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Member since: Sun Feb 14, 2016, 06:36 PM
Number of posts: 5,426

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How to post a non-paywall link

If you have access to an article that you suspect may be paywalled for others, go here:


and paste the link to the article there, where they will preserve a static copy for their archive and will generate a link to that page, which you can then post here.

Many will appreciate it.

My pleasure. I only recently stumbled upon him.

I wish I had had a math teacher like him when I was in grade or middle school. Every single video of his is interesting.

Seeing math revealed visually as he presents it gives me a slight glimpse into whatever mysterious process occurs in the brains of math savants--it's the only viable explanation I can fathom.

Here's the video that got me hooked on his channel, although it could have been any of them:

Aged cheeses. Why do they have expiration dates?

I mean, unopened plastic wrapped.

If it's an aged cheese that is unopened and looks ok, is it probably ok? What could go wrong?

And a related question: what's the best application for such a product? I mean, that bypasses whatever, if any, specific type of deterioration, like maybe texture.

Just wondering, while cleaning out fridge....

Fascinating. This 32-year-old man stopped aging at 13

I think I've seen documentaries in the past about this condition--it's seemingly the opposite of progeria, where one has accelerated aging.

But this fellow apparently aged normally until adolescence, then stopped.

I do hope there are researchers who are studying this and doing full genome sequencing on such folks. Imagine the implications for longevity research!

This "caption this" comic

found here:

At first, I drew a huge blank; then, it slowly dawned on me that this was a maybe a negative commentary about masking--that the caption theme would probably be about how stupid it is to wear those things when they aren't needed.

What do you think?

New Yorker: How to Flood Putin's "Information Desert"


non-paywall link:

On March 3rd—a week after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and hours before his government criminalized independent reporting on the war—a Russian-language video started to circulate, offering an eerie glimpse of the era that had begun. In a series of short interviews on the streets of Russian cities, pedestrians reacted to news photos of the devastation in Ukraine of a kind not allowed on official airwaves. A fifty-ish woman wearing cat’s-eye glasses recoiled from the pictures, and declared, “I support Putin.” A young man in a black parka, choosing his words carefully, said, “I would rather not talk about it, because it can be dangerous here. I’d rather abstain. I’m for peace. I don’t want war.” But the most common reaction was a tone of genuine bewilderment as expressed by a middle-aged man in a black cap, who laughed nervously and said, “Putin couldn’t do this. Invade Ukraine?” He peered again at photos of a bombed-out building and of a woman’s bloodied, bandaged face, and added wanly, “It’s not what they are saying on the news. I didn’t hear that Putin sent troops to start a war.”

The video—which spread widely, racking up at least sixteen million views—was not the product of local YouTubers or activists on Telegram. It was a piece of journalism by Russian freelancers working for Nastoyashcheye Vremya, or Current Time, a twenty-four-hour Russian-language television and digital channel that has broadcast from Prague since 2017—and which is funded by the U.S. Congress. Part of a system that traces its roots to the Cold War, Current Time is a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in coöperation with the Voice of America, two pillars of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a branch of the American government that has grown over the decades to encompass five news networks and a technology incubator. (Though it is tempting to assume that these are propaganda outlets—and the Trump Administration attempted to make them precisely that—anyone who has tuned in recently knows that their news programs often cover negative features of American life. Their purpose is more fundamental; as the agency puts it, they seek to provide “unbiased news and information in countries where the press is restricted.”)

In the decades since the end of the Cold War, Voice of America and its lesser-known partners have struggled, at times, to make a case for their existence. In 2020, the conservative magazine National Review asked why taxpayers were “shelling out $200 million a year for VOA in an Internet age saturated with media sources.” But the war has demonstrated that, for all the reach of citizen journalists and the battlefield coverage on cable news, filling the void left for Russian speakers is precisely what publicly funded media and technology are equipped to do. In addition to the clip from Current Time, other Russian videos from U.S.-backed news agencies have attracted hundreds of millions of views. There are clips of Ukrainian citizens upbraiding Russian troops, firsthand testimony of families who were shelled in the city of Kharkiv, and a selection of blatant falsehoods from Putin’s speeches about the war.

The demand for such content has grown in step with Russia’s efforts to isolate its population from access to unfiltered information. Since March 4th, when the Duma imposed potential jail sentences for reporters who deviate from the Kremlin’s line, major independent outlets, including TV Rain and the radio station Echo of Moscow, have shut down. Many Western news organizations have left the country, and the Russian government has blocked access to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Yet the more surprising fact is how broadly those efforts are being subverted. One way or another, Russian citizens are tunnelling under firewalls to reach publicly funded broadcasters, such as the BBC and Germany’s Deutsche Welle. In the weeks after the Kremlin shut down access to VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Current Time, traffic to their Russian content nevertheless doubled, compared with before the war. Their videos recorded at least a billion views on Facebook and other digital platforms.

more at link above

Esquire: This Historian Drew a Line From January 6 to Putin's Dreams of a New Russian Empire


non-paywall link:

As we learn more and more how deeply complicit “respectable” Washington conservatives were in supporting the Big Lie that brought the January 6 participants to Washington—and that inflamed them once they got there—Snyder’s international perspective carefully delineates a compelling, spidery connection between the January Sixers and whatever weird critters dance among the stalagmites in Putin’s brain.

I predict Ukraine emerges from this and rises to become a leader in Europe

Imagine the amount of world support to rebuild that country. It will be fast and it will be impressive, the best of the best, state-of-the-art throughout. They will experience the opposite of "brain drain" when the cream-of-the-crop join the effort: scientists, engineers, architects, teachers, artists, everybody with gratitude and a passion to demonstrate the triumph over evil.

Imagine how strong their military will be; "never again" will become their motto. They will be champions of the little guy, the oppressed, the underdog.

Controversially, but ultimately understandably, they will withdraw from the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) which they signed in 1994--and resulted in their nuclear disarmament--and resume their nuclear program. They will cooperate fully with the West on issues of oversight and control.

They will emerge the strongest and most powerful benevolent democracy Europe has ever experienced. They may even become the center of Europe, playing a massive role in the reaffirmation of democratic principles and practice.

Their voice will be strong in the EU, the UN, NATO, and other western alliances. Their advice will be sought and given to fledgling democracies everywhere.

Ukriane will become Putin's worst nightmare, and he will have nobody to blame but himself.

This show is really good - "Servant of the People" on Netflix

"Servant of the People" - the Ukrainian TV show about a mild-mannered high school history teacher (Zelenskyy), a divorced father, who lives in a modest apartment in Kyiv with his parents and neice, and who is surprisingly elected as President of Ukraine after a profanity-laden YouTube video of him righteously ranting--filmed and uploaded secretly by a student--goes viral.

His rant was prompted after his students were dismissed, mid-lesson, to go outside to build voting booths and other election related preparations, and he's given to understand that his class was chosen for this diversion because it was "just" History--you know, not important. "Why my (history) class? Why not math?" And his colleague scoffs, "That's like comparing a dick with a finger!"

And thus, his rant begins:

"I'm fed up. Fuck! I'm sick and tired of all this! Mathematics is valued as a science, that's fine. But history, as you said, is dog shit? Then we wonder why our politicians make the same mistakes when they enter the halls of power? Because they're great mathematicians! All they know is to divide and subtract. That's all!

"They force the kids to assemble the booths. Why is it a hard knocks life? Because our choice begins in a wooden voting booth. You know? And who's there to vote for? It's always the lesser of two assholes and it's been this way for 25 years.

"And you know what else? Nothing will change again. You know why? Because you, my dad, me, will once again vote for another shitstick! Yeah, because we all know he's an asswipe, but the other person is worse! Then these shitsticks enter government. And they loot and talk shit, talk more shit and swindle! Same shit, different day.

"No one gives a shit! You couldn't give a fuck! Me, not a damn soul! They couldn't care less! No one ever gives two shits at all, for that matter. If I could have just one week in office, I would show them! Fuck the motorcades, fuck the perks, fuck the weekend chalets! Fuck it all dammit! Have a simple teacher live like a president and a president live like a teacher! I tell you this as a teacher of history. But you don't give a flying fuck! Bastards!" /rant

In Russian with subtitles, no dubbed version available. It's *not* a sitcom with a laugh track, in case you're worried (like I was). There are 23 half-hour episodes.

Even having known about it, and having been following the news closely since this invasion began, I must say that watching this show--and I've only just seen the first episode--is having a profound effect on me, on multiple levels. And knowing that this show was a hit in Russia (as well as Ukraine, obvs) really adds another dimension in thinking about how the general Russian populace might be digesting current events.

I highly recommend everyone watch it. Seriously. Plus, it's really good. But, fair warning: it will exponentially increase the pain you already feel about this war.

#FSBLetters #4: China and Russia's domestic insanity

Mods: when the author says "definitely please share far & wide" I take this to mean it can be copied in it's entirety. Please advise if that is incorrect.


Igor Sushko .com - Racing and Beyond

Thursday, March 10, 2022

China and Russia's domestic insanity - 4th letter from the FSB analyst

My translation of the 4th letter in the series from an active FSB analyst to Vladimir Osechkin. Written March 9th. As consequential as the 1st translated letter. Buckle up for a long thread and definitely please share far & wide. The text is over 1200 words.

Vladimir, good afternoon!

This is probably the first time that I’ve been able to write to you in the daytime during a weekday – everything is upside down now.

Under different circumstance, this information would look like utter nonsense, but right now, I am afraid, this won’t be the end of it.

First, we (FSB) are seriously evaluating a version that the current events of war with Ukraine is a war between the US and China, in which the Americans simply set us up and are using us. Now I’ll try to explain succinctly & clearly.

(This is the new ‘nonsensical’ working theory that the FSB analysts are being tasked to work on)

A global clash between the USA and China was unavoidable. After the war started in Ukraine [at least here in this correspondence I don’t have to use the term “operation”] the cost of resources has risen globally, especially energy. The main casualty of these events is China and our side (Russia) provided China certain guarantees, which I can personally confirm – that everything will end quickly (invasion of Ukraine). Which is why China has been tolerating the situation. But this was before.

The American situation is such that owners of the industry and oil drilling are in essence the same corporations, and that helps with the internal balance: They make money on drilling when oil is expensive, and when it’s cheap – from industrial development. This is a bit blunt, but it provides the necessary insight into their approach.

And shales (oil fracking), unlike the classic method (of oil extraction), is easy to stop and start.

Now the US will make an agreement with Venezuela and Iran. They can buy out Venezuelan light crude with a crazy discount. And the opening of the Iranian oil (market) will obviously be perceived with hostility by Saudi Arabia and UEA. The Yemeni conflict is also relevant here, and a row of other factors which I will ignore for the sake of simplicity. But it all leads to the fact that the US had already made preparations for these negotiations in advance.

The US has basically set a trap for us, almost analogous to the trap set for Iraq in Kuwait, when Saddam Hussein was being convinced that for a “small conflict (incursion)” there will be no response. He entered Kuwait and “Dessert Storm” began. And that was the beginning of the end of Iraq.

We were receiving similar signs that the US will not get involved, which has been confirmed from a military perspective. China can absolutely give us a harsh ultimatum to end the war to stabilize the price of oil. If this happens, I don’t want to make predictions – it’d be on the horizon of catastrophic events.

Russia’s image is so negative in the eyes of so many countries because of the war, that the US can easily pressure the Europeans to impose sanctions against China in case China decides to maneuver around the current sanctions against Russia (to help Russia). China’s high dependence on exports coupled with its dependence on commodity prices would result in a fatal blow if the cost of commodities goes up because their domestic market will disappear (Chinese population can’t afford the increased price of goods).

Not only that, Xi Jing Ping was considering a takeover of Taiwan in autumn – he needs his own small victory to be re-elected for his 3rd term – there’s a colossal internal fight between the elites. Now after the events in Ukraine, the window of opportunity (to take Taiwan) has been closed. This gives the US an opportunity to blackmail Xi and also negotiate with his rivals on favorable terms.

In this instance, it is us (Russia) that set this trap for China through our actions (in Ukraine).

We won’t be able to admit this out loud, even an assessment of scenarios from current conditions is “not entirely appropriate.” Hence the desire that the secret becomes open: Yes, this is only a working version, but it exists in our structures (in the FSB).

Second – the evolution of the current situation.

Now about our other plans, which go beyond any boundaries of insanity. Sanctions against Russia have reached a level with no precedent in history. The only thing that Putin is right about – this is essentially equivalent to war. The current approach with sanctions leaves Russia without any chances.

Now the matter may not be limited to threatening Europe – the chance of hostilities, albeit of localized nature, can be considered to be historically high. Ukraine is a monstrously large front, there are smaller fronts. For example, if we were talking about Moldova, the military operations would really be limited to several hours. With the Baltics – several days, but there’d be artillery hits first.

Actual threats of conventional rocket strikes against Europe [not bluffs] in the event of further sanctions can no longer be dismissed. Supporters of such an approach, who exist among those with influence on the decision, muse that in a sordid case we will simply be crushed by waiting until an internal implosion and collapse from inside (in Russia).

In addition to the rockets, we have the capability to conduct a massive cyberwar – the internet can be shut down (by Russia inside Russia). Such a possibility exists and it’d be difficult (for the West) to respond symmetrically (since Russia won’t have internet anyway).

And the external war should reduce the internal tension and redirect the aggression outward. However “should” – doesn’t mean it’ll be so.

There’s also one that is rather realistic [but I can’t say it’s good] plans to start a massive disinformation campaign that we are prepared for the war and sanctions for years to come: This should pressure the Ukrainians psychologically – “It won’t end quickly, better to surrender” and also the West.

I suppose that various government powers (in Russia) could start pushing their own plans (on how to proceed). That will simply lead to even more chaos (in Russia).

I won’t talk about the economy – it’s like discussing the nuances of pacifism while being nuclear-bombed.

The terror has strengthened – there are no internal instruments to hold the situation inside the country.

But terror is a complicated and expensive thing – it should become temporary. It’s like holding your breath because the air is poisoned: If you can escape the area, then the action is justified. But if you hold your breath for “an hour” – you saved yourself from the poison but…

Systemic decisions with a positive outcome do not exist. There is no Ukrainian political power that we could delegate the authority just for the optics. If we show Yanukovich (former President of Ukraine that was Putin’s asset, who dismantled the Ukrainian military pre-2014), it will only expose how bad things really are here. No single strategically important city has been taken in Ukraine. Kherson and Kharkov were considered the most pro-Russian. Pro-Ukrainian protests are not dying down in Kherson despite the presence of our soldiers. In Khrakov things are much worse.

Just summarizing the gist without getting into the details.

There is another piece of information that is critical.

The “Plan for Victory” in the FSB is being painted as such:

Zelensky will be pressured into signing a fluff peace agreement recognizing Crimea as Russian, and Luhansk- and Donetsk-oblasts will become LDNR. LDNR will be the focus of our negotiators in terms of nuance, etc. But it’s just a distraction.

The key clause would be about demilitarization, which would essentially ban Ukrainian intelligence services, and most importantly counter-intelligence.

And here our people (FSB) already see the prognosis: Over a number of years, it would be possible for us (FSB) with some minimal help from the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence), to carry out a total cleansing of the socio-political field in Ukraine. And after all this, we could install any government in Kiev.

With high probability this plan will become dominant for the Kremlin with strategic correction, although the scenario is insane and aggression on other fronts is not being cancelled. In theory, the plan does have potential, but how it will be in practice is unknown. There will be no military victory, only something like this.

Lots of nuances, but most important – our side will be able to breach such agreements after they’re signed anytime, when there’s strength to turn the tide. Then it won’t be the military but the “black crows” who will be executing the “second phase,” arresting those accused of breaking the agreement from the Ukrainian side.

This scenario is not so crazy like the others, but it is completely contingent on the fact that Kiev can actually be pressured in the negotiations. We are now working the Western contacts at the highest levels – looking for countries who will support our position and to put pressure on Zelensky. It could be another bluff, it could be an analogue of Wenck’s army in our current reality. Overall, as I’ve been saying, the level of chaos here is quite high.

In economic terms, we are falling and everything is very predictable: the abyss is fervently winking at us.

We are limited in our ability to verify all data, but consider it important to disclose this information for the purpose of informing of the existing threats to global security. Нет войне! (No to War!)


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