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.
* * *
Crocodile Dad Gives Over 100 Babies a Ride on His Back PetaPixel (David L)
‘Doorway’ on Mars: NASA Curiosity Rover Finds Something ODD in the Red Planet TechTimes (David L)
Iraq sandstorm: Red skies as Iraq hit by eighth sandstorm in weeks BBC (resilc)
Saab’s latest weapon is like a high-tech bazooka Popular Science. Resilc: “On on to NATO.”
AI ethics groups are repeating one of society’s classic mistakes MIT Technology Review (David L)
Brazil’s public health workers race to tackle dengue surge The World (guurst)
UK monkeypox alert as health chiefs detect another FOUR cases of killer virus with NO links to Africa — as gay and bisexual men are urged to look out for ‘unusual rash’ Daily Mail. IM Doc:
There is apparently no clue the transmission line in the UK. This virus has a fatality rate of 10%. Only supposed to be mildly to moderately contagious.
Scientist GM’s reply:
Yeah, that means community spread. Not good, but then there haven’t been rampant out of control epidemics of it in Africa, so probably won’t cause the apocalypse it would have if it was a bit more contagious.
Although there is a wrinkle here, which is that smallpox vaccination works against this too, and over time smallpox immunity has been diluting more and more as vaccination against it stopped in the 1970s. So we might end up with the monkeypox adapting better to H2H spread, the boomer generation dying out, and then we’ll have a big problem
The changing epidemiology of human monkeypox—A potential threat? A systematic review PLOS (GM)
Switzerland changes organ donation rules RT. Kevin W: “Never thought about it before in this context but could some of those organs host C-19 virus?”
Heightened dream recall ability linked to increased creativity and functional brain connectivity PsyPost (David L)
“It turns out there is a price to not teaching doctors how to interpret evidence.”
The frequently very controversial @VPrasadMDMPH nails it in this essay. 👉🏼 https://t.co/Gocm9WMY4q
— Antonio Ramos, MD, FACS (@ramosdelamedina) May 16, 2022
How Often Can You Be Infected With the Coronavirus? New York Times (David L)
Your Case of Omicron Might Have Super-Boosted Your Immunity—If You Were Vaccinated Gizmodo (Kevin W). Since these two preprints being getting hyped, we asked scientist GM to weigh in:
That’s as usual twisted and spun into something way more optimistic than the data actually shows.
In unvaccinated subjects Omicron immunity is very poor, weak and short lasting.
So how is it that in the vaccinated it gives you this proclaimed tremendous boost? Well, it actually doesn’t, the trick here is that there is usually no comparison made, they just look at the antibodies, show an increase from the high baseline in the boosted, ignore ongoing antigenic drift, and declare victory.
But then in real life you see people with three vaccine shots and a prior infection, sometimes two, one of them Omicron, still getting BA.2.
>The findings could also indicate that an updated booster, perhaps specific to Omicron, will be more effective at ensuring longer-term immunity moving forward.
That is the exact same hopium that was being peddled a year ago and we know how that turned out
Nasal Sprays for COVID Vaccine Being Developed WebMD. Lambert notes:
Bharat (India) seems hung up and I don’t understand why:
The trials seem to be taking forever:
China’s struggles delight some – but should make us all nervous Guardian. Yes, narcissists can’t have someone else outshine them.
While Ukraine Dominates the News, North Korea Could Become the Next Great Crisis Antiwar.com (resilc)
How Australia Saved Thousands of Lives While Covid Killed a Million Americans New York Times (resilc)
The COVID Testing Company That Missed 96% of Cases ProPublica (David L)
A Sunscreen Ingredient Becomes Toxic in the Sea. Maybe the Anemones Know Why. The Wire (J-LS)
Cat Litter Could Be Antidote for Climate Change, Researchers Say Wall Street Journal (David L)
China’s economic risks ‘tilted to downside’, coronavirus-induced contraction ‘most severe’ since 2020 outbreak South China Morning Post
Wheat stocks in India may fall to their lowest level since ’16-17 Hindustan Times (J-LS)
Sri Lanka Down to Last Day of Petrol, PM Tells Crisis-Hit Nation The Wire (J-LS)
Euro zone trade plunges into record deficit in March on energy Reuters
Something seriously odd is afoot in natural gas markets.
There’s a BIG glut of gas in the UK.
Wholesale gas prices are the lowest in 18 months.
There is so much gas no-one is quite sure what to do with it
Yet far from falling, household gas bills are heading even higher.
— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) May 17, 2022
Operation Surprise: leaked emails expose secret intelligence coup to install Boris Johnson Grayzone (Nikkikat)
Priti Patel accused of ‘power grab’ over new policing proposals Guardian (Kevin W)
At hospital with our first patient of our 12hr shift, and I have no doubt that this will be our only patient, due to holding. This isn’t unusual. It’s shift after shift. People are suffering as a result. This is a crisis. pic.twitter.com/gFQRNPuSW3
— Faye Shepherd 🇺🇦 (@Faye_Shepherd) May 15, 2022
TV5 interview with former French PM and diplomat Dominique de Villepin YouTube. Colonel Smithers:
This interview from Sunday afternoon may be of interest to French speaking readers. Villepin’s views are realist and a continuation of what he expressed as foreign minister at the UN in the run up to the Iraq war. Get a coffee as Susan counsels.
New Not-So-Cold War
Ukrainian troops evacuate from Mariupol, ceding control to Russia Reuters. Very nice photo series at the top. But there have been no journos in Mariupol or Donbass save Patrick Lancaster forevah! Who told the Reuters team to show up? Also note 264 released v. at least 101 civilians before. Up to 2000 had been rumored to be in there….
CNN also fails to mention that they were evacuated…to Russian controlled territory.
An alternate headline might read “Ukrainian forces surrender in besieged Mariupol, as hundreds are taken prisoner and evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant to Russian backlines.” https://t.co/ydDWPilQ6p
— The Kentucky Catholic (@TheKYCatholic) May 17, 2022
Despite Ukrainian Claims, Russian Navy Support Ship Appears Unharmed Maritime Executive. Lambert: “Shocked, shocked!”
Putin, game master? Jacques Baud, YouTube. Important. One teeny addition: The breakaway republics did not have official standing in the Minsk negotiations. They were observers. However they did sign the pact, presumably to signal to their constituents that they were on board.
Life in the village Gilbert Doctorow. “Life is good.”
but why did they need to bring a border post, those can be found every couple hundred meters on the border https://t.co/REUyBC9HLN pic.twitter.com/AYGTqy7Tp1
— Russians With Attitude (@RWApodcast) May 16, 2022
Western banks explore asset swaps as a way of exiting Russia Financial Times (Kevin W)
EU Gives Companies Green Light to Keep Buying Russian Gas Bloomberg (guurst). Many utilities had already signed up for the rouble payment mechanism with Gazprom, so the EU is trying to get in front of a mob and pretend it’s a parade.
EU fails to finalise embargo on Russian oil imports as Hungary vetoes proposal Irish Times and €15-18 billion – Hungary names price for russian energy embargo LB.Ua
U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve drops to lowest level since 1987 Reuters. Notice much more sour crude released in last month than sweet.
Israeli police attack on Shireen Abu Akleh mourners sparks outcry Al Jazeera. Resilc: “Although the US stopped short of explicitly condemning Israel for the violence. Green light to kill US citizens.”
Imperial Collapse Watch
Washington Needs to Play Better with Others: Relearning the Art of Diplomacy AIER (resilc)
Texans told to conserve energy as six power plants go offline amid heatwave Independent (resilc). Every time I’ve been to Texas, the locals seem to think the proper indoor temperature is 66 degrees.
FDA announces it will make it easier to import some baby formulas to ease shortage CNN (Kevin W)
FDA Eases Baby-Formula Import Rules to Boost Supplies Wall Street Journal
Karine Jean-Pierre is first ‘black, gay, immigrant woman’ to be press secretary Daily Mail (J-LS)
The People Who Promised Roe Was Safe Are Already Selling Their Next Bridge Slate. I can’t take this whining. The whiners are almost without exception women in blue cities who face no personal risk of not getting an abortion. Pray tell, what are they doing to help the women they pretend to be so worried about…mainly working women in red states…who effectively had no access to abortion due to lack of funding and mandatory 24 or 48 hour cooling off periods? More concretely, what are they about to do about the statute criminalizing helping women in Missouri get abortions? How about setting up phone banks in Canada, where the Missouri law does not reach, fer Chrissakes? All pearl-clutching, not one iota of help for the women they profess to be so worried about.
How ‘Just a Dude’ in Shorts Became a Senate Front-Runner New York Times (resilc)
GOP blame game erupts in Pennsylvania governor’s race Politico (Kevin W)
Kagan Pens Scathing Dissent as Supreme Court Kills Another Campaign Finance Rule CommonDreams (furzy)
Surging natural gas prices squeeze U.S. industrial sector Reuters (Kevin W)
Absolute record for the price of wheat in the European market – At 438.25 euros per ton CyprusMedia
German manufacturing backlog higher than ever, survey shows Reuters
Reader sighting, from resilc:
Granted we are in SW Vermont, but only 40 miles as the crow flies to Albany. Needed a refrigerator, the old one died. Not looking for high tech, wifi connected, etc etc., just a decent basic box. Not easy. supply not there. Little to choose from. Supply chain not getting better on lots of stuff. While at Home Depot buying the reefer, I wanted wood screws for the metal roof on the small barn/shed I’m building. Nada…….
I cannot immagine building a large project these days. Chasing labor, adjusting budgets by the hour, chasing material……
Boeing needs to get its ‘s*** together,’ Ryanair CEO says CNN (Kevin W)
Musk Says Twitter Deal Can’t Proceed Without More Clarity on Fake Accounts Wall Street Journal
The iPod is dead, but the podcast lives on The Verge (Kevin W). Speak for yourself. I have an iPod that I use. And so old no GPS!
Self-Driving’ Level 2 Autonomy Systems Still Pretty Crappy: AAA Study Jalopnik (Kevin W)
Crypto is weathering a bitter storm. Some still hold on for dear life. MIT Technology Review (David L)
Central Bank of India: Cryptocurrency threatens to “dollarize” the economy TASS via Aftershock.news. Found this by accident. There are stories in the English language press, but not many, such as:
Cryptocurrencies can lead to ‘dollarisation’ of economy, against sovereign interest: RBI officials India Today
Bitcoin has no future as a payments network, says FTX chief Financial Times (David L). Um, we and many others said this a long time ago. Total coin issuance cap + very slow transaction time + very high energy cost, which only keeps rising.
Americans have bet $125bn on sports in four years since legalization Guardian (resilc)
Antidote du jour (Robert H):
And a bonus. Yours truly has a soft spot for cross species friendships:
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.