Links 11/29/2023

Watch: Volcano in Japan spews ash, rock 200m into sky BBC

WOA designs own studio space using materials that had been “relegated to landfill” dezeen

Fears swine flu could be spreading under the radar as health chiefs urge Brits with cold-like symptoms to stay at home after ‘fluke’ detection Daily Mail

Internet Use Does Not Appear To Harm Mental Health, Oxford Study Finds Financial Times. Debunking a non- or at best a-decided-minority thesis. The thesis is social media is bad for kids because bullying and under-development of social skills. It may be that the internet is net positive for adults for allowing for a more time-efficient to stay in contact with people than the phone and in-person meetings.

Swine flu: What we know about A(H1N2)v – the new strain found in a person in the UK Sky News (Kevin W)

This Is Spinal Tap’s Long-Awaited Sequel Will Be Filmed In 2024 Metal Injection (Micael T)

After Melville The Baffler (Anthony L)


Lambert stomped on this meme yesterday but I still got a link from a reader: Is ‘Immunity Debt’ Behind China’s Rising Childhood Pneumonia Cases? Nerdy Girls in which a demographer pretends to be qualified to opine on immunology. I pointed out immune disregulation resulting from Covid as far more likely (consistent with rising baselines and severity of other contagious diseases like RSV), exacerbated in China with many apartment building having defective traps, allowing for the spread of fecal droplets along an entire plumbing line. Ugh. I sent these two links and was encouraged to pass them on to readers:” rel=”nofollow”>


A showdown over deep sea mining is taking place in the Pacific Bloomberg

The Newest Airline Climate Solution? Burying Sawdust Wall Street Journal

Without Predators Ecosystems Become Zoos Counterpunch


The US retains the economic advantage in its rivalry with China Martin Wolf. I don’t have the energy to address this piece. Here is a non-paywalled link for those inclined to have at it.

Old Blighty

UK Covid response was London-centric, Andy Burnham tells inquiry Guardian (Kevin W)

Panama’s Supreme Court declares 20-year contract for Canadian copper mine unconstitutional Associated Press (Kevin W). Panama and Canada have a free trade agreement. And it has ISDS type provisions, but I have not had time to see if there might be germane carveouts.


Israel is More F*ckd Than You Know Max Rottersman (Dr. Kevin)

Israel’s war with Hamas will cost $53 billion, Israeli central bank says Business Insider (Kevin W). Just under 11% of 2021 GDP.

Why Israel’s push into southern Gaza could be a ‘real hell of a fight’ The Hill

Israel’s ground war conundrum The Cradle

The Middle East at an inflection point Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Three hundred thousand Israelis have fled abroad since 7 October Gilbert Doctorow (Userfriendly)

Looking for Likud Support, Netanyahu Says He’s the Only One Who Can Prevent a Palestinian State (Kevin W)

Putin Notes Importance of Establishing Palestine Within 1967 Borders Sputnik

A Bitter Season in the West Bank New York Review of Books

Deepfakes from Gaza war increase fears about AI’s power to mislead Associated Press (furzy)

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian State TV’s Unfortunate Looking Map Sparks Avalanche of Jokes, Memes Newsweek. Micael T: “It is a bit of a pity to waste such a beautiful thing on a country led by such confused people.”

The crackdown on Ukraine’s oligarchs Financial Times. Starting as the looting opportunities are drying up.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Moderna is Spying on You Lee Fang

Google Drive users say Google lost their files; Google is investigating ars technica (Kevin W). Confirming my prejudice against cloud-based services. You no longer own your data.

Imperial Collapse Watch

ADRIFT ON A SEA OF DELUSIONS Sonar 21. A very good guest post. Chuck L: “With elites like R. Gates who needs enemies?”

The End of US Nuclear Superiority Consortium News (Micael T)


Why Trump’s Trials Should Be on TV New Yorker (furzy)

Deutsche Bank Executive Testifies Loan to Trump Wasn’t Unusual Bloomberg. Bank haircut Trump valuations bigly, made loan to him, and testified this is pretty common practice for them.

Judge denies Trump’s Jan 6 committee request in election fraud case BBC


Biden’s economic blame game The Spectator

The Hunter Biden counter-offensive: A strategy long overdue, or a political minefield Politico

Hunter Has a Hearing Date But He Has Demands Jonathan Turley


Nikki Haley Stumped When Debate Moderator Asks Her To List Some Countries She Wouldn’t Invade Babylon Bee (Li)

What to watch as Congress negotiates final defense policy bill DefenseNews

City Lawyers Demand de Blasio Pay $474K for Personal Police Detail, Warning of ‘Imperial Mayoralty’ THE CITY


Migrants struggle against the elements in San Diego’s open-air desert camps Los Angeles Times

Our No Longer Free Press

Elon Musk boosts Pizzagate conspiracy theory that led to D.C. gunfire Washington Post

Instagram Reels served ‘risqué footage of children’ next to ads for major companies: report New York Post (Kevin W)

“Anti-Disinformation” Is a Partisan Con Matt Taibbi (Jaonne S)

Most recent data shows homes sold for less in Shawnee County. Here’s August’s median price Topeka Capital-Journal. Robin K:

Apropos of US housing sales declining: The declines in sales and sales prices in Shawnee County (where the Capitol is) and the rest of Kansas made my head spine. Looks like a full-fledged depression.


Sports Illustrated Published Articles by Fake, AI-Generated Writers Futurism (BC)

The Bezzle

A rural post office was told to prioritize Amazon packages. Chaos ensued. Washington Post (Kevin W)

‘T-bill and chill’: Why Jack Bogle’s strategy of ‘lazy’ investing is making a comeback CNBC (Userfriendly)

Taylor Swift does not exist Sam Kriss Userfriendly: “roflmao.”

Class Warfare

Tesla sues Swedish government after worker rebellion cripples car biz The Register (Kevin W)

China’s new cancer drug is approved in the US but will cost 30 times more South China Morning Post

The Tesla battle is about so much more than Sweden. Aftonbladet via machine translation. Micael T: “Background:

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus. A real life “up dog”!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Goldwatch Blues by Mick Softley)

    The game of geopolitics is hard to clarify
    Everyone is cagey, everybody lies,
    Spooks and spies who tell you they were never here
    Sacred cows and solemn vows and none of it sincere

    Washington and Brussels are handing out champagne
    Singing out a narrative of triumph in Ukraine
    Half a million men will never reappear
    The price of pushing NATO up to Russia’s frontier

    Please ignore the zealots in our diplomatic corps
    Who don’t respond to common sense or to a two by four
    Their goal is endless wars and disputes that multiply
    Freedom and democracy their hollow battle cry

    Washington and Brussels are handing out champagne
    Singing out a narrative of triumph in Ukraine
    Half a million men will never reappear
    The price of pushing NATO up to Russia’s frontier

    I see the endless graves spread across the Slavic plain
    Citizens and soldiers planted like the summer grain
    While others count the profits from the guns that put them here
    A coffin and a cross is their only souvenir

    Washington and Brussels are handing out champagne
    Singing out a narrative of triumph in Ukraine
    Half a million men will never reappear
    The price of pushing NATO up to Russia’s frontier

    The situation Over There is way beyond bizarre
    Most of Ukraine would prefer Putin as their Tsar
    The lessons we shall learn from this are absolutely nil
    The people who put on this war will never get the bill

    Washington and Brussels are handing out champagne
    Singing out a narrative of triumph in Ukraine
    Half a million men will never reappear
    The price of pushing NATO up to Russia’s frontier

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Russian State TV’s Unfortunate Looking Map Sparks Avalanche of Jokes, Memes”

    Not the first time that something like this has happened on TV. For a start there was Michigan ABC 12 news reporter Siobhan Riley that came unstuck doing something similar about 10 years ago- (24 secs) – NSFW

  3. Lexx

    ‘Without Predators Ecosystems Become Zoos’

    I read this and asked Google what the plural was for ‘putz’, also what the difference was between a putz and a schmuck.* Yes, I know it’s just name-calling, not an argument, but don’t you just get the sense that Idaho and Montana** have more than their fair share of putzes? Is there any good news coming out of those states? (When I say ‘good news’, I mean for races other than ‘white’ and species other than ‘human’.)

    *Why Yiddish? Sometimes only the flavor of Yiddish will do, it just tastes right.
    **To my eyes, one of the most beautiful states in the country… better with wolves in it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The worse aspect of it all is that you might live in the country and think that it was all natural from what you can see not realizing that it was actually an artificial garden. They thought the same of Yellowstone National Park too – until they introduced a few wolves. In a cascade effect, not only did those wolves change the ecology of that region but also the geography as well and returned it all to its real natural state-

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good point that as it’s original natural state did include wolves. It’s only when they were slaughted that the ecology in that park got all skewed.

      1. Lexx

        ‘store water for recharging the water table’

        Interesting, thanks Rev. I hadn’t thought about the role animals like beaver played in recharging underground aquifers.

        The herd of elk that came into the campground in Oregon seem unhurried and browsed at leisure. There was no predator nipping at their hooves to move them along, even the humans stayed in their campers to keep from spooking them.

        1. t

          I don’t think that was literal, and the zoo analogy is bad because zoo animals are well fed and healthy. Predator over population leads to prey underpopulation which- absent dumpsters and other unnatural food sources- leads to predator underpopulation and round and round it goes. Except now we have all sorts of food sources like hog and deer feeders and landfills and pets…

          Took moving to mean through natural cycles like most mothers losing their first babies (when they don’t have the experience to keep them alive) and their last (when they don’t have the energy to protect them).

          1. Lexx

            ‘Moving’ for my part meant they were aware of predators in pursuit somewhere in the margins of their awareness.

            It was the beginning of hunting season. The campground would have been off-limits and the bull seemed to know and hung out there for days. Also the browsing was pretty good; it looked like wild roses.

        2. jefemt

          Excellent book on ecology and many other things, much revolving around the Beaver:
          “Three Against The Wilderness” true story about homesteading in central BC in the 20’s and 30’s. Great read.

      2. juno mas

        “It turns out that the Indian legends of ravens following wolves are true-they do follow them because wolves mean food.”

        The same trophic cascade behavior occurs in the urban environment. Crows wait for cars to arrive in a parking lot because they expect to get In & Out scraps. Your discards mean a larger crow population and a smaller song bird population . (Crows also feed on other bird eggs.) Everything’s connected.

    2. Lee

      Wolves occasionally prey on livestock thus threatening livelihoods. Once the landscape had been cleansed of wolves and some other predators, ranchers were largely relieved of the cost burden of closely tending to their livestock while they grazed far and wide often on public lands. These costs are putting some, mostly smaller operations, out of business. The reimbursement programs for livestock losses help but are a hassle. I’ve heard hunters complain about wolves reducing the elk population, and for many working class people, hunting represents a major contribution to their larder. Trophy hunter can go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned.

      I say all this as one who, as a volunteer, worked with the Yellowstone wolf recovery program. I am all for predator reintroductions. Hell, I’d even support reintroduction of grizzlies to California (the bear is featured on our state flag after all) even though it would probably limit camping and backpacking in their range. Wolves don’t typically attack people, grizzlies occasionally do, and they are much less shy of humans than are wolves or black bears.

      I once had a conversation with an grizzly bear expert . I asked him if grizzlies that once lived where I do in the San Francisco bay area, needed to hibernate. They did not, he told me. He went on to tell of an early sighting by Spanish sailors seeing a beached whale. Quite oddly, the great beast’s dead hide was undulating. After a time a number of grizzly bears exited the whale’s gut and flopped down on the beach to rest and digest. That would have been something to see.

    3. Eclair

      In our Western New York/ Pennsylvania rural community, one of the main topics of conversation among residents involves deer: the ruin their depredations wreak on ‘foundation’ plantings, rose gardens, etc, and the certainty of regular car crashes, or at least, heart-stopping swerves, along roads at feeding times. Or even on the NYS Thruway in mid-morning, at 70 MPH. Aiyyeee! And our two big veggie gardens have fencing systems that are maximum-security-prison-rated. All in the same ground where my spouse’s parents raised fence-free veggies and fruits when he was a kid.

      This is always followed by laments on how ‘no one hunts anymore.’ I throw in recommendations for top predators, other than vehicular ones. Maybe we should stop shooting coyotes (the venom expressed against coyotes is even greater than that against ‘illegals.) Or, gasp, support reintroduction of wolves, pretty much wiped out by 1900.

      But, the wolves may be reintroducing themselves. There have been sightings, as well as a few killings (mistaken for the hated coyotes) in the past 25 years. We have bears in the ‘back forty,’ as well as in our neighbor’s compost pile and bird feeder, after decades of no sightings, so why not wolves?

      1. B24S

        Been there, hit that. Luckily it was already down, or it’d have been us dead too, not just the car.

        Still have, for the moment, the family house in the woods of Rockland Co., NY. There were no deer left when I was young, but at this point they’ve overbred, and are eating all the young tree sprouts in the woods. And while the black bears are back as well (I remember an elderly neighbor telling us of the time, long ago, he’d actually seen a bear), they don’t keep the deer in check, nor do the (new, wolf-interbred)) coyotes

        Hunting with firearms is prohibited, but I have a friend who bow hunts on our land. Dropped him a “Happy Birthday” a few weeks ago, and he responded with a picture of a 19 pointer he’d taken that morning. Far as I’m concerned, kill ’em all, and let the butcher sort them out, to paraphrase a ’60s saying…

      2. playon

        Deer are everywhere here on the reservation due to it being a mostly undeveloped forest between here and Anacortes. I see them literally almost everyday, grazing on peoples’ lawns and eating their gardens. The only predators in the area are eagles and coyotes and they cannot bring down a healthy deer. Not sure what the rules are for hunting deer on the res — I imagine the tribe does take some, nevertheless they are everywhere.

  4. zagonostra

    >Israel’s war with Hamas will cost $53 billion, Israeli central bank says Business Insider (Kevin W).

    Maybe the U.S. can “spend on civilians” here by giving us the same healthcare insurance options and free higher education that Israel provides to its citizens. It’s strange, the U.S. has no problem with providing funds for social welfare benefits to Ukraine and Israel but not its own population, well maybe not so strange given how geopolitical elites manipulate populations in (s)electing politicians.

    New estimates from the Israeli central bank forecast the war with Hamas to cost Israel roughly $53 billion between now and 2025, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

    More than half of that estimate will go toward ramping up defense spending, and officials anticipate lost tax revenue and higher spending on civilians.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read earlier today that there is a bun fight over that budget because the hard-righters want to keep all the money they have been allocated for more settlements and Haredim with none of it to be given back to defence, even though the country is in the middle of a war and the economy is slowly starting to go around the gurgler. Now that is Chutzpah for you.

      1. zagonostra

        Nice to know war won’t hurt gov’t’s fiscal credibility since their moral credibility has been shattered.

        The scope of the budget cut currently proposed is not “large, and as such its contribution to strengthening the credibility of the government’s commitment to fiscal adjustment for the costs of the war is limited,” the central bank said in its review.

      2. ChrisPacific

        If a state of war is what’s needed to lock down that funding, I’m sure they’re capable of starting another one.

  5. Valiant Johnson

    The story about the migrants at the border. I am the Sam Schultz mentioned.A confirmed addict of NC, I have had to get up really early in order to get my fix of Yves, as my working days feeding and watering these folks takes up all of my time from 6:30 am to dark every day.
    The story leaves out a lot, such as a massive lack of funding, a shortage of labor (volunteer or paid), complete indifference from Gov. Agencies and the Public, the fact that we are now in hypothermia weather territory, and that I have not had time to spend with the nine dogs who I share my home with (If you see the critters when I get home at night you know that this is a great tragedy).
    I live in my Families place The Desert View Tower (Google it), and I haven’t been able to keep up with the maintenance of the place for the last 10 weeks.
    We really need money.
    My Paypal is :
    I would write more, but I gotta go

    1. flora

      You may be who you say you are. I never send money to unvetted charities or people I don’t know. If the resources are insufficient to the situation ask the B admin to do something. They’ve left the border open. / my 2 cents

      1. Old Jake

        The article mentions Al Otro Lado. Al Otro Lado is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. (Tax ID: 47-2910078.) Your contribution may be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. (

        Donations are accepted here: https :// (remove the spaces to follow the link).

  6. griffen

    Banker involved in reviewing and approving loans testifies. In other news…dog bites man, the sky is blue and the Tooth Fairy is real. I am worth $1 million because I say so (okay maybe not but it is fun to write the line)…\sarc

    Ridiculous use of the legal system. Maybe the appointed AG, Letitia James will be targeting investors, wealthy families and companies all over NYC who have availed themselves of loans based on such egregious practices. Cause it ain’t just the Trump organization!

    1. TBone

      Right, and if Trump had just kept his head down and stayed out of politics, he and his family would still be availing themselves of all that criming, scott free. But he couldn’t STFU and lie low because of his raging, sociopathic narcissism and grandiose delusions, so here we are.

      1. Benny Profane

        Well, there are those accounts of how he, and especially the wife, were stunned that they actually won on election night. Pretty sure that wasn’t the plan.

        1. jefemt

          Well-covered history in South Park, as only Parker and Stone can do it… throw in a little Caitlin Jenner et voila!

      2. Skip Intro

        But the Clintons convinced him to run with assurances that he wouldn’t actually win, just get the biggest free PR campaign for his brand in history. Don’t blame Trump, he kept trying to lose.

      3. Pat

        As others have pointed out, he was Clinton’s chosen opponent. So I am going to point out that the arrogant, incompetent and easily as corrupt Clinton chose to spend the last three months of the campaign basking in the adoring crowds of California rather than go to states she needed to win. She has yet to STFU and isn’t facing the multiple indictments that should be raining down on her. I would also point out that her crimes and Biden’s crimes actually have a greater effect on the majority of Americans than Trump inflating his worth does.

        Once the corrupt politicians that are endorsing genocide, selling influence, and sending trillions of dollars to countries with better public services than Americans have at least when they aren’t actively trying to get their population killed as well as the people they are attacking, go home and STFU, I might get over the use of the justice system attacking someone for not STFU. But it isn’t so they can stop wasting not just money but the time of our governments’ courts and justice departments when there are far more destructive and dangerous criminals out there.

        1. Randall Flagg

          Very well said Pat!!
          And I would add that right or wrong, this is certainly contributing to the impression among many that there is a dual system or standard of justice in this country. I mean there certainly is when considering race and wealth, but now politics gets thrown into the mix too.
          I really get tired of hearing this BS of “ No one is above the law” when one looks back at shenanigans of Clinton, Biden, Biden’s family, the swamp’s James Clapper and all those caught flat out lying under oath in testimony to Congress and zero accountability…
          I’m supposed to believe it’s all in the up and up?

        2. griffen

          Well put, and I humbly think in the light of a recent post about expanding the NC footprint this could be used an example of the polite, and yet very proper, push back to a simple retort of “But Trump Lies” being somehow unusual among our psychopath politicians.

          I don’t expect widespread agreement on every opinion I put here, naturally. That’d be too affirming and to be blunt, a bit disconcerting like Lions and Lambs or plowshares into swords.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      The embarrassing folly of the #McResistance seems infinite, as in “Let’s use a porn star and fudged real estate numbers to bring down Hitler!” Yeah, that’s the ticket…

      These people will do anything to get Orange Man, anything except engage in actual politics, as in offering people things they need and speaking to people unlike themselves.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Why Trump’s Trials Should Be on TV”

    Because Democrats think that Trump is not getting enough publicity? That nothing could possibly go wrong showing a Presidential candidate being harassed in courts trying to stop him run? That it would make great television – just like the final delivery of the Mueller report? This is the sort of thing that Chuck Schumer would come up with. At the very least it would provide a boon for the popcorn industry.

    1. Screwball

      I think they are missing an opportunity. Given the hatred and blood lust the democrats have for Trump, they could do a pay per view; advertise they will harass, torture, or even execute Trump on live TV. We could probably pay off our national debt.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If somebody set up a large model guillotine or gallows outside the courtroom where Trump was giving testimony, I wonder how the media would report it. Or if they would even mention it at all.

        1. Screwball

          They would justify it. We have to save democracy. This is Hitler we are dealing with after all. To thunderous applause. They could charge extra if Hillary was the narrator.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Actually that is a good point that you bring up. Of course they would have Hillary as the main news commentator on this trial. Lots of people never forgave Trump for beating Hillary in 2016, even though it was her turn. Having her talk about this trial on TV would be seen as sweet revenge for them.

        2. t

          No fan of special rules because Trump is a special monster, but I do think it would be bad for him to be on camera for hours in a setting he cannot control.

          A petulant old man fuming and sputter is not entertaining.

          Maybe. Clinton had had enough fits of nastiness on camera by the early 2000s that I’d expect normal people to have grasped his petty dickishness and bullying mindset, but I am wrong. Plenty of people still love him.

      2. marym

        According to the prosecutor’s filing opposing televising the trial, Trump’s lawyers initially said Trump took “no position” on the issue. After the prosecutor filed an objection to the media request, saying it was against federal rules, Trump started saying that he wants the trial televised.

        (The link is from a twitter thread with a screen shot of the prosecution’s filing from an account that’s critical of Trump, but all reports I’ve seen of the sequence of events seem to say the same thing.)

        Trump seems to want the trial to be a forum for re-litigating his claims about the election. I don’t know if that’s a realistic expectation, but if so he would want as much publicity as possible.

  8. Wukchumni

    Deutsche Bank Executive Testifies Loan to Trump Wasn’t Unusual Bloomberg. Bank haircut Trump valuations bigly, made loan to him, and testified this is pretty common practice for them.

    Ugarte : Heh, you know, watching you just now with the Deutsche Bank, one would think you’ve been doing this all your life.

    Rick : Oh, what makes you think I haven’t?

  9. griffen

    Sports Illustrated, such a disappointing story to read about the once prominent magazine. So much for the halcyon days and accomplished writers such as Frank Deford and so many others. This story brings to mind the rewatching of the film Promotheus, where company founder Peter Weyland has created an artificial person named David in the movie. At some point in the movie, one of the lead doctors says “we created you because we could…”

    Fake pieces of fiction written by fake, contrived authors. What’s next, a fake author piecing together how wondrous and great the US economy really is and so many accomplishments of our vibrant sitting President….\sarc

    1. Benny Profane

      I worked for Time Warner for 22 years, specifically SI for 11. Yes, this is sad to see, although it was thrown into the garbage can when this group, a marketing firm, bought the name for only 5 million as the company disintegrated and vanished. There was a power struggle within the company between the business and ad geeks on one side, and the editorial on the other, and the money won sometime in the late 90s. The separation of church and state was mandated by Luce from the beginning, but fading ad sales required a change, I guess, and it was all downhill from there, with ESPN stealing the glory from up in Ct., and the inability of the old guard at Time Inc. to adapt to the internet. Sad. There was usually four or five groundbreaking articles in SI a year. Now this.

      1. Nikkikat

        SI had some really great writers at one time. Bill Nack was a favorite of mine. Loved his boxing and horse racing stories. He made the people involved in a story come to life. He covered the great Secretariat from a two year old until his unfortunate death in 1989. I felt like I knew the horse. Able to articulate his majesty like no one else. His coverage of boxing was great in a time of boxing greats, Ali and Frazier. Riding around in a car working through old hurts on an emotional level. Priceless pictures of a time long gone.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I wonder how long it will be before some Silicon Valley tech boy will try to sell a version of AI/ChatGPT that will be capable of calling a baseball game. Hilarity will ensue.

    3. Lexx

      If you get the chance watch, ‘The Killer’ on Netflix. Michael Fassbender in yet another very David-like role. I played it for Husband last night (I had already watched it). The bucket hats and alias names were a hoot.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      SI was much better when it had real people writing fake articles. This one written in 1985, and not 2014 as the url indicates, is a classic, and if you haven’t heard of Sidd Finch you should definitely check it out – Do note the original issue date.

      Very sad to see this happening. I used to read SI cover to cover every week as a kid since my dad was a subscriber and they had really good writers as you noted. Already years ago they had dumbed down the articles and starting using lots of little blurbs instead of full pieces which made the print magazine look more like a website. Now with the AI – no reason to read them at all any more.

      I swear, pretty soon we’ll be raising a generation who can’t read, can’t write, and can only communicate by emoji.

      1. Mikel

        “I swear, pretty soon we’ll be raising a generation who can’t read, can’t write, and can only communicate by emoji.”
        That’s how the algorithms will get to be portrayed as more advanced.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Three hundred thousand Israelis have fled abroad since 7 October”

    As Gilbert Doctorow asks, where are all the interviews with those Israelis that did a runner? No doubt they are hiding in plain sight and can be found. That is unless they are keeping a very low profile in case their local community comes after them if they actually give an interview. I wonder how many of those three hundred thousand will be going back as they ask themselves should they go back. This war has been changing Israel and not for the better as the hard-right seek to take more and more control. They might worry about being in a country where one fine day an Israeli airstrike destroys the Al-Aqsa Mosque so that the Third temple can now be built in its place, consequences be damned.

    1. vao

      I presume that many of them have a dual-citizenship, so that they can easily blend in their former (non-Israeli) community.

      This being said, I saw a report many years ago about the aliyah, and at that time (Sharon was prime minister), there was some concern in governmental circles because the influx of immigrants (from France, Ethiopia, Russia…) was largely diminished by the outflow of Jews who found the (rapidly neo-liberalizing) life in Israel too taxing, and too stressful because of the permanent war-footing against Palestinians. So this is not a new issue.

  11. ambrit

    Sign of the Times Department.
    I opened up the e-mail cache this morning to find a message from the testing laboratory used by the clinic I go to here in the North American Deep South. I had my annual “Medicare Wellness Visit,” in which la Medica had blood drawn for a basic blood panel, potassium, calcium, bun, glucose, etc. a few days ago.
    The missive states that the LabCorp was billing Medicare for the tests and that this was to establish a link to me so they could send me bills for the “patient responsibility” part of the bill.
    This is the first time I have encountered such a blatantly rent seeking strategy directly.
    “Skin in the game” seems to be an American version of the English slang term “skint.”

    1. chris

      I’d really like us to get to a point where a patients responsibility is to follow good advice so they can heal. I loathe getting those emails from service providers when a medical issue isn’t involved. I can’t stand the fact that someone/everyone involved in my health is more concerned about the money than me.

    2. Daryl

      The first time this happened to me, I was rather amazed. I got a random link via text that seemed like some kind of identity theft scheme. Especially since the “patient responsibility” was something like… $8. At some point the cost of sending and processing a bill exceeds the actual profit they make from doing so.

    3. jefemt

      I thought it was simply the local dialect past-tense for skinned.
      I went to the Doctor, and came back skint.
      I went to the loan officer, and came back Broker.


  12. chris

    Anyone else find the Guardian’s new fundraising graphic interesting? Apparently, Trump, Elon Musk, and Clarence Thomas, are all powerful actors seeking to subvert our democracy…

  13. Benny Profane

    Those are some extraordinary numbers coming out of the Topeka RE market, but, as they say, all RE is local. The market here in rich Fairfield County in Ct. seems to be just fine. A condo that goes on the market in my complex gets snapped up almost immediately at sometimes above asking. There just isn’t much inventory. Looks like the value of my place is up 50-60% the past five years.

    1. earthling

      Lots of reports of the buoyancy of the NY/NJ/CT area, while many other areas turn down. I think it’s where a great deal of the ‘quantitative easing’ money wound up. If it were a tangible thing, it would be blocks of government cheese, stored in vast warehouses and personal storage units all over those 3 states.

      1. John k

        Imo the wealthier coastal state pops can more easily afford high rates that in many cases offset by their bond holdings, with quite a few able to pay cash. Problem there is stocks are ultra low, so prices are rising. Imo Biden will want falling rates in 24, likely pushing markets in most regions. Who doesn’t remember high rates torpedoed Carter and ushered in reagonomics?

  14. Jason Boxman

    For what it’s worth, if you do use Google Drive and have a modest stash of files, you can switch to “Mirror Files” from “Stream Files” (the default), with the desktop app, and you’ll always have the latest version locally. Of course, this is no substitute for keeping routine backups. As a bonus, when using “Mirror Files” they are backed up as part of Time Machine on Mac. If you have more files in Google Drive than you have disk space, this won’t help though.

  15. FlyoverBoy

    In the battle of corrupt Ol’ Joes, no corporatist Democrat or traditional limousine liberal voter will choose Manchin over Biden. The only voters who would are people who hate Biden and would otherwise cast another middle-finger protest vote for Trump, just like they did in 2016 and 2020, but have misgivings about Trump as well.

    In that light, I start to wonder if the No Labels billionaires are doing this as a Hail Mary to save the Biden regime. Lots of rich people don’t like Trump either, and it’s increasingly obvious there’s no other way for Biden to win.

  16. flora

    re: “Anti-Disinformation” Is a Partisan Con – Matt Taibbi

    Thanks for the link. From the longer article:

    In multiple exchanges, analysts scoffed at the idea that they needed issue-specific knowledge. If it did occur to them that they might need to actually check a fact, it often appeared that the prospect of having to conduct real research was occurring to them for the first time.

    In one telling exchange, some of the group members asked the leader SJ Terp what they should do, if they need to figure out whether or not a piece of medical research is real or not:

    Roger Johnston: If somebody publishes a fake paper and they say it’s cited and it’s not, how would you look that up quickly? Is there a database or something or a university?

    Michael Klein: Yeah, I tossed to SJ on that one.

    SJ Terp: Sorry, what was the question?

    Roger Johnston: So for fake experts, if somebody publishes research or claims to have published research, how would you go and where would you verify that…? There must be some database that compiles all of these sources together. Do you know what that’s called?

    SJ Terp: There are a bunch of… academic paper places so you can go check.

    “Academic paper places”? What the hell is that? That’s a class-clown answer to end all class-clown answers. These are the people asking to be put in charge of saving the world from medical misinformation?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Israel’s ground war conundrum”

    Interesting read but I am reminded of one thing – the Battle of Bakhmut. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Wagner Group troops died fighting over that city and the battle lasted for months. So how many casualties will the IDF be prepared to accept trying to take Gaza City?

    1. Feral Finster

      Not very many, but, unlike the Russian Air Force, Israel has no qualms bombing Gaza flat to the ground and unlike Ukraine, Hamas has no air defense to speak of.

  18. Boomheist

    Re: Herman Melville and Moby Dick…..a very long, tedious article about novels built around a novelist, Herman Melville, all seemingly about fictional writers married to each other writing about Herman melville, another fictional writer….Is this what 409 years of MFA programs have wrought?

    As regards Moby Dick – I am oild enough nto have been in the cohort who attended high school in the 1960s, wherein it seemed in the tenth grade everyone had to read Moby Dick. At least that was the case in the New England school I attended. Moby Dick is a large novel, many pages, small print, or was, back then, and my teacher carried us through the book all one dark winter. He had – my teacher – a wooden leg, by the way, with a habit of jabbing his steel pen into the wooden thigh, loudly, clack clack clack, as he spoke. Anyway that winter was, for each of we students, endless, the skies dark, the snow heavy and frozen, the classroom chill, and each day we received our assignment, read this chapter, skip this one. It was a mind-numbing, dreadful experience, with a focus entirely on allegory, symbolism, deep study of the sermons and monologues, and skipping over the chapters about whaling gear and methods. By the end of that year all we students had been exposed to Moby Dick and surely none of us would ever approach that book again, ever, no matter how long our lives….

    This was in, for me, the 1962-1963 school year. In 1973, ten years later, I found myself making a living of sorts as a commercial fisherman, based out of s port in Cape Cod but often going to New Bedford for maintenance and parts. Once we had some extra time and went to the New Brdford Whaling Museum, one of the great facilities on this earth. Anyway, those visits reminded me of the horror of Melville, the mind numbing hours hearing clack-clack-clack and talking of allegory.

    Then, during the winter of 1973, we were offshore, laying to in the wind, it being too rough to fish, jogging into the seas to hold position and wait until the wind lay down, being nearly 20 hours from land, drifting and jogging for three days. After just a few hours the steady diet of cheap crime paperbacks and skin magazines found aboard most such boats in tiny bookshelves in the focsle or under bunks paled, and, desperate, I found beneath the captain;s bunk in the pilothouse some real novels, including a copy of Moby Dick, the binding fresh and apparently never cracked for reading. I was desperate for something to read, desperate, so I grabbed the book and went to my bunk and began to read, page by page, as the great seas passed beneath us one after another, rising and falling, hearing water surging overhead on deck as the bow breached breaking seas….

    A miracle happened, for me, at least, beause this time with Moby Dick I read from beginning to end, all of it, the sermons but also all the chapters on gear and technique, and I found myself transported, alive in a lost world but still a world of the sea and gear and weather and breaking rollers, and what had been ten years earlier a nightmare of requirement and boredom became now an instant of vibrant and rich experience, transported back into the world of whaling while aboard a modern fishing boat similarly hove to in a huge sea. Maybe it was because now I was working at sea myself, needing to understand gear and equipment and its rigging and maintenance, maybe because now I had to somehow find a way to live with and get along with the others on my small crew, find a way to suffer the verbal lashings from my captain…..anyway this time Moby Dick was alive, and real, and true, and its reading passed in a flash, it seemed, such that when I emerged from those final riveting pages the wind had lain down and the call came, back to work…….

    I have, in the half century since, read Moby Dick three or four more times, once again at sea when I sailed with commercial container ships in 2012-2016, and each time found the tale absorbing, rich, complex, and real. I am convinced this is because in the end Melville wrote a complex sea story, just a sea story, and the reason that tenth grade class was a nightmare is because the teacher had never been to sea, completely missed the entire point.

    1. spork

      Thanks for sharing this. Funny how under the right circumstances school enlightens, educates, and inspires, and at other times it is capable of doing the exact opposite.

    2. Kilgore Trout

      Boomheist: Wonderful posting. It makes me want to reread the book, as my experience was similar, having had to read Moby Dick in high school, in mostly “eyes-glazed over uncomprehendingly” fashion.

    3. MaryLand

      Thanks for this. I can feel the waves in your writing. I loved reading the Robert Louis Stevenson books, Two Years Before the Mast, etc. as a kid. Had to read parts of Moby Dick in high school in the same era and was not enthralled. Married a weekend sailor and raised our kids on the boat. I will never not love the water and the sea. Favorite poem: Sea Fever by John Masefield. I might have to take another look at the white whale epic.

    4. bradford

      I had it in English class, 10th grade or so, probably around the time you read it for the second time. That was an unpleasant experience; it’s an age where there are a lot more interesting things to think about, and the teacher probably didn’t emphasize the parts that would be appealing to a 10th-grader. When I was older, and after a couple of trips through Gravity’s Rainbow, I came across a review of that book in something Whole-Earth-Catalog-adjacent which recommended GR as this generation’s Moby Dick, with the argument that in both cases the asides really make the book. I gave Moby Dick another try on that basis, and really enjoyed it that time around.

    5. britzklieg

      It’s good you read it before the new “improved” PC editions start coming out:
      “Call me Ishmael, he/him.” (hat tip to Matt Taibbi for that one)

      …and a caveat – a case has been made that it’s not actually the book’s first sentence. It is the first sentence of “Chapter 1” but there are two introductory chapters (“Etymology” and “Extracts”) before “Loomings” and mentioned here just as a curiosity, as I too consider it one of the best (and definitely the most famous) first sentences ever written.

      …so different from one my other faves, from Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

      “The story so far: in the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      I enjoyed your comment very much. Thank you for sharing your appreciation of Moby Dick. I have not read it but found the length and small print forbidding. I will have to give it another try.

      In a slightly skew direction, I wonder how appreciation for many other novels have been ruined by high school English class.

      1. Not Qualified to Comment

        Everything by Charles Dickens. Personally I’d add the Bible, as I think it’s up there with
        ‘The Lord of the Rings” as a work of fantasy fiction but my school insisted on teaching it as history.

        1. Joe Renter

          Nice post on your rereading and set in the perfect setting. This reminds me of the time I spent as a deck hand on a tender boat in the waters from Seattle to Bistrol Bay AK. Lots of time for reading. I had about a dozen classics. To name them may sound pretentious. Reading is a privilege.

      2. eg

        For me it was Great Expectations the tedious length of which convinced my Grade 11 self that Dickens must have been paid by the word.

    7. AndrewJ

      I’ve only made it through the first few chapters, but it’s got at least one of those great bits of one of my favorite things: hidden history – our narrator is in search of an inn, turns a corner, and spies one, which on sight he knows will have “the very best of pea coffee.” As a coffee industry professional, I’m fascinated by this 1851 reference to coffee. I’ve learned over the years that coffee can and has been made out of anything that can be dried, roasted, ground and brewed, chicory and piñon being still current. I’ve read of nuts and maize, particularly in the South during the Union embargo during the Civil War, but also as additions or replacements to coffee beans when those were too expensive.
      But I have yet to nail down what Melville’s “pea coffee” was, and what it was that it was the “very best.”
      Apologies for a bit of threadjacking here, but this Melville-related coffee mystery has been on my mind for many years, and we do have the best commentariat on the ‘net, so… anyone have light to shed?

      1. R.S.

        > But I have yet to nail down what Melville’s “pea coffee” was, and what it was that it was the “very best.”

        It could be literally “pea coffee”. For instance,
        The Albany patriot, June 30, 1864, “A Substitut for Coffee” (at the bottom right of page 1)
        The preparation consists simply of the common English pea, picked from the vine when dry, and roasted to a dark cinnamon brown.

        Hall’s Journal of Health for 1862, “Health Tract No.72: Coffee Substitutes” (p.147)
        //This one also has recipes for “carrot coffee” and “sweet-potato coffee”
        7. PEA COFFEE. – It is probably known to many that a very large per cent of the ground coffee sold at the stores is common field-peas, roasted and ground with the coffee. There are hundreds of thousands of bushels of peas annually used for that purpose. Those who are in the habit of purchasing ground coffee can do better to buy their own peas, burn and grind them, and mix to suit themselves

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I was going to guess he was referring to chicory, maybe because of that plant’s resemblance to a pea plant (although I don’t think they look much alike at all).

        But now I think Melville was referring to this, which I’d never heard of before –

        Most coffee beans come two to a pod, but apparently a mutation causes some to grow one to a pod, which makes them more pea-shaped.

      3. Cyclist

        Were peaberry coffees know back in Melville’s day? I know they are highly regarded by coffee lovers.

        1. AndrewJ

          It seems unlikely to me – peaberry coffee is uncommon and has to be sorted by hand out of the crop, which is it’s strength – that means the defect beans are rejected by the human sorters, making for a much cleaner lot. It’s expensive, and I doubt it would have made it to America at all in the mid-1800’s, and probably not to a whaling town inn.
          I think RS has nailed it!

    8. Eclair

      Beautiful words, Boomheist, thank you.

      I had a similar experience with Moby Dick, picking it up again in my child-raising years. I became fascinated, as you had, by the technical stuff: the exquisite details of the hunt, the scenes of rendering the blubber. A 19th century precursor to those YouTube videos that show you how to do absolutely everything?

    9. Late Introvert

      It’s a great book. I never had it in school, and my girlfriend at the time said hey let’s both read it and then we can talk about it. We’ve been married 19 years now and she still hasn’t read it.

      Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian. I never remember book quotes but that one has stuck with me.

    10. Glen

      Wow, thanks! It is indeed a great book!

      Here’s links to it at the Project Gutenberg library:

      Books: moby dick (sorted by popularity)

      And here’s a link to Project Gutenberg:

      Welcome to Project Gutenberg

      Project Gutenberg is a library of over 70,000 free eBooks
      Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for you to enjoy.

    11. eg

      I read it only because a colleague who was enamoured of American literature (my own degrees having been filled almost exclusively with British literature along with the smattering of obligatory Canadian— with the exception of a third year course which featured modern America satire) insisted that it was great.

      I found it to be an endurance event.

    12. The Rev Kev

      A really great comment that. You talked about reading that book at sea which gave you much more insight into it. As that book came out in 1851, I wonder how many whale hunters read it at sea in this era and could look around and see everything written about in that book.

  19. jsn

    Martin Wolf; bless his heart.

    China will never compete with the West in financialization (Martins’ Portfolio Investment), why would it? And what’s that inflection point in his Share of Global GDP chart after 2022 where China stops growing?

    Martin should read the Larry Johnson piece you linked today and think about what “portfolio investment” will be valued against in a world without Super Imperialism which looms.

    1. Detroit Dan

      The subheadline of the Wolf piece reveals his mindset:

      America and its allies remain more united and economically powerful than Beijing’s group of malcontents

      He loses me at “More united”. Has he compared Biden’s popularity with that of Xi or Putin? How about the leaders of western Europe.

      The article continues in that vein, citing “democracy” and finance (as highlighted by jsn).

    2. Glen

      Thanks! I tend to agree with your analysis. Or as I would put it, the West is superior because it’s financial parasites are richer and in control, best expressed with this quote:

      Unsurprisingly, the China bloc is more important in industry than in GDP.

      Reading in context the best I can do with this sentence is that China makes things as opposed to driving people to medical bankruptcy and booking that as GDP growth? But it does seem to indicate that China favors industry.

      And here’s a link to the article in the Irish Times for those that can be challenged:

      The US retains the economic advantage in its rivalry with China

  20. lyman alpha blob

    Great news about moar Spinal Tap! Normally I’m not a big fan of sequels, but given the new AARP-sponsored Stones tour, this seems very apropos!

    A great regret in my life – I had purchased a ticket to see Spinal tap live in Denver, CO in the summer of 1992. I wound up moving from CO before the show and never got to see them. I am one of the very few people still extant who saw the movie in the theater when it was released. I saw it as a matinee in Quebec City with a couple friends and maybe two or three other people in the theater. We didn’t even know what the movie was at the time – it was what was playing while we had some free time on a school trip, so we went to see it. Turns out it was brilliant!

  21. Tom Stone

    Plata Y Plomo, Zelensky chose Silver and a lot of it but is likely to see it transmuted to lead.
    I do wonder how much of the $ Ms Zelenska has access to and how many exit plans she has.
    I give Mr 404 a 20% chance of surviving the next 18 Months and the Missus a 50% chance, it depends to a large degree on how loving his relationship with Brandon is.

  22. dave -- just dave

    has the text of the novel with notes to help the reader, as well as a link to
    free audiobook download Moby-Dick Big Read, featuring the voices of Tilda Swinton, John Waters, Stephen Fry, and many more

  23. Es s Ce tera

    re: Putin notes importance of establishing Palestine within 1967 borders

    “Putin stressed that “now, when the bloody conflict is bringing untold suffering to the peaceful population of Palestine, I consider it particularly important to reaffirm Russia’s consistent position in favor of the realization of the legitimate rights of your people to establish their own sovereign state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

    This rather reminded me of the Balfour declaration. I think Putin intends this to have the same historical importance.

  24. Wukchumni

    Everybody talks about space weather-nobody does anything about it, dept:

    A pretty high end solar storm is making its way to our orb as I peck away oblivious to the risk-which appears to be minimal, albeit with northern lights possibilities in places where you’d usually never see them, such as Aurora, Colorado. It should hit us tomorrow or the next day, and as it gets closer we’ll have a better idea how big, right now they are calling it a high end M flare, just below the big kahuna of electricity kryptonite, the X flare.

    Now, should it prove to be a Carrington Event that wipes out all powered devices all over the world, you’ll still get a bitchin’ light show overhead, enjoy.

  25. Willow

    > Israel is More F*ckd Than You Know
    Progressive Jews had already moved away from Israel for some time. Only difference now is that its becoming more overt and the concept of ‘Israel’ has become toxic. Netanyahu has pushed Israel past the ‘tribes’ event horizon from which there is no return.

    “Jewish filmmaker Yuula Benivolski who lives in Canada posted a video on social media saying that she had renounced her Israeli citizenship in protest of the Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip.”

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