Asteroid Polyhymnia’s density beyond known elements The Watchers
Encountering Trees Emergence
Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago Scientific American
How US curbs on China may revive its rust belt – the former industrial powerhouse near Russia South China Morning Post
Indian cops and spies as (unwitting) stand-up comedians Countercurrents
US Faces New ‘Axis of Evil’ in Iran, China and Russia: Mitch McConnell Newsweek. George W. Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil” was Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. We then went to war with Iraq, and lost. Iran is still standing. North Korea still has nukes. Those three were regional powers. Now McConnell — It’s bipartisan! — doubles down by proposing to assault two great powers, both nuclear, when we can’t even make our own ammunition, or recruit enough troops.
Blinken, Austin say US is ready to respond if US personnel become targets of Israel-Hamas war AP. The picture does not inspire confidence. Blinken has a “deer-caught-in-the-headlights” look, and Biden has clearly performed empathy at least one too many times.
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Gallant: This war may take months, ‘but in the end there will be no Hamas’ The Times of Israel
Israel Is About to Make a Terrible Mistake Thomas Friedman, NYT. When you’ve lost the Moustache of Understanding…
The Limits of Outside Opinion in Gaza Drezner’s World
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Do Targeted Killings Weaken Terrorist Groups? Max Boot, Homeland Security News
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Again, Fallujah: 10mi²; Bakhmut: 16.1mi²; Mariupol: 64.09 mi²; Gaza: 140.9 mi². There are a lot of buildings still standing in Gaza:
LIVE: View of Israel-Gaza border https://t.co/Ln7iIswmiM
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 23, 2023
In this shot, I’m seeing plenty of buildings still standing. (In principle, never go by the dramatic close-up. Always go by the wide-angle or aerial view.) I have not seen the math on how many bombs it would take the IDF to “flatten” Gaza, or indeed whether it has the capability to do so (leaving aside nuclear weapons). And if they can do so, what then? Tunnel warfare, as in Vietnam? And then the “bunker busters.” Presumably they will work on Gazan geology, but I don’t recall seeing anyone even make that claim, let alone prove it. (I know Gaza City is one part of Gaza, but I’m assuming that Gaza is so dense that for all practical — and tactical — purposes it’s a single city.) I’m sure Israel can make Gaza a living hell. That’s not the same as defeating Hamas, even on (or under) Gazan ground. Of course, Israel could just seal the border for two months, and then send the troops in wearing moonsuits.
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From all over the world, Israel’s diaspora return to join war effort South China Morning Post
Settle for what? Phoebe Maltz Bovy on a Jewish existential dilemma The Canadian Jewish Newsd
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Could Israel-Hamas war lead to another winter energy crisis for Europe? Al Monitor. If only Europe had alternative sources of supply!
Dear Old Blighty
Historic by-elections and the curious case of Tamworth FT. The deck: “Exclusive: 64 per cent of Britons think the UK is in a recession, according to More in Common polling.”
New Not-So-Cold War
With All Eyes on Israel-Gaza, Ukraine is losing war momentum Responsible Statecraft. An imperial hegemon that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?
South of the Border
Either way, Argentina's monetary policy will be fairly giddy. Massa's current reliance on the PBoC swap line to stabilize the currency isn't sustainable. While Beijing doesn't want a Milei victory, it is also probably reluctant to see itself enmeshed in a second Venezuela.
— Michael Pettis (@michaelxpettis) October 23, 2023
Tankers: Positive News From Venezuela Hellenic Shipping News
Independent Quebec would have its own currency and army, PQ says Montreal Gazette
Our Famously Free Press
How AI reduces the world to stereotypes Rest of World
Airbnb Nightmare: Pregnant Host’s Home Destroyed After Guests Flood Property San Francisco Standard
Imperial Collapse Watch
Why America Is Out of Ammunition Matt Stoller, Big
America needs a bigger, better bureaucracy Noah Smith, Noahpinion. “[T]he U.S. suffers from a distinct lack of state capacity. We’ve outsourced many of our core government functions to nonprofits and consultants, resulting in cost bloat and the waste of taxpayer money.” Not to mention the corporations the NGOs and consultants bring in!
Black Injustice Tipping Point
Black-Owned Land Is Under Siege in the Brazos Valley Texas Monthly
Collection Cost Lapham’s Quarterly
Beyond the Myth of Rural America The New Yorker
The Radical Street Sellers of London JSTOR Daily
Ice cream and potato chips are just as addictive as cocaine or heroin: research NY Post. Hence the appeal of “urgency of normal”?
On the roles of function and selection in evolving systems PNAS. From the Asbstract:
A pervasive wonder of the natural world is the evolution of varied systems, including stars, minerals, atmospheres, and life. These evolving systems appear to be conceptually equivalent in that they display three notable attributes: 1) They form from numerous components that have the potential to adopt combinatorially vast numbers of different configurations; 2) processes exist that generate numerous different configurations; and 3) configurations are preferentially selected based on function. We identify universal concepts of selection—static persistence, dynamic persistence, and novelty generation—that underpin function and drive systems to evolve through the exchange of information between the environment and the system. Accordingly, we propose a “law of increasing functional information”: The functional information of a system will increase (i.e., the system will evolve) if many different configurations of the system undergo selection for one or more functions.
Is this woo woo? (I’m not sure about #3. What about hysteresis? What about chance? What about spandrels?)
Antidote du jour (via):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.