Links 4/24/2024

Dear patient readers,

A version control issue resulted in almost no links and no antidote at launch. Fixed now.

The Great Elk Trek. Micael T: “Beautiful nature with the occasional elk.”. Moi: You need to be patient.

2 More Endangered Ferrets Have Been Cloned from Critter Frozen in the 1980s People (furzy)

89-Year-Old Japanese Man Bikes Over 370 Miles to Visit Children Halfway Across the Country My Modern Met

No One Buys Books Any More Elysian Press

Single atoms captured morphing into quantum waves in startling image New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Monkeypox virus: dangerous strain gains ability to spread through sex, new data suggest Nature (Dr. Kevin)

Belgian Man Whose Stomach Brews Alcohol Beats Drink Driving Charge Science (Chuck L)

What is a confounder (confounding variable), and why should I care? Nerdy Girls (Dr. Kevin)

The Homo Economicus as a Prototype of a Psychopath? A Conceptual Analysis and Implications for Business Research and Teaching Springer (Dr. Kevin, Paul R)

Parents Who Regret Having Children TIME (Dr. Kevin)

Breaking: Bird flu particles found in pasteurized milk; FDA backs safety of supply STAT. Lordie.


Man dies after 613-day COVID-19 infection that underwent 50 mutations Scripps (furzy)


Toyota’s Hydrogen Future Is Crumbling As Owners File Lawsuits, Call For Buybacks InsideEVs

I KNEW EVs were not all they are claimed to be! Click through to see the money quote:

It takes 7 years for an electric car to reach net-zero CO2. The life expectancy of the battery is 10 years (average). Only in the last 3 years do you start to reduce your carbon footprint, but then the batteries must be replaced and you lose all gains made.

And finally, consider the amount of energy required to process the raw materials and the amount of energy used to haul these batteries to the U.S. sometimes back and forth a couple of times.

What Really Happens When You Trade In an iPhone at the Apple Store Bloomberg (ma)

As the climate changes, cities scramble to find trees that will survive Grist


Yuan internationalization drive hits a local speed bump Asia Times

China’s Ageing Tech Workers Hit By ‘Curse of 35’ Financial Times


US troops set to withdraw from Niger, State Department official says CNN

U.S.-Trained Burkina Faso Military Executed 220 Civilians Intercept


UN rights chief ‘horrified’ by reports of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals Guardian

Three days under fire: Palestinians in Tulkarem describe the ‘most violent’ Israeli raid in years Mondoweiss

Israeli army preparing for Rafah ground offensive ‘very soon’: Report Anadolu Agency

Hezbollah Air Defences Shoot Down Another Israeli Hermes Drone Amid Escalating Hostilities Military Watch

‘Smokescreen’: officials voice concern over US plans for Gaza aid pier Guardian (furzy). D’ohblockquote>

Gaza Protests

Berlin bans protesters from singing in Irish and Hebrew at pro-Palestine rally New Arab (Kevin W)

Google Fires More Employees Over Protest of Cloud Contract With Israel Axios

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war: Kyiv tightens pressure on fighting age men abroad BBC

Mark Sleboda: Russia has DESTROYED Ukraine’s Army and Putin’s Next Move has NATO Worried Danny Haipong, YouTube. Much better than the headline. Includes how NATO is gearing up for a long-term conflict over control of Odessa and the Black Sea.

US State Department cites Ukraine’s national newscast in human rights violations report Ukrainska Pravda

Evan Gershkovich: Appeal rejected by Moscow court DW

German leader tells Putin he can’t quote legendary philosopher RT. Micael T: “Scholz wouldn’t even understand the title of any of Kant’s books.”

How Armenia destroyed in just a few years what it had spent decades building Anti-Spiegel (Micael T)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How G.M. Tricked Millions of Drivers Into Being Spied On (Including Me) New York Times

Google Delays Cookie Phase-Out Following Regulatory Pushback Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

The US military is embedding its officers in corporate America Responsible Statescraft (Kevin W)

On Warsplaining, or: How prevailing political assumptions have encouraged a bizarre discourse on human conflict that often studiously ignores what these conflicts are actually about eugyppius (Micael T)


Inside the Off-the-Record Calls Held by Anti-Trump Legal Pundits Politico

Bill would strip Trump of his Secret Service protection if convicted Ground (furzy). Petty in light of the fact that convicted criminals can run for President, witness Eugene Debs.


Games Biden Plays Counterpunch. On Venezuela.

Biden, 81, suffers ANOTHER embarrassing gaffe as his attempt to brand Trump untrustworthy spectacularly backfires at Florida rally Daily Mail (BC)


Five takeaways from the Pennsylvania primaries The Hill


Tennessee passes bill to let teachers carry guns at school DW

Police State Watch

Arkansas senators say Clinton airport exec. killed by ATF with no bodycam: ‘Violation of its own policy‘ Fox


FTC Enrages Corporate America by Eliminating Non-Compete Agreements Matt Stoller


Ex-Amazon exec claims she was asked to ignore copyright law in race to AI The Register (Paul R)

Tesla driver was using Autopilot before fatal Monroe crash, police say Seattle Times. Furzy: “Tesla kills.”

Class Warfare

Starbucks Leads Business Opposition to Pro-Worker Labor Board Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Tesla cutting around 2,700 jobs in Austin and more than 3,300 in California as part of broad restructuring CNBC

Antidote du jour (Alan T):

And a bonus:

A second bonus to make up for late antidote launch:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Skip Intro

      Europeans have a crafty trick to avoid paying a lot to cover GDP-percentage spending requirements.. click to learn how!

      They save on expenditures by shrinking the GDP. The demographically doomed Baltics will be able to cover their bit with a half dozen 155mm shells at this rate.

  1. lyman alpha blob

    Couple links from some sites I hadn’t checked in a while –

    Good take on the Haiti situation from Exile in Happy Valley – The Last Thing Haiti Needs is Your Liberal Guilt Compares the current “gang” uprising to the slave revolt a couple centuries earlier and suggests the West back right the [family blog] off this time.

    And White Hot Harlots (now on substack) on the current sorry state of academia – The crisis of higher education is worse than you think. About the dumbing down of everything, with some claims familiar to NC readers about kids unable to perform basic computer functions even as they have been weaned away from paper.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Online platforms turned so much of school from free response to just busy work or the equivalent of worksheets with word banks which have a purpose at times. For anyone who hasn’t seen edpuzzles, they are just egregiously stupid. So much of school has become this mindless drivel.

      Now with the kids having missed so much time, the teachers don’t base enough time or resources to address where the kids are. It’s just going to get worse as kids who weren’t ninth graders hit colleges.

      For those who know, can you imagine a kid “gamer” who watches other people play games trying to fix a game in DOS.

      1. curlydan

        One of my faves in modern high schooling is the “rubric”. This was a new term to me, but I kept seeing it in my kids work. As I understand it, it’s a long form explanation of every point that is (or isn’t) going to be awarded on a project/essay/etc. Talk about a creativity killer. Basically, follow this “color by the numbers” guide, and you’re assured a high grade. Don’t think on your project, just check off the points and move on. I understand why teachers provide it (less fighting, fewer calls from upset parents), but it’s sad to see education devolve to this level.

        1. Ghost in the Machine

          A couple of years ago I took some graduate classes at the local University. Some of them supplied a ‘rubric’ also. Graduate classes. Having taken graduate classes at the same university 25 years apart, I can attest that rigor and expectations have declined.

        2. XXYY

          I think a rubric was originally an aid for graders, to make grades more consistent even when multiple people were doing the grading. You weren’t supposed to give it to the students!

          It’s easy to see how students would do much better if they had this when doing the work. Having the answers ahead of time always helps.

  2. TexasEx

    Tesla cutting around 2,700 jobs in Austin

    I lived in Austin when the factory was announced with massive tax rebates but those rebates have an employment clause and now they may lose those rebates. Texas has in the past clawed back rebates (see Cabela’s south of Austin) so let’s hope they do so here too.

  3. zagonostra

    >Google Fires More Employees Over Protest of Cloud Contract With Israel – Axios

    “Ultimately we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe”

    Yes “this is a business,” the business of making profits no matter the consequences. The “don’t be evil” company slogan has morphed in reality to “don’t be human.” That Google is making profits be extending/deeping it’s relationship with the National Security State should not bother its employees (sic).

    This reminds me of a link from a couple of days ago by Eric Schmidt that “Putin refuses to make peace unless Ukraine surrenders its sovereignty. That leaves Ukraine with no other option but to keep fighting.”

    Google firing of employees because of political involvement doesn’t seem to extend to its executives when they’re making deals with the gov’t.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There was that corporate idea of ‘Bringing your whole self to work’ based on a book of the same title but when those workers started to protest about Israel, corporations like Google shouted ‘Not that part!’

      I wonder if an effect of this will be those corporations keeping a close watch on their employees and their attitudes and getting rid of ones that have thoughts like ‘Israel is a genocidal nation’ on the sly before they become problems. A sort of weeding out. Unintentionally this would also serve to weed out those capable of original thought or a social conscience which will hurt those corporations in the long term.

      1. digi_owl

        That “bring your whole self” idea seem like a smoke screen to distract employees from class relations by shifting focus onto personal image and identity.

        Going alongside that was the corporation as family, trying to get the newly minted graduates to crash under the pool table rather than “go home”. After all if the corporations is family, then the office is home.

        All this worked oh so well as long as ZIRP was in effect, and management could repeatedly roll over the debt.

      2. Carolinian

        Or the diversity movement’s idea that racism is a bad thing but when it comes to Islamophobia “not that part.”

        Or my generation’s constant instruction that America is free and Communists are not but when that freedom was used to protest an earlier genocide “not that part.”

        Our current elites are constantly preaching about virtue and hooray for the students who take the idea seriously and haven’t yet learned to speak out of both sides of their mouths. Maybe it’s the old who need to be taught.

        1. nippersdad

          “…hooray for the students who take the idea seriously and haven’t yet learned to speak out of both sides of their mouths.”

          I concur. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” is something that has routinely been going through my mind when I read the news lately. The more things change…

      3. earthling

        And this firm has the database to actually do that, having forced most phone and web users in the US into being surveilled constantly by them. All those folks who cheerfully say ‘I’ve got nothing to hide, go ahead and track me!’ Let’s see how that works out in reality.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There was an American politician that wanted to vie for the Presidency back in the 80s/90s that said that. Forget his name. So the press followed him and found him with his mistress aboard a boat if I remember correctly. Busted.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Thank you, Colonel. Your reply must have gone into moderation as when I replied to Randall Flagg, your comment had not yet appeared.

          1. Randall Flagg

            I believe that was Gary Hart in 1988. Challenged the press to follow him around, they did and yes, busted. Ironically the name of the boat he was caught with his mistress on?
            Monkey Business.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Thanks for that. That was him. Couldn’t quite remember his name but the name of that boat was hilarious.

          2. B

            As I recall, that was a complete setup to get him out of the race, from the arrangement of the boat with the obvious name to the strange girl waiting til the photographer was ready before jumping into Hart’s lap for the shot.

            1. Lefty Godot

              There was always something dodgy about how conveniently that photo turned up.

              As with the “Dean scream”, if they don’t want you, they will find a way to derail you.

            2. paul

              Yet he should have listened to the maxim; think with this head (pointing to temple), not the other one.

            3. Darthbobber

              Setup? Maybe, but they just dangled the bait. And he rose to it. And then again at the townhouse…

      4. lovevt

        Burglary the discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s secret FBI – Betty Medsger– writes about a group of anti-war protestors breaking into a PA FBI (1973)to steal files kept on them, Black, Feminist and Gay groups. They shared what they found with all the major newspapers and a few Senators. The author documents FBI had employees working the mailrooms at the newspapers to intercept suspicious mail so some of the newspapers didn’t get their copy. The author received hers while working at the Washington Post. The burglars were never caught.

    2. t

      Don’t be evil was the first red flag for me. Imagine if a man announced he was engaged, and then solemnly promised he would not beat his wife? And Google followed up pretty quickly by explaining it was fine that the c suit had a 747 because of the overwhelming good they did. Like we should seriously think their having a giant private jet was different than Eric Prince or whoever having a giant private jet.

      1. tawal

        Reminds me of that phony Obama once he started donning American flag lapel pin, and shortly thereafter dissed his pastor for pointing out endemic racism in America….

    3. edman

      GOOGLE is trampling on established labor protections for workers. A previous case before the NLRB a few years ago where it was ruled that discussing the impact of border security software (wages, hours, and conditions of employment) amongst GOOGLE employees was protected activity and violating this was an unfair labor practice. Today the utilization of software enabling the GAZA genocide is similar. GOOGLE has fired employees for raising the issue. Where is the “most pro labor President” and his top union officials? This impacts workers rights everywhere.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “H5N1 bird flu virus particles found in pasteurized milk but FDA says commercial milk supply appears safe”

    RT is reporting that ‘the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revealed that bird flu had been found in 33 herds of dairy cows in eight states as of Monday.’ No word on just how big those herds are but it sounds like a lot of whistling past the graveyard going on.

    ‘The concern “is that it’s showing up in a lot more samples, meaning the infection is more widespread in dairy herds than we thought,” a US public health official told the paper on the condition of anonymity.’

    1. Wukchumni
      Bessie et al used to hang out down south in Chino, but cows don’t pay property taxes, so they paved it all over for warehouses and regular houses, and moved the CAFO’s here, not far from a new-ish quite large flyway that didn’t exist before 2023, not that anybody expects fowl play to hit the dairies which often have 5,000 head or more.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    89-Year-Old Japanese Man Bikes Over 370 Miles to Visit Children Halfway Across the Country My Modern Met

    Nice story, although its not particularly unusual for very elderly Japanese people to casually do this sort of thing – very elderly people can be seen causally cycling pretty much anywhere, including very mountainous regions (and generally non-EV aided). I can’t find a link to it, but about 10 years ago an 82 year old Japanese man rode the entire coast of Japan (a much bigger journey than you might think) over 2 years. He was killed by a truck within sight of his home – this was reported as a horrible accident, but I’ve always wondered if it was some sort of suicide to mark his final achievement (fans of Kurosawa’s Ikiru will know what I mean). Speaking of movies, I hope he didn’t face a Tokyo Story style disappointment on meeting his kids.

  6. digi_owl

    “The Homo Economicus as a Prototype of a Psychopath? A Conceptual Analysis and Implications for Business Research and Teaching Springer (Dr. Kevin, Paul R)”

    I guess that confirms my worry that we are basically creating psycopaths through conditioned reflexes.

    1. john

      See also DeVries (Insead) Psychopaths in the C-suite. “We” did not create these animals but we do cultivate and feed them, like my friend who keeps rattlesnakes and is then offended when one of them coils and is ready to strke him.

    2. Louis Fyne

      It’s interesting to read the actual lab notes written by the types like Nash* when they observed game theory experiments involving actual random people, who deviated from the “Homo Economicus” equilibria inferred from the math models.

      Nash et al all come across as Martians who are studying humans—dumbfounded that human beings don’t act like atomized widgets per their models.

      PS, IMO, “Homo Economicus” does work for a discrete range of circumstances, like buying a loaf of bread…..but can’t be scaled up to cover the entirety of human behavior.


      1. JBird4049

        >>>PS, IMO, “Homo Economicus” does work for a discrete range of circumstances, like buying a loaf of bread…..but can’t be scaled up to cover the entirety of human behavior.

        Of course, but expanding it makes for easier, if flawed, economic studies, and it is a good propaganda point for libertarian and neoliberal economic policies, which the wealthy usually support.

        It is part of the process that stripped “economy” from political economy and changed it into economics.

  7. zagonostra

    >The US military is embedding its officers in corporate America Responsible Statescraft

    Democratizing Foreign Policy program, provides the first ever in-depth look into a Pentagon program that gives big businesses a unique avenue for influencing senior military policymakers.

    And why not? Israel lobbyist pretty much own Congress (Col. Douglas MacGregor and Scott Ritter’s words). And everyone knows how the CIA/FBI and the National Security State influences private news companies a la Taibbi’s Twitter files reporting and lest we forget Operation Mockingbird and the revelations of the 70’s Church Commission, the MIC and big corporations have always had a cozy relationship, so why shouldn’t the Pentagon get in on some the lucre and join the fun.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here is a thought based on your comment. What if the CIA and the FBI have similar programs for their officers and corporate America? It would be a logical extension and the more I think about it, the more I can see a lot of advantages for both parties. As an example, the spooks have been spying on foreign allies for decades now and reporting to corporations what they find to help them get contracts over those foreign allies instead. Having embedded spooks would enable closer channels for such intel. Maybe, and more to the point, it would serve to build up an “Old Boys Network” for decades going forward.

      1. Feral Finster

        The CIA certainly does. I cannot imagine that the FBI is far behind, given the institutional rivalries between them.

    2. Cristobal

      In the immortal words of Iñigo Montoya: Fascism. You keep using that word but I don´t think it means what you think it means.

    3. Kouros

      And then, with straight faces, Blinken & Co will say that such and such Chinese companies are being sanctioned because they have links with Chinese military…

  8. digi_owl

    On the environmental impact of EVs, i just see thermodynamics in action.

    That said, i suspect a similar calculus on a ICE car will come out worse.

    And in either case a car, EV or not, will be worse pr hour traveled pr person than public transport.

    All this strikes me as a variant of reductio ad absurdum in order to justify maintaining the status quo.

    1. earthling

      EVs are essentially a flawed solution, using tethered energy sources for a device that should be able to roam freely (hybrid engines, great, that makes more sense). ICEs worse? What if we factor in the cost of building and maintaining all the new EV charging stations?

      Some parts of the status quo do make sense; reserving liquid fuels for most transport, and plastics and chemical manufacturing. Use the cleaner energy sources for static locations. It shouldn’t be verboten to challenge EVs, especially now that costly downsides are revealing themselves. I don’t want struggling working people to fund Musk’s adventures by buying into an EV, only to find out it’s costly and polluting to maintain, as well as not much help in the carbon wars. They can decide to go ahead, but we should not be sweeping the downsides under the rug in the name of environmentalism, not as long as we have to rip up the landscape for hundreds of new lithium mines.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The point is that replacing ICE with EVs one for one and continuing to drive the same amount is not a solution. Both the number of vehicles and the miles driven per vehicle must be drastically reduced.

      1. ambrit

        “… must be drastically reduced.”
        The best way to do that is to reduce the driving population, any way you can.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          As long as we remember that it’s a small fraction of the human population that’s doing all the driving, flying etc.

          Fifty percent of carbon emissions come from the world’s richest 10%. It’s not the peasant farmer in Bangladesh who’s causing this. It’s middle class Americans and above who are the worst with their giant vehicles, long commutes and “communities” built more for cars than people.

          1. JustTheFacts

            Have you ever been to that part of the world?

            Many of the 2 wheel tractors they use in India are converted water pumps, and boy do they emit pollution, as do the tuk-tuks (10% of India’s emissions). India’s air is incredibly polluted, and I see little reason why Bangladesh would be any different since they had a flood that killed off all their bullocks and replaced them with 2 wheel tractors. Also Coal accounts for half of India’s electricity production.

            A lot of the US’ fuel consumption doesn’t come from driving or people flying. It comes from shipping food and other goods around. Just because you live in a city and use public transport doesn’t magically make you virtuous.

            The US could build better train infrastructure — if China, far more densely populated, can, the US can. It also could change the laws so that small light cars that get much better gas mileage become more commonplace in the warmer states at least.

            1. JBird4049

              The United States had a very good passenger rail system as well as extensive tram systems in many large cities, which we could very easily recreate except for the massive corruption that would block it. Just look at California’s efforts at building high speed rail.

              1. Procopius

                Errr,,, can you name a couple of those cities which have “extensive tram systems?” I don’t know of any, but I live in Thailand. I’m pretty sure Detroit doesn’t, I think LA doesn’t, and I’m sure New York doesn’t.

            2. juno mas

              Just because you can see the pollution in rural India doesn’t mean the total volume is greater than that created by US automobiles. (Locally, particulate matter is a major personal health concern. The larger global impact from transportation can’t be blamed on them.)

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Winner winner chicken dinner! Preferably we’d wise up and do it voluntarily, but since we aren’t, our “betters” seem determined to turn a substantial portion of the populace into pink mist.

      2. Martín

        The US could start by considering why, in terms of transportation, Europeans emit more than 65% less CO2 per capita than Americans do. A hint: EVs are not the cause.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      There are any number of in depth studies on the subject – on even worst cast scenarios EV’s (by which I mean ‘cars using batteries’), are far superior to ICE vehicles – this clarification is necessary, as strictly speaking ‘EV’s include scooters, electric bikes, electric buses/trains, etc.

      The IEA, which has a history of being very pro-fossil fuel, estimates that lifetime emissions of an ICE vehicle are twice the ‘worst case’ scenario for EVs.

      The US EPA has plenty of links to individual studies on the topic.

      This study looks at just one car model – the VW Golf for a worst and best case comparison (by worst case, it looks at a very coal heavy electricity source. It concludes an ‘EV parity’ of around 15 months in the US – much less for countries with cleaner grids.

      BloombergNEF also did a major comparative study looking at the impacts in different electricity markets. The conclusion?

      The lifecycle CO2 emissions of medium segment battery electric cars produced in 2020 and used for 250,000 km would be between 18% and 87% lower than those of equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles in the five countries included in this report. The breakeven point is far sooner in France at 25,000 km, compared to 153,000 km in China. By 2030, all countries will see this emissions breakeven point occur far earlier.

      This widely circulated paper by the ICCT goes into great detail of the full lifecycle. There is a summary of the paper in ars technica here.

      It concludes:

      As shown for average new medium-size cars in Figure ES.1, the assessment finds
      that the life-cycle emissions over the lifetime of BEVs registered today in Europe, the
      United States, China, and India are already lower than a comparable gasoline car by
      66%–69% in Europe, 60%–68% in the United States, 37%–45% in China, and 19%–34%
      in India. For medium-size cars projected to be registered in 2030, as the electricity
      mix continues to decarbonize, the life-cycle emissions gap between BEVs and gasoline
      vehicles increases to 74%–77% in Europe, 62%–76% in the United States, 48%–64% in
      China, and 30%–56% in India.

      The EU carried out an intensive study in 2018, coming to the same conclusions as the above (although some of the baseline data is already out of date, in particular CO2 emissions from EU grids).

      Every single independent comparative study that I am aware of that isn’t funded by fossil fuel interests indicates that EV’s have significantly lower lifecycle CO2 (and other pollution cost) than ICE vehicles, and the gap is growing as electric systems decarbonise and battery manufacture (in particular) gets more efficient – not to mention that the per gallon carbon impact of gasoline and diesel is rising all the time as the easy to extract and refine light crudes run out and we become more dependent on offshore rigs, heavy crudes and oil sands, not to mention fracked oil.

      Obviously, this reduction is insufficient in itself – we need to drastically reduce car dependency, not just number of cars but number of miles driven per car. But to pretend that a switch to EV cars like for like will not make a very significant reduction in CO2 emissions is to deny the results of multiple in depth studies.

      1. vao

        electric buses/trains

        I suspect that the emissions and the mineral footprint of trolleybuses must be considerably smaller than for battery-powered buses. But they are not fashionable, and require setting up an infrastructure (the network of overhead wires supplying the power to the vehicles) — the last point being a killer in our times where infrastructure is assumed to exist, and building one is avoided like the plague.

        Same for trains. I saw a few proposals for battery-powered locomotives a few years ago, but I have no idea where those ideas went. At the time I thought that a preposterous idea — the weight of the battery pack must be astronomical, and it looked like a solution for those railway companies that do not want to invest in electrifying their network (again, shunning infrastructure).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It very much depends on the route. The infrastructure for OHL can be both expensive and potentially dangerous in some circumstances, and can be very intrusive in urban areas. Battery powered trains can be viable in low traffic routes where the cost of new OHL is prohibitive, or where there are incompatible systems. The trick with battery powered trains is to either have some form of backup power (i.e. a crude hybrid) or simply have battery swapping at regular intervals. Battery powered buses are definitely the future, they will kill off diesel buses very rapidly, the cost benefits are very much in EV’s favour.

      2. Es s Ce Tera

        I would add, in order to keep ICE cars on the road one needs a supporting parts and maintenance industry and this should be factored into the equation. ICE cars and trucks, but especially semi trucks, need regular replacement of brake pads and rotors, batteries, alternators, starters, belts and hoses, oil, fuel filters, water pumps, spark plugs, etc. Hundreds of moving parts equals friction and wear.

        EV’s don’t need any of these (with the exception of brake pads, although the brake pads last much longer because they’re coupled with an electrodynamic braking system which reduces wear). Widespread adoption of EVs would likely eliminate the parts industry.

        In transport and logistics this parts and maintenance takes a huge bite out of profits. Hence why they’re so eager to adopt EV trucks even regardless of environment. And once the trucking industry goes EV this will kill the market for diesel which is 30% of every barrel of oil.

        So from an environmental perspective wouldn’t eliminating a few industries, and not needing to replace them, be a net gain?

        1. The Rev Kev

          You would think so but that is only the front-end that you are talking about. The back-end as show by that link in today’s Links is far too substantial to ignore-

          You have to look at the whole thing from end to end to get an honest appraisal. It is like a guy saying that he is environmentally friendly while recharging his EV – while ignoring the fact that it ma be coal plants supplying the electricity that he is using. Or like people saying that nuclear energy is great – while ignoring the eventual fantastic costs of disposing of radioactive materials that will last longer than our civilization.

      3. JD

        As PlutoniumKun points out — and as the community note also says — all those claims about EVs are unsourced, largely false, and repeatedly debunked maybe hundreds of times at this point.

        More broadly, it’s worth thinking about how this misinformation propagates, not just among the anti-science right, but even places like here. Why does it seem so appealingly counter-intuitive? How can we use that emotional appeal to trigger a sense of suspicion and caution, even when we don’t know the details, and to pause and do some work to check whether it is in fact true? For most scientific misinformation, it’s not like most of us know the science enough to evaluate the claims on their own terms. So if there is anything we can learn, it’s more about judging sources (the Tweet lacks citations; and who is the person sharing it?), but also just being suspicious of “too good to be true” claims. Like, for something that counter-intuitive to be true would require a vast conspiracy of scientists, government agencies, newspapers, etc, all of whom have either been snookered, or decided to misrepresent EVs as good rather than the bad that they actually are. Which may be true! But in any case it’s still a good reason to double and triple-check the claim.

        Anyway, just some general thoughts on how to avoid such things because seeing such deeply wrong misinformation here can, and perhaps should, erode the trust of your readers.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Much of this is quite deliberate, you can see the fingerprints of PR groups for the fossil fuel industry all over mainstream and social media, especially in the ‘alternative’ media. There is always the ‘honest broker’ approach who ‘just found out’ that what they thought was true, isn’t. And this message mysteriously gets boosted around social media. They are also good at targeting different groups, and people who like to think of themselves as independent minded, critical thinkers, can be just as vulnerable to well targeted messaging as the supposed sheep out there. They are just as adept at targeting the left as well as right (just witness how the left in much of Europe has hitched itself to the anti-green message – Sarah Wagenknechts policies on the environment could have been written by the CEO of Bayer).

          The other strategy is to use a linked chain of messaging from paid academics who produce questionable material, via credible social media personalities (much as I like Joe Rogan, he is very naive about some of his guests). You can then portray your concerns as ‘grounded in science’.

          Also, the Dunning-Kruger effect can be used against people – you flatter them that they know a little bit about a subject, and then present them what seems plausible tech based arguments. You then have engineers and scientists unknowingly becoming megaphones for industry. Add in lazy science/tech/industry journalists and your mission is complete. Digging out solid data isn’t all that hard, but it does seem to beyond many in the media these days.

          The simple reality is that the fossil fuel industry spends vast sums of money in defending their turf, and the people they hire are very, very good at their job, which is promoting lies and misinformation in very subtle ways. People talk about the ‘tobacco playbook’, but that was half a century ago, and the PR industry has vastly more weapons in its inventory than it had back then.

          The whole EV/renewable energy area is a classic example of this. There are any number of very large, intensive whole-cycle studies on almost every aspect of it – the figures are out there, and easy to obtain (as I show in my links). There is no significant scientific/technical arguments about the overall impacts – the only uncertainties are the usual ones about economics and making predictions into the future. Confusion over the issue is not about lack of data, its about misinformation, simple as that.

    4. edgui

      B. F. Randall, of Mining Atoms, has extensively discussed this topic. In fact, some of those materials were also published here. A good way to demystify this debate is the very concept of “clean energy” which, as in many other technologies besides electric vehicles, is the basis for its promotion and recognition.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Randall is a lawyer, not, as he demonstrates in his videos, an expert on any technical topic related to energy or transportation.

    5. Es s Ce Tera

      Unsure if the Twitter/X fact check was appearing on that tweet when cited re: EV’s, but it now says the following and includes a debunking of some of the claims here, such as the 10 years to reach carbon neutral thing:

      Readers added context they thought people might want to know

      It’s a list of claimed facts with zero sources.

      So, just a compilation of commonly repeated myths about electric vehicles, most of which is spread by the fossil fuel industry to delay the transition away from ICE vehicles.

      Many of the listed myths are debunked in detail here:

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, as I’ve commented above, this type of argument has been repeatedly debunked – there are lots of sound whole-cycle studies out there.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    On the events at Columbia University, to quote our esteemed fellow commenter (from yesterday’s posting “Crackdowns on Pro-Palestine Occupation…”):

    Rip Van Winkle
    April 23, 2024 at 10:00 pm
    Where are Hillary and Nuland?

    Hillary Clinton, ever the coward and grifter, is trying to figure out, at the same time, how to make money off these events and how to portray herself as the victim of Putinist Fifth Columnists and Impolite Men. I’m sure that the administration at Columbia also thinks that she, as a Premier Asset of American Life, is in some kind of personal danger.

    Also, someone might shout at her and hurt her feelings. I’m sure that Hillary has an appointment for an appearance at The View, to receive adoration and consolation.

    Victoria Nuland is whipping (emphasis on whipping) up another batch of her classic Reactionary Cookies with Chocolate Chips Made by Exploited Workers.

    The two of them remind me that some historians say that Marie Antoinette was an astute politician, except, well, for that untoward comment about famished people buying brioches.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, DJG.

      Further to Columbia, readers should look at Wikipedia’s entry for its president. It’s generally accurate.

      A dozen plus years ago, I came across her in London. She (and her first husband) typified what Theresa May later called citizens of nowhere. I call them the deracinated elite.

      Deracinated not just as in mobile and upwardly mobile, but also not knowing and not interested in knowing what makes a society / communities and an / their economy tick. It would not surprise me if she was not aware of Kent State and / or its significance.

      1. pjay

        Thank you for this suggestion. Her Wikipedia article is indeed very informative. Quite a story of upward mobility; World Bank, IMF, Bank of England, advisor, director, or trustee of multiple elite global organizations, etc. Very telling and unintentionally humorous was that immediately after the section describing her conflict-laden tenure as Direction of the London School of Economics comes her selection as President of Columbia. It was as if her “casualisation” policies (fewer permanent, more term faculty) and punitive measures against striking faculty at the LSE were the attributes recommending her to Columbia. And sure enough, the entire Columbia section is on her conflicts with student protesters, which has been the “highlight” of her short time in that position so far.

        “Deracinated elite” is the perfect term.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          well golly gee she fits right in there with Katherine Maher, new head of NPR – everything proceeding as planned – family blogging ghouls –

      2. Lefty Godot

        Revolt of the Elites by Christopher Lasch was prescient in its description of people like that.

    2. XXYY

      Also, someone might shout at her and hurt her feelings.


      Also, someone might shout at her and make her feel unsafe.

      Making Someone Feel Unsafe seems to be the ultimate crime of the 21st century. It’s very easy to accuse someone of this because it takes place entirely inside the victim’s head. The Google protestors were accused of making their compatriots feel this way the other day to provide the excuse for firing them.

      Personally, I would feel unsafe if my boss fired me for expressing my political views. But that’s probably not what they mean.

  10. digi_owl

    “What Really Happens When You Trade In an iPhone at the Apple Store Bloomberg (ma)”

    Apple, the lifestyle brand that happens to make electronics rather than sodas. Increasingly ironic that Jobs poached the Pepsi CEO back in the day to run the company before he was himself ousted.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    The tweet by Arnaud Bertrand of Jean-Luc Mélenchon is worth your while, whether you read the translation or listen to the original in French.

    Bertrand neglects one line in his translation, which to me is central as a statement of ethics:

    Nous ne nous laisserons pas embrigader dans la haine.
    We will not let ourselves be dragged into hate.

    Note the last line of the set of remarks: This is humanism.

    In contrast, so much of U.S. “partisanship” draws on resentments and petty hatreds, which is why the current distemper seems like a problem that cannot be resolved, the problem being to get people to reason with one another. One can fault the French for being rigid and brainy, but thinking of U.S. politicians, who could make a clear statement such as this one of a politics that concerns itself with what is humane?

    1. CA

      “The tweet by Arnaud Bertrand of Jean-Luc Mélenchon is worth your while…”

      Surely so.

      Remember, also, that as soon as Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of British Labour in 2015, concerted attacks of anti-Semitism began and became ceaseless. The false attacks would in time undermine Corbyn, who had for decades been a Martin Luther King-like figure in British politics, so that Corbyn would come to be ruined as Labour Leader and even removed entirely from Labour.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        It would be interesting to hear what Aurelien / David makes of the Melenchon speech.

        Melenchon’s party leader in the French lower house, Mathilde Panot, is under investigation for “apologising for (Hamas) terrorism” after making remarks in defence of Palestinian rights.

        Further to CA’s comment, one of the people who led the attacks on Corbyn and even made a complaint to the Labour Party that led to Corbyn’s exit from the party is Gideon Falter.

        Readers based in Blighty may be aware of l’affaire du jour Gideon Falter (and the BBC’s role in pushing his narrative). As per, Falter has form, this time going back to 2009. The Guardian, Daily Mail and Jewish Chronicle facilitated Falter’s conspiracy then.

        Late last year, the Henry Jackson Society met to discuss how to combat the wave of sympathy for Palestinians. Columnist Melanie Philips, now at the Mail and formerly at the Guardian, and Falter addressed the audience. Soon after new year, Falter’s campaign started. Last Saturday’s show was just the latest.

        Readers who have seen the Sky and Channel 4 and online footage, not the BBC’s which is from one of Falter’s organisations, may have noticed Falter’s bodyguards, a tall black man and less tall, but stocky white man. The latter is from the Israeli embassy’s security team. The embassy is coordinating the campaign to oust the head of the police in London.

        This is not new. Some years ago, Israeli embassy staff and blairites were filmed discussing “taking down” opponents in British politics, including Tory minister Alan Duncan. Journalists Bella Donati and Sangita Myska are currently MIA from Sky News and LBC after ruffling zionist feathers.

        1. Feral Finster

          There is a reason that LePen has toned down her anti-NATO and anti-EU rhetoric as well, although she never has worked and played well with Arabs or Muslims.

          She’ll be fully housebroken soon.

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    No one buys books, by Elle Griffin. If you have worked in book publishing as I do (I recall Mergenthaler machines and hot type and “pigs”), or for a printer, graphic design firm, or periodical, you will understand the details of the article all too well.

    For others, I’d like to point out two flaws.
    –First, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that Elle Griffin in fact doesn’t want to buy books. She seems to be committed to her on-line presence. But we have no idea how durable on-line presence is. My experience as a book editor is that working on a physical object, a book, with physical limitations like trim size and the wonders of paper signatures kept the process more honest. On-line is pie in the sky–till the electricity goes out.
    –Second, the various testimonies gloss over one important cultural trend and business fact: Years ago, the bean counters (which is what we called them) arrived, people with “transferable skills” who decided to manage publishing firms. They insisted on certain levels of profitability. They held marketing departments in esteem. So the blockbuster model replaced the older model of publishing, in which a book publisher thrived on mid-list and back-list authors.

    These two blind spots mean that Elle Griffin believes that authors have to show up with a big social-media presence at a publishing house obsessed with a few profitable stars.

    Which means the end of U.S. literature. Cormac McCarthy on Twixter? Thomas Pynchon on The View? It’s no wonder that so much fiction and theater is “high concept,” and it’s no wonder that so much of current U.S. poetry is chirpy & has a lot of ampersands.

    1. Benny Profane

      Well, you can’t argue with the numbers. They are bleak. I worked for Time Inc for 21 years. It doesn’t exist today. I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. It was the largest publisher in the world as late as 2000. Poof, gone. And her premonition about the next step, a subscription service like Spotify, is the spike in the heart. (I’m moving, and just drove four boxes of pretty cool CDs, if I do say so myself, over to the library. Just dumped them). It’s pretty depressing when I let it get to me, but, I have a pension and I won’t be around for long. I worked around photography and print production all my life, but, that’s gone, too. Photoshop just announced a new advanced form of generative fill and other AI add-ons that, the first time I saw it, I thought, that’s it, there goes the neighborhood, real photography and retouching is dead, along with the jobs. Add to that the linked article about 35 being the new retirement age in Chinese tech (where a lot of Time Inc. photo production work went), and, like Rodney Dangerfield said, I’ll be drinking early today.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        I love books and am comforted by having them around me. I fantasize about having one of those beautiful library rooms you see in some old mansions. I have purchased way more than I can possibly read, but I am gradually working through my large ‘to read’ pile. Occasionally, something will randomly come up, that will remind me of a book I purchased years ago and I will then read it. I am also collecting nice hardback copies of classics with acid free paper, good binding etc. I think I have in mind a type of dark age when I do this. It also comforts me. I have recently purchased leather bound copies of Neuromancer, A Brave New World, and Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. A few months ago, I discovered Mark Fisher and just finished reading his Capitalist Realism: Is There no Alternative and Ghosts of my Past. He really speaks to me. I will buy physical books for as long as they exist.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Amen. I have also been slowly replacing old paperback copies with nicer hardcover copies in my ever growing library. I have the same thoughts, as I see public libraries giving up real books in favor of more space for other activities – if things go really pear shaped, someone is going to need to preserve human knowledge and maybe I can do some small part. Or at least entertain myself as things further collapse.

          I just returned from vacation in Greece with a new prize possession – a very nice hardcover copy of Kazantzakis’ novel, Captain Michaelis, in the original Greek (published in English as Freedom or Death). Now if I can only learn to read more than every tenth word or so…

          The bookstore I got it from had recently turned its main floor into more of a gift shop, with a lot of knickknacks and some bestseller-type books. The good stuff was unfortunately downstairs in the basement, perhaps a sign of the times, but at least it was still there. Also got a very nice copy of the Odyssey from the basement, translated in modern Greek from the ancient.

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          + 1 with regard to a library and collection and physical books.

          The study at home and a corridor upstairs have been decorated to mimic such mansions.

          The collections also includes my late brother’s late horse racing book collection, some items going back to the mid-19th century, my late uncle’s stamp collection, going back to the 1950s, and antique maps and paintings, some going back to the 18th century, collected by me in the past decade.

          Upon my passing or probably much earlier, the collection will be split between my goddaughter, soon to become a UK diplomat, a young cousin and history enthusiast overseas and museums in Buckinghamshire and, for horse racing, Newmarket.

          A period home and a bit further out from the London commuter belt for retirement would be grand.

          @ Yves: Could this thread be hoisted into a post and the NC community pipe up. It would be fantastic to hear what makes readers tick. Thank you.

          1. Ghost in the Machine

            This does not shock me at all about you Colonel Smithers. I also have an office that is a small crude reproduction of this type of room. Still needs one of those big globes that opens up to reveal the whiskey. :)
            I am fascinated by maps as well. My library contains quite a few books on cartography, as well as, atlases. My oldest atlas is from 1917 (not in great shape). Talk about a different world looking through that atlas! Older complete atlases are prohibitively expensive for me. But, I do have some older maps I have collected over the years, and hanging on the walls, taken from atlases that have presumably fallen apart. Especially old maps of places I have traveled. One map I bought after traveling to Israel and Jordan in 2000. It is a late 1800s British map and the area is prominently labeled ‘Palestine’ and has an inset map of the ‘Haram al-Sharif’. I did not think too deeply about those labels at the time of purchase, but recently my eyes often linger on that map.

        3. britzklieg

          I recently downsized from a 2600 sq ft. home to an 1000sq ft condo and in the process had to give away close to 1000 books from a library that was a collection of 3 generations of my family as well as in-laws, spouses and partners. It was a magnificent library, if I do say so myself… and don’t even ask about my personal music and cd collection. Some of these treasures had traveled with me since high school. I managed to keep about 250 books, and the same number of cd’s. Now retired, I let go of almost all my opera and orchestral scores while keeping much of the song literature, which was my bread and butter repertoire, even though I will never sing any of it again. Just too painful to part with. No doubt most will be tossed when I’m reduced to ashes. Fortunately a dear friend and fellow musician with a big house and who lives nearby took most of the cd’s and much of the music so in my mind it can live on forever.

          1. Benny Profane

            I am reminded of a recent New Yorker cartoon with an older person pointing to an overstuffed garage, saying, someday son, all this will be yours.
            I’m moving into a house my girlfriend bought in Baltimore county, and we are both culling. I’ve moved five times in twenty years, so I’ve already culled a lot, but still donating to Goodwill. She carried around a lot of old classic furniture from her waspy Baltimore upbringing, and she’s finding out nobody wants it, along with the prints and knock knacks. The kids don’t have space for it in their rentals, and could care less anyway. Some actually think it’s cool to paint the antiques. Oh well.

        4. nippersdad

          “I fantasize about having one of those beautiful library rooms you see in some old mansions.”

          So did I. We bought this old farm house, and the first thing I did when we moved here was stake out a room for the library. We then stripped out all of the “renovations” and replaced them with built in Downing gothic book cases and an eclectic collection of antique furniture; Persian rugs, Renaissance revival sofas, Russian icons, Tibetan thangkas and Chinese porcelains. We even have a human skull (with a dried rose between his teeth named Dooley) under a glass cloche in here. It is the most comfortable room in the house, and I seldom leave it these days. When the bats come down the chimney they just seem to fit in.

          One of the high points was when a cousin of mine took a survey lit course over at the university. He had a list of about a hundred books from which he was expected to read a chapter or so from each. As usual they had all been checked out of the library, but he found nearly all of them here. It was nice to think that we had some of the bases covered.

          The only downside is that I never really considered what effect four tons of books and a baby grand piano might have on the floors until we noticed that we were sinking. We shored them up, but one still worries about what a sudden tour of the crawl space might look like. So, nota bene, you might want to consider that before you achieve your dream library.

      2. tegnost

        a subscription service like Spotify, is the spike in the heart

        you will own nothing and klaus schwab will be happy…

        For myself I need to read myself to sleep with a paper book, mostly used book store mysteries.
        I decided to try a le carre, “Our kind of traitor” which seems like a warmed over tommy and tuppence…good, but probably should have started with tinker tailor

    2. jsn

      This is one important aspect of neoliberal monetization, and through monetization liquidation of Culture.

      Over my lifetime (starting in 62) I’ve witnessed the step by step encroachment of the M>C>M ethos from one sphere of Cultural Reproduction to the next, education, food supply, publishing, health, environment, converting real, social wealth for everyone to a money pay off for one or a few.

      The Cult of Mammon that’s taken over The West has metabolized its own future into digital representations of wealth that when they vanish, when the power goes out, will leave very little “society” to try to maintain itself. I find myself being radicalized, looking for ways to bring on the collapse as each year we stave it off the prospect of eventual recovery grows more remote.

    3. Carolinian

      Or no wonder that the current Disney is all about the “backlist.” Author advances are a risk but what about spending 100 million or more on a movie?

      I think that Link is a very good article and if publishers are going down the tubes then my library, where I go every day, may be following them. And just as I don’t join the nostalgia cult for celluloid and vinyl I’m fine with reading ebooks rather than the physical versions which, these days, may appear on cheap newsprint style paper showing that the publishers have even less faith in their longevity than I do. Of course libraries used to be all about the “backlist” and one treasured those obscure found volumes that nobody else ever checked out. Now libraries ruthlessly throw these out to make space for shelves of video games (no really) because they are desperate to keep up the door traffic that is their true selling point to the politicos who pay to keep them going.

      The world has simply changed. Buggy whips are out. And perhaps most of those great American novelists from the ’60s were overrated anyway. I’d say it’s too soon to tell whether our new Gutenberg of unlimited available information is going to be a bad thing. But we from my era are all still out here reading.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Hint to the mouse – if you want people to be interested in newer productions, maybe stop making the same movie over and over for the 4,786th time.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Or completely re-writing movies and changing beloved characters altogether in order to please “modern audiences.”

        2. Wukchumni

          The thing is, Disney has always done this, although i’m pretty sure there were only a few hundred Love Bug sequels in the 60’s.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It was a smaller more streamlined, very close to family owned company for a long time time. They didn’t depend on tent poles to function. Roy Disney could get soothe investors. Love Bug sequels were there to keep the employees occupied between hits or big runs.

            Toy Story 2 started out as a direct to video, but it was meant as a stop gap, between expected Pixar hits. Now they stopped to be going all out on old properties without getting the original charm. Except for Mulan which was close to being great, the animated movies were perfect as lifeless pictures came to life, the magic of cartoons. If you take that away, “The Little Mermaid” was fairly dull. Repeating the songs with cgi that’s been done ad nauseum was the real problem. They want to recapture the massive cash flows of their heights.

            It isn’t to say Toy Story 7: Adrian’s Revenge won’t be great, but Disney needs hits for shareholder value. Toy Story 4 had about 15 good minutes, but the rest was just nostalgia and made for home video quality. So we will keep getting one more Toy Story adventure.

      2. Vandemonian

        At the moment I’m reading* A house in Bali by Colin McPhee, a Canadian born composer. He went to Bali in the 1930s because he was fascinated by its culture and music. He describes a visit to the store of a German mercantile agent. Some European entrepreneur had visited the island with recording equipment, and produced an extensive set of records of traditional gamelan music. The collection of 78s were mostly unsold. Europeans had little interest in exotic music from parts unknown, and most of the records were still on a shelf in the agent’s store – next to nobody in Bali owned a gramophone. McPhee bought a few of the records, with the intention of going later to buy more. When he returned a couple of months later, they were gone. The agent had smashed them all and thrown them away to make space in his warehouse.

        It’s not just digital versions of cultural treasures that are ephemeral.

        *Yes, I admit it. I’m reading a downloaded pdf version on an iPad.

    4. EMC

      What struck me the most was what utter crap is published. Why would anyone buy them? Truthfully, I couldn’t get through the article. There is nothing there for anyone with a modicum of intellectual curiosity. I am always stunned by what my favorite indy bookstore cycles through. One needs to go the the back shelves to find anything worth reading. Or order them from small presses/ pay a small fortune from university presses and wait weeks if not months to get them.

      1. c_heale

        I don’t care about whether books exist or not. We are humans and have an innate oral culture and this is more important than printed materials.

        But the big book publishers should care. As should the big music publishers. And everyone similar in the culture industries. And the mass media. And the art world. And social media and the Internet as a whole.

        Since they are only producing the blandest crap acceptable to the accountants and people running the business, people who only care about money and quarterly profit. Nothing interesting. I think people are starting to not read/listen/see the product anymore. It’s crap and people know it’s crap. Look at the interest in old music – and it’s being driven by the younger generations, not by the older generations. The interest in analogue photography.

        One day they are going to create something new. And it won’t be published or distributed by the big publishers. It will come in another form.

        The big publishers are dead. They just don’t know it yet. And they deserve to be dead.

        Sorry if this is a little incoherent.

    5. CA

      April 23, 2024

      To read or to listen? More Chinese embracing audiobooks in age of AI

      * Thanks to the fast pace of urban life and the proliferation of diverse media platforms, the reading habits of many people are transitioning from reading to listening, rendering audiobooks a social trend.
      * Statistics show that the user base of audiobooks in China reached 420 million in 2022.
      * Chinese content creators are also harnessing AI technology to produce radio dramas that combine human voices, music, and sound effects.

      NANJING — Every weekend, Zhao Jian meticulously arranges his phone and adjusts the room lighting before passionately recounting stories from books in front of the camera, and when emotions run deep, he even recites some verses of poetry.

      This is Zhao’s routine work as an online storyteller living in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province. He has garnered nearly 1.4 million followers on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, with his works receiving almost 18 million likes.

      “The joy of my work lies in nurturing a love for reading among more people,” Zhao said, noting that he sees his role as a bridge that connects listeners with authors through his narratives.

      “It’s sort of like doing movie trailers, to spark people’s interest in buying tickets to watch movies,” he added.

      In Zhao’s perspective, a burgeoning cohort of young people is now drawn to literary works through short videos. “Through AI algorithms, books are recommended to targeted listeners who might have an interest, thereby boosting sales of numerous classic books, including many audiobooks.”

      Data from Douyin’s e-commerce platform show that in the first quarter of this year, views of livestreams on books surpassed 3.9 billion, generating an average daily sales of over two million books…

    6. Lefty Godot

      I think Elle Griffin is writing these articles for aspiring authors, of which there are way, way too many thanks to the magic of the internet. So it’s not that she doesn’t want to buy books, she is advising you, the prospective but temporarily inconvenienced best-selling author, what works for some people who have succeeded. And having an on-line presence seems to be necessary to market yourself, since publishers have mostly abandoned doing any marketing for authors’ works.

      As with many other aspects of our economy, the whole thing sounds like a house of cards. Subscribing to unlimited Kindle books may seem like a wonderful option to someone that wants to be locked in to Amazon and have all their transactions monetized, but after the EMP bombs go off I will still be reading my old paperbacks by candlelight while the Kindle owners will be staring at a dead chunk of plastic. Even without that dire a circumstance, some of “your” subscribed books will be deleted or altered because of “hate speech” or other forms of wrongthink, as laws for that get increasingly draconian.

      1. JBird4049

        It is a house of cards that has been created for maximum monetization and profit, not to follow the customers’ desires; a similar process was done to the music industry: raise prices faster than inflation, reduce support for artists, and reduce or eliminate physical copies of a shrinking catalog.

        The publishers have been reducing the both number of print runs and the numbers published in a run even when there is a ready market for them because it cost more money to print. The prices of books especially used ones also seem to be greatly increasing compared to ebooks.

        It is as others have said in this thread. Neoliberalization or extreme monetization of everything for as large of an immediate profit that can be had. It has occurred after the takeover of companies by big investors demanding the largest profit possible, which means the firing of employees passionate for the art and the gradual liquidation of the company and ultimately the whole field: books, music, art of any medium.

        People are turning away from the arts including books, not because they want to, but because they are being pushed away. Writers are not just turning to the internet because they want to, but because they often have no other choice. As with everything else, books are being crapified for the money and the quality of the writing is decreasing because of both the lack of support and the medium’s degradation. Writers learn their craft partly from other writers and if their teachers are poor, then what they learn to write will be poor as well. Modern writers are trapped.

  13. Benny Profane

    So, you just can’t make this up. Trump rolls through the Pa. primary, but, the NYT actually published this: Trump Wins Pennsylvania Primary, but Remains Haunted by Haley

    “Mr. Trump appeared to take 83 percent of the vote against Nikki Haley, his former rival in the Republican primaries. Still, Ms. Haley won the votes of more than 155,000 Pennsylvanians across the state that is considered essential to victory in November, although she ended her campaign more than a month ago.”

    “Mr. Trump has shown little interest in winning Ms. Haley’s endorsement and has made few attempts to reach out to her supporters. It remains unclear whether the former president’s decision to bypass any reconciliation with Ms. Haley will matter as November approaches.”

    Um, probably not. Good Lord. The TDS is blatant.

    1. pjay

      I had a similar reaction to the Politico story on the anti-Trump bull sessions by elite liberal “legal pundits.” On the one hand there is this:

      “Indeed, as I was reporting this story, I learned that some members of the group were understandably anxious about its publication. Trump has claimed that there is a legal conspiracy against him, and there is a risk that news of a group such as this could give Trump and his allies an attractive target.”

      … to which my response was, “uh.. yeah. Do you think?” But then, of course, the very next sentence:

      “Trump’s claims of an organized conspiracy might be bunk, but …”

      … followed by an explanation for why these well-connected “legal analysts,” many of whom appear regularly in the media to provide “expert” commentary, brain-storming about how to get Trump, might *look* kind of bad, but it’s not as if there is a *conspiracy* or anything.

      You have to laugh.

      1. Late Introvert

        I wonder if his mental health issue was the result of the intelligence community having ‘… Six Ways From Sunday Of Getting Back At You’? Now he’s back on a corrected course.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “US troops set to withdraw from Niger, State Department official says’

    This is a very misleading article. There are only about 1,000 troops there so they could be all packed up and gone within a month. But instead the US wants to negotiate a timeline that will spin off into a far future. I could be wrong but I think that US forces got that base for free and paid no fees whereas in some other bases in other countries they have to pay millions or tens of millions annually. Perhaps this is what the US wants to negotiate. Niger would be foolish to agree as the first thing that would happen would be that that base to serve as a nexus to coup that government in order for the US to protect their “investment’ in that base.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well I agree that in a way that Africa got too hot for them. It must really grind Macron’s gears that this is all happening on his watch. Having the entry ‘Responsible for France being expelled from Africa’ will not look good on his resume.

    1. Cristobal

      As I recall, the French military was pursuaded to leave when the water was cut off and deliveries to the base stopped

      1. Joker

        It was the embassy. Switching from fresh croissants to military rations was more than His Excellency could take.
        Ambassador Sylvain Itte initially refused to leave, arguing that the military government was not legitimate and that he would only deal with Bazoum. Niamey responded by blockading the embassy, leading French President Emmanuel Macron to complain that the diplomat was being “held hostage” and reduced to eating military rations.

  15. Martin Oline

    I am a happy nobody. Yesterday I bought the Library of America’s volume of five novels and assorted stories by Charles Portis. At $45 that is only $7.50 a pop, which is a bargain considering how hard his books are to find. When the lights do go out you will hear me laughing from the yard where there is light.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      MO – from the unsubscribed feed from the Honest Broker – surprisingly sad – i utilize Thrift Books and Abe Books to buy used books and always hardcovers – have created quite a library over the decades – have gone over 5 decades without a tv or paid subscription to a streaming platform – also made sure my daughter learned to love reading – this is a sad commentary

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Just an FYI that Abe Books got hoovered up by Amazon several years ago, in case you have any qualms about funneling $$$ to the Emerald City Cue Ball, as I do.

        The few books I don’t get directly from a local used bookstore, I get from Alibris which is still independent as far as I know, and actually predates Amazon if I remember right –

        1. Martin Oline

          Thanks for that info re. Alibris. I knew ABE was now an Amazon entity but will now buy through Alibris if going online for books. Thrift stores, like a box of chocolates (run, Forrest, run), remain my favorite source.

        2. Jabura Basaidai

          damn! won’t use Abe anymore – thanks – and will look into Alibris next time i’m in the market – have an original of Mark Twain’s “Following The Equator” and was surprised how HEAVY that book is – picked up at a local used bookstore – planning a trip to Detroit to visit John King Used & Rare Books – can always depend on NC commentariat to shine the light – thank you

      2. LaRuse

        If you are trying to avoid AMZ for books, be aware that Abe Books has been an AMZ susidiary since 2008. Thrift Books is still independent. I also like BetterWorldBooks, still independent, for getting my used books these days – they have a pretty good selection and I can set up a Wishlist. I treat that wishlist as a list of books I intend to read if I cannot get it from my local library and if a wishlist book is out of stock, they send me an email when it comes in.

      3. Laura in So Cal

        Try Ebay for used books and especially for series or collections. The media mail shipping costs spread over a group of books makes shipping costs almost irrelevant.

        Disclosure that I’m currently selling some of my Mom’s book collection on Ebay. I had someone thank me profusely for a collection of 10 Phoebe Atwood Taylor paperback books in very good condition that they were able to buy from me for an effective $3/Book including the shipping. My Mom had a huge collection. My sister and I each took what we wanted, but that still left hundreds of books to be disposed of. I spread joy to book lovers and make a little money for my Dad. Throwing a book out unless it is actually falling apart makes my heart hurt.

  16. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    The impact of Gaza: the US is becoming (even more) toxic throughout the Muslim world. *

    It’s quantifiable, as this Bloomberg article highlights: when asked in a survey if they preferred to align themselves with the US or China, 73% of Indonesians respondents now answer China. That number was 54% before Gaza.

    Similar move in other Muslim nations in South-East Asia :

    – Malaysia: 75.1% now want to align with China (up from 54.8%)
    – Brunei: 70.1% (up from 55%)

    * Why Indonesia Is China’s New Best Friend in Southeast Asia

    9:51 PM · Apr 23, 2024

  17. The Rev Kev

    “UN rights chief ‘horrified’ by reports of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals”

    Considering the fact that a lot of those bodies had their hands bound, then you are talking about a massacre. But then out came an Israeli military spokesman on the news tonight talking about this find. He was basically saying that there is nothing to see here so just move on. And then he said – and you know that I am not making this up – that the Israeli army went through the area and dug up hundreds of bodies in order to see if they could identify any bodies of Israeli hostages. And when they were finished, they buried all those bodies in one place and that was what they found. No explanation of how a layer of waste was placed over them from him which was just as well. He would probably have said something along the lines of how messy Palestinians always are.

    1. Benny Profane

      Amazingly horrid. But the MSM is telling me that those privileged university kids are anti semites, and no mention of this.
      Putin is an international criminal because of made up atrocities, and this gets no traction.

    2. Feral Finster

      So what does the UN human rights chief propose to do about it? Strongly-worded statement? Calls for international investigation?

    3. Kouros

      What about the detail of the dead having their hands bound? Why would Palestinians do that?

  18. Jason Boxman

    From How G.M. Tricked Millions of Drivers Into Being Spied On (Including Me)

    My husband’s LexisNexis report had a breakdown of the 203 trips we had taken in the car since January, including the distance, the start and end times, and how often we hard-braked or accelerated rapidly. The Verisk report, which dated back to mid-December and recounted 297 trips, had a high-level summary at the top: 1,890.89 miles driven; 4,251 driving minutes; 170 hard-brake events; 24 rapid accelerations, and, on a positive note, zero speeding events.

    This is why I felt creepy in 2017 when I interviewed at Cambridge Mobile Telematics. I still have the free coffee mug I got. I’m thankful that I didn’t get the job. The nasty:

    Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) is the world’s largest telematics service provider. Its mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer. The company’s AI-driven platform, DriveWell®, gathers sensor data from millions of IoT devices — including smartphones, proprietary Tags, connected vehicles, dashcams, and third-party devices — and fuses them with contextual data to create a unified view of vehicle and driver behavior.

    (bold mine)

    Now that really screams invasion of privacy, does it not? And with GM we’re seeing this technology used to spy on drivers without their consent or knowledge. How is this different than authoritarian capitalist China? Because we have a “democracy” here? Because this was driven by private profit motive instead of The State? lolz.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did a bit of checking because of something that I found a coupla days ago and found this-

      ‘Connected cars are forecast to make up 95% of all vehicles on the road by 2030, with each one generating an estimated 25 gigabytes of data per hour, which is the same amount of data as it would take someone to stream 578 hours of music.’

      That is a colossal amount of data being transmitted. Would I be correct in thinking that this would cause the internet as a whole to slow down as the lines would be chocking on so much data?

      1. Wukchumni

        See the USA in your Chevrolet
        G.M. is there at your beck & call
        Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
        America’s the greatest land of all

        On a highway or breaking hard along a levee
        Surveillance is sweeter, nothing can beat her
        Life is completer in a Chevy

        So, make a date today to see the USA
        And see it in your Chevrolet

        Travelin’ east, travelin’ west
        Wherever you go Chevy spy service doesn’t rest
        Southward or north, near place or far
        There’s a Stasi dealer for your Chevrolet car

        See the USA in your Chevrolet
        The Rockies way out west are calling you
        Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
        Where everything you do is in review

        Whether traveling light or with a load that’s heavy
        Surveillance is sweeter, nothing can beat her
        Life is completer in a Chevy

        So, make a date today to see the USA
        And G.M. will see what you’re up to in your Chevrolet

      2. Carolinian

        Or cell towers to clog up. Stop the telematics menace!

        There’s utterly no need for this. Cars can record their own information for later reading and don’t need “the cloud.” And if you have an emergency most people now carry a cell phone and can call for help with that. The Onstar pitch is that you may have an accident out in the boonies and your car will itself call for help but if you are that remote you likely won’t have cell service anyway. Maybe car sat phones will be next–a new opportunity for Musk.

      3. cfraenkel

        Remember hearing all the hype about 5G? This is what it was for.

        The equipment vendors have to add tons of bandwidth to justify the cost (ie profit) of installing new equipment. The equipment users have to find new data to use up the new bandwidth. They then have to sell the data to advertisers to pay for the bandwidth. The advertisers buy the data to sell more crap (actually, to burn through their ad budget, but who’s counting). The ad money attracts VC sharks hunting for investments, which then incentivizes the tech world to invest in yet another round of tech. So it goes.

    2. 4paul

      Six years ago Ford announced it would stop making cars, the CEO explained in a few years they would make more money from informatics than physical products anyway:

      We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us,” Hackett said. “We know what people make. How do we know that? It’s because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they’re married. We know how long they’ve lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We’ve never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”

      Ford jumped back into cars with EVs, trucks have a much higher profit margin than cars so they stuck with them. By all accounts the “Ford F-150® Lightning® ” EV pickup truck works well, certainly better than CyberTruck LOLz

  19. Captain Obvious

    U.S.-Trained Burkina Faso Military Executed 220 Civilians Intercept

    That’s what US training is mostly about. A real shocking news item would be if some US trained force did not target civilians.

    1. vidimi

      really disppointing to me about Burkina Faso. I was hoping that the new junta would be the good guys

  20. Peter Steckel

    For those interested, here is an “on the ground report” as to the sources of the protests in Columbia University, which squarely places the blame on the University’s administration “over reaction” in an attempt to save face with certain donor classes, written by a Columbia Ph.D student and participant:

    “Last week, the Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) coalition, representing more than 100 student organizations, including Jewish groups, organized the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a peaceful campus protest in solidarity with Palestine. CUAD was reactivated after the university suspended Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace in the fall. On Wednesday morning, hundreds of students camped out on Columbia’s South Lawn. They vowed to stay put until the university divests from companies that profit from their ties to Israel. Protesters prayed, chanted, ate pizza, and condemned the university’s complicity in Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Though counter-protesters waved Israeli flags near the encampment, the campus remained largely calm from my vantage point.
    Columbia responded by imposing a miniature police state. Just over a day after the encampment was formed, university President Minouche Shafik asked and authorized the New York Police Department to clear the lawn and load 108 students – including a number of Jewish students – onto Department of Corrections buses to be held at NYPD headquarters at 1 Police Plaza. One Jewish student told me that she and her fellow protesters were restrained in zip-tie handcuffs for eight hours and held in cells where they shared a toilet without privacy. The NYPD chief of patrol John Chell later told the Columbia Spectator that “the students that were arrested were peaceful, offered no resistance whatsoever, and were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner.”

    1. juno mas

      The people who are demanding the Columbia University be stripped of federal funding have it backwards.

      Since Columbia accesses federal funds they are compelled to follow federal laws, including the 1965 Civil Rights Act and FERPA (Family Education Reporting Privacy Act). This means “free speech” rights are of Constitutional proportions and cannot be abrogated by university President Shafik. Enrolled students at Columbia have the right to be on campus, if not presenting an imminent danger to others (public safety). Placing tents in a quad area adjacent admin. building is not endangering anyone. FERPA requires that any disciplinary action first be met with mediation, then a list of “charges”, and then a Due Process Hearing (that includes faculty, students, and admin, staff) and a plurality of votes in favor of a consensus discipline. This takes weeks.

      Calling the NYPD onto the campus has just placed them in line for ‘false arrest’ charges. They don’t work for the university and unless they personally witnessed misdemeanor/felony violations of municipal codes they are acting illegally by removing students from campus.

      This is going to make lawyers salivate; and Ms. Shafik will be seeking donations to pay the university legal bills.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Caitlin Johnstone put up a post that says it all – “In This Dystopia, Opposing A Genocide Is Considered Worse Than Committing One”-

      ‘I just saw a tweet from the commentator Briahna Joy Gray saying that in order to find any mention in The New York Times of the hundreds of Palestinians in mass graves that are being discovered in Gaza, she had to scroll past no fewer than four stories about pro-Palestine protests on college campuses — including two op-eds which criticized the protesters.’

      1. CA

        Germany began the genocides of the 20th century in what is now Namibia, Africa in 1904. Then Germany went on to start World War I in which there were tens of millions of deaths, and from there Germany began the Holocaust and, along with Japan invading China, Germany started World War II with more tens of millions of deaths resulting.

        Now, Germany is supporting genocide by Israel.

        I have no idea what to make of all this, but given the way I was raised German immorality is beyond what I could ever have imagined. Was I raised wrong?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Wasn’t just Germany doing this in earlier times. You should read about what Belgium did in the Congo or France in Algeria or the UK in India. Lots of examples here and you can not just pick out one country. And these same countries are supporting Israel’s genocide in Gaza right now.

          1. CA

            Yes, I assuredly can illustratively discuss a single country. Surely I can, because I know German history. I know German arts and philosophy. And, I certainly can illustratively discuss Germany and wonder about what I am learning about this particular country now and how what I am learning might apply to other countries.

            I think from what I know, and open from there. I do not know of France in Algeria, but from Tolstoy I know of France, with associated European armies, invading Russia from Poland in 1812. The German experience is more relevant to me now, than the French in Algeria, but I will find reading on the French experience since that is kindly suggested.

              1. CA

                “If you can access RT, here is an interesting article about France in Algeria”

                Precisely what I need. Now to read slowly and carefully. And, to express my gratitude for this reference and the kindness shown. I am so grateful.


                April 10, 2024

                La Colonisation: French history of death, torture and indescribable violence in the pearl of its evil empire
                Many issues arising from France’s colonial crimes in Algeria have still not been resolved

              2. CA


                September 21, 1967

                Local Premiere of Pontecorvo’s Prize-Winning ‘Battle of Algiers’
                Gripping Re-enactment Opens Film Festival
                By Bosley Crowther

                A MOST extraordinary picture for an opener at the New York Film Festival was placed before the first-night audience in Philharmonic Hall last night. It is Gillo Pontecorvo’s ferocious “The Battle of Algiers,” a starkly realistic re-enactment of events as they substantially occurred between 1954 and 1957 in the rebellion against the French in the capital of Algeria…

      2. CA

        Imagine students at a fancy school in New Jersey being told they will be subject to expulsion if they demonstrate over concern about genocide. This being the very same school where a former dean publicly told President Bush to ignore the United Nations in preparing to invade Iraq in 2003:

        March 18, 2003

        Good Reasons for Going Around the U.N.

        Anne-Marie Slaughter is dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    There once was a Dummkopf named Scholtz
    Who deigned to list Putin his faults
    But his errors were legion
    His critique knew no reason
    And his brain it had changed to pure schmaltz

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Trita Parsi
    The outrageous clampdown protests against Israel’s slaughter in Gaza are not isolated incidents. They reveal a larger, ominous reality:
    To sustain blind support for Israel, Western countries are forced to erode their own democracies.
    We are seeing clear signs of this. In the US, the Israeli gov has helped pass laws at the state level that require companies and individuals to pledge not to boycott Israel in order to be eligible for government contracts. ‘

    I have to confess that I am amazed how these Israeli-friendly laws get passed in some US States, even though they seem to clash with the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Last time I wondered if it would be simpler to send AIPAC a copy of the Bill of Rights and have them rewrite it to suit themselves. It would save a lot of hassle down the road.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I keep checking for them every day on Twitter! Did the Temple Mount Organization find blemishes on some and had to covertly delay the event due to the need to breed some more?

      1. LawnDart

        Perhaps the Iranian missile-strikes turned them into steaks, or (more likely) the heifers were blown into burger-bits by an errant Israeli interceptor? Mighty ironic if it was a Patriot…

        I don’t think that the cattle in question been seen on video since before April 12.

  23. t

    Monkey Pox – as always the article says

    But few vaccine doses have reached African countries, where the disease’s toll has historically been highest.


    And where was Bill Gates while this wasn’t happening?

  24. Wukchumni

    Dear friend

    With a very desperate need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you. I am from (will disclose this later), presently working in Israel with an international organization that I will also disclose later, I found your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your assistance to advance the sum of (US$26.4 Billion Dollars) Twenty Six Billion, Four Hundred Million US Dollars to this country, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here, this is no stolen money, and there are no dangers involved because Joe made it happen.

    Some money in various currencies was discovered concealed in barrels with piles of weapons and ammunition at a location near Gaza City during a rescue operation of hostages that failed, and it was agreed by all party present that the money be shared amongst us, this was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? no compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives in this hell hole. The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a Congressman contact working here, and his office enjoys some immunity, I was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of this trouble spot.

    Kindly fill up this requirements like: Kindly respond .

    Your full name:
    Your country:
    Contact phone/fax number
    Mr B. Netanyahu

  25. The Rev Kev

    🇪🇪 Estonian Interior Minister Läänemets has threatened to close Orthodox monasteries that refuse to renounce their allegiance to the Russian Orthodox Church. He also recently proposed that the Estonian parliament recognise the Moscow Patriarchate as a terrorist organisation.’

    This must be more of those European values that we keep on hearing about. Maybe that Estonian Interior Minister Läänemets would be happier if the Russian Orthodox Church in Estonia was reformed as the Estonian Orthodox Church.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I used to have an Estonian sports coach who wasn’t shy to point out that it’s almost impossible to make an Estonian happy. And I don’t mean his coaching, this was from his anecdotes and jokes while having a smoke.

      If you visit Tallinn, his hometown, you’re much more likely to hear Russian in the streets than Estonian. For a person like Läänemets, who seems to find patriotism from hate, that must be traumatic.

    2. Kouros

      With the demise of the Ottomans, quite a few Orthodox Churces became autocephalic, and not run from the Patriarchy in Constantinopole/Istanbul.

      Similar logic applies here, but I see some differences. These orthodox are more likely ethnic Russians, and I bet that the Estonian Orthodox Church will not allow service in Russian.

      Thus I have some simpathy for those Russians and less understanding for Estonians – as a Romanian from western Romania, with a sizable Hungarian minority that was dominant for 700-800 years, with majority ethnic Romanians not having any legal status, the attitude of absolute Russophobia is bonkers and I would be very upset if the Magyars in Romania were to be treated the same way.

      Why don’t they ask for an Estonian Catholic Church, to show some unbiasedness?

  26. Wukchumni

    Belgian Man Whose Stomach Brews Alcohol Beats Drink Driving Charge Science
    You hope for a nice Chimay ale, but I heard he’s only capable of brewing Bud Light.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      there was an episode of Matlock that followed this exactly – guy was straight in court and Matlock gave him a box of saltines and he was stone drunk after eating half the box –

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Also an episode of “The Resident” where an aging rock star turns up drunk in the ER despite having a “tender” who claims he’s had nothing to drink. They manage to diagnose and treat him without killing him.

  27. Feral Finster

    “The outrageous clampdown protests against Israel’s slaughter in Gaza are not isolated incidents. They reveal a larger, ominous reality:

    To sustain blind support for Israel, Western countries are forced to erode their own democracies.”

    This did not start with October 7. We saw clear signs of this in the West’s War On Russia.

  28. upstater

    File this under “no, duh”…

    Inside the Crisis at NPR NYT
    Listeners are tuning out. Sponsorship revenue has dipped. A diversity push has generated internal turmoil. Can America’s public radio network turn things around?

    I turned off the radio, burned my tote bag and smashed my mug in 2003 when Scott Simon gave a ringing endorsement for the Bush/ Cheney Iraq invasion. If I need to barf, I turn it on. Which is never.

    1. Wukchumni

      I wonder if the Kroc Plot had a lot to do with the downfall of NPR?

      They’ve never really had to try that hard to garner donations…

      1. ambrit

        Follow the money? No, get out in front of it and call it a “Fundraising Drive.”
        Old Ray was the Burgher King supreme. Lady Kroc was a force of nurture.
        As the theme song declares:
        “Hold my pickle, I’ve got the ‘lettuce,'”
        “New World Orders don’t upset us,”
        “All we demand is that you let us have it our way.”

  29. Feral Finster

    “Estonian Interior Minister Läänemets has threatened to close Orthodox monasteries that refuse to renounce their allegiance to the Russian Orthodox Church.”

    “European values” they said. Watch how european institutions, including the so-styled “European Court of Human Rights” all hide their heads in the sand.

  30. LawnDart

    (Almost) Everything is Going According to The Plan

    Austerity in the EU: How European bureaucrats serve America’s economic interests

    What appears on the horizon, without any in-depth national discussion, after being approved by the Council and the European Parliament, is a global austerity package, on a European scale, applicable to almost all the countries of the Union, which has been given the pompous name of “New Economic Governance Framework”…

    1. Belle

      Just like Mundell wanted…
      While I am hoping for countries to get out of the EU, Brexit and the EU’s punishing of London no doubt helped discourage those wanting out…

      1. LawnDart

        I’d think that in the political turmoil after Ukraine collapses, at least some former Soviet-bloc countries will turn East. I’m not sure what kind of incentives the EU can provide for countries to remain in the union, but there will be much gnashing of teeth… and more coups?

        1. flora

          Hungary’s Victor Orban is shaking things up. All the Western MSM press is predictably unfavorable toward him.

          1. skippy

            Guess where Philip Pilkington moved …

            Social Trust in Orbán’s Hungary

            Economist Philip Pilkington moved to Hungary recently, and discovered that everything he’d heard about the country was propaganda created by liberals who know that liberal societies are unraveling.

            Philip Pilkington

            Apr 24, 2024

    2. Feral Finster

      The european political class exhibit less self-respect than whipped dogs cowering before their American Master.

      So what does anyone propose to do about it?

    3. Kouros

      European elites know class war far better than the North American counterparts. It goes back centuries and millenia…

    4. vidimi

      who ever thought that we’d be looking back at the EU of Jean-Claude Juncker as the good ole days?

  31. ChrisFromGA

    Market update: USD/JPY crossed 155, which means a further weakening of the Yen.

    It’s just spidey sense, but something tells me that this is signaling something big about to break,

    What’s really troubling to me is how the JCB has been able to essentially implement a command economy under the covers. I read that they subsidize pretty much everything, including fuel and heating costs.

    What’s to stop any advanced economy from just printing away to cover any nasty market side effects like a weak currency? As Japan seems to be a test lab for extreme monetary and fiscal policies, what prevents the US or Europe from doing these sorts of non-market based measures?

    It’s true that the more they print the weaker their currency gets. But then they just print more to cover the higher costs of imports, giving handouts to the citizens.

    I think COVID was a trial run here in the US – the CARES act will be seen in the future as the dawn of outright debt monetization and bailouts of everyone. Well, everyone except those lacking power. Kill the poor, or something like that.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, there are some strange rumblings from Japan – the abandonment of low interest rates was a clear signal that something has changed in Japanese economic policy, but of course the entire Japanese political system is insanely opaque. Trying to assess out what the collective economic blob in Tokyo is up to is notoriously difficult – Alex Kerr (a great writer on Japanese culture) has written about how he only found out the economy was collapsing in the middle of the 1990 bubble burst from reading the scandal sheets – the mainstream newspapers never mentioned it until well after everything hit rock bottom. The only thing for sure is that something has changed since Abe’s demise and his hard nationalism/neoliberalism lite policy seems to have run its course.

      It may be that they are taking a gamble that weakening against the dollar doesn’t matter so much if the other big currencies also weaken (which seems quite possible). But its hard not to think its connected to the recent significant changes in its military stance. When the Japanese establishment finally decides to make a major course change, it can’t be deflected until it hits an immovable object.

      Things could get very interesting. If I was to make a guess they are going big into a short term boost for rapid industrial growth helped by a weaker yen. If so, they couldn’t have picked a worse time, given what seems to be massive overcapacity worldwide in a lot of key industries.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Unfortunately I can’t! The English language Japanese media is generally very staid and uninteresting and rarely dips (except for those ‘crazy Japanese people’ stories they love) into the type of newspaper most Japanese read when they do read the news – which in my experience is very rarely, Japanese people are probably the most apathetic nation I’ve ever encountered when it comes to politics and current affairs.

          There used to be some interesting English language blogs on Japanese politics some years ago, but the ones I found useful seem to have fallen out of use, like a lot of unpaywalled blogs these days. If someone out there does know of some good ones, I’d love to know about them too.

          Most of those tabloid papers aren’t even online, although there are online only rags, which mostly devote themselves to celeb gossip with a little real journalism mixed in (kind of like western tabloids used to be before Murdoch poisoned everything). I’m told they can be very entertaining and refreshingly rude about their betters, although unfortunately my limited Japanese language reading skills are not up to that kind of journalism. The weirdness of the type of Japanese used (lots of puns and colloquialisms and cultural references) makes even translation tools of limited utility in trying to work out what they are writing about.

      1. Willow

        Not sure whether this idea of over capacity is coming from when inflation is making a comeback. Plus a lot of German capacity has been coming offline. Realty is really US ‘under capacity’ reinforcing dependence on China. So ‘over capacity’ is just an underhanded way of saying China is way more efficient than US.

        Both BoJ & Fed are screwed. If BoJ lifts rates, Treasuries are screwed & Fed will need to increase rates. If Fed lifts rates, JPY is screwed & BoJ will need to lift rates. Both are on the edge of a reinforcing negative convexity death spiral. And I’d be putting my money on China trying to give things a nudge. Most of this though is self inflicted due US use of or threat of economic sanctions.

        Japan will come out ok not because of any BoJ competence but of ordinary Japanese holding their shit together when things hit the fan.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Defining overcapacity is not easy – one persons overcapacity in the future is anothers prudent investment in the future. But there is little doubt that in many sectors the determination of many governments (not just China) to dominate key industries has led to massive overbuilding of production capacity. The automobile industry for one – while everyone now knows about China’s enormous investment in EV’s, whats overlooked is that they are equally building out massive capacity in ICE vehicles – and plenty of countries are either trying to match this, or are actively shielding their own manufacturers (not just the usual suspects, you can see this in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, etc). China also isn’t just building vast amounts of solar panels and batteries and windfarms – they are also building nuke and coal plants at a staggering rate – and China’s competitors are trying to match them worldwide. This is all well and good if projections for ‘real’ economic growth (i.e., people getting richer worldwide and buying more stuff) could match this – but I don’t see that happening. At some stage there will have to be a shakeout, and the results won’t be pretty.

          When you look at inflation figures, you can see that its not really in manufactured goods – its arising from energy costs, food costs, and specific supply chain issues.

          As for Japan – no country is better equipped to ride out economic storms than Japan. But anecdotally, the devaluation of the yen has really hit hard the self confidence of ordinary Japanese people. They are becoming acutely aware of falling behind countries they used to look down on in a somewhat patronising way (Korea especially). For the first time in a century or more, the option of emigration to get a better life has become a real ‘thing’ in Japan. It might just be a mood thing, but its always hard to judge which way these things will go.

  32. aj

    Stephanie Kelton was on The Daily Show the other day and actually got through quite a bit in her 15 minutes. Jordan Klepper really seemed to understand the basic concept of MMT and Ronnie Chang was pretty funny playing the moron. It’s nice to see her getting some more mainstream attention. I look forward to her movie coming out next month

  33. Tom Stone

    I think it will soon be time to pay the piper, the effects of widespread immune dysregulation are just beginning to show up and at some point we will be hearing “Bring out your dead”.
    Perhaps quite soon if the Center for Disease Communication and the FDA have their way.

  34. Tom Stone

    Being hard of hearing sucks.
    Back in 2020 I thought they were saying that things would change when “the adults” were in charge, not when “the Dolts” were in charge.

  35. Wukchumni

    True confessions of a Golden Billionaire: the 348,843,581st richest person on this good orb…

    Sure, I could’ve been born in Bangladesh, Bolivia or Burundi, not to mention Beijing or Belogorsk, by gosh. My parents had other plans, thus my Section 1/8th of the population presently.

    Hardly any of us in the Golden Billion has ever missed a meal, nor has done much military service, and can expect a reasonable pension upon hitting your golden years in all participating countries.

    We used to have the best standard of living, thank goodness it is going away slowly enough for many of us not to notice!

    1. ambrit

      After us the deluge?
      Er, I feel my feet getting wet now!
      Mixing metaphors yet again, we have already passed the “High Tide Mark,” and are in the Ebb Times.
      Stay safe up there “On Top of the World.”

  36. Mo

    My first question after reading the news that bird flu dna is detected in milk is what about eggs?

    Trying to find an answer reveals the sorry state of journalism. All articles do nothing but reassure about safety. But I want facts.

    And even if there hasn’t been testing of eggs, any competent reporter should be asking and reporting the answers to why not? and when will it be done?

    1. Raymond Sim

      How well-cooked eggs need to be to dispatch the virus is, so far as I can tell, an open question. The same would be true of beef.

      The virus kills birds and, if my memory serves has an extremely short latency, so while I’m not not worried about the egg supply, I have some hope the problem would be self-limiting.

      1. paul

        What I can’t work out is how we managed before without a futuristic, obligation free IOU, compulsorily purchased in a soft, but stable and tradable, currency.

        In our youth we just had to make do with billy bunter’s cheques and j wellington wimpy’s social credit score.

        Neither of which, seemed to inflame the public imagination, other than as a caution.

  37. Raymond Sim

    The announcement re viral RNA in milk came after Twitterati noted recent Influenza A spikes in Texas wastewater and started putting two and two together.

    This played out while eminent mainstream virologists were decrying the omission of date and location information from genomic data submitted from cattle.

    This all stinks to high heaven. I think we’re probably in the midst of a slow rollout of the news that people may have been infected via milk. We’ll be assured that any illness was mild.

    The real issue of course is the danger of allowing the virus to adapt to people.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Given recent history I have no doubt we’re being lied to. Profits over people. How the propaganda develops should be instructive. We now know that over a million deaths is accepted passively by the populance from COVID. Maybe they’ll top it?

      1. Wukchumni

        We’ve got the most H5N1 vectors of any county in the country, and I like milk in my coffee and tea, so I stocked up on UHT milk.

        An awful lot of what Bessie & Co. produce here ends up going to China as milk powder.

  38. Joe Well

    Re: electric car batteries

    An experimental road charges electric car batteries as the cars drive, requiring smaller batteries.

    This is an example of how the problems with an electric car future are social rather than technical. It would require huge public investment in infrastructure but that doesn’t fit with the Silicon Valley worldview of atomized consumers. At any rate, a society that made such investments might have such good public transportation that there wouldn’t be much demand for cars.

    Years ago, I commented on NC wondering why cars can’t just run on power which is supplied as they go along, like a trolley, only with a newer technology to replace the wires or poles. I got some pretty negative comments because I didn’t know enough about the subject to articulate it properly so it sounded ridiculous. It felt good to see this article.

    1. Captain Obvious

      This is an example of how MSM can promote anything, and people would buy it. Implementing this kind of system on large scale is engineering nightmare, and is bound to fail (and not only because of snow, rain, dust, mud). There are numerous technical reasons why trains, and trams, and trolleybuses, are made the way they are. Investment in good public transportation does indeed reduce demand for cars. That’s why Chinese and Russians have been makin lots of trains.

      That article is from 2018. I bet the project failed for technical reasons, but I can’t be bothered to check.

      … only with a newer technology to replace the wires or poles …

      We are still waiting for Musk to “invent” that newer technology.

      It felt good to see this article.

      It felt good because it was a lie. Telling lies that feel good is what MSM is all about.

        1. Captain Obvious

          I’m not skeptic, nor nihilst, nor critic, nor nasty, but an engineer. They will expand this project the Boeing way. It’s easier to fool people, than to convince them that they have been fooled.

  39. Raymond Sim

    My strokified brain is having a particularly hard time with screens and typing these days, so I’m going to beg off citing sources re Mpox and invoke the brain trust, who I think will back me up:

    1. Mpox definitely spreads via direct contact, sexual or otherwise. It also transmits through the air (As WHO would have it.).

    2. The current understanding of Orthopoxvirus evolution would predict that ongoing transmission in human populations (as we’re seeing in Africa) will lead to emergence of variants which cause ever more severe disease (as we appear to be seeing in Africa).

  40. Wukchumni

    ‘A Good Day for World Peace’: Biden Signs Aid Bill for Ukraine and Israel

    The $95.3 billion measure comes after months of gridlock in Congress that put the centerpiece of President Biden’s foreign policy in jeopardy. (NYT)

    Four More Wars!

  41. Lefty Godot

    What is sad is that the unbearably cute but critically endangered black-footed ferret has to depend, in the wild, on getting most of its nourishment from eating prairie dogs, who also are extremely cute. Nature is very cruel. And both species are threatened by periodic outbreaks of distemper and sylvatic plague. Prairie dogs probably should be put on some kind of endangered list, but because big ranchers believe they need to kill prairie dogs to safeguard their profits, this is not politically feasible.

  42. vidimi

    re parents who regret having children, one variable that I didn’t see taken into account was time. It’s one thing to regret having children when you have a 4 and 6 year old running around destroying your home and demanding constant attention and another when those two are all grown up and have kids of their own and you have your life back. It would be interesting to follow up with those parents and see if 30 years later they still regret it.

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