NASA’s Voyager 1 Resumes Sending Engineering Updates to Earth

After many tense months, it seems that thanks to a gaggle of brilliant engineering talent and a lucky break the Voyager 1 spacecraft is once more back in action. Confirmation came on April 20th, when Voyager 1 transmitted its first data since it fell silent on November 14 2023. As previously suspected, the issue was a defective memory chip in the flight data system (FDS), which among other things is responsible for preparing the data it receives from other systems before it is transmitted back to Earth. As at this point in time Voyager 1 is at an approximate 24 billion kilometers distance, this made for a few tense days for those involved.
The firmware patch that got sent over on April 18th contained an initial test to validate the theory, moving the code responsible for the engineering data packaging to a new spot in the FDS memory. If the theory was correct, this should mean that this time the correct data should be sent back from Voyager. Twice a 22.5 hour trip and change through Deep Space and back later on April 20th the team was ecstatic to see what they had hoped for.
With this initial test successful, the team can now move on to moving the remaining code away from the faulty memory after which regular science operations should resume, and giving the plucky spacecraft a new lease on life at the still tender age of 46. […]


The Rimfire Report: Lapua Super Long Range .22 – Initial Impressions

Welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about rimfire firearms, ammunition, and appreciation of all the “small things” we have to be thankful for on the range.  Today’s edition is a guest post by yours truly, Rusty S. If you asked my grandfather, super long range for a .22 would be a squirrel on a tree limb at 75 yards. That being said, advances in ammunition consistency and overall quality of .22LR platforms have allowed contemporary shooters to push .22LR to further and further distances.
The Rimfire Report @ TFB:

I regularly do varmint control at distances of 100-200y with a Tikka T1x, and as such, I’m always on the lookout for consistently accurate .22LR ammunition.  As speedy as CCI Minimags and Stingers are, consistent accuracy is what I’m after when I’m looking to headshot a critter poking its head out of a hole. Furthermore, when it comes to rodents top to the size of a woodchuck, a well-placed subsonic .22 seems to do the job just as well as a high-velocity copper jacketed hollow point.
Initial test platform for Lapua Super Long Range .22LR ammunition
Previously, my go-to .22 ammo for that purpose was Lapua Polar Biathlon for its temperature-agnostic velocities.  However, my interest was piqued at last year’s announcement of Lapua’s eponymous dedicated long range and super long range .22 loads.  Lapua ammo ain’t cheap, but neither is rodent damage on a ranch.  And it’s hard to put a price on the hilarity of long range .22LR success.
Lapua Super Long Range Specs:
Lapua quality has been around for 100 years, and we celebrate by presenting the very best new new rimfire cartridges designed for ranges at 100 m/yds and beyond: The Lapua Super Long Range .22lr cartridge.
The result of extensive product development combined with the world’s finest rimfire production process, the Lapua Super Long Range is made and designed for those who are looking for the best of the best in extreme long distance shooting with .22 caliber ammunition. The Lapua Super Long Range rimfire round shows excellent performance on targets at 100 m/yds and beyond and has a muzzle velocity of 337 m/s or 1106 fps. It is the perfect option for disciplines such as Long Range, PRS, rimfire benchrest and Field Target shooting. With a flat trajectory and improved wind performance, Lapua Super Long Range provides the very best accuracy for any top .22LR shooter looking to beat the competition at longer distances.
Ballistic coefficients are calculated by Quick Target Unlimited Lapua Edition from V0 to V75 BC G1 for all rimfire .22 LR bullets = 0.172
Lapua Super Long Range .22
Lapua Super Long Range specs. Table credit: Lapua
Initial Impressions:
Checking zero on my T1x at 50 yards, Lapua Super Long Range printed consistent cloverleafs.  I have not had my chronograph in good working order lately, but other testers have confirmed that the SD of velocity is well under 10fps.  Super Long Range can be summed up as a faster version of X-ACT, at 1106 fps vs 1073 fps with the same level of consistency and quality control.  The fps of 1106 is of note, as it’s just under the speed of sound at 1125fps.  This is barely subsonic ammunition, and as such will not experience transonic ballistic conditions.
Lapua Super Long Range .22LR
Shooting the two loads side by side, there is a barely perceptible increase in recoil impulse with Lapua Super Long Range ammo (we’re talking a suppressed .22LR rifle so you really have to search for it).  It still is whisper quiet coming out of the T1x’s 20″ barrel with a CGS Hydra can on it, allowing for dispatching multiple varmints with them being none the wiser as to the source of their demise.  At 100 yards, this load nicely corresponds with my primary drop stadia in my scope, and I have successfully taken critters out to 200 yards away with it so far.
Lapua Super Long Range .22
This round has enough oomph to reliably cycle semiautomatic rifle actions as well, easily running in multiple semiautomatic receivers. I had very good accuracy results out of a number of my other rifles as well, but overall my T1x is the top performer for longer-range varminting (I do keep a Green Dot on my Volqaurtsen Summit for rapid short-range varminting around the haystack, and I’ve gone 10/10 on scrambling rats with this ammo as well).
Lapua Super Long Range .22
In the future, I plan on seeing how Lapua Super Long Range performs out of semiautomatic pistols with longer barrels, and also plan on pushing the envelope on this load out to 400 yards on steel and paper.
Thanks as always for reading the Rimfire Report!
Lapua Super Long Range .22 […]


FEMA Announces $117 Million for Emergency Food and Shelter Program to Fight Hunger, Homelessness

WASHINGTON — Today, FEMA awarded $117 million to help fight hunger and homelessness in America, which will improve community responses by providing funding to numerous local organizations across the country to lift people out of dire conditions.Congress appropriated $117 million through the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2024 to FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). By law, FEMA must award the full $117 million to the program’s National Board. The National Board then allocates the funds to local organizations dedicated to feeding, sheltering and providing critical resources to people with economic emergencies. The funds are used to provide shelter, food and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, hunger or homelessness. The program’s National Board allocates funds to local boards in qualifying jurisdictions using the most recent national population, unemployment and poverty data. Local boards then advertise the availability of grant funding in their communities, review applications and award grants to organizations that provide services to those in need. Services can include: Food, in the form of served meals or groceries.Lodging in a mass shelter or hotel.Rental or mortgage assistance to prevent evictions.Utility payment to prevent service cut-offs.Transportation costs associated with the provision of food or shelter.Supplies and equipment necessary to feed or shelter people.The National Board is chaired by FEMA, with representatives from American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide. United Way Worldwide, the National Board’s Secretariat and Fiscal Agent, are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the program. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program has helped make our nation more resilient by distributing more than $4.4 billion to over 14,000 human service agencies in more than 2,500 communities across the country. This collaborative effort between the private and public sectors has helped provide food, shelter and other critical support to hundreds of thousands of people during some of the most challenging periods in their lives.This program is separate from the former EFSP-Humanitarian program, which assisted migrants encountered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the southern border. Migrant assistance is now provided through the Shelter and Services Program.For more information, including how funds are made available by the EFSP National Board to local service providers, visit the EFSP Website (unitedway.org). […]


Russian FSB Counterintelligence Chief Gets 9 Years in Cybercrime Bribery Scheme

The head of counterintelligence for a division of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was sentenced last week to nine years in a penal colony for accepting a USD $1.7 million bribe to ignore the activities of a prolific Russian cybercrime group that hacked thousands of e-commerce websites. The protection scheme was exposed in 2022 when Russian authorities arrested six members of the group, which sold millions of stolen payment cards at flashy online shops like Trump’s Dumps.
A now-defunct carding shop that sold stolen credit cards and invoked 45’s likeness and name.
As reported by The Record, a Russian court last week sentenced former FSB officer Grigory Tsaregorodtsev for taking a $1.7 million bribe from a cybercriminal group that was seeking a “roof,” a well-placed, corrupt law enforcement official who could be counted on to both disregard their illegal hacking activities and run interference with authorities in the event of their arrest.
Tsaregorodtsev was head of the counterintelligence department for a division of the FSB based in Perm, Russia. In February 2022, Russian authorities arrested six men in the Perm region accused of selling stolen payment card data. They also seized multiple carding shops run by the gang, including Ferum Shop, Sky-Fraud, and Trump’s Dumps, a popular fraud store that invoked the 45th president’s likeness and promised to “make credit card fraud great again.”
All of the domains seized in that raid were registered by an IT consulting company in Perm called Get-net LLC, which was owned in part by Artem Zaitsev — one of the six men arrested. Zaitsev reportedly was a well-known programmer whose company supplied services and leasing to the local FSB field office.
The message for Trump’s Dumps users left behind by Russian authorities that seized the domain in 2022.
Russian news sites report that Internal Affairs officials with the FSB grew suspicious when Tsaregorodtsev became a little too interested in the case following the hacking group’s arrests. The former FSB agent had reportedly assured the hackers he could have their case transferred and that they would soon be free.
But when that promised freedom didn’t materialize, four the of the defendants pulled the walls down on the scheme and brought down their own roof. The FSB arrested Tsaregorodtsev, and seized $154,000 in cash, 100 gold bars, real estate and expensive cars.
At Tsaregorodtsev’s trial, his lawyers argued that their client wasn’t guilty of bribery per se, but that he did admit to fraud because he was ultimately unable to fully perform the services for which he’d been hired.
The Russian news outlet Kommersant reports that all four of those who cooperated were released with probation or correctional labor. Zaitsev received a sentence of 3.5 years in prison, and defendant Alexander Kovalev got four years.
In 2017, KrebsOnSecurity profiled Trump’s Dumps, and found the contact address listed on the site was tied to an email address used to register more than a dozen domains that were made to look like legitimate Javascript calls many e-commerce sites routinely make to process transactions — such as “js-link[dot]su,” “js-stat[dot]su,” and “js-mod[dot]su.”
Searching on those malicious domains revealed a 2016 report from RiskIQ, which shows the domains featured prominently in a series of hacking campaigns against e-commerce websites. According to RiskIQ, the attacks targeted online stores running outdated and unpatched versions of shopping cart software from Magento, Powerfront and OpenCart.
Those shopping cart flaws allowed the crooks to install “web skimmers,” malicious Javascript used to steal credit card details and other information from payment forms on the checkout pages of vulnerable e-commerce sites. The stolen customer payment card details were then sold on sites like Trump’s Dumps and Sky-Fraud. […]


Speaker Johnson Casts Deciding Vote to Allow the FBI to Spy on Americans Without a Warrant

The House of Representatives turned aside an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act renewal that would have required a warrant before information gathered about Americans could be made available to law enforcement. The amendment, offered by Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, prohibits warrantless searches of U.S. person communications in the FISA 702 database, with exceptions for imminent threats to life or bodily harm, consent searches, or known cybersecurity threat signatures. By a vote of 212-212, the amendment failed. One hundred and twenty-eight Republicans voted for the amendment, and 86 voted against it. On the Democrat side, the vote was 84 yes and 126 no.


This is how the Constitution dies.By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames.This is a sad day for America.The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants. pic.twitter.com/i49GnCzyPm— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 12, 2024RELATEDHouse Reauthorizes FISA With Key Amendments, Securing Victory for Speaker Mike JohnsonHouse Set to Vote on FISA Reform Days After GOP Floor RevoltBREAKING: FISA Is Dead in the Water After House Republicans Kill Renewal LegislationWhat the Heck Is Going on With FISA Reform?Johnson’s vote was never in question. He made a statement to the media yesterday indicating how he would vote and why.Speaker Johnson on his FISA flip flop: “When I was a member of the Judiciary I saw the abuses of the FBI, hundreds of thousands of abuses. And then I became Speaker and got the confidential briefing to understand how important it is for national security.”pic.twitter.com/b5eqOTXANU— TheBlaze (@theblaze) April 11, 2024I’m sorry, if I know the FBI is lying about using FISA, why would I suddenly believe their sales pitch on its critical role in national security? It isn’t like the FBI had a few bad actors making the occasional abuse. The data shows that abuse of FISA and lying to the FISA court are baked into the system.3.4 million warrantless searches of Americans’ private communications.278,000 improper searches on American citizens.19,000 improper searches of donors to a congressional candidate.There is no shortage of spying authority abuses by the weaponized FBI. Get a warrant. #FISA pic.twitter.com/sQUfmHqtbo— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) April 10, 2024


Not everyone felt that way.Every time you expand FISA, you underscore the need for a warrant. pic.twitter.com/ewvuugH7jL— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) April 12, 2024“It’s just not that hard. If you want to go after an American, if you want to look at their information, GET A WARRANT.” #FISA pic.twitter.com/D3aeDlRhUj— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) April 12, 2024We can protect the deep state or we can protect the American people from warrantless surveillance.I stand with the American people and the Constitution.The FBI should be required to GET A WARRANT. #FISA pic.twitter.com/1WS252w9UI— Rep. Tom Tiffany (@RepTiffany) April 12, 2024But the fix was in. Biden’s attorney general and national security advisor called individual members of Congress, telling them Doomsday loomed if the federal government had to obey the US Constitution.From me and @bresreports: @JakeSullivan46 and Merrick Garland are calling members on the Hill on the warrant amendment. WH working hard to defeat.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) April 12, 2024This vote should have been a no-brainer. FISA is wildly unpopular with Republicans outside the conservative wing of the GOP. It is abused relentlessly and there is no effort within the government to hold anyone to account for violating that law. For instance, no one involved in the abuse of FISA to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign and transition team has been punished. The FBI refuses to provide any evidence to the public that this law is anything but Stasi-lite. Speaker Johnson had the chance to rewrite this monstrosity into something that isn’t a danger to the Republic, but he chose not to.


Roll Call Vote on Biggs AmendmentRoll Call on Biggs Amendment to FISA by streiff on Scribd […]


Ancient Cable Modem Reveals Its RF Secrets

Most reverse engineering projects we see around here have some sort of practical endpoint in mind. Usually, but not always. Reverse-engineering a 40-year-old cable modem probably serves no practical end, except for the simple pleasure of understanding how 1980s tech worked.
You’ll be forgiven if the NABU Network, the source of the modem [Jared Boone] tears into, sounds unfamiliar; it only existed from 1982 to 1985 and primarily operated in Ottawa, Canada. It’s pretty interesting though, especially the Z80-based computer that was part of the package. The modem itself is a boxy affair bearing all the hallmarks of 1980s tech. [Jared]’s inspection revealed a power supply with a big transformer, a main logic board, and a mysterious shielded section with all the RF circuits, which is the focus of the video below.
Using a signal generator, a spectrum analyzer, and an oscilloscope, not to mention the PCB silkscreen and component markings, [Jared] built a block diagram of the circuit and determined the important frequencies for things like the local oscillator. He worked through the RF section, discovering what each compartment does, with the most interesting one probably being the quadrature demodulator. But things took a decidedly digital twist in the last compartment, where the modulated RF is turned into digital data with a couple of 7400-series chips, some comparators, and a crystal oscillator.
This tour of 80s tech and the methods [Jared] used to figure out what’s going on in this box were pretty impressive. There’s more to come on this project, including recreating the original signal with SDRs. In the mean time, if this put you in the mood for other videotext systems of the 80s, you might enjoy this Minitel terminal teardown.

[embedded content] […]

No Picture

These Raspberry Pi-powered glasses translate sign language into speech

Some Raspberry Pi projects really tug at your heartstrings. As cool as it is to build a robot or a plant-monitoring system, there’s something to be said about projects that help bring us closer together as people. Today we’ve got a wonderful example of such a project, created by a maker who goes by Nekhil. Using our favorite SBC, the Raspberry Pi, he’s managed to create a pair of glasses that can help the wearer understand sign language.It works by using AI to monitor a live video feed. The AI system has been trained to recognize hand gestures and their associated letters. When a letter has been confirmed, the Pi uses text-to-speech to say the letter aloud. This makes it possible for anyone nearby to understand what’s being conveyed, whether or not they are familiar with any sign language at all.The platform holding together the design is VIAM, an open-source tool that’s oriented toward smart machine projects like this one. Because this project is so reliant on AI and image processing, it’s understandable that Nekhil would first turn to the latest Raspberry Pi 5. However, it quickly became evident that he could get away with using a Pi Zero 2 W, which would be plenty capable performance-wise while providing a smaller form factor.The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is connected to a Camera Module V3, which is positioned in the front center of the glasses frame. This makes it possible to capture images and video of whatever is directly in front of the wearer. As long as you’re facing the person who’s signing, the Pi will be able to read the gestures. According to Nekhil, the frames were designed using Fusion 360 and 3D printed just for this project.Image […]


Indiana Hoosiers won transfer portal, and more talent could be coming

The Indiana Hoosiers were among the most disappointing men’s basketball teams in the country this past season. After making the NCAA tournament in each of head coach Mike Woodson’s first two seasons leading the program, the wheels fell off during the 2023-2024 season. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was wrong with the team.
Indiana was just about the worst shooting team in America. The Hoosiers barely ever shot a three, and when they did, they probably missed. Only 27.8 percent of Indiana’s field goal attempts came from three-point range, which ranked No. 351 in DI. The team’s 32.4 percent three-point field goal percentage ranked No. 255 in DI. Indiana’s guard play struggled as starting point guard Xavier Johnson was in-and-out of the lineup with injuries, and the team never really recovered.
At one point during conference season, Indiana lost eight of 10 games against Big Ten opponents. That’s when rumors began swirling that Woodson could be on the hot seat. As Johnson got healthier Indiana started playing much better, winning its final four games in the regular season and its opener in the Big Ten tournament to finish 19-14 overall, and 11-11 in conference including the tournament.
The late season hot streak wasn’t good enough to get Indiana into March Madness, but it did save Woodson’s job, if it ever really was in jeopardy. From the moment the season ended, this became a critical offseason for the coaching staff to get in the transfer portal and reload the roster — especially after five-star freshman Liam McNeeley decommitted.
So far, the Hoosiers are crushing it in the transfer portal. The Hoosiers have the No. 1 transfer class in the country according to 247 Sports, with Kansas, UCLA, Missouri and Illinois rounding out the top-5. Indiana landed three terrific veteran players, and a few more could be on the way.
Let’s go over the Hoosiers’ haul, and where they could go next in the transfer portal with their remaining scholarships.

Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Kanaan Carlyle gives Indiana a bucket-getting combo guard
Carlyle was the No. 59 overall recruit in the class of 2023, according to 247 Sports, and immediately lived up to the hype upon debuting for Stanford in Dec. He dropped 28 points against a loaded Arizona team in his fourth career game, and followed it up with 31 points against a tournament-bound Washington State team a couple weeks later. Carlyle was briefly on NBA radars as a one-and-done, but his three-point shot eventually tailed off and cooled interest. He entered the transfer portal after head coach Jerod Haase was fired, and was ranked as a top-10 transfer in the country by 247 Sports.
A long 6’3 combo guard, Carlyle is talented at creating shots for himself and his teammates even if he’s not always the most efficient scorer. He can good off a decent look at all three levels, showing an ability to shoot three-pointers with volume even if they didn’t always go in by finishing 32-for-100 from deep on the year. He loves to pull-up from mid-range off the dribble, making near 40 percent of his non-rim twos on the year with only 12.5 percent of those baskets being assisted. His finishing needs work (54 percent at the rim), but he has the tools to be there if he add craft. Carlyle’s defensive ceiling is also intriguing with his length, but he looked like a freshman for most of the year on that end.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Myles Rice is the floor general Indiana needed
Washington State point guard Myles Rice was one of the best stories in college basketball last season. After enrolling during the 2021-2022 season, Rice was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and missed two years recovering. He debuted this past season as an older freshman, and was immediately one of the best players a solid Cougars team that reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. He was named 2024 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at the end of the season.
At 6’3, Rice has good size for a lead guard. He more of a playmaker than a scorer, and finished the year with an impressive 22.7 percent assist rate. Rice is not a good three-point shooter — only 27.5 percent from deep last year — but the fact that he took a lot of triples (131 attempts from three) and shot 81 percent from the foul line hints that he could be in for a leap as a shooter next year. Rice and Carlyle complement each other well — Rice as a playmaker, Carlyle as a scorer — as long as they can improve as shooters.

Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Oumar Ballo was the best center available
Kel’el Ware was the biggest bright spot for Indiana last season. The former McDonald’s All-American transferred in from Oregon after a down freshman year, and immediately reminded everyone how good he is once he got to Bloomington. Ware left school after the season to enter the 2024 NBA Draft, where he’s a projected first round pick. Woodson target Ballo after two standout seasons at Arizona, and he committed to Indiana with reports of a $1.2 million NIL payment.
At 7-foot, 260 pounds, Ballo is the type of big man teams need to compete in the Big Ten. He’s already been a productive and efficient scorer for one of the best teams in the country for multiple seasons. He’s an excellent rebounder and can capably play drop coverage while deterring shots at the rim. Ballo finished in the top-20 in the country in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage, and his five percent block rate was No. 175 in the country. ESPN had Ballo rated as the top overall player in the portal.
Indiana still has three open scholarships
Woodson already landed three starters in the portal. With Trey Galloway, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Malik Reneau all returning from last year’s team, Indiana is building a deep, veteran team with a high ceiling.
There’s still three open scholarships, and the Hoosiers should only be targeting one thing: shooting.
An intriguing shooter joined the transfer portal on Monday when Illinois wing Luke Goode submitted his paperwork. Goode is a 6’7 wing who made 38.8 percent of his threes over three seasons with Illinois. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Goode has Indiana ties all over his family, including his uncle Trent Green, the former NFL QB.

FUN FACT(s):Luke Goode’s uncle is @IndianaFootball legend, Trent Green.Goode’s dad and two uncles all played football at IU.Goode’s cousin Matt played football at IU.Goode’s brother goes to IU.Goode’s parents have Indiana Basketball season tickets. https://t.co/qvwYE1qOYP— Martha the Mop Lady (@TheMopLady) April 22, 2024

Indiana will have no excuses for missing the NCAA tournament next season. With Purdue and Illinois turning over huge portions of their roster, the Hoosiers will be expected to compete near the top of the Big Ten entering the season. Indiana added two tremendous guards, an experienced and productive big man, and still have a few more roster slots left.
No one has nailed the transfer portal this season quite like Indiana. […]


Lord of the Lies: A Pediatrician’s Take on the Latest Child Gender Transition Research

CommentaryLast week’s release of the Cass Review brought to memory the old jingle: “Liar, liar, pants on fire; your nose is longer than a telephone wire.” Commissioned four years ago to probe the practices of the Tavistock gender clinic in Britain, the report methodically assembles a damning indictment of the flimsy evidence used to “transition” children.Its author, retired pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass, is polite and professional, but she pulls no punches in exposing the false foundation upon which the entire edifice of “gender-affirming care” is built.Drawing extensively on a series of systematic literature reviews and in-depth interviews with doctors, parents, and patients, she writes: “The reality is that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress. … For the majority of young people, a medical pathway may not be the best way to achieve this.”Even social transitioning alone, she concludes, risks grave psychological harm for children.And social transitioning is often a prelude to puberty blockers. Dr. Cass skewers the oft-cited narrative that blockers are harmless and reversible, pointing to evidence of permanent negative effects on bone density and neuropsychiatric functioning.Related StoriesThe report advises a U-turn from the “gender-affirming” construct of drugs and surgery toward a model of careful psychological counselling. Critically, this is the very “watchful waiting” approach that got Canadian psychologist Dr. Kenneth Zucker fired more than eight years ago as head of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.Dr. Cass delivers a scathing indictment of the shaky evidence for guidelines used by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Endocrine Society, and she exposes their repeated practice of using non-evidence-based guidelines to justify other non-evidence-based guidelines.Not all lies are equal. White lies are the (mostly) harmless sort we tell to spare someone’s feelings. Black lies are the malicious untruths told to gain unfair advantage or to cause harm to others.But the “lord of the lies” is the “blue” lie: the sort of falsehood we tell each other and ourselves—often unknowingly—on behalf of our tribes. Such as in William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies,” when a group of boys convinces themselves, without evidence, that there’s a beast in the forest—a delusion that turns deadly for Simon and Piggy.In my view, blue lies underpin the gospel of “gender-affirming care,” which has led thousands of otherwise erudite medical professionals to discard the truth of the gender binary in favour of blatant interference with normal pediatric physiology.It’s important to emphasize that blue lies typically aren’t told with intent to mislead, or from a place of malevolence; their proponents genuinely believe they are on the side of truth.Combating blue lies, therefore, is extraordinarily difficult. But not impossible. Two strategies are key:First, we need powerful insiders—not just members of the tribe, but prominent figures within it to awake to their errors and begin to speak up. Such as when Finnish physician Riittakerttu Kaltiala, one of the architects of Finland’s youth gender transition program, stepped up last October to say:“Gender transition has gotten out of hand. When medical professionals start saying they have one answer that applies everywhere, or that they have a cure for all life’s pains, that should be a warning to all of us that something has gone very wrong.”Unfortunately, a common response to the Cass Review by gender-fluidity adherents has been to double down. Take Dr. Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual & Gender Minority Youth:“The flawed UK Cass Report was issued today and is exactly what was expected from a country that is virulently anti-trans,” he said on social media.His is the sort of reaction that Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle, writing about the horrors of frontal lobotomies, describes as “The Oedipus Trap”: a situation where “it can be so psychologically devastating to discover you’ve made a mistake … that you will do everything in your power to avoid recognizing it.” Per Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”Therefore, a second strategy—expertly employed by Dr. Cass—is crucial: the careful and patient exhibition of evidence, without hyperbole and without rancour.The Cass Review exposes a tangled web indeed. For her efforts, and for her courage, Hilary Cass deserves our deepest thanks.Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. […]


What are Mises’s Six Lessons?

Ludwig von Mises’s Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow has become quite popular recently. The Mises Book Store has sold out of its physical copies, and the PDF, which is available online for free, has seen over 50,000 downloads in the past few days.This surge in interest in Mises’s ideas was started by UFC fighter Renato Moicano, who declared in a short post-fight victory speech, “I love America, I love the Constitution…I want to carry…guns. I love private property. Let me tell you something. If you care about your…country, read Ludwig von Mises and the six lessons of the Austrian economic school.”The “six lessons” he is referring to is Mises’s book, Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow, which was republished by our friends in Brazil under the title “As Seis Lições” (“The Six Lessons”).If you are interested in what Mises has to say in this book, which is a transcription of lectures he gave in Argentina in 1959, here’s a brief preview, which I hope inspires you to read the short book in full. As a side note, if you are an undergraduate student who is interested in these ideas, the Mises Institute’s next Mises Book Club is on this text (pure coincidence!).Lecture One: CapitalismMises begins his first lecture with an overview of the development of capitalism out of feudalism. Businesses began “mass production to satisfy the needs of the masses” instead of focusing on producing luxury goods for the elite. These big businesses succeeded because they served the needs of a larger group of people, and their success wholly depended on their ability to give this mass of consumers what they wanted.Despite the amazing and undeniable increases in standards of living, even for a growing population, capitalism had its detractors, including Karl Marx, who gave capitalism its name. Mises says that while Marx hated capitalism and that Marx dubbed it thusly as an attack on the system, the name is a good one because it describes clearly the source of the great social improvements brought about by capitalism. Those improvements are the result of capital accumulation; they are based on the fact that people as a rule, do not consume everything they have produced, that they save—and invest—a part of it.Prosperity is the result of providing for the future—more precisely it is the result of setting aside consumption today by saving and investing resources in production. Mises says that this principle explains why some countries are more prosperous than others. When it comes to economic growth, “there are no miracles.” There is only “the application of the principles of the free market economy, of the methods of capitalism.”Lecture Two: SocialismIn the second lecture, Mises takes a closer look at Marx’s proposed system: socialism. Economic freedom means that people can choose their own careers and use their resources to accomplish their own ends. Economic freedom is the basis for all other freedoms. For example, when the government seizes whole industries, like that of the printing press, it determines what will be published and what won’t and the “freedom of the press disappears.”Mises acknowledges that there is no such thing as “perfect freedom” in a metaphysical sense. We must obey the laws of nature, especially if we intend to use and transform nature according to our ends. And even economic freedom means that there is a fundamental interdependence among individuals: “Freedom in society means that a man depends as much on other people as other people depend upon him.” This is also true for big businesses and the entrepreneurs who lead them. The true “bosses” in the market economy are not those who shout orders to the workers, but the consumers.Socialists despise the idea of consumer sovereignty because it means allowing mistakes. In their mind, the state should play the paternalistic role of deciding what is good for everyone. Thus Mises sees no difference between socialism and a system of slavery: “The slave must do what his superior orders him to do, but the free citizen—and this is what freedom means—is in a position to choose his own way of life.” In capitalism, this freedom makes it possible for people to be born into poverty but then achieve great success as they provide for their fellow man. This kind of social mobility is impossible under systems like feudalism and socialism.Mises ends this lecture with a short explanation of the economic calculation critique of socialism. When the private ownership of the means of production is prohibited, then economic calculation is made impossible. Without market prices for factors, we cannot economize production and provide for the needs of the masses, no matter who oversees the socialist planning board. The result is mass deprivation and chaos.Lecture Three: InterventionismInterventionism describes a situation in which the government “wants to interfere with market phenomena.” Each intervention involves an abrogation of the consumer sovereignty Mises had explained in the two previous lectures.The government wants to interfere in order to force businessmen to conduct their affairs in a different way than they would have chosen if they had obeyed only the consumers. Thus, all the measures of interventionism by the government are directed toward restricting the supremacy of consumers.Mises gives an example of a price ceiling on milk. While those who enact such an intervention may intend to make milk more affordable for poorer families, there are many unintended consequences: increased demand, decreased supply, non-price rationing in the form of long queues at shops that sell milk, and, importantly, grounds for the government to intervene in new ways now that their initial intervention has not achieved its intended purpose. So, in Mises’s example, he traces through the new interventions, like government rationing, price controls for cattle food, price controls for luxury goods, and so on until the government has intervened in virtually every part of the economy, i.e., socialism.After providing some historical examples of this process, Mises gives the big picture. Interventionism, as a “middle-of-the-road policy,” is actually a road toward totalitarianism.Lecture Four: InflationThere can be no secret way to the solution of the financial problems of a government; if it needs money, it has to obtain the money by taxing its citizens (or, under special conditions, by borrowing it from people who have the money). But many governments, we can even say most governments, think there is another method for getting the needed money; simply to print it.If the government taxes citizens to build a new hospital, then the citizens are forced to reduce their spending and the government “replaces” their spending with its own. If, however, the government uses newly printed money to finance the construction of the hospital, then there is no replacement of spending, but an addition, and “prices will tend to go up.”Mises, per usual, explodes the idea of a “price level” that rises and falls, as if all prices change simultaneously and proportionally. Instead, prices rise “step by step.” The first receivers of new money increase their demands for goods, which provides new income to those who sell those goods. Those sellers may now increase their demands for goods. This explains the process by which some prices and some people’s incomes increase before others. The result is a “price revolution,” in which prices and incomes rise in a stepwise fashion, starting with the origin of the new money. In this way, new money alters the distribution of incomes and the arrangement of real resources throughout the economy, creating “winners” and “losers.”The gold standard offers a strict check against the inflationist tendencies of governments. In such a system, the government cannot create new units of money to finance its spending, so it must resort to taxation, which is notably unpopular. Fiat inflation, however, is subtle and its effects are complex and delayed, which makes it especially attractive to governments that can wield it.In this lecture Mises also executes a thorough smackdown of Keynes and Keynesianism, but I’ll leave that for readers to enjoy.Lecture Five: Foreign InvestmentMises returns to a principle he introduced in the first lecture, that economic growth stems from capital accumulation. The differences in standards of living between countries is not attributable to technology, the qualities of the workers, or the skills of the entrepreneurs, but to the availability of capital.One way that capital may be accumulated within a country is through foreign investment. The British, for example, provided much of the capital that was required to develop the rail system in the United States and in Europe. This provided mutual benefit for both the British and the countries on the receiving end of this investment. The British earned profits through their ownership of the rail systems and the receiving countries, even with a temporary “unfavorable” balance of trade, obtained the benefits of the rail system including expanded productivity which, over time, allowed them to purchase stock in the rail companies from the British. Foreign investment allows the capital accumulation in one country to speed up the development of other countries, all without a one-sided sacrifice on the part of the country providing the investment. Wars (especially world wars), protectionism, and domestic taxation destroy this mutually beneficial process. When countries impose tariffs or expropriate the capital that belongs to foreign investors, they “prevent or to slow down the accumulation of domestic capital and to put obstacles in the way of foreign capital.”Lecture Six: Politics and IdeasThe classical liberal ideas of the philosophers of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries helped create the constrained governments and economic freedom that led to the explosion of economic growth Mises discussed in the first lecture. But the emergence of minority “pressure groups,” what we would call “special interest groups” today, directed politicians away from classical liberal ideals and toward interventionism. The groups that would benefit from various interventions lobby the government to grant them favors like monopoly privileges, taxes on competition (including tariffs), and subsidies. And, as we have seen, this interventionist spiral tends toward socialism and totalitarianism. The “resurgence of the warlike spirit” in the twentieth century brought about world wars and exacerbated the totalitarian trends even in the once exemplary nations.The concomitant rise in government expenditures made fiat money and inflation too tempting. The wars and special projects advocated by the pressure groups were expensive, and so budget constraints were discarded in favor of debasement.This, Mises says, explains the downfall of civilization. He points to the Roman Empire as an example: What had taken place? What was the problem? What was it that caused the disintegration of an empire which, in every regard, had attained the highest civilization ever achieved before the eighteenth century? The truth is that what destroyed this ancient civilization was something similar, almost identical to the dangers that threaten our civilization today: on the one hand it was interventionism, and on the other hand, inflation.Mises finds hope in the fact that the detractors of economic freedom, like Marx and Keynes, do not represent the masses or even a majority. Marx, for example, “was not a man from the proletariat. He was the son of a lawyer. … He was supported by his friend Friedrich Engels, who—being a manufacturer—was the worst type of ‘bourgeois,’ according to socialist ideas. In the language of Marxism, he was an exploiter.”This implies that the fate of civilization depends on a battle of ideas, and Mises thought that good ideas would win: I consider it as a very good sign that, while fifty years ago, practically nobody in the world had the courage to say anything in favor of a free economy, we have now, at least in some of the advanced countries of the world, institutions that are centers for the propagation of a free economy.May we continue Mises’s project and fulfill his hope. What the world needs is “Menos Marx, Mais Mises.” […]