Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 12-3-2022

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

The weather has turned cold. Thankful steady delivery of electricity for the heat pump and wood available for the fireplace. The Crock pot is keeping the cold corner of the kitchen warm while cooking tonight's dinner. Just a few items that caught my interest this week.


An update on an alternative payment program to SWIFT for international monetary transactions.

The Global South births a new game-changing payment system The Cradle by Pepe Escobar Nov 30, 2022

The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is speeding up its design of a common payment system, which has been closely discussed for nearly a year with the Chinese under the stewardship of Sergey Glazyev, the EAEU’s minister in charge of Integration and Macro-economy.
The system will include a single payment card – in direct competition with Visa and Mastercard – merging the already existing Russian MIR, China’s UnionPay, India’s RuPay, Brazil’s Elo, and others.

That will represent a direct challenge to the western-designed (and enforced) monetary system, head on. And it comes on the heels of BRICS members already transacting their bilateral trade in local currencies, and bypassing the US dollar.
The EAEU was established in 2015 as a customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, joined a year later by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Vietnam is already an EAEU free trade partner, and recently enshrined SCO member Iran is also clinching a deal.

The EAEU is designed to implement free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member countries. Ukraine would have been an EAEU member if not for the Maidan coup in 2014 masterminded by the Barack Obama administration.
As if all that was not game-changing enough, Russian President Vladimir Putin is raising the stakes by calling for a new international payment system based on blockchain and digital currencies.
The next big step is to organize the agenda of a crucial meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 14 December in Moscow. Putin will be there – in person. And there’s nothing he would love more than to make a game-changing announcement.

All of these moves acquire even more importance as they connect to fast increasing, interlocking trade between Russia, China, India, and Iran: from Russia’s drive to build new pipelines serving its Chinese market – to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan discussing a gas union for both domestic supplies and exports, especially to main client China.



DNA from ancient population in Southern China suggests Native Americans' East Asian roots Phys.org July 14, 2022

For the first time, researchers successfully sequenced the genome of ancient human fossils from the Late Pleistocene in southern China. The data, published July 14 in the journal Current Biology, suggests that the mysterious hominin belonged to an extinct maternal branch of modern humans that might have contributed to the origin of Native Americans.
The researchers compared the genome of these fossils to that of people from around the world. They found that the bones belonged to an individual that was linked deeply to the East Asian ancestry of Native Americans. Combined with previous research data, this finding led the team to propose that some of the southern East Asia people had traveled north along the coastline of present-day eastern China through Japan and reached Siberia tens of thousands of years ago. They then crossed the Bering Strait between the continents of Asia and North America and became the first people to arrive in the New World.

The journey to making this discovery started over three decades ago, when a group of archaeologists in China discovered a large set of bones in the Maludong, or Red Deer Cave, in southern China's Yunnan Province. Carbon dating showed that the fossils were from the Late Pleistocene about 14,000 years ago, a period of time when modern humans had migrated to many parts of the world.


A little info on Ukraine.

It appears this British volunteer made it back physically intact from his time spent with the Ukrainian International Legion in beginning in March. I started the video where he speaks about 5 minutes on his general opinion of the various foreign fighters he met. Personally I found both of his interviews interesting, neither the interviewer or volunteer appear to have a preformed agenda they are trying to communicate. Just going about life and unusual things happen.

Back from the front: a British volunteer in Ukraine (57 min if watch all of the interview)

The first interview from March is 19 minutes long - A leap into the unknown: a British man joins the Ukrainian International Legion.

From 2 days ago on Judge Napolitano's program - Scott Ritter - Ukraine Russia War Update (27.44 min)


The language of science can be used to create a authoritative voice, even without understanding basic scientific principles of an issue, as shown by the Artificial Intelligence software Galactica. After the past 3 years of listening to "experts" the problem is not limited to software.

The Galactica AI model was trained on scientific knowledge – but it spat out alarmingly plausible nonsense The Conversation November 29, 2022

What’s special about Galactica?

Galactica is a language model, a type of AI trained to respond to natural language by repeatedly playing a fill-the-blank word-guessing game.

Most modern language models learn from text scraped from the internet. Galactica also used text from scientific papers uploaded to the (Meta-affiliated) website PapersWithCode. The designers highlighted specialized scientific information like citations, maths, code, chemical structures, and the working-out steps for solving scientific problems.
Authoritative, but subtly wrong bullshit generator

Galactica’s press release promoted its ability to explain technical scientific papers using general language. However, users quickly noticed that, while the explanations it generates sound authoritative, they are often subtly incorrect, biased, or just plain wrong.

We also asked Galactica to explain technical concepts from our own fields of research. We found it would use all the right buzzwords, but get the actual details wrong – for example, mixing up the details of related but different algorithms.
A galaxy of deep (science) fakes

Galactica could make it easier for bad actors to mass-produce fake, fraudulent or plagiarised scientific papers. This is to say nothing of exacerbating existing concerns about students using AI systems for plagiarism.
Underlying bias and toxicity

Other critics reported that Galactica, like other language models trained on data from the internet, has a tendency to spit out toxic hate speech while unreflectively censoring politically inflected queries.
For better or worse, citations are the currency of science – and by reproducing existing citation trends in its recommendations, Galactica risks reinforcing existing patterns of inequality and disadvantage. (Galactica’s developers acknowledge this risk in their paper.)

Citation bias is already a well-known issue in academic fields ranging from feminist scholarship to physics. However, tools like Galactica could make the problem worse unless they are used with careful guardrails in place.

A more subtle problem is that the scientific articles on which Galactica is trained are already biased toward certainty and positive results. (This leads to the so-called “replication crisis” and “p-hacking”, where scientists cherry-pick data and analysis techniques to make results appear significant.)

Galactica takes this bias towards certainty, combines it with wrong answers and delivers responses with supreme overconfidence: hardly a recipe for trustworthiness in a scientific information service.


What is on your mind today?

17 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

It's raining here so no Trade Day. However, I will go to the grocery when the showers pass.

BRICS+ is quickly becoming the alliance most of the world is seeking. South America is also working toward a common currency.

Advising Brazil’s President-elect Lula, Ecuadorian economist and leftist presidential candidate Andrés Arauz made a blueprint for a “new regional financial architecture” to unite Latin America, including an international currency to challenge the hegemony of the US dollar and IMF.

Stealing Venezuela's foreign investments (like Citco and their gold) and now Russia's, has convinced most of the world that the US isn't trustworthy. They are looking to work with other nations to avoid the US and IMF.

Hope you all have a nice day. Thanks for the OT!

12 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

thousands of years ago.
So that is how the indigenous came to North America!

Also the creation of an international monetary system
outside of the western sphere is encouraging.
Dethrone the dollar and sanction Wall Street Wink

thanks for the potluck!

11 users have voted.

1 user has voted.

Thanks for giving us some reading and listening ideas for this afternoon, SOE.
It was cold enough for wool jackets for the last 5 days. Today, it is back to shorts and tee shirts. It will be hot as hell this week, and the predicted rains will not give any real relief from the heat.
My flowering bushes in the yard are pleased, as are the birds and butterflies. Strange winter.
So, we can shift blame away from scientists onto a faulty analog created by scientists. Hokay. We can at least all agree science has been a money maker for certain CEOs and stockholders.
Must shop, replace my stove. I cross my fingers that there will be some inventory locally. I searched stores in 3 cities before I could come up with a new W & D, and the only store that had one in stock was a furniture store. Finding a freezer meant buying one locally, then waiting for the Houston warehouse to send it to the local store, then waiting for that store to deliver it. Sigh...
Hope to make a comment on some of the info you presented.
Have a great day!

8 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

But this is a reasonable conclusion.


Russia has quietly amassed a fleet of more than 100 ageing tankers to help circumvent western restrictions on Russian oil sales following its invasion of Ukraine, according to shipping brokers and analysts.

Shipping broker Braemar estimates Moscow, which relies heavily on foreign tankers to transport its crude, has added more than 100 ships this year, through direct or indirect purchases. Energy consultancy Rystad says Russia has added 103 tankers in 2022 through purchases and the reallocation of ships servicing Iran and Venezuela, two countries under western oil embargoes.

The Kremlin’s push to assemble what the oil shipping industry calls Russia’s “shadow fleet” is an attempt to overcome new international curbs on the country’s oil. These include an EU ban on seaborne imports, which comes into force on Monday, and a new global price cap of $60 per barrel, which the bloc backed on Friday and is part of a broader G7 initiative.

Traders say the shadow fleet will reduce the impact of such measures, but will fall short of eliminating it

9 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

busy as hell (also behind as hell). When we got home yesterday, there was evidence that it had rained at least once during our absence. Today it has rained all day, often heavy, good for the land and water table, etc, but made catching up on things like dealing with a layer of leaves on everything, going to the farmers' market and doing some basis grocery shopping a bit brutal.

We were pretty much out of touch with everything, though we do know that the US beat Iran and has since lost to (Norway?) in futbol. Also, China and Russia are still evil and RR workers will get the shaft but who didn't predict that anyway? Western Mexico and Baja are much, much warmer than it is here in the bay area, which should be news to nobody either.

Yay for the EAEU and alternative currencies, settlement methodologies and payment cards. Nice to see the DNA study confirming the migration to the Americas. Ironic that we were waging war against the Chinese before we ever started dealing with China.

Galactica presents the opportunity to learn a great many lessons, but I doubt that we and the techies will. One thing missing from AI so far, is rigor, and I don't see it coming any time soon.

be well and have a good one.

8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris After we took for for 5 days in Gulf Shores, I returned to court 4 days in a row. A total of 10 cases. 3 different courts. Hopefully, it all calms down after 2 more weeks, then it is off to Galveston for a few days.
I hope you enjoyed the sights, ate great cuisine!
You missed only more of the same.

4 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp

refrieds and tamal (red) in Mazatlan, everything else good, but not super wonderful.

be well and have a good one

2 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

I think he is very experienced, reasoned, not prone to conjecture, just analyses what is out there, analyses what the situation is likely to become. He doesn't try to guess what generals will direct. He is much appreciated. Extremely honest and unbiased.

5 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

While I found his knowledge of on the ground war fare, his description of the inadequacy and ineptitude absolutely spot on, what leapt out at me what his reason for being there: to kill Russians. Over and over. This British soldier hopped onto war to kill Russians. To risk his life to do so. Twice.
man, what a world. No Russians in WWII, no Britain today. wtf.
I hope he returns to organizing festivals, and has orgasmic dreams about killing Russians nightly. And I hope he never, ever, puts on a uniform again.

7 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981