Links 6/20/2024

A supermarket trip may soon look different, thanks to electronic shelf labels NPR

Wells Fargo Bet on a Flashy Rent Credit Card. It Is Costing the Bank Dearly. WSJ

The easy we make difficult, but it takes a long time. #Monetary Sovereignty – Mitchell

Isn’t it Time to Stop Calling it “The National Debt”? Evonomics

Climate

Banks Are Finally Realizing What Climate Change Will Do to Housing Wired

This Ecuadorian forest thrived amid deforestation after being granted legal rights Guardian

Potential Ozone Depletion From Satellite Demise During Atmospheric Reentry in the Era of Mega-Constellations Geophysical Research Letters

Texas Cancels School Over Concerns Extreme Heat Not Safe Environment For Shootings The Onion

Water

Disastrous figures show the poverty of Iowa’s water quality approach Des Moines Register

Syndemics

IDPH urges vigilance as COVID cases rise in emergency rooms WGLT

Taiwan military drones unlikely to hasten US ‘hellscape’ against mainland Chinese attack South China Morning Post

Breaking Down The U.S. Navy’s ‘Hellscape’ In Detail Naval News

China?

Tu Guangshao on what makes a “Strong Financial Nation” and where China falls short Pekingnology

How Innovative Is China in Nuclear Power? (PDF) Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. “China’s innovation strengths in nuclear power pertain especially to organizational, systemic, and incremental innovation. Many fourth-generation nuclear technologies have been known for years, but China’s state-backed approach excels at fielding them.”

India

Inside India’s first heat stroke emergency room BBC

JPMorgan Ignites $40 Billion Rush Into Indian Bonds Bloomberg

Bonded Slavery: The Dark Side Of In India’s Sericulture Industry Madras Courier

New Caledonia Police Detain 11, Including Independence Leader, Following Revolt Against French Rule The Diplomat

Syraqistan

‘Utterly Dismayed’: Air Force Engineer Resigns as Dissent Against Gaza War Slowly Spreads Within Military The Intercept

Suicide of IDF soldier leaves Israel on the brink The Telegraph

* * *

Is Israel Committing Genocide? Aryeh Neier, The New York Review of Books

Bearing Witness to the Israel-Gaza War (updated to 18 June 2024) (PDF) Lee Mordechai. “I write this publicly to testify that during the war there were and remain Israeli voices who strongly dissented from Israel’s actions.”

* * *

Israeli army destroys entire Palestinian side of Rafah border crossing, renders it unusable Anadolu Agency

Inside the ‘shocking’ police operation targeting pro-Palestine activists in Toronto The Breach

European DIsunion

Giorgia Meloni’s hard-right European group claims a top EU job FT

Dear Old Blighty

Boss of US firm given £4bn in UK Covid contracts accused of squandering millions on jets and properties Guardian

New Not-So-Cold Cold War

Russia will consider dispatch of F16s to Ukraine as aggression that activates its mutual defense agreement with North Korea Gilbert Doctorow, Armageddon

‘It is all lining up’: Plan for Ukraine to finally start using F-16 jets this summer Guardian

Ukraine’s F-16 Pilots Have A Problem: They’ll Have To Fly Low To Survive—And That Impedes Their Missiles Forbes

* * *

Why the US and Ukraine Should Accept Putin’s Latest Peace Offer David Pyne, The Real War

Illness and involvement with political assassinations: Russia releases investigation on Chechen leader Kadyrov Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

Russian Air Force Receives New Su-34 Strike Fighter Unit: How High Will the Production Surge Go? Military Watch

Russia develops its first chipmaking tool — outdated by 30 years from day one Tom’s Hardware

Spook Country

An Anatomy of Algorithm Aversion Cass R. Sunstein and Jared Gaff, SSRN

Healthcare

The Conspiracy to Game the Medical Literature Matt Bivens, The 100 Days

Drug Shortages Keep Growing. Older, Injectable Agents Are Among the Most Vulnerable AP

Infection Prevention in Low-Resource Settings: Two Infection Preventionists Consult in East Africa Infection Control Today. “This education would focus on the chain of infection and hand hygiene.”

The return of pneumatic tubes MIT Technology Review

The outbreak linked to micro-dosing candies more than doubles; company refuses to recall Food Safety

Supply Chain

We don’t need deep-sea mining (PDF) U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Boeing

‘I know it happens’: Boeing chief admits the company has retaliated against whistleblowers CNN

The Bezzle

Hedge Funds’ Secret Weapon to Fight the SEC Lives in Texas Bloomberg

Digital Watch

As AI is embraced, what happens to the artists whose work was stolen to build it? LA Times

AI took their jobs. Now they get paid to make it sound human BBC. Or not:

IMF suggests tax on AI’s CO2 emissions, but not AI itself The Register

Perplexity Is a Bullshit Machine Wired

I Will F*cking Piledrive You If You Mention AI Again Lucidity

GenAI more buzz than biz as tech barely dents jobs, says survey The Register. Musical interlude.

The Boston hippies who developed technologies that Silicon Valley wouldn’t dare to make Boston Globe

Our Famously Free Press

Nellie Bly Experiences It All JSTOR Daily

Juneteenth

The Problem with Juneteenth Black Agenda Report

Zeitgeist Watch

Have beliefs in conspiracy theories increased over time? PLOS One. From 2022, still germane.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pentagon ‘alarmingly slow’ at fielding new weapons, government report says Stars & Stripes

Who will win a post-heroic war? Edward Luttwak, Unherd. The deck: “Neither the West nor its enemies are prepared to fight.”

The Unending Allure Of High Mountains Noema

Antidote du jour (Anton):

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.

161 comments

  1. Antifa

    THESE THREE
    (melody borrowed from We Three  by The Ink Spots)

    We three each stand alone
    Cooperating happily
    We’re Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi

    Each clan of us has vowed
    To push back the Israelis
    We’re Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi

    For Gaza we all fight
    Israel’s triple blight
    We fight for love

    The Israelis don’t know
    Which way they should go
    Which group to rid themselves of

    We three know what we do
    We’ve ruined their economy
    We’re Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi

    Israelis weep and groan
    Attrition is a bitch indeed
    Your citizens will choose to flee

    We three will not be bowed
    Until all of Palestine is free
    We’re Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi

    We see the IDF’s blundering
    Their hatred and sheer spite
    The fact that they can’t fight
    The safety they’re now bereft of

    That American ammo
    One day will be vetoed
    Their hand won’t be in your glove

    Israel will soon be through
    A nation that soon will not be
    And Gaza will live so free

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Brian Merchant
    @bcmerchant
    Last week, I read about one of the bleakest uses for gen AI I’ve seen yet: First Horizon Bank is rolling out a system to detect when a call center worker was on the brink of “losing it”—and play them an AI-made montage of family photos set to their favorite song to calm them down’

    What happens if, one day, the real reason that a call center worker is on the brink of “losing it” is because the previous day his wife served him with divorce papers and swore that he would never see his kids ever again – and then the montage of family photos starts.

    1. timbers

      https://www.cbr.com/john-carpenter-they-live-pop-culture-influence-obey/

      Scroll down to the 3rd pic under “A Political Clothing Brand Was Formed”

      One of my sisters is a conflict smoother social lubricant meaning she immediately tries to change the subject when disagreement surfaces btwn my right wing Republican other sister and father.

      Each time she does this conversation derailer, I usually interject “Watch TV” and text that famous pic.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        for the last 8 years since i began reading NC i feel like i have the sunglasses they used in “They Live” permanently affixed – really liked that movie!

        1. ambrit

          To me, the Ur version of this phenomenon is the religious/mystic belief in ‘spirit beings’ ‘influencing’ the lives of mortals caught up in the Dance of Illusion.
          Carpenter, or whoever wrote the original story, had the brilliant idea of taking the concept of ‘Guardian Angels’ and flipping it ‘on its head.’ Being somewhat of a Prophet in his own right, Carpenter blended the ‘Maleficent Angels’ with the Neo-liberal movement. It is no surprise that the “Aliens” control the Terran human population through symbol manipulation. As someone once said; Man is mainly symbolic in nature.
          This idea permeates Terran human religious systems. It is the perfect place holder for “The Unknown.”
          Stay safe. “Dis-Obey”

          1. paul

            Sightly disagree,
            Carpenter made patent the intents of certain earth based humans.
            That was his sin, and that is why I will always love his work.

            He is pretty magnificent as a real live musician as well

    2. t

      My phone just did that to me! I was searching through photos in a specific album and it offered “more pictures of” what it thought I was looking for from another album and included a photo of someone dead that lives in album of photos I don’t want to see by accident.

      Gotta get that Pine phone soon.

      Did anyone ask for any of this? Or is just crapification based on have a new “feature” to advertise?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Who would want that job? Does it come with an immunity deal from prosecution?

      (It might make a decent fallback gig for the Orangeman. Make Boeing Great Again!)

    2. John

      This is surprising? Bossing the dumpster fire created by your predecessors is not a choice position.

    3. ChrisPacific

      I think most candidates are probably well aware they’d be set up to fail if the board composition stays the same.

      The best chance for a genuine solution would be firing (and possibly imprisoning) the entire current board, and installing some kind of statutory management. The US government is allergic to that kind of thing these days, so it’s not likely to ever happen.

  3. zagonostra

    >Have beliefs in conspiracy theories increased over time? PLOS One. From 2022, still germane.

    I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist.

    A conspiracy theory is an explanation of past, present, or future events or circumstances that cites as the primary cause a small group of powerful people working in secret, for their own benefit, against the common good, and in a way that undermines bedrock ground rules against the widespread use of force and fraud

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t quite understand the negative view of conspiracy theories that seems to permeate the intelligentsia in the West. History is replete with conspiracies because it is the normal way of doing business in power-relations as Machiavelli would tell you if he was still alive. The whole demonization of “wild conspiracy theories” started when people started noting the evidence surrounding the JFK assassination. The idea was that conspiracies on that scale couldn’t happen in a healthy democracy because the story would leak into the press. Well it did leak but was clearly stifled. How? Well, if you reported on it your editor would spank you and you’d shortly be out of a job as we have seen in recent years and in those days there was no internet and few alternative publications. Conspiracies are everywhere there is power–I’ve seen it and have been part of what I believe was a conspiracy to defraud the government (in a minor way) and have seen a lot of them as a government contractor.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        from AP –
        Recorded use of the phrase “conspiracy theory” dates back to at least 1863, and it was notably invoked in reports following the 1881 shooting of then-President James A. Garfield –

        any port in a storm to obfuscate the obvious – if it starts to make too much sense better trot out the ‘conspiracy theory’ saw –

        the depth and breadth of JFK’s murder boggles critical thought – James Douglass’s book is chilling

      2. jsn

        Right, and if you’ve got a vast black budget for a giant three letter nesting doll of spook agencies, if there aren’t thousands of actual conspiracies going on, people aren’t doing their jobs!

        By now, through declassification and FOIA, most of the Conspiracy Theories I tracked in my youth are factual Conspiracies: the evidence is in, it’s bureaucratically documented. And most of those involved have flourished even as the country has rotted from within through their actions, “that undermine(s) bedrock ground rules against the widespread use of force and fraud”.

        The attempt to foment bias against “conspiracy theorist” is a kind of nostalgia for an extinct high trust society that once made a great nation.

    2. dingusansich

      In other words, it is a theory of power elites, a.k.a. oligarchy. Obviously incorrect in a democracy. /s

      We pretend our votes matter and they pretend to represent us.

    3. deedee

      Exactly. When I talk to people who disparage conspiracy theories I ask …

      Me: “Well, do you believe everything the government/the media/the medical establishment/corporations tell you at all times?” (I should insert your handy definition)

      Other person: “Um, no”

      Me: “Well, how do you know when these establishments are lying vs telling you the truth?”

      Other person: “I guess I don’t?”

      Me: “So maybe conspiracy theories that question whether the official narrative of things is true, aren’t so bad/crazy/etc. after all. In fact, maybe they are the only approach that makes any sense?”

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Questioning the official line always makes sense. Unfortunately, a lot of conspiracy theorists seem to fall into one or two traps: assuming everything the authorities say is false because they say it (sometimes understandable, but utterly absurd) and uncritical faith in someone else’s line (that of an opposition party, some more vague grouping of “influencers”, and/or foreign authorities that one prefers for whatever reason). A combination of those things is very common in Russia, but I think they occur pretty much anywhere. That kind of conspiracy theorist gives conspiracy theorists a bad name. Of course, one’s own authorities like to frame all doubters as incoherent lunatics as well. Good for them when they have help.

        1. hk

          In the past, I’d have said that’s fairly common, but not mainstream in the YS. What I learned from TDS (and Russia gate) is that the kooky extreme version of conspiracy theory can go mainstream really quickly.

    4. divadab

      “I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist.”

      You may also be guilty of “algorithm aversion”, according to that well known moral genius Cass Sunstein.

      The name-calling will cease when you do as you’re told, deplorable.

    5. Louis Fyne

      >>>>cause a small group of powerful people working ***in secret***

      there is no secrecy about every “conspiracy”…AIPAC works in the open, so does the anti-Russia lobby, both sides of abortion, guns, pro/anti-Trump, the influence of the “too big to fail banks,” etc.

      It’s easier to rationalize that all the bad things in the world are due to power of “SPECTRE”-like organizations versus elites and ordinary people: (a) following social trends, (b) wanting acceptance within their peer group, (c) using their personal power-wealth to advance their pet projects.

      1. t

        I’ve always thought “conspiracy theory” is defined by the word theory for the theory part which is presented without evidence or framework, or by one piece of “evidence” that’s just noise or impossible.

        There’s a theory that the ancient alien evidence is covered up by hiding all the DNA evidence. Probably a million people would have to be misrepresenting data and keeping quiet for that to work.

        A good example of bad evidence is HRC’s various feints toward not-for-profit Healthcare. They’re all real. Unfortunately, in the larger context there are like my Aunt Lou’s claims to be gluten-free which, while loud, have to be discounted by how often she eats wheat on purpose while making complex excuses as to why she’s still gluten-free.

        And so many conspiracy theories rely on a magical nonsense benefit. Been watching a lot of Fox news lately and hoo boy. They really just make stuff up.

      2. Cat Burglar

        “In secret” is a synonym for “has not appeared in the NYT or on NPR.” Anything not covered by a certifiable media organization is considered secret by many people.

        I get the smear all the time when using amply verified historical facts. Usually, people just don’t know.

    6. Lefty Godot

      What it really boils down to is which conspiracy theories are acceptable and which aren’t. Conspiracy theories involving Arabs with box-cutters and evil Russian election subverters are doubleplusgood. Any that involve powerful and moneyed people in the US government, Wall Street, or Silicon Valley are wrongthink, if not outright psychotic delusions, and show you’re not a “serious” person.

      It also is important to eschew a conspiracy theory when an appropriate coincidence theory has been promoted by those in authority: where all those things “just happened” unconnected with each other, or where we proved by tweaking a computer model over and over that there was some set of circumstances where things “just happened” the officially stated way with no other explanation needed.

    7. matt

      power decides truth. i think its less a growth in conspiracy theories, more a decline in trust of those on power.

    8. pjay

      And we should add the rest of the definition:

      “Furthermore, conspiracy theories have not been judged as likely accurate by the appropriate epistemological bodies using publicly available evidence.”

      This second part is important: ‘CTs’ are judged as false by the “appropriate” authorities. So it is necessary to consider who the “appropriate epistemological bodies” are that get to do the defining, what type of “evidence” they deem appropriate, and the extent to which such appropriate evidence is “publicly available” or repressed.

      The answers to these questions differ considerably between, say, the issue of the Kennedy assassination vs. the issue of fake moon landings. To me that makes any *general* findings about “conspiracy theories” or beliefs in them pretty worthless. It depends on the “theory” in question – and on who has an interest in it.

    9. Kouros

      “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
      ― Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

      1. Alice X

        For the first ten years after the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act the cases were mainly against unions, as I recall Chomsky noting. Wiki:

        The Sherman Act broadly prohibits 1) anticompetitive agreements and 2) unilateral conduct that monopolizes or attempts to monopolize the relevant market.

        United States v. Workingmen’s Amalgamated Council of New Orleans (1893), which was the first to hold that the law applied to labor unions.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Those Swedish MPs know that they have Finland shielding them from direct Russian counter-attacks. Like with how France had Germany as their shield in the First Cold War. Well, unless a Russian sub pops up in Sweden’s western waters that is.

      1. Polar Socialist

        As you say, during the 600 years Sweden tried to invade Russia, almost all of the devastation and pillaging happened in Finland and Karelia. Except once, in 1719, did the Russians raid the actual Sweden proper.

        Today, I doubt Russian missiles would bother with such niceties – after taking out Finnish airfields, harbors, military compounds, troop concentrations, navy, air force, command points and the government, in the next hour they would probably do the same to Sweden.

        And Medvedev would post on TG something mocking about the smouldering NATO logistic routes and dare US “to bring it on”.

        1. Trees&Trunks

          Also as ipposed to Finland Sweden has not said no to placing nuclear bombs on Swedish soil. The Swedish chattering classes are also shock-full of idiots like this guy claiming it is good to have nuclear bombs in Sweden in combination with a… shall we say, couragous or experimental ideas of cause and effect.

          https://www-aftonbladet-se.translate.goog/nyheter/kolumnister/a/al7lkE/ratt-av-tidopartierna-och-socialdemokraterna-att-ej-forbjuda-karnvapen?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

          Here is a site where Europeans can play around . Putin said that their tactical nuclear bombs are 70kton.

          https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/

          Fry away kids!

  4. Steve H.

    > An Anatomy of Algorithm Aversion Cass R. Sunstein and Jared Gaff, SSRN
    >> some clues about how to overcome algorithm aversion

    The reason I did not like the F*cb**k algorithm is it heightened outrage and anger, and helped fracture a local aligned community, arguing over the Lich Queen.

    The reason I do not like the Txitter algorithm is the For-you keeps jumpscaring me with people violently dying, and the Following doesn’t give me all the posts from John Robb, and I missed some timely ones.

    Give me active agency in guiding the algo? Silly hominid. At least Sunstein et al will select out those who follow its advice.

    > Control measures strong enough to produce an effect on the system will be those that throw the system beyond its self-determined stability threshold. Complex systems perturbed beyond their thresholds respond in unpredictable ways. The failure to understand what is happening in such situations could lead to the mistaken conclusion that what is needed is even stronger control measures. [Brooks & Agosta]

    1. divadab

      I’m more inclined to transition from “algorithm aversion” (what a flipping crock) to algorithm avoidance – by disconnecting from the digital world entirely in favor of the tactile living world which our masters prefer to disconnect us from.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine’s F-16 Pilots Have A Problem: They’ll Have To Fly Low To Survive—And That Impedes Their Missiles”

    ‘It’s obvious what the Ukrainian air force might do with its 85 ex-European Lockheed Martin F-16s once the nimble supersonic fighter jets begin arriving in Ukraine in the coming weeks.’

    Well, since only about 8 Ukrainian pilots have been trained to fly the F-16 the solution is obvious. These pilots could take off, launch missiles at Russia and then bail out before a Russian air-to-air missile turns up to go up their tail-pipe. And as there are 8 pilots for 85 F-16s, they should be able to do this another 9 times. Last I heard, it as been reckoned that those pilots only have a 20% chance of surviving the first fight. My way, they get to survive every fight. Well, until they go through their 10 F-16s that is.

    1. wendigo

      Or it is 85 chances at a one-way decapitation strike on Moscow.

      Less pilot training required for that mission.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Less time to parachute out in case they are hit too. Saw a video of that happening with a Ukrainian fighter pilot a year or two ago. That pilot never stood a chance. And of course flying low near Russian lines means that if the anti-air missiles don’t get you, the manpads will.

    2. flora

      I hear Mark Rutte is being considered for head of NATO. This is a serious if snarkily put question: How is it the very people pushing small farmers off their land because climate change emergency are all gung ho for more war – one of the largest co2 emitting actions? Something doesn’t add up. (I did read, here at NC I think, an article about the current land grab by the wealthy happening worldwide.)

      1. divadab

        Well the Dutch figured Rutte out and kicked him out of government. NATO rewarded him for his loyal service to the empire by beaming him up to a position where he can do even more harm than he did while “governing” his own country into the ground.

        Rutte is a monster. A highly intelligent monster.

    3. hemeantwell

      And the Forbes article is another masterpiece of tunnel vision, with the writer focused on air to air missile range and then, in the very last paragraphs, talking about Ukrainian strikes on Russian air fields. The Russians are going to chew up both air fields and planes in Ukraine, and then we’re into whether they’ll go after them in Poland and Romania. That bigger picture, with very obvious linkages to the immediate question, is poofed.

      We’ve been talking about cognitive dissonance. This is another another form, based in myopia, that has riddled MSM discussions of the war. Fascinating details bearing a whiff of “hope” are isolated from anything rendering them moot. We’re not, as in the Asch and Festinger studies, doggedly still believing in the Resurrection after it doesn’t occur as predicted, we’re just endlessly distracted to protect hope in an outcome that is endlessly receding. And this ain’t purely cognitive. In the background there’s an ongoing check for adequate patriotism running. Zizek’s clumsy Big Other idea is pertinent here.

      1. ilsm

        Guided air to surface missiles/glide bombs/small diameter bombs need to be fired from high altitude as well.

        The other missed issue is: bombing, outside nukes, is a long term process with a lot of overhead and required assets/time, see Vietnam, where the results are not evident!

        1. Joker

          Cruise missiles (Storm Shadow and the likes) can be (and are) effectively used from low altitudes.

      2. Joker

        You should not take that writer seriously (or Forbes for that matter). He has been writting utter nonsense all along, and has become butt of a joke on numerous occasions. He is just earning a paycheck by pushing a narrative, in the name of democracy or whatever.

      3. ChrisFromGA

        Do we ever take a step back from the details and ask how a magazine dedicated to covering the business world became a propaganda arm for the US State Dept?

    4. ilsm

      BTW US ejection seats are not that reliable! If they “work” there is a chance the pilot won’t fly again.

      In the early 1980’s I served in USAF.

      One of my duties included managing the “activation” of F-16 in units that had flown older aircraft.

      The first thing we managed was getting everyone trained. Training pilots/aircrew is straight forward….. and the pilots have a course of action set for them.

      Training maintenance troops is less “sexy”. They have schools similar to the pilots, but they need a lot of hands on OJT, done in a less fun way than flying fighters.

      A long time before aircraft were deployed for a pilot to fly airframes were sent to the base to train the maintenance troops.

      Looks to me like the US will be sending “sheep dipped” maintenance personnel likely either Lockheed or “recently” active AF personnel.

      Also where is all the direct support equipment and scarce spare parts for these airplanes????

      1. Polar Socialist

        The primary mission of these fighters is to be the next wunderwaffe, so they just have look good on photos and at least one has to be capable of taking off for cool footage.

        The secondary mission, as far as I’m aware, will be defending the remaining Ukrainian power production and logistics against Russian missiles. Maybe the assumption is that these fighters will be destroyed once they reveal their operating base, so direct support will be a moot point.

      2. economic cannon fodder

        “You’ll meet your maker in a Martin-Baker”
        A common saying in flight training.

        Martin Baker being the maker of ejection seats.

        1. North Star

          My father-in-law ejected out of an F-86 just after takeoff and landed in a German farmer’s turnip field. He said the force of the explosion launching him out screwed up his back for the rest of his life.

    5. rowlf

      The Russians could make it known that they will pay a lot of money for any Ukrainian pilot delivering an airplane to them. Maybe a few pilots would go for it or their commanders would be afraid of launching any airplanes.

    6. skippy

      For a fairly realistic portal of how various air frames like the F-16 operate try watching Growling Sidewinder on YT. Yes its simulations but, done with knowledgeable/experienced drivers. Whilst its more dog fighting one can discern the tactics and abilities of currant air frames.

      For me it will be interesting to see green F-16 pilots attempt to survive in real time combat when their thinking reflexes and not developed yet. Flying low is more about detection from ground and air radar – especially air to air missiles by using terrain to break its radar contact. Same would apply to ground to air, so at the end of the day its all about having the terrain that affords it.

    7. rowlf

      I’ve heard say that the Russians are good at math. Letting the Ukrainian pilots know that if they deliver one each servicable Western airplane to the Russians they will be rewarded with, say, $1M USD and safe residence outside of Ukraine, would likely be less expensive than having to launch several Russian anti-aircraft missiles at the pilots and their airplanes. (The US used to make offers like this to acquire Soviet, North Korean and Chinese aircraft.)

      Make the Ukrainian pilots want to surrender.

      1. sarmaT

        The US/Ukraine made that offer here too. $1M for an airplane, half for a helicopter, and some other ammounts for other types of vehicles. I think there was even an award promised for a ship, but I’m not sure about sumbarine and “The Hunt for Red October” remake chances.

        In one incindent Russian Su-34 pilot, in coopeation with FSB, asked for some cash in advance and location of airport to land. Those delivering cash got arrested, and airport got missiles sent instead of an airplane.

        In another incindent, Russian Mi-8 pilot did fly over to the other side, with two other crew members killed by him or Ukraininans. He appeared on Ukro TV, and later moved to Spain under different name. He ended up filled with bullets and then ran over by “local criminals”. Where the money ended is anyone’s guess.

        In an unrelated incident, recently a Ukraininan soldier surrendered in a T-64 tank that he stole. He didn’t get cash, but he will live to see the end of the war and his familiy. If staying alive does not make Ukrainian pilots want to surrender, then nothing will.

  6. Mikel

    Banks Are Finally Realizing What Climate Change Will Do to Housing Wired

    “..In May, yet another beachfront house in North Carolina’s Outer Banks tumbled into the angry sea. It’s the sixth home lost along Cape Hatteras National Seashore since 2020…”

    Looked at the linked-to article about this and saw a pic of houses on stilt-like structures at the edge of the beach.
    Climate change or a matter of time?

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          And the New Deal didn’t continue with Business As Usual. Instead, FDR proposed and passed a massive program that changed the way people farmed in the Great Plains and put the power of the federal government to work planting shelter belts of trees, buying up private land and returning it to prairie, etc.

          Amazingly, the farmers didn’t mount up on their tractors and head to DC to protest the government’s interfering with their FREEDOM.

          Now the only proposals are tinkering with The Market while pushing ahead with Business As Usual.

          1. flora

            Great point about the New Deal farm programs. Farmers were mostly all for them. One reason they had been plowing fence row to fence row was to pay the bankers for the loans taken out, for which crops they got little price due to the – I’ll call it a racket – Wall St. commodity speculators driving down prices to farmers. New Deal programs like crop insurance and price supports to farmer ended the Wall St stranglehold of commodity price setting. (And the farmers had risen up in large numbers before these programs were enacted. That’s been erased from most of the New Deal history.)

            I amazed the Wall St commodity speculators didn’t mount up their limousines and head to DC to protest their FREEDOMs. Oh wait. They did, to no avail. / ;)

                1. Jabura Basaidai

                  oh yeah, big time – he was compensated quite well – especially for putting the last nail in the coffin of Glass-Steagall – by the hammers of Gramm, Rubin and Greenspan

            1. Giovanni Barca

              The farming practices in my part of Michigan appear to be solely for the benefit of big ag and the financiers. The trees are gone, no cyclone fences in winter, drainage tiles and lethally deep roadside ditches. Terror to drive on back roads and even some state highways. So we have regressed to 1932 but worse.

            2. CA

              “And the farmers had risen up in large numbers before these programs were enacted. That’s been erased from most of the New Deal history.”

              The decade before the Depression, had been a time of continual farming hardship:

              http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14297-henry-wallace-americas-forgotten-visionary

              February 3, 2013

              Henry Wallace, America’s Forgotten Visionary
              By Peter Dreier

              In the late 1930s and early 1940s, only FDR eclipsed Wallace – Roosevelt’s secretary of agriculture (1933-1940) and then his vice president (1941-1944) – in popularity with the American people. Stone’s documentary series and book portray Wallace as a true American hero, a “visionary” on both domestic and foreign policy. Today, however, Wallace is a mostly forgotten figure. If Stone’s work helps restore Wallace’s rightful place in our history and piques the curiosity of younger Americans to learn more about this fascinating person, it will have served an important purpose…

              1. Alice X

                A Wallace biography. Like too many on my books list, I haven’t made it all the way through (it’s somewhat drearily written). Of long lasting interest is Wallace’s championing of corn hybridization.

                John C. Culver – American Dreamer- A Life of Henry A. Wallace (2001)

            3. elviejito

              Back in the 1930s when there were actual family farms in the Midwest, the Farmer’s Holiday Association led farmers’ strikes (withholding of produce) and actively stepped in to end forced bankruptcy sales of local farms.
              In the latter, when a farm bankruptcy sale was advertised, local farmers would attend. When the auctioneer declared an item open for bid, the guns came out and only the (former) owner bid. They were called “penny auctions”. After a while, the banks gave up.

          2. CA

            “And the New Deal didn’t continue with Business As Usual. Instead, FDR proposed and passed a massive program that changed the way people farmed in the Great Plains and put the power of the federal government to work planting shelter belts of trees, buying up private land and returning it to prairie, etc…”

            Really, really important.

    1. Benny Profane

      This is what happens when homes are built on the edge of the Atlantic. It’s amazing they can get insurance at all, and the state allows it. The Outer Banks gets hit with a major storm every three years. Look at a map. It’s sticking right out there almost in the gulf stream. The entire east coast is developed with trillions of dollars of RE that wasn’t there pre WW2. And it just gets built right back after storm damage. We spent 6 billion to build back Jersey shore properties after Sandy. Don’t even talk about the billions we spend for beach replenishment that is usually wiped out after one good nor’easter. And all this is for the benefit of the wealthy, because, if you own a beachfront second home, or even a few blocks back, you’re relatively wealthy.

      Most OBX homes are built on stilts, because it floods so much. There are actually homes with pools on stilts. It’s a barrier island. Nothing should be built there.

      1. Steve H.

        In the 1970’s, my father and I were looking askance at the stilt-houses on the Outer Banks. Matter of time.

        When I looked into it, I found that many of the owners of the houses (not homes) were banking and insurance adjacent. Learned in profiting off of failure.

      2. griffen

        Spent a lot time on those roads and particular Hwy 12 as a younger adult working my summer job circa 1991 to 1995. I’m surprised more have not succumbed. North Carolina recently completed a new bridge replacement for the Bonner Bridge over the notorious for it’s fishing Oregon Inlet. Tourism is the only explanation for it. IDK why millionaires would wish to own real estate on what is termed Figure Eight Island, located to the south of those islands but still greatly exposed to damage of wind, surf and flooding.

        As times have changed since 1995 or so, the regional approach expanded to include what was termed as the Inner Banks. Places such as Washington, NC ( Little Washington for the locals) has extensively repaired and renovated the downtown area and become an attractive option adjacent to the river.

  7. mrsyk

    Disastrous figures show the poverty of Iowa’s water quality approach, good thing Iowa has zero cultural icons to deface. Guess I’ll write my congressman, that will make things better.
    My sarcasm is permanently on.

  8. timbers

    Russia will consider dispatch of F16s to Ukraine as aggression that activates its mutual defense agreement with North Korea Gilbert Doctorow, Armageddon***************Mark Sleboda at Sputnik dangled the possibility that this might in theory allow Russia to support North Korean limited long range missile strikes upon US and NATO homelands if it should come to that which it won’t but in any case the agreement with North Korea is a huge game changer that neither he nor others saw so its like a lightning strike out of thin air.

    1. The Rev Kev

      My first thought about hearing about the Russian-North Korean pact was that North Korea will likely be given access to Russia satellite coverage of the Korean peninsular. Neither South Korea or the US will be able to move even a motorcycle up the the DMZ without the North Koreans being aware of it. Just like it is now impossible to have strategic surprise in the war in the Ukraine by either side, North Korea will now have advance notice of any possible attacks on them via this satellite coverage. Maybe the Russian will even help the North Koreans to launch their own satellite over the Korean peninsular for them to do their own coverage.

      1. Captain Obvious

        Not even the Russians can make a satellite sit put over the Korean peninsular. ;-)

        1. The Rev Kev

          Is a geosynchronous orbit no longer a thing then outside the equator? My understanding was that a satellite can “hover” over a particular region.

          1. Captain Obvious

            Spy satellites have to be in LEO in order to see clearly. Full orbit takes less than two hours (meaning their flyover time is not very long, and by the time they make a full circle, the Earth have moved too and they find themselves over Myanmar). That’s why NATO uses hundreds of satellites to monitor Ukraine in real time.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Thanks for that answer and I had no idea that it required hundreds of satellites for full coverage of the Ukraine.

              1. Captain Obvious

                Well, it’s not required. Russians make do with much less, and NATO is using everything they have avaliable because they can (if I remember correctly, Russians said 400 or so, including civillian ones).

                1. Trees&Trunks

                  Don’t forget that the US/NATO is a grift where, as Yngwie Malmsteen put it, “more is more”.

    2. Aurelien

      I suspect the main purpose of the agreement is to put a legalistic gloss on the (already considerable) supply of arms from N Korea to Russia, and the invocation of the F-16s is a gesture which will act as a political justification for the next shipment. Treaties like this are essentially the writing down of what nations do, or have decided to do, anyway, and by themselves don’t change anything. By contrast, the Russian side of the bargain–to support N Korea in the case of an attack–does have some practical implications (though nothing would have stopped a Russian government from supporting N Korea anyway.) But then you’d have to look long and hard throughout western governments to find anyone who thought that attacking N Korea was anything less than insane.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What happens though next year when Washington turns its attention to China after putting the Ukraine behind them? Nominally North Korea is an ally of China (‘It’s complicated!’) so they might want to put maximum pressure on North Korea to weaken China. Not saying that they will get the South Koreans to lob missiles at North Korea like you have the “Ukrainians” lobbing missiles at Russia but with these maniacs, you just never know.

          1. britzklieg

            Doctorow – Putin “changed the world” not saved… “he did a lot to save all of our necks.”

        1. timbers

          What some are saying (Sloboda, Doctorow) is that Russia could sell long range missiles to North Korea (sorry South Korea & Japan you were warned there would be consequences for arming Ukraine), which would be operated by Russian technicians, targeted by Russian technicians, and North Korea could if it needed “order” the launch of these missiles at US, South Korea, Japan, NATO, etc. Exactly mimicking what US & NATO are doing via Ukraine. Doctorow says Putin made a juxtaposition of points to deliver precisely this message to The West. I personally do not believe North Korea should be used as proxy by Russia against the West like Ukraine has become because that is bad and because Russia already is full justified in doing this entirely on her own without North Korea. But the elegance of this security deal is that it is almost an identical tit-for-tat response to what The West is doing by attacking Russia with “limited long range missiles deep inside Russia” via Ukraine.

          1. The Rev Kev

            After having sanctions push the country into mass starvation several times, I think that the North Koreans would be cool with this deal. The constant annual threats of a South Korean/US invasion would also become a thing of the past. But there are other factors. North Korea is a poor country – and the west has done it’s best to ensure it stays that way. But that country could become a fairly prosperous country as it sits on top of about $10 trillion worth of minerals. With the help of China and Russia, there could be a lot of mining that would pay for infrastructure like roads, trains, hospitals, schools, the healthcare system, etc. and that country could develop to be a more normal country as for the first time they would have something that they never had before – breathing room. Would the UN really bitch about this happening?

            https://www.mining.com/web/the-10-trillion-mineral-resources-north-korea-cant-tap/

            1. ambrit

              I’m thinking that the South Koreans would never agree to an attack against North Korea from their territory because of how close to the “border” their capitol, Seoul, is. Being clients of Russia originally, North Korea has a huge artillery force. The Russians have always favoured artillery as the Queen of Battle. Thus, as proteges of Russia, the North Koreans have beaucoup artillery shells available to “lend” to the Russians. The other side of this equation is that North Korea has gigantic artillery concentrations just across the “border” from Seoul. I have read that these forces could level Seoul quickly. Poof! There goes South Korea’s capitol and largest city.
              The worrying part of this is that the Neo-cons would seriously consider using nuclear weapons in a first strike against those artillery parks. North Korea’s push for nukes looks much more rational in this light.
              As usual, the Neo-cons are playing the; “Lets you and him fight” game.

          2. ilsm

            US has a couple of AN/TPY 2 (THAAD) radars on loan to keep tabs on DPRK.

            I suspect taking one or more out with drone would make a point. Same for a JDF Aegis cruiser on patrol.

      2. Polar Socialist

        I’d say that this announcement combined with the Russian Navy visit to Havana is an attempt to communicate to USA that Russia is both willing and capable of causing USA a lot of trouble around the globe, should USA stay on it’s current path.

        So, I guess I pretty much agree with Doctorow here.

        I don’t think Russia will provide NK with anything more advanced than S-300 and Su-27, but even those in relevant numbers would radically change the military calculus on the Korean peninsula. I’ve understood that South Korean defense doctrine is mostly based on superior Air Force supported by US Navy and Air Force. Wipe that out, and the North Korean artillery advantage will win the day.

        1. hk

          I doubt the key component of NK strategy is it’s artillery strategy. The only target they are good for is SK and, quite frankly, SK doesn’t mean much to US elites. (SK leaders don’t realize this, but NK leaders do.).

          In this sense, the ONLY thing that matters strategically to NK is ICBM, and with it, the ability to strike US mainland. Russians know this, too–especially that a nuke or two coming from NK are harder to retaliate against–if things get that far, that is. Will US retaliate against, say, a single NK nuke falling on Seattle (or Ottawa? Is Canada worth it for US to go to global nuclear war over?) by launching a general nuclear war that will wipe out everyone in the end? Il
          I’d been curious about curious about this ever since McGovern was talking about NK getting ICBM’s from Russia some time ago. I still have trouble believing that it actually has happened, yet. But I think it makes sense for Russians to put up a show to remind US that they could do it if they want. Of course, they now have the legal niceties to carry out the next step.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Of course you are right. I was merely thinking in terms of Korean peninsula and specifically changing the balance there in order to make SK see that maybe they should consider alternatives to US dominance.

            At least it would require US to split focus at the time when US getting quite thin everywhere without risking nuclear war.

            1. bwilli123

              Curious as to how this military alliance will affects Japanese attitudes-Okinawa, for example.

  9. Mikel

    “IMF suggests tax on AI’s CO2 emissions, but not AI itself” The Register

    The ultimate con of the rentiers: charging you for the air you breathe.
    Whatever it takes to get you there, rentiers work the political spectrum.

    1. Roger

      This is taxing those that artificially change the gaseous nature of the air we breath, as such changes drive climate change. It is not taxing anyone for breathing air. Properly taxing industries that drive ecological destruction is not rentiership, it is appropriate taxation for a misuse of the commons.

  10. jsn

    Cass a Category Confusion: in the Abstract he describes what algorithms do as “judgment.” I lost interest at that point. He is, however, consistent in his confusion.

  11. Ignacio

    RE: Giorgia Meloni’s hard-right European group claims a top EU job FT

    I think she is right in the sense that EU “governance” has to change. Not only in the political direction of the top positions but, and even more importantly, with regards of the nationality of the incumbents and even more so with the social extraction of those. We desperately need people with roots on the ground. No more globalists obsessed with sanctions within or abroad. As Aurelien might probably say, no more of those who can only manage to tick boxes in a presentation. I find it at least interesting that Meloni is talking with representatives of the smaller groups to find a consensus.

  12. Joker

    ‘It is all lining up’: Plan for Ukraine to finally start using F-16 jets this summer Guardian

    ‘It is all lining up’, said Russian AA gunner.

  13. John

    Is it not a reasonable assumption that the enthusiasm for “AI” has everything to do with cutting labor costs and nothing to do with much of anything else? Sorta kinda like electronic price tags. Who will the customers be when labor costs have not only impoverished but immiserated most of the population?

    1. Skip Intro

      Yes, but don’t forget the big puddle of ZIRP funny money trying to slosh into the next big thing, hyping ride-share, self-driving cars, crypto, VR… Now it is AI.

      1. Kevin DeNardo

        for those of us that lived through the .com bubble – it’s deja vu all over again

        1. Screwball

          Maybe it’s just me, but if you look at a long term chart of the S&P, you can plainly see the peak in 2000/2001ish, then the peak around 2007/2008 ish. The first was the dot-com, the second the financial crisis. Both peaks on the S&P were around 1500-1600 (years apart but both crashed). Since 2009 the market has went all the way to the current 5500 (ATH) without much of a correction, if any.

          Does this seem normal? I don’t think so. I’m not alone in calling this peak the “everything” bubble.

          What can possibly go wrong?

  14. BillS

    On Russia’s chipmaking tool: this seems to me another “look how backward those savage Russkies are” slur. In reality, these 350nm processes are very common for high reliability, low cost microcontrollers used in missiles, cars, and yes, washing machines. For example, the US based Microchip Technologies (if I remember correctly) uses 250, 400, 500, 700, 900 and 1200nm processes for microcontrollers that use 3.3 and 5V logic. These devices are several generations behind the bleeding edge GPUs and CPUs, but are found everywhere in high reliability applications, i.e. industrial control, automotive, military and aerospace. These devices are far more robust than the latest generation devices, particularly where EM interference or ionizing radiation is encountered. Rad hard versions of these “low-end” devices are often used in space applications.

    I cannot claim any special knowledge of Russian semiconductor fab capabilities, other than the fact that the Russians (and by extension, the Soviets) have long had their own semiconductor fab facilities. To me, it is no surprise that the Russians may want to augment the production of these low-cost, high reliability devices for their domestic market and military use. Oh, and with regards to having the ability to “license” advanced CPU cores, I doubt that Moscow will worry too much about being sued in a US court over violation of US IP rules.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that it was over two years ago that the Russians said that they were going to be ignoring patents but just doing what they want. In any case, supposing that the Russians still respected western patents, how exactly would they be able to get those payments to western banks? They can’t as the west cut Russia off.

    2. ilsm

      China and Russia were ahead of the “west” in applying GaN (Gallium Nitride) chip strates which have better thermal tolerance……

      Many functional attributes to products.

    3. JustTheFacts

      Yes, you can make lots of things with 0.35 micron lithography. For instance sensors, radio controllers, flash memory, etc. And it’s good for high voltage (700 volts) allowing low amperage which is good to lighten cabling. Plus you can get 600Mhz level cpus if you lay them out right, which is probably enough for most defense things if you are willing to build your own realtime OS for your missile or satellite rather than using something like Linux. Finally, Buran flew into space and landed on autopilot using an analog computer. If you’re willing to make that level of effort for the few tasks that need real speed, it’s probably way fast enough for things like hypersonic missiles. So yes, this is about making the West feel smug, not about how useful that tech is. Plus getting to 180nm wasn’t that difficult historically for the West. It’s only at the current sizes that things get very difficult. The main advantage of current processes is that they let you use more transistors, not that they improve speed. That’s useful for things like large neural networks, and computer vision (for targeting the missile), but AFAIK the Russians don’t seem to be having issues hitting things.

      1. Polar Socialist

        In the Russian articles about the event the deputy minister of industry and trade Shpak literally says that they are older, bigger chips for automotive and telecommunications industry, and the purpose is to reduce dependency of imported chips.

        It’s also mentioned that this is not related to a Far Eastern Federal University research on using synchrotron radiation for X-ray lithography. I believe Russian academia has at least two research projects ongoing related to new types of lithography.

        Then there’s a new Semiconductor Material Study Center complex under construction in Novgorod State University. One floor of laboratories, one floor of clean rooms for studying and experimenting all parts of the semiconductor production cycle under one roof. I assume the idea is to get successful experiments production ready much faster.

        It’ll still take years, but perhaps meanwhile the good people at ASML and TSMC should learn Russian to be able to read all the articles…

    4. CA

      On Russia’s chipmaking tool: this seems to me another “look how backward those savage Russkies are” slur.

      [ Precisely, this is a slur which actually blinds the writer. China is already making the most important and fastest chips and China would work with Russia on chip production or simply sell what the Russians need. After all, China is continually being sanctioned on chips but designs and manufactures the chips needed.

      As for future outcomes Western chip manufacturers have already lost markets covering 1.5 billion people.

      Notice the way in which Vietnam welcomed President Putin after being warned not to by American officials.

      What I do not understand is the need for self-blinding slurs. Possibly this shows fear. ]

    5. CA

      https://www.scmp.com/tech/tech-war/article/3267274/tech-war-huawei-wields-growing-influence-chinas-server-industry-ai-chip-success

      June 19, 2024

      Tech war: Huawei wields growing influence in China’s server industry with AI chip success

      Huawei has taken on an increasingly important role under Beijing’s tech self-sufficiency drive, with soaring domestic demand for servers equipped with its AI chips

      By Kelly Le

      Huawei Technologies, which was forced to divest its traditional server subsidiary three years ago under pressure from US sanctions, has regained its influence in that sector on the mainland, thanks to the popularity of its artificial intelligence (AI) chips, according to industry analysts…

  15. CA

    https://x.com/RnaudBertrand/status/1803675921809023205

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    Incredible chart on China becoming the world’s “first major electrostate”, with 30% of its total energy consumption coming from electricity (vs about 18% for the rest of the world) and electrifying “nine times faster than the rest of the world”.

    Source: https://rmi.org/insight/x-change-the-race-to-the-top/

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GQfweMdaYAAuDfT?format=jpg&name=small

    2:27 AM · Jun 20, 2024

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Meanwhile, on the other side of the world:

      Ecuador hit by nationwide power outages

      Some hours after the outage occurred, Mr Luque announced that 95% of the country’s electricity had returned.
      He had earlier blamed the blackout on the failure of a transmission line.
      Most of the country’s energy comes from neighbouring Colombia.

      Shaking my head. If you get most of your energy from another country, you might not be a country. Oh wait, another certain place comes to mind, somewhere near Romania and Poland …

      1. JustTheFacts

        The advantage is that they can more easily transition away from fossil fuels. They only need to change their power generating stations, not the downstream equipment.

        1. CA

          “The advantage is that they can more easily transition away from fossil fuels…”

          Perfect. Thank you for explaining how the transition to clean energy necessarily takes place.

      2. matt

        i somewhat disagree. electricity based infrastructure is easier to hook up to renewables than gas based infrastructure is. which theoretically incentivizes investment in renewable electricity. it is, at the very least, a step forward in the right direction. transitions are slow and all.

        1. CA

          “i somewhat disagree. electricity based infrastructure is easier to hook up to renewables than gas based infrastructure is. which theoretically incentivizes investment in renewable electricity…”

          Perfect. Thank you, and the transition to clean energy all through is quickening but still takes years. China is after all both developing and the globally leading manufacturer. China is however determinedly greening.

      3. CA

        “Hardly an achievement worth celebrating.”

        I have been thinking about this comment.

        Why is “China becoming the world’s “first major electrostate”, with 30% of its total energy consumption coming from electricity” not worth celebrating? After all, the point from here is to gradually source the electricity from renewable sources.

        I find China’s accomplishment so far exciting. What then am I missing?

        Thank you.

      4. sarmatT

        Having top notch electrical grid is an achievement worth celebrating a lot. I bet USA citizens would like to have one, not to mention the Ukrainians that had it and blew it up, metaphorically speaking.

  16. ChrisFromGA

    Hail to the Houthis

    (Sung to the tune of a fight song for a certain politically incorrect NFL team name from our Nation’s Capital)

    Hail to the Houthis!
    Hail victory
    Send the Ike to Norfolk
    Fight! For the Red Sea!

    Two ships on the ocean floor – we want a lot more!
    Drone ’em! Swamp ’em!
    Touchdown! Let shipping rates soar!
    Fight on, fight on, ’til we have won
    Scourge of Wash-ing-ton!
    Praise Allah!

    Hail to the Houthis!
    Hail victory
    Send the Ike to Norfolk
    Fight! For the Red Sea!

  17. CA

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2024-06-20/China-s-nuclear-powered-industrial-steam-supply-begins-operation-1uAeHh24K2I/p.html

    June 20, 2024

    China’s nuclear-powered industrial steam supply begins operation
    By Zheng Yibing

    China’s first nuclear-powered industrial steam supply project began operation on Wednesday at the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, said China Atomic Energy Authority.

    The project is named as “Heqi-1,” with its heat source being the steam generated from the turbine system of two power units.

    Heqi-1 will use this steam to produce industrial steam via a multi-layered isolation system for safety.

    The industrial steam will then be transported through pipelines to the petrochemical industrial base via a multi-stage heat transfer system.

    The nuclear-heated steam is expected to cut coal consumption for petrochemical plants where high temperature and pressure are vital for chemical reactions.

    “This is the very first application of such scale in the world,” said Zhang Yi, chairman of Jiangsu Nuclear Power Co., Ltd.

    “Unlike those small-scale attempts before, the Heqi-1 can produce 600 tonnes of industrial steam in just one hour. For this, we overcame many technical difficulties and made breakthroughs to ensure the quality of the industrial steam, like in the heat transfer and the long distance,” he said.

    The targeted industrial park for the project is some 23 kilometers away from the power plant.

    “We researched on long-distance transportation and adopted a new way of thermal insulation,” said Wan Falin, general manager of Jiangsu Fangyang Energy Technology Co., Ltd…

  18. ilsm

    Air Force loses Riley Livermore, because a Christian cannot serve the US in any military capacity!

    US wars, at least since 1947, have been imperial and for the industry “health” aka profit!

    No imperial conflict is compatible with St Augustine Just War doctrine!

    ‘Survival’ is allowed, adapting mutual assured destruction removes any moral standard for the authority planning war!

    Riley should have thought more far earlier.

  19. CloverBee

    Re: A supermarket trip may soon look different, thanks to electronic shelf labels
    I saw red reading this article. Recently had a friend visit from Europe (DE), stating her groceries are less than half ours PER ITEM. B*llSh*t the stores won’t use electronic labels for surge pricing and price gouging. Since they already used “inflation” to make record profits (https://qz.com/supermarket-prices-grocery-food-inflation-pandemic-1851369826), what makes these idiots think they won’t use surge pricing?

    1. Washington Woman

      I hope this spurs the growth of non-profit coops. Can you imagine the business you could get by just advertising “Same Price 24 hours a day!” or “We track inventory, not people!”

    2. Vicky Cookies

      The first quotation from the article, by some scumbag, is about charging more for water when it’s hot, which should show you the moral quality of the people involved. Since self-checkouts started stealing our labor-time, it has become a just act to steal from grocery stores, which have recognized this in my city by either putting everything under lock and key or hiring guards with varying levels of antisocial personality traits.

    3. matt

      my friend just came back from a year abroad in europe and constantly complains about the expensive food prices back in the usa. he says he texts his european friends photos of his grocery loads and has them guess the prices, and they’re always shocked at how expensive the goods are. $1 loaves of good bread compared to $5 for the same thing in america.

  20. John Beech

    Regarding the mythfighter link . . . quite honestly, I don’t like a lot of what he says but his arguments hang together. So it’s akin to not liking gravity after stepping off a cliff. E.g. it doesn’t really matter whether you like it, or not because you’re going to suffer the effects when you reach the bottom, regardless. Rather suspect that’s a good analogy, too. Or more like I *fear* it’s a good analogy. Sigh.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon ‘alarmingly slow’ at fielding new weapons, government report says”

    It’s worse than this article lets on. The M1 Abrams tank came out in 1980 and I do not think that there is a replacement in sight. The F-16 and the F-18 came out in the 1970s for use in the 80s. The Patriot too came out in the early 1980s. I heard Douglas Macgregor talking about this in a video and he said that US industry made it all about half a century ago and that was it. The just kept on making the same gear with minor upgrades and did not really go for new designs on a large scale.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Way back when there used to be multiple arms manufacturers, and Pentagon had these offices that were actually tasked to come up with specifications for a weapons system, send out tenders, test competitors, improve designs, test again, sent specimens to field testing with unit, probably tinker with the design again and eventually propose the winner for procurement.

      Now it seems that the only manufacturer makes a pitch for the latest cutting edge gadget (deployment by 2035) or AI-based Long Range Swarm Lethality Enhancement Update Package for Colt M1911 to a bunch of operetta generals with no combat experience but looking for a retirement position in the business.

      Almost, almost as if the process was driven by profit and not some esoteric threats -> strategy/tactics -> operational concepts -> system specs loop.

    2. scott s.

      What’s a “new weapon”? Aegis is up to baseline 10, doesn’t really resemble the original version much.

    1. Trees&Trunks

      I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. But narcissim, why? When the masses gets psychosis and you are the only one keeping your shits together, it may look like narcissism because you are the only one.
      Any way I take the point of the article being not him bigging up himself but the hard arguments he put forward

    1. ChrisFromGA

      That’s not very wise of them; they’ll need those weapons should the DPRK attack. Even just as a deterrent they have value in-country that gets lost when given away.

      But then again, it reinforces the pattern – vassal states have to give up their defensive weapons to their own detriment in order to sacrifice them for their suzerain.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          If I were magically king for a day, I’d summon the leaders of South Korea, Germany, and other vassals to the WH and give them a mirror as a gift. With the instructions to look in it daily, and find your self-respect again. It’s in there, somewhere.

      1. nyleta

        The whisper down here is that the Yanks want Austal sold to the South Koreans. I suppose that when the KN 25’s start landing on the South Korean shipyards they will have to shift production. One way to drag our shipbuilding into the modern world.

  22. Bsn

    The Walmart supermarket trip sounds interesting. I wonder if they asked many shoppers about it? Just like with CBDC and many other “improvements” it’s an example of no one asking for something or a need arising, we are just being told it will be better for sheeple. We read about it then go along with our day, at least that’s what they are hoping for. I just find it (nearly) funny, but more often – sad, what people will accept.

  23. Cat Burglar

    In 50 years of mountaineering, I’ve never met a single other climber say that they climbed a mountain, “because it’s there.” The only time any US climber quotes the phrase is as a joke (viz, “You must empty the pint because it is there.”). While now I personally prefer Lionel Terray’s “to rise for a moment above the state of crawling grubs,” my teenage Yosemite climber f-you answer still works: “Because Dude, it’s f[amily blogg]ing awesome up there!” It still is.

    And the Mallory kink still continues in the English-language mountain adjacent press, they just never shut up about him. Now, he was a good mountaineer, and his end was awful, but it why does it keep repeating on us?

    The real story here is that damned question — why do you climb mountains? Nobody asks my BDSM friends why they go to something like a dungeon every Saturday night! Climbing mountains seems quaint by comparison.

    So why is there even a question about why people climb mountains? Like Hegel says, we need to turn around and doubt that doubt. Think about the rentier-dominated Anglo society of the time. Anyone that climbed mountains — a wild, passionate thing that took place in raw nature of stunning beauty, and took a lot of time without generating money — had to “justify” the activity before the propertied gatekeepers that had the power of conferring an income, a spouse, or a position on you. Reading between the lines in Victorian and early 20th-Century mountaineering literature, you can tell that what these people wanted to do was get the hell out of an ugly and constrained society, and do something worth doing in nature.

    Mountaineers conspired to support BS answers to The Question for one reason — money! Mallory was on a fundraising tour for an expedition when he gave his famous answer, and he couldn’t just blow off the the reporter’s stupid question. Climbers know that they need to fund their trips, and know that people are likely to be skeptical or hostile about climbing, so they are completely unscrupulous about work and money — doing the impossible usually happens in town, not in the mountains! My favorite story about this is when Eigerwand climber Anderl Heckmair used his connections with Leni Riefenstahl to get seated next to Hitler at a banquet so he could hit up Der Fuhrer for the money to climb Nanga Parbat. It is the same when big-time climbers now give speeches about corporate team building.

    I don’t buy the canned history usually presented, as in the Noema article, that mountains were thought to be an evil place. To some extent, the account is usually based on a few documentary sources from Western Europe. It does not take into account, for example, some of the old Irish-language nature poetry and stories. It excludes any Asian examples of how mountains appealed to people, and there is a strong tradition of mountaineering in Korea, China, and Japan.

    Any climber from the western US would be amazed that any consideration of mountaineering would omit John Muir, the most important mountaineer in US history. He didn’t try to answer the Question, he brought them The Word (he came from an evangelical family) — “Climb the mountains, and get their good tidings.”

    For some realism, try some other stories about the mountains. Read any of Muir’s books about wandering around in the Sierra Nevada. The hilarious chapter in Young’s Mountain Craft on how to manage a mountaineering party. The four-person American Everest expedition that snuck into China in 1962, when the CIA got the expedition leader denied tenure at Tufts University, the notorious Four Against Everest. Read any of the articles or books about the great counter-cultural sporting bohemia in Yosemite Valley between the 1950s and 1980s. Or the French first ascent of Annapurna, which saw the leading sponsor’s advertising photos taken on the summit purloined and deep-sixed, in True Summit. These are the real stories about why people do something like climbing mountains, and they will give you more insight into why Mallory did what he did.

    1. Wukchumni

      I like the challenge of making your way up a mountain in the Sierra, with only 3 trailed mountains climbed (Alta Peak, Mt Whitney & Lassen Peak) all the rest were an exercise in finding the route to getting to the top, at least 40 other peaks.

      Unlike crazy lines of climbers on Mt Everest, we rarely run into somebody else hiking up a mountain in the Sierra, you are largely on your own…

      1. Cat Burglar

        The lines of climbers on Everest are mainly clients and their paid guides. It is commercial mountaineering. People in the sport have always debated if that is real mountaineering or not. I think it is, but just another way of doing it.

        But if you are the guide, you are the one making the safety decisions for the clients, you control their movements on the mountain, and you are caring for them 24 hours a day. So when you see the lines of people, understand that — as fit as they must be — they are all under the care of professionals. The experience is not about autonomy; it is a product.

        As you can see in the recent Everest and K2 photos of the lines, it does not look like a non-conformist activity, yet the stories of people stepping over the dying on their way suggest that whatever social value people find in it, it is not about sharing something together.

      2. Cat Burglar

        …and you’re right about the Sierra! You almost never see anybody on the summits; on Mount Dana, maybe, but not on Mount Gibbs, right next door. On Mount Whitney for sure, but I bet not on Mount Russell!

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment although I think you are a bit hard on the article itself. While the historic climbers were obviously out for glory, fame and probably money the reason why people do it now are various.but surely do have to do with adrenaline and risk. In other words it’s not because it’s there but because “I’m here” and want to feel more alive. Some of us, who are weenies when it comes to heights, have done other risky things as a means of validation and escape from routine. Boredom can be the great motivator.

      And beauty too. Muir will always be one of the greats.

      1. Wukchumni

        Muir was great, but the real climber of the Sierra Nevada was the amazing Norman Clyde, with oh so many first ascents over a long life lived well.

      2. Cat burglar

        I was hard on the article, maybe too hard. It was well-written and Wismayer did some good research. But if you spend fifty years or so reading each recurrence of the Mallory genre, you get tired of seeing all the moves over and over — that is my real target.

        The old meme about the urge to jump off was an unforgivable bonus in this article. Everybody is a weenie when it comes to heights, or should be. I will punch the button again: in 50 years of mountaineering, I’ve never met a single climber with an emotional urge to jump off.

        But to clarify: Mallory wasn’t in it for the money, and said so. Neither was Heckmair. They wanted money so they could go climbing.. You’re on the right track. Like the Situationists wrote, what people are asking for is to really live. Mountains are one way to do it.

  24. JBird4049

    Who will win a post-heroic war? Edward Luttwak, Unherd. The deck: “Neither the West nor its enemies are prepared to fight.”

    Has anyone realized that often the only reason people fight is because they have a good reason to? Yes, often people are conscripted and forced to fight because it benefits the powerful, but as a rule, whole societies, whatever their ideology, do not willingly fight unless they believe that they have good reason to.

    Russia is taking the casualties it is having because as a nation they believe it is an existential fight against its destruction. The Europeans do not have that motivation. I bet that even the American nation would, perhaps eagerly, fight and take casualties in the millions, if we believed that it was truly existential. If it wasn’t, why would we fight? For saving “Our Democracy” or the glory that is the American Empire? The political parties? Neoliberalism or modern American conservatism? For the modern Free Market Capitalist system that has given us so much misery? This is also shows just how ignorant our political leadership is. One just has to look at the Vietnam War to see the folly of using conscription to fight an unpopular war.

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