Links 6/20/2023

Titanic shipwreck shown in 3D view BBC (furzy)

Search Underway for Titanic-Wreck Submersible With Five Crew Bloomberg. Or not to put too fine a point on it: Hm, Billionaire-Adventurer…. Andrei Martyanov

The Cheese Caves of the United States Laughing Squid (resilc)

Scientists Hope Euclid Telescope Will Reveal Mysteries of Dark Matter Guardian

Ultra low-cost smartphone attachment measures blood pressure at home ars technica (Chuck L)

The New War on Bad Air New York Times (Ann M)

America’s most widely consumed cooking oil causes genetic changes in the brain Neuroscience (Paul R). From 2020 but news to me. And who uses soybean oil for cooking?

‘Animal Spirits’ Review: Vitality Rages Against the Machine Wall Street Journal. Anthony L: “Jackson Lears (always liked him).”

McMaster’s Imaginary Sex Ring Quillette (Anthony L)

The diaries of Kafka aeon (Anthony L)


South African taps run dry after power shortages BBC (resilc)

By contrast, it’s been weirdly cool here and I am told in Southern California too (hat tip ma):

‘Unheard of’ Marine Heatwave Off UK and Irish Coasts Poses Serious Threat Guardian

Europe warming faster than any other continent in recent decades: Report Anadolu Agency

Seaweed Farming For CO2 Capture Would Take Up Too Much of the Ocean MIT Technology Review

Customers could be on the hook for Pacific Power wildfire lawsuit costs, filings show KGW8 (Kevin W). From last week, still germane.


President Xi Jinping Meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Word, especially from US officials, are cheap. I don’t know how anyone can take this seriously when Blinken maintains that the US “does not support ‘Taiwan independence.’” Recall that in a long phone call with Xi, Biden similarly claimed that the US supported the one China policy. Let’s see if the US stops sending warships through the Taiwan Strait. Blinken simply made an itty bitty reformulation of the existing policy.

Came upon this after writing the bit immediately above: Xi meets Blinken, calling on US to translate statements to actions Global Times

Note both parties unable to hide mutual antipathy; Xi has Blinken placed in subordinate position, unlike his meeting with Pompeo, where they sat next to each other in armchairs:

Xi rejects US offer to set up military crisis hotline, Blinken says The Hill

Hawks go on tilt:

Absent a real strategy, US sends nuclear-powered submarine to S. Korea Responsible Statecraft

Rohingya refugees face soaring hunger and crime after aid cuts Bangkok Post (furzy)

European Disunion

EU split over subsidies for coal plants as Poland seeks extension Poland (Kevin W)

The Slowdown in Europe via Human Capital Dietrich Vollrath (resilc)

Canada’s supreme court upholds pact with US restricting asylum claims Guardian. Resilc:”Does this apply to me when I have to flee?”

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine updates: No losses in counterattack, Zelenskyy says DW

Military briefing: Russian ‘Alligators’ menace Ukraine’s counteroffensive Financial Times

EU Readies €50 Billion Ukraine Package Ahead of Donor Summit Bloomberg

EU imports of Russian oil plunge by 90% as a result of sweeping bans Euronews. Kevin W: “In other news, EU oil imports from India and China soar 90%.”

The destruction of an independent judiciary in Ukraine WSWS


Biden admin. won’t acknowledge Iran deal explicitly to skirt Congress Jerusalem Post

Imperial Collapse Watch

Our Systems Reward Dysfunction And Destruction Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Udo Ulfkotte Exposed the CIA’s Role in Controlling Worldwide Media in his book “Journalists For Hire” and Should Be Celebrated Among the Great Whistleblowers of All-Time Covert Action. Chuck L: “Might Ulfkotte’s heart attack at age 57 have been assisted?”

Why What We Thought About the Global Economy Is No Longer True New York Times (resilc). Um, who do you mean by “we”?

How US-made sniper ammunition ends up in Russian rifles Politico. Resilc: “USA USA is cultured to sell anything not nailed down.”


Trump’s defense after his indictment and arraignment: Lies and victim narratives Vox (resilc)

Trump defends keeping classified docs in contentious exchange with Fox’s Baier The Hill

RFK, Jr.

Beware: we ignore Robert F Kennedy Jr’s candidacy at our peril Guardian (resilc)

YouTube removes Robert F Kennedy Jr video featuring bizarre claim that polluted water makes children transgender Independent (furzy)

Power companies quietly pushed $215m into US politics via dark money groups Guardian

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein claimed to have set up meetings with senior UK ministers Financial Times (resilc)


After mass shootings, Serbia hands in guns and protests violence NBC (furzy)


Meta Says Its New Speech-Generating AI Model Is Too Dangerous For Public The Verge. A very tech connected reader (as in both skill and contact wise) says the reason for the AI scaremongering (which he points out is auto complete using huge matrices) is that Silicon Valley has worked out that there’s nothing protectable there, that anyone with enough computing power could do this…including on a small scale, like a law firm mining their past correspondence and articles and having AI generate client letters. So the hysteria is to get Congresscritters to pass legislation that will have the effect of creating barriers to entry or otherwise restrict use.

The Bezzle

Inside the World of Virtual Sports Betting Guardian (resilc)

Meta to Lower Age for Users of Quest VR Headset to 10 From 13 New York Times

Where Money Rules Bloomberg via Barry Ritholtz (resilc). The subhead claim is wrong. Pension funds and insures have long bee big players in the debt markets. Depicting them as nontraditional is a crock.

Leveraged loan defaults hit $25 billion, head for third worst year in history, says Goldman MarketWatch (ma). Leveraged loans are nearly all for leveraged buyouts.

Rail Car Shortage Keeping 70,000 New Cars Off Dealer Lots As Supply Chain Issues Continue Jalopnik (resilc)

Guillotine Watch

Why Are Corporate Healthcare Fraudsters Being Handed ‘Get Out of Jail Free Cards’? Juan Cole (resilc)

Prince William: Young royals ‘will definitely be exposed’ to homelessness BBC. Resilc: “If they turn out like Uncle Harry and Meagan?”

Class Warfare

Chuck L sent and readers mentioned in comments, but not to be missed, in a bad way:

What cost of living crisis? Workers at top corporations scored bumper pay and raises in 2022, despite layoffs: Casino and hotel firm Vici paid staff $415K, Meta workers scored $300K, while Alphabet staffers got $280K Daily Mail

Antidote du jour. mgl: “One of our local nesting trumpeter swans in Anchorage, Alaska & a cheery tree swallow.”

And a bonus, featuring a young Aby, same model as all my cats (save the Russian blue look-alike I had as a child):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Cervantes

    Re: “Who uses soybean oil?” A lot of people use “vegetable oil” for cooking, which is actually mostly soybean oil. I hate it; I only like to use olive oil from my native Andalusia.

    Re: shadow banking. “Shadow banking” does not even cover “nonbank” or “nontraditional” finance. “Shadow banking” specifically refers to things that have bank-like attributes without bank-like regulation: liabilities that are callable, assets that are more volatile/illiquid. So putting things like pension funds in that bucket is an example of lying bigly to cover for the regulatory hole that is actual shadow banking, like repos and other arrangements probably stuffed in the “other” category.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Cervantes: Further on soybean oil. If you take a look at the label on just about any product, you’ll see “soybean or cottonseed oils” very often listed as two options among ingredients. Sometimes, corn oil also.

      Some dire news in the main portion of the article: “Dysregulated genes were associated with inflammation, neuroendocrine, neurochemical, and insulin signaling. Oxt was the only gene with metabolic, inflammation and neurological relevance upregulated by both soybean oil diets compared to both control diets.
      “Oxytocin immunoreactivity in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus was reduced while plasma oxytocin and hypothalamic Oxt were increased. These central and peripheral effects of soybean oil diets were correlated with glucose intolerance but not body weight.”

      I have doubts that soybean oil was ever meant as food for humans. Likewise, cottonseed oil. Both of them are solutions made up by industry to deal with waste. Is cottonseed itself a decent food for bovines? Someone in the commentariat will know.

      I have also been suspicious of corn oil for years. Corn may be okay as a grain, but corn oil and high-fructose corn syrup exploit the plant industrially. Cheap oil from a cheap source.

      So: One puts together high-fructose corn syrup plus three bad oils, and what does one get? (Besides Pop-Tarts.) An epidemic of obesity. A nation malnourished.

      As a friend of mine, an actor, used to say (channeling his Bertha character): “Bitter? Add butter.”

      Excellent advice.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        I did eat Pop-Tarts now and again for breakfast when I was in high school. (Long story.)

        Voilà. Take that, hypothalamus:

        What ingredients are in Pop-Tarts?

        Ingredients. Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, soybean and palm oil (with TBHQ for freshness), sugar, bleached wheat flour.

        I’m lucky I don’t have three heads.

        1. Eclair

          And, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and sugar …… are all forms of … sugar!

          1. ewmayer

            That common FDA-allowed trick allows them to list flour as the #1 ingredient.

            Think Sh*t Sandwich:

            Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), shit, shyte, mierda, poo, caca, merde, dung, crap, butt-mud, …

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i cannot abide “vegetable oil”,,,and i have determined that “canola”(tm) (ie: Rapeseed Oil) is the main offender.
        screws up my guts.
        in the same way that turnip green stalks, broccolli stalks and even mustard green stalks(all Rapa spp.) do.
        leaves are fine…flowers are fine.
        rapeseed oil is an industrial lubricant…but its subsidised heavily, so something must be done with all the excess….because, like with corn, if you give the giant grain conglomerates money to grow something, they’ll grow a whole hell of a lot of it…so that we end up having to invent things to do with the excess.
        (isnt capitalism great?/s)
        i find that i must be picky about where i’ll eat any fried food that wasn’t cooked by me.
        in town, i know who uses what.
        out here, the only hydrogenated oil we use is peanut oil, and thats rarely.
        otherwise, its olive oil, butter, bacon grease, and lard.
        (and no, none of us have bellies….and my last physical pronounced me healthy as a horse, save for my joints)

        1. Kristiina

          Horses with informed owners use Boswellia Serrata, Devil’s claw, ginger and turmeric for their joints, as they are somewhat prone to joint problems.

        2. Eclair

          Yum …. ‘lard!’ We render our own supply. Turns refried beans into a gourmet treat. Also excellent in sourdough rye breads, and, mixed with butter, in biscuits. And, the old stuff I keep in the workshop to grease garden tools.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            or carnitas or cornbread in a dutch oven over a fire….
            i admit that i was kind of surprised that my triglyceride numbers, etc were deemed excellent,lol.
            we eat a lot of real cheese, too…hell, i have brie or camembert on grilled “cool bread” at least 3 times a week for first breakfast.
            (“cool bread” and “cool cheese” is from the real grocery store(HEB), 50 miles south…we fill up the freezer with that stuff…and i often tell the cheese lady that i love her,lol)
            but we also eat a lot of fruit and veg…and we get a lot of exercise.

            1. JP

              Real cheese is illegal in the US. All dairy products must be pasteurized before making cheese in the US. Real cheese is alive and ripens. US cheese rots. The reason we over inoculate grape juice to make wine is so the yeast overwhelms any bacteria. Likewise the microbiota in cheese prevails against unwanted bacteria. The cheese is so much better in France because it gets better as it ripens. Real cheese is only available in the US if you milk your own cow, goat, sheep and make it yourself.

              1. nap

                Many years ago I met a guy in a bar on West 72nd St. in Manhattan, across the street from the Dakota, who said he was a cheese smuggler. IIRC, he specialized in smuggling “white” cheeses from Europe.

              2. Grebo

                Sadly, Kraft is the best cheddar available in my locale. I have found that leaving it in the cupboard (not fridge) for a few weeks until the oil leaches out improves it enormously.

            2. eg

              Your triglycerides will likely be fine as long as you keep your carbohydrate and sugar intake low.

          2. Lee

            I recall seeing an interview with a renowned Mexican food chef when asked the secret ingredient to making good Mexican food, his reply was “good lard”.

        3. IM Doc

          As I have become older, so has the cohort of patients I care for. I am most keenly interested in observing how the various groups do as they get older. The one in particular that truly is amazing is the 85 and up group that still have their mental faculties and are still busy with physical activity ( although not what they were doing at 20).

          Almost without exception over years, this cohort eats eggs, meat, produce, butter, lard, and fruit and whole grains with abandon. They eat out only occasionally and never in fast food joints. They never listened to the low fat advice of their youth. They are trim. They exercise. Care for gardens. What they do not do is eat anything processed, smoke or drink heavily. They sleep well. They have managed to deal with stress and anxiety. They do not watch the political slug fest TV shows, and they read constantly. They watch movies, etc, but are never involved in tv more than a little while every day. Most but not all have pets. And I have found this group is very likely to have deep and beneficial relationships with kids and neighbors.

          In this cohort, there is a very high likelihood of passing from this world by just dropping dead or not waking up one day. They are mostly spared long horrific illnesses and stays in advanced care nursing homes ( not assisted living-some do go there).

          This has been a constant consistent pattern for my career. I do my best to get the word out to the young patients. But our ad saturated world makes things very difficult. Please note all of the above characteristics are free and supply nos cash to our corporations. That is really all you need to know.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Had to save your comment as text to really think it over so thanks for this. It strikes me that as they are 85 and up, they spent their twenties in the late fifties and sixties and that they were not anywhere near exposed to so many chemical additives like we are today and that sugar was present in far less of their foods. This you can see by looking at pictures of groups of people in this era who are almost uniformly thinner by far. I bet too that this age cohort also learned not to sweat the small stuff as well.

            1. Janie

              Rev, 85 year olds were born in 1938, so sugar was rationed and people had victory gardens in the early years when eating preferences were formed. My cohort isn’t even tempted by fast food.

              1. Eclair

                Janie, you are correct. I had forgotten about sugar rationing during The War. A big treat for me, at my grandmother’s house, was a spoonful of molasses added to a glass of milk. But sugar? Nope. No cookies or cakes. And, certainly, no sugar-coated breakfast cereal. Or pop-tarts!

                Who knew that our ‘deprivation’ was actually benefitting our future health.

          2. Louis Fyne

            The “Snackwell Effect” (copious amounts of sugar is fine as long as food is “low-fat”) set back public health for decades.

            The public is still paying the price for shoddy diet-science

          3. Lee

            Long ago and far away back of the back hills in rural Kentucky visiting some of my stepfathers relatives we stayed for several days with his elderly aunt and uncle, well into their eighties at the time. Still able to work in their large garden, they grew much of what they ate and raised pigs as well. My mother, a Californian, was horrified that they cooked everything in lard, claiming it was so unhealthy. Much to her chagrin, laughter ensued.

          4. Janie

            IM Doc, I’m 85; my family has lived in the area near Memphis since well before the Civil War. Some were farmers and some were lawyers and doctors, but they all, so far as I know, ate as you describe (as do I). Bacon grease lived in a coffee can on the stovetop, and fresh vegetables abounded. In the main, they lived and died as you describe. When we visited in summer, we shelled black eyed peas and strung green beans on the kitchen porch, I picked tomatoes for dinner (at noon), grandmother made cornbread, a cousin had an electric churn, someone always made the mayonnaise, nothing was sprayed or genetically modified. Barring accidents, they made it in good health into their eighties and nineties and died easily.

          5. kareninca

            I don’t know how volitional the part about having deep and beneficial relationships with kids and neighbors is. I know lots of people who find being around other humans to be painful. It seems to have a biological basis, and none of these people (the ones I know, anyway) are eating junky food. If you have suggestions for people who hate to be around other people, that would be very helpful, since I see so much of it. I wouldn’t say it is a “choice” for the people I know, since they are not happy about it and not happy generally.

          6. Duke of Prunes

            My mom is turning 90 next month, and she still lives on her own (with the help of some of those deeply tied friends and family). Just lost my dad, he was “only” 88. Both pretty much match your criteria… although they did fall for the margarine instead of butter trap for maybe 10-20 years in the 70s and 80s.

            Also, I’ve looked for lard in the store, and all that I find is still partially hydrogenated. I’ll stick with my butter and bacon fat.

          7. Yves Smith Post author

            My mother lived to be 94 and only had some short-term memory issues starting around 91. But she was the original couch potato and not at all agreeable (guess where yours truly got that from?) and very introverted. She did read a book a day until her vision decayed and she refused to get cataract surgery. She started watching TV a lot then and that’s when her memory issues began.

            She thought butter was a food group but didn’t eat as well as your oldesters did. But ate fats and savories way more than sweets.

        4. t

          Canola oil has a fascinating history, and there is no step on the journey where anyone was thinking – hey, here’s a food source for people!

        5. Luckless Pedestrian

          I’ve long been suspicious of “vegetable oil.” Why did they think it needed a fake name? Is there zucchini oil? No. So-called vegetable oils are hexane extracted seed and grain oils.

          There is a slight difference between canola and rapeseed, but its slight. Some food companies (Oatly comes to mind) label as rapeseed but mostly its canola out there.

        6. playon

          We only use olive oil (and grapeseed oil for higher temp wok cooking). Sometimes butter.

          1. playon

            If you use olive oil, look carefully at where it comes from – the Italian olive oil industry suffers from a lot of fraud. According to tests done by the UC Davis Olive Center, 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the United States are most likely fake. This includes many common brands seen in US grocery stores, some are listed here:


      3. Eclair

        Thank you, DJG, for speaking out against high fructose corn syrup, as well as corn, soy, and cottonseed oils. They are ‘cheap,’ on the grocery shelf, compared to organic sunflower or canola oils. Or, a good olive oil. But, what are the ‘externalities,’ the costs borne by entities other than the end consumer?

        Industrial agriculture, mono-cropping, fossil fuels used in the manufacture of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and for processing and transport, impose costs on eco-systems. Loss of topsoil from plowing, depletion of aquifers from irrigation, possibly carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals dumped into waterways are all costs that are not reflected on the grocery store shelves.

        1. Late Introvert

          Organic Canola is not a real thing. Look it up. An industrial product that has to be run through a chemical factory to be edible.

          1. Eclair

            Yep, Late Introvert, information like this is one of the many reasons I read the NC commenters!

            But oil production from various seeds doesn’t have to be a large scale industrial process. I remember watching a man in an open air market in Xi’an, an extractor of sesame seed oil. He had a creaky old metal drum-type contraption that was hand (or maybe foot) operated.

            Good quality sesame seed oil is lovely. Not for cooking at high heat, but for a finishing and flavor-adding touch, after a dish is cooked. And, it makes a delicious carrot salad.

      4. Lexx

        Went to the plant nursery to buy two more bags of compost; they were completely sold out of various manures. The only product available was cotton burr compost. Customers seem to be reluctant to buy it and so it sat unpurchased on the pallets. Gardeners trust poop… what’s this cotton burr s$$t?!

        I’ve been thinking about Charles Hugh Smith’s article from last week and what he had to say about systems and supply chains, how interlocked they become and what happens when we try to take them apart or they’re challenged by new economic forces later. It’s not just about vest interests (profit-takers) but the interlocking supply chains themselves… and there sits the bags of composted cotton burrs, not enough animal poop, and the pressure of time. How long before gardeners buy the cotton as readily as manure?

        On the other hand, on the subject for how products come to be with us long long time… I added organic slow-release fertilizer to the potting soil before planting the annual color pots around the house, cuz ‘virtuous’ gardener’ points. Listening to the women at the salon last week marvel at the results ‘Miracle Gro’ gets them over the summer. Me: ‘But that’s cheating?!’ Them: ‘Yeah, but it’s not like we’re going to eat the flowers. We just want a lot of color from our annuals fast. Summers are short here.’ Good point. Me: ‘Yeah but… what’s actually in Miracle Gro… what’s the ‘miracle’ part?’ No answer, so I went to the nursery and looked. Really high NPK numbers, like no compost ever; it’s plant heroin. Also major eye-level shelf space at Home Depot with additional displays throughout the nursery.

        1. .human

          More like plant meth. There’s the old adage, “the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

      5. Franka

        None of this mentions pesticide residues, nor GMO effects on gut biome.

        An easy way to protect your family’s health:

        Before you venture into a restaurant, read the cardboard boxes in the dumpster behind it.
        Learned that technique here:

        First thing we saw:
        “Smart Balance buttery spread, naturally and artificially flavored.
        Contains 64% vegetable oils.”

        Natural flavors means chemicals synthesized in a lab to immitate real flavors. Artificial flavors=Frankenfood.

        64% oils, which ones?

        Maybe cottonseed oil which comes from cotton, not a food crop, therefore not even minimally regulated, therefore is doused with pesticides and the oil has residues of that.

        We’ll never set foot in that place.

        The “savings” from a lifetime of eating cheap food are consumed by the first copays for chemotherapy.

      6. Lexx

        Yesterday after six months of gathering a.m. and p.m. blood glucose levels, I went to see my nurse practitioner and made my report. Based on that report and our discussion over the next half hour, she decided it would be okay for me to stop taking metformin altogether… that’s 2000 mg. a day, 1000 a.m. and 1000 p.m.. I was going to ask but she beat me to it… am I really a good candidate for this drug given the numbers? She suggested berberine instead, between 750-1500 mg. a day.


        Me: ‘Let’s assume for a moment, that what I have and have had for decades is a stomach-emptying problem, one that was documented in a hospital 20 years ago, that’s grown worse with age?’

        NP: ‘Twenty years is a long time in our understanding of the effect nutrition has on the human body. We have way more choices now. I want to send you to Gastro and a clinician I like to work with who specializes in stomach emptying problems.’

        Double boggle!

        Everyone’s blood glucose spikes after eating, but it’s supposed to come down back down to ‘normal’ levels within two hours… but what if it doesn’t and instead the stomach, unable to quickly pass food to the small intestine continues to slowly feed its contents down to the small intestine for, say, three hours or more before returning to normal, depending the ‘complexity’ of the last meal? What then happens to those spikes over time, like over years or even decades? And (this is the part that worries me) what would healthcare make of this ‘normal’?

        Does the U.S. and the entire Western world have an “epidemic” of diabetes? Obesity, yes obviously… but diabetes? We’ve been told genetics are to blame for 40 years. Are we having a Western World gene crisis? No one I’ve talked to in medicine seems to think it odd — nay, normal!– that so many people over the age of 40 are being prescribed drugs for GERD. ‘Well, Lexx, there’s your genes and you are over 40.’ And when PPI’s cease to provide relief, what then? The gastroenterologist in Denver raised the dose, until I took myself off them years later. If anything, PPI’s seemed to making the problem worse. My game plan was to go ‘cold turkey’.

        There have been medicine’s cohort expectations and age as a ‘catch-all for patients in need of an explanation for which there was none and no remedy, at least not in pill form. Somewhere past the haze of orthodoxy and easy explanations is a bigger picture, but not an easier one. When I can finally connect all the dots — before I die, Lord! — I’m pretty sure ignorance will be bliss. I envy those who can travel that road and manage to stay on it.

      7. earthling

        Even people who are trying hard to eat right and load up on salads are getting dosed with soybean oil in the dressings; Have I heard correctly they are the leading source of oil in the diet of a lot of women in particular?

        Food companies play games like listing salad dressings and mayonnaises as ‘with olive oil’; just a touch so they can put it on the label, the rest is soy.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          I saw a “radical” nutritionist on youtube (many years ago before everyone was an influencer) say that salads have probably caused as many (if not more) heart attacks than red meat as the saturated fat in red meat is far better than the unsaturated fat in salad dressings. She was one of the crazies that was advocating saturated fats (mostly animal, dairy and avacado) and limiting carbs before the cool kids caught on to this.

    2. timbers

      I use high oliec safflower oil for cooking. Same beneficial fat composition as olive oil and tolerates high heat. Oil that goes on food I use olive for taste. And I give my dog unrefined organic high oliec safflower oil because it’s loaded with vitamin E. He also gets sardines for fish oil and Norwegian Jarlsburg cheese for vitamin K2 deglogs arteries as my previous 2 labs succumbed to heart failure.

      1. Lexx

        I buy Spanish sardines packed in olive oil and pour the oil off into a bowl to make salad dressing later, precisely because the oil is a little stinky. It’s good stink.!

        When I think of the sardines I’ve bought packed in water (same price) or poured the oil directly into the garbage… first of all in this life, one needs to learn to forgive one’s younger self for so many mistakes made… sigh.

      2. Into_The_Abyss

        Avocado oil tolerates high heat as well. I always use it on steaks that are seared on the BBQ.

    3. Joe Well

      I did not understand “who buys soybean oil” either. I am guessing it was sarcastic since it fills the grocery store shelves even more than olive oil and is in most processed food.

    4. Joe Well

      “Italian Olive Oil” sold in US grocery stores likely has a high amount of soybean oil. Most olive oil from Italy is adulterated. .

      Insane that North Americans think it it is better.

      Buy Greek, Spanish, Tunisian, even Palestinian. You’ll notice the difference. Real Extra Virgin olive oil has a fruity smell and taste which is maybe why it’s not popular with people used to soy and canola oil.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Xi rejects US offer to set up military crisis hotline, Blinken says”

    The US may be keen on a military channel and there is an easy way for it to happen which somehow The Hill forgets to mention. All that is required is for the US to lift their sanctions on Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu and then the Chinese would go ahead and set it all up. But the Biden regime refuses to out of being obstinate and it looking like the US would be giving away a concession for free. So it is still for Biden a zero-sum game instead of taking back a sanction as an investment in Chinese-US deconfliction. And the reason why Li Shangfu was sanctioned? Because he purchased Russian weapons for Chinese use. So, was he expected to go to Boeing and Raytheon instead?

    1. timbers

      MOA has an article giving a triuphalist interpretation of Blinken and Biden admitting defeat against Russia China. Hofefully true but dought it.

    2. Procopius

      Today Biden blasted Xi Jin-ping as a “dictator,” carried on for quite a while how evil China is. This, after Xi spoke with the U.S. Secretary of State, who had been denied a meeting for six months. I recall the time back in 2021, when a meeting in Alaska ended in serious insults to China being delivered, and another display of contempt a month or two later. In fact, the establishment does not seem to be aware that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. The U.S. currently has over 9,000 sanctions alive against people and nations. They would be wise to rescind about 8,000 of them, but somehow seem to believe that “real men” only shout insults at one another and get along well.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Blinken didn’t look like he was enjoying his Peking Crow too much.

    I am unable to think of an instance when a high-ranking U. S. official had to humble himself so much before a foreign nation. Was it Ukraine’s counteroffensive performance the proximate cause?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’d like to think that when Blinken went back to his hotel afterwards and put on the TV to relax, that every channel played only the same movie – ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’

    2. Cas

      Remember shortly after Dubya was anointed president one of our spy planes crashed/force landed on a Chinese island? China held the crew and dismantled the plane (I assume to study its construction). It was only after USA USA groveled did China deign to give the plane back. I believe it was Colin Powell who was the designated crow-eater. I remember thinking at the time, you can buy an election but you can’t buy leadership skills. Here’s a quick note when the plane came home.

  4. ambrit

    Concerning the Canadian high court restricting universal Terran human freedoms yet again, Resilc asks, “Does this apply to me when I have to flee?” It will also apply to Lambert. They might have to rework their “escape” plans to make the French possessions of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon in the Gulf of St. Lawrence their destinations. Those are two seriously small places, but I am getting a definite Casablanca vibe.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So many Americans fled to Canada during the Vietnam war that I believe that they were nicknamed Canadian geese – because they flew north. After the war was over a pardon was granted so that they could return home as the government at the time wanted to draw a line under the whole debacle. But during the Iraq war when some Americans tried to fly north, they found to their cost that the rules of the game had changed and I think that they were rejected from claiming any amnesty. Canada, especialy under Trudeau, is out as a destination for freedom.

      1. Wukchumni

        …another instance of Justin time economics?

        I fled to Canada during the Vietnam War on a forced road march in our 1966 Ford station wagon, as the family was concerned that they would soon be taking Nixon-jugend into the fray, but we returned after a few fortnights.

        1. ambrit

          I just made the association between your habitat elevation and your word play. In essence, you have attained the punnacle of the art. You are a shining light to we lowliest humour worms; a discourse devant of the punleteriat.
          Stay safe up there in the ethereal realm. (No, it is not a pitch for Cryptos.)

          1. Wukchumni

            …the punisment will continue until the morale improves and/or a mutiny of misplaced letters

      2. Carolinian

        Long ago a friend of my brother’s wanted to move to Canada and become Canadian–nothing to do with Vietnam–but their requirements were very strict even back then. Meanwhile on my most recent visit to Canada (not that recent) the border cops invited me inside while outside they searched my car.

        I find this attitude very unfriendly since we gladly adopt all their pop stars not to mention William Shatner and give them free run of Myrtle Beach and AZ real estate. Things would be so much easier if America’s long ago dream of conquering Canada had worked out.

      3. BP

        Note that Canada was pressured by our southern neighbours to make these changes, as it was embarrassing that people were fleeing north, sometimes in the dead of winter with tragic consequences. There was talk up here that maybe our southern neighbour wasn’t a ‘safe country’ and it was right and proper to accept them. Obviously not a great look that they would put up with.

        As always, the single biggest source of foreign interference in Canada comes from the US. i really do wish Justin has his dad’s cojones but sadly he, nor any of our recent PMs, do not.

        YMMV, but I’ll enjoy my freedoms right where we are, thanks. Can’t see anywhere else on this gassy orb where they would be better.

        1. eg

          As you correctly note, “the single biggest source of foreign interference in Canada comes from the US” and yet we have to endure the media circus of hysteria over Chinese and Russian interference in our elections. Sheesh …

      4. jrkrideau

        they were nicknamed Canadian geese

        Maybe in the USA but not in Canada. We just called them draft-dodgers which was an honourable term back then.

    2. Will

      Coming to Canada is only for those that like sequels. For those already here, looking south is like seeing the future. And our overlords like what they see.

    3. jrkrideau

      No Lambert is alright. He is fleeing the USA so there is no Third Country issue involved. Canada is the first nation. If France in an adherent to some Third Party convention he could be returned to Canada.

  5. griffen

    Prince William trying to pass a life learning lesson to his children, well it’s a commendable thought and future action. Yes, the people of the UK that are suffering should be seen and observed by the royal family. Maybe they’ll discuss the economics of why they are poor or homeless, yeah not sure about them apples. The laws of nature benefit the wealthy and the elite, young child. It is what it is.

    Counter to the above, Prince Harry passing the valued lesson of leaving no stone unturned to protect the high life for myself and my princess. Anything goes whether we exhibit the underlying “supposed” talent to do so or not.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Sure Blinken…. “We don’t support Taiwan independence…”
    While you :
    – sell weapons to Taiwan
    – are sending US troops to Taiwan to train Taiwanse troops
    – support pro-independence movements in Taiwan.
    – are sending US aircrafts in Taiwan Strait

    Sure….we trust you bro.’

    To re-hash a Nixon-era slogan – ‘Would you buy a used car from this country?’

    People like Blinken just don’t get it. Actions have consequences. And even countries have memories.

    1. Wukchumni

      Xi: Well then who’s on Formosa?

      Blinken: Yes.

      Xi: I mean the country’s name.

      Blinken: Who.

      Xi: The country of Formosa.

      Blinken: Who.

      Xi: The Formosa base.

      Blinken: Who.

      Xi: The guys paying you

      Blinken: Who is on Formosa!

      Xi: I’m asking YOU who’s on Formosa.

      Blinken: That’s not the country’s name.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      No accountability. Biden should simply not be president but was essentially elected by cable news addled boomers. Blinken was an advocate for the Iraq War and a driver of Biden’s war vote. The idea he is secretary of state is ludicrous. It’s just we have people who can’t grasp accountability. Now that it’s happening, he’s trying to simply lie because it worked on Americans.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          Had the 2020 primaries not been rigged culminating in S. Carolina, Sanders v Trump would have been the choices. I know how I’d have voted.

    3. Pat

      The Ukrainian Folly is a gift that keeps on giving. Without the drubbing the US is taking, I think the Chinese would still have been more polite rather than barely polite to Blinken.

      Blinken having to go at all was already a huge blow to his ego, not getting treated as well as an equal or better just rubbed his nose in it.

      I can only hope that more than a few realists in DC manage to drill into the Biden nonBrain trust that our industrial policy encouraging outsourcing and offshoring along wit JIT practices mean that China pretty much has us over the barrel regarding everything from tech and machine parts to drugs and food products. And they are closer allies with most of the possible substitute sources than we are. War not only isn’t the answer, it is a loser.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Blinken has been a hole for a long time, and Biden has been especially obstinate. Obama and Trump werent shining beacons of decorum, but Biden is especially pugnacious. The Chinese also know the US isn’t serious about any agreements, so there isn’t much of a point in building public good will like during the Cold War.

        I’m worried there aren’t realists in DC. I stress there has never been accountability for so long, the bad actors have simply been hiring for decades now. It’s bad all over. The logistics office at the Pentagon might occasionally push sanity, but before shooting, they have to figure out how to do it. The best thing we have going is the lunatics don’t have enough patience to plan a war we can fight. It’s a disaster for random Ukrainians, but despite clamoring, there was no fly zone because of the distances involved and the number of planes needed. We would need empty out the planet and use sites not set up for so many or kinds of planes.

        1. Frank

          A no-fly zone over Ukraine would require extensive SEAD all over European Russia. In addition to ensuring retaliation, it’s not even a given that such a campaign would be successful considering that Russia has the best multi layered air defense in the world, which has gotten a lot of practice lately. The generals always put the kibosh on the idea, whether over Ukraine or Syria, because it is tantamount to war.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘The Ukrainian Folly is a gift that keeps on giving.’

        You can say that again. I heard something a day or two ago and confirmed it earlier. First, a bit of history-

        ‘On 15 July 2009, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland unanimously adopted a resolution regarding “the tragic fate of Poles in Eastern Borderlands”. The text of the resolution states that July 2009 marks the 66th anniversary “of the beginning of anti-Polish actions by the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists and the UPA on Polish Eastern territories – mass murders characterised by ethnic cleansing with marks of genocide”. On 8 July 2016, the Sejm passed a resolution declaring 11 July a National Day of Remembrance of the victims of the Genocide of the Citizens of the Polish Republic committed by Ukrainian Nationalists and formally called the massacres a genocide.’

        So the 2023 Vilnius NATO summit scheduled for next month? It is scheduled to start – wait for it – on 11th July. You can’t make this stuff up.

        1. juno mas

          Okay, I give: July 11th was the day Babe Ruth played in the Major League; Skylab crashes back to Earth; Quakers first landed in Boston; Soviets give up East Germany to Berlin;. . .

    4. ilsm

      i wonder if usa continues to sell weapons and military gear to republic of china through a made up front, called some kind of cultural exchange???

      a decade or so ago in customer feedback they refered to themselves as republic of china while usa replies had to say “taiwan”…..

    5. John Beech

      Everybody is an expert but I don’t think the MIC guys have done so badly since the end of the war. Any other countries in which you’d rather live? Or is there something stopping you from departing for greener pasture?

      1. The Rev Kev

        John, that is not an insult against your people but your political establishment. If a business partner of yours behaved the same way that the US government does with their agreements and behaviours, how would you cope and how trustworthy would that business partner be for you? The past twenty years or more has been a history of the US government reneging on treaties & agreements and as a quick example, there is only one last nuke treaty that the US has not – yet – abandoned. But as a business person, I am sure that you know that actions have consequences and we are seeing it play out in real time with the US becoming more isolated with the Greater Majority of countries.

  7. GramSci

    Re: Soybean Oil and neurodegeneracy

    Per Wikipedia: «Chinese records dating prior to 2000 BCE mention use of cultivated soybeans to produce edible soy oil.[3] Ancient Chinese literature reveals that soybeans were extensively cultivated and highly valued as a use for the soybean oil production process before written records were kept.» Yellow peril?

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      GramSci: A kind of epigenetics. If your grandmother wasn’t eating it, you probably shouldn’t. My Sicilian grandmother wasn’t brought up on soybean or cottonseed oil

      Soy may be something that East Asians tolerate, just East Asians by and large can’t tolerate dairy. Opposite effects on Europeans?

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘If your grandmother wasn’t eating it, you probably shouldn’t.’

        British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver once said something that struck me as being true. He said that if you are in a supermarket and are looking at the ingredients written on the side of a packet and it sounds like what you would find in your grandmother’s pantry, then it is probably safe to buy. But if the ingredients sound like something out of a science lab, then give it a miss. I should point out that it was also Jamie Oliver who highlighted the existence of ‘pink slime” as well if any remember that story.

        1. tevhatch

          I don’t have much time for celebrity industry, but I have a lot of admiration for his work to improve the diet of UK Children by trying to find clever ways to improve the quality of the meals they got at school. Sometimes thought I worry that it’s helping paper over/excuse the neo-liberal funding cuts that made serving fresh food such a difficult stress in the first place.
          NSFW Tim Minchin | “F*ck the Poor” | w/ Lyrics

        2. Pat

          I may not like how he runs his restaurants, but I always have to give Oliver credit. He may have made a television series about it, but his trying to make over the lunch program for part of the LA schools was mind blowing, not only about the nutritional neglect but how without the junk food sponsorships, the shortcuts weren’t really any cheaper.

        3. Luckless Pedestrian

          An interesting experiment (ah, market research) I read of a few years back was to send non-English speakers (Hmong, maybe? I forget…) into an American supermarket with cash to shop with. They only purchased recognizable ingredients from the store perimeter. Lettuce and fish and what have you. Very little from “center store” because they couldn’t read the labels. And the purchases were inevitably healthier than ones that included center store packaged goods. A variation on the grandmother method.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    zelensky in DW:”…a mere flesh wound!!!”
    just gets crazier and crazier…bagdhad bob all over again.

  9. griffen

    Climate heat waves, saw a graphic over the weekend about North Texas experiencing high temps reaching the low 110s…which is ridiculous heat even if the humidity is low to moderate. As a former resident of Plano, just above Dallas, the heat is inescapable when it reaches that elevated temperature. Closer to my residence now in South Carolina, I’m taking the cooler June mornings as often as possible. Typically by middle June the high temps are already hitting the upper 80s easily, but not quite there yet.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      here, in west central texas…halfway between austin and san angelo(where their expecting 120, today)…i’m told to get ready for 109, with “heat index” of 115.
      but humidity drops after noon(thank dog!), so i can handle it…especially now that the ac is fixed.
      the humidity of south east texas is one of the reasons we moved out here.
      i’m pretty heat tolerant, so long as theres shade and a fan and a cowboy pool….prefer heat to cold, fer sho.
      but its felt like moss bluff, louisiana around here for 2 weeks.
      sweat stops working after a while of high humidity.

      1. griffen

        I still bear the memories of July to August 2011. Hottest temperatures ever in my lifetime, xx days of exceeding the 100 mark for the Dallas / Fort Worth metro. I also made the mistake of playing golf one of those August days, and sans any legit hydration on the back nine holes it’s as close as I want to being heat stricken even in a golf cart. Zero wind and nearly no trees were not helpful. Never again.

  10. zagonostra

    >Declassified files expose British role in NATO’s Gladio terror armies – The Grayzone

    “And you may say to yourself, My God, what have I done?…Same as it ever was, same as it ever was…[Once in a lifetime, Talking Heads]

    As Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a Gladio operative jailed for life in 1984 for a car bombing in Italy that killed three police officers and injured two, explained:

    “You were supposed to attack civilians, women, children, innocent people from outside the political arena. The reason was simple, force the public to turn to the state and ask for greater security…People would willingly trade their freedom for the security of being able to walk the streets, go on trains or enter a bank. This was the political logic behind the bombings. They remain unpunished because the state cannot condemn itself…”

    The Grayzone revealed in November 2022, British military and intelligence veterans have trained and sponsored a secret partisan terror army in eastern Ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage in Crimea and other majority-Russian areas.

  11. Lex

    “U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had candid and substantive discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping”

    According to other reports, the meeting with Xi last 35 minutes. Subtracting diplomatic formalities – which the Chinese side is never going to forego – and communicating through two translators, you have to figure that the actual length of conversation was somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes.

    Blinken is on the humiliation tour. I assumed the picture from KSA without a US flag was a fake until I saw a different picture from another angle. Hard to believe that nobody in Blinken’s team noticed it or maybe they were unwilling to say something. You’d think that KSA would have put up the flag if requested. Then Blinken goes off to China where he’s met at the airport by essentially no one and gets the diplomatic brush off. America is back.

    1. Bart Hansen

      I just wonder whether there wasn’t a group from Langley and the Pentagon who dropped by the White House recently to forcefully suggest that a foreign policy stand down is in order.

  12. Mikel

    “What cost of living crisis? Workers at top corporations scored bumper pay and raises in 2022, despite layoffs….”Daily Mail

    Seems like only about 20% of the population needs their standard of living maintained for people to fall for the manipulative and manipulated narratives about the global economy.

  13. Lex

    Rail car shortage: The comments in the Jalopnik article are interesting. People claiming that autoracks are sitting around in large quantities in both Toledo and LA. But maybe this shortage explains what I saw last weekend in Ypsilanti. The Ford plant in question has been closed for many years, but the old parking lot is completely packed with new, full-size Broncos. Hired security is present. My wife’s Bronco took 9 months from order to delivery and was part of a “special” new program that allowed the dealership to pick up the truck from the factory, conveniently located across the street from each other. It seems a popular vehicle and yet there were thousands of them just sitting in an abandoned factory parking lot.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      The stories I’ve read about parking lots full of popular cars always pointed at the chip shortage. The vehicles are mostly finished minus a couple of key chips. I know GM started delivering the cars without the chips and had the customers come back later and get them installed once they became available. This is easier to do when the chip involved is for heated seats vs. braking systems :D.

      1. rowlf

        Ford has done this with vehicles before in the 2008 – 2011 period too. I remember a few large factories around Detroit Metro airport being used to store vehicles. Some of these parking areas were not automobile company owned. Possibly a recall stopped delivery at the time, as Ford keeps having recalls for fires.

  14. William Beyer

    How US-made sniper ammunition ends up in Russian rifles
    American ammo for Russian snipers? Check out this sweet little quote from Creed of Undershaft, arms-maker character in G.B. Shaw’s “Major Barbara,” as noted in a fine little 1934 book, “Merchants of Death”:

    To give arms to all men who offer an honest price for them without respect of persons or principles: to aristocrats and republicans, to Nihilist and Czar, to Capitalist and Socialist, to Protestant and Catholic, to burglar and policeman, to black man, white man and yellow man, to all sorts and conditions, all nationalities, all faiths, all follies, all causes, and all crimes.

  15. pjay

    – ‘Beware: we ignore Robert F Kennedy Jr’s candidacy at our peril’ – Guardian

    Klein is, of course, a skillful writer. She uses those skills here in her case against Kennedy, For example, she emphasizes some of Kennedy’s most controversial claims without putting them in their larger context, maximizing their apparent irrationality. She also uses the rhetorical strategy of (1) opening by associating him with the most dubious “conspiracy theorists” (QAnon believers in John-John’s resurrection!), then (2) providing a good middle section about why so many want to believe in him, followed by (3) showing how deluded such people are by lowering the boom with more of his greatest “hits” (from a liberal perspective) at the end.

    On foreign policy, one can see that she leaves out most of what Kennedy is right about (in my opinion) – Ukraine, Syria, NATO, etc. Rather, she focuses on what is most likely to rile up liberals: his statements on Israel and Palestine. But here I have to stop, because on this issue Klein is absolutely right. Kennedy’s statements here have not been progressive. They have not been liberal, or even “liberal Zionist.” They have been downright right-wing. So much so that it forces me to question his other positions and motives. And I am forced to consider Klein’s overall argument.

    Ironically, this is the same pattern I’ve followed previously as all of my former “progressive” heroes fell victim to Trump/Putin derangement and became champions of Establishment propaganda. This includes Bernie, one of the very few national politicians I used to see as authentic – and also Klein, whose ‘Shock Doctrine’ I used to recommend to everyone (and probably still would – with the proper warnings about her future derangement as object lesson).

    So… where does that leave us?

    1. William Beyer

      Judd Legum had a more limited rant against RFKjr on his substack, but Klein’s was a dilly. We are left with the lesson that there are no heroes to save us where the U.S. presidency is concerned. Kennedy checks enough boxes for me at this point. His extreme caution on Israel just means he’s smart enough to know that Israel owns the Congress and the press, and wishes to avoid being torpedoed this early in the process.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “EU Readies €50 Billion Ukraine Package Ahead of Donor Summit”

    What that article missed is that the EU wants member States to cough up that €50 Billion. I thought that I heard that Germany said that they are tapped out and want the smaller States to give more money. As economic conditions worsens in the EU, there will be a point where the EU will demand that member States cut back on social programs and safety nets to fork over money to the Zelensky regime. As this will coincide with more demands that member States spend more and more money buy weaponry, especially those that sent all they they could give, something will have to give.

    1. Ignacio

      In this case they will forget about their high principles and values such as sustainable finance and budget balance. Which speaks volumes on what are such principles about.

    2. Ignacio

      Those €50 billion proposed, if approved, would be for 2024-2027 and mean a significant reduction compared with the €18 Billion already budgeted for 2023 and which might not be spent in full (so far €7,5 billion spent). Lack of success in the offensive might have an impact in the discussions i guess.

      1. gf

        So Europe has only sent around 27 billion Euro to this point?

        I could not find any figures on that.

  17. John Beech

    Is anybody really surprised customers would be on the hook for the effects of Pacific Power-caused wildfires? I’ve been asked by customers about the effects of higher or lower taxes on our widget business and the answer always surprises them . . . we don’t care. Why not? Simple, because we just pass costs (any and all costs) straight through to the customer. So no matter what, TANSTAAFL always holds true. If the acronym is new to you, TANSTAAFL = there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, which I first saw in print as a youngster whilst reading a book by my then and still favorite sci-fi author, RA Heinlein.

    Finally, due to his libertarian oriented discourse on economics, which strongly affected me during my formative years, and in retrospect, limiting the effects of his writing on youth are as good an argument ‘for’ book banning as any. Wouldn’t surprise me for his books to be placed high on the list for banning if the left ever gets its act together. Not that I would agree with this in any particular since they’re called formative years for a reason.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Even less surprising is the corporate pedigree of PacifiCorp, the parent comany of which is berkshire hathaway energy, and is 92% owned by berkshire hathaway, the company of that world class philanthropist, warren buffett.

      I hear grandpa buffett is big in the insurance game as well. So presumably home and car owners will get no free lunch there as well at policy renewal time, if they can get insurance at all. But warren’s gonna “donate” it all….to the children.

  18. Lexx

    ‘Beware: we ignore Robert F Kennedy Jr’s candidacy at our peril’

    Had read this cuz respect for the author and the take away for me was what happens when even very smart, very famous people jump down conspiracy theory rabbit holes, and refuse to back pedal however much evidence piles up in front of them, telling them they might be wrong and not just a little wrong. Their stubbornness in roughly the same proportions as the megaphone they had in front of their mouths.

    I wonder if it isn’t the same trap grandparents fall into with their tribes spread out before, loads of experience and wisdom stored within, but not quite in command of the facts and turning their energies to impugning ‘the facts’ trying to turn a wrong into a right. Or anyone with an audience of more than two people?

    Ah, ego… our besties to the end.

    1. marti61

      However, the Atrazine connection with gender disregulation is well proven. Much less threatening to corporate profits to push flaming about bathroom privileges/ surgery etc, rather than attempt to regulate the dismayingly profitable chemical soup that children are navigating these days…

    2. JustTheFacts

      I’m sorry to say that Naomi is behaving like a useful idiot for the powers that be. That was a hit piece, and a poorly researched one at that.

      Scientific knowledge has been polluted. I should know. I’ve wasted months trying to reproduce papers only to discover they never could have worked. This is not new. The union of concerned scientists has described the playbook. And no, the editors/peer reviewers often do not catch such falsifying of the record. Many papers are written by big pharma, and stamped with the name of someone famous, to ensure it seems independent. The quid pro quo is usually monetary. Peer reviews are often delegated PhD students, or done at the end of a very busy day. If it can take a month to figure out a paper is rubbish, don’t expect a cursory review to notice anything. When a sufficient number of academic papers are no longer a source of truth, you can forget about relying on the “consensus” to tell you the truth.

      The argument “all vaccines are good” is as fallacious as the argument that “all chemicals are bad” (your loved ones are made of chemicals). Some vaccines are of benefit. Some are harmful. It depends how they were manufactured. Bringing up Hitler not wanting to vaccinate conquered lands 80 years ago with completely different vaccines is irrelevant emotive blackmail and not a serious argument. For instance the diphtheria vaccine she mentions is banned in Europe and the US because it is dangerous… but is still being administered to unlucky Africans by Western NGOs. It is also disingenuous not to bring up the fact that the definition of “vaccine” had to be changed for the “COVID vaccines”, the fact that they did not prevent transmission, and their side-effects have been worse than any previous vaccine.

      The argument that RFK is against helping with climate is ridiculous. His environmental work helped change the Hudson from a river on fire to one of the most pristine rivers on the planet. Apparently she thinks this because he criticizes how the green agenda is being distorted by various powerful interests. But she, herself, criticizes Elon Musk who made electric cars mainstream, whose work on Solar City increased the amount of solar. Just because someone in power says he is closing farms, preventing people from traveling outside their 15 minute city cell, wants people to use less energy, eat synthetic meat “for the climate” doesn’t mean that is that person’s true motivation, particularly if that same person flies around in a private jet or has a giant 250 gallon/hour diesel consuming yacht. (John Kerry, Mark Rutte, Bill Gates, DiCaprio, Spare all jump to mind unbidden). And no, buying CO2 offsets (currently now burning in Canada) does not mitigate that.

      Actually caring about the environment means reducing consumption (by making things last longer), making cheaper base load power (fusion where possible — see hellion), using kelp to reduce cow farts instead of simply banning meat, reducing the human population by such barbaric means as giving women an education, reducing methane from rice paddies, reducing fertilizer usage (which means no longer coating fields with pesticides that kill all the life in the soil), not blowing up NordStream, etc. All of this will require international cooperation: not creating a new cold war and not wasting our fossil fuel budget on starting world war 3 instead of using it to transition. So it is pretty obvious to many of us who do pay attention that those running the show and claiming green credentials are simply lying.

      Apparently she believes Bernie Sanders is our savior. I wonder whether she’s kept track of all he has achieved in the last 6 years. (spoiler: nothing of great import). It seems to me that if we have the chance to vote in 2024, we should vote for an anti war candidate who might have a chance to gain support from both sides of the spectrum so he can win: our current batch of politicians are dancing on the edge of the abyss of world war 3 and given how incompetent they are, it is a sight truly terrifying to behold.

      1. Lexx

        All journalists are ‘useful idiots’ these days, or that’s my take no matter what I’m reading or writing about. My experience of Klein though, after years of reading her work, is that she’s not inclined to willingly write ‘hit’ pieces. Her Canadian eye is jaundiced toward U.S. politics and politicians (and probably Canadian pols as well).

        I think she recognizes the glamour Kennedy’s name and legacy represent — Camelot! — and cautions that we see him without the rose-colored glasses of history. Turns out Jack, Bobby, and Teddy weren’t all that... assume the same of Bobby Jr..

        1. pjay

          “Nostalgia for empire is what seems to drive Vladimir Putin — that and a desire to overcome the shame of punishing economic shock therapy imposed on Russia at the end of the Cold War. Nostalgia for American “greatness” is part of what drives the movement Donald Trump still leads — that and a desire to overcome the shame of having to face the villainy of white supremacy that shaped the founding of the United States and mutilates it still. Nostalgia is also what animates the Canadian truckers who occupied Ottawa for the better part of a month, wielding their red-and-white flags like a conquering army, evoking a simpler time when their consciences were undisturbed by thoughts of the bodies of Indigenous children, whose remains are still being discovered on the grounds of those genocidal institutions that once dared to call themselves “schools.””

          That is the intro to a piece Klein wrote for the Intercept last year. It perfectly reproduces the dominant narrative of the most powerful global elite champions of the neoliberalism that Klein so often claims to be fighting. I have no doubt she is sincere. That is a big part of the problem. Like so many “progressives,” she has no problem exposing simple-minded advocates of “free-market” solutions or fossil-fuel maximization. But she has much more difficulty understanding the sophisticated forces of co-optation that operate in her own milieux of liberal media/academia that actually provide more cover for neoliberal globalism than the conservative nationalism of a Trump.

          As I commented above, I personally agree with some of Klein’s criticisms of Kennedy. I also think her piece is slanted and one sided, reflecting the worldview of those for which she writes. I would not call her an “idiot,” but such criticisms of the few visible critics of Establishment narratives does provide a useful service for those in power.

          1. Lexx

            While you posted I was probably still writing (I’m slow) and didn’t read your comment above.

            I think of Kennedy as the usual mixed bag of contradictions that he’ll refine as he figures out what the voters will respond to. He hasn’t announced, right? Or did I miss that? If not this just speculation. Personally I’d rather not have another Kennedy in the White House, for no other reason than he is a Kennedy. I think that family’s days in politics have passed and they were ‘historic’ but not great for this country. We could do better than Junior. If you find better, let me know… I’ll give them a listen.

            Do you have any evidence that Klein writes for anyone but herself? That those aren’t her personal views? Just because there are those you don’t like who would agree with her, does not mean she’s writing for them. You can see where I might go with that logic?

            1. pjay

              On the contrary, I’m sure these are her personal views. As I said, I assume she is sincere. What I meant is that she writes from within a particular worldview, which (I believe) keeps her from seeing the big picture. She is good at specifying *some* of our many problems, but not so good at others. Her comments on Ukraine, such as they are, seem to be clueless. I compare that to her discussion of neoliberalism in 1990s Russia, and ask… “why”? And since that is the number one issue for me…

      2. Sudhir

        Is your statement about the diphtheria vaccine correct? I could find no mention of it being banned in the EU with an internet search. In fact, the low incidence of diphtheria is credited to mass vaccination programs.

        1. JustTheFacts

          Thank you. I’m pretty sure I had heard that somewhere recently, but a quick internet search seems to agree with you. There does seem to be evidence of it being banned in the US — Hopefully I’ll remember my source and be able to double check it. Thank you again for pointing this out, Sudhir.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Ultra low-cost smartphone attachment measures blood pressure at home”

    Twenty years ago I would have thought that this was a great idea and that it will help a lot of people be able to monitor their blood pressure more closely at home. But now? I tend to be a bit more cool to this idea and want more information. Are those readings kept on the servers of that smartphone corporation? Is that data encrypted for security’s sake? Will your insurance company be able to buy access to that data? Will that then have an effect on your insurance premiums? Stuff like this does happen. Here in Oz they brought out a law that if you took a DNA test to see if you were susceptible to any diseases or illnesses, that you would be required to reveal that information to your insurance company. I bet that after that law came into effect, that a lot of people just decided to just live in ignorance and take the risk.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I just took a quick look at that large on-line marketplace, and I see a variety of “old fashioned” (i.e. no smart phone required) home blood pressure monitors using an inflatable cuff being sold for $30-$60. That seems pretty low cost as medical devices go, and no big brother storing the results… but yeah, let’s invent a new gadget that costs more and is less accurate. I guess it’s more portable, but is this really necessary? You just know that this new one will require a subscription probably costing more per year than one of the cheaper devices for the privilege of them “storing” your data.

  20. Tom Stone

    I mentioned to two people who are usually well informed that “Patient Zero” in the Covid pandemic had been identified as Ben Hu of nthe Wuhan Institute of virology.
    Neither had heard of him, or this.
    And there seems to be little coverage of what would seem to be a huge story…I’m sure the fact that the GoF research he was performing was paid for (indirectly through Eco Health Alliance) by WHO and NAIAD has nothing to do with the lack of coverage.

  21. Jason Boxman

    A very tech connected reader (as in both skill and contact wise) says the reason for the AI scaremongering (which he points out is auto complete using huge matrices) is that Silicon Valley has worked out that there’s nothing protectable there, that anyone with enough computing power could do this…including on a small scale, like a law firm mining their past correspondence and articles and having AI generate client letters. So the hysteria is to get Congresscritters to pass legislation that will have the effect of creating barriers to entry or otherwise restrict use.

    Absolutely some reason for it — If you check out huggingface web site, every publicly released large language model is hosted. You’re free to take any for a test drive, if you have the necessary hardware, and quite a bit of it runs on the latest Macs in RAM, or if you have a graphics card with enough VRAM, and you can trial them following rough instructions and tracking down blog posts. None of these models are as robust as ChatGPT 3.5 even, but over time better and better models will be available, and it will get easier to run them locally.

    This space seems to be evolving rapidly, one way or another.

    I always thought the AI-going-to-end-the-world bloviation is about hyping stock prices and pre-IPO prices by massively over selling what this stuff can do.

  22. Bsn

    “Ultra low-cost smartphone attachment measures blood pressure at home.”
    It’s low cost, uh huh. The price you pay is nothing compared to the money the manufacturer gets from selling your medical information, accrued over a long period of time, that will determine not only the cost of your insurance but upon submission of a specific insurance claim, the refusal of coverage due to your refusal to lower your blood pressure with statins over the years. “Mrs. Smith, we see that you have averaged two beers and one bowl of popcorn each evening over the last seven years as you watched Yankee’s games (yes we tracked that too) therefore your claim is denied due to your own negligence and lack of foresight”. “Have a nice day”.

  23. Col 'Sandy' Volestrangler (ret)

    RFK Jr’s candidacy has been seen as a Trojan horse from go by most of us on the Conspiracy Research Circuit. That he makes increasingly unsupported assertions bolsters this intuitive mistrust. Obviously, he could never storm the castle of the DNC, which is controlled by the Spy-Military-Industrial-Corporate Apparat. Biden’s handlers have flatly refused any debates. The media is using his activities as evidence that dissenters on the left are just plain nuts. Never mind a president who is clearly sliding down a steep ramp into vegetal status or a regime controlled by a clique of neocon loons trying to start a 5 front war.

    1. JBird4049

      I have some questions both about RFK Jr. and about some vaccines. However, the American apparat’s supporting nomenklatura, apparatchiks, literati, glitterati, and state media are all increasingly acting and saying in ways that are divorced from reality, separated from what we can see and hear with our own senses, as well as our memories. If this is so, just how effective will RFK’s assertions be in hurting his candidacy?

      I can use Trump’s problems as the more outrageous the attacks on him are, the more likely he is to become the Republican nominee. This is, despite his buffoonery among other glaring faults, because of the faults especially the hypocrisy of the opposition, which their own massive corruption and buffoonery.

      To simplify, despite the regime’s gigantic, overwhelming, whirling Mighty Wurlitzer, it cannot make all blind, nor stop many from voting for the “wrong” candidate or get them to vote for the “right” one either.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Not yet?
        Loved the BBC article from yesterday about how MDMA changed a guy from a right wing supremacist to basically singing ‘all you need is love’.
        Now, because it removes a white supremacist, this is a good thing.
        But, because it used mind-altering chemicals to change someone’s political leanings, this is NOT a good thing.
        I am now wondering if all the rush to push psychoactive drugs onto ordinary people has two benefits for the E(thically)-lites.
        First. Money!! Buckets of it. Wheelbarrows of it. Freight trains of it. In neverending streams.
        Second. Control!! Turn all the Deplorables into Woke, Democrat voting, Secret Service loving, compliant consumption teddy bears.

  24. magpie

    The passive voice strikes again. Moldova’s ‘Kremlin-linked’ party was “found” to be illegal, not Declared illegal, Ruled illegal, or Banned for its ‘links’ by the government. Democracies and their allies never ban opposition parties, no, but sometimes it is discovered that some parties were never parties at all.

    1. Kouros

      Very true. However, it is a party that holds back (as a minority) the potential re-unification of Moldova with Romania. Same as with the Gagauz.

  25. digi_owl

    “Ultra low-cost smartphone attachment measures blood pressure at home ars technica (Chuck L)”

    This was the kind of thing everyone was talking about back in the early 2000s. but it seems to eternally run into issues of connectivity. In the past various solutions has used the headphone jack (run a tone/current across the speaker and mic contact and measure the difference between output and input) and the USB/dock port.

    But it all peters out thanks to newer models changing or dropping ports, or the OS changing and breaking the sofware side.

    And thus one end up back with Windows on x86, where one have an API (Win32) that has gone virtually unbroken since the 90s. And where one can still find a full size USB-A port to plug things into (even USB to serial or parallel if one really have old hardware one want to use).

  26. Ghost in the Machine

    Since no one is challenging RFK Jr on is arguments, which I did not know, I listened to the Rogan/RFK jr podcast. He did talk about his position on vaccines. He talked about how he got into the topic because mothers of brain damaged kids were constantly dogging him at his talks about mercury in coal, about their concern about Hg in vaccines. He was citing some studies (not Wakefield) and I am in the process of learning about them. His main concern is thimerosal. Although, he also stated that the benefits of vaccines are overstated which seems more controversial to me. He cites papers on that too. Thimerosal, an organomercury compound that metabolizes into ethyl mercury, is claimed to be a preservative for the vaccines. RFK claims that it was actually added as an adjuvant, a deliberately toxic thing that is added to a vaccine to increase the immune response. Kind of tricking the immune system that the dead virus or isolated foreign protein is more dangerous than it is in order to enhance antibody production. The addition of an adjuvant is a common and accepted practice for vaccines. RFK is claiming they were careless and greedy about it. But, that observation, even if true, is not what is relevant for his argument. This struck home because I got into an argument with a friend (now former friend because I did not vote for Hillary (or Trump) when he was canvassing for her) about adding any compound of mercury (Hg) to vaccines. I argued that, of course people were suspicious of Hg; people talk about its toxicity all the time, its removal from coal emissions etc. And you expect them to believe it is ok to be injected in vaccines, whatever it is bound to? I wasn’t even arguing basic safety, just optics. I knew about studies showing the clearance of ethyl mercury compared to methyl mercury, the neurotoxin. I got reprimanded anyway. Well, RFK argued that the studies supporting that position just looked at blood concentrations, not excretion from the body. It turns out, other work in monkeys shows it is not excreted but ends up other places, including the brain in inorganic form. Well, that is different if he is honestly portraying the paper. This is the paper:

    “Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal” Environ Health Perspect. 2005

    This is from a comment on the paper:
    Thimerosal and Animal Brains: New Data for Assessing Human Ethylmercury Risk

    “The initial absorption rate and tissue distribution of mercury was similar in both exposed groups. However, total mercury progressively accumulated in the blood of methylmercury-exposed monkeys and remained detectable 28 days after the last dose. Among thimerosal-exposed monkeys, total mercury in blood declined rapidly between doses, and the researchers estimated clearance to be 5.4-fold higher than in the methylmercury group. In the thimerosal group, the half-life of total mercury in blood was 6.9 days, compared to 19.1 days for the methylmercury group.

    Brain concentrations of total mercury were approximately 3–4 times lower in the thimerosal group than in the methylmercury group, and total mercury cleared more rapidly in the thimerosal group (with a half-life of 24.2 days versus 59.5 days). However, the proportion of inorganic mercury in the brain was much higher in the thimerosal group (21–86% of total mercury) compared to the methylmercury group (6–10%). Brain concentrations of inorganic mercury were approximately twice as high in the thimerosal group compared to the methylmercury group. Inorganic mercury remains in the brain much longer than organic mercury, with an estimated half-life of more than a year. It’s not currently known whether inorganic mercury presents any risk to the developing brain.”

    I need to listen again. I think RFK Jr. was overstating the significance of this paper, but there is some concern about this inorganic mercury that needs to be studied. He also stated he wasn’t laying sole blame on vaccines for autism. He likes to say our kids are ‘swimming in a soap of toxins.’ I haven’t looked up if there are any more recent papers in this vein yet. I wish people would challenge him on his citations. He does cite real studies. He is not citing Wakefield. He doesn’t mention the large studies (n in the 10,000s) that show no link to autism. I need to look at those studies again. I am not sure if the vaccines they looked at contain thimerosol.

    IMDoc is right. He needs to be debated.

    1. Mikel

      I’m assuming all of you are talking about an entire debate focused on vaccines.
      Otherwise, 5 or 6 minutes spent on the detail of one study about one ingredient won’t come near addressing concerns expressed. Real or imagined.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      dr. peter hotez became a ubiquitous covid “vax” cheerleader during the “pandemic.” He is a major RFKJ antagonist and some say he is angling for fauci’s now vacant vax czar position at NIAID. He is the subject of a Taibbi article and a Matt Orafalea video:

      After the RFKJ interview, Joe Rogan offered to donate $100,000 to charity for a debate between hotez and RFKJ. That offer has been added to by others and is now at $2.6 million.

      hotez is refusing to debate saying that “there are no debates in science” (!!!!) and a debate would just “legitimize” RFKJ’s “quackery.” The usual suspects at legacy media who have been licking hotez’s boots for the past three years are backing him in his no debate position.

      At this point it seems stupid to ask why, if your position is so defensible, you refuse to defend it. That’s just the way it’s done these days in this country, and no one who “matters” seems to see anything wrong with that.

      1. jrkrideau

        Gish Gallop. Science is debated in the journals and at conferences not at a carnival-style “debate” akin to a US presidential election debate.

        1. hunkerdown

          Appealing to petit-bourgeois dignity in the face of the reproducibility crisis is cringe.

    3. JP

      As I recall, it is illegal in California to administer a vaccine containing mercury to any person under 3 or if pregnant. I don’t know about other states or federal.

    4. ArvidMartensen

      When I saw how effective the monolithic media/government/pharma conglomerate was in convincing people that only moron “conspiracy theorists” believe in natural immunity gained from getting viral infections, I gave up trying to mention that natural immunity has been proven over 100 years.
      This juggernaut cannot be stopped it seems, and people will believe anything that is repeated over and over and over again by “authoritative” people and organisations.

      Studied once with another young farm boy doing research in the lab on a project involving methyl mercury. Back in the day universities took nil OH&S precautions and left it all to individual academics. And so the said farm boy worked a bit like he did on the farm, in the process getting methyl mercury onto his hands over a few weeks. Resulting in big blisters. He hid this as long as he could, but then was finally forced to literally clean up his act by his lax supervisor who surely must have known organic mercury compounds were highly toxic. Got his honours degree and went back to the farm, so don’t know how he fared.

      RFK is battling ferocious headwinds. First, scientific facts now come second to ideological fanaticism fanned by the E(thically)-lites for purposes of control and exploitation. Second, he is contending with a poorly educated populace, unable to debate or think through arguments logically.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry, I stand with the critics of the “natural” thesis. You do not have any durable immunity from getting a coronavirus. This was well understood before there was any vaccine. Does anyone speak of “natural immunity” from getting the flu, FFS? This is deliberate misapplication of a medical term describing a known phenomenon for the purpose of minimizing the consequences of getting Covid to get people back to work.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          I’m not saying that once someone gets Covid they are immune for life, I’m saying that natural immunity has been known and studied for decades and is a real phenomenon, not challenged until Covid vaccine shills got to work.
          This explains my meaning of natural immunity – “Natural immunity is the antibody protection your body creates against a germ once you’ve been infected with it. Natural immunity varies according to the person and the germ. For example, people who have had the measles are not likely to get it again, but this is not the case for every disease. A mild case of an illness may not result in strong natural immunity. New studies show that natural immunity to the coronavirus weakens (wanes) over time, and does so faster than immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccination.” Ref:

          Natural immunity does exist, and in the case of Covid it also wanes over time, it appears.
          Some research shows that post Covid natural immunity is similar to immunity conferred by 2 doses of booster vaccines.

          The politics may be as you say, but the science exists irrespective of the politics.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Prior to Covid, NO ONE applied the term “natural immunity to a coronavirus or the common cold, a coronavirus, prior to that. I attempted a date range search before Covid was recognized (Jan 1, 2000 to November 30, 2019). Google is so broken that it did give results….all for Covid 19 articles that it impossibly treated as published prior to Covid being recognized.

            In other words, I stand by my claim. Great Barrington Declaration fraudsters have succeeded in the getting a misuse of this concept to become widely accepted.

            1. ArvidMartensen

              The misuse of scientific discoveries by politicians and shills of all kinds has been detrimental to human health and ongoing in most scientific fields. Toxic chemicals are redefined as safe, both in agriculture and human health. Covid has been no exception.

              Natural or innate immunity is well studied. People who have been infected with Covid have some protection for at least 6 months from being re-infected. As the Lancet article said, comparable or better than boosters.

              I think we are in violent agreement re the misuse of this concept, and perhaps its rebadging, by people with a political barrow to push in regards to Covid. Personally, I think the neoliberal response to the pandemic reflects the innate tendencies of the rich to assume that everybody else is inferior and therefore could be dispensed with, perhaps even as a solution to climate change imo.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I’m sorry but you are engaging in broken record, a violation of site Policies. And you are in moderation for past offenses. I would suggest not pushing your luck. I have low tolerance for Great Barrington Declaration misinformation, which is what your line of argument amounts to.

                The immunity for the common cold is six months. NO ONE before Covid ever called that natural immunity because it was recognized as to be so short as to be tantamount to “really no immunity”. People often get more than one cold a winter, just as people were getting Omicron re-infections in weeks. The latter was VERY widely reported at the time.

                I have similarly heard parents tell me of kids getting Covid multiple times in a school year.

                And the widespread belief, even in the days of type, is a significant number got low or asymptomatic case. That’s believed to be even more true now. Unless you were in a setting like a hospital where you were tested weekly, those cases would not be detected. That situation has gotten much worse with home testing since they have a ~35% false negative rate.

                Getting infected multiple times has been shown to produce poor outcome, like visible changes to the brain, increases with each infection in the odds of death in the next six months, and getting Long Covid.

                Six months was NEVER put in the “natural immunity” category. I recall VERY well the debate when Covid emerged and experts were guessing how long immunity from infection lasted. They speculated it would be from to six months as with the common or potentially as long as 34 months for MERS, which conveniently for the sake of remembering numbers also has a 34% case fatality rate. The Lancet, for instance, in an early study looking at reinfection risk, used the clunky expression “efficacy of natural infection against reinfection” since reinfection is NOT consistent with immunity. See

                Moreover, the immunity level is inferred from antibody levels. But that’s a correlation and not dispositive.

  27. Wukchumni

    Some folks are born made to jail evade
    Hoo, they’re red, white and blue
    And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”
    Ooh, they point the cannon at Ukraine, Lord

    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no President’s son, son
    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no unfortunate one, no

    Some folks are born cocaine spoon in hand
    Lord, don’t they help themselves, Lord?
    But when the Fox man come to the door
    Lord, the house lookin’ like a rummage sale, yeah

    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no unfortunate one, no

    Yeah-yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyes
    Hoo, they send arms to the Ukraine war, Lord
    And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
    Hoo, they only answer, “More, more, more, more”

    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no President’s son, son, Lord
    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no unfortunate one, one

    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no unfortunate one, no, no, no
    It ain’t me, it ain’t me
    I ain’t no unfortunate son, no, no, no
    It ain’t me, it ain’t me…

    Fortunate Son, by Creedence Clearwater Revival

  28. Mildred Montana

    Re: Lost Titanic Submersible

    Yves’ link contains many informative, entertaining, and amusing comments. My favorite: “What’s next? Trips into a black hole?”

    1. Angie Neer

      I’ve worked on designs of a lot of undersea equipment, but none carrying people. As an engineer I’m super risk-averse and push large safety margins. I don’t think my nerves could handle a project like that submersible.

  29. Tom Stone

    That article at “The Intercept” about Covid 19’s patient zero doesn’t seem to have any legs at all.
    Which is not surprising, it embarasses the wrong people.

  30. digi_owl

    Those Russian flying alligators seems to be quite the beasts.

    Only copter i know of that has ejection seats. And the solution for the overhead rotors is straight forward, they will be explosively removed when the handle is pulled.

    1. Frank

      I’ve flown on a Ka-32, which is a civilian helicopter by the same firm that makes the Ka-52 Alligator and has a similar twin rotor design. They are really great machines, very maneuverable and feel much different than flying in regular rear rotor helis.

    2. Vandemonian

      Also read on Telegram about their dual contra-rotating rotors. Came in handy a day or so ago when one of the ‘copters had its tail shot off, but the pilot was still able to land safely.

    1. Acacia

      Ian Bremmer has been drinking some kool-aid, e.g. (5:03): “The Russian military, of course, has been a greater global concern, much less so today, especially as they’ve lost over 200,000 troops and all of that equipment and with sanctions making it extremely hard for them to rebuild.” His conclusion about “the digital order” is on point, though.

  31. antidlc

    RE: Billionaire — adventurer

    So we pull out all the stops to rescue some billionaire who took a joy ride (Coast Guard said the rescue was their #1 priority right now.)

    Our tax dollars at work.

    Let their families start a GOFUNDME to pay for their rescue.

    Sorry if this is harsh.

    We find the money for a rescue mission for wealthy people, yet we won’t fund healthcare for those who need it and can’t afford it.

  32. Lynne

    That endocrine disrupting chemicals are in our water is a well-known fact. It’s not just Atrazine. There have been studies about how much estrogen and other hormones are in our water. But when that comes up, we are patted on the head and told not to worry. Yet I’ve heard from multiple vets that they have seen negative effects in livestock and other animals, and no studies have been done on the long-term exposure in children. To acknowledge that is not conspiracy theorizing, and it’s pathetic that we are not allowed to discuss the implications and effects of this pollution.

  33. Glen

    Very interesting talk here:

    The big counteroffensive pause? w/Larry Johnson (Live) The Duran

    It’s interesting where Larry discusses how American government officials just refuse to hear reality in meetings. How some subjects are just taboo. This is identical to what has happen at the company where I work. If you raise certain subjects in meetings trying (somewhat desperately) to brief upper management on what reality is in our factories, you just end up getting kicked out of the meeting, and told “you are not a team player”. I’m generally no longer even invited to such meetings because I just make my immediate managers look bad. But any engineer that raises an issue, generally knows at least a couple ways to solve the problem, and just wants to get told – do option B, and go fix it.

    And a side comment with regard to how Ukraine is finding that the equipment they are receiving is in very poor condition. This was somewhat true even back in the day when I was in the USN. Equipment or ordnance which had been put in long term storage was receiving very little to no maintenance, and tended to be in worse condition than reported. (Basically in the USN, everything gets exposed to salt spray or salt water so corrosion is a big thing.) Typically this was because the Fleet commanders got to pick much of what went into storage, and they would rightfully ship every hanger queen and flaky unit that they had on hand. Plus as the DoD just got more and more funding, I suspect they outsourced the maintenance of laid-up equipment, and the contractors had a fiscal incentive to do as little as possible, and count their blessings that they never expected the equipment to be “deployed in anger” ever again.

  34. JustTheFacts

    which he points out is auto complete using huge matrices

    It is autocomplete but to reduce it to “huge matrices” is incorrect (it uses non-linearities) and is an oversimplification in the same way as saying “Quantum mechanics and Relativity are just equations” would be.

    The fact it uses huge matrices has 2 causes. Firstly, it is a side effect of using gradient descent in high dimensional spaces which is an inefficient process: many of the coefficients don’t actually matter much. Secondly, it is because the output is an interpolation from the examples it was trained on, and one needs to encode enough such examples to obtain a useful interpolation.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a technical person explaining at a 50,000 foot level and me reducing that to a sentence, because this is an aside, not a post. You also don’t deny that it uses enormous matrices even though you cavil about the very simplified description, and don’t provide a better one that is compact yourself.

      1. JustTheFacts

        Presumably my Ph.D. in AI qualifies me as a “technical person”… People either over-glorify AI or over-exaggerate how simple it it is. Neither is accurate.

        If you want a compact description, machine learning learns a non-linear mapping from a n-dimensional manifold to a significantly lower dimensional manifold. This lower dimensional manifold is one that we choose, that tells us things we want to know. It just so happens that some components of this non-linear mapping are usually represented using tensors because computers’ memories naturally map to arrays which conveniently represent tensors (which are n-dimensional, whereas matrices are two dimensional).

        Huge tensors are very much not the point — that is an implementation detail. The point is that Neural networks are non-linear whereas matrix math is linear. Linear math is a lot simpler to understand and work with than non-linear math, but cannot represent the functions of the same complexity. It is in that way that the description provided above is an oversimplification. Where the description is accurate is that very large numbers of parameters have made problems solvable using gradient descent, as I explained above.

        Hopefully this is helpful.

    1. ThirtyOne

      I have that very model gamepad. It’s OK, but clogged up frequently. PS and Xbox controllers are much better made.

  35. FredW

    Interview freely listenable on “The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast”, episode #363. I listened to it today and found it quite cogent and interesting.

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