Dear patient readers,
I imagine those of you who are a bit flush have made your year end donations (funny how that is a ritual even if the tax law changes make the deduction not useful). But if not, be sure to include food charities! So many people are hungry this year. I always give to some and made sure to give more this year. And I have to confess that on my list of regular causes is snow leopards. It would be perverse for us to adorn our Tip Jar with snow leopards and not try to help them.
And if you can’t make a monetary contribution but do have some time and enough gas money to drive locally, many groups are in real need of volunteers, provided you can help out on a regular basis.
They’re Among the World’s Oldest Living Things. The Climate Crisis Is Killing Them. New York Times (David L)
Discovery Supports a Surprising New View of How Life on Earth Originated SciTechDaily (Kevin W)
Weather Service faces backlash after launching ‘slow,’ ‘unusable’ radar website Washington Post (bob)
Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk BBC (David L)
How scientists manipulate research Lars P. Syll
Nihilism aeon (Anthony L).
Russia admits COVID death toll third-worst in the world Al Jazeera (Kevin W)
Covid vaccine OVERDOSE puts eight care home workers in hospital in northern Germany Daily Mail (Kevin W). Not as dire as headline but still not a good look.
Why a SARS-CoV-2 variant that's 50% more transmissible would in general be a much bigger problem than a variant that's 50% more deadly. A short thread… 1/
— Adam Kucharski (@AdamJKucharski) December 28, 2020
Impact of Sex and Metabolic Comorbidities on COVID-19 Mortality Risk Across Age Groups: 66,646 Inpatients Across 613 U.S. Hospitals Oxford Clinical Infectious Diseases. Accepted for publication.
A @BurnetInstitute study found mandating masks in Melbourne led to usage increasing from 43 per cent (when recommended but not mandated) to 97 per cent. This was associated with a decrease in the rate of infections by between 22 and 33 per cent. | OPINION https://t.co/40Ivqa63Cg
— The Age (@theage) December 28, 2020
COVID-19 diagnostic testing and viral load reporting VoxEU. Note the PCR test is quite accurate with symptomatic patients; it’s the asymptomatic (which does include pre-symptomatic) one where the results are less reliable. The suggestions about reporting viral loads could go a long long way toward properly calibrating test results.
These nursing home chains have the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario, data analysis finds CBC. DK: “Seems to me that the difficulty fundraising that non-profits must undertake to expand capacity can be contrasted to the ability of for-profits to raise money as investment for additional profit. The profit motive introduces a perverse incentive.”
The mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy New Yorker (Kevin C)
House passes bill to increase $600 stimulus checks to $2,000. It now goes to the Senate. Business Insider (Kevin W)
“I don’t support $2k survival checks because it might help people get out of debt that our gov’t inaction helped put or keep them in in the first place.” – GOP Congressman https://t.co/BpfuvkKg9h
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 28, 2020
Republicans Threaten To Deny $2,000 Checks To Their Own Constituents David Sirota (Glenn F). *Sigh*. Assumes Rs don’t know exactly what they are doing.
Covid exposes capitalism’s flaws Financial Times. Gee, we figured this out months ago….and I am sure we were far from alone.
Tech Giants Are Giving China a Vital Edge In Espionage Foreign Policy
Japanese government has approved a hike in military spending to address an “increasingly tough” security environment Agence France-Presse. From last week, still germane
Brexit deal leaves much unchanged, institutionally Financial Times. Confirms what Richard North said over the weekend. Wowsers, Barnier and his side were total poker faces. Did Johnson and his team not get what they were agreeing to? Or did they not care? This now makes Macron’s recent antics look exceedingly clever as opposed to petulant. If France didn’t like the proposed deal, how bad could it be?
Brexit deal paves way for further conflicts WSWS. Beg to differ on the actual significance of Biden winning. Congress had repeatedly made clear there would be no trade deal for the UK if it messed with the Good Friday Agreement. And more generally, Congress is Ireland’s ally, and by extensions the EU’s due to Ireland having gone to great lengths to curry friendships. Trump could do very little unilaterally for Johnson, even if Johnson didn’t get that.
House votes to override Trump veto of defense bill Politico (Kevin W)
There’s a Way Biden Can Raise More From the Rich Without Higher Taxes New York Times. UserFriendly: “File under things that won’t happen.”
Turnout among young voters key to Georgia Senate runoffs Christian Science Monitor
The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump Glenn Greenwald (UserFriendly)
Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken Personify the ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party Norman Solomon, Common Dreams
Black Injustice Tipping Point
George Floyd hoped moving to Minnesota would save him. What he faced here killed him. StarTribune (UserFriendly)
Order: Mayberry v. KKR. This was a very long time in coming. 1. AG intervention approved as expected. 2. Denies Plaintiffs (with some swapped out and some swapped in to address issues with Supreme Court dismissal) filing a Second Amended Complaint. However, one careful attorney argued that there’s no bar to the plaintiff’s side filing a new complaint to deal with the issues raised by Judge Shepherd in nixing the Second Amended Complaint. We’ll see soon enough if the legal team on the case reads the filing the same way. Either way, this case looks to be finally proceeding to discovery.
FAA to allow small drones to fly at night, over people in step toward broader deliveries The Hill. Kevin W: “I grew up near an airport but at least the planes stopped flying in at night. Will people have to get use to the sounds of drones flying overhead at night?”
The OCC Is a Problem Agency Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. From earlier in the month, still germane.
Antidote du jour. David H: “From the end of my tractor trailer”:
And a bonus, from reader tomofthenorth. Filmed by drone near Duluth. The bobcats are so gorgeous!
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here