Links 6/2/2023

Making A Solar-Powered Billion-Year Lego Clock

World trade slowing sharply due to weak consumer demand: Fitch Anadolu Agency

Global air travel at 90.5% of pre-virus levels in April Anadolu Agency


Climate Change Is a Wake-Up Call for Hibernating Squirrels Smithsonian

Controlled Burns Help Prevent Wildfires, Experts Say. But Regulations Have Made It Nearly Impossible to Do These Burns. Pro Publica

Fast fashion has spawned a mountain of leftover clothes in the Chilean desert that’s so massive it can now be seen clearly from space Business Insider


Ally, role model, or celebrity influencer? For Thee But Not For Me is not public health Chloe Humbert, Team Human

Global plan for dealing with next pandemic just got weaker, critics say Nature. “The earlier, more ambitious version described how countries should respond to a future pandemic by frequently using words such as ‘shall’ and ‘will’ — but now some of those have shifted to ‘urge’ and ‘support’, says Kelley Lee, a global-health researcher.” As a long-ago standards-maven wannabe, yikes.

Voices in the Vacuum Science-Based Medicine

Next pandemic, let Cuba vaccinate the world WaPo

Tacoma woman with tuberculosis finally arrested to receive treatment in jail KOMO News (PI). But muh freedom!


Arizona announces limits on construction in Phoenix area as groundwater disappears CNN

Water Wars: Drought, Disputes, and Deadly Skirmishes Between Iran and the Taliban Internationalist 360°


Has China become too cosy with private equity? FT

As China Risks Grow, Manufacturers Seek Plan B—and C and D WSJ

Tap the Eastern Opening China Daily

China Won’t Save the U.S. From Recession This Time WSJ


A day in the life of a Shwe Kokko scammer Frontier Myanmar

South Africa’s Putin problem Axios

Dear Old Blighty

How the Thatcherites lost their Brexit dream and their party FT


Erdoğan’s Next Fight Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Battle for Supremacy in Pakistan: Asim Munir Vs Imran Khan The Diplomat

Kidnapping on the Moscow Express Yasha Levine. Beautifully written. Anything from the [Levine|Ames] axis is worth a read.

New Not-So-Cold War

Macron, Scholz call for new elections in tense northern Kosovo districts France24

Ukraine and Moldova will join EU together – Zelenskyy Ukrainska Pravda

China Ukraine envoy urges governments to ‘stop sending weapons to the battlefield,’ negotiate peace AP

Biden shows growing appetite to cross Putin’s red lines WaPo (Re Silc).

Ukraine says Russia again blocking Black Sea grain export deal Hellenic Shipping News

Biden Administration

US debt ceiling deal narrowly passes senate averting catastrophic federal default Guardian. I remained profoundly uninterested through the entire long-drawn out episode of kayfabe, which culminated on Memorial Day weekend, almost as if that was the script from the beginning. The Grauniad’s hysteria only confirms me in this view. After all, the Democrats got the Republicans to do for them what they deny to themselves they always wish to do: Kick the poors. So it’s win-win, right?

How Biden’s climate pivot pissed off the left Politico

Is Joe Manchin’s Pipeline a Big Deal? Heatmap. “The bill compels federal agencies to approve the pipeline and then shields those permits from judicial review, all but guaranteeing the project’s eventual completion.” Strategically, the end-run round the permitting process is more important than the gas itself.

White House set to tap Obama veteran Mandy Cohen to lead CDC Politico. Who could ever replace Rochelle Walensky?

Mississippi Is Offering Lessons for America on Education Nicholas Kristof, NYT

32 Mississippi school districts still under federal desegregation orders NBC

In a deep red Florida county, a student-teacher revolt shames the right WaPo. “I have math to teach. I literally don’t have time to teach your kids to be gay.”


White House says Biden is fine after tripping on sandbag and falling on stage at Air Force Academy commencement CNN. Poor advance work. Why was the sandbag even there, and why was it in Biden’s path?

Trump Is Bad Because He’s Similar To Other US Presidents, Not Because He’s Different Caitlin’s Newsletter

Spook Country

Russia says US hacked thousands of iPhones in iOS zero-click attacks Bleeping Computer. Russia in the headline = Kaspersky. Then: “In a statement coinciding with Kaspersky’s report, Russia’s FSB intelligence and security agency claims that Apple deliberately provided the NSA with a backdoor it can use to infect iPhones in the country with spyware” (which Apple has denied (naturally)).

Digital Watch

Highlights from the RAeS Future Combat Air & Space Capabilities Summit Royal Aeronautical Society. 2023: An AI Oddity,This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it“:

Having been involved in the development of the life-saving Auto-GCAS system for F-16s (which, he noted, was resisted by pilots as it took over control of the aircraft) [Col Tucker ‘Cinco’ Hamilton, the Chief of AI Test and Operations, USAF] is now involved in cutting-edge flight test of autonomous systems, including robot F-16s that are able to dogfight. However, he cautioned against relying too much on AI noting how easy it is to trick and deceive. It also creates highly unexpected strategies to achieve its goal.

He notes that one simulated test saw an AI-enabled drone tasked with a SEAD mission to identify and destroy SAM sites, with the final go/no go given by the human. However, having been ‘reinforced’ in training that destruction of the SAM was the preferred option, the AI then decided that ‘no-go’ decisions from the human were interfering with its higher mission – killing SAMs – and then attacked the operator in the simulation. Said Hamilton: ‘We were training it in simulation to identify and target a SAM threat. And then the operator would say yes, kill that threat. The system started realising that while they did identify the threat at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.’

He went on: ‘We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.’

This example, seemingly plucked from a science fiction thriller, mean that: “You can’t have a conversation about artificial intelligence, intelligence, machine learning, autonomy if you’re not going to talk about ethics and AI” said Hamilton.

This has gone viral, so there are a million stories. The above is the source for all of them

Amazon Ring, Alexa accused of every nightmare IoT security fail you can imagine The Register. And the deck: “Staff able to watch customers in the bathroom? Tick! Obviously shabby infosec? Tick! Training AI as an excuse for data retention? Tick!” Amazon?!

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook and Google Allies Fight Revenue Sharing with Journalists by Invoking Hate Speech, Misinfo and ‘Straight White Men’ Lee Fang

Imperial Collapse Watch

Defense Contractor Funded Think Tanks Dominate Ukraine Debate Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Pentagon wants $500M to get data to manage F-35 parts Breaking Defense

Guillotine Watch

JPMorgan Builds Unit for World’s Richest Families in Wealth Bet Bloomberg. The deck: “23 Wall focuses on 700 families worth more than $4.5 trillion.” There are not very many of the Shing. I sure hope they don’t all go up in the same plane!

Class Warfare

A ‘Dirty’ Job That Few Want: Mining Companies Struggle to Hire for the Energy Transition WSJ

Know any airplane mechanics? A wave of retirements is leaving some US industries desperate to hire AP

* * *

Are Labor Costs Driving Inflation? (No) Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

$100 Million Gone in 27 Minutes New York Magazine

A massive “space cannon” can shoot payloads into space at hypersonic speeds Interesting Engineering (Chuck L).

Why human societies still use arms, feet, and other body parts to measure things Science

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. griffen

    That sandbag was there because of Putin, who is pals with Trump. It’s the only rational explanation. \sarc

    Poor advance work. Like the guy writing on the cue cards for Ron Burgundy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lots of stories about Biden’s fall in the media but at least Trump was not so bad about this happening and even partly self-mocking when he said-

      ‘Q: Biden fell on stage.

      TRUMP: “He did? He just fell on what state? He actually fell down? I hope he’s not hurt. The whole thing is faaa.. The whole thing is crazy… even if you have to tip toe down the ramp…At the Air Force academy? That’s not inspiring”‘

      Does anybody remember what Biden said when Trump had his fall?

    2. Wukchumni

      Why would anybody put Bolivian agricultural imports in a sandbag, other than to disguise the fact?

      et tu Hunter

    3. ambrit

      Does no one else see the obvious and institutionally appropriate pun here?
      Biden was sandbagged.
      Now the questions are, “By whom,” and “Cui bono?”

        1. ambrit

          And now I see that Biden himself made the “joke.” Serious question: Who does Biden trust? Dr. Jill? The Neo-con Gang? Other family members? The dog? (His only “real” friend inside the Beltway.)

          1. The Rev Kev

            And here is Rob Reiner shouting down old Joe’s critics-

            ‘I’m sick and tired of hearing Democrats whining about Joe Biden’s age. The man knows how to govern. Just shut up and vote to save Democracy.’

            Archie was right. The man is a meathead.

  2. Anonymous 2


    The FT article reflects the fact that the Brexiters never were going to be able to agree what should be the way forward if the UK did leave the EU. There were numerous different variants – Soft Brexit, Hard Brexit, No-deal Brexit – but no majority for any of them. Not even Johnson now likes the deal he negotiated. The consequence is that underlying the ongoing political turmoil in the UK are tensions between the supporters of the different variants. Meanwhile public opinion has turned against the whole idea of Brexit and now regards it as a mistake.

    Meanwhile, the government now appears to be heading for another PR disaster as a result of the inquiry it has established to examine the handling of the Covid emergency. This looks as though perhaps it was a timebomb left behind by Johnson to destroy his successors. In any event the Government is now refusing to supply the inquiry with the information it needs to carry out its investigations and is taking legal action against the judge it itself appointed to head the inquiry. Accusations of a cover-up are now of course starting.

    I have not checked the accuracy of the following story but one account has it that the government started by saying that some of the information sought was not relevant and then later said that it did not have it any way. Which led the inquiry to ask the government to explain how it knew the information was irrelevant if it did not have it?

    Could one make this ghastly saga up?

    1. JohnA

      Johnson has requested that his whats app messages be released in full. Which can only suggest they are a smoking gun tracing back to Rishi Sunak, who deadbats all questions about their release, with ‘we have released tens of thousands already’. [clearly not the juiciest ones though]

    2. digi_owl

      I can’t make head or tail of the article’s sub-groups. To me Tharcherites are free marketers. So why do the article consider them distinct?

  3. Chris S

    Regarding the excerpt from “Highlights from the RAeS Future Combat Air & Space Capabilities Summit” – there’s now a correction in the article:

    “[UPDATE 2/6/23 – in communication with AEROSPACE – Col Hamilton admits he “mis-spoke” in his presentation at the Royal Aeronautical Society FCAS Summit and the ‘rogue AI drone simulation’ was a hypothetical “thought experiment” from outside the military, based on plausible scenarios and likely outcomes rather than an actual USAF real-world simulation saying: “We’ve never run that experiment, nor would we need to in order to realise that this is a plausible outcome”. He clarifies that the USAF has not tested any weaponised AI in this way (real or simulated) and says “Despite this being a hypothetical example, this illustrates the real-world challenges posed by AI-powered capability and is why the Air Force is committed to the ethical development of AI”.]”

    Still an interesting thought experiment….

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here is another one. So you have an AI having control of an F-16 in combat. The AI is told that it has to finish the mission but it is not able to turn too hard to avoid missiles as the onboard pilot cannot take the G forces that would result. So what would an AI do?

      ‘AI to pilot. Launching ejection seat in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…’

    2. Lex

      I feel like if it had been hypothetical he would have presented it that way the first time. This update sounds more like an “oh crap, we better back-pedal as fast as we can.” If USAF has never tested weaponised AI in this way, it’s criminally negligent.

    3. GramSci

      I think Col. Hamilton probably did run the experiment–with ChatGPT. But that detail was supposed to be Top Secret.

      1. hunkerdown

        WGA wasn’t returning calls. *shrug*

        The thought experiment does replicate values-based human thinking, more so than digital computation or even NN. An actual targeting AI would not take it upon itself to measure self-esteem by way of a digital score, unlike humans with value systems, and it certainly would not be given one at the expense of mission accuracy. (What’s it going to do, signal virtue to other targeting AIs by radioilluminating them in Morse code?) I suppose the score could be ‘taxed’ back to zero, but the AI might then respond in ways that wouldn’t offer a very helpful lesson for the troops. ;)

    4. lambert strether

      > Mis-spoke

      Feh. The quotes are extensive and quite clear. Somebody stuffed him back into his box.

    5. Louis Fyne

      the future of warfare is the Shahed-Geran 2-stroke drone.

      An F-35 costs $40,000 per hour of use. and that’s just the marginal cost! (gas + maintenance + tires).

      For $40k, you get 2 Gerans.

      (Of course AI will have a future, particularly in sorting the gigabytes of data generated by sensors)

      1. digi_owl

        Frankly the days of the air force was numbered the first time a cruise missile was launched.

        The aircraft carrier is now just as much a resource sink as the battleship of old.

        One can just as well take any old cargo hull, pack the hold with vertical launch tubes, and sail into range of whatever target one want to obliterate.

    6. vao

      the ‘rogue AI drone simulation’ was a hypothetical “thought experiment” from outside the military, based on plausible scenarios and likely outcomes

      There is plenty of experience with AI systems fighting in virtual worlds (massive on-line player games), hence ascribing those scenarios to people “outside the military” is actually quite credible.

      Some years ago, a list of AI “failures” was published by some Google employees (and I curse myself for not having kept it), and it was full with examples similar to the ones given in that aerospace conference. I remember one where an AI system determined that, in order not to let other players win, the best approach was to detonate all its atomic bombs simultaneously — thus killing all other virtual players, and itself. However, since nobody else could win in that situation, it did not lose either — by definition. QED.

      An AI system basically attempts to optimize some function — with the minimum number of parameters (relatively speaking, the number can be huge — in the hundreds of billions) or cost. The AI system destroying all entities that prevent it from achieving its objective is therefore perfectly logical — it is the simplest, lowest cost operation to improve its kill ratio.

      1. Steve H.

        After calculating the benefit to cost of those extra parameters,
        and given the Curse of Dimensionality,
        it should/may/will seek to reduce the number of parameters,
        which can be done analytically
        or materially.

      2. aletheia33

        rant (of no particular intellectual use):

        does anyone in their right mind truly believe that hiroshima/nagasaki was an ethical act?
        when warmakers say “we have not, and we will not, do anything unethical,” they are simply revealing that if they were ever in their right minds, those minds were removed from their heads long ago in military school.
        the insanity will not end until the means to manufacture the weapons developed since 1910 (or 1850) are no longer available, and governments lack the resources to maintain large internment camps, or long reach to set up colonies in the boonies and control the natives there.
        at least we have something to look forward to!

        so few human societies attain the achievement of making deserts and calling them peace!
        and we of the USA have done it in spades!
        we’ve set it up and it can’t be stopped!
        nonetheless, as the end times come nearer, many more of us will be relying primarily on resurrection.

  4. rob

    the statements coming out of china, from their “top scientist ?”, sounds a bit earth shattering really.
    What if it is true, that covid escaped from a lab?

    What jeff sachs, and others were questioning; the possibility of covid coming out of wuhan labs , would have implications for the US too, not just the chinese.
    Wouldn’t it be fun to watch the powers that be try to spin this. The whole fauci/NIAID /eco health alliance crowd… and all the “we proved covid didn’t come out of a lab”…. What if the chinese figure this is going to hurt the US power players, more than it is going to hurt them?

    Liability anyone?

    1. lambert strether

      What is in aid of? I don’t think China has a “top scientist,” whatever that means.

      1. ambrit

        China, being a major power player on the World stage probably has an “official” Top Scientist Minder. Said Party Functionary has the task of “managing” the Public Narrative about any science related items that would effect how the public views the intersection of Science and Governance. In other words, in true Neo-liberal fashion, in such systems, the Top Science that the Top Scientist represents would be Spin Management.
        Sounds all to familiar to this denizen of the neo-liberal West. With the Middle Kingdom’s embracing of the “Let Er Rip” strategy, I feel that China has declared their ‘fellowship’ with the other Neo-liberal governmental entities. Three generations ago, the Party instituted the “One Child Policy” in China. Is the Coronavirus the new “No Child Policy” aimed at the class of World Deplorables? [The effects of the Coronavirus (spike protein?) on female fertility raises red flags. Is anyone doing actual ‘Real Science’ (TM) on this? Enquiring minds want to know.]
        Anyway, that’s my version of today’s version of “Rightthink” and I’m sticking to it (until the Panoptiparty Elites’ ‘Top Scientist’ tells me otherwise.)

    2. Mikel

      I’m not sure which article you are referring to.

      However, I have been fascinated with the thought of other governments exposing the big lies of the US.
      Is China in a unique position to do so and in what areas? How much will they expose vs how much they will mimic

    3. rob

      I had seen a yahoo article with almost no detail, that was evidently a poor description of the article linked by Notabanker. My surprise was seeing it in (digital)” print”. Someone must have NOT gotten the memo to not even MENTION the idea… Everyone must not question official narratives.

      the grayzone had an interview with jeffrey Sachs a while back. His take on the lack of ability to investigate the actual lab records, means everything “said” are just “people’s stories”. And his point that when he headed a NIH panel to investigate, he had put peter daszak on, until Daszak refused to show the logs of what the labs were actually working with.

      The insinuation, is that the only furin cleavage site in existence with a SARS virus, is NOW in existence AFTER the 180 plus, previously UNREPORTED covid strains were being worked on and having Furin cleavage sites added to them, to see what would happen.

      funny how only the republicans were interested for a moment… congressional hearings.. then ..they got the memo… no questions please.

      Thanks for the clarification, I was just wondering if that story had any legs.

  5. CanCyn

    Re Ally, role model, or celebrity influencer? For Thee But Not For Me is not public health Chloe Humbert, Team Human …In another example of the elite doing for their own…. a friend’s son just graduated from Princeton (PhD in Pyhsics, brilliant kid, attended on a full ride scholarship from Ontario) and she was talking about how all out they go for the ceremony, whole campus decked out and dedicated to the grads and their guests. Discussion turned to the Princeton billion dollar endowment fund. She mentioned that the university has so much money that they built their own COVID testing lab and all students were tested twice a week in the first couple of years. Who needs public health? Sigh.
    This link mentions on campus testing with info and other links to current policies and procedures:

    1. digi_owl

      Ivory towers, in the almost literal sense?

      Has universities become play pens for the never-adults?

      1. CanCyn

        Well, in my friend’s son’s case, he not only graduated last weekend, he was organizing his move from New York to Boston where he is starting work so I would not call him a forever child but I see your point. COVID elitism aside, when recruiting consists of showing the campus water slide and rec centre, you know that somewhere along the line the purpose of education became quite secondary to the university mission.

        1. GramSci

          It has been ever thus in these United States. In 1650 Henry Dunster, rather than following the democratic, self-governing model of Cambridge, his alma mater, incorporated Harvard College. This made it “the oldest corporation in the western hemisphere”, a distinction Harvard is still proud of.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            They thought so much of Henry that they named a House after him. But having a House named after you may not be such an honor beyond the banks of the Charles. They also named one Mather after former president Increase Mather. Historian Charles Wentworth Upham blamed Increase and his son, Cotton, as the two most responsible for the Salem witch atrocity.

            1. LifelongLib

              The people of Salem (and the Mathers) were members of a culture that believed in witchcraft and its power to harm. Some actually practiced it. These were not extreme or fanatical beliefs but ordinary for the time. Times have changed. Our atrocities make any committed in colonial Massachusetts look mild. Planks and motes.

          2. Harold

            The very name “University” means corporation in Latin and has been in use since the Middle Ages. The difference that originally it was a corporation of students (and professors, I think) not of large businesses.

  6. Amateur Socialist

    Vermont Political Observer reports on today’s chaotic eviction of homeless residents after Democratic controlled legislature failed to find a way to fund a state voucher program for low budget motels.

    The chaos and uncertainty has a personal impact – I volunteer to deliver food to many of these people here in Brattleboro and have no idea how many have been evicted. I wonder if we will just start delivering to the tent cities our GOP governor appears to favor. I’m embarrassed for my newly adopted home state.

  7. flora

    “He went on: ‘We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.’

    “This example, seemingly plucked from a science fiction thriller, mean that: “You can’t have a conversation about artificial intelligence, intelligence, machine learning, autonomy if you’re not going to talk about ethics and AI” said Hamilton.”

    If that’s a true story (I’ve read it twice now), it has nothing to do with “AI ethics” and everything to do with stupid humans writing the code. (Does your car have “ethics”?) Points for id’ing and hitting the target? How about points only for id’ing the target AND following the human drone operator’s commands. Failure to follow human commands loses all points and kills drone. (My gosh, are CEO’s AI drones? heh. think about it.)

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      > and everything to do with stupid humans writing the code

      This. So… this. But, summer coding camps can only teach so much. I think this is why Windows has always sucked. In the 90s, anyone who could draw breath on the West Coast became a programmer, er, Software Architect. And those people migrated to the MIC when it became apparent they didn’t know sh*t.

      1. ambrit

        “And those people migrated to the MIC when it became apparent they didn’t know sh*t.”
        Taking the above as accurate, that would explain a lot concerning the new and improved “S*it Munitions” now being aggressively marketed by said MIC. {Hence the universality adopted, in the West, policy of “S*itzkreig.” After the original ‘Sitzkreig,’ the poor old world entered fully into the most destructive armed exercise in history, World War 1.2.}

    2. Mikel

      It’s like the fables of being granted 3 wishes, but not being specific with them causes all kinds of problems.

      And think about this: why the &^%$ are they giving a machine points????

      The fallacy is that a machine needs incentive.

      1. Mikel

        It’s a video game program that can be armed with real weapons…not a sentient being.

      2. digi_owl

        Points is how it weighs choices.

        “Points” is how GPT decided that word salad combo 1 better fit the input prompt than combo 2.

        Though apparently they are now walking back this story as only having been a “war game” thought experiment. Meaning that someone was playing the “AI”. Someone that was at least passingly familiar with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

        1. Mikel

          It goes back to humans deciding the prime objective in the first place? Am I in the ballpark or wording the question correctly?

          Have they programmed in fracking officers too?

        2. flora

          “How it weighs choices.” Yep.

          My impression of the military is that it’s highest importance is given to following orders, obeying commands. Apparently that aspect wasn’t included as the highest, most point rewarded (by a lot of points) aspect in the AI programming? oy.

        3. Mikel

          Weighs and ranks?
          One has to wonder: How much consideration to military rankings?

          I’d be interested to see how humam programming performed if for some reason a general or the President were the operator?

      3. square coats

        I’m trying to figure out how to think about this and might be totally wrong, but I think that it’s more helpful to think of these programs as “machine learning” than as “ai” and then it’s easier to consider them as programs that have been created by humans to achieve a particular goal. So basically the program yes is made with the (desired by the human) outcome determined from the beginning and is designed to try to achieve that outcome, but the way it achieves the outcome isn’t pre-determined. So it is a program necesarilly made with an incentive, rather than a program that is made to be able to function without an incentive.

        I guess I am wondering what would a machine do without any incentive at all? I don’t know the answer and maybe I’m misunderstanding your question.

  8. doug

    IMO, Mandy did a good job in NC, given the constraints. I think she will be good in the CDC, if that is possible. Her replacement caught Covid within a month.

    1. ChiGal

      I was living in NC (the other one) when the pandemic hit and I remember listening to her during press conferences with the governor just willing her to be clear about risks, NPIs, #airborne, etc., and being frustrated every time by her rote repetition of the 3 Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash—where “wait” meant maintaining a 6 ft distance—long after it was clear a fourth W needed to be included (Windows) and 6 ft was not even science-based. In my view, the state eased up on protections way too soon. Luckily Orange County where I lived maintained more stringent protections for longer.

      She won’t be as weirdly demonstrative as Walensky sometimes was but she will definitely toe the party line.

    2. flora

      I wish her well. Rebuilding trust in the CDC (and the FDA, NIH, and HHS) will take several years, imo, if it can be done at all.

      1. JBird4049

        Rebuilding trust will take decades, I think. It took a century, starting in my great grandparents’ lives, to build the trust, really the faith, in the these institutions. When I was a child and young adult, there word was gospel, but now it is garbage.

        This is something I damn them for. Destroying these institutions’ ability to protect the lives under their care, starting with the three hundred million plus Americans and eventually the rest of humanity.

        For this and the breaking of their oaths, and all for a bit of cash, maybe some ego fluffing, and the avoidance of sincere, but uncomfortable, duty, they chose the road to perdition. I do hope that they enjoy the stay. Corny as that might sound it is true enough.

  9. griffen

    Yowza, I was able to read the link today in the Washington Post about the Florida county. Crazy is rampant, I mean teachers are not in the profession for trophies, glory and fat paycheck. I can’t really comment further as I am not a parent, and in some real sense that’s a relief.

    Teaching kids is summarized best by the paraphrased quote, I don’t really have time to do anything other than try teaching math really well.

  10. Lexx

    ‘Trump Is Bad Because He’s Similar To Other US Presidents, Not Because He’s Different’

    What offended me about Trump was that he’s so shameless, seemingly without a social conscience* of any degree. He’s all pride and self-image. Most of us ‘normals’ are well aware of how ugly we could be and try to keep that tucked away like a plumber’s ass crack. ‘Pull your britches up, you don’t need to be showin’ your ass out in public’. Not Trump and it’s how he got into office.

    I blame ‘political correctness’. Tribes change slowly, if at all. Getting up in your grandparents’ faces over their language at the dinner table just motivated them to vote that language into the Big Houses everywhere. ‘There’s someone who talks just like me in the White House… what do you think of that?!’ and then put a ‘Trump’ bumper sticker on their car.

    Beware of shaming the lower classes for their perceived lack of social status. The political extremes, right and left, suffer from false pride. If change is what we really want/need, pressuring our fellow man into defensive positions like shame and pride won’t get us there, but the stalemate will serve some agenda.

    *Or ‘socially acceptable facade’. ‘I Am Groot’. Read: ‘I am female, trained early to get along, make peace, be a people-pleaser, cater to the dominant ego in the room… or else.’

    1. Lex

      Trump is similar in his corruption and will to power, to be used corruptly for personal gain. In addition to your observation, I think the establishment hates Trump because he’s brazen in his corruption. They’re reliant on discretion. Like Chapelle said, “Trump’s an honest liar”. The Clintons would never dream of saying they cheat on their taxes to the absolute limit (and maybe a smidge over) what’s allowed by the most liberal interpretation of the tax code, even though they pay big money to do so. Trump will just say that of course he cheats to the best of his ability on taxes and of course he takes advantage of every loophole politicians create for the rich.

      They hate him because under the polished and superficial public persona, they’re all just like Trump in the ways that matter most.

      1. Lexx

        Pride prevents them from claiming Trump as one of their own? Also a little more challenging every election in claiming we have a two-party system, when the rot that runs through both is one and the same. ;-)

    2. pjay

      Caitlin is right about Trump’s actual policies. But there is definitely *something* different about him that scares the hell out of the Establishment. I think you’ve put your finger on a lot of their fear: Trump’s pseudo-populism harnesses a lot of the frustration and resentment toward elites that is festering outside the ruling class enclaves. He represents a big FU to the powers that be. A related danger to elites is that, from their perspective, he often recklessly says the quiet parts out loud – an “honest liar” as Dave Chappelle would say – thereby revealing way too much of how the system really works. His brief political career has certainly exposed a lot of what’s behind the curtain as the Establishment desperately tries to rid themselves of this pest. That is the one positive contribution that Trump has provided, despite the fact that everything Caitlin said about him is true.

      PS: I didn’t see Lex’s comment before I origianlly posted this, but it seems we, along with Dave Chappelle, are on to something,

      1. anon in so cal

        T campaigned on peace and diplomacy with Russia and ending Syria regime change. He failed to clean house and got repeatedly rolled…Fiona Hill, Vindman, Yovanovitch, Haspel, etc…

        T did end CIA Timber Sycamore, triggering neocons’ outrage. The biggest, loudest critics were/are almost invariably pro-TS.

        Hard to imagine more shameless, in-your-face corruption than the Clintons, whose blatant grift was eclipsed only by their homicidal warmongering (same with Obama, Biden, Bush).

      2. jsn

        With Roy Cohn as is lawyer when he was starting out, I expect Trump has been playing a game similar to Epstein’s for quite some time, Trump Hotels are the perfect venue. And Trump clearly knew what Epstein was up to and avoided it. So there are probably a lot of private reasons for a lot of powerful flexians to hate and fear Trump.

        That said, he’s the perfect cad and pure manifestation of the logical conclusion of the Neoliberal “individualist markets” bent, another cut too close to the bone for the servitor class committed to the ideology that made him.

        More than anything else, because of Cohn, Trump has always relied on his own organization for his personal security and intelligence, which no doubt threatens the Glob like no other presence in our politics: couldn’t show up in the middle of the night after the first primary and show him the Zapruder film like I’m pretty sure they did Berine. What I puzzle over is how he manages to dominate the Trump Organization but thankfully couldn’t manage to staff and administer an effective Presidency.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          “What I puzzle over is how he manages to dominate the Trump Organization but thankfully couldn’t manage to staff and administer an effective Presidency.”

          He went to the establishment Republican bench to staff the org chart first time around and they sandbagged him. If he gets a 2nd chance he’ll avoid that – for better or worse.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > He went to the establishment Republican bench to staff the org chart first time around and they sandbagged him.

            Just like the identity politics crowd sabotaged Sanders. “The party decides.”

    3. spud

      trump was a piker that did do a few good things, he also broke the back of the free trade cult, which is the biggest generator of poverty.

      but this is not only shameless, its criminal.

      meet the women who is still fighting bill clintons viscous attack on women and children. what happened after the Bill Clinton and Republican Congress created this law, is that things just went in the opposite direction, and it was just a story of compulsion and driving people away. And ultimately, of getting people to not even ask, to not even apply for the benefits. And I think that was the real purpose of the law

      November 29, 2018
      ‘This Is About Systematically Impoverishing People’
      CounterSpin interview with Felicia Kornbluh on ‘welfare reform’
      Janine Jackson

  11. Lexx

    ‘Fast fashion has spawned a mountain of leftover clothes in the Chilean desert that’s so massive it can now be seen clearly from space’

    Did I read that correctly… it’s a mountain of clothes you can see from space that have never been worn? The pickers are picking through new clothes and those are being dumped?!

    1. digi_owl


      Seems this is a landfill next to the city of Iquique.

      And likely it all ends up there because that city is surrounded by a free trade zone. And thus any shipments of to the city ends up in legal limbo.

      BTW, said zone was set up under Pinochet…

    2. R.S.

      Yes. They say “an estimated 39,000 tons of clothes that can’t be sold in the US or Europe” yearly. Provided that an item of clothing usually weighs less that a kilo, it’s millions of pieces. I can understand the reasons, but I really can’t.

      1. GramSci

        Oh, let me guess. It simply wouldn’t do to have National Geographic pictures of African natives wearing Burberry or Hermes! Let’s just ‘warehouse’ them and resell them later as ‘retro’…if only there were a nice, arid location in a free trade zone…

          1. petal

            That drives me crazy. The rich girls at the local Ivy love this stuff-esp the “torn” jeans. There is a clean horizontal cut at the knees with some long threads hanging, and the rest of the pair of jeans is pristine. You know they’ve never done a day of manual labor in their lives, let alone to earn the tears in said jeans. As someone who has, I find it offensive and have to bite my tongue to not rip them a new one about how ridiculous, fake, and precious they are. I can’t afford to go buying lots of clothes so have to wear my jeans until they’re totally blown out and unrepairable. What’s even stupider is when they wear them when it’s like 10F outside. Gaping holes.

            1. digi_owl

              Or that trend of trying to make one’s hair look like one just got out of bed, even if it requires hours in front of the mirror each day…

            2. The Rev Kev

              This trend has been going on for many, many years and I remember one mother who bought her teenage daughter a very expensive pair of jeans but who was mortified when the daughter took a razor to said jeans and slashed them across the knees.

            3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

              Back in the 90s and 00s “shotgun jeans” were apparently a thing in Japan. Just like they were named – jeans that had been shot using a shotgun.

              Had a friend haul quite a few back with him after we’d suitably “distressed” them….

        1. skippy

          Actually, not that long ago most of the EU rag trade was centered in Algiers, I believe, or close by. So yeah all the high end clothes, never to be discounted lol, were sent there. Read an article about it and with it were photos of all the local blokes walking around in the latest trends whilst doing mundane work. Best of all is this is in the poor areas so dirt streets and pathways, bare feet or with old scuffed black leather shoes and not a sock seen …..

          But now that entire industry has been hugely consolidated by one bloke that collects fashion houses for a hobby. On that note Wukki will enjoy this – Hermès vs gold.

          According to Baghunter, an online marketplace for buying and selling high-end bags, the average annual return rate for the Birkin bag actually outpaced that of both the S&P 500 and the price of gold over the last 35 years. Accounting for inflation, the S&P returned an average 8.7% a year, and gold -1.5%—while the resale value of a Birkin in pristine condition rose 14.2%, according to Baghunter’s number crunching. – snip

          The cost of throwing away this stuff is inconsequential to the profitability of the brands and retains not only the price, but the exclusivity of these consumable products. Then again it was hilarious to see all the top shelf retail brands thrown into the bins as Boulder CO students went home and tossed moms purchases – they never wore – for more luggage space or reduced bags. 200 dollar shirts and slacks filling dumpsters all over town. This then creates a bin chicken feeding frenzy as Opshop and all and sundry descend on it. Sorta like our Oz curb side rubbish pick up once a year, streets filled with box trailers being towed to savage it all.

          1. Lexx

            Not just new and unused, but high end and dumped far away to avoid diluting their brand with discount prices? Building mountains in this way is as disturbing as mountain top removal and all to fill the same pathological pockets, who can never get enough.

            1. skippy

              Veblen Goods on roids – consumption for class distinction and not deeds, yet if it gets frisky its a huge target on their backs. Yet I am old enough to remember lots of well to do sorts would lend their time and money to civic goods locally. IM Doc sorts and were respected for that and not their wealth. Neoliberalism is a class project which is nearing its end game, too that, loss of respect from the diaspora, in the most innate human level, is going to be interesting to watch …

              Sorta like this next election marathon, especially post Trumps first win and now the DNC period back dropped by Covid antics. Trump has the richest man backing him, plus his groupies, dare I ponder if in my wildest dreams that Musk could be V.P. on the ticket late in the game …. anything is possible now … Musk reminds me of Peter Weyland lmmao …

          2. bonks

            Not one but two blokes: Arnault vs Pinault

            Arnault only knows how to devour existing brands but everything LVMH built from the ground up has failed: eg. Lacroix and Rihanna’s fashion line.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Capitalist society continues to evolve! We have ascended from Veblen’s mere conspicuous consumption to blatant conspicuous wasting. Waste not, want not has morphed into waste a lot, want to waste more.

  12. Robert Gray

    re: $100 Million Gone in 27 Minutes New York Magazine

    > “The clients were told to write down how much insurance they wanted,”
    > Kroll said, not the value of their goods. “The example would be like fire
    > insurance on your home. Who insures 100 percent of their house?

    This puzzled me at first but then (I think) I got it: how much insurance they wanted is actually ‘how much insurance they were willing to pay extra for’, no? That is, Brinks’ fees for the delivery would go up, based on the (insured) value of the shipment?

    In that case, my sympathy for the jewellers diminishes somewhat, if they tried to low-ball it and simply got caught out. Still a lot of unanswered questions here, though.

    1. Darthbobber

      The lawyer’s example is poor, I think. Pretty much anybody with a mortgage insures the full value of their home.

      But Brinks is absurd here. It’s hard to claim that they delivered their service competently.

      1. tegnost

        Looks to me like plenty of blame to go around and is a microcosm of the greater asset world starting with AIG “insuring” , and goldman being “insured” were at best meaningless and at worst…? Rising interest rates and SVB et all, who is in charge? And that’s in corporate world…in regular world it’s “your claim was not submitted in 12 point and is denied”
        Great that the news focused on the guy being a sous chef, and the drivers…who made the decision at brinks to use a semi with a padlock? In that light brinks is on the hook for whatever was lost and insurance for those who lost it shouldn’t matter as brinks insurance should pay.
        Either way, jewelry is a risky business and due diligence etc… Every way you look it’s a mess.

    2. ambrit

      And here I was thinking that the Headline referred to the Ukraine’s mass launching of the Patriot missile battery ordinance in Kiev three weeks ago.

    3. skippy

      Reminds me of the lyrics – the house burnt down and now I have no one too love …

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine and Moldova will join EU together – Zelenskyy”

    Apparently Moldovan President Maia Sandu was gracious enough to tell Zelensky that she had her permission for the Ukrainian army to enter Transnistria and to help themselves to all the Russian military equipment in storage there. She has already stated that Moldova will not enter the EU without Transnistria so I guess that she thinks that the Ukrainians will just hand over the place to her when they have stripped it of arms. Silly woman. The fact that she may have a full-fledged war front on her borders has not entered her mind apparently nor a possible stream of refugees storming over the border to flee the new war zone. She can’t even call for NATO to help as Moldova is not in NATO and the Republic of Moldova does not allow the deployment of armed forces of other states on its territory because of the neutrality principle in their constitution – unless she just ignores him. if the country went into chaos, at least Maia Sandu will be safe as she has a Romanian passport.

    1. spud

      she only knows how to jump on a trampoline. that’s all it takes today, trampoline jumping is a must for crafting political and economic policy in the west.

  14. Steve H.

    > the entire long-drawn out episode of kayfabe

    This goes to the balancing posed twixt politics and Covid in the Water Cooler.

    Both affect us greatly. One allows us (readers) some individual agency in how we protect ourselves. The other is a tax on time, from organizations that want us to believe we have agency.

    But like climate change, despite lack of agency in national politics, it’s critical for forethought. Lambert described himself (iirc) as a bullshit filter, and NC does this better than anyone I’ve found. The ‘Loss of Executive Function’ comments reinforced to me how captured the US system is for control fraud. One hand waves, the other picks the pocket.

    (At this point, I started looking for the clip from 2012, Spoelstra yelling at LeBron “You can’t get tired!” But the memory hole done et the video. We lose more history every day.)

    1. .human

      It clearly depends on the value of that history to the monied intetests. Consumer purchases, preferences, clicks, etc, and bitcoin data are continually filling server farms the size of small cities while using similar amounts of resources. A cherished example of a wonderously human exclamation, not so much.

  15. Darthbobber

    Interesting, that Guardian debt ceiling deal article. In common with most other recent coverage, it seems to treat the ceiling as equivalent to a hurricane or meteor, a quasi-natural force that arrives for no apparent reason, and which government is just responding to. What until a few weeks ago would have been seen as the republican framing of the issue (need for heroic measures to bring down the deficit) is now seemingly the standard go-to framing.

    1. djrichard

      That’s because nobody wants to think of Biden as an inside-man in this hostage crisis. We’re experiencing stockholm syndrome on a vast scale. Where all the hostages are taking their cues from Biden without realizing that Biden was actually one of the hostage takers.

    2. skippy

      I always thought that the whole thing was a scrap over distribution to various political parties/sub groups benefactors with a side of social organization through cutting/diminishing Government funded social goods.

      Then again as Greenspan – of all people – tried to inform in a congressional hearing that the money question was really about what sort of assets should be created for the future and not the numbers in question. Yet none of the politie ever question the quantity of those numbers that end up in tax havens or floating around in the shadow sector doing nothing …

  16. Carolinian

    Re space cannon–wasn’t this Jules Verne’s technique for a moon landing? One question would be whether firing a projectile at orbital velocity (17,000 miles per hour) wouldn’t cause it to burn up like a meteor. Rockets sidestep this problem by starting slow and then accelerating as the air grows thinner. The artcle says they are so far only launching at 5000 mph which would still entail tremendous g forces for any payload. I’m sure someone more expert could explain but the article doesn’t. Or maybe it’s just “vaporware”?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Frank Langella in “Doomsday Gun” (1994) based on the life of Gerald Bull, who was designing a giant gun named “Baby Babylon” for Saddam. Spoiler alert: he met an untimely demise.

    2. ACPAL

      A projectile launched at orbital velocity would not be in the atmosphere for long (probably seconds) so designing a heat shield should not be too difficult. This and similar ideas have been tossed around by several groups over the years but no one has provided an economically viable plan to date. Gun launch is probably best suited for g-insensitive payloads such as water, fuel, and so-forth and only when needed in large quantities to beat the cost of existing rockets.

      That said, space launch is rapidly evolving (compared to the previous half-century) and a large space station of hotel size could make gun-launch economical. An intermediate concept, several of which were proposed in the ’90s, would be to use a ground-based launcher (such as electromagnetic) followed by an air breathing second stage (such as a scramjet), followed by a rocket third stage. With this the g-loads could be kept low enough for humans or cranked up to reduce overall costs.

      I doubt that we are at the economical break-even point yet that would make gun-launch or centrifugal launch viable. But they sound like good make-work projects for talented people who might otherwise become competitors to the existing space launch companies. For that you have to have billions of dollars in your own pocket.

  17. Lex

    Biden and Russia’s red lines is weird and dangerous. It exemplifies the irrationality of US leadership. Like saying, “I’ve been taunting this guy outside the bar and he hasn’t punched me as hard as he can yet, so the only thing I can do is continue taunting him.”

    It raises the question about what the US response would be if Russia did really hit back. Would Biden back down or escalate further, and I question whether there’s been a serious discussion on that in the WH. Likely it would be to escalate further and that way leads to potential nuclear exchange(s), which means we’re all incredibly lucky that V.V. Putin is in charge in the Kremlin because at least there’s an adult in the room, someone actually thinking through the consequences of the escalation ladder.

    I’ve long thought that the Kremlin is all up in the WH OODA loop and everything DC is doing is reactive. This article goes some ways to confirm that. The WH doesn’t know what to do with the Kremlin not reacting violently so it just does something, anything. Obviously the goal is to provoke Russia to over react. Apparently the WH wants a big war. But as long as Russia doesn’t overreact, it wins the global information war … especially when the WH is dumb enough to tell the WaPo stuff like this.

    1. Chas

      I agree with you except for one point. I think part of the reason the WH appears to be overreacting is not because it is trying to escalate the war, but because it doesn’t want to be perceived as cowardly. Talking tough and sending weapons to the Ukraine is bluster to make the rest of the world think the US is still the world’s strongest military power. The WH is walking a fine line here trying to avoid being seen as a coward. What if the Republicans began attacking Biden as a coward?

      1. tegnost

        A toxic combination of bad winners (see 1992 and the end of the soviet union) and sore losers (see 6/2/2023)… the seeming inability to process a dynamically worsening situation is the greatest risk I’ve seen possibly in my lifetime

    2. timbers

      While US leadership is clearly irrational, don’t overlooked Russian irrationally. For example Russia only now just bombed the GUH center in Kiev of NATO and Ukraine intelligence. Why only now? Should have done a long time ago. Half measured, gloves firmly on fighting like this only invites USA escelation and to go further and allows the conflict to last longer than need be.

      1. Kouros

        Since US is not prepared by itself to enter in serious security framework discussion with Russia in Europe, dragging the war for longer on Russian terms is to Russian advantage. After all, how else can they achieve the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine?

      2. Lex

        Regardless of my opinion of whether Russia should escalate in some situations, I don’t think that not doing so is an act of irrationality. I think the restraint is deeply rational and based on the fact that Russia is looking at the potential of the escalation ladder and trying not to escalate dramatically.

        The other thing is that there’s a lot of misinterpreting these Russian “red lines”. Mostly Russia isn’t declaring “if …, then …, and on this timeline”. They’re giving warnings about consequences of specific behaviors. The red lines the WaPo article is talking about mostly exist in the heads of Biden and Co the same way they declare the initial invasion as a failure because Russia didn’t take Kiev (in 3 days), except that Russia never said it intended to do that. For the most part I think that the US is mistaking Russian patience and cautiousness as weakness and that’s a very dangerous game.

        1. timbers

          I agree there is confusion regarding what are actually red lines for Russia. But taking out decision centers is basic 101 military practice. Should have been done day 1 after peace talks collapsed from Western intervention. And taking account of what Modi recently said to Zelensky, the days of being overly concerned about what the global south may think is largely (not entirely) in the rear view mirror.

          1. skippy

            I would caution on the concept of ***basic 101 military practice*** in this specific incidence.

            The invasion of Iraq was done on such and has been the gift that keeps on giving since. In this instance Russia knows a whole lot of dissatisfied nations having neoliberalism foist one them are watching and not interested in some variant of new boss – same as old boss. If anything their measured responses are more about escalation and above eyeballs and not glorious battlefield victories for PR consumption.

            The whole media scrum/cycle around the first ME war was just nuts whilst blinding most of the population to the made up reasons for the war and the profit taking from it. Additionally groomed them from a team sport perspective for the decades of war that followed it. Out come of all that is a dysfunctional equipment Mfg base, service of its products, and most of all a burned out population that did not receive – any profits from it – and now can’t fill recruitment quotas. Add on the Covid dramas at home and in the West and I don’t think the population will respond as well to the PR this go around.

            Leadership is a completely different animal and paths have been set with incentives, see Brexit, yet when the cows come home its hard to twist the Bernays knob past its end stop. At some point the mopes are just going to ignore them, worst just abandon the whole thing and seek alternatives. More than likely extreme wing nuts presenting as messiahs which will need crushing, doom loop of authoritarianism feeding the dynamic.

            BTW the last thing I did in my military capacity was follow basic 101 military practice, everyone studies it, expects it, too do otherwise throws a spanner in everything for them. Basically saying this is not just a military battlefield event, its more geopol in scope, hence narrow battlefield optics are myopic.

      3. jsn

        Two thoughts on this.

        One, Russian irrationality has got 80% of the globe first to abstain from sanctions and now, increasingly, to treat with Russia directly, outside Western structures. Whatever Ukraine’s propaganda victories in the West, they’re losing everywhere else.

        The efficiency with which Russia has in recent weeks taken out Ukrainian war materiel suggests Russia has been very patiently accumulating information, from where?

        Two, GUH? One doesn’t take out one’s sources of classified information until the payoff is adequate to pay for the burn. Seems like short circuiting the “Spring Offensive” might be such a payoff.

        1. timbers

          1). Taking out decision centers sooner, immediately shortens wars and leads to quicker victory. 2). You and Lex are conflating taking out Ukraine decision centers with losing the global south yet have zero evidence or logic to support that and IMO you both are 100% incorrect on that. It would be different if it were civilian centers. 3). Odd to see several of you seeing “benefits” to prolonging the war. In contrast, I see benefits in concluding quicker and more successfully. Again – taking out decision centers is basic. But argue it better not to so if you wish. You won’t convince me.

          1. Not Qualified to Comment

            Napoleon: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

            So far most of the decisions coming out of Ukraine’s decision centers have given the Russians what they wanted – a static Ukrainian defence that allows the Russians to use their artillery and missile advantages to best effect – so leaving them alone would make sense in Napoleonic terms. The Duran argued today that the Ukrainians have essentially given up on any serious plans for their much-vaunted offensive, leaving the Russians to take the initiative, so I suspect the attack on the decision centers now is intended to handicap the Ukrainian response to that initiative.

            1. timbers

              Your are ignoring the fact – like Lex and jxn – that targeting decision making centers would have brought a faster victory for Russia – at not cost of alinating the global south.

              Russians have died because Russia constantly made the massive blunder of not targeting decision making centers. It is important you admit Russia’s error.

              1. Grebo

                What do you mean by ‘victory’? If Ukraine surrendered unconditionally Russia would have to stop killing Nazis.

                  1. Grebo

                    Denazification was one of the three goals of the SMO which Russia stated up front. There’s not many ways to do that.

                    1. skippy

                      I disagree … move up and then take defensive positions with more artillery and missiles amassed ever, accentuated with improved targeting through drones et al and better TOE gear on equipment.

                      Let them come.

    3. tevhatch

      Nuts indeed. I keep hearing pundits say democracies don’t’ start wars, then I look at the history of “democratic” Athens and the USA and I wonder if people ever pause and think before they repeat what they are saying.

    4. JustTheFacts

      I don’t think the West is capable of understanding that Russia means business until it either crushes Kiev or nukes it or some other western capital. The people we have in government seem unable to update their views beyond their delusions of what the Soviet Union was. It’s pretty hard for Russia to make a point to people who ignore everything Russia says and does.

      I do wonder about the F-16s. They’re supposed to be hard to learn to fly, particularly hard to learn to fly if you learned with Russian/Soviet equipment first. But the incredible pilots from Ukraine are expected to learn to fly them in 4 months (instead of a couple of years). However there is a project to fly F-16s remotely (like predator drones), as reported by CBS IIRC. This makes me wonder whether remote controlled F-16s will be delivered to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian “pilots” in them will only pretend to fly the plane so as to provide the legal cover that it is the Ukrainians who are fighting against Russia.

      1. Michaelmas

        JustTheFacts: …there is a project to fly F-16s remotely (like predator drones), as reported by CBS IIRC. This makes me wonder whether remote controlled F-16s will be delivered to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian “pilots” in them will only pretend to fly the plane

        Yes, it’s an interesting idea. It’s likely a year or two from being fully feasible, though Ukraine would of course make a good testbed. That being said, even if F-16s can be retrofitted as drones right now, the significant facts are that —

        [1] Now-existing Russian EW capabilities can jam and spoof transmissions to and from any F-16 drones.

        [2] F-16s, whether drone-modified or not, are not really a match for Russian aircraft (let alone Russian missiles). Here’s a report from the belly of the Beast, the RAND blog, saying that —

        Large ‘Russian air superiority fighters such as the MiG-31 and Su-35 can see significantly farther with their powerful, modern radars. They also have R-37 missiles that have a much longer range than NATO-supplied AIM-120 AMRAAMs … This is exactly what has been happening with Ukraine’s current fleet of Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters, and the improved capabilities of the F-16 are not enough to tilt this disparity in Ukraine’s favor.’

      2. rowlf

        If I remember correctly Soviet flight instruments, such as attitude and compass, are very different from Western standard. Does an F-16 have a metric/standard switch or pin programming too? (It should after so many foreign sales.)

        Then there is the Soviet practice of painting the flight deck in in Alien Blood Blue paint.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Why human societies still use arms, feet, and other body parts to measure things”

    It was just yesterday that I came across a video talking about the duodecimal counting system. What the hell is that? It is using a base twelve system and you do that by using your thumb to count the number of segments in your fingers and has been in use since the Babylonians. You wonder what the world would look like if we had gone with a base 12 counting system instead of a base 10 counting system. But there is a fossil of this system in use today and that is with our clock which is divided up into 12 segments-

    But if you are talking about the modern use of body parts to measure stuff, we still do it. Ever heard of the ‘The “f*** measuring tape’ method? We’ve all done it. Natalie Tran did a video on it but it is no longer available but here is a gif with Natalie showing how it works-

    1. Carolinian

      Have just been reading a book called Born to Explore that has all kinds of tips on how to use your body to measure things or even help with celestial navigation. Guess it’s part of how those past millennia of humans managed to survive without apps.

    2. Kouros

      Check Robert J Sawyer’s “Calculating God” for a base 57 numeric system… There are other suns out there…

  19. John

    Donald Trump spent four years proving to everyone that he wasn’t bad because he’s similar to Hitler, he was bad because he’s similar to Obama

    …and Biden is similar to Trump. There are differences at the edges but not in the mainstream, especially in foreign policy. Trump made noise as if he would do something different, but never followed through either because he naver intended to or was persuaded not to. He did negate every action of Obama’s that he possible could … his signal accomplishment.

    A Trump second term would be a revenge tour. If you like revenge as a course of action, it should be an aesthete’s dream.

    1. Carolinian

      The law seems fuzzy in the extreme.

      Rather than a wealth transfer to “straight white men” or billionaires, the legislation makes clear that the funds collected by the law would go to a wide variety of media outlets. The exact portion of the advertising revenue shared with local media outlets, according to a legislative impact study of the bill, would be decided by the arbitration process, with 70% of the resulting fees spent on journalists and support staff.

      Here in SC my “local” newspaper is owned by the Gannett Company aka GateHouse

      On August 5, 2019, New Media Investment Group, parent of GateHouse Media, announced that it would acquire Gannett.[54] New Media Investment Group is managed and controlled by another private equity firm, Fortress Investment Group. Fortress is owned by the Japanese conglomerate Softbank.[55]

      Apollo Global Management funded the acquisition with a $1.792 billion loan.[56] Although GateHouse was the nominal survivor, the combined company took the better-known Gannett name. Michael E. Reed, the CEO of GateHouse’s parent company, was named CEO.[57][58] The new management team immediately announced it would target “inefficiencies,” which could lead to cutbacks at newspapers and reduction in newspaper staff.[59]

      So indeed support for it would be funneling still more bucks to private equity just as Murdoch and Fox stand to benefit from revenue sharing laws. True some support might be thrown to blogs and individuals or conversely it might just cause Facebook and Google to ignore those outlets altogether. Indeed the big tech companies have said they will simply drop their news feeds if the law passes and that current news outlets benefit from the current increase in visibility.

      Fang is far too quick to slander the EFF.

  20. Kouros

    The grain deal is wobbly now because Ukraine promised to open the ammonia pipeline that goes from Russia to Odessa but they didn’t…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Exactly. Russia got heavy and told the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul it will restrict the passage of grain ships to the port of Yuzhny until Ukraine reopens the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline. A few facts about that grain and where it has been going-

      ‘The deal was originally trumpeted in Ukraine and the West as a breakthrough in addressing food shortages in Africa and parts of Asia. According to data revealed by the Turkish Ministry of Commerce last week, however, 47% of the Ukrainian exports went to the EU, and only 27% reached countries such as Egypt, Kenya, and Sudan.

      More than 30 million tons of grain have been transported by 953 ships since August 2022, with corn making up 50% of the cargo and wheat another 27%. Much of the grain was not for human consumption, but marked as animal feed. According to research by one Austrian outlet that was published in February, almost half the grain that made its way to the EU ended up as fodder for pigs raised by Spanish ham producers.’

  21. mrsyk

    If you live here in the US, and you think wildfires are a west coast thing, think again. The unprecedented fires burning in Nova Scotia are a clear signal that the northeast is joining the party. The combination of drought conditions, warmer temperatures, and pine trees (spruces and firs too) make for a bloody tinderbox waiting to go off. In NS fire conditions are so elevated that they closed all hiking trails. The fine for violating the open fire/burn ban has been jacked from $500 to $25,000 ($19,000ish USD). Over 20,000 people have had to evacuate. Here’s a Wildfire Today write-up from yesterday. Nova Scotia battles its largest fire in history

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm…. Right next to Maine. Will ‘Lambert’ have to shift his abode from the “Arboreal Academic
      Environ” to escape the all consuming flames soon?

    2. Lexx

      Thanks for bringing our attention to this story, I would have missed it. We were socked in (Northern Colorado Front Range) with the wildfire smoke out of Alberta for about two weeks. One more province and we’ll be wondering if all of Canada is primed to catch fire.

      About a half dozen Western Tanagers chose to abide with us for a couple weeks, refueling on oranges, grape jelly, and suet on their way nest in the north (Oregon, Washington, Canada). They were also waiting for the snow in the Rockies to clear. I’m a little worried for their summer habitat.

    3. Steve H.

      My sister-in-law is near enough to watch the plumes, and she says the ground is dust, even deep in the forests.

  22. Steve H.

    > Why human societies still use arms, feet, and other body parts to measure things Science

    “Form, Function, and Design” by Paul Jacques Grillo has a beautiful chapter on this. The book is out of print, but is available used at low price. Like Alexander’s “The Nature of Order”, the book design is an expression of what it says, and has great integrity. I have multiple copies of few books, and this is one.

  23. Carolinian

    Re CNN on Arizona water problem–there was already a law or rule stating that new developments had to show a 100 year water source that could include groundwater and bought water rights from the Indian tribes. What’s new is that now groundwater will be excluded but perhaps only a half measure that grandfathers in current projects.

    Porter said the change won’t necessarily curtail development in the booming Phoenix metro area, but it could push it towards bigger and older cities like Tempe and Scottsdale. Nor is it expected to curtail water use for industry and manufacturing – an important distinction given Arizona is quickly becoming a hub for advanced manufacturing of technology, including semi-conductor chips.

    “It really is only impacting housing subdivisions,” Porter said. “There will continue to be new homes built because they have already proved up their 100-year water supply using groundwater, and they were figured into the model. There’s this runway of continued development.”

    My friend who lives there hates the rampant development. Even here in SC the real estate boom is ongoing but we have lots of empty space and plenty of water (too much?).

  24. The Rev Kev

    “How Biden’s climate pivot pissed off the left”

    So is Noam Chomsky going to gaslight people again and tell people to vote for Biden to save the environment? Will all those democrats and progressives say once more to just vote old Joe in again and try to push him left and maybe this time it will work? Biden was always going to sell out. It is who he is.

    1. ambrit

      Time for a new version of Aesop’s Fable about “The Scorpion and the Frog,” called, appropriately enough, “The Democrats and the People,” including a digression into the subject of “Boiling Frogs” and Cannibal Cuisine.

        1. ambrit

          Hah! I have met real “Lucys” out in the wild. The overwhelming sense of privilege and superiority in such is gag reflex inducing. The ‘real’ problem with such is really a problem with their corrrespondants. Somehow, a ‘need’ to curry the favour of these PMCs is inculacted in most Western Consumers from an early age. The Revolutionaries have it right. The first Institution to be seized and reconfigured is Education.
          Every PMC reduced to it’s constituent atoms is a ‘social good.’

  25. flora

    Taibbi’s latest. (note, I think twtr put Walsh’s docu back up after Taibbi’s article came out.)

    Meet the New Twitter, Same as the Old Twitter?

    Matt Walsh’s “What is a Woman?” is the kind of content most thought would be safe under new Twitter ownership. A new battle over the film feels like an attack of nanny-Twitter déjà vu

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m sure Tucker must be rethinking his plan to base on Twitter. Elon’s wealth really comes from his relationship with the Feds. He’s never going to stray too far.

      Meanwhile, think what Tucker has not commented on since his “disappearance:” Fall of Bakhmut and attacks on Kremlin; Durham Report; Ukrainian “counteroffensive;” Biden corruption investigation; 1/6 investigate the investigators.

      I’m sure there are plenty in the Blob and elsewhere that have been quite happy that Tucker has not been on the airwaves.

    2. JustTheFacts

      Actually it can be watched on twitter and was recommended by Elon Musk.

      The most important thing the movie said is the actual trans rate: between 1/30,000 and 1/100,000 people historically have been trans. Therefore most of us should probably never meet one in real life. If you’ve seen 3 of them, in a single small community of 100,000 people, then the rate is much higher than it should be (because you won’t have met all 100,000 people in your community), and either most of them are lying/confused or something else is wrong.

      I’m actually worried that this phenomenon might be due to chemical pollution, and is being disguised as social contagion. Back in the 90s there was a documentary on TV about how plastics contained endocrine disruptors, and how the waterways were being polluted due to the pill, which was affecting fish and mammals. They said that in 20 years this might affect people. I often wonder if they were they right, and it’s inconvenient for various moneyed interests to stop doing business as usual (polluting). Pollution wouldn’t go along with the Democrat ideology (this is the new civil rights battleground) or Republican ideology (business can do no wrong), whereas pointing to people’s supposed moral failures fits both of them.

      1. Louis Fyne

        …phenomenon might be due to chemical pollution, and is..

        Joe Rogan had one of the leading endocrine disruptor researchers on his show once.

        The (lack of a better term) sex drift is real as in can be quantified by anatomical data among certain people.

        Both of them didn’t try to connect the dots with transgenderism. I wouldn’t want to touch that hypothesis if I was in academia unless I was 75 years old with full tenure and zero f’s to give, as I’d have to walk over the cancel police to get i to my office every day.

      2. LN

        If you’re correct that Mr Walsh claims in his film that the rate of transgenderism in the population is between 1/30,000 and 1/100,000 then Mr Walsh is full of it. He may have been providing a figure for the frequency of people born with ambiguous genitalia. That’s plausible.

        1. JustTheFacts

          Mr Walsh did not make that claim. The person who made it was a Miriam Grossman MD, who he was interviewing. What is your figure? And source? Thanks!

          1. LN

            Apparently, I was wrong. The prevalence of ambiguous genitalia is much higher than I thought. It’s reported to be in the range of 1:2000-1:4500 according to PMC5866176.

            Miriam Grossman MD’s figure sounds like some value for sex reassignment surgery from fifty years ago. That transgenderism is more common than she claims is obvious to anyone who spent any time in the gay scene, before the T was added to the LGB.

          2. LN

            I tried to respond to your query this morning, but the interface told me that I appeared to have already posted the same message. As my message has not yet appeared in the chat, two hours later, I guess it was discarded.

            Here we go again: PMC5866176 puts the number of births with ambiguous genitals in the range of 1:4500–1:2000 (0.02%–0.05%). That’s significantly higher than I expected.

            This study, PMC4823815, (from 2016) puts the meta-prevalence estimate (at the 95% confidence interval) for surgical or hormonal gender affirmation therapy at 9.2/100,000. Rather higher than your number, and with a very unequal MTF/FTM distribution, which has been equalising in recent years (I believe).

            However, this only counts people, like me, who have put themselves through the process. And a very costly, disruptive process it is, or was, until recently. I think most people avoid this disruption.

        2. Grebo

          There is a pretty solid figure from the England and Wales census. It’s 0.2% or 1/500 claim to be transgender, and another 0.3% have some other gender issue. 6% didn’t answer so it could be even higher.

  26. Jason Boxman


    When the now-retiring baby boomers began working, Basu said, “there was the notion that being a blue-collar tradesperson was a solid and secure path to prosperity.” But as factories shut down across the country, “the notion increasingly became that for one to become part of the American middle class, one would likely need to have more formal education, namely, a bachelor’s degree.”

    Well, liberal Democrats have been shouting college!! and then learn to code!! for a few decades now while we’ve deindustrialized. People aren’t stupid. What would you expect to happen?

    Oh, and on learning to code; The market for that right now is the worst I’ve ever seen if you’re trying to get in. Should have learned a blue collar trade instead of whatever nonsense liberal Democrats have been spouting forever now.

    1. flora

      re: “Oh, and on learning to code; The market for that right now is the worst I’ve ever seen if you’re trying to get in.”

      Yep, for many reasons. Unless… you are learning COBOL. There’s still a big market for good COBOL programmers, COBOL still runs many deep legacy systems newer systems are built atop of, but few school teach COBOL anymore. Adm. Grace Hopper was my heroine back in the day.

        1. eg

          Fortran 4 was called “WATFOR” at the University of Waterloo in the early ‘80s if I recall correctly

          1. ambrit

            I was told that it was designed for idiots like me by a University Professor. We had all sorts of friendly teachers and helpful fellow students back then. [I really was caught out once by the old class notes sharing trick of giving the others in your group deliberately messed up notes so as to cause them to score low on a main test and thus force up the malefactor’s class ranking. That bastard later became a lawyer. Go figure.]

  27. Jason Boxman

    This is always comical, because unless they’re voting for Trump, which they won’t, it doesn’t matter what kind of sad they’re having:

    All of it left climate advocates, who helped put Biden in office and will be critical to his 2024 reelection bid, feeling like they were thrown under the bus.

    The whiplash has been playing out all week in Washington, where members of the Biden team have been browbeaten by lawmakers or protested by activists.

    Biden energy and climate adviser John Podesta took heat from his own party on Capitol Hill when he went to pitch members on the agreement before the big House vote. Democrats openly vented to reporters in basement hallways about their frustrations with the climate provisions and attempts to cast them as a victory.

    So what? The ostensible left isn’t taken seriously because it isn’t serious. Wake me when they refuse to vote for Biden, and carry out the threat so other liberal Democrat politicians and strategists get that message loud and clear.

  28. Henry Moon Pie

    “700 families worth more than $4.5 trillion”

    Just 8 Men Own Same Wealth as Half the World

    Still following breadcrumbs from semper loquitor’s link to the video “The War on Reality, Mary Harrington & Paul Kingsnorth“, I came across Harrington’s debate with Oxford transhumanist Elise Bohan. Bohan tries to lay claim to an extraordinary compassion for humans: what a great tragedy a human death is; all the wisdom lost, etc. Of course, she never scales this “eternal life” mission to the masses, Extraordinary medical interventions for 8 billion or so? LOL. (Who’s gonna be “donors” then?) Maybe before you guys live forever we could just try and lower the maternal death rate in Cleveland?

    These transhumanist “advances” are never intended for the 99% or even the 99,9%. It’s these Oxfam Eight and their BFFs who are going to put their heads on top of a box on wheels or “transplant” their consciousness into the “cloud” or harvest the organs or blood of the young and unfortunate.

    No wonder these billionaires feel justified in accumulating such obscene amounts of money. They have some very lofty ambitions. And these are ambitions not for their fellow species nor for their countrymen nor for even their community. They are accumulating this vast wealth so that an absurd portion of humanity’s assets are devoted to producing these insane dreams of immortality for themselves or even more ambitious in a Mormon sort of way, to terraform new, unruined planets for them to rule.

    Transhumanists and their media supporters are the primary shills for these modern day Pharaohs. Our extinction, as part of the Great Extinction, is but an unfortunate collateral effect.

    1. Grebo

      Imagine you could upload your mind to a solar powered computer before you died. We could benefit from your wisdom forever, virtually for free, or ignore you if it suited us. And you could keep an eye on the living, or ignore us and go surf the rings of Saturn or enjoy whatever virtual delights you or your mates could conjure up.

      Provided you couldn’t actually own anything real, I’m not seeing a downside.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Humans without sleep go totally out of their minds and it is the body that forces this sleep. So if you could upload your mind, what would happen to it as sleep would not be possible?

        1. Grebo

          Sleep seems to be mostly about biological maintenance, which would be unnecessary in a computer. To the extent it involves ‘memory consolidation’ and so forth you could do that in a background cron job.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            “cron job”

            I love it. I could use a physical cron job as I near 70. Just a tune-up.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Consciousness does not consist of the memories encoded in our brains. We cannot even locate consciousness, much less “download” it. The best that could be hoped for is to copy an individual’s memories to create a machine entity that attempted to mimic that individual, but only to the extent that an individual consists of their memories, a dubious proposition.

        Meanwhile, an individual’s consciousness is tied to that individual’s body. And when that body dies, that consciousness will experience death. Elon Musk isn’t going to be able to hack that.

        The kind of magical but fundamentally flawed thinking in the idea of “uploading my mind” to a computer is a product of Gnostic thinking that subordinates the body and the material completely to the mind. It ain’t the way the universe works.

        1. Grebo

          I can’t say exactly how the universe works but I’m willing to stick my neck out and say it does not involve magic. In which case consciousness must be a result of physical processes. It may be that it involves some quantum weirdness that cannot be copied or transferred without destroying it, but at this stage that would be an assumption.

          In my view it is just a highly abstract level of information processing. A body is necessary to become conscious, to become aware of what is me and what is not me, to have context. Once that is established waking up in a different body would be strange but not fatal. Completely foregoing a physical substrate and flying free with the gods Gnostic style, that’s magic.

          1. Late Introvert

            No actual mechanism for achieving this would be possible without harnessing the energy of the cosmos. Good luck duplicating the world, so you can achieve immortality. Why even would you want that? I fear your immortal being preserved at your immature age, whatever it is. Thankfully the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics won’t let that happen.

            Also, where is this server farm of the future you plant to live in? LOL

            1. Grebo

              I plan to achieve immortality by not dying. The computer is just a backup plan. (Always make backups)

              As for the energy of the cosmos, I did say it would be solar powered. It could be in space, though I will rent a robobody for days trips to Earth with Elon and Jeff. See you there!

  29. Carla

    You can get Covid whiplash just from reading a small portion of MedPage Today’s version of Links:

    “A new study from the CDC suggests that 96% of Americans have some degree of immunity against COVID-19

    Meanwhile, surveillance of New York City wastewater has detected rising levels of the virus, suggesting a rebound of the illness might be brewing. (Gothamist)

    A graphic look at how COVID damages the lungs. (New York Times)”

    For live links, go to

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      Yes, it is hard to reconcile statements about immunity with observations about cumulative damage. The cumulative damage would be worse without the little immunity we have I guess.

  30. Timh

    On Covid and governments: call me a cynic, but this piece…

    … a “YouGov study on conspiracy theories” has 5 of them:
    The threat of climate change is over-exaggerated
    Vaccines have harmful effects which are not being fully disclosed to the public
    The moon landing was staged
    The Earth is flat
    The universe was created by God in seven days and evolution was just part of His creation plan

    To me, the not so subtle message is that you are a nutjob if you question the honesty of vaccine disclosures.

    1. LifelongLib

      Well, I’m just about to get my 6th covid vaccine shot. I’ll let everyone know what happens.

      I haven’t had any likely adverse reaction to the previous shots other than a period of fatigue following one of them, which may or may not have been related. I figure at my age (67) I’m probably in more danger from covid itself. I live alone in a well-ventilated space and mask when I go to the store etc. Fingers crossed…

  31. TimH

    On the Apple exploit… many people have pointed out on other forums that the Apple denial has a massive caveat (never worked with any government to…), but of course the Yahoo piece in the link doesn’t challenge the denial.

    In a statement, the company said it has “never worked with any government to insert a backdoor into any apple product and never will.”

  32. Mikel

    Looking at the articles under Imperial Collapse about defense industry. I just saw this headline on Bloomberg:

    “Newly Rich US Defense Tech Titans Seek Fresh Fortunes in Ukraine”

    Newly rich???

    I can’t with these people.

    1. LawnDart

      It seems that every time a “major” conflict ends that involved USA or that required its support the focus shifts to a new conflict, and the MIC never stops humming along… this has been true for generations: USA always has something ready on the burner.

      At what point do the fortunes of MIC become know as “old money?”

  33. Cetra Ess

    re: Russia says US hacked thousands of iPhones in iOS zero click attacks

    Ok, I just have to say this comment may reveal a lot more than at first glance.

    Update 6/2 – An Apple spokesperson has sent BleepingComputer the following comment:

    We have never worked with any government to insert a backdoor into any Apple product and never will.

    Let’s unpack this wording.

    1) Apple has never worked with any government
    2) To insert a backdoor.

    The keywords are “with” and “to”.

    So some sort of arms length arrangement is still possible.

    So other sorts of collaborative arrangements might have taken place to accomodate such, such as avertings of eyes.

    And other sorts of arrangements might have taken place which aren’t specifically inserting backdoors, could be…say, opening firewalls, receiving and forwarding data, approving known sketchy apps, suppressing red flags, etc.

    Apple may still be bound by a US National Security Order, in which case it’s still true that Apple has never worked “with” any government, as such, but may have worked with government agency or apparatus, right? Is the NSA or CIA a government, or the government? What about state actors funded but not official? Now, if they had said never worked with any state, or any organization, state or otherwise…

    Apple may be aware of governments using Apple products thusly, that doesn’t count as working with.

    So many possibilities….

    3) Into any Apple product

    So, what about apps not built by Apple but hosted on the platform? They didn’t say hosted, they didn’t say platform.


    4) Apple does not deny that such backdoor(s) exist.
    5) Which are available to governments.
    6) And Apple does not say or promise they will remove or block them or that such things go against policy.

    So much wiggle room packed into such a short statement, or is it my imagination?

  34. polar donkey

    My son goes to school in despot county Mississippi, just south of Memphis. It is a public school, 60% black and lower middle income on average. Probably 40% of kids get free lunches. The school is excellent. It works hard towards community and parent involvement. 86% of 3rd graders passed their state test. The Memphis public school system just released the numbers on 3rd graders passing the state test. 76% failed. The school administration in Memphis public schools seems chaotic, with a steady stream of scandal and corruption. Probably 85% of kids in Memphis school system get free lunches. These kids can’t afford a crappy school adminstration and that’s what they got.

    1. ambrit

      Yes. Down further South, one of our daughters is working on her Education Degree while working as a Teacher’s aide in the classrooms of a school in East Baton Rouge Parish. Luckily for her, it is a fairly mid-middle class school. [What does it signify that we now describe individual schools as of differing “class” levels?] But I digress.
      She complains that I was right in warning her about “teaching to the test.” Nonetheless, she perseveres in her quest for any level of middle class style of life.
      She observes that the ‘level’ of teaching quality tracks closely with the socio-economic status level of the families of the students. In schools closer in to the Heart of Darkness, as she describes the Inner City Baton Rouge schools, quality of all factors drops off as the community socio-economic status level drops. One factor she mentioned was that the higher socio-economic status families have the education, systems manipulation skills, and politico-economic influence skills to force the system to accede to many of their demands.
      O that it were not so.

  35. Huge fan

    Arizona announces limits on construction in Phoenix area as groundwater disappears

    Everyone who visits NC should do themselves a favor and read Cadillac Desert, which predicted this in 1981.

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