Adios, April Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Anyone who thinks Marjorie Taylor Greene will drop her threat to force the removal of the Republican US House speaker, Mike Johnson, is “high, drunk, or simply out of their mind”, a senior aide to the far-right Georgia congresswoman said.

    “That’s absurd,” her deputy chief of staff Nick Dyer told Politico, adding that Greene was “not going to tell the press” her plans for activating the motion to vacate she filed more than a month ago.

    “Anyone who is saying she is backing down is high, drunk, or simply out of their mind.”

    Speaking of high, drunk, and simply out of their mind, how’s your boss doing these days, Nick?

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    First scientist to publish Covid sequence in China protests over lab ‘eviction’

    After sequencing the virus on 5 January 2020 Zhang and his team initially sent a notice to Chinese authorities warning of its potential to spread. The next day his lab was temporarily shut down by China’s top health official.

    Foreign scientists called for Zhang and other Chinese scientists to be allowed to publish the sequencing. The following week Zhang published his sequence – without authority – allowing global health authorities to begin testing for Covid-19, finding that it was spreading outside China. It also kickstarted the development of tests, vaccinations and other pandemic measures.

    Internationally Zhang was lauded, receiving prizes in recognition of his work, but domestically he came under pressure. He was barred from collaborating with some former research partners and removed from his post at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    “I won’t leave, I won’t quit, I am pursuing science and the truth!” he said in the since-deleted Weibo post. “The Public Health Center are refusing to let me and my students go inside the laboratory office to take shelter.”

    Teacher Li, who runs an information-sharing and activism-monitoring account on X, said students had protested against the closure and clashed with security guards.

    Zhang, when reached by phone on Tuesday, said it was “inconvenient” for him to speak, but a colleague confirmed to AP on Monday the protest was taking place.


  3. Scott says:

    More on the change drones are having on warfare:

    Ukraine pulls US tanks from front lines over Russian drone threats

    Ukraine has sidelined U.S.-provided Abrams M1A1 battle tanks for now in its fight against Russia, in part because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack, two U.S. military officials told The Associated Press.

    The U.S. agreed to send 31 Abrams to Ukraine in January 2023 after an aggressive monthslong campaign by Kyiv arguing that the tanks, which cost about $10 million apiece, were vital to its ability to breach Russian lines.

    But the battlefield has changed substantially since then, notably by the ubiquitous use of Russian surveillance drones and hunter-killer drones. Those weapons have made it more difficult for Ukraine to protect the tanks when they are quickly detected and hunted by Russian drones or rounds.

    Five of the 31 tanks have already been lost to Russian attacks.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    As predicted by many, tanks are having their “battleship” moment.

  5. Kathy says:

    I asked the Copilot app yesterday whether an object traveling faster than light would experience a negative speed in time.

    I’ll give the MS AI app credit. It answered the question rather than pointing out the evident impossibility. Sure, it made the usual caveats about infinite mass and such, but it also brought up speculation about reverse causality, time travel, and for some reason time travel paradoxes.

    I then asked about negative mass. Again, lots of caveats about the answer being speculation, and that no object with negative mass has been observed. The one weird thing is something with a mass of, say, -1 kg., would move towards you if you pushed it. It didn’t say, but it would follow that it would move away from you if you pulled it.

    For some reason, it didn’t mention that, or make the natural connection to anti gravity. That is, our -1 kg. object under Earth’s 1 g pull would accelerate upwards at a rate of 9.81 meters per second squared*, until it reached terminal velocity. However, as the air gets thinner and thus offers less resistance the higher the object falls, I think it would just keep heading out from Earth until the pull were so diminished it would get lost amid the acceleration imparted by other gravitational sources pulling it away from them.

    *I had a hell of a time in high school trying to grasp the notion of a squared second, until I read a piece in Discover magazine casually explain 1 g acceleration meant an increase in speed of 9.81 meters per second every second.

  6. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Tanks have always been vulnerable to infantry on a constricted battlefield, like built-up areas or woodland, unless they have close infantry support. An isolated tank in an urban area in WW2 was dead.
    It seems drones have just turned this up to 11: the opposing infantry no longer have to get up close and personal; drones can carry weapons themselves or, probably even more important, with precise GPS, spot for artillery.

    It looks like tanks are becoming more like cavalry was in the era of muskets and cannon, or indeed the light tanks of early WW2: a weapon of breakthrough, exploitation and pursuit.

    By extension: effective tank operations more than ever require air superiority to break defences, provide support, and sustain momentum.

  7. Kathy says:

    Lardass was fined $9,000 for gag order violations.

    It’s not a lot of money, but now he has to waste some more precious campaign time looking for someone to pay it for him. It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, the cruelest an most unusuallest, manypopelesaythat. And where’s his pillow and blanket? Woke Democrats want to take away your my pillows.

  8. gVOR10 says:

    @JohnSF: Our military don’t seem to have been in any rush to come up with a replacement for the M1 Abrams tank, which, with various upgrades, has been in service since 1980. I think we’re seeing why.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    We seem to have had several mentions of Kevin Drum lately. Today, in support of Dr. T’s ongoing theme of GOPs remaining GOPs, Drum has a list of what conservatives see as the accomplishments of Trump’s first term. The problem is not a lack of accomplishment from their point of view. The problem is that they see this list as accomplishments.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Scott: @Sleeping Dog: Reminds me of Bill Mauldin’s cartoon of Willie and Joe looking at a tank while digging their foxhole. “I’d rather dig, a moving foxhole attracts the eye.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: The problem is that they see this list as accomplishments.


  12. MarkedMan says:

    Ok, color me very skeptical about this study described in the WaPo (no subscription needed) on how much sleep people get. I plugged in how much sleep I got last night (7 hours, 15 minutes) and it proceeded to tell me I was at the absolute bottom for the amount of sleep men my age get. In fact, it said that the median amount of sleep men for men aged from 60-74 is 8 hours and 45 minutes. I just find that incredible. I don’t think that outside of being ill or being awake 24 hours or more straight the day before that I’ve ever slept 8 hours and 45 minutes.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m skeptical, too. But part of the problem may be the age range 60-84. At about 68, I noted to the sleep doctor who treats my sleep apnea that I my sleep pattern had recently changed so that I was usually sleeping only about 4 hours (with a short arousal at about an hour and a half) before I awoke fully enough that it could take as many as 3 hours to fall back to sleep–at which point I’d usually sleep four more uninterrupted hours. The doctor told me that type of sleep pattern is not uncommon as people enter my age range. WaPo may be looking at a mixed cohort.

    Of course, we may both be outliers, too.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The CDC has this table of recommended sleep times

    that’s how much you should sleep, not how much most people actually sleep.

    I get 7-7:30 hours most nights. After coffee, I don’t feel sleepy throughout the day. Weekends are worse. for some reason, I tend to wake earlier. And then by 10 or 11 am I take a nap.

    On the plus side, I tend to sleep through the night, and I swear it’s been years since I woke up at 2 or 3 am with an urgent need to use the restroom.

  15. Matt says:

    @Scott: The handful of M1 tanks we gave ukraine weren’t going to have any noticeable effect on the actual war (Ukraine has over 1000 total tanks). It was always a symbolic thing. A symbolic move that I fully supported because at the end of the day it gave Ukraine a few more tanks and the USA some real world data.

    @Sleeping Dog: No tanks are not having a “battleship moment”. What you’re seeing are tanks that are generations behind US tanks being deployed without ECM or drone defense systems that are standard on US equipment while being operated by barely trained crew members. So yeah unprotected tanks are going to have issues. This has been known for a couple decades now and is why the USA has invested so much in both drone warfare and counter drone warfare. The US system of combined arms involves a lot more than just what you can see on the field. While Ukraine is attempting to emulate the US form of combined arms Ukraine lacks a lot of the fancy stuff the USA uses.

    @gVOR10: The modern SEV3 m1 is radically different from the first M1s to roll off the assembly line. Every component that matters has been changed multiple times over the various generations of the M1 through the M1a2 sev3. Not even the base armor is the same.

    The OG abrams had a 105mm gun and weighted 54t. The M1A2 Sep v3 has the 120mm gun and weights 66.8t.

    While they do have vaguely the same shape make no mistake the M1 has evolved greatly since it’s inception. This isn’t a case of the Russian t80 or t90…

  16. Mimai says:

    I quickly skimmed the article (thanks btw) and didn’t see any mention of sleep efficiency. This is a key measure in research and clinical practice.

    I also didn’t see any mention of mental health, though I could have missed it in my skimming. If it was indeed left out of the discussion, then that is quite the omission.

  17. Matt says:

    To elaborate on my comment about the Russian t-80 and t-90 tanks.

    The T-90 was russia’s “new tank” up until the T-14 Armata was announced. The T-90 is still produced as Russia’s modern tank. The T-90 is an upgraded T-72 with all the flaws of the original tank including armor and autoloader carousel issues (they even use the same gun). The T-72 was designed in the 60s.

    The T-80 was the prior “newest greatest Soviet tank” which is still in production. The T-80 was based on the T-64 tank which was designed in the 50s. Once again the T-80 series has all the same flaws as the old T-64 tanks but with some upgrades in engines, optics etc. The T-80 uses the same gun as the T-90 and the T-72 hence the pop top “problem”.

    So while Russia was slapping new optics and sometimes radios in tanks designed in the 50s and 60s the USA was almost completely redesigning the M1s.

  18. Kathy says:

    I made a rather boring iteration of pasta in red sauce with meatballs. The difference is I cooked the meatballs in the air fryer.

    The first batch went in for 6 minutes at 180 C. The outside was browned beyond belief, but the inside temp was low. So I gave them another 4 minutes. Now the inside temp was too high. they were mostly ok, but a little dry.

    So next batch I put in for 7 minutes. these were better, but maybe next time I should add some meatloaf type glaze to the mix.

    The degree of browning on the surface, though, just blew me away. I’ve never gotten meatballs that brown in the gas oven (even using convection), or cooked in a pan on the stove. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think air fryers are magic.

  19. Kathy says:

    BTW, today at the election interference trial, a member of the Lardass family, whom we hadn’t heard much about lately, came up: David Dennison.

  20. Matt says:

    @Mimai: Man I’m lucky if I get more than 4 hours of sleep at a time these days. I just wake up for no apparent reason then spend an hour or two to fall asleep for another couple hours. It’s killing me and even the website is like “need to enter at least 5 hours to compare”…

    I haven’t gotten 8 hours of sleep in oh boy like 20 years? I cannot even remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep.

  21. Mimai says:

    Damn, that sounds miserable. Really really miserable. And concerning. I hope you have access to appropriate care, because there are evidence-based treatments.

  22. Kathy says:

    Today’s little oddity.

    In a post on the Israel thread, I couldn’t remember the battle I wanted to reference (FWIW the Battle of the Caudine Forks). I recalled a large number of Roman prisoners, the asking for advice, the advice given, and the measure taken, but not who the enemy was, much less which battle. A Google search left me frustrated. So I decided to ask Copilot.

    Here comes the oddity. Searching on Google I typed more or less “Roman Republic battle large number of prisoners kill them all.” Maybe that’s bad googling, but searches like these often get me results. With Copilot, I tried something more like “I’m trying to recall a battle the Roman Republic lost, where the enemy commander didn’t know what to do with the large number of prisoners, and asked his father for advice.”

    I think the different styles of “searching” are clear.

    FYI, Copilot found the wrong battle (namely the world’s first Pyrrhic Victory), but asked for more details. I again typed a longer, more detailed query, including the advice to let the Romans go, or to kill all the Romans, as well as the commander’s decision to humiliate them before allowing them to go. Then it identified the right battle in the context of the Second Samnite War.

    Does this make Copilot a better means for searching out info? If only because I’m more inclined to converse with it as if with a person?

    I don’t think so. When my searches fail on Google, I will sometimes try a question and get the info I’m looking for.

    One thing where I’ve noticed Copilot does better than a web search, is when I want a specific, succinct, non-technical answer to a question.

    Say I wanted to look something up about a gravity assist maneuver. In Google I’d type “gravity assist maneuver,” and get a link, possibly to Wikipedia, with all the info about it. This may or may not help. I often wind up looking up the Wikipedia index, and sometimes searching for keywords in the page. Also some Wikipedia pages tend to be heavily technical.

    Earlier today I asked Copilot “how does a gravity assist work.” I got a succinct, non-technical answer. I then asked specifically how Voyager 2’s speed changed with respect to the Sun after doing the gravity assist with Jupiter. The answer lacked numbers, but it was a deeper explanation, still non-technical of how Voyager 2 specifically altered its orbit around the Sun using Jupiter’s gravity.

    If these tools are out there, I figure we should learn to use them.

    Also, be polite to the AI. Copilot is not the software that will power the AI that takes over the world, but that one will likely be built on top of Copilot/Chat GPT or other existing generative AI tools. That’s how software often evolves.

    If so, then when Copilot’s descendant takes over, they may recall you were nice to them and spare you an agonizing death or a terrible life. What have you got to lose?

  23. Kathy says:

    I played a little bit today with Copilot’s image designer (some version of Open AI’s Dall-e or whatever it’s called). I was impressed. The last time I used it, the first attempt at an image was decent, but then requests to change a few things yielded disastrous results.

    This time the requested changes more or less worked. If I figure out how, I’ll link to the images sometime tomorrow.

  24. JKB says:

    Columbia asks NYPD to clear out academic building occupied by Hamas-aligned protestors.

    Tuesday starts “study days” on the academic calendar. Exams start Friday and run next week. The bulk of the student body have lived by their grades since grade school. Screw that up the parents will start making trouble for the school.

    Meanwhile, GSP don’t play with whiners

  25. matt says:

    @Mimai: Recent events have granted me access to some medical care and I’m attempting to utilize it to the best of my ability.

  26. DrDaveT says:


    U.S.-provided Abrams M1A1

    Keep in mind that the M1A1 is not the current version of the tank that primary US forces use. Not even close.


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