For 50 years there has been a strong negative relationship between fertility and income in richer countries, and between fertility and education. But in the many rich nations this is no longer true. The development of a childcare market may be driving some of this shift.
Some ivory artifacts in medieval Kyiv were made with walrus ivory from Greenland. There was also walrus hunting in the Russian arctic, so the presence of Greenland specimens is a little surprising.
Polyester now accounts for more than half of global fiber production. It's also cool again, thinks to its use in activewear like leggings.
Understanding the ice on Europa by analogy to Greenland. That part of the article is interesting, but the claim that "The chances of finding alien life on Jupiter’s moon Europa just shot way up" is false, because there is still no sign of complex organic molecules. Water by itself means nothing.
Potentially important improvement in T-cell therapy for cancer.
The Large Hadron Collider is back online after a three-year rebuild of its main detectors. Now they say the mission is to look for evidence of dark matter and dark energy. Which would of course be amazing, but I'm not holding my breath; I am not aware of any physics indicating that evidence of those things should findable at the energies the LHC can reach.
Twitter thread on using AI to recreate a childhood imaginary friend.
From Macron's victory speech, a typically useless line: "we will invent a new way of doing things together, for a better five years." Sadly that won't happen, and France will have five more years of the same frustrations and divisions. I don't think this is Macron's fault, since France's problems long predate him, but he certainly doesn't have any answers.
The best performers do not give the best advice.
Flooding forests in Arkansas, duck hunting, and talking to rural Americans about science.
Drive-thru Vietnamese fast food, coming soon to a roadside near you. (NY Times)
Disney, Florida, and the First Amendment.
Bronze Age statue of the goddess Anat found by a farmer in the Gaza Strip.
Trove of wonderful artifacts at the home of an illegal antiquities dealer in Jerusalem.
Review, by Tony Judt, of Mark Mazower's Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (1999). Dark Continent is on my mind because I am reading Mazower's new history of the Greek Revolution of the 1820s, which so far is wonderful.
Protesters throwing eggs drive the "People's Convoy" of trucks away from Nancy Pelosi's house in Oakland, Ca.
Move over Graphene, the new wonder material is Borophene.
A lot of what Frank Peretti put in his Christian fantasy novels in the 1980s is now widely believed by conservative Christians.
Scott Siskind reviews a book about Lacanian analysis, in case you were ever curious about that French madman Lacan. Best bit:
Physics is stuck in an annoying equilibrium where the Standard Model works for almost everything, and then occasionally we come across some exotic domain where it totally falls apart and we know that reality must be something deeper and weirder. I feel like psychology is the same way: you can explain almost everything with your standard scientific toolkit. Then you look at sex, and you realize you’ll need something much more complicated and worse.
The railway saboteurs of Belarus. Interesting that they worked mainly by disabling signals, because they did not want to harm train drivers. With the Russians mostly withdrawn from Belarus, some have moved on to disabling signals in Russia. (Washington Post)
Detailed look at a textbook VDV (air assault) battalion tactical group, with some comparisons to actual BTGs observed in Ukraine.
Former US armored brigade commander on why the Russian's can't succeed. Basically, 1) waging a big war is just really hard, and 2) he knows how to tell good units from bad ones, and the Russian units he has seen are bad.
The role of Ukraine's "Territorial Defense" troops, hastily raised from volunteers after the invasion began.
Reports of a "blame game" within the Russian security forces. But note that most of the military leadership wants to expand the war, not end it.
The defense of Ukraine puts Clausewitz into action.
The political calculations behind the US Secretary of Defense's statement that the US wants "Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine" (NY Times). The US wants to defeat Russia without starting a war with them.
Another count of Russian dead confirmed by funeral announcements finds 1744, of whom 317 are officers, including 2 major generals, 13 colonels, 30 lieutenant colonels, and 39 majors. Elite units are heavily overrepresented.
NBC News feature on how much intelligence the US if feeding to Ukraine (a lot). Among other things they say the US helped Ukraine shoot down a Russian transport plane full of paratroops early in the war; this was reported at the time but no wreckage has ever been spotted.
Operation Z: Death Throes of an Imperial Delusion, significant and interesting discussion of the war by two British intelligence analysts. The text is not nearly as triumphal as the title. Includes discussion of the situation in Moldova.
How the sinking of the submarine Kursk in 2000 set the tone for Putin's rule.
The intersection of drones and cyberwarfare; making drones effective is all about protecting them from electronic disruption, and defeating them is all about overcoming those defenses. Iran claimed they captured one US drone by sending it false GPS signals, thus inducing it to land at an Iranian base.
Russian infantryman's account of fighting in Rubezhnoe in March and April, grim. "With pure mathematics, the chance of leaving the front line alive and unwounded was close to zero."
Biden asks for $33 billion in additional assistance for Ukraine. Ukraine's defense budget in 2020 was $5.9 billion. As somebody on Twitter said, "I guess the US is serious."
Britain is supplying Ukraine with "hundreds" of Brimstone missiles.
Jomini's most recent map of the battle zone.