31 August 2023

My Heart Bleeds Borscht for Them

In response to claims by ISPs that it is too difficult for them to list all the fees that they charge their customers, the FCC has told the ISPs to go Cheney themselves.

Nice that the  FCC is not pimping for the incumbents any more

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday rejected requests to eliminate an upcoming requirement that Internet service providers list all of their monthly fees.

Five major trade groups representing US broadband providers petitioned the FCC in January to scrap the requirement before it takes effect. In June, Comcast told the FCC that the listing-every-fee rule "impose[s] significant administrative burdens and unnecessary complexity in complying with the broadband label requirements."


Comcast and other ISPs objected to a requirement that ISPs "list all recurring monthly fees" including "all charges that providers impose at their discretion, i.e., charges not mandated by a government." They complained that the rule will force them "to display the pass-through of fees imposed by federal, state, or local government agencies on the consumer broadband label."

Hotels display these fees, why is it so tough for you?

What they really want to do is to act like Comcast, promise, break those promises, then profit.


As we've previously written, ISPs could simplify billing and comply with the new broadband-labeling rules by including all costs in their advertised rates. That would give potential customers a clearer idea of how much they have to pay each month and save ISPs the trouble of listing every charge that they currently choose to break out separately.

Rejecting the broadband industry's request, the FCC order yesterday said:
[W]e affirm our requirement that providers display all monthly fees with respect to broadband service on the label to provide consumers with clear and accurate information about the cost of their broadband service. We thus decline providers' request that they not disclose those fees or that they instead display an "up to" price for certain fees they choose to pass through to consumers.
Specifically, "providers must itemize the fees they add to base monthly prices, including fees related to government programs they choose to 'pass through' to consumers, such as fees related to universal service or regulatory fees," the FCC said.

This sh%$ ain't hard.  The ISPs already have the f%$#ing fees on their f%$#ing computers so they can f%$#ing price gouge their customers, so they can f%$#ing provide said customers with transparency.

It's Thursday

Initial unemployment claims rose by 6,000, to 227,000, and continuing claims rose slightly to 1.7 million.

Meanwhile, PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure) inflation rose slightly, from 3% in June to 3.3% in July.

I expect the Fed to use this as an excuse to raise rates again, because everything is an excuse to raise rates.

30 August 2023

F%$# Me, I Agree with Matt “Close Encounters with the Third Grade” Gaetz

The distinguished gentleman from Florida has introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would require the Pentagon to issue detailed reports to Congress for all of the foreign soldiers that it has trained who later participated in a coup.

It's actually kind of weak tea, but it is a starT.

Given the record of such programs, there is a reason that the School of the Americas had to rename itself:

In response to a spate of coups by U.S.-trained military personnel in West Africa and the greater Sahel, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has authored an amendment to the 2024 defense spending bill to collect information on trainees who overthrow their governments. It would require the Pentagon for the first time to inform Congress about U.S.-mentored mutineers, Gaetz told The Intercept in an exclusive interview.

“The Department of Defense, up until this point, has not kept data regarding the people they train who participate in coups to overthrow democratically elected — or any — governments,” said Gaetz. “And that’s why in this National Defense Authorization Act … I have legislation that demands a collection of that data and a report to Congress about those outcomes.” Congress is set to take up the 2024 NDAA when it returns from recess in September.

The Intercept has found that at least 15 officers who benefitted from U.S. security assistance have been involved in 12 coups in West Africa and the greater Sahel during the war on terror. The list includes military personnel from Burkina Faso (2014, 2015, and twice in 2022); Chad (2021); Gambia (2014); Guinea (2021); Mali (2012, 2020, 2021); Mauritania (2008); and Niger (2023). At least five leaders of the Niger coup in late July received American training, according to a U.S. official. They, in turn, appointed five U.S.-trained members of the Nigerien security forces to serve as governors, according to the State Department.

There is a reason that US training correlates to coups against elected governments, and has for over 80 years.

This ain't a bug, this is a feature.

Osama, Take Me Now

37% of dog owners in the United States are vaccine hesitant because they are concerned about doggy autism.

I understand the concern.  A lot of dogs are completely non-verbal and engage in stimming behavior like chasing their own tails and pursuing tennis balls.  (Not)

The anti-vaccine rhetoric that dogged COVID-19 responses has now gone to the dogs, literally.

A little more than half of surveyed dog owners—53 percent—questioned the safety, efficacy, and/or necessity of vaccinating their beloved four-legged family members. The study, published recently in the journal Vaccine, involved a nationally representative group of 2,200 American adults, of which 42 percent (924) made up the analyzed subgroup of dog owners. Overall, the findings add to concern that the anti-vaccine sentiments that flared amid the pandemic have fanned out broadly, undermining even routine childhood vaccinations.

That concern was supported by the new study, which found that the dog owners who espoused "canine vaccine hesitancy," or CVH, were more likely to embrace misinformation and falsehoods linked to human vaccines. And those anti-vaccine beliefs were potent. Responses from the CVH dog owners suggested that 56 percent opposed mandatory vaccination against rabies, a 100 percent fatal condition.

In a particularly striking finding, the study found that 37 percent of all dog owners believed vaccines could cause their pets to develop cognitive problems, such as "canine/feline autism."

To be clear, vaccines do not cause autism. This falsehood has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked for years; the plethora of data on vaccine safety shows absolutely no link between vaccination and autism. Further, "canine autism" (aka "canine dysfunctional behavior" on the Internet) is not a real condition. A veterinarian who was not involved with the new study confirmed to Ars that it is not an established diagnosis, though dogs can suffer behavioral and cognitive disorders unrelated to human autism.

Nevertheless, anti-vaccine bunkum has clearly metastasized to our furry companions. The lead author of the study, Matthew Motta, told Ars over email that he and his co-authors expected some vaccine hesitancy among pet owners but still found the results "pretty surprising."

Not surprising at all, to quote H.L. Mencken, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

29 August 2023

When Hashtags Go Bad

I saw this on imgur, and had to share, because this is sus:

Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope!

So, doctors in Australia, operating on a patient to investigate an anomaly spotted on a brain scan, found a live worm, still wriggling.

Just no.  F$#@ no!

28 August 2023

Well, That Explains a Lot

Have you noticed that you are inundated by request for ratings whenever you use a service? 

Whether it's an online purchase, or a visit to the dentist, it seems that they are followed up by 3 or 4 requests to offer a rating of fill out an online survey.

It always seemed silly, but it turns out that there is a purpose to this, and it is somewhat nefarious.

They are not looking for your satisfaction with their good or service, they are looking for additional data for marketing purposes.

Everything these days seems to be another attempt to monetize your private information:

Not to boast, but my feedback is important. So important that, in the past couple of weeks alone, I’ve received a mountain of desperate requests for it.


Friends, family, and colleagues report similar distress. After a doctor’s visit, one of them got bombarded with demands to review and rate the practice. He finally gave in and left a negative review—partly because it seemed like the office spent more time haranguing him for feedback than providing useful medical advice. Another reported a local market’s incessant demands that she review a nonalcoholic aperitif she once sampled and had utterly forgotten about.

This phenomenon has become so common as to swell into malaise. Data panhandling, let’s call it: a constant, unwelcome, and invasive demand that you provide feedback about everything, all the time. Each “request” is really just begging, an appeal for a favor without any expectation of benefit or reciprocity.

The root of the problem is that a request for your feedback isn’t actually a request for your feedback; it’s a means to accrue data of a certain kind, for a presumed purpose. For example, the demand to know “if you’d recommend us to a friend or colleague” indicates the pursuit of a market-research benchmark called “net promoter score,” a dumb business metric that persists because it’s easy to use, not because it has value. A doctor or dentist that asks for a rating is probably doing so to raise their local search-engine ranking, so that new patients can find their practice. Five-star reviews for retail or food-service delivery are more often used to lord power over poorly paid flex workers than to improve the service you encounter. If you feel alienated from requests for feedback, that’s because you are.


It is no longer possible just to consume, for every consumer act comes with secret demands invoked only later. Even gratifying transactions—even forgettable ones—are now tainted, because to achieve them, you must evade the corporate hands reaching and mouths calling for you, unending, demanding your assessment, your opinion, your feedback, your review. Consumer life has ended, replaced, against all odds, by something worse.

It's depressing as hell.

Credit Where Credit is Due

True Dat

I've not been a fan of Joe Biden's foreign policy.

I think that he is a creature of the US foreign policy, "Blob."

That bastion of the belief in the myth of American exceptionalism, as well as a toxic combination of arrogance and hypocrisy, has been screw up the world, and US foreign policy since (at least) the end of WWII.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of the foreign policy consensus in the United States.

That being said, the fact that for the first time since the 1960s, Henry Kissinger has not been invited to the White House offer his insights.


That perfidious war criminal should be in a cell in The Hague, not fêted by society as he was at his hundredth birthday.

To quote Anthony Bourdain, "Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević."

Snark of the Day

Vivek was two years behind me, and I didn’t know him, which is a little strange given that we were both college Republicans and we were both obnoxious little sh%$s.
Josh Barrow

(%$ mine)

Mr. Barrow noted that his antipathy toward Vivek Ramaswamy was that he was a, section guy

That guy in your discussion section who adores the sound of his own voice, who thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet with the most interesting and valuable interpretations of the course material, and who will not ever, ever, ever shut up.

I did not encounter this much in engineering school, the classes tended to be large lecture formats, and the small sections were typically things like labs or a TA describing computer programming or the like.

My first two years though, when I did a liberal arts curriculum at Hampshire College, I did encounter the section guy, in one case, in a creative writing course, the professor.

Or maybe I was the section guy.  I hope not. (OK, maybe during the journalism course, and in political cafeteria discussions, and in ……… OK, I probably was that guy, I am that guy, but I am not running for office.)

Tweet of the Day

Yeah, but is is a f%$# tonne of coke.

27 August 2023

So Much for Natural Immunity

A new study has shown that, for seniors at least, Covid infections make one more susceptible to reinfection.

So the whole "Herd Immunity Infect Everyone Now" thing is even more harmful than we had previously thought:

In a sign that scientists still don’t fully understand how some COVID-19 variants manage to evade the immune system, a new Ontario study has found that retirement- and long-term-care home residents infected during the first Omicron wave were 20 times more likely to get reinfected by the virus than those who avoided a prior infection.

The surprising finding by researchers at McMaster University runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that a previous COVID infection affords protection against future infections, at least in the older adults who participated in the study.

Wear your f%$#ing mask.

Credit Where Credit is Due

The Biden administration has been good on labor issues and antitrust, much better than his three Democratic Party predecessors.

In the latest case, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that companies that violate labor laws in response to unionization efforts will be ordered to recognize the union.

The National Labor Relations Board on Friday announced a new framework for determining when companies must bargain with unions without an election—a policy that supporters said will make union-busting much more difficult.

Following the NLRB's decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, when workers ask an employer to voluntarily recognize a union as their bargaining representative, the company can voluntarily do so and begin good-faith negotiations.

Alternatively, the company may file a petition seeking an election, and as long as it does not commit unfair labor practices, one will be held. However, if a company does engage in such violations—or refuses to voluntarily recognize a union and fails to file a petition—the NLRB will now order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union without an election.


In other words, "union-busting just got a lot harder," More Perfect Union said on social media. "This brings the board's position closer to the old Joy Silk doctrine, which held that if a majority of workers signed union cards, there didn't need to be an election at all and bosses just had to recognize the union and bargain in good faith."


Brishen Rogers, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, said on the social media platform X that "Cemex may be the most important NLRB decision in a generation."


In the case of Cemex—a U.S. subsidiary of a multinational that provides ready-mix concrete, cement, and aggregates to the construction industry—the NLRB "found that the employer engaged in more than 20 instances of objectionable or unlawful misconduct during the critical period between the filing of the election petition and the election," the agency said in a statement. "Accordingly, the board found that the employer was subject to a bargaining order under both the Supreme Court's decision in NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co. and under the newly announced standard, applied retroactively in this case."

NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran connected the Cemex decision and the board's Thursday rollback of policies established under the Trump administration that dragged out union elections—a move also welcomed by workers and labor rights advocates.

This is an unalloyed good, at least as long as it's not struck down by some cracker judge in Texas.

Full text of their decision follows:

26 August 2023

Too Hot for Blogging

Not me, the weather.

I was at an SCA event, and it was brutally hot.

Still recovering.

25 August 2023

Well, That's Reassuring

It appears that the US Secret Service worked hand and glove with the terrorist organization Oath Keepers.

Maybe it is just me, I think that this might indicate some problems with the organization:

Internal Secret Service emails obtained by CREW show special agents in close communication with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, while failing to acknowledge the group’s ties to white nationalists and clashes with law enforcement.

In September 2020, a Secret Service agent sent an email to others within the agency, informing them that he had just spoken to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes about an upcoming visit by then-President Trump to Fayetteville, NC. The agent, who referred to himself as “the unofficial liaison to the Oath Keepers (inching towards official),” described the group as “primarily retired law enforcement/former military members who are very pro-LEO [law enforcement officer] and Pro Trump. Their stated purpose is to provide protection and medical attention to Trump supporters if they come under attack by leftist groups.” He went on to say that Rhodes, “had specific questions and wanted to liaison [sic] with our personnel” and shared Rhodes’s cell phone number.

Right wing terrorists have been burrowing into the federal government for years.

It should be fixed, but I have no clue as to how.

CEO Thinks That His Product Sucks

I didn't hear a harrumph

That's what Zoom CEO Eric Yuan was caught saying on a saying (ironically enough) on a Zoom call about his return to the office order.

He is recorded stating that, "Remote work didn't allow people to build as much trust or be as innovative."

Yep, he just said that Zoom is bullsh%$.

He was not telling the truth, of course.  The reality is that there is a whole swath of middle managers who have no purpose with work from home, and their managers lose relevance when they have fewer people to manage, ans so on up the chain.

It is Dave Graber's Bullsh%$ Jobs writ small:

Earlier this month, Zoom announced a surprising decision to require some of its employees to return to the office, where they were expected to work more effectively. Now, leaked audio from an internal Zoom meeting shared with Business Insider has revealed that Zoom CEO Eric Yuan called employees back to the office because he believes that "remote work didn't allow people to build as much trust or be as innovative."

None of this seems to jibe with Zoom's brand, which provides video-conferencing technology that the company promises enables "immersive in-office collaboration right from home."

Gee, ya think?


On a page promoting Zoom's Meetings feature, the company said that 95 percent of "customers who switch to Zoom report an increase" in performance and trust among team members. Now it seems that Yuan has revealed that Zoom as a company found that that promise did not bear out.

But wait, there's more!


Another reason why Yuan wanted to get employees back together in the office was to drive innovation that he claimed results from having more heated conversations and debates that just don't happen as often over Zoom. Yuan said that instead, to the seeming detriment of the company's ability to generate new ideas, "everyone tends to be very friendly when you join a Zoom call."

Yeah, he thinks that it is too difficult to bully people on a Zoom call.

I'm not sure why sociopaths like Yuan get venture capital, but I'm thinking that VC's see a kindred spirit in him.

If you invest in individual stocks, I don't I do index funds, you might want to short zoom.

Missed a Few

How the f%$# did I miss Mark f%$#ing Meadows in my rogues gallery last night? Sorry. 

I've added names to last night's posts.

Mark Meadows

David Shafer

Harrison Floyd
Only black man and only one in custody now. Funny, innit?

Jeffrey Clark

Michael Roman

Robert Cheeley

Shawn Still

Misty Hampton

Trevian Kutti
Because: Kanye tie-in

Stephen Lee
Because every half assed attempt at role playing needs a cleric.

I think that I have them all now.

That sounds like a really twisted game of Pokemon.

24 August 2023

The New York Times is Undeniably Transphobic

There has been a constant stream of of hostility from the Gray Lady with regard transgender people, but the latest episode is just flat out bigoted.

Someone at authority the Times is a bigot, or has made a conscious decision to pander to bigots.

This time, they uncritically published statements from someone who they stated (and buried) was a serial liar.

Someone needs to name and shame whoever is pushing this narrative:

In the New York Times this morning, August 23, 2023, reporter Azeen Ghorayshi writes credulously about the wild, unproven allegations surrounding a St. Louis clinic that specializes in treating gender dysphoric youth. These are the allegations of Jamie Reed, a former clinic employee who has become an activist opposing all medical treatment for gender dysphoria in children (with some statements suggesting she even opposes treatments for adults).

Ghorayshi manages the seemingly impossible, combining examples of her main source’s repeated lies and no evidence of wrongdoing on the part clinic into an article structured to heavily imply Reed’s concerns were genuine, and warranted, in spite of the Times’ own reporting on the case. An early paragraph, which hints at corroboration for some of Reed’s allegations the article never produces, sets this bizarre tone: 

Some of Ms. Reed’s claims could not be confirmed, and at least one included factual inaccuracies. But others were corroborated, offering a rare glimpse into one of the 100 or so clinics in the United States that have been at the center of an intensifying fight over transgender rights.

Jamie Reed alleged numerous things in her essay for the Free Press, and in the affidavit she provided to the Republican attorney general of MO. And, just like the local St. Louis reporters who first investigated this story, the Times found many of the allegations were untrue. But, unlike other stories covering these allegations, the Times downplays the falsehoods and seeks to make a case that despite Reed’s lies there’s something to be taken seriously in her attacks on a highly-regarded, University-linked clinic serving transgender youth.

One key allegation of Reed’s was that the St. Louis clinic failed to inform patients or their parents of the risks associated with treatments such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Following in the footsteps of other reporters who examined this claim months ago, Ghorayshi finds this was an outright lie. She writes, “[Reed’s] affidavit claimed that the clinic’s doctors did not inform parents or children of the serious side effects of puberty blockers and hormones. But emails show that Ms. Reed herself provided parents with fliers outlining possible risks.”


The Times also found new evidence of a false claim. Reed’s affidavit describes a patient who was harmed by bicalutamide, a drug that blocks testosterone. In Assigned’s first piece on Reed’s allegations, this anecdote stood out. We looked into the data on bicalutamide and found that liver toxicity is such a rare side effect with only individual case histories, and no statistical studies, documenting it as a rare adverse response. The literature suggested that when liver toxicity occurrs it does so within the first few days of starting treatment.

Ghorayshi located the mother of this patient who described a completely different situation than what Reed alleged. Her daughter had been on bicalutamide for a year, and the liver symptoms showed up only after the young patient also contracted COVID and took a second drug which also carried risks of liver problems.

If that’s not enough, the mother also provided emails directly contradicting Reed’s description of how she had responded at the time.


Somehow, despite these major questions about Reed’s reliability, Ghorayshi largely seems to take Reed at face value, portraying her as a former supporter of gender-affirming care who began to question it due to what she saw at the clinic, rather than as an unreliable source who has lied or stretched the truth again and again and whose descriptions of everything, particularly her own motives, should therefore rightly be suspect.

While Ghorayshi has been a particularly egregious transphobe at the Times, and a Buzzfeed before that, it's clear that she was hired and given her marching orders by someone in a position of authority, probably senior editor or above, to run with this and to focus on this.

In reading various accounts from various sources, (NPR, The Nation, The Guardian, etc.) it seems to me that everyone knows who this is, but they do not want to say.

F%$# professional courtesy.  Name and shame the bastard.

H/t Atrios

It's Thursday, So

It's time for last week's unemployment report.

Initial claims fell by 10,000 to 230,000, basically flat, and continuing claims fell slightly to 1.7 million. 

Rather unsurprisingly, claims in Hawaii spiked.

Burning down half an island has a way of doing that.

Also, in more definitive news, mortgage rates hit 7.23%, the highest rate in 22 years.

I expect the Fed to continue raising rates.  They want their damn recession.

The Mask Slips

The CEO of Genentech is threatening to delay drug roll-outs over the Biden administration's (fairly pathetic) attempt to implement drug price controls.

It seems that if they cannot loot with complete impunity, they will take their marbles and go home.

This why IP in general, and drug patents in particular, should not be an unlimited license to levy economic rents:

A Swiss pharmaceutical company announced this month that it could slow-walk bringing a potentially life-saving drug to market — in order to reduce the time that it could be subject to President Joe Biden’s recently enacted federal price regulations.

Those comments were made by the CEO of Genentech, whose parent company, Roche, has reaped as much as $10 billion from Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, seeing its net income go up by an average of more than 50 percent, while its spending on research and development has increased by just 25 percent.


For two decades, Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices like most other high-income countries do. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have been able to charge Americans substantially higher prices for their products than they do elsewhere. They’ve done so even though the American public subsidized research and development costs for every drug approved for sale in the U.S. between 2010-19.

Now, thanks to the new law’s drug price provisions, Medicare can begin to negotiate lower prices for 10 drugs beginning in 2026, with additional drugs added in subsequent years.


Earlier this month, the health news site STAT published an interview with Genentech CEO Alexander Hardy in which he said that the company could delay the release of an effective drug for ovarian cancers in order to first ensure it is approved to be sold to the largest population of patients before it is subject to the new price controls.

 Seriously, we need to put them in jail and take all their stuff.


The Sh%$ is Getting Real

Algeria has just closed its airspace to French military aircraft in response to threats of France intervening militarily in Niger.

The Algerians have a long and fraught history with French colonial rule, and there is no love lost between them as a result.

Additionally, French policies in the Sahel have basically been an extension of its colonial rule.

It is no surprise that Algeria has been aggressively opposing a potential French military intervention in Niger:

Algeria has reportedly refused to grant access to its airspace to French military aircraft for potential operations into Central Africa, at a time when Paris is considering supporting a military intervention against its former colony of Niger. Military options to restore a French-aligned government in Niamey began to be discussed shortly after its was deposed in July. Algeria, which gained independence from French colonial rule after a long liberation war in 1962, has consistently opposed Western military operations against other African states, and previously closed its airspace to French military aircraft flying to and from its southern neighbour Mali. As by far the largest country in Africa, and located directly between France and both Mali and Niger, an inability to use Algerian airspace will seriously complicate possible operations. In Mali’s case, Algiers also reportedly helped pay for the deployment of Russian military contractors to support the Malian Armed Forces, allowing them to more easily expel French and other European forces from 2021.


Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune voiced concerns regarding a possible attack on Niger, stating: “a military intervention could ignite the whole Sahel region and Algeria will not use force with its neighbours.” Following the overthrows of French-aligned governments in Mali and Burkina Faso in popular military coups, Niger was long seen as vulnerable to possible similar unrest particularly as anti-French sentiments continued to rise. Incidents such as the French massacre of ‘Down with France’ protestors in December 2021 only further increased tensions. French, American and other Western forces in Niger have notably refused to leave since the change in government in the final week of July, although it has been widely speculated that should the new administration remain in power Western military bases will face growing pressure to close. This would potentially pave the way to closer security ties between Niger and Russia through the latter’s military contractor groups. Algeria itself remains a leading Russian security partner, and has invested very heavily in modernising its armed forces and in particular its aerial warfare capabilities since the unexpected NATO assault on Libya in 2011, leading it to be considered the most capable military power in Africa or the Arab world by a significant margin.

The French air force is heavily dependent on tanking for their foreign deployments, so this would make military action in Niger much more difficult.

That's basic geography.

Still Can't Build Planes

Remember when Boeing spun off its Wichita facilities as Spirit in order to boost the profit numbers?

A classic example of unproductive financial engineering to hit the numbers, because that always works so well.

They may have to reacquire the firm because the quality situation is so dire.

Spirit Aerosystems delivered a bunch of rear pressure bulkheads where the holes were miss-drilled, and they just drilled new holes.

So some additional holes in the rear Pressure Bulkhead, and some of these new holes were, "Snowmen," where the holes overlap.

From now on, it's Airbus for me:

Boeing is reviewing a newly disclosed 737 Max production issue to determine if the problem might keep it from meeting its 2023 aircraft-delivery target.

The company on 23 August said a problem involving mis-drilled holes in 737 Max 8 aft-pressure bulkheads would impact its “near-term” deliveries.


The problem involves “fastener holes that did not conform to our specifications in the aft-pressure bulkhead on certain” 737s, Boeing said on 23 August. “This issue will impact near-term 737 deliveries as we conduct inspections to determine the number of airplanes affected, and complete required rework on those airplanes.”

Spirit says the defect involves “elongated” fasteners. It has implemented “changes to its manufacturing process to address this issue” and does not expect the problem to cause a “material impact to our delivery range for the year”. Also, multiple companies supply the affected parts to Spirit, which is why not all airframes are affected, it adds.


Also, in April, Boeing disclosed having halted some 737 deliveries due to “non-conforming’ fuselage components.

Boeing has outsourced its quality checks to its vendors, who are generally disinclined to report on themselves, because it boosts the quarterly numbers.

Corporate murder by MBA.

Rogues Gallery

Yeah, it's their mug shots.

(Added names for the mug shots)

Donald John Trump

Rudolph William Louis Giuliani

Kenneth Chesebro

Sidney Powell

Scott Hall

John Eastman

Jenna Ellis

Ray Smith

Cathy Latham

No sense of fashion here. The occasion calls for orange.

Deep Thought

Why am I getting text message spam from the Republican Party, and why are they being addressed to my eldest child's dead name?

Because are they incompetent muthaf%$#ers.

I'd call them, "Assholes," but an anus serves a useful function.

23 August 2023

Indian Prop Lands Near Lunar South Pole

India's first moon landing

India's Chandrayaan-3 probe just landed in the Lunar south polar region, the first such landing of a probe in that region, and the first lunar landing for India.

It's also got a small rover, so it there is a pretty good chance that it will find any water that is there to find.

The first images from India's Chandrayaan-3 mission taken after the probe's historic moon touchdown reveal a pockmarked surface near the lunar south pole.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared the images on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday (Aug. 23), about four hours after the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft completed its smooth descent.

The first set of four images were taken by the lander's Horizontal Velocity Camera as it was nearing the surface of the moon. An additional image from the Landing Imager Camera, shared a little later, shows a glimpse of the landing site, including a portion of the spacecraft's landing leg and its shadow.


The landing made India only the fourth country in history to successfully put a spacecraft on the surface of the moon, after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China. Chandrayaan-3 is also the first spacecraft in history to touch down near the lunar south pole, an area that is currently attracting the attention of scientists and space agencies from all over the world.

Scientists think that the permanently shadowed polar craters contain water ice trapped in the rocks, which could be extracted and used to support a permanent human presence on Earth's natural companion. Moreover, these lunar craters could be used to build next-generation telescopes that would allow astronomers to see farther than they can today.

A small rover called Pragyan arrived on board Chandrayaan-3 and will soon deploy and commence its exploration of the exciting region, so many more fascinating images are likely to come soon. Both the rover and the lander, however, are unlikely to remain operational for more than two weeks, as ISRO doesn't expect the vehicles' batteries to make it through the two-week lunar night.

Still, it should be an exciting 2 weeks.

Of Course They Did

In 2019,  Baltimore County passed a law mandating impact fees through new developments.

In FY 2021 and FY2023, this law generated no money at all because the developers are aggressively gaming the system.

In the last two years, Baltimore County developers received almost 1,000 exemptions from having to pay fees that would have gone toward building public infrastructure, generating far less money than the county expected to recoup.

In 2021, developers received 539 exemptions. The following year, they received 459 exemptions, for a total of 998 exemptions, according to data from the Baltimore County Planning Board.

The Baltimore County Council passed a law in 2019, first introduced by Councilman David Marks, imposing fees on new construction to offset the effects of development on public schools, sewers and roads, which has become more urgent as almost a third of Baltimore County public schools are at or over capacity.

But a series of carveouts rendered the impact fees law largely ineffective, as the county did not recoup any money in fiscal year 2023, and only netted about $14,000 in fiscal year 2022, far short of the $5.7 million Baltimore County expected to reap when the council passed the bill in spring 2019. 
A law is proposed, and there is no politically supportable reason to propose it, so the developers proposed some tweaks, and these tweaks made the law worthless.

And you wonder why I hate real-estate developers.  (OK, actually it was my dad's experience as a city planner dealing with those rat-f%$#s)


Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, initially proposed the legislation known as the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance in April 2019 that would have implemented a $3 per square foot fee on new construction, required developers to pay the cost before receiving a building permit, and required developers to start paying fees in July 2020.

“The bill that was passed was much different from the one I proposed,” Marks said.

The day in May 2019 when the County Council passed the bill, there “was a flurry of amendments authored by my colleagues” that “watered down the bill,” he said.


The county netted no money from impact fees in either fiscal years 2021 or 2023, Palmisano said.

Lori Graf, chief executive of the Maryland Building Industry Association, said she was not surprised at how little Baltimore County had recouped. Her group opposed Marks’ draft legislation on the grounds that levying more fees on construction would make homeownership more costly, particularly for lower-earning residents.

“We have concerns about adding costs to people’s houses when there is little supply,” said Graf, referring to a dearth of residential building in the Baltimore area.

Real estate developers are so evil that a Republican is one of the good guys.

Yeah, I know.  It buggers the mind.

First, He Fell Out the Window

This is no boating accident
There are reports tha Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was on a private jet that crashed today.

 There were no survivors. 

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead, having been named on the passenger list of a private jet that crashed north of the Russian capital, Moscow.

A key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, his private military company has played a key role in Ukraine following Moscow's invasion in February 2022.

But his relationship with Mr Putin soured after Prigozhin ordered his troops to march on Moscow in a day-long rebellion against Russia's military leaders in June.

The obvious conclusion it was Putin what done it.  My money is on him saying, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest," to a stooge.

Obviously I don't have a clue as to what actually happen, and neither does anyone else.

Expect a sh%$ load of unsupported speculation over the next few days.

Tweet of the Day

It ain't over, not by a long shot.  Wear your f%$#ing mask.

That Amount of Alcohol Would Kill Me ……… and 3 Elephants ……… and 2 Blue Whales……… and the Crew of the Starship Enterprise

You may recall that some time ago, I sober blogged a Presidential debate.

It nearly killed me.

Based on preliminary calculations the amount of alcohol required to survive the Republican Presidential debate tonight would not only kill me, but it would require enough alcohol to cause significant collateral damage casualties.

So I will note be watching.

I'll read summaries tomorrow.

22 August 2023

Beaver Bombing, It’s Not What You Think

Ecological activists are reintroducing beavers to rivers without the proper permits.

I have mixed emotions about this.

On the one hand, we have all sorts of ecological chicanery carried out under the auspices of restoration, and on the other hand, it's beavers, who are ecological miracle workers:

In 1998, Olivier Rubbers “beaver bombed” his local waterways.

In layman’s terms, that means he re-released beavers into the wild, letting them naturally dam up a river. It was technically illegal, but it raises the question — is it wrong?

Rubbers picked up beavers from Germany, then crossed the border into his native Belgium to release them. He repeated this several times over two years, bringing a total of 97 beavers into his country. He watched as the beavers did their magic, turning streams into beaver ponds, a perfect habitat for frogs, fish, and more.


And Rubbers is not alone. There is an underground network of wildlife lovers who also do this type of conservation: illegally introducing, removing, or reintroducing species to bring balance back to nature. Some have proper scientific backgrounds, while others, like Rubbers, do not.

Not sure how I feel about this while phenomenon.

What I do know is that the permitting process should be more efficient, and these actions should not be limited to cute animals like beavers.


Headline of the Day

Tech’s Broken Promises: Streaming Is Now Just as Expensive and Confusing as Cable. Ubers Cost as Much as Taxis. And the Cloud Is No Longer Cheap.
Business Insider

They seem to think that this was not how it was supposed to turn out.

This was the plan all along.

Use massive infusions of venture capital to take over markets through predatory pricing, and by the time that reality hits SoftBank and Masayoshi Son have already cashed out.

Not only is it criminal anti-competitive behavior, it is pump and done fraud:

Sooner or later, everything old is new again.

We may be at this point in tech, where supposedly revolutionary products are becoming eerily similar to the previous offerings they were supposed to beat.

Take video streaming. In search of better profitability, Netflix, Disney, and other providers have been raising prices. The various bundles are now as annoyingly confusing as cable, and they cost basically the same. Somehow, we're also paying to watch ads. How did that happen?


Streaming was supposed to be better and cheaper. I'm not sure that's the case anymore. This NFL season, as in previous years, I'll record games on OTA linear TV using a TiVo box from about 2014. I'll watch hours of action every weekend free, and I'll watch no ads. Streaming can't match that.

You can still stream without ads, but the cost of this is getting so high and the bundling is so complex that it's getting as bad as cable — the technology that streaming was supposed to radically improve upon.


A similar shift is happening in ride-hailing. Uber has been on a quest to become profitable, and it achieved that, based on one measure, in the most recent quarter. Lyft is desperately trying to keep up. How are they doing this? Raising prices is one way.

Wired's editor at large, Steven Levy, recently took a 2.95-mile Uber ride from downtown New York City to the West Side to meet Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. When asked to estimate the cost of the ride, Khosrowshahi put it at $20. That turned out to be less than half the actual price of $51.69, including a tip for the driver.


Finally, there's the cloud, which has promised cheaper and more secure computing for companies. There are massive benefits from flexibility here: You can switch your rented computing power on and off quickly, depending on your needs. That's a real advance.

The other main benefits — price and security — have been looking shakier lately.


As a fast-growing startup, Snap bought into the cloud and decided not to build its own infrastructure. In the roughly five years since going public, the company has spent about $3 billion on cloud services from Google and AWS. These costs have been the second-biggest expense at Snap, behind employees. 

There is a technical term for this, enshittification.

For at least the past decade venture capitalism's model has been little different from a bucket shop.

If we actually enforced the laws against fraud, both Andreessen and Horowitz would be in jail.


Covid Neurological Damage Anyone?

Over at Vox,  Alex Abad-Santos wonders why we are seeing so much bad behavior in public?

It's also driving, and customer interactions.

There is significant evidence that Covid-19 can manifest with subtle, and not so subtle, cognitive impairment.

There is a distinct possibility that many of the people out there behaving poorly are actually ill:

Some people shouldn’t be out in public right now.

Movie theaters have become a lawless land where some moviegoers have no reservations about using their phones after films have started. Sometimes it’s not just a glance at the time, but full-on social media scrolls and posting. In New York City, Broadway audiences are drunk, rowdy, and apparently leaving feces in the aisles of theaters. This summer at various concerts, Albanian pop star Bebe Rexha was beaned in the face, fellow pop princess Ava Max was slapped by a stage rusher, aerial-enthusiast Pink was handed someone’s mother’s ashes, fans interrupted country singer Miranda Lambert’s intimate show with an impromptu photo shoot, and a “fan” threw water on rapper Cardi B. (Cardi responded by chucking her microphone at her water-flinger.)


According to experts I spoke to, this rash of bad behavior can probably be traced to the pandemic shutdowns of 2020. During the lockdowns, we didn’t have large-scale social events and, no doubt, some people have sort of forgotten how to act now that they’re back.

This is not your mother's throwing panties at Tom Jones. 

It's also not people forgetting how to behave.  People did not stop driving during the lock-down, and we are still seeing aggressive and impulsive driving.

A significant portion of our population, possibly including me, (I had Covid last year) may be suffering from a viral brain injury.

This Is Metal as F%$#

I don't know why I am so stoked about this, but the fact that Vlad the Impaler probably wept blood amuses me way too much.

Some researchers have extracted genetic information from his letters and there are indications of a condition called hemolacria.

The eponymous villain of Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel Dracula was partly inspired by a real historical person: Vlad III, a 15th-century prince of Wallachia (now southern Romania), known by the moniker Vlad the Impaler because of his preferred method of execution: impaling his victims on spikes. Much of what we know about Vlad III comes from historical documents, but scientists have now applied cutting-edge proteomic analysis to three of the prince's surviving letters, according to a recent paper published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. Among their findings: the Romanian prince was not a vampire, but he may have wept tears of blood, consistent with certain legends about Vlad III.


We have some idea of what Vlad looked like, thanks to contemporary descriptions that admittedly are a bit biased by the prince's brutal reputation. For instance, papal legate Nicholas of Modrussy described Vlad as "not very tall, but stocky and strong, with a cruel and terrible appearance, a long straight nose, distended nostrils, a thin and reddish face in which the large wide-open green eyes were framed by bushy black eyebrows, which made them appear threatening." And there are several accounts, per the authors, of Vlad shedding tears of blood.

Hoping to learn more about Vlad and the general environment in which he lived, the authors of the new study turned to three letters written by Vlad Dracula addressed to the rulers of the city of Sibiu. The first two were written in 1475, one of which includes Vlad's personal signature; those letters have been stored in the Sibiu archives for more than 500 years and were never subjected to any kind of restoration efforts. The third letter was written in 1457 and was restored in Bucharest in the 20th century, although the authors state that the process was carried out in such a way as to minimize any biological or chemical contamination of the document.


All told, the team identified 100 ancient human peptides—31 of which were deemed of particular interest—and an additional 2,000 peptides from bacteria, viruses, insects, fungi, and green plants. Those 31 human peptides were related to blood proteins or the respiratory system, as well as ciliopathy or retinal diseases, or inflammatory processes, per the authors. One of the letters from 1475 contained three peptides specifically associated with proteins of the eye's retina and tears. The authors thus concluded that Vlad III may have suffered from a medical condition known as hemolacria, in which a person sheds tears of blood, as well as skin inflammation and respiratory illness. He may also have been exposed to plague-related bacteria or fruit flies and other pests, based on the non-human peptides analyzed.

There are caveats, of course, most notably the fact that the authors cannot entirely rule out the possibility that the human proteins could have come from other medieval people who may also have handled the documents. However, "It is also presumable that the most ancient proteins should be related to Prince Vlad the Impaler, who wrote and signed these letters," the authors concluded.

Analytical Chemistry, 2023. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.3c01461 (About DOIs).

 This is why I love history.

21 August 2023

Out Main Stream Media Adoration of Racism

Tru Dat
One of the things that you hear from many of the VSPs among the punditry is that they are shocked at how far Rudolph "America's Nightmare" Giuliani has fallen since his days in Gracie Mansion.

"Where," they ask, "Is that steady hand we saw on 9/11?" (By which they mean the guy who put the emergency response offices in the World Trade Center as a political payback.)

The truth is, he never existed.  They thought that he did because he was tough to minorities and the poor, and they like bullies so long as the leopard does not eat their faces:

On Monday, Rudy Giuliani was indicted in Georgia for his role in what prosecutors called a conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in that state.


It is not hard to find commentators asking a simple question about the events of the past few years: What happened to Rudy Giuliani? How did “America’s mayor” — the man who rocketed to national fame after the Sept. 11 attacks — come to disgrace and debase himself in defense of Donald Trump? Why would Giuliani, the archetypal tough-on-crime and law-and-order politician, embrace a lawless effort to “stop the steal”?

It’s an understandable question, but it starts from a mistaken premise. It assumes there’s something different about Giuliani — that there was, at some point, a decisive break in Giuliani’s personality or political beliefs that placed him on his current trajectory. But there wasn’t. The line from “America’s mayor” to indicted co-conspirator is a straight one. The answer to What happened to Rudy Giuliani? is Nothing happened. He is the same man he’s always been.


Giuliani never acknowledged or condemned the racism of the police riot. And why would he? His performance galvanized supporters and almost certainly contributed to his narrow victory over Dinkins in his rematch with the incumbent mayor in 1993.

What does any of this have to do with the Rudy Giuliani of 2023? Well, if we think of Giuliani as the personification of American resilience in the face of terrorism, then his turn against democracy and the rule of law is bewildering and inexplicable. But if we think of Giuliani as the scowling demagogue who stoked the flames of chauvinism and racial hatred against New York’s first Black mayor for his own gain, then there’s little other than his carefully crafted image in the press that separates the Giuliani of ’92 from the Giuliani of ’23.

Rudy Giuliani has always been a racist corrupt stupid dirt-bag.

That the pundits are only noticing it now says nothing about the former mayor, but says a lot, none of it good, about the aforementioned pseudo-intellectual meat-heads.

Police are demanding extra money to wear body cameras.

Sorry, if it wasn't in the contract, they can go f%$# themselves.

Body cams protect the good cops, so they are asking for money to provide the good cops, both of them, with extra protection:

The Police Department in Worcester, Mass., could serve as Exhibit A in favor of body cameras for officers.

Plagued by allegations that officers planted evidence, stole drug money and coerced sex in prostitution cases, the 450-officer department learned last November that it was facing a federal civil rights investigation like those launched in Minneapolis, Louisville, Ky., and most recently Memphis.

Elected officials in Worcester had been trying for years to put a body camera program in place, and the Police Department ran a pilot that ended in 2020. But when the city announced that the program would finally begin in earnest in February, the police unions balked, saying they wanted extra pay for wearing the recording devices.

Worcester agreed to pay each rank-and-file officer an annual stipend of $1,300, and the city’s lawyer told the City Council’s 11 members that they were “legally obligated” to approve the payments.

At the vote in May, Etel Haxhiaj, one of three councilors who opposed the stipend, said it flew in the face of the accountability people were demanding.


“It’s literally laughable how the situation has been manipulated by the unions,” said Charles Katz, a criminologist at Arizona State University, noting that the cameras have been shown to reduce the number of misconduct complaints against officers. “Which other pieces of equipment that protect officers’ careers and lives have they charged extra for? They’re not charging extra for Kevlar vests.”

We really need to tear down the whole corrupt institution.

So Now Comes the Attempt to Subvert the Will of the People

Bernardo Arévalo just decisively won the Presidential election in Guatemala, beating his opponent, former first lady and avatar of the corrupt establishment Sandra Torres by more than 20 points.

An anticorruption crusader won a runoff election for Guatemala’s presidency on Sunday, handing a stunning rebuke to the conservative political establishment in Central America’s most populous nation.

Bernardo Arévalo, a polyglot sociologist from an upstart party made up largely of urban professionals, took 58 percent of the vote with 98 percent of votes counted on Sunday, the electoral authority said. His opponent, Sandra Torres, a former first lady, got 37 percent.

Anti-corruption is good, but if he is just a candidate just for the professional–managerial class, and not for the poor and rural Guatemalans, he will be doomed to failure.


Mr. Arévalo’s win is a watershed moment in Guatemala, one of Washington’s longtime allies in the region and a leading source of migration to the United States. Until he squeaked into the runoff with a surprise showing in the first round in June, it was the barring by judicial leaders of several other candidates seen as threats to the country’s ruling elites that had shaped the tumultuous campaign.

Pushing back against such tactics, Mr. Arévalo made fighting graft the centerpiece of his campaign, focusing scrutiny on how Guatemala’s fragile democracy, repeatedly plagued with governments engulfed in scandal, has gone from pioneering anticorruption strategies to shutting down such efforts and forcing judges and prosecutors to flee the country.


Still, Mr. Arévalo symbolizes a break with the established ways of doing politics in Guatemala. The race unfolded amid a crackdown by the current conservative administration on anticorruption prosecutors and judges, as well as nonprofits and journalists like José Rubén Zamora, the publisher of a leading newspaper, who was sentenced in June to up to six years in prison.


This institutional fragility was on display on Sunday. Blanca Alfaro, a judge who helps lead the authority that oversees Guatemala’s elections, said she planned to resign in the coming days because of what she said were threats against her. Gabriel Aguilera, another judge on the electoral authority, said he had also received threats.


After he made it into the runoff, a top prosecutor whom the United States has placed on a list of corrupt officials tried to prevent Mr. Arévalo from running, but that move also backfired, prompting calls from Guatemalan political figures across the ideological spectrum to allow him to remain in the race. 

Notwithstanding the current support of the Biden administration, they publicly expressed disapproval of the attempts to remove Arévalo from the race.

Unfortunately, as soon as he does something that doesn't appeal to the US state security apparatus, the professionals at the State Department and CIA will no doubt start to try to destabilize his government.

His dad, Juan José Arévalo, the first democratically elected President of Guatemala was repeatedly forced into exile by US supported dictators, so one would hope that Bernardo Aréval would view US actions in his nation skeptically.

There Is F$#Ed, Ineluctably F$#Ed, Perpetually F$#Ed,Unbelievably F$#Ed, Totally F$#Ed, and Then There Is………

And then there is, Ronan Farrow drops almost 10,000 words about you in his latest article.

I really can't summarize this, it's more than twice as long has H.P. Lovecraft's Beyond the Mountains of Madness, but here are a few high points:


The meddling of oligarchs and other monied interests in the fate of nations is not new. During the First World War, J. P. Morgan lent vast sums to the Allied powers; afterward, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., poured money into the fledgling League of Nations. The investor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations underwrote civil-society reform in post-Soviet Europe, and the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson funded right-wing media in Israel, as part of his support of Benjamin Netanyahu.


 ………“In some ways.” Reid Hoffman told me that Musk’s attitude is “like Louis XIV: ‘L’état, c’est moi.’ ”


More than thirty of Musk’s current and former colleagues in various industries and a dozen individuals in his personal life spoke to me about their experiences with him. Sam Altman, the C.E.O. of OpenAI, with whom Musk has both worked and sparred, told me, “Elon desperately wants the world to be saved. But only if he can be the one to save it.”

This is Bond villain level narcissism.

Some of Musk’s associates connected his erratic behavior to efforts to self-medicate. Musk, who says he now spends much of his time in a modest house in the wetlands of South Texas, near a SpaceX facility, confessed, in an interview last year, “I feel quite lonely.” He has said that his career consists of “great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress.” One close colleague told me, “His life just sucks. It’s so stressful. He’s just so dedicated to these companies. He goes to sleep and wakes up answering e-mails. Ninety-nine per cent of people will never know someone that obsessed, and with that high a tolerance for sacrifice in their personal life.”

In 2018, the Times reported that members of the Tesla board had grown concerned about Musk’s use of the prescription sleep aid Ambien, which can cause hallucinations. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that he uses ketamine, which has gained popularity both as a depression treatment and as a party drug, and several people familiar with his habits have confirmed this. Musk, who smoked pot on Joe Rogan’s podcast, prompting a NASA safety review of SpaceX, has, perhaps understandably, declined to comment on the reporting that he uses ketamine, but he has not disputed it. “Zombifying people with SSRIs for sure happens way too much,” he tweeted, referring to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, another category of depression treatment. “From what I’ve seen with friends, ketamine taken occasionally is a better option.” Associates suggested that Musk’s use has escalated in recent years, and that the drug, alongside his isolation and his increasingly embattled relationship with the press, might contribute to his tendency to make chaotic and impulsive statements and decisions. Amit Anand, a leading ketamine researcher, told me that it can contribute to unpredictable behavior. “A little bit of ketamine has an effect similar to alcohol. It can cause disinhibition, where you do and say things you otherwise would not,” he said. “At higher doses, it has another effect, which is dissociation: you feel detached from your body and surroundings.” He added, “You can feel grandiose and like you have special powers or special talents. People do impulsive things, they could do inadvisable things at work. The impact depends on the kind of work. For a librarian, there’s less risk. If you’re a pilot, it can cause big problems.”

So is he just a junkie, or mentally ill?  (Why not both?)

What is clear in the scope of this article, which goes into how Musk deliberately doxxes people to his legions of followers to extract revenge, is that he is a profoundly dangerous individual.

Unless and until his relatives decide to file for conservatorship, the rest of us, particularly representatives of government, should not be granting him extraordinary access.

20 August 2023


There has been a lot of work going on around the world to better study the moon's south pole, and the crash of  the Russian Luna 25 probe is a setback for those efforts.

It appears that a propulsion malfunction led to the crash:

Sunday 8:15 am ET update: Russian space officials have confirmed the loss of the Luna 25 spacecraft on the Telegram social media network. The failure occurred during a burn of the vehicle's propulsion system to move the spacecraft into a "pre-landing" orbit on Saturday morning. However, due to an unspecified problem, the propulsion system instead sent the vehicle crashing into the lunar surface.

This is a stunning loss for the Russian space program given that it is the country's first attempt to return to the Moon since a 1976 robotic mission by the Soviet Union. Roscosmos, the Russian space corporation, said that an "interdepartmental commission" will be formed to study the mishap.

Original post: In a terse update posted on the social media network Telegram on Saturday, the Russian space corporation Roscosmos said that an "emergency situation" had occurred on board its Luna 25 spacecraft.

The 1.2-ton lunar lander entered orbit around the Moon three days ago, and since that time Russian engineers have been sending commands for small engine burns to correct the spacecraft's orbit. Roscosmos sent another of these commands on Saturday to put Luna 25 into a "pre-landing orbit" ahead of a landing that had been due to occur as soon as Monday.

However, during the maneuver at 14:10 Moscow time (11:10 UTC) on Saturday, a problem occurred, which did not allow the operation to be carried out successfully. "The management team is currently analyzing the situation," concluded the short statement from Roscosmos.

The Indian Chandrayaan-3 probe is due to set down in the same region shortly.

The lunar south pole interesting because they can supply continuous solar power, and the craters are constantly in shade, which implies the presence of water in them, making them prime real estate for manned facilities.

I Saw This in a Martin Scorsese Film

Piano exit from the song Layla.  A classic.

The death toll has been rapidly rising among prominent crypto con men.

This is beginning to look an awful lot like that  scene in Goodfellas.

The dismembered body of Christian Peev, a 41-year-old cryptocurrency millionaire holding both US and Bulgarian citizenship, has been discovered in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Plumbers, responding to a call about a blocked drain, found Peev’s remains stuffed inside a toilet. Peev, who had amassed his fortune through cryptocurrency investments after graduating from an American university, was reportedly killed between August 8 and August 9.


This case draws parallels to the recent death of another cryptocurrency figure, Fernando Pérez Algaba, who was found dismembered in a red suitcase in Buenos Aires. Algaba’s extravagant lifestyle, fueled by crypto investments showcased on his Instagram, ended in a brutal murder involving gunshot wounds and severed body parts.


In 2022, three other crypto businessmen — Nikolai Mushegian, Tiantian Kullander, and Vyacheslav Taran — all died in mysterious circumstances within a month. Read more about those deaths here.

I'm not sure if someone is covering their tracks, or if it's rats turning on each other over the scraps now that the money has slowed, or someone seeking revenge, but I expect to see a lot of this.  

My money is on the rats turning on each other.

Terrorism Much?

So, some random right-wing terrorist took exception to a clothing store owner flying a pride flag, and shot her to death.

This is not just a foreseeable consequence of the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric employed by the American right, it is the intended consequence of that rhetoric.

This is the desired end point of the Talibaptists:

A business owner in California was shot and killed after a dispute over a LGBTQ+ Pride flag displayed outside her store, authorities said.

Officials from the San Bernardino county sheriff’s office said Laura Ann Carleton, 66, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting on Friday night.

Officials said that during an initial altercation at Carleton’s clothing store, a male suspect “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton”. He then fled the scene.

Deputies were able to locate the suspect, who was armed, and he was shot dead after a confrontation with the officers. By Sunday, the man had not been identified.

Carleton, who preferred to be called “Lauri”, is survived by her husband and nine children in a blended family.
If law enforcement went after these rat-f%$#s with the enthusiasm that they went after pipeline activists, there would be thousands of them facing multi-decade bullsh%$ charges right now.

Of course, law enforcement isn't going after these terrorists because to a disturbing agree, they are, or agree with, these terrorists.

Cat Psychology

One of our cats, Meatball, has taken to picking up socks and randomly depositing them around the house.

She's been doing this for years.

Any insights from my reader(s)?

19 August 2023

They Have Earthquakes, Wildfires, and San Diego, but at Least They Don’t Have…


OK, they got those too.

Yeah, Hurricane Hilary is due to strike southern California in the next 24 hours or so.

It is currently a Category 2 storm, down from a Cat 4, but it's still gonna get ugly, even as it diminishes below hurricane strength, particularly around Palm Springs, where they expect to see more rain in a day than they normally get in a year:

By the time the weakened Hurricane Hilary hits Southern California, it will have turned into a massive tropical storm that will likely cover the entire region, from the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles County to the Colorado River.

Currently, the area blanketed by Hilary with at least tropical storm-force winds — meaning at least sustained winds of 39 mph — is about the size of Arizona.

So the impact of Hilary could be far and wide. Forecasters are warning of “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding,” with the potential for flash flooding highest in the deserts.

Death Valley and Morongo Basin are expected see significant flooding.

The last hurricane to hit California was in the 1930s.

I know that climate ain't weather, but I gotta figure that anthropogenic climate change is intimately involved with this event.

Today in Enshittification

Enshittification was defined by Cory Doctorow:

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

It looks like the enshittification of the streaming services is progressing with breathtaking speed.

It took more than 3 decades for cable to hit this cycle, and streaming has hit it in less than ¼ of the time.

It's more than that though. When Netflix was just distributing DVDs, they could profit and deliver a good service, because once the bought the DVDs, they could rent them out, no muss no fuss.

For physical media, the content distributors have no control over the resale or renting of DVDs and tapes.

Then, Netflix started streaming, they had to deal with the studios, and the nature of IP rules was that the distributors could take most, if not all of the profits, because they had exclusivity enforced through copyright law.

It's why, when Netflix moved to streaming, you constantly had titles cycling in and out of the library.

Every time that this happened, it was a studio turning the screws.

So, Netflix turned to producing its own content, and did so using every possible trick to avoid paying the people who actually directed, wrote, and acted in these productions.

Which is what led to the current writers and actors strikes, and Netflix is the most aggressively rapacious of the content distributors.

OK, after this bit of history, we have Netflix streaming original and archival content.

The legacy content distributors, Fox, Paramount, etc., realize that streaming has little or no barriers to entry, so they can stream their own stuff from their own websites.

What follows is an orgy of distributing content at a loss to pick up market share, which is unsustainable over the long term.

As the old bromide states, "What cannot continue, will not continue," and now the streaming services are raising prices and reducing the quality of the services.

There is an alternative, and it is readily available, and has been readily available for more a very long time.

It only has fallen into abeyance because streaming was more convenient, and worth the cost.

Not any more:

The average cost of watching a major ad-free streaming service is going up by nearly 25% in about a year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, as entertainment giants bet that customers will either pay up or switch to their cheaper and more-lucrative ad-supported plans.

Disney last week raised the price of its Disney+ and Hulu streaming services for the second time since last fall, following a string of similar announcements by the owners of Peacock, Max, Paramount+ and Apple TV+.

The recent wave of price increases signals a new phase in the streaming wars. After years of charging bargain-basement prices in pursuit of fast growth, most of the big players face a financial reckoning, with tens of billions of dollars in losses piling up.

Now, in a push for profitability, they are testing the loyalty of their customers, betting that ratcheting up prices won’t lead more people to cancel service, an industry phenomenon known as churn.

Nope.  The issue will not be churn, that was already a fact of life.

Using technology to share content without permission is the issue.  

As streaming services become more expensive and offer less content, this will expand, at the cost of subscriptions.

Expect to see a lot more interest in torrents, or whatever new protocol is in the wings, out there.