Links For Today


Bloomberg reported Israel’s attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing Revolutionary Guards’ command, prompting Iran to suspect Syria’s involvement in previous assassinations.

Israel’s credit downgrade amid risk of regional escalation is a call to take action

Why did Poland get rid of homework in primary schools?

Disease Caused by Rat Urine Surged in New York City to Record Levels during 2023

The fungi in our guts can make cases of Covid worse

Study Suggests Possible Link Between CWD and Fatal Human Disease—But with Many Open Questions

Links For Today


US House approves major military aid package for Ukraine

Israel used radar-evading missile to hit S-300 defenses near Natanz nuke site

A Dangerous Spiral of Violence in the Middle East

Israel allegedly obtained approval for an operation in Rafah as long as it doesn’t strike Iran

Israel aghast as US said poised to sanction notorious IDF unit

California Fast Food Prices Soar As Minimum Wage Hike Takes Toll on Businesses, Workers, and Customers

I have seen it but did not know it had its own name. What was that falling from the sky Friday morning? Graupel!

Enormous snake in ancient India was longer than a school bus

Links For Today


Israel really got everyone (including myself) to think that they wouldn’t respond till after Passover. So far nothing about the strike itself is surprising though. The Israel Defense Forces have launched a reprisal operation against Iran five days after Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel.


China is a threat to Europe’s gunpowder supply

On the ongoing cocoa boom and what it tells us about the current state (and future) of African agriculture

Wednesday’s dramatic eruption of the volcano on a remote island in North Sulawesi threw a fiery-red column of lava, incandescent rock and ash as much as three km (two miles) into the sky.

Stranded travelers in flooded airport panicking, say they are ‘running out of food’

The Equal Rights Amendment on the ballot in November 2024 would enshrine Diversity Equity & Inclusion into the New York State Constitution, protecting reverse discrimination and other discrimination done in the name of “dismantling discrimination.”

Links For Today


Ukraine Situation Report: Russian Air Defense Systems Struck In Crimea

Interesting that China allowed this to be published. But it seems more like a message to the west then its own people given that it was published in the Economist. A Chinese specialist on Russia has delivered a grim forecast for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine: that it is doomed to fail.

‘Much more unpopular than anyone anticipated’ After months of deliberation and thousands of amendments, Ukraine’s new mobilization law frustrates politicians and soldiers alike

Israel considered striking Iran on Monday but decided to wait, officials say

Will Electric Rates Become the New Gas Price?

Rat urine-related sickness in New York City soared to the highest level ever in 2023.

F-15E Strike Eagle’s Defense Of Israel Bolsters The Case For F-15EX

Attackers are pummeling networks around the world with millions of login attempts

Thoughts on Microsoft as a single point of failure

Yesterday I read an article on Ars Technica called “Why the US government’s overreliance on Microsoft is a big problem.” It was one of those things that I read that did not make the cut as I did not think there was anything educational enough in the article to be worth passing along. But one comment in the article about the reliance of Microsoft in effect creating a huge single point of failure stuck with me and made me think long after I could no longer remember what else was in the article.

One of the things that bugs me is when people talk about how to government should do this or do that to prepare for some possible disaster but don’t take responsibility for doing even the smallest things themselves. If people took even small steps towards preparedness it would make them less of a burden in those same disasters and in aggregate be more beneficial most things people want the government to do. So if you think it is stupid for the government to create a massive over reliance on Microsoft what are you doing in your life that makes it so you have alternatives?

On one hand, my reaction to those thoughts is that if Microsoft and its products ever fail in a systematic way I will have much bigger problems then if I have a spare laptop that can run a Linux distro or not. Also, I have limited bandwidth to deal with various contingencies and things like clean water or ways to deal with gas shortages seem higher on the list then the ability to use a computer.

On the other hand, this reaction is tempered by my recent experience with the COVID pandemic. If you had asked me prior to everything kicking off what would be the likely result of a pandemic, I would have talked about supply chain disruptions. This would have been no act of genius on my part. The historical record clearly indicates that those are common problems during serious pandemics and everyone pre-COVID who bothered to think about pandemics had the same concerns. So this was no great genius on my part but the experience of COVID showed that those concerns are well founded (even if in COVID’s case the issues were more caused by mass hysteria then any real impact caused by COVID itself).

But what I would not have predicted is that the single best prep for my extended family would be an investment in increasing the reliability and speed of the internet connection. In fact, if you had asked me prior to COVID if spending money on better internet was a good way to prepare for a pandemic, I would have told you no. I would have said that it was better to spend the money on backup power sources/greater food storage instead. And maybe if the Black Death came again I would have been right.

As it turns out, Black Death has not yet come again. And for our particular family and for the particular insanity that was COVID, investing in better internet was best preparation that could have been done even though it was not done for that reason. I guess the lesson here is that becoming more resilient is not all about preparing for the end of the world. Sometimes it is worth investing in a little redundancy in the things that are important to you just because you never know what kind of curve balls will be thrown at you.

I would not invest a couple of hours to make it so that I had a slim chance to play computer games even if someone hijacked Microsoft’s update system to bring down everyone with a windows computer. But would I invest a few hours to enable myself to still have some word processing and maybe basic spreadsheet abilities simply by creating a way to boot up my laptop on Linux if I wanted to? If the cost for doing so really was that low (as rumor has it) maybe it is something I should move up on my to do list.

Links For Today


Ukraine’s use of drones to compensate for critical ammo shortage isn’t enough to stop Russia’s creeping advance

Could Israel Use Conventionally-Armed Jericho Ballistic Missiles To Strike Iran?

IDF has decided on type, not timing, of counter-strike on Iran. The plain reading of the relevant signals suggests that a major attack is not imminent in the coming days and could even be postponed for longer.

74% of Israelis oppose counterstrike on Iran if it harms security alliances

The Federal Government of Iraq (FGI) centred in Baghdad several weeks ago ordered the speeding up of crucial repairs to its own oil export pipeline into Turkey while keeping its embargo on oil exports from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraqi (KRI) based in Erbil in place

Farmers in Switzerland dumped the carcasses of sheep that were killed by wolves in front of a regional government building last weekend and demanded more action to control the predators’ numbers.

In what is called the first described case of “digits amputation,” Canadian doctors surgically removed two healthy fingers from a young man who was experiencing “body integrity dysphoria.”

US House speaker launches bid to approve aid for Israel, Ukraine in separate votes

Navy is down $1B in munitions from ops in Red Sea, says SECNAV

Framework’s software and firmware have been a mess, but it’s working on them

Your Vision Can Predict Dementia 12 Years Before Diagnosis

Prescription Drugs Are the Leading Cause of Death

Mechanical Watch