Links 7/22/2023

Something in space has been lighting up every 20 minutes since 1988 Ars Technica

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Brother Allegedly Wanted To Buy Pacific Island Country To Build Doomsday Bunker For Effective Altruists Forbes

Half of U.S. beaches are contaminated with poop ZME Science


New blazes bring number of active wildfire fronts to 79 Kathimerini. Greece, roughly the size of Alabama.

Mini tornado and giant hailstones hit northern Italy as heatwave breaks The Local

Video from Milan:


Rising seawater in Senegal about to swallow ‘Venice of Africa’ Anadolu Agency


‘Brain fog’ of long Covid comparable to ageing 10 years, study finds The Guardian. Full study.

More than 220K people kicked off Medi-Cal in its first checkup since COVID ABC10. By “since Covid,” they mean first of the month.

Japan sees COVID patients rising for 9th straight week The Mainichi

Solar Car Challenge cut off, mid-race, because of COVID-19 outbreak The Orange County Register


What is happening in India’s Manipur? Al Jazeera



If China fails to intervene in North Korea, US will take action, says Antony Blinken South China Morning Post.

Washington reacts to Kissinger’s China reception with ‘sour grapes’ mentality Global Times

Relationship between China and Gulf is widening into areas well beyond oil purchases Modern Diplomacy

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s counter-offensive is failing, with no easy fixes The Telegraph

Need better drone defense? The US military may have an app for that. Defense News


Storm clouds gathering in the Black Sea Indian Punchline

Any Polish aggression on Belarus is attack on Russia, Putin says Al Jazeera

Russia armed Belarus to the teeth: S-400s, Tor-M2s, Su-35s, Mi-35s Bulgarian Military


From Stalinism to the ‘Most Avoidable War in History’ Consortium News. An interview with Geoffrey Roberts. For more, read “Stalin: History and Criticism of a Black Legend.” Needs a better translation though.

Biden names CIA Director William Burns to his cabinet Reuters

CIA chief: Russia’s elite are questioning Putin’s judgment Politico


Energy poverty on the rise in Europe, statistics show Euractiv

US hits Kyrgyzstan with war sanctions. Intellinews

War with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh ‘very likely’: Armenia PM Al Mayadeen. If a peace treaty is not signed.

Washington-Paris-London Calling The Polycrisis


The waning days of the ‘special relationship’ 972 Magazine

Israel: Former intelligence chief says Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul could cause civil war Middle East Eye

South of the Border 

Venezuela: President Maduro Delivers House Number 4.6 Million Telesur. Public housing “despite the problems caused by the U.S. blockade.”

O Canada

More Unoccupied Toronto Homes Are Catching Fire The Deep Dive

Imperial Collapse Watch

“We’re done with the cover up”: House UFO hearing set, Rep. Burchett to chair Salon

The military-industrial complex enters orbit Nonzero Newsletter

Spook Country

The CIA Opposes JFK Record Releases Because Each One Is More Damning Than the Last Jacobin

Biden Administration

TSMC delays U.S. chip plant start to 2025 due to labor shortages Nikkei Asia



Donald Trump’s trial to go ahead in the middle of 2024 election campaign The Daily Telegraph

Ron DeSantis threatens Anheuser-Busch over Bud Light marketing campaign with Dylan Mulvaney CBS News

Tim Scott closes in on Ron DeSantis in Iowa Washington Examiner

Democrats en déshabillé

‘This Is a Really Big Deal’: How College Towns Are Decimating the GOP Politico. The new coalition of the ascendant?

The Supremes 



FTC Pulls Back From Prior Support for Pharmacy Benefit Middlemen Bloomberg Law.

Police State Watch 

He was making a documentary about police brutality. Then the LAPD tased him in his home Los Angeles Times

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch 

AFP under investigation over its use of Auror surveillance technology Crikey. AFP=Australian Federal Police.

Digital Watch

OpenAI, Google will watermark AI-generated content to hinder deepfakes, misinfo Ars Technica. “Voluntary.” “Hinder.” Problem solved….

This free watermark removal tool is surprisingly effective against stock images The Verge. An AI-powered watermark remover. From Jan. 26.  

And what about adding watermarks to “misinfo”? 


The workers at the frontlines of the AI revolution Rest of World

Rural America is the new hotbed in the AI race as tech giants spend billions to turn farms into data centers Business Insider

The Bezzle 

Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads traffic is now down 70% from its peak—just 2 weeks ago Yahoo!finance

Turkish prosecutor seeks up to 40,000 years in jail for crypto exchange founder Duvar

Class Warfare

Fighting eviction to build class power Canadian Dimension

Leaked messages show Amazon will force a ‘voluntary resignation’ on employees failing to relocate near their team ‘hubs’ Business Insider

Working from home: employers love flexibility… except when it benefits workers Crikey

Risk and Revolution The Baffler

Billionaire Barry Sternlicht on the ‘category 5 hurricane’ hitting office buildings: Some will become parkland, ‘Maybe fields of grain or something. It’ll be very pretty’ Fortune

Two-faced star with helium and hydrogen sides baffles astronomers The Guardian


Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Sam Bankman-Fried’s Brother Allegedly Wanted To Buy Pacific Island Country To Build Doomsday Bunker For Effective Altruists”

    If Sam Bankman-Fried’s brother wants to buy an actual island nation, how about we offer him another island in the Pacific instead of Nauru. Is Bikini Atoll still free?

    Gabriel Bankman-Fried also allegedly said he wanted to ‘build a lab . . . for human genetic enhancement” in Nauru.’ Would that be anything like that ranch for DNA breeding that Jeffrey Epstein built in New Mexico? Just asking.

    And if he wanted to build a bunker/shelter on Nauru, I am sure that for him finding the labour to build it would have been quite simple. As simple as black and white. Being the Boss of a sovereign nation, it is good to be the King.

    1. Acacia

      Back in the 1980s, when Marcos fled the Philippines for Hawaii, the then-mayor of Honolulu floated the idea that the ex-dictator could take up residence on Coconut Island, a.k.a. Gilligan’s Island. Never happened, though.

      Could be a place for SBF.

    2. GlassHammer

      Fulfilling your altruistic pledges by buying your own private island doomsday bunker is the funniest thing I have read all year.

      1. semper loquitur

        “to “ensure” the survival of “most” subscribers to the effective altruism ideology recently made famous by his older brother.”

        This line alone qualifies this as a Vonnegut Event. The notion of the subscribers to this wackiness being the sole survivors of some cataclysmic event because of their ability to buy a country is the good stuff. I can see President for Life SBF and some of the Elect standing on a tropical beach looking in the direction of West and sighing. “Well, we tried. Back to the plantation.”

        1. .Tom

          The Brankrun-Fraud Bros believe themselves prophets of, if not quite messiahs of, something that’s clearly a Doomsday Cult. This is turning into a good movie.

    3. petal

      I’m laughing at the “build a genetics lab in the middle of nowhere Pacific Ocean” thing(no offense to Nauru and its people). It made me feel positively sane. Haven’t there been movies made about something/someone like that? I dunno, some James Bond movies?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe he could get a contract from the Pentagon to build one of those bio-labs that are being built all around the world on that island. That way, it would be in US interests to make sure that the locals never throw him off that island and they might even build a base there to protect him and that bio-lab.

        1. petal

          Good point, Rev Kev. Energy infrastructure for all of the freezers and hoods that require 24-7 and emergency backup, daily or weekly supply flights from the mainland, and dump the biohazard and chemical waste in the ocean. And throw in a floofy white cat. Muahaha! Everybody wins! USACE is still helping to rebuild Guam from its latest typhoon, so that would be interesting.

          1. ambrit

            Of course, we could end up with a “B” movie world. [Could?]
            Mad NAZI scientist creates flesh eating microscopic monsters. (Calling it a “B” movie is being charitable.)
            See (Management does not guarantee return of dissatisfied patron’s lost time!):
            What ever happened to those biolabs with built in self destruct systems?

      2. Harold

        That was my thought, but the comic book stupidity of characters like Epstein and Gabriel Bankman-Fried makes ian Flemming look like a combination oh Henry James and Leo Tolstoy in comparison.

      3. maipenrai

        Perhaps the Bankman Fraud stories are just to keep people distracted from Hunter and the Big Guy?

    4. Wukchumni

      I’d go with a 80 year old prefab if I was shopping for doomsday bunkers with a past history of fitting the bill for sojourners far from home. in the South Pacific.

      1. Wukchumni


        If I wasn’t allergic to eating fish i’d never let the cat out of the bag, but the safest place to be in these United States and possessions is Palmyra Atoll, far from the shipping lanes and a bird world country according to friends who worked for the conservancy for a number of years there.

        Palmyra Atoll has no permanent population. It is administered as an incorporated unorganized territory, presently the only one of its kind, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The territory hosts a variable transient population of 4–25 staff and scientists employed by various departments of the U.S. government and by The Nature Conservancy, as well as a rotating mix of Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium[4] scholars. Submerged portions of the atoll are administered by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.

        Palmyra is an incorporated territory of the United States (the only such territory since 1959), meaning that it is subject to all provisions of the U.S. Constitution and is permanently under American sovereignty. Palmyra remains an unorganized territory. No Act of Congress since Hawaii statehood in 1959 has specified how Palmyra is to be governed. Palmyra has no permanent residents. In 2004 accommodations were built to support a small number of temporary inhabitants.

        1. MaryLand

          After watching the movie On the Beach I decided no place on earth is safe from fallout. Maybe not based on data, but made an impression. I will never hear Waltzing Matilda the same way. Peace out.

          1. Jeff W

            “I will never hear Waltzing Matilda the same way.”

            I’ve never liked “Waltzing Matilda” except in that rendition in On the Beach where the drunken rendition segues smoothly into a perfectly harmonious, haunting chorus, providing the aural backdrop—and perhaps impetus—for romance for Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. (Only in Hollywood.)

            Then, again, I always had a thing for that version of “Cwm Rhhonda”—as the miners come home in their Welsh village built in the Santa Monica mountains near Malibu—in How Green Was My Valley, too, so maybe I’m just a sucker for diegetic men’s choruses in motion pictures.

        2. Mildred Montana

          The lawyer Vincent Bugliosi (prosecuted the Manson family) wrote a fascinating true-crime book (1991) set on Palmyra called “And the Sea Will Tell”.

          Brief summary: A well-off middle-aged couple are enjoying an adventure on their yacht in one of Palmyra’s lagoons. Then one day a strange vessel hoves into sight, enters the lagoon, and drops anchor. Things do not end well for the vacationers.

          Highly recommended for those who like true-crime in exotic locales.

      2. Will

        Boycott the whole system? Sure. I could go for that.

        Of course, I’d then need to figure out how to feed myself since the food production system is dominated by Big Ag. Similarly with clothing myself and housing myself etc etc. Actually, even if I’m not trying to interact with the system, I’m still being surveilled by it… unless perhaps I run off to an island or other remote locale to try and fend for myself…

        1. ambrit

          If, however, it is Epstein’s Island, there are cameras everywhere! As the saying goes: “A Swinging Stone gathers Mossad.” Or something like that.

    5. XXYY

      Putting all your chips on a low-lying island in the middle of the ocean seems like a Very Bad Idea when the ocean level is expected to rise tens of meters in the next century. Especially if there is expected to be an underground component to the scheme.

      Go long on pumps and rafts!

  2. cnchal

    > Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads traffic is now down 70% from its peak—just 2 weeks ago Yahoo!finance

    People are seemingly turning their back on Meta’s Threads nearly as fast as they flocked to it.

    Good luck getting Zuck’s new spyware off your “””smart””” phone.

    1. YuShan

      I’m told Threads is tethered to people’s Instagram account, so you cannot delete Threads without also deleting your Instagram account. The whole thing is a trap.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read too that if you post something on Threads that they do not like, not only will they shut down your Threads account but they might do the same for your Instagram account as well. Don’t know how true it is but would not be surprised if it is.

        1. digi_owl

          Would not surprise me, as the two are one and the same.

          Similarly there has been recent talk about someone getting in trouble with Amazon’s home automation systems because a delivery driver reported their smart doorbell as being racist.

          And other have had their gmail access etc denied because of issues on Youtube.

          Single sign on means they have your digital life by the proverbials.

    2. griffen

      So the “TwitterKiller” application is landing with a dud as opposed to a thud? Whocouldanode. It is too, too funny and an entertaining thing to observe from afar.

      1. digi_owl

        I swear the reason Twitter took off was because Tumblr chased off all the naughty ones. Before then Twitter was used more as a announcement system for media people. End result was an explosive cocktail that has maybe lead to the current alphabet soup bruhaha.

        And the reason Threads is turning into a mayfly is that Meta announce they would not want anything “controversial” on their new service…

        1. Wukchumni

          My twitter feed is boisterous as always early in the morning and threads come in handy when building a nest.

      2. Dummy

        Is it just me but it seems that people signed up to threads as a hedge against Twitter imploding, an exit strategy. So obviously engagement would be low for now as people watch whether Twitter makes it or not. They stay on Twitter, for now, but threads ready to jump ship when/if the time comes?

        1. griffen

          Anything to escape the clutches of Elon Musk, any alternative seems like a good option and so forth. And this latest option pushed the Zuckerberg even further into their social media lives, for good or for ill. No one is mentioning the failure of all the Metaverse hype and hullabaloo anymore!

    1. The Rev Kev

      He sounds like that General Mark Milley. Just keep on telling the admin what they want to hear and you get to keep your job, no matter which party is in power. Since William J. Burns just got a big promotion now, this idea seems to work for him as well.

    2. digi_owl

      He could be right, but not in the way he thinks.

      They could be questioning Putin’s slow walk of the SMO, and would like to see him flatten Kiev and Lviv ASAP.

    3. Nikkikat

      General Milley and Blinken also making statements from non-reality land today. What happens when all their lying catches up with them? What lies do they tell then?

      1. griffen

        Now I can’t help myself but have to chime in with a really good scene from a Christmas film, Elf. If anyone recalls, Buddy is working in the department store when a “Santa Claus” is going to visit. Instead of a North Pole Santa that Buddy knows personally, it’s a boozing mall Santa Claus impersonator. Hilarity ensues. “You sit on a throne of lies!”

        Their lying might catch up to them, but here’s thinking it might take the afterlife process to make it so. After all, today’s version of liars whether R or D get security detail.

      2. CarlH

        “What happens when all their lying catches up with them?”

        They get promoted and lauded by their PMC peers, just like the people who brought us the Iraq War?

    4. Feral Finster

      I suspect he’s right. The West has a great deal of soft power, things like plaudits from western cultural institutions matter to Russian elites, having a villa abroad, having one’s offspring get degrees from western universities.

      Or, as Ksenia Sobchak put it “Fuck Donbass. I want my oysters!”

  3. flora

    Taibbi’s latest. mostly paywalled.

    Stacey Plaskett’s McCarthy Homage

    Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s appearance before the House Weaponization of Government Committee descends into madness

    From the longer article:

    “When Plaskett spoke it was like being transported to another realm, where rhetoric works upside-down, or sideways maybe, or speech of any kind is an inscrutable, anarchic process without meaning. She thundered, at length, about things that had nothing to do with Kennedy or the topic at hand. There were diatribes about things Kennedy specifically denounced, like election denial, white supremacy, and “the riots of January 6th,” but more frequently she just plunged into rants about things that had no connection to anything at all. Toward the end she laid out a Unified Field Theory of MAGA-Putin-RFK-Iran-Nazis:….”

    1. griffen

      Since the above includes the phrasing upside-down, I started recently watching Stranger Things on Netflix. Season 1 introduces the conceptual notion of an “Upside Down” parallel where all these apparent festering, drooling monsters reside. Season 2 is building on that, and I have started to consider that the hive minds of the bluecheck, Democrat or highly credentialed PMC are living their “best of lives” in this Upside Down. It’s the place where life is good, inflation is not a problem and Joe Biden is best President evah since “fill in a blank”. Yeah it’s a stretch but I think it fits.

      Plaskett. More noise and fury signifying nothing, I must truly presume. Matt every week, every month serves up new reasons I really want to subscribe and support his efforts. Time to scrape through the couch cushions.

      1. digi_owl

        They pretty much do, as their (sub-)urban lifestyle means the only contact they have with the working poor is the odd Amazon/UPS delivery driver.

        It’s like a modern day Victorian era, only with the servants hiding behind apps rather than in back staircases.

        1. JBird4049

          >>It’s like a modern day Victorian era, only with the servants hiding behind apps rather than in back staircases.

          Or in the corridors hidden in the walls? What I remember reading about the efforts at keeping the help hidden during the Victorian Era is just astounding and it does have the same feel of hiding the servants working class behind apps.

      2. .Tom

        I tried to watch Stranger Things but couldn’t cope with Winona Ryder freaking out for most of the first few eps so I gave up and her indoors watched it on her iPad.

        But yes. On the one side, the #2 story today about the Bankrun-Fraud Bros Doomsay Cult preparations by buying inland nations we see yet another example that rather supports the Alex Jones/Q-Anon view that the world is run by a cartel of deranged maniac oligarchs, seemingly all with surprisingly few degrees of separation from Jeffrey Epstein, who maybe don’t drink baby blood (as Q said) but will let them die if it is profitable enough (as Strether said). On the other hand the Believe Science BlueAnon Cultists think they’re going to maintain their grip on economic and political power and take us to the End Of History Promised Land of technocratic liberal democracy by putting their fingers in everyone’s ears and shouting loud enough.

        It’s a very odd inversion, isn’t it?

        1. playon

          We liked season one of Stranger Things but season two seems to be more of a (literal) horror show so we gave up on it.

          1. chris

            Season 2 was good, Season 3 was amazing, Season 4 was better than it should have been. Very fun watching them all with my teenage kids. I enthusiastically recommend them all :)

    2. KLG

      Another block quote:

      “The mind of the modern Blue-Anon politician — and Plaskett may be the purest specimen in the country now, surpassing even Adam Schiff — is like the last hole of a mini-golf course, where no matter what shot you hit, the ball ends up in the same bucket. The political equation is essentially [ANYTHING BAD = TRUMP = RACISM = RUSSIA INTERFERED = STFU]. Even Joe McCarthy at his most boozed-out and paranoid didn’t see this many goblins flying around his head at the same time. Kennedy, Jr. tried to protest on a few points, noting for instance he had nothing to do with replacement theory, but arguing against this thought process is like trying to fight in a dream. The blows bounce off the madness-vortex. How does one answer the charge that protesting your own censorship means supporting covert Iranian information operations?”

      Blue-Anon politician. That’s a keeper. I’m surprised Jason Aldean didn’t come up. Maybe he did?

      Oops. I see Flora beat me to it. Go, Flora!

    3. Jabura Basaidai

      good morning flora – you provided an excellent link to the hearings yesterday and as i wrote yesterday – Wasserman Schultz is evil not dumb – she is something incarnate from hell – watching her behavior during the Taibbi/Shellenberger testimony was the McCarthy hearings on steroids and these ones are no different – Plaskett is cut from the same rancid material Wasserman Schultz is cut from – her “so called journalist” remark at Taibbi was unforgettable – someone commented yesterday that she was a ‘so-called representative’ considering she is a non-voting rep from the US Virgin Islands, so she’s just a stooge tool obviously – wish i believed in heaven/hell or karma or some kind of retribution because they both would be most deserving of a karmic hell – by breathing they are guilty of stealing air – in the case of extreme doublespeak, the ACLU types i know around here are all ‘blue team only’ right or wrong – slurping the NYT kool-aid – oh yeah, Ukraine is winning if we didn’t know already – without the commentariat at NC i’d be climbing a tall tower –

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          getting into spook country now RK – and i don’t mean the pejorative for black folks – but of course poor Jeffie killed himself – such a damn shame he couldn’t ave expounded and elucidate upon his past in more detail –

        2. jhallc

          Listening to Plaskett and Wasserman-Schultz yesterday was worse that listening to Vogan poetry.

          1. Smith, M.J.

            According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide, the next worst poetry was by Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent. During a reading of his poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning”, four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging, and another only survived by gnawing one of his legs off. Sounds about right for that crew of Dems.

      1. .Tom

        You should be able to believe in heaven/hell or karma or some kind of retribution in a non-supernatural way as I do. The anarchist in me wants Plaskett to be punished by professional failure, loss of all reputation/honor among her peers and exile. That would satisfy my vengeful urges and it’s perfectly feasible. Less likely, perhaps but also well within the realm of possibility: if you are so inclined and have the opportunity you could contribute in some way to making it happen.

        Plaskett is just another person. A tryhard wannabee at best. For the moment she is protected by a powerful organization that she is useful to but that status could change in a matter of hours.

    4. Nikkikat

      Plaskett rivals anything I’ve seen on the GOP side. Really very unhinged woman. I’m glad Biden didn’t pick her for VP. Although she will be rewarded for her insane accusations by the democrats. Maybe try to put her on the Supreme Court or something huh Joe?

    5. Michael Fiorillo

      Wow, simply incredible that the D’s are still relying on Plaskett, even after her connections to Epstein were revealed.

      Trust Black Women, indeed.

      1. .Tom

        That Team Blue has no better strategy to counter the fire hose of evidence blasting at them than throwing incoherent bowlfuls of insulting sound-bite salad is actually even more amazing to me. Given that this seems to be the case, Plaskett and Wasserman Schultz are maybe quite suitable and persuading someone with a bit more pull to do the throwing would be tough.

        It’s also rather amazing to me that some intelligent people I know tell me they find this salad quite appealing and nutritious.

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      Taibbi’s conclusion:

      There will always be loony characters in politics — the Bush era was full of them — but this current crop of Democrats is unique. Where are they going with this? Or are they just this nuts?

      I keep wondering how a non-voting “delegate” to the house of representatives, who’s been in d.c. for 8 years and no one even knew existed before January, 2023, became the “ranking member” of a very significant house committee.

      It’s as if, having embraced senility and corruption in their chief executive, they decided to throw a monkey wrench into the house committee system by digging to the bottom of the looney bin and dragging up the biggest lunatic they could find who, luckily, has pretty much nothing to lose.

      Didn’t it used to be that plum committee assignments were coveted rewards for seniority or bringing in the big bucks to the party? Kinda begs the question of what the “gentlelady from the Virgin Islands,” who has no vote, had to trade. Something to do with the dear departed jeffrey epstein perhaps?

      1. Michael

        Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) rose to national prominence as one of the impeachment managers during former President Trump’s second trial, so why not a Committee Chair? /s

      2. .Tom

        This particular committee was created by Team Red to process evidence of maleficence and cover-ups by Team Blue. I guess the higher ups in Team Blue didn’t really need to see much of the evidence to know how bad it was going to get because they did the deeds and the cover ups and they could see that their only defense would be denial and smears. Then it’s a matter of choosing who to task with the denial and smearing? The candidates need to be either willing or coercible, which narrows the field.

        Idk, I’m just making up stories to explain the insanity to myself.

    7. Tangled up in Texas

      I am pretty sure nothing will come of the hearing itself. Repubs are only conducting the hearings to embarrass the Dems and would do the same thing (censor) if they were in power.

      To say that I was appalled at the total ignorance I heard coming out of so many of “our” representatives mouths would be an understatement. I guess people of low moral fiber and ignorance have nowhere to go but to fail upward these days. Perhaps this is our new American dream?

      1. JBird4049

        Well, it has been commented here at NC and elsewhere that our elites and their supporters always fail upwards often for stuff that would have gotten them fired or charged in the past, and that would certainly happen to us little people; if just being a brain dead, obedient, and loyal minion is the path to success why know or be competent at anything?

        I’m wondering if our political establishment is just a lichdom with the lich Joe Biden as its President?

  4. griffen

    Big college centered towns lean blue. Shocking development to read up on. Yeah I lived in the Chapel Hill Durham region for about 9 to 10 years, and Chapel “Thrill” is a reliably Democrat leaning environment. Not too hard to figure that, and likely a lot has changed since I moved in 2006. Heck, the last time I visited in 2019 it could be hard to tell what was left of the “undeveloped spaces”.

    Enrollments expand, administration expands and much of the administration filters into their positions from, wait for it, other roles within academia more often than not.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Out of curiosity, when those students go to vote do they do so for where the college is located & where they live or do they vote for candidates in the places that they come from? Do they get a choice?

      1. petal

        Here in Hanover and NH, there’s been a big push(fight?) by Dems in recent years to allow students to vote here instead of forcing them to vote where they’re from. It increases the number of blue votes in NH by a decent number, pushing back against and diluting any local voting signals from actual residents. We are a small town and a small state, so it can make a difference. When I was at uni back in the Dark Ages, I always requested an absentee ballot from home, which was in another part of the state. I would’ve never even thought about voting in my college town because it wouldn’t have been right or fair to residents.

        1. LifelongLib

          Yup, university back in the 70s, always voted absentee for my home town which was across the state.

      2. griffen

        Not fully sure and it’s a good question. I voted via an absentee ballot one time, in the 1992 Presidential election, home state being North Carolina. The article describes a few varied locations, with some level of detail on the change to demographics and the local population increases.

        Locations discussed included Asheville, which is roughly an hour or so drive north from my location in South Carolina. It’s not hard to see the attraction of relocating there, which of course has served to drive up home values.

      3. marym

        They get a choice, based on a 1979 SCOTUS decision. Laws such as those for voter registration requirements, location of polling places, and eligibility for mail voting are by state.

      4. scott s.

        I turned 18 just after Amendment XVI was ratified so registered in Madison WI where I was a UW student. This just in time for 1972 primary/general elections. I used to joke that my vote was much more powerful as there were only 24 Nixon votes in my precinct . At the time Madison/Dane County were considered somewhat anti-UW liberal. But eventually anti-war Paul Soglin would be mayor, so political attitudes did change.

    2. pjay

      I lived in college towns much of my adult life. I laughed out loud at this story, especially the graphic at the top showing dots of blue expanding to encompass the entire US! Talk about living in an alternative universe! The reality is the opposite. Such college towns, along with a few urban enclaves, are becoming increasingly isolated islands of blue in a growing sea of red. It is true that relatively large college towns in low population states can have a political effect, but it is a limited one. And the implication that this promises to have a *growing* impact on national politics in the US is a fantasy. Obviously the authors live in one of the blue bubble islands; their perceptions of reality are distorted accordingly.

      1. Lexx

        We live in one of those bubble islands (Fort Collins) and we’ve been here since 2002. The description of political sea change here over the last twenty years is accurate. This district includes the eastern plains voters who remain Republican but compared to increasingly blue Fort Collins and Front Range communities, the numbers give the appearance up and down I-25 of a blue state.

        The authors weren’t wrong about the demographic change either. It seems every other license plate on the roads with me now are from Texas, Oklahoma, California, Alabama, Arizona, and Florida… but especially, Texas. Mostly youngish, affluent, and single packing the bars, restaurants, and micro breweries. (Fort Collins is the northern tip of the micro-brewery triangle between FC, Boulder, and Denver.). I was talking in a bar yesterday afternoon with one of those young immigrants from Florida while waiting for a pizza. He was from Florida but had lived in coastal cities all over the U.S.. He’s decided Loveland is home for the foreseeable future. His ma is trying to get him to come back to Florida and he’s like ‘naw’ and mentioned climate and environmental reasons. So this area is attracting people looking to move and settle while it’s still their own choice, rather than one that’s forced on them.

        (Meanwhile, I was tootling via Street View through Ocean Shores, Wa. My MIL may leave us her beach properties and that opens up the possibility of escape from the heat part of every year. It’s been years since I had a razor clam. Mostly dug up in the winter months during low tides.)

        The number of start-ups being incubated out of CSU was enlightening; I had no idea there were so many of them.* It does help explain why so much of the increased traffic with out-of-state plates are affixed to expensive cars and SUV’s… (and clunkers, because there are jobs aplenty in the service sector… someone has to be willing to do the dry cleaning for those climate-minded newcomers.)

        But Larimer County wasn’t my first inquiry on the map, it was Ada County, Idaho. We too have lived in college towns all our adult lives. It was Boise that we left to move to Fort Collins; it’s home to Boise State University. I met some of the miserable Democrats living there, politically it’s like flailing themselves with a cat-o-nine-tails. The ‘unaffliated’ number in Ada gives me hope, since they almost outnumber the registered Dems and Repubs together… but this is the commentariat of NC. A left-leaning Idaho isn’t necessarily a good thing. ;^>

        *The article mentions the veterinary college in passing but doesn’t say that old part of the campus is in the process of getting new buildings and a major facelift. It was the less expensive option for when you wanted expert vet care for your pooch at an affordable price. Still available but much more expensive now… somebody had to pay for all that construction… yer welcome!

        1. Wukchumni

          Rented a U-Haul trailer in Santa Fe Springs. Ca. for 1-way drop-off in Visalia, Ca. as I needed to move some furniture, and I inquired with the employee as to where his traffic was going, and w/o missing a beat, he said

          ‘Everybody’s leaving LA… man’.

          He related it was almost to epidemic proportions the number of trailers, trucks and whatnot that had made their way to the new promissory note lands, brave equity refugee pioneers one and all for the most part.

          This was reflected in rates, for instance it was $190 to rent the 5×9 foot trailer 1-way to Visalia, but if I returned it to Santa Fe Springs within 3 days it was only $50. He said rates were all screwy like that, to compensate for the ‘loss’.

        2. pjay

          Yeah, I have no quarrel with their description of changes within University towns themselves. In fact they point out some important undesirable elements (for me), such as the Universities themselves increasingly becoming corporate research parks, and the corresponding explosion of real estate prices. My problem is with their implication – which is mostly unstated but clearly intended – that this is a reason for Democrats or progressives to be optimistic about their overall political future. For me this is similar to the demographic argument that Lambert and others have criticized many times: that all Dems have to do is wait for enough brown people to become citizens or have children and they’re home free (the *acceptable* version of “replacement” theory). It’s another demographic argument, and just as myopic. If you are a secure member of the PMC with a good salary in such an enclave, the future probably does look bright. The problem, to which they are typically oblivious, is with all the other left-behinds on the outside looking in.

    3. wol

      I live in the woods miles outside Chapel Hill/Carrboro. I’m remembered locally for my pro-Bernie, long since-deleted facebook account. I lay low.

      The infill progresses, up to and over $1M houses with barely enough land to build on. A Carrboro house exhibits a 7′ metal sculpture of Obama’s head, up for years. The Carrboro clock tower boasts a huge BLACK LIVES MATTER banner. Thank you NC and commentariat, for being you.

      1. griffen

        One of my early apartments was on the Carrboro side, maybe it was Jones Ferry Road but that was roughly ’96 to ’98 before moving across town. Yeah a large sculpture of POTUS # 44 is not a surprising thing to learn about, and if memory serves there was some pottery and metal working down towards the Pittsboro area. Used to play weekend or twilight golf back towards Snow Camp, honestly because usually A. cheaper and B. walking was not an issue.

        I always find this anecdotal and contrary to well known thought, but UNC head coach Dean Smith was a quite liberal leaning and forward thinking individual. A bit opposite, possibly, to many of the faithful following of the college hoops team.

    1. tricia

      On Losurdo’s book on Stalin, there is a new translation coming out: It should be good.

      Even the earlier one referenced, welcomed by many of us at the time it came out despite its apparent weakness (ie not translated from the original Italian edition), was a wonderful counter to the incessant propaganda we’re fed here in the US from youth on.

        1. flora

          That’s a mistake I’ve made many times. / :)

          Thanks for the link. I’m interested in the topic.

  5. flora

    From Matt Taibbi’s latest, mostly paywall article. The embedded video setups up the article.

    Stacey Plaskett’s McCarthy Homage
    Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s appearance before the House Weaponization of Government Committee descends into madness

    “Even Joe McCarthy at his most boozed-out and paranoid didn’t see this many goblins flying around his head at the same time. Kennedy, Jr. tried to protest on a few points, noting for instance he had nothing to do with replacement theory, but arguing against this thought process is like trying to fight in a dream. The blows bounce off the madness-vortex. How does one answer the charge that protesting your own censorship means supporting covert [1]ranian information operations? “

    1. flora

      adding: Here’s the Debbie W-S clip from Forbes. She’s either ignorant or deliberately… uh… “misleading”, imo.

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz And RFK Jr. Clash When She Confronts Him

      Here are a couple of links showing research in this area has been going on for many years. I believe RFKjr was referencing this research not as a claim the current disease or medicine was deliberately designed to target some groups, but to expand on the ideas in the two following links, and answer a question “why do some groups seem to be hit harder than other groups” with a disease? And to point out the potential enormous dangers of such research. The Dems twisted his words.

      From the NIH:

      From Scientific American:

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        twist his words? oh…..i’m soooooooo surprised – NOT – they are mainlining McCarthy with a steroid boost –

  6. petal

    I knew I’d seen that falcon photo before-just the other day, in fact! If folks are on faceborg, there’s a wonderful group called “Manx Photographers”, and it is full of talented photographers and lots of top notch bird photos among others. Peter’s an excellent photographer. The group highlights the beauty of the island through its flora, fauna, and scenery. Worth checking out.

  7. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    You couldn’t help but notice there was no War On Coins, as they mattered so little with the largest denomination coin commonly seen in circulation being worth 2 bits and the 1 item for sale @ that price was an orb from the gumball machine, about the only thing in the supermarket not digitalized, er that is aside from using your digits to turn the handle to garner your gumball.

    No need to waste energy on small time bit players when the War On Cash was being waged Visa vis, as better to track all of your purchases dahrlink.

    The Unit had placards made up that read:

    ‘This Note Is Legal Tender For All Debts, Public And Private’

    As the platoon picketed in the 128 degree heat of Death Valley NP the other day, with placards held aloft pacing around Zabriskie Point, to better make our point, the NP having gone rogue a few months back.

    1. Polar Socialist

      You know, the states of North Atlantic region should come up with some kind of a treaty organization pledging some fraction of their GDP to try to secure them against such threats.

      Too bad they’re busy gardening.

    2. Boomheist

      There is another link on today’s NC about Greenland cores, pointing out that sediments from 420,000 years ago showed parts of Greenland as forested land and sea levels higher than today. This current article here is one of several, a few of which have suggested that during interglacials – and we are in one now, the warm period between ice sheets – that it may be precisely the warming of the ice sheets (in Greenland and maybe Antarctica) which, by flooding the ocean with less salty water, causes the great current conveyor systems to stop, thereby robbing Europe and the Eurasian land mass of the Gulf Stream’s warmth, and this may be what kicks off a new ice age everywhere: The current slows and stops and suddenly, one year, in Europe, and Eurasia, the snows do not fully melt, and then the next year the same, and the next, and at some point the snows fail to melt in North America, too. Within a decade all agriculture stops, and after a century you have the start of a great ice sheet. The other thing about that other NC article is that the previous warmings, and much higher sea levels, happened with much lower CO2 levels than today, ie before any human impacts, at least industrial impacts. This seems, to me, to suggest that this warming may have very little to do with human impacts at all, as it has happened before many times. Some will of course argue that the higher CO2 levels are or will be making it worse, this time, of course, but it may just as well be that the warming swings have nothing to do with C)2 – ie whatever we humans do today, there is nothing we can do to stop the end of this interglacial, which is, I think, at least the 20th in the last 2 million years. In fact from an evolutionary perspective I would argue that it is precisely these climate swings, and huge changes due to ice age advances and retreats, that helped, perhaps even caused, we humans to learn how to adapt and survive in a greatly changing world (and which also, sad to say, surely reduced worldwide populations to near zero several times – and may again…)

      So it may be – may be – that what we are living through right now is a) entirely separate from the industrial age but entirely natural; b) a sign not that the earth is about to totally overheat but instead a signal that we are near the point where the currents stop and suddenly, one summer, the snows don’t fully melt, as happened I believe in 1816, the “year without a summer.” It isn’t as if an ice age starts up north in the arctic and then the huge sheets of ice flow south, I think, but rather that the footprint of natural snows stops fully melting throughout its range, year by year, and an ice sheet builds up in place over centuries.

      And the “bad things happening”: Rev Kev mentions will include not huge sea level increases (but increases) but instead an immediate – I mean, within ONE YEAR – collapse of much of the worldwide agricultural system, the isolation of millions of people in snows and their migration south. Compared to adjusting to year by year heat waves this impact will be a thousand times worse.

      When I was in graduate school in the early 1970s the mantra back then, small as it was, was that we were about to enter a new ice age. I remember winters when I was fishing on Cape Cod after finishing school when Cape Cod Bay froze to the horizon. That was the general view, back then, as we knew we were 10,000 years into the current interglacial, which is about the average interglacial period. It might just be we were right, and what we are seeing now is the period of final turning, which might take of course decades. But it might happen fast, too.

      If I were King I’d embark on a worldwide program to establish a hydrogen based fuel economy asap, something that uses an unlimited supply of energy to enable us to build and maintain industrial, living, and food growing systems to mitigate as best we can what is about to happen.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The problem with your thesis is that the up-and-down swings alternating between ice ages and periods much warmer than now is that the sine-wave swings ended with the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene. Here’s a graph showing 4.5 billion years of Earth’s climate (its context) And the thing to remember is human agriculture (as opposed to human “gardening”) and civilization only began after the Holocene was underway. There were fluctuations in the Holocene, but they were all within a degree Celsius as opposed to the 3+ degree Celsius swings in the Pleistocene.

        The Little Ice Age to which you refer was not the result of some cycle but because of a period a vulcanism that spewed ash into the stratosphere where it cut down on solar radiation reaching the Earth.

        As for the cause of the warming we’re experiencing, it’s hard for me to see how anyone can deny carbon’s effect at this point. First of all, the property of CO2 to absorb photons, unlike O2 or N2, has been known since the 19th century. Second, we have put an extraordinary amount of carbon in the air since 1850, and especially in the last 30 years. Here’s the graph.These days, when climate scientists get something wrong, it’s because the reality is worse than the predictions. The nearly .2 degree C of global temperature rise this year to nearly 1.5 degrees C over the 1850 level has shocked scientists who had forecast that it would take a decade for the temperature to rise that much.

        As for the effects of this human-caused warming, nobody knows. The moviemakers presented a scenario like the one you’ve suggested. Going Venus is another possibility. My guess is that human industrial civilization will be brought down soon enough that the worst effects will be avoided for the planet and its non-creatures, but I think anybody is guessing because of the amazing complexity of Earth’s systems, but I think it’s very hard to argue that it will be a good thing for human civilization.

        We might say that the Earth was “maturing” until it reached the extraordinarily agriculture- and civilization-friendly Holocene. But that wasn’t good enough for us. We discovered the black gold in the ground and made a devil’s bargain. Now we don’t know how to stop even to save ourselves.

        Just a suggestion: beware of billionaire-funded liars-for-hire websites that peddle alternate explanations for what is a product of human Overshoot. Here’s a remarkable WSJ op-ed defending poor, unfairly besmirched CO2. Both authors are Phds, one is the former astronaut, Harrison Schmitt, the other is William Happer. Look at their backgrounds in the links as collected by DeSmog. Schmitt was a director at the Heartland Institute, a billionaire-funded collection of liars-for-hire that earned its reputation by claiming tobacco was no health threat. Happer is of the same ilk. His politics are Cato and the Trump administration.

        I’m not trying to straw man you. You didn’t make the absurd argument that these two jokers make in the WSJ. But the claim that this warming trend is part of some natural cycle is another argument peddled by these kinds of folks. And these arguments are looking more and more fraudulent as the effects of even 1.5 degrees of warming are upon us.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        Re: “This seems, to me, to suggest that this warming may have very little to do with human impacts at all, as it has happened before many times.”
        Past cycles have been correlated with variations of the Earth’s orientation to the Sun. The following is from Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World’s Highest Mountains, by Mark Bowen, published in 2005:

        There are several periodic perturbations of the Earth’s orientation to the Sun:
        1. Earth’s orbit is an ellipse that varies in eccentricity because of the gravitational influence of other planets. The period of the variation is approximately 100,000 years. In the present epoch the orbit is just about as close to circular as it gets, and thus Earth receives about 7% more light than it does when the ellipse is most elongated.
        2. The period of a single traverse of the orbit is approximately 365.25 days – that is one calendar year. As seen from space above the North Pole, the Earth’s solstices and equinoxes precess counterclockwise around the orbit and vary the relative distances between the Earth and the Sun during the seasons. The period of this precession is about 22,000 years. In the northern hemisphere at the present time the Earth is closer to the Sun during the winter than during the summer.
        3. The Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted at an average of approximately 23.5 degrees from being perpendicular to a line between the centers of the Earth and the Sun when one pole is pointing directly at the Sun and the other directly away from it. This axis tilt drives the Earth’s annual seasons as it traverses its orbit. As seen from space above the North Pole, the Earth’s axis precesses over a period of approximately 26,000 years. This has the affect of causing the positions of astronomical bodies relative to the time of day or night. For example 13,000 years from now Polaris (aka the North Star) will be directly overhead at the 45th north parallel at some time of the day or night.
        4. The obliquity of the Earth’s axis precesses over a period of approximately 41,000 years, during which it its minimum tilt is about 22 degrees and its maximum is about 25 degrees.

      3. ArvidMartensen

        The hydrogen based on coal and gas (blue hydrogen) is the hydrogen we will get. That other “green” hydrogen is mostly PR fluff for the voters and young people.

        The real problem is that modern civilisation is built on cheap, cheap, cheap coal, oil and gas. And all those “alternatives” are not only less effective sources of power, but are not all that cheap compared to fossil fuels.

        Yep it is true that there seems to be some sort of swing between warm and very cold during the planet’s history, but this is just another variable. We are amplifying the warming by burning vegetable matter which was taken out of circulation millions of years ago. And more vegie greens are just ramping up to join the party, in the guise of rotted green matter which has been locked in ice for millennia and which we are now freeing (Freedom!!) by CO2 fuelled melting of permafrost.

        Perhaps we have reached that CH4 tipping point, as evidenced by the temps this year. In that case it’s over red rover, as we have no control over this methane, whereas we at least kidded ourselves that we were in control of the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere.

        And our new, ESG, more sensitive civilisation is still built to a great extent on coal. Lithium refining, solar panel manufacture, solar battery manufacture, the energy that EVs run on. Not to mention the huge whack of coal & gas that now powers that ever expanding digital universe. In fact I think a lot of the angst about cars is really a ‘look over there’ by the digital industries and their hangers on.

        1. c_heale

          We’re not going to get any hydrogen economy imo. Apparently the main problem is hydrogen molecules can escape from most pipes and containers since they are so small.

          If there was any chance of a hydrogen economy where are all the cars etc. running on hydrogen?

          It’s another boondoggle.

    3. Boomheist

      There are papers arguing that it is the very melting of the ice caps during times of heat that in turn actually cause the next ice age. All that fresh water slows down the current, and this robs Europe and Eurasia of Gulf Stream warmth, so it suddenly becomes colder, the snows don’t melt one year, then the next, then the next…a century later all that snow starts to become ice and you have an ice sheet, grown in place….So it may be that all this heat and warming and, frankly, panic that the end times are here and “we need to block the sun” is misplaced. Maybe the real situation here is that we live in an ice age world, and we are in the 11,000th year of at least the 20th such interval during the last 2 million years, these warm intervals have happened many times before, it has been warmer then than even now, and sea levels have been higher, and none of this has to do with CO2 levels at all, but is simple a process driven by factors we don’t fully understand. And it may be, as well, that the future horror facing us all is not heat but ice, loss of farmland, displacement of people south, and this might happen very very fast when and if it does.

      And maybe, instead of blocking the sun, as some now seriously suggest, we need to find a hydrogen energy base for our economy so we can air condition in the south but heat in the north, grow food in heated sheds in the icy north – ie find an energy basis to maintain our modern economy in the face of not heat, but cold, understanding as well that if we DO end up getting a lot hotter anyway (ie I am wrong about the next ice age at least for a few decades or centuries) we still need that energy source to cool homes and buildings, pump our flooding seawater, etc…..

      1. ACPAL

        The climate models I’ve seen, at least the early ones, all assumed a linear or at worst an exponential rise in global temperature. Nature is much more complex and often appears chaotic. “Chaos theory concerns deterministic systems whose behavior can, in principle, be predicted. Chaotic systems are predictable for a while and then ‘appear’ to become random.” – Wikipedia

        With so little history to validate even the simpler models, and certainly not the more complex models, I find it unreasonable to upend my lifestyle to reduce carbon emissions when, in reality, the best we can do is like urinating into the wind and may be a total waste of effort anyway.

        We need to be putting our efforts into planning for a broad range of possibilities, moving people off the beaches, plan to move farming in whatever direction the weather takes us, prepare for heavy rains and droughts everywhere, and etc because “The future is not ours to see.”

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    AI centers in farmland–

    I wonder, when the brownouts become commonplace, whose juice will get cut off and whose will continue to flow:

    A spokeswoman for APS, the utility in Phoenix, said that it has received requests to connect new data centers whose power requirements are equivalent to “roughly 560,000 Arizona homes over the next eight years.”

    “That far exceeds our available generation resource and transmission capacity in the Southwest region during that time frame,” the spokeswoman said.

    “Utility power just can’t keep up with the industry,” Pat Lynch, an executive managing director of CBRE’s data center solutions group, said.

    And replacing good farmland with AI data centers? When the food gets short, will Bezos and Zuck suggest, “Let them eat silicon?”

    A society having a counterproductive goal like maximizing profit produces insane behavior.

    1. Mikel

      I’m thinking about the same things.
      This already let’s you know that requiring plug in cars isn’t about auto production for billions of people. It’s about immobilizing people and, in what are called developed countries, lack of mobility is key to putting people at the mercy of rentiers.

      With the added drain of data centers and chip plants on vital resources to the basic survival of people, it’s a direct middle-finger to humanity under the guise of the biggest lie of all time: that any of it has to do with progress for humanity.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Made me think of this:

        Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
        And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
        Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
        Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

        And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
        Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
        Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
        Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

        When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
        Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
        I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
        Just five miles away from wherever I am.

        “Paradise” John Prine (video)

    2. griffen

      A new entry in the Mad Max film chronology? We move ahead, from Fury Road to Desolate Lands. I have observed in the past few years, there were solar farm installations at the most curious locations off rural South Carolina roads. I am not good at the acreage math, but some plots were possibly on just a very acres at most, which just strikes me as a unique feature. If I think about the next time I see them I’ll submit as a plantidote entry, so to speak. At least there will be some tree growth in the background.

    3. jhallc

      So, in addition to all the crypto mining energy being used on the grid, we now can add in the AI data farms. Nice!

  9. tegnost

    Poland’s deputy minister coordinator of special services, Stanislaw Zaryn, told the state-owned PAP news agency.

    Ok I’m jealous…we need a pap news agency in the us.

  10. John Beech

    COVID19 data point: Visited Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, FL) this week.

    Wife and I were sole wearers of masks . . . within the entire facility.

    1. ambrit

      Yes. similar results here.
      The pure power of propaganda.
      Speaking of which, I had a short back and forth with a person in Australia about films. He mentioned “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” as the coming “blockbusters.” I retorted that “Sound of Freedom” was “punching way above it’s weight,” and to keep an eye on it. His reply was that the people he dealt with from America all told him that “Sound of Freedom” was a Q-Anon adjacent piece of Right Wing Nut Job propaganda. The box office figures, according to his correspondents, were heavily weighted by a Nutter led “Pay It Forward” campaign and that most of the screenings were almost empty.
      We agreed to disagree.
      Stay safe and keep masking.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I would expect “Sound of Freedom” to keep on doing well in the coming months in spite of the media campaign against it, “Oppenheimer” to pick up steam as it seems to be a great film and “Barbie” to flame out. I heard a rumour how that later movie ends and if true, it is not what it seems but who am I to give a spoiler alert?

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Older family member caught something a couple of months ago. Mild sniffle, mild headache, some fatigue. He couldn’t taste his beer and his food tasted too bland. Used a RAT with no result. Got PCR tested a week after and nothing showed up. Apart from mild to moderate fatigue, seemed ok for a while after.

        Then 2 weeks after his initial symptoms, profound fatigue really, really kicked in. He couldn’t sit at the dinner table, or on the couch, without dozing. He couldn’t string a sentence together. Had some chest pains (could have been stress), but notable because when younger he had a triple by-pass and some stents. Someone had to go to the doctor with him to explain as he was almost incoherent. He resembled his father in his 80’s.

        But with a lot of care, he seems to be pulling through. His wife has been trialling stuff on him from various research sources(eg NAC, Yale) and maybe it’s working. He has now recovered, after 2 months, about 60 – 70%. It was scary to the whole family, who all think he had Covid. The doctor won’t say as there has been no positive test.

        This was a man, recently retired, who masked indoors, at the grocery store and mall etc. His only unmasked public activity afaik, has been his absolute love of dining on outdoor cafe patios, which he did most days, sitting near a whole lot of other unmasked diners. He swore that this was zero risk and that it was impossible to catch the virus outdoors if he was 6 feet away. Hmmmm…

        1. LifelongLib

          Sorry to read this. I hope he makes a full recovery.

          FWIW I generally don’t mask outdoors, but will if I can’t avoid being “downwind” of people, especially a group.

          My understanding is the 6 feet rule was based on the idea of covid being spread by fomites rather than it being airborne.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Interesting indeed (especially given all of the space-aliens-Vogon-contact talk these days): Something in space has been lighting up every 20 minutes since 1988.

    Writer Timmer points out a major problem: We may not have measured correctly because we don’t even know what we are measuring. To wit: “The good news is that these objects will be so difficult to spot that it’s possible there are a lot more out there that we’ve overlooked. The bad news is that they’re still hard to spot. The length of the burst—up to 300 seconds—and the gap between bursts mean short-cadence observations will likely either see something there the whole time or miss it entirely.”

    This is a timeless question in philosophy and in gathering knowledge scientifically: How much does the observer affect the observed?

    Statisticians ask the question all the time. It is the reason for control groups and for (a dim) understanding of the workings of placebos.

    Having observed that Timmer is correct, I’m back to my usual skepticism: The lab-leak hypothesis is still not proven. Lists of suspects are not reliable data.

    Likewise, I am still skeptical of various statements that R Kennedy has thrown out there, that he then pulls back: Various disconnected observations about the water or about the safety of vaccines do not make a scientific theory. What Kennedy is doing is politics, and having seen his excellent testimony in front of the knuckleheads Nonvoting Delegate Plaskett and Unindicted Fraudster Wasserman Schultz, I’d say that he has excellent political instincts. (Which I will not call genetic.)

    My skepticism is just busting out all over, like June.

    As to the twenty-minute pulses: The comments below the article are from an interesting group. Some plausible explanations turn up there.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      How are you doing in the heat and downpours. That video of Milan’s streets turning into rivers is pretty shocking. Northern Italy has had its challenges with Covid and now this weather.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Henry Moon Pie: Thanks. Here in the Chocolate City of the Undisclosed Region, we are in our own little world. The history of Turin is peculiar–both Nostradamus and Erasmus studied here (wowsers, as we say at Naked Capitalism). The region of Piedmont also has a peculiar history–straddling the mountains, with French and Italian components, battling to unite Italy, turning into an economic powerhouse, and now a font of the Slow Food movement. Hmmm.

        We had two hailstorms, one in an arc from the south and west to the north of the city. That was about ten days ago, and the hail was “the size of an apricot,” meaning that it caused damage. Since then, there hasn’t been a whole lot of news, and it is possible (possible) some of the crops have recovered somewhat. Last week, there was another hailstorm, localized to the north of the city. Not as grotesque as what we see in Lombardy and, especially, Emilia-Romagna. And the poor Romagnoli truly don’t need another weather plague.

        So here upstream in the Po Valley, the weather is peculiar but fairly normal. After some blasts of heat, the temperatures have fallen to daily highs of about 86 or 88 F.

        Bill S, I believe, is downstream of me–in the Veneto. We should check on how things go with him.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Thanks, DJG. Glad things aren’t too bad where you are. Apricot-sized hail is no fun, though.

          The newest scene of a Dunkirk-style evacuation from Rhodes is pretty shocking.

  12. Jabura Basaidai

    – beaches contaminated – here is Michigan there have been constant e coli warnings for Lake Michigan beaches and it seems to be an annual occurrence – when i lived in Chicago it was along Wacker next to the river a couple of blocks from the big water and the river is beyond filthy and feel sorry for the animals that do live along it – we are not the most intelligent species –

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘If you’re this guy’s commander or 1SG, you suck’

    Could this be related to why the military is having such a difficult time retaining people as well as even just recruiting them? Before this story even went online, how many people would have heard it from this couple and their friends & family and decided to give military service a miss?

    1. Random

      It’s a circular issue.
      Lack of recruits puts more stress on current personnel and lowers recruiting standards.
      This in turn causes leads to lower recruitment.
      And the other way around.

      1. ambrit

        A cynic would say to apply the Late Roman Empire solution. Allow ‘foreigners’ to serve and give them, and their families, automatic citizenship at the end of their service. that worked out well for the Romans, didn’t it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I believe that the US does that already though I have read of cases where some of these ex-service people have been picked up by immigration and turfed over the border again. You would think that to be illegal but it happens. Same way that a bank by law is not allowed to foreclose on a servicemen if they are serving overseas but banks do it anyway and the government does not care.

  14. pjay

    – ‘The CIA Opposes JFK Record Releases Because Each One Is More Damning Than the Last’ – Jacobin

    Thank you for posting this. I was surprised to see such an article in Jacobin, but then I saw the author was Branko Marcetic, who is one of the few reasons I still read Jacobin. Thanks to Branko as well.

    1. ThirtyOne

      Not just CIA opposition:

      “It is further perplexing that Biden has chosen to continue to deny the American public transparency into the death of a much admired predecessor since he has chosen to surround himself in the White House with artwork memorializing the Kennedys e.g. the bust of Robert F. Kennedy in the Oval Office and the famous portrait of JFK by Jamie Wyeth that President Biden specifically requested to be borrowed from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to hang in his private White House study.”

      Virtue signaling? Hunting trophies?

      1. ambrit

        “Creepy” Joe Biden is acting like Caligula placing a bust of the Divine Augustus in his privy.

    2. JBird4049

      This may be a cliché, but the struggles against death of any dying empire always brings great harm to all its subjects, no matter how necessarily its death is.

      Honestly, no matter the harm to my nation, I would be very happy if the American Empire became the Republic of the United States of America in fact, rather then in words, which it has not been for decades, if ever, and certainly not since the last decades of the Twentieth Century.

      But the costs will be very, painfully, great.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        Thomas Merton would agree with your last sentence completely – in a letter W H Ferry, a friend of Merton’s and from Detroit which makes me wonder if my great grandfather or grandfather may have known him – they moved in similar circles – in a letter to Ferry in January 1962 Merton wrote, “What is needed is really not shrewdness or craft, but what the politicians don’t have: depth, humanity and a certain totality of self-forgetfulness and compassion, not just for individuals but for man as a whole: a deeper kind of dedication. Maybe Kennedy will break through into that some day by miracle. But such people are before long marked out for assassination.” – prophetic consequences less than two years later – the forces that brought those consequences have only become geometrically stronger – as have their arrogance – i think not in terms of nations anymore except as an observer – the extractive greed which has fueled that arrogance has consequences too, that we are experiencing and observing around the world which cannot be controlled by war and violence – a Brazilian friend sent me this Cree proverb –
        “Only when the last tree has died
        And the last river has been poisoned
        And the last fish has been caught
        Will we realize we cannot eat money”

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The military-industrial complex enters orbit”

    Of course the UN Outer Space treaty forbids weapons in space but it looks like the Pentagon wants to militarize it under the Rules-Based order. You know, before any other nation thinks to do so. Gotta keep space free for all those billionaires you know on their way to claim the Moon for their own under the Artemis Accords. Of course it is only a matter of time before some idiot decides that the only way to have ‘full dominance’ is to have nuclear bombs in orbit ready to arc on a target nation in at a command. You know, before any other nation thinks to do so. And with all those Starlink satellites flying above, you would never be able to pick out the tactical orbiting nukes.

    1. Michaelmas

      Rev Kev: Of course it is only a matter of time before some idiot decides that the only way to have ‘full dominance’ is to have nuclear bombs in orbit ready to arc on a target nation in at a command.

      How do we really know they don’t already?

      The Boeing X-37 … is a reusable robotic spacecraft … boosted into space by a launch vehicle, then re-enters Earth’s atmosphere and lands as a spaceplane. The X-37 is operated by the United States Space Force for orbital spaceflight missions intended to demonstrate reusable space technologies. It is a 120-percent-scaled derivative of the earlier Boeing X-40. The X-37 began as a NASA project in 1999, before being transferred to the United States Department of Defense in 2004. Until 2019, the program was managed by Air Force Space Command.

      An X-37 first flew during a drop test in 2006 … Subsequent flights gradually extended the mission duration, reaching 780 days in orbit for the fifth mission, the first to launch on a Falcon 9 rocket. The latest mission, the sixth, launched on an Atlas V on 17 May 2020 and concluded on 12 November 2022, reaching a total of 908 days in orbit.[2

  16. Carolinian

    Setting aside less important war and finance discussions the eagerly waited box office report.

    Filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s female-fueled Barbie started off with a stupendous $70.5 million on Friday, including $22.3 million in previews. If early modeling is correct, the Warner Bros. movie is headed for a historic $155 million-plus opening domestically, a threshold usually reserved for male-driven superhero fare or marquee IP such as the final Harry Potter movie. (Some show the movie even crossing $160 million, although Warner Bros. is remaining more circumspect and sticking with $150 million-plus in case Saturday traffic tails off.)

    Barbie doubled Oppenheimer’s projected 77 million which is still quite good although it will need 400 million overall to make its nut.

    Oh sorry, feeling overwhelmed with tradespeak. In any case I knew NC needed this important update.

    1. griffen

      Yeah it was the small talk if you will yesterday afternoon on CNBC, before the markets closed. Makes for something fun I guess, to discuss which you go see first; or dare I suggest watching these films in direct sequence? I would presume watching Barbie first might take the edge off what you are seeing next.

      I’m patiently waiting on first hand accounts. Oldest nephew is a certified Nolan devotee, and I rely on his input more than more. And erstwhile on the smaller screen, Rayland Givens had made his return to an updated TV series of Justified.

      1. Carolinian

        Despite having spent so much time in movie theaters I almost never go these days. Will await the little silver discs and watch on my home projector. I like Robbie but thought Babylon was a downer. Clearly whatever the merits she is back on top with Barbie since she produced and is now A-list indeed.

        It should be interesting to see how both movies hold up.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “City Primeval.”

        Seeing some of those Detroit street scenes, I can’t believe Raylan didn’t put out a BOLO on gretchen whitmer.

        1. ambrit

          Not a knock on the actor, but the three lawmen he is known for are in different times and locations, but all still the same basic character. Terran human nature is quite consistent over time. Lawmen pretty much do the same thing, no matter when or where.
          What seems to change from time to time are the definitions of “good” and “bad.”

        2. griffen

          I always enjoyed his portrayal bad man doing bad things to the authorities from the perhaps a little overlooked Die Hard entry, circa 2007. A lot more entertaining, as well on the second or third time I watched it. Some of the antics were over the top but that was then !

          Live Free Die Hard. Yippe ki-yay.

    2. Wukchumni

      The charms of the 5th largest city in Cali are few & far between, and aside from the excellent airport which offers the quickest way to flee Fresno, the Imax theater is pretty boss.

      Looking forward to seeing Oppenheimer there.


      Is it time to put out an APB on fresno dan?

    3. ambrit

      In true Hollywood style, I have to ask; will “Barbie” have legs? The second weekend figures will tell the tale.

      1. Pat

        I think it will. The overall public scores are good despite having some sly serious themes. That it is both funny and escapism bode well in a time where people are seeking laughs and escape.
        And once again the biggest movie of 2023 so far is The Super Mario Brothers film.

        1. ambrit

          Oh yes. I was going to make a comment that required some supporting facts, but it seems Google is not only excrement now, but excrement that skews a “certain way” now.
          The siloing of the West has almost been completed.
          To steal a theme from a popular film multiverse, it is now: “Take the Red Internet or take the Blue Internet.”
          I want to be an ‘Official Narrative Docent’ when I grow up.

          1. Pat

            I suppose it is siloing, but this is also human nature. At least as seen in the last century it is. We are still talking movies, but the biggest film star of several years of the 1930s was Shirley Temple. A bright singing and dancing pint sized optimist who got the happy ending ruled during the depression.

  17. nigel rooney

    “Storm clouds gathering in the Black Sea” India Punchline M. K. Bhadrakumar

    “The NATO Summit in Vilnius (July 11-12) signalled that there is absolutely no possibility of talks to settle the Ukraine war in a foreseeable future. The war will only intensify, as the US and its allies still hope to inflict a military defeat on Russia although that is clearly beyond their capability. ”
    Seems ever more European nations are keen to “fight to the last of their citizens” in order to preserve The Empire, and Biden’s re-election chances.
    A sobering read.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Just when you think that Ryanair can’t stoop any lower-

    ‘Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, is considering resuming flights to Ukraine this year, if the country secures a partial opening of its airspace, the Irish carrier’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told Interfax Ukraine on Friday.’

    Will Ryanair gives those pilots combat pay? I would not put it past the Zelensky regime to shoot one of them down to try to put the blame on Russia.

  19. Wukchumni

    6 centimeters of separation dept:

    Found a stash of a few dozen envelopes with letters in them from 1944-45 during Nazi occupation of Prague et al that were addressed to my then 20 year old father, and written in Czech. I’ll have to hunt down one of my relatives to get the skinny on the content.

    As Bohemia & Moravia was a protectorate of the Reich, the stamps on the envelopes all bore an image of der fuhrer, just 6 centimeters away from daddy-o’s name.

  20. Jeff W

    Stack Diary | Google engineers want to make ad-blocking (near) impossible [link]

    This proposal appears to be either a tool for fostering trust and security on the Web or a covert introduction of Digital Rights Management into web pages, depending on your point of view. (The Google engineers who are pushing the proposal frame it, not surprisingly, as the former; members of the tech community, such as some of those commenting on the news aggregator Hacker News, might see it as the latter.)

    1. digi_owl

      HN is all over the map in that regard, as it is attached to a VC company and thus many of the commenters there are very pro-finance and PMC in attitude.

  21. Kouros

    I am a bit dissapointed that nobody from the NC intelligentsia has commented on the “Risk and Revolution” article that also includes the trailer of the movie “How to Blow a Pipeline”.

    The numbers are clear, more than 80% of the population would not stick their necks out. Also, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution were triggered by tired, cold and hungry women, desperate that they won’t be able to bring home bread for their children.

    They were the one that marched even against the order of their betters. Unless similar conditions are present, there won’t be any “revolution” be it democratic or riotous.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      “The numbers are clear, more than 80% of the population would not stick their necks out.”

      If that is so – and I am strongly inclined to think so – I must wonder how any revolution could be considered “democratic”. It is always an imposition on the majority of the population by a minority. That does not necessarily render it invalid (sometimes it can be a lesser evil), but it certainly is not democratic (which is one more reason to not be surprised whenever one produces a distinctly undemocratic outcome).

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Fair point, and I’m inclined to believe that the means must reflect the ends. If you want a peaceful society, violent revolution may not be the way to get there.

        That said, if I were a young person today, going Weatherman might seem like the only option, but then I might be opening myself up to the accusation that I’m a “pseudo-insurrectionary sectarian.” (Video. Was the “Network” character based on Angela Davis?)

      2. LifelongLib

        The average “American” in 1775 was a farm hand someplace who probably never saw a British soldier or heard of the Stamp Act etc. Whoever was oppressing them was most likely another American.

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    A little of the zeitgeist from Cleveland:

    A huge group of dirt bikes, ATV’s and other vehicles barreled through the streets of the west side. They ignored traffic laws, rode on the wrong side of the road and left other drivers intimidated…

    Police dispatch even referred to riders flashing guns, but police radio showed no urgency.

    “Being very hazardous,” a dispatcher said.

    “That’s their usual thing,” an officer answered.

    On one day last year, police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol teamed up for a big crackdown on dirt bikes. Otherwise, drivers wonder how dirt bike riders can ignore all of the laws you have to follow.

    Cleveland police generally are not allowed by their bosses to try to stop dirt bikes or chase them.

    We’ve heard police brass argue that it’s not safe for patrol cars to try to chase dirt bikes.

    At the same time, police are chronically short-staffed.

    We haven’t seen this kind of street takeover nearly as often as we used to see it. However, when it happens, so many of you expect more than allowing dirt bike riders to do what they want.

    1. Daryl

      Same thing happens in Houston.

      Which is interesting. If it was just one person, I have no doubt they’d run them down (even if it goes aagainst the policy the article seems to suggest). However if you get 50 of your buddies, no problem. What happens when people realize they can violate more than traffic laws with this method?

      1. digi_owl

        Given the kind of people that seem to get talked into putting on the badge, it would not surprise me if most of the people on those bikes were old buddies or relatives of those in uniform.

  23. Pat

    NYC and Westchester facing huge utility rate increase. Yup our electric bills will increase over 9% in August, go up again in January and the January after that. The NY Post has our bills doubling in less than three years. And as someone who looks at my electric bill and knows that only a quarter of it actually goes to electricity, I am not sure they aren’t underestimating the effect.

    Meanwhile the “green” initiatives in the NY state budget not only demand huge increases in electrical dependence for heat and power, it closes a huge portion of electrical production by demanding gas plants close in the next decade. Totally unrealistic. Not even Europe’s best adoption of renewables has reached the levels NY would need to hit in the next decade. (The legislature also ignores the difficulties our weather might pose, but that is secondary.)

    NY Post article

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