Worthwhile Reading and Viewing

There’s been lots of talk about the need for the US to produce more of its own semiconductor chips–but it’s not just the making of the chips that matters, it’s also the making of the machines that make the chips.  The market for the highest-end chipmaking equipment is dominated by the Dutch company ASML, which now will be prohibited from exporting these machines to China, per Dutch government agreement with US request.

ASML’s current high-end lithography machine has over 100,000 components and takes 40 freight containers to ship.  Unsurprisingly, ASML’s CEO says that the export restrictions will simply push China to create its own technology, and also unsurprisingly, David Goldman (‘Spengler’) agrees.

Mark Andreessen says The most important idea and paper I’ve encountered in the last 20 years is “availability cascades”.  His summary here.

The strategic importance of the Black Sea, especially as it relates to the Ukraine War.

Dating dealbreakers for women.

Speaking of dating, here’s a study suggesting that creative output leads to mating opportunities.

Ridicule:  Some thoughts at The Orthosphere.

Violence and Self-Esteem: Some thoughts on the connection.

How people kept multiple tabs open in the 1500s:

30 thoughts on “Worthwhile Reading and Viewing”

  1. “But to control the Black Sea, Russia needs Ukraine, and in particular Crimea.”

    Why do you think Russia immediately grabbed Crimea after the CIA engineered the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych. An leader elected with about 70% of the vote, by the way.

    Apart from the CIA controlling Ukraine ever since then, a very serious existential threat to Russia, it has been very aggressive in sending the rump of Badera, real Nazis, to attack the east, which declined to join the very people who Russia spent 25 million people defeating in WW2.

    Ukraine used as a weapon against Russia is not something that will end well. Russia has no choice at all, it must destroy Ukraine as a weapon that can be used against it. It will do so and if it has to fight NATO it will. It will do this under a formidable nuclear umbrella and will win this conflict.

    It is absolutely insane to try to put a nuclear power in a corner. Pray the Russian army takes Ukraine to whatever point it needs to. Otherwise we all die.

  2. When Japan and Russia were in a boundary dispute (a.k.a. “war”) GOP President Teddy Roosevelt brokered a deal. Neither side was actually happy with their respective end of the deal… but the Nobel Peace Prize shortly went to Teddy, suggesting the rest of the world WAS happy about the compromise resolution.

    When England and Germany were bickering over Belgium (a.k.a. WORLD WAR) Democratic President Woody Wilson picked a favorite and while proclaiming “neutrality” loaded 170 tons of rifle ammo and other arms and a bunch of US citizens into a British passenger ship bound through the war zone and into port of Liverpool…

  3. Is PenGun a liar, a fool, a madman, or some combination of the three?

    Viktor Yanukovych was NOT “elected with about 70% of the vote” – not even close. He came in first in the 2010 election with 35% to Yulia Tymoshenko’s 25% and won (or “won”) the runoff by 48.95% to 45.47% – a plurality, not a majority, and a margin of less than 3.5%. Three important things about that election:

    1. He cheated, hence my “won” above. Wikipedia doesn’t mention it in the article on Yanukovych or the article on the 2010 election, but the Tymoshenko article reports (with footnotes) that “two days before the run-off”, deputies from Yanukovych’s party, the Communist Party, and others “amended the Law on Election of President, which changed the mode of composition and functioning of election commissions” in ways that “would create opportunities for the massive rigging of elections. Tymoshenko called on president Yushchenko to veto the law.” (Yuschenko was the incumbent, who came in fifth with <5.5% running for reelection.) "Despite these requests, President Yushchenko signed the amended Law. This action generated vast international criticism from the Council of Europe and from members of the US congress' Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe." In short, Yanukovych cheated, and Tymoshenko (like Hillary six years later) refused to concede. Of course, he might have won by a smaller margin without the cheating: we'll never know.

    2. After the election Yanukovych had Tymoshenko locked up on bogus charges and kept her locked up as long as he could. She was released only after he fled to Russia during the Maidan uprising. When it comes to winners locking up losers of elections, Trump said "Lock her up", but Yanukovych actually did it.

    3. The fact that Yanukovych fled to Putin's Russia when he realized that his people hated him, and lives there still while Putin does his best to destroy his homeland, shows that Yanukovych is now a traitor. Was he a traitor when he was elected? Quite possibly. When he betrayed all his supporters by reneging on the deal he'd negotiated for closer relations with the West and chose to knuckle under to Putin? Almost certainly. Whether he did it for money, power, love of Putin and his policies, or from fear, who cares? He's a traitor. And PenGun is a liar and a fool.

  4. Nobody gets high-end chips from China right now. If they can’t even fab high-end chips with external technical assistance, how likely is it they can not just make them but build the capability to do so from scratch?

  5. “Viktor Yanukovych was NOT “elected with about 70% of the vote”

    Well you are right. Not sure why I thought so, I do wing it, on my memory a lot. Obviously a mistake. ;)

    That the coup in Ukraine was engineered by the CIA is in no doubt at all. Victoria Nueland a Kagan really, boasted about the 5 billion dollars the CIA spent doing that coup. Of course he fled, they would have killed him if he did not.

    I stand behind the next 3 paragraphs, if you would care to dispute them.

  6. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.

    Why should I bother to refute all of PenGun’s other lies? He grudgingly admits that Yanukovych didn’t get 70%, but can’t bring himself even to acknowledge my other points, showing what kind of cheating, opponent-jailing, treasonous swine he was and is. (I reread this before hitting ‘Post Comment’ and realized this last statement is ambiguous: the “he” in “he was and is” refers to Yanukovych, but could easily be taken to refer to PenGun. Only a careful reader will realize that PenGun has never – so far as we know – jailed a political opponent, so it must refer to Yanukovych.)

    PenGun’s other claims are also utterly false. Millions of Ukrainians demonstrated against Yanukovych: try telling them they only did so because the CIA told them to, and paid them to. Many Americans (and Canadians) like to think that the inhabitants of the third world and other uncool places like Eastern Europe have no minds of their owns and can be easily controlled by our superior selves, and so try things like bringing gay flags and avant-garde art to Afghanistan. Some of us know better.

    Of course, the Ukrainian candidate who won 70% – actually 73.23% – of the vote in his runoff was Zelensky. Odd that PenGun doesn’t remember that.

  7. “Of course, the Ukrainian candidate who won 70% – actually 73.23% – of the vote in his runoff was Zelensky.”

    That was when Zelensky was running on a peace platform, wasn’t it? A vote for Zelensky would stop the civil war against the people of the Donbas, and he would reach a peaceful resolution of all the problems. With a platform like that, it is surprising that he did not get 100% of the vote. Pity about what happened afterwards.

  8. EUV lithography is only one step, arguably the highest, in the process of building high end semiconductors. The real barrier is that the whole chain from exposure through planarization has to be repeated upwards of 30 times flawlessly before you have a working part. This is where the whole idea of six sigma came from, even tiny defect rates quickly add up to unacceptable yield and reliability.

    China has a long way to go on every step from raw materials to testing without Western help. This is very much a case that we might have taught them everything they know, we haven’t taught them everything that we know. More than that, it takes a mind set and process discipline that I’ve never found evidence of when dealing with Chinese products.

    A few years ago, Xi initiated one of these “Moon Shot” projects to master semiconductors. As things stand, the money is gone, no usable semiconductors were produced and the process of imprisoning and executing the scapegoats is ongoing. Not that I expect different from the American initiative other than fewer executions.

  9. The problem with the Black Sea for the U.S. Navy is that however much or little it may matter, it is simply too small for them to operate in. The idea of having to operate one of more carrier groups in such a confined, landlocked theater probably figures in a lot of naval nightmares. The North Atlantic is barely big enough for comfort.

    Advances in anti-ship missiles are making it increasingly unlikely that carriers can operate close enough to a hostile shore to engage land target effectively anywhere. This is certainly true in terms of Taiwan. I believe a carrier group has about 250 anti-air missiles, once those are expended, the ships must return to a base for reloads, there is no capability to reload at sea. In the case of Taiwan, China has thousands of missiles of various kinds in place as well as submarine launched missiles.

    We can, from the more tolerable Mediterranean, easily control access to the Black Sea if we decide the cost and risk of escalation is justified.

  10. “Millions of Ukrainians demonstrated against Yanukovych: try telling them they only did so because the CIA told them to, and paid them to.”

    As I said the CIA admitted to spending 5 billion dollars arranging this coup. That buys a lot of cooperation.

  11. I will point out that Russia has a long history of employing ethnic cleansing in conquered territories, exporting native peoples and importing ethnic Russians to create a compliant population. When WWII ended, upwards of 22 million East and Central Europeans were displaced. If Ukraine prevails in its struggle with Russia, I would expect them to engage in a similar campaign. It would be fitting to have the Tatars return to Crimea.

  12. There have been few conflicts in thr black sea region entirely the second russo turkish war of the 18th century and the crimean war were the exceptions

  13. PenGun’s “As I said” is worthless: he’s already admitted that he’s written provable falsehoods because he’s too lazy to check his “facts” before he writes. Now I’m supposed to believe his assertions about the coup that was not a coup and other silly things that he can’t be bothered to back up with links? No thanks. Here’s a handy link in which a bunch of economists trash Jeffrey Sachs for his silly ideas about Ukraine, many of which are PenGun’s ideas, too – not that either of them came up with them unaided.

  14. On that Twitter chart with deal breakers for woman – some of those questions seem suspect. As in all surveys it depends on how you pick your samples. But 74% of college-educated woman wouldn’t date a Trump supporter? Meaning 25% (or probably less) supported Trump?

    Lives with his parents or unemployed I can understand.

    Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where George declared “opposite day” would prevail – do the opposite of what is expected.

    “My name is George – I’m unemployed and I live with my parents. ”

    :”I’m Victoria – Hi!”


  15. The State Department said the 5 billion spent in Ukraine was to enhance democracy. We do have the call where Victoria Nueland discuses the new government being installed. The CIA has controlled Ukraine ever since.

  16. I only come here occasionally but I usually assume PenGun is coming from the left- his current arguments on Ukraine DO reflect some things the left used to say, but seem now to come from the far right. Perplexed.

    Either way, I don’t care who voted for whom in Ukraine in any of their elections or how much money was spent by whom. I currently assume that both Yushchenko [back in the day] and Zelensky [latterly] won legitimately and that most skullduggery was on the pro-Russian side. I don’t assume there was none on the anti-Russian side, just as we know there are corrupt oligarchs on both sides. I also don’t assume there was no CIA or State manipulation by the US- the US has really dug in for years on winning Ukraine to the western-ish camp.

    I don’t care about the Ukrainian people or nation, nor am I under any obligation to do so. This is a change for me from the 90s, when I was gung ho on them. [Similar path re Israel.] I still sympathize with them and their history, wish them well and a strong nation, independent. But they are not and never have been an ally of my country [Canada] or yours, or any other in the west. No military alliance, nothing. I will not speak of them in flowery terms as though we were eternal brothers, and so on. They fought the Germans twice like ‘we’ did, though not in their own name and not for much the same goals as us. Some supported the Germans in one or the other war, for sometimes understandable reasons. In the Cold War, we were enemies, and I cannot infer they all were dreaming then of being not communists. And they were enemies because of the communism, as far as I was concerned.

    My well wishing of them does not extend to fighting for them or paying for them to win the war. I have more sympathy for countries like Poland, our enemy also in the CW but our ally against Germany, who my ancestors’ country [UK] screwed over pretty hard if unavoidably. I might see fighting for Poland, which IS now an ally. I see the gains for them in propping up Ukraine, not least so we don’t actually have to provoke nuclear war in defence of Poland.

    Russia is a strategic rival with serious legacy nuclear capabilities and cyber capabilities, but a secondary global threat compared to China, and would not be a military or economic threat to Europe, now larger and richer than in the 80s and much larger and richer than Russia, at all were European nations not so feckless. The West ought to aim to keep the just frustrated enough but not so frustrated they fall into China’s arms. That was just dimly possible circa 2010, and now US foreign policy overreach has failed so comprehensively and stupidly that Russia is one step short of a Chinese vassal. Dumb.

    So in the end, while we should have just left Ukraine in a diplomatic and strategic grey zone forever if at all possible, the US sought and supported, albeit not exactly engineered, a more ambitious outcome in no way necessary for US or European interests, gained nothing of value by it, and here we are. The best we can do now is keep the war going as long as possible without getting any larger in scale, kill some Russians and humble them without causing their state to collapse or alternatively causing them to try a more audacious gamble against an actual ally of ours, and hope for a face saving outcome for everyone.

    Ironically, now, a Chinese peace proposal which somehow undoubtedly serves Chinese interests might be the means to avoid an outcome that collapses the Russian state, which would REALLY benefit China longer term.

  17. My recollection is that under WJ Clinton, the US spent ~$100 million to assist Boris Yeltsin in his 1996 re-election campaign. When Yeltsin resigned the Presidency in 1999, his personally selected successor was V. Putin. So yes, we do interfere in other nation’s elections. Does it do us any good? Heck if I know, but it seems like just about every election is a search for the least bad outcome.

  18. random o: “Russia is a strategic rival with serious legacy nuclear capabilities and cyber capabilities, but a secondary global threat compared to China …”

    In the real world, why would anybody see Russia as a “strategic rival” or China as a “global threat”? The only problem is that the idiots who run the US, Europe, and NATO have been treating the rest of the world as enemies. Treat someone as an enemy for long enough, and they may start to behave as an enemy.

    In the meantime, the economies of the US and the other countries of the West are dying — but that is not because of Russia or China. Our problems have been caused by our own “leaders”. They have consciously destroyed our culture, our education, our industry — and now they are trying to blame foreigners for their own stupidity. Don’t fall for their lies!

  19. PenGun is so gullible. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that Victoria Nuland (whose name he can’t be bothered to learn to spell) may be taking credit for something she had little or nothing to do with, may be grossly exaggerating the influence and competence of the CIA and of the US as whole, or that even if 5 billion was actually spent, that it may not have bought anything useful, and may even have been spent on counterproductive things. We spent far more than that on Afghanistan only to end up worse (for them and for us) than if we’d spent nothing.

    Of course, as ‘random observer’ notes, the Russians undoubtedly spent a lot more than 5 billion, and sent in a lot more agents and weapons, to try to keep their boy Yanukovych in power, even before they grabbed Crimea and the Donbas.

    The fact is that the 40,000,000+ Ukrainians do have minds of their own, and only an idiot could think that the CIA controls them and Zelenskyy is a puppet.

    As for RO’s “I don’t care about the Ukrainian people or nation, nor am I under any obligation to do so”, that may be so for a Canadian, but Americans are under some obligation to care: as president, Bill Clinton pushed the Ukrainians into giving up their nuclear weapons in return for a signed guarantee of their borders. It seems to me that we are obligated to provide them with the means to defend themselves, and their borders. The fact that the Russians are openly committing massive war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and genocide only strengthens the case.

    Which reminds me: It’s interesting that no one seems to have asked Clinton about the whole issue and his role in it. He’s alive and apparently still mentally competent. Are the press so collectively stupid that not one of them has thought to ask him about the invasion of Ukraine and his role in events leading up to it?

  20. We are talking about the same CIA that tried to kill Castro with an exploding cigar, that assured us that Afghanistan was secure, that Trump reserved a hotel room so he could pee in a bed that Obama had slept in. Yet they can somehow manipulate more than half the world into taking sides in Ukraine. … OK!

    The proximate cause of the Russian “annexation” of Crimea was to “protect” their leased naval base in Sevastopol. Since then, and with specific relevance to the balance of power in the Black Sea, they seem to have lost whatever actual navy they had there. Further, since they seem to have forgotten how to build ships larger than a corvette, there is no prospect of them regaining power.

    Irony abounds.

  21. Ukraine again? Okay.

    No, I don’t have an obligation to care about Ukraine, care about their borders, pay their pensions, pay for or even subsidize their war.

    As far as I’m concerned Victoria Nuland should stayed out of Ukraine in 2014, period, and Yanukovych should have finished out his term. But no, the same folks who were cheering on the Iraq War and attempting to engineer a sequel in Syria for some reason decided to go after Russia via Ukraine. Plus, if Ukraine had respected the Minsk agreement I bet there would have been no war. I’d further bet there would have been no war if Trump had remained president, because I expect he would have respected the agreement and perhaps would have explicitly told Ukraine no NATO membership was ever in the cards.

    But we don’t live in that universe. Instead, we get to watch Ukraine be destroyed, with likely hundreds of thousands KIA, more wounded, and millions fled, with Russia in no danger of neocon dismemberment and Putin in no danger of overthrow.

    This doesn’t look like success to me. But it does look like the fate suffered by many friends of the United States over my lifetime, including by the people of South East Asia, Iran, and Iraq, at least partially. I’ve had enough of this. I don’t care why the regime decided it needed to start this war with an end goal of dismembering Russia, but it has been ruinous for Ukraine.

    This expensive and murderous idiocy needs to stop.

  22. We are talking about the same CIA that tried to kill Castro with an exploding cigar, that assured us that Afghanistan was secure, that Trump reserved a hotel room so he could pee in a bed that Obama had slept in.

    You assume that the CIA wanted Castro dead, wanted the Afghanistan withdrawal to go well, and was interested in telling the truth about Trump.

    You do you, but I am no longer willing to make those sort of assumptions about the US intelligence agencies.

  23. From MCS, above: “This is very much a case that we might have taught them everything they know, we haven’t taught them everything that we know.”

    One of the things we really need to do is establish better control over to whom we teach The Good Stuff. Colleges and Universities lurves them some Chinese students because they pay full retail, and businesses equally desire knowledgeable hard workers. The problem is while higher ed and the tech businesses are either cashing those checks or developing new stuff the knowledge gets on a plane in 4-6 years and is put to work against us.

  24. Franklin B.: “One of the things we really need to do is establish better control over to whom we teach The Good Stuff.”

    Have you been to a US University recently? In the technical departments I have seen, a significant proportion of academic staff are foreign-born — while the numerous administrative drones are all US, mostly Usual Suspect types. The graduate students are overwhelmingly Chinese & Indian. Big problem is that K-12 education in the US is such a mess that most US students don’t have the reading-writing-math skills for higher education. Increasingly, our universities may be in America, but they are not of America.

    As for BidenWorld’s rapidly decaying stock of The Good Stuff — we should remember that knowledge always leaks out, no matter how hard we try to keep it under wraps. Just think about the spread of nuclear technologies after World War II. The only way to stay at the front of the pack is to keep running — and (very unfortunately) the US stopped running a couple of decades ago. It is going to take us decades and lot of hard work & sacrifice to become globally competitive again.

  25. ‘ “While the U.S. has many vital national interests,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote recently, “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” ‘

    I would add just one word: “yet”. How, exactly, I would ask DeSantis, does this differ from the “territorial dispute” between Poland, Germany and the USSR in 1939? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Russia and Putin shows every intention of continuing to pick off the former constituents of the USSR, currently Moldova. There’s no reason to think they’ll stop there. I recall reading something about hanging together or hanging separately. We’ve been here twice before and it didn’t end all that well.

  26. MCS: “Russia and Putin shows every intention of continuing to pick off the former constituents of the USSR”

    Please provide some evidence for that assertion.

    In reality, Russia post-USSR showed every desire to want to become part of the West. The only fly in the ointment has been the West’s unnecessary threatening expansion of NATO and continued treatment of Russia as an enemy.

    As for fighting World War III — remember what happened to Poland when it foolishly refused to negotiate with Germany over the majority-German city of Danzig. Poland’s actions triggered WWII, believing that England and France had its back. Instead, Poland was devastated by war and spent the next half-century under Communist rule. WWII also ended the British Empire, and initiated the hollowing out of the UK’s economy.

    This time around, let’s not allow foolish leaders of a little country on the edge of Western Europe to drag us into a devastating war. Let’s work hard to Give Peace a Chance.

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