MarkH May 13, 2023 12:45 AM

While reading a news story, my attention was caught by these words:

in the summer of 2022, Ukraine hit an oil refinery in the Russia’s Rostov region using a weaponized commercial Mugin-5 Pro drone available on Alibaba for less than $10,000

I assume that the purchase came first, and the weaponization after that … for years, we’ve been discussing the growing capabilities of low-cost technology, and pondering the ramifications.

The conjunction of a wartime attack at fairly long range (perhaps 300+ km) and an e-commerce website is new to me!

O brave new world …

MarkH May 13, 2023 12:50 AM


The Mugin-5 Pro appears to be capable of missions greater than 700 km; also, the price is more like $20,000 being nearly equally divided between airframe and powerplant.

The manufacturer sternly advises:

Disclaimer: Any illegal or military utilization of Mugin UAVs is forbidden. Mugin Limited will not take any responsibility for any consequences caused by illegal or military use, nor provide any technical support or promise for any obtaining through irregular channels.

We have been warned!

lurker May 13, 2023 1:11 AM

“Governments have a hammer, and it’s easy to treat the internet as a nail,” says Kathik Nachiappan, a South Asia expert based in Singapore.

In Pakistan, the move has particular impact because it shuts down what is seen to be the only place to get “real news” in the country …

ResearcherZero May 13, 2023 4:38 AM

John Pilger finally lost his grip on reality




“Theresa May confirmed she has lost all grip on reality.”

If you watch Reality;
Got your crotch on Reality;
If you act on Reality;
Know a fact from Reality;
If you make up Reality;
See a break up on Reality;
If you produce Reality;
Don’t want to reduce Reality;
If you costume Reality;
Know a better rest room than Reality;
If you write on Reality;
Do the lights on Reality;
If your ad’s on Reality;
Follow fads from Reality;
If you grew up on Reality;
Didn’t throw up on Reality;

“Hold on, this is bulls***!”

Clive Robinson May 13, 2023 5:17 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

“Are you being extorted”

Or “do you not own what you buy”

I’ve pointed out in the past that the likes of Amazon have sold equipment at high prices that they then “brick” in one way or another.

Well HP did this during “lock down” where “living on-line” realy ment “surviving via delivery person”.

Which in turn ment “returns” and lables you have to “print out” etc and attach to the items.

Well as quite a few have found HP decided to use it as a golden opportunity to extort money from people,

This is a “business practice” that realy has to be stopped, before it becomes “standard” thus another part of destroying society as we currently know it and turning it back into a fiefdom where you are owned.

But if you want to see how bad it can be, have a look at the history of the Telephone Industry. It stagnated for decades earning hugh profits and was very bad for society in many ways.

That is the world HP board Directors and similar lust for, not just total control over those who work for them by illegal wire taps and unlawful surveillance on them but now the same with their customers.

ResearcherZero May 13, 2023 6:08 AM

Australia’s Parliament passed the most expansive bill of all Western countries — one that could force major companies to provide authorities with access to encrypted data.


leaves the choice of encryption method, as well as the storage location, up to the individual private service providers. This results in significantly large pools of sensitive Australian metadata being insufficiently secured and at risk of cyber attack

“metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content”

A long list of data breaches…


ResearcherZero May 13, 2023 6:15 AM

“The argument is that limiting encryption can make it easier for police to monitor online communication and identify potential predators. However, this ignores that many law-abiding citizens rely on encryption to protect their privacy. Its restriction would make users’ sensitive information more vulnerable to unauthorised access.”

“You’ve basically done the work for the enemy. …and suddenly they have access to all of this incredibly sensitive information -that otherwise they would never have been able to get.”

Reality used to be a friend of mine
Reality used to be a friend of mine
Reality used to be a friend of mine
Reality used to be a friend of mine

If a text is reality:

Give garden tips on Reality

Give me the sh**s on Reality

..."The supermarket giant has expressed its disappointment over the breach."


better detect reality
better anticipate reality
better deter reality
and respond to reality

Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications

“The complexity of today’s Internet environment, with millions of apps and globally connected services, means that new law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws”

“Beyond these and other technical vulnerabilities, the prospect of globally deployed exceptional access systems raises difficult problems about how such an environment would be governed and how to ensure that such systems would respect human rights and the rule of law.”

If you don’t can it – bash it – ban it – trash it; If you follow it – observe it – swallow it – “lurve” it:

If you love it, you deserve it.
If you love it, you deserve it.

Peter Rontea May 13, 2023 10:02 AM

I was trying to get to my mother for Mother’s Day weekend and I think I just experienced “administrative burden” stretched to “passive aggressive benefit denial” from Greyhound. I am not sure if this is a hack but here is the pattern I have found from Greyhound. When they don’t have enough passengers for a trip, they consolidate in an effort to save money on gas by moving you to the next bus, which in this case was 2 hours later, without letting passengers know. When I went to their office to ask for my money back, Greyhound employees gave me a phone number to call; the operator sent me to the website; the website gave me a 404. They all left the office when I took my camera out.

Greyhound Refund

404 error screenshot

lurker May 13, 2023 2:15 PM

@Clive Robinson, ALL

The printer space is a war zone.

It seems ironic that HP should want to hold its all-American customers in such a warm embrace, when those of us who are still allowed to trade with China can get ink cartridges with fake HP chips.

Oh, and read before you sign …

lurker May 13, 2023 5:10 PM

@Peter Rontea

I travel by bus sometimes. I have observed a significant difference in the passengers’ status between those countries where almost everybody goes by bus, and those countries where people who travel by bus are seen as the lowest level of society. Since you mentioned Greyhound I assume you are in the U.S.A. Please note that the 0800 Answerbots, and the website are not for your convenience. They are for the convenience of the management and shareholders of the company, to keep you, the bus passenger, at arms length. You observed the front-line staff have developed their own defences. It is incongruous that this is still called a service industry, when they see service as a loss making activity which should be reduced.

vas pup May 13, 2023 5:18 PM

Health experts warn of ‘existential threat to humanity’ from AI

“When combined with the rapidly improving ability to distort or misrepresent reality with deep fakes, AI-driven information systems may further undermine democracy by causing a general breakdown in trust or by driving social division and conflict, with ensuing public health impacts,” the authors warned.

AI-driven surveillance can be used to control and oppress people, they added. China’s Social Credit System is an example, combining facial recognition software and analysis of “big data” repositories of people’s financial transactions, movements, police records and social relationships, according to the report.

Another area of threat is in the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS). Attached to small mobile devices such as drones, these can locate, select and engage human targets without human supervision. This could kill people “at an industrial scale,” the authors explained.

Increasing automation tends to shift income and wealth to the owners, and contributes to inequitable wealth distribution across the globe, they said.

“If AI is to ever fulfill its promise to benefit humanity and society, we must protect democracy, strengthen our public-interest institutions, and ==> dilute power so that there are effective checks and balances,” the experts concluded.

“This includes !!! ensuring transparency and accountability of the parts of the military-corporate industrial complex driving AI developments and !!! the social media companies that are enabling AI-driven, targeted misinformation to undermine our democratic institutions and rights to privacy.”

Clive Robinson May 13, 2023 9:10 PM

@ vas pup, ALL,

“Health experts warn of ‘existential threat to humanity’ from AI”

Whilst others sing it’s praises as it can spot fatal heart conditions and the like, that other diagnostic methods currently don’t or could be to dangerous to use,

Kind of proving the point I repeatedly make that it’s not the technology that is good or bad, but how observers see the use a directing mind puts it to work.

So from all the noise, we can conclude that AI in various forms is a fairly powerfull technology to,

“Unearth that which is not othereise visable”

Which makes it not just a powerful investogative tool, but potentially one that can find many new hypotheses within large data sets.

Will that alow it to cross over from “tool to researcher” remains to be seen.

Will it cause others to put the boot in or in otherways throw their clogs into the machine (sabotage) I think we can safely say yes.

Because at the end of the day Alphabet-Google, Meta-Facebook, and Microsoft all want to use AI to improve profit / shareholder value. And as @Winter pointed out “Corporations are psychopaths” which means they will use the technology in what most will consider “the worst possible way” which will significantly help other psychopaths such as political parties gain and not relenquish power, in effect hastening a police state.

But hey, good or bad, that’s your view point, just don’t say you were not warned that regulation would be both “way to little and way to late” as increasingly large amounts of “lobbying” bribes make their way into the open and ever greedy hands of legislators.

lurker May 13, 2023 11:58 PM

Newsguard is a browser plugin – 2 weeks free trial, then $5/month – which gives “reliability” ratings on your news sources. eg. dailytelegraphdotcodotnz gets a low rating because it is a Russian disinformation spot, nothing to do with your London favourite.


ResearcherZero May 14, 2023 7:19 AM

“The PR agents talked openly about the work the firm had done with other regimes with questionable human rights records”

They also explained how the company could manipulate Google results to “drown out” negative coverage of human rights violations, and that MPs known to be critical of investigative programmes could be used to attack journalists over minor reporting errors.

Our analysis indicates that these accounts are “bots” – fake accounts set up to resemble real Twitter users whose screen-names, cover pictures and biographical details they imitate.

ResearcherZero May 14, 2023 8:13 AM

On May 1, the court agreed to hear a case that challenges what’s known as Chevron deference, a legal principle (named for a 1984 case involving the company) holding that courts should defer to agencies’ technical expertise to interpret statues that are ambiguous.

For the past two decades, Bell made a seven-figure income out of the political-influence game.

Case Dropped

“Two former partners at Bell Pottinger have failed in an attempt to escape from legal action that could lead to them being banned from acting as company directors.”

A new settlement with the Internal Revenue Service will require executives at Renaissance Technologies to pay “approximately $7 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties.”

Robert Mercer, a major backer of Donald Trump, is also a party in the deal.

Bell Pottinger

Clive Robinson May 14, 2023 9:47 AM

@ ResearcherZero, ALL,

Re : Where the acorn falls…

“Robert Mercer, a major backer of Donald Trump,”

Robert Mercer was the head of one of three families trying to gain control of the GOP… Old age and death have thined out the competition, but Robert has handed over the reigns to his daughter who is now the prime mover and shaker behind the GOP and apparently thinks Trump is the best path to whatever nutfhckery she and her father are trying for. So the acorn has fallen close, real close.

Oh and Mr Mercer fell under significant suspicion and actionable evidence of money laudering and election interferance in the UK with his money through Russia to fund various Brexit campaigners and likewise various anti-english sentiment in Europe, specifically France and to a lesser extent Germany. So not at all a nice man as he thought kicking off the “Irish Troubles” yet again was just the sort of “Progressive Politics” he wanted happening as long as the bombs and bullets were not in his back yard (kind of makes Putin look good…).

Oh and he was also the founder and money man behind Cambridge Analytica, and all their nasty little tricks that have accounted for hundreds if not thousands of deaths…

By rights he should be doing the equivalent of “life in jail” in a UK Prison. However just as the investigation got to the point of “feeling his collar” the Met Police had to defere to the political judgment of previous UK Home Secretary and then UK Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May, after a number of calls to / from the US Executive… I’ll let you guess who was US President at the time if you can not instabtly google it…

Such is the nature of the “Special Relationship” the UK has with the US not only are there “no crumbs from the table” we don’t even get to “hump the leg” so we’ve actually gone a long way down since the days of Tony Blair, AKA Bush’s poodle humping his way around the globe on all expenses payed jollies for him, his wife, and babble of children some of whom felt sleeping drunk in the gutter was a jolly jape. So I guess daddy had hoped the acorn had landed else where…

Ted May 14, 2023 4:01 PM

My uncle recently gave me a book at my grandma’s memorial service: The Brothers Vonnegut.

I hadn’t a clue that the prolific writer Kurt Vonnegut had a brother Bernie, a scientist. Nor that both had, at one time, worked for GE in Schenectady, NY. Kurt worked as a writer in the ‘news’ bureau, and Bernie chased clouds with silver iodide to try to coax them to rain.

For any fans of Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical and often humorous writing, there is some wonderful background on how he evolved into the author of 14 novels and countless other pieces.

What is striking to me, and why I mention it here, is how in the post-WWII era Kurt had similarly grappled with the rapid-fire advancement of technological innovation.

pup vas May 14, 2023 5:08 PM


The influence of AI on trust in human interaction

=The researchers propose creating AI with well-functioning and eloquent voices that are still clearly synthetic, increasing transparency.

Communication with others involves not only deception but also relationship-building and joint meaning-making. The uncertainty of whether one is talking to a human or a computer affects this aspect of communication. While it might not matter in some situations, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, other forms of therapy that require more human connection may be negatively impacted.=

pup vas May 14, 2023 5:25 PM

Brain activity decoder can reveal stories in people’s minds

=Unlike other language decoding systems in development, this system does not require subjects to have surgical implants, making the process noninvasive. Participants also do not need to use only words from a prescribed list. Brain activity is measured using an fMRI scanner after extensive training of the decoder, in which the individual listens to hours of podcasts in the scanner. Later, provided that the participant is open to having their thoughts decoded, their listening to a new story or imagining telling a story allows the machine to generate corresponding text from brain activity alone.

“For a noninvasive method, this is a real leap forward compared to what’s been done before, which is typically single words or short sentences,” Huth said. “We’re getting the model to decode continuous language for extended periods of time with complicated ideas.”

The result is not a word-for-word transcript. Instead, researchers designed it to capture the gist of what is being said or thought, albeit imperfectly. About half the time, when the decoder has been trained to monitor a participant’s brain activity, the machine produces text that closely (and sometimes precisely) matches the intended meanings of the original words.

For example, in experiments, a participant listening to a speaker say, “I don’t have my driver’s license yet” had their thoughts translated as, “She has not even started to learn to drive yet.” Listening to the words, “I didn’t know whether to scream, cry or run away. Instead, I said, ‘Leave me alone!'” was decoded as, “Started to scream and cry, and then she just said, ‘I told you to leave me alone.'”

Beginning with an earlier version of the paper that appeared as a preprint online, the researchers addressed questions about potential misuse of the technology. The paper describes how decoding worked only with cooperative participants who had participated willingly in training the decoder. Results for individuals on whom the decoder had not been trained were unintelligible, and if participants on whom the decoder had been trained later put up resistance — for example, by thinking other thoughts — results were similarly unusable.

The system currently is not practical for use outside of the laboratory because of its reliance on the time need on an fMRI machine. But the researchers think this work could transfer to other, more portable brain-imaging systems, such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

“fNIRS measures where there’s more or less blood flow in the brain at different points in time, which, it turns out, is exactly the same kind of signal that fMRI is measuring,” Huth said. “So, our exact kind of approach should translate to fNIRS,” although, he noted, the resolution with fNIRS would be lower.=

Phillip May 14, 2023 6:12 PM


I have been shot down multiple times on my solo StackExchange Cyber Security topic. My proof is below. This was supposed to be my final answer to these numb-bums.

I would like to contribute to any meaningful Cyber Security forum. StackExchange asked for my final answer before informing me my cancelation was already promoted. Must be busy putting out fires.

Thank you,


It hurts me to explain after I am beaten up, though consider:

$ ./temp.a 1111111111

$ ./temp.a 9999999999


$ ./temp.a 999999999


$ more temp.cpp
#include ~cassert
#include ~cstdint
#include ~iomanip
#include ~iostream
#include ~string
using namespace std;
void Next(const string& text)
int32_t value = stol(text);
cout << value << "=" << quoted(text) << endl;
int main(int argc, char **argv)
assert(argc == 2);
return 0;

I stand uncorrected, though I am not used to the formatting rules. Is this latter fatal?

Phillip Coffman

ResearcherZero May 15, 2023 2:53 AM

@Clive Robinson

Mercer has some significant interests in petroleum and other resources.
He probably had to move some money around to take care of those interests.
Dry cleaning long white robes and hoods is likely expensive, if you have been burning crosses on the weekends.

ResearcherZero May 15, 2023 6:21 AM

“What we are left with is legislation that everyone knows is fundamentally broken whilst reform is just endlessly kicked down the road.”

A lobbying code of conduct should be legislated.

The definition of “lobbying” should be expanded to capture all forms of influence, and “lobbyist” be expanded to capture in-house lobbyists.

Transparency should be promoted via proactive publication of ministerial diaries with additional details required in respect of meetings with registered lobbyists.

The regime should be overseen by a well-resourced regulator, with sanctions expanded to include fines, criminal sanctions and potential barring from government contracts for serious breaches.

And finally, the post-employment separation period should be expanded to five years – and include all members of parliament rather than just ministers and ministerial staff.

A stark illustration of how lobbying, in the words of the OECD, can result in “policy capture” and steer public policy away from the public interest.

“Money derived from Commonwealth contracts was being funnelled through to a member of parliament. The evidence presented to the committee is crystal clear.”

Were it only a matter of misjudgement, the issue might have ended there. Instead, like a fractal, it led to a series of similar events…

“Another example included a director-general taking steps to prevent a report from ‘reaching the minister’s ears’ so as to ensure that the minister could continue to plausibly deny knowledge of the matter.”

[government decisions] “can be inappropriately influenced”

“In some circumstances these individuals have been engaged by a political party or government agency while still involved in influencing practices, such as lobbying.”

JonKnowsNothing May 15, 2023 10:51 AM

@Clive, @SpaceLifeForm, All

re: Bank of Mom and Dad: The Value of Death = $14 Trillion USD

note: Other posts in the BoMD series maybe found in the archives or wayback machine.

A MSM (1) post by 2 economics analysts conclude that the Economic Loss of COVID 19 in the USA is $14 Trillion USD (2020-2023). Their evaluation was

  • “this is how much money we could have made “

Based on the presumption of

  • “this is how much money we could have made, IF we bet on the winner”

But it’s also the valuation of the deaths of 1.1 Million people in USA during this period.

  • Reversing their statement the Value of 1.1 Mill Deaths is $14 Trillion Dollars.

This does not include all the aspects I normally consider, such as forgone pensions, reduced pension distributions, reduced services and health care provided, reductions in consumption such as food, lodging, utilities and normal living expenses. It’s the straight up cost to the USA national economy.

  • 14,000,000,000,000 ÷ 1,100,000 = 12,727,272.72727273 = $13 Million USD
  • Each Death is worth $13 Million USD


1) It is no longer possible to tell if a report, study or analysis is factual due to the downpour of HAIL (Hallucinating AI LLM)

ht tps://www.latimes.c om/opinion/story/2023-05-15/covid-pandemic-us-economic-costs-14-trillion

Opinion: Calculating COVID’s astonishing economic costs

Los Angeles Times

Jakub Hlávka and Adam Rose

The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
will reach $14 trillion by the end of this year [2020-2023], our team of
economists, public policy researchers and other experts estimate.
That makes it by far the costliest disaster the country has suffered
this century.

(url fractured)

ResearcherZero May 15, 2023 9:45 PM

Extent of cyberattack on Philadelphia Inquirer remains unclear as journalists prepare to cover major election

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 5:12 AM

@ ALL,

A Quantum Computing improvement or a Deep Learning application

The original post got auto-moderated / blackholed… So,

Part 1,

A Tom’s Hardware article from today is more froth than substance which is a shame especialy as it also misses something important and gives the wrong impression. (effectively an abstract of an earlier release). So unless you are well versed in certain aspects of “Quantum Computing”(QC) and Deep Learning it may not appear to be of much interest. So better to read the original release it’s self,

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 5:17 AM

Part 2

As it’s the link that appears to have triggered the auto-mod they will be broken up,

‘ht tps://www.riken.j p/en/news _pubs/research _news/rr/20230403_1/index.html

With, Japan’s RIKEN[1] more known for Super Computer research, it’s Center for Quantum Computing and what it gets upto may be unknown to many.

However as Kaoru Mizuta[2] “Special Postdoctoral Researcher” at the Center explained,

“Time-evolution operators are huge grids of numbers that describe the complex behaviors of quantum materials,”

Which superficially sounds like a 20,000ft description of the guts in an AI LLM or “Deep Learning” system, but whilst there are similarities, they are quite different in their objective[3].

“They’re of great importance because they give quantum computers a very practical application – better understanding quantum chemistry and the physics of solids.”

So, one to start keeping an eye on.

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 5:19 AM

Part 3

[1] The RIKEN institution is comprised of many centers and employes around 3000 scientists in various centers,

‘ht tps://www.riken.j p/en/research/labs/

The “RIKEN center for Quantum Computing”(RQC) is just one of the many and it’s remit is given as,

RQC explores in a full-stack approach, from hardware to software and from basic science to applications, the frontier of quantum technologies through the research and development of quantum computers as innovative information processing units based on the principles of quantum mechanics.

Yup best to read the more genteel,

‘ht tps://www.riken.j p/en/research/labs/rqc/

[2] Kaoru Mizuta’s research / CV page,

‘ht tps://

[3] However they are being combined to make several interesting tools,

‘ht tps://www.riken.j p/en/news_pubs/research_news/rr/20220411_1/index.html

AL May 16, 2023 11:27 AM

“The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
will reach $14 trillion”

Consider the world-wide totals – huge.

From the legalities – the natural emergence vs. lab leak is really an argument on whether Covid 19 was an act of God, or the largest negligence case in the history of the world.

That should end any question on why there was all this hysteria about it being negligence (lab leak). It seems like some entities and countries are acting like liable parties.

What would get to the bottom of this – DNA analysis. We don’t need virologists, we need geneticists. We can convict someone with DNA with a 3 billion to 1 certainty, while there are thousands of DNA explanations for Covid? Hardly. DNA analysis can not only identify what brought around that virus, but in the event it point to a lab problem, would narrow down the possible experiments that could have caused it.

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 12:22 PM

@ AL,

“What would get to the bottom of this – DNA analysis. We don’t need virologists, we need geneticists.”

Sorry but neither are capable of doing the whole puzzle, only small bits of it at most.

Let me put it this way, should you be convicted of murder just because what might be your very partial fingerprint was found on an object that might just have been at the crime scene but was found several kM away in a crowded city?

I would hope you would say no.

Remember any hope of this issue ever being believably solved ended when the then US Executive turned it into a political bludgeon to further a very dubious political cause. Truth flew out the window and has never returned.

Then a certain part of the MSM with all it’s lack of credibility[1] scientific or otherwise jumped as ordered, up onto the band waggon with the “Wetmarket or Lab” nonsense.

Oh and that same executive to put it politely behaved in all sorts of bizarre ways, and shoveled money into certain “favourd friends” pockets which will take the US tax paying citizenry well over thirty years to pay off on best estimate, even if the US economy does not go into a major recession because of such stupidities…

[1] Remember the prime MSM driver behind much of this nonsense is Rupert “the bear faced liar” Murdoch through his various media organs… The same group who repeatedly spread false, biased or questionable information not just throughout the pandemic and lockdown… But as a matter of making money hand over fist and remember he has just recently coughed up rather more than a kings ransom to avoid having to get up on a defendents podium and have to tell the truth about the lies they put out… To say they have no credability is an understatment.

Winter May 16, 2023 1:04 PM


That should end any question on why there was all this hysteria about it being negligence (lab leak).

What makes a “lab leak” different from a “bushmeat market leak”? Since SARS1, MERS, and every flu epidemic it is known that bushmeat market and pig&ducks are more dangerous than a biolevel 4 lab. The Spanish flu originated in Kansas and hopped to humans from birds. These bushmeat markets should have been closed down 20 years ago when we narrowly dodged the previous bullet.

The virus originated in bats then hopped to some animal (probably a raccoon dog) and then hopped again to humans like SARS1 and MERS did.

The preventable damage was done by stupid politicians that advocated dying for the economy.[1] It is those politicians that want to point fingers to shift the blame.

[1] ‘

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 2:15 PM

@ Winter, AL

Re : Location Location Location.

“What makes a “lab leak” different from a “bushmeat market leak”?”

Most legal labs have a recognised address at a known location, thus can and do get regularly inspected.

However many “Bushmeat markets” in China being not exactly legal, happen in many many places not just recognized market buildings so they don’t get inspected.

That is “Bushmeat dealers” deliver their products to restaurants, garages for pop-up mobile food bars, peoples homes, as well as selling on street corners out of the back of a van or lorry. Basically anywhere a customer with a handfull of cash is to be found is a place where wild animals cooped up in feces, urine and blood soaked cages and boxes with any diseases they might have will be found will be sold whole or in part[1]..

In a busy city which is a travel hub bush meat dealers will be found with little difficulty and mostly local authorities will “look the other way” for a whole host of reasons. Surprisingly to many not allways for bribery and corruption. Basic resourcing being one, as bush-meat is seen as a very low priority for various reasons thus other illegal activities get much higher priority. It’s the same in most cities around the world[2].

[1] Back when Chernobyl happened, few realised just how extensive the illegal cavia market was… Jokes about “glow in the dark tins” publicised just how far and wide it was…

[2] The thing about bush-meat is it’s international, if you know where to look or who to ask, most major cities any where in the world including London, New York, Paris and similar with ethnic communities from any of several continents will be supplying “traditional” medicine or aphrodisiacs to those with money who want them… It’s not just Rhino Horn, desicated seahorses, or bear gaul bladders, it’s just about anything, and the more endangered the species the higher the price, so perversly often the easier it is to obtain…

JonKnowsNothing May 16, 2023 3:58 PM

@Clive, @ Winter, AL

re: Another Chance: H5N1

H5N1 avian flu has been circulating the globe for several years now. Mostly and previously, killing birds of all types. Highly contagious, tens of thousands of birds of all species have died everywhere. Farm birds, meat or eggs, are killed by the hundreds of thousands in factory farms once an infection takes place.

So, here’s your Chance for Try #2: (1,2)

  • H5N1 is coming to you

There are a number of reports filtering though MSM of non-birds getting infected. It has not yet made the full jump across the species barrier. Mammals appear to get infected by being in close proximity with an infected bird-flock (inhaling, contact, fomite) or by consuming an infected bird.

  • Fox, European Polecat, Mustelidae, Sea Lion, Sea otter, Cat, Dog, Tigers, Leopards, Bears, Skunks, Human

One can predict the jump direct or indirect is well… soonerisher. (3)

Time dust off your epidemiology kit.


1) THE China SARS-CoV-2 data

ht tps://

2) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Global AIV with Zoonotic Potential 

ht tps://

USA CDC – Ask the Expert: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Viruses

The current clade of H5N1 virus, clade

ht tps://

3) Soonerisher – a variant of Soon(tm)

  • “Soon™” does not imply any particular date, time, decade, century, or millennia in the past, present, and certainly not the future. “Soon” shall make no contract or warranty. “Soon” will arrive some day, but does guarantee that “soon” will be here before the end of time. Maybe. Do not make plans based on “soon”. No one will not be liable for any misuse, use, or even casual glancing at “soon.”
  • “Soon-ish™” to exist between “Soon™” and “End of Time.”

Clive Robinson May 16, 2023 5:55 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Winter, ALL,

Re : AIV Soonerish

“Highly contagious, tens of thousands of birds of all species have died everywhere.”

Yes it has a reputaion for being fast mover…

“Mammals appear to get infected by being in close proximity with an infected bird-flock (inhaling, contact, fomite) or by consuming an infected bird.”

There have been a number of “human by contact” infections some fatal.

To be honest I’ve been expecting it to make the species jump into humans at a time when human-to-human flu is prevalent and thus make a recombinant mutation into a viable human to human form with high infectiousness for some years now…

And I find myself asking “When?” not “If?” and more pertinently,

“Why it’s not yet happened?”

Oddly perhaps C19 precautions and lockdown have probably delayed it happening (if you remember the precautions allegedly killed off another Human Influenza Virus).

On the assumption it does fully jump in the next few seasonal cycles and becomes Hum2Hum airborn of low to medium infectiousness (say R0 less than 6 in a naive population)… Then we will need to consider quarantine lockdows untill we know how pathogenic it is. If the infectiousness is an R0 greater than 8 then there is not much we will be able to do because there will be sufficient self centered idiots to ensure it will get into and spread in any population that does no have sufficient deterrent (such as very rapid lead poisoning no questions asked).

I seriously doubt that we will get worthwhile let alone cost effective anti-virals in time. As for new vaccines, I suspect way to many will not trust mRNA or Adenovirus-vectored again, and I can not say I blaim them.

I’ve always had significant doubts about the mRNA technology as my previous posts to this blog show, and it now appears that I was right to do so. I had only marginaly more confidence in the “other method” of Adenovirus-vectored vaccine which had the benifit of being a known working technology with a limited lab track record. Which is why I chose it out of the two available to me.

But as I’ve indicated all along I would have prefered the third traditional method of an inactivated or attenuated vaccine due to the much wider skirt and long known effective and safe track record.

The traditional vaccines using inactivated virus, are like the older “flu shots” you used to get and don’t infect your normal body cells so you don’t actually get the damage of an infection the other two give you (remember they both kill your body cells by infecting them).

Well… It turns out that the first two methods have between a 1:600 and 1:1000 significant risk if not fatality. Research in Germany and Japan suggests that the mRNA system can trigger an autoimmune disease. That is weeks after the vaccination active spike protein production is still going on in your body, and these spikes are attaching to various organs, that then cause the bodies immune system to destructively attack…

Having had a serious heart complication that very nearly killed me shortly after my second AZ shot. Then getting realy evasive behaviours from clinicians when trying to get the third “booster” shot I started looking into things and grew quite disquieted by what I found.

Now, especially as I am still suffering from the after effects nearly a year and three quaters latter, you can probable understand my increased reticence over these “new fangled” vaccine methods and why I’ll have to think long and hard over my likely risk factors…

SpaceLifeForm May 16, 2023 6:57 PM

@ Clive, JonKnowsNothing, Winter, ALL

I may have mentioned bats a few years ago.


AL May 17, 2023 12:24 AM

“it is known that bushmeat market and pig&ducks are more dangerous than a biolevel 4 lab.”

Still, there are 39,000 such markets in China. The odds of it showing up in a market near the lab is very low.

We’ll assume there is 1000 such markets in the vicinity of the lab. That would still be one in 39. Supposedly, there is to be the declassifying of Covid data, so maybe something will turn up. I’ll be paying attention to the DNA side of the house.

Meanwhile, in connection with this crisis, it seemed that there was a centralized effort to have censored on social media that Americans access, any discussion on the Covid origins. Something went seriously out of whack when that happened. And I don’t for a second think that these social media sites independently came to this decision to censor discussion on the origins. We’re headed to a bad place with that kind of stuff. This issue is independent of whether the virus came from a lab or through natural emergence.

Winter May 17, 2023 2:58 AM


The odds of it showing up in a market near the lab is very low.

Your odds calculations are missing a number of factors.

There are 3 BSL 4 virological labs in China. There are also BSL 3 labs.

These BSL 4 labs are located in virological hot spots, Harbin (north), Wuhan, and Kunnen (south). Wuhan is a known cross roads of trade between inland and coastal regions.

Winter May 17, 2023 4:00 AM

Harbin (north), Wuhan, and Kunnen (south).

Correction for autocorrection error:
The third BSL 4 lab is in Kunming.

Clive Robinson May 17, 2023 5:35 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing,

I hope you are both well?

It’s just that you have both not posted as much just recently as you normally do. Hopefully with increasing day light you’ve been getting out and topping up your Vit D levels 😉

With regards,

“I may have mentioned bats a few years ago.”

Yes, they get mentioned quit a bit in the litriture. Basically as they like “Rock Dove” pigeons fill the “flying rodents” nich in the food or infection chain and also have high metabolic rates they are seen as significant vectors for disease crossover, especially into livestock and humans.

Which is why they get used for research as well[1].

As @JonKnowsNothing has observed, with H5N1 spread into mamals there is the “fallen dead” getting eaten by ground scavengers. For which fresh animal protien is a rare treat, thus infection gets into the scavengers system by both injestion and inhalation.

[1] In the past, the blood of infected creatures was injected into pigeons. Then the blood of the pigeons got injected into horses… The horse blood was then spun down to get rid of the red blood cells etc thus leaving antibodies and antenuated virus etc.

AL May 17, 2023 10:49 AM

“There are 3 BSL 4 virological labs in China”

OK, then that would change the odds to 1 in 13 instead of 1 in 39. Do they all do the same thing? Do they all do this experimenting with coronavirus involving running the virus through mice with humanized ACE2 receptors? And boy, did that Ecohealth subcontractor who had a regular policy of running coronavirus through humanized mice in Wuhan act guilty.

If we were talking about investing money, do you invest on 1 in 13 odds, or something with 12 out of 13 odds. Lets throw in the other labs – we’re still not at 50-50.

Orwell said it best. “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” That’s what I think I’m seeing, and it is not confined to this issue. In the case of C-19, I don’t see a less than even chance of it coming out of a lab, yet in the U.S. online discussion on this possibility was curtailed. This curtailment capability is a present danger to our civil liberties. (Of course, not containing it was dangerous to assessing liability.)😉

Winter May 17, 2023 12:36 PM


we were talking about investing money, do you invest on 1 in 13 odds, or something with 12 out of 13 odds.

X thousand zoonotic epidemics from animals to humans and 0 (zero) created by humans. So what are the odds?

Or, 6 coronaviruses hopping from animals to humans in the last 2 centuries alone, and zero created by humans.

Winter May 17, 2023 12:56 PM


In the case of C-19, I don’t see a less than even chance of it coming out of a lab, yet in the U.S. online discussion on this possibility was curtailed.

Yes indeed. People trying to blame epidemics in people they dislike and subsequently trying to kill them is a recurrent theme in human history.

And inciting hatred and violence is one thing states need to curtail.

See a pattern below? As HG Wells already wrote:
History is a race between education and catastrophe

Ebola outbreak: Guinea health team killed

One dead in latest shooting of polio workers in Pakistan

Guatemala: Anti-vaccine villagers attack and hold nurses with Covid jabs

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons May 17, 2023 3:52 PM

@pup vas
Using systems to performed layered scans are fraught with challenges. Phase alignment, shifting, and power decay slopes affect MRI’s to the degree that computational intense precision inductive scanning paired with passive elements isospin groups make portability impractical. All methods I am aware of are layered in the treatment of the physical space and its description to any level of detail. An INSTA-SCAN would possibly require quite complex and invasive methods to achieve usable results, let alone be portable. Call me skeptical.

lurker May 17, 2023 4:21 PM


“Xi’s pseudo-communist capitalism (whatever that means)”

It might (or not) help understand by using their description of it:
“Socialism with Chinese characteristics”

SpaceLifeForm May 17, 2023 7:41 PM

AWS again

Do not outsource to orgs that use AWS. They may not really know what they are doing security wise.


“If I have to sit at a desk and write out (pay)checks, that’s what I’ll do.”

Clive Robinson May 17, 2023 8:03 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : In the cloud is a pain beyond imagination…

“AWS again”

Why am I not surprised…

But lets be honest all cloud systems are bad news in one way or another, and why I’ve always recommend against them, except in certain very exceptional circumstances.

Security wise you have no control over a cloud provider… Worse if they muck up all you’ll get if you are lucky is very low levels of payment based on “loss of service” and even that will be some years down the line at best, if the provider does not wind up their business / go bankrupt first…

The savings you are going to get will be like the deals drug pushers use… The low cost you get today will be payed many times over when they have you on their hook wriggling like a helpless tiddler.

That much should be obvious.

Clive Robinson May 17, 2023 8:18 PM

Nail in the crypto currency coffin

As many will know I’ve called crypto currencies and much to do with them “con games”…

Well it appears in the UK at least the message is starting to get through,

“Cryptocurrency: Treat investing as gambling, MPs say”

“MPs have urged the government to treat retail investment in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as a form of gambling.

Their value could change dramatically and consumers risked losing their entire investment, characteristics closely resembling gambling, the Treasury Select Committee found.”

AL May 18, 2023 1:05 AM

“People trying to blame epidemics in people they dislike”

Doesn’t have anything to do with it. If in fact, it was a lab issue, it would direct attention to a policy of pursuing “gain of function” research. That would be the right reason to determine the cause of the pandemic. Maybe the risks should be measured against the contributions that gain of function research has produced so far, should the lab be the cause of the problem. Seems a bit of the hysteria and gaslighting was coming from the gain of function researcher community.

That said, it does seem that our government has pivoted to a policy of “strategic ambiguity” where some agencies think it is the lab, and others think it’s natural. That pivot with a lot of other noise looks to me more like war mongering with China than these agencies actually coming up with a determination they didn’t have in June 2020. I heard it first from MI6.

Sir Richard Dearlove said there was good evidence that the virus was engineered, but that it’s escape from the laboratory was accidental.

That would be the default explanation. This is from June 2020. There are a lot of dead people for us to be running around with the wrong explanation why these people are dead.

The government, as official policy is whipping up vitriol against “people they dislike”, namely the Chinese as part of a policy extraneous to Covid. I do not support it, or buy into it. In a way, Covid as a tool fell into the government’s lap.

Winter May 18, 2023 5:04 AM


Doesn’t have anything to do with it.

I am glad you at least do not try to blame the Chinese or Scientists for it. Everyone else talking about it most definitely wants to do so. However, why you ignore all relevant evidence is rather puzzling to me.

If in fact, it was a lab issue, it would direct attention to a policy of pursuing “gain of function” research.

That is already in the cross hairs of regulators. Not so much because it might cause pandemics, but because of “think of the terrorists”.

Note that “gain of function” research is currently needed to understand why and how pathogens become dangerous. Without it, we will eternally be chasing tail lights with outbreaks. [1]

Maybe the risks should be measured against the contributions that gain of function research has produced so far, should the lab be the cause of the problem.

We learned that, eg, increased infectivity of bird flu can be achieved by a few specific mutations, but the resulting virus is less lethal [1]

[1] Famous study about bird flu gain of function:

Winter May 18, 2023 5:26 AM


‘We’re being run by Satan’

The previous vice president advocated ideas like he seemed to see The Handmaid’s tale as a blueprint for the USA.

Christian Nationalism is an oxymoron and actually an euphemism for white supremacists.

vas pup May 18, 2023 5:04 PM

@Clive said
“Because at the end of the day Alphabet-Google, Meta-Facebook, and Microsoft all want to use AI to improve profit / shareholder value. And as @Winter pointed out “Corporations are psychopaths” which means they will use the technology in what most will consider “the worst possible way” which will significantly help other psychopaths such as political parties gain and not relinquish power, in effect hastening a police state.”


Elon Musk: I will say what I want even if it costs me

Yeah, he could afford it having huge financial resources and team of good lawyers, BUT I’ll warn him of huge and basically unlimited resources which deep state could use against him, his close and distant relatives, and his business to retaliate.

As I said before on this blog, we all are not angels and have own skeletons in the closet difference is in size and number of skeletons. That is utilized by deep state devils to destroy anybody regardless the position on the food chain.

I hope US DoD and NASA could stop such future attacks on him to particular extend, but our legal system is just casino. Many officials in it are not serving justice anymore but political interests of those who help them financially get law degree and then got elected position. I am deeply pro federal system of appointment prosecutors and judges – no election, no money at play.

So, if my post deleted by Moderator, it just confirm what I just said: I am not Musk I can’t say what I want on private blog in particular.

Winter May 18, 2023 6:26 PM


For instance, you oppose first amendment principles.

I am not American, don’t live there, and I am not protected by its laws. The First Amendment has no relevance to me. You might feel a religious and absolute entitlement to it, but the First Amendment simply has no power or relevance outside the USA.

But I do know that the First Amendment protects citizens against government censorship. It does not force other private parties to carry or transmit any message they do not like. So, in what ways were your First Amendment rights broken by government legislation or executive action?

You didn’t notice that this virus was extremely contagious between humans?

I what way is this evidence? Measles and Ebola are extremely contagious, and so are host of other germs. That is in no way evidence for anything. It is obvious you have no idea what constitutes evidence.

There is plenty of circumstantial, not the least of which is these people who felt that the issue not be discussed.

In what way did the Chinese curtailed the discussions in the USA? But that too is no evidence at all for anything. I assume many people were against discussion your guilt in the creation of SARS 2, but that is not because you were guilty.

This notion that the lab is innocent unless proven guilty is only an artificial criminal law construct.

It is literally the basis of the Rule of Law. Without it, there is no justice at all.

In the absence of conclusive evidence, we are left to make a conclusion on the circumstantial evidence. I think DNA can make it more conclusive, so I look forward to the release of classified documents.

There is a lot of evidence, including a lot of DNA from the market. And it has been published. But you completely ignore it.

Clive Robinson May 18, 2023 6:41 PM

@ vas pup,

“I am deeply pro federal system of appointment prosecutors and judges – no election, no money at play.”

You don’t have to be “pro federal” to believe in “appointment by agreed merit”. In effect it should be “society decides” but anything with the word or notion of “social” in the US in particular is attacked by lets call them at best “conservitive” at worst “nut jobs”. Who want what they see as the “glories of the past”[1]”, which is usually a male dominated “Might is Right, and I have might” feudal system pretending to be either “ultra right wing” or “orthodox religion”, but in practice is the old “King Game” or “Man of Power” nonsense as we have more recently see it.

There tactic is to “claim the opposit” that is “social” or “common good” gets called “socialism” with the sub text of “communism” with both words so corrupted from their actual meanings thay become a meaningles “hate-shout” mantra. Which is what the intent is…

In Russia we see the supposed “Men of Power” saying the west is full of Nazi’s… It’s obviously not true, especially as the current “Men of Power” behaviours, more or less fit the actuall “fascism” descriptions.

But getting back to the “on merit” basis of awarding positions in the judiciary, in the UK for instance judges are technicaly appointed that way. But as we have seen very clearly demonstrated in the Scottish Judiciary “patronage” has significantly taken root.

However the “select on merit” process can be subverted, because it sufferes from the “faux-51%” problem. That is if the votes are biased so that it looks like a “majority vote” then the outcome is biased so it does in no way represent the “majority”.

So how can that faux-51% be achieved, that is what do you need to have in place to accomplishing a “take over” to appear to get the 51%?

Well there are a number of ways but the two you need to watch out for especially are,

1, Is to have a hierarchical system where there are very few if any voters at the very top. We call our systems “democratic” but in reality they are a “hierarchical representative” system not democratic in the slightest (and where patronage and bribery is rife and now apparently uncontrollable).

2, There is a “one of the candidates has to be selected” mechanism that is there is not a “none are suitable re-set and re-run” process. Usually this defect is coupled with a “casting vote” mechanism. To rig the system all you have to do is control the candidate selection process, and get a lock in with getting the casting vote holder in your group.

Thus you can slowely take over the system which is what some say –acctually for the wrong reasons– is why SCOTUS is now apparently significantly “right wing biased” even by US standards.

I could go on but as you can see, “any process” you might propose will suffer from the faux-51% problem…

vas pup May 18, 2023 8:02 PM

@Clive Robinson • May 18, 2023 6:41 PM

I agree with you on multiple points. I just see federal system not as perfect but as less evil.

Regarding 51% vote – e.g. when POTUS election on state level aka electoral college, I guess winner should take all when get 2/3 i.e. supermajority of votes, otherwise it should divided by % of votes. Then there no more pure red or pure blue or whatever color states and votes for party candidate that is not winner will not discarded when final count.

But who is going to listed??? 🙂

Winter May 19, 2023 3:38 AM

@vas pup

Regarding 51% vote – e.g. when POTUS election on state level aka electoral college, I guess winner should take all when get 2/3 i.e. supermajority of votes, otherwise it should divided by % of votes.

It would already mend a lot of problems if the US would Institute a true two round election where the winning candidate must get more than 50% of the final votes, eg, like Brazil and every other Democratic country with presidential elections.

Now the two parties do a fake first round among themselves.

Clive Robinson May 19, 2023 5:27 AM

@ vas pup,

Re : How you get the peoples opinion.

“I agree with you on multiple points. I just see federal system not as perfect but as less evil.”

There are many voting systems, and none of them match all the ideals that people want met, and worse they are all open to “bias”[1].

As Winston Chirchill is said to have pointed out one day,

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”

Which is a bit like that John Lydgate observed,

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Such is life 😉

[1] Proportional representation for instance appears to in part solve the “first past the post” and Gerrymandering issues… Only it does not, and worse it brings a whole raft of new problems. For instance to see this, lets say the result of the election is your party gets 30% of the vote, thus 30 out of the hundred seats in a parliment. Ask who decides which candidates get chosen? And who they supposadly represent… Some group of voters up North East might want their “home territory Girl” to represent them. However some unelected “leader” choses some aging stale white and male from down south, as he pulls in a lot of money to party funds etc…

ResearcherZero May 19, 2023 6:59 AM

“What self-centered, irrational decision process got him to this travesty? Most importantly, how will that process serve us when the issues he must address are dangerous and incredibly complex?”

The death of Robert Ames, who was America’s top intelligence officer for the Middle East, is commemorated among the hundred and seventeen stars on the white marble Memorial Wall at C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. Ames left behind a widow and six children. He was so clandestine that his kids did not know that he was a spy until after he was killed.

Since his election, Trump has raged at the U.S. intelligence community over its warnings about Russian meddling in the Presidential election.

Trump blamed any misunderstanding on the media. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth,” he said.

Trump made passing reference to the “special wall” behind him… Trump’s unscripted remarks were, instead, largely about himself…


campaign figures “presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities”

“The Kremlin and its proxies have transferred these funds in an effort to shape foreign political environments in Moscow’s favor.”

The CIA shared its assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill

“…he does some things that are reckless that are clearly gonna give rise to investigations and look into them.”

Barr said he believes federal investigators have “very good evidence” against Trump.

“He’s dug himself a hole on the documents, and also on the January 6 stuff. That was reckless behavior that was destined to end up being investigated. So it doesn’t surprise me that he has all these legal problems.”

Durham acknowledges the FBI did have reason to open an investigation…

JonKnowsNothing May 19, 2023 10:45 AM

@Winter, @AL

re: Americanism Myopia


AL: For instance, you oppose first amendment principles.

W: I am not American, don’t live there, and I am not protected by its laws. The First Amendment has no relevance to me. You might feel a religious and absolute entitlement to it, but the First Amendment simply has no power or relevance outside the USA.

People from the USA (aka Americans; ignoring that there are 2 continents of Americans: North America and South America), have extreme myopia when it comes to Everyone Else. We make some really horrific choices both politically and personally because we do not even consider there are OTHER LAWS and OTHER FORMS of GOVERNMENT, much less OTHER FORMS of ECONOMICS.

We make presumptions that our laws, just envelope us in a aura of protections, no matter where we are, and then we find out that It AINT NECESSARILY SO. Depending on the level of transgression, people end up in jail, or worse executed.

A good part of the MSM reports (HAIL), are about US Citizens transgressing laws elsewhere and getting the Big Surprise that they are going to spend a very long time on vacation.

It just never occurs to us.

Even in the USA, people from one state rarely worry about the laws in other states. States and local municipalities know this very well and exploit it to their financial advantage. People traversing even a small part of an area, can be cited, arrested and fined with on-the-spot immediate payment made from a CC taken from your belonging.

Whenever traveling in the USA, one of my first checks is

  • At Red Light after coming to a complete Stop; can you make a Right Turn while the light is still red?

It’s complicated but worth $300-500 USD to the municipality at every photo op signal.


HAIL – Hallucinating AI Language Models

modem phonemes May 19, 2023 12:38 PM

@ vas pup @ Winter @ Clive Robinson

Re: vote early, vote often

Donald Saari in his writings on voting methods, e.g. [1], shows that the Borda Count is uniquely free from “vote paradoxes”, that is, it aggregates individual voter preferences in such a way that the aggregated result nearly always is “fair” by all reasonable criteria.

A separate question is what is being voted on. In US presidential elections, the direct vote (by some method) is for electors in each state. The electors then vote (by some method) for the president. A key feature of this scheme is that it helps to ensure the voice of small states is not obliterated by that of large states. This reflects that the country is (in theory) a union of independent states; it is the United States of America, not the United People of America. If the college were to be abolished, the states would soon also be effectively abolished and become just departments of the federal government. This would be prejudicial against local representation and to political freedom.

  1. Saari, Donald G. Decisions and Elections; Explaining the Unexpected, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

MarkH May 19, 2023 3:04 PM

Air Defense, 1

A few years ago, Russia announced its new Kinzhal (dagger) hypersonic air-launched missile. It approaches its target at Mach 10, or perhaps Mach 13 depending on which Russian you ask. And it can maneuver unpredictably, making it — according to Putin himself — unstoppable.

How do you know when he’s lying? When his mouth is moving …

It’s an ordinary ballistic missile (files in an arc) which can make small course adjustments to confuse air defenses, not high-G maneuvers. Its actual Mach number is probably between 6 and 7.

That is hypersonic speed … but virtually all ballistic missiles come in hypersonic. Germany’s 1940s V2 was hypersonic. America’s 60 year old Minuteman approaches at Mach 23.

MarkH May 19, 2023 3:10 PM

Air Defense, 2

From news reports, on the 16th, Russia attacked Kyiv with 6 Kinzhals. They were coordinated to arrive nearly simultaneously, and likely from different directions, to overwhelm air defenses.

Ukraine claims — and the U.S. confirms — that all 6 were destroyed by Patriot batteries.

Air defenses (and Patriot in particular) have a history of overstated success, though I’m inclined to believe this report. Kyiv as a preferred target has a high concentration of defenses.

Russia’s new tech seems to have been defeated by anti-air missiles nearly 20 years older.

A patriot PAC-3 costs about USD 4 million; a Kinzhal about USD 10 million. Do the math!

JonKnowsNothing May 19, 2023 7:05 PM

@MarkH, All

re: destroyed by Patriot batteries

Basic physics: What goes Up must come Down

The pat response is that such devices didn’t hit their target. They didn’t. They hit something else instead.

Even when the encasement is shattered, it continues to fall to the ground. We are still picking up pieces of Challenger.

Not really all that much of a HOOHAA.

Now, if someone managed to gain control of these devices in flight and redirect it to a “safe zone outside the environment” (see: The Front Fell Off), that might be a HOOHAA moment. I would hazard though, that any military system capable of doing such an intercept would redirect the missiles to a homed-zone target, provided it had enough fuel to make it to Moscow. It doesn’t need have to all the fuel to make it there, just enough so that the Downward Glide Path ends in a suburb.

In the form of strategy, it was a Blunder. No doubt the mfg and milspec folks were very happy to have a live ammo test. Everyone else watched too.

MarkH May 19, 2023 7:39 PM


1) If damage to an incoming missile prevents its warhead from detonating — or detonates it at high altitude — destruction on the ground can be reduced by a large factor.

2) The ability of a body to sustain supersonic velocity is strongly dependent on its shape and orientation. If damage to an incoming missile deprives it of those properties, the vehicle (or its fragments) will reach the ground with kinetic energy orders of magnitude below that of an intact reentry vehicle.

3) When the target is in the center of an urban area, even modest deflection of an incoming missile’s trajectory is likely, on average, to reduce the number of persons killed and injured by a large factor.

If the options were (a) intact reentry vehicle streaking toward my house, or (b) fragment streaking toward my house, which would I choose? Hmmm …

JonKnowsNothing May 20, 2023 1:00 AM


re: the options were (a) intact reentry vehicle streaking toward my house, or (b) fragment streaking toward my house, which to choose?

I’ve seen both suggested as the preferred option (as if you really have a choice).

a) Take get many smaller hits of canister shrapnel spread over a wider area.

  • Like a hail storm, the infrequent kind, where the hail is the size of baseballs. It’s just water, but it does a lot of damage, over a wide distance, and sometimes kills people.

b) Take 1 big hit from a high velocity item in a narrow target space.

  • Like the rare occurrence of having an airplane engine drop through your roof.

You can look at any photo (non-HAIL) of a warzone, and see the damage that results from both scenarios. There isn’t one option better than the another. The best option is to not have it happen at all.

One thing for sure, where ever it landed, there will be no insurance payouts for rebuilding; Acts of War are not covered. The Red Cross might give you a plastic blanket wrap, but afaik, they never fork out the funds to rebuild damaged homes. Governments claim they offer funds to rebuild, but the Banker’s Fine Print Footnotes, show that large developers will get funds to buy up the land and put up a subdivision at market rate pricing. An individual home owner, isn’t going to get enough to pour a new foundation.

While it’s a bit of a segue from incoming missiles, I recently read of about a California Law that allows Cities to claim ownership of properties in need of significant repair: apartments, mobile home parks, homeless shelters. The deal is that a person of means, who will fund the cost of repairs out of pocket, can take over the properties. The person does the repairs, bills $500/hour for staff time, drains the provided refurbishment funds, evicts the existing tenants, owners and then flogs the entire operation for significant profit to Big Land Developers. It’s not eminent domain, but a sub-clause in California Laws.

One can readily expect that all of the damaged buildings, lands, villages, farms will be up for redevelopment auction, if not already sold by backroom deals.

No one is going to rebuild Granny’s House on her pension check income.

Clive Robinson May 20, 2023 8:41 AM

@ MarkH, JonKnowsNothing,

“If damage to an incoming missile prevents its warhead from detonating — or detonates it at high altitude — destruction on the ground can be reduced by a large factor.”

You are thinking conventional war heads…

Consider radiological war heads instead which is more likely… Then you are adding in various “salted earth options of more than biblical duration”.

These “rich-man” toys of hypersonich missiles realy hinges on four things,

1, Cost of delivery.
2, Time to target.
3, Type of payload.
4, Manoverability in flight.

Whilst the cost of these missiles can be in the 10s of billions to develop getting “range” unless using free fall is also eye wateringly expensive. Which is why the Chinese and Russians have –as far as we know– both gone for primary launch from ground being “under an aircrafts wing/belly”. This saves considerably on cost and significantly extends the range.

However what it also does is significantly increase the time and visabilit to the target. After which makes defending the target easier.

After all why try taking out “a hypersonic missile with short range”, when you can take out the “supersonic long range carrying aircraft”?

As I understand it the US looked into hypersonic missiles and decided they were actually not worth it. That is in just about all use cases when studied there were actually cheaper and more effective ways of ensuring mission success.

In part because hypersonic missiles are not realy manoverable… It’s not just the energy required but the strength of the vehicle required cuts down on not just the size but the mass of any warhead. As has been observed (about a small nuclear device),

“A war fought with million dollar hand grenades is going to be short and pyrrhic”

(which is why the “Davey Crockett” is about the smallest man portable battlefield nuke).

Like large naval carrier groups hypersonic missiles are only of use in asymmetric warfare where the opponent has no defensive capability at any stage of the deployment. And in the case of hypersonic missiles then the opponent probably does not have any targets worth the cost of their use compared to more conventional weapons.

However technology changes all the time… When Amazon indicated it was looking into developing drones to deliver packages, you can be sire that around one person in a thousand maybe more thought about delivering bombs by them, and more people with time.

Even expensive drones, are realy quite inexpensive compared to even conventional munitions and have several major advantages. As has been seen recently they can be used by “special forces” just like snippers and similar used to be used. The fact they improve the survivability of “behind lines” forces quite significantly might only be a temporary advantage to “lingering munitions” but there is little doubt about their current advantages.

Dropping even a few ounce bomb onto an airfield fuel tanker is going to cause a lot of issues for the opponents airforce because you take out their delivery capability whilst it is still on the ground.

At the moment the opponent has a small advantage in that they can deploy radio jamming but it’s not going to last.

Back when I was a quite young engineer I looked into the pros and cons of using jamming equipment for protecting VIP’s and I pointed out that there was the “donught effect” and similar[1] that an opponent could exploit. Anti-radar missiles already “fly down the beam” and making a low cost drone munition to do the same would not be difficult.

Then there is the consideration of an “auto-pilot” system with AI input. Currently AI as is being talked about in the MSM and trade journals is too resource intensive to hang off of a drone… But much much smaller AI with different capabilities are being developed as I type… There is already one derivitive of Meta’s monster that runs on a Raspberry Pi “Single Board Computer”(SBC)… The required capability of the Raspberry Pi in tetms of CPU and memory is available on much smaller “gum-stick” size SBC’s so… All it needs is a small number of incentivised software developers and radio jamming of drones as a deterant will become a thing of the past, in fact a positive liability as most of those jammers are hand held, having a beam-following bomb fly towards you is going to be quite a short battle of nervers.

[1] Any radiative source is a “spherical cow” but when you bring it close to either conductive or dialectic materials the cow gets form. One such is a UHF antenna mounted above the metal body of a vehicle. If you have a sensor in the road surface you know when the jammer is “going over the top” simply by the shape of the power spectrum of the jammer. In Northern Ireland they went for another option, they used a flash gun and a telescope in reverse to make a remote light trigger. You can currently find projects on the internet where the use of very high power LED’s and low cost lense systems have been used by radio amateurs to communicate considerable distances which would make line of sight control across an entire airfield easily accomplished and with a little thought and light weight plastic difficult if not impossible to jam.

no comment May 20, 2023 9:59 AM

@ vas pup @ Clive Robinson @ Winter @ modem phonemes all

Re: Borda count

This voting method is clearly the method of choice in a modern science influenced society because it is a form of quantum mechanics. Viz.,

The entire system must be taken into account, just as in solving QM problems (e.g. see Feynman’s book Fundamental Processes), since each voter must rank all the candidates. Other systems have voters dealing with only some of the candidates. This is like trying to solve the QM system by assuming some particles can be safely neglected.

Also, the voter must assign a distinct numerical value to each candidate, just as in QM where the exclusion principle applies. Other ranked choice systems omit this exclusion feature.

Perhaps the analogy between QM and voting methods can be further developed. For example, the voters themselves are some kind of quantum component also.

Winter May 20, 2023 11:44 AM


re: the options were (a) intact reentry vehicle streaking toward my house, or (b) fragment streaking toward my house, which to choose?

The point of a hypersonic missile is to deliver a payload to a target. Interception of the missile prevents the payload to reach the target. Collateral damage can be severe, but the payload is still not delivered where it should.

If random damage to the countryside is the aim, it is cheaper and more effective to send some drones as the Russians are already doing.

JonKnowsNothing May 20, 2023 3:46 PM

@Winter, MarkH Clive, All

re: The point of a [missile/drone] is to deliver a payload to a target.

Direct Damage, Random Damage, Unexpected Damage, & Collateral Damage

  • All damage is damage. The extent of the damage varies.
  • All collateral damage is death. The number of people killed varies.

In a war zone, where the opponents are lobbing stuff back and forth, there is every intention of causing damage. A bullseye hit being the most damage achieved, but any damage will do.

Depending on the country, collateral damage, killing anyone in the vicinity of the blast radius, is just as acceptable. The USA is particularly keen on collateral damage as an outcome for a “failed” bullseye drop.

Of course, in the USA, we want a Touch Down for every lob we make. It makes the best photo op press when the MilSpec folks can show a huge crater, where a village used to be. However, missed bullseyes are just as good in warfare, in that they provide uncertainty of target.

When “targeted-random acts of warfare” are common, the population in the area flees. When there are no civilians left, collateral damage drops and military objects are increased.

The ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world, as in Afrika, show the resulting exodus of civilians creates and increasing burden on supporting countries (active or neutral), leaving only military objectives in their wake.

JonKnowsNothing May 20, 2023 9:08 PM

@MarkH, @Clive

re: But most Ukrainians have learned (the hard way) to take shelter every time. Widespread use of shelters seems likely to greatly reduce risk of casualties

The USA Military took advantage of civilian shelter systems to targeted them, under the rule : “The Enemy is using Civilian Shields”, meaning hitting a shelter, hospital or clearly marked refugee camp is Open Season.

The USA also excels in the double-tap and triple-tap attack. This sequence of attack formations, waits for First Responders to show up, then drops a crater-maker on them, then waits for the surviving responders to enter the damage zone and another crater-maker gets dropped.

There isn’t any safe place in a war zone.

As part of the economic warfare @Clive mentioned, destroying hospitals, killing medical staff, breaking up medial supply chains is all Part of the Plan.

Winter May 21, 2023 3:29 AM


A bullseye hit being the most damage achieved, but any damage will do.

War is merely the continuation of policy by other means.

Not all damage helps you obtain your goals. Some damage is inconsequential and others could even hamper reaching your goals. Also, all attacks have costs and not all damage inflicted is worth the costs.

Your examples all require delivering payloads with some accuracy.

JonKnowsNothing May 21, 2023 11:52 AM


re: delivering payloads

All payloads deliver damage. Not always the expected damage, and not always at the intended target.

Bullseye delivery is the intention but rarely occurs. The USA got a Bullseye on Hiroshima but missed the target area at Nagasaki by a wide mark. The USA aims repeatedly at the people on the Death Card List (names selected by POTUS) but it takes multiple attempts at crater-makers to get one of them. Collateral damage is accepted damage.

There are own goal damage, where the process backfires. Ammo jams, guns that malfunction, ammo depots that go up outside of combat zones. Depending on which side you are looking at, depends on how you feel emotionally about the damage. If it’s OUR FOLKS you might get angry at the shoddy MilSpec manufacturer for making MikeyMouse M1s that failed so often you might as be using it as a club. If it’s THEIR FOLKS well, all sorts of schadenfreude kicks in.

It’s the schadenfreude, happiness at the misfortune of others, that is required to maintain a war. Modern wars are of short duration for Direct Fire, but re-ignite frequently. If a war goes on too long, the schadenfreude gets consumed and a peace will happen. Then comes a long period where tolerance gets eroded, schadenfreude builds up again and the war re-ignites.

MilSpec manufacturers know this cycle very well. It’s part of their marketing plan. There’s always One More Better Weapon To Build, One More Method To Kill Others, One More Economic Attack Promoting Starvation, One More Political Decision to Dismantle a Population.

People are easily manipulated when the message is packaged with schadenfreude. The message may seem right but the schadenfreude makes it wrong because schadenfreude hides the true intention of the message.

  • George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

Winter May 22, 2023 2:42 AM


All payloads deliver damage. Not always the expected damage, and not always at the intended target.

Militaries of the world spend a large part of their payload delivery budget on making their delivery more accurate. So they actually care about accuracy.

If the “fall of Bakhmut” shows us anything it is that just inflicting indiscriminate damage might win you a battle, but might lose you the war. Old Pyrrhus already observed this fact in the 3rd century BCE.

JonKnowsNothing May 22, 2023 8:48 AM


re: Militaries of the world spend a large part of their payload delivery budget on making their delivery more accurate.

They can and do, spend all the money in the US Black Budget but we still cannot hit the broad side of a barn with a shotgun.

Every new iteration of a weapons system comes with new targeting problems. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the system is, it will still have failures and vulnerabilities.

The more sophisticated, the more complex, the chance of component failure goes up. A gyro goes or the software uses Metric vs Imperial. Catastrophic failures can be seen in explosions from failed Space or Missile Launches.

Damage is Damage. Own Goal, Self Inflicted or Inflicted on Another. Setting a moral schadenfreude value to the damage, doesn’t bring back anyone from the dead.

The true economic value of the damage is not in how much destruction it causes in terms of depleting adversarial resources, but the profit to be made post-conflict in rebuilding.

Rest assured, the Bankers and Global Construction Outfits are totting up the sums you will get to pay for rebuilding. You are already paying for every brick of destruction.


In the histories of conflict, a review of the battles for Quebec, Canada might be useful. The winner isn’t always the one waving the flag last.

  • Quebec’s official language is still French

Winter May 22, 2023 9:24 AM


Every new iteration of a weapons system comes with new targeting problems. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the system is, it will still have failures and vulnerabilities.

Nothing is perfect.

The true economic value of the damage is not in how much destruction it causes in terms of depleting adversarial resources, but the profit to be made post-conflict in rebuilding.

You really think Putin et al. and Zelensky et al. are guided by the profit they can make from rebuilding? That is beyond cynical, it is delusional.

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