Links of the Month: February 2024

no cats were harmed in the making of this Midjourney AI image; not my prompt

I think I have run out of outrage. I’m becoming immune to it, rather than inured. The outrage serves no purpose. I try to understand how humans can possibly believe the unfathomable things they espouse, or do the atrocious things they do. I want to understand, I think. We’re all doing our individual best, so how can we collectively have gone so wrong? I keep writing my best explanations of ‘how the world works’ the way it, bizarrely, does. I can understand and explain insane beliefs and behaviours, and I realize and understand the grinding precarity, the conditioning, the abject fear, hatred and trauma that underlies them. But where does that get anyone? So: The guy got so desperate he killed his family. Or threw himself in front of a train. Or launched a genocide. Or pushed the button to launch a nuclear arsenal. We can try to understand. But it doesn’t help. It’s not like any of us has free will to do anything different. It’s not as if any aspect of the predicament of collapse can be slowed or stopped. May the gods bless you if you believe otherwise; I can understand your believing that, too.

Still, it seems better, for no reason I can articulate, to understand. And then, having understood, and accepted, to go for a walk in the sun or the rain, to play with a cat or a dog or a baby, to eat raspberries and ice cream, to talk with the homeless person, or the stranger at the bus stop. To just stand still and look and smile and laugh and marvel at the staggering wonder of it all.


nothing unusual happening here, folks, move along please, just an ordinary day like any other; data from NOAA via

1.5º is so last year: “For the first time, the global temperature pushed past the internationally agreed upon warming threshold for an entire 12-month period, with February 2023 to January 2024, running 1.52ºC above preindustrial levels“.

Sabine talks about the hot models: No, not those hot models; the ones that suggest the pace and acceleration of climate collapse has been dramatically understated. She also points to new research showing how climate change denial is immensely profitable.

Will we find collapse so unbearable we’ll turn to hard drugs to escape?: We’re hearing more and more about new, cheap synthetic drugs that dull the pain and suffering for those trying to cope with abject poverty, suffering and trauma. Lots of canaries in the mine shaft already: Benzo-laced fentanyl and more recently nitazines and protonitazepyne in the west, crocodile and ‘spice’ in Russia, and now kush in Africa. Is this a preview of the future of collapse?


Mona’s bad hair day; image via

Guatemala finally has a democratically elected government: After decades of brutal rule by right-wing military governments, and last-minute machinations by the losing side to get the judiciary to invalidate the results (sound familiar?), and to overthrow the elected government by coup (sound familiar?), the leftist government that won the recent elections has finally been sworn in. Sadly, in many Latin American countries, right-wing foreign interference remains the rule.

Pacific Time zone states ready to go it alone dumping daylight saving time: Fed up with years of federal government incapacity to simply allow states to stay on DT all year long, despite overwhelming support for the idea, the Pacific Time zone states have tentatively decided not to switch to DT at all this year (ie to stay on standard time all year), since that doesn’t require federal approval. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.

Am I Métis enough?: A woman embroiled in the controversy over the recognition of those with mixed First Nations and European ancestry tells her fascinating story.


New Yorker cartoon by Sofia Warren 

The coming war with China: The late John Pilger warned us before he died about the Empire’s desire for a war against China, and western journalists’ negligence in not reporting ‘inconvenient’ truths like the rise of Bandera naziism in Ukraine after the Maidan coup.

Biden’s pathetic environmental record: Despite his posturing and one signature law, Biden’s approvals of new offshore, arctic and fracking development (like the massive Willow development), public land oil auctions, funding new oil and gas power plants, fighting the youth climate lawsuit,  waste of money on fake “carbon capture” and “clean hydrogen” projects, and funding of international hydrocarbon projects, all put the lie to his claim to be serious about dealing with climate collapse. Food and Water Watch is keeping track of his litany of ecologically destructive activities, and notes that he has approved more new drilling projects in his term than “drill-baby-drill” Trump did.

Did the founders of the US constitution deliberately make democracy dysfunctional?: An interesting exploration about whether the privileged lawmakers of the day went out of their way to not allow too much democracy. Maybe those red hats should be restamped “MADA” — Make America dysfunctional again. The Supreme Court ‘originalists’ would seem to be onside.

Corpocracy, Imperialism & Fascism: Short takes. (Thanks to John Whiting for many of these links.):

Propaganda, Censorship, Misinformation and Disinformation: Short takes:


from the memebrary

Judge reverses $150k discrimination award: Fascinating case of two sides both trying to do their best, and getting the courts caught in the middle. A woman successfully sued a child advocacy organization for depriving her of access to her children, arguing the decision was racist. No, said the appeal judge to the lower tribunal — in your zeal to fight racism you’ve put the children at risk.

Free won’t: A delightful cartoon about free will. Would have been even better had the genders and ages portrayed been reversed. Thanks to Ian Petrie for the link.

Too much labour: A song by Paris Paloma about women being expected to do most of the work, both physical and emotional, in relationships. Thanks to Lyz Lenz for the link.

Classical K-Pop?: K-Pop producers often use symphony members to co-write and orchestrate their songs. Turning that around, Nahre Sol wonders what if you turned a K-Pop song into a classical composition?

That’s not how to tell me: Rebecca Watson debunks the five Love Languages.

Sorry, I’m not a member of that: A rambling talk by Hank Green about the ‘fracturing’ of the social media landscape, as more and more of us retreat from ‘open’ mega-platforms to smaller, more focused spaces.

Fossil fuel colonialism: Indrajit Samarajiva explains how colonialism can be understood as an attempt by those in cold climates with relatively little solar energy, to expropriate it from those in warmer climates.

This is how to do conversation: This long, funny, quirky, insider conversation of five (relatively) young people is unlike any I’ve ever had, or heard. It covers an enormous amount of ground, and in it the participants listen to and respect each other, and do a lot of ‘yes and…’ vibing off each other. I found it fascinating, inspiring, and a bit exhausting.

Tom Scott on AI: The veteran YouTuber explained (a year ago) why AI scares him. (Hint: It’s partly because ChatGPT gave him the code he needed to fix a problem that he couldn’t fix himself.)

Scientific papers deal with a flood of frauds: Ten thousand retractions last year, and that’s just the ones we know about. That’s what happens when you get enormous awards for being published, and when peer reviewers get sloppy. Thanks to Bob Lasciewicz for the link.

Wherever you go, there you are: Sheryl Crow’s new song gently spoofs woo-woo spirituality, including non-duality.


from the memebrary

From Indrajit Samarajiva, on the symbolism of Blinken’s plane being grounded:

If there’s ever a metaphor for the state of America, it’s the Secretary of State’s plane being unable to take off, and the staff having to scurry home on commercial. America’s entire government is in a real and symbolic shambles; they simply can’t hide the rot. The Secretary of War is bombing people from his hospital bed while the Secretary of Lying can’t get off the ground. Meanwhile the obviously senile President is on autopilot, the Boeing sort that flies the plane into the ground.

From artist Sergio Toporek in Beware of Images (thanks to John Whiting for the link):

Before you judge others or claim any absolute truth, consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. Pigeons and butterflies can differentiate 10,000x as many discrete colours as humans. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 kilometres per second across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you”. A person is not so much an individual human body as a super organism made up of diverse ecosystems, each teeming with microscopic creatures that are essential to our well-being. The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. And the variance between the genome of anthrax bacteria and that of cholera bacteria is much greater than the variance between the genome of humans and that of potatoes. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it.

From Caitlin Johnstone in More US-Driven Escalations:

To the managers of the US empire: Get out of the middle east. Just get the fuck out. Stop backing a genocide in Gaza, stop murdering people to shore up domination of world resources, and leave. Leave before you unleash something far worse than the nightmare you’ve already inflicted upon our species.

From (source unknown) on the Story of Me:

Everyone’s story has a chapter they don’t tell out loud.

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12 Responses to Links of the Month: February 2024

  1. Brutus says:

    Dave, the explanatory task you set for yourself is akin to seeking answers to life, the universe, and everything. I share some of that ambition but am forced to acknowledge my limitations. Thus, unlike yours, my outrage is preserved.

  2. Siyavash Abdolrahimi says:

    The New Yorker cartoon is very funny. A find!

  3. Renaee says:

    I did have the energy to follow most of the links – but sure enjoyed the Sheryl Crow song :-)

  4. Renaee says:

    Did NOT have that is!

  5. I know it’s not a very popular subject anymore but I was wondering why you stopped having COVID updates.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Michael: Got weary of saying the same thing every month: The latest global data shows a continued levelling off of excess mortality in most countries in recent months (though the data is woefully slow being released by many countries), and it suggests CoVid-19 remains one of the top causes of death in the world. I continue to mask in crowded indoor spaces, isolate and test when feeling unwell, and get the latest boosters, all of which this data supports… The pandemic continues to kill about 1 person per million per day, and in countries with decent hospital systems about 40 people per million are in hospital with CoVid-19 on any particular day. These numbers are wildly skewed by age, so your risk is as much a 50x greater if you’re over 80… And the dangers of lifetime Long CoVid remain, and we don’t know what % of the population will get that (somewhere between 2-7% of the population). And we still don’t know the total death toll (20-30M). If there’s any significant change, I’ll report it here. Naked Capitalism is still reporting on it quite regularly.

  7. Dave Pollard says:

    Follow-up on CoVid-19 — this will be in next month’s Links, and it’s worth a look:

  8. Vera says:

    Oh dear. I took a quick look. What I don’t understand, Dave, is… well, the same people who are — you’ve been shrewd to spot — lying to you about Ukraine, they are telling you the truth about covid?

    Wouldn’t Occam’s Razor point to… chronic liars chronically lying?

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Occam’s razor must be dull. Some of the best analysts on some subjects are bonkers on others. It’s a complex world out there.

  10. Vera says:

    Dave, I was not referring to “brilliant analysts.” I was referring to government and related official sources. If they mount a propaganda campaign for this or against that, I figure there is a very good chance they are lying.

    On other topics, Avdeyevka finally fell. The article I just read says it was a massacre, partly because the Ukie soldiers retreating were going through (their own) mine fields, partly because the Russians awaited at all other points, and partly because they left their wounded behind without medical care. It’s over.

    The people in Donetsk can finally breathe a sign of relief, after 9 years of constant shelling from the Avdeyevka stronghold. Time to map out a road toward ending this war?

  11. FamousDrScanlon says:

    Vera because BIG Pharma deceived by playing up what was only ever a hypothesis about the cause of depression (chemical imbalance) and marketed that as fact (without actually saying it’s a ‘fact’) that means they are lying about Covid vaccines too? By that logic no one should take so much as an aspirin (a product of Big Pharma Bayer) or any Big pharma drug at all – flush them all down the toilet today. Because if they lied about depression pills they must be lining about Covid vaccines then they must be lying about all of it. You don’t get to cheery pick which meds go and which stay using that logic. That logic is a hydrogen bomb logic.

    It appears everyone with an agenda will lie to support it. Most humans have their own truth based on their tribal dogma & primitive emotions.

    How the anti-vaccine movement is downplaying the danger of measles

    Wellness influencers and anti-vaccine activists have reacted to measles outbreaks by spreading misinformation about the disease.

    “Measles — a disease so contagious it acts as a bellwether for threats from other infectious diseases — is marked by fever, flu-like symptoms and an itchy rash, and sometimes comes with dire complications including pneumonia, seizures and brain damage. For every 1,000 cases of measles, about 200 children may be hospitalized, 50 may get pneumonia, one child may develop brain swelling along with deafness or disability, and between one and three may die.”

    As long as it’s mostly anti-vaxxers kids and grand kids suffering and dying, I don’t see a problem. The majority of them are also climate deniers so I think of it as a happy 2 for 1.

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