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Johnny Harris

Johnny Harris

2 years ago

The REAL Reason Putin is Invading Ukraine [video with transcript]

Transcript:

[Reporter] The Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Momentum is building for a war between Ukraine and Russia.
[Reporter] Tensions between Russia and the West
are growing rapidly.
[Reporter] President Biden considering deploying
thousands of troops to Eastern Europe.
There are now 100,000 troops
on the Eastern border of Ukraine.
Russia is setting up field hospitals on this border.
Like this is what preparation for war looks like.
A legitimate war.
Ukrainian troops are watching and waiting,
saying they are preparing for a fight.
The U.S. has ordered the families of embassy staff
to leave Ukraine.
Britain has sent all of their nonessential staff home.
And now the U.S. is sending tons of weapons and munitions
to Ukraine's army.
And we're even considering deploying
our own troops to the region.
I mean, this thing is heating up.
Meanwhile, Russia and the West have been in Geneva
and Brussels trying to talk it out,
and sort of getting nowhere.
The message is very clear.
Should Russia take further aggressive actions
against Ukraine the costs will be severe
and the consequences serious.
It's a scary, grim momentum that is unpredictable.
And the chances of miscalculation
and escalation are growing.

I want to explain what's going on here,
but I want to show you that this isn't just
typical geopolitical behavior.
Stuff that can just be explained on the map.
Instead, to understand why 100,000 troops are camped out
on Ukraine's Eastern border, ready for war,
you have to understand Russia
and how it's been cut down over the ages
from the Slavic empire that dominated this whole region
to then the Soviet Union,
which was defeated in the nineties.
And what you really have to understand here
is how that history is transposed
onto the brain of one man.
This guy, Vladimir Putin.
This is a story about regional domination
and struggles between big powers,
but really it's the story about
what Vladimir Putin really wants.
[Reporter] Russian troops moving swiftly
to take control of military bases in Crimea.
[Reporter] Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops
and a lot of military hardware
at the border with Ukraine.

Let's dive back in.
Okay. Let's get up to speed on what's happening here.
And I'm just going to quickly give you the highlight version
of like the news that's happening,
because I want to get into the juicy part,
which is like why, the roots of all of this.
So let's go.
A few months ago, Russia started sending
more and more troops to this border.
It's this massive border between Ukraine and Russia.
They said they were doing a military exercise,
but the rest of the world was like,
"Yeah, we totally believe you Russia. Pshaw."
This was right before this big meeting
where North American and European countries
were coming together to talk about a lot
of different things, like these countries often do
in these diplomatic summits.
But soon, because of Russia's aggressive behavior
coming in and setting up 100,000 troops
on the border with Ukraine,
the entire summit turned into a whole, "WTF Russia,
what are you doing on the border of Ukraine," meeting.
Before the meeting Putin comes out and says,
"Listen, I have some demands for the West."
And everyone's like, "Okay, Russia, what are your demands?
You know, we have like, COVID19 right now.
And like, that's like surging.

So like, we don't need your like,
bluster about what your demands are."
And Putin's like, "No, here's my list of demands."
Putin's demands for the summit were this:
number one, that NATO, which is this big military alliance
between U.S., Canada, and Europe stop expanding,
meaning they don't let any new members in, okay.
So, Russia is like, "No more new members to your, like,
cool military club that I don't like.
You can't have any more members."
Number two, that NATO withdraw all of their troops
from anywhere in Eastern Europe.
Basically Putin is saying,
"I can veto any military cooperation
or troops going between countries
that have to do with Eastern Europe,
the place that used to be the Soviet Union."
Okay, and number three, Putin demands that America vow
not to protect its allies in Eastern Europe
with nuclear weapons.
"LOL," said all of the other countries,
"You're literally nuts, Vladimir Putin.
Like these are the most ridiculous demands, ever."
But there he is, Putin, with these demands.
These very, very aggressive demands.
And he sort of is implying that if his demands aren't met,
he's going to invade Ukraine.
I mean, it doesn't work like this.
This is not how international relations work.
You don't just show up and say like,
"I'm not gonna allow other countries to join your alliance
because it makes me feel uncomfortable."
But what I love about this list of demands
from Vladimir Putin for this summit
is that it gives us a clue
on what Vladimir Putin really wants.

What he's after here.
You read them closely and you can grasp his intentions.
But to grasp those intentions
you have to understand what NATO is.
and what Russia and Ukraine used to be.
(dramatic music)
Okay, so a while back I made this video
about why Russia is so damn big,
where I explain how modern day Russia started here in Kiev,
which is actually modern day Ukraine.
In other words, modern day Russia, as we know it,
has its original roots in Ukraine.
These places grew up together
and they eventually became a part
of the same mega empire called the Soviet Union.
They were deeply intertwined,
not just in their history and their culture,
but also in their economy and their politics.
So it's after World War II,
it's like the '50s, '60s, '70s, and NATO was formed,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
This was a military alliance between all of these countries,
that was meant to sort of deter the Soviet Union
from expanding and taking over the world.
But as we all know, the Soviet Union,
which was Russia and all of these other countries,
collapsed in 1991.
And all of these Soviet republics,
including Ukraine, became independent,
meaning they were not now a part
of one big block of countries anymore.
But just because the border's all split up,
it doesn't mean that these cultural ties actually broke.
Like for example, the Soviet leader at the time
of the collapse of the Soviet Union, this guy, Gorbachev,
he was the son of a Ukrainian mother and a Russian father.
Like he grew up with his mother singing him
Ukrainian folk songs.

In his mind, Ukraine and Russia were like one thing.
So there was a major reluctance to accept Ukraine
as a separate thing from Russia.
In so many ways, they are one.
There was another Russian at the time
who did not accept this new division.
This young intelligence officer, Vladimir Putin,
who was starting to rise up in the ranks
of postSoviet Russia.
There's this amazing quote from 2005
where Putin is giving this stateoftheunionlike address,
where Putin declares the collapse of the Soviet Union,
quote, "The greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.
And as for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy.
Tens of millions of fellow citizens and countrymen
found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory."
Do you see how he frames this?
The Soviet Union were all one people in his mind.
And after it collapsed, all of these people
who are a part of the motherland were now outside
of the fringes or the boundaries of Russian territory.
First off, fact check.
Greatest catastrophe of the 20th century?
Like, do you remember what else happened
in the 20th century, Vladimir?
(ominous music)

Putin's worry about the collapse of this one people
starts to get way worse when the West, his enemy,
starts showing up to his neighborhood
to all these exSoviet countries that are now independent.
The West starts selling their ideology
of democracy and capitalism and inviting them
to join their military alliance called NATO.
And guess what?
These countries are totally buying it.
All these exSoviet countries are now joining NATO.
And some of them, the EU.
And Putin is hating this.
He's like not only did the Soviet Union divide
and all of these people are now outside
of the Russia motherland,
but now they're being persuaded by the West
to join their military alliance.
This is terrible news.
Over the years, this continues to happen,
while Putin himself starts to chip away
at Russian institutions, making them weaker and weaker.
He's silencing his rivals
and he's consolidating power in himself.
(triumphant music)

And in the past few years,
he's effectively silenced anyone who can challenge him;
any institution, any court,
or any political rival have all been silenced.
It's been decades since the Soviet Union fell,
but as Putin gains more power,
he still sees the region through the lens
of the old Cold War, Soviet, Slavic empire view.
He sees this region as one big block
that has been torn apart by outside forces.
"The greatest catastrophe of the 20th century."
And the worst situation of all of these,
according to Putin, is Ukraine,
which was like the gem of the Soviet Union.
There was tons of cultural heritage.
Again, Russia sort of started in Ukraine,
not to mention it was a very populous
and industrious, resourcerich place.
And over the years Ukraine has been drifting west.
It hasn't joined NATO yet, but more and more,
it's been electing proWestern presidents.
It's been flirting with membership in NATO.
It's becoming less and less attached
to the Russian heritage that Putin so adores.
And more than half of Ukrainians say
that they'd be down to join the EU.
64% of them say that it would be cool joining NATO.
But Putin can't handle this. He is in total denial.
Like an exboyfriend who handle his exgirlfriend
starting to date someone else,
Putin can't let Ukraine go.
He won't let go.

So for the past decade,
he's been trying to keep the West out
and bring Ukraine back into the motherland of Russia.
This usually takes the form of Putin sending
secret soldiers from Russia into Ukraine
to help the people in Ukraine who want to like separate
from Ukraine and join Russia.
It also takes the form of, oh yeah,
stealing entire parts of Ukraine for Russia.
Russian troops moving swiftly to take control
of military bases in Crimea.
Like in 2014, Putin just did this.
To what America is officially calling
a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He went down and just snatched this bit of Ukraine
and folded it into Russia.
So you're starting to see what's going on here.
Putin's life's work is to salvage what he calls
the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century,
the division and the separation
of the Soviet republics from Russia.
So let's get to present day. It's 2022.
Putin is at it again.
And honestly, if you really want to understand
the mind of Vladimir Putin and his whole view on this,
you have to read this.
"On the History of Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,"
by Vladimir Putin.
A blog post that kind of sounds
like a ninth grade history essay.
In this essay, Vladimir Putin argues
that Russia and Ukraine are one people.
He calls them essentially the same historical
and spiritual space.

Kind of beautiful writing, honestly.
Anyway, he argues that the division
between the two countries is due to quote,
"a deliberate effort by those forces
that have always sought to undermine our unity."
And that the formula they use, these outside forces,
is a classic one: divide and rule.
And then he launches into this super indepth,
like 10page argument, as to every single historical beat
of Ukraine and Russia's history
to make this argument that like,
this is one people and the division is totally because
of outside powers, i.e. the West.
Okay, but listen, there's this moment
at the end of the post,
that actually kind of hit me in a big way.
He says this, "Just have a look at Austria and Germany,
or the U.S. and Canada, how they live next to each other.
Close in ethnic composition, culture,
and in fact, sharing one language,
they remain sovereign states with their own interests,
with their own foreign policy.
But this does not prevent them
from the closest integration or allied relations.
They have very conditional, transparent borders.
And when crossing them citizens feel at home.
They create families, study, work, do business.
Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine
who now live in Russia.
We see them as our own close people."
I mean, listen, like,
I'm not in support of what Putin is doing,
but like that, it's like a pretty solid like analogy.
If China suddenly showed up and started like
coaxing Canada into being a part of its alliance,
I would be a little bit like, "What's going on here?"
That's what Putin feels.
And so I kind of get what he means there.
There's a deep heritage and connection between these people.
And he's seen that falter and dissolve
and he doesn't like it.
He clearly genuinely feels a brotherhood
and this deep heritage connection
with the people of Ukraine.
Okay, okay, okay, okay. Putin, I get it.
Your essay is compelling there at the end.
You're clearly very smart and wellread.
But this does not justify what you've been up to. Okay?
It doesn't justify sending 100,000 troops to the border
or sending cyber soldiers to sabotage
the Ukrainian government, or annexing territory,
fueling a conflict that has killed
tens of thousands of people in Eastern Ukraine.
No. Okay.

No matter how much affection you feel for Ukrainian heritage
and its connection to Russia, this is not okay.
Again, it's like the boyfriend
who genuinely loves his girlfriend.
They had a great relationship,
but they broke up and she's free to see whomever she wants.
But Putin is not ready to let go.
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell's wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica.
What the hell is wrong with you?
Dude, don't fucking touch me.
I love you. Worldstar!
What is wrong with you? Just stop!
Putin has constructed his own reality here.
One in which Ukraine is actually being controlled
by shadowy Western forces
who are holding the people of Ukraine hostage.
And if that he invades, it will be a swift victory
because Ukrainians will accept him with open arms.
The great liberator.
(triumphant music)

Like, this guy's a total romantic.
He's a history buff and a romantic.
And he has a hill to die on here.
And it is liberating the people
who have been taken from the Russian motherland.
Kind of like the abusive boyfriend, who's like,
"She actually really loves me,
but it's her annoying friends
who were planting all these ideas in her head.
That's why she broke up with me."
And it's like, "No, dude, she's over you."
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell is wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica.
I mean, maybe this video should be called
Putin is just like your abusive exboyfriend.
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell is wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica!
Worldstar! What's wrong with you?
Okay. So where does this leave us?
It's 2022, Putin is showing up to these meetings in Europe
to tell them where he stands.
He says, "NATO, you cannot expand anymore. No new members.
And you need to withdraw all your troops
from Eastern Europe, my neighborhood."
He knows these demands will never be accepted
because they're ludicrous.
But what he's doing is showing a false effort to say,
"Well, we tried to negotiate with the West,
but they didn't want to."
Hence giving a little bit more justification
to a Russian invasion.
So will Russia invade? Is there war coming?
Maybe; it's impossible to know
because it's all inside of the head of this guy.
But, if I were to make the best argument
that war is not coming tomorrow,
I would look at a few things.
Number one, war in Ukraine would be incredibly costly
for Vladimir Putin.
Russia has a far superior army to Ukraine's,
but still, Ukraine has a very good army
that is supported by the West
and would give Putin a pretty bad bloody nose
in any invasion.

Controlling territory in Ukraine would be very hard.
Ukraine is a giant country.
They would fight back and it would be very hard
to actually conquer and take over territory.
Another major point here is that if Russia invades Ukraine,
this gives NATO new purpose.
If you remember, NATO was created because of the Cold War,
because the Soviet Union was big and nuclear powered.
Once the Soviet Union fell,
NATO sort of has been looking for a new purpose
over the past couple of decades.
If Russia invades Ukraine,
NATO suddenly has a brand new purpose to unite
and to invest in becoming more powerful than ever.
Putin knows that.
And it would be very bad news for him if that happened.
But most importantly, perhaps the easiest clue
for me to believe that war isn't coming tomorrow
is the Russian propaganda machine
is not preparing the Russian people for an invasion.
In 2014, when Russia was about to invade
and take over Crimea, this part of Ukraine,
there was a barrage of state propaganda
that prepared the Russian people
that this was a justified attack.
So when it happened, it wasn't a surprise
and it felt very normal.

That isn't happening right now in Russia.
At least for now. It may start happening tomorrow.
But for now, I think Putin is showing up to the border,
flexing his muscles and showing the West that he is earnest.
I'm not sure that he's going to invade tomorrow,
but he very well could.
I mean, read the guy's blog post
and you'll realize that he is a romantic about this.
He is incredibly idealistic about the glory days
of the Slavic empires, and he wants to get it back.
So there is dangerous momentum towards war.
And the way war works is even a small little, like, fight,
can turn into the other guy
doing something bigger and crazier.
And then the other person has to respond
with something a little bit bigger.
That's called escalation.
And there's not really a ceiling
to how much that momentum can spin out of control.
That is why it's so scary when two nuclear countries
go to war with each other,
because there's kind of no ceiling.
So yeah, it's dangerous. This is scary.
I'm not sure what happens next here,
but the best we can do is keep an eye on this.
At least for now, we better understand
what Putin really wants out of all of this.

Thanks for watching.

More on Current Events

Blake Montgomery

1 year ago

Explaining Twitter Files

Elon Musk, Matt Taibbi, the 'Twitter Files,' and Hunter Biden's laptop: what gives?

Explaining Twitter Files

Matt Taibbi released "The Twitter Files," a batch of emails sent by Twitter executives discussing the company's decision to stop an October 2020 New York Post story online.

What's on Twitter? New York Post and Fox News call them "bombshell" documents. Or, as a Post columnist admitted, are they "not the smoking gun"? Onward!

What started this?

The New York Post published an exclusive, potentially explosive story in October 2020: Biden's Secret Emails: Ukrainian executive thanks Hunter Biden for'meeting' veep dad. The story purported to report the contents of a laptop brought to the tabloid by a Delaware computer repair shop owner who said it belonged to President Biden's second son, Hunter Biden. Emails and files on the laptop allegedly showed how Hunter peddled influence with Ukranian businessmen and included a "raunchy 12-minute video" of Hunter smoking crack and having sex.

Twitter banned links to the Post story after it was published, calling it "hacked material." The Post's Twitter account was suspended for multiple days.

Why? Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, said the company couldn't verify the story, implying they didn't trust the Post.

Twitter's stated purpose rarely includes verifying news stories. This seemed like intentional political interference. This story was hard to verify because the people who claimed to have found the laptop wouldn't give it to other newspapers. (Much of the story, including Hunter's business dealings in Ukraine and China, was later confirmed.)

Roth: "It looked like a hack and leak."

So what are the “Twitter Files?”

Twitter's decision to bury the story became a political scandal, and new CEO Elon Musk promised an explanation. The Twitter Files, named after Facebook leaks.

Musk promised exclusive details of "what really happened" with Hunter Biden late Friday afternoon. The tweet was punctuated with a popcorn emoji.

Explaining Twitter Files

Three hours later, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted more than three dozen tweets based on internal Twitter documents that revealed "a Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out of its designer's control."

Musk sees this release as a way to shape Twitter's public perception and internal culture in his image. We don't know if the CEO gave Taibbi the documents. Musk hyped the document dump before and during publication, but Taibbi cited "internal sources."

Taibbi shares email screenshots showing Twitter execs discussing the Post story and blocking its distribution. Taibbi says the emails show Twitter's "extraordinary steps" to bury the story.

Twitter communications chief Brandon Borrman has the most damning quote in the Files. Can we say this is policy? The story seemed unbelievable. It seemed like a hack... or not? Could Twitter, which ex-CEO Dick Costolo called "the free speech wing of the free speech party," censor a news story?

Many on the right say the Twitter Files prove the company acted at the behest of Democrats. Both parties had these tools, writes Taibbi. In 2020, both the Trump White House and Biden campaign made requests. He says the system for reporting tweets for deletion is unbalanced because Twitter employees' political donations favor Democrats. Perhaps. These donations may have helped Democrats connect with Twitter staff, but it's also possible they didn't. No emails in Taibbi's cache show these alleged illicit relations or any actions Twitter employees took as a result.

Even Musk's supporters were surprised by the drop. Miranda Devine of the New York Post told Tucker Carlson the documents weren't "the smoking gun we'd hoped for." Sebastian Gorka said on Truth Social, "So far, I'm deeply underwhelmed." DC Democrats collude with Palo Alto Democrats. Whoop!” The Washington Free Beacon's Joe Simonson said the Twitter files are "underwhelming." Twitter was staffed by Democrats who did their bidding. (Why?)

If "The Twitter Files" matter, why?

These emails led Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story has real news value. It's rare for a large and valuable company like Twitter to address wrongdoing so thoroughly. Emails resemble FOIA documents. They describe internal drama at a company with government-level power. Katie Notopoulos tweeted, "Any news outlet would've loved this scoop!" It's not a'scandal' as teased."

Twitter's new owner calls it "the de facto public town square," implying public accountability. Like a government agency. Though it's exciting to receive once-hidden documents in response to a FOIA, they may be boring and tell you nothing new. Like Twitter files. We learned how Twitter blocked the Post's story, but not why. Before these documents were released, we knew Twitter had suppressed the story and who was involved.

These people were disciplined and left Twitter. Musk fired Vijaya Gadde, the former CLO who reportedly played a "key role" in the decision. Roth quit over Musk's "dictatorship." Musk arrived after Borrman left. Jack Dorsey, then-CEO, has left. Did those who digitally quarantined the Post's story favor Joe Biden and the Democrats? Republican Party opposition and Trump hatred? New York Post distaste? According to our documents, no. Was there political and press interference? True. We knew.

Taibbi interviewed anonymous ex-Twitter employees about the decision; all expressed shock and outrage. One source said, "Everyone knew this was fucked." Since Taibbi doesn't quote that expletive, we can assume the leaked emails contained few or no sensational quotes. These executives said little to support nefarious claims.

Outlets more invested in the Hunter Biden story than Gizmodo seem vexed by the release and muted headlines. The New York Post, which has never shied away from a blaring headline in its 221-year history, owns the story of Hunter Biden's laptop. Two Friday-night Post alerts about Musk's actions were restrained. Elon Musk will drop Twitter files on NY Post-Hunter Biden laptop censorship today. Elon Musk's Twitter dropped Post censorship details from Biden's laptop. Fox News' Apple News push alert read, "Elon Musk drops Twitter censorship documents."

Bombshell, bombshell, bombshell… what, exactly, is the bombshell? Maybe we've heard this story too much and are missing the big picture. Maybe these documents detail a well-documented decision.

The Post explains why on its website. "Hunter Biden laptop bombshell: Twitter invented reason to censor Post's reporting," its headline says.

Twitter's ad hoc decision to moderate a tabloid's content is not surprising. The social network had done this for years as it battled toxic users—violent white nationalists, virulent transphobes, harassers and bullies of all political stripes, etc. No matter how much Musk crows, the company never had content moderation under control. Buzzfeed's 2016 investigation showed how Twitter has struggled with abusive posters since 2006. Jack Dorsey and his executives improvised, like Musk.

Did the US government interfere with the ex-social VP's media company? That's shocking, a bombshell. Musk said Friday, "Twitter suppressing free speech by itself is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under government orders with no judicial review is." Indeed! Taibbi believed this. August 2022: "The laptop is secondary." Zeynep Tufecki, a Columbia professor and New York Times columnist, says the FBI is cutting true story distribution. Taibbi retracted the claim Friday night: "I've seen no evidence of government involvement in the laptop story."

What’s the bottom line?

I'm still not sure what's at stake in the Hunter Biden scandal after dozens of New York Post articles, hundreds of hours of Fox News airtime, and thousands of tweets. Briefly: Joe Biden's son left his laptop with a questionable repairman. FBI confiscated it? The repairman made a copy and gave it to Rudy Giuliani's lawyer. The Post got it from Steve Bannon. On that laptop were videos of Hunter Biden smoking crack, cavorting with prostitutes, and emails about introducing his father to a Ukrainian businessman for $50,000 a month. Joe Biden urged Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating the company. What? The story seems to be about Biden family business dealings, right?

The discussion has moved past that point anyway. Now, the story is the censorship of it. Adrienne Rich wrote in "Diving Into the Wreck" that she came for "the wreck and not the story of the wreck" No matter how far we go, Hunter Biden's laptop is done. Now, the crash's story matters.

I'm dizzy. Katherine Miller of BuzzFeed wrote, "I know who I believe, and you probably do, too. To believe one is to disbelieve the other, which implicates us in the decision; we're stuck." I'm stuck. Hunter Biden's laptop is a political fabrication. You choose. I've decided.

This could change. Twitter Files drama continues. Taibbi said, "Much more to come." I'm dizzy.

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

Russia's nukes may be useless

Russia's nuclear threat may be nullified by physics.

Putin seems nostalgic and wants to relive the Cold War. He's started a deadly war to reclaim the old Soviet state of Ukraine and is threatening the West with nuclear war. NATO can't risk starting a global nuclear war that could wipe out humanity to support Ukraine's independence as much as they want to. Fortunately, nuclear physics may have rendered Putin's nuclear weapons useless. However? How will Ukraine and NATO react?

To understand why Russia's nuclear weapons may be ineffective, we must first know what kind they are.

Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal, with 4,447 strategic and 1,912 tactical weapons (all of which are ready to be rolled out quickly). The difference between these two weapons is small, but it affects their use and logistics. Strategic nuclear weapons are ICBMs designed to destroy a city across the globe. Russia's ICBMs have many designs and a yield of 300–800 kilotonnes. 300 kilotonnes can destroy Washington. Tactical nuclear weapons are smaller and can be fired from artillery guns or small truck-mounted missile launchers, giving them a 1,500 km range. Instead of destroying a distant city, they are designed to eliminate specific positions, bases, or military infrastructure. They produce 1–50 kilotonnes.

These two nuclear weapons use different nuclear reactions. Pure fission bombs are compact enough to fit in a shell or small missile. All early nuclear weapons used this design for their fission bombs. This technology is inefficient for bombs over 50 kilotonnes. Larger bombs are thermonuclear. Thermonuclear weapons use a small fission bomb to compress and heat a hydrogen capsule, which undergoes fusion and releases far more energy than ignition fission reactions, allowing for effective giant bombs. 

Here's Russia's issue.

A thermonuclear bomb needs deuterium (hydrogen with one neutron) and tritium (hydrogen with two neutrons). Because these two isotopes fuse at lower energies than others, the bomb works. One problem. Tritium is highly radioactive, with a half-life of only 12.5 years, and must be artificially made.

Tritium is made by irradiating lithium in nuclear reactors and extracting the gas. Tritium is one of the most expensive materials ever made, at $30,000 per gram.

Why does this affect Putin's nukes?

Thermonuclear weapons need tritium. Tritium decays quickly, so they must be regularly refilled at great cost, which Russia may struggle to do.

Russia has a smaller economy than New York, yet they are running an invasion, fending off international sanctions, and refining tritium for 4,447 thermonuclear weapons.

The Russian military is underfunded. Because the state can't afford it, Russian troops must buy their own body armor. Arguably, Putin cares more about the Ukraine conflict than maintaining his nuclear deterrent. Putin will likely lose power if he loses the Ukraine war.

It's possible that Putin halted tritium production and refueling to save money for Ukraine. His threats of nuclear attacks and escalating nuclear war may be a bluff.

This doesn't help Ukraine, sadly. Russia's tactical nuclear weapons don't need expensive refueling and will help with the invasion. So Ukraine still risks a nuclear attack. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 15 kilotonnes, and Russia's tactical Iskander-K nuclear missile has a 50-kiloton yield. Even "little" bombs are deadly.

We can't guarantee it's happening in Russia. Putin may prioritize tritium. He knows the power of nuclear deterrence. Russia may have enough tritium for this conflict. Stockpiling a material with a short shelf life is unlikely, though.

This means that Russia's most powerful weapons may be nearly useless, but they may still be deadly. If true, this could allow NATO to offer full support to Ukraine and push the Russian tyrant back where he belongs. If Putin withholds funds from his crumbling military to maintain his nuclear deterrent, he may be willing to sink the ship with him. Let's hope the former.

Erik Engheim

Erik Engheim

1 year ago

You Misunderstand the Russian Nuclear Threat

Many believe Putin is simply sabre rattling and intimidating us. They see no threat of nuclear war. We can send NATO troops into Ukraine without risking a nuclear war.

I keep reading that Putin is just using nuclear blackmail and that a strong leader will call the bluff. That, in my opinion, misunderstands the danger of sending NATO into Ukraine.
It assumes that once NATO moves in, Putin can either push the red nuclear button or not.
Sure, Putin won't go nuclear if NATO invades Ukraine. So we're safe? Can't we just move NATO?

No, because history has taught us that wars often escalate far beyond our initial expectations. One domino falls, knocking down another. That's why having clear boundaries is vital. Crossing a seemingly harmless line can set off a chain of events that are unstoppable once started.
One example is WWI. The assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand could not have known that his actions would kill millions. They couldn't have known that invading Serbia to punish them for not handing over the accomplices would start a world war. Every action triggered a counter-action, plunging Europe into a brutal and bloody war. Each leader saw their actions as limited, not realizing how they kept the dominos falling.

Nobody can predict the future, but it's easy to imagine how NATO intervention could trigger a chain of events leading to a total war. Let me suggest some outcomes.
NATO creates a no-fly-zone. In retaliation, Russia bombs NATO airfields. Russia may see this as a limited counter-move that shouldn't cause further NATO escalation. They think it's a reasonable response to force NATO out of Ukraine. Nobody has yet thought to use the nuke.
Will NATO act? Polish airfields bombed, will they be stuck? Is this an article 5 event? If so, what should be done?

It could happen. Maybe NATO sends troops into Ukraine to punish Russia. Maybe NATO will bomb Russian airfields.

Putin's response Is bombing Russian airfields an invasion or an attack? Remember that Russia has always used nuclear weapons for defense, not offense. But let's not panic, let's assume Russia doesn't go nuclear.

Maybe Russia retaliates by attacking NATO military bases with planes. Maybe they use ships to attack military targets. How does NATO respond? Will they fight Russia in Ukraine or escalate? Will they invade Russia or attack more military installations there?
Seen the pattern? As each nation responds, smaller limited military operations can grow in scope.

So far, the Russian military has shown that they begin with less brutal methods. As losses and failures increase, brutal means are used. Syria had the same. Assad used chemical weapons and attacked hospitals, schools, residential areas, etc.
A NATO invasion of Ukraine would cost Russia dearly. “Oh, this isn't looking so good, better pull out and finish this war,” do you think? No way. Desperate, they will resort to more brutal tactics. If desperate, Russia has a huge arsenal of ugly weapons. They have nerve agents, chemical weapons, and other nasty stuff.

What happens if Russia uses chemical weapons? What if Russian nerve agents kill NATO soldiers horribly? West calls for retaliation will grow. Will we invade Russia? Will we bomb them?

We are angry and determined to punish war criminal Putin, so NATO tanks may be heading to Moscow. We want vengeance for his chemical attacks and bombing of our cities.
Do you think the distance between that red nuclear button and Putin's finger will be that far once NATO tanks are on their way to Moscow?

We might avoid a nuclear apocalypse. A NATO invasion force or even Western cities may be used by Putin. Not as destructive as ICBMs. Putin may think we won't respond to tactical nukes with a full nuclear counterattack. Why would we risk a nuclear Holocaust by launching ICBMs on Russia?

Maybe. My point is that at every stage of the escalation, one party may underestimate the other's response. This war is spiraling out of control and the chances of a nuclear exchange are increasing. Nobody really wants it.

Fear, anger, and resentment cause it. If Putin and his inner circle decide their time is up, they may no longer care about the rest of the world. We saw it with Hitler. Hitler, seeing the end of his empire, ordered the destruction of Germany. Nobody should win if he couldn't. He wanted to destroy everything, including Paris.

In other words, the danger isn't what happens after NATO intervenes The danger is the potential chain reaction. Gambling has a psychological equivalent. It's best to exit when you've lost less. We humans are willing to take small risks for big rewards. To avoid losses, we are willing to take high risks. Daniel Kahneman describes this behavior in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

And so bettors who have lost a lot begin taking bigger risks to make up for it. We get a snowball effect. NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict is akin to entering a casino and placing a bet. We'll start taking bigger risks as we start losing to Russian retaliation. That's the game's psychology.

It's impossible to stop. So will politicians and citizens from both Russia and the West, until we risk the end of human civilization.

You can avoid spiraling into ever larger bets in the Casino by drawing a hard line and declaring “I will not enter that Casino.” We're doing it now. We supply Ukraine. We send money and intelligence but don't cross that crucial line.

It's difficult to watch what happened in Bucha without demanding NATO involvement. What should we do? Of course, I'm not in charge. I'm a writer. My hope is that people will think about the consequences of the actions we demand. My hope is that you think ahead not just one step but multiple dominos.

More and more, we are driven by our emotions. We cannot act solely on emotion in matters of life and death. If we make the wrong choice, more people will die.

Read the original post here.

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Langston Thomas

1 year ago

A Simple Guide to NFT Blockchains

Ethereum's blockchain rules NFTs. Many consider it the one-stop shop for NFTs, and it's become the most talked-about and trafficked blockchain in existence.

Other blockchains are becoming popular in NFTs. Crypto-artists and NFT enthusiasts have sought new places to mint and trade NFTs due to Ethereum's high transaction costs and environmental impact.

When choosing a blockchain to mint on, there are several factors to consider. Size, creator costs, consumer spending habits, security, and community input are important. We've created a high-level summary of blockchains for NFTs to help clarify the fast-paced world of web3 tech.

Ethereum

Ethereum currently has the most NFTs. It's decentralized and provides financial and legal services without intermediaries. It houses popular NFT marketplaces (OpenSea), projects (CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club), and artists (Pak and Beeple).

It's also expensive and energy-intensive. This is because Ethereum works using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism. PoW requires computers to solve puzzles to add blocks and transactions to the blockchain. Solving these puzzles requires a lot of computer power, resulting in astronomical energy loss.

You should consider this blockchain first due to its popularity, security, decentralization, and ease of use.

Solana

Solana is a fast programmable blockchain. Its proof-of-history and proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms eliminate complex puzzles. Reduced validation times and fees result.

PoS users stake their cryptocurrency to become a block validator. Validators get SOL. This encourages and rewards users to become stakers. PoH works with PoS to cryptographically verify time between events. Solana blockchain ensures transactions are in order and found by the correct leader (validator).

Solana's PoS and PoH mechanisms keep transaction fees and times low. Solana isn't as popular as Ethereum, so there are fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Tezos

Tezos is a greener blockchain. Tezos rose in 2021. Hic et Nunc was hailed as an economic alternative to Ethereum-centric marketplaces until Nov. 14, 2021.

Similar to Solana, Tezos uses a PoS consensus mechanism and only a PoS mechanism to reduce computational work. This blockchain uses two million times less energy than Ethereum. It's cheaper than Ethereum (but does cost more than Solana).

Tezos is a good place to start minting NFTs in bulk. Objkt is the largest Tezos marketplace.

Flow

Flow is a high-performance blockchain for NFTs, games, and decentralized apps (dApps). Flow is built with scalability in mind, so billions of people could interact with NFTs on the blockchain.

Flow became the NBA's blockchain partner in 2019. Flow, a product of Dapper labs (the team behind CryptoKitties), launched and hosts NBA Top Shot, making the blockchain integral to the popularity of non-fungible tokens.

Flow uses PoS to verify transactions, like Tezos. Developers are working on a model to handle 10,000 transactions per second on the blockchain. Low transaction fees.

Flow NFTs are tradeable on Blocktobay, OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, and other platforms. NBA, NFL, UFC, and others have launched NFT marketplaces on Flow. Flow isn't as popular as Ethereum, resulting in fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Asset Exchange (WAX)

WAX is king of virtual collectibles. WAX is popular for digitalized versions of legacy collectibles like trading cards, figurines, memorabilia, etc.

Wax uses a PoS mechanism, but also creates carbon offset NFTs and partners with Climate Care. Like Flow, WAX transaction fees are low, and network fees are redistributed to the WAX community as an incentive to collectors.

WAX marketplaces host Topps, NASCAR, Hot Wheels, and cult classic film franchises like Godzilla, The Princess Bride, and Spiderman.

Binance Smart Chain

BSC is another good option for balancing fees and performance. High-speed transactions and low fees hurt decentralization. BSC is most centralized.

Binance Smart Chain uses Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) to support a short block time and low fees. The 21 validators needed to run the exchange switch every 24 hours. 11 of the 21 validators are directly connected to the Binance Crypto Exchange, according to reports.

While many in the crypto and NFT ecosystems dislike centralization, the BSC NFT market picked up speed in 2021. OpenBiSea, AirNFTs, JuggerWorld, and others are gaining popularity despite not having as robust an ecosystem as Ethereum.

Asher Umerie

Asher Umerie

1 year ago

What is Bionic Reading?

Senses help us navigate a complicated world. They shape our worldview - how we hear, smell, feel, and taste. People claim a sixth sense, an intuitive capacity that extends perception.

Our brain is a half-pool of grey and white matter that stores data from our senses. Brains provide us context, so zombies' obsession makes sense.

Bionic reading uses the brain's visual information and context to simplify text comprehension.

Stay with me.

What is Bionic Reading?

Bionic reading is a software application established by Swiss typographic designer Renato Casutt. The term honors the brain (bio) and technology's collaboration to better text comprehension.

The image above shows two similar paragraphs with bionic reading.

Notice anything yet?

This Twitter user did.

I did too...

Image text describes bionic reading-

New method to aid reading by using artificial fixation points. The reader focuses on the highlighted starting letters, and the brain completes the word. 

How is Bionic Reading possible?

Do you remember seeing social media posts asking you to stare at a black dot for 30 seconds (or more)? You blink and see an after-image on your wall.

Our brains are skilled at identifying patterns and'seeing' familiar objects, therefore optical illusions are conceivable.

Brain and sight collaborate well. Text comprehension proves it.

Considering evolutionary patterns, humans' understanding skills may be cosmic luck.
Scientists don't know why people can read and write, but they do know what reading does to the brain.

One portion of your brain recognizes words, while another analyzes their meaning. Fixation, saccade, and linguistic transparency/opacity aid.

Let's explain some terms.

The Bionic reading website compares these tools.

Text highlights lead the eye. Fixation, saccade, and opacity can transfer visual stimuli to text, changing typeface.

## Final Thoughts on Bionic Reading

I'm excited about how this could influence my long-term assimilation and productivity.

This technology is still in development, with prototypes working on only a few apps. Like any new tech, it will be criticized.

I'll be watching Bionic Reading closely. Comment on it!

Nicolas Tresegnie

Nicolas Tresegnie

1 year ago

Launching 10 SaaS applications in 100 days

Photo by Mauro Sbicego / Unsplash

Apocodes helps entrepreneurs create SaaS products without writing code. This post introduces micro-SaaS and outlines its basic strategy.

Strategy

Vision and strategy differ when starting a startup.

  • The company's long-term future state is outlined in the vision. It establishes the overarching objectives the organization aims to achieve while also justifying its existence. The company's future is outlined in the vision.

  • The strategy consists of a collection of short- to mid-term objectives, the accomplishment of which will move the business closer to its vision. The company gets there through its strategy.

The vision should be stable, but the strategy must be adjusted based on customer input, market conditions, or previous experiments.

Begin modestly and aim high.

Be truthful. It's impossible to automate SaaS product creation from scratch. It's like climbing Everest without running a 5K. Physical rules don't prohibit it, but it would be suicide.

Apocodes 5K equivalent? Two options:

  • (A) Create a feature that includes every setting option conceivable. then query potential clients “Would you choose us to build your SaaS solution if we offered 99 additional features of the same caliber?” After that, decide which major feature to implement next.

  • (B) Build a few straightforward features with just one or two configuration options. Then query potential clients “Will this suffice to make your product?” What's missing if not? Finally, tweak the final result a bit before starting over.

(A) is an all-or-nothing approach. It's like training your left arm to climb Mount Everest. My right foot is next.

(B) is a better method because it's iterative and provides value to customers throughout.

Focus on a small market sector, meet its needs, and expand gradually. Micro-SaaS is Apocode's first market.

What is micro-SaaS.

Micro-SaaS enterprises have these characteristics:

  • A limited range: They address a specific problem with a small number of features.

  • A small group of one to five individuals.

  • Low external funding: The majority of micro-SaaS companies have Total Addressable Markets (TAM) under $100 million. Investors find them unattractive as a result. As a result, the majority of micro-SaaS companies are self-funded or bootstrapped.

  • Low competition: Because they solve problems that larger firms would rather not spend time on, micro-SaaS enterprises have little rivalry.

  • Low upkeep: Because of their simplicity, they require little care.

  • Huge profitability: Because providing more clients incurs such a small incremental cost, high profit margins are possible.

Micro-SaaS enterprises created with no-code are Apocode's ideal first market niche.

We'll create our own micro-SaaS solutions to better understand their needs. Although not required, we believe this will improve community discussions.

The challenge

In 100 days (September 12–December 20, 2022), we plan to build 10 micro-SaaS enterprises using Apocode.

They will be:

  • Self-serve: Customers will be able to use the entire product experience without our manual assistance.

  • Real: They'll deal with actual issues. They won't be isolated proofs of concept because we'll keep up with them after the challenge.

  • Both free and paid options: including a free plan and a free trial period. Although financial success would be a good result, the challenge's stated objective is not financial success.

This will let us design Apocodes features, showcase them, and talk to customers.

(Edit: The first micro-SaaS was launched!)

Follow along

If you want to follow the story of Apocode or our progress in this challenge, you can subscribe here.

If you are interested in using Apocode, sign up here.

If you want to provide feedback, discuss the idea further or get involved, email me at nicolas.tresegnie@gmail.com