Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 8, 2023 • 6:45 am

Posting may be light today as there is a difficult duck rescue in the offing. I’m not sure how long it will take.  Bear with me; I do my best.

Greetings on a fine CaturSaturday, July 8, 2023, cat shabbos and National Chocolate With Almonds Day (I think they mean National Chocolate-Covered Almonds Day).

It’s also National Freezer Pop Day, National Ice Cream Sundae Day, and Air Force and Air Defense Forces Day in Ukraine.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 8 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The U.S. is sending “cluster munition” to Ukraine as a stopgap measure, but it’s incurred the wrath of some Democrats since the weapons could hurt civilians.  Here’s what they are (from Wikipedia):

cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller submunitions. Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles. Other cluster munitions are designed to destroy runways or electric power transmission lines, disperse chemical or biological weapons, or to scatter land mines. Some submunition-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets.

Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove. The so called failure rate ranges from 2 percent to 40 percent or more.

From the NYT:

The Biden administration, breaking with several of its closest allies, said on Friday that it would provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite concerns that the weapons could endanger civilians.

Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House that the administration would continue arming Ukraine as stockpiles of conventional artillery dwindle. He defended the use of the weapons by saying that Russia had been using them since the beginning of the war and Ukraine was running out of artillery rounds.

. . .President Biden and his advisers had reservations about supplying the weapons, which disperse tiny, deadly bomblets, to Ukrainian forces, particularly because they are especially dangerous to children, who pick up duds that initially failed to detonate, only to have them explode.

But Ukraine is burning through stockpiles of conventional artillery, and administration officials ultimately decided they had little choice amid fears that Russia would gain the upper hand if Ukrainian soldiers ran out.

Several allies of the United States that have moved to provide Kyiv with tanks, planes and artillery have drawn a line at providing cluster munitions. Germany and France are among over 100 nations that have signed a treaty prohibiting the weapons; the United States, Russia and Ukraine have not.

Some Democrats are not happy about this at all:

President Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has angered a wide swath of Democrats, who are accusing his administration of making a hypocritical decision that risked the moral standing of the United States.

The move answered a monthslong clamor from congressional Republicans to supply Kyiv with the weapons, but Mr. Biden’s political allies denounced it.

“A victory for Ukraine is an essential victory for democracies across the globe, but that victory cannot come at the expense of our American values and thus democracy itself,” Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Democrat of Pennsylvania and an Air Force veteran who co-chairs a bipartisan congressional caucus on unexploded ordinance and demining, said in a statement on Friday. “I challenge the notion that we should employ the same tactics Russia is using, blurring the lines of moral high ground.”

She and other Democrats argued that cluster munitions of the kind the administration plans to send to Ukraine pose indiscriminate harm to civilians long after they are used in combat.

The weapons “disperse hundreds of bomblets, which can travel far beyond military targets and injure, maim and kill civilians — often long after a conflict is over,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. In a statement, he pointed out that several NATO members — though not the United States — are parties to an international treaty banning their use.

Republicans willing to speak about this all praised the decision. I’m not wild about it. It is, though a rare example of Presidential bipartisanship: a Democratic President, against the wishes of his own party, is making the GOP happy.

*Nellie Bowles has published her usual Friday news summary, always with a twist. This week’s is called “TGIF: Hocus SCOTUS“, and I’ll steal my usual three items (indented):

→ “Adversity score” is the new affirmative action: At University of California Davis School of Medicine, future doctors are chosen in part on how much “adversity” they faced.

By the end of all this, with all tests thrown out as problematic, all coursework thrown out as based on the written word (racist), and adversity as the only metric, we’ll just hand the most deserving a scalpel and let ’em at it. Your surgeon will be a truly good person who had a truly hard life, that I can say for sure.

→ Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway get trigger warnings: New printings of The Sun Also Rises and To the Lighthouse come with trigger warnings. The Woolf one reads as such (and Hemingway’s is apparently almost identical):

This book was published in 1927 and reflects the attitudes of its time. The publisher’s decision to present it as it was originally published is not intended as an endorsement of cultural representations or language contained herein.

It’s a small, sad plea from some defeated editors: Don’t cancel us, please. We’re not sure what in these books will be offensive, but no doubt something is. It was so long ago, you see. They didn’t know the light of truth would find us here, now; they were just modernists, yes, yes, just like your furniture. You love your furniture, right? It’s not too sexist, right?

→ Biological males really want to breastfeed: There is a movement for trans women (people born males) to pump themselves with a fresh set of hormones so that they can “chestfeed” an infant. The CDC supports it, and now it’s A Trend. Call me crazy, but I’d want to be sure it’s okay for the infant first, which we don’t really know. At a certain point, all these medical interventions to align a body closer and closer and closer to the other sex, to do exactly everything the other sex can do lest you face any of biology’s cruel limits, seems a little exhausting. You can have great tits and wear a dress and look amazing—but you really don’t want all the stuff of being a female. Like today I’m furious with everyone and on the verge of tears, which is a completely normal part of the month, but surely you don’t want this. I don’t even want this.

*There’s a new article in the Australian Spectator, “Will social justice activists destroy New Zealand universities?

A perfect storm is hitting the New Zealand university sector. Social justice activism is aggravating the extreme financial difficulties that our universities are facing, only slightly eased by recently-announced Government funding relief. 

. . .Gender and identity political activism is widespread internationally and in New Zealand. We could easily fill this article with examples. 

Recently, for example, a senior New Zealand academic was warned that questioning a perceived fall in academic standards would lead to disciplinary action. 

Academics who dare to express a rational view counter to the orthodoxy on gender diversity or the indigenisation of university culture are being silenced. 

Failing to address matauranga Māori (Māori traditional knowledge) in grant applications, even in mathematics or physics, may jeopardise the chance of winning a grant. 

. . .New Zealand universities appear to be competing to be led by the Treaty of Waitangi without a clear definition of what that means. The 1840 Treaty between Māori tribes and the Crown around the governance of the country is a short document that is silent on educational matters.  

At the risk of being marginalised, academics are being pressured to support the adoption of Te Ao Māori (Māori language, and respect and acknowledgment of Māori customs and protocols) and embracing the Māori story and identity. 

The Performance-Based Research Fund, which formerly rewarded research excellence and relevance, now focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness and employs Māori co-chairs for 13 of the 14 research assessment panels. 

Appointing co-chairs based on ethnicity will lead to a shift from a system of benchmarking research quality to a race-based system that is inherently biased in one direction. 

Māori co-chairs can comment on non-Māori portfolios, but non-Māori panelists may not be prepared to challenge the expert assessment of Māori co-chairs on Māori portfolios, creating an accountability problem, disincentives, and side effects. For example, how can activity in matauranga Māori or community engagement be an international research activity? 

But I’m not telling you anything I haven’t written about before. It’s just unusual for this to appear in a Kiwi magazine, and written by three Kiwis.

*Andrew Sullivan, once deeply smitten with Obama, fears that he’s no longer walking the walk:

Once in office, by and large, Obama walked that walk, with his usual unflappable equipoise. His refusal to become a more racially divisive figure disappointed the CRT-left, of course, prompting diatribes from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West, among others. He seemed someone who could see where both the right and the left were coming from on race, and sought to synthesize, for the sake of all of us, with hope.

This is a passage well worth re-reading today:

For the African-American community, the path [toward a more perfect union] means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.

But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Where is that Obama today?

As our liberal elites embraced a wholesale repudiation of his vision, as they redefined America as a white supremacist country through and through, diagnosed every disadvantage of African-Americans as solely and entirely caused by “white supremacy,” and demanded crude race discrimination — “equity” — as the only cure … Obama said nothing. Views he once decried as “profoundly distorted” became his party’s core philosophy on race, and the first black president stayed mum.

He gives several quotes from Obama’s past, contrasting with more modern statements where Barack appears to give in to identity politics:

And at the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches in 2015, Obama rebuked the idea of “equity” — forcibly creating equality of outcomes for racial groups:

With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anybody, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity.

I miss that guy.

It’s hard to believe that a Democratic President today could say such a thing, much less a black Democratic President. Sullivan ends this way:

As for Obama? There was always a question of whether his moderation on race was out of conviction or opportunism. He’s a politician, not a saint, and some level of bullshit is necessary in politics to get anything done. He’s also a fully paid-up member of our liberal elite, and it’s been hard to go in any way against the current woke wave, without severe social (and maybe marital) consequences.

But way back when, I chose to believe in his good faith on race and the American experiment. I still do. But it’s getting harder.

*Some good news from Israel.  A Palestinian Arab boy just had his life saved by Israeli doctors.

12-year-old Palestinian Arab boy saved by doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

The parents of 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan, a Palestinian Arab boy from the Jordan Valley, never imagined that the routine ride on his bicycle near his home would end so dramatically.

The boy, who, like every other day, went out on his bicycle to get some air, was involved in a traffic accident recently and was very seriously injured. Only the emergency surgery he underwent at Hadassah Ein Kerem saved his life, the medical center said in a press release.

After being struck by a car, Hassan was airlifted to the trauma unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem, when it was clear to rescue forces in the area that his life was in danger due to his critical injury and damage to the connection between his head and neck, the hospital explained.

Dr. Ohad Einav, a specialist from the orthopedic department at Hadassah Ein Kerem who operated on the child together with Dr. Ziv Asa, said, “The most significant and main injury suffered by the boy was a fracture in the connection between the head and neck, along with a tear of all the ligaments. Additionally, there was a superficial injury to the abdomen. Due to the serious injury, the head almost completely detached from the base of the neck.

“After a thorough examination of his condition, we decided to perform surgery during which we attached the head to the neck,” Dr. Einav said.

“We fought for the boy’s life, a large operating room team, including operating room nurses and anesthesiologists, followed by the intensive care and surgical department team.”

He further explained: “This is a rare and unusual case with a 50% chance of mortality. The procedure itself is very complicated and took several hours, while in the operating room we used new plates and fixations in the damaged area. It was precisely because of such cases that I chose to specialize in trauma.

. . . “Fortunately, the operation was a great success and we saved the boy’s life. He was discharged home with a cervical splint and, of course, under the dedicated medical care and monitoring of the hospital staff and myself.”

I think this is great, but do realize that things like this happen all the time in the so called “apartheid state.” Here’s a heartwarming photo, and I wish it meant that peace is in the offing:

(From the story). Dr. Ohad Einav and Dr. Ziv Asa together with Suleiman just before he was discharged. (Hadassah Spokesperson’s Office)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is enigmatic, but Malgorzata explains: “I suspect that you never studied The Poverty of Philosophy by Karl Marx. So the explanation for Hili’s words is that she noticed this title and liked it so much she decided to apply it to ants.”

A: What are you studying?
Hili: The poverty of ants’ philosophy.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tak studiujesz?
Hili: Nędzę filozofii mrówek.
And a picture of Szaron on the windowsill, aching to get inside:


From Jesus of the Day:

From Meanwhile in Canada, “One Canadian’s brilliant response to a photo posted by a US Republican.:

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

A tweet from Masih:

I found this one:

From Luana: the ideology of ChatGPT:

From Jez. Curious cows!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, another child stopped from living out her life:

Tweets from Matthew. Did you ever think about this one? I don’t know of any blue mammals!

This is from Princeton, British Columbia, not Princeton, New Jersey, but aren’t those cool fossils?

Matthew says, “Rob is a pal and a colleague.”

27 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.

    1776 – Church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. [That “possibly including” seems to be doing some heavy lifting there?]

    1889 – The first issue of The Wall Street Journal is published.

    1898 – The death of crime boss Soapy Smith, killed in the Shootout on Juneau Wharf, releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip. [No comment…!]

    1947 – Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico in what became known as the Roswell UFO incident.

    1948 – The United States Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force (WAF).

    1960 – Francis Gary Powers is charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.

    1970 – Richard Nixon delivers a special congressional message enunciating Native American self-determination as official US Indian policy, leading to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.

    1994 – Kim Jong Il begins to assume supreme leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il Sung.

    2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

    2021 – President Joe Biden announces that the official conclusion of U.S. involvement in the War in Afghanistan will be on August 31, 2021. [Yeah, right! “By 14 August, the Taliban had encircled Kabul. On 15 August, Kabul fell and the Taliban declared victory in the War in Afghanistan.” The supposed allies had no warning of the earlier withdrawal. They weren’t happy!]

    1831 – John Pemberton, American chemist and pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola (d. 1888).

    1836 – Joseph Chamberlain, English businessman and politician, Secretary of State for the Colonies (d. 1914).

    1838 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German general and businessman, founded the Zeppelin Airship Company (d. 1917).

    1839 – John D. Rockefeller, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Standard Oil Company (d. 1937).

    1851 – Arthur Evans, English archaeologist and academic (d. 1941).

    1908 – Louis Jordan, American singer-songwriter, saxophonist, and actor (d. 1975).

    1918 – Oluf Reed-Olsen, Norwegian resistance member and pilot (d. 2002).

    1918 – Julia Pirie, British spy working for MI5 (d. 2008).

    1921 – John Money, New Zealand psychologist and sexologist, known for his research on gender identity, and responsible for controversial involuntary sex reassignment of David Reimer (d. 2006). [The death of this allegedly evil bastard was recorded here yesterday. “Evil bastard” gets my personal vote , FWIW.]

    1947 – Jenny Diski, English author and screenwriter (d. 2016).

    1951 – Anjelica Huston, American actress and director.

    1958 – Kevin Bacon, American actor and musician.

    1959 – Pauline Quirke, English actress.

    Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
    It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
    Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
    Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.p

    1695 – Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (b. 1629).

    1822 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet and playwright (b. 1792).

    1939 – Havelock Ellis, English psychologist and author (b. 1859).

    1967 – Vivien Leigh, British actress (b. 1913).

    2008 – John Templeton, American-born British businessman and philanthropist (b. 1912). [He might not live on, but his cash sure does…]

    2012 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (b. 1917).

    2018 – Tab Hunter, American actor, pop singer, film producer and author (b. 1931). [Fondly remembered in the north east of England, where a “tab” is a cigarette and a “tab hunter” is someone looking for a free one.]

    2022 – Shinzo Abe, Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. (b. 1954). [He was assassinated while delivering a campaign speech in Nara two days before the 10 July upper house election.]

  2. “I don’t know of any blue mammals!”

    I can’t think of any blue-furred mammals but there are primates that have striking blue coloration on parts of the body e.g the face of Mandrills (Mandrillus sphynx) and the testicles (or rather scrotum) of various monkey species. I guess blue whales are bluish grey in colour but that might be arguable!

    1. Yes, male vervet monkeys have absolutely beautiful powder-blue scrotums. You may guess what their name in Afrikaans is.
      I dunno what colour the Cape Blauwbok was, but it must have been blueish. Possibly like the Blue Duiker, which is, in fact more greyish than blue. But we don’t know. The poor thing went extinct (well, was eradicated by hunting).

      Most mammals are just dichromatic, which hints that mammals in general would not pay much attention to colours (I guess they are more into smells). Several primates are trichromatic, so one would expect them to have a bit more bold colours, as they often do. Birds are tetrachromatic, and show a wide variation of often striking colours.
      And note that mantis shrimps have 13 different wavelength (colour) receptors. They also have compound eyes that work with mirrors, so it is close to impossible to imagine what a mantis shrimp sees.
      Cephalopods are ‘monochromatic’, but distinguish colours by breaking index, not by pigments. They can change colours in an instant and are definitely not colourblind.

      1. “You may guess what their name in Afrikaans is.”

        OK, I will, maybe one of these: blue balls, blue jewels, blue nads, blue ballocks.

        Speaking of other blue mammals, there is the golden snub-nosed monkey that have blue faces. I once got in a bad ATV accident and my entire left torso was blue…ouch! I know, doesn’t count.

  3. No to cluster munitions…right up there with Cheney’s enhanced interegation but more dangerous to innocents for longer.

    1. My father ended his war in September 1944 at Nijmegen, when an FW-190 dropped an AB250-2 container of SD-2 butterfly bombs on him. The men on either side of him were killed, but shielded him from the worst of the fragments. He woke up at RAF Wroughton and spent the next two years in various hospitals. The rest of his life he extruded fragments of steel, and set off metal detectors at airports. There were hundreds of tiny pieces peppered all over him. Otherwise the only lasting physical damage was the loss of the left index finger and the severing of the right median nerve.
      I’m not sure what he would think of this development. He was entirely comfortable with mines (I often played as a child with his collection of fuzes and a Crabtree Discharger—for bomb disarming—kept in a wooden S-mine box) so he would likely have regarded cluster munitions as just another bit of horridness. In a war where you fight for your country’s survival, like his, you tend to do whatever it takes to fend off the attacker.

    2. Jim, I respectfully disagree.

      – Muscovy has been using cluster munitions from the beginning of the SMO.
      – Cluster munitions are highly effective. If your opponent uses them and you do not, you put yourself at a great disadvantage. That costs lives. Lots of lives.
      – Ukraine committed not to use them near civilian areas.
      – The South and East of Ukraine is littered with a plethora of APMs and ATMs and what not. Some unexploded cluster grenades will not make the de-mining much more difficult.

      I also think that Ukraine should get thermo-barics. Muscovy uses them. They are great for clearing trenches. And they don’t leave unexploded munitions that may be a threat to civilians in future.

      Again, war is not a nice or clean business. The best way to prevent more deaths, maiming and deportation is a swift victory for Ukraine. There is no other option. If cluster munitions and thermo-barics will help to that end, I reckon their use is justified.

    3. I’m with Jim on this one. Most of our allies are against using cluster bombs, so this decision will weaken our coalition. These are evil weapons that kill civilians long after the fighting has stopped.

      I see this decision as a sign of desperation on the part of Ukraine and its allies.

      1. Your NATO allies (like us in Canada) have signed the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions but it allows us an escape hatch. Says Wiki:

        In response to U.S. lobbying, and also concerns raised by diplomats from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and others, the treaty includes a provision allowing signatory nations to cooperate militarily with non-signatory nations. This provision is designed to provide legal protections to the military personnel of signatory nations engaged in military operations with the U.S. or other non-signatory nations that might use cluster munitions.[25]

        So the allies aren’t really against the use of cluster munitions. They just want the U.S. to do all the dirty work when their use is militarily necessary (and to be able to manufacture and stockpile lots of them for when the need arises.) Opposition to a militarily useful weapon or policy is a slippery concept. It was once thought that destruction of private property in war was beyond the pale. Sinking merchant ships without boarding and checking for contraband? Unthinkable! Until it was necessary.

        Opposition to cluster munitions by countries who enjoy the luxury of remaining forever neutral or under the protection of the United States, Russia, China, or India (to note some important non-signatories) is intended to frustrate war-making. This is fine when it is a country that you don’t much like anyway and would be just as happy to see lose (especially when you have no intention of banning them yourself.) But if you are serious about winning, if losing is simply unacceptable, you use whatever it takes to kill more of the enemy’s soldiers…and his civilians if that will frustrate his ability to make war and if you can get away with it.

        Cluster munitions do make a nasty civil war or counter-insurgency even nastier for when the displaced farmers and children move back onto the land. But I don’t think any civilians are going to be inhabiting these battlefields for a long time to come. How many children are even likely to be born in that part of Ukraine?

        1. The Russians are already using cluster munitions on apartment buildings and other targets all over Ukraine.
          Also, the roads and fields are seeded with mines, and there is unexploded ordinance wherever battles have been fought. That in addition to the vast amounts of Nazi and Soviet ordinance that are already there.
          Cluster bombs have their applications, and are often a less destructive alternative to larger munitions for area targeting.
          What they should do, instead of just banning them, is go in the direction that the US has done with land mines, where they deactivate themselves after a set period, or at least fail to “safe”.

    4. I must be perfectly honest: Although Zelenskyy deserves credit for staying in Ukraine, instead of fleeing, as he easily could have done, this is not the first time he has endangered Ukrainian citizens needlessly or violated their rights. He is enforcing a cruel ban on men aged 18-60 leaving the country-these guys aren’t being drafted and trained, but simply told to fight, despite the fact that Ukraine doesn’t even have enough weapons for them! Moreover, he has shut down independent tv channels, essentially obliterating press freedom. ( I am certain some people will inevitably accuse me of being “anti-Ukraine” for pointing these things out, but it is precisely because I care about Ukrainians that I feel obligated to point out when their own President is violating their rights. If this is supposed to a fight between freedom and authoritarianism-and I think it is- then Zelenskyy should not be trampling on the freedoms of his own people while a fawning Western media lies asleep at the wheel.

  4. NZ: On the plus side, I just saw a post from Massey U on FB this morning, that this is the anniversary of the discovery of (IIRC) 28 female kakapo at a time when none were thought to exist, and which led to the establishment of breeding colonies. To my surprise, there was not a single gratuitous use of any Māori word.

  5. Meanwhile in Canada, Canadians rely on Americans with guns to keep us safe from armed foreigners, and have for about 60 years now. So don’t listen to our Leftists if they condemn you for giving cluster munitions to Ukraine. We’d want you to do the same for us.

    1. Agree with that. It would be nice if mines were not used but that’s not going to happen either. Helping Ukraine fight the war is the only issue. We must do more, not less.

      1. Ukrainian pilots and mechanics are training on the F16.
        Why are there not Ukrainian teams training on the F35?
        We want this war to end. Only a victory by Ukraine will end this war (a victory by Muscovy would not, the Baltics and Poland would be next). So we should provide Ukraine not just what they need now, but just provide as much as possible.
        We need to provide Ukraine with the best we have.
        Moreover, providing F35s to Ukraine would test them in real combat for free, without spilling a drop of US blood. I think that would be a bargain for Lockheed-Martin.
        Ukrainian teams should already have been training on the F35 last year.
        Why is that not? Is there a reason?

        Side-note: I think the tiny Gripen would be much better than F16s (but not F 35s) in Ukraine, mainly for ruggedness and maintenance reasons, but there are too few of them. NATO should order a few hundred of them (say 500), destined for Ukraine.
        We have a large industrial-military complex. The aim always was to counter the USSR in an apparently endless cold war. Now Muscovy is making it a hot war. I don’t understand why the West is not going full blast on this. The nuclear sabre-rattling has been called. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pacifist. I think the present US administration was being firm, but careful, they did a masterly job. But now that the nuclear bluff is called we should go all out. We should already have done that by the end of 2022.

          1. Maybe there are atheists in foxholes, but probably more than there are pacifists who survive their country being attacked, invaded and potentially conquered.

        1. A very late read but regarding the F-35s, they might help but wholly crap they are expensive. You could get a big fleet of F-16s for one or two F-35s. It is similar to the F-22 problem we already have. We can’t afford to lose any of them or to make more of them. The Ukrainians are not planning on making attacks on Russia with the planes so stealth is not so important. They need F-16s for defense and to knock out Russian stuff in the territories they have invaded.

  6. Those fossils from Princeton, BC are very cool! Insect fossils are quite rare, as the freshwater sediments in which they are likely to be preserved are usually subject to erosion. (Land tends to weather, erode, and be swept by rivers to the sea. Any fossils preserved in terrestrial sediments—lake and river sediments—are thereby destroyed.)

  7. I just want to acknowledge the amazing neurosurgical care Hadassah Ein Kerem provided to that young boy from the Jordan Valley injured on his bicycle. Not only is he alive, he is standing on his two feet. Beyond imagination,…yet it happened!

  8. I wonder if the ants can get high from THC. I guess you could observe them and see if they’re acting strange…walking in circles or laughing. 🤣

    I hope they don’t find a pot gummy at the white house, the GOP would collectively lose their shit (again). I was laughing at their ridiculous overreaction to the bit of coke that was found. After Anthrax or some other “weapon” was ruled out, why was it even in the news cycle for more than a minute? The GOP, that’s why. I guess it goes with Giuliani’s claim that the Bidens are a crime syndicate family. Project much, Rudy?

  9. I have some questions for those who support overall U. S. policy in Ukraine, particularly for those who do not support negotiations to end the conflict, but oppose Biden’s recent approval to send cluster munitions.

    If you support a war, then you accept the deaths of innocents (and soldiers) because you value your war objectives more than you value their lives. Perhaps it sounds harsh to put it so bluntly, but the moral calculation is made whether one discusses it or not. Civilians die in all wars. (And realize that most who are soldiers would rather be civilians.) Call them innocent, euphemize them as “collateral damage,” name them what you will. The Ukrainians will kill civilians; the Russians will kill civilians; American munitions will kill civilians. Whether their deaths are intended or not, they will still be dead. So, you have accepted a certain level of death among innocent civilians while this conflict lasts. Many also advocate that this conflict should last “as long as necessary” to rid ourselves of Putin, push him out of Ukraine, degrade the Russian military, make the world safe for democracy, prevent the invasion of a NATO country, or whatever the claimed objectives are. (Of course, nobody would accept the deaths of innocent civilians without having first established clear and achievable objectives, would they?) Nobody has any idea how long this conflict will last; indeed, it could drag on for years at various levels of intensity. And civilians will continue to die.

    Questions: What is the difference in your eyes between a civilian death now by artillery rounds, a civilian death next year by airstrike, or a civilian death from a cluster munition ten years from now should the war be over by that time? How are the first two considered unfortunate-but-unavoidable consequences of your war objectives, but the last is somehow beyond the pale? Is it that the last is somehow more avoidable than the first two suffered in the heat of combat? What then of the consequences of this war that will likely last for years after this war officially concludes: on health, economy, education, family pain and dislocation? Those are all consequences of current policies that you deem worth accepting to achieve your war objectives even though the consequences (which will include deaths) will be endured after the war’s end.

    You can blame Putin for any civilian deaths and enduring consequences; most will. It is very similar to how many of us look at ongoing consequences post-pandemic (education shortfalls, shuttered businesses, and excess deaths, for instance) and blame the “pandemic” rather than blame policies implemented during the pandemic. But be it Putin or pandemic, we make policy choices to respond—and those policies have consequences. So, how do you make the determination that lives and livelihoods potentially saved now are—or are not—worth lives and livelihoods potentially lost later? That human suffering potentially eased now is—or is not—worth human suffering potentially increased later?

    All of that to suggest that this is not a simple matter of cluster munitions “good” or cluster munitions “bad.”

  10. A YouTube/ Telegram Ukrainian war blogger I follow is all for the cluster bombs with little thought of next week let alone the consequences of their use. The war is now and what is needed is all that counts.

  11. Re: the Twitter post about the photo Charles Duke left on the moon:

    “Since the moon lacks an atmosphere, the photograph has remained unaffected by weather conditions, preserving it in pristine condition. Over the years, subsequent missions to the moon have respected the historic significance of the photo and have not disturbed its placement.

    Pray tell, what subsequent missions are those? Apollo 17 was the next and last mission, at Taurus-Littrow, nowhere near the Descartes Highlands. Yes, there’s no weather on the moon, no atmosphere to deflect the UV light (and perhaps cosmic rays, etc.) and protect the photo. Anyway, just leave a photo on earth frequently exposed to sunlight and see the result over time.

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