Links 5/12/2020

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Can we really tell male and female dinosaurs apart? PhysOrg

Old math reveals new secrets about these alluring flowers National Geographic (David L)

Scientists Find The First Animal That Doesn’t Need Oxygen to Survive Science Alert (David L)

Humans and Neanderthals ‘co-existed in Europe for far longer than thought’ Guardian (Kevin W)

This summer’s severe temperatures could make the pandemic even more complicated Popular Science

Water loss in northern peatlands threatens to intensify fires, global warming SCIENMAG (resilc)

Racetrack Memory Will Make Your Computer Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger Popular Mechanics. Jeff C:

This is supposedly about a new data-storage technique (I suspect an overhyped one, but I’m not qualified to say for sure), but that’s irrelevant. Just look more closely at the circuit board! You’ll see the Pentagon, an airport, multiple office buildings, a railroad yard, an aircraft parking lot, various busy highways, and — my favorite — Angkor Wat!

Some editor was asleep, and some rogue author was out to prove it. Enjoy before it’s taken down.


Our weird behavior during the pandemic is screwing with AI models MIT Technology Review (David L). Well, some upside, albeit very limited.

George Soros: Coronavirus endangers our civilisation Independent (resilc)

Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic AIER (Dr. Kevin)

Coronavirus: Israel turns surveillance tools on itself BBC (David L)

Why the coming emerging markets debt crisis will be messy Financial Times (J-LS)


How Control Theory Can Help Us Control COVID-19 IEEE Spectrum (David L)

Nearly 40% of Icelanders are using a covid app—and it hasn’t helped much MIT Technology Review (J-LS). Supporting our post yesterday…..

Men’s Blood Contains High Levels of Enzyme That Helps COVID-19 Infect Cells – Study Sputnik (Kevin W)

Oxford begins study to prevent worsening of mild coronavirus cases, to start with HCQ

CityMD mistakenly told 15,000 people with coronavirus antibodies they’re immune CNBC (resilc). Reporting improving!


Wuhan to Test Everyone; Deaths Surpass 286,000: Virus Update Bloomberg

Shanghai Disneyland reopens to the public South China Morning Post. J-LS: “Notice the masks.”

Tickets for Shanghai Disneyland re-opening sold out in 3 minutes Boing Boing (resilc)


Medicine shortage crushes Aussie ICU capacity MacroBusiness


What Is the Real Coronavirus Death Toll in Each State? New York Times. Newlin: “Oregon has only 1% excess deaths, Alabama is below normal (less driving?). Most of the damage is in NY and NJ, all the same cluster.”

Twitter to Add Labels to Disputed Coronavirus Posts, as Misinformation Proliferates Wall Street Journal

Vermont Dairy Farmers Give Away 4,000 Gallons of Milk Seven Days Vermont (resilc)

Farms to kill 2 million chickens in MD, DE Macon Telegraph (resilc)

COVID-19 antibody study of MLB employees finds that .7 have had the virus Atlantic (David L)

Techno-Tyranny: How The US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Fulfill An Orwellian Vision Last American Vagabond (TF)

What We Lose When We Go From the Classroom to Zoom New York Times (dk)

Here’s Everyone in the White House Who Has Coronavirus or Has to Self-Quarantine Vice. Phooey. I want an org chart or bubble chart.

Coronavirus: South Dakota Sioux refuse to take down ‘illegal’ checkpoints BBC

A Late-Breaking Bulletin From PBS: “For Many Americans, Health Insurance is Tied to a Job” CounterPunch (resilc)

Colorado restaurant illegally reopens with no social distancing and hundreds of customers MSN. Resilc: “We need to carve up the failed state and herd them up and away from me.”

Trump is culpable in deaths of Americans, says Noam Chomsky Guardian

Political Responses

‘Worst I’ve ever seen it’: Farmers watch helplessly as Trump’s promises evaporate in COVID-19 crisis Raw Story (furzy)

Contrary to Claims “Cuomo’s Order Actually Ends the Eviction Moratorium” Institute for Public Accuracy. OMG, someone needs to tell these people that repeating what you are trying to debunk reinforces it. You need to tread carefully around the the original claim.


As economic forecasts worsen, up to $1 trillion in federal aid to state and local governments could be needed by the end of 2021 Economic Policy Institute

What Are the Consequences of Missed Payments on Consumer Debts? Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Risking their health to pay the bills: 100 million Europeans cannot afford two months without income Bruegel

The Real Unemployment Rate Is Worse Than Trump Will Tell Us Washington Monthly

As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar Reuters

Passenger blasts United Airlines for yet another packed flight amid coronavirus New York Post (Kevin W)

Cargo ship sailors press-ganged into keeping the world’s trade afloat Guardian (resilc)


The New Cold War in Asia Is Born of Desperation The Nation

China Is Defensive. The U.S. Is Absent. Can the Rest of the World Fill the Void? New York Times. How about the novel idea that countries mind their own affairs?

The European Central Bank is deluding itself over German court ruling Financial Times (David L)

Trump Transition

White House officials asked to wear masks in West Wing The Hill

Secrecy of Trump’s taxes, financial records on the line in Supreme Court arguments NBC

The Forgotten Law That Could Compel Mnuchin to Hand Over Trump’s Tax Returns Politico (David L). This is all so desperate. First, Mnuchin could “report” with a one paragraph statement. Second and more important, it’s pretty clear these people demanding Trump’s tax returns are operating under a huge delusion as to what is in them. His K-1 (partnership) attachments would be interesting, but his returns will most assuredly NOT show what firms and individuals are sources of income (ex the K-1 and even then they likely only have not revealing names, nor to whom he is paying interest. Tax returns are not a Rosetta stone. The one thing they might show that would be interesting is if he had foreign bank accounts and participated in the forgiveness (you paid the taxes due but no fines and all the past returns were “stamped” so it’s bloomin’ obvious what happened. However, they may also show that Trump is less rich than Trump wants his voters to believe.

Trump may let workers take Social Security benefits early in exchange for reduced payments later. Retirement advocate calls it ‘harebrained idea.’ CNBC. Kevin W: “Saw this idea mentioned in Lambert’s Water Cooler today.”

Trump’s spy chief declassifies list of ALL Obama administration officials who were ‘involved in unmasking Michael Flynn’ and hands their names over to the DOJ Daily Mail

Newly declassified evidence undercuts former DNI Clapper’s testimony to Congress Just The News (Chuck L)


‘Binders full of women’ anyone? Biden blasted for ‘calendar model’ VP search RT (Kevin W)

Joe Biden Is Planning an FDR-Size Presidency New York Magazine. J-LS: “If you believe any of this I have a bridge to sell you. Short of Kelton at Treasury I can’t imagine him picking anyone that would come close to swaying me.”

For Some “Facebook Empathy Moms,” Joe Biden Is Just Another Compromise Mother Jones (resilc)

Musk Reopens Tesla’s Plant, Dares Authorities to Arrest Him Bloomberg

Toyota Forecasts 20% Drop in Revenue From Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Acacia

    Re: Racetrack Memory. I don’t find enough information in this article to have much of an opinion about the tech. Too many unknowns. What sort of data density is possible? Access time? Power consumption? Special material requirements (i.e., rare earths?)? Etc. We’d need to know some of these things. (BTW, remember magnetic bubble memories?)

    1. The Historian

      The article was just another tech “gotta talk about something” yawner – but the picture at the top of the page is just priceless!

      1. Wukchumni

        For me, racetrack memory came in 2 guises.

        1.) Having been at the track when a horse running today had run previously. There are oh so many ways for a steed to lose speed, none of which are indicated all that much in #2. This would’ve been in the 70’s & 80’s, so there was no way to watch videos of past races, you had to be there.

        2.) The Daily Racing Form told you everything one could want to know about the ponies in detailed time analysis, where their position was compared to other horseflesh in a race, was their style to stalk, or from flag fall to that’s all in front, in their past dozen races. The last 4 or 5 workouts @ the track were also indicated. Was a horse a mudder, could they handle the once in awhile off-track conditions during winter racing in SoCal? Damn near everything you could want to know about a thoroughbred was there in print, who knocked up it’s mom-and what sort of nag was daddy-o performance-wise @ the ‘oval office’ back in the day?, the trainer and jockeys involved, and if it was a claiming horse, there was the possibility of it having multiple trainers, and similar to the 4 leg set-not all of them of equal ability.

        An incredible amount of information was at your fingertips, combined with having seen previous dash for cash contests, should have allowed me to make a living hanging out @ Santa Anita, begrudgingly head to Hollywood Park, and then summer down @ Del Mar, but the truth was I was only consistent in losing.

        This was my favorite horse of all time, a contrarian’s contrarian, content to lag far behind against competitors at the highest levels of ability, only to mow them down in a flash of white lightning: Vigors

        I was at this race, some 42 years ago…

        1. Tinky

          And the Jockey who rode Vigor’s in that race, Darrel McHargue, was just elected to the Racing Hall of Fame!

          Well deserved, though he wasn’t as flashy as some of his better known contemporaries.

          Oh, and the linked article really has nothing whatsoever to do with racetracks.

        2. xkeyscored

          I knew an English guy, nominally unemployed, who enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle courtesy of ‘racing form’, which he studied assiduously, travelling around the country by first-class rail to wherever the racing was that weekend.

          His trick appeared to be not to gamble, as in go on a lucky gut feeling, but to consistently place smallish bets according to the factors you mention.

          The one time I went to a race with him, he wasn’t overjoyed when his sister and I won a ton based on nothing more than wanting the only woman jockey to win.

          1. Tinky

            Your anecdote is an illustration of why seasoned racetrack punters/gamblers consider it axiomatic that one should never advise newcomers on which horses to back. This is because all of the available evidence, anecdotal as it may be, suggests that the Racing Gods either look kindly on neophytes, or ruthlessly choose to suck them into the game by allowing them to win in spite of their ignorance.

            1. Wukchumni

              My first paramutual ticket (bought by mom) was $2 to show on Quite A Day @ the Pomona Fair races circa 1973, which won @ 26-1 and paid $13.20 to show. I liked the name.

            2. xkeyscored

              Maybe they do look kindly on neophytes. The only times I’d ever bet on a horse before that, or since, I must have been around ten or twelve. I nagged at my parents (total non-gamblers, to my knowledge) until they put some money on a horse called Red Rum. It won two years running, IIRR.

              Somehow this never sucked me into gambling. Don’t ask me why! I just never ‘had that feeling’ again, apart from the woman jockey, and that was as much about proving my girlfriend’s father wrong when he said women can’t win or something.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Given the size difference, women should have a natural advantage as jockeys.

        3. John Beech

          That was a great race, I agree. Lovely form the whole run and superbly managed. As a boy I accompanied my great grandmother to the Hippodrome several times a week. And by boy I mean 7-8 y/o when she was in her mid-70s (she made it to 101 before passing in her sleep). Nobody else would do it but me, and for my part, I loved being in the box and watching the races (and as the only grandchild who didn’t complain about being tired and wanting to go home, I was always ‘it’). She left me quite a behest and when cousins complained my grandmother told them to hush because there were ‘reasons’. Later she made me understand I was her favorite and thus, the chosen one – the golden child – who uncomplainingly accompanied her to the races, which were the love of her life (my great grandfather had been involved in the building of the hippodrome but beyond that I know very little other than family lore). Funny thing is, to this day I don’t gamble – I’m perhaps the only one in the family missing that particular gene. And I mean not at all. In fact, I can walk through a casino in Las Vegas (and have many times due to attending trade shows there for my business) and I’m not susceptible to the games, the slots, or anything. Why not? For me, nothing beats the allure of gaining a new customer. That’s how I gamble; by taking raw materials and fabricating a widget and selling said widget to a customer and doing it over and over again for life. That’s gamble enough for me!

        4. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for this – much more interesting than some new tech.

          It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the track in person. Are you saying there is no Daily Racing Form anymore? One of my old coworker’s family was involved with the DRF somehow, and she quit to go work with them a few years ago so I’d thought it was still around. I remember trying to show my kid how to read the thing last time we were at the track. She was about 5 so I don’t think much sunk in at the time ;)

          Probably about 20 years ago now I was at Emerald Downs in WA state with my dad, who was visiting at the time. I’d been to the track a bunch and always used the DRF to make my picks. My dad had less experience and made his picks based on how handsome the horse looked in the paddock. Who do you think won more bets that day?

          1. Wukchumni

            We only make it to the races every few years, went to Del Mar last summer when down in SD for a wedding. The DRF is still a feature and sold (the track program includes a few lines of DRF past performance numbers for each horse) near the entrance-as always, and the big change from when I used to go more religiously avoiding Mondays & Tuesdays only in my sojourns, is the aspect of satellite wagering on tracks worldwide. They had to make the space between 9 incredibly quick stanzas not seem like 33 minutes after each go round, keep the punters going, look there’s a maiden claimer going off @ Gulfstream in 4 minutes, etc.

            I preferred the old fashioned way of all attention at the track being focused on the matter at hand, and to have watched that amazing jockey colony of the era, I was lucky in retrospect. McHargue was in his prime, and so was Pincay, Shoemaker, Hawley, Toro (on the turf), Cauthen, and a few more i’ve forgotten.

            I hear that immense parking lots @ Santa Anita are now utilized by rental car companies to park their jalopies for the time being.

        5. wilroncanada

          You mean that you followed horses, but the horses you followed, followed horses.

        6. Jeff N

          My 80 year-old dad loves to go to the track, and I am sad he can’t go during the virus

      2. Eureka Springs

        Perhaps the magazine should offer a new section. Tech Mech. One only reads it when there’s nothing else around.

    2. Howard Beale IV

      IIRC I believe IBM was playing around with racetrack memory at their Watson Research Laboratory a few years back.

    3. George

      The article is only talking about non-volatile memory. This kind of memory doesn’t go away when the device is powered off. This memory is typically very slow but is much faster than a rotating disk drive. The primary memory use in computers is DRAM which is blazing fast but loses everything when the power goes away. This article is do superficial and basically misleading that it isn’t even worth discussing. The only value is that we now know that there’s another type of memory possible using magnetic fields but it’s not clear but it is implied that this new memory is non-volatile.

    4. dk

      Racetrack memory is a thing since 2008 :

      The interesting thing is the skyrmion:

      In particle theory, the skyrmion (/ˈskɜːrmi.ɒn/) is a topologically stable field configuration of a certain class of non-linear sigma models. It was originally proposed as a model of the nucleon by Tony Skyrme in 1962.[1][2][3] As a topological soliton in the pion field, it has the remarkable property of being able to model, with reasonable accuracy, multiple low-energy properties of the nucleon, simply by fixing the nucleon radius. It has since found application in solid state physics, as well as having ties to certain areas of string theory.

      So not storing a binary state, but several values, a byte or more, could be stored in a single nucleon (proton or neutron).

      So not really a classical particle but a persistent nucleonic condition. Being able to move skyrmions in a medium in an orderly way is very cool but almost certainly demands a very uniform medium. Wonder how hot they get.

      The article says “The team has identified magnetic materials with small electric fields, known as ferrimagnets, as the best option.” Simple ferrimagnets are Fe₂0₃ which is certainly not a rare earth, but:

      A neodymium magnet (also known as NdFeB, NIB or Neo magnet) is the most widely used[1] type of rare-earth magnet. It is a permanent magnet made from an alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron to form the Nd2Fe14B tetragonal crystalline structure.

      So yes, at least one rare earth involved. Could one power these things down and back up? THAT would be amazing, except needing massive technological infrastructure to read (/write). Remember paper, clay? That stuff sometimes lasts for centuries, our ancestors must have been gods. Sure, our modern stuff has astronomically higher densities, permitting us to store more rambling nonsense per cubic millimetre, and need indexed search engines to find the few things worth revisiting in emergencies because we outsourced our own memories to magic stones.

      1. ewmayer

        The article is talking about “magnetic quasiparticles”, i.e. non-nucleonic skyrmions. Unlike electrons (and their associated waves) and the aforementioned kinds of skyrmions, nucleons in any kind of crystal lattice are immobile, and even if one could use them for data storage, read and write of such intranucleonic states sounds like it might be very difficult.

        Oh, standard voltage-based transistor logic is also perfectly capable of storing more than 1 bit by way of using stairstep voltage with more than 2 discrete values, it’s just very, very much easier to reliably implement and scale things up using the simplest on/off binary paradigm. Alternative future storage tech may find itself subject to similar “the real world is messy, and we need it to be cheap, reliable and scalable beyond the laboratory” constraints. In theory, the electron of a single H atom can encode as many bits as you like. In practice, not so much.

        1. xkeyscored

          I’m a bit lost when it comes to skyrmions, but the impression I got was they’d found a way to move them around with electrical/electromagnetic pulses, and to do it at room temperature.

          “Here’s how it works: A tiny magnetic quasiparticle, called a skyrmion, carries the data. External stimuli, like the pulse of a current, can move the skyrmions, which spin as if curled up in a ball. The resulting balls of skyrmions represent pieces of data, and the computer can move them quickly in sync with electrical pulses.
          Because skyrmions are small, move at high speed, and require little energy, it makes the computing process faster and more energy efficient, while also storing more data in a given amount of space than other techniques can.”

          Then again, hardly a week goes by when I don’t notice a story about how some new combination of photons and graphene and weird topological wotnot might revolutionise computing.

        2. dk

          Ah, thanks. For some reason I thought they were moving, dur. And yes, analog is so much denser than digital but very hard to mass produce with uniform tolerances. Binary makes a common standard that’s fairly simple how a discrete device handles it internally is its business.

  2. taunger

    Summers severe temp article is terrible. Starts with the premise that you are more likely to catch COVID outdoors. Couldn’t get beyond there.

    How are we ever going to get beyond this thing? There is no trustworthy authority to move messaging and behavior in the right direction.

    If we thought that Trump shows the desire for a strongman, wait until a real one shows up. Seems much more likely now.

    1. Clive

      There is no trustworthy authority to move messaging and behaviour in the right direction.

      I agree, I prattled on about this yesterday at length and am happy to reiterate this is a very important point.

      I will add an extension to this concept. Sanctimoniousness has always been the dark shadow which stalks public health policy, right from the lowliest messaging that you can hurt yourself if you run with scissors through to where we’re at today. It is for this reason that those of us (including myself) who have worked in the past to design and propagate public health initiatives have learned through — often bitter — experience that the one thing you absolutely cannot risk doing is to in any way end up politicising your intended and desired public health outcomes.

      That’s not to say that political support can’t be helpful. It can, although it isn’t strictly necessary. Where political support is sought, it has to be from the broadest of political spectrums. Because otherwise, your aimed-for policy change becomes synonymised with a particular party or political position. This leads, inevitably, to a narrowing of its appeal to a minority or, at best, a marginal majority. Neither is sufficient to work when it comes to a public health policy, which requires mass adherence and support.

      Too late, now, for that to be possible with COVID-19. Every square inch of the presentational surface for COVID-19 has been occupied by political forces. And not only occupied by the political centre-ground, but by highly polarised left/right loyalists which have succeeded in conscripting COVID-19 into their usual political factionalist tribalism. I suppose one of the few territories which wasn’t, up until recently (maybe a couple of weeks or three ago) securely held by one side or the other was mask wearing, which might explain why there’s now a concerted attempt to make masks happen (and not happen).

      Success in public health policy simply doesn’t work this way. When it comes to telling people what they should or shouldn’t put in, on or near their bodies, you are — if you’re campaigning in this field — playing with fire. Which requires you tread very carefully. Looking at where public health policy has been shifted in the past, what has demonstrably never worked is attempts to use political actors or unconnected pressure groups to influence the audience. Nancy Regan may have told people to “just say no” but Nancy lacked the authenticity needed to be convincing.

      Conversely, HIV prevention programme successes were based on key opinion leaders being drawn not from some political or special interests pleading but from the ranks of sex workers, drug users and gay men’s health advocates. Academic experts were an adjunct to these real-life experts, not an alternative to them or a replacement for them. Politicians, if they were engaged at all, were merely relegated to being broadly supportive of the groups’ agitations and securing funding for the initiatives, but those initiatives were never, ever, defined by political actors.

      But, as I alluded to earlier, it’s all far too late for that now. COVID-19 is a political plaything and, having gotten a new venue to present the show from, politicians are not about to try to stuff this particular genie back into its bottle, even if they could.

      We’re reduced to the Brownian motion that is mass public psychology. We’re all just going with the flow of it now with absolutely no control and no ability to predict where we’ll all end up.

      1. taunger

        Thank you, Clive, for the extended remarks. I missed your comment yesterday, I’ll take a look at that too

      2. marcyincny

        Yes, thank you Clive.

        It seems everything has been so politicized and/or monetized there’s nothing left to serve us now.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not many noticing that jamming people into close quarters indoors just might be exactly the wrong thing (cruise lines, nursing homes, duh). And I think people imagining that President Clinton would have done a Better Job than Orange Hitler are deluded. Her Highness would have had the press 100% on her side though, look at the great progress we’re making! Look how well The Serious People are protecting you! This is the best of all possible worlds!

          I think Trump should head to Mar-a-Lago, let Pence run. It’s not possible to be even a marginally effective president without locking in Branches 4 and 5 of our system of government: Branch 4 = FBI/CIA and Branch 5 = MSM.

          1. clarky90

            Haven’t you heard the news, Comrade OTPDH? The Main Stream Media is going broke, and is being sent off to the knacker’s yard as we speak.

            Branch #4, the Neo-NKVD, is being cleansed of wreckers, traitors, counter revolutionaries and capitalist-roaders. How could we have allowed “our” precious security institutions to have been infiltrated by these crypto-Trotskyites?

            I am shocked……..

      3. Oregoncharles

        It isn’t at all clear what IS the “right direction”.

        Consider the article about Woodstock occurring in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, I vaguely remember the Hong Kong flu. Not nearly as well as Woodstock, which I didn’t even attend.

        1. chaco52

          “The summer’s extreme temperatures could make the pandemic even more complicated.” Nice headline. I’m concerned. Life is looking worse than before I read the headline.
          But para 5 states “It won’t be possible to determine the role of climate change until after the season has passed, experts say.”
          So, I senselessly had my concerns raised, one more time, by a click-bait driven media rabidly trying to grab my attention with incomplete numbers( .1 % kill rate or is it 2.0% kill rate), hysterical political hit pieces( it’s Trump’s fault, or is it still Obama’s fault?), the failing economy caused by a virus( a recession has been predicted for 2 years with debt higher than ’08 and the stock valuations screaming for correction) and the political divide being exacerbated by the latest bomb thrown by the participants in this shit show.
          Truly the only issues worth discussing are how can a medical industry, a political class and the Masters of the Universe who control the financial levers all drop the ball simultaneously and still have us believe they retain any credibility.

    2. timbers

      Have to say I’m puzzled by people wearing masks at the state park I frequent, as well as neighbors doing yard work on their suburban generously space homes, and drivers in cars I see passing by.

      1. xkeyscored

        Here in Cambodia a couple of months ago, it was common for masks to be worn over the mouth and nose while driving, and pulled down when talking or in a building. That’s changed quite a bit since then.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I assume that was because of the dust. I cycled from PP to the Thai border over 6 days (with a stop in SR) in 2003, when the main road was only half upgraded. I still have a photo taken of myself then, completely covered head to foot in orange dust. I’d have to pull over the bike every time a vehicle approached as it was choking (not just the dust, the fumes from poorly maintained elderly Chinese trucks at the time). I remember the amazing contrast going over the border into Thailand, even the air smelt different within just a few hundred metres.

          1. xkeyscored

            Too right, the dust and fumes used to be awful, and while both have declined a lot since then, habits persist. But I think it’s also to do with not exactly modern scientific ideas about disease, a mask being a magical talisman that confers protection however it’s worn. Many here still think illness reflects imbalances in wind, blood, heat etc, much like the medieval humours in Europe, and viruses, if mentioned at all, are interpreted within that framework. If they’re too small to see, isn’t that effectively the same as bad spirits or sorcery? Things are changing though.

    3. Ignacio

      I very much agree with this comment. A hotter summer if anything, will help to “kill” viruses. The only caveat is if people are pushed to pack themselves in air conditioned locals. That would indeed be risky.

      Do people spend the day in malls in summer just to flee from heat?

      1. John Zelnicker

        May 12, 2020 at 10:36 am

        Down here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, the answer is yes.

        Although most buildings are now air-conditioned, not all of them are, especially in the impoverished communities.

        Poor folk also have to consider the cost of electricity to cool their home if they have a/c. With little or no building insulation, this can get quite expensive.

    4. chuck roast

      Think it’s gonna be toasty? If the planes stop flying add 3-5 degrees for the lack of aerosols in the upper atmosphere. Now that’s hot!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Someone should tell the author – Jeffrey A. Tucker who is the Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research – that the 1968 Hong Kong strain was just the flu, bro. According to Wikipedia “It remains in circulation today as a strain of the seasonal flu” so yes, it is just the flu. The same type that hospitalizes about one out of a thousand people that get it. Not to be confused with Coronavirus that hospitalizes about two hundred people out of every thousand people that get it. Jeffrey, that is not the flu, bro.

      1. Kevin C. Smith

        SARS-CoV-2 does NOT hospitalize “about two hundred people out of every thousand people that get it”! Where did you get that from?

        In fact, when a good sample of the population is studied, the vast majority of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic or relatively mild.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Sigh! The hospital rate for people with Coronavirus from the early days has run from fifteen to twenty percent. Here in Oz it has been about 14% but we have a good healthcare system whereas in other countries is it has run much higher. That is why I picked as an average 20% and 20% of 1,000 people is 200 people. Also, I looked up the figures several weeks ago for the hospitalization rate for the regular flu and it was only about 0.1% which is about 1 out of every 1,000 people. Still not the flu, bro.

          1. Jessica

            The Rev Kev
            Yes, the hospitalization rate for detected cases of coronavirus has run in the 15-20% range. However, a number of studies that have tested the population at large have founded 10 times or more as many people with antibodies for the coronavirus as the number of detected cases. _If_ these studies are correct, then the hospitalization and fatality rates are correspondingly lower, down in the flu range, but the infectiousness is equally higher.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Good point that but without widespread testing, we have no real idea how many people have caught this virus much less where these clusters are. And problems with testing are notorious. And counterbalancing this is that we really have only estimates of how many people are dying of it as some countries only count those that die in a hospital. We have been reduced to looking at statistics of the number of people that died and how many died at the same time in previous years. I believe that on the “Diamond Princess” that about one fifth caught this virus but have no idea what this figure really tells us. In short, not enough hard data and at best only estimates.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                It’s “probably” better to stop making dogmatic pronouncements based on numbers you admit you don’t have.

                All these people who keep clamoring for widespread “testing” had better hope it never comes to pass, because if it does, I suspect there’s going to be an awful lot of egg on an awful lot of faces.

                As usual though, the damage will already have been done.

                1. lyman alpha blob

                  Thank you. It really feels like too many people are wishing for more death and disease than will likely occur.

                  I can’t help but think that there is some correlation between how bad people think coronavirus will be and how much they want Trump to lose in November.

                  1. clarky90

                    Re; “However, they may also show that Trump is less rich than Trump wants his voters to believe….”

                    How rich Trump or any politician is a Democrat obsession. That was why Bloomberg was welcomed into the Democrat primaries, without any serious reflection. “Well of course! He is sooooo, knees trembling, rich!”

                    IMO, Trump voters couldn’t care less about Trumps wealth, or lack of it (except, in as far as it protects him from bribery/graft/blackmail..)

                    They generally judge a man or a woman by other parameters.

                2. The Rev Kev

                  @ Katniss Everdeen

                  Look, I am going by what numbers we do have which is what I said last night. That hospitalization rate of 14% for Australia, for example, is pretty accurate because of our healthcare system. I was trying to give an honest answer but let us think about it.

                  We do not really know the infection rate, we are not really sure what this virus does to the human body, We don’t really now how to effectively treat this virus, we aren’t sure ventilators are the way to go in hospitals are the way to go. I could go on.

                  But we are sure how the infection rate is something fierce, we see the mass deaths, we see that lockdowns and social distancing work as does quarantine, we know that it can be aerosol based, etc. With lack of scientific evidence we have to go with pragmatic analysis and so I stand my ground and say that the hospitalization rate is about 15-20% and the death rate is enough to warrant mass graves so no, I think that such ‘dogmatic pronouncements’ are warranted as we have to act on what we do know.

              2. Dang Me

                That was an interesting read. Obviously, you would have no shutdown in the 1960s for COVID-19 because they would assume it was the flu. I love how all these right-wingers lament the shutdowns but have no lament for the bailouts.

                In 1987, the market dropped hugely in one day. If that happened today, it would be an economic collapse and widespread panic.

                It’s the internet and the stock marketization of everything, baby. You win some, you lose some. The right-wingers lost this one.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Yes. Until very recently,. you couldn’t even get tested in most places unless you were very sick. That skews the numbers severely. At least in this country, only now is random testing being done – in my town, among other places.

              Why isn’t there a popular conspiracy theory about the CDC’s suppression of testing early on? They didn’t just bungle it, they kept others from replacing them. Even granted that incompetence is always the likeliest explanation, that’s extremely suspicious behavior – but I can’t see what they’d gain from it. The whole upper echelon will eventually be fired.

            3. Darthbobber

              Except that none of the antibody tests have been through a normal regimen of testing themselves. and their accuracy is hotly debated.

        2. The Historian

          The Johns Hopkins website shows the amount hospitalized in each state . 20% is not out of the ordinary. And yes, these results do depend on test data.

          You may be right about most people getting a light case, but those people aren’t being tested, are they? So there is no way their data can be included in any studies right now, is there? When working with data, hand waving just doesn’t work – you have to have the numbers, and right now these are the numbers we have. There is nothing that says that these numbers might not change in the future, though.

          1. xkeyscored

            Some would say antibody tests are useless until and unless they’re 100% accurate, but they are being done here and there, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t take them into account. For example,

            “New York State is conducting an antibody testing survey to develop a baseline infection rate. The preliminary results of phase two show 14.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. The preliminary results of phase one of the state’s antibody testing survey released on April 23rd showed 13.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies.”

            “If the actual infection rate among the entire population is similar to the early sample infection rate they found of 13.9%, it would change the death rate of the state, Cuomo said. New York is reporting 15,500 COVID-19 deaths, and if 2.7 million people were infected, that would mean the death rate would be 0.5%, Cuomo said.”
            “However, that comes with “two big caveats,” he said. This data is preliminary and is only a sample of 3,000 people. In addition, the state doesn’t count people who died at home — not in a nursing home or hospital — or who were never tested for COVID-19, in their official tally of COVID-19 fatalities.” [And some dispute the value of these tests anyway.]

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Yeah, about those “caveats”:

              (Bloomberg) — New York City added thousands of people to its coronavirus death toll to account for victims who died in recent weeks without a confirmed diagnosis.

              The additional deaths — totaling 3,778 — pushed the city’s total to more than 10,000. Almost 60% of the unconfirmed coronavirus patients died inside hospitals, the city reported.

              Freddi Goldstein, press secretary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Tuesday that the data include at-home deaths of people suspected of having Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That judgment is based on reported symptoms including cough, fever and shortness of breath.

              Lies, damn lies, and statistics.


              1. xkeyscored

                So it might be 1%, maybe even 2%, as opposed to Cuomo’s 0.5%. I fully agree, there’s a lot of caveats, but it looks like it’s somewhere in that sort of range unless you totally reject these antibody tests for whatever reason.

                Still a long long way from 15-20%.

                1. periol

                  Pretty sure the argument with the antibody tests is that we aren’t sure they are specifically pinging COVID-19, and not a different coronavirus. I don’t think we know whether this is a thing or not, but there is definitely speculation.

                  Personally, I suspect (following the German doctor Christian Drosten) that the there are no “asymptomatic” cases, there are mild and serious cases. My follow-up to that is most of the “asymptomatic” cases being picked up by mass antibody tests at say homeless shelters have antibodies to other, similar, coronaviruses.

                  But I doubt we are going to know what’s really going on here for a bit.

                  1. xkeyscored

                    I don’t know which test was used in New York, but Roche claims “specificity greater than 99.8%” for its version. However, it does look like this was the result of “a comprehensive technical validation and self declaration under the European Directive for In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices,” and some other tests have had abysmal accuracy rates.
           (press release)

                    1. xkeyscored

                      Yves (no “Reply’ button showing)

                      Thank you. I’ve always just glazed over when Bayesian stuff crops up, and just skipped to the conclusions or whatever, but I’ll have a proper go at getting my head around it!

                    2. PlutoniumKun

                      Its a tough statistical thing to communicate. I’ve often had that discussion with people over cancer tests, and why in most cases testing healthy people for cancer is a terrible idea. Once you start mentioning Bayesian statistics I usually get a slightly frightened look and the reply ‘oh, but surely it can’t hurt just to test!’. I used have have memorised some simpler ways to explain it (mainly because I’m not much of a statistician and I’ve screwed up the explanation a few times), but I keep forgetting them.

                2. Darthbobber

                  But we were talking about hospitilization, and we’ve now shifted to mortality.

      2. Earl Erland

        According to the WHO, Covid-19 has a mortality rate of 3-4%, while the seasonal flu is under 0.1%. Also, Tucker writes that that H3N2 ultimately killed over 100,000 people in the US. That’s true, but the number covers a 10 year period.,800&source=bl&ots=JZ2KrgEzel&sig=ACfU3U3oAukD6FGC2cUTRe9WnP7mxavRSw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiFj9Hp6K7pAhVXCs0KHSZpDXsQ6AEwBXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=h3n2%2033%2C800&f=false

        1. xkeyscored

          Covid-19 has a mortality rate of 3-4%

          Is that a case fatality rate, an infection fatality rate, or something else? The former is more or less the percentage originally diagnosed who later die, the latter the percentage later found to have had it.

          “The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at the University of Oxford currently estimates the CFR globally at 0.51%, with all the caveats pertaining thereto. CEBM estimates the IFR at 0.1% to 0.26%, with even more caveats pertaining thereto.”

      3. choosy beggar

        I think the other important point is that 100k were lost over 18 months, vs. 80k and counting in 6 weeks. That’s an order of magnitude more serious.

      1. Katniss Everdeen


        Partly true. The 1969 Woodstock music festival did take place during a global pandemic, the Hong Kong flu, which started the previous year.


        1. Wukchumni

          I guess i’m lucky I didn’t go to Woodstock after all.

          Of course, no amount of pleading from a 7 year old Cali kid spending the summer of ’69 in Long Island, to his mom was gonna make it happen anyway…

          1. Oregoncharles

            I was simply at the wrong end of the country, but did go to Sky River up in Washington (near Bellingham, I think) and to Vortex here in Oregon. Vortex was the only state-sponsored one, a clever political move by then-Gov. McCall. Both were a lot of fun.

            The Oregon Country Fair is something of an annual 3-day music festival, with endless places to spend money. That may not happen this year, either; it’s in July, IIRC, so who knows?

      2. Carla

        I had what was then called the “Asian flu” in late July 1969. As a healthy 21-year-old college student in summer school at the time, I was very sick and lost 10 or 12 lbs. in a couple of weeks. Never before or since have I lost that much weight due to illness. I was married on August 16th that year (about 350 miles from the simultaneously occurring Woodstock), and my wedding dress had to be taken in beforehand as it was falling off me.

      3. VietnamVet

        I was in the USA in 1968 through June 1969. No memories of any flu epidemic. Just the war, assassinations and unrest. No NY, NJ or USA hospitals overwhelmed like Mount Sinai this year. I saw NY city before flying off to Vietnam. All I remember was the garbage in the streets.

        These times are way different. I think the lockdown was implemented to save the hospital systems for the use of the 10%; shock therapy to enrich the wealthy and impoverish everyone else.

      1. MLTPB

        Per a Wiki, (under Asian Flu) entry, with a reference to an April 2020 WSJ article by Pancevski, we read that it was allowed to spread without restrictions on economic activity until a vaccine became available 4 months after it started (July 1968, per the same article).

        That was quick…4 months.

  3. Tom

    Anyone here suspects they suffer from internet addiction? I’m losing too much time just mindlessly reading on the web than doing any work, and this website isn’t helping.

      1. Alice X

        Well, I’m a retired musician who always had a large component of early, daily stay at home work: ie practice, though after many years it is just a matter of warming up. That was mostly before the late aughts blossoming of the internet. Today I still do the early (even now later absent the paid work) stay at home routine, only presently while my mac reads NC links and comments to me, usually a day later. I never thought to be a multi-tasker but my mac is very credible in his rendering of the comments; and my playing, for better or worse, is, after 60 years, quite automatic.

        But my mac in his reading never takes exception. If he ever did, I would drop my violin. That would be AI, but wait, it is coming.

        As for IA, the internet has increased but also superseded or diminished much; unfortunately as to the later, the work of authors and musicians et al.

        But whatever that, kudos for your work, which I appreciate.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I know I have issues with IA. It stems from my (very real not just saying it) OCD and anxiety. The access to information via the internet is a checking behavior I use I try to find some certainty. But that certainty never comes. It is the same when I used to check packages in the supermarket for tampering and then eventually not walking out with anything because I was not certain it was not tampered with.

      I have done a lot of CBT to get over my OCD and Anxiety and I can see it when it is coming and then I put my mental work boots on to get rid of it. Mostly by setting time limits and trying to be ok with the state of things. The myth we all tell ourselves is that we can “know”, and we really can’t.

      My suggestion is to just stop if you can and watch your reaction. I have quit the internet several times over the years and I feel like another break is approaching. I have been on two and a half hours already this morning.

      if you want to talk more about it, my name at proton mail.

    2. Tom

      Thanks for the link but what’s one gotta do if one’s job involves server administration?! How do you NC staff determine whether you are addicted or not considering especially that I imagine you spend a lot of time on it?

      1. Clive

        I can’t speak for Naked Capitalism staff. But for addictive behaviours, it is said that it isn’t so much how much you do of whatever the activity is which is causing you concern but the degree to which it is making your life unmanageable.

        You might, for example, gamble and place bets of $1000 a time in high stakes games. That would be ruinous for me, but Warren Buffet wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Or you could have a couple of glasses of wine on an evening and maybe that’ll cause you to doze off or become forgetful, which is fine if you live alone but a terrible idea if you’re supposed to be caring for an infant and you neglect to test the water temperature at bath time. Or you smoke the odd joint and you’re in a job where no one cares what you do when you are off the clock and so that isn’t a problem but if your employer demands you take random drug tests this clearly is a problem if you characterised your relationship with narcotics as recreational and that you can stop whenever you want but you don’t stop and run the risk of getting fired.

        And so on. All you can do is reflect on this and be as honest with yourself about the answer as you can be.

        1. paul

          That is how a psychiatric friend, now retired, described the diagnostic process.

          It is not a problem until it becomes a problem.

          In the UK,psychiatry is very much at the bin end of the profession.

          The only difference he noticed in his career was the shedding of interest in such (seemingly) intractable conditions.
          Alcoholism was an early loser.

          1. Clive

            Yes, it’s the grotty, unloved end of the medical-pharmaceutical complex that dares to label itself as “healthcare”, which, like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an oxymoron providing as it does (-n’t) neither “health” nor “care” all too often.

            So-called “treatment” is of course community-based (meaning “on the cheap and prone to periodic defunding as and when the health budget-setting priorities wind changes direction”). And very heavy on the “send them away with some pills” approach that’s often the last thing addicts need. “Uncooperative” “treatment-resistant” patients are in not all that rare instances merely left to go and die or kill themselves.

            No wonder no-one ever gives it a second thought. Too busy trying to make names for themselves in the “glam” end of the profession or won’t-someone-think-of-the-children photogenic or headline-grabbing causes.

            1. paul

              I would add that my friend prided himself on never missing a day of work, and rebuking me for holding ‘unrealistic’ thoughts, melted in front of one of the endless reorganisations in his line of work.

              We haven’t talked very much about that time.

              It’s not a problem unless it happens to me.

            2. paul


              The current nomenclature is “non compliant”

              I’ve seen it on my mother’s notes, and as most of her troubles seem to be iatrogenic, that certainly boils my piss.

    3. dougie

      To avoid this, I often avoid the comment section at NC, and just read the articles. That didn’t seem to work for me this morning!

      1. Still Above Water

        I do the opposite – I skip the articles, and read the comments. If there’s an article worth reading, the comments will make that apparent.

    4. Wyoming

      I read the other day that subscriptions and general player numbers in on-line computer games has mushroomed during this crisis. That could be counted I suppose as another form of IA. Not to mention that the number of day traders in the stock market has likely jumped since the regular gambling venues like Vegas are shut down – I must admit that my son and I are in a little low dollar (sub 5 figure) competition in day trading ourselves.

  4. doug

    I recall magnetic bubble memory. My boss insisted on pronouncing bubble with a long ‘u’ as he breathlessly told us about it. good times…

          1. ambrit

            AI has arrived! Graphite magnetic memory systems now have “personality!” Huzzah!

            1. cwalsh

              Ferrite rod memory.
              The JC i was attending in mid 70s had NCR Century 200 mainframes in their data processing department. The ferrite rod memory had about 1% error rate, removable pack disk drives heads would crash if powered down. Good stuff.

  5. temporal

    “Racetrack Memory Will Make Your Computer Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger”

    The “published” link below the Getty image forwards the browser to so many sites that I chickened out. When it got to – which was in the link – it was time to bail. Nature being well known for their leading edge technology stories.

    Perhaps the author was feeling a bit stir-crazy. Aren’t we all?

    1. xkeyscored

      The Nature article doesn’t feature the ‘circuit city’ image, for whatever reason.

    2. Jeff W

      “Just look more closely at the circuit board!”

      The image (described as a “computer circuit board – A photo manipulation”) is by Brandon Goldman on Flickr.

  6. Fireship

    It is good to see the US as failed state meme going mainstream. Perhaps Morris Berman, author of Why America Failed, will now be recognized for his prescience. “Brazil with nukes” is how I’ve also heard it described. How long will the US lumber along in its present form? I presume smart people have plans to emigrate.

    1. ambrit

      Make that “smart people” with money. Even sanctuary has been financialized now.

    2. Synoia

      How long until the appearance of “United” in United States become a joke or a figment?

      How can a State seize the current Federal Taxes paid?

    3. Huey Long

      The great Dr. Berman will not be recognized in the US in our lifetimes.

      Luke 4:24
      And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

    4. José

      Since Brazil, unlike the U.S., has a public health system, perhaps the description of the U.S. as “Brazil with nukes” is not quite accurate.

        1. Oregoncharles

          For real? I’ve seen references to instability, but this is the first I’ve seen of an outright, if very quiet, military takeover.

          Anybody from Brazil on here?

    5. MLTPB

      I read the only mention today, before this comment, in the story about the restaurant that reopened in Colorado.

      But that seems to me to be more about our culture, our society and us as people, than just, or only, about the state (or shape or condition) of our state.

    6. km

      The United States is NOT Brazil with nukes.

      Brazil has, among other things, better weather and a less hyperbelligerent foreign policy.

  7. timbers

    Trump’s spy chief declassifies list of ALL Obama administration officials who were ‘involved in unmasking Michael Flynn’ and hands their names over to the DOJ Daily Mail

    If there were an honest to goodness free media dedicated to truth in the U.S., it might be asking the Norwegian Nobel Committee some pointed questions about their decision to give the prize to Obama and might it be better to revoked it to transfer it to Flynn?

    Some in Norway have said their Peace prized is used to advance America over Russia. Wouldn’t supporting getting America out of the ME (Flynn) be compatible with supporting America?

    1. Acacia

      Obama getting the Nobel pretty much blew all credibility of that award. As John Pilger put it: “The Nobel Prize committee’s decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills.”

        1. Darthbobber

          I never understood how Kissinger got one for taking 5 years to basically lose a war, and Wilhelm 2nd didn’t get one for accomplishing the same thing.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        They gave it to the EU. At the time, my thought was that it was just lazy. Now I see it as prescient of the dumbing to come.

      2. John A

        The Nobel committee have sheepishly admitted there is no mechanism for stripping someone of a Nobel prize. The peace prize is the only one awarded by a Norwegian committee. Norwegians are the butt of dumb jokes in Sweden, as the Polish in America, I understand? When Gorbachev was awarded the peace prize, the joke in Sweden was that he definitely would not have been awarded the Nobel prize for Economics (awarded by Swedish bankers, actually, not part of the original Alfred Nobel will).

    2. Carolinian

      Flynn thought America should get out of Syria but was supposedly picked by Trump because he is an Iran hawk. So that would hardly be getting the US out of the ME or make Flynn a good guy. It would however explain why the Obama people were out to get him since the Syria disaster is Obama/Hillary’s baby.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Flynn had a list of countries he wanted to go after in his speech at the 2016 Republican convention IIRC. I knew nothing about him at the time, but after his speech, I recall thinking he was a little unhinged. He may have been right about Syria, which is a good thing, but a peacenik he is not.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Or: Susan Rice et al knew Flynn could lift the covers on anything and everything Russian and the dirt and lies and assault on the institution of representative democracy by Team Obama would see the light of day. Which now in the fullness of time, they have. Publicly for three years, from every rooftop and TV show, they were screeching about how Trump was Putin’s puppet when simultaneously, under oath, each and every last one of them testified they had absolutely no evidence of anything of the kind.

        Susan Rice, on Obama’s very last day in office, with Joe Biden in the room: “Let’s not share all of our Russian dealings with the incoming team. Comey says he’s on board”.

        I’m old enough to remember Watergate and a nation transfixed on it to the exclusion of everything else. They asked: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”. My answer is to state the obvious: “Everything, from the very beginning”.

        You can’t simultaneously be all for dirty tricks when it’s your team that does them *and* continue to want a constitutional republic with leaders selected by the people at the ballot box. So which is it?

    3. Procopius

      Errr… I thought Flynn was all in for invading Iran, or at least (at the time) sending combat troops to Syria “to counteract Iranian influence.”

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Passenger blasts United Airlines for yet another packed flight amid coronavirus

    A fair amount of bad behavior by many people (United, passengers, etc) in this little article, none of which is very smart or defensible.

    If planes are ‘supposed to be’ 2/3 full (i.e., nobody in the center seat), are people prepared to pay a lot more for flying? Who will be paying for those empty seats, the masks, gloves, sanitizing, and temperature sensors?

    The idea that people can rebook 24 hours in advance, or once they get to the gate is a non-starter for people who don’t have optionality in their travel plans.

    Going forward, there may be only two ticket classes: the expensive lower-risk flight that is 1/2 full, or the cheap cattle car for those who don’t pay up.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As far as I’m concerned, this goes directly to the “legitimacy” of this whole corona virus story.

      On terra firma, Elizabeth, NJ is flying drones over neighborhoods blasting sirens and squawking orders to get out of your backyard and back inside, cops are busting beachgoers who sit down instead of keeping moving, robot dogs are patrolling parks for social distancing and governors are telling shoppers what they can and cannot buy in the stores that have been deemed “essential,” and how many souls can be in a boat at one time.

      At 30,000 feet, human petri dishes are crowded together in aluminum tubes, transported thousands of miles, and dispersed throughout the land and the world like one giant sneeze, without so much as a sidelong glance.

      C’mon, man. I think we’re being royally punked here.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        May 12, 2020 at 11:31 am

        I think for a long time we have understood that a lot of the procedures at airports are “security theater”
        I think it will soon dawn on people that a lot of corona virus precautions are “corona theater”

        Cheap, obvious, ineffective actions that hurt the poor are preferred to expensive effective actions that inconvenience the rich because they are so much cheaper /sarc…
        Wait – that’s true, we always harm the poor and help the rich – but, it is sarcastic to say it is cheaper, because it really is more expensive to not take effective actions…

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        This reminds me — a number of years ago I remember reading a short sci-fi story about a society where there were aerial surveillance drones that monitored gatherings in people’s back yards and on the streets, with dire consequences for those who didn’t follow orders (and another ‘advertising’ drone insect thing).

        Anybody know the title/author?

        It seems our science fiction future is here.

        1. ambrit

          It sounds like early Philip K Dick. I remember him having, in a story, a hovering drone that followed debtors around broadcasting their status as ‘deadbeats’ to one and all.
          Then, there were the clouds of security drones surrounding the Neo Victorian elite enclave in Neal Stephenson’s book “The Diamond Age.”

      3. Bugs Bunny

        If you don’t like it, you can fly private. That’s what people coming to Nantucket and the Vineyard this summer are doing. /sarc

      4. Pelham

        It certainly looks that way. The discrepancies may be explained by the fact that the airlines have the political clout to insist on endangering the public while beachgoers and backyard visitors have no such clout.

        What I’d like to see is some original thinking about how we get large numbers of people from point A to point B, regardless of the distance traveled, without subjecting everyone to the danger of fatal infections.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Giant trebuchet. People would be in close quarters at first, but would spread out once in the air.

          1. fresno dan

            lyman alpha blob
            May 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm

            1st class trebuchet – 1 person per bucket
            2nd class trebuchet – 2 people per bucket
            Couch – as many as you can squish into a bucket – no guarantee that you are alive when you are flung out…

  9. The Rev Kev

    “White House officials asked to wear masks in West Wing”

    Wait, wait, I can beat this level of Idiocracy. So today in Australian, you had the Treasurer – Josh Frydenberg – give his speech in Parliament on the economic situation because of Coronavirus. I invite readers to watch the following 106 second video as to what happened next. I told my wife that it was like watching a f****** drunk driver in action-

    Note that because of his position, that he has been with the Cabinet and the Prime Minister and god knows who else. You will note too the absence of masks in Parliament. Frydenberg has now gone into self-quarantine and taken a Coronavirus test. Everybody else that was with him now gets to drum their fingers for the next week or two.

      1. HomoSapiensWannaBe

        Or, as one of my I.T. consultant buddies used to say, “You can’t outsmart stupidity.”

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Nothing can be made foolproof because fools are too ingenious. . . .

  10. Wukchumni

    For what it’s worth dept:

    Had a nice chat with the UPS driver in our area, and he told me the last 4-5 delivery days have been tantamount to the rush just before xmas in getting goodies…

    …i’m guessing its mostly foodstuffs from Amazon

    1. Eduardo

      Oh, and hover over the image at the link above for a tour of the Atlanta airport, Angor Wat, etc.

      I also noticed the image is (c) All rights reserved.

      1. xkeyscored

        Thank you! I had to enable oodles of Javascript to do the hovering, but there’s Russian mountains, a golf course, two MS campuses, even a bobbin for quilting!

        Haven’t they invented a racetrack memory hole yet? I see the image is still there on Popular Mechanics’ website.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I visited Brandon’s Goldman’s website following the link attempting to download the photo from the site you provided: []. His work looks quite wonderful to me.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: Israel turns surveillance tools on itself”

    This is a terrible experience for the Israelis. They are being spied upon by the intelligence agencies, they are locked down in their own homes, their economy is being destroyed, they have lost their freedom, they are being tracked and geo-located, they have drones spying on them and they feel like someone is crushing their privacy. But as far as I know, there is no “We Are All Palestinians!” meme going on there at the moment.

  12. Redlife2017

    Anyone see this at Free to Read in the FT: Paris, Texas, offers a cautionary tale on reopening America

    “Until late last month, there had been no coronavirus deaths and only a handful of cases among Paris’s roughly 25,000 residents, all of them linked to out-of-state travel…

    Then, at the end of April, a suspected outbreak ripped through one of the city’s nursing homes, prompting local officials to embark on a scramble to secure sorely needed tests.

    ‘Testing is in extremely short supply across the entire state, and across the entire country,” said Dr Steve Clifford, a local physician and the city’s mayor. “You might order 100 and you’ll get a fraction. There just aren’t enough of them.'”

    Everyone in that nursing home including staff was infected. Staff (since there was no ability to test as per the mayor) ended up going all over town and infecting people.

    “‘It will reach the point where we have significant community spread, and that’s probably where we’re heading right now,” said Dr Clifford.

    Despite attempts to trace contact between nursing home staff and other residents, Dr Clifford said: “I don’t think anybody knows where the original source was, we have no idea.’”

    And now to the money quote:

    “Still, Dr Clifford describes himself as a reluctant supporter of the reopening of Texas towns such as Paris.

    “If you could be here and see what it’s doing to my town, you’d see that our businesses are going to go bankrupt, several of our restaurants will never open again. And, the longer this goes on, the more [the local economy] will go away,” he said.

    He added: “There is danger in not reopening too: no jobs, poverty, a lack of money. People will lose their homes, their businesses, their cars. They will lose everything.””

    The whole article is worthwhile to read as it also discusses the huge issues with getting enough “kit” to do testing. Depressing…

    I do feel for the mayor. A no win scenario. I get the feeling that our current leaders are like Admiral Kirk and his ingenious cheating in the Kobayashi Maru test. In the end, at least, he understood what he had run away from: “I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and – patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing…”

    Will our leaders learn that lesson? (I go with no, but I am very negative about stuff right now)

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Excellent analysis and the Kobayashi Maru analogy is something I’ve thought about regarding the White House. There’s no Kirk there though.

      1. paul

        There was an episode ‘mirror mirror’ where all of star trek’s ethics were repolarised.

        I think the infernal machinations of finance and technology have transplanted humanity into that world.

        We just haven’t been told about it.

    2. ewmayer

      So why is “reopen but insist on mask-wearing when closely interacting with anyone not sharing one’s own home” seemingly not an option? Because it’s Texas and one would risk being shot on sight as a suspected masked-bandit or cattle rustler?

  13. Winston Smith

    salamanders should not be handled as it may cause them harm due to their very absorbant skin. Leave wildlife alone…just observe and do you your best to not disturb

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Oxford begins study to prevent worsening of mild coronavirus cases, to start with HCQ

    It’s about damn time.

    Finally a morsel of sanity somewhere in this whole sorry affair.

    1. Rhondda

      Totally agree. But I’d prefer to see an organization NOT Oxford-affiliated do that quality study.

    2. flora

      I found no mention of zinc in the article. No mention that HCQ will be test with zinc and/or without zinc. There’s anecdotal evidence that zinc increases HCQ’s effects or efficiency.

      I am glad they’re testing HCQ. Hope they will test HCQ both with and without zinc. Might make a difference; if it does not then that will be good to know as well.

  15. Brindle

    Nice thread from Chris Arnade on class war and covid:

    “Me: Who is going to make you that cut of sirloin steak delivered via drone?
    Futurist: Robots!
    Me: You keep predicting that and it doesn’t happen
    Futurist: Person shrugging
    Me: So just like now, you are going to be dependent on the exploited labor of undocumented immigrant.”

    1. MLTPB

      What does he say about, say, a Swedish vegetarian futurist who gets fruits and vegetables from Spain or N Africa?

      The problem is wider, I think.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Medicine shortage crushes Aussie ICU capacity”

    Like the US, the bulk majority of our medicines is manufactured elsewhere as in “Australia has almost no capacity to manufacture any active pharmaceutical product for most of the products listed on World Health Organisation’s list of Essential Medicines.” Thank you Neoliberalism. But the author’s idea is that Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has forced the large majority of off-patent product manufacturing.

    A quick explanation of what this Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is. The government subsidizes a list of drugs that are considered necessary. But to get on that list, a company has to prove that that drug has a net benefit. It is no good having a Big Pharma company turning up and saying we have a drug that treats “blinkey-eye syndrome” and expect to get on that list. They have to prove it which is why US pharma companies hate this scheme. The net effect is that when I get a drug for my son, it will only cost US$4 whereas that same drug in the US may cost several hundred dollars because markets.

    So they author is suggesting that if we get rid of the PBS, then drug manufacturing might return to Australia. But if a wealthy country like the US also cannot manufacture their own drugs, then this argument is just patent rubbish.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The FBI tried to listen into their conversations to see what they were up to but it was no use. Like their windtalking grandfathers of WW2, they were talking Navajo to each other!

  17. Tomonthebeach

    Feeding the Chinese US Meat.

    As predictable and annoying as the Reuters story may be, it is difficult not to see Trump rubbing his hands together in glee gloating that we can 3 times the price if we sell our meat to the Chinese and likely reduce our bond debt to them at the same time. “Boy and I a stable genius dealmaker or what?”

    1. ewmayer

      The actual article notes the resume-meat-products-exports-to-China agreements and resulting ramping-up of that capacity (much of which is specialized to the Asian market) predate the pandemic – headline is misleading.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Cargo ship sailors press-ganged into keeping the world’s trade afloat ”

    What if those crews went on strike? What are the companies going to do – send them home as punishment?

    1. MLTPB

      I wonder if it’s similar with bus drivers, train conductors, pilots and flight attendants.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The companies would helicopter in mercenaries with orders to keelhaul the crew. Blye’s rule: Ship’s discipline must be maintained.

    3. chuck roast

      Uh, sailors don’t go on strike, the mutiny. And the punishment for mutiny is………

      1. Mel

        “a royal pardon for all crews, reassignment of some of the unpopular officers, a pay raise and abolition of the purser’s pound. Afterwards, the mutiny was to become nicknamed the “breeze at Spithead”.”
        Viz. The Spithead Mutiny, where it turned out that the crews were right, and the Navy, remarkably, figured that out.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “China Is Defensive. The U.S. Is Absent. Can the Rest of the World Fill the Void?”

    So for months Scotty from Marketing has been dealing with this pandemic. But for him, it is all about the economy and only the economy which is why he always talks about “workers” and not “people”. For weeks he has been trying to force the States to re-open all the schools so their parents can go back to work for the economy. And in his briefings, he will never use a sentence when he can use a paragraph instead. So the figures are now in and they look bad. The GDP has dropped by 10% this quarter which is a record. Unemployment will hit about 10% which is also bad. And household consumption is expected to be around 16% lower and business investment is expected to fall by 18%. Like everywhere else, it is a bloodbath.

    You would think that such a man would laser focus on rebuilding the economy then. Trying to make solid relations with our trading partners to get things up and running again. Nope, not our Scotty. He decides that the best thing to do is to pick a fight, on behalf of Trump, with our biggest trade partner – China. The investigation that he talks about is to really pin the blame on China itself for the virus and the Chinese are p*****. So, to put a shot across Scotty’s bow, they have stopped imports of meats from four abattoirs on Oz and are making sounds about halting barley imports. If Scotty from Marketing is expecting gratitude from Trump, I have news for him and it is all bad-

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    The plot thickens:

    Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said she is in “regular contact” with Joe Biden and she has been working with his campaign, but she would not comment directly on whether she has discussed being his running mate. “I keep my counsel with the vice president’s campaign private,” she told CBSN’s Tanya Rivero in an interview Monday.

    Female. Lesbian. Wisconsin. Check, check, and check.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      At least she’s a good candidate. Left of Biden, if not by much. Sort of locks up Wisco, unless Trump pulls himself out of the no-win situation by election day.

    2. Massinissa

      I mean, just about anyone is better than Harris or Abrams. And on Abrams I say this as someone who voted for her against Kemp.

    3. John k

      I had thought she would be a good pick for Bernie. If biden is seriously thinking of her, she’s not nearly as progressive as I thought. But certainly more so than any of the other wannabes.

    4. ewmayer

      “Female. Lesbian.” — I personally haven’t met many non-female lesbians, but it’s probably because I’m narrow-minded, or something. :P

      1. Alice X

        This is identity politics. No matter female, lesbian, what have you. Nominate a Marxist or an Anarchist, whichever, and you will understand the political divergence.

  21. Drake

    For Some “Facebook Empathy Moms,” Joe Biden Is Just Another Compromise Mother Jones

    And a lot of voter opinion, she says, will hinge on how much airtime the allegations receive in the coming weeks and months. That doesn’t just mean news stories with new information—attack ads, Undem says, could play that role, something the Trump campaign already seems to have realized. “Ultimately,” she says, “it could create the impression that neither candidate, and neither party, is good.”

    Golly, yes, it would be horrible to create that impression. If only some trustworthy PR machine could re-establish one party’s essential goodness.

  22. xkeyscored [specifically, in the Malayan horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus malayanus]

    More evidence, for those who want it, pointing to this thing being natural.

    “This newly discovered bat coronavirus, which the team has called RmYN02, was identified during an analysis of 302 samples from 227 bats collected in Yunnan province, China, back in the second half of 2019.”

    “RmYN01 only had a low match to SARS-CoV-2. But RmYN02 was something of a jackpot. This coronavirus shares 93.3 percent of its genome with SARS-CoV-2, and one particular gene called 1ab shares 97.2 percent – the closest match in that gene to date.

    Then there are the insertion events. RmYN02 contains amino acid insertions at the point where the two subunits (S1 and S2) of its spike protein meet. SARS-CoV-2 also has S1 and S2 insertions – they’re not the same amino acids in the two viruses, but it shows that these insertions can occur naturally, no lab required.”

    1. ewmayer

      “pointing to this thing being natural” — Good to know, but in no way rules out laboratory manipulations. Collecting a bunch of different animal species harboring ‘interesting’ viral variants in a lab, cross-infecting them and seeing what chimeric viruses “properties of interest” (e.g. able to infect humans, exceptionally virulent) result is one of the standard techniques in gain-of-function research. Moreover, it’s much quicker to do this sort of thing in a lab than let it happen on its own in nature. Once you’ve created some interesting chimeras, you can move to “iteratively improving” them using a variety of genetic manipulation techniques.

      1. Duck1

        if this thing is a lab creation, is that some sort of promethean problem for the gain of function crew?
        splayed on a rock with their liver consumed daily seems apropos actually if this turns out to be the case

        1. ewmayer

          “if this thing is a lab creation, is that some sort of promethean problem for the gain of function crew?” — Yes, very much so, a fine analogy. Note that said ‘crew’ includes none other than a certain Dr. Anthony Fauci, by way of his support for the research grants to the Wuhan institute to conduct this kind of research. Again, no clinching evidence either way on the natural-vs-manmade issue, just noting that none of the ‘debunkings’ I’ve seen so far do any such thing. And I again quote Yuri Deigin in his fine deep-dive into GOF:

          I hope this post is not used to prematurely assign blame or propagate one-sided theories. What I do hope it highlights is the scale of dangerous gain-of-function research that has been and is going on in virology. The Covid-19 pandemic really exposed its huge risks in the face of few benefits: GOF research hasn’t protected us from this outbreak, hasn’t provided us with any effective treatments or vaccines in time to save hundreds of thousands of lives lost to CoV2, and if there is even a 0.1% chance GOF research caused the whole thing, that chance is too high.

    1. Oh

      His so called exposes have always struck me as investigating something everyone found out a long time ago but he never got the memo.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Colorado restaurant illegally reopens with no social distancing ”
    Since shut down by the health department.

  24. xkeyscored

    BBC World Service radio has an excellent half-hour piece “Wuhan: The beginning of coronavirus Covid-19,” with interviews (mostly done in English by actors) with Chinese doctors, journalists and so on. And it doesn’t go for any simplistic China got it all wrong/China got it all right nonsense.
    I think many a reader will find it very interesting.

    1. J.k

      I just read how china plans to test everyone in wuhan within a week. Thats over 10 million people. This is so depressing.
      I too am coming around to the idea the whole test, trace, quarantine method in the u.s. is going to be little more than theatre. Even as theatre it may be marginally helpful. In order for it to have worked we would have been testing millions daily, along with providing quarantine housing(hotels,etc). Along with an army of tracers deployed weeks ago. I would guess that would require several hundred billion dollars. It probably would have required much more strict “lockdowns”.
      I just dont think the political system along with media in this country is capable of what was required regardless of who the president is. I heard some talking head mention while rightfully shitting on trump how the u.s during ww2 was pumping out over 50 aircraft fighters daily. Yet we cant build enough testing equipment and masks. Needless to say you cant just blame trump for this.

      Here is something i had bookmarked back in april but did not share . Its a starbuck in china where an employee came down with covid. They shut the store down and informed people that might have been in that store in the previous week and offered them free tests at the site of the starbucks. Looks at the pics of people lined up. I showed this to a friend who refused to believe this. He has to convince himself that scenes out of china such as this are staged. You know, evil ccp nazis and all that jazz.

      And now “China gets top score as citizens rank their governments’ response to the coronavirus outbreak”,

      As an American, frankly makes a grown ass man want to cry. I say this not out of some sense of wounded national pride.

      1. xkeyscored

        I don’t know if you listened to that BBC thing, but one or two of them make the point that whatever the failings of the initial Chinese response (and they’re hardly kind on that score), they couldn’t imagine somewhere like the US shipping 40,000 health workers into a city and housing them and providing them all with three daily meals etc etc. Nor could they imagine US citizens tolerating armed guards checking them in and out of their homes etc etc. I wonder if they imagined thousands of health workers being laid off, and armed gangs demanding their self-evident right to infect?

  25. Laughingsong

    “What Is the Real Coronavirus Death Toll in Each State?”

    The date ranges are all over the shop. Could it have been too hard to find more recent data? The NY numbers go until May 2, then some to April 11, then April 4….Oregon graph stops at March 28. How is this informative?

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