Links 7/10/2020

One key solution to the world’s climate woes? Canada’s natural landscapes The Narwhale

Why Idaho Hasn’t Stopped Shaking Since March 31 Popular Mechanics (Re Silc).

Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek touted Russian nerve gas documents FT (Richard Smith). “Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek touted secret documents about the use of a Russian chemical weapon* in the UK, as he bragged of ties to intelligence services to ingratiate himself with London traders.” * Novichok. Of course. Smith adds: Financial fraud, a marijuana marketplace, plus porn, gambling and “dating.”

In north Michigan woods, feds raid an alleged upscale art forgery factory Detroit News. Manufacturing renaissance in the heartland!

The leveraging of America: how companies became addicted to debt FT


Readers, I apologize for the heaviness of this section. With science popping, the aerosol transmission controversy, and school reopenings, there’s rather a lot going on. COVID-19 is sending its venomous tentacles into everything:

Four first hand reports from Real World, Covid19 edition. They do not fit any narrative very well. Daily Kos (AA). “The (Other) Great Orange Satan still has something worthwhile on very rare occasions.” The supply chain stuff is very interesting. Despite the source!

* * *

Q&A: How is COVID-19 transmitted? WHO. Revised after the aerosol transmission letter to WHO from 230 signatories.

Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The world should face the reality Environment International. Worth reading in full:

“It is difficult to explain why public health authorities marginalize the significance of airborne transmission of influenza or coronaviruses, but a possible reason is that it is difficult to directly detect the viruses traveling in the air…. The fact that there are no simple methods for detecting the virus in the air does not mean that the viruses do not travel in the air. … To summarize, based on the trend in the increase of infections, and understanding the basic science of viral infection spread, we strongly believe that the virus is likely to be spreading through the air. If this is the case, it will take at least several months for this to be confirmed by science. This is valuable time lost that could be used to properly control the epidemic by the measures outlined above and prevent more infections and loss of life.

Investigating SARS-CoV-2 surface and air contamination in an acute healthcare setting during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in London Clinical Infectious Diseases. From the abstract: “Our findings of extensive viral RNA contamination of surfaces and air across a range of acute healthcare settings in the absence of cultured virus underlines the potential risk from environmental contamination in managing COVID-19, and the need for effective use of PPE, physical distancing, and hand/surface hygiene.”

Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites The Lancet. A comment (i.e., not a study).

Covid-19 is 1,000 TIMES better at infecting humans than its closest relative found in bats because it evolved from several coronaviruses which merged together Daily Mail. Summarizing results from the Francis Crick Institute.

* * *

Pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2: the knowns and unknowns Nature. From the abstract: “T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 was observed in unexposed people; however, the source and clinical relevance of the reactivity remains unknown.”

* * *

Chronic treatment with hydroxychloroquine and SARS‐CoV‐2 infection Journal of Medical Virology. n= 26,815. From the Conclusion: “Our data suggest that chronic treatment with HCQ [for autoimmune diseases] confer protection against SARS‐CoV‐2 infection.”

Persistent Symptoms in Patients After Acute COVID-19 JAMA. Handy chart:

* * *

‘A hot mess’: Americans face testing delays as virus surges AP

It’s time to begin a national wastewater testing program for Covid-19 STAT

* * *

Shelter-In-Place Orders Reduced COVID-19 Mortality And Reduced The Rate Of Growth In Hospitalizations Health Affairs

Bjorn’s Corner: Do I get COVID in airline cabins? Part 10. Trans-Atlantic trip. Leeham News and Analysis. Those iPads at Newark… I hope somebody’s wiping them down.

We Tested 28 (Actually Kind of Stylish) Fabric Face Masks New York Magazine

* * *

America Is Refusing to Learn How to Fight the Coronavirus David Wallace-Wells, The Atlantic

How Epidemics End Boston Review (nvl).

Coronavirus-inspired dish at Alinea draws backlash. Chef Grant Achatz explains his intent. Chicago Tribune


Banks in Hong Kong audit clients for exposure to US sanctions FT

Cold War with China and the Thucydides Trap: a Conversation with Richard Falk Counterpunch

‘Unknown pneumonia’ deadlier than coronavirus sweeping Kazakhstan, Chinese embassy warns South China Morning Post. Evidence seems pretty thin.

The Koreas

Late Seoul mayor was outspoken liberal who eyed presidency AP


Kolkata: Private hospitals run out of Covid beds even as cases surge Times of India


Mystery fire at Iranian nuclear facility is the latest in a series of unexplained incidents CNN

Reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque may be a vote-winner for Erdogan Arab News

Bolivia´s Struggle to Restore Democracy after OAS Instigated Coup Council on Hemispheric Affairs

NYT Acknowledges Coup in Bolivia—While Shirking Blame for Its Supporting Role FAIR


Top general has doubts Russian bounty program killed US troops in Afghanistan ABC

Trump Transition

Mnuchin: Next stimulus bill must cap jobless benefits at 100 percent of previous income. The Hill

The Backlash Against PPP Is Why the U.S. Can’t Have Nice Things The Atlantic

Opinion analysis: Justices toe hard line in affirming reservation status for eastern Oklahoma SCOTUSblog

US withdrawal from WHO is unlawful and threatens global and US health and security The Lancet

The Durham Investigation: What We Know and What It Means Lawfare. Note the source.

Health Care

Telehealth accounting for 20% of all Medicare-funded doctor consultations ZDNet. In Australia.

What to Do About Those Extra Pounds While Working From Home Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You

The marketing department says “hi.” Thread:

Police State Watch

ICE Offering ‘Citizens Academy’ Course with Training on Arresting Immigrants Newsweek. What could go wrong?

How police militarization became an over $5 billion business coveted by the defense industry CNBC

Chicago Police Department arrest API shutdown is its own kind of ‘cover up’ Chicago Reporter

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself AP. You don’t say.

Ghislaine Maxwell Taps Broad Range of Legal Talent for Defense Bloomberg

Judge Rules Virginia Giuffre’s Lawyers Must ‘Destroy’ Jeffrey Epstein Files Newsweek. From last week, still germane.

Sports Desk

As fewer kids played football, hospitals saw a big drop in ER visits CNN

Groves of Academe

How Schools Work: A Practical Guide for Policymakers During a Pandemic Jersey Jazzman

Summary of School Re-Opening Models and Implementation Approaches During the COVID 19 Pandemic (PDF) Washington State Department of Heatlh, et al.

Coronavirus exposed how broken American higher education really is Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ford employees ask if company should stop building police vehicles Detroit Free-Press

Class Warfare

The Pandemic Reveals The Real Disease Of Our Societies Moon of Alabama

Hidden Neutrino Particles May Be a Link to the Dark Sector Scientific American

Behind the dead-water phenomenon Read all the way to the end.

Durian and beer turned into healthy probiotic booze by Philippine researcher South China Morning Post (J-LS).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    the KOS COVID report reinforces a thought that has been getting stronger in recent weeks as the epidemic in US has spiraled even more out of the control: “This is how an empire ends.”

    As it was before the pandemic, the military was having trouble recruiting candidates with the needed physical and mental capacities. What are they going to do when the population of potential recruits is diminished by widespread “chronic COVID sequelae”? Do we go back to a draft?

    Perhaps we’ll have to scale back our foreign entanglements out of necessity, rather than choice.

    So many other bad repercussions of widespread impairment of physical and cognitive capacities in the population. “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation”, but this might exceed that.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Some time ago, I saw an estimate of times countries could field manpower. Between malnourishment, lack of basic skills, and chronic injuries in otherwise healthy people due to high school sports, it would take the US 3 years before it could start fielding man power one might expect based on the population. Other countries can hit their targets in one year, not the equipment side, but the age appropriate US population isnt ready for the service.

    2. Lee

      The after effects of Covid-19 infection described in the piece are quite similar to those experienced by persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS is a post-viral infection condition for which there are mitigating drug therapies but no cures. It is profoundly debilitating but the number of cases is very low, so the effects on society’s functioning is negligible. If many more millions of us are rendered incapable of productive work by the post-infection effects of Covid-19……my CFS hampered imagination fails me.

      1. Samuel Conner

        In my imagination, it’s sort of like the demographic situation Japan is facing, a very high ratio of debilitated population to population capable of providing care. On the bright side, the demand for labor will be high, so perhaps wages will rise.

    3. JBird4049

      The British were shocked at how poor the health due to malnutrition and lack of medical care of their prospective soldiers were during the First World War. IIRC, this is one of the reasons for the creation later welfare state.

  2. christofay

    I call mammal bias on that antidote du jour. The dove in the background introvertially is waiting its turn.

    1. skylark

      If you added a couple of bunnies, you’d have the clientele I serve daily at my garden buffet.

      1. cocomaan

        My wife finally had enough of the groundhog raids. I ended that yesterday.

        The cabbage/dill/brassica fed rodent will now be stewed with some root veggies. I feel bad for the little guy, but I gave him fair warning with a lot of shouting, stick waving, cussing, pissing on the garden fence gaps, and so on.

        1. Milton

          That’s just sad. I feel for the poor fella. I’m pretty pathetic, though, I can’t even kill grasshoppers that feast on my tomatoes and red peppers. I instead capture them and toss them over the fence.

          1. Offtrail

            In the early days of Karme-Choling, a buddhist retreat center in Vermont, staff used to remove insects from the garden and carry them down to the river. Their farmer neighbor came by one day and saw them doing this. When told what was happening he observed “Those bugs are going to be mighty hungry by the time they get back up the hill”.

        2. HotFlash

          Just make *very sure* you have removed all the musk glands. I am mostly vegan these days, but hungry is as hungry does and happy you aren’t just composting the little fella without some protein recapture. As I say, I mostly eat vegs (squeamish, unless, as I hinted, I am very hungry) but OTOH, I am perfectly happy to let the critters eat me when my time’s up. All this embalming and casketting and vaulting business is so ungrateful of us. It’s the circle o’ life…

          And for those who want to make a contribution after they die, I recommend Ms. Caitlin Doughty’s take on — worse than Moby Dick, anyone?

    2. polecat

      ‘My God! Look at the mess they’re all making ..

      polecat ducks (maybe quacks is a better term..) for pulling a squirrel.

  3. bob

    “We Tested 28 (Actually Kind of Stylish) Fabric Face Masks New York Magazine”

    A lot of the ‘stylish’ models look like bikini briefs for men worn on the face.

  4. fresno dan

    Joe Weisenthal
    The reason I think so is I was walking with my mom the other day and asked her if there was a “shazam for flowers” (take a photo of a flower and see what it is) and now I get ads to download exactly that. And I have never done any online floral activity before.
    Certainly not to defend the ever growing private panopticon, but I would get that….except I am probably the nearly the only person alive without a smart phone.
    So does anyone know a site where you can take a picture (USING a camera, like when dinosaurs walked the earth), trundle back to your DESKTOP computer, and send the picture to some site that will identify and pland/flower?

    1. Kevin Hall

      Field Guide is probably what you want. There are also stand alones for Lepidoptera and birds.
      While not a perfect source, they are pretty good at getting you the genus if not the species. It is far better than anything available in the past.

    2. CletracSteve

      Sorry Dan. You’re not the only.
      And, ironically, we have a son working for a large social media company whose job was to evaluate success of marketing programs – but his work changed when foot-traffic collapsed during COVID stay-at-home orders.

    3. Baby Gerald

      Hey fresno dan: have you ever watched the Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t channel on YouTube? Its host Tony Santoro has ecyclopedic knowledge of botany with strong skills in geology, mycology and ecology as well. His Chicago accent and general disdain for the human species is easy to love, but his potty mouth might make his channel NSFW or difficult to show to small children or uptight oldsters.

      Anyway, the reason I mention him is not only to promote his channel- which I think you’ll enjoy tremendously- but also because he has often shared with viewers downloads to the botany textbooks he has studied from and uses, in addition to mentioning a couple of apps that do exactly what you want- return a species/type designation to photos of plants. Looking on the Google, I found a site called that seems to be what you’re looking for. They of course have an app, but unlike other app-based plant identifiers, also have a web interface that will allow you to upload a photo for identification. It looks like you’ll need to set up a free account with them to have access to this feature, but worth the price of admission.

    4. polecat

      Dude… Here’s the thing. Just don your mask, go to a bookstore (while they still exist), and purchase some physical, in-the-flesh fieldguides. You know … these things called BOOKS, with colorful illustrations and photos, and ID Keys (can’t forget those) … with pages one can flip through. Your source material will never part, should the IOS (and the related control freaks who spawn them) die a needed death. And your brain will thank you for the cognitive reinforcement/memory retention.
      At the rate we’re devolving, we’ll be as the Eloi, who had books .. but allowed them to turn to dust, due to the siren ease of twirling those monotonous-sounding talking rings.

      And THAT’S exactly how the Silicon Morlock want it!

      1. Judith

        And spend time exploring those field guides, learning about different species and how to differentiate between species. Then when you are out and about and notice an interesting plant or animal, you have a greater sense of what it might be. A Feel for the Organism, so to speak. (Barbara McClintock)

        1. jonboinAR

          This is how you (I mean, I) differentiate between species using a field guide: I use the process of elimination. If you’re looking at a page of birds, say warblers, you think, before you look at the page closely, “Okay, this should be simple. I’ve had a good look at the bird. If it’s on this page, I’ll find it. Then you look at the page. Heck-fire! They all look like the bird I just looked at! They really do. So you have to eliminate the choices by specific marking points. First you eliminate all the ones without wing-bars because yours have them. Then you eliminate all that’s left without white around the upper breast because yours does. That leaves 2. You eliminate the one without yellow on the back of the neck. That last one is yours. It’s seems like a wierd system, but that’s what’s worked for me. (I made that page of birds up. I don’t have a field guide nearby and haven’t tried to ID birds for quite awhile.)

          1. Copeland

            Other than just appearance, markings, etc., I find that paying attention to behavior, for example, flight pattern, feeding behavior, perching preferences, basically “what is it doing and how is it doing it?” helps tremendously in separating species. After all, every species has evolved to fill a niche, and specific behavior is required to exploit that niche.

            1. juno mas

              Yes, location and flight activity is very helpful. It’s important to understand how taxonomy works for plant and animals. It starts big and slowly pares the options down to smaller and smaller features of the candidate. For plants the genus is usually determined by the flower type, the species is then determined by specific characteristics of the flowering parts or leaf characteristics (sessile, pinnate, etc.). The botanical name given usually describes these specie characteristics.

              Learn some plant taxonomy and field ID becomes easier.

              1. juno mas

                May 27th was the 313th anniversary of the birth of Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanical taxonomist who was the first person to formulate and adhere to a uniform system for defining and naming the world’s plants and animals. Linnaeus came up with the binomial system of nomenclature, in which each species is identified by a generic name (genus) and a specific name (species). His 1753 publication, Species Plantarum, which described the new classification system, marked the initial use of the nomenclature for all flowering plants and ferns. In 1758, he applied this system of nomenclature to animals. Linnaeus’s system of nomenclature is still in use today.

    5. aleric

      When I get stuck, I post to the Minnesota Wildflowers facebook group. I haven’t come across any app that compares with the social media hive mind, especially if you can find one for your region.

    6. CuriosityConcern

      Maybe browsing for the answer allows serendipity to grace us with non-specific knowledge we didn’t know we needed.

    7. petal

      fresno dan, no smartphone here either. I send my bug and flower ID questions to my state cooperative extension. They’ve been wonderful. I take a photo, upload to laptop, and send it to them either in a message or via an online form.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Top general has doubts Russian bounty program killed US troops in Afghanistan”

    He has doubts as he knows that the whole thing is total bs. A big pusher of this Russian Bounty crap is The Lincoln Project which surprisingly is a Republican outfit. I got curious about them and this is one of the videos that I found on their YouTube channel. It only goes for 1:38 mins and I had to check that I did not accidentally click on the Daily Kos channel instead-

    1. Berto

      Are you really surprised that Republicans would be big supporters of our military?
      Even Trump, our anti-war hero (LOL), wants HUGE increases in our military budget.

      1. Olga

        There is a big difference between ‘supporting the military’ and creating hair-raising Russo-phobic ads. The one RK linked to combines hammer and sickle, Lenin, Stalin, and god-knows what else to create a hysterical picture of DT-VVP schmooze fest (with Russian narration). It made me sick… but the question is ‘cui bono.’

      2. Procopius

        I don’t consider prolonging the war to be “supporting our military,” but that’s probably because I’m retired from the Army. Of course war is why we have an army, war is not a desirable outcome of interactions. Prolonging the war is the same as paying the taliban. If you can’t bring yourself to admit the war was a stupid idea in the first place, then declare our objectives achieved and bring the troops home. Nobody knows what our objectives are supposed to be anyway, so nobody should be allowed to object.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The GOP courtier class who would be guests at a Jeb! or even Pence WH aren’t getting calls they feel they are owed from Trump. This is why we had all that griping about Trump being too lazy to fill positions. They meant their expected jobs. On what issue do Joe Scarborough and Trump really differ?

      Here is an exhaustive list:
      -Scarborough thought he would be president one day circa 2000.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ahh but we have our wonderful war-billionaire media to convince the slaves down in the galley, so they will pull the oars even harder for The Empire of Laughter and Forgetting. Survey says! >60% of people believe the BountyGate nonsense, with a large percentage saying the U.S. should invade Russia. These Sermonizing Snowflakes will be so happy when their sons and daughters march off to Hanoi Baghdad Kabul Tehran Caracas Moscow because…they’ll be employed! I say we arm them all with some novichok spray, the most deadly toxin in the world, unless of course you wander around to a pub with it or hang around with it in a London park. It’s perfect: a weapon that doesn’t work to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist.

  6. bassmule

    Re: Clinical Infectious Diseases on surfaces: Who do we believe?

    “One of the challenges we have with this disease, first of all, is making sure that we really have accurate and actionable information for the public. The public right now is so confused about what is safe and what’s not safe. And one of the challenges has been is this idea that surfaces play a major role in transmission. We’ve looked very carefully at the data dating back for decades and research about these kinds of respiratory transmitted infections. And clearly, the surfaces play a very, very little role at all in transmission of this. I think we’ve gone way overboard relative to the disinfection and so forth, and we’ve made people feel very nervous about just opening a package, that type of thing. And I think that’s been unfortunate. I mean, this is really all about air. Breathing someone else’s air where the virus is present. It’s much, much, much less about environmental contamination. I would not tell people not to wash your hands, because I deal with a lot of the diseases where hand-washing is very, very important. But I would also say no one needs to be frightened of their physical environment with this virus. It’s the air they’re breathing. And so if that gives people relief, I hope that’s helpful. …I don’t worry about food. I don’t worry about newsprint. I don’t worry about packages I get here. I don’t worry about doorknobs and railings any more than I would during the regular cold season. [That’s not] what’s going to be the major challenge with this virus. … It’s the air that we share with each other that is critical. That’s why distancing is so important.”

    Amid Confusion About Reopening, An Expert Explains How To Assess COVID-19 Risk

    1. shtove

      We’ve looked very carefully at the data dating back for decades and research about these kinds of respiratory transmitted infections.

      Isn’t that begging the question, that the COVID virus causes one of these kinds of respiratory transmitted infections?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Very topical given the full-court press to go back to those wonderful, simple glory days of Boris and Natasha. Maybe Biden will go to a pumpkin patch and discover some hidden microfilms?

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Late Seoul mayor was outspoken liberal who eyed presidency AP

    This seems a real tragedy – he was a very strong progressive voice and apparently an excellent Mayor (albeit with a taste for massively expensive and somewhat dubious regeneration schemes). He’s not the first left leaning Korean politician to commit suicide in somewhat murky circumstances it should be said. It seems there was a police investigation into alleged sexual harassment ongoing – which would be ironic as he was a prominent supporter of legal changes to help women in the workplace. I couldn’t help thinking of the Alex Salmond situation.

  8. Tom Doak

    The link for the story about the backlash to the PPP goes to a different story instead.

      1. jsn

        Message: the real target of targeted benefits in the NeoLib era is everyone that doesn’t get them.

        You make them targeted rather than universal so everyone else feels like the government is cheating them and thus will oppose future benefits of any kind.

        As best as I can tell, this is Pelosi and Schumer’s only core belief.

  9. Supenau

    Big Brother. Add me to the club. I’ve had this happen more than once. Most recently I asked my husband if he had called the roofer to have some minor repairs done on our metal roof. Next time I opened a site there were roofing ads. Additionally after a yoga class, three of us were talking about a certain store that often had great sales, with our phones close at hand. During the next visit all of us commented that we had received numerous online ads from that store, which I personally had never visited, either online or in person
    Crazy. Slowly BB has creeped into daily life, not that it never has been. just continues to be more obvious

    1. Shleep

      I disable location services. I was shopping alone for clothes and paused – briefly – in the men’s briefs section. I don’t talk to myself. I was fed a steady diet of adds for men’s briefs for months on both my home and work computers.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was shopping for mink sinks online is when it started, and then came the onslaught of furrier-plumbers all anxious for my business, and they just wouldn’t stop, you never knew so many people were in this line of work. I gave up and went with porcelain instead.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Reply on Weisenthal’s tweet from Mr.Hodl:

      Bro, this has been happening for at least 6 years.

      To which I’d add:

      Joe, ever heard of this new thing they got now called “alexa?” What’s so great about “privacy” anywayzzzzz? Find another dead horse to beat.

      PS. For anyone as behind the internet power curve as I am, I had to look up “irl.” It means “in real life” in tweet speak.

      1. ambrit

        And here I was thinking it was a contraction, as in: “‘G!’ An irl! Come here baby! I won’t do nothing wrong! I promise! Oh. I can what? Man! That would hurt!”

    3. hemeantwell

      Another data point, from a neighbor: “I remembered! I was talking to our neighbor …about his powered skateboard and I got ads for them after that… obviously I’ve never shown an online interest in powered skateboards!”

      That’s settled, it isn’t related to online searching. What setting, or program, is responsible?

      1. periol

        Stopped happening to me when I took Facebook off my phone. Pretty sure Facebook apps record all audio on the device for ads.

        ETA: I don’t even think you have to be logged in for Facebook to record audio. It’s a default app permission that can’t be changed unless you have a rooted android phone. Also, many phones have the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps installed by default, with those permissions baked in, so even if you never login it’s recording.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    What to Do About Those Extra Pounds While Working From Home Bloomberg

    Pretty poor advice IMO, it ignores the role of the food industry in stuffing food with things that make us hungry and thirsty (too much sugar and salt, as an example).

    All the science based evidence I’ve seen is that that the most effective way to maintain a good healthy weight is to build up good regular consistent eating habits (and no snacking) and focus on high nutrition low calorie foods that fill you up – i.e. lots of fibre, veg and good quality fats.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      And cut down on the sauce. I find that drinking is the one thing that causes me to put on weight and keep it on. It could just be my metabolism but the effect is nearly instantaneous, in a relative sense.

      And the one thing that helped me get through the days and weeks and months during this insane time, is wine. Lots of wine.

      So I need to work on that.

      1. polecat

        Get to Gardening! Shead those lbs/kilos.

        Works for me, mostly .. as I tend to lose some of my winter fat, whilst hacking through our domiciled ‘jungle’, during the ‘growth season’ …

        but alas … me still no Tarzan ..
        .. as polecat reaches for a glass of his homebrewed melomel. “Ahhhh!”

      2. Arizona Slim

        I plead guilty to the same thing. But not with wine. My go-tos are homebrewed beer and mead.

  11. Redlife2017

    Maybe big news on the BCG vaccine / Covid-19 front: Century-old BCG vaccine used to eradicate tuberculosis ‘reduces the chance of death from Covid-19’, study confirms.

    The helpful summary at the top:
    – Previous studies suggested the BCG vaccine offers protection from Covid-19
    – US researchers conducted a comprehensive review and found a clear link
    – Say it is currently impossible to say if it is causative or just a correlation
    – But found countries with a 10 per cent greater prevalence of the BCG vaccine also had a 10.4 per cent reduction in COVID-19 mortality

    So, in a re-occuring hypothosis that I have, I am wondering: Does Islington, which one of the highest density areas in the UK with a huge BAME population, have a low rate of infections/ deaths (in the bottom 1/3rd of councils in the UK) because they have continued with the BCG vacccination programme? Could it be that people in their late teens/early 20s are big asymptomatic superspreaders, but because Islington has kept the programme that was wound-down in the early 2000s, they aren’t superspreading in Islington? BCG vaccine works best if given as young as possible…

    It does feel like I am clutching at straws a bit…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think its a credible hypothesis. The notion that BCG gives some protective effect would explain I think why eastern Europe and Russia have so far avoided the worst. There has been such a huge variation in the speed an extent of its spread around the world there must be a number of factors at work that aren’t in the existing models.

  12. shtove

    Fair dues to the FT on its Wirecard investigation – but how odd to see it enter the Skripal hall of mirrors without a second thought. The assumptions contained in that report are endless. Do the French have a word for this kind of deception?

  13. fresno dan

    Previously unheard audio of interviews from the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor reveals new details about the events leading to her death, as well as the sympathetic approach investigators took while scrutinizing one of their own.
    In his interview, Mattingly insists officers knocked and announced themselves when they arrived after midnight on March 13. In Walker’s interview with investigators, however, he says there was banging on the door but the couple never heard anyone say “police.” Walker says that after he and Taylor asked who it was and got no response he reached for his licensed firearm.
    Police were executing a search warrant in a drug investigation, but Walker’s attorney says they found no drugs in Taylor’s apartment. Experts and local officials have questioned the veracity of the information police presented to obtain the warrant for the search, and its execution.

    A judge signed the search warrant in part because police claimed a postal official had confirmed the target of the investigation received packages at Taylor’s home. But a U.S. postal inspector later told WDRB there were “no packages of interest” sent there. The postal inspector did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
    So I wanted to see what the NRA had to say – after all, defending from home invasions is a big point of gun ownership – but surprise, surprise, crickets. I guess the NRA believes the police never lie/s. It can’t possibly be racism /s.

  14. Off The Street

    The dead-water phenomenon research points to an opportunity for timely visits to the Northwest Passage and similar meltwater locales. Greater understanding of the fresh- and saltwater interaction and other hydrodynamic aspects could also be found in the oceanic conveyor system, providing some more insight regarding polar and other melting.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek touted Russian nerve gas documents”

    ‘The documents, which have been reviewed by the Financial Times, included the formula for novichok, the world’s deadliest nerve agent.’

    Looks like the staff at FT don’t do their research. The formula for Novichok? A Russian guy named Vil Mirzayanov helped developed it before shooting through to the US in the 90s. He eventually published a book called ‘State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle Of The Russian Chemical Weapons Program Secrets” in 2008 and in that book he published the formula for it. So, not exactly a secret now.

    And having Wirecard staff use shell companies which were connected to pornography, gambling and dating websites? That is no surprise that either. Enron, before it went belly up, was getting set to finance companies that made pornography because it was so lucrative – and that was about fifteen years ago. Makes you wonder about the other big Wall Street forms and what they finance.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Mirzayanov did not take part on the development. His task was to monitor the environment outside the laboratory complex where toxicological research was done.
      He did write publicly about the chemical weapons programs in Soviet Union, was arrested for revealing secrets and then promptly released when it became apparent he did reveal anything that wasn’t in the public domain already.

      Novichok was never a name of any single chemical componds, but an unofficial name for an attempt to find new compounds for chemical artillery shells, that would both be easy to store and not be consumed by the explosion of the shell. Both which were causing big issues at the time (and still are). Project failed, none of the tested compounds achieved the goals.

      For clandestine use, all these ‘novichoks’ had the benefit of being able to be stored, and transferred, as separate, safe chemicals to be mixed right before use (not stored in, say, bottle of fragrance). None of them was nearly lethal enough to replace existing nerve agents.

      All this has been know at least by 1997, when Russia declared all it’s chemical weapons and chemical weapon programs after joining OPCW. Among those were all the compounds tested, and at least Czechs and Britons have reported making and testing them.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      I recall reading around the turn of the century that Disney produces a solid percentage of porno on the market. No company stops doing what makes them money and rarely will a government do anything about messing with a gravy train. Anyone remember this?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Based on a quick search, there was a book pointing to Disney’s involvement, probably through Miramax or Touchstone, in a Canadian cable/pay per view company which among other programs carried soft core programming and bold claims Disney was the driver.

        Further searching indicates, the point of contact was ESPN.

  16. LawnDart

    The “Four First-hand Reports…” article was worth a read. The last report, from the tech exec, is something that many of us who are still working in manufacturing/production can relate to.

    The virus has certainly introduced additional drags, inefficiencies, and time-sucks to the business routine: “seat-of-the-pants” seems to be the new normal in light of so many uncertainties.

    Looking at the confluence of factors– the accelerating infection rate, the real unemployment numbers, the uncertainty of an election year– as part of a currently thriving business that has absolutely no future commitments on our books (none, nothing– no work booked: whatever was there is on hold)…


    Wile E. Coyote has some good company these days, I’m sure.

      1. Wukchumni

        A $10k bank run is scheduled for Monday in Fresno. Those intending to partake must be fiscally fit.

        1. periol

          I would join your bank run but really don’t think my bank cares if I take out the $5 in it. I should just incorporate and get a PPP loan, use it all for “payroll”.

        2. ambrit

          Show up at the starting line in your Pink Bunny Slippers with built in antennae. That’ll be ‘broadcasting’ your intentions. Boris and Natasha will be there, disguised as Bank Examiners. They’ll be closely inspecting the Banks’ “Angle of Repose.” (Beware trying a “short”cut, or you’ll be “put” back.)
          For the ‘quants’ reading pleasure:,0%C2%B0%20to%2090%C2%B0.

  17. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: the Leeham news story on flying transatlantic experience

    Um, is it just me or does this story raise a more troubling question – how are the airlines getting even 70-80% full flights from New York -> Frankfurt when there is supposed to be a travel ban on Americans enforced by the EU?

    Perhaps the author got some sort of exception (EU citizen, professional diplomat, etc.) but how was United able to get enough other passengers on that flight to reach even 70% capacity? There aren’t that many diplomats or folks with enough clout to get past EU travel restrictions, are there? Are EU citizens exempt? That would be the only viable explanation I can think of.

    Please don’t tell me the airlines are just ignoring the ban and dumping the passengers at immigration, hoping that they can somehow sweet talk their way past the EU border controls?

    1. Shleep

      Only thing I can think of is, Frankfurt is a major hub, therefore possibly many of those travelers’ final destinations is not EU.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        That’s a good theory and hopefully explains it. The author himself never states whether he was a EU citizen or not, but did write that he was visiting family near Geneva so it is at least plausible.

        It does leave one little loose end … an American traveling through the Frankfurt airport on their way to, say Istanbul … with a 3 hour layover, are they allowed to de-plane and just stroll through the airport, mixing in with the all the other fliers, eating at the airport restaurants, using the restrooms and not washing hands, etc?

        That would kind of be a fail … from a public health standpoint.

        1. Oh

          Last time I went thru Frankfurt en route to Lisbon I was able to walk around the airport and get to the other terminal. It looks like they’ve not changed procedures after Covid.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        A friend took a plane from London to Germany last week. The first thing she said to me when she got back was “don’t get in a plane”. It was total anxiety once she got to the gate. Masks came off or went down, people took them off to cough or sneeze (!), plane was full. Took her a full day to calm down and now she’s doing 14 at home. She said that the airports were fine. Unusually calm.

        Ryanair, in case you’re wondering.

    1. Wyoming

      I know you are just being tongue in cheek.

      But in my experience you would be wrong on the general issue – not the ICE one as I disagree with that.

      I am one of tens of thousands of Americans who are volunteer officers with local law enforcement. In my town the volunteer officers amount to about 60% of the total number of regular sworn officers (those with arrest authority). Having large numbers of mature (almost all of us are of retirement age) citizens interacting constantly with our officers cannot be anything but a social good. We see what officers actually have to deal with day in and day out and our perceptions filter back into the community. And community perceptions filter back into the awareness of the officers. This is good. It certainly does not solve many problems, but it helps. Additionally the large total hours we put in for no pay relieves the city of some of the financial burden.

      From talking to my UK friends who are law enforcement officers I have realized that in the US there is a lot more variety in attempts to provide service to the community than is common elsewhere. Virtually every law enforcement organization from the State level down to town police/county sheriff’s office has a variety of different kinds of volunteers assisting them. These volunteers range from admin support, evidence techs, impound lots, patrol officers (some sworn law enforcement who are full fledged officers working for no pay) and others (like me) who just help with traffic management, accidents, building security checks, looking for illegal activities, SAR, emergency personnel support of various kinds, sex offender checks, and numerous other duties. Even for our small department this amounts to many man years of work that the tax payers do not have to pay for. In Phoenix the Reserve Officer program (sworn officers who work unpaid) amounts to well over 100 officers. Their entire cost is free to the taxpayers as even their kit and patrol cars plus academy expenses are covered by a private foundation. That amount to about 50 news cars and about $2000 in expense for each officer a year as well as funding 2 academy classes a year also. I would be one of those officers but I could not pass the obstacle course PT test at age 65 – even though I could easily outdo many serving officers in such a test and I could serve regular duties which do not require making arrests where being very physical might be required.

      Maybe I am a bit sensitive, but here at NC there are lots of very negative uniformed comments about law enforcement and what is actually happening out in the real world. There are certainly big problems with law enforcement and many officers who need to be replaced. But not anywhere near a majority of them.
      The vast majority are working very hard and trying to to their best in a bad situation and in a thankless job. We, unfortunately, live in a country with gigantic social problems and incredible amounts crime and violence. We are our own worst enemy without a doubt. Defunding some functions out of policing is a good idea if those funds are directed towards another entity who will deal with the problems targeted. Police are tasked with many jobs which are not the right job for law enforcement, but no one else is doing them so they have no choice. Fund someone else to do the job and they will gladly give those duties up.

      Anyway that is another perspective.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        I appreciate your comment. One of my nephews is a cop in the Chicago suburbs. He’s a good guy with a dry sense of humor. He’s told us some great stories. One thing I took away from him is that with all the guns floating around, he always has to be on guard; he never knows when someone will yank out a pistol and try to kill him. Being a cop in the USA is no easy job.

        1. juno mas

          True. But most of the interaction with the “community” is non-hostile (unless they make it so).

          A policeman’s fear of being shot, especially by suspects RUNNING AWAY, is always reasonable.
          The LAPD coroner just released the autopsy on a “suspect” a local officer said presented a threat. The suspect was shot 5 times, IN THE BACK!

          While too many guns floating around is a real problem, so is too many incompetent officers.

      2. Butch In Waukegan

        Is it likely that volunteers for ICE would be sympathetic or neutral to immigrants?

        Is it likely that volunteers would welcome the power to confront non-citizens lacking the protections and rights afforded, at least in theory, citizens?

        Would the George Zimmermans out here see volunteering as a fulfillment of their fantasies?

        1. RMO

          “never knows when someone will yank out a pistol and try to kill him”

          Doesn’t that apply to the whole general population in the US? “Police Officer” doesn’t even make it into the top ten of the most dangerous jobs in the US. They don’t give effective licenses to kill and near immunity to prosecution to cab drivers and they are a lot more likely to get attacked and killed than a police officer is.

      3. The Rev Kev

        American policing seems to be very different and I am surprised at how many different types of police there are. Saw a police chase on “Cops” once and this guy took off in a car that went from the city through to a county. By the time they caught him you had city cops in their blue/black uniforms, police troopers with RCMP style hats, police in dark green uniforms, police in tan uniforms, etc. There was at least 4-5 different types of uniforms at the scene. Coming from a family that has had more than a few go into the police force here, it was a very different scene to watch.

        I can understand the problems that modern police face and I do wonder if this is a result of a dysfunctional economic system. When there was more economic equity in say the 1950s for so many people, policing would have been much simpler as economically secure people do not give too much trouble. They are too busy working and raising their families. But now? Police are left in the situation of upholding a system that results in what we see. And I believe that it is this that has led many police departments to resort to militarization as an answer to these problems. Not the right answer in my opinion but there we are.

        Defund the police is an idiotic ‘solution’ and a better way would be to demilitarize the police. The costs in any case must be a strain on police budgets,. Sure, they get a free MRAP but how much do they cost to use, service and maintain? That stuff must cost a bundle. But in any case, I think that these problems will continue and even get worse as the economic inequalities get more severe. Until we see beat cops go down to Wall Street and start busting executives for breaking all sorts of laws and crash-tackling them to the ground, I think that all the problems that we see will continue.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The keyboard, string and percussion sections should be OK to be near. The woodwind section you might want a bit of distance between you and them. The brass section you would not want to be anywhere near at all.

      1. The Historian

        I’d stay away from the woodwind section too, because that is where flutes are located. As a person who has played flute and brass instruments, I know it takes more air to play the flute – remember, most of the air is blown over the lip plate and embouchure hole rather than directly into it, unlike brass instruments.

        1. RMO

          Flute is bay far the worst for this. Large volume of air flowing over the embrochure plate. Single reeds (clarinet, saxophone) have much less volume of air flowing through them, double reeds (oboe) even less and brass the least of all. My first instrument was trumpet. Years later when I went back to school to study music I chose flute. I figured my lungs should be up to it since I had no trouble with the trumpet. I was left breathless by the reality!

          The small group I play bass with has been on hold since March. I really miss it. With the way things are going here in BC there’s a slight chance we may be able to start up again in the fall.

    2. urblintz

      see my comment below regarding classical singing. The best singers use a technique that suspends the air in the mouth and despite all that sound they create they are not expelling large amounts of air. You’ve maybe heard, as a wive’s tale, about voice teachers holding a candle in front of the singers mouth with the goal to not extinguish it with breath. It’s not a wive’s tale…. the air ideally stays in the mouth. The secret to those impossibly long legato phrases sung in one breath…

      alas, not all singers are “good” singers and there is plenty of blowing that goes on. Looking at pictures of a well trained classical singer not expelling much air would not cover the myriad of vocal techniques and styles encountered across the broad spectrum of music that is sung. Different singer, different results…

  18. LaRuse

    Re: the smartphone is listening. Yeah, I am very much a believer. I am not pregnant, nor intending to become pregnant, nor interacting with pregnant women or small babies. For the past two weeks that I have been fostering a kitten that I routinely refer to and call aloud to as “Baby Girl,” “Little Baby” and a litany of other baby related names, none of which were spoken while actually using the phone but definitely while carrying it, and now I get nothing but reams of ads for baby gear.
    Yes. My phone is listening; it irks me. It is a work phone and I am tied to it thanks to COVID. I am at least glad to know I have confused an algorithm for this round.

    1. Jomo

      This just happened this morning: My partner was talking to her daughter on the phone about noticing an increase in her hair falling out while taking a shower. She went online and received ads for products to help with hair loss. Such a coincidence!

    2. Fritzi

      My smartphone’s camera is regularly activating itself.

      I don’t exclude the possibility that it could be a “naturally occuring” malfunction, my phone has been through quite bit.

      But I certainly don’t trust that thing at all, and taped the camera shut.

    3. Glen

      It is always listening, has to be always listening if it is going to hear the phrase that “activates” it.

      1. ambrit

        Our ‘semi-dumb phone’ needs to have it’s “buttons pushed” to activate. We only carry it out of the house on longer trips.
        I am not surprised at the so called “smart phones” listening in. I regularly get ads, when I have to whitelist a site, for things I have purchased online or looked up online.
        What worries me is the trend towards “predictive adware.” Sending a person ads for things that the algos say the ‘customer’ should want is a very subtle way to influence behaviour. It can easily be adapted to mould opinion and public attitudes.

        1. Glen

          I have been thinking of writing a smartphone app that just constantly does random searches. It should be pretty easy to write.

            1. ambrit

              Anything to do with pornography. That subject is too easy to use for persecutory purposes.
              The basic premise is that everything done over the device is going to be scrutinized by the Central Instrumentality.

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Could this prospective app detect, identify, or even block other apps (or sites) which make these unwanted predictions?

    4. ewmayer

      LaRuse, I’ve been using the 5-days-in photo of the kitty-kitty you rescued each day as an antidote, she’s s cute. How is the little bundle of furry joy doing? Been tracking her weight, or too busy out catching tuna each day?

  19. allan

    How the Trump administration secured a secret supply of execution drugs [Reuters]

    If the Trump administration carries out the first federal execution since 2003 on Monday, as scheduled, it will mark the culmination of a three-year campaign to line up a secret supply chain to make and test lethal-injection drugs, a Reuters investigation has found.

    Intent on enforcing the death penalty, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice had started building the network of contractors it would need by May 2017, federal procurement records show. …

    So, competent when it’s a priority.
    And making the complete failure on testing and PPE that much more outrageous.

    1. ambrit

      Oh boy. Those Ecuadorian shrimp have been sold in our local grocery stores for several years as frozen items. How well does the coronavirus survive freezing? If it does so readily, then there should be a fairly large spike in Covid-19 in seafood fanciers. Next question is, how far back does this infection stream go, time-wise? Finally, what if the poor crustaceans can catch it from each other in the wild? Then we have a Super Dreaded Pathogen on our hands.

  20. John

    It looks as if any rational immigration policy is now and forever out of the questions as it might put ICE and its “Citizens-on-Patrol out of business. My God, Immigration vigilantes! How have we survived without them?

  21. marym

    ICE Offering ‘Citizens Academy’ Course with Training on Arresting Immigrants
    On a related note:

    How the Trump administration is turning legal immigrants into undocumented ones…

    There are 100k+ immigrants here legally, whom USCIS approved for new green cards/work authorizations (or replacements of recently expired documents), and they can’t get their “papers” because USCIS literally turned off the printers without telling anyone

    Until last month this green-card printing was performed by a private contractor. USCIS decided not to exercise remaining options on contract & let it lapse last month, planning to bring work in-house. But b/c USCIS is broke & not hiring, it instead just ratcheted down printing

    Thread: Catherine Rampell @crampell 6:41 PM · Jul 9, 2020

    What could go wrong? Wrong is a feature, not a bug

    1. Jen

      Now why would that be? Could there be a financial motivation? As predictable as night following day. From the article:

      “Takeda and CSL Behring, two large companies who co-lead the new CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to develop an Ig product for IV drips, said their efforts are trained on the sickest. The IV formula “represents the fastest path to reach patients, assuming the trial is successful,” said Julie Kim, the head of the plasma-derived therapies business unit at Takeda.

      Financial calculations may be another factor for companies. Intravenous plasma products are traditionally the main economic driver for the industry, supply experts said, in part because vaccines have replaced many short-term immunity shots over the years. The money-making antibodies are also far more diluted in intravenous drugs than in injectable ones, which boosts profit margins.

      “They charge a fortune off of intravenous drugs in the hospital. They don’t want to devote the manufacturing plant to something that won’t make oodles of money,” said one infectious disease expert, who has advocated for coronavirus Ig shots but asked not to be publicly identified.”

      So they’re “focused on the sickest.” Sounds so altruistic, but that’s where the money is.

  22. rowlf

    I’m thinking the durian-and-beer probiotic mix might be able to hold its own against the already killer kimchi-and-beer mix which encourages social distancing.

  23. Jason Boxman

    A few observations on America Is Refusing to Learn How to Fight the Coronavirus. It’s not just about learning lessons. As Lambert has repeatedly noted, the United States lacks the operational capacity to confront the twin crises of novel pandemic and economic collapse.

    And I think the key here, at least with regard to the pandemic, is an effective response depends upon public health. But for over 40 years it’s been clear that the elite in the United States do. not. care. about the public. Citizens. Period.

    So how could there be any kind of effective response, when those ostensibly in leadership positions don’t care about your existence. The working class being ground to dust (deaths of despair) is evidence enough of this. Or never ever Medicare for All, even as Biden declares he believes health care is a human right. (huh?)

    The best that can happen, is achieving near universal mask usage. Much else relies on both a capacity to act and a desire by those in positions of power to act for the public good. We lack both.

    Happy Friday.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      But but but Empress Dowager Nancy *promised* there would be more federal Corona aid to states and localities…she yelled at Jake Tapper when he asked when that would happen and why it was not in the Cares Act. That was…let’s see…2 1/2 months ago. Um do you think the states needed funds urgently? And maybe just maybe the states would have had less pressure to re-open had they had more funding available? But I know I know Corona is all the Orange One’s fault…

  24. urblintz

    Regarding singing and the spread of the virus: I hope the tests they are running at Rice (Bob Yecovich was my boss when I taught at North Carolina School of the Arts, a very good man) will cover the entire process of singing and not just the vocalized result… and I suggest they should test many different singers. I also hope they will distinguish between classical singing and more popular styles because the techniques behind different styles will determine the results.

    I was fortunate to sustain an active career as a classical singer, in both opera and in concert and taught many years as well at University. Contrary to what you might imagine, a critical part of the technique used in classical singing actually requires very little emission of air. You might know of the old school use of a candle held in front of the singers mouth with the goal being to not extinguish the flame. Well, it’s true… ideally the air stays in the mouth. The muscles used to inhale are held in opposition to the muscles used to exhale which effectively “suspends” the air, it does not “expel” the air. It’s why the great singers can sing those long legato phrases on one breath. The vocal chords move the minimal air passing through them, the air does not move the vocal chords.

    However, not all professionals are great singers and many, including myself, have resorted to “blowing” in an effort to produce a bigger sound (totally counter-productive, that effort). And many people who sing in choirs are not going to be so specifically trained… nevermind all the breathing IN that occurs…

    I guess my point is that a test on a single well trained classical singer might suggest the risk is less serious than assumed and the results will not be conclusive by any measure.

  25. td

    Thucydides Trap: Richard Faulk makes a common mistake in his exposition:

    There is a second Thucydides trap that Allison doesn’t mention, which is that Athens lost its ascendancy from internal moral and political decay more than from the challenge posed by rising Sparta, succumbing to demagogues who led Athens into costly military adventures that weakened its overall capabilities.

    The dominant, established power in the Aegean region was Sparta and the rising power was Athens. There is a subconscious bias to equate the West to Athens because it was a very limited democracy. In this context, China is Athens.

    Sparta won the series of wars but both parties were weakened substantially by the lengthy struggle and eventually fell prey to another rising power, Macedon.

    1. Fireship

      “Athens lost its ascendancy from internal moral … decay”

      Does this mean the Athenians stopped molesting boys, freed their slaves and stopped beating their wives and daughters?

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘eventually fell prey to another rising power, Macedon’

      Before that Sparta had to deal with Persia. Sparta had borrowed heavily from Persia and when the war was over, Sparta realized that they had to actually pay back all the money that they owed. To the same power that they and Athenians had united against in the first place.

  26. allan

    COVID-19’s Forceful Financial Hit: A Survey of Business Officers [InsideHigherEd]

    [SPOILER ALERT] Never let a crisis go to waste.

    … About a quarter of business officers said they believed their institution could “ride out the current difficulties and return to more or less normal operations” within two years, while nearly half said their institution “should use this period to make difficult but transformative changes in its core structure and operations” in the interest of long-term sustainability. …

    It looks like Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University will be needing
    a revised, second edition.

  27. jr

    Field report: West Village

    Trans Lives Matter protest at Sheridan Square, a tiny triangular park in front of the Stonewall Inn. As I walked by, it dispersed and reformed across the street where the Inn was serving grog on the side walk. Peaceful, scooter cop squad was set up a half block away, looking bored.

  28. barefoot charley

    Yet again the Trump dog attacks a well-deserved car, with idiotic barking:

    “The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism and other cultural institutions,” Trump said at Mt. Rushmore.

    On the other hand, what if non-profit status discouraged profiteering? Oh, never mind.

  29. martell

    Here’s the Discussion section from the JAMA report on persistent Covid-19 symptoms:

    “This study found that in patients who had recovered from COVID-19, 87.4% reported persistence of at least 1 symptom, particularly fatigue and dyspnea. Limitations of the study include the lack of information on symptom history before acute COVID-19 illness and the lack of details on symptom severity. Furthermore, this is a single-center study with a relatively small number of patients and without a control group of patients discharged for other reasons. Patients with community-acquired pneumonia can also have persistent symptoms, suggesting that these findings may not be exclusive to COVID-19.”

    So, there’s no information about symptoms prior to acute illness and hospital admittance and no information about severity post-release. The number of patients in the study is small and there was no control group. The individuals in question were, furthermore, not just symptomatic but acutely so and admitted to hospital (I gather). Oh, and about that claim that only 13% were symptom-free two months later: What percentage of the general population is without any of those symptoms (it’s quite a list) for two months at a stretch? I have no idea, which is a problem since that’s a baseline relative to which the danger in this case should be assessed.

    The tweet rang a bell too. Frieden is also the guy who tweeted the following back on June 2nd (quoted in the Greenwald article on Covid-19 and the protests):

    “The threat to Covid control from protesting outside is tiny compared to the threat to Covid control created when governments act in ways that lose community trust. People can protest peacefully AND work together to stop Covid. Violence harms public health.”

    He did this before anything was known about the relationship between those gatherings and infection rates and at a time when the conventional wisdom had been (right up until the protests started) that any large-scale gathering, indoors or out, was extremely unsafe. Was he prescient or irresponsible? Since he could not have had any good evidence to support those claims at the time when he made them, seems to me like he was incredibly irresponsible, in which case he is not a reliable authority on this topic.

  30. jr

    I’m trying to come up with a new nickname for the phony Left IDpol mob because writing out phony Left IDpol mob is clumsy and even mentioning Left in association with that garbage leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They have nothing to do with the Left. Is it a form of fascism?

    “Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.” Wiki

    Ok, this seems like a decent working definition so I’m going to check off the list and see if there is a match and how close it is.

    1. Are the proposed “blue fascists” actually on the Right, as I suspect, are they another branch of that genus? I’ll try to answer that below.

    2. Does the term “cultural authoritarianism” make sense? I see a sort of anti -supernationalism oozing out from cultural authoritarianism, the notion for example that the coasts are a special place, enlightened; the flyover states are different, churlish and ignorant. I think cultural authoritarianism fits.

    3. Dictatorial power: from the dim bulbs I’ve met in bars to the wind bags I’ve read online, the “blue fascists” are dictatorial as they come…not to mention pious.

    4. Forcible repression of opposition: we have all been talking, as has FOX, Rising, Dore, Useful Idiots, Adolf Reed, Chomsky, about the “blue fascists” use of social media, academic and MSM platforms, and workplace leverage to derail opponents with smears, shouting, and threats. Its also been discussed how with a Biden presidency a lot of those “ideas” will be codified into law. Imagine that under Kamala Harris…

    5. Strong regimentation of society: this seems on the surface to be the goal of the “blue fascists” but here I think it diverges a bit. “Blue fascism” is about being oppositional to the majority, it claims a special niche of privileged knowledge and moral authority; its that othering again.It does seek regimentation of society but not to hold it closer, rather at arms length.

    6. regimentation of the economy: We’ve seen the corporate world join in the Kabuki theatre of “blue fascisms” cooption of the BLM and similar movements. Racism consultants, purity tests, background checks: all demonstrate “blue fascisms” pull. Now I understand this is not strictly speaking the economy. But if the “BF’s” infect government AND the corporate world, aren’t those the seats of power with which to sway the economy if not regulate it?

    I think blue fascism, BF, fits. I’m removing the parentheses. It is in a sense a pocket fascism, seeking similar powers as traditional fascism does but identifying itself as outside the majority, not representative of it. It is therefore necessarily smaller but well positioned to seek it’s actual ends: control of society and the economy for its own elites at the cost of all others.

    Its been said the blue fascists will turn on themselves, the film “Mephisto” has a scene where SS officers take a working class Nazi party stalwart that opposed Hitler’s plans to the edge of town and shoot him in the back. I would enjoy watching that happen here, so to speak, but it would mean a power core is crystalizing. Bad news.

    So I’m using blue fascists and blue fascism. It has a nice, seemingly contradictory twist to it, I think, the hopefulness and aspirational spirit of “blue” and the droning, boring vileness of “fascism.” And it really points out how dangerous they really are, I think, how far Right thhey are in their own way.

    1. chuck roast

      Try “proto-fascist.”
      That’s what Vidal called Buckley that set him off so badly.
      It was the perfect moniker. Buckley won wide-spread approval of all the intellectual conditions that led to the neo-liberal counter-revolution.

      1. jr

        I want to distinguish them from traditional fascism though, the “blue” lets people know this is different.

    2. R. S.

      I have heard some call them “blue checks” in reference to the blue checkmark twitter uses to denote someone is verified, and also in allusion to brownshirts.

      1. jr

        I don’t like “SWJ” because I want social justice, not social justice movements that have been coopted by blue fascists, it is too broad…

  31. Offtrail

    Lambert, thanks for the link to the excellent Four first hand reports post in Daily Kos.

    Daily Kos is sometimes useful. Like Wikipedia.

  32. Susan the other

    Thanks for the post on Canadian Boreal Forests and “Land Relationship Planning.” Indigenous-led approaches to conservation. What could be wiser? To achieve climate change and biodiversity protection we need to restore natural landscapes. It made reference to a UN edict on the decade+ 2021-2035 for specifically focusing on ecosystem restoration. They are suggesting it is a new era for a Civilian Conservation Corps as part of a federally funded relief project. It all sounds good to me. Except maybe the one sentence reference to mining – that some mining activities might be tolerable. That will depend on the immediate reclamation. Sorta pay-go.

  33. Merf56

    Re the pneumonia in Kazakhstan:
    A colleague based in China and who travels throughout the Stans (as well as China) regularly, has been telling colleagues, friends and family about this for quite a few weeks now. A business contact in Kazakhstan has died from it – in his early 30’s and healthy. He is taking it extremely seriously as is our firm. We have been told to keep it quiet for some bizarre reason..

  34. fresno dan

    Thanks to everyone who answered my question about plant identification – lots and lots AND lots of great information! Really appreciate it!!!

  35. Cuibono

    Dead water Phenomenon:
    Thanks for that. I was beginning to wonder if my mind was playing tricks on me. I like to stand up paddle and sometimes i will come to a sudden Full stop. I look around to see if a shark has grabbed my leash or I hit a heretofore unknown reef but alas. Now i have something to blame.

  36. GettingTheBannedBack

    This whole Epstein affair just threatens to blow the lid off organised pedophilia for political gain.
    So here is my forecast for how this will go.
    Maxwell is safe. She won’t be “suicided”. Unlike Jeffrey who must have been deemed unreliable.
    She has stayed out of the public eye for over a year while the people involved worked out a plan. Plan A could never be that she disappears and lives a happy life. Too much interest in the case. Too much anger about pedophilia and rich people getting away with unspeakable things. Too much media attention.
    So Plan B is that she hands herself in, and will follow a judicial process which may mean that she gets some jail time.
    She will not expose any of the real powers behind her operation, neither countries nor organisations nor people. She will, however, name some names of people who are not so well-connected, not so protected, or who are smaller fry. Those who fall into these categories would be sweating right now, unless they are incredibly naive. Where does Andrew sit on the scale of untouchable to expendable? Expect one or two big names to go under the bus so it looks to the public as if justice is being done.
    Ghislaine will go to jail. For a while. Then maybe some house arrest. And then when she is out she will live a happy and rich life with much support from grateful, well connected and rich people. There is a nice bank account somewhere hidden from prying eyes, with her name on it.
    So, will look with interest to see if this is broadly the way it pans out.

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