Links 7/8/2020

What Can Bonobos Teach Us About the Nature of Language? Smithsonian

Why we need sharks: the true nature of the ocean’s ‘monstrous villains’ The Guardian

Italian mafia bonds sold to global investors FT

Fraud, Short Sellers & Media Investor Amnesia

Implications of financial market development for financial stability in emerging market economies (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

#COVID-19

Catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system ScienceDirect. From the abstract: “This study paves the way for preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other highly infectious airborne agents in closed environments.” Big if true; here is the press release. HVAC mavens please weigh in!

Identification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Healthcare Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Units (preprint) medrXiv. From the abstract: “The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in approximately 25% of samples taken from nine different locations in multiple air handlers. While samples were not evaluated for viral infectivity, the presence of viral RNA in air handlers raises the possibility that viral particles can enter and travel within the air handling system of a hospital, from room return air through high efficiency MERV-15 filters and into supply air ducts.”

* * *

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain (ENE-COVID): a nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study. The Lancet. Interpretation: “The majority of the Spanish population is seronegative to SARS-CoV-2 infection, even in hotspot areas. Most PCR-confirmed cases have detectable antibodies, but a substantial proportion of people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 did not have a PCR test and at least a third of infections determined by serology were asymptomatic. These results emphasise the need for maintaining public health measures to avoid a new epidemic wave.” Shorter: So much for herd immunity.

The implications of silent transmission for the control of COVID-19 outbreaks PNAS. From the abstract: “[O]ver one-third of silent infections must be isolated to suppress a future outbreak below 1% of the population. Our results indicate that symptom-based isolation must be supplemented by rapid contact tracing and testing that identifies asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases, in order to safely lift current restrictions and minimize the risk of resurgence.”

* * *

Longitudinal isolation of potent near-germline SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies from COVID-19 patients Cell. From the abstract: “Our results demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies are readily generated from a diverse pool of precursors, fostering the hope of rapid induction of a protective immune response upon vaccination.”

More on T Cells, Antibody Levels, and Our Ignorance Science

US Grants Novavax $1.6 Billion for Vaccine Orders Industry Week

* * *

Florida Education Commissioner mandates all schools to reopen in August Tallahassee Democrat

School openings across globe suggest ways to keep coronavirus at bay, despite outbreaks Science

Preparing for Fall’s Second Wave — and Then Some MedPage

A guide to R — the pandemic’s misunderstood metric Nature

China?

China Coal Group Halts Demand Index Used as Economic Indicator Bloomberg

With new security law, China outlaws global activism Axios

In Hong Kong national security law, echoes of China’s own cyber crackdown Reuters

The Virus Has Trapped $111 Billion of Luxury Spending in China Bloomberg

China’s distant-water fishing fleet: scale, impact and governance ODI

Australia coronavirus: quarantine guards spread disease, leading to Melbourne’s new lockdown South China Morning Post

Drought spurs Australia to import rice or risk empty shelves Straits Times

Export gloom sours Pakistan’s prized mango season Channel News Asia. FIrst covid, then locusts, now this….

The Impact of Coronavirus on Foreign Workers Bloomberg

The Koreas

Envoy Says U.S. Ready to Resume Nuclear Talks With North Korea Times

North Korea says it has ‘no intention’ of resuming in-person talks with U.S. CBC

UK/EU

Lagarde puts green policy top of agenda in ECB bond buying FT

Ayotzinapa: Experts identify the remains of missing student El Universal

New Cold War

Three arms control negotiators walk into a café… Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Trump Transition

Tracking PPP Loans Pro Publica. Lots of stories being generated from this data.

The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs Pro Publica

While Washington Dithers, States Put Infrastructure Spending on Ice Bloomberg

U.S. withdrawal from WHO over claims of China influence to take effect July 2021: U.N. Reuters

Chief Justice Roberts was hospitalized after head injury Politico

2020

“I Had to Take Donald Down”: In Mary Trump’s New Book, A Conclusive Diagnosis Of Donald Trump’S Psychopathology Vanity Fair

Purdue Pharma Made Political Contributions After Going Bankrupt The Intercept

Cognitive Bias and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA

Is Racism a Mental Illness? Vice (Re Silc).

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate Harpers

ending the charade Fredrik DeBoer

Democrats in Disarray

A Leader Without Leading American Prospect (UserFriendly).

Our Famously Free Press

Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign Daily Beast

Failed State Watch

Growing number of Texas sheriffs refuse to enforce governor’s mask requirement CBS

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Maine Spy Agency Spread Far-Right Rumors of BLM Protest Violence Mainer

Imperial Collapse Watch

The world falls apart as the US withdraws Martin Wolf, FT. “Even when people around the world did not like what the US did, they thought it knew what it was doing.” Iraq? Afghanistan? Libya? Really?

South Sudan: Another U.S.-Sponsored, Nation-Building Fiasco The American Conservative

“…the Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin took General Helmuth von Moltke….” (thread) Mac William Bishop (deplorado).

Class Warfare

The Faltering Escalator of Urban Opportunity (PDF) David Autor, The MIT Task Force on Work of the Future

As draw of city life faded for non-college workers, Blacks and Latinos were squeezed hardest Reuters

Contemplating Recession At The Edge Of The World The American Conservative

Loveland Walmart Distribution Center has COVID-19 outbreak Loveland Reporter-Herald. Love the “Now Hiring” signs!

Dutch police discover secret torture site in shipping containers CNN. Yikes.

I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go? NYT. Here’s the list; entry requirements differ: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Croatia, Ecuador, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Kosovo, Maldives, Mexico, North Macedonia, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. I shouldn’t mock this; as a general matter, the very last thing the United States needs is to be more disconnected from the world.

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

184 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Cognitive Bias and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA

    This article starts out well:

    These cognitive errors, which distract leaders from optimal policy making and citizens from taking steps to promote their own and others’ interests, cannot merely be ascribed to repudiations of science. Rather, these biases are pervasive and may have been evolutionarily selected. Even at academic medical centers, where a premium is placed on having science guide policy, COVID-19 action plans prioritized expanding critical care capacity at the outset, and many clinicians treated seriously ill patients with drugs with little evidence of effectiveness, often before these institutions and clinicians enacted strategies to prevent spread of disease.

    but then as usual ends up blaming messaging and the public, rather than accepting that the professional public health community was the source of so many bad ideas and distorted messaging.

    An important goal of governance is to mitigate the effects of these and other biases on public policy and to effectively communicate the reasons for difficult decisions to the public. However, health systems’ routine use of wartime terminology of “standing up” and “standing down” intensive care units illustrate problematic messaging aimed at the need to address immediate danger. Instead of emphasizing aggressive medical interventions to counteract cases of current disease, more effective messaging would have focused on counteracting disease spread. If war references were to be used at all, instead of saying “Ventilators are to this war what bombs were to World War Two,”8 leaders might have more consistently emphasized disease control by saying “You can protect yourself and your family by sheltering in place and practicing physical distancing and handwashing when outside the home. We all have to sacrifice in the short term to win the war against COVID-19.”

    I believe that one crucial area of bias within the scientific community was and is an analytical bias towards flu pandemics. No matter how often scientists would say things like ‘this is not the flu’, we kept coming back to a focus on policies that were based on flu modelling – Sweden being a particularly egregious example. A far better conceptual model would have been to say ‘this is like polio, except that it will most impact on older people, not children’. Or even just point out that the Coronavirus is more closely related to the common cold than flu, and everyone knows there is no common cold jab, and herd immunity does not exist for the cold. And also, incidentally, masks are very effective at controlling the common cold, as any Asian public health authority could have told Europe and the US.

    Reply
    1. Larry Y

      even mentioning the flu is a massive framing issue. It’s SARS-2, or a pneumonia cold virus that can attack other parts of the body.

      The waffling over masks is another own goal.

      Reply
      1. Art

        “Pneumonia cold virus” is also poor framing. While the viruses that cause colds (rhino viruses) and influenza viruses appear structurally similar to corona (HIV also has a similar structure) comparing them is like saying a tiger is like a fish. Sure they’re both vertebrate bilaterians, but a tiger is certainly not like a fish. Perhaps I’m out my depth, but to me trying to portray this virus as anything other than what it is (and what it is is still a bit of a mystery) is problematic.

        Reply
    2. cocomaan

      I also fail to see how we aren’t on war footing right now. So far, just going to the grocery store, I’ve encountered shortages, rationing, and social controls.

      The wartime language is fine. It’s a natural human reaction to a crisis.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Why? You would need leadership. The closest we have is a pamphlet for Obama’s pandemic response which is laughable for the scale of the crisis.

        Rep. Neal (D)’s big proposal is the expansion of tax credits. The long term consequences of treating these people like players on sports ball teams is coming home to roost. Instead of removing or shaping them into better performance, we just let rot metatisize. I think plenty of Americans can’t even envision good or even okay government at this point.

        As for the GOP, it’s the GOP. Without something to even react to, they will just resort to their usual behavior. On a per capita basis, Reagan still has Trump beat for deaths during a health crisis. It was 95k thousand dead from AIDs in just 1985. Jokes about centrists praising Trump’s behavior during the reign of President for Life Baron Trump in 2026 are pretty close to the truth.

        Reply
        1. cocomaan

          I think plenty of Americans can’t even envision good or even okay government at this point.

          Well said.

          A friend of mine is pulling his kids (both are really bright) out of their school for the next year and sending them to cyber school. This guy is a liberal who believes in public schools, but not his own.

          There’s a real feeling of Soviet America in the air: our bureaucracies now run on the fumes of their own rule making and people cannot take them seriously. As Lambert said back in ’16, the election has been illuminating. This pandemic has taken that illumination and put a magnifying glass under it. It’s now a laser beam of scrutiny and criticism.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The problem with the USSR was functionally the age of actors everywhere. The lack of turnover elections led to people just staying, and 1991 coincides with people hitting retirement/death age. We knock the bench if the GOP and Team Blue, but the seniority of so many members has led to such a decayed government structure. The standard bearer for the party theoretically representing the dynamic youth of America is a friend of Strom Thurmond. The USSR was healthier.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              One thing about the USSR & the Bloc Party that has to be emphasized, is (with the exception of Hungary) that none of their respective currencies had any acceptability in the west, and while a Ruble was in theory worth a buck fifty as per the official Soviet exchange rate, maybe you could find a buyer @ 50 Cents, probably not though, as to ‘cash in’ on the arbitrage, you’d need to go back to the USSR and ride subways, trams & buses to your heart’s content, as there wasn’t much else to spend it on, and if you found something of value to buy on the cheap, good luck getting it out of the country.

              They were all internal currencies that certainly didn’t allow any imports in, and I think that a desire for consumer goods in the east was as much a catalyst as anything as Communism went kerplunk.

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The branded Communist Party fell to desire for more freedom, but the collapse of the Soviet Union itself (they could have been separated) was the whole apparatus was the same people from the last Stalin purge with a few changes at the top when Khruschev was pulled. The local sheriffs and bureaucrats were all the same. In a sense, the system worked for them but just them. When Yeltsin seceded and kicked out Kazakhstan because he wanted to get rid of political rivals, the same people who voted to keep the union weren’t invested in the union. Shrub always brought up the phrase “ownership society”, and I think this is a useful term to amend and reuse. The lack of an “ownership society” led to no class of people at the machinery of the state who would say, “stop, lets fix it.” The Soviet bloc countries were so big, they didn’t need world trade.

                Reply
          2. Amfortas the hippie

            similarly, I believe in vaccines…but i damned sure ain’t going to go to the front of the line for the hopefully soon to be available covid vaccine.
            everything is without legitimacy…even science is broken by money and greed and rentierism.

            and i guess we now know what a shrunken government drowned in a bathtub looks like(noted that they didn’t shrink all of it,lol…only the helpful parts)
            and where’s Grover?
            collecting government checks, i hear.
            has any of the Free Press(sic) thought to hunt him down and query him?—“is this what you had in mind?”
            similarly, Reagan-Thatcherism….and the entire neoliberal project…here we are, incapable of even thinking about Public Health, because “you’re on your own”…and “I am an Island, alone unto myself”.
            Citizen=> Enterprise, hyperindividualised and laser focused on maximalising advantage against 7+ billion other hyperindividualised Enterprises.
            “I won’t wear a mask and you can’t make me”
            “what about yer grandma?”
            “screw her, she’s on her own…she should get a jawb”

            This is not a civilisation.
            or a society.
            or even a collection of cultures.
            it’s a mob of firemonkeys fighting over a bone on the savanna.
            Hobbes’ State of Nature, remade…as Policy.

            well done.

            Reply
            1. Fireship

              “This is not a civilisation.
              or a society.
              or even a collection of cultures.
              it’s a mob of firemonkeys fighting over a bone on the savanna.”

              That, my friend, is poetry. Indeed, as an outsider looking in, it is very hard to see the US having a viable future.

              Reply
            2. Avalon Sparks

              “This is not a civilisation.
              or a society.
              or even a collection of cultures.
              it’s a mob of firemonkeys fighting over a bone on the savanna.”

              You always have a way with words Hippie, but this is pure greatness.

              Reply
              1. Johnonomous

                And he doesn’t have an Ivy League diploma? Hhmmm. How could that happen? In the U-S-A! U-S-A!?

                Reply
            3. tongorad

              it’s a mob of firemonkeys fighting over a bone on the savanna

              And three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
              Discussing things as they are said to be
              Said one to other now listen, you two
              “There’s a certain rumour that just can’t be true
              That man descended from our noble race
              Why, the very idea is a big disgrace
              No monkey ever deserted his wife
              Starved her baby and ruined her life

              Yeah
              The monkey speaks his mind

              And another thing you will never see
              A monkey build a fence around a coconut tree
              And let all the coconuts go to waste
              Forbidding other monkeys to come and taste
              Why, if I put a fence around this tree
              Starvation would force you to steal from me

              Yeah
              The monkey speaks his mind

              Here’s another thing a monkey won’t do
              Go out on a night and get all in a stew
              Or use a gun or a club or a knife
              And take another monkey’s life
              Yes, man descended, the worthless bum
              But, brothers, from us he did not come

              Yeah
              The monkey speaks his mind

              -Dave Bartholomew

              Reply
                  1. Fritzi

                    I have repeatedly read about how early human communities probably had more in common with canid packs.

                    And If true, boy do we look bad in comparison.

                    Wolves and other canids have (contrary to age old projections outside of captivity) extremely flat hierarchies and are based on mutual help, as well as pretty damn democratic, with leaders being mostly occupied with diplomatically solving conflicts and regularly bowing to the will of the majority, with every packmember managing to influence the rest to go the direction THEY want at least some of the time.

                    It’s all pretty easygoing, relaxed and peaceful, with actual violence exceedingly rare.

                    Canid packs take care off the old and the sick, feeding them, and they don’t tolerate tyrannical and selfish leaders, a parasitic class of anti social superexploiters like human societies regularly have, or crap like slavery for that matter, would never work with them.

                    Canids are good, democratic socialists you could say.

                    The only truly cruel and selfishly authoritarian alpha female field researchers ever managed to study in the wild in decades, was eventually killed by her own rebelling pack, the story was a global sensation with animal behaviorial scientists, easy to find and read up.

                    And no, I don’t know if they by chance nicknamed her Hillary.

                    But the entire Pack was suffering from the extreme constant Stress brought in by her abuse and missleadership, she had apparently been showing a special passion for cruelly terrorizing her own sister for a long time, despite the sister being completely submissive, repeatedly killing her cubs, which was totally abnormal behavior for wolves.

                    Eventually the put upon sister had new cubs again, and as the hyperdominant evil sister went to kill them once more, the pack ganged up on her and tore her to pieces.

                    Which lead to the bullied sister taking over as alpha, being indeed incomparably more fair and effective, the pack thriving and the new alpha female adopting the cubs of her dead, evil sister and raising them as her own.

                    All the ingredients of a true epic, one could make a great movie out of it.

                    Reply
                  1. JBird4049

                    No evolution needed. There are five different flavors of great ape. Humans, bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are all great apes with the first three very closely related. Just choose the one that you want to use.

                    Only humans and chimpanzees have wars although male orangutans are a bit rape happy. This has included women very rarely.

                    Bonobos are a sex crazed matriarchal species. As a rule they don’t fight. All great ape species have been seen creating simple tools especially the bonobos and chimpanzees. And us of course. :-)

                    Gorillas just hang out and eat with the occasional dominance fight between male silver backs. Orangutans are mainly solitary unless there is a sudden food surplus and then they have a large peaceful meeting usually for a few days.

                    Then there is the fact that some of the great apes have been taught sign language and have had conversations with humans.

                    BTW, they are all several times stronger than humans. So be nice.

                    People keep trying to make us and the wild as completely separate, but we’re not.

                    Reply
              1. Mr. House

                Don’t worry, none of them will lose their jobs. Its almost like the PMC doesn’t play by the same rules we do……

                Reply
    3. David

      Ironically, there’s a common type of bias found among experts – sometimes just called “cognitive bias” – which involves interpreting what you see in terms of what you are an expert on. So instead of asking “what is this?” you ask “which of the things I know about does this most resemble?” I suspect that’s what you’re talking about here: as often, there’s a competition to define a problem as something that you understand and can do, rather than actually trying to find out what it is. After all, it might turn out to be something you have no expertise in.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d agree, confirmation bias in all its forms is also very prevalent, even among the best scientists (I don’t think any of us are genuinely free of this form of bias). But I think what this crisis has revealed is that within the broader medical world there has been a failure to really develop a consensus on evidence and risk assessment, with each speciality digging into its own particular bunker. Its a pity that the ‘science of science’ has gotten such a bad name thanks to some dubious sociological theories, not to mention some dubious so-called take-downs of such analyses (such as the famous Sokal Hoax, which i think was particularly damaging as it was aimed I think at the wrong targets).

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        I am a university drop-out from the late ’60’s. Although I tried a couple of times to ‘fix it’, I ended up coming away with the conviction that university was the dumbest, slowest, and most expensive way to learn anything. I think it is a disservice to humanity that ‘experts’ are selected, trained, groomed, and anointed at an age where they know nothing about anything. IMHO, a lot of what is wrong with now is that.

        Reply
    4. Ignacio

      Bias within the scientific community. From my point of view there is a confusion with what we call the scientific community. There are several scientific communities, not one, even in the realm of the world of microbes, which is a large one, that holds international meetings trying to integrate all the disciplines and research fields, there is no such large community but smaller communities focused in narrower research fields though knowledge permeates amongst them. In can’t be other way because the degree of specialization has increased as research results have accumulated in such a way that is nearly impossible to be up to date in all fields. We also should not confound research with the practice of medicine and even medical research which is closer to the practice. This is by itself one of the largest research branches with methods and scopes that are different from those doing more basic research. . Clinical research is quite a distinct tree with several branches one of which would be clinical research in virology and immunology with some interactions with epidemiology, basic virology, evolutionary virology, development of antivirals, plus some other clinical disciplines related with the organs/systems affected by the diseases. And it not strange that this was dominated by flu, AIDS and hepatitis practitioners (rather than researchers/scientists) but being the most proximate to the case of study the flu people.

      So, there is not a global research community and there is not a scientific consensus on how to approach to something like this new disease. Rather that ‘flu bias’ I think there was lack of coordination and more prevalence should have been given to Coronavirus people and epidemiologists to contrast with HC flu practitioners. I think that the bias exists, not so in the scientific realm but in the institutions. For instance, most of the representatives in the eCDC came from the clinical branch and not precisely researchers but most of then medicine practitioners. Most of them are physicians, not scientists.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks Ignacio, I agree with you, you’ve just expressed my thoughts much better than I could.

        As you say, there isn’t one ‘science’, there are many branches of science, often studying the same thing, each with their own particular paradigms, which in turn can lead to forms of bias. I think however that too many scientists are often unaware of their own prejudices which can lead them to some horrible decisions when they are moving out of their own narrow fields of expertise and epistemology.

        A well known example in the literature was after Chernobyl, and an ‘expert committee’ was set up by the British government to assess if there were any possible hazards for the UK. A group of some of the finest scientists in the country decided that the distance attenuation meant that there was no hazard. A few months later some very radioactive sheep turned up in Cumbria. They had been grazing grass on acidic uplands where biochemical processes had concentrated caesium up the food chain. When they reverted back to the expert committee, it suddenly occurred to them that every member was a physicist. There was not one soil scientist among them (and the biochemical processes were very well known to all soil scientists, papers on the topic had been published in top journals since the 1960’s). It simply hadn’t occurred to any of the scientists around the table to ask about soil impacts.

        I think the point I’m trying to make is that you don’t just need ‘scientists’ to advise on public action. You need scientifically trained leaders/advisors with a broader spectrum of knowledge who will specifically zero in on issues like scientific uncertainty and risk assessment and, perhaps most importantly, will formulate the questions correctly. I think in many cases the problem wasn’t the answers scientists were giving, but the questions they were asked.

        Reply
        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I don’t know who said it, but I believe it to be pertinent in many fields in regards to specialists.

          Something like – Never have so many known so much about so little.

          Reply
        2. Jeotsu

          This impacts so many fields.

          You can walk into a molecular genetics lab (just to pick a field at random), and have 14 great, well-trained minds. If you present them with a problem you are likely to getting a similar solution from all 14.

          If that problem is insufficient, then they are all stuck. One mental hammer, for one mental nail.

          Is the homogenous aggregation another form of self-protecting tribalism? In so many professions and specialities they mob up and keep the outsiders at bay.

          Reply
    5. rtah100

      Lambert,

      The article on pre/asymptomatic transmission was great but you missed the money quote:

      “We found that the majority of incidences may be attributable to silent transmission from a combination of the presymptomatic stage and asymptomatic infections. Consequently, even if all symptomatic cases are isolated, a vast outbreak may nonetheless unfold.”

      Reply
    6. Cuibono

      these are excellent observations.
      I also read a good editorial today that says we should not be using a Wave analogy but a Wildfire analogy.
      Waves happen independent of anything we might do or not do. Not so wildfires

      Reply
  2. Ignacio

    RE: The implications of silent transmission for the control of COVID-19 outbreaks PNAS. From the abstract: “[O]ver one-third of silent infections must be isolated to suppress a future outbreak below 1% of the population. Our results indicate that symptom-based isolation must be supplemented by rapid contact tracing and testing that identifies asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases, in order to safely lift current restrictions and minimize the risk of resurgence.”

    In Lleida/Lérida (Province of Catalonia), where a large cluster has been detected, these measures have been supplemented with mandatory mask usage even when there is social distancing which is quite extreme but I believe has both popular and institutional support. The new clusters in Lleida have, again, taken by surprise an overwhelmed HC system in this largely agricultural province when many physicians were already on their holidays and some hospitalizations are being diverted to other Catalonian provinces.

    Reply
  3. stefan

    RE: With new security law, China outlaws global activism Axios
    This is seriously bad news, and other nations need to react forcefully, decisively, and promptly, to it– something along the lines of denying Chinese imports and travelers until this law is rescinded.

    If China pays no price for the establishment of this law, woe to the world.

    Reply
    1. marcel

      What is China doing what the US is not?
      Julian Assange is being tortured and slowly killed in his UK jail for no reason, just because the US asked for it.
      PSA (a European car builder with no markets in US) cannot build or sell cars to Iran, just because the US insists it be so.
      US is the world’s bad apple, and other countries try to protect themselves from infection.

      Reply
    2. The Heretic

      If you want to hurt China, you mandate that all The important foreign companies must leave China.

      Reply
      1. John

        Tit for tat: establish a law that would impact China as China seeks to impact the world and enforce it, arrest for arrest, conviction for conviction. Encourage the EU to do the same. End the mania for sanctioning everyone one for everything. If the USA has a right to its beliefs and policies, then all others have a right to theirs.

        George Floyd was slowly strangled. The outcry over that atrocity has been loud, widespread, and profound. How is what our sanctions are doing to Venezuela and Iran different in principle?

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        If they did that, then prepare for empty medicine shelves at your chemist. And no spare parts for the Pentagon. And no parts to keep American industries running too I bet. Be careful what you wish for….

        Reply
        1. Oh

          Most of the medicines pushed sold by these drug dealers pharmas are worthless and addictive. No spare parts for the Pentagon? Great! No parts for American industries? Also good!
          It’s time people realize that companies sourcing from China help them and the middlemen make a yuuge profit. Drugs made in China do not undergo the minimal GMP inspections by the FDA. Please read “Bottle of Lies” by Katherine Eban.

          Reply
          1. The Historian

            I don’t think you even understand the problem. I need a particular drug to stay alive and it isn’t manufactured here in this country. I have to get my medicine from overseas. Because I can no longer get it from other countries that make it, I am now having to take a drug manufactured in Germany that isn’t as effective and has more side effects. My insurance company won’t pay for a non-generic replacement because it is extremely expensive, but even the non-generic replacement drug isn’t made in this country.

            And yes, it is a scandal about how generic drugs, and for that matter, how all drugs are made. I have no doubts that Katherine Eban is right, but what do we people who have to take these drugs do right now? This problem is too complex to be solved by any knee-jerk reaction.

            Reply
            1. Fireship

              Thank you. I need a drug to stay sane. There is a lot of damaging paranoid hysteria around pharmaceuticals.

              Reply
            2. HotFlash

              My dear Historian, and all in the same situation. This is just plain flat-out wrong. What is the point of a democracy if The People can’t get the medicines they need ‘because markets’? I have Cuban friends, and although they chafed under Fidel, they are now admitting that it weren’t all so bad… Compare our ‘democratically elected’ Doug Ford — just one example. His predecessor, a Liberal (that’s the party name, so more or less a Democrat) Kathleen Wynne sold our provincially-owned electric producer. AND IT WASN’T HERS TO SELL.

              I have read a bit abt the French Revolution, and although the guillotines were (briefly) satisfying on one level, that didn’t fix it. And although this may sound like a comic book script, I think it is true: “We need a plan!” And we don’t have one.

              Reply
          2. John k

            I agree. If it’s something we need, make it here like it used to be. The transition will have painful disruptions, plus reduced profits, but it must be done. Imagine not being able to make masks, syringes or drugs here. Or the military allowing itself to become dependent on China.
            Trump is awful, but he has started a long overdue, if disjointed, withdrawal from globalism.

            Reply
      3. DFTBS

        The notion that the US can hurt China via economic sanctions is an impotent projection of what Americans think is of value in the world. Judge by deeds and not words: The response to Covid-19, where the Chinese have twice over shut down their country to save the lives of their citizens, while our country stares into the abyss with +130k deaths and counting, is a clear demonstration different motivating principles for either society.

        We think we could hurt the Chinese by hurting their stock markets, denying them foreign markets to their goods, and denying them USD funding from our banking system.

        The first is outright projection by the goons in charge of US policy making; they demonstrated their believe that the “economy” is synonymous with their portfolio valuations and not the productive capacity of the nation, and can’t imagine that the Chinese don’t feel the same way.

        The second is wishful thinking. America’s coercive power is in steep decline, and China accounts for nearly a third of the world’s manufacturing output (70% more than the US). We have neither the carrots or the sticks to make this work.

        The third is suicide. Denying the Chinese access to the US global banking system would hasten the demise of that system, rather than China. No doubt the dislocations would be difficult for all involved; but in the long run the Chinese are better able to survive not being paid in paper for manufactured goods, than American’s would be able to survive the realization that said paper is worthless if it can’t buy those manufactured goods.

        That’s not to say there aren’t effective ways for the US to counter and compete against China. We could embark on a national project to unleash our autarkic potential. This would require a massive re-balancing of power between labor and capital. Unfortunately this isn’t a price that American elites are willing to pay. To be honest, I fear that this notion isn’t even with the scope of the American cognitive model. At the point which North American elites ever choose to go down this path, we would no longer be the United States of America, but some other polity.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ll take the counterpoint to your arguments. China operates with two currencies, the RMB for all matters domestic, and the USD for all matters external. One of the ways they acquire those USD is investor flows to their equity markets. Orange Hitler took the obvious step to stop the flow of US military pensions investing in the Chinese companies that would blow them up in a war. He is also working on similar moves against the HKD, with a banking system at something like 900% leverage.

          I’m all for these moves, because the natural progression is Trade War > Currency War > Shooting War. I’m hoping the second leg is enough, for now.

          And you say “they demonstrated their belief that the “economy” is synonymous with their portfolio valuations”. Unfortunately it is. During last Fall’s Repo Madness and then the March decline the Fed actually stated “absent a rising stock market the US Treasury market ceases to function”. Alhambra Partners, especially in the interviews with Luke Gromen, outline that progression. It took exactly 5 days of downturn to freeze up the market for USTs.

          And then: “Denying the Chinese access to the US global banking system would hasten the demise of that system”. Truly, I think not. I deal with UHNW mainland Chinese investors and they have a saying: “Money in China is not real money”. The CCP (5% of the population) owns 100% of the land. You can make a business atop that land but it is not yours and can be confiscated at any time (ask Jack Ma). There is a 99% conviction rate in the “court” system in case you were hoping for redress. Developing markets are desperate to acquire USD to pay the dollar-denominated loans they gorged on. So no I do not think the RMB is going to displace the USD anytime soon. Nor do I think the Euro will: it’s a transfer union, not a sovereign currency. Those always break.

          Reply
          1. DFTBS

            I have to say that I agree with all of your observations, I suppose my contention is that the Chinese system and leadership are better equipped to handle these realities than their American counterparts.

            I agree that RMB will not displace USD as the global reserve currency; but this isn’t due to some inherent strength in USD, rather the Chinese don’t seem to want to have this “privilege.” They seem keenly aware of the benefits received, increasing poverty, declining life expectancy, from our reserve currency driven debt-leverage economy.

            Money is conduit for political and physical power. For hundreds of years the conflict between sovereigns and their constituencies for control of the purse strings was a check on this power. In the US this power was initially the legislature. The Fed’s response to the repo crisis (kitchen sink), and to corona destroying the economy (nationalize bank/dealer risk), has demonstrated where the control of this power lies in the US. Is money any more real in the US than in China? That question isn’t asked by American investors, because they benefit from this exploitation of the public balance sheet.

            Ultimately for the US elite, trying to punish China denying it access to the US run global banking system would be like trying to drown your enemy with your own blood. The US elite doesn’t have the desire or ability to remove China from global supply chains. Doing so would require a re-distribution of political power from capital to labor. This would destroy asset valuations, as capital would have to share profits with labor. If following such a realignment we still had an inflation-phobic central bank regime, it would be forced to raise rates to combat wage driven inflation (kicking the corpse of asset values).

            I agree that such a move would hurt the Jack Ma’s of the world. And perhaps you would see an outflow of billionaires and millionaires from China. Something like a Chinese Mariel. These people can leave, and take their USD denominated bank accounts with them; but they can’t take their physical capital: the factories, shipyards, and power plants. Let’s not forget that China is run by a vanguard communist party. Denying the PRC access to dollars will be doing them the favor of purging their capitalists and bourgeoisie.

            Like you, I fear that US elites will come to the conclusion that hard power is their only option. Unfortunately, as a class they’ve demonstrated themselves to short on imagination and long on aggression. Crap, I think I’ve just convinced myself to vote for Trump; better to hasten imperial dissolution, than to go back to “normal”

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Is money any more real in the US than in China?

              I think money, as JP Morgan stated, is atomic element 79, the rest is just credit. So I actually think the clever move (if you wanted to extend and pretend the existing system that is) would be to devalue the USD against said metal by 50%. They would at a stroke get the inflation (!) they so desperately seek. It would re-liquify the system. Of course their other options are to outgrow the pace of debt issuance (not likely, June deficit came in at $836B, 100X last June’s) or else everybody gets a haircut. Unlikely the aristocracy would stand for that, so the haircut they’ll get in the end starts a little further down the neck, and ends with their cabezas staring up at the world from the bottom of a wicker basket.

              And: I agree. A vote for the Horrible Orange One is lesser evilism at this point, given how the previous crew actually ran things in the Empire department.

              Reply
              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Please remember to consider supporting something good instead of either evil.

                To take an ecample (admittedly one close to my own heart), the Green Party is holding its Presidential Nominating Convention this weekend — and is already on ballots for over half the people in the US.

                Reply
        2. Fritzi

          I dare say, the Chinese have come back from the pretty much total collapse of their country many times over for thousands of years, while successfully retaining their cultural “identity”, let’s see americans pull that off.

          Reply
    3. Olga

      The click-bat headline is disproved by the first sentence: “… for anyone in the world to promote democratic reform for Hong Kong.” There is nothing about “global activism,” only activities related to HK.
      The alarming, almost hysterical, take on the new law could be turned around to ask: ‘why is it so important for the west to deny China a way to safeguard its sovereignty’?
      The article says “He and other leaders of the pro-democracy movement, including Joshua Wong, have traveled the globe in recent years to promote their cause, including meeting with U.S. lawmakers — an activity that the new law prohibits.”
      Now imagine if some Occupy WS representatives travelled to Beijing or Moscow to meet with local politicians and urged them to pass laws in support of their cause. What would the US do?
      And as for “a very global fight, authoritarianism versus democracy,” what could be more authoritarian than the EARN IT act, currently debated in Congress? It has drastic implications, yet there is very little coverage. Is screaming ‘China bad’ one way to distract us from paying attention internally?

      Reply
      1. Oh

        Yes, it’s another distraction tactic to take one’s eyes off what’s really happening in this country.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, pro-Hong Kong activism is one form of global activism. That’s not hard to understand. It’s also not hard to understand that once the precedent is set, it can be expanded to other forms of activism disfavored by the CCP.

        Is this translation wrong? If so, show it:

        This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.

        In other words, Yves, or me. Or you. And just because our own demented government has seized extraterritorial jurisdiction doesn’t make it a net positive that the CCP did, too.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          The law is clearly intended to intimidate HKers around the world from doing or saying anything that might leave them open to arrest when they visit HK or any part of China. Its highly effective. Anyone in China (local or expat) has to be extremely careful what they say on social media, which is fair enough, its their country and they can enforce their own laws.

          But this now extends China’s grip way beyond people living in China, and you can see it in the sort of comment that journalists and analysts make online – they are self censoring, and I don’t blame them – the risks for them are very high. At the very least, if their job requires access to HK/China, they may lose their livelihoods.

          Reply
  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: More on T Cells, Antibody Levels, and Our Ignorance

    Well you cannot and should not talk about T Cell response with talking about zinc. That much they do know. But for some reason will not talk about it.

    Speaking of Zinc, Yesterday, after 50 plus years of complaining of my gut issues I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. (Yes, if you are diagnosed with a mood disorder that is all doctors will see until you pester them enough to start looking at your other health issues.)

    Suspecting the disorder, they also tested me for several nutrient deficiencies, including zinc. And even with all the zinc I was taking I was right at the low number of normal.

    So it seems my nutrient malabsorbtion is the underlying cause of all my neurological issues.

    Reply
    1. jr

      Along with my non gender polarized bipolarity, I enjoy gastritis as a hobby. I have found intermittent fasting to alleviate my symptoms, I’ve gone up to four days with only light snacks a few times a day, like a handful of nuts or something. I feel energized and it gives my body relief. Perhaps it could help? Just a thought…

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Porgajski

        I have always had the same positive effects from fasting. My Crohn’s is caused by two genes NOD2 and FUT2 which control bacteria and inflammation in the intestines. So the fasting starves the little buggers. I later went on FODMAP diet and found the saccharides I was sensitive to.

        In other news I had a serum amino acid test come back today that confirmed I have a BH4 deficiency so I am on a roll for once in my life having an intelligent and patient doctor. This was the cause of my “Bipolar Disorder”. BH4 deficiency means I cannot turn some amino acids into serotonin and dopamine but instead turns them into trace amine that act just like Meth. This is caused by my GCH1 genetics and maybe another. Zinc helps this a lot.

        If you ever want to talk more drop me a not at my first and last name at Protonmail.

        Reply
        1. jr

          Hey I keep getting an error message when I try to send you an email, recipient not found…maybe try this:

          PiersVerare at proton

          I look forward to talking!

          Reply
    2. diptherio

      While helping a neighbor with some yard work the other day, I commented on his impressive patch of lovage. The Chinese herbalist who was also helping informed me that it contains high amounts of quercetin, which apparently assists with zinc uptake.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Lovage is a good all around thing to have established in a corner of the yard.
        (It will take over, if you let it)
        celery substitute for warmer climes, where the real thing won’t grow.
        this is why i finally started some this year(grasshoppers have put a dent in my herb establishment…so far, they don’t appear to like lovage or cutting celery or the big italian parsleys i have in pots(stems are also a celery substitute…don’t remember the name of this parsley)
        dern plant gets huge…so put it by itself somewhere you don’t mind being dedicated to it(it comes back…and self seeded when we had it in east texas)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovage

        given our superheated summers(it’ll be 110 early next week…north west texas hill country), I have it in with some elephant garlic in a bed that is on the north side of the shop, gets direct sun when the sun is high, partial shade the rest of the time. similarly situated bed next to it is where the mint lives, for comparison….and the slope of that roof dumps water from rain/big sprinkler in those beds, keeping them wetter than the rest(little frog pond is in the mint)

        Reply
    3. jef

      “So it seems my nutrient malabsorbtion is the underlying cause of all my neurological issues.” You and about 7 billion other people and thousands of other “health issues” too not just neurological.

      It is a combination of less nutrients in industrial Ag produced food, all they test for is a few letters of the alphabet and a few minerals, and the monumental loss of human gut microbiota over the last several hundred years. Can find the article right now but studies showed that human gut microbiota was now only a fraction of what it used to be and much of it will never come back.

      This is the source of what ails us so no we do not feed the world, not even close.

      Reply
      1. CuriosityConcern

        Hmm, your comment made me think of anti-biotics and pesticides in conjunction with gut bacteria.

        Reply
  5. GettingTheBannedBack

    Re SARS-COV-2. For all interested in ongoing research on hydroxychloroquine, see https://www.henryford.com/news/2020/07/hydro-treatment-study . Detroit.

    Bottom line> ” In a large-scale retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across the system’s six hospitals, the study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with hydroxychloroquine”.

    The trick. Start the treatment as soon as the patient enters the hospital.

    HCQ does not work if doctors wait until a patient is at death’s door. This explains the many reported failures eg New York.

    Reply
    1. SKM

      Exactly!!! Been waiting for better HC studies viz RCTs done at the right stage of the disease (in the viral replication phase) or even retrospective studies a bit better constructed and a ealier in the disease. This study claims to have intervened earlier in the disease course although it was still on people sick enough to require hospitalisation, not really early enough. Pity no mention of Zinc though. No idea if it will work but we haven`t got the proof it doesn`t yet!
      It`s beginning to look as if they really do want us to die. The UK has just trashed (again!) the idea that we all might need adequate vitamin D levels in the face of a respiratory virus pandemic. They end saying yes we can continue taking 10mcg (yes enough to prevent rickets if you are white and slim) a day for our bones and muscles!!!
      I won`t comment further as most here know why that is simply insane.
      I`ve read their statement and justification, and it is the worst piece of bad faith writing I`ve seen in ages from a public health body. They seem simply terrified that we might take a harmless vitamin (in more than a minuscule dose) – this time a vital pro-hormone, integral to the immune system – but are happy to fill us with endless pharmaceuticals with known often serious side-effects.
      Even I never imagined they would behave like this in the face of a deadly pandemic….

      Reply
  6. John

    The number of sites disappearing behind paywalls is distressing and collectively much too expensive for my budget and I don’t suppose that is going to change anytime soon.

    Reply
    1. Bandit

      No great loss, especially if you are grieving over any of the legacy msm sites. If there is any consolation, almost all of the “alternative” news and blogs are not going paywalled. As to the disturbing trend in other paywalled sites, I reason them to be unworthy of my investment. My sentiment is that any and all msm paywalled sites are deserving of being completely ignored and unsupported, which amounts to less fake news and misinformation bs to wade through. I can’t wait for the Rachel Maddow show to be paywalled as I wouldn’t waste my time watching her anyway, but can draw some comfort that the dimwits that do watch her would then have to pay for the privilege.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      Even P Escobar is now behind a paywall at Asia Times (though he may be found elsewhere); E Magnier has also put his stuff behind a subscription… I get it that we cannot all expect free stuff, but it’s hard to afford all these individual subscriptions. (It’s not just msm…)

      Reply
      1. Mr. House

        Perhaps its harder to get persecuted when you’re behind a paywall? Didn’t zerohedge just lose all its ad revenue via google?

        Reply
      2. boz

        You can generally find Escobar cross posted at Unz Review, The Saker or Zerohedge (and here at NC on occasion!)

        Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    After you get evicted from your place in Florida 15 days from now when forbearance fades and landlords want a pretty balloon payment, maybe homeless parents can go with their kids to newly reopened schools, er, re-education camps?

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Just read that after withholding info for months, that 54 ICU units in hospitals in the Sunshine state are full up, and another 30 are at 90% of ICU capacity, across a swath of 25 counties.

        Not that we aren’t following in your considerable footsteps here in the Golden state, but schools out for summer and into the unforseeable future, as per Alice Cooper.

        Reply
    1. zagonostra

      I know people who still haven’t managed to get through to Florida’s Unemployment Web Site. It’s a hell for many people that were laid-off but you wouldn’t know these people exist anymore than you would know individual accounts of people who lost their homes in the 2008 financial fiasco.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        re: all that superunemployment money:
        https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/06/texas-unemployment-benefits-workers/
        Texas Workforce Commission is clawing back.
        you pay even if it’s their screwup.

        Cousin…the Libertarian Island, encouraged me…breathlessly…to “take advantage of all this free money”.
        So i went and looked, and of course i don’t come close to qualifying,lol, even with the relatively lax requirements.
        haven’t had an actual job in 13 years, and my current activities (cousin called me “self employed”) generate no traceable wealth, no documentation, no paper at all except for the little spiral notebook i carry around with me in the Falcon so i can remember/prioritise all the million things i need to do.
        They didn’t have a box for “I paid myself in tomatoes and peppers, such that i haven’t bought either from Mexico/California in years”.
        the above article is about par for the course with Texas gooberment…unless you’re an oil company.

        Reply
    2. Glen

      Who in their right mind is moving to Florida to rent a place that potentially had sick people that were evicted?

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Australia coronavirus: quarantine guards spread disease, leading to Melbourne’s new lockdown”

    What the article does not mention is that this stuff-up is all on the Victorian government. Instead of doing what other States do and use police and Army personnel to guard those quarantine hotels, they decided instead to opt for a private security firm for some reason. And that meant a bunch of yobbos who were not trained to do their duties and never took their duties seriously in any case. Some were being paid for shifts that they did not even work. The Army did offer to lend the Victorian government some troops but they were knocked back.

    So the Victorian government having to put the whole of Melbourne under lockdown all over again and the billions that they will be spending getting this outbreak under control is all on them. For decades we have been hearing that if you want something run properly, that you don’t get the government to do it but smart business people instead. Well here is a result of letting businesses dictate when a State is to be reopened and how a quarantine is to be run and the results are plain. They are too compromised by profit motives to do important stuff. What else are they bad at?

    Reply
  9. JacobiteInTraining

    “…I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?…”

    I was surprised the other day when my older brother mentioned out of the blue that Finland has a more relaxed residency allowance for non-Finnish citizens if one has a parent or grandparent who was once a Finnish Citizen. One of our Grandparents was born there in 1904, so I guess we would qualify. (Well, technically it was the Tsar’s Russia at the time..so it was ‘Grand Principality of Finland’, but I presume Finnish immigration authorities have a clause for that.

    Surprised me a teensy bit he was investigating that option as he has always been a pretty reliable ‘head in the sand, everything is fine!’ kinda Democrat. Not anymore, it would seem.

    Can’t say I am not tempted by the prospect, but I guess I mainly realize we can’t all cut and run….gotta fight this out to the bitter end because if everyone runs, who fights and then wins? :)

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      My grandfather was a man of means and thought he’d be a smarty and out-think the Nazi party after the partition party in Munich, and had converted his wealth in Czech money into British Pounds and deposited 15,000 quid in an English bank on Wenceslaus Square in Prague, and then when the goosesteppers came in without knocking early in 1939, both the English and French banks in the country told Adolf to have whatever they’d like, not wanting to cause any consternation to their respective nations. Goodbye to all that.

      Then after the war when he still had considerable real estate holdings, the Soviets confiscated that.

      A 1-2 punch if you will.

      Nobody is leaving our country in terms of any sizable movement, the plan now is make yourself the smallest target, and a visibly missing tooth combined with wealth carefully hidden away while keeping the appearance of a pauper, could go a long way in prolonging your existence, as we go a little crazy for a spell.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Ugh. An order of Old School asset forfeiture, with a side of Soviet eminent domain.

        Yeah, I don’t think too many are gonna be able to navigate covid-travel (and/or proven portable wealth aka ‘bribe’) restrictions to offshore themselves anytime soon. Enjoy the party, and get those backwoods distilleries brewing and refining to lay in some useful trade goods!

        Reply
      2. Olga

        Wuk, I doubt it was the Soviets… more like the new Czechoslovak govt after 1948.
        As for the banks, after Munich (Sept. 1938), I’d imagine the writing was on the wall.
        Once the French and Brits betrayed Czechoslovakia, anything would be possible.
        (By all accounts, Havel was motivated by his uncle’s loss of a building on the Vaclavske sq. to become a rebel and pretend-humanist.)

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Wuk, I doubt it was the Soviets… more like the new Czechoslovak govt after 1948.

          Yes, I feel certain the Soviets had no sway, although from here the puppet strings they once wielded appear to be made out of iron.

          I don’t really read Havel’s thoughts and think, if only a pretend-humanist hadn’t wrote such poignant word portraits, well then it’d be worth it, but to each their own.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            I suppose in a world devoid of all complexities, nuance, and subtlety, Soviets could be blamed for all that happened in Central Europe.
            Alas, the reality is less straightforward and much more interesting; however, boundless curiosity would be required to learn about it. Unfortunately, most people don’t get challenged to review old biases.
            (Havel is pretend whatever in part because he unabashedly supported the war against Iraq and the stationing of missiles and a shield in the Czech Rep. – something opposed to by about 75% of the population. It’s not what one writes that counts – it is what one does.)

            Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      Check on maximum age requirements – in a lot of EU countries it’s mid-30s. You don’t want to miss it by a day!

      Reply
  10. Jorge

    Identification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Healthcare Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Units Coupled with the other article on installing supercharged heating units in existing buildings, yet another reason to move businesses to the suburbs, or work from home situations. Sure there’s a technical fix, if enough money is spent. How do you disinfect an elevator full of people though? How can landlords charge more in a declining office market to pay for this?

    Along with the fear of infection on mass transit, elevators, parking conflicts, and location, yet another nail in the coffin of the highrise office and residential tower as a viable entity. And geographically, why places that require air conditioning are less desireable.

    Another kick in the ass to cities that depend on them for taxes, growth and productivity. Especially landlocked ones like San Francisco and New York.

    Insurance covered the three buildings of the World Trade Centers that had asbestos contamination problems inherent in their construction, plus design rigidity.
    The thousands of other high rises have become even more of a liability with Covid.

    Reply
  11. Laputan

    Re: A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

    The phony outrage this thing has sparked is so inane that the extremely online woke left can’t help but walk right into the obvious bear trap and prove the author’s point. They’re even trying to cancel Chomsky now, ffs. I believe we’ve finally hit peak Twitter sucks.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Yep. I entirely agree with the letter entirely, whether or not I know anything about or agree or disagree with the signers. I ideas expressed are right, imo. If the signers have human faults or frailties, who doesn’t. They would benefit by reviewing the basic principles of the Enlightenment: the belief in reason over superstition.,and in the importance of evidence over, say, gossip.

      As far as twitter, analysis of net traffic on social media and comment sites indicates nearly 50% of the traffic is automated bot responses. It’s possible a lot of the responses on twitter are human but are hired computer outfits providing whatever bot response the hirer wants. Maybe it’s bots fighting bots! ha. Maybe real people are being worked up into a tizzy by bots.

      Matt Taibbi wrote about this emotional, authoritarian, gossip driven madness on his substack site.

      “On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

      The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. ”

      https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-news-media-is-destroying-itself

      Reply
      1. flora

        typos :

        I Ideas

        They The twitter ranters would benefit by reviewing basic principles of the Enlightenment: …

        It’s possible a lot of the responses on twitter are not human

        Reply
    2. flora

      an aside about Twitter: I’m not sure the outfit Correct the Record ever shut down or that other commercial ventures like it haven’t sprung up to push particular points of view. ;)

      Reply
      1. Laputan

        “The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry.”

        And I hear I was, thinking it couldn’t get any more phony.

        How did these people get a public platform with this kind of moral cowardice?

        Reply
      2. occasional anonymous

        The ‘woke’ come out of this looking so bad (it looks bad because it is bad). I’m particularly sad to see Nathan J Robinson staking out a position on the wrong side of this issue, because I really do generally like the guy.

        If you are on the Left, you want to substantially change the status quo. Suppressing speech (and thought. Now racism is a mental illness, apparently. If these people could have access to a psychic-laser to just eliminate thought they didn’t like, they would use it in a heartbeat) serves to maintain that status quo. You can’t have it both ways.

        Unless of course these people aren’t actually on the Left. Why, it’s almost like they’ve carved out a comfortable niche for themselves and don’t want to see it threatened…

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “…the Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin took General Helmuth von Moltke….”

    This guy is really good. I have been checking out some of his artwork and it is almost like they were painted from a photograph, such is the reality depicted. That seemed to be his thing – painting people, scenes and situations as they actually were. When I think of some of the dreck of 18th-19th century paintings romanticizing war, it is amazing the difference. I am sure that a lot of combat vets who saw his paintings would nod at what they saw depicted. There is a link given at-

    http://artchallenge.ru/gallery/en/47.html

    If you go down about halfway, you will see a series of three paintings depicting a nurse and a patient in bed. The first is called letter to his mother, the second a letter interrupted and the third unfinished letter – because the patient dies. The kicker? This was not a Russian soldier depicted but an American soldier of the Spanish–American War.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. I saw that once and tried to find it later without success. The more you look at it the more details that you notice. I have a weakness for paintings that tell a story with a lot of detail when you start looking at it hard. Have you ever seen Robert Braithwaite Martineau’s “The Last Day in the Old Home”? If you go to the Tate Gallery page, it both shows and talks about it-

        https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/martineau-the-last-day-in-the-old-home-n01500

        The Victorians were into moralizing paintings but I think that this was one of the better ones.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        That is one of the funniest paintings ever… particularly, once you’ve read the letter.
        An Iranian friend put it as his computer screen (to laugh at every day).

        Reply
      3. Robert Gray

        Thanks. My favourite Repin is The Volga Boat-men. I have it as the desktop screen on one of my monitors. Whenever I look at it, I remember how lucky I was to be able to go to university.

        Reply
    1. The Historian

      WOW! Thank you for that link. He was an amazing artist, so capable of using color, every kind of brush stroke and amazing detail to capture what a photograph could never portray – the mood and feeling of what he wanted us to see.. .

      Reply
  13. Off The Street

    R lends itself to some graphical modeling to show changes over time, so visualize a country, state, city or other defined area that may pulse warmer or colder. While that simple approach may miss area interactions like super-spreader movement, it does have the benefit of capturing the public’s attention on a topic that might otherwise go un- or under-noticed. If the graphics initiated some new focus, think of that as a beneficial R of public awareness as light bulbs switch on and stay on.

    Reply
  14. DJG

    Harper’s letter on debate, justice, and rules of engagement.

    I have a Facebook “friend” who is a well-known feminist writer who has been in heaps of trouble in the past, including an academic investigation and kangaroo court. She signed. More power to her.

    My comments over there in Facebooklandia.
    –The ritual denunciation of Trump is unnecessary. Trump is a symptom, not the cause. It is time for well-meaning liberals and moderate-ish Republicans (you know, the ones to the left of Pence) to get over this obsession.
    –A couple of the signers have had some, errrrr, serious problems with the truth. It isn’t a matter of opinion that got them caught. It was manufacturing “facts.” But I suppose Bari Weiss is there to give credibillity to the New York Times. On the third hand, as incompetent as she is, she should be allowed her say. For now. On the fourth hand, what happened to the idea that good ideas and truth drive out bad ideas and lying? Bari? You have an answer to that?
    –As we all know, we have reached the point where we have many Robespierres but no revolution. We also on the right see many Upright Citizens who have a shriveled moral compass, the type who appeal to religion but won’t admit that religion is based on one’s actions, not one’s admission to the local churchy social club.
    –“Caustic counter-speech” sounds like “snark” to me. That’s one step up from name-callling.
    –All bets are off when it comes to red-baiting, though. You can count on that exception remaining the exception to Newfound Civility. (As they trot out the Egregiously Superfluous Claire McCaskill once again.)

    O tempora O mores

    And yet, if asked, would I sign it? Sure.

    Reply
  15. DJG

    All you have to know about psychobabble and psychopathology. The Trump revelations in Vanity Fair:

    “Maryanne,” she continues, referring to her aunt, the former federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, “told me she was lucky because, as a federal judge, she needed to maintain her objectivity. She may have been the only person in the country, given her position as his sister and her professional reputation, who, if she had spoken out about Donald’s complete unfitness for the office, might have made a difference. But she had her own secrets to keep, and I wasn’t entirely surprised when she told me after the election that she’d voted for her brother out of ‘family loyalty.’”

    Yeah, sure. And she’s the sane one? I stopped reading at that point. What we are dealing with is a corrupt bipartisan elite. Here the Judge thinks he’s crazy but doesn’t say anything. Too much trouble to be brave. (And the Epstein / Maxwell fandango is going to be all about the same kind of conveniently blinded behavior among the elites.)

    Reply
    1. expose

      I just love the women’s blatant narcissism as they accuse DJT of the same.

      Here is some judge, convinced that had she said something, DJT wouldn’t be president, as if disgruntled family members have ever been given much consideration by voters.

      Then, here is poor little Mary:

      “I hadn’t fully grasped how much of a risk I was taking,” she writes. “If anybody in my family found out what I was doing, there would be repercussions—I knew how vindictive they were—but there was no way to gauge how serious the consequences might be.”

      “When I finally realized that my grandfather didn’t care what I accomplished or contributed and that my own unrealistic expectations were paralyzing me, I still felt that only a grand gesture would set it right. It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organization helping Syrian refugees; I had to take Donald down.”

      Yep, this narcissist believes she is some incredibly brave huge risk taker that has to take DJT down. Grandiosity much?

      Reply
  16. Grumpy Engineer

    On “catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system“…

    I’m skeptical. It sounds terribly thirsty from an energy consumption standpoint. If you draw lots of air through a heated nickel foam, you need to supply lots of heat to the nickel to make up for the thermal energy that is carried out with the air. And because the air exits the nickel at a higher temperature, you’ll need to run your air-conditioners harder to keep the room from overheating.

    [Hmmm… And I’ve gone through the links and papers and been unable to find anything regarding power consumption as a function of flow rate or room size. This is (ahem) a curious omission.]

    Reply
    1. jef

      Also we run the risk of sanitizing ourselves to death. There are many beneficial virus in the air.

      “Viruses play important roles in microbial ecology…”

      “We have measured total airborne concentrations of virus-like and bacteria-like particles (VLPs between 0.02 μm and 0.5 μm in size and BLPs between 0.5 μm and 5 μm) in nine locations: a classroom, a daycare center, a dining facility, a health center, three houses, an office, and outdoors. Indoor concentrations of both VLPs and BLPs were ~105 particles m−3, and the virus-to-bacteria ratio was 0.9 ± 0.1 (mean ± standard deviation across different locations). There were no significant differences in concentration between different indoor environments. VLP and BLP concentrations in outdoor air were 2.6 and 1.6 times higher, respectively, than in indoor air. At the single outdoor site, the virus-to-bacteria ratio was 1.4.”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4515362/

      Reply
    2. Misplaced Platitudes

      I think you’ve identified the 600 # elephant in the room quite nicely. Added heat, which must be applied to return air to address viral particles, may well require additional cooling downstream to maintain any level of comfort in the spaces. Filtered outside air added to superheated return air will never provide adequate cooling unless it is January in the North. Heat wheels, which are often used for efficiency by transferring temperature from return air to supply air, are going to be extremely difficult to use effectively with such a high temperature.
      You suspicion of egregious power consumption seems spot on as well.

      Reply
    3. ObjectiveFunction

      All agreed. But doesn’t the primary cause of spread in indoor spaces seem to be?:

      1. aerosol plumes created by unshielded Loud Talkers/coughers;
      2. wafted across rooms by strong air currents emanating from fans or VAV (variable air volume) units;
      3. and then inhaled by unsuspecting humans downwind

      Now I’m not saying that Loud Talker -> aerosol cloud -> air intake/extractor -> air handler -> across condenser coil -> blown back into room isn’t a risk (e.g. Legionella), but that doesn’t seem to be the primary path. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      That’s why I speculate that adapting ‘clean room’ air recirculation techniques, which force air flows (and all sizes of droplets and mists) continuously downward from ceilings to porous ‘waffle floors’, limiting their spread horizontally, might make an effective, though costly, solution for certain spaces.

      This is not feasible for most spaces of course, as it’s a bloody expensive retrofit and energy intensive, not to mention chilly to have a strong stream of cool dry air blowing down all around you.

      But such systems may yet find a niche in elevators, lobbies, clinics, interview rooms and certain luxury or executive spaces where 1%er safety trumps cost, if you get my drift (rimshot)….

      Reply
    4. BlakeFelix

      I’m not going to say that heated nickel foams are the answer, but you might be able to run a counter current heat exchanger to use the outgoing hot air to heat the incoming cool air and save a bunch of the power, as the heat would stay with the foam rather than escaping to be a problem.

      Reply
  17. Tom Stone

    The article about Pelosi is devastating, I would NOT want to be the staffer who brought it to her attention.
    The combination of Hubris and spineless incompetence she exhibits is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, but it isn’t something I’d expect to see in the MSM.
    We are shortly going to see several Million Americans become homeless, the Dems seem to be oblivious to the consequences and the ‘thugs seem to be looking forward to cracking down on the rabble.
    Militarized Police, fusion centers, total information awareness, by golly that should work real well in crushing any organized resistance, peaceful or violent.
    When there is no mechanism for peaceful or organized change, change will happen nonetheless.
    And anyone who thinks that can be controlled is out of their effing mind.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Being homeless is all in regards to location-location-location and all of the choicest spots have long since had 100% occupancy, leaving sloppy seventeenths for new arrivals, who will most certainly feel they are much better than the rabble in said splendor settings, laying the ground for an odd turf war of the recent have nots pitted against long term have nots.

      …did we really land a dozen men on the Moon once upon a time?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “…did we really land a dozen men on the Moon once upon a time?”
        Yes, we did. And then the Lunar Landlords told us that our Species Credit Scores were sub-optimal and that we should bugger off and not come back.

        Reply
    2. Oh

      Most of the rich people, including the Congress do not have any idea how hard it is for a low income individual to survive; no health care, lack of transportation, minimal government subsidy/support, etc. etc. They live in huge mansion in exclusive neighborhood, have only rich friends and do not even care to find out about the suffering of the poor.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        You have described the “Robber Baron Age.” All our social advances of the last one hundred years and more have been wiped out by a decades long program of reaction.
        This really is a class war. The term war is appropriate because people are unnecessarily dying due to the actions of a small nexus of elite groups.

        Reply
      2. Alfred

        “Especially people who care about strangers / Who care about evil and social injustice / Do you only care about being proud? …” — part of the lyrics to my favorite song from Hair; thanks for the reminder

        Reply
  18. jr

    Re: racism as mental illness

    It’s easy to see how this can be weaponized by the faux left IDpol goons. If everyone who disagrees with you is a racist, then everyone who disagrees with you is crazy. Crazy people are commonly considered a threat, although violence is by far the province of the “sane.” The script writes itself at that point…

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Let us take it a step further and define it as Otherist. As political ‘actors’ of all stripes and colours can attest, ‘Others’ can be ‘liquidated with impunity.
        Interesting times on the slippery slope.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          jr. I’m reminded of a throwaway line on an episode of SCTV, the one where their cheapo satellite was being overridden by the Soviet Union so the whole show was presented as a Soviet television channel. On “Today Is Moscow’ the host welcomed their studio audience who were workers from a tractor factory on an outing to watch the taping of the show and then going on to a tour of an “institute for the politically insane” before heading back home.

          Racism is repugnant, nasty and destructive but it’s hardly a mental illness. Real world experience shows that the most powerful way of reducing an individuals racism, or bigotry and prejudice of any kind is to just get to know and work with people who fall into the categories that they were prejudiced against. I’ve seen this happen many times myself. Trying to “fight” it by othering, hatred, job loss etc. is not only counterproductive but sets up a dangerous precedent which can easily be turned on those who supported it when it was being used on others.

          Reply
          1. jr

            Yeah, good points. Making racism an official mental illness also makes it impossible to cure except by the intervention of a dim witted IDpol PMC type to tell everyone involved what to think. You can’t just talk and learn as humans do, it’s an illness, you need to have the situation analyzed by an appropriately credentialed expert. Doubtless there are graduate degree programs taking shape to train the first generation of anti racism counselors and shrinks and what not.

            Let’s remember though too that IDpol is all about creating divisions, it wants flare ups and back lashes, it needs them to survive. It’s hatred, just fed back through itself so that it looks like the opposite.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              The other part about making “racism” a mental illness is the fact that in many cases, people with “mental illness” are medicated and often warehoused, for life.
              I remember my thankfully brief experience with Prozac. The cure was worse than the disease, but it did make me much more easily led around and manipulated.
              ‘Defining deviancy down’ is the relevant phrase.

              Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Racism is repugnant, nasty and destructive but it’s hardly a mental illness

            My impression is that racism was invented as an ideology in the West only after the slave trade started, perhaps sixty years later.* First came the money; only later the rationalization**. If racism is indeed a mental illness, it certainly has an interesting epidemiology, where contact tracing would involve “follow the money.” Rather like RussiaGate, come to think of it.

            * Have to find the damn book and read it.

            ** People like Columbus and the conquistadors were crazed by debt as Charles Mann showed. They didn’t need an ideological justification.

            Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Indeed. If anything, racism is a deliberately created ill of modern society. Yes, groups of people have always tried to demonize “others”, but until the last couple hundred years or so that wasn’t based on race. Ancient authors rarely if ever mention race or skin color. Herodotus disparaged certain groups of people for their propensity to fornicate with goats, but we never find out what their skin tone was.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        Indeed racism, like addiction and also many kinds of mental illness, are societal illnesses and to remove them would require a fundamental transformation of the way we live our lives. Trying to make individuals behave the way we think they should is probably misguided, even if they are acting like racists or whatever.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          There is a difference between trying to get individuals to behave better, an admirable endeavor, and having them committed and locked up.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            I said make people behave the way we think they should, which is comparable to what you said, basically.

            Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      In a comment currently in moderation I mentioned that ancient authors rarely if ever mention the color of a person’s skin. I used Heordotus an an example and after looking into it further, he does occasionally mention the skin color of far flung peoples that he writes about, but it is done only is passing and not disparagingly so.

      The ancients found plenty of other reasons to hate each other besides race. Then, like now, people mostly fought over wealth.

      Reply
    3. Laputan

      The attempt to medicalize racism, Thomas said, can distract from the fact that racism is a systemic issue, not just an individual one. “It reflects a shift in thinking about racism as something that is interior to the self, compared to how we probably should think about racism as something that is structural and embedded.”

      He drew an analogy to police reform in a 2016 Washington Post article. There are proposals to try and improve individual officers’ prejudices through implicit bias training, for example. But this focusing on “treating” individuals ignores the larger, systemic issues that allow the police to act in racist ways overall, like “the increasing militarization of police departments, lack of oversight by law enforcement senior officials, and an approach to policing that often rewards unprovoked harassment rather than building community trust.”

      Not sure the article needed to go much further. That’s about as clear of a mic drop you’re going to find.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > this focusing on “treating” individuals ignores the larger, systemic issues that allow the police to act in racist ways overall

        That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

        Reply
  19. steve

    Re: Catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system.

    Well, heat the virus to nearly 400 F and you kill it. Seems a little overdone since the virus supposedly can’t survive 160 F, but who knows. If used in HVAC systems just how do they expect you to cool the air stream down to normal levels? A portable or in-room application is no different. This would add a totally unmanageable heat load to any HVAC system and I can’t think of a single application for this other than as a prop in a scam. One tell is referring to this as a filter and not a heating element, which it is.

    I think the value of this is in identifying those who are willing to lend their reputations(credentials) to the promotion of a product that attempts to prey on the naive during a pandemic.

    Reply
    1. Bob

      Yes, high temperature is a method of controlling biological contaminants in HVAC systems.

      Other methods of controlling bacterial contamination include 100% outside air, Ultraviolet lighting systems, liquid desiccant systems among others.

      Most HVAC systems are designed as a balance between system effectiveness, capital cost, cost of operation, and local utility costs.

      I suspect that the cost of a nickel sponge, the power needed to heat it, and the power to cool the air stream will be prohibitive in most applications.

      Reply
  20. Billy

    Is Racism a Mental Illness?

    If the acceptance and promotion of transgenderism can be normalized,
    then merely expressing ones racial preference is entirely forgivable.

    If the Orwellian Khmer Noir wants to force this issue, then will insurance cover therapy for racism?

    Reply
  21. allan

    It takes weeks to get COVID-19 test results in Arizona. That makes it harder to control the spread [AZ Central]

    A Tucson man waited 27 days for his COVID-19 test results. His test was negative, meaning he isolated from his family for two weeks for nothing.

    A man in Phoenix has been waiting for 12 days for test results because he needed to show his dentist he was negative within 10 days of a dental procedure. It’s now essentially impossible for him to get a timely test and results in order to qualify for the procedure.

    Arizonans routinely are waiting more than a week to get their test results for COVID-19. …

    This is not just an Arizona thing. A relative of a friend has been waiting for more than a week in Maryland.

    The testing infrastructure in the U.S. seems to have either maxed out or is slipping backwards,
    whether from supply shortages or insufficient staffing.
    And PPE supplies are reported to be getting worse in some areas.

    There is no way that the testing and PPE needed to safely reopen schools will be in place by late August.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      “His test was negative, meaning he isolated from his family for two weeks for nothing.”

      The long wait time for testing is terrible, criminal in my opinion but the idea that the isolation was for nothing is kind of like saying if you had a crash free drive doing up your seatbelt and having all the other safety features built in to the car ready to go was all for nothing. The rather extreme precautions I’ve been taking may have been unnecessary (not that you could prove it one way or the other without some magical way of showing whether or not an active virus particle or particles were stopped by those precautions over the past several months) but still worth it.

      Reply
  22. anon in so cal

    Jonathan Turley on Ilhan Omar:

    July 8, 2020

    “Omar Faces Ethics Outcry Over Payments To Husband After Decrying Those Who Profit Under Our “System Of Oppression”

    “Omar yesterday insisted that we cannot allow people to “prioritize profit without considering who is profiting.” That question is now being raised in growing ethical concerns over Omar giving her husband’s company a massive amount of her campaign funds …”

    https://jonathanturley.org/2020/07/08/omar-faces-ethics-outcry-over-payments-to-husband-after-decrying-those-who-profit-under-our-system-of-oppression/

    (full disclosure: she got on my list when she tweeted in support of regime change in Syria)

    Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    An NPS employee saw a couple of California Condors on top of Moro Rock in May (when Sequoia NP was closed to the public) and took these images…

    The first time one has been spotted around these parts in about half a century.~

    The re-wilding of the native population is coming along nicely, and a herd of around 2 dozen Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the Kaweah basin doing fine, after being darted and then transferred by helo from the main herd near Mt Williamson on the east side, about 5 years ago.

    The first American to see the Kaweah River was explorer-mountain man Jeddidiah Smith in 1828, who thought the rivers emanating down to the foothills on the western flank of the Sierra had the most beaver he’d perchance seen anywhere in his wanderings, and not a one exists here now.

    They’d be a natural.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/sets/72157714997127918

    Reply
      1. RMO

        I would love to see a California Condor in real life someday. Until then I can watch the Turkey Vultures that hang out around the small airport where I fly gliders (not that I’m flying right now as my aviation medical expired and I haven’t got in for an exam to renew it yet). I love the vultures as they soar beautifully and they usually do it at low altitudes which gives a nice close up view to those of us on the ground. The eagles and hawks tend to fly higher when hunting, and I’ve seen them as high as 10,000 feet or more above ground level – at that altitude I’m convinced they’re doing it for the sheer joy as I don’t think they’re hunting that high up.

        Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Three arms control negotiators walk into a café… ”

    Well at least this is an improvement in negotiating as practiced under George Bush. Back then, the US would not talk with an adversary as that was ‘rewarding’ the adversary for their ‘bad’ behaviour. The State Department was not much use as there was a concerted effort to militarize the State Department itself by the neocons.

    When the Bush government did deign to negotiate, they insisted that an adversary give the US everything that they demanded and then only at that point would the US agree to start negotiations. It was all so bizarre and immature but the Bush government (regime?) thought that this was all a way of demonstrating ‘strength’.

    Reply
  25. jr

    Re: I’m a US citizen. Where can I go?

    When I saw the title my heart leaped to know that someone had finally compiled a list of countries who were actively looking for Americans to become citizens. Alas, it’s merely for those who want to eventually return…

    Reply
  26. anon in so cal

    >Vaccine Syringes:

    “Sharp Questions for Syringe Suppliers

    As the Trump administration races to buy hundreds of millions of syringes for what is likely to be an unprecedented COVID-19 immunization campaign, success depends heavily on two small medical supply companies with little track record of fulfilling government orders of that magnitude.

    Retractable Technologies Inc., based in Little Elm, Texas, announced an $83.8-million government contract in May to provide an undisclosed number of syringes and needles for use with a potential COVID-19 vaccine. In dollar terms, the single order is double the company’s entire 2019 revenue, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The publicly traded company, which has been trying for years to become a bigger player in the syringe market, saw its stock price more than double after the order became public.

    A second order — for $27.4 million worth of syringes and needles, with an option to go up to $54 million — went to privately held Marathon Medical Corp., an Aurora, Colo.-based medical distribution company that has no factories of its own and acts largely as a middleman.

    Although the scientific race to develop a vaccine gets the most public attention, the massive orders for syringes illustrate how many less-glamorous steps the government needs to get right to carry out a vaccination campaign.”

    https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/newsletter/2020-07-08/coronvirus-syringes-newsletter-todays-headlines

    Reply
      1. Aumua

        Politicians and activists are pushing “harm reduction,” which, in a clinical sense, means a “set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use,” such as overdose or the transmission of disease. But in a contemporary context, it also means “a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.”

        Geez yeah, people who use drugs have rights? That’s just terrible. Good thing no one around here uses any of those dirty, nasty drugs.

        Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    In my ongoing Bizarro World comparison of the collapse the USSR & USA, it was really hard to leave the Bloc party and travel to the west, as not only getting a visa was a hard road to hoe, where exactly were you going to get the jack for the ticket out?

    My dad paid for their air tickets to come and see us in California, and aunts & uncles came sans spouses, for they were effectively being held hostage back in the old country, and we’ll have none of this defecting business now, are we clear on that?

    Now, no matter how much money an American has, they are persona non grata in terms of what used to be peer countries, a pariah not unlike the USSR.

    Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    Italian mafia bonds sold to global investors FT
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Couldn’t get past the horse headline, but will assume the Unabankers made an offer the mafia couldn’t refuse?

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      FT appropriately extorting at paywall. Anyway:

      “Italian mafia bonds…”
      They’re all Mafia Bonds now, aren’t they?
      I will definitely be shorting the Fredo Futures Offering.

      Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    Once a fortnight on Zoom, I inquire with Denver, Tucson, San Diego & Los Angeles vis a vis my family, who do they know that has the Coronavirus, and in a month and a half of asking, my sister in SD has a friend in the UK who has it bad, and she’s in her late 50’s. That’s it. Same deal locally, nobody knows nothing.

    How about your neck of the woods, have you inquired in such a fashion?

    Reply
    1. marieann

      A family member of my niece(US) had a mild case. A friend lost her aged uncle to the virus. A doctor I know was on a ventilator for a month (Canada)
      My sister’s friend in the UK had it.

      I have never know anyone who died from the ‘Flu

      Reply
    2. Rod

      Anecdote from last Sunday’s Gen X kids visit:
      Son’s best friends sister had it confirmed in April and everything’s Ok. same with his wife’s two co-workers—ok. Everything seems normal they said.
      After a short pause I asked if they had heard of any lingering effects.
      “Well, his sister still says she can’t breath well, and both co-workers are on medical leave for the past month”.

      I just chalked the dissonance about being OK up to the generation gap and went out to check the garden—not wanting to be ugly to the kids on Sunday and all.

      Reply
      1. Mr. House

        They now think it may even change the way your brain functions! What will this wily virus think of next i wonder. I still don’t know a single person who’s had it, but PA has been more unscathed then most it would appear.

        Reply
    3. Glen

      Two deceased uncle’s, father in law had a CV related stroke and is losing his ability to speak. Numerous sick younger nieces, nephews who are recovering sort of.

      I had something (never got a test for CV) that has left my lungs burning after exertions. I raced bicycles most of my adult life and bike commuted to work. This is different.

      You and yours appear to Have been fortunate. Count you blessings, but stay vigilant. You don’t want it.

      Reply
    4. Pat

      Two people in the buildings I work in had it. The younger woman is recuperating (has lingering issues). The older gentleman passed. A lovely disabled Vietnam Vet from the neighborhood passed. Two people I knew from my former occupation both passed. Both younger but with medical issues. Family doing ok. Closest friends same.

      Reply
    5. fnx

      A friend’s elderly father tested positive, even tho he wasn’t suspected of having it, before being transferred to a hospital for other reasons. His senior apartment community refused to let him return until my friend pressured them, then finally relented and said he could only after he tested negative. In the meantime, she asked them about testing their employees (not a nursing home or assisted living facility, but they do provide two meals a day), their response was no because they aren’t a nursing home – at the time here in Illinois, I think the state was requiring employee testing due to several outbreaks – but, again after pressure from my friend, they did test and found eight employees who were positive! So how many of the hundreds of elderly people living there did they infect?

      Reply
    6. Alfred

      One close friend (elderly) has had it and recovered; lost about 30 to 40 pounds in the process. Another friend, not quite so close, also elderly but a vigorous outdoors-woman, got it almost four months ago. She still has not recovered and cannot walk unassisted. A third person, just an acquaintance, also got it early on. She is now in a semi-vegetative state in a nursing home; her family expects her never to improve. A neighbor’s brother, who works in health care, tested positive about two weeks ago. Another neighbor believes he had it during almost all of March, had all the symptoms he read about in the news except only a medium-high fever, tried unsuccessfully to get tested. About a dozen names familiar to me just from growing up in this Georgia town cropped up in the local obituaries during March and April, after which I decided to stop reading the obituaries.

      Reply
    7. Gaianne

      I know three people who came down with illness in late February that matched later descriptions of Covid. They survived, though one has lingering symptoms to this day (tiredness and shortness of breath).

      By early March, two longtime friends came down sick, were diagnosed positive for Covid, and died–all in about a week.

      At that time, Yale University and the surrounding community seemed to be a hotbed of the epidemic, nor was anyone taking precautions. Now though, people do take precautions, and, seemingly, the epidemic has abated here.

      –Gaianne

      Reply
  30. allan

    Bayer puts Roundup future claims settlement on hold [Reuters]

    Bayer was forced on Wednesday to delay part of a proposed settlement of allegations that its widely used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer after a U.S. judge questioned its plan to deal with future claims. …

    [Federal District Court Judge Vince] Chhabria had raised concerns over Bayer’s plan to create an independent panel of scientific experts to help assess whether glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup caused cancer. …

    Ha, ha, ha. When the proposed settlement was first announced, I posted the link and pointed out that,
    after how Dupont had manipulated a scientific panel in the Teflon litigation (using it to delay any payout and then,
    after the panel found Teflon responsible for multiple diseases, walking away from the process),
    it would be crazy to allow the same sort of arrangement again.

    Maybe Judge Chhabria has seen Dark Waters.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Thanks for your comments. I posted on the settlement when it was first announced in late June, and highlighted some of the issues with its plan to deal with future claims. May post again once I’ve had a chance to examine Judge Chhabria’s action more closely.

      Reply
  31. anon in so cal

    >Silent infections in the UK

    “Only 22% of people testing positive for coronavirus reported having symptoms on the day of their test, according to the Office for National Statistics…..While 22% in the ONS study reported symptoms on the day, a larger group – a third (33%) of people testing positive for coronavirus – reported having symptoms either on the day of their test or at their previous or subsequent test.

    So the 78% not reporting symptoms on the day of the test includes “pre-symptomatic” people as well as “asymptomatic”- those who will never develop noticeable symptoms….

    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53320155

    Reply
  32. JEHR

    Re: Vereshchagin . . . .These paintings are so gorgeous and so realistic. I have never seen this painter’s work before now and I am gobsmacked. Be sure to see his works .

    Reply
  33. Maritimer

    “Tracking PPP Loans Pro Publica. Lots of stories being generated from this data.”

    Would love to see this crosschecked against names/companies on the Panama Papers.
    And maybe also against electronic filings in the Federal/State criminal and civil court systems.

    Maybe Internet Opportunity here—who would be sponsors for advertising revenue? Maybe NC should go for it.

    Reply
  34. J.k

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/07/florida-carsyn-davis-coronavirus/

    “A high-risk Florida teen who died from covid-19 attended a huge church party, then was given hydroxychloroquine by her parents, report says”

    This is sooooooo f…… up. This was a teenager at high risk. Instead of protecting the child , her conspiracy theorist (alt right) parents took her to a church party with over 100 attendees , without masks or physical distancing. The parents are a nurse and physicians assistant. In interviews after the childs death the mom goes on and on about her “patriotic” daughter. The rot in this place runs deep. Patriotism really is the virtue of the vicious.

    Reply
  35. SubjectivObject

    200 C [392 F]; let’s just say that the Ni foam filter will kill EVERYTHING
    and, that’s a hot element
    any word how it compares to electrostatic charged HEPA under ultraviolet light?
    energy input should be significantly reduced versus the heated Ni foam element

    Reply

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