Links 5/25/2024

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Dear patient readers,

This is a big holiday weekend in the US. We will be observing it as we have in past years via reduced coverage through Tuesday. Hope those of you in the US get some well-deserved R&R!

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Mother’s joy as son named world’s youngest male artist BBC

‘My songs spread like herpes’: why did satirical genius Tom Lehrer swap worldwide fame for obscurity? Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Birth of universe’s earliest galaxies observed for first time ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Reversing progress, stroke rates are rising, especially in working-age adults STAT. As Lambert is wont to say, ’tis a mystery. The story claims Covid played no role. Would like someone familiar with statistical methods in medicine to weigh in. After all, stroke rates fell previously even as the cited factors, obesity and opioid abuse, were getting worse.

Mary Lou Retton is sharing an update on her ongoing health issues CNN. Paul R offers a second “‘Tis a mystery!”

New tests confirm milk from flu-infected cows can make other animals sick — and raise questions about flash pasteurization CNN (ma)

We Still Aren’t Testing Enough Farmers for Bird Flu Bloomberg (ma). Subhead: Only 40 people in the entire country have been tested for H5N1. Let that sink in.”

These autonomous drones can recharge themselves from power lines ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin). This is illegal when poor people do it.



The “Energy Transition” Won’t Happen City Journal


China’s second day of war games around Taiwan tests ability to ‘seize power’ Reuters

China’s defense ministry says every “Taiwan independence” provocation to invite countermeasures Xinhua (Chuck L)

Philippines, Japan near reciprocal troops deal in move to counter China South China Morning Post

German defence industry says it will need government help to reduce dependence on China Reuters

European Disunion

The Denmark secret: how it became the world’s most trusting country – and why that matters Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

La belle France

French president Emmanuel Macron delays New Caledonia voting reforms after deadly riots ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Macron says French troops will stay in New Caledonia ‘as long as necessary’ Aljazeera

Old Blighty

A must view:

Michael Gove quits as Tory election exodus continues Politico (Kevin W). UK based readers, feel free to correct me, but my impression was that Gove was less terrible than the typical Tory front-bencher. Not that that is a high bar.

Jeremy Corbyn expelled from Labour Party after confirming he will stand as independent in general election Independent (Kevin W). Recall George Galloway asked Corbyn to join his Workers Party effort.

Cost of living crisis drives 3 million cash-strapped Brits to ‘dangerous’ loan sharks, study finds. Big Issue


Global outcry for immediate stop to Rafah offensive grown too loud to ignore: UN relief chief Anadolu Agency

* * *

‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 230: Israel lashes out at West Bank in wake of ICC request Mondoweiss (guurst)

* * *

US plans to be ‘very involved’ in post-war Gaza – Politico RT (Kevin W). So the US has been writing checks to fund the war but has had no say about what happens. So does this similarly mean we will be funding Israeli real estate entrepreneurs?

* * *


The message of Israel’s torture chambers is directed at all of us, not just Palestinians Middle East Eye (Chuck L)

Gaza Protests

Follow the Money: How Israel-Linked Billionaires Silenced US Campus Protests Scheerpost (Micael T)

Police Make First Arrest for Assault on Pro-Palestine Protesters at UCLA Common Dreams. Recall UCLA was where pro-Israel locals came in and assaulted protestors.

New Not-So-Cold War

SITREP 5/24/24: Situation Turns Critical as De-legitimized Zelensky Dangerously Escalates Simplicius the Thinker

Sergey Lavrov: Europe as a partner was irrelevant for Russia for at least one generation International Affairs (Micael T)

Russia alarmed NATO allies by proposing to unilaterally redraw its border in the Baltic Sea, before withdrawing the bombshell text without offering an explanation Politico

US Accuses Russia of Launching Anti-Satellite Weapon, West & Russia Veto Each Others UNSC Draft Resolutions on Space Weapons, Zelensky Demands NATO Shoot Down Russian Missiles, more… Mark Sleboda, Political Misfits

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Apple Wi-Fi Positioning System open to global tracking abuse The Register (Chuck L)

Samsung Requires Independent Repair Shops to Share Customer Data, Snitch on People Who Use Aftermarket Parts, Leaked Contract Shows 404 Media (Micael T)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Reps Want Defense Companies to Rip Off the Government Jacobin (Kevin W)

Dubious Eagle: Why Has Pentagon Pumped $756 Mln Into Hypersonic Missile That Doesn’t Fly? Sputnik. See above.

US House Committee Proposes ‘Automatic’ Sign-Up for Military Draft (Kevin W)

Geopolitical risks top concern for global family offices, UBS survey shows Reuters

The ‘Rules-Based Order’ Is the Enemy of International Law Daniel Larison


This was before a major holiday weekend and NYC really empties out then. Still….


Americans aren’t falling for the Biden spin machine’s lies about the economy The Hill (Kevin W)

House passes bill barring Federal Reserve from issuing digital dollar The Hill (Kevin W). Notice the title: CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act.


Democrats see Supreme Court crisis in second Alito flag controversy The Hill. I hate to have to point out that not only did Ruth Bader Ginzburg stay on the court despite her cancer so she could vote for abortion rights, but she also denounced Trump when he was first running. So it is not as if the appearance of impartiality has been upheld all that well in recent years.


[UK] Abortions surge past record 250,000 in a single year, with experts blaming cost of living crisis forcing women to terminate pregnancies ‘for purely financial reasons’ Daily Mail.

Why paying women to have more babies won’t work Economist (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

More Twitter Files: Your Posts Replaced With “Dog Pictures, Quinoa Recipes, and Sports Scores”? Matt Taibbi. I commented to Lambert that one of my two Twitter feeds has recently become overwhelmed by cute animal videos. And in my news feed, it’s HOURS after the ICJ ordered Israel to cut it out in Rafah, yet nada in that feed despite my following people of the Max Blumenthal school of thought.

EVs Twice As Likely To Hit Pedestrians As Gasoline Vehicles OilPrice. Some victim-blaming in the theory that pedestrians don’t hear EVs. They weigh a ton more than old fashioned cars. It would seem that less effective braking could play a role. Any data on accidents generally?

Frontier Airlines CEO urges crackdown of ‘rampant abuse’ of airport wheelchair service CNBC (Kevin W)

For the first time since the financial crisis, investors in top-rated bonds backed by commercial real estate debt are getting hit with losses. Bloomberg


Fritz Lang First Depicted Artificial Intelligence on Film in Metropolis (1927), and It Frightened People Even Then Open Culture

Sam Altman Is Full Of Shit Ed Zitron (Micael T)

Google promised a better search experience — now it’s telling us to put glue on our pizza The Verge (Micael T)

Google Is Paying Reddit $60 Million for Fucksmith to Tell Its Users to Eat Glue 404 Media. Micael T: “But of course, fucksmith gets nothing.”

The Bezzle

The Prophet Who Failed Harpers (Anthony L)

“Unacceptable”: Spotify bricking Car Thing devices in Dec. without refunds ars technica (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Most Americans falsely think the U.S. is in recession, poll shows CNBC. Ahem, this means most Americans personally are in a recession

Norfolk Southern will pay $15 million fine as part of federal settlement over Ohio derailment Associated Press (Kevin W). Here because this sum is couch lint.

Antidote du jour. Stephen T: “A snail on the stroll in downtown Tillamook, Oregon.”:

And a bonus (furzy). I know it may seem mean to make animals in captivity do tricks but the sea lions in the Central Park children’s zoo were enthusiastic about them. Admittedly they got lots of fish for their trouble.

And a second bonus from furzy, who is in the hospital with multiple hairline fractures of her pelvis. Her doctors have told her she should stay there for 3 months. She is resisting and plans to go home much sooner and be tended by her household staff. Yours truly and other friends (including one who needed a second operation and hospitalization after going home too soon after breaking her hip) have been telling her fiercely that this is unwise. Note that furzy needs only extreme bed rest to heal and not a procedure. I imagine this is to tell us how she feels:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Good if scary article. Is the day far off when AI-controlled power grids shut us off during a heat wave to keep the AI alive?

      Jevon’s Paradox in operation.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          It’s all worth it in order to get that fabulous advice on how to make pizzas.

      1. Mikel

        “Is the day far off when AI-controlled power grids shut us off during a heat wave to keep the AI alive?”

        What about the water? They already envision more recycled sewage for people to drink.

        Algorithmic induced climate change.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Or how about ” is the day far off when AI-controlled power grids shut us off during a heat wave in order to raise the number of heat stroke casualities in order to reduce the population”?

          In line with the Jackpot Plan?

    2. John Steinbach

      Article does a good job of describing the almost unimaginable energy required to fuel the “cloud” and “artificial intelligence”, & how this reality contradicts the goal of an “energy transformation” to a low carbon emission future.

      In the concluding paragraph, the author lets the cat out of the bag when he’s says, “The world will need all forms of energy production imaginable. An “energy transition” would only restrict energy supplies—and that’s not going to happen. The good news is that the U.S. does have the technical and resource capacity to supply the energy needed. The only question is whether we have the political will to allow the proverbial “all of the above” energy solutions to happen.”

    3. Mark Dempsey

      The “Energy Transition” Won’t Happen article rehashes the old saw that energy use increases even as energy efficiency increases. What it omits, however, is that a lot of the increase (data centers, cloud computing, AI) will permit (typically private) “Power-Purchase Agreements” (PPAs). These are among the few things that make renewables bankable. Since the bulk of the expenses renewable installations require are up-front costs, bankability is an enormous help in getting these projects off the ground. Without such agreements, renewables projects often don’t get funded.

      Renewables currently produce power more cheaply than conventional sources, but their attendant costs–requirements for lots of land, connection to the grid, etc.–make them less profitable, and profit guides investment decisions. This lack of profitability, compared to drilling more oil wells, is why the oil majors have by and large abandoned their forays into renewables.

      I’ve written a bit more (and quoted a bit more) from the source of this observation, Brett Christophers’ The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet here.

      1. Bsn

        This is all a great example of trying to use tech to fix tech. Kinda like using water to dry something out. The less tech the better, in general.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        That is not the source of the observation. It’s Jevons’ Paradox and dates from 1865, FFS. Jevons was one of the three fathers of neoclassical economics.

        I don’t see how anyone can take your claims to expertise seriously when you make a gaffe like that. See Satyajit Das’ eight-part Energy Destinies for a far more informative treatment. This final post in his eight-part series has links to all the predecessors:

  1. The Rev Kev

    Best wishes to furzy and hope that she takes it real easy at home. I’d like to fault furzy in wanting to leave the hospital early instead of staying the full three months but on the other hand there is the worry about picking up the latest strain of Covid in a hospital environment if mask discipline isn’t maintained. Kinda six of one or half a dozen of the other here. Nonetheless, best wishes regardless.

    1. dk

      Seconded in full. From own experience with spinal injury, immobility is the great healer, especially of bone. If I may suggest, self-stupification via CBD might help to pass the arduous time, but of course ydy. Best wishes for your recovery!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Her hospital is super new, high ceilings, and seems well ventilated. And not much Covid here right now. But I understand the concern. And thanks for your good wishes!

    3. MaryLand

      Sending hugs to you, Furzy. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital followed by 4 weeks in rehab for a spine infection. I brought 2 HEPA filter/fans and had my husband plug them in in my room. We did not ask permission, but answered any questions truthfully. No medical personnel objected. I always asked staff to please close the door when they were leaving the room. I have been wearing a mask the whole time except for eating and taking pills. After 6 weeks I haven’t noticed any symptoms of Covid. If you wish, you can offer staff a mask to wear when they come in without a mask.

      If at all possible follow doctor’s orders. I personally know two people who did not and ended up with permanent damage that has drastically decreased their way of living.

    4. jax

      Best wishes to Furzy as she heals. I thoroughly understand her desire to recuperate at home. Beyond the assorted Viri stalking hospital corridors, the fact is that hospitals are *loud. * Unless furzy has a private suite in a top-of-the-line facility, she is being woken up 24/7 by the bells, beeps, alarms, and barely conscious CNAs shouting at their patients as they enter the room next door. It’s bedlam and I don’t blame her for wanting to get out.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, private hospitals here for farangs are not like US hospitals. She has a large high ceilinged private room, big window, with a nice view, even a fridge and a microwave, and the hospital is quiet.

        1. Jessica

          Hospitals in Thailand for foreigners can really be nice. Good for you, Furzy. Get well. I wish you boat loads of patience.

      2. Laughingsong

        Agreed! It’s the food and the noise that drives one crazy. If Furzy needs extreme rest, hospitals are not the best place. Every time I’ve had to stay, I’ve always been awakened several times by loudly talking nurses and janitorial staff using floor cleaning machines.

        1. MaryLand

          That’s why I ask them to please close the door as they go out. It cuts down on noise quite a bit.

  2. dk

    Intended to send this in this terrifying thing but neglected to hit send.

    Since last fall I’ve been asking (US) people about how old their air conditioners are. More that 2 years, I’d invest in a new ones. Do it now. Last chance before prices go through the roof and supply runs low/out.

    What you need to know about record-breaking heat in the Atlantic
    The ocean heat could fuel an unusually active hurricane season.

      1. ambrit

        Hide that backup power supply while you are at it. After Katrina, portable generators occasionally “went walkies” in the middle of a night.
        Put solar panels on the back side of the roof if possible.
        Just “Be Prepared.” The old Scouts had a good thing going.

  3. digi_owl


    The fuck now?!

    Yet the Russians and Palestinians are the nazis. Really tempting to go drown myself in a bottle and let the world burn.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just finished reading about this Ukrainian unit and the whole thing is just a war crime on steroids. More to the point, it is a recreation of the infamous Japanese Unit 731 of WW2-

      At the end of WW2 the US grabbed as many of those staff as they could but not to prosecute them but to protect them and give them immunity. Lots of those torture doctors went on to achieve high ranking medical positions in Japan after the war and had distinguished careers. I would expect the same for these Ukrainian doctors when this war ends.

      1. Joker

        After the war, Chinese and Soviets wanted to prosecute those torture doctors. USA dismissed it as communist propaganda. Nowdays things are different. Instead of communist propaganda we have Chinese propaganda and Russian propaganda.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The Russians did manage to capture some of those doctors and put them in prison where they were reminded every day just what they did that got them there. Years later the Russians finally released them and they went back to Japan where they met their former colleagues. When these former prisoners talked about their time at Unit 731 they were shocked that their colleagues maintained they remembered nothing like they claimed as they had blocked all memories of it. Convenient that.

        2. JTMcPhee

          And Dr. Fauci and other Democide Docs and Assistants to carry on the rich tradition. Not to mention all the Axis (including Japanese, of course) Dr. Evils who were Paperclipped to the Holy Democratic West to carry their work forward…

        3. Emma

          Sometimes I feel the only way we can fix the problems with our evil elites and their nearly as evil lackeys is to do what the Soviets and the CPC did after winning WWII. This time without a CIA operated ratline and wholesale restoration of these people into NATO and the LDP.

      2. ambrit

        The “Holy Ukranian Crusade” cannot “end,” it can only “be ended.”
        I sense a “Ukraine Was Stabbed in the Back” Legend forming as we type.

        1. rowlf

          Who Lost China part II?

          Too bad western oligarchs can’t get a break in accessing foreign sovereign resources. /s

      3. Jessica

        If you ever read about North Korean claims of US bio warfare during the Korean War and read how totally laughable such claims are, keep this piece of history in mind.

    2. What? No!

      Really? Really? In 2024? In Ukraine? Someone really needs the answers to these kinds of gruesome questions? Really? Still?

      It’s not that it’s unthinkable, of course. It’s just … so over the top vs. so little verified detail vs. so much shock value vs. so little actual gain.

      1. Sam

        Israel is doing the same thing to its prisoners.
        Jonathan Cook details it and even CNN reported on it.

        1. Objective Ace

          Sodomozing vs pouring molten hot lead down someone’s throat and leaving them to die (and worse). Both terrible, but I’d give the edge to Ukraine as far as inhumanity and callousness

    3. SOMK

      Whilst I wouldn’t put it past ‘them’, all that indicates is my bias, it sits for me in the zone of potentially credible, but at the same time, if true it would put the Ukraine on something of a par with Nazi Germany and because that is one of Russia’s specific military aims to denazify, so there’s a chance it could be falsified too.

      Did a quick search on the source and it turned up this tweet by a Spanish Journalist David Puente vis a vis ‘The Foundation of Battle Injustice’ over a story from March, use of AI, repurposed images from other sources etc. (Article is in Spanish but can be machine translated, at an amateur glance it seems somewhat credible)

      Which may throw some doubt over the veracity of this story(?).

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Macron says French troops will stay in New Caledonia ‘as long as necessary’”

    Macron here making a dog’s breakfast for France once more. The Olympics is only several weeks away and the French have really ramped up security. The requirements for manpower are so great that France that had to ask other EU countries to send contingents of their police to plug the gaps. But suddenly Macron gets it into his head that as he has lost chunks of Africa, that no way will he lose New Caledonia because of their nickel deposits. To do this, a law was passed to make long-term resident French people in that country suddenly get the right to vote and it was not a “reform” as Al Jazeera says but a power play to have the French lock down this country. To nobody’s surprise, massive riots broke out as people there were revolting over this which forced Macron to station 3,000 troops in New Caledonia. Troops that are badly needed to maintain security in the Paris Olympics. Macron could have announced this “reform” after the Olympics were over but Macron being Macron decided he had to do it now.

      1. Bugs

        Macron’s government is a reflection of him – conceited, arrogant, inept, amateurish, incompetent, naive and seemingly unable to calculate beyond two tactical moves in any strategy. There was a structure (combined counsel) in place in New Caledonia (Kanaky) to manage any proposals for changes in law or institutions by either the colonial authorities or the local chiefs. The government ignored the counsel and simply announced that any French national who had relocated to the archipelago would be able to vote in local elections, upsetting a carefully negotiated balance that had been in place for around 30 years, and seemed to work. And of course, his solution is to send in the military and say that return to law and order will be enforced by the colonial masters.

    1. Aurelien

      It’s an immigration issue. New Caledonia is part of France, formerly a French Overseas Territory, now with a whole new status to itself after decades of rough and sometimes violent demands by a faction of the original inhabitants (the Kanaks) for independence. Although they have lost all of the three referendums that have been held, and there is no serious possibility of the islands becoming independent now, they continue to agitate, sometimes violently, because the Kanaks are now a clear minority in the islands. There’s always been a large white and mixed-race population, but recent years have seen the arrival of immigrants from countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

      After decades of crisis and violence, and attempts to find band-aid solutions, New Caledonia has a status so complicated that hardly anyone understands it, and whole books have been written on the subject. (For example, it’s part of France but outside the Schengen area.) Logically, French citizens, and nationalised French citizens from elsewhere, should be able to vote in all elections, but this is such a sensitive issue that there are now three electoral lists, and in order to vote in important elections, you have to fulfil increasingly complex criteria. The result of this is to disenfranchise French citizens and those who want that status from voting in important elections if they have arrived in roughly the last twenty-five years. This is hard to defend on equality grounds, but successive governments have fiddled with the problem over the years in an attempt to stop it blowing up. Macron has, as usually, charged in without thinking.

      By the way, commentators have not failed to notice the bizarre position that the (notional) Left in France has found itself in: essentially arguing that immigration is a bad thing, and that the franchise in part of France should effectively be limited to those with skin of a certain colour.

      1. Emma

        Settler colonies halfway around the world from the ‘motherland’ are not that complicated to understand. The details may differ but the broad strokes vary rather little.

        Especially when they come with a substantial tin deposits and the original inhabitants see their way of life being eradicated by recent settlers. Ask a Hawaiian how they feel about getting priced out of their home.

        1. CA

          Especially when they come with substantial [nickel] deposits…

          New Caledonia is rich in nickel.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘Logically, French citizens, and nationalised French citizens from elsewhere, should be able to vote in all elections’

        You mean people from a totally different country over 16,000 kilometers away on the other side of the planet that are being given the franchise so that the people in those islands never have a real say in the running of their country. Those ones?

        1. Polar Socialist

          Sounds like the textbook definition of colonialism, to be sure. Thankfully colonialism is not one the European values, so it just can’t be…

        2. Aurelien

          No, French citizens, including citizens of other overseas territories and little yellow people. (France has a number of overseas territories, like Britain has Gibraltar.) This is a simple everyday story of a previously dominant indigenous ethnic group afraid of being overwhelmed and replaced by new immigrants often with different coloured skins, and seeking to preserve their position as those who have the franchise and thus make the decisions. Their efforts, including violent ones, have enabled them to get a status for the islands unique in France, and probably the world. But not even the racial purists among the Kanaks now believe that independence is a real possibility, not least because it would be an economic disaster. So geopolitics doesn’t enter into it, except insofar as China has been going around the Pacific buying up companies (and islands) that extract and process nickel, and would certainly love to get their hands on New Caledonia. But there’s no chance of that at the moment.

          1. Bugs

            Indeed. And which authority decided that these new “little yellow people” could emigrate to New Caledonia? I think we can see exactly where your politics are situated by such a choice of words. There’s a point where one has to accept that those colonized people may be just as clever as you are and must have a say over their affairs; otherwise you end up with Algeria.

          2. Emma

            Thus far, I have not seen a single Chinese “buy up” or “takeover” that’s anywhere near as exploitative as the typical Western Global South deal. The Chinese do not interfere with local politics, they are willing to renegotiate unpayable debts for collateral or change debt terms including cancellations, and they build tangible infrastructure and upgraded value add facilities, rather than primary extraction and unbuilt stuff (viz Clinton Foundation on Haiti reconstruction). To the extent that they misbehave as all businessmen will do when given the chance, it’s much easier for local peoples and governments to reign in their bad behavior.

            So wouldn’t any sensible local population look at China(or Russia) want the latitude to choose? And why wouldn’t they look with hostility and suspicion on new arrivals from the Hexagon and Africa as intruders looking to replace them and destroy their way of life? You speak of the hopelessness of their cause, but as we see in Algeria and Indochina and RSA, these “long term” settlers were always primarily loyal to the Metropole and will leave en mass when the situation is less favorable for them.

            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              How many South African Afrikaaners have left South Africa? Enough yet to be en mass?

      3. CA

        “By the way, commentators have not failed to notice the bizarre position that the (notional) Left in France has found itself in: essentially arguing that immigration is a bad thing, and that the franchise in part of France should effectively be limited to those with skin of a certain colour.”

        Especially important.

  5. GramSci

    I think the “Why paying women to have more babies won’t work – Economist” headline is mislabeled. Shouldn’t that be “The Onion”?

    1. BeaveS

      Not paying for the article but I thought it was a feature not a bug of the economy that in your late 20’s you had to choose between being able to afford to have real food, reliable cars and that week vacation in Cozumel or a 12 year old mini-van, processed food, the threat of housing loss and the risk of $70,000 of Medicare debt to have kids in the USA. Turing that on its head and receiving no medical bills and $70,000 would be HUGE.
      Yet somehow the Economist can write a story denying my lived experience….

    2. Louis Fyne

      for some people, more cash = more babies…but not all.

      Parenting is f……ing tough. Best case: it’s the toughest job that you’ll ever love (to paraphrase the old Peace Corps advert).

      It’s death by 1000 cuts….lack of free intra-family childcare, growing up in a dysfunctional house, you just want to travel, etc.

      Alas policymakers are freaked out beacuse they want to keep open a spigot of cheap labour/pipeline of new consumers

      1. The Rev Kev

        If they want that pipeline open for cheap labour and new consumers, they could always open up the southern border. Oh, wait…

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘I commented to Lambert that one of my two Twitter feeds has recently become overwhelmed by cute animal videos. And in my news feed, it’s HOURS after the ICJ ordered Israel to cut it out in Rafah, yet nada in that feed despite my following people of the Max Blumenthal school of thought.’

    Obviously a result of when Musk visited Netanyahu last November and made all sorts of agreements while there. The only question is this. Did the Israelis arrange to have a unit help Twitter censor such stories or did Musk re-hire all those people that used to work for Twitter that were responsible for censoring stories before he took Twitter over. Inquiring minds wish to know-

  7. mrsyk

    Second link under Class Warfare needs a title. It’s about Norfolk Southern’s East Palestine settlement.

    1. mrsyk

      Holy crap. Is McKinsey considered politically neutral amongst the team red and the team blue?

      1. SocalJimObjects

        I think Yves was referring to China’s willingness to escalate and go as far as invading Taiwan. Just a couple of days ago, the new President Lai Ching Te did explicitly mention that China and Taiwan are two separate countries which invited a very strong response from China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (I read this in a local paper). The President is certainly free to make such statements but ultimately Taiwan is a democracy and the issue has to be put to a vote, and the yays don’t have enough votes,

        As to McKinsey, everyone involved in the project probably received a pretty hefty compensation on top of a hukou for a city of their choice. Darn, that actually sounds like a pretty cool project and if afterwards I can live in Kunming, I will sign up in a heartbeat!!!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I was referring to McKinsey, I specifically mentioned a tweet.

          If the Firm were to lose all of its Federal contracts, it could do real damage, particularly if it was well drafted and they extended the ban to companies that have Federal contract too. That would pick up a fair chunk of their consulting to private equity firms.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I cannot imagine what McKinsey’s 300-pages on how the CCP could dominate future war technology might recommend that could top the effectiveness of the u.s. Pentagon’s procurement policies and the u.s. Industrial policy of the last several decades. And remember the accomplishments of u.s. foreign and domestic policy. In a few short decades the u.s. Elites have trashed u.s. Industry, made the u.s. dependent on long narrow supply chains often ending at producers in the CCP. The Elites have deeply alienated large swaths of the u.s. Populace, the Populace in other parts of the world, and the governments of many foreign nations.

    2. Mikel

      “That “think tank” then authored a 300-page book on how the CCP could dominate future war technology and gave it to CCP Premier Li Keqiang…”

      Those of us with our enhanced tracking protection can no longer see any more detail to the tweets.

      But the CCP wasn’t “given” anything. Wonder how much they paid? And eye opening that the CCP is hiring Mckinsey.
      Multipolar neoliberalism…here we come!

  8. Koldmilk

    Regarding EVs Twice As Likely To Hit Pedestrians:

    EVs accelerate quicker and this could catch both drivers and pedestrians by surprise.

    Heavier EVs are likely to be less responsive for evasive maneuvers. I expect they would do worse on the moose test than a similarly sized IC vehicle which would be lighter.

    In my experience the combination of several factors is different enough to affect habits both drivers and pedestrians have learned from IC vehicles: EVs accelerate quicker, brake and evade slower, and are quieter.

      1. Alice X

        My 26 y/o Honda gets me down the same quarter mile, but I’d probably walk just the same.

    1. funemployed

      It seems to me that the places most pedestrians walk would also be the places most EVs drive. Would bet a map overlapping EV density with pedestrian collisions would explain most if not all of this.

    2. Bsn

      I see this happening with electric bikes as well. When I drive, I’ll see a bike and think “OK, a bicycle going about 10 mph, in the bike lane”. Then, BAM, it’s right there. It’s a bit deceptive since I associate a bike with a given speed, but it’s going 20 mph.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      The study has a very obvious flaw. It assumes EV’s and ICE vehicles travel similar mileages, but a very quick google shows several studies indicating that this isn’t true. EV’s are used more heavily, partially because the capital/running cost balance (i.e., once bought, they are very cheap to run), plus they are more likely to be bought by high mileage commercial users such as taxi drivers or urban delivery companies.

      Even allowing for this, the other reason can be found by looking at the EV record with car hire companies. They find far more minor damage per rental for a simple reason – EV’s are far more fun to drive, so they encourage sharp acceleration. Even the cheap city EV’s are far more responsive, so are likely to be driven faster and more recklessly, especially by drivers who have just made the change.

      The other issue – obvious to anyone who lives in an urban area – is that many people use their ears to judge the right time to cross. When they have no aural signal, people just wander across narrow streets without looking. Every cyclist knows this. This is why bikes have to have bells. The silence of EV’s create this hazard – a pretty easy one to address.

    4. steppenwolf fetchit

      I remember reading somewhere that the reason moose-car collisions are so much more likely fatal to the driver than deer-car collisions are is two reasons . . .

      1: Moose is way heavier than deer.
      2: Moose body is so high up on tall legs that the car hits the legs and the moose-body comes right in through the windshield at the speed the car is going.

      So if we are to go to all-electric heavycars, perhaps we need to redesign the front end so that the whole front end, hood and windshield act together as one big Mooseshedder, “pushing” the moose up and over the car as the car ( including super-strong moose-proof windshield) slides under and past the moose.

      I could imagine Elon Musk being the first to invent an aggressively moose-proof design along these lines.
      ” Who owns the road? You or that moose?”
      ” Okay Bullwinkle. Make. My. Day.”

    1. Mike

      And, to add to the political identity wars, conservatives are picking up the cudgels for raw dairy producers here, because “freedom” and “government restriction of trade”.

      1. Late Introvert

        It makes me wonder if there will be a reduced population of the “freedumb” crowd over the next decades, and/or those who survive will be even more belligerent.

        1. wendigo

          The good news is that communicable diseases won’t discriminate based on ideology so all crowds will get the opportunity to reduce.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “China stages mock missile strikes on Taiwan, jets with live missiles used in drills’

    There may be a parallel in the past with what the Chinese might be doing. During the Cuba Missile Crisis Kennedy set up a blockade of this island to keep out any new weapons only he termed it a “quarantine” for legal reasons. In addition, it was done in international waters and not Cuban waters. But Taiwan is different. For one, China regards Taiwan as a part of China – as does the US State Department – so technically Taiwanese waters would be Chinese waters. And if it went over into military action, it would be technically a civil war and not an act of war. I ‘ll let the international lawyers argue that one out. But does the west try and defy the blockade? Will a container ship try to make a run for it and refuse to hove over under Chinese Navy commands? This could very easily turn into a shooting war and I think that some neocons would be happy at the thought-

    1. CA

      Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

      This is very significant. China is adopting a whole new playbook in response to Taiwan “salami slicing” its way towards independence.

      Now every time “Taiwan independence forces make provocations” there will be a response such as the 2-day blockade we’re currently witnessing in response to Lai Ching-te’s provocative inaugural speech.

      Which interestingly makes Taiwan independentists the main actors of reunification. This is telling them “if you want the status quo, it’s ok, but if you make a step towards independence it will actually become a step towards reunification”.

      10:20 PM · May 24, 2024

    2. ilsm

      Fun if PLA read Simplicus today to see how well they could do using cluster munitions against SAM sites in small space that is Formosa.

      Ukraine is shaping up to be the test kitchen the Spanish civil war was before WW II.

  10. timbers

    These autonomous drones can recharge themselves from power lines ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin). This is illegal when poor people do it. ………….not to mention all those free recharging stations many cash rich corporate employers have for employees with EV vehicles. Those free charging stations are icons of corporate woked-ness, for sure, and placed at the head of the line in terms of closeness to the office while The Deplorables are relegated to the furthest walk to work. If a company made a portable plug in the homeless could it would have to be banned. Corporations might place signs segregating the parking lots and garages labeled “Woke” and “Un-Woke”.

    1. Es s Ce Tera

      I’m not an electrical sort but I recall reading that the AC from these power lines is strong enough that a coil setup below a line would pick up stray EM, inducing current even if not connected to anything. People living near power lines have noticed light bulbs not completely shutting off. Boat masts near such lines generate charge. Etc. If true, I wonder if they can charge the drone just from parking below or flying in proximity to a line, no need to directly connect (although direct connection would probably speed up the charging process).

      1. Captain Obvious

        The drone charges the way you desribed. Grip is needed for turning off the motors (which increases charging speed), and achieving best possible proximity (which also increases charging speed).

        “Upon landing on the power lines, the drone grips on to the cable. This not only secures it but also harnesses the magnetic field created by the current in the power line to recharge the drone’s battery.”

      2. rowlf

        I can’t remember if it was my physics teacher in high school or the Master Electrician* teaching the Electrical Code class in college that had a story of someone had a house that the power company decided to run high tension lines over, after a legal fight about easements and such.

        Homeowner decide to run enough loops of wire in the attic of the house to to get 110/120 VAC. Power company eventually tracked it down due to power loss between stations.

        *He knew the back-story for every line in the code manual.

        Also: Fluorescent tube lights under transmission lines

  11. SocalJimObjects

    A good take on why Sunak decided to call for an early election

    1. King Charles III/Princess of Wales may be more ill than expected, and either one’s passing during the Tory’s reign can only hurt the ruling party.
    2. The situation in Ukraine is getting worse, which ties in with that tweet from Robin Monotti.
    3. A repeat of 2008 is very near.
    4. Incompetence. There are quite a few example of this, but since finance is Sunak’s forte, the performance of Future Fund is certainly a good indicator.

    1. MD in Berlin

      That was roughly my thought on the Bridgen video. Rather than full-blown war, Sumak is looking at Ukraine defeat, Gaza disgrace, looming economic trouble and rising public anger, and dropping them all in Starmer’s lap.
      Not convinced as to Bridgen’s reliability though…

      1. The Rev Kev

        The guys at The Duran said that it is a weird election in that neither party has announced any sort of program or the like as usually happens before an election. So this sounds more like a passing of the baton but in Starmer’s case, he will discover that the baton is actually a stick of dynamite with a short burning fuse and covered in superglue so he can’t get rid of it. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Is Starmer even going to be “elected,” under that version of “Our Democracy ™” over there? I read that he has been defenestrated from the “Labour” Party and thinking to “run” or walk or crawl as an “Independent,” whatever that means in the wholly-owned-by-rich-rentier-class landlords Albion.

          1. MD in Berlin

            Um, are you thinking of Jeremy Corbyn? He’s standing. Hope he wins. Craig Murray is standing too, in Blackburn.

          2. Emma

            Starmer is challenged by long time anti-Aparteid activist Andrew Feinstein for his seat. I really hope Feinstein wins bigly as he is a good and principled man.

      2. Offtrail

        Not convinced as to Bridgen’s reliability though…

        I was quite alarmed by the posted interview, but his Wikipedia entry reveals a checkered history, to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    2. Louis Fyne

      #4 for the win. Sunak is not playing 4-D chess.

      that said…imo, whenever the next recession/credit crunch hits, it will break the trans-Atlantic “Ancien Regime” as there are too many intractable imbalances in the system that cannot be fixed by the standard playbook (cutting rates, flooding the system with easy money).

      Whichever parties that are in power will be left(proverbially) holding the bag.

    3. Mike

      aah, dear old Blighty (-ed?)—

      The despondent and desperate, led by the despicable and delusional. Aside from sabre-rattling for USA (they are slavering to become “area 51”), the best of British elites are now the intelligence and saboteur units in Ukraine, who were instrumental in the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn, although he seems to be back as an independent (I’d rather he breve up and join Galloway et al).

  12. john

    Re: Google. After the YouTube ad blocker debacle, I noticed Google placing ads pop ups on other folks sites. Turned on my vpn. Google translation is also nonsense. Simple french to english or spanish to english produce garbage.

    1. Ken Murphy

      My favorite Google translate was years ago when I got to Strasbourg for my year at ISU. The local CoC held a Scavenger Hunt as a team-building exercise and a way to show off the city. The instructions were of course in French, but they helpfully ran it through Google Translate and handed us the results.
      As we were struggling to figure out the clues, I suggested “Hey, why don’t we back this back into the French that would give us this translation, and work off of that instead?” My team won, and I still have the t-shirt.

      1. Procopius

        Usually, when you do that (French –> English –> French) you end up with an even more confusing mess. Glad it worked out for you.

  13. Joker

    Mother’s joy as son named world’s youngest male artist BBC

    Named by whom? Guinness World Records. They host a competition for inventing records. You just need to think of something they don’t already have in their book, and pay cash. I expect some aspiring mothers with female toddlers to get busy with paint and promotion.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      FWIW the kid actually does seem to have some talent.

      And who makes it in the art world is exceedingly arbitrary and self-promotion, including being willing to sleep with the right people, makes a big difference. So I would not be so hard on the mother. The Guinness gimmick is a way to overcome that…and it still may not work. The key is being purchased by collectors close to art dealers who are perceived to have an eye. Practically speaking, it’s no different than insiders ramping a stock.

      1. wol

        The art world is like anything else- the right schools, the right connections, trust funds, transactional sex, etc. An unhealthy dose of self-regard doesn’t hurt. Little man’s work is precocious (and his mother is a knockout, YMMV). The art world is overwhelmingly PMC and ID politics is the law of that land, eyes notwithstanding. His impulse mirrors the sensibility of Joan Mitchell and more recently, Gena Werfel.

  14. GlassHammer

    “Most Americans falsely think the U.S. is in recession, poll shows CNBC. Ahem, this means most Americans personally are in a recession”

    ^Yes, consumers can enter a recession way before the economy does. And if you talk to small business owners (or medium size regional business owners) they will tell you that they know when the customer is week and they adjust their operations the moment they detect that weakness.

    1. griffen

      I find some, but not most, commentary on CNBC to still be in the ranks of yes the average income American consumer might well be struggling with ongoing inflation pressures. However it still is a bit light on that perspective. I listened to some comments Friday afternoon, and still the argument of “inflation improving and rents trending lower”…by an otherwise smart individual who is frequently on the channel.

      Juxtaposed against this article below, as well, just makes one wonder which planet Earth are we talking about again? Housekeeper demand seems to be on fire. If you have the need to run a house or mansion with possibly more than a single housekeeper that is. Apologies if this was already posted and I could’ve missed it.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Data centers need more energy, AI needs more energy, both AI and data centers need more data for processing. This X-twtr clip is Erik Prince talking with Tucker Carlson.


      “We’ve been doing a study, following our device, a Google mobile services phone, or iPhone, and at about 3am, we’re seeing a spike of data leaving the phone – about 50MB.

      That is basically that phone dialing home to the mothership, exporting all of Pillow talk, whatever.

      Zuckerberg paid $20B for WhatsApp – why?

      Because every everything that goes through there is diced, and analyzed, and used to sell advertising to that customer.

      If you’re not paying for something, you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Just watched that interview.

        Prince has started a “smart” phone company that does not store any data, and manufactures its own hardware / handset. According to him, the phone is completely secure and even has a “burn” feature that completely wipes the phone when you enter a certain code if you’re asked to unlock it.

        And it’s cheaper than an I-phone.

        See details at

        1. JCC

          I’m not so sure about how “cheap” it is at over $900.00 + a yearly $130.00 subscription on top of regular T-Mobile/ATT subscription.

          Plus, after checking it out and reading the marketing hype, all I saw was marketing hype, as did this review:

          You may be better off using the NetGuard firewall and Signal. Just as good, I’m sure, and much less expensive.

  15. mrsyk

    Regarding the underwhelming number of people at the Trump rally in NYC, anybody else here giving up on participating in the election process? I for one am finished with it. And sure, I’m practically a commie, but I’m guessing apathy in the political process is bipartisan.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you think Trump’s rally was bad, Cornell West held a rally in Harlem the other day and there were only about two dozen people there, most of whom seemed to be white. There seems to be a total lack of enthusiasm with these elections and frankly I can understand why. None of the candidates will change anything that the country is doing or where it is heading so why bother?

      1. Emma

        There seems to be decent enthusiasm at RFKJr events and Jill Stein’s smaller scale events. Why would anyone be enthusiastic for West when he evinces zero enthusiasm for his own campaign.

        His skipping or on the Greens without warning and then having the gall to criticize Jill Stein for stepping in (to save the hard earned ballot lines that Nader and then Stein took decades to build up) makes clear his personal character. This is a man who calls Biden “brother”, mourned Navalny, and let his NED anti-Iran wife slander Raisi right after the helicopter crash. If he isn’t a full on radical sounding grifter, then he’s so poorly disciplined and uninformed about the world that he doesn’t deserve any position of public responsibility, including as a public educator of young minds.

    2. jefemt

      It’s not even June! Never say, “NEVER!” Jill Stein?

      Here’s one, 28 minutes, quite interesting to me, as I had never ever heard him speak.
      Last minute is quite something—- both George, and Margaret…..

      Mr. Kelly Anne Conway on Firing Line with Margaret Hoover:

      Kabuki? Crocodile Tears? As I said, it is not even June. BUT, it is Memorial Day. Much to ponder…..

      So, verdict in Campaign Finance Violation next week? And the Hunter Biden armed pub-crawl through the mud is next in the queue?

      Shining City on The Hill
      iron pyrite and mercury… fool’s gold and toxic.

    3. EMC

      Giving up on the election process? Yes, completely. A decision I made when the completely preventable war in Ukraine started. I will be outside the US through October and November. Sure, I could vote for Jill Stein, again, but I consider this a mental health move.

    4. doug

      I first voted for McGovern in 72, and decided last year I was done. The ‘choices’ presented to me by uniparty are unacceptable. So I too am finished with it, for now.

    5. Benny Profane

      I don’t know. That’s actually a sort of impressive crowd for Trump in the Bronx, of all places. Impressive he had the cajones to do that.

    6. Screwball

      Regarding the underwhelming number of people at the Trump rally in NYC

      According to the NYP, only 3500 were allowed in.

      Only 3,500 were permitted to enter the Bronx gathering, but the crowds outside the check-in gates well exceeded the capacity cap in hopes of watching the rare event.

      I thought it was kind of funny after AOC admitted the trial was like an ankle bracelet to keep him off the campaign trail, then hoped for rain during the rally in her own back yard.

      All these people suck and are not worth our votes. But I have to vote for/against somebody.

      1. Procopius

        But I have to vote for/against somebody.

        There’s nobody to vote for. Jill Stein is close, but there’s some policy or ideological premise she holds that I can’t agree with, if only I could remember what it is. Since there’s nobody to vote for, I can’t see how to vote against anybody. I’m considering voting for Trump just because he’s the one who initiated the pullout from Afghanistan and nothing else he did hurt me except the tax cut. At least that would be voting against Biden and the Dems. Trump sent me a little money, while Biden sent a little but still owes me $600.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Biden owes me $600 too. But I may well have more important things to weigh in the balance, one way or another.

    7. Es s Ce Tera

      I recommend agitating, organizing and participating in the political process in other ways than these broken non-representative elections, with a view to tossing the obviously broken electoral process. It would be nice to rewrite a constitution or two to implement a different arrangement, no presidents, no senators, no concentrations of power, and while we’re at it, also add separation of corporation and state while reinforcing separation of church and state. Own the problem, I say. Fix it. There’s no shortage of ideas to try.

    8. Dr. John Carpenter

      Yep. Done.

      As a side note, out on a walk today someone had a yard sign that read something like “Vote! Our democracy is at stake!” (It was as if the comment section here willed it into being heh.) But the remarkable thing was, there was no candidate attached, not even a party. Nor did this person have any other signs up, though they were flying a pride flag. I just found it odd that someone would stick a sign like that in their yard and not also advocate whom to vote for to save “our democracy”(tm). I would assume the pride flag indicates a leaning but these days, who knows?

    9. Acacia

      As “some guy” nicely summarized it last year here at NC:

      This election will be a three way race between fear, hatred and apathetic despair. Fear-based voters will vote for the candidate they are less afraid of in order to lessen their chances of getting the President they would be more afraid of. Hate-based voters will vote for the candidate they hate less in order to spare themselves 4 or 8 years of burning ulcerogenic rage over having to live with a President they would hate more. The despair-based apatheticals will not vote for a President. They may not vote at all.

  16. yep

    German defence industry says it will need government help to reduce dependence on China Reuters

    They will reduce dependence on China in the same way they reduced dependence on Russia.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Google Is Paying Reddit $60 Million for Fucksmith to Tell Its Users to Eat Glue”

    I was reading some stuff online about on how badly Google is stuffing things up and then I came across a howler. Somebody asked Google how long you can stare at the sun for reasons of health and Google answered about 5 to 10 minutes. I have no words.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      The elites have long wanted to destroy citizen information-sharing on the internets. What is a non-obvious blame-avoiding or blame-confusing way to do that?

      Flood the zone with sh!t. Specifically , flood the internets with so much AI vomit, re-vomit, re-re-vomit, re-re-re-vomit, etc, that most information-seekers will give up on even going online at all.

      ” Fill the well with sewage and no one will drink from it.” All without having to post a “Well Closed” sign on it.

      So when we consider that possible stealth-sneaky reason for AI, it may be not just a bubble.

  18. .Tom

    Re Peacemaker’s tweet about “Tobol”. It says

    … passenger planes lost contact with the American GPS navigation satellites and the European Galileo satellites, and the radars began to display a false image, as a result of which the pilots changed the trajectory and even dived to avoid collisions with obstacles that did not actually exist.

    Doesn’t sound right to me. Do passenger jets navigate by radar like this? I know many have weather radar but I wouldn’t think they use it to look for “obstacles” and take drastic evasive action when they see one.

    1. rowlf

      Airliners navigate by inertial guidance systems and directional radio signals. Have been since the late 1960s. GPS is a new addition and helped improve the performance of the commercially available inertial systems that were detuned from military performance to avoid dual-use re-purposing. (Cruise missiles use INS.)

      I think the article confused radar with ground proximity warning system. Ground prox tries to keep the aircraft clear of terrain. GPS does help ground proximity warning to be more accurate.

      As for diving that would be traffic avoidance, TCAS, used to quickly keep airplanes from colliding. Both airplanes compute an avoidance.

    2. Revenant

      I hope they use the radar that is so expensively installed in the nose domes! They use it for detecting other craft in non-visual.flying conditions. If GPS went down and therefore air traffic control / collision avoidance based on automatically reported positions, only radar and headings, bearings and closing velocities would be left….

    3. scott s.

      Assume the reference is to TCAS, which relies on aircraft transponders. Requires aircraft transponders to accurately report position/velocity data.

  19. Ann

    Antifa! Help, I need more verses!

    SPCA by the Village Doggos

    Young dog, so you’re out on the street
    I said young dog, you’ve got nothin’ to eat
    I said young dog, there’s a place you can meet
    There’s no need to be a loser

    Young dog, there’s a place you can go
    I said, young dog, when the streets are all snow
    I said, young dog, all the smart dogs will know
    You can find noms and a warm bed

    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA
    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA

    They have everything for young dogs to enjoy
    You can hang out with all the toys

    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA
    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA

    You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal
    You can get your nails trimmed, and you don’t have to steal

    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA
    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA

    Young dog, are you listening to me?
    I said young dog, what do you want to be?
    I said young dog, you can be family
    But you got to know this one thing

    Oh no, what is this surgery?
    I said oh no, now you won’t be a “he”
    I said young dog, it’s what you want to be
    So you’ll find your fur-ev-er-home

    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA
    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA

    Young dog, grab yourself by the scruf
    I said young dog, we all know that it’s tough
    I said young dog, haven’t you had enough?
    Just go down that street and turn yourself in

    Young dog, welcome to your new home
    I said young dog, you’re no longer alone
    I said young dog, all your pix on their phone
    It’s the life you always wanted

    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA
    It’s fun to stay at the SPCA

  20. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks for the Lehrer article. That brought to mind Mark Russell, another political satirist and pianist who I’d wager many NC readers are familiar with. He used to have regular specials on PBS and probably did more than anyone else to set my own political sensibilities when I watched him as a teenager. Looked him up and turns out he passed away about a year ago.

    Here’s a trip down memory lane with Russell – some parts are a bit dated (the Orioles had an historic losing streak to start the 1988 season, which takes up the first part of the clip) but some things never change, like the Democrat party wringing its hands over non-preferred candidates who have the temerity to stick their nose under big Democrat tent –

  21. digi_owl

    “Fritz Lang First Depicted Artificial Intelligence on Film in Metropolis (1927), and It Frightened People Even Then Open Culture”

    Lets not ignore Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or the Golem.

    While not AI in the strict sense, it pokes at the same fear.

    1. begob

      I’ve just come across jiangshi -Chinese corpses brought back to life by lightning bolts. The myth dates from the late 18th century, so seems to predate Shelley, and to be around even date with Transylvanian vampires.

  22. Mikel

    “Sam Altman Is Full Of Shit” Ed Zitron

    I would say the Forbes 30 Under 30 odds still stand.

  23. Verifyfirst

    Fans Say Lady Gaga ‘Should Be in Prison’ After Performing in the Middle of the Crowd While Sick With COVID

    So bizarre. Why should she be in prison–isn’t going out and about with Covid what they all do? And her comment–she wanted to do it for the fans because they put themselves at risk for Covid all the time by coming to her concerts.

    So a). she knows she is putting her fans at risk by performing while sick without mitigations–and b). the fans know it is dangerous–to them–for her to perform while she is infected with Covid, since they are not using mitigations…….and yet….they just all keep doing it! Make it make sense.

    1. jefemt

      Covid anecdote from Bumphuc Flyover:
      Was on the horn with my insurance broker (you go in broke, come out broker) and he mentioned that he and his young family had all been fighting this nasty cold for about three weeks. Got it at a birthday party.
      Now, we all know kids are germ repositories for crap we haven’t seen in decades.
      But I could not help myself: Did any of you get tested for covid? Yes, my wife tested, and was positive.

      Turns out birthday boy has been running a high temp— with no resolution… for weeks. Birthday boy has other un-related base line health issues.
      Well, Mr. Tin Hat (I DO live in Bumphuc Flyover) has a theory that Covid, natural or contrived, sure seems destined to weed out the weak, first, and many, in the long run.
      The temp on Birthday Boy was reported to be 108 degrees f, which is lethal and improbable, so I took the whole story with several grains of salt.
      BUT, if he suffers fever for such a prolonged period of time, I can’t help but think his brain will be poached.

      Not enough jail space in the world for Navarro, Biden and Trump, birthday party attendees, concert goers, celebs, politicians, and the hoi polloi. Much less Diva(s).

      gesundheit! Oh, it’s just a cold. Well, there is tissue, generic, and kleenex. Covid- common cold, same family right? Words don’t matter.

      “We” still apparently have not found a better mousetrap, or a cure for the common and / or not so common cold.

      Enjoy the days and moments. Or, as the Progressive Insurance ad says,
      Practice Gratitude and Manifest Abundance

      42 seconds. Worth a watch, on so many levels

      1. kareninca

        A high temp for weeks???? Yikes.

        My second cousin in CT has a sinus and chest infection, and her fiancé has a “bad cold.” But they aren’t testing.

    2. Lee

      Covid cases now the stuff of humor. On today’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me the last minute fill-in host for Peter Sagal joked that “if you wait long enough and wish hard enough a good friend of yours will get Covid and you can take his job.” Laughter ensues.

  24. Ben Joseph

    The Russian satellite jammer is affecting Ryanair because they fly to Bydgoszcz as well as Gdansk, both pretty close to the Russian enclave. I presume the military paid for the flights with no passengers to map the range.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I recall reading many moons ago that an 8-watt rogue transmitter at altitude was sufficient to jam out the GPS systems on commercial and private aircraft for several miles around. I doubt commercial aircraft or private aircraft have a lot of backup systems for flight without GPS.

      I am not entirely sure how to interpret the curious ‘X’-blip about the Russian Topol jammer — at least I am guessing it is a jammer based on the picture at the tail of the ‘X’-blip. Jammers are problematic weapons. Jammer signals are also beacons that give away a jammer’s location.

      As for the GPS systems and the heavy reliance on those systems — here is a poser: what would happen to ground force maneuver if the GPS system were jammed or destroyed? The military GPS system is supposed to be much more robust to jamming than civilian systems but I am unsure how that was accomplished — spread spectrum signaling[?] Although I heard claims that u.s. forces still trained on using maps … but color me skeptical regarding the effectiveness of that training. There are Inertial Navigation Systems[INS] that can supplement/replace GPS but accuracy over distances can be expensive. I do not know the current state of the INS technology. I believe GPS is cheaper thereby sucking a lot of the air-$ out of INS.

      My couple of decade-old impression was that the u.s. Army treated EW as something of a red-headed stepchild.

      1. rowlf

        Airliners after the late 1960s use inertial systems and VOR/ILS. In coarse terms poor INS accuracy is maybe 5 nautical miles position error after one hour of flight. The flight management computers can compensate by radio beacon fixes to correct position. GPS now is also able to tune up the INS performance.

        USAF Strategic Air Command policy was to not rely on any external navigation information, since it was possible to jam or spoof the signal. Instead INS and astro-navigation computer systems were used. (The astro-navigation systems could work in daylight.)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for your information. Do you know the current state of corrections to INS accuracy via radio beacon and how robust those beacons are to jamming? Long ago, when I was still working, I noticed a tendency to rely on GPS in a way that deprecated INS. I believe USAF Strategic Air Command enjoys different funding and reliability criteria than commercial aircraft and many tactical attack aircraft. I am not aware of the Army using radio beacon fixes to correct such INS as they have in service. I also recall reading in NASA Tech Briefs about several new inventions in INS later than the 1960s that I thought might make INS less expensive and more accurate.

          1. rowlf

            Not sure if VOR beacons have been jammed or spoofed. I do know that easyJet has very good maps of known GPS jamming or spoofing, as well as other airlines operating in Europe and the Middle East.

            Commercial INS units were always less accurate than military units to prevent use in cruise missiles due to dual-use technology. (I was impressed by the US Hound Dog missile system that had an astro-navigation system in the launch pylon to update the missile’s INS unit. The B-52 that carried the missiles could also access the position information to check their INS systems.)

            Some of SAC practices came from WWII experience where the radio beam assisted bombing was jammed or spoofed by the Germans. SAC did use radio beam assisted bombing in Vietnam during Operation Niagara for close in bombing to support Khe Sanh.

      2. scott s.

        Of course it is perfectly possible to fly without GPS. Baro altitude and VOR lateral guidance on the airways is the traditional method, with aircraft INS augmentation. Some things like RVSM would be affected. Though in “ancient” days, US Coast Guard stationed ships with surveillance radar in the Pacific to aid over-water navigation.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Of course aircraft can fly without GPS. Please elaborate on your comment a little. What is RVSM? Do you know what kind of INS navigation present day commercial aircraft use? VOR [Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range Station] — seems a tad old-school [NOT a bad thing — I am old school]. I have noticed how old-school solutions to problems seem to be forgotten and ignored as new toys like GPS come along. Old school ideas like robustness, reliability, quality, … seem to have been long forgotten wherever profits are concerned.

          1. Glen

            Commercial aircraft typically have multiple Inertial Reference Systems (IRS). These are strapdown systems consisting of three orthogonally mounted rate gyros, and three orthogonally mounted accelerometers which continuously measure changes in yaw, pitch, and roll, and accelerations in x, y and z. Take the orientation data and acceleration data, integrate the inputs (while subtracting out the gravity vector, and the earth’s rotation) and you have an approximation of the aircraft position:

            Strapdown systems

            Accuracy of these systems vary as a function of requirements and cost (let’s just say similar systems on ballistic missile subs are very, very expensive, and much more accurate), but you can assume these commercial aviation systems have an error of maybe 0.6nm/hr.

            Inertial Reference System (IRS)

            737 Navigation

            Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) are rules allowing aircraft to fly closer together when more accurate tracking is available:

            Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)

    2. Revenant

      Or the military sent personnel as “crew” into Ukraine via Poland/Baltics.

      Remember, British Airways dispatched a 747 of passengers to Kuwait, knowing that Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and boardeded a contingent of SAS immediately before take off who were mysterious absent from the manifest. The SAS left the aeroplane as it touched down before it reached the terminal. The passengers were taken hostage at the terminal and spent the war at the “Baghdad Hilton” as Saddam’s guests and human shields.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Russia mysteriously deletes threat to redraw Baltic Sea border”

    Sounds like Russia was messing with those countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Not long ago these countries were boasting of how the Baltic Sea was a NATO lake and maybe they should not only restrict but maybe even cut off Russian ships going to Kaliningrad. I think here that this was Russia reminding these countries that they are still in the game as far as the Baltic Sea is concerned.

  26. JTMcPhee

    Climbing the escalation ladder:

    NATOUSUK “helped” Country 404 to target one of Russia’s “pretty damn important” distant early warning radars. They used some “airplane-type” drones, and maybe some of the new lot of Storm Shadow/SCALP and maybe Taurus cruise missiles.

    Imagine the US reaction to Russia using terrain-hugging cruise missiles, targeted and guided by Russian AWACS and surveillance drones and satellite assets, to blow holes in the US distant-early-warning radars that are supposed to pick up incoming Russian strategic nuclear missiles so our “some and structure” can pull the trigger of “our” end-of-the-world massive retaliation. That sneak Russian attack would certainly be interpreted by the US military as an element of a decapitation first-strike assault.

    Then remember that Russia, in response to NATOUSUK aggression throughout the Cold War and yes, ever since, that intention to defeat and dismember the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation, put in place the “Perimeter” dead-hand system. This is a set of linked sensors and computers that regularly polls itself for indications that Russia has been attacked and that an existential demolition is under way. The system, with a very few human cutouts, can go ahead and launch all the remaining strategic missiles (and stuff like “Poseidon” megaton stealth torpedoes, pretty much putting an end to certainly Combined West and Slavic civilization, likely billions of people plus all the dying from sequelae to detonation of all those nukes.

    Russia has repeated its warning about this kind of poking the bear in the eye. But it looks like the crazies who, by application of manic diligence and sucking up to the rich folks and militarists, have floated turd-like to the top of the power structure in the “combined West, are going to keep trying to prove that Russia really has no “red lines” and can be cowed into submission. And one can be sure that they see the imminent collapse of the proxy puppet and advent of the multipolar system to displace Western “hegemony” as demanding that they take their best shot now, giving the Zionists and Rapturists the world war they have been pushing for over decades.

    One shudders to see what Russia’s response will be. Would it be worse if Putin holds back, as he stares into the abyss, demonstrating a degree of wisdom and humanity lacking in “liberal democratic West?” Or if he punches back hard, like knocking down the vulture circle of NATOUSUK MQ drones and AWACS planes that set up these raids, and blinding the US satellites? Maybe hitting NATO HQ and satellite military planning and control sites? My fear would be that the loonies in the Blob are just itching to try out their strategic assets, and the quality and accommodations of their deep bunkers, just like the ending scene of “Dr. Strangelove.”

    The trouble with the current setup is that the little shits who drive policy are busily “fucking around” against the Russians and Chinese, activating their “policies” supposedly with the delegation of legitimacy conferred by “Our Republican Form of Government,” but it is us mopes, with no say in the game, who will “find out” what the endpoint will be.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

    1. hemeantwell

      The Simplicius article linked above, in which he discusses an uptick in Ukraine’s success at hitting Russian air defences, is very worrying. If he’s not exaggerating, which he sometimes does, the combo of suddenly vulnerable anti-missile defense + potshots at long distance early warning radar must be putting the Russians into higher alert levels. The (family blog) cretins who pressured the Russians into a strike two years ago are giving it another go, but this time at a strategic level that does have clear upper bounds, as far as I can tell. Could be a very memorable Memorial Day, and that’s without considering likely upcoming spasms from the Bibi Legion.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Simplicius sometimes as you allude blows hot on Ukraine successes, only to have to walk them back. I find it hard to believe that ATACMS with cluster munitions, which pack a much lower punch than a normal missile, have become suddenly more effective. One of the hits he touts was of decommissioned Russian airplanes. Those may as well have been decoys. Mercouris questioned another touted ATACMS hit as of a similarly out of use radar (Mercouris to cover all his based said it was not impossible that it had been put back in service). Mercouris likes this topic and I e-mailed him about this Simplicius material. I suspect other viewers have too. So we might hear from him in a day or two.

        1. hemeantwell

          Yves, thanks for recalling some of the specific instances of Simplicius’ excitability. Along with this site I’ve come to rely on Moon of Alabama and his very mixed commentariat to sift through Ukraine reports. Unfortunately, MoA’s mod, b, has had to shut down the site while he has some surgery done.

          Larry Johnson has this to say:

          Simplicius the Thinker is out with a piece tonight that is a bit alarmist, in my view, and asserts that Russian air defense is failing. I do not believe there are enough facts to justify that conclusion.”

          But then goes on to note the escalatory danger posed by damage to Russia’s early warning system.

          Martyanov hasn’t commented yet.

        2. ilsm

          Cluster munition from ATACMS, ~800 per missile are mix anti human being and anti lightly armored asset rounds. The light anti armor round would play on mobile radars and battery vehicles.

          That said the battery should be set up dispersed to minimize effect of bomblets. Leave a lot of uxb!

          I suspect far less damage than Simplicus alludes, and even less in the wider RF defensive network.

          The attack on the early warning site, needs more consideration….. a week or so ago there was coverage of attack on an “over the horizon” radar. OTH has limited use and area coverage, and I wonder if it was active.

          I think all this headlining is encouraging NATO to keep pushing for headline strikes that have no operational or strategic use.

      2. begob

        There were also reports about six weeks ago of a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian early warning system in Transnistria.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      There is zero chance the Ukrainians could have pulled something like that off by themselves.

      So, yeah, this is a direct attack on Russia by NATO and Russia has to do something.

      I don’t get a vote obviously but those Reaper drone flights over the Black Sea are an obvious target that would be sort of the least worst option in terms of not killing actual humans. It is hard to fathom how they have not been destroyed when the Houthis have taken out at least four by my count and Biden does nothing.

      1. Snailslime

        They perhaps very much should kill humans.

        The Soviet Union routinely shot down US spyplanes, hundreds of them, killing most of the pilots before stopping to do so after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

        They certainly didn’t allow the Yanks to believe that the lifes of their official military personal would be treated as somehow sacrosanct as the modern US seems to have grown accustomed to, at least from it’s peer adversaries.

        And those personal nor being taken out very much translated into an emboldening belief they either just never will or CAN’T be taken out.

        Sure, back then they stopped to lower the risk of escalation but with today’s Neocons any such gesture will only be seen as a sign of weakness, of blood in the water and a standing invitation for even more brazen attacks, until quite possibly one of those missiles won’t carry a conventional warhead.

        One could argue that backing down here would by itself amount to capitulation and render the entire war and all the losses to have been for nothing.

        It’s not likely the US would stop weakening Russia’s capability even to retaliate in case of an increasingly likely american first strike even IF they suddenly decided to kneel and kiss the fabled imperial ring.

        Finster may have been annoying as hell, but he was probably hundred percent right where this is concerned.

        I’ve heard several commentators say that “escalating to de-escalate” is much more of an american than a russian concept.

        No doubt, but regardless it may be what the doctor ordered and indeed the only medicine left.

        I also don’t think it would suffice to strike US or european targets somewhere in the Middle East or so, those could and would easily ignored by the neocons, such attacks on secondary or tertiary targets themselves seen as helpless gestures and quite possibly correctly as encouraging signs of russian cowardice.

        No, I suspect that only a retaliation in Europe could hope to do the trick.

        And if it doesn’t that’s a sign that the ultimate conflagration was almost certainly going to happen sooner or later anyway and we may as well get it done and over with.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          There are a few ways to interpret this asymmetrical escalation.

          It could be the equivalent of a losing fighter trying to get in a few last kidney punches before the ref calls the fight.

          Also it seems to be connected with the pretty patent propaganda push that Putin “wants a ceasefire.” I may be overconfident but that smells like a narrative special out of central Beltway casting. You know, kick the can until the election with a story that the masses might swallow – Ukraine lost territory but they took out a bunch of critical Russian nuclear attack warning surface. So let’s call it a tie and vote for the Big Guy from Scranton so he can finish the job.

          On the other hand, I tend to at least suspect that the West has no strategy other than escalating with no reverse gear. So our friend Feral Finster has a point.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If NATO continues their attacks against Russia’s early warning infrastructure for nuclear attack, I think that the Russians will have to declare a no-fly zone around the Ukraine and splash every drone that NATO sends up and interfere with every AWAC plane as well. Wouldn’t be the first time that Russia has taken out a NATO drone. They took one out before the war in Georgia and one was brought down in the Black Sea about a year or two ago. Can’t be very hard as Yemen has already shot down five MQ-9 Reaper drones so far.

      1. Michaelmas

        Rev Kev: I think that the Russians will have to declare a no-fly zone around the Ukraine

        If that were within the Russians’ practical capability to achieve, it would be advantageous.

        Much of what drives this continual doubling-down by the US/NATO/EU is that the vast majority of people in the West — and that unfortunately includes the politicians in DC, NATO, and the EU — are simply incapable of imagining and accepting what is in fact the reality: Russia overall has preponderance in military technology and capability over US/NATO.

        Russia imposing a de facto no-fly zone on Ukraine would go some way towards forcing the West to get over its superiority complex and through the cognitive dissonance involved.

    4. Snailslime

      It very well may be worse if he does nothing.

      The abyss will come and devour him soon enough if this stands.

      Not retaliating in kind may only ring the abyss’ dinner bell.

    5. irenic

      “. . . have floated turd-like to the top . . .” reminds me of a line from JIm Jarmusch’s Down By Law:

      “My mama used to say that America’s the big melting pot. You bring it to a boil and all the scum rises to the top.”

  27. i just don't like the gravy

    So what happened to the spectacle around campus protests? Have they fizzled out like I expected? NC was covering them like it was Occupy all over again, and now is silent. Onto the next shiny thing to worry about, I guess.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We can’t cover what isn’t happening.

      The protests were nearly all successfully crushed.

      And most schools have had graduations, so the students have left campuses.

      1. Steve H.

        > So what happened to the spectacle around campus protests?

        > The protests were nearly all successfully crushed.

        This link is above, today:

        > Follow the Money: How Israel-Linked Billionaires Silenced US Campus Protests Scheerpost (Micael T)

        This is the story. There is only so much to say about who or what is dead, it lies in the land of memory.

        Exposing the oppressive mechanism is very much here and now. NC continues to be on top of that.

        1. i just dont like the gravy

          Exposing the oppressive mechanism is very much here and now. NC continues to be on top of that.

          The emperor has been naked for decades now. Americans persist in doing nothing of substance, except of course “debate” and “voicing concerns” and other excellent circumlocutions that would make even Bernays blush.

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        At this rate all the Palestinians will be dead by September, so not much to protest against at that point…

          1. Benny Profane

            In case you haven’t noticed, our campuses have been pretty quiet since the 70s. We woke up a generation.

      2. griffen

        Happy words to most youngsters I’d still think. No more teachers, no more books… school’s out for summer…

        I have an old high school friend, who has taught in SC public schools for nearly 25 years..usually his replies about the school year ending are direct and to the point. His messages aren’t exactly “…gonna miss these kids ..”. Spoken like a grizzled veteran of teaching, who needs a two month hiatus.

        1. Screwball

          I’ve done a combination of high school and college STEM class for the last 5 years. We are done for the summer and I’m trying to decide if I want to go back. I’m sure I’m not alone.

          A good buddy of mine has a daughter who has taught high school for quite a few years – she can’t wait to retire – hates it now. I hear the same thing from some of the profs at my school.

          The kids are not the same. The pandemic really hurt some. So many are behind. All the zoom classes in high school took their toll. Their general attitudes are not the same either. I can’t really explain it all, but it hasn’t got any easier for either the kids or the teachers. Seems like so many are just going through the motions and don’t really care. Get me though this class, give me the grade, and I’m out.

          I do it for something to keep me busy, and the extra money is nice. At this point I feel I’m doing a public service – somebody needs to teach these kids this stuff. I just don’t know if I can do it anymore. When it becomes no fun, you walk.

          1. i just dont like the gravy

            When it becomes no fun, you walk.

            Well said; good lesson for many things.

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      In my little corner the encampment and the admin response were both fairly muted and ended pre-commencement in a shared agreement that’s a bit soft.

      The students did stick it out in tents through some really miserable weather but failed on their disinvestment goals.

    3. rowlf

      There were protests at Morehouse College when President Biden came to give the commencement speech. Local news sometimes is better at covering the events than national nothing-is-happening/everything-is-rosey news.

  28. Patrick Morrison

    This quote from the (great) Lehrer article stood out:

    “What I can tell you is that Tom Lehrer is a prodigiously talented man who has no interest at all in money for its own sake, or in money to wield power. He wants enough to be comfortable and to do the few things he wants to do, and he has that.”

    It reminded me of Vonnegut’s memorial for Joseph Heller, mentioned here recently:

    I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
    to know that our host only yesterday
    may have made more money
    than your novel ‘Catch-22’
    has earned in its entire history?”
    And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
    And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
    And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
    Not bad! Rest in peace!

    Agur’s plea in the Old Testament Proverbs was ‘give me neither poverty nor riches.’ It is remarkable when people manage to find that balance.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “And Joe said, ‘The knowledge that I’ve got enough.'”

      Joe was a wise man.

      The greatest evil: wanting more.
      The worst luck: discontent.

      To know enough’s enough
      is enough to know.

      Tao te Ching #46 (Le Guin rendition)

      Living here in the land of the Madmen, stewing in our omnipresent Bernays sauce, knowing enough’s enough is quite rare, even among those who have little.

  29. The Rev Kev

    ‘Sulaiman Ahmed

    It might have made the Israelis feel good bombing a bunch of refugees in tents because of their outrage on being called out on their BS but do they realize that this constitutes proof of what they are being accused of doing? On the TV news tonight there was a reporter in Israel and she was saying how the Israelis are very concerned that all support for them since the October 7th attack has completely evaporated and that they are being more and more isolated on the world stage. Do they actually realize why this is so?

    1. JTMcPhee

      “We welcomed your hate. It is a sign that YHWH loves us in spite of our repeated “Fuck Yous” and turns away.”

    2. Thistlebreath

      When the mass suicide at Masada is elevated and promoted as a fitting and noble end for a righteous people, no, they don’t realize it. I’m reminded of R. Downey Jr.’s remark during one of his many trials: “….the gun barrel is in my mouth and I like the taste of the metal.”

  30. The Rev Kev

    Just logging off for the night so happy Memorial day weekend to all those in Americaland.

  31. JTMcPhee

    On Bloomberg’s whine about “investors” in commercial real estate having to eat losses:

    Always annoys the hell out of me, stories like this. Even investopedia makes it very clear that bonds are risk-bearing investments. At least by definition and common understanding. In reality, bond holders get away with thievery every day. Like those “investing” in “regulated monopoly utilities,” where they get a guaranteed return, pretty much risk-free. And of course the whole moral-hazard industry, there apparently are whole categories of bond instruments that are likewise essentially risk-free, even though as one part of the fraud, a “risk premium” is stated which I would guess has “tax implications” from the little i remember of my Commercial Paper and Federal Tax courses in law school.

    All just another part of the Great Bezzle, that like the background radiation from the Big Bang that started the univers as we know it, is just the vast echo of the Great Greed Exposion that birthed financialization.

    So we have how many trillions of real wealth converted into notional dollars that were used to “bail in” the moral-hazard-ists in the Global Financial Collapse?

    I find it interesting that in theory, in Islamic Finance, interest cannot be charged and each party to a transaction must take on actual risk. Of course, McKinsey and various banksters and their henchmen have long since figured out how to fake out the spiritual mandate against unwonted profit in bringing the Muslims into the Great Financialization Scam.

  32. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War…….Simplicus says the USA is targeting and destroying (via Ukraine) infrastructure essential to Russian nuclear defenses. If Putin is unable or unwilling to make this a Red Line, then there are no Russian red lines and The West appears to bel feel free to go for Russia’s jugular and destroy Russia with a nuclear first strike once USA has achieved its goal. I hope the Russian leadership wakes up and restores the Peace they lost in 2014.

    1. yep

      Red lines do not exist. Peace was lost long before 2014, and it wasn’t Russian leadership that lost it. They are also wide awake, unlike the Western one that is still dreaming The American Dream.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I should have put a caveat with that link. I think he’s way out over his skis. Those ATACMS carry only cluster munitions, which do not carry much punch. We withheld the heavier missiles. We could be out of them or saving them for our use.

  33. Tom Stone

    I’ve been thinking a bit about AI and in particular LLM’s, what they are and how they work.
    I define an LLM as a “Probabilistic bullshit generator that responds to Prompts in a manner determined by its training set and algorithms”.
    “Bullshit” because that response has no relationship to such concepts as accuracy, truth or reality, thus meeting the definition of Bullshit.

    1. yep

      LLM’s are GIGO machines. Such concepts as accuracy, truth or reality, are also beyond the grasp of regular intelligence.

  34. Margaret

    About Biden’ lies on inflation.

    He said there are “still too many corporations in America ripping people off. Price gouging, junk fees, greedflation, shrinkflation.” That’s all true however:

    We used to import most of the phosphate fertilizer used in the U.S. from Russia. We imported diesel fuel to run tractors. 29% of the world’s exportable grain came from Russia/Ukraine.
    Biden chose to cut you off from that with his Ukraine War sanctions.

    But hey, the stock market is way up, GDP’s expanding and you can get all the p/t gig jobs you want, so why all the whining about the cost to feed your family?

  35. djrichard

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

    The above was linked in NC on links-5-23-2024.html. And interestingly the following came up afterwards in my Google news feed. So at least here Google is working somewhat effectively.

    Once celebrated, an inventor’s breakthroughs are now viewed as disasters — and the world is still recovering
    It’s about Thomas Midgley Jr., the legendary scientist who invented both leaded gasoline and CFC’s, two of the most destructive polluters in history.

    From lower in the article, “He was just an employee”. Not all that different than 3M – the key actors were all employees. Operating on behalf of a higher authority. To paraphrase Colbert, they didn’t want to know the truth, and they were good enough to not to find out.

  36. flora

    re: House passes bill barring Federal Reserve from issuing digital dollar

    Excellent news. Great way to start Memorial Day weekend. I can’t believe the House Dems voted against the bill. This means the topic is getting traction as an important issue. The article didn’t really explore the issues with CBDCs, it was a he said/she said article. Here’s a reminder from a speech given by Agustin Carstens, head of the BIS, the Central Bank of central banks. A short clip.utube
    First from 2020, “absolute control”,:

    And, a short, clear description about CBDCs with 3 embedded video clips, including the above.

    I’m glad the House passed the bill.

    1. Screwball

      I can’t believe the House Dems voted against the bill.

      Given their lust for censorship, power, and control, I’m not one bit surprised. Now I need to look up who the guilty parties are. There will be zero Dems checked on my ballot come November. Put that in your schedule 3 pipe and smoke it Dems.

      I’m glad it passed too. I am 100% against CBDCs.

    1. Daryl

      Having been used to shuffle $300m or so off to contractors, it has now achieved its intended purpose and can be abandoned.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      First the parachute food drop and now this.

      It seems there is no end to the humiliation mighty america is willing to suffer in its service to israel.

      The zionist parasite is consuming what’s left of its “host” at an alarming rate.

    3. scott s.

      It should go under “we’re learning the lessons of actually implementing JLOTS in a non-permissive environment”. I suspect, the geniuses who declared we don’t need USN ships for salvage will be shown as fools.

      1. rowlf

        Watch for stories of “Many PLA defenders injured due to laughter” and “Defense leaders offer US forces a do-over.”

      2. CA

        China was directly threatened by containment after President Obama decided on a pivot to Asia in 2011. A response from China was to begin an advanced shipbuilding industry. Though China has been successful enough to now account for more than 50% of the global industry, China has been regularly ridiculed by prominent western economists for its needless and excessive shipbuilding industry.

        Of course, President Obama cut off China from work on the International Space Station and from work with NASA and even Chinese access to the GPS, which had been limited earlier, was threatened. Nonetheless, there now is an advanced shipbuilding industry and a Chinese-international space station and a Chinese GPS.

  37. JM

    I came across a couple worthwhile links today.

    “I stumbled upon LLM Kryptonite – and no one wants to fix this model-breaking bug”, about a bug in LLMs that seems to go across almost all vendors and could possibly indicate a foundational issue. Of course no one at these companies was interested before it went to press.

    “What Science Forgets”, a discussion with the authors of a new book ‘The Blind Spot: Why Science Cannot Ignore Human Experience’ about how the idea of a 3rd person, or “Gods eye view” has been problematic in science.

    And a ~3.5 hour YT video debunking Evolutionary Psychology. It’s too long for me right now, so I can’t comment on it other than the opening was good…

  38. dave -- just dave

    About Tom Lehrer:

    Instead he taught the [mathematics] course that humanities and social science majors have to take in the US university system.

    I don’t think there IS a mathematics course “that humanities and social science majors have to take”. The course I took from him at MIT was an elective – “Statistics for Social Science.” This was approximately 1969. I was an undergrad in political science, and the SPSS I learned at that time continued to be useful when I went into psychology later.

    There were 20 or 30 of us in the classroom, mostly grad students. He explained things clearly, and made no attempt at being entertaining – I think he may have cracked one joke during the semester. We knew who he was, of course, but we also knew there wasn’t a piano in the room, and that wasn’t what we had signed up for.

  39. Jeremy Grimm

    The U.S. House Armed Services Committee wants to bring back the draft for all draft-aged male U.S. residents. Ignoring the issues of woke-ness that the link discusses — how will “draft-aged” be defined? Will some version of the Ukraine war definition for “draft-aged” apply? And echoing Country Joe and the Fish what would we be fighting for?

    “All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    ― Herman Goering
    How much cred does the u.s. government still have with the Populace? I wonder whether Goering’s observation would hold for the present day u.s. Empire.

    1. Acacia

      I wonder whether Goering’s observation …

      It certainly worked after 9/11, when every liberal I knew was suddenly telling me it was a casus belli and the US had to invade somewhere in the Middle East, because reasons.

  40. Jason Boxman

    The credit reporting agencies are fun, trying to eliminate a paper trail (Experian):

    As a reminder, when you registered your online account, you agreed to electronic delivery of your dispute results. Consequently, the results of any disputes you submit online will not be mailed to you. Instead, when your results are ready and available to view in the online Dispute Center, an email notification will be sent to the email address you provided at registration.

    More hilarious:

    Inquiries can’t be disputed online. If you believe an inquiry is the result of identity theft, contact us at 1-NNN-ect.

    It’s hard to believe that’s legal under FCRA? Just imagine living in a serious country, when you could prevent your data from being used for profit. LLM data theft is just the ultimate expression of this! And they mix it around so thoroughly, it’s hard to tell if your data is even some of the output. Without the resources, say, a NY Times, how could you even fight it and get satisfaction?

    The working class exists to be consumed!

    1. Reply

      Free credit reports? Good luck getting one from all three of the majors. At least one has had so-called website issues every time I’ve tried over the past few years. The only thing free is your wasted time.

  41. none

    Has anyone noticed that stopped updating a few days ago? Enshittification at work?

  42. antidlc

    I missed this one from March:

    What Is Former CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Doing Now?
    — She talks to MedPage Today about life back in Boston and reflects on her time at CDC

    And what are your thoughts on the most recent controversy about reducing the isolation period for patients with COVID?
    Here’s what I will say: I am certain that there are extraordinary forces that people don’t understand — that I don’t understand — that would push one to shorten it, and would push one to keep it on. And reasonable scientists could easily debate that topic, which implies that CDC was never going to win. And that’s actually what happens when you’re in these areas of tough gray. There are really good reasons to go in one direction and good reasons to go in another direction. And CDC has a responsibility to make that call.

    “extraordinary forces”

    1. Kouros

      “that people don’t understand”… hmmm… how do you spell greed, power, corruption, forswearing professional and ethical codes of conduct (for docs) and oaths for public servants… we understand preety well Rochelle et comp, we really do…

  43. Jeff W

    In connection with Ed Zitron’s blog post on Sam Altman, in which he says “I’ll cut to the chase: it’s time to stop listening to anything that Sam Altman has to say,” I’ll say that, with respect to just his demeanor—his earnest, wide-eyed countenance, his vocal fry—I find Altman off-putting and disingenuous. It’s really difficult for me to watch him in any kind of appearance or announcement. (I can’t be the only one.)

  44. Reply

    Denmark trust.
    Will younger generations have a frame of reference for such radical ideas?
    Asking for a friend.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The frame of reference for such radical ideas as Trust is described in the history of Humankind from before the ‘progress’ enjoyed in this age of new Rome. The book, “The Dawn of Everything” by David Graeber and David Wengrow describes an age when Trust and many other virtues were characteristic of Humankind. Michael Hudson in his writings has also documented times from before now when Trust was not an alien concept.

      [I intend to re-listen to my audiobook of “The Dawn of Everything” by David Graeber and David Wengrow. I must also lays hands on hard copy of this work to place in the library I am building and preserving for younger generations. I also need to read and review more of Michael Hudson’s writings.]

      Trust is only a radical idea in the present age of ‘progress’.

  45. Willow

    > Real reason for early UK election

    If Sunak called an early election because he didn’t want to be a war prime minister, then WW3 is before end of this year which would’ve been the latest an election could be held.

    1. Willow

      Key problem with Trump increasingly looking like winning the next presidential election is that survival instincts of Dem establishment will be to start a war. They are so far down the rabbit hole that anything, even a limited (cope) war, is better than Trump winning a second term. Both Israel & Dem establishment are in ‘end of days’ psychosis – one preparing for the coming of a messiah, the other an anti-Christ.

  46. Anonymous 2

    Murdoch ‘s creature and his spy in the UK Cabinet. This is admission that Labour are taking over, so his useful (to Murdoch) days are over. The question then of course arises: will there be someone playing the same role in Starmer’s Cabinet and, if so, who?

  47. spud

    sam altman, steve jobs on steroids. it was rumored jobs did not do much at atari, except hang over other peoples shoulders watching what they did, and looted the warehouse. later on jobs offshored americas wealth and technology made possible by the american governments investments. china has that wealth today. along with the skills and jobs that america government investments created.

    1. Willow

      Why American hyper-capitalism (plantation capitalism) is never an evolutionary stable strategy.

    2. Acacia

      Long ago I interviewed at Apple but decided against their offer because everyone I met there seemed to be living in fear that “Steve” would have a tantrum and derail their project.

      One person recounted that Steve had just canned the project to add a HDD to the then-floppy only Macintosh (yes, it was that long ago), yelling first about the project going over schedule and then “I’m not convinced a personal computer even NEEDS an HDD, etc.” One of the chief designers gave me a demo of the first prototype color-display Mac, which ended with “…but Steve didn’t like it,” as he threw the OFF switch.

  48. Balan Aroxdale

    US plans to be ‘very involved’ in post-war Gaza – Politico RT (Kevin W). So the US has been writing checks to fund the war but has had no say about what happens. So does this similarly mean we will be funding Israeli real estate entrepreneurs?

    There’s no choice here. Israel is the US’s colony and like the European nations before it, the developments there will wrack the home nation to its core before they play themselves out.

    The US today most resembles France of the 50s/60s, with Israel playing the parts of Algeria and Vietnam combined. Absent radical, impossibly improbable policy changes in Washington, there is simply no way to avoid US troop deployments in the long and probably medium term. And I don’t rule out a “2nd US republic” being forced into existence as a result of political class ruptures and/or impatience with the plebeian complaints. The other world powers will be in no hurry to calm the situation as they are being presented with a golden opportunity to bleed the US white defending its now insufferable “eschatological” albatross.

    There will be grubby real estate deals in the meantime, but the US won’t see a penny out of them.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      2nd US Republic? Is that the one where the Star of David will replace all the stars on the American flag? Finally, the long awaited Bar Mitzvah moment for Murica!!!

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