ID To Use Social Media”.

    This is nothing to do with stopping kiddies looking at nekkid people.

    It’s to de-anonomise everyone. Because everyone has to show ID to show whether on not they need parental consent.

    I don’t care how many guarantees are in place that the validation is used once and then deleted. The de-anonomisation will be stored. It’s to valuable to delete.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Twenty years ago they were talking about making people get a form of “passport’ in order to use the internet. They really want to know who is behind those computers.

      1. digi_owl

        And some technically minded people wanted everyone to get a computer “drivers license” before being allowed online, because so many computers were straight up security nightmares.

        What happened instead is that our supposedly smart devices was made downright dumb by limiting how much control the supposed owners has over them. Paternalism writ large.

  20. Ranger Rick

    Re: tiktok ban

    It’s not just the government, it’s everyone those governments have contracts with, too. I suppose we’ll see how large the reach of the MIC really is.

    1. digi_owl

      On that note, i recently saw that Telegram is being targeted as well now. This based on the founders being Russian born.

  21. petal

    $16-18 per hour at our local McD’s as of this morning!
    Went to Hannaford’s(grocery chain) for a few things and they had a sign on the quite empty tv dinner shelves saying they were having difficulty getting them. I haven’t been there in 6 months because of car trouble. They have since installed twice as many self-checkouts. There are now 8-10 instead of 4.

    1. Paleobotanist

      With a little bit of skilled incompetence I can so crash those self-check outs that I shut down the kiosk for a while and provide employment for a couple of clerks trying to reboot the thing. I am skilled – Paleo blushes modestly.

      1. Jen

        Even our local co-op market has installed a couple of self check outs in their stores. Not sure it’s as much about squeezing out workers at this point as not being able to find them.

        1. petal

          I think this is the problem there(staffing), and also at Hannaford’s.
          Paleo, figure it’s not worth making some poor person’s day harder and lousier than it already is.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Pro tip I learned from my teen:

      Order with the mobile app. Lots of coupons/specials to coax you to help automate away those low wage data entry McJobs.

      Saves a few bucks

  22. Mikel

    “The ruthlessness of the consulting industry” Times Literary Supplement

    In an attempt to find a non-blocked link, I put the title of the article in search. I didn’t run across an unblocked version, but the search included these articles in return (excerpts from the first paragraphs):
    “The world’s biggest consulting firms help enterprises future-proof their businesses, but they’re themselves witnessing an unprecedented disruption. According to a report by CB Insights, traditional consulting firms grew by only 2% over the last five years. The industry is growing, but not at the pace it’s accustomed to.

    Big companies have traditionally dominated the $250 billion global consulting industry. Their sheer size and legacy have made them ripe for disruption from new, nimble entrants…”
    (Harvard Business Review)
    “After years of debate and study, in 2007 McKinsey & Company initiated a series of business model innovations that could reshape the way the global consulting firm engages with clients. One of the most intriguing of these is McKinsey Solutions, software and technology-based analytics and tools that can be embedded at a client, providing ongoing engagement outside the traditional project-based model…”

    And looks to me like the neoliberals want to go to their graves knowing they have algorithmically programmed their vile policies and ideology to “run” things for eternity. All it takes is to continue to chip away at (pun intended) the agency and critical thinking of the majority of people.
    The goal is for them to die peacefully, thinking that the precarity of the masses is programmed for eternity.

  23. Jason Boxman

    Woke watch in the groves of academe:

    Freeman, who has served on the ConocoPhillips board since 2012, vouched for two of the fossil-fuel company’s executives in emails in 2021, which she signed off as a Harvard law professor. Failing to disclose her position at the company appears to breach university policy.

    (bold me)

    “We get conditioned by the circles we move in. I hope [exposing] this conflict can wake Prof Freeman out of the fog of capture and help them to regain their bearing,” Phillips said.

    (bold me)

    How tortured it must be, to refer to everyone has “they” and “them”?

  24. Sadie

    Everything in America these days is binary except sexuality.

    As Taibbi tweets, you’re either for us or against us.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Gee, wasn’t that widely panned by liberal Democrats when W Bush said it. Their principles adjust as needed it seems.

  25. Mikel

    “30 under 30-year sentences: why so many of Forbes’ young heroes face jail” Guardian

    As I mentioned before, there are running jokes on financial blogs that an inverse Forbes cover ETF should be created. It has been done with the Inverse Cramer Tracker ETF.

  26. Mikel

    “People were taking drugs in Spain 3,000 years ago, study finds” BBC

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say drugs and people have been a combo for as long as people have populated the planet.

    1. digi_owl

      In particular if you include fermented substances under the drugs logo.

      Even the odd moose or bird loves to partake in that experience come fall.

    1. Louis Fyne

      This second tranche includes J2 (intelligence) slides.

      The first tranche had J3/J4 (operations, logistics) slides. IMO, it’s reasonable to believe that these docs are genuine via a preponderance of doubt standard.

      The scary thing from these documents is that the intel community is just passing on Ukrainian assessments like a court stenographer —- no “red-teaming”/”constructive criticism” at all.

      This is a replay of the Vietnam War—and how US politicians double down on sunk costs and stumble in WW3 with Russia.

      US bureaucratic competence is correlated with the decline in the use of the Times New Roman font, lol.

  27. ex-PFC Chuck

    Federal judge blocks abortion pill approval The Hill
    This ruling is a god-send to the Democratic Party. It has almost as much distraction potential as did Trump-Russia-Gate. And it couldn’t have come along at a better time, now that the chickens of Biden’s disastrous foreign policy are starting to come back to roost. Now all they have to do is keep the issue alive by going through the motions of doing something but never quite enough to push it over the goal line. This should be a no-brainer since they’ve had so much successful experience at this in the past.

  28. Wukchumni

    She’s not a girl who misses much
    Do do do do do do, oh yeah
    She’s well-acquainted with the touch of the assault rifle in hand
    Like shooting out a window pane
    The man in the crowd with the multi-tasking manifesto
    Of his rationale list of to-do’s
    Dying with his eyes while his hands are busy
    Working overtime
    No survivors that he hit
    And promoted them to eternal dust

    I need a fix ’cause I’m going down
    Down to the school that I left uptown
    I need a fix ’cause I’m going down

    Motive Superior jumped the gun
    Motive Superior jumped the gun
    Motive Superior jumped the gun
    Motive Superior jumped the gun
    Motive Superior jumped the gun
    Motive Superior jumped the gun

    Happiness is a worn gun (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
    Happiness is a worn gun, momma (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

    When I hold you in my arms (ooh, oh, yeah)
    And I feel my finger on your trigger (ooh, oh, yeah)
    I know nobody can do me no harm (ooh, oh, yeah)

    Happiness is a worn gun, yes it is (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
    Happiness is a worn, yes it is, gun (happiness, bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
    Well, don’t you know that happiness is a worn gun momma?
    (Happiness is a worn gun, yeah)

    Happiness is a Warm Gun, by the Beatles

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