Links 9/24/2020

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Hiker Wandering Through Oregon Forest Enjoying Vibrant Reds And Golds Of Fall The Onion

He fought wildfires while imprisoned. California reported him to Ice for deportation Guardian

Bay Area applicants flood program that pays them $10,000 to leave California San Francisco Chronicle

With Deutsche Bank’s help, an oligarch’s buying spree trails ruin across the US heartland ICIJ

Pricing the Term Structure of VIX Futures Policy Tensor. This one’s above my pay-grade. Readers?


SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in development (preproof) (PDF) Nature. Review article of the 180 vaccines in development. From the Abstract: “The data available so far suggests that effective and safe vaccines might become available within months rather than years.”

How close is a coronavirus vaccine? (free) FT. Handy map of Phase 3 trials:

Evaluating and Deploying Covid-19 Vaccines — The Importance of Transparency, Scientific Integrity, and Public Trust New England Journal of Medicine

ACIP Mulls Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccines MedPage Today. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This is, needless to say, an intensely political question.

* * *

Thousands of passengers on commercial flights may have been exposed to coronavirus in 2020, CDC says CNN. “[W]ithin a 6-foot range for droplet transmission.” Oh.

Changing Age Distribution of the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, May–August 2020 CDC. “During June–August 2020, COVID-19 incidence was highest in persons aged 20–29 years, who accounted for >20% of all confirmed cases. Younger adults likely contribute to community transmission of COVID-19. Across the southern United States in June 2020, increases in percentage of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results among adults aged 20–39 years preceded increases among those aged ≥60 years by 4–15 days.”

COVID-19 can affect the heart Eric Topol, Science. From the body: “The most intriguing question that arises is why do certain individuals have a propensity for heart involvement after SARS-CoV-2 infection? Once recognized a few months into the pandemic, the expectation was that cardiac involvement would chiefly occur in patients with severe COVID-19. Clearly, it is more common than anticipated, but the true incidence is unknown. It is vital to determine what drives this pathogenesis. Whether it represents an individual’s inflammatory response, an autoimmune phenomenon, or some other explanation needs to be clarified.”

Covid-19: Risk of death more than doubled in people who also had flu, English data show British Medical Journal. Summarizes a preprint. “An analysis by Public Health England (PHE) of cases from January to April 2020 also found that people with the two viruses were more at risk of severe illness. Most cases of coinfection were in older people, and more than half of them died.”

Molecular Architecture of Early Dissemination and Massive Second Wave of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus in a Major Metropolitan Area (preprint) (PDF) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “We sequenced the genomes of 5,085 SARS-CoV-2 strains causing two COVID-19 disease waves in metropolitan Houston, Texas, an ethnically diverse region with seven million residents….We found little evidence of a significant relationship between virus genotypes and altered virulence.” Commentary:


Chinese President Xi Jinping hits out against hegemony and decoupling at UN South China Morning Post

Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.”

China’s emissions target is a leap forward FT

US-China trade war casts long shadow over WTO leadership race South China Morning Post

Philippines won’t follow China on excluding West in disputed sea Bangkok Post

How did Vietnam bring the spread of coronavirus to a halt — again? ABC Australia


Rishi Sunak to unveil ‘winter plan’ aimed at minimising further unemployment Evening Standard

The cost of Covid-19: The impact of coronavirus on the UK’s public finances (PDF) Institute for Government

Uber is handing passenger and driver data to the British police Business Insider

How Italy Snatched Health From the Jaws of Death Foreign Policy


Lorry drivers will face de facto Brexit border in Kent, Gove confirms Guardian

Channel Tunnel Spat Risks Severing Vital U.K.-France Link Bloomberg

A 32-Year-Old Finance Tycoon Looms in Obscure Stock Market Bloomberg

New Cold War

Vladimir Putin’s UN Speech: Will Russia Head A New Nonaligned Movement? The National Interest

A Ukrainian/CIA Plot To Incite Belarus Against Russia Unraveled – The NYT Story Thereof Is Hiding The Failure Moon of Alabama

Trump Transition

Congress poised to leave town until after the election without passing coronavirus stimulus CNN. Congress, good job.


Trump Talks Up Need for Full Court as He Casts Doubt on Election Bloomberg. Granted, a 4-4 tie on Bush Trump v. Gore Biden wouldn’t be a good look…

Donald Trump White House Press Briefing Transcript September 23 Rev. The key passage:

[crosstalk 00:08:48] Right here, Mr. President, real quickly. Win, loser, draw in this election. Will you commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power after the election, either-

.Speaker 2: (09:03) Transferal of power after the election. And there has been rioting [inaudible 00:00:07], there’s been rioting in many cities across this country, your so-called red and blue states. Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?

President Donald Trump: (09:16)

Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.

Speaker 2: (09:23)

I understand that but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferal of power?

President Donald Trump: (09:29) We want to have… Get rid of the ballots and we’ll have a very peaceful… There won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Politics is an American industry Interfluidity

Tribal Truce — How Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide and Conquer Covid? New England Journal of Medicine

COVID, hurricanes, wildfires, politics: 2020 is an American nightmare that’s wearing us out USA Today


Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 15 Craig Murray

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Censor Event at SF State Academe Magazine (dk)

Around 20 DHS intelligence reports recalled in the wake of Portland controversy CNN

Mark in the Middle The Verge

Police State Watch

‘Tell my mom I love her’: Graphic body cam video shows officer shoot 13-year-old boy with autism KTVX

Attorneys say independent autopsy shows Dijon Kizzee was shot 15 times LA Times

Exclusive: Capitol Police disciplinary reports show pattern of misconduct Roll Call

Protests and Riots

Grand jury indicts 1 of 3 officers in Breonna Taylor shooting. But not for her death Courier-Journal

A Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday indicted Brett Hankison, 44, on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Jurors said several bullets he fired outside Taylor’s apartment March 13 went into a neighboring unit where a pregnant woman, a man and a child were home.

But neither he nor two other Louisville officers who fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — were charged with killing Taylor, an unarmed Black woman.

Interestingly, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were acquitted for the murder of Emmett Till on September 23, 1955, 65 years ago.

What Is ‘Wanton Endangerment,’ the Charge in the Breonna Taylor Case? NYT (KW).

2 police officers shot during Louisville protests over charges in Breonna Taylor case NBC

Cori Bush:

By contrast, Biden:

Very fine people on both sides?

“The streets” [genuflects] vs. the workplace:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Civil Rights Groups Say Uber Actively Hurts Black People Vice

Boeing, Boeing…

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns The Register. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA):

“Requiring both crew members to turn the trim wheel simultaneously in a non-normal scenario is extremely undesirable and goes against all philosophies of having one pilot fly and one run the QRH [quick reference handbook: reading out the emergency checklist]. No flight control system should require both pilots to operate it at any stage, let alone in an emergency.”


Class Warfare

Living on the edge: More than 4 in 10 households face serious financial problems during pandemic: POLL ABC

S.C. Teachers Sickout Strike – Georgia Teachers Walkout – Louisiana Teachers Threaten Strike Payday Report

Californians not sold on treating Uber, Lyft drivers as independent contractors, new poll shows LA Times

Popular Radicalism in the 1930S: The Forgotten History of the Workers’ Unemployment Insurance Bill The Hampton Institute

The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone. Refreshing the canon….

What Is Math? Smithsonian

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Anti-antidote (Richard Smith):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. David

    Just to add to all the unforced gaiety of life at the moment, the great French actress and singer Juliette Greco died yesterday, at the age of 93. She was the daughter of two Resistance workers, and was a lifelong supporter of leftist causes.

    Greco was pretty much the last survivor of the post-war Parisian Left Bank cultural scene, of St Germain-des-Prés and Montparnasse, Sartre and de Beauvoir, Yves Montand and Boris Vian. She carried on performing until just a few years ago. Her passing reminds us that, when compared to the 40s and 50s, the French cultural scene today is … no, it’s just too depressing.

    So in homage, here’s one of her most famous songs, « Les feuilles mortes », with Jacques Prévert on lyrics. If you don’t know the words, you’ll certainly recognise the tune.

        1. Bruno

          Better translation (into the Queen’s English) of “Les Enfants du Paradis”: The Kids in the Gods.
          Indeed, one of the very greatest films!

      1. DJG

        jr: Indeed. Children of Paradise is one of the great films of all times, made by Marcel Carné during the occupation. There are stories that he hid his Jewish co-workers on the set.

        What is remarkable about Prévert’s screenplay is the sheer poetic strength of it. Arletty and the other characters deliver one astounding line after another.

        And in the end, there is Jean-Louis Barrault (a mime! + I don’t even care all that much for mimes, but Prévert wrote an astounding part for Barrault), shouting desperately:


        What’s left after that?

        1. jr

          The despair…to me the characters are archetypes. They would be at home in a Tarot deck. I own the Criterion DVD with a voice over by some film person that is illuminating.

          For example, did you know that in the street scenes, IIRC most of which were props (in an occupied country!), the people on the balconies waving and cheering are little people? Carné used them to create a deeper perspective, I believe. Also, drama, there were not only Resistance members but stooges of the Nazi’s. Also, Arletty (Garance) got in trouble for dating a Luftwaffe officer!

          1. jr

            Also, Baptiste, Lemaître, and Lacenaire? Based in large measure on real characters from French legal and entertainment history:


            The Count was fictional but loosely based on the Duc D’Mornay.


            A note about the Count: I never noticed until a friend pointed it out that the Count never calls for help when Lacenaire finds him in the bath. Doesn’t struggle. He is murdered and he, with a broken heart, commits suicide.

            SPOILER ABOVE!!!

    1. Big River Bandido

      Thank you David. That is a classic recording. Possibly the best of that tune.

      The English lyric (“Autumn Leaves”) is a poor substitute for the original, but then Prèvert’s poem would never have made the American pop market. He wrote it just after the war, and its outlook is bleak, bleak, bleak. But also so beautiful…the final line (IIRC) compares a failed love to the ocean on the beach, “eras[ing] the tracks of disunited lovers”.

    2. vidimi

      yes, she was a germanopratin icon and a regular fixture at tabou.

      but don’t worry, we have talents like Jul taking the baton…

    3. Carolinian

      the French cultural scene today is … no, it’s just too depressing

      America sez: “you’re welcome!”

      I have spent some time in the place–having bicycled across it in both directions–but judging from movies which are one of my main sources of information the French are much more culturally invaded now than back then when De Gaulle was a not so distant memory. Blame it on their cinema obsession perhaps. Pauline Kael once chided Truffaut for being more influenced by Hitchcock and Hollywood than his other idol who was Jean Renoir. Sounds like the French have made their choice although perhaps not going so far as to start putting up Walmarts.

      1. vidimi

        indeed, the effect of hollywood propaganda is pernicious. this article for example, shows the effect it has had on who the french think defeated the nazis: you can click the different dates on the chart to see that, in may 1945, 57% thought that the USSR contributed the most to defeat the nazis; by 2004, 58% thought it was the USA with only 20% saying the USSR. Other, more sublte ways US propaganda works are just as pernicious, if less visible.

  2. jr

    Re: New York State Dept. of Belabored

    I recently received an email reminding me that I will owe taxes on my UI benefits. I was told to go to the website to download the paperwork but because of a typo in my state site screen name I have been unable to sign into the site for 6 months. Not sure what to do there.

    Got a letter a few weeks back that I owe NYS 100$ for taxes last year. Due yesterday. Called the number to pay and the number was disconnected In the middle of a pandemic, economic meltdown, and alien autopsies I cannot pay my taxes because the number doesn’t work. The number the state uses to collect money doesn’t work.

    1. a different chris

      Meanwhile I started on Yahoo, read about at least 3 billionaires in a story about a mountaintop property, and came here and read two more stories (Deutsche Bank and “32 year old finance tycoon”) covering at least 3 – I may have lost count – more.


      I don’t think the Guilded Age holds a matchstick, let alone a candle to this.

      1. jr

        Thanks for the comments guys, I will look into that Carla. Yeah ADC, I caught the 32 year old bit, we are blowing the Gilded Age’s doors off. Where do they think this will end? Oh that’s right, the plan is no plan.

  3. Ignacio

    SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in development (preproof) (PDF) Nature. Review article of the 180 vaccines in development. From the Abstract: “The data available so far suggests that effective and safe vaccines might become available within months rather than years.”

    This is a very informative, meaty review where every phrase contains additional information. Very comprehensive, devoid of rhetoric resources and very dense plus not demanding a profound scientific background to understand much of it. I think this was necessary and I feel grateful NC linked the article. I hope later today I can provide with the most important conclusions and some discussion, one of the most important already provided by Lambert. If the Covid-19 vaccine issues worry you, this is a must read.

    One of the reasons NC is so useful.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks, I hope to get the time to give it the time it deserves, its important information.

      Its sad and infuriating though that the whole issue of vaccines has been so politicised, and not just in the US.

      Having said all that, the article on Vietnam also linked is very good – it shows that the virus can be defeated without a vaccine with old fashioned methods. I really wish the message had gotten through earlier (especially in Europe) that its not lockdowns that are destroying our economies, its the virus that is doing the damage (thank you Sweden for providing the evidence). The only way to get our economies back is not to mitigate or manage the virus, it is to eliminate it as far as possible. South Korea and Taiwan are also showing this clearly. I despair that here in Ireland we we on the verge of being Covid free, but the government lost its nerve at the crucial time.

    2. Terry Flynn

      I’ve been VERY reluctant to post an anecdote (being trained in medical statistics) but certain news items (often first posted by NC before the MSM – like the fact the first documented UK case was at my local hospital in the East Midlands) have made me break my silence.

      Hospital docs I know told me they were aware of “odd” ICU cases from Xmas onwards…..not enough to ring alarm bells and cause them to have to contact PHE but enough to get them gossiping among themselves as to “what’s this weird virus we’re seeing causing extreme pneumonia but not flu?” Now, I got something that wasn’t flu, but didn’t fit a head-cold in Feb – in fact I almost rang emergency services due to waking with breathing difficulties. I assumed one of the four “known” coronaviruses (since “Covid-19 isn’t here yet”). But now I wonder. I know exactly who gave it to me and their symptoms were identical. But I still can’t and won’t point fingers in the absence of more early definitive cases here. I’m just curious.

      FYI our county had a “secondary blip” in cases but it has gone down again this week more quickly that elsewhere rather than “taking off”….we aren’t a commuter city for anywhere and I believe social mobility is relatively low here compared to places like Birmingham, Manchester etc. Maybe we had a small scale early outbreak at the start that never “broke out” due to our lack of cosmopolitan nature? I’m speculating wildly here, which I’ve been loathe to do, but I do increasingly wonder, given new information that has been coming to light (often via NC first, then the MSM).

      1. Ignacio

        It is not easy to know when the first cases appeared in the UK because you have to go retrospectively with statistics and assumptions or go to study the clinical records and try to sort out early cases of ‘weird’ pneumonia without proper diagnosis of causal agent and make assumptioms. By my own epidemiological calculations I estimated that SARS CoV 2 entered to stay in Spain somewhere between the 15th of January and the 15th of February. Sequence analysis done by epidemiologists suggested it entered about a dozen times (possibly many more if we count cases that didn’t result in further spread). I think that in the UK the timing and the number of entries could both be in the same range. Earlier cases could have been seen in Hospitals but probably they didn’t matter epidemiologically if these didn’t result in sustained spread.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “odd” ICU cases from Xmas onwards…

        I’m too lazy to find the links, but IIRC there were the same oddities in Seattle and Los Angeles.

        And during the original outbreak in China, there was discussion of Covid being “masked” by the normal flu season.

        I don’t know enough to know if flagging oddities would lead to tripwires further in advance of the actual outbreak; perhaps there’s too much noise. But Covid is mercifully not as bad as what could happen, so we have some time to think about it….

  4. anon

    While the G614 variant may not be more deadly, it appears to be significantly more transmissible.

    In 2009 during the Obama-Biden administration, about 61 million Americans were infected with the H1N1 influenza virus over an 8 month period. This year, over a similar time frame, 7 million have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus despite it having a significantly higher Ro. Why should we believe Biden would do better this time?

    1. pasha

      that 61 million figure is an estimate, extrapolated from actual confirmed cases. relatively few flu victims visit a doctor’s office or hospital, and of those few are given an influenza test. by contrast, the 7 million figure is covid19 cases that have been confirmed by lab test.

      a de-politicized cdc and fda are necessary for dealing with this pandemic

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a de-politicized cdc and fda are necessary for dealing with this pandemic

        The issue is that “public health” is necessarily political; some deny the concept altogether, which is political. More generally, there’s no such thing as a “public” that is not political.

        Meanwhile, if the supposedly world-class CDC had not utterly butchered its initial manufacturing of the tests, it would be in a far stronger position than it is now….

    1. John Beech

      Absolutely agree Europe should be able to put itself at the mercy of Russia if this is where its citizens want to go. After all, we were at the mercy of middle Eastern interests until recent developments with fracking and they certainly didn’t have our best interests at heart either, right? Regardless, the industrial reconfiguration from IC engines to electric is underway. Yes, there will be snafus of monumental proportions along the way but we’ll figure it out.

      1. Quentin

        Instead let Europe put itself at the mercy of the US. You’re pulling my leg, right? While we’re waiting for electric to electrify the world with its solutions and advances and Wall Street bonanzas I have to heat my apartment as cheaply as possible because I have very little money. To boot, Mr Biden is planning to continue your fracking fantasy, that is, if it ever becomes financially and environmentally acceptable. No profits, lots of debts, serious damage to the environment…but, you say, it keeps the SUVs rolling.

        1. Cú Chulainn's Third Eye

          The electric SUVs on the very near horizon will be far larger, heavier, and more luxurious than any of the soon-to-be-obsolete ICE SUVs of today. They will also get the equivalent of 300 MPG. And they’ll be self driving

        2. Susan the other

          Interesting little connection in the above Moon of Alabama piece on the NYT’s whitewash of the CIA and Ukrainian fascists undermining and duping the Ukranian Russian separatists and the election in Belarus at the same time, and blaming it on Russia. Whole plot fell apart, as usual. I don’t think the State Department wants to actually communicate with the CIA. Who can blame them? But the interesting tidbit was that the plan was to “ricochet off Rosneft” – i.e. screw up the deal for natgas with the western EU. As usual, a very timely plan to overload the international relations between Germany and Russia, and probably, (imo) they also tossed in Navalny. I’m sorry to see Germany cave to the US on natgas from Russia. Merkel is a lame duck. And the “CIA” is relentlessly vicious.

  5. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Tribal Truce — How Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide and Conquer Covid?

    It’s not hard. When you love someone you don’t call them a “moron”. When you love someone you care about them, not their ideas or their politics.

    Compassion can only be taught by being compassionate. This is as true for people inside, as it is for people outside, your “tribe”. Why do people reject “science”? Because it is not what they need. What they need is compassion.

    I do not think Social Media is accountable for all of the tribalism. I also think people are just generally more afraid, and for many valid reasons. But speaking as someone with a panic disorder I can posit that telling someone they “should not be afraid” when they are afraid does nothing to diminish fear.

    1. John Beech

      Social media vice tribalism? Sure, equally important has been the MSM endangering the American experiment for the benefit of their shareholders (good news doesn’t sell).

      1. mike

        its even worse (far worse) than that with the MSM . They don’t even need to be able to “sell” their news to be beneficial to their shareholders. Do you think Jeff Bezos is looking at WaPo as a profit generator? Propaganda is much more useful for the shareholders other businesses and agendas.

      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        You are right John, good news does not sell. So much for the free market benefiting the people. The market is the opposite of compassionate. It does not do what is best for the other, it only wants what is best for itself.

        It is reasonable for people to be self interested when no one cares about them.

        1. hunkerdown

          The market is a mental illness that serves as an instrument for conservatives and other authoritarians to be the abusers they are divinely called to be.

        2. furies

          “It is reasonable for people to be self interested when no one cares about them.”

          This seems important. Thanks Krystyn for this.

        3. Laughingsong


          Now your lesson is learned
          There’s nowhere to turn
          And it’s no use pleading for help.
          When you’re left on the heap
          There is nothing to keep you
          From going and helping yourself

          UB40 – Don’t Do the Crime

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – Rolling Stone …350 of which we couldn’t be bothered to review when they came out! Please don’t ask us any difficult questions about any music recorded after, say, 1980…

    1. Big River Bandido

      First off, the Rolling Stone page was completely kludgy…couldn’t load properly, kept crashing. Appropriate for the “content” which I involuntarily rolled my eyes at, especially at the names of the “judges”.

      Unlike you though, my feeling is that most of the post-1980 entries on that list simply aren’t worthy. Not that they’re bad. But I cancelled the page load when I saw a glimpse that Amy Winehouse has an album a notch higher than Innervisions. Yeah, sure. What BS.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Unlike you though, my feeling is that most of the post-1980 entries on that list simply aren’t worthy.
        Oh, I don’t disagree. I may have inelegantly made my point by going for snark rather than clarity.

        1. a different chris

          I have no use for lists of those types so not gonna look…

          If I was going to be in charge (and by that I mean lead a group effort in which my opinion was not part of the results) I would have them work first on identifying eras and then have the 5->10 best from that era.

          What sense does it make to rank Buddy Holly against Curt Cobain, for example? But “who else contributed” in each era, or who maybe kicked off a given era who just didn’t become as well known as Holly or Cobain, that would be at least a fun learning experience.

          But then I’m a weirdo who doesn’t think the 80’s pop scene gets the respect it deserves. And I don’t really like 80’s music…

        2. Big River Bandido

          Ah, I took you literally. I thought you were championing newer recordings. There are masterpieces since 1980, just far fewer. And with rare exceptions (Prince, for one), to me they just don’t measure up.

          A lot of this is that pop culture and its values were drastically changed by the video age. People stopped really *listening* to music in the early 80s, around the same time that austerity gutted public schools (read: arts/music education). Instead they gravitated toward video and images…and then even those got degraded. Recordings, I’m sad to say, simply do not have anywhere near the influence and impact that they had 40 years ago. Sgt. Pepper (not my favorite Beatles album, mind you) had a similar impact that Star Wars had a decade later — they were the biggest topics of conversation in their respective summers. So even the cultural caché of films has deteriorated.

          In a way, pandemic and economic depression provide artists an opportunity. A suffering people will need art that inspires.

          An artist can dream, at least…

          1. Wukchumni

            Music was of utmost importance when I was a teenager, and the vastness of it was something else. You had everything from Captain & Tenille to the heaviest metal imaginable and everything in between.

            The 60’s & 70’s were comparable to the Impressionism era in art of a century prior.

            I wonder if youngsters of today feel the same about music?

            1. km

              AFAICT, youngsters don’t feel the same way. What “music” was to my generation and those younger than us has largely been replaced by computer games.

              Also, the music business is very different. Sales of recorded music are but a shadow of their former selves. Sales figures that would have been a flop thirty years ago are enough to put you on the charts today. Major label music and videos tend to be unimaginative, formulaic, in part because it is cheaper to put out formulaic product.

              But there are interesting developments, good things happening. When I was a kid, if you wanted to record music and sell it on any kind of a serious level, you needed a recording contract, you needed a studio, you needed engineers and producers, you needed distribution, you needed a lot of money.

              None of these things were readily available. Even if you were talented.

              Now, none of these things are necessary. Today, any jerkweed with a laptop and readily available software can produce surprisingly professional music, at least in the right hands. Not only that, but thanks to YouTube, Spotify, etc., that same jerkweed can get worldwide distribution and a revenue stream by nightfall.

              The result is that there is an explosion in the amount of recorded music out there. Without the record companies to play gatekeeper, an awful lot of it is crap. But the same could be said about recorded music in The Good Old Days. The record companies sure released a lot of schlock.

              Not only that, but access to music is like nothing it has ever been. With YouTube, you can find out about music that you had heard of, but couldn’t buy and nobody else had. All virtually free, all available at the tips of your fingers, there for the taking.

              Want to listen to Hindu devotionals? Then a little electric period Mississippi Fred McDowell, followed by that recording of Schutz on Cantate that you always liked, topped off by a little John Fahey playing live? Good luck finding stuff like that at the shopping mall record store we bought our tapes and cds at when we were kids. Now, anyone with a smartphone and fingers to type can get all that and more.

              Hell, that was my evening yesterday.

              It was a truism in the music business, that the music you listen to between the ages of 18 and 21 is the music you will listen to for the rest of your life. Boy, did that ever not happen to me. I am pushing 50 and I listen to all kinds of things that I didn’t listen to when I was a kid, things I had never heard of when I was a kid, things I didn’t know existed when I was a kid, things I couldn’t stand when I was a kid.

              And I am loving it, yo.

              1. Noone from Nowheresville

                Plus if you run the numbers properly, build a loyal small fanbase, you can do very cool vinyl again on sites like kickstarter (definitely run the numbers at least 3 times – look for other artists examples / post-project round-up).

                Or setup fan communities with special content / contact like on patreon.

                Huge amount of work but being an artist is like that no matter what.

              2. howseth

                The access to all kinds of music online – and for free – nowadays is phenomenal – I suspect most kids stick to what the herd is listening too. Sometimes I listen to a top hit – with accompanying (often corny) video – with half a billion listens! and think that was kind of annoying – Then, later, I stroll through Trader Joe’s and they are playing a 60’s or 70’s hit – and think – That was annoying. Silly youth. I have become my grandparents.
                But, I wish I still had the immortal ears of youth: tinnitus is a drag.

      2. voteforno6

        Well, Led Zeppelin makes their first appearance at 58. So, continuing on a long tradition for Rolling Stone, I think. I didn’t even go deep enough in the list to see where the Who make their first appearance. Sheesh.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Or how about this example; In terms of film; IMDB has only one historically superb movie listed in the current top 100 (or one million perhaps)
          “12 Angry Men” was the only classic to survive the voters. Now it seems impossible that only one of the hundreds of great movies would have to compete with what today’s audience feels are great movies. I like about 50 of the movies I have seen that were made in the last 20 years and I don’t think any of them were the 12th remake of a Hayley Mills film. Nothing against Haley of course but…. When whollyrot keeps making turkeys that turn the film watching folks off, their future is to make china like them.

    2. Grant

      Lists like that are obviously subjective. But, the Velvet Underground and Nice is way too low, and I think some of the albums ranked above it are not on the same level musically or as far as cultural importance. I would also say that the Modern Lovers’ first record should be higher, as should Suicide’s first record. I would also throw in Edan’s Beauty and the Beat somewhere in there. If the Beatles, circa Sgt. Pepper, made a hip hop record, it would sound like Beauty and the Beat. The Avalanches’s record “Since I Left You” too. Over a thousand samples on the record, amazing from start to finish.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Indeed. So subjective. And people take it very personally- as if you are challenging them directly. I used to argue with a good friend who loves VU, and also a lot of NY stuff from the 70s (Television, etc). I remember in the day that I was supposed to like VU- they were the ultimate cool- but I just can’t stand them. They are on my informal list of stuff I was supposed to like but really can’t stand. Other nominees: Pet Sounds, Jim Jarmusch movies, Elvis, the Stones, Confederacy of Dunces. It’s actually a long list! It would make a good Twitter thread- people could submit their versions of ‘stuff I was supposed to like but actually hate’

  7. TomDority

    In the artical –
    With Deutsche Bank’s help, an oligarch’s buying spree trails ruin across the US heartland –
    to quote
    “In the U.S., the fallout points to one of the least-examined consequences of money laundering: what happens to communities and everyday people when absentee owners motivated to clean ill-gotten cash take control of workplaces and buildings.”
    This Oligarch was stripping assets, putting people out of work and causing deteriorating saftey and building issues – the only thing different he was doing than that of “legitimate oligarchs in this country- doing exactly as he has done was – his money came from illegitamte sources and was thus using Deutch Bank to launder his money.
    According to Delaware defense attorneys – He had done nothing that violated the law!!!
    It does not say how much he made – but I guess it would be positive cash flow – whereas your normal laundering on the streets would involve some negative cash flow.

    1. 1 Kings

      Ask the Senator from/of/by the Corporation of Delaware to look into it. Apparently there is corruption in the 2nd finest state.. Shocked.

    2. notabanker

      I’m sure the Oligarch is worried that Biden will have him extradited like Assange and held accountable for this if he’s elected. And DB is pretty worried that they will lose their US banking license. Because free democracies do those kinda things. /s

    3. Procopius

      I remember that Obama said, when explaining why ‘Place’ Holder didn’t prosecute any banker, “A lot of what they did wasn’t illegal.” That suggests to me there’s something wrong with our laws, aside from the fact that their application is very selective.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “A lot of what they did wasn’t illegal.”

        Bill Black thought it was illegal; accounting control fraud, which was prosecuted in the S&L crisis in the days of Bush the Elder, back when we had the rule of law. This transcript seems to have disappeared from the Intertubes, except for a few blogs, gawd bless ’em. Phil Ebersole’s Blog, “Bill Black on why financial crime isn’t prosecuted” (2014):

        WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yeah, in baseball terms they’re batting 0.000. But they’re not just batting 0.000, they took called strikes. They never got the bat off their shoulder and even swung. They didn’t even try.

        BILL MOYERS: Do you remember when President Obama told “60 Minutes,” I think it was late December of 2011 that, “Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street…wasn’t illegal?”

        BLACK: I do.

        MOYERS: What did you think?

        BLACK: I thought that he was wrong. That in fact if he listened to what the United States of America has demonstrated in court and through investigations, the activity was clearly illegal, it was a violation of a whole series of laws that make it felonies…

        The savings and loan debacle, we made over 30,000 criminal referrals [during the administration of the elder George Bush]. Here, zero criminal referrals as far as we can get any public information. So the first thing Holder should’ve done is re-establish the criminal referral process. Because, you know, banks don’t make criminal referrals against their own CEOs.

        MOYERS: Do you tell yourself, well, there is a justifiable and understandable reason why they don’t prosecute?

        BLACK: No, there is no justifiable reason. Apparently modern financial regulators are vastly more sophisticated than we were as financial regulators 25 years ago. Because we had never figured out that the key to financial stability was leaving felons in charge of the largest financial institutions in the world.

  8. cocomaan

    I just threw a donation to NC and others should too. In a lot of ways, I’ve “grown up” with NC. I think I started reading it around 2009 or 2010, so I must have been 25 years old. Since then, it’s been my daily newspaper.

    On the fence about donating? If you got a subscription to one of the sleazy papers of record, you’d be paying a lot more than, say, a $50/year donation to this crew.

    1. GramSci

      NC is more than my daily newapaper; on too many days it reads like my last reservoir of hope.

      Here’s my pledge to the crew and my thanks to the invaluable commentariat.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s kind of funny, online major newspapers often hit me up with come-on deals for no money (99 Cents for the next 3 months!) and as it turns out, that’s about what they’re worth, information laggards that poach from real sources such as NC.

          Donate today!

      1. jr

        +100. Sent already. NC is an island of reason and sanity in what are literally the worst times in human history, short of the near extinction during the Ice Age.

    2. Carla

      @cocomaan — you and I have been part of the Commentariat for about the same amount of time, although in the game of life, I’ve got a few decades on you. I like “subscribing” to NC with a regular monthly charge to my credit card, then pitching in extra during the fundraisers. SO much more worthwhile than any of my other subscriptions! And I can add “bonuses” whenever circumstances dictate or permit ;-)

      BTW, it’s been over a year since Yves honored us with a Cleveland meet-up, drawing NC-ers from Detroit, Windsor, Ont., Columbus, and rural areas of Ohio. Interesting to think about how much has changed since then, and depressingly, how much has not.

      1. cocomaan

        Carla, I think you mean a few decades of WISDOM!

        I too got to meet Yves at a Philly meetup, as well as a lot of other great folks. Afterward my mind was spinning like a top, having had a two hour meetup with some of the smartest people you’ve ever met. I think that was 2018. It seems like a lifetime ago.

  9. Terry Flynn

    The math article is fascinating, thanks. I got interested in whether it has “instrinsic” fundamentals to sentient beings in my final year at school when we had to investigate it as applied to a real life problem. I chose music (my main hobby). Ratios like 1.5 (the perfect fifth – doh-so in Sound of Music parlance) or 1.333 (doh-fa – the 4th) are naturally “liked” by us. However, maybe this is “cultural” western norms (since 5 tone – the black notes on the piano – styles have been popular elsewhere). But even these ideally have mathematical ratios underlying the notes.

    Top tip on how to inflict a “cruel and unusual punishment” on a person with perfect pitch – get them to sing in a choir and have them all use the sheet music but transpose the piece down a tone. I sang in the Bach Choir in London in which Sir David Willcox (RIP) did this and about 20% of the choir loathed him for that. It’s not just that they “know” in their bones that A above middle C is 440Hz. It’s that the whole 12-note sequence of notes of the scale is not, in fact, tuned to equal temperament (1/12 powers to enable pianos etc to transpose without pieces sounding “weird”) and even when it is close to it (in the middle of the keyboard range) – doh-so in C major is closer to 1.5 than it is in another key (because powers of 1/12 ain’t equal to 1.3333 or 1.5 etc). Trained musicians can automatically spot what’s done but even the lay person will spot something remiss saying things like “sounds happier/sadder”. So you can make a “bright sounding” tune like the Star Wars main theme sound “brighter” or “sadder” merely by transposing it, since all instruments with fixed set of notes based on tuning to A have no “wiggle room” – unlike, for instance, us violinists (no frets on our fingerboard unlike a guitar) who can AND DO alter what “A” we play depending on whether we have to play alongside instruments who can change their “A” or not, and what key we are playing in.

    I’m still unsure if ratios like 1.5, 1.33333333 are “natural” to humans or cultural constructs. However, I tend to the former. Maybe someone cleverer on NC can say more.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I doubt it’s a universal constant, but depending on what is in stone or exposed metal and our proximity can make us hallucinate, see ghosts and such.

      Given natural selection and our super duper eyes, I would guess our sense of sound and what sounds nice is around finding safe sites where we can pick up disruptions more easily. It’s just still there just not refined. Training can likely alter our perception as noting differences can appeal to our intellect. It’s like why cats sit where they sit.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yeah I can get that. Plus incidentally I was quoting some powers of 1/12 from memory and I think I got 3rd and 4ths mixed up. So for musicophiles, sorry if my math is wrong but the general point regarding the “nice ratios” is well known and you can easily in excel see the differences between “true temperament” and “equal(ish) temperament” – there are also lots of youtube vids these days explaining it in very user friendly ways that are fascinating.

        Bernstein started it with his NY public lectures/performances. Great youtube rabbit hole to disappear down to escape current horrible world.

      2. jr

        But remember the article that talked about the drive to beauty in nature, how animals and birds can appreciate it and seek it out. There may be an evolutionary advantage and also an innate desire to experience “safe” (beautiful) sounds for their own sake.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Wow. this got deeper than I anticipated fast – not that I’m complaining, such thoughts are fascinating, thanks. I do think there are certain “mathematical regularities” in nature we seek out…..I just don’t know to what extent (whether in music or other fields) they manifest themselves.

          1. barefoot charley

            They do exist! Take a taut string. Strum it. Now anchor that string at the middle. Strum one of the halves. It’s a fifth of the base strum! Split that half in half, and strum. Now I’m forgetting, I think it’s a fourth. This was how the Greeks established their octaves. Even more compelling: a dozen people in a circle striving simply to sing exactly the same note will, as they persist, hear a fifth of that note emerge from their sounds. Just does. Then a third emerges. This really happens! Deep harmonics are cosmic, dude, and we lost awareness of much of this from Bach’s too-well tempered clavier, which flattened true harmonics by so cleverly slurring sharps and flats together.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Indeed. I have heard of attempts to construct keyboard instruments that have the “correct” full set of harmonics – so G sharp is a separate note from A flat.

              Of course we would need an alien with a lot more than 10 fingers to play such an instrument! :-)

              1. barefoot charley

                Before Bach, clavichords were those instruments: they had split black keys separating sharps and flats, because one played the natural notes, as a violinist would. Bach ‘tempered’ the two, I’m sure they were a bear to play!

            2. HotFlash

              charley, halving the sounding length of a string produces a sound one octave higher than the original note.

              1. barefoot charley

                Oh no, I’m back to nihilism! Sorry I’m flubbing the particulars, such easy experiments will provoke a “Eureka,” try and see.

          2. jr

            The article, which I failed to bookmark, noted that some species of birds evolutionary drive for novel and interesting mating calls have actually led to increased survival issues due to body size and wing surface area. IIRC one species gave up wing size for increased body size to make better calls.

      3. Whistling in the Dark

        Here’s some armchair thinking on the question of the subjective experience of those ratios of frequencies—which we experience as pleasant “harmonies’: Start with the octaves. Ask yourself why our perceptions should include a concept of “equivalence” between frequencies which are double or half in rate: One hypothesis, of course, is that it is entirely arbitrary and constructed. I seriously doubt that, but I don’t feel like coming up with a dispositive argument right now. Instead, consider why it is not surprising that such an experience of equivalence should arise: namely, because those frequencies (double, even triple, etc.), as I understand it, will naturally co-occur in an resonant chamber: If the chamber can resonate at a given frequency, then it can also resonate at double and triple the frequency, or 4 times or 5 times, etc. So, you will get those frequencies co-occurring… so, there seems to be some sense in having brains which either were evolved to or learn to perceive frequencies at these ratios as similar or equivalent in a partial sense. Now, what about the other ratios, such as 4/3, etc? Why do those sound pleasant? I would extend the hypothesis: Look, if frequency Y is a 4/3 ratio of frequency X, well, if you consider frequency Z that is 12 times that of X, you find that Z co-occurs in echo chambers with a dominant tone (*not sure if I’m using that word correctly) of both X and Z. So, by a transitive perceptual equivalence (X co-occurs with Z and Y co-occurs with Z, so, less frequently but still sometimes, X co-occurs with Y just “naturally”), we find similarity (harmony) between X and Y.

        That’s all I got! I’ve never seen this argument anywhere, but it seems like the obvious one to me.

        Bonus: Read author Reuben Hersh to find out “What Mathematics Is, Really” (to paraphrase), and skip the what the Echo Chamber has to say about Platonism vs. Formalism, etc.

    2. a different chris

      There’s a fun piece – I don’t know if you would be into it, as it’s about pop – about The Girl From Ipanema on youtube somewhere.

      It’s about a lot of stuff, but the key transpositions done by everybody (including the original composer/performers themselves) for whatever reason they did it are fascinating to listen to back-to-back.

      Not really sure it’s the same song at times…

      1. Terry Flynn

        Correct in that it might not be my thing but I’ll look it up when I get a chance!

        Not really sure it’s the same song at times…

        I can WELL believe that.It is amazing what transposition can do…..and if you examine the math of the chords it really does begin to make some kind of sense as to why a piece can sound radically different.

        Thanks for the example. I have one from a Beethoven Symphony but won’t bore people unless they’re really interested!

      2. Michaelmas

        ‘…the key transpositions done by everybody (including the original composer/performers themselves) for whatever reason they did it are fascinating to listen to back-to-back. Not really sure it’s the same song at times.’

        I don’t think the transpositions would make much difference if you weren’t listening them back to back. However, I may have seen the video you refer to. I certainly saw one that sounds similar, which pointed out that signature elements of Jobim’s original arrangement for ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ didn’t make it to the American cover versions.

        To the extent that arguably those versions were not the same song.

        Principally, in the original an orchestrated counter-melody answers the vocal melody with this little blues line that’s pretty integral to the song. (The Brazilian bossa nova songwriters — and Jobim, certainly — had a way of using blue-scale notes which was very catchy and a little different from what Americans might do; Jobim’s songs ‘Wave’ or ‘Agua de Beber’ are representative of this.)

        Also, the chord progression on the bridge (the B section) of ‘Girl from Ipanema’ is just wild compared to most American pop and jazz of the time. I worked as a professional keyboard player for decades, know more about jazz harmony than most, and can rationalize why the progression works. But some American cover versions in the 1960s regularize it to something more in line with the kinds of stock changes that American musicians and arrangers were familiar with; similarly, I’ve even heard one or two that even swing it. (Boo!)

    3. zagonostra

      Look into 432Hz as opposed to 440Hz. The former is related to Fibonacci’s number and the underlying frequency of nature. Why it was changed in the middle of the 20th century to standard A being 440 is a debate you’ll find on Y-Tube that will send you down a rabbit hole…I tune my guitar to 432 when I’m alone and 440 when playing with a group.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Can I ask a point of clarification? “Period” music from Bach’s time in CDs etc is close to a semitone lower. So is that different from the adjustment you mention (which sounds less than the amount in period music recordings)? I’m always curious about the remarkably lower pitch of pieces “supposedly played how Bach et al would have heard them”.

        1. zagonostra

          That sounds right, about half a pitch. What is fascinating is the mathematical mystery of the relationship between the spiral of a sea shell and the fibonacci 432hz based ratios.

          If you have a guitar or other stringed instrument try tuning it down a half step and see if you can feel the difference. I say feel instead of hear because I think the analog world takes in all the vibrations unlike the digital.

          1. Whistling in the Dark


            (Anyway: I urge to extend your usually excellent critical thinking to the rhetorical moves people make vis-a-vis mathematics!)

            Here is a fun experiment: If the Golden Ratio is all that it’s cracked up to be, and music is all about ratios, then shouldn’t tones that are in the Golden Ratio to each other sound like the best thing ever? I’ll let you try it on your own. Here is a useful tool.

          2. ShamanicFallout

            I know that Hendrix tuned down half a step for a lot of his stuff (down to E flat). But I’ve also seen and heard stuff from him tuned down 3 steps! Jimmy Page too. They were no slouches! I never tune down and usually just transpose to match the original keys. I’m going to do it this weekend though

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              aye. I’d tune down as much as a whole tone(instead of E, down to D)…mainly to accomodate whomever was singing, but also to loosen the strings and get that much more play in the bends.
              the Bass Players hated this….something about the big ass strings not liking to stay put at the lower tension.
              the handful of keyboard guys i’d jam with over the years were all formal music students, so could transpose on the fly, and saw it as a challenge.

              and to add…sad I slept right through this fascinating thread,lol.
              I rarely have occasion to remember my musician days….and all the similar drunken collective rambles we’d have like this.

              1. ShamanicFallout

                I was watching, listening to Hendrix play on a 12 string acoustic and he was really bending the strings in Jimi fashion and I thought ‘wow, he’s got some strong hands and fingers. I played along with it and he had the guitar tuned to C! Awesome

        2. HotFlash

          Modern-day ‘baroque pitch’ at A=432 is a convenience to allow modern instruments to transpose to pretend to play in a baroque style. Actual pitch in the baroque age was based on the pitch of a a town’s organ (which had a tuning fork in the organ cabinet that the tuner used), just as its time was based on whatever the clock in the town hall was set to. BTW, the organ at the Chapel royal where Henry Purcel was court musician to Queen Ann, the tuning fork gives A= 462.

          Professional flutists, oboists, and players of other pitched instruments would travel with a set of cors de rechanges, a segment that fitted into their instrument to match it to the local standard pitch. Violin family players, of course, could retune; gamba players and the like would re-tie their frets.

          Once the reference pitch was determined, the player would set a temperament, that is, determine where to divide the octave into intervals. Most European music uses a 12-tone per octave scale. For music written with many fifths, as Reanissance and early Baroque, you would probably opt for pure fifths in the key you are playing in. Later baroque and romantic use more thirds so you would probably use a temperament that produced pure thirds in the keys used. Other factors would include the featured instrument. We were once given a temperament to tune for for Il Giardino Armonico (something like do-3, re+2, mi+2 — turned out to be the temperament of the recorder played by Giovanni, the group’s leader. There were, and still are, hundreds of temperaments.

          For those who want to delve into the maths, here is a good place to start.

      2. lordkoos

        Ry Cooder has a rap where he talks about how guitars all sound better when they are tuned a little lower, as the commonly used scale lengths in guitar building (the distance between nut and bridge) of guitars were designed back when the standard was 432. I would prefer to tune my instruments to the lower frequency, but then if you want to play with other musicians it’s pretty difficult.

    4. Mel

      I’ve been going with the working assumption that simple whole-note ratios (2:1, 3:2, 5:4, etc.) make for regularities in the nerve signals sent from the cochlea, and our brains prefer these, when they can get them. I’m not sure I’m right.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Wish I could remember some truly sublime 5/4 time pieces – but I remember the *feeling* of playing them. Plus things like 3 against 4 (or vv) in pieces like Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Since 3 and 4 go into 12 it “goes regular again” after 3 bars of 4/4.

            1. Terry Flynn

              I got Associated Board Grade 8 (UK top level below a teaching qualification) with Distinction (despite still being awful at sightreading) and one thing that really gave me that warm fuzzy feeling was playing a piece that had three against four – IIRC twas Gershwin.

              To quote Kat in rebooted BSG “better than s*x”. Those mathematical tricks really tickled me. I need to get a life.

          1. Mel

            Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony No. 6 has a movement in 10/4 and 5/4. I think he did it best. Borodin does some pleasant 5/4 in the 3rd Symphony, 2nd movement.
            Paul Desmond wrote another tune, Take 10, which is kind of like Take 5 done upside down. Very nice.
            I’ve written a deceptively smooth post-slip-jig in 15/8, but I’ll have to learn to play it before anybody can hear it.

          2. Mel

            It turns out that if you apply yourself and don’t wimp out, you can play the Hollies’ Bus Stop in 7/8. Maybe not sublime, maybe.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Put it this way – I don’t KNOW if you’re right but I’d be surprised if you were totally wrong. Even Eastern cultural musical styles have certain mathematical ratios (albeit some different ones than western).

    5. shtove

      (since 5 tone – the black notes on the piano – styles have been popular elsewhere)

      Isn’t that just a shift in tone? Plenty of amusing youtube videos that turn happy-clappy tunes to death metal dirges through change of key. Maybe a better angle is to consider why the tritone is disliked, how it presents as a wrong ‘un. It tends to produce the same facial expression as a bitter taste, or sour, so perhaps it’s part of a feedback system necessary for our adaptation to circumstances – you need this, but a little and no more. I think that would be beyond normative.

      1. Whistling in the Dark

        If one rabbit goes down the hole, and then another, and have twin babies, and then the babies and one parent go down into a deeper hole, to leave 3 more offspring, which go down a new hole with the second generation to produce a 4th… I think Fibonacci originally stated it something like that…

  10. John Beech

    Terry, as an engineer who groks math, a lot of what you wrote went past me but I want to compliment you on not hiding behind a ‘handle’. The basic dishonesty of this practice, especially on this very website where even originators hide their identity, is distressing.

    1. epynonymous

      I used to go by John but theres so many of us I ultimately decided it was a bit much.

      Handles arent meant to hide anything. Its just a quirk of the net. would a rose by any other handle not smell as sweet?

      I hear music from persia to china is written differently. probably the same holds true in other non western music.

    2. a different chris

      But how do we know “Terry Flynn” or “John Beech” are real names? :D

      Most of us likely don’t own our own company. Or we do, and our clients are maybe not so open-minded.
      Some of us (cough, a different chris, cough) have rather unusual last names and if I posted here under it I bet my posts would come up on page 1 of a Google Search of my name. I have not retired yet, and am far enough away from retirement that I might find myself looking for another job.

      Also, um, weren’t the Founding Fathers actually enamored of this practice? You got something against the Founding Fathers? ;>

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Publius”=Jay, Hamilton and Madison
        there are others.
        I use a nom de guerre because i live in a sparsely populated county, and i would would have less liberty to comment if those comments could easily be tied to the real me.
        same reason you don’t use your real name on grindr.
        persecution is a real thing, and happens right here in the “land of the free”…generally from the Right…but more often of late, from the Center(that calls themselves “left”).
        when i used to be on faceborg, not a week went by that some superpatriot found out where i live and threatened to 1. come kill me in person or 2. call my local sheriff’s office and report me for treason/thoughtcrime.
        i have no illusions, of course…the nsa/fbi/et alia all know who and where i am, if they ever take an interest.
        and i’m sure that it’s not too difficult for people to learn, if they have the requisite skills.
        being a Lay Anthropologist embedded with a Hostile Tribe carries enough risk all by itself…folks don’t like being studied, it turns out,lol.
        You’d think that folks on the Right might be aware of the current erosion of privacy in this country, and be bothered about it….not whining about the lack of a universal internet ID, so we can all have total transparency.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Our society has punished many that casually speak out. It has destroyed many people that spoke out. We live in a world where everything is captured and will certainly be used against you, true or not, real or not, political or not. The nom de plume rules.
          So since I dig disonnance and odd tunings, sometimes considering working in 432. But like Terry says, sometimes the instrument sets the form for you. Sometimes you work in relative pitch in between the “classic” tuning. Purists puke a little in their mouth when one is not properly 440, but sometimes you have to tune to an old Hammond organ. It won’t tune (except powering up or down) , but you can sure find a harmonic and get the groove.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the best guitar solo i’ve ever played(now lost, sadly), my les paul was just a hair flat…and i bent the strings to the max to attempt to fix it on the fly,lol.
            audience couldn’t tell, but it was obvious on the tape(cheap boombox on a back table)
            i muddle through and make do, a lot…out of necessity.
            purists (and Puritans) make my nose run.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              here i say mean things about purists…and then go read the interfluidity thing,lol.

              ….and realise that I Am something of a purist when it comes to some things:
              almost 30 years ago, when i lived in austin, casting around for a better paying job than “Cook”, i answered an ad for a sales job.
              turned out, the interview consisted of hopping in a van with Head Sales Guy and 5-6 other would be salespeople, and targeting a street…say Burnet Rd, between 35th and 183…and going into random businesses to pester people into buying what I…and everyone else…knew was utter crap.
              I couldn’t do it…too honest. Head Sales Guy lambasted me as a p8%%sy and “think of all the money!!”…but it was garbage we were supposed to sell as pure golden answer to yer prayers.
              my car was far away…and i was still unaccustomed to the public transportation then on offer…so i was a captive,lol.
              so instead of continuing to go into all these places to peddle crap, i stopped in and got a six pack and just kind of wandered around, eventually making my way back to the van at the appointed time. Head Sales Douche was furious, of course…but by this point i just wanted to get back to my car.
              similarly…frelling Olive Garden,lol.
              watch the commercials…with hand made sauces, lovingly ladeled on lobster by happy chefs.
              nothing could be further from the reality!
              it’s TV Dinners!. at the time, the people in the actual restaurant didn’t even cut up the tomatoes…it was all done in a factory, somewhere.
              and they’d have these morning cheerleading sessions, where the suits would attempt to get everybody enthused about selling garbage as home cooked goodness….for rock bottom wages, complete with corpspeak deductions and fees.
              I didn’t last a week.
              so my brilliant career has been almost exclusively mom and pop restaurants and cafes and truck stops…a hired gun gourmet chef and ninja in the kitchen…until the moment they wanted me to sell garbage as gold.
              then i’d fire them and move on.
              of course, i’m poor…with no pension, no health insurance, and a credit score of 25(something I’m rather proud of, in fact)…but that is, apparently, the price of integrity…even the kind of integrity that nobody knows about, cares about, or is even aware is possible…and that is thoroughly devalued in this civilisation, where you’re supposed to eat the belly out of anyone who gets in your way.
              Remarkably, i’ve even been asked to run for office on several occasions(!!)…but when i said i wouldn’t wear a tie, or cut my hair, or lie through my teeth…well…nevermind.
              and we wonder why it’s all frelled.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                I answered that same ad about 30 years ago myself and spent a day in the back of a van half stupefied and half horrified watching a bunch of shysters hawk cheap stereo speakers at passers by. I did enjoy playing foosball in the warehouse before the grifting started – that was the sole bright spot in my shortest tenured jawb ever.

                1. tegnost

                  boxes of ball point pens that “never run out of ink” hmmmm to doctors offices, they plopped down the east coast phone books at 5 am, central 6 am mountain 7 am pacific 8 am then follow ups til 11. I might have made it 2 days, but I did kirby for like 3 months in ’79… musical interlude…
                  “Hail Hail the gangs all here,
                  do we sell the kirby
                  yes we sell the kirby…”

          2. howseth

            I was a banjo player. I got an electric guitar 6 years ago – and brought the guitar immediately to a guitar tech – told him remove the first string – cut the nut and spread the strings: he had to adjust the pick ups too – as it turned out.
            So – my guitar music comes out of this modification – and is always played in banjo tunings.
            It works in solo – I’m not playing with others – though that works too with some extra effort. Independent? Not really.
            I was thinking yesterday – I am wholly dependent on the tradition of music I’ve heard – the guitar construction – I did not design – the scales my intuition conjures from others – the sound that sounds good – based on others music. and the sound of 440 – tempered scales.

      2. Terry Flynn

        Yeah I reverted to my own name, in order to prevent having both it and a pseudonym attached to the same email from repeatedly raising red flags. I’ve decided to use my own name since I’ve simply got rid of all email addresses associated with my “former career”. I can still be found, but it takes an additional 15-30 seconds, which in practice often is “too much hassle”.

        I’m kinda tired of playing hide and seek and it’s not as if I’ve hid mental health issues and the issues associated with the neoliberal world. They’re not “currently out there online” but I’ve not covered them up in the past so I’m past caring. I know now how and when to engage and not engage online. If my previous honesty over how my previous career causes *ahem* problems then so be it. *shrug*.

      3. chris

        Yes, fellow Chris, I find myself in the same situation. I can’t be quiet about what I see and think and still learn what I want to know, or live with integrity. But I also need to work with varying people from different political persuasions and can’t be too vocal about what I believe.

      4. Anonymous

        have rather unusual last names and if I posted here under it I bet my posts would come up on page 1 of a Google Search of my name.

        Yep, it’d be even funnier if John Beech was named John Smith (or what’s the most common male name?) and complained about others using aliases.

        My name is so unique that just the first four letters of it have ALWAYS sufficed to uniquely identify me in a database. Scares me at times but it has its advantages too.

      5. Oh

        If you don’t use a handle (and keep it different in all comments between different blogs) you have less of a chance of being ‘found out’ in a google search. Why let ‘do more evil’ know more about you than you can help?

    3. Terry Flynn

      Thanks. I switched to a pseudonym for a while (merely because I was fed up of people from my old career using any means they could to find/cross reference me and ask for stuff for free) but it broke NC rules (which was entirely my fault for not keeping up with them).

      Now I largely watch from the sidelines and just comment occasionally on things that are “less political” …. particularly since my life has “calmed down” a lot and I hope health improvements mean I’m seen as being (more) constructive and level-headed.

      1. bassmule

        I’m just a dumbass rock’n’roll bass player. My real name is less interesting than a canned good (35 million hits on google).

    4. Mark Gisleson

      Using your own name just means you’re FREE to use your own name, whether it’s because you have a generic name, feel safe in your community, or have a thick skin. Not everyone has that option.

      In my case, I’m a six-foot former farm kid who’s worked in factories. Writing under my own nearly unique name I have had rightwing extremists case my home (an apt bldg at the time), publish my address, attack the server farm hosting my blog, and — this one really hurts — call me names. But again, I’m not a small person and in person I do not look like an easy target.

      Standard disclaimer: I have a nephew with my same name. He lives in Iowa. Trolls should not direct any of the usual crap at him for sharing my name. It wasn’t his choice.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Back when I was commenting on Slate’s Moneybox board, Someone who identified themselves as working for our state’s republican party called my house and talked to my wife. They asked if I was the person writing ‘letters‘, they said they thought I was good, and wondered if I would be interested in writing for them?

        Maybe I’m paranoid, but I felt it was a ‘shot across my bow’ so to speak, as in “we know who you are”.

        This was during the lead-up to 2008 when there was lively, pointed, and prescient discussion on ‘Money Box‘ about what was obvious was about to happen, and why.

        That version of ‘Slate’ was flushed down the memory hole, and the action moved to ‘Firedoglake’, which met a similar fate, which is why I now comment here.

        1. chris

          Remember Bob, it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you!

          What I don’t understand are the people who could use their notoriety to speak out and have public opinions but choose not to say anything. What’s the point then? Are they that happy to live in the gilded cage?

      1. Wukchumni

        Meanwhile, Top Gun: Maverick starring the F-35 (and Tom Cruise) which has been in the can for a number of years, won’t be released until July 2021.

        1. The Historian

          Actually, if you want to watch it, it is streaming for free on Prime right now. I just checked.

          Argh! I thought you were talking about the original movie. I see there is a new movie coming out – and you are right – 2021!

          1. The Rev Kev

            But have you heard? Tom Cruise is going into space! No, not with the US Space Force. He will go up with a producer to do some filming in the International Space Station for a movie that is in planning and is going up with one of Elon Musk’s tin cans. If I was Musk, I would be sweating bullets until Cruise got back down on the ground safely. If anything happened to Cruise, Musk could never put enough good spin on it and it might finish him.

    5. The Historian

      Apparently you’ve never been stalked. I have. and it was not only me, but everyone in this country with my rare last name was fair game for that nut. He even started harassing our bosses. So sorry, but no thanks. Once was enough for me and my family. I’ll continue to use a ‘handle’.

    6. anon y'mouse

      until you have been stalked by a psychopath in real life, you should keep your opinion about what other people do with their online personas to yourself.

      i don’t want to have to move, again.

    7. Sailor Bud

      That you think everyone is “hiding” when they choose an internet nick says so much more about you than it does about some undoubtedly enormous number of people who didn’t even consider their ID for any reason other than fun, or [whatever other reason].

      My name is just a combo of a favorite musician and personal musical model, Bud Powell, and a thing I’ve known how to do since I was a wee brat, sailing. Honestly never thought of hiding or anything like that. And wtf, privacy for its own sake is “hiding” anyway? What do you care what anyone’s real name is?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I chose the essential moment when Man asked Machine “Can I be?” and Machine answered “No”.

        Coming soon to a future near you.

    8. rl

      Now, now. :p

      According to the fine people at themeaningofthename dot com, I share my given name with ~2,000 persons worldwide. I can very nearly guarantee that none of those others live in the United States. And if I, no technical sophisticate, am quite capable of recovering past and current employers, personal phone numbers, physical addresses, the names of immediate and proximate relations, and more with just a full name and a broad sense of probable location (and a bit of pluck)—you can bet I’ve come to regard discretion as a contextual virtue: other people do depend on my wages and wellbeing, not least among other considerations.

      Regulars here, silent readers included, do recognize one another by handles—equally whether those are proper names or pseudonyms. Basically dishonest would surely rather be changing up the handle, whether flippantly or to escape accountability. (I believe that used to be called sockpuppeting?)

    9. Yik Wong

      That’s very ethnocentric of you. This comment cements why after reading several of your earlier comments your name morphs into “John Birch” when I glance at it, and until I see a different persona so it will remain.

      Asian names, particularly in North Asia, are considered labels, and not the content. It’s common to use many labels, particularly for the intellectual elite, as a way of announcing the background of what is to follow should be considered. Would that Western Pundits be so kind as to label their output according to their expertise and level of commitment. Certainly the practice of North Asian society of assigning names / labels by common recognition is also done in the west, aka Donald Trump Sr. has a whole list of synonyms.

      Once a label is on something It becomes an it
      Like it’s no longer alive
      It’s like a loss of vision
      Or some dark impression
      Or a black spot on your eye…

      ….Kurt Wagner

    10. lordkoos

      Before you pass judgement on using an alias — if you’ve ever been stalked online, as I once was, with the harassment spilling over from the virtual to the real world, you will be very careful about revealing personal details anywhere on the web. I use aliases pretty much everywhere as a result of my experience.

    11. ChiGal in Carolina

      Sorry, wha…?

      I always assumed your handle was a reference to the John Birch Society, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

      I use a handle because Yves and Lambert do, though come to think of it, Jeri-Lynn doesn’t. And of course we all know Yves’ real name anyway.

      My last name is very uncommon and although I don’t do social media (except this) nor am I afraid of being stalked or investigated, it is nice to speak freely on all subjects in an unconstrained space.

      In a way, it seems people here are MORE honest, the exchange is more purely one of ideas, which I appreciate. It is, in addition to the moderators, one reason the discourse is so civil.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’ve mentally translated it into Birch, too.
        turns out, he’s a new algorithmic A/I treatment for low blood pressure, now in Phase 2.
        the placebo version is currently installed at American Thinker(sic)

        signs and wonders, baby.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I have to confess that when I saw that name I too wondered if it was a riff on the John Birch Society. Then again, the mind sees what it wants to see.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          And hears what it expects to hear, too.

          When I was four or five or so, I was already so into books — could read a little, and listened more — I wrote and drew one of my own rather grandly titled The Story of Jesus. (Have you heard the story, too?)

          Anyway, there was one scene where an angel flew down to Earth to tell Mary she would be the mother of Jesus. And Mary said in reply . . .
          “Behold the landlady of the Lord.”

          (What did I know from “handmaiden”?)

    12. HotFlash

      I use a handle because I do have a business. I deal with many churches and religious organizations and prefer to keep my personal and business personae separate.

      1. Tom Bradford

        I use a handle because it points at one of several email addresses I use when I can’t control where they end up, as I’ve had to cancel several email accounts when they became swamped in unstoppable spam.

        My ‘real’ email address is exclusively for friends I trust and has now gone 12 years unspammed.

    13. homeroid

      This is all kinds of funny stuff. I have used the same handle for many years. If you cant sus it out or depict myself from my comments as few as they are. Should you find yourself in my neck of the woods just ask anyone where to find the old hippy. ;).

  11. Mikerw0

    A few months back you posted a links to articles titled “People and Jobs or Wealth The Government Has to Decide Which to Prioritize. and There is Only One Right Answer” and “What are the Three Concurrent Crises of the Corona Virus Depression?”. Lastly, several years ago the article “How Complex Systems Fail”.

    It strikes me that not enough attention and forethought is being paid to where we really are, other than a storm of noise, and the real risks to the economy as it is over finnancialized (a recurring NC theme) and highly interwoven.

    First, the Keynes depression. I was always struck from the various bios of Keynes, most notably by Skidelsky, that his central insight is what to do when an economy settles into equilibrium well below the natural rate of full employment. I hear insiders on Wall Street are already quietly discussing among themselves that that is where we are. This means the prospects for improving the unemployment situation will take years at best, despite our elites faring very well.

    Second, and the reason for my comment, is the coming Minsky moment due to the financial leverage and intertwined financial system. Of late I have been giving thought to various asset classes and what real asset values are relative the debt associated with them. The big one is obviously real estate. But, let’s take a smaller one as a microcosm.

    Airplane securitization. Barring large-scale, continuous government bailouts this industry is in need of both radical restructuring and more importantly re-sizing. As Hubert Horan has some aptly written on NC, the situation is not sustainable. By my estimate, their is over $55 billion of various airplane securitizations in the form of ABS and EETCs. Who owns these highly illiquid pieces of paper? None other than pensions and insurance companies.

    Their logic to buy them made sense pre pandemic. What could go wrong? They have collateral with well established, accepted and stable values. They offer an attractive yield and potentially more importantly longer duration, which I look for asset liability matching. EETCs cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, etc., etc.

    In the last round of airline restructurings in the US (Chapter 11), it was equity that really took the hit. This time is different. We face not only the prospects of wholesale bankruptcies and airlines going into administration, but the need to do this against a backdrop of massive industry over capacity. Hence, for the first time their is the real probability that airlines will just turn the planes over to the bondholders. (I have had professional reasons to examine the planes inside most of them and can confidently say they are highly risky.)

    There is little short term prospect of improvement in airline cash flows to service all their debt. Once the dominos start falling they will be hard to stop.

    I could argue the same story is true in real estate. What are large office towers in central cities worth today relative their debt burden when tenants are questioning when, and if, they want the lease anymore. While anecdotal, Every company I know in NYC that can get out of, or renegotiate their lease is either in the process of doing so, or planning to do so.

    Yet, given the experience of 2008-09, and Central Bank actions in the Spring, every credit fund I know is buying these credits. They assume this will be short lived, or we will be able and willing to continue to bail out credit.

    At some point down the road we will look back and say that they real financial crisis wasn’t February/March when the stock market was falling, but the week of capitulation in credit markets.

    If there is a way to avoid this that will actually happen I would like to know what it is? (Yes we need a debt Jubilee a la Michael Hudson, but ain’t no way that’s happening.)

  12. Knifecatcher

    I’m the father of a 13 year old boy with autism and my wife grew up in SLC, very close to where this shooting happened. I can’t stop sobbing. Family blog this country. Gonna wake the kid up and give him a huge hug, whether he likes it or not.

    1. Olga

      Sooo sorry … for all, mainly for the insanity that the USA has become (or has been for a very long time?).
      Many hugs to your son (and you).
      For years, I’ve had to manage a parental unit with a mental illness. During one particularly extreme psychotic ‘episode,’ the advice of the geriatric psychiatrist was ‘call the police.’ Really! Would not touch that with a long (or short) pole. And that was a while back… nothing has changed or improved.
      But maybe this is an opportunity… there are counties that have emergency outreach teams (mainly for mental illnesses, but autism could be added as a separate category). Could one lobby for such teams to be created more widely?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “How did Vietnam bring the spread of coronavirus to a halt — again?”

    It’s all there. They went in early and they went in hard – just like New Zealand. And when both countries faced a new outbreak, both dropped the hammer pretty quick. So you have an Asian country and and anglo-saxon country both dealing with this pandemic. In other words, there are more differences between both countries than similarities. And that applies to the people, religion, political system, geography, leadership, etc. So what did they have in common? Both governments leveled with their people and this achieved trust between them and more importantly, both countries took this virus seriously.

    1. Clive

      There is no correlation between lockdown severity and COVID-19 morbidity. Belgium and Peru, for example, had just about the strictest lockdowns but not better than average for the UK, Spain, France or Italy excess mortality (FT chart, about a page down from the top).

      To make any accurate statement, you need to adjust for starting conditions, population density, international transit numbers — and many other factors besides.

      A comprehensive infographic is here:

      Certainly here in the UK, the time now is well past to handwave away COVID-19 public health policy responses with a catch-all “emergency measures” get-out-of-accountability-free answer. If we’re to live with this virus for another 6 months (or more), it’ll need a lot better than hazy approximations and guesswork to convince populations to going along with it. Even France (to give a for-instance that filters out any temptation to blame mere British bolshiness or U.K./ US Derangement Syndrome in most media reporting) is seemingly saying thus far and no further in public tolerance for Yet More Lockdowns

      And nowhere is seriously pursuing Zero COVID. New Zealand is acquiescing to the inevitability of continued community transmission (although it hasn’t quite had the courage to ‘fess up to that yet, but given cases continue in the community, and there’s not only no Level 4 lockdown to quell this, there’s even a general reduction in restrictions, that’s the public health policy reality, if not the official line).

      1. Jeotsu

        I disagree. We are working hard to eliminate the current community transmissions.

        What we’ve seen in the last week or so is a second small community cluster emerge from a case which — as best as we can tell right now — was a rare person who did not develop symptoms for about 21 days (and had been released from their 14 day quarantine). They are moving fast to contact trace, test, and isolate everyone in that contact chain.

        Genomic analysis now suggests that the recent largish outbreak in Auckland was an infection leak from Managed Isolation. We didn’t go to Level 4 lockdown (in Auckland or Nationwide) because we didn’t need to, the case load was small enough, and the nation systems were containment were good enough.
        Certainly better than they were in March. Likewise the new community cases that emerged a week ago are being chased down are. While the new cases are disquieting the situation is, as best as medical professionals can tell, manageable with our current levels (one nationwide, two in Auckland).

        The recognition is that Covid cases will keep popping up as no testing/isolation/border system can ever be absolutely 100% effective. But with good public info, good contact tracing, prolific testing… in those circumstances each subsequent outbreak can be spotted quickly and eliminated.

        1. Clive

          Precisely. This is not elimination, it is containment. It is effective containment rather than half-hearted ineffective containment or containment-in-name-only as we typically see elsewhere. And no-one is doubting the sincerity and the effort applied to, where there is community transmission, then limiting the degree of that community transmission.

          But that still does not make it Zero Covid. The so-called elimination strategy is inherently contradictory — it is claiming that it will eliminate COVID-19, but nevertheless respond to new cases (through testing and tracing). But if elimination (of community transmission) was really possible, there would be no community transmission. You’d simply eliminate all COVID-19 domestic cases, quarantine all new arrivals and that would be the end of the matter.

          A good exploration of the terminology — and how you can pretty much read what you like into the definitions is given here and we’ve seen a pretty blatant bait-and-switch go on under the cover of this linguistic semantics. I took especial care with my words in my last paragraph. I only wish others did the same.

          What you’re describing — and what New Zealand is doing — is prompt curtailment of community transmission. Worthy, perhaps, but since the rest of the world isn’t going to go along with this (and there are many reasons why it can’t or shouldn’t) you are going to be faced with the prospect of living like you’re living now for the foreseeable future.

          Or, at least, you will be absent a safe and effective vaccine and a mass compulsory national vaccination plan plus probably health passports — to which I can only say “no, please, you go first, I don’t mind waiting …”

          I’m certainly not saying that different approaches shouldn’t be reviewed, an evidence base compiled and civil discourse undertaken to arrive at a consensus for what is best for a particular country. But that doesn’t mean there should be unthinking belief in an unattainable Magic Zero Covid. Nor should people be lulled into thinking it’s just a simple matter of wishing for it and it can be true.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Sorry but I have to disagree once again. I don’t think that you appreciate the quality of the threat so I will compare it with a bushfire. When you get a spot fire caused by a spark or ember from a major fire, you send in teams to snuff them out before they become fire fronts in their own right. You can see the burning embers or the initial signs of smoke or even infra-red to locate them. OK. Fair enough. And I think that that is how some politicians think of when fighting this virus.

            But you know that this virus can have an incubation period of up to a fortnight before people know that they have it. So getting back to fires, imagine that you would have these spot fires burning away for up to a fortnight before you realize that they are actually there. Think how many fires that they would start in their own right. And that is what we are facing here. Yes, I know that this is a simplistic viewpoint but consider how an infected family of four in a goddamn so-called quarantine hotel was allowed to get loose and kill some 760 people – an eight-fold increase of the nation’s death toll – and cause absolute chaos in the economy as large chunks of it had to shut down again. This is ‘living with the virus’ at work.

            So are we really going to do this again and again and again as we ‘learn to live with the virus?’ The people that want this are doing so for business reasons which is fabulously short sighted. Killing your customers is not supposed to be a good idea and having tourist operators wanting the country opening up to foreign tourists for their money is vile. Personally I am getting a bit jack of doctors on TV explaining this ‘living with the virus’ strategy who talk more about the economy than doctor matters. And you just know that the ones pushing for open borders are precisely the ones who will be able to hang back and isolate themselves. As you can see, this is a touchy subject for me.

      2. Moe Knows

        “There is no correlation between lockdown severity and COVID-19 morbidity.” Well maybe yes maybe no, the idea expressed in that thought maybe true, but the reality of it works out differently. Wrong disease and wrong metaphor. Why?

        Covid largely infects people by a non-Symptomatic person in enclosed place. Clearly prisons are an example were lockdowns prompt the infection. Same with planes (sorry there’s a difference between what is claimed and what is done). Super spreaders at super spreading events occurring over large geographic areas are impossible to contain, because the network of the number of contacts can grow into the hundreds of thousands. Tracing a contact at a non spreading event is useless (again in very large areas or highly mobile people). And then this week we learn the University of Illinois @Urbana had a great model to predict outbreaks. Except for one thing: people lied & cheated and even knowing they were positive still created/caused infections to spread. If some of us are intent (not I myself) on killing other people, or if you prefer doing them great harm, then nothing can be done. In addition to the obvious stupidity on display.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in april…maybe 2 weeks after our first cases out here…a couple more popped up…only known because of faceborg and the old fashioned, analog rumor mill(everybody knows/is related to, everybody else)
          these folks were late middle aged hispanic people who’s job/business was as housekeepers and helpers for old folks.
          they knew they had it, told no one, and kept going to work, because of car payments, etc.
          so they spread it to the olds in their care, and away we went.
          came out a little later what had happened, when one of their adult kids figured that jesus wouldn’t approve, and let it slip into a waiting ear at the grocery store.
          not evil…not really all that greedy, in the grand sweep of things…just precarious, unsure what to do, and—looking around at all the yelling and contradictory confusion—decided wrong.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Still have to disagree Clive. If there is any hand-waving going on, it is people that say that we have to ‘live with the virus’ and that the solution is to ‘open all the borders’ and use contact tracing to keep it in check. Sorry, this is not possible. You either go for eradication or you have an explosion of cases like in Victoria which spread near and far. Meanwhile you have to open your economy, close your economy, open your economy, etc. Places like New Zealand may have an outbreak through extraordinary causes but that is when you use contact tracing and limited shut-downs. Speaking of New Zealand, they are having an election soon and the Nationals in opposition have got nothing to offer as their response to the pandemic measures – except to privatize virus containment instead of using the government. Just like Victoria did.

      4. Tom Bradford

        I, too, must respectfully disagree with Clive. New Zealand is not “acquiescing to the inevitability of continued community transmission”. It went hard to eradicate the initial outbreaks, accepting the economic hit, and is now able to use contact tracing and quarantine to come down hard on any local outbreaks before they grow to a size necessitating more draconian measures. Total elimination in the community is still the policy, regardless of the cost.

        And as a result the economic hit has actually been limited and a lot less than forecast. Life (and spending) internally is pretty much back to normal and we’ve just recorded a record surplus current account balance for the quarter.

        Though of course far bigger in absolute terms the US could have done the same had it had the vision, the leadership and the willingness to make the initial sacrifices. No doubt being an island helped NZ but the US has only two land borders, one of which is closed against it anyway, so bringing the pandemic under control internally with a coast to coast lockdown while building an effective track-and-trace system, and closing the borders to anyone not willing to go through 14 days of quarantine in order to keep it out, could have been just as effective.

        But the US just wasn’t prepared to make the sacrifice.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the US has only two land borders, one of which is closed against it anyway, so bringing the pandemic under control internally with a coast to coast lockdown while building an effective track-and-trace system, and closing the borders to anyone not willing to go through 14 days of quarantine in order to keep it out, could have been just as effective. But the US just wasn’t prepared to make the sacrifice.

          1) “closing the borders.” Trump was certainly willing to keep out the furriners, and did so — for China. IIRC (it’s been a long time) nobody knew that Europe (via JFK) was the main danger, and by then it was far too late.

          2) “while building an effective track-and-trace system.” Assume a can-opener. There are a few issues, here: One is our technical ability to build such a system, especially when supply chains are collapsing globally. The second is that the CDC butchered the initial testing, again, until it was far too late. (In neither case would whatever paper plans the Obama administration left in a drawer have helped.) A third is the willingness of the general population to comply with test-and-trace. This is extremely unlikely; just as college administrators failed to understand that students would party, so public health authorities failed to understand that people just wouldn’t pick up a phone call from an unknown number (given that such calls are most likely scams, polls, or debt collectors).

          3) “a coast to coast lockdown.” This assumes that the political class (and its owners) were willing to bring capital accumulation to a halt so as to, in essence, put the economy into an “induced coma” (except of course for “essential,” i.e. dispensable, workers who would be expected to risk their lives to deliver food medicines etc.) I saw no signs of that willingness from either party. (It’s also worth noting that the bailouts under Trump were bigger, and more effective — poverty was actually reduced under Trump! — than those under Obama, and yet they came nowhere near to being enough.) There is also the fact that public health llaw is organized inversely, with local governments having the most power (e.g., to impose quarantines), and the Federal government the least.

          In short, to the question: “Were we completely and inevitable f*cked?” I think the answer is, “Yes, we were completely and inevitably f*cked” (and also unlucky enough never to have encountered the first SARS virus, so our systems had no idea what they were about to encounter.

          Of course, I don’t love Trump, because (a) he butchered the distribution of PPE and (b) refused to model mask-wearing properly (though, to be fair, at the beginning he was following, or believed, the Noble Lies of Fauci and WHO that masks were not effective). But I while I wouldn’t classify those errors as failing to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic in a suitable manner, the ship was still going to hit the iceberg, the systemic rivets were gonna pop, and the ship was gonna go down.

          And here we are!

  14. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding ABC’s “4 out of 10” on the edge of a cliff:
    this doesn’t get near enough attention.
    add in…adjacent to a link from yesterday…and this: from a link within that link…and it should be perfectly obvious that Trickle Down and the undoing of the New Deal have been a disaster for most of us.
    Jamie Demon frets,lol….I say, the Lamp Post Beckons, man.
    I read things like this, and dream of a Piss on Their Graves Tour(where’s Pete Peterson buried?)
    all of this was extant before covid….bootstraps boiled and eaten, long ago…and yet “some people”(^^^^^) are still going around scolding us about the dignity of work, the lazy poors and how virtuous their avarice really is…..and crying incessantly about having enough income to worry about taxes (ie:”the fee i pay for civilisation”-OW Holmes)
    isn’t selling Loosies(or crack) on the street corner a fine example of entrepreneurialism?
    isn’t the much lamented “looting” just an instance of the Lower Orders imitating the example of their “betters”?
    People with guns taking the law into their own hands is just what “some people” have been agitating for….and Behold! your government drowned in a bathtub!….the non-military, non-punishing portions of government, at least.
    and yet, Biden is the Vanguard of Communism!…and the Corporate Dems are rabid in their pursuit of Power(lol)…and Trumpism(sic) is a rational, cogent response to all of it.
    prepare to reap the whirlwind, so assiduously sown over the last 40 or 50 years.
    -Rant Off-
    “as a camel in the desert, i go forth to my work”-Gurney Halleck.
    —i’ll be certain to find time to indoctrinate some youth while i’m at it.

    1. Carla

      The only comfort in this life is that the rich also die. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

      Love the idea of a “Piss On Their Graves Tour.”

      We need a web site dedicated to hosting lists, by region, of where they are buried. Then routes can be mapped.

      1. hunkerdown

        They don’t die symbolically, and that’s a real problem.

        Allow me to offer one Ludwig von Mises, currently resting in Westchester County, New York.

      2. Samuel Conner

        I wonder if it would be possible to train birds to relieve themselves on specific monuments, mausoleums, or memorial stones.

        1. a different chris

          haha good idea! note technically I don’t think you can “train” birds to do anything… like cats, you can offer sufficient inducement but that’s not the same thing.

          1. Moe Knows

            Ah, but you can, I trained pigeons to play ping-pong as part of getting my grad degree. It would be a lot of work, but it’s doable. Maybe even noble.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a Piss on Their Graves Tour:

      Byron wrote this epitaph of Viscount Castlereigh:

      Posterity will ne’er survey
      A nobler grave than this:
      Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
      Stop, traveller, and p—!

      Castlereigh seems to have pursued a rational foreign policy post-Congress of Vienna, but a reactionary domestic policy. Reminds me of The American Conservative…..

      But a tour! I smell a business model!

  15. vidimi

    Covid-19: Risk of death more than doubled in people who also had flu, English data show British Medical Journal. Summarizes a preprint. “An analysis by Public Health England (PHE) of cases from January to April 2020 also found that people with the two viruses were more at risk of severe illness. Most cases of coinfection were in older people, and more than half of them died.”

    what is the correct cause of death in such a case? is it covid or is it influenza?

  16. Redlife2017

    Lambert / Yves, We’re getting closer to our canine friends sniffing out Covid19:

    ‘Close to 100% accuracy’: Helsinki airport uses sniffer dogs to detect Covid

    From deep in the article:

    Dogs are also able to identify Covid-19 from a much smaller molecular sample than PCR tests, Helsinki airport said, needing only 10-100 molecules to detect the presence of the virus compared with the 18m needed by laboratory equipment.

    Authorities in Vantaa, the city where Helsinki’s international airport is located, said the pilot programme, which is due to last four months, was costing €300,000 (£274,000) , which it said was significantly lower than for laboratory-based testing methods.

    Although Covid-19 is known to infect mink and cats, dogs do not have the receptors necessary for the virus to readily gain a foothold and do not appear to be easily infected, according to Hielm-Björkman. There is no evidence that they can transmit the virus to people or other animals.

    I hadn’t realised that our canine comrades didn’t have the receptors for the virus…that is amazingly interesting. Along with the very low viral load required to sniff it out…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I hadn’t realised that our canine comrades didn’t have the receptors for the virus

      I believe — too lazy to find the link — that it’s an open question among scientists why homo sapiens is so vulnerable to respiratory infections via viruses and other species are not.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Congress poised to leave town until after the election without passing coronavirus stimulus”

    On the 20th April 1653, Oliver Cromwell dismissed Parliament with the following words-

    ‘It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

    which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

    Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

    Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

    Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

    Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

    Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

    Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

    Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

    I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

    Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

    In the name of God, go!’

    Don’t know why I thought of it just now.

    1. Moe Knows

      Cromwell, both Thomas (great uncle) and Oliver, are heroes of mine. I think I take to memorizing that. Thank you.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Oliver Cromwell dismissed Parliament

      That’s the stuff to give the troops!

      It’s hard to imagine any “leader” today with either the moral authority or the ability to make good on the threat “upon the peril of your lives.” Probably a good thing, actually.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      Sounds to me like he was winding give ’em both barrels of Isaiah 10:1 & 2. . . .

      (The finding of which is left as an exercise for the student, in their favorite edition/translation. For extra credit, find two or three other versions, and write an essay on your comparisons of them using the lens of this quote from The Book of Tea: “Translation is always a treason, and as a Ming author observes, can at its best be only the reverse side of a brocade — all the threads are there, but not the subtlety of colour or design.”)

  18. Ahimsa

    The nakedcapitalism blog is so good! I will definitely be donating.

    Lambert was highlighting sniffer dogs as potential covid detectors before I read it anywhere else. From today’s Guardian:

    ‘Close to 100% accuracy’: Helsinki airport uses sniffer dogs to detect Covid
    Researchers running Helsinki pilot scheme say dogs can identify virus in seconds

  19. Retaj

    The link for $10,000 for residents to leave CA points to the article about the nursery of raccoons.

    Although less residents would mean less encroachment on wildlife!

  20. lyman alpha blob

    The “Bay Area applicants flood program that pays them $10,000 to leave California” leads to an article about raccoons overrunning the city parks instead.

      1. Frank

        Congress poised to leave town until after the election without passing coronavirus stimulus CNN. Congress, good job.

        Somehow I think you don’t mean that good job I hope so anyway. There’s a part of everyone that reads uncritically that believes what it sees. I hope this website doesn’t act to reinforce a corrupt establishment

        1. Samuel Conner

          Generally, when one encounters at NC, whether in the site authors’ commentary or in visitor commentary, expressions of appreciation toward the parties or the organs of government or named political actors, one should understand an implicit /snark or “irony mode on” tag.

          Lambert often does this with “Thanks, Obama!” in discussions of how O’s failure to meaningfully repair anything helped ready the electorate for DJT.

        2. Olga

          Sarcasm is the operative word.
          OTOH, I’d be more surprised if they actually accomplished something meaningful.
          It is a sad commentary that Congress doing nothing is not even news anymore.
          People should tie job performance to salaries – as in, not addressing our problems, no salary!

          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            @Olga: I disagree. On average I believe they accomplish all kinds of meaningful. But the most meaningful goes first to the .01% then the 0.1% followed by the 1%, 5% and finally toward the upper 18%. Every once in a while when there’s a big ask, the rest can be assured they will be given pennies on the dollar in trade. But at least they get pennies… well, for a while anyway.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns”

    The previous fix by Boeing was equally a kludge. It required the hostesses to push all the passengers to the rear of the aircraft and jump up and down to balance the weight out on the aircraft.

  22. zagonostra

    >Hunter Biden

    Saager from the Hill does a good job pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of the corporate media on reporting this story.

    It so depressing that people legitimate this Presidential election by voting for either of the two corrupt candidates. When you arrive at a stage in the development of the political life of a country that gives you such a rotten misleadership class it makes you want to disconnect into your own world, but than if you have children, it makes you fearful of what kind of future they will have.

    1. Wukchumni

      Mexico will send 101 firefighters to the United States to help battle wildfires in California.

      The country’s Environment Department said Wednesday that five teams of 20 qualified, equipped firefighters from Mexico’s national forestry commission will work with the U.S. Forest Service.

      The group will land Wednesday afternoon at San Bernardino International Airport, KMPH in Fresno reported.

      They will be sent first to work in California’s Sequoia National Park.

    2. lordkoos

      Here in WA state the US forest service gets a lot of criticism over its fire fighting strategy. The way the system seems to be at present, wildfires are the local county’s problem until they get to a certain size, or cross into a neighboring county, at which time they are able to access state and federal resources to fight them. The problem with this is that it often allows fires to become too big too quickly. If instead of waiting to throw more resources at a fire they would apply the maximum amount of men and materials when the fire is still small, the costs of fighting the fire would be much lower both in terms of money spent, as well as the loss of property and human life, not to mention air quality. Many locals accuse the agency of doing this to keep their budget inflated.

      1. Wukchumni

        FS & BLM (the original one) have very little in the way of do re mi, at a town hall meeting a few years ago, we had a BLM law enforcement officer give a talk, and he told us he was one of 3 BLM LEO’s from Bakersfield to Fresno.

  23. Jessica

    What happened to France?
    Though I guess France has done this before. Dreyfus, Vichy.
    Is it too much control by the meritocrats?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe being controversial here but I think that a major change took place after WW2 when the French decided to close down the major ‘Houses of Joy’. These weren’t just your average ‘knocking shops’ but were major establishments with a long respected history. It showed that something had changed in the French character. And if your read the brilliant 1989 book “A Year in Provence” you will see the interplay between the French of old and the French of the new-

  24. Wukchumni

    The SQF wildfire is now 144k acres and 35% contained, and the prescribed burn within a burn is going nicely, creating a void where future wildfires will come up against a wall of nothing. (for awhile at least)

    The lower part of the Garfield Grove trail is a tribute to poison oak and the fire is slowly but surely taking it out. Last time I was on it you had to bob & weave to avoid it, as its pernicious tendrils were splayed across the trail.,-118.81393&z=13&b=mbt&a=modis_mp

  25. Pookah Harvey

    Bowman seems to be making the Black Caucus somewhat nervous. From a dated but still relevant Politico article:

    with several Black progressives expected to win in November, pressure will rise on the CBC to embrace the leftward swing of its newest additions and their challenge to the broader party establishment. Longtime members have already started to privately fret over just how the CBC will be forced to evolve in the next Congress and how that will shape a group that has long been a central power in House politics.

    What is making them fret? After winning his primary Bowman endorsed Cori Bush who went on to unseat senior CBC member Lacy Clay. This outraged some members in the Black Caucus. Bowman’s response:

    “Jamaal Bowman won in a primary challenge,” his spokesperson, Rebecca Katz, said in a statement when asked about the controversy. “Why wouldn’t he support other primary challengers if they’re making a good case for new leadership and they share a similar agenda to him?”

    If the Black Caucus doesn’t move left it seems clear there will be a rash of serious primary challenges from progressives.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If the Black Caucus doesn’t move left it seems clear there will be a rash of serious primary challenges from progressives.

      Salutary, but let us remember that many of the CBC were, themselves reformers, even fiery ones, back in the day. If the incentives and social relations do not change, putting “good people” into the same old system will lead only to betrayal (as usual).`

  26. Wukchumni

    Major ski resorts in California aren’t going to do walk-up sales for daily lift tix this winter which is their way of saying, please send us $700 ahead of time for a season pass.

  27. Pelham

    Re Breonna Taylor: What I’ve read is that this was not a no-knock situation. The police knocked and identified themselves before entering and then fired only after they were fired on. The initial mistake made at some level is that the live-in boyfriend suspected of drug dealing was no longer living there.

    1. Bodie Doyle

      That’s probably why they shot her so many times; Just to make sure nobody lived to contest the cock and bull story they cooked up back at the station.

    2. Pookah Harvey

      The Real News Network reported on the Grand Jury hearing. They cited a NYT report that only 1 out of 12 witnesses at the apartment complex heard the police identify themselves. The NYT also reported that here was no body camera footage from the raid. Not to mention the Attorney General in charge of the hearing is on Trump’s short list for Supreme Court Justice.

    3. a different chris

      >and then fired only after they were fired on.

      Even at that, guns run out of bullets. What exactly is the hurry to fire back?

      Just take cover and then maneuver as the opportunity presents itself.

      1. ewmayer

        “Even at that, guns run out of bullets. What exactly is the hurry to fire back?”

        What an inane comment. Not defending the cops in this case, but where do you think those bullets all guns eventually “run out of” go? That applies to both sides in this case.

  28. rd

    Re: Airplane Covid transmission

    Everything I have seen is that aerosols are not a general problem on airplanes because they have a high number of air changes and run the air through HEPA filters, Aerosols get sucked into that system within a few feet of the sick passenger and don’t contaminate the rest of the plane, so the aerosol transmission route is limited to a similar distance to the droplet route. The case histories indicate transmission generally occurs in the immediate vicinity of a sick passenger or aisle seats that sick people walk past. So if you can be huddled in a window seat with nobody in the seats immediately next to you or behind or in front of you, you are probably safe. Short flights will also be safer than long flights as exposure to potential spreaders will be shorter.

    1. Jessica

      Someone who is an expert on flying said that the most vulnerable time on a plane for Covid is the boarding and deboarding. He claimed that for this reason, they haven’t found much difference in infection rates for long and short flights. He said that a few months back, so understanding of this may have evolved since.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks very much. I reacted to the paradigm war between aerosol v. droplet without considering the material circumstances. A cardinal error! What you say makes sense.

  29. LilD

    No comments yet on the VIX article… it’s in my wheelhouse but not time to do the work…

    The complex of VIX futures, index options and constituent options is rife for statistical arbitrage (note: anything called ‘X arbitrage’ is not actually an arbitrage… ). It’s plausible that dealer effects are important.
    I traded correlation in the 90s on a bank desk and dabbled in it on my own and when VIX futures started trading lots of money flowed our way. The synthetic VIF and VIN forwards were predictive of spot VIX

    Will chat with experts next week …

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