Links 9/20/2023

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Justice for Neanderthals! What the debate about our long-dead cousins reveals about us Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Scientists insist ‘alien corpses are one skeleton’ as they are given CT scans and tested Express (furzy). Why am I not surprised?

Intel Unveils Industry-Leading Glass Substrates to Meet Demand for More Powerful Compute Intel (guurst)

This Simple Activity Lowers Stress Without Exercise or Meditation Science Alert (Chuck L). :-(. Not for me. I hated coloring books and art class.

‘I couldn’t believe the data’: how thinking in a foreign language improves decision-making Guardian (Kevin W)


The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill Wired (ma). On “Covid is airborne”!


The World’s Population May Peak in Your Lifetime. What Happens Next? New York Times (WL)

Will sweat help us survive climate change? Grist

How to Cool Down a City New York Times

Low Mississippi River limits barges just as farmers want to move their crops downriver Associated Press (furzy)

Southern Sierra Miwuk preserve cultural heritage after last year’s Oak Fire NPR (David L)


China launches ‘Kuafu’ nuclear fusion research facility, named after mythical giant, in quest to build ‘artificial sun’ South China Morning Post (furzy)


Canada’s assassination charge against India puts Biden in a pickle Responsible Statecraft. I am bothered by Trudeau making the announcement, with what he admits is only preliminary information, right before the General Assembly meeting.

Torture, rape, killings in Manipur: An Indian state’s brutal conflict BBC. Lead story. Timing and placeement seem awfully convenient timing.


EU agrees trade deal with Kenya as Brussels aims to boost Africa ties Financial Times

European Disunion

Berlin Can No Longer Accommodate More Refugees teleSUR English (furzy)

New Not-So-Cold War

SITREP 9/20/23: Friction and Turmoil Simplicius the Thinker

We Can No Longer Hide the Truth About the Russia-Ukraine War Newsweek

How to Make Russia Really Pay for Invading Ukraine New York Times (furzy)

EU seeking something Russian to sanction – Bloomberg RT

Evidence Suggests Ukrainian Missile Caused Market Tragedy New York Times. Recall the mainstream media initially spoke with one voice that Russia done it, despite videos showing the missiel came from the wrong direction, which meant “blame Russia” posture needed to be held in abeyance. Alex Christaforu discusses at the top of his first video on Tuesday, noting that this non-time-sensitive story coincided with Zelensky’s US charm tour. DLG notes:

Meanwhile: The NYTimes reports and Fatto Quotidiano analyzed that “mistaken” Ukrainian bomb that fell in the market at Konstantinivka. Who’da thunk it? Evidently, the NYTimes is claiming it is all a mistake. Jacques Baud would likely say otherwise.

Top story in yesterday’s Russian television news: ‘The New York Times’ investigative report Gilbert Doctorow

Zelensky’s top aide accuses NYT of encouraging ‘conspiracy theories’ RT

The “Peacemaker” Hit List American Conservative

How Biden’s View on Presidential War Powers Has Shifted New York Times (Li)


UPDATE 8:30 AM EDT Well, that was fast

Nagorno-Karabakh forces agree Azerbaijan demand to disarm BBC

Live Updates: Azerbaijan-Armenia live: Deaths reported in Nagorno-Karabakh attacks Aljazeera

Blinken urges de-escalation in separate phone calls with Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders Anadolu Agency

Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis Intensifies With Azerbaijani “Anti-Terrorist Operation” RFE/EL

Armenia & Its US-Based Diaspora Lobby Want America To Declare War On Azerbaijan Andrew Korybko


Yemen’s rebels optimistic after Saudi Arabia peace talks DW

Imperial Collapse Watch

China and Russia strengthen cooperation as G7 pushes Beijing to rein in Moscow on Ukraine South China Morning post

Click through to read full text:


Soul Brother, Donald Trump, Notorious Bigot, Thinks His Legal Woes Are Endearing Him to Black Voters Vanity Fair (Dr. Kevin)

House GOP pulls key vote to advance stopgap government funding bill CNBC (Kevin W)

‘Trump scooped us’: Dems sound alarm on Biden’s handling of the auto worker strike Politico (Kevin W)

GOP Clown Car

Kevin McCarthy Has Alienated Republican Extremists and Democrats, But Has to Govern Anyway Charles Pierce, Esquire (furzy)

Giuliani sued over $1.4 million in unpaid legal fees Reuters (furzy)


Indiana attorney general faces ethics case over abortion doctor remarks Reuters (furzy)



Crude oil tops $95 a barrel raising fears of return to rising inflation Guardian (Kevin W)

The Bezzle

I rented a Tesla for a month. It was a steep learning curve ABC Australia (Paul R)

FTX sues founder Bankman-Fried’s parents Reuters (Kevin W)

Stanford University Will Return ‘Entirety’ of Gifts Received From FTX Bloomberg. Lordie, this is shameless. Stanford didn’t decide to give back the monies until the bankrupt estate decided to sue?

Reflections on the 15th Anniversary of the Lehman Brothers Failure William White, INET. Recall when William White was at the BIS, he and Claudio Borio warned of the housing bubbles in many economies, and they were waved off by Greenspan.

Guillotine Watch

Justice Department Probe Scrutinizes Elon Musk Perks at Tesla Going Back Years Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

What the Luddites can teach us about the next tech rebellion Fast Company. Paul R: “Interesting but awfully long. It’s a book excerpt. The idea is important but idk how it can sustain a whole book.”

Auto Giants Refusing Union Demands Paid Just 1% in Federal Taxes on $42 Billion in Profits: Analysis Common Dreams (ma)

Fentanyl was stored on top of playmats at Bronx day care where baby fell ill and later died NBC (furzy)

Illinois Abolishes Cash Bail System HuffPost (furzy)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (Chuck L):

And a second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    President of Brazil speaking at the opening of the UN General Assembly today: “It is fundamental to preserve the freedom of the press. A journalist like Julian Assange cannot be punished for informing society in a transparent and legitimate way”‘

    That was a demonstration in courage from the belly of the beast that. Speaking truth and demanding justice for Julian Assange. You’d like to see more of this. But then there were the Israelis.

    When Iran’s President started to give his speech, the Israeli Ambassador left his seat which was his right. But then he started to walk around the room carrying a freedom & rights sign about Iran over his head until the UN security had to step in and give him the bum’s rush-

    1. Victor Sciamarelli

      With regard to, “Speaking truth and demanding justice for Julian Assange,” RFK Jr., said if elected he would immediately pardon Assange, as well as, Edward Snowden who he described as a hero.

  2. griffen

    Bear cubs in a hammock…I have the advantage to stand upright on two legs and also attempt to pin the one half down while climbing in…and that is a tricky thing to do..

    1. vao

      As for the gorillas, I had already seen the video many years ago in YouTube, as it had been posted there in January 2012. Xwitter (TwiXer? TwitteX?) is really overdoing it with republishing old content.

    2. Wukchumni

      I’ve been part of the Great Hammockracy since around the turn of the century, and i’d dread spending a night in one of those ‘rope’y’ hammocks that binds into you, such as the one the hapless cubs were attempting to get in,

      This hammock & tarp have been my bed for about 500 nights mostly in the Sierra Nevada where all I need is a couple of trees 10 to 14 feet apart, and i’m golden.

      Looking forward to a couple nights in a hammock this weekend, where a gaggle of 6 of us are headed to Jordan hot springs, including my longtime backpacking partner, who is our friend Wonderhussy’s accomplice in this video of a walk there last year.

      High Sierra Hot Spring Wonderland Backpacking Adventure

      1. griffen

        Not taking a hammock, but going on a family+ hiking and sight seeing trip to South Dakota starting this weekend. Going there for several days, in no particular order the plan is to hit Wind Cave ( but the cave is closed, maintenance), Custer SP, Badlands, Devils Tower, and Mt Rushmore among a few other choices. This is a first, having not visited any of the US midwestern states much at all; I’m not counting Chicago since that was city specific.

        In a simpler time, we might have crammed into a gleaming station wagon aka the Griswolds and ventured on the open road. No wagon, and no cousin Eddie either.

        1. GF

          We did that loop drive from Lyons CO a few years ago at this time of year and it was spectacular. I don’t know if I would call it midwestern though as it definitely has a western feel – especially out near Devils Tower. Loved the bison herds in Custer SP and the surrounding country. Don’t forget Deadwood.

  3. Sardonia

    Fascinating to read this article (The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill Wired (ma). On “Covid is airborne”!) on how a few researchers labored and discovered how the misunderstanding of how various pathogens were easily spread by airborne aerosols – a discovery that overturned decades of medical dogma, and actually got the WHO and the CDC to add to their websites that SARS-CoV-2 can indeed be linger in the air for hours and be spread over long distances (but never made press releases or major announcements).

    The researchers were thrilled at their accomplishment, and how this would greatly impact how this virus and future airborne pathogens would be dealt with!!!!

    And then I noticed that the article is dated May of 2021.

    (Banging head on desk. Looking for Lambert’s desk to bang my head on as well so he doesn’t have to – his poor head has suffered enough).

    1. CanCyn

      Pretty sure the article was share back then and much discussed either here or in Watercooler. None these, a reminder of just how bad things really are and that is not me who is crazy is welcome, or something, necessary maybe?

    2. albrt

      It’s a very good article, but it downplays the role of the institutional droplet goons who fought against masking and costly improvements in ventilation for purely financial reasons. The droplet goons were not mistaken. They used the confusion in the literature as cover and they are still doing it. They are intentional mass-murderers.

      1. some guy

        Was their motivation purely financial? Or was their motivation mass-democidal as well, under the cover of ” cynical purely financial concerns” to spray a little perfume of plausible deniability on their real motives and goals?

  4. Alice X

    >We Can No Longer Hide the Truth About the Russia-Ukraine War – Newsweek

    Well, at least they correctly use the word hide. Now can they please just stop the war?

    1. ilsm

      I think “we” need to admit that Russia war colleges teach tactics from mid late Cold War US novels.

      And NATO/US don’t.

      NB: ISW and the military staffs in west continue to see “significant advances” that avoided the Russian “main line of contact”

      1. Polar Socialist

        They do come from the school of war that still believes battle of Somme was a success and that there was no alternative for the British to learn “modern all-arms warfare”. So there.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “The “Peacemaker” Hit List”

    A not bad article but there is one bit missing, The part where the Myrotvorets kill list was hosted on NATO servers. So perhaps Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio should ask if this is still the case because if it is, then that means that the US is funding it via their NATO contributions. But that Ashton-Cirillo is a right case. If they said about other groups what they say about the Russians, then Ashton-Cirillo would find themselves cancelled off social media for hate speeches. But here is the fun bit. When this war winds down, you can bet that Ashton-Cirillo will jump on a jet and come back to America. I suppose that they could always get a job with CNN or MSNBC. Maybe Biden can give them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    1. The Rev Kev

      This has been know since at least the 2000 Presidential elections when 60,000 votes disappeared from the Democrats and then reappeared in either votes for Republicans or Republican-adjacent candidates. But the Democrat party did not see a problem with this and it was quickly forgotten when the election itself was given to George Bush. To be fair, the Republicans did talk about creating their own reality at the time and I guess that this was one example.

      1. Pat

        Instead they went all in on more electronic voting. Tells you that the issue isn’t accurate results but who controls the final count.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how’ – Joseph Stalin in 1923.

          That quote never gets old.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’d turn it around and claim the Fleet Street attack dogs saw just how many ‘votes’ Russell was getting in terms of viewership on youtube.

            He was closing in on 6.66 million subscribers, that’s 20x CNN’s audience, but of course the devil is in the details.

          2. BananaBreakfast

            Stalin almost certainly never said this, btw. The only source for it is a claim by his former secretary a decade later in a book full of inaccuracies and outright fabrications. Stalin researchers unanimously consider it apocryphal.

            1. Pat

              Well he should be happy to have it attributed to him since it is one of the most accurate statements ever made about the subject.

              In truth it was probably some city boss maybe from NYC or Chicago. Or some other power broker who stuffed ballot boxes. But it is it’s accuracy that makes it resonate not the speaker.

                1. Cat Burglar

                  It is most devoutly to be wished!

                  In return for a vote, Tammany would deliver something to the average person — a job, a contract, a place in school. What does anyone but the large donors get now?

                  Compare the current Democrats with George Washington Plunkitt

                  What tells in holdin’ your grip on your district is to go right down among the poor families and help them in the different ways they need help. I’ve got a regular system for this. If there’s a fire in Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh Avenue, for example, any hour of the day or night, I’m usually there with some of my election district captains as soon as the fire engines. If a family is burned out I don’t ask whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and I don’t refer them to the Charity Organization Society, which would investigate their case in a month or two and decide they were worthy of help about the time they are dead from starvation. I just get quarters for them, buy clothes for them if their clothes were burned up, and fix them up till they get things runnin’ again. It’s philanthropy, but it’s politics, too – mighty good politics. Who can tell how many votes one of these fires bring me? The poor are the most grateful people in the world, and, let me tell you, they have more friends in their neighborhoods than the rich have in theirs.

        2. furnace

          Electronic voting isn’t a problem by itself, Brazil’s elections work perfectly fine. But there is no access to any internet with the ballot “boxes” which only get connected at the end of the day when the count is to be done. There is no moment or place for tampering, afaik. (Also everything is very public and open source, so tampering would be obvious)

        3. some guy

          And who ( DemParty Silicon Valley patrons and funders) gets to make money off the Voting Machine Systems Industrial Complex going forward.

          Silicon Valley doesn’t make much money off of a bunch of Legal Paper Ballots, pencils, pens,
          human ballot counters, scrutineers, etc.

      2. marym

        I’m not familiar with the 60K vote flipping story. However, in 2000 electronic, internet-capable voting systems weren’t the norm. The “reforms” introduced after 2000 did introduce electronic ballot marking and direct recording systems, but these have largely been replaced in all but a couple of states with hand-marked paper ballots.

        1. Pat

          I cannot speak to other states but the hand marked ballots are superfluous here in NY. They go into an electronic internet connected scanning device that has to be programmed. Since the programming determines how the votes are read and counted there is absolutely no guarantee 1.) that the devices are programmed to accurately read and record the votes and 2.) also no guarantee that the machines cannot be hacked and reprogrammed.
          Oh and in NYC when you enter your ballot all you get is a you voted splash screen. They don’t even have to do a two layer deception of showing you that it scanned what you intended or provide you with a paper receipt doing so.
          Please do not pretend that this is trustworthy.

          1. marym

            In my opinion – given the now-extensive use of hand-marked paper ballots – one of the most wide-spread potential issues related to voting machines now is tabulation rather than ballot marking – securing software and hardware, developing methods and providing resources for accurate and timely hand-counting alternatives, and performing robust recount/audit procedures.

            I know there’s disagreement at NC with my opinion on the challenges of hand counting, which is fine. It’s at least a subject worth discussion in terms of todays equipment and both automated and manual procedures. There have been several groups of Republican activists in AZ for example, pushing for hand counts or hand recounts, and they’ve run into logistical issues.

            Re: Pretending
            I didn’t say a word about current ballot tabulation equipment. I just commented that equipment used 23 years go, during the intervening years, and currently are different. Many who comment here provide no links or other supporting information. That’s ok for people who are confident in the accuracy and relevance of their own or others’ opinions and facts, but I don’t assume readers will be confident about my opinions and facts. In the few areas of discussion where I venture to comment I try to be diligent in providing links, a review of what I’ve learned about the links if they aren’t well-known sources, and some logical argument.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              I participated in a hand recount of a pretty tricky city council election. There were seven candidates running and voters had to choose their top three. Recount was between 3rd and 4th place finishers. Despite the howls coming from the ostensibly liberal portion of the electorate that it would be too costly, take too much time, not fair to the person who won with the machine tabulation, etc., etc. (for some reason, conservative candidates, who the recount would not have benefited in any way, were in favor of the hand recount), we completed the recount of a few thousand ballots in about four hours. It’s really not all that difficult to count ballots by hand, even when it’s not between just two candidates.

              1. marym

                One AZ recount was of the 2020 presidential and senate races for Maricopa county (2.1M ballots). They had an arena full of volunteers, and some “lazy susan” equipment to expedite the paper flow. It took a few months (they did take some breaks). Another was a full recount of 850 ballots with >30 races. “It took three minutes to tally one ballot with 36 contests on it. The county forecasts at 105k ballots in 2024 one seven member team would need 5,250 work hours, 657 eight-hour days to complete the tally.” My 2022 general election ballot in IL had > 90 line items. I’m interested in these kinds of examples – time, person power, accuracy, and the various iterative procedures for sorting, stacking, and tabulating ballots with a large number of races. Examples I’ve read from other countries don’t have those kinds of numbers of races. As I’ve stated here more than once (I’m not pretending) there’s probably a lack of research and imagination on my part in not being able to picture this on a large scale, but I’d still welcome examples and analysis of counting the kinds of multi-contest ballots we deal with in the US.


            2. Pat

              Yes the problem is now almost entirely about tabulation. But manipulated tabulation programming and hacking scanner machine programming has been a focus of anti electronic voting activists for two decades that I know about. There were entire studies done by Black Box Voting which have continued to be ignored. Digital count manipulation and hacking is still very much possible.
              I apologize if your failure to note that paper ballots were not a complete solution left me with the impression you thought the problems had been solved.
              And I am sorry if hand counts are difficult, but are they really? other countries manage to handle them. That makes me think this is really another problem that could be eliminated if the bureaucrats were removed from process.

              1. marym

                Do you have links to voting in other countries or tests and studies of US ballots that illustrate procedures for counting ballots with dozens of contests and evaluate the results for timing, accuracy, etc.?

                Here’s an article that includes links to discussions of some challenges and some counting studies, (but not all of the ballot types in the counting studies were hand marked). It takes a negative view of hand counting, so I would like to see some of these issues addressed in ways that present a more positive view.


                Re my “failure to note”
                I do think the fact that most voting is on hand-marked paper ballots seems to address the problem of the need for hand-marked paper ballots, but I don’t expect to include takes on every aspect of a topic in every comment on that topic!

          2. some guy

            In my state of Michigan votes are cast by hand on Legal Paper Ballots. These ballots are then fed into opti-scan machines which count them electronically and etc. upstream step by step by step.

            BUT! . . . the first footprint is analog. The first footprint is the Legal Paper Ballot on which the vote is analogly cast by the analog voter analogly making the relevant marks with an analog ink marker. So unless those ballots are later physically destroyed, they remain in existence to be analogly counted by human counters analogly counting those Analog Legal Paper Ballots.

            And that is at least potentially better than purely digital.

      3. Paradan

        I think in 2012 a former employee of one of the Voting machine companies was supposed to testify before congress. Like a week before he was to appear, yup, plane crash.

        1. Mikel

          I think many elected officials and wanna-be elected officials, along with their apparatchiks and puppeteers, are clinging to power in order to stay out of jail or avoid accountability in other ways.

          1. some guy

            Well . . . isn’t that why Trump is running again? To re-cling to power in order to stay out of jail or avoid accountability in other ways?

            If its okay for Trump, then its okay for all those others too. Whataboutery goes both ways.

            1. Mikel

              My comment was generalized and all encompassing.
              No whataboutery about it.

              You engaged in Trump derangement and made it sound like I was saying it was okay for anyone.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      What changed? I’d argue that when the GOP lost power the neocons switched parties and as an enticement, they brought the voting machine companies with them.

      1. ambrit

        This assumes facts not in evidence. If we use the Uniparty as the baseline state, it does not matter who the Neos associate with. The Result is generally the same.
        I get flamed a bit whenever I comment on other sites that today’s political term of derision, ‘Leftist,’ is a bait and switch. Real Leftists, I usually comment, demand the public ownership of the means of production. Anything else is Centrist. Then I sit back and watch heads explode.
        Secondarily, I always argue that anything electronic can be “hacked.” Sooner or later I end up trying to explain air gapping and it’s shortcomings.
        Thirdly, I try to explain the pitfalls of having the electronic algorithms controlling the counting and correlation of the votes being “proprietary trade secrets.”
        When I suggest that all electronic voting machines be totally State owned and run, my interlocutors generally reply that that leaves the State open to giant temptations to cheat itself.
        We then end up back at “Press Start.”

        1. some guy

          In today’s political climate would New Deal Revivalism be considered Leftist in mainstream parlance? Or at least Leftish? And all it sought ( and achieved till carefully deconstructed over several decades) was ordered capitalism under law.

          I would be satisfied with a return to ordered capitalism under law . . . . a New Deal Revival. So if that makes me not a Real Leftist, I am okay with that. I was never a Religious believer in Leftianity.

  6. Pat

    With a couple of friends I have been advocating that all of Zelensky’s real estate and investments outside of Ukraine be liquidated and proceeds sent to Ukrainian charities every time he demands more tribute to Ukraine. They thought I was being unfair until I started listing some of the things he has and stated flatly that with Ukrainian SOP the hidden share he has gotten from funds already sent probably dwarfs official numbers. They might have rejected the second part but a few got the point he wasn’t putting HIS money where his mouth was.

    I have to thank Great Britain, British citizenship will get me most of the rest of them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky has been sour lately and it may be because an apartment that he had in Crimea is being sold by the local authorities right now. I’m sure that it would have been a nice one and I believe that it was in his wife’s name.

      1. Pat

        Good on Crimea. It would be pretty much impossible for him and his family to ever live there, he shouldn’t have investment property there when he clearly supports attacking them. It can be just one more reason for him to despise them for not recognizing his nonexistent authority over Crimea and the Crimean people.

      2. Polar Socialist

        At least she got it for less than half the market value from Oleksandr Buryak, an oligarch banker who embezzled money from his bank before selling it right before it was declared illiquid.

        In 2019 she tried to sell the apartment for four times the purchase price. Before the February 24th 2022 even Reuters could figure out this was corruption writ large.

        1. Pat

          I have paid little attention to Mrs Zelensky. I should correct that. It might be almost as interesting as learning about Michelle Obama, the Chicago years.

            1. Pat

              I can’t find my favorite link about how the position was eliminated after she left, but Michelle was in charge of outreach for the University of Chicago medical center. Her salary more than doubled right after Barry got into the state senate. This has been claimed to be false information, that there was a promotion, but it is far more murky as it wasn’t a clear jump to an established position. And the elimination of the job…
              But both have a history of great jobs of personal advancement from community type activision. The ties to Rezko aren’t about giving but real estate.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    How thinking in a foreign language improves one’s decision making. Guardian.

    Funny, another Italian-American who moved to Italy and I were messaging about this phenomenon this morning, although it was in the context of the beginning of the article: For an English speaker, just as Nabokov noted about his Russian memories, Shakespeare still evokes emotional states that neither of us duplicate in Italian. It may be a result of poetry being so highly charged emotionally, because I know that as an American I am also formed by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Lee Masters, and Marianne Moore. Let alone Shakespeare’s sonnets.

    Yet some of the tests that the article goes into—the “scientific” side as opposed to Nabokov’s insights about language as story-telling, language as the vehicle of memory—don’t ring true. Here in the Chocolate City in the Undisclosed Region, I speak Italian. Yet French, Piedmontese, and English (of various kinds, including a kind that is truly Italian but happens to line up English words) are much in use. One switches.

    But I’d be hard-pressed to say that I will be more practical about throwing someone in front of a train. Admittedly, we had a horrific accident about ten days ago in which five men were killed at the train station at Brandizzo—yet the lesson is not to do thought experiments in English or Italian about throwing people in front of trains. The lesson was the evils of rent-seeking capitalism. The lesson in English and Italian is not to exploit laborers.

    If anything, the attention required to speak Italian well has made me more careful with words and gesture—maybe that’s the enhanced decision making—but I also live in a region where good manners and deference are highly prized.

    The use of a minority language like Piedmontese also doesn’t lead to decision making. It leads to a kind of surprise and delight and intimacy. I use certain Piedmontese expressions and have provoked all kinds of communicative reactions.

    So the article is worth a read. I’m just not sure about some of the results.

    1. Ignacio

      This comment by you made me think I would have to revisit Faulkner, whose books I have read, and enjoyed, translated into Spanish, but switching to their original English. Of course it is not the same if you read the same book when you are 20 yo and, then, 30 years later but switching language may make the exercise a totally new experience. I have done this with a few books and they really feel very different in each language, but I haven’t done this still with books such as those from Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck or Poe that I devoured long ago and left an imprint when I was young. My English is not good enough to go for poetry.

      1. hk

        One exercise that I really enjoyed when I was younger and a bit more language competent was trying to translate the novel mentally as I was reading it and later read it in a more “professional” translation. I always had the sense that Hemingway actually reads very well (in some sense, better than in English) in Spanish. On one hand, I suppose the versions I read had really good translators, but, I also thought there was something about Hemingway’s novels, at least those set in Spanish speaking settings, really had something “Spanish” in them that didn’t come out quite right in English, even at the hands of someone like Hemingway.

        1. Ignacio

          It is quite possible, that Hemingway’s style if direct and crude or simple and natural translates very well into Spanish, let’s say “naturally”, resulting bolder when he wants to be bold etc. I put his books in my list with Faulkner.

    2. hk

      It’s a peculiar thing–thinking in a language, especially since I’m not even sure which language is “foreign” to me any more. (English is not, chronologically, my first language, but it is the language I think in mostly.) One thing I often do nowadays is to think over the literal translations of common expressions from one language to another and getting amused about what they reveal about how people in different cultures perceive what is “normal” and what is not (Including the ones that I am not very good at, curiously enough). I don’t know if it really improves one’s decision making, per se, but it definitely provides for much better (or, at least, multifaceted) perspective on things.

      Now, speaking of Nabokov….I am curious what language(s) he usually thought in (or, for that matter, Charles V or Joseph Conrad….)

      1. R.S.

        > Now, speaking of Nabokov….I am curious what language(s) he usually thought in

        He was asked this question at least once. My problem is, that interview was in French, and I have found only the Russian translation.

        Let me ask you a personal question: what language do you think in?

        Do people think in any language? Thinking is done rather in images. This is the very mistake that, in my opinion, Joyce made, the difficulty that he was never able to overcome. Towards the end of Ulysses, in Finnegans Wake, the flow of words without punctuation tries to match a sort of an inner language. However, people don’t think in this way. In words, yes, but also in ready-made phrases, cliches. Well, and images, of course; a word dissolves into images, and then an image produces the next word.
        Anne Guérin, “Le Bon M. Nabokov”, L’Express, 5 Nov. 1959, pp. 32–33

        1. Anonymous 2

          Others are doubtless far more expert, but I think that the recent thinking (generalising wildly) is that the right hemisphere of the brain most probably prompts the action of speaking/thinking but it is in the left hemisphere that the search for words takes place, so I imagine you will have a ‘compartment’ for words from language 1, another for language 2 etc.

          Iain McGilchrist (the Master and his Emissary) is my guide here. Great, great book by the way. If you want to understand the working of the brain/mind I would recommend starting with this work. Does the right hemisphere think in images? I think yes, but it is more complicated than that.

        2. hk

          “Thinking is done rather in images.”

          This is something incomprehensible to me. I am partly joking when I say one word speaks thousand pictures, but not entirely. (of course, if I were serious, I’d say one equations speaks a thousand pictures). Abstract and conceptual come easily to me. Pictures, not so much.

          1. R.S.

            We’re in the same boat here. I don’t see pictures, I don’t hear voices, nothing like that. Most of the time, I just know. I’m sometimes told that it’s kinda abnormal, but whatever.

            I’m not certain what Nabokov actually meant though. The word used isn’t exactly “picture”. It’s an “image” in a more abstract sense. Depending on the context, it can be translated as “vision”, “shape”, “appearance”, even “a way of doing something”. Maybe I should find the original text and ask someone more familiar with the French language.

            //So, an Russian/English writer gave an interview in French. That interview was translated into Russian. Then, this translation was translated into English (by a non-native, mind you). I find it kinda amusing that we can still discuss the nuances.

        3. eg

          My daughter claims that she is unable to visualize images in her imagination and that her dreams are also image free.

          So there’s probably other ways of thinking than in images.

      2. vao

        I was told a long time ago that the language in which one is counting is what defines one’s primary language.

    3. Wukchumni

      The French ex-pat couple I hike with lapse into their native lingua franca about 1/6th of the time when we’re out hiking, not that they aren’t also quite conversant in English.

      It must be interesting to think in different languages, let alone accent marks.

  8. Wukchumni

    Kevin McCarthy Has Alienated Republican Extremists and Democrats, But Has to Govern Anyway Charles Pierce, Esquire
    My Kevin (since ’07) only has one way out, and that is if the hapless Donkey Show saves his bacon, and then all it takes is one vote from say the likes of Boebert et al to send him packing back to the wilds of Bakersfield where he can claim to want to spend more time with his family.

    Kev was the epitome of a do nothing pol who somehow rose to the top, perfekt for our times really.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As usual when I read a Charles Pierce “article” I feel the need to ask, “What’s your point?”

      Schadenfreude won’t get the government funded. Neither will snotty, juvenile taunting which always seems to be Pierce’s go-to.

      1. Wukchumni

        I could have been burdened with a typical Godzone Congressman nobody has ever heard of such as Valadao, but I got lucky.

        Worry not though, after the initial euphoria of his downfall wears thin, i’ll probably hardly mention him anymore, why bother?

        There is precedence in the family though, how many of your fathers threw impromptu victory parties on August 9, 1974, like mine did…

        1. Pat

          I may have stolen your form of reference for him, but I also sort of envy you for your inept ambitious Congressional burden. My new guy is a more accomplished neoliberal probably spook or spook adjacent just equally ambitious. Unlike Your Kev, his water carrying will be far more annoying than most of Kev’s. And could possibly be more successful.
          I also envy you being on the downhill side of his rise and fall. It could be a long while before I see that on the horizon.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the most recent case, any duty to rescue this man was based on the bonds of friendship and decency rather than torts. As a lifelong backpacker and hiker, I have assisted injured hikers in past years. I also was rescued once from a remote location. I would not even think of leaving an injured hiker even on a less remote trail. Even if another hiker insisted that his friends continue on their hike, they should refuse and leave at least one hiker behind. (Two are better if they are going to continue down a remote trail after the rescue). Not only may an injured hiker not be mentally competent to make such a decision, but every hiker has to decide independently what the situation demands.

        There’s a camaraderie that very much exists in the back of beyond, where instead of gawking at the car wreck on the 405 that has snarled traffic for an hour, everybody is really helpful to one another when occasionally things go wrong.

        I’d never ever leave somebody hurt by themselves to be ferried out on a helicopter, and the importance of finishing a backpack trip isn’t all that. That’s where the bone of contention is, they did the right thing in letting it be known there was an emergency.

        The idea that everybody is ‘self-sufficient’ @ Burning Man is kind of a joke to me, as you are limited only in how much stuff you can fit into your vehicle, and to be fair they have a hospital on site (last year a 33 year old campmate broke his tibia falling off a bar stool, and was administered fentanyl at the Black Rock City hospital, as it is and remains a useful drug when used in a proper Rx, but who’d thunk you’d do fentanyl @ the burn?) and have very strict LNT ethics, similar to the wilderness, you’ll not see any litter in your week stay on the playa.

        Aside from having SPOT device in the wilderness, we’re really without a net out there, and the best advice I can give is always try for an upper body injury if you’re gonna hurt yourself, that way you can walk out.

        1. Carolinian

          We’ve discussed the “drag out” problem here before. I believe one reason for the much coveted back country permits at the GC is to assess whether the applicant is capable of completing the hike. But anybody is allowed to saunter down the Bright Angel Trail to the river and then discover that they are incapable of walking back up. Reportedly the Park Service now charges very big bucks to rescue such people but doubtless many don’t pay. Perhaps that’s one reason why it now costs $30 to get in (for those without a geezer pass).

          I’ve never really backpacked in part because nobody I know is interested in such an experience. I car camp. But if you do have a hiking partner or partners they are supposedly there to help save you. And vice versa.

          1. Wukchumni

            This coming backpack is decidedly Grand Canyon’ish in that you start @ 9,400 feet and drop down to 6,600 feet where the jot springs is, and makes for guilt free carries such as a 3 liter box of red wine or other foodstuffs that will be consumed and not walked back up.

            I’m just a few months away from an NPS geezer pass, when it was $10-the best deal ever from the Feds, now that its $80, still an outrageously good deal!

  9. Kristiina

    That idea in the definition of China threat reminds me of the Dune II trailer (Official Trailer 2). What you are able to destroy is under your control. This is just untrue. Take climate, for example. Or soil. Or my car. Easy to destroy, but then what? Annihilation is a grand idea, but even Germans were not able to deliver on that. Maybe the nuclear option is the way to go, but again, then what? This idea of the annihilation as the ultimate power may be the inspiration behind US foreign policy, but how is it going?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Until a few years ago, the US would habitually bomb a country or perhaps send in a boat load of Tomahawk missiles if they resisted US demands. Doesn’t happen that much anymore. They don’t dare shoot at Iran or else Iran will shoot back. There never was an invasion of Venezuela a coupla years ago to liberate their oil fields. A massive swarm of missiles from US, UK and French ships aimed at Syria was mostly shot down. The US won’t even send their own forces into tiny Haiti. Certainly the US will never fight the Russians in the Ukraine. So it is just not that China is a threat as China can also kill the US back. Twenty years of the US fighting in the sandboxes of Iraq and Afghanistan has taught the world how they fight but more to the point where they are vulnerable. And at the moment I do not think that the US has the military wherewithal to invade another country in Africa or South America or the Middle East. The world has changed too much.

      1. Wukchumni

        Also consider the importance of if your father was in the military, more than likely you’d be a potential recruit compared to the rest of the populace, but a lot of that was 1991 Desert Storm vets whose tour of duty was essentially a cup of coffee (if you have a few bats or games under your belt in the MLB, you had a cup of coffee…) and when you win a war so quickly and your kid turns 18 in 2009, the military probably seemed like a good fit, but now its pathetic.

      2. ilsm

        Real men from Hollywood represented by Sean Penn say we need to be real men and learn to love nuke war.

        He is being reasonable as either side push too far and we have Tom Schelling’s nuclear game theory for real.

        Does anyone know a pentagon war game where tac nukes stopped before mutual assured destruction?

        Much less disdain for scores of millions of casualties, civil defense is myth.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Sean Penn also said that he wanted to melt down his Oscars and turn them into bullets to shoot Russians with.

    2. hk

      It’s a bit like Machiavelli (at least a reading thereof): if you can destroy X, and if X is capable of doing cost-benefit analysis, and you can commit to not destroying X if X cooperates, then you can control X up to a point–that is, to say, you can control X via “fear.” If you can’t, say, commit to not destroying X even if X cooperates, the game is up. Now, X hates you and Machiavelli says that’s bad….

    3. Cat Burglar

      Colby writes that the US retaining a favorable balance of power with respect to its key interests is the same thing as being the most powerful state in all respects, everywhere, but that is a recipe for overextension and collapse. You can’t do, or afford, both over time, so he emphasizes force as the chief means. Escalating disputes to the level of force was tried in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now by proxy in Ukraine, and you can see how that works out.

      Force is presented as an effective short-term means of defending interests — “in all respects, everywhere” — but all resources end up being pulled into it, all the time, to defend the logic of credibility. So he starts out trying to make sure Americans have security, freedom, and prosperity, and ends up in poverty, perpetual mobilization and nuclear coercion. It is just more of what we have had since the beginning of Cold War 1, with increasing impoverishment, and it has not even been effective in the case of China.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Justice for Neanderthals! What the debate about our long-dead cousins reveals about us”

    A problem for a very long time was how primitive the tools and techniques were of the archaeologists who first went looking for them. Nowadays there is a lot more sophistication in how a site is handled so that nothing is missed. After all, when you do archaeology on a site you are actually destroying it as well. So if they excavate a site once occupied by Neanderthals, more information is being picked up about them which is revealing how they were not just a bunch of apes but were a highly sophisticated people. Here is a short video by noted archaeologist Phil Harding talking about his work. Listen closely to the middle bit where he describes how he and some soldiers excavated a small site 13,000 year old. The same applies for Neanderthal sites from 40,00 years ago and older but you can be sure that they never did stuff like this a century ago- (13:14 mins)

    1. GC54

      One century’s “nothing is missed” is the next’s “how could they have been so destructive?” When I ponder archeology I think of Pompeii vs Herculaneum. The former is a spectacular but sterile walk-through, the latter mostly awaits unearthing/de-ashing.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Auto Giants Refusing Union Demands Paid Just 1% in Federal Taxes on $42 Billion in Profits: Analysis Common Dreams (ma)

    “Over that same period, GM and Ford paid out a combined total of $14 billion in dividends (34 times more than they paid in taxes), spent $3.6 billion on stock buybacks (nine times more than they paid in taxes), and lavished $614 million on top company executives (50% more than they paid in taxes),” the publication continues.

    Unmentioned in the article are the various tax credits and subsidies that incent the purchase of EVs produced by these companies and are funded by the taxes that the companies don’t pay but their employees do, that contribute to these “profits.”

    The fact is that if all those who suck money out of these companies with zero connection to the actual business–the stock pump-and-dumpers, dividend takers, options traders and buyback beneficiaries–were to go away tomorrow, there would still be a manufacturing business that produces well-paying jobs and product to sell. The opposite–no employees–is not true. A reasonable national “industrial policy” would reflect that reality, particularly given the government support.

    A commenter on that article suggested that corporate taxes were low due to various deductions like depreciation intended to encourage “reinvestment” in the business. Well, it ain’t happenin’.

    If this important industry is “struggling,” it should be forced to “invest ” in its biggest asset, its employees, and junk the parasites siphoning off capital that’s needed to keep the business going, particularly since government is contributing tax dollars to its survival.

    1. Carolinian

      There was a time when the big US car companies would never be thought to be good guys by any of the leftish. We still live in that time. It’s really rich that they are now grasping at the Green agenda after years of marketing bloated vehicles via a legal loophole to get out of CAFE standards that the Carter administration–whatever its other sins–advocated. They care about the environment the way cigarette companies care about health.

    2. Mikel

      They are more into financial product policy and not as much into industrial policy.
      From mortagages to auto loans to student loans…it’s about generating paper (or digits) to bundle up as securities or other assorted financial products.

  12. Wukchumni

    Southern Sierra Miwuk preserve cultural heritage after last year’s Oak Fire NPR
    There was a lightning strike fire in August not too far from the most remote Sequoia grove with a trail that goes through it-which i’m aware of, the Redwood Meadow grove here in Sequoia NP.

    Last year they would’ve stomped on the dozen acre conflagration in a hot second as everything was so dry, but they saw opportunity abutting in the guise of the nearby KNP Fire scar used as a bulwark, and with the wet winter turning into an everlasting gobstopper with summer rain, strike while you have the right conditions.

    The lightning strike fire, turned into a prescribed burn is @ 1,555 acres now, and there’s a bit of grousing about it here in Tiny Town, as the smoke drifts down the middle fork of the Kaweah towards us, pollution not headed eastward for a change.

    This would’ve been the perfect year to light off hundreds, no thousands of prepped prescribed burns just before the first potent storm comes along in a month or 2, that is if we had the will the ways and the means, all of which are looming less likely.

    The idea of using Native American techniques hasn’t really caught on fire here…

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘and there’s a bit of grousing about it here in Tiny Town, as the smoke drifts down the middle fork of the Kaweah towards us’

      Better that than a raging fire come blazing in. Been noticing a few places where they have been doing smaller scale burn-offs lately as we are still in autumn here. Smart move. Pretty sure that the traditional Aborigines here could sit and swap notes about fire-management with native Americans for hours. I’d pay good money to see that happen and listen in-

      1. Wukchumni

        That New Mexico prescribed burn that went way out of control last year and turned into a major wildfire, was unfortunately a cautionary tale for many a burn boss and more importantly the higher up in charge of saying, ‘you may fire when you are ready, Gridley’, if all goes well nobody hears or cares about a successful Rx burn, but if it goes haywire, their job is in jeopardy.

  13. square coats

    Re: countermeasures in international law

    From quickly looking into it (and tbh I’ve found I’m really bad at international law) I saw some things seeming to say any old state is entitled to pursue countermeasures against another (provided x, y, and z are satisfied) but I found about just as many things saying that the state that’s been harmed by the illegal act is entitled to take the countermeasures.

    Does anyone know if it’s an international legal norm that /any/ state can do the countermeasures, or it’s just the harmed state?

    Sorry for the painfully bad wording of my comment, hopefully this question makes sense after reading the “how to make Russia really pay” article…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Seizing another country’s sovereign funds and giving it to yourself and others is illegal, period. They have been trying the past year and a half to find some legal justification for doing so but have not found one. I think that I read once that they never even did this to the money Nazi Germany had invested outside the country. But there is a quick tell which shows you that this is a spectacularly bad idea. In the article it mentions that Larry Summers thinks that it is a good idea. That is all you need to know. This is like the idea the UK had to steal Venezuela’s gold stored in London and ‘supposedly’ gave it to self-declared President Juan Greedo. But Larry Summers outdid himself in this article. He stated that if all the countries stole Russia’s funds at the same time, then the world’s investors could not pull their money out of those countries as they would have nowhere to go. Jesus wept. It would be only the Collective West countries that would do this which means that every investor in the other 150-odd countries would pull all their investments out of the west as being totally unsafe. It would be a run to the exits here and likely for good.

      1. Polar Socialist

        …they never even did this to the money Nazi Germany had invested outside the country

        Maybe not during the war, but certainly the Paris peace treaty had many clauses where any German property or funds in the German vassal states was deemed forfeited to the Allies.

        To the victor goes the spoils. Emphasis on the word victor, of course.

      2. digi_owl

        Because in the end the nazis were on the side of big business against the communists, at least early on.

        Keep in mind that after WW2 US companies sued, and won against, the US government for damages to their subsidiaries in Germany.

      3. NN Cassandra

        I liked how the worst Larry could imagine is that some countries would stop sending money to US. That someone could be inspired by this and start confiscating Western money/assets doesn’t seem to occur to him. I guess it’s what happens when you live in that “rules are for thee but not me” universe long enough that you completely forgot the rules can be applied to you too.

    2. NN Cassandra

      It seems like completely pointless exercise. Money is just numbers in computers, so what difference is between moving the number from one account to another, and permanently freezing it in one account and then “printing” the same number into the other. As long as Russia can’t move the funds from their account, it’s functional equivalent of the balance being exactly zero.

  14. MartyH

    On the “Luddites” article. Technology is Neutral is a mantra. It is deeply misleading as technologies are funded and developed to serve the interests of the sponsors/customers. Other technologies are ignored and languish, the play-toys of hobbyists or other forms of true-believer volunteers. The sponsors/customers (public and private) successfully deploy their rapidly evolving technologies for profit/gain.

    The war on Labor and The Deplorables is an important program for which technology has been a great success IMHO.

  15. pjay

    Soul Brother, Donald Trump, Notorious Bigot, Thinks His Legal Woes Are Endearing Him to Black Voters Vanity Fair (Dr. Kevin)

    How dare the notorious racist Donald Trump insult the intelligence of the Black community by explaining to them why they might want to vote for him!

    Instead, let’s let this elite financial journalist writing in a major liberal publication read mainly by people like her explain to the Black community why they do *not* want to vote for him.

    At least Trump didn’t claim to be the “third Black President” (Clinton, of course, being the first).

    1. Carolinian

      Thank you for a great point. And see Katniss up above about “snotty” which is a Vanity Fair specialty. Charlie Pierce should go work for them.

    2. flora

      And how dare T speak to the United Auto Workers!? (Where’s B, aka union Joe?) How dare T be the first national pol to visit East Palestine after the train disaster, bringing pallets of bottled water for East Palestine residents? (Where was B? Where was Mayo Pete? )

      The nerve of that guy! Release the pundit outrage! / ;)

    3. undercurrent

      I think I’ll put on my political tin hat, and predict that just about any day now, Trump will come out waving a “Black lives Matter” banner at one of his rallies. And no, he won’t be wearing a Klan outfit at the same time, to broaden his appeal, so please save all those nasty remarks about the GOP, like, Send in the klans, there has to be klans. Be civil.

  16. griffen

    Vanity Fair article on Trump….okay mostly all points are valid. Trump did do that to the Brooklyn Five, circa the late 1980s…Trump’s real estate interests have supposedly, (my recall, please advise if not correct) during the years, had a bigoted slant / approach to leasing apartments and condos. Alright Vanity Fair, now do Joe Biden…but I digress. Joe passed legislation as a US Senator that I believe has caused irreparable harm.

    Joe and Strom Thurmond sitting in a tree…Democrats have long relied on the Black and minority voters. My question in 2024, however, will that support stand up or possibly waiver. Added thought, the dog food tastes the same no matter your race, color or creed so there’s that.

    1. truly

      Vanity Fair thinks I am just imagining that one of my AA friends wears a T shirt that says” “N” people for Trump”?
      Vanity Fair thinks I am imagining that radical black leftists are talking about black voters moving to Trump? Black Agenda Report has been talking about this for some time.
      IIRC MLK wrote a letter from Birmingham that becomes prophetic at this moment.

  17. Ignacio

    Katchanovski’s tweet “Georgian security service statement about planned Ukrainian & other countries-backed Maidan-style coup in Georgia …”

    This is important. It provides evidence of the proto-fascist nature of the Maidan. Violence used as a weapon to create disarray. Any regime change / color revolution / Euromaidan call it as you wish which is born in such a fascist way has every chance to turn… well… fascist or fascist-like. So we can see how is it unravelling in Ukraine.

      1. Lex

        Maybe the Marxist-Leninst playbook but Marx himself envisioned the dictatorship of the proletariat as democracy in which the majority voted their class interests. But of course there were raging debates and splintering of political groups in pre-revolutionary Russia arguing all these finer points and whether they should adhere strictly to Marx or chart their own course.

        It’s pretty weird how “Marxism” can be anything anyone wants it to be so long as it’s bad.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Indeed. I though the story here goes something like this:
          – the people suffering all the burdens of the society while getting none of the benefits develop a class awareness
          – revolution becomes inevitable
          – the state responds either by using violence or by delegating this task to the fascist NGOs
          – in the ensuing disarray the fascists overtake the state

          1. digi_owl

            With the tacit approval of the monied, because they see the fascists are better protection of their properties than the state they have spent so much time weakening.

        2. digi_owl

          Likely because Marxism was never really conceived by Marx.

          His main focus was on describing the workings, and thus flaws, of capitalism.

          At best there was some musings of his about may possibly come after capitalism finally succumbed to its inherent contradictions.

          Then a whole lot of “anarchists” would take inspiration from those musings and run with them in various directions, while getting hounded and vilified by the monied class that their ideas threatened.

      2. hunkerdown

        Consider what sort of cognitive disorders might have led you to misattribute the strategies of Machiavelli and the Neoliberal Thought Collective instead to Marx.

    1. alfred venison

      Ivan Katchanovski is the academic whose research paper “The Maidan Massacre Trial and Investigation Revelations: Implications for the Ukraine-Russia War and Relations” was recently accepted for publication in an unnamed prestigious academic journal only to be later rejected by the same journal for reasons he believes were strictly political and not at all academic. This acceptance/ rejection saga was reported in The Gray Zone last March.

      On June 29 this year Katchanovski tweeted that his paper had been accepted and published by Brill and can be accessed gratis from Brill here :-

      or from Academia here :-

      I hope I’m not belabo(u)ring the obvious in mentioning this here today, and supplying links. -a.v.

  18. digi_owl

    USA runs on fear it seems, all the way from neighbors trying to outgun each other to USA trying to outgun the world.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Should you come across any of the multitude of “reverse culture shock” videos on youtube by US expats upon returning/visiting USA after several years abroad, you’d notice that number one shock is the all-permeating fear. Fear of unemployment, fear of getting sick, fear of getting mugged, fear of police, fear of neighbors and so on.

      1. playon

        For us, returning after a mere seven months in Asia in 2012, the most noticeable thing was how we started hemorrhaging money as soon as we got off the plane back in the good ol’ USA. Americans are being ripped off on almost everything with a price tag. Most do not realize it is happening unless they happen to have lived somewhere cheaper. However with the current inflation many are waking up…

        1. digi_owl

          Do keep in mind things like exchange rates and local wages when making such comparisons.

          Not saying USA is not expensive, but the USD is in the end the worlds reserve currency and thus has a favorable exchange rate in most places.

          Years ago i saw a comparison of petrol prices in Europe, that at first glance showed Norway as the most expensive and Albania the least expensive. But the comparison also included how many liters one could buy on an average salary in each place. And that basically flipped it on its head.

          This is why such comparisons are usually done using Purchasing Power Parity, PPP, adjusted values.

  19. Wukchumni

    Will sweat help us survive climate change? Grist
    Part of the emphasis for yours truly being an outsider was the inside world where gyms showcased your ability to sweat, enabled in excess by being in a closed building, get me outta there!

    The High Sierra has water everywhere, so as I sweat it out of my pores there’s an easy resupply nearby, and on a long day i’ll go through 4x 72 oz bladders, replacing the 2 gallons released through my glands.

    Many other locales aren’t so lush with water resources, I was doing a 60 mile section with my buddy on the PCT 5 years ago, and we realized we had walked by the last water for the next 11 miles, a mile and a half ago, so we backtracked to fill up. That would never happen in the Sierra.

  20. Carolinian

    Great or maybe horrifying story on the Tesla experience.

    Before driving it for the first time, I wanted to adjust the mirrors. Now, in just about every car I’ve ever driven there are switches to adjust the mirrors on the door by the driver’s side mirror.

    Not the Tesla. You have to go through the screen, find “mirrors”, choose left and right and use this ball toggle thingy on the steering wheel to make adjustments.

    Pretty much everything defaults to the screen. For example, in the default setting for when you reverse, the mirrors tilt to the ground so you can’t use them to back up. That’s to force you to use the image from the rear camera on the screen.

    Since most of us now have backup cameras we know that the direct sun sometimes bleaches out the camera image making it useless. The all purpose display is also to the right of the driver’s eyeline–presumably so it can be extra big and touch friendlier (for the right handed). But this departs from all cars throughout history who–go figure–thought the driver’s eyes should always be forward on the road. But then they didn’t have autopilot.

    The author eventually asks

    is the thing a car or a laptop?

    While few like laptops and gadgets more than yours truly, the Tesla sounds like bad engineering right down to the ground if ordinary humans are the intended purchasers. A lot of people can’t even figure out the supermarket self checkout so puzzling over the Tesla firmware while accelerating from zero to sixty in four seconds may be problematic.

    1. Synoia

      There is bad engineering and bad human factors. I’d use human factors for your observations.

      Coupled a with a test drive and, a cooling off period, anti sales person device and finally a closed wallet.

    2. playon

      My younger brother who has often been seduced by “cool” automobiles bought a brand new Tesla last year for $60,000, an insane price for a car at least for me. (I’m in my 70s and have never bought a brand new car in my life.) I haven’t driven it but have ridden as a passenger a few times. My impressions were similar to the author of the piece. The screen in the center seems very distracting, the door handles are weird, why reinvent the wheel? To unlock some features of the car you need to pay extra $$ for an upgrade. The car handles great and is very fast, but indeed it is an OS on wheels that tracks everything you do… no thanks.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m seeing more of them around town although I believe you still can’t take delivery in South Carolina because of the power of the car dealer lobby. However North Carolina isn’t far away.

        The author of the piece says you don’t have to cell connect to Tesla headquarters but that screen will nag you constantly if you don’t. And then there’s the constant over the air updates. No thanks.

      2. GC54

        Used Tesla 3’s around here can be as low as $30k, unfortunately all above the $25K used EV tax credit. So I bought a used Bolt w/ brand new (non-exploding) battery warrantied for 8 yr for $19K off the lot, a 272-mile range EV for $15K hopefully the last car I’ll buy. Charge it infrequently on 240V, drive it daily in town.

        1. playon

          I always thought it very strange that Chevrolet calls their EV the “Bolt” but the non-EV version is called the “Volt”.

          Personally I still can’t get my head around spending even that much for a car. I bought my 2006 Lexus with 85k miles two years ago for $6500. I figure what I spend in gas will be equaled out by the reliability, plus it’s super comfortable and drives great.

      3. Anon

        Aerodynamics are very important with EVs and their range, so there is a quantifiable benefit to having recessed door handles. The motors also tend to produce reduced torque at high speed (sluggish), so the less air resistance the better. IIRC, automakers have been lobbying to delete side-view mirrors in favor of cameras for similar reasons.

  21. none

    Folks, a month or two ago, there was a photo posted in Links (or maybe Water Cooler) showing the shrinking size of pickup truck beds over the span of several decades. Does anyone know where to find it? I spent an hour or so searching. Hoping that maybe someone else here remembers it. Thanks!

    1. Hombre

      Google “truck bed evolution” (without the quotes) and on the first result page you get a number of images and articles on the size of pickups and truck beds over the years.

  22. dave -- just dave

    The New York Times article about how global population growth is projected to stop later this century is like the proverbial curate’s egg: parts of it are excellent. In particular, it points out that the “lived normal” of rapid growth of population for the last two centuries is, over the course of our species’ history, a temporary phenomenon.

    The parts that are less excellent are its complete “energy blindness”, failing to recognize that not only our numbers, but our way of life, have changed so much in major part BECAUSE of the use of fossil fuels, and that this cannot continue – because the costs of retrieval are going up, as well as because of the effects of the greenhouse gases that have been emitted by combustion of fossil fuels, and the other natural processes now in play – raising livestock, melting of permafrost, and so on.

    If only the author and others like him would understand that the living body, the business enterprise, and global modern techno-industrial civilization are all dissipative structures, and that the economy is fully embedded in the biosphere. They could read “The Human Ecology of Overshoot: Why a Major ‘Population Correction’ Is Inevitable” by William E. Rees – – but chances are they wouldn’t get past the title.

  23. juno mas

    RE: How to cool down a city

    Widely planting street-level trees along sidewalks across the city is the most effective solution to reduce temperature, according to researchers at the Urban Climate Lab.

    This is simply not going to work. Trees planted in sidewalk space have insufficient soil and water quality to sustain a tree canopy of substantial shading perimeter. Most urban environments also have an air pollution problem (dust and ozone) that diminish tree growth. And in the urban environment, protecting/maintaining young new trees from damage is nigh impossible.

    Let’s look at Phoenix, AZ as an example: the native trees for this location is Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopsis veluntina), White Thorn Acacia (Acacia constricta), Desert Ironwood (Olneya tesota). None of these trees is what one would consider a “shade” tree. And like most desert trees branch close to the ground; not useful in the urban environment. Attempting to use non-natives is likely to require soil manipulation and increased water use (a rarity in Phoenix). Other urban environments have similar issues.

    The better way to cool down the urban environment is to rip out some asphalt streets and create people space with plenty of soil for BIG trees. Create shaded park/promenade areas immediately adjacent to the inhabitants for Hot Daze. These small urban “parks” can be “patrolled” by the “local owners” and maintenance costs reduced.

    Will this concept work in a culture of “me” and not “We”? —not likely.

    1. albrt

      Indian Sissoo trees and Chinese elms work pretty well in Phoenix. Both need to be pruned in order to develop an ideal canopy. They need a little more water than the native trees, but not all that much. Any place in Phoenix where institutions have made a serious effort to grow trees they include some provision for watering, even with native trees.

      Sissoos grow insanely fast if you give them a bunch of extra water when they’re young, but their roots are invasive and have a tendency to tear up pavement.

      Chinese elms are nice and grow pretty quickly. I haven’t had them long enough to know the negatives.

      1. juno mas

        The Sissoo tree is a bad choice as a street tree or larger park areas for their proclivities you indicate: invasive, surface hugging roots. They also are a weak branching tree that does not like alkaline soils. The Chinese elms can handle the heat of Phoenix, but need deep watering and good soil to grow to a substantial shade producing size as a street tree.

        It is the “street tree” environment that makes cooling urban areas with street trees futile. Most trees planted into an urban sidewalk environment rarely get to 8″ DBH. Little shade.

        (DBH =diameter breast height. That’s the distance from your little finger to your thumb.)

    2. some guy

      Is this equally true for trees in cities outside the Desert Southwest? Or do cities in the Desert Southwest pose a unique problem for urban tree growth?

      Has this been studied?

  24. Wukchumni

    They’re gonna put em’ out of business
    They’re gonna make a big payday, er a fee
    We’ll make a tale of woe about about a casino that’s dark & lonely
    And all they gotta do is hack naturally

    Well, I’ll bet you Its gonna be a big payoff
    Might win $30 million you can’t never tell
    The hacking is gonna make em’ a big star
    ‘Cause they can play the Boris Badenov part so well

    Well, I hope you come to see me in my casino hotel room
    Where I need an old fashioned key
    The biggest payday that’s ever hit the big time
    And all they gotta do is hack naturally

    We’ll make a scene about Vegas casinos dark & lonely
    And begging down upon their bended knee
    they’ll pay their part but they’ll need reassuring
    Somebody doesn’t hack again naturally

    Well, I’ll bet you Its gonna be a big payoff
    Might win $30 million you can’t never tell
    The hacking is gonna make em’ a big star
    ‘Cause they can play the Boris Badenov part so well

    Well, I hope you come to see me in my casino hotel room
    Where I need an old fashioned key
    The biggest payday that’s ever hit the big casinos
    And all they gotta do is hack naturally

    Act Naturally, performed by the Beatles

  25. Maxwell Johnston

    Re Azerbaijan-Armenia:

    The Caucasus is a complex place, arguably even messier than the Balkans and the Middle East. Yet even by this measure, Nagorno-Karabakh is truly a dog’s breakfast of a mess. Even the communists didn’t manage to solve it; they simply papered over the dispute with the exhortation to set aside old ethnic differences in the common pursuit of the glorious socialist paradise. But as soon as the USSR began to dissolve (late 1980s), the squabbling over Nagorno-Karabakh resumed.

    Post-1991, Armenia’s economy has remained stagnant (it’s a landlocked nation with few resources and awful demographics) while Azerbaijan has (in relative terms) enjoyed an oil-fueled boom. Plus A-jan benefits from firm Turkish backing (they share much in common culturally and linguistically). A-jan has played its cards smoothly; despite its dreadful human rights record, it has good relations both with the USA and with RU (Putin and Aliyev get along just dandy).

    The current Armenian leader (Pashinyan) has done just about everything possible to annoy RU, the latest stunt (“Eagle Partner”, only a week ago) being a joint Armenian-USA troop exercise on Armenian soil. Along with Armenia’s first delivery of humanitarian aid to UKR this month. So it comes as no surprise that Putin decided to hang Pashinyan out to dry. In any case the Nagorno-Karabakh mess can be settled in only 1 of 2 ways: either move the borders to match where the people live (i.e., war and annexation, neither of which Armenia is capable of), or move the people to match the borders (i.e., ethnic cleansing, which is probably what A-jan is about to start doing). Brutal stuff.

    The ugly reality is that, in geopolitical terms, nobody needs Armenia. The only powerful friend it had (more like a big brother than a friend) was RU. And now it’s managed to p*ss off RU. Not a good situation for Pashinyan, who I expect will share a similar fate to Saakashvili and (eventually, sometimes karma works slowly) Zelensky.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Russian With Attitudes podcast/X are of the opinion that Armenians elected Pashinyan specifically to get rid of Artsakh, but do it in a way that can be blamed on Russians. That’s what seems to be happening, although Pashinyan did call Putin today, maybe because Armenia is about to rip itself apart and there seems to be an ethnic cleansing (in the form of displaced persons for now, luckily) in progress in Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh).

      Meanwhile, Slavyangrad TG channel is posting videos about Azeris and Armenians of the Russian 76th Guards Air Assault Division beating back Ukrainian attacks fighting side to side with their Russian brothers-in-arms. Just to point out the irony.

      Regarding Armenian economy, it may be worthwhile to point out that in Soviet Union Armenia was number five “leech”, right behind the Baltic counties and Moldova, of GDP. They received much more from the central government than they produced.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Interesting re the 5 Soviet leeches; I always thought that the 5 central Asian ‘stans were receiving the biggest subsidies. I’ll have to look that one up (of course all 14 of them were leeches on Russia proper, to varying degrees).

        The Caucasus has something like 50 ethnic groups, and they’re all mixed together in ways that don’t always match the post-1991 national boundaries (hence the ongoing disputes). Many of the local relationships have less to do with ethnicity and nationality and much to do with clan loyalties. At one point in the mid-2000s, we were renting office space in Moscow from (very well-to-do) ethnic Armenians. But they weren’t from Armenia; they were from Azerbaijan. Go figure.

  26. Jabura Basaidai

    kept waiting for someone to address the “alien” thing – i may be off base but it just comes off like a scam to me – why does it look like humans in miniature? a bit too anthropomorphic – seems like some con that would have been perpetrated at the turn of the last century – just don’t buy it at all –

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        of course, why wasn’t it apparent to me – such a dolt i am – thank you for clearing that up –

  27. Willow

    >Armenia & Its US-Based Diaspora Lobby Want America To Declare War On Azerbaijan Andrew Korybko

    US siding with Armenia puts US offside with Türkiye. At some point in near future Türkiye will walk away from NATO and US will lose its key military base. Türkiye’s interest in NATO is likely linked to its desire for entry into EU. Now that EU entry is being signalled as less desirable (due expecting delays plus insult of EU accelerating Ukraine’s entry over Türkiye) and Türkiye’s application likely to be withdrawn, exit from NATO will follow. And West will be locked out of the Black Sea.

    1. some guy

      It would be an opportunity for American Selective Seclusionists to suggest the time has come to pull out of NATO. Let all the others remain NATO if they wish. But if Türkiye is no longer afraid of whatever NATO was supposed to help it protect itself from, then maybe that thing to be afraid of no longer exists. And an American Selective Seclusionist movement might be unafraid to say so.

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