Links 4/24/2020

Report: Amazon Uses Marketplace Seller Data to Make Its Own Competing Products Gizmodo

Arctic Likely to See Ice-Free Summers Despite Climate Action, Study Says Moscow Times

US financial aid for Greenland sparks outrage in Denmark FT

Satellite data show ‘highest emissions ever measured’ from U.S. oil and gas operations

At ‘ground zero’ of BP spill, Louisiana community confronts new oil and gas project Southerly

Coal’s collapse could lead to a landscape of abandoned mines Quartz

‘Public Ownership Can Eliminate Some of Those Warped Incentives Associated With Monopoly’ FAIR


A salutary caution, at least if you follow Taleb’s investment strategy:

* * *

The science:

Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2 medRxiv. Important.

Low incidence of daily active tobacco smoking in patients with symptomatic COVID-19 Qeios. “Conclusions and relevance: Our cross sectional study in both COVID-19 out- and inpatients strongly suggests that daily smokers have a very much lower probability of developing symptomatic or severe SARS-CoV-2 infection as compared to the general population, ” confirming NEJM study. ‘Cause smokers’s alveoli are so crudded up with tar that they can’t get infected! Now do marijuana.

SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes Science

Insomnia and Vivid Dreams on the Rise With COVID-19 Anxiety Smithsonian

* * *


New York City antibody survey reveals more than a FIFTH residents have been infected and mortality rate is FIVE TIMES deadlier than the flu Daily Mail. “It remains unconfirmed how accurate the test – which the state developed itself – is.”

Amid Signs the Virus Came Earlier, Americans Ask: Did I Already Have It? NYT

Poll: 8 in 10 Americans Favor Strict Shelter-in-Place Orders To Limit Coronavirus’ Spread, and Most Say They Could Continue to Obey Such Orders for Another Month or Longer KFF

Germans are not Swedes are not Americans, but (original):

Flattening the curve won’t lead to coronavirus turning point, study finds South China Morning Post

* * *


The Real Reason to Wear a Mask The Atlantic

With and without masks:

Even so, the oft-repeated test sentence — “Stay healthy!” — misstates the rationale for the general population using masks: They do not so much protect you from others, as others from you. The ethic is quite literally #NotMeUs (hence, politicized, as the very notion of public heatlh is politicized).

“With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion“:

Jim Jordan’s district is (OH-04). “Jordan’s district ranks second in Ohio for prison inmates… with 12,560 inmates as of early October at prisons in Grafton, Lima, Marion, and Marysville.” And: “Marion prison is one of the nation’s largest sources of COVID-19 infections” WKYC.

Airline passenger describes packed flight to NYC surrounded by people not wearing masks NY Post (Re SIlc). The picture.

* * *

Treatment and Vaccine:

Gilead’s coronavirus drug flops in first trial – FT Reuters (Re Silc).

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: Status Report (PDF) Cell. Very, very good. Key tablel

Coronavirus: First patients injected in UK vaccine trial BBC. Volunteers (n=2).

COVID-19 vaccine protects monkeys from new coronavirus, Chinese biotech reports Science

The FT estimates actual UK Covid-19 deaths at 41,000. Also QUB research shows Republic’s Covid-19 death rate is two-thirds that in the North… Slugger O’Toole

The search for chloroquine helped bring about the modern pharmaceutical industry WaPo

* * *


Saliva is more sensitive for SARS-CoV-2 detection in COVID-19 patients than nasopharyngeal swabs medrXiv. I’ve seen those unpleasant medical textbook-y images of swabs going into the nasal passages.

* * *


Principles for Technology-Assisted Contact-Tracing ACLU (dk). “Location tracking and massive centralized

surveillance should be off the table, but proximity tracking could be useful.”

New York to launch tri-state virus tracing program with Michael Bloomberg’s help Reutetrs

Contact-Tracing Technology: A Key to Reopening Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Coronavirus found in Paris sewage points to early warning system Science

* * *

Economic effects:

The Potential Health Care Costs And Resource Use Associated With COVID-19 In The United States Health Affairs

Farmers Are Starting to Destroy Their Pigs After Factories Close Bloomberg (KW) The World’s Top Pork Processor Is Battling Two Epidemics at Once Bloomberg. Happening at the same time in the US and China. In a crisis,

* * *

Finance response:

Expected loss provisioning under a global pandemic Bank of International Settlements

Federal Reserve To Infuse Wall Street With $500 Billion Worth Of Cocaine The Onion

* * *

Corporate response:

Nevada Brothel Causes Stir With Stimulus Request Jonathan Turley. Come on, man.

* * *

Political response:

Who Should Get Bailed Out in the Coronavirus Economy? The New Yorker. The same people who got bailed out by [genuflects] Obama. Easy peasy!

This Iowa family is behind the ‘Reopen’ protests popping up across the country Des Moines Register

Trump showcases idea heat, humidity could help fight virus AP

Trump mulls tying USPS changes to emergency coronavirus loan: report The Hill

“Really Want to Flood NY and NJ”: Internal Documents Reveal Team Trump’s Chloroquine Master Plan Vanity Fair (dk: “‘Based on documents and interviews provided by multiple federal officials’ but only one email excerpt presented and scant attribution. It *sounds* likely, but it would be nice to have more meat to the scuttlebutt.”

* * *

Exit strategy:

WHO warns ‘long way to go’ in coronavirus crisis Agence France Presse

How Control Theory Can Help Us Control COVID-19 IEEE Spectrum

* * *

Diseases Can Jump to Humans from Plants, Not Just from Animals Scientific American


Cabinet reshuffle to boost Hong Kong gov’t’s ‘fighting power,’ says Beijing loyalist Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong political crisis deepens despite protest lull during virus Agence France Presse. Never let a crisis go to waste.

China prosecutes first overseas national for Hong Kong interference South China Morning Post

Non-sovereign revolutions: Thinking across Puerto Rico and Hong Kong—Part five Lausan Collective

Can Asia’s largest armed group fend off coronavirus? PRI


How asymptomatic cases fuelled spread of coronavirus Times of India

Markets Will Punish India for Fiscal Excesses, Says Former Bank Governor Bloomberg. Austerity already baked in?


How the Bottom Fell Out of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance Foreign Policy

U.S. Airstrikes Hit All-Time High as Coronavirus Spreads in Somalia The Intercept


The Russia hoax was never a hoax. An encouraging bipartisan report confirms it. Editorial Board, New York Times

More Media Misdirection on Trump-Russia Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Trump Transition

Democrats blast Trump team’s handling of federal workers in coronavirus crisis Politico. “[Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Mike] Rigas has told colleagues that he questions the constitutionality of the 1883 Pendleton Act, which codifies using merit to pick government officials, and believes that all executive branch employees should be political appointees, according to a person who has discussed the matter with him.”

Coronavirus Border Expulsions: CDC’s Assault on Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Minors Just Security

Our Famously Free Press

COVID-19: New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate Consortium News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Coronavirus shakes the conceit of ‘American exceptionalism’ AP. Finally mainstreamed.

Please Tell The Establishment That U.S. Hegemony Is Over The American Conservative

Respectable Racism: The “War With China ” Edition Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Jake, it’s bipartisan.

Toward a New Theory of Power Projection War on the Rocks

Pentagon tells senior leaders to limit sexual harassment to texts and email Duffel Blog

Guillotine Watch

The Cuomos’ Corona Protocol, Week 3 The Purist

Class Warfare

Coronavirus Put Her Out of Work, Then Debt Collectors Froze Her Savings Account Pro Publica

The pandemic is revealing how bad our technology really is The Week. By technology is meant “tech,” but then airplanes don’t seem to be working very well either.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. fresno dan

    When your goat is more photogenic than you

    O Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up!
    That goat definitely wants to be in pictures…

  2. dk

    Airline passenger describes packed flight to NYC surrounded by people not wearing masks NY Post (Re SIlc). The picture.

    My anecdotal evidence (in Abq, NM, also reported by my kid in Portland OR) is that in the nice stores and neighborhoods people wear masks, otherwise not so much if at all. I know a construction contractor who lives in a gated community, and wears a mask there but not when he’s on a job site, and HomeDepot is 50/50. Some people won’t leave home without one, some don’t have any (hard to find in stores and they’re not AmazonPrime members). The precariate and on down can’t spend the money. However one rationalizes it, it looks like class division.

    IMO without free masks issued by governments (preferably the federal but… ), or provided by businesses (like airlines or stores) for their service locations, mask use will remain spotty.

    1. Wyoming

      Here in AZ they are very hard to come by still. I always have a box or 2 of them in my shop and for use in yard work (allergies) so I have them and I sent some to my daughter and sil.

      They are becomming more common now and homemade ones are about equal to the N95’s on the street. But no where near 50% are wearing them.

      I have noticed the last few days that folks are getting closer to each other once again. These protests are welcomed by many as a sign that we need to get back to ‘normal’, which, of course, does not exist anymore….

    2. Balakirev

      We’ve been very worried in our suburb, south of Cleveland, by the spotty use of masks (and no use of gloves!) in supermarkets–both employees, and customers. At the two largest local chains, Buehlers and Giant Eagle, use is about 30% each. My wife purchased from the deli counter at the former, where one server had a mask, one didn’t, and one had it over her mouth, but not her nose (magical talisman: just wear it, and it’ll work). Many customers aren’t respecting the new 6′ lines on the floor, and money changes hands literally. Grocery stores as prime vectors for coronavirus infection? Who needs inessential services to spread the virus when essential ones do such a bang-up job?

      PS: Another chain store this time in Strongsville, Heinen’s, closed about a week ago when it was discovered one of their employees tested positive for the virus after showing symptoms. They cleaned the store, and reopened this past Sunday–only to discover another employee who was showing symptoms, and tested positive. Closed again.

      1. Savedbyirony

        Utter, utter frustration listening to Gov. DeWine and the Lt. Gov nearly every day speak about opening more businesses up while those already open are so spotty about safety measures and there exists still such shortages of needed cleaning and protective gear. Their insistence on “the market” and goodwill/responsible practices by employers to ensure reasonably safe public environments is not convincing, either.

    3. juno mas

      Here’s a link that discusses face shields and masks:

      The pro’s as noted in the Atlantic article in Links are countered with the con’s. Cloth masks (I’ve got one) should be cleaned after every use (along with washing your hands before and after using the mask), says the health official. And they can induce face touching (a no-no). As noted in the Twitter video of the Congressman coughing into his suit cuff, masks should be mandatory in enclosed space, or if wheezing , sneezing, or coughing. The health official recommends producing millions of disposable (single-use) paper masks for the general public to wear instead of using cloth masks (where cleanliness protocols are NOT likely to be followed).

      Anecdote: I was in the grocery store this morning and a motorcycle rider kept his helmet on while inside—that’s protection!

    4. RWood

      Yep, not many masks at HD but a minority, esp. in garden (incl self). More masks than gloves. Next door in COSTCO, more masks and more gloves. But some of all ages also au naturale.

      Moreso at Smith’s, where echo recording reports great thanks for the important people and the cashier reports “ benefits? Not so much.” Masks but not gloves.

      Dancin with mr. D

    5. dk

      I started wearing a mask (actually a cowl scarf, couldn’t get a surgical or N95 for weeks) for grocery shopping around the middle of last month (on suspicion I had acquired the infection, still unconfirmed).

      The first time was awkward, got weird looks, some subtle scoffs. Then one of the produce stockers (gloved but not masked) turned to me and said “Yeah, we should all be doing that. I wish the store would supply them for us.” I smiled, then realized she couldn’t see, and nodded, speechless, my heart was so full.

  3. ramon

    Regarding the article from Science. The Chinese have had sewage monitoring in their cities for a minimum of 10 years probably 20 years. Ten years ago I was told about this by a leading US medical researcher. He was impressed.

    1. Jesper

      Yep, I am also impressed. Useful information can be found in some strange places.
      The article reminded me of this:
      Swedish authorities siphoning sewage water to measure citizens’ marijuana, cocaine use:

      Several Swedish cities have participated in the Europe-wide annual wastewater campaigns undertaken by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE).

      Am not sure if the same research has been done in the US?

      1. juno mas

        U.S. wastewater treatment plants do check for various human enteric “germs”. Tertiary treatment plants usually have the money and skilled personnel to perform such tasks. As for research, a Massachusetts treatment plant was used by scientists to infer that Covid-19 was much more widespread in teh community than indicated by limited hospital testing results.

    2. ewmayer

      Yes, the Chinese have long been pioneers in the development and mass-scale deployment of fecal recognition technology.

  4. zagonostra

    >Michael Hudson Interview with Blumental/Norton

    Imagine if there was one politician that had the courage to stand tall and explain to the people what Michael Hudson exposes about the CARES act.

    …no major investor, really will lose. You’ve seen last week, the stock market made the largest jump since the depression — the largest jump in in 90 years.

    … while the economy is going down, you realize, wait a minute they’re saving the 1 percent, or the 10 percent of the population that own 85 percent of the stocks and bonds. They’re saving the banks. They’re not saving the people, and they’re not saving the economy; they’re not saving industry; and they’re not saving small businesses.

    …the bailout really is an Obama-style bailout. It goes to the banks; it goes to those companies that have drawn up wish lists by their lobbyists, such as the airlines, Boeing and the large banks.

    1. flora

      This is worse than Obama-style. If Sirota is right about Mitch and the GOP’s refusal to provide relief funds for the states, even after the bi-partisan nat. governors’ committee practically begged for help, then Mitch will do to all 50 states what Brownback did to Kansas. It’s very, very ugly. (Where are the potted plants Dems?)

      ‘ His goal is to use the coronavirus crisis to realize one of the most radical long-term goals of the conservative movement: empowering states to break existing contracts and slash previously pledged pension benefits for teachers, firefighters, cops, first responders and other public-sector employees. ….

      ‘ “A new bankruptcy law would allow states in default or in danger of default to reorganize their finances free from their union contractual obligations,” wrote Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich in a 2011 op-ed that explained the overall scheme and demonized public employees. “In such a reorganization, a state could propose to terminate some, all or none of its government employee union contracts and establish new compensation rates, work rules, etc…The lucrative pay and benefits packages that government employee unions have received from obliging politicians over the years are perhaps the most significant hurdles for many states trying to restore fiscal health.” ‘

      Before states get to the point of bankruptcy, if the Kansas ‘experiment’ is any guide, they’ll first cut public services, cut road and bridge maintenance, reduce school hours and days, close community health clinics. More rural hospitals will close. You can’t imagine how bad this will get in all 50 states.

      1. flora

        If Pelosi and the House Dems wanted to do anything about this they would write their own bailout bill and send it to the Senate, instead of lazily waiting to rubber stamp whatever the Senate sends them.

        1. jo6pac

          If nancy p. and demodogs did that we could hold them accountable. This way the help their puppet masters and can blame repugs.

      2. TroyIA

        Another goal is to put states in such a dire situation that they are forced to sell public goods to private equity for pennies on the dollar.

  5. Winston Smith

    Just saw the clip of the press briefing where the president muses aloud about the possibility of injecting humans with “disinfectants” and shining powerful UV light source “inside the body” as a possible treatment.
    25th amendment anyone?

    1. Redlife2017

      Oh wow. Yes, I just watched that (or rather made myself watch it). Dr Brix looked like a hostage and responded like one too.

      I know Obama / Biden would not be great at this stuff (although Bush Jr was VERY on the ball on this weirdly). But good gods. That smells of Roman decadence. That rotting smell of doom. Because I’ll either get to listen to Joe “weekend at bernies” Biden being a sock puppet for certain parts of the elite and unable to put two sentences together or Donald “just inject yourself with poison!” Trump. Although in typical Trump style, he manages to be evasive about actually thinking it could work. I’m at a loss…

        1. Samuel Conner

          Stony resignation. “How did I land in this job?”

          I’m guessing that Dr Brix may have previously discussed the possibility of direct “topical” application of SAFE antiviral agents at the infection site — “inhalation therapy”, which could be faster acting than oral or injection administration — and the stable genius extrapolated that to fast-acting disinfectant chemicals. He doesn’t realize that the lipid bilayer of human viruses has the same composition as human cell membrane (since that’s where it comes from) and so topical application of viral membrane disrupting agents would tend to damage tissue as well.

          I feel for DJT’s medical advisors — they’re desperately trying to hang on to avert worse outcomes.

          As the “12th Doctor” famously put it: “Sometimes there are no good choices,,,, but you still have to choose”

        1. Wukchumni

          Cali (as we call the late Emperor here in the Golden State) is so clearly a role model for this awkward Presidency we’re enduring, and it didn’t end well.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            the same number of people from California who say “Cali” are the same number from San Francisco who say “Frisco”. Namely, zero.

            1. juno mas

              Yes. Frisco is in Texas. (San Francisco is my birth/hometown: St. Francis Hospital, 7th and Bush.)

            2. Biph

              Many moons ago when I was in the Army I was drinking with some other members of my platoon in the barracks common area and was telling a story and began with “I was in San Fran” this girl who was from San Francisco snarled “Call it San Francisco or the city” at me so I started my story over with “I was in Frisco” she threw her half full beer bottle at my head, missed but still threw it.

            3. Off The Street

              Goin’ back to Cali
              I don’t think so

              by LL Cool J

              Bonus, on soundtrack for Less Than Zero
              prescient or ominous, why not both?

          2. Oregoncharles

            Trump hasn’t married his sister yet (does he have one?) Or made his horse a Senator – which one was that?

        2. Jessica

          Oddly enough, the Roman Empire lasted around 4 centuries after Nero and Caligula. The emperors of its true decadent phase were non-entities whose names are all but forgotten.
          Trump is more like the Emperor Valens, who in 378 rushed into battle rather than wait for reinforcements because he wanted the glory of victory all to himself. He died, his legions were slaughtered, and the Roman legions never fully recovered.

          1. Synoia

            Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire lasted much longer.

            However, because the Pope was so important after Constantine, one could argue that the Church’s rule of Rome was a stunning success, as Christianity spread all over Europe.

            What we have been taught about the fall for Rome in 410 AD is not very accurate, for two reasons, Constantine’s actions in moving to Constantinople, and the Rise of the Church when Constantine legitimized Christianity.

            My History books were very lacking in that analysis, probably because of Gibbon’s somewhat biased masterpiece on the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.

          2. td

            Indeed, Valens was emperor in the East and the Western Emperor had been on his way to help. The Roman Army in the East recovered quite nicely even though they were the ones defeated.

        3. Pookah Harvey

          At least Caligula wanted to appoint a whole horse as consul. We have been electing just the rear halves of the animals to represent us for years.

        4. Keith Howard

          I’ve been suggesting for quite awhile that Senator Tom Cotton should be the one to introduce the bill declaring Trump to be a god.

          1. DJG

            Keith Howard: Thanks for the observation. There is something remarkably skeezy about Tom Cotton, and not just his Buttigieg-like résumé.

            He makes my antennae go up. He has reached his peak. I think that when his fall arrives, it is going to be a big one.

      1. Balakirev

        Roman decadence, indeed. Jugurtha the Briber, a Numidian king, was captured by the legions and walked through Rome in the army’s victory march. He declared it was “a city for sale and doomed to quick destruction, if it should but find a buyer.” We’ve been bought out by our top one-percenters, and everybody else believes either Trump or Biden will wave a wand and make everything better.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well I for one thought it worthwhile taking Trump’s advice. I went out into the sun to get rid of any Coronavirus off from me. And since I didn’t want to waste any disinfectant, I injected myself with dish-wash liquid instead which I figured was a close match. Am waiting on the results and, and, and…..where was I? Hmm. I better go listed to Trump again and see if I did it right-

      1. The Historian

        Oh, yea. I watched that yesterday and thought: “Oh My God”! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from BOTH of them! Well, that is one way to ensure that Biden wins. I wonder how many people are now washing their mouths out with bleach.

        1. edmondo

          Don’t be too concerned. Bleach hasn’t been on the store shelves for 2 months. Third World Country

          1. The Historian

            You are right about that. I haven’t seen anything from the bleach makers yet, but Lysol already is warning people not to ingest their products.

            1. Jack

              That’s because they don’t put it on the label. There’s a bunch of “don’ts” but “don’t ingest” is not one of them. So who knows?

        2. skk

          Trump is such an idiot. But, indeed, well, extremely well diluted bleach 0.25% solution as a rinse for the management of peridontal disease has shown good results.

          The study aimed to evaluate the effect of 0.25%
          sodium hypochlorite twice-weekly oral rinse on plaque and gingivitis in patients
          with minimally treated periodontitis…. The sodium hypochlorite rinse group and the water rinse group, respectively, showed increases from baseline to 3 mo of 94% and 29% (3.2-fold difference) in plaque-free facial surfaces, of 195% and 30% (6.5-fold difference) in
          plaque-free lingual surfaces, and of 421% and 29% (14.5-fold difference) in
          number of teeth with no bleeding on probing. The differences in clinical
          improvement between the sodium hypochlorite rinse group and the water rinse
          group were statistically significant. No adverse events were identified in any of
          the study patients, except for minor complaints about the taste of bleach.

          That’s not the only study. I’ve aso read a study on a prison population somewhere in South America. and indeed when I was using a Tijuana dentist, she told me to consider using it for controlling my peridontal disease. And of course you are swishing it round the mouth and spitting it out, not swallowing it.

          Normal Chlorox is 5% to 7% sodium hypochlorite as per the manufacturer. so we are talking of diluting it down 20 to 30 times or so.

          1. juno mas

            There’s an even better method of improving oral health. Dip you toothbrush and paste into a small canister containing baking soda. The mild grit and increased pH in the mouth improves gum health by reducing oral acidity that encourages gum disease. Makes my teeth seem whiter, too.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I’d think you’d want the dilution a little more precise than that.

            Why not use peroxide? Also tastes terrible, but much safer than hypochlorite.

    3. Samuel Conner

      Not to worry, it wasn’t intended seriously. Just part of the “all sides on every question” verbal emissions strategy, so that later he can cherry-pick the prior pronouncements to highlight the ones that weren’t utterly insane. There’ll surely be a tweet walking this one back, and self-congratulating on other wise disavowals of prior stupid ideas.

      And the fact that we’re noticing this one gives DJT another day of media attention — no such thing as “bad news” when you’re a sociopath.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I watched it too and had the same reaction. I could almost hear him saying to himself [subliminal Donal Trump internal narrative voice] “well, that’s another entire daily news cycle I’m just about to own”.

        A pity you guys there can’t watch the BBC News version I got to see, where not only did we have Trump, Trump — and this was the best bit, in my humble opinion, you have to admire the warped genius of it all — co-opting Dr Debbie as his reluctant side-kick (“I’m… I’m not familiar with that study…”, it was simply joyous, in a guilty-pleasure sort of way to watch it unfold) but then, just when I thought I couldn’t see any way to top it all off, we had the BBC doing its shaking-of-its-head lament and a whole “we clutch our pearls, not so much in anger, but in sorrow” nuance.

        I think the media now are in full-on Wile E Coyote-like capture with it all at this point, they know they’re falling for it but they can’t but help be led by the Trump Road Runner over the cliff edge.

        1. Wukchumni

          While its dead easy to compare us to lemmings, we’ve put on a bit of weight, so maybe this is more comparable to our scenario?

          The buffalo jump was used for 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains to kill buffalo by driving them off the 11 metre (36 foot) high cliff. Before the late introduction of horses, the Blackfoot drove the buffalo from a grazing area in the Porcupine Hills about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of the site to the “drive lanes”, lined by hundreds of cairns, by dressing up as coyotes and wolves.

          1. Clive

            The Babylon Bee is good, but I maintain the best source of news, for those who want to stay updated with all that’s current in current affairs, with a unique internation outlook not found elsewhere, is the Kyoko News. Sadly, it’s Japanese-language only. Where else, for example, would you have been able to read about Donald Trump Hopes for Election Boosting in Visit to a “Cherry Blossom Cutting Party“.

            Sample translation “According to White House sources, the president had been believed to want to cut down Japanese cherry blossom trees, and the two governments (Japan and the US) cooperated”.


            1. newcatty

              Future historians ( winners write the narrative) will be telling the inspiring, and teachable morality tale, about the American president, Donald Trump. He did not chop down the Cherry tree. He did not tell a lie. He “tweeted” that one of his noble titles was Honest Don.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            Funny, but the shot at Teen Vogue is maybe misplaced. From the links we get here, their reporting seems much better than the Atlantic’s or NYT’s.

        2. Synoia

          The objective of “News” programs in the US is to catch people’s attention and then play advertisements.

          Informing the people is not the priority, unlike the BBC.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          I read the transcript (which nobody seems to have thought to do). I don’t trust video unless thoroughly attested, because it’s too easy to clip. And sadly, most if not all the major media outlets are political players at the tactical level, besides having the business incentive to clip, for clicks.

          I don’t have a theory of Trump, but I do have a theory of Democrats: The latest bout of hysteria is indicative of where election 2020 is going to go: Hate.

          Bitecofer was right to focus on hate as a driver for Democrat loyalists, and hatred for Trump is what this is all about. (Maybe if Sanders had focused on hate, and not that sappy “fight for someone you don’t know” message, he would have done better; Bitecofer points to hate as the reason for the Democrat success in the midterms.)

          I know, because I generated a good deal of hate for Bush, back in the day. I know the tactic, and I know the feeling of successfully inciting it, and I know the feeling of joining a hate-filled consensus cluster. Bush won two terms, of course, but failure was never stopped Democrats from doubling down.

          Of course, one could respond that Trump is indeed worthy of hate, but I don’t have a “Great (Bad) Man” theory of politics. One might also consider what one becomes in such a process.

          1. juno mas

            Since Trump speaks in an elliptical style (half sentences, musings without context, etc) it seems a transcript is likely to place grammatical marks (period, comma, semi-colon, etc.) inaccurately. Trumps elliptical musings about “injections” and other “stuff” seems to have been interpreted by the general public as injecting and ingesting bleach and other cleaning products. Within hours the Maryland Emergency Management Agency said it received more than 100 inquiries on an emergency hotline about whether injecting or ingesting disinfectants could help cure COVID-19. (No way to tell whether they were fact-checking or contemplating action on Trump’s musings.)

            I agree that the media are wholly confused by the goofy pronouncements of Le Orange. He is still dangerous to the general public and their welfare.

            1. juno mas

              The official White House transcript of the event had to be revised today because it inaccurately characterized (mistated) the comments of Dr. Bix.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Not to mention if he says something completely over the top in the middle of a bunch of horrible but not quite as bad things, people will focus on the unrealistic thing and allow the other terrible things to pass without comment. It’s kind of amazing to me that this far into the Trump administration this technique (and yes, it is a technique) is still working for him but I guess until #McResistance starts focusing on substance over style, he’ll continue to win this shell game.

        1. Clive

          It works on so many levels. For a start, there’s the redneck types that the bourgeois left think can’t tie their shoe laces up let alone spot “phony” Trump who, in fact, know far more than the media ever imagine they spot, looking on and, if they’re Trump supporters, delight in seeing the media fall for Trump schtick and not even know they’re being had while they, the supposed ignoramuses, have a pretty good idea what’s going on.

          And now, we’ve got an emerging social media meme, whereby the cleaning product manufacturers are, under the supposed guise of public information and advice, posting “helpful warnings” about how people should not inject Cillit Bang, even if they’ve seen some orange guy on TV saying they could and even, definitely not, no, no way, if it’s currently on a two-for-one offer at Tesco stores right now and they can take this offer up if they wish to fill up their lockdown store cupboards while stocks last, please visit our website for details

            1. Clive

              Oh, of course, it they would just have to be using Rochdale, wouldn’t they? When I lived in the county, even people in Doncaster said, Rochdale, hmm, that’s a bit of a downmarket place, isn’t it. And residents of Glossop, who themselves thought irony was something you did after the laundry came out the machine, believed to be a little grim, even for the north.

            2. flora

              I thought T was deliberately, publicly humiliating Blix, making her agree to every bat-sh1t thing he was saying; a public token ‘mounting’, so to speak. “I’m da boss here.”
              The press did not see that? Of course not. They’re the msm! /s

              1. Janie

                I thought that, too, when watching the clips this morning. He’s a master at manipulating the media – decades of experience.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            For a start, there’s the redneck types that the bourgeois left think can’t tie their shoe laces up let alone spot “phony” Trump who, in fact, know far more than the media ever imagine they spot, looking on and, if they’re Trump supporters, delight in seeing the media fall for Trump schtick and not even know they’re being had while they, the supposed ignoramuses, have a pretty good idea what’s going on.

            I can’t count how many times I have seen a media elite try to play gotcha with a “deplorable” over some dumb thing Trump has said or tweeted only to have them say “he doesn’t really mean that.” Now, I do think the president should be more responsible in their words than Trump is, but at the same time, it’s obviously a game, and a sucker’s game at that.

            Of course, the same people getting so bent out of shape about Trump’s words also chose to swoon over the words of Dems (and even #McResistance hero Republicans) as long as they say the right things, virtue signal, hate the right people, etc. even when their actions are directly opposed to those words. I wish more people tuned out the words of any politician and focused on their actions, but there’s no profit in that.

          2. Carolinian

            Great. Since I don’t watch I can’t comment on Trump’s antics, but the fact that he horrifies the media may be a big part of his appeal to the blue collar cohort. By supporting Trump they are thumbing their nose, not just at the media, but at the meritocracy/aristocracy itself. The pity of it is that this healthy impulse to call bs can’t be channeled into a less anarchic direction.

          3. marym

            Ingesting a bleach product has long been an anti-vaxxer-touted “cure” for autism. It’s also part of the right-wing response to the current pandemic. Considering his own anti-vax sympathies in the past, and people interpreting his words as reason to self-medicate with a chloroquine cleaning product, if Trump was deliberately playing a game here it’s a dangerous one and he knows it.


            1. Clive

              As the kidz seem to say these days, if there’s no danger, there’s no ‘fun’.

              It’s possible that there’s various stages on the journey to recognising the game which is afoot with Trump and the media. For instance, for the longest time, what stopped me coming to my eventual conclusion was that you’d see it and you’d say to yourself “oh no, he could possibly be doing it… that would just be way too much, he wouldn’t… he couldn’t, could he?”

              Yes, he can. And he is.

              1. marym

                I have no settled theory of what his game is, though I tend to think it’s a lifetime honing of an instinct for self-aggrandizement more than a thoughtful strategy to achieve that end. In either case negative consequences, even to his own followers, didn’t factor into the impulse/game plan.

                1. Carolinian

                  Yves nailed Trump back in 2016 when she said are we ready for the naked id. Turns out a sufficient portion of America was. But after Dubya and empty suit Obama those voters may have decided the elites were just kidding anyway. Trump is widely attacked for not being serious by people who are themselves not very serious when it comes to the truth. How many have they killed with their wars?

                  And cloroquine is not a bleach product.

                  1. marym

                    During the Obama years his followers would respond to criticism by noting that he hadn’t started a huge ground war like W, or bombed Iran like in the McCain song. True enough, he didn’t, but it doesn’t discredit the criticism.

                    I was referring to the ingesting of fish tank cleaner as an example of people interpreting Trump’s touting of a another substance in a way that did them harm.

                    1. Carolinian

                      Well trump shouldn’t be up there grandstanding in any case but as Clive says the media are making him the story rather than, say, hiring some science reporters to give us real information. Clickbait rules the world these days.

                    2. Lambert Strether Post author

                      > I was referring to the ingesting of fish tank cleaner as an example of people interpreting Trump’s touting of a another substance in a way that did them harm.

                      The spectacle of the press washing their hands of responsibility for amplifying HQ — for which controlled studies are underway — is not edifying.

                      No doubt we will see a bleach story in the next few days; despite the fact that Trump did not advocate drinking it.

          4. Redlife2017

            So on any other pronouncement I feel the same way. But as this will kill a few people needlessly, I get unhappy with these (like the malaria drug where several people decided to take the version used for fish tanks!). Excess deaths in general get me rather riled up and very preventable ones in particular. And he could have pushed more interesting buttons, in all honesty. I mean going after Cuomo, et. al., is actually a good strategy as blame can be moved over to them a bit. But he can’t help himself as the master troll.

            I also have some sympathy for the medical team around him (they aren’t saints, by far, but I think at this point are trying to make sure things don’t go off the rails) as having to suck up to an a**hole who clearly doesn’t care about others is no fun. And I doubt they get paid as well as the people I know in finance who have to do that.

            Of course I am also not looking forward to boy wonder (Johnson) coming back. It was nice to have some time away from his BS.

            1. Clive

              Yes, he’s like those annoying people at work who think themselves to be indispensable but everyone is happy when they go on holiday for a couple of weeks and you can get some peace and quiet. And everything goes a lot smoother with them out the way for a while. When they do get back, they have a habit of going around enquiring how bad everything was without them and fishing for compliments about how the place can’t function without them there.

    4. rd

      The President appears to be unaware that the States of Florida abd California have been doing large randomized trials of the impact of UV radiation on disinfecting the outside of the human body for a number of decades now. However, the CDC has expressed concern that the UV radiation may have unacceptably elevated side effects, such as skin cancer. Commerically developed irradiation devices for external sterlization using UV radiation have been similarly frowned upon.

      The President also appears to be unaware that Europe conducted very large scale randomized trials in 1915 through 1918 to assess the benefical impacts of application of common household disinfection agents applied to the skin or internally by inhalation and ingestion.These products were not found to be particularly efficaceous in mitigating the 1918 flu epidemic. Comparison of the test subjects with civilian control groups indicated that there were numerous undesireable side effects such as death, blindness, severe respiratory damage, and numerous other deleterious effects. The side effects were sufficiently extreme that the nations signed treaties agreeing not to conduct such mass disinefection experiments again with these products.

    5. Kevin C. Smith

      We could shine a powerful UV source inside the president’s body:
      put an arc welding rod up his posterior and turn on the juice!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Clearly, the Democrat strategy is having success! As for me, I try to avoid jokes about anal rape, especially as a metaphor for political powerlessness, but you do you.

    6. ewmayer

      Fridays are always good for playing devil’s advocate … OK, my dictionary defines disinfectant as “a chemical liquid that destroys bacteria” – so an injected antibiotic qualifies, yes? And the extension to antivirals is obvious. So if you can point me to the part where Trump literally suggested investigating injection of household cleaners as opposed to possibly novel kinds of antiviral substances I’ll be happy to grant your point, otherwise this looks like just the usual MSM hysteria based on overinterpretation of prototypical Trumpian bullshitting, where he kinda-sorta grasps the basic idea but you really don’t want him in charge of an FDA clinical trial. Man loves to hear himself self-aggrandizingly talk, this is not a new thing.

      Cloroquine provides a recent example of similar hysteria – first it’s “couple kills self with pool cleaner after following Trump recommendation!!!”, then damped down to “Trump is wrong about the promise of cloroquine!!”, then “OK, in extremely limited special circumstances it may have some frnge utility, but Trump is still wrong!”, now we’re at “OK, some studies are reporting promising results when cloroquine is used in combination, but Trump was still totally wrong”.


      1. Clive

        No, you’re kind-of right — Trump was vaguely (in a deliberately media-baiting way) suggesting some kind of blood cleaning therapy (tissue engineering or immunotherapy) targeting COVID-19.

        It was, of its type, masterly.

        He mixed in just enough homespun layperson questioning, tangentially plausible basis for a theory and “can you help me out here with understanding this?” to throw about half a dozen curve balls, none of which were in themselves ridiculous but, in the patterns they were laid out, created a melee of wonkishly, credentialed class lambasting and media trap-setting. It was, in an analytic evaluation, use of analogy. My mother-in-law asks just such questions about my eye condition (“why can’t they put something like a sticking plaster you can see through on your eye?”). And I wouldn’t dream of making disparaging remarks about her — she’s only trying to comprehend a difficult, unfamiliar subject and ask, to her, obvious queries. I suspect millions of people in the US will know someone who asked questions and made comments just like Trumps (albeit without the conniving basis behind it). To have the media do its ha-ha-ha-look-at-them-aren’t-they-stupid performance is insulting these not stupid, but not necessarily particularly good at self expression, people.

        The media could turn Trump off like a light, if they wanted to. But to do that, they’d have to give up on their most cherished fantasy — that of being able to shape, drive and change public opinion. They can’t deliver this, because the only generator of public opinion is the opinion of the public. But too many media people’s pay days depend on perpetuating this notion that they, the media, can set the political agenda. Trump identified the huge power available in upending this self-delusion in the media classes.

        Trump manipulated the media into creating Trump. The media were manipulatable because they pretended to have a power — the power to create irresistible political images and influence — and In order to get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves, the will have to admit that they don’t, they’re just a load of hacks without a shred of credibility left.

        1. Bsoder

          Not the point really, not a topic that should be discussed in such a way or manner. We’re not talking rules of evidence as found in law, we are talking about what people are taking away from whatever is said. Some here say well he just playing people/media for fools. Maybe, but with 50k people dead in country, one has to ask is this the best he can do, is this helpful? No and no.

      1. Tom Bradford

        As someone who has spent a lot of time in the courtroom I have to say there is a huge difference between being there watching and listening to a witness or the defendant in the dock and reading the court stenographer’s transcript of it later. The latter is a completely accurate account of what was said, but lacks all the little hesitancies, the inflexions, the tonalities and the body language that also say a huge amount. And as someone pointed out above stenographers have to add punctuation to a verbal stream which however skillful and aware they are – and not all are – can still distort the meaning.

        ie. From the transcript Trump said:- “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.” Should there be a question mark after “cleaning” making “because you see…” a new sentence, and is the ‘it’ he is referring to here that “does a tremendous number in the lungs” the virus or the cleanser? It makes a big difference to the context of the “cleaning” and its application. And is he saying that you’d need a medical doctor to perform the injection or to advise on the wisdom of performing the procedure?

        The transcript can’t answer these questions the way listening to and watching the speaker can.

        1. Clive

          Yes, in every court proceeding I have been involved with as a professional witness (not a huge number but enough to see some consistent themes), the judge set huge weighting on what was said, under oath, by the witness in person.

          Often in complex cases, there will be huge bundles entered into evidence. Judges will give some credence to the contents but will not usually read, book like, every single thing everyone has written. They will look at sections and written testimony to which their attention is drawn.

          But what really matters is evidence in person, both under friendly questioning from the house lawyers from their own side and also under cross examination by the opposition counsel. How does the witness come across? Are they hesitant and overly cautious or defensive? Are they excessively coached? Are they trying to help the judge find the facts or are they trying to obfuscate them? Are they nervous, under pressure (even allowing for the court setting) or are they natural and open, letting a testimony and cross examination go where it goes and confident that the truth will out and that truth will see them vindicated?

          How people act, speak and behave is almost as important as what they say.

          In the political realm, we all should be judges. We are eminently qualified to judge. We must watch and listen closely now and then and pay attention to the people, the staging and the milieu. And we must also observe the audience reaction. We can’t always sit passively by later, reading about what happened unfortunately.

  6. xkeyscored

    Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2 medRxiv

    It is worth remembering that this is predominantly an indoor disease, something worth considering in connection with agriculture and farming, for example.

    “The first salient feature of the 318 identified outbreaks that involved three or more cases is
    that they all occurred in indoor environments. Although this finding was expected, its
    significance has not been well recognised by the community and by policy makers. Indoors is
    where our lives and work are in modern civilisation. The transmission of respiratory
    infections such as SARS-CoV-2 from the infected to the susceptible is an indoor

    “Our study does not rule out outdoor transmission of the virus. However, among our 7,324
    identified cases in China with sufficient descriptions, only one outdoor outbreak involving
    two cases occurred in a village in Shangqiu, Henan. A 27-year-old man had a conversation
    outdoors with an individual who had returned from Wuhan on 25 January and had the onset
    of symptoms on 1 February.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is pretty good news though if true as at least it means there is no real justification for clamping down on people getting outdoors for exercise.

    2. rd

      The US employers put migratory workers on buses to move them around and get them to and from work. They won’t get infected while workign in the field, but getting to adn from the field is another thing altogether.

      Similarly, the poor “essential” workers often take public transit, including buses, to get to and from their jobs. Many of them are likely getting infected that way.Bus drivers have been hard hit.

      1. xkeyscored

        How many cars are there in the USA? How many huge SUVs sitting around new and unsold, larger than some people’s houses, in which agricultural workers could both sleep and drive to the next gig, complete with social distancing?

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Some other sections of the research paper caught my attention:
      required ventilation rates:
      “the current design standards of thermal and ventilation conditions, occupant density and close contact behaviour in the various indoor environments [see table S3 “Characteristics of indoor environments as required by standards where COVID-19 clusters occurred.” pp. 21 – 22]

      “The required ventilation rates vary significantly among homes, offices, trains, and buses. For example, the required ventilation rate is only 3·9 L/s per person in shopping malls and 2·8 L/s per person in public buses, whereas a ventilation rate of 8 to 10 L/s is required for good indoor air quality. An international systematic review showed that a rate as high as 25 L/s per person may be needed. Many existing buildings are crowded, poorly ventilated, and unhygienic. A comprehensive review of ventilation conditions in Chinese indoor environments by Ye et al. showed that the CO2 concentration can reach 3,500 ppm in some buildings.” [p.5 of the research paper]

      “Cheng and Li (2018) found that only 16% of bedrooms satisfied the ventilation requirement.” [p. 22]

      I wonder how various US indoor spaces fare when similarly evaluated.
      Perhaps better ventilation designs and close attention to air filtration systems might help reduce risks to more lethal pandemics we might encounter in the future.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “Low incidence of daily active tobacco smoking in patients with symptomatic COVID-19 ”

    I have been thinking about how smoking/nicotine might cause some protection. There are two things that can cause hypertension. Low ACE2 and shedding ACE2. Shedding ACE2 from the cell would lower viral cellular infection. It looks like this is what nicotine and smoking does via an enzyme called ADAM17, which is why it causes hypertension. Researchers are in fact in a trial for a nicotine patch to prevent/treat COVID19 as well.

    1. NickH

      Interesting! Totally unscientific but a personal anecdote on this:

      My wife and I live in Ohio — early 30s and pretty healthy — the week of March 8th she was down for 6 days pretty hard with what in retrospect seems like it was Covid. Gov Dewine announced stay-at-home that weekend, so self-isolating was never an issue — but i was surprised I never got sick. Usually if one of us is sick, we both get it

      Now I spend most of my day vaping nicotine — I work as a sysadmin / dev and I really like smoking and coding — so I’m just really curious to see how the science on this ends up shaking out

      And I do smoke a little MJ most nights before bed, agree with Lambert would be interesting to see if there’s any science on that end as well :)

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        And I do smoke a little MJ most nights before bed, agree with Lambert would be interesting to see if there’s any science on that end as well

        I hope you are choosing to smoke Sativa.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its all very interesting (and will no doubt make some smokers very smug), but I wonder if its a simple result of smokers being under diagnosed, as heavy smokers coming to hospital with respiratory problems may just be treated ‘as normal’ without being subject to a Covid test.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          That is interesting (and relevant to me, as I live close to two homeless shelters and I’ve been wondering when they’d be hit).

          The other thing that occurred to me is that sick smokers may lie about their smoking to doctors out of fear that this will put them lower on the priority list if they need a ventilator.

      1. rtah100

        The Chinese study I have read was in hospitalised confirmed patients in Wuhan. The French study was hospital system data so presumably also confirmed.

        The molecular biology papers are confusing, some claim nicotine downregulates ACE2 expression and other claim smokers have greater lung tissue ACE2 expression. It’s biology so both statements could easily be true! There is a lot more in cigarette smoke than nicotine….

        In any event, it was hypothesised early on that ARBs (angiotensin II antagonists) could be beneficial. The Italian treatment protocol for COVID-19 in Lombardy includes ARBs (the various *sartan drugs).

    3. The Historian

      Yea, before I believe those studies I want to know who is paying for them. Philip Morris, maybe?

    4. BobW

      Need to find out if it is due to 1) nicotine, 2) receptors “gunked up,” or 3) some other durned thing.

  8. John B

    In “Toward a New Theory of Power Projection,” the author solemnly recommends this:

    The United States could help partner nations build the capabilities for long-term resistance, including well-equipped reserves trained for insurgency; large magazines of cheap, simple rockets and missiles as well as hidden 3D printing facilities to churn more out; stealthy underground reservoirs capable of releasing swarms of attacking drones on time-delayed schedules; and cyber units based around the world that are capable of launching crippling attacks even if their homeland was overrun.

    What could go wrong?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have read that article and what it amounts to is “technology will save us”. But it is worse than that. If you read through it, the US will expect its allies and partners to bear the brunt of any attacks against them and the US. The US will have sold them beforehand a lot of high tech weaponry/toys that will hopefully work out and furthermore, those allies will be expected to devote a large chunk of their GDP buying all this stuff and making their own preparations. The US will also be attacking those country’s economies like they do with China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, etc. at the moment. No word what happens if they do the same in a war. This is not a plan. This is a wish list with no concept that the enemy also gets a vote too.

      1. DFTBS

        It’s funny to see “Power Projection” article paired with the AP and TAC pieces under the Imperial Collapse header. Even now that Covid-19 has shown the US regime unable to perform the most basic function of a state, and protect its citizens; the outside the box thinkers at W.O.T.R are fantasizing about how the US will preserve its ability to project power. One may ask, to what purpose? What pressing interest can the US have abroad, if preserving the lives of its domestic citizens doesn’t seem to be a concern?

        It seems to me that in the response this plague, the “West” and the “East”, have shown the nature of their two competing state models. This isn’t to say command economies vs. free markets, or totalitarianism vs. liberty. Rather, does the state control its productive forces and distributive capabilities to the benefit of its people; or does it control and sacrifice its people for the benefit of those forces.

        As that nature becomes more apparent during this imperial collapse, I think we can expect to see more pieces like that in W.O.T.R, with their almost pathetic dissonance with reality in full display

      2. JTMcPhee

        Yeah, that part about “the enemy’ having its own agency. Let’s recall the Great War Game called Millennium Challenge 2002, where the Blue Team got sunk and killed by the Red Team led by an actual innovative combat leader who “didn’t play by the rules” that said his forces were supposed to lose:

        Flashback to the decision to replace the M113 armored personnel carrier with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the F-35 on tracks. The knock on the M113 is that its aluminum armor would protect against small arms fire, but the cheap rocket propelled grenades and larger caliber direct-fire weapons would blow right through and mess up the protoplasm inside the hull. There was a military junkyard at Chu Lai when I was there, dozens of M113s with just a little hole with a ray burst of burn marks where the RPG round had hit, and if you looke inside, dried blood and stuff all around.

        So the MIC types put their greedy and “innovative” heads together and came up with the BFV, which carried fewer troops than the M113 and was, get this, armored with aluminum, but a “better alloy” I recall. The thinking was that “you gooks and Hajjis, you can only shoot at a BFV with AK-47s — no fair shooting them up with RPGs and 12.7 and larger armor piercing rounds because we did not design them for that.” And another opinion was that as soon as the BFV crew detected incoming hostile fire (or in many cases, what’s called in the “fog of war” post-action coverup language, “friendly fire”), said crew should exit the BFV and find real cover in the surrounding terrain.

        One take on the failures of the BFV:

        Lots of nice puff pieces from the BFV suppliers and their quislings inside the Pentagram tout its wonderful capabilities. But the Army has been trying to replace it for 30+ years and the MIC corporations are miles away from even fielding prototypes. Of course, there’s this problem that the corps are essentially writing the specifications and angling to force military doctrines to favor their manufacturing strengths. And there is so much wrong with Pentagram procurement and the whole “Babblespace Management” structure that it’s nigh on to impossible to step back far enough to see the whole picture.

        The people who run the great Imperial War Machine are imbeciles and thieves.

        1. Procopius

          I remember that the original M-113 did not have any kind of shield to protect the .50 -cal. machine gunner. The theory stated (seriously) was that the fire power of a .50-cal. is so great no rifleman would dare shoot at it. In Vietnam they finally discovered the stupidity of that.

  9. Jessica

    About smoking providing some protection against Covid-19, in Wuhan men over 80 died at four times the rate of women. It was thought that the reason for this was that most Chinese men of that generation were heavy smokers and the women were not.

    1. Mikel

      I was wondering about that too.
      When were they heavy smokers and had how many had quit? Thus there would be some clearing of the lungs, but the damage to the lungs would have still been there.
      Just shows not enough known about that stat either.

    2. ewmayer

      Without separating the stats for men over 80 who did and did not smoke, the 4x stat is useless. God, I hate statistical ‘studies’ like this, which are rendered meaningless because the data gatherers omitted a single, obvious, crucial question, moreover one which is a standard risk-factor question on just about every health survey used in the past 50 years.

  10. Tom Stone

    Vodka is a pretty good disinfectant and it can have a salutary effect if taken internally.
    I dunno about injecting it, though.
    Maybe an enema qualifies?

      1. amfortas the hippie

        pretty decent analgesic, too
        but there’s some significant side effects (falling down drunk,etc)

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Maybe an enema qualifies?”

      You’re into “Shameless” territory now.

      Personally, I’m exploring shooting up with “Mr. Clean.” There’s something comforting about that old jingle from my childhood.

      While I’ve been seeing our President as Dandy Don’s Traveling Medicine Show, I’m beginning to think it’s more like a shaman who’s having no luck with a disease of humans or livestock or crops or something like a drought. The tribe is beginning to look at him as if maybe what needs to be done is burn him at the stake (he remembers the look from what happened to the last failed shaman), and he’s more than a little desperate to come up with something.

      So this desperate search for a magic and most importantly, quick solution gets interspersed with the crazed kamikaze attack on the virus.

    2. ewmayer

      I was forced to buy a 1.75L bottle of Vodka at Costco this week because rubbing alcohol is *still* out-of-stock more or less everywhere. Having paid 4x as much for the 80-proof as for the latter stuff on an amount-of-active-ingredient basis, you can be assured that the dual internal-and-external disinfection properties are being made use of. :)

      1. ambrit

        Everclear. Can be bought in 190 proof, or 95% alcohol by volume. (Also useful for jump-starting almost anything.) [Our local liquor stores have been out of this for two months now.]

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Toward a New Theory of Power Projection War on the Rocks

    The writer is advocating helping US allies use asymmetric warfare to keep the Russkies and Chinese at bay. Among other things, he advocates providing technology for area denial type warfare.

    When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the United States declared the attack illegitimate and sought to reverse it — in part with economic and political penalties but without any military “power projection” beyond aid to the Afghan resistance. The analogy is not exact, but a new approach could search for supercharged versions of a very similar strategy — one that threatens an aggressor with a long and debilitating campaign rather than a quick and painless fait accompli.

    He mentions Afghanistan without, of course noting the teeny tiny problem with this strategy. Blowback, not to mention ‘allies’ deciding they want to change sides, and using all that US aid for other purposes, such as attacking the US.

    1. epynonymous

      Bug or a feature?

      “After awhile you could get used to anything.”
      ― Albert Camus, The Stranger

      Ted Rall has a nice comic today, musing about the fall of the Soviet Union and how things pass away. I never did get past the part on the beach with the threatening Algerian, but I think about it often.

      I think I’ll remedy that. Thanks for the link. BTW, David Axe (previously from has a twitter feed that is on fire.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m a great believer that if you want to know what the security establishment of a country believes is really in their future, look and see what they are spending their defence budget on. When you look at the weapons the South Koreans, Taiwanese, Japanese, etc., are purchasing or developing, its pretty clear that they decided some years ago that they could not depend on the cavalry.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Those places have their own MICs, which as here, drive “preparedness” in the direction of spending lots of wealth and of course engaging in the political process to continue the fear and loathing that aggravates conflict and feeds back into more military mis-spending…

          Kind of a multiplayer negative-sum game.

    2. RMO

      “When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the United States declared the attack illegitimate and sought to reverse it — in part with economic and political penalties but without any military “power projection” beyond aid to the Afghan resistance”

      Kind of rich reading that as we know – thanks to Zbignew himself! – that the US had started sending aid to the Afghan terrorists before that, with the specific intent to provoke the USSR into intervening. That and the way the US has repeatedly gotten itself mired in years long conflicts like this so many times. Kind of like hearing that Sideshow Bob is planning to get someone by placing rakes tines up on the ground.

  12. Arizona Slim

    On-the-ground report from Tucson:

    This slender Arizonan isn’t hearing much talk of a general strike, but our local utility poles are sprouting quite the crop of rent strike posters. This is the group behind them:

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Steve Keen suggested that a rent and mortgage payment strike is the best way to get a temporary UBI passed. If millions refuse to pay, because they can’t, the financial institutions won’t physically be able to evict them all. UBI would provide a way that ensures finance could receive “their” money. Since Congress only listens to the demands of the FIRE sector you would rapidly see action.

      1. Monty

        I would be interesting to see if this idea gets any traction.

        It’s not really a strike if you cannot pay, and I doubt people who can pay, will withhold payment. We have been conditioned to worry more about our own FICO scores, than the health and well being of our neighbors in financial distress.

        It would be nice to be proved wrong though.

      2. Clive

        More importantly credit cards and medical bills as well.
        Wanna be hard core, add income taxes to that.

  13. Wukchumni

    Karen Haught, MD, MPH, sent an email on April 20, 2020, to all who are registered with the County of Tulare as lodging facilities in unincorporated parts of the county. The correspondence was intended to clarify a state order restricting unnecessary travel that in turn will limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2).

    Dr. Haught, as the Public Health Officer for the County of Tulare, is reminding these businesses that based on a Governor’s Executive Order last month, lodging facilities, short-term rentals, and campgrounds may not conduct commercial operations unless they are renting out to workers who have been deemed essential. There has, as of yet, been no end date announced for this order.

    The Tulare County Health Officer has further clarified that the state Stay-at-Home Order applies to hotels, short-term rentals, resorts, bed-and-breakfast inns, and campgrounds in Three Rivers and throughout Tulare County. The county correspondence reiterated that lodging facilities may not rent to tourists.

    Just looked on AirBnB, and 32 houses are available for short term rentals here, greed winning out over what’s good for our community.

    1. rtah100

      In their possible defence, their situation might be like mine. Leave the property listed but only take bookings from key workers. To my immense surprise, I just had a key worker book (three electricians taking 10 days to rewire a local-ish (30 minute drive) school! So I am going to leave the rest of the listings up just in case.

      I appreciate this might be implausible in your neck of the woods – some emergency Sequoia repairs, perhaps – but my place is in a *very* rural part of the UK (so unspoilt that a poet laureate, a children’s laureate and a Rolling Stone lived there at the same time – bonus marks for anybody who can identify it!).

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Can Asia’s largest armed group fend off coronavirus? PRI

    Fascinating insight into the lands of Wa, and a reminder that there are quite a few parts of the world where people live fairly independent lives without bothering too much with ‘official’ governments. They are also arguably a model for other groups who want independence, in that they have created a de facto state without challenging Myanmars right to represent them internationally.

    However, the article, while noting the high quality of infrastructure and well equipped army, fails to mention where all the money for this comes from. It does in fact come from drug dealing, mostly metaamphetamines (it used to be heroin) – Wa is one of the worlds largest narco states. They also are the source for a significant amount of illegal wildlife smuggling into China for ‘medicinal’ purposes.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “US financial aid for Greenland sparks outrage in Denmark”

    Maybe that $12 million can be set aside to deal with the Cold War-era, underground US base with ‘its estimated 9,200 tonnes of scrap and environmentally-hazardous oil and diesel waste, not to mention radioactive residue from the nuclear reactor’ which is on the move underneath all that ice-

    I can understand Denmark complaining about this. Imagine if Denmark got that money and sent it on to Puerto Rico to help them recover from Hurricane Maria without asking Washington first.

  16. PlutoniumKun

    Respectable Racism: The “War With China ” Edition Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Jake, it’s bipartisan.

    The problem is, its more than bipartisan, it’s bi-national. China is ramping up its own version of conspiracy theories, alleging Covid is a US plot, and there are disturbing accounts of anti-foreigner attacks all over China (especially against Africans), with apparently little or no interference from the police. At least the Russians had the very good sense not to rise to the bait of Russiagate, I’m not sure the same can be said for the Chinese.

    But Levine does make the very good point that anti-China posturing is not coming from the ‘ground up’, it’s coming from the upper classes and the supposedly ‘woke’ Democrats. However, following him on Twitter, he seems to be lumping many different people in with his accusations, including Matt Stoller, who has consistently been arguing from a left perspective that the US needs to disengage from China. I’m not sure he’s helping his argument by accusing pretty much everyone he disagrees with of racism.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was in the rental/pro shop @ Mammoth picking up newly waxed skis in early February, and there were 2 Chinese families of four being fitted for gear, and a very definite !Danger Will Robinson! feel overcame me pactically shouting silently that it was fight or flight and even though I knew nothing about them (lived in SoCal for 16 years, or just off the plane from Wuhan?) even at that point early in the Covid-19 game, my virus radar was pinging. I wasn’t gonna punch em’ out, so I split toot suite, exit stage fright.

      I’m a reasonable person, admire the Chinese and enjoy their cuisine (i’ve probably had Chinese food in 30+ different countries) so it was awkwardation, this episode.

    2. Clive

      Let’s not forget Senator Feinstein’s Chinese driver, who recorded her conversations in the car and turned out to be a Chinese spy.

    3. J.B.

      “The more left-wingers scream racism at any criticism of the Chinese government the more irrelevant they will become. And rightfully so. The CCP is the modern Nazi party. War would be catastrophic, but ignoring the CCP reflects an unwillingness to entertain reality.” Stoller , twitter 4/19.

      He is advocating a war with china. Some leftist. He says it would be catastrophic, but if they are indeed nazis , dont you as the great beacon of democracy have the historical responsibility to stop nazis by any means necessary, catastrophic as it may be? Give me a break.

      “China is a challenge to the U.S. and all democracies not because we need an enemy but because the Chinese government’s goal is to get rid of democracy worldwide. And they may have the power to do it. That’s their ideological goal. They say it.” Stoller, twitter, 4/19/20

      Thats right It could not have been the u.s propping up the majority of the worlds authoritarian, autocratic governments around the world with political and military backing the last 70+years because they never said it implicitly.

  17. epynonymous

    New bill passed the house. 388 to 5.

    “The new measure includes $310 billion to replenish this (small business loan) program, $60 billion for a separate small-business emergency loan and grant program, $75 billion for hospitals and health-care providers, and $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program.”

    Great article, includes a proper re-cap of things leading up to now.

    I guess we can’t help it if the Onion article was prescient with it’s 500 Billion in cocaine augury. America’s finest news indeed!

    There was some talk in comments yesterday as to ‘what makes a good game.’ Didn’t feel up to it, but let’s try.

    One definition of a game is an arbitrary set of restrictions. Anyone who’s ever tried cheat codes in a game will know this. Once you take away those restrictions (with extra lives, money or power) the game just loses it’s charm somehow. In fact, that’s why games no longer come with cheat codes. Because people use them and then stop playing.

    A more modern perspective of a good game is one that creates ‘flow’ – psychologically. Effectively, a good game has a ‘game-play loop’ such as shoot people and get points/ build stuff and get points/ find stuff and get points. Doing so should keep you engaged (and empowered because of conquering challenges) without frustrating you into stopping.

    Now there’s other ideas, such as the need for story and artistry. Meta-awareness. Identity. and more. But considering how many movies are out-and-out remakes, the games industry is in a real renaissance.

    It’s only gradually that the rest of the world is realizing that almost all the restraints put upon us by society are both negotiable and arbitrary.

    1. flora

      Nothing for the states, though. Nothing to help replenish UI funds or cover state tax shortfalls caused by themshutdown. Mitch wants the states, all the states, to declare bankruptcy, instead.

      1. epynonymous

        You read my mind.

        I believe their debtors are probably more important than the stock market addicts, but that’s just my opinion I guess.

        I’m doing well, but it must be nice in their bubble.

  18. Baby Gerald

    Re: Insomnia and Vivid Dreams on the Rise With COVID-19 Anxiety (Smithsonian)

    I have been noticing a personal increase in weird, vivid dreams. I almost never dream, but now it seems like I’ve been having them every night. Weird dreams not easy for me to remember all the details. But just odd, sometimes mundane situations involving friends and relatives I haven’t seen personally in months or years.

    My theory- and I admit it requires more testing- is that since my cannabis hook-up skipped town before the lockdown and my supply dried up about three weeks ago, my brain chemistry is getting readjusted to the lack of THC/CBD and whatever other cannabinoids it was used to having swimming around in it. When I’m indulging, my sleep is usually deep and continuous. Now it’s filled with these weird dreams and I’m waking up about half-way into the night.

    Since I’ve had the real deal for years and am quite functional- even more so- under the influence, I’ve never felt the need to check out all the CBD products that have hit the market over recent years. I am now looking into checking these out to see if I can get a good night’s sleep again.

    Any recommendations from NC users on personal experiences with CBD would be appreciated. Alternately, if there’s anyone in the NYC/Brooklyn area who wants to help me test my theories… please email me or send me a DM on Twitter. ;)

    1. sd

      We used CBD products with my mom as she was going through chemo. The dispensary specialized in medical and had a lot of cancer patients. She used a gummy/jelly in small quantities. 2 parts CBD and 1 part THC from Kushy Punch.

      If she was really having trouble sleeping we had CBD drops made by Papa and Barkley. Bitter taste but always worked. Just 2 drops under the tongue. Taken about 45 minutes prior.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Thanks jo6pac for your recommendation and sd for your testimonial.

        I’ve used Leafly to see what my buddy was stocking when he was still here (Green Crack was a recent favorite), but never noticed it has a section on CBD as well. That’s where I’ll look.

        With its explosion onto the market, I mostly want to find a reputable source. I’ll poke around and update you with results from my experiments.

      2. Baby Gerald

        Update: Just ordered some Rested capsules from Leafly marketplace and RelaxBears from Green Roads (Leafly was almost completely out of stock on edibles). I’ll keep you posted on the results of my future experiments. I hope it gets my sleep back to normal- otherwise I’m going to have to start writing down these dreams and turn them into film treatments for David Lynch.

        1. Monty

          Get “Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming”
          by Stephen LaBerge on Audible, and listen at bedtime!

          Please let me know how you get on.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Funny you should say that. I’ve noticed for years that I have more dreams if I don’t have an “attitude adjustment” prior to going to sleep. Pretty much never dream if I do. I thought it was just me. So there’s a small bit of corroboration for your theory.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Why would you want to stop vivid dreaming? I would like to have more dreams and more dreams I can recall. They bring new ideas and images that I treasure. They remind of things I’ve forgotten — often unhappy things or things I regret — but sometimes other feelings and memories tag along that I can clasp and hold dear. Occasionally dreams bring visions and epiphany — and those are true gifts.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Flattening the curve won’t lead to coronavirus turning point, study finds”

    ‘the team, which included scientists from Harvard University in the United States, said in a non-peer-reviewed paper’

    Well I would say that is two strikes against this article. So it says further along-

    ‘Meanwhile some of the most developed countries – such as the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Spain – have suffered big blows to their economies while also dealing with soaring infections and death rates.’

    The main reason that they suffered big blows to their economies was they tried to ignore this threat and deal with it on the cheap. So they got the worse of both worlds – a large death count and a crippled economy. But then they go on to say-

    ‘The researchers suggested authorities consider the less stringent but equally effective strategies adopted by South Korea and New Zealand, which maintained fewer than 10 daily cases and only suffered losses ranging from 0.5 to 4 per cent of their economy.’

    Less stringent? Seriously? Both countries are going for eradication. Not let ‘er rip. And both countries went out of their way to get buy-in on the part of their people and taking care of them for the duration.

    1. BobW

      Flattening the curve was initially proposed as a way to avoid overwhelming hospital ICUs. I see no way to contain the virus without comprehensive testing and tracking, which I don’t think can happen in the US.

    2. Darthbobber

      Curious as to the disciplines of all the team members. Cost-effectiveness and balancing of economics with virus suppression aren’t usually big talking points for doctors and epidemiologists, so it looks as if perhaps the “sciences” of economics and business administration may have had some representation here.

      Some points seem unproblematic, but they don’t really reinforce the headline’s direction, without a subhead that says “absent other critical elements.” The snippets in the body actually suggest MORE stringent closures as a possibility, and point out the indispensability of robust testing and quarantine as a key element. (They fail to deal with the temporal order of events, which might indicate that all that can be proven from the New York and Italy situations is that the barn door is best locked while the horse is still there.)

  20. DJG

    So now there is a spate of articles about “disappointment” with lack of U.S. leadership? This is another figment of the Anglo-American echo chamber. Surely, someone is putting LSD in the bubble-and-squeak.

    The kicker from today’s NYTimes and its bloviations on exceptionalism:
    –The coronavirus pandemic is shaking bedrock assumptions about U.S. exceptionalism. This is perhaps the first global crisis in more than a century where no one is even looking for Washington to lead.–

    Maybe I am on suspiciously much-too-intimate terms with the Mediterranean world, but I can assure you that for most nations along the coasts of the Mediterreanean, even Italy, even France, U.S. “leadership” and “exceptionalism” are something viewed highly skeptically. In Italy, which is so old, the USA is viewed as an experiment that still isn’t ready to be reported on. (After all, the Republic of Venice lasted for 1,100 years.)

    And I find it hard to believe that the Greeks (who know all about U.S. excpetionalism in the form of the Gift of the Colonels) are looking for U.S. exceptionalism to guide them. Let alone the Lebanese, the Algerians, even the Tunisians and the Cypriots.

    So these crying-towel examinations of the (for the four-hundredth time) loss of pristine U.S. values and pristine U.S. influences are part of the true “panic.” Yes, the new normal means that the U S of A may have to deal with its role as an annoying pest to much of the world on good days and as a nightmare ally / enemy on its bad days. Ask an Iranian.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Not only are the Greeks still pissed about the US supported Junta, I remember the posters of Bill Clinton with a bullseye on his forehead plastered all over Athens back in the 90s.

      My guess is the Times thought the US was still “exceptional” in the eyes of the rest of the world based solely on the imaginary cab drivers the Moustache of Understanding talks to.

  21. Ignacio

    RE: Coronavirus: First patients injected in UK vaccine trial BBC. Volunteers (n=2).

    Third vaccine in the fast lane: no prior extensive trials in animals. There will be 200 vaccinated and 200 with “placebo vaccine”. This riskiest part will come in further trials with more extensive vaccination and testing. The strategy used with this vaccine is clever but this doesn’t rule out problems. Intranasal vaccination has shown to provide both humoral and cellular response. Yet the risk that in some cases you could be priming some of the recipients for worse outcomes exists. Some would turn to be a lot in massive vaccination.

    This is risky, do these times require assuming such risks? I don’t have a definitive answer. Just hope it goes fine, or at least, potential problems are detected in the first trial.

    1. xkeyscored

      There’s equally the upside, from both an individual and collective standpoint, that if it works, those who get it first will be immune first. The risks of not having a vaccine are pretty clear, the potential benefits huge.

    2. Redlife2017

      My concern is that in the rush, vaccines as a whole will be discredited with risky ventures for this coronavirus. Making some young people die (or have a higher chance of death) to protect old people isn’t a viable strategy for long-term take up. And we’ve never been able to get a vaccine for a coronavirus and now it’s all hunky-dory, lets rush through without animal testing. I mean, I certainly won’t be first in line for this stuff…

      My mind then turns to an anime movie I watched over 10 years ago called Vexille. A good bit of the start of the movie starts with a mystery, but then we see what happened:
      “In 2067, an unknown disease struck Japan and was countered by an experimental vaccine. In actuality, the disease was created by Daiwa and the “vaccine” was used as an excuse for Daiwa to begin testing experimental nanotechnology. Every Japanese citizen was converted into a form of synthetic life. But there were unforeseen side effects; the conversion was imperfect, resulting in the infected humans losing their free will and becoming just lifelike machines. Some of the nanotech went amok, creating the “Jags”, giant whirling constructs of semisentient metal that prowl the wilderness. The Jags destroyed all of Japan, save Tokyo which is protected by an inedible wall of ceramic.”

      And I love this one song from the OST: Beyond the Wall And yes, oddly, it’s Paul Oakenfold…

      Now that isn’t what is happening (obviously), but the technology running amok aspect, the elites pressing on invasive solutions…I can see why people are worried. It’s always there in the back of at least some people’s minds. Is this the time we freak-out over something and we make it vastly worse?

      1. Ignacio

        I was wondering… how we define success. Imagine this vaccine has a bad effect of priming for worse infection… it occurs in one in between 100.000 vaccinated. You won’t probably detect it in trials but this means 500 people in trouble if you vaccinate 50 million. But… if it occurs in 1 out of 1000? this would mean 50.000 in trouble out of 50 million… How large have to be the trials? At least several thousands.

    3. rtah100

      Perceptions of risk differ.

      Chloroquine is available OTC in the UK. In February and early March, I read the protocols using it in China and Italy, the hypothetical mechanisms of action and the contra-indications and I have been taking it prophylactically on the standard weekly malaria dose ever since. The long-QT risk is minimal and the retinal risk is almost non-existent for sub-five year administration. Even if I am wrong, at least I won’t get malaria this year. :-)

      NB: I’m not taking azithromycin because it is not OTC and antibiotics screw with your guts and promote resistance. I’m taking my vitamins for zinc.

      With that preamble, there is no way on god’s earth I am going to participate in a vaccine trial! Those people are crazy. There is no proof we can find a vaccine to SARS2 (no success for SARS or MERS, just enhanced lethality so far). There is worrying data suggesting SARS2 barely raises antibodies in patients (the immune response is T-cells and natural killer cells, instead), especially young ones.

      What we do know is that all sorts of novel vaccine technologies are getting their moment to shine. As the existing vaccine technologies we have are dark arts, I am going to stay well away. It could be Tegenero / Northwick Park all over again (incidentally, Northwick Park is one of the hardest hit Covid-19 hospitals in London)….

  22. edmondo

    Why are 150 people traveling between Miami and NYC in the middle of a pandemic shutdown? To pick up their Darwin Awards?

    1. Wukchumni

      …Ladies & gentlemen, this is your captain speaking

      We’ve reached our cruising altitude @ 32,450 feet, where if it wasn’t for the passenger chamber being pressurized with continuously recirculating air coursing through the cabin, you’d be dead.

  23. a different chris

    > on April 15 the official German public health/disease control institute published a paper showing that moderate social distancing reduced #SARS_CoV2 spread but the hard lockdown was useless

    ???? Jesus. It doesn’t say what he thinks it says. Social distancing seemed to be very successful. So the hard lockdown may have been unnecessary. But you don’t have a control at all, you did social distancing first and then the hard lockdown. That’s like washing your clothes by hand then saying “hey this washing machine is crap, they look just the same as they did before”.

    We still don’t even know what any of this means. We have a virus that attacks some like hellfire itself while others are completely asymptomatic. We can’t tell who spread what when. Heck we are so confused we have idiots who for sure think it’s a Chinese (or American) bioweapon when Mother Nature is the only girl that has the chops to pull something like this off.

    If it explodes again in Germany, what does that mean? *I* won’t claim it means either. I don’t know, but the sad thing is I think experts are worse at this point. They can’t say “we don’t know” because they’ve had the humility trained out of them.

    Lies, damn lies and statisticians, I guess.

  24. Mikel

    Why do I get the feeling that in the middle of this health crisis, battling an actual virus, that there are business “leaders” taking this as an opportunity to treat everything “non-tech” like it’s the virus?

  25. flora

    re: Trump mulls tying USPS changes to emergency coronavirus loan sharking – report The Hill

    fixed it. ;)

    (loan sharking is about the terms, not the amount.)

  26. BobW

    Watching noon news, bubblehead on tv talking about Hubble Space Telescope anniversary said it was named after an astrologer.

    1. ewmayer

      I’m guessing they also omitted the part of the real HST story where NASA had actually paid for 2 main mirrors, one by Perkin-Elmer and a backup made by Eastman Kodak, but couldn’t be bothered to maybe just comparison-test the 2 before launch, so they only found out that the Kodak-made one was perfectly good and up to spec after pulling it out of storage during the ensuing blurry-vision debacle, at which point it was alas too late to be much use. Yah, I thought not.

      1. RMO

        Even comparison testing wasn’t necessary – simply doing a final test of the mirror that was used would have caught the problem. A decision was made that there was no money even for that test. Teeth-gnashing considering that the existence of the back up mirror meant that finding the problem wouldn’t have delayed the project at all. The story of how Perkin-Elmer screwed up the mirror in the first place is fascinating. Even more so to me than how the telescope was improved in orbit later.

  27. Daryl

    > How the Bottom Fell Out of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance Foreign Policy

    I wish I was as optimistic as the author.

    No matter how many terrible things happen, the US relationship with our “friends” in the Middle East that have resulted in countless deaths has never seemed to falter.

  28. Oregoncharles

    Extremely important, from the Alex Berenson tweet: ” To summarize: on April 15 the official German public health/disease control institute published a paper showing that moderate social distancing reduced #SARS_CoV2 spread but the hard lockdown was useless.”

    Useless is strong language. Unfortunately, this is a tweet, so information quite limited, and the paper is in German, so not readable by me – not sure how far I’d trust Google Translate on this. Do we have a German translator in the audience?

    A lot of comments have been based on a false alternative, between severe lockdown and letting it fly. No, there is a whole range of approaches in between or off that particular line; different countries – Taiwan, S. Korea, Sweden, etc. (more complete list would be useful) – have tried a variety of approaches, some very successfully, as these things go. What we need, and this German paper is a first approximation to, is a full comparison of approaches vs. outcomes. (I posted about a dishonest example yesterday, comparing Kentucky, Democrat governor, with Tennessee, Rep. governor. In reality, and carefully disguised in the article, Tennessee, with more people, has fewer deaths. That’s called success – so far.)

    One factor may be that the “lockdown” is imaginary. Food and medical supplies have to reach people, sick people have to be transported, and so on. We can’t actually stop either the economy, whatever that is, or movement. The real question is what we allow, and what really works. That discussion has to be based on examples; NC has been doing a good job of posting those, which I think has not been reflected in the comments.

    1. RK

      Yep, based in Germany and following the debates in both languages. Berenson is mistaken on this. The “lockdown” started in earnest at least ten days before the official date, on a voluntary basis. From March 13 (at the latest) there was a strong recomendation to avoid unnecessary contact, which was followed by most people, widespread school closures were also announced on March 13. March 16 they closed a lot of the borders.
      Other technicalities concerning data and interpretation are also involved. Full details (in German) can be found in Dr Drosten’s very good podcast:,audio672516.html. If needed I could translate and summarise, but probably not worth it.

  29. KFritz

    Re; Control Theory and Covid 19

    Would very much like to read/hear commentary on the article from Nassim Nicholas Taleb and the New England Complex Systems Institute folks.

  30. buermann

    “Flattening the curve won’t lead to coronavirus turning point, study finds South China Morning Post”

    Why would you even mention a story about an unreviewed pre-print that doesn’t even link to the unpublished paper in question unless it was to complain about shoddy science reporting?

Comments are closed.