Thursday 24 February, 2022

Two Little Horses

A Citroen Deux Cheveaux: perfect car for a Provencal summer.

Quote of the Day

“For several months, the West has been threatening Vladimir Putin with massive economic consequences should he escalate aggression towards Ukraine. In the last 24 hours, Western allies have had an opportunity to live up to this threat and have failed, instead issuing sanctions as a form of punishment, punishment that will not deter further action. The Kremlin only respects strength and the response of the West has been weak; arguing that the West needs to keep its powder dry for further action is not going to deter Vladimir Putin. We’ve taken a peashooter to a gunfight. The whole point of the sanctions has been to deter Putin and if at the first chance you get to use these sanctions you only tickle his feet, what’s the point?”

  • Tom Keatinge of the Royal United Services Institution

Much as I enjoyed the colourful turn of phrase, it’s worth remembering that RUSI is the UK military’s favourite think tank. I wonder if “taking a peashooter to a gunfight” is original. It sounds American to me.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Van Morrison | Days Like This


When I have a crazy work day, I play this in the evening.

Long Read of the Day

The US is unmasking Russian hackers faster than ever

If it’s accurate, this article in the MIT Technology Review is interesting because it suggests that there have been significant developments in the technology. Attribution has, up to now, being the biggest impediment to rapid, accurate and proportionate responses to cyberattacks.

Just 48 hours after banks and government websites crashed in Ukraine under the weight of a concerted cyberattack on February 15 and 16, the United States pointed the finger at Russian spies. Anne Neuberger, the White House’s deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, said that the US has “technical information that links the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)” with the DDoS attack that had overloaded and brought down the Ukrainian websites. “GRU infrastructure was seen transmitting high volumes of communication to Ukraine-based IP addresses and domains,” she told journalists on February 18. It’s believed that the cyberattack was meant to sow panic in Ukraine as over 150,000 Russian troops massed at the border.

EVs make it harder to quell fire on cargo ship

From Quartz:

The cargo ship Felicity Ace is aflame from bow to stern with a lithium-ion battery fire that can’t be put out with water alone.

The fire has been burning since Wednesday (Feb. 16), as the ship drifts in the Atlantic about 200 miles southwest of Portugal’s Azores Islands. Its 22-person crew abandoned ship and was rescued on Thursday.

The ship left Germany on Feb. 10 and headed for the US with about 4,000 Porsches, Bentleys and other luxury cars aboard, and some of those were electric vehicles. It’s not clear if the batteries contributed to the fire starting in the first place—a greasy rag in a lubricant-slicked engine room or a fuel leak are the usual suspects in ship fires—but the batteries are keeping the flames going now. A forensic investigation will take months to determine the cause.

It seems that large quantities of dry chemicals are needed to smother lithium ion battery fires, which burn hotter and release noxious gases in the process. And pouring water onto the ship wouldn’t put out a lithium-ion battery fire and the added water weight could make the ship more unstable.

The only consolation (for this EV owner, anyway) is that they were Porsches, not Teslas!)

My commonplace booklet

Donald Trump’s crowd have launched a new social media platform. It’s called Truth Social and seems basically to be a clone of Twitter — except that users will exchange ’Truths’, not Tweets. So will they be able to Retruth Truths, then?

And of course there’s the difficult question of UnTruths.

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