Links 6/5/2023

Patient readers, I apologize that this Links is a bit lengthy and there are several long reads. In an excess of zeal, I over-collected link candidates, and I found it too hard to let go of some of them. Take what you like, and leave the rest! –lambert

* * *

The Economics Of Bee Farms

Felipe M Medalla: Beyond just a bellwether – the capital markets as catalyst for dynamic and inclusive economic growth Bank of International Settlements

Why is it so hard to buy things that work well? Dan Luu (Jason Boxman). Very dense, very long, very thought-provoking. “[I]f we think about things from the vendor side of things, there’s little incentive to produce working products since the combination of the fog of war plus making false claims about a product working seems to be roughly as good as making a working product…, and it’s much cheaper.


A major showdown is brewing over what counts as a carbon credit Bloomberg

EV Makers Confront the ‘Nickel Pickle’ WSJ

Solar panels – an eco-disaster waiting to happen? BBC

The money behind the coming wave of climate litigation FT


Cute puppy. The video is worth watching:

(More confirmation here.) A soothing bedside manner isn’t everything….

Face masks to return at Tour de France to limit COVID-19 cases in the peloton Cycling News. “Baggy Blues,” by the photos. Better than nothing!

Molnupiravir Use and 30-Day Hospitalizations or Death in Previously Uninfected Non-hospitalized High-risk Population with COVID-19 (accepted manuscript) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “We used a matched cohort study design to determine the rate of hospitalization or death within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis among [Molnupiravir (MPV)] treated and untreated controls. Participants were non-hospitalized, previously uninfected Veterans…. A significant benefit was observed in asymptomatic but not in symptomatic persons…. MPV was not associated with a reduction in hospitalization or death within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. A subgroup of patients presenting without symptoms experienced a benefit.” Sure would be helpful if we had testing!

The Scientist and the Bats Pro Publica. Via Mike the Mad Biologist, who comments: “This is the kind of research that dies with budget cuts.”


China – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Beijing has nearly quadrupled since previous week – June 2, 2023 FluTrackers

Iron ore to the moon as China stimulates property! Macrobusiness

America Is Winning Against China in Oceania RAND


Odisha Train Accident: A Monumental Tragedy Madras Courier. Well worth a read:

Like East Palestine for stupid — and greedy?– but several orders of magnitude worse. 288+ lives lost, 700+ injuries, due to a signal failure (not just a hot box), which calls the safety of the entire rail system into question (if it was not already).

In Maharashtra, ‘Upper’ Caste Men Kill Youth Who Ensured Village Celebrated Ambedkar Jayanti The Wire


Rule-based, predictable Turkish economy key for prosperity, says new finance minister Anadalu Agency. The more I hear the term “rules-based,” the more sinister it seems. Who makes the rules? And how?

Who is looting Yemen’s oil, and where does it all go? The Cradle

European Disunion

German police raids on Last Generation climate activists spike recruitment France24

Poland opposition stages major anti-government protest Deutsche Welle

Dear Old Blighty

Eight reasons why the Post Office compensation scheme is a scandal Tax Policy Associates

NHS Glasgow bosses admit paying private investigators to spy on relatives of dead patients Daily Record

Our New Not-So-Cold War

The Battle of Bakhmut: Postmortem Big Serge Thought. Grab a cup of coffee, but well worth a read.

Pro-Ukraine fighters attack southern Russia; offer to trade POWs Al Jazeera

What is Ukraine doing in the town of Shebekino, Belgorod oblast and what consequences may we expect? Gilbert Doctorow

* * *

Satellite Images Reveal Russian Defenses for Ukraine Counteroffensive WSJ

Biden’s Adviser: Ukraine to achieve success and take back strategically significant territory Ukrainska Pravda

Ukraine’s military pleads for silence around long-awaited counteroffensive: ‘Plans love silence’ Globe and Mail. So why did Big Z go and get himself interviewed at WSJ?

* * *

NATO’s big gamble in Ukraine has failed Zorawar Daulet Singh, Money Control

Use of NATO arms for attack in Russia raises doubts about Kyiv’s controls WaPo

* * *

Inside the high-stakes clash for control of Ukraine’s story Semafor

Russia behind 225% spike in shadowy oil transfers at sea Hellenic Shipping News. Willing seller, willing buyer…

Biden Administration

Non-binary ex-Biden official Sam Brinton arrested for yet another baggage theft FOX. They should have worked through Hunter!

Ex-Anheuser-Busch exec reveals how lefty investment firms pressure companies to go woke NY Post. For some definition of “lefty.”

B-a-a-a-d Banks

US banks prepare for losses in rush for commercial property exit FT

Big Banks Could Face 20% Boost to Capital Requirements WSJ

Digital Watch

Failed Expectations: A Deep Dive Into the Internet’s 40 Years of Evolution CircleID

The Politics of Technology: Stochastic Parrots Joe Costello, Life in the 21st Century

Why the AI boom is not a dotcom redux FT. No, it’s even more stupid and greedy.


US cancer drug shortage forces doctors to ration life-saving treatments FT (KLG). KLG: “How can a generic drug be “unavailable”? Or any essential drug for that matter.”

Global transmission suitability maps for dengue virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti from 1981 to 2019 Nature

Groves of Academe

Curricular Wars and Averting Auschwitz The Wire

As AI-Enabled Cheating Roils Colleges, Professors Turn to an Ancient Testing Method WSJ. Good.

Our Famously Free Press

Breaking News at the End of the Earth Esquire

Guillotine Watch

Company Insiders Made Billions Before SPAC Bust WSJ. Good thing I was sitting down.

Marc Heu Patisserie Paris: A place for Hmong grandmas to shy teenagers Sahan Journal. In St Paul, MN.

Class Warfare

A Billionaire Conserving Montana Is Funding the Group Bulldozing the Atlanta Forest In These Times. Quite a portfolio!

* * *

Directors Guild Avoids Strike, Makes Deal with Streamers and Studios Gizmodo

Quite a statement from management:

Just give the workers what they want. They more than deserve it. Why is this so hard?

United Airlines pilots union votes to authorize a strike vote Reuters

Why you don’t have to worry about a US airline strike disrupting your summer travel plans CNN

* * *

The frictionless life goes on FT. The deck: “Deglobalisation is hardly inconveniencing me at all.” And speaking of the frictionless life–

AFL-CIO Budget Is a Stark Illustration of the Decline of Organizing Splinter

Falling Behind: The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy Between the United States and Other Countries, 1933–2021 American Journal of Public Health. From the Abtract: “The US life expectancy disadvantage began in the 1950s and has steadily worsened over the past 4 decades. Dozens of globally diverse countries have outperformed the United States. Causal factors appear to have been concentrated in the Midwest and South.” For some definition of “causal factors.”

Escape from the Market Boston Review

Mathematicians Find Hidden Structure in a Common Type of Space Wired

The Wonder Waller Barley. “Drystone walling brought me peace.”

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. John Beech

    The blog post titled; Why is it so hard to buy things that work well? is utter nonsense.

    Products? Just a little bit of internet research is all that’s needed. Type product name and the words problem or trouble will lead Dr. Google, or whichever search engine you prefer, to offer up loads of information. Just remember, happy customers rarely post about it, it’s unhappy folks who will trouble themselves posting. Then use your judgement (along with a grain of salt) in regard to what you’re reading. Simple.

    Services? Same thing!

    Local services? Referrals! Need a carpenter, ask for references. Won’t share them? Next?

    What to know what is a problem? Idiots thinking they’ll find the best for the cheapest price. An excellent house painter for the lowest bid. The best roof replacement for the lowest bid. Honestly? The world is full of idiots who believe they can buy a Hyundai Genesis and get a Mercedes Benz E350. Not gonna happen!

    1. griffen

      You realize that modern life is much more nuanced than this, I trust. People who are starved for time may be unable to indulge in deep dive searches, and merely buy standard appliances based on whether it is Whirlpool or Maytag ( and for what I know both labels are owned by one company ). Washing machines, by example used to last much longer. Without all the gee whiz features.

      You make these aspects of consumption appear to be wholly self evident, when really it just is not the case. I trust that the next Honda or next Toyota I purchase will be a competent model, and yet there’s no telling for 100% certainty it will always be thus. But those brands are incredibly reliable, of course.

      1. Carolinian

        The referenced link is an article on the failures of technology by someone who doesn’t seem to know anything about technology. Perhaps that’s the problem. No machine is going to be perfect (including those Toyotas–I’ve owned a couple) and the expectation that everything is supposed to “just work” will inevitably lead to frustration unless one is willing to invest at least a little bit of effort into how they work. Someone from two hundred years ago looking at our devices would think they were magic. We need to know more or play the victim to marketing.

        1. griffen

          The first few paragraphs include a discussion on accounting expertise. It’s funny, a few older siblings all entered the profession in the middle to late ’80s. The one who stuck with the public accounting role as a CPA would often remark about the shabby detail of different offices and lack of proper manager oversight. All accountants are not equally adept at the minute details, and in fact the best accountants should probably be in audit.

          I believe there’s much to the hype and perhaps less substantively to quality of the service, when it comes to shopping for accounting or audit services. Buyer beware and all that.

        2. Jason Boxman

          There’s a large information asymmetry at play. The world is huge, so I’ll pull the only example I can, which is of course a personal anecdote as it could only be, pillows. Sadly, I’ve been in the market, and even with past good experiences and access to online reviews, I’ve found this:

          The down synthetic Dream Surrender II, amazing when I last bought it, is a flat mess today. The manufacturer date for what I got was around April 2021; I sent it back in January after fighting with it. I saw other online reviews for top rated pillows on Amazon; All had 2023 reviews say, it ain’t the same anymore, it is flat as paper now.

          At the time of purchase, prior to these reviews, how could you even know? But the manufacturer surely knows. And if all pillows suck the same; wouldn’t surprise me to learn that through consolidation, these places are all owned by a handful of firms, we see it everywhere now, read Matt Stoller’s substack for details.

          Without a functional market, this could persist for an extended period of time.

          Even if the author is wrong on his line of thinking, there’s no doubt that goods and service offerings in the United States have demonstrably gotten worse over the past few decades.

          It’s also worth noting that the author’s area of expertise is software engineering, so maybe some of this is inapplicable to the broader goods and services economy. And that experience shines through:

          This isn’t so different from Mongo or other products that had fundamental design flaws that caused severe data loss, with the main difference being that, in most areas, there isn’t a Kyle Kingsbury who spends years publishing tests on various products in the field, patiently responding to bogus claims about correctness until the PR backlash caused companies in the field to start taking correctness seriously. Without that pressure, most software products basically don’t work, hence the Twitter threads from Ben, above, where he notes that the “buy” solutions you might want to choose mostly don’t work2. Of course, at our scale, there are many things we’re not going to build any time soon, like CPUs, but, for many things where the received wisdom is to “buy”, “build” seems like a reasonable option. This is even true for larger companies and building CPUs. Fifteen years ago, high-performance (as in, non-embedded level of performance) CPUs were a canonical example of something it would be considered bonkers to build in-house, absurd for even the largest software companies, but Apple and Amazon have been able to produce best-in-class CPUs on the dimensions they’re optimizing for, for predictable reasons3.

          I certainly can’t disagree from my own experience in IT for many years.

          1. Carolinian

            Services maybe but I don’t agree about the goods. Mass production does have a learning curve and consumers can have a long memory about bad brands. All my devices now are better than the ones I had in previous versions.

          2. LawnDart

            Thanks for sharing the article– it’s thought-provoking, wide-reaching.

            Not long ago I was brought in by a company to “assist” a contractor hired by them to commission a conveyor line (requiring the synchonization of multiple conveyors), and, oh my… you know those scummy auto mechanics/shops that try to screw you by overcharging or by recommending unnecessary work? You find that in the world of industrial maintainance/automation too. And it seems like it’s become a lot worse since covid– not a clue why, but I’m thinking something in our culture was unleashed or has shifted. The author of the article cites a similar observation.

            I hope to find a few hours later in the day to take a deeper-dive– thanks again.

          3. SocalJimObjects

            “Apple and Amazon have been able to produce best-in-class CPUs on the dimensions they’re optimizing for, for predictable reasons3.”

            Wait, those guys design the CPUs in house but they farm out the production to TSMC, you know, this little company that knows a thing or two about producing chips for other companies. In other words, some things do work even in tech.


            Apple and TSMC’s relation go way back.

          1. Carolinian

            Fair enough. Perhaps what I should have said is that he doesn’t know how to write about technology. Frankly I found found the whole article incoherent and guess I made up my own version of what he’s trying to say with all those anecdotes. .

      2. BeliTsari

        The SCARY thing is, the accuracy issues we’ve experienced with COVID, China, Ukraine… hit online reviews, LONG ago. Why ANY speciously obdurate shopper would select a Daimler, over a Hyundai or Kia, based upon criteria that were hogwash 20yrs ago isn’t easily explained by brainwashed PMC conditioned response? If you leak to our yuppie neighbors, where their particular Volvo, Maserati, Tesla, Daimler, AMC or Maybach was sourced (who spec’d & supplied the components, and what criteria, including previous recalls dictated Brembo, Tokico, KYB stalwarts’ replacement, with 3rd “aftermarket” parts, due to exingencies we’ve watched with EU & Asian suppliers). If KIAs are beating Lexus’ established dependability & Toyota Aygo are whupping MOST other hybrids. Well, i30-CW cop cars sure outlasted BMW, VW & Geeley/Volvo. And my issue remains: Bourgeois US buyers, pretty much destroyed, that which made BMW & Audi GREAT, fun cars. i30N & Miata were WAY more fun than Lotus & started each & every day. The shortcomings of Asian cars were most frequently based on silly, contradictory or impossible fantasies of folks who buy Porsches to drive, stupidly through jam-packed interstate traffic; based on some unresolved childhood trauma? Edmunds used to be a good, Journalistic review source. I’m GLAD, my cheap crappy car’s likely to outlast me, since I’ve NO idea where to compare cars now. But they seldom select based upon what were GREAT in 1963?

    2. Robert Hahl

      I found the article useful and memorable, even though I thought it was probably going to be about phenomena such as Caroline Kennedy sitting on the Bored of Directors at Boeing.

    3. jefemt

      my well connected quality carpenter pals are loathe to share names of their good subs/ counterparts.
      They might lose them to other jobs.

      Very very hard to get quality tradesmen in Bozeangeles del Califonia Norte — and when one can, its a 3-4 month queue.

    4. Darthbobber

      Leaving aside other aspects of your take, you’re describing a method for finding things that work better than their present competitors. This is not the same as finding things that work well.

      And part of the article’s point is that it may well be that none of the options work well.

    5. tevhatch

      Per Griffen, you might want to add model, year, and if available, factory and batch #. Funny thing how all that meta-data is kept away from consumers. Quality is very hit and miss/luck of the draw.

    6. Gavin

      Indeed, Hyundai’s warranty is “the best” and their styling is good this year.. but you can finish a sentence before their transmissions shift in either direction.
      Mazda has heads-up display which is great for city driving, but not as much HP, don’t offer ceramic brakes, and they changed their suspension components so you have to replace the rotors every time you need new pads.
      Chevy has the best drivetrains but their product mix leaves several things to be desired. Their zr2 package now means they’re equivalent to the rest in offroad capability.
      Ford and GMC.. outside of the mustang, how are these companies different? Neither has a wagon, aka an SUV with better handling and gas mileage.
      The long answer is, as always, if you want reliability in any specific product you have to pay for it — and it’s rarely the one that is the cheapest.

    7. WhoaMolly

      Based on last 7 years or so of hiring tradesmen in Northern California:

      Four rules for finding competent, honest, hard working person with initiative:

      1. Hire a Mexican immigrant.
      2. Expect to pay a fair wage.
      3. Treat them with respect.
      4. See Rule 1.

      1. Adam Eran

        I’ll add that Ukrainian immigrants have been really good.

        …and I’ve employed non-immigrants with good success too, particularly a roofer whose skill and integrity inspired awe…seriously! This is in Northern CA.

        Yelp has also been helpful (Middle-Eastern Electrician)

        For all tradesmen, treating them with respect (let them use your bathroom!) and feeding them lunch is very effective insuring they treat you and the job with respect

    8. c_heale

      Well one part of this article is completely incorrect. The part where he says the boxes delivered in Korea are unlabeled. The boxes in Korea have a standard label which contains all the information about the customer – address, usually something about the product, as well as the vendor. I live in Korea and often buy things online.

  2. Robert Hahl

    Re: Non-binary ex-Biden official Sam Brinton arrested for yet another baggage theft FOX. “They should have worked through Hunter!”

    Sorry to be a bore about this idea but “E should have worked through Hunter!” works so much better. Just drop all the h’s, like a cockney accent: “e” “er” “is” and “ers.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Sam (sonite) Brinton ought to know the real money is in Birkin Bags-not steamer trunks, and being non-binary, not bound to conventional clutches.

    2. Revenant

      Tha’s ‘Un’er to you ma’e.

      “Ere, ‘Enry ‘Iggins!”, “the bleedin’ lo’ o’ ya!” etc. etc.

  3. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    Semper Finance was at our core a mission statement, from the haul of Wall*Street machinations in Montezuma-adjacent in the 80’s to the off-shoring of oil from Tripoli post-Gaddafi, there was no meddle ground we couldn’t conquer.

  4. Mark Gisleson

    Patient readers, I apologize that this Links is a bit lengthy and there are several long reads. In an excess of zeal, I over-collected link candidates, and I found it too hard to let go of some of them. Take what you like, and leave the rest! –lambert

    I am reminded of the opening scene in Barbarella when Jane Fonda awakes from an Rx-induced slumber and then while still in the nude takes a call from the President of Earth. She apologizes for her lack of clothes and offers to get dressed but the President smiles and says, “that’s OK, Barbarella.”

    Srsly Lambert, it’s OK if you go long or have extra links. We’ll get by somehow ; )

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Use of NATO arms for attack in Russia raises doubts about Kyiv’s controls”

    This is just the Washington Post trying to provide cover for Washington as well as some NATO countries. It’s not like those neo-Nazi groups just were wandering around the place and found all these tanks, APCs and other NATO weapons sitting unused in a car park somewhere. Blind Freddy can tell you that Kiev gave those neo-Nazis all that gear for the express purpose of invading Russia with. So here is official Washington pretending that the naughty Ukrainians were doing this on their own and that they had nothing to do with it. What is the bet that Washington was giving that group real-time info about who and what was on that border for their attacks. Ominously, because of these pointless raids, Putin recently in public referred not to the Ukraine but the territory known as the Ukraine. That does not sound good.

    1. Willow

      Given large number of Polish ‘volunteers’ involved in the Belgorod oblast attacks suggests preparation & training was in Poland. NATO getting very close to doing something more stupid that leads to outright war.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good point that. Warsaw is panicking over this story and said ‘The activities of Polish volunteers supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia should not be identified with the authorities of the Republic of Poland.’ And then there is litle tidbit-

        ‘The governor of Belgorod Region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, also mentioned the presence of Polish citizens among the saboteurs. On his Telegram channel, he recounted the story of a woman, whose husband – a member of the local self-defense forces – was killed in front of her. According to Gladkov, the woman was held captive by two Ukrainians, and she stated that the other group members were Poles and Americans.’

        1. Polar Socialist

          Does this mean that according to the EU rules about foreign fighters these men should be arrested and prosecuted when they enter the EU area?

          I mean, if they are not recognized by either Ukraine or Poland as being part of any armed force participating in the conflict, then they, by definition, fall under Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism. EU citizens can’t just travel abroad and join any fight they like without legal repercussions.

          Provided that EU really case anymore about it’s own rules. At all.

    2. ilsm

      ukraine terror event against soft targets in belgorod mirror isis operations in Syria and Iraq. and drug cartels in the americas.

      it reflects a common plan and funding

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Escape from the market: UBI–

    The Boston Review article is a good critique of the history of UBI written by Jager and Zamora. The portion covering the late 60s and early 70s brought back memories of a course taken in college taught by Pat Moynihan for which we read Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding, Moynihan’s critique of the Community Action Program component of the War on Poverty, and Piven’s and Cloward’s Regulating the Poor. Moynihan was fond of saying that the one thing the government was good at was writing checks, the upshot being that a UBI was about the best you could hope to get out of the federal government.

    Jager’s and Zamora’s point that a UBI merely reinforces The Market and cedes power to it rings true if considered in the abstract, but that contention disregards the effects of a UBI in our current setting. As more and more of us are willing to concede, the Left in the U. S. is a tiny remnant, increasingly locked out of traditional Lefty venues like academia and labor unions. The former has been conquered by neoliberal Wokesters, the latter by the Democrat Party as illustrated by another of today’s links that reports that AFL-CIO unions spend 10% on organizing, 10% on its own leadership and a whopping 35% on “politicial activity, in other words, giving money to those fightin’ Democrats. That leaves any group of Leftists wanting to undertake an organizing project with nothing but the NGO route where you submit grant applications to organizations funded by your enemies.

    I’d argue that the Left’s current options are either withering away from the lack of the resources of both time and money or being coopted by grant-makers whose billionaire-set mission is to do just that. What Leftist organizers need are resources without neoliberal strings attached and freedom from the hamster wheel of providing for one’s own subsistence. A UBI granted merely upon demonstration of one’s own existence could be a start toward providing that.

    What does our society desperately need beside mass conversion to an anti-consumerist mindset? We need for people to get back into agriculture, or more specifically, regenerative agriculture. Is there a better way to build local social resilience, grow local food and put carbon back in the soil? This regenerative agriculture would not please Earl Butz, Nixon’s SecAg against whom Wendell Berry fought with all his might. It is labor, not energy intensive. It will generate little to no profit. It will lower the GDP generated by agriculture by focusing on production for the producers’ own needs in the form of food grown and raised by these tenders of small plots and consumed by their households. That’s a disaster for neoliberal consumer culture but a win for the planet and most likely, the people who are engaged in regenerative agriculture as long as their need for cash are met in what is still a market-dominated society.

    It’s hard to imagine that this is more than a academic discussion. A UBI would violate Larry Summer’s Fourth Commandment: Thou shalt not give money to poor people. Remember the last two times the government was willing to print checks and send them to us? The first was when we were hit with a pandemic and unemployment shot up to Great Depression levels because of shutdowns and public wariness about gathering indoors with strangers. The second was a few weeks after a mob took over the Capitol and moved Congresspeople to hide in the rows of the House gallery or run to a fortified undisclosed location. Otherwise, they don’t seem much inclined to do anything for us plebes, but who knows? A UBI could change the setting in a way that makes Leftist organizing more possible.

  7. Lexx

    ‘A Billionaire Conserving Montana Is Funding the Group Bulldozing the Atlanta Forest’

    Had to Google Art, of course. I see he’s had three wives and a couple of his children and their spouses sit on The Arthur Blank Family Foundation board. Art buys ranches, a few of his children represent his philanthropic face to fulfill his promise to give away 50% of his wealth. You have to wonder how ‘hands on’ Arthur is in the decisions, even as he insists publicly all decisions are made as a family.

    The older I get the more wives and children seem to be ‘beards’ for powerful men, disguises for ‘normalcy’. They were never ‘normal’* and became less so as their wealth grew, but they understand the value to themselves to appear human and relatable, and maybe especially if Jewish.

    Here’s Forbes list:

    The Wiki page was also from Forbes.

    *Please recall in my writing here that I don’t think ‘normal’ exists, it’s just a reference point… for what’s acceptable, that’s in constant flux… although the popularity of great wealth and those who accumulate it are rarely out of fashion anywhere.

  8. Wukchumni

    My 1,020 foot yacht, embracing the Go Big lifestyle.

    Invited 4,000 others to join me on my yacht which is 2 & 1/2 times the size of Jeff’s, and everybody RSVP’d, that they were coming-a huge relief to yours truly, what if they had turned me down-as happened all over the high seize during the Pandemic?

    I informed my crew of 1,200 to ready the provisions in particular to splitting the main brace hopefully on the all-you-can-drink for $102 per day special on our 5 day tour of exotic Catalina & Ensenada.

    We were waiting to leave San Pedro when a Evergreen supercargo (isn’t that redundant?) vessel came steaming down to its rightful place with 10,000x 40 foot TEU’s in place, Go Big.

    Do you like pina caladas and 5 days of no sun, without it sunscreen sales they did plunge.

    My sources in the SoCalist movement relate that there has been months of this, April Caught Overcast. May Grey and June Gloom. Now don’t get me wrong when i’m in the throes of the 100 days of 100 degrees here in Godzone, I could use me some overcast and icky looking which makes LA look even more Blade Runner’y than usual, exhibiting post-capitalism drip.

    Anyhow back on board, saw 3 of the crew wearing masks and not 1 one of my thousands of guests, its so over as expressed by voce populi.

    It was mom’s 98th birthday and there were a dozen family members in attendance, just 724 days more in her quest to Go Big, although it seems more a quest for us more modest aged onlookers, getting really old isn’t for pussies.

    Driving home we got a wild hair to go see Tulare Lake, a more recent adherent to the Go Big lifestyle, typical nouveau risk types suddenly flush with it, and its about 20 miles of endless almond and pistachio orchards only occasionally interrupted by alfalfa and corn fields to feed to CAFO dairies of immense size all over the the place en route, and then got lost looking for the newfound lake we never found, and blundered onto Rancheria land which was so different from what we’d seen in the Go Big surroundings, but not to be deterred the tribe had about the largest casino we’d ever seen smack dab in the middle of nowhere, and sported lines of a dozen cars awaiting their cheap gas fix @ the Res.

    I prefer my version of the Go Big lifestyle, yesterday we walked to the Boole Tree, the 7th largest tree of them all and the largest circumference of a Sequoia @ 113 feet.

    1. tevhatch

      Lots of ripple effects too, plenty of bread earners gone for families, but then again East Palestine has unleashed some effects which may spread even further. Any American eating food created from or fed with processed grain may find out just what I mean 10 years down the road, though they may not be able to place it as arising from there.

  9. Darthbobber

    Post article with Anson Frericks decrying the “leftist” efforts by Vanguard, Black rock et al to impose sinister ESG, DEI measures on companies:
    This article and a Daily Mail piece both spin off of his Fox Interview.

    He’s talking his book here, as he now runs Strive Asset Management, which touts a sole focus on shareholder value as the main reason for doing business with it. (though at a quick glance, no huge difference leaps out between their funds and similar products at Fidelity or Vanguard).

    When the interviewer asked if pressure from institutional investors was involved in his departure from Anheuser-Bush he responded something like “not necessarily Anheuser-Bush but a lot of companies”. And the Mail article mentioned that just a hair over 5% of A-B stock is held by institutional investors.

    I assume he’s just seen a chance to fish for business in troubled culture war waters.

    1. Steve H.

      EXCLUSIVE: Scientists launch manhunt for ‘longest ever’ Covid patient in Ohio who has been infected for two YEARS — as they warn patient’s virus is so mutated it could spark ‘concerning’ outbreak

    2. roxan

      In the early 1980’s, I lived with relatives in India for awhile. I did a lot of sightseeing, and went on a 40 hr train trip from Bombay to Goa. Midway through the trip, we had to scamper across dozens of tracks to change from our standard gauge train to the narrow gauge steam trains that served the south. Rocking along on that chugging train through the jungle was like living a Kipling story! Luckily, I was unaware of how many disasters Indian trains have, although buses and cars were even worse. The papers were full of tragic accidents, and I saw the hulks of wrecked trucks along the roads, that had been there for years. Hospitals seemed primitive and poorly equipped, and it was still common for widows to be cast out to beg in the streets. I hope things have improved, but the ever-present custom of ‘baksheesh’ guarantees problems.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Haven’t seen the word ‘baksheesh’ since reading and watching ‘The Jewel in the Crown’. Can’t forget the evil of Ronald Merrick.

        1. Bill Malcolm

          Nor does one hear much about the ruinous caste system either. Built-in class structure which means, in my view, India will never compete with China. My father was born in India, a son of a British colonial officer and wife out from the foggy isles. Between his tales and those of my grandparents, I really wonder at India’s social structure, while not minimizing the economic rape of the country Britain put it through. The caste system is in my view, an own goal.

  10. Joe Well

    >>Non-binary ex-Biden official Sam Brinton arrested for yet another baggage theft

    Classic Fox News move of putting irrelevant but prejudicial info in the headline. That’s like in Mexico when every time a foreigner or suspected foreigner does something bad, the news takes pains to include the word foreigner. Fox News: proudly de-developing the USA.

    1. Joe Well

      Also, amazing there isn’t more baggage theft when there is no security at all. Everyone just staring anxiously at the carousel. My last trip someone just pulled mine off the belt until I dashed over there.

      1. Revenant

        The only country I have ever travelled in where my luggage was reconciled with the luggage tags I held by an official at the exit to the arrivals hall is the USA. Presumably checking for drug mules switching bags rather than for my property’s safety!

    2. pjay

      Shame on Fox News – and “Mexico”! I’m glad our own *legitimate* media would never stoop to such prejudicial headline antics. Thanks for the warning. I’ll stick to the NY Times or Washington Post to be safe!

      1. Joe Walsh

        Take a look at a mainstream (well, at least non-conservative) US news article next time and you will never see the nationality of the person mentioned unless it bears on the story. You’ll see something like “Springfield man arrested” regardless of whether the person is a lifelong resident or just hopped the border a few months ago.

        And I think the contrast with Mexico is relevant because it points up the difference between a nation of immigrants that has norms regarding tolerance and a nation that emphatically is not and does not.

        1. pjay

          You are right. When I see the word “Russian” in the Times or the Post, I’m almost certain that the nationality of the person or persons mentioned bears on the story. Of course sometimes the story is made-up bulls**t, but hey, I bet Fox News doesn’t win any Pulitzers for their Sam Brinton coverage like these fine examples of “non-conservative” journalistic excellence did for their sterling Russiagate coverage. Their Russophobia might help start WWIII, but at least they have not maligned the “non-binary” population.

          If you think I’m defending “conservative” media for their prejudices, then I think you’ve missed my point.

    3. Darthbobber

      Classic pretty much everybody move these days. Just a quick scan of only the major media sites on a given day will turn up numerous examples.

      Of course, the fact that Brinton is “Non-binary ex-Biden official Sam Brinton” is the only thing that makes the piece news.

      1. Joe Well

        I think the fact that it was an ex-high-government official would make it newsworthy all by itself, and red meat for Fox News viewers in particular. The gender stuff is just making it extra spicy.

    4. JohnA

      I thought the point was, or at least in the case of previous such baggage thefts, that Brinton is a transvestite/transexual who steals high end dresses and similar womenswear (if that is still an acceptable word), which he/she/them prominently wears such that the original owner knew the clothing was from her stolen suitcase. I guess that is why they used the label non binaary

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      The subject of the story was a high official in the Energy Department, who skated on the two — count ’em, two — previous charges, and now they’ve done it again.

      If they were a Republican, we’d be seeing wall-to-wall coverage for days, and instead of what we are seeing: a fine example of elite impunity.

      1. semper loquitur

        The fact that that deluded clown was ever in the Department of Energy is a scandal all it’s own. Top level Department of Energy clearances are (supposed to be) amongst the hardest to get. How he made it through the psych evals is a mystery most profound. My guess: putting a gender-amorphous mobile stereotype like Binton into a relatively high profile position in a key government agency was sweet music to the trans industry’s powerful DNC donors like the Pritzkers…national security be d@mned.

      2. Joe Well

        My objection is only to the headline mention of the irrelevant detail of gender that sticks out like a sore thumb. Do you really expect to see “Male Biden Administration Official Convicted” in a headline?

        Also, I just took a glace at and they are indeed obsessed with trans people and I guess nonbinary people are also good red meat.

        And also, this person is a bad thief. I really doubt the vast majority of thefts of personal property even get a sympathetic police report, let alone a conviction.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > irrelevant detail of gender

          Former nuclear energy official gets a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card on not one but two identical offenses, does it again, and is now out on bail. One can only wonder why!

    6. Wæsfjord

      That’s why they call them news ‘stories’. Gotta smash those dopamine receptors.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Stochastic Parrots–the article says that AI is really just a way for large tech to leverage their heavy brute force approach to information and dominate the field. Meanwhile there’s a new move to downsize AI so that everyone can play. I linked this up yesterday but here’s the gist.

    The power shift comes from simplification. The LLMs built by OpenAI and Google rely on massive data sets, measured in the tens of billions of bytes, computed on by tens of thousands of powerful specialized processors producing models with billions of parameters. The received wisdom is that bigger data, bigger processing, and larger parameter sets were all needed to make a better model. Producing such a model requires the resources of a corporation with the money and computing power of a Google or Microsoft or Meta.

    But building on public models like Meta’s LLaMa, the open-source community has innovated in ways that allow results nearly as good as the huge models—but run on home machines with common data sets. What was once the reserve of the resource-rich has become a playground for anyone with curiosity, coding skills, and a good laptop. Bigger may be better, but the open-source community is showing that smaller is often good enough. This opens the door to more efficient, accessible, and resource-friendly LLMs.

    More importantly, these smaller and faster LLMs are much more accessible and easier to experiment with. Rather than needing tens of thousands of machines and millions of dollars to train a new model, an existing model can now be customized on a mid-priced laptop in a few hours. This fosters rapid innovation.

    Cory Doctorow says that big tech like Facebook and Google have wrecked the idealistic dreams of the early internet but not really. It’s really the fallibility of the users that lets big platforms dominate.over individual initiative. As a tool that idealistic potential is still there.

    1. Tim

      I logically suspect the AI “learned” is most of the value. If you can just start at the latest version of computer written code, you don’t need the original big data the code was learned from, and incremental changes in the big data over time can not be expected to dramatically change how the computer would write its own code now.

  12. Bsn

    I think I’m a perfect example of how people feel, at least in the US>
    The video of a doc saying why Doc. John Campbell is “disinformation” is worth watching. However before I do, “Who ya gonna believe?”. I don’t believe the WHO ~ who have proven themselves not only unbeleiveable over the last couple years, but criminal as well. At least Dr. Campbell is not criminal. Sounds like a case of nit picking. I’m betting on Doc. Campbell.

    1. Yves Smith

      Help me. After he makes multiple misrepresentations, as to the relationship of WHO to the document and what it said? He’s just shown he’s more interested in sensationalism that will lead more people to follow him (because it confirms their priors) than providing honest information.

      And you have similarly self-identified yourself as preferring to have your prejudices reinforced than in getting accurate information.

  13. flora

    I’ve been wondering about Bud and Target and Levi jeans going so “woke” they’ve lost significant sales. Why would they do that?
    Does it have something to do with keeping a good ESG score? Why would Disney do that?

    ESG investing explained in Forbes.
    When reading the Forbes article pay attention to the “Social” credit scoring guidelines.

    If a company’s score drops in any category the ESG investing funds will divest. That’s the treat. But unless your top of the top in your corporate world, to me the ESG system looks like a corporate suicide pact. (And it comes out the Davos and the WEF, so there’s that.)

    I think this twtr comment from Stephan Morgan has it about right.

    That corporations at the top of each industry , the ones most involved with the WEF influence, set the scoring system’s parameters for the algorithms. They see it as a way to eliminate their competitors while saying they are benefiting society.

    1. Joe Well

      A mismatch between the worldviews of the management and their customers.

      Also, probably, a desire to seem cooler and less low-end.

      1. digi_owl

        More like management see customers are dumb cattle that will consume anything they offer.

        1. flora

          or… extortion by WEF committee members? Nice business ya got there. Be a shame if something happened to it. / ?

          1. Bart Hansen

            This is what Biden should employ against manchin. Nice State ya got there. Be a shame if it were to be annexed by Virginia.

  14. lambert strether

    The subject of the story was a high official in the Energy Department, skated on the two — count ’em, two — previous charges, and now they’ve done it again.

    If they were a Republican, we’d be seeing wall-to-wall coverage for days, and instead of what we are seeing: a fine example of elite impunity.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can’t wait for the White House to come out with a statement saying that nothing can be determined from that photo because it is ‘too fuzzy’ or some such. You think that the owner of that boot might have written his name on it to differentiate it from the boots for other divers?

      1. Ignacio

        They should leave it there. It now might be a crab house, no longer a boot. Besides, who needs proof when the Collective West is sabotaging itself one day after the other?

      2. JohnA

        Clearly labelled V V Putin obviously. Except it is a very common diver’s boot worn by divers from all round the world. I cannot imagine losing a boot mid dive, would have thought it was a spare that fell overboard and sank.

      1. digi_owl

        On a more serious note, i find it curious that the located boot seem to have a silvery band up top. Roughly where the enlarged navy diver image shows the laces being looped round the boot. Did the diver that wore it use duct tape or something to secure the looped laces?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can see this being real popular in the Global Majority of nations. To have another nation come in and saying that we are going to make you change your culture and values or else we will punish you financially through our corporations.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve read that the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh doesn’t raise the pride flag like they do in Embassies in other countries. They are not allowed to get way with it there.

      1. flora

        My first thought was Camile P(ia)GL(ia)E. Quickly dismissed as no, no, that can’t be right. / ha

        my fear is this high-handed corporate bullying will set back progress for gay acceptance for a long time.

        1. ambrit

          I fear that the Gay Rights movement was “compromised” the minute their image was appropriated by the Political and Commercial Elites. Roughly, gay people have ceased to be ‘people,’ and instead become ‘useful objects.’
          Could anyone here imagine today’s LGBTXYZ crowd carrying out the Stonewall riots? (I thought not.)

        2. skippy

          It was monetized in the 80s in L.A. and since then a plaything of markets and not social debate. Marketing was quick to understand the above average spending habits on goods and services by this consumer base = more would be a good thing to bottom lines.

          Imagine a Nations social construct being run by big marketing mobs and T1 investors = a couple of skippy units[lol lambert] after a time bandit like concentrated ev’bal flits through time and space for a bit – woke butt light – did no one show them the old Body by Bud posters from way back … not exactly the LBGT look imo … back lash could be seen as anger over cultural appropriation … giggles …

          Today I’ll be spraying round hard wood balustrade off the upper deck on the 1903 Queenslander with a conventional pressure pot spray gun, offsetting over spray[lots of plants and pool] and saving more than 1/3 in consumption of paint + higher finish. Per up thread on Quality[tm] of goods or services – booked out 6mo in advance with no signage or advertising, referral only.

  15. Joe Well

    >>Just give the workers what they want. They more than deserve it. Why is this so hard?

    Hey, Yankees. Just give the Red Sox what they want. They more than deserve it.

    Seriously, I feel that is how they see it. They are on a team. They will get the best for their side even if it costs them.

  16. Ignacio

    RE: Just give the workers what they want. They more than deserve it. Why is this so hard?

    That was the most interesting read for me in weeks?, months? years? The disconnect of the PMCaste from the reality of life is what makes it so hard, IMO. They live in the limbo of the Great Numbers and Aggregates of which they extract way too much than deserved. Many, if not most of PMCaste members, bear no (real) risks, no (real) responsibilities, and the fruits of their job is zero sum or negative most of the time.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      They cannot allow workers to compete with them for the same limited resources. They know that only a small number of people can have their lifestyle, and like old aristocratic societies they want to lowers to be kept down.

  17. ambrit

    The “official” condemnation of the MS linked to mRNA story has this Appeal to Authority embedded in it: “But it’s not a paper that was produced or officially endorsed by the WHO.”
    No matter what you may think about each side of this particular subject, the basic argument from the “official” nomenklarura is clear; “Do not think for yourself. We will do the thinking for you.”
    A Cynic might well think, (there’s that badthink word again,) that the framing is no longer; “Conform or die.” It is now; “Conform and die.”
    The “official” Medical Industrial Complex has thrown away all public respect and faith it ever had over a mere three years.

    1. Basil Pesto

      It is rebutting the claim that the charlatans and cranks like Campbell were making that the WHO specifically, themselves, confirmed in original research of their own concetion that the mRNA vaccine lead to MS. That was complete bullshit. Nothing to do with appeal to authority.

  18. timbers

    The Gilbert Doctorow link is depressing. He makes it appear Russian media and public are demanding all out war and this when NATO is seriously looking to enter the battle around June 12 with their largest drill in history. WW3, nukes?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If joe biden continues his downfall, literally as well as figuratively, the 2024 “election” is going to require some serious disruption in order to achieve the desired outcome.

      WW3 would seem to be a “viable” option for the job.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Russian mainstream media is not really more representative than American mainstream media. I wouldn’t mistake it for public opinion, as elusive as the latter is.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I would guess that any doubts that the Russian people have about their government’s invasion of the Ukraine have now been removed. Sending neo-Nazis and Polish mercs armed with NATO equipment in a terrorist campaign like was done to Syria will tell the Russian people that there is no point trying a negotiated peace and that this is a fight that has to be won. Any weakness and NATO will come back again using the Ukrainians. I can only imagine how this looks to the countries of the Global majority.

    4. ilsm

      air defender 23 is organized around annual trial deployments of air reserve forces to bases in assigned areas for employment. most f-16 are national guard, while older, are better maintained than active duty airframes, bc guard crew chiefs have more experience and work the bird for years.

      the deployment is deficient in several capabilities needed to engage in donbas!

      who knows what Austin and milley might advise biden!

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Posts misrepresent research on multiple sclerosis and COVID-19 vaccines found in WHO database

    Does anyone really believe that if the covid shots caused MS, anyone would be allowed to say it, or that the AP is the proper “authority” for “fact-checking” any possible connections between the experimental “vaccines” and serious adverse reactions?

    1. tevhatch

      Seems, according to the article, someone has said it. Being challenged is part of science, note, science, not ‘The Science’. Sadly, it’s less an issue of science than of reading skills, putting the best face on it.

    2. Star Roving

      Reminds me of the early vicious denunciations of anyone questioning the possible link between mRNA vaccines and myocarditis, reproductive organ issues, etc. Seems like by this point in the Covid mRNA vaccine trial one should have learned to be attentive to any signals of new adverse events.

      1. marku52

        “Increased IgG4 synthesis due to repeated mRNA vaccination with high antigen concentrations may also cause autoimmune diseases, and promote cancer growth and autoimmune myocarditis in susceptible individuals.”

        paper in Vaccine, not a small time journal.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “The Battle of Bakhmut: Postmortem”

    I have heard someone describe Bakhmut as the “Graveyard of the Ukrainian army” and I do not think that too far from the truth. The amount of forces that the Ukrainians threw into that city was just demented and probably wrecked the ability of the Ukrainian army to undertake serious offenses. Even if they had won it was only going to be a Pyrrhic victory but they lost and all those soldier’s lives were wasted instead. A coupla months ago I described the place as an open cauldron and that it is not to far from the truth as the Ukrainians fed in formation after formation for them to be crippled. And you just know that given half a chance, that Zelensky is likely to nominate another town or city to be the next Bakhmut.

    1. tevhatch

      ‘A’ Graveyard of the Ukrainian army” would be more apt. Uncle Sam and tools in Ukraine Junta have gone through 3 armies since 2021, 3 & 1/2 armies if we go back to 2014, when they generously donated a lot of weapons and armor to Eastern Ukraine. This really is the 4th Reich.

  21. Darthbobber

    Classic pretty much everybody move these days. Just a quick scan of only the major media sites on a given day will turn up numerous examples.

    Of course, the fact that Brinton is “Non-binary ex-Biden official Sam Brinton” is the only thing that makes the piece news.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “NATO’s big gamble in Ukraine has failed”

    Not much to disagree with in Zorawar Daulet Singh’s analysis here, not that it will be republished in the New York Times, the Guardian or the Washington Post. Out of curiosity, I checked his twitter account and it is more of this level-headed type of thinking-

  23. nippersdad

    I hereby nominate this NYT piece for the Judith Miller prize of the day:

    It includes pearls of wisdom that I have never seen before, like this:

    “The Anti-Defamation League considers the Totenkopf “a common hate symbol.” But Jake Hyman, a spokesperson for the group, said it was impossible to “make an inference about the wearer or the Ukrainian army” based on the patch.

    “The image, while offensive, is that of a musical band,” Hyman said.

    The band now uses the photograph posted by the Ukrainian military to market the Totenkopf patch.”

    This is just unreal, but there are several of them today. This one was a close runner up:

    Versailles must be getting nervous.

    1. Michaelmas

      Versailles must be getting nervous.

      Yup. That piece is a hoot. As are the comments; there are the usual NYT-reading marching morons, but also the moderators are letting by quite a number of posters telling some version of the truth.

      Hard not to suspect that one potential rationale/excuse for the proxy war strategy’s massive failure will be: “We gave the Ukrainians everything they needed to beat Putin and Russia, and were let down by those Ukrainian neonazis and that damned Zelensky’s failure to control them.”

      That will go down a lot less favorably with publics in the EU states next year than in the US of Amnesia.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      They pulled out the old “Ukraine can’t be Nazi because Z is Jewish” line again.

      By that logic, the NYT should stop printing articles about racism in the US because we had a black president a few years ago.

    3. The Rev Kev

      It’s a helluva lot more than just three images that had to be deleted. Sometimes reporters on the front have the problem of which way to point their camera that does not capture the images of Nazi symbology on Ukrainian uniforms and vehicles.

      1. b

        This should be posted as revenant, my finger slipped and I deleted my own handle! Apologies, to the b who was/is out there.

        I am briefly in Berlin at a conferences of masters of the universe (well, private equity, and I only have a ticket to the nursery section for VC’s) and some of the SMO twitter accounts I check have had posts replaced with “xxx withheld under local German law”. I suspect this is the Nazi imagery law requiring non-publication. This provoked several thoughts:
        – how can Twitter comply with this requirement but not, allegedly, child porn?
        – what would happen if a large Nazi movement arose in Germany? Would we ever realise? It had never occurred to me that an unintended consequence of this law might be to *protect* Nazis but now we have the Ukraine….

        The conference has been interesting for the frank repudiation of 2021 and 2022 deals and valuations, especially late-stage deals, and AGI/ChatGPT already being called a bubble like Web3 and crypto. Macro conditions have got a lot of discussion but early-stage VC deal-flow is largely consider immune to them, geopolitics have not been adequately discussed. Late-stage VC funds with billions under management were derided as “technology asset managers”, farming the fees. An astonishing number of late-stage VC backed companies have filed S1’s and are expected to go public when/if the IPO market re-opens “in two quarters”. Always two quarters….

    4. Richard

      A NYT headline today:
      “Nazi Symbols in Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History”

      Can anyone imagine the following headline in the NYT a few years ago?
      “Confederate Flags at Charlottesville Highlight Thorny Issues of History”

      1. marym

        They actually did “both sides” the Confederate flag in the article:

        “Questions over how to interpret such symbols are as divisive as they are persistent, and not just in Ukraine. In the American South, some have insisted that today, the Confederate flag symbolizes pride, not its history of racism and secession. The swastika was an important Hindu symbol before it was co-opted by the Nazis.”

        and also linked to a 2015 NYT “discussion” which included an essay by someone from the Sons of Confederate Veterans

  24. Tom Stone

    I admit to occasionally being amused by the virtue signalling I encounter in the bluest part of California.
    One of my favorite examples is the RS Basso building in Sebastopol, one window has a Ukrainian flag with “We Support Ukraine” and the window next to it has a large “BLM” sign.

    1. hk

      I wonder if the “I support Ukraine” sign comes with a huge confederate flag, too. (I noticed one in a picture of some Ukrainian “fighters” lately (I forget where exactly), without any sense of irony.)

  25. Bugs

    “Molnupiravir Use and 30-Day Hospitalizations or Death in Previously Uninfected Non-hospitalized High-risk Population with COVID-19”

    Molnupiravir is the drug that acts on the virus by promoting widespread mutations. Lots of controversy about that one since it could promulgate a nasty variant.

    The one time Covid slipped by my FFP-2 (while I was getting a vaccination, d’oh), I got a scrip for Paxlovid as soon as I tested positive and was testing negative 3 days later. Did not get a rebound either. YMMV.

  26. Glen

    For those of you using Google Chrome as your browser:

    Google removes 32 malicious Chrome extensions with 75 million installs from the Web Store

    I’ve been using ungoogled-chromium as a browser. So it’s the open source Chromium browser with even more of that Google goodness removed. More about it here:

    It is also possible to access and install extensions without logging into Google, but that does get a bit in the weeds:

  27. juno mas

    RE: Solar panel recycling

    Again, PV (solar) panels are not dead after 25 years. Solar panels degrade by an average of .04 percentage per year (NREL). That means after 25 years the PV panel is producing appoximately 90% of original output. (improper installation orientation dimishes PV output by 10%-15%; every year!)

    After 25 years simply add a few more PV panels, reduce your power consumption (LED lights, daylighting, etc.), or go clean them off! There is no reason to junk them after 25 years.

    Here’s an example:

      1. marku52

        I have a pair of panels I bought used about 25 years ago. Seem to to work about as well as they ever did. I think the the very first proto from Bell Labs is still on display in a museum, still making electrons.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe solar panels might benefit from a top-to-bottom redesign focused on ease of repair, ease of recycling, ease of replacement. I suppose that fits in with the theme introduced by the link “Why is it so hard to buy things that work well?” [which have yet to read]. The Market will never address ease of repair, ease of recycling, or ease of replacement — which drops the problem into the lap of government or what is more likely, the lap of already over-strained individual resources and capabilities.

      I am skeptical of the way home solar panels are applied as a way to feed into the Grid. Instead they should be applied to local storage and power use. I am also curious why almost every solar panel discussion seems to focus on solar generation of electricity. What about solar water heating? A fair amount of electricity is used to provide our hot showers. Solar water heating minimizes the amount of electricity that is converted to heat to heat water. I would be surprised if a more direct use of solar energy to provide heat was not more efficient than converting light to A/C electricity to generate heat.

      Where are the appliances designed to operate using direct current? I am surprised no one has come out with inexpensive light bulbs to screw into direct current lamps and lighting fixtures. Direct current is lossy over distances but it is not a leap to imagine batteries located near a solar electricity generation system that could be easily moved to a location near where the power will be used.

      Storage of electric power is a problem considering the limitations of the necessary materials for the high tech lithium batteries. Size and weight limit the kinds of battery suitable for use in a vehicle which must include the battery space and weight in space and mass it moves about — but batteries for use in a home can have much more latitude [I assume anyone fussing with solar energy for home use actually has a home as opposed to a rented home space]. I believe deep-cycle lead-acid batteries are much more practical over the long run than lithium batteries. I do not believe lead is as scarce a commodity as lithium seems to be.

      The solar energy craze appears — to me — to reflect ‘Green’ virtue-signaling and the Market provision of a ‘Green’ bona fides/credential/trademark™ to support bragging rights — far more than any effort to plan or provide for the future.

  28. Cetra Ess

    re: Pro-Ukraine fighters attack southern Russia (Al Jazeera)

    “Ukraine has intensively shelled Russian settlements on the border recently, forcing thousands to flee to the regional hub of Belgorod.”

    Don’t they mean cities, villages, towns? Why the word ‘settlements’?

    1. nippersdad

      Russians are the new Palestinians. “Why do you deny Ukraine’s right to exist?” will soon be the new neocon diversion from “why are you arming Nazis?”

  29. semper loquitur

    re: The Frictionless Life Strokes On

    What exactly is Janan Ganesh, anyway? He isn’t a journalist as far as I can see, he doesn’t report on anything. His writing smacks of the smug horn-tooting of a rich kid’s “What I did over summer break.” report, for which he receives a B-.

    I guess he is best understood as a kind of pornographer. He casually dismisses the plights of others and cleaves towards a shallowness of perspective because he can. He probably knows the world is a lot more complex and problematic than his insipid scrawlings could hope to hint at but he enjoys the privilege of getting to flatulate publicly and that suffices. He is content. His readers doubtless find this sort of empowered mediocrity utterly delectable: all the fun of entitlement and presumption with none of the boring and laborious work of actually developing a world-view greater than the windshield of one’s BMW…

  30. lyman alpha blob

    RE: lefty investment firms pressure companies to go woke

    The article mentions State Street as one of them. If I remember right, they are also the ones who promoted that phony Fearless Girl statue facing off against the Wall St bull several years ago.

  31. Divadab

    Re: Globe and Mail article: the linked article is by Mark MacKinnon, as reliable a pro-Ukraine propagandist as can be found anywhere, even in the uk telegraph. AND- the comments are censored to the max if they present any information contrary to Slava Ukraine! Very disappointing for a long-time subscriber that the G&M stoops to such blatant war propaganda. I guess now it’s part of the global machine of Thompson Reuters and therefore of the imperial disinformation apparatus. Don’t waste your time reading anything foreign policy and especially Ukraine-related on the G&M. their financial pages are still worthwhile, especially on Canadian markets.

  32. Procopius

    Ex-Anheuser-Busch exec reveals how lefty investment firms pressure companies to go woke NY Post. For some definition of “lefty.”

    Thanks for this. Since the exfiltration of the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016, I’ve seen insults of “the left” that, to me, bore no resemblance to reality. I consider myself “left.” I consider myself a Revolutionary Socialist (aka New Deal Democrat). I am not “woke.” I do not believe in id pol. The teaching of Critical Race Theory does not arouse my concern. Etc., etc., etc. I have no idea how to make people use language in a way I consider correct.

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