Links 10/15/2020

Florida Cat Goes Viral After Bravely Staring Down Alligator Who Shows Up At Front Door Animal Rescue (David L)

Wild Predators Are Relying More on Our Food—and Pets Wired

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time Quanta Magazine (David L)

Proprietary Grapes Come With Draconian End User License Agreement Vice (resilc)

Digital Planet, Predicting US elections results every hour BBC World Service. Resilc:

First two are interesting sections
1. on the election betting market
2. on solar energy in rural Africa. Components are failing. Right to repair essential. Tthe cheapness of quality of all the components is a real weakness. I have Chicom solar lights on outdoor sculptures here in Vermont. Some work for years, some work for 3 months. Cannot be fixed after they break. More e-waste.


Wars and Pandemics Produce the Same Sort of Lethal Government Bungling CounterPunch

Covid deaths in Europe, US exceed official tallies Agence France-Presse. Resilc: “What a shock.”


Trump’s ‘Miracle Cure’ for Covid Is a Logistical Nightmare Wired

Coronavirus: ‘Long COVID’ could be four syndromes affecting body at the same time – study Sky

Sudden irreversible hearing loss post COVID-19 BMJ. Not to worry, n=1.


Macron announces curfew for Paris and 8 French cities Financial Times

Test & trace consultants are being paid £7,360 a DAY each: Fury as private sector company is handed cash equivalent of £1.5 million annual salary for coronavirus tracking Daily Mail (J-LS)


About 75,000 more Americans died from COVID-19 pandemic than reported in spring and summer, study finds USA Today

Survey finds Americans are more united than divided on wearing face masks MarketWatch (resilc)

‘It was just a big old scare’: Trump supporters at comeback rally play down Covid risk Independent

Trump again attacks Fauci’s guidance as coronavirus infections tick upward Washington Post (resilc)


Change in Real GDP by State Barry Ritholtz

After two lost decades, U.S.’s weakest local economies may face worse from pandemic Reuters

Shaky U.S. Hospitals Risk Bankruptcy in Latest Covid Wave Bloomberg (furzy)


Exclusive: Trump administration to consider adding China’s Ant Group to trade blacklist – sources Reuters (resilc)

US appoints Tibet coordinator amid tensions with China Al Jazeera (furzy)

China braced for lose-lose scenario as US election fuels unease Financial Times

Thailand declares state of emergency and cracks down on demonstrators Financial Times. Hoo boy.

US lets Indonesia’s Prabowo off the hook Asia Times


Telangana Rains: At Least 30 Dead; Hyderabad Receives Highest Rainfall in a Century The Wire (J-LS)


Brexit Threatens to Become the Messiest of Messy Divorces: A Looming Disaster Der Spiegel

Brexit: What has happened since 31 January? BBC

EU court ruling threatens EU-UK data flows Politico. From last week. Too many people acting as if “of course this will be solved” when it isn’t yet.

New Cold War

Is NASA Finally Done Paying Russia for Trips to Space? Gizmodo (Kevin W)

In Mexico, Cross-Border Fight Over Water Erupts New York Times (resilc). We warned over a decade ago that potable water was the world’s most limited resource. Not hard to see that it would become a source of conflict.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pentagon’s AI ‘ghost fleet’ is more than just scary — it’s unwise Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Supreme Struggle

Key moments from Barrett’s marathon question-and-answer session The Hill (Kevin W)

Why The Amy Coney Barrett Hearings Are Verging On The Absurd FiveThirtyEight

Dems Silent As Barrett Evades Climate Query With Shell Case Looming David Sirota, Andrew Perez

Amy Coney Barrett’s Answer on This Climate Change Question Is Completely Disqualifying. She Will Be Confirmed. Esquire (David L)


Biden Has 11-Point Lead Over Trump Less Than Three Weeks to Election Day Wall Street Journal

Trump and Biden offer starkly different visions of US role in world Guardian. Resilc: “Same ole shit, different spins…….SecState Rice ❤ interventions.”

Harris and Truman? How an embrace of the national security state runs in the family Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

NBC Is Giving Trump, Who Refused to Debate Biden This Week, a TV Special. Slate. Um, Biden will have gotten two televised town halls…one was with NBC, not sure who is running the Oct 15 one.

Biden’s Covid Response Plan Draws From F.D.R.’s New Deal New York Times

Rochester AFL-CIO Calls for General Strike if Trump Steals Election Mike Elk

GOP Vows to Act As Check on Biden’s Plans to Avert Recession New York Magazine

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Latinx Vote Is Still Being Ignored New Yorker (resilc)

It’s Not The Economy, Stupid. It’s Your Identity Heisenberg Report (resilc). Wild, but a spurious correlation?

The other election: South Carolina and the battle for the US Senate Financial Times

The U.S. Shouldn’t Be a ‘Sleazy Offshore Principality’ Atlantic

GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan Caught in Environmental Scandal Intercept

Visualized: A Breakdown of Amazon’s Revenue Model Visual Capitalist (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter BLOCKS sharing links to NYPost’s Hunter Biden emails story, invoking ‘HACKED MATERIALS’ policy for first time ever RT (Kevin W)

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad New York Post

Facebook, Twitter Restrictions on Biden Article Infuriate Trump Bloomberg. Streisand effect. This the lead story.

Proposed Reform to US Espionage Act Would Create Public Interest Defense Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot Wired (Chuck L)

U.S. states oppose settlement being negotiated by OxyContin maker Purdue and Justice Department: letter Reuters (resilc)

Why did Amnesty UK, Bellingcat and White Helmets sabotage Roger Waters webinar on corporate pollution? The Grayzone (Chuck L)

If CalPERS beats earnings targets, its next investment chief could take home $2.4 million SacBee

Class Warfare

For Rudolf Hilferding, Socialism Was About Freedom Jacobin (Chuck L)

The Pandemic Has Benefited One Group Of People: Billionaires HuffPost (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Spotted this beautiful German Shepherd in the back of this truck on a food stop in Phelan, California, on one of our three-hour weekend drives to the desert. I tried for a bit sharper image but just then my battery died. ☹ Aaugh! As Snoopy and his friends would say!!!

And a bonus, from guurst:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. johnherbiehancock

    Re: The Pentagon’s AI ‘ghost fleet’ is more than just scary — it’s unwise

    Link goes to the wrong article.

    1. UserFriendly

      U.S. states oppose settlement being negotiated by OxyContin maker Purdue and Justice Department: letter Reuters

      Purdue did a bit of venue shopping, moving their corporate HQ to white plains NY before declaring bankruptcy. I decided to edit the judge’s wikipedia page a week ago and it hasn’t changed.

  2. Krystyn Podjaski

    RE: Coronavirus: ‘Long COVID’ could be four syndromes affecting body at the same time

    “People without a clear diagnosis told us they’re often not believed by health services.

    “There are people who never had any support in hospital, never had a test, have no record of ever having had COVID, except their own personal history. They may be suffering far more than somebody who’s ventilated for 21 days.”

    WELCOME TO MY LIFE. It took me 20 years of constant pressure for doctors to do more investigating but they have finally just drawn my blood for genetic testing. People at times did not even believe I had a mood disorder. There is no way the average person can do what I did, so enjoy your years of hell if you are OK with just listening to your doctor.

    Understand this from my hard life lessons; Doctors, even specialists, are not researchers and they are rarely curious. Never go to a naturopath. Get lots of tests and keep a journal. Be prepared to lose a lot of friends. And finally, it is all of a result of one or several nutritional deficiencies from a genetic susceptibility.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Really sorry to hear that you had to go through all that but sadly it is all too common. I had to utilise a lot of “professional knowledge” gained via co-supervising a PhD student (along with a clinician – I’m PhD not medical doc) who was working in field of mental health to learn enough to help in self diagnosis when docs were unsure or just plain uninterested.

      Colleagues in fields like genetic epidemiology etc were also invaluable. It’s awful how many people “fall through the cracks” because they don’t have the tools to “work the system to get proper diagnosis and treatment”.

    2. IdahoSpud

      Decades ago, when I was in college, I rubbed elbows with quite a few pre-med students. They were uniformly motivated into medicine by the status and/or money. Several of them cheated on exams, and most of them sucked up to professors. So, not much different than people who go into the hedge fund business nowadays.

      I’d pretty much have to be on my hands and knees in pain or unconscious before a doctor were allowed to render an opinion.

      1. Off The Street

        Doctors in our family go into it because they care to help people, not for the money. They’ve done so for three generations.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Not all the premeds where I went to college were motivated by status and/or money … but very, very, very, very, very few who weren’t … got into medical school.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      I have only this advice; If your doctor is part of a corporate health company, you will not get proper treatment. They have rules that rule out their helping you. Mine does, and he told me so. The “believe” in drugs that they know won’t work or cause you harm leading to more treatment. First time I have ever been subjected to this kind of disinterest in a doctor. It is life threatening and highly disruptive of my daily life. All the independent doctors have given up in my area. Only a couple nurse practitioners remain unaffiliated with corporate control. I have two degrees in med science/application. I know some of what is BS when I hear it and I know how to find out how to confirm or deny.
      It is close to not worth having a doctor. Is this your future too?

      1. Oh

        It’s not only the future but it’s current reality. I have medicare advantage and I was looking to change doctors. I called a several practices in my area (within 10 miles of where I live) and none of them are taking new patients. What’s the point of having insurance if you can’t find a doctor near you who accepts the insurance? A new definition of access to healthcare? I wonder if there any doctors in my area that take original medicare? Probably none! I try not to go to doctors anyway and hopefully won’t need one for a long while. Most of these doctors order unneeded tests and don’t really try to define the problem. There’s less independent doctors as the crooked hospitals are buying up independant medical groups.

        1. Janie

          In-laws in a very large city had the same experience. They were retirees whose medigap was covered by the company but no other insurance was.

    4. DorothyT

      Krysten: “Doctors, even specialists, are not researchers and they are rarely curious.”

      Sadly true in my experience and that of others close to me. Though blessed with good health over the decades, as I look back I see that the conditions I sought medical advice for had to do with ‘side effects’ of medications, OTC and prescriptions. In nearly every case, I had to discover these on my own.

      I wish there could be a trustworthy website where such side effects could be reliably reported and commented upon by ordinary persons, but I fear that mischief would be caused by competing pharma manufacturers. Many manufacturers don’t list ‘rare’ side effects online or with accompanying literature.

      When I tried to file an FDA report for one drug consequence, I received notification ‘thanking me’ and that they would refer my case to the pharma company in question. So the circle closes.

      The worst case scenarios? Metronidazole/flagyl prescribed for rosacea has led to years of peripheral neuropathy. An SSRI mis-prescribed led to rapid formation of cataracts necessitating surgery. One learns to do as much research as possible before taking anything.

    5. TroyIA

      One hypothesis is that Long Covid is mast cell activation syndrome. Covid-19 hyperinflammation and post-Covid-19 illness may be rooted in mast cell activation syndrome

      Much of Covid-19 hyperinflammation is consistent with mast-cell-driven inflammation.

      Prevalence of severe Covid-19 is similar to that of mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS).

      Drugs inhibiting mast cells (MCs) and their mediators show promise in Covid-19.

      None of the authors currently treated MCAS patients with Covid-19 had severe forms or mortality.

      The dysfunctional MCs of MCAS may underlie severe acute and chronic Covid-19 illness.

      1. hunkerdown

        That’s only true for SARS-COV-MAX (and they’re working on a clinician training package and software upgrade to fix it, Boeing assures me).

        1. rtah100

          if the treatment involves as much pulling back on the joystick, no wonder more men are affected!

          [MCAS nobody gets the joke…. :-)]

    6. Bob Tetrault

      Almost all doctors are simply risk managers in the insurance system. The idea of a scientist-physician is myth-driven. Krystyn’s experience mirrors mine. My own scientist-physician has a “mad-scientist” reputation from the orthodox M-Diety’s, but a stellar reputation amongst the nurse population and those lucky long-sufferers who found that he can find a needle in a haystack.

    7. JTMcPhee

      Add-an-anecdote: Close family member has a number of problems that have made life pretty hellish. One was undiagnosed Hashimoto’s, which can produce some horrific “mental” symptoms among other problems. She has been lucky enough to find a doctor who looks at the history, test results, sees what has not been looked for and has noted that the family member has (like 90+ percent of humans) Epstein-Barr virus, which when it activates, can also exacerbate Hashimoto’s. This will at least allow some reasonable medical response to the manifestations of thyroid way out of kilter.

      Family member has “good” local-gov’t-provided medical coverage, but has rattled between many different pill-for-a-problem, only one problem per visit “doctors” for several decades. No guarantees, of course, that this doc will continue to proactive as she has been (private sort-of-concierge practice) over the years, or not lose the drive to actually provide medical care instead of ticking the boxes on the billing code sheets…

    8. Jeotsu

      I concur, and it matches my own experience.

      I have a PhD (Biochem/Biophysics), where my best fried from high school went down the MD path. Back when we were both in school we would meet and ‘talk shop’. It became a running joke that she would describe a case and I would try to figure it out from basics ‘assuming a carbon based life form that uses oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor…’

      I could often come to the same (medical) conclusion, but it’d take a long time. Her training got her to the correct-enough answer very quickly. Different intellectual methodologies for solving different problems.

      Institutions (and maybe credentialism in its totality) instills a sense of pride that can easy morph into arrogance. We all need to know our limits.

    9. Maritimer

      Encouraging to see here the comments by some critical thinking Humans who still remain. I have had similar experiences with the medical profession, that is they are captive to corporations, don’t listen, have little or no intellectual curiosity, are unethical, etc.

      I did once have a board certified doctor who also had training in China. He straight out told me that much of what he had been taught was useless. I was amazed he would ever say that to a patient. This guy saved my bacon.

      Another board certified doctor I consulted told me that because he was an outside-the-box thinker, the Medical Board had tried to take his license. One of the reasons was his work with Lyme Disease which was not even recognized at the time as a disease. His waiting room was jammed with patients unable to get proper treatment elsewhere. This doctor told me how I could get inexpensive treatment for my condition. Wow!

    10. jonboinAR

      True story. I have sort of weak wrists. Many years ago, while working on swimming pools, I was spray-painting the pipes at the equipment, shaking the can, shaking the can. Well, my wrist blew up to 3-4 times it’s normal size. The doc inspected it, put a cast on it, all good. Three weeks later it was fine again. But, at one point in the process, when I can’t recall, he injected it with dye and X-rayed it. The results were inconclusive. When he reported this to me, as we sat in his office, he did so in a total accusatory manner, as if I had made it all up. I mean, just about openly accusatory. “MF’er, you saw my wrist! You doctored it. It’s fixed. That’s all fine, but don’t accuse me of making anything up. You saw it!” Between that and a couple of other incidents I realized, if they can’t figure it out, it’s your fault, period. You’re a malingerer of some kind. It’s their default fallback. I mean, he saw my ^%$ wrist when it was at least 3 times the size of the other!

  3. Fireship

    > It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Latinx Vote Is Still Being Ignored New Yorker

    “Latinx”. What dummies. Brought to you by the people who banned “niggardly”. Morris Berman is right: in America even the “intelligent” people are stupid. Unfortunately, this stupidity is matched with sick cruelty. Morris writes,

    One article I referred to in the last post tells of policemen beating porcupines to death with their night sticks, and finding it hilarious. Why would they do such a depraved, awful thing? Because such behavior is practically in our DNA; it’s how we relate to each other, the world (the torture of innocents, for example, or dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations), and even the animal kingdom. Time to stop blaming the top 1% for our problems, I would think, let alone China or Russia or Islam or god knows who else (as Jimmy Carter declared in his 1979 Annapolis speech, to which Americans turned a deaf ear). The truth is that the entire culture is sick beyond description, and really, beyond redemption. There is a deep poison in the American soul, and no conceivable way to remove it.

    Have a blessed day, y’all.

    1. rl

      I’m not convinced that the sickness is unique to, or even uniquely ingrained in, “the American soul.” But maybe the difference here is that our extreme internal divisions mean that everyone is potentially a sanctioned victim for someone else, rather than Americans sharing one broadly unifying scapegoat whose pointless torment could sate the appetites of most and, anyway, would scandalize none. This surplus of fuel allows the machine to spin harder and faster.

      But I agree wholeheartedly that blaming the 1% is about as blind as blind gets. Those who think of themselves as “Side A” and those who think of themselves as “Side B” are mostly differentiable in terms of who (along demographic lines, not partisan) they would like to see in tears.

    2. hunkerdown

      The terms “Latinx” and “Hispanic Heritage” aren’t exactly pulling in the same direction, but maybe that’s too easy.

      To be fair, the 1% produce the culture, yes, even that attributed to those backward pig-pullin’ idjits in the hinterlands. It really is their fault. Ultimately, rule and too-big-to-fail are just different ways of spelling the same domination relation and defining the criminality out of it.

    3. ShamanicFallout

      I don’t know, and I don’t think I have ever known, anyone who beats porcupines for fun (literally or figuratively). The people I know, my family, the friends I have known for years, etc., don’t seem to me have a “deep poison” in their soul- souls now apparently “beyond redemption”. If, according to Mr Berman, even the “intelligent people are stupid”, where does he fit in? Perhaps he’s one of the lucky ones to have an un-poisoned soul and a non-stupid, intelligent mind?

  4. pjay

    Re: ‘Harris and Truman? How an embrace of the national security state runs in the family’ – Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

    Like Ike, Truman did have second thoughts about what he had unleashed on the world – when it was too late:

    “For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.”

    “I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda…. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

    From the WaPo of Dec. 22, 1963.

    1. neo-realist

      I think Truman should have revised one of his sentences to say that “It has become an operational and at times policy making arm of multi-national corporations.”

    2. Clem

      “Those close to Harris describe her as a ‘Truman Democrat,’ a nod to her willingness to use American power to promote American values and interests.”

      American values?

      Senate Voting Record of Kamala Harris. Pro-Big Money, Pro-Israel, Pro-War Dem Foot Soldier

      “She’s pro-war, pro-big money, pro-police state toughness, pro-mass incarceration, anti-governance serving everyone equitably according to international, constitutional and US statute laws. She’s one-sidedly pro-Israel, hostile to Palestinian rights and regional peace — nearly always voting along party lines. She supported the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization of 2020 — the police state USA Patriot Act in new form that includes Big Brother spying on Americans.”

      1. hunkerdown

        Truman signed the National Security Act. Just sayin’ that the clown car of intel community interests in the Party might not be as insignificant and unremarkable as they may wish to make it appear.

    3. hunkerdown

      That the new cops are ruining the neighborhood’s reputation and property values is an argument, I suppose, for those whose rank position in society depends on the inflation of both. I seem to remember that drug warrior Bill Clinton said much the same once he was safely away from any responsibility or capacity to affect such policy.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I guess I am just a suspicious and cynical person — I cannot get past the democratic party bosses replacing Henry Wallace with Dark Horse Harry Truman as candidate for Vice President in 1944. The “Buck” may have stopped on Harry Truman’s desk … but he let an awful lot more slip by him.

  5. Olga

    US appoints Tibet coordinator amid tensions with China Al Jazeera (furzy)
    It’d be funny if China appointed a coordinator to ‘facilitate dialogue’ between the US govt and black community, or one to help ‘preserve the cultural heritage’ of the native population.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you also imagine what would happen if China appointed a coordinator to ‘facilitate dialogue’ between the US govt and the Latino community as well (instead of the Latinx community)? That word alone would drive a lot of people nuts in the US.

      1. Josef K

        Tibet was until 1950 a sovereign Kingdom. The Tibetan language and culture are unique, as anyone with a smattering of familiarity with the place knows, and distinct from Chinese; not even the same language family.
        The degree of independence from China in the previous centuries is disputed, but the CCP’s claim that Tibet was a dependency of China is not supported elsewhere, and the fact that the Tibetans fought the invading Chinese forces, that the leadership fled to India, and that independence movements and forces within and without Tibet continue decades later, undermines those claims.

        So this is a false equivalence, a troubling one considering it’s a pattern I see of what appears to be contrarianism for its own sake, along with tu quoque iow what-aboutism. The dasterdly, indefensible, at times genocidal treatment by the US gov’t and some of its citizens of minority peoples both within and without its borders in now way diminishes similar treatment by the Chinese government of the Tibetan people. They’re now doing the same to the Uyghurs within China, and are starting to impact the culture and environment of Cambodia to a shocking degree, though this latest has yet to become widely known.

        I’d like to think that if China had invaded Tibet more recently, and not specifically when the US and West in general had no taste for international conflict (which surely weighed in the CCP’s decision to invade), that there would have been, at least, international push-back. But the fact that Cambodia is being over-run by Chinese undesirables, and nearly strip-mined of natural resources (the latter applies to Laos as well) without hardly any mention in the int’l media, never mind any comment from so-called democratic countries, belies any such confidence.
        After all, coconuts, palm trees, a unique culture, being the center of the earliest Mahayana Buddhist religious culture as well as being the most Buddhist country on earth, doesn’t rate much, it’s not like they’re sitting on oil fields.

        1. rtah100

          Um, Monroe doctrine? I think Latinx America feels pretty strip-mined.

          And you do not really address the fair point that the USA would have a hissy fit if China appointed a mediator for the sovereign US tribes which, like Tibet, had a different language and culture but sadly at a time when the West had a great deal of appetite for conflict.

          The original post was not saying China should be excused by the USA’s example, it is saying that the USA is a pontificating hypocrite of a nation.

          1. vlade

            The problem is that too often it is used to execuse others, and when you point it out, you get slammed as a supporter of the US, in the “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”.

            No, your enemy’s enemy can be happily your enemy too.

            1. JBird4049

              It’s just so much easier to use whataboutism to defang criticism of someone’s bad actions. That it is also used with lying, and threats, even violence makes it effective. Worse, people justify the evil being done on the innocent because of the relationship of victims to other evil people. Or that maybe there is the possibility of danger, which often is caused by stupidity, miscommunication, and simple greed justifies atrocities like the War on Terror or the Uyghur genocide. The United States, China, Israel, and others do this all the time.

              1. Josef K

                Yes indeed it cuts both ways. The crux of my comment was “The dasterdly, indefensible, at times genocidal treatment by the US gov’t and some of its citizens of minority peoples both within and without its borders in now way diminishes similar treatment by the Chinese government of the Tibetan people.”

                The mistreatment of Native Americans by the US gov’t when they were extra-territorial to the U.S. occurred in the 19th century. Again, not to excuse it, but I think we can all agree 21st century standards if applied to behavior by many countries’ governments 150 and more years ago would indict much of it.

                Tibet was extra-territorial to China until invaded in 1950.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            “Latinx” . . . is that “Latinxo” or “Latinxa”?

            If Latino is now Latinx, is Chicano now Chicanx?

  6. MT_Bill

    On the “It’s not the economy, it’s your identiy” article, it would be nice to see an explanation of their “physically active” variable.

    Probably just my own bias, but I imagine this data sorting process where the guy who frames houses, lays brick, or cruises timber all day but then goes home to drink beer and watch Fox is coded as “physically inactive”, whereas the office worker that makes their spin class or puts an hour on their peloton is not.

    I’ll just go out on a limb and assume they had no actual physical measurements of whether a person was active or inactive during the day to use to sort the data, and went with a convienent class marker instead.

    1. Eduardo

      “I’ll just go out on a limb and assume they had no actual physical measurements of whether a person was active or inactive during the day to use to sort the data, and went with a convienent class marker instead.”
      Yes, it seems that is what they wanted.

      and percent of the population which is physically active in their leisure time[3]. That last variable is a little out of left field, but there has been recent interest in the so-called yoga vote. Basically, this is a lifestyle variable with strong implications for political preference that transcends the simple urban-rural divide. On the one hand, urbanites walk and cycle to work at a higher incidence, have more access to gyms and exercise classes, while also being more likely to vote Democrat. On the other hand, places which have more opportunities for outdoor leisure, or places that would appeal to so-called ‘crunchy’[4] types would also be included within this lifestyle variable. ‘Crunchy’ people stereotypically do yoga, live all-natural lifestyles, and purposefully spend time in nature. Because of their attachment to nature, they are frequently found in rural areas. However, they tend to vote for the Democrats. Capturing this demographic group by the urban-rural divide would be misplaced, therefore we directly identify them through their level of physical activity.

      RaboResearch – US elections: Economy or identity?

      1. GramSci

        It’s explicit:

        “Marey drives the point home. “The more a population exercises in their leisure time, the less likely they are to vote Republican,” he says.”

        ie, people who are not of the leisure class voted Republican. No economics there. /s

        1. jr

          The article got me thinking about what exactly I mean when I argue that economic factors were in large part responsible for Trump. On one hand, you have the immediate economic realities, which for many white, non-urban voters have been dire. Hungry people look for desperate solutions and angry people lash out with their votes. That notion that tough times lend themselves to demagogues seems to have a lot of historical and anecdotal evidence to support it.

          But on the other hand there is the “background” effects of the economy, if you will. The way people’s lives and thinking become formed by their economic realities in the long term. The kinds of effects where, to take Marey at arm’s length face value, the white working class guy eschews working out not because of innate laziness but because his identity has formed within an economic niche that has conflicts with those that do. (This is an extremely simplified example I’m making here for the sake of discussion.) Class conflicts that date back decades, centuries even, influences that neither he nor the godless yoga student need be aware of. He views such things as spurious or emasculating or whatever.

          Surely this is an issue of identity, but the tension between those symbols in his head are more heavily influenced by economic issues than themselves, ultimately. Why do I assert this? Well, it seems on the face of things that the fluidity of identity relative to the material economic realities gives it less mass, less impact. Identities are quite concrete…until they are not. We have all heard anecdotes about Nazis turned hippies etc. but on a bigger scale you have immigrants assimilating into indigenous populations or conquered peoples mingling with the conquering culture. Can it be said that economic impacts facing an individual or community are as amorphous, as loosely bounded? Certainly, identities can persist for millennia and economic fortunes can alter overnight, witness COVID, but which influence cuts deeper (no one eats their identity), which has greater intersectionality (everyone eats), and which has a longer impact (no one will ever stop eating).

          Identity has a great deal of power, I want to be clear. I don’t think my rambling foray into social theory above does the idea justice by a mile. I believe it is intimately entwined with economic realities in both the short and long terms. I would term it “soft power” in regards to shaping behavior.

          But the economic is more fundamental, in what I suppose could be called an ontological sense. The act of feeding oneself certainly shapes one’s identity, hunter-gathers eating roasted gazelle is a very different thing from eating a fine steak in a 3 star restaurant. But all of those identities must eat and it is something they share with all other identities. To get a clearer picture of the human world, we must start where it is made.

          Some critical notes on Massey’s use of language: it’s obvious this goof was writing for. a room full of smug PMC consulting geniuses looking for their crypto-Puritanical moralizing high by sniggering at people for not going to the gym like they do because there is one in their office building. And they are urged to use it by their bosses. Using perceived health habits as a way of othering, othering as a way of pandering. Says it all.

      2. MT_Bill

        Thanks for looking that up and posting.

        Again, interesting implicit bias about yoga and outdoor leisure activities being “crunchy” and leaning democrat. Since it’s currently archery elk season out here in MT, again I wonder if they’d count starting the morning with a 2500′ elevation gain and then hiking off-trail for 8 or 10 miles “leisure” or “crunchy”.

        As someone who models data, I’m always concerned about identifying the correct variables and data, making sure they are what I think they are, and trying to do so in the simplest form.

        Seems like they could have just used occupation, educational attainment, and income along with a few interaction terms to do the same thing. Unless you just get a kick outta calling Trump folks “physically inactive”.

        1. a different chris

          >again I wonder if they’d count starting the morning with a 2500′ elevation gain and then hiking off-trail for 8 or 10 miles “leisure” or “crunchy”.

          But how applicable is that to the general activities of the 15 million hunters in the US… especially in the past decade or so where side-by-sides have become ubiquitous? I know lots of hunters and none of them ever walk more than a few hundred yards.

          Ted Nugent hunts, that doesn’t mean “millionaire rock musicians” are a useful lens to look at hunting with.

          Despite your not-real-good arguments, I mostly agree with your post, in that a decent majority of the people spoken of are Dems, but it’s not like those that aren’t are rare exceptions.

          1. MT_Bill

            I’d be willing to bet my weekly paycheck vs. Your weekly paycheck that for archery elk hunters on public land, my example is more accurate than not. After opening weekend, elk aren’t generally found within a mile of a open road or motorized trail on public land. In MT they’ve shown this pretty conclusively with GPS collared elk. So if you are checking out a new area as a potential hunting spot, first thing you do is pull up the maps of public land and a road layer, buffer the roads out a mile, and then see if that leaves enough of the right habitat types to sustain an elk herd. Otherwise, hard pass.

            Sure you can strap your bow to your four-wheeler and ride around, but you won’t see elk. Rifle hunting is a little different, but generally you still need to get off the road.

            Now if you have money for private land, all bets are off.

            1. a different chris

              >that for archery elk hunters

              Oh no I would certainly *not* take that bet.

              But once again, “archery elk hunters” are not exactly a very large proportion of hunters in America, are they?

              All I am saying is that you have a decent point, you just need to find different examples than what goes on in Montana. Plenty of Republican joggers in California, for instance.

              1. jsn

                Right, my gun nut Republican brother is a land manager who would never think of doing anything having to do with “fitness” with his leisure time: his job has plenty of demanding physical work, even on the weekends when it’s limited to being a hunting guide for rich donors.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I’ll go out on a limb and assume this statistical analysis is as meaningful as many statistical analyses prove to be.

      If only the democratic party could get more people to do more jumping jacks, push-ups, and deep knee-squats … Trump wouldn’t have a chance.

      1. Gc54

        Smith!’ screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! THAT’S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.’

  7. Big River Bandido

    It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Latinx Vote Is Still Being Ignored

    Christ, these people in corporate media are stupid. 12% of Latinos reject “latinx” nonsense. Only 3% of Latinos (all of them no doubt PMC) use it — they can be safely ignored, if not ridiculed.

    1. jr

      Who wouldn’t reject a being renamed by a group of elite, white academics who view such things as fun projects for career development or Wokester “activists” looking for the cause of the month. But again, as I’ve harped on here for months, this language is meant to splinter, to isolate. Under the facade of their (tortured) language of empowerment, it neutralizes and stymies organization and cross-pollination between groups of people.

      Plus, it’s dumb. It shows all the imagination of a slice of Wonder Bread. Now 3% of the Latino population is ok with being referred to as a bug spray for the Latin population.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “In Mexico, Cross-Border Fight Over Water Erupts”

    Two thoughts come to mind after reading this article. The crops that the Mexican farmers grow. Are they destined for the Mexican market or are they meant for the US market? The second though is what happens if a Mexican drug gang tell the farmers that they will help them out with their problems? It is already a bad look for the Mexican government to side with another country over their own citizens. But if drug gangs get involved, that may ramp the situation to a whole new level.

  9. timbers

    “The whole thing stinks”

    Good example of how Nancy Pelosi could take some points next time she’s on Wolf Blitzer. Or better yet, she should send in someone else who can make those kind of points.

    Nancy’s too bogged down in process, personalities, and emotions of her talks with the other side, and that came thru on her Blitzer interview. That’s no so unusual but not a good idea to try to sell a position in that mental state. That’s why she can’t reach anyone but die hard Dems.

    1. judy2shoes

      “That’s why she can’t reach anyone but die hard Dems.”

      Every single Dem I know is a diehard, so if I extrapolate from my sample, Nancy’s reaching a whole lotta Dems. :(

  10. oliverks

    Love the pictures of bears in Abruzzo. There is so much widelife in that part of Italy.

    The wines are great as well :-)

  11. Drake

    Twitter and Facebook’s crude, flagrant censorship give me so much more respect for Google’s subtle algorithm-driven, plausibly deniable information manipulation. You never even know you’re in a safe space there (until they demonetize you).

  12. Carolinian

    Re Huntergate–guess Biden has to win before impeachment proceedings can begin. Or perhaps Nancy will fire up that committee.

    And re SC–Jerri-Lynn linked a Five Thirty Eight story about why Dems might not want to become too hopeful about SC and GA. The available pool of Dem versus Repub persuadables is small. Biden may need a landslide wave to take out Lindsey,

    1. neo-realist

      To a lot of SC’s, it was only a few decades ago that people like Jaime sat in the back of the bus and drank from separate water fountains in those “good old days.” It might be too much of a reach for the critical mass of SC’s to dislodge their incumbent, even if he is a right wing hack.

        1. hunkerdown

          If only those southern hicks hadn’t asked to be browbeaten by a moralistic industrialist bourgeoisie at gunpoint, I guess?

          It’s much easier to sabotage a culture war than to fight one. The same is true of almost any war. I firmly believe this fact will become extremely important in the next decade or so.

      1. Carolinian

        More than a few at this point….more like half a century. After all one of our Republican senators is black and I’m not sure how much race would be a factor in the current race even though Harrison is black (and a Clyburn protege). My largely white neighborhood is chock full of Harrison signs.

  13. IdahoSpud

    Re: The Pentagon’s AI “Ghost Fleet”

    This article brought back a memory of something I read a recently about a similar Russian program named Posiedon/Kanyon, which now has its own wiki page.

    The Russian version of a “ghost fleet” uses nuclear propulsion, so without personnel, theoretically the submersible could stay on station for years at a time. Practically speaking, a lack of personnel on board implies extended deployments and the need to only come off station for maintenance/repairs. Such a vessel could loiter near a major harbor undetected for months. It could also tote a nuclear weapon into such a harbor and next to a port facility with ease. A few dozen of them could probably cripple the Navy and commercial docking facilities of an oceangoing nation.

    I’d assume the US wants to achieve arms parity for this sort of submerged autonomous warfare as a near-term goal, and arms superiority in the mid/long term. Not saying I agree or disagree, just stating what is probably going on under the surface. Pun intended.

    1. MT_Bill

      Circa 1964, our manned nuclear subs could stay submerged for over 6 months at a time.

      Seems like the vessel described could stay stationed for years. I’m curious how much they can throttle the reactor down in its “dormant” mode, since having too much power available seems to be the issue. Need to be able to bleed it off in a form other than heat which would be detectable.

  14. Demowatch

    Anti pepper spray solution is sold out in a number of spots on the net

    I don’t know the kind of normal volumes these manufacturers see since it’s a pretty niche market (LEOs, etc), so I can’t say for certain, but I see this as an indicator that americans are preparing for post-election protests and conflicts with law enforcement.

    I don’t think 2020 has finished getting weird yet.

    1. youme

      Steve Bannon on the Tucker Carlson show said that ‘The war begins on Nov. 3’.
      So yeah, 2020 is nowhere near finished getting weird.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Proprietary Grapes Come With Draconian End User License Agreement”

    Here is finally a job for social media to do its magic but for good. Just publicize there near and far how these grapes have an end user license agreement and watch sales drop off a cliff to send that company a message.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ll confess to being on a 2024 bandwagon. If not for the whole women todo in recent years (ducks), Khanna had to be a shoe in to be Sanders’ running mate given ages and lack of federal office holding for other candidates who would be acceptable.

    1. Oh

      He’s so dishonest or naive to admit or know that his failure to keep his hopey-changey promises led to people sittin out in 2010.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He has to know. Obama is realistically looking at 30 years of life post-Presidency. He’s wrecking a public park for his mausoleum. There is no way anyone who runs for President isn’t waiting to see the hagiography written about their lives. And for Obama its…

  16. Toshiro_Mifune

    Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad

    So…. Hunter brings in some laptops to get repaired, forgets about them, forgets what’s actually on the HDDs like his home made adult fun-time videos and forgets about all the emails on the laptops. This does sound par for the course for him.

    1. curlydan

      and picks a repairman who goes through the whole laptop and gives a copy of the hard drive to Guiliani’s lawyer!

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        From what I read it looks like the repair guy gave it to the FBI and someone in the FBI leaked it to Guiliani, Fair point though.

      2. Clem

        Best Buy did/does that as policy and reports whatever they find that they think is illegal and reports it to the police.

        “Other court records uncovered in the FOIA search found that Geek Squad technicians were paid between $500 and $1,000 to actively search (All) client’s computer(s). The reports have raised concerns that the FBI is using the Geek Squad to bypass the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.”

        1. flora

          Yeah, there are serious rules about handling data that in any way looks like illegal data, eg. kiddie porn, or evidence of criminal activity found on hard drives.

          Note to baddies: if you’ve used your computer for bad intent or illegal purposes (e.g. kiddie porn or downloading copyright movies) don’t take it to a public company for repairs. Reports to the feds for same are legally required.

          1. flora

            And note to good guys: beware of using a TOR downloader for even regular legal stuff. Backdoors. etc.

    2. km

      Without expressing any opinion on the Hunter Biden laptop or its contents, imagine if the MSM applied the same scrupulous objectivity and high-minded insistence on facts, truth, logic and evidence to the russiagate conspiracy theory.

    3. voteforno6

      In the meantime, it seems that some are operating in an alternate timeline, thinking that a lot of people will actually care about this. It might matter, if not for COVID19, and Trump and his children.

  17. Mikel

    Re: Phantom images/Tesla

    Eeveryone is talking about what autodriving cars can’t see. I’d imagine the other “blind” spot is how they interpret sound.
    Interpreting what is heard is also a major part of driving.
    And to a lesser extent, but in some cases critical circumstances, the sense of smell comes into play.

  18. Mikel

    RE: Covid

    The myth of herd immunity without a vaccine won’t go away. I don’t think enough has been written about that wishful thinking by many (propaganda by some).

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I wouldn’t call it a myth – more a high risk, low evidence hypothesis. Its entirely possible that there could be herd immunity, especially if it turns out that a significant proportion of the population is already immune for one reason or another. Its just far too dangerous to assume it as the basis for any strategy.

      But of course, any assumption that is convenient for people with money and resources to pursue an agenda will never truly die, even in the face of evidence and logic.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        What is the relationship between this and the common cold as an example? There is no vaccine, as we know, for the cold. Is there herd immunity for the cold? Is it possible that there will not be a viable vaccine for covid? What then?

        1. RMO

          The “common cold” is caused by at least 200 virus strains, often combinations of more than one virus. Most of them are rhinoviruses, maybe 15% involve coronaviruses and there are a half dozen or so other types of viruses that can cause it. It’s almost always a mild (though bloody annoying) sickenss and there are very, very few cases of more sever complications arising from it so it’s not exactly a target of intensive vaccine research programs.

  19. polecat

    Tis what one would expect of a sleepy Head bearing the countenance of a cracked pied-piper picking a heaping peck of in-a-pickled benjamins!

      1. polecat

        Twas a reply to mr. Mifune above …

        No no, it was in reference to the proclivities of that breakingly bad burismaboy!

  20. David

    Further to the story about new anti-Covid measures in France, here are a few bits and pieces which may be of wider interest.
    In principle, 20M French people in the Ile de France and 8 major conurbation, will be subject to a 9PM to 6AM curfew. Whilst this will force bars and restaurants still open to shut early (staff as well as customers have to be indoors at that time), the real target is actually large gatherings of families and friends which, the government is convinced, are the main vector of transmission. Lunch will still be OK, but aperos and dinner parties will be much more complicated. I say “in principle” though because in a couple of days the All Saints’ Day holiday starts (two weeks for schools and one week for universities) and of course those who can will be fleeing the big cities for second homes in the country, where they’ll have the same large gatherings that are illegal in the cities and there is no curfew. It makes sense, I suppose, if you accept that Something Must be Done, and this counts as Something. The government is desperate to avoid a second general confinement, but may not have a choice if things continue to get worse. Gossip is that the country isn’t much better prepared for that than for the first wave – stocks of masks, testing kits, PPE etc have been run down again.

    Macron announced this yesterday in an interview with two journalists – an odd format which left lots of people puzzled. He came over as very un-Presidential; more a bright student trying to impress with his detailed knowledge of a subject. In France, these kinds of announcements are generally left to Prime Ministers, who are expected to do details rather than grand strategy. But Macron got rid of Philippe, and Castex is not in the same league; he’s a good bureaucrat and has a pronounced regional accent, but that’s about it. Another political master-stroke by Macron.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The joke circulating in Ireland is that to meet you relatives for a gathering now all you have to do is declare your house to be a meat plant.

      The second wave is well and truly here over most of Europe. As predicted, it came with cooler weather. Ireland has just put the border counties into lockdown – there is clearly a wave coming from Northern Ireland and the UK – NI got off lightly in the first wave, but isn’t this time. There is a very noticeable incongruity between figures on each side of the border, fueling a strong suspicion in Ireland that the UK is deliberately suppressing figures by reducing testing. Although its still something of a mystery as to why the London region is getting away so lightly compared to the north and now northern Ireland.

      In Ireland the blame is mostly going on returning holiday makers doing multiple social visits. There have been a few superspreader events associated with this, although its really hard to be sure. The spread from Northern Ireland strongly suggests that its normal business and socialising contacts. Although in rural areas there are lots of illegally opened pubs which may be a vector.

      Politicans all over the continent seem to be at a loss. They are utterly focused on finding an alternative to lockdown, but will very soon be faced with no choice. They are predicting now that as the wave goes up the age cohort, there will be a steep rise in deaths too – this time it’ll be a lagging indicator. I suspect there will be a face saving European wide approach to a circuit breaker lockdown, to try to take the pressure off local politicians. But whatever approach they do, it will have to be fast and it will have to be decisive, its too late for anything else in most of the continent.

      As the late, great, Alan Rickman would say ‘Christmas is cancelled!’. I for one will be getting my M&S nutroast meal for one on order. With a bit of luck it’ll be on a pre-Brexit sale.

      1. ambrit

        I had to look M&S nutroast up. Hmmm….. A Vegan Christmas! Won’t that ‘trigger’ the Zeta Reticulans in the Dail?
        It might also be available in the Post Brexit MREs the local version of FEMA gives out during the famine of Winter 2020-21.

      2. Clive

        A national lockdown is going to face major political pushback (certainly in the UK) and even local lockdowns are having a hard time getting buy-in from local authorities. This isn’t even a left-right problem — in Manchester not-at-all hard-left Mayor Andy Burnham (a moderate, politically) is having none of it

        Even the WHO is clearing its throat about how bad an idea national lockdowns are — this makes sense as why lock down counties or conurbations where there is little community transmission. There’s big regional variations in play. And a lower COVID-19 mortality rate makes the health impacts from lockdowns themselves a much more difficult trade-off to justify.

        Finally, there’s the mood of the public. How much are people willing to put up with? And given the difficulties in ensuring compliance (plus the problem of moving a problem like social gatherings of young people from one place to another e.g. if they can’t socialise in formal settings like bars and restaurants then they’ll just either have illegal raves or house parties) there’s the issue of effectiveness of any curtailment policies too.

  21. JTMcPhee

    Those clever Chinese have figured it out — this election is, for most of us and the rest of the world, a “lose-lose” proposition.

      1. HotFlash

        Higher than reported deaths. Here’s the article from JAMA. If the tables don’t show, there’s a ‘Tables and Charts’ box to click top of the the right-hand panel.

      2. GramSci

        re Excess Deaths:

        Two JAMA Network “letters” about “excess mortality” were published on October 12. The first “letter”, by Woolf et al (1) was accepted for publication on September 15. The second JAMA letter (2) by Bilinski and Emanuel, was accepted on October 2.

        Woolf et al make a simple point: “Between March 1 and August 1, 2020, 1 336 561 deaths occurred in the US, a 20% increase over expected deaths (1 111 031 [95% CI, 1 110 364 to 1 111 697])…Of the 225 530 excess deaths, 150 541 (67%) were attributed to COVID-19…COVID-19 was a documented cause of only 67% [150 541] of these excess deaths.”

        I couldn’t access the pdf of the Woolf et al letter, but for me the only in that last sentence says the takeaway is that there were 50% more COVID-19 deaths, either indirect or simply untested, than have been officially reported.

        Bilinski and Emanuel’s letter compares the US excess deaths against 18 comparison countries. Table 1 simply recounts officially reported COVID deaths. Everybody knows these are family-blog. Table 2 is the interesting one. Ignore the right three columns. The four leftmost columns show just how bad the US response has been.

    1. a different chris

      This ties in well to my comment about the weird problem the medical profession has with “what they know inductively” vs what they can claim.

      COVID-19 is bad s(family-blog)t, and the medical profession knows it.

  22. Grant

    From the “It’s not the economy, it’s identity” article:

    “While both narratives appear plausible, the data provide more support for identity than for the economy as the decisive factor in explaining the Trump vote in 2016,” he writes, adding that “the ongoing social unrest of 2020 suggests that four years later, identity remains a decisive factor.”

    Class is a strong indicator on how likely a person is to vote. The richer you are, the more likely you will vote. You own the system, it works for you. This country has always come down on mass movements led by poor and working people. You cannot explain why Trump won without analyzing who does or doesn’t vote, and why they don’t vote. Denying the centrality of economics is off, to me at least. To think, with what is going on now, that people vote on identity more than class issues is nuts, and I think it is off to not think about class and economics in regards to who doesn’t vote. But, what do I know? I would guess that the PMC suburbanites can vote based on identity because they don’t have to worry as much about the actual impact of policy. They vote, the system works for them.

    1. Lex

      I can remember reading a lengthy article about a group of union organizers who were trying to form a union for IT workers in Seattle. This would have been before the dot com bubble burst. The organizers were getting a lot of push back. IT workers thought unions were for those who were oppressed and being exploited. They didn’t think that applied to them; their response was along the lines of — ‘We’re not blue collar or white collar, we’re no collar! We can come to work in shorts and flip flops, and play frisbee and as long as we get the work done our managers don’t care. We get stock options. The cafeteria is set up to serve us gourmet meals. There’s concierge service! What do we have to complain about?! We’ve been called to play in the Big Show, baby!’

      That tune has since changed. They thought they were part of the system that owned politics, specifically through their CEO’s, and by extension them. The measure of privilege was shorts and flip flops while pulling in larger checks than they ever dreamed. Privilege equaled ownership and influence beyond mere consumerism. The system worked for them. However… contributing to the corporate PAC was required for most salaried IT workers, but they had no say in which political candidates that money went to support for office. Those who ran the PAC decided for them. I haven’t inquired lately, but that’s probably still true.

      We might want to take a closer look at the voting records of those the system supposedly works for. Do we imagine that the 94 million who didn’t vote in 2016 are all poor folk? Or that IT workers at the height of their economic power always voted?

    1. Drake

      Yes, since Spanish speakers, like speakers of every other European language (besides English) I know anything about, are perfectly comfortable with gendered nouns and aren’t seeking to de-gender them. They probably think the whole attempt to be utterly ludicrous.

    2. Ander

      In my own experience the term is pretty popular among queer Latinos and self-described allies, but my sample size is small, a few dozen young people I went to Uni with.

      If you asked a bunch of 20 something latinas entering community college or uni you’d get a very different response to the use of the word Latinx than you would if you asked a handful of suburban 50 something Latinos about it.

      1. Ander

        And before these folks are dismissed as ‘university students’ and therefore out of touch with the workings of the world, my friends were largely first generation college students often first or second generation Americans. People who despite belonging to the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder had managed to excel academically and acquire the loans, grants, and scholarships they needed to receive a competitive education.

        I worked an easy 20 hour a week job in my school cafeteria for uni, and struggled with the work/school/life balance. My gpa (a 2.8), showed it. And somehow these kids would work a shift at the Brigham Women’s Hospital, show up for their pre-med coursework, and still get in a few hours at Dunkin Donuts to pay for whatever vice or entertainment they needed to keep going. Not the majority, but by no means a minority to ridicule

        1. Dale

          It seems to me like cultural annihilation to take a people whose very language lives and breathes the concept of gender, and then try to extinguish the concept of gender in the labels they use for themselves. But whatever.

          1. Ander

            I haven’t met any Latinos (or Latinx haha) who are working to degender all of Spanish. I have met latinas who prefer a word which doesn’t default to the masculine, and Intersex and non binary folks who want to sidestep being gendered by their descriptors.

            Whatever cultural annihilation is, substituting an x for an o isn’t it.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. the Quanta article on room-temperature superconductivity being achieved for the first time — fascinating, but the article badly botches a key backgrounding paragraph:

    Electrical resistance occurs in normal wires when freely flowing electrons bump into the atoms that make up the metal. But researchers discovered in 1911 that at low temperatures, electrons can induce vibrations in a metal’s atomic lattice, and those vibrations in turn draw electrons together into couples known as Cooper pairs. Different quantum rules govern these couples, which stream together in a coherent swarm that passes through the metal’s lattice unimpeded, experiencing no resistance whatsoever. The superconducting fluid also expels magnetic fields — an effect that could allow magnetically levitating vehicles to float frictionlessly above superconducting rails.

    1911 refers to the first discovery of the phenomenon, which the author botches by mentioning Cooper pairing, which was discovered only much later, and suddenly (and wrongly) bringing in superfluidity, which has a somewhat different physical basis (at least in Helium-4, the predominant isotope), and has nothing to do with magnetic field expulsion, a.k.a. the Meissner effect. Wikipedia:

    Superconductivity was discovered on April 8, 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, who was studying the resistance of solid mercury at cryogenic temperatures using the recently produced liquid helium as a refrigerant. At the temperature of 4.2 K, he observed that the resistance abruptly disappeared. In the same experiment, he also observed the superfluid transition of helium at 2.2 K, without recognizing its significance. The precise date and circumstances of the discovery were only reconstructed a century later, when Onnes’s notebook was found. In subsequent decades, superconductivity was observed in several other materials. In 1913, lead was found to superconduct at 7 K, and in 1941 niobium nitride was found to superconduct at 16 K.

    Great efforts have been devoted to finding out how and why superconductivity works; the important step occurred in 1933, when Meissner and Ochsenfeld discovered that superconductors expelled applied magnetic fields, a phenomenon which has come to be known as the Meissner effect. In 1935, Fritz and Heinz London showed that the Meissner effect was a consequence of the minimization of the electromagnetic free energy carried by superconducting current.

    The lattice-vibration-induced electron pairing underlying the phenomenon was only predicted in the late 1950s, in the form of the famous BCS theory of superconductivity, named after the trio of theorists who developed the theory, John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and John Schreiffer.

    During the 1950s, theoretical condensed matter physicists arrived at an understanding of “conventional” superconductivity, through a pair of remarkable and important theories: the phenomenological Ginzburg–Landau theory (1950) and the microscopic BCS theory (1957).

    In 1950, the phenomenological Ginzburg–Landau theory of superconductivity was devised by Landau and Ginzburg. This theory, which combined Landau’s theory of second-order phase transitions with a Schrödinger-like wave equation, had great success in explaining the macroscopic properties of superconductors. In particular, Abrikosov showed that Ginzburg–Landau theory predicts the division of superconductors into the two categories now referred to as Type I and Type II. Abrikosov and Ginzburg were awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize for their work (Landau had received the 1962 Nobel Prize for other work, and died in 1968). The four-dimensional extension of the Ginzburg–Landau theory, the Coleman-Weinberg model, is important in quantum field theory and cosmology.

    The complete microscopic theory of superconductivity was finally proposed in 1957 by Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer. This BCS theory explained the superconducting current as a superfluid of Cooper pairs, pairs of electrons interacting through the exchange of phonons. For this work, the authors were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972.

    Bardeen won not one but two physics Nobels (as would’ve Landau, had he lived long enough), the first in 1956 with his two Bell Labs colleagues William Shockley and Walter Brattain for their 1948 development of the point-contact transistor.

    As noted above, Onnes observed superfluidity in his liquid Helium experiments, but failed to realize its significance; thus credit for its discovery goes to later researchers. As with superconductivity, many crucial aspects of the theory, especially the quantum-fluid-vortex aspects, were developed by the late, great Lev Landau:

    Superfluidity was originally discovered in liquid helium by Pyotr Kapitsa and John F. Allen. It has since been described through phenomenology and microscopic theories. In liquid helium-4, the superfluidity occurs at far higher temperatures than it does in helium-3. Each atom of helium-4 is a boson particle, by virtue of its integer spin. A helium-3 atom is a fermion particle; it can form bosons only by pairing with itself at much lower temperatures. The discovery of superfluidity in helium-3 was the basis for the award of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics. This process is similar to the electron pairing in superconductivity.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    @ewmayer 3:54 PM: Wow! You seem to have a particular interest and extensive knowledge in this field. Just out of curiosity … why? What are you hoping or anticipate might result from practical room temperature superconductivity? I suspect you anticipate more than Maglev trains and lower losses in the Grid’s transmission lines …? What do you speculate?

    1. ewmayer

      @JG: There are obvious practical applications which would be hugely useful such as maglev trains and other things which would be eased by having cheap scalable levitation-tech (room-temperature hockey, anyone? Though how a player might be able to push off the levitation field and get from point A to B might be problematic, eh? :), but I find the basic physics fascinating. Plus, I did my PhD in (classical) fluid mechanics, specifically in vortex dynamics, so even though I no longer work in that particular field, I have a special soft spot for vortex phenomena.

  25. ewmayer

    To paraphrase comedian Emo Phillips, “I was walking down the street / And some headlines caught my eye / and dragged it fifteen feet”:

    o “Biden Has 11-Point Lead Over Trump Less Than Three Weeks to Election Day | Wall Street Journal” — As The Bezos Daily itself notes, “In mid-October 2016, after all, CBS News released a poll showing Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 14 points — and we know how that turned out.” OTOH, WaPo does add that 2016 featured much wilder swings in polling than 2020 has, so there’s that.

    o “NBC Is Giving Trump, Who Refused to Debate Biden This Week, a TV Special }| Slate” — As Yves notes, town hall, not debate. And since it’s virtual and the one and only debate turned into a Trump interrupt-o-rama, separate virtual town halls seem quite sensible in terms of format – each candidate gets to lie his ass off without being interrupted by the other. Once again, though, LOL at the sheer entertainment value of Trump the Pro-Wrasslin-Heel-candidate:

    Trump … said he would not participate in a virtual debate[town hall]; his campaign’s statement on the matter explained that this was because Biden would be able to cheat during such an event by “relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker.”

    o “Biden’s Covid Response Plan Draws FromShamelessly Plagiarizes F.D.R.’s New Deal” | New York Times — fixed that for the recently-self-admitted “narrative spinners, not journalists” at the NYT.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      And of course nobody who’s anybody is talking about bringing any other candidates in for an actual debate……..

    2. philnc

      How about putting Howie on for 20 minutes? Even limiting him to talking about his involvement in the Clamshell Alliance action in 1977 at the Seabrook nuclear power plant would make for more riveting TV than what the major party clown car is capable of. If only Bill Moyers were still around to do a segment with Howie on Bookchin and municipalism, or better yet, on where things go after November.

  26. RMO

    I love today’s antidote. Friends that we’ve housesat for numerous times have a menagerie (dogs, cats, chicken, geese, ducks, fish…) and one of their dogs was a big beautiful sweetheart of a German Shepard. She lived to the age of 15 and she took a piece of my heart almost as of she was one of my own dogs. Because of my age and where I live I also hear a song in my head whenever I see a German Shepherd “There’s a voice that keeps on calling me, down the road that’s where I’ll always be…”

    1. Tracie Hall

      I understand. It can be like that with some dogs. On a couple of occasions I have grown exceedingly fond on the the briefest of encounters, and even absent physical contact.
      I met a yellow lab walking its owner once while I was strolling a small island of a neighborhood that I hadn’t visited in about a decade. Our eyes met (me and the dog, not the owner) and it seemed to have an exceedingly intelligent, alert, and present gaze. I complimented the lady on her beautiful dog and we continued on in opposite directions. Me, to photograph pretty houses and gardens, them, to enjoy the sites (the human) and scents (the dog). It’s a tiny neighborhood where the streets kind of go in circles and I found myself crossing their path a second time. This time they were both engrossed –the dog with something in the grass, and her, I think, with her thoughts. I wanted to take the dog’s picture but was afraid of intruding, so reluctantly continued to walk by. Many houses, flowers and minutes (about 30) later, as I was leaving the area, I found myself crossing their path yet again. I was a few yards past when I heard the lady laugh. I turned and she called out, I can barely hold her back. She REALLY wants to follow you.
      I still think of that first gaze and am a bit sad I will probably never see the sweet dog again.

  27. philnc

    Twitter is not a news source. It’s a microblogging platform for marketing by grifters (a/k/a “influencers”). Relying on it (or Facebook) as a serious messaging platform is objectively… insane.

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