Links 5/19/2021

First Atlantic satellite tracks of ‘lost years’ green turtles support the importance of the Sargasso Sea as a sea turtle nursery Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Investment fraudsters found guilty of £2m scam after eight-year-long investigation City of London Police. A call made back in 2013 by our own Richard Smith: “Paul Seakens of Gemmax Solutions Limited Takes an Idiotic Pop at “Naked Capitalism” and ‘redd-monitor’” (other Seakens hilarity here). Eight years is a long time; it reminds me of perhaps the most famous Twitter account ever….

AbbVie repeatedly hiked Humira, Imbruvica prices and abused patents to keep competitors at bay: report Fierce Pharma. Katie Porter on the case:

The Biggest Tail Risk in Markets Has Shifted Bloomberg


The Counterlife of COVID-19: What Might Have Been MedPage Today

Is the spread of the Indian variant in the UK an inevitable result of living with COVID? mainly macro

Novelty Means Severity: The Key To the Pandemic The Insight

Yes, lockdowns were good Noah Smith, Bloomberg

* * *

Neutralizing antibody levels are highly predictive of immune protection from symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection Nature. From the Abstract: “Modeling of the decay of the neutralization titer over the first 250 d after immunization predicts that a significant loss in protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection will occur, although protection from severe disease should be largely retained. Neutralization titers against some SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern are reduced compared with the vaccine strain, and our model predicts the relationship between neutralization and efficacy against viral variants. Here, we show that neutralization level is highly predictive of immune protection, and provide an evidence-based model of SARS-CoV-2 immune protection that will assist in developing vaccine strategies to control the future trajectory of the pandemic.”

Persistence of Antibody and Cellular Immune Responses in COVID-19 patients over Nine Months after Infection Journal of Infectious Diseases. n = 59. The Conclusion: “SARS-CoV-2-specific immune memory response persists in most patients nearly one year after infection, which provides a promising sign for prevention from reinfection and vaccination strategy.”

* * *

Mask controversy spurs CDC to rethink its pandemic response

Now and then: lessons from the rollout of ART Lancet

My Life After COVID Brian Beutler, Crooked Media. Long-haul.


OEMs Have Long Enabled China to Out-Compete the US Industry Week

Censorship, Surveillance and Profits: A Hard Bargain for Apple in China NYT. Commentary:

‘Courageous’ China May Impose Losses On Huarong Bondholders: NYT Heisenberg Report

A Xinjiang Solar Giant Breaks Ranks to Try and Woo the West Bloomberg

China’s rising property prices have serious social consequences Think China

SEG Plaza evacuation: Shaking China skyscraper sends shoppers fleeing BBC

Israel’s very popular on Chinese social media—thanks to China’s online Islamophobia Quartz

Taiwan’s face-time work culture is hurting its pandemic response Quartz. Here is a thread on the same topic:


Myanmar’s coup is uniting a country riven by ethnic divisions. Will it last? Vox. Finally, a Vox explainer.

Communities defy junta’s attempts to rule wards and villages Frontier Myanmar

Myanmar Navy Deserters Speak Out Against Military Regime The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s Buddhist monks split over opposition to coup South China Morning Post

Myanmar Crisis Prompts South Koreans to Revisit 1980s Struggle for Democracy VOA

Thirteen Warnings for Myanmar Junta Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing The Irrawaddy. If ASEAN has teeth, that’ll be a first. Still, interesting.

Malaysia reports record 6,075 new cases amid COVID-19 third wave Channel News Asia

Vietnam shuts industrial parks housing Foxconn plants after COVID-19 outbreak Channel News Asia


Source: U.S. helped avert Israeli ground invasion of Gaza; hopes rise conflict could end soon Politico and Biden Is Boxed In on Israel-Gaza, Able Only to Urge a Cease-Fire Bloomberg

Ilhan Omar’s Senior Communications Director/Strategist, a thread:

WATCH | ‘Sure Seems Like a War Crime’: John Oliver Blasts ‘Both-siding’ Israel-Gaza War Haaretz

Israel/Palestine Coverage Presents False Equivalency Between Occupied and Occupier FAIR

Rights group says Israel may still be arming Myanmar; NGOs call for arms embargo The Times of Israel. Arms and money being fungible, Biden’s latest arms deal with Israel could help the Tatmadaw.

Mapping Israeli occupation Al Jazeera

Israel is Making the Same Errors as Britain did Over Northern Ireland 50 Years Ago Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

Senegal architects ditch concrete for earth in revival of old techniques Reuters


Germany authorizes pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 in its waters TASS and Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2 Axios. ZOMG Putin has kompromat on Biden ZOMG ZOMG.

Maggie lives!

On the other hand–

How Public Ownership Helped the Tories in Tees Valley Tribune

Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes Guardian

New Cold War

American ‘regime change’ specialists NED claim credit for Belarus protests & boast of funding Russian opposition during prank call Russia Today

Chile votes for radicals and independents to write new constitution FT. 2021 – 1973, the year of the Pinochet coup = 48 years. That’s the time it’s taken to even begin to undo the damage caused by the neoliberals at the University of Chicago and their torturers.

‘Difficult years’: Brazil’s fishing communities struggle to stay afloat during pandemic PRI

Biden Administration

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on A Better Deal for Americans to The U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S. Department of the Treasury

Glenn Hubbard: ‘The economy needs more than neoliberal medicine’ FT

Would the PRO Act Actually Deter Employer Violations? Labor Law Lite

Court to weigh in on Mississippi abortion ban intended to challenge Roe v. Wade SCOTUSblog

Adversary Drones Are Spying On The U.S. And The Pentagon Acts Like They’re UFOs The Drive. From April, still germane.

The Colonial Pipeline Was Fine, But Its Owner Shut It Down To Make Sure They’d Get Paid Correctly Jalopnik. As NC readers know, but it’s good to see the detail aggregated.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Citizen App Set Off Hunt for Person Falsely Accused of Starting California Brush Fire Gizmodo

Server glitch allowed Eufy owners to see through other homes’ cameras The Verge. Commentary:

Google plans to build a commercial quantum computer by 2029 Engadget


Boeing rehires aircraft inspectors Leeham News and Analysis. After the failure of another hare-brained management union-busting scheme.

Congress demands records from Boeing to investigate lapses in production quality Seattle Times. My favorite Boeing quality assurance story is the ladder and string of lights left in the tail section of one plane. Pilot to co-pilot: “Is something rattling around back there?”

Class Warfare

An interview with Gail Haines of Green Mountain Spinnery Grassroots Economic Organizing. This reads like an Ursula Leguin short story in real life, and I mean that as a compliment.

“They Want Enough Money to Keep Up The Fight”: New York Media’s Top Union Erupts in Conflict Over Cash Vanity Fair

Out of the Pandemic: UC Student Researchers Emerge United Labor Notes

How corporations buy—and sell—food made with prison labor The Counter

America’s Dead Souls The Paris Review

Ancient Australian Aboriginal memory tool superior to ‘memory palace’ learning (ctlieee).

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. timbers

    Germany authorizes pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 in its waters TASS and Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2 Axios. ZOMG Putin has kompromat on Biden ZOMG ZOMG.

    Does not make sense IMO. Especially with possible return of Iranian energy on world market. Only way maybe it does, is if some got spooked by the gas shortage caused by the recent hack attack and the political folk in Team Dem overruled the warmongers in this instance because they’re not happy with re-election prospects in 2022. With energy prices and inflation spiking voters could get uncooperative, and since the warmongers got their preferred team in power, they are on board with that.

    For now.

    1. Keith

      For Germany, it would make sense to have a reliable pipeline rather than shipments from the Middle East.

      I think the question may be more related to the Ukraine. Have they served their purposes and will now be cast away? (I hope so.)

      Other factor is Biden may be in a position of weakness and needs something from the Germans. Quid pro qua.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t even know if it’s a quid pro quo as much as Biden is a stereotype of a bully who backs down when challenged.. When a powerful enough person says no, he jumps, bht we see him challenge little people all the time. He might have perceived Russia as a paper tiger, but the troop movement may have changed his mind. Remember he was a sitting VP who made way for a doofus like Hillary. It’s not like Biden was actually inspired by Charlottesville to run for President. The German Chancellor is still more important than any advisor.

        It’s not different than carrying out the edicts of the cc companies, but as President, he’s too far above them to rely on them for direction. So he’s aimless.

      2. Isotope_C14

        Living in Germany, but not an expert on German foreign policy. My guess is that the business interests always knew they were going to get their way on the pipeline as long as the Green Party isn’t in charge. With the rapid rise of the popularity of the Greens, business needs to get it approved now before the political winds change. Elections are not too far off in the future, and historically fossil fuels are not exactly what the Greens want. Also, it is quite unclear what coalition would be governing in the Fall. Some say it will be the center-right CDU with the Greens, others say there could be an alliance with Greens and pro-business FDP, and possibly SPD (social democrats). It’s a volatile situation that business would likely avoid, especially a really crazy coalition between Die Linke (The left), SPD, and the Greens. That would be very-anti pipeline.

        I know some people directly who go protest at the Lignite coal mines, and the Germans are certainly wanting to end reliance on dirty fossil fuels, and I’m guessing there is a general opinion that fossil gas is cleaner than burning high sulfur coal. Strangely enough it’s probably cheaper to import that from the Russians than mine the local coal.

        Just my 2 cents ;)

        1. eyebear

          As a german: the pipeline is as reliable as the other pipelines from Russia. When the french nuclear power plants will be shut down due to their age, the needed energy can be produced by natural gas from Russia.Nothing else matters.

          1. Isotope_C14


            I agree 100%. My perspective was on the “why now” – primarily as a component of which political party will have inertia in the fall.

            Any input on your voting plans? :)

            I know mostly younger folk, and they slant heavily to Diem25/Die Linke, what do you see in your neck of the woods?

    2. Ben Dalton

      Germany needs Natural Gas to achieve it’s emission reduction and transition commitments. (I don’t really get how Natural Gas can be called “clean”, but that’s another story). So they need cheap gas to keep the economy humming.

      With Nordstream, Germany gets a direct line from Russia without going through other countries. (There already is a pipeline, Nordstream 2 just doubles the capacity). So Russia can turn off the tap for every other country and still supply Germany.

      1. Synoia

        “I don’t really get how Natural Gas can be called “clean”, but that’s another story”

        Because the combustion products are mostly Carbon Dioxide and Water, and hare less pollutants than the combustion products of Coal, which includes much soot.

        When considering Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant, Natural Gas is not clean.

        1. Mantid

          Hi Synoia, And don’t forget n. gasses right arm man, methane. Glad I’m goofy (skater term for left footed).

    3. km

      To be fair, Trump could have pushed The Button and russiagate conspiracy theorists would insisted that this was on Putin’s orders and that HRC would have pushed it sooner and bigger.

  2. John Siman

    I can only assume that the headline “Ancient Australian Aboriginal memory tool superior to ‘memory palace’” is intended to flatter the snobby sensibilities of wokesters who are eager to discredit absolutely any monument of the human intellect in their rush to be seen fetishisizing indigenous epistemologies (in the plural, sic). But for those readers actually interested in the intricacies of the art of memory, as opposed to the half-hour farce described in the article, I recommend Jonathan Spence’s The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, which begins with these paragraphs:

    “In 1596 Matteo Ricci taught the Chinese how to build a memory palace. He told them that the size of the palace would depend on how much they wanted to remember: the most ambitious construction would consist of several hundred buildings of all shapes and sizes, “the more there are the better it will be,” said Ricci, thought he added that one did not have to build on a grandiose scale right away. One could create modest palaces, or one could build less dramatic structures such as a temple compound, a cluster of government offices, a public hostel, or a merchant’s meeting lodge. If one wished to begin on a still smaller scale, then one could erect a simple reception hall, a pavilion, or a studio. And if one wanted an intimate space one could use just the corner of a pavilion, or an altar in a temple, or even such a homely object as a wardrobe or a divan.

    “In summarizing this memory system, he explained that these palaces, pavilions, divans wer mental structures to be kept in one’s head, not solid objects to be literally constructed out of “real” materials. Ricci suggested that there were three main options for such memory locations. First, they coud be drawn from reality, that is, from buildings that one had been in or from objects that one had seen with one’s own eyes and recalled in one’s memory. Second, they could be totally fictive, products of the imagination conjured up in any shape or size. Or third, they could be half real and half fictive, as in the case of a building one knew well and through the back wall of which one broke an imaginary door as a shortcut to new spaces, or in the middle of which one created a mental staircase that would lead one up to higher floors that had not existed before.

    “The real purpose of all these mental constructs was to provide storage spaces for the myriad concepts that make up the sum of our human knowledge. To everything that we wish to remember, wrote Ricci, we should give an image; and to every one of these images we should assign a position where it can repose peacefully until we are ready to reclaim it by an act of memory….”

    Here’s a link to a .pdf of the entire book:

    1. CNu

      The Ancient Aboriginal Memory Tool isn’t wokesterism. I apologize in advance for having neither the time this morning or specific subject matter expertise at my leisure – to do the deep dive this topic warrants. So this can only serve as a gesture in the direction of DIY materials.

      I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed the privilege of being in a few of the late Kenneth Hale’s classes at MIT.

      For whatever it’s worth, Hale was profoundly taken with Warlpiri and with the cognitive culture of the ancients in Australia. (who as we now know were also the original inhabitants of the ancient Americas as well.)

      Hale was firmly convinced that this most ancient group of humans had developed a system of cognition quite distinct from any other people on the face of the earth, and that their baseline fluency in 6-8 languages as well as the unique polyglot “games” they play with one another across these languages constitutes a “technology” that we ought be loathe to lose.

    2. Alfred

      “intended to flatter the snobby sensibilities of wokesters who are eager to discredit absolutely any monument of the human intellect in their rush to be seen fetishisizing indigenous epistemologies (in the plural, sic)”

      oh boy. so there was nothing before “monuments of the human intellect?”

      I recommend the article in the Daily Mail about Julian Lennon’s visit to the Kogi, indigenous Columbians, and their view of ‘younger brother’ Westerners:
      “Touching on how they see westerners, Ereira added: ‘[They see us as] dangerous because we lack the capacity to think clearly, to hold on to an idea for any length of time and to listen to instruction.’

      That’s from the horse’s mouth.

    3. km

      T’ain’t woksterism to note that reliable memory is something that a non-literate culture might value and cultivate.

    4. zagonostra

      I was exposed to “The Art of Memory” by Frances A. Yates when doing some research on Giordano Bruno.

      I Never knew that there existed these elaborate systems or “Memory Palaces” that were used for storing/remembering vast amount of information. She traces the history of this going back to ancient Greece and she covers Raymond Lull, John Dee and all those wonderfully occult figures of the Middle Ages.

      Frances Yates stands out as one the most influential scholars of Bruno and the “Art of Memory.”

      Look forward to reading link above and how Ancient Australian Aboriginal memory “devices” compare.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      I can’t speak to one method vs. the other, but a few years ago I did read a more pop culture book on the topic, Moonwalking with Einstein. The book’s subheader is a little misleading as it is more about memory competitions and those who participate in them, and doesn’t go into the techniques all that much. But it does deal with the specifics of the memory palace a little bit, and after trying it out myself, it really does work. I used it for a few random facts and was able to remember them for a few weeks (until I stopped reminding myself to do the recall every day) and if I hadn’t, I’m sure I would have forgotten it all in a day or two.

      Now where did I put my keys?

    6. Mantid

      Dear John, Musical memory is an amazing thing. I’m sure there have been studies regarding musician’s abilities to remember immense amounts of information. If you (or anyone) knows of some, please pass a link or two. I find it amazing how musicians can memorize long passages, concertos, be-bop melodies and “changes” in various keys and be able to produce them on demand. Associating memories with emotions is quite powerful and effective. I can’t wait to read the Ricci and Ancient Aboriginal text, but I get to go practice first.

      1. Tom Bradford

        I can’t read music or play an instrument but I can usually ‘remember’ pieces after only two or three hearings in the sense that my ears/mind are riding* the music rather than waiting for it to happen and carry me with it – and we’re talking symphonies here up to and including Mahler.

        *ie I notice if the piece doesn’t do what I expected it to, and that rarely happens twice.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Different genre, but was talking with Anathalee Sandlin, wife of Johnny, who told me of a band bragging to her that they covered the Allman Brothers Band, note for note. Her reply was, “Why? They never did.”

  3. zagonostra

    >America’s Dead Souls – The Paris Review

    Professionalism and bureaucracy shield contemporary death-for-profit workers, administrators, and executives so that they may staff cruel systems without experiencing feelings of culpability, not to mention empathy or curiosity.

    The banality of evil. You could flip the title around and it will work just as well, America’s Soul is Dead. In a sense Biden was on to something in his campaign’s slogan. He was running to “restore the soul of America.” the problem there is that his is corrupted.

    Dante describes the soul as composed of two main parts, the will and the intellect. America has an abundance of intellect. The will, however, is moribund. You can’t argue that the U.S. does not have the capacity to end poverty, homelessness, and provide a rational healthcare system for its citizens. It just lacks the will, ergo, there is no possibility of “restoring the soul.”

    As the article clearly states there is profit to be made from death “Foreclosure companies, debt collectors, real estate agents, news corporations, health care tycoons, senators, and presidents, to name a few…”

    Good article, when younger I immersed myself in Dostoevsky but only read short stories by Gogol, I will put Dead Souls, on my reading list. Thanks for posting.

    1. Keith

      While sad for the author of the article, the way he expresses his personal and family problems seems to create more questions.

      On the plus side, I am thinking about getting the book, seems like an interesting read.

      1. noonespecial

        re Gogol’s “Dead Souls” – For those who are looking to read this novel, it may be of interest to seek out an edition that includes the portion of the Second Book to read a bit more about Chichikov’s adventures. Alas, Fate only left us with part of what was supposed to be a trilogy. Revealing a bit of himself, the 2nd Part begins something like this:

        “What are these longings to always paint about the calamity, the misery and the imperfections of our existence…”

        “The poet Pushkin, who said of Gogol that ‘behind his laughter you feel the unseen tears,’ was his chief friend and inspirer.”

    2. Alfred

      I see plenty of will to end poverty and homelessness around me personally. I myself am the beneficiary of several programs that improve my life immensely. I know many generous people. My employers, though, were as a rule not generous with employees. There is a narrative to support a hierarchy that includes poverty and homelessness, and it blows its horn from the rooftops in the U.S., drowning out the people with will, who are reduced to being called names, like “socialist” and villified like Bernie (I thank Bernie in my heart every damn day). The people with the will to have a soul are better off going about their business as quietly as possible in the U.S., and still making a difference.

      1. ambrit

        Alas, as long as Neo-liberalism is the primary philosophy of the ruling elites, the Social Dance will more properly be called what it is right now, a “War of Attrition.”
        As long as ‘soulless’ corporations are given the legal status of “living beings,” they will have an advantage. One of the definitions of “having a soul” is the ability to cry, grieve, and have empathy. Show me a ‘corporation’ that can do such.
        If one wished to support the concept of Neo-liberalism, one would have to develop a more nuanced theory of what constituted “living.” Purely mechanistic postureings will not suffice.

      2. zagonostra

        Not doubt there are individuals of good will that exist. But if we can talk about the “Soul of a Nation” or the “American Mind” then on the whole what does it say that this country has the capacity to do good but does evil.

        It’s as if St. Paul wrote Romans 7:19 especially for the U.S.

        “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

        1. Alfred

          Evil is done. And yet I have had good done for me, and I have done good for others. Good is done when we refuse to participate in evil, and thereby make a space in our lives for good will. I did have to scrape off an awful lot of toxic people who did not agree with that, though. The fact that I can’t stop the U.S. from bombing children and having a woman call it “worth it” is something I have had to let go of.
          It is hard for some Muricans to accept that everyone deserves good will. I have gotten along with some nasty people when I had to on a casual basis and it did not hurt either of us not to punish each other just because. I think it’s impossible at this point to give a blanket assessment of the “Soul of America.” The loudest voices are not the majority, and there is not enough nuance in other methods of assessment. Whoever it is that wants us all to hate each other at the moment, that’s the evil.

    3. begob

      I was wondering how the author inherited her mother’s debts; and she mentioned another person with similar liabilities. If it’s through an original guarantee, then fine – otherwise, she seems to have some personal liability as executor or even as legatee? Yikes.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        From her writing: “….do what I did. Pretend you’re rich. Hire a lawyer. Open a credit card, if you have to. A meager amount of wealth will insulate you from a lifetime of woe, exactly as it was designed to. All my lawyer had to do was send a memo on official letterhead and my mother’s debts in death dropped 90 percent.”

        The author did not actually inherit her mother’s debts. Her mother’s creditors tried to convince her she did, stonewalled her, and she needed to use the threat of legal action to stop them. Aggressive, threatening scamming of heirs to indebted estates (who are not protected by estate professionals) is common in the U.S., and particularly common in our Very Christian Heartland. Her dental hygienist faced a similar attack after the death of an older relative. It’s fraud and harassment, and it is widespread. As she so clearly stated, it is only perpetrated against the naive and poor, which common means the young.

        The author likely won’t have the time or the energy to pursue these fraudsters for damages, but a lawyer working on contingency could probably nail a few @ssed to a wall for her if she kept very good records, and wants to put 5-7 years into the effort.

        1. ambrit

          I have always thought that these sorts of social predators were an almost overwhelming argument in favour of “Social Karma Commandos.” When the ‘Law’ is perverted to act against the interests of the innocent and powerless, then it is time to establish “parallel institutions” to the Law. America has a long and (dis)honoured tradition of exactly that. [Just take a look at what used to be the standard ‘B’ movie Western plot. It was taken in and cheered on by the “masses” on Saturday Matinees the nation over for decades.]

  4. John

    I would agree that corporations are citizens in the same manner as Earls, Counts, and Dukes were citizens and corporations, especially the TBTF, act in like manner to those Earls, Counts, and Dukes. As their ‘noble’ forebears tried to muscle the king, corporations assume the prerogatives of government whenever they can get away with it and when times are tough they cry poverty and beg for support.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      Please look at the City of London’s Remembrancer online.

    2. Mildred Montana

      From Ambrose Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary”:

      Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

      Bierce (1842-1914, short story writer, journalist) fought the good fight all his life and in one instance he won:

      “The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies had received large, low-interest loans from the U.S. government to build the First Transcontinental Railroad. Central Pacific executive Collis P. Huntington persuaded a friendly member of Congress to introduce a bill excusing the companies from repaying the loans, amounting to $130 million (worth $4 billion today).

      “In January 1896 [newspaper owner Randolph] Hearst dispatched Bierce to Washington, D.C., to foil this attempt. The essence of the plot was secrecy; the railroads’ advocates hoped to get the bill through Congress without any public notice or hearings. When the angered Huntington confronted Bierce on the steps of the Capitol and told Bierce to name his price, Bierce’s answer ended up in newspapers nationwide: “My price is one hundred thirty million dollars. If, when you are ready to pay, I happen to be out of town, you may hand it over to my friend, the Treasurer of the United States.

      “Bierce’s coverage and diatribes on the subject aroused such public wrath that the bill was defeated. Bierce returned to California in November.” (from Wiki)

      1. jefemt

        As an incentive the RR’s got every other Section of land within 10 or 20 miles of the centerline of the main track. The US reserved all minerals to the lands granted, other than coal and iron, which were construed as critical for the rail.

        Then the RR went to the Courts, stated that as the US failed to enumerate each and every valuable mineral in the reservation and Grant, that the US essentially reserved NONE of the minerals.

        So, we have Anadarko, Conoco-Phillips, and others that are the successors to the RR mineral grab. Slick NY and DC law firms, greasy congress critters, and a willowy Supreme Court. The Gilded age of the 10’s and teens. Glad we don’t behave like that anymore!

  5. Tom67

    Re Boeing and qualitity inspectors.
    This reminds me of the so called “Lopez Effekt”. Lopez was a manager first at Opel who so successfully pressured suppliers of GM´s then daughter company Opel that GM delightedly pocketed an ever increasing profit from Germany. Volkswagen got jealous and hired Lopez and his crew of cost cutters before the contract of Lopez with Opel had run out. GM accused VW of industrial espionage (Lopez had supposedly brought secret documentation along) and it took Clinton and Kohl to end the law suit.
    VW was lucky though that GM had sued them as they had to ditch Lopez. Why? The so called “Lopez Effekt”. The rabid cost cutter had pressured the suppliers first of Opel and then of VW so much that they were forced to deliver parts that were – albeit still within the parameters – impossible to service and of inferior quality. Disgusted customers invented a new word: “The Lopez Effekt”. Opel never regained the trust of German car buyers but VW turned the corner before it was to late.

  6. zagonostra

    >John Oliver vs. Jimmy Dore

    Say what you will about JD (I know not very well liked among many) but on a live stream last night he had Max Blumenthal of the Grey Zone on for almost 2 hours with a straight extended talk on the Israeli aggression against Palestine. No antics, just a solid discussion on the topic with 10K live viewrs

    Also covered was the violence and uprising in Columbia, in Latin America. Somehow I missed that, and I do more than a fair amount of news reading.

    So hat’s off to Oliver, but give Jimmy his due, he deserves it, vulgar and coarse though he may be at times.

    1. Lee

      I have the impression that criticism of Israeli policy and pro-Palestinian sentiment seem to be popping up in unexpected places and is being presented to a wider audience than has previously been the case.

      As an aside, I’m so old I remember reading this piece from the 70s published in Penthouse, which I swear with my fingers crossed that I only ever perused for the articles. It has been helpfully archived and posted by who else but the CIA, who were no doubt keeping a close eye on its author, then Senator James Abourezk.

      The Relentless Israeli Propaganda Machine CIA reading room

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Vietnam shuts industrial parks housing Foxconn plants after COVID-19 outbreak”

    Can you imagine what would have happened if this was in the Foxconn plant in Wisconsin and Scott Walker was still Governor? He would have blown a fuse at this happening. But Foxconn had only recently moved those plants from China to Vietnam. What is the bet that those managers are still in contact with where their plants were in China and are confirming in phone calls that there is no sign of the virus there yet. That would suck that. But at least the Vietnamese are doing the smart thing shutting those plants down before it gets any worse.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the links about property ownership in the UK and its correlation with voting Tory, there’s more good news.

    A trade deal between the UK and Australia, including no tariffs for agriculture, may be concluded over the summer. It is feared that this will drive British farmers off the land, something the former bankster masquerading as a crofter* and leader of SNP MPs at Westminster was moaning about at PM’s questions over lunchtime. The British government is considering paying older farmers to retire. *How many crofters drive three Range Rovers, one for his constituency in the Highlands, one for his home in Edinburgh and one for London?

    This is a “result”. Fewer farms and more food imports from the other side of the world will, at least, mean more land for shooting and hunting or huntin’ and shootin’ as the delightful Priti Patel pronounces these field sports. In addition, Sir James Dyson of the eponymous firm and Brexiteer now based in Singapore can hoover more farm land. He has over 50,000 acres in England.

    For readers outside these islands, what are hunted and shot? Deer, foxes, grouse, hares, partridge and, last, but not least, peasants.

    1. John A

      I thought hares were coursed, or is that just the pleb variety using lurchers, the ban of which was much more enforced than fox chasing with horses and foxhounds?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, John.

        That is correct.

        The Kimblewick hunt does what it wants around here.

    2. Grant

      Something not often discussed in situations like this is the nutrient cycle, which Marx talked about long ago. If you rely more on imported agriculture, you import nutrients into the country too and the nutrients could be recycled back into the soil in different ways but often are not. So, the soils from the exporting country become depleted (there is also embodied water in the food exports), which often results in more chemicals being added to the soil. When it gets to the importing country, the nutrients are often treated as wastes. Beyond that, if these governments realize that there is a global environmental crisis, why support the export of agriculture when the carbon needed to export the food is often very high? You could grow food in an agroecological way that would allow nutrients to be put back into the soil, where the growing of food could result in more carbon sequestration and healthy soils and where less carbon is used to ship food around. But, such a thing requires a systemic response and more comprehensive public sector planning. If we don’t replace capitalism we stand no change in the face of the environmental crisis. If people want to disagree, show how a decentralized system that relies heavily on markets can deal with a crisis caused by the limits to growth and the limits of monetizing the environmental impacts that industry creates.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, both.

          I farm somewhere more tropical, arable only, but grow a lot at home in Buckinghamshire.

          I agree with Grant.

          British farmers and consumers and the green and pleasant land are about to be fcuked.


        socialism is the worst evil ever inflicted on humanity, the only hope we have to solve these problems is capitalism. A stronger regulatory system would go a long way towards fixing the problem.

    3. Tom Bradford

      Ah yes, fox hunting. “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.” as Oscar Wilde observed. Tho’ I understood fox-hunting was illegal now.

  9. antidlc
    Gov. Abbott issues executive order prohibiting government entities from requiring masks

    Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday that prohibits governmental entities in the state from requiring or mandating mask-wearing. According to the governor’s order, this includes counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials.

    Looks like one of my relatives retired from the UT System just in time.

    Unfortunately, another relative was going to start there in the fall. I guess those plans may change.

    Please, someone rescue me from this insanity. Please.

    1. Milton

      Adding some context. From the article:
      State health officials reported 318 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. There were 388 on Sunday.

      This gives Texas 706 reported cases during the past two days, the lowest two-day total since there were 654 total cases on March 27 and March 28 of 2020.

      The state’s record-high two-day total happened on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 of 2021 when there were 46,078 reported cases.

  10. Robert Hahl

    Re: America’s Dead Souls – The Paris Review

    “I didn’t inherit the assets. She didn’t leave a will, which meant the state of Tennessee inherited her house. What I inherited was her debt.”

    I somehow didn’t hear about these rules in law school.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can’t work it out either. It is saying that one person is responsible for the financial decisions and circumstances of another person, even if they had no say, because of a blood relationship. I can understand creditors lodging demands on the assets of the estate of a deceased person but after that, game over man. Come to think of it, old Joe made sure that a student could not get rid of student debt through bankruptcy. So if another person ‘inherits’ (cough*bs*cough) that debt, can they discharge it through bankruptcy themselves?

      1. David B Harrison

        What she is describing sounds like “clawback”. Clawback is when someone on medicaid dies their remaining assets are liquidated by the state to pay back medical and nursing home cost. My parents signed over their main assets to my sisters and I in October 2008 and as a result the state could not take them(5 years prior to the medical bills is the cutoff).My mom went into a nursing home(a monument of mediocrity, incompetence, and neglect thanks to its corporate owners) July of 2014 so if she had went in July 2013 they could have taken almost all of her remaining assets(my dad died in 2018) .I was allowed to keep the remaining assets as long as they didn’t exceed 10,000 dollars(even I went into 65,000 dollars of debt, was their caregiver, and lost 5 years of work income).If a person didn’t have a good or no medicare supplement then the results could be the same. This in reply to The Rev Kev.

    2. Keith

      I ended up stopping reading there too. The idea that since the mother died, the house goes to the state is absurd. There must have been a lot of background issues. regarding the debts, did he co-sign for her?

      I recall when my mother died heavily indebted, creditors ate them, including hospital ones. We were also even able to save some of the assets, too.

      Seems like an interesting situation for review, but more facts are needed.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The idea that since the mother died, the house goes to the state is absurd.

        Just because it sounds absurd doesn’t mean its not true. See my comment on “Estate recovery” above.

        1. Tom Bradford

          It’s what happens in the UK in an intestacy with no-one able to establish a right to the property by succession. In the absence of the ‘proper paperwork’ that can involve an application to the Probate Court, which don’t come cheap, and if the asset carries debts it often isn’t worth pursuing.

    3. Bill Smith

      A quick google of “what happens if no will in tennessee” casts doubt on the story.

      I’ve been the personal representative for relatives in 3 states. That story, beyond creditors asking for payment for which no one beyond the estate is liable for, seems very unlikely. They can ask, but nobody has to pay – unless your name is on the contract too.

      In my experience with leftover bills, (none of them large), speaking with a company representative and getting them to do a quick google search that turns up an obituary ends the actual bill at the date of death as opposed to when you eventually learn that there is still on open account somewhere months later with late payment costs. In a rare occurrence a letter explaining the situation with a partial payment, concluding with “sue me” has ended it.

      The part about no will and the state getting the house is fishy, unless there was some kind of state medical insurance involved?

      My mother had a distant uncle who died without a will. It took several years and a search of records in three countries but eventually the state sent a check along with about 30 pages of that old greenbar paper itemizing everything they did to search for valid descendants. In the end, a lot of those items in the report were things my father had entertained himself doing or arranging. Considerably different than the story here.

      1. David B Harrison

        Please read my reply to The Rev Kev above. In KY the will would be useless. The medical greed complex comes first and yes that is a fact as explained in KY law. KY also has laws that protect nursing home residents but for some strange reason those laws are not enforced(snark).I guess the powers that be being in bed with the nursing home industry(literally! our former governor Patton was sleeping with the head of a nursing home corporation).This in reply to Bill Smith.

      2. JBird4049

        Assuming that the rule of law is in effect is a real and serious mistake.

        The vampiric Debt Industry will go after anyone it thinks it can steal money from, even if legally it is not owed. The law has almost nothing to do with it. It is what can be gotten away with. Harassment, phone calls, emails, letters, (illegal) judgements and wage garnishments. This also includes all levels of government in almost every state as well as the nonprofit and social services industries.

        The often illegal practices are often a substitution for tax collection as well as a means of personal enrichment by the individual administrators. And the courts will often do very, very little to protect the individual especially if they can’t afford a lawyer.

        And before anyone can say “but that’s illegal” let me mention “civil asset forfeitures” and “police homicides.” People are murdered or their property stolen illegally by the state everyday and yet the various governments and courts allow this to continue.

        1. Maritimer

          “The vampiric Debt Industry will go after anyone it thinks it can steal money from, even if legally it is not owed. The law has almost nothing to do with it.”
          Well said.

          On the matter of Estates, I read once that some lawyers when writing a will deliberately make mistakes unknown to the purchaser of the will. These “mistakes” can then be used later to inflate litigation and legal expenses depending on the circumstances. In MA, the joke when a Probate Judge is appointed is “How long will it take for her to make her money back?”
          And should someone with some $$$$$$ die intestate, let the court appointed Vultures pounce.

          And Registry of Deeds. Lots of hanky panky here too. Particularly in rural areas where there may be no surveys and boundaries are unclear.

          It has been said that the courtroom is a stage. The lawyers and Judge are actors in the script. The litigants are the audience and, at the same time, the victims. Needless to say, the Legal Industry doesn’t have many muckrakers, if any.

          1. JBird4049

            There are reporters and writers who do uncovering all this, but they are few, their shovels are small, and the industry is worse than the Augean Stables.

            They are just ignored and evils like claw backs just continue. Just read Lambert’s comments and postings in this thread.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing rehires aircraft inspectors”

    Boeing dumping real quality control makes no sense. Unless you have an MBA I guess. If workers are going to sign off on their own work, then that creates a negative incentive. What I mean is this – if he realizes that he made a mistake and reports it, he might be punished or even sacked. Better for him to keep his mouth shut and let it go. if Boeing launches a “Zero Defect” campaign, then certainly he will never self-report then as he would know what would happen to him next.

    And having inspectors sample 1-in-100 tasks? That would only show a trend and not a catastrophic mistake that slips through. And if it results in another Boeing crash, then the costs would outweigh the savings on quality control by a coupla orders of magnitude. What really defies belief is how they adopted this from Toyota’s auto assembly lines. News alert Boeing. Cars aren’t planes. Toyota has to do a big recall of their cars every now and then. How will that work with Boeing airliners? If it is a dangerous fault grounding that plane, then you cannot fly them back to a Boeing plant or a repair facility. Will Boeing fly out teams of mechanics with all their equipment to stranded Boeing airliners stuck around the world? The stupidity – it burns!

    1. Robert Hahl

      Famously in the old days Boeing’s motto was, “Airplanes are different.” Meaning that they could not just be built like cars. The rot started when they merged with McDonnell Douglas.

      1. hunkerdown

        Elon Musk’s whole career is just a big project to negate Boeing, isn’t it? He must have gotten passed over for an interview all those years ago.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Mask controversy spurs CDC to rethink its pandemic response”

    ‘The changes include creating a clear reporting chain from the new director of the agency’s vaccine task force up to Rochelle Walensky.’

    I’m reading this to say that Rochelle Walensky is ‘streamlining’ the Centers for Disease Control in order to have total control of her subordinates and shut down any dissenters. And that that may be why two senior people retired from the CDC recently. So what sort of CDC might you end up with? Perhaps something like the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) where reports from the field are totally re-written for political reasons and the only way to find out what is really going on is through whistle-blowers. If the pandemic flares up again badly in the US, I would be very careful about listening to any advice coming out of the CDC then.

    1. ambrit

      We stopped taking anything from the American CDC seriously back in Spring of 2020. You know, during the original mask debacle.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Source: U.S. helped avert Israeli ground invasion of Gaza; hopes rise conflict could end soon Politico

    There is some heat on biden, apparently, to at least look like the u.s. recognizes this latest incident of israeli genocide against Palestinians for what it is, and make some feeble attempt to tone it down. politico is, apparently, trying to help out.

    From the article:

    At the start, the person familiar with the situation said, Israel appeared on the verge of pushing forth with a ground invasion, a move that could have led to significantly more bloodshed and possibly a longer conflict. U.S. influence was important in preventing a ground operation, the person said.

    According to Krystal Ball on Rising yesterday, the threat of a “ground invasion” was a deception cooked up by the IDF to lure Palestinians into more vulnerable positions thereby making israeli attacks more deadly. The american press was used to spread the fake word, and the biden admin wants kudos for “preventing” the fake attack.

    You just can’t believe anything these days. Krystal’s specific reference to this situation begins at the 2:18 mark:

    1. Keith

      Isn’t there a line that goes something like this, “truth is the first casualty of war.”

      That being said, as a military tactic, it makes sense for Israel to do this. After all, war is about producing dead and maimed bodies and destroying property.

      As for Biden claiming credit for preventing a fake invasion, also makes perfect sense. Gives him fuel to push back on the left flank about not doing anything about Israeli military operations. Since most people believe what they hear on TV, seems like a win-win for Israel and Biden.

      1. Mildred Montana

        War is also about reducing weapons stockpiles. Defense contractors need to sell guns in order to butter their bread.

        1. Synoia

          I believe the real money in in Ammunition.

          No prizes for being frugal with one’s use of ammunition. Quite the opposite in fact.

      2. tegnost

        As for Biden claiming credit for preventing a fake invasion, also makes perfect sense.
        yep. empty promises are easy to keep, just an optical illusion, a good cop bad cop routine…

    2. JTMcPhee

      Might also be that the IDF is a hollowed-out force and when the IDF goes “on the ground” against those pesky Arabs, the IDF takes actual casualties. Versus turkey-shooting by laser guided bombs, Hellfire-type missiles, artillery shells and such, against an “enemy” that has currently (in Gaza) no effective anti-air defense.,7340,L-4236500,00.html

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s exactly that. The majority of casualties in their last attack on Gaza happened when they actually went it on the ground. And it seems that Hamas has some ATGMs that is capable of taking out Israeli armour this time which probably came from their troops fighting Assad in Syria. The later, by the way, is why Hezbollah is not supporting them that much as they fought on Assad’s side in that war. Don’t know if Hamas and Hezbollah troops actually went head to head in Syria though.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: AbbVie repeatedly hiked Humira, Imbruvica prices and abused patents to keep competitors at bay: report Fierce Pharma.


    The real “news” here would be that somebody was going to do something about it. Didn’t martin shkrelli get publicly vilified for this exact thing YEARS ago?

    PS. Katie Porter makes the girls of “the squad” look like they’re sitting around the cafeteria at lunchtime figuring out how to get the best dates for the prom. I hope she stays as far away from them as possible to avoid the taint.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Was Shrkelli running ads on the infotainment channels? Maddow and the other pamphleteers have to eat.

  15. zagonostra

    >Saagar Enjeti: NYT Journo ADMITS Biased Coverup Of Lab Leak Hypothesis

    Origin of CV19 continues to unravel. Saager’s piece linked below is based on NYT Donald G. McNeil, the former senior science and health reporter. The admission that NYT reporting was biased is damning.

    The “believe the science” stance was/is not necessarily a good position to take ex nihilo. You have to look at other motives connections.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “American ‘regime change’ specialists NED claim credit for Belarus protests & boast of funding Russian opposition during prank call”

    These guys are really good at social engineering and if they lived in the west, would have found themselves in prison a long time ago for the unforgivable crime of embarrassing important people. Here is a partial list of people whom they have suckered in over the years-

    Elton John, Prince Harry, President Erdogan, Prime Minister of Switzerland, Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, Poland’s President Duda, Bernie Sanders, Nikki Haley, Amnesty International directors, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson, Maxine Waters, Moldovan leader Nicolae Timofti and Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

  17. Carolinian

    Very interesting story about Colonial pipeline and how the hack was of the financial side, not the operational pipeline side. It really wasn’t much of a crisis for those of us who had gas in our cars and arguably Colonial was even justified in shutting down if they had been straight with the public that this was going to be very temporary. It was the panic buying that caused all the problems.

    Lesson learned???

    1. JTMcPhee

      Colonial pipeline is not “fine,” let’s remember: We can be proud the corp and its executives who are responsible for for what might be the one of the biggest petroleum spills in the US. Where we mopes get the benefit of even more and more frequent spills and other benefits of our modern industrial society and the fading infrastructure that holds it all together, or not…

      Just another one of the wonderful good corporate citizens in this best of all possible Empires. With profit from externalities for all.

  18. diptherio

    I’m glad you enjoyed the interview with Gail from Green Mountain Spinnery, Lambert. They’re one of my favorite worker co-ops, as I have a thing for sheep herding, wool, and antique machinery. I should probably learn how to knit so I can have an excuse to order skeins of yarn from them.

    1. Katiebird

      I have no idea how I discovered them but I am a knitter and I really like their yarns. They have a nice texture and feel great while knitting. I hadn’t realized they were a co-op.

  19. Darthbobber

    After all the hype, and despite Fast Eddie’s last minute intervention, Krasner fended off the Vega/FOP challenge on cruise control.

    You can call a 65-35 margin a lot of things, but in politics you can’t call it close.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Thank you for posting that. It was perhaps the most important event yesterday in American politics, though its significance is under-the-radar.

  20. Tom Stone

    It’s such an innocent looking approach and it works so often because NO ONE would dare to do such a thing to someone so important.
    Lovely, but a dangerous game because there is no greater crime than embarrassing the powerful.

  21. Synoia

    Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes

    The documents that were not destroyed appear to have been kept secret not only to protect the UK’s reputation, but to shield the government from litigation. If the small group of Mau Mau detainees are successful in their legal action, thousands more veterans are expected to follow.

    I don’t understand the litigation issue. I understood the British Government was Immune from litigation, based om the principle of “Sovereign Immunity”.

  22. orlbucfan

    The powerful do a pretty good job of embarrassing themselves if one knows where to look.

  23. Maxwell Johnston

    “Adversary drones are spying on the US…”

    Very informative article, and the best explanation I’ve read for the USG’s sudden and unprecedented interest in UFOs. Of course the USA has long been using drones to kill people, so I find it amusing the the author (who seems to be very pro-navy) is upset over the Chinese and Russians using drones for non-lethal intel collection. What goes around comes around, as I endlessly tell my offspring. Also interesting that most of this alleged drone activity takes place in international waters, so it’s not clear to me what actual active countermeasures the US navy could take. Legally, anyway.

    One quibble. Author refers early on to “… America’s overwhelming technological superiority…” I really wonder if that’s true anymore. “ Technological superiority?” In military matters, maybe. But “overwhelming”, I very much doubt. At least wrt China and Russia.

    1. Procopius

      Saw a YouTube clip about one of those videos the Navy released. The very enthusiastic narrator kept talking about “what we are watching is a ship passing between air and water…” Well, no, what we were watching was the display on a FLIR camera. People who have never read Alfred Korzybski do not think about the axiom, “The map is not the territory.” Words are important. It’s vital that we accurately describe what we are looking at. I recommend a YouTube channel called MetaBunk, which has a lot of videos demonstrating how the combined movement of the airplane carrying the camera, and the swiveling of the camera, creates the illusion of rapid motion in objects that aren’t moving at all. It’s hard to believe that video technicians and cameramen aren’t able to immediately recognize what’s going on.

      1. Late Introvert

        I do video. None of the evidence is even remotely convincing, and the source even less so. When we have steady cameras at HD quality, from a non-Pentagon souce, even then I’m highly skeptical because you can fake anything on video.

    1. Alfred

      He did say his staff don’t want him taking “extra questions.” The arrogant jerk comes out.

  24. Matthew G. Saroff

    Am I the only one who thinks that the entire carbon credit apparatus is as criminogenic as Bitcoin?

  25. Left in Wisconsin

    OEMs Have Long Enabled China to Out-Compete the US – Industry Week

    This is the smartest thing I have read about the U.S.-China “rivalry” in a long time. An excerpt:

    I was a sourcing manager in the 1990s when OEMs started their sprint to source in China. It was a confusing time. It was not a well-thought-out strategy. At one company I worked for, our VP of Supply Management—who wasn’t satisfied by the pace of our outsourcing to China—mandated that at a minimum one-third of the dollar value of all new sourcing had to be with suppliers in “low cost” (translate: low-piece-price) countries, regardless of quote comparisons. This resulted in some of our domestic suppliers losing business with us even though they were price-competitive with overseas sources—or, in fact, offered lower prices!

    As a consequence of losing OEM business—especially in such a short-fuse manner—many SMEs went out of business. The rapid acceleration of OEM re-sourcing didn’t allow for them to react to the new business reality. And OEMs, for the most part, didn’t give their incumbent suppliers a real chance to compete.

    I’m starting to think we probably will go to war with China at some point – don’t all declining civilizations go out with a bang of some sort? – but it will be because we aren’t able or willing to co-exist in the world that footloose capital insists we live in.

  26. Jeff W

    From the “Ancient Australian Aboriginal memory tool superior to ‘memory palace’ learning” article:

    Medical students, and doctors, need to retain large amounts of information from anatomy to diseases and medications.

    Because one of the main stressors for medical students is the amount of information they have to rote learn, we decided to see if we can teach them alternate, and better, ways to memorize data,” Dr. {David] Reser said.

    Related to that, close to five decades ago, in an introductory undergrad neuroanatomy class, we used Sidman and Sidman’s famed Neuroanatomy: A Programmed Text. While it got panned by what was then the Archives of Neurology when it first came out, with the reviewer saying “This type of programmed introduction is likely to discourage even the most enthusiastic student,” nothing could be further from my experience. I loved it. (Judging from some enthusiastic reviews on Amazon, I’m not alone.) It was probably my favorite college text and I still have it on my bookshelf today.

    The text leads you effortlessly, step by step, with careful repetition, through the basics of neuroanatomy. I wouldn’t call it a memory technique, it’s more of a learning technology. It is, by today’s standards, completely primitive—correct responses are provided on the following page; there is no adaptability based on individual response; the images are black and white and not the greatest quality. Today we could have true programmed learning that adapts to each person’s behavior with high definition images and a lot more. Still, it was so effective that I remember a lot of the neuroanatomy to this day.

    I’ve long thought that it would be better if a lot of what we learn in school, at least the foundations or some specific areas—in science, math, and so on, perhaps, especially languages—were taught in exactly this way. It would be far easier, far more engaging, far more effortless, and far more effective.

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