Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Today's News: The end of the beginning?

Its not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but it may be the end of the beginning. 
Russia is still making war on Ukraine, people are still dying. 
But Russia's trucks are running out of gas, their generals are getting killed, their soldiers are looting for food, and Putin is trying to find replacements from other countries. 
The news today indicated that the attempt to encircle Kyiv is failing, though the cities in the south seem to be in more serious trouble. 
But as Zelenskyy is talking to the Canadian parliament today and the US Congress tomorrow, there appear to be new and powerful weapons on the way to Ukraine, too.
The leadership shown by Joe Biden through all this is absolutely outstanding:
  Here's some news from today: Some people are still obsessed with the No Fly Zone idea, which of course came up again when Zelenskyy made his address to Parliament today. What does it all mean? Why is this war different? 
At Balloon Juice, Watergirl is discussing this question and commenter Carlo Graziani sums it up this way
...there used to be an international architecture — amoral, but mindfully-constructed — for managing the Cold War, and when it became obsolete in 1991 it was not replaced by anything well-thought out.
Rather, a smug elite “Davos Consensus” ruled, which one might capture in a phrase by “all that remains now is for the rest of the world to become as smart as we are, and everyone will get rich”. 
Everyone did not get rich. 
Instead, a series of economic, military, climate, epidemiological, and income/wealth inequality-driven instabilities created massive global popular anxiety, which was exploited by nationalist populist demagogues with no commitment to the Enlightenment project, (Milosevic, Orban, Berlusconi, Putin, Modi, Bolsonero, Le Pen, Farage, Trump, among others). 
The Davos Consensus never deigned to notice the growing challenge, and at the same time undermined the West’s understanding of what it stood for. “Freedom” was right-wing nutter discourse, embarrassing in polite company. We talked instead about the importance getting rich. 
By 2016, everything had turned to shit, and we could not understand how things could possibly have gone this apocalyptically badly. The anti-democratic challenge from the discontents of reason seemed unstoppable, at times. 
Fast forward to “I need ammunition, not a ride!” That would be Zelenskyy reminding us of our heritage. 
Of the fact that liberty is, in fact, more important than getting rich. 
Showing us what liberty really means, what it is worth, and what it costs. 
That was the turning point. That’s why this war is different. 
Even the damn Germans would now prefer liberty to getting rich. 
Zelenskyy turned the war in Ukraine into the antidote for the intellectual toxicity of the Davos Consensus. 
He reminded us of our duties to our freedoms, and that “freedom” is not, in fact, a dirty word, however badly idiot truckers may abuse it. 
Supporting this war is not “warmongering”. 
Rather, it signifies a return to the best version of our Western selves. We owe Ukrainians, and Zelenskyy in particular, more than we can ever repay them. 
 A very thoughtful piece. 
And now, on a lighter side:
And in other news, this happened: Read the whole thread for other Clooney - heat pump look-a-likes. 
And there was this, too: Twitter went nuts about the "half a giraffe" standard of measurement: The National Review writes
Since when, exactly, did we measure asteroids in giraffes?  I’m no astronomer, but “a giraffe” seems to be an extremely odd way of measuring any item that is not, in fact, a giraffe. 
Back in 1999, NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because, as the Los Angeles Times reported it, “spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched.” 
One can only imagine how much worse this problem would have been had zoo animals been the standard. “Sorry, sir. It was an elementary mistake, really. The Florida lab uses alligators, but here in Maryland we’re still measuring with crabs, and so, when the orbiter finally got into position, it ended up hitting the atmosphere at the wrong angle by between two-thirds and three-quarters of a lemur.” 
 And Twitter remembered these clangers, too: And finally, this -- go Hillary!


DBK said...

That was a long one. I don't see why Switchblade drones are scary. You can knock a drone down with a waterhose.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for these daily updates.


Cathie from Canada said...

Hi DBK - I don't know what they are, but the reporters seemed to be impressed! Reminds me that a woman in Kyiv knocked down a Russian drone from her apartment window, by throwing a jar of tomatoes at it. So I guess you might be right about drones! But anything that helps the Ukrainians, I'm in favour of it.
And Anonymous, I'm glad you like these updates - I don't catch everything, but I try to figure out the overall trend for the day and also find some of the quirky stuff too.