Monday, January 09, 2023

Some neat stuff

And here's some more neat stuff.  First, some great articles -- 
- From the New York Times, a 2023 Astronomy and Space Calendar that you can add to your Google calendar, plus an article about how the Calendar was developed
Here is the tweet about it:
- A fascinating 2016 article from ProPublica about a women who discovered that she and a Canadian Olympian shared the same rare muscle-affecting gene - The DIY Scientist, the Olympian and the Mutated Gene. Here is the tweet about it:
-Two great Defector articles by Felix Unger: this one about surfing and hockey and other guilty pleasures - As You Know, Jeff, Every Time I Stare Into The Abyss It Stares Back At Me, and this one, about learning to paddleboard, A Middle-Aged Person Takes Up A Hobby

At Bugeyed and Shameless, Justin Ling writes about The Real Deep State - the increasing power of private consulting firms in government:
.... more broadly, what it means to outsource the work of government to a private consultancy.
A lot of work that I do in this newsletter revolves around conspiracy theories and disinformation about who really runs the government. The wrong answer, as we know well, is often some combination of “globalists,” “Jews,” George Soros, “the woke mafia,” Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and so on.
But I think it’s important that we don’t allow that paranoia distract us from the fact that there is, increasingly, a deep state here in the West. But it’s not some Davos-based thinktank or some shadowy cabal. It’s the consulting firms that are, increasingly, hoovering up massive amounts of public money to outsource the work of our civil service, often while mired in obscene conflicts of interests.
This work isn’t about creating a new world order or destroying our democracy, but there is good reason to think that it is weakening the very foundation of our state and moving critical decision-making outside of government where scrutiny becomes more difficult. This transition has largely been kept from the public, never approved by our democratic institutions, and core questions remain about whether we’re getting actual value from these deals — or whether we’re sleepwalking into another crisis like the one McKinsey has, decades too late, sought penance for....
Also worth reading is Phillips O'Brien's analysis of recent events in the Ukraine Russia War and what he expects Ukraine can achieve this spring:
...The Ukrainians, as I've said before, are fighting very intelligently. I think they’ve learned from their own experience how difficult forward movement is in this war, and are thus using their superiority in range, accuracy, command and control, morale and training to waste down what I referred to as Putin’s second army. It’s a brutal process...
...Modern industrial war requires top line equipment and well-trained soldiers far more than masses of poorly motivated conscripts. We can see that in the Russian experience so far. Putin’s second army, much of it formed since the conscription in September, has actually performed worse than the more professional force the Russians started the war with. Since September, Russian soldiers have died in huge numbers and achieved only small gains. There endless attempts to take Bakhmut have achieved nothing meaningful...
Ultimately the Ukrainian decision on when to launch any kind of attempt to move forward will come when they determine that the Russian forces facing them both in terms of soldiers, but probably more importantly in terms of equipment that can be maintained and supplied, has reached a low enough level that an offensive has a reasonable attempt at success. They are clearly thinking about it—and signs are that they think sometime in the very late winter or early Spring would reach that point. The Deputy Head of Ukrainian military intelligence (who has been very accurate with his public pronoucements in the past) has talked about this March seeing a pretty intense time for fighting.
...If Putin does another round of mobilization in the second half of January, it wont generate anything but useless cannon fodder by March.
Evan Scrimshaw checks in on the controversy du jour and concludes Jordan Peterson Is Just Not This Important: some point down the line he crossed over from being a Prof and an author to an “Intellectual”, and therefore being an “Important Person” who “Knows Things”.
And now, that designation has led to another fracas, this time over whether he can remain licensed by the Ontario College of Psychologists due to complaints stemming from his tweets. He is trying to make it a story of national attention, and he has been aided by Pierre Poilievre and the National Post, and I am now at the point where I have to ask a very important question.
Why, exactly, does it matter?
....he is a fundamentally unimportant person in the grand scheme of things. He’s a professional opinion haver, and as an amateur one of those, I know our role is not that big, even at the peak of the talent.
...Jordan Peterson wants free speech, sort of. He wants the freedom to say what he wants, but he does not want any of the consequences of it or pushback for it. He is a fraud, because his commitment to free speech doesn’t extend to anyone else, and he wants all the benefits of being able to shitpost and go on Rogan and say loony shit without having to abide by a basic set of professional standards.
That said, what is vastly more important is that this country stops being played for fools by obvious frauds, because that’s what this is. Peterson doesn’t want to lose his license, and is trying to gin up some sympathy. I get it, and if I were in his shoes I’d do the same. But it doesn’t make this important and it doesn’t make it worth fucking talking about. We as a country are being played for fools by bad faith actors like Jordan Peterson, and ignoring their tantrums would do well to start fixing this country.
Now, a few good tweets:

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