This Flower Is Really a Fungus in Disguise Scientific American
Texas sorry after mistakenly sending emergency alert for cursed Chucky doll Guardian (ChiGal).
Robinhood Crisis Reveals Hidden Costs in Zero-Fee Trading Model Bloomberg. As Yves keeps pointing out, friction in trading is good.
Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine NEJM. Moderna. RCT, n=30,420. From the Abstract: “Moderate, transient reactogenicity after vaccination occurred more frequently in the mRNA-1273 group. Serious adverse events were rare, and the incidence was similar in the two groups. The mRNA-1273 vaccine showed 94.1% efficacy at preventing Covid-19 illness, including severe disease. Aside from transient local and systemic reactions, no safety concerns were identified.”
Estimating the effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine after a single dose. A reanalysis of a study of ‘real-world’ vaccination outcomes from Israel (preprint) medRvix. Pfizer. From the Abstract, on methodology: “We used a pooled estimate of the daily incidence rate [in Israel] during days 1 to 12 as the counterfactual estimate of incidence without disease and estimated confidence intervals using Monte Carlo modelling. After initial injection case numbers increased to day 8 before declining to low levels by day 21. Estimated vaccine effectiveness was pretty much 0 at day 14 but then rose to about 90% at day 21 before levelling off. The cause of the initial surge in infection risk is unknown but may be related to people being less cautious about maintaining protective behaviours as soon as they have the injection. What our analysis shows is that a single dose of vaccine is highly protective, although it can take up to 21 days to achieve this. The early results coming from Israel support the UK policy of extending the gap between doses by showing that a single dose can give a high level of protection.” This is above my paygrade. Can somebody knowledgeable from the readership comment? I would hate to think that motivated reasoning is being deployed on behalf of a national champion.
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Coronavirus is in the air — there’s too much focus on surfaces Nature. Something to take to your local school board…
Fluid dynamics and epidemiology: Seasonality and transmission dynamics Physics of Fluids (press release). From the Abstract: “We present the results for the number of cases and transmission rates for three cities, New York, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro. The results suggest that two pandemic outbreaks per year are inevitable because they are directly linked to what we call weather seasonality. The pandemic outbreaks are associated with changes in temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed independently of the particular season. We propose that epidemiological models must incorporate climate effects through the AIR index.” Interesting. But what about indoor transmission?
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Age groups that sustain resurging COVID-19 epidemics in the United States Science. “We estimate that as of October 2020, individuals aged 20-49 are the only age groups sustaining resurgent SARS-CoV-2 transmission with reproduction numbers well above one, and that at least 65 of 100 COVID-19 infections originate from individuals aged 20-49 in the US. Targeting interventions – including transmission-blocking vaccines – to adults aged 20-49 is an important consideration in halting resurgent epidemics and preventing COVID-19-attributable deaths.” Surely “equity” is to be sought in bringing the pandemic to a halt as rapidly as possible? If Covid superspreaders were found to be drunken college bros, wouldn’t the most equitable vaccination policy be to protect the extremely frail, then “jab” the drunken college bros?
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Social Repercussions of Pandemics (PDF) IMF. “Epidemics may have social scarring effects, increasing the likelihood of social unrest. They may also have mitigating effect, suppressing unrest by dissuading social activities. Using a new monthly panel on social unrest in 130 countries, we find a positive cross- sectional relationship between social unrest and epidemics. But the relationship reverses in the short run, implying that the mitigating effect dominates in the short run. Recent trends in social unrest immediately before and after the COVID-19 outbreak are consistent with this historic evidence. It is reasonable to expect that, as the pandemic fades, unrest may reemerge in locations where it previously existed.”
The Hidden Epidemic on Travel’s Front Line NYT (Re Silc).
Western alarm as Canada says Hong Kong enforcing single nationality Agence France Presse
Climate crisis is foundation of Indian farmers’ protests The Third Pole
Tech underclass: the harsh reality of Asia’s digital commerce boom Nikkei Asian Review
Exclusive: Labour Reinstates Ex-Officials Suspended Over ‘Leaks’ Dossier HuffPo. And speaking of Labour:
Labour has told its community organising unit, introduced under Corbyn, that their contracts will not be renewed from May.
Another key moment in Keir Starmer's battle to transform the party and remove Corybnistas from HQ
And a lot of anger to have done it during the pandemic
— Gabriel Pogrund (@Gabriel_Pogrund) February 3, 2021
Coronavirus vaccine: Russia moves a step ahead of China with clinical trial data release South China Morning Post
New Cold War
What AMLO Really Thinks About Biden Foreign Policy
Can The Senate Still Convict Trump? It’s Complicated The American Conservative. A run-down of the precedents.
White House open to narrowing who qualifies for stimulus checks but keeping payments at $1,400 per person WaPo. “The dispute over how to structure the checks reflects a broader disagreement among economists about whether they represent the best form of fiscal relief to the current economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” Style note: You don’t “structure” a check. You cut a check.
1 big thing: Biden team wants to avoid groupthink on Iran Axios. So they’re adding more hawks to their team.
Biden administration embraces antisemitism definition that includes some criticisms of Israel Mondoweiss. The same IHRA definition used to take down Corbyn.
Our Famously Free Press
YouTube Cancels the U.S. Senate WSJ. More to the point, Senate testimony on Ivermectin. Moar censorship:
No media critics from legacy outlets – none from @nytimes, @washingtonpost, @NPR, etc. – have said a word about the growing number of alternative media professionals who are being demonetized. Virtually every major outlet has bought video from @FordFischer, for instance. pic.twitter.com/gewc4nQU8p
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) February 3, 2021
Who Is Aleksei Navalny? NYT Once Knew, but Has Since Forgotten FAIR. Greenwald comments:
People who spend more time condemning the human rights abuses of far-away countries where they have no influence, while ignoring the similar abuses of their own government, don’t really care about human rights.
They only see it as a tool to weaponize against US adversaries.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 3, 2021
NY Times Staffers Send ‘Outraged’ Letter to Bosses Demanding Reporter Apologize for Racial Slur The Daily Beast. “[T]he company’s conclusion about McNeil’s intent was ‘irrelevant,’ the irate staffers wrote in the letter, adding that the paper’s own harassment training ‘makes clear that what matters is how an act makes the victims feel.'”
The Times view on the work of Bellingcat: Citizen Investigator The Times. Commentary:
Blatant falsehood from @thetimes: "Bellingcat wisely refuses money from governments."
Bellingcat shadily takes money from NATO government-funded orgs and cutouts, including US (via NED), Dutch (via Postcode & PAX) & possibly UK's Open Information Partnership, among others. pic.twitter.com/7kO3rORfXC
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 3, 2021
Former CIA Officer: Treat Domestic Extremism As An Insurgency NPR. “That means using counterinsurgency tactics — similar in some ways to those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Which we won. Oh, wait….
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
Black Injustice Tipping Point
Battling White Supremacy in the Ring Scheerpost
The Downside to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks NYT. Of the many schadenfreude-inducing factoids, this is perhaps the best:
Some residents also railed against surging fees at the building’s private restaurant, overseen by the Michelin-star chef, Shaun Hergatt. When the building opened in late 2015, homeowners were required to spend $1,200 a year on the service; in 2021, that requirement jumps to $15,000, despite limited hours of operation because of the pandemic. And breakfast is no longer free.
And such small portions!
Why Are Some Organic Farmers Turning to Reactionary Politics? The Farm Worker Bulletin
Remembering coal High Country News
California Elegy The Baffler
“A Punishing American Zeitgeist”: An Interview with Nikhil Pal Singh The Drift. Well worth a read.
Antidote du jour (Alex Cox):
Alex writes: “My late dog, Pearl.”
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.