Links 5/23/2024

World’s oldest sloth turns 54 at German zoo UPI

Catland by Kathryn Hughes review – paws for thought Guardian. Much more interesting than the stupid headline.


What you need to know about record-breaking heat in the Atlantic Yale Climate Connections

The World Is Ignoring the Other Deadly Kind of Carbon Wired

* * *

The Eeriness Of England

Colorado’s chickadees may lose their good memory to adapt to climate change, researchers find Colorado Sun

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Ian Angus’s The War Against the Commons: A Vital New History of the Bloody Rise of Capitalism Firebrand

‘Right to roam’ movement fights to give the commons back to the public Monga Bay


HHS advances plan to produce 4.8 million H5N1 vaccine doses Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Obviously, we would need to vaccinate selectively, presumably near “hot spots.” But with the apparently untouchable dairy farmers resisting testing, and the CDC having butchered our wastewater detection capability, it’s hard to know on what basis the selection would be made. How about a lottery?

Michigan reports a human case of bird flu, the nation’s second linked to H5N1 outbreak in dairy cows STAT. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a nasal swab taken from the Michigan farm worker was negative for flu. But a swab of the person’s eye was sent to the CDC, where it tested positive for H5 flu virus, though final confirmation that it’s the H5N1 subtype is pending genetic sequencing.” I believe the eye has avian receptors, unlike the respiratory tract. Perhaps that’s why.

* * *

NC House votes not to concur with bill reinstating mask restrictions CBS17. But:

So, modified rapture, although the horrid Senate bill could have passed. So keep calling.

New Covid FLiRT Variants Have the FDA Weighing a Vaccine Update Bloomberg

The science behind the nose: correlating volatile organic compound characterisation with canine biodetection of COVID-19 European Respiratory Society. From the Abstract: “This study provides analytical confirmation that canine training aids can be safely and reliably produced with good discrimination between positive samples and negative controls.” Training the dogs took 19 weeks, but I’m sure if we were actually interested in detecting Covid, some investment would cut that time down.

* * *

No matter your views on Covid origins, NIH and CDC, institutionally, seem to be rotten peas in the same pod:

‘Deny, denounce, delay’: the battle over the risk of ultra-processed foods FT


China creates LLM trained to discuss Xi Jinping’s philosophies The Register


“Everyone is absolutely terrified”: Inside a US ally’s secret war on its American critics Vox


Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognise Palestinian state; Israel summons envoys Channel News Asia

Janet Yellen warns Israel not to cancel waiver for Palestinian banks FT

* * *

China hopes ICC will be ‘objective’ after warrants sought for Israel, Hamas leaders Channel News Asia

US senator backs ICC arrest warrants for Israeli leaders Anadolu Agency. Sanders.

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Iranian media suggests ‘foul play’ and ‘conspiracy’ over Raisi’s death BNE Intellinews. “Naturally, the official report from the investigation team will be authoritative and reliable.” Naturally! Still worth a read, albeit link-free, for the theorizing and the background.

* * *

Israeli forces advance deeper into Rafah, continue offensive in the north France24

Egypt changed terms of Gaza ceasefire deal presented to Hamas, surprising negotiators, sources say CNN

New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity The Atlantic. Strange timing?

Dear Old Blighty

How Rishi Sunak shocked Westminster with a snap general election FT

Long Covid teachers join forces to sue ministers Schools Week. Good. More like this, please. Not just the lawsuit part; the “join forces” part.

Government advises households to prepare national crisis ‘emergency kit’ Telegraph. “You’re on your own, kid!”

New Not-So-Cold War

Read a Transcript of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Interview With The Times NYT. “Q. What do you say to the people who argue that it is too risky to allow Ukraine to use these weapons inside Russia because of the risk of escalation? [BIG Z:] There are no risks of escalation. Escalation has already occurred: Russia’s escalation against Ukraine…. When [Putin] failed to capture us in the first year of the war, he didn’t use [nuclear weapons] — because he may be irrational, but he loves his own life very much and understands that the doors will be completely closed, completely, if he uses nuclear weapons. Because the use of nuclear weapons is not a red line. It’s a different level. So that’s it. This is World War III. So, tell me, what could be a greater escalation than mass killings of people in Ukraine?”

US does not support strikes against Russia with Western weapons, but it is up to Ukraine – Blinken in Congress Ukrainska Pravda

Victoria Nuland: Ukraine Can “Turn This Around,” Bases Inside Russia “Should Be Fair Game” (transcript) RealClearPolitics

Pentagon says Russia launched ‘likely’ space weapon in orbit of US satellite France24. Let’s just hope Biden doesn’t have hairtrigger trouble. along with everything else.

* * *

NATO’s Phantom Armies Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World

‘Everything is burning’: Battles rage outside Kharkiv as Ukraine tries to hold back Russian advance CNN

The Advice Led to Hell The Anarchist Library

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Chechen leader meets Russia’s Putin, offers more troops for Ukraine Reuters

Global Elections

Family in remote Himalayas gets own polling station for Indian election Channel News Asia

Lok Sabha elections: Anatomy of the surge in Kashmir’s voter turnout Business Standard

Biden Adminstration

CFPB Bitter-Enderism Adam Levitin, Credit Slips


US Justice Department to Seek Breakup of Live Nation-Ticketmaster Bloomberg

Why Does the Biden White House Hate Its Own Agenda? Matt Stoller, BIG. I can only think that the entire effort is a long con; when the time comes, the Democrats will heave Lina Khan over the side and cut a deal with Silicon Valley, extorting boatloads of cash, and even more importantly, more control over the platforms.

Digital Watch

AI follies (1):

AI follies (2):

I stumbled upon LLM Kryptonite – and no one wants to fix this model-breaking bug The Register. The deck: “Models with flaws can be harmless … yet dangerous. So why are reports of problems being roundly ignored?” For starters: Too much stupid money sloshing about under financialization; too many tech bros addled by science fiction at the age of fifteen that they never outgrew; wild corruption.

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Lawmakers advance bill to tighten White House grip on AI model exports The Register. Obviously, if we want to stay “top dog” in the rules-based international order, we should export as many AI models as possible, and encourage people to use them.

Meta AI chief says large language models will not reach human intelligence FT

Inside NASA’s deliberations over ChatGPT FedScoop

Exclusive: OpenAI promised 20% of its computing power to combat the most dangerous kind of AI—but never delivered, sources say Fortune. OpenAI lied? Surely not.

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Spyware found on US hotel check-in computers TechCrunch

The Bezzle

UNIT ecosystem Unit Foundation. Brochuware. “The UNIT (token) is a unit of account of the UNIT ecosystem, representing a proportional share of the underlying UNIT basket, which contains 40% gold and local currencies, freely exchangeable into gold. Each UNIT token is a fully fungible currency unit. The intrinsic value of the UNIT is derived from the current value of the basket of underlying assets, measured in gold.” Oh.

‘People are just not worried about being scammed’ BBC

The Final Frontier

The Lunacy of Artemis Idle Words. Love the site motto: “Brevity is for the weak.”


The Turning of the Tide Craig Murray. Murray reports on the Assange hearing. Rule of law > rules-based international order, at least in some jurisdictions, and with some judges?


Revealed: 300 Boeing planes used by United and American Airlines have potential flaw that could cause jets to explode mid-air Daily Mail. An airworthiness directive for the 777, so headline is more than a little clickbait-y. But amazing to see Leeham cited in the Daily Mail…

Guillotine Watch

Toxic Gaslighting: How 3M Executives Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe ProPublica

How finfluencers destroyed the housing and lives of thousands of people Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

Humphry Davy’s notebooks reveal love of nitrous oxide, poetry, as well as a darker side Chemistry World

What Is Human Energy? Lapham’s Quarterly

Antidote du jour (Luc Viatour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag  by Country Joe and the Fish)

    Gimme an  ‘R’   ‘AAR!’
    Gimme an  ‘I’   ‘EYE!’
    Gimme an  ‘S’   ‘ESS!’
    Gimme a   ‘K’   ‘KAY!’

    What’s that spell?   ‘RISK!’
    What’s that spell?   ‘RISK!’
    What’s that spell?   ‘RISK!’

    Yeah, birdy flu’s in the news again it started out in the dairy pen
    The CDC’s talkin’ flim and flam and they need more money from Uncle Sam
    Vaccines to cook and cost overruns — they’ll tell us if they get it all done!

    Guard the public’s health? Gawd! what an awful bore!
    Hospitals are gettin’ slammed bird flu is out of hand
    There’s a depression all across the fifty states
    Illness for each girl and guy — it starts with two big red eyes!

    Maskless people they get harassed breathing freely is a thing of the past
    We’ve run out of empty hospice beds sneezing and coughing is how it spreads
    Stay well away from everyone — if you clear your throat people run!

    Guard the public’s health? Gawd! what a dreadful chore!
    Hospitals are gettin’ slammed bird flu is out of hand
    There’s a depression all across the fifty states
    Illness for each girl and guy — it starts with two big red eyes!

    (musical interlude)

    The Dow Jones tanked a while ago most folks don’t have a job to go
    Rich folks behind barricades laid off all their chambermaids
    The rest of us try to scrape along — wonderin’ how it all went wrong!

    Guard the public’s health? Gawd! what an awful bore!
    Hospitals are gettin’ slammed bird flu is out of hand
    There’s a depression all across the fifty states
    Illness for each girl and guy — it starts with two big red eyes!

    Friends and lovers will not shake hands everyone’s eatin’ outta cans
    If you’re standing you’re doing great if you can’t we commiserate
    You’re sterilizing the litterbox — this birdy flu has cleaned our clocks!

    Guard the public’s health? Gawd! what a dreadful chore!
    Hospitals are gettin’ slammed bird flu is out of hand
    There’s a depression all across the fifty states
    Illness for each girl and guy — it starts with two big red eyes!

    1. Martin Oline

      Sometimes life makes me feel as if I’m playing the Fish Game, and I’ve landed on the Napa square. “You lose the game. Start over.” (That was the California loonie bin before Reagan let them out to huddle at the bus stops.)

  2. The Rev Kev

    “US senator backs ICC arrest warrants for Israeli leaders”

    Waiting for critics to label Bernie Sanders as a “self-hating Jew” in 5, 4, 3, 2…

    1. DanB

      I have friend, who’s not Jewish, who immediately went to this slur when I brought up Chomsky’s position on Israel. She explains his views as if this “self-hating Jew” label has explanatory power. She also has an inveterate hatred of Putin and has scolded me, “What’s wrong with you? You’re Polish and you should hate Russians. I learned about Russians from my grandmother and the nuns at my elementary school.” And of course she’s deeply committed to DEI and so forth.

      1. Es s Ce Tera

        She can’t be deeply committed to DEI if she hates groups and promotes hatred of groups. The I in DEI is inclusion, hatred of groups is exclusion. I don’t know what’s going on with her but she’s demonstrably not committed to DEI if she makes comments like that.

        1. Pat

          Ummm. Not in my observation. That may be the point of its most idealistic supporters, but there is very much an in group and then those that are not as important as the chosen ones. Although It may not all be about hate, just mild prejudice.

      2. randy

        This comment brings up the intelligence of my friends and the effect of age on intelligence. Back in the day I didn’t even consider the intelligence of my friends. I just assumed they were reasonably smart.

        Now those same friends parrot whatever they hear through old people Tuh-Vee and the other sources of propaganda (one old friend pronounces TV as Tuh-Vee and he is still obsessed about antifa) even though antifa has been out of the news since before 1/6/20. I try to show them other sources but they won’t even look at anything that questions their viewpoint obtained from MSM. One of my measures of intelligence is being “Not set in your ways”. The other is curiosity. My old friends are set in their ways and they show no curiosity, zero. My cat exhibits more curiosity than my old friends. I now have ZERO tolerance for people like that and as a result I have fewer friends. I have no regrets because I have little tolerance for people that are not open to anything new or anything that opposes their preconceived notion of the world.

        Old age is supposed to be a prerequisite for wisdom. That does not seem to be true, in fact it is the opposite. Most of my long term friends have gotten stupid over the years and are no longer even worth talking to.

        A sad state of affairs.

        1. Joe Renter

          Take solace friend. You are not alone. The path of self development can be a lonely one. Keep up the fight to evolve.

        2. kareninca

          Many years ago a young acquaintance of mine told me that he’d seen age and wisdom together, but that it was just in the same room. I thought that was hilarious.

        3. Ignacio

          The problem (I believe very common) with ageing is that (few, some, many, a lot?) throw in the towel with regards to asking themselves questions with critical thinking. One of the reasons might be that you are just tired of doing so: you want to feel comfortable and are less willing to go beyond that zone of comfort. The problem, I believe, is that in that search for comfort some people take this attitude at a very young age, while others never. This is to say that making or resorting to generational divides is not a useful way to frame it and it is only another way of throwing in the towel to feel… comfortable. Beware!

  3. zagonostra

    >New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity The Atlantic. Strange timing?

    That assessment now appears wrong. And if our understanding of what transpired on 9/11 turns out to have been flawed, then the costly policies that the United States has pursued for the past quarter century have been rooted in a false premise…

    What would we have done differently if our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies had learned shortly after the 9/11 attacks that officials of our close friend Saudi Arabia had given regular, reliable, and essential support to terrorists seeking to kill Americans in large numbers?

    Strange timing, indeed. It will be curious to see how Saudis respond.

    I’m sure most of the NC readers know the name Richard Gage who helped found “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth” and have probably seen James Corbett’s documentary and viewed/read the hundreds of videos and dozens of books on the subject. If not, they will find much to pique there interest in these alternative narratives if they can overcome the natural inclination to dismiss the subject, like I did for more years than I care to admit.

    For me, the response from friends on whether they believe the official story has become a litmus test for whether they have taken the red pill or the blue. It is also a source of puzzlement when public figures like Matt Taibbi, Chomsky and others off-handedly dismiss as “conspiracy theories”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If they are going to go into the Saudi connection with 9/11, the should also go into how much the Israelis knew in the lead up to that attack. Anybody remember the “dancing Israelis” of 9/11? In looking for a link I see Google labeling it multiple times as conspiracy theory material or an enduring antisemitic conspiracy. So helpful that.

      1. Val

        Recall that Ehud Barak appeared on TV screens everywhere, no doubt fresh from a very busy Epstein address, to be the first to tell us this was not the work of NATO and Mossy Genocidals but rather the Qaeda, and the new war against whom was to be all-consuming and very long. State organs then presented old video of Palestinians in the streets celebrating some futbol victory. Cheering Semitic taxi drivers et al, played in heavy rotation against the collapse shots. Totally certified organic. No dancing operatives mentioned. Long story short, the country never recovered and was certifiably dead within a few years, sold out completely by its ruling class to become a nightmare of fraud, mayhem, surveillance and torture. And then things started getting bad.

        The Atlantic, amongst so many others, is on a carefully curated PropOrNot list, and the vector and spin is most informative.

      2. Pat

        I remember a couple of reports very early on, when the Bush administration was still capable of being considered incompetent, that were outlining Israel trying to get the US’s attention. One of those reports had them requesting help from Great Britain’s intelligence agencies to get the US to understand there was highly credible threat.

        I guess my memory is too long. While Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s Saudi funding was brushed off as “protection money” there were many reports of both the support and the ties. Admitting the open secret that SA was a major player now is a sea change, but is probably being done to bring up Americans’ fear of Muslim terrorism. Hamas and Muslims must become the boogeymen if only for a lot of people’s election prospects, not just Biden’s.

      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        I remember reading somewhere about the Dancing Israelis. What I read was that they were among members of Israeli Intelligence or Intelligence-adjacent supporters who sensed that someone or something was planning some kind of operation in America and that they were trying to figure out who or what it was. And when they saw 9/11 happen, they danced from joy at the thought that America would now be thoroughly converted to the Israeli point of view on terrorism.

        When I read that, I remembered a speech by Helen Caldicott of Physicians For Social Responsibility back in the 1980s, talking a little bit about her early life in Australia before getting to the main point of her visit to Ann Arbor as part of a US tour. I remember her saying how she was a child ( I think I remember) when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and how happy her family was to hear it. ( I don’t know remember if she said more Australians than her family were happy to hear it). But her family’s happiness to hear it was not based on pro-Japanese hostility to America. It was based on ” thank God. Now America will recognize the threat Japan poses and America will enter the war and we will be saved from Japan).

        I wonder if the Dancing Israelis danced from an analogous motivation and reason.

      4. Gaianne

        Absolutely remember the dancing Israelis!

        While I do not assume the Israelis masterminded the attack, they obviously knew all about it ahead of time: They were expecting it.


    2. flora

      “mistake.” Mistake is one word for it, I guess. And the timing, why now? I don’t know. This talk by Mearsheimer a few days ago might have some clues. If it was posted earlier I’m posting it again. Listen to the very interesting description of how carefully coordinated with the US (and Isr) was Iran’s rocket attack on Isr a few weeks ago. That’s very interesting. The Abraham Accords – US, Isr, KSA – seem to be breaking down due an unmistakable shift in the balance of power in the Middle Ease.

      Could the Atlantic article be a step toward making nice with Iran by shifting blame to KSA? I don’t know.

      Mearsheimer, utube, ~1hr, 35 minutes

      Why Israel is in deep trouble: John Mearsheimer with Tom Switzer

      1. pjay

        I don’t think this article has anything to do with making nice with Iran – it is The Atlantic, after all. The authors are also two well-established national security insiders – in the Clinton-neolib branch of that Establishment (their Wikipedia bios are informative – note the various personal and institutional connections). I think it has more to do with putting pressure on the Saudis. We trot out Mihdhar and Hazmi whenever the Saudis get a little too “independent.” We need them to get back on the path to “normalization” with Israel, or at least cooperate behind the scenes to help keep the lid on the Middle East.

        Regarding the rest of zagonostra’s comment, the article is about as hypocritically dishonest as it could possibly be, pointing to the “state actor” Saudi Arabia for supporting the 9/11 hijackers when we know — we f**king *know* – that several of them, including their “devout” leader Mohammad Atta, were assets (whether witting or not) of *US* intelligence and under surveillance by both the US and Israel, and that the global “Wahhabist” network so breathtakingly described by these authors was one with which we – the US – were intimately involved alongside the Saudis. This is not “conspiracy theory” but well-established by Paul Thompson, Kevin Fenton, Peter Dale Scott, and many others. You are right in pointing out that this is yet another area where the Chomsky school of “leftist” thought serves to obfuscate history and therefore serve power.

        Sorry for the rant. Articles like this really piss me off.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. There was no “mistake” in the coverage – there was ample evidence at the time of Saudi involvement, but US officials flat out lied about it to get their war on in Iraq.

        I’m so old I remember Bandar “Bush”, Project for a New American Century, all the Saudi nationals who were allowed to leave the US when all other planes were grounded, etc., etc., etc. The neocons who run the Atlantic are well aware of it too.

        I suspect the timing is to help the Saudis get their minds right about not doing anything that might be construed as aiding the Palestinian cause, lest some SEALs show up in Riyadh and start busting down doors.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          I remember that too.

          In particular, I remember that every member of the Bin Laden family living in America at that time were specifically gathered together and flown out of America just ahead of the “total ban on flights outgoing or incoming” in order to prevent the FBI from being able to interview them.

          And somewhat before that, I remember reading a Mark Ames article on The eXile about how Ambassador (to Yemen) Barbara Bodine resolutely obstructed the FBI’s every effort to investigate in Yemen about various possible bad-actors possibly connected to Bin Laden’s suicide-zodiac bombing of the USS Cole. I believe Ames wrote that this obstruction was designed to prevent the FBI’s chief investigator ( whose name I forget) from sniffing too close to Saudi Royal Family/ Intelligence involvement in the USS Cole bombing. I have tried and failed to find the story I remember having read.

          I wonder if the Deep State division of the DC FedRegime keeps this knowledge of Saudi involvement in these things “secret” in order to exploit it as “kompromat” to use against the al Saud family to extort certain things from them at certain times.

          (Separately, I wonder if Mark Ames would ever write a post for Naked Capitalism if asked. I know he respects and values this site.)

    3. Tom Denman

      The article declares “The global War on Terror was based on a mistake.” Leaving aside whether the G.W.O.T was waged ‘accidentally on purpose’ or not, it’s odd that this piece appears in a neocon book like The Atlantic.

      Such thinking might prompt readers to ask themselves if Washington is playing Russian Roulette with nuclear war in the mistaken belief that the war in Ukraine is the result of ‘Russian aggression’ and not in response to the U.S. ambition to bring Ukraine into NATO, allowing it to place missiles there (right on Russia’s doorstep). But of course that’s completely different from JFK’s response to Khrushchev putting missiles in Cuba.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Is the Atlantic “neocon”? Or is it “neowil”? As in . . Neo Wilsonian Atlantacist (global-liberal interventionist)?

        1. Tom Denman

          > Is the Atlantic “neocon”? Or is it “neowil”?

          In terms of the actions the two schools advocate, which is to say their practical effects, this is a distinction without a difference.

          Note that The Atlantic’s editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, was a leading cheerleader for Dubya’s invasion of Iraq. [1] And Anne Applebaum, who penned the magazine’s cover story this month and is married to neocon affiliated Radosaw Sikorski, also backed the Iraq debacle. [2]



    4. Aurelien

      The article was a lot better than I expected, especially towards the end. But I think it still suffers from being written from a western state-centric framework, which is not appropriate in this case. It’s not news that Saudi nationals were involved in the plot, and that some of those allegedly involved had official positions. But my understanding of the situation from experts I’ve met (I’ve never been to the country and have no desire to) is that the “state” there is not an independent actor, but rather the subject of tribal loyalties and rivalries, and in particular the peculiar political bargain between the Wahabites and the House of Saud, where the latter appeases the power of the former through its programme of Mosque-building, propagation of extreme Islamist views etc, for fear of another dangerously well-supported coup attempt, as happened in 1979, when the Grand Mosque was seized.

      So it doesn’t make much sense to talk about “our close friend Saudi Arabia” as if it was a single entity. The reality is that there are groups in SA which, for wholly mercenary and pragmatic reasons, are happy to cooperate with the US, whatever their private feelings. There are other groups bitterly opposed, and to the extent that Saudi nationals helped in the planning and execution, they came from those groups. Even then, as the article concedes, the conception and planning was done elsewhere, and we don’t need to suppose that little brown non-westerners were incapable of organising something as effective as the attacks: the murderous attacks in other countries (dismissed in a few words) are proof enough of that.

    5. Es s Ce Tera

      “Mistake” is intended to frame this as honest, judgements being made before information was available or before certain things were known, unintentional but best intentions, tragic but anyone could have made the same decisions given circumstances. None of these is true. But why indeed are we being told to start walking in this new direction?

      1. Pat

        A guess is that supporting Israel is too financially important to many people (politicians, bureaucrats and press among many) and the current situation has to be reversed. They feel that they need to raise the specter of the Muslim Terrorist in a visceral manner for Americans, and 9/11 is the fastest and easiest way they can think of doing it.

        1. LawnDart

          Check this out:
          “Exploring the Middle East and South Asia through their media, MEMRI bridges the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, Dari, Turkish, Russian, and Chinese media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends to the governments of the U.S. and its allies, and to their counterterrorism officials, law enforcement agencies, militaries, and other authorities. In this way, we assist them in tackling threats and fighting extremism. We also work with news organizations and media to inform their understanding of the complexities of issues and developments in all these countries, and our research serves as a valuable resource for academia worldwide.”

          Think they have an agenda?

    6. Lefty Godot

      Senator Bob Graham was saying as much as he could (without violating “national security” constraints he was put under) about this many years ago.

      There was clearly much more going on in the inception of 9/11 than the blue ribbon commission got into or wanted to get anywhere near. As with JFK’s assassination, commissions like this are basically there to construct an acceptable story that takes enough of the evidence into account that they can claim to be authoritative while papering over all the discrepancies and unanswered questions. If necessary, facts can be tortured to fit into the desired theoretical framework (e.g., the “magic bullet” of 11/22 and the tweaked building collapse computer models of 9/11).

      But to get the real story behind events like this, you need to get the unexamined evidence out there and have enough backing to do a real investigation within four or five years of the original crime. Any later and too many people don’t want to hear about it, won’t want the story they have integrated into their view of the world to be disrupted.

  4. Terry Flynn

    Eeriness of England article is a gross generalisation. Yes, there is most definitely a large cohort of “anti-germ” people who grow gardens devoid of the things that NC regularly posts as an antidote/plantidote.

    However, and ironically, our total fall from grace has promoted more and more gardens etc akin to the one my parents started in mid 1990s – full of bugs etc. In fact I’d argue that my folks went TOO far and we have all sorts of invasive/annoying pests. Though I shudder to reference Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 (since 95% of what he spouts is objectively false), mum listens to him and he just yesterday was discussing the expansion of ticks (from Scotland down to large parts of England/Wales) and a spike in Lyme disease diagnoses.

    I try to be “a good NakedCapitalism person” and encourage wilding of our garden, but when I’ve had suspicious bugs get me I understandably get anxious. The ten gardens walking north up our (main) road are now conspicuously “wilded” compared to the “perfect lawn” variety of the mid 1990s and I simply don’t recognise the sterilised England that this article presents. But maybe it’s different outside the Midlands….

    1. begob

      The retirement enclaves on the south coast of England definitely produce a cacophony of 2-stroke engines on the first sunny day of the year – all those lawns and shrubs being trimmed and shaved. In my area they manage to operate in relay, until the entire afternoon is exhausted from the buzzing and whining and growling. And so on for the rest of the summer. Add in the faint consistency of road noise, plus the occasional NATO overflight, and you realize your ears can’t get a break.

      As for the author’s point on the eerie gap in the cycle of life, I agree it’s very much a generalization.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks for both the agreement that the piece was a generalisation but also the example of where this kind of “ridiculous attempt to tame nature” does, in fact, occur in GB.

        I guess the moral of the story is “don’t write articles in the lovely suburbs of GB claiming it is generalisable – there’re plenty of areas like that but just as many that are not”.

        1. Michaelmas

          If that author ever went to Japan or parts of China, he’d find landscapes showing similar characteristics of having been molded by millenia-long, intense cultivation by their human occupants.

          His main point seems to be “Waa! The UK is not like Sri Lanka!” Well, why would it be? The piece actually came across somewhat like some xenophobic little colonial officer, resentful at being assigned to Ceylon, complaining about about how it wasn’t like England.

    2. .Tom

      I’m surprised to hear there’s Lyme in the UK. I wonder how it got there.

      Having had Lyme twice and anaplasmosis once I gotta say I prefer the Lyme. Because of the characteristic rash I got to treat Lyme with doxy before I got any other symptoms. With anaplasmosis for nearly two weeks after the tick bite I was fine and then suddenly went from feeling normal to very ill in less than an hour.

      I got Lyme less than 100 miles from Lyme, CT. Scotland is a lot farther.

        1. t

          From what know, well over 50 percent of people who test positive for Lyme reported a rash.

          Of course, people have rashes all the time which is a complication. And people – I’m not saying men and children and my dear ol Mum but that’s what I mean – sometimes don’t notice and then don’t remember very obvious specific symptoms.

          The advice is supposed to be: could you have been bitten by a tick?

          But now we have LLMDs selling the idea that lyme can pass from person to person by bodily fluids so backing up to educating people about tick-borne diseases is even harder.

          On the up side, eventually enough people will get Alpha-gal syndrome from Lone Star Tick bites that the meat and poultry industries will collapse. And if the Asian Longhorned tick gets a foothold in the US and kills us all, then US contributions to killing the planet will end even more rapidly.

          The only flaw in this plan is that since we have widespread flea and tick control for dogs, I have not seen a tick anywhere except on rescue animals in years.

          When I was young, at least once every summer someone’s horse would get a tick in the ear and getting it out was a dangerous ordeal requiring a person with a twitch a nimble acrobat weilding tweezers.

          Still check for ticks after hiking, or spending half the day as a fence judge, or tramping around the back pastures, and all my other hot outdoor activities. Habit that’s probably useful.

          1. .Tom

            B2B Lime? Yikes.

            I pull ticks outta me a couple of times a year. Iiuc, pull it off on the same day it digs in and you have little chance of being infected. Still, it’s gross. The last one I pulled off was on my family blog. But recent bites were all on days where for whatever reason I didn’t dress defensively. So I agree, habits matter.

            The dogs get an annual Lyme vaccine and a preventive (afoxolaner) that seems to be very effective. Nobody offered me that. But I have a prophylactic dose of doxy at home just in case.

        2. .Tom

          In my experience there was a lot of confusion among medics about Lyme rash. Some said it appears around the tick bite and that’s diagnostic. Others said it appears not there and so a rash around the bite is not diagnostic. I’m my experience it’s both. Around the bite I got a circular rash with the bullseye pattern. That happened within the first two days of the bite. Then, if the infection spreads, rashes appear elsewhere, much larger, not very circular, with EM outline. In one case I had a big one on my arm and another on my back. Doxy cleared it up without other symptoms. There was also a lot of differences of opinion about the timeline for prophylactic doxy. And again about how long a course to use for a full infection.

          In the end I told my friend David, who’s wife has had it 5 times, nobody knows anything about Lyme. He agreed. I exaggerate but you know what I mean.

      1. Terry Flynn

        It has been in the news at a low level for 10 years. Just exploded in last week BUT I must emphasise that Jeremy Vine is a “beloved” BBC presenter who routinely talks shite (even to someone like my mum who chose her orthopaedic surgeon for knee replacements on basis that he seemed nice and had visited Sydney where I was so must be ok *sigh*).

        Friends who “do nature” much more than me have confirmed that Lyme disease is on the rise in England & Wales so I believe it to be true.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        Without violating HIPPA ( or however that is spelled), I will just say that “someone I know” was bitten by a tick once and this was only realized after the fact when he had to suddenly go to the hospital about a seemingly-from-nowhere sudden potentially near-lethal illness onset. It was discovered to be anaplasmosis. He got to the hospital in time to get diagnosed in time to get treated and cured.

        It has recently occurred to me that while Australia has more venomous animals, America has more
        icky tick diseases. Lyme, Babesia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis . . . When I went to a youth hostel on Cape Cod once, I saw warning articles posted about an outbreak of the tick-borne disease called Powassan fever, which was supposedly 30% lethal among those infected.
        So watch out for ticks.

    3. anahuna

      Having no ox to be gored (I live in Brooklyn and combat only the occasional mouse or rat), I took it as a humourous rant.

      Weird and funny, with an underlying preference for the messiness of nature.

    4. CA

      “Eeriness of England article is a gross generalisation…”

      December 7, 2021

      Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster
      The economically troubled country banned chemical fertilizers without preparing farmers, prompting a surge in food prices and worries about shortages.
      By Aanya Wipulasena and Mujib Mashal

      RATNAPURA, Sri Lanka — This year’s crop worries M.D. Somadasa. For four decades, he has sold carrots, beans and tomatoes grown by local farmers using foreign-made chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which helped them reap bigger and richer crops from the verdant hills that ring his hometown.

      Then came Sri Lanka’s sudden, and disastrous, turn toward organic farming…

    5. CA

      [ Eeriness of England article is a gross generalisation… ]

      The essay strikes me as a gross and dangerous generalization:

      December 7, 2021

      Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster
      The economically troubled country banned chemical fertilizers without preparing farmers, prompting a surge in food prices and worries about shortages.
      By Aanya Wipulasena and Mujib Mashal

  5. Terry Flynn

    re 777 safety. I have to admit I am surprised at this but must remind myself that the devil is probably in the detail. I have stated on here in last couple of days how (apart from smaller size), I never felt “less safe” in a 777 than an A380 doing LHR-SIN etc.

    If there are genuine issues, I suspect these have more to do with “new Boeing maintenance practices” and “sticking newer engines onto it” a la MAX rather than a fundamentally unsound airframe. The 777 IIRC was the last airframe designed under Boeing’s pre-merger regime. Singapore Airlines loved the 777 and A380 equally. However, if problems in the 777 are found to be related to their Carolina plant and other issues then that’s a whole new pandora’s box.

    Since Leeham is cited, I’m forced to take notice, as NC notes itself. I hope newer variants of the 777 have not been crapified into “danger planes” since, once upon a time, if I wasn’t early enough to book an SQ flight on an A380 with economy on both decks (and thus get an upperdeck front of section seat) then the 777 was probably a better option if you had to “take what you’re given” in terms of seat.

    1. .Tom

      I like the old 777 too. I was reading about the new versions last week while waiting to board an a380. I was not reassured. I’m no expert but it sounds a bit similar to the 737max story. Take an old plane and make it do things that it’s not supposed to with fancy new tricks, in this case wings that fold up to allow it to park in small parking bays.

      I found a carrier that flys 767 once a week direct to OPO. That’s my favorite Boeing.

      I never rode a a380 before this summer and I liked it. With three gangways loading and unloading was faster than an a321 and it was comfortable. I flew a 737max800 last year and it was terribly loud. Really awful experience.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks for the reassurance re the “newer” 777s – I was beginning to think I’d imagined things! But flight attendants during my last flights had assured me that they had (At that stage) merely some “questions” regarding SQ newer 777s.

        In Sydney, I loved my domestic 767 and 757 flights. The A380 is one of those planes that you must use a website to check on where to sit. SQ in its heyday did 4 LHR-SIN flights, 1 via 777, 3 via A380 with 2 of those having economy split across both decks. THOSE were the ones you wanted. Econ on upper deck is only 2-4-2 and there is extra locker if you’re by the window. Book that seat at front of a section and you’re A-OK. Plus you get to talk to flight attendants about all the stuff I’ve referred to regarding “which planes they prefer in terms of not ending up on the ceiling”.

        Like you, I valued “older Boeings” and I don’t engage in pile-ons regarding Boeing-bashing. It’s purely their most modern offerings that are suss.

    2. Glen

      The Aircraft Directive (AD) concerns ensuring proper grounding of parts of the Nitogen Enriched Air Distribution (NEAD) system installed in the airplane. NEAD systems were retrofitted to airplanes after investigation of TWA Flight 800 to reduce the possibility of igniting the fuel. These systems reduce the percentage of oxygen in the air which is backfilling the fuel tanks as the fuel is used:

      TWA Flight 800

      I would not be able to provide estimates of how much more dangerous this makes the affected aircraft, but the affected airplanes and the problem have been identified, and the airplanes should be getting fixed.

      Aircraft Directives are perhaps more common than most people realize. This is one of the methods used by the FAA to ensure that aircraft remain safe, not unlike automotive recalls except given that it is commercial aviation, there is much more attention to detail. There are currently 208 final rules ADs for the Boeing 777 series aircraft. You can find all of them in this database:

      1. scott s.

        Yes. As a general safety engineering principle, when working with fuel tanks where a concentration of vapor, potentially explosive, is possible, there are electrical bonding/grounding requirements. From the AD request, it looks to me like engineering neglected to design a bonding system (like a bonding strap) for this cover plate. Whether by oversight, desire to save $.05 or whatever, can’t say.

        If fire safety is the concern I would argue that forced removal of HALON systems as ODS is a much more important factor.

  6. KLG

    “too many tech bros addled by science fiction at the age of fifteen that they never outgrew”
    – Lambert Strether

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    John Rogers

    1. Wukchumni

      One was a cautionary tale, the other a fantasy.

      Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

      Francisco d’Anconia

    2. Emma

      Imagine how much better the world could have been if they read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and learned not to take themselves so seriously.

    3. zagonostra

      This 14 year old boy was nourished on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter, War Lord of Mars before I grew up at 15 and started reading Heinlein, Asimov, Spinrad, Sturgeon, and the whole constellation of classic SciFi. I missed out on Cordwainer Smith and thanks to a NC link/comment three scores and more later, I’m reading “Norstrilia,” so far it’s pretty weird…

      1. Martin Oline

        I also read Burroughs at fourteen. At 15 I had to make the choice between the L. A. Free Press and the National Enquirer (Boy trapped in refrigerator eats own foot to survive) at the drug store. That was how I was introduced to Harlan Ellison and his Glass Teat column.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        We read the same books but did you go “new wave” in the late ’60s with Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions books, Dick, Disch, Delany, LeGuin, etc.?

        As a kid, it was easy to blow my mind. As I got older, I steered towards the authors whose minds had been blown.

        I’ve been rereading a lot of stuff lately and have to admit that Tarzan holds up better than most of the Dangerous Visions stories.

        1. zagonostra

          Absolutely, these authors came later as well as Ellison and Spider Robinson, I also enjoyed Anne McCaffrey but the Sci Fantasy genre was less attractive.

          I didn’t discover Dostoevsky until 1st year of college, then came the “serious” books, including a lot of philosophy (which oddly enough seems to have merged with were I started, Scifi, a la PKD.)

    4. Mikel

      I’d add a third that has a history of triggering emotionally disturbed youth: The Catcher in the Rye.

      1. Lena

        For girls of my era, it was “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” by Joanne Greenberg (1964). I remember it well. All my friends read it too. Another memorable book for girls during that time was “Go Ask Alice” by Beatrice Sparks (1971).

          1. Lena

            Yes, “The Bell Jar”, too. While boys were reading science fiction, girls were reading about mental illness and suicide. When I was a teenager, I had a fascination with the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. I certainly wasn’t alone in that. Norman Mailer’s book about Marilyn was published around that time, as were several other books, and the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song “Candle in the Wind” was on the radio. The tragedy of mental illness and suicide became romanticized in the minds of a lot of young girls.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t think it’s from age 15 books as much as embracing updated Calvinism to justify wealth. Except for a few details, it’s the same spiel peddled in Joel Osteen’s racket.

      The simulation obsession more or less means people you see may not be real. Who cares about npcs?

      1. Belle

        Osteen is the light, people-friendly version. You want the Calvinism straight, read Rushdoony and North. I’ve known a lot of people with that mindset, sadly. (One reason why a chunk of the Birchers went Primitive Baptist…)

    6. Mikel

      But I’ll also add that we need to save them all (books) – no matter.
      Rue the day everyone is at the mercy of chatter and propaganda from a ChatGPT.

    7. Grumpy Engineer

      One story that made a impression on me as a young engineer-to-be was “The Cold Equations”, by Tom Godwin. Even today, seventy years after it was written, it remains a good lesson on the dangers of over-optimization. Design margin is good. If you have some headroom in your systems, you’re more likely to survive the unexpected.

    8. Vandemonian

      I read Exodus and Mila 18. Took me a few years to come to the realisation that Uris was peddling hasbara.

      A little later I read Lord of the Rings instead of uni textbooks. Didn’t make it past first year the first time around.

  7. zagonostra

    >The Lunacy of Artemis Idle Words. Love the site motto: “Brevity is for the weak.”

    The description of NASA below seems to fit another entity.

    We’ve reached a point where [White House] NASA lies constantly, to both itself and to the public. It lies about schedules and capabilities. It lies about the costs and the benefits of its human spaceflight program [Wars] . And above all, it lies about risk. All the institutional pathologies identified…are alive and well in [White House] Artemis—groupthink, management bloat, intense pressure to meet impossible deadlines, and a willingness to manufacture [Political] engineering rationales to justify [Empire] flying unsafe hardware.

    1. griffen

      Working through it, and I suppose at this moment I’m a little weak minded or just need to drink some more caffeine…the description of the capsule just seems truly a priceless metaphor..I’d think having unnecessary weight for space travel would be less than optimal?

      “It’s akin to driving a Dodge Journey…an underpowered six seater which tells the world you’re bad at managing money…”

    2. ambrit

      Been that way for a long time. Just consider the two Space Shuttle disasters. Both were preventable, but happened anyway because of bureaucratic imperatives.
      Read Feynman’s Addendum to the Shuttle Challenger disaster report.
      As the joke back then went: NASA means “Need Another Seven Astronauts.”

      1. LifelongLib

        In space you get a lot more bang for the buck from unmanned probes. If I was in charge of the space program Artemis is the first thing I’d cut, but people have argued with me that you need manned flight to keep the public interested.

      2. Acacia

        “reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled”

  8. GM

    HHS advances plan to produce 4.8 million H5N1 vaccine doses Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Obviously, we would need to vaccinate selectively, presumably near “hot spots.” But with the apparently untouchable dairy farmers resisting testing, and the CDC having butchered our wastewater detection capability, it’s hard to know on what basis the selection would be made. How about a lottery?

    This time it will be vaccine-only from the start, with absolutely no pretense to even try containment, but with the added bonus that it will be vaccine-only-for-a-select-few-only…

    Problem is, it’s H5N1, not a rather weirdly relatively attenuated SARS strain…

    1. thoughtfulperson

      “it’s hard to know on what basis the selection would be made. How about a lottery?”

      A lottery seems better than what’s likely: Priority to those with $$$ or big lists of co-morbidities I’d guess.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        It may also be made available to people in worker-dense healthcare settings. If I am deemed one of those people, I may well be given such a vaccination against the BirdManCow flu.

    1. Terry Flynn

      I had “reverse London cabbie experience” yesterday. There’s a trope about gobby Black Cab drivers in London who express views that are…. well, outside polite discourse. However, my pre-booked (thus minicab) ride yesterday was a breath of fresh air.

      Intelligent (but no idea if formally educated) young guy was driver. Had had COVID rip through his family, almost kill his dad and send mum into ICU in first wave, and repeat infections since. I had “played it safe” at first as I always do (since saying what you learn from this site is a good way to get you beaten up) but when I realised where he was coming from I told him outright what I knew from my own education plus what I learnt from NC.

      I was preaching to the choir. So nice to encounter someone who “got it”. Gave him a big tip, even though tipping of taxis in UK is most often “just round up to next pound if it’s not a round number”. Wondered if the driver read sites like NC! He sounded like a reader.

  9. timbers

    Spyware found on US hotel check-in computers TechCrunch

    More and more retailers owned by billionaire/Mega Giant Corporations, offer lower prices online or “coupons” which if you want to use, the checkout staff will tell you “can only usable thru our App”. To use the App, you have to download it onto your spy-on-you Smart Phone. Then place the item into your basket or scan the coupon, whatever the rules might be.

    So, this means you now have yet another spy app on your phone that the billionaire/Meg Giant Corporation use endlessly spy on you and know your every location and who knows what else Apps can do, or will be able to do to you in the future.

    I wonder how much $$ these billionaire/Mega Giant corporations receive from the US regime to access all this tracking data on you and me?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can anybody say what sort of information that you have to hand over when checking into a hotel in the US? I would imagine some sort of ID like a driver’s license but do they ask typically for any more? I was wondering just what sort of info that that spyware might be able to capture.

      1. timbers

        Really the hotel should only be concerned w/payment.

        I want an App of myself, with my name and personhood (but not myself in fact but an App of myself), that requires any App that wants information on me, first requires the App to give full and complete info on that App and full and complete info on all who use or might use and have access to that App.

        Until that gate is opened, the App being use on me is disabled/blocked.

    2. Neutrino

      One simple test is to use a segregated email address for new accounts like hotels or merchants. Same goes for apps.

      When you start getting inundated with spam, you can usually tell who has been selling your info.
      That also works on a low level for people selling your phone number. Buy some carpet, have a kitchen remodel, prepare to be spammed by contractors. Some even claim to be in your neighborhood and provide those free estimates.

    3. Es s Ce Tera

      I wonder if this means screengrabs of passports are also being captured by the spyware.

      1. ambrit

        American passports have had embedded chips for some time now. Not only does the chip store your information, but it also is capable of being tracked, and, I believe, remotely “accessed.” We bought Farraday bags for our passports. I found the Farraday bags at the Academy Sports store, next to camping gear.

  10. flora

    “more control over the platforms.” Goodness knows we should only hear the narrative the pols agree to present to the public. (For our own good.)

    J.S. Mill wrote this:

    Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil; there is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend to only one that errors harden into prejudices, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth, by being exaggerated into falsehood. — John Stuart Mill

  11. Terry Flynn

    UK General Election predictions are currently very weird. The odds offered by major bookmakers on the Conservatives getting fewer than 50 seats (which would likely make the Liberal Democrats His Majesty’s Opposition by coming 2nd) are….weird! I’d expect them to be 30/1 at least but 11/2 is what I’ve seen.

    The other odds are not as extreme as you’d expect either. For those who know the likelihood function of a limited dependent variable model (like voting where you choose a single option from many), this suggests the bookies are very unsure themselves. A friend asked if I might take a punt on a Tory wipe-out but I can’t see that option and the nearest qualitative ones give me odds that simply aren’t worth it.

    The only “surety” is the hilarity on Twitter regarding Rishi’s announcement: the rain with heavy lights made him look like he was covered in guano, the guy who specialises in hijacking things did it again by blasting the Labour “anthem” of 1997 across Westminster and Downing St, the fact Sky – yes the most “acceptable face of right-wing nonsense” had their political correspondent manhandled out of the the Tory main “election starter presentation” earlier.

    It is serious “WTAF?” territory! The only thing that made me go “aha!” was that our local Labour Candidate hit the ground running within 5 minutes. Labour CLEARLY knew this was coming and the people running to win back the red wall were more ready than most of the Cabinet!

    1. The Rev Kev

      As the news here noted, Rishi being completely drenched was not a good look for a government that is supposed to be underwater in terms of popularity. My guess is that the Tories know that with every week, they hemorrhage more and more voters so by calling an early election, they hope to stem any more losses.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yeah the Aussie news often provides a fresh take on UK issues. (There’s a rumour that a bunch of tories – though not enough – were pushing for a confidence vote and though Rishi would have won, the optics would have been terrible since the last close confidence vote was Callaghan losing by one vote in 1979 precipitating the Thatcher win).

        I use VPNs etc to occasionally check out Aussie rumours that have UK injunctions. Thus I knew (before that, let’s just call him unpopular Gyles Brandreth revealed it in his book to boost sales) that QE2 likely had cancer a year before she spoiled my birthday and karked it. I’d seen Aussie docs speculating about her only intermittent but debilitating back pain and what that might signify. My relatives often forget I’m now half-Aussie and I do check what British courts are trying to keep from us…..

        Rishi has decided things are getting WAY worse so he wants to leave it to Labour. I caution the Labour supporters to remember what happened in Canada when the Conservative party was utterly humiliated…..within a few years we had a party called Reform (geddit?) that became the new right wing. Be careful what you wish for.

        1. Revenant

          Please ask Down Under which Royal has one foot in the grave, pace Popbitch – my money is on Kate….

          My other half had to run around to get a statutory instrument signed into law by a minister at five to four with the cabinet meeting to go to the country scheduled at 4pm (at which point all ministers cease to have signing powers by convention). They also report that we are no longer allowed to call the moratorium, on official business in the election period, “purdah” because this may offend people!

          In fact, they reported a lot more wokery coming from the Millenials. Perhaps for another time….

    1. ambrit

      How about a ‘grooming’ LLC for the underages on Reddit?
      It is a perfect fit for the Clinton Foundation.

  12. Henry Moon Pie

    Eerie England–

    Great rant, and it’s about a lot more than England:

    What they call progress is really the breaking of loops that bind us, the chains of garbage and shit and death that we avoid like the plague and try to bury underground. Meanwhile we furiously mine every damn thing and call it ‘mine’, ignoring the fact that some shit is buried for a reason. Every circle in the ecosystem must be bent into the one line called ‘the economy’ or else it literally doesn’t count. And then that line must go up and to the right forever or people freak out. But this is wrong. One creature’s shit is another creature’s manna. All the myriad creatures are trying to recycle the food that we leave out. Suppressing all the entropy while supercharging all the order doesn’t make entropy disappear. It just makes it into a time-bomb, unleashed upon future generations with the fury of a billion genies rubbed wrong.

        1. Terry Flynn

          I just searched the “one man went to mow” phrase on duckduckgo to look for a witty response. For the 10th time today I’ve had an error. This time, it being my PC, not tablet, I got something of an explanation to the effect that DuckDuckGo is experiencing serious problems. Please try later.

          Given comments made yesterday, am I to jettison this POS?

          1. yep

            I’ve just typed “test” in DuckDuckGo.

            We’re currently experiencing an issue with DuckDuckGo Search. Thanks for your patience while we get our ducks in a row.

            In the meantime, you can use other search engines right here by using “bangs”:

            1. Terry Flynn

              OK without making homework for anyone, anyone got alternative search engine to DDG that tried to do what DDG claimed it did in early stages?

                1. Terry Flynn

                  Thanks. I think. The good side is that when searching my name it gives results akin to 20 years ago. The bad side is that the most infamous Terry Flynns appeared – a neonazi and a priest who appears……well…..I’m not sure what to say…..

                  My own website and stuff based on my ultra-high h-index don’t appear. Given the article about research misconduct that NC has linked to you might think that’s a good thing….

                    1. Terry Flynn

                      Thanks, will take a look. I get the horrid feeling that no matter what search engine, I’m either nowhere or below two types of people who society despises ;)

                      EDIT – the guy in marketing who always wanted to beat me managed to get something published in “The Conversation” so he’d be ahead of me there, given my prior publication. Petty! LOL

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      ‘two types of people who society despises’

                      Straight shooters and truth-tellers?

            2. Mikel

              Yep, saw the same this morning and trying to fight the creeping feeling that the fix is in.

          2. LifelongLib

            Yup, saw the issue with duckduckgo about 12 hours ago. It wouldn’t display search results and said “error, try again” and if you did would say “error, try again in a few minutes”. I gave up after that.

            1. Revenant

              Weirdly Qwant was also down. I dont believe it is powered by something big being memoryholed?

                1. Savita

                  I thought Qwant to be independent.The wikipedia for it however states it relies on Bing.
                  Worth reading actually, some interesting factoids therein.


                  I’m tired of Duck Duck Go being considered a privacy alternative.
                  1. It partners with Microsoft, and Yahoo. The latter has the most privacy-abusive and condemning policy,ever.

                  2. Its servers are in the US

                  3. Not privacy related, but it admitted to creating a content bubble to censor Covid and also Ukraine/Russia conflict, information.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    Oh, shoot, Qwant I think was once independent. Too bad now.

                    I find DuckDuckGo results different than Google but no better overall.

                    So we are stuck with Yandex.

    1. CA

      May 22, 2024

      The Eeriness Of England

      I’m in England for a week, cleaning toilets and emptying biohazard fridges (for my wife). Last night I left some bread out on the counter and this morning it’s fine. They’re something deeply Shaytanic here and I don’t like it. England creeps me out because it has all the signs of life, but it’s invisibly dead…

      [ What should be recalled is that almost immediately after Sri Lanka stopped the importing of fertilizers, and forced “organic” farming through the country, there began a catastrophic crop failure the effects of which are still a problem for the country. ]

      1. CA

        December 7, 2021

        Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster
        The economically troubled country banned chemical fertilizers without preparing farmers, prompting a surge in food prices and worries about shortages.
        By Aanya Wipulasena and Mujib Mashal

        RATNAPURA, Sri Lanka — This year’s crop worries M.D. Somadasa. For four decades, he has sold carrots, beans and tomatoes grown by local farmers using foreign-made chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which helped them reap bigger and richer crops from the verdant hills that ring his hometown.

        Then came Sri Lanka’s sudden, and disastrous, turn toward organic farming. The government campaign, ostensibly driven by health concerns, lasted only seven months. But farmers and agriculture experts blame the policy for a sharp drop in crop yields and spiraling prices that are worsening the country’s growing economic woes and leading to fears of food shortages…

  13. The Rev Kev

    Meanwhile, over in Google Search.
    Andrew Johnson has been killin it, I never knew.’

    I think that this is just Google trying to put The Onion and the Babylon Bee out of business. Neither of those two could make up the results that Google gave for such a simple question. I hope little kids don’t use it to help with their homework as class presentations would soon become hilarious.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s more akin to my favorite back in the daze of old when waiting in line at the supermarket and there it was staring me in the face, the Weekly World News, who gleefully (family-blogged) with my mind for a few minutes.

      Bat Boy was atypical, they had a pre-photo shop image of said fantasy say in April, and then in November another image of Bat Boy with his arm around the shoulder of Bill Clinton-with the old doctored photo from April as well, proof in the pudding!

    2. Bsn

      Mark Hurst over at Techtonic podcast discusses Gaggle’s AI. When you search fruit that end in “um”, the results can be tomatum, bananum, strawberum, etc.
      It’s quite funny. The AI veggie search portion begins at apx. 9:30.

  14. DJG, Reality Czar The eeriness of England.

    Indi Samarajiva is in top form, again. How does he do it?

    “Eerie” is a word that I have had to explain to Italians. There is no true equivalent of the word in Italian. Further, Italy is not eerie. Although my Chocolate City and the Undisclosed Region are most definitely weird. Quite weird.

    I recommend his latest effort to you, brethren and sistren.

    1. BillS

      Hi DJG,
      Eerie explained to my Italian wife – inquietante, pauroso or strano would fit the “Eerie England” description.

      I second the recommendation for Indi’s latest offering. The “sterilization” he describes is not limited to England. In Proseccoland, there is nary a bug or bird to be heard, given the ocean of poisons they disperse on the grapevines.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Many thanks for the shout-out Colonel, though I am not sure my limited comments on this topic deserve it :)

      My parliamentary constituency is highly marginal and will likely be one of the first Tory dominoes to fall (back) to Labour. Thus I can vote for whomever I want. I’ll probably go green – not because they’re wonderful, indeed their manifesto is clearly written by committee with a bunch of self-contradictory stuff. However, they seem (around here anyway) to have some leaders who understand what money really is. So I’ll probably give them my vote. The Labour candidate is a shoe-in so doesn’t need me.

      The Notts vote generally is VERY variable so all the major opinion polls will make me go “hmm”. Notts (so everything outside of Nottingham City) has proven very difficult to call for many years so it’ll be interesting to see what people actually do round here. Though I do hope 30p Anderson loses his desposit. Some of his, let’s just call them “alleged associates” have been on trial at Nottm Crown Court.

    2. Revenant

      Please remember Craig Murray is standing in Blackburn against Labour, as an independent and a pro-Palestinian.

      British public opinion of events (the original “atrocities”) drove/legitimised Victorian British policy in the Middle East. Perhaps we can do it again….

  15. bwilli123

    Good explanation on the implications of new realities.
    -From Middle East Eye co-founder and editor, David Hearst.

    “War on Gaza: The ICC has suspended Israel’s licence to kill.”

    …”Whichever way you look at it, this is a watershed moment. It punctures Israel’s immunity and deeply embarrasses its backers. It exposes, as never before, the colonial nature of the stance that international justice applies only to others.”

    1. Lena

      The use of the word “extermination” in the ICC’s request for warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant really stood out to me. Not “genocide”, but “extermination”. That word has special historical meaning to Jews everywhere. The Nazi death camps during the Holocaust were “extermination” camps not “genocide” camps. It was chilling to hear the extermination charge made against leaders of the “Jewish State”, even for someone like me who was not born a Jew. Israel will never be seen again in the way it was before no matter what happens in the ICC case.

  16. Wukchumni

    My couple year old 40 volt weed whacker bit the dust, so I went to Home Depot where they had a sale on ’em, crawled from the wreckage into a brand new one…

    It was behind a locked cage, along with security string & sensor around the box, and I needed one employee to free it from its enclosure, and then the cashier to undo the string & sensor.

    I asked both how bad shoplifting has been, and the first guy just rolled his eyes-the cashier confirmed that it had been bad on certain easy to resell items such as battery powered tools.

      1. curlydan

        Probably doesn’t help shoplifting that Home Depot forces us into self-checkouts. Oh, I scanned my soda but forgot to scan that weedwacker. Silly me!

    1. Mikel

      I just facepalmed at seeing those articles.

      They really don’t need to copy EVERYTHING that the USA does.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Argentine President Javier Milei has a bad habit of letting his mouth go off before putting his brain into gear. I swear that the guy goes to the same barber that Boris Johnson goes to.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ““Everyone is absolutely terrified”: Inside a US ally’s secret war on its American critics”

    I would guess that Washington would be quite fine with India becoming a Hindu nationalist state rather than a democracy and in fact would even encourage it. They want to use India as a battering ram against China and a Hindu nationalist state would be far less likely to come to a negotiated peace with China than a normal democratic India might. Just try to forget that both countries have nukes.

  18. Captain Obvious

    Pentagon says Russia launched ‘likely’ space weapon in orbit of US satellite France24.

    This is surreal. They say that it’s ‘likely’ space weapon because it’s in low Earth orbit (LEO). That’s it. Do you know who else launches satellites in LEO? Everyone that can. There are thousands satellites there, and new ones are being sent all the time.

    He said that Russia’s “likely” counter-space weapon was “presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit”.

    This has less useful information than a fortune cookie.

  19. Wukchumni

    I can see caution lights flashing all over as H5N1 eventually goes west…

    Nearly half a million Bessies are on the Tulare County flatlands, and when the mega-dairy employees get infected, they’ll spread it through Godzone, with our unusual vector of having oh so many visitors from all over the world converging on Sequoia & Yosemite NP’s, not to mention those from all over the USA.


    Everybody was bird flu fighting
    The spread was fast as lightning
    In fact, it was a little bit frightening
    But they fought with expert timing

    There were funky dairy men from funky red eyed town
    They were infecting them up, they were taking them down
    It’s a CAFO mart and everybody knew their part
    From an udder to another and so on

    Everybody was bird flu fighting
    The spread was fast as lightning
    In fact, it was a little bit frightening
    But they fought with expert timing

    There was funky dairy men and little effort to stop the spread
    They said, “Here comes the CDC (huh-ha!), let’s pass it on”
    We took a bow to Bessie and made a stand, startled band
    A lack of motion made me skip, now we’re into a brand-new trip

    Everybody was bird flu fighting
    The spread was fast as lightning
    In fact, it was a little bit frightening
    But they fought with expert timing


    Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas

  20. ChrisFromGA

    On sea-level rise, this isn’t going to help:

    AI’s Theme


    Sung to the tune of, “Arthur’s Theme” by Christopher Cross

    AI needs lots of power
    More than grid can yield right now
    The next thing you know, your clothes need hand washing
    Wake up and it’s still rationed
    Blackouts are rolling way across town
    Wondering to yourself, “Hey, what country I’ve found?”

    If crooked AI sucks all the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    When AI gets caught sucking the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do, the best that you can do is fall in line

    Our tech lords they do as they please, yes
    All of their life they’ve made bad choices
    Masked by privilege, they’re just, they’re just bad boys
    Living their life one fraud at a time
    And showing themselves to the front of the line
    Laughing about the way, they de-mothball coal mines

    When AI gets caught sucking the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    If AI gets caught sucking the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do (because you’re really screwed)
    The best that you can do is fall in line

    [Musical interlude]

    When AI gets caught sucking the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    If AI gets caught sucking the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do (because you’re really screwed)
    The best that you can do is fall in line …

  21. Wukchumni

    When the divorce was finalized in January, I knew that a May to November gig was likely for yours truly and i’ve consummated a relationship with Vince Fong, my new Congressman who rode in on Kev’s coattails, with an assist to Benedict Donald.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I got redistricted into a GOP “safe” zone but just a few miles ‘cross the County Line and MTG would have been my new relationship. So close … perhaps a P.O. Box over in Rome can result in a love triangle?

      1. Wukchumni

        M T-G has long been my heroine addiction, but alas an unobtainable goal, oh how I envy you almost getting to the plate.

  22. Benny Profane

    Good news that Ticketmaster/Live Nation is getting the anti trust treatment (what took them so long?), although I barely see a concert listing that excites me these days. Unfortunately, the new CEO of Alterra corp., the giant ski area company that I give a lot of money to every spring lately in order to afford skiing at my favorite hills, has elevated Jared Smith, a former very high executive of Ticketmaster to that position. The CEO of Vail Inc, it’s competitor in the duopoly of American skiing, was formerly the head of marketing at Pepsi. I would not be surprised if both have been talking merger for a few years. Both already have discovered that parking fees are a nice new source of revenue. Next, customer service fees tied to your RIFD card on busy days, I guess. Thing is, I don’t think these people even like to ski. But they’re really proud of their quarterly reports.

    1. Wukchumni

      Both already have discovered that parking fees are a nice new source of revenue. Next, customer service fees tied to your RIFD card on busy days, I guess. Thing is, I don’t think these people even like to ski. But they’re really proud of their quarterly reports.

      We paid $50 to park @ the (Gerald) Ford Hall Garage @ Beaver Creek ski resort.

      On one hand you have Ford-class aircraft carriers, and on the other, a Ford-class underground parking garage, both mutually unaffordable.

  23. Vicky Cookies

    Re: chickadees losing their memory to adapt to climate change:

    What is described in the article reminds me of the similar condition of working-class people, being asked constantly to adapt to disaster.

    “If the environment is more variable, flexibility might be a better survival strategy than just having a really good memory”, says Scott Taylor, the research director in the article.

    “Flexibility”, as readers will recall, is the ideal state of labor from the neoliberal perspective.

    I have seen working class people be ground down, tossed out, give up, and die. One of the factors influencing the (declining) average lifespan for working people is the record of those who are ground into nothingness in their twenties, having become worthless in the view of capital and correspondingly abandoned to their fate. How does one adapt mentally to circumstances as precarious as those faced by the modern proletariat? From an individual point of view, the “capitalist realism” described by Mark Fisher is unacceptably miserable. How can one be nihilistically hedonic without the means to satisfy desires? We find an answer in the opioid overdose numbers. Buddhism and mindfulness offer a different means to cope: the “be here now” present-ness, the ego-defying, self-denying mindset allows one to live quite happily and be emotionally quite useful to one’s friends and family. A worker taking this view is also quite useful to capital: tell them that they have to accept harsher conditions, lower pay, and less job security, and they will tell you that there is in fact nothing to accept at all, and will get back to work smiling, realizing our interconnected-ness alone.

    Those are some thoughts on individual coping mechanisms, but how does a class cope? Instead of changing the way we choose to think about a distressing reality, changing that reality seems the more satisfying path, since we are not chickadees, and can and do shape our reality intentionally.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for this well argued comment. Our society seems to have become allergic to thinking in the collective. Most people just never did seem to get the idea that being unmasked in public, given the presence of a dangerous but often asymptomatic disease, posed a risk to others and society as a whole. It was only about whether the mask non-wearer was risking her own health.

      While no enemy of thinking in the collective, Lao Tzu is very skeptical of collective action as governmental intervention:

      So a wise leader might say–

      I practice inaction, and the people look after themselves.
      I love to be quiet, and the people themselves find justice.
      I don’t do business, and the people prosper on their own.
      I don’t have wants, and the people themselves are uncut wood [an excellent thing in Lao Tzu’s view).

      Tao te Ching #57 (Le Guin rendition)

      Can a collective good be accomplished by letting “the people look after themselves?” Le Guin gives her view in the notes to the chapter:

      No anarchist can be a pessimist.

      The same might be said of the true democrat since “the people” are supposed to rule.

      It turns out that the PMC-ers are quite pessimistic about “the people.” They would like to shut us up as quickly and thoroughly as they can, all in the name of democracy. The PMC remains, however, quite optimistic about their own ability to tell us all what to do.

      And the heart of their message is:


    2. c_heale

      This is also why people are not having babies. Life is easier without a baby, so if life is too hard then people won’t have babies.

      There is another tendency I read about here in Korea, young people not saving any money, just spending everything. What’s the point of saving if you can never afford to buy/rent a house or car, let alone have children.

      The social contract is broken.

  24. flora

    re: Assange winning right to a full appeal.

    It’s funny how the world works.

    Murray’s opening:
    In the normal run of things, if a very senior judge instructs you to give an assurance to their Court, it would probably not be wise to avoid giving the assurance, to devote a huge amount of text to trying to obscure the fact you have not given the assurance, and then to lecture the judge on why they were wrong to ask for the assurance in the first place.

    My thought: Everyone in the UK has watched US justice/law in the Trump trial for many weeks now. I wonder if this/these trials,( I will call it a show trial with a judge who decided a verdict before the trial began, imo), I wonder if watching this legal circus has tarnished the US legal/judicial system’s assumed impartiality and trustworthiness to the UK public and the UK court?

    1. Revenant

      [Splutter!] Tarnished? Once more confirmed the absence of!

      UK courts are very dangerous if you are poor, in civil matters, or entangled with spooks, in criminal matters, but they still offer a robust rule of law against vested interests in other domains.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Why Does the Biden White House Hate Its Own Agenda?’

    Ahh, I can see Matt Stoller’s mistake here. The Biden White House doesn’t hate it’s own agenda. The Biden White House simply hates it’s own voters. That is why they don’t want to do anything for them but instead try to shame them and intimidate them into voting for Biden in a coupla months time. Think about this. The Biden White House is cranking out about $1 trillion worth of debt every hundred days or so. So how much of that money is going to relief for ordinary Americans then? Case closed.

    1. marku52

      My answer is pretty simple. Biden is so incompetent he doesn’t know what his administration is doing. If he knew, he’d shut it down.

      1. Berny3

        I agree, I don’t think he’s running the show. Many rulers just stand on the podium or sit on the throne, making speeches and declarations based on what they’ve been told by those close to them. Sometimes the guy actually running the show is someone else. Elizabeth I had Walsingham, Louis XIII had Cardinal Richelieu, and of course little bush had Dick Cheney (at least for the first term). I wonder who is really making the decisions in today’s White House?

      2. Pat

        While I buy part one somewhat, from Biden’s history if he did know he’d consider it a massive success and be proclaiming to the hills that Obama should have listened to him more.

  26. Mikel

    Just spitballin’ : NVIDIA stock split announced in a timely enough manner to drown out the brief story that hit the financial press that rate hikes are not off the table.

    Just sayin’…there is a correlation between “AI” hype and rising interest rates. The casino is all they got…

  27. The Rev Kev

    “NATO’s Phantom Armies”

    A really fine article this. And I think that the ghost of Carl von Clausewitz and Cardinal Richelieu should really get together sometime and swap some notes. Thing is, you could show this to leaders like Macron and Schulz and Sunak but I do not think that they would act on it. And I don’t know if it is because they would genuinely not understand what is written in this post or else they are so captured by so many interests, that they have to follow the narrative instead.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Supposedly we have 90,000 NATO troops around the vicinity of Ukraine for operation Steadfast Defender 2024, doing whatever exercises NATO does in big operations like this. Can any of those be repurposed to a standing force in Ukraine? The operation is supposed to end on May 31st, so they should start trickling home after that. Will they? Or is someone in the higher echelons keen on “seasoning” the force with some action against those evil Russkies?

    2. scott s.

      Found the essay generally good, but IMO weak on NATO C2. I assume MultiNational Corps – NorthEast augmented by US V Corps HQ would run any operation. He’s also correct about the US Army permanent ground forces in EU, but neglects the rotational deployments which have been the norm since Kosovo. Granted, these have generally been Bn level, so nothing like deploying a divisional Iraq or Afghan-sized force.

  28. Bsn

    Loved the link to “What Is Human Energy?”. A fun riff on, well, human energy and explores why some people have energy, and some less so. However one sentence reminded me that we can all feel superior to other animals, insect, protozoa, etc. and wrongly so. This from the article: “Human energy is unique among the energies of the universe, so no wonder it exerts such fascination—for me, at any rate. ” I disagree. all energy is spread evenly throughout the Universe – it’s just that certain representatives of various species tap into what is freely available all of the time. Ripping apart atoms taught us that everything (even just one atom) has incredible power within. A nice read, thanks NC crew!

  29. Tom Stone

    It has been a most clarifying year, the US Government has made it brutally clear that it is owned outright by the Zionists by its unseemly groveling and the Biden Administration has made it clear that it does not recognize any norms of behavior or limits upon its desire to control the narrative and the populace.
    While a Pandemic is allowed to progress unchecked.
    Then only question is when, not if, collapse will occur and I believe it will be sooner rather than later.

    1. John k

      Seems polls for Biden show slow but steady decay as the war goes on. My theory is its dems/indies depressed by Gaza rather than more support for trump, no matter that trump would be at least as bad as Biden. If you hate the war why vote at all? As vast numbers of gazans starve over the coming months while Hamas and resistance fight on the trend might simply continue.
      Imo Trump needs protection as deep panics.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        *Won’t vote for war*
        * and genocide?*
        *Jill’s on your ballot*
        * and your side*
        VOTE GREEN

        (void in New York
        unless the courts
        dispense a bit of non-partisan justice)

  30. Ranger Rick

    I had a smile on my face reading that absolutely ludicrous article about LLM usage at NASA. There can only be one reason why interest was so high: bureaucracy. What better purpose for LLMs than churning out formulaic responses to formulaic requests? Eventually all involved will come to realize how useless their processes are. I am nothing if not optimistic.

    There are other real issues mentioned that are stalling LLM adoption everywhere. Call it what you want: scope creep, content leaks, what-have-you, but LLMs cannot partition the info put into them, so you have to dedicate one to your specific company if you don’t want anyone else getting access to info you put into it. NASA doesn’t routinely handle classified information, but it does have enough “controlled but unclassified” information that it cannot simply blanket allow people to use public LLMs.

  31. CA

    May 23, 2024

    Defying International Pressure, Israeli Forces Push Deeper Into Rafah

    The fighting came as the top court of the U.N. said it would respond to a South African petition for the court to order an immediate halt to the ground assault.

    May 23, 2024

    U.S. Military Faces Reality in Gaza as Aid Project Struggles

    The Pentagon predicted that a stream of humanitarian aid would be arriving in Gaza via the floating pier, but little relief has reached the besieged strip.

  32. djrichard

    > Toxic Gaslighting: How 3M Executives Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe ProPublica

    When humanity’s epitaph is written, this will be part of it.

  33. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding the glue on pizza, I think that this evokes the Simon and Garfunkle song The Sounds of Silence, particularly the neon god they made part:

    Hello darkness, my old friend
    I’ve come to talk with you again
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within the sound of silence

    In restless dreams, I walked alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone
    ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
    I turned my collar to the cold and damp
    When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
    That split the night
    And touched the sound of silence

    And in the naked light, I saw
    Ten thousand people, maybe more
    People talking without speaking
    People hearing without listening
    People writing songs that voices never shared
    And no one dared
    Disturb the sound of silence

    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words, like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence

    And the people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made
    And the sign flashed out its warning
    In the words that it was forming
    Then the sign said, “The words on the prophets are written on the subway walls
    In tenement halls”
    And whispered in the sound of silence

  34. thousand points of green

    In that article ” The World Is Ignoring the Other Deadly Kind of Carbon ” , I see the following couple of sentences . . . ” Fortunately, there’s much more we can do about the black carbon that humans are directly spewing into the atmosphere. A major source here is unclean cooking fuels like wood and charcoal, particularly in India, China, and sub-Saharan Africa. Less-polluting fossil fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas, could act as transition fuels, but the eventual ideal would be electrification, or solar-powered devices that focus the sun’s light to cook food. “Clean cooking has to be a very powerful emergency-brake solution,”
    says Jameel. “The World Bank estimates about $10 billion per year is needed to fund cooking solutions, so that everyone by 2030 has access to some form of improved cooking fuel, yet the funding is 10 times lower.” The health and environmental costs of inaction would be $2.4 trillion annually, the World Bank adds.”

    Ten billion per year to fund clean cooking solutions? Plus all the replacement for those clean solutions forever after? That’s a lot of iron rice bowls. Is there a cheaper way which would be just as clean while permitting the World’s Poor to use their own sustainably-grown bio-fuel resources for free without having to buy fuel or solutions from the Lords of the Iron Rice Bowl? Maybe there is.

    Lonely ill-funded researchers and fabricators have been working on Completely Complete Combustion stove designs for wood and other bio-fuel. Approvecho Research Center is one of several groups and people working on the problem. One such design approach is called the ” rocket stove”. Here is a bunch of images of “rocket stoves” with an url for each image so people can go url diving if they wish.;_ylt=AwrJ_FCEoU9mIeIESfpXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=aprovecho+rocket+stove&fr=sfp#id=0&×705.jpg&action=click
    Claims are made that these stoves completely combust the biofuel ( usually wood) all the way down to CO2 and H2O with zero black carbon emissions. I have not heard of these claims being debunked.

    And what could lead to getting the same amount of cooking done as before while reducing the amount of fuel needed to do the cooking? Insulated heat-trapper passive cookers of various designs. Here is a bunch of images of “haybox cookers”.;_ylt=AwrFbgOzok9mIuUF_KtXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=haybox+cooker+image&fr=sfp#id=0&
    Here is an article called Rediscovering Haybox Cooking from Mother Earth News.

    Finally, I don’t know if anyone is working on a concept of “micro-mass-masonry” hot-blocks for cooking, but I could imagine a concept whereby the Totally Efficient Combustion rocket-stove or other clean-combustion stove could be used to heat up a thermal block with a cooktop friendly top-surface on which the cooking could be done after the thermal block was loaded with heat. If I had any invention skills, I would try inventing it myself. Since I have no such skills, I offer the idea for free in case any passing inventor thinks it is worth turning into a real invention.

    1. c_heale

      Rocket stoves aren’t a new invention. Similar designs are probably already being used in the developing world already.

      I doubt very much that developing world fires are the only problem. It’s far more likely that incomplete combustion of the millions of years of fossil fuel deposits, and wildfires caused by global warming are also culprits

  35. polar donkey

    Indian Authoritarianism- A friend of mine did IT consulting for large corporations here in Memphis, Fedex etc. 2019 he left IT. The last job he did, he was in a meeting, IT project manager was older white who was telling the Indian programmers what the project was. Project manager didn’t really know much programming. The lead Indian guy started saying what he would do programming-wise to the manager. My friend realized he was making a face that showed that is poor solution to this programming project that the Indian guys could see. My friend quickly changed his expression. He is convinced corporate IT is held together with duct tape and bubble gum. What I realized, was that Indian intelligence agencies have infiltrated almost all US corporations’ IT systems. AutoZone was just as dependent on Indian programmers as Fedex.

    1. Willow

      Well documented that in lead up and during WW2 India had a formidable intelligence service & code breaking operations – on par with Australia & Canada. No reason to believe any of this technical edge has been lost. (Same with Türkiye)

    2. Lefty Godot

      I think the “IT is held together with duct tape and bubble gum” phenomenon is happening all over. Loss of institutional knowledge via layoffs and outsourcing is considered “best practices” by the C-suite denizens, and spending more on information security would mean less for their bonuses. Making so many systems go through the internet for everything adds more complexity (just testing and deploying code changes has become more than half the workload now) and introduces more opportunities for chaos to ensue. And (nothing new here) management habitually grasps at the latest fad that promises to be a silver bullet for their IT problems. As with the brittleness of overly cost-optimized supply chains, the probable failure modes of much modern software are going to be exposed in dramatic fashion sooner or later.

      [Note to site admin: I’m not seeing the all italics any more, but the dates on my unposted comments still seem thousands of years in the future.]

  36. Willow

    >> Egypt changed terms of Gaza ceasefire deal presented to Hamas, surprising negotiators
    If West has lost the Egyptian intelligence services then Egypt is heading for conflict, either internally or with Israel.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      I remember reading that it was one particular Egyptian Intelligence person who introduced the changes, not
      ” Egyptian intelligence” in general. But that is just my memory.

      1. Willow

        At this level of seniority there’s no such thing as a ‘lone wolf’ in something so visible.

  37. Willow

    > How Rishi Sunak shocked Westminster with a snap general election

    Very much agree with Alexander Mercouris – Sunak is doing Starmer a favour by calling UK election early. Except its not so much risk minor parties getting into power but because Labour bleeding support to minor parties could well push the ‘anti-war’ Liberal Democrats into role as ‘king-makers’.

  38. juliania

    I just finished watcing the Michael Hudson/Richard Wolfe ‘Dialogue Works’ piece above. Here’s how their final scenario this electoral cycle shall work:

    All those who now feel disinclined to vote simply change places with those who feel the urge to vote – switch places! If you can’t vote for a democrat though you are or would be so inclined — don’t vote! And likewise, republicans who in a better political scenario would be voters — stay home!

    And those of us wanting actual change — turn up and vote!

    We’re just about equal in numbers, so big party folk — you’ve had your chance to make this a prosperous and goodhearted country — it didn’t work!!

    Time to let us little people have a turn.

    I’m sticking my “Jill Stein”[Oxi] /We are the 99%” sign out front again. It can’t hurt!

  39. Expat2uruguay

    Here is a theory: Russia responds to US missiles hitting civilian targets in Russia by attacking 1 or more US military bases in Syria.

    Pros: Military Target. Doesn’t demand a NATO response. Direct response to US Neocons that a red line has been crossed.

    If this is a crazy idea that could never happen, please explain why not…

    Because of how it could affect the present conflict in “the middle east”?

    Perhaps Xi and Putin discussed this recently? Someone would have had to discuss it with Iran as well I suppose…

  40. Expat2uruguay

    My official position regarding the presidential election: I’m voting third party and hoping Trump wins. Are there other people that have this strategy?

    Since my vote is counted by California where I am disenfranchised by the winner take all system, my only power in the election lies in a protest vote against the duopoly. As to hoping that Trump wins, well that’s more complicated. But it’s mostly based on past performance since I’ve now seen both men as president. I think Biden was the worst of the two.

    1. Lena

      I’ve decided not to vote. I hoping nobody wins. I don’t know how this will happen but I’m going to keep hope alive.

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