Links 9/2/2020

Dear patient readers,

We will have a heavy dose of CalPERS through and including next week. I hope you don’t mind given that this is a slow general news period.

Scientists Film Hummingbirds Flying Through Waterfalls, And It’s Beautiful And Genius Science Alert (Chuck L)

A Parliament of Owls New York Review of Books (Chris M)

Stonehenge enhanced acoustics for people inside the monument Science News (Dr. Kevin)

NuScale’s Small Nuclear Reactor Gets US Safety Approval ars technica

Researchers predict location of novel candidate for mysterious dark energy PhysOrg (Robert M)

Pilot Landing At LAX Reports ‘Guy In a Jetpack’ Flying Alongside Them The Drive

New Electronic Skin Can React to Pain Like Human Skin – For Better Prosthetics and Smarter Robots SciTechDaily (Kevin W). Aaw, movie fail in anticipating science. The Terminator didn’t have sensitive skin, recall the scene in T2 where he cuts the skin off his forearm to show he’s an android.

The Hidden World of Legacy IT IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L). A favorite topic!

How SUVs conquered America and the world to become a chief climate offender Guardian (resilc)

#COVID-19

Coronavirus: Tango competitors take to the living room floor BBC (resilc)

Science/Medicine

A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged Medium (David L). Important.

Common pollutant linked to 11% higher virus death rate E&E News (JTM)

National Institutes of Health disses FDA on plasma as COVID treatment ars technica. How the hell were the tests conducted in New York which stated in April not conducted to a standard that the officialdom would know something by now? See: Plasma treatment being tested in New York may be coronavirus ‘game changer’ NBC

US won’t join global coronavirus vaccine initiative The Hill

Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year USA Today

US

How New York City’s schools plan fell short Politico

Asia

Inside view of Vietnam’s Covid second wave Asia Times (resilc)

Finance/Economy

Small-Business Failures Loom as Federal Aid Dries Up New York Times. As we predicted quite a while ago.

Thousands of small-business loans may have been fraudulent, U.S. House panel finds Reuters. Resilc: “But most of the big ones?”

Retail Eviction Proceedings Pick Up as Economy Restarts Wall Street Journal

Worries about being laid off, having hours cut jump: Gallup The Hill

COVID-19 Is Putting Essential Indigenous Casino Revenue At Risk Vice

China?

US seeks formal alliance similar to Nato with India, Japan and Australia, State Department official says Defend Democracy

Coalition countering Huawei faces hurdles Asia Times (Kevin W)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX NASA contracts threatened over Tesla China ties Washington Examiner

Syraqistan

What The UAE-Israel Deal Really Means For The Middle East OilPrice (resilc)

A Saudi Prince’s Attempt To Silence Critics On Twitter Wired

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Replication: Why We Still Can’t Browse in Peace: On the Uniqueness and Reidentifiability of Web Browsing Histories Usenix (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump denies ‘mini-strokes’ sent him to Walter Reed The Hill

Now in Government Food Aid Boxes: A Letter From Donald Trump ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Disgraced NY Assembly Leader Silver Begins 6.5 Year Sentence in Coronavirus Infected Prison JewishPress

2020

Markey defeats Kennedy in Massachusetts The Hill

2020 Election Forecast FiveThirtyEight

If Trump refuses to accept defeat in November, the republic will survive intact, as it has 5 out of 6 times in the past The Conversation

The Way to Prevent a Recount Disaster Is Sitting Right in Front of Us Vice (resilc)

Take to the Streets CounterPunch

As 2020 election looms, Russian trolls are targeting Americans again, Facebook says CNN (furzy)

[Exclusive] Trump Signs Historical OTC Hearing Device Bill, Slashing Hearing Device Prices By 90%! Aidion. Resilc: “Geezer votes matter.”

America Divided

McDonald’s Sued by Black Ex-Franchise Owners for Racial Discrimination Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden should do more than just speak out against violence Washington Post

When a graphic video can quell unrest but still do harm MPRNews

What Happens When Ex-Navy SEALS Go Full QAnon? Daily Beast (resilc)

Activists sour on Oatly vegan milk after stake sold to Trump-linked Blackstone Guardian

Band kicked out of park says SF musicians need support: ‘This is why SF is losing its artists’ SFGate (CC)

Guillotine Watch

How the Sacklers Shifted $10.8 Billion of an Opioid Fortune Built on OxyContin Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

Only a shift in labour’s bargaining power can light up US inflation Financial Times (John C). If you can’t access the piece, it argues for more inflation as a good thing, hence more labor bargaining power is a good thing. Erm, how about rampant inequality is bad for social stability, groaf, and even the health of the rich? Although the author did wind up getting to those issues:

Yet Mr Powell is going all-in on failed policies. He has admitted that inflation has never returned to 2 per cent on a sustained basis and productivity is on the decline. These outcomes are not in spite of Fed policy but because of it.

Zombie companies — those that do not earn enough to cover their interest payments — are nearly one-fifth of all listed businesses in America, according to Deutsche Bank, from virtually zero at the turn of the millennium. Meanwhile, the top 10 per cent of the population owns 87 per cent of the stocks, so the rising market perpetuates inequality, leaving the other 90 per cent with bank accounts that earn nothing.

Rather than trying to take credit for a “Great Moderation,” the Fed should be recognised for achieving a great polarisation — social and economic, and consequently, political.

Amazon Removes Job Listings For Intelligence Analyst To Track ‘Labor Organizing Threats’ Vice

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work Bloomberg (BC)

Two cognitive tendencies help explain why low-income voters often oppose the redistribution of wealth PsyPost (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Michael F:

My daughter sent this to me recently: newly-acquired hamsters existing peacefully with her rescue kitty. The cat is fascinated by the hamsters, but makes no effort to get at them. Likewise, the hamsters are more skittish round humans…

And a bonus:

And a second bonus courtesy Kevin W, a rescue off Wales:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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224 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    The Way to Prevent a Recount Disaster Is Sitting Right in Front of Us Vice (resilc)

    A system as described has been standard in Ireland for the best part of a century, no need for fancy algorithms or computers. Paper ballots are counted in public view. Party officials known as tallymen are trained to count random selections as they are on each counters table and can then use fairly simple maths to project winners, even before the official count is finished. Each ballot box is counted individually, so evidence of ballot stuffing would become immediately apparent. It’s a simple, cost free method of making electoral fraud almost impossible.

    Another triple check are exit polls – they are usually very accurate at making predictions and so can be used to identify unusual patterns indicating fraud.

    As our hosts would say: ‘paper ballots, counted in public’. It really is that simple.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Where I live, we don’t do partial recounts. Nor are the ballots technically counted in public.

      The preliminary count is done by the election board on the polling station. In principle, every list (d’Hont system, so lists a a thing) can delegate a representative to each polling station as a member of the election board. The ballots are counted twice, sometimes thrice, and rejected ballots put into a separate stack.

      The verification count is done by the district election board, nominated by district level government with the specific aim of achieving representative political balance. They verify (by recount) that the preliminary count matches the ballots, and then calculate official results according to applied d’Hont system.

      Thus, by the time the result is official, the ballots have been counted at least four times. If a candidate requests yet another recount, he/she better have a really, really good reason and proof of gross misconduct by the election boards. In which case a new ballot is more likely than a mere recount.

      But we do use paper ballots, counted by hand, by the public.

      Reply
  2. IdahoSpud

    “As 2020 election looms, Russian trolls are targeting Americans again, Facebook says CNN”

    “Any criticism or sarcasm directed toward Democrats is Russian trolling, says CNN”

    FTFY

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Those russkies sure get around… running US elections, stoking riots in Kenosha, poisoning dissidents, making up vaccines. Don’t they ever sleep?
      Seriously, though … some things just never change: there was an interesting interview about a new book, The Quiet Americans, where the author Scott Anderson said:
      “ANDERSON: Dulles is just a remarkable figure and, from my vantage point, probably did more damage to Americans’ standing in the world than almost anyone I can think of in the 20th century. John Foster Dulles had this – everything was black and white. And around the world, you were either with the United States or you’re with the Soviets – allowing no countries to be neutral, essentially. If you were neutral, then you were with the other side.
      But he also had this very bizarre view of the Soviet Union that was simultaneously a power that was trying to take over the world by any means possible, but at the same time, about to disintegrate, about to fall apart, which to my mind seems almost kind of mutually opposing ideas. But John Foster Dulles saw everything through that prism. So any overture from the Soviets was a trick. It was either a trick to enhance their ability to takeover. Or it was a sign of their internal weakness.”
      This view carried through for … well, forever. Anderson agrees that had the US taken a different approach – more willing to work with the USSR – the world today would be a very different place.

      Reply
          1. Olga

            I know… though I also regret to realise that a series like Joe Campbell would not be done today. Both PBS and NPR are just a faint shadow of what they once used to be.

            Reply
            1. Lee

              Truly. Some of their new syndicated radio programming my local station really sucks. To name but a few: Live From Here; It’s Been A Minute; The Take Away; The TED Radio Hour; most of the New Yorker Radio. Also, for no good reason I can think of, and much to my displeasure, the local station has chosen to split Science Friday into two segments aired hours apart.

              Locally produced KQED Forum is at times worth listening to.

              Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I remember reading, somewhere (The Devil’s Chessboard? ), that Dulles was a white shoe lawyer sent by Morgan to Paris with instructions to get his money back. Every time I read the name Dulles, I substitute Wall Street and the meaning is unchanged.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          When they talk about the CIA, would Allen Dulles not be the first mention? Though both brothers would have worked together, with others, to screw up US foreign policy, to the advantage of the MIC and the US oligarchs.

          Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        One has to wonder how and why creatures like John Foster Dulles And Allan Dulles and Kissinger and Brzezinski and J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon rise to the pinnacles of power.

        What are the magic ingredients?

        Reply
      3. Procopius

        The thing is, not only the Dulles brothers, the whole East Coast Establishment believed the same things. These were not the people who got elected to office, these were the people who “ran things.” Like McGeorge Bundy, the people John F. Kennedy (who was not one of them) selected for his cabinet secretaries and “advisers.” They either didn’t know, or suppressed the knowledge, that Russia and China were enemies adversaries in the 1960s, so they could claim they were fighting against a “monolithic world-wide Communist conspiracy.” A great book that describes them (and names them) is David Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest.”

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know why people do not believe CNN and their intrepid reporters. Why I still remember that suspected chemical attack in Syria and a CNN reporter was able to confirm it – by sniffing a backpack supposedly laden with residue from the chemicals. Yeah, because shoving your face into a bag that may have sarin on it is definitely something that you would do-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mydfue-vF90

      Kinda like putting your face into a mask worn by a victim of Coronavirus to confirm it is there by sniffing it.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Very sloppy agitprop in my view, didn’t the Germans get the memo that saying it was “novichok” automatically puts it in the same believability bucket as the hilarious Skripal affair, and right on par for credibility with the Dutch MH-17 probe (where the judge in their robes insisted that “evidence is not necessary”)?

        https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/03/pure-ten-points-i-just-cant-believe-about-the-official-skripal-narrative/

        The Germans should have made up a brand-new scary sounding name for the “poison”, like “Kremlinate” or maybe “Putinide” or “Slavenic”.

        With maybe some diagrams in The Daily Mail about how kiddies should react if they happen upon a vial of Slavenic at the playground. Step 1. look around for any swarthy men nearby in trench coats speaking Russian…

        Reply
        1. RMO

          Apparently they’ve run out of knives, guns, cyanide, arsenic, garottes etc. in the fiendish Putin’s Russia and they have to resort to a poison which the governments and media here in the west have determined to be incontrovertible proof of Russian involvement. Oh, and it seems to have a track record of leaving it’s victims alive too which would also make it a poor choice for assassination unless you had literally no other choice of method at all.

          How stupid and gullible do they think we are? Oh, right. They think a lot of people are very stupid and gullible and some of the ones who aren’t will either go along to protect their careers… and the rest of us who can still exercise some critical thinking just don’t matter.

          Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      if you had told me in Feb. that the Russians were going to once again rig the primaries to pick an opponent Trump could beat easily, I would have thought you were suffering paranoid delusions… and now here we are. They are brilliant, evil, yes, but brilliant.

      Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    How SUVs conquered America and the world to become a chief climate offender Guardian

    Back in the 1990’s I was involved in climate campaigning and there were quite a few local campaigns against SUV’s. At that time it was easy – they were a very small minority of cars and generally driven only by rich jerks and yummy mummies (the Chelsea Tractor they were called then), so most people were happy to make fun of the owners. It was also noted that they were far more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists than regular cars. Even in our worst nightmares, none of us expected them to become the normal everyday car for the majority. They are an absolute pollution nightmare as they’ve wiped out all the gains in the last 30 years from more efficient engines and lighter car bodies.

    Here in Europe most of them are not on truck bodies. They are essentially identical to their ‘sister’ hatchbacks and saloons/sedans – they just have bloated bodies and jacked up suspensions to give them that car on steroid look that make people think they are getting something bigger than they really are. So essentially people are paying more to get a car that is less efficient and drives worse. A triumph of marketing.

    I don’t own a car, but I hire regularly, so I’ve had the opportunity to compare lots of different mid ranged, mid sized cars. When dealing with loads (such as stuffing my mountain bike in the back), I find little or no difference in ‘real world’ size and capacity between the SUV’s and similar sized (as in, sharing the same platform) regular cars. For me, an old style estate is more often than not the most efficient load carrier. And as they are out of fashion, they are much cheaper to buy, and more efficient to run. But I guess not so profitable.

    Reply
    1. Will

      Quote: “They are an absolute pollution nightmare as they’ve wiped out all the gains in the last 30 years from more efficient engines and lighter car bodies…”

      One of the reasons for this is that when a significant engine development comes along, say Variable Valve Timing (VVT) or Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), you always end up having to decide whether to put this new tech in a higher efficiency package or a higher performance package. And inevitably performance gets most of the juice… that and added girth. This is why your typical pickup from 15 years ago had,say, 300 hp and got ~18 mpg and not they have 400+ hp and get ~18 mpg. Even so they’ll have to put in some oddball (and not terribly long lived) tech like active cylinder shutoff, auto start-stop and stuff like that. And don’t even get me started on transmissions with 4 or 5 overdrive gears. Gawd.

      Fact is that when I stepped on campus for grad school in 1995 the best answer was a hybrid High Speed Small Bore turbo-diesel…. and 25 years later for my money it is still as good, or better, than anything that’s been invented since. We could make some serious inroads into the carbon footprint of your average vehicle but haven’t. Politics is as much to blame as the thirst for power and girth. So you get monstrosities like 125k electric cars and half ton pickups that have beds you could drive one into.

      Those of us on the inside of this system have watched it morph and mutate. The antidote is obvious but very difficult to bring about.

      Will

      Reply
      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        During one of my trips over to visit my seemingly indestructible Mother, which due to the fact that the docs were talking about switching her off, meaning ferry/rail was out of the question so I had to fly & get the cheapest option for car hire.

        The fella at the counter announced to me that all of the baby cars were out so I got an SUV instead. Piece of crap basically & I prefer my 2004 Citroen Xsara 1.4 HDI hatchback that with the seats down has carried tons of shite all over Ireland for the past 15 years. They don’t or this Renault version at least did not handle bends at all well, which is possibly why on bendy roads in NI, it’s pretty easy to lose those assholes who sometimes almost attach themselves to my rear carriage, after driving flat out on the straight bits in their pretty fake jeeps.

        Also really annoying was no CD player for my road music, but some piece of techy crap that churns out somebody else’s choice interspersed with verbal diarrhea.

        My old once proud industrial hometown in England is now a total shithole – I wouldn’t return for love nor money.

        Reply
        1. Keith Newman

          They don’t put CD players in recent model cars any more – very irritating. I wanted one installed in my new car but the location would have been so awkward it made no sense. You are supposed to have your music on a USB key and use that. Or I suppose have it on your smart phone and connect that by bluetooth to your car “entertainment system”. I was told I need to join the 21st century. Harumph!

          Reply
          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Yes, I really missed it, particularly as I spent quite a bit of time stuck on the car park AKA the M6 motorway. I also had my i-pod but there was no available socket.

            Reply
            1. rtah100

              With apologies to the Three Yorkshiremen, CD player? The Q7 we just bought is the first car I have ever owned that does not have a *tape* player!

              In fact, it has a CD player and memory card slots, so it was on the cusp of the previous revolution (those memory cards are useful but an evolutionary cul-de-sac, everything is USB now).

              Reply
              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                I recall as a youngster when I lived in a shoe box finding this very funny, but back then I was well educated in woofers, tweeters, amps etc.

                My Grandaughter makes very good use of my old Denon separates & some of my old vinyl, while I kept my headphones & manage well enough with my i-pod & a very good set of PC speakers.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxQqWSnsHoA

                Reply
    2. John A

      Apropos load capacity of suvs, an awful lot of them always seem to have those roof pods on. Plus many don’t even appear to have room for the spare tyre that is stuck on outside of the hatchback.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        And they put in a blem (mini tire) that sits under the chasis which you have to pull out with a crank that lowers it. The blem is not supposed to driven more than 50 miles. Whoppee!

        Reply
    3. Keith Newman

      This article is short on logic and arithmetic and is a misdirection away from the real issue. Obviously as more and more people shift from sedans to SUVs the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from SUVs will rise and those from sedans will drop. So what? Also there may well be 6000lb SUVs out there but my Mazda CX-5 (a “small SUV”) weighs 3600lbs, less than the sedan I used to own. The smaller CX-3, also classified as a small SUV, weighs 2850lbs. I’m 6′ 1″ (185cm) so I felt squished in it so I didn’t buy one of those. My CX-5 drives very nicely and is smaller and much more convenient than my sedan.
      In terms of GHGs and other pollutants the real issue is the excessive dependence on the private automobile. The solutions to that are well-known but difficult to actually implement due to opposing commercial interests. They are more and better public transit (Omigod, higher taxes!), more and better inter-city transit, more and better bike paths, redesign of cities to be pedestrian friendly, more car sharing, etc. I only drive about 5,000km (ca. 3300 miles) yearly and would reduce that to almost zero if the solutions noted previously were implemented. Then I could get rid of my car.

      Reply
      1. H

        Jevons Paradox
        Increased efficiency leads to increased demand, not less.
        With higher mpg, people commute farther in bigger cars.
        With more efficient heating/cooling, they build bigger houses.

        There used to be a site called “The Oil Drum”.
        I learned more there than school & career combined.

        Reply
      2. wilroncanada

        The smaller “SUV’s” we tend in the part of Canada I inhabit, to call “crossovers”. Don’t ask me how one definitively differentiates, but I can spot the difference almost immediately just by sight.

        Reply
  4. zagonostra

    >Pelosi helped a Kennedy lose in Massachusetts

    And OBiden will help the Democrats lose. People on the Right see Pelosi/Schumer as evil incarnate and it’s easy for their images to be used by them to rile up Republicans who have qualms over Trump.

    But the kicker is that Progressives find Pelosi/Schumer repugnant and view them as enemies. They rightly see these entrenched establishment Dems as thwarting and subverting meaningful reform and as complicit in subverting Bernie’s campaign.

    I certainly understand that when establishment figures tell you that you must vote Blue, the natural reaction is F U and even with a vengeance voting red. Perhaps it is cutting off your nose to spite your face, but no one said humans were motivated by reason alone.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect Pelosi was more motivated by donors who gave big to the Kennedy twerp and McGrath in Kentucky. They aren’t delivering on the demographic boom that was promised.

      There was an old Politico article from the 2014 drubbing about donors wanting answers from Pelosi who promised them HRC would set everything right, but one donor lamented not just having given the money to the Boys and Girls Club.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the anti-choice speakers at the RNC’s Salute to Bob Dole…DNC’s that is…really ticked off more traditional wealthy donors to Team Blue than is realized. Team Blue wasn’t even bothering with the performative aspects.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Kennedy received a ton of cash to unseat an adequate enough Senator (especially given Massachusetts) when “he who must not be named” is in the White House. With Biden’s numbers, the disappearance of triumphalism about taking the Senate, I imagine the donors who fall into the believer category want answers.

        It’s not like Markey was Lieberman or anything or that it was time for a Catholic to represent Massachusetts. Yikes, I knew my dad know we Markey from BC, but yeesh, their fathers were both milkmen.

        Reply
        1. JohnnySacks

          I’m more OK with the Markey of today than I am with the one who voted for the Iraq invasion and Patriot Act, and if I thought that Kennedy would be an improvement, he would have had my vote. It was a quixotic effort of little substance, with a plus, Pelosi getting snubbed too.

          Reply
    2. neo-realist

      Trump may be perceived by some lefties (not all) as a much bigger monster than some snotty neo-liberal dem in Massachusetts, with much more power to hurt them politically–right wing court appointments, unabashed use of police power against lefties, destruction of regulatory agencies that protect land, water, and food, and stealth destruction of SS and Medicare as opposed to death of a thousand cuts destruction.

      We’ll have to wait and see how the vote suppression shakes out in November.

      Reply
      1. pasha

        i agree, if the election were held today, all the poll aggregators show the only way he could win is via voter suppression

        Reply
    3. Michael

      Here in CA, I subscribe to Vote Blue? FU!
      Vote 3rd party and send a message!

      More concerned with local and state proposals.
      SB 1120 which would have eliminated single family zoning in the state died at the altar at the end of leg session Aug 31. Passed the Assembly but the clock struck midnite before it could be brought up for a vote in the Senate (even with main sponsor being the Senate Leader.)

      Also troubling is the Uber-Lyft initiative and the Commercial Property Tax measure Prop 15.

      Reply
      1. pasha

        if i lived in a safely-blue state i might make a statement by voting for a third party. i live in a battleground state, however, so a third party vote would be a vote for trump

        Reply
        1. ocop

          If a third party vote is a vote for Trump, it is by the same logic an effective vote for Biden. And the third party guy! Amazing bit of voter fraud you’re pulling there.

          Reply
    4. Procopius

      Zagonostra

      They rightly see these entrenched establishment Dems as thwarting and subverting meaningful reform and as complicit in subverting Bernie’s campaign.

      It’s bad enough they are doing all that, but they just can’t help gloating about it. Giving speaking time to four Republicans at the Convention was icing on the cake. I think they got their numbers backwards; for every Republican Suburban Housewife they get I think they’re going to lose two traditional Democrat voters. Or more. There are reasons why Biden is not thirty points ahead of Trump.

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged Medium
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Long time homeless in California have incredibly deep tans from being outside all the time-so much so they’d make George Hamilton feel inadequate in comparison, it’s my way of figuring out the old guard from the new, and it’s doubtful any of them ever use sunscreen, and they’re not being affected by the Coronavirus all that much, because of quite the overdose of natural vitamin D.

    You’d think they’d be totally susceptible, as before the virus hit they were dying of various maladies at a much higher rate than the general public.

    What other neo-Zoroastrians, er Sun worshipers could you include in their numbers, runners-hikers-bicyclists-walkers-swimmers-tennis players-nudist colonists-golfers-convertible drivers?

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      What I dislike about the article, which is otherwise interesting, is that apparent necessity to rest all solutions on supercomputers. I don’t see such centrality of the hypotethical bradykinin storm. It has merit and explains some things but the pathology of SARS CoV 2 in much, very much, more complex than that at many levels. So, though it is true that some drugs that reduce bradykinin production might help it is also almost certain these are not the solution, nor the magical cure (like having high VitD levels). Do we have to give it such centrality and validity because a supercomputer came out with this? Certainly not. It’s databases have many limitations.

      Reply
      1. Michael

        Yeah super computers. Meh
        Reading Gary Kasparov’s book Deep Thinking.
        His battles on the chessboard and subsequent study point out what they are good for and how they can be led astray by mere humans.

        Reply
      2. Susan the other

        I really liked this analysis because I take an ACE blocker for off-the-charts BP, and I’ve been trying to figure out if it helps or hurts my chances. This article said, essentially, that a bradykinin storm is tolerated much better by women than by men because we are used to and tolerate a high level of this protein because it is programmed into our X chromosome – in effect we are somewhat immune. So that’s the good news for women. One question for men is, should they be put on an ACE blocker/inhibitor at the onset of Covid-19, thus reducing the overproduction of bradykinin? And also, I can’t help making the connection that the Donald went off to the hospital with possible mini-strokes (due to bleeding veins in his alleged brain?) just before he started wearing a mask. The good news is, He looks to be OK.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Too funny that!

          One of the employees @ the Silver City Resort saw the backside, legs and tail of an adult mountain lion a few days after I had my encounter with a couple of 1 1/2 year old models, in a location a few miles from where I saw my duo, and we were comparing notes and both us us were transfixed by the tail, in that as the cats beat a path, said appendage was completely erect and didn’t move an inch as the cougars strode away purposefully.

          Reply
      1. a different chris

        Wins the internets for today!

        I wouldn’t have thought of that in 1000 years and now I can’t unsee it. I wonder what he drives, probably a oversized SUV but nobody’s gonna call him on it.

        Reply
        1. km

          I’m pretty sure that a lion actually needs an oversized SUV (diesel, plenty of room for females and cubs and also for hauling wildebeest carcasses, four wheel drive, ground clearance, that sort of thing), sort of the way a backwoods contractor actually needs and uses such a thing as a tool rather than a status symbol.

          Reply
    1. Maritimer

      Extremely sad to see such a majestic animal strolling amongst the lifestyle objects destroying his habitat and probably his species.

      In addition, the lion looks even more Hollywood than Hollywood leading one to wonder if he is not groomed up prior to his visiting his audience. Anything to draw the jaded, bored tourists seeking some vicarious, fleeting pleasure.

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    NuScale’s Small Nuclear Reactor Gets US Safety Approval ars technica

    The design comes from NuScale, a company birthed from research at Oregon State University that has received some substantial Department of Energy funding. It’s a 76-foot-tall, 15-foot-wide steel cylinder (23 meters by 5 meters) capable of producing 50 megawatts of electricity. (The company also has a 60-megawatt iteration teed up.) T

    It won’t work. How do I know? Its pretty simple. An efficient modular reactor of that size would have enormous military applications. Imagine retrofitting every frigate and destroyer and support ship in the Navy with one – no more issues with fuel, lots of more room for weapons. Major logistical problems solved for every military base around the world. This is the holy grail for every major military on the planet with global ambitions. This is why all the nuclear powers have invested countless billions on various designs for small modular reactors. But so far, they haven’t managed to get much beyond the original 1950’s designs for nuclear subs as used by the US, Russia, France, UK and China.

    If this worked, and was anywhere close to fossil fuels in cost, they would have an immediate order of hundreds of them. But for some reason… silence.

    Reply
    1. David

      I’m not sure actually. Nuclear propulsion security is a big and expensive headache for navies, which is why nuclear submarines tend to cluster together. There are all sorts of special precautions – this link gives you an idea of the bureaucracy around nuclear safety for the RN’s small SSBN and SSN fleet. You’d need a massive programme of redesign and safety enhancement of ports and repair/dry-dock facilities. More importantly, nuclear powered ships are limited in where they can deploy, to ports which can cope with an accident. This doesn’t matter so much even for SSNs, but it would be prohibitive for surface ships, which would be unable to deploy to most parts of the world, thus defeating part of the object of having them. You’d also need to massively expand the number of nuclear engineers and technicians in navies, and train them.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        My point is that either this new design of reactor is so cheap and safe and easy to use that it would significantly reduce the enormous costs involved in running nuclear submarines/aircraft carriers and so allow their much wider use – or it is not significantly cheaper or safer, in which case it will never be remotely economically feasible.

        Modern light water plants are essentially massively scaled up submarine reactors with a big concrete cap. Its the scaling up that makes them cost effective (thats why they are all so much larger than competing fossil fuel plants, which tend to be scaled to match their local transmission system, rather than vice versa). Any workable modular system would have to be fundamentally different in design to reverse this economic relationship.

        I’m not fundamentally anti-nuclear. The threat of climate change vastly overwhelms the threat of reactor meltdowns. But the nuclear industry has proven far better at selling unicorns over the past few decades than it has been at making economically viable, safe reactors. And its nothing to do with investment, vast mountains of money has been thrown at both the civil and defence side of nuclear in all the major nations. But somehow, its always environmentalists or politicians who are to blame for the failures, not the actual designs or management.

        Modular 50MW reactors may well be viable one day. But I’m convinced we’ll see them on a US or Russian or Chinese Frigate long before they are powering cities, simply because the militaries have far more resources and motivation to push through a genuinely workable design.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          The bit of info that I liked was that these new reactors, even though they are used in groupings to achieve scale, are each fail-safed with their own automatic cooling mechanism. I assume they are not exaggerating when they say that a nuclear chain reaction is preventable.

          Reply
    2. Vlad "The Mad Lad" Lenin

      lol you’re talking about the same people that have spent trillions on planes that don’t fly, boats that don’t float, guns that don’t shoot, and missile defences that don’t work.

      Reply
      1. Tom Bradford

        Yes. I was going to make the point that all David’s ‘problems’ with bringing these things into service could easily be solved by the USN reaching into its back pocket and finding the necessary $billions there.

        Reply
  7. Lee

    Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year USA Today

    Let the bidding by both parties for our votes begin. Do I hear an offer universal healthcare? A jobs guarantee? Free college? Going once, going twice….

    So, renters don’t pay landlords, who don’t pay the banks, who don’t pay the bundled mortgage bond holders, who don’t pay whoever it is they are supposed to pay and so on. Treating rentier capitalism as a disease vector. I like it. More, please.

    Reply
    1. km

      Promises, promises…

      Both candidates will promise anything if they think it will get them votes in swing states.

      Now, enforcing those promises….

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Assuming Trump’s moratorium takes effect, it will be a promise made and kept. What are the Dems gonna do, oppose it?

        It will be interesting to see if the 30 to 40 million now facing eviction, and all those whose cash flow depends on them making their pay payments, unite and support cash relief from government’s bottomless coffers, or if the various interest groups set to fighting each other over the depreciated real estate assets.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Now, did he say anything in regards to landlords being reimbursed for what will be 9 months of lost income?

          This will blow many out of the water…

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Your point should be the Democrat Party response to the Trump initiative. This will be a visible sign of the reversal in roles presently playing out in the Kayfabe we call politics in America.

            Reply
          2. neo-realist

            From what I understand, the house dems had an eviction moratorium in the heroes bill for a long time that Trump rejected. Trump outflanking the dems, garbage.

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Not sure what your definition of “outflanking” is, then.

              Of course Nancy has the advantage that CNN will not tell people that Trump did this. Or else we will hear all about how evictions are actually a good thing, doncha know. Kind of like they told everybody that looting and arson were actually good, because brown.

              Reply
              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Just like with her recent hair appointment, it was a “setup,” and that’s all nancy’s going to say about it.

                Reply
          3. chuck roast

            Let us recall that Trump is at his core a real estate scammer, and I believe he was a slum-lord in his younger days. Where do you think this is going.

            Reply
            1. wilroncanada

              As Wuk says above, the commercial/multi-family foreclosures will begin almost immediately, for small landlords. In addition, the rent will become due in full, in many cases, in January.
              Ah, but that is after the election. Slum landlord son-in-law will be able to really add to his portfolio.

              Reply
    2. Jesper

      it looks like a great policy for the large landlords with deep pockets and/or access to cheap funding – with this policy they can more easily postpone loss-recognition that might have been required to do if they accepted lower rents and/or empty buildings. Extend and pretend, kick the can etc.
      The smaller landlords might suffer as they might be the ones willing to recognise a loss early in the hope that a early loss-recognition might be less than a post-poned loss-recognition. But this policy will hinder them.
      The renters get almost no benefit, the rent is still due just on a later date and the unemployed who would want to move to cheaper accomodation might not be able to do so as most landlords will if at all possible only rent to the employed. Locked in place.

      I don’t know what is the best solution, the proposed solution is in my opinion just postponing dealing with the problem while making it more difficult to resolve at a later date. Some problems resolve themselves in time while other problems just get worse the more time passes. Possibly, maybe the big problem was seen as being that nobody wants to deal with this before an election and if that was the problem then yes it might actually be a solution to that problem.

      Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      A wide-spread concrete material benefit, if it actually has effect.

      I wonder what JB’s counter will be? Perhaps a re-iteration of his pledge to veto any M4A bill that comes across his desk, if he is elected.

      Reply
    4. zagonostra

      Trump has proposed something, they still have to pay the accrued rent, but renters when they can’t make monthly payment and are not evicted will vote for Trump if they vote at all.

      The Dems have proposed nada, they are on recess, eating ice cream and would have been content with evictions.

      As things start to progress toward Nov elections, Trump is out maneuvering the Dems. What is so revealing is just how little coverage this has garnered in the corp. media. I think the establishment which is synonymous with the Dems and corp media, were hoping of scenes of mass evictions and then virtue signalling how horrible Trump was…

      Reply
    5. Synoia

      Just wait to January 2021. The eviction boot will be on both feet.

      Trump is building a mountain of evictions,defaulted loans and foreclosures, all of which combine into an opportunity for big money to acquire many more rental units.

      The moratorium on eviction must be accompanied by a moratorium on foreclosures, and by debt forgiveness.

      Reply
      1. Art Vandalay

        And if evictions are kicked to January, and Trump loses, the can will have been kicked just far enough to be yet another major problem for which the barely conscious Joe will have no solutions. More things blow up on the D’s watch, and we have President Hawley in 2024.

        Reply
    6. John k

      Notice it ends dec 31, after the election.
      IMO the can kicking, or support for broke workers, is drawing to a close. Biden campaign already signaling the cupboard is bare. Reps plus IMO pay go Pelosi all tired of spending bc their donors are tired.
      Trump could always say he’d sign m4a if it reached his desk, nice contrast to Biden… doesn’t promise much… fun to see Bernie tie himself into knots over that.

      Reply
  8. cnchal

    > Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work Bloomberg (BC)

    An Uber-like app called Amazon Flex lets drivers make deliveries in their own cars. For many with other jobs, it’s a way to earn extra money in their spare time. But with joblessness rising and unemployment payments shrinking, competition for such work has stiffened, and more people rely on it as their primary income source. Adding to the pressure, fewer people are using ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, so more drivers have to deliver online shopping orders to make money. As a result, some Whole Foods locations have come to resemble parking lots at Home Depot Inc., where day laborers have long congregated to pick up home repair gigs.

    Another Amazon induced fraud. Who thinks any of the drivers told their insurance companies they are driving around delivering Amazon’s crapola for less than peanuts?

    A gif I would like to see. When an Amazon shopper pushes the buy button, a maniacal Bezos with a bullwhip lashing the backs of a few coders, warehouse workers and delivery drivers, pops onto the screen to let the clownsumer know their crapola is on it’s way.

    Reply
  9. Mikerw0

    This is what I would characterize as the view from Wall Street…

    I am doing quite well, thank you. Tsk, tsk it is too bad what is otherwise happening. But in my [insert perceived safe location here] my wealth is intact and rising, my job is secure and if I don’t have to commute my daily routine is a little better.

    Importantly, despite all the money spent on “research’ and connections of the big investment banks, an effective vaccine that will wash all this away is a foregone conclusion. It will happen pretty soon, because. What I would characterize as cognitive dissonance over the fact we have never found a coronavirus vaccine ever, the challenges posed by the logistics, and the interim damage done to the economy.

    Therefore, we can and will invest in the riskiest, most distressed assets as the Fed has our back; just like in 2008-09. They are looking at things like distressed commercial real estate, aircraft ABS, etc. We have so much capital to deploy, its just a question of where. We will make a fortune because a return to full normalcy is within eyesight.

    I base this on a capital raising project I am advising on, so while not a true representative sample size I have spoken to most of the large PE funds, pensions and large banks. I believe it reflect the overwhelming consensus of the financial power players.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

      Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed.

      Francisco d’Anconia

      Reply
        1. Lee

          It is a capitalist critique of feudalism, thinly disguised so as to have wider appeal to the general public. Sort of like the Declaration of Independence.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            True. Many of them will imagine that the quote comes from di Lampedusa’s “The Leopard.” (The vast majority of them won’t even know who Evola is.)

            Reply
  10. Olga

    A somewhat philosophical start to the day:
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/08/31/the-dissolution-of-liberal-universalism/
    On the decline and contradictions of western liberalism/”universalism:”
    “Today, with America’s soft power collapsed, and American society racked by internal fissures, not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Liberalism’s grimy ‘secret’ is exposed: Its core tenets were able to be projected as a universal project, only so long as it was underpinned by power. In J.S. Mill’s day, the civilisational claim served Europe’s need for colonial validation. And Mill tacitly acknowledged this when he validated the clearing of the indigenous American populations – as a category of non-productive populace.”
    And btw, that Macron speech from a year ago AC mentions is well worth a read:
    https://lv.ambafrance.org/Ambassadors-conference-Speech-by-M-Emmanuel-Macron-President-of-the-Republic

    Reply
    1. David

      Strategic Culture makes it biases pretty clear, but if you allow for them (as with all sites) it often has some interesting material.
      The Crooke article is not bad, though it’s essentially the same message as that set out by John Gray in several of his books around fifteen years ago. It’s a bit oversimplified, though, and it depends a bit on what you mean by “liberalism.” The broad ideals of political liberalism, at least, weren’t really forced on other people: it would be truer to say that they acquired enormous status and influence as being the ideas of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, and were seen as something to imitate by modernisers everywhere. The Meiji Restoration and the Ataturk regime, for example, saw multiparty secular political systems as the way forward, and freely imitated the West. The first generation of African leaders, like Nkrumah, Nyerere, Senghor etc. and even leaders like Nasser, set out to deliberately create what they saw as western-style states in Africa, with at least some elements of liberal political systems. As Basil Davidson and others pointed out long ago, this was a disastrous error, but it wasn’t one forced by the West. More recently, western aid has tended to be conditional on liberal-style political, and especially economic, policies, but that’s a different issue. Moreover, I’ve known Africans who’ve bridled at the suggestion that such ideas as political pluralism or separation of powers are somehow “western”, as though other civilisations were incapable of developing them. In fact, many aspects of African political and social traditions have points of commonality with western liberalism.

      As we’ve discussed before, the link between liberalism and imperialism is very complex, and Crooke seems to misunderstand Mill’s position on the subject, which was essentially to do with Canada and Australia. A lot’s been written about this.

      Macron’s evocation of 1789 is simply because the Revolution is the origin of modern France, the Republic and its ideals – like 1776 for Americans, but much more so. Secularism, political pluralism, universal rights, etc. effectively date from then.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        “The broad ideals of political liberalism, at least, weren’t really forced on other people: it would be truer to say that they acquired enormous status and influence as being the ideas of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, and were seen as something to imitate by modernisers everywhere.”
        … weren’t really forced on other people? And what do you call colonial conquest, as practised by almost every western EU country (the Swiss and Scandinavians exempted, though Denmark has its colony). How did these countries become “the richest and most powerful” … so that their ideas might be adopted?
        Answer: by colonising and exploiting large chunks of the rest of the world!
        I would have thought that is obvious – certainly today it should be.
        I think there is some confusion between cause and effect…
        Crooke’s entire point – which seems to have been missed – is that these “broad ideals” were just a veneer, masking brutal exploitation (and that they’ve come to an end, as their contradictions finally all bubble up, resulting in a blowback).
        And to that power – here is Caitlin J. at her clearest:
        https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/09/01/you-can-have-peace-or-the-us-empire-you-cant-have-both/

        Reply
  11. Acacia

    Re: Russian Trolls… Facebook. Tipped by the FBI. Talks to CNN.

    Hahah. They’ll never learn. These people make a sack of sh*t look good.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      So far this year, we’ve found out that the FBI spies on presidential candidates, worries about some minor starlet’s nude pictures that were highjacked from her open I-Phone and now their biggest case, finding Boris and Natasha on Facebook. (HINT to FBI: Start with Moose and Squirrel and work backwards.) Why are they even in existence?

      Reply
    1. John Beech

      Why, no, I don’t think I’d like to be in the placebo group! Nor would I want family members, or even you to be in that group. Note; I found what NIH has to say about FDA granting emergency authorization for this quite interesting. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

      Reply
    2. Tom Bradford

      I’m way out of my depth here so perhaps someone can educate me.

      If we’re talking about creating two groups of roughly equal size and giving one group a candidate vaccine and the other a placebo, doesn’t the outcome rely on both groups being equally exposed to the infection? If so, how is to be done? Are you going to expose everyone, in both groups, to the infection on an equal basis? Would that be ethical? Or do they just go back to their daily routines subject to the lottery of exposure there? But then how do you control for this, given that there are so many variables affecting the ‘chance’ of getting infected – location, physical condition, social habits, family circumstances, perhaps even a personal decision whether or not to risk exposure by lowering one’s precautions in order to ‘validate’ the trial.

      Sure, if the two groups can be controlled for all the variables, including exposure – which in my view means deliberate exposure to a controlled dose of the virus the outcome could be scientifically valid – tho’ unethical IMHO -, but if the groups are simply randomly divided by numbers and randomly exposed to infection ‘in the wild’ it seems to me that you’d need groups large enough to represent a large proportion of the population in order to be confident that any outcome was sufficiently representative of the effectiveness of the vaccine.

      Reply
  12. a different chris

    Haha I like all the hurt tweets back at Krystal Ball that say “People didn’t vote based on Pelosi’s endorsement so there“.

    That’s her whole point, you idgets.

    Reply
  13. timbers

    2020:

    There’s a twitter video of this, too. Amazing given how much time and rest he’s had.

    Biden in Pittsburgh 2 days ago:

    “Covid has taken this year, just since the outbreak, has taken more than 100 year, look, here’s, the lives, it’s just, when you think about it.”

    The article goes on…

    As Caitlin Johnstone sarcastically commented:

    It’s a good thing Obama intervened to coalesce the party against Bernie Sanders during the primaries or else they might have nominated an unelectable candidate.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Biden hasn’t campaigned since 2008. He might be a little rusty ,,, and senile. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Will we soon see on CNN internet sites a sidebar ‘teaser’ blurb along the lines of: “Dem Party Candidate plagiarizes predecessor’s Campaign Playbook!”
          I think not.

          Reply
          1. newcatty

            You are right on, Ambrit. One thing true about serial liars, con artists, snake oil salesmen/ women, opportunists, narcissists, and plagiarists they never admit to it.

            Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama cares about his legacy. It’s really important to him that no one from Team Blue does a better job, and he set a low bar. It’s why he kicked the tires on O’Rourke. He voiced skepticism about Buttigieg because I’m fairly confident Pete has enough ambition to do a better job. Harris’ ambition would do the same. He desperately wants dolts who think being President would be neat is his goal.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That is an interesting point that you have. In Robert Grave’s book “I, Claudius”, the main character noted that this was a major problem for the Roman Emperors. Each wanted to be the most loved Emperor and did not want someone to succeed them that would be more loved and respected. So they would cast around for someone to follow them that would do a worse job than they so that people would fondly remember them – and that is how you got Caligula.

        Reply
        1. Tom Bradford

          Great notion for a novel but I don’t believe it is reality.

          Caligula was only the third Emperor, and succeeded Tiberius who doesn’t seem to have been worried about being ‘loved and respected’, having never wanted to be Emperor in the first place – he was the stepson of the first Emperor Caesar Augustus and thus his successor. Described as the gloomiest of men – probably a depressive – he spent the last eleven years of his reign up to his eyeballs in debauchery on Capri letting others run the Empire – to their own enrichment. On his death his will named his adopted grandson Caligula and his grandson Tiberius Gemellus his successors. Calligula probably did arrange Gemellus’ death, leaving him sole heir, but it was by right of succession rather than any ‘casting around’ by Tiberius for a successor who would make him look good.

          Much of his reputation for sexual excess, cruelty and insanity comes from questionable sources, possibly attempting to justify his assassination and replacement by the more malleable Claudius.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Well, Claudius’ successor was Nero.
            My favourite theory about Nero was that his burning of the Christians was a perfectly legal punishment for arson. Many have wondered about just how much the early chiliastic Christians were involved in the Fire of Rome. To them, the burning of Rome would have been the beginning of the apocalypse, of which the Rapture is a part. As we all know from Lambert’s admonitions, bringing on the Rapture is a good thing!

            Reply
    3. John Beech

      Kicking Sanders to the side of the road has led directly to my vote for DJT come November. This, despite my changing party registration expressly to enable me to vote for Sanders in the Fl primary. I felt the Bern and got burned. No problemo, Trump it is – again.

      Reply
        1. JWP

          +1. I imagine the vote for Trump group does it because he’s anti establishment. Unfortunately, he remains merely a pawn in the grand GOP economic scheme. Just sowing distrust in government institutions as to allow privatization of everything to take hold. See USPS and arctic drilling.

          Reply
        2. edmondo

          when have undervotes EVER been reported? Never. What kind of statement do you make if no one notices? Trump is the disruptor this year. Chaos is your friend.

          Reply
    4. Ford Prefect

      And then there is Trump’s interview with Laura Ingraham.

      I expect the debates are going to sound like two old gents in the “Memory Care Unit” arguing.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It was like watching somebody at the batting cage whiffing on 20 mph large softballs, so they slowed it down to 10 mph with the same result.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Is Clint Eastwood still around? He would be a great “coach” for either one, but he is a repug. So, it would be for Trump. Wait, the dems have already tried to play it both ways by rehabilitation of GW, bringing in warmongers and liars like Powel at their convention and, of course, DINO sold out amoral cop as VP pick. Maybe Clint would go with whoever paid the highest bid.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. “Are we involved in six wars or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is the MIC, the most powerful armaments guild in the world and would blow your head clean off with a drone strike if you looked at em’ funny, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

            Reply
        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          They better have extra security then, in case Howie Hawkins and/or Jo Jorgensen shows up to sit in those chairs.

          Reply
  14. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE “A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged”

    Zinc deficiency has been shown to inhibit the vasodialation response to bradykinin in rats (PDF). So maybe the body is making more bradykinin because it needs it.

    And since “ACE normally degrades bradykinin, but when the virus downregulates it, it can’t do this as effectively,” well maybe more zinc, which is the ACE cofactor, would help?

    Also, this could mean that ACE inhibitors, which inhibit ACE (not ACE2) would protect from COVID infection by making more soluble ACE2, but increase complications if you get a high dose of COVID. My genetics seem to point to a natural inhibitor of ACE which unfortunately puts me at risk for diabetes and kidney disease (I have poor kidney function for someone my age).

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Very interesting KP. Thanks again. Zinc. I did notice a strange thing about zinc supplements. They were completely unavailable for several months. We buy wholesale supplements and even they did not have them – they do now and so does my pharmacy, but in very limited supply.

      Reply
  15. WS

    Actually, the Terminator in T2 tells John Connor, “I sense injuries. The data could be called pain.” So Cameron was bang on with that one. I believe the implication is that Termie simply has a vastly greater tolerance for pain, considering that it’s, you know, an emotionless robot.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >has a vastly greater tolerance

      Actually I would think there is no reason why he couldn’t switch the chunk of the skin network off so he wouldn’t feel the cutting.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The T800 only existed to infiltrate and get near human installations without being fired on. Feeling pain would be useless. Since young John Connor, the future savior, judges (like the name of the movie) the T800 to be good, it takes on human characteristics. Hence it can reason. These first two movies really are masterpieces.

      Reply
  16. Katiebird

    Regarding, “Trump Signs Historical OTC Hearing Device Bill, Slashing Hearing Device Prices By 90%!”

    It sounds great but at the VERY top of the page it says “Advertorial” Does this mean it is an advertisement?

    My dad bought one of these devices a couple of months before he died. But the instructions were very dense and he was having trouble reading very small print at that point. He asked me to help him get the Hearing Device going. But he wasn’t up to focusing on the calibration steps required. And we both kept putting it off thinking he’d be up to it “later”. Sadly, he wasn’t.

    Reply
    1. carl

      These are not true hearing aids, but sound amplifiers, like a tiny speaker in your ear. They amplify sound indiscriminately, unlike a hearing aid which is programmed specifically for the recipient’s hearing. I seem to remember that the FDA has refused to classify these as medical devices subject to regulation.

      Reply
    2. Drake

      Glad I checked before posting the same comment myself. It read to me like an infomercial. I didn’t even see the ‘advertorial’ heading.

      Reply
      1. WhoaMolly

        $200 amplifier probably a very good idea.

        If we trust $200 Apple earbuds to filter and amplify audio, why not tiny in-ear audio amps?

        I’ve worn several generations of the expensive $5000 hearing aids over last 40 years. It typically takes an audiologist 3-5 visits to adjust them to my hearing loss. A $200 amp probably wouldn’t help me much. But relatively few people have a problem as serious as mine.

        Reply
        1. Drake

          I don’t even know how bad my hearing loss is, but it’s pretty bad and has been for a long time, likely getting worse all along. I catch about half of what people say overall, depending on background noise level, pitch of the voice, distance, etc. But I’ve never been inclined to do anything about it, mainly because I don’t feel like being predated upon by monopolistic rent-seekers the way I am with eyeglasses and, well, let’s face it, pretty much all medical care in the US. I consider medical professionals to be a greater threat to my health and overall well-being than just about anything else and avoid them whenever possible. I don’t want to hear what people are saying that badly. Usually the opposite.

          Reply
    3. GramSci

      This old geezer bought a $100 Coniler “hearing amplifier” for one ear and it works fine whenever I’m forced to watch television or converse in a second language (or through face masks).

      It caught my attention that the headline was a Trump campaign ad that buried deep in the text the fact that it was Elizabeth Warren who wrote the bill.

      Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    Anecdotal, but i’ve had a couple of Angelenos ask me out of the blue (Dodger, I would assume) in regards to real estate in Three Rivers (we’re modest, there is actually 4 rivers here) in conversation with them while hanging out on the deck w-fi-ing.

    Both seemed well heeled and aside from the safety of not being in a megalopolis of dubious value now, they were most interested in water, but had no idea how to ascertain things in that regard, as the H20 in the Big Smokes comes from a faucet.

    Reply
    1. BoulderMike

      Just wondering if you are familiar with the Tom Russell song, Rayburn Crane, being from Three Rivers. I have been to Three Rivers, and the National Park. And, I am old enough to remember Disney and Mineral King.

      Reply
        1. BoulderMike

          I am glad for sure now that I let you know. I thought for sure you must have heard of it. Glad you like it.
          I always think of myself as a kindred spirit to Rayburn Crane. A person out of place in the times I am living in.
          Unlike you, I have a fear of exposed heights. So, a lot of the High Sierra is off limits to me. I have thought of trying to qualify/get in to the Western States 100 though.
          I have skied at Squaw Valley and Kirkwood years ago. Some of the best powder I ever experienced was at Kirkwood.
          I like to hike in the mountains though, but here around Boulder, CO it is hard to find solitude these days. Too many people to pass that are not COVID aware, and too many people who feel that a hike to the high country means never shutting up for one minute. I prefer to hike in silence and listen to nature.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I shared it with a few dozen folks around here with a vast amount of experience in the area and not one of them had heard of it either, so it was quite the hit.

            I’m more afraid of widths than heights, and when you go off-trail you’re almost guaranteed to not run into anybody, a big plus as far as i’m concerned.

            Kirkwood when conditions are just right is maybe the best ski resort in the state, fabulous.

            We’re getting a lot of novices in Mineral King this summer and i’m ok with them, although it’s tragically funny to see a young miss in her late 20’s starting out on a 6 mile hike @ 4 pm carrying a 10 oz water bottle (anybody carrying a water bottle doesn’t have much experience-an easy tell) and when you ask them whether they have a headlamp or flashlight-as the possibility looms that they might come back when it’s dark, they pull their smartphone out of a pocket.

            Reply
            1. BoulderMike

              Makes me smile to share that song. Check out some of his other stuff also. All of his albums are great. A few to check out: The Man From God Knows Where; The Rose of San Joaquin. The song from the later called “What do you Want?” has a great line: “I’m to young to die of boredom, and too old to grow up”. Anyway, there are so many great songs it just would be worth your while to check them out and see what you think when you have time.
              I know what you mean about widths instead of heights. I was on an Outward Bound trip and one of the people there had climbed Everest. She said that even Everest climbers have a “fear”, or maybe better a respect, for heights. She said that on the knife ridge near the summit climbers lean towards the side (and I am making up numbers here because I don’t know the exact correct ones) with a 4000 foot drop, rather than the one with the 8000 foot drop. I think you get the point though.
              The day I skied at Kirkwood the powder was about waste deep. It was heaven, especially for me having grown up skiing on the icy slopes of Vermont.
              When I hike, even just a short hike, I always carry everything I would need for days. I just always feel that it is best to be prepared.
              Novices, sad for sure. Like I said above, amongst everything else, I always carry more than one headlamp, and extra batteries. For water, I have (a) the ability to purify, and (b) a bladder, and (c) nalgene bottles in my pack.
              I always laugh here when I read about people who set out to climb Longs Peak, a 14’er, in late morning, or even early afternoon. If it is light when you are ready to start, don’t start!

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                There’s a young miss in Mineral King who has made a legend out of herself with amazing dayhikes, pounding out 30, 33 & 37(Mineral King Loop) miles, the last with 3x high passes, all in midst of the light of day.

                Never known anybody with that kind of ability.

                I’ve been using a Katadyn BeFree 3 liter bladder/filter that allows you fill up when handy, especially in our suddenly drying up Sierra, such a contrast to last summer’s water, water everywhere.

                I’m glad to have new ambassadors and i’m seeing rookie stuff like camping within 20 feet of the lake, when it should be 100, that sort of thing, and enough food laid out for a week event though they are only there 2 nights…

                That said, they’ll learn and why harsh their mellow on their first backpack trip ever (their gear was almost newer than new, shiny) on perhaps their only vacation during the virus, and let em’ come back for more.

                I’ve watched a number of trails let go in Sequoia NP, the usage didn’t justify the trail upkeep, and back to nature they went.

                With more participation, there will be a need to open up those long since closed ones, a good many dating from the CCC days when there was upwards of 2,000 young men working in and around Sequoia NP from 1933 to 1942. Zero upkeep during WW2 was a real contributing factor to their going away, and then as budgets shrank, one by one the remaining off they went.

                All of the rockwork is probably intact, but everything is grown over and there’ll be lots of downed trees, boulders, the usual debris.

                Reply
                1. BoulderMike

                  There are those exceptional outliers for sure. Like Killian Jornet, the Ultrarunner/Mountain Climber/etc. He is clearly super human. And there was a guy from Sweden I believe who rode his bike to Everest, climbed to the top unassisted, went back down and got on his bike and rode back to Sweden. Me, I am a mere mortal. Old and slow, but determined.
                  I have various water purifiers as a result of experimentation to find what works best. Katadyn makes good stuff. I also have a steripen for travel. Most of my camping equipment is so old that I can’t recall the names and models. I have bottle holders that sort of velcro clip onto the side of my backpack that hold nalgene bottles. So, in addition to my bladder, I always fill up at least 2 Nalgene bottles just in case. it is added weight, but if I am not near water it is a good safety net. There is generally good water sources available here, but not always. It does get dry here also in the summer.
                  I once made the mistake of camping relatively close to a stream up in the mountains and found out what a mistake that was. Aside from the mosquitos, it was quite cold, even in the summer.
                  I admire your off trail skills. I am a bit hesitant on that as I am worried about ending up on a precipice with no way forward, and a difficult way back.
                  For hiking/camping here I generally prefer a place called the Lost Creek Wilderness. It isn’t as majestic as Rocky Mountain National Park, or the Indian Peaks Wilderness, but it is far less crowded. Most weekends even you can hike and maybe only see a handful of people on the trail.
                  Enjoy your travels in the High Sierra, and stay safe.

                  Reply
                  1. Wukchumni

                    You have to be really comfortable with being in the wilderness before tackling off-trail travel, and the Sierra is a pretty good place to learn, as there’s a lot of rock, and knowing how to use a topo map essential.

                    Now, conversely when on the Rakiura track on Stewart Island in NZ, my wife and I felt that if you were to go 20 feet off the trail into the bush, you might not find your way out again. so dense.

                    In closing, Chagoopa Plateau is mentioned in the song, and a favorite haunt, been there nearly 10x over the decades.

                    Sky Parlor Meadow & the beautiful Moraine Lake rest on it’s laurels, the latter the subject of a 1932 Ansel Adams photo:

                    https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.66708.html

                    Reply
                    1. BoulderMike

                      I have topo maps for sure. I wouldn’t go out without one. They are a bit old now, but I don’t think the land changes that frequently!
                      NZ is a place I would love to visit, and even move to. But only the billionaires are welcome there now. In fact, as you know, we USA people are not really welcome anywhere.
                      Long ago, after graduating college, I backpacked thru Europe and one particularly wonderful experience was climbing the mountain that overlooks Insbruck. It was so different from here.
                      So where is Chagoopa Plateau? Is it deep in the wilderness?
                      Thanks for the photo, it is quite beautiful. I appreciate and really prefer black and white wilderness photos.
                      In closing, and apologies if I run on too much, my wife asked me to tell you an example of my fear of heights. And, I should mention that it is only more recent. In my younger years I had no fear. I don’t know what happened to cause me to have this fear which manifests itself in sort of shaky knees if that makes any sense. Anyway, there is a road from Lee Vining into Yosemite. If you are familiar with it you know it is a bit exposed. I was about a few miles into the road from Lee Vining when I freaked out. I actually did a K-turn near a bend in the road with steep drop offs on one side of the road. Stupid I know. Fortunately no crazy tourist in a huge RV was coming around the bend. I survived obviously.
                      Anyway, sorry to keep bothering you. I enjoy reading your comments on NC and wish you the best for sure.

    2. Lee

      Even with my air filter, air conditioning, and humidifier, I’m feeling the bad air effects here in Alameda. I have some pulmonary sensitivities but have lived some seventy years breathing comfortably near the bay shoreline. I guess those days are over. We’ve been looking northward along the coast. You have to go pretty far north before the full force of bay area wealth on housing prices begins to wane.

      I read it or heard it on the radio that some 20 million acres would have to burn in California for the landscape to return to the state it was in prior to our current land use and management regime. The trend imposed by nature would seem to be toward thinner forests and more grasslands. Great for rambling, hunting and so forth. But first will come the fire and smoke.

      Reply
      1. WhoaMolly

        Re: bad air in Alameda

        Take a vacation and drive north on highway 1. Lots of empty towns after logging and fishing collapsed. I liked Crescent City and Humbolt. Also might look at Lake County which has cleanest air in US (on non-fire days).

        Reply
        1. WhoaMolly

          Update: I just did a Zillow search of coastal towns in Ca. Priced houses. They are stratospheric. Must be retirees supporting these prices because there’s very little in way of jobs or industry that I can see.

          Reply
          1. periol

            I can’t speak to what towns you looked up, but I can say that there are several factors:

            – second homes
            – vacation rentals + Air BnB
            – commutes

            The very wealthy in California absolutely use helicopters to get to work and meetings. There are several that go over my head each morning and evening. Furthermore, some coastal towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea are filled with the second/third/fourth/fifth homes of the very wealthy, who come-and-go when they feel like it. Even when/if this cohort retires, it is often not to settle down, and Carmel probably wouldn’t be the place they would end up for their end-of-life care.

            Another anecdote: our honeymoon some years back was in the town of Cayucos. Tiny little town on the California coast, and I would say after walking the town at least half of it, if not more, is vacation rentals.

            Final anecdote: had a professor who had a house on Orcas Island, off the Washington coast. I had a weekly class with him in New Jersey. He flew there and back twice each week. I could never wrap my head around that much travel, let alone the $$$ involved, but it was my first real awakening to the fact that wealth can open doors it would never occur to me to try opening.

            Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        The skies are beige and this morning had the look of the atmosphere of a sci-fi movie on some forbidden planet, and we can expect another month of smoke judging how difficult the fire in the back of beyond will be to fight. Essentially it’ll take a rainstorm to put it out.

        When fire takes out forests in the Sierra, i’ve noticed that ground cover takes over, not allowing trees to get purchase, and then in 5-10 years completely covers everything turning it into a boring no-go zone. (i’m looking at you-Whitethorn)

        Reply
  18. CitizenSissy

    Markey/Kennedy- anecdotally from my Massachusetts-based family: Don’t discount the Kennedy fatigue. Interestingly, the Democratic challenger to Jeff Van Drew’s Jersey Shore seat, Amy Kennedy, is married to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Tomorrow, Gavin Newsom will sign this into law, and end a small part of American slavery that is still with us in *checks calendar* 2020.”

    I hope that this news is as good as it sounds. It looks like a combination of a world-wide pandemic and a drastic fire season finally got through to Californian lawmakers that gratuitous punishment of prisoners that never ends is not the best of policies if they want trained firefighters. I am sure that the firefighters will pick and choose who they want based on what they see on the fire front with those prisoner firefighters.

    And congrats to Michael F’s daughter for having a good looking moggie.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When Darwins, threads lose, but…

      Is the way we treat our inmate firefighters all that different than the ‘guest workers’ toiling for greasy cabbage soup and a plank bed, somewhere in the fatherland?

      Reply
  20. fresno dan

    Two cognitive tendencies help explain why low-income voters often oppose the redistribution of wealth PsyPost (Chuck L)

    I don’t buy it. I think Warren Buffett’s observation about class warfare, and Buffett’s class winning is the reason.
    https://theirrelevantinvestor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/income.jpg
    All you have to do is look at the graph – what changed was not the tides, or sunspots, or any laws of nature, but laws of men, and the rich men decided that they wanted to be richer, and through concerted efforts to put their fat fingers on the scales, large and small, they succeeded. Until people understand that inequality is not the “natural” evolution of the economy any more than Chihuahuas are the natural evolution of canines, it will continue.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Until people understand that inequality is not the “natural” evolution of the economy any more than Chihuahuas are the natural evolution of canines, it will continue.

      …don’t trust any dog that barks and backs up at the same time

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I’m not buying it either but for a different reason. After the Russians put Sputnik up in ’57, there was a revamping of American education and the successful Apollo landings of a decade later may have been a pay-off for this effort. Going out over my skies here but I have the general impression that from the 70s onward that education was steadily downgraded. Even in the 90s I was reading accounts of how some American schools were using textbooks that had been printed in the 70s.

      If a few generations of schoolkids are not taught critical thinking skills then you would expect faulty thinking. As an example. It was only a few months ago that when Sanders was talking about M4A, Biden was saying ‘how will we pay for it?’ It took what, five trillion dollars being given to the wealthiest people and corporations in the and to get people thinking that maybe yeah, it can be afforded. The teaching of critical thinking skills might have taught people the fallacy of how taxation pays for everything and would certainly shoot down the Democrat’s idea of PAYGO.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Even in the past – take late 1970s – the first two yrs at a US university were less demanding and ‘educational’ than a socialist (Central Eu) high school. And it has only been going downhill since then. Critical thinking skills – what’s that?

        Reply
      2. Bruno

        Bernie Sanders had an excellent education, plus first-rate advice from Stephanie Kelton. Yet, beyond murmurrings of dissent, he never had anything like an effective reply to Biden’s senile idiocies. A perfect example of the Social Democrat aka “democratic socialist.”

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden simply lied at times. American debates are anachronisms. Treating them as information gathering events is the real problem. Short of saying liar, there isn’t much one can do, and given Biden’s record with dishonesty, there is so much to go on, and then Biden would simply lie again. He has no shame.

          Reply
        2. JWP

          My theory on that is that Sanders thought the general public could not handle MMT being described to them and introduced on a debate stage, so he tried to work around it much to his disadvantage. Obviously he could have easily explained it and showed it’s less than the cost of our forever wars.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            People understand billions for floating targets and planes that can’t fly while afterschool programs are cut. The problem is the belief Team Blue is still the Democratic Party of a pre-Carter era. Sanders is a Democrat of yesteryear while Biden is “good” by the standards of the Old Solid South and Jim Crow.

            Let me be very clear, anyone who has ever said, “but the national debt” is engaging in a dog whistle. What they really mean is a black/poor/woman person could be helped if we do that.

            Reply
            1. newcatty

              It is also that most people who understand billions spent on the military’s “needs and essential planes and other items ” to be the best and strongest in the world are not reacting to any critical thinking or knowledge of how our government funds it. They are reacting to the fear instilled in them through propaganda and all of its manisfestations. Also, the military is conflated with patriotism, national pride. After all, we are Americans! Go ahead, leave it.

              The dismantled public education system, except for wealthier districts or some outlier rural areas, has contributed to the low income voters, or pretend ones (under the table “folks”) with their vulnerability to being manipulated and fooled by political parties. For the cherry on top, add the divide and conquer strategy of the racism or other forms of prejudice and bias against the other. When you have hardly any reason to feel some self-esteem or to feel safe than you vote or support the party that gives you what you need. It isn’t cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy on their part. It is rationalization, but that is necessary for their mental state of a workable reality. So, if one points out that, voting for republicans is against your best interests, it is over weighted with the need to be safe or right. But, you get snap or Medicaid or your children do! Well, it’s OK cause we deserve it and are entitled to it as Americans. A Republican president is eroding environmental protections in the very world you live and breathe in…where you camp, off-road, hike, fish or hunt. No, he is just doing away with onerous regulations of big gobment. We still need to be able to gas up our trucks.

              Until many of the people can’t make it by the under table scene or drop down into the lowest class of real poverty with consequences of homelessness, or having to live in boarding house situations, the Spector of hunger or lowering their food spreads, having to choose, like some oldsters, between that basic food or keeping the lights, heat or cooling on…they still will cling to their world view. The poor ( usually meaning people of color, or losers ) will always be among us. And the opposite view: the rich make the world go around.

              Reply
    3. cnchal

      > . . . but laws of men, and the rich men decided that they wanted to be richer, and through concerted efforts to put their fat fingers on the scales, large and small . . .

      We never get into the weeds of accounting. When carry forward losses can be used till eternity, what does it do to the financial calculus of the Pig People of Wall Street? These laws were changed. In the past, losses beyond a certian year could no longer be used to offset profits in the current year. For example if the limit were seven years, Uber would never have come into existence.

      Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    My dad passed away on this date 18 years ago and i’d been out on a 10 day backpack trip and luckily got to see him one last time before he departed.

    I’d been to a friend’s funeral a few months previous, and the poor fellow was planted 40 feet from the 10 freeway in West Covina, and the poor pastor could hardly get a word in edgewise with all the road noise emanating from cars whirring by constantly, it was all too much to take…

    So I hit up my mom to allow the family to scatter his ashes in one of the prettiest spots on the High Sierra Trail, a place known as ‘Hanging Gardens’ about 13 miles into the backcountry-where pleasant breezes were a given and the imposing wall of the Great Western Divide loomed large across the way, and showed her some photos and she was on board, although she wouldn’t make the sojourn with us the following summer. We had 6 family members that did the trek, and it made up for that woeful cemetery episode in a big way.

    Here’s the spot in this link:

    The High Sierra Trail on the way to Hamilton Lake

    http://www.redwoodhikes.com/SequoiaNP/Bearpaw.html

    p.s. If you ever get a chance, the Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp is glamping albeit with the bare necessities as in a flush toilet, hot showers, comfy beds and cooked meals. You have to walk about a dozen miles to get there, and it’s a great hopping off point to see more of the grandeur of the High Sierra, which is frankly astounding. The nice part about it is you can do it essentially with a light daypack, no need to carry a bunch of stuff.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s a beautiful area that. The first image on that page I thought was a painting for a few seconds. Whenever I see scenes like the images on that page, I cannot help but think of how the native Americans thought of it. More than that, I wonder what the first people that saw it thought. Not so much the first white explorers but the first native American explorers from thousands of years ago.

      Reply
    2. JWP

      Gorgeous! A place I will add to my bucket list. On my inaugural trip to the area last year (a few days in Kings Canyon), I was stunned that so much beauty was packed into such a small place. Sequoia grove to canyon to alpine lake in ten miles.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Bearpaw Meadow is so much nicer than the much larger Yosemite High Sierra Camps, as it’s intimate (holds only a dozen guests) and has much better surroundings & dayhike possibilities in my opinion.

        They were closed last year on account of serious snow damage to the structures, and this year on account of Covid, but should be raring to go in 2021.

        Reply
  22. Another Scott

    For those interested, Massachusetts publishes town-by-town results. Here’s one from one of the NPR affiliates (https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/09/01/markey-kennedy-senate-primary-results).

    These results are really interesting. Kennedy won in most of the working class, deindustrialized cities (such as 63% in Springfield and 68% in New Bedford), while Markey won most of the wealthier and more suburban areas (64% in Newton and 76% in Lexington). This is consistent with what I’ve read before the election and on lawn signs.

    Boston went for Markey, but it’s really hard to make conclusions without a precinct breakdown because of the large difference within The suburbs are where Democratic primaries won. I tried comparing the results to the 2016 Clinton-Sanders race, but there doesn’t appear to be an easily determined correlation.

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Loyalty and nostalgia. People under stress don’t make good decisions either. Kennedy is a famous name. In general people barely know their senator. Outside the internets, how is The Kennedy Twerp covered? MSM types are trying to explain why young people voted for Markey today without addressing policy. If Markey and Kennedy were equals, wouldn’t it be time for a young person? It’s kind of like Biden’s appeal. No one on MSDNC said bad things about him. There won’t be any bad blood like with Hillary. Marley’s bio except for the election experience is suspiciously like my dads life. Why should they be making decisions for the next six years?

        Then there is organizing and the down ballot races which means a Mass expert would probably have to review. This wasn’t a vacuum.

        Reply
        1. Another Scott

          I live in Massachusetts and this election didn’t seem to be about anything, which is disappointing because there is a serious and easy critique of Markey from the left.

          Basically, Markey’s been a standard neoliberal Democrat his entire time in congress. He was one of the principal architects of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and spent most of the 90s pushing similar deregulation of electric and gas utilities. He has constantly supported free trade deals. All of which contributed to unions supporting Kennedy. He has also been pro-interventionist on foreign policy and supported most of the crime bills that the left now hates. And that’s before his gadfly comments, when I was leaving for high school during one of the Bush-era gas spikes, my dad asked “which idiot Congressman is going call to suspend the gas tax?” reading the next day’s paper, he answered himself by saying “my idiot congressman.”

          All of this could have led to a real campaign built upon the real damage that politicians like Markey, Clinton, and similar Democrats have done to working class Americans, but instead Kennedy ran on his family’s last name. I saw only a few passing attempts, mostly by the IBEW about the impact on jobs. Why was there no mention about impact of media and telecommunication consolidation?

          But looking at the election, endorsements, and recent legislation in Massachusetts, the only conclusion I have is that private sector unions have minimal pull within the Democratic Party, which, at least on the statewide level, is dominated by the needs of the PMC in Boston’s western suburbs.

          Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I was smitten as a kid with the promise of getting my very own jetpack in the 60’s, but instead was rewarded with a lighter than air vehicle that could stay aloft for unlimited amounts of time, the Dow Jones Index

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Won’t be surprised to learn that the jetpack guy was on a field, or sky, test of some new weaponry. After all, SoCal is the home of aviation-related fun and other applications.
      Now, how to address that recoil so he doesn’t go spinning out of control into the path of another jet.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        One of the oddities of piloting a small plane in LA is that if you’re at a certain level altitude-wise, you can fly right over LAX. It feels downright weird, lemme tellya.

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Really small planes don’t belong in the pattern at LAX. Their landing speed is less than the stall speed of airliners.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I read once that being over a major airport is relatively safe as airliners approach from low altitudes coming in from the sides of an airport when landing or taking off.

            Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            Flew under special flight rules from Hawthorne airport NW over LAX @ 4500 feet to Santa Barbara, and it’s 3,500 on the way back.

            As the Rev sez, it’s safe in a small slice or airspace.

            Reply
    3. rd

      Geese going into Sully’s 737 jet engines caused those engines to fail. The geese didn’t fare too well either.

      Not sure why somebody would want to be anywhere near a airliner jet engine.

      Reply
      1. orlbucfan

        I can only imagine how catastrophic it would be for a human to be sucked up into one of those jet engines. I do not want to be on that flight!

        Reply
          1. RMO

            I would worry more about an impact on the horizontal stabilizer with a mass that large. That might be enough to damage it enough that pitch control could be severely compromised and if that happens odds of continuing in controlled flight and making even a very rough emergency landing are low.

            Reply
  23. Dr. Robert

    A formal US alliance with India means giving up Afghanistan. Even the hint of an alliance will have the ISI flooding the Khyber Pass with all the weapons the Taliban wants. Then you can write off any US interest in Central Asia as China brings Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and whichever Central Asian dictators it cares to bribe into the fold. Of course this leads to a global thermonuclear exchange if things get too hot in Kashmir…

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its a bizarre idea, its impossible to see what either India or the US would gain from a formal alliance. The very delicate balancing act the US has with Pakistan would be torn apart, and the Pakistani’s have the power to make live even more hellish in Afghanistan for the US. And it would of course mean Indias long friendly relations with Russia would go into deep freeze, with all sorts of implications for Indias domestic military industry. Plus it would incentivise the Chinese to start pushing even harder in those border areas where they have a big strategic advantage.

      I suspect Modi has been saying all sorts of things in private to Trumps people to see what he can get and someone in Washington has been foolish enough to believe him.

      Reply
      1. JWP

        Maybe we will just see “made in China” replaced with “made in India.” After all, to the ruling class, l it sounds a lot better to say we aren’t making things in china anymore, than, we are paying americans to make things at home.

        Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “What Happens When Ex-Navy SEALS Go Full QAnon?”

    This maybe a case of size maybe mattering here. The US Special Forces has a total strength of roughly 70,000 people. That is more people than there are in the Canadian Army. And when you get such a large number you have to do things like lowering standards and taking in people whom you may have rejected when these forces were smaller. You are bound to have a few wack jobs get in like those guys who thought that they could invade Venezuela several weeks ago with a platoon of mercs. Here is an article that talks about the problems this force is experiencing-

    https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/how-to-fix-u-s-special-operations-forces/

    There is something about special forces that I do wonder about. Back in WW2 a British general was objecting to the size of the commando forces being recruited. He said that out of every six men in battle, one wants to go forward and attack, one wants to hang around and slink off to the rear, while the other four were willing to follow the majority. So his objection was that by siphoning out the agressive go-getters, that it would degrade the performance of the regular line infantry. You do wonder if he had a point.

    Reply
  25. Big River Bandido

    So, I see that despite losing to Markey, the Democrat establishment saved its hero Richard Neal.

    Alex Morse will probably come back another year. DSA and Sunrise Movement? They’re the next Move On. I was considering volunteering for DSAs Mutual Aid Network, as I thought it a great organizing tool. But now, I think I’ll skip it. DSA apparently isn’t any more serious about politics than any of the other AstroTurf sheepdog organizations, and I have no time for such nonsense.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      +1 But Morse seemed to me to be a weak candidate. There was zero fight in that dog. Moreover, who knew what his policies were? He spent all his time on the interviews discussing his sex life. Ritchie was like a cat with a sparrow…torturing the poor thing just for fun. As for DSA, they seem to have opted for race reductionism. How does someone who calls himself a socialist do that? Until recently I was actually thinking of attending one of their meetings to see what was going on. It all worked out. I don’t think they would be happy with any old Bolshies lurking around.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        He spent all his time on the interviews discussing his sex life

        Anybody ever ask him about anything else, that you saw?

        Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    “Amazon Removes Job Listings For Intelligence Analyst To Track ‘Labor Organizing Threats’ ”

    This is quite fascinating this document. You can see that a lot of it is a result of a lot of cut and paste requirements. So think about this. Amazon started off as a book seller and now wants to sell everything. In recent years via computer file storage they have embedded themselves with the CIA and kicked up a stink when they did not get the storage contract for the Pentagon as well. And now we are seeing the result of this amalgamation of Amazon and the CIA. I would hazard a guess and say that that job advert was supposed to go out on a private network for spooks and you would have to be either a spook or ex-spook to met the qualifications of that job. And what is that job? It is really about union-busting and strike-breaking as a service to be sold to countries around the world. So my conclusion is that Amazon is now the Pinkertons of the 21st century.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Exactly… how little the world has changed from the times of physical union-busting, as practised at the end of 19th century.
      Amazon should rename itself into ‘spooks Я us.’

      Reply
  27. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Regarding the Russians spreading disinformation through Facebook and Twitter: Damn, I wish they would pay me for my anti-Biden posts!

    Reply
  28. Ella

    So I was on a Zoom meeting today and someone piped in that Bloomberg analysts are predicting that there is not going to be a second wave of Covid in NYC.

    I am so over all these “predictions”. How would Bloomberg analysts even know this? Why are people (particularly in corporate America) so DUMB as to not see right through all the nonsense that is spewed out?

    I’ve lost all my patience with everything these days. Anyone else feel the same?

    Reply
    1. jr

      Boy howdy. Seems like everything is broken, a rip-off, or hype. Everywhere you turn are problems piling up. Everyone seems desperate or delusional…

      Reply
  29. Geo

    “Stonehenge enhanced acoustics for people inside the monument Science News (Dr. Kevin)“

    Anyone else immediately have Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge” playing in you brain with images of the mini replica being lowered to the stage and start giggling while reading this piece? Who knew they were on to something accoustically brilliant if only they’d gotten those dimensions right?

    Reply
    1. RMO

      Black Sabbath actually did get the dimensions right for a Stonehenge stage set. The result was a very expensive prop that couldn’t fit into quite a few venues they were scheduled to play on the Born Again tour so many shows were cancelled for that reason (and there were many more cancellations for other reasons). The show also had a dwarf costumed as a demon-baby on top of one of the stones as the show opener. A lot of the Spinal Tap movie originated with that album and tour and got brilliantly twisted around to make that masterpiece. Too bad the Rob Reiner we have now seems to be the Rob Reiner that made North and not the guy who made This Is Spinal Tap!

      Reply
  30. JWP

    “Activists sour on Oatly vegan milk after stake sold to Trump-linked Blackstone ”

    Disappointed to see this out of Oatly, but not surprised. It seems the goal of every startup and modern company is to be sold off to PE or some multinational. I enjoyed their oat milk but now will be switching to Planet Oat.

    What is more concerning is how Blackstone is trying to pass this off as a commitment to sustainable investment. By mixing in more ethical companies like Oatly with fossil fuel and deforestation investment, they think they’re doing their part. It’s not like we are expected to believe it, but when others start to we are in trouble. There ought to be some nice exposés in progressive blogs and sites about the diluting of portfolios for PE and VC places.
    It’s a continuation of the bull being spewed by Dimon and the like about green investment. They won’t divest from their other ones.

    Reply
  31. polecat

    I’ll bet a bowl of the finest NGO granola that little St. greta and her pals are probably all good with it.

    But I’m just an unwoke deplorable moke, so what do I know ..

    Reply
      1. polecat

        ‘The making of Greta Thunberg’ by Corey Morningstar

        Much NGO × globull Bankster/BigCorp/BigFinancial wokedom effuvia …

        Reply
  32. Susan the other

    And then there’s the link to Phys.org about dark energy and “geodes”. It’s way interesting and not too arcane to read. “Geodes” are very early failed attempts to do black holes – in fact they are beneficial if you are looking to balance out Einstein’s Cosmological Constant. They seem to do the trick, no? Geodes are collapsed stars that turned into dark energy, not black holes. They are similar. But Geodes are not as massive and their effect on the balance of gravity in the universe is to keep it in balance. Really interesting. Geodes “socially distance” themselves….instead of becoming gravity sinks, as they gain mass they begin to repel each other and they isolate themselves off in the vacuum of space away from galaxies. Whether they come to repel each other depends on how fast they spin. That repulsion drives the expansion of the universe. No discussion on any connection to Hawking Radiation – but maybe it’s the same thing. Over my pay grade but very interesting. Thanks for this link.

    Reply
      1. RMO

        jr: As did I. Apparently the term is from a clumsy acronym – GEneric Object of Dark Energy thus, GEODE. I think a more elegant acronym or neologism would have been called for, or at least one that doesn’t result in the same name as a geological formation but what do I know?

        The science is fascinating but I can’t shake the way dark matter and dark energy make me think of the epicyclic crystal spheres theory that preceded Kepler or the hunt for planet Vulcan which was predicted to exist based on observations and Newtonian gravity – like we may be missing something and be on the verge of a significant step in physics.

        Reply
        1. jr

          I know little of such things but I’m willing to bet we have not unravelled the Mystery of the entire Universe quite yet.

          Reply
    1. newcatty

      Interesting to ponder that the Universe is kept in balance and also expands. If we can do that with our consciousness, it will be a new world.

      Reply
  33. HotFlash

    WRT What Happens When Ex-Navy SEALS Go Full QAnon? Daily Beast (resilc)

    They become Sardukar? As, from Salusa Secundus? The deal there was, IIRC, that they had brutal training which killed about half of them before age 11, but once accepted into the group (ie, survived), led lives of luxury whilst not in-country/planet, incl rights to rape, pillage and burn as they desired. Well, so long as they were loyal to the Padishah Emperor, which they pretty well were. A good gig, no? IOW, they were selsected for willigness to kill, ruthlessness, efficiency, and (as a corollary) not being too smart.

    From the article: In January 2019, SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher was charged with murdering a captive in Iraq in 2017, and was later convicted of posing with dead enemy soldiers (and was also recently pardoned by the president). Another SEAL subsequently admitted to the killing in court.
    In April 2018, members of SEAL Team 10 were caught using cocaine, resulting in several being separated from the service.
    In July 2019, SEAL Team 7 was ejected from Iraq for drinking and debauchery.

    So sorry, going from memory, cannot find cites with any search I can think of.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Agree, but imo it’s important to keep in mind that though there are no doubt “not too smart” as a characteristic of the willing to kill ruthlessly for most, there are some who are very smart ( not intelligent) who do the logistics and planning “work”. They may not pull the triggers, but are just as brutal and have huge egos and senses of exceptionalism to boot. This is our esteemed military forces at its most exalted. s

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Well, that’s the enlisted people. Command is (mostly) way smarter. And they want correspondingly higher-value looting rights.

        Reply
  34. Cuibono

    “why low-income voters often oppose the redistribution of wealth”?
    And here i thought it was mostly about cutting of your nose to spite your face as my mom liked to say

    Reply
  35. rtah100

    In defence of the SUV:

    – the big ones are genuine big! We can seat seven in ours in comfort and still have (some) luggage room. I would agree with PK that there is no point in SUV-style cars. It used to be that a “Chelsea tractor” was a Range Rover and anything else (especially a Suzuki) was scorned a “hairdresser’s jeep”. Real 4×4’s (Land Rovers, Toyota Land Cruisers, existed in their own utilitarian category)

    – more is never enough – we have roof boxes too! it means you can go on long journeys with a full car and/or take a lot of stuff. Buying a roof box was probably my most parental decision and its’ been great. Everything goes in, buggies, scooters, kids bikes, spare clothes, interesting rocks and sticks they insist on keeping etc.

    – We spent the summer in Ireland with the grandparents, six people in the car and a full load of beach kit: wetsuits, tents (expecting to shelter from the rain but this year we had to hire from the sun!), buckets and spades, picnic bags (since covid killed the cafe – plus most of these beaches don’t have anything behind them but dunes/rocks/cliffs. The alternative would have been taking two cars everywhere but that would have been heavier and burnt more fuel.

    – they are not as thirsty as you think. Our climate charring charabanc is five year old an Audi Q7. The next model up is the Lepard tank! However, it has a 3l engine and delivers c. 30 mpg. Whereas our previous car was an 18 year old Audi Allroad estate (bought for the same reasons PK buys estate cars and because we could not bring ourselves to buy an SUV) with a 2.5l engine and we were lucky to get 24 mpg, often 20 mpg. So in a dozen years, the unit fuel efficiency has gone up 30%-60% and the absolute efficiency by 25%-50%, so not all the gains have been squandered on bloat.

    – we also have a farm with half a mile of dreadful of unmade farm lane so it is actually important to have clearance. I also used it last week to sail through a flood that would have stopped me in the old car (I know because I met a flood there previously and was stopped!).

    Our other car is a twenty year old Polo. Tiny and nothing to go wrong and much easier to park on the school run.

    Reply
  36. Yves Smith Post author

    The fact that it is an advertorial does not change the fact that it’s effectively promoting Trump for giving breaks to seniors. Resilc recognized the significance. I am surprised you don’t.

    Reply

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