Links 5/3/2023

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Chilly willy: photo of phallic iceberg off Canadian coast prompts merriment Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Middle-school Satanists club can’t be banned, rules judge Boing Boing (resilc)

The Jackson-Johnson Proof Rajiv Sethi. Cool.

Quantum computing could break the internet. This is how Financial Times

Semantic reconstruction of continuous language from non-invasive brain recordings Nature Neuroscience (resilc)

Evidence of conscious-like activity in the dying brain ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Wastewater study finds 18 new psychoactive drugs DW (resilc)

The big idea: what if censoring books only makes them more popular? Guardian (Kevin W)


As we have said for some time:


Mennonite colonies linked to deforestation of Indigenous territories and protected areas in Paraguay Mongabay (resilc)


‘Red scare’ in US causes multi-year flood of refugees with PhDs to China South China Morning Post (furzy)

US envoy worries about China anti-spy law overreach Asia Times (Kevin W)

Congress presses Chinese fast-fashion giant Shein on forced labor CNN (Kevin W)

West warns Malaysia to keep Huawei out of 5G networks The Register

In Washington, China is a four-letter word and the excuse for everything Responsible Statecraft

European Disunion

FIFA threatens European TV blackout of Women’s World Cup France24. Resilc: “Equal pay for equal ratings of entertainers is fine. Women’s sports not the draw.”

Old Blighty

King Charles Coronation: George VI’s chair recycled for enthronement BBC. Resilc: “Green king. Too funny.”

South of the Border

In frenzied vote, Mexico’s lawmakers pass controversial science reform bill Science

New Not-So-Cold War

Whither Ukraine’s counteroffensive? Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Ukr Attack Fails; Milley Calls Zaluznhy, Kirby Bizarre Russia Losses; Sullivan Industry Hollowed Out Alexander Mercouris. Note the discussion early on of Prighozin. He’s been a loose cannon for a while and acts as if he’s on extremely potent stimulants. I discount his whinging about ammo supplies. It’s a way to pre-shift blame for any underperformance. And listen to the discussion of John Kirby, a reliable voice of Administration wrong-thinking on Ukraine. What he says is also flat out contradicted by the Congressional testimony by NATO’s top commander, Christopher Cavoli, summarized in the Indian Punchline link above.

Putin’s Bloody Missile Attack Is Horrifying: Colonel Macgregor Stephen Gardner, YouTube. While I hate titles like this, the info on the targeting and damage done by the latest Russian strikes is important.

Ukraine SitRep: Offensive In Doubt – No Talks – Social Breakdown Moon of Alabama. Contains a nice shoutout.

Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Estimates That Half Of Europe Wants A Rapprochement With Russia Andrew Korybko

Ukrainian banker offers cash for drone terror in Russia Greyzone

West’s ‘schizophrenic logic’ and UN head’s letter: What Lavrov told media at UN TASS. From last week, and a good recap of an important speech.

Report puts Russian navy ships near pipeline blast site BBC. Lead story.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NYPD Urges Citizens To Buy AirTags To Fight Surge In Car Thefts arstechnica

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Brutal Sex Trade Built for American Soldiers New York Times (resilc)

Note particularly #3 in this thread:

Militarized Dolphins Protect a Quarter of US Nuclear Stockpile (resilc). I recall complaints about Russians allegedly using dolphins for similar duties.


Robert Kennedy Jr: America needs a revolution Unherd

GOP Clown Car

When GOP Attorneys General Embraced Jan. 6, Corporate Funders Fled. Now They’re Back. ProPublica (resilc)

Senate hearing on drug price bills postponed amid chaos The Hill


New documents show how Sandra Day O’Connor helped George W. Bush win the 2000 election CNN (furzy)

The Supreme Court’s corruption crisis goes beyond Clarence Thomas Vox (resilc)


A Texas Prison Guard Punishes a Woman for Talking About Abortion The Nation

Chicago’s $1 Billion Water Deal Shows Great Lakes Wealth Bloomberg (ma)

Our No Longer Free Press

Not just a US syndrome: Ireland Set To Pass Far-Reaching Hate Speech Laws European Conservative (Kevin W)


This is not a drill: IBM to replace 7,800 jobs with AI Interesting Engineering (resilc). Lambert had a related story in Water Cooler yesterday.

They should consider themselves lucky:

The AI revolution is leaving Arabic speakers behind Middle East Eye (resilc)

Cynthia Rudin Builds AI That Humans Can Understand Quanta Magazine (resilc)

B-a-a-a-d Banks

This is actually a pretty good idea…except where is the increased regulation, both in light of supervisory weakness and proposed increased subsidies?

Why Washington Let the Nation’s Biggest Bank Get Bigger Wall Street Journal

Bank failures Mike Bostock (Paul R)

Weak U.S. Diesel Demand Intensifies Recession Fears OilPrice (resilc)

Vice Is Said to Be Headed for Bankruptcy New York Times (resilc)

Debt Ceiling

Fight over veterans’ benefits rages amid debt limit standoff The Hill

Guillotine Watch

The designers of Jared Leto’s Met Gala look: ‘He wanted it to be like a real cat’ Guardian

Class Warfare

Two children aged TEN are discovered working unpaid shifts at Kentucky McDonald’s, where one illegally used deep fryer and both prepared meals while serving customers Daily Mail

With Bernie Looking On, Ben & Jerry’s Scoopers Announce Progress in Union Talks Seven Days (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Stephen S: “Cerberus. Our three lab mix.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. jackiebass

    I bought and put air tags in both of my vehicles. The only disadvantage is an iPhone has to be near to detect them. iPhones are so popular that it isn’t a major problem.

    1. Jeff Stantz

      But note however, that if the thieves have an iPhone, their phone will alert them that a tracker is following them. This is the policy of the AirTAgs to prevent stalking.

      1. t

        You might be better off with a Tractive GPS for pets. Although you would have to charge it occasionally.

      2. Objective Ace

        So Apple’s policy is that it is okay to stalk people without iPhones? Their stated policy makes no sense–if thats a legitimate concern they shouldnt sell the product in the first place. Its almost like the real product is “protection” against themselves like the mob would offer

        1. James

          You can’t “stalk people without iphone” because if there is no iphone nearby, the airtag cannot report it’s position anymore. It relies on proximity to other apple products for its location information.

          1. dadaclonefly

            You absolutely can use it to track/stalk people without iPhones, as long as they are in proximity to iPhones. In a city, this is going to be the case nearly all of the time. Many people put them on dog collars in case Fido runs off, presumably without his iPhone

    2. Carolinian

      The mayor would do better to give all those Hyundai and Kia owners steering wheel locks. The article says the TikTok Kia Challenge (TikTok instructs teenagers how to steal cars) is the source of the problem.

      Kia/Hyundai has now offered a firmware update that will make it impossible to start the car without the unlocker key fob but then if the owner drops the fob in a puddle he/she may not be able to start it either. Whereas the immobilizer system typically has a real key backup attached because the immobilizer transmitter on the steering column can also be operated by the physical key. But if I lived in NYC I’d get the firmware update for sure. That still won’t stop kids from breaking into your car and trying to steal it via TikTok’s instructions.

  2. griffen

    Kids working at a McDonald’s. Is this a result of lax enforcement or just general jack-a$$ery by the franchise hiring practices and location managers? You know, I’m picking the latter. Post the Covid “lockdown”, I noticed that a lot of local (South Carolina) big name franchise locations either A. posted a hiring notice with increased minimums or B. just looked deserted often at peak times, like the morning commute.

    Hopefully if they work a drive through, at a minimum, the math skills begin to improve. Which I will note those math skills are progressively, and notably, not good. Forget paying in cash!

    1. Rod

      Wish the expose had focused more on the “How this happens” –but most don’t particularly when Minors are involved. Maybe just TMI for the American Public–or maybe just questions the Reporter doesn’t even know to ask. Don’t ask a question about whose answer you don’t want to know.
      But the numbers are impressive for what you think of as a very well-run Franchiser.
      Living in the Carolinas, as we both do, surely you’ve observed an increase in, ummm, errr, ‘out of State–out of Country’ Labor. over the last 30 years or so? I have–from my Meat and Three’s Kitchen to Roofers ground cleaning Tear-off, to picking Truck and Fruit in the Mountains. See what you are looking at.
      But never more than nowadays–especially in the more informal of Jobs–for two years now my Meat and Three(open 6:30am-2:30pm T-S) has an all-Latino Kitchen Crew with little English spoken–the new Busboy/Dishwasher last week was shorter than the Counter he walked around with the bus pan.
      I can’t say a thing.
      With a Career in mostly Residential Construction behind me in the Piedmont, I can’t count the times I have been approached by a walk up from a sub-division cruising Mini-Van with Limited Language Skills offering to augment my Labor Needs.
      Or by someone already employed on my Crew. Per Job; Per Diem, Per Hour–Cash only–no need for paperwork. Amazing how many will bring ‘their’ Kids on Site to “help”–no charge bonus.
      In my experience, it was usually the “Relatives” offering this. No shame or second thoughts. Different Cultures often have different priorities and operating systems in their ‘Home Country’s’
      Just economics.
      All my life the ‘Back-Door Hire” has been a thing within certain Industries,(In the Seventies it made it difficult for me to access a Union Apprenticeship for sure) and I suspect this is just expansion of “The System”.

      1. Carolinian

        I too live in SC and my impression was that the Hispanic presence at McD dialed way down during the Trump administration with the replacements being more African Americans. Meanwhile heavy construction has seemingly been non-English speaking for quite awhile no matter the employer. They work from 7 to 7 and a crew can frame a house in a week.

        My mom grew up on a farm and of course back then and probably now kids did lots of farm work more strenuous than flipping burgers. SC age for a driver’s license used to be (still?) 14 so the kids could drive the tractors.

        1. Rod

          Agree with your observation about the McD before and after Trump.
          But the kitchen faces at my local Chinese Restaurant sure do change frequently.
          The DL Requirement age has tightened up quite a bit—hallelujah.
          You had to be 16 to drive a Rural School Bus Route back in the day—good steady pocket money as long as you didn’t crash it or beat the right kids— now that was usually a ‘back door job’ if there ever was.
          Nowadays kids can’t drive other kids on the School Bus.
          However, as Undocumented Workers have become ‘seeded’ in many Industries by willing Employers, the Immigrant Employment Network has become way more sophisticated.
          These are not ‘dumb’ people.
          Working 7-7 is not an issue—how they are paid is.
          And the Working Conditions.
          For a hoot, e-verify yourself.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Against my better judgment, I recently went through the drive through of a Micky D’s and racked up a charge of $4.72. Got to the window and handed the teenager a $20.00 and he handed me back $4.72. He clearly had no concept of how to handle this exchange of currency and was rather dumbfounded when I explained to him that he handed me back what I owed them, not my change. He mumbled a bit, blamed it on the computer, and I did eventually get my $15.28 and a rather disgusting food-like product, but it was a real challenge for all involved.

      1. Carolinian

        I think fast food is on the wane for a number of reasons. The McD chief has just been complaining that the public doesn’t want to buy their high priced burgers. But undoubtedly the labor problem will contribute to the little mourned decline.

        1. JBird4049

          High priced food combined with low paid workers. It is supposed to be a profitable combination.

          I have noticed that a growing number of cashiers have difficulty in handling cash.

        2. LifelongLib

          I’m old enough to remember the old-style burger joints. Yes, they were hangouts for kids and had a jukebox, but the staff was often one retired navy guy and it took 45 minutes to get your food. McDonald’s etc put them all out of business pretty fast. What will replace McDonald’s?

          1. JBird4049

            I vaguely remember that those juke joints and greasy spoon restaurants having larger portions of better tasting food. While I would not say that their cuisine was healthier, I don’t remember ever getting that queasy, slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach that McDonald’s started to give me back in the 80s. Plus the meal kept me filled longer than an hour.

  3. zagonostra

    >This is not a drill: IBM to replace 7,800 jobs with AI Interesting Engineering

    This also comes amid a sharp market rejigs in the AI industry, spurred on by the announcement of ChatGPT by OpenAI last year. What was initially a whirlwind has turned into a full-blown storm of new AI technology making inroads into the market every day.

    I’ve been using ChatGPT on my iphone for about 2 weeks and it is most impressive. I remember the fears that offshoring was moving beyond manufacturing jobs and was beginning to impact “white collar” jobs. On example I recall was offshoring of the grunt work that paralegals do to English speaking Indians who could accomplish the task at a fraction of the cost. So we go from offshoring to AI replacement. Technology evolved from offshoring physically dependent jobs to “intellectually” dependent ones.

    All that data that Google and other companies vacuum up from people typing and predicting/correcting next word in a sentence along with the ability to convert spoken words to text, and taking that data utilizing super computers and recursive/learning software is starting to pay off in terms of products like ChatGPT.

    Is this a tool or a threat? Obviously any advanced technology has the capacity for both. The ends to which it is put will determine the answer. Whether those ends are guided by ethical consideration is the question whose answer troubles me, not so much the technology.

    [I had ChapGPT summarize/outline Maurice Blondel’s main philosophical ideas and it returned results that would have taken my scrolling through Wiki and other articles many hours to compile. Impressive.]

      1. The Rev Kev

        I guess they tapped Kamala because of her technical expertise and her history of dealing with technological issues. Just sitting back here and imagining a ChatGPT trained up on Kamala’s speeches and utterances. Hmmm. That would be worthy of a SNL skit that.

        1. Mildred Montana

          To paraphrase a Boeing engineer’s description of FAA regulators attending a technical presentation, “She’ll be like a dog watching TV.”

        2. griffen

          SNL skit, South Park, Caddyshack, Blazing Saddles…Zoolander…this could go in many and varied directions !

          I’m thinking now Ron Burgundy. Don’t let AI put anything up on the teleprompter, or Ron will just read what’s there! Stay Classy.

    1. CallMeTeach

      StableDiffusion, Midjourney, ChatGPT and other Generative AI sources are already displacing creatives. It’s all about cheaper and faster for companies. There are no ethics involved, except for make as much money as possible, if you want to call that an ethos.
      The scraping of the internet for training sets have violated copyright in many cases, and are unethical at best. Much of the push back is happening on Twitter, but here are some references:
      -The Bradford Literary Festival used GenAI art for much of their promo, but are swearing it isn’t.
      -SciFi magazine gets scammed and pulls down online cover.
      -Author gets book deal “collaborating with AI
      – A song using GenAI to sound like Drake and The Weeknd made,content%20created%20with%20generative%20AI”.

      Unless something is done to rein in the proliferate use of Generative AI, no one is safe. It’s not just about creatives. Any and all jobs TPTB can replace, they will. And forget training as a prompt writer, because AI will soon train itself. At least at the moment, Generative AI works can’t be copyrighted.

      1. c_heale

        I have a friend who has worked for big companies doing graphic design. He doesn’t think it is a threat to his work (he is freelance) personally, but in fact a way to automate part of the design process and enable him to finish jobs faster. So for him, for a benefits.

        However I think the problem lies in that companies will try to do cheapskate design and this will remove the lower level jobs from the industry.

        Regarding Chatgpt, I think it will have very little use in the end. It’s scraping from the Internet. There is so much garbage on the the internet now, I think it is a case of garbage in, garbage out.

    2. Pelham

      A tool or a threat? If AI were in the hands of ordinary workers who could use it to replace the multitude of largely pointless executives and bosses, it would be quite a useful tool. What instead makes AI a threat is the fact that it’s in the wrong hands. But perhaps that can be easily fixed, with the aid of AI.

      1. Geo

        Exactly. The article even states that:

        “A recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs said that AI could replace 300 million full-time jobs, but that it could also increase the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by seven percent.”

        Profits will go up even as millions lose their jobs.

    3. square coats

      Can I ask what configuration of chatgpt you used to get the summary/outline, how accurate was it, and how long was it?

      1. zagonostra

        I don’t even know. How accurate? Good question. The fact is I used it because I didn’t know anything about the person/subject so I couldn’t say, although when I went to Wiki it pretty much followed what it had to say, but not exactly.

        I’ve only been using a couple of weeks. I think you have to sign up for v4 and get put on a waiting list…for me nothing will replace reading what the author himself wrote, preferably in his own language.

  4. Jeff Stantz

    On Robert Kennedy Jr: America needs a revolution:

    I met RFK, jr, very briefly, while working as a tour guide on a ship that toured the Hudson River. He shook my hand and said; “I would rather be working on a boat than in a courtroom.”

    He has my vote, especially for his work with the Children’s Defense Fund who are fighting against the proliferation of 5G and Millimeter Wave Cell Stations.

    Can’t wait to sit down and watch this!

    1. griffen

      It was an interesting read. Clearly he has opinions, and sometimes those opinions may land with applause or with a loud thud. I’m sure he has protection, but I’d be checking all my vehicles underneath and also never setting foot in a small engine plane. I would have to do more research on his experience and background, just to have a better grasp of his potential appeal. He gets a bonus mark immediately, for he is not Joe Biden.

    2. Carolinian

      I think there’s a rebellion happening in our country now — there’s a populist rebellion — and if we don’t capture that rebellion, for the forces of idealism and the forces of generosity and kindness, somebody else is going to hijack that rebellion for much darker purposes. I don’t think it’s a good idea to say we’re not going to talk to American populists because they’re deplorable. Americans are our brothers and sisters, and we need to listen to them. And their backs are against the wall because of policies that have come from both Republican and Democratic parties.


      RFK Jr: There was nobody, during most of his career, who was more critical of Tucker Carlson than I was. But I think Tucker has evolved over the past three years into probably one of the leading populist voices in our country. He’s one of the only people on American television that’s talking about free speech. It’s extraordinary — when I was growing up, the people who were most militant, who were the First Amendment absolutists, were journalists. The average American journalist seems not the least bit concerned by government-orchestrated censorship. It’s very, very strange.

      Clearly a fascist. /s

      A good interview and all the stuff about Ukraine hits home. Increasingly we seem to be in a battle of common sense versus nonsense pretending to be expertise. But the nonsensical have all the power at the moment and are not going to go quietly. Carlson got fired–Kennedy too? His appeal to the diversity and openness of the Dems is more historic than current–perhaps a flaw in his plain talk.

      1. pjay

        These days I pay little attention to what pundits and politicians say about domestic policy. On that subject you can *say* anything. Occasionally if you go too far – say, state your support for Medicare-for-All – you will get the mainstream media pile-on “expert” smear treatment, like Bernie has in the past. But the system is so completely rigged to prevent any actual progressive change that the powers-that-be have little to worry about.

        But there is a “third-rail” that, once crossed, will call forth the powers of the entire Establishment to destroy you. That is *any* deviation from our Imperial foreign policy. These are the issues which serve as a test for me. Because unlike “liberal” domestic issues, where the main danger is maybe getting ridiculed by a Paul Krugman, on these issues you will be *eliminated* from public life – “six ways from Sunday,” and many more. There are *no* so-called “progressives” or Democrats of any note today which do not fall in lock-step on our multiple criminal actions in the rest of the world.

        So when RFK Jr. says this about Ukraine, and *especially* about the CIA, I will pay attention. Of course he has to include the obligatory “thug” and “gangster” comments about Putin, but bracketing that, what he says is beyond anything in else in the Establishment echo chamber. There has already been a furious attempt to smear him. And there are a few Kennedy-haters on the left like Michael Tracey who claim it is all a fake. But like Tucker Calrson, if someone with a significant public platform is throwing truth bombs, I will listen, and urge others to listen as well. It could be sheep-herding, and I have no doubt that most “conservative” support for him is tactical to undermine Biden and the Democrats. Let’s see. But keep the discussion coming.

        1. Carolinian

          Since we have the first primary now he’ll presumably still be around and I’ll vote for him.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            In Florida, only those registered as a member of one of the two legacy parties can vote in that party’s primary. Independents are denied participation.

            I registered as a democrat in 2016 to vote for Bernie. I had planned to switch to republican this time to vote for Trump, but I’ve decided to stay where I am to vote for RFK, Jr.

            I don’t know what nefarious shit they’re going to come up with to smear him, but this guy is big trouble for the democrats IMNSHO.

            The other day Rising had a clip of him being interviewed by the effing fool piers morgan. morgan, of course, slammed RFK with the anti-vax slime. RFK replied that he’s not anti-vax, he wants vaccines that are safe and that are continuously monitored to assure that safety. Then he quipped that he’d been trying for 40 years to get mercury out of fish, and no one’s ever accused him of being anti-fish.

            Pithy and appealing response to my mind. The dems are in big trouble I tell ya.

            1. flora

              An aside:

              “In Florida, only those registered as a member of one of the two legacy parties can vote in that party’s primary. Independents are denied participation.”

              That’s called a closed primary. Each party decides if they want their primaries open to registered party member and independents (an open primary), or not (a closed primary). In the last 30-ish years most states’ 2 main parties – Dem and GOP – have both gone to closed primaries.

              The result is that lacking any need to appeal to independents in their primaries, and needing to appeal to the most dedicated voters focused on the hot-button issues of the registered party members, both parties primaries produce winning candidates who are generally more ‘extreme’ by earlier standards and that don’t appeal to the large middle independent voters for the most part. It’s made politics more toxic than it used to be. My state’s politics certainly got more extreme, less common sense, after both state parties switched to closed primaries. My 2 cents.

              1. scott s.

                You might want to check your state law. My state (Hawaii) constitution Art II Sec 4 mandates open primaries, except Presidential Preference primaries. For president, in my state you actually vote for a party’s slate of Electors who must be chosen in a party state convention.

                1. flora

                  Thanks. That’s interesting. So yes, varies by state and a good idea to check your own state’s primary rules if you want to vote in the primaries.

                  1. Late Introvert

                    In Iowa you have to register to the party, so I’ll sign back up to the DemRats by the deadline and then immediately change it back to no party the day after the Iowa Cockups 2024.

                    1. Late Introvert

                      since my state recently made it legel to cancel books from school libraries, I’m hoping to get The Bible canceled too, for incest and violence

            2. John k

              I doubt even fox will let him on… tucker aired Bernie, I think twice, but Obama shut that down. Msm just smears and lies. Alt media not likely enough, granted he’d be better than either likely candidate.
              I expect 2020 redux.

        2. Telee

          msnbc has warned their viewers that RFK Jr. is “dangerous.” I suppose they will be backing Biden and all his policies and eliminate any other narratives.

        3. c_heale

          The only way the third rail will be crossed is a defeat that cannot be explained away as a victory (as the Vietnam war was). I think the Ukraine war could end up as such a defeat.

    1. timbers

      How about banning private jets and taxing billionaires out of existence instead?

        1. Wukchumni

          ‘Billionaire Survivor’ tv reality show pitch

          A plane full of Billionaires crashes and most survive, beached on a remote isle far from shipping lanes or building cranes, and naturally all want to take the nom doubloon of Piggy, so they call each other Piggy #4 and so on, it works to a point, but what is it with Piggy #17, he always wants more food than everybody else, and Piggy #8 like the rest of them, has a current net worth of zero and is acting debtor alive.

          Jamie is in charge of coconut futures and everything goes great until the realization hits that there are no coconut trees on the uncharted isle, but this only results in a brief trading halt, followed by a 30% gain.

          1. flora

            That could make a very funny SNL skit lampooning wall st and the big bank investment “logic”….

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Or maybe go after the Helicopter flights out to the Hamptons. Make them all ride the Jitney.

    2. Lexx

      Went into an ARC store last week and walked out with six quart canning jars, six half pints, and a copy of ‘Knives over Forks’. I had made a Caesar’s salad dressing that was both too thin and vinagary, and rather than throw it out I wanted to fix it without adding something like mayo. The answer I arrived at was a handful of raw cashews softened in hot water and a teaspoon of sweetener in the bullet blender. It thickened while adding more protein and agave nectar balanced the sharp acid… delicious. So I grabbed the book for $3 to see what other solutions might be found there.

      According to Google there are over 25,000 bars and restaurants in NYC, a city where people eat out as much as dine-in… and it’s expensive. Plant-based food tends to be low status victuals, seen as ‘peasant’ food, and the digestive tracts of every economic class love them, even if their egos are more stubborn. A harder sell in a city as status-oriented as Manhattan.

      Wastewater surveillance as a propaganda tool might be useful in moving people to a more fiber rich diet. Maybe target Harlem which is predominantly black with a higher incidence of diabetes, or really any minority borough. Connect the dots between diets low in fiber and early-onset disease, and diners will start to act in their own interest. Restaurants won’t have to push beans, diners will demand them. Salads will rule. Fruit and cheese plates over cheesecake. ‘That pear was delicious. What farm did it come from?’

      1. Adam Eran

        Don’t forget “The Game Changers” (TGC) – a Netflix video like “Forks Over Knives” (or “What the Health”) that promotes a vegan diet too. TGC was produced by an odd trio: James Cameron, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s weird to see the Terminator lobbying for vegan diets over his previous preference (steaks). TGC is full of world-class athletes who say eating vegan has helped their game.

        Meanwhile, this guy conducted an extensive study about the ideal human diet, noting the glycemic index for a variety of meals. The results: there’s a diversity in the digestive process. Some people eat ice cream and their glucose spikes, while others show no such reaction. So…is ice cream a bad idea? Sounds like the correct answer is “it depends.” …although my money would be on non-sugar foods as a lower glycemic index.

        Nice to see NC entering the really controversial arena (diets)…😉

        Also worth a look: Caldwell Esselstyne’s lecture about preventing and reversing heart disease

        1. Lexx

          I’ve watched Eran Segal’s TED Talk sometime in the last year. I’ve come to the same conclusion, there is no best diet for all humans. I handle ice cream better than rice (even short-grain brown) and that makes no sense, so the answer has to be our individual responses to the foods we’re eating.

          I think we need to reclaim our numbers from our healthcare providers and make them work for us. For most of our lives we’re oblivious to what high blood glucose to doing to us until a lot of damage has been done to our bodies… our aging bodies.

          There are a couple of CGM’s on the market available to non-diabetics who want to monitor for themselves what the foods they’re eating is doing to their blood glucose levels. They’re quite spendy month to month and I feel about sharing that information like I do having Alexa or a Roomba in the house… only as long as we can control the information they’re gathering about us. But there are simpler, more private, cheaper ways to gather enough information that will serve just as well. Curious about the AI program though. That talk was back in 2016… maybe I’ll check into Segal Lab.

          Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll put ‘The Game Changers’ in our queue.

      2. Ellery O'Farrell

        Um, at least in my corner of Manhattan–in non-Inwood uptown, not upscale; what used to be called middle-class–the problem with plant-based foods isn’t their status. It’s their price: very expensive.

    3. JBird4049

      Doesn’t NYC still have major issues with both food and housing insecurity, plus problems with police violence and corruption? It is a good idea to talk about just how we produce our food as a society, but JFC, I think that the mayor has more pressing problems.

      This is just like the various city and county governments in California, not to mention the state government, getting all touchy-feely with various initiatives that have nothing to do with whatever serious problems that they are supposed to be dealing with.

  5. nycTerrierist

    Stephen S – that is one fine hellbeast!
    your vehicle is well-protected

      1. MaryLand

        I would be tempted to name them Cer, Ber, and Rus. Then you could call them to come to you by shouting “Cerberus!” What a great thing to do at a park! Haha!

    1. Nikkikat

      Fine looking fellows indeed! They look all business as they tend their guarding duty.
      Thanks as always for making our day.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Cerberus appears worried and agitated, looking forward and looking back like Janus. But what so vexes the hellhound?

  6. The Rev Kev

    “A Texas Prison Guard Punishes a Woman for Talking About Abortion”

    ‘“You gotta let him in yo butthole before yo biscuit and be a toaster strudel, not a twinkie,” they shouted to a woman who was scheduled for release within a few months. Translation: To avoid pregnancy, a woman should have anal sex before vaginal sex. She should also be sure that the man ejaculated on her, not inside her. ‘

    Or – use a condom. Maybe taking the advice of somebody who, through their life choices, has ended up in the slammer may not be the wisest of courses. Just sayin’.

    1. marym

      There are many reasons besides “bad choices” that people end up in prison. They often are each other’s only source of informatIon, and in many cases it’s probably information necessary for survival.

      Women have always had to depend on other women for information about reproduction, and the quoted misinformation is hardly unique to the class that’s assumed to make “bad choices.”

      On sex ed information in particular the article also says:

      “Although many of the women who cycled through the segregation unit where Harris has spent the past seven years are in their 20s, many had grown up in foster care. Few had a trusted adult to teach them about their bodies. Texas does not require its public schools to teach sex education. Those that do must emphasize abstinence…Among the programs that the prison offers to new mothers, including one that allows select mothers to remain with the babies born while in custody, none listed birth control or family planning.”

      For anyone keeping track of what women can and can’t say in TX, according to the article there is – at least for now – no law against women talking, or listening to someone talking, about abortion.

    2. Booty butthole toaster strudel

      How are you going to get a condom when they’re locked up and you have no money

  7. Louis Fyne

    Now lets do Covid and air travel.

    One traveller goes to X and then Y while pre-symptomatic. Within 3 weeks Z households become infected, resulting in ___ infections. It’s wild that the role of international air travel in this pandemic was ever questioned.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Trump tried that. Then nancy pelosi went to SF Chinatown and called it racist.

      We could also do the blm riots, where the entire alphabet was screaming in each other’s faces and fauci said it didn’t matter because racism.

      As it worked out, there was a theme to the science.

      1. Late Introvert

        My theory on that was our leaders were all too happy to let those people do that very thing. I remember shaking my head at how stupid they all were, and boy did it turn out so great in the end. Sigh. I was and still am surprised at how many p1gs were unmasked but they aren’t known for being too bright.

  8. Acacia

    Re: Quantum computing could break the internet

    The basic problem with this claim is that it assumes work on QC technology will proceed steadily for decades while work on encryption technology stands still. The former is a pretty large “if” — i.e., QC could take decades longer to reach viability, or could end up like nuclear fusion, self-driving cars, etc. — and the latter is incorrect.

    RSA is only one of a variety of public-key algorithms currently in use, and the key size is variable. Key sizes can be changed without much fuss, and larger keys are more difficult to crack. Most network stacks currently in use already have a ‘pluggable’ design that can handle different encryption algorithms and different key sizes. In the past, there were other algorithms such as DES and MD5, which are today no longer considered secure, and not used for encrypting your data going across the Net (MD5 hashes are still useful for other purposes). Similarly, if RSA is someday cracked, the existing frameworks can easily switch to use improved encryption algorithms.

    Now, whether the NSA has some secret tech for cracking certain forms of encryption is a question mark, but the hypothetical “Q-Day” announced by this article is probably not something we need to worry about. IMHO, Internet security is far more likely to be impacted locally by the ongoing crapification of services.

    1. Michaelmas

      Acacia: QC could take decades longer to reach viability, or could end up like nuclear fusion, self-driving cars, etc

      QC may be non-viable in those ways. Or it may not, because there’s a recent development that could be the necessary breakthrough —
      Photonic chip brings optical quantum computers a step closer: A programmable photonic circuit has been developed that can execute various quantum algorithms and is potentially highly scalable. This device could pave the way for large-scale quantum computers based on photonic hardware.

      Photonic QC uses photons for qubits, and can be done on specially-designed chips running at room temperature that could potentially be manufactured in today’s fabs. Thus, the need for those ridiculously sensitive, expensive fridges with which we’ve hitherto been trying to do quantum computing with is obviated.

      The link above is from 2021 and the state of play is already advanced from there, though the critical milestone of proving that photonic QC can get error rates down where they need to be still remains ahead.

      I’ll not load up this comment with links so it gets thrown into moderation, but see below —

    2. c_heale

      Oh cry me a river, for the poor Internet. It’s getting crappier and crappier every day. I’m not sure that our lives are any better for having it.

      1. Late Introvert

        But you can now buy products that “protect” you from it. What’s not to love about that?

  9. upstater

    TINA! Forget about a new security architecture in Europe, at least until the economies collapse from energy costs, deindustrialization and trade disruptions:

    The ‘Peace Dividend’ Is Over in Europe. Now Come the Hard Tradeoffs. (NYT)

    Defending against an unpredictable Russia in years to come will mean bumping up against a strained social safety net and ambitious climate transition plans.

    In the 30 years since the Iron Curtain came crashing down, trillions of dollars that had been dedicated to Cold War armies and weapons systems were gradually diverted to health care, housing and schools.
    That era — when security took a back seat to trade and economic growth — abruptly ended with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
    “The peace dividend is gone,” Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund, recently declared, referring to the mountains of cash that were freed up when military budgets shrank. “Defense expenditures have to go up.”

    The elites are a sick bunch. This will not end well for Europe.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      For us too. General Jack Keane pointed out on Fox a few weeks back that the U. S. spent 6% of GDP on defense during the Cold War compared to 3% now. He said it would have to be doubled or more to take on China and Russia, plus more to reshore arms manufacturing. Imagine that: doubling our defense budget or more. So who cares what Jack Keane thinks? Other than a Fox talking head, he’s on the board of General Dynamics and chairman of the board at the Institute for the Study of War, the Kagan/Nuland outfit. Or listen to the nitwit Republican Congressman, Mike Gallagher, who led the war games against China. In the article linked, Gallagher enjoys center spot, but Jake Auchincloss, Democrat royalty, stands next to him.

    2. NarrativeMassagerInc

      “”unpredictable Russia” — these guys are so dishonest they make Il Donaldo look honest. Russia had been “predicting” their reaction to NATO encroachment for 15 years before they finally did something about it.

      1. c_heale

        Strategically in a war or hostile negotiations, it may well be better to be a little unpredictable. Trump’s foreign policy had an unpredictable element to it, although it was always obvious what he wanted underneath. As someone who lives outside the USA, the fact he didn’t start any new wars, and seemed prepared to talk to anyone, a major change from recent American presidents, I really liked this about him.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Estimates That Half Of Europe Wants A Rapprochement With Russia”

    I may be reading too much into this article but I suspect that it shows that there is trouble brewing in Warsaw. In the same way there is debate in Washington between the true believers like Sullivan, Kirby, Blinken Nuland, etc. and those who I would call more reality based as to how far to go into the Ukraine, I think that the same is happening in Poland. That one faction wants to send the Polish army into the Ukraine and challenge the Russian army and those that say aww, hell no! The point of what is in this article is to come out and say that if Poland goes into the Ukraine, that they will do so alone and none of the other countries in Europe will support them. The Russians have held back from attacking the Ukraine but if the Poles were there on the ground, they would hit them with everything that they have. And maybe if President Duda came out and told the Polish army to go into the Ukraine, that there might very well be a revolt.

    1. hk

      I brought this up wrt another post, but if the Polish Army goes into Ukraine, who will defend Warsaw against a Russian incursion from Belarus? (Not entirely serious an argument–although I probably sounded too serious for my own good) I’m still amazed that many people think everything that happens in Ukraine will stay there (and that everything that Russia does is about Ukraine). I’ve wondered if the point of the Russian army in Belarus is to check Poland, with the implication that if Poland goes into Ukraine, Russia can march on Poland, and with all the aid that they are sending to Ukraine, NATO will not have as much wherewithal as Ukraine last year to stop them. (Probably not true–if only because some general staffs seem to be open to this possibilities and are keeping some weapons on hand.)

      1. John k

        Imo Russia would settle for taking out poles that enter Ukraine. Russia seems trying to avoid targeting a nato country unless really necessary, maybe if missiles based were to be based in Finland.

      1. digi_owl

        What they are set up to do, though supposedly their mandate is only to do so in foreign nations…

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The Grayzone had this also.

      There’s actually a mini-series about this called “The Looming Tower.” It’s written from the perspective of an FBI agent who was prevented from tracking some of the terrorists by the CIA. These most recent stories seem to be about the same series of events but from a different perspective.

    2. rusell1200

      Affiliation isn’t the word I would use.

      I take it that the CIA was trying to recruit two particular al qaeda members: who wound up being two of the 911 hijackers. This causes a paper trail of CIA related meetings in the US (and their getting the FBI to back off) with the hijackers shortly before 911. Something the CIA did not want at all known for obvious reasons- The level of screwup being rather obvious.

    3. pjay

      I have commented on this before, but this information on Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar has been publicly available for, literally, decades, as has much more besides, including “interesting” information on Mohamad Atta and his buddies in Florida. Only speculation, but this story seems to get trotted out periodically whenever Saudi Arabia gets a little uppity in its relations with the US. I don’t think the Saudis worry as much as they used to about such PR threats. And, of course, we have no interest whatsoever in any real investigation of culpability by our National Security Establishment.

      1. Glen

        The parallels between 9/11, the war on terror, etc, and what’s currently happening in Ukraine are ominous.

        Was W and DC elites closely tied to SA in a fashion which made it politically difficult to just get to the truth behind the 9/11 attacks? Did this result in or contribute to maybe the worst foreign policy decisions by America? (To date, we may be re-writing what is the worst decision.)

        Bush links to Saudi royals resurface in new book

        Is Biden and DC elites too closely tied to Ukraine to make clear decisions about what’s best for the country? Are we once again making stupid foreign policy decisions?

        Timeline: Key dates in the U.S. political controversy over Ukraine

        This is where it would be nice to have something other than a uniparty in the legislative branch to hold the executive branch MUCH more accountable.

  11. JohnA

    Re Charles coronation, Green King too funny

    Especially if people confuse him with the large pub and brewery chain in England called Greene King

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Militarized Dolphins Protect a Quarter of US Nuclear Stockpile”

    The Ukrainians had dolphins in Crimea and when Russia took back the joint, the dolphins went too. The Ukrainians demanded them back again but the Russian refused. Years later the Ukrainians said that ‘the dolphins died “patriotically”, refusing to follow orders or eat food provided by the “Russian invaders” and that the hunger strike led to their eventual death.’

    1. timbers

      Day of the Dolphin with George C Scott and his real life wife has a tear jerking ending. Now I see it’s not just a movie but real life, too.

      1. ambrit

        Larry Csonka was usually teamed up with that era Team Dolphin’s other running back, Jim Kiick. Then Morris happened along and things went Big Time. (Dad had a pair of season tickets to the Dolphins games before they became “famous.” When I left home, my middle sister used the second seat. Mom could never get into sports.)
        So, Csonka and Kiick, two vaguely Mittle European heavy hitters. It sort of figures that they ended up in Miami where a lot of “displaced” “Centrist” European proxies go to ‘sunset’ their careers.
        Here’s hoping that the Head Coaches in ‘Da Swamp’ don’t decide to put “cleats on the astroturf” in Crimea Bowl III.
        (Yep. Drone attack against the Kremlin overnight sounds like a desperation play to me.)

  13. Polar Socialist

    I’m seeing in the news that Zelensky is in Finland, meeting Nordic leaders, and won’t be returning directly to Ukraine. I wonder if it has something to do with the drone attacks on Kremlin last night, and the Russians being mighty angry about it?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I saw a video of that drone attack, it looked like something a 7th grade STEM student could pull off. Very clearly a small drone, and the blast looked like a M-80 from days of my misspent youth.

      See comment below about monkey’s throwing poop against a wall. If this is the fabled start of the greatest counteroffensive since D-Day, Ukraine is in serious trouble.

      Perhaps Big Z’s money masters want their money back. Poor ROI.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Compared to the dome of the Senate building just before the drone is destroyed it seems to have about 7 feet wingspan. So slightly smaller than Geran-2.
        Something you can by for $4-500 from internet and put 7 pounds of payload into.

    2. Lex

      Those drone attacks are a supremely reckless escalation, whether they flew from Ukraine or were launched from inside Russia. Kiev is claiming that they have nothing to do with it, but considering that Resnikov just gave an interview threatening even nuclear power plants I’m not so sure anyone’s going to believe it.

      I’m seeing Russia reaction from Duma deputies along the lines of flatten Bankova street. But what I think is probably more interesting is how western capitols are going to react. It obviously hasn’t gone unnoticed that Russia has refrained from attacking political centers and people. And there’s been recent rumbling that DC and Brussels are not keen on Ukrainian attacks on Russia proper. This is a can of worms I think Kiev’s patrons would prefer to have remained closed.

        1. timbers

          “…prominent Russian MP Mikhail Sheremet reportedly saying “It’s time to launch a missile attack on Zelensky’s residence.” Which one? Miami, London, Italy, Israel…??

      1. S.D., M.D.

        Brilliant! Now Biden can avoid embarrassing public appearances, shameful scripted press conferences, and remain safely hidden in an undisclosed location for the entire 2024 campaign after “leaked documents” reveal a Putin plot to take him out.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          That is one of the very bad outcomes likely to happen. I remember all the copy-cat attacks after the anthrax letters in 2003.

          No politician may ever be safe in public. Imagine what happens when the drones get smaller and harder to detect.

          1. nippersdad

            Was watching Alex Christofourou yesterday and he had a segment where Bashar Al Assad was walking the streets, shaking hands and kissing babies, with no (obvious) security in sight.

            I can’t remember the last time an American president could do something like that. Certainly not in my lifetime.

              1. tevhatch

                … and Puerto Rican Freedom Fighters almost assassinated Truman on November 1, 1950. I guess they were not happy about the medical experimentation ala 3rd Reich USA.

                1. Wukchumni

                  …and then since Ike it has turned into one grown man whacking off repeatedly after another, the links being the only controlled environment a President can walk outside the White House, aside from Camp David.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Teddy Roosevelt would meet and shake hands with ordinary people on the steps of the White House in his day.

            2. elissa3

              Staged. The music is the giveaway. The Syrians may not have the resources to do a really good deep fake.

              1. nippersdad

                Even if it was staged, I have to say that they did a better job of it than we do. The last time I saw Biden out with the plebes he was getting all red faced demanding push-up contests and calling them fatties.

                You just cannot make the music loud enough to cover for that kind of behavior. I can see why he needs a platoon to protect him.

          2. Henry Moon Pie

            They might get slapped.

            In the fall of 1975, we went to a lumberjacks’ festival in Elkins, WV. It was a cool event, but Gerry Ford decided to show up. Now this was his first time in public since two attempts on his life. We watched the parade and the Secret Service agents as they watched the crowd. Suddenly, a helicopter swooped own at a point a few hundred yards down the route. Ford had briefly gotten out of the limo. Very tense atmosphere.

            Later, we saw the limo at the airport. We drove and tried to walk up to get a Bonnie and Clyde type pic. We got a shot before the agents ran us off.

      2. A guy in Washington DC

        How do you say “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” in Ukrainian?

    3. The Rev Kev

      I understand that Russia has cancelled their Immortal Regiment march on Victory Day. The one where people carry portraits of family members that were lost in WW2 in a parade. They did not want to risk a Ukrainian terror attack like a bomb or something that would cause mass casualties.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      And just like that, Zelensky’s staying in Finland longer than planned.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Report puts Russian navy ships near pipeline blast site”

    Stories like this is like watching a monkey throw its own crap against a wall to see which one will stick. Nobody is going to buy the idea that the Russians blew up $11 billion of their own infrastructure when all they had to do was to turn off a valve. Any vessel flying a Russian flag in those waters would be under intense surveillance so no, this “sabotage operation” never happened. I guess that some people in power are still unhappy with Sy Hersh’s expose of what actually went down and so are trying to fling out all sorts of garbage to muddy the waters. But here the BBC is just embarrassing themselves. They have no shame.

    1. nippersdad

      That article references Russian ship movements on the seventh and fourteenth of June, which is interesting because Baltops was June fifth through the seventeenth. How do they explain Russian operations in the middle of a NATO exercise?

      Even given a Russian tug boat was in the area in September, after Baltops, it would still have been under scrutiny insofar as it would have been hanging around in the Bornholm exclusive economic zone. These are people who monitor whale farts, it hardly seems likely that they would allow a dark ship to loiter overnight without questions being asked.

      Why would they even bring that up when all it succeeds in doing is showing that it took the better part of a year for “investigators” to discover something that NATO should already have been aware of? The BBC is not just embarrassing itself, it is embarrassing NATO, Denmark and Germany as well.

    2. digi_owl

      Well it is all over the Nordic broadcasters, but their only source is an radar echo with a margin of error in the kilometer range and one former British signal intelligence officer’s claims.

      What i find worrying is that this adds to a growing list of collaborations between the Nordic broadcasters that seem to try to paint Russia in a bad light, both in the past and in the present.

      I can’t speak for the rest, but i used to consider NRK a more reliable outlet than that.

  15. CanCyn

    Re banning books creating more interest in them – this is absolutely true. I have professional and personal experience with the Streisand effect on banned books. As a librarian, in my college library days, new book displays, interesting reads, etc. never had much interest from students but when we celebrated Freedom to Read annually, our ‘banned books’ display (technically books that have been banned somewhere at some time, the American Library Association maintains a list) always got interest and the books were usually checked out. I was an early reader and (thankfully) am of an age that young adult books were not really a thing so I was reading adult fiction by age 10-11. Somehow my Dad got hold a list of banned books when I was in high school. We found most of them at our little public library and proceeded to read them all. One in particular, The Diviners by great Canadian writer Margaret Laurence, remains a favourite book to this day. No doubt I would have found it sooner or later but I will always be grateful to have found and read it at such an early age. So much more time for re-reads!

    1. flora

      I wonder how many used book stores sold lots of copies of the original Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl childrens books after the “correct speech Police” changed the original texts in new printings? / ;)

    2. nippersdad

      Your comment reminded me of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories; a really funny book*. I particularly liked The three Co-dependent Goats Gruff… Anyway, so I go to the shelf, and am shocked to see that it was first printed in 1994. If they are going to Bowdlerize something, they could at least make it amusing.

      But some of the local book shops have a week once a year where they have windows full of banned books from that list, so your experience is still enjoyed by later generations even if those who rewrite books have yet to get the message that no one is going to read one that they have messed up without making it worth the effort of reading.


    3. A guy in Washington DC

      Librarians aren’t opposed to censorship. They think it should only be done by a people with a masters degree in library science. I grew up with a Carnagie Library that never got rid of anything. It had Mark Twain, Carl Jung, Adolph Hitler, Uncle Remus and Mary Baker Eddy plus shrill books both for and against the New Deal, the Papists, Prohibition and the British Naval Threat to America (circa 1885).

      What I learned is that most predictions are wrong, the past is filled with dead ends and Books do not equal Truth. In a modern, well curated library I’d have learned none of that.

  16. Wukchumni

    They came for Silicon Valley Bank deposits, but I thought it was a sperm bank for high tech types wishing to spawn so I said nothing

    Then they came for Signature Bank deposits, but I thought it was the name of a cruise ship line so I said nothing

    Then they came for First Republic Bank deposits, but JP Morgan got there first.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      So Cramer was on a rant about this today. He was even defending our biggest local bank, Key Bank, and decrying its fall to below $10 a share. “Cleveland needs Key Bank!,” he cried.

      And all along, the talking heads have been denying this is anything like ’08. Today, Cramer said the shorts were going after regional banks using the regional bank ETF in the same way they went after the big banks. I remember when short selling was prohibited as Morgan Stanley and Goldman became the targets. That’s what we need: a stock market that can never go down. Cue Ethel: (loud audio).

    2. griffen

      Confirms the wisdom of never banking at a financial institution with First in the name. Next up on the list, geographical designated entities? I am asking for a friend, of course.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its all good until the next crisis later in the week when a big bank gets scooped up by a national payday loan lender.

      2. mrsyk

        On NPR, I heard and economist state that First Republic blew up because they failed to package up and sell off enough of the real estate loans they wrote. I know, NPR and a trained economist in one reference. OTH, seems like real estate and the speculation there of might once again be out to throttle our economy. The series of Fed interest rate hikes can’t be helping here. Is this by design? Is JPM meant to be the Highlander of finance? And Blackstone America’s landlord?

        1. Wukchumni

          Every depositor in harms’ way in First Republic et al had over a quarter million, a far cry from the $400 that 1/3rd of us could scare up in cold hard cash.

          Running like pure-bred chickens with their heads cut off from one bank to another is gonna get old and where else would you put your gotten gains in if banks get dodgy?

          Housing Bubble Numero Tres… bigger, oh yeah-a lot bigger.

          1. LifelongLib

            I wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that every depositor with over $250k is a fat cat who can afford to lose it. Somebody running a small business or Grandma who just sold her old house could easily fall into that category too. I’m all for redistributing wealth but bank failures aren’t the way to do it.

        2. griffen

          I am slowly circling around this very preliminary idea. A disclaimer, only as an observer and not a trained economist. The Fed interest rate hikes are perhaps going to be far more impactful, possibly hurtful, or worse case, ruinous, on regions and areas of the economy that previously hummed along quite well.

          Commercial lending and real estate exposure can, I wish to recall, be parceled and participated out among bank institutions, which can possibly alleviate concentration. But enough regional banks continue to be punished, needlessly, by targeted short selling, this will jump up and bite the Federal Reserve, Congress, the FDIC and the White House all in their big giant asses. Banks can find it very difficult to raise capital in this type of market, except for those gigantic 800 lb monsters that we know well.

          They’ll kill inflation, yes. Last and second disclaimer, I wish to be shown wrong.

          1. Wukchumni

            The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
            And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?


            1. skippy

              Banks are switching classifications from “Available for Sale” to “Held to Maturity” so they don’t have to report losses and seem stronger.

              Deliberately hiding losses with the old switcheroo


              Reminds me of the Dangerfield ‘Back To School’ movie where he has the audacity too inform the Business Phd about the realities[tm] of doing business e.g. all the grease needed to do things and keep it off the books or alter the nomenclature of the line item …

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Weak U.S. Diesel Demand Intensifies Recession Fears”

    Never thought about it but the amount of diesel demand is a good indicator of most economies. So much of diesel is used by transport and farming machinery and there would be a base level of what is needed. Anything above that show extra economic activity. But diesel demand is a good indicator of the economy and is not really something that you can fudge or hide.

    1. heresy101

      Using diesel as an economic indicator says that a huge depression is waiting in the next 13 years.

      On Friday, America’s most populous state announced the deadline by when only zero-emissions trucks should be sold. Its vehicle regulations are typically adopted by other states which make up 35% of the US market. T&E said European truckmakers’ global dominance will be threatened unless the EU sets similarly ambitious CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

      California is set to invest almost $3 billion between 2021 and 2025 in zero emission trucks and infrastructure. This investment is a part of a $9 billion multi-year, multi-agency zero-emissions vehicle package to equitably decarbonize the transportation sector that was agreed upon by the governor and the legislature in 2021.

    2. Alex Cox

      Don’t worry! As soon as we start mining Lithium in Nevada and building more nuke plants we’ll need plenty of diesel!

  18. MaryLand

    Ran across an article at Noahpinion about the Biden administration’s “new industrial policy” to help the middle class, reduce inequality, boost US industries, and reduce climate change. The claim is all of this is consistent with US foreign policy and moves away from a “free trade” perspective. We’ll see how that works out. Well-written article anyway.

  19. Wukchumni

    That, trusted home,
    Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
    Besides the thane of Morgan. But ‘tis strange.
    And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
    The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
    Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
    In deepest consequence.

    …with apologies to Banquo

  20. antidlc

    From the CDC website:

    Wear a Mask to Protect Yourself and Others

    Masking is a critical public health tool and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask.
    Wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.
    Wearing a high-quality mask along with vaccination, self-testing, and physical distancing, helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.

  21. nippersdad

    Re: Ukrainian pawn shops.

    I was going through the listings of Icons on Ebay yesterday and was interested to see how many of them were coming from Ukraine. At least one of them was from the Zaporizhia region. The war may be increasing supply, but it is doing nothing to reduce prices. Looks like those pawn shops are making hay while the sun shines.

  22. tevhatch

    ‘Red scare’ in US causes multi-year flood of refugees with PhDs to China South China Morning Post

    Another impact is quite a few critical researchers who are not Chinese have been driven out of their fields of research because of past close cooperation with Chinese insititutes or use of Chinese researchers, as I’ve recently commented.

    Russian Vessel near NS pipeline.
    Forget the ridiculousness of going to the expense when shutting down compressor farm would do the same trick: When the vessels were near enough, they would have been underway, and that makes putting a mini-sub, divers, and supports into service an extreme trick. Also, This is at least 1 days work, probably 2 or 3 for a small team at those depths and conditions.

    1. jsn

      To accomplish a task simply turning the valve on dry land Russia already controls would do.

      Yes, they think we are dumber than they are.

  23. mrsyk

    Abrupt catastrophic climate change, a most dangerous elephant in the room. I’m reading that the Tonga eruption and el Nino could add about a total of 0.65 degrees C to global temp averages heading into next year. That is an enormous rise. Observation, results have consistently outperformed (to the bad side) forecasts. Prediction, by this time next year we here will actively discussing, perhaps even begging for geo-engineering in this department.

    I’m not a fan of geo-engineering. We (first world nations) should have handled this generations ago with forward thinking energy policies. But we didn’t and here we are. For those of you that would like to try and measure up what a strong el Nino means for your location, look back to what 2014-16 (the last strong el Nino) for clues.
    This could get ugly fast.

    1. nippersdad

      Those years resulted in very, very bad droughts and high temps around here. The good news, I suppose, is that ocean surface temps are “off the charts” this year, so lots of large hurricanes may break up the monotony of looking out the window and watching your stuff die during the water bans.

      The ones to pity are those on the Gulf Coast, though. Our occasional rains will be coming at their expense. That guy in the wheel chair in yesterday’s links doesn’t need to rebuild, he needs to take his FEMA money and move to Vermont.

      1. mrsyk

        But we in Vermont may not want him, or more accurately a couple million of him moving here. I don’t like thinking about how the creation of massive numbers of in-country climate refugees will play out. I imagine it will bring out both the best and worst of humanity.

        1. nippersdad

          It surely will. I think it was a lady on Y’tube who has a video on where the best place to move will be and came up with Vermont. What I was wondering while watching it was what will happen once everyone gets there and the Gulf Stream breaks down. Is every one going to just move from there to Mexico? It is just beginning to look like an immense game of shuffleboard.

          There aren’t going to be any winners.

    2. Wukchumni

      Lots of crop failures all over the world and no bumper crops anywhere to make up the difference, the Hunga Hunger Games started in Tonga and has spread all over the orb, watch for serious food inflation on top of what we’ve seen already, you say you want a revolution?

      Closer to home, its common for really wet years to come one after another in Cali, and if that happens the pretty damned full Tulare Lake would trend towards one giant lake covering the Central Valley, kind of like 1862’s ARK storm, but a 2 year effort.

      1. nippersdad

        I have been watching Ryan Hall on Y’tube, and the evidence over time for the polar jet breaking down is just amazing. There is just one blob of polar air after another affecting everything, and that last one I saw just looks like it will allow nothing to germinate this year.

        It is fifty five degrees at eleven o’clock in West Georgia today. Just unheard of.

        1. ambrit

          As the joke goes; “If you don’t like the weather, come back tomorrow. It’ll be completely different. This is the South.”
          We here in the North American Deep South are expecting mid nineties afternoon temperatures next week. We have been having forties overnight this week.
          That’s an aspect of the New World Weather Order not mentioned much; high extremes of weather in quick succession.
          We here in the Coastal NADS who have been paying attention are preparing for stronger hurricanes to become the new ‘normal.’
          Stay safe, wherever you are.

          1. CanCyn

            Agreed. The flip flops within a few days of each other are not something I remember from my youth. We had 3 days over 25C a couple of weeks ago. Then we were back to more normal early spring temps. Now it is only 6C. So weird to me. The warm blip prompted early buds and we heard frogs singing. I have spotted a few dead garter snakes here and there – I can only imagine that they immersed from their winter hibernation a little early.

          2. Wukchumni

            High heat so early in the NADS, and with a side order of stifling humidity & grits?

      2. mrsyk

        If Cali were to be cursed and blessed with a lake covering the Central Valley, they would do well to figure out how to preserve it and feed it back into the regional biosphere. I am of a mind that water shortages will be the first circle of hell.

  24. Mildred Montana

    >Evidence of conscious-like activity in the dying brain ScienceDaily

    This study (n=4 however) interested me because of its possible connection to near-death experiences which are not all that rare but have no adequate explanation.

    On a slightly related note, I had a seizure ten years ago which required a trip to emergency. Although fully conscious, my vitals apparently were going crazy. Yet lying there on a gurney, unmedicated, I was overcome by such a sense of well-being, contentment, peacefulness, and acceptance that I actually said to God that if He wanted me I was ready to go. No fear whatsoever.

    I’d never had such an ecstatic feeling before and haven’t since. Sadly however, it was gone in a matter of minutes. But somehow, I believe, for those few minutes that seizure had profoundly affected my brain.

  25. tegnost

    Don’t have the time right now to search, but when reading about mexico”s “frenzied vote” I noted the prevalence of
    “scientists” and “researchers” but zilch about who these people work for.
    My guess is more of the same globallizers and corporate lackeys…
    Maybe later I can drill down a bit for links…

  26. Daryl

    > Ukraine SitRep: Offensive In Doubt – No Talks – Social Breakdown Moon of Alabama. Contains a nice shoutout.

    One wonders if this is the Ukrainian army putting their foot down and saying no. They outnumber the feldjägerkorps when it comes down it.

  27. dcblogger

    debt ceiling theatrics would not be happening if Wall Street did not want it to happen, so is this just a way of gaming our government into gutting what remains of the safety net? Or is Steven Schwarzman & Co sufficiently delusional to imagine that they can somehow game a debt default as the ultimate form of disaster capitalism? Because if they are thinking that way, they would be making some preliminary moves to put them into position to profit from it. Or they imagine they could. Because they will miss the rule of law when it is gone.

    1. Wukchumni

      Humordor Hold ’em

      Neither side has anything close to a winning hand when throwing what sure looked like moistened wads of toilet paper hanging from the debt ceiling… the Donkey Show was dealt one of a kind 7 times-jack high, while the Pachyderm Party has a worse hand and both are content to bluff, declining to switch out cards when allowed, so as to impress their adversary with what they might be holding.

  28. jonginsf

    Used to be an avid naked cap reader from 2007 to 2020. Still check in from time to time. Really enjoy the effort that Yves and Lambert et al put into their financial writings. And I love the comments.

    But you’ve lost me on the covid stuff.

    Yaneer Bar-Yam tweet about fungal infections … no discussion on the role of transfection by the CDC.

    Deepti Gurdasani tweet about school transmission… data from the study is gathered from PCR testing for RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp) genes. These are nonspecific to SARS-Cov-2 and the most conserved of all proteins across coronaviruses. So, you would expect them to show up … even with a cold.

    Lakshmi G tweet about rolling back of community transmission testing – testing of what? How replication competent does everyone believe SARS2 is? 3 particles to 1 virions? 100 to 1? … What if I told you it was 8,000 to 1 under the best of circumstances (infectious DNA clone, vero 6 cells, and nanopore sequencing)?

    Again, I respect the work you guys do. Please don’t take offense. Just trying to share a different perspective.

    Thank you.

    1. Late Introvert

      Tell it to us like we are your family members and not scientist class above all the rest of us.

      1. tegnost

        I read the abstracts and couldn’t make out what point jonginsf is trying to make, for instance no mention of transfection whatever that is…

  29. Willow

    re: USD dominance. USD, GBP, CAD & AUD dominate currencies trades because of transaction friendly Common Law framework. (what had made HK so important as a financial centre in Asia). Problem is increasing US gov’t jurisdictional overreach making dealing in USD transactions increasingly risky. Less of an issue when focus was small countries like Iran & North Korea but once you add Russia & China to the mix the risk for companies being tripped up by this overreach becomes more serious. At some point the Common Law benefits are no longer great enough to offset the regulatory risk. Question will be whether a viable alternative to the Common Law legal framework will/can evolve to collapse the Anglo financial system. Are Russia & China smart enough to work something out?

  30. JBird4049

    >>>This is not a drill: IBM to replace 7,800 jobs with AI Interesting Engineering (resilc). Lambert had a related story in Water Cooler yesterday.

    I know not quite nothing about AI, but it looks like businesses are replacing workers because it is cheaper and therefore more profitable right now, not because it makes the business better. Just look at the neoliberal scheme of cutting everything from a business, an organization, a community because it is cheaper, but not necessarily more effective to do so.

    I mean these are black box programs that are fed gargantuan amounts of information often illegally after which they can simulate intelligence and the ability to quickly and cheaply do symbolic manipulation; just how, what, and why they can do what they can do, nobody can say; that they lack wisdom of even a flea, or even the awareness of a house cat, and ability of self reflection of the dumbest monkey appears true as well.

    Yet, people want to weaponize these things, sometimes completely removing humans, for business, science, and warfare which, shows just lacking in wisdom that they are as well.

    Reiterating, this looks like another effort to remove people from the system while leaving the elites in charge of a tool that while probably very powerful and useful is still unproven; it will likely lead to more wealth and control in fewer people while not only impoverishing everyone else, but also impoverishing the collective wealth of connections, knowledge, skills, abilities, and further eroding the functioning of society itself.

    Honestly, it’s insanity.

    1. flora

      It’s a continuation of sorts. The great layoffs in the 1980s that boosted stock prices because fewer worker meant lower costs. The 2nd wave of the great layoffs in in the 1990s because of offshoring and outsourcing to China and Vietnam and Mexico with their cheaper labor. Again, higher stock prices because lower costs because cheap labor (and fewer environmental regulations). Now, layoffs because now robots (and AI is a type of robot) can replace humans in many jobs, leading to lower costs… the tech titans proclaim.

      Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure a lot of management, even at the C level, could be replaced by AI and might even turn in better results. / ;)

      1. Procopius

        AI doesn’t get a paycheck. What do they buy? Typical of short-sighted BMAs. And I don’t believe this is going to lead to adoption of a guaranteed income.

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