Links 5/6/2024

TikTok trending question about ‘being stuck in a forest’ with ‘a man or a bear’ yields strategic tips FOX

A Random Walk Dodging Disaster on Wall Street John Authers, Bloomberg


Climate emissions from air travel 50 per cent higher than reported Norwegain SciTech

Alarming map shows American South sea levels rapidly rising Daily Mail

New MSU research: Are carbon-capture models effective? (press release) University of Michigan

The World’s Hunger for Salmon Is Linked to an Ecological Disaster Bloomberg

UK banks will go bust because of climate change Funding the Future

The Iron Farm Bill Phenomenal World


In “Western Water A to Z” the Dolores River shows region’s water issues in microcosm Colorado Sun


Peru – Lima High Court declares COVID-19 an occupational disease for all workers COVID-19 Litigation

Hundreds of patients died after catching COVID in Victorian hospitals, new data shows ABC Australia. “Let me see you smile!”

This May Be Our Last Chance to Halt Bird Flu in Humans, and We Are Blowing It Zeynep Tufekci, NYT

Unsuccessful Versus Successful Covid Strategies Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute. From 2020, still germane [bangs head on desk].

Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria Found on ISS Mutating to Become Functionally Distinct NASA


China’s provinces trim thousands of government jobs to spend more on Beijing’s science and control priorities South China Morning Post

Dmitri Alperovitch on the New Cold War with China (excerpt) Michael Isikoff, SpyTalk

At this sprawling Vietnam market, workers recycle E-waste Associated Press (MN).

Mass fish die-off in Vietnam as heat wave roasts Southeast Asia


Houthi weapons have range for East Med Sea attack threat Seatrade Maritime

* * *

Hamas says latest cease-fire talks have ended. Israel vows military operation in ‘very near future’ AP

Some 100,000 people evacuating from east Rafah, Israeli army says France24

Scoop: U.S. put a hold on an ammunition shipment to Israel Axios

* * *

Rough Weather Forces US to Delay Opening of Gaza Aid Pier Maritime Executive. Meanwhile:

* * *

Israeli authorities raid Al Jazeera after shutdown order Reuters

Yet more hasbara from California’s Zionist rich:

Dumb as a stump:

Yet more censorship:

* * *

Ecocide: Israel’s systematic destruction of Palestinian agriculture revealed Anadolu Agency

Top Secret: In a 2018 letter, Netanyahu asks Qatar to fund Hamas Ynet

European Disunion

Macron Again Struts Feathers, NATO Troop Paranoia, & More Simplicius the Thinker(s)

Dear Old Blighty

Starmer is setting out to be a man who does not rise to the challenges Funding the Future

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine should seize initiative on battlefield as soon as possible – ISW Ukrainka Pravda

* * *

OPINION: Ukraine Doing Much Better on the Front Than It’s Being Given Credit For Kyiv Post

Pentagon races to prop up Ukraine’s hard-fighting 47th Mechanized Brigade that’s exhausted, report says Business Insider

Ukraine War: ‘If we go home, a lot of inexperienced soldiers will die’ BBC

* * *

Rheinmetall plans to send Ukraine hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds before year-end Ukrinform

Bondholders to Push Ukraine to Resume Debt Payments After Hiatus WSJ

Global Elections

‘Destruction of jobs’: India election turns spotlight on a dream gone sour Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

‘Everything’s on fire’: Inside the nation’s failure to safeguard toxic pipelines Politico


Wow, I dunno:

B-a-a-a-d Banks

The CEO Who Hired His Wife, Gave His Dog a Title, and Brought Down a Bank WSJ

South Korea finds illegal stock short sales by seven more banks Channel News Asia

Groves of Academe

Why Did My College Call the Police on Me? Chronicle of Higher Education. The deck: “Nobody is any danger on our comfortable campus, except from the administration.” See, there’s your problem.

UCLA announces new campus safety office after violent protests The Hill. Yeah, maybe they can start by getting the Zionists not to throw live mice into the encampments. Animal abuse is never a good sign.

NYC Mayor Smeared a Grandmother as an “Outside Agitator” to Justify NYPCD Assault on Columbia The Intercept

Stupidest timeline:

Digital Watch

AI priest avatar gets the chop in first week of digital ministry Catholic Herald. No cases of abuse, one hopes.

An AI tool used in thousands of criminal cases is facing legal challenges NBC

Meta AI falsely claims lawmakers were accused of sexual harassment City and State

GM-Backed Self-Driving Firm Momenta Said to File for IPO in US Bloomberg. Maybe the Chinese can make robot cars work. I doubt it.

Our Famously Free Press

Twitch streamers become go-to news source for campus protest coverage Taylor Lorenz, WaPo

We Need To Rewild The Internet NOEMA


A Doctor at Cigna Said Her Bosses Pressured Her to Review Patients’ Cases Too Quickly. Cigna Threatened to Fire Her. ProPublica

Zeitgeist Watch

The Sci-Fi Writer Who Invented Conspiracy Theory The Atlantic

How a Texas-based think tank upended Florida’s homelessness strategy Orlando Sentinel

Class Warfare

Shawn Fain: May Day 2028 Could Transform the Labor Movement—and the World In These Times. Fain: “A general strike isn’t going to happen on a whim. It’s not going to happen over social media. A successful general strike is going to take time, mass coordination, and a whole lot of work by the labor movement.”

* * *

An Oil Price-Fixing Conspiracy Caused 27% of All Inflation Increases in 2021 Matt Stoller, BIG. Prices rise because firms raise them.

The rise of Sweden’s super rich BBC

The Evolution Of Revolution

Snake Oil, Vitamins, And Self-Help 3 Quarks Daily. All for self-help. But…

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Ohio  by Neil Young as performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)

    (note that verse three is lyrics now, not Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na)

    Our war machine’s huge and humming
    Gazans are just skin and bones
    There’s more blood and murder coming
    Joe Biden’s rodeo

    Old folks will not do it
    They’ll vote for Trump or for Joe
    They don’t know what they do not know
    Gaza’s a wasteland our
    Bombs are knocking it down
    Thanks to Genocide Joe

    The whole world has changed direction
    Apartheid has got to go!
    Joe Biden wants reelection
    We’ll see you in Chicago!

    Apps let us all view it
    We hear each incoming round
    We see the whole horror show
    No water no toilets and
    No more food to be found
    You can’t turn away once you know

    Our war machine’s huge and humming
    Mass graves full of human bones
    There’s more blood and murder coming
    Joe Biden’s rodeo

    See you in Chicago! (we said)
    Biden has got to go! (for sure)
    See you in Chicago! (how many?)
    We’ll wreck his puppet show! (to stop this war)
    See you in Chicago! (yeah!)
    Apartheid has to go! (oh)
    See you in Chicago! (ohhhh)
    Thanks to Genocide Joe! (yeah!)
    See you in Chicago!
    Joe Biden’s rodeo
    Joe Biden’s rodeo

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      yep Chicago will be interesting – hope it’s bigger than ’68 – remember it well, as well as Cook County lock-up – will definitely be there –

    2. Screwball

      The anniversary of the Kent State shootings were last Saturday, May 4th (as I’m sure many know). I live in Ohio and knew people there – both sides – students and National Guard. That song gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.

      So on Saturday I made a point of going to my local watering hole and played it on the jukebox several times over the course of a few hours. When it came on I asked people if they knew what it was about and what happened, and reminded them that it was 54 years ago today. Many did, and that’s a good thing.

      I thought at the time it was one of the worst moments in our history – but here we are. Instead of our leaders reminding us of that terrible day and what we should do so it doesn’t happen again, Biden flaunts a Star War character and says “may the 4th be with you” in order to get this warmongering protest busting regime back in power. Screw you.

      I should have followed it up with Black Sabbath’s War Pigs.

      Generals gathered in their masses
      Just like witches at black masses
      Evil minds that plot destruction
      Sorcerer of death’s construction

      In the fields, the bodies burning
      As the war machine keeps turning
      Death and hatred to mankind
      Poisoning their brainwashed minds
      Oh lord, yeah!

      Politicians hide themselves away
      They only started the war
      Why should they go out to fight?
      They leave that role to the poor, yeah
      Time will tell on their power minds
      Making war just for fun

      Treating people just like pawns in chess
      Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!
      Now in darkness, world stops turning
      Ashes where their bodies burning
      No more war pigs have the power
      Hand of God has struck the hour

      Day of judgement, God is calling
      On their knees, the war pigs crawling
      Begging mercy for their sins
      Satan laughing, spreads his wings
      Oh lord, yeah!

    3. none

      Nice. I had been thinking we need “Goodbye Genocide Joe” to the tune of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.

      1. caucus99percenter

        I was thinking of “Netanyahu,” to the tune of The Eagles’ song “Desperado” . . .

      2. Screwball

        Great idea. This won’t be popular, but where is a guy like him right now? Love Elton, incredible talent, loved worldwide. How about an anti-war song about right now?

        A little sanity would be good. These people are nuts.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon races to prop up Ukraine’s hard-fighting 47th Mechanized Brigade that’s exhausted, report says”

    They don’t need propping up but need to be taken out of the firing line for a coupla weeks. This brigade was equipped with NATO equipment and was in the Ukraine’s counter attack last June where it got hammered by the Russians. Since then they have been used as a sort of “fire department” that is sent to where ever the fighting is the most serious meaning high casualty counts. I believe that they have had four commanders as each one has been unable to supply a miracle to Kiev as demanded by them. NATO keeps on wanting to send them new equipment but those guys have probably about had it by now. They should have been taken out of the firing line for R & R, replenishing of people and gear, retraining and then being sent back in. But right now troop numbers are critical which is why they keep on being sent in for more fighting.

    1. Es s Ce Tera

      There is something strange about this frequent changing of commanders. If you’re high command and you’re frequently changing up the commanders of a unit, rather than letting them build up experience, gain organization strength and unity, is it a sign you have no confidence the commanders ever will build up the experience you need, or are you looking for the magic Patton, or is it just you have a view of command structure such that leadership and command can be done by sortition, or do you think the concept of leadership/command is in itself a bad idea…? They’re certainly not putting specialists in charge of operations that call for their specializations, which might be another reason you’d change up command.

      Or, perhaps Zelensky is doing everything to help Ukraine fail.

      1. Benny Profane

        Maybe Zelensky is paranoid that the Nazis will coup. I’m guessing it has already been attempted. Zaluzhny, the ex commander of forces, was supposed to be ambassador to England after he was sacked, but, hasn’t been seen for the months he left the post. Maybe in a jail cell? The rest of his top generals were all fired, too. Not something you want to do during a war, maybe one of two, gradually.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I’ve seen it claimed that Kiev is not rearming Azov (or ex-Azov) anymore using Washington’s ban as an excuse, but in reality because a) Azov is quite picky-and-choosy in taking orders and b) Kiev is really afraid of a coup by the remaining ethno-nationalist football hooligans.

      2. hk

        I keep wondering if Zelensky really is a real life Stirlitz or Konrad Wallenrode…

      3. Louis Fyne

        >there is something strange about this frequent changing of commanders.

        A cynical take that I read on Twitter opines that this is a feature, not a bug.

        In any sectarian post-war power struggle, the 47th likely would align w/a Lviv-centered/Azov/ultranationalist group.

        If AFU commander Syrksy (spelling?) wanted to neuter the ultranationalists now, you would send them into the Russian meat grinder first.

        Are we seeing a game of 4-D chess play out? Unknowable until the post-war knives come out and Syrsky survives, and honestly writes his memoirs.

  3. Jake

    “How a Texas-based think tank upended Florida’s homelessness strategy” We had one of these Cicero guys run for city council in Austin. He was the only person running who sounded like he knew what was really going on with the homeless situation, at least relative to all the other people running. The City of Austin definitely checked out on the homeless problem and they just hand money to the HIC, hundreds of millions a year, with no oversight. Just the annual count that shows what a huge failure they have been. I was extremely disappointed to find out the one guy running for city council that made sense was funded by some creepy libertarian. But I have to give them credit where credit is due, the policies they are pursuing related to the HIC are common sense and I support them.

  4. zagonostra

    >The Sci-Fi Writer Who Invented Conspiracy Theory The Atlantic

    I thought the CIA invented the phrase “conspiracy theory” to discredit people who questioned the official JFK Warren Commission findings.

    It’s so telling how the Atlantic tries to frame propaganda as a “Left/Right” issue. Rather than provide a real analysis like that found in Jacques Ellul’s book “Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitudes.” Of course this is all about Trump and trying to paint “conspiracies” as something unique rather than something all governments all parties do on a daily basis. It almost makes me think that what the Atlanticis doing is propaganda.

    Being a SciFi aficionado, I will have to check out Paul Linebarger to see if his writings are on par with Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon, Robinson, Spinrad, etc…that I grew up on as an adolescent.

    Modern conspiracy influencers have taken up Linebarger’s mantle. As the NBC reporter Ben Collins told the WNYC show On the Media in 2020, the far right in particular is “very good at storytelling…Linebarger could hardly have envisioned the Twilight Zone–esque tales that the Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell spun about election fraud in 2020. But even bad science fiction can make very fine propaganda.

    1. griffen

      I read most of the article above…like paint by colors scheme to portray CT however the Atlantic deems to be necessary.

      I thought Gibson’s writing was adept at creating alternative realities…but I’ve only read The Peripheral. As you highlight, there are plenty of authors to compare and contrast…

    2. pjay

      – “It’s so telling how the Atlantic tries to frame propaganda as a “Left/Right” issue.”

      Yes, only right-wingers believe “conspiracy theories,” just like only right-wingers suffer from “authoritarian” personalities, “republican brains,” etc.

      Annalee does apparently acknowledge some *good* propaganda stories. For example: Wonder Woman. I’m not sure, but it sounded like Linebarger’s anti-Communist Chinese stories, intended as they were to help the Nationalists “restore the republic,” were for a just cause as well. I wonder how that epic saga ‘The Russiagate Trilogy’ fits in here? Right-wing “conspiracy theory” or positive propaganda for Enlightened (neo)liberalism? Who gets to judge? Since Annalee is a “science journalist who also writes science fiction,” I’m guessing she would rely on those good cognitive psychologists writing about “Republican Brains” and such.

    3. Jabura Basaidai

      good call on Ellul, and his analysis is easily applicable today as are Orwell and Huxley – looking up at my bookshelf Ellul’s “Propaganda” is there for easy reference as well as “The Technological Society” – during my longest stint at a higher ed joint in early 70’s a prof introduced us to Ellul as well as Maurice Cornforth for dialectics/materialism and Michael Polanyi for ‘tacit knowledge’ –

    4. Michaelmas

      zagonostra: I thought the CIA invented the phrase “conspiracy theory” to discredit people who questioned the official JFK Warren Commission findings.

      Linebarger himself may then have invented the phrase “conspiracy theory” as part of his work for CIA.

      Linebarger was in the OSS during the 1940s, and effectively in the CIA under cover during the 1950s, and certainly taught many leading CIA operatives (see below) at that time, besides having written PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, the US Army’s main textbook on the subject. So if he didn’t come up with the phrase, it was likely one of his pupils.

      zagonostra: Being a SciFi aficionado, I will have to check out Paul Linebarger to see if his writings are on par with Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon, Robinson, Spinrad, etc…that I grew up on as an adolescent.

      He’s arguably far better, but far stranger.

      Almost all his stuff — and there’s only a dozen-odd core short stories and novelettes, plus a strange attempt at a novel — is set in an invented future history 10,000-15,000 years hence, when the people aren’t really human beings any more, and that’s in part because, for instance, many aren’t as they’re uplifted animals.

      Furthermore, the stories’ forms aren’t like most Western fiction, more resembling the Chinese history and literature Linebarger/Smith was familiar from his childhood. So, for instance, the stories’ narrators are ostensibly even further in the future, explaining these historical events and folk-legends of their past — C’Mell, D’Joan, the politics of the Instrumentality, the rebellion of the Underpeople, the prison system of Shayol — to contemporaries of their own time. It’s genuinely strange stuff; other topflight SF writers have mostly deeply admired it, but found it a bad influence to incorporate in their own work because it’s impossible to think as differently as Linebarger/Smith could think.

      As for THE ATLANTIC article, it’s shamefully bad and factually wrong. As griffen comments, “like paint by colors scheme to portray CT however the Atlantic deems to be necessary.”

      For starters, Linebarger wasn’t just any counterintelligence officer and PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE wasn’t any old manual on the subject, but the the US Army’s main bible on the subject for decades. In the 1950s, Linebarger taught classes in psychological warfare for CIA agents at his home in Washington under cover of his position at the School of Advanced International Studies, and his pupils included, among others, G. Gordon Liddy and Miles Copeland, who described Linebarger as “perhaps the leading practitioner of ‘black’ and ‘gray’ propaganda in the Western world.”

      Putting the full picture together — if you’ve read PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE –‘black propaganda’ means , in part, false flag operations, and some of Linebarger’s CIA pupils carried out in Vietnam precisely the kind of ‘black ops’ that in Graham Green’s 1955 novel THE QUIET AMERICAN the character Fowler is responsible for.

      Linebarger also could drink a glass of prussic acid because his metabolism was so weird, had a glass eye, and had gone to a psychiatrist for treatment because he had delusions that he was from another planet. A genuinely strange individual.

      Here’s an essay by Ted Goia from 2013, called ‘Remembering Cordwainer Smith: Full-Time Sci-Fi Author, Part-Time Earthling,’ which gives a rather better picture of Smith/Linebarger (and which was, not incidentally, printed in THE ATLANTIC then, showing how far that publication has fallen).

      1. zagonostra


        This is definitely an area of interest that will require further research…thank you.

      2. irenic

        I thoroughly enjoyed Cordwainer Smith’s work(as much as Philip K. Dicks’s) in the 80’s. By then his real name and occupation were known including some of his writing on propaganda. What was interesting in the history of his Instrumentality of Mankind was some of it’s origin story. In particular, if I remember correctly, since he was someone who had been in on some of the deepest secrets of our government in the 50’s(good propaganda usually contains at least some truth), two stood out to me. One was in our near future there were only 2 superpowers left, China and the United States and their ultimate battle fought on massive computers(since by then real wars were too deadly to be fought in the real world) by each sides most able computer warrior! Unfortunately(?!), the Chinese won and ruled the world. The other I found more interesting was he mentioned a Sixth(or was it Seventh?) Reich, which came after our present day Fourth and then the Fifth. This from someone who knew of the American government’s and its intelligence community embrace of Nazis from the Third Reich. And even Dick’s The Man in The High Castle may be an alternate history not far from the truth.

        Anyone who supports the present day Ukrainian Nazi regime is either amoral and want to make money from this war, or they’re ignorant fools who do not know or want to know the Ukraine is infested with Nazis, or they’re Nazis/Nazi sympathizers.

        And while Trump is a White supremacist and Nazi adjacent, Genocide Joe Biden’s unconditional support for the Ukrainian Nazi regime makes him and the people who populate his regime outright Nazis. Contrary to Patrick Lawrence they are both fascistic.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>And while Trump is a White supremacist and Nazi adjacent, Genocide Joe Biden’s unconditional support for the Ukrainian Nazi regime makes him and the people who populate his regime outright Nazis. Contrary to Patrick Lawrence they are both fascistic.

          Yes, but due to the captured, highly effective propaganda of the mainstream news media, liberal people like my Mom are unaware of all this. It is like with older conservatives with Fox News. Many people are not deliberately ignorant, racist, or fascist, but have been mentally and emotionally manipulated into believing a story made of lies. Maybe, if the protests continue, she might come to understand as she is probably smarter than I am. The pulling of the loose thread effect.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you. It had been pretty well established that the CIA itself invented the term or meme or whatever you want to call it, to deflect from the myriad conspiracies it was actually engaging in. Looks like the Atlantic and the spooks who run the place are promoting yet another conspiracy theory of its own.

    6. Feral Finster

      Just as “cult” = “religion without material political power”, “conspiracy theory” = “anything outside the Overton Window”.

      1. Revenant

        Dialect = language without an army
        Scientific heresy = theory without a Nobel prize-winner

    7. Lefty Godot

      The Atlantic piece has a strange interpretation of the “Cordwainer Smith” works. I wouldn’t say the Instrumentality is portrayed as an evil totalitarian regime so much as a hidebound conservative elitist regime. The more enlightened elites of the Instrumentality, like Lord Jestocost, have to be brought around to champion the rights of the Underpeople in order for the latter to win concessions. If anything the Instrumentality resembled an amalgamation of an idealized British Empire and the US of the post-War civil rights struggle era (when “Smith” was writing).

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘Jared Yates Sexton
    Honestly, I didn’t think our society could get more asinine, but watching a cop hold up an Oxford book on the subject of terrorism as proof of terrorism on a college campus is truly, is truly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in my entire life.’

    This is kinda like the time last November where the IDF claimed that they found a copy of “Mein Kampf” in a children’s room that had been used by Hamas operatives in northern Gaza. So that totally justified what the IDF was doing in Gaza of course. But I hope that that cop is mercilessly mocked for what he tried to get away with. Who knows what other books he might have found in the Uni library-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The timing of the photo is great as the expression on the cop’s face has really captured the intellectual heft of every book burner in history.

      It also raises questions about NYC’s anti terrorism operations, not to recognize the book in question. There is part of the budget we can safely cut.

      1. Ken Murphy

        Probably wouldn’t recognize a copy of the Anarchist’s Cookbook if it smacked him upside the head. Ditto for a Clue x 4.

        We’re so in the best of hands…

        [grumble, grumble. Where’s my nutmeg and banana peels?]

    2. Benny Profane

      “This is kinda like the time last November where the IDF claimed that they found a copy of “Mein Kampf” in a children’s room that had been used by Hamas operatives in northern Gaza.”

      Well, let’s not forget that the NYC police department has been training in Israel for a long time. Must have been a seminar all about, rummage through libraries and grab at any straw you can.

      If that was some small town Idaho cop, I would just shake my head at the dumb, but, in order for that guy to get to the level he is in the NYC department, he probably has a masters. So that just makes him evil.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Why grab at straws when you can plant one? That’s been the MO for many cops in many places for quite some time.

    3. Feral Finster

      As long as you control the narrative, it doesn’t matter how absurd the claims.

    4. JBird4049

      Hey, I got books on war, slavery, eugenics, and genocide. It must mean that I support all that.

      It is not asininity although that is a part, it is more the idea that just being informed is doubleplus ungood. Ignorance is strength. Slavery is freedom. War is peace. And so on.

      It does give reasons for our ruling class’ actions.

      1. Old Jake

        Oh, you have a Bible too? This sounds inflammatory but I think we could find some of these themes in many works. But I guess that’s what you mean anyway. Edgar Rice Burroughs for example, ascribed many savage practices to the savage races of Mars. Do you wonder how he thought that stuff up?

        1. JBird4049

          Of course, I have the Bible! What kind of ignoramus do you think I am? :-)

          Honestly, I have lost most of my books on religion, but since changing my major to philosophy, I have been adding books on philosophy. I wonder what the police would think about Kant, Kierkegaard, and Byung-Chul Han?

      2. Screwball

        I could put this anywhere, but this is close enough. Reminds me of the book Fahrenheit 451 (1953 – movie in 2018 it looks like).

    5. alfred venison

      Not too long ago a book like that might have been called “History of Terrorism for Dummies” or “Complete Idiots Guide to The History of Terrorism”.

  6. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    As is his habit, Xi Jinping wrote an op-ed in French media to explain the reasons behind his trip. This is the text translated in English. *

    The concluding paragraph is the best part IMHO, an ode to independent thinking:

    “Confucius observed that ‘a man of true moral integrity is one who is both friendly but independent, and who does not compromise his principles, and who is independent without any bias or taking sides. How unflinchingly firm he is in his strength!’ French writer Romain Rolland said that ‘it is so much easier to allow oneself to be guided than it is to think for oneself. This abdication is the kernel of the mischief.’ Both China and France value independence as two major countries. Our interactions in the long course of history have released tremendous energy swaying the trajectory of the world. Now we are standing at another historical starting point. Let us join hands together on this new journey toward greater progress in China-France relations to the benefit of our two countries and the world!”

    * Full text of Xi Jinping’s signed article on French media

    8:47 PM · May 5, 2024

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      a leader with intelligence and context – so rare as to be extinct in the West –

          1. Young

            Come on man!
            They have an army of handlers. Why do they bother to do such mundane things as “research””?

        1. Emma

          Intelligent delegation is the first requirement of an effective executive. We can see how so called chief executives in the West have completely fumbled this minimum requirement for the last 3 decades.

      1. CA

        “A leader with intelligence and context…”

        ShanghaiPanda @thinking_panda

        President Xi told a story to President Macron:

        Chinese ancient musicians Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi’s friendship was strengthened by music. Boya played a piece of music that only Ziqi could understand, demonstrating that true friendship requires mutual understanding and appreciation.

        11:56 AM · Apr 7, 2023

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          surely that lesson just flew high over Macon’s understanding – he is a befuddled tool –

  7. pjay

    – ‘Dmitri Alperovitch on the New Cold War with China” (excerpt) – Michael Isikoff, SpyTalk

    Dmitri Alperovitch. Michael Isikoff. Spy Talk. I was going to comment, but is that really even necessary?

    1. Kouros

      “A veteran cybersecurity maven who co-founded CrowdStrike, the firm that uncovered the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee”

      Enogh said…

      I stopped there.

      1. jrkrideau

        Ah but “In December 2021, Dmitri Alperovitch famously predicted that Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine—two months before he actually did.”

        I, as someone with no experience in international affairs or any great knowledge of the area and politics, was predicting the same thing, given a specific state of circumstances. NATO & Zelensky arranged the circumstances.

        It was so blindingly obvious I was shocked at the number of commentators who expressed surprise.

        As Patrick Armstrong has said about Putin “LISTEN TO WHAT HE’S SAYING

      2. ALB

        I read up till where he claimed Russia has never been more scared of nato as they are now, and then I became convinced he was high on his own supply

  8. CA

    May 6, 2024

    Researchers develop deep-learning model for streamflow forecasting

    Chinese researchers have proposed a novel hybrid deep-learning model to address streamflow forecasting for water catchment areas at a global scale, with a view to improving flood prediction, according to a recent research article * published in the journal The Innovation.

    Streamflow and flood forecasting remains one of the long-standing challenges in hydrology. Traditional physically based models are hampered by sparse parameters and complex calibration procedures particularly in ungauged catchments.

    More than 95 percent of small- and medium-sized water catchments in the world lack monitoring data, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

    Researchers from the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment of the CAS used the datasets of more than 2,000 catchments around the world to conduct model training in order to cope with streamflow forecasting at a global scale for all gauged and ungauged catchments.

    The distribution of these catchments was significantly different, ensuring the diversity of data.

    The results show that the forecasting accuracy of the model was higher than traditional hydrological models and other AI models.

    The study demonstrated the potential of deep-learning methods to overcome the lack of hydrologic data and deficiencies in physical model structure and parameterization, the research article noted.


    1. Steve H.

      Three things:

      : Surface hydrology: This could be a valid advancement in working with interpolation in sparse-data sets, which is necessary given how localized rain can be.

      : AI: I’m finding a lot more confidence in AI working with numerical data v linguistic. Less ambiguity, for one, and I can follow the methodology. Note this:

      > However, the impact of C0 values on the whole process still remains unknown because the encoded features of each catchment are represented by high-dimensional and nonlinear vectors that are adaptively generated by neural networks rather than explicit features

      That ‘high-dimensional and nonlinear’ means that it’s stuffing a lot of parameters into a very few variables. Which is brilliant until it explodes. Absolutely needs a human side-eyeing the results. Think of it like plus-minus in basketball, a really good measure of complexity that completely blows it on some individual cases.

      : Published in ‘Cell’? Well, a Cell partner, which are almost all biological. Could be lining up for later developments, the model uses a cell structure, and it’s not implausible that water cascades could be tweaked for biochemical cascades. Stay tuned.

      1. CA

        “Surface hydrology: This could be a valid advancement…”

        A splendid comment. The Chinese Academy of Sciences chose a similar AI model for comprehensive local and broad scale, short and intermediate term, weather forecasting as the top Chinese science accomplishment of 2023. The choices of publishing in Nature and Cell respectively show the implications.

      2. Mikel

        “AI: I’m finding a lot more confidence in AI working with numerical data”
        Full disclosure, I never doubted the algorithms are good with numbers.
        Calculators have been around for a long time.

        1. cfraenkel

          I suspect a more telling distinction is where the data comes from, vs simply numeric vs linguistic. The difficulty with ‘linguistic’ data is us – we supply, and expect, meaning in the words. And because the words come from humans, there are as many ‘bad’ collections of words out there as ‘good’. The hydrology example is different – nature doesn’t lie, or obfuscate, or simply be mistaken, it just is, so the numbers are more reliable. I suppose an AI would have as much trouble with ‘hallucinations’ if it were trained on corporate financial data – numbers, yes, but human sourced, with plenty of incentive for the numbers to be fudged.

          1. Mikel

            “I suppose an AI would have as much trouble with ‘hallucinations’ if it were trained on corporate financial data – numbers, yes, but human sourced, with plenty of incentive for the numbers to be fudged.”

            In other words, it’s good with the numbers it is given. Something like that…

        2. CA

          “Calculators have been around for a long time.”

          An important comment, but the Chinese weather and related stream-flow accomplishments go beyond “calculating digitally,” go beyond digital calculus in complexity. Recreating stream-flow patterns is a fundamentally different process than digital approximation; different and more precise.

    2. earthling

      From my experience in building water models, I can tell you there are two problems with making models realistic and predictive. One is structuring them atop of erroneous assumptions, and the other is applying sparse data sets over wide areas. You literally cannot correct for either of these with fancier algorithms. And simulating data points where you have none, by projecting from other data points, is not a solution. The methodology may do very well in one circumstance and completely fail in another set of conditions.

      If we took a thousandth of the money pissed away on AI bullshit and spent it on building and monitoring WAY more stream and lake gages, and I assume more weather data sources too, then we would be making progress.

  9. Jabura Basaidai

    “Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria Found on ISS Mutating…” – good golly are we heading into science fiction land?

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        some say science fiction literature foretells – have wondered when a space bacteria would pop on the radar –

      2. griffen

        My cynical thought is what can the good, well intended corporate folks at Weyland Corporation cook up in their labs or there bioweapons research to utilize such an organism that capably survives in closed environments…

        “Perfect Organism…No delusions of morality…” To quote Ash from the Alien movie.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Sample test question . . .

          True or False: WHO-CDC are to Covid what Ash was to Alien.

    1. Bugs

      There was a long discussion of this on France Culture radio the other day (one of the greatest “socialist” things we have in this beautiful land). The germ must most definitely not be transported back to the surface b/c it is a MERS and highly pathogenic. Imho, these kinds of things will be more prolific the more we rely space work.

  10. dday

    Dmitri Alperovitch also penned a recent piece in the Washington Post, titled “How the right U.S. chip strategy can keep Taiwan free”.

    After reading it, I realized it was basically a declaration of war against China. He has a four part strategy, number three is for the US to basically destroy all the chip fabs in Taiwan if China was to ever gain access to them.

    1. Oh

      Biden and his war mongers don’t realize that China has spies in Taiwan who are already leaking chip manufacturing tech to them.

  11. Benny Profane

    Gawd, I thought we were done with Sheryl Sandberg. I guess she was bored.

  12. SocalJimObjects

    Ahead of the state visit to France, Xi Jinping wrote the following article for the Le Figaro newspaper in France,, and the English translation can be found here,

    Maybe I am reading too much into the article, but when I read the following sentence, ” French writer Romain Rolland said that “it is so much easier to allow oneself to be guided than it is to think for oneself. This abdication is the kernel of the mischief.” , I could not help but think that it’s a indirect rebuke to how France has been blindly following the lead of the United States in various affairs.

    1. digi_owl

      Thing is, i suspect it is not blind but willful on the part of Macron trying to set up his post-presidential career.

      1. Feral Finster

        Exactly. Macron knows full well what he is doing, and he would be grateful for a pat on the head of his American Master.

    2. CA

      French writer Romain Rolland said that “it is so much easier to allow oneself to be guided than it is to think for oneself. This abdication is the kernel of the mischief.” I could not help but think that it’s a indirect rebuke to how France has been blindly following the lead of the United States in various affairs.

      [ Surely so, and echoing earlier remarks by President Xi. Written respectfully and hopefully to President Macron, who obviously hears Xi but has so far been incapable of responding independently. ]

    3. CA

      There was no reason to have allowed the unelected Ursula Von der Leyen to interfere with French policy:

      Mat 6, 2022

      In Meeting With Xi, E.U. Leader Takes Tough Line on Ukraine War
      Ursula Von der Leyen, the European Commission president, pushed Beijing to help rein in Russia’s war in Ukraine after meeting with the Chinese and French leaders in Paris.
      By Roger Cohen

      Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, put pressure Monday on China to help resolve the war in Ukraine, saying Beijing should “use all its influence on Russia to end its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

      She spoke after accompanying President Emmanuel Macron of France in a meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, who began his first visit to Europe in five years on Sunday. Ms. von der Leyen has persistently taken a stronger line toward China than has Mr. Macron….

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Hundreds of patients died after catching COVID in Victorian hospitals, new data shows”

    Absolutely not surprised by this. I don’t live in Victoria but I do see how the hospitals here have dealt with curtailing the risk of Covid. Two years ago I had a hospital appointment and saw that some staff wore masks and some didn’t. In most cases it was just surgical masks. But outside that hospital was a helpful sign saying that people no longer had to wear masks when going into that hospital. It was at that point I knew that they had basically given up which was an enormous mistake. If you are going to get infected, it will be easily in a place where sick people gather. That means doctors surgeries – and hospitals for christsake.

    1. ArvidMartensen

      Also not in Victoria but my partner with a life-threatening auto-immune disease was recommended to do physiotherapy.

      Last year at the first appointment I queried the physio staff on why none of them were wearing masks when so many of their patients were very sick or frail. We were both wearing masks. There was a spike in Covid cases in our district, as background.

      Their response? There was no guideline that said they had to wear masks but if one was brought in, then they would follow the guidelines. So that was the end of the physio appointment for us.

      When did “ve are just following orders” take over the health services profession?

  14. Mikel

    “This May Be Our Last Chance to Halt Bird Flu in Humans, and We Are Blowing It” Zeynep Tufekci, NYT

    Already blew it. Now it’s people running around covering up the trail of accountability.

    1. jsn

      You said it! See my comment below: people unloading truckloads of sick birds onto the sidewalks of Brooklyn. It’s as if someone is actively trying to break the species barrier.

  15. diptherio

    Re: Shawn Fain: May Day 2028 Could Transform the Labor Movement—and the World

    A colleague attended the recent Labor Notes conference (he’s been to many) and reported that it was the biggest he’s seen, over 4,800 iirc, and full of energy. I’m a bit of a pessimist, but maybe this is the right time for an actual resurgence of organized labor.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Some comrades im involved with in Class Unity went but have yet to post an AAR.

      I’d like to hear more about your experience!

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Workplace by workplace, company by company, industry by industry . . .

      Perhaps plowing and fertilizing the ground for the eventual emergence of a Social Democrat Farmer Labor Party, or some such thing with a suitably unromantic name.

  16. jsn

    On my bike ride into Manhattan today I saw what appeared to be an entire truckload of sick but still living chickens, mostly in the stackable cages they’re transported in, some wandering around free, unloaded onto the traffic medians and unoccupied spaces under and adjacent to the Manhattan Bridge.

    Cops were putting the cages into a police truck (no doubt the barricades it normally trucks are in use at some local campus) without any PPE. Hundreds of crates of sick chickens on the sidewalks and medians of Brooklyn.

    I assume it would cost someone something to properly dispose of these poor birds and the individual charged with doing so couldn’t afford it or could pocket the charge. Our incentives are all wrong.

    1. flora

      Why am I thinking of the pallets of stacked bricks in the middle of a non-construction site sidewalk that showed up during the George Floyd protests? As if by magic.

      I’ve never heard of diseased chickens being disposed of this way. Usually it’s cull, kill on site, then dispose the carcasses. Not drive still-live birds to the road median of a major city and dump them or turn them loose. You didn’t mention any sign of a wrecked truck that might have carried the chicken crates.

      1. jsn

        No, it was pretty bizarre. The crates were stacked 2-3 high spread out in the margins of the road infrastructure under and around the Brooklyn anchorage for the Manhattan Bridge.

        I expect it took a half an hour at least to unload and stack all the crates from what had to be a flat bed crawling along as several people unloaded and stacked crates.

        There were probably a half dozen chickens outside the boxes, walking around but very low energy and with lots of feathers missing.

        1. Juneau

          Those sound like battery hens (for egg laying). They live in the dark in metal warehouses and have terrible living conditions, housed together in very small cages where they get a lot of injuries until they are used up. That is bizarre to see them in NYC. One center of that industry is in the Delmarva Peninsula.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        Someone should be willing to take the risk of saying in public that these stacks of sick chickens are part of a deliberate plan to spread this flu to people deliberately and on purpose.

  17. Pearl Rangefinder

    Greece And Turkey Are Adamant About Retaining Their Russian Missiles

    “Greece is not going to send S-300 or Patriot to Ukraine,” he told local television on April 25.

    “Giving our S-400 system to any other country is out of the question,” Guler declared on May 2.

    The begging for more AD missiles continues. If, as Feral Finster speculates, that they will definitely cave on this, it should be interesting to watch the American foreign policy blob doing its ‘work’ in real time.

      1. eg

        And it won’t matter because the amount of ordnance is meaningless across a front so vast.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Bondholders to Push Ukraine to Resume Debt Payments After Hiatus

    That group of foreign bondholders, which includes investment giants Blackrock and Pimco, granted Kiev a 2-year debt holiday in 2022, gambling that the conflict with Russia would have concluded by now. How stupid was that. They must have actually snorted their own supply. The Ukrainians can’t pay $500 million every year on interest payments to this group and this group may have lost all their money in the Ukraine. You can bet that they will want to be made whole for all their losses so I guess that the Fed is going to have to pay them off on the side because of “the stability of the market”. That group is only owed about $4 billion anyway so for the Fed that is pocket change.

    1. Feral Finster

      I suspect that one way or another, the Fed will convince them to grant Kiev another holiday.

      $550M a year will buy a lot of regulatory forbearance.

  19. Mikel

    I was reading about Columbia U canceling the big, main graduation event and thought about the conversation yesterday about bringing cellphones to protests.
    I can’t help but suspect protestors thought they were making a plan and communicating by phone. It’s the exact kind of disruption that would only work with the element of surprise. (facepalm)

    And all the discussion about taking surveillance phones to protests, the surveillance cars alot of people are riding around in these days is another point to consider.

  20. Alice X

    >Shawn Fain: May Day 2028 Could Transform the Labor Movement—and the World

    Could we have a write in campaign for Shawn Fain as US President? He does have a big picture.

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘austerity is theft 🇿🇦
    “Why has the PR been so awful?… typically the Israelis are good at PR—what’s happened here, how have they and we been so ineffective at communicating the realities and our POV?… some wonder why there was such overwhelming support for us to shut down potentially TikTok.”’

    By PR I am sure that they mean hasbara. But that propaganda does not work when day after day videos come out of Gaza showing exactly what the Israelis are doing with many being filmed by the Israelis themselves. So nobody believes the Israelis anymore and their constant lying is now coming home to roost. But here Blinken is complaining that all this stuff on social media is killing off the narrative. Romney starts complaining about how there is much more on Hamas on Tik Tok but he must know that Zuckerberg is eradicating Palestinians from Facebook & Instagram and Musk is starting to do the same with twitter. If those platforms were actually free, then the same results would show up on them too. So people are shifting to Tik Tok to get real news and Romney is saying that Biden will be shutting them down as a result. And after Tik Tok, maybe telegram next or any other independent social media platform.

    1. CA

      “By PR I am sure that they mean hasbara. But that propaganda does not work when…”

      An important, powerful comment.

    2. Emma

      It turned out that they were never any good at PR or even Hasbara, they just used to control all the levers for information dissemination. So it didn’t matter that the lies and justifications never made any sense, because they could silence anyone who would say it out loud.

      Even a tiny dent in this armor in the form of TikTok teenagers, was enough to completely blow their narrative apart.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Truth. The last few months have explained 2005 to me with perfect clarity.

        I have always felt the weight of improbability when trying to explain how my dinky little blog got hit with a massive DDOS attack in early 2005. In retrospect, a massive DDOS attack sounds like I got off lucky because I was accurately writing about the obvious comparisons between South African Apartheid and the juiced up version of Apartheid being practiced by Israel. That blog never got its audience back and was always a magnet for massive amounts of spam (easily 90% of my site traffic was bogus).

        When I joined Twitter four years later, I got reasonable numbers to start but every time I mentioned Israel and Apartheid, my audience shrank.

        So yes, hasbara is very fragile stuff indeed if they have to call in the hackers every time someone speaks truth on social media. And just to be absolutley clear: I never made any money from anything I did in this regard. My sole crime was speaking truth about Israel, a colonial settler state that has committed massive crimes against the Palestinian people.

    3. digi_owl

      Citizen journalism at its most direct.

      USA ran into the same “problem” during Vietnam, and why when Desert Storm and later rolled round the journalists were “embedded” rather than allowed to roam independently.

    4. Camelotkidd

      My Senator Mittens
      We’re certainly going to miss him when he’s gone, especially his accidentally revealing statements like “corporations are people too, my friend”

  22. Mirjonray

    “New MSU research: Are carbon-capture models effective? (press release) University of Michigan”

    Regarding the above-referenced link listed under the Climate section, it should read:

    “New MSU research: Are carbon-capture models effective? (press release) Michigan State University“.

    Sorry for the nitpicking. That’s an important distinction in the state of Michigan.

    1. jrkrideau

      Thank you. I don’t even live in the USA but I have cousins who went to MSU. I wondered why UofM would be touting MSU research.

  23. digi_owl

    “The World’s Hunger for Salmon Is Linked to an Ecological Disaster Bloomberg”

    Yep, it is turning into quite a blight in multiple ways. The farms are taking a toll on the fjords. The roads are littered with poorly maintained trucks from eastern Europe hurrying to deliver fresh salmon to European restaurants. And the owners are balking at any talk about taxation of the riches.

    Never mind that one of the biggest salmon farm owners these days is a familiar character by the name of John Fredriksen. Norwegian expat shipping magnate turned Cyprus’ richest man.

  24. Mikel

    “…watching a cop hold up an Oxford book on the subject of terrorism as proof of terrorism on a college campus is truly, is truly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in my entire life…”

    Not just a cop – a Deputy Commissioner.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      A Deputy Commissioner, who also bears more than a passing resemblance to Kenan Thompson of SNL, for some comic relief from the horror.

  25. Tom Stone

    I wonder how many student protestors of Genocide, particularly at Columbia, will find themselves on the “No Fly” list?
    Having the head of the NYPD Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau as an adjunct professor at Columbia should facilitate disseminating their data, biometric and otherwise to all who are legitimately concerned with the threat the First Amendment poses to OUR democracy.
    Since they have been “Echoing the rhetoric of a Terrorist Organisation” they are indubitably “Terrorist Sympathizers” or worse.

  26. Glen

    The problem with having a boat load of neocons in government that go around the world and provoke wars is the illusion that one can control a war.

    Russia is likely responding to threats from Macron that he will send troops to Ukraine (and it’s also likely when he announced sending troops that they are already there):

    Kremlin says nuclear weapon drills are Russia’s response to West’s statements

    Israel, words fail me on this:

    Israel strikes Gaza city of Rafah after evacuation order

    Biden needs to act and stop these wars, both are beyond any illusion of “control” that he might have had at some point.

  27. TomDority

    Romney and PR – it’s his operational skill set when his private equity, predatory financial capitalist mindset crawls into action. The fact that he made his fortune hollowing out companies by the PR stunt of saying it’s good for the companies efficiency to debt burden slash and burn or to take over a supply company to target a key component in downstream manufacturing and raise the cost to absurd levels and, then went on to run for president and now a junior member of house – shows what really good con man he is.
    So if you want to get a bunch of people to believe the unbelievable and, believe he is working in their best interest when actually he is working for his own lucre at their peril – who better to chat with than Romney or even that Romney wanna-be twat Trump … both expert con-men and PR idiots.
    Clueless those two Romney and Blinken – but of course Blinken works at the pleasure of Biden so Biden agrees/orders Blinken (chain of command thing I guess) – and depending on the election outcome Trump should have no issue with keeping Blinken on board …why Blinken is doing all he can to sink the Dem party .
    Of course, both parties have been pay walled to the hilt… just about every other thing under the constitution – pay or play, pay or play

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Blinken is young enough there is no way he wasn’t expecting a Harris-Blinken ticket or to run after Harris loses.

  28. ChrisFromGA

    Apropos of Netanyahu rolling the tanks in to Rafah for another round of senseless slaughter.

    No need to change the lyrics; they’re perfect as is.

    You can look to the left and look to the right
    But you will live in danger tonite
    When the enemy comes he will never be heard
    He’ll blow your mind and not say a word
    Blinding lights-flashing colors
    Sleepless nights
    If the man with the power
    Can’t keep it under control
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    The power-mad freaks who are
    Ruling the earth
    Will show little they think you’re worth
    With animal lust they’ll devour your life
    And slice your word to bits like a knife
    One last day burning hell fire
    You’re blown away
    If the man with the power
    Can’t keep it under control
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Know what it’s like
    When you’re taken for granted
    there goes your life
    It’s so underhanded
    If the man with the power
    Can’t keep it under control
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll
    Some heads are gonna roll

    “Some Heads are gonna roll” by Judas Priest.


  29. TomW

    “The Kremlin spokesman also took aim at the U.K., whose Foreign Secretary David Cameron said last week that Ukraine has the right to decide how to use long-range weapons provided by his country, appearing to back away from a policy banning the use of Western-supplied arms to strike Russia.”
    Why does the west think they are the only party to the Ukraine war that can escalate? This is a proxy war precisely because the west wants to limit the risk of its own involvement. Realistically, Russia can do a lot before employing tactical nukes. Like further attacks on the Ukrainian electrical grid…blow up bridges, etc.
    Cameron casually promoting use of Western-supplied arms to strike Russia is reckless. Especially with the UK’s fingerprints all over various quasi terrorist attacks.

  30. Vander Resende

    “Two of the organizers supporting the protests at Columbia University and on other campuses are Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. Both are supported by the Tides Foundation, which is seeded by Democratic megadonor George Soros and was previously supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It in turn supports numerous small nonprofits that work for social change.

  31. DMK

    The rectangular irises of goats and sheep have always amused me. How did that happen? Anyone have any ideas?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Also found in octopuses. The theory is these types of eyes evolved independently in mammals and cephalopods. The why of it all is a bit trickier, but Richard Dawkins used these examples to debunk the intelligent design claims that there must be a god because the intricacy of the human eye means it must have been created and didn’t evolve.

      I believe I read that in one of his books, and it might be discussed in this video which I just found but haven’t watched –

  32. ArvidMartensen

    The piece on self-help and vitamins was misleading.

    On the uselessness of Vitamin C, a Cochrane review of 2013 would beg to differ from the author, “given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in the regular supplementation studies, and the low cost and safety, it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for them. Further therapeutic RCTs are warranted.”

    There is a continuing push by some medical professionals to ban anything they don’t control, and vitamins are in the cross-hairs.

    Pharmacists have also caught the control bug and it is now official policy to interfere in customer purchases. I sometimes go to the pharmacist and get various pills, lotions and creams that have worked for me for years for a variety of ailments. But now I have to run a gauntlet of young assistants with next to no medical training grilling me about whether I have used these before and do I know how to use them? Intrusive. Arrrgh.

  33. CA

    “Maybe the Chinese can make robot cars work. I doubt it.”

    Regarding this remark.

    The Chinese have been and are using robot vehicles in many setting, for many purposes. From night-time taxi service to plowing and harvesting crops, autonomous vehicles are being used with fully China-constructed software and a complete internationally recognized satellite system in place for guidance. Similarly, the Chinese are using a significant number of autonomous-sailing ships. Thousands of drones are flown autonomously at the same time.

    1. Yves Smith

      Are they fully autonomous? The issue in the US that the supposedly autonomous taxis are in fact not and have human minders due to the fact that they can’t anticipate all environmental conditions and have killed people, as well as (here) borked traffic. Experts have said that there are simply too many potential hazards to construct an adequate training set. Asian traffic with its motorbikes is even more of a nightmare to navigate than the US.

      The much touted airports “robotaxis” still have a human driver IN THE CAR, begging the question of “What is the point”. From Feb this year. Note how the first paragraph claim is undermined by the detail later:

      The world’s first capital to permit autonomous taxis, grants licenses to operators like Baidu Inc and, enabling driverless services at Daxing International Airport. This marks a significant milestone for autonomous passenger transport between the city and the airport.

      Industry experts said the move marks a milestone in China’s efforts to develop an intelligent transportation system, and will further bolster the commercial application of self-driving technology.

      The approval, granted by the head office of Beijing High-Level Automated Driving Demonstration Area, allows these companies to provide self-driving vehicle services on 40-kilometre expressways connecting the international airport with Yizhuang in Beijing’s Daxing district, as well as in some designated areas within the airport.

      The permits come with the precondition that a safety inspector will sit behind the steering wheel and take manual control in case of an emergency.

      I am sure the various attempts here also used GPS so that is not a distinctive feature.

      This does say that there are driverless taxis but the numbers deployed are small scale, and the article is silent on whether there are humans monitoring as with US experiments. Level 4 and Level 5 are both called “autonomous” but only Level 5 is “fully autonomous”.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Are they fully autonomous?

        Nope. The safety regulations state that for “self-driving” vehicles there has to be a safety person on-board and for “fully autnomous” vehicles there has to be a remote supervisor with no more than three vehicles under supervision.

        Buses and trams can only operate on well-defined, restricted lines on “simple” roads, while cargo traffic is limited to point-to-point deliveries along trunk roads and no hazardous cargo is allowed.

        Autonomous vehicles have to be clearly marked as such, and they have to retain at least 90 seconds of footage, both audio and video (external and internal), and telemetry + commands in case of an accident.

        1. Yves Smith

          This is extremely helpful, thanks!

          Even though China is further along than the US in quite a few tech areas, businesses have every interest to over-hype their achievements via artful presentation and this looks like an example.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            In an interesting piece of circularity, Chinese company XPeng admitted in court to ‘obtaining’ Teslas EV and self driving software. XPeng have long been noted for the remarkable similarity of their designs (hardware and software) to Teslas, which I’m sure is just coincidence. XPeng is partially owned by VW. VW is now openly using the EV control software in both their Chinese and German manufactured EVs.

            Tesla thought the had rescued themselves by shifting big time into China – but in reality, they’ve been stripped naked of all their intellectual property, and even the Europeans are benefiting.

            My guess is that China was significantly behind in self driving cars and EV control software up until Tesla gave them an unwitting major hand up. Now they are equal or ahead. That said, there is endless hype in China about new tech developments. Even more than with western companies, you need to read about it with a very sceptical eye. My own personal heuristic is to see if the company is registered on the Chinese stock market. If it is, its a unicorn. If not, there could possibly (very possibly) be something behind it.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yves makes the point. When I say “robot car,” I mean — follow me closely, here — robot car; that is, a fully autonomous, Level 5 vehicle such as our Silicon Valley fraudsters sold us on, years ago. No humans in the loop. Wikipedia: “As of early 2024, no system has achieved full autonomy.” It may be that China can do this, but they haven’t yet (and if they had, your comment should have provided evidence to that effect). If they do, I would want to know the scope of the effort; when software engineers find that their algorithms don’t work, they control their inputs. In the case of driving, I would bet that China’s newly built urban environment is far more amenable to algorithmic driving than, say San Francisco, let alone Boston; that’s why our own Silicon Valley developers did their testing in Phoenix, which has a broad street grid and no winter. So even if China gets gets robot cars working a major city, that doesn’t mean that they would get them working in the entire country.

      China’s use of drones in agriculure, and so forth, besides being woefully link free, is also off-point.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        People forget how far back successful trials by ‘robot’ cars go. I have a distinct memory of sitting bored in a lecture hall around 1989 having a traffic engineer excitedly tell us about Ernst Dickmanns successful trial of a self driving Mercedes Benz truck on public roads around about 1984, and how this would be the norm by the Millennium. The EU put a lot of money into this in the mid to late 1980’s and 90’s and had quite a few successful trials before reality hit.

        Plus of course autonomous vehicles (mostly military) go back way further.

  34. CA

    January 17, 2024

    Self-driving police patrol cars tested on Beijing roads

    The office of the Beijing high-level autonomous driving demonstration area launched a road test of unmanned police patrol cars on Tuesday, the first of its kind in China.

    Fifteen self-driving patrol cars, complete with flashing lights, hit the public roads in the autonomous driving demonstration area in Yizhuang, performing round-the-clock police duties in coordination with officers from the Daxing Branch of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

    The duties being tested include patrolling, ensuring security for large-scale events, public announcements, issuing warnings and emergency rescue work.

    “The electric unmanned patrol cars possess Level 4 autonomous driving technology. They can complete battery replacement in 30 seconds and have a driving range of 100 km,” said Zhang Weiling, senior vice president of Neolix, developer of the patrol cars.

    The vehicles feature a 360-degree multi-sensor fusion perception capability with a detection range of up to 120 meters. The powerful onboard computing platform can calculate and respond based on road conditions in real time, thus ensuring vehicle driving safety…

    March 20, 2024

    Shanghai has over 2,000 km of roads allowing autonomous driving tests

    Shanghai opened another 205 kilometers of its roads for autonomous driving tests in the Pudong New Area on Tuesday. This brings the total length of such roads in the city to over 2,000 kilometers, local authorities said.

    So far, 32 enterprises and 794 vehicles in Shanghai have received licenses for road tests, application demonstrations, and operation of autonomous driving, with a cumulative testing mileage of about 22.9 million kilometers and a total testing time of about 1.22 million hours.

    According to the city’s transport commission, 1,003 roads in the city are currently open for autonomous driving tests…

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