Links 4/30/2021

Gunda: a wordless 90-minute animal movie of mind-blowing ordinariness – and a work of genius Guardian

The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere ProPublica (dk)

Real-world tests of hybrid cars show higher-than-expected emissions Physics World

Tesla’s Latest Solar Stumble: Big Price Increases NYT

EXCLUSIVE Credit Suisse investors call for tougher coal finance policy -letter Reuters

European Towns Remove Traffic Signs to Make Streets Safer Deutche Welle (lyman alpha blob).

Texas enabled the worst carbon monoxide poisoning catastrophe in recent U.S. history NBC

Here’s how your mental health depends on collective wellbeing World Economic Forum


Should masks be worn outdoors? British Medical Journal. A debate, worth reading in full.

Widespread SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Among Attendees at a Large Motorcycle Rally and their Contacts, 30 US Jurisdictions, August–September, 2020 (PDF) Clinical Infectious Diseases. Sturgis. Conclusions: “These findings highlight the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with a mass gathering event that resulted in preventable illness, hospitalizations, and at least one reported death across multiple jurisdictions. The Sturgis Rally had many characteristics of a superspreading event: large crowds, high intensity of contact between people, potential for highly infectious individuals traveling from hotspots, and events in poorly ventilated indoor environments.” Also, the data is absolutely terrible.

* * *
Gene changes might explain long-haul COVID-19 symptoms (press release) EurekAlert

Researchers are closing in on long covid The Economist (Furzy Mouse).

* * *
Trust, J&J Shot Key to Vaccinating Homeless People US News

Why some people don’t experience vaccine side-effects, and why it’s not a problem The Conversation (nvl).

Gov. Ned Lamont signs bill eliminating Connecticut’s religious exemption for mandatory school vaccinations Hartford Courant

* * *
Novel sublineage within B.1.1.1 currently expanding in Peru and Chile, with a convergent deletion in the ORF1a gene (Δ3675-3677) and a novel deletion in the Spike gene (Δ246-252, G75V, T76I, L452Q, F490S, T859N) (not peer reviewed) Virological (Expat2uruguay). C.37. From the Summary: “C.37 Initially reported in Lima, Peru, in late December, [C.37] now accounts for 50 of 105 (47.6%) genomes in Lima between January 1 and March 18. Further RT-qPCR screening for VOCs [Variants of Concern] suggests that it is widespread in other regions of Peru. It is also expanding in Chile and has been reported in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US.”

* * *
SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties The Lancet

Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemic Scientific American


China Launches First Section of Its New Space Station Sky & Telescope


No One Is Saving Myanmar The Atlantic. Except (most of) the people who live there. One hopes. “A senior official at one of Myanmar’s largest banks, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told me he fears that the economy cannot be saved. There is, he said, ‘no confidence in the government … They have lost not only the people but also their f*cking minds.’ He added, ‘Sooner or later, it will go kaput.'” Meanwhile, in the Karens:


Despite ASEAN consensus, military abuses continue around the country Myanmar Now. Not even a little child would believe an ASEAN consensus could affect Myanmar’s “internal affairs.”

Information suppression in Myanmar Radio Free Asia [snort of derision]. As the Tatmadaw strangles the Internet, we are getting fewer organic videos and images, and more material from NGOs, color revolution stans, and now the opponents of those entities.

Rural migrants return to Hlaing Tharyar – and an uncertain future Frontier Myanmar

The Koreas

S.Korea says Novavax, Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines submitted for regulatory approval Reuters


Anti-masking and community mobility alone can’t explain the second wave of Covid-19 in India The Scroll

Questions About Modi Govt’s Handling of the COVID Surge That We Don’t Have Answers To The Wire

A desperate and determined diaspora scrambles to help India breathe Agence France Presse

‘We are witnessing a crime against humanity’: Arundhati Roy on India’s Covid catastrophe Guardian (km).

The unmaking of India FT


World Powers Want an Iran Deal by Mid-May to Avoid Monitoring Tussle Bloomberg

A bombshell recording in Iran threatens to complicate nuclear negotiations in Vienna NBC

Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens AP

Broken-hearted in Beirut Agence France Presse


Euro-Area Economy Slips Into Double-Dip Recession: GDP Update Bloomberg

Germany must tighten climate law to protect young people’s future, court rules Reuters

Everyone loves Germany’s Greens (for now) Politico

What Europe Must Do Project Syndicate


Brazil passes 400,000 Covid-19 deaths as vaccine rollout stalls France24

Brazil Rejects the Gamaleya Vaccine Derek Lowe, “In the Pipeline,” Science. Hilda Bastian, a thread:


Note South Korea link above.

With 400,000 Dead, Brazil Regulator Slammed For “Political” Veto Of Russian Vaccine BrasilWire

Watchdog: US aid to Venezuela driven by more than just need AP

Biden Administration

OnPolitics: ‘America is ready for a takeoff’ USA Today

By the numbers: How do 100 days of Biden and Trump (and Obama) compare? NBC

Biden Erased Decades of Historic Crimes in His Speech to Congress Siraj Hashmi, Glenn Greenwald. The deck: “Biden’s claim that the Capitol Riot was the ‘worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War’ is ahistorical garbage.”

White House ready to grind through next pandemic steps: ‘Every 1% from here on out will represent incredible progress’ CNN. They’re only now just figuring this out?

300,000 Deported in Biden’s First 100 Days Consortium News. Continuities with Trump…

Is Biden Accidentally Giving the Green Light to Mega-Mergers? Matt Stoller, BIG

Police State Watch

NYPD’s robot dog will be returned after outrage NY Post (Furzy Mouse).

Our Famously Free Press

Joe Rogan walks back anti-vaccination comments Axios

Why Is Facebook Targeting Washington Babylon? Washington Babylon


Revealed: The UK government campaign to force Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy Declassified UK


Boeing faces FAA audit of latest manufacturing flaw in 737 Max Crains Business Review

Groves of Academe

‘Everybody Is a Target Right Now’ Chronicle of Higher Education. “Concerned, he emailed his work account from a personal account, and received the following auto-reply: ‘Daniel Pollack-Pelzner is no longer an employee of Linfield University.’ And that’s how Pollack-Pelzner, a tenured professor of English, found out that he had been fired from the university where he’d worked for more than a decade.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge Michelle Flournoy, Foreign Affairs. Of WestExec. “U.S. warfighting concepts can no longer rely on attrition-based warfare—the notion that the side that can inflict the greater losses in personnel and materiel will prevail, which has long shaped U.S. war planning.”

Everything Is Illuminated Badly Fluorescents were terrible. But LEDs can drive you insane. New York Magazine.

Class Warfare

Adolph Reed Jr.: The Perils of Race Reductionism (interview) JSTOR Daily (nvl).

The Rise of ‘Woke Capital’ Is Nothing to Celebrate Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times.

Inequality’s deadly toll Nature

Empire of Pain — the story of the Sacklers and OxyContin FT. Yes, Harvard still has a Sackler Museum.

Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening Cities Journal

Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia Tended ‘Forest Gardens’ Smithsonian

Antidote du jour (via):

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. none

    Does anyone know what r/Superstonk and Dr. Susanne Trimbath are on about? Something about the DTCC covering up a massive amount of accounting fraud–I’ve forgotten the specifics. Is it tinfoil hattery, or is there something to it? It has spread to some lefty political discussions. Thanks.

  2. zagonostra

    Lovely Antidote du Jour, how nice not to wear a mask when taking in a fresh fragrant breath of air and sunshine.

  3. John Siman

    On Biden’s ahistorical and polarizing phrase “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War” — it’s worth recalling what Thomas Jefferson wrote about “the insurrection of Massachusetts,” i.e. Shays’ Rebellion, in 1787. Jefferson begins by discrediting a British propaganda campaign by which the 13 nascent United States were being smeared as anarchic:
    “… The British ministry,” Jefferson wrote in a letter to John Adams’s son-in-law, “have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets [i.e. Shays’ Rebellion, in and around Springfield, 1786-87]? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independant 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.”

      1. John Siman

        Thank you for the awesome Whiskey Rebellion link! Did you know that Adam Smith opposed all taxes on alcohol? Here’s what he said about beer, for example: “Man is an anxious animal and must have his care swept off by something that can exhilarate the spirits. It is alledged that this tax upon beer is an artificial security against drunkeness, but if we attend to it, we shall find that it by no means prevents it. In countries where strong liquors are cheap, as in France and Spain, the people are generally sober. But in northern countries, where they are dear, they do not get drunk with beer but with spirituous liquors. No body presses his friend to a glass of beer unless he choose it.”

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for your original quote. I’d seen the familiar part you highlighted but never the rest – the context is fascinating.

          William Hogeland has a great book on the Whiskey Rebellion and he argues that the tax wasn’t really on alcohol at all, it was in essence a wealth tax. Rural people in the new United States needed some means of exchange and the US$ at the time wasn’t exactly sound so nobody knew if that was really worth anything at all. Crops themselves were perishable and not directly exchangeable except in the near term. Once turned to mash and distilled however, the resulting product would last a long time. For the rural citizens disconnected from the big cities, whiskey was a store of the value of the labor that went into producing it, and became a financial asset and de facto currency in the absence of a trustworthy national one.

          The whiskey tax was no simple virtue signalling sin tax. It was imposed on the smaller, rural whiskey producers but Hogeland mentions that Alexander Hamilton granted the larger, more well connected distilleries an extremely generous tax exemption. Same as it ever was.

          The rebellion wasn’t just about a bunch of yokels who wanted their cheap booze. The tax hit their entire economy hard, and many of those affected had fairly recently taken up arms to secure the independence and freedom from taxation for patricians like Hamilton and Washington, and they didn’t much appreciate those elites now turning around and sticking it to them while handing out favors to those of their own class.

          1. km

            I have read similar in many places.

            Hamilton was nothing if not a man ready to use his insider status for a quick buck. No wonder he is the patron saint of the PMC.

          2. petal

            That was such a great book! Learned so much from it, couldn’t put it down. I recommended it to everybody I could. Sadly the people that needed to read it the most weren’t the least bit interested. After they saw the musical, Hamilton became a god that could not be criticised.

          3. rowlf

            I always suspected the subsequent Militia Act of 1792 with the requirement that citizens provide their own firearms is what contributed most to the US being crazy about firearms.

          4. Stephen V.

            Really appreciate this peeps! I’ve read Bouton’s *Taming Democracy* recommended by M. Stoller ! ) and have ordered the Hogeland.and am working my way through Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism: The Madisonian Framework and Its Legacy
            Author: Nedelsky, Jennifer
            Cheers All !

          5. LifelongLib

            IIRC the large producers were not exempted from the whisky tax, but Hamilton devised it so that it fell much more heavily on the small part-time producers. The tax was based on the size of the still, so the tax per gallon for the large producers running full time was much lower. One of Hamilton’s goals was to consolidate whiskey production into what he thought were more efficient large-scale operations.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Hamilton knew that you need large-scale operations to give good kick-backs to politicians – like himself. Small scale ones don’t or can’t.

    1. marym

      There’s nothing patriotic about trying to cancel the votes of working class people in AZ, GA, MI, PA, and WI, part of an effort which began long before the event at the Capitol – Trump had been claiming he’d need to win in the courts long before the election itself – and continues today across the country in new voter suppression laws in most of the states.

      The only issue I have with calling the event at the Capitol an “insurrection” is that the participants don’t seem to have wanted to “overthrow the government” but rather to keep it just the way it was with Trump still president even though he lost the election. Sore loser temper tantrum is maybe a more accurate phrase for what actually happened. Time may tell whether the people being arrested and charged and the elite politicians who egged them on expected (realistically or not) an escalation to a more overtly armed conflict.

      1. Phenix

        I live in PA. My mother was receiving mail in ballots at an address she hasn’t lived at for 10+ years. I have no idea if her ballot would have counted.
        The mail in ballot changes were unconstitutional per PA’s state constitution. If Trump was able to flip one state the PA would have gone to the Supreme Court and he could have won.
        Of course Trump could have run his 2016 campaign against Biden and won but he ran a terrible campaign and lost.
        Biden was easy to beat.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          I am still getting New Jersey absentee ballots forwarded to me even though I have lived in AZ for four years. There’s a giant box on the front of the envelope that says “DO NOT FORWARD.” I couldn’t vote for either of these morons so it was kind of like having two cigarettes and no matches.

        2. CitizenSissy

          Pennsylvania voter here. Each mail-in ballot has a barcode which would flag dupes; when applying,I had to provide my D/L number and last four digits to receive my ballot. BTW Mail- in ballot changes came courtesy of the Republican-led Pennsylvania Legislature, which called foul when the outcome didn’t go as predicted. Western states have run exclusively mail-in ballots, to great success.

          Trump campaign didn’t flip any states because their lack of actual evidence got them laughed out of court every time but once. Sorry, but the fact Trump came in short didn’t mean a conspiracy. I live in suburban Philly, and people would have crawled over broken glass to vote against Trump.

      2. Pelham

        I think the issue of voter fraud last year should center on the question of whether the fraud nationwide was greater than the usual amount, since we seem resigned to the fact that massive chicanery is inevitable.

        As for voter suppression laws, granted, they’re happening. But they should be considered in light of the Democratic voter amplification that we’ve experienced with basically unrestricted legal and illegal immigration over the past 50 years, even as most Americans over most of those years wanted less of it. Two wrongs don’t make things right, but the context matters.

        That said and speaking of the working class votes, I’d eliminate mail-in balloting except in very restricted circumstances but set election days on weekends and require some form of photo ID.

        1. marym

          Massive chicanery has not been shown to exist, in 2020 or for as long as Republicans have been claiming it as an excuse for voter suppression measures. In some of the 2020 court cases, and in formulating new voter suppression laws, Republicans themselves are now sometimes saying it’s not because there was fraud, but because their constituents are “concerned” about fraud. Hmm… how did they happen to become so concerned?

          Illegal immigrants can’t vote. If Republicans want votes from immigrants who become citizens or whose children are citizens (or from any other demographic group) they’re free to develop policies that appeal to them rather than using them as an excuse to make voting difficult for many demographic groups in many parts of the country.

          Working class people work on week-ends.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Working class people work on week-ends.

            That’s true, but everyone works on a Tuesday. To put it another way, in Aus where attendance at a polling place is compulsory, the election day is on a Saturday. I’m not sure, however, what provisions are in place to make sure weekend workers can vote without sanction from their employers (I assume they exist in some form).

            Better in the US might be to make the Pres. election day a holiday, but then there are people who work on holidays too!

            I agree with the rest of your post.

    1. Finnaeus

      If you’re interested in native forest gardens, the book 1491 talks about them in regards to The Amazon and also North America.

      1. pasha

        1491 is an amazing read. thru it, i discovered that i am living in a remnant forest garden in west michigan. the Adawa inhabitants would clear the forest floor of all saplings that were not white oak, hickory, or beech. the acorns were harvested to make a sustaining bread, while hickory and beech nuts drew deer and wild turkey in the winter and spring, important sources of protein during the lean season. even today, scarcely a day goes by that i don’t see turkey or deer nibbling thru my forest

  4. Fireship

    > What Europe Must Do Project Syndicate

    This piece could have been called “I am a neoliberal and this is what I believe.” The author is clearly stuck in a 20th Century mindset and cannot see a world beyond capitalism or USA Good, Russia Evil. Europe needs to realize that the US is a liability and not an ally. Europe and Russia are natural allies. Talk of a US pivot to confront China in its own back yard is madness. A senile nation, led by a senile president.

    1. John A

      Yes, it is quite remarkable all this talk of fear of invasion by Russia when the US literally has occupying troops and bases that are not at all subject to the rule of law in the European countries in question. Apart from regular stories of drunken brawls/rapes by soldiers, there was the case of the allegedly CIA operative in England who left the base, drove on the wrong side of the road and killed a young motorcyclist. She was hurriedly repatriated and extradition to face trial has been refused. Even supposedly neutral countries such as Ireland and Sweden, have been used by US military aircraft to rendition suspects and ‘smuggle’ arms. Not to mention secretive movements of nuclear weapons.

      1. Robert Gray

        > … left the base, drove on the wrong side of the road and killed a young motorcyclist.

        Harry Dunn.

        What’s that slogan one hears everywhere nowadays? Oh, yeah: “Say his name!”

      2. Procopius

        Craig Murray wrote a lengthy column explaining the details explaining why the intelligence guy was forbidden by British law to be granted diplomatic immunity and his wife certainly did not have it, which is why she was illegally spirited out of England.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The NYPD office in Israel is there so that the Mossad could watch the film where Jeffrey Epstein “kills himself” repeatedly. Even Jeffrey watched it a couple of times. He thinks it’s hilarious.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      What I’d like to know is why don’t the cops have to check with the public before procuring all their dangerous new toys?!?!? They seem to have forgotten who they;re supposed to be working for.

      1. jsn

        Somewhere between Buckley v Valeo and Citizens United, the government quit working for people in favor of the more the dependable corporate citizens they now work for (Mitches scolding of Coca Cola not withstanding).

        Those war toys work for the corporatons in innumerable ways. Governemnt is doing what it’s new constituency wants.

        Cops don’t work for us, we don’t spend enough on politicians to even be noticed.

    2. Maritimer

      This was classic: Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes.

      So, now they get together with the pollsters, behavioural scientists and devise their strategy to get the acceptance rates up. (Sound familiar? Hint: Covid Vaccine Acceptance.) These anti-human machines are not going away.

      Soon on THEIRTUBE: Robodog saving child, helping old lady cross street, burning building rescue, etc. Academics get to work on this!

  5. The Rev Kev

    “China Launches First Section of Its New Space Station”

    I guess since the Chinese were banned from the International Space Station, they decided to do it themselves. This is a job for – the US Space Force! No, seriously. When the assembled station is in operation there will be all sorts of demands by Congress to counter the Chinese space threat. Personally I am in favour of any space operations that is not dominated my Musk or Bozos aka the “Weylan-Yutani” corporation of the 21st century. Seems that the ISS is showing its age and will be splashed down into the oceans in the next several years. So that may mean that the only platform over earth will be the Chinese one which will be cooperating with Russia in space exploration. I look forward to videos of scenes of life aboard the Tiangong 3 after it is commissioned. More on this story below-

    1. amfortas the hippie

      i’ve had weylan yutani replacing musk et alia in my head for a long time
      and good for the chinese
      only chinese words i know that are not food related i learned from firefly

    2. Pelham

      Speaking of space exploration, what exactly are we exploring up there? Are we trying to see how long human beings can endure a micro-gravity environment? If so, how much progress have we made on that in that front? None, so far as I can see.

      How about the moon and Mars? Dead rocks. The rest of the solar system looks even bleaker. Maybe we need to start thinking realistically about the technologies that might take us somewhere worth visiting, in another star system, in a realistic time frame. Rockets and solar sails won’t do it.

      On the more productive side of things, NASA is proposing new space telescopes, a couple of which it is believed will give us insights into several dozen planets in distant star systems that are much like Earth. In fact, a cosmic telescope (not proposed but quite possible) would allow us to actually see the surface of these planets in high detail.

      I suggest we let other nations futz with weightlessness and desolate rocks, like searching in the dark for lost keys under a lamppost because that’s where the light is. We should concentrate on finding possible livable worlds and even intelligent life where it’s most likely to be found. Equally, let’s find ways to pay a visit.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Dead rocks.

        Exactly. There is nothing to wreck.

        Much of what we are doing is a necessary step to the end of power production on Earth and even mining. If we are an advanced society in (unknown but without the invention of space magic) centuries, all of our power will be transmitted from space and will be generated with materials that never came from Earth. Short of space magic, rockets have to send the robots that will build these items. Solar panels will be the butter churns of future generations. They will exist to show how dumb dumbs generated power on the planet.

        Equally, let’s find ways to pay a visit.

        I watch Star Trek as much as is humanly reasonable, but lets not kid ourselves. The means for traveling faster than light if its possible or at least creating significantly faster speeds than we can manage is going to come out of a note book or something like the Hadron collider. If we don’t build a space based infrastructure, we aren’t building a space magic ship.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and Ad astra incrementis, dammit.
          it’s what We do…and better spent going out there, than making things uncomfortable for our neighbors down here.
          Give the hyperambitious something to do, at the very least.
          …and we’ll never get to even the earlier times of the star trek universe if we don’t figure out how to get nextdoor without too much trouble.

          i reckon the key to opening space is a much, much better way to escape the gravity well.
          after that’s solved, away we go.
          would change everything, geopolitically.

          1. LifelongLib

            Only one of Magellan’s original five ships made it back, but it had a cargo of spices that paid for the entire expedition. So far we haven’t found anything in space that comes close to that. Nobody has ever made a penny off of space travel that wasn’t from a government contract.

        2. Procopius

          Back in the ’50s there were a couple of science fiction stories I vaguely remember which involved companies which made a shallow dive into the atmosphere of Jupiter and scooped up “hydrocarbons” which were useful enough on Earth to make the operation profitable. There were lots of stories about mining the asteroid belt, like The Expanse. In those days, of course, we didn’t know about the destructive effect of null gravity. At the present time interstellar travel is impossible by General Relativity. However, science is not static, and the hope eternally springs that some way around the limit will be found. I don’t think humanity is going to survive that long, though.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Inequality’s deadly toll–

    A Prussian doctor, Rudolf Virchow, described the social determinants of health long before the phrase was coined. In the mid-1800s, he began a government-commissioned investigation into outbreaks of typhus in Upper Silesia, a coal-rich region in what is now Poland.

    Virchow documented hunger, illiteracy, poverty and depression among Silesians, and concluded that the root of the problem lay in their exploitation. “The plutocracy, which draw very large amounts from the Upper Silesian mines, did not recognize Upper Silesians as human beings, but only as tools,” he wrote in his 1848 report on the typhus epidemic.

    When you treat the universe as a collection of objects rather than a communion of subjects, eventually you regard even members of your own species as objects to be used. Add to that Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” in its (intentionally?) misunderstood popular understanding which turns ecology into an athletic contest, and we have a worldview that happily considers oppression to be “doing God’s work.”

    It might help if we conceived of natural selection (another problematic phrase) as a result of a species being able to fit into its surrounding ecosystem.

    1. cnchal

      . . . and when the tool breaks, in the trash it goes to be replaced by another one waiting to be used.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Everyone loves Germany’s Greens (for now)”

    If the Greens get power for themselves and adopt all their program, then it might be a good idea to go long in blankets and woolly jackets in Europe. One thing that they want to do is to have Russia kicked out of the SWIFT system for payments as punishment for something or other. But Russia is also the biggest exporter of oil, natural gas and hard coal to the European Union. You know, the stuff that Europeans use to keep themselves warm in the freezing European winters. If Russia was kicked out of the SWIFT system, then there would be no way to pay for all that stuff which means that those exports would stop (and probably be sent to China instead). Might be a bit of an own goal that. And of course that is not the only thing that would stop-

    1. km

      The Greens are applauded because they offer an opportunity for virtue-signaling, but at the same time dutifully support the U.S. foreign policy agenda.

      1. amfortas the hippie

        aye, if weather would settle into some semblance of normal, lol
        first batch of tomatoes went into garden a month ago…2 near freezes since then… i use the clear plastic things croissants come in as cloches.
        bar detail work almost finished, made a start on installing the mini split system, got most of the 8-10′ aviary fencing done(needs more bamboo poles cut and added for stays)– this, around the 3rd chicken house as well as the raised beds on house side of road(to keep library chickens out of mischief as they wander on bug patrol)…
        more city dump mulch in new garden across road and in a bunch of 5 gal pots and the prolly 20 gallon tubs neighbor’s cows are done with, rooted cuttings from trees and herbs, and on and on
        napping in parking lot of chemo place atm
        lots more more minor tasks done or begun in intervals
        most of this is just lil ol me
        i’m sore,exhausted and this crazy weather has my skeleton in an uproar
        also had an ad hoc open house at the bar…grilled cajun fish and shrimp and black beans and rice w andouille in a big g dutch oven
        we did dishes with water boiled on the fire, lol
        my discovery of my ability to stream my favorite radio program from back home instigated this( 90.1 kpft houston- sundays is zydeco and blues all day)
        busy busy

        1. lordkoos

          That sounds like my kind of feed, and my kind of music too.

          Weather here has been quite variable as well — yesterday it was 80 degrees, while earlier in the week the night-time low was 36.

          1. amfortas the hippie

            usually by this time winter clothes are stowed and i’m mostly nekkid in the garden
            that february ice age confused all the plants too: we have late feb, march april may and june wildflowers all blooming at once… along with most of the trees
            add crazy allergies to the mix
            can’t wait to see what that does to summer green or to things like pecan and acorn production
            which will have follow on effects on wildlife etc
            good news is that everything that is flowering is doing so with vim and vigor
            and the birds are all back
            hopefully that plus ice age will put an end to our now 5 year grasshopper insanity

  8. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Joe Rogan walks back anti-vaccination comments

    Lots of jealous people in the media really have it out for Rogan don’t they? The woke crowd is just waiting to pounce on any little thing they can possibly misconstrue and spread it widely.

    Wake me up when Rachel Maddow is ever taken to task for all of her deliberate making crap up and shilling for spooks. At least Rogan doesn’t try to claim to be an authority on anything.

    1. petal

      Yeah tall poppy got his head taken off. Because he calls a spade a spade, has such a wide range of guests, and is popular on top of this, they have it out for him. He’s not playing their game and it p-sses them off.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Also he endorsed Sanders, and that is unforgivable with the woke liberal crowd.

        I don’t listen to Rogan a ton, but I try to tune in when he has physicists on. Those are not only really informative, but absolutely unintentionally hilarious. Despite his “I’m just a dope smoking meathead” self deprecation, Rogan is a pretty smart guy. But he’s no match for theoretical physicists. I think Brian Greene was suppressing some big time eye rolling when Rogan kept trying to turn the discussion toward aliens instead of string theory in a recent interview, and there was one from a couple years or so ago with Sean Carroll where Joe was maybe one toke over the line and couldn’t understand a damn thing Carroll was saying. That’s just quality entertainment ;)

        1. petal

          haha I’ll have to look for the Sean Carroll and Brian Greene episodes. I have enjoyed the episodes I found on youtube, and they exposed me to different people and different topics I never would’ve explored or heard about otherwise. I appreciate the breadth because it’s rare to find these days from one person. Yes, agree, he is a pretty smart guy under the dope smoking meathead costume.

        2. Michaelmas

          There’s an episode that Rogan did with Roger Penrose about three years back that’s worth a watch.

          One of the things that Rogan does is to shut up and let the scientists — in this case, Pentrose — answer (unlike most interviewers who always have to be inserting themselves every few seconds). Penrose for his part knows exactly how far he can go with explanations for reasonably intelligent normies.

  9. Tom Stone

    A health care anecdote.
    I have need to replace my hearing aids for some time, so when Honest Joe promised that $2,000 checks would be out the door immediately I looked into factory refurbished units, they come with a 1 year warranty and the savings over new is about 40%.
    In February prices were ranging from $1,800- $2,100 good units, just doable.
    When that munificent $1,400 showed up ( Tugs forelock ) I took another look and the unit I liked was on sale for $1,398.00!
    $2 less than $2,000 was within budget!!
    Once you get them they have to be programmed after you have a hearing test.
    Hearing tests are free at CostCo.
    I made three calls and got three quotes to program a pair of hearing aids of the make and model I bought.
    $500, $1,000, $200.

    1. Tom

      Not sure if you are still weighing your options or not, but we got hearing aids for our son through this place: Far less expensive than going through an audiologist. All fitting/programming is included in the price and performed by a local audiologist. (We’re in Phoenix and there were two audis that they worked with in our area. The one we chose was probably the best audiologist our son has ever worked with.) The least expensive HA I saw on their site was $800/device, which is over your budget, but so is refurbished plus programming.

    2. campbeln

      Here’s another one, the wife was looking at her ADP 401k contributions and this caught my eye:

      Retirement Healthcare Costs: $6,322.00

      Projected monthly average cost beginning at 67 including inflation.

      In America, a 40-something has to save enough for retirement to cover $75,864 PER YEAR to cover healthcare costs.

      Food, rent/housing, utilities, etc are extra.

      And yet $15 minimum wage is too much?

  10. The Rev Kev

    “By the numbers: How do 100 days of Biden and Trump (and Obama) compare?”

    Lots of talk about Biden’s first hundred days but they seem to omit a few details such as the following-

    -Reduced the $2000 payment down to $1,400 – if you can get it
    -Bombed Syria because reasons.
    -Killed the push for $15 an hour minimum wage.
    -Continues building The Wall and taking away people’s property to do so.
    -Kept the cages for children going if not increasing.
    -Thrown more money to the Pentagon
    -Not cancelling student debt
    -Increased police budgets and ramped up deliveries of military equipment to police departments.
    -Instead of being pushed left, he is pushing people right right.
    -Will not shut down the Dakota Access pipeline.
    -Continued Trump’s aggressive policies to China and Russia and militarization of the Pacific.
    -Extended the pullout from Afghanistan by a coupla months.
    -Gives only a fraction of the news conferences and briefings that Trump did.

    There are probably others that I have forgotten but c’mon, give him a break. It’s only been a hundred days. Must be why the Washington Post shut down their fact-checkers on the Biden regime.

    1. lordkoos

      “-Gives only a fraction of the news conferences and briefings that Trump did.”

      As far as I’m concerned, that is merciful.

    2. campbeln

      -Keeping patents safe for the American drug companies to protect American profits
      -Realigned deportation numbers back to the Obama years rather than the horror of the circa 50% drop of the Trump years

      Biden, the World Needs Your Help to End the Pandemic

      300,000 Deported in Biden’s First 100 Days Consortium News

  11. BillS

    Re the carbon monoxide poisoning article – No, holy water is not the antidote to carbon monoxide. Texas would do well to require CO alarms in garages/homes and educate their citizens better.

  12. Tom Stone

    Those overseas postings by the NYPD look mighty sweet, I wonder what the Per Diem is?
    Since you are a “Liason” you will of course have to travel around your area of responsibility on the taxpayer’s dime and there will be necessary expenses for entertainment.
    And housing, which must be both secure and appropriate for someone of your dignity and importance.
    I can’t imagine how hard it is to get along in Djakarta on a mere $10K a month in salary…plus benefits.

    1. JTMcPhee

      When I worked at EPA, back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there was a vicious struggle among the ranks of the Air Division (and anyone else who could conjure up a reason to be included) to see who would get “detailed” to the crews that flew to Japan and Europe to conduct the tailpipe emission and manufacturing compliance reviews at auto makers there. Quite a plum, for the brown-noses who got picked. Lots of different factories all over the landscape that had to be “checked for compliance.”

      This hardly guaranteed that the most competent and enforcement-minded in the Agency went forth with tailpipe samplers, micrometers, shields and bucklers, to ensure that imported autos were not in fact polluting our precious bodily fluids with more than the regulatorily-captured Daily Allowance of NOX, CO2, unburned hydrocarbons and such nasties.

  13. allan

    Amazon wants waiver from local labor requirement connected to tax breaks [WXXI]

    Complete shocker. Did not see this one coming. Oh, wait …

    … It wouldn’t be the first time.

    Amazon has a history of requesting and receiving waivers on local labor requirements attached to tax incentives — and some municipalities, desperate for jobs and investment, have gone along.

    Last year, the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency granted a similar request from Amazon and Trammell Crow to forgo using local labor to build a 3.8-million-square-foot warehouse in the Syracuse suburb of Clay. The agency had already granted $70.8 million in tax breaks for the project when the developer sought relief from the local labor requirement, telling agency officials that it was only able to fill 70 percent of the construction jobs with local workers.

    The Onondaga County IDA, apparently satisfied that the company did its due diligence, ultimately provided the waiver.

    In 2017, Amazon talked officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida, into releasing it from a requirement to pay “responsible wages” to employees at a new fulfillment center. The $92 million facility was on land the company was leasing from the county’s airport.

    The town of Montgomery in Orange County in New York last year released the developer of an Amazon warehouse from using local labor to install a fire sprinkler system and to do concrete and metal work. …

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Thanks for that Flora – I ignored the reports on Sky & the Boris Broadcasting Corporation in relation to that, likely because there was so much other BS having me wishing that I could do an Elvis on the TV, but for the fact I don’t own a pistol & can’t afford to replace the goggle box. I imagine that they wish that they could give them the appearance of Navalny supporters with similarly edited French Police doing their thing – maybe one future dystopian day,

    2. petal

      I had seen about the march because I check in to Laurence Fox’s twitter account from time to time, and he was one of the marchers, and had photos, videos, etc. It looked pretty big.

      1. ambrit

        I too ‘noticed’ his political aspirations relative to the Mayoralty of London.
        Talk about tilting against windmills, but in a good way. Fox would make a good Don Quixote, both on and off the screen.
        Good on ‘im.

        1. petal

          I confess I had a crush on him since Lewis.
          Yeah he is pretty far behind in 3rd place, but he gave it a good try and shook things up a little bit. I don’t reckon he’s going away any time soon.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge Michelle Flournoy“

    ‘U.S. warfighting concepts can no longer rely on attrition-based warfare—the notion that the side that can inflict the greater losses in personnel and materiel will prevail, which has long shaped U.S. war planning.’

    What that means that instead of fighting goat herdsmen armed with AK-47s, they will now be facing countries with their own air forces and missiles. And that will mean body counts not seen since Vietnam. But what Flournoy is really saying is more money for Pentagon contractors with less oversight, please. And who cares if those new weapon systems anyway?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      In terms of attrition, the USA has ‘won’ all of its post-1945 conflicts by inflicting far more casualties than it sustained. That hasn’t translated into many meaningful victories. Flournoy correctly recognizes the importance of new technologies in any future wars. But she ignores the reality that China is cranking out far more STEM graduates annually than the USA is. Or that Russia cranks out roughly the same as the USA (hence double per capita). Barring a major change in higher education trends, I don’t see how the Pentagon can expect military superiority in any future Eurasian war. This link from Statista is revealing; I didn’t know that Indonesia and Iran had so many STEM grads:

      1. jsn

        Given the state of US infrastructure and public institutional technology, hell, state capability in general, I don’t see how the US economy works after the first serious IT reprisal.

        At that point the Pentagon looks like the Tatmadaw, an army looking for a country.

        It may prove instructive to watch how that plays out.

    2. David

      Throughout the twentieth century, the US was able to count on very large reserves of manpower, and enormous numbers of weapons with practically unlimited logistic support. This produced a de facto military doctrine of attrition warfare: in other words, physically destroying the enemy by superior numbers and firepower. This worked, if crudely, in WW2 and in Korea. In Vietnam, whilst this tactic worked on the few occasions the NVA tried to engage the US in conventional combat (they were annihilated) it failed against guerrilla warfare. There was a major doctrinal change after Vietnam to what was called “manoeuvre warfare”, where the emphasis was on achieving objectives rather than on destruction for its own sake. The present generation of military leaders would have been trained that way. There were signs of the use of manoeuvre warfare in both Gulf Wars, but the US advantage in firepower was such that, if necessary they could just blast their way through.

      I don’t know what’s in the minds of US military doctrine experts these days, but the temptation for a big, powerful state to try to win wars by brute force attrition is obviously going to be the default, especially since it promises to limit friendly casualties. But of course it only works against an inferior opponent, and there were those even in the Cold War who wondered if it would actually work against the Soviets, with their massive numerical strength.

      In any event, it’s not certain to work if the US tries anything silly with China, and the US could well lose an attrition-based war. There’s an interesting little wrinkle known as the Lanchester theorem, which (simply put) holds that between two numerically matched opponents, the side with the greater firepower has an advantage equal to the comparison of the squares of the firepower, whilst for opponents where each unit has the same firepower, the difference is relative to the square of the numbers of units involved. As a result, relatively small differences can produce quite lop-sided results, and it’s not sure that the US would be the beneficiary. And of course the Chinese would have to accept an attrition war, rather than trying use clever tactics against US weaknesses. .

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        My latest listening while working is Mark Feldman’s history of the Opium Wars between as you very likely know the then extremely competent drug cartel heavies the Royal Navy at the height of Empire & the Chinese. Unbelievably one sided as were pretty much all of the military campaigns until the Brits come up against the Boers followed by the 2 big ones, of which in the first the heavy machine gun & artillery were used to mow down combatants in much the same way as had been dished out previously to spear waving tribesmen.

        I do wonder about NATO as historically forces made up from different nations have problems gelling.

        Things change & as Mr. Tyson said ” Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face “.

    3. BrianC - PDX

      Correction: Body counts not seen since WW II.

      The other part is that the MIC, if it gets into a real war, is going to find out that the stuff it needs is going to get consumed in the first couple of weeks. Then it’s going to be all gone. Because the US has no remaining domestic production with the capacity to ramp up and supply all the mundate items need to sustain a *real* conflict. Thinking about small arms ammunition, cruise missles, and other stuff that gets consumed in copious amounts in a *real* war.

      Just look at our failed attempts to make n95 face masks at scale. In peace time.

  15. GF

    Revealed: The UK government campaign to force Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy Declassified UK

    Why isn’t the same attention being paid to Julian Assange in the MSM as to the Russian US puppet Navalny?

  16. JohnMc

    ‘flu has disappeared worldwide’ don’t you expect more science from people publishing under the banner of ‘scientific american’?

    while you might wish to make the argument that flu has disappeared as the result of NPIs, if you do so you should at least address the long recognized phenomenon that new respiratory pathogens are known to replace existing, endemic ones. Here are a couple of quick reads that explain:

      1. Cuibono

        well that is likely since it is not thought to be homegrown…As far as I know Australia doesnt mostly have the right set of conditions to brew new flu

  17. JTMcPhee

    So grateful for NC to provide a place to rant, my little voice pretty much unheard around the world.

    Today, dare I say f*ck NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NYT and the rest for filling our eyes and ears with soul-destroying lies from the Blob and Deep State creaturesf. The occasion today is that bit about “nuclear negotiations in Vienna” and the overinflating and likely mis-translating of some bit of comment from an Iranian diplomat.

    There already IS an agreement. The only issue is whether the US troglodytes will “re-join” the JCPOA abide by it (as the Iranians have patently been doing), despite Israeli and US provocations that are the worst kind of abuse and violence.

    The US and its tail-taggers somehow think it is all ok to now demand ‘further concessions’ from the Iranians (whose country is being vastly damaged by US illegal-under-“international law” sanctions and embargoes and Israeli attacks, beyond those negotiated in the JCPOA. One might expect the Iranians may eventually, self-preservation trumping their non-nuclear pledge, find it advisable to do like the Israel- ites did and start building their own nukes. Which in the Bigger Bully-Greater Sociopath world of US-determined “hegemony,” is about the only action (see N. Korea, UK, France, and of course Israel and their 200 to 600 “non-acknowledged nuclear weapons”) that seems to persuade the neocon a$$hats to back down.

    Lots of reasons to despair over the future of this misbegotten species, which produces occasional pulses of reason and beauty but mostly shows an increasingly manifest death wish — occasioned by the ability of a very few of us to reach, by concentrating their efforts, the pinnacles of power from which they can loose destruction on the rest of us and the planet we infest.


    1. Phillip Cross

      Don’t punish yourself. Switch it off, tune it out! You wont be missing much.

      As far as I can tell, idle curiosity about geopolitics helps nobody.

      I mean, what are we going to do about these problems we hear about? My guess is, “Nothing, nothing and more nothing”.

        1. Phillip Cross

          It’s right up there with “NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NYT” on the list of things not worth bothering with.

  18. QuicksilverMessenger

    re: Vaccine side-effects and different responses. First sentence of the article states “Most vaccines have side-effects and COVID vaccines are no different.”. Ok, well… I don’t think I’ve ever had any of the side effects from any other vaccine that I am hearing about from the Covid vaccines. I have a friend who is a firefighter and was basically out for a week, losing 15 lbs in the process. Every other person I know (ages 35-50 basically) has had fever, aches, and has taken time off of work. I have never heard of this from any other vaccine.
    Is this normal? I just want some truth and clarity about this. I think people who might be hesitant about the vaccine are seeing their friends and co-workers etc. getting hammered by the vaccine and thinking to themselves, ‘wait a minute- is this really a medicine?’. This might be a reason for drop off in uptake.
    I only ever hear things like ‘yes, these reactions are normal, blah blah.’ Or am I mistaken and, in fact, lots of other vaccines knock you out? Like tropical disease vaccines or something like those which I have never had?

    1. amfortas the hippie

      i got the moderna and only had a sore arm
      brother got the pfizer and was in hell for 5 days for both shots
      i’m hearing much the same for both drugs from all over
      oncologist just told wife to get the moderna(which is what’s available out our way, via the national guard).. but during her off week from chemo… and to expect to be hammered because she already had covid. said chemo shouldn’t be a factor during off week

      hammered because her immune system is already primed to recognize the antibodies because she had a mild case in january

      and yes… a small minority of people do indeed have side effects from any given vaccine… some even acquire whatever disease the vaccine is meant to prevent(very rare)
      my mom, oth, has a jumpy vagus nerve or something and whenever she gets a shot or even blood drawn she pukes and collapses into near coma
      worst patient ever

      1. RMO

        I had a sore arm for a few days from the Pfizer vaccine (first shot only so far). I’ve had varying degrees of side effects from the flu vaccines I’ve had over the years, from none at all to feeling like I had the flu to odd ones such as the tops of my feet feeling clammy for days afterwards.

      2. chuck roast

        Clearly, unlike my family, your family has not been practicing the mongrelization of the races. My family seem to have interbred with a wide variety of other broke-ass individuals giving us a lot of genetic diversity. So, this morning I went to Stop & Shop and got my J&J jab. Despite the over-the-top warnings of the administering clinician it turned out to be just another day in paradise. What the old timers lacked in good taste they made up for with good luck.

  19. QuicksilverMessenger

    re The Groves of Academe article.

    Wow. This one hit home to me and I was beginning to feel emotionally lit up by it. My grandfather was president of that University for a long time many years ago and I was oddly feeling a personal stake in this situation, like wanting to call them as say ‘wtf?’
    But really, this whole mindset is coming for everyone- If a tenured professor can be canned just like that, then everything is relentlessly moving toward ‘at-will’ employment. But the college will be sued so we’ll see how that shakes out. Could be important.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        I know! Sounding like Monty Python upper class twits of the year: Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith, Nigel Incubator-Jones, Gervaise Brook-Hampster.
        Maybe this is telling us something…

  20. John

    I have had a lot of vaccinations connected to overseas travel. The second moderna vaccine made me a little tired the next day.
    The worst was a meningitis vaccine that knocked me down for three days with all the symptoms of the disease except for killing me. But three days is better than getting it for real and dying or severe brain damage. I think the yellow fever one may have been like that too. I am thankful for all the hepatitis vaccines and the shingles ones.

    1. QuicksilverMessenger

      Thank you for this. I wish one would hear this on a widespread basis, that yes, indeed, some vaccines really do hit one hard. I don’t know but maybe it would help uptake

      1. worldofwonder

        Shingrix hits many people hard.
        Typhoid vaccine was my least favorite. 48 hours of 104 F

        But pull up the VAERS data: the numbers are off the charts relative to flu vaccines: something like 100:1

  21. Mikel

    RE: “Boeing faces FAA audit of latest manufacturing flaw in 737 Max” Crains Business Review

    Ah, more of the return to “normal”…..

  22. kareninca

    Okay, since no-one else has asked:

    from the article above (“Gene changes might explain long-haul COVID-19 symptoms”):

    “Results from a new cell study suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can bring about long-term gene expression changes.” and “”We found that exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein alone was enough to change baseline gene expression in airway cells,”

    So, that is from infection. Does the vaccine do the same thing? Since it produces copies of the spike protein?

  23. VietnamVet

    I am in the bargaining stage of grief. Shocked that I am not depressed yet.

    Future Forever Wars; “Body counts not seen since WW II”. This number of casualties has already been passed in the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the Lancet article is a sad beam of light that is ignored; “SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties”.

    Nationalize the public health service in the USA, opt for elimination – test, contact trace, quarantine, mask, social distance and personal hygiene. This is the war against coronavirus and its variants the nation as a whole should be fighting right now.

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