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Necroqueen!

(Extracted from my twitter stream over the past week)

My brain is going offline until next Tuesday to show respect during the Necroqueen's procession into the Western Lands.

After a short mummification there will be an economic (but not metabolic) recovery.

Meanwhile, I had a dream, and it went someething like this ...

* * *

Day 6 of Necroqueen mourning: the subjects are becoming restive, shuffling and whispering, expressing their disquiet about the teind of children who must be ceremonially strangled in order to power her passage into the afterlife (it has inflationary macroeconomic effects)

(Note that whenever a Royal dies, they sacrifice the servants. Also a sufficiently of widows, orphans, and cancer patients to power their ascent to lichdom, where they take their final undead form and join the unholy choir that endlessly praises Her Dread Majesty, the Necroqueen.)

Day 7 of Necroqueen mourning: the Channel Tunnel opens to accommodate the Queue. Mourners stretching halfway to Calais, weeping and throwing their children under the relentless steel wheels of the Eurostar juggernaut.

Day 8 of Necroqueen mourning: let us remember Her together!

The hymn for today is the dirge-like refrain of "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at":

🪱 👑🪱 👑🪱 👑🪱

The worms go in,

The worms come out:

They go in thin,

They come out stout!

🪱 👑🪱 👑🪱 👑🪱

Newsflash: we interrupt these necrotweets to inform you that the previous social media coordinator has been terminated.

Day 9 of the Necroqueen's progression to the Duat and the operation to tag the sacrifices is proceeding satisfactorily. Volunteers have joined an orderly line, although there are a handful of disruptive elements. Their souls will be consumed last.

screencap of eBay auction for WTF?!?

Day Ten of Necroqueen mourning: a convoy of ambulances will convey the heart of the Deceased to the Royal Brompton Hospital, where it must be weighed against the feather of Ma'at prior to implantation in the thoracic cavity of the Heir. Thus is the Monarchy transferred!

(On the length of the queue: I think it's something to do with the announcement that the 50 least enthusiastic mourners will be mewed up in the Royal Catacombs with her Maj, so the Necroqueen can paralyse and lay her eggs in them?)

WE FINALLY HAVE ENOUGH SACRIFICES THE CRYPT DOORS ARE CLOSING IÄ IÄ REGINA ELIZABETH PTHAGHN THE UNDYING EMPRESS ACHIEVES HER FINAL FORM TOMORROW PRAY TO BE EATEN LAST IÄ IÄ REGINA PTHAGHN

screencap of DCMS announcing they have enough sacrifices

DAY 10,304,871 OF NECROQUEEN FUNERARY RITES

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The 10 millionth child tribute from the Venusian dominions has been delivered to the altar at Balmoral

  2. 28th Millennial Pyramid and Tzompantli opens tomorrow: Pr'm'r L'g'e warriors compete to be first sacrifice

  3. The Royal Brood Chamber is now 8.2 kilometres long! The egg casings of Her unholy spawn would fill 11 supertankers (archaic measure of fluid volume).

  4. The Martian rebel scum attacking our patriotic Lunar colony have been defeated. Mass execution of survivors to come!

  5. The planet GJ 1214b has been zoned for terraforming! Glory to Her Undying Majesty! It shall be renamed Prince Andrew and a budget for relocating the indigenous population by means of peaceful relativistic impactors has been allocated to the Imperial Expansion Committee.

A million more days of celebratory funeral rites have been unanimously approved by Privy Council! A million more days for Her Undying Majesty, the Dark Sun whose Necrotic Radiance never dims! The black hole who outshines Diana, the star of England! Glory! Glory! Iä! Iä!

* * *

PS: this entire thread was a thought experiment about the sort of thinking Sir Lindsay Hoyle's extraordinary news interview the other day embodied, when he said: "we should not let anything overshadow the most important event the world will ever see and that is the funeral of her majesty." What would it take for him to be right?

(Original video of Hoyle's statement in case you don't believe it's real.)

739 Comments

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1:

Pissing off the world-killing asteroid that took out the dinosaurs by claiming it was less important than someone’s granny dying is exactly the kind of mistake the dinosaurs made.

2:

Most excellent! :-) CASE NIGHTMARE ROYAL BLUE?

3:

I think I'll pick some ideas from this for my Dungeons&Dragons Spelljammer game. I was thinking of a Möbius strip as a place to visit, and a necro-queen queue on that could be a fun (for certain values of 'fun') idea.

Maybe it could be some Githyanki thing. (They're an official part of the setting.)

(Also, I don't feel the 5e Speljammer set is worth the money, but I have a serious case of nostalgia for it.)

4:

What does DuckDuckGo know that Google doesn't? Currently, searching for Necroqueen returns links to BBC, Yahoo, etc. news articles about the funeral.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=necroqueen

5:

It's possible Hoyle was right if you limit it to his milieu of politics and state. It's hard to imagine any future occasion on which heads of state assemble in such complete numbers. That may be a loss - didn't Yes, Minister suggest that the informal meetings at these occasions played an important role?

wg

6:

Maybe this is the most important thing ever, because we need to be sure the Queen is buried right and proper and not left wandering about.

7:

That was almost enough to persuade me to get a Twitter account.

Almost.

8:

[ DELETED by mod -- we don't need an American-centric viewpoint on what is basically not an American thing at all ]

9:

Lenin's embalmed corpse spent 80 years lying in a small building in the Red Square with people queueing daily to pay their respects. It's only been a few days for HM; she's got a long way to go yet.

11:

Re: '... the most important event the world will ever see and that is the funeral of her majesty." What would it take for him to be right?'

Putin dying of whatever cancer, lead poisoning (imbibing the late Tsar's stash of cognac stored in their original 19th century crystal decanters) or accidentally falling out of a 40th floor window - and no one showing up for his funeral? [Ditto DT - ODing on junk food.]

Amid the widespread rise of noisy toxic politics starting about 10-12 years ago where people were being openly dared and bullied into showing up to foment or participate in noisy, violent (potentially illegal) confrontations instead we've seen miles of misty-eyed ordinary people waiting patiently in line to say their farewell to someone that they feel has been a part of their lives. As a snapshot of what it means to be human, I'll take the latter.

12:

Putin dying of whatever ... DT - ODing on junk food.

Nope, those are both trivial. In the true order of things -- seen from 5000 years' remove, never mind 5 million -- any event happening to a contemporary head of state is trivial.

13:

Maybe this is the most important thing ever

Must be. In the US there are at least 8 live TV feeds going on just now. ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, msNBC, FoxNews, and C-SPAN.

And I think they are all doing it without commercials. The cable news folks seem to have political / historian commentary going on in small PIP windows.

There may be more but my 3 minutes to research this only took me this far.

I have to wonder just what would be on if anything short of a direct hit on a reactor at a Ukrainian nuclear power station happens today. In the US I'm betting all kinds of government agencies are doing news dumps of small but unpopular items this morning.

14:

Yes to all that. My wife and I, upon turning on the news, have taken to shouting, "She's still dead!" whenever news of the royal death comes on - our attitude is that everyone (at least in the U.S.) should get over it already!

15:

You must have lost your voice at some point early this morning. (US Time)

16:

Oops. Saw a commercial during msNBC's coverage. But it was only full screen for 30 seconds or so.

I missed BBC America in my early list. So STNG fans will miss the 300th replay of some of their episodes.

And apparently a Russian missile did land 300 meters from a Ukrainian nuclear plant overnight.

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/19/1123782942/ukraine-russian-missile-strike-near-nuclear-power-plant

17:

I don't actually shout it. but yes my news summary is very much "Lillibet is still dead.

19:

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but my understanding was that the LONDON BRIDGE funding accounts were formed in the 1970s and have been well-managed and gathering interest ever since.

Since those accounts have to be spent on this project and can't be repurposed, what else do you expect them to do but spend it all?

Anyway, I got to see C3* bind himself to one of the documents in the monarchic soul jar a few days back, so that was fine.

20:

I dunno. It MAY BE the most important thing ever in a sense of "Après moi, le déluge" with the U.K. falling apart and the rise of toxic fascism around the world.

21:

One sad part of the handover is that a 50-year long attempt to get Excalibur back into the Royal Regalia by cleaning up the Thames was scuttled by recent sewage dumping, so that the Lady of the Lake refused to manifest in the polluted water and perform their xiphonaiadonatic rite.

Royalists see this as part of a dark plot by the Mammonites.

A question: is it true that the King Charles III Royal Post Office will be officially abbreviated C3PO?

22:

I made it through about 4 minutes of sombre bullshit on the CBC this morning before I shut it off.

I still have to/get to work today, but at least I get overtime. Thanks Betsy! Given that Chuck is not a young man, if he pops his clogs in a couple of years will the performative grief account be overdrawn? Will we just have a quick spin around the block with him in a box, then back to our usual doomscrolling...

23:

Given that Chuck is not a young man, if he pops his clogs in a couple of years will the performative grief account be overdrawn? Will we just have a quick spin around the block with him in a box, then back to our usual doomscrolling...

Nope! This stuff is dictated/organized by the Palace, which means Government of the day goes along with it because if they don't they'll get a huge bollocking from the hardcore of monarchists (over 50% of the population of England, somewhat fewer elsewhere) and quite possibly see this reflected in the polls.

And the Palace is putting on a show for the new monarch who has just lost a parent and is the hand that signs their paycheque. So they're not going to back down unless a generational culture shift happens within a notoriously conservative and tradition-bound family.

But if they run it on the same scale for Chuckles as they just did for Lizzie there will be a lot more grumbling afterwards, especially from the youth and the uppity internal colonials (Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish non-Unionists).

There are already news reports of a big upswing in republican sentiment (and I'm not talking about anything Trump-adjacent here).

PS: this has been a classic Victorian mourning ritual, of the kind every middle class family aspired to until the first world war gave everyone a surfeit of funerals. A modern one would be private for family, friends, and diplomatic relations, held behind closed doors. The respective taboos around sex and death flipped through 180 degrees some time in the 20th century, which is why it feels like a jarring anachronistic throwback. Nobody really objects to OTT festivities on this scale for an elite society wedding, after all (which is a sex/fertility ritual with inheritance rights attached).

24:

Ok, on the first page of results, I get a) stuff from some game, and... the City of Mission Viejo?

25:

I'm sorry, this is a US-based response,
Here she comes to save the day,
You know that Necro-Queen, is on the wa...

26:

I did say "currently". Did someone at DDG notice and interfere with the automated search and ranking algorithms?

27:

Never mind the funeral. Surely it's all about The Queue.

28:

A headline which gives me to imagine that they will actually be showing a recording of Freddie Mercury's funeral, with a studio audience of people dressed as members of the band and a musical accompaniment of their greatest hits. Connection to the conventionally expected content being that the music is from a tape found down the back of the seat in the Necroqueen's hearse.

It has to be said that in contrast to most episodes in the sequence of massive and prolonged media blasts about trivial crap that modern life is so much about avoiding, this particular one has actually reduced the amount of wetware CPU time drained off by running the filters. Behind the tills in the local Co-op there are LCD screens at ceiling height which normally subject victims waiting for the till to a loop of adverts. Since the event in question they have changed to showing a plain black screen with a little avatar-sized dead queen pic in the middle, which isn't all garish bright colours and doesn't move and is far less of a source of cognitive overload than the adverts were. Sombre dead queen pics on the array of right-wing propaganda sheets in the newspaper racks are also much less unpleasant than their usual front page content.

29:

"Après moi, le déluge" with the U.K. falling apart and the rise of toxic fascism around the world."

That should be updated to "Après moi, la frappe d'astéroïde. Then you wouldn't have to worry about toxic fascism arising, at least not for a while.

30:

Hah! That is alarmingly close to what I was discussing with Bridget yesterday - as in “he’s nuts - but what if it is true? The signal for alien invasion due to the magical powers being weakened as a new monarch struggles to get to grips with the Powers. The loss of Royal Power releases the creatures of the Dungeon Dimensions. The collective wailing wakens the Kraken?”

31:

JBS
*"Après moi, le déluge" * - as regards UK politics, yes.
Liz Trump is all set to utterly trash everything & anything that does not directly benefit the 0.01%
But then said Liz T IS the necroqueen - isn't she?

Charlie / Rick Moen
A VERY interesting survey was made of said queue ...
Politics: Claimed to be a small majority ( ~54% ) Conservative - which does not sit easily with the other results & observations, um.
Social Attitudes: Rabidly liberal ~ 80%
Brexit: Soundly against - "remain" at about 65-70%
"Racial" mix - very representative of London & Britain ...
I noticed the latter in video feeds of those passing through Westminster Hall: All shades of pink-to-dark-brown, people saluting, people bowing, some kneeling down, many crossing themselves, quite a few making namaste, several small & one full salaam, other Buddhist gestures.

32:

AlanW noted in #4 ib September 19, 2022 12:09:

What does DuckDuckGo know that Google doesn't? Currently, searching for Necroqueen returns links to BBC, Yahoo, etc. news articles about the funeral.

So pleased that the first spurious entry presented by DuckDuckGo's search was regarding my current residence, a city of Rebel Scum: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g52024-d14928391-Reviews-Drag_Queen_Brunch-Portland_Oregon.html

33:

I've just tried that search on Bing, Google and DDG. The first five pages on Bing are almost entirely about what seems to be something to do with video games. Google has a link to this blog entry on its first page by now but otherwise is much the same as Bing, though with more bias to people naming themselves after video game things rather than more directly connected items. But DDG has several links to different tweets from Charlie of the same kind as those with which he started this post, containing many references to funerals and associated rites, so I'd guess that was what led it to associate a Strossian search term with the Windsorian referent.

34:

"the teind of children who must be ceremonially strangled"

Weird Coincidence Of The Week: encountering that word for the first time ever in Charlie's post and needing to deduce the meaning using redundancy, then not half an hour later, as a byproduct of an attempt to match an unannotated feature on a map of Glasgow to past railway infrastructure, encountering it for a second time along with its definition (a Scottish word for "tithe").

35:

How do I change my Display Name?

36:

Rick Moen @ 27:

Never mind the funeral. Surely it's all about The Queue.

Now I'm sorry I missed it. But I expect I'll get over it someday.

37:

Kardashev @ 29:

"Après moi, le déluge" with the U.K. falling apart and the rise of toxic fascism around the world."

That should be updated to "Après moi, la frappe d'astéroïde. Then you wouldn't have to worry about toxic fascism arising, at least not for a while.

When is the asteroid going to get here?

38:

Still remaining to be seen if the 19th century bargain that involved the sacrifice of the Irish will continue on to the next heir, or if another mass sacrifice must be arranged.

39:

Oh, this time it will be the English, come this winter, with Brexit chowing down, as well as Russia and the oil companies.

40:

Charlie,

Sorry to nitpick (not really) but the verse you quoted is not from "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at" but from another song, that begins "Do you ever think, when a hearse goes by,".

The references to t'worms in "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at" are: Then t'worms will coom and eat thee up and Then t'ducks will coom and eat up t'worms

JHomes

41:

Change your display name by clicking the "Thanks for signing in, JBS" link above the reply box. (I assume that's what you see, I see "...Moz". If you see the Moz version please don't change my display name.

42:

Necroqueen... somehow I'm thinking about the people who don't know why the Rookwood Necropolis is called that. I used to commute through it every day on my bike and it's actually quite nice as a park. There's even wildlife.

Sadly they closed the necrorailwayline and Mortuary Station (which is mostly still there, just not often open to the public... and definitely not to the dead public).

43:

Is Rookwood still the only cemetery in the world with its own post code I wonder? It certainly is a lovely place to visit.

44:

I assume the late queen had several postcodes, unless the UK has very large ones. So presumably she'll be interred someone suitably grandiose and that may be large enough to have A Postcode of One's Own.

Doesn't Chuckles own most of Cornwall so presumably has a bunch of his too? He could rudely violate tradition (again) and designate one as his personal cemetery. He probably doesn't want to be buried in a pet cemetery although that should definitely be on the royal funeral playlist.

(am I the only one who feels that half the Ramones songs should be played 50% faster than they actually do? Maybe I just don't get their slower songs the way I do with Wire like Reuters (another one for the funeral) or Wiseblood. Speaking of which this sounds better played at 33rpm rather than the 45rpm the video uses)

45:

High Priestess Truss is preparing the ceremony for the first wave of sacrifices as we speak.

46:

We had the same thing here - the "Necropolis" platform/stationette at Waterloo station, operated by the London Necropolis Company, for loading trains to feed the corpse-processing industry around the southern fringe of London.

47:

42 - I had to check the link to figure out the "Rookwood" part, but the "necropolis" is obvious. For instance, I already know of Glasgow Necropolis; no railway because it's almost literally next door to St Mungo's Cathedral and just off (Glasgow) High Street.

44 - Well, only in that, say, Balmoral and Sandringham Houses are in different counties and hence postcodes. Yes, Balmoral House will have a different postcode from any in Balater village, but a typical UK postcode contains something like 15 street addresses.

48:

Unfortunately the nuclear salute explosions over the major capitals to mourn the passing of the queen were interpreted as a first strike. Memorable unpleasantries ensued.

49:

Doesn't Chuckles own most of Cornwall so presumably has a bunch of his too?

No, he recently moved on to owning much of Lancaster.

The new owner of Cornwall is Billy.

50:

UK News (based on English Broadcasting Corporation flagship morning news):-
1) The Necroqueen is still dead
2) Robbie Williams (yes, ex of Take That) has a new album out
3) Bryn Terfel is starting a UK tour; oh and he's met the Necroqueen and the Necroconsort you know
4) The Iron Weathervane will be releasing a mini budget at the end of the week.
5) Royal mourning will continue for another week, denoted by them (and only them) flying flags and standards at half-mast.

51:

Rocketjps
Now that was totally uncalled-for - Ireland was the worst hit by a famine that extended across the whole of Europe.

NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead
No. There is a small burial chamber at Windsor, nothing large or flashy. Basically, underneath St George's chapel.
Not any more - William is now D of Cornwall.

paws
Translation - "We're going to quietly sit down with our feet up, after the last 10 days!"

And, in other news - the normal boring & deadly shit, like the Ukraine war, & Liz Trumpss utter incompetence are back in the headlines

52:

Now I'm thinking what we could do by mixing up the clauses in these items, e.g.:

1) The Necroqueen has a new album out. 2) Robbie Williams will be releasing a mini budget, denoted by them (and only them) flying flags and standards at half-mast. 3) Bryn Terfel is still dead, oh and he's met the Necroqueen and the Necroconsort you know. 4) The Iron Weathervane (yes, ex of Take That) will continue for another week. 5) Royal mourning is starting a UK tour at the end of the week.

I'm only sad about how it turned out for Bryn Terfel.

53:

Well, Anne and Speaker to Plants have earned a break.

54:

uhm...

please define "xiphonaiadonatic"... google kinda-storta stroked out into confusion...

as to the other headlines being buried by QE-centric tributes...

there's another shitstorm drowning Puerto Rico... ten busloads of migrants are being illegally relocated as quasi-slaves in chicken disassembly plants... nobody is willing to publish projections for temperatures during winter 2022 but there's glum whispers there will be lots of brutal chill crushing EU & UK... the price of bread in NYC has gone up another 8%...

55:

As I view it, Hoyle has graduated from useless prick to utter prat. It is the only time he will be allowed to play international politics, so it was HIS most important event.

In many ways, it was the requiem for the British global influence and, I think, with hindsight will be viewed as such. HM spent a lot of effort turning the Commonwealth into an association of equals, but our current rulers prefer delusion. Remember the claim that Brexit would have the Commonwealth flocking to trade with us? King Charles will do his best, but I doubt he will be able to counteract those loons.

Actually, it was NOT entirely organised by the palace. The invitation list was strongly political, and announcements on it were made from 10 Downing Street; rumours are that the heads of the armed forces also sent more people than they might have done. Given that it was the funeral of a head of state who had reigned for 70 years (a dozen USA presidents!), and who was highly respected at home and abroad, it wasn't totally OTT. I suspect that King Charles might order a simpler one and, if William backs him, we would see it cut down.

56:

The worms are going to have to work hard - the coffin was reported to be oak and lined with lead (hence the eight bearers). Extra protection from solar radiation ??!!
Also, it occurred to me that by hanging on to the end the queen has ensured that Charles will almost certainly never have a "major jubilee", as the first one is after 25 years.

57:

Long-time reader, first-time commenter. The kerfluffle around the queen is really fucking absurd. To the point where I felt the need to write a song about it.

https://soundcloud.com/k-dy-muc/lizzies-in-a-box

For people as sick of this madness as you are, this might be a nice palette cleanser. God save the queen indeed.

Can anyone explain the madness that is The Queue? Like, is there any way to make any of that make any sense?

58:

OK. Hoyle's statement was gross hyperbole but if we take 'the world' as a metonym for modern humans how should we measure the importance of an event and what are everyone's top 10 candidates?

I ran out of imagination after the outbreak and cessation of the two most recent world-wars, the invention of sewers, antibiotics and vaccination, and the use of atomic weapons in japan*.

In the UK, the black-death plague is a good parochial candidate because of the economic and societal change it made, and possibly the irish famine for the same reason (more than the highland clearances?)

*If I were to write a short-story, and it won't ever happen, I have trouble with my thank-you letters, it would be on the consequence of the atomic bombs not being used in Japan. We wouldn't know how horrific they are and that would increase the probability of small tactical weapons being used.

59:

Also, both Lillibet and Philo the Greek were inhumed in a chapel, not by burial in the ground, which makes things more awkward for the worms.

60:

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords as a basis for government:

Xiphonaiadocracy

Xiphos=sword

Naiad=Presents-as-female water spirit.

Distributing? That's a given.

61:

Docracy? Government by docents? I'm not sure that's ever been tried before.

62:

Docracy? Government by docents? I'm not sure that's ever been tried before.

You're right. The second word is naiado, "of the naiad." It's the genitive case. Please proceed....

63:

"Now that was totally uncalled-for - Ireland was the worst hit by a famine that extended across the whole of Europe."

Of course, I'm sure many of the other monarchs also required sacrifices. That said, none of my ancestors were among those sacrificed to other monarchs.

64:

Re: '... - the normal boring & deadly shit, like the Ukraine war, & Liz Trumpss utter incompetence are back in the headlines'

Today is the first in-person high-level meeting at the UN since 2019. The SecGen's opening speech starts kinda hopeful but then goes real-world listing on-going and developing issues that haven't yet been addressed.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/antonio-guterres-1.6588574

This is the second event within one week where most of the Western leaders will be in the same place. Lots of opportunities to suss each other out re: programs, initiatives, etc.

Another second-time-within-a-week event - Most forecast models are saying that my neck of the woods is getting hit (again) with 150-200 mm of rain this weekend. Apart from storm damage to built structures and roads, this will also affect local growers (regional economy & food security).

65:

"the coffin was reported to be oak and lined with lead (hence the eight bearers). Extra protection from solar radiation ??!! "

Or to protect the environs from the radiation coming from inside?

66:

Charlie, I'm an atheist, but in most forms of Christianity Jesus is God. Like, it's in the name of the religion. Worshiping Christ is what Christians do. It would be an opposite of idolatry.

67:

Oh FUCK
Putin has just (?) finished talking about Ukraine, maybe...
This from the Grauniad: The Russian president Vladimir Putin will be giving an address at 6pm UK time this evening, when he expected to address today’s news that parts of Ukraine held by Russian troops will hold referendums on joining Russia.
Which will be suitably rigged to get a "Mother Russia" vote ...
So that all that occupied territory is suddenly part of Russia ... and then Putin CAN order a general cll-up/mobilisation & claim that "Nato is attacking Russian territory".
An escalation of an already dangerous game.
I just hope he isn't mad enough to then actually attack NATO-states territory?

68:

Wow, Charlie! If that’s a dream, I’d hate to hear your nightmares.

The Necroqueen should be more than a match for the New Management. It sounds like your subconscious is still feeding you plot ideas.

69:

Greg @67: This has been a concern for a while; the rout of the First Guards Tank Army around Kharkhiv has shaken Russian supporters of Putin’s War, and he’s in need of a dramatic move to stave off growing popular opposition to his war of choice.

Western analysts predicted this move months ago, and their governments repudiated same a while back. The usual state cheerleaders have trotted out the nuclear threat on cue, and vigorous washing of hands is underway in the pacifist/“West is Evil” circles.

This does lay the groundwork for a general mobilization of the Russian Army, which, over time, would give them the manpower to possibly prevail in Ukraine, but it doesn’t solve the short term issue. Note also that Russia has been claiming direct NATO participation in the war, which is, if anything, more concerning than the sham “referendum”.

70:

Me @69: oops, I meant to say “wringing of hands”

71:

This does lay the groundwork for a general mobilization of the Russian Army, which, over time, would give them the manpower to possibly prevail in Ukraine

After the collapse of the USSR they dismantled the barracks and bases for processing and training the new conscripts. And the cadres who'd be in charge of training and leading them all got sent to Ukraine and many of them died there.

So mobilization will be an utter clusterfuck and was never designed to produce new troop formations from raw recruits in less than six months.

The USSR at least had universal service and the mobilization troops had done a year's basic training at some point. They also had huge reserves of equipment: Russia has fields full of rusting scrap metal that used to be tanks, 30 years ago.

What mobilization will do: (a) it'll damage their economy further by yanking manpower out of it (bad for Putin), and (b) it might make it easier to shut down dissent at home (good for Putin).

But the barracks and warehouses are all located around Moscow: it's ridiculously over-centralized. So, just as in 1916/17, you'll have a bunch of underoccupied conscripts milling around the capital, waiting to be shipped off to die in an unpopular war.

This is what we call "a pre-revolutionary situation".

72:

NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead @ 41:

Change your display name by clicking the "Thanks for signing in, JBS" link above the reply box.

Thanks. That did it.

I guess I should explain. I found out the other day that a certain right-wing organization is also known by the acronym "JBS", which are my initials.

It doesn't look like I can sue them to make them change their acronym so it doesn't infringe on my likeness or whatever ...

I don't want to be associated with THEM in any way. Don't want to change my whole name, but I can change my screen name to distance myself.

73:

MSB @ 49:

Doesn't Chuckles own most of Cornwall so presumably has a bunch of his too?

No, he recently moved on to owning much of Lancaster.

The new owner of Cornwall is Billy.

A metal or enamel-ware pot with a lid & a wire bail is now one of the largest property owners in the U.K.?

Vewy intewesting.

74:

Mobilisation would be a huge error. Of course, Putin's made a steady stream of those lately, so anything's possible.

75:

arrbee @ 56:

The worms are going to have to work hard - the coffin was reported to be oak and lined with lead (hence the eight bearers). Extra protection from solar radiation ??!!
Also, it occurred to me that by hanging on to the end the queen has ensured that Charles will almost certainly never have a "major jubilee", as the first one is after 25 years.

He might live to be a hundred ... some people do.

76:

Couple of things ... I'm re-reading halting state & I have questions.

I just got past the part where Elaine arrives in Edinburgh in independent Scotland, but "thanks to Brussels" she doesn't have to go through customs.

Since Brexit, if Scotland votes for independence and petitions to rejoin the EU, how is that going to change?

Also, Sue just got appointed VLO for "Hayek Associates PLC", and is trying to figure out how do you offer a cup of tea & sympathy to a corporation?

Even if beer or coffee are the real national drinks, tea is associated with England and/or the U.K. in popular culture and I'm still how tea parlors displaced the coffee shops of Samuel Johnson's time?

[Haven't yet looked at the "London Bridge" comments today, so please don't fuss at me if it HAS already been explained there.]

77:

Auricoma @ 66:

Charlie, I'm an atheist, but in most forms of Christianity Jesus is God. Like, it's in the name of the religion. Worshiping Christ is what Christians do. It would be an opposite of idolatry.

That's actually heresy ... Jesus is the SON of God. He's part of the holy trinity, but not the actual Top Dog. Modern Xtians (especially here in the U.S.) - even the Opus Dei dickheads - seem to forget that.

78:

There is still one small problem:-

"Sloop John B"

We come on the sloop John B
My grandfather and me
Around Nassau town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up
I wanna go home

The first mate he got drunk
And broke in the Cap'n's trunk
The constable had to come and take him away
Sheriff John Stone
Why don't you leave me alone, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up I wanna go home

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, let me go home
Why don't you let me go home
(Hoist up the John B's sail)
Hoist up the John B
I feel so broke up I wanna go home
Let me go home

The poor cook he caught the fits
And threw away all my grits
And then he took and he ate up all of my corn
Let me go home
Why don't they let me go home
This is the worst trip I've ever been on

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, let me go home
Why don't you let me go home

79:

"I'm re-reading halting state & I have questions.

I just got past the part where Elaine arrives in Edinburgh in independent Scotland, but "thanks to Brussels" she doesn't have to go through customs.

Since Brexit, if Scotland votes for independence and petitions to rejoin the EU, how is that going to change?" - Obvious answer; Charlie has presumed (I think correctly) that iScotland would join the Schengen Zone on rejoining the EU.

80:

Charlie Stross @ 71:

This does lay the groundwork for a general mobilization of the Russian Army, which, over time, would give them the manpower to possibly prevail in Ukraine

So mobilization will be an utter clusterfuck and was never designed to produce new troop formations from raw recruits in less than six months.

The USSR at least had universal service and the mobilization troops had done a year's basic training at some point. They also had huge reserves of equipment: Russia has fields full of rusting scrap metal that used to be tanks, 30 years ago.

What mobilization will do: (a) it'll damage their economy further by yanking manpower out of it (bad for Putin), and (b) it might make it easier to shut down dissent at home (good for Putin).

But the barracks and warehouses are all located around Moscow: it's ridiculously over-centralized. So, just as in 1916/17, you'll have a bunch of underoccupied conscripts milling around the capital, waiting to be shipped off to die in an unpopular war.

This is what we call "a pre-revolutionary situation".

The more worrisome part for me is the other part of the equation:

So that all that occupied territory is suddenly part of Russia ... and then Putin CAN order a general cll-up/mobilisation & claim that "Nato is attacking Russian territory".

IF Putin does claim that NATO is attacking Russian territory, what does he do then?

What resources does he have for taking the war to NATO? He obviously doesn't have the army to do it, so what else might he use?

Is this Hitler in his bunker ordering non-existent divisions into battle to defend Berlin, or is Putin psyching himself up to order nuclear attacks?

81:

"He might live to be a hundred ... some people do."

Both of his parents lived into their late 90's, and at least one of his grandmothers made 100. On the other hand one of his grandfathers died young, thus making his mother Queen in her 20's.

82:

paws4thot @ 78:

There is still one small problem:-

"Sloop John B"

A ship manned by homesick sailors is not a reprehensible fascist organization. I'm not fussed.

Besides the song is in a key I can sing.

83:

"Note also that Russia has been claiming direct NATO participation in the war, which is, if anything, more concerning than the sham "referendum"."

But hardly an unexpected consequence of NATO getting as involved as they possibly can relying on the rather flimsy cover of a rather technical distinction.

84:

I was reading about Russia trying to beef up the army's numbers of late. After basic training (are you physically fit and can understand basic orders (sit stand walk ...) Russia trains "in unit". The problem just now is those units are fighting. Oops.

People are collecting TV, online, and printed ads where the Wagner group is advertising for felons. Sentence commuted if you sign up. That's got to be a well organized unit they will be building.

And yes, JBS and others can talk more to this, the US Army doesn't deploy folks to a combat unit until after months of training how to be a fighting soilder. Just to shoot a rifle. More skills, more training.

85:

Nope. What you are describing is Arianism, condemned as heresy by the Council of Chalcedon back in 451 AD. Who are you, a Visigoth? In Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, the Son is co-eternal with the Father. The Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit are all God. That's the whole Trinity thing.

How can a son and father be co-eternal, you ask? Nobody fucking knows. Nevertheless, Jesus is not a subordinate being, unless and are a dirty barbarian from beyond the Limes Germanicus.

86:

" but in most forms of Christianity Jesus is God. "

For present-day Christianity that's right. But it took several centuries to get that hammered out, extending from polemics in the 2nd Century to church councils in the 5th.

If one reads the New Testament, the parts that seem to go back, kinda, to the historical Jesus don't indicate that he thought he was God. Jesus apparently thought he stood in a special relation to Yahweh and was going to get special status after Y set things right. The J = G came later.

87:

Another prophet. Like Gautama might have thought he was reforming Hinduism.

88:

Even if beer or coffee are the real national drinks, tea is associated with England and/or the U.K. in popular culture and I'm still how tea parlors displaced the coffee shops of Samuel Johnson's time?

Fashion and the British East India Company, apparently.

89:

Good; it was meant as leg pull based on the song being the first thing I think of when I see the name "JohnB".

90:

Jesus is not a subordinate being, unless and are a dirty barbarian from beyond the Limes Germanicus.

Or some of the "new" Calvinist in the US. There is this Eternal Subornation of the Son doctrine which has started a fair number of food fights.

I've now emptied my knowledge of such.

91:

How can a son and father be co-eternal, you ask? Nobody fucking knows. Nevertheless, Jesus is not a subordinate being, unless and are a dirty barbarian from beyond the Limes Germanicus.

Um...

The Holy Spirit is "the spirit that moves all things" to quote the New Agers.

Jesus was a person who realized that his consciousness was part of the Holy Spirit.

God the father (aka Deus Pater) is a fairly conventional Mediterranean Sky Father, but since the Holy Spirit pervades all things, both he and Jesus are part of Them.

That's one New Agey interpretation of the Trinity.

As an experienced Taoist I know explained it, the "Christ Energy" that Jesus embodied is not equivalent to the Tao as a whole, and most people who seriously want to embody that "Energy" need to spend a lifetime practicing in a controlled environment (aka a monastery), rather than 40 days in the desert. That Jesus got it so quickly marks him as special. This was part of an explanation about why enlightenment in the Buddhist/Taoist sense isn't the same as what Christian mystics experience.

Anyway, this and $10.00 will get you a vegan frappuccino at the hippy cafe of your choice, so take it for what it's worth.

Anyway, if you want to annoy many modern Christians, perhaps suggest that the proper pronouns for The Trinity are They and Their. You might also suggest that Eve was the first and most successfully transitioned male-to-female trans woman. Since Christians teach we all descend from her, Christians should contemplate respecting trans people as reminders of how we were originally made.

92:

There is a "common travel area" between the UK and the republic of Ireland, which was established years before we joined the EU and continues after Brexit. This could be extended to include an independent Scotland if there were sensible discussions after a yes vote.

93:

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE

No more Jesus-talk here, okay?

This thread is a Christianity-free zone.

I mean it, my headmeat can't take any more ridiculous gobbledygook.

94:

if there were sensible discussions after a yes vote.

🤣

95:

Fair enough. (folds Head of Anglican Church rant back into its lead-lined box).

96:

He might live to be a hundred ... some people do - Like this do you mean? - A "Great Escape" ex-prisoner was 102, when he finally fell over ... well done that man!

Uncle Stinky
Precisely - what worries me is how big a (flash) huge error is he going to make next?

John B
Since Brexit, if Scotland votes for independence and petitions to rejoin the EU... - SLIGHT PROBLEM.
The minimum time for any nation to join the EU seems to be about 3 (three) years & requires the unanimous consent of all existing parties { Which is why England/Britain won't be able to, thank you Boris the shit } ... But ...
Scotland will not be admitted, because one particular nation will automatically veto such an application - Spain.
The SNP seem to be deliberately pretending that this problem does not exist.

"Heresy" only applies to those gullible & stupid enough to be believers, IIRC!

Is this Hitler in his bunker ordering non-existent divisions into battle to defend Berlin, or is Putin psyching himself up to order nuclear attacks? - yeah, well - you noticed, so did the rest of us & it's scary.

David L
And here ... *And yes, JBS and others can talk more to this, the USBrit Army doesn't deploy folks to a combat unit until after at least 12 months of training how to be a fighting soilder. Just to shoot a rifle. More skills, more training.

arrbee
if there were sensible discussions after a yes vote. - Oh COME ON! this is a Brexshit mad - Trump(ss) misgovernment - guaranteed to eff it up, yes?
- which leads to NecroMoz @ 94
Wrong emoji - it should have been: 💩

97:

I don't want Charles on my currency, I want them to keep Elizabeth. I can't wait to see the updated portrait.

98:

I believe that the Duchy of Cornwall traditionally goes to the Prince of Wales, so he won't own Cornwall for much longer now that he's King. Could be wrong though.

99:

'Scotland will not be admitted, because one particular nation will automatically veto such an application - Spain.'

I strongly suspect the mechanism from the EU side won't be to admit Scotland as a new member, but rather some legal shenanigans to recognize them as somehow revoking Article 50 on behalf of the UK. It discourages the Catalan problem since it would be clear that breakaway regions of loyal EU members would face problems getting back into the club. Countries like Hungary who might be eyeing an exit would also have to think hard about any minority factions who might use a dangling EU membership to bolster an independence movement.

100:

I saw mention that the royals are exempt from tax, both in general and specifically estate taxes. So they're free to shuffle estates around as much as they like. Different use of the term but still appropriate.

Also, Paul: similar sentiments here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Chaser/comments/xj57g2/in_honor_of_the_new_king_of_rchaser_dont_forget/

101:
ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE [...] I mean it, my headmeat can't take any more ridiculous gobbledygook.

So you're not open to the idea that -- should a more powerful adversary dispose of The Black Pharaoh in the Laundryverse -- we'd see scenes in London similar to those that happened on Monday in reality?

102:
should a more powerful adversary dispose of The Black Pharaoh in the Laundryverse

There is a niche in the tzompantli just the right size for the noggins of heretics who believe any to be stronger than the Black Pharoah, Mr. Lester.

103:

"just the right size for the noggins of heretics who believe any to be stronger than the Black Pharoah,"

Which is why we do not believe it, until such time as the disposal of the Black Pharoah demonstrates it to be true, when it will now be safe(r) to so believe.

JHomes

104:

"How do I change my Display Name?"

I'm sorry to inform you that that feature expired with the Queen. All names are fixed now and forever.

105:

I used to welcome notions of the Laundryverse on Netflix... now? we've begun to transition from VR to LARP to IRL and reaction is WTF?

what's hitting UK is worse than anything in the Laundryverse... there's a combo of #CCSS plus an utterly disconnected political leadership plus skyrocketing energy plus worsening food shortages plus rising underemployment (which in many ways is worse than outright unemployment plus whatever bad news has been self-censored during QE's exit rites

as bad as things in US we've begun to resume reality and dampen down the BSGC #WSCN... not least Trump is sounding just a bit more shaky with each rant

106:

NecroMoz
BECAUSE ... all the royal monies go to the Treasury & then they get some of it back, via the "Civil List".
IIRC the "Duchies" {plural} monies are taxed as normal, more-or-less. Note the "IIRC" there, though!

Howard NYC
What's hitting UK is worse than anything in the Laundryverse. - almost true & likely to become actually so ...
I mean trickle-down economics? - never worked before, let's do it again, eh?
I'm predicting "shortages" riots before next June.
And, for all of us, anywhere, Putler's latest speech & partial mobilisation is a very dangerous sign for someone whose grip on reality doesn't seem to be much better than that of Hugo Ganz' in Der Untergang

107:

…that of Hugo Ganz' in Der Untergang

Bruno Ganz, if you don't mind the correction.

108:

MSB
Beat me to it!
I suddenly realised the wrong name was in there ...

109:

Greg: But ... Scotland will not be admitted, because one particular nation will automatically veto such an application - Spain.

That talking point has been debunked repeatedly.

See also.

Most of the duration of EU accession is due to the requirement for new members to implement EU regulations in their legal code. Scotland already complies with those regulations, so it's not an obstacle unless Trust, Mogg et al deliberately deconverge Scotland by decree (which would be extremely difficult without wrecking what's left of UK/EU trade).

110:

And you think that they will balk at wrecking UK/EU trade exactly why?

But I agree that it is unlikely to happen quickly or thoroughly, because they have far less control than they think they do. They have started by sacking some mandarins, but I doubt that will get active cooperation, the House of Lords will be reluctant, and even their backbenchers aren't as fanatical as Trash etc. are.

I was thinking that, from Cameron on, our PMs have been successively worse (*). So who could replace Trash and continue that? It's hard to imagine, but I suppose that it could be an answer to Dave P (#68).

(*) To be fair, May has improved immensely and become quite human since giving it up.

111:

All hail the Necroqueen!

Can we get a Downton Abby/Warhammer 40k mashup where the Necroqueen marries the Emperor in the wedding of the eon. A million psykers feed to the glorious couple as a weeding feast, solar systems destroyed in just the right order to light up the night sky of Terra in on their wedding night. All the while with Crawley family wondering how the changing social order impact their life, will a returning aristocratic order improve their social standing? Will the Inquisition find that they have been harboring Chaos and flay them?

All hail the Necroqueen!

112:

Talking of necroqueen(s) ... This poor mad bugger obviously thought HM was undead ... he seems to have been released into medical custody, whilst an un-embarrassing way is found to deal with him, as criminal punishment is clearly not really on....

113:

Sacking mandarins is, IMO, going to prove counterproductive: they're deliberately destroying institutional knowledge at the very top, so the replacements will inevitably face a steeper learning curve and be less able to implement policy decisions. Meanwhile, the replacements will also be cautious and risk-averse, especially about expressing opinions skeptical of the new policy directions (the mandarins in question were fired for trying to do their job right rather than conforming to Tufton Street ideology).

Your call for the next PM is either Starmer (ack, spit) if we are lucky ... or more likely Clowshoes Churchill 2.0, recalled by the ERG and the Tory backbenches to save them from the very crisis he created.

114:

An estimated quarter of a million people walked past the coffin last week. I'm kind of surprised there was only one delusional in there!

115:

Yes - that's the relatively sane prediction. But expecting even partial sanity in UK politics at present doesn't have a huge success rate, and the ERG is as irrational as they come.

116:

Re: '... royals are exempt from tax, both in general and specifically estate taxes.'

OOC - has anyone compared the revenues to the UK vs. operating costs between the Royals' personal properties vs. the gov't-owned/run? The Royals (mostly QE2) have been one of the biggest tourist draws both directly and indirectly for decades.

My impression is that the Royals have been very good curators so far and that maybe financial and stewardship archival analyses showed that it would be more cost effective overall for the UK to give them a pass on the estate taxes. The other potential argument in their favor would be: just who in the UK would have enough money and interest to purchase these historical estates - US, Chinese, Saudi, Russian billionaires anyone? (How would USians feel if some Chinese or Russian billionaire bought the Statue of Liberty?)

I'm not a monarchist and hope to one day visit the UK which I consider an endless collection of well-preserved historical museums.

117:

I'll agree with revoking article 50, not least because Scotland did not vote to invoke Article 50 in the first place; that was only Ingurlundshire.

118:

Sacking mandarins is, IMO, going to prove counterproductive: they're deliberately destroying institutional knowledge at the very top, so the replacements ...

So did you ghost write this opinion piece?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/21/liz-truss-growth-prime-minister

119:

A possibility I'm happy not to see: Deceased Royals having their decomposition watched over by "Necographers" looking for omens to guide living leaders. Given the embarrassingly long list of known human folly it would not surprise me if someone had done something like it in the past.

120:

Expletive!, "Necrographers".

121:

"Necographers" undertake to read the pattern of cookie crumbs and thereby deduce your future. They also interpret the pattern of cookies as left in the box after some have been withdrawn. It's like tealeaves for sugar addicts!

122:

Yeah. 'Necographers' are people who attempt to measure the world by reference to cats

123:

David L @ 84:

I was reading about Russia trying to beef up the army's numbers of late. After basic training (are you physically fit and can understand basic orders (sit stand walk ...) Russia trains "in unit". The problem just now is those units are fighting. Oops.

People are collecting TV, online, and printed ads where the Wagner group is advertising for felons. Sentence commuted if you sign up. That's got to be a well organized unit they will be building.

And yes, JBS and others can talk more to this, the US Army doesn't deploy folks to a combat unit until after months of training how to be a fighting soilder. Just to shoot a rifle. More skills, more training.

FWIW, I went through Basic in 1975 - 8 weeks, followed by Advanced Individual Training, 8 weeks of Common Basic Electronics training and 16 weeks of MOS specific training as a Navigation Radio Repairer ... and returned to my National Guard unit were I worked for the next two years (at drills & AIT) as a basic aircraft electrician on UH-1 helicopters because all of our radios went back to depot for repair, that was a change that took effect while I was in school and the Army no longer did bench repairs at unit level.

All we could do was pull the old radio & tag it for repair and install a replacement.

At that time, back in 1975, Infantry training was approximately 120 days before they reported to their first unit as a trained infantry recruit - 8 weeks Basic & 8 weeks Infantry AIT. I think they get a bit longer AIT now.

Airborne Infantry (and Airborne anything else) also got 3 weeks of Jump School before reporting to their first assigned unit.

During the Vietnam war you could be sent directly from AIT to a unit deployed in the war zone, but you're not likely to be sent directly to a unit in a combat zone straight out of AIT nowadays.

You're going to spend time in supervised on-the-job training for the first year or so of your enlistment somewhere with a unit that is NOT considered to be engaged in combat (at the time you receive your unit assignment).

124:

Re: '... you'll have a bunch of underoccupied conscripts milling around the capital, waiting to be shipped off to die in an unpopular war.'

Mass exodus of reservists flying out of Russia - who's left to fight this war?

Pre-invasion total males were about 85%-88% of total females. While this disparity is mostly due to hardly any males over 67, the trend starts very young. Also - I'm assuming that the vast majority of Russian soldiers sent to Ukraine were male. (Russia is still very sexist.) Total Russian military deaths, casualties and desertions are not verifiably known but I'm guessing that it's somewhere in the 10's of thousands and not the 6,000 Putin admitted to.

https://ph.news.yahoo.com/one-way-flights-out-of-russia-sell-out-as-vladimir-putin-calls-for-300000-reservists-to-send-to-ukraine-104239482.html

Based on the below, Russia has a very large military. Putin saying that he wants to increase it by 137,000 suggesting that personnel losses were a lot worse/higher than he's willing to admit.

https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/russia/#military-and-security

Military is not my thing so I often have to look up tangential items like: how do you know how many troops you'll need. Hence ...

Lanchester's Equation:

Didn't get a chance to read the entire article - got paywalled too fast. Anyways, figure that folks here would be familiar with this and (maybe) explain to the rest of us what this is/how it works and its applicability here.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vikrammittal/2022/09/20/basic-attrition-models-provide-insight-into-russian-woes-in-russia-ukraine-war/?sh=7a3c98ae1592

Anyways - unless Putin just made a deal for Xi to send him bodies, not sure that he'll be able to ramp up the size of the official Russian military. I'm guessing that despite Putin's friendship with Orban, most Hungarians would not want to send their military-age males to war. Also - Hungary's military spending has been declining for years and is considerably below NATO's recommended level, i.e., 1.22% vs. 2.0% of GDP. So sending any of their fit military to die under Russian leadership means fewer soldiers to defend themselves if Putin does happen to win and then decides to ice his cake by grabbing Hungary. (I think something like this has happened before - snatch another territory while the getting's good.)

125:

Dramlin @ 98:

I believe that the Duchy of Cornwall traditionally goes to the Prince of Wales, so he won't own Cornwall for much longer now that he's King. Could be wrong though.

I remember there was a formal investiture for Charles as Prince of Wales (I think sometime between age 18 and age 21?). Will there be one for William?

126:

Quite so. Besides, a lot of repeated memes on fecesplant assures me the necroqueen was welcomed into that Special Place in the sky by Paddington Bear.

127:

bugsbycarlin @ 104:

"How do I change my Display Name?"

I'm sorry to inform you that that feature expired with the Queen. All names are fixed now and forever.

THEY must have overlooked me.

128:

Wait, does this mean at least one picture of Liz II has suddenly started showing her growing older?

129:

Greg Tingey @ 106:

I mean trickle-down economics? - never worked before, let's do it again, eh?

It's more like piss on you than anything actually trickling down.

130:

One interesting thing here is that the Belarusians seem to have managed to stay out, apart from allowing passage to Russian forces (and some artillery basing, I think).

131:

Charlie Stross @ 113:

Your call for the next PM is either Starmer (ack, spit) if we are lucky ... or more likely Clowshoes Churchill 2.0, recalled by the ERG and the Tory backbenches to save them from the very crisis he created.

Ok, two questions from an outsider trying to understand ...

  • What's wrong with Starmer?
  • Do you mean BoJo the Clown could be back for a second round?
  • 132:

    What's wrong with Starmer?

    Starmer would have been an okay Conservative prime minister in the late 1990s.

    That's how far to the right mainstream UK politics has drifted.

    133:

    Charlie Stross @ 114:

    An estimated quarter of a million people walked past the coffin last week. I'm kind of surprised there was only one delusional in there!

    Have THEY released any information to indicate this is anything more than some poor soul's grief overcoming his common sense?

    134:

    And, yes, he DOES mean that we may well see Bozo back again.

    135:

    This thread seems fairly typical of the response of western military types to the mobilisation.

    https://twitter.com/MarkHertling/status/1572571676524838915

    In any case, the necroqueen and her children would eat their souls at the first hint of trouble.

    136:

    SFReader @ 124:

    Vladimir Putin announces partial military mobilisation to fight Ukraine war – BBC News

    ... also a bit of nuclear saber rattling:

    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia accelerated his war effort in Ukraine on Wednesday, announcing a new campaign that would call up roughly 300,000 reservists to the military while also directly challenging the West over its support for Ukraine with a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons.

    He seems to be setting up the annexation of Ukrainian territory and threatening nuclear attacks against Ukraine if they continue to try to take back the territories Russia has annexed ... and maybe extending those attacks against NATO front-line states that were once controlled by the Soviet Union.

    137:

    122 - Or possibly by reference to catgirls?

    125 - Prince Chuck was created "Prince of Wales" on 26 July 1958.

    131 "What's wrong with Starmer?" - How long have you got?
    "Do you mean BoJo the Clown could be back for a second round?" - I'm very much afraid so yes. There are no limits on how often someone can be PM, or indeed leader of the Con Party.

    139:

    Elderly Cynic @ 134:

    And, yes, he DOES mean that we may well see Bozo back again.

    Fuc*! Doesn't affect me directly, but I hope y'all manage to dodge that bullet. Or worse.

    140:

    And remember, I wrote the New Management as a burlesque horrifying parody that reality could never live up to ...

    141:

    They are doing, aren't they? That article Greg linked to mentions a live video feed of the ex-Queen being dead. Surely for all normal purposes just showing a still frame would do. Not to mention the bit about the coffin having a hermetically sealed lead liner to make sure the process of decomposition operates as a closed system, uncontaminated by any exchange of material with the exterior.

    142:

    Yeah. It was done in Caernarfon Castle with great pomp and ceremony and a big star thing left in the floor to mark the spot, to make sure that the Welsh have a constant reminder that the whole thing was started by Nazi Eddie taking the piss (the first one, not the rare-post-boxes one).

    143:

    Interesting. I looked up Nazi Eddie (not to be confused with the spy). Wikipedia mentions that his father preferred Bertie for king.. and that he hoped "nothing came between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne."

    Boy, did he get his wish.

    144:

    QANON in the US.

    Some of the true believers think JFK Jr is alive. And that will resurface to help MAGA. He was supposed to show up at Dealey Plaza a few years ago and there was a crowd waiting for him. But alas he didn't show.

    I could write a dozen or more footnotes to the above but whatever. You can look up the facts easy enough.

    145:

    seen from 5000 years' remove, never mind 5 million -- any event happening to a contemporary head of state is trivial.<7blockquote>

    I take that one as "most probable, but not necessarily so".

    Given a choice, I'd vote for historical materialism over the Great Man theory any time, but on the other hand, well, Butterfly effects happen.

    I guess the Nazi raccoons will ascribe their existence to a series of somewhat improbable rafting events, not to some waidmann's folly.

    Err, whatever, wrong place to go on about whatifs.

    I just wanted to mention my Call of Cthulhu group just stumbled about the Gödel-Lovecraft conjecture: Does HPL exist in the Cthulhuverse?

    (Yes, it's comedy limbo time, the flattest jokes win...)

    146:

    the coffin having a hermetically sealed lead liner to make sure

    That's Schrödinger[1]'s corpse?

    Yes, I'll go to bed...

    [1] Combining this one with some proclivities of the guy is left as an exercise to the reader.

    147:

    The late Eric Flint was strongly of the opinion that "history is messy", and against the "great man" theory. I agree - if not one "great man", there will be another - it's just another case of "steam engine time".

    148:

    paws4thot @ 137:

    125 - Prince Chuck was created "Prince of Wales" on 26 July 1958.

    And the investiture ceremony I remember seeing on TV was held 10+ years later.

    149:

    Uncle Stinky @ 138:

    Another Putin ally dies in an unexplained fall. Getting silly now.

    What are the odds this is Russian internal opposition taking out a Putin supporter and not the FSB/GRU taking out someone Putin became disenchanted with?

    150:

    Re: 'Getting silly now.'

    That's a whole whack of coincidences - wow!

    A list of these dear departeds' replacements along with their respective backers' names would be interesting.

    151:

    Head of the Moscow Aviation Institute?

    Just a guess here, but someone very senior probably ordered him to keep all those Boeing and Airbus airliners Russia relies on for internal domestic passenger transport flying, he delivered factually correct bad news about why this was a Really Difficult Problem (busted supply chains for consumables, from airliner tyres up to vital electronic components: planes coming up to their limits of operation without maintenance and becoming unairworthy) and the person who would have to pass this Bad News onto the Tsar decided to indent for a new Head of the Moscow Aviation Institute instead of having to say "my Lord Putin, weird either going to have to shut down domestic air travel within another 3-6 months or passenger planes will begin falling out of the sky".

    152:

    once again... reality proving to exceed human imagination... I used to really smugly savor how IRL was nowhere near as F'ed up as the Laundryverse

    "Return of the King" ==> "Return of the Clown-King"

    2023 UK votes in BoJo

    while in 2024 US votes in T(he)rump

    as all over EU-UK-US garbage bins behind shoppes are picked clean by starving middle class peasants

    153:

    “ Have THEY released any information to indicate this is anything more than some poor soul's grief overcoming his common sense?”

    That’s the cover story they’re sticking with for now.

    154:

    REMINDER: the emperor's new clothes are quite visible to any peasant loyal to the regime... thanks to our Perfect Leader there's never a day without sunshine and puppies and unicorns farting rainbows... if ever an airplane falls from the sky it is due to loyalty insufficiently pure

    155:

    Sorry, I don't have an answer for that. I'm not English and was born in the '60s so have only ever known Elizabeth as Queen and Charles as Prince of Wales. My understanding extends as far as what I said earlier, I have no clue as to what happens now.

    156:

    JohnS @ 123
    Word on the street & in the "papers" is that one-way tickets OUT of Russian are all booked up .. by 18-25 year old males, who want nothing to do with this shit... um, err ...
    - see laso SFR @ 124?

    Charlie @ 132
    Correction: Starmer would have made a perfectly goody actual "conservative" PM in, say,1972 -when Ted Heath was PM, yes?

    157:

    Welp, this thread seems to be wandering all over the place already, so this leopards ate my face is just too delightful to pass without notice.

    TL;DR Right-wingers in a rage about students inviting controversial pro-abortion speaker. School reminds them that Republicans passed a law to protect controversial speakers after right-wing speakers got rejected

    158:

    I think all the analysts got this wrong. Flying air cooled reactors are clearly the future of low carbon civil aviation.

    https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2022/09/new-study-reveals-comprehensive-buildup-nuclear-missile-test-ground-novaya-zemlya

    159:

    Retiring@88 writes "I'm still wondering how tea parlors displaced the coffee shops of Samuel Johnson's time?"

    Another wiki article, Tea in the United Kingdom, says the 1720 ban on cheap cotton textile imports from India, passed by Parliament to protect British manufacturers, left the East India Company with so much spare shipping capacity they started pushing Chinese tea as a profitable line of replacement business. It made sense because France controlled the Caribbean islands growing most of the coffee back then. When tea plantations started up in India, after Britain pushed the French out of India, tea got so affordable it expanded in popularity from fashionable polite society to the whole population, even including some of the poorest. Measurable increases in lifespan resulted from the practice simply due to boiling water before drinking.

    160:

    Ah. The Russian version of XK-PLUTO.

    161:

    as all over EU-UK-US garbage bins behind shoppes are picked clean by starving middle class peasants

    So what strange freegan, their hour come at last, slouches toward London to show the huddled masses how to repurpose their chains?

    162:

    Ref 132 - Well IMO Ted Heath was the last competent Conservative PM (and also a decent orchestral conductor and yachtsman).

    163:

    I've had another thought about those civilian C-130s flying into Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.

    They may be ferrying supplies to American military forward deployed back in February to reassure NATO partners that the U.S. is going to take our Article 5 responsibilities VERY seriously.

    Reinforcing NATO's Eastern Flank

    164:

    That's how far to the right mainstream UK politics has drifted.

    The good old neoliberal ratchet, it seems. Doesn't appear to be inevitable, but it's definitely a thing.

    165:

    Necro-Everybody?
    *“Russia is ready to defend territories added to it with all means, including strategic nuclear weapons.” said Medvedev.
    How serious are they, how dangerous is this?
    How mad are they & Putin, actually?

    166:

    Necro-Everybody?
    “Russia is ready to defend territories added to it with all means, including strategic nuclear weapons,” said Medvedev.
    How serious &/or mad are they?
    how far are they really prepared to go?
    Is Putin, like Adolf, prepared to kill all his own people, as well as others in his insanity?

    167:

    Is Putin, like Adolf, prepared to kill all his own people, as well as others in his insanity?

    I think this goes to the Pratchett idea of evil being considering other people as objects, not people. There's no 'his people', there's Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and some other people, everybody else is expendable. Ethnic Russians in Russia might matter more but only because they will protest if getting killed too much.

    168:

    The psychology of authoritarian narcissistic dictators is disturbingly similar to that of other types of authoritarian narcissists -- in particular domestic abusers (substitute "nation" for "family" to complete the picture). The worst case scenario is when they think they're losing control of their victims: that's when you get "family destroyer" behaviour ("if I can't have them, nobody can have them"), typically expressed as a domestic murder-suicide (kill spouse before they can escape, kill the kids, finally turn gun on self).

    169:

    To some extent. Without William the Bastard, it is likely that England as we know it would not have been created. That would probably have meant no British Empire as we knew it. Some other country or countries would have taken its place, for sure, but all the details would have been different. From a ten thousand year viewpoint, that would have made little difference, of course.

    170:

    From a ten thousand year viewpoint, that would have made little difference, of course.

    I'm not so sure of that.

    It took the invasion and consolidation of Norman England to pave the way for the conquest of Wales and Ireland and the absorption of Scotland. Which in turn made possible a tariff-free free trade zone the size of Great Britain. Without which, would the industrial revolution have taken off?

    If no industrial revolution in GB, would there have been an industrial revolution elsewhere? Or would everything have stalled at 18th century levels of industrialization (wind and water wheel power, but no steam engines to power mines and mills)?

    From 10,000 years' remove, "event that started the row of dominoes collapsing that ushered in the anthropocene climactic era" probably does count as significant.

    171:

    Use of strategic weapons sounds like murder-suicide. And quite the potential afterlife embarrassment if Niven & Pournelle's description of the afterlife* is true, doubly so if the ex-Soviet warheads are duds.

    *"Inferno" & "Escape From Hell"

    172:

    Don't wholeheartedly agree; it took Elizabeth of Ingurlund being actively bad at part of her job (producing an heir) to result in James VI being invited to assume the throne of Ingurlund in the Union of the Crowns (March 1603).

    173:

    I agree that, if it had meant no industrial revolution, that would have been significant.

    But I think that it would have occurred eventually, because so many of the prerequisites also happened elsewhere in Europe. So I think we would have seen something similar, perhaps in Prussia, France or the Netherlands, within a century or so of when it actually happened. Even if anthracite was critical, Wales could have been a subservient source (as with Indian saltpeter).

    174:

    Unfortunately, yes. What is increasingly likely to lead to nuclear war is the determination that nothing except absolute military defeat and Putin's humiliation is an acceptable solution, which is precisely what is likely to tip him over the edge. The police know that calming a domestic abuse situation is the way to avoid bloodshed, but the lessons of that are lost on our rulers.

    175:

    In other words, returning to the borders as they were, pre-Putin, and abandoning the dream of restoring "The prison house of nations".

    176:

    Stop trolling. The point is the determination (dating from 2014) that no solution (whether that or other) should be done by negotiation or UN involvement, or involve treating ethnic Russians as humans who also deserve rights.

    177:

    So you think Ukraine should be protecting the rights of downtrodden native Russian speakers like Zelensky?

    178:

    Eh, no: Liz I had a brother and sister who survived past infancy but who also failed to have kids (in the case of Edward VI he died aged 15). It seems the Tudors in general weren't great at successful reproduction (see also Henry Fitzroy, who died aged 17; Henry VIII's only publicly acknowledged illegitimate son).

    Liz also had the little problem that as a Protestant monarch in a state of conflict with Spain (remember the attempted invasion?) there was a shortage of eligible Protestant princes for her to import, and if she picked an English Duke she'd have made enemies of their rivals within her own court. Instant civil war ...

    179:

    And the times were not right for her to have just got pregnant by an anonymous male and issue the challenge "Who here will say that this is not an heir of my body?" :-)

    180:

    If no industrial revolution in GB, would there have been an industrial revolution elsewhere? Or would everything have stalled at 18th century levels of industrialization (wind and water wheel power, but no steam engines to power mines and mills)?

    Well, the other choices for Steam Revolution are what we now call Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Qing China, near as I can tell.

    Germany (I'm going to use the modern name, with the understanding that this isn't what it was a few centuries ago) had the coal and the technical expertise to start dinking around with steam. What it didn't have was any connection to the New World. So either the technology would have migrated to a colonial power (France? Nethlands? England?) or died. Poland and Ukraine had the coal, but not the technical base?

    Qing China had the people and some/most of the technical base, but the Manchus were a foreign dynasty who kept down most of the Han majority. Unless a Manchu genius figured out steam and made the Manchus more powerful, probably any Han inventor dinking around with steam power would get squelched, by one side or the other figuring out that it made the other side to powerful.

    So an industrial revolution would have been maybe possible without England, but slower and more international due to politics. I'm not sure it was inevitable, given what happened in Song China.

    If there wasn't an industrial revolution, what might happen is that the indigenous people of the Americas would, within a century, figure out how to forge their own steel and make their own guns, and then, after a few bloody centuries, European New World empires would have been doing a repeat of the Crusaders' retreat from Acre. This would have been followed by centuries of political reorganization in the Americas, as the gaping holes left by imported diseases were filled by marginal groups making it big with guns, steel, cattle and horses (where the last could survive). This happened on the small scale on the American Great Plains after the Spaniards colonized the Southwest, and I'm simply positing continent-wide reorganization. There's ample evidence of bloody-handed conquerors and authoritarian rulers in the Americas, but it wouldn't simply be a rerun of European history, let alone European colonial history.

    As for Africa, they were in rough technological parity with Europe until the Industrial Revolution (Kingdom of Kongo had an embassy at the Vatican, for example), so one might expect that to continue. Some African slaves would make it to Europe, but the slave trade we know and hate almost certainly wouldn't have taken off.

    But global trade would continue, so ideas and new crafts would continue to diffuse around the world.

    The final fillip is that the great iron deposits in North America are in the northeast, which was also the land of the "Iroquois" and other somewhat democratic people. They would have been fighting, trading, and intermingling with the Europeans. So North American political ideas would have been filtering back to Europe regardless, and that might cause revolutions of its own, especially with the printing press spreading information rapidly.

    Fun for RPGs maybe.

    Wonder what Turtledove has made of all this?

    181:

    Africa is a continent, was and is considerably less homogeneous than Europe, and was unlikely to have had an industrial revolution (for a variety of reasons). Why nowhere in the Islamic world did, I don't know.

    France might well have done, once it threw off its dysfunctional governance (i.e. in Napoleon's time), especially if there had been no nascent British Empire to constrain it.

    182:

    EC & others
    Putin started all this, by invading in 2014 - should unilateral aggression & invasion go unchecked? VERY risky, whatever one does. As for restraint, the "west" is studiously keeping its own forces OUT of Ukraine

    183:

    The worst case scenario is when they think they're losing control of their victims: that's when you get "family destroyer" behaviour ("if I can't have them, nobody can have them"), typically expressed as a domestic murder-suicide (kill spouse before they can escape, kill the kids, finally turn gun on self).

    I think I learned of this essay here. It is a great read on why WWII just couldn't stop when everyone knew the outcome.

    https://www.leesandlin.com/articles/LosingTheWar.htm

    184:

    If you had read news organisations like Reuters, you would know that (a) the government of Ukraine was overthrown by an externally-orchestrated coup in 2013 and (b) most of Donask and Luhensk rebelled because of the existing and promised discrimination against them by Kiev. Russia provided support for the rebels, along the lines of what NATO was doing in 2012 (sic), but on a much smaller scale.

    Worse, in 2014 and ay intervals thereafter until 2013, Putin publicly stated that Russia had no territorial interest in those territories and called for the UN to be given powers to settle the matter, but Obama publicly vetoed any UN involvement.

    I don't know why Putin lost his marbles and ordered the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but that was NOT the start of it. NOR did he invade Donask and Luhensk in 2014.

    185:

    Africa is a continent, was and is considerably less homogeneous than Europe, and was unlikely to have had an industrial revolution (for a variety of reasons). Why nowhere in the Islamic world did, I don't know.

    I think the general answer for why the Islamic heartland never industrialized is "not enough coal." You can google for coal fields and double check me on this. Just looking at it, it's hard to find a chunk of the globe with less coal than the lands of the original caliphate.

    I wanted to add about the Americas, since that last paragraph got truncated by a pair of cats fussing around me. Little iron deposits are probably fairly common, but in North America, the big deposits are around Lake Superior and in Labrador, with smaller deposits in the California and Utah deserts. Mexico and Central America have iron mines, as does Brazil (big time) and there are some around the Chilean/Bolivian border. I'd highlight Lake Superior/Great Lakes Region and southern Brazil as particular hotspots for iron production. Those are likely where the indigenous iron nations of the Americas would first form, with trading networks growing around them. They would probably be heartlands of opposition to European colonization attempts too.

    Finally, I wouldn't underestimate the profound sociopolitical changes that no industrial revolution would cause, especially if it led to North American indigenes throwing European colonists off the continent when they didn't behave. When the Americas were first discovered, there was a debate in Spain as to whether the Indians were fully human or not, settled greedily in favor of "not." If, a few centuries later, those same subhumans had mastered European technology and booted the invaders, because the invaders didn't have industry-based superiority, I suspect arguments that the Indians were subhuman would have been tossed as getting in the way of diplomacy and trade.

    Remember, racism was created and spread to justify colonialism and widespread slavery. If those enterprises had failed, likely racism would have been dumped on the ash heap of history too.

    And I keep highlighting the American Northeast, because that's the land of the Haudenosaunee (formerly Iroquois). If they'd come up to technological parity with Europeans while keeping their Great Law of Peace (a precursor to American democracy), that would have called into question the Divine Right of Kings everywhere a printing press could reach.

    186:

    Brainfart due to chemotherapy. "what NATO was doing in 2016".

    187:

    Bear in mind Putin's regime has form for false-flag atrocities to justify invasion and occupation of other former-USSR countries going back well before 2013 -- consider the Moscow theatre siege, the apartment bombings, and the Chechen War.

    I cannot speak to the 2013 Ukraine coup's backers or intent, but since 2013 Ukraine seems to have reformed as a European-leaning democracy: meanwhile the other party in the war of aggression is a secret policeman turned right-wing dictator, and in 2014 Russia attacked Ukraine and bit off a chunk of territory -- the Crimea -- for transparently geopolitical reasons (wanting a warm-water base for the Black Sea fleet). As for Donetsk/Luhansk: use Northern Ireland as a metaphor and imagine an external power feeding arms to one or other of the sectarian combatants in the 1980s in order to bite off a chunk of the provinces as "autonomous zones". It's a very bad look, whether or not the faces running the show were born there or overseas.

    188:

    As I explained in a previous thread, coal wasn't needed for the industrial revolution to start, and wasn't used much in England until 1750 except for heating; it was needed only for the expansion. I accept that the Islamic world was short of both coal and wood, but I still don't agree that widespread use of steam power was essential to AN industrial revolution. And, yes, without easy access to coal and lots of steam power, any industrial revolution would have been WILDLY different.

    I can assure you that I am not underestimating the sociopolitical changes, even if it had been 'just' England not having arisen and a slower and a less steam-oriented industrial revolution a century later than occurred. I am less certain about the impact on colonialism and slavery, because of what actually occurred in the Caribbean and south America.

    189:

    That's all true, but the geopolitical reasons included the new (illegal) government threatening to cancel a critical treaty and turn Sebastopol over to Russia's most implacable enemy. Militarily, Putin had little option over Crimea.

    From the rebels' viewpoint, they were faced with a ban on their native language (as was done for both Scottish and Irish Gaelic), restrictions on associating with their relatives across the border, and (after the rebellion started) area bombing of their territory. That's not a good look, either.

    Anyway, enough is enough - I shan't continue.

    What I really dislike is the hate speech, because I am pretty certain Russia will lose, and I do not want to see the west supporting the Azov battalion in cleansing Donask and Luhansk of disloyal elements. Let alone the possible worse outcomes :-(

    190:
    • I am less certain about the impact on colonialism and slavery, because of what actually occurred in the Caribbean and south America.*

    Oh, we agree on that. If steam-powered industry failed to take off in Europe, I suspect it would still take centuries for the Americans to throw the Europeans out, just as it took centuries for the Muslims to eject the Crusaders from the Holey Land.

    What I'm thinking about for context is the history of the southern Great Plains. Right up to 1865, the Indians (primarily Comanches, Kiowa, and Apaches working together) were running roughshod over northwest Texas and raiding for cattle all the way into Mexico, as they'd done for well over a century. Before they got horses and guns, they were really minor tribes.

    It's that history of rapid technological adoption that I keep thinking of. If European invaders weren't pouring in in huge numbers, and weren't rapidly innovating their weapons' technology, they'd have gotten pushed out of the plains entirely, not just mostly. I suspect the same thing would have happened across both continents. But you're right, it would have taken centuries.

    191:

    I saw that as a kid, and it does not turn out well. "The Lost Missile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Missile

    192:

    I continue to doubt Russian use of nukes, given the direction of the jetstream.

    193:

    It's quite possible that had the Norman Conquest been delayed a few more days, it would not have happened - the Channel weather had been bad, and William's army would have fallen apart over the winter. Or, for that matter, it the Norse and the Normans had not decided to invade at the same time (the English defeated the Norse, then turned and marched three days south to meet the Normans.

    Had that not happened, with the nation still as three? four? countries, it's far less likely, I think, that the British Isles would have been mucking about in the New World.

    Btw, you mentioned iron in the Midwest... but all the early work was in, gee, Pennsylvania, home of the iron and steel-carrying Pennsylvania Railroad. Now, if the Icelanders had kept up trade with America, and they were also democratic (cf the Allthing), they could have gotten along with the Iroquois... and that would have been Europe's worst nightmare ("Lord, protect us from the fury of the Northmen"), esp. if the Icelanders kept their Pagan religion....

    194:

    Wait, does this mean at least one picture of Liz II has suddenly started showing her growing older?

    If the Dorian Gray effect can be spread over every royal picture, would it be noticeable? Maybe that's the reason for the royal picture on stamps — an attempt to provide enough images for a distributed spell?

    Or the reverse effect — lots of images means a huge attack surface if someone has a spell that makes the images look younger while aging the monarch. Maybe the supremacy of parliament is maintained by secret mages holding the monarch hostage: step too far out of line and they'll suffer a quick decline and demise from old age as every stamp image gets a few days younger…

    195:

    I continue to doubt Russian use of nukes, given the direction of the jetstream.

    If Putin is even remotely rational you would be right.

    Alas, I don't think we can count on that.

    196:

    EC@173 wrote: “I agree that, if it had meant no industrial revolution, that would have been significant. But I think that it would have occurred eventually, because so many of the prerequisites also happened elsewhere in Europe.”

    Eventually may have stretched to centuries, since it required a chance overlap of so many historically contingent factors. New crops and growing commerce had to be boosting birth rates past what subsistence farming would have done. Population needed to be pressing up against the limits of available farmland so that competing needs for food and fuel depleted woodlands. Without deforestation, coal wouldn’t have been as necessary. Minus a booming coal business, pumps wouldn’t have been required, so the first wildly inefficient Newcomen type engines wouldn’t have had even their limited practical use right at the mine sites where coal was too cheap to care about. Lacking thousands of these early type engines and decades of practice to notice how much fuel they wasted, no pressing need for improvement would capture the attention of an inspired tinkerer.

    Commerce and population did expand on the continent as well as in Britain, but less overseas possessions meant less trade and slower growth. Physical constraints such as those imposed by living on an island weren’t as severe, so excess German peasants sloshed over into Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine in a way that the English couldn’t do without relocating all the way to a new hemisphere. So forest resources didn’t get over exploited as soon. Coal they had, but not as much incentive to mess with it. And France never had much coal to start with, so there went much of the historically available talent pool to play around with it.

    So industrialization centuries later than what did happen, an entirely different planet. Not even recognizable to us, peering through our Many Worlds brand extra-dimensional view scopes.

    197:

    The Islamic world included Spain for quite a while; plenty of resources there. Not sure what the relative timings are for Spain becoming all Catholic and Islam ceasing to be pro-scientific, but I think they were relatively close in comparison to the length of the Islamic Spain period.

    198:

    it took Elizabeth of Ingurlund being actively bad at part of her job (producing an heir) to result in James VI being invited to assume the throne of Ingurlund in the Union of the Crowns (March 1603).

    Idle speculation: what might have happened if it had been accepted that whoever married Elizabeth didn't automatically become King and ruler, but stayed a prince with the queen still being sovereign (like Victoria and Albert)?

    It would change the succession (assuming a surviving child). Does it mean no UK? Does Scotland remain independent?

    199:

    I continue to doubt Russian use of nukes, given the direction of the jetstream/If Putin is even remotely rational you would be right/Alas, I don't think we can count on that.

    Agreed. My pitch black thought is "oh well, the window for nuclear war to offset severe climate change is closing this decade, so maybe all our deaths won't be totally pointless...?"

    As for the rest (Ukrainian invasion, deaths of Gazprom execs and others, arsons), I'm now wondering if what we're seeing is sort of like narco-violence in Mexico, which happens when cartels are vying for supremacy and territorial control. Except here the drug is (apparently) oil? Would that maybe explain why Putin's acting the way he is, that he's basically the head of a cartel in a covert battle for control of Russian oil-trafficking, and the (would-be) heads of other cartels are challenging him?

    200:

    I think I learned of this essay here. It is a great read on why WWII just couldn't stop when everyone knew the outcome.

    https://www.leesandlin.com/articles/LosingTheWar.htm

    Thanks for the link. I read the whole thing and was quite impressed! Back in the '50s, I was an avid reader of WWII books. These days, very few people know anything about it.

    201:

    I once read an alt-history book where Columbus and his crews landed on a different island and were killed or captured by the locals, after having transmitted Smallpox and other diseases. He never returned to Europe and the Euros just focused on their own fights and the multi-century war with Islam.

    Over time the local awareness that there was a rich land to the East of the Ocean percolated to the rulers in Mexico (Aztecs or their successors). And a century or two later Northern Europe was unexpectedly invaded by an aggressive outsider with a religion that made heavy use of human sacrifice.

    202:

    Back in the '50s, I was an avid reader of WWII books. These days, very few people know anything about it.

    The 50s and early 60s in the US was weird in so many ways. My father flew missions as a waist gunner form England in B-24s from fall of 44 till the end. He and his pals while I was growing up didn't talk much about their war years. Didn't join the VFW. Didn't sit around trading stories. But he did like "Twelve O'Clock High" (TV and Movie), Bridge over the River Kwai, and such. But he was really pissed at the folks in the 60s both war hawks and peace nicks (I'm using pejoratives to make a point) and thought they were both ignoring the reality of people. (See previous discussions here of authoritarians and narcissists.) (I was in grade school most of the 60s so my opinions at the time were a bit simplistic.)

    Then we had the race to the moon and Viet Nam all at the same time. Almost as if different parallel realities.

    And yes today, so many people with strong political opinions in all directions have a very distorted view of the run up to, the war itself, and the aftermath of WWII.

    And the 30s had a lasting impact on my father's generation. Deep and lasting.

    203:

    It may have done, but the evidence is against it. No, pumps were NOT needed only (or even primarily) for coal mines, as pointed out in the previous thread. Many of the inventions occurred pre-1750, when coal wasn't actually that important. And, if England had not risen as a power, other countries could have imported Welsh and Northumbrian coal, anyway. My guess is that it would have taken no more than a century, but I agree about the wild difference.

    204:

    I glanced at that, and he is ignoring the evidence, according to many of the people who were actually involved. Yes, the Japanese warlords wanted to surrender, but they wanted to keep their social structure and much of their navy, and were not prepared to consider unconditional surrender; if that had been accepted, we would have had them start WW III (with nukes) a decade or so later. A conventional military invasion would have had horrific casualties, including an estimated 3 million civilians. For all their horror, the atomic bombs demoralised the warlords enough that Hirohito used his nominal power to bypass them, and surrender unconditionally.

    What would have happened if they hadn't been used? I don't know, but it is NOT true that the decision was simple bloodthirstiness.

    205:

    187 - Might I suggest that, for reasons already discussed in other threads, Any one or more of Turkey, France, the UK and the USA could turn the Black "Sea" fleet into more of a "Black Lake" fleet by denying them access to the Mediterranean, never mind on into the Red Sea or the Atlantic via the Straight of Gibraltar?

    198 - No Union of Crowns in 1603 may well mean no Darian Project, hence no Scottish Bankruptcy, hence no Treaty of Union (1706) and Act of Union (1707).

    206:

    There's some coal in Spain and Portugal, but only a few percent of what the UK had. I don't think they have ever had a lot of coal.

    My general take on an industrial revolution as we understand it is that it's about switching manufacturing from systems primarily powered by renewable resources (wood, coal, wind, water) to those primarily powered by fossil fuels (coal, then petroleum). That was the reason I focused on Song China, because for a brief period they got into coal-powered iron production. They had plenty of coal, plenty of people, and new rice cultivars growing the population. But they didn't convert over to primary coal-powered manufacturing. And the reason they didn't had nothing to do with lack of hydropower, since they invented waterwheels back in the Warring States Period, around the same time they invented spinning wheels.

    The Muslim lands could support a Roman-style empire, and that's basically what they did. However, unless some djinni figured out how to tell them to pull crude oil out of the Arabian oil fields and use it for fuel, they weren't in a position to switch their manufacturing from renewables to fossil fuels. Please note that this is about opportunity, not skill. Had they had a big enough coal field near enough water, I'm reasonably sure they would have industrialized, possibly in parallel with the Song.

    207:

    EC @ 184
    REALLY?
    That is of course the standard "Russian" { i.e. Putin } narrative, after all.
    Worse, in 2004 (?) and at intervals thereafter until 2013, Putin publicly stated that Russia had no territorial interest in those territories ...
    COUGH
    Worse, in 1936 & at intervals thereafter until 1938, Adolf publicly stated that Germany had no territorial interest in those territories ...
    Um, err ...
    - - SEE ALSO Charlie, immediately replying @ 187?

    OH DEAR
    "The Azov battalion" - again? I thought most of them were conveniently dead by now? And you seem to have forgotten that Zelensky is a RUSSIAN-speaking JEW.
    You sure you are not spirutally-chanelling the saintly Jeremy Corbyn, who would like, even now, to leave Ukraine to the RuSSian FSB "cleansers"??
    And, as an extra, I assume that you believe that all these "accidental" falls from windows are just that, & that the Russians in Salisbury were there to view the cathedral, etc ............
    The whole of current Russia is, quite literally, a Mafia state, isn't it?
    ...
    Not to disparage the gravity & seriousness of the situation, though - OK?

    Pigeon
    Spain becoming all Catholic - 1491/2
    Islam ceasing to be pro-scientific - approx 1260 - 1300 - Mongol invasions, turning locals to the BigSkyFairy, since nothing else seemed to be working(!)

    Lastly, this time, from Charlie:
    If Putin is even remotely rational you would be right. Alas, I don't think we can count on that.

    208:

    Charlie Stross @ 170:

    If no industrial revolution in GB, would there have been an industrial revolution elsewhere? Or would everything have stalled at 18th century levels of industrialization (wind and water wheel power, but no steam engines to power mines and mills)?

    To paraphrase Galileo Galilei, "It still moves".

    Great Britain was a unique combination of circumstances that shaped the FORM of the industrial revolution. So whatever would have happened if GB had not coalesced the way it did would have had a different form, but I think something would have happened somewhere else.

    209:

    Charlie Stross @ 187:

    Bear in mind Putin's regime has form for false-flag atrocities to justify invasion and occupation of other former-USSR countries going back well before 2013 -- consider the Moscow theatre siege, the apartment bombings, and the Chechen War.

    I cannot speak to the 2013 Ukraine coup's backers or intent, but since 2013 Ukraine seems to have reformed as a European-leaning democracy: meanwhile the other party in the war of aggression is a secret policeman turned right-wing dictator, and in 2014 Russia attacked Ukraine and bit off a chunk of territory -- the Crimea -- for transparently geopolitical reasons (wanting a warm-water base for the Black Sea fleet). As for Donetsk/Luhansk: use Northern Ireland as a metaphor and imagine an external power feeding arms to one or other of the sectarian combatants in the 1980s in order to bite off a chunk of the provinces as "autonomous zones". It's a very bad look, whether or not the faces running the show were born there or overseas.

    Tankies gotta tank. They don't care about facts or what the people in Ukraine (or Chechnya) might have aspired to, "Yeah, but what about ... It was all part of an evil CIA secret plot to take down the glorious Soviet Revolution, so stop pickin' on that nice Mr. Putin". /sarcasm.

    210:

    Many of the inventions occurred pre-1750, when coal wasn't actually that important.

    Inventions weren't the point, repeatable production of machines was an essential part of the Industrial Revolution. Filling a four-storey mill building with ten thousand tonnes of precisely-manufactured iron and steel spinning and weaving machinery took a lot of coal to smelt, cast and work that iron into such machines. Building dozens of such manufactories took a lot more coal (and iron ore). There wasn't enough charcoal capacity to provide the kickstarter energy to make the machines that coal would eventually provide energy to make to work, in both the industrial and scientific meaning of the word.

    AFAIK Britain was nearly unique in having known exploitable sources of both shallow-draft coal and iron ore beds close together. This meant no need to transport tens of thousands of tonnes of raw material by sea in a time when a large and very expensive cargo ship could carry 250 tonnes and was usually used to carry more valuable materials.

    211:

    It would change the succession (assuming a surviving child). Does it mean no UK? Does Scotland remain independent?

    Huge indeterminacy results in unknown outcomes within significantly less than 50 years.

    Remember the Wars of the Three Kingdoms coincided with the Thirty Years War on the continent, and sundry other conflicts? It was a series of very bad harvests, aggravated by religious dissent, that overflowed into warfare. Charles I really screwed up, but it's hard to see any monarch on the English throne in that era avoiding a fiscal crunch due to diminished harvests and tax revenues, even leaving aside the Scottish religious strife.

    We probably end up with some sort of Union of the Crowns anyway, within a century at the most of the date in our history. But the details are imponderable: a marriage between a Scottish prince or princess and their English opposite number seems the most likely path. It had been attempted earlier, albeit really counter-productively -- see also The War of the Rough Wooing.

    The real emergent consequence as I see it is that without the English civil wars there'd have been no royal haircut, no Commonwealth, no Restoration, no subsequent Glorious Revolution, and thus no tradition of constitutional monarchy in GB/UK. So when GB/UK went into another of its interminable periodic world wars with France ...

    212:

    Something may have happened, but it might not have happened yet. Over the breadth of human history we have had a great many centuries of no industrial revolution. There is no set of stone tablets that say it had to happen in the 17th or 18th centuries.

    It might be starting right now, or 4000 years in the future. I suppose it might have started 2000 years ago with some variations in precursors and/or context.

    Plenty of resources in the Americas. As mentioned above, an Iroquois industrial revolution might have been very different. Maya, Inca, Aztec, Olmec, Cree. Once you reshuffle the context, any of those might be possible.

    The precondition that is most important, I think, is a combination of empiricism (learning about the world and its functions) and an interest in change. I think that might have happened anywhere.

    213:

    Spain becoming all Catholic - 1491/2 -- Islam ceasing to be pro-scientific - approx 1260 - 1300 - Mongol invasions, turning locals to the BigSkyFairy, since nothing else seemed to be working(!)

    Actually, the scientific golden age in Islam continued later than that: Al-Andalus was spectacular. But Al-Andalus went died under the boots of the Spanish Catholic invaders, and either forced out or forcibly converted all the Jews and Muslims (before invading the New World).

    214:

    IMHO this is one of the very best things that's ever been written about war.

    215:

    Heteromeles @ 199:

    I continue to doubt Russian use of nukes, given the direction of the jetstream/If Putin is even remotely rational you would be right/Alas, I don't think we can count on that.

    Agreed. My pitch black thought is "oh well, the window for nuclear war to offset severe climate change is closing this decade, so maybe all our deaths won't be totally pointless...?"

    As for the rest (Ukrainian invasion, deaths of Gazprom execs and others, arsons), I'm now wondering if what we're seeing is sort of like narco-violence in Mexico, which happens when cartels are vying for supremacy and territorial control. Except here the drug is (apparently) oil? Would that maybe explain why Putin's acting the way he is, that he's basically the head of a cartel in a covert battle for control of Russian oil-trafficking, and the (would-be) heads of other cartels are challenging him?

    There are no other cartels in Russia. Those deaths are from the paranoia of a capo de capo worrying that his underlings are trying to unseat him (whether they actually are or not) ... along with "disciplining" the under performing.

    The Ukraine invasion is down on all fours with Hitler's demand for the return of the Sudetenland. It's only a prelude for Putin's further demands after another Munich. If he's not resisted, he won't be satisfied until he's gobbled up all of the territory once controlled by the Soviet Union (including Poland & East Germany and all the other Warsaw Pact countries).

    Along with a large dose of revanchism against all those enemies who failed to recognize the obvious superiority of the Soviet Union and refused to kowtow themselves before its glory ... especially those nasty mongrelized americans.

    The only real question now is whether he's as delusional as Hitler was during his last days in his bunker; whether he's willing to ring down Götterdämmerung if the world fails him?

    See also Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known by his nickname Caligula and/or Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, along with any other mad kings or emperors who actually had some power over others.

    216:

    Greg Tingey @ 207:

    OH DEAR
    "The Azov battalion" - again? I thought most of them were conveniently dead by now? And you seem to have forgotten that Zelensky is a RUSSIAN-speaking JEW.
    You sure you are not spirutally-chanelling the saintly Jeremy Corbyn, who would like, even now, to leave Ukraine to the RuSSian FSB "cleansers"??
    And, as an extra, I assume that you believe that all these "accidental" falls from windows are just that, & that the Russians in Salisbury were there to view the cathedral, etc ............
    The whole of current Russia is, quite literally, a Mafia state, isn't it?
    ...
    Not to disparage the gravity & seriousness of the situation, though - OK?

    I'm pretty sure the Azov battalion still existed. But it wasn't the same ad hoc nationalist unit it had been during 2014. After the cessation of active combat, the Ukrainian MoD integrated the militias into their regular reserve forces. Their officers got dispersed into other units & the battalion was filled in with reservists to de-politicize the unit. They kept their heritage and lineage, but they were no longer allowed to be primarily a neo-nazi militia. They also got a whole lot of training in the western (NATO) military practice (i.e. Law of Land Warfare, etc).

    OTOH, I believe the Azov battalion were the defenders of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol and there are questions about how many survived to be taken captive by the Russians, and how many yet survive (or will survive) as POWs.

    217:

    @Heteromeles wrote:

    Except here the drug is (apparently) oil? Would that maybe explain why Putin's acting the way he is, that he's basically the head of a cartel in a covert battle for control of Russian oil-trafficking, and the (would-be) heads of other cartels are challenging him?

    If you credit Peter Zeihan's analysis, the Russian Federation's oil industry is in the middle of mostly shutting down -- which, according to Zeihan, is worse than you think, because most Russian oil wells are in the permafrost, where taking a well offline essentially ruins it, requiring at least years to reengineer the wells from scratch. In addition, the expertise and infrastructure to keep that industry alive is collapsing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOAA6sx2IeE

    Zeihan really is a nice antidote to Charlie's breezy optimism.

    218:

    EC @ 176: * The point is the determination (dating from 2014) that no solution (whether that or other) should be done by negotiation or UN involvement, or involve treating ethnic Russians as humans who also deserve rights.*

    Presumably you are referring to the laws about the use of Ukranian versus Russian. I did a search on the BBC for "Ukranian Russian Language Speaking" to see what I could find out about the history of this. Here is what I found (I won't post hyperlinks for fear of tripping anti-spam)

    • Soviet era: Russian was enforced, speaking Ukranian was deprecated, and publishing in Ukrainian was punished.

    • 2005: Law mandates Ukranian for offical purposes and in schools. Russian speakers object.

    • 2012: Russian given "regional language" status (seems to be similar to Welsh in the UK: dual-language government and school lessons in Russian areas). Ukrainian speakers strongly object. Police fire tear gas at Ukrainian protesters.

    • 2014: Russia invades Crimea. Subsequently it also supports/foments rebellion in the Donbas.

    • 2017: At least 75% of national TV broadcasts to be in the Ukrainian language.

    • 2019: All Ukrainian citizens to know the state language and use it while performing official duties.

    Not exactly the most glorious of histories, but to describe it as not "treating ethnic Russians as humans who also deserve rights" is hyperbolic at best. Russians had spent the best part of a century trying to eliminate the Ukrainian language and culture, so its not surprising its a hot button issue, especially after the 2014 invasion. Up to that point things were actually getting better for Russian-speakers. So for Putin its another case of "nice job breaking it, hero".

    If Putin had left well enough alone the next thing would have been Ukraine seeking EU membership, and the EU requiring equal access for the Russian minority in Ukraine as part of that.

    219:

    Um, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russification_of_Ukraine the Czars were pushing the Russian language over Ukrainian since the 1830's, so don't just blame the USSR.

    220:

    My general take on an industrial revolution as we understand it is that it's about switching manufacturing from systems primarily powered by renewable resources (wood, coal, wind, water) to those primarily powered by fossil fuels (coal, then petroleum).

    A distinctly minority opinion here but to me it is about machine tools. And using those to make better machine tools. You can do it with water. And it was done the way in the early US and other places. Wind maybe. But steam just makes it easier. But way more expensive to set up the first machine.

    221:

    most Russian oil wells are in the permafrost, where taking a well offline essentially ruins it, requiring at least years to reengineer the wells from scratch

    Also, the contents of the pipes in the ground freeze unless they're drained, and you can't easily drain hundreds of kilometres of oil pipeline that you can't heat once the back-pressure drops off and the contents become increasingly waxy. Those oil pipelines? They need replacing completely, not reactivating. And by the time anyone's ready to do that we'll be deeper into climate emergency and executing a global shift towards renewables/EVs.

    222:

    I agree. Steam isn't what made the Industrial Revolution, it was machines, from weaving and spinning machines, to machines that made the machines... and that is the real killer application, as it were: identical machines, with spare parts, easily replaceable. A lot of people point at Ford and his autos... but on our way back from Worldcon, at a rest stop, there were pics with captions, and they spoke of the Pennsylvania Railroad as doing that in the last half of the 19th century.

    223:

    hyperbolic

    EC's polemics on the Ukraine/Russian war have been so one sided that he almost sounds like a shill for Russia. Almost. He cherry picks / plays up his facts to play up the evil NATO and Ukrainians and downplay things which don't meet his narrative. I've given up directly addressing his point. If you ask about a specific that doesn't fit his narrative he points you somewhere else.

    But I still feel he's one of the smartest (IQ) folks on this blog. And deeply believes in what he says. So I read what he says. But with a large grain or two of salt.

    224:

    Yes and no. I see far too much IT'S ALL RUSSIA'S FAULT/PUTIN!!!, and a refusal to accept that both sides have been screwing around behind the scenes.

    And to whoever said it, no, he's not a freakin' tankie. He's trying to look behind the propaganda from BOTH SIDES. No, this is not a "but whatabout", this is looking at what really happened.

    225:

    questions about how many survived to be taken captive by the Russians, and how many yet survive (or will survive) as POWs.

    News in the UK has mostly been about the release of five Britons held by Russia, but another five non-Ukrainians were released overnight along with 205 Ukrainian military personnel. A large proportion of the Ukrainians were Azov Stal defenders, five senior Ukrainian officers from Mariupol will sit out the war in Turkey. In exchange the Russians had 55 PoWs and an MP returned.

    226:

    Here's what I haven't read about or much looked for.

    Oil/gasoline prices in the US spiked after the embargoes were announced. Now they have settled back down so that (in the US) prices are back to a mostly normal. (We make our own natural gas so...)

    I also read a month or two ago that Russia was selling a LOT of the oil that wasn't going to Europe to India and China. At $35/barrel. They're getting a deal.

    I suspect that the oil they were buying is now on the open markets which is why prices (at least in the US) have moved back to a "normal".

    Tied into all of this is that much of Russian oil is called "Russian Sludge". Sort of like the stuff that comes from Venezuela. Which may explain why Russia has been their buddy for a while now. Anyway, refineries that can handle such tar are few. (There are many on the gulf coast of the US which irritates Venezuela to no end.)

    Is Europe buying Venezuelan oil now to feed into their Russian oil tuned refineries?

    Are the Siberian fields ramping back up to supply India/China?

    One of those topics I'd like to dig deeper into but Round2Its and all that.

    227:

    The "elected" government of Ukraine before 2014 was somewhat of a Corleone crime family. Who gave fealty to Russia. So Russia let them be. But for those of use dealing with mail servers and malware it was a cesspool of tolerated online crime.

    If the government that EC says was illegally overthrown was operating as a crime ring what should have been done? But once the government was NOT obedient to Russia things went downhill. With all kinds of signs.

    And there's more.

    228:

    It turns out to be unexpectedly hard to find any kind of historical overview of Spanish coal mining under the massive flood of articles from the last couple of years about them shutting their coal mines and then power stations down. But they do have a fair bit according to things like http://www.osti.gov/biblio/7320588 and http://www.osti.gov/etdeweb/biblio/233639 (or at least the tiny bit you can actually read), and it's been worked at some kind of noticeable level since the 16th century at least.

    They certainly have plenty of iron ore; it was mostly Spanish iron ore that finally put the lid on a lot of British iron mines struggling to keep going in the later 19th century.

    Oil in what is now Iraq has been known from antiquity; the early well drillers of modern production were attracted by places where it oozes out of the ground of its own accord. AFAIK they mostly used it for things like waterproofing boats, and only in occasional cases for fuel - which makes sense, after all, if your call for fuel is minimal then there are much easier ways to get it. Regarding its possible use for iron production, well it's not impossible chemically, but there's no way you'd manage to get any kind of useful result unless you were already pretty good at ironmaking by other means and also at various other industrial things, so it's a grossly implausible kind of fuel to boot off.

    229:

    And you're saying that what replaced them was clean and not corrupt, right?

    230:

    Yes, we are in a minority. The majority seem to believe that a landscape of dark satanic mills defines an industrial revolution. I don't, and believe that it is the change from using mainly manual methods to using mainly machine-assisted ones.

    It's not just machine tools, though they are essential for making the (relatively) precise machinery needed for an industrial revolution. Even if just threshing and spinning were automated, that would have made a HUGE difference to the productivity per person in 1750, and there are dozens of devices that do the same on a smaller scale (e.g. geared hand drills).

    231:

    That was a very well written article. It does somewhat make me despair.

    A quote that feels a bit too on the nose:

    "The approaching war didn't seem like a political or economic event; it was more like a collective anxiety attack. Throughout the 30s people around the world came to share an unshakable dread about the future, a conviction that countless grave international crises were escalating out of control, a panicked sense that everything was coming unhinged and that they could do nothing to stop it."

    The last few years have felt much the same. Any number of things going wrong, some of them in quite dramatic fashion. It's an open question if something will happen to break the current world, but it is much more possible than it felt 20 years ago.

    That said, it may just be that I am a middle aged white guy and my god given right to perceive changes in my perspective as changes in society.

    [[ link fixed - mod ]]

    232:

    Seems like the Royal infighting by proxy has resumed:

    15 royal book bombshells - Andrew 'didn't want Charles as King' and 'slob' claim

    Prince Andrew 'lobbied' Queen to stop Charles becoming King: Duke of York 'plotted' with Diana to allow William to accede to the throne ahead of Charles, royal author claims

    Prince Andrew 'plotted' to stop Charles becoming king [YouTube]

    I will say this, if Andrew "didn't approve of Camilla", that's the best recommendation I've seen for her yet.

    PS: Do y'all think Charles would look more Kingly if he grew a beard like his grandfather & great-grandfather?

    After all, it worked to make Lincoln more Presidential appearing.

    233:

    Ugh. HTML, I am bad at it.

    234:

    News in the UK has mostly been about the release of five Britons held by Russia, but another five non-Ukrainians were released overnight along with 205 Ukrainian military personnel.

    Two American POWs (Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh) were freed in the prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine. I believe I saw one of them on a MSNBC news program earlier today.

    235:

    Iron ore and coal tend to occur together in Britain because that's what you get in the cross section of the stratigraphic sequence. I think what you got was carboniferous forest producing an accumulation of dead trees with bog on top, with iron-metabolising bacteria doing their thing in the bog. So as the waters came and went over millions of years you ended up with layers of dead trees with bog on top interleaved with layers of mudstones and similar sedimentary rocks, enriched in places with microbially-concentrated iron from the bog zones. In some places you even get large spheroidal blobs of nearly pure iron ore embedded in the bottom of the sediments directly on top of the coal, ready to drop on your head when you dig the coal out from underneath.

    Then I think towards the end of the Carboniferous there was a change in climate which resulted in a lot of calcium carbonate being laid down, so you got limestone as well, all very handy right where you need it.

    The coal deposits across northern Europe and north-eastern North America are all basically the same stuff; in some places since the Carboniferous it's all been scraped away and in some places it's had huge amounts of muck dumped on top of it, and in between there are places where it's easy to get at. So I'd expect to find the same handy colocated minerals to a greater or lesser extent in any of those intermediate places. Certainly you do on the American side. But on the other hand in Germany you had the proto-industrial region that made Germany the most advanced centre of mining technology in proto-industrial times, the Erzgebirge, which is an igneous formation with ores of loads of different metals and just happens to have anthracite next door by coincidence.

    236:

    And you're saying that what replaced them was clean and not corrupt, right?

    No. Just less so. From where I saw it. Sort of. Maybe. But not worse it seems to me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py6IpUx4eWs

    237:

    I've just tried it, using George V's beard. Yeah, it quite suits him.

    Bing doesn't seem to have caught up with him not being Prince Charles any more yet though.

    238:

    What I saw was a government that used snipers on people changing to one that started a war on it's people, rather than negotiate.

    Not a lot of good guys there.

    239:

    It's 2024 and Trump wins the electoral college or things get messed up and the House picks him. And he gets sworn in January 2025. Then his stogies start shuting things down so elections are a fantasy and running rough shod over norms and laws.

    Do you sit back and take it.

    Or in another way, do you bring fists to a gun fight or get a gun?

    I'm not a fan of politics in Ukraine. But I blame Russia / USSR for creating this mess after WWII. Pick any of the nations east or south of Russia and tell me which ones have stable governments and got them by playing nice with the assholes who took over.

    240:

    David L @ 220:

    My general take on an industrial revolution as we understand it is that it's about switching manufacturing from systems primarily powered by renewable resources (wood, coal, wind, water) to those primarily powered by fossil fuels (coal, then petroleum).

    A distinctly minority opinion here but to me it is about machine tools. And using those to make better machine tools. You can do it with water. And it was done the way in the early US and other places. Wind maybe. But steam just makes it easier. But way more expensive to set up the first machine.

    As I understand it, that's the way it progressed in Britain as well - with parallel tracks of development. Water ➔ mills ➔ tools ➔ steam ➔ Industry.

    The water mill profits created investment capital that was then turned to other uses, and PROGRESS came when that capital was invested in creating better tools. Using those better tools accelerated the profit (positive feedback).

    The point of steam power is you can use it in places where there isn't enough flowing water to power a "mill". Steam makes the industrial revolution portable.

    It's the same with railroads - which were a vital component of the industrial revolution - you could put rails in places where there wasn't enough water for a canal and when steam came along it gave you a portable power source so you could string carriages together without needing a team of horses for each carriage.

    You could do it with large teams of mules & horses, but a single steam engine with equivalent horsepower requires less fodder ("fuel") because wood takes up less room than hay, and coal takes up less room than wood for the same energy output.

    And a steam driven train will cross a trestle that a horse or mule WON'T.

    241:

    David L @ 223:

    Too much salt is bad for you.

    242:

    And to whoever said it, no, he's not a freakin' tankie.

    As used by commenters here, "tankie" seems to mean "someone who disagrees with something I passionately believe".

    243:

    Re: '...the scientific golden age in Islam'

    According to the below teacher's notes:

    Islam - the culture/ethnic group - got religion in a big way and sects started splitting off everywhere.

    Territories where the religists were the dominant leaders became increasingly more aggressive esp. against 'science'. Caliphs/emirs who didn't want to lose all their powers/privileges went along with the imams.

    Prior to the rise of sectarianism, Islam as a people/nation actually had some of the largest unis with maths, sciences and engineering/tech as major study areas. After the imams took over, those programs got cut to the point that their unis were almost exclusively teaching theology. (I think something similar happened in Britain a few centuries later but to a lesser extent.)

    Then various regions of 'Islam' got invaded. I'm guessing that thanks to the on-going sectarian wars, instead of uniting to fight a common enemy (Mongols), each sect sat back and watched their unrighteous Muslim brethren get massacred.

    Sounds awfully familiar somehow ...

    http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/scienceislam_education/docs/Science_and_technology_in_Medieval_Islam-Teachers_notes.pdf

    What counts as 'tech' ...

    I remember watching a BBC doc about the history of science (and maths) and one of the episodes focused on the Muslim world as a major player/contributor. Same with India. Now, about these two 'countries' - water was their main concern: Africa/Iberia - too little water; India - too much water. Basically: technology revolutions depend not just on available resources but critical needs.

    Oh yeah - India: not sure which doc, but apparently India had some of the best engineered sewer/water treatment/displacement systems anywhere. Then some arrogant Brit military types showed up, shut the water works down, installed systems that worked in Britain (but not in India) and ended up creating a mess.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation_of_the_Indus_Valley_civilisation#:~:text=Sewage%20was%20disposed%20of%20through,had%20two%20or%20more%20stories.

    I wonder how many marvels humanity's lost through the ages because of conqueror syndrome (swollen ego).

    244:

    Pigeon @ 237:

    I've just tried it, using George V's beard. Yeah, it quite suits him.

    Bing doesn't seem to have caught up with him not being Prince Charles any more yet though.

    Hmmmm? I'd have to go into the other room to use my Photoshop computer, but as it turns out Charles DID grow a beard for a while during his service in the Royal Navy.

    ... and based on that, I think he WOULD look more kingly with a beard, especially if it had gone all grey like his hair. (Note: That's just one USAian's opinion.)

    Money quote:

    One commenter wrote: "How did he not keep it? Looks like proper English landed gentry."

    245:

    The majority seem to believe that a landscape of dark satanic mills defines an industrial revolution. I don't, and believe that it is the change from using mainly manual methods to using mainly machine-assisted ones.

    Could you expand what you mean by 'machine-assisted'?

    I know that in Roman and medieval times there were lots of things like cranes for construction that let them build hings that would have been almost impossible without them. Muscle-powered, but still machines.

    And of course both water and wind mills go way back as well. Hydraulic trip hammers date back to the Han.

    246:

    As used by commenters here, "tankie" seems to mean "someone who disagrees with something I passionately believe".

    If you roll back through the blog to just after Russia went into Ukraine the phrase popped up. I'd never heard of it. But it seems to be a pejorative aimed at people who seemed to think the USSR was doing a good thing rolling tanks into Hungary and a few other places after WWII. To keep order and stability. Which meant the government that was subservient to the USSR.

    Or so the usage seemed to be to me as an observer of that argument.

    247:

    "elected" government of Ukraine before 2014 was somewhat of a Corleone crime family. Who gave fealty to Russia.

    I suspect you'd be pissed if the EU boycotted the US while you had a crime family president and demanded another election run by the UN after the coup attempt. Russia or Ukraine would be pissed if the same stunt was attempted against them.

    That sort of thing is a great game if you have the power to make it stick. But as pointed out here previously, it's a sliding scale where the rankings are not always as the major powers would like them to be. Viz, if some "we" decide that Russia isn't democratic enough to be acceptable, the same "we" could decide the same about China, or France or even the USA.

    Where does it stop - we pick the "most democratic" country and they rule the world? Most democratic based on some arbitrary criteria like percentage of the population who voted in the election for the supreme leader? Prevalence of gerrymandering and other anti-democratic measures? Or just the realpolitik number of nuclear weapons the state has?

    248:

    John S
    Tankies gotta tank - quite so.
    - later -
    RE: dictators & mad emperors ....
    Putin is on record as saying that the collapse of the SovUnion was the worst event of the C20th - worse, even than WWII.
    Which shows how dangerously delusional he is, yes?

    RocketJPS
    Me too ...

    249:

    Yeah, he's not a tankie because I don't see any meaningful indication he's a Marxist-Leninist. He just repeats all the talking points downstream from RT that outlets like Grayzone and Multipolarista peddle in the west. Every revolution that is against Russian or Chinese interest is a fake 'color revolution'. A giant popular revolution in Ukraine becomes a CIA coup because there happened to be a US diplomat talking to opposition elements. The countries that join NATO from the votes of their popular assemblies from justified fear of aggression from Moscow becomes "NATO Encroachment" and "Provocation"-- shit excuses that we would justifiably never make for the US. Any shit NATO does is fascist because fifty fucking years ago they did Operation Gladio. A law that says that your barber should greet you in Ukrainian gets blown up to Russian speakers will be banned!!! despite the fact that you'll hear Russian walking past any cafe in Kiev.

    breathes

    The plebiscite immediately after Russian invation in Crimea being remotely genuine. The Luhansk and Donetsk regions still being genuinely in favor of Russia despite having been emptied of all military aged males by this point through conscription into untrained and unequipped cannon fodder militias, and Ukrainian attempts to take the territory back that was, y'know, taken by military force as some sort of attempt at genocide. Blowing up a single fascist militia of maybe regiment strength at its peak that y'know wouldn't exist if there was never a war from 2014 to the entire military and government being fascist, despite the far right party not being able to hold more than one or two seats at any time. Basically ignoring the fascist militias on the Russian side and the fascist rhetoric of the Russian state. I don't think he's repeated anything about Ukraine having no history as an independent entity but hey, can't get a perfect score.

    I've believed some of these things myself before the Russian invasion and I am ashamed to have been suckered by all of the excuse-making bullshit for a fascist Russian tyrant.

    I have to deal with this shit all the time from MLs I know, organize with, and ultimately value their relationship and friendship more than their opinion about shit that is ultimately overseas and out of all of our hands. But is sure is a fuckin shock every time I see it on Charlie's blog from a guy I normally learn things from.

    250:

    Machines to move stuff like cranes are different to machines that make stuff like spinning frames. The second type have slides and bearings which require precision[1] and, although it is possible to make precision devices out of wood, they wear and bend and break or just distort if the weather changes with temperature and humidity shifts. For long-lasting precision metal is required, for mass production of materials such as cotton a lot of iron properly shaped in precise forms is absolutely necessary.

    The early spinning jennies which could be powered by a man cranking a large wheel were mostly made of wood but they broke and wore and needed lots of adjustment and maintenance. Later spinning frames were made from cast iron and didn't need so much expert care or so much downtime but they needed a lot more power, more than a single man could provide.

    [1] I'm planning on purchasing a desktop CNC router/mill at the moment. I could buy such a unit for about 200 bucks US but devices at that price point are not precise and they will wear and get more imprecise as they are used. They have structural parts made of plastic, some of them 3D-printed and they can't be made better, not without rebuilding and replacing a lot of their parts. The model I'm looking at (FoxAlien WM3020) is about a thousand bucks US but it is all aluminum, not as good as steel but still more rigid and stable than plastic. The important parts like ballscrews and linear rails are higher precision than the 200 buck router which uses cheap leadscrews and bushed rails or even wheels and the more expensive parts will maintain that increased precision over an extended period.

    251:

    Which means Russian oil is essentially of the world market permanently after this winter.

    Oil is all Russia has.

    Without oil, Russia ceases to be any kind of a great power.

    Breaking apart and leaving a rump Muscovy state becomes very likely.

    So is someone launching a nuke during the chaos of collapse.

    Assuming that doesn't happen, what can be done to reboot Russia?

    Hypothetically, if you found yourself ruler of Muscovy next year after Russia breaks up and Putin is hung from a lamppost what do you do to rebuild your nation?

    What assets can you leverage?

    252:

    Or so the usage seemed to be to me as an observer of that argument.

    It has been used against people in disagreements that didn't involve the soviet union at all.

    253:

    Zeihan again on Putin's calling up of 300,000 troops (actually his new law allows for the call up of 1,000,000) which he can't train, arm or supply.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt6sfPf1Z_Q

    They'll be sheep at the slaughter.

    They are also men of baby making age.

    This seals Russia's demographic doom.

    254:

    Robert Prior @ 242:

    And to whoever said it, no, he's not a freakin' tankie.

    As used by commenters here, "tankie" seems to mean "someone who disagrees with something I passionately believe".

    I wrote it, and this is what it means, although it turns out tankies can also be apologists who "endorse, defend or deny the crimes committed by authoritarian" right-wing regimes as well.

    See Also

    255:

    The Lee Sandlin essay above addresses war's affect on bureaucracies - and that's exactly what's happening to Russia/Putin.

    256:

    Duffy @ 251:

    Assuming that doesn't happen, what can be done to reboot Russia?

    It's rather a lot late for that.

    Long before the "special military action", Russia had doom hanging over it. Between the world wars' devastation, Stalin's policies, Khrushchev's mismanagement, Brezhev's attempts to ignore the modern world, mostly-hidden huge problems with medication-resistant tuberculosis and HIV, and breakdown of most education after the Soviet Union's collapse, not only did death rates in the 1980s and 1990s skyrocket, the already-low birthrate also plummeted. So, they're heading towards a bigger demographic problem even than the Chinese and Japanese face. They were already critically short of people (especially males) of military age, which is also childbearing age -- and then the Ukraine War made that worse, and now Putin's further mobilisation is making that far worse. (Aside: It takes a special kind of crazy to not fully welcome women into a hard-pressed military like that, by misogyny must have its way.)

    By the way, I just heard via a Russian blogger that conscription is snagging Russian men up to age 50. So much for what remains of their economy.

    I'm really not sure what can be done to make Russia's probably implosion less messy. Maybe staying far away is the best plan. Maybe a new national consensus can be worked out among the remaining ethnic Russians, the dynamic and highly productive Tatars of the Volga River valley, and some of the less aggrieved of the North Caucausus peoples. The Russians would have to get over their religion thing for that to happen, of course.

    257:

    But like fascist, TERF, neoliberal and a bunch of other labels, they've become tainted by what they were coined to describe. Not even the most enthusiastic proponent of the views wants to claim the label, because they know that not only do most people not like their views, most will just hear the label and stop listening to the person labelled. It doesn't matter whether the label was originally coined by the people promoting the views, like Nazi or neoliberal, or by people describing a common view they disliked, as with TERF. The terms stink because the views aren't popular. So now we have "MAGA" and "Gender Critical Feminist" which are rapidly heading the same way as more people work out the obvious connection.

    There are terms used by both sides because they disagree either on the meaning or the implications, like Zionist or Socialist, but those are a fair way from "tankie" to most people.

    We can argue about definitions all we like, but the pro-{awful} people won't accept the label, the definition, or both.

    258:

    NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead @ 257:

    Whether you agree with the label or not - whether you think the label is useful or not, I think it's important to hold people accountable for enabling evil.

    259:

    I've been giving Putin's nuclear saber rattling some thought, and I don't see how he could believe use of battlefield nukes would change the course of the war.

    OTOH, I CAN see how he might think a decapitation strike against Kyiv to murder Zelenskyy would leave Ukraine leaderless, and he would think he could take advantage of that.

    260:

    I was a bit surprised to find just so many uses of "Tankie" in the Wikipedia definition related to flavours of Marxist-Leninist state capitalism (the state owns the means of production, rather than true Communism where the people own the means of production in common). Previous to tonight, if you'd asked me, I'd have said that "Tankie" meant anyone who favoured the use of tanks (and associated mobile artillery systems) as the solution to political problems, irrespective of their politics.

    261:

    One of the things Putin probably imagines is that Zelensky is moving all the Ukrainian forces around, just like Putin moves the Russian forces around, so in his mind the Ukrainians are screwed if Zelensky dies. In reality, Ukraine's generals will keep commanding their troops even if Kyiv gets completely blown up.

    262:

    Yup. "Tankie began as an insult for members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), who supported the Soviet Union’s response to the Hungarian Revolution (1956) and the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia (1968). Suffice to say, the Soviet response involved tanks. Thus the term tankie, which perhaps draws on earlier uses of tankie (or tanky) for a tank driver or a member of a tank unit. The term was recorded as early as 1983 in Marxism Today, the CPGB’s magazine from 1957–91."

    "In the 2000s, tankie further spread in leftist internet slang as an insult for a militaristic anti-capitalist, as well as a term for performative Communism more generally."

    https://www.dictionary.com/e/politics/tankie/

    263:

    Zeihan again on Putin's calling up of 300,000 troops (actually his new law allows for the call up of 1,000,000) which he can't train, arm or supply.

    From what I've read, the 300,000 troops Putin's looking for are ex-military, so training may not be a serious issue.

    264:

    Long before the "special military action", Russia had doom hanging over it. Between the world wars' devastation, Stalin's policies, Khrushchev's mismanagement, Brezhev's attempts to ignore the modern world, mostly-hidden huge problems with medication-resistant tuberculosis and HIV, and breakdown of most education after the Soviet Union's collapse, not only did death rates in the 1980s and 1990s skyrocket, the already-low birthrate also plummeted.

    If the U.S. had funded the rebuilding of Russia's economy after the collapse of the USSR (in the same way it rebuilt West Germany's economy after WWII), things might be quite different now...

    265:

    You could say the same about the UK... after WW2 the UK repaid loans from the US while the US funded the reconstruction of Germany. I presume that was "keep your friends close and your friends closer" in action?

    The problem with a Marshall Plan now is that Russia has already had one "open up to capitalism" and that didn't go well. Doing the same thing again probably doesn't appeal.

    Especially if you look at other places where the US and groups like the World Bank have "invested" because of their valuable resources... Nigeria, for example, isn't a great example of the benefits that World Bank involvement brings. And remember that "rebuilding Iraq" project that the US did recently?

    266:

    You could say the same about the UK... after WW2 the UK repaid loans from the US while the US funded the reconstruction of Germany. I presume that was "keep your friends close and your friends closer" in action?

    I don't know, but at least we didn't repeat WWI's mistake of forcing Germany to pay for WWI's war damage - which put Germany on the path to WWII...

    267:

    shit excuses that we would justifiably never make for the US

    i dunno, iraq had some pretty sketchy ones

    268:

    From what I've read, the 300,000 troops Putin's looking for are ex-military, so training may not be a serious issue.

    I've gotten the impression that the 'ex-military' label here is more 'has done the conscription service'. In Russia it's admittely long (I think two years), but from what little I know of the Russian conscript service and my meager experience in the Finnish Armed Forces, I think that doesn't mean much.

    I mean, for starters, usually conscripts seem to be in the service when they are about twenty years old. Skills you learned twenty or more years back might be somewhat rusty now, especially if never used. Secondly, I kind of have the impression that the Russian conscripts are not the best trained ones in the world, what with all the reports of soldiers being used for agricultural labour, for example. Also it seems that the command structure is somewhat, uh, top-heavy in decision-making, so even the skills learned might not be good on the real battlefield.

    Thirdly, and I think this seems to be less of a problem in the Russian armed forces than in many others, the weapon systems and tactics might have changed in the meantime. I did my army service decades ago, and while I think I still could service and shoot the RK-62 assault rifle (as that was drilled quite a bit), I think basically every other weapons system I've either forgotten how to use or they have been taken out of service already. Looking at the weapon systems Russia seems to be using in the war I think this is not as much of an issue, though I personally might have problems with a Mosin-Nagant rifle, or T-62 tanks. (Those tanks might be the same the fifty-year olds might have used back in the day, so familiarity!)

    I have the impression that they are pressing also older men into service. I can't really speak for others, but I must admit that at least my personal priorites have changed since the army service I did, and I'm mostly not as enthusiastic (and not as fit) to take a rifle and go dig a trench to lie in.

    269:

    Those tanks might be the same the fifty-year olds might have used back in the day, so familiarity!

    I grew up driving a clutch / stick shift. On the column, in the floor, and on things from larger mowers up to smaller tractors and such.

    But even with a car when I get in one my reflexes just aren't there for a bit in a car. Even though I drive one about once or twice a year. It took me a day to get used to operating a back hoe a few years back.

    I can't imagine being proficient at driving an APC or tank without some serious remedial practice. And I get the impression that practice time just isn't there. Plus everything I've read says such training takes place "in unit". No US/NATO style tank simulators to practice in for a few days or weeks. As to operating a howitzer? E gads. So I suspect the recent folks are only going to be handed a rifle and told go here, point there, pull trigger. As the experienced labor pool gets to do the specialized jobs more and more.

    Moral, that is said to be low now, will likely go down just a bit more.

    270:

    Moral, that is said to be low now, will likely go down

    I see what you did there.

    271:

    Sometimes my atrocious spelling just works.

    272:

    I can't imagine being proficient at driving an APC or tank without some serious remedial practice. And I get the impression that practice time just isn't there.

    Yeah, I was joking about how the men in their fifties might use the same equipment they practiced with thirty years ago, and which was already becoming obsolete then. I have the impression that military technology has progressed quite a bit during those years.

    I agree that the morale is probably not going to be anything spectacular, and also how many of the more veteran people are assigned to keep the new recruits in line and pointing their weapons in the correct direction.

    I am also sad about the probable unnecessary carnage, though also Russia retreating from Ukraine seems a bit far-fetched.

    As for the corruption and possible not-nice politics in Ukraine, in my view those don't matter in this conflict. They have their problems, but in my opinion the solution is not for Russia to just go and steam-roll the country away. There's all kinds of stuff starting from sovereignty - I (as a Finn, obviously) think that not everything in international politics should be only dividing the world into two or three spheres of influence with only the largest countries having a say in what others do. Saying 'Ukraine should just surrender to Russia's demands as they are corrupt themselves' kind of takes the Ukrainian agency away. (Also, should EU or NATO just gather forces and annex Hungary? They are not very... transparent or impartial in their interior politics, so in the same vein as Ukraine being corrupt and therefore should be annexed by Russia, Hungary could be considered the same. Austria-Hungary time again?) (Just as an example.)

    In kind of similar vein, I think that Navalny doesn't deserve the oppression he's under, nor does anybody else. Is he somebody I'd like to see as the Russian president? Hell no, I think he would be a very bad president of Russia, at least for its neighbours and probably for many people living in Russia, but still I don't think the stuff he is going through is anything of a proportionate response to his politics.

    273:

    That's exactly the point- there isn't a soul on this blog who wouldn't say all of that was absolute horseshit.

    274:

    Oh no, there are plenty of "Tankie and proud" types.

    275:

    Rick Moen
    and now Putin's further mobilisation is making that far worse - without counting the tens of thousands of young men fleeing Russia, because they want no part of this war, either ....

    John S
    Yes, that is very worrying, but, given his previous form - see Charlie @ 187?
    Putin's regime has form for false-flag atrocities to justify invasion and occupation of other former-USSR countries going back well before 2013 -- consider the Moscow theatre siege, the apartment bombings, and the Chechen War. - then he is much more likely to murder his own people - again .... And then claim it was "us" as justification.
    Which is terrifying.

    276:

    NecroMoz @ 256: Especially if you look at other places where the US and groups like the World Bank have "invested" because of their valuable resources... Nigeria, for example, isn't a great example of the benefits that World Bank involvement brings. And remember that "rebuilding Iraq" project that the US did recently?

    Which is something I've been wondering about. What separates places like West Germany, Japan and South Korea from places like Russia and the above? Is it chance? Something about the countries themselves? Or is it just some deep CIA plot to organise the world into a strange mix of officially designated Nice Places To Live and Shitholes?

    277:

    "What separates places like West Germany, Japan and South Korea from places like Russia and the above?"

    One at least plausible idea I've come across is "The Curse of Natural Resources"

    The idea is that if a country has natural resources that can readily be exploited by outsiders (minerals, fossil fuels, etc) then they are vulnerable to such exploitation, and the country (apart from a small ruling elite in the pockets of the exploiters) is likely to be mired in poverty as the wealth heads overseas.

    A country where wealth is mainly generated by the efforts of the populace is less vulnerable to such exploitation.

    JHomes.

    278:

    "[...] what can be done to reboot Russia?"

    I was going to say Russia has gobs of natural resources and a well educated population.

    But then you said

    "[...]and breakdown of most education after the Soviet Union's collapse"

    so "oh shit". Still someone is hacking our computers, so someone must know how to program still.

    and on a similar subject, how are we going to reboot England after the last ERG is hung in the entrails of the last tabloid owner?

    279:

    One at least plausible idea I've come across is "The Curse of Natural Resources"

    works for saudi and imperial spain but america wasn't short of natural resources (though i guess they were able to keep outsiders at arms' length to some extent)

    maybe it's having a single resource which crowds out everything else

    280:

    You are going to see a lot more ads for Russian mail order brides in the coming decade.

    Or they will have to legalize polygamy.

    281:

    has peter zeihan deigned to weigh in on what germany may be facing this winter yet? cos it sounds like unless something happens to moderate energy prices in the next couple of months people there are going to start asking awkward questions about just how much (and for how long) they're being expected to sacrifice for the sake of the international rule of law (and a completely coincidental little light windfall for the american arms industry)

    the german far right parties must be absolutely salivating

    282:

    You are right that there is no hard and fast boundary. On the larger scale, I mean things like spinning and threshing machines (*), pumps, weaving, geared hoists and pulleys etc., especially powered ones. Wind and water has been used for grain mills and water movement for ages, but the 18th century saw more widespread use. If steam had not taken over, that would have continued.

    And, as I said, a lot of hand tools that aren't practical when made out of wood or even by a blacksmith, like hand drills and modern bits; try drilling a very hard wood or even soft metal with a spearpoint bit and an ungeared drill! Sewing machines are another good example, as are early washing machines and mangles. And bicycles and other pedal-powered devices, which are more transformative than most people realise

    Note that I am not excluding steam power, but pointing out that unpowered and water- and wind-powered machinery alone would have been revolutionary in terms of productivity. Without massive use of coal and steam power, things would have been WILDLY different from today - but also wildly different from the pre-industrial era! And, yes, without widespread use of coal and steam, those advanced machines would have been EXPENSIVE, so change would have come much more slowly.

    (*) Something like 25% of national productivity went into those two alone in 1700.

    283:

    It looks like Germany will make it through the winter:

    https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/europe-races-prepare-energy-crunch-this-winter-2022-09-19/

    European gas storages are now 85.6% full, with stocks in Germany close to 90%, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe showed.

    "Stocks are set to continue to be built further, supported by the finalisation of planned maintenance work and increasing Norwegian flows as of this week," analysts at Energi Danmark said in a morning note.

    After this winter, Russian oil and gas fields are off the board forever, they may as well not exists by next Spring.

    284:

    From what I've read, the 300,000 troops Putin's looking for are ex-military, so training may not be a serious issue.

    Riiiight.

    So they're calling up 50 year olds who, back when they were 18, spent a year harvesting potatoes or building roads for the officer i/c their unit.

    And those 50-yo's are going to be handed a gun and a uniform and sent to the Ukraine front to integrate with an already engaged and badly-damaged unit that needs more warm bodies.

    Because in the Russian army training happens in the unit the conscript is assigned to. Which maybe works in peacetime, but not so much when the shells are falling all around.

    285:

    269 - OTOH I learned on manual, normally drive manual, and my biggest issue with a slushbox is that I occasionally declutch it, thus applying both feet to the brake!

    272 - The latest Ruzzian tanks in full service are T-80 variants (lineage al the way back to the T-54 or possibly even the IS-3) and the T-90M/MS with an in service date of 2911. Ruzzian vehicles as early as T-62 roadster (no turret) variants have been filmed in Ukraine.

    286:

    Actually, training under fire works extremely well, if you are prepared for the majority of recruits to be killed in short order; the survivors are very effective. In wars of survival, Russians grit their teeth and take the losses (WW II, for example), but the evidence is that they are not doing so in this one.

    287:

    so "oh shit". Still someone is hacking our computers, so someone must know how to program still.

    Those folks have nice jobs working (maybe indirectly) for government agencies.

    Back in late spring I was reading an article on how non trivial numbers of young folks who could work from home were beating feet for places they could get to without a visa. Turkey and other places in that area. At the time the number was estimated to be over 10K. And these were people who could pack a bag and head out. So singles or couples with no kids or who didn't mind ripping their kids up and out. Most kids don't like this. And the adults had to be willing to abandon family ties.

    This is not a group any country can afford to lose.

    288:

    Anyone in their mid thirties or older had two years service, the term was only reduced to one year in 2007/8. The 50 year olds will have started out in the Soviet Red Army but may well have finished their term in one of the new national armies. Basic training at that time generally filled the first year and the second year was with an actual unit. I've mentioned the Channel 4 documentary Soldat before which is worth a watch if you can track down a copy.

    289:

    well that's reassuring

    i shall look forward to a peaceful yuletide season

    290:

    'The curse of natural resources'.

    Well, at least 2 of West Germany, Japan and South Korea were expressly forbidden from spending too much money on their militaries for a few decades, while enjoying the protection of NATO and/or the US (and a water barrier in the case of Japan).

    Over multiple decades the compounding effect of not spending a significant portion of your national wealth on unproductive things that go boom would have a dramatic outcome.

    291:

    I guess I'm going to write something from a (somewhat biased and isolated) insider perspective.

    The problem is most likely not electricity; Germany has quite a few old coal power stations, screw CO2 and fine particles; there is much debate about the 3 remaining nuclear power stations, 2 are going to be kept ready, the discussion is mainly about the third one, which is going to shut down soon. Please note I'm pro-nuclear, like most on this blog, but saying nuclear power is unpopular in Germany is something of an understatement. To use one example, we still have no "Endlager", and when somebody pointed out to the Bavarians (usually the most pro-nuke germans) they have plenty of geologically quite stable granite, saying they were not enthusiastic is another understatement.

    As for nukes, AFAIK we're exporting quite a bit of electricity to France because a big chunk of their nukes are down for maintenance and approaching EOL, which doesn't make for a good argument to look into thorium again, either.

    Whatever, with German nukes, IIRC we're speaking lower single digit percent market share.

    The main issues are heating and industry; so maybe at some point we have to wonder if people get somewhat cold in winter or we shut down parts of our indsutry.

    There is much talk about "poor seniors freezing to death", my inner cynic wonders about the Venn diagram with people opposing lockdowns because "those seniors we're protecting from COVID are going to die soon anyway"[1], actually it's hard to freeze in an appartement building with heating neighbours, most stories about seniors freezing to death in Germany actually owned little houses somewhat off...

    Whatever, with one classmate turned physician explaining she wrote more sick notes due to Corona this summer than during the prior lockdowns nad quite a few services getting into trouble due to sick leaves (no word from the people who said we could face a full-scale Corona wave without restrictions when we didn't even have vaccines...), funny times ahead. I just can't take quite a few people serious anymore, but that's hardly new.

    About Russian gas, AFAIK Germany originally started to rely on Russian gas in the 1980s, to move away from (at that time) politically unstable Middle Eastern energy sources; let's just say that argument has aged badly.

    On a somewhat more personal note, I guess we should nominate house elf Waldi for both next Nobel Prize for Peace and Right Livelihood Award.

    For Peace: 1. He united Northeastern, Central and Eastern Europe, with the notable exception of Hungary; to go for one example, let's just say there is quite a bit of history between Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, the current PiSsers in Poland and similar wankers in other countries on the rise would make for a lot of bad blood, but thanks to old Waldemar, all quiet on the Eastern front.

  • In Germany, he simultaneously destroyed both our REAL regressive Left and our Right. The Left lost quite a few prominent members recently and is wondering what to do with Wagenknecht, as for the AfD, their selling point is "being the continuation of yesterdays CDU, since the CDU moved to the left". Moving away from NATO and appeasing Russia runs counter to Adenauer's "Westintegration" and shouldn't work in the Western Germany (never underestimate the typical laypersons potential to ignore cognitive dissonance). In Eastern Germany, LARP-ing conservatism doesn't matter anyway, may I introduce you to "Der Flügel"?
  • (As for the other Rightist parties, frank neo-nazism never had the appeal of right populism, and they are somewhat divided between Dugin and Azov fanboys...)

  • He defaced the image of the world's second largest arms exporter.
  • Right Livelihood Award: 1. I guess opposition to renewables lost quite a bit of its appeal; please note I can't take some of the arguments serious, if Bavarians opposed wind power because "it's ruining the view", they'd nuke Schloß Neuschwanstein...

    [1] Yes, I sat two rows from two members of the Lumpenproletariats appreciating Putin and saying "you see it in any medium, like TikTok, Telegram etc. Covid is just another flu"; my mind is actually a happy though not peaceful place, it's just Lenin and Nietzsche struggling for the upper hand...

    "O my brethren, am I then cruel? But I say: What falleth, that shall one also push! Everything of today⁠—it falleth, it decayeth; who would preserve it! But I⁠—I wish also to push it! Know ye the delight which rolleth stones into precipitous depths?⁠—Those men of today, see just how they roll into my depths! A prelude am I to better players, O my brethren! An example! Do according to mine example!" (From "Thus speak Zarathustra")

    292:

    That's be the first of two narratives I' like to point out, namely a Rentier state.

    a)Rentier states b)Dutch disease

    Please note the Rentier state concept has likely been somewhat overextended lately.

    293:

    I missed this, but it's a very relevant point. Wood is fine for many uses, and moderate precision ones where it can be at least partly protected from the elements, but it is also limited in the forces involved. Cast iron is actually no better for precision components, but is stronger, though very poor if shock forces occur. Wrought iron is much softer, but immune to shock forces. For any real advance over good-quality wood and weather protection, you need steel. Worse, for high-precision, high-force components (like bicycle hub gears), which are important in most modern machinery, you need either hardened or high-tensile steels (or both). In my experience and study, which rots/rusts faster of wood and iron/steel is a very complex issue, with neither clearly superior, so let's not go there.

    But you don't need much. Wood is a very good material for frames and other components that are not extremely high-stress or high-wear; iron took over only because it was cheap. See, for example:

    http://kirkmill.org.uk/water-frame/water-frame-22/

    So this is back to the machine tool issue, though I would say that metallurgy is the more important aspect. Whatever. They go hand in hand. The steam revolution long predated the metallurgical one (though not crude steels), and decent machine tools, but there is no reason that HAD to be the case.

    294:

    Re: '[economic] narratives' - Dutch disease

    I'm really looking forward to learning how this 'explains' Japan and China!

    Links to learned articles would be greatly appreciated - historical development of such theories are useful. Thanks!

    295:

    at least we didn't repeat WWI's mistake of forcing Germany to pay for WWI's war damage - which put Germany on the path to WWII...

    Which was payback for forcing France to pay for the Franco-Prussian War, which was payback for the indemnity that Napoleon imposed on Prussia…

    In other words, history is complicated.

    296:

    Well, you can sell all those shiny nukes. To the UN, hopefully.

    297:

    What separates places like West Germany, Japan and South Korea from places like Russia and the above?

    South Korea wasn't a nice place to live for most of my life. Mass arrests and executions, military coups, political murders… and that was when they had extensive American support. It was only a generation ago that it transitioned to being a democracy.

    298:

    Cast iron is actually no better for precision components, but is stronger, though very poor if shock forces occur.

    Weirdly enough cast iron is the go-to material for some machine tool applications because it absorbs vibration better than steel since it's basically amorphous with less crystalline structure. Lathe chuck backplates and toolposts are often made of cast iron for this reason. There are also modern cast iron types such as Spheroidal Graphitic (SG) cast iron which is almost as strong as steel and more fracture-proof than their older cousins. They do require special alloys, heat processing and tempering after casting to achieve these properties though.

    The other oddball material for structural use in tooling is tungsten carbide, not specifically for its hardness for cutting applications but because its Youngs Modulus is a lot higher than tool steels like HSS so it deflects less under load hence less chatter and a better finish on milling and turning operations.

    299:

    I've not seen anything definitive on the subject but I don't think Germany actually met many of its financial obligations under the treaty of Versailles after WW1. Perhaps if they had been beggared and bankrupted by the demand for reparations actually being enforced they would not have been able to build up a military that could reoccupy the Ruhr, annex the Sudatenland, conquer Czechoslovakia and invade Poland.

    300:

    Hm, I was looking for explanations for the curse of natural resources.

    Japan is notoriously low on natural resources, and as for China, which China are we talking about when?

    301:

    Norway. The whole population benefits from oil/gas resources.

    302:

    I would think that you'd want to start with Adam Tooze's book The Wages of Destruction, which I think does talk about this. I can't be sure (it's a while since I read it) but I believe his description aligns with your understanding.

    303:

    On the larger scale, I mean things like spinning and threshing machines (*), pumps, weaving, geared hoists and pulleys etc., especially powered ones. Wind and water has been used for grain mills and water movement for ages, but the 18th century saw more widespread use. If steam had not taken over, that would have continued.

    I think I understand now (at least a bit).

    Spinning wheels are a big improvement on a drop spindle (although considerably less portable). I note that Wikipedia says they were replaced with machines during the industrial revolution. Ditto looms.

    Idly thinking again, I wonder if a big factor in what we call the "industrial revolution" is social not technological. Spinning wheels, looms, and other machines like that required some skill and gave some autonomy to their operators. Bigger more complicated machines removed that autonomy and gave power and control to a smaller number of people.

    I'd happily argue over a beer that what made the the Industrial Revolution revolutionary was more about shifting control from workers to machine owners than the technology of the machines themselves.

    304:

    I am not sure which side I would take in the beer discussion! That was assuredly a major effect.

    305:

    Err, I guess you're talking about Remilitarization of the Rhineland, not pushing the French out of the Ruhr.

    The Western part of the Ruhr would have been part of the demilitarized zone, but e.g. AFAIK most of Dortmund wasn't and all parts to the East of DO weren't.

    As for the Ruhr occupation, there were Freikorps style saboteurs, but hardly military involved.

    And for the Nazi rearmament, let's jsut say the Nazis could be quite creative.

    Not that Post-WWI Germany did everything (or nearly everything, apparantly the idea Bruening more or less bancrupted Germany through deflation of purpose is just a theory) it could to minimize reparations.

    306:

    So this is back to the machine tool issue, though I would say that metallurgy is the more important aspect. Whatever. They go hand in hand. The steam revolution long predated the metallurgical one (though not crude steels), and decent machine tools, but there is no reason that HAD to be the case.

    I'd argue that it did have to be the case. Metallurgy and things like pottery/ceramics go hand-in-hand, because they both depend on getting high temperature fires. Getting good, homogeneous iron production requires a lot of fuel, used to get a load of ore really hot. Yes, we've got steel production that's considerably more fuel efficient now (fortunately!), but basically, if you wanted good iron until the late 19th century, you needed a lot of fuel: coked coal, for example. And it's hard to get those huge amounts of fuel without being able to use steam power.

    Absent the capacity for mass quantities of energy...well you can smelt iron using a clay smelter made on site using charcoal made nearby, which they did in parts of West Africa well into the 20th Century (and still apparently do ceremonially). Problem is, the iron made this way doesn't form into a nice homogeneous molten mass that cools under controlled conditions, it collects in a bloom that literally has to have the crap beaten out of it to make useful iron. A lot of traditional smithing seems to be about dealing with the crap, as much as forming whatever. That's why swordsmiths folded the steel in their blades, to use lamination to slow the spread of cracks from impurities and to minimize the size of the silicon crystals that formed.

    Now this particular sub-thread is all about the glories, inevitability, and superiority of mass production, but we all know about the downsides: one size fits none, huge amounts of waste as we near "Peak Stuff" (to be followed by "Peak Junk"), and so forth.

    In a lower energy system running on water, wind, charcoal, wood, and muscle, mass production is rarely useful. If someone needs a sickle to harvest his fields and it's going to be hand-forged anyway, it's trivial to shape the tool to his body and to the characteristics of his crop. Certainly smiths can and do make standard tools to sell in markets, but they don't do big production runs, because they don't have big client bases. Bespoke production makes sense in such circumstances, even if it's just a simple blade attached to a simple wood handle.

    What I'm getting at here, wandering a little from EC's point, is that industrialization isn't the be all and end all. It works in a specific context of high energy based on cheap, plentiful fuel, and in a specific context of having lots of cheap labor around to both make and use stuff. It is not a panacea, especially outside that context.

    Our industrial revolutions have bootstrapped themselves up, but now that we're running out of cheap fuel, we seem to be heading for a junk-piled, lower energy future where the industrialization we literally grew up with collides with contexts where it's counterproductive (literally, with climate change). So long as we need to help billions of people to live, industry is inevitable. Problem is, we're going to have to do it with lower energy. This doesn't mean going back to nineteenth century or earlier technology, but it does mean understanding how they did things using less energy, and using that as inspiration.

    It also means understanding how people in the Third World (I'm using that term deliberately) do things now. For example, we've swamped Subsaharan Africa and other places with our castoff clothes, destroying a number of indigenous clothing industries in the process. In some places, they're not just wearing our discards, they're using them as raw material to make their own stuff*. Same thing goes on with e-waste processing, ship breaking, and other forms of trash processing. In Haiti decades ago, the fisherman had taken to making their sailboats out of plywood (cheap industrial product), and making their sails from sewn-together discarded ad banners. I suspect that this kind of bricolage is going to spread out of the poorer countries, and into places like Russia. And elsewhere in Europe perhaps?

    *Yes, it's creepy to force others to wear our rags. In my opinion, it's less creepy than filling a desert up with discarded fast fashion. Which is happening in the Atacama Desert as we speak.

    307:

    I am not sure which side I would take in the beer discussion!

    Doesn't matter, really, in a friendly discussion over a pint. :-)

    308:

    Norway. The whole population benefits from oil/gas resources.

    Dams.

    The policies started long before oil/gas were known.

    https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/energy/renewable-energy/the-history-of-norwegian-hydropower-in-5-minutes/id2346106/

    Norway has long had policies that promote natural resources being used to benefit the population, not just extraction companies. And unlike (say) Alberta they don't use the revenues to lower taxes but invest them in education and infrastructure.

    309:

    Brief comment on Korea before I get to spinning: South Korean democracy is more like two generations old now (late 1980s), but otherwise yes. Korean history from 1880 on is kind of jaw-dropping, from being regarded as the most backward country in Asia in the 1880s to having foreigners around the globe opine on whether BTS (bigger than the Beatles) should be exempt from military service or not (apparently the answer is no, unlike Olympian medalists and award-winning classical pianists, even though they were responsible for something like 6% of Korean GDP last year. Democracy in action.).

    ...

    Anyway, about spinning in particular. For long time, making thread was the chokepoint in cloth production. It's also where we get the term spinster, and these two are linked. Spinning fiber into thread, more than weaving, was one of the few crafts that was really dominated by women, and for whatever reason, women just seem to do it better in general. If a woman wanted to be unmarried and in control of her own money and life, spinning was one of the few ways to do it in Europe, hence unmarried spinsters. Mechanized spinning jennies opened the chokepoint, but at the same time, they apparently also made it harder for women to be independent.

    It's actually a fairly common pattern: one person's inefficiency is another person's career.

    As I noted above, we've gone from spinsters to producing so much cloth that we're literally making junk designed to be worn a few times and discarded, unburied, in a desert, using materials that travel around the world to use "economies of scale" to manufacture each part as cheaply as possible and externalizing all other costs. While I think that arguing the virtues of wearing one set of clothes per year is hypocritical, I'd gently suggest that our current clothing ecosystem is fracking insane, compared with allowing women to spin thread for a living wage, even if the latter is far too inefficient to meet even our reasonably-scaled needs.

    310:

    Korean democracy is more like two generations old now (late 1980s),

    A decade later according to Wikipedia:

    The transition of Korea from autocracy to modern democracy was marked in 1997 by the election of Kim Dae-jung, who was sworn in as the eighth president of South Korea, on 25 February 1998.

    Note I'm assuming a generation of 25 years, roughly.


    One thing that happened under the dictators was that Korean industry was protected until it could compete internationally, so Korea was never beholden to foreign corporations extracting money from the country. (Ref: Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang.)

    Could that be the difference? West Germany, South Korea, and Japan not being occupied by the forces of unrestrained international 'investment'?

    311:

    Re: 'West Germany, South Korea, and Japan not being occupied by the forces of unrestrained international 'investment'?'

    However for decades these countries (and China) first had to put up with being considered cheap goods producers. Also, I think (not sure) but because importing goods was just too expensive (b/c steep foreign exchange rates) they had to source most goods/services domestically. This meant a broad-based economy for basic survival.

    China became the go-to cheap manufacturer for the world starting about 30 years ago. Then about 20 years ago they started attracting major tech corps (e.g., Intel - $4 billion by 2022) and retailers (WalMart). At present I'm guessing they're the only economy that has state of the art capability across every industrial sector.

    Okay - the rationale to build and develop came from trade but once the infrastructure was there, their reliance on trade to maintain a high standard of living/production was considerably reduced. I think this might be the tipping point - growth vs. stagnation.

    BTW - China's trade surplus reached a record high around July-August 2022 despite their COVID zero-tolerance policies which some foreign gov'ts said would cripple the Chinese economy. (FYI - some biz specialists think that VietNam is a potential replacement for China.)

    The above are my personal observations/opinions - would be interested in where I've missed/misunderstood stuff. Thanks!

    More free high school-college science stuff.

    Doudna is heading this up. They've got a glossary of terms, as well as games/activities to help learning.

    'CRISPRpedia is a free, textbook-style resource that explains and illustrates all things CRISPR.'

    https://innovativegenomics.org/crisprpedia/

    https://innovativegenomics.org/education/

    Trottelreiner @300: Resource Curse

    Thanks for this info - the Wikipedia article looks interesting. (Will finish reading it shortly.)

    312:

    You blame Russia for creating this mess.

    1954: UN arranges military separation in Vietnam. 1956: US brings in an academic who was in the US for 20 years to run the newly created country of S. Vietnam, no UN elections as was mandated two years before. "If we had allowed free elections, 80% of the people would have voted for Ho Chi Minh, who they viewed as their George Washington: - Pres. Eisenhower. Followed by Vietnam war (along with incursions into Laos and Cambodia.).
    Gulf War I, started when Iraq got mad about Kuwait using western methods to drill sideways into Iraq's oil.
    Invasion of Iraq, 2003.

    Just hitting the high points here, but clearly the west, and the US, have always been on the side of good, as opposed to the Evil Russians.

    Right, I didn't realize you were an officer of the Ministry of Information, I'll correct all my documents, sir, doubleplus good.

    313:

    Absolutely. Instead, the west, and the US, expected western businesses to pick apart the former USSR for pennies on the dollar, and were appalled that the Russians did that. (And NO ONE giving a shit about the 90% of Russians half-starving.)

    314:

    "Hard wood". I see, you mean like the disassembled walnut? desk my father and I scavenged when I was about 12, and I literally bent brads trying to hammer them into the wood.

    315:

    Oh, and getting back to the realm of the NecroQueen - I see 2x4 cut taxes on the rich, and with her "microbudget", the pound dropped like a rock.

    316:

    You blame Russia for creating this mess.

    Seriously????

    But no.

    The Viet Nam mess goes back way more years than 1954. An easy starting point is 1919 when the "winners" were deciding on what the world would look like. They didn't even give Ho an audience.

    Of course we can roll it back some more to French colonial practices. Or how the Chinese were such nice neighbors to those south of what we now think of as China.

    Do I think the US has been the good guy everywhere. No frigging way. Has the USSR / Russia been a good guy? Maybe every now and then.

    Southeast Asia got caught between two fighting elephants for the 50s into the 70s. And it did SUCK to be them.

    317:

    Just hitting the high points here, but clearly the west, and the US, have always been on the side of good, as opposed to the Evil Russians.

    Yup, and then there's Operation Condor. Nothing says "good guys" like throwing nuns out of helicopters at altitude.

    But that was then, and ... the USSR ain't around any more: what we're dealing with is essentially revanchist Tsarist Russian authoritarianism, minus the monarchism.

    Bluntly: the USSR inherited the mantle of the Russian Empire, and Putin is trying to reassemble it. While the USA inherited a bunch of the more odious habits of the British Empire, and is still an empire (but in denial about being one, which hampers its more destructive tendencies). There are no good guys here, although maybe the little people trapped in the middle aren't automatically evil too?

    318:

    I've not seen anything definitive on the subject but I don't think Germany actually met many of its financial obligations under the treaty of Versailles after WW1.

    I caught a documentary on the talks after WWI where John Maynard Keynes came up with a maximum amount that Germany could pay. And he wasn't happy with that amount. The treaty amount was much higher. By multiples.

    Germany quit paying when the amount paid got to be what Keynes thought would be the most that would make sense. Serendipity? I don't know.

    319:

    Actually, metallurgy goes hand in hand with chemistry, not ceramics; yes, the smelting is important, and post-manufacture treatment is more so, but the use of alloys is what distinguishes advanced steels from crude ones (or cast and wrought iron). The ceramics used in the Bessemer process weren't much more advanced than those used millennia earlier.

    I really don't see the requirements for huge furnaces. From this picture, production Bessemer converters wouldn't have used more than about 60 tons of iron per batch. His prototype used only a couple of tons, at most, and worked. At those sizes, water would have provided quite enough power to blast the air through. If there is an industrial metallurgist here, he or she could say what the crucible sizes are for trying out new alloys, but I will bet they are not huge.

    I am not denying that steam power was useful, but doubt very much that it was essential.

    320:

    FYI - some biz specialists think that VietNam is a potential replacement for China.

    Apple has been building production plants there for a few years now. There's a good chance your iPhone/iPad camera was made there. I think I read where they just opened a new iPhone assembly line there.

    Ditto India and Brazil. But there's a lot of politics (in a different direction) for those situations.

    321:

    Walnut isn't even a particularly hard wood :-) But, yes, old wood gets hard (European oak is notorious), and I have drilled holes to give nails a chance.

    322:

    Re: '... pound dropped like a rock.'

    From the Google search results it looks as though 1985 was the last time this happened. Can't find how Britain re-stabilized after that though. Hoping someone here can provide a brief summary/highlights overview.

    323:

    Yeah. That was my point - all the hatred isn't just about one person and his circle, it's about the 90% who have no say.

    324:

    I don't think it's creepy at all! I wear 'tidy' clothes until they start to be unsightly, then wear them for DIY, gardening etc., patch them when that makes sense, and junk them when completely clapped (*). All right, my definition of 'completely clapped' is different from a mediaeval peasant's, but it's still pretty far gone ....

    325:

    In terms of nastiness, during the cold war (i.e. post-Stalin), there wasn't a lot to choose between the USSR and USA. The difference from 1990 onwards is that one changed (I don't say improved, though it did try) and the other didn't.

    What I don't know is why Putin went all Russian empire revanchist. His actions in Georgia etc. were all explicable as manoeuvres in the Great Game (but with the USA replacing the UK), and he restrained himself on Ukraine until this year. He is now definitely delusional.

    Obviously, I agree with whitroth in #323, and wish that those people would look at Wikipedia (which has a good description of the Ukraine mess).

    326:

    I cannot speak to the 2013 Ukraine coup's backers or intent

    Please be careful about repeating slurs. "coup" is typically used when a small clique suddenly seizes power and deposes the previous rulers.

    The events leading to what Ukraine calls the revolution of dignity:

  • Yanukovych rejects the EU association agreement and wants to get closer to Russia
  • Large protests ensue
  • Protests die down as the weather get colder.
  • Yanukovych orders violence to clear out the holdouts.
  • Truly massive protests ensue, turns out killing teenagers is a big no-no in the local culture.
  • Yanukovych agrees to early elections with the opposition.
  • Yanukovych runs away to Russia.
  • Yanukovych is deposed by parliament.
  • I believe this was a massive own-goal for Putin though not as bad the one this year. Yanukovych is considered his puppet, and it is likely that if Putin had a bit more patience the protests would have died down.

    327:

    The reparations terms in the Versailles Treaty were meant as punishment for Germany for starting the First World War and devastating Belgium and eastern France. Remember that Germany itself did not get bombarded by artillery, no-one dug trenchlines across German fields and many Germans believed right up until the armistice in 1918 that they were not losing the war at all, hence the Dolchstosslegende that took root in German politics later.

    Deciding to levy reparations on Germany that they could afford to pay and then have Business As Usual afterwards was not the point.

    328:

    and he restrained himself on Ukraine until this year.

    People who don't agree with Putin have been dying of interesting means for a couple of decades. The latest being Ravil Maganov, the chairman of Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil. He fell out a hospital window? I wonder just what he did to piss Putin and friends off.

    I wish I could find it but there was an interesting article on all the munitions dumps having fires and explosions all over the old Iron Curtain countries who have/had stocks of USSR/Russian military standard artillery shells. And the only place still making such is in Russia and they're not selling it to those folks anymore. Thus their stocks are low. Which is why those folks were willing to ship their remaining stocks to Ukraine in exchange for NATO caliber munitions.

    When I said it was interesting that Russia was cutting back on expected deliveries of natural gas a year ago you blew me off.

    Russia for a couple of decades has been sending paratroops and such to hang out in old USSR republics when the Russia friendly governments have gotten shaky.

    What exactly is the point of what has been going on in Transnistria since 1990?

    And then layer on top of all of this the assertion that Ukraine is not really a country and Putin is just trying to put Russia back together.

    And on and on and on.

    "this year" is a joke.

    Sorry. This year is just the bully who thought he was invincible ran into someone who could fight back. And the bully is very very confused after 20 years of stomping on anyone he picked.

    329:

    Your not telling me anything I don't know. My point was that at some point the level of punishment breeds resentment. And it did.

    Of course the Germany military saying they didn't lose the war didn't help.

    330:

    Adrian Smith @281:

    Has Peter Zeihan deigned to weigh in on what Germany may be facing this winter, yet?

    Zeihan did, on Sept. 8th. Main points: Energy demand is inelastic, making the market volatile. Need is very difficult to reduce, much: You pay the asking price for what you need. So, most pricing power in most energy markets lies in the marginal suppliers. Now with the sudden removal of cheap, baseload Russian supply entirely, about 10-20% of total energy in western Europe must be shipped in from somewhere else. Thus Germany bringing on several new LNG facilities, to bring in natural gas by tanker from other continents, reducing demand by 10%, and getting storage back up to 85%, all useful things. However, although that ensures adequate supply, it'll be at a greatly higher price structure, because 10-30% of supply will be from marginal suppliers much further away with much higher cost structures. LNG is relatively very expensive to ship and handle, and Germany is also using ships to deploy LNG from the receiving terminals, adding to expense. So, the marginal supply costs 2-5x more than the former Russian supply, which sets the going price for all uses, industrial, heating, electricity, etc.

    So, the good news is there will be adequate supply. The bad news is the cost, which motivates cut in demand by 10-30%. In the case specifically of Germany, the only way to achieve this is to shut down industrial demand, and thus manufacturing, which will immediately cause recession in Germany and all countries linked to its industrial system, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czechia, and probably others. Thus, the end (at least over the winter) of the industrial economy of the heart of Europe.

    He also spoke to Germany confronting Russia, a week ago.

    Latest news is that Germany nationalised a couple of refineries owned by Rosneft (Russian state gas/oil company). German overall strategy for deal with the Russians for two centures has been simple: Avoid war by increasing mutual economic entanglement, which works until it doesn't. What we're seeing now is the disentanglement phase that precedes greater confrontation. Expect all similar joint ventures to get unwound.

    331:

    Melting iron for casting or for processing into steel takes about a megawatt of heat energy per tonne of iron, assuming a reasonably efficient crucible and furnace design with good insulation. Supplying a few megawatts of heat from a coal-fired furnace even in the 18th century was possible but scaling up to 50 tonne melts with eighteenth century technology and energy availability would have been problematical.

    When the foundry I used to do contract programming for upgraded from gas furnaces to electric induction melting they had a 110kV substation built in their car park to power the load. The induction switchgear ran at 33kV, if I recall correctly. They usually carried out melts at night because electricity was cheaper then. The induction melting was more efficient than gas even though the electricity was more expensive but the melts suffered less contamination from combustion products and the wear and tear on the melting apparatus saved a lot on maintenance costs.

    332:

    When the foundry I used to do contract programming

    A varied lot of experiences hang out here.

    333:

    German resentment is not anything to worry about if you keep your foot on the their neck, and the Allies didn't do that to Germany by actually enforcing the Versailles Treaty after a certain point. Never actually collecting on the reparations the Treaty specified allowed the German nationalists to build up the military machine that laid waste to most of Europe for nearly a decade and brought us the Holocaust.

    I get the feeling that a lot of the thinking behind allowing the Treaty to lapse was that white people just didn't treat other white people like that, you know, like natives in colonial possession. King Leopold never thought that the wealth his government was extracting from the Belgian Congo was a bad thing and they should stop doing it because it was causing "resentment" among the locals. The Germans were civilised and thus not to be treated in the same way as ignorant savages.

    334:

    To be honest I think it was more that after 10 years people just wanted things to be over. Hell we can't sustain anything for more than 6 months these days.

    But having VICTORY parades in major German cities set up all kinds of bad things that happened down the road.

    335:

    German resentment is not anything to worry about if you keep your foot on the their neck

    At some point the foot has to come off. And when it does the resulting mess is worse then longer the foot is applied.

    336:

    paws4thot @ 260:

    I was a bit surprised to find just so many uses of "Tankie" in the Wikipedia definition related to flavours of Marxist-Leninist state capitalism (the state owns the means of production, rather than true Communism where the people own the means of production in common). Previous to tonight, if you'd asked me, I'd have said that "Tankie" meant anyone who favoured the use of tanks (and associated mobile artillery systems) as the solution to political problems, irrespective of their politics.

    I never heard it before I started spending time on-line on blogs & such. When I first encountered it it plainly meant people here in the west who defended the Soviet Union sending in the tanks to suppress local independence movements like they did in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968

    ... and Russia in Chechnya after the collapse of the Soviet Union (also Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine).

    Many of the "tankies" may be former Marxist-Leninists, but it seems like today they've become neo-fascists as Russia itself has become a neo-fascist dictatorship.

    The secret police took over organized crime and use organized crime to control the government.

    So I guess the word has now come to represent those of any political affiliation who are apologists for dictatorships using force against their neighbors. Nothing that happened in Ukraine before Russia annexed the Crimea & fomented the War in the Donbas threatened Russia.

    The Orange Revolution, Euromaidan & Revolution of Dignity may have frightened Putin and caused him to fear for his own hold on power, but democratic changes in Ukraine posed no threat to Russia ... other than to maybe inspire Russians to hope they could have a democracy of their own.

    Every time Putin fears for his own hold on power he foments an imaginary EXTERNAL THREAT to blame it on ... and then uses military force against that "threat" and uses it as an excuse to suppress dissent internally.

    If people are offended when I call them tankies, maybe they should think about NOT BEING tankies. Take it as a wake-up call.

    337:

    Thank you. That may have been an early 19th century converter, then. I failed to find the size of the very first Bessemer converters.

    338:

    Troutwaxer @ 261:

    One of the things Putin probably imagines is that Zelensky is moving all the Ukrainian forces around, just like Putin moves the Russian forces around, so in his mind the Ukrainians are screwed if Zelensky dies. In reality, Ukraine's generals will keep commanding their troops even if Kyiv gets completely blown up.

    I didn't say I thought it would be a good tactical move on his part.

    And I don't think tactics are his motivation. It would be pure revanchism1 against Zelenskyy & Ukraine PLUS a threat to the rest of the world; "You better back off or I'll do you next!"

    1 REVENGE as a nationalistic, political aim - less a hope of regaining lost territories, but demanding return of his lost STATUS.

    339:

    If you can get past the academic paywall The Myth of Reparations by Sally Marks is a decent account of how the Germans avoided, evaded, weaselled and inflated their way out of their Versailles obligations. You can definitely get there via scihub. If all that sounds like far too much work there's a decent account of the historiography in this ask historians thread.

    340:

    AlanD2 @ 263:

    Zeihan again on Putin's calling up of 300,000 troops (actually his new law allows for the call up of 1,000,000) which he can't train, arm or supply.

    From what I've read, the 300,000 troops Putin's looking for are ex-military, so training may not be a serious issue.

    Is their training from their time in the Russian military likely to be any better than the training of Russia's current military?

    341:

    NecroMoz: deanimator @ 265:

    The problem with a Marshall Plan now is that Russia has already had one "open up to capitalism" and that didn't go well. Doing the same thing again probably doesn't appeal.

    Might have gone better if it had included an element of "open up to democracy" instead of just turning the whole thing over to the banksters for plunder

    342:

    Bluntly: the USSR inherited the mantle of the Russian Empire, and Putin is trying to reassemble it. While the USA inherited a bunch of the more odious habits of the British Empire, and is still an empire (but in denial about being one, which hampers its more destructive tendencies). There are no good guys here, although maybe the little people trapped in the middle aren't automatically evil too?

    There's certainly no good guys v. bad guys here. But don't we have a situation of bad guys v. worse guys?

    343:

    I think (not sure) but because importing goods was just too expensive (b/c steep foreign exchange rates) they had to source most goods/services domestically. This meant a broad-based economy for basic survival.

    According to Chang, importing goods that would compete with Korean-made goods was either forbidden or subject to very high tariffs. He discusses it specifically in Bad Samaritans because one of the things he's arguing is that you don't develop a broad self-sufficient economy unless you protect local manufacturers until they are developed enough to compete internationally.

    Likewise, the British wool industry was protected by high tariffs until it could compete with continental wool manufacturers. Without that English wool would have been spun/woven in Europe and reimported as finished cloth, but a protected domestic market allowed British manufacturers to develop.

    He had some American examples as well, but I don't remember them clearly and the book is at home (and I'm not). He's an economist, so he's footnoted all the numbers and sources.

    344:

    some biz specialists think that VietNam is a potential replacement for China

    Already happening. Some Chinese companies are opening factories in Vietnam for the cheaper labour.

    345:

    "From what I've read, the 300,000 troops Putin's looking for are ex-military, so training may not be a serious issue."

    Is their training from their time in the Russian military likely to be any better than the training of Russia's current military?

    Given how bad the training of Russia's current military is, I'd have to think that training back in the days of the USSR was probably better. For one thing, there wasn't as much pressure to throw new soldiers into combat (possibly excepting the Afghanistan war).

    346:
    Which is something I've been wondering about. What separates places like West Germany, Japan and South Korea from places like Russia and the above? Is it chance?

    Timing? There's a Keynesianism/Friedmanism change in the economic theory behind some of the above interventions.

    (And check the stats for Nigeria; they might surprise)

    347:

    Paul @ 276:

    Which is something I've been wondering about. What separates places like West Germany, Japan and South Korea from places like Russia and the above? Is it chance? Something about the countries themselves? Or is it just some deep CIA plot to organise the world into a strange mix of officially designated Nice Places To Live and Shitholes?

    The CIA ain't good enough to organize such a plot. I think it may have something to do with the way their governments and political institutions developed BEFORE the 20th Century. They had a foundation to build on the former colonies in Africa, Asia & Russian Empire lacked.

    Plus the democracies of the west got A LOT of lucky breaks.

    348:

    Not applying the foot to Germany's neck resulted in 40 million and more dead, Germany in ashes and ruin and most of the victorious nations in Europe bankrupted and exhausted fifteen years later. Containing and restricting Germany as the Treaty required would have made it clearer to them who had won and who had lost. They could be as resentful as they wanted to but if it was made clear that the foot would be reapplied if they got "uppity" again things might have been less unpleasant for all concerned over the long run.

    349:

    Trottelreiner @ 291:

    As for nukes, AFAIK we're exporting quite a bit of electricity to France because a big chunk of their nukes are down for maintenance and approaching EOL, which doesn't make for a good argument to look into thorium again, either.

    The thing about nuclear power plants is they require life-cycle management the same as any other source of energy ... and it seems to me as much of the problem stems from neglecting the life-cycle management of NON-nuclear energy sources as it does from failing to plan for the life-cycle of nuclear plants.

    350:

    Robert Prior @ 295:

    In other words, history is complicated.

    ... and repeats itself, "first as tragedy, then as farce". So, what comes after "farce"?

    351:

    Y'know, folks, OGH normally starts out giving someone a yellow card when they intentionally insult someone else here.

    So, can we agree that anyone who supported the US war in Vietnam, and the invasion of Iraq, at least, are also tankies... or shall we just drop "tankies" from our posts, and anyone bringing it up again gets a yellow card?

    352:

    Nojay
    There's also the point that the "excessive reparations" demanded of Germany in 1918 were, in equivalent terms, IDENTICAL to those imposed on France in 1871 ... oops.

    353:

    Robert Prior @ 303:

    Idly thinking again, I wonder if a big factor in what we call the "industrial revolution" is social not technological. ...

    Absolutely. The social revolution had far greater impact than the mechanical aspects.

    I think the social changes may have sometimes even preceded the change in technology. The change in technology wouldn't have been sustainable without the social changes to support it, but sometimes the social changes were required before the technological innovation became possible.

    354:

    David L @ 328:

    I wish I could find it but there was an interesting article on all the munitions dumps having fires and explosions all over the old Iron Curtain countries who have/had stocks of USSR/Russian military standard artillery shells. And the only place still making such is in Russia and they're not selling it to those folks anymore. Thus their stocks are low. Which is why those folks were willing to ship their remaining stocks to Ukraine in exchange for NATO caliber munitions.

    AFAIK, the primary manufacturer of 7.62x39 ammo (AK-47 & derivatives) is in Romania. The switch over to NATO standard munitions is logistically driven. There's more than one factory manufacturing 5.56x45. The main impetus for an ammunition shortage in the U.S. is:
    1. Manufacturers going bankrupt because they couldn't sell enough ammo ... lagging a drop in demand as the U.S. drew down forces in Iraq & Afghanistan
    2. Cutting back due to fear of lawsuits following Sandy Hook and other mass shootings.
    3. Renewed demand from the U.S. government as they seek to supply NATO partners switching over to NATO standard weapon systems sucking up existing supplies.

    355:

    Uncle Stinky @ 339:

    If you can get past the academic paywall The Myths of Reparations by Sally Marks is a decent account of how the Germans avoided, evaded, weaselled and inflated their way out of their Versailles obligations.

    Ms. Marks's paper is also archived elsewhere without paywall.

    356:

    There's also the point that the "excessive reparations" demanded of Germany in 1918 were, in equivalent terms, IDENTICAL to those imposed on France in 1871 ... oops.

    Which were identical to those imposed on Prussia by Napoleon…

    357:

    Myself @ 341:

    Might have gone better if it had included an element of "open up to democracy" instead of just turning the whole thing over to the banksters for plunder

    Capitalism in the west has grown organically for a couple hundred years. We've had time to build up defenses (however meager) to the excesses of Laissez-faire. Russia, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, had no such defenses. International Capitalism didn't really plunder Russia. But they did enable Russia's kleptocrats to plunder it & International Capitolism did skim off a large share of the profits ... mainly because the Russian kleptocrats were noobs, ripe for the plucking.

    Maybe if the west had paid a bit more attention to nation building, they could have helped Russia itself to deal with their own rapacious banksters.

    OTOH, I don't think the Russians wanted that kind of help.

    Economics, democracy & national pride are even more complicated than history is.

    358:

    AlanD2 @ 342:

    There's certainly no good guys v. bad guys here. But don't we have a situation of bad guys v. worse guys?

    Good guys & bad guys mixed in together vs worse guys?

    "Democracy" where sometimes the bad guys win elections vs Kleptocracy where the bad guys are always in charge?

    359:

    Robert Prior @ 344:

    some biz specialists think that VietNam is a potential replacement for China

    Already happening. Some Chinese companies are opening factories in Vietnam for the cheaper labour.

    Japanese & Korean companies too. I have a couple of quite nice, high quality Pentax lenses assembled in Vietnam from parts manufactured in the Philippines. (The glass, of course, came from Japanese factories located in South Korea.)

    360:

    Nojay @ 348:

    Not applying the foot to Germany's neck resulted in 40 million and more dead, Germany in ashes and ruin and most of the victorious nations in Europe bankrupted and exhausted fifteen years later. Containing and restricting Germany as the Treaty required would have made it clearer to them who had won and who had lost. They could be as resentful as they wanted to but if it was made clear that the foot would be reapplied if they got "uppity" again things might have been less unpleasant for all concerned over the long run.

    I wouldn't characterize how (west) Germany was treated after WW2 as having our foot on their neck, suggesting there may have been more fruitful ways to handle Germany after WW1 ...

    361:

    can we agree that anyone who supported the US war in Vietnam, and the invasion of Iraq, at least, are also tankies...

    Works for me.

    But then, I got called a tankie for pointing out that America has a poor track record respecting treaties, hence my feeling that it seems to be used as a general-purpose insult.

    And preemptively, yes I'm aware that Canada's record with our own indigenous people absolutely sucks. I've read the Bryce report, and it's obvious there are many more unmarked graves out there. And looking at suicide rates (not to mention substance abuse rates etc) the effects of that generations-old trauma are still with us.

    362:

    Rick Moen @ 355:

    Ms. Marks's paper is also archived elsewhere without paywall.

    Thank you.

    363:

    "This year is just the bully who thought he was invincible ran into someone who could fight back."

    ...because a whole gang of other guys suddenly appeared behind the someone and began holding him up so he couldn't fall over, unsubtly passing him chibs while the referee "wasn't looking", telling him what moves to pull, etc.

    364:

    As I said. Artillery shells.

    A few months ago the estimates were Russians at 5000 per day, Ukrainian at 1000 per day.

    Plus the tubes wear out after a while. Or so I've been told.

    365:

    I suspect my own definition is much the same, being broadly "wear until can no longer be made to stay on", yet I not infrequently see people whose clothes are in a state that would surpass even the medieval peasant's tolerance. So far I have managed to avoid calling out "need some new trousers?" when someone goes past wearing a set of fluttering rags that are more leg than cloth, but it's only a matter of time...

    366:

    while the referee "wasn't looking"

    Eh? Do you believe the war is some kind of sporting event?

    367:

    JohnS @ 360:

    I wouldn't characterize how (west) Germany was treated after WW2 as having our foot on their neck, suggesting there may have been more fruitful ways to handle Germany after WW1.

    If you want to read something really haunting, seek out John Maynard Keynes's journalistic essay/memoir "Dr Melchior: A Defeated Enemy", based on his impressions and thoughts from attending (at least part of) the Versailles Armistice Conference negotiations. The essay is collected in the Keynes volume Essays in Biography, and in the volume Two Memoirs. Dr. Melchior: A Defeated Enemy And My Early Beliefs: Those two essays are said to be the only Keynes works he insisted be published only after his death

    The eponymous Carl Melchior (1871-1933) had been legal counsel to a large Hamburg bank, and during the Great War had been a soldier in the Imperial German Army and had been severely injured -- and was now trying to get the least-bad deal possible for his country, leading to his lifelong friendship with Keynes. Near the end of his life, he was dismissed from employment by the new Nazi government for (you can see it coming) the crime of being a patriotic German who was Jewish.

    That was one thing haunting about Keynes's memoir. The other, a running theme of Keynes's account of the conference, was that the terms dictated to Germany were unrealistic and would lead to disaster. It's also a reminder that Keynes's membership in the Bloomsbury writers' circle was no accident: His was among the keenest and sharpest of minds.

    368:

    Not applying the foot to Germany's neck resulted in 40 million and more dead, Germany in ashes and ruin and most of the victorious nations in Europe bankrupted and exhausted fifteen years later.

    So how hard and how long?

    369:

    Re:'... terms dictated to Germany were unrealistic and would lead to disaster.'

    Agree - those terms guaranteed an enemy-in-the-making. That's why WW2 terms focused on rebuilding vs. revenge/punishment.

    Trottelreiner @300: Resource Curse

    Now that was depressing!

    Maybe economists should also mention that competition includes between-industries within an economy and not just between-players within an industry - the way it's usually framed. If you let one industry get too big/give them too much leeway, everyone ends up suffering.

    Not a chance that I'm going to look up all of the different papers mentioned but the analyses/summaries in the Wikipedia article suggested a lot of cherry picking in the various meta analyses mentioned re: which variables in which chronological (cause-effect) order were chosen. Not a lot of detail on census level data - the fundamental data that you can't wish/argue away.

    370:

    Ludendorff knew the jig was up after the 1918 summer offensive failed. He handed negotiating authority to the civilian power at that point, allowing him and his right wing buddies to propagate the stab in the back lie after the November armistice. If Germany had been given a treaty that gave them chocolate cake three times a week the extreme nationalists would have cried foul. Nothing at all wrong with the treaty of Versailles by the standards of the time. Look at their treaty of Brest-Litovsk to see how hypocritical their whining was. That's a proper bastard of a treaty.

    371:

    In the fantasy book I'm working on there's a barony on the edge of bankruptcy, so every time we see the Baroness, she's spinning.

    372:

    Interestingly, Ho was one of the waiters at a huge dinner at Versailles. He gave Woodrow Wilson a note asking him to help the Vietnamese. Not engaging him when the French pulled out was a huge mistake!

    373:

    Get a bunch of old soldiers together with the technology they were trained on and eventually they'll remember/figure out how to change out a tank motor or organize themselves to set up an ambush. The problems are twofold. First, the old soldiers have to be given their old jobs, whatever those are. I suspect that's not going to happen.

    Second, (and this is the big one) they've got to actually have the equipment! And Russia doesn't have the equipment. It's been blown up, salvaged by Ukraine (to the point where Russia comes right after the U.S. on the list of countries who've donated to the UA's war effort) sold for parts, etc. So it's easy to put together a tank crew from retirees. Finding them a tank is another, much harder problem!

    374:

    Re: 'Look at their treaty of Brest-Litovsk to see how hypocritical their whining was.'

    Hadn't heard of that one before - thanks! Yeah, lots of backstabbing and land-grabs.

    Wonder what the next treaty is going to look like. I'm guessing Medvedev would be pegged as the chief Russian negotiator.

    375:

    Various re "excessive reparations" - Well, IMO the main thing you're showing as of now is the failure of the "great European powers" to learn from history, and how they actually played tit for tat instead.

    364 - That is definitely true; it depends partly on requirements for accuracy and muzzle velocity just how long it takes to wear a gun tube unacceptably.

    376:

    Rbt Prior
    "Fazackerley!" - as Ken Dodd would have said.

    Pigeon
    Also after "Crimea" in 2014, the Ukrainians themselves sat up sharply, took a real interest in improving their defences & asked for - mostly - training assistance, not weapons.

    SFR
    There's a catch in your quote: I'm guessing Medvedev would be pegged as the chief Russian negotiator.
    Right: What is the succession plan for after Putin? There isn't one, is there?
    Even Nazi Germany had some sort of structure for when/if Adolf snuffed it ...

    Paws
    Well, how many times did the amazing HMS Warspite have her main 15" barrels replaced during WWII?

    377:

    "Well, how many times did the amazing HMS Warspite have her main 15" barrels replaced during WWII?" - Not actually documented unless you track histories of the 14 main actions and campaigns that HMS Warspite (03) was involved in during WW2.

    378:

    So it's easy to put together a tank crew from retirees. Finding them a tank is another, much harder problem!

    It sounds like the Russian plan to recruit people with "previous military experience" is only skin deep. There are reports of people with no military experience receiving draft notices.

    Even ex-conscripts are unlikely to have been in a tank crew; that is a job for career soldiers where its worth spending the time and money on the necessary training. I suspect that a lot of Russian national service consists of marching around, doing whatever scut work needs doing, and in many cases being hired out as slave labour by their commanding officer. It won't have involved doing much actual military stuff.

    And some anti-war protesters were handed draft notices at the police station after being arrested, apparently as a punishment. So Russia is taking the most politically active and motivated people in the country, and giving them guns. What could possibly go wrong?

    379:

    Eh? Do you believe the war is some kind of sporting event?

    no need to get hung up on metaphors

    380:

    Maybe a great man theory kind of thing, all the big name innovators of the industrial period had Saxon derived names... if you discount Bruenel, who, with his kid, was kind of a dick

    381:

    Trevithick isn't exactly a Saxon name...

    382:

    Whitroth: do not try to use me as a club to beat on people you disagree with. It will not end well for you.

    (And folks, this is the sort of behaviour that is making me think about ending the comment fora here for good.)

    383:

    Agree - those terms guaranteed an enemy-in-the-making. That's why WW2 terms focused on rebuilding vs. revenge/punishment.

    That's simply not true.

    Prior to 1948 Allied plans seemed set to follow Churchill's preference for deindustrializing Germany and turning it into an agricultural economy, thereby denying it the basis on which to rearm.

    This lasted until he began to notice what was happening in Eastern Europe, i.e. the formation of the nascent Eastern Bloc as Stalin extended the frontier of the former Russian Empire into Western Europe.

    At that point, suddenly reconstruction turned into a priority because West Germany became a frontline state in the struggle against the new existential threat, Global Communism.

    384:

    Trevithick is a Cornish surname. Of course, that doesn't specifically mean that it doesn't have Anglo-Saxon roots.

    385:

    It hasn't. 'Tre' means roughly the same as 'stead', has no equivalent in modern English, but is roughly 'large house or farm'. According to one web page, vithick may be a corruption of the Cornish for doctor. Cornwall has also been called the land of tre, pol (harbour) and pen (headland) - a huge number of place names include one of those.

    386:

    Charlie
    I may be wrong, but AIUI CHurchill was "only just going along with" The Morgenthau Plan - but, as was often the case, whatever his faults, WSC spotted the um, "slight problem" of J V Stalin soonest ... Followed by the steady deterioration of USSR/US relations, which led to the US/UK proposing the Deutschmark & then the Berlin Airlift.
    All a result of Stalin's intransigence, which sounds familiar in today's climate.

    P.S. Repeat - PLEASE, Please, don't cancel the blog!

    387:

    Actually, a disproportionate number came from the Celtic nations (Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland); Scotland led, but it was the largest. I have never seen a serious study of why. I hold no brief for this page, but it's instructive (incidentally, Cambourne is in Cornwall).

    https://www.thefamouspeople.com/18th-century-engineers.php

    388:

    https://www.dictionary-quotes.com/the-only-thing-we-learn-from-history-is-that-we-learn-nothing-from-history-friedrich-hegel/

    Putting the boot on the neck of a nation works in the long term only if it is used to destroy that nation, at least as an independent entity and needs overwhelming force. I am surprised to see it being proposed here, but I suppose that I should have expected that by now :-(

    389:

    but I suppose that I should have expected that by now :-(

    i understand where ur coming from, but i think this sort of dig is the kind of thing that's making charlie feel tired

    i enjoy the crossing-swords aspect myself but it can easily get out of hand

    390:

    Machiavelli noted that you should never "do a small injury to a man".

    He will resent the injury and be strong enough to avenge himself on you.

    Either crush him completely (Churchill's plan for an agrarian post-war Germany) or forgive and pardon him (America's Marshall Plan).

    The treaty of Versailles was a classic small injury to Germany (much less than what the Kaiser imposed on Russia in the Treaty of Brest Litovsk).

    Just enough to anger it without permanently weakening it.

    The result was revenge in the form of Hitler.

    391:

    Duffy
    PLEASE read the wiki article I linked to about the "Morgenthau Plan" ????
    WSC did nothing of the sort, actually & the USA switched from Morgenthau - crush Germany - to Marshall, once they actually cottoned on to the threat Stalin posed, ok?

    EC
    What's a "Celtic" nation, precisely?
    One imagined & made up in the 17-19th centuries, actually, oops!
    NOT buying it.

    392:

    Balls. All have solid historical existence, often a lot longer than your Johnny-come-lately nation of England.

    393:

    Just a thought, the different results of the Marshall plan and post Soviet Russia might be partially explained by New Dealers and Russia enjoying the dubious blessing of a plan managed by neoliberals.

    394:

    Maybe we should have a post on what makes all this hard for you, with regard to both work-issues and people-issues and what we could do to make the situation easier for you, including for others to regularly contribute top-posts (obviously we'd have to set things up so you wouldn't have to play editor.) Also, perhaps you could create another moderator or two? I'd really hate to lose the forum, so maybe rebuilding it in some other form, which would be less work for you to run/moderate, and would still allow you to promote your books, hold forth should you wish, and have the social effects of running an important forum, would be a good idea for you? If not, feel free to ignore me.

    395:

    I have gritted my teeth and not responded to untrammeled hate speech, demonstrably false claims in support of that hate speech, but a post supporting the permanent oppression of a whole nation was a step too far. History is solid with cases where malicious (and usually false) propaganda has been used to inflame a populace against another nation, minority, religion etc., that has been adopted by the rulers, and has led to bloody war, pogroms and genocide. I am seeing just such a case here.

    If, when Russia (bugger Putin) is defeated, and the west uses that to place its boots even harder on Russia's neck, to finally eliminate Russia as a viably independent state, we are facing a high chance of nuclear war.

    396:

    I should probably have noted above that I'd be happy to dedicate some serious time to this; as much as 4-5 hours a week if necessary - I already read everything that's posted here, so if you want to keep things going but revise them to be easier for you, let me know.

    397:

    I would agree with you there.

    Obviously "mistakes were made" - by everone, Russian and international alike - when Gorbachev fell, including the non-passage of important laws, and the non-changing of important customs, including those of massive corruption and one-person rule, and a complete lack of understanding the motivations and history of fascism/Nazism... So we have the continuation of a long history of feudalism, with oligarchs in place of nobles, Durgin and Ilych in place of Hitler (at least intellectually) and everyone else feeling like a helpless peasant.

    How to solve the problem from the outside, while not taking damage ourselves is a non-trivial problem.

    398:

    EC
    I suggest you actually read the book posted in that link?

    • @ 395
      Except you are ONLY NOW saying "bugger Putin", eh?
      However & contrariwise, I agree that the "Russian people" do not deserve what they have got, nor what some people might be/are proposing for them, either.
    399:

    Just a thought, the different results of the Marshall plan and post Soviet Russia might be partially explained by New Dealers and Russia enjoying the dubious blessing of a plan managed by neoliberals.

    Well, the US also screwed up finishing the deal with the Muhjahadeen in Afghanistan (e.g. rebuilding the country after the Soviets left), leading to 9/11. The nineties were a decade when the US government started a lot of things, Congress got bored with them rapidly, and funding dried up before the projects were finished. We're still dealing with the consequences of that today.

    Getting back to the Morgenthau Plan in WW2 (thanks for that, Charlie and Greg) and Versailles in WW1, the elephant in the room for both of those was communism, with a big long shadow of anarchism in 1918.

    I'm probably oversimplifying to the point of wrongness, but with the Russian Empire dumped by communists in 1918 and WWI started by anarchists in 1914, I get the sense that the capitalist powers were somewhat focused on a) not having similar revolutions in their countries, and b) profiteering from any collapse that did happen (See Russian Civil War). Until the 1930s, capitalist countries seem to have been unconcerned about fascists or authoritarians, because WWI and it's sequelae demonstrated that the far left wing was more dangerous than the far right, at least in their minds.

    400:

    385 - As A scot I can get on with that, and particularly the Tre prefix having analogies with the Scots noun stead or steading, meaning a collection of farm buildings.

    388 - I have no idea how you got my statement that "the history of punitive reparations only shows that we learn nothing from history" to mean that I was in favour of punitive reparations.

    401:

    How about writing clearly what you mean then?

    The metaphor implies that it is somehow unfair to give weapons to a country defending itself on its own territory.

    Is that your position? Is it Pigeon's position?

    402:

    shrdlu: you appear to be fishing for reasons to pick a fight.

    Stop it at once.

    403:

    Native Americans used to point out that they had 301 treaties with the US, and the only part of a single one that the US lived up to was "take their land".

    404:

    Which reminds me of the Saks or some other huge US department store chain that was advertising jeans that any ordinary person would have thrown out several years before, it was so ripped up, for (no, I'm not joking) $995.

    405:

    Charlie, I sincerely apologize. I had not intended to use you as a club, I was just trying to get people to STOP calling each other tankies, which as far as I can tell, is a deliberate insult.

    406:

    I admit I too would like to know what Pigeon (#363) meant by "when referee wasn't looking". I am sure it was a metaphor for something, but am very puzzled as to what that "something" is.

    407:

    It wasn't you I was referring to. Sorry about being unclear.

    408:

    I am pretty sure that your last sentence is correct, but the attitude predated WW I, and wasn't limited to the far left - the Russian revolution merely made it look like the far left was a real threat. It's still around today, as the ridiculous Corbynophobia demonstrates for the UK.

    409:

    Well, how many times did the amazing HMS Warspite have her main 15" barrels replaced during WWII?

    Based on my memory of WWII US Battleships.

    They carried less than 2000 large warheads of all types. Some armor piercing, some just big bang. Spread across 9 guns. So even if they fired everything in one day that would only be 100 shots per gun barrel. Before heading back to somewhere quiet and reloading the stores. And I doubt that ANY battleship every emptied the large gun magazine in one day.

    As I said, the Russians were/are firing 5000 large caliber artillery shells per DAY. Even divided across 1000 guns that would be more in a week or two than a WWII battleship in a typical fighting cruise.

    5,000 / day

    35,000 / week

    150,000 / month

    You have to wonder just how many they have/had in stores and how many the generals want to keep in stores. Or will they just empty the shelves and go for broke.

    Just one of many such decisions the Russian's are facing.

    410:

    In the 1990s we're talking about the Gingrich Congress, in which the Republicans decided that attacking the Clintons/Liberals were more important than running the country...

    411:

    Going by memory, during WW1 the German long-range/high velocity railway guns they built for bombarding Paris at 70km range had a barrel life of only about 80 rounds. Then the barrel liner was toast. In fact, the wear was drastic enough and rapid enough that they shipped the 80 rounds the gun was to fire in sequential order, with increasing diameter drive bands and varying powder charges (I think increasing slightly to compensate for increased drag from the higher calibre projectile, which of course increased the rate of barrel wear).

    Battleship guns were good for a lot more, but still only single-digit hundreds of rounds. But they ran into a different problem -- firing sequencing. The recoil from lobbing a one ton shell at supersonic velocity is enough to rock a battleship, so they had to be aimed and then all turrets and guns fired simultaneously in order not to throw their aim points off.

    But at the same time, they were designed to win slugging matches with other battleships. So they had to reacquire the target, reload, aim, and fire another volley fast.

    Inevitably the first few volleys would work relatively smoothly but then errors would build up. Shells or powder bags would get stuck in lifts or in transit from the magazines, guns or sights would go out of alignment, sometimes things would jam, so one or more tubes would drop out of the volley. And after a handful to a couple of dozen volleys the ship's punch would be so degraded that ideally it would withdraw to a safe distance for a period while the crew worked feverishly to put everything back into firing shape: in event of there being no room in which to withdraw safely, they might have to pause fire with some turrets while repairs were made.

    A modern warship with VLS cells would seem like black magic to a WW1-era battleship admiral: not necessarily the missiles themselves (just say "aerial torpedos" and he'd get the picture instantly), but the ease with which a warship could reliably empty its magazine into a target in any direction in just a couple of minutes. Like going from muzzle-loading muskets to a submachine gun. And their accuracy and range, of course ...

    412:

    That is not really my intention, but I'll admit to being triggered by certain posters that appear to be trying to shift the blame from aggressor to victim, while getting their facts wrong.

    413:

    404 - It makes me think of "Neiman-Marcos" (aka "Needless Markup").

    405 - And, way up-thread, I was trying to make the point that at least some of us did not have an automatic association between the word "tankie" and any specific political alignment.

    407 - Not really an issue.

    409 - My skim of HMS Warspite (03)'s history says that she fired her magazines dry during a campaign at least once during WW2.

    414:

    Actually, Clinton was more to blame for the foreign policy, which was probably more important to the election of Putin than the neliberal looting.

    415:

    Yeah. They're currently blaming Iran for not cooperating, while refusing to even promise not to renege on any agreement (for the second time).

    417:

    Agreed, and I have seen VLS missile systems (yes plural) in live fire practice.

    418:

    EC @ 408
    How many times?
    Corbyn is both incompetent & stupid, & quite incapable of learning.
    Current Example: His hand-wringing over Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine is simultaneously coupled with a point-blank refusal to help Ukraine in any way, right?

    David L
    I looked it up ... During "Overlord" HMS Warspite loaded up either 3 or 4 complete sets of ammo. & then had to get her barrels swapped-out.

    Shrdlu
    Well, maybe, but one must remember that some people seem to have forgotten { Yes, that's deliberate phrasing } that, according to Putin, Ukraine does not exist, & he wants to make sure that it is so .... . How one points out, here, that people are victim-blaming, without starting a flame war can be difficult.

    EC @ 414 & 415
    Wrong & True, respectively (!)
    AND - thanks for that link in 418 ... oh dear ...
    ...reported that Mr Putin had denied his commanders permission to retreat from the southern city of Kherson ...... .. ..... the paper said that his refusal to consider a pullback had caused a decrease in morale among Russian troops in the city, who are largely cut off from their supply lines and rely on a series of pontoon bridges to be re-equipped. - - Putin is channelling Adolf at Stalingrad?

    419:

    Re: 'Prior to 1948 Allied ...'

    Okay ... maybe ...

    I haven't finished reading the Sally Marks 'German Reparation' article yet. Comes across as though the members of the WW1 winning side didn't bother to work out what they wanted collectively before trying to wrangle a treaty with the loser. Plus constant back-stabbing/reneging.*

    Haven't taken history since high school and we never got into this level of detail anyway so quite a lot of this info is new to me. I'm also trying to match/reconcile descriptions of pre, during and post-war living conditions with what very elderly family members from the 'old country' told us.

    *Maybe she covers it but ... did the fact that so many (young) soldiers and civilians died of the Spanish Flu in any way impact any subsequent socio-econ-political decisions or agreements?

    420:

    It was simply the loosest part of an already loose metaphor; I think the most helpful thing I can say is feel free to disregard it if you want. Incomprehension was an expected failure mode intended to be handled by a simple default "bomb out" exception handler.

    I would consider it most appropriate to apply the same exception handler in the case of unexpected failure modes that one or two people seem to have run into; the remote and metaphorical style was intended to promote such a choice.

    421:

    "Putin is channelling Adolf at Stalingrad?"

    Nicky 2, according to the article EC linked to: "Mr Putin's personnel changes come amid reports that the Russian leader has taken personal charge of the war effort and has started issuing orders to generals in Ukraine himself."

    The comment "...and we all know how well that worked out, don't we" applies in both cases, of course.

    422:

    "As I said, the Russians were/are firing 5000 large caliber artillery shells per DAY. Even divided across 1000 guns that would be more in a week or two than a WWII battleship in a typical fighting cruise."

    Don't get you. That's only 5 shells per gun per day, which is more like early-WW1 rates of fire (for land-based artillery) and does not lead to massive rates of barrel wear.

    Of course, later in WW1 when they had more shells but weren't hitting things very well with them, they were compelled to learn about barrel wear and compensating for it in aiming to actually get the full benefit of having more shells; it was one of many "scientific" artillery corrections that were brought into much greater prominence by the conditions of WW1.

    423:

    "Comes across as though the members of the WW1 winning side didn't bother to work out what they wanted collectively before trying to wrangle a treaty with the loser. Plus constant back-stabbing/reneging."

    Looks like you've got the point; I would add that it wasn't just like that in working out the treaty, it had been going on since the war kicked off. About the only aim that was ever a matter of constant agreement was "defeat Germany" (even France's desire to get Alsace-Lorraine back wasn't entirely fixed and immovable). Conflicts of interest that hadn't been noticeable under peacetime conditions popped up all over the place. There was also a heck of a lot of hypocrisy and weaselling around the conflict between the proclaimed values of "liberation from the imperial yoke" that were used to explain to the more peripheral nations why one side was good and one side was bad, and the thoroughly imperialistic nature of a lot of the actual intentions.

    "did the fact that so many (young) soldiers and civilians died of the Spanish Flu in any way impact any subsequent socio-econ-political decisions or agreements?"

    I can't say I've noticed anything. Early death from disease was of course still far more commonplace at that time than it is for us now, and although the total number of deaths from Kansas flu was very large worldwide, it was still a lot less significant among actual soldiers than ordinary death in action was. It looks a lot bigger from our perspective than it did at the time. It was the unprecedentedly massive and highly concentrated amount of death from warfare that overwhelmingly occupied people's attention, while the disease was more of a random "oh no not this too" event.

    424:

    David L @ 364:

    As I said. Artillery shells.

    A few months ago the estimates were Russians at 5000 per day, Ukrainian at 1000 per day.

    Plus the tubes wear out after a while. Or so I've been told.

    I'm pretty sure the Romanian factory retained the capability to manufacture the larger rounds (at least until demand dropped off a cliff as all the former Warsaw Pact - including Romania - joined NATO).

    They've probably converted to 155mm by now, but I bet they still have the tools if they need them.

    425:

    The Ruzzians were/are firing 5000 large caliber artillery shells per DAY.
    What is "large calibre" in this case? The usual calibre for a modern NATO land-based gun/howitzer is about 6" (often 155mm). Large WW1 naval guns were typically range 12" to 15" (nominal; depends on vessel) and 6" guns would be a secondary battery on a ship of the line, or primary battery on a cruiser.

    426:

    shrldu @ 366:

    while the referee "wasn't looking"

    Eh? Do you believe the war is some kind of sporting event?

    Some sporting events have become a bit too much like war for my taste.

    427:

    Raise your hand if you had "(Attempted) Military Coup in China" on your 2022 predictions.

    428:

    "Until the 1930s, capitalist countries seem to have been unconcerned about fascists or authoritarians, because WWI and it's sequelae demonstrated that the far left wing was more dangerous than the far right, at least in their minds."

    Ascendancy of the far right tends to leave power in broadly the same groups of hands, ditto money. Ascendancy of the far left tends to be explicitly about putting it into very different groups of hands. So the latter commands attention by its very nature, whereas the former can be disregarded unless it gets to the point of changing the potentially-concerned countries' groups of hands by external military force. I think the 1930s change of views was not the kind of permanent alteration implied by "until...", but merely a temporary shift in priorities because things actually were getting to that point. As soon as the war was over, it snapped right back again - see the various attitudes adopted towards the USSR, Korea, Vietnam, South American regimes, etc.

    429:

    Rick Moen @ 367:

    That was one thing haunting about Keynes's memoir. The other, a running theme of Keynes's account of the conference, was that the terms dictated to Germany were unrealistic and would lead to disaster. It's also a reminder that Keynes's membership in the Bloomsbury writers' circle was no accident: His was among the keenest and sharpest of minds.

    Yeah. My point is if you look at how the Western Allies (France, U.K., U.S.) treated West Germany after WW2, it's readily apparent there were OTHER approaches that could have worked after WW1 where "boot on the neck" failed.

    What Keynes's memoir illustrates is that there were at least SOME PEOPLE who understood this even back then.

    430:

    Troutwaxer @ 373:

    Get a bunch of old soldiers together with the technology they were trained on and eventually they'll remember/figure out how to change out a tank motor or organize themselves to set up an ambush. The problems are twofold. First, the old soldiers have to be given their old jobs, whatever those are. I suspect that's not going to happen.

    Depepends on whether they were originally TRAINED how to change out a tank motor or "organize" themselves.

    I don't see evidence the reservists Putin is ordering to be called up ever got that training in the first place.

    431:

    Paul @ 378:

    So Russia is taking the most politically active and motivated people in the country, and giving them guns. What could possibly go wrong?

    They may get guns, but I doubt they'll get ammunition until just before (minutes before) they're shoved into combat.

    432:

    Greg Tingey @ 386:

    Charlie
    I may be wrong, but AIUI CHurchill was "only just going along with" The Morgenthau Plan

    For me, the most telling part of that article was how & why the plan got rejected; that the leadership in the west were able to change course away from making the same mistakes the WW1 allies had made.

    433:

    RE: Versailles in 1918. Don't forget that it also helped set the stage for Japanese radicalization (and Chinese, and Korean, and Vietnamese too), by how they were treated at the conference. And there was the carving-up of the Ottoman Empire, in ways that are still haunting us.

    Perhaps a pertinent question is whether any other peace conference has sparked so many subsequent, major wars?

    434:

    "(incidentally, Cambourne is in Cornwall)"
    Camborne is in Cornwall, Cambourne is near Cambridge
    - one of the many traps waiting for the unthinking satnav user.

    435:

    If you are interested in the ins and outs of artillery usage in the Ukraine, this is the guy to go to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMEpxX7rS5I

    If fact, this is the guy (Perun) to go to pretty much about anything about the Ukrainian war.

    I thoroughly recommend his video on Russian army corruption. It's hilarious in a dead factual sort of way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9i47sgi-V4

    This gist of his artillery video is that the Russians have been shelling the Ukrainians, relying on huge volumes rather than a more precision approach with better target spotting via drone and satellite intelligence as the Ukrainians have. The problem with this is that their tubes wear out after 1000 or so shots necessitating the gun been withdrawn for a new barrel. This level of firepower is depleting Russia's artillery stock by about 15 guns per day.

    436:

    I think the USS Iowa had 16-inch guns. She's parked in a nearby harbor and I toured her with one of the kids who was into military history.

    437:

    You may well be right, but my need to think about it stopped at "Russian logistics aren't capable of getting any more of those shipped to the front, what a clusterfuck."

    438:

    the referee could reasonably be a metaphor for the western press

    not that there's a narrative or anything

    439:

    SFReader @ 419:

    *Maybe she covers it but ... did the fact that so many (young) soldiers and civilians died of the Spanish Flu in any way impact any subsequent socio-econ-political decisions or agreements?

    Nope. It's mostly a dive into the differences between what reparations Germany was supposed to pay, what Germany agreed to pay and what Germany actually DID pay ... in descending order.

    Nothing about how the rest of the world fared in the aftermath of WW1, except a little bit at the end of how the World Wide Depression that began in 1929 basically allowed Germany to skate out before really paying much of any reparations.

    440:

    434 - Noted; Personally I'd cross check / fact check anything from Al Jazeera (and/or the Jerusalem Post, and/or Middle East stories from the English Broadcasting Corporation). Point clearly made?

    436 - Thanks; rates of tube wear are the bit of the equation that is hardest to find, for obvious reasons. The real advantage of better spotting is that, not only do you expend less ammunition on a target, but you keep the tubes cooler and hence reduce tube erosion rates.

    437 - Correct, of all 6 Iowa class. However, their dates ordered are all 1939-40 (Illinois and Kentucky were cancelled in 1945 and 1958 respectively), so not relevant to WW1.

    441:

    To take this back to the original topic; although Charles is now king he's yet to be crowned.

    This means we'll get to experience another orgy of royalism when the coronation occurs next year.

    442:

    For the labour party to be elected to goverment in the UK it needs to appeal to non-traditional labour voters, this is due to the following: the FPTP system, Labour losing Scottish voters thus MPs, the tory party gerrymandering in various ways the electoral system.

    Jeremy Corbyn does not and did not appeal to the non-traditional labour voter and while he was leader, the labour party would stay as a glorified protest group and never get their hands on the levers of power.

    Your complaints about the UK media are all true and probably understated but that's the circumstances under which the Labour party has to work. We are privileged to have the time and motivation to look "behind the headlines", the majority of the population don't. They're too busy just trying to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and the bills paid.

    443:

    Update on Putin's incompetence & bullying
    Aeroflot employees conscripted - that's going to help the RU economy & civilian morale a lot (not) isn't it?

    444:

    From their latest moves it appears that Tory strategists think there is a strong chance of losing the next election, hence the current go-for-brokegrowth announcements. If it works in the short term then that boosts their chances, and if it fails then it will screw up the economy such that Labour would have to spend the next 5 years trying to put it back together again - all the while being blamed for the mess.

    445:

    Thank you - stupid of me. Anyway, the engineer that page referred to was born in Cornwall - Cambourne (Cambridgeshire) didn't exist for another coupld of centuries.

    446:

    I am surprised to see it being proposed here, but I suppose that I should have expected that by now :-(

    Paraphrasing Machiavelli: if you must do someone serious harm, then you must destroy them utterly, including their heirs and would-be avengers. I suppose paws and others are just following that line to its logical conclusion with nations. It's irritating because it makes out the rest of us, the ones who'd rather not do avoidable harm in the first place, to be the bad guys, which is really just a way for them to be more comfortable with their own demons.

    There's that well-known quatrain from Auden that directly applies, of course.

    447:

    Maybe accepting the german call for ceasefire was the initial mistake the allied made in 1918. The french high command was divided about that as "one fourth of France was in ruins and not a window pane was cracked in germany". Also the "stabbed-in-the-back narrative wasn't limited to Luddendorf. Friedrich Ebert (SPD) famously said to returning troops: "No enemy has vanquished you! You return undefeated from the field of battle". On the other hand, everybody was sick and tired of the war, the french peasantry had paid a heavy price -700,000 dead, 500,000 wounded, and had all their horses confiscated- There was little popular support for ongoing fighting.

    448:

    Raise your hand if you had "(Attempted) Military Coup in China" on your 2022 predictions.

    I gather it's a random unconfirmed twitter/tiktok rumour, not a real coup.

    Don't give it any credence whatsoever unless you see it showing up on reputable news media sites.

    The Iranian uprising in progress, in contrast, appears to be very real (and still spreading) ...

    449:

    Ascendancy of the far right tends to leave power in broadly the same groups of hands, ditto money.

    The 1917-1919 period is noteworthy for the collapse of the autocratic/monarchical system of government that hitherto controlled Europe (and by extension, European colonial empires).

    Where these regimes collapsed it left a power vacuum and a population who mostly expected to be ruled by an autocracy: maybe an autocracy with some degree of public consultation via an elected legislature (eg. Germany, Russia -- although the Duma was very weak politically), sometimes by an absolute monarchy. But the point is, it was a power vacuum -- and something was bound to move in, and the middle classes and moneyed elite were deeply uneasy about the Left after Lenin and Trotsky's excellent adventure in St Petersburg.

    (We tend to forget how conservative those regimes were: consider today's bonkers white supremacist, authoritarian, patriarchal US Republican party, and now consider that today's Repubs would have been ideologically mainstream back then -- their policies on abortion, homosexuality, religion in schools, female subordination, and so on were normal in the ancien regime world. Indeed, they might have been seen as dangerously progressive: I don't see Trump, DeSantis, et al proposing to remove the right to vote from women.)

    So it shouldn't be surprising that the European Establishment circa 1919-39 threw its weight enthusiastically behind the most reactionary knuckle-draggers imaginable, and enlisted populists with compatible agendas to keep the rabble in line (eg. Mussolini, Hitler).

    450:

    the leadership in the west were able to change course away from making the same mistakes the WW1 allies had made

    In 1945, the allied leadership had lived as adults during the Versailles Treaty negotiations -- some of them had participated -- and knew at first hand exactly how it had played out. It's a really good thing WW2 broke out when it did rather than 20 years later (looking at the UK government's grotesque mishandling of the omnishambles right now, by people who were kids during the Thatcher period and who don't understand what happened back then).

    451:

    Perhaps a pertinent question is whether any other peace conference has sparked so many subsequent, major wars?

    The Congress of Vienna would like a word with you ...

    452:

    Administrative Note

    I have just unpublished a comment by Uncle Stinky and a reply by Greg Tingey because if I hadn't it was going to turn into a flame war in about another millisecond.

    Don't repost on the same topic or I will ban you. Greg: that specifically includes you making any disparaging comments about Jeremy Corbyn. He's out of political office, just drop it.

    453:

    Yes :-( Or previous attempts at 'dash for growth' to solve financial problems. Yes, I remember those.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/politics-explained/budget-chancellor-dash-for-growth-maudling-barber-lawson-b2174195.html

    It's also said to be why there were so few UK military casualties in WW II compared to WW I - the generals in WW II had been subalterns in WW I ....

    454:

    Even the UK's oligarchy was radically changed in that era - votes for women, begad!

    455:

    I've been watching the pound vs dollar the last few weeks. It's been going up and down, but mostly down.

    2 says ago it hit 1.0848 and then rose sharply to 1.0858. It flatlined at that for 30 minutes. Then fell back to 1.0848 again for a few seconds, then back up to 1.0858 for 30 minutes, and just kept cycling exactly like that for 24 hours, making a neat pattern, until about 4 hours ago when it locked solid on 1.0858.

    Anyone know what's going on?

    456:

    Most of the short-term, small fluctuations are due to automated trading, and mean little; careful study would probably indicate which exchanges were being used. What it stabilises at tomorrow is of more significance. If the demented duo do even half of what they say, expect bigger shifts with the full budget (and just possibly forecasts) later in the year.

    457:

    Charlie @ 452 Actually ... thank you, surprising as that might seem.
    ..
    @ 449 - I don't see Trump, DeSantis, et al proposing to remove the right to vote from women. - YET, not before they have a complete trifecta, but then ...

    EC
    Ever come across a book called "Mud, Blood & Poppycock"?
    Right, of the major armies in WWI, which had the lowest casualty & death rate?
    Yup, the "British" (empire) - even if that only means "our" donkeys" were slightly better than their donkeys?

    458:

    That article stops at the sentence "They enjoyed mixed success", at which point it hasn't actually said anything. Examining the page source confirms that there is no further text. Is this related to the presence of "independentpremium" in the URL?

    459:

    The Catholic church didn't really stop caping for monarchy and against democracy until Vatican II.

    460:

    Pigeon & others ...
    HERE you go - text in full - enjoy! { Or What joy! }
    "they enjoyed mixed success."

    There were three, all under Tory governments. The first was in 1963. The then Macmillan government was beleaguered, unable to get into the European Community to help boost trade, and the economy seemed stuck in relative decline. So Reginald Maudling set out a series of measures to boost public spending, cut taxes and make credit easier – all designed to boost output to such an extent that economies of scale and an investment boom would soon transform productivity levels and international competitiveness. He also had an eye on a general election that could not be long delayed, and which eventually arrived in 1964.

    It failed. The substantial fiscal stimulus overheated the economy, pushed inflation up, sucked in imports (consumer goods as much as raw materials) and there was a sterling crisis.
    After the Tories lost the election, Labour had to clear up the mess. Funnily enough, Labour under Harold Wilson set up a new pro-growth Department of Economic Affairs, as a counterweight to the Treasury, and this too failed. On his last day in office, Maudling bumped into his Labour successor, James Callaghan, and remarked: “Sorry, old cock, to leave it in this shape.” Growth peaked at a remarkable 5 per cent or so, before collapsing.

    A decade on, and another Tory PM, Ted Heath, also wanted radical change and stronger growth. He had his own suite of “supply side” reforms, though ill-fated. Joining Europe was the centrepiece, and he achieved that – but British industry was poorly prepared for the wave of continental competition that arrived on the domestic market. A loosening of controls on bank lending and a loose money policy led to a rapid expansion in the money supply, and a stock market and property boom. The unions were to be tamed by the Industrial Relations Act, which soon foundered against tough union resistance. Strikes were rife. Later, an Middle East oil crisis and a miners’ strike brought everything to a shuddering halt, and Heath lost an early general election that was supposed to have boosted his authority.

    Heath was a dominant figure, and virtually his own chancellor. In 1971 he ordered Tony Barber to cut taxes, spend and borrow in his own dash for growth, which was supposed somehow to complement European Community membership and reverse the socialism of the previous Labour administration. As unemployment mounted in 1972 towards the shocking level of one million, Barber was told to administer another huge fiscal adrenaline shot, one that ranked as the biggest tax cuts package until Kwarteng arrived. Growth in 1973 reached 6.5 per cent in real terms, a post-war record, but soon enough went into reverse.

    Third up was Nigel Lawson in 1988 under the Thatcher government. Unusually, Lawson was making radical tax cuts after, rather than before, the 1987 general election, such was his confidence that the UK had achieved an “economic miracle” equivalent to the German example in the 1950s. Again supply side reforms – union laws, privatisations, deregulations – had accompanied a general, if uneven programme of tax cuts, culminating in the symbolic reduction of the top rate of tax in the 1988 budget from 60 per cent to 40 per cent. He also unwisely stoked a housing boom by tweaking tax relief for couples and pre-announcing it. Again, it ended in tears, and a recession duly followed.

    At this distance, there is an interesting common factor in all these episodes, in terms of how the British economy managed to extricate itself, if only sometimes temporarily, from these failed dashes for growth, and how boom turned to bust and then recovery. It’s the exchange rate. It gives us hope, of sorts.

    In 1963, sterling was fixed in a rigid international system colloquially known as Bretton Woods. It meant that a trade deficit and loss of demand for and confidence in the pound had to be remedied by austerity. Only in 1967 did the then Labour government devalue the pound, boosting exports and depressing imports, via inflating their price. After that, in due course with some additional austerity, there was a decent recovery.

    By 1972 the pound was free-floating, though governments tended to try and defend it. The notable depreciation of 1976, with a recovery in trade and more orderly public finances, helped another Labour government repair the economy (before it all went wrong for them).

    462:

    Perhaps a pertinent question is whether any other peace conference has sparked so many subsequent, major wars? //The Congress of Vienna would like a word with you ...

    I'm going to plead ignorance, although I'm happily reading up on it right now (thanks!)

    With Versailles, we've got the subsequent Marshall Plan as a kind of counterfactual to demonstrate what could have been done in 1918 to avoid WW2.

    With the Congress of Vienna, is there a reasonably similar counterfactual (even a hypothetical one?) to demonstrate how things could have been done for a better outcome?

    And yes, I'm aware of the 1848 revolutions. Problem was that various potato famines (not just in Ireland) played into sparking that unrest. While it's fairly easy to see how Vienna played into the way those revolutions were handled, I'm not sure they could have avoided famine entirely with a different treaty structure. But I'm greatly ignorant.

    Any help?

    463:

    Re: '... previous attempts at 'dash for growth' to solve financial problems'

    I'm guessing the 'financial problems' here are the foreign trade deals and debts. Domestic growth can happen using very small injections (direct payments or no/low interest loans) to citizens mostly to help them through short-term lows. No idea how well micro-financing is at addressing very small enterprises long term.

    Except ... 'injections' give biz orgs an excuse to hike up their prices/profits because their argument is 'well, people can now afford it'. And so the spiral continues. (That's why I often mention that we need an upper and not just a lower boundary for putting brakes on financials.)

    Do any of the articles you've read on this topic mention/provide analyses of who paid how much in taxes esp. relative to cost of living/operating? Most gov'ts publish monthly/annual cost-of-living and take-home income stats so these are realistic and useful benchmarks for evaluating any potential or enacted fiscal aid program. (This is where AI in gov't would come in handy: real-time biz X-action and tax revenue reporting and oversight.)

    464:

    Don't give it any credence whatsoever unless you see it showing up on reputable news media sites.

    As noted by BoingBoing when they posted a connection graph for the rumour, don't trust Twitter account LoliWifeGroomer for breaking news… :-)

    https://boingboing.net/2022/09/25/how-fake-news-of-a-coup-in-china-spread.html

    465:

    Heteromeles asked on September 25, 2022 at 19:39 "...is there a reasonably similar counterfactual (even a hypothetical one?) to demonstrate how things could have been done for a better outcome?"

    May I suggest such a story, A Better World's In Birth! by the esteemed fly fisherman and Nebula winner, Howard Waldrop?

    Worldcat.org lists stocking libraries of both the standalone title and the collection which contains it, in dead tree and ebook form.

    466:

    No. but I knew that fact. It wasn't just the stupidity, but that too many of the brass hats regarded taking casualties as the way to turn recruits into soldiers.

    467:

    There were two mistakes. Once is that cutting taxes created enough growth to compensate for the taxes - it almost never does. The other is that it can be done without risking inflation and/or a recession (often by increasing the national debt).

    468:

    EC
    SLIGHT correction .... "there were AT LEAST two mistakes ...."
    Yes?

    469:

    Phinch @ 441:

    To take this back to the original topic; although Charles is now king he's yet to be crowned.

    This means we'll get to experience another orgy of royalism when the coronation occurs next year.

    Downton Abby meets RealityTV. For my taste the more Downton Abby (and less RealityTV) the greater the entertainment value.

    But I realize I'm 3,873.74 mi (6,234.18 km) away, and not right in the center of it, so I can watch as much or as little of it as pleases me.

    470:

    Thanks!

    So the assumption is that Karl Marx led a communist revolution in the 19th Century?

    The Curse of Wikipedia Strikes!

    What I did was look up Karl Marx, who was born in 1818 in Trier. So he was born after the Congress of Vienna. Does that matter?

    Being a clueless Yank and having no idea where Trier is, I checked. It's right on the border with Luxembourg, and had been in France up until 1814, when the Prussians took it. It had been doing reasonably well under French rule, but went into a long decline in the decades when Marx was growing up (per Wikipedia).

    Uh oh.

    So what about Marx's parents? Turns out they married in November 1814, while the conference was on. His father was from Trier, but his mother was from the Netherlands. Both were born Jewish, but his father converted them to Lutheranism so that he could practice law in Prussia, alienating them from the rest of his family (Marx's grandfather was the rabbi of Trier).

    Anyway, the fugly issue here is that one of the fathers of Communism has his personal history, if not his very existence, entangled in the outcome of the Congress of Vienna. I think it's safe to say that, had the Congress of Vienna gone differently, Karl Marx would have been likely a different human being than he was (both from conception to upbringing). Had communism existed at all by 1848, it would almost certainly have been rather different.

    The thought that's tickling the back of my mind is what the Congress of Vienna would have done differently. Unlike the Paris Peace Conference, France the defeated enemy apparently had two people negotiating against each other on its behalf (Louis 18 and Talleyrand didn't get along, so they both negotiated separately, again per Wikipedia).

    I get the argument that Vienna led to more authoritarian rule that helped continue and grow colonialism, that repressed democratic and more liberal movements, and that paved the way for WWI ultimately. Problem is, in 1814, full Republics were sparse on the ground. There were little ones in Italy (San Marino, for example), there was France, the cause of the mess, Haiti, and the slaving paradise of the USA, which had been stomped on in 1812 by the British Empire. If the goal of a peace conference was to right-size all the most powerful states so that they won't be tempted to invade each other, where does promoting democracy come into the picture? Democratic revolutions at that time seemed to be more destabilizing than stabilizing, especially given that the French Revolution was ultimately what had brought the parties to the table in the first place.

    So I still agree with OGH that the Congress of Vienna mattered a lot and ultimately led to a lot of bloodshed. Could they have done better, especially given what they knew? I don't know. However, the Paris Peace Talks in 1919 could theoretically have done better, simply by following the Vienna protocol of having the Axis countries at the table and negotiating.

    To be fair to those negotiating in Paris in 1919, it's not clear who they would have at the table representing Germany or the other Axis powers. The German November Revolution kicked off in November 1818, the conference started in January 1919, and the Weimar Republic came into being in August 1919.. Austria Hungary had fallen apart, and the successor states signed separate treaties with the allies. So it's a legitimate question whether envoys from the Axis countries were even worth seating at the table, at least until they could demonstrate that any promises they made were likely to be fulfilled.

    What a mess.

    471:

    Heteromeles @ 462:

    Perhaps a pertinent question is whether any other peace conference has sparked so many subsequent, major wars? //The Congress of Vienna would like a word with you ...

    I'm going to plead ignorance, although I'm happily reading up on it right now (thanks!)

    With Versailles, we've got the subsequent Marshall Plan as a kind of counterfactual to demonstrate what could have been done in 1918 to avoid WW2.

    With the Congress of Vienna, is there a reasonably similar counterfactual (even a hypothetical one?) to demonstrate how things could have been done for a better outcome?

    And yes, I'm aware of the 1848 revolutions. Problem was that various potato famines (not just in Ireland) played into sparking that unrest. While it's fairly easy to see how Vienna played into the way those revolutions were handled, I'm not sure they could have avoided famine entirely with a different treaty structure. But I'm greatly ignorant.

    Any help?

    I think Stimer hit on something up above that maybe the mistake that doomed Versailles was accepting the German call for a cease-fire in 1918. The German Army was on the verge of defeat, but they were not yet defeated.

    One difference between 1918 and 1945 is the German Army was decisively defeated, as were the German civilians. It didn't end on a basis of a quarter of France in ruins and "not a window pane was cracked in germany", so there was no place for a second iteration of "stabbed-in-the-back" after WW2. Germany WAS defeated and no amount of propaganda could pretend otherwise.

    The other thing I got came from the Sally Marks "The Myths of Reparations" [emphasis added]. Germany may have been assessed with reparations costs, but for the most part they didn't pay that assessment, although the hyper-inflation - which appears to have been deliberately caused by the German governments as an excuse to postpone paying reparations - allowed those governments to pay off INTERNAL war debts with a worthless currency.

    The assessments called for Germany to pay in gold, as well as "in kind" timber and coal (and other commodities). By January 1923, Germany had defaulted 34 times out of 36 required monthly deliveries of coal.

    Germany's war mongers & profiteers appear to have gotten off scot free, which allowed them to do it all over again 20 years later.

    I think even if there had been NO reparations the Germans would have started WW2 sooner or later. I don't know if Hitler would have come to power, but whoever was running the German government inevitably would have started another war.

    The Marks piece is very interesting for allowing a comparison of the actual reparations against the popular imagination of those reparations.

    472:

    To take this back to the original topic; although Charles is now king he's yet to be crowned.

    For some reason my brain is trying to write a campaign for Marcus Rowland's Diana: Warrior Princess RPG where Charles Stross, world-famous SF author and noted Scottish Republican, is desperately trying to evade the forces of Brittania determined to spirit him off to Westminster to be crowned (and then sacrificed to unspeakable horrors as a truly worthy offering to save the country from further destruction by the rampaging monster Brexit).

    I clearly need more tea. Or sleep. Or both.

    Note: DWP is a fun little game when one if feeling a bit silly.

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/59409/Diana-Warrior-Princess

    473:

    Being a clueless Yank and having no idea where Trier is, I checked.

    Hey, I'm a right-pondian, and I couldn't have said where it is until recently, and I'd not been there until less than a year ago, when (due to a 75% off offer) we were on a ship that crossed Germany and went all the way up the Mosel till we got there.

    (We had to coach all the way back to Frankfurt, due to Luxembourg having its borders still closed. That's Luxembourg the country, not the somewhat larger Belgian province.)

    had been in France up until 1814

    Ever since 1794.

    If you get the chance to go, I'd recommend it. It's not just Marx, it's the whole weight of history, ever since the Romans made it one of their largest cities north of the Alps

    474:

    If you get the chance to go, I'd recommend it. It's not just Marx, it's the whole weight of history, ever since the Romans made it one of their largest cities north of the Alps

    Thanks, I will certainly keep that in mind.

    475:

    The German debacle had me scratching my head - not just the politics but the accounting. So I looked up the history of accounting on Wikipedia to see what forms of accounting have been available to gov'ts in case the concept was so modern that classically trained politicians wouldn't have encountered it. Nope - turns out accounting has been around since Mesopotamia. Accounting even figures in some religions: 'Qur’an's requirement that Muslims keep records of their indebtedness as a part of their obligation to account to God on all matters of their life.' There's also a conceptual link to algebra.

    Interestingly, adoption of accounting by Europe was slower than elsewhere in part because of Europeans' reliance on Latin/Roman numerals. (True to BBC comedy show stereotype, Scotland was the first country to recognize accountancy as a profession - Royal Charter.)

    Interesting read overall.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_accounting

    Why accounting? Because you need to identify and understand the details of your biz operations and environment at a very granular level to come up with a forecast which in turn is a basic/universal requirement for any bank loan or financing. If pols don't understand this then they shouldn't be allowed to come up with budget numbers.

    476:

    Thanks.

    Whatever automated thing was nailing the pound to 1.0848 has broken or been turned off. The moment it stopped doing whatever it was that held the value, it fell to 1.04. That's a ~10% dip since Thursday. It's since crept back to 1.05, but who knows if it will hold.

    Energy imports being in USD, that's another 10% increase in 4 days.

    477:

    Once is that cutting taxes created enough growth to compensate for the taxes - it almost never does.

    Well of course not. Because it has never been done correctly .....

    [sarcasm off]

    478:

    Parity is just another rate, but the psychological effect of dropping below it on TPTB will be significant. Not long now, and then there's the Euro as the next target.