Links 6/18/2024

Studies uncover the critical role of sleep in the formation of memories ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Scientists try to solve bird flu mystery: Why there’s so much virus in Michigan wastewater Detroit Free Press (ma)

States looking to loosen raw milk regulations despite concerns Philadelphia Inquirer (Robin K)

Is That Drink Worth It to You? New York Times (Dr. Kevin)


Study shows 12% long-COVID prevalence following Omicron infection CIDRAP

Months after being diagnosed with COVID-19, one in five people are still suffering from symptoms, new research finds ABC Australia


Japanese startup plans to vaporize space junk using ground lasers Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

It’s the grid, stupid! Geoff Russell (guurst)

Massive fraud revealed in fake Chinese climate projects subsidised by the German fossil fuel industry in service of meeting arbitrary and deeply stupid emissions quotas Eugyppius (Micael T)


The US wants to decouple its military supplies from China – but can it? South China Morning Post

China targets EU pork in tit-for-tat trade spat Asia Times (Kevin W)

Free trade frenzy: the hidden costs of South Asia’s economic gamble CADTM


Four Years after the Galwan Clash: Ongoing India-China Tensions Financial Express


‘We need the world to wake up’: Sudan facing world’s deadliest famine in 40 years Guardian

Surge in rebel attacks sparks deadly protests in eastern Congo Reuters

European Disunion

‘Euro crisis threat’ as French borrowing costs match Portugal for first time in 20 years Telegraph

Germany presents new military service model to start conscription from next year Euractiv

Old Blighty

Thatcherism, austerity, Brexit, Liz Truss… goodbye and good riddance to all that Guardian (Kevin W)

British meddling in Macedonia backfires, exposing coup machinations The Grayzone (Kevin W)

British Army Delays Provision of New Badges Due to Paranoia Over Chinese Spying Sputnik (Kevin W)

More Brits are falling behind on their mortgage payments than at any point in the past seven years, according to the latest data from the Bank of England Mirror


‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 255: Netanyahu dissolves Israel’s war cabinet Mondoweiss

Gallant rejects Macron’s proposed trilateral task force to defuse Hezbollah tensions Times of Israel (Kevin W)

Extremist Israeli settlers to hold meeting on ‘occupying south Lebanon’ New Arab (Kevin W)

Israel welcome to invade Lebanon, resistance is ready: Hezbollah MP The Cradle (guurst)

US Navy faces ‘most intense combat since World War II’ against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, defense experts say Associated Press

We Spent a Billion Dollars Fighting the Houthis… and Lost (Kevin W)

Israel’s Top Court Suspends October 7 Probe (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Kremlin views NATO’s rhetoric on putting nukes on alert as escalation TASS


Biden’s Weird Saudi Obsession Daniel Larison

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

CBDCs Are Instruments Of Control—And They’re Here Forbes


Deadly border technologies are increasingly employed to violently deter migration The Conversation

Imperial Collapse Watch

How the US Mopped Up a Third of Global Capital Flows Since Covid. De-dollarization narrative swept aside by overseas investors Bloomberg

Is Türkiye needed in BRICS? ВЗГЛЯД.РУ via machine translation (Micael T)

The relevance of Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” to present-day international relations Gilbert Doctorow (guurst)


US must be saved from WWIII – Trump RT


EXCLUSIVE Secret Democrat plot to replace Biden revealed: How Clinton, Obama, Pelosi and Schumer will topple the aging President… and when they’ll do it Daily Mail (Li)

GOP Clown Car

Far-right Republicans’ latest target? No-fault divorce Guardian (Kevin W). My understanding is 3/4 of the divorces in the US are initiated by the wife.

Attack, attack, attack DRB (Anthony L). On Roger Stone.

Our No Longer Free Press

Surgeon General Wants Tobacco-Style Warning Applied To Social Media Platforms NBC

A Message About Noam Chomsky: An Update Media Lens (Chuck L)

Social Media Messed Up Our Kids. Now It Is Making Us Ungovernable Nomea (Micale T)

The Bezzle

US sues Adobe for ‘deceiving’ subscriptions that are too hard to cancel The Verge

Meta Accused of Trying To Discredit Ad Researchers The Register

French Court Orders Google, Cloudflare, Cisco To Poison DNS To Stop Piracy TorrentFreak

(Kevin W)

Class Warfare

US executive pay rises at fastest rate in 14 years Financial Times

McDonald’s will stop testing AI to take drive-thru orders, for now The Verge (Kevin W)

McDonald’s makes major change to drive-thrus after mishaps go viral Daily Mail (BC)

Is Populism Possible Without Demagoguery? Noah Millman (Micael T). Kill me now. The original populists were not demagogues.

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Morpheus

    “BREAKING: The Biden campaign just released this devastating ad that demolishes Donald Trump for being a convicted felon. Retweet so all Americans see this.”

    I really hope the Democrats do not believe this. If they do, they are far more delusional than I thought (and I think they are quite delusional).

    I can only agree with Will Farrell in Zoolander “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can’t work out why they felt compelled to use AI for some of those images. Why bother as it distracts from the message that they want to give and makes the whole thing a bit suspect.

    2. Wukchumni

      Senility vs Venality 2024!

      (i’m owed one last wish from a genie in a bottle, and would it be too much to ask for both of them to spontaneously combust on the debate stage?)

      1. The Rev Kev

        A good genie could make it a twofer. So old Joe would be in a shouting, spiteful rage against Trump but then drops down dead of a stroke. That happened to a Roman Emperor once. Trump, seeing this and knowing that that makes Kamala President of the US, laughs uproariously – until it causes a heart attack and drops down dead. See? A twofer.

        1. Wukchumni

          My first couple of wishes went well…

          I asked for unlimited amounts of money to be conjured up with no accounting for the National Debt, and {poof!} just like that it was so.

          Then I asked for unlimited amounts of oil to be conjured out of the ground with no accounting for the heat dome in the atmosphere we were creating, and so far-so good.

      2. Grumpy Engineer

        Would it be too much to ask for both of them to spontaneously combust on the debate stage?

        Heh. I’ve personally been hoping for a small asteroid strike, but spontaneous combustion would certainly do.

      3. Pat

        Mine is that all three, yes I am including RFK Jr, show how crazy pants and unfit they are in a manner that also discredits their backers and support. But I will adjust that to happen before yours.

        Everyone being taken out and the resulting chaos can only be as disastrous as the election preceding as it is.

        1. t

          I saw a headline today about “can Hillary Clinton come to the rescue” and just thought can Hillary Clinton be boiled in oil? Then read the Daily Mail link which says

          The only people who could force him out would be Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer…

          as if that list isn’t the people most responsible for Biden being in office. So speculating about sudden surprise deaths is entertaining, but can you imagine the conspiracy theories? Even with a perfectly natural event like three targeted random asteroid strikes hitting people indoors, on stage, in front of an audience conspiracy theories are inevitable. Well have to live with them so my vote is spontaneous melting. Just suddenly, peacefully dissolve in a pile of foamy goo with maybe a shoe or cufflink floating on top.

          (I can bet right now that whoever goes first, if it’s sudden, Bill and Hillary will be far apart but media will report that Spouse was by Spouse’s side in the final moments, Love story for the ages, blah blah blah, and then it will come out that Spouse was in another state, and that will spawn conspiracy theories, and we’ll still have to hear about the dang Clintons and for the surviving Clinton for six months straight.)

          1. juliania

            Reading the article I see that the Obama’s stayed away from the Biden White House because they were afraid folk would remember how much better their years there were. Sorry, I don’t think I do remember that. Somebody please remind me.

    3. Neutrino

      Demolish, destroy and so many similar words have been used increasingly in political-ish ads for the last few years. That growing and even extreme polarization may end not with a bang but a whimper.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I still remember a headline about some celebrity destroying Trump back in early 2016. There is a lot of destruction in him, apparently.

    4. Louis Fyne

      Jokes on DC….the only people upon whom political adverts now work is other DC consultants.

      1. John

        Advertising is a form of public relations. Reorder the letters of public relations and you find , crap built on lies. Q.E.D.

    5. Chris Cosmos

      It’s clear to me that Trump’s conviction in a kangaroo court means little and the DP loyalists will rally around that as being legit and RP people will see it for what it is as will, I believe, independents. I think this “Trump is a felon” doesn’t mean much in a country that has become increasingly cynical about the power-elite.

      1. Ron Singer

        It’s clear to me that Trump’s conviction in a kangaroo court means little

        Like he said, he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.” Conviction by a jury approved by his own defense, 34 for 45, is hardly a kangaroo court, but it’s clear a lot of people wouldn’t care what he’ll do or what he’s done, including cheating on various wives, cheating orphans with a fake charity, cheating students with a fake college, bankrupting investors for fun and profit, sending a lynch mob after his bffs in congress, and selling US nuclear codes to Putin.

        He can burn the country to the ground so he can rule over the ashes any time he pleases, which makes you wonder why he’s bothering with an election that doesn’t mean anything.

      2. Ron Singer

        It’s clear to me that Trump’s conviction in a kangaroo court means little

        Translation: “No legal system that indicts and convicts The Chosen Grifter is legitimate, even when he and his own lawyers concede his guilt by offering no defense.” It’s rough when you yourself have generated all the evidence against you and even the friends you trusted with the cover-up testify to your crimes.

        The only people who believe it’s a ‘kangaroo court’ are those who believe the laws don’t apply to their idols. Or themselves. Which is going to be unpleasant when they’re ruled by the dictates of MAGA Law next year.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I suggest you take a harder look at his NY documents fraud case. The is a strong argument that it violated the 6th Amendment.

      3. ilsm


        Blue town kangaroo court and huge legal holes in case are sacred trust….

        While they portray SOTUS supremes who decide adverse to their kangaroo as illegit

          1. CA

            “Don’t look now, but your flag is upside down.”

            A mean-spirited remark meant to be intimidating. The retired soldier in question knows just what the flag is about.

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      This all seems very weird and contrived somehow.

      It’s as if the dems are putting on a campaign–complete with ads, words like “devastating” and “demolish,” “debates,” fundraisers, and (pathetic) biden appearances–because there’s an election coming up and they know a campaign with these elements is expected.

      Dems have to know that Trump raised tens, if not hundreds, of millions of $ in donations following his “conviction” and that is what they choose to emphasize???

      I suppose it sounds pretty tin-foily, but it’s as if they know it doesn’t really matter because the fix is already in, or there won’t be any election, or one of the candidates not named biden will never make it to the finish line…

      1. Tom Stone

        Biden is so obviously frail I don’t see how he can make it until November and the hatred of Trump is so visceral that I don’t think he will be allowed to take office if we do have an election and he wins.
        The Dems best hope is for a terrorist attack or Bird flu to take off and give them an excuse to cancel the election.
        Given that, how soon will Harris be awarded the Nobel Peace ( Pronounced “Piss”) Prize after she ascends the throne?

        1. JBird4049

          >>The Dems best hope is for a terrorist attack or Bird flu to take off and give them an excuse to cancel the election.

          A dastardly attack from the Russians and Chinese?

      2. mrsyk

        I think about this a lot. The opportunity for a power grab here is so friggin obvious. Our current reality asserts that there will be multiple parties interested in taking advantage, as well as multiple strategies. Look at the not particularly out of right field any more ideas like the US of Israel or Balkanization happening in real time (I feel the latter is happening now, see Texas, scotus, etc). BTW, does anybody know who is actually in charge. Imagine my surprise if it turns out to be Kamala. It’s hard to see any of this working out well for most of us.

        1. Screwball

          BTW, does anybody know who is actually in charge.

          Ultimately – Wall Street. Who was it a long time ago, some CONgress critter who said “Frankly – Wall Street owns this place.” Everything congress does helps the money people, profits over citizens. Money drives the market – look at the market (in the face of a slowing economy) – see who’s getting rich.

          This is a feature, not a bug. Congress is just the circus part, while the bread goes to the top. Makes sense, congress is full of clowns and we are about to elect one of the biggest clowns imaginable (between the two). They don’t have to do anything but keep us distracted and divided. That’s one thing they ARE good at.

          1. mrsyk

            “Wall Street” has its own opacity, no? Despite whatever scotus has to say about it, corporations are not persons. The question is “who”. Who determines whom to prosecute and whom to overlook. Who is making foreign policy decisions. Do these decisions require Biden’s ok anymore? Can you now see why I have a nagging anxiety regarding not seeing the last of Hunter Biden.

            1. JBird4049

              I really don’t think anyone is paying attention to what our President wants at all except to ask if he is hungry or needs the restroom. He is just too far gone to be able to muster and maintain the cogent will. Really, I loathe the man, but while he did put himself into the Oval Office, it has become willful elder abuse.

              I will not forget his past bad acts, but I am thinking that mocking him has become mocking a victim for being abused, which is what putting him on public display while pretending that he is not a puppet is.

          2. Ron Singer

            “BTW, does anybody know who is actually in charge.”
            Ultimately – Wall Street.

            Not exactly.

            “… the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”

            Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: Macmillan, 1966. Print.

            “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.”
            – John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

        2. Iris

          West under clowns and zealots

          “…besides foreign policy, we’re likely being led by similar, out of control zealots in other spheres like economics, military, monetary policy, history, art, medicine, education, climate science, law enforcement, justice, academia, technology, migrations and others. Gradually, the rise of zealots is imperceptibly shaping the present and the future of our societies, the phenomenon that’s now even visible in modern art and architecture and audible in modern music. In foreign policy and warfare its discernible in massive human tragedies and gratuitous bloodshed.”

          Zelensky set the trap that threatens to destroy us

          “Whether Zelensky gets his glass full — the U.S. entry into the war — or his glass half full — Europe’s entry into the war — either solution is devastating to our lives and such devastation is what results when it is supported, if you are complicit and conniving with people who make hatred and xenophobia their way of life. The hatred I see in the Ukrainians of Galicia, against Russia, is compared to the hatred of the Zionists, against the Palestinian Arabs. A tribal, savage, barbaric and medieval hatred. In Ukraine or Palestine, hatred never conquered barriers, it only built them.”

          Evil beyond words

          “I thought I was being pretty hard-line in the language I use to describe the circles involved in all this, using labels like “criminocrats” or “mafia” and adjectives like “corrupt”, “odious” or “vile”.

          However, I now realise I have been letting them off the hook. They’re worse than any of that.

          It is already difficult to understand how anyone could deliberately cause the deaths of millions of people in wars, deliberately poison them with toxic drugs, deliberately destroy the natural world, polluting land, air and water, deliberately wreck communities and cultures, cynically enslave and exploit people across the world.

          But how can we digest the fact that members of this same global financial power also enjoy raping, torturing, dismembering and murdering little children?

          What words can we use to describe what they are? Even “Satanist”, which is presumably how they regard themselves, seems too weak.

          I’ve always thought that mere human beings can no more be entirely evil than they can be entirely good.

          Now I’m not so sure.”

          1. Iris

            Amateurs seek the sun (political figures). Power seeks the shadows.

            Privatization lies at the core of fascism. Privatization allows capital to thrive unaccountably in the shadows. Privatization is what joins the Nazis with the Zionists and the rest of the misanthropic class.

    7. Ron Singer

      The Biden campaign just released this devastating ad that demolishes Donald Trump for being a convicted felon.
      I really hope the Democrats do not believe this.

      And yet, they really did release the ad. As for being a convicted felon, if they can fake moon landings, make the Earth look round when it’s really flat, pretend that bleach doesn’t cure covid, and cover up the fact that the Reptile People rule the planet, then they can certainly fake a conviction by a jury approved by his own defense.

    8. Ron Singer

      The Biden campaign just released this devastating ad that demolishes Donald Trump for being a convicted felon.

      Oh, puh-leeze. Since when do felony convictions devastate Republicans? Just because he’s a terrorist with a rap sheet as long as I-95 doesn’t mean the gaslighted won’t clamor for him, and even if he loses his zombie army is geared up for a bloody Civil War II. Won’t that be fun. The only mistake vicious mob bosses ever made was not running for the presidency. Everybody loves a rogue, even if he does get a few cops killed and maimed.

  2. Wukchumni

    This land was your land, and now this land is my land
    From Rafah to the Erez crossing
    From the remains of the Olive tree forest to the Mediterranean waters
    This land was made for me, not you

    As the IDF went walking that ribbon of highway
    And I saw above me that endless arc of artillery
    I saw before me that ocean front condo valley
    This land was made for me, not you

    I roamed and rambled, and I’ve followed my 2,000 year old footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
    All around me, a voice was sounding
    This land was made for me, not you

    There was a big, high wall there that tried to stop them
    A sign was painted said “Palestinian Property”
    But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing
    This land was made for me, not you

    When the sun come shining, then the IDF was strolling
    And the fields of fire waving, and the smoke clouds rolling
    The voice was chanting as the fog of war was lifting
    This land was made for me, not you

    This land was your land, and now this land is my land
    From Rafah to the Erez crossing
    From the remains of the Olive tree forest to the Mediterranean waters
    This land was made for me, not you

  3. The Rev Kev

    “US Navy faces ‘most intense combat since World War II’ against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, defense experts say”

    Pretty sure that any US Navy vets from the Pacific in WW2 could school the present Navy as to what the word ‘intense’ actually means- (4:47 mins)

    Those guys trying to shoot down those Japanese planes were under tremendous psychological pressure. After one such attack, one sailor remarked that it was kinda hot, and then jumped over the side of his ship to his death below.

    1. Joker

      It got pretty intense on USS Liberty, on 8 June 1967, but that doesn’t count as combat, defense experts say.

        1. Joker

          Yes I can. Hollywood would make the bad guys be Russians (with possible addition of Serbs, Chinese, Houthis, etc.) going back in time to stage a false flag incident. Mandatory Tom Cruise will fly in at the end and ram a Su-57, because his Spitfire ran out of AMRAAMs, or something like that.

    2. mrsyk

      I love the framing Iran-backed, like it’s 1980 and we’re playing a game we know the rules of. That headline would be more accurate if it went to the tune of “Outdated US Navy caught napping, no match for small boats and cheap drones”.

      1. Reply

        Cue the DoD budget scare-mongering. Election years mean craven Critters jostling for top patriot photo ops and quotes.

        1. Adam1

          LOL! It is an election year and if you look at what’s on offer from the Heritage Foundations it’s another proposed bloodbath for government and tax cuts. We must save America’s war preparedness, right? As you said right on cue!

  4. PlutoniumKun

    It’s the grid, stupid! Geoff Russell

    This is one of those articles that is designed to make the reader feel smart and informed, but is actually very deceptive, and deliberately so. The author is a well known greenwasher and advocate for nuclear power. He gives himself away with this paragraph near the end:

    On the other hand, a grid with a significant nuclear component and a small rooftop solar component is just a normal well understood traditional grid. Except that it’s more environmentally benign and wildlife-friendly than anything with plenty of wind, solar and batteries.

    Any French grid engineer would no doubt have make a loud ‘pff’ sound at hearing that. For all its many benefits, the French grid can’t push much further than 65% of total electricity from nuclear because of the inherent inflexibility of traditional big thermal plants. France is a major importer of electricity from the south (mostly Spanish solar/wind) for just this reason. They regularly have major issues every summer for this reason. Every grid has its issues in balancing supply and demand, there is no ‘perfect’ mix in the real world. The reports quoted in that article set up straw man ‘perfect’ 100% renewable grids with no storage and unpredictable weather – this simply not what anyone sensible has ever proposed as realistic.

    The issues with balancing renewables with legacy infrastructure is something many countries have more than 2 decades of experience with, and many have even longer experience of dealing with matching supply with highly peaky and unpredictable demand (i.e. small, isolated island grids). Australian is having particular issues because of the unexpected huge ramp up of solar thanks to the availability of very cheap Chinese panels. But when its planned for and implemented over the normal investment cycle for the grid, then plenty of countries, from the UK and Norway to China and many others, have shown its possible to rapidly ramp up renewables without significant technical problems.

    1. jefemt

      Funny… I thought the same thing. Not one word about distributed energy… ie generated and used on site, grid-less, as it were. Not metered, not monetized.

      My takeaway: grid is pronounced greed in some parts of the world.

      1. John

        I lack the knowledge to contest the points made above, but I have long thought that a significant nuclear component would be an important piece of any large electrical generation system.

        1. GramSci

          Well, nuclear is a necessary stop-gap measure, given humanity’s obtusity, but its Achilles’ heels are Jevon’s paradox, Armageddon, and nuclear waste.

        2. CA

          “I have long thought that a significant nuclear component would be an important piece of any large electrical generation system…”

          Just what NASA scientist has been arguing and what the Chinese think and are working towards.

        3. CA

          April 23, 2024

          China’s nuclear power generation reaches 440,000 GWh in 2023

          BEIJING — Nuclear power generation on the Chinese mainland reached 440,000 gigawatt-hours in 2023, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total national electricity output, according to the China Atomic Energy Authority on Tuesday.

          This achievement is equivalent to saving 130 million tonnes of standard coal and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 350 million tonnes.

          As of the end of 2023, there were 55 operational nuclear power units and 36 approved or under-construction nuclear power units on the Chinese mainland, with a total installed capacity of 57 gigawatts and 44 gigawatts, respectively.

          China has established a self-reliant and comprehensive nuclear industry chain system, ensuring a secure and stable supply of nuclear fuel. With the ability to simultaneously construct multiple nuclear power units, China has also developed expertise in engineering, construction and operation, laying a solid foundation for the high-quality development of nuclear energy, the authority said.

          According to the World Association of Nuclear Operators comprehensive index (WANO), China’s nuclear power operation safety performance has continuously ranked among the world’s best for several years. In 2022 and 2023, 37 and 33 nuclear power units, respectively, achieved the maximum score in WANO’s comprehensive index.

          The world’s first fourth-generation high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, developed by China, has been put into commercial operation, with steady progress in the construction of small modular reactors and fast reactors…

    2. Ignacio

      Quite true. We little people like us know very little and we can be easily cheated by such “experts”. In Spain for instance besides and complementary to the daily energy auctions there are what we call the “technical restrictions” market which is designed to ensure electricity supply all the time. Among the measures they take is to keep always combined cycle (NG) utilities ON to assist with any shortage that will occur during the day because electricity jams or because deviations from other utilities. The cost of such technical restrictions is quite high and sum up as part of the “access tolls” which count for about 1/3 of the final wholesale price.

      To say something positive I am still shocked about how much the Spanish grid manager has improved the delivery of information on the system online. You still need some technical skills to access, order and analyse the information available but the Spanish market is now much more transparent than before.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, the interactions between the power suppliers, physical grid operators, and market design (the latter being so often overlooked) is getting so complex that I doubt if many people really understand how the entire system works – everyone is just focusing on making their own particular corner of the system, and so far that’s ok.

        A lot of things are happening on the ground without even grid operators being so sure what is going on. In Ireland, there was a recent survey to find out how much storage capacity is in the grid. It turns out there is five times more than was originally estimated. Nearly all of this is battery storage put in place by power suppliers in order to arbitrage price differentials (the smaller the grid, the greater the opportunity for price arbitrage). The operators simply lied to regulators about how much battery capacity they had in order to confuse their competitors about how much money they were making from this. In the UK, they are still trying to work out just how much the 14% drop in demand over the past decade is down to household solar panels – it seems probable that there are far more in place than was expected.

        While everyone tends to focus on the technology of renewables and nuclear and storage, arguably the really big advances over the past couple of decades has been in grid infrastructure. Modern systems are much more robust and efficient. Its unfortunate however, that that big obstacle to change is often obscure details of how the electricity spot market is designed, and this question is highly technical and tends to vary widely from country to country. This is one particular reason I think, why high interest rates have been so damaging for renewables investment – it doesn’t take much to turn a financial projection from black to red.

        1. Ignacio

          This complexity produces opportunities in such a way that many utility companies hire people to deal with the big data and produce software to make automatic decisions depending on market conditions. It doesn’t surprise me what you wrote about how some (or many) play with price arbitrage in such ways and how they can push the markets to increase their income relative to that of their competitors (and perhaps inflating somehow the markets in this way).

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      “The author is a well known greenwasher and advocate for nuclear power.” Just out of curiosity — how can a greenwasher be an advocate for nuclear power? Looking over some of the other posts on Geoff Russell’s site indicate the nuclear power advocacy but what I saw did not appear to support your claim that Russell was a greenwasher. And reading this link did not make me “feel smart and informed”. I came away impressed by how much I did not know and how complex and very expensive adapting the Grid to renewables might be.

      Many countries may have more than 2 decades experience matching electricity supply with demand. I suspect the u.s. has more than 2 decades experience matching electricity supply with demand, although I also suspect many of the engineers with that knowledge and experience have either retired or been laid-off. I do not know how other countries handle their Grid, but I believe the Grid in the u.s. presents some ‘interesting’ problems related to the way the u.s. Grid has been privatized and the way responsibilities have been distributed. I believe the technical issues, even were they as complex and difficult as Geoff Russell’s link seems to suggest, are trivial compared with the political and economic challenges. Correct me if I err, I believe the u.s. Grid is old, poorly maintained, and thinly supported by spare parts and maintenance crews. The Grid started fires in California, the Texas Grid issues, and the past Grid failures like the 2003 Blackout are at least suggestive. While it may be the case that other countries have successfully and rapidly ramped up renewables without significant technical problems, I believe the u.s. non-technical problems are a Gordian Knot that cannot be so successfully and rapidly surmounted.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        He is one of a series of writers who pose as concerned observers (from a variety of technical viewpoints), then sets up a series of straw man arguments to accuse environmentalists of not understanding the difficulties, while then arguing that [insert dirty industry] are the adults in the room and the only ones who can save the planet. Whether he (and others who use almost identical forms of argument) actually believe what they say, or are just doing it for ulterior motives, I’ll leave others to decide.

        I’ve no problem with him being pro-nuclear – I’m not fundamentally anti-nuclear myself – and there are many solid arguments that can be made for a grid based on nuclear power or having a component of baseload nukes. But I strongly dislike dishonest forms of argumentation, and this article is a classic example. Setting up straw man opponents to demolish, throw in some impressive sounding technical jargon, use different criteria for justifying your alternative… well, its textbook misinformation. The idea that a grid could actually be entirely ‘nuclear, with a rooftop solar component’, as he puts it, is completely unfeasible and would be enormously inefficient, as anyone with knowledge of grid management would know. He either knows this, in which case he is dishonest, or he doesn’t, in which case he can be safely ignored.

    4. Adam1

      I didn’t catch that, but I think you’re totally correct because, unless I missed it, there was no mention of smart transformers (if I’m recalling the item correctly). I believe I read about them here several months ago. The article talks about having to drop entire solar farms/power stations when supply gets too high or out of sync. As I recall the smart transformer allows you to adjust how much of the power is going onto the grid, so you don’t have to just rely on switching that solar (or wind) location on or off to load balance the overall grid. Again, I could be off on the specific technical component, but in essence it allows a power source that doesn’t naturally have a variable throttle to be turned up or down relative to what’s being allowed onto the grid so you don’t have to choose between switchin all on or all off.

      1. MicaT

        Inverters already do that. And Rule 21 among others allows for inverters to provide voltage or VAR or other types of grid support as called for by the utility.

        As to the device you’re talking about, wouldn’t be a transformer. And I couldn’t find anything online.

    5. PhantomEWO

      PlutoniumKun: Totally on point about nuke power greenwashing. While wonderful that nuke is carbon free, it’s negatives are: impossible to cost accurately, always most expensive option, always late to complete by years, and has a waste disposal problem. Solar and wind are rapidly becoming recyclable, are 1 year to deploy, are lowest cost, and largely mitigate intermittency problems with batteries. Battery storage has (predictably) gone from high cost to low cost as battery manufacturing scales and technology improves.

      It’s at the point where nuclear and hydrogen advocates are largely (90%) shills pigging out at the trough. HOWEVER, that 10% residual is worth doing. Some nuclear, some hydrogen are worthwhile because they hedge against any difficulties renewables may have.

    6. nyleta

      I want to see the internal inspection reports from the switch gear engineers and whatever they call the load distribution engineers to see how the hardware is holding up. There is a much greater variation in the loads every day than there was when it was all coal and gas in Australia here.

      Because of public expectations of up-time we look like building double the capacity we need here even if much of it sits idle most of the time, most seem to be O.K. with this in the service of the environment as long as the power bill subsidies keep coming.

    7. MicaT

      Having excess power and not knowing how or what to do with it is a failure of imagination.

      Could make hydrogen, ammonia, co2, ice, ( in Texas this is already happening for building cooling) Efuels, or high temp heat which is an instant load for grid regulation.
      The high temp heat stored then produces steam for power generation during peak loads.
      Lots and lots of places for it to go.

    1. Lee

      Good one, now they should address abuse by elders, the prime example being our ruling gerontocracy.

  5. zagonostra

    >‘We need the world to wake up’: Sudan facing world’s deadliest famine in 40 years Guardian

    The language used in this article headlines is filled with empty signifiers. Who is this “we” and the “world” that needs to wake up? Seems like this “we” and “world” have a lot of “needs” that aren’t being fulfilled. And who is this “US” and “Washington” that faces accusations? Same with the headline/link “we Spent a Billion Dollars Fighting the Houthis… and Lost.” I won’t identify with this “we” or “us” or “our children.” Newsprint has become Newspeak, the neuro linguist programmers are getting very sloppy.

    The US faces accusations of hypocrisy from many countries, particularly in the Global South, as Washington calls for an end to weapons supplies to parties involved in the conflict in Sudan, while continuing to provide billions of dollars-worth of weapons to Israel during its offensive on Gaza.

  6. MicaT

    It’s the grid stupid.
    A well done article. He points out a lot of the whys of how the grid works and that make renewables complicated. I wish this article and others like it would make the rounds more in the renewables world. The SunZia power line in the southwest is also about 550 miles, ten billion dollars to build, 12 years in the making and 2 more to build. Then more money per mWh in maintenance. To me when you add the costs and time of transmission ( if it will ever happen) nuclear is at or below those costs.

    A small quibble. Inverters usually ramp quite slowly and for the larger plants they are fully programmable to ramp up at whatever pace you want. But those ramp up to full would only occur if the plant had been offline for some reason and there was full sun. Maybe they were curtailed or off for maintenance. If there has been a cloud over the plant that would also reduce the output and as the cloud moves away from the solar farm it would ramp up incrementally as more solar was exposed to the sun. They don’t go from 0-100 in a split second. Utilites know this. The larger problem is often due to instantaneous shut down. Which is a good reason for large batteries as they are able to adjust for that in basically real time.

    1. t

      Isn’t Texas leading the charge in solving grid problems by just not providing power when it’s inconvenient?

      Other countries may be hampered by a citizenry that remembers having services, but other US states could really make hay with this rugged individualism angle.

      1. TimH

        We’ll end up with mandated grid-tie for resi solar installations, the opposite of “rugged individualism”.

  7. zagonostra

    >Israel’s Top Court Suspends October 7 Probe

    …the probe sought to audit major security and intelligence failures ahead of Hamas’ deadly attack last year, which was not stopped despite a number of warnings…he IDF and other security agencies have also faced pressure to investigate friendly-fire incidents during the Hamas attack

    The phrase “intelligence failures” appears multiple times in the article. Was it really a failure? Jimmy Dore is not exactly the best source of information, but at least he goes where few others won’t, sometimes it leads to dead ends, other times, like the “white helmets” and his collaboration with Aaron Mate, is informative. Below link to his recent podcast on the origins of Oct 7 brought details to my attention that I otherwise would not have known about.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Citizen Free Press
    Biden freezes on stage this weekend.
    Obama grabs his hand and escorts him off stage.’

    Was just watching this video closely when a thought occurred to me. One day, when old Joe is gone (and not long at that), they will probably make a biopic about his life in a feature film. Stranger things have happened. And this video could be the basis of the end of that biopic. Old Joe would stare vacantly at the audience until Obama takes him by the hand. Old Joe would ask Barry ‘Did I do good?’ and Barry would answer ‘Yeah Joe. You did real good’ and as they walk offstage, the curtain would come down like in that video. The End.

    I really thought that the Democrats would have eased him out of the Presidency a coupla months ago but I was wrong. Instead, they are sticking with this glorified tailor’s dummy and are betting the bank on him to carry them over the line in November. In any case, it is not like they have a deep bench. But that is what they wanted and that is what they now have.

    1. Wukchumni

      In rotisserie league news, Chuck was really grilled for having placed cheese on an obviously hardly cooked hamburger patty, leading some of think that the BBQ cooking was set up by somebody else, to allow a photo op of the old guard looking purposeful and daresay even useful. and we all know the most dangerous place in the wilds of the Potomac swamps is when you get in between Schumer and a camera.

      1. Screwball

        That image was all over social media. As I understand things, the next day he deleted the picture. Too late, it was already out there.

        Like another Tweet said; this proves how fake they really are. I agree. Everything is a photo op for these grifting scum.

        1. Mr Benson

          I’m no Schumer fan, but apparently those were “fake meat” burgers and thus the bbq faux pas not as egregious as presented. We should be more focused on the damage he does in congress vs what he does on the grill.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The only people acceptable to the Centrists and Courtiers already auditioned and were found to be lacking.

      The Daily Mail article has quotes from Mark Penn, Joe Klein, and James Carville. The Mother devotees are too irrational to try anything other than MOTHER!!!

      Then they don’t have a plan to replace Harris.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I like that the Mail said they want to replace Kamala but they were worried “progressives” wouldn’t let them. That’s a funny statement on so many levels (and further testament to how meaningless the term progressive has become.)

    3. Chris Cosmos

      The DP believes, it seems, that they can win with Biden so let them. Increasing numbers of people are beginning to understand that the importance of the POTUS is overvalued. At best, the POTUS is someone who can arbitrate between rival political factions but rarely is a dynamic actor that rules over the Executive branch. The country is run by networks not individuals. Currently the DP has its coalitions that include almost all the major power-factions from the MIC, the media, major corporations of all kinds, and, of course, the finance oligarchs who have the final say. Even within the WH I’m sure Biden has been put in his little box and guided by staff who maximize their power to the extent Biden himself is minimized. Harris is there because should she step into office would similary be minimized since she has only symbolic value and little ability to do anything other than offer yet more comic relief.

      1. Oh

        I agree with you. The TPTB have a Plan B: fix the elections if all else fails. They need their puppet.

    4. Carolinian

      That Daily Mail story on a supposed big plot to replace Biden (and Harris) declines to even speculate on who that replacement might be other than “someone younger.” Of course if Biden melts down during the debate they really will try to replace him with any warm body. But the lack of an obvious understudy has always been the problem and was even the problem in 2020 when they had to stop Sanders and picked an already shaky Biden in what seemed like a desperation move–a move that has been disastrous in many ways.

      Some of us would say it’s the Dem party itself that needs to be replaced since the cronyism and incumbency racket have made reform impossible. After all Pelosi kept saying she would quit and still hasn’t done it.

      Since there doesn’t seem any way out this movie has a bad plot. Time to head for the parking lot? There may be something better on cable.

      1. mrsyk

        Mike Johnson is 2nd in line. This would fit with his recent pattern of coming around on funding our endless wars. Never the less, I cannot shake the feeling it’s going to be Hunter.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        We have a systemically corrupt political system that I see no way of reforming. Our political system is a reflection of the state of our culture. When the culture changes then some political change will occur not before. In a way, if you follow politics with the hope of reform you are deluded it is impossible under current rules of the game.

        1. Ron Singer

          We have a systemically corrupt political system that I see no way of reforming.

          No matter how bad things may be, they can always get worse. This has now become the goal, instead of insisting on rational reforms. The sadistic dictatorship Americans have been persuaded to prefer is unlikely to be any improvement.

          The problem is that Americans have been induced to give up whatever morals they may have had by people who never had any to begin with. That wasn’t hard to do because a majority of people would rather electrocute themselves than think and prefer to have con artists do their thinking for them, which makes it easy to talk them into voting the hatreds cultivated in them instead of voting in favor of their own interests.

          Recall that the US was founded on the sacred principles of indigneous genocide, African slavery, religious zealotry, female subjugation, and worship of the rich, against which some progress had been made, even if it did take 200 years. Unfortunately it is still fighting the Civil War and WWII and is about to lose them both. Guess who will rule over the ashes?

          “It is in the interest of tyrants to reduce the people to ignorance and vice. For they cannot live in any country where virtue and knowledge prevail.”
          – Samuel Adams

          “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
          – John Adams

    5. tegnost

      they have to wait til the convention so they can hand pick our next dictator.
      If they ditch him too soon some upstart may bring up issues relevant to the voting plebes and disrupt the branding exercise of already great america

    6. cgregory

      Edith Galt Wilson ran the government for months when her husband Woodrow Wilson suffered a major stroke and the vice-President refused to step in. Strom Thurmond was basically a zombie for his last term. Ronald Reagan was already suffering the early signs of Alzheimer’s/dementia when he finally won the Presidency, and by the time he finished his second term, he was just going through the motions.

      The politician at the upper levels depends for functional success more on their staff and their aides than on their own capabilities. If they don’t have staff who can give them a full report on the merits of a 200-page document and argue it at meetings with other qualified staff, they’re just going through the motions.

      Electing either Trump or Biden is going to give us a government by their staff. Which party is likely to provide better human material for the Oval Office and the upper tiers?

    7. lyman alpha blob

      I’m very surprised Democrat leaderdership didn’t make it clear to GenocideJoe on the Night of the Long Knives in 2020 that he was in fifth place, but the front runners would be forced out and he was being handpicked to get rid of Bernie, which was the most important issue, and should be also defeat Trump as an added bonus, he would be a one term president, full stop.

      1. Pat

        What makes you think they didn’t, but Joe being Joe the rules are for show Biden and the inadequacies of Kamala and Pete didn’t derail those plans. I am not saying that is what happened, but one thing that has been made abundantly clear in the last decade is how the DNC and Democratic leadership have pretty much no one in the pipeline. Some of it is the total disdain they have for the public, but most of it is protecting their own rice bowls. They had no one to replace him but losers including Clinton.

        1. John k

          The rules of the game limit the selection to what a majority would see as paid lackeys unfit for office.

        2. ChrisPacific

          They have plenty of people in the pipeline (Harris, Schumer, Klobuchar, Buttigieg…) It’s just that voters have roundly rejected them all.

          The party leadership will not accept anybody other than drones offering more of the same, and voters will not accept those, so here we are.

  9. JB

    Hmm…the Adobe article reminded me that my partner was trying Illustrator, to study graphic design – to look for a career in work beyond minimum wage – so asked her about it there.

    She was too embarrassed to tell me, but the eff’ing ‘family-bloggers’ hit her with the £120 early cancellation fee – which is a lot of money for her. Absolutely livid. Plan to try and get that back off their customer support, later – though not hopeful, as it was months ago.

    Last time I had to deal with something like that, was with Eircom in Ireland a decade ago (rebranded to Eir because their reputation is so bad, that ‘Eircon’ had entered the lexicon), a hidden-cancellation-fee ISP – whose dirty practices are protected by the telecoms regulator ComReg.

    1. JB

      Possible happy ending to this – after getting onto their Live Chat for customer support, asked for a refund due to being misled, and after trying the usual script to defer me with the Terms of Service, they immediately caved as soon as I said “That’s illegal under consumer law – the Terms of Service doesn’t make it legal”.

      Will reserve final judgement on whether that was a success, for when the money arrives back in my partners account – though have screen captures and the chat transcript downloaded just in case!

      Many thanks for raising my awareness of this – my partner likely would just have not said anything, and gone without the money, had I not asked.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      so before you cancel change the credit card you used by asking for a new one with new numbers – auto fees cannot transfer to the the new number – they’ll hit a brick wall – as a matter of habit the one debit and one credit card i have are cancelled by me every 12-18 months and new card requested – although i do not use auto pay for anything, your card number can be swiped in so many ways – keep a moving target –

      1. JB

        That’s a good idea, yes! I always make sure to never leave card details with a retailer, wherever I use one – I’ll even avoid Direct Debit when it would have given me a discount – plus, forcing myself to put in the details/address etc. every time, is an added extra effort to give me pause against potential impulse buys :)

        Always avoided getting a credit card, as you have to keep an eye to make sure you repay it on time, but the increased protections offered and chargebacks make it seem appealing – albeit a benefit they can only offer due to being a duopoly.

        I’ve had good luck/vigilance for the most part, over decades, with being able to spot and avoid getting ripped off, so haven’t (with my own money) had a situation where it’d have been useful yet.

      2. Keith Newman

        Cancel the credit card: I do that too. But it must be actually cancelled not just suspended. I caught a scam ($100) and suspended the use of my card for 4 months preventing further scamming. But then I reactivated it and, bingo!! another $100 scam by the same miscreants. They must keep trying even after the card won’t work. Fortunately my card issuer (Canadian Tire) reimbursed me. I got a new number after that.
        I also have a separate card for regular monthly or yearly payments (home and auto insurance, telephone, cell phone, subscriptions for newspapers and charities). I never use it for anything else and accordingly it has never been scammed. I use a third card for regular purchases because it offers benefits (4% back on groceries), travel insurance, insurance on goods purchased, hotels, etc. It has been regularly scammed and I cancel it about once a year and get new numbers.
        Juggling the payments of the three cards is a bit of a pain.

        1. marieann

          This sounds like just too much work to me.
          I usually pay cash….I might not get points/rewards but I never have to worry about being scammed

          1. ambrit

            “…but I never have to worry about being scammed…”
            I’m with you on using cash as much as practicable. However, concerning “being scammed,” have you looked closely at the trends in retail prices lately?

      3. Jed

        I would not recommend this as general financial advice as it can adversely impact your credit rating to have multiple closed accounts in a short time period.

  10. thoughtfulperson

    On H5N1 in Michigan waste water,

    “We’re seeing far more mammals infected with this virus in the past three years than we probably have over the whole 23 years before this. And now it has found its way into cows.”

    Maybe the spike in waste water is from various wild mammals, rats, etc, along with the bovine waste and spoiled milk that is not being sold. What is being sold is perhaps going right through the human digestive tracts and ending up in water as well.

    A mystery until testing is done, but that would conflict with profits.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Lord Bebo
    🇺🇸🇪🇺🇨🇳 China must pay for supporting Russia in the war against Ukraine – Stoltenberg
    They’re going full frontal against China and already prepared sanctions.
    Get ready folks, the world is about to be divided again. This time by the west.’

    This guy is getting to be a real maniac. Just a day or two ago he said that he wanted more nukes to be put on ‘standby mode’ instead of in storage in Europe. But when you think about it, he is just saying what the new narrative will be. That if Russia defeats the Ukraine, that it will be China’s fault so they need to be taken down. Maybe even ‘decolonized.’ When Blinken and Yellen went individually to China, they carried the same message – they ordered China to stop trading with Russia or else because that is something that Washington has the power to do. Only China just shrugged. Now it looks like the groundwork is being laid to go after China after the elections are over and by that I mean economically, financially, legally and maybe even eventually militarily.

    I would suggest looking at your own lives to see if there is something vital that you need that comes from China. And if you do, order it now before the sanctions and embargoes really kick off.

    1. divadab

      Who elected Stoltenberg, anyway? Who does he speak for? (Who writes his scripts)?

      I watch and listen to this guy fomenting war, both weaponed and economic, and I see a desperate man, without intellect or understanding, frantically repeating calls for tactics which have failed and backfired for the past several years. If he speaks for the leadership of the West, if he is their representative, the empire is in grave trouble.

      Very worrying. Complete bankruptcy of leadership which this nonentity epitomises.

    2. CA

      June 18, 2024

      China support for Russia in Ukraine compels Nato to seek Asian partnerships: top official

      Beijing’s position said to have intensified largest armed conflict in Europe since second world war, requiring alliance to ‘impose a cost’

      By Khushboo Razdan

      Washington – China’s support for Russia’s efforts in Ukraine has made it necessary for Nato to forge global partnerships, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, and significantly ramp up defence spending, the transatlantic security alliance’s top official said on Monday.

      The position adopted by Beijing has intensified the largest armed conflict in Europe since the end of the second world war, according to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, requiring the allies to act and “impose a cost”…

  12. .Tom

    Stoltenberg’s speech that MyLordBebo referred to is here The part about making China pay is in there but with different words and in the future as a possibility if China doesn’t “change course”.

    The best part of the speech that I found is where he said “China is fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War Two.” Ahem. That’s the NATO Secretary General talking right there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link .Tom. I found another section that was also of interest where it says-

      ‘I have therefore invited the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea to the NATO Summit in Washington, next month. Together, we can uphold the international rules-based order and protect our shared values.’

      I think that his idea is to have NATO push its way into the Pacific and use Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea as a sort of local face. Stoltenberg admitted to using drugs when younger but when he says stuff like this, I think that he must be now using the same white powder that Zelensky uses.

      1. .Tom

        Stolli’s power, prominence, and budgets vary with the size and duration of the wars NATO members are involved in. Wanting him to cool it is like hoping the US Navy volunteers to reduce the number of admirals and carriers. It’s the politicians job to discipline the military. But the military people know how to talk to the people and politicians through the press with speeches like this. The more frightened we get, the less likely the politicians are to exercise restraint. So no wonder he talks like this.

        Countering this dynamic involves showing some confidence in less warlike politics. So I’m not sure how useful it is that the likes of MyLordBebo amplify the most scary parts of what Stolli and his ilk say.

    2. Joker

      China is fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War Two, by buying billions of dollars worth of EU pork. Stoltenberg will make sure that China pays the price for that.

    3. Ignacio

      They can’t help themselves but have their Manichean vision pushed to the extreme. With me or against me.
      How is it that a person who in the past might have been normal then gets to go paranoid to the extreme. They must have some deep feeling that they are taking some wrong options but cannot admit any wrongdoing.

      1. divadab

        It certainly appears that Stoltenberg is a captive, under duress. Who knows what hostages to honesty and reason and honor and patriotism his controllers have on him?

    4. truly

      Regarding the collective west suggesting that Russia should be made to pay for damage done to Ukraine. Seems like a horrid trap is being set up for the good old USA. If RU can be forced to pay for all the bombed out apartment buildings and Dachas in UA, then might USA be forced to pay for all the damage it did to the Great man made river in Libya? The destruction of Iraq? Afghanistan? Syria? maybe anywhere there is documentation of an American made bomb causing destruction? America and Israel pay for Gaza reconstruction while RU pays for Ukraine reconstruction?
      Seems fair to me.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Russia seems happy to pay for reconstruction, and have already done so already in the Mariupol area. Seems a good way to “win hearts and minds” and prevent any more anti-Russian nazis coming to power for a 2nd time once the facts on the ground become clear to the West and then pull out – and they will once they’re done abusing the Ukrainians, just ask the Kurds. Nobody’s going to want their new homes blown to smithereens again for the benefit of Biden and his cronies.

        It’s the US who lays waste to whole countries and then lets god sort it out.

        1. ambrit

          I flashed on a version of your last comment that I cannot suppress.
          “It’s the US who lays waste to whole countries and then lets gold sort it out.”

        2. Joker

          It’s the US who lays waste to whole countries, and then prevents anyone sorting it out.

  13. Joker

    China targets EU pork in tit-for-tat trade spat Asia Times (Kevin W)

    China is doing this to support Russia, because those EU pigs are fed Ukrainian grain. It’s all connected. :-) EU will fix resulting overcapacity problem, by buying out all the excessive pork with taxpayers’ money, and airdropping it into Gaza as humanitarian aid.

      1. ambrit

        Uh, observant al Islam also avoid pork. It is said that the Indian Mutiny was triggered by rumours circulated among the Muslim Indian troops that the bullets supplied for the ‘new’ Enfield rifles they were being trained on were greased with pig fat. Thus, handling the bullets made a trooper “unclean” and liable to not enter Paradise if they died.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Dublin Review of Books on Roger Stone–this rambles on at considerable length to no apparent purpose other than to re-air various well know dirty laundry in Stone’s history. Eventually a graf saying Stone is the one encouraging Trump to oppose Ukraine spending hints at a reason for the article without coming right out and saying so. More cards on the table DRB?

    If Stone is tellling Trump that then good for him. This is the hard to figure thing about Trump. He has shown himself capable of taking very bad advice but also good advice and often seems to have no clear convictions of his own other than the desire to be in the center of the spotlight. This at least gives him a leg up over Biden who only seems capable of taking bad advice.

  15. Carolinian

    Re DNS

    When the decision went in favor of Canal+, ISPs including Orange, SFR, OutreMer Télécom, Free, and Bouygues Télécom, were required to implement technical measures. Since the ISPs have their own DNS resolvers for use by their own customers, these were configured to provide non-authentic responses to deny access to the sites in question.

    In response, increasingly savvy internet users that hadn’t already done so, simply changed their settings to use different DNS providers – Cloudflare, Google, and Cisco – whose resolvers hadn’t been tampered with; at least not yet.[…]

    Tampering with public DNS is a step too far for many internet advocates but for major rightsholders, if the law can be shaped to allow it, that’s what will happen. In this case, Article L333-10 of the French Sports Code (active Jan 2022) seems capable of accommodating almost anything.

    When there are “serious and repeated violations” by an “online public communication service” whose main objective is the unauthorized broadcasting of sports competitions, rightsholders can demand “all proportionate measures likely to prevent or put an end to this infringement, against any person likely to contribute to remedying it.”

    Of course our US Congress would always be willing to follow the lead of the more authoritarian French but so far Silicon Valley and a more internet savvy US public have stood in the way. And as the above quote indicates anti piracy measures always fail as one moves up the threat escalation ladder. DVD encryption was long ago broken by a Norwegian teenager and if hackerworld wants something badly enough they will find a way. This may seem unfair to IP owning plutocrats but, as with Holllywood, they’ve gained far more from computers than they have lost.

  16. Terry Flynn

    Sleep deprivation is a value-laden phrase. That article would have got me more invested if it had at least mentioned the different phases of sleep that have been, or must be in future, investigated in humans.

    Case in point. The “mother of all anti-depressants” (an MAOI) is well-known to reduce the need for sleep. This, for many years, caused pharmacologists to speculate that one of its metabolites was an amphetamine derivative. I believe that hypothesis has been proven wrong but my anecdotal experience of it certainly conformed to the newer view that it “seems like an amphetamine but isn’t”. Again, anecdotally, over a multi-year period I had a much reduced need for sleep but whilst I had “issues”, memory formation and retention was certainly not one of them. To this day I wonder if the “periods of sleep that got omitted” were important or not. I’ll never know for sure since global supply chain issues and institutional biases are most definitely causing MAOIs to rapidly march toward extinction and I “jumped before I was pushed” (thankfully without problem). Anyway the psychopharmacology of mental health drugs definitely skews into “above my paygrade” territory so I’ll simply leave this as an open question.

    The other issue that raised a yellow flag was the Bayesian stuff. Yes, if you know the solution is on a curve that is concave to the origin in the (x,y) plane then Bayesian methods will automatically concentrate on (1,3), (2,2) and (3,1) to give you quick, accurate solutions – NB I’ve simplified the numbers here. Methods rooted in orthogonal statistical designs and “fewer preconceptions” will look at (1,1), (1,2), (1,3), (2,1)…..(3,3): very inefficient but will not “miss” a black swan: “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” and all that spring to mind. Priors are more important than people think. GIGO. Article might be fine…but it raises questions.

    1. Steve H.

      > Priors are more important than people think.

      100%. Absolutely certain that is true.

      above my pay grade, but I’ll suggest orthogonal methods have an equivalent to priors – the outlier/black_swans may be extreme, but don’t much alter the trend established by the majority of data points. I’m a mediocre mathematician, but I think it’s adjacent to robustness.

      Also, science in practice includes the fine art of data pruning. The professor who taught me that also taught me the concept of maximum number of publishable units per data set. Better results if you whack the outliers.

      1. Terry Flynn

        “the outlier/black_swans may be extreme, but don’t much alter the trend established by the majority of data points.”

        Yep – which is why I’m so grateful for having my statistical skills broadened from the very “medical statistical / health econometric central limit theorem basis” to the “academic marketing segmentation basis”. Once you accept that the data are multi-modal, you quit taking averages that iron out the (possibly key) outliers.

        As you say, orthogonal designs and methods that rely on such concepts can be misused too. Statistical inference is just as much an art as a science in so many areas – particularly if you’re into the “new / blue sky” areas.

    1. Carolinian

      Those who have seen The Founder know that the original McD idea was to sell like three things–hamburgers, fries, milkshakes–and make it all simple and predictable. Kroc’s addon was to have the corporation own all the land under the franchises and thereby gain great control over the consistency of the product.

      Maybe the whole fast food idea is fraying at the edges. They may need to replace the management with robots.

      1. ambrit

        It can be argued that anyone today who graduates with an MBA degree is, if not an outright Robot, at the least a Cyborg.
        It is the difference between having an Education and being Trained and Credentialled.

        1. Roger

          I have an MBA (NYU Stern School) in addition to some actual real degrees (MA and PhD) and can attest that MBAs are simply technical training and conformance to sociopathy certificates. Just like law “degrees” they should be downgraded to technical and aptitude certificates. They in no way achieve the academic level of a masters degree.

        2. GramSci

          My old dean used to quip, “Education is for people; training is for dogs.” He was a professiorial dog trainer.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Four Years after the Galwan Clash: Ongoing India-China Tensions”

    I suppose that sooner or later that both India and China may just call it quits over this piece of useless real estate and agree that it be neutral territory. It depends if both countries want to de-escalate or whether they want to have a d***-waving competition at 4,000 metres above sea level. Fortunately with the severe cold, neither can do that for too long. Maybe both nations can eventually set up a research station to investigate this region but the worse thing that could happen is that it becomes like the Korean DMZ.

    1. Kouros

      That is a neat idea. Especially since “historically” nobody lived there and was under nobody’s jurisdiction. It is like trying to make borders from scratch in Antarctica.

  18. Chris Cosmos

    I was pleased to see DRB’s article on Roger Stone–he is one amusing fellow. I used to know him back in the 80s and found him refreshing, amusing, and provided me with insights on how Washington actually works which turned out to be pretty accurate over time. On a personal level I never felt deception in him and he was honest about his motivations in being a Republican. I was, in those days, a typical leftist of the 60s (an almost extinct type) and he had no interest in converting me to his views which were libertarian in essence. For him politics was a fun game and, he claimed, was also a game for the equivalent counterparts who supported Democrats. Ideology in the 80s at least held little interest for him. In contrast I also knew some of his counterparts in the Democratic Party’s side and they were, for the most part, neither open or amusing–usually dead serious.

    Stone was show-biz all the way and had fun. As for his sex exploits, they were not that different than Washingtonian power-players sex exploits. Political players almost always have highly developed sex lives thought they lie about it all the time which is why it is easy to keep them in line by more powerful forces.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Biden’s Weird Saudi Obsession”

    I think that there is stuff unmentioned in this article. Blinken has accrued a lot of frequent flyer points going to Saudi Arabia and it seems that Biden want to make a deal. The essence is that Biden will give nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and in return Saudi Arabia will join the Abraham Accords and link in with Israel. This would, in Washington’s thinking, undercut all Arab opposition to Israel and may even put a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But of course there are a lots of problems with this idea in an case. For a start, MsB hates Biden’s guts and has no trust in him to keep any agreements. Israel would get Congress to nix Saudi Arabia getting any nuclear technology in case they think about making nukes which would kill the deal. But the big thing is that Saudi Arabia can hardly kiss and make up with Israel when that country is slaughtering Palestinians by the thousands and wants to steal their land. That would make them just as big a pariah as Israel is right now. There is no future in a Biden deal and that is that.

  20. Wukchumni

    Yin & Pyongyang dept:

    Does Lil’ Kim give Vladimir a vise-grip like embrace in an obvious weapons for wheat dealing in shells, war wampum if you will.

    …or is Putin merely in town for advanced judo training in prepping for the Paris games?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can see it now – ‘Hey, Kim. You know how the US, UK, France and Germany are actually shooting missiles into Russia while pretending that it is the Ukrainians? I told them that if they did, then there will be a price to pay. Well, here I am. (clink) Say, is that flash-drive on the ground there fallen out of your pocket by any chance? Who knows what is on it. Maybe engineering specs for better missiles. Maybe plans for combat-proven drones. Maybe even tech specs for better guidance systems – all in Korean of course. You just never know what you will find laying around. Let’s go grab some Pyongyang Soju to celebrate your luck.’

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Hehehe, reminds me of that old joke they used to tell on the streets:

        “Hey, where’d you get that cool new flat-screen TV, dawg?”

        “Eh, it just fell off the back of the truck, homes!”

        Something tells me a lot of shiny new toys may “fall off the back of the truck” in Pyongyang and maybe Yemen.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “A Message About Noam Chomsky: An Update’

    Yeah, yeah. Great guy and lots of solid work behind him. Trouble is that like Henry Kissinger, he has lived too long and like a lot of people, started to say and do stupid stuff. Like how in 2020 saying people have to vote for Biden over Trump if they wanted to save the environment. Or how people who refused to take those dodgy vaccines must be isolated from society. Or how he had serious financial dealings with Jeffrey Epstein to the tune of $270,000. Like most people, he has his good and bad sides.

    1. mrsyk

      See Terry F and Steve H above (Priors are more important than people think). Noam’s living in the past. Bless him none the less, he’s put in the work to deserve it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read an idea once and having read it, cannot forget it. It said that it does not matter what a great reputation a person has but what is most important is what they do right here and right now.

        1. mrsyk

          Rings true to me, but that dude’s aged out of relevance a generation ago. Imo, it’s the forces that wheel out his dusty almost corpse for a opinion because he’s a (once long ago) reputable lefty that deserve scrutiny.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thanks for the call-out above.

            BTW the NHS has now speeded up noticeably and following endoscopy I’m booked in for CT in 48 hours. Meanwhile I retain the nasty choice between starve or eat requiring lots of morphine afterwards :/

            1. mrsyk

              Perhaps relief is in the near future, I do hope so.
              Dealing with the heat dome here. I’ve laid out the “roof linens” (these are retired white cotton bedsheets) over the asphalt shingles. I’ve no a/c. I can always join the cats in the cellar if the heat becomes too much to bear.

              1. ambrit

                If you can, wet down those “fibre shingle covers” for extra evaporative cooling effects.

              2. Wukchumni

                I’d read To Build A Fire, by Jack London, ought to bring the torrid temps down 10 degrees halfway through the tale.

                1. mrsyk

                  Lol! Once again, thanks for a much needed laugh. And thanks ambrit, I’m headed out to hose them down.

                  1. ambrit

                    Be careful in the heat. It sounds like a bad joke, but keep yourself hydrated while you hydrate the “cloth roof covers.” Keep an eye on your water bill also. I knew a family that ran a sprinkler hose along the ridge of their main roof and ran it by an electric switch regulated by a temperature gauge. A bit Psychedelic DIY, but it worked. Of course, that was back when water was relatively cheap. Today, all inputs are prone to suffering from the maleficent effects of rentierism.
                    Stay safe.

    2. Xquacy

      I enjoy your comments and your wit. But this ain’t one of them. You are being careless.

      1. Biden: Where is the flaw in the argument? Given the duopoly, the choice isn’t actual. But Trump’s record on the environment was absolutely atrocious.

      2. Vaccines: This is tired and misquoted statement, and has become a Chinese whisper. What he said was ‘people who refuse vaccines should have the decency to isolate themselves from society’ not, ‘people who refuse vaccines should be isolated (sometimes, the whispers even take the shape of ‘by the state’). The quote is one Youtube search away. As for the standard, a lot of people have said very stupid things around the vaccines. And a lot of sincere, diligent, honest investigators were wrong about the existence of aether.

      3. Epstein:

      In response to questions from the Journal, Chomsky confirmed that he received a March 2018 transfer of roughly $270,000 from an Epstein-linked account. He said it was “restricted to rearrangement of my own funds, and did not involve one penny from Epstein.”

      Chomsky explained that he asked Epstein for help with a “technical matter” that he said involved the disbursement of common funds related to his first marriage.

      “My late wife died 15 years ago after a long illness. We paid no attention to financial issues,” he said in an email that cc’d his current wife. “We asked Epstein for advice. The simplest way seemed to be to transfer funds from one account in my name to another, by way of his office.”

      Chomsky said he didn’t hire Epstein. “It was a simple, quick, transfer of funds,” he said.

      If that’s bad, gee-willy, every penny I’ve spent has stripped me down to the morality of an average banker. Worse if I have ever cared to make more than absolutely necessary.

      Yeah Chomsky has flaws, all people do. Please point to the real ones.

      1. JustTheFacts

        Chomsky seems to be a nice person and as far as I can see he has gotten a lot right. It is very sad that he had a stoke. I miss his contributions.

        However please explain “Trump’s record on the environment was absolutely atrocious.”.

        In particular, what did he do which makes you claim that? And in what way is Biden’s record better? We need to include acts of war in this evaluation — the destruction of the NordStream pipeline released 500,000 tons of methane (initially 80x more damaging to the climate than CO2 which it degrades into over a century IIRC), and for some time Russia was flaring off excess methane production that could no longer be sent to Europe. Weapons given to Ukraine and Israel supporting unnecessary wars also have giant environmental impacts that everyone is ignoring. For instance, what’s the environmental cost of rebuilding Gaza? Sending gas from the US to Europe as LNG via ships (instead of using gas pipelines), sending oil from Russia via India to Europe, and destroying European manufacturing, thereby transferring it to less regulated parts of the world, sending ships around Africa instead of through the Suez canal, all result in a lot more worldwide emissions. The recent protectionist moves against Chinese solar panels and EVs are also damaging if one believes EVs and solar panels are part of the solution to climate change.

        If one has the perspective that killing off most of humanity would help the environment, perhaps Biden’s record is good for the environment. From that perspective, pandemics, wars, and reduction of the remaining people’s food/energy consumption would be pro-environmental. After all, many people no longer fit the needs of the market, and since we no longer value humanity enough to shape the market for people’s benefit, but instead measure each other’s worth by how well we fit into the market, these people are Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”, or Harari’s “useless class” (a term awfully reminiscent of the term “useless eaters”). However this is not a view I agree with.

        Also, Chomsky’s quote about the COVID injections presumed they would stop transmission. They didn’t. It turned out that Chomsky was not qualified to speak about this topic and got it wrong. I don’t blame him, given the level of disinformation around, but ironically, he played a small role in helping to manufacture consent on this topic.

        1. mrsyk

          I wasn’t going to go here (record on the environment claim), but I have to agree with you on this. Team blue like to talk the talk, but only walks the walk when it suits their greater agenda. Consider this example, President Obama Protects Untouched Marine Wilderness in Alaska, press release January 27, 2015. According to my ai: In January of 2015, price of Brent crude was $47.76 per barrel, while the price was $62.34 dollars per barrel in December of 2014. Over last twelve months the price has fallen 55.83%. In my world a cost benefit analysis has taken place, a decision made. Nothing more.

      2. Revenant

        How did this transfer from his own name to his own name require the insertion of Epstein in between. It sounds like regulatory arbitrage at best, fraud or tax evasion at worst.

    3. Alice X

      Aviva Chomsky, his eldest daughter is a historian and professor. A recent interview is here.

      She seems to me not use to speaking out. She may not be as sharp as he was at his peak, but then maybe she will improve.

    4. Carolinian

      Sorry but I don’t think he is like Kissinger at all. Kissinger was wrong back when Chomsky was right.

      We aren’t obliged to feel reverential about anyone but I think we can feel sympathy of the 90 year olds and their health problems.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Japanese startup plans to vaporize space junk using ground lasers”

    It has not escaped my notice that in wartime, that this system could be used as a weapon to take out enemy satellites. Personally I would hope that they could be used to take down Musk’s Starlink satellites.

    1. Captain Obvious

      “This system” does not exist. It’s a call for investors. They forgot to mention AI few times, to make the pitch sound better.

      1. ambrit

        So, it should start out with; “Japanese startup plans to vaporize investor money…”
        It’s space, the perfect place for the Silicon Valley Business Model. Up there you can move very fast and literally vaporize things. Musk should do us all a favour and ship the lot of them to a Silicone Asteroid. (Imagine the prospectus on that project!)

  23. Tom Stone

    The fuel load in Sonoma County this year is impressive, the rains were well spaced out and we had a late 1″ of rain in late spring.
    Some properties I saw where they mowed the high weeds two months ago now have 6′ tall weeds and we are already seeing significant fires in mid June.
    It is going to be one hell of a fire season and I would not be at all surprised if this is the year Marin County burns, their last big fire was in 1928 and it is where sudden oak death syndrome originated.
    It’s the new normal and I’m sure our Leadership will handle these problems with their usual competence…

  24. Skip Kaltenheuser

    Re: Is Populism Possible Without Demagoguery?

    I’m in accord with Thomas Frank, it’s always disheartening to have the meaning of words given an Orwellian twist, as has happened with “populism”. For a good history of its takeoff out of rural Kansas, and how egalitarian the movement was, try his Harper’s article The Pessimistic Style in American Politics,,
    or better, read his excellent book The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.
    It’s one of those books you’d like to sneak onto the bedside tables of the Democratic Party leadership, but probably won’t land there.

    1. Alice X

      There was a good piece at NC on 5/9/24 from Tony Lynch:

      Populism and State Power

      One commenter brought up the work of Lawrence Goodwyn: Democratic Promise- The Populist Moment in America, there is an abridged work which I got from the library. I haven’t started in yet.

    2. Anonymous 2

      It seems to me it is a question of semantics. For some, populism is as Yves suggests in her reference. For others it is a ‘boo word’. I see there was a seminar at the LSE in 1967 when the participants failed to agree on a single, clear definition.

  25. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Far-right Republicans’ latest target? No-fault divorce…

    Already faced with declining marriage rates, the conservative right now wants to make divorce impossible? The old social stigma of “living in sin” is pretty much gone in the US (except amongst the same conservative crowd), so why bother getting married in the first place?

    I’ll bet this is as much about finding a way to eliminate alimony and child support payments as it is about limiting womens’ ability to initiate divorce (along with the usual sadism posing as religion).

  26. flora

    re: Is Writing and Speaking About Populism Possible Without Demagoguery?

    Fixed the headline. / ;)

  27. Wukchumni

    A “mysterious” monolith has appeared near a peak in the Nevada desert, Las Vegas police said.

    Las Vegas Metro Police said in a social media post Monday that the reflective object was spotted close to Gass Peak, a hiking area with a summit of nearly 7,000 feet, over the weekend. Authorities didn’t appear to know how it got up there and said it was found by the Las Vegas search and rescue team north of the Las Vegas Valley.

    “We see a lot of weird things when people go hiking like not being prepared for the weather, not bringing enough water… but check this out!” police said.

    In the same post, police urged people to take precautions before hiking, including researching the weather forecast, carrying additional aid, water and food, and bringing a light source as well as a fully charged phone.

    Gass Peak is the highest peak in the Las Vegas range of the Southern Nevada and is located about 20 miles from the north of Las Vegas.

    Similar-looking monoliths have appeared in recent years. Earlier this year, a 10-foot-tall monolith that looked “like a some sort of a UFO” popped up on a hill in Wales, and nobody knew how it got there. In 2020, an unexplained structure was found in a remote area of southeastern Utah. Others also appeared in Romania, Colorado and California that year. Many assumed those cases were some form of art installation that brought comparisons to the monolith in the movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” (CBS)

  28. spud

    thanks for the article on another developing debacle of free trade in asia. the stupidity continues.

    what is the definition of insanity? doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome or results.

    just imagine how free trade has wiped out the worlds middle classes, and the damage to the environment is immense, as free trade sends emission belching ships all over the world, hauling stuff that can be made local in many cases.

    free trade only benefits the davos parasites, and is a major factor in creating unsustainable debts and impoverishment onto the world.

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