Links 7/18/2023

Why curly hair evolved: an unexpected hero for the brains of early humans ZME Science

This company plans to transplant gene-edited pig hearts into babies next year MIT Technology Review

This butterfly-shaped solar power space station could provide electricity to future Moon settlements Interesting Engineering

Gambusia: This solution could actually be an invasive problem Down to Earth



Europe heatwave – live: Holidaymakers evacuated in Greece wildfires as extreme heat set to last until August The Independent

The heat wave scorching the US is a self-perpetuating monster Ars Technica

Following ‘Catastrophic Hurricane Season,’ Insurers Continue to Exit Florida The Deep Dive

Cap top 20% of energy users to reduce carbon emissions EurekAlert

Toxic Train Bombs 

Homes evacuated after train carrying hazardous materials derails in Pennsylvania New York Post



Russia tightens health protocols on flights from Egypt after reports of unidentified disease Ahram Online

Old Blighty

More UK Amazon fulfilment centre workers set to strike The Loadstar

A National Treasure, Tarnished: Can Britain Fix Its Health Service? New York Times  According to plan


Zhang Jun: low wages threaten China’s ecoomic transition, govt needs to subsidize familes. Pekingnology

China’s GDP Grew 6.3% in Second Quarter, Missing Market Expectations Caixin Global


China to ‘fill the gap’ in Solomon Islands budget as PM blasts ‘unneighbourly’ Australia and US The Guardian 

New Not-So-Cold War

Grain deal suspension is ‘final’, no more talks: Russia Al Mayadeen

As Russia exits grain deal, which countries will be affected? Al Jazeera



Europeans Are Becoming Poorer. ‘Yes, We’re All Worse Off.’ Wall Street Journal

Europe faces winter gas crisis if Russia halts supplies, IEA warns Financial Times


US sending F-35s and more F-16s to Middle East in a message to Iran: Pentagon Al Arabiya

Israel Moves toward “Dictatorship” and Polarization, as one Likud Activist lauds the Targeting of Ashkenazi Jews in the Holocaust Informed Comment

Biden Invites Netanyahu to U.S., Easing Tensions New York Times

Spook Country


Biden Administration

Vertical Merger Scrutiny Needs an Upgrade After Microsoft-Activision The Sling

FTC Sues to Block IQVIA’s Acquisition of Propel Media to Prevent Increased Concentration in Health Care Programmatic Advertising Federal Trade Commission


The Supremes

How Harlan Crow Slashed his Tax Bill by Taking Clarence Thomas on Superyacht Cruises ProPublica

When John Roberts Tried To Take Power From The Courts The Lever


Democrats en déshabillé

How AOC Went From Influencer to Influenced Current Affairs


Google Is Sending Users Straight to Nonconsensual Deepfake Porn. Futurism

AI’s “tech tsunami” is coming for call center workers Rest of World

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission NPR

SEC is worried chatbots could fuel a market panic The Verge

Police State Watch

Life Under the Gun: An Analysis of Shootings by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Knock LA

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Senate bill crafted with DEA targets end-to-end encryption, requires online companies to report drug activity The Record

House Intel chairman to hold classified briefings for Republicans on FISA Washingto

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Zombie Foreign Policy Consensus Shambles On Daniel Larison, Eunomia

Sensitive US military info exposed in accidental emails to Mali Military Times

Our Famously Free Press

Who Pays For Right-Wing Media? Important Context

Book Nook

Let the Kids Get Weird: The Adult Problem With Children’s Books Literary Hub

Class Warfare


Curing America’s loneliness epidemic would make us healthier, fitter and less likely to abuse drugs The Conversation

Key words: Alienation: Daniel Newman explains Marx’s concept of alienation and the experience of labour under capitalism Red Pepper


Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. JohnA

    How AOC Went From Influencer to Influenced Current Affairs

    “Political theorist Benjamin Studebaker, in his 2023 book The Chronic Crisis of American Democracy: The Way is Shut, has concluded that AOC and the larger Bernie et al. movement have been politically ineffective at the national level and are actually operating an industry of “false hope.”

    The neoliberal nothing will fundamentally change Starmerite Labour party in Britain has gone a stage further than that. Wes Streeting, the shadow minister for Health and recipient of lavish donations from the private health lobby, and a keen advocate of further privatisation of the national health service, recently stated that “No hope is better than false hope”. Not even pretending to be on the side of workers or ordinary people anymore.

    1. flora

      How AOC went from TikTok star to… TikTok star. / ;)

      The middle class and working class will have to rebuild themselves as they did in the early 20th century through strikes for better wages and working conditions. The politicians – in either party – aren’t going to help unless forced to by circumstances. Pledges to “fight for” during election season are merely sweet nothings.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that AOC was a plant all along. She said all the right words and when she was elected dumped things like medicare for all but did vote for other stuff like money for police, billions for billionaires, breaking strikes, weapons for the Ukraine and all the rest of it. She and the other progressives have done their job well as you never hear about medicare for all or a minimum wage anymore. It just all went away. Mission accomplished. Just a coupla days ago she said in an interview that old Joe had her backing in next year’s Presidential elections. Seriously? With the election about 480 days away she has thus thrown away any bargaining power that she has in support of Biden of all people. That means that old Joe can totally ignore her and any suggestions that she has to make. That is Politics 101. Make them give you something for your vote. I wonder if Italy’s Meloni saw her and decided to copy her. She went from a radical change for Italy into a super NATO supporter and wants Italy to fight China.

      1. flora

        And don’t forget, the poor dear was hiding under her desk (in her office a few miles from the Capitol building) during Jan 6th riot in fear for her safety, she says. Far away from Pelosi, who she calls ” momma bear.” What a darling little girl.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        “Make them give you something for your vote.”

        We’ve seen this before during the last gasp of Medicare for All when the so-called progressives fought harder against the people pushing them to get something for voting for Pelosi than they fought for anything they allegedly stand for. Anyone surprised by Ocasio-Cortez’s unqualified endorsement of Biden this far out hasn’t been paying attention.

        I’ve said it before, but you don’t get the cover of a mag like Vanity Fair if you truly a threat to the status quo. While I know it sounds a bit CT but, Ocasio-Cortez’s background leading up to her election (interning for Teddy Kennedy, coming up through neoliberal “entrepreneurship” programs, lack of any significant involvement with socialist groups, DSA or otherwise, etc.) always gave me pause. The Democrat party is where progressive ideas go to die and the current group of so-called progressives are doing a stellar job of insuring that trend continues.

        Ocasio-Cortez is either naive, stupid or fulfilling the role she was given.

        1. MRLost

          Yes. There is nothing progressive about war so the entire progressive cohort should be labeled the regressive branch of the endless war party.

        2. Jason Boxman

          Or she’s making bank and enjoying the stardom; I don’t think one needs to be naive to play a role that’s clearly been profitable for her.

          1. Oh

            It’s very easy to buy her off since her previous job as a bartender didn’t pay anywhere near the salary she receives for being in the House. She wants this gravy train to go on. Plus make additional $$$!

      3. Hepativore

        The funny thing is even after all of this, the Democratic establishment still hates her, so what has AOC actually gained by trying to get on board with the party’s leadership? She will never be “one of them” in their eyes, so no matter what she does, she will never be invited to the DNC’s cool kids table, so it seems that she has sold out the progressive left for nothing.

        One minor quibble I have though, is the idea that people could withhold their endorsement from Biden in exchange for a few concessions on Biden’s part. Biden would probably just blatantly lie in saying he would do anything as a concession to the left while not intending to do anything of the sort once he took office and there would be nothing holding him to his promises or any consequences from breaking them as the true left-wing of the Democratic Party is largely powerless.

        1. hunkerdown

          Do they really? Or are they just performing an underdog kayfabe with her to cover the stench? Perhaps the popular myths about transactional, coin-operated politics were false all along, and elites actually operate on a Maussian gift economy of stolen booty.

    2. Milton

      Can we trade AOC for Clare Daly? Hell, can we trade any of the members of the Mod(erate) Squad for Clare or the gentleman with the wild hair that sits next to her?

  2. The Rev Kev

    ’Rumor: Ukrainian Office of the President received a draft from the Biden Administration on the future funding of Ukraine. Military assistance will be reduced by 7 times, and financial assistance by 5 times, but the Americans assured Ukraine that the EU will continue to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the same volumes. Emergency meetings are already being held in Kiev to discuss how to reduce budget spending and find means to continue the war in 2024.’

    So I’m looking at that image of Zelensky frowning and wondering what is going through his mind right now at Biden’s backstabbing him. Perhaps the words ‘He could have at least bought me dinner first.’

    1. Sardonia

      No dinner, but a new T-shirt which reads – “I let my country become a broken spearhead for the US and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”

      Sadly, the new T-shirt won’t be olive green, but blue, with the words “Biden 2024” on the back.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Somebody should print those up with the text under a picture of the forlorn Volodymyr at Vilnius. The Ukraine FSB might come after anybody who wears one though.

    2. griffen

      You’re cutting me off, bro? WTF!! \sarc

      Outlaw life is hard ain’t it? To quote the loquacious (as written in scripts) Raylan Givens, deputy US marshal in eastern Kentucky. I thought just recently at the NATO meetings we weren’t going to waiver or yield and so forth. Joe Biden does it to everyone, after all? Asking for a friend.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Pop quiz. Name one major world leader that really likes Biden. Just one. I’ll wait. :)

    3. SocalJimObjects

      He should be thankful it’s not the Red Wedding. He’s probably thinking: “How am I going to eat with 100 million dollars? Doesn’t Biden know that there’s inflation?”

    4. timbers

      That disappointment you see on his face has nothing to do with loyalty or being thrown under the bus. Supposedly the dude grifted hundreds of millions…he is having a sad that is drying up. He’s just trying to figure out WHEN is the right to bail and flee with his life with those well paid gains.

      Meanwhile, persistent reports of a huge-ish Russian force near Kupyansk Kharkiv. A perfect location to roll south into Dontesk bypassing layers of dragons teeth facing east at the appropriate time. Or just to divert AUF towards it (which is already happening).

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’m seeing reports of a Russian advance and Ukrainians loosing over 800 killed in trying to stop them. This from Russian MoD.

        Don’t know if it’s correct to talk about an attack (Counterattack? Counter-counterattack?) yet, since the Russians have advanced only about a mile so far, so likely just a little bit further than the gray zone.

      2. EssCetera

        The sad is because he’s now a dead man and knows it.

        Azov has always had a noose with his name on it, reserved for the moment he starts talking negotiation and compromise, they’ve been quite open and public about it from the beginning. He has always been a hostage and now his usefulness is coming to an end, and not just for Azov – he knows things the Americans and British would prefer die with him, like the nittygritty details of how and why he discarded the Minsk agreement (abandoning his his own political platform which he was elected on). And that does also bring up the electorate who voted for him only to see him do a complete 180….

        I feel for the guy. Quite a tragic character, completely and utterly bound to fate, his every move dictated to him by his circumstances.

        1. digi_owl

          Time to hope Putin has some FSB agents ready to whisk him of to some Siberian hide-y hole.

    5. JohnA

      I love the way old Joe was speaking on behalf of the EU. Under Ursula vdl the EU has gone from a vassal voice to no voice.

      Here in Blighty, prospective Labour ministers are singing from the same songsheet of there is no money for wage increases, more funding for the NHS, education etc., while at the same time saying not a word about where all the billions being sent to Ukraine are being funded from, and as eager as the Tories to increase military spending, support NATO, fight Putin etc., etc.

      1. vao

        I suppose the readership in the USA has not got the news, but the EU Commission has selected its new Chief Economist at the Directorate-General for Competition.

        It is a US citizen, Fiona Scott Morton. The members of EU DG are supposed to be EU citizens.

        Apart from working at the antitrust division of the Department of Justice in the USA, she also advised firms such as Amazon, Apple, or Microsoft. Which are themselves in the crosshairs of the EU Commission for anti-competitive practices…

        Even the very atlanticist Le Monde is aghast and calls Margrethe Vestager to revise her decision regarding the nomination of what is increasingly viewed as a “Trojan horse for US interests” inside the Commission.

        1. GramSci

          Aghast that, with the UK gone and Germany deindustrialised, France is not the heir apparent to rule the EU??

          Pass the popcorn!

        2. Ignacio

          She has just given up on the job (link in Spanish) as too many were outraged by this decision. I find it amazing to see how this globalists sans frontieres are running things. I found it particularly damning to see, not that she is US citizen, but that she had been counselling the IT giants and then nomitated for competition policy. Verstager didn’t hide her intentions! The EC is running wild.

          1. digi_owl

            Supposedly the EC is subservient to the council, but increasingly i wonder if it is the other way round.

            1. Polar Socialist

              I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s by design that we don’t really know the hierarchy of the EU or even who actually makes the decisions.

            2. Ignacio

              In simplest way: the EC holds legislative and some executive initiative but requires council approval and EP approval in a growing number of instances. The EC nominates their directors, one of their executive powers, but come on this time Verstager went too far with her friend.

    6. cosmiccretin

      “… but the Americans assured Ukraine that the EU will continue to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the same volumes.”

      “…so as to uphold their solemn pledge to fight Putin to the last Ukrainian.”

  3. griffen

    Harlan Crow cut his tax bills the old fashioned way, he is just using the tax laws as written. Wait, you don’t have a yacht chartering service of your very own? Wellie ifn’ you ever did, just hire an attorney and CPA and make it all appear quite legitimate ! \sarc

    To summarize Mr. Buffet, it’s a class war and they are winning. Nothing too shocking to read or understand from that article. I am not a tax expert or CPA but fairly well informed on the accounting aspects. Added insult for those still continuing to labor in a chosen, or perhaps not chosen, profession. Mr. Crow enjoys an effective tax rate of about 15%. How about all them unfair and bitter apples. Here’s to hoping the US Supreme(s) are not given a pass on this chicanery, be it for Thomas or anyone else.

    1. flora

      The Dem estab seems to be trying to take down the Supreme Court, a co-equal branch of govt. They threaten Justices – Chuck Schumer even warning conservative Justices in 2020 “they will pay the price.” (By the way, the Dems helped put Thomas and Kavanaugh and Barret on the bench.)

      The Dem sure are worried about something. / ;)

      Now about the Biden family “businesses”…./ ;)

      1. griffen

        Now we can’t exhaust resources looking under every single rock on planet earth. Never mind those looming boulders in the corner there. We’ve got plans for that, maybe one day in the near future. \ SARC

        If you ain’t cheating the system, you’re just doing it wrong.

        1. flora

          Me thinks the Dems are trying to work the refs , for some reason.

          Jan. 6 defendant appeals to Supreme Court in case that could upend hundreds of riot charges

          The charge “is nothing less than the weaponization of the penal code to stifle dissent; it sets a terrifying precedent unworthy of this nation’s history,” Lang’s attorneys wrote.

      2. Jason Boxman

        But the Supreme Court is not a co-equal branch. The people’s branch, Congress, is supreme. It’s listed first in the Constitution, the Court last. And Congress can always pass a law overriding any Court decision and can impeach Court Justices. That hardly seems co-equal in any sense.

        1. cosmiccretin

          “The people’s branch, Congress, is supreme”.

          You forgot to add:- “…if that’s OK with you, donors?”

  4. Carla

    Re: Curing America’s loneliness epidemic

    After a blessedly not-too-long list of bromides and neoliberal talking points, Dr. Clay Marsh concludes: “Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the isolation and loneliness pandemic requires us to work together in community to make a positive difference.” The phrase “a positive difference” reminds me of “access to healthcare” which Murthy also sees as a solution.

    How about this, Dr. Marsh. How about we just start moving “people experiencing homelessness” into homes and providing unrestricted supplemental nutrition assistance to anyone who needs it? Let’s provide healthcare instead of “access.” If Americans weren’t constantly terrified of poverty, maybe they could stop and think for a moment about something other than surviving for another day, or another hour.

    Nah… that might ultimately threaten Dr. Marsh’s “funding from NIH, American Thoracic Society, Ohio State University, West Virginia University.” Or his affiliation “as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board with Caris Life Sciences.”

    Let’s just keep ’em poor and desperate, seeking “access” to all the basics of a decent life. Seems to be working for Dr. Marsh, anyway.

    1. GramSci

      I read that story too, and I set out googling “Clay Marsh” expecting to find a subtext like “Go out and party dudes, we’ve all got herd immunity now!” But I found more sympathetic links, e.g., from Feb 23, 2021:

      «”According to Dr. Clay Marsh, masking 90 percent or more of the people in a given area has the same success in stopping the spread of the virus as the COVID-19 vaccine.”»

      But then one year later WV Gov. Jimbo Justice weighed in with this on Feb 17, 2022:

      «“I would be a real, real proponent of us moving forward without those crazy masks on our kids,” Justice said during his coronavirus media briefing Thursday.»

      Perhaps the honorable thing would have been for Dr. Marsh to resign and let Jimbo appoint someone more Neanderthal to administer NIH funds? Are there any Mountaineers among the assembled eyes?

        1. GramSci

          The book’s intro is a strongly written pitch to the buyers of NYT bestsellers. Mostly everybody else already knew.

        2. Alice X

          I’ve been reading Desmond’s book, or rather my computer has been reading it to me. It is well worthwhile.

    1. Lexx

      Yeah, what happened there? What happened to poor piggy?! I thought it was photo-shopped so the eyeball and end of the snout were somehow disengaged. It’s not a piggy, it’s a puzzle where you try to mentally put the pieces back together to figure out what kinda animal it is.


  5. Jabura Basaidai

    Hey Mr Pie thank you for your response, read it this morning – interesting history of your friends – and George Meany was an honest yet very misdirected man when it came to the war in Vietnam – filled with the “commie fear” – as mentioned previously it is concerning and disconcerting that the folks who i protested the war in Vietnam with now, with a few exceptions, support and are gung-ho for the Ukraine mess – the folks that you mentioned certainly had integrity that never wavered – i would bet they knew Solly and Peggy – Saul’s wife Peggy was born in Canada and the FBI tried to kidnap her to take her back to Canada so she could be denied re-entry – fortunately foiled – Saul was convicted under the Smith Act and spent 4 months in Milan prison before the convictions were overturned – both he and Peggy were incredibly loving people – taught by example – here is something i found about Saul Wellman you may find interesting –

    1. flora

      Some context:
      In the US in the 1950s the organized labor unions were under attack from the McCarthy “anti commie” red hunt committee. People were fired, jailed, and whole organizations were turned inside out. See the blacklists in Hollywood, the firing of teachers and uni profs, the assault on organized labor as a “hotbed of commie sympathizers”.

      In the 1960s the remaining labor leaders like Meany and others were determined to protect their unions from more anti-worker assaults by declaring themselves and their unions fiercely anti-communist.

      In the end it didn’t matter because in the 70’s and 80’s manufactures started out sourcing union jobs to non-union areas or overseas. That became a flood of union job loss under Clinton in the 90s.

      Just some context.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Let’s complete the context.

        Communists, card carrying and otherwise, played central roles in the rise of the CIO, the umbrella organization for industrial unions like the UAW, the UMW and the USW, This was where the power of the American labor movement really came from in the 30s as opposed to the politically moderate AFL and its trade unions. When things got rough in the post-WWII period, beginning with the Democrat-run House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), most of America’s labor unions turned on their Red comrades and hounded them out of their organizations. Even the Reuthers went along with this. The UE did not, and standing almost alone, suffered significant persecution though it survives today.

        It wasn’t enough to cripple themselves by assisting with the Red Scare in the U. S. The AFL-CIO became known on the Left as the AFL-CIA because of the enthusiasm it demonstrated in assisting Langley with the sabotage and suppression of leftist labor movements in Latin America:

        Throughout the Cold War, the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council and International Affairs Department were run by zealous anticommunists determined to undercut the rise of left-wing trade unions overseas. Like their counterparts in the US government, George Meany, AFL-CIO president from 1955–1979, and Lane Kirkland, his successor who served until 1995, understood that if allowed to thrive, class-conscious labor movements would pose a serious threat to global capital.

        Meany, Kirkland, and other AFL-CIO officials subscribed to a philosophy of “business unionism,” meaning they had no desire to topple capitalism but instead promoted the idea that class collaboration and limited workplace bargaining over “bread and butter” issues would bring workers all the prosperity they needed….

        From aiding US-backed military coups in Brazil and Chile to cheerleading ruthless counterinsurgency wars in Vietnam and El Salvador, the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy during the Cold War was fundamentally geared toward the interests of US empire. By the 1970s — just as capital launched a renewed, decades-long attack on workers’ rights around the globe — the US labor federation had lost whatever credibility it might have had as a vehicle for international working-class liberation, derided by anti-imperialists at home and abroad as the “AFL-CIA.”

        The “wisdom” of Meany’s commitment to “business unionism” is demonstrated in the numbers. As the post-WWII era began, roughly 1/3 of American workers in non-farm private industry were represented by unions. Today, the percentage in non-farm private industry is 6%. The decline began when Meany was AFL-CIO president.

        All union leadership’s efforts to please the bosses with their fervent anti-Communism may not be the only factor in this disastrous decline–there’s the related decision to become an adjunct to the Democrat Party–but betraying not only the Communist organizers who had been so key in building the CIO but also leftist unionists disliked by the CIA was a major factor.

        1. GramSci

          Speaking of NYT bestsellers, I happened to have links open for 3 good books I recently finished on this era:

          1. Out of the Night: The Memoir of Richard Julius Herman Krebs alias Jan Valtin (1941). 1940 Book of the Month Club winner. A 750pp page turner describing how the Nazis got rid of the Commie labor leaders in Germany. 1st person account. Protagonist probably inflated, but mostly not fiction.

          Plus two strictly on the American scene:

          2. American Midnight. Adam Hochschild. (2022). Readable historical account.

          3. 100%: the Story of a Patriot. Upton Sinclair. (1920). Classic fiction.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            Underside vol II does speak to the era, the others not specifically about the era – good books
            Thomas Frazier – The Underside of American History Vol One & Two
            Jacques Ellul – Propaganda The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

          2. JCC

            I just finished American Midnight a couple of weeks ago. It’s a fascinating book.

            The people sdmistering the 1950’s Red Scare/anti-union tactics weren’t nearly as efficient, though a little less crude, as those running the same programs (combined with massive censorship and imprisonment) during the years leading up to WWI.

            Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

            After all, it’s the American way.

        2. Felix_47

          Thank you Henry. That is the real story. I was in the unions back in the day a long time ago. Anti Communism was everywhere just as Ukraine flags are everywhere now. Interestingly we seem to have the same enemy!!!!

        3. cousinAdam

          Much respect, HMP. I was involved in a drive to organize my shop (cutting edge high tech ) in the mid seventies- organizing by the UE- our mgmt was freaking out! Union-busting law firm, playing hardball with rules- I got canned for one too many late punch- ins 🫤, union lost in a close vote. Much love for UE and the field organizers who gave it their all!

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Cap the energy use of the rich–

    Now you’re talking. This is the way to make some progress, and it’s the right way to tackle the problem when 50% of carbon emissions are attributable to the richest 10%.

    But one thing I did not find in the article: just how are you going to do it? The rich are slicker at sliding their money around than the most adept shell game practitioner. They’re buying diesel for their yacht anchored in Greece while keeping their private jet fueled up in London. They have eight huge houses, all kept toasty in the winter and fridge-like in the summer. Will it not take a well-coordinated, international effort to administer such a cap?

    In any case, rationing aimed at the energy hogs is the way to go.

    1. Ignacio

      I had similar reaction on the headline: at last, something that makes sense. Now, blame on you, i will click and read It in full. ;-)

    2. Will

      They are a slippery bunch. Perhaps easiest to offer them lifetime free accommodation where their energy usage can be monitored 24/7. Better yet, rationed to them and they’ll be free to use their daily allotment however they like.

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘There are no children, middle-class women with good education have left. And most importantly, more than half of them are not going to return to Ukraine. The policy of European hospitality at first seemed to us a miracle of generosity, and now it turns out to be a curse, ”the newspaper quotes a Ukrainian demographer.’

    I have heard a figure as low as 20 million people left in the Ukraine. The whole country is going to be a basket case when the war is finished and I doubt that many Ukrainians will return there but will stay in the west to build themselves a new future, especially if they want to raise children. Historians will probably call it the Great Ukrainian Diaspora. I do wonder what effect that they will have in their new countries as I have read of the effects of the Ukrainians that went to Canada after WW2 so I hope that it is not a repeat. I can see those Ukrainians getting very bitter if they lose the war and blaming the west as much the Russians for not being sufficiently supportive. One Ukrainian official promised a bombing campaign if it turns out this way. Maybe the EU is hoping that in the end that Russia takes the whole Ukraine which will make it their problem and they will be off the hook for all those payments going there to make the place look like it has a real economy. By war’s end the Ukraine will resemble one of the former Confederate States in 1865 whose biggest cost in its budget was artificial limbs. I do wonder how long it will be until they realize that they have been had and that it was going to be this way all along.

    1. Will

      Canada continues to roll out the red carpet. First emergency visas and now permanent residency.

      The emergency visa program:

      >>>was available to an unlimited number of Ukrainians, allowing them to work and study in Canada for three years as temporary residents rather than refugees. More than 1.1 million people have applied and at least 800,000 visas have been approved as of July 1, though only about 166,000 Ukrainians, or 21 per cent of the visa holders, have actually come to Canada.

      Ukrainians gaining residency through these special measures can also apply under family reunion programs to bring relatives into Canada, such as:

      >>> the Parents and Grandparents Program, which allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Ukrainians accepted under the new pathway will come in addition to any family members who move to Canada through the existing program.

      In the meantime, a funding dispute between different levels of government has resulted in Ugandan asylum seekers sleeping on the street.

      Personal anecdote. Was in a government office last summer renewing various pieces of ID when I realized the couple at the service window next to me were Ukrainian. In their 30s, good English, and not entirety pleased with what they were being told about the quality of the services (like healthcare) to which they were now entitled. Which, to be fair, they’re not wrong. Decades of intentional underfunding etc etc. Perhaps their friends and relatives had found better elsewhere?

      As they were leaving, their young daughter joined them followed by a middle aged lady with a clipboard. Perhaps a volunteer or even government official tasked with shuttling them from one waiting line to another, helping them navigate the system and settle into their new life in Toronto.

      1. Carolinian

        Meanwhile in my town our local library loaning out ebooks in Ukrainian. They have some in Spanish too which probably find a lot more takers. The Ukrainian titles seem to never get checked out.

        Guess it’s the library equivalent of throwing paper airplanes out museum windows.

    2. JB Goodenough

      Production, not manpower, is the limiting variable for both sides. Soviet stockpiles are not self-replenishing. Peace, cease fire, or internal collapse, Russia can choose its fate. Victory is off the table; Russia is weaker than it was a year ago. Maj Gen Ivan Popov broke it down on Telegram; his three problems: 1) causality rate too high; 2) no artillery available for tasking; 3) poor intelligence. Popov’s sector was Zaporizhzhia as of June. Popov made a statement to the Duma, presumably in vain, that his troops were exhausted but were not rotated out as planned.

      Seems logical. Ukraine’s attention has been on snipping logistics and troop mobilization networks. Next, Ukraine’s counter-battery fire has gotten better with more radars and guided shells from the West while Russia had no Soviet stockpiles of radar for replenishment. Based on counting arty units pulled from storage in satellite imagery, Russia is now losing 8 pieces for every Ukrainian piece. Volume of unguided fire does not extrapolate to more targets destroyed but it does increase opportunities available for counter-fire. Third, the poor intelligence is self-inflicted; security’s gaze focused inward on internal dissent, poor morale, and the huge task of counter-intelligence in occupied sectors.

      1. hunkerdown

        Excuse me Mr. IPSO officer, have you considered fragging your entire chain of command as an alternative to drive-by posting Western propaganda on Internet sites that discount it to less than zero?

      2. Polar Socialist

        Bypassing all the hopium in your comment, I’d like to point out that Russia is raising the number of it’s soldiers by 200% or so, and all those new formations currently being created (two new military districts, one new army and one new corps) do require equipment which also has to be pulled out of the storage.

        Russian artillery is also firing ridiculous amounts of shells, so barrels, recoil dampeners and trails do wear out pretty fast, and it’s probably easier to pull out pieces from storage either as spares or as replacements.

        So looking at those satellite images doesn’t really tell you much about how many Russian guns Ukrainians are destroying.

        The fact that their offensive failed miserably against an army that has no artillery and is using washing machine chips in missiles tells volumes about Ukrainian capabilities, though. /s

      3. chris

        Thank you for the kind words Mr. Kagan. Please tell us, how is Vicky doing with all the bad news coming out of Ukraine? We are so very concerned about her…

        But after that, kindly provide one shred of evidence to back up any of your points. The West has deindustrialized. Russia has not. Even publicly available data lists Russia’s supplies of materiel as 10x what we can supply and the Ukrainians can field. So…taking some of what you say at face value, if we discount that to maybe 5x as much as we can field, that’s still a huge problem for our proxy war, right?

        I think this war has been making fools out of people who want to make conclusive statements about its direction. Russia may not be winning, but it is the party that is closest to that category right now. Recent trends and reports suggest that is not going to change anytime soon.

        Ukraine and the West might not be losing, but if you consider what is happening they are in the position most closely aligned with being losers. I believe it was said early on NC during coverage discussions that if all your plans revolve around retaking land and making demands of an enemy to give you time to regroup then you’re not winning the battle.

        I don’t know what Russia is trying to do with the pace of the conflict. I don’t understand how they’re going to end this. I don’t understand how they’re going to protect themselves against what is going to become a nation of terrorists. Which they’re trying to absorb. I really don’t understand what the US is trying to do. But as I don’t read the languages required to understand any of the primary sources for that kind of analysis, and I know most of the people in the news media just parrot what they’re told, I don’t expect we’ll find out until some kind of unbiased scholarship is done later.

        I think this is going to become like COVID. The thing we were all concerned about will be further obscured by the media until it’s hard to find good information about it even if you’re an interested party. Then some officially recognized Western affiliated organ will announce, “The war is over!” There will still be conflict, we will still be supplying arms, people will still be dying, but your average US citizen won’t hear about it until their brother-in-law gets called up by the national guard when they need to support logistics operations in Poland because would you believe there’s still a war going on in Ukraine?!?

      4. Oh

        Could you please send me some of the stuff you’ve been smoking. Fedex is preferred. Gracias.

    3. JBird4049

      From what I remember reading about the populations and economy after the American Civil War, World War One Britain and France, Nazis Germany, and the USSR all of them were better off than the Ukraines are now. The French losses in men comes close as does the Germans loses in infrastructure, but still better off. Maybe the Southern economy was worse off, but not its population. However, it never really had much of one outside of the plantations, small farms, and some industries in the cities of Richmond and Birmingham.

      By destroying themselves more than any of the major combatants of the past two centuries outside of
      maybe Paraguay, what the Ukrainians have done is quite an achievement.

      Some people really do deserve to be charged with war crimes and not the BS pro forma ones of the past few decades, but Nuremberg level. Since international law has been twisted and corrupted into a personal weapon by the Western elites who are themselves guilty of crimes against humanity, I believe that they will not happen. There will probably be some “accidents” though.

      What a wonderful world.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t think countries are the best example, but I feel like this will be more like towns where the factory gets moved out but they won’t be part of a larger economy. Example: The seniors won’t be receiving social security checks.

  8. .Tom

    The 2nd last link headline is truncated and reads

    “Curing America’s loneliness epidemic would make us healthier, fitter and less likely to abuse drugs”

    Which seems rather obvious statement and suggests we should consider loneliness an output. It is of course but it is also a necessary input to acquiescence to ever more invasive state/corporate power.

    For example, I don’t think the Internet was originally designed to be an engine of loneliness but now that it is such a good one it won’t be easy to change that.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Grain deal suspension is ‘final’, no more talks: Russia”

    After the Russians shut down their half of the deal – the only part that was being fulfilled – Zelensky announced that he was going to send out grain ships anyway and Erdogan, who is reputed to get a kickback on those shipments, said that they will go along with that. The Russians, having gamed this all out, are now bombing the port facilities along the Ukrainian coastline. Suddenly smuggling in weapons got a bit more harder. UN Secretary General António Guterres was saying that the whole world is going to starve because of Russia after previously demanding that the Russians keep the deal going for a few more months but he had nearly a year to get that deal on track for both sides but didn’t. The EU was also criticizing the Russians but since they got the bulk of the Ukrainian grain deliveries is understandable. On the news that had this black guy fro Africa saying that things will be hard for them from now on. But Putin has laid it all out. When he sees ships with Russian grain and fertilizers leave EU ports to make deliveries around the world, then he will rejoin the deal. But the EU just cannot bring itself to do so as they are still thinking in terms of a zero sum game. If one side wins, then the other must lose. And they will not tolerate Russia getting a “win.”

    1. Ignacio

      Much of It has gone to be used as feed for pork industries here in Spain. I guess with deep discounts. Pig meat prices set to increase i guess.

    2. Lex

      If I was Putin I would offer to restart the grain deal on one condition: all the ships transporting grain are under Russian flag and Russian crews. If the goal of the deal is to feed people, everyone will agree. If it’s anything else Kiev and the west will refuse the offer.

  10. Objective Ace

    He told me that Weill Cornell is discouraging usage

    Is it possible that when confronted by an irate customer the employee simply chose to blame another entity rather then risk further confrontation? This would be consistent with other types of work. I’m not sure what “discouraging” even means here? It could be as simple as other people werent wearing masks so the doctor felt peer pressured into conforming

    Its a doctors job to protect his patients. Outside of explicit directions to the contrary (and even then thats debateable) he doesnt get to shirk his responsibility like that

    1. t

      More likely, he’s running out of family blogs to give and said something he has been instructed not to tell the customers.

      It’s the ol unmasking the Scooby-Doo Doo villain to find private equity meme.

      My GP’s office is technically not suppose to mask or require. Local staff put hepa filters all over the place and keep leaving doors open for air exchange. And there’s an usual amount of staff masked.

      They cannot answer phones. The lines go to call center in another city who can, with luck, route calls to the office lines.

  11. S.D., M.D.

    Now that the “deal” is ended, how long before western officials start bragging about stringing Putin along on an agreement they had no intention of honoring? My guess, six weeks, max.

  12. pjay

    – ‘Who Pays For Right-Wing Media?’ – Important Context

    I am struck by my own reaction to articles like this today, or the featured article posted by Connor on extremism in the military. My response is *much* different than it would have been 20 years ago, or maybe even 10 years ago. It’s not that I disagree with the information in the article, at all. It’s that the bigger picture has become so much clearer since my younger, more naive days. And it keeps getting clearer, it seems, by the week.

    Two examples from the article: it cites a New Yorker expose by Jane Mayer, ‘The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,’ on right-wing funding of the “election fraud” industry. Well, Mayer used to be one of my favorite investigative journalists. But after her own major contributions to the “Big Lie” of Russiagate, I read her work with much different eyes. Those works included a puff piece on the virtues of Christopher Steele, and an article on the Truth of Russian Interference with Brennan and Clapper as key sources. I imagine the facts cited in this article on election fraud are correct. But it’s just a small piece of a much bigger story which she and her colleagues work diligently to obscure. Similarly, this article trashes Real Clear Politics for its right-wing funding. Yet this was one of the best sources for concrete information on Russiagate, including articles by Aaron Mate among others. So… Real Clear Politics vs. the New Yorker. Where does one go for the Truth?

    I look at my “younger” self of 20 years ago – I was nearly 50 then – and I just shake my head at such naivety.

    1. t

      The small and useless difference is, I think, that the NYT and that ilk are so much be paid by a small interested minority to create a narrative as they are trying to be the cool kids who are in the know yda yada yada and reflect, rather than invent an existing narrative for, a whole lotta people.

      Jane probably just gave up with Ronan Farrow showed up with a bunch of family gossip and instead of getting co-writer credit got all the credit. (Even when his knowledge of the final.printed reporting was so weak he couldn’t really do live interviews on the details). I guess. I don’t know her and I assume she’s not heavily edited.

      1. GramSci

        Maybe the Filipino newsboys who moderate the comments in the NYT’s basement aspire to becoming the cool kids on the block, but at the top, the current Baron of Ochs-Sulzberger doesn’t shy away from privately expressing to his court which stories “we” like and which “we” don’t.

    2. Carolinian

      Latest news in TDS: Trump likely to be indicted by Jack Smith for January 6. When Trump does it it’s election interference. When Biden’s prosecutor does it it’s???

      Trump seems to be the thing that flipped out Mayer and so many others. The people who hate him really really hate him. The rest of us, so far from Acela, think they all are clowns including, sadly, Mayer. The country did lots of terrible things like Vietnam back when our intellectuals were a lot smarter but current times sure are dumb.

    3. cousinAdam

      The more you learn the less you “know”- I just turned 68 and concur. Makes me want to dig out my late parents Pogo collection 🫤

  13. Bsn

    Regarding the article “Who Pays For Right-Wing Media? ” I did a cursory search on who funds them.
    Science Feedback and SciVerify’s total consolidated income for 2021 was 1,279,900€. The main sources of income (including all those contributing over 5 % of the total annual income) are:
    • Ashoka Fellowship
    • Facebook 3rd party fact-checking program
    • IFCN Development Grant
    • Individual donations
    • Mouvement Up Media literacy grant
    • TikTok 3rd party fact-checking program
    IFCN / Google News Initiative
    In 2020, Science Feedback was awarded a development grant from the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)

    So……… Facebook and Google are some of their largest funders. OK, let’s trust them. Who are Google and F’book funders?

    1. Carolinian

      There’s no Wiki entry but this may be more to the point about what the site is.

      Or to sum: a French site meant to oppose AGW deniers (and those do certainly exist) using sources who are guaranteed to have a PHd and at least one published paper (not exactly a guarantee of accuracy).

      BTW those Google honchos fly around in a huge Boeing jet so I’d say if the future of the planet is the issue then what is really needed would be behavior checkers rather than speech checkers. The position taken by the “fake news” crowd seems to be that as long as you believe all the right things you can then go do what you want (yes you Leo DiCaprio with your jet).

      Certainly to the degree that Science Feedback is allied with Google and Facebook who pay their salaries then that indeed doesn’t signal “we’re the good guys.” At least with the Koch brothers and Exxon their lobbying interest was rather transparent. Whereas there’s a strong case to be made that the agenda of the “fake news” industry and those who are paying them is anything but transparent. Pfizer and Exxon, compare and contrast…..

  14. Ken Murphy

    As a follow-up to the Moon-themed space-based solar power article…

    If you happen to find yourself in the Dallas area on Saturday the 22nd, please consider stopping by the Moon Day celebration at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field:

    This will be its 15th consecutive year being celebrated at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. It has come a long way from its first year when I was only able to round up a half dozen exhibitors, a table of handout materials and a couple of classes. In the years since it has had Uplinks with the ISS (one kid whose question was selected flew out from California for the chance to talk to the space station), Moon rock classes for teachers, and so much more.

    Since in Texas it ain’t braggin’ if’n it’s true, Moon Day has become the largest annual space celebration in Texas. Look it up. Attendance was 1500+ each year right before the lockdowns, and should get back to that level pretty quick. I built the event on a model of sustainability (my budget was $0 the first eight years) and I’m happy that it continues long after my involvement ended.

    So if you’re in the metroplex this weekend, be sure to check out Moon Day at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field. It’s the Space Faire you didn’t know you needed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Man, that sounds so cool that. Wish I was there. And that is a very good review too with that Lunar Sample Bag swag bag being a stroke of genius. Hope that this year’s exhibit goes well for you.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “US sending F-35s and more F-16s to Middle East in a message to Iran: Pentagon”

    I’m not sure that this is the threat that it would have been several years ago. Yes, the US could launch airstrikes on Iran but Iran has a whole suite of choices in how to hit back that US intelligence must be aware of. How many American service people would Biden be willing to have killed in a series of counterstrikes across the Middle East? Even Trump knew the deal here. When there was trouble between Iran and the US when he was in office, he privately asked permission from them to launch a strike into Iran, even if it was only to hit some obscure abandoned building, so that he and the US would not lose credibility. The Iranians replied absolutely not and that was it. Since then Iranian capabilities have increased and not only are they watching developments in military technology in the Ukraine, but they are due to receive several squadrons of modern Russian fighters soon to replace their ageing air fleet.

    1. TimH

      If Biden could make it a story that would win him re-election, he wouldn’t care how many died. If politicians minded service people dying, they wouldn’t initiate economic wars.

  16. antidlc
    AJ Leonardi, MBBS, PhD

    Three years ago I warned that Covid was reducing naive T cells

    Now, Pfizer acknowledges immune dysregulation and gives the same warning I made:

    that it could affect immunity in the future


    He links to an article on the Pfizer website:
    The Challenges of Defining, Understanding, and Addressing Long COVID

    I didn’t see a date on the article, but if you click on the PDF version, the date is July 13, 2023.

    Excerpt from the link:

    7 Hypotheses on Long COVID’s Cause

    So what triggers long COVID? De Jesus points to just a few ideas currently being explored, of which multiple may ultimately prove true:

    Viral Persistence
    Studies have shown that, for some people, SARS-CoV-2 RNA may remain in the body well after the initial infection, resulting in the virus not being fully cleared and potentially causing chronic symptoms to persist.9

    Immune Dysregulation
    Studies looking at immune dysregulation, which occurs when the body can’t control an immune response,10 in individuals with long COVID have found T-cell alterations, including exhausted T cells and reduced CD4+ central memory cells.11 Studies have also reported “highly activated innate immune cells,” but a lack of naive T and B cells.12 These cells all play an important role in helping the immune system fight off current and future infections.

    (bold mine)

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Thanks for these links. Since Twitter disabled access for lurkers like me, I’ve missed seeing new postings by stalwart COVID realists like Leonardi.

      1. antidlc

        I am a lurker, too. The tweet above is one of three…I could only see the first one.

        1. Revenant

          In the UK I can see certain isolated tweets. Anything else takes me to a twitter login screen or to an account’s home page but with (something went wrong, retry) in place of the tweet scroll.

          Interestingly, I just spent a week in the Republic of Ireland where I could see the first dozen or so tweets of the scroll.

          This suggests the bot scraping that is being prevented is really the Mighty Wurlitzer refusing to accept audience requests for anything other than the International Rules-based Tune. EIRE gets to see things the UK blocks entirely.

          We are now behind the British equivalent of the Great Firewall of China. I doubt the position is better in Scotland or Wales so I cannot call it Hadrian’s Firewall or Offa’s Dyke. That most appropriate description for the cloistered UK is Sinn Fein Britain: “Ourselves, alone”….

          1. albrt

            Sadly, Elon says his advertising revenue is down. I can’t imagine why. Locking out most of the planet from viewing anything on your website should be good for advertising, right?

  17. britzklieg

    My partner, who died of AIDS in 1996, was asymptomatic for 10 years. In the last year and 1/2 of his life he fought through lymphoma, PCP, CMV and other maladies associated with HIV. He died, somewhat unexpectedly and suddenly, the day before he was to come home from the hospital of what was assumed to be a stroke (no autopsy). His T cells were, essentially, depleted.

      1. antidlc

        So sorry, britzklieg.

        It is truly depressing that the COVID policy has been LET IT RIP. How much long-term damage will it cause?

        But it doesn’t matter to the people calling the shots because as Lambert has repeatedly stated:
        1) Because markets
        2) Go die.

  18. Jason Boxman

    So “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard” shows XBB1.16 dominant for the first time today by itself, without summing up XBB1.16.6, 1.16.1, ect. Together we’re at ~ 20% now. XBB1.9.x and its deep variants are also very strong. EG5.1 is 8%.

    This is new behavior for the Pandemic, that several variants are taking over, but we haven’t until maybe very very recently seen any uptick according to wastewater. I find this extremely puzzling.

  19. Henry Moon Pie

    Just a recommendation: Conor’s article about Minnesota politics is excellent and a sad example of how politics “works” in this country.

  20. cnchal

    > SEC is worried chatbots could fuel a market panic The Verge

    The financial sector has been using AI systems for a long time. Some insurance companies and creditors deploy algorithms and natural language processing to parse through financial data before deciding loan amounts. Trading firms have relied on AI to check for fraud and check for market signals much faster than humans looking at a computer screen.

    Amazon’s PE = 320

    Me, looking at the screen sees something the trader’s AI can’t. I don’t see how chat bots make it worse.

  21. Bugs

    I was surprised to read yesterday that Russia is going to launch Luna 25 soon, to be followed by 26 and 27. They’re going to the south pole looking for water, same as the Indian probe launched the other day, but which is taking a more circuitous route. The poles are probably where a base will eventually end up. In my ever optimistic heart, I hope it’s international and non commercial. One can dream.

    It’s kind of cool that Roscosmos is using the Luna name, the same as every probe since the first in 1959.

  22. thump

    re: deepfake porn. I read that article and some of the articles it links and I’m puzzled. I am most definitely not a lawyer, but my recollection is that the Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to draw or paint images that depict sex with children. Is deepfaked porn that different because it’s so much more convincing? I don’t see how individuals could have the right to control all images of themselves. Maybe in some contexts? I can see making it illegal to misrepresent yourself as being the person in question, or participate in or encourage harassment. Wouldn’t much of the problem of “reputational damage” fix itself as awareness of the issue grows and people become more skeptical?

    Anyway, I ask here after growing frustration reading the articles that all take the point of view that “oh, it’s so awful. I wish there were better ways to suppress this stuff.” with no one mentioning speech issues besides how Section 230 prevents web sites from being sued for content. I mean, I realize I’m kinda stepping in it here, but very willing to listen. Thanks.

    1. JBird4049

      I am also not a lawyer and am just an American history buff. That said:

      The one right that the American courts have protected more than any other is free speech probably because one cannot have a democracy without it; it is part of the freedom of belief, of petitioning the government, of assembly, and of being informed. Because of this, there are few limitations on speech with those focused on deliberate harm as well as the differences between saying and doing. However, there are always people who want to censor speech and sometimes for good reason. Child porn is one of them and since you have to rape children to make it it is easily banned. Some people want to ban the description or even the intimation of it in film, radio, books, and any other media often on it being prurient or because it might cause someone to commit this evil.

      This is where the differences between speaking and doing comes in as the possible expansion of censorship past any reasonable limits. There were the censorship laws such as the Comstock Act, which gave the Post Office the right to censor anything deemed pornographic including novels and magazines, as well as anything having information on sex, women’s (and I presume men’s) sexuality and health, and most definitely on contraception; finally there was the mass censorship and forced closure of any media and persons that were anti-war as well as almost all of the socialist organizations and their newspapers and magazines during the First World War. The teaching of German was effectively stopped or censored. Finally, the Red Scare of the 1950s, which also enabled censorship and blackballing of many people for actions that were not illegal or with little evidence and almost always for holding certain opinions or beliefs, not because they actually did anything.

      All of this has discredited censorship beyond what is in the First Amendment. Where does one limit or not free speech and expression? Child abuse as well as possible crimes such as terrorism or drug dealing are used as reasons censor speech or to weaken the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which are connected rights and which government, particularly the police and security agencies, constantly want to weaken. There are always reasons for censoring something, but when you censor that one thing, why not stretch it just a little bit more? This is how you get the swiss cheese that is the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of today. Of this grotesque creating of deepfake porn, emotionally I support, but where is the line? What of an actor who looks like someone else? A near twin. Should that be censored?

      I bet that the knowledge of contraception is on the censorship list of some states as it was in the past. People believe that it is the right, good, and true thing to do. Banning deepfakes might be the right, good, and true thing to do, but would that not give support for the often laudable desire to censor other things?

  23. ThirtyOne


    Overnight minimum temperatures are expected to reach new highs. This is concerning because repeated high night-time temperatures are particularly dangerous for human health because the body is unable to recover from hot days, leading to increased cases of heart attacks and death. Whilst most of the attention focuses on daytime maximum temperatures, it is the overnight temperatures which have the biggest health risks, especially for vulnerable populations.

  24. Jon Cloke

    The AOC Influencer link goes to ‘This page could not be found. We’re not sure what to do.’

    Whichis at least honest, I suppose.

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