Links 6/18/2020

Dear patient readers,

Behind today. Please come back at 7:45 AM to get a full ration.

Blue Whales Make Rare Appearance Off San Francisco Coast, Prompting Warning For Ships SFGate (David L)

See the summit of Mount Everest in 360 degrees National Geographic (David L)

These Tiny, Treetop-Living, Ewok-Looking Creatures May Be Getting Socially Distanced to Extinction NRDC (furzy)

Dark Matter Experiment Finds Unexplained Signal Quanta (David L)

Extremely Sensitive Dark Matter Experiment Detects Something Weird Gizmodo

Soap bubbles pollinated a pear orchard without damaging delicate flowers PhysOrg (Robert M)

Planting trees is no panacea for climate change, says ecologist UCSC (David L)

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice Berkeley (DK)

Irish neolithic upper class were inbred…. plus the earliest Downs Syndrome child found (5000 years old) PlutoniumKun


A warning from South Korea: the ‘fantasy’ of returning to normal life Financial Times

Cambodia demands £2,400 ‘coronavirus deposit’ from arriving travellers Independent (resilc)


WHO halts trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients Reuters

Claims of a mutating virus spook Beijing Asia Times (Kevin W)

Terrifying chart shows how Covid-19 patients who end up in hospital may be almost certain to die if they have a vitamin D deficiency Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Chinese firm says its vaccine candidate passes phase two clinical trials South China Morning Post (resilc)

Moving Personal Protective Equipment Into the Community JAMA (MA)

Demand for face shields looks to be heating up as Canadians seek summertime COVID protection CBC (MA)



Florida, Texas and Arizona set records for daily COVID-19 cases The Hill

236 people got the coronavirus after an Oregon church held services during lockdown — more evidence that religious gatherings are superspreading hotspots Business Insider. Kevin W: “Read the last line.”

Florida bars and restaurants close just a week after reopening Independent

Montgomery Council votes down mask ordinance to doctors’ disgust Montgomery Advertiser (furzy).

#WalkAway founder removed from flight for refusal to wear mask, as US airline trade group threatens to blacklist violators RT (Kevin W). About time. On the American flights I was on last week, the flight attendant patter included a weird statement about showing consideration for passengers not wearing masks, when no one had been allowed on board without one. Also what gives American the right to remove passengers not wearing masks is not the law but its Contract of Carriage, which allows it to expel passengers that pose a danger to safety.


Airbnb released a 38-page handbook with cleaning and disinfecting protocols — and it suggests that hosts have full PPE on hand, including optional shoe coverings Business Insider (Kevin W). Talk about PR/virtue signaling. Odds are high that at most 10% of AirBnB hosts will go to this level of effort and expenditure, particularly with bookings having collapsed.

India-China face-off live updates: No troop missing in action, say Indian Army sources Times of India

India-China clash: Diplomats ‘strongly protest’ over border clashes BBC. Furzy: “The Indian Army claims they were overwhelmed by the Chinese by some 10 to 1.”

KGB chief Andropov still Russia’s mythical man Raamop-Rusland. Chuck L: “Andropov seems to occupy a space in the Russian historical imagination as John Kennedy does here in the USA. Lot’s of room for ‘what might have beens.'”


Yemen’s dead and injured children haunt Saudi-led war DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over’: iPhone feature will record police interaction, send location FOX 29 News Philadelphia (Chuck L)

A flood of coronavirus apps are tracking us. Now it’s time to keep track of them. MIT Technology Review (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

America: Too Weak to Rein in Its Own Empire? American Conservative (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump Put Re-Election Prospects Ahead of National Interest, Bolton Alleges Wall Street Journal

Book Review: John Bolton’s ‘The Room Where It Happened’ New York Times. Furzy:

…The book is bloated with self-importance, even though what it mostly recounts is Bolton not being able to accomplish very much. It toggles between two discordant registers: exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged.

Still, it’s maybe a fitting combination for a lavishly bewhiskered figure whose wonkishness and warmongering can make him seem like an unlikely hybrid of Ned Flanders and Yosemite Sam.

Trump’s push for major infrastructure bill faces GOP opposition The Hill. Gah. The big thing wrong with this on a high concept level (I am sure it would have grifting public-private partnership provisions) is that it is way too small (the $1 trillion is over 10 years).

Judge Orders Trump Administration To Give Tribes Their COVID-19 Relief Funds HuffPost

Why America’s Institutions Are Failing Atlantic


Democrat Facing Primary Challenge Flip-Flops on Social Security Intercept

Welders, Thongs, and Monster Trucks: Inside @QueerAppalachia’s Search For Community in the Deep South Esquire (resilc). Yes, I have to imagine the rural or semi-rural South is awfully inhospitable to gays. But the South does include New Orleans. And before I moved to Birmingham, I flew next to a making-no-attempt-to-hide-it gay man who had moved down because his partner had gotten a good job at the local conservatory. He secured employment quickly and was a booster of Birmingham. Similarly, there’s a neighborhood nearby with lovely houses and crappy schools which is well known locally to be a magnet for gays. So there are pockets of the South that may not rise to being gay friendly but are at least not gay hostile.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Terrell Bryant went to 38th and Chicago to kill a cop and die. He found a community instead. MinnPost (Chuck L)

This video of a tearful Georgia police officer accusing McDonald’s of withholding her Egg McMuffin order on purpose has gone viral MarketWatch (Kevin W)

‘Bakers Against Racism’ Are Launching a Virtual Bake Sale to Help BLM Causes Vice

There’s A Huge Gap In How Republicans And Democrats See Discrimination FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

When Will U.S. Shale Rebound To Pre-Pandemic Levels? OilPrice

YouTube Bans Mercola Videos, Google is really out of control. Looks like Mercola got in trouble not just for being a major anti-vax funder, but also for promoting his dietary supplements as superior to vaccines. But the remedy for that is not Google intervening but the FDA coming down on him like a ton of bricks for making medical claims. Dietary supplements makers typically pay big bucks to lawyers to stay on the right side of that bright line. I have no doubt the labels on Mercola’s products were compliant, but misleading advertisements and promotions are a no no. This is another really troubling example of Google acting in a quasi judicial manner.

Lawmakers accuse FAA of obstruction over Boeing 737 MAX, cast doubt on agency’s role ensuring safety Seattle Times. Discouraging. Dickson initially started down Boeing and even whacked them in media (cleverly done so as not to be too frontal). It almost seems Boeing showed him a horse’s head, that’s how different his current posture seems compared to early moves.

NYC Home-Purchase Contracts Plummet, Delaying a Price Reckoning Bloomberg

US pulls out of talks to tax tech giants in a blow to Europe’s plans (furzy)

Amazon’s Private Government American Prospect (resilc)

Stock-market legend who called 3 stock-market bubbles says this one is the ‘Real McCoy,’ this is ‘crazy stuff’ MarketWatch (David L)

Class Warfare

‘An Unstoppable Movement’: Sanders Praises Grassroots After Target Announces $15 Minimum Wage Common Dreams

Antidote du jour. Retaj: “Local geese in my neighborhood”:

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. russell1200

    Gay South – There were articles many years ago about how Southern, and even rural areas, were not particularly hostile to gay people – particularly at the one-to-one level.

    The South’s urban areas are melting pots of everywhere else in the country. So you wouldn’t think they would be any worse than the average, and most states have known “Liberal Areas” (Asheville and Chapel Hill are two in North Carolina) that are going to be (hopefully) more tolerant than average.

    Unfortunately, I have noticed that we get the North’s racists/homophobes in at least the same proportion that they exist up North.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think bigotry is a much more granular phenomenon that stereotypes allow for.

      With all the BLM things going on, an Irish newspaper recently ran a series of articles asking non-white Irish people about their experiences growing up, especially in rural areas and small towns. What struck me was the huge variety of experiences – some describing their upbringing as idyllic, with lots of friends and community support and no racism whatever. Others had truly harrowing stories of racist bullying and abuse in schools, sports clubs, from neighbours, etc. There didn’t seem to be any consistent thread of one particular type of locality being good, the others bigoted. I really don’t know what to make of the sheer variety of experiences, except to conclude that any kind of bigotry reflects many more dynamics than simply ‘rural vs urban’ or ‘liberal community vs conservative community’.

    2. fresno dan

      June 18, 2020 at 7:38 am

      I can only go by HGTV, but it seems to me that I see a lot of male couples remodeling, building, buying houses in the south on that show. Also, when I was in the service (30 years ago), I came in contact with numerous individuals from the south whose mannerisms struck me as gay (some were most assuredly heterosexual, but most I didn’t know), but was it southern charm/politeness or were they gay, I couldn’t say. In the 90’s I took a driving vacation from Washington DC to New Orleans, and the first thing that struck me is that the South apparently loves sushi. But to get back to the point, it seems to me practically every bartender waiter I met seemed gay to me. Oh, and in Mississippi along the coast in the riverboat gambling district there was a dinner theater presenting La Cage Aux Follies. But I had seen that at least twice at other local theaters as well on this trip – if that doesn’t indicate tolerance, at least it indicates that there isn’t maddog burn the buildings down opposition to gay thoughts.
      Bear in mind when I worked at FDA I had many gay friends, and my gaydar was very good – for northern professionals. In the south, the signals are all crossed. And one other point is that many FDA employees had very long commuting distances, and one gay guy bought a house in West Virginia (?Martinsburg?). He is married (to a man) and they frequent any number of bars and they are by no means closeted. So my conclusion tracks with yours I think.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I have a few thoughts. It varies between evangelicals and non evangelicals. I would imagine it’s probably similar to how blacks have views on certain communities. It might be more of a family structure too and the potential avenues. I went to a small catholic school (we still know everyone’s business) in Virginia, and there was one kid who turned out to be gay in my class. I gather he doesn’t speak to his parents (Anglican, so I guess my evangelical opinion might be off) and doesn’t have family in that area, but I know the lesbian from the grade below me (she’s a catholic) is still in the area, though she has a huge family down there. If there was a problem, I imagine she would still have family who would want to see her even if it was in the next town.

        As far as Southern men go, I feel like there is a flamboyance in that world which is crushed or doesnt exist in areas with a more puritanical founding.

        How things functioned prior to Stonewall spreading is entirely different. Then I tend to like Southern cities. I’m not sure where you were, and it might be that you were in the cities even the little ones. As for evangelicals, I mean they are the height of self parody.

        The gay kids who come out of one horse towns will have less avenues to be happy if it’s not popular in the family.

        1. Carolinian

          As far as Southern men go, I feel like there is a flamboyance in that world which is crushed or doesnt exist in areas with a more puritanical founding.

          Exactly. If you look at the significant US literary figures of the late 20th century–Vidal, Capote, Tennessee Williams, McCullers–you’d be more likely to conclude that the South is where the gays come from. That Southern Gothic eccentricity served as a pretty good disguise (doubtful that most of their audience even knew they were gay).

          Meanwhile the Northerners–Mailer, Updike–were the macho guys.

          My very Republican neighborhood with a church smack in the middle of it has rainbow flags hanging in front of houses and there’s an annual gay rights parade downtown. In this part of the South, at least, bigotry no longer has any official sanction. It’s bad for business.

          1. fresno dan

            June 18, 2020 at 10:57 am

            You hit the nail on the head as to what I mean. I don’t know if you have ever seen the movie Barton Fink, (a great movie) but there is a peripheral character who is an author (W.P. Mayhew is the character’s name in the film) who I take it is suppose to be a southern author, who has a flamboyance or drama about him and that is what I mean.
            Of course, the film Capote captures it well as well.

            1. Carolinian

              Barely remember the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink but the only point I was making is that gayness has, in the past, probably been tolerated here about as much as anywhere else. The Jim Crow South had plenty of other victims to keep them busy.

              1. ambrit

                I thought he was supposed to be F Scott Fitzgerald.
                I think that the constantly drunk “famous author” slash screenwriter with the female assistant in “The Last Tycoon” is meant to be Faulkner, and the female ‘ghost writer’ is meant to be Leigh Brackett.
                She was the real deal:

                1. The Rev Kev

                  I was just reading Leigh Brackett’s Wiki entry when I saw that she was married to Edmond Hamilton. I happen to have one of his books on my shelf – “The Star Kings” – and when I read through Leigh’s entry, I bet that there was a lot of her in that book. She sounds like she would have been a fascinating women to talk to.

          1. JBird4049

            Well, there use to be some difference between the term gay and being homosexual as the former was usually of the “I am gay and proud (or at least accepting) whereas the latter was the more unaccepting, clinical description of it. The “Hi, I’m Bob and I’m gay!” compared to “The ho-mo-sex-uals are trying to convert our children!”

            I found both to be annoying actually:

            “Yes, Bob we all know you’re gay, we knew even before you did.”

            “The ho-mo-sex-uals? Either you don’t get out much or maybe you’re trying to hide something? Maybe from yourself?”

            I’m guessing here that Senator Graham is of the second variety.

      2. km

        I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor have I any present intent of being “gay” or “southern” but I suspect without any particular evidence that:

        1. It depends a lot on where you live and what social class you are in. If you are a well-off professional living in a yuppie neighborhood in, say, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham, you can probably be gay to your heart’s content. At least as long as you are in your social milieu.

        2. If you are not so well-off and living in, say East Donkishoo, Mississippi (pop.746), you probably have fewer options. Closeted is one.

        You may be able to be more or less openly gay, so long as you are older, and not too flamboyant or “in-your-face” about it, and are careful where and when you go.

        In some circles, you may be able to get away with being an outrageous queen, tolerated and even protected because you’re a local, known and liked, and because you’re a laugh. (I understand this was one option that sometimes worked in the pre-don’t-tell military.) An outsider might have a much harder time.

        Anyone here, feel free to tell me that I’m full of it.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I suppose that if the South could accept a whole bunch of goddamnyankees moving down there, then accepting a bunch of gays would be a snap.

      1. ambrit

        Just wait a minute there cher. Those ‘Damnyanks,’ (hat tip to Ambrose Bierce,) came down with an occupying army at their beck and call. The Carpetbaggers and the old Plantocracy soon discovered many points of mutuality and eventually merged into the “New Boss Class.”
        Living in the South and accepting gays is, from this cynical old sod’s experience, a very complex and fraught process. The comment above about the importance of wealth and social status rings true. In America, where everything has a price, the rich get away with a lot more than the poor do. I have personally seen this dynamic at work in the cannabis milieu as well as, from the sidelines when I worked in the French Quarter, the ‘alternative lifestyle’ realm.
        Tellingly, one of the major “gay pride” events every year in New Orleans is fittingly called “Southern Decadence.” (You have to see it to believe it, take my word on that.) It is important to note that such ‘events’ happen in the major cities of the South. The point being that the local Chambers of Commerce, (in New Orleans, said chamber often being confused with the cloaca,) want that money rolling in and will countenance almost anything to facilitate that goal.
        Another aspect of the ‘gay’ experience in the small town South that I have observed is that as long as the ‘gay’ person does not pose some sort of threat to local power relations, that person or class is tolerated. The exception cited, the Evangelical communities, rather proves the rule. Roughly speaking, I suggest that the very existence of ‘gay’ people threatens the more insular group’s sense that G-d is as narrow minded as they are. Even the Evangelical communities are more granular than that, (I do traduce their characters a bit.)
        Oh well, as ‘they’ say; YMMV.

        1. Carolinian

          Tell it fellow rebel. Plus now they are cluttering up the landscape with mansionettes and horse farms.

          On the plus side–far fewer Confederate flags.

    4. Alfred

      Those who would like to learn more on this subject should start with Men Like That, by John Howard (1999) whose research into the situation in Mississippi overturned all the ‘common wisdom’ about the social lives of southerners who have sex with others of their own sex. I also recommend a work on the situation in Arkansas, The Un-Natural State, by Brock Thompson (2010). Predating both is one of the great landmarks of the sociology of homosexual life, Growing Up Gay in the South by James T. Sears (1991) — so readable and engrossing that you hardly notice its scholarship. Those three are merely the tip of a great iceberg of research that has brought much nuance to grasping the curious interaction between intolerance and tolerance of not only sexual but also the whole range of ‘othernesses’ that seems to be a hallmark of southern culture. What is ‘southern’ is perhaps not the local existence or even virulence of certain prejudices (be they homophobic, racist, sexist, …) but rather the peculiar approaches to expressing them on the one hand and mitigating them on the other.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice Berkeley

    From the article:

    “We thought, ‘What if we had some neutral age blood, some blood that was not young or not old?’” said Michael Conboy. “We’ll do the exchange with that, and see if it still improves the old animal. That would mean that by diluting the bad stuff in the old blood, it made the animal better. And if the young animal got worse, then that would mean that that diluting the good stuff in the young animal made the young animal worse.”

    One of the benefits of fasting is that its been demonstrated that it allows the clearing out of aging white blood cells and their replacement with fresh ones. I wonder if it also works for the proteins this study suggests are rejuvinated by dilution. Anyway, its just a thought, but fasting appears to me to be a cheaper and safer way to get many of the claimed benefits of more elaborate ways of resetting your biological clock. I’ve certainly found it beneficial.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Plasma does not contain white blood cells. It is mostly functional and non functional enzymes, antibodies, clotting factors, albumin, fibrinogen, and cellular waste,

      I would venture to guess that there is one of two things; a functional enzyme in the blood that when removed lowers oxidative stress or inflammation. Or it could be that thinner blood alone helps reduce stress. Fasting alone acts as a blood thinner so it might be that fasting means less garbage in the plasma.

      Most days I eat nothing till noon. :)

    2. WhoaMolly

      I experimented with a week of “intermittent fasting” a couple weeks ago. It reduced my blood pressure, blood glucose readings, resting pulse rate, and weight.

      If fasting was a pill it would be considered a miracle drug.

      1. flora

        I’ve just started intermittent fasting. The plan is to try it for a week. It gets good reviews for health benefits; it doesn’t seem extreme or dangerous. It’s more do-able for me than a strict no-food for 3-5 days type of fast.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          There seems to be some very solid science behind the benefits of intermittent fasting. I generally do 18 hours per day most days, with very occasional 5 days fasting. The ‘honest’ proponents (there are plenty of people on the internet selling their particular variation as a cure all), admit that there isn’t enough evidence to say which type works best. But there is sound science to suggest that fasts in excess of 3 days provide very deep and long lasting benefits – although its not recommended right now as you get a temporary drop in your immune response.

          The found my fitness website and channel (Dr. Rhonda Patrick) has some excellent deep dives into the science behind it.

          1. JBird4049

            So the times I was inadvertently fasting due to poverty was a good thing? That’s good to know!


    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think it says everything that the instinct of Boeing seems to have been to try to ‘fix’ the FAA rather than ‘fix’ the 737 Max. Unfortunately, the Covid crisis seems to have allowed them to do this. I don’t think this is in the interest of whatever will remain of Boeing any more than the interests of travellers. The one thing for certain is that if Boeing has a future as a manufacturer of civilian aircraft, it will have to return to the fundamentals of engineering. It is driving itself off a cliff right now, and the sad thing is that there aren’t many indicators that its management knows this.

      The aircraft manufacturing business is undergoing revolutionary change now thanks to Covid. Its more than the Max – Airbus is rapidly (even with its problems) taking up all the key future niches, in particular the mid-sized narrow body long range aircraft that are likely to be the backbone of future fleets. Hundreds of cheap nearly used 737’s and A320’s on the market will keep budget airlines going for a decade or more – they will have no incentive whatever to order new aircraft. The big long distance hubs will be hit very hard, as will the widebody market.

      The problem is that airlines will have little real choice if and when they do decide to buy new. Boeing will be a shell, kept alive with government money. The Sukhoi Superjet looks like being a Max scaled disaster for Russia. The Japanese have been quietly abandoning the Mitsubishi SpaceJet. Nobody outside China has any enthusiasm for the Comac. Embraer are in all sorts of trouble as their link up with Boeing is collapsing. Airbus has snatched up everthing of value from Bombadier.

      So it looks like Airbus is the last one standing, but even it, with its full order books, is looking for a mega sized bailout from France/EU, and is already suffering from the failure of the A380 and the poor performance of its widebodies. The world may well end up with nothing but A320 varients doing pretty much everything and a mix of smaller regional jets.


        Can you please assess how this devolution of the aircraft industry might affect the development of high speed rail? It seems to me that HSR is better able to bear increased per passenger costs of social distancing and improved ventilation, which I assume most passengers will want even if not imposed by government regulation.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          High speed rail has its own issues with Covid, not least that its economics in many countries is heavily tied in with business travel.

          The problem with HSR is very high capital investment cost and lead in construction times. And its generally only competitive with airlines within a fairly narrow range of distances. As a rule of thumb, HSR only wins economically against flying on trips of four hours or less – in other words, around 6-700 miles maximum. Faster trains, such as the new Chou Shinkensen, are monstrously expensive so probably only make sense in some parts of Asia.

          There is the possibility that European plans for very high capacity/high speed rail lines from the Baltic’s down through France might become part of a recovery package – but these things take time – Covid might provide an incentive to push some lines forward, but likewise everyone may decide that they are unaffordable and it would be better to accept less travel.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Irish neolithic upper class were inbred…. plus the earliest Downs Syndrome child found (5000 years old) PlutoniumKun

    Genetic studies really are revolutionising how we see the past – I found this fascinating because as a student I worked on one of these neolithic passage graves during excavations.

    I would suggest that the conclusion drawn by the archaeologists – that neolithic Ireland had an inbred aristocratic class – is unlikely. All the available evidence is that these communities were relatively egalitarian – there is no evidence of palaces or castles from the period, just scattered farming communities. It seems to me to be more likely that they had a caste of holy people or shamen who interbred within themselves, perhaps to protect their ‘magic’. They would of course had a special place within the community, but they were not necessarily a leadership or warrior class.

    One other random possibly correct fact – those neolithic farmers may have spoken a language similar to Arabic or medieval Hebrew. Irish gaelic is an indo-European language, but its grammar structure is surprisingly similar to the oldest middle eastern languages. Its been hypothesised that there was a language extending along coasts from the eastern Mediteranean to the north of Scotland spread by ocean going people (and the megalithic builders were certainly sailors, the geographical spread of similar remains shows this clearly) – when the Indo-Europeans rolled over Europe in the Bronze Age, it replaced the language, only leaving the Semitic languages untouched, and a shadow of grammatical structure in the most peripheral Indo-European languages, in Irish, Welsh, and Breton.

    1. divadab

      Perhaps. But the purported bronze age expansion of the indo-european languages is far too late to account for the genetic history. Bronze age steppe genetics are present at equally high levels in indo-european speakers AND Finnic speakers – both populations experienced a bronze-age sweep of very successful men who largely replaced the previous male genetics (female lineages were relatively unaffected, which is interesting to say the least). If they carried indo-european languages, how is it that Finnic-speaking populations were equally affected genetically but retained their language?

      Indo-european roots are much deeper in Europe – perhaps as far back as the mesolithic – but certainly the early neolithic farmers spread from asia minor in several great migrations – one up the Danube and northwest; one along the mediterranean and thence up the Atlantic littoral; and the other east. The balance of evidence is that these farmers spoke indo-european languages, since they came from the area with the oldest attested indo-european languages, the Anatolian languages, among them Hittite.

      Not a widely held view, I admit – since the steppe expansion is such an appealing and widely believed story. Do your own research – genetic studies are uncovering more and more information of this complex and fascinating history.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The passage grave Neolithic farmers were genetically distinct from the earlier Mesolithic peoples, but share little genes with later Irish dwellers, so it is likely that the Indo European speakers more or less replaced them as a population, as they did the hunter gatherers. The archaeological evidence is that the megalithic culture was quite a distinct ‘overlay’ – it may well have represented a particular tribe or culture that did not make up anywhere near the majority population of the people of the time. If you look at the geographical spread of those monuments they are very closely associated with major rivers and coastal areas, indicating that they were kind of like the Phoenicians or vikings of the age.

        1. divadab

          Well yes but you’re assuming the neolithics were non-indo-european speakers and I think rather they were. Then the later bronze age population replacement (note this was a male lineage replacement – female lineages were not substantially replaced) in Ireland and the UK with steppe genetics involved no language change.

          Note the western european neolithic lineages, mixed with earlier Western hunter-gatherer lineages, were NOT replaced with steppe genetics in SPain or Portugal or the mediterranean in general. Sardinian population genetics are pretty much 100% neolithic.

          European megalithic culture lasted thousands of years and was uniform over a wide area from Spain and portugal and Sardinia to France, UK, Ireland, and parts of Denmark, and Norway. More than an overlay it was rather the dominant culture of most of western europe.

    2. Darthbobber

      Would be very interested to see citations for big chunks of these claims. Particularly those relating to language. (Sounds like some of the reasoning once used to support the British Israel “theory.”)

      1. MLTPB

        I read earliest farmers in Europe were migrants from the Middle East.

        And in China, for example, the sage who introduced farming was named Shennong (literally the Divine Farmer). In one conference in 2004, but also long believed, he was said to be aslo the Yan Emperor. The Chinese used to or still do in descending from both the Yellow emperor AND the Yan emperor.

        The word for Yan, in current Chinese (not sure about its earliest form), is written with one fire character on top of another fire character.

        Is that to do with fire or volcano gods in areas to the west of China?

        Just speculating here.

        In any case, I am curious how Gimbutus’ goddess people fit in here.

        1. divadab

          Gimbutus’ story has allure but utterly fails to explain the Celtic languages, which expanded as Bell Beaker people in the bronze age from west to east, where they bumped into the LBK culture in central europe. See my comment above – and consider that most of western europe was celtic speaking when the romans invaded, including northern Italy (Cisalpine Gaul), all of France (Gaul), most of Spain and portugal, and all of the british isles with the exception perhaps of the eastern lowlands which may have been germanic-speaking early on (the closest language to english is Frisian and they share vocabulary related to fishing and boats and farming). If the celtic languages arrived in western europe in the bronze age from the steppe, as Gimbutus asserts, how did they accomplish such a massive language replacement without massively replacing the maternal genetics? Mother tongue is learned on mother’s lap – not from invading rapist father!

      2. PlutoniumKun

        There is a discussion of the similarities between the Celtic and Semitic languages here on the Langfocus channel. The most modern version of the theory that the similarities are due to a pre-Indo European Atlantean shared language has been argued by the linguist Theo Vennemann. Like a lot of academic linguistic research on Celtic, his work is mostly in German, so its not widely available.

        The similarities have been discussed by linguists since at least the mid 19th Century, and yes, they’ve been taken up by fringe theorists, but the similarities are accepted by mainstream linguists, although many consider them just coincidental.

    3. MLTPB

      Is the difference between ‘upper class’ and ‘upperclass’ the extra space?

      I was thinking neolithic juniors and seniors when I first read upperclass(neolithic)men.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Basque is a complete outlier, although there is some evidence from place names that similar languages were spoken more widely in Spain before the Roman conquest. Some have argued that it may have had connections with Pictish (the language of Scotland before the Gaels took over), but thats highly speculative. Some have also argued for structural connections with some languages in Central Asia, but I don’t think thats widely accepted. I think most linguists accept that its a remnant of a very early pre-Indo European language that survived because of the difficulty every conquered found in imposing their will on the mountains of northern Spain.

        1. Ignacio

          Because there aren’t remnants of other pre-Roman extint languages except a few writings that nobody can interpret but look somehow Basque it is difficult to say though common sense suggests that Basque, “Euskara”, could be similar to languages spoken by Iberians (not Celts) before the Romans. But unless somebody finds ‘rosetta stones` with good examples of these extint languages it will remain in speculative territory. When there is no good data lots of theories arise, some very wild.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Irish neolithic upper class were inbred…. plus the earliest Downs Syndrome child found (5000 years old)”

    Puts me in mind of a Roman account of the peoples that they found inhabiting the British Isles. Now it could just be Roman propaganda (conquered tribes bad!) but this account stated that when girls came of age, that their fathers ‘broke them in’ and then the girls would go with the brothers and then the cousins. The boys would be broken in by the mothers, then their sisters, then their cousins. If those accounts were even half true, then it might account for what they found in Ireland. I hate to say it but in such a setting, that local wars, slavery and kidnappings would lead to a form of exogamy for such a tribe which would counterbalance this effect.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For the life of me I have been trying to remember but it has been too many years, otherwise I would have named it.

        1. Darthbobber

          Must be referencing Julius Caesar, who refers to “their women being shared by up to a dozen men, particularly between brothers, or father’s and sons”, but these are not the brothers, fathers and sons of the WOMEN, its just saying the males are related to each other. (given promiscuity, limited range, preference for exogamy and neighboring clans/extended families, this wouldn’t be that odd, in that the near groups not too closely related to you would be kindred of each other.)

          Whether Caesar was capable of distinguishing between women choosing multiple lovers and women being shared is unclear.

    1. Watt4Bob

      A friend of mine was approached about 40 years ago, in a hardware store in Montana by a senior, male member of a minor religious community, and was asked if he might consider being sire to some children with this community’s women as they were concerned that their gene pool had become to narrow.

      My friend was half Irish, half German, and a stout, healthy looking farm boy.

      He speculated that the man somehow recognized his German ancestry and thought it might be a factor?

      When you consider how adept farmers are at breeding animals, and how long they’ve been doing it, it seems clear that there have been a lot of intentional experiments over the thousands of years we’re talking about.

        1. Watt4Bob

          No, he didn’t.

          He was young, and more confused by the ‘offer’ than tempted, and made so uncomfortable that he more or less ran away.

          He was telling me the story a couple years after the fact, and by that time he thought it might have been both a missed opportunity to serve mankind, and a better story if he said yes.

      1. TXMama

        I personally know of a case like this. He is my husband’s second cousin. His mom told us that about 10 years ago her son (a bachelor in his late 20s) was approached by Amish men. They offered him $10,000 to have sex with one young Amish woman who would have a bag over her head (I kid you not) during the act. He thought about it for a while as he could have used the money, but eventually declined, being a religious guy. At least that is what he told his mom. He seems to us to be a rather sober honest man, so we don’t doubt his story.

      2. Maritimer

        “…in a hardware store…”

        As they say, you can’t make this stuff up!

        I must ask then to what retail location in Montana would the “senior, male member” go to procure a fertile, nubile female for the “minor religious community’s” usage?

        1. Watt4Bob

          I think the man spotted him on the street, and followed him into the store.

          Somehow I don’t think they would attempt that angle. Men being more likely to shrug it off it not agree.

          Women, not so safe to approach with this sort of thing.

  5. An Upper-Class Family Affair!

    Upper class being inbred: when walking one of the mayan sites in Mexico the guide pointed out that one of the reasons they died out was the inbreeding of the upper class. Also he compared mayan art to ancient egyptian and noted that the reason why they drew the faces in the same way – head sidewaysbut body frontside – was because of the deformed faces coming from generations of inbreeding.

    Given the stagnant social mobility in today’s world, it is just a patience game until our oligarchs’ descendants will be too dysfunctional to rule

    1. Bugs Bunny

      The Mayan nobility used head flattening boards on their children to achieve that shape. It is only an artistic enhancement of the actual shape that we see in their artwork. Interesting practices among the Mayans. I’d have preferred their gods to the Spanish Inquisition that came with the conquest.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, I don’t know. After a while, you might find the local priests to be very importunate about your “heart” being in the right place.

  6. John A

    Re KGB chief Andropov still Russia’s mythical man,
    looking at the list of authors to this site, who are all atlanticists, it is clear which side of the divide they are on. Various sly digs about poor Navalny, and inuendos the ‘gilded lifestyle of Putin and his cronies’. Have never heard the phrase Obama’s gilded lifestyle even though he openly acquired a large waterfront property on the east coast etc., etc. Of course, most of these sites claim Putin is now the world’s richest man with a fortune of hundreds of billions without any visible evidence or proof. No wonder, people don’t trust western media anymore.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      IMHO, the article is nonsense. Very few Russians remember Andropov fondly, if they even recognize his name. As for VVP, his idol (if he has one) is Tsar Alexander III, not Andropov.

  7. Ignacio

    RE: Claims of a mutating virus spook Beijing Asia Times (Kevin W)

    I think we are going to see many replays of this kind of idiotic hysteria about new malignant strains coming from abroad, which in the case of China is a particularly idiotic attempt to change the history of the pandemic with a narrative of foreign malaises coming. Not that far from that other idiotic publication linked a few days ago counting the number of entries of SARS Cov 2 in the UK from abroad during a long period, as if the virus wasn’t already stablished with the very first introductions possibly in early february and these were those that mattered the most in the UK. Triying to count entries in march or april from anywhere made no sense since Covid-19 was already an English thing as much as it was Italian, French or Spanish. All this sounds as ridiculous pandemic nationalism.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Chinese have been pushing the narrative that covid is ‘foreign’ from the very beginning, even to the point of allowing conspiracy theories naming a specific Dutch-American athlete in the World Military Games being ‘Patient zero’ to circulate on social media. More recently, it is Africans, Indians and Bangladeshis who are becoming the potential scapegoats. I don’t think we are very far away from seeing a mass expulsion of certain categories of foreigner from China. Not that it may be necessary, there are lots of stories online of foreigners deciding that China has simply become too uncomfortable a country to stay in. Unless you are in a Beijing or Shanghai laowei bubble, things are getting very unpleasant for them.

      1. Duck1

        Just to maintain equality of idiocy, the Americans, i.e. the Trump regime have advanced the narrative that the virus leaked from one of the Wuhan virus labs (there are two) and that China should be financially liable for the subsequent world economic damage. I believe it is Unz, who runs what many consider a sort of outre compilation site, claims credit for developing the contrasting conclusion that American biowarfare was the cause, the military games in Wuhan being the most likely spread point, which was repeated by some Chinese officials. An anti-Chinese narrative has certainly been a thing in US, not sure how much traction it has had in the populace at large. Anybody who lived through the last forty years is probably sort of aware that much manufacturing was transferred by our wonderful elites to China under that clever rubric labor arbitrage.

        1. Ignacio

          I think it is too easy to resort to all kinds of idiotic claims to hide one’s mistakes and there are many mistakes made in search for idiotic narratives.

          Both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, as many others, were off guard regarding this epidemic.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The US biowarfare conspiracy theory was floating around China from China from the very beginning so far as I’m aware. It was given prominence quite early when a fringe Japanese TV channel publicised it based on Chinese sources. From there it was taken up by US based fringe theorists, which in turn reinforced the narrative in China, as for some strange reason youtube clips of conspiracy theorists in the US arguing for a US source were being circulated (with helpful mandarin subtitles) around WeChat ,despite youtube clips normally being blocked.

  8. Steve H.

    > but also for promoting his dietary supplements as superior to vaccines.

    A technical correction:

    : In a statement, his media team said the claims on M*rcola’s website relate to vitamin D and vitamin C generally and “do not mention Dr. M*rcola’s products whatsoever.

    Supplements in general, not just his. That link goes to the same WP that smeared NC. Look at the link they provide in the article; it is about supplementation. They point to one box:

    : Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks
    Why expose yourself and your family to the dangers of an ineffective vaccine when the solution is right outside your door?

    First, the solution right outside your door is sunlight, which he recommends over supplements! Is the vaccine ineffective?

    Yves: 45% effective in adults? That’s pretty poor. So don’t beat up on yourself too much. And the flu shots for some reason typically have very low efficacy in those over 60.

    So, Full Stop. There are three points here, particular general and particular. The particular is M*rcola. All I can say is that not quite ten years ago, I assessed all websites I was looking at and only two came up aces: NC and M*rcola. Both linked to sources, did in-depth assessments, and made ridiculous claims that turned out to be true (NC: taxes don’t fund government). People change and thus so can sites; as Yves said, McCarthyism works. Go to the source and use critical thinking skills.

    General: The censorship coming from the alignment of the Resistance and the corporate world is extraordinary. This really is a post-truth world. I’m glad NC was able to push back enough for the retraction. FU post-modernists for paving the way with bafflegab, the difference between critical thinking and critical theory.

    Particular: Lambert had requested no links to M*ercola, and I have honored that. Citing primary sources works best anyway. I am assuming the NC moderators don’t have time to do a full assessment themselves. But please, be light in piling on based on the opinions of those who already smeared you.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your remarks on the Washington Post are ad hominem, so it fails the “critical thinking” standard. You need to debunk what it says.

      And the Post is far from alone to point to dubious and self-serving advice by Mercola. This piece in the Chicago Magazine makes clear he does promote his own products via his articles:

      I have access to MDs who consult to sports teams on supplementation. People in sports do not mess around in terms of injury recovery, performance enhancement. muscle building, sleep quality. These doctors read studies and know statistics (a surprising number of MDs forgot whatever they learned in school) and know what is sound or not.

      They have a dim view of Mercola.

      I happen to be independently knowledgeable (I’ve done a lot of study and experimentation of my own). One reader regularly sends me Mercola articles. At least 40% have been really off base.

      Honestly, you are far more trusting of Mercola than he warrants. Here’s one example of his quackery: He sells a tanning bed for nearly $3000 and claims it’s a better way to get Vitamin D than supplements (and Vitamin D is a VERY cheap supplement). That is false:

      Q: I don’t think I’m getting enough vitamin D. Can a tanning bed safely provide me with the vitamin D I need? Aren’t tanning beds a lot safer than tanning outdoors, since they emit a controlled dose of UV radiation?

      No … no… no! A tanning bed will never provide you with the vitamin D that you need, nor is it safer than tanning outdoors. Not understanding the facts can literally mean the difference between life and death. Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation cause cell damage that can lead to skin cancer. When you lie in an indoor tanning bed, you are exposed primarily to UVA, which penetrates deep into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells beneath and prematurely aging your skin. But it is UVB (the sun burning rays) — not UVA — which helps the skin make vitamin D, so you are increasing your risk of skin cancer without receiving any benefit!

      I could provide many more but I need to turn in.

      And the comment about Mercola not directly promoting his own products is disingenuous. Mercola promotes vitamins and then sells them. How do you think he has the sales he has? By people seeing him promoting types of supplements and then buying his. It’s easy to find examples:

      1. Steve H.

        Re WP, I can go point-to-point on the contents of the article, but I’m not sure that’s the point.

        If you don’t think WP smeared NC, I withdraw the statement.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Do you not know what ad hominem means? The Post’s other sins have zero to do with this article.

          And Chicago Magazine shows he does promote his own products.

          More to the point, a lot of his advice is flat out wrong. And I have a big problem with his anti-vaccine stance on top of that.

    2. Olga

      In these looming battles, I think it is important to stick to the main principle. The names of sites are besides the point – what matters is an emerging notion that a corporation can decide what we can read and see. This will become normalized behaviour without a vigorous pushback. A slippery slope of censorship… first they came for (fill in the favourite)… and go from there. Where will it stop?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        So infuriating that it is what I used to think of as “my team” leading the full censorship charge.

        Like Matt Taibbi I am close to what would be described as a “free speech absolutist”. No need to describe what happens when you have a “Council of Deciders” do the gatekeeping: it’s always bad. Yes, peoples’ feelings can get hurt. Q: Do you think the feelings of the Bishop of Paris were hurt when les etudiants in the Quartier Latin questioned whether the Church was the source of all truth?

        Ignorance is, well, ignorance. I will never believe it is somehow better.

  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    Re: YouTube Bans Mercola Videos

    But the remedy for that is not Google intervening but the FDA coming down on him like a ton of bricks for making medical claims.

    We live in a Corpocracy, and Google is the Government, so this is as it should be. Or is this privatization of the FDA?

    1. Aumua

      On the worldometers site, Spain has not reported any deaths at all for some time now. So something funny’s going on there.

    2. Ignacio

      I am not certain what is happening but I think this has to do with the different Comunidades Autonomas (they are responsible for HC in each region) using different reporting “methods” for counting confirmed cases, hospitalizations and casualties so the government has halted reporting until they manage to get figures that are comparable for all (the motives are purely politic, and there is a political war on data). Since the 25 of May they are delivering garbage instead of data and are waiting (for whatever reason) to “consolidate” the data some day or another. Embarrasing but I would bet that the numbers of casualties must be in the same scale as France’s numbers.

      1. periol

        I feel compelled to add that buying records is my favorite way to support current artists. Most of the time you can purchase LPs and EPs direct from the artist online, and bypass some of the middleman corps taking their cut. That direct record purchase from the band is roughly equivalent to something in the range of several thousand streams on a streaming service (if not more). Plus, it’s mine with no DRM or IOT drama. I’m loving the neo-luddite analog revolution.

        1. hunkerdown

          Bandcamp allows high-quality (i.e. less lossy) downloads of full albums as well, with no DRM or IoT drama. That’s a model worth supporting.

          It sure beats paying for a “right to access” music, and “right to access” is literally the only thing that matters in neoliberalism.

  10. TheMog

    Interesting re Mercola – it really looks a bit like Google is indeed now play judge, jury and executioner in a bunch of cases. Just read somewhere else that they also stopped serving ads on Zero Hedge and another libertarian website as well, thus cutting into their revenue.

      1. Off The Street

        Ahh, the wonders of social media.

        Rest assured, someone, or something more likely, is combing through each commenter’s record and matching that up with any and all available data to develop a proprietary social media profile and score.

        Didn’t get that promotion? Too bad, you Liked that video or didn’t like enough that other columnist or comment.

        Didn’t get that loan, or whatever. Same approach.

        Jaron Lanier was right. If the service is free, you are the product. No warranty. No recalls. The new boss isn’t the same as the old boss because at least you might’ve recognized the old boss.

        1. WhoaMolly

          I often wonder what happened to the leaders of Occupy Wall Street.

          Did they face bank retribution? Were they ever again able to get a loan? Or a job? Or pass a credit check for anything?

          If so, pretty sure the retribution would be hidden from public view.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            0bama figured out who they were and sent the FBI to their houses. He never once failed in his responsibility to represent his constituency: Wall St.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            There were no “leaders” of Occupy Wall Street. That was the point.

            And the occupations were crushed after only two months.

            Cathy O’Neil was the de facto leader of a follow-up Occupy group, Alternative Banking, and it didn’t hurt her. She got a lucrative book deal (Weapons of Math Destruction) and now has a Bloomberg column.

            1. WhoaMolly

              re: She got a lucrative book deal (Weapons of Math Destruction) and now has a Bloomberg column.


      2. TheMog

        Thanks – I couldn’t remember what the second site was. IIRC “the comments” was the reason for pulling ads from both, at least from what I read earlier today.

        Bent the needle on the irony meter a bit, given that Google, FB et al are making liberal use of section 230 themselves.

      3. Bugs Bunny

        I’m not shedding any tears over that. When I was in law school, the Federalist guys ran the annual blood drive. We joked about why.

    1. Keith

      Zerohedge now has to moderate the comments section to Google’s liking and is subject to review. Loading their comments is also tedious now. It seems the PC police are pushing a full court press against wrong speak now.

    2. Olga

      There is nothing “bit” about. A corporation has appointed itself the arbiter of what we can read/see. A slippery slope of censorship… first they came for… If this is not terribly worrying, I don’t know what is.

    3. show_me

      Isn’t this a case of be careful what you ask for ? Didn’t people want them to monitor web sites and information/ad streams ? Well, guess what – this is the result. It deletes what you think should be ok as well as what you think is awful. Perhaps Google is following the time tested trick of ‘do a job badly and they won’t ask you again’.

      1. Darthbobber

        Well yes, I suppose those who wanted them to do that were indeed people, as were those who had a problem with that idea. After all, who would have views if not people? Or folks. If one is into pseudofolksiness.

    4. skippy

      ZH et al must be suffering some massive cog dis when a private company tells them what they can and can not do on its property.

  11. Steve H.

    > Stock-market legend who called 3 stock-market bubbles says this one is the ‘Real McCoy,’ this is ‘crazy stuff’

    : Asked what level of exposure investors should have to U.S. equities, Grantham offered an unflinching view that may leave some bulls gobsmacked. “I think a good number now is zero and less than zero might not be a bad idea if you can stand that.”

    Less than zero? Is he just turning a phrase, or is he talking about an actual finance action like shorting or hedging?

    1. rd

      I think that is what he is suggesting.

      BTW – the astonishing thing about the Hertz story is that Hertz has pulled its stock offering for a bankrupt company after the SEC called them on it. I had no idea that the SEC was still a functional institution.

    2. Off The Street

      Too bad various IRAs like Vanguard’s won’t let you invest in leveraged or inverse products. They want you to hold the bag all the way down or go into some cash equivalents.

    3. WhoaMolly

      A young couple I know wants to buy an expensive Santa Rosa California house.

      Maybe not a good time?

      1. Tom Stone

        WhoaMolly, if they don’t plan to sell for a decade or more they will probably be OK.
        If they plan to ell before that and break even in Nominal terms, probably not.

        1. WhoaMolly

          Tom Stone, Thanks. I think they are paying around $25-30K in *rent* per year. (shakes head and walks away talking to himself)

    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I have total respect for Grantham but find myself wondering whether he and many seasoned analysts have built their analyses with incomplete input variables in their equations.

      In software bug fix you always ask “what has changed since the last time it was working correctly?”

      In the prior bubbles we did not have unbelievably activist custodians and guardians of the value of the currency (central banks), willing to completely ignore anything and everything the market is telling them about the price of a security and just buy it up at full value with newly conjured “money”. The Fed has grown its “balance sheet” by two thousand billion dollars in just 8 weeks. I’ve not heard arguments that they could not continue to do so. Fed balance sheet today is +/- $8 trillion, why not $20T? $50T? Deutsche Bank even saw fit to write an analysis about what the maximum size might be: that article cited the figure $130T. In other words: one hundred thirty thousand billion “dollars” (in quotation marks because at that point surely those units of account would have lost all meaning).

      The upshot would be Hertz trading at $1,000,000.00 per share, or maybe more. Real Buzz Lightyear territory!

  12. zagonostra

    >An Unstoppable Movement ($15.00 minwage)

    Not sure this wasn’t stopped dead by COVID-19. Up until the virus hit, many municipalities and States were taking action independent of the Federal Gov. I think if MinWage increases it’s going to have to come from legislation like the one Sanders is proposing. But I’m not sanguine about his effort succeeding in this economic environment.

    Also what I’ve notices is that when a MinWage ordinance does go into effect, what’s known as “compression” is being muted. In other words if the MinWage goes to $15.00 the employer is not legally obligated to increase the hourly wage of someone working at $15.01, even though he/she may have many years of seniority. Compression refers to that additional amount someone making over the MinWage would receive. This is usually based on a table calculating the incremental amount they are to receive which is internally derived based on specific formula.

    1. periol

      The company that uses wage compression in a time like this might find itself having a hard time keeping those workers. If the job isn’t cake, why put in extra effort when you can go get a different minimum wage job elsewhere? And if they can’t leave now, they will leave as soon as they can, so…

      1. Franklin

        Besides, now that the Supreme Court has validate DACA, there are about a million extra work authorized young hispanics to compete with the 45 million unemployed Americans. Why raise wages with all those desperate people out there?

  13. Jesper

    About: US pulls out of talks to tax tech giants in a blow to Europe’s plans
    if there ever was any indication that governments are doing the bidding of business then it is that story. The US government going to bat for the benefit of shareholders of big business against the interests of just about everybody else.

  14. Geo

    “This is another really troubling example of Google acting in a quasi judicial manner.” & “Amazon Private Government”

    When we have actual presidential candidates calling for Social Media sites to censor political speech, Federal agencies that refuse to hold anyone in the upper classes accountable for their crimes, and a police force that uses lethal force on a man passing a phony $20 bill while the Fed prints trillions for CEO’s – it only makes sense that we have Google “enforcing” law breaking and Amazon running its own shadow government. Probably part of why “Twitter mobs” are so common since any other form of legit Justice is almost impossible it seems. All symptoms of a failed state.

    1. Carla

      Absolutely. I am sharing this article widely in the hopes of getting some of my family, friends and associates to quit their Amazon habits.

    2. Dirk77

      One surprising aspect is that this is a patent application. What exactly is worthy of a patent here? It’s a business process diagrammed in UML. If you told them the goal, any decent software person could get some colleagues together and knock one out in a week. Where is the abundant R&D done to realize an innovative product and justify patent protection? The USPTO, if it has any good IT people, should take about five minutes to reject this application. But then they allowed patenting of one-click, so who knows. And what is the worth to Amazon, apart from the patent preventing rivals from abusing their sellers in this way? I don’t understand.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: John Nichols tweet / BBC video

    There was a link here the other day that put paid to the Camden, NJ police miracle resurrection narrative, theatrical high-fiving and orchestral musical score notwithstanding.

    But look at that uniformed group lumbering down the streets and jovially greeting residents. All three of them look to be grossly overweight, and I’d be surprised if any of them could chase a “suspect” 25 yards on foot without a serious medical emergency.

    I can’t imagine that the implications of their physical limitations are lost on them personally, or on any “criminal” one of them might try to apprehend. I’m no psychologist, but I would also imagine that such an obvious physical mismatch could easily lead to a sort of “couch potato” theory of policing, in which it’s easier and “safer” to just pull a gun and shoot a fleeing suspect than to engage in a physically taxing, ultimately futile chase.

    If the video of these recent riots is any indication, this problem is not unique to Camden.

    I get the need to be friendly with residents in the “community,” but it might also be helpful to give the undeniable impression that you can “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” when the need arises.

    Just sayin’.

    1. The Historian

      One of the things about American culture that bothers me is that we are sooooo competitive. We are so willing to compare people against some unattainable norm that makes us think that we are ‘better’ because of this or that or the other. We hate being discriminated against but we are soooo willing to discriminate against others. If we can’t do it because of skin color, well, then we’ll find other ways, say body size or names, or something.

      There’s that wonderful Karen meme going around and of course we all use it because it makes us feel like part of the in-crowd, not understanding that it is just pure discrimination against women of a certain age, not to mention all those women named Karen. No, not all women of that age or women named Karen behave like the Karen meme but that doesn’t matter, does it? It’s just another chance for us to feel superior.

      Now getting to fat people. I’ve met very few fat people who are lazy but I sure have met a lot of skinny people who are lazy – so should I have a bias against skinny people? My mother fought the fat battle until she was in her 50’s and just gave up and weighed 250 lbs for the rest of her life – and, oh, BTW, she died at 98. Like most people, I can eat whatever I want and do, and I stay at the same weight and have for over 10 years. I don’t have to even consider dieting. Yet, some of my fatter friends watch their diet religiously and fight with their weight every day. Think of the stress that causes! Don’t you think that there might just be something else going on besides laziness and overeating when it comes to weight? BTW, I know some police officers you would consider ‘overweight’ and I’ll bet they could outrun you every time. Overweight does NOT necessarily mean unathletic.

      Now on to your issue with those police officers: What exactly is it you want from police? Do you want them to all look like standard military issue? Do you even understand how that increases the threat level between police and citizens if the police look like military? When police look like the people they interact with, and that means by gender, by color, and yes, by size, the threat people feel is lessened. BTW, I’ve watched a lot of police shootings lately and I don’t remember one where the cop who did the killing looked like a ‘couch potato’. Most of them looked very ‘fit’.

      Do you know anything about policing? Too many of us get our ‘knowledge’ about policing from TV where all the cops are stereotypes of perfect male specimens and spend all their time chasing bad guys with guns drawn. Is that what you think our officers are or should be? I suggest you take a ridealong with a police officer some time. You might get a very different idea of what they do. And if you paid attention to what was being said in that video, you might understand that what the officer was talking about was de-escalation. Do you know what that is? Isn’t that what we want more of from our police officers?

      Just saying

      1. Lee

        What’s wrong with lazy? If I weren’t as idle as I am, who knows what kind of troublesome stuff I’d get up to.

        1. The Historian

          I loved it!

          But more seriously, I think you just caught me in one of my own biases. I guess I measure people’s work output by the Puritan work ethic when that just might not be the best or fairest thing to do. I’m going to need to do some serious thinking about that!

      2. cnchal

        > . . . Don’t you think that there might just be something else going on besides laziness and overeating when it comes to weight?

        Carbolicious food comes to mind.

      3. hunkerdown

        I think you missed the point of the Karen meme: that pulling rank in the public sphere is unseemly and “problematic”. It’s the insecure beta “Do you know who I am?” for the 10%. There is no clarity in discourse to gain by recasting a clear boundary and behavioral syndrome as a demographic descriptor. It smacks of agnotology.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      This probably doesn’t directly apply in big cities, urban areas with lots of dives, bolt holes, alleys, and whatnot…but a friend of mine from HS was a sheriffs deputy, and then a detective for several decades in rural southern Oregon. Many of those years he was quite overweight and always hampered by back & knee injuries from his experiences as a young adult in the Marines…with a fast motorcycle.

      In listening to stories he tells about the job, chasing a suspect was seldom needed…except in really short distances in a house, apartment hallway, or close in. If the somewhat corpulent ones didn’t catch a runner – it was considered child’s play to get ’em anyway based on backup from other officers, additional cruisers zooming around,

      To say nothing of the fact that like as not they already knew the individual fleeing from previous encounters and knew where they lived/hung out.and if not – seldom had any difficulties identifying them from witnesses/friends/relatives etc. And only in *very* rare instances was the person fleeing actually a dramatic evil violent crime wave on feet. (think far more mundane: drug charges…expired licenses…failure to appear….bench warrants….domestic disputes)

      In other words – much as the stereotypical car chase is kind of pointless these days (with plate readers etc) there was seldom a need to have the ‘at all costs every officer must tear-ass hundreds of yards sprinting across the countryside to apprehend a given suspect in desperate foot chase’ thing..

      Not that having a healthy and fit officer – mentally-fit mainly – is not a benefit, lol….

    3. Larry Y

      My main takeaway from Camden’s experience is that disbanding the police department can be done and actually improve things, but it’s not a panacea either. The oversight is done at county and state level, under Christie administration (who’s a former prosecutor).

      It’s going to be an iterative process, and i don’t know of any other good models out there. The amount of police violence is unique to the US in the “developed” world. Maybe France? Even Hong Kong which has creeping authoritarianism and increasing mass protests and civil unrest sill looks really good compared to the US.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        No, it won’t be. I think on one hand DC is too distant or lacks the bureaucracy to do sufficient oversight, and states are too small. In the end citizen participation is important. The same monsters in Congress have been there for a long time. Voting changed nothing. One week of “rioting” has the GOP staking out a pro reform position.

        I would argue the cultures of police departments are so irrevocably damaged we can’t even consider a system using current cops in many places, maybe not all.

        One problem revealed by the protests is too many people are too distant from the cruelty to not care enough until they have miss brunch. Bloomberg for example was out bragging about how he had the NYPD as armed as well an any army. Its sick. In the end, constant vigilance is the answer. I would even argue the only real solution is conscription, not a national service to blame 18 year olds for the ills of people in power, but a structure where we all have to be the police transitioning to a civil response system and where we largely eradicate careerists in these systems. Besides attracting a certain type, the go along to get along attitude is a major problem that has to be addressed.

        This is an aspect I’ve been worried about for a long time. But our returning veterans who have been recruited and suffered from head injuries that may otherwise killed them with the helmets used as recently as the Persian Gulf War. Many of these people are now in authority positions. They aren’t just beat cops now.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I tend to think of myself as aware of local items, but the budget priorities of local governments were still shocking, not just the insane tanks that local PDs are getting.

        But in the end, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes is still the guiding light for everything. Whether its classified or not, everything requires constant citizen supervision, and we need to remember politicians aren’t our friends they are people that we need to treat like we are Karen and they are the staff.

  16. Martine

    “Why America’s Institutions Are Failing”

    This is a good article. One thing I find disheartening, though, is that it omits (as do almost all the articles I have read) the fact that the great American crime spree has been linked to lead pollution. That omission allows proponents of tough law and order measures to continue to believe that the fall in violent crime is a direct result of the rise of the carceral state and zero-tolerance policing.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I was troubled by the link’s use of the the Fed as a poster child for a well-run, forward looking, and adaptive ‘institution’. They were very ‘efficient’ at saving Big Money but that appears to be the limit of their effectiveness, and the limit of their purpose. Not only are US institutions failing but the larger institution of which they are part — the US government — is failing … except at saving and promoting the interests of Big Money. As for the why — I am not sure the link explains the ‘why’ so much as the ‘how’.

    2. oliverks

      IIRC from Freakanomyics there is also a strong correlation with legalization of abortion, but I agree there is also a very compelling argument that lead was problematic.

        1. oliverks

          Once again my memory is fuzzy, but I think they looked at the rate of violent crime 20 years after legalization of abortion. What made the dataset interesting is different states and different countries legalized abortions at different times. This gave good support to the hypothesis that legalized abortion reduced violent crime.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The article says “Policing, however, hasn’t caught up to the good news (of the 50% drop in crime rates)”.

      I’m absolutely in favor of all of our institutions being brought up to date with the good news. Their policies could be reshaped so they are aligned with present-day reality.

      Perhaps someone could send the following good news link to the head of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, he seems to be not yet aware of this particular piece of information from 1991:

    1. SalonBee

      The ruling was on process grounds. Everyone, even SCOTUS, agrees Trump has the power to rescind DACA, but they decided 5-4 that he did not follow the correct process for doing so. They did not consider the question of whether DACA itself is legal. My my opinion is that DACA is illegal. It is not unusual for SCOTUS to decide things on process grounds to avoid the appearance of entering into political questions.

      1. marym

        The real disgrace is the 20-year failure of Congress to provide a path to citizenship to these young people, even though it has had some levels of bi-partisan support in Congress, and popular support; instead leaving them subject to the whims of presidents.

  17. flora

    re: Judge Orders Trump Administration To Give Tribes Their COVID-19 Relief Funds – HuffPost

    Thanks very much for this link.

  18. John Beech

    So there are pockets of the South that may not rise to being gay friendly but are at least not gay hostile.

    Formative years in Birmingham’s south side before moving to Homewood (just over the ridge on the southern flank). Attended a Catholic high school there as well before attending and graduating from The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), where there were a couple gay bars my wife and I would enter occasionally whilst bar-hopping. Never saw overt anti-gay behavior but then again, my frat brothers didn’t frequent the place, either. I’ve never understood anti-gay, for religious reasons, or otherwise as representing someone afraid of their own masculinity (in men, of course). Me? Don’t give a darn now, didn’t then because a) I didn’t lean that way, and b) I was off the market . . . 42 years and counting.

    1. wol

      I went to art grad school at UNC with a guy from Birmingham who most of the other students thought was gay (his speech and arch humor). He had girlfriends and has been married to a woman for over twenty years.* He had a gay friend W visit who most students thought was straight. I asked him once how W was doing and he said W was “bush hoggin’ ant hills and makin’ cat-head biscuits.” I assume typical rural Southern male pastimes regardless of sexual orientation.

      *A local (gay) gallerist once said, “Honey, that don’t mean a thing.”

      Just wanted to tell that story. Living in the South has its amusements.

    1. Darthbobber

      Pretty sure this means the Trumpies let some saboteurs in. Because nobody would have expected a positive result from this.

  19. semiconscious

    Why America’s Institutions Are Failing:

    ‘Not every American institution is trapped in amber. For a perhaps surprising example of one that has adapted to 21st-century needs, take the Federal Reserve…’

    sometimes i feel like i’m being trolled up here…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I didn’t spot your comment until after I made mine above. After reading the link I congratulated on dumping my subscription to the Atlantic over decade ago. But is the Atlantic ‘trolling’ or part of the broad efforts to ‘train’ us?

      1. chuck roast

        Almost two decades for me. When they gave David Brooks a cover I said sayonara. It’s been trash since Zuckerman sold it.

    2. Massinissa

      I’m all for dismantling the police or whatever, but if I could dismantle anything it would be the FED…

  20. albrt

    Arizona update – another day with over 1,500 cases in Maricopa County, and that is only lab-confirmed cases.

    A friend went to the dentist yesterday and was sent home for having a fever. She tried to make an appointment for a coronavirus test, but the earliest she could get an appointment was Saturday. If testing capacity is that low then we are in serious trouble.

    1. hdude

      Arizona has a great dashboard for COVID-19 including cases, deaths, hospitalizations, etc.


      The only thing I find wrong is the numbers presented do not reflect reality. Good news on New COVID Cases: June 12 was about 1700. June 13 just over 1000. From June 14th thru 16th, average about 500. Deaths for the prior 4 days are 10 or less and hopefully dropping . It takes about 4 days to update numbers. So new cases are possibly dropping.
      Bad News on Hospital Utilization which is going consistently upwards, now at about 85%

      1. anon

        In a bad influenza season hospitals are typically at 100% capacity. My fear is that we will have COVID and a bad flu season together. Hospitals will not be able to handle that.

        1. edmondo

          Half the restaurants that re-opened in Tucson are now moving back to take Out Only and closing down seating inside. The numbers here are growing although CV-19 looks like it took all it’s frailest victims in the early part of Wave 1.

        2. newcatty

          Maricopa County, for those not aware, is the home of megaopolis Phoenix and adjacent cities. To state the obvious: Its hot and summer in the cities. Now, with fewer “folks” taking trips via flying, then road trips beckon like a siren call from cool climes. Tucson and Phoenix always considered San Diego as their nearby ocean playground. Sure, some still do. But, the virus, has dissuaded many of that long drive to zona paradise. It’s always been cool to go in state: up North. The towns never minded: tourist $$$. Now, the alure of those riches have been tarnished. The simple math that there are so many residents in the hot cities, just makes it inevitable that those folks need a respite. It used to be just amusing or ,well, it’s that season of the year. Locals could adjust their own thing. Now, the traffic is awful…mostly on weekends. The proliferation of short term vacation rentals and those bastions of “entrepreneurship “, ABnBs, are adding to the numbers. I am not trying to be a hypocrite; we once were the tourists and not the local. The short term rental scene needs to be regulated and have strick enforcement, as far as consequences, if not adhered to by each town’s laws. This would help in keeping visitors in more manageable numbers for local places.

          Then there are the visitors who just have literally overrun local town’s forest and meadows. Campers who arrogantly light illegal campfires, don’t bother putting them out properly, leave garbage at their sites. It’s also obvious that it is reported that many swoop into town’s businesses and don’t do social distancing or wear masks. We have the luxury and good fortune to be retired, and one of us does work from home. So, we can plan outings accordingly. I too, am concerned about hospital capacities. It seems that, at least for this state, no real long term planning. Just moment to moment, seat–of- the –pants on fire decisions. Also, the fact that much of AZ is on fire is putting the “folks” on edge. It is only June. With welcomed monsoons, hopefully coming…more lightening and winds.

  21. allan

    Covid-19 Test-Tube Firm, Awarded U.S. Contract, Is Accused of Unsanitary Workplace [WSJ]

    Dust and debris contaminated assembly process, ex-employees say; millions of tubes have shipped to states.

    A contractor making Covid-19 testing materials for the federal government has been assembling the items in unsterile conditions in a Texas warehouse where workers only intermittently wear protective gear, according to several former employees.

    Fillakit LLC was established in Florida in May , six days before winning
    a $10.2 million contract from FEMA …

    Partying like it’s Baghdad in May, 2003.

  22. verifyfirst

    Re: Moving Personal Protective Equipment Into the Community

    Does anyone know if a plastic full face shield (and no mask) really is as good or better than a mask over mouth and nose? For protecting myself or others? I can picture you will still be inhaling air from under the bottom of the face guard that was exhaled by someone nearby, if, say, you are in a restaurant or in some close indoor proximity for an extended period of time.

    If it were equally good, I find the face shields much more comfortable.

    1. Steve H.

      : Face shields can substantially reduce the short-term exposure of health care workers to large infectious aerosol particles, but smaller particles can remain airborne longer and flow around the face shield more easily to be inhaled. Thus, face shields provide a useful adjunct to respiratory protection for workers caring for patients with respiratory infections. However, they cannot be used as a substitute for respiratory protection when it is needed.

      1. verifyfirst

        Wonderful! Thanks so much both of you. I wear glasses, so it does not seem a shield would add a lot to what I do now. Many thanks.

  23. Bugs Bunny

    The Mayan nobility used head flattening boards on their children to achieve that shape. It is only a minor artistic enhancement of the actual shape that we see in their artwork. Interesting practices among the Mayans. I’d have preferred their gods to the Spanish Inquisition that came with the conquest.

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