Tuesday: Hili dialogue

March 8, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where we are now: The real-time streaming of the ship’s position (go here and click “current position” button) shows that we haven’t moved far from Paradise Harbor, where we visited Brown Station yesterday. Yesterday another case of Covid-19 was found (in the crew this time) and it’s not clear whether we’re having a landing today or what, since the usual streamed evening briefing wasn’t given.

UPDATE: They’ve now scheduled us for an afternoon landing at Petermann Island, a place we couldn’t visit in 2019 because of the ice. It’s said to harbor huge numbers of gentoo penguins (the “cockroaches of penguinhood”) but also some Adelies, everyone’s favorite penguin.  We will also be near Vernadsky Base, and thus a couple of Zodiacs will take our 13 Ukrainians back to Vernadsky Base (see my post on our visit to that base in 2019). We will not see it this time.

Here’s are two views from the ship’s streaming Pano-Cam at 6:30 this morning (we’re three hours ahead of Chicago time). We are moving, but very slowly, and the sun is rising to the starboard side, showing that we’re headed south:

And from my balcony an hour later, after breakfast:

I thought I’d throw this photo in because I didn’t put it anywhere else. Can you guess what it shows? I’ll put the answer at the bottom of this post.

Good morning on a polar Tuesday, March 8, 2022: National Peanut Cluster Day.

Yesterday the Ukrainian team leader gave a lecture (in very good English) on the research they’re doing at Vernadsky Research base, which we visited in 2019. (Go here to see photos of the inside from that last visit, and of the bar where they sell vodka made from glaciers.) We won’t be allowed to go inside, or even go with the Ukrainians to their base, because of the virus.)

Unfortunately, I was called away to the clinic a few minutes into his lecture to take an antigen test. Because of our one Covid case, I must be tested as both a crew member and a passenger. Today was a random screening of the crew, tomorrow all passengers get another PCR test. Sadly, I missed most of the talk, but here’s a screenshot of the lecture, which was streamed into our cabins.

Go to the March 8 Wikipedia page to find notable events, births, or deaths that happened on this day, and then report your favorites in the comments.  I will note that today is International Women’s Day, which appears to have strong left-wing origins, as it should. From Wikipedia:

Spurred on by the universal female suffrage movement that had begun in New Zealand, IWD originated from labor movements in North America and Europe during the early 20th century. The earliest version was purportedly a “Women’s Day” organized by the Socialist Party of America in New York City February 28, 1909. This inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference to propose “a special Women’s Day” be organized annually, albeit with no set date; the following year saw the first demonstrations and commemorations of International Women’s Day across Europe. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917 (the beginning of the February Revolution), IWD was made a national holiday on March 8; it was subsequently celebrated on that date by the socialist movement and communist countries. The holiday was associated with far-left movements and governments until its adoption by the global feminist movement in the late 1960s. IWD became a mainstream global holiday following its adoption by the United Nations in 1977.

As I expected, there’s a Google Doodle celebrating the day. If you click on the arrow in the picture (click on screenshot to go to the Doodle), you’ll get an animated slideshow of women’s lives and work in different parts of the world. Read more about the creation of the Doodle here.

*The stalwart Ukrainians, though ultimately doomed to be conquered by Putin, are hanging in there, making this a tough war for the Russians. President Zelensky spoke from his office to show that he’s not hiding, the Russians are firing missile willy-nilly, regardless of civilian casualties, and a huge number of Ukrainians are said to be without food, water or power. We can’t even do a Berlin airlift number since Russian planes would shoot down flights bringing in supplies. From the NYT:

Hundreds of thousands of people are living with no heat, water and electricity. They are struggling to find a safe path to escape. While the prospect of a cease-fire and “humanitarian corridors” was again being discussed on Tuesday, there was little evidence that conditions on the ground would allow for a large-scale evacuation.

While the Pentagon and other allies largely agreed with the Ukrainian assessment that the Russian advance has been slowed, they cautioned that the Russians would soon regroup. Russia’s military is eight times the size of Ukraine’s and it has vastly superior firepower at its disposal.

*Yesterday morning I mentioned U. Va. senior Emma Camp’s thoughtful editorial in the NYT about how students are self-censoring if they opposed Received Progressive Doctrine. Of course she did not get off scot-free for saying such a horrible (but true) thing. A lot of ridiculous responses to Camp’s op-ed are compiled at Pluribus. Some of them are true doozies, like these:

It apparently did escape this chowderhead’s notice that that is the main building (“The Rotunda”) of the University of Virginia, where Camp goes to school! In her rush to paint a free-speech advocate as a Nazi, Gorcenski didn’t bother to think for even a second.

And here we have two opponents of Camp in a single tweet, one of them being Nikole Hannah-Jones of The 1619 Project Fame, who tweets as “Ida Bae Wells.” As for Exavier Pope, well he’s quick to play the race card when going after Camp. Whiteness indeed!

Did Hannah-Jones even read the article before diving in on Twitter (she tends to do that)? The article is about how Camp’s attempts to speak out have sometimes not gone well (she calls herself a “liberal”, how she self-censors about some things, but mainly how the problem is widespread among her fellow students. Here’s a bit of what Camp wrote:

When a class discussion goes poorly for me, I can tell. During a feminist theory class in my sophomore year, I said that non-Indian women can criticize suttee, a historical practice of ritual suicide by Indian widows. This idea seems acceptable for academic discussion, but to many of my classmates, it was objectionable.

The room felt tense. I saw people shift in their seats. Someone got angry, and then everyone seemed to get angry. After the professor tried to move the discussion along, I still felt uneasy. I became a little less likely to speak up again and a little less trusting of my own thoughts.

I was shaken, but also determined to not silence myself. Still, the disdain of my fellow students stuck with me. I was a welcomed member of the group — and then I wasn’t.

Yes, Camp has spoken and written on “taboo” topics, but Hannah-Jones seems unaware that other students won’t, and when they do they get disdained or ostracized. The more I read about Hannah-Jones, the more tendentious and off-putting I find her tweeting and writing.

But, as reader Cesar points out, there’s also approbation for Camp’s piece as well, in both the NYT comments and at the Pluribus site.

*The Guardian reports that a fancy and pricey day school in London, the American School in London, has had its rating downgraded because—of all things—too much “wokeness” (h/t Julian). I quote:

One of London’s leading independent day schools has been downgraded by Ofsted after inspectors criticised some of its teaching for focusing more on social justice than subject knowledge, and a culture where “alternative opinions are not felt welcome”.

The American School in London (ASL), which charges annual fees of £32,650 for older pupils, was previously rated “outstanding” but slipped two grades to “requires improvement” – just above “inadequate” – after inspection in December.

Ofsted inspectors were sent in after the ASL featured in a series of newspaper articles, which reported that parents were concerned about a “woke agenda” at the school and had complained children were being “indoctrinated” in critical race theory.

. . .The Ofsted report, published on the school’s website, found much to praise about the school with its first-class resources and well-qualified teachers. The inspectors said the school, which teaches four- to 18-year-olds, has high expectations and “gives strong importance to equality and inclusion”.

The report added: “Sometimes, however, teaching places much more weight on the school’s approach to social justice than on learning subject-specific knowledge and skills.”

In lower-school social studies, inspectors pointed out that pupils “spend much time repeatedly considering identity (including analysing their own characteristics) rather than learning, for example, geographical knowledge”

The report, at the link above, also criticizes the use of “affinity groups” in which some topics are discussed only by groups of a certain ethnicity. The evaluators considered that approach “divisive.” School officials, of course, responded that “We do not think this rating reflects the quality of our school or excellence of our teaching.” But it may reflect the ideological slant of their teaching.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is celebrating the absence of Kulka, whom she still doesn’t like, unaware that Kulka is right nearby and can hear Hili:

Hili: She finally went away.
Kulka: You would like that.

In Polish:
Hili: Nareszcie sobie poszła.
Kulka: Chciałabyś.

The Auschwitz Museum is urging moving the upcoming UNESCO session of the World Heritage Committee away from Russia, where it was scheduled for June. “The Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extinction Camp” is on the list of World Heritage Sites. Their announcement.

From reader Bryan: Physicist Sean Carroll, his wife, science writer Jennifer Ouellette, and their cats are moving from Caltech in Pasadena to Johns Hopkins. His own website’s post describes the position (very prestigious) and notes that he’ll be splitting his time between the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Physics. Congrats, Sean!

From Ginger K:

Tweets from Matthew. This one is VERY hard, and I’ve put the answer below the fold (click “read more” at the bottom. But first try to find it!

Matthew’s own tweet, and I can guess what the release of the evil spirit might explain. First, the Guardian article to which Matthew refers says this:

Predictions of dark forces being unleashed by an evil vixen hung over social media in Japan on Monday after a famous volcanic rock said to kill anyone who comes into contact with it was found split in two.

According to the mythology surrounding the Sessho-seki, or killing stone, the object contains the transformed corpse of Tamamo-no-Mae, a beautiful woman who had been part of a secret plot hatched by a feudal warlord to kill Emperor Toba, who reigned from 1107-1123.

Legend has it that her true identity was an evil nine-tailed fox whose spirit is embedded in the hunk of lava, located in an area of Tochigi prefecture, near Tokyo, famous for its sulphurous hot springs.

Amazing hyper-realistic paintings by a nun:

Little did they know what they’d spawned!

I go with doors. If you have a car and a house, you have four wheels but many doors. PLUS cars have doors!

One on Ukraine:

Click “read more” to see the Pallas’s cat hidden in Matthew’s tweet:

Here’s the Pallas’s Cat! Pretty cryptic, isn’t it?

The mystery photo above was taken during our early-morning flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, and shows the sun beginning to strike the hilltops to the West.

59 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. “The stalwart Ukrainians, though ultimately doomed to be conquered by Putin, are hanging in there, making this a tough war for the Russians.” – According to The Guardian:

    A Russian general has been killed in fighting around Kharkiv, Ukrainian intelligence has claimed, which would make him the second general the Russian army has lost in Ukraine in a week.

    The intelligence arm of the Ukrainian defence ministry said Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of the 41st Army, had been killed outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, along with other senior officers.

    The ministry also broadcast what it claimed was a conversation between two Russian FSB officers discussing the death and complaining that their secure communications were no longer functioning inside Ukraine.
    […]
    The investigative journalism agency Bellingcat said it had confirmed Gerasimov’s death with a Russian source. Its executive director, Christo Grozev, said they had also identified the senior FSB officer in the intercepted conversation.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/08/vitaly-gerasimov-second-russian-general-killed-ukraine-defence-ministry-claims

  2. With every new day I think it more likely that the Ukrainians might prevail in this war. Perhaps this is Poland in 1920 and not Finland in 1940. The Russian Army and Air Force are very large, and Putin could pull in men and machines from other areas, but his paranoia has to make him fear that he is only leaving himself open to attack there. In the meantime here’s a captured Russian Colonel announcing his shame for participating in the attack on Ukraine. It’s worth the time.

    1. The Russians do seem to be screwing it up mightily. Perhaps in some cases, intentionally? Unfortunately Putin probably has enough loyal military resources in the area to screw up a lot and still win. But fight on Ukraine! Your odds might still be low but they’re trending in the right direction.

    2. The Russians have made rather little progress for the last 10 days now. My diagnosis? The troops on the ground simply don’t want to fight. They’re happy just staying where they are and making no progress. They’re doing the minimum they can do without actively defying the chain of command.

  3. When a class discussion goes poorly for me, I can tell. During a feminist theory class in my sophomore year…

    The wag in me says: well, there’s your problem. You take a subject traditionally associated with social action and passion, you’ll get social activism and high emotion.

    But blaming the discipline is probably the cad’s way out and unfair. Maybe a better observation about the situation she describes is to say that while there is no controlling the attitudes the students may bring into the class, it is the professor’s job to foster a good and open atmosphere of academic discussion. Your students start to get angry at a non-Indian criticizing suttee, you need to take that bull by the horns and spend 15 minutes talking about the need for open academic debate, not simply try and ignore it and push on to the next topic. At least, that’s the thought that springs to my mind. Students are learning to be good academics. That means they have have not yet mastered the ability to be a good academic, and we shouldn’t expect them to be perfect at it. The professor’s job is thus, in part, to help them master the ability to think academically and objectively about a subject where their passions may run high (in addition to subject matter teaching).

    1. ” . . . it is the professor’s job to foster a good and open atmosphere of academic discussion . . . take that bull by the horns and spend 15 minutes talking about the need for open academic debate . . . Students are learning to be good academics . . . they have have not yet mastered the ability to be a good academic, and we shouldn’t expect them to be perfect at it. The professor’s job is thus, in part, to help them master the ability to think academically and objectively about a subject . . . .”

      Have students not had a quite reasonable opportunity, during elementary, middle and high school, to learn to converse civilly by the time they enter college? (In this day and age, perhaps that is an unrealistic – but not unreasonable – expectation.) Also, one does not have to be a college graduate/academic to have some significant facility in rational, objective analysis, On the other hand, it very well may be that during the last 30-40 years the average college student has become more juvenile, cossetted, and entitled, requiring this increased hand-holding by professors. Too, if the latest research holds, there is is always the possibility of insufficent prefrontal cortext development.

  4. *The stalwart Ukrainians, though ultimately doomed to be conquered by Putin, are hanging in there, making this a tough war for the Russians.

    Are they doomed to be conquered by Putin? Whilst I think it could happen, the longer this war goes on, the less likely it is that it will happen (IMO of course).

    If nothing else, the logistics will ensure that the Russian offensive grinds to a halt. Russia may have a vastly larger army than Ukraine, but the more troops they commit, the worse the logistics problem becomes. They simply can’t just throw troops at the problem. I think Putin has already blown it.

    I go with doors. If you have a car and a house, you have four wheels but many doors. PLUS cars have doors!

    I bet my nephew’s lego collection has more wheels in it than you and I have doors put together. Even the chair I am sitting on now has ten wheels (five castors, each with an axel connecting two wheels), that’s many four more than the doors in my house (mind you, I haven’t counted cupboard doors and fridge doors, so may be you are right after all).

    1. According to the Pentagon, all of the Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border have now been committed.The Guardian notes:

      Russia has been trying to recruit Syrians to fight in Ukraine to bolster Moscow’s flagging invasion, according to the Pentagon.

      A senior US defence official said it was unclear how many Syrians Vladimir Putin is seeking to recruit, but said “we find it noteworthy that he believes he needs to rely on foreign fighters”. The official added there was no evidence of Syrian fighters having arrived in Ukraine so far.

      The Russian recruitment effort was first reported by a Syrian news website, DeirEzzor24, which said Moscow was seeking volunteers to act as guards on six-month contracts, for between $200 and $300 a month. The same report said the Russian mercenary firm Wagner had been equipping its Syrian operatives, who had served in the Libyan war on the side of the general, Khalifa Haftar, to transfer to Ukraine.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/07/russia-trying-to-recruit-syrians-to-fight-in-ukraine-says-pentagon

        1. I’m sure they can and in fact have invited the west. Probably every time they talk to western foreign leaders. Our ‘no’ /= him not asking.

          And in parity to Russia’s threats, Ukraine is also free to tell Assad that if he puts troops on the ground in support of Russia, Ukraine will consider than an act of war. Would it be an effective threat though? Seems doubtful.

          1. If Assad sends troops to fight on Ukrainian soil, that is certainly an act of war and Ukraine would be justified in international law to declare war on Syria. Ukraine could then set out any war aim it wanted, including the destruction of the Syrian state. But it can’t really do anything militarily to Syria, except cyber-attacks, which could be quite destructive. It can do those without a declaration of war, though.

            The main purpose of a declaration of war is to notify the world that the ships and aircraft of non-belligerent nations are now at risk of attack on the high seas or in international airspace if they attempt to trade with the enemy. Shipping insurers will not pay losses for neutral ships lost in war between belligerent nations; ships attempting trade would need naval escort. Ukraine has not the naval resources to harass maritime trade, though. But Russia does, and if it declared war on Ukraine in retaliation it could use its submarines and air defences against American (or any) ships and cargo planes bringing materiel to Ukraine.

            Declarations have little impact on the fighting between the belligerents themselves unless there are treaty obligations triggered by declared war but not by mere fighting. (In that case, the diplomat’s job is to convince its ally not to declare war!). The Ukrainians can shoot Syrians as easily as they can Russians. If it’s wearing a “Z”, hack it. They just have to be able to spell “Fuck off!” in Arabic.

            But if Putin can’t feed his own soldiers, how is he going to pay foreign mercenaries?

  5. “We will also be near Vernadsky Base, and thus a couple of Zodiacs will take our 13 Ukrainians back to Vernadsky Base” – I see that according to Wikipedia

    In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia declared itself the successor to all the Antarctic stations of the USSR and refused to transfer one of them to Ukraine. […] Ukraine took over the operation of the [former British Faraday Antarctic Station] base in February 1996, which was sold by the UK for a symbolic one pound.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernadsky_Research_Base#History

  6. I vote more wheels. In my home it’s two adults, each with a car, winter tyres for each, 4 bicycles, a lawnmower, a snow blower, wheels on the bbq wheels on the tool chest,…. I haven’t even started looking at toys and lego. I definitely vote more wheels than doors.

    1. Gears are a form of wheel. When counting wheels, if you count gears and other machine parts that rotate, I go with wheels.

    2. And to think that before 1492, there was not a single wheel in all the New World (excluding what seem to have been children’s toys in South America.). Then three little ships showed up with the hundreds of pulleys needed to work the sails.

      ‘Course, there weren’t many doors either, if to be a door you have to have a hinge…

    3. Simple machines including levers, screws, etc. include the wheel/axle. So technically, everything that swings or rotates on an axle is a wheel, which includes hinges. Since almost all doors have (at least 2) hinges, wheels will outnumber doors.

      1. I’m going to be picky and say that to be a wheel, the moving part has to rotate freely through any number of revolutions around the axle without needing a physical connection between the two parts. This is what makes the wheel and axle such a conceptual breakthrough because they are not observed in nature*—our bodies are full of hinge joints but there would be no way to get blood and nutrients across the continually moving gap of a wheel and axle joint. The lever and the inclined plane and maybe even the rolling log could be sussed out from observing nature. Not the wheel and axle. (Of course wheels are only worth inventing if you’ve already built a road.)
        ————
        * There is one microscopic exception. Guesses?

          1. Right you are. The rotor and stator are capable of unlimited full-circle rotations because they need no permanent tethering structure to cross the gap between the moving parts. Simple diffusion is adequate to deliver ATP over that distance. The structure meets my definition of a wheel and axle. The stator acts as a restraining bearing for the rotor in the bi-layer of the cell membrane as well as one side of the contractile motor that develops the torque to spin the flagellum.

            The other cool thing about bacterial flagella that I first read in Scientific American back in the 1970s — ah, the good old days — is that they are rigid helices, like corkscrews. As they spin, they develop “handed” traction force and literally screw themselves through the medium, dragging or pushing the bacterial cell along with.

  7. This aging Hippie peacenik has a contrarian view. First, I would remind us that truth is the first casualty of war. Second, I would also remind us that we humans, as members of a murderous species, can easily become blood simple. Now to my point, and I invoke utilitarian/consequentialist ethics to make it. I agree with our host that the Ukrainians are doomed. Thus, they should surrender and avoid further death and destruction, not only in their country but around the world. We are deluded to think that sanctions will force Putin to give up. Sanctions are weapons of war, and, as such, cause harm, not to Putin and his oligarchs but to the common people. And we are doubly deluded to think the suffering common people have any power to depose Putin and his ilk. Furthermore, sanctions have negative repercussions felt around the world. Zelensky should give up the futile resistance and let Putin get what he wants. In this way, Ukraine can stoop to conquer.

    1. How do we stop Putin from taking over Europe then?

      I think you are wrong about the sanctions, by the way and you are probably wrong that the Ukrainians are doomed.

    2. I consider myself something of a peacenik, too, but I don’t think that means that the reaction to a vicious dictator ought to be automatically to roll over. Some causes are worth fighting for.

      Do you think Churchill should’ve gone the way of the Vichy French?

        1. Should Moldova roll over too? Lithuania? Finland? Why not Poland? Either Putin is stopped at Ukraine or we are in for a whole lot more of this Russian empire stuff to come. Where’s your line, Stephen?

          1. I sincerely doubt that Putin will attack a NATO member. My line is the prevention of nuclear warfare. If that means we enter Cold War II, then so be it.

            1. I don’t think Putin is ready to commit suicide. He is pretty much a coward and lets others do murder for him. We are already in cold war – that is what having nuks means and not using them. We have lots of them and Putin knows it. If you think we were on friendly basis with Russia, you have been tricked by Trump.

            2. Moldova is not a NATO member. Finland is not a NATO member. Your line is not a line at all since it would also require laying down if he invaded a NATO country.

              1. The US delivered 17,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine in 6 days. That translates into a lot of destroyed Russian vehicles. Ukraine surrendering at this point would be catastrophic. What then? Putin installs a puppet regime? What does a victory for Putin even look like at this point? I don’t think the Russian soldiers have a strong will at this point, and human will is the one incalculable in war (to steal from Liddell Hart). Those who don’t have it are doomed, and it’s plain to see the Ukrainian’s have it in spades.

    3. It would be nice if the sanctions could somehow persuade Putin to end the war. But to me the real value of the sanctions is create hardship and strife across Russian society, high and low, such that it later precipitates into a regime change in Russia.

    4. I respect your argument even though I don’t agree with it. Your first premise is that the Ukrainians are doomed and your argument flows coherently from there. But what if the Ukrainians are not doomed? Ought they still to give in to opposing force merely to reduce casualties and risk of wider war? Or should they fight, because victory is possible? If your conclusion would be different under the not-doomed premise, then Mr. Zelenskyy would need to be able to predict the future in order to use your framework.

      If your conclusion would be the same, then you don’t need the initial doom premise. The Ukrainians ought to just submit on the principle of unconditional nuclear pacifism.

      1. Leslie, my conclusion would be different if this were a fair fight. But it’s not, and this fact was part of Putin’s calculation to invade.
        In the mano-a-mano fighting sports such as boxing or judo, there are weight classes to ensure that opponents are fairly matched. I consider Russia to be a heavyweight and Ukraine to be a lightweight. The heavyweight will mop the floor with the lightweight, no matter how spunky or determined the lightweight is.
        Zelensky’s calculation when deciding to fight back against Putin was that he could tag the heavyweight NATO/USA to step in for Ukraine. That isn’t going to happen, so Zelensky should run away and live to fight another day. I would point out that many millions of Ukrainians are indeed running away.

        1. Honestly, Stephen, the refugees are all women and children and old men. The Ukrainians have defied all expectations as to their defense, to say nothing of the poor performance of Russian forces. You offer nothing but council to comply with any demands by any autocrat with nuclear weapons.

        2. Not many millions. 1.5 million perhaps, so far, and no men of military age. (Not that they have a choice. As my friend Paul Viminitz says, there are no inalienable rights in war or pandemics. But there are many women who have taken up arms who could have fled.)

          If Zelenskyy and his people did decide to resist because of their delusion that NATO would intervene militarily to shoot Russian soldiers and airmen, we will soon see the outcome of that miscalculation. If NATO doesn’t come–and it won’t–perhaps the people will then realize that resistance is futile and they will capitulate. Or perhaps they always planned to go it alone if necessary and will fight to the end, “whatever the cost may be.” (Churchill, 1940.) That is for them to decide. It is their country. It’s not for us to tut-tut them about the risk of radioactive fallout reaching Germany when it will be Kyiv that is incinerated.

  8. In my own house, at least because of a huge matchbox car collection, there are hundreds and hundreds of wheels and only some of the cars have working doors. Are we counting only life-sized doors and wheels, or is it every single working wheel and door?

  9. I think you are completely wrong and it is a good thing we did not have this view in 1941, although some did. I do not believe that Putin will ever take over Ukraine and you, aging hippie, will live to see the loss. Lucky for us you were not the majority opinion then or now. We might all be speaking German today.

    On another note: not surprising about the second covid case really. Covid is far from over – 6 million dead and 9000 per day. We will hit a million in this country – there are still lots of republicans out there.

    1. “Covid is far from over ….. We will hit a million in this country..”

      Yes, but one minor point: If (# actual deaths which would have been avoided had Covid not appeared) is what is meant, then the US is way over 1.1 million, probably over 1.2 million already.

      But the numbers you refer to are presumably official counts accumulated by NYTimes, Worldometer, etc.

      Stats re excess to statistically expected deaths have always been well above those numbers— a year ago roughly 30 to 35% over; and now, reporting having improved and crooks like De Santis realizing forcing his officials to lie here isn’t needed for his political popularity, more like ‘only’ 21% over.

      1. Excess deaths above expected in people over 60 are probably due to Covid but excess will underestimate true Covid if a really old person destined to die that year from flu or Alzheimer’s dies of Covid instead. When 60% of deaths from Covid—yes, from, not with—are over 80, and 80% are over 70, the degree to which excess deaths underestimates Covid deaths is substantial. Everyone dies of something.

        On the other hand, excess deaths in 20-50-year-olds are probably not due to Covid, since death risk is very low in that age group. Overdose deaths in that age range skyrocketed during the pandemic, libs and cons argue about why, but you can’t call them Covid deaths that could have been prevented if only we had given the state even more power to impose public health restrictions.

        Bottom line, excess deaths are only a rough estimate of the death burden that the virus imposed on the population because not all excess deaths (especially in young people) are caused by infection and high death rates in the very old and sick will obscure the Covid contribution.

        A mismatch is not all due to Republican skullduggery.

    2. Randall said: ” We will hit a million in this country – there are still lots of republicans out there.”

      Almost everyone I know is a Republican. Almost everyone I know has had Covid. Only one person has died. Sorry to break this to you! 🙂

      1. I think his point is that of those people that are still dying, the vast majority will be the unvaccinated e.g. Republicans.

        1. Then why are death rates so high, and vaccination rates still so low, among racial minorities? For every MAGA anti-vax Covid denier who dies with his last breath demanding Ivermectin, smugly covered with schadenfreude by the national media, how many undocumented aliens and elderly Black nursing home residents die in obscurity, attended only by the nurses in a county/charity hospital who did their best to the end?

    3. Randall, please see my reply to Ken above. There’s a world of a difference between 1941 and now. Now there are nuclear weapons.

  10. I wonder–could a round doorknob be considered a kind of wheel? It revolves on an axle . . . and, it does sort of enable motion–of the door!

  11. As for me, I think the Russians have already lost the war although the killing is far from over and it will get worse for Ukrainians before it gets better. Sanctions have not yet really kicked in. Ukrainians have killed many thousands of Russian soldiers who are fighting a war they had no idea they were going to be sent into. Russian jets are being downed, two generals have been killed. Countless tanks/trucks/etc. have been destroyed. Putin, even if he “wins” the battle can not hold the country. Many Russian civilians are only beginning to become aware that the propaganda on state TV is false.

    My magic ball tells me that Putin will be gone within six months. Not that my magic ball is any better than anyone else’s.

  12. 1. The sunrise series of photos is exhilarating – and thanks for the bearing – the sense of position is strong.

    2. The puzzler photo : I guess the Andes from the plane.

    3. Google has sinned by not including the diversity and equity of Islamic Y-chromosome holders’ right to dictate what people without Y-chromosomes have to wear covering their entire outward appearance for the rest of their lives after the age of 13 – namely, the burqa and niqab. Oddly, the artist Google hired seems to focus only on some colorful, stylish accoutrements that might be simply that European style scarves – and not hijabs.

    But of course, that’s just too elaborate, complicated, and simply unkind to bring up and ruin everything.

  13. A great piece in The Guardian by Marina Hyde on the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the UK government’s pitiful response:

    At the time [yesterday] it was reported that Poland had taken 800,000 refugees, the UK had accepted a mere 50. Which, to put things into perspective, is half the number of people you’d invite to a Downing Street bring-your-own-bottle party in the middle of a lockdown.

    She starts her article with an interesting point:

    One of the things people often say when they see a colourised photo from the past is how vividly it brings history to life. The type of historical images we are more accustomed – and perhaps more inured – to seeing in monochrome are made breathtakingly new in colour, and this or that photo from the second world war is given such immediacy that it feels like something more relatable from our present.

    Yet for the first time yesterday, I saw the technique work in the other direction. When an image of the vast and desperate crowds at Kharkiv train station was flying around, an ITN cameraman posted the same picture but in black and white, and it instantly felt 10 times more arresting. Happening right now was a tableau straight from Europe’s dark past – thousands of tightly packed people massed on a station platform and trying to flee, vastly outnumbering the available train space. Perhaps we know best how to read this picture when we literally see it in black and white.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/08/ukrainian-refugees-calais-russia-invasion-ukraine

  14. This war reminds me very much of “The Moon is Down”, in particular when the occupying soldier laments that they were told that the residents would welcome them. It is quite depressing, actually. I have no view on where it will end, though I hope that Ukraine will drive out the russians, and that there will be repercussions for the leadership that started this. I fear that it will be much longer, and much more bloody, than most seem too, though.

  15. This might not go over well, but it would be useful to go ahead with the UNESCO session in Russia. Since it would likely have good attendance by Russians, that would be a good opportunity to teach them what the f is really going on in Ukraine.

    1. Yeah, just imagine the Russians arresting everybody there because they’re mentioning the war uh… I mean the special military operation 😆

  16. All I hope for is that the WHEEL’s on the Pukins war machine fall off and the doors to his empire-building slam shut. (hopefully on his fingers for good measure)

  17. Jerry, I quite like your panorama photos. Maybe you feel the aspect ratio doesn’t come out right on a phone or tablet but on a desktop screen they look just fine.

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