Links 5/4/2021

Border Collies Run Like the Wind to Bring New Life to Chilean Forest TreeHugger

Equids engineer desert water availability Science. Donkeys digging wells!

Residents Furious at Release of 500 Million Gene-Hacked Mosquitoes Futurism (Re Silc).

A Practical Plan For A Zero-Emission Marine Ecosystem Hellenic Shipping News

#COVID19

The U.S. Has the Power to Tamp Down Coronavirus Variants — If We’re Willing to Use It Politico. From March, still germane.

How To Vaccinate The World, Part 1 Law and Political Economy

Pressure Mounts to Lift Patent Protections on Coronavirus Vaccines NYT. Note lack of agency. Forget about humanity, geopolitics alone screams to do this. West Wing: “Marshall Plan? Marshall who?”

Fauci warns against discarding trade rules on Covid vaccines FT. Chop wood, carry water. For Big Pharma.

Pharma-Backed Democrats Decline To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver HuffPo. Ditto.

Rapid development and deployment of high‐volume vaccines for pandemic response Journal of Advanced Manufacturing and Processing. Hmm:

Based on our techno‐economic assessment, the RNA vaccine production process can be two to three orders of magnitude smaller than conventional vaccine production processes in terms of facility scale, and can be constructed in less than half the time with 1/20 to 1/35 of the upfront capital investment, as shown in Figure 1B. It therefore presents a strong advantage of requiring small‐scale, high‐capacity facilities, which can be constructed more rapidly and could make wide use of single‐use disposable equipment. Due to its small scale, the RNA vaccine drug substance production process could be placed in a small part of an existing conventional vaccine facility, for example in a room, and still produce more doses worth of drug substance than the entire original conventional vaccine production facility. To rapidly establish such an RNA vaccine drug substance production line, off‐the‐shelf single‐use equipment can be used to build the entire process. Once such a process is established and validated based on readily available single‐use equipment, the technology can be transferred to other facilities for scaling out purposes, thereby reducing process and quality control design and development timelines and streamlining validation and start‐up activities.

Not at the scale of 3D printing, however, as I read it.

* * *
“India” variant (B.1.617) out-competes other up-and-coming variants in the UK. Thread:

 

Note that the chart excludes the currently dominant variant, B.1.1.7 (“Kent”).

* * *
FDA expected to OK Pfizer vaccine for teens within week AP. Ages 12 to 15.

CVS and Walgreens Have Wasted More Vaccine Doses Than Most States Combined KHN

Anxiety seems to be the culprit in J&J vaccine fainting spells Vox

* * *
As Schools Spend Millions on Air Purifiers, Experts Warn of Overblown Claims and Harm to Children KHN. “Academic experts are encouraging schools to pump in more fresh air and use tried-and-true filters, like HEPA, to capture the virus. Yet every ion- or hydroxyl-blasting air purifier sale strengthens a firm’s next pitch: The device is doing a great job in the neighboring town.”

Vaccine Skepticism Was Viewed as a Knowledge Problem. It’s Actually About Gut Beliefs. NYT. We’re reading this now?

Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy Tumori (Expat2uruguay). From the Abstract: “This study shows an unexpected very early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic individuals in Italy several months before the first patient was identified, and clarifies the onset and spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Finding SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in asymptomatic people before the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy may reshape the history of pandemic.”

China?

China Sends Salvage Vessels to Recover Wrecked Indonesian Sub Maritime Executive

Antony Blinken and Wang Yi to meet again as China hosts UN peace event South China Morning Post

China Is a Paper Dragon David Frum, The Atlantic

Chinese banks accused of funding deforestation around world FT

Number of unhappy wives in China more than doubled since 2012 South China Morning Post

‘What about my boss?’ helpers question jab mandate RTHK

Playing the Blame Game on Trade IndustryWeek (fk).

Five Eyes: Is the alliance in trouble over China? BBC

Notes from central Taiwan: Taiwan: Island of bosses Taipei Times

Myanmar

Amid Killing of Protesters, Myanmar Coup Leader Opens High-End Military-Run Hospital The Irrawaddy

NUG Recognition (1):

 

NUG Recognition (2):

 

“Blood gems”:

 

COVID-19 Returns Again Vietnam Weekly. “This isn’t exactly surprising, as the government had been putting out increasingly stark warnings amid the ongoing outbreaks in Cambodia and Laos, as well as the emergence of new variants from India’s horrifying surge. (Over 1,000 Vietnamese citizens have been repatriated on government flights from India in recent weeks.)”

Cambodia’s COVID lockdown puts delivery drivers on the front line Nikkei Asian Review

India

Dr Nair, India, Summary (video) Dr. John Campbell, YouTube. 3:10, stroke; 3:56, diabetes; 11:26, Ivermectin discussion (and doxycycline). Well worth a listen.

COVID-19 in India: Leaders are accountable for near-collapse of the State, apocalypse must matter First Post

Syraqistan

Arab Spring: 10 Years On Valdai Discussion Club (Micael T).

Learning From Kyrgyzstan’s Local Elections The Diplomat

UK/EU

Builders who use Grenfell cladding give Tories £2.5m Times of London

How The US Taught Judge Moro To “Take Down” Lula Brasilwire. And then came Bolsonaro. Speaking of deforestation…

Biden Administration

Biden bans most travel to U.S. from India to limit COVID-19 spread Reuters. Good, but not good enough. “Permanent U.S. residents and family members and some other non-U.S. citizens, such as students, are exempted.” They should be quarantined. Oh well.

Biden admin taps Rich Cordray, former CFPB chief, to oversee federal student loans Politico

U.S. approves massive solar project in California desert Reuters

Supreme Court’s Ethics Problems Are Bigger Than Coney Barrett Bloomberg (David L).

Well, well:

 

The Urgency and Popularity of Transforming America’s Unemployment Insurance System (PDF) Data for Progress

Intelligence Community

Find somebody who looks at you the way liberals look at the CIA:

 

Police State Watch

86% of alerts from city’s gunshot detection system led to ‘dead-end deployments,’ researchers find Chicago Sun-Times

Politics of fear: Are youth really to blame for the carjacking spike? Chicago Reader

San Diego Held Back Materials Sought by Congress on Facial Recognition Voice of San Diego (dk). And by “held back,” we mean this: “In her lawsuit, [Tiffany Vinson, an employee in the city’s Office of Homeland Security,] portrays a culture within the city that routinely violated the California Public Records Act, one of the main instruments of transparency available to regular people and the powerful alike — in this case, congressional investigators.” San Diego has had a mix of Republican and Democrat mayors. Still, one wonders what Republican talk radio makes of this, since the current mayor is a Democrat.

Health Care

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Offers a Win for PTSD Remission MedPage Today

Groves of Academe

The strange case of the ‘$100m deli’ and the universities that own a slice FT (Sub-Boreal).

Bill and Melinda Gates to Divorce After 27 Years of Marriage Hollywood Reporter. Commentary:

 

All these elite breakups. Who’s next? Buffett and Munger?

Class Warfare

One in two people globally lost income due to the pandemic – Gallup Reuters. Bread riots, here we come….

How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it AP

Call it ‘enforcement fatigue’: Restaurant workers are tired of fighting unruly customers Boston Globe. If we cared as much about mask discipline as we did about broken tail-lights and speed limits, “essential workers” — remember them? — wouldn;t be doing the enforcement. The police would.

Amazon’s New Algorithm Will Set Workers’ Schedules According to Muscle Use Vice (UserFriendly).

Manchester United fans invade stadium in protest against owners Al Jazeera. Now do capitalism.

How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously The New Yorker. Erase the records and forget the whole thing….

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.

107 comments

  1. John Siman

    Why I love working for the CIA: “I’ve never been like others girls” says pretty Blaire Erskine, “I’ve never done what the Patriarchy wanted me to do.” Blaire spends a lot of time on her make-up, sure, but she’s always liked torture and murder too. You do you, Blaire!! I found this *very* heartwarming.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      John Siman
      May 4, 2021 at 7:22 am
      So the CIA is not run by the patriarchy….clarifying! Its been the matriarchy all these years.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        I’ll see you an Iron Maiden .. and raise you a Gina Haspell.

        Oh Wait! They’re both one and the same – spikes and all!

        Reply
      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        I enjoyed this comment in her thread:

        Replying to
        @blaireerskine
        So excited for the first person to not read your bio.

        [Because what’s so skillful about her delivery is that she’s deadpan. Just reporting her résumé.]

        Reply
  2. fresno dan

    Call it ‘enforcement fatigue’: Restaurant workers are tired of fighting unruly customers Boston Globe. If we cared as much about mask discipline as we did about broken tail-lights and speed limits, “essential workers” — remember them? — wouldn;t be doing the enforcement. The police would.
    ==============================
    3 words – eating while black.
    Of course, all the white people abused by the police would scarcely be reported because there is a narrative about how things are to be reported.
    And perspective – when one looks at how many police interact with how many citizens, it probably is a miniscule number of actual abuse. But how much intimidation?
    AND the vast majority of the time a customer is in a restaurant, they are not wearing a mask…because eating and drinking…so this important mask wearing is for the time from entrance to seating? (e.g., at the restaurant I was at last night). That seems like a rather ridiculous risk mitigation strategy. If being unmasked is so dangerous for a few seconds upon entrance, than it is substantially more dangerous eating and drinking, often for more than an hour.

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      I was unable to read the article as it’s behind a wall (& I hate signing up for stuff, which always results in being slammed with emails).
      But I can say that our governor (of Colorado) just threw the burden back onto employers/employees, by saying it’s up to individual places to ‘police’ the mask wearing as we’ve moved into the green.

      He’s proving to be akin to T**** in that way, saying ‘police yourselves’, while he steps back trying to please everyone while dumping the burden on others.

      Reply
    2. HomoSapiensWannaBe

      Wearing the mask outside from your car until you get inside and are seated, then taking it off and eating and talking in an enclosed indoor environment with circulating air of unknown quality. Well, of course, that just makes perfect sense. The poor viruses don’t stand a chance of infecting us with this type of “scientific logic”…

      The stupidity of this drives me crazy!

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        It’s “facts” and “science” like this that necessitate the search for and “discovery” of a “clear set of psychological traits” that must be possessed by “vaccine skeptics” to explain their insistence on remaining unpersuaded. According to experts, everything makes so much sense, it simply must be “psychological.”

        Or so “reports” the new york times in the link above.

        Reply
      2. Carolinian

        If mask wearing is so important that the police need to get involved then perhaps those restaurants shouldn’t be open at all or should continue to have indoor dining forbidden. Given the premise are the customers victimizing the restaurant or vice versa?

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          Carolinian
          May 4, 2021 at 11:08 am
          From the article:
          Those in the restaurant business call it “enforcement fatigue,’’ a weariness that comes from almost a year of policing patrons, telling them their party is too large, they can’t linger longer than 90 minutes, and they have to order food with their drinks.
          ======================================
          Me bad – I foolishly, imbecilically, idiotically, stupidly read the headline and COMMENTED before I read the article and thought the headline had some relation to the article. I’ll never do that again (uh, until I do it again….) How is what is being done in the article substantially any different than PRIOR to the pandemic from the standpoint of enforcement of restaurant rules ? – the restaurant enforces those rules and would only call police if someone refused to leave or left without paying.
          2, it is a pretty tenuous connection between ordering food (and consuming it), as opposed to just drinking (unless you get so drunk you start shouting), as far as transmitting the virus. As well as a large party, as opposed to the total number of people in the restaurant (is a table of 20 more likely to transmit than 5 tables of four?). And time limits in restaurants has always been a feature of popular restaurants – but again, you don’t get infected at 90 minutes, but your risk increases substantially at 120 minutes???
          Are reporters trying to generate non-sequiturs?

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            I was responding more to the suggestion up in Links that the police need to enforce these rules if they are going to do the same for tail lights etc. Perhaps the police are using traffic enforcement as an excuse to bully and oppress. But that doesn’t mean we need yet another excuse for them to do the same.

            Here in SC masking rules were passed for stores and restaurants but enforcement was kept voluntary–no mask kops. I’m for that.

            Reply
      3. Josef K

        Isn’t it rather “the stupid” of sitting unmasked in an enclosed space that is likely not well-enough ventilated for an hour?

        It’s a world-wide pandemic with the bug from 7734, but we just can’t give up those two cornerstones of modern USAian life, comfort and convenience. We can’t suffer more than is comfortable, for the benefit of society as a whole. We can’t think critically about the information we find, mostly online, so instead just firm up our biases.* Neotony Nation. And so here we are.

        *Of course us pro-maskers will be accused of the same thing; I’ll see your Tucker Carlson and raise you 3 billion Asians.

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, they never did do a proper investigation at the time. Conservatives back then were shouting ‘The Kent State Four, Should Have Studied More!’ but one of the four, for example, was an ROTC guy going between classes that dived for cover when he heard the shooting and went into the path of an oncoming bullet. James A. Michener did an interesting book at the time called “Kent State: What Happened and Why” which was good reading.

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          After the Boston Massacre the soldiers involved were arrested and put on trial. They were acquitted because the crowd had been throwing rocks at them. Whether or not you agree with the verdict the system at the time at least went to the trouble of getting one. Colonial Boston in 1770 was more just than the U.S. in 1970…

          Reply
    1. heresy101

      Last Sunday was an article about the Kent State girl – Mary Ann Vecchio – describing how the photo created anguish in her life.
      https://news.yahoo.com/girl-kent-state-photo-she-100000836.html

      “That photo, of her kneeling over the body of Kent State University student Jeffrey Miller, is one of the most important images of the 20th century. Taken by student photographer John Filo, it captures Mary Ann’s raw grief and disbelief at the realization that the nation’s soldiers had just fired at its own children.”

      “Later, in 1977, Mary Ann was profiled by “60 Minutes” as a “maladjusted kid.” For the segment, she read aloud from the hateful letters she’d received, which were spread out on her parents’ dining table. Morley Safer said she “wasn’t a symbol of the tragedy of the Vietnam War. She wasn’t a symbol of anything.” Just a “14-year-old nobody hitchhiking from nowhere to nowhere.””

      “Mary Ann is retired now — she didn’t remarry or have children — and leads a quiet life, growing avocados and oranges on a small plot at the edge of the Florida Everglades.”

      Reply
  3. cnchal

    > Amazon’s New Algorithm Will Set Workers’ Schedules According to Muscle Use Vice (UserFriendly).

    With monitoring and hectoring down to the nanosecond, the workers can spend an extra two weeks in the torture chamber before being dumped on the trash heap behind the warehouse.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    Reply
    1. nycTerrierist

      “Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist”

      #AmazonBoycottForever

      Jeff Bezos is a monster, a suppurating symptom of a sick society

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I think he’s actually bewildered at why we’re mad at him, but I’m not a mind reader and it’s just as likely he’s either simply a psychopath who is incapable of feeling empathy with other human beings or a sadist who actually enjoys having the power to make people suffer so much. In any case he’s aided and abetted by thousands of middle managers who enforce the black box decisions and inflexible rules. I remember seeing an anecdote from a British government report on conditions in factories back in the early nineteenth century. A young foreman, I guess about nineteen years old, was asked why he beat a nine-year-old boy for being late to work. He replied, “If I didn’t beat him I’d be beaten myself, and maybe fired.” I wonder if the middle managers are monitored by the same kind of black box algorithms as the workers.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      I rarely buy anything online, but I wanted to send a book to a friend who lives across the country. Alibris.com delivered it just fine. More proof that it is possible to survive in the 21st century without using Amazon, ever.

      As noted above, the fact that there are no labor laws preventing this type of behavior is the sign of an extremely sick society. Too much money has made Bezos go rabid.

      Reply
    3. PHLDenizen

      Speaking of “trash heap”, I’ve concluded that Amazon is in the business of refuse generation and littering, with the sales of goods and services being secondary to that cause. I woke up one day revolted by the amount of garbage and packaging s*** my frequent online purchases were generating. The amount of trash was astounding, as was my own laziness and impatience with going to a store. Around the holidays, I think 75% of my garbage bins were full of packing materials alone. The epidemic of counterfeit goods made it that much easier to demote Amazon to books and music only. I still love CDs.

      The pricing differential between Amazon and brick-and-mortar isn’t that large, with the latter often coming out ahead. I crash my girlfriend’s Costco trips and we end up splitting the large quantities into smaller ones useful to households that aren’t running mess hall-sized operations.

      There’s a compulsive element to buying an Amazon, probably similar to the way slot machines work. When packages start arriving with stuff you don’t remember buying, you’ve clearly got a problem. I speak from experience.

      Reply
  4. Fireship

    > Bill and Melinda

    Bill still “works” 16 hour days. What an American hero. 150 billion is just not enough. Just gotta visit all those kids in Africa… to give them Bill’s yummy magic potion. As Morris Berman says, the elite are trash.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      There already has been much discussion on how they are going to divvy up their financial holdings but they have already made an agreement about how to share all that land that they own in the American mainland. So Bill will get Montana, Wyoming and Idaho while Melinda will get North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Bill will get Oregon on weekdays while Melinda will get it every other weekend plus school holidays.

      Reply
    2. Maritimer

      Word on the street is that Melinda reached a tipping point when she found out Bill was running around with a comely android named Eeri from Boston Dynamics.

      Reply
  5. Shane

    On Bill and Melinda Gates:

    One of the main GME subreddits (r/superstonks) is increasingly convinced by a (admittedly heretofore unproven) theory that the reason for their sudden divorce is to protect at least half of his assets in what would otherwise wipe out much more. Specifically, the theory is based on the fact that Bill was one of the super rich dudes who went on TV to scold retail investors about capitalizing on the greed of Wall Street’s naked shorting of GME, and to instead leave it to the guys who know what they’re doing. They think that the investments from his Family Fund will be found to be susceptible to a margin call when the shorts finally cover, and that the reason for the divorce is that Melinda will be left with all the “good” assets while Bill is left with the “bad” ones, so only half their wealth will disappear, and they’ll remain a couple, if not a married one.

    Now, I know Yves does like commenting on the stock market because it’s essentially gambling, and I know conspiracy theories are not allowed, but I think this is an interesting take and one which, if GME does “moon,” will warrant further investigation.

    I’d throw in some links but I have an appointment with a client. I’ll try to circle back later.

    Reply
    1. antidlc

      wall street on parade dot com:
      Here’s the $47.6 Billion Stock Portfolio Bill Gates Will Keep to Himself after His Divorce from Melinda

      Sorry, I cannot get the link to post.

      It was just 11 days ago that we wrote the following about family office hedge funds like Archegos that are failing to publicly file a list of their stock positions along with the market values, as the SEC requires for entities managing more than $100 million:

      “Another example is billionaire Bill Gates’ family office, Cascade Investment LLC. According to CaproAsia it ranks number 3 among the world’s largest family offices with $51 billion in assets. Cascade Investment LLC hasn’t filed a 13F form with the SEC since the quarter ending September 30, 2008 (coincidentally, the same quarter that Wall Street blew itself up, taking the stock market along with it). At that point in time, Cascade Investment showed $4.32 billion in stock positions. Its only filings since that time simply show what stocks it’s acquired and sold, but not the 13F which would show the full positions in its portfolio and their value.”

      Since yesterday’s announcement that Bill and Melinda Gates have decided to divorce, we decided to wade through all of those individual filings by Cascade Investment. Here’s what we found.

      Reply
      1. Shane

        Thanks antidlc.

        Yeah, I followed up with a link to that article, another at Wall Street on Parade from 11 days ago, and several to the conversations taking place on Reddit, but unfortunately, both of the times I tried to submit it, they appear to have gotten stuck in moderation. Not sure why.

        The article you linked to also delineates the positions of the family office, but they are only as of 2015, so plenty of time to add some “derivative swap agreements.”

        Reply
  6. Robert Hahl

    Speaking as a former big pharma chemist, 3D-printing of pharmaceuticals sounds even less likely to become useful than self-driving cars. The examples I have seen were all one-step wonders, just publicity stunts.

    Reply
    1. lambert strether

      I didn’t mean literally; I meant the scale of the enterprise, as in a drugstore, say.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Some people out here do mean ‘literally’ so. I have heard rumours about attempts to 3D print meth, etc. If it can be imagined…..
        This brings up some really thorny philosophical issues. Such as, if you 3D print a sexbot, does it have a soul?

        Reply
        1. Duck1

          Hasn’t this mRNA stuff been used for a while in metastatic cancer cases under the rubric “immunological therapy”? Not sure whether it is still experimental in this department, but at stage 4 many will give such therapy a shot. It is supposed to be individualized treatment, so obviously small scale.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            And, I have no doubt, expensive as H—.
            Phyl had several sessions of such treatments, at over $14,000 USD per session. Medicare approved it.
            MBAs should be barred from having anything whatsoever to do with pharma and medico.

            Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy”

    Of course there was a lot of traffic going on regularly between China and Northern Italy before the Pandemic to leave traces there but is this why northern Italy was the first that was hit so hard over a year ago? That an early variant of this virus was circulating there already? They have already sent an investigative team to China a coupla months ago so perhaps it would be wise to send another team to Italy to reconstruct what has happening there towards the end of 2019. Especially all death certificates and hospital records too come to think of it. And to question the medical staff and community doctors as well.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      That study dates back to November (an age in Covid research) and so far as I know hasn’t been replicated. I think its most likely some sort of error. So far as I know there is a broad concesus among researchers tracing back lineages that the virus can be traced back to a single source sometime in October/November 2019.

      Reply
    2. K.k.

      There was also this from a while back for those that may have forgotten or missed it. Im curious if there has been any follow up on stories like the following from npr….

      https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/12/01/940395651/coronavirus-was-in-u-s-weeks-earlier-than-previously-known-study-says

      According this study the virus was infecting people in multiple states in the u.s as early as November 2019.
      Results are based on blood sample collected by the red cross before the pandemic. I would like to know if the cross had samples from other parts of the world before the pandemic that could have been tested for the the antibodies. And how reliable are the results from this kind of testing for antibodies.

      Reply
  8. Mildred Montana

    “How the Pentagon Started Taking UFO’s Seriously”

    I’ve taken them seriously since 1967. In that year, in Edmonton Alberta, my family and I witnessed an other-worldly object floating slowly above the North Saskatchewan River. It was about half-a-mile away. We (and our neighbours) watched it as it followed the course of the river. I won’t bother describing it (standard UFO stuff, disc-shaped, pulsating lights, etc.).

    After about five minutes, we were suddenly enveloped by a strange omni-directional humming sound. I can only liken it to the sound one gets when one walks past an electric power sub-station on a quiet night, except that the humming came from everywhere, it surrounded us.

    And then, suddenly, the sound was gone and the object disappeared in less than a second. It “flew” straight up, vertically, into the sky and vanished.

    We weren’t the only ones to see it. Radio stations and newspaper offices were flooded with thousands of calls. The next day, the Edmonton Journal had a brief article about the sighting in which a spokesman for the nearby air force base explained it as five fighter jets flying in formation. I guess he wasn’t one of the thousands who saw it!

    So when it comes to what government officials dismissively say about UFO’s, I choose to believe my lyin’ eyes. ;)

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      Thank you for sharing. I’ve been a UFO nut since about that time, though I’ve never seen a darned anomalous thing.

      I like to think this subject through. Many believe that if it were definitively confirmed that we are being visited by extraterrestrials, the announcement would create scarcely a ripple among the public. This runs counter to the supposed justification for the government possibly withholding such information, the fear that it would cause a panic.

      I used to be in the former camp but now that dribs and drabs of (supposedly) more credible information are being leaked, I’m joining the latter camp. I think the human species — which has proved profoundly incapable of grasping even the basics of defeating a simple airborne virus — would be thrown way off balance by ET disclosures.

      And what about you and me and other UFO folks who have been scoffed at but in this scenario would be proved right? Sadly, I believe we’ll end up like everyone who, for instance, doubted the presence of WMDs in Iraq. Fine, we were right, but so what?

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        I think the human species…would be thrown way off balance by ET disclosures.

        I’ve always felt like “Yeah, so what?” People might get thrown off by a lot of different things—incontrovertible evidence that a kilometer-wide asteroid will hit the Earth on a date certain or that we’ve hit the tipping points for a runaway greenhouse effect (I think those are way scarier than any revelations about ET disclosures)—but I think it’s better to deal with reality than to stick one’s head in the sand. What’s better—to manage ET disclosures (if any) now or wait until the irrefutable appearance of twelve Arrival-like spacraft hovering over various locations around the globe and dealing with it then? (Then, again, I’m in the “ripple” crowd, really. I just can’t imagine some sort of mass panic arising if some government officials said something like “It’s ‘likely’ that such-and-such a sighting is of extraterrestrial origin.” I think probably most people would shrug and say “Yeah, I knew it all along.”)

        Reply
      2. Mildred Montana

        Pelham,

        You’re welcome. You say you like to think the subject through. So do I.

        I have my theories about UFO’s (total speculation by an uninformed layperson) but keep them to myself for fear of being, as you say, “scoffed at”.

        I do like how UFO-ology, in a tangential way, ties in with my interest in cosmology. The universe and the life-forms that may exist throughout it are a mystery that tends to set the mind pondering.

        Reply
    2. Jeff W

      [Leslie] Kean is certain that U.F.O.s are real. Everything else—what they are, why they’re here, why they never alight on the White House lawn—is speculation.

      I’ve never understood the claim that UFOs—at least some of them—aren’t “real.”

      Kean, in her book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record, looked at the 5% of sightings that aren’t (as yet) explained and meet several criteria—those with sightings of long duration; multiple witnesses, often in different locations;
      onboard radar and ground radar recording the presence of a physical object; and direct physical effects on the aircraft—in other words, those sightings least susceptible to challenge. Are all those sightings products of mass delusions? That doesn’t seem likely, given the other factors (i.e., the radar observations or the direct effects on aircraft). Even if the Tic-Tacs of the Nimitz Incident turned out to be, as UFO debunker Mick West says, planes or birds or clouds, they’re no less real.

      That said, one would hope that, given the ubiquity of fairly good cameras at almost everyone’s fingertips, if an incident such as the one you describe at Edmonton reoccurred—thanks for sharing your account, we might (finally!) get some high-quality photos or videos from multiple cameras documenting it.

      Reply
      1. Mildred Montana

        Yeah, I’ve always regretted that none of us—family or neighbours—thought to run inside the house and grab a camera. After all, we had about five minutes to do it. As far as I know, nobody of all the thousands of witnesses, thought to snap a Brownie or Polaroid (none documented anyway).

        What does that say? We were all victims of a mass hypnosis that rendered us unthinking and immobile? That’s a little far out for me to believe. Maybe we were just over-awed by the spectacle.

        I should mention that the sighting occurred in the Edmonton winter darkness. Might have been hard to get a good photo.

        Reply
        1. Jeff W

          “What does that say?”

          I think it says that, in the 1960s, even with the relative commonness of, say, Instamatic cameras, people simply weren’t “primed” to go get their cameras and take a few snapshots when faced with unexpected events. It just wasn’t the way most people reacted. (I think the reaction today would be far different—people are much more inclined to “reach for their cameras,” especially as they are practically right at hand.)

          Reply
    3. Cuibono

      sounds like my sighting in 78
      also seen by at least 100s. changed my life that one
      then too they claimed it to be a formation of NG helicopters. LOL

      Reply
      1. Mildred Montana

        LOL is right. One person’s convenient (and lame) explanation is supposed to dismiss the visual impressions of hundreds or thousands of eyeballs? It goes without saying that they probably didn’t witness it themselves.

        Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “EnergyU.S. approves massive solar project in California desert”

    That is a lot of land being taken up by those solar panels. But I saw a very good idea earlier today. So California has about 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers) of canals transporting water, right? So somebody suggested putting solar panels right over those canals. It would help stop water evaporation and that land can’t be used anyway. I would call that a twofer that-

    https://theconversation.com/installing-solar-panels-over-californias-canals-could-yield-water-land-air-and-climate-payoffs-158754

    Reply
    1. Rod

      Ms Smith points out often that there is not a Climate Crises Magic Pill that does it all.
      But, there is a Lot of low hanging fruit.
      Your idea, above is an excellent example.

      Cleaning up the Methane Leaking everywhere is another.

      https://www.catf.us/educational/mitigation-program/

      “Methane is a highly potent climate pollutant that is responsible for 25 per cent of global warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It has such a huge climate impact because it can trap 84 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a twenty year period,” noted Giulia Ferrini, who coordinates the Global Methane Alliance for UNEP’s Energy and Climate Branch.

      China, through CNPC, is working on that in Iraq:

      https://www.cnpc.com.cn/en/Enlag/201907/a2082cc9c4444eaa99c973dd0e021847/files/3d2c41de747d4c7aa6a5e8157f188f4f.pdf

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        The biggest of the low hanging fruit is refrigerants. HFC’s (the most widely used chemical) is a very potent greenhouse gas. The Kigali accord commits countries to significant reductions, although its not clear if its working yet. There are lots of quick, easy wins out there for anyone serious about climate change. The fact that few of them are being grasped is particularly worrying.

        China, incidentally has a huge issue with methane leakage from thousands of abandoned small coal mines all over the country. There is little data on it, but some suspect its a major source of methane in the atmosphere.

        Reply
    2. upstater

      Here in upstate NY we have tons of grid scale solar going in… this is a 140 MW 1,000 acre project on productive agricultural land.

      Fenner town supervisor responds to letter from solar developer

      What is interesting is this is obviously an 8 or 9 figure project (can’t find the cost anywhere), but will pay only $70,000 per year in property taxes for the school district, county and town combined. For comparison, a $200K house would pay $6000 annually in property taxes. And a home PV system results in an increased assessment.

      I have no problem with solar, we have a home system. But grid scale is being massively subsidized and entails considerable infrastructure and load loss costs. Distributed solar does not. Here in the rust belt, there are plenty of brown field locations with near by transmission infrastructure.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        As so often, there are bad incentives built into the system. It makes little sense to be putting solar on good quality land, but sometimes that is just what makes sense to the developer. Here in Ireland there is an estimated rent from solar farms that amounts to double what a dairy farm (the most profitable form of agriculture) can make – 2,000 euro a hectare compared to an average of 1,000 euro per hectare profit from dairying (I think that works out about $800 per acre). So farmers are pretty enthusiastic about it, especially those who are bored with getting up at 5am 24/7 for the milking. Since the solar developers are mostly looking at flat land close to a double circuit (i.e. where there is more than one potential connector), good land is being used for farms instead of lower grade farmland. Its not taken out of use entirely – apparently sheep quite like solar farms and they mean there is no need for weed clearance, but its still not ideal.

        When travelling in Japan 2 years ago what I found striking was that the solar farms were located on otherwise useless (apart from to wildlife) patches of land – such as road cuttings or the sides of levees. They are also often used as roofs for things like school bike parks or agricultural sheds (the latter is very common in France).

        Grid scale solar is essential, simply because its significantly cheaper than distributed solar, and more consistent. Both are needed, but it seems that there are endless barriers to adoption in most countries.

        Reply
    3. Jack Parsons

      Ooooh, yes, the canals are also important rights-of-way. Never forget rights-of-way: SPRINT stands for “Southern Pacific Railroad something something something” and was carved out of the railroad company in the early 80s to lay fiber.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        The biggest of the low hanging fruit is refrigerants.

        grid scale solar going in… this is a 140 MW 1,000 acre project on productive agricultural land…. But grid scale is being massively subsidized and entails considerable infrastructure and load loss costs. Distributed solar does not. Here in the rust belt, there are plenty of brown field locations with near by transmission infrastructure.

        the solar farms were located on otherwise useless (apart from to wildlife) patches of land – such as road cuttings or the sides of levees. They are also often used as roofs for things like school bike parks or agricultural sheds (the latter is very common in France).

        Grid scale solar is essential, simply because its significantly cheaper than distributed solar, and more consistent. Both are needed, but it seems that there are endless barriers to adoption in most countries.

        the canals are also important rights-of-way. Never forget rights-of-way:

        Such a disconnect from the Solutions that get us moving forward–you don’t have to be too sophisticated to get the impression that there are impediments to practical applications that are deliberately overlooked.

        My peeve is becoming all of the Public Assets that are Prime for PV collection and not utilized(Just one–about 100,000 Public School Buildings in the USA alone with well over 10 million sf of roof surface–
        https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84 )

        Reply
        1. Rod

          this got me going this morning:
          from the Charlotte Observer this morning(cannot get the link to work)

          17 hours ago — Farm Act of 2021 would see North Carolina environmental regulators craft a general permit for … Charlotte Observer Logo … Hog farmers and industry representatives argue that biogas projects help curb methane … Hildebrand, a Southern Environmental Law Center attorney, told The News & Observer.

          http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2021/04/02/converting-hog-waste-into-energy-not-as-neat-and-simple-as-it-might-sound/

          Whether from wastewater treatment plants or swine farms, biogas systems generally send methane to a pipeline. Other gases derived from the process that are not useful in energy production, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, are burned off through a “flare.”
          The flare is the primary emissions source.

          The Methane is 24/7/365–But the issue is complicated beyond collection and utilization(benefitting some while hurting all)–which is why it can’t get done.

          Reply
  10. Stanley Dundee

    Dollar dethronement watch: Russian foreign ministry links US sanctions to development of dollar alternatives:

    [Russian FM Sergey] Lavrov’s deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Pankin, recently warned journalists that the unpredictability of US foreign policy has called into question the reliability and convenience of using the American currency as the priority currency of deals.Instead, the minister said, countries are now being forced to take measures against the risk of economic losses and disrupted transactions. Therefore, there is increasing interest in developing alternative mechanisms. Using other currencies in trade is becoming more and more important on the international agenda.

    [Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria] Zakharova told RT that a gradual departure from the US-centric configuration of the global monetary system has already begun. She called for coordinated steps in this direction to be taken with the country’s trading partners, not only to help strengthen our national currencies, but to make it possible to minimize the potential economic damage from the introduction of any new restrictive measures by Western countries. Recent deals with China and Turkey, she added, have helped facilitate exactly that.

    Reply
  11. Biologist

    Colombia: police kill protesters against government.

    For the fifth day people are protesting across Colombia. Initially the peaceful protests were against a tax reform, but the government response is now the cause for further protests. The government responded to the initial protests with bringing the military in, and this has dramatically escalated the situation. They have sort of backed down on the tax plan, but are uncompromising on the protesters, calling them terrorists and vandals.

    At least 17 but potentially more protesters have been killed, with many arrests and people disappearing, and also reports of sexual violence by the police and the army. Apologies for posting potentially unconfirmed news but the situation is very chaotic. There are many reports, including videos, of police violence including killings, as well as reports of the police / military setting a hotel in Cali on fire with the government subsequently blaming ‘vandals’.

    There are many videos and description posted on Twitter under this hashtag, #nosestanmatando

    There are also reports that Twitter and Facebook are suspending accounts of people posting about this violence.

    There’s now a ‘paro nacional’, a national strike, and family I have there are telling me that transport between cities has become much more difficult.

    This from one of the national dailies, in spanish:
    https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/nacional/nicolas-guerrero-brayan-nino-y-otras-16-victimas-mortales-del-paro-nacional/

    News is starting to filter through international media:

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/03/colombia-protests-police-response-unrest

    Colombia braces for further unrest after police react violently to mass protests
    At least 16 demonstrators and one officer dead after police fired at protesters and rammed crowds with motorcycles

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/4/un-rights-office-condemns-colombia-crackdown-on-protests

    UN rights office condemns Colombia crackdown on protests
    The UN says Colombian police in Cali ‘opened fire’ on protests sparked by a government tax proposal.

    Background
    The current right-wing president, Iván Duque, came to power in 2018, following the 2016 referendum on the peace deal with the FARC. Duque and his ally and former predident Uribe opposed and rallied against the peace treaty, and it was rejected by tiny majority of the populace (but it was implemented anyway, by outgoing president Santos, which got him a Nobel prize).
    Now there are elections coming up next year, and Duque is not polling well. Ahead of him is Gustavo Petro, current senator and former mayor of Bogotá, and also a former M-19 guerrilla member, running on a moderate social democrat platform – which in Colombia politics is considered extreme left. Petro’s candidacy is supposedly spooking investors, e.g. FT take here:
    https://www.ft.com/content/49a4cdf2-2593-4d48-9b95-f41c7e3a3675
    Others see the current violence as a means for the ‘Uribistas’ to remain in power, by scaring the country and blaming chaos on the let. Unfortunately, this has worked very well in the past.

    Reply
  12. Mme Generalist

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/health/article/As-COVID-rages-in-India-Peter-Hotez-s-vaccine-16142245.php

    Hotez’s lab at Texas Children’s in Houston has developed a conventional vaccine that is completing Phase I & II trials. This from the article:

    The vaccine could have been developed more quickly, Hotez noted. The first missed opportunity came in 2016. The Texas Children’s Hospital lab was ready to begin human testing on a vaccine for SARS-1, a coronavirus closely related to the one that causes COVID-19. But that was 10 years after the SARS-1 outbreak in China, and by then, neither federal funders nor investors were willing to support the testing needed to prepare the vaccine. So untested, that vaccine went into a freezer.

    Had that vaccine been ready to go when this coronavirus hit, Hotez says, it might have provided cross-protection — and would have given researchers a leg up on the new threat.

    The second delay came at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal funding went mainly to newer vaccine technologies, which promised to move through testing and begin manufacturing more quickly.

    But those newer technologies came with new problems. Few of the world’s vaccine factories could make the newer vaccines, and existing distribution systems often can’t handle new requirements such as super-cold storage.

    “They never thought we’d need so many doses,” Hotez said. “Once the virus was out of control, those newer technologies couldn’t scale up.”

    Without much federal funding, the lab’s work was delayed. Hotez dedicated much of his time during the pandemic’s early months to raising money. Texas donors — including Tito’s Vodka and the Kleburg Foundation — made the research possible.

    In other words, the US outbreak was avoidable. What an unconscionable failure. Disgusting.

    The upside is that most of the people I know who don’t want the new vaccines will happily get this one.

    Reply
      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Count me for another — they can even charge me double or triple the cost to help share more doses to India or elsewhere.

        Reply
  13. Jim Hannan

    The Brasilwire article on the US influence in the anti Lula campaign was informative. I have looked for more information on Karine Moreno-Taxman, the US attorney at the center of the story. I wonder if Glenn Greenwald has more to say on this.
    I was always amazed that Brazil could go from Lula to Bolsonaro in a short time period.

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Vaccine Skepticism Was Viewed as a Knowledge Problem. It’s Actually About Gut Beliefs.”

    ‘Identifying those psychological traits may help health officials convince the sizable minority of Americans who don’t want a coronavirus vaccine. Simply sharing information hasn’t worked.’

    Seriously? Sharing information? When did that happen? People here have testified to how dodgy all those stats are and how reporting side-effects to the vaccines is problematical. The more I think about it, the more this whole thing about vaccines is getting to resemble that scene from that film “Death Becomes Her”-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmRN5PdHu4k (19 secs)

    Reply
    1. Laura in So Cal

      Maybe some of us are just naturally skeptical and suspicious. I’m the person who really annoyed my real estate agent and the escrow agent by insisting on reading everything before I signed all the documents when I bought a house (they expected the close meeting to take 15 minutes…it took 1.5 hours). I’m the person who researches any treatment (including vaccines) that a doctor recommends in a non-emergency situation. For example, we said no to Fosamax for my Mom after reviewing the research and side effects even though her doctor (actually the AI at Kaiser) recommended it. I read all the proposition language before I vote so it takes me several hours to fill out my sample ballot. (I voted NO on Prop 22 (the UBER bill) after reading it).

      I’m not sure when people like me became a problem. We used to be “sharp’ and “informed”. Now we are “conspiracy theorists” and “anti” whatever.

      Reply
        1. Temporarily Sane

          That kind of proves her point.

          Are we now supposed to “trust the experts” no matter what and assume that anyone who is cautious/skeptical and does their own research before jumping is a conspiracy nut relying on bad information?

          Reply
        2. Laura in So Cal

          The few people I’ve directed to Naked Capitalism usually say it is too much reading for them. That is a big part of our problem. Few people want to dive into the data and really look at it.

          For medical stuff, I’m just ignoring the headlines or high level messaging and reading the source documents and small print of official sources like the CDC, the NIH and medical journals etc. For other stuff like legal, financial, government related items, the information is usually available right in front of you, but buried in lots of small print and double-speak.

          Reply
    2. Maritimer

      “Seriously? Sharing information? When did that happen?”
      ***************
      As has been posted here at NC on occasion, three of the vaccine developers are criminal organizations. I have never heard any public official, health or otherwise, address this critical issue. Never. The silence is not only deafening but damning.
      As for other information, no transparency just info they want disseminated much of it contradictory, paradoxical, suspect.

      If I would not buy a used car or other consumer product from a criminal organization, I think I will pass on a vaccine from one.

      So Dr. Fauci et al, please start at the beginning and address this subject.

      Reply
  15. PlutoniumKun

    A Practical Plan For A Zero-Emission Marine Ecosystem Hellenic Shipping News

    This is really interesting, and might actually be workable. A big advantage of ammonia as a fuel is that its technically possible to use it in existing diesel engines without any major adaptions. However, over about 60% ammonia in an engine and NOx emissions become a problem.

    The solution proposed involves what looks like a very complex mix of using offshore windfarms to manufacture the ammonia, but it might be more practical to simply make it off surplus power in existing networks – in other words, to use up power during surges caused by good weather conditions for wind and/or solar. There have been some recent breakthroughs in making ammonia using less power, so it has a lot of potential as an alternative to pure electricity storage during a transition period in decarbonising our power systems.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      If only there were a way to propel cargo ships directly with wind power…

      (I know, going to sail, even in a more advanced form and using the much better and real time meteorological data available now would mean longer transit times, more variable transit times and the end of tightly scheduled “just-in-time” shipping chains but we will have to give that up anyways if we want a habitable planet)

      Reply
  16. PlutoniumKun

    Notes from central Taiwan: Taiwan: Island of bosses Taipei Times

    There is pretty much a demographic collapse underway in most of the developed countries in Asia (China is rapidly following suit). This of course is a good thing for the planet, if not for growth fetishists. But it will undoubtedly cause problems in the future for those counties and the many others following suit.

    But I think its accurate in identifying the main reason for such a very low birth rate – the work culture in so many Asian cultures is very extreme and there is a baffling resistence (cultural I assume) in providing the sort of childcare and educational back up that has at least partly stopped such a collapse in northern European countries (one reason rarely commented upon as to why so many Chinese move to western countries is because they feel having more children is easier). We like to blame neoliberalism for problems here, but the Asian variation of paternalistic capitalism is just as permicious and damaging to peoples lives. This very good article points out why.

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      It’s interesting to see the parallels to the US, how they’ve hollowed out their industry too. Another parallel:

      “Young people can’t afford own apartment, zombie companies on the rise — It’s the low interest rates, stupid!”

      I used to think that the issue would be that it would be difficult to prop up asset inflation with a shrinking population. But Japan seems to have been successful. So their central bank is up to the challenge. I suspect China’s is too. US will be there before long, and we’ll go through the same process. “Hey look at that, GDP is up. Let’s not upset that apple cart. Let’s just do some tinkering around the edges.”

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Asset inflation is a poison in so many countries. There is an enormous housing bubble right now in South Korea that could do a lot of damage if it bursts (and unfortunately it could lead to the right wing getting back into control). There is a similar bubble in China and the government there keeps saying it will deal with it…. next year. The Chinese government – similar to Taiwan and other Asian countries – insists on pumping cash into concrete pouring rather than into ordinary peoples bank accounts. As the article says, the distortions caused by an obsession with export surpluses leaves people with few options for savings except to put it all into their homes.

        Its very difficult to tell with Japan, their banking and commercial system is so opaque. There have been local booms there, but I think its more to do with the general move to Tokyo at the expense of other cities. The Japanese just don’t buy and sell property very much for all sorts of cultural reasons, so asset inflation is not as big an issue for people there. But its still very, very hard for young Japanese people to get decent housing, despite the drop in population. Unfortunately, the surplus of cheap housing is in those towns and cities that people are leaving, while the thriving centres have rising rental and other costs.

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          Highly recommend “Princes of the Yen” (youtube video based on the book) for how the BoJ pivoted from being an industrial resource to being a financialization resource, creating their bubble back in the 80s.

          [secondary point. One of the side effects of the BoJ creating that bubble was to make for more divisive politics in the country. Which makes one wonder if that was the intent.]

          Reply
  17. Daniele

    ‘Biden admin taps Rich Cordray, former CFPB chief, to oversee federal student loans’

    America is indeed Rich in Exploitable Human Resources;
    First Senator Biden assures that student loans can never be discharged in bankruptcy,
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/04/biden-student-debt-loan-forgiveness-bankruptcy

    makes the taxpayers responsible for most of the repayment,
    then he appoints this overseer to paper over the maximum paydirt of payoffs to financialization.

    Not my president.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      These legal developments, plus reports that Biden is exploring canceling up to $50,000 of student debt plus interest payments per person, suggest the country could finally be taking some steps to deal with its mounting student loan crisis after decades of political neglect and obstruction — a situation that was in part created by our current president.

      The author may have better sources than me but I haven’t heard a peep about any loan forgiveness. Also I don’t see how giving banksters 50,000 of interest payments they otherwise wouldn’t get is going to help most distressed debtors.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Does”cancel” not mean what I think it does? The “debt” is wiped out and the “lender/grifter” takes one of those haircuts?

        Maybe the financialization of this vastly necessary Jubilee is just too complicated for me to understand.

        Reply
  18. Roger

    The “China Is a Paper Dragon” David Frum article, another example of the rampant delusional state of US elites. We can add this to the yearly “China bubble will burst” books and articles – the level of cognitive dissonance is stunning. The ontological and ideological angst that the US Brahmin class (and their oligarchic supporters) will go through during the next decade or so will be the greatest threat to world peace. Either they get over themselves or they go to war with China to protect their core beliefs and the right of the oligarchs to strip mine the wealth of the planet.

    Reply
    1. Fireship

      Frum is a pinhead stuck in a 20th Century paradigm. He is a court jester, a royal fool. HIs analogy of Britain vs China in the 1830s is asinine. He rambles on about aircraft carriers before admitting his points on conventional warfare are moot in a nuclear age. He repeats an old and basically racist canard that the Celestials are mere copycats and lack originality. What a hack. What a buffoon. I could go on.

      Reply
      1. Salamander

        My favorite part was “The Chinese military’s first and paramount mission is preserving the power of the Chinese Communist Party against China’s own people. The U.S. military can focus entirely on external threats.”. Just so much juicy goodness there to unpack….

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Frum is a Canadian. He came to America to get famous.

      The US Brahmin Class and their oligarchs orchestrated Free Trade to begin with. They facilitated using China to strip-loot all the wealth in America. They are well along in that process. The US Brahmin Class and its oligarchs have no problem with their ongoing China-disguised project of asset-stripping America.

      Frum is a NeoConservative. He is one of a bunch of eye-diddy-ologists who believe in America asset-stripping the world and don’t see the reality of Free Trade used by the World OverClass MoneyLords to asset -strip America. He and they have cognitive schizophrenia.

      He and they would join the US Brahmin class to stamp out any movement which threatened Free Trade.
      Come to think of it, they feared that Trump would try to stamp out Free Trade so they tried to stamp out Trump.

      Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Border Collies Run Like the Wind to Bring New Life to Chilean Forest”

    Now that is one genius move that. It is the sort of thing that can be done by locals using minimal gear and minimalist organizing. Of course you could have some tech-head say ‘Wait – we could use a fleet of drones to do that more efficiently than those dogs and have them controlled by a mobile app while using GPS coordination.’ But they never do and even if they did, the cost of the drones would be prohibitive, the results dubious, and the fees that would need to be paid usurious in the long term. Goes back to that when you are looking for a solution to a problem, you have consider in terms of what inputs and in regards to what outputs. Nah, better to go with people taking their dogs for long runs in those burnt out forests.

    Reply
  20. deplorado

    >> Equids engineer desert water availability Science. Donkeys digging wells!

    Love it! Thank you for that find.

    Reply

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