Links 8/8/2023

Report: Record Number Of People Following Their Hearts Babylon Bee

Ancient Skull Found in China Is Unlike Any Human Seen Before ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon rover enters lunar orbit, snaps stunning photos (video) Space (furzy)

Sweet smell of success: Simple fragrance method produces major memory boost ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Carcinogens found at Montana nuclear missile sites as reports of hundreds of cancers surface ABC (furzy)

The Hidden Harms of CPR New Yorker (Dr. Kevin). KLG:

Not a clinician, but I think it is a reasonable article. CPR really is for people who are not “seriously ill” when their heart stops for whatever reason: electrocution, infarct that is not a killer all by itself, drowning, blows to the chest at just the right moment (possibly like the NFL player last year). I also think that while it has been valorized on TV, the little presses used in a TV show are not anything like the real thing. The actor’s compressions would make no difference, and I don’t think people understand that. The responder to the emergency will have to push hard to make it work, both hands using the heel of your lower hand to the stenum, 125 beats a minute while you really play “Stayin’ Alive” in your head. Sometimes while straddling the body. The sternum will crack as you push down 2 inches and ribs do break. And this would be a team event. I have seen it once, and it was scary as hell. People get tired quickly doing CPR in real life.

Experiment Reveals Human Genes Can Be Controlled With Electricity ScienceAlert. Chuck L: “What could go wrong?”

Is this First Lady Also the First Female Presidential Assassin? Covert Action (Chuck L)


The Virus is Learning New Tricks and We Humans Keep Falling Behind Eric Topol (Dr. Kevin)

Row erupts over study which claimed that Covid vaccines raise risk of dying from heart problems: Scientists slam ’embarrassing’ and ‘flawed’ paper Daily Mail (Kevin W)


Juneau, Alaska flooding: Inundation destroys two structures in Alaskan capital and prompts local emergency declaration CNN (furzy)

‘Dark brown carbon’ in wildfires may have even bigger climate impacts than previously thought PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

Offshore Wind Runs Into Rising Costs and Delays New York Times (Kevin W)

UK Offshore Wind at ‘Tipping Point’ as Funding Crisis Threatens Industry Guardian


China’s exports tumble by 14.5 per cent in July, underscoring economic slowdown South China Morning Post

China drafts rules for facial recognition tech amid privacy complaints Aljazeera


Niger coup: US envoy holds ‘difficult’ talks with junta BBC (Kevin W). ZOMG, the envoy is Victoria Nuland, who seems to have only one message: “The US way or the highway.”

Yes, I know, Jason Hinkle:

From Chi-Town bagman to ECOWAS chairman: meet the former money launderer leading the push to invade Niger Grayzone

New Not-So-Cold War

Timofey Bordachev: Here’s why building a new world order to break Western hegemony won’t be an easy task RT (Chuck L). Important. Readers in Russia are encouraged to pipe up and opine as to whether this piece is getting traction and/or encapsulates a school of thought in the Russia policy-making circles. Bordachev was hewing to the space constraints of an op-ed here; perhaps he has produced a longer-form version in Russian. But I found several bits to be striking. The first is that many of the elements of “Western” thinking and ideology go back to the Greeks and Romans (this is a key point of Michael Hudson, in a negative way, the rigidity over creditor rights that he sees as a Greco-Roman holdover), so the roots go even deeper. The second is what could be usefully preserved from Western systems and ideas. I would think at a minimum that of an independent judiciary and clear legal codes (one can argue that the codification of law dates back even further; one can also argue in the US that the judiciary is not independent and is heavily subject both to political influence and very strong class bias). The third is the odd omission of communism and socialism as alternative models…is this a verboten idea in Russia? Or because Marx and Engels, they are seen as Western?

The ‘monumental consequences’ of Ukraine joining the EU Financial Times (Kevin W)

Ukraine says woman held in plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy CBS (furzy)

Zelensky adviser casts doubt on future relations with Poland RT (Kevin W)

World Bank: Russia overtakes Germany.As a reminder, last year Germany called for Russia to be ruined. It is only bringing itself down. Eastern Angle (Micael T)


Palestinian premier, members of US Congress discuss reviving political process Anadolu Agency

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

California privacy regulator’s first case: Probing internet-connected car Washington Post (Chuck L). !!!!

Detroit Woman Sues City After Being Falsely Arrested Due To Facial Recognition NBC

Spyware Maker LetMeSpy Shuts Down After Hacker Deletes Server Data TechCrunch

Imperial Collapse Watch

Hawks Love to Whine About the Consequences of Their Own Policies Daniel Larison

The new ‘tanker war’ and US military escalation in the Persian Gulf Responsible Statecraft

Republicans blast Biden response to Russia, China naval patrol The Hill (Kevin W). The stoopid, it burns

IT And The Other Things American Conservative

“Happy Indictment Day!” Naomi Wolf (Chuck L). From last week, still germane.


How Nancy Pelosi’s Long Game Led to Trump’s Indictment New York Magazine (furzy)

Trump criminal charges go to heart of KKK Act Reuters


Mike Pence qualifies for first GOP debate Politico

Our No Longer Free Press

G.O.P. Contenders Feed Voter Distrust in Courts, Schools and Military New York Times (furzy). This story line looks to be a pretext for more censorship

Open access is inevitable – only the ‘how’ remains up for discussion Times Higher Education (Dr. Kevin)


Kill me now. Why have a dog? Plus fat Americans will get fatter due to reduced physical activity (hat tip Chuck L):

Google Search Can Now Critique Your Grammar The Verge. Why doesn’t Google instead worry about having less dreadful search?

TV and Film Extras Are Afraid AI Will Copy Their Faces and Bodies To Take Jobs The Register

The Bezzle

PayPal Launches Dollar-Backed Stablecoin, Boosting Shares Reuters. PayPal is a payments system that also offers some consumer credit products. That is a long way from having the trading skills to manage these risks. A stablecoin is not an attractive offereing unless it is less than fullly backed by dollars.

Brazil Central Bank Names Its Digital Currency ‘DREX,’ Scheduled For 2024 Launch Reuters

Class Warfare

How Misreading Adam Smith Helped Spawn Deaths of Despair Boston Review (Anthony L). Important.

The Wealthy Are Not Like You and Me–Our Terminally Stratified Society Charles Hugh Smith (Anthony L)

FCC Prepares $75 Monthly Broadband Subsidies For ‘High-Cost’ Areas ars technica

Railroaded: Bring Back Thatcher and Reagan Steve Keen (Chuck L)

The Era of Ultracheap Stuff Is Under Threat Wall Street Journal. Important because “cheap stuff” served to offset stagnant real wages.

Zoom Asks Its Employees To Return To Office For The First Time Since The Pandemic NDTV (Kevin W)

Forcing workers back to the office may be backfiring: Flexible workplaces are hiring talent twice as fast as those requiring full-time attendance Fortune (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (Robin K):

A second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. griffen

      Corporate America, where my ultimate employer is encouraging us broadly to “Live our Best Summer”. Best Summer Ever crucially depends on whether work ever becomes fully optional for the remainder of my years, but that’s just me. Come on, jackpot in 2028 I need them windfalls \ sarc

      Kidding aside, what the heck. I’ve been loving the Bee of late, by the way returning to the topic. I’m adding such slogans and motto(s) to the daily drinking games.

    2. brooke

      I get the appeal of the Babylon Bee thing. It’s comforting to mock our favorite targets. But I really think in modern society, we’re all following our hearts, even the most world-weary wised-up amongst us.

      Especially if you live in such a way where reading and commenting on the internet is part of your life. Do we think we’re exempt? We’re bombarded and suckled from the moment we’re born, and we cope by mocking others. I think the term is ‘narcissism of small differences’

  1. Paul J-H

    RE: Eastern Angle article

    The Eastern Angle article does not load at all – but this is a problem on their site it seems. The page is just white, on their webpage the link is normally clickable.

      1. skippy

        Numerical Capital vs Natural Capital thingy … that said its the reason the west went FIRE sector – seem Larry’s memo about the burden of up lift ….

  2. Richard H Caldwell

    Bad link: Ancient Skull Found in China Is Unlike Any Human Seen Before ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

    1. Lexx

      Lol! All my ‘peasants’ have retirement plans I’m tracking because losing them means I have to replace them… like my hairdresser, who is half of a couple who own their home, the building where he’s a practicing psychologist, and a building in downtown Loveland… and while I drive an 11 year old Prius, she drives a Beemer and he drives a Jeep. They vacation regularly, a family member wedding is coming up and they thought as long as they were there they’d cross New Zealand off their bucket list. Sadly, they can only spare an additional week out of their busy professionally successful schedules.

      I scheduled my next appointment with her a week earlier than usual because we’re each going to be out of town. Me and Husband are loading up the 5th wheel for a month ‘abroad’ and she’s headed to Iran for 3 weeks to visit her family.

      But on balance, not all my peasants have been equally fortunate. I found out two weeks ago that my ‘finisher’ (needlework) died two years ago of Covid. Her game plan was to retire and sell her business (which she owned) at 70; she only made it to her early 60’s. I remember the a couple of conversations we had regarding her decision not to wear a mask. Her ‘tribe’ up there in Wyoming were big contributors.

      And I clean my own house, always have/always will. For me the motive for hiring a maid would be laziness and there are some lines I will not cross. We mow our own yards, plant and harvest our own garden, do our own cooking/canning, and the ‘plumber’ when needed lives two door down… they’re putting their kid through med school. We don’t ask what ‘the simple folk’ are doing. If we stand out front of the house long enough, one of them will stop and tell us in the course of small talk.

    2. Ignacio

      Thank you HMP. You pointed me to read both links (Your’s and CHS’s). On CHS what I find contradictory is that the wealthy talk about frugality and hard work at the same time they obsessively hide in their exclusive mansions in exclusive quarters as if they want to hide their frugality and hard working? I would have liked in that article some discussion on why such interest on erecting class barriers.

      Regarding your own link, two comments: the article underscores the inanity of policies like those of Macron resulting in the yellow vests. His measures to control emissions don’t have the slightest effects on those with the highest carbon print. More harm than utility these had. Second, the inanity of the CO2 prices. Let’s say you convert the carbon prices in a tax. The most contaminating of all, the US top percentile, with average emissions of 55 tons per year would pay a tax of less than 5.000€/year. Recent CO2 quotes go to 88€/ton. That is nothinburger for the top percentile.

      1. jsn

        I think the same way masks remind those in denial of their complicity in making COVID endemic, and the risks they face from it, the visibility of assets to those not privileged with them reminds those in denial of their own privilege of their complicity with their peers in that denial and the risks to themselves and harms to others it causes.

        Social constructs can seem frighteningly precarious when their distillates are “inappropriately” mixed.

    3. Mikel

      After reading Smith’s article, I came across this as a bookend:
      Hamptons Partygoers Cast a Worried Eye on New York’s Future

      “I talked to 22-23 people that moved to Florida,” said Howard Lorber, chairman of Douglas Elliman Realty. “Every one of them had a big apartment or a townhouse in New York — and not one of them sold. So I have a view that New York City is going to become the number one second-home market to the world.”

      “I get to be a tourist,” said Simone Levinson, who has made Palm Beach her primary home and spends most of the summer in Southampton, where she has helped turn the Southampton Arts Center into a required in-town stop…”

      While they are detached from the immigration and housing crisis it exascerbates in NYC.

  3. dougie

    Impressive article about the link between fragrance and memory loss. My first thought was
    “How can I apply this technique to my CPAP equipment”? Then I remembered the night I spent in an over deodorized hotel room where the disinfectant smell was picked up by the small intake filter on the machine. It lingered for several days. Tonight, I will put a few drops of my wife’s perfume on the filter before I sleep.

    Unless I forget.

    1. CanCyn

      I wondered if they deliberately didn’t mention what they were using to create the scents. I’m guessing perfume probably isn’t the best idea. Maybe an essential oil, or cinnamon or vanilla. And yes, John A , I thought of Proust and the madeleine too.

      1. Into_The_Abyss

        From the Journal Reference: “Individuals assigned to the olfactory enrichment group were provided with an odorant diffuser (Diffuser World) and 7 essential oil odorants (rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender; from The Essential Oil Company, Portland, OR) in identical glass vials that each fit into the diffuser.”

        1. CanCyn

          Oh, thanks! I missed that. I used to have a diffuser that used a candle. Will have to look for something safer. This seems a simple, “it can’t hurt” thing to try.

          1. Into_The_Abyss

            We have one and it works fine, but haven’t used it in a while. Especially in summer (SW FL), we have the ceiling fan on high and a room Hepa filter running, so we really don’t smell it at all.

      2. Ernie

        This, from the end of the article, may explain what could be the delivery method preferred by the researchers (or at least their funders): “A product based on their study and designed for people to use at home is expected to come onto the market this fall. The study was supported by Procter & Gamble.”

  4. Alice X

    >Vicky Nuland in Niger’s capital

    Does DC think her reputation does not precede her? Or that it is lost on the Niger crew?

    1. Chris Smith

      Since it will be war no matter what they do, Niger ought to just toss her war criminal self into their finest prison.

      1. jsn

        Personally, I was delighted to find her off the Ukraine beat!

        Expelled from Scholz’s “garden”, into the “jungle”.

        Maybe her Azov buddies can manage Wagnerites in the Sahel where the “shrubberies” won’t interfere!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Something tells me that she does not care about this coup, is not worried about the deposed leader, isn’t worried how the French have been given 30 days to leave the country, could care less about the possibility of a war throughout west Africa, but that the only thing on her mind is – wait for it – the Russians. The thought that the Wagner group may be sending a reinforced assault orchestra of their troops has her riled no end. Such a group would put the US, French and Italian soldiers stationed in Niger in check so I am fully confident that she will look to allies against this coup leadership. So, maybe the local ISIS forces?

      1. Benny Profane

        Maybe she wants Wagner to pull out of Belarus and join the party in Niger. Big distraction.

      2. jrkrideau

        Don’t forget the US drone base (US$100 mil to build?) and between 1,000 and 1,500 US troops in the country. If the US loses that base it reduces US strike and surveillance reach drastically.

        If the new gov’t wants to kick out the US it would be a nasty blow to US prestige even if eventually the US stays.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s just the r word. “The Africans are out of line and need correction.” That is all. The speed Mali, Burkina Faso, and Algeria reacted is the surprise. DC doesn’t care about the over captions of Nuland. She’s the lead thug, a woman to con domestic audiences.

      Nuland seemed surprised she didn’t get an audience. I expect DC overestimated the sheen of DC. The Nigerian Senate was a blow too, but they don’t want African countries getting ideas about US strength.

      Some of it is a result of the self liking ice cream cone. I saw a bit of msnbc this morning, and they discussed that drivel Hillary Clinton’s intern wrote. They seriously bemoaned video games. DC is simply a bizarre fantasy world seething they aren’t liked, but this is all they see. The propaganda line is “intelligence hasn’t found Moscow connections yet”, but they go home and watch the same propaganda.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Niger seems to understand us much better than we understand them. Letting Tori meet with a “Mr. Bazoum” seems like the premise for an SNL skit.

        We have nothing left to help France with. I’m beginning to think Biden promoted Nuland and then sent her to Niger to make her the fall person for his failed foreign policy.

        I’m haunted by that map of the Sahel (quite honestly I never remember it goes all the way to Sudan). We may not be giving Putin anywhere near enough credit. The slow grind in Ukraine has depleted our weapons reserves and the world is about to start heating up.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Besides the natural instinct of US elites to embrace the R word. I feel like Nuland is a US election pr stunt more than anything. The Clintonistas seem to be running things, and they don’t want another old white guy talking down to an African leader but a strong woman putting the patriarchy in its place! Yarrgh!

          The goal will be to sell it as “Strong woman! puts man in his place” or “the patriarchy won’t listen”.

          This is why guys like Bernie all of a sudden started randomly introducing items like Single-Payer again. The White House has gone completely off into Clinton lala land.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Clinton embeds are everywhere in the Beltway driving the worst of Biden’s political excesses. I’m pretty sure Nuland is in HRC’s camp.

            By the time this is completely over, I think history will misjudge Biden as little more than a bag man for the Clintons who have corrupted themselves way beyond their weight class.

            At any rate, you made me look and this is what I found from John Helmer. Hillary and Tori seem quite friendly.

            1. pjay

              Thanks for this Helmer piece. I think I read it at the time, but it is certainly relevant today. What a corrupt cesspool. In a just world it would be this crew that was subject to serial indictments. Only in my dreams.

    4. Benny Profane

      Having Victoria Nuland show up during a coup is like Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel suddenly standing on a main intersection in your town. You know that times are going to be difficult soon.

    5. Bill Malcolm

      From Indian Punchline commentary today, last few sentences:

      “Yet, speaking from Niamey on Monday, the visiting US acting deputy secretary of state Victoria Nuland lamented that the coup leaders refused to allow her to meet with the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and were unreceptive to US calls to return the country to civilian rule.

      Nuland’s mission aimed at dissuading the coup leaders from engaging with the Wagner group but she was unsure of success. Nuland was not granted a meeting with General Tchiani.”

      Dear Vicky not allowed to speak either to deposed leader or new leader of Niger. Not like the Beltway or Foggy Bottom, then, where people hop to her requests on the double.

      There seems to be a marked reluctance these days in some countries for leaders to not want to meet high-ranking US “officials”. Xi pawned off Blinken on a junior and now, the outrage of ii all, some jumped-up African general has spurned the opportunity to meet a high ranking completely unelected American “official”

      And yes Wagner is on the way, according to Russian reports. A first planeload left Belarus yesterday.

    6. Nikkikat

      I saw this story on yahoo news. I imagine all of these countries have seen her before. She is the one that the US sends when threats need to made and arms twisted. She certainly knows zero about anything but the above.

    7. Aurelien

      This is an extraordinary piece of amateurism by the US, and a self-inflicted wound. The US is about as popular as rabies in most of Africa, and one of the few cards the junta can play is the resistance-to-neocolonialism one, which the US has just kindly handed them. I can’t believe the professionals on the ground advised this: it’s much more likely to be Nuland’s ego.
      In the end, this is less about Niger as such than it is about establishing who is going to sort the crisis out and take credit for it: ECOWAS, France/the EU or the US. This is Nuland’s bid to tale pole position and it has backfired.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I wonder what they would take credit for, though? I can’t see how this won’t blow up in their faces eventually. Either it is an embarrassment because the junta stays in place or they do somehow manage to replace it and own what happens in Niger afterwards, which I think will not be pretty. Their best case scenario is that they declare victory quickly and move on, and everyone forgets what happened.

        1. Aurelien

          Oh, I agree in practice, but hope springs eternal etc. The game really is less about solving the crisis (which may well be insoluble anyway) than preventing others from getting involved and potentially managing a resolution themselves.
          Much of so-called crisis management is actually based on competition to control the management of a crisis and prevent others taking it, so the wider objective here is to strengthen the US position in West Africa, weaken the French and sideline ECOWAS, which is seen as a valid objective irrespective of the outcome of the current crisis. There are occasions when this doesn’t happen (the Quint in Lebanon is an example) but it’s all too common.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            So the idea is that if they take over crisis management in Niger, they can use that as added leverage over other interested parties elsewhere in the region? And that would offset the disadvantages of having to deal with the crisis? (I suppose they might also not realise that there are any ways this can backfire, but as an outsider I prefer to err on the side of giving them a little credit.)

      2. Feral Finster

        The Empire doesn’t care whether it or its diktats are popular or not, as long as the vassals comply.

  5. Mikel

    “Was this First Lady Also the First Female Presidential Assassin?” Covert Action

    Scandal after scandal and yet this is what nags at me:

    “Harding defeated his Democratic Party challenger, James Cox, in the 1920 presidential election, campaigning on a slogan of a “return to normalcy” after the tumult of World War I and the first Red Scare…”

    It’s still habitual to erase the 1918 Flu Pandemic from historical accounts. The pandemic had much to do with the 1920 campaign plea for a return to normalcy.

    1. John Wright

      It must be an early implanted lesson for American academic historians that “always include Warren Harding on any list of worst USA presidents”.

      I have a more functional view of American leadership as I judge leaders on the harm they do and do not do.

      Harding was not personally corrupt.

      Harding was not unaware of what was occurring in his administration as he was quoted:
      “I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights! ”

      Harding did not commit the USA to very harmful to the USA and the world foreign adventures as did George W. Bush (Afghanistan/Iraq), Harry Truman (Korea, Cold war started, recognized Israel over George Marshall’s advice, encouraged post WWII French military operations in Vietnam) and Woodrow Wilson ( pushed the USA into WWI).

      Clinton and Reagan did a lot of damage to USA citizens via their trade, labor and deregulation policies.

      Clinton had his foreign military adventure in Bosnia.

      Obama looked away from corruption in the USA financial industry and helped destroy Libya.

      Maybe Harding does not look so bad after all?

      It appears American historians have a propensity to support activist and very harmful USA leaders as “good”.

      Are we birthing a new candidate for the worst USA president in the White House now?

      Biden might justly earn a place in the “Worst USA President’s list” with personal corruption charges looming, responsibility for launching a proxy war with a large loss of (Ukrainian) life and property and, for good measure, maybe initiating another war with China.

      He might just be responsible for installing Kamala Harris as President.

      1. Roland

        When I was going through volumes of official documents in the series Foreign Relations of the United States, the Harding administration feels like a breath of fresh air, compared to Wilson’s.

        Wilson had a shell company to handle aid funds to Russian Whites, outside of Congressional oversight, a deal with Morgan to squeeze Liberia, and too many shady deals with factions in the Mexican civil war to conveniently list. And that leaves aside the staggeringly huge bank bailout of the risky short-term loans made to the Entente powers during the Great War (many of which were about to come due in 1917-18; these obligations were conveniently assumed by the US government shortly after declaration of war.)

        Seen next to Wilson and Lansing’s skulduggeries, Vacuum Oil is trivial.

        Given the sensitivity of many of the documents, I’m surprised they got published by 1932. Partly that shows the difference between the USA of a century ago, and the hermetic state apparatus of our time. But I also wonder whether the Hoover administration wasn’t doing a document dump on Wilson’s filth.

  6. flora

    Thanks for the Florence Harding story. She might have been the model for the fictional Lady Urquhart in House of Cards. / ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was thinking that she was more like a Livia from Robert Graves’s book “I, Claudius.” In that book *spoiler alert*, Livia poisoned her husband Emperor Augustus too.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        “Don’t eat the figs.”

        One of the best lines, one of the best roles and performances…

        1. Sailor Bud

          Sian Phillips often goes front and center of my ‘fave actresses of all time’ list for that performance. Dianne Keaton’s Brando imitation in Sleeper is close, tho. I have to rewind that over and over sometimes.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Also no accident that Tony Soprano’s spoil-and-undercut-everything mother was named Livia.

  7. Richard H Caldwell

    “FCC Prepares $75 Monthly Broadband Subsidies For ‘High-Cost’ Areas” — this is patently ridiculous! Instead of working with the FTC and DOJ to break up broadband monopolies, the FCC will now reward poor service and extractive rent seeking by further subsidizing massive under-investing corporations. Paging Sinclair Lewis…

    1. skippy

      Rewarding absentee investors is not – ????? – a reward …. its fealty too … ones betters …

    2. The Rev Kev

      Based on what I have seen in the past, those broadband monopolies will look at those $75 monthly broadband subsidies and will then raise their monthly fees. Perhaps not the full $75 but raise them they will as those people will be able to pay more now.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      1. Apologies. I have in the past given Trump credit for my amazing rural broadband. I talked to a tech at the ISP and our local highspeed fiber installations were a long-term business investment by the coop that owns my ISP. Kudos to them.

      2. I pay $60 a month for 50MBps download/upload speeds with absolutely no cap on data or streaming. There are word games with speeds and some outfits would say I get 500mbps. Same thing as 50MBps.

      3. A $75 subsidy is a gift to the sports monopolists. That’s just enough to get all the bundles you need to watch your NBA team.

      4. Cable sports is teetering on the verge of collapse. Piracy is endemic and the NBA has wisely backed away from anti-piracy efforts because they were losing fans thanks to games rarely being on “free” tv.

      5. Srsly, Biden just gave a lot of money to the cable folks to keep them alive (probably due to some delusional thoughts that he, Biden, will still be on the ticket next year).

      1. hunkerdown

        ISPs are as important to the information interests of the state as the Interstate highways are to its kinetic interests. Without them, people can lose the state fetish, avoid the sacred bullshit, and walk right off the plantation. It is not merely Biden’s campaign, but his duty to keep the state’s organs alive, however externalized they may be.

        The propertied tend not to accept unfunded mandates because they simply don’t need to. Clinton’s CALEA came with subsidies to install surveillance equipment at ISPs. NSA paid the costs of social networks that signed on to PRISM.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I think Biden is having enough trouble with his own organs. Let’s not put too much pressure on the Big Guy.

    4. Bugs

      For the price of the subsidy you could have 500mb/s fiber and two mobile phones with unlimited data in France.

      1. Lexx

        Oooooo!… A business of robotic poop picker-uppers who come to your house and clean up the backyard. Beware ‘pet waste management’ specialists, robots are coming for your jobs too!

    1. nippersdad

      Going into that video I was expecting to see a robot being dragged down the street by the dog at the first sight of a cat, but he looks quite limber. If this is where robot standards are right now we may be in trouble.

      1. Lexx

        Imagining the disappoint on our schnauzer face when he realizes the robot can’t be ‘sled-dogged’ to an interesting piddle spot.

        1. nippersdad

          I have to say that I think the robot has an unfair advantage over the rest of us; he had a good trainer for his dog. The HOURS we have spent trying to get our dogs to not pull on their leashes and walk nicely like that Doberman simply could not be calculated.

          They will go through tortures not to walk on a leash. We are walking down the paths with this gagging, self suffocating dog that is dislocating our arms trying to drag us off into the underbrush. It is always really embarrassing.

          That is why I like Yorkies, but somehow we always end up with German Shepherds and Catahoulas showing up on the porch. I am dreading the day we find a stray St. Bernard out there in the yard.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When the robots make their move to take over the world, whose side will man’s best friend be on now? Those who got too fat because they could not be bothered to walk their dogs will be the first ones caught by the robots and the dogs. So remember-

      Rule #1: Cardio

      1. Mark Gisleson

        They’re training the next generation of nursing home aides.

        ROBOJOE: It’s time to go for your walk, Mark.

        Mark: I don’t want to.

        ROBOJOE: Doctor says you have to. [attachs leash to Mark’s collar and then tugs on it] Time to go, c’mon, let’s take a walk. That’s a good boy.

    3. petal

      And what happens when the dog takes off after a squirrel, etc? Going to be dragging the robot behind it?

      1. Benny Profane

        The robot uses his special eye tazer lasers to subdue the pooch, duh. Fido will soon learn to ignore rodents.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #Trump #PelosiLongGame


      “If he [Trump] were to be president [again],” she [Pelosi] continued, “it would be a criminal enterprise in the White House.”

      Yes, yes … unlike Hunter and the “big guy” … and a MIC-cash-cow proxy war … and thousands of forced-into-battle dead Ukrainians.

      Wot a family-blog joke …

      1. nippersdad

        They certainly did deep six those stories about the Pelosi and Kerry kids with no show jobs at bio-labs in Ukraine pretty quickly. Projection is just never attractive, but it does seem to be their last line of defense these days.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > They certainly did deep six those stories about the Pelosi and Kerry kids with no show jobs at bio-labs in Ukraine pretty quickly.

          Yerp. One could, as they say, “go on …”

          > Projection is just never attractive, but it does seem to be their last line of defense these days.

          Well, they’ve managed to sow cognitive dissonance in the brains of their politics-as-sport base, so … #Natch

          I’d argue that at this point it’s not just defense … it’s actually a form of offense.

          1. nippersdad

            Well, it is certainly offensive. Polls are showing that young people and black people are leaving the party in droves, and given the fifty plus one percent wins the Democratic party has accustomed itself to we are going to have quite the show when they lose to Trump again.

            That will be wild to watch. It was like when they lost to Bush Jr. twice and lost their minds. If they had not become the personification, the apotheosis of everything the Republican party stands for then they would not have such problems.

  8. nippersdad

    That dog in the fountain is having his best life! Fun to watch him having such a good time.

  9. IM Doc

    My two cents on CPR

    A few observations from thirty years.

    First off, if there is no improvement in about 5 minutes or so and a round of meds, it is about 99% certain that there will be no recovery. The younger the patient, the more likely a survival but still.

    In that vein, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing anyone can do if someone drops in front of you is called a PRECORDIAL THUMP. If done in the first few seconds of a heart rhythm issue, it will reboot the heart’s electrical system which will then start over a good rhythm. I have seen nurses and clinicians countless times in the hospital do this and avert any further CPR. Anyone can do it. Get your fist high in the air and as hard as you can punch the patient right over their left lower chest. There are you tube videos. Please, please, please do this immediately while you are figuring out the defib device that may be present or calling 911. If no response, then start CPR.

    I have countless times heard ribs cracking, etc, while doing this. There is nothing glamorous about this like on TV. An anecdote from recent history about the brutality. Elizabeth Taylor in the late 60s or early 70s had anaphylactic shock in London. She had to have a tracheostomy as part of the CPR protocol because an airway could not be established. In this particular issue, the entire upper airway is swollen severely. There is no way to intubate the airway from above. So you have to make a hole in the neck. The neck poking she got was so severe that it scarred her rather badly for life. After that issue, there were scarves, chokers, necklaces, etc around her neck to hide the damage. This type of thing is unfortunately not rare in these events.

    My own pet peeve…….this is a time when the patient will very likely spring this mortal coil. It should be a time of deep reverence. As a leader in a code, I have myself, I need a nurse to give meds, I need an RT to man the airway, and a young athletic orderly to do the chest compressions. At most, 4 people. In modern hospitals often the ENTIRE panel of staff on the whole floor is crammed in the room lining the walls JUST WATCHING. It is common to have 30 people crammed in the room watching the show. Disgusting and disrespectful. I order everyone but the 4 out and pronto. And would you believe I have been disciplined for this? That is one of those times when the middle finger is appropriate.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Should one worry about delivering too hard a blow when delivering a precordial thump or just let it fly quickly? I know time is of the essence, but putting someone’s sternum against their spine would be a real threat were I to give them a solid blow.

      1. IM Doc

        The purpose of this entire maneuver is to deliver about 10-20 joules to the chest and the heart. This can easily be done with the thump. A majority of sudden cardiac rhythm problems and sudden cardiac death are the result of an acute myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolus. Both of these in the acute few seconds afterward are going to be in V FIB or V TACH. Both of these are quite amenable to 10-20 joules applied directly to the chest. They both have a good chance of recovering quite nicely. There is literally a golden moment of a few seconds up to a few minutes where the heart is amenable to this. Once that window is gone, there is no going back. This is why it is so important to do this right away. This is not a love tap – nor is it appropriate to do if you are trying to be the Incredible Hulk. Most humans can deliver 10-20 joules by thumping the chest literally as hard as they can. One quick vertical thump. If this does not work – do not continue doing this over and over. It is one and done.

        Far less likely to cause “collapse” are multiple atrial and other AV nodal disturbances as well as asystole. These will not even remotely respond to 10-20 joules. 200-300 is needed and that is where you need a defibrillator. Again, fortunately, these do not happen that often as an acute collapse event. However, if they are indeed the cause, it will hurt nothing to try the thump in the first few moments.

        1. Bsn

          Can’t thank you enough Doc and by extension the comentariate. Just hit a few utube videos and they nearly all said hit low center of chest with fist apx. 1′ above chest. I’ll go with what the Doc suggests. Being an elderly woman (though I suppose that may not matter) I can’t get enough power from only a foot above the person’s chest. Wish I’d a know this when I was a teacher attending CPR trainings, yearly. I’ll pass this through to my still working cohorts.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Ah. TY for the link. Much better! A bit different from IM Doc’s

        “Get your fist high in the air and as hard as you can punch the patient right over their left lower chest.”

    2. Joe Well

      Why aren’t there public awareness campaigns for this technique like there are for CPR?

      In the absence of public awareness, the risk of being sued and/or mobbed by Karens seems high.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “TV and film extras are afraid generative AI will copy their faces and bodies to take their jobs”

    I think that it is only a matter of time until AI gets to the point that it does not need to copy faces and voices but just generate their own. This will be after it scans every face and voice in every database that it can access of course. After I saw the ground-breaking work that they did on the original 1990 film “Jurassic Park” in creating dinosaur and putting all those stop-motion artists out of work, I realized that it was only a matter of time before one day that we will have digital actors and actresses that people will want to see. The studios will love it as they don’t have to pay them, meet all their petty demands and can be on tap 24-7 for interviews in any language while “making” their latest film. And yes, people will want to see them and will have fan clubs for them.

    1. digi_owl

      Funny thing is that Jurassic Park is far more practical effects than the media let on.

      Matrix, The prequel Star Wars trilogy and LOTR are far better precursors to the modern day CGI extravaganzas. LOTR in particular created whole armies on computers.

      This seem to be about up close background crowds etc, where they still use actual humans.

      But i suspect the fear is that future films will be made on stages similar to the Mandalorian series, where the background etc are rendered in real time by a souped up game engine and displayed on screens.

  11. BillS

    Re: Engineering during an Imperial Collapse – Thanks for this tweet! There was indeed a time that engineers learned advanced mathematical techniques. I remember that the first two years of university for ALL engineers was spent learning such things: series solutions to differential equations, complex variables, vector and tensor calculus, statics, dynamics, kinematics, chemistry, physics, etc. In recent years, preparation for the profession has become seriously degraded. The old curriculum may still be there, but no-one flunks out anymore. Grade inflation is rampant. While engineering candidates the I have interviewed are often very adept at using canned software packages, back-of-the-envelope rough calculations are beyond them. There is no physical feeling for the problems that they have to solve and they cannot represent an idea in a basic mathematical way.

    I have great respect for the WWII engineers (and those that came before the computer era). The work that came out of the MIT Radiation Laboratory and Bell Labs in those years was fundamental for all the microwave radio technology that is used today. Equivalent efforts were present in the UK, USSR, Germany and Japan. All was done using hand calculations and mechanical calculators.

    We will pay dearly for the dumbing down of our societies – a crisis yet to be seen will likely show us the error of our ways.

    I should say that I am not against the use of computers in engineering. They can be a great help. However, when simulating something, you need to have a feel for what is reasonable. Simulations can be subtly (and/or catastrophically) wrong sometimes!

    1. The Rev Kev

      I certainly have lot of respect for those old-timey engineers. To use their tools, they actually had to understand both the science and art of their profession and probably had a feel when a solution looked wrong. Depending on software packages without understanding the background principles is a bad brew as if a mistake is made, they may not know enough to recognize it for one. I used to be an excellent speller but with the advent of spell-check in browsers, email programs, etc. I know that they have deteriorated and I find myself depending on the software to catch my errors – which they often don’t. And that is for just typing words. Imagine the same but for engineering.

      1. flora

        And now we have highly educated professionals that understand the world only through their computer screens and apps, which make the world mentally flat and narrow.
        True story: Expensive, large new building built with a loading dock for delivery trucks to bring in and drop off supplies, but the architects failed to understand how much driveway space is required for trucks to turn around in. Trucks can drive in but can’t turn around to drive out. So supplied delivered by large delivery trucks (smaller than semi-trucks) have to deliver packages to the building next door. But, hey, it was a great design on the computer screen. What did the architects know about the real world uses of what they were designing?
        Reminds me of the story about a new Navy ship designed with the munitions storage area designed without an elevator to raise the munitions to the deck of the ship. / oy

        1. flora

          (I once saw a proposed large construction project that was so daft I called the planning commission to ask why they were about to make several fire hydrants and the access road next to tall residential buildings inaccessible to emergency vehicles. The response was something like, “what are you talking about. emergency vehicles can always…something.” It seemed like it never crossed their minds their design had a problem. However, after the call, someone in that office must have gone out and walked the site, because when it was built the access road in front of the buildings was still there. Emergency vehicles still had easy access to the fire hydrants.)

          Some days I fear for the future. / ha

        2. Pat

          Not necessarily limited to digital architecture. If you ever attend a performance at the Marquis Theater in NYC you might wonder at some unique things about it. And there are some you cannot even see. This is from about forty years ago. The theater was a requirement for the hotel as they tore down three theaters to build it. The architects forgot to provide dedicated audience bathrooms, bathrooms for the chorus rooms and even better a loading dock for the theater itself. The last was pointed out at a meeting with producers and union representatives where they were proudly showing off the state of the art theater they had shoehorned into their original hotel design. The stage hands pointed out that all sets, equipment, etc would have to be scaled to fit through regular doorways and trooped through the lobby. They would also have to tie up the hotel supply loading dock for weeks during any load in or load out as it was the only loading dock. There was much embarrassment, and a huge scramble. There is now a huge column on the street that houses a large freight elevator. Sets still have to be designed in pieces to fit that elevator. But it actually services the elevator. (Lobby bathrooms were expanded for theater goers as well as travelers, and they put bathrooms in what were meant to be hallways for the choruses. In fact they have full length windows onto 44th Street, which have shades, because they didn’t want to change the facade.)

        3. digi_owl

          Nothing new sadly. A relative of mine, that was an old hand at the local shipyard, could tell many a story where the laborers had to make on the spot changes to drawings coming form the offices. Because the 2D drawings had not accounted for 3D space.

          One glaring example was outfitting a cabin in the bow of a ship where the placement of the furniture didn’t account for the curvature of the hull.

          1. Bsn

            In music it’s called improvisation and experience. Nothing worse than a group or single musician who can’t “read the room”. Grandma will sit at the table right in front of a sax player during a solo and they’ll just keep blasting away. Don’t get me going on guitarists who only have to turn a knob.

      2. C.O.

        The University of Calgary had its own civil engineering graduates plan its library tower. The earnest engineers forgot to include in their calculations that libraries, once they go into service, get filled up with books, which are not light. Hence, the library tower had a “mechanical floor” and a reputation for subsidence. The now former library tower is office space today, because their library is officially digital and the majority of the physical books are held offsite to be fetched only on request.

      3. ACPAL

        Speaking to art. I started my engineering scooling in the days of slide rules and finished with card decks and computers. My first job was as a flight test engineer and we spent a lot of time looking over the jet planes and talking to the old timers explaining about true fly-by-wire systems where engineers actually got their hands dirty. By the time I retired I hardly looked at a plane.

        As a hobby I became a tinker, kind of a small scale fabricator. Much of the time I work with various metals working them with tools as well as by hand. It really is an art knowing the metal by feel as to what you can and can’t do with it, whether you can shape it by hand, by hammer, or by heat. Did you know that to drill old bed rails you have to press hard and go fast or the metal will harden before you get through? While I don’t have a complete blacksmith’s setup I do occasionally work mild steel on my anvil for special uses.

        I recommend every self respecting engineer take up a hobby in the very basics where they get their hands dirty and their minds expanded. Electrical engineers should play with vacuum tubes and transistors, chemical engineers with chemistry sets, rocket engineers with sugar and potassium nitrate, and so on. A text book and computer are no substitute for actual knowledge.

        1. BillS

          In principle, I agree with this. True engineering in any discipline is a craft, not unlike pipefitting or toolmaking. However, the very best engineers understand how a theoretical idea can be realized in the real world while satisfying certain (usually contradictory) constraints. This requires a certain level of “book learning” in addition to the practical side (book learning should never be denigrated). An engineer needs to have a good base in the theory of his/her discipline as well as a liking for getting the hands dirty! I personally like woodworking, gardening, welding and small engine repair.

    2. Mikel

      When I hear the word “engineer” those are the “old school” types of people and professionals that come to mind for me still.
      The word has indeed been bastardized.

    3. digi_owl

      I think this is at the core of the growth of the PMC, the layers upon layers of abstractions etc that gets built between the person and the world.

  12. Alice X

    >Detroit Woman Sues City After Being Falsely Arrested Due To Facial Recognition NBC

    The facial recognition was used on an eight year old photo of the woman. At the time of the crime, which she had nothing to do with, she was eight months preggie, but the named officer didn’t notice that in the security cam vid of the perp. Isn’t facial recognition notoriously poor with black faces anyway? Looks to me like the woman has got a case.

    1. nippersdad

      “Eff the Sahel, they don’t deserve my cookies!”

      If they had just thought ahead and imported some Nazis she might feel more at home.

    2. rowlf

      Based on watching movies, I’d say: Drop a house on her from orbit–it’s the only way to be sure – combines the effectiveness of houses on Wicked Witches of the East(ern US or Europe) with the sentiment for a one-and-done solution to the menace.

      I wonder if Niger can make Nuland’s party buy jet fuel in rubles or yuan for the flight home?

  13. Mikel


    And the government there is really leaning in on that “eat bitterness” for their unemployed and underemployed youth. Since early this year and continuing…with these newly reported twists:
    “…The ministry also told Communist Party officials and school administrators that they should visit companies to seek out job openings for students in majors with low employment rates. In Hunan Province, the education department recently issued a notice that requires schools to submit an explanation if more than 20 percent of graduates find part-time or freelance work instead of a full-time job. Sichuan Province said its colleges would consider canceling majors with a low employment rate for two straight years…”

    Rankings of each counselors’ employment rates and requests for them to provide updates on job placements at every monthly meeting are one part as well.

    “…As the pressure campaign on colleges intensifies, students and administrators are turning to extreme measures.

    For $17 on Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce site, a vendor is selling fabricated employment offers from a manufacturing firm affixed with a company seal and registration number. Along with providing the document, the vendor will also respond to confirmation calls from the school or a local education department…”

    Governments fudging job numbers. That’s the way of the world?

    1. hunkerdown

      Have you actually priced out compute time or GPU hardware, or are you asserting your emotions as facts (i.e. lying)? Head over to r/LocalLLaMA or r/StableDiffusion and see your “inner life” debunked by geek kids fine-tuning foundation models; designing new algorithms and operators to process, modify, and utilize models; and generating some quite aesthetic (if sometimes mildly cursed) images, much of it easily replicable by any user with a stout desktop PC or a gaming laptop, even more replicable with the user’s artistic touch. I think you’re just mad because you don’t have special rights to have your “inner life” dramas dominating others’ reality anymore.

      That said, Baudrillard correctly describes the significance of it: “Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory.”

      Yes, there is no “there” there. Neither is there in a Bob Ross landscape. Even “social justice” is a hyperreality. What of it? Digital evidence still isn’t evidence.

      1. Mikel

        That’s why it’s not going to be “democratizing” – an “inner life” (for those familiar with having one) isn’t about dominance over others reality.

        1. hunkerdown

          I, like the author of the article, mean “democratization” in the sense of nearly trivially easy access to a means of production. Given a few gigabytes of data and a certain level of computing device — a raspberry Pi has sufficed — anyone can create an image. There is no longer a master painter’s guild or censor board in the way. That is pretty democratic, in the sense that anyone who wants to, can.

          Heroic societies love error and this “inner life” business is starting to sound like an ideology whose origin we’ve lost.

          1. Mikel

            To inderstand the appeal of people enjoying a contemplative and private life, there has to be respect for boundaries.
            The mavens of the algorithms have loat all respect for people’s boundaries.

  14. Dalepues

    Doesn’t Nikki Haley know that nearly everything
    in Walmart is made in China? My neighbor quipped,
    “If Communism is so bad, why is everything in my
    house made in China? My clothes, my dishes, my
    television, my phone, everything!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      She really needs to get herself a Dorian Gray painting. All that hatred seems to be aging her prematurely and she is only supposed to be 51 years old.

    2. Benny Profane

      Is this China hate resonating with most Americans besides NYT readers? I don’t get it as a campaign issue, but, I guess that explains her poll numbers.

  15. Roger Blakely

    The Virus is Learning New Tricks and We Humans Keep Falling Behind Eric Topol (Dr. Kevin)

    Topol estimates that there is only a twenty percent chance of an Omicron event over the next couple of years. If you remember, Omicron changed everything. It came at us during Thanksgiving of 2021. With the previous version of the virus you could have someone in the house with COVID-19 and, if you were careful, no one else in the house would get COVID-19. With Omicron everyone in the house got sick.

    Topol says that the “pandemic is over” culture is exactly what we don’t need right now. He says that we are forcing the virus to find new ways to evade the immune system. He says that the virus will be with us for many, many years. He is enthusiastic about booster shots catching up with new variants.

  16. TimH

    Zoom Asks Its Employees To Return To Office

    “The company has requested all employees within 50 miles of a company office to return for in-person work at least two days a week on a hybrid schedule.”

    That’s actually reasonable, IMO, but I bet an underlying reason is to get some proportion of employees to quit rather than commute…

    1. antidlc

      How good is the ventilation in the company offices?

      Can the employees wear masks to work?

      Can employees bring their own air purifiers?

  17. Daniil Adamov

    I think socialism and communism are simply not seen as serious alternatives in the Russian establishment. One can pay lipservice to them as values and there is no small amount of Soviet nostalgia in elite circles that may be safely indulged. But as policies? There are some people who advocate for that, of course, but they have nothing to do with policymaking.

    Putin’s line has been fairly consistent: those were nice ideas with some obvious appeal, but their place is in the past. It’s not a matter of being them Western, but a matter of being failed. That is, at any rate, honest, since it is not as if Putin is going to conduct a socialist policy – his course has always been essentially liberal, different from that in the 90s mainly due to being less dogmatic and willing to incorporate pragmatic state interventions. I don’t think any possible successor would be different – after all, the elite’s livelihood is at stake. At the same time, socialism is too discredited among the higher-ups and much (though not all) of the population to even be worth demonising.

    I don’t know much about Bordachev. That said, he is the programme director of the Valdai Club, which is an establishment think tank. Their materials usually touch upon socialism in this somewhat condescendingly nostalgic, wishy-washy vein or not at all. His own articles lean strongly towards “not at all”, apart from some general points about Soviet socialism seeming to offer an alternative to the West. But that is very much depicted as being in the past.

    As for the rest of it, the opposition between a fundamentally injust Western international system and Russia is not a new idea here. Putin beat that drum for a while, but he was not alone. I do think such expressions have become more widespread since the SMO began since it shortly became clear that there is simply no point in trying to reconcile with the West. That means it can be condemned morally without any hedging. Neither is the understanding that the hegemony will not be overthrown easily new. There have been plenty of cautionary messages to that effect both before and after the SMO started. Optimists who expect the West to collapse any moment now also exist but since that has not happened more than a year in, their position has been weaker.

    “We do not know enough about the philosophical component of the concepts put forward by the Chinese leadership.”

    This part did amuse me. That we have very little knowledge of China and very few experts on China compared to the number of experts on Western countries has been a long-standing complaint here. The intellectual elite, including parts of it that connect to policymaking, have always had a strongly Western orientation even if they happen to be opposed to the West politically. Maybe that will finally change now, though.

    1. Polar Socialist

      If I’m not wrong, even the Communist Party or Russia is today mostly luke-warm towards socialism and closer to (the old kind of) social democracy than communism. They probably still have bundles of Marxist-Leninist in the ranks, but not that many in leadership positions.

      As for China, Maria Zakharova grew up in Peking, speaks Chinese and wrote her doctoral thesis on Chinese culture (folk toys, but still). Too bad she’s otherwise pre-occupied for now.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is committed to Marxism-Leninism and socialism in theory and even likes to talk up Stalin. In practice, though, you are right – the economic policies they support are more like social democracy or Old Labour, mixed with what would be considered right-wing cultural positions in the West. It’s been noted (by Boris Titov, as a would-be leader of a pro-business party, among others) that they try to appeal to small businesses, with some success.

        There are also many smaller and ideologically purer but even more ineffectual communist parties.

    2. Mikel

      “The intellectual elite, including parts of it that connect to policymaking, have always had a strongly Western orientation even if they happen to be opposed to the West politically…”

      That’s the wild card globally in the policy making circles.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for those insights. As an outsider with little real knowledge of the country I’ve often struggled to know what ‘ism’ you can use to describe how Russia is run these days. It seems to me like a pretty unique mix of State directed capitalism, direct intervention, along with a fairly random sprinkling of neoliberal and socialist ideas. I’d use the term ‘corporatist’, except that has taken on negative connotations. But then again, social democracy is really just corporatism with a bit of a social conscience added. Pragmatic nationalism is maybe the only overarching feature of Putin’s policies of the past few years that I can see, especially when applied to economic ideas.

      Your comments on China are very accurate too. Many of the pro-Chinese voices these days seem to unwittingly take on a very Western ideological lens in assessing Xi and the CCP these days. They seem incapable of looking at China as it is, not as they wish it to be, or just judging it as a supposed mirror to the West (one thing I do know about China is that the Chinese government thinks about the West a lot less than the west thinks it does). Actually, you could say that about almost any Asian or African country.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I’d say it is still essentially the same economic model as in the 90s – only with the worst excesses reined in and a lot of ad hoc adjustments. But the privatisation was not reversed, oligarchs remain major players, and state policy generally favours businesses or private-public cooperation.

        Nationalism may be a good word for it, though here it often has connotations of ethnonationalism. Russian ethnonationalists hate Putin with a passion and vice versa. They accuse him and the government of supporting reliance on immigrant labour, turning a blind eye towards ethnic crime, siding with minorities against ethnic Russians in autonomous ethnic republics, etc. The authorities in turn are trying to maintain stability in a multiethnic state. While fears (or, for some, hopes) of large-scale ethnic strife in most parts of the Federation are highly exaggerated, Russian ethnonationalists obviously come off as some of the biggest threats to this stability. That so many of them have been supporting Ukraine since 2014 has not helped. I assume you mean what is sometimes called civic nationalism, though.

        Everyone projecting their desires on China in very much the thing… I’ve seen variants from all kinds of different ideologies. Anti-American anti-imperialists want to see in China an ally against America (which, while not groundless, ignores all the ways in which China is still intertangled with America and at any rate has its own interests). Conservatives, an exemplary non-Westernised culture (often supported with specious references to Confucian and Taoist literature). Communists, a state steadily if imperfectly moving towards communism (with considerable variation as to details depending on one’s particular sect – there are still some Gorbachev-era officials who claim the hybrid economic model is what they were trying to achieve back in the day, for example; Stalinists tend to play up very different aspects from them). Liberals like (or at any rate, liked?) to exaggerate how badly workers are treated there after Deng’s reforms to sell that as a recipe for further deregulation at home. I imagine that has a lot to do with how understudied China is on its own terms – journalists and other “opinion leaders” can get away with projecting whatever they want largely unchallenged, outside of some blogs that almost no one reads.

    4. Alex Cox

      Karlof1 did a long substack post today about Rostec. A massive state-owned conglomerate which manufactures military and consumer goods of every conceivable description.

      He just followed up with a long post about the construction business.

      Socialism in Russia is alive, and thriving.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        The existence of significant state-owned companies in a market economy is not what I’d consider socialism. It is part of the aforementioned pragmatic adaptations in some areas. It does not mean anyone in the elite would consider doing away with the market economy as such.

  18. antidlc

    RE: TV and Film Extras Are Afraid AI Will Copy Their Faces and Bodies To Take Jobs

    Has anyone had the “pleasure” of logging in to their IRS.GOV account?

    IRS now offers a sign-in option with, which offers access to IRS online services with a secure account that protects your privacy. is an account created, maintained, and secured by a technology provider.

    If you don’t have an account, you must create a new account.


    How do I verify my identity?
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    You can use either a self-service process that requires a photo of a government ID and selfie, or a live call with an video chat agent that doesn’t require biometric data. Any selfie, video, and/or biometric data will be deleted automatically, except for suspicious or fraudulent activity. If you need help verifying your identity or to submit a support ticket, you can visit the IRS Help Site.

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  19. britzklieg

    ffs Topol:

    “As you can see, there is very close alignment between XBB.1.5 and EG.5.1 except for 2 new mutations in the latter: F456L and Q52H. Accordingly, the new Covid booster should be very effective vs severe Covid. On the other hand, the BA.5 spike has more than 15 different mutations than either of the newer variants, which not only reflect further evolution of the virus, but also how poorly aligned that bivalent BA.5 booster is with the virus circulating now. Even with FLip gaining traction, we’d be far better off with the new XBB.1.5 monovalent booster than what we have now.”

    The new” booster? The one that hasn’t been developed yet? What’s wrong with that statement? “Should” be very effective? “15 different mutations than either of the newer variants, which not only reflect further evolution of the virus, but also how poorly aligned that bivalent BA.5 booster is with the virus circulating now” (the “booster” currently being pushed by the mRNA zealots) – all of which only appears late in a scientific word salad that few will read past the first paragraph.

    How do you spell s-h-i-l-l, Eric?

    Boost this, fella…

    Never mind that he buries a feigned interest in developing a nasal vaccine in a one sentence paragraph, 3 paragraphs from the end, with no further explanation as to why it could be important.

    Finally he states, correctly, that the pandemic isn’t over yet… so my question is:

    If (4 to 5 “jabs” and 2 1/2 years later) the pandemic isn’t over yet, shouldn’t it be called a “pandemic of the vaccinated?”

    1. kareninca

      Thank you. I read that paragraph several times and I couldn’t figure out what he was saying, so I figured he was bullsh*ing but I couldn’t get myself to diagram it to figure out how. Since I haven’t had any covid “vaccines” yet, I think I’ll pass on whatever crap he is selling. My N95s, Xlear and claritin are working so far, knock on wood.

  20. Tom Stone

    Does anyone here think that the US “Intelligence” agencies won’t overtly interfere in the next US Presidential election the way they have in the last two?
    The 2016 Democratic Primary was so crooked that it took my breath away, my vote and the vote of 3,000,000 other Californians who had “No Party Preference” were not counted by the decree of the California Secretary of State.
    The behavior of the Biden Administration has been reckless and irresponsible to the point of insanity and there seems to be no limit to what stupidities they are capable of.

    1. Feral Finster

      After 2016, the alphabet agencies have usurped a de facto veto on presidential candidates that they do not approve of.

      The question is – what is anyone going to do about it?

  21. britzklieg

    Before linking to it, and just reading the stand-alone text to Arnaud Bertrand’s tweet:

    “She’s doing her very best to become the personification of what’s worst with American politics: looking for an external enemy, blaming foreigners for America’s problems, appalling racism, etc.”

    honestly, I was expecting to see a picture of Hillary and since HRC has already earned the epithet it seems a bit short-sighted. Then again, most of Congress would already fit the so described personification.

  22. digi_owl

    “Railroaded: Bring Back Thatcher and Reagan Steve Keen (Chuck L)”

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but i fully expect European rail to follow the UK example, as EU is pushing for competition in all things. Norway, being subject to EU decrees via the EEA agreement, had in recent years been putting various sections up for tender.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The UK made a number of catastrophic mistakes over railway privatization, a key one being selling off the tracks separately, which never made any sense. Many of the problems Keen identifies was down to wanting to give the initial purchasers of key routes some quick profits in order to generate cash for the government.

      It should be said, of course, that nearly all the key railways in Europe and the US were built by private companies. But then again, nearly all of them eventually went bankrupt in the end. Making money from infrastructure is very difficult indeed, which is why nearly all countries ended up having to take railways into public ownership, whatever their ideology.

      Contrary to what I often read in some sources, there is no pressure from the EU to privatize railways (the French always block any such moves), but there is a policy of encouraging more competition on existing lines and standardizing tracks and signalling to allow more cross-Europe routes. Sometimes this is pretty successful as a number of private companies are essentially renting out spare track capacity to run night time routes for passengers or freight across national boundaries ( is a great source of information on this). But of course there is always the temptation for national governments to succumb to pressure from the usual run of consultants and privateers.

      1. digi_owl

        Ok so maybe it is down to either europhile Norwegian politicians or the EEA being more of a straight jacket than full membership, but it constantly feels like EU “encouragements” are akin to a mafia wise guy complimenting someone’s shop.

      2. Old Sarum

        UK’s railway tracks sold off separately;

        The cynic in me says that this was not done for any good reason other than asset-stripping*, but to make it more of a mess to re-nationalize the railways as a whole.


        *is that not a good thing?

      3. Alex Cox

        Craig Murray would disagree. He has experienced, and blogged about, the disastrous, EU-mandated privatization of Deutche Bahn.

  23. enoughisenough

    Re. robot dog-walking:
    What happens when the dog bites or attacks a passer-by?

    That actually happened to me, when a stupid person let their stupid jack russell jump on me and bite me when I was trying to jog past them.

    So – who do you talk to, if there’s no person there? Same thing if a stupid driverless car hits you – where do you get the insurance info from?

    This is all so moronic.

  24. Willow

    Re: Timofey Bordachev’s op-ed
    Seems to be suggesting that Russia has only ever tolerated Western foreign policy over the last 500 years and that now enough is enough. Given it’s very unlikely West will change, the almost inevitable outcome will be WW3. Only hope is for Russia to articulate an alternative system of international justice that will bring together the Global South to stare down the West. Bordachev seems pessimistic that this can achieved but nontheless thinks this hope needs to be considered even if from a perspective of existentialist nihilism.

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