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Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.
And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.
P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:
Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.
Interesting Facts About One of the Ocean’s Smartest Animals: Sea Otters The Animal Rescue (David L)
Scientists Are Using These High-Tech Tools to Study Bird Migration Smithsonian Magazine (David L)
Wow! Here’s Webb’s View of the Tarantula Nebula Universe Today
Ingenious “Wind Turbine Wall” Could Power Your Entire Home Unofficial Network (David L)
Is SARS-CoV-2 an oncogenic virus? Journal of Infectious Diseases (cheryl a). KLG was Not Impressed:
Look at the values on the y-axes (Normalized expression of TP53; p53 is famously involved in detecting DNA damage and defective p53 is common in cancers of virtually all types). The points are mostly between 10 and 11 or centering around 10 in (A). Not that much different in (B) and (C). It is not clear to me how they normalized their gene expression, and I don’t have time to look up reference 7. Their statistical analysis is laughable, and their graphs could be used in the 57th printing (or whatever the number is) of How to Lie With Statistics). Those lines are pretty much flat if the y-axes are from 0-10. Even the 3 green points in the far right panel of (B) would make a pretty flat line. The 2 decimal points on the y-axis of the left panel of (C) are precious, too. If I had a student come to me with statistics attached to a line defined by 3 points, my response would be measured but it would not happen again. No different from using 97.32974563 in a biological assay that might have been accurate to 97, “because that is how far the calculator went.” Which I actually heard once. Could have heard a pin drop.
A really interesting account.
The only certainty is that countries that locked down hard and fast did very much better in terms of health and economy https://t.co/r2iScyGBRv
— Dr Helen Salisbury (@HelenRSalisbury) September 10, 2022
Companies are dropping vaccine mandates Axios (resilc)
This reminds me of the University of Maine study that found that lobsters didn’t mind being steamed to death:
Here’s a fact that most people don’t know:
Single-use plastic grocery bags are actually the environmentally friendly option by a huge margin. pic.twitter.com/zuYdegcREb
— Alec Stapp (@AlecStapp) September 5, 2022
The Disaster Consultants The Verge (resilc)
As Wildfires Grow, Millions of Homes Are Being Built in Harm’s Way New York Times (resilc)
Oregon Adopts Calif Fire Tactic, Shuts Power Amid High Winds Bloomberg (David L)
European giants buck US decoupling from China Asia Times (Kevin W)
EU to unveil forced labour ban amid pushback over Xinjiang South China Morning Post
Eurozone interest rates must continue to rise, says European Central Bank Guardian (Kevin W)
Does Australia Receive Enough Cocaine To Meet Demand? Inside Crime (resilc)
Unsolicited advice, if you want to brag about the British Empire’s accomplishments talk about inventing things like chutney. Everyone likes chutney. https://t.co/YC9m5E9div
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) September 9, 2022
What will happen to the queen’s royal pack of corgis? New York Times (David L)
These Brands Are Very Sad About the Passing of the Queen Vice (resilc)
MICHAEL SHEEN is truly MAGNIFICENT.
Get a LOAD of THIS. pic.twitter.com/zZh5k3jcSs
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) September 9, 2022
New Not-So-Cold War
EU Backs Off Russian Energy Price Cap AntiWar (guurst). I believe von der Leyen is having another go next week. She’s been enormously successful at getting the EU to Do Something About Russia repeatedly, no matter how un or counter productive the idea. So I’m not sure this is over.
Watching Europeans govt’s argue in favor of price controls while their own representatives have spent half-a-century voting for IMF programs that would abolish price controls anywhere else is…well, a spectacle.
— Branko Milanovic (@BrankoMilan) September 8, 2022
EU spars over proposal to cap Russian gas prices Financial Times. Kevin W: “I read that is was more of a shouting match.”
* * * * * *
Russia Moves Reinforcements to Kharkov Region to Counter Ukraine Balakliye Offensive Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. A good long form rundown. Note that Mercouris also has a strong track record on his commentary despite Mercouris regularly saying he’s not a military person. He is very good at not getting het up about the developments of the day and being mindful of sourcing. He goes through that at length today, as well as reviewing who Russia had defending the area (not serious infantry, consistent with my belief that this isn’t a strategically important). Mercouris thinks even with optimistic assumptions re Ukraine progress, the advance is unlikely to threaten Izyum, but provocatively suggests the Russians may no longer care much about holding Izyum. Earlier in the war, it was intended to be the launching point for an assault to the south, but the Russian forces have been blocked at a very well fortified “Sherwood Forest”. But it would be bad optics to let it go even if Russia isn’t terribly invested in it any more. Not also that the Russian side does not appear to have incurred meaningful casualties, but there is a second order problem, that Ukraine recapturing towns and small cities will make civilians in other “liberated” territories nervous.
Ukraine Counterattacks! Big Serge (guurst)
U.S. ups the ante: are we indeed headed into WWIII and what can save us? Gilbert Doctorow. Note the key point from the Berletic (New Atlas) comment above: the same Russia bloggers who are agitated about this Kharkiv offensive were the same ones that were worked up about the last one that didn’t mean much over time. This is a not heavily populated area that Russia has never bothered to man to keep a tight hold on it. I have yet to see evidence that Russia took meaningful costs but instead simply pulled back, as they did before and in Kherson before they responded. If its established there were real Russian costs, that’s a different story. I also don’t buy the “feint” view for Kherson. You don’t sent in 15,000, have them take ginormous casualties, then send in another 10,000, have them very badly beaten up too, and have your intended main operation be only 9,000 men, with no air cover, very near Russia where it’s easy for them to send in planes and troops. In other words, there looks to be a lot of overreaction to what is likely to prove to be a short-lived, but well timed, PR win. Separately, it does reveal that the hawkish Russians are champing at the bit and the Russian media is eating it up.
Military briefing: Ukraine gains momentum with Kharkiv offensive Financial Times. Below the fold, and well below the article on the EU energy emergency meeting,
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Ukraine announces ‘filtration’ for civilians RT (Kevin W)
Poland wants more land – media RT (Kevin W). Not in Ukraine, though.
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
How Shady Ships Use GPS to Evade International Law New York Times (resilc)
Imperial Collapse Watch
It could cost $2 billion to make sure Jackson, Mississippi has clean drinking water. We currently spend over $2 billion a day on the Pentagon. “They Have Money For War But Can’t Feed The Poor,” Tupac Shakur. https://t.co/vfptzbG6ll
— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) September 9, 2022
Oz tries to tighten the screws on Fetterman The Hill. Note the thin US political news. Looks like no one wants to compete with the death of the Queen if they don’t have to.
South Carolina senators reject a near-total abortion ban Associated Press (furzy)
Yeshiva University Can Bar L.G.B.T. Club for Now, Justice Rules New York Times (David L)
Our No Longer Free Press
The Historic Collapse of Journalism Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News
It’s so bizarre that we mock the state media of Russia, North Korea, China, etc when the BBC is literally the global architect of establishment propaganda.
— Matt Thomas (@Trickyjabs) September 10, 2022
Whither the ESG Revolution? Project Syndicate (David L)
United Airlines plans to buy up to 500 electric flying taxis Engadget (Kevin W)
Tesla considering lithium refinery in Texas, seeks tax relief Reuters. Resilc: “More scams than Steve Bannon.”
Health insurers just published close to a trillion hospital prices DoltHub Blog (resilc)
Fed Economist Warns of “Severe Recession” From Rate Hikes Intercept (resilc)
Antidote du jour. Tracie H:
My husband gave a carrot to a rabbit that’s been bouncing around the neighborhood. I photographed the rabbit eating the carrot in the driveway, and then left it alone so as not to scare it off. When I came back, the neighbors cat seemed to be guarding the carrot until the rabbit could return. She soon sat down beside it and batted it gently a few times.
And a bonus (Chuck L):
Surf’s up! @VisitEsperance (Kepa Kurl) in the @Golden_Outback has the clearest waters, but seeing dolphins catching waves out on the horizon makes it even more magical ✨ #ThisisWA #SeeAustralia
📷 @jaimenhudson pic.twitter.com/PpVJBO3Xug
— Western Australia (@WestAustralia) August 30, 2022
A second bonus:
Enjoy your weekend! 😊 pic.twitter.com/OBuuBHe3FY
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) September 10, 2022
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.