2:00PM Water Cooler 5/4/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got started in good time, and for some reason had an attack of the slows. I’ll add a bit more shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done. There’s a very nice link for soil fans under Biosphere.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories.

New York’s geometric growth continues at 1.01. Needless to day, this isn’t even flat, let alone the vaguely bell-shaped curve we were told to expect. The linear view may reinforce this:

And speaking of vaguely bell-shaped curves:

* * *

See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “The Committee to Save the Rich” [Jacobin]. “Earlier this month, a coalition of progressive groups published an open letter to Joe Biden concerned with how he might earn young people’s support… Among the most concrete (and easily realizable) demands the groups offered had to do with staffing — specifically a pledge they hoped Biden would make to “appoint zero current or former Wall Street executives or corporate lobbyists, or people affiliated with the fossil fuel, health insurance, or private prison corporations” to his transition team, advisory roles, or to cabinet. Barely two weeks later, Biden as good as replied when it emerged he’d appointed none other than Larry Summers to advise him on economic policy…. There are certainly other, less ideological reasons to be angry about Summers’s appointment. Just as the Biden campaign evidently has no regrets about hiring Harvey Weinstein’s PR flunky Anita Dunn, it apparently doesn’t think Summers’s track record of misogyny or dubious connections are any kind of liability (or, perhaps, just plain doesn’t care). As president of Harvard, Summers cultivated a close personal and professional relationship with now-deceased sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein — a relationship that continued after Epstein’s initial conviction for soliciting sex from a minor. He was eventually forced to resign the presidency at Harvard amid a controversy prompted by remarks about female aptitude in math and science.” • So Larry fits right in?

Biden (D)(2): “Democrats, It’s Time to Consider a Plan B” [New York Times]. “Ms. Reade’s account is not nearly as incredible as some have argued. In the course of my reporting, I have worked closely with many survivors of sexual assault. It isn’t unusual, in my experience, for survivors to exhibit behavior that seems unstable or erratic to others. They may initially disclose to investigators or journalists only a fragment of what happened, and then reveal more over time — some even falsely recant, either because they sense the police don’t believe them, or because they fear the consequences of pressing their claims. And victims often maintain relationships with their attackers or harbor mixed feelings about them…. [I]t is also possible that this won’t just go away, and that it will demoralize voters and place Mr. Biden at a disadvantage against Mr. Trump in the general election, despite the fact that Mr. Trump has a damning list of accusers alleging sexual offenses. For a candidate mainly favored for his presumed electability and the perception of empathy and decency, that’s a serious liability.” • 

Biden (D)(3):

This is the Upworthy generator, but sadly Biden-specific keywords cannot be incorporated.

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): Coincidence? You be the judge:

UPDATE Cuomo (D)(1): “Andrew Cuomo may be the single most popular politician in America right now” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “Cuomo’s stratospheric numbers are driven by remarkable bipartisan support. Yes, 90% of Democrats view him favorably. But 73% of independents say the same as do a majority (53%!) of Republicans. And, they represent a stunning turnaround for Cuomo who, as recently as February, had an overall job approval of just 36%. Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus has, without exaggeration, flipped public opinion about him in, roughly, six weeks. In fact, it’s a turnaround that not even George W. Bush experienced in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks…. Cuomo’s daily press briefings on the state of the state’s fight against the virus have become must-see TV — as Cuomo ranges from stern father to loving counselor to frank friend and back… All of which begs the question of what’s next for Cuomo. After all, he is only 62 years old — 15 years younger than presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden! — and in the middle of his third term as governor of the Empire State…. Cuomo has been, to date, definitive about his lack of interest in running for president — ever.” • Amazing to me that Trump is leaving Cuomo alone.

Trump (R)(1): Owning the libs, who richly deserve to be owned:

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “How Greenwich Republicans Learned to Love Trump” [The New Yorker]. “How did America’s country-club Republicans, the cultural descendants of Prescott Bush, learn to love Donald Trump? They don’t have much in common with the clichéd image of his admirers: anxious about losing status to minorities, resentful of imperious élites, and marooned in places where life expectancy has fallen. But the full picture has never been that simple. As early as May, 2016, exit polls and other data showed that Trump supporters earned an average of seventy-two thousand dollars a year, while supporters of Hillary Clinton earned eleven thousand dollars less. Two-thirds of Trump’s supporters had incomes higher than the national median—sometimes, as in Greenwich, much higher.” • Class interest, class solidarity.

* * *

From the world’s ugliest email operation, Mothership Strategies, Fauci as a fund-raiser:

I happen to agree with Fauci on social distancing. But I’d have less difficulty participating in the Fauci love fest if he weren’t ramping Gilead like a penny stock (something that could end up killing a lot more people than, well, bleach).

2016 Post Mortem

A new trope:

I’m sure this will shift votes in swing states….

Rehabilitating Bush

Words really fail me on this effort, which emanates from both Republicans and Democrats. It’s Orwellian, as in “down the memory hole.” Here’s Bush’s latest video:

And a supporting effort, “The Lincoln Project”:

Scroll down for the personnel, notably John Weaver of Bush, McCain, and Kasich. I suppose this all took off when Bush give Michelle candy. Apparently, the Democrat hive mind has been meditating this for some time.

UPDATE The erasure is really unseemly. From the Times’ White House correspondent:

Anybody here from New Orleans who remembers how Bush really handled Katrina?

UPDATE “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards“:

UPDATE “George Bush Is Bad. Just Stop.” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “This weekend, George W. Bush released a video calling for national unity during the coronavirus emergency. This video, which has gotten almost 6 million views, prompted an outpouring of praise for Bush by those who pine for his presidency in comparison to our current leader. Donald Trump deserves a lot of criticism right now. A lot. However, there are ways to rightly and righteously criticize Trump without touting the alleged honor, decency and humanity of George Bush, who was one of the most dishonorable, indecent and inhuman presidents in the history of our country. I actually can’t believe I even felt the need to type out that last sentence. It should be basic, innate, reflexive knowledge for those who aren’t goldfish forgetting their entire world every 15 minutes.” • Come on, man. The point of sucking up to Bush is to appeal to suburban Republicans. This has nothing to do with “knowledge,” or “forgetting.” Those aren’t even relevant.

UPDATE Get ready:

Why not?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Two Weeks of Democrats’ Pathetic Attempts at Opposition” [The New Republic]. Following a bill of particulars of the Democrats ridiculous last two weeks: “The most puzzling thing about the Democrats’ most recent spell of turning Republican is that GOP policies are more unpopular than they’ve been in a long while, and the president remains largely distrusted by the American public. Why wouldn’t the Democrats take advantage, for instance, of the current enthusiasm for Medicare for All to create a better-functioning health care system both for the current crisis and beyond, rather than dangling a tepid plan to dump yet more money into the hands of private insurers? Perhaps, after all, there’s still one crucial difference between the two parties, captured perfectly by the old aphorism: Republicans fear their base, and Democrats hate theirs.” • I’m not sure that’s true anymore. The working class is not the Democrat base, and the Democrat Establishment wants to get rid of it entirely, and make suburban Republicans part of their base.

“”China Was Right”: Academics and Democratic Leaders Call For Censorship Of Social Media and The Internet” [Jonathan Turley]. “The only thing spreading faster than the coronavirus has been censorship and the loud calls for greater restrictions on free speech. The Atlantic published an article last week by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods calling for Chinese style censorship of the internet. While Goldsmith and Keane are obviously not calling for authoritarian abuse, they are advocating control over the Internet to regulate speech — crossing the Rubicon from free speech to censorship models. They declared that ‘in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong’ and ‘significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.'” • All the while raising the banner against the Fascist Trump administration, of course. Here at NC, we know that this means, WaPo and PropOrNot already tried to drive us out of business once.

“The anticapitalist streaming service taking on Netflix: This is Means TV” [Huck]. “The platform launched earlier this year (February 26) with a roster of documentaries, films, cartoons and podcasts; all of which are available to its thousands of subscribers for just $10 a month. Popular series include their flagship broadcast, Means Morning News, and Sprinkles & Wrinkles – an animation about two Marxist cats on a mission to overthrow their owner. The Detroit-based couple behind the site, Naomi Burton and Nick Hayes, made their first foray into leftist media as ‘Means of Production’, with a campaign video for then little-known democratic candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. ‘We came to AOC with the story arc and pitch for the video,’ Burton explains, ‘and then she really helped us develop the narrative elements that spoke to her experience.’ The video was an instant viral success, and paved the way for a new genre of campaign films. ‘AOC had this special kind of energy,’ recalls Hayes, ‘but we’d never really seen a campaign video blow up like that before her.'”

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

No stats of interest today.

* * *

Shipping: “Prices to move oil around the world are soaring as demand to store fuel on ships takes on a bigger role in energy markets. Charter prices for vessels that transport refined oil products have nearly quadrupled since the start of March… and the Baltic Clean Tanker Index measure of freight rates hit a record high late last month before slipping back” [Wall Street Journal]. “The surging prices show how the demand for ‘floating storage’ for crude has spilled into broader fuel transport business. With global stockpiles of petroleum forecast to grow by around 550 million barrels this quarter, a race is under way to store surplus gasoline, diesel and jet fuel at sea. The number of available tankers that handle refined petroleum products has plummeted.”

Shipping: “Coal volumes are evaporating from U.S. rail networks and they don’t appear to be coming back. Electricity generation from coal-fired power plants is forecast to decline 20% in 2020 from a year ago…, and one analysis suggests renewable sources topped coal for the first time on a quarterly basis in the first three months of the year” [Wall Street Journal]. “U.S. coal production is sliding and the upheaval in energy is accelerating as electricity demand declines under coronavirus restrictions. Freight railroads are feeling the impact in the sector’s single biggest market by volume. Coal loads are down 21.4% so far this year.”

Shipping: “Gauges of construction industry sentiment are turning downward, with measures for billings by architects and new orders for construction equipment makers both at weak levels. The weakness is hitting supply chains. Load-matching service DAT Solutions says the ratio of available loads to trucks in the spot market for construction-heavy flatbed trucking plummeted nearly 77% from March to April” [Wall Street Journal]. “K&D Industries of NY says it lost three-quarters of its jobs hauling materials for construction sites when New York idled most construction work in March forcing the company to defer payments on a bank loan and other bills.”

Petri Dishes: “Carnival’s stock swings higher after plan to ‘phase in’ resumption of cruises this summer” [MarlketWatch]. “Shares of Carnival Corp. swung to positive territory Monday, after the cruise ship operator announced its plan to ‘phase in’ a resumption of its North America service, beginning Aug. 1…. The company said operations will resume with eight ships, Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista from Galveston, Texas; Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Canrnival Sensation from Miami, Florida; and Carnival Breeze and Carnival Edison from Port Canaveral in Florida. The company said all other cruises will be cancelled through Aug. 31.”

Infrastructure: “Workers set to leave Maryland’s Purple Line project” [RT&S]. “Frustrated by one delay after another, the builders currently working on Maryland’s Purple Line project say they will leave the project because the state is not paying for the delays and cost overruns. The project currently costs $2 billion.” • Our failed state can’t even build a 16-mile light railway line.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 43 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 4 at 12:21pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

UPDATE “Scientists Waited Two and a Half Years to See Whether Bacteria Can Eat Rock” [Scientific American] (original). “After 30 months, they put their samples under the microscope. The minerals incubated with microbes appeared ragged or pitted — as if they had been dipped in acid, not bacteria — after their 864-day incubation. The sterile control minerals, by contrast, retained sharp, smooth edges…. The scientists also detected abundant ATP in the mixtures that included microbes, indicating feasting. And remember: there was absolutely nothing to feast on except crushed rock. Another mystery remained: who was eating the rocks? When the scientists checked the DNA of the microbes in their samples, they found almost exclusively bacteria. Missing from the cultures, surprisingly, were fungi…. The lithotrophic bacteria they did find have a special power: the ability to harvest electrons from iron atoms outside their bodies. That is, they can eat without swallowing their food. The bacteria “ingest” the electrons in a technique called external electron transfer….. So, bacteria indeed appear able to initiate and accelerate the dirt-making process. On land, dirt supports plants, which support most everything else.” • Well, let’s hope we don’t kill those bacteria off. Because that would be bad.

Health Care

“Public Health Across the Pacific” (podcast) [Christopher Lydon, Open Source]. With Jim Yong Kim (on Korea) on the East Asia response, and Warwick Anderson (on Australian). Anderson remarks, in passing, that the United States is a failed state. I highly recommend this level-headed and quietly devastating episode, which is followed by “Questions of Leadership,” a disgraceful extended Cuomogasm. (Holy moley, the guy slashed $400 million from Medicaid, worked for years with Republicans in the State legislature to stymie “progressive” legislation, has a terrible record on #COVID-19 (especially compared to California and Washington), and liberals are hailing him as a “leader” because he gives a good briefing on TV? There are far worse problems here than lack of “leadership.”

“Most major health insurers aren’t charging patients for coronavirus treatment — but there’s one big catch” [MarketWatch]. “The nation’s largest insurers — including Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare — are ‘waiving cost-sharing‘ for coronavirus treatment. That means they’re not making patients pay deductibles, copays, coinsurance and other charges if they’re hospitalized with COVID-19, which had killed more than 63,000 Americans as of Friday. (See a full list of what insurers are doing here.)… So if your health insurer is waiving cost-sharing, does it mean you won’t be charged at all if you’re hospitalized for coronavirus? No. ‘There’s always a catch,’ [Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation] said. ‘You still could have out-of-pocket costs even if your insurer says they’re going to waive all the cost-sharing.’… Even though health-insurance companies are waiving cost-sharing for their members, people who get health insurance through their jobs may still end up having to pay for treatment. That’s because employers with “self-funded” or “self-insured” health plans can opt out of waiving cost-sharing for their employees. A self-funded or self-insured health plan means the insurance company administers the plan and the employer pays the claims. So even though your health insurance card may say Aetna on it, your employer could be footing the bill. Most people who get their health insurance through their job are in a self-funded or self-insured plan, Pollitz said. If you have health insurance through your job and want to know if your employer is self-funded and whether it’s waiving cost-sharing for coronavirus treatment, call your human-resources department or whoever handles your employer’s health insurance to find out.”

Testing is not only a technical problem:

If people get $1500 bills for testing, it’s not gonna happen. Duh.

“Coronavirus cases drop by up to 44% due to shelter-in-place orders, study drawing on CDC data shows” [MarketWatch]. “The number of COVID-19 cases fell by up to 43.7% roughly three weeks after the implementation of a shelter-in-place order, according to a working paper distributed Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper was authored by researchers at Bentley University, San Diego State University and the University of Colorado Denver. Researchers analyzed social-mobility data from SafeGraph, a geospatial data company, which represents the movements of roughly 45 million smartphone devices. To produce their estimates of the effects of the shelter-in-place orders on health outcomes they drew on data regarding COVID-10 cases collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made public by the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, some states will see more success from their shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) than others, the researchers wrote. ‘The earliest adopters of statewide SIPOs saw the largest declines in the rate of coronavirus cases, including declines in the rate of COVID-19-related mortality,’ they said. ‘In addition, more densely populated states also appear to reap relatively larger health benefits from their SIPOs.'”

“Baltimore Healthcare Workers Criticize Military Flyovers ‘Honoring’ Them” [Baltimore Beat]. “‘America Strong’ military flights over some of the United States’ hardest hit cities offered as ‘tribute’ to beleaguered healthcare and essential workers have been met with outrage and ridicule by healthcare workers. ‘Instead of spending $60,000 per flight hour on a showy attempt at solidarity, please spend that money housing homeless and incarcerated people in safe places where they can be socially distanced,’ said Kate Dunn, a registered nurse in Baltimore. ‘For me, that is what actual support and solidarity would look like. And I would sleep better at night knowing my patients were at less risk.'”

Class Warfare

“Bye, Amazon” [Tim Bray]. “. And at the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of Covid-19 response. It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that’s not just Amazon, it’s how 21st-century capitalism is done…. At the end of the day, it’s all about power balances. The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, what with mass unemployment and (in the US) job-linked health insurance. So they’re gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength.” This is a must read, given Bray’s position at Amazon and his technical reputation.

“I am sorry but we are going to talk about woody allen” [Reading the Tarot (DG)]. “I’m saying, when we talk about morality and platforming and so on, we are mostly talking about one very narrow moral concern: ‘hate.’ Basically, the moral offences that a small segment of the population finds the most objectionable are the ones that are organized against. These moral concerns come mostly out of university culture. People who, say, live in dangerous areas with high murder rates might find other things more pressing. People who live in places where suicide rates are skyrocketing or overdoses just keep steadily happening might find other things more pressing. That narrowness in concern within publishing and other cultural industries happens because at the moment the industry is overwhelmingly populated with people who are expensively educated, people from the coasts, and people who have the financial support of others in order to be able to afford living on $31,000 a year as an editorial assistant in New York City. This is a very small demographic, and it dominates the literary world, the art world, and so on. Because of their shared socioeconomic background and their shared educational histories, they are a more homogeneous group than they probably want to admit… [W]e need to have a serious talk about cultural production and why we refuse to hear from a growing segment of our population.”

“The class war against front-line workers” [E.J. Dionne, WaPo]. “When social solidarity is essential, it’s common to hear pious sermons against class warfare. Unfortunately, there is a class war. And its victims, so many of them front-line workers, didn’t start it.” • Dionne seems to think that only Republicans are waging class war against workers. Odd.

Rule #2 of Neoliberalism:

When I wrote that post back in 2014, I had no idea how close to the bone it would cut.

“We’re on the Brink of Cyberpunk” [Slate]. “As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the world, it collides with governments in the West that have spent decades deliberately shedding power, capability, and responsibility, reducing themselves to little more than vestigial organs that coordinate public-private partnerships of civic responsibility. This hollowing of the state began in earnest in the 1980s, and the science fiction of that time—the earliest texts of cyberpunk—imagines what happens when that process is complete. Cyberpunk is a genre of vast corporate power and acute personal deprivation. The technologies at the center of it are all means of control, control bought by the wealthy or broken by criminals. Where recourse is available, in whatever small way, it’s through direct action.” • The connection to Gibson, which the author makes, is quite direct.

Typo: “Lensing,” not “lending.” Another autocorrect pratfall:

Interesting methodological suggestion….

News of the Wired

“The “Queen of Consciousness” Driving Psychedelic Study and Advocacy” (interview) [Amanda Feilding, Filter Magazine]. Feilding: “Psychedelics and the knowledge that you can alter your consciousness should be part of the fabric of society—it’s not what the naughty boy does before he commits a crime. Psychedelics do not encourage crime, they increase connectivity with nature, which is good for the environment and your passion for people and openness. These are all good human qualities that should be nurtured with the careful use of psychedelics. Psychedelics used to be called “fruit of the gods.” They make us more god-like. They make us more ourselves—our better selves—if used well. The only way we can drag psychedelics out of the “naughty box” is to prove that they have better efficacy than any other medicine that’s being offered to treat psychological illnesses. We did a study of overcoming nicotine addiction using psychedelics with Johns Hopkins, and it had an 80 percent success rate—this was a pilot study a few years ago.” • Let’s check with Big Pharma on that, shall we?

History of “Blondie,” the comic strip:

“I was never more determined.”

Zeitgeist watch?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (ChiGal):

ChiGal writes: “Motivated myself to take a walk today with the idea of searching out the lovely scent of honeysuckle before it’s gone — looks like someone else had the same idea!”

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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. deplorado

    Powering Electronics by Scavenging Energy from External Metals

    “Our [metal-air scavenger] has a power density that’s ten times better than the best harvesters, to the point that we can compete against batteries,” said James Pikul, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and one of the paper authors, in the Medium post. “It’s using battery chemistry, but doesn’t have the associated weight, because it’s taking those chemicals from the environment.”
    This method is also potentially better than existing lithium-ion battery chemistry, according to Pikul.
    “One day, a robot that needs to recharge its batteries will just need to find some aluminum to ‘eat,'” Pikul said.
    The robot, although ultimately likely to be a better worker than the human, is a messy eater. As it oxidizes the metal it passes over, it leaves a “microscopic layer of rust in its wake,”

    And the paper: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsenergylett.9b02661
    This article demonstrates a new approach for powering robots and electronics by electrochemically scavenging energy from metal surfaces. This approach overcomes energy storage scaling laws by allowing robots and electronics to extract energy from large volumes of energy dense material without having to carry the material on-board. We show that a range of hydrogel electrolyte compositions can be combined with air cathodes to extract 159, 87, and 179 mAh/cm2 capacities from aluminum, zinc, and steel surfaces at up to 130, 81, and 25 mW/cm2 power densities, which exceed the power density of the best energy harvesters by 10×. When moving across a metal surface, metal scavenging exceeds the energy densities of lithium-ion and metal–air batteries by 13× and 2×. Metal scavenging is especially beneficial for small robots and electronics, whose size and performance are severely limited by the low energies provided by microenergy storage technologies.

    1. Bsoder

      I assume all of this goes into effect after Covid-19 and Climate change leave us all dead. The robots will know what to do. Na ga happen.

  2. antidlc

    Thousands headed to Galveston as beaches reopened over the weekend


    Cars were packed like sardines on Seawall Boulevard as people headed to Galveston’s beaches this weekend. Beaches reopened Friday, May 1 after being closed since March 29.

    Tony Pryor, a captain with Galveston Island Beach Patrol, said Stewart Beach and East Beach parked 800 cars each on Saturday. The next day, Stewart parked 1,200 cars and East parked 1,000.

    Pryor said people seemed to be following social distancing guidelines, but “no one wore the suggested masks.”


    1. Painted Shut

      Nothing is wrong with them. They must not be packing sardines like they used to, as the article itself states that social distancing measures were being taken.

      Outdoors with Fresh air, sunshine; wearing a mask in that environment would amount to nothing more than meaningless virtue signaling.

      But if you think something’s wrong, you can choose to stay home from the beach. Nobody’s forcing you to go.

      1. neplusultra

        You can clearly see from the pictures in the article that people were not really social distancing. If you take everyone at their word, I have a nice bridge to sell to you :)

        1. Painted Shut

          Families! No need for intra-family social distancing…

          Also, you can’t trust ground-level panoramic shots to determine the distance between folks. Our local news channel showed a comparison between their aerial drone view and the ground view. Big difference!

          1. Oregoncharles

            sort of like that Las Vegas parking lot, with the 6-foot spaces marked off on it for homeless people.

            However, they’re actually safer like that than in a contaminated building.

        2. shtove

          I haven’t looked at the pictures, but in the UK we’ve just had a fuss about newspapers printing photos taken with long lenses to make it appear beach walkers were all bunched up. The media is worse than worthless.

          It’s like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where King Arthur “gallops” toward a castle with his coconut shells knocking.

      2. Keith

        No one is forcing them to go, but someone’s going to have to treat them if they get sick. And that just adds to the chain of infection and keeps this thing burning through our society.

        You sound selfish.

      3. Basil Pesto

        being outdoors may be a mitigation of risk, but it doesn’t eliminate it by any stretch of the imagination. The same physical laws that apply to gases (in this case, what we exhale) apply outdoors as well as in.

      1. GettingTheBannedBack

        Just another example of what seems to be an unnerving truth. If somebody really, really wants something then denial of the consequences kicks right in.
        As in, I’m going to the beach/shops no matter what. I’m gonna make money out of fossil fuels no matter what. I’m gonna grow lush irrigated crops with groundwater no matter what. I’m gonna vote for politicians who are against big government no matter what .

        I guess we have to wait to get to the next part.
        Nobody told me I could pass the virus on to grandma, may she rest in peace.
        Nobody told me my farm could run out of river and ground water.
        Nobody told me that forest/bush fires would get so mean and so hot that the firies couldn’t save my house. Or my town.
        Nobody told me that the government would just stop helping us ordinary folks through disasters.
        Nobody told me.
        It’s just not fair!

    2. Glen

      They are doing what they are being TOLD TO DO.

      Didn’t Trump tweet something to the effect: Go get sick Because otherwise you will starve.

    3. The Rev Kev

      “It really tickles me that conservatives spent years telling us we would be too soft to survive the apocalypse, then the apocalypse comes in a form that requires caring for each other and remaining quietly at home and every conservative promptly lost their s***.”


  3. Monty

    “Simple: we’ve concluded the people who are at risk are the people we don’t care about, and haven’t for awhile”

    The argument I see over and over in the last few days is something like:

    “*Shrugs*. They are going to die anyway, why should we suffer too.”

    Once people were indoctrinated to believe they were not personally at risk of dying of Covid19, because they were not 80+ and in a nursing home, they stopped caring.

    ps Anyone else feel like were stuck in Groundhog day?

    1. Bsoder

      Ya, then, behold how peaceful and prosperous is a world shut down and quarantined by capitalist globalization. Let’s hear three more cheers for capitalism, how it has made everyone safer, and remember: “capitalism works”. The coronavirus also works, and without any of the armies which capitalism used to annihilate alternatives.

    2. Lou Anton

      It’s black people disproportionately affected too (and still fits within the statement).

      I think there are still a lot of people that just don’t see the bad stuff. Little contact with nursing homes, live in most/ all white communities, and so many of this first round of lost jobs are invisible to them. To a lot of the gig workers (like Uber drivers), they aren’t people with livelihoods- they are just the humanoid thing driving the cab they ordered on their phone.

      I think the next round of layoffs that hits a lot of the bullshit jobs (i.e.) a lot of white collar office work) will be much more noticeable, but I then worry the response will be to let it rip, consequences be damned.

      1. Trent

        An honest question: What do expect to come out of this? Looking at the charts, the numbers of people passing from covid, what is the endgame you expect?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the deaths won’t be as noticeable in the electorate unless its really high in Detroit as the relocations from people moving and reductions of voting hours and so forth.

          Its anecdotal, but I’ve encountered people who were “denied” the right to vote because they moved and didn’t realize their registration wasn’t updated. I don’t know how widespread this is, but most people don’t care about voting until two weeks to go which is after the registration deadline.

          All those things like same day registration, automatic registration, elections holidays may not seem like a big deal normally, but this is how Trump wins. With Team Blue devotees trying to argue how they aren’t rape enablers, no one is doing the work needed to win.

        2. Lou Anton

          Considering where things are now, what I hope is that the infection and death rate continues to stair-step down over the next few months and then goes away forever. That’s not a plan but I think that’s what most people are banking on.

          What seems like the thing to plan for are a resurgence of case on different timeframes in different parts of the country. Which means we might get one more chance to get lockdowns right, right being income replacement, rent/mortgage moratoriums, universal mask-wearing, and free care for those who need it. Annddd…that ain’t happening.

          So that leaves me with “let ‘er rip”, and we’re in Spanish Flu territory mortalities.

      2. Monty

        I wonder if the stat about black people is true, or just a little PR carrot to get Red State “patriots” more enthusiastic about the Reopen℠ movement.

        1. TXMama

          The articled about vitamin D linked to in a comment farther down the page is possibly important. There is some evidence that vitamin D helps prevent covid19. Vitamin D is absorbed by the skin when you are outside. The darker the skin the more difficult it is for vitamin D to be absorbed. The recommendation has been for people of color to take a vitamin D pill or a multivitamin that includes vitamin D year round even before the coronavirus became known. You may want to read the article to decide for yourself, but taking vitamin D couldn’t hurt and might help.

        2. clarky90

          People with darker skin (more melanin), typically have lower vitamin D levels if they live in parts of the world further north or south from the equator. This, combined with our always, inside, culture.

          The panic about “deadly cancer rays” sun exposure exacerbates low vitamint D levels in everyone. Women who wear berqas also have very low vitamin D, blood levels, unless they use suppliments.

          Everything is not always about politics and social status. I sunbath whenever I can. I was walking on our local beach on Sunday. I was the only person there (lots of people), walking without their shirt on. Sunbathing is free and it feels good on your skin.

      3. neo-realist

        As a POC, and a middle aged one at that, working remotely for a small company, I worry a bit about a second round. I don’t think it’s a BS gig, but if our revenues take a severe dip, it won’t matter if it isn’t a BS gig.

        1. Lou Anton

          I’m same as you in terms of work situation, and I’m worried too. And by BS job, I was thinking about my own work and how it fits David Graeber’s description of office work in his book. Once revenue dries up and there’s no fresh PPP to be had, my middle managing will have little use.

      1. Monty

        Yes, that’s true we do all die in the end!

        However, the argument I hear is less to do with existential angst, and more like:

        A person who is not in a high risk group saying, “It is futile to lock down, because it is impossible to stop this virus. The same folks will get it in the end either way. Sooner or later they will all die of covid-19, so lets get it over with and get on with our lives.

      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        Is this sarcasm?

        No, it’s no lie. So, can I murder someone in your family? I mean, they are going to die anyway…

        1. Painted Shut

          Fans of The Office (US edition) may recall the following exchange between Stanley and Michael Scott:

          Michael: We are not always going to be there, to coddle your heart back, when it disappears to be working. What are you going to do when your heart stops?

          Stanley: I would die.

          Michael: And you’re okay with that?

          Stanley: I’m okay with the logic of it.

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      Yeah, I saw this in real time when I was homeless and living in my van at the start of all of this. You would think being the most vulnerable population that they would help the homeless first but they gave no fcks. Same with the workers. All expendable. I walked into (amazon) Whole Foods and everyone was crowding, employees with no masks. yesterday they said two employees there have COVID. I can’t blame the workers for not caring if they die.

      By they way, if you see someone homeless please give them a lot of money. I was talking to a homeless guy I kind of know today, he was kicked off of a street in front of a supermarket and said “where the hell can else can I go? I made zero today”. I gave him $5 and he headed right over to a Wendy’s.

      1. Painted Shut

        You strike me as way too intelligent to have ever been homeless. How did that come about?

        1. richard

          just take a second and think about that
          i understand it is meant as a compliment
          but it’s also based on something that’s untrue
          intelligence doesn’t = $, almost no matter how you define it, and that’s another matter in itself:
          “intelligent” is one of those words that we often catch working too hard
          to borrow Lambert’s expression
          when people say it, they usually intend it to mean a bunch of things at once, which doesn’t promote clarity
          anyway, just my 5 cents, no hard feelings

        2. Krystyn Podgajski

          Neuropsychiatric Lupus and Neoliberalism. Plus a shitty family.

          And I would rather be called wise. :)

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Sigh. If I could only fund a Thelemic Abbey, you would be Brother Herbalist!

            1. epynonymous

              I try to let my thoughts just pass, but we really need a better term for our lowest caste than homeless.

              I don’t mean transitional living either. Something human.

              BTW in Shadow run, its the SINless.

    4. Robert Hahl

      I don’t feel it, b/c this attitude probably doesn’t explain Sweden’s approach (essentially the same as U.S.).

  4. Carolinian

    Re Woody Allen–the actual story is that the Farrow clan denounced Hatchette and that’s when they caved. So it is not just a question of giving the publisher or the staff censorship rights but giving even people in a highly contentious (and IMO not very persuasive) dispute with him the rights. I have a friend who has not only read the book but even paid for it and thought it was pretty good (as in funny good). Color me skeptical. But enough with the attempt to normalize thought policing. This is extremely un-American. Someone tell Hatchette.

    1. Basil Pesto

      That piece was pretty good, which Inwasn’t expecting from the title, as whenever I see a piece centred on the (imo) spurious allegation that Allen raped his 8 year old daughter, I’m filled with foreboding. That this allegation is treated broadly as unassailable fact troubles me greatly.

      I also find Ronan Farrow’s leveraging of his reporting on Weinstein to re-prosecute Allen in the court of public opinion to be astonishingly unethical.

      1. Oregoncharles

        FWIW, his brother disagrees vehemently.

        Imagine Thanksgiving dinner in THAT family.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Indeed, and Moses Farrow’s (the brother’s) testimony is important because it lays bare a vital conflict in the case and how it is interpreted by the public

          Dylan Farrow claims that she was sexually abused by Allen. Moses Farrow claims that he (and his siblings) were psychologically abused by Mia Farrow.

          So the notion that one should automatically believe one person claiming to have been abused by one parent is revealed to be utterly flimsy as any kind of moral philosophy, because if one automatically believes Dylan, then that means they are negating/silencing/invisibilising (whatever the word du jour may be) Moses Farrow, who considers himself a victim of abuse, and who seems both unwilling (understandably), and, to a greater extent than the other two siblings, unable to leverage media power to boost his version of the story.

          With that in mind one then has to weight the evidence in support of both accounts and, in my opinion, it is heavily weighted in Woody Allen’s favour. I’ve been planning an essay on this subject for a while and hopefully I’ll get around to writing it in the near future (I was planning on writing it before the memoir was released as I anticipated a renewal of public attacks against Allen from Farrow, as precipitated by his bullying of Hachette). It’s a really fascinating and saddening affair.

          To be clear, I attribute no malign intent to Dylan Farrow. I think she has been victimised horribly. I just don’t think she was raped as an 8 year old by her father, Woody Allen.

  5. Pat

    Call me wild and crazy, but I don’t think the Republican suburban moms thing will work out so well for Democrats. No, not just because they have already picked their team, although that is also true. No, because those moms have expectations regarding their representatives, you know that they actually do things like oppose the other party and try to pass legislation that advances the policies those suburban moms want.
    Democrats have spent decades calling and making promises to their donors and just releasing carefully worded press releases to their voters about trying and advancing. Their opposition is limited to calling making deals with the other party to advance their agenda.
    Democrats have lost that skill set, if they ever had it.

    1. clarky90

      Lawrence Summers, American economist……..and a vile perpetual toddler, who has never (to this day) stopped biting the other kids.

      Suburban moms and dads, have encounters with, and instantly recognize these sort of badly socialized (brought up) kids. Bite marks and tears are the tell. Nothing but endless grief and trouble!……To be avoided like the plague….

      Suburban moms, dads; HC workers, drivers, police, check-out workers, garbage collectors……..all innocent beings, to be merely exploited, then discarded, by the repugnant 0.01%. But, one glad day…….

      1. JTMcPhee

        Unless something really massive and strange happens, the oppressed are not going to ever do what the fringe Right has been doing — appearing armed and angry in state houses and outside governors’ and presidents’ and Congresscritters’ mansions, ready to lay it down. The current protests which have resulted in governments backing down (without invocation of the kinds of power brought to bear against Occupy, against the people protesting class war on them at the ‘68 Dem convention, and the disaffected people who burned down their own communities in Watts and Detroit out of frustrated rage.

        The “left” never has been very good about this kind of direct action, being maybe to cerebral and often neutered by infiltrators and just being too concerned about “rights” and “rule of law.” There is no such thing as “rule of law” as the wimpy left understands the term. I don’t see the kneecapped working class taking up arms unless it’s to follow some guy from the Right, doing stupid stuff that gets easily put down. But they should, the working class should, be in the streets, because they are being killed piecemeal in their lack of solidarity and in the absence of whatever it takes to emulate a Jesse Ventura or an AOC before she got neutered.

        Polite is not how one confronts and beats down a person or bunch of people who are killing you and yours… Carefully worded op eds against raw economic power? Gee, who wins that battle?

        The progressives and working people need to read a bit in labor struggle history (and it is very hard to find the reality, the history has been rewritten to acknowledge changes won by violence and blood, but pass over the actual actions by the Elites to try to kill the labor uprisings by frank violence. Maybe rather than do a book report or thesis on the subject, just go do the kind of direct action that the fringe Right does, to get some idea of what it is to take power. Take it, because nobody will give it to them.

        1. Aumua

          Consider also that these fringe right ‘protests’ are somewhat aligned with the overall (right wing, capitalist) system and so they are treated with kid gloves. They are not really seen as a threat. Witness the wealthy rancher standoffs against the feds in Nevada and Oregon in recent years. Trump has pardoned these clowns, and these people on the state capital steps are clowns as well, demanding their own servitude.

          Get any organized and armed group with actual leftist leanings out there and you will see a very different response from the government. Any such protest would be brutally put down directly with force, and indirectly with every means of infiltration and propaganda available to the system. So don’t be so quick to judge the ability of the left to take direct action.

        2. Jessica

          The Left is not as good as the Right at direct action because the Right is aligned with the powers that be and has the wind at its back, while the Left has the wind in its face, or more accurately a billy club to its skull.

          1. Aumua

            Indeed, the protesters are not a threat to TPTB, but they are an implied threat to the left: cross the ruling class too much and we’ll turn these future brownshirt thugs loose on you!

            I mean, how hard would it be to redirect that energy away from state governments and onto anyone who seems suspiciously socialist, communist or anarchist?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bill Clinton lost with every group in 1992 except suburban white women. The Democrats not understanding math have continued to mine that shrinking demo in every election they lose.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        As in Bill lost from where he started at the end of the primary. He saw declines across the board except with the vaunted “moderate suburban republican”.

        1. randomworker

          Polling in the summer did not include Perot. Before and after, yes. So you are comparing 2 way race with 3 way race.

      2. Pat

        The last few weeks have been even more enlightening than the previous 12 years. And they were pretty enlightening. The sheer depth of how broken our system is, how so many people have worked so hard to make sure we are dysfunctional. And how so much of our country cannot see it has been a happily bipartisan operation, and a pretend daddy giving a power point lecture daily is not a change, nor is the suppposed confused self centered narcissist so different.

        I no longer attribute ineptitude where it is malice. The choice to appeal to a limited group of people largely uninterested in the world around them is nothing more than a pivot meant to free them from even pretending. No need to campaign in places they don’t want to go. Hell no need to even campaign. No need to be accountable to people because of meaningless (to them) promises. Hell no need to handle any crisis beyond throwing a sh*tload of money at their backers. And then to walk off into the sunset with big book deals, lucrative speaking gigs, and large salary no work board positions.

        Mind you I am also reminded about how we heard for years how the Democrats were going to be unstoppable because of changing demographics. Oh wait those demos want things that interfere with the last sentence of my previous paragraph. Strike that.

        None of this is about doing better taking care of the problems they spent years helping to create. Emergencies are only opportunities. So we get responses that just continue our one way trajectory to the bottom. Regardless of the supposed target audience.

        1. clarky90

          Are you saying that politics has become just as “virtual” as the stock market? In other words, an inept pantomime that has no connection to the actual world?

          1. Pat

            For the real world outside the Beltway bubble, you bet.

            Name any legislation that wasn’t largely about fulfilling some oligarchs wishlist or was something that didn’t annoy them. The few exceptions usually were either unavoidable OR were designed to head off something even worse that was unavoidable. We see that more exceptions in the states where people still have access to the referendum process.

      3. HotFlash

        Bill Clinton lost with every group in 1992 except suburban white women.

        Bill Clinton was, how shall we say, particularly attractive to women. This strategy has been used with success before by the Dem party (see Kennedy, John F.). The problem with charismatic figures is that often they can’t keep their charisma in their pants — comes with the territory. This could prove to be a liability, even with suburban white women.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The PUMAs suggest the Karens held their purse and crossed the street when Obama ran.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Tried again with Beto O’Rourke, who I recall a woman Political analyst writing to her large following that Beto made her moist or wet or something.

          Oh, here is what I was referring to, and it covers more than O’Rourke: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/beto-sex-tweet

          Now there’s a base to seek power from…

      4. dcblogger

        Clinton won massive majorities of the black vote and 60% of the Hispanic vote. He was the first Democrat to carry California since Truman. He was the first to carry Florida since Carter. Where do you get the idea that Clinton won the White House TWICE losing every group but suburban white women?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I corrected in my reply. He dropped all Summer in the polls. He did well, but not as well as the nominee in June because he’s a political mastermind. He did best with Karens, and Democrats have continued to seek out more Karens. Its why Al and Hilllary both failed to become President. They chose a strategy that worked when Perot ran. Also Kerry ran on it too.

          1992 and 1996 were the lowest black turnouts since the 1956 voting rights act. The states you mentioned amount to four data points in the case of Florida, and in the case of Cali, you have Eisenhower and two two term President who were former governors of the state in that stretch.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Those groups didn’t show up in large enough numbers to help the Democrats in 2016 in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes states Clinton lost so embarrassingly.

        Turnout will be even lower this year, and all those groups will be disproportionately underrepresented in the electorate.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is a golden goose situation. The Karens maxed out. They might be obnoxious, but they lost their demo with HRC. Will Biden do what Hillary couldn’t do? Yeah, she did it in safe states and districts.

          They have the money and spare time to have hand on off year organizing and structural control, but they aren’t increasing as a share of the electorate.

          Team Blue elites know the Karens love them and would love more Karens, but like land, more Karens aren’t being made.

        1. Painted Shut

          They’ve already been filtered in. Except the Dems spell it like “klobuchar”.

      2. TXMama

        That describes just about everyone I know on Facebook. Virtue signaling is their highest goal. They would like to have Obama back because he was so civilized and well spoken. No matter what his policies were. He was “classy.” No criticism allowed. They will vote blue no matter who. Latest? “Don’t let them do to Biden what they did to Al Franken!” Sigh.

        1. jake

          You should remind them that it was Kirsten Gilllibrand that took down Al Franken :D

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            These people don’t have the memory to keep track of that. The Karens will say Donald Trump would be ashamed of the way President for Life Baron married Tiffany saying Donald would have only ogled Ivanka in 2027. They have no values.

  6. periol

    RE: Cyberpunk

    It’s very strange growing up reading all that sci-fi, and then watching the world take the shape predicted. No one talks about Fahrenheit 451 much anymore, but that feels just as relevant today as Brave New World, 1984, Neuromancer, etc.

    The article didn’t mention one of my favorite cyberpunk characters: Max Headroom. I remember his head being everywhere in advertising for a second, but didn’t actually catch the backstory until decades later. Worth a watch, if you’ve never seen it – the media corporation is everything. Very prescient:


    1. epynonymous

      In the 4th edition Shadowrun table-top RPG (2008) there is a California-based media conglomerate known as ‘Horizon’ which is one of the two up-and-coming megacorps. (the other new ones being responsible for proliferating wi-fi technology after a big net crash, and another profiting off manufacturing for meta-humans – orcs and trolls, etc. – as they were a neglected market segment.)

      Anyways, the Horizon corp has no real corporate structure, but is a social media platform for celebrities, producers, and other creatives. Management decisions are made by tracking up-votes and a weighted measurement system of influence/popularity. Rumors are it is working with an advanced AI. Pretty cool speculative fiction.

      Saw a (funny?) twitter post today that AI production is mystically similar to demonology, runes being hardware and incantations etc. being software. Sounds about right. The post pointedly mentioned that it is untested and dangerous.

      I believe the IP for shadowrun has been bought by the Swedish game company Paradox entertainment. Similar to Polish CD-Projeckt Red (owner of Steam competitor GOG.com) they put out some profitable and highly niche product and have capitalized.

      CD Projeckt Red is responsible for the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game, but it’s release has been delayed half a year to September. They want to strip it down enough to run on the X-box One (microsoft) and PS5? (sony) platforms, even though it will degrade overall quality, raise costs, and ultimately be pointless when both ‘competitors’ put out brand new video game consoles next year.

      Virtually everything releases on PC these days anyways…

      1. Basil Pesto

        It’s pretty rare that a videogame delay degrades the quality of the end product. Raised costs are somewhat moot, as the game is going to make a loooot of money, and most end-users would prefer a stable, polished product on launch. My concern is over ‘crunch’ coming on deadlinefor the staff, a well documented problem in the industry. Hopefully the delay has mitigated that though.

        The new consoles iirc are scheduled to release end of this year though I may be wrong/Covid-19 may have changed this. I don’t see how they’re being ‘degraded’ or stripped down for X1 and PS4, as these were the platforms they were originally developed for? I gather a port has been announced for the next Xbox but not PS5 yet, but as you say, this will release on PC which is a scalable platform so I don’t think porting for the consoles should be too big an issue?

        I finally got around to playing Witcher 3 at the start of the pandemic and sunk a lot of
        time into it – what a gorgeously realised world! Definitely a reverence for nature on that dev team, though I guess that probably won’t come to bear on Cyberpunk 2077

        1. epynonymous

          Watch Dogs did it. They degraded PC graphics shown in marketing to not discourage xbox users or reflect poorly on microsoft property.

          Cyberpunk 2077 already ripped out a functional 3rd person view option after the decision to simulatneously release on console.

          Expect somepeople to buy it for christmas and rebuy it for the next gen console.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Ah yes, I vaguely remember the controversy over Watch Dogs, though iirc I don’t think that was a case of the final code being degraded, so much as a practice, which was not uncommon amongst the larger publishers at that particular time, of tarting up their ‘gameplay’ footage for demonstrations at the large trade shows to build hype – not so much a case of the end product being downgraded, as the originally shown footage was a fundamental misrepresentation of what was actually possible on the platforms of the time, for the games to perform at an acceptable level. As the versions at trade shows used selective code on dev kit hardware, the game could be made to look more impressive than the end-product had any chance of being.

            Removing a third person view sounds more like a design decision than a technical one, as I can’t imagine a third person view degrading performance too much even with the extra polygons on screen. If it was a technical decision they could easily have removed the third person view in the current gen versions while making it exclusive to the next-gen and PC versions (and thereby giving those versions a USP) – such compromises are not uncommon in ports across hardware of varying capabilities. I guess a 3rd person mod will probably be released for the PC version.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Not much talk about “Soylent Green,” either. A single corporation having completed the decimation of the biosphere is down to controlling food production and distribution for the remaining humans, basically recycling their corpses through vats of algae to produce the “Soylent” food pucks that sort of keep the masses alive. While the Elites live out their parasitic years cosseted with the best that the dying planet can offer, food and females and life in the penthouse above the filth down in the streets.

      Sounds like a lot of cities in the world already.

      1. eg

        Logan’s Run and Rollerball are thematically adjacent, if you like an extra helping of 70s cheese …

    3. Lil’D

      The President’s Analyst (1967) is worth another view. A flawed picture but hilarious and scarily prescient.

  7. ProNewerDeal

    I read about how some analysts are looking at historical deaths/capita for a metro area/state/nation for past few months, & contrasting that with the past few years average, & assuming the difference might be a truer indication of COVID-19 deaths than the official counts.

    Is there any heuristic multiplier on how we can guesstimate actual deaths from official reported COVID-19 deaths, say ~1.5X? Is it possible that such a multiplier could change drastically by metro area/state/nation based on that region’s medical/reporting approach?

    1. Bsoder

      I don’t know about a ‘heuristic multiplier’, but when one looks at all deaths from all sources since day 1 Of infection, there are in fact 37,147 deaths above normal. By above normal I mean including all officially reported Covid-19 deaths. And I mean more than the other above normal categories of drug overdoses & suicides, and failure to receive medical care. After some digging 99% of these are Covid-19 deaths. The economy hasn’t killed anyone but the ususally suspects are in overdrive.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      With the scale, there isn’t a need to get down into the weeds, but there is one issue with what the number is. If every death could have an autopsy, the question is still how many people who died were going to have their number called.

      The lockdown and quarantines should largely affect deaths due to causes such as vehicle accidents. We aren’t dealing with a few small towns, so we don’t have to worry about the buckle up campaign in Brattleboro, Vermont. I would expect a reduction of these kinds of fatalities. The domestic abuse will almost certainly be up.

      -take the number of total deaths. You can make a reasonable guess for a state or city like New York. You can’t do it for Lee, New Hampshire. A bad batch of mayonnaise could kill have the town.
      -remove the deaths that would generate a police report.
      -remove the deaths expected for the months once you account for the getting hit by the bus deaths.
      -this is the number of ADDITIONAL deaths due to Corvid.

      As for the isolated and people on the fringe, those deaths are probably not being identified in real time. The number is probably quire a bit larger.

      With the scale of the crisis, you can probably make a good accounting of how weather and government policies compared and added or subtracted from the death total.

    3. Jessica

      I was trying to use excess deaths as an indicator of Covid-19 impact, but I a no longer so sure that works.
      Some of the excess deaths seem to be people dying from non-Covid health issues (heart disease for example) because either non-Covid medical treatment has been curtailed or people are afraid to go to the hospital and wait too long.
      Such deaths are more attributable to the social response to Covid than to Covid.

      1. Procopius

        I don’t think you can automatically exclude heart attack deaths. I wish I could remember where I read it, but doctors in New York City have reported they’ve seen a large number of heart attack deaths among younger patients (30 – 54, I think) who had apparently recovered from COVID-19. If you take all heart attack deaths in that age group and deduct the average annual deaths by that cause you probably will get close to the number caused by the virus. You’re right, though, that some of the deaths will be due to people being denied timely treatment, and that’s true of many other causes. In the end, the best we can hope for is a rough estimate. If we can get the right order of magnitude, I hope that will be meaningful enough.

  8. none

    While Goldsmith and Keane are obviously not calling for authoritarian abuse, they are advocating control over the Internet to regulate speech

    Wait, what? Regulating speech is already authoritarian abuse, and it can only get worse from there.

  9. Watt4Bob

    From Reading the Tarot;

    That narrowness in concern within publishing and other cultural industries happens because at the moment the industry is overwhelmingly populated with people who are expensively educated, people from the coasts, and people who have the financial support of others in order to be able to afford living on $31,000 a year as an editorial assistant in New York City. This is a very small demographic, and it dominates the literary world, the art world, and so on. Because of their shared socioeconomic background and their shared educational histories, they are a more homogeneous group than they probably want to admit…

    My wife and Son have masters degrees, and my daughter just finished her under graduate.

    Fine Liberal Arts educations, all three, and I am that financial support mentioned above.

    I’ve been deeply saddened to find they all consider me a bit of a barbarian, and many of my opinions more or less beyond the pale.

    I consider my self educated, but I came up during an earlier time when group-think was not so viciously enforced.

    I’m an art-school drop out, who supported my nearly two decades of Bohemian life style by among other things, sixteen years of driving a taxi, which means I know people, demographics, sociology, in short, the length and breadth of human nature.

    I’m a humanist, I support Bernie, M4A, Student debt forgiveness, and a fair deal for all, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how I became a heathen?

    I can’t find words sufficient to explain how deeply the paragraph quoted above struck my heart.

    1. Watt4Bob

      To be clear, my nearly two decades of Bohemian life style ended when I got married.

      I’m not complaining about my life as lived so far, I’m lamenting the years it will evidently take, before my family comes to understand I don’t need to be ‘woke’.

      1. Divadab

        Dude hang in there nothing like a little hard times to bring people back to reality from the fantasy fabrication they have the luxury to believe and even live.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Watt, you sound like my kind of person. Three cheers for the product of Amps x Volts!

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “I’m with you in Rockland”

              I get the same thing from my folks(my kids are still at home, so little outside influence, so far)
              really from everyone i know from that generation…an observation, not a hasty generalisation.
              how “woke”, and that sort of suburban victorianism so prevalent today, supplanted fellow feeling and solidarity…even to folks you don’t like…of my grandparents’ cohort, is a remarkable achievement.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        At least you know you did the right thing. Stay the course, brother.

        (Also an art school dropout)

      3. The Rev Kev

        Well there is the problem right there. You grew up dealing with reality while ‘woke’ people – in imitation of neocons – want to create their own reality, even if it is only in their heads. That is why they refuse to see the obvious – that the system is not only broken but totally unsustainable, that people like Obama & the Clintons are psychopaths, that a person’s principles in life are not up for negotiation. But just remember that reality always bats last.

      4. JBird4049

        Back in the 80s, I would have been labeled as a very liberal/leftist Democrat especially on social issues.

        Today, even though I have gone more leftward over the years, I would be labeled as unwoke, probably bigoted, especially as I focus on class issues of poverty and want instead of whatever rights de jure campaign is happening. If you do not have work, housing, food, clothing, enough for a real, not subsistence, life what does it really matter if some right of yours is not supported?

        I think that those who have gone to bed hungry, or been homeless, have been poor will answer one way (they might not agree with me, but they really will understand what I am trying to say.) whereas the well educated, privileged woke ones will not. It seems to me that the worse things get economically, what with more children homeless and hungry, along with everyone else, the woke ones get more shrill. The shouts of “privilege” by the privileged are flung at those who have nothing as if it actually means anything other than mockery of their suffering.

        It also seems to be undermining, breaking down, the social fabric of our nation. It is easy to understand that doing violence on someone for the supposed crime of just being different is evil. Most people would countenance some personal suffering to oppose that. One shouldn’t have to die for being out of step with everyone else, but after that, especially when the needs of most people needed just for living are being denied, it becomes contentious.

        Yet, bigotry like the violent, systemic, state enforced racism, is still very strong with a silent, functioning Jim Crow alive throughout much of the United States. So, I must ask just how are we being woke?

      5. clarky90

        “Why do grandkids and grandparents get along so well with each other? Because they have a common enemy!”

        My grown-up son ordered me to never mention “God” or religion around his two kids (my most darling Grandchildren). I said “of course”, – me knowing that they would naturally think the opposite way as their dad, as they got older.

        I was a Vietnam War draft resister so my contrarian son, joined the NZ Army……

        W4Bob, imo, encourage you son and daughter to start families, and sit back and enjoy your grandkids as they befuddle their parents.

        1. eg

          Your observations are consistent with my belief that grandchildren are parents’ ultimate revenge upon their own children.

    2. HotFlash

      “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

      ― Mark Twain

      Confucius counseled respect of elders, particularly one’s father, and God felt it necessary to make honouring one’s father and mother a commandment.

      So apparently disrespecting one’s elders has been a thing for some time ; )

      1. Watt4Bob

        You’re right, and I guess we have to take our turn being disrespected, the same way we dished it out when we were young and so very sure of ourselves.

        Thanks for stopping by.

      2. mle detroit

        All this reminds me of a black pastor in Detroit some 30 years ago who reported being told by his teenage daughter, “It’s a Black thing, Dad, you wouldn’t understand.”

    3. fresno dan

      May 4, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Was it 2 or 3 months ago that the only opinion a proper person could have was NOT to wear a face mask…
      Now of course the only proper opinion is to wear a face mask…

      1. Watt4Bob

        I’ve been wearing a mask for a couple weeks.

        I was noticing how afraid the cashiers were at the grocery store, and I was telling people, the masks are coming…

        …it took longer than I thought, but now people are wearing masks.

        We had a meeting at one of our locations, very large space, 60 people, I was the only person wearing a mask.

        I got the feeling that everyone thought they were expected to be ‘brave‘, or ‘calm‘, I was thinking, for god’s sake people, I’m trying not to kill any of you.

        I’ve mentioned before, that I noticed certain people at work were scared, and were overly thankful when I set them up to work remotely.

        But as a whole, they’re “stiff upper lip, mum’s the word”.

        People are so thankful to have a pay check.

  10. Bernalkid

    An example of a health care charge I ran into recently: my daughter has gotten an outpatient procedure at a Kaiser Hospital multiple times that requires anesthesia, charged @ $445, covered by plan. Procedure not available for a while and then back in operation in another area of the hospital. One column of the billing statement is worded differently and the bill goes through with the anesthesia charge on my tab. Of course I called the office and on the face of it don’t necessarily think this was an intentional effort at pocket picking. It has to be sent to some other office for review, so don’t have an outcome yet.
    Our byzantine system.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        I think your instincts are correct Lambert, but my experience is that all Kaiser doctors are employees/owners of Kaiser(via shares). Insert usual caveat about how I could be wrong here.

        1. Off The Street

          Surgeons, as described to me by a Kaiser orthopedist, for example, have their individual LLCs. Not sure about other docs, nurses, clerks or others, but would expect at least that all MDs have some type of liability structure set up.

  11. Hepativore

    So, I am probably going to vote third party, given the choice between two disgusting human beings. Biden will give nothing to the left, and Trump will just be more of the same, except I do not think that Biden is going to win, anyhow.

    All things considered, I think that a Trump win might actually be better between two bad options. This is because in the off chance that should Biden actually become president, he would not be the one actually making the decisions, it would be whatever loathsome person he picks as his Vice President and the Wall Street cabal in his cabinet. Also, the neoliberal Democrats might be even harder to get rid of after a Biden presidency as they would have incumbency in their favor, should Biden actually make it through his first term.

    I am by no means a fan of Trump at all, but it seems that given a choice between being forced to eat a smaller sh*t sandwich and a larger sh*t sandwich, Trump is the smaller one as at least he will be gone in four years, where the Obama/Perez/Clinton/Pelosi wing might be able to ride the Biden donkey or whomever replaces him for the next eight years.

    I suppose this makes me a Bernie bro purity pony, then.

    1. Big River Bandido

      With you all the way on this. Although I may just boycott the election. Your paragraph 2, sentence 3 about incumbency is absolutely correct. It’s the story of the 2020 Democrat “primary”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve considered boycotting it.
        nobody in either side of the duopoly that will get my vote, and i have no idea about third parties on Texas’ ballot right now(long time to go)I’ll prolly vote Green, just to help keep them on the ballot, if they are.
        the whole Civic Duty thing is hard to let go…I’d feel guilty afterwards.

        1. Joey

          You have to vote 3rd party or they will just assume you’re happy with whatevs. ‘Disaffected’ or ‘unengaged’

          On the bright side, you don’t have to worry about what Bob Barr or Nancy Stein believe in, because we haven’t hit the critical mass of ‘might win’ since Admiral Stockdale had his hearing aids sabotaged. And we just had Bernie crushed a few weeks before he became logical choice.

          But still cast the protest vote – it’s the only way to protest by voting

    2. XXYY

      The fact that Trump will definitely be out of office in four years is a major factor in his favor in my book. His reelection means the population will have another shot at electing someone useful in a fairly short time. Should Sleepy Joe (somehow) manage to get in, we will have four or eight years of his people, followed by four or eight years of Son Of Trump. It may well be too late for civilization at that point.

    3. John Wright

      I agree that Trump might be the better choice.

      If Biden were to make the grade, most of the elite establishment (Dem + Repub) would quietly line up behind him and quietly pursue the neoliberal agenda against the ever larger “deplorable” class.

      You mention “should Biden actually become president, he would not be the one actually making the decisions, it would be whatever loathsome person he picks.”

      Given Biden’s record, I take little solace that the results would be good if Biden were “the one actually making the decisions”

      Biden has earned the adjective “loathsome” by his many prior actions.

      With Trump in place, the Democrats (and some Republicans) give Potemkin Village opposition to Trump’s actions, while rubber stamping his budgets for CARES and Military.

      With Trump, we won’t hear the post-event “He meant well” statement that was used to post justify some of GWB’s actions (bringing democracy to Iraq, Patriot act, Katrina response) and Obama’s actions (Libya, drone killings, whistle blower prosecution, TPP pursuit).

      The least bad outcome might be 4 more years of Trump.

    4. Acacia

      Your logic makes sense to me. It’s not just Biden but equally the DNC-approved henchmen who are part of the package.

      Re: Lambert’s “Why Not?” Perhaps the Dems need to just cut loose, wrap up this silly Biden sideshow, and roll out their preferred ticket: Michelle and W.

      1. Procopius

        I’ve been toying with the thought, too, that another four years of Trump might not be so bad, but then the name pops up — Federalist Society, and Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh. If it wasn’t for the Supreme Court and the high probability that at least the Notorious RBG will be replaced in that four years I would have no problem going that way. Then I think, wait, why would I think Biden will not pick as bad a conservative as Trump would? His whole record is right of center, and his choice of Lawrence Russell as his financial adviser shows he’s going full corporatist. It’s still a long time to November.

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      I felt that way in 2016, though I didn’t dare say it out loud. I don’t think I was wrong. I feel the same about Biden now. I don’t care what that makes me, really.

    6. Jodorowsky's zoom

      Both outlaw one-percent-ers and software engineers reach the same conclusion: Trump is somehow the best option to navigate through a pandemic. [Really? Genuine opinions?] A conclusion arriving not as a result of disinterest in the information, or absent frames of reference, but through a logic that only seems to exist within these pages. Other explanations include a severe rationing of emotional affect to compensate for being overwhelmed by structural complexity: pity, horror, and anger give way to a fascination with one’s own demise and the demise of others. However, there is no better time than now to reflect on the wisdom of one’s choices.

    7. John k

      My thought is that if biden wins there will be no chance for a progressive in 2024.
      IMO best if dems don’t win until they run a progressive, if ever.

      1. Joey

        They won’t care unless they start losing senate and congressional and gubernatorial. Have you got the nerve? Or does your inner partisan shrink at the idea of republicans.

  12. Toshiro_Mifune

    We’re on the Brink of Cyberpunk

    We were supposed to get neural implants and cybernetics in addition to the dystopian future. All we got was the dystopian future. I feel ripped off.

  13. marym

    “Amazon Labor Activism Goes International as European and U.S. Workers Combine Forces

    Amazon worker organizing is going international. A new coalition of Amazon employee activists from Spain, France, German, Poland and America has announced itself with a list of demands for improved pay and safety—and they say that this is just the beginning.

    The new group, called Amazon Workers International (AWI), is a significant new formal attempt to combine the well-established labor activism of Amazon workers in Europe with the grassroots organizing that has targeted Amazon in America in recent months.”


    1. lyman alpha blob

      Nice to see the organizing, but why name your group after the organization you’re opposing? It gives your opposition legitimacy and also a reason to claim they are being singled out. Naming an ostensible union after a corporation just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

  14. Mikel

    “They declared that ‘in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong’ and ‘significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.’”

    They’ll bring back independent newsstands and newsletters, yet….

    1. Acacia

      Nicely Orwellian how these geniuses join “significant monitoring and speech control” with “mature and flourishing”.

      Once again, Harvard’s brain trust sounds about as useful as a hole in the head.

  15. Jason Boxman

    I don’t get these flunky groups that think Biden can be “pushed left” or we can “make him do it” or whatever. No dice guys. We’ve seen this move countless times. Just categorically commit to not voting for him, and move on. You won’t be taken seriously until the blow actually lands. Words are wind.

    1. Acacia

      Beyond indulging the fantasy that end consumers define markets and then mistakenly applying that to politics, perhaps they tell themselves this as a way to not think about the role they play in supporting the status quo.

    2. David R Smith

      It’s six months until the election. Brihana Gray is not deciding until the date nears and we know more what’s happening. Why can’t we all take that common-sense approach, instead of venting testosterone?

  16. Mikel

    “The anticapitalist streaming service taking on Netflix: This is Means TV” [Huck].

    Another set up to co-opt any movement that is on the precipice of running away from the status quo.
    Set up to divert energy…

    1. voteforno6

      They’re not taking on Netflix. The kinds of people who would spend their time watching this service rather than anything else are probably very unpleasant to be around. Sometimes people just want to be entertained.

  17. Mikel

    RE: “Michael Santos went to the hospital to get checked out for the coronavirus. He wound up with a $1,689 bill.”

    Anybody with a working brain knew this before the virus. You won’t get widespread testing at that cost.
    No studies needed to be done. That was known.
    So that is a tell tale sign that there was and is NO INTENTION OF DOING WIDESPREAD TESTING.

  18. Chris

    Posting to boost the signal on this paper from the NIH on Vitamin D deficiencies in US citizens populations. I know we’ve seen a few articles come out talking about Vitamin D supplementation and using it to help treat Covid-19. I wonder if the disparity in the disease among minority groups in the US might be explained by this? Especially because the other risk factors they cite in the paper as being indicative of a Vitamin D deficiency in African Americans are also recognized co-morbidities for SARS-Cov-2?

    1. Cuibono

      could be. but remember, associations might also work like this:
      the same people who cant go outside much and get sunshine are the ones who are poor, have imited access to healthcare, suffer chronic stress, eat poorlly, have multiple chronic ailments, etc etc

      not saying D isnt important. i think it might be PART of the puzzle.

  19. Dr. John Carpenter

    So the Katrina whitewashing has begun. I was expecting it to start soon. Now all they need to do is reinvent W. Bush’s handling of 9/11 and lookout Mt. Rushmore!

    1. Geo

      Heck of a job, Maggie.

      Too bad Kanye went MAGA otherwise they could ask him for a reminder. Something about “Bush”, “caring”, and “black people”.

  20. wilroncanada

    Attack of the slows? Stop listening to the Turtles as your background music.

    1. Massinissa

      “Stop listening to the Turtles as your background music.”

      Maybe he can move faster by listening to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles music? He’s probably just listening to the wrong type of turtle music. /sarc

  21. ambrit

    Am I delusional, more than usual, but doesn’t that Hillary Clinton “Masque” picture remind anyone of the Marvel Comics character of “Venom?” (It is definitely not Jack Skellington. Though, to be fair, she does induce one to experience the “Nightmare Before Voting.”)
    Venom: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venom_(Marvel_Comics_character)
    Somehow, reading about the comic book character, it all feels too appropriate. All the hallmarks are there. Eerie!

      1. ambrit

        Woah! Jack Kirby strikes again!
        I have often joked about HRH HRC having to wear a hidden exoskeleton to compensate for her debilitated base state. Said state and adaptation thereof is a worthy definition of a Transformer.
        I see all this ‘exposure’ as some sort of stealth political campaign. She is positioning herself as the “adult in the room” for when the Biden ‘Juggernaut’ implodes. Then, here come the “Two Mommies” to save civilization!
        I still think that we are seeing, somewhat disguised, a power struggle between the Obama Clique and the Clinton Crime Syndicate for control of the Democrat Party Grift System. Neither ‘Family’ became multi-millionaires from “wise investments” of their Presidential salaries.

  22. Tomonthebeach

    Cuomogasm (check out Randy Rainbow’s spoof/crush on him on youtube ) is an apt description of the frenzy to make him the Biden alternative. Let’s ignore that the guy is a Wall Street conservative and generally an asshole – he earned his low popularity rating the old fashioned way. The only thing I can see that triggered the love affair with Cuomo is that he stands up to Trump’s bullying the way we all wish the Democrats in Congress or Bidie-poo would do. The guy is not remotely a progressive, and is not all that much less an autocrat than Trump – just not as sleazy.

    1. Pat

      For the record he is just as sleazy as Trump, he just has a more socially acceptable persona.

  23. Sam M

    Curious as to why there has not been more coverage of a doomsday scenario for colleges, which seems inevitable. The school I go to sent out an email saying they are confident in returning to campus in the fall and have a committee chaired by the business school dean with a background in management systems to plan the return. I fear they will move forward and anyone who is intelligent and stays home until the disease is gone will be punished. Seems like a typical pitfall of neoliberal education systems but is severely misjudged as a catalyst for making the second wave larger than it should.

    1. Jen

      The college that I work for is contemplating a hybrid model for the fall term where half-ish of the 4K undergrads return to campus. With testing! Physical distancing! Keeping everyone safe!

      To maintain appropriate distancing, they will rent local properties, which will further squeeze an already tight rental market, and add cost to our bottom line, and it’s not clear that the revenue generated by having some undergrads on campus will offset that cost, assuming we don’t have an outbreak that shuts down the entire campus.

      Rumor has it that all of the guys playing beer pong at the frat that’s supposed to be closed tested positive for C-19. So good luck with that distancing thing.

      Why? Because we’re losing 10M/term on room and board alone. So the administration is trying to build a bridge to the magical time when we return to normal.

      Problem is, it’s most likely a bridge to nowhere.

  24. crittermom

    >Update: Cuomo

    I was (stupidly?) surprised to read that 73% of Independents approve of him even after he was fine with canceling the Primary & erasing Bernie’s name from the ballot.
    Not sure just how many of those ‘Independents’ were Bernie supporters?

    Side note: I went to our local gas station yesterday and was surprised (and disappointed) to see that only the clerk and myself were wearing masks. Few customers were even practicing ‘safe distancing’ and there were (too) many in that small space. (I’m not happy about such ‘surprises’ of late enlightening me).

    Content to stay at home, thank you.
    I’m practicing my self distancing by sitting in my car a few miles from home photographing baby owls in their nest and only going out in public when necessary.

  25. Amfortas the hippie

    so my little town in the middle of nowhere went from zero cases last friday, to 25+ as of today.
    multiple tests pending.
    haven’t looked today, but we made the austin news this weekend.
    I went to the landfill today, talked with the landfill guy about the test(painful), his quarantine for 2 weeks any way(boring!) and general local scuttlebutt.
    everybody’s mad at city manager who, being the backslapping type, was our typhoid mary.
    numbers are growing every time i look, now, and the national guard is here(!).
    so i went by the county show barn(where we were married) and endeavored to get a test from them.
    appointment only…about 20(?) troops including the 2 gowned doctor/soldiers.
    all set up for someplace like Austin, with the traffic control, etc…but this is a far place, with few people, and fewer who will go to the national guard camp to get tested.
    Troops all looked freaked out, but i have difficulty reading military faces.
    It was pretty surreal.
    I’m going, instead, to the clinic tomorrow for a swab.
    said it would be $300 or so…but who knows?
    several of the locals only got tested because they had been in contact with a positive, and had otherwise ignored the “summer cold”/”bad allergies”…which is what I’ve been dealing with.
    (avoiding wife & kids. i have my own room/lair)
    i’ve never suffered from hypochondria, but i’d rather know than not, given her cancer, so we can deal with it….and, if neg, so i can stop obsessing about it.

    Oh…and that $300/gallon insect eating fungi(Beauvaria Bassiana) works. I just wish i had more of it.
    tiny hoppers being driven to the tops of grass stems, where they suddenly bloom with the fruiting body of the fungus. a Beautiful sight.

    1. JBird4049

      Twenty strangers in military garb is not very reassuring at all. Why not just have three people and make the uniforms optional? The people that need to be tested would be less likely to freakout and hide. And I am sure that there hospitals that could the manpower instead of some out of the way place.

      1. JBird4049

        Where I am it is mandatory to wear a mask, and even if you don’t, everybody does the six feet separation. That’s easy to do, so why not, unless you are a fool. I really do not like the mask, but I **might** have had it a month ago, but of course no testing, so it could have been one of the stranger flues that I have ever had. How am I to know?

        Whether I have it or not, I will feel like a fool either way. “OMG, I might be/have been Typhoid JBird, spreader of death!” or “It was just some weird flu… Well, that was surely anticlimactic.”

        Perhaps one of the reasons too many people do not take this all seriously is because there are not testing kits everywhere being done on everyone with absolutely free treatment. If COVID19 is really as bad as they say, and I was in charge, that is what would happen. But we don’t and how could the supposed Greatest Nation Ever™ not have done so by now? We really do need a functioning healthcare system, not a national grift masquerading as one.

    2. richard

      The test is $300? wtFFFFFFFFF
      the sickness is capitalism
      covid is just a symptom
      if you give me the name of the (or a) guilty party, I will add it to my “Arya Stark List” that I recite at bedtime.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’ll report on that manana.
        healthcare workers that you can get on the phone are pretty notorious for not knowing how much things cost.
        at least in my experience/ad hoc polling while wife was in hospital for a while.
        whatever…can’t bleed a turnip.
        and my credit score can’t get any lower.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Baltimore Healthcare Workers Criticize Military Flyovers “Honoring” Them”

    I think that if they were going to do something like this, then it would have been more appropriate to use the Missing Man Formation in honour of all those healthcare workers who lost their lives in the line of action-


  27. richard

    Hey, here is C. Johnstone on what is clarified by all the shrub luv we’re seeing.
    I was especially struck by point number 2: bush era repubs=trump era dems. After 3 straight election cycles of the dems reinforcing Bush’s 9/11 imperialism, caitlin says, they’ve essentially “gaslighted” themselves into becoming Bushites. I see her point, but we don’t need to add any presumption of self-delusion for the model to work. It is equally plausible that eager dem subs took the opportunity to cement long desired points of agreement with their republican doms, who complete them.
    Anyway, hope you enjoy.

  28. Michael K

    Tim Bray speaking the truth is a ray of sunshine in this dark time. His indictment of 21st century capitalism is so spot-on.

  29. Billy

    …”Summers cultivated a close personal and professional relationship with now-deceased sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein — a relationship that continued after Epstein’s initial conviction for soliciting sex from a minor. ”
    So? Wrong coast; In San Francisco they named an airport terminal for a pedophile.
    “McKinley, a disturbed runaway boy, desperately sought a “father figure” to provide empathy, compassion, wisdom and direction, he instead found Harvey Milk: a promiscuous sexual predator who found, in McKinley, an opportunity to satisfy a perverse lust for underage flesh.
    Years later McKinley committed suicide.
    Another teen who crossed paths with Harvey Milk was Christian convert and former homosexual Gerard Dols. In a 2008 radio interview with Concerned Women for America, Dols shared of how – as a physically disabled teen – the “very nice” Harvey Milk had encouraged him in 1977 to run away from his Minnesota home and come to San Francisco. According to Dols, Milk told him, “Don’t tell your parents,” and later sent him a letter with instructions. Thankfully, the letter was intercepted by Dols’ parents who then filed a complaint with the Minnesota attorney general’s office.”

  30. Oregoncharles

    ” a race is under way to store surplus gasoline, diesel and jet fuel at sea.”
    Oh, family blog. There hasn’t been a tanker disaster for quite some time now; with far more of them out moving around, the chances of a major spill are greatly increased – especially a collision (other than with a Navy ship – which proved shockingly fragile).

    This is an ugly accident waiting to happen.
    And there was just a big article on the fate of cruise ship crews, even when they’re healthy; what happens when coronavirus gets loose on one of these tankers?

  31. Ken

    All this outrage about Biden is pointless unless his supporters are questioned. This time it’s the voters who are to be blamed.

    1. eg

      Maybe also the non-voters (not the suppressed ones, just the apathetic). As an outsider observer, it seems to me that America has an awful lot of those?

    1. JBird4049

      I have grown up reading all about the various successful regime changes done by our freedom loving Republic to keep democracy and protect us from tyranny. (Barf) I don’t think that any operations in Venezuela, that horrible, freedom hating, Stalinist country is going to make much trouble. I would be happy to be wrong.

  32. JBird4049

    When I wrote that post back in 2014, I had no idea how close to the bone it would cut.

    I am not surprised for who wants to find out just how poisoned, deliberately, our world has become or how many “good” Americans that there are? It makes me rather sad instead of angry.

  33. VietnamVet

    The Scientists for EU graphs are very clear. The failures of the USA, UK and Swedish governments are intentional. The Wuhan coronavirus can be controlled by testing, tracing and isolation of the infected as shown in the graphs from Vietnam to Lebanon

    The Elite is quite willing to let people die rather than establish a free national functional public health system that will end the pandemic. It is not only the Plutocrats not wanting to spend their wealth helping unfortunates. It is also a major source of income for the Establishment, extorting the last penny from patients and forcing them into deep debt to stay alive.

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