> Sadly, now that human-mammoth relationship has continued as ivory hunters have looted the site beyond further study.

Radio free europe had a really good photo essay on these new mammoth pirates: https://www.rferl.org/a/the-mammoth-pirates/27939865.html

That was exellently presented. Clear, informative, compelling. I especially appreciated getting to the end without being bombarded with any ads, popups, or begging for email signups. Curious how I could support such media, I found https://pressroom.rferl.org/about-rfe-rl/ which says,

> RFE/RL, Inc. is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded by the U.S. Congress through a grant from the United States Agency for Global Media...

Yay taxes!

> Yay taxes!

Well, the RFERL was funded through a CIA front organization, it was mostly an anti-communist propaganda operation. It definitely is/was a "state effort". So yes, taxes.

you say propaganda, I say truth.

> According to certain European politicians such as Petr Nečas, RFE played a significant role in the collapse of communism and the development of democracy in Eastern Europe.[40][41][42] Unlike government-censored programs, RFE publicized anti-Soviet protests and nationalist movements. Its audience increased substantially following the failed Berlin riots of 1953 and the highly publicized defection of Józef Światło.[43] Arch Puddington argues that its Hungarian service's coverage of Poland's Poznań riots in 1956 served as an inspiration for the Hungarian revolution that year.[44]

> For the first two days following the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986, the official Eastern Bloc media did not report any news about the disaster, nor any full account for another four months. According to the Hoover Institute, the people of the Soviet Union "became frustrated with inconsistent and contradictory reports", and 36% of them turned to Western radio to provide accurate and pertinent information.[58] Listenership at RFE/RL "shot up dramatically" as a "great many hours" of broadcast time were devoted to the dissemination of life-saving news and information following the disaster.[59] Broadcast topics included "precautions for exposure to radioactive fallout" and reporting on the plight of the Estonians who were tasked with providing the clean-up operations in Ukraine.[59]

> Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is an American government-funded international media organization

The purpose of RFERL is to produce news items that are covertly critical of the enemy. It adds up with other resources to paint a negative image of the enemy.

How do you even report stuff like that without being "critical"? That's a legitimate issue covered in Russian media as well. Here's one of the multiple official reports, for example. https://www.archeo.ru/press-relizy/nezakonnye-ohotniki-za-bi...
When doing propaganda, subject selection is the key factor. If you want to do a smear campaign, you just do honest reporting, but only of the things about your target that are negative.
Example, NYT reporting on the tech industry. I wish I was making that up. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33473275
The Russian guys just seemed desperate for a job and most of them lose money with a few striking it rich keeping the cycle going. I would blame the black market in China and Vietnam more, since it also causes the same sort of issue with wild rhino and elephant populations in Africa.
Russia and China are doing it on a much worse level and as the language barriers are quite high we don't see and hear of what they say about the West in their media. The French-German broadcaster ARTE has a good series called Fake News that lifts the curtain a bit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlQWnS27jXh8H1ej2-Sk0...
There is no curtain whatsoever in modern times. Russian auto-translates excellently. Here [1] is the largest Russian state media site. Chinese is a bit bumpier, but it's also fully readable. [2] There's nothing particularly extreme, except insomuch as nationalism has become a bad-word somehow, and their media does focus heavily on culture, history, and national identity. Granted, Russia is quite negative towards the US, but probably no more than you'd expect if roles were reversed and Russia decided to just join the party in one of our many misguided invasions, upping the ante ever higher each time a game-changer failed to change the game.

[1] - https://tass-ru.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x...

[2] - https://www-people-cn.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sch=http&_x_tr_s...

> Russia and China are doing it on a much worse level and as the language barriers are quite high we don't see and hear of what they say about the West in their media.

International propaganda behind a language barrier? That doesn't sound right...




They also broadcast from local stations (in their parent countries) in English at high power. I bet you can find Radio Liberty and Voice of America as well. I discovered this accidentally by messing around in websdr:


> Russia and China are doing it on a much worse level

They arent. The two things that crippled the Eastern Bloc's propaganda efforts was 1) Fear of getting caught lying and losing credibility and therefore not lying 2) Doing propaganda by stating facts in dry, formal language.

The US has perfected the lying, smearing emotional manipulation propaganda early in the Cold War and it still keeps doing it. There isn't one single country that does it like that. So, no, Russia and China arent doing it 'on a much worse level' - they are incompetent. The very fact that you have this 'perception' that its not the country that lied about nonexistent WMDs for almost a decade but 'others' who are doing 'worse propaganda' is a demonstration of how far worse the US propaganda is.

There’s an argument to be made that Hollywood is the best propaganda machine in the world at fostering putative or aspirational American ideals if not the reality on the ground. Recently the adaptation of The Sympathizer, this explores from the POV that the guys on the other side are human, too, differently from the book but similar territory concerning depictions of Vietnam War in particular.
> There’s an argument to be made that Hollywood is the best propaganda machine in the world at fostering putative or aspirational American ideals if not the reality on the ground

Indeed. The circulation of video tapes in the early to late 80s USSR, US movies et al, seem to have created a major false perception: People thought that Americans lived like how the rich in Manhattan live. Even in the late 2000s, there were Russian journalists (local) who did not believe that there were homeless in New York, for example.

> covertly critical of the enemy

The radio is now based in Prague, it has a long history here and most people were quite happy to hear some real news during the communism. People tuning in risked prison time just to hear something else. I would not say you needed to be overtly critical, it was enough to just bring real news.

In Nazi Germany you risked a lot more than prison for listening to the BBC, though most death sentences were in combination with some treason accusations. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verordnung_%C3%BCber_au%C3%9Fe...
Which enemy?

The west is in a war-like situation with Russia. Portraying them as stupid, drunk rednecks who ravage trough the environment certainly fits the narrative. Doesn't mean it's not true though.

Looting of national treasures is pretty typical of Russia.

A large country, the tsar (or the government) is far away, local governors can be bribed ... unless you do something that endangers the entire country/system, you can get away with a lot.

There is no direct confrontation because that would be WWIII. Only proxy wars like the one happening now.

RFERL is US-government funded, and the audience is mainly eastern Europe. Even PBS in the US is not funded by the US government.

Why exclusively fund RFERL for a foreign audience if you do not fund your national public broadcaster?

RFERL is a propaganda outlet that was established by the CIA as a weapon against the Soviets during the Cold War. [1] And in 1948, just before this all started kicking off, the Smith-Mundt [2] act was passed which prohibited the government disseminating propaganda domestically. That act was then repealed in 2013, because reasons.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Free_Europe/Radio_Libert...

[2] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith%E2%80%93Mundt_Act

> That act was then repealed in 2013, because reasons

It wasn't repealed, it was amended.

In 2012.

To provide an Arabic/Pashto/Urdu/etc. language source of information for speakers of those languages within the US due to a lack of coverage by domestic US broadcasters. (not "reasons")

For example: You are an Arabic-speaking individual living in the midwest of the US where you were resettled after getting refugee status. There almost no domestically-produced news sources in Arabic.

Al-monitor exists, but they were founded the same year the act was amended, for the same reasons, and unfortunately while many of their articles are written in native language, many others seem to be machine-translated and no matter what the AI/ML hypelords think, that ain't it boss.

You're correct, but rather in the worst of ways. The worst parts of the act, those that specifically enable and fund government produced propaganda were maintained. All the parts that limit its domestic dissemination were removed. So for instance one of the first effects of this change are described here. [1]


An unnamed Pentagon official who was concerned about the 2012 law version stated: "It removes the protection for Americans. It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false."[39] The monthly magazine The Atlantic echoed those concerns by pointing out to two USA Today journalists who became target of a smear and propaganda campaign after they reported that the U.S. military "information operations" program spent millions of U.S. dollars in marketing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq criticized as ineffective and poorly monitored.[36][42] As it turned out, Camille Chidiac, who executed the marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, admitted to be a part of the smear and propaganda campaign against the USA Today reporters.[43]


It's the same sort of stuff as when the exact same government administration also passed a law enabling the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial (that also remains to this day), again because reasons. [2] Incidentally it was passed in the exact same completely undemocratic way both times - by shoving it into a must-pass defense authorization bill. It's a suggestive pattern of behavior that's quite telling, especially given where we've ended up at today.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization...

[2] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization...

> Why exclusively fund RFERL for a foreign audience if you do not fund your national public broadcaster?

Because the US media market is quite saturated and developed (or at least was when any of this was made into law) compared to countries where media is actively supressed.

I don't see that.

Quality news reporting is lacking. Investigative journalism is almost dead. The mainstream media is on a war footing. There have been 0 interviews with J Mearsheimer on mainstream US media.

Don't worry, it's not just eastern Europe.

There's also Radio Free Asia, Current Time TV (in Russian), Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Televisión Martí (targeting Cuba) and of course, Voice of America, all under USAGM (Agency for Global Media).

That article is from 2016.
It could be argued that Ukraine's 2014 revolution occurred with the backing of the US and was the most immediate precursor to the present situation. I'm not claiming it was or wasn't just that there is a case this was brewing long before 2022.
When the strongest evidence is 'the Americans handed out cookies to those protesting for independence' I'm not sure it's really an 'argument'.
The cookies were handed to the riot police, not protestors.
IMO, this falls short of directly implicating the USG in the revolution but it certainly highlights their detailed concern in the region and a desire for specific outcomes. It makes it harder to believe USG intelligence operatives were completely hands-off. To what extent the situation was being driven by them is something I can't tell/guess.
To what extent do we expect to see direct evidence the Euromaidan protests were instigated/leveraged by intelligence officers and associated cutouts for strategic purposes? I don't know and the lack of concrete evidence makes me reluctant to draw any firm conclusions but a comment from a former intelligence analyst seems interesting to me:

From https://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/3/who_is_provoking_the_u...:

"RAY McGOVERN: Well, a couple of things. You know, it really depends more on who seizes control of these uprisings. If you look at Bahrain, you know, if you look at Syria—even Egypt, to an extent—these were initially popular uprisings. The question is: Who took them over? Who spurred them? Who provoked them even more for their own particular strategic interests? And it’s very clear what’s happened to the Ukraine. It used to be the CIA doing these things. I know that for a fact. OK, now it’s the National Endowment for Democracy, a hundred million bucks, 62 projects in the Ukraine. So, again, you don’t have to be a paranoid Russian to suggest that, you know, they’re really trying to do what they—do in the Ukraine what they’ve done in the rest of Eastern Europe and elsewhere."

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… which proves his point. This anti-Russian sentiment never really ended, it's easy to not notice it if you've never been on the receiving side of it. It's not just the news, I saw it in casual conversations all the time long before 2014, and even 2008. TBH I expected better from Americans, with their multi-cultural society and sensitivity trainings, but was mistaken.
One of the two major American political parties somewhat regularly supports the Russian government, in an amazing turnaround of the history of the party since 2016, but part of that is due to the party just opposing on principle almost anything the other party supports for political reasons starting around 1980s, and part of it is due to where the titular head of the party is polling. The less populated rural areas of America and the very few swing states as well have an inordinate influence on the national politics to counteract your misconceptions about America.
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Was too stunning and interesting not to be a post in its own right:


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Funding for RFE/RL aside, neat article, and whoever that was almost got a Half-Life death out in the woods with a crowbar.

> Boozy camaraderie is quickly exhausted and the atmosphere turns ugly. One tusker picks up a metal bar and slams it onto a woodpile before turning on me. He pauses for a moment before swiping it above my head. As I back out of the camp, he collapses onto a bench, calling, “Where’s the dog?!”

Also, that "Mosquitoes are a near constant plague." image is one of the most disgusting things I think I've seen recently. Pass out drunk and wake up to feet covered with bugs in the morning.

Some things in life are just impossible to survive without a crate of vodka, it seems.
'Piracy' in this region began in the early 1700s - a quarter-millenium ago. 'Twas easier then though.

Here's another long, well-illustrated, little-known tale of exploration of the islands off N. Siberia. Fossil tusks were often found in huge quantities ... some islands covered in them.


"One of the most active and successful of the fur-hunters of that time was named Liakoff, and he from time to time obtained great quantities not only of valuable furs, but also of fossil ivory from the tusks and teeth of the mammoths, which he himself collected or received from the native Siberians.... Every year great quantities of ivorv were taken from the islands and sold in the markets at Yakutsk.

I’m from Yakutia and remember sharing a hospital room with a former mammoth hunter. He had many stories to tell.
Was it a mental hospital, or was he hunting only bones?
If they only killed a mammoth every 6 months, I wonder how they preserved the meat. That area is too far from the ocean to harvest salt. Maybe store it in the snow? What about summer? Smoking the meat would do it. They did find evidence of fire.
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Apparently eating rotten meat could have been very common.


You hunt it in the autumn and preserver it in the cold.

From spring you can forage and hunt small prey all summer.

Maybe they made mammoth jerky.
yeah smoking it or drying it by lying it in strips in the sun. if the air is dry enough it won't rot and will just turn into jerkey which lasts for ages. Many still do it to this day

I also just looked this up, but apparently mammoths were still walking the earth as early as only 3000 years ago! I thought it was way farther. The idea to bring them back to northern areas of earth doesnt sound so far fetched

It's a pretty fun party fact that by the time the last mammoths died out, the Great Pyramid was already 1500 years old :)

It gives me a lot of hope for revival projects that there's relatively 'young' dna to be found. Of course the reduced range towards the end probably means there's not many of these recent sources to source it from, but still!

That flashed me back to a vague memory that the film 10,000BC showed mammoths in use building the pyramids, which I thought was incredibly silly (well, it was...). But it's kind of satisfying to know that the building at least overlapped with the mammoths in real life.
WWIV may be fought using mammoths and dinos? What a cool idea! /s
I think vodka made it possible to survive imperfections in meat preservation processes.
'Interactions' is a very passive phrase for killing and dismemberment!
> 'Interactions' is a very passive phrase for killing and dismemberment!

Be wary in modern theme parks. Visitor Interactions is big business in corporate-speak, and it is only so long before they decide to capitalize on this renewable food source.

If you're interested in this subject, modern tusk hunters and science-fiction, then let me recommend the book "Tusks of Extinction" (2024) by Ray Nayler [0].

Very interesting read (his previous book "The Mountain in the Sea" (2022) is, however, much better and IMHO one of the best sci-fi books I've read in a long time).

[0] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/127284214-the-tusks-of-e...

> until their last dated survival 4 kyr ago.

Wow I did not realize they survived that long, that's well after the invention of writing for example.

The first pharaohs and the last woolly mammoths on the Wrangel Island were contemporaries.

Of course, as far as travel from Egypt to the Arctic Ocean goes, they could have lived on different planets.

For a minute I thought this graveyard involved Stalin and one of his killing sprees.