Etiquette Rules: Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

Normally I have little patience for the Washington Compost, but a recent item has made the rounds in certain communities: new rules for telephone etiquette. And I have to say I’m in agreement with most of them, and not just for my own reasons.

One of the biggest reasons for new rules is phone anxiety aka telephobia, which is a real thing.   (From Popular Science: “Phone anxiety is real—and solvable”.) Some people have difficulty speaking on the phone, even those able to speak in front of large groups.  Whether it’s the disembodied voice or the intrusiveness of a ringing phone, it affects some people.  Sending a text isn’t a hardship, and unlike a call, it’s not a demand for an instant response.  From the Washington Post:

The new phone call etiquette: Text first and never leave a voice mail

September 25, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Phone calls have been around for 147 years, the iPhone 16 years and FaceTime video voice mails about a week.

Not surprisingly, how we make calls has changed drastically alongside advances in technology. Now people can have conversations in public on their smartwatches, see voice mails transcribed in real time and dial internationally midday without stressing about the cost.

The phone norms also change quickly, causing some people to feel left behind or confused. The unwritten rules of chatting on the phone differ wildly between generations, leading to misunderstandings and frustration on all sides.

We spoke to an etiquette expert and people of all ages about their own phone pet peeves to come up with the following guidance to help everyone navigate phone calls in 2023.

These will vary depending on your relationship, your age and the context of the call. The closer you are to someone, the less the rules apply. Go ahead, FaceTime your mom with no warning while brushing your teeth.

Their list of new rules is below the fold, with shortened versions written by myself (to avoid mass copying and pasting of the original and copyright issues).

[Read more…]

A Close Call: Twice

Tuesday, September 26th marks the anniversary of a significant event which, had events gone differently, we wouldn’t be writing or reading this.

It was forty years ago today that Stanislav Petrov (September 7, 1939 to May 19, 2017) saved the world by doing nothing.  He was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system in the USSR.  It was barely three weeks after the Soviet Union shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007 killing nearly 300 people, and tensions between the US and USSR were near boiling.  Imagine how  things would have gone if Ronnie Raygun’s “we have outlawed Russia and begin bombing in five minutes” buffoonery of August 1984 had happened a year earlier.

From the BBC, September 2013:

Stanislav Petrov: The man who may have saved the world

Thirty years ago, on 26 September 1983, the world was saved from potential nuclear disaster.

In the early hours of the morning, the Soviet Union’s early-warning systems detected an incoming missile strike from the United States. Computer readouts suggested several missiles had been launched. The protocol for the Soviet military would have been to retaliate with a nuclear attack of its own.

But duty officer Stanislav Petrov – whose job it was to register apparent enemy missile launches – decided not to report them to his superiors, and instead dismissed them as a false alarm.

This was a breach of his instructions, a dereliction of duty. The safe thing to do would have been to pass the responsibility on, to refer up.
But his decision may have saved the world.

“I had all the data [to suggest there was an ongoing missile attack]. If I had sent my report up the chain of command, nobody would have said a word against it,” he told the BBC’s Russian Service 30 years after that overnight shift.

Mr Petrov – who retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel and now lives in a small town near Moscow – was part of a well-trained team which served at one of the Soviet Union’s early warning bases, not far from Moscow. His training was rigorous, his instructions very clear.

His job was to register any missile strikes and to report them to the Soviet military and political leadership. In the political climate of 1983, a retaliatory strike would have been almost certain.

And yet, when the moment came, he says he almost froze in place.

“The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds, staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word ‘launch’ on it,” he says.

The system was telling him that the level of reliability of that alert was “highest”. There could be no doubt. America had launched a missile.

“A minute later the siren went off again. The second missile was launched. Then the third, and the fourth, and the fifth. Computers changed their alerts from ‘launch’ to ‘missile strike’,” he says.

Mr Petrov smokes cheap Russian cigarettes as he relates the incidents he must have played over countless times in his mind.

“There was no rule about how long we were allowed to think before we reported a strike. But we knew that every second of procrastination took away valuable time; that the Soviet Union’s military and political leadership needed to be informed without delay.

“All I had to do was to reach for the phone; to raise the direct line to our top commanders – but I couldn’t move. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan,” he told us.

Although the nature of the alert seemed to be abundantly clear, Mr Petrov had some doubts.

Alongside IT specialists, like him, Soviet Union had other experts, also watching America’s missile forces. A group of satellite radar operators told him they had registered no missiles.

But those people were only a support service. The protocol said, very clearly, that the decision had to be based on computer readouts. And that decision rested with him, the duty officer.

But what made him suspicious was just how strong and clear that alert was.

“There were 28 or 29 security levels. After the target was identified, it had to pass all of those ‘checkpoints’. I was not quite sure it was possible, under those circumstances,” says the retired officer.

Mr Petrov called the duty officer in the Soviet army’s headquarters and reported a system malfunction.

If he was wrong, the first nuclear explosions would have happened minutes later.

“Twenty-three minutes later I realised that nothing had happened. If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief,” he says with a smile.

Now, 30 years on, Mr Petrov thinks the odds were 50-50. He admits he was never absolutely sure that the alert was a false one.

He says he was the only officer in his team who had received a civilian education. “My colleagues were all professional soldiers, they were taught to give and obey orders,” he told us.

So, he believes, if somebody else had been on shift, the alarm would have been raised.

A few days later Mr Petrov received an official reprimand for what happened that night. Not for what he did, but for mistakes in the logbook.

He kept silent for 10 years. “I thought it was shameful for the Soviet army that our system failed in this way,” he says.

But, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the story did get into the press. Mr Petrov received several international awards.

But he does not think of himself as a hero.

“That was my job”, he says. “But they were lucky it was me on shift that night.”

There are other items worth reading:

NPR’s obituary on Petrov from 2017

Vox News have today updated their 2018 story on Petrov

The US wasn’t immune to false alarms about Soviet nuclear missile attacks, having suffered multiple events in 1979 and 1980.  The difference there was the number of people involved.  Unlike Petrov (a single man’s judgement) or Vasily Arkhipov (two against one in an argument on a B-59 submarine during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis), NORAD had several layers of decision making and fact checking before any decision to launch would be made.

It appears again that the Russians have learnt nothing from this in how their command structure is causing so many losses in Ukraine.  Go ahead, keep making the same mistakes . . . just as long as you’re not launching nuclear weapons.

From George Washington University:

False Warnings of Soviet Missile Attacks Put U.S. Forces on Alert in 1979-1980

Washington D.C., March 16, 2020 – During the Cold War, false alarms of missile attacks were closely held matters although news of them inevitably leaked. Today the National Security Archive revisits the false alerts of the Jimmy Carter administration when on four occasions warning screens showed hundreds and hundreds of Soviet ballistic missiles heading toward North America.

In a reposting and update of a 2012 collection, the Archive includes recently declassified documents with new details about the 1979 and 1980 false warnings. One document, notes by William Odom, the military assistant to National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, raises questions as to whether Odom called the latter in the middle of the night about the possibility that Soviet ICBMs were incoming. Such a phone call was a major element of the 2012 posting, but Odom’s notes on the 3 June 1980 false alarm make the picture murkier. The only certainty is when Odom spoke to Brzezinski that day, he assured him he had kept the White House “in the loop” during the period of the false alarm.

The false alarms of 1979 and 1980 instigated major efforts to ensure that computers did not generate mistaken information that could trigger a nuclear war. In today’s world where more medium size to great powers, such as North Korea and China,either have ICBMs or are testing them the potential for false alarms is growing.

[ . . . ]

Recently declassified documents about false warning incidents during 1979-1980 – supplementing materials first posted on this site in 2012 – are being published today for the first time by the National Security Archive. The erroneous warnings, variously produced by computer tapes of war games and worn out computer chips, led to alert actions by U.S. bomber and missile forces and the emergency airborne command post, actions that could have led to a superpower confrontation, or at least dangerous tensions, if they had gone any further.

When the original version of this posting went online in 2012 the editor assumed that a false alarm of a missile attack on 9 November 1979 had prompted the middle-of-the-night phone call described above, but old and new evidence suggests that the false alert of 3 June 1980 was the only one where a middle-of-the night phone call would have been possible. The false alert of 9 November 1979 took place in the mid-morning when a war game test tape was mistakenly inserted in a NORAD computer at Cheyenne Mountain. Although a middle-of-the-nighr phone call does not fit those circumstance, it does fit the false alarm on 3 June 1980, which occurred in the very early morning period after midnight. During the half-hour before defense officials agreed there was an error, radar screens at the Pentagon and the Strategic Air Command (SAC) had shown that 200 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and then 2020 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were heading toward North America. Yet, no such data appeared on warning screens at NORAD.

The incident on 3 June 1980 was the third false alert since November 1979. The November incident was widely reported and alarmed the Soviet leadership, which lodged a complaint with Washington about the “extreme danger” of false warnings. While Pentagon officials were trying to prevent future incidents, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown warned President Carter that false warnings were virtually inevitable, although he tried to reassure the president that “human safeguards” would prevent them from getting out of control.

A Quick Thought To Say…

Regarding the Beatoffjuice . . . I mean, Beetlejuice show and rightwingnut hypocrisy:

Rightwing outrage is reserved for when women Bobbitt a penis, not when women Boebert a penis.

At least when Pee Wee Herman did it, nobody in the theatre objected.

They Were Naive: How North Korea tricked 94,000 people into moving there

Two videos from the South China Morning Post about the mass migration of 94,000 ethnic “Zainichi” Koreans from Japan to North Korea.  Below the fold is a second video on how North Korea persuaded ethnic Koreans into leaving Japan.

Today this wouldn’t happen, but from 1959 to 1984, people were naive enough to believe the propaganda.  Imperial Japan’s brutal occupation of the Korean peninsula lasted 35 years, an estimated 670,000 people were forcibly moved to Japan and Sakhalin Island during Japan’s colonial era and the war.  After the war, they were treated no better.  As part of the “1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty” the US and Japan signed, Japanese citizenship for ethnic Koreans living in Japan was revoked, they were treated as foreigners living there, despite the fact that most alive after 1951 were born in Japan, many unable to speak Korean.  It was made clear they were unwanted, so when North Korea lied about having a “Korean paradise”, they were willing to believe it.  Post WWII, South Korea remained an agricultural society and trailed North Korea economically for many years (the Korean War certainly didn’t help), explaining why some were willing to believe the north was better.

You don’t even have to watch the full video to understand the horror, how those who moved there realized they had made a horrible mistake.  Just look at the still photo preview and other pictures of Hyangsu Park (the woman interviewed) and her family when she visited them in North Korea.  Her face is full of hope, joy, love, concern.  Her family’s faces are rigid, terrified of showing any emotion, words, or actions that could land them in a prison camp.  A fate which eventually befell Park’s entire family.

She tells how family members in North Korea would send letters asking for things, which those in Japan happily sent.

Then her uncle sent a letter asking only for a balloon.  He had given up hope.  All he wanted was to escape.

[Read more…]

Nothing Changed: Soviet incompetence was always Russian incompetence

It was forty years ago today, September 1, 1983, that the Soviet military shot down Korean Air Lines flight 007, killing 246 passengers and 23 crew members. It took six days for the Soviets to admit they screwed up, that they thought it was a US military spy plane.  There was never any legal accountability, no compensation to the victims’ families, and no bodies were recovered due to scavengers on the seabed.  As if tensions between the US and USSR weren’t high enough in 1983, and this before the next US v USSR story to come….

At the time, the US was flying surveillance missions in the north Pacific, near Japan.  The Soviets were aware and were watching, and tracking on radar any plane that didn’t have a signal they could confirm.  Of course the US planes weren’t going to say, “yoo hoo, here’s who we are and what we’re doing!” but the Soviets weren’t looking out for commercial civilian craft either.

These were the days long before GPS, so KAL 007 was checking its position by beacons on the ground.  This was also an overnight flight, so they were completely dependent on instruments.  September 7th was a New Moon, the sky almost completely dark.

After leaving Alaskan air space, they took what they thought was a more southerly route that would take them safely over Japan.  Instead, they mistook the beacon signals, and they flew over the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island.  Directly over Soviet military installations.

When the Soviets initially intercepted the plane, they attempted communications on military frequencies, assuming it was a US military spy aircraft.  Because civilian and military use different frequencies, the Soviets assumed the KAL pilots were ignoring their instructions. They flew behind KAL 007 (the obvious position for firing missiles), so the KAL crew had no idea they were being followed.

After a long period up and down the chain of command, the order was given to destroy the plane while still in Soviet airspace.  The exploding and burning plane fell into the Sea of Japan, just off the southwest coast of Sakhalin Island. Korean Airlines flight shot down by Soviet Union

CNN, 2013: The downing of Flight 007: 30 years later, a Cold War tragedy still seems surreal 747 Shootdown: The Story Of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 Korean Air Lines flight 007

I wouldn’t say this video is perfect or 100% true, but it sums up events well and presents enough facts accurately to be worth quoting.

While it’s still unconfirmed how Prigozhin’s plane was downed, there’s no argument that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a Russian missile on July 17, 2014, while it was flying over Ukraine.  298 people were murdered in that war crime which happened during Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea.

If there are any airplane crashes within Russia over the next year, it will likely be due to poor maintenance and parts being unavailable due to sanctions.  Russia has had to go so far as outsourcing airplane repair to Iran.

Russian Airlines Ask Employees to Report Fewer Aircraft Malfunctions – Proekt

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has asked its employees to refrain from recording equipment defects on aircraft, leading to planes regularly flying with malfunctions, according to the investigative news outlet Proekt, citing current and former employees at the airline. 

A former employee at Aeroflot explained that the policy, in force since last spring, was introduced “to prevent aircraft from being grounded due to a defect, which, according to regulations, prohibits the aircraft from flying until it is fixed.”

A technical specialist at Aeroflot corroborated this information while adding that the same unofficial practice is now followed by other airlines in order to keep aircraft in the sky.

A former pilot at Nordwind Airlines told Proekt about a January incident at the Kazan international airport when fuel started leaking during the start-up of a Boeing 737’s engines. The pilot recalled that technicians were unsurprised by the leak.

“It had happened several times before, but there were no records of it in the technical log book — the airline’s management asked us not to write anything,” the pilot said.

“The Russian attitude of betting on good luck also exists in aviation. Obviously, it’s frightening to fly on hope alone, but unfortunately, that’s what’s happening in many airlines in the country today,” he added.

I Wonder If Anyone Agrees

As most know and is plainly obvious, Cheetolini (aka Trump) plans to delay his trials until after the election, in the hope he can be reappointed by the “electoral college” without winning the popular vote (as he did in 2016) and then pardon himself before becoming presidente de por vida.

Also as most know, his “hire ’em and fire ’em” turnover of lawyers has been as rapid as a short order cook’s hamburger grill turnover.  But I’m starting to suspect that Cheetolini’s turnover of lawyers isn’t solely because he’s an abrasive jerk and a swindler who never pays.

I think he’s being an abrasive jerk and a swindler and not paying because he wants a constant turnover of lawyers.

I think lawyer turnover is a delay strategy: “I can’t find competent defence for trial! I need a continuation!”  He’s doing this to prevent the case going forward.  I predict that his current lawyers (John Lauro, et al) will be fired or quit by the end of the year, and Cheetolini will demand another delay to replace them and “let them prepare”.

If I could have judge Chutkan’s ear for one moment right now, I would tell her:

1) Appoint a group of legal aid public defence or other qualified lawyers in secret and give them the same evidence given to Lauro’s team.

2) If Cheetolini fires Lauro, appoint the public defenders and go forward with the trial anyway.  They will have a defence ready, and they are Georgia lawyers so they are qualified to work in those courts.

3) Jail Cheetolini for contempt, for using revolving door lawyers as a delay tactic.  Hold him until the trial begins to silence him from any social media activity.

4) Bar Cheetolini from changing his defence team, ordering that he MUST to go forward with the public defenders.

Cheetolini had and has access to adequate defence for trial.  If he gets rid of them, it’s because he doesn’t want lawyers, he wants a delay.

Appointing a qualified team in secret would guarantee him adequate defence, a speedy trial, and make appeals much harder.

Pirate, Curate, And Violate: Is the British Museum run by incompetents or thieves?

For decades, people have rightfully called for European countries to return stolen artefacts and antiquities to the countries they were taken from (see the second quoted text below).  The growing scandal at the British Museum may finally be the wake up call to make this happen.

It’s an absolute disgrace.  Between 1500 and 2000 items have been stolen, “misplaced”, or otherwise unaccounted for over decades.  Some of them that WERE in the BM seen for sale on ebay, or in the hands of “private collectors”.

‘Nobody was expecting it’: British Museum warned reputation seriously damaged and treasures will take decades to recover

Experts say loss of 1,500 items reveals lax cataloguing and boosts case for returning objects to countries of origin
Aug 26 2023

Close observers of the antiquities market tend to be a cynical bunch, having witnessed any number of scams, dubious practices and illicit trading. Yet there was a collective expression of shock among them last week when news emerged of the unexplained absence of a reported around 2,000 items from the British Museum’s priceless collection of ancient and historical artefacts, leading to the resignation of director Hartwig Fischer.

“The volume of missing objects is huge,” says Christos Tsirogiannis, a forensic archaeologist who works with Trafficking Culture, which researches global traffic in looted cultural objects. “No experts were expecting this to happen in one of the world’s biggest museums.”

Christopher Marinello agrees. The CEO of Art Recovery International, which specialises in recovering stolen art, he says: “Our organisation gets reports of theft every single day from various museums, cultural institutions, churches around the world. What surprised us was the fact that it was the British Museum, one of the most important museums in the world and a benchmark in security.”

That benchmark has fallen several notches after reports of precious artefacts going on sale on eBay, where one Roman object, it is said, valued at up to £50,000 was offered for just £40. Last week the museum announced that Peter Higgs, a senior curator who worked at the institution for 30 years, had been sacked earlier this year after items were found to be missing.

From Princeton University’s African American Studies Program, 2021:

Returning artifacts to Benin, West Africa helps a dehumanized society heal: Chika Okeke-Agulu

After France returned 26 cultural artifacts to the West African nation of Benin this week, one art historian says institutions still holding on to colonial loot need to “get the memo” and return cultural treasures to their homelands.

“They cannot play the ostrich, they have to face up [to] the reality and be on the right side of history,” said Chika Okeke-Agulu, a Nigerian art historian and African art professor at Princeton University.

The 26 items, including statues and a royal throne, were stolen by French forces in 1892, from the Kingdom of Dahomey in what is now the south of present-day Benin. The country’s president Patrice Talon met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris Tuesday to mark the repatriation.

Experts estimate that thousands of African artworks and artifacts are still resting in museums and vaults far from their homelands — and there are growing calls for them to be returned. Germany has agreed to return hundreds of plaques and sculptures, known as the Benin bronzes, to Nigeria. 

The Sick Leave: Cheetolini may have a case of domain poisoning

In his latest video, Beau Of The Fifth Column reports that Cheetolini’s finance scam “Patriots Legal Defense Fund” (US spelling) has been “hacked”.  If you visit the PLDF site at this moment, you will see that it has been altered.  It now reads, in part, with links to the named sites:



In our country, everyone has to follow the rules, no matter who they are. Our Constitution, the big rule book of our nation, says that we’re all equal. Nobody gets special treatment.

I want to talk a bit about lying. A lie is when someone doesn’t tell the truth on purpose. It’s like saying you ate an apple when you really ate a cookie. Lying is bad because it breaks trust. Imagine if your friends didn’t believe you anymore because you lied a lot. In some cases, like when people lie to the courts or the police, it’s not just bad, it’s a crime.

[. . .]

Consider donating to the following organizations:

The Legal Defense Fund


Brennan Center For Justice

Rock The Vote


I disagree with BotFC about what happened.  If my guess is right, this is going to be delicious.

I did a Who Is search on “”.  The domain registration payment was made three weeks ago, July 30, 2023, paid for five years in advance. The purchaser is anonymous.

Read godaddy’s blog (linked below) for domain renewal after the expiration date. The site owner will receive renewal payment requests, and has up to 30 days to respond. If they don’t respond, the domain can be purchased by other people. The old site owner has no legal means to demand its return after day 36, and must negotiate with the new domain owner.

Someone else can snag your expired domain, but not right away

[. . .]

Taking .com domains as a bases, the timeline is as follows:

GoDaddy makes the first billing attempt one day after the domain expires. If the billing fails, the domain name expires and the domain is parked. The domain can still be renewed at no cost.

On day four, GoDaddy makes the second billing attempt. Even though the expired domain can still be renewed at no extra cost, there might be interruptions in website and email services.

On day twelve, GoDaddy makes the third and last billing attempt. The owner can renew the expired domain within two days at no extra cost.

On day nineteen, the owner can still renew the expired domain but for the cost of a one-year renewal fee plus a redemption fee of $80.

If the expired domain isn’t renewed on the twenty-fifth day, the domain is added to the expired domain name auction and starting on day thirty, the domain can no longer be redeemed. The auction ends on the thirty-sixth day and if nobody buys it, the expired domain is returned to the registry and they may hold the domain before releasing it for general registration.

Given Chump’s history of non-payment to people (i.e. lawyers, cities, media costs, his own fake social media site, etc.), it wouldn’t surprise me if nobody paid godaddy and the renewal notices were ignored.  And if they failed to pay for thirty six days, and someone bought it….

Taking over a domain is only legally actionable if the new owner using the site for personal profit (i.e. continuing to ask for “donations” to Cheetolini and pocketing them). The new owner is NOT doing that. Instead, the new owner is asking that donations be given to legitimate charities. Cheetolini and his social mafia organization may have no legal recourse to stop this.

And no, this wouldn’t qualify as cybersquatting.


His Words Bite: Steve Shives is a treasure

If you’re not familiar with him, Steve Shives runs a youtube channel (along with other social media presence) where he primarily talks about Star Trek.  Incessantly.  Every episode, every series, delving into the philosophical and moral questions of the series.  I like Star Trek, but not that much.

Shives also has a very thoughtful and progressive Intersectional point of view.  He is an astoundingly good LGBTQIA ally (especially to Trans people), and his political commentary is gold, either direct commentary, or acted parody like the video below.

Someone must show this video to Ron Disingenuous.  He’d lose his lunch over the accuracy.

Starved Out: Houston’s new way of killing public education

As others have said elsewhere here before me, the Houston ISD “plan” to close libraries and create “discipline centres” is abhorrent.  And in a way that others haven’t yet mentioned, as awful as the selective and racist enforcement in US schools.

Poor neighborhoods are often described as food deserts because of the absence of supermarkets. People either have to travel long distances (if they can afford a car), or end up eating junk food.

Those neighborhoods can similarly be described as book deserts, too.  It’s unlikely that public libraries are nearby, public transit rarely serves poor neighborhoods, and the poor usually can’t afford to buy books.  For children of poor families, the school library is often their only access to affordable reading material.  And now the racists and classists want to board up that window to education.

Libraries are (and I’m speaking from experience) sometimes the most important thing to help kids start learning, to find their own motivation to try hard in schools.  It’s place with no pressure, no expectations.  For some kids, finding their own reasons to learn is what turns them into better students.

And now those scumbags want to take away that one source of books from the kids who need it the most.

I wish there were a way to place Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods like those.  But knowing how racist and classist governments behave, they would likely rip out and destroy any attempt to create one, calling it a “public hazard”.

A Flood Of Anger Washes Over: Kill the poor to protect the rich, in China

It’s not just the Russian regime that shows no concern for the lives of people living in the country.  In many ways, the Chinese regime is worse because of its stranglehold on the media, social media, and society.  It silences any reporting inside its “great firewall”.

A few days ago, many small cities, towns, and villiages in China were washed away, homes destroyed, crops ruined.  Over a million people have been displaced, and untold numbers of people have died.  In many of those villages, people of working age move to the bigger cities for work, leaving children and the elderly behind, the people least able to contend with or survive a wall of water.

The Corrupt Criminal Psychopaths (CCP) have told the media to falsely report these as “floods”.  A flood infers a natural event, too much rain from a typhoon.  And even if a dam burst, it could still be labelled as a flood.   But this wasn’t a flood, and the capitalist corporate media initially parroted the CCP’s line:

More than a million displaced and dozens dead after record rain drenches northeastern China

More than a million people have been forced from their homes by the remnants of a storm in China’s northeastern Hebei province, according to state media, as officials warned it could take a month for the waters to recede in some areas.

Typhoon Doksuri slammed into southeastern China’s Fujian province on July 28 before weakening and making its way north.

The rains that followed soaked Hebei, a province of 75 million, and the neighboring cities of Beijing and Tianjin. Flooding in those regions stranded residents, washed away bridges and highways, killing about 30 people in total, according to Chinese authorities.

“Thirty deaths”.  Yeah, that’s about as believable as China’s reported Covid-19 death toll.

A couple of youtube channels I watch on China have said differently about this.  They reported the “floods” as deliberate releases, directing the excess water to places with smaller populations. Unfortunately, some of them don’t cite their sources, so they can’t be treated as “news”, even though they get a lot of facts right.

Now there is a verified source for the story.  Reuters reports that the smaller municipalities were deliberately sacrificed to save the capital.  These people were left to die and fend for themselves.  Reuters doesn’t mention when the water releases started, but the unverified source mentioned above says the decision was made at 2am.

While people were asleep in their homes.  That’s how 300,000 people died in Thailand and Indonesia in 2004, because the 8.9 earthquake happened at 8am on a Sunday morning, while everyone was asleep.  If the numbers aren’t covered up, I expect the actual number of missing to be much higher.

China floodwater diversions to populated areas unleash wave of online anger

Nearly 1 million people in China’s northern Hebei province were relocated after record rains forced authorities to channel water from swollen rivers to some populated areas for storage, sparking anger online over the homes sacrificed to save Beijing.

The vast Hai River basin covers an area the size of Poland that includes Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin. Over a span of one week from late July, the region with a population totalling 110 million experienced its most serious flooding in six decades, with Hebei, particularly Baoding prefecture, the worst hit.

According to flood control laws, when basin-wide flooding causes reservoirs, the first line of defence, to exceed their limits, water may be temporarily channelled to so-called “flood storage areas” – including low-lying populated land.

On July 31, Hebei province opened seven of its 13 designated flood storage areas, including two in the city of Zhuozhou in Baoding south of Beijing and north of Xiongan, a zone President Xi Jinping aims to develop into an economic powerhouse serving Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin.

On Aug. 1, Hebei’s Communist Party Secretary Ni Yuefeng called Xiongan a top priority for the province’s flood prevention work, according to local state media.

On his visit to flood storage areas in Baoding, Ni added that it was necessary to reduce the pressure on Beijing’s flood control and create a “moat” for the Chinese capital.

“Beijing should foot the bill”, wrote a netizen on the popular Chinese microblog Weibo.

In other posts on Zhuozhou, netizens said residents weren’t aware they lived in a flood storage area and the rights of the minority had been sacrificed.

“I’d like to know, among all the people living in flood storage areas across the country, how many of them know they are living in such areas?” one angry netizen asked.

The Kuritsy Are Coming Home To Roost: And to rape and pillage

According to google translate, “kuritsy” is plural for chicken.

As was predicted by many, recruiting convicts from Russian prisons was a bad idea.  They wouldn’t have signed up if suicide missions were the only type of fighting (though doubtless that’s what many were sent on).  They certainly wouldn’t have signed up if going back meant going back to prison.  No, the only way they would go is for lighter sentences or full release.

Wagner began recruiting prisoners in August 2022, meaning thousands have finished six month contracts.  While many of them were used as cannon fodder, they weren’t all killed. (How many died due to inexperience in combat, lacking training?)  Inevitably, some of them would eventually return back to Russia, let loose on the street.

Loose, as in loose cannons.  Full of anger and alcohol after enduring at least six months of violence and watching thousands die around them.

From The Daily Beast, August 3, 2023:

Convicted Murderer Freed to Fight in Ukraine Accused of Butchering Six When He Got Back Home

A Russian ex-convict who was apparently freed from prison to take part in the war against Ukraine has now been accused of returning home and butchering six people in a drunken rampage.

Igor Sofonov, 37, is one of two suspects arrested in the Republic of Karelia after authorities discovered two burned down homes containing the remains of six people who’d been stabbed to death. The victims were identified as a 39-year-old man and his 71-year-old father in one home, and a man and his wife, brother, and a pensioner in the second home.

Police say a “long-standing domestic conflict” motivated the savage murders in the village of Derevyannoye but gave no further details.

Along with Sofonov, another ex-con named Maksim Bochkarev is also accused of taking part. At a court hearing Wednesday, Sofonov told reporters he’d taken part in the war, according to Karelia News. It was not immediately clear if Bochkarev, too, had been involved in the bloodshed in Ukraine.

Investigators confirmed that both Sofonov and Bochkarev had lengthy track records for “serious crimes” and had served prison time, but it was not immediately clear when and under what circumstances they were released.

More below.

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A Story Well Told: War Games at 40

The film “War Games” was released on June 3, 1983, forty years ago.  (I meant to get to this earlier.)  Hollyweird is often terrible when it comes to computer and technology in movies, but War Games was (both then and now) one of the more realistic and believable computer films. It shouldn’t surprise you then to learn that the “War Games” screenwriters Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes also wrote “Sneakers” (1992).  Some details in the movie seem less credible (i.e. the idea that a hacker could break into NORAD), but several events depicted happened both before and after the movie.

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Something To Follow Up: An essay (in video form) on scientific fraud

Directly quoting his biography, Eric J. Vanman is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland Australia.  In this short (15 minute) video below, he uses clear language and succinctly describes the problem and causes of scientific fraud, why it’s pervasive, and what can be done about it.  It’s a great intro for those not scientifically inclined, or for those who might be anti-science willing to hear someone admit scientists aren’t perfect.