Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Everything Is More Interconnected Than Ever…


…The company said it had taken the action of globally disabling the Google Maps traffic layer and live information on how busy places like stores and restaurants are in Ukraine for the safety of local communities in the country, after consulting with sources including regional authorities…

Online services and social media sites have also been tapped by researchers piecing together activity around the war.

A professor at California’s Middlebury Institute of International Studies said Google Maps helped him track a “traffic jam” that was actually Russian movement towards the border hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the attack.

Google said live traffic information remained available to drivers using its turn-by-turn navigation features in the area.


Horny conscripts leaking sensitive information has been a known military risk since approximately a week after conscription was invented. But now opposing armies don’t even need plausibly attractive potential sex partners — just code monkeys with jpg files…

The post Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Everything Is More Interconnected Than Ever… appeared first on Balloon Juice.

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Dishes Arrive In Ukraine

A shipment of SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet dishes arrived in Ukraine on Monday, less than 48 hours after CEO Elon Musk announced the company would send support, according to a top official in the nation's government. CNBC reports: Ukraine digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who tagged Musk in a request on Twitter on Saturday, posted that Starlink was "here" in Ukraine -- with a photo showing more than dozen boxes of the company's user kits in the back of a truck. How many kits SpaceX is sending to support Ukraine is unknown. Each Starlink kit includes a user terminal to connect to the satellites, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router. Musk responded to Fedorov, said: "you are most welcome." Ukraine-based Oleg Kutkov tweeted a screenshot of an internet speed test, saying "Starlink is working in Kyiv" and thanked SpaceX for the company's support. Musk emphasized on Saturday that Starlink was already "active in Ukraine."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

DisplayPort 2.0 Labels Specify Bandwidth To Avoid HDMI 2.1-Like Confusion

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: VESA, which makes the DisplayPort spec, today announced a certification program aimed at helping consumers understand if a DisplayPort 2.0 cable, monitor, or video source can support the max refresh rates and resolutions the spec claims. VESA's latest certification is around DisplayPort 2.0. The spec can support a max throughput of 80Gbps compared to DisplayPort 1.4's 32.4Gbps. This enables extreme uses, like 16K resolution with display stream compression (DSC), 10K without compression, or two 8K HDR screens at 120 Hz. But just because a monitor or cable, for example, is DisplayPort 2.0-certified doesn't mean that's the performance you'll get. The Ultra-high Bit Rate (UHBR) Certification is what you'll have to check for if you want to be certain about these figures. VESA's new "DP80 UHBR" certification means the display, cable, or video source supports up to a 20Gbps link rate (what VESA calls UHBR20) and a throughput of up to 80Gbps via four lanes. Meanwhile, "DP40 UHBR" certification calls for support for a 10Gbps link rate (UHBR10) and a maximum throughput of 40Gbps via four-lane operation. Of course, it's possible that some products will still claim such performance without going through VESA's certification process, but UHBR certifications seem to be the only way to know for sure if the DisplayPort 2.0 product will give you that impressive bandwidth. There should eventually be UHBR-certified monitors and video sources, but today's announcement is only accompanied by UHBR-certified cables. According to VESA, there are now DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort DP40 and DP80 cables from companies including Accell, Bizlink, and WIZEN. The cables are also backward-compatible with other DisplayPort link rates, such as HBR 3 and 2. [...] In terms of DisplayPort over Alt Mode, VESA noted that "full-feature passive USB-C cables already support UHBR bit rate speeds." It added that UHBR-certified USB Type-C-to-DisplayPort converter cables will be available "soon." VESA also said that "multiple video source and display products" it's currently testing should be DisplayPort UHBR-certified "soon."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trump Vomits Out Some Nonsense About Making NATO Great Again

Three guesses which gone-but-not-departed idiot said this:

I hope everyone is able to remember that it was me, as President of the United States, that got delinquent NATO members to start paying their dues, which amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars. There would be no NATO if I didn't act strongly and swiftly. Also, it was me that got Ukraine the very effective anti-tank busters (Javelins) when the previous Administration was sending blankets. Let History so note!

Oh yes he did. The same stupid sonofabitch who threatened to withdraw from NATO, giving Vladimir Putin the thing he wants most in the world, is now taking credit for strengthening the organization. Trump, who literally ordered American troops out of Germany, is now pretending NATO would have imploded without his wise guidance.

Trump continues to treat NATO as a protection racket, rather than a global stabilization force. Here on Planet Earth, NATO isn't funded by "dues"; member countries are obligated to spend a percentage of their GDP on their own defense.

It was idiotic in 2018 when Trump said, "Many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back, where they're delinquent as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up, it's massive amounts of money is owed." And it's even more idiotic today for him to take credit as if his temper tantrums caused these countries to "pay up." In point of fact, Germany finally did agree to increase military spending yesterday in response to Putin's batshit incursion into Ukraine. Trump's histrionics had nothing to do with it.

And you don't have to fire up the Wayback Machine to remember Trump describing Putin's invasion of a sovereign country as "genius."

"Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine … Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful," Trump gushed to his pal Buck Sexton last week. As if marching in and taking over neighboring countries at the point of a gun was some kind of strategic coup, as long as you can get away with it.

"Putin is smart," Trump arglebargled to a crowd at Mar-a-Lago. "He's taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I'd say that's pretty smart. It is a vast, vast location, a piece of land with lot of people and just walking right in."

Turns out, not so much actually. And with the entire Russian economy in freefall, Trump would now like to take credit.

But while we're reviewing the record, about those Javelins, we are old enough to remember when Donald Trump tried to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for dirt on President Biden and his son using those very anti-tank missiles.

"I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes," said President Zelenskyy.

"I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it," Trump responded, before making it clear what he wanted in exchange for delivering the defense aid that had already been allocated by Congress so that Ukraine could hold off a menacing Putin.

"There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me," he said, adding later that "I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call."

And if we're making a full inventory of the record, even before Trump got into office, his incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn promised to lift sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in response to Russian electoral interference in 2016.

So, let's be crystal clear here, since the GOP is doing some pretty advanced yoga to contort itself into a position where Trump held off Putin and Biden invited him in the door. Trump gladly accepted Russian electoral interference, did everything he could to impress Putin, had to be pressured into sanctioning Russia by his own party, and actively praised that country's bloodthirsty dictator for waging an unprovoked war on a democratically elected government.

To the extent that Trump can take credit for strengthening NATO, it's because he spent four years proving daily that the United States is an unreliable ally that can't be trusted to put rational leaders in the White House. If anyone is making NATO great again, it's Vladimir Putin, and certainly not on purpose.

In summary and in conclusion, PISS ALL THE WAY OFF.


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New Qualcomm Chips Tease CD-quality Audio for Earbuds and Faster 5G

Qualcomm is using Mobile World Congress to show off some new technology that should improve 5G connectivity and wireless audio. From a report:The Snapdragon X70 5G modem-RF system attempts to improve your phone's 5G connection with the help of an AI processor. This helps it maximize 5G signal for better coverage -- particularly important for mmWave signals, which are short-range compared to the broader coverage of low and mid-band frequencies. Qualcomm says this improvement is limited to situations like stadiums and city blocks, and that it doesn't address one of mmWave's key weaknesses: the signal's inability to travel from outdoors to indoors. But where there's no mmWave signal, the new AI processor should boost sub-6GHz coverage and speeds, too. The new audio features, wrapped up in a platform called Snapdragon Sound, include a feature teased last year: wireless earbud support for 16-bit "CD-quality" lossless audio over Bluetooth.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ron Johnson Knows Who’s Responsible For Ukraine Invasion, And It Is Democrats

Conservatives are having a weird time responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the last five days, many GOP/rightwing media types have gone from praising Vladimir Putin and trying to justify the invasion to now suddenly trying to Ctrl-Alt-Del all their earlier talking points, in order to try to be on the right side of history, allegedly. Let's see how it's going!

Fox News's 'Sunday Morning Futures'

Wisconsin GOP Senator and Moscow 4th Of July vacationer Ron Johnson was on with Maria Bartiromo this weekend. Considering Johnson's history of laundering so much Russian misinformation that the FBI tried in vain to get him to stop, it was kind of surprising when Johnson released this statement that called out Putin without blaming anyone else:

That, however, did not last long.

Johnson blamed some new people on the Maria Bartiromo show.

Alexander Vindman, Adam Schiff, and Nancy Pelosi all "weakened" Ukraine by whistleblowing and impeaching Donald Trump for extorting Ukraine for political favors, in exchange for the military aid we can all now see how desperately Ukraine needs?

So that was embarrassing.

'Fox News Sunday'

Staying on Fox News, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on the Chris Wallace-less Sunday show.

Rice, while trying to make a point about Russia's invasion, said this thing that was true, and was also true when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.

FAULKNER: Well, I've argued that when you invade a sovereign nation, that is a war crime. I mean...I think we are at just a real basic...basic point there.

RICE: Well...I'd...I' is certainly against every principle of international law and international order.

Maybe a Bush administration official who was there during the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq under false pretenses might want to rethink calling out war crimes. Not because they weren't war crimes, because they were, but because it seems a bit like throwing stones in a glass house.

So that was embarrassing.

ABC's 'This Week'

Not everybody has the courage to condemn Donald Trump's adoring comments about Vladimir Putin.

Here's Arkansas GOP senator and second-place winner in an Ichabod Crane Lookalike Contest Tom Cotton.

So that was embarrassing.

CBS's 'Face The Nation'

Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney reminded people that there is no good Republican. In light of the current events, Margaret Brennan asked if Cheney regretted her vote not to impeach Trump when he extorted Ukraine in his first impeachment (it can't be said enough that Trump was impeached twice).

CHENEY: I don't regret my vote, I think any impeachment vote has got to be one that is based very clearly on- on the evidence.

So that was embarrassing.

CNN's "State Of The Union"

We conclude with Utah GOP Senator Mitt Romney, who to his credit had something correct to say about GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans attending the white nationalist pep rally and expressing their love for Putin:

"Look, there is no place in either political party for this White nationalism or racism. It's simply wrong ... it's evil as well," Romney told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "(Rep.) Marjorie Taylor Greene and (Rep.) Paul Gosar, I don't know them, but I'm reminded of that old line from the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' movie where - where one character says, 'Morons, I've got morons on my team.' And I have to think anybody that would sit down with White nationalists and speak at their conference was certainly missing a few IQ points."

Couldn't say it better myself.

Have a week.

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Ukraine Says Its ‘IT Army’ Has Taken Down Key Russian Sites

Key Russian websites and state online portals have been taken offline by attacks claimed by the Ukrainian cyber police force, which now openly engages in cyber-warfare. From a report: As the announcement of the law enforcement agency's site details, specialists from the force have teamed with volunteers to attack the web resources of Russia and Belarus. The three countries are currently involved in an ongoing and large-scale armed forces conflict that includes a cyber frontline, which manifested even before the invasion. The Ukrainian cyber police have announced having targeted the websites of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the FSB (Federal Security Service), and the Sberbank, Russia's state-owned bank.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lenovo’s Newest ThinkPads Feature Snapdragon Processors and 165Hz Screens

An anonymous reader shares a report: Lenovo has dumped a whole bunch of new ThinkPads into the world, and there's some exciting stuff in there. We're getting a brand-new ThinkPad X13s powered by Snapdragon chips, a fifth-generation ThinkPad X1 Extreme with a WQXGA 165Hz screen option, and new additions to the P-series and T-series as well. The news I'm personally most excited about is the screen shape. A few months ago, Lenovo told me that much of its portfolio would be moving to the 16:10 aspect ratio this year. They appear to be keeping their word. Across the board, the new models are 16:10 -- taller and roomier than they were in their 16:9 eras. Some news that's a bit more... intriguing is the all-new ThinkPad X13s, which is the first laptop to feature the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 compute platform. Qualcomm made some lofty claims about this platform upon its release, including "60 percent greater performance per watt" over competing x86 platforms and "multi-day battery life." The ThinkPad X13s will run an Arm version of Windows 11, with its x64 app emulation support. The P-series models and Intel T-series models will all be here in April, with prices ranging from $1,399 to $1,419.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

White House Press Briefing? Sure Why Not.

Learn things!

While you wait for that, if it's not on yet, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden just finished a Black History Month event at the White House. Here is that!

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Seems Like a Good Day to Listen to Jen Psaki (Open Thread)

For much of last week, Jen Psaki had some really great visitors speaking about Ukraine at the beginning of the press briefings, and I am thinking that today may not be much different.

A couple of tweets while we wait.

I laughed at this and then nearly cried at the truth of it. Complicity.

Open thread.

The post Seems Like a Good Day to Listen to Jen Psaki (Open Thread) appeared first on Balloon Juice.