Links 5/15/2021

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Bison could be the ‘natural firefighters’ we need to tackle wildfires EuroNews (David L)

‘Talkative’ dinosaur species found in Mexico DW

Roads and highways disrupt bee pollination Popular Science (resilc)

Scientists Just Discovered a Hidden Pattern in Soil’s Carbon Emissions ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

French vineyards devastated by changing climate reportedly expect to lose up to 50% of their crops this year Business Insider

Climate Emissions Shrinking the Stratosphere, Scientists Reveal Guardian

The golden ratio: An ancient Greek formula could be responsible for most hit musicals PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

Politically polarized brains share an intolerance of uncertainty ScienceBlog (Dr. Kevin)

Mammals Can Breathe Through Their Intestines Gizmodo

Anal oxygen administration may save lives Economist (Dr. Kevin)

Why We Speak More Weirdly at Home The Atlantic (Dr. Kevin). Not a feature of my uptight WASP upbringing.

Our Weirdest Dreams Could Be Training Us for Life, New Theory Says Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

From Its Myriad Tips: Mushroom Brain London Review of Books (David L)


The Missing Dead: How the Media Has Misreported COVID’s Toll in Poorer Nations Counterpunch


The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill Wired (resilc). Important.


Pandemic untamed in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan Asia Times (Kevin W)


India variant could seriously disrupt lifting of lockdown, says Boris Johnson Guardian (Kevin W)


The CDC’s Big Mask Surprise Came Out of Nowhere Atlantic

NY Yankees Covid-19: How vaccinated members tested positive for coronavirus CNN. Lambert: “Good thing CDC is collecting data on vaccinated people with asymptomatic Covid. Oh, wait…”

Walmart to Stop Requiring Masks for Vaccinated Workers and Shoppers Wall Street Journal


Tiangong: China may gain a monopoly on space stations – here’s what to expect The Conversation (Kevin W)

Despite delisting concerns, the number of Chinese companies on US equity markets rises South China Morning Post (resilc)

China Lands on Mars in Crowning Moment for Space Program Wall Street Journal


Parallel universes Chris Grey. On the Queen’s Speech.

New Cold War

A nation no longer divided? How Russians are increasingly remembering, rather than erasing, the country’s bloody Civil War history RT (Chuck L)


4:30 AM EDT: Live: Hamas fires rockets as Israel renews air strikes BBC

Bernie Sanders: The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for the Netanyahu Government New York Times (Kevin C)

The new Guernica : Netanyahu exposes the role of France, UK and Germany Defend Democracy

As Israel bombards Gaza, BDS urges renewed economic pressure Al Jazeera (resilc)

As Arab world rallies around Palestinians and bloodshed mounts, Trump-era peace deals fade from view Washington Post

From resilc: “PLO Embassy, Vermont”:

Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy The Hill

Yemen: Saudi Arabia’s Lost Cause Scott Ritter (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Pentagon Surveilling Americans Without a Warrant, Senator Reveals Vice (furzy)

Capitol Seizure

Democrats move to establish commission on Capitol riot as Republicans start pushing back on official narrative RT (Kevin W)

Looming Texas Law Would Allow Anti-Choice ‘Vigilantes’ to Sue Anyone Who ‘Aids or Abets’ an Abortion Common Dreams (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black homeowner had a white friend stand in for third appraisal. Her home value doubled. Indianapolis Star (Dr. Kevin)

Our Famously Free Press

Summary of Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland Department of Homeland Security (fk). After all of the pearl-clutching about the transition of power in January, when nada happened, we now have this, issued 5/14. In the first para:

Social media and online forums are increasingly exploited by these actors to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and activity.

Homeland Security releases new terrorism alert warning violent extremists could strike businesses and places of worship across the US as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease Daily Mail

Facebook’s Secret Rules About the Word “Zionist” Impede Criticism of Israel Intercept

Confronting Disinformation Spreaders on Twitter Only Makes It Worse, MIT Scientists Say Vice. Irritating to see people rediscovering social psychology basics as if they were the first to work them out.

Gas shortages likely to linger for days The Hill

Chicago Police Are Causing Car Accidents And Drivers Are Dying Jalopnik

Big Oil Is Trying to Make Climate Change Your Problem to Solve Rolling Stone (furzy)

Record High Trade Deficit Angry Bear

Starlink review: broadband dreams fall to Earth The Verge. Kevin W: And we lose the night sky for this?

Apple Patents a Way To Deliver 3D Content Without 3D Glasses Patently Apple. I find 3D hype particularly annoying, since all those products will do is give me a headache. I pray they don’t become popular.

Facebook Loses Bid to Block Ruling on EU-U.S. Data Flows Wall Street Journal

Cashing Out Heisenberg Report:

Coming full circle, Rabobank’s Every noted that “Colonial [Pipeline] paid Russian hackers a ransom of $5 million IN CRYPTO, which could not make a clearer case for why the SEC might want to be step in.”

Ireland defies hackers’ bitcoin demand over health system Financial Times

Class Warfare

Desperate for workers, US restaurants and stores raise pay Associated Press

Amazon Access to Mailbox Could Be Grounds to Overturn Union Vote Bloomberg

Krystal Ball: Elitist NY Mayoral Candidates Have NO CLUE How Expensive Housing Is In Brooklyn YouTube (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus (Chuck L, courtesy AnimalRescue):

Another bonus, from guurst. Another reader featured it in comments a few days back, so apologies for not giving you credit.

No snow leopards died in the making of this video :-)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. cocomaan

    Good God, the snow leopard video made my joints hurt. I guess it was worth it, he definitely didn’t let go.

    Alternate caption: “CDC refusing to let go of fomite transmission.”

    1. John A

      Hard to tell exactly, but wonder if, in the way cats are always supposed to land on their feet, it managed to manoevre the prey to always be cushioned on top of it whenever they bounced. Remarkable.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Ah thanks for saying. Was out of action for few days with my slipped disc playing up then side effects of A-Z covid vaccine number 2. Got my little blue fully vaccinated card and the electronic record on my phone app now…..for what they’re worth in “proving” anything.

      1. a different chris

        I looked and definitely at 19 seconds in they both land beside each other – in an incredible fall that would kill a human – and yet was only part of this (and the second complete free fall).

        I think, not sure, there is otherwise a continual alteration of one landing on the other, which is incredible given that the antelope looks actually bigger than the leopard. And give the antelope credit, it too was still alive at the bottom.

        Wow. Add that to the 5-story jump of the domestic cat we just saw and no wonder we exist to serve them, they are unreal.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The producer in Esquire after the series was put to bed says he lived:

        People question: Did it exist actually? We not only filmed it, but we got it hunting in a way that is unbelievable. If you said as a large mammal you can fall 200 feet down a cliff and survive…that shows also how desperate they are for food. You can’t afford to get injured, there’s no medical clinic for you go to. You get a twisted ankle for a week, you’re dead. Yet, three days later, it’s limping but hunting again. It’s ingenuity, the way they hunt: Courage to throw yourself down the cliff, and then resilience to get back up and do it again three days later. As a survivor, I look at that with my mouth open.

  2. Terry Flynn

    OK for the musical golden ratio, who’s gonna put that YouTube link up and more to the point who will recognise the link before clicking?

    1. ambrit

      An explanatory sentence before the link?
      All hail Pythagoras! Mystic master of the “Music of the Spheres!”

      1. Terry Flynn

        I was wondering if someone was going to rickroll us….. These days a lot of us recognise the last few characters of the YouTube URL and some naughty people have copycat accounts so even “meme aware” people can get caught :)

        1. ambrit

          That’s the ticket! “Ain’t never goin ta give you up.”
          Some of the “fertilizer” up on YouTube serves as a constant reminder of just how “low” Terran humans can go.
          What is most fun is the nature of the ‘sites’ that rickrolling is most successful at.
          I wonder what the “Original Rick” thinks about all of this.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Rick Astley is one of the nicest people ever. He left singing (a rich man) so as to bring up his kids in obscurity and “not embarrass them”. When 4chan started rickrolling his teenage daughter explained it to him and found it hilarious.

            He was hesitant at first but then embraced it. He rickrolled the entire USA around 2012 in the New York (Macy’s?) parade. Legend. He has gone back into music now his kids are older. He still sounds amazing.

            Look for him being interviewed by Graham Norton on BBC (BBC America for you?).

            1. Phillip Cross

              I thought he was voiced by the same session singer that did Kylie Minogue, but slowed down a bit!

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Bison could be the ‘natural firefighters’ we need to tackle wildfires”

    There was an article in Links the other day how in the US that they had so many Bison, that they were going to have shooters kill some of them. How about telling those shooters to go take a hike and ship off those excess Bison to places like Spain and other countries and let them do their thing instead. The south of France has serious problems with fires from time to time so if these American Bison can clear out some of the combustible materials, I would call that a win.

    1. Wukchumni

      My wife & I were talking and it occurred to us that the usual drum beat of our military being glorious, every enlisted man & woman potentially a candidate for sainthood, all the veterans who make us feel guilty of using up precious oxygen when in their presence, heroes every last one of them doncha know, etc…

      …just hasn’t been there during the pandemic, as if the powers that be turned off the propaganda bullhorn and meekly walked off the set~

      I’m leery of introducing animals into parts of this good orb where they’ve never been, so in lieu of where the bison roam in fighting the potential of fire, lets turn swords into fixed wing ploughshares, helos & Pulaskis

      We could start and get serious by ditching the F-35* squadron @ Naval Air Station Lemon, er Lemoore, and have the first firefighting base in a perfect spot to all of the Sierra Nevada, with regular on the ground firefighters doing their thing during fire season, and clearing out the forest for the trees and elsewhere of fire clutter the other half of the year in readying the land for prescribed burns.

      Then you can laud them with the praise they rightly deserve in keeping us safe from the forces of combustion and their scorched earth policy…

      * after we beat the Iraqis initially in the second rumble, none of our adversaries even had an air force, or next to none. What do we need fighter planes that don’t work for?

      1. WhoaMolly

        California claims a 38 billion surplus this year. Seems like an opportunity to hire firefighters and do some forest management—like large controlled burns. Might also do manual tree and brush removal in semi rural areas where burns are not practical.

        But no, the current plan seems to be a California stimulus check.

        1. Mantid

          Hi Molly, Naw, Cali does fine by “hiring” prisoners to fight fires. It’s true, most of California’s “hero” firefighters are let out from prison for the day/night to put out flames, at single digit dollars per hour.

          1. Darius

            California recognizes it needs to burn off the fuel before it feeds a wildfire, but, gosh, it’s an impossible dream or something.

        2. Tom Stone

          Please, no “Controlled Burns” in California until after the rains come (If they do).
          It’s scary dry, at least as bad as ’76-’77.
          The Russian River is so low the fish raise a dust swimming upstream and I expect to evacuate at least once.

      2. ambrit

        If I remember my history correctly, Europe had it’s own variety of bison back in the “long ago.”
        As for Spain, don’t they have those big old corrida bulls? Let some of them go “back to nature.” Picnicking might become more of an “adventure” in Andalusia.

          1. ambrit

            Wow! I have been involved in feral pig hunts in the North American Deep South and have learned to respect them as dangerous beasties. Running across one on a picnic? Adventure indeed!

    2. WhoaMolly

      Our area of Northern California could use a few bison. We’ve seen annual fires that force evacuation every year for the past five years.

      In our neighborhood the goat rental business is growing annually. Horses are also good for crushing and devouring grasses and bushes.

  4. Terry Flynn

    re Intolerance of uncertainty. I like the direction of that research. fMRI stuff is above my pay grade but it was one of several “physiological” processes put forward to validate stated preferences before I left the field. Our group were looking at “response times” – which built on a well-designed body of work (of others) going all the way from rat studies and sensors on brains up to the human studies we looked at.

    I hesitate to make strong conclusions from our work (since it was not finished when I left) but I think the use of attitudes (which were frequently more certain) as the “2nd dataset” to properly understand stated preferences like voting models, is definitely the way forward so this paper looks promising.

  5. Robert Gray

    Re: Chicago Police Are Causing Car Accidents And Drivers Are Dying [Jalopnik]

    Undeniably dangerous and irresponsible driving by Chicago police notwithstanding, it appears that Jalopnik has an agenda.

    From the original source (Chicago Sun-Times):

    > struck and killed a pedestrian, Qing Chang, and her unborn child …

    That phrasing is obviously playing to the right-to-life crowd but Jalopnik’s amplification is even worse:

    > That’s right. A woman and infant were killed …

    Infant? What infant? Why can’t they just refer to the victim, accurately, as ‘a pregnant woman’?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Police chases in the US are nuts. I have seen one maneuver used called the PIT maneuver where a police car pushes the car in front sideways, sending it into a spin. At lower speeds is might, might be used safely but not only have I seen this used in high-speed pursuits, but I have seen it done in the middle of freeway traffic creating a pinball effect with the other cars in the other lanes or even into oncoming traffic. Guess what? You can just follow that car until they stop or run out of gas and this gets the same effect-

      Check out the videos.

      1. Wukchumni

        The only time I ever had a come to Jesus moment was on the 101 freeway near Sherman Oaks about 25 years ago, it was dark and up in the sky were at least a dozen points of blinding light, no need to go to Mars-they’re here!, I thought.

        And then in the opposite lane, a car whizzed by with a half a dozen cop cars in hot pursuit lights flashing, and that blinding light up in the sky?

        TV news station and police helicopters…

        …because you see in the City of Angles, even if Jesus really did show up, sadly his message would be pre-empted on tv by any old car chase, sorry dude.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          That’s it? Just one “come to Jesus” moment? You should get out more.

          Strangely, I had one in LA as well, just off Wilshire. Was stopped at a light on my motorcycle, a Suzuki GS550E for the curious, and, yes, this was quite a few years ago, and heard a strange noise. Looked in my mirror and saw a city bus sliding, sideways, straight at me. By the time I realized I had to move, and was desperately grasping at the clutch lever, it slid to a stop. I turned and looked at the driver who looked back and shrugged as if to say, “nothin’ I could do”. And he was RIGHT THERE, maybe 5 feet away.

          Learned to keep my bike in gear with the clutch pulled in at stop lights that day.

    2. anEnt

      Or else Jalopnik hews to our cultural consensus on this issue as embodied in our laws. If they don’t then someone (not you) will credibly accuse them of having an agenda. What else can they do other than not cover the news? 38 states have fetal homicide laws, including such Republican bastions as California and Maryland.

      You clearly have an ideology and want everyone to hew to your views. Ok, so convince people. Don’t ram your views down people’s throats by casting aspersions on media in such a way as to attempt to delegitimize them (the first step in deplatforming, that most dishonest and dangerous of tactics.). Not that you’re necessarily trying to do that, but as someone said, “if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, chances are that it’s a duck.”

      1. Basil Pesto

        an infant is defined as a ‘child (young person) in the first period of life’. Descriptively, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an unborn child being referred to as an infant, except just now in this jalopnik article (idk whether it was an error on their part or not). Whatever about agendas, it strikes me as sloppy editing.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Yemen: Saudi Arabia’s Lost Cause” Scott Ritter leads to an Energy Intelligence page. Am unable to find original story.

      1. barefoot charley

        Thanks for this accessible link. Ritter gets ever less ideological and more informative in my experience, spotlighting media black holes.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Wow. Thank article is a keeper. Thanks. Puts a lot of the recent events into historical context. Saudi Arabia may have started this devastating war but it may be the Houthis that finish it. And good luck to them I say.

          2. anEnt

            Thank you. Not sure how my paste of a link into the text box got murdered, but thank you.

  7. Mme Generalist

    RE NY Yankees Covid-19: How vaccinated members tested positive for coronavirus CNN. Lambert: “Good thing CDC is collecting data on vaccinated people with asymptomatic Covid. Oh, wait…”

    What’s most infuriating about this to me is that the public is being lead to misunderstand that the vaccines in circulation currently in the US were never designed to do anything other than to unburden the medical-industrial complex. Yes, that also means people benefit from getting less sick and missing less work, but as has been pointed out here before (Lambert?), long Covid is real and doesn’t appear to correlate to severity of illness.

    Of course they’re not counting the “breakthrough” cases (a term I quibble with since the vaccines in question weren’t designed to confer sterilizing immunity). The efficacy of the vaccines — defined by their design as reducing severe cases/hospitalizations and deaths — is all they want to measure so they can keep up the triumphalist narrative no matter what happens outside of the vaccines’ design. They’re working!

    Almost everyone I know is breathing a sigh of relief right now. It’s not hard to understand. I’m as exhausted and demoralized as the next person. But we are in such a precarious moment and I’m worried that practically nobody seems to notice. Like Wile E. Coyote and the cliff, I’m afraid. Hope I’m wrong!

    1. anEnt

      It’s even more infuriating that we’ve known the answer is UV lamps in air handlers coupled with increased airflow since at least the 1960s and still, even in the article quoting UV being used as the control for airborne transmission studies from the 60s, the focus is on filtering versus UV as a solution. Both are fine, but dead dust is less of a problem than live bits getting through whatever filtering is there. Imagine how much less disease in general there would be if UV sterilization was in the air handling parts of the building code. If reduced suffering does not move you, imagine the increased economic productivity of a workforce that not only doesn’t get sick as much, but who also don’t have to take off work to care for sick kids as often. Our institutions have failed us for decades and show every sign of continuing to fail us. Meanwhile saint Fauci (genuflects) (thanks for that turn of phrase, Lambert) collects laurels and plaudits for his role in failing us for a year and more.

        1. anEnt

          Nice! I’d missed that in the general deluge of pictures of disinfectant spray tunnels, etc.

    2. Nikkikat

      I have already had numerous neighbors and family show up at my door maskless. When I would not open the door until they stepped way back and I had my mask on and was protected. They all stated that they were fully vaccinated. I have had two individuals try and HUG me! Thanks CDC, you worthless corrupt
      Agency. This was very bad advise and will lead to huge spikes.
      But didn’t Biden and Harris look marvelous without their masks.
      I must say big business, restaurants etc. are just swooning with joy.

        1. CitizenSissy

          Just returned from Costco and Trader Joe’s in suburban Philly. All masked.

    3. neo-realist

      The questions I have re Covid-19 Yankee outbreak: How many vaccinated Yankee players and coaches besides the ones testing positive engaged in similar contacts? What variants do the positive testing Yankee players have, since there are now multiple mutant variants that are far more capable of evading the neutralizing antibodies generated by the existing vaccines than the original virus and the UK variant?

      If we assume about 25 players plus approximately 10 coaches on the bench, all vaccinated, and only 8 infections out of 35 people, that’s about a 77 percent negative rate, approximately in line with the 77 percent effectiveness of the J&J vaccine used by the Yankees. It’s not bad from what we know so far, but I believe we need a lot more information on who is vaccinated, who they’ve been in contact with, and, if possible, what variants the positive testing players were infected with to draw some hard wired conclusions.

    4. Cuibono

      “The efficacy of the vaccines — defined by their design as reducing severe cases/hospitalizations and deaths”
      Ummm, NO. The vaccine trials were specifically NOT designed to measure decreased death as it was thought to be too time consuming and exspensive

  8. zagonostra

    >The golden ratio: An ancient Greek formula could be responsible for most hit musicals – PhysOrg

    ..the most popular sung-through musicals have almost unanimously employed a centuries-old formula known as “the golden ratio”—and surprisingly, they appear to have done so completely by accident.

    A surprising discovery..

    It don’t think it’s a surprise or by accident and as the article itself demonstrates it’s a feature of nature and how we are hard wired to respond to it. Protagoris was the first to mathematically analyze this feature and created his philosophy based on it.

    But music can be approached from a variety of paths, math and psychics is just one. I like the way Hermann Hesse approaches it in “>Magister Ludi”,or “Das Glasperlenspiel.” Yet even better is to actually experience music through producing it, not only knowing conceptual how the intervals and scales all relate to one another, but actually trouncing through them as if you were exploring a valley. Some of these valleys, like the ones you’ll find in pieces of music dating to the 1600-1650 have their own peculiar rises, falls, texture’s, and timing, though until the modern, period the timing was mainly in 3/4 or 4/4 or their derivatives.

    Then there is Eastern Music that was not even diatonic and can sound strange to the Western Ear. Music still holds mysteries and I don’t think you can capture it all in terms of mathematical ratios; though you may reduce it like you do a painting into the chemical arrangement of the various hues, it won’t tell you much about its aesthetic valance.

    1. Mantid

      Hi zagonstra, Yes, I find it interesting how much people can “think” so hard about music. I am trained and a theory nut, so I know the show. However, in some cases it’s nice to just play (or listen to) the sounds and ignore theory (either western or otherwise). It’s all good as they say. regarding the the golden ratio, I find it odd that we can be so surprised that: humans make music, humans are animals, animals are part of nature, nature utilizes the golden ration, humans that use the golden ration are successful, ad infinitum. Good call on your part.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      zagonostra: I happen to be reading Mario Livio’s excellent book about the golden ratio (giveaway title, The Golden Ratio), and the article makes no sense to me. Author Langston posits some “golden ratio points,” and even when I clicked through to the vaunted spreadsheet, I get gibberish. The spreadsheet is the usual musical plot structure in Excel. (Of course, it has to be in Excel.)

      I took a course on how to write a musical, and what impressed me the most is how formulaic current musicals are. You’ll note that article author Langston goes all the way back to….1972 and Jesus Christ Superstar.

      So what’s the golden ratio? Stephen Sondheim. The Sondheimian musical is rigidly structured with something like 14 songs in act I and 15 songs in act II. Writers of musicals count these things. They also carefully position various emotional ups and downs.

      The Sondheim song also is integrated to further the plot–which is why you probably can’t recall any of them or sing any of them. The song is a plot device.

      For some fifty years, then, writers of musicals have been desperate for some structure to ensure success. The latest candidates are Sondheimian songs and the golden ratio.

      Well, at least, Langston didn’t quote Oklahoma!

      1. Zagonostra

        Do you recommend Livio’s book. I read an excellent book on the topic many years ago called Sacred Geometry, but I can’t recall the Author’s name. I always liked Tesla’s view that the nature or reality is fundamentally related to vibrations and frequency. Like Mantid in above comment, I’ve studied music theory and always was struck by the metaphysical implications of the ‘interval’.

    3. Whistling in the Dark

      Th claims of the article are highly questionable. I think it should be filed under NC’s “Dubious Statistics” category. Just think about the researcher’s method: I paraphrase: “I noted times at various ‘golden ratio points’ and then looked to see what events happen at or near [like what?] these points.” And then this process was repeated with lots of different musicals. What about control?—one might try four-fifths (or five quarters if you like) instead of the golden ratio and probably get the same results using the same methods (unless it requires the heightened enthusiasm that only bias can provide.) Sounds like unintentional P-hacking to me. … And if this just sounds like speculation, I invite you to consider the words of the authors of one of the lead papers cited by the musical researcher:

      The basis of Dan Brown’s fictional discussion of the golden ratio ϕ originated from “scientific” studies (as documented by paper [2] and [3]). For example, the Great Pyramid of Khufu was claimed to be designed by ancient Egyptians to manifest ϕ, i.e., the ratio of the slant height to half of the length of the base was designed to be ϕ. Moreover, nautilus shell was believed to be a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is ϕ. Other examples include the design of the Parthenon, Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, the ratios in a human body, lengths of passages in the Aeneid.

      These claims are, however, mostly false or misleading [2–4]. For example, although today the ratio of the slant height to half of the length of the base of the Great Pyramid happened to be ϕ approximately, the height was quite different when it was built over four thousand years ago, and there is no evidence that ancient Egyptians even knew the golden ratio [2]. A field study by Falbo showed that nautilus shell is quite far from a golden spiral [3]. For the Parthenon, there are many different numbers of its dimensions in the literature (probably because measurements are made between different points by different people), allowing a golden ratio enthusiast to choose whatever numbers to fit ϕ [2]. But sadly, despite the dubious nature of the claims, the golden ratio even remains a feature of some school textbooks, such as [5].

      One area of biology in which the golden ratio has a genuine role is in phyllotaxis, i.e., the arrangement of leaves on the stem of a plant…. [Link]

      I urge you to look at your own biases and inclinations when consider dubious claims such as this. My own biases are that it is all hooey, so I generously extended my quote of this paper to the beginning of a discussion of areas in which the golden ratio is at least a little relevant.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Yesterday’s plantidote

    I was late to the party and just noticed the picture which says a bed of purple flowers with daffodils. Does anyone know what those purple flowers are called? – I’ve been trying to find some for a while now.

    I transplanted some daylilies several years ago into my yard and there is one, just one, of those same little purple flowers that comes up every spring in the midst of the lily greenery. They’re really a very lovely blossom and one of the first of the spring. I saw a bunch of them by a public walkway this year and dug up one more and brought it to my yard where it immediately wilted. That makes my think there was a bulb that I missed when I tried to transplant it, and that it may be a type of hyacinth. I’ve seen pictures of some that look similar, but can’t find what the ones with just two or three bells per stalk are called. Anybody know?

    1. steve

      Someone in comments yesterday identified them as Squils. Siberian Squil image search looks to corroborate.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you all – I missed the comment on scilla when I scanned through them too quickly. That’s definitely what I have, and I looked it up and it is a bulb and related to hyacinths. Now I need to find some at a greenhouse rather than poaching samples from public walkways ;)

      It does look in the photo yesterday a little like lobelia, but I have some of that too and it’s different- lobelia has more cascading blossoms and this one has tiny bells.

      1. tegnost

        a second look and they do look like bulbs so no, not lobelia and it does look like the scilla

      2. HotFlash

        Squill bulbs are generally available in the fall, alongside the boxes/bins/bags of tulip, crocus, etc. Try big-box stores with garden centres.

    3. Keith Howard

      As I pointed out yesterday, it’s Chionodoxa forbesii. I’ve grown it for years here in Denver. It proliferates nicely, both by seeding around and by offsets.

      1. Copeland

        And I continue to agree, Keith. Scilla siberica flowers droop downward, Chionodoxa hold their faces upward.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          And I responded to you both with a link from Wikipedia indicating that glory of the snow is now classified as a subtype of Scilla

    1. Wukchumni

      Ask not what the Republicans can do for you, mask what you can do for your country!

    2. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that this may presage mandatory resumption of in-person instruction in the schools, which would lead to the end of “on the bog training.”

      What is that? It’s when one remote learns while multiplexing in the powder room; background filters are helpful in this situation. This is especially useful for those who have chronic constipation.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Since-deleted video shows Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office during 2019 Capitol Hill visit’

    When one deals with the mentally ill, one should use kindness. Perhaps Alexandria and her staff should have offered Marjorie Taylor Greene a nice hot cup of tea with kind words of concern about her health. Offering her a rainbow flag t-shirt would probably not be wise nor would offering her a DVD of “Schindler’s List.” That would only get her more excited. You have to wonder what the good people of Georgia were thinking when they elected her to office when I realized – it was the only way to get her out of Georgia itself and send her off to DC. Slick that, slick.

    1. crittermom

      I was horrified when I watched that, while shaking my head thinking THIS is our govt in action?
      Scribbling in AOC’s guest book while giggling about it? MTG and her entourage appeared to be nothing more than spoiled children acting out. No maturity shown there.

      I strongly suspect MTG was an obnoxious child, as well, always getting her way by throwing hissy fits until her parents (or others) gave in to her demands.

      Unlike you, I don’t suspect mental illness. I rather think it’s a matter of no discipline in her attempt to grow up (which she obviously failed at).

      I like your theory about Georgia ridding their state of her, however.

    2. anEnt

      Growing up in DC taught me that every state sends its biggest idiots and assholes, along with their worst drivers there.

    3. KLG

      As a native Georgian and current resident, that theory made my day! In retrospect, that is how we got rid of Newton Leroy Gingrich, too. I apologize for that one. He did real damage.

    4. QuicksilverMessenger

      What is the nature of obsession? Pretty obvious that Ms Greene has a deep, underlying attraction to AOC. But this is just how these things work.

    5. FluffytheObeseCat

      “You have to wonder what the good people of Georgia were thinking when they elected her to office….”

      Doesn’t take much wondering if you’ve met a few of her constituents. Many of her voters were “thinking” they enjoy watching sneering bullies harass “uppity New Yorkers”. Not so much because Puerto Rican New Yorkers from Queens are actually uppity, but because her More-American-Than-Thee supporters really love them some downpunching tribalism.

      The sneer on her face, and on the faces of her three brawny camera boys, were really something to observe. After seeing this stunt I have to wonder how many times a week AOC contends with staged harassment at her office door. I suspect it is not restricted to (then) candidate Greene and her boy toys. AOC’s freak out after the January 6th riot seems less problematic in context with this likely pattern of continual, overtly physical harassment by the Real Kristian Merkin(tm) crowd.

  11. Mme Generalist

    Re Looming Texas Law Would Allow Anti-Choice ‘Vigilantes’ to Sue Anyone Who ‘Aids or Abets’ an Abortion

    No. This is a lie. Here is the bill. Here is the analysis (what’s presented to legislators and staff as a cover to the legislation in order to allow them to quickly parse the contents).

    Search within both for any of the language quoted in the article, as I did. It’s not there. Which explains why it’s not being reported as such in any Texas media. This is the real story.

    1. Mme Generalist

      Even the Texas Tribune article I linked to makes the lawsuit claim, but this is the text from the bill:

      Sec. 171.104. CIVIL LIABILITY. (a) Except as provided by
      Subsection (b), the father of the fetus or a parent of the mother of
      the fetus, if the mother is younger than 18 years of age at the time
      of the partial-birth abortion, may bring a civil action to obtain
      appropriate relief, including:
      (1) money damages for physical injury, mental anguish,
      and emotional distress; and
      (2) exemplary damages equal to three times the cost of
      the partial-birth abortion.
      (b) A person may not bring or maintain an action under this
      section if:
      (1) the person consented to the partial-birth
      abortion; or
      (2) the person’s criminally injurious conduct resulted
      in the pregnancy.

      I find nothing in the bill that correlates to the claims being made about lawsuits from the general public. The Texas Tribune is usually reliable. Am I missing something?

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      From your link:

      “It would be enforced by private citizens empowered to sue abortion providers and others who help someone get an abortion after six weeks, for example, by driving them to an abortion clinic.

      Those private citizens would not need to have a connection to an abortion provider or a person seeking an abortion, and would not need to reside in Texas.”

      Sure sounds like someone in Kansas could sue a volunteer clinic escort in Austin.

      1. Mme Generalist

        Yes, the article does include the lawsuit claim. I posted an addendum that got tossed into moderation that quotes from the bill. I find the Texas Tribune to be usually reliable, but I can’t find that in the bill.

        Please check the bill and show me where I’m wrong. I’m genuinely confused and alarmed at the possibility that TT is, like so many outlets, operating as stenographer to NGOs.

    3. MrQuotidian

      I don’t understand.. from the article you linked:
      “ It would be enforced by private citizens empowered to sue abortion providers and others who help someone get an abortion after six weeks, for example, by driving them to an abortion clinic.”

      As a side note, the age of pregnancy is calculated from the date of a woman’s last period, so six weeks pregnant is extremely early. As a for-instance, my wife had a positive over the counter pregnancy test, and just a few days after, upon the blood test confirmation, was considered five weeks pregnant. So six weeks comes very quickly, especially if you aren’t expecting to get pregnant.

  12. Wukchumni

    We drove by our reservoir (Lake Kaweah) yesterday, and it’s about half full and already going down, as there isn’t much snowpack left in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada, really a shocking couple of years that rivals the 1976-77 drought, although this one is hardly on the public radar, heck-Newsom only declared a drought in most counties of the state last week.

    The statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack is now down to an absolutely abysmal 8% of average for the calendar date–from 15% 5 days ago–and at this rate could be completely gone in just another week or so. Additionally, because soils underneath the snowpack have been so parched, and the air above the snowpack so dry, the majority of the snowpack we *did* have this year has either soaked into the soil (without runoff) or even sublimated directly back into the atmosphere. This means that streamflows are even lower than would otherwise have been expected in this very low precipitation year, and reservoirs will see very little further recharge for the rest of spring and summer.

    The idea that the exceptional drought in the southwest on this map looks a little like the protagonist from Alien is probably just my imagination running roughshod.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Do you guys use water tanks much in your neck of the woods? Sounds like dry times coming. At our home we have a 5,000 liter (1,320 US gallon) and a 20,000 liter (5,280 US gallon) tank to catch the rain from our gutters-

      1. Wukchumni

        Probably 99% of California’s population lives hundreds of miles from where their water comes from, and catching rain hasn’t really caught on here, and once it stops raining in April it won’t rain again until October or November.

        In the midst of your big dry a visiting numismatist friend from the Melbourne area was in So Cal for a coin show, and he related to me that all of the sudden maybe in your 7th year of drought every roof in Melbourne had catch basins on them, and they had to recycle their once a week shower water to save it for a few plants they’d kept alive, and the quality of the water was such that even with shampooing, his wife’s hair would get all stringy like on account of the water used truly being the dregs.

        Hardly anybody has been inconvenienced like that here, as the imported water scheme has worked well in the past, the Colorado River was pretty flush in 1976-77 when our punishing drought was around, alleviating it somewhat, but all sources are in drought now, and lack of water tends to drive us crazy, and if it continues apace next year, we might be just coming out of the pandemic into the clutches of something such as I described in Aussie 15 years ago.

        1. Wukchumni


          We’ve got a couple 5,000 gallon water tanks kept full for irrigation and firefighting capabilities, all of the water coming from our hard rock well.

          During our 100 days of 100 degrees, around 90 fruit trees will want a couple gallons a day or more. Some of them popped their first cherries ever, the Brooks rewarding me with 3, and not to be outdone, Tulare cherry had a few dozen.

          Those are the early birds, everything else is green with envy and ripens in a few weeks, my best looking cherry tree-a Stella of some stature being 9 feet high & 6 feet around, is really stacked in a Rubenesque way with a full figure of branches, but just doesn’t put out, there’s 15-20 tasty morsels on the 7 year old.

          There’s a few cherries on the 7 year old Van, which has never fruited before…

      2. crittermom

        That would be illegal here in Colorado.,outdoor%20lawns%2C%20plants%20or%20gardens.

        Where I currently live in a high mtn desert, there’s such a lack of rain/snow, that any (droplets) collected would evaporate before it could be used.

        Here’s a list by states regarding water capture:

        When growing up in southern Michigan, we had a rain barrel at the end of a gutter.
        My mom would sometimes use it to wash my my long, fine hair, leaving it so soft no conditioner was needed to untangle it.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          This thread reminds me of the Cochabamba Water War — protests over the privatization of the water supply in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s fourth largest city, between December 1999 and April 2000. This was dramatized in the movie, “Even the Rain”.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Cochabamba: stuck between Bechtel and the World Bank. Hell, I’d riot, too.

      1. Wukchumni

        “It might not be many years, for example, before you people of Los Angeles can get your drinking water from the sea. Already our scientists have made great progress in turning salt-water into fresh.”

        Adali Stevenson, campaign speech Sept 11, 1952

      2. c_heale

        Desalination plants are very expensive to run from what I’ve heard. Whenever there is a problem politicians’ first response is to build something (probably to do with kickbacks and bribes). Better to change the way we live.

        1. Gc54

          Actually, no. According to the article above CA desalinated water is only twice the cost. Given that its current price is manageable that hike doesn’t seem burdensome for an otherwise limited essential.

  13. steve

    The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill

    5-micron! 5-micron! Russia! Russia!

    Praise to those who recognized aerosols as a problem and fought the good fight, but I think Marr had it right at the start, “It felt like they had already made up their minds and they were just entertaining us,”.

    It reads like an Origin Story designed to save face for the WHO/CDC incompetents.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Yes, it’s yet another example of the failure of credential-world. I found the article fascinating and oh, so revealing.

      she frequently found the flu virus where the textbooks said it shouldn’t be—hiding in the air, most often in particles small enough to stay aloft for hours. And there was enough of it to make people sick…
      In 2011, this should have been major news. Instead, the major medical journals rejected her manuscript…
      If SARS-CoV-2 traveled only in large droplets that immediately fell to the ground, as the WHO was saying, then wouldn’t the distancing and the handwashing have prevented such outbreaks? Infectious air was the more likely culprit, they argued. But the WHO’s experts appeared to be unmoved. If they were going to call Covid-19 airborne, they wanted more direct evidence—proof, which could take months to gather, that the virus was abundant in the air. Meanwhile, thousands of people were falling ill every day…
      But the WHO didn’t seem to have caught on. Just days before, the organization had tweeted “FACT: #COVID19 is NOT airborne.” … Lidia Morawska, a revered atmospheric physicist who had arranged the meeting, tried to explain how far infectious particles of different sizes could potentially travel. One of the WHO experts abruptly cut her off, telling her she was wrong…

  14. Carolinian

    Lots of interesting Links this morning. Re 3D, headaches, annoying–Since the 1950s the movie industry has periodically flirted with 3D as a way of peeling eyeballs away from alternatives (I Love Lucy then, cyberspace now). There was even one giant hit in Avatar. However after a movie or two the fad quickly fades for the reason mentioned. On the exhibition side theater owners always seemed ready to play the sucker by buying extra equipment and even painting white screens silver to boost the dim 3D image.

    Now that movie theaters themselves are looking increasingly dubious perhaps this nonsense will end and the thrill rides returned to Six Flags etc. Narrative and appealing performers are what really drive the art form…narrative, fictional or otherwise, being so powerful that now our newspapers are doing it.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Big Oil Is Trying to Make Climate Change Your Problem to Solve Rolling Stone

    Its an old playbook, but its very successful.

    Rightwing politicians and pundits delight in pointing out “climate hypocrites,” from Scott Walker criticizing Al Gore for having a mansion to Dinesh D’Souza gotcha-ing Pete Buttigieg for “faking” a green lifestyle by biking to work after getting dropped off nearby in a car. Jeremy Jones, the professional snowboarder-turned-climate activist who started Protect Our Winters, says every time he mentions climate publicly, he gets a wave of it. “People love to tell me to shut up until I’ve stopped manufacturing snowboards or taking flights,” he says.
    “Those accusations of hypocrisy leveled at climate academics and activists alike who criticize the fossil fuel industry, that’s the ground level manifestation of this, this brainwashing, frankly,” says Supran. “I think that’s the really profound thing, that it manifests itself at all scales and all segments of society.”

    I’ve seen this often enough BTL even here and other ‘progressive, left’ websites. People using what are essentially Koch Bros/Exxon talking points and psychological strategies to undermine any attempt to discuss climate action in any form.

    It shouldn’t be an excuse to do what you want in your lifestyle, but folks here should remember that every time they accuse someone, from Al Gore to a random commentator of hypocrisy because they take a flight/drive a car or whatever, they are doing Exxons good work for it. The issue is scientific, social, political and economic. Its not about individual behaviours.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Just during my lifetime I’ve seen the conversation at a macro level move from global warming, acid rain and what the big corporations and government are going to do about it to climate change and if you use a plastic straw, you are personally killing polar bears. I kind of feel the PR war is already lost because it’s become so ingrained now to participate in environmental theater* and look down on our non-recycling neighbors while not demanding action on the big causes of the problem.

      * not to say individual choices don’t matter, but they are small beans compared to big oil, the MIC, the 1%, etc. and ultimately won’t solve any problems aside from letting the powerless feel like they’re doing something.

      1. jefemt

        Seems like in aggregate the small beans add up.

        Like when a bank makes a penny mistake in their favor across millions of accounts over many years.

        Individual choices are where it is at. I mean , Just Look! at how people got on their bikes –and put away their cars and credit cards to buy the gas— with the pipeline debacle in the southeast!
        (sarc off)

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          “ Like when a bank makes a penny mistake in their favor across millions of accounts over many years.”

          Ah! The Superman 3 Climate Crisis Solution!

        2. The Rev Kev

          There was a guy working for a bank in the early days of computers who had the odd cents in deposits in people’s account diverted into a separate account with a little programing. So who would miss the difference in a deposit of $732.83 and one of $732.80? Before too long he had a mill or two in that separate account which he pulled out and then exited, stage left.

          1. Savita

            Hey Rev Kev. Councillor friend of mine in Queensland said, regarding when 1 and 2 cent pieces were removed from circulation and everyone adjusted their prices in Australia to round down or round up depending upon how many cents it was. For example $3.36 and $3.37 are 1 or 2 cents above 5, so those examples get rounded down to $3.35. $3.38 or $3.39 were rounded up to $3.40. Anyway she said Councils across Australia made many millions in profit from astutely setting their fees or prices in order to be rounded in the most favourable manner. I suppose it was the case for many, with the ability to influence at that time

            1. The Rev Kev

              Local councils aren’t in my good books at the moment. Had to erect a car-port a month or so ago but the first application got rejected for reasons. They said that this one had to be located 6 meters in from the main road so had to put in a second application that cost over $1,000 extra. Pirates would be ashamed over such tactics.

    2. Mantid

      Dr, John, Plutonium, et al, Great link here to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ “Disinformation Playbook” wherein they describe the steps and process of Tomfoolery that corporations (and anyone really) use to deceive. Le link:
      It’s being used on a few fronts at this moment: global warming; Ivermectin; NFL concussion protocol; anti China/Russia hysteria, etc.

    3. ahimsa

      The issue is scientific, social, political and economic. Its not about individual behaviours.

      Are you suggesting that societies and individuals are mutually exclusive? An issue can surely be scientific, social, political, economic AND about individual behaviour.

      Why should responsibility be apportioned to different groups, 75% group A and 25% group B. Different groups can be equally fully responsible for addressing an issue.

      People respond to authenticity and are turned off by the dissonance of hypocrisy (do as I say, not as I do) of priests, politicians, scientists and others who profess to know what’s right and best for the rest of us.

      The corollary of this is that we are are truly inspired by those individuals we encounter who embody their beliefs. Not necessarily those who walk their talk or ideology, but those whose actions and way of being speak to us.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “People respond to authenticity and are turned off by the dissonance of hypocrisy (do as I say, not as I do) of priests, politicians, scientists and others who profess to know what’s right and best for the rest of us.

        It’s remarkable how much louder the ‘dissonance of hypocrisy’ seems to be when it’s amplified by merchants of doubt, funded by the Koch brothers. And how commonly those who claim to be ‘righteously’ angered by preachy elites……… are interested parties, and members of an opposing elite themselves.

  16. jsn

    Looks like Apple is topping The Boring Company reinvention of the train by reinventing the stereoscope.

    Now, in addition to embubbling themselves in ear buds, pod people can strap their iPhones over their eyes and experience any programming they’re able to pay for as sprinkles on their day.

    1. Duck1

      It’s funny but while I was not a fan of Job’s flying saucer building, it did have a certain superlative wow factor as it was being hyped while being built. The other day I saw an aerial photo of the thing lying in a suburban setting and it just looked like another expensive corporate edifice, circular, the only wow I could summon was: wow, looks like quite a hike from one side of the building to the other.

      1. zagonostra

        Wireheading is a term associated with fictional or futuristic applications[1] of brain stimulation reward, the act of directly triggering the brain’s reward center by electrical stimulation of an inserted wire, for the purpose of ‘short-circuiting’ the brain’s normal reward process and artificially inducing pleasure.

        I don’t need an “inserted wire” to trigger “stimulation” or “short-circuting” the brain’s normal reward process and artificially inducing pleasure.” I can do it naturally in a variety of different ways. Like music, physical activity, and even reading poetry, not to mention taking a hit of “fresh air” now and then.

        1. ambrit

          That’s only one variety of wireheading. There is also the ‘shadowy’ realm of direct brain to machine communication. As far back as the film “Firefox,” (1982) an aviator’s helmet that “read” the pilot’s thoughts and translated those thoughts into commands for the machinery was part of the plot.
          Skynet will not be denied. Resistance is futile.

    1. Katiebird

      Very glad that we got our Costco shopping done yesterday. We went early and everyone there was (to all appearances) cheerfully masked.

      I see that Trader Joe’s is on the no more masks (for the vaccinated) list. I hope that doesn’t mean their cousin store, Aldi, won’t be joining them.

      1. Carolinian

        I was in Aldi yesterday and half the shoppers were unmasked. Clearly the CDC is having an effect.

      2. Utah

        I called my local Sprouts farmers market this morning, where I do a good chunk of my grocery shopping. They’re keeping masks mandated even though my state is now mask free for the vaccinated (which means we’re mask free completely.)

      3. lordkoos

        The closest Costco to us is in Yakima county (WA) which had one of the worst outbreaks on the west coast. I’d be very surprised if they start allowing people to shop without masks.

    2. crittermom

      I doubt the workers are happy.

      I’d expressed concerns in response to one of my sons friends posting recently regarding Colorado dropping the mask mandate.
      His response was, “There are already establishments checking vac cards! I know of one upscale bar in Denver that’s doing it, and my understanding is that many of the bars & clubs in Fort Collins have (or are in the process of) moving to implementing that too. No vaccine card, no entry.”

      A week later he now posts:
      “What is the point of lifting the face mask requirement in Colorado for those who are VACCINATED if so few establishments will verify proof (vaccine cards)?”

      Uh huh. My point exactly.

  17. Otis B Driftwood

    Watched Abby Martin’s documentary on Gaza last night.

    Gaza Fights For Freedom (2019) | Full Documentary

    The atrocities committed there by the Israelis, with the full support of the US government, have always been known and so easily ignored as exceptions in what has always been excused away as a “complex” situation. For me, at least, this documentary changes that.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Chris Hedges: The Big Lie

      Hedges, among other things, explains why Egypt’s right-wing government is a willing partner in Israel’s assault on Gaza.

      1. topcat

        It’s all too depressing. The Palestinians are going to be eliminated or removed at some point, it only remains to be seen how. I morbidly look forward too watching European & western governments finding ways to ignore the extermination of Palestine and its inhabitants. Much hand wringing probably, or maybe not even that. German boulevard paper “Bild” is so pro Israel it just isn’t even vaguely amusing.

  18. antidlc

    Here is what CNN is reporting:
    What’s the science behind CDC’s decision to say fully vaccinated people don’t need masks?

    A fresh batch of data from a big study of health care workers across the country helped prompt the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say fully vaccinated people can go without masks in most circumstances, the agency said Friday.

    The study found that real-life use of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provided 94% protection for the front-line workers immunized at the beginning of the vaccine rollout. A single dose provided 82% protection, the CDC-led team reported in the agency’s weekly report, the MMWR.

    It was the findings from the new study, on top of earlier studies, that pushed CDC to decide to loosen its advice on who needs to wear a mask and when, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

    “This report provided the most compelling information to date that COVID-19 vaccines were performing as expected in the real world,” Walensky said in a statement Friday.

    1. Shonde

      Just came back from a large, well attended farmers market and saw possibly 3 other masked people. Knowing our area only has a 61% vaccine rate and without sterilizing immunity, I picked up my pre-order and left without checking out other booths.

  19. tegnost

    Any congressperson who supports brennan and clapper couldn’t care less about which agency is hoovering up your data.
    The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act which would force some agencies to obtain a warrant for location and other data. Current sponsors include Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, Wyden’s office previously told Motherboard.
    well, don’t “some people” need a warrant now? Performative BS.
    How about pardon snowden and assange and throwing clapper and brennan in the slammer where they belong for lying to congress.

  20. Mikel

    RE: “India variant could seriously disrupt lifting of lockdown, says Boris” Johnson Guardian

    “…as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread…”

    Once again, not admiting this is mainly a way to manage flow into the hospitals and healthcare systems for the public – still not equipped to deal with pandemics.

    And according to the Cambridge virologists the other day…the jury is still out about effectiveness of each vaccine against the new double (or is it triple?) mutation out of India.

    Theses shots don’t prevent the spread of the virus. They help you maintain through it.

    But everybody is a pharma salesman first instead of keeping the oublic updated on the research and changes that occur with the virus as it goes along.

    As long as it can spread, it can mutate.

    1. Terry Flynn

      The worst source of spread in UK is apparently kids at school. NC published a graph of infection rates recently showing how reopening of schools started the current (albeit small) uptick. Anecdotally, here in one of the most politically marginal constituencies in UK, which is definitely below average in terms of material wellbeing (am trying to think of good term for opposite of govt statistic of deprivation), there are pockets of relatively well off next door to pretty deprived areas.

      Mask wearing in shops is good. I do see a few people adjusting theirs to just be “chin diapers” (thank you South Park) once in the supermarket but the “poorer follow the doctor advice without quibble” phenomenon is clearly happening. (It’s well known amongst doctors and those of us who have trained them that when it comes to things like vaccines it’s often better to work in a deprived practice because middle class know it alls tend to come in with rubbish they got from a basic Google search and argue.) This is NOT a defence of big pharma, just something based on observational data.

      The “Mansfield spike” here turned out to be entirely centred on two schools. I see 70% of kids at a “fairly upscale” public (US definition) school near me violating every recommendation. I try not to go shopping when they’re leaving school. I’m definitely worried about the India variant: Nottingham has already got special testing measures (one of 15) because we were source of early immigration from Indian subcontinent after partition.

      Final observation. Suburb I now live in was, when I grew up in poorer suburb, a great place to go for some “posh shopping”. Today Poundland (biggest UK equivalent of dollar type stores) opened a branch here. Huge queue to enter. Kinda sad really. But I’ll be in there looking for cat food tmw. FOR OUR CAT! ;)

      1. Mikel

        “poorer follow the doctor advice without quibble”
        I think people’s experiences (or those around them) with the healthcare system and doctors has much more influence on their behavior.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “A nation no longer divided? How Russians are increasingly remembering, rather than erasing, the country’s bloody Civil War history”

    They may have reason to remember more as December of 2022 is the beginning of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) comprising Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Transcaucasian republics. After an ocean of blood spilled in the 20th century, they are finally coming to terms with their history – all of it. All those who fought with either the Red Army or the White Army are now long dead so it is time to make a reconciliation and recognize all those Russians that fought in their Civil War which was a very bleak time in their history. Probably those who fought the Revolution in 1917 thought that this was the end rather than the beginning of five more years of bitter fighting and invasions by British, America, French, Czechoslovakian, Japanese, Canadian, Australian, Indian, South African, Greek, Serbian, Estonian and Italian forces.

    But I think that this is an important article this – for Americans. After 156 years years, America has never reconciled its own Civil war as it was too mixed with the issues of slavery and States rights. The pre-Pandemic statue toppling was just one more sign that the Civil war was still going on and I doubt that it is possible to just blank five years out of nation’s history and finger wagging some people into being ashamed of their ancestors. Want to know when the US Civil war will finally be over and both sides reconciled? When you have a monument to both sides of the Civil War at Arlington which, as a center piece, has perhaps a statue of a Union soldier and a statue of a Confederate soldier saluting their dead comrades together – side by side.

    1. Alex

      I think this kind of reconciliation is easier in Russia as there is no geographical divide, the civil war was about one class fighting the other. The losers of the civil war had no chance to regroup and indoctrinate the subsequent generations in their part of the country. Then, as the Soviet ideology wore off there was a re-evaluation of the White cause, and some people became big fans of it but it never became a significant source of internal conflict.

      In the end some kind of an eclectic ideology emerged in which the Soviet history (especially the victories and successes) became a continuation of the imperial Russian history and it became possible to venerate Nicholas II (a saint, no less!) and admire Lenin and Stalin at the same time. Limonov was one of the founders, or at least supporters of this ideology.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > The losers of the civil war had no chance to regroup and indoctrinate the subsequent generations in their part of the country.

        In the United States, that’s what the Lost Cause myth (and the creation of Jim Crow) was all about (along with the systematic erasure of the plain fact that the Civil War was about slavery, and not about States’ Rights). The indoctrination was so successful that Progressive-Era champion Woodrow Wilson showed the KKK-glorifying Birth of a Nation in the White House!

        Long ago (too lazy to find the link) I published a study that examined social networks in the Antebellum and Reconstruction South. Turns out the same networks ran the South before and after, though it took awhile for them to recover their grip under Reconstruction.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > has perhaps a statue of a Union soldier and a statue of a Confederate soldier saluting their dead comrades together – side by side.

      Sentimental tosh, and tried in the 1880s (unsuccessfully, I might add, since it allowed Confederates to erase what they were actually defending: Slavery).

      Reviving the Lost Cause myth is not a solution to our troubles.

      1. ambrit

        When are we going to have our Neo Civil War to end wage slavery?
        “Ned Ludd’s body lies a mouldering in the grave,” etc.

  22. Mikel

    Re: “Black homeowner had a white friend stand in for third appraisal. Her home value doubled”

    Of course the company named “Freedom Mortgage” was the worse.

    Beware companies and organizations with “Freedom” in the title. They are usually referring to their desire for the “freedom” to rob you (and that’s at best).

  23. jr

    RE: the functions of dreams

    “We’d never ask, ‘What is the function of waking thought?’ or at least we’d never expect a one-phrase answer. It’s for everything,” she explained. “I suspect the reason there’s no consensus on the function of dreams is that they’re also performing a vast number of psychological and biological tasks.”

    And maybe more. I appreciated reading this woman’s perspective, it seems discussions of dreams often reduce to pretty simplistic notions of utility or fulfilling some presupposed biological function but at least she is leaving the door open to wider possibilities.

    For the materialist, the dream is a private showing of a movie in which one is producer, director, star, and audience. But from an idealist point of view, one in which consciousness not matter is the fundamental Play-Doh! of reality, any mental event takes on a very different cast. No mind, no consciousness, no matter how simple or diffuse, no matter how obfuscated or far flung, is ultimately isolated. Therefore no dream is either. And therefore no dream or ability to dream can be limited to some mere function, as there is another “half” to the equation that is rooted in mystery. So I try to keep a truly open mind when I dream, as there are serious debates as to the actual boundaries of where one’s mind begins and ends…

    1. Mantid

      Dear jr et al, A great way to remember your dreams is do this: right when you think “OK, I’m closing my eyes and going to sleep now”, after reading in bed for example, say this aloud (whispering is OK) “I will remember my dreams” and do it a few times. Then, when and if you remember a dream either write it down or tell someone. “I had this real goofy dream – or nightmare”. Free movies the rest of your life. This system works ……… like a dream.

    2. QuicksilverMessenger

      Yes, so many questions about dreams and the nature of our seemingly very divided consciousness, but I just wanted to mention one thing, and you alluded to it in your comment: For the (let’s just call them) ‘materialists’, the conclusion is always a given. That is, whatever we ‘observe’ in nature, human or otherwise, is always an example of ‘biological necessity and utility’, of a mechanism of ‘survival’, because we already decided that this is so, and by definition, anything we see just remains to be fitted into our model. I remember one example I heard from an evolutionary biologist telling us that the role of play is some sort of utterly utilitarian aid to biological/ selective survival etc. But maybe it isn’t that at all. Maybe life itself wishes to express, to create, to manifest, as if built into being itself. That is, the point of play, is, of course, play.

  24. Mikel

    I’ve been casually asking people I know in various parts of the country if have they heard about what is happening in India….

    So far they are stunned when I tell them.

    Stay tuned for polling results later in the week…

      1. Mikel

        Yes, mentioned it to some people, but I need to make sure I send links instead of mentioning it calls.
        So they can see that it is being studied and used.

      2. Lambert Strether

        This is the article that some readers could not find, but here it is at its original venue, so it looks like the link rot, if link rot it was, has been fixed:

        Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19 America Journal of Therapeutics

        Worth passing along!

        Adding, this is a version of the paper that Frontiers in Pharmacology pulled, resulting in the resignation of its editors for the “Treating Covid-19 with Currently Available Drugs” topic area (covered at NC here).

        So kudos (“big ups”) to the American Journal of Therapeutics for publishing it!

    1. Milton

      Are you telling them that during India’s worst Covid outbreak their infection/death numbers are roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of what we had in the U. S. during our peak when adjusted for population.

  25. Skip Intro

    According to this story, Colonial Pipeline gibt Crypto-Erpressern Millionen – vergebens Colonial paid 5 Million for nothing, since the decryption was so slow that they recovered their systems from backups! They speculate that the money was paid to keep the attackers from releasing the data, and confirm/repeat the story that only the automated amount collection system was compromised, and that the whole pipeline was shut down so that Colonial wouldn’t have to manually gather the amounts delivered to bill for them.

    I’m not sure about the data theft speculation, since it seems that these ransomware attacks rely on encrypting one’s data in place, rather than exfiltrating it.

  26. Wukchumni

    Walmart to Stop Requiring Masks for Vaccinated Workers and Shoppers Wall Street Journal
    Anti-vaxer flashes heavy cardboard stock vaccination card with some inked in information about them, and the # of the Walgreens drug store where they received their jabs, that in no way could ever be easily counterfeited or altered, luckily.

    Welcome to Wal*Mart

    1. Phillip Cross

      In a way it’s a good thing. The pandemic is the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to most people from the US.

      It will be sad to see it go. I am glad they are giving it every opportunity to come back, so we can enjoy the drama a little bit longer!

      1. ambrit

        The first time as drama. The second time as tragedy.
        The Pandemic is testing the limits of even this jaded, decrepit crypto-roue’s cynicism.

  27. antidlc

    Fauci tells Tapper we have to depend on an honor system…

    When asked how store or restaurant owners will know whether their customers are safe without masks, Fauci acknowledged that it will be a difficult challenge in the months ahead.
    They will not be able to know. I mean, you’re going to be depending on people being honest enough to say whether they were vaccinated or not, and responsible enough to be wearing… a mask, not only for their own protection, but also for the protection of others,” Fauci told Tapper.

    More and more each day I feel I am a part of a dystopian novel.

  28. Mikel

    “Coming full circle, Rabobank’s Every noted that “Colonial [Pipeline] paid Russian hackers a ransom of $5 million IN CRYPTO, which could not make a clearer case for why the SEC might want to be step in.”

    That’s one school of thought. But it’s more likely that a den of thieves will ventually each other alive.
    Why give them a common “enemy”? They’ll be at each others throats soon enough.

    Why give them the legitimacy of regulation?

  29. Mikel

    “Confronting Disinformation Spreaders on Twitter Only Makes It Worse, MIT Scientists Say” Vice. Irritating to see people rediscovering social psychology basics as if they were the first to work them out.

    Then this:
    “The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill” Wired

    For an allegedly “innovative” society, sure is a lot of science that keeps having to be rediscovered.

    That’s why one can not be too careful.

  30. timotheus

    The Missing Dead: How the Media Has Misreported COVID’s Toll in Poorer Nations

    Will we ever be free of “media” as a singular noun? We don’t (yet) live in such a totalitarian society that there is only one source. The media are, and remain for now, several.

  31. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “The Pentagon is carrying out warrantless surveillance of Americans, according to a new letter written by Senator Ron Wyden and obtained by Motherboard.”

    Only the most soft of the soft headed would even remotely think that once the genie has ‘escaped’ from the bottle that it would ever be put back where it once was; since, it is all by design from the top down, ever since Jeremy Bentham considered the possibilities of the panopticon over two centuries ago.

    Total Information Awareness, Epic, Tangram, Prism, ect., as state disciplinary tools [“The fact that you won’t do things, that you will self-censor, are the worst effects of pervasive surveillance,” reiterates security expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman and in the cybersecurity program of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Government and International Affairs. “Governments, of course, know this. China bases its surveillance on this fact. It wants people to self-censor, because it knows it can’t stop everybody. The idea is that if you don’t know where the line is, and the penalty for crossing it is severe, you will stay far away from it. Basic human conditioning.” The effectiveness of surveillance at preventing crime or terrorism can be debated, but “if your goal is to control a population,” Schneier says, “mass surveillance is awesome.”]

    along with private data mining as an instrument to enhance and refine corporate marketing, are all extending and normalizing the panoptic gaze both for the corporate state and surveillance capitalism [“I define surveillance capitalism as the unilateral claiming of private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. These data are then computed and packaged as prediction products and sold into behavioral futures markets — business customers with a commercial interest in knowing what we will do now, soon, and later.”].

    1. skippy

      Seems to corroborate the theory that the U.S. is just one big Corporation and as high powered psychology is used and applied in C-corps PR/marketing, ***Branding*** its consumers [supply-side] from 3 to 5 years old, not to mention the biggest line item on its balance sheet …. wellie the concept of – natural anything – is a long forgone conclusion …

      Only drama now is how to deal with the rejects …

  32. Tom Stone

    I finally got around to reading the article about the divergent appraisals of Ms Duffy’s home and I’m not surprised.
    The rise of Appraisal Management Companies has not improved the quality of appraisals.
    They just take a cut that would otherwise go to appraisers…and gatekeep.
    My late father was an appraiser and expert witness and I picked up the appraiser trainee license on my way to becoming a broker.
    Appraisers today are making @1/3 of what my dad did if you take inflation into account, if you aren’t very well established you will need a steady source of work.
    Lenders, through AMC’s are about it.
    And if you can’t read between the lines and come up with the figure the lender wants you disappear from the approved list.

    Yes, it is institutionalized racism and corruption, all three of the appraisers here gave the lender involved the number they wanted.
    “If a man’s Paycheck..”

    1. marym

      In 2020 the House passed HR 2382 to repeal the pre-paid healthcare requirement but the Senate didn’t act, which was great for the Dems who spent 2 years whining about all the wonderful bills McConnell blocked. The House and Senate have 2021 bills to repeal the requirement with bi-partisan co-sponsors (House: 216 D’s and 51 R’s in House; Senate: 5 D’s and 5 R’s).

      I don’t know if it’s good or bad this new bill combines the repeal with other measures.

      Meanwhile, 2 of Biden’s 3 appointees to the postal board have been confirmed, and the third expected to be.

      This should mean the potential to replace the postmaster general with someone who cares about the postal service, except that maybe (surprise!) they’re not going to do that “in part because its chairman — Ron Bloom, a Trump-appointed Democrat — has recently expressed strong support for the postmaster general.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        > This should mean the potential to replace the postmaster general with someone who cares about the postal service, except that maybe (surprise!) they’re not going to do that “in part because its chairman — Ron Bloom, a Trump-appointed Democrat — has recently expressed strong support for the postmaster general.”

        Bloom has an interesting bio.

    1. c_heale

      Another behind the curve, ignorant article from the mass media. Good job we have the internet, otherwise we’d still all be listening to their fake news still.

  33. Jason

    Israel Knowingly Bombed AP Office in Gaza

    NEW YORK (AP) — An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday. All AP employees and freelancers evacuated the building safely.

    AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt has released the following statement:

    We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.

    We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more.

    This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.

    The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can’t say for sure but I think that a lot of those journalists also lived in that tower so if true, they will be now homeless and probably lost a lot of their personal possessions. They will not be happy campers. But this will make scrutiny of Israel’s actions more intense now, not less. Meanwhile, some conservatives are celebrating this development because of course they are-

  34. Jason

    Israel is wantonly killing innocent women and children. This is what they refer to as “mowing the grass.”

    The AP’s own headline puts the killing of a Hamas leader before the destruction of their own office. See below. The article itself mimics all the Israeli talking points, quotes Netanyhu, and then gives a weak statement about the destruction of the office.

    The entire article is Hasbara. It was probably given to the AP to print. Or the reporters or their sources are operatives. I imagine the chairman of the AP and President and CEO of Hearst is pretty cozy with Israel.

    Israel strikes Gaza home of Hamas leader, destroys AP office

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel slammed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes on Saturday, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp — most of them children — and pulverizing a high-rise that housed The Associated Press and other media.

    This is barely reported anywhere. One would think the intentional bombing of a well-known international news agency’s office located in the midst of an active war zone would be headline news all over.

  35. The Rev Kev

    Here in Oz, I am smelling a rat. For the second time in two days, a top medico has come out to say that after vaccinations are offered, that the country should be opened up and letting the virus run free. That we can then open up to returnees, international tourists and international students with all the billions of dollars that they will be bringing in which will of course be good for the economy. Of course our Treasurer fully agrees with this sentiment and who said “We are not pursuing a [COVID-19] elimination strategy … you can’t eliminate the virus.”

    FFS. With 9,000 Australian-Indians that would be returning from India, there would be no way to stop the Indian variant from coming into the country – and that is only the present Indian variant and not the future ones. And then you would not only have to accept the deaths of people not protected enough by any of the present vaccines as well as those not vaccinated. And then there may be variants that would blow through any vaccines. And as people still get this virus, will they be permanently damaged? And I don’t have to be a medico to think of these questions-

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Of course our Treasurer fully agrees with this sentiment and who said “We are not pursuing a [COVID-19] elimination strategy … you can’t eliminate the virus.”

      I don’t know if I would push this heuristic too hard, but —

      I have often struggled to compare/formalize the creation of an embubbled identity class* with the creation of asset classes. Revenue can be extracted from identity classes, and that is the business that political strategists are in. For example, RussiaGate believers are an asset class; 2020 election truthers are an asset class. Political strategists do the extracting (on behalf of whom is another question) based on their propaganda skills — the hot buttons, the trigger words, the “hate” and so forth.

      Bringing all this to a point, the embubbled identity classes are reservoirs of “infection” in the political realm, much like countries like the United States is becoming a reservoir of literal infection for Covid in the body (the body politic), making the virus (in sufficient quantities to spread) an asset class. Hence Pfizer’s famous pre-press release call to the Biden campaign…

      Finance mavens will correct me on “asset class,” but commodities are asset classes, and reservoirs (whether of identity classes or pockets of infection) are commodities too, like copper from copper mines, iodine from kelp, timber from forests, etc.

      Is that how capital “thinks” of us? Yes, that is how capital “thinks” of us.

      NOTE * I’m struggling with vocabulary here, and mentally opposing “identity class” to “material class,” i.e. the set membership function for the former would include statements like “I ‘identify as’ [x] this and [x] that”, but the set membership function for the latter would include claims like “I am a wage worker.” I don’t think “I identify as a wage worker” is a meaningful statement; it’s like saying “I identify as vaccinated,” which is a nonsense.

  36. JohnB

    I’ve been thinking about the logistics of a general protest movement with its own currency.

    It’d be like a mini-government, able to target businesses/sectors for taxation in the new currency, that the movement needs resources from, and able to provide workers for those businesses paid in that currency, with the labour offsetting losses – and in general able to provide a Job Guarantee (with a lot of that probably starting off as muscle to help enforce the currency/taxes – then focusing on building for resolving the accommodation crisis here where I am).

    What would be the best way to operate such a currency? It’d be a central authority running the currency, and transactions would want to not be public (as the ‘real’ government would be hostile to anyone participating in it, and business forced to participate) – so that excludes cryptocurrency, which is primarily decentralized – and it’d want to be resilient to the movement being decapitated, able to change hands to newly designated leaders, with no way to shut it down.

    Is there anything like the tech/infrastructure behind cryptocurrencies, that is instead built around a central authority like this? (and no unnecessary nonsense like blockchain etc. – something more built for this specific purpose)

    In principle, I don’t see why movements taking the initiative with their own currency isn’t more common – elections futilely returning two variants of the same party, is a problem worldwide – and a big enough movement with its own currency like this may allow the population to take certain economic matters into its own hands, regardless of who’s in government (particularly when it comes to providing employment for those deliberately left unemployed).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You really need to read up on currencies. This is na ga happen. Why should anyone accept a new currency? It’s just a useless token. All Bitcoin is used for now is speculation (“trading sardines”) and crime.

      California tried using scrip right after the GFC. Even with paying interest and a redemption date (as in it was bond-like), it was not accepted for general commerce and traded for 80 cents on the dollar.

      1. JohnB

        Well, the idea with the protest movement, is that they would use a certain amount of muscle to enforce taxation using the currency, targeted at specific businesses/sectors with resources the protest movement needs (I know it sounds a bit mafia like, but basically under threat of shutting down and sabotaging their business) – giving the ability to buy goods from those businesses in that currency – like the way taxes drive demand for the national currency.

        Pretty much coercing businesses into accepting it (thus giving the currency value) – but also offsetting that, by having people from the protest movement work for those businesses, paid in that new currency. Basically, giving the movement access to the supply chain of targeted businesses/sectors, and working/earning for what they take from that business – without having to use the national currency to do it – which allows people to be employed, where this may not have otherwise been possible.

        It’d be like a miniature version of the way the state enforces use of the national currency (which of course would put the movement in conflict with the state) – and if that is doable, it should be possible to target sectors for forced employment of workers and access to their supply chain – to e.g. get the resources needed for building homes, if looking to do work to solve the accommodation crisis where I am.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh, so your democratic movement is now a mafia? Glad we have that one clear. At least our current systems has rules and courts.

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