Links 6/2/2021

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Eurasian jays less likely than people to be deceived by magic tricks PhysOrg (Robert M)

New research: Why do some frogs have teeth? Slate (furzy)

Yemen fishermen find $1.5m of ambergris in the belly of a whale BBC (resilc)

Ancient shells from seabed show rising CO2 levels BBC (Kevin W)

1 – Tonight’s #threadtalk is a horse of a different color: green to be exact. Natania Barron (dk). Green is one of my least favorite colors outside nature but this is worth reading.

What it means that California’s snowpack is 0% of June 1 average SF Gate (David L)

Ordinary Microscope Sees in Super-Resolution With Specially Engineered Light-Shrinking Material SciTechDaily (Kevin W)

Drivers Of The New UFO Narrative Keep Absurdly Saying They Could Be Dangerous ETs Caitlin Johnstone (Tom D). So what news is this clearly non-organic story type intended to push out? In a year, UFOs went from being the province of the cray cray to a regular news story. This is clearly totally non organic. An alternative is that there may be a real and serious purpose. Maybe we have new weapons that successfully spoof flying objects so as to force the evil Rooskies to waste missiles if and when they encounter them? And that they are now being depicted as dangerous? Maybe the US will shoot at a few first to firm up the notion that the spoofs are real and a threat?

I mentioned that Podesta was the first mainstream political person to talk about UFOs and he had seemed obsessed with them. Furzy sent this tidbit: John Podesta Stars in “Documentary” Suggesting Clinton Lost Because of Aliens Inside Sources

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Mauricio Cárdenas on designing and funding future pandemic responses Economist (Kevin C)

A New Commitment for Vaccine Equity and Defeating the Pandemic WHO

Coronavirus variants in Asia threaten the world DW (resilc)

Understanding the origin of covid-19 is the only way to prevent future pandemics, scientist says Washington Post (furzy). False. The way to prevent a pandemic is to contain it at the epidemic stage. Public health experts and epidemiologists have been warning since at least 2000 that were were gonna get a honking big pandemic and we needed to prepare. You can’t stop mutations. The headline presupposes lab escape, which even if true is a not the cause of most epidemics.

Covid-19 vaccines poorly protective in those with organ transplants STAT (furzy)

Asia

Cautious China Keeps Borders Shut Despite Mass Vaccination Drive Bloomberg

Anyone refusing to wear a mask is made to dig GRAVES for Covid-19 victims as punishment in East Java Daily Mail (Dr. Kevin)

Royal rebuke for the Thai government over vaccine shambles Secret Siam (furzy)

UK/Europe

UK records zero COVID deaths for first time since pandemic began, but infections rise ABC Australia (Kevin W)

UK facing ‘perilous moment’ as Indian Covid variant spreads Guardian (resilc)

US

The Fall of Saint Anthony Fauci National Review. IMHO, underestimates how how long people and institutions can run on brand fumes (see McKinsey as the poster child). See his book due out in Nov, gah. But good info, like:

Fauci is an unusually hardy and long-lived survivor in Washington. But the people who look up to him as merely “America’s doctor” or a mere public-health adviser may not quite understand the power wielded by the National Institutes of Health and his agency within it. NIH dispenses up to $32 billion a year for biological and medical research, much of the funding in the form of long-term grants that are not just necessary for worthwhile scientific research but desperately needed for researchers’ academic job security…

Studies conducted in North America of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in treating COVID are 3.4 times more likely to report negative results than studies of the same conducted anywhere else in the world. There is no obvious causal connection.

West Virginia To Give Away Guns As Covid-19 Vaccine Incentive Forbes (resilc)

Finance/Economy

Global Shortages During Coronavirus Reveal Failings of Just in Time Manufacturing New York Times. We said this early on (and regularly harp on the dangers of over-optimizing for efficiency). But good to see that this is now official.

New Vietnam variant imperils global supply chains Asia Times (Kevin W)

China?

China’s Inflation Could Be the World’s Problem Bloomberg

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen, China’s vice premier Liu He hold call CNBC (furzy)

If a Mountain Is a Deity . . . John Perkins. Chuck L: “Reading Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman 15+ years really opened my eyes re the insidious nature of US foreign policy, especially in the global South.”

New Cold War

OPEC, Russia seen gaining more power with Shell Dutch ruling Reuters

Syraqistan

Not Forgetting Palestine Craig Murray (Anthony L). Important.

Israel’s ‘Game of Thrones’ builds towards Netanyahu’s final act Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon US customers have one week to opt out of mass wireless sharing Guardian (furzy)

Amazon to let customers sue after thousands of Alexa complaints Detroit News (ma). In this section because I view Alexa as a spying device that only incidentally does things.

Trump

The Military Can’t Let Michael Flynn Just Get Away With Supporting a Coup Slate (resilc). Flynn didn’t even get to be a four star general. Where are his divisions? I guess why this bothers me is it depicts Flynn’s rant as a serious threat. “Myanmar coup” is such terrible branding that this looks more like a brain fart than a call to action. So I’d be much happier if the Flynn police were also after other influential grifters and rabid sensation-seekers.

Biden

Biden Suspends Drilling Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge New York Times (resilc)

Biden leaves ASEAN in the diplomatic cold Asia Times (Kevin W)

Voting Rights Bill Falters in Congress as States Race Ahead New York Times. Resilc: “Worthless party in power, if they can’t do this, then what is their use??????

Democrats set for filibuster brawl amid escalating tensions The Hill

Nevada OKs bill in try for 1st presidential nominating state Associated Press. Resilc: “At what point does it become the day after the prior election day???????”

Democrat Stansbury wins special election for Haaland’s House seat The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Mega-Donor, and the Future of Journalism The Assembly (Dr. Kevin)

Food Fight. Reader Li, who keeps tabs on conservative news so you don’t have to, sent these in response to our further discussion of “Biden is coming for your beef” yesterday:

Summary of the dossier: Dried mealworms European Commission. Not sure this has gotten anywhere….yet….

All of JBS’s U.S. Beef Plants Were Forced Shut by Cyberattack Bloomberg

JBS global meat processing operations paralysed by cyber attack Beef Central

Hackers attack world’s largest meat processor: Work disrupted in US & Canada, deliveries halted & thousands sent home in Australia RT (Kevin W)

Tyson Reduces Some Beef Prices as Coronavirus Pushes Grocery-Store Costs Higher Wall Street Journal. From last year, but see, per Li: “Tyson admitted meat is a Giffen good.”

William Barr Ain’t Good For Much, But Maybe He Can Break Up Meat Monopolies Heisenberg Report. From last May, still germane. Li: “Good info in here, but note the contemptuous: ‘If there’s anything you can count on Trump to safeguard, it’s America’s right to cheap burgers.'”

Ex-Apollo CEO Leon Black raped and harassed Russian model, lawsuit alleges Financial Times. Guess Black labored under the misapprehension that “Russian model” = pro. A bona fide escort would have been way cheaper. And he could have kept trading them!

BP buys string of US solar farms for £155m in clean energy drive Guardian (furzy)

All those electric vehicles pose a problem for building roads ars technica (resilc)

‘There are ghosts in the land’: how US mega-dairies are killing off small farms Guardian

Credit Suisse plots lawsuit against SoftBank over Greensill Financial Times. Godzilla v. Mothra. Pass the popcorn.

How Inflation Became the Gasbags’ Favorite Moral Panic Mother Jones (resilc)

Did Paying a Ransom for a Stolen Magritte Painting Inadvertently Fund Terrorism? Vanity Fair (Anthony L)

Class Warfare

Amazon’s serious injury rate at warehouses was still nearly double the rest of the industry in 2020 The Verge (Kevin W). Flagged earlier at NC but important not to miss.

Is a CEO Worth 1,000 Times the Median Worker? Bloomberg (furzy)

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (Kevin W):

Another bonus (AFXH). Can I have one as a guard dog?

I’m stressed and this one is fun (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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164 comments

  1. allan

    Re:”Amazon’s serious injury rate at warehouses was still nearly double the rest of the industry in 2020″

    … but it turns out that Amazon’s drivers have it even worse:

    Amazon delivery drivers are injured more often than the company’s warehouse workers [Seattle Times]

    Drivers for the hundreds of Amazon delivery contractors in the U.S. ferrying packages to customers’ doorsteps sustain injuries at higher rates than any other link in the commerce giant’s logistics chain, according to a new report from a national labor organization. …

    The report’s findings represent the most detailed look yet at injuries sustained by workers tasked with the crucial “last mile” of Amazon delivery. An investigation last year by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that injuries at Amazon warehouses are double the industry average, but delivery drivers were not included in that count. …

    Surely Jay Carney has a perfectly sensible explanation.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      “Delivery Driver” is one of the ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. on average to begin with. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Amazon Delivery Driver” (whether direct employ or subcontracted) turned out to be one of the most dangerous subcategories in that field, given the manner in which Amazon does everything else.

      Reply
    2. Mikel

      Accidents happen when people have to rush. Had a conversation about that the other day with someone about how we were both done with “rushing”….

      Only place you need to rush to is a hospital when you have a serious injury.

      And they get a lot of pressure to “rush.”

      Reply
  2. Alfred

    Is all this UFO stuff from the military supposed to make the general populace feel powerless? Personally, I would trust an “alien” not to hurt me, lie to me or steal my money before I would trust TPTB in human form. I hope they don’t think they are setting me up to give them a pass.

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      As for the idea that the military has developed some kind of technology to fool the Russians, it would have to date back at least as far as 1952, when UFOs were simultaneously spotted visually and tracked on radar over Washington twice on consecutive summer weekends (air inversion blips on radar screens were ruled out early on as a possible explanation). In fact, jet fighters were dispatched to intercept the objects and the one jet that succeeded was briefly surrounded by them.

      There have also been other military encounters with these things, notably in Iran in the 1970s and Belgium in the early ’90s. But the military spoof theory — like so many other explanations — persists despite the fact that it ignores consistent and essential pieces of evidence, just three of which may be enumerated as: 1) Credible UFO reports have been around for many decades; 2) they maneuver through the atmosphere unlike any known natural or manmade thing; 3) they have no visible or audible means of propulsion.

      Reply
    2. lordkoos

      I view the whole UFO media deal as a psy-op in order to see what they can get the public to believe.

      Reply
    3. ArvidMartensen

      Something really weird is going on here re UFOs and the Wuhan Lab virus escapee.
      Now “unnamed sources” and various “scientists” are being wheeled out to say, Maybe. Its. True.

      For 12 months now people who came to the conclusion that the Wuhan lab leak theory was just as likely as the natural evolution theory (since neither of them have any evidence whatsoever) have endured being lampooned, and demonized, and cancelled by various bloggers, because they are obviously evil, racist, deranged conspiracy theorists.

      And now said evil and deranged conspiracy theorists find out that they have become agents of the deep state’s psyop operations.
      Dis-empowering and discombobulating for those who try to think for themselves instead of just swallowing the semenal words in press releases? Much?

      And maybe that is the idea.

      Reply
  3. Henry Moon Pie

    “If a mountain is a deity”–

    You know I’d have to comment on this.

    This is a quote from Canadian zoologist David Suzuki that is quoted in the article:

    The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources. . . we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus, is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.

    Of put as an aphorism by theologian Thomas Berry:

    The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

    Rather than making nihilistic pronouncements about how inherently destructive/stupid/evil humans are, let’s recognize the role that worldview (Suzuki’s “way we see the world”) plays in our behavior and that worldview is a product of culture, i.e. something that can be changed. And if we don’t change worldviews (and we might have to use words like “sacred” to get there), all the facts and figures and follow-the-science finger-wagging will get us nowhere.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      Or “ownership” is a concept for everything someone covets. The concept of ownership is distinctly in one group of people, I don’t know what to call that group. Non-indigenous, maybe?
      Get rid of ownership and develop the concept of sharing without using up.

      I am not talking about “socialism.” I am talking about an awareness of our own mortality and not being able to take it with us, and leaving behind a world at least as healthy as the one we were born into. 7 generation stuff.

      Reply
      1. .human

        Place locations that indigenous peoples found special; groves, plains, valleys, ranges: were prefaced with “Devil’s” when named by colonialists; Devil’s Tower, Devil’s Lake…

        We are long passed the need of Truth and Reconciliation.

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          And that naming was in accord with the Hebrew Bible’s condemnation of asherim, a term sometimes translated as “groves” and sometimes as “Asherah poles,” in any case something wooden and related to the Ugaritic (i.e. “Canaanite”) female god Asherah. These asherim are a central concern all the way from the Torah up through I and II Kings, and the Israelites’ fondness for them is considered one of the primary reasons for the fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah by the post-exilic Ezra school that put the Hebrew Bible together (another was the failure to follow the edict for Jubilee).

          There is a fundamental conflict between the Israelite and Ugaritic (and most indigenous) worldviews, between a transcendental, anthropomorphic god and the animistic and pantheistic worldviews with immanent, non-anthropomorphic gods. For Christians, who built on the worldview in the Hebrew Bible, these places regarded as sacred by indigenous people, were the devil’s places.

          Reply
          1. Buckeye

            Yes. When Charlemagne was emperor in 800 C.E. he waged war on the Saxons of Germany. They were animistic pagans who worshiped in sacred groves of pine trees.
            All the sacred groves were destroyed, but Saxons were placated by adopting the pine tree into Christian lore as the Jesse Tree/Tannenbaum/Christmas Tree.

            Reply
    2. DanB

      Sociologist W.I. Thomas in 1928: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for that reference. I’ll check him out in more depth, but Wikipedia notes this:

        According to the definition of the situation, prior to making a decision, people “generally examine and deliberate about occurrences before acting.” Individuals do not react to reality or facts, but rather their perception or personal ‘definition’ of these situations and facts. Therefore, the “real” facts of social interactions are the subjective interpretations individuals give to an objective reality.

        Yup. And that’s why arguing facts to someone with a worldview pitted against your viewpoint is likely to be fruitless.

        Change the worldview, change the person’s behavior.

        Reply
        1. ArvidMartensen

          None of us see the “real” world. We all see models of the world reconstructed in our minds, moderated by our senses.

          And every model is different. And we all attach different meanings to things in our mental model. To an indigenous person, critter tracks may be dinner. To a farmer the same critter tracks may mean s/he has to do more baiting.

          And if Exxon proposed drilling through the lawns of the Washington National Cathedral there would be uproar, but mining under sacred indigenous sites is just fine. That may of course change in the future.

          Reply
    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      Henry Moon Pie: The way we “see” the world and look at our fellow creatures matters, but I’d say that one must also learn to feel the mountain and feel the landscape.

      A few memories of sudden, eerie assertions of the divinity of the land that I have had: In the ruins of the temple of Uni (Juno) above Tarquinia in Italy, where the sacred fennel plants were sprouting and where the goddess is still very much in residence. At Zuni Pueblo, even if I was there in the wrong month to glimpse the Shalako. Crossing the farmlands of the Great Lakes States in the spring or summer, when the fertility is overt and sacred. Passing Mount Soracte, where Apollo has one of his seats.

      I note the article, too, about how Eurasian jays can’t be tricked as easily as human beings. No wonder the Greeks and Romans took oracles from birds.

      We have to evoke and redevelop our feeling for the land. Too much of the U S of A seems only a picture of exploitation and not a landscape that sustains the onlooker. {And if I may twit Perkins, writer of the original post, it seems to me that he took way too long to get to that observation.)

      Reply
    4. Carolinian

      I like Suzuki but has he had much impact in Canada where extraction industries rule the land? The notion that people (meaning all those other people) are the enemy of Nature ignores the fact that we are part of Nature or pretends we are somehow different–touched by God’s finger as it were. Probably the best that environmentalists can do is to prevent the wanton destruction of beautiful places whose demise serve no human benefit but only promote human vanity. Houses on mountaintops come to mind.

      The native Americans had an intensely practical relationship with Nature and would readily slaughter one of their beautiful horses if they needed something to eat. They also warred over territory and did things that we modern decadents do. What was different was that there were far fewer of them. In the 21st century we need to figure out how to save what Nature we can while also saving ourselves.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “The notion that people (meaning all those other people) are the enemy of Nature ignores the fact that we are part of Nature or pretends we are somehow different–touched by God’s finger as it were.”

        The point being made is exactly that: we are part of Nature. There is no need to pretend that we are “somehow different” from Nature in order for us to become destroyers and enemies of Nature. It requires that we reject who we really are, i.e. part of Nature, and respond to the Cosmos by trying to control it for our amusement and above all, convenience.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Didn’t I just speak out against “amusement” and “convenience”?

          The fact that Humans have overrun the Earth is indeed a problem for all those other species but saying that doesn’t change anything. The environmental movement will always be up against that higher Human priority which is survival. Nobody is going to save a mountain if it means their kids don’t get to eat. The reality is that the only solution to all this overpopulation is either going to be further scientific advance or fewer people. For awhile the Sierra Club did come out in favor of the latter but such realism talk doesn’t sit well with those funders who think everything will be ok if we can just get back to “Turtle Island.”

          Plus here’s suggesting that one of the biggest enemies of the environment is our all so value defective Capitalist system. However those wealthy funders of NGOs certainly aren’t going to go against that either. And pretending that we still live in a world of light on the land hunter/gatherers isn’t much help. Such talk is preaching to the converted.

          Reply
    5. Eon Nemus

      “if other species are biological kin, not resources.”

      What a strange thing for a zoologist to say. If anyone would know that ‘other’ species can be both kin and resources, it really should be them.

      Reply
        1. Copeland

          Upon encountering a new species in the wild:

          My oldest brother: Lets kill it and cook it, hopefully it will taste good!

          Middle brother: Lets sneak up on it/poke it and try to make it fly/run/swim/etc.!

          Me: Lets remain hidden and undetected while we observe its natural behavior!

          Reply
    6. grateful dude

      I’m Gaian. My people have been here for hundreds of thousands of years (more or less). How could I destroy a part of our Mother who bore and nurtures us all? And we fight over her fruit. She’s about done with us, I fear.

      Reply
  4. John Siman

    “Is a CEO Worth 1,000 Times the Median Worker?” asks Bloomberg. “Companies were right to fear pay-ratio disclosure.” Ok, but why? “It’s embarrassing.” Embarrassing! Such goofy language! Extremes of wealth and poverty destabilize a nation.

    The point of the 90% top income tax rate in the USA generations ago was not to collect money for the IRS but to keep CEOs’ salaries within a moderate range. And this policy worked for decades!

    We can go all the way back to Aristotle’s Politics to find decisive arguments for supporting the middle class against the destabilizing extremes of wealth and poverty:

    [Politics 1295b] “In all states therefore there exist three divisions of the state, the very rich, the very poor, and thirdly those who are between the two. Since then it is admitted that what is moderate or in the middle is best, it is manifest that the middle amount of all of the good things of fortune is the best amount to possess. For this degree of wealth is the readiest to obey reason, whereas for a person who is exceedingly beautiful or strong or nobly born or rich, or the opposite—exceedingly poor or weak or of very mean station, it is difficult to follow the bidding of reason; for the former turn more to insolence and grand wickedness, and the latter overmuch to malice and petty wickedness, and the motive of all wrongdoing is either insolence or malice. And moreover the middle class are the least inclined to shun office and to covet office, and both these tendencies are injurious to states. And in addition to these points, those who have an excess of fortune’s goods, strength, wealth, friends and the like, are not willing to be governed and do not know how to be (and they have acquired this quality even in their boyhood from their homelife, which was so luxurious that they have not got used to submitting to authority even in school, while those who are excessively in need of these things are too humble. Hence the latter class do not know how to govern but know how to submit to overnment of a servile kind, while the former class do not know how to submit to any government, and only know how to govern in the manner of a master. The result is a state … of one class envious and another contemptuous of their fellows. This condition of affairs is very far removed from friendliness, and from political partnership—for friendliness is an element of partnership, since men are not willing to be partners with their enemies even on a journey. But surely the ideal of the state is to consist as much as possible of persons that are equal and alike, and this similarity is most found in the middle classes; therefore the middle-class state will necessarily be best constituted in respect of those elements of which we say that the state is by nature composed….”

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      Does Aristotle mention the class that sells itself to the highest bidder? Is there a corrupt political class like the one we have now, headed by a Prez who I recall at the beginning of his career invited himself publicly to be bought by the big money? Or is that what he refers to as the “middle class?”

      Reply
      1. John Siman

        I have *a lot* to say about Aristotle. Devoted the month of May to his Politics — devoting June to the Nicomachean Ethics. Stay tuned!

        Reply
        1. Alfred

          It’s nice to know how to be a good person. Pity it was just a reason I’ve been taken advantage of until I wised up and stopped trusting people to do as they preached.

          Reply
      2. Zamfir

        Aristotle famously left Athens to work for Philip of Macedonia during his conquest of Greece, as tutor of Philip’s son Alexander. Philip wanted to polish his reputation as a boorish out-of-towner, by sending his son to Harvard hiring a tutor from the Academia.

        So yes, Aristotle was quite familiar with the class that sold itself to the highest bidder.

        Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            One can almost imagine Plato angrily retorting “You don’t call me directly” when asked about his (Lawrence) summers with the youth.

            Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          Maybe he saw it as his big chance to influence the ruling class. And/or an offer he couldn’t refuse.

          Reply
          1. Alfred

            Influence the ruling class indeed: from Wiki

            Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and Aristotle’s own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be “a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants”.

            Nice guy.

            Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I can only add what Bruce Hornsby said;
        some things will never change
        but don’t you believe that

        Reply
  5. zagonostra

    >Understanding the origin of covid-19 is the only way to prevent future pandemics, scientist says – WaPo

    “You can’t stop mutations. The headline presupposes lab escape, which even if true is a not the cause of most epidemics.”

    You can’t stop them but you can start them. What has me most concerned is how far the biotechnology has advanced. There are experiments taking place right now in places like Singapore and Australian labs that are fiddling in areas that could have huge consequences on the human species, both positive and negative.

    Euthenics (not to be confused with eugenics) is now being practiced in labs. Humans have reached a point as a species where we can take over the evolutionary (natural) biological development of the species. I saw the news clip below the other day that human life can be extended to 150 years. Every technology seems to always engender an untoward effect, at least that has been the history. Speculation on what those effects could be has been and is being played out in the imagination of science fiction writers and military planners.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-could-live-up-to-150-years-new-research-suggests/

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There is zero proof as of now that this virus was engineered. I’m not happy with readers getting so far out over their skis v. what is known. The fact that you have to resort to linking to a story on an unrelated area indicates you can’t well substantiate your original claim.

      Our own epidemiologist Ignacio is skeptical of the lab leak theory and sees this as a preference for the illusion of control. He recalls all too well those who were similarly convinced HIV was engineered because it was too nasty to be natural. GM is favorable but not convinced, and as a top-tier bioscientist, his assessment is not based on “OMG furin cleavage” but the failure so far to find an intermediate host.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        There is also the possibility that it originated in nature and was brought into a lab for study from which it then escaped. I should have bookmarked the article but I didn’t and now can’t find it, in which a scientist involved in the field said that animal to human transmissions could quite possibly occur during the process of collecting potential pathogens from their wild animal hosts. Stay out of the bat caves, kids.

        The author also made the point that this type of research is well funded, with significant financial rewards at stake, and therefore the pace of it is feverish (my term), and therefore subject to increased possibility of human error.

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          There are a lot of ‘possibilities’, but possibilities are not facts or truth. They are only intended to raise doubt, and when enough doubt has been raised, the possibility becomes sort of a ‘truth’ that can be weaponized. We’ve seen it over and over, haven’t we, from the Salem witch hunts, to the McCarthy hearings, to Russiagate, to…..

          Since I am not very knowledgeable in the field of epidemiology, I prefer to listen to those people, like Ignacio, who have no hidden motives or nothing to gain from what they tell us.

          Reply
          1. Lee

            My hidden motives are either non-existent or so well hidden that even I am unaware of them.

            But joking aside, I get your well taken point about what should be a scientific endeavor in service of human health being weaponized for private or political advantage.

            Reply
          2. km

            There are a lot of ‘possibilities’, but possibilities are not facts or truth. They are only intended to raise doubt, and when enough doubt has been raised, the possibility becomes sort of a ‘truth’ that can be weaponized.

            Cha-ching. Now that China is replacing or joining Russia as the Big Bad Scary Enemy du jour, one should be as suspicious of any stories involving China as one was of the Russiagate conspiracy theory or of the numerous breathless MSM narratives telling us how Iraq was chock-a-clock with WMDs and on the verge of getting The Bomb any day now, ZOMG! Aluminum tubes! ZOMG! Aluminum tubes! Curveball! Niger! ZOMG!

            Reply
            1. Pelham

              I understand that there’s some motivation out there to paint China as scarier than it MAY actually be. But who’s doing this? Many of the biggest US industries has a vital interest in keeping on the good side of Beijing. Even the US military relies on Chinese chips.

              OTOH, there are right-wingers whose main industrial backers in the oil and gas industry have no particular stake in China. So maybe that’s the source. Then again, it’s not only Fox News but also typically liberal media picking up on the Wuhan lab scenario.

              The one possibility that I’ve pretty much definitively ruled out is the notion that there’s some actual, objective merit in pursuing the lab theory. I’m now too accustomed to the idea that the mainstream among elites and media are constantly misleading the public for one or another nefarious purpose.

              Reply
      2. synoia

        A full disclosure of the “Gain of Function funding provided by all entities in the US could,” combined with full disclosure of both research objectives and results, could be illuminating.

        Reply
      3. Ping

        With all due respect, there is evidence such as now widely circulated December 2019 video of Peter Dazig of EcoHealth discussing on “This Week in Virology” their Gain of Function Research “fairly easy to do” and ample documentation Fauci directed NIH funds to Wuhan thru EcoHealth and lobbied for GOF to resume after suspension for being too dangerous.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Coping a ‘tude when you don’t have the goods is bad faith argumentation. There is no evidence as of now that SARS-CoV-2 was the result of manipulation, so all of this “There was gain of function in the ‘hood” does not change that. It’s like saying, “My husband works late and I found out there’s a high end brothel near the office so he must be seeing them.”

          Reader AP pointed out by e-mail that journalist Nicholas Wade abjectly misrepresented the article that he asserted supported the “OMG furin cleavage” claim:

          This “Round 3” of the lab leak theory was kicked off by Wade’s citing Baltimore. “The furin cleavage reference by Baltimore via Wade infuriated me because I had read Andersen, et al’s article when it was first published online at Nature, and they specifically discussed the furin cleavage as natural (SARS-COV2’s natural emergence: https://www.nature.com/articles/S41591-020-0820-9)

          The problem is that Wade’s history with theories is checkered (one was right, but since then . . .), and Baltimore may have won a Nobel in the ‘70s but since then, he left research to his underlings, publishing their research under his name, and that has lead to his retracting 1 paper and “correcting” 4 others.

          Italy has a documented case of Covid as of October, which blow up the Wuhan timeline. It suggests Covid could have originated lots of other places and wound up taking off at Wuhan. AP had a pet theory: “I think we should be looking at Indonesian or Palauan bats – Germany found that their official “first case”, diagnosed at a hospital, arose from a group of young people who had gone skiing in Austria 6-8 weeks earlier, coming home with the “sniffles”. So, my theory is that young Chinese went for an island vacation, picked it up there and brought it home where it circulated in the young crowd before finally hitting people old enough to get hospitalized or need medical treatment.”

          And you forget the Chinese first charged the US with leaking the virus in China, originating from the U.S. Army Military Research Institute for Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick, Md., and AP sent a raft of links that you can string together something that dimly looks like support for that claim.

          Reply
          1. A.

            COVID-19 in Italy by October 2019 is not a confirmed claim.

            I have not seen anyone respond to the specific point Baltimore is referring to, which is that the double CGG-CGG codon (i.e. the “codons” in the quote) is highly unlikely to show up in a natural evolutionary scenario for betacoronaviruses (and has never been sampled) but is known to be more commonplace for human cells. This includes Andersen and his famous Twitter thread. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can just re-read both the relevant section and Andersen’s response.

            I’m not saying this has merit (I’m not qualified to judge), but people seem extremely intent to respond only to the specific quote without fully appreciating the context, aware that in the Twitter age, nobody gives a damn about context anyway. Wade does a better job of responding to his own argument when he cites David L. Robertson, who basically concedes that yes, it’s unlikely, but not impossible.

            Reply
    2. timbers

      There are a lot of headlines about Covid being man made followed by the implication China has something to do with it. I admit to not delving into all these articles if only because these head lines are multiplying like rabbits right now and don’t have the time. But it seems those you are pushing this should be reminded as to which nation is doing a lot that looks as if it could be exploring biological weapons:

      “Military-biological facilities operated by the Pentagon and serving American interests exist in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and other countries bordering Russia. The US Embassy in Kyiv claims that their purpose is to protect countries from the spread of infectious diseases…”

      The above is from a website seeking to disprove that the US is involved in biological welfare. They go on to “debunk” it. The fact they admit all these labs exist in such unlikely locations, IMO speaks volumes. And if you read their rebuttal, it might make you more convinced something bad is going on. When I read their own rebutal, I become a bit more convinced that is in fact the case.

      Reply
      1. km

        Because of the famously tight security to be had in Ukraine.

        Go on, pull the other one. (No, not you, timbers, the jackass whom you are quoting is the one who should Pull My Finger.)

        Reply
    3. Ghost in the Machine

      Human error in high-biocontainment labs: a likely pandemic threat
      By Lynn Klotz | February 25, 2019

      https://thebulletin.org/2019/02/human-error-in-high-biocontainment-labs-a-likely-pandemic-threat/

      It is important to search for the truth however inconvenient. There is no proof but substantial circumstantial evidence for a lab leak. There is a reason high profile academics are calling for a thorough investigation in journals like Science. It is not true that the origin does not matter at this point as pointed out by Thomas Frank’s piece in the Guardian. I have thought for sometime that gain of function research should be banned and if this is actually an example of our worst fears then a ban will be seriously discussed. If we are advocating for ‘looking forward not back,’ to protect faith in experts and not strain geopolitics (Frank makes this point) we should be open about advocating for another form of the noble lie. Actually, given the funding situation at the lab, if this turned out true I could see how this could turn world sentiment against both China and the US. Republicans might be glad to use this to attack the ‘liberal experts’ but if they think this will help their project to ‘make America great again’ they might be very surprised about the worlds reaction.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Appreciate this post. Don’t know much about biology or epidemiology. One thing I think is important in the discussion about the origin of Covid is that it is not a”man made” virus created by scientists from “scratch”. The point of function research is to manipulate existing viruses. Isn’t contradictory to question that Covid is a direct result of that research . It is possible that it was manipulated from the “backbone ” of an existing virus and resulted in Covid. Covid could therefore have “escaped” a lab.

        I have thought for sometime that gain of function research should be banned and if this is actually an example of our worst fears then a ban will be seriously discussed.

        Lynn Klotz- February 25, 2019

        Reply
  6. Randy

    “So I’d be much happier if the Flynn police were also after other influential grifters and rabid sensation-seekers.”

    Yes, I do believe a country that intends to function for a long time should arrest Flynn and Donald Trump et all for things like saying the election was stolen. The same applies to the Russiagate nuts. Once people are incentivized to lie in this manner the only direction if they aren’t stopped is a civil war.

    Reply
      1. John

        Shame and guilt are for the little people. The insolence from the Aristotle quote above is why there is no shame among the rich and their minions.
        That’s reason to keep the classics from being taught.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          That offers only temporary respite. The Classics would still be taught underground, and their private instructions for the reproduction of elite society would still be passed down in secret societies, much the same as they are today. (John Michael Greer, for his part, has for the past few years been planting the seeds for the conservation of elite domination.)

          The Classics, like the Bible, are best taught to everyone, not as truth or wisdom, but as plans of the enemy to be dissected: interesting here, uninteresting there, irrelevant here, on point there, but blueprints for a machine that no longer serves life. Better to have everyone equally armed and incapable of successfully establishing long-term relations of avoidance, than reinventing wokeism.

          Reply
          1. enoughisenough

            you all are defining Classics by Aristotle alone, and framing it as the enemy??

            This is bizarre, totally quixotic. There is no *one* idea coming from Classics – it is the study of an entire, diverse civilization that spans 1,500 years.

            As a classical archaeologist/art historian, I assure you all: Classics is no more dangerous than the study of any period of the humanities. Are we against the Humanities now??

            Reply
            1. Alfred

              No, it’s just the deification of “the Classics” as if this was the first and only time true answers ™ were pontificated. Gag me with a (silver) spoon.

              Reply
              1. enoughisenough

                oh ok, well, I agree with THAT, however that was not said above.

                I loathe the reactionary false construction of some religious ideal that never existed “our JudeoXian heritage! Classics is a moral exemplar for us all!”

                It’s patent nonsense.

                However, I also hate the reactionary reactions that cast Classics as some big BAD somehow.

                Colleagues in Classics even do this. (In a Trump derangement positioning battle). Meanwhile, we all get dumber as the Humanities get cut from colleges and universities across the country.

                Some nuance and understanding wouldn’t go amiss, is all.

                Reply
                1. lyman alpha blob

                  Agreed. A non-classical wise person once said those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

                  Reply
      2. Larry

        The ones calling for rebuke are the ones shunned. Romney and Liz Cheney are no great actors, but by merely standing up to Trump, they’ve become pariahs. That’s deeply troubling. Calls to mind Doug Henwood’s recent Jacobin piece on the rot of the ruling class. They’ve unleashed animal spirits and only seem interested in directing them towards their own self interest.

        Reply
        1. Alfred

          The Dems have been doing that to Bernie since forever. Hils said “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him,” when she ran against him. The nomination convention involved violence against his delegates by security (I was on Slack seeing these things, as I did some campaign work). I saw Bernie with bruises on his face after the convention–never understood how that happened. He keeps pushing, but lately things seem to be getting more dangerous to do so. Are forces in politics now not averse to thug tactics to intimidate? I grew up in Daley’s Chicago, does not seem much different.

          Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          Cheney wasn’t standing up to Trump, she was standing up for the family business of neoconservatism. It takes a severe lack of critical thinking to believe that the two-party game is anything but useless symbol manipulation for private profit.

          Reply
        3. Lee

          If the neocon right and the faux-populist, putatively non-interventionist right, want to war on each other, all I can say is, “pass the popcorn.”

          Reply
          1. km

            That so many neocons (Boot and the odious Kagans, to give the first names to come to mind) can so effortlessly shift to Team D and never so much as miss a beat ought to tell you something.

            Reply
      3. HotFlash

        I dunno about shunning. I am thinking about cases — Communists in Hollywood, the Scarlet Letter, witch trials, LGBTQXYZ in various times and places, people with long hair, people with short hair, Dalits, people of the Wrong gender, sex, skin tone, ethnicity, nationality, social class, political or religious beliefs, and on and on — where social ostracism is not only unjust but all too effective.

        I have no idea how it could work better. Generally, the way to influence bad actors is to hit them where they live. In the very old days, habitual Bad Actors in a community could be shunned or banished, the penultimate form of shunning (the ultimate being death). Where this bunch live is their wallets. Since salvation by legislation seems unlikely (ha!), we probably cannot touch them there. Somebody, somewhere, will always give them what they want. Maybe some humans just have a need for snake-oil.

        I once had a BF whose Grandma pinched pennies and skimped on groceries in order to send as much as possible to Oral Roberts every month. My millennial neighbours with “Black Lives Matter” signs in their windows get deliveries from Amazon several times a week. My more working-class neighbours use the self checkout. Is there something wrong with our sense of us, how we are connected? Without that, I do not see how we can protect ourselves.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Tonight’s #threadtalk is a horse of a different color: green to be exact.”

    A fascinating thread about the history of the use of green in fashion but it does open up a question for me. The thread shows that green was so expensive, that it was generally only the wealthy or well-off that could afford it. Fair enough. Now most people would be familiar with the fact that in the 19th century, that British infantry wore red jackets as seen in such films as “Zulu.” But during the Napoleonic War, a special Corps of riflemen were formed who soon became the 95th Regiment and which went on to become an elite unit. So the thing is, this Regiment was unique in many aspects but the most noticeable one was the fact that they wore green jackets, not red. Some might have seen this if they ever saw the TV series set during these times called “Sharpe’s Rifles.” So the question for me is how they ever afforded that, especially when the British Army had their finances micromanaged at the time by the dreaded British bureaucracy-

    https://www.95thrifles.com/history

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Forgive the dates, its been a while. I have a book on the Redcoat somewhere. The British Army of the Redcoat finance and spending system was fairly well organized, and they weren’t spending on classified. Every part of the uniform had a purpose beyond dress besides the pants. The series, I’ve read the books so I caught it live, shows the British army in their review and field dress. The sergeants who did inspections could tell if equipment was missing at a glance. The Sharpe books explain this, but the show shows it. Sharpe is always dressed to the nines for review, but his usually look is how the uniform was supposed to be worn in the field. There was a class issue too. The dopey sons of nepotism who lost to Wesley on the Eton playing fields always griped about officers and soldiers not in the full outfit.

      Prior to the Red Coat, the local lords provided soldiers in exchange for funding, and the soldiers showed up in all kinds of states. Instead, they moved the funding to the soldier a day the quarter master where the soldier had an account to buy from. The soldier had to pass inspection, meaning they couldn’t skimp, but they were paid out officers that account. The sergeants and officers all knew what to look for. Everyone is ratting on everyone, so the British Redcoat was always equipped unlike their European opponents.

      The Queen’s Rangers wore green in the 1770’s. Like special forces berets, the green jackets were symbols that these were serious guys. Random sergeants should steer clear as the leadership of the companies were real fighters.

      Reply
      1. km

        I had read it that the Parliamentary armies in the English Civil War had the bright idea of soliciting public bids for supplying uniforms, and that red dye was the cheapest, so the bidders went with red.

        Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      I’d always thought blue was the color of royalty and wealth (Royal Blue, right?), due to the scarcity and expense of obtaining the lapis lazuli needed. I once read that Alexander’s foray into what’s now Afghanistan was a pursuit of lapis.

      Reply
      1. enoughisenough

        Lapis was used in painting: ultramarine. Extremely expensive, and yes, used to depict royalty.

        It was not used in dye. Blue dye was expensive because it was imported: true indigo.

        Woad was less expensive.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isatis_tinctoria

        In antiquity, it was purple/crimson that was crucially expensive and royalty was known for the color. Made from smashed sea snails: murex. On one excavation I was on, we excavated a Byzantine murex workshop. Tons of smashed shells.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple

        Reply
    3. a different chris

      >especially when the British Army had their finances micromanaged

      I thought the trick was to make the soldiers themselves pay for their uniforms? Thus the rich red of the officers and an unbecoming pink for the poor grunts.

      Reply
  8. fresno dan

    Dogs saved as huge bear pushed off wall
    The bigger dog, wisely, backs off after the initial confrontation. And as usual, the smaller the dogs, the more courageous (i.e., foolhardy) it is. My ex girlfriends Yorkshire terriers were fearless. I often asked them, you do know that you are smaller than a guinea pig? And they would reply, what’s your point? And than I would think, I really have to start using fewer hallucinogens…

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      The woman was more impressive than the dogs; but they did fulfill their basic functions which are to sound the alarm and take the first casualties if a threat is really serious. In this case it wasn’t and she understood that.thanks to the dogs.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        My two goldens do not consider sounding the alarm to be one of their basic functions, and forget about taking the first casualties. Or the 2nd, or even the 20th. A bear got into my chicken coop and started munching on the residents a couple of weeks ago. Not a peep from team useless, canine division. The girl did follow me downstairs when I raced out to chase it off, but then just hid under the dining room table.

        Not sure I’d be up for pushing a bear off a wall, but I’ve sent quite a few scurrying armed with nothing more than my outside voice and a pile of rocks suitable for chucking. This last visitor, though, was a really big one. Listening to it grunting off through the woods while i’m standing there in bare feet and jammies, it occurred to me that my dog might have the better idea.

        I’ve now got the coop wrapped up in wire that will deliver a nice 6,000 volt zap to any intruders.

        Reply
        1. Alfred

          LOL. I still remember the Alaska TV show (northern exposure?) where they banged on pots and threw fish at the bear. Bears really aren’t interested in a confrontation most of the time.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I hope that you guys realize that this is not really normal this. I mean having a big bruno come climbing over your fence to help itself to a doggy treat. Other people elsewhere get stuff like this on their fences and at their windows instead-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgO_Zb3wxvQ (5:45 mins)

      No wonder so many people want to buy themselves guns.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        I have big brunos walking through the surrounding woods all the time. When we meet, however, we run in opposite directions. Climate change and habitat loss has not made starvation prompt them to forage in my house yet.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          Assuming you’re in North America, be advised that black bears and grizzlies can reach speeds of 35 mph. Assuming you can’t, and that running can trigger a predatory response that would not otherwise occur, best not run, but instead back away slowly with your fingers crossed.

          I was charged once by a black bear mama with cubs in Yosemite Valley. Fortunately, there was a tree handy. Also fortunately, it was an apple tree, planted by settlers about a century before, and I dissuaded her from climbing up after me by picking apples and tossing them to the ground for them.

          Reply
          1. Alfred

            Not to worry. We know each other. Most of the bear attacks you reference are a result of your not being a resident. I actually feel kind of bad that I interrupted their grubbing for beetles, and we have a mutual regard from years of co-existing. I leave trees and vegetation, outside of my scant-acre living space, to rot.
            You were smart to realize food was a way to make friends.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              I wouldn’t quite so nonchalant about being food. Bear attacks are pretty rare, if you do not startle them, especially mama bear with her cubs. But they do happen and it takes just that one cranky, hungry bear, especially with grizzlies, that will just say bleep it and have human for lunch.

              Reply
            2. Lee

              How lovely it must be to live in harmony and mutual regard with bears. I’ve spent a fair amount of time observing them and recording their behaviors in the wild in Yellowstone, mostly at distance through scopes.

              Reply
          2. wilroncanada

            It’s tough when you’re alone. If you’re in a group, you only have to be the second slowest runner.

            Reply
        2. Nce

          Eh, I live near YNP and bears have been migrating to areas where they didn’t hang out before, like open sagebrush. It could’ve been due to wildfires/smoke too; last summer I camped in two places where I had unexpected bear encounters. They didn’t get my food, but now I assume they’re probably nearby. I’d NEVER approach a mother with cubs- black bear or otherwise- that’s a good way to die. I’m siding with the bears. I’ve been stupid enough to try to “chase” (my run is a slow bear jog) a bear away from my campsite and they’re remarkably fast. They’re smart, too. Before I knew better, I hung my food bag on a branch that wouldn’t support a mother bear, but she sent her cubs up to cut the line and they had lunch while I was at work.

          Reply
      2. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        June 2, 2021 at 9:11 am
        Obviously, their garish colors signal how dangerous they can be, and the coerced tribute to them confirms this…

        Reply
    3. Lee

      We had a pug that would lose her mind and attack any horse on sight if not restrained, whether in the flesh or on T.V.

      Reply
    4. a different chris

      Everybody did notice the bear cubs scurrying into the tree? — which were no doubt why the bear stood her ground and why (food foraging) she was there in the first place.

      Reply
  9. Jeff W

    Drivers Of The New UFO Narrative Keep Absurdly Saying They Could Be Dangerous ETs Caitlin Johnstone

    You see this ridiculous notion pushed everywhere, including by supposedly smart people like Stephen Hawking, that Europeans meeting the indigenous people of Africa, Australia and the Americas is a good model for what we could expect from an encounter with a civilization millions of years more advanced than our own.

    Physicist Michio Kaku is ominously saying the same thing:

    We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago. Now, personally, I think that aliens out there would be friendly but we can’t gamble on it.

    It’s both, as Johnstone says, “absurd on its face” and “says so much about human madness” that, with regard to the possibility of extraterrestrial beings dropping by, the thing we—well, some people—are ostensibly concerned about is that they constitute some kind of threat—not to mention that, as she points out, if they were, there isn’t much we could do about it.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      Expecting to comprehend “aliens” is ridiculous. To the military, everything looks like a threat, just like to a hammer, everything that isn’t a nail is irrelevant.

      Reply
    2. Robert Hahl

      This is starting to remind me of President Regan’s “Star Wars” plan. A friend who was a physics graduate student at the time, while I was the same in chemistry, told me that all their grant applications were being fashioned around getting Star Wars money. He knew it was nonsense, but that is how the game is played. He also didn’t want a university job after getting the Ph.D. No wonder.

      Reply
    3. Ignacio

      I always thought that the almighty US army is there only to protect us from aliens. Seen in so many movies! This cannot just be a marketing strategy to keep using MMT for limitless military spending, no, no I cannot believe that. In Spanish Montezuma is written Moctezuma and it wouldn’t be surprising he couldn’t expect the Spanish were bringing with them the most lethal and unexpected weapons of mass destruction: viruses!

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        The military reasoning about “understanding” the technology just reminds me of The Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf tells Frodo that the dark lord wants to “trap the wasp, and take the sting.” The last thing we need is a bunch of sociopathic monsters with advanced alien technology at their disposal.

        Reply
        1. Fritzi

          One very common claim is that what we call UFOs today has been around for many millenia.

          The arguments for that that I have seen seem as good as I guess you are likely to get on any aspect of this topic.

          If that were true, it would probably make it very unlikely that they intend to murder us all or commit any other stereotypical supervillainy on us, otherwise they’d most likely have gone through with it ages ago.

          And obviously, if they kept an eye on us since we learned to make fire, nothing we do could ever come as a surprise for them.

          Personally I always liked the ultraterrestrial “explanation” best anyway.

          Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      You can guess the military mind at work here. They are thinking that if they shoot down one of those things, they could reverse engineer it and then they could dominate the world with this alien technology. So they are not a “threat” but an “opportunity”. Even back in the 50s they figured that this might not be a wise idea because of what could go wrong. Here is one version with a visual assist by Ray Harryhausen-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVD8fzr9V1o (11:49 mins)

      Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        I suspect that at best we’d be like ancient Greeks trying to reverse engineer a digital watch.

        More likely, Stanislaw Lem’s caveman, who discovers a library and thinks he’s found a really great source of fuel for his campfire.

        Maybe even Michio Kaku’s anthill next to a freeway, where the aliens are already here and we don’t even know it…

        Reply
    5. Pelham

      Not so sure we couldn’t do something about it. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote a story about an invasion from Mars staged with a mass of Martian troops whisked to Earth by spaceships far more advanced than anything we could muster. But when the first wave landed near a retirement community in Boca Raton, the elderly residents were easily able to wipe them out with their guns as the Martians’ best weapons turned out to be only the equivalent of 18th century muskets.

      Viewing this from another angle, it could be that any aliens now observing Earth are so fascinated because, despite their advanced form of space travel, they simply cannot fathom how, say, a toaster works.

      Reply
    6. jhg

      Perhaps the UFO narrative is being pushed so the newly formed Space Force can argue for a larger slice of the military budget. So they can effectively protect us from the “aliens”. I imagine defending against the alien hordes is very expensive.

      Reply
      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Perhaps they are just media probes, as they find us hilarious in a sort of chimps tea party sort of a way.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Cautious China Keeps Borders Shut Despite Mass Vaccination Drive”

    Hey China. We see that at least 40% of your population have had one vaccination shot so you should really open up your borders now, forget quarantining overseas visitors, mass testing, issuing stay-at-home orders for affected neighborhoods, wearing masks, social distancing and lockdowns in the face of any outbreaks and just learn to live with the virus instead. It’s what we are doing in the west.

    China: ‘Nah, we’re not going to do any of that.’

    Reply
  11. Lee

    “What it means that California’s snowpack is 0% of June 1 average SF Gate (David L)”

    Current U.S. drought monitor map

    Looking forward to another fire season of really, really poor air quality here in the SF Bay Area. On the bright side, I’m still around to breathe at all.

    Reply
  12. marieann

    Thank you for that wonderful story of Green…..I had no idea that fabric dyes caused so much suffering, though it doesn’t surprise me
    .
    Green is my favourite colour I have it in every room in my house

    Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        When the light begins to fade, green and blue disappear, to return with the light

        Reply
    1. JBird4049

      That thread reminded me of just how incredibly dangerous it was to live using everyday stuff back when. They used lead and/or arsenic in everything including clothes, cosmetics, wallpaper, toys, paint, and candies as well as things like chalk in milk and both sawdust and chalk in bread among many delightfully unhealthy additives. The use of lead, arsenic, and mercury in cosmetics and “medicine” was common in Europe (and America) for centuries.

      Just walking about in your home and getting ready for the day you could be ingesting lead and arsenic. Then putting on makeup, using some medicine, and having breakfast and having more lead and arsenic, maybe mercury, with bonus chalk, sawdust, or whatever else the manufacturer thought he could get away with in Victorian and earlier times in the United States, Britain, and France to about 1900.

      I know that if Western civilization is still going in two hundred years, the historians of the time will marvel at how we survived all the poisonous stuff we are using, but just a casual reading of the use of lead only in cosmetics, toys, paint, and later in gasoline makes wonder why we are not all dead.

      Reply
      1. R

        I think the likelihood of poisoning from a dress was close to nil for its wearer but people handling the fabric might have some risk and the people making it definitely did.

        Humans have surprisingly high tolerances to chronic exposure to many substances that in modern life are held up as terrible poisons. The worst cases are occupational diseases and practices that risk ingestion such as make up.

        For example, lead was ubiquitous but does not seem to have caused many acute problems except in distinct groups [1] – probably because the exquisite absorbable organo-lead compounds were not invented until the automobile age.

        [1] such as westcountry cider makers who did not realise that leaving acid apple juice on lead (in the presses) would produce lead acetate a.k.a. “sugar of lead” but did know it made their cider sweeter. The resulting symptoms were considered an occupational disease and one of the recognised cures was to take the waters (i.e. hot baths) at Bath, which, ironically, has been shown by modern medicine to improve elimination of metals from the body.

        Reply
  13. Quentin

    For whatever it may be worth, green is my definitely favorite color, whatever the shade, i.e., outside of nature.

    Reply
  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How Inflation Became the Gasbags’ Favorite Moral Panic Mother Jones (resilc)

    Inflation is money losing value; it is the wealth of the rich eroding. Yes, it can spiral out of control. But it also eats away at debt—for students now, for farmers in the late 1800s, for our country during World War II. Yet these aims are always coded as fake or greedy….

    Wait, so mother jones is in favor of inflation because it’s the wealth of the RICH “eroding”???? and student loan debt can be repaid in less valuable dollars????

    Talk about a “gasbag.”

    I suppose this unbelievably ridiculous “analysis” would have a kernel of validity if there was some way to ensure that all those “cheaper” dollars were somehow “equitably” distributed to the entire population, but if that were the case, the “inflation” scheme would never have been invented by the bankers in the senate in the dead of night in 1913.

    (Fun fact: The fed’s mandate is to maintain “stable prices” which it defines as 2% inflation per year. Only in “finance” can “stable” be the same as “increase.” At 2% per year, the dollar loses half its purchasing power every 35 years or roughly one generation, presumably so that those who notice are now too old to do anything about it.)

    It takes some powerful blindness to reality to write a stupid article like this. An abysmally low “minimum wage” controlled by a congress owned by the very corporations “required” to pay it, tax-advantaged outsourcing of good paying jobs and the rise of gig crap, and floods of immigrants–illegal and legal–willing to work for fewer of those less valuable dollars to keep wages low while prices for necessities “inflate,” for instance.

    And if “inflation” is such a “benefit” to student debtors and other debt peons, why go to such lengths to disguise it with “hedonic adjustments,” “PCE deflators,” and other indecipherable, statistical financial obfuscations?

    Give us all a break, mj.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      I dumped MJ back in the 80s when their subscription pitch was something like “Don’t make Mother angry” if you didn’t renew. That was just a heads up about the real MJ. Co-option R Us

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “All of JBS’s U.S. Beef Plants Were Forced Shut by Cyberattack”

    So I turned on the world news here in Oz and when they got to this story, came straight out and said that it was the Russians that did it. Don’t know if the same is true in the US. No mention of any proof or investigations. Just up and said that the Russians did it. I was trying to think of a reason why the Russians would attack beef plants and the only reason that came to mind is that the Russians want to turn Americans, Canadians and Australians into vegans or something. Going to go off at a tangent here.

    The Australian media has been turning weird lately. Scotty from Marketing went over to New Zealand for talks with their PM, mostly about China. During this visit, “60 Minute'” in Oz did a story how New Zealand was betraying Australia and selling out the China and during a press conference, the Aussie media was asking her how it felt selling out to China. It was like watching the US press go after Trump. There were coordinated stories about this line of attack and after he returned, a main newspaper boasted how they were able to bring NZ ‘back into the tent’ on China. Here is a typical example of what I am talking about-

    https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/new-zealands-failure-to-call-out-china-throws-spotlight-on-nations-relationship-with-beijing/news-story/38340b8efbbefb7e4ade864bd9a91fa8

    Reply
  16. Ignacio

    RE: China has first human case of rare bird flu strain.

    Go and search for the nearest virus lab, pronto! Lot’s of lab leaks in China, what the hell is going on!

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      I’m sure there would be a lot less stories about lab leaks if China would bow down more to the multinationals and get with their ‘program’.

      Reply
    2. Isotope_C14

      The etiology of the Influenza virus is well known, after many years of research. I remember it taught in my micro classes from 25 years ago that it was partly due to people living in close quarters with pigs and ducks, enabling mutations to occur in animal reservoirs and jump into humans.

      If you have some great insight on the source animal for the virus discovered in 2019, I’m all ears. Until that time, science demands that all reasonable possibilities are investigated – even the uncomfortable ones.

      I wouldn’t expect an answer unless there is some great opening of the research logs of the suspected source lab, and it appears China will never release them. Who knows, perhaps in 10 years the PRC will collapse into warring feudal states over some internal conflict and it would be in someone’s interest to tell the truth, or smear a political leader.

      Until then, we must do what the scientific method demands. Keeping an open mind, assessing all data while pushing personal bias as far out of the picture as possible. I expect everyone has a personal expectation of plausibility based on their own assessment of the intelligence of our species. I was talking to someone the other day that they thought it was 50/50. I myself see it as 80/20 (lab to nature), and I know others that would see it as the opposite. This is because I’ve witnessed first-hand the incompetence of people with very important titles. Perhaps you are 10/90, and that is perfectly reasonable as well.

      If the lab leak happened, I will feel the heartbreak as much as any other researcher.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        What about the “Spanish flu”? Experience tells me that when a damaging new disease appears there is a ‘natural’ push in humans to find someone, particularly someone ELSE to blame (for instance, the willingness to declare in UK in April that their outbreaks were caused by entries from Spain or elsewhere) and this is why once and again we decide that Flu had to be a foreign product native from other country, why many thought that HIV was a US warfare product that escaped from a lab and why now the lab leak is being pushed hard, particularly in the US. I am not saying that not all possibilities should be investigated including the possibility that the Wuhan outbreak could have something to do with the virus lab. What I am saying is that is is being counted as the most likely source of the virus even if there is not known history of a new virus that ever leaked from a lab, as if labs were virus creators by themselves. Lab leaks have occurred involving always known viruses that were extensively studied and assayed, and particularly involving a few examples of virus that are much more stable than coronavirus and keep infectivity in very harsh conditions, like foot and mouth disease. On the other hand the other 6 known coronavirus infecting humans are all known to have bat or murine origin, but in this particular case the zoonotic origin, the normal, tends to be sidelined against the favourite narrative which I find appropriate for a novel and to fill our willingness to assign guilt but not based on scientific evidence. For me, the default option is that this is, again and again, (like flu, like all the other viruses) another zoonotic disease even in case the lab acted as a vector in Wuhan.

        Reply
        1. Isotope_C14

          I very much respect your opinion Ignacio.

          I also think that your responses have been well constructed and you are an absolute gem on NC. Same tier as IMDoc, and quite a few others.

          I stated this before, on a different thread, a couple of days ago:

          https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/05/links-5-30-2021.html

          Please check my posts here, I don’t care who is right. I only want the facts. Truth, is far more subjective.

          I don’t blame the Chinese, I blame capitalism, for having to force “publish or perish” on a system that is completely incompatible to real science discourse. You want to play a betting game on companies? Fine by me, you want to play a betting game on global health? Get bent.

          This is a horrible time, particularly for science, as we all have to acknowledge that something very dumb may have been done for frikkin money.

          You state in your text, that lab leaks always happened with known viruses, but the fact of the matter exists, (in the thread I mentioned) that you really don’t know what you are working with sometimes. If these guys had a backbone virus that they really didn’t know the pathogenicity, it would be quite a stretch to say that real biosafety rules were even applied during shipping and transport. All they really have to do is declare “BSL-2” and it is shipped. No further testing is required…

          I really hope you are right about this, but I suspect it’s never going to be solved, and this will go down in history as “never trust the scientists”

          Reply
        2. Cuibono

          “if there is not known history of a new virus that ever leaked from a lab”
          “New” is doing a lot of work there

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            Indeed. It is key. There is some posiblility that a new variant of SARS CoV 1 could have leaked from the Wuhan lab since they were working actively with this, but SARS Cov 2 is quite a different beast. Otherwise you would have to think of imaginary evolutionary mechanisms such as “recombination-in-the-fridge” or “mutation-in-the swab” and things like that.

            Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      This is a really disturbing reminder this. We have had the pandemic going for nearly a year and a half now. Think about that. In a sane, sensible world you would expect that we would have a doctrine manual by now with how exactly to deal with any future pandemics. Who would be in charge, how responses could be coordinated with other countries, which public entities would need to be beefed up, how to test in each country (including DNA sequencing) any new virus or bacteria, what public responses would be needed, what equipment should be stockpiled, what warning systems should be in place, etc. But you know what? If we had another pandemic hit before the end of this decade, I seriously doubt that we will find that any lessons have been learned whatsoever. They will make the same mistakes again and it would be like 2020 & 2021 never happened. You think that by now that they could have at least gotten those lousy mobile apps to work but I have not seen them mentioned in months. So next time around it will be a lot like this time in that you will mostly be on your own to make the right decisions.

      Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        Agreed.

        Something fascinating has occurred in Berlin, there are COVID testing stations (rapid) EVERYWHERE.

        I walk past at least 4 on the way to work (20 minutes away) – I hope this becomes permanent and that they expand testing to Influenza, and anything else that has an accurate rapid test.

        Now there is some internal hemming and hawing about how the stations do not have to report the number of tests they do in a day, and they can essentially just order the kits, and say they ordered 10000, and they get reimbursed automatically. There is a absolutely a way to abuse this, but having everyone tested nearly daily is a real way to control outbreaks.

        One “hookah lounge” across the street has the testing until 10pm, and it uses a part of their bar since most people prefer to sit outside. Quite wise on the business side, make money from the test, and fill their seats up with customers.

        Reply
      2. Kouros

        I conducted an analysis at the level of pandemic preparedness against airborne, flu like pathogens at provincial and federal level in Canada and my judgment is that criminal negligence is the only answer (that was way before the AG did something similar and given English understatements similarly damming)… And I heard then from Medical Health Officers that there will be lessons learned for the next one. Oh, the wishful thinking…

        Reply
  17. DorothyT

    Re: JBS meat cyberattack

    Some recent history regarding JBS: I rec’d a USDA alert in December 2018 that JBS Tolleson, Inc. was recalling more than twelve million pounds of “non-intact raw beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.” The USDA link I saved from that alert is no longer active.

    Twelve million pounds: Imagine how many cattle were slaughtered needlessly.

    See JBS SA (Wiki) for US acquisition history.

    Reply
  18. flora

    re:
    So what news is this clearly non-organic story type intended to push out? In a year, UFOs went from being the province of the cray cray to a regular news story.

    Think of all the official narratives that are falling apart: narratives about US foreign policy, domestic border policy, US health care policy, the idea the Dems care about the ‘working man and woman’. Then add in the end of the eviction moratoriums coming this month and other economically punishing moves against regular people in the past year . There’s a lot being not written about in the MSM. But quick! Look over there! A UFO! / ;)

    Reply
    1. flora

      The end of the eviction moratoriums and mortgage delay programs has the potential to de-house more people that the subprime mortgage loan foreclosures during the great financial crisis, imo.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/opinion/eviction-moratorium-biden-covid.html

      It will be a huge payday for wall st… again.

      The following link is about the Koch company; it’s one of many companies pushing for this.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/21/charles-koch-foundation-eviction-real-estate

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Just another reason to Support the Thin Blue Line with even more weapons and surveillance tech. Those armored vehicles and machine guns that they already have will not be enough. I just know that they will have to protect us from the next batch of even angrier protestors terrorists. Ka-ching!

        Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘David Sirota
    @davidsirota
    Obama is promoting the fiction that he stood up to Wall Street & improved the structure of the economy.
    It’s a total lie — he enriched his finance donors, which created a huge electoral backlash. ‘

    This could get interesting going forward. We all know that Obama is lying his face off here and there is no way that he will be ever be able to polish the turd of his Presidency to make it ever look good. But here I am preaching to the choir. But what will be interesting will be to note those who buy into this lie and seek to promote it. And I am not talking about the DNC here but people like journalists, celebrities and public figures. If the Republicans were half smart, they could run a series of ads reminding people of exactly what went down during the Obama years but at the moment, Trump has broken their brains so they will not do something so simple or effective. Come to think of it, Trump broke a lot of people’s brains during his Presidency and the fan-boy attitude to the Biden Presidency is a result of this.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      June 2, 2021 at 10:53 am
      If Obama would ever fall from grace, and be judged by reality, it would be a blessing to this country, for it would mean that the simulacrum of modern US politics has been discarded and a more serious examination of how the US operates will occur. Unfortunately, I think the US long ago went past the event horizon to a black hole of illusion, and there is no escape.
      There are too many with a interest in advancing and maintaining the legend of bagger Vance, uh, Obama, and not truth.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        Anybody who advances to the nomination has been thoroughly vetted and has agreed to be Liar in Chief as ordered by the Selection Committee. Obama thinks he can bluff that out, that he is different? Yeah, still thinks that.

        Reply
    2. RMO

      “Those who ignore this history are doomed to repeat it”

      I’m sure quite a few won’t be ignoring it at all, but thinking: “How did it work out for Obama?” Seems to me it worked out pretty well for him. Didn’t seem to really hurt any of the power players in the Democrat party either. Best guess from me is that they won’t be doomed to repeat it, they’ll be trying as best they can to repeat it.

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      So I had never actually gone to the Trump website, so I decided to see it. And it is one of these things that look like it is a contribution collection only affair. AND you have to give your email address to get in. I don’t give my email to nobody….
      Maybe, just maybe, if your supporters are paranoid about government, and you are the HEAD of government (to be reinstated as president in August) or ASPIRE to returning to be head of government, maybe collecting people’s emails is a little…inconsistent.

      Reply
      1. MK

        How do you not have a burner e-mail account for these types of things? It’s almost too easy to skirt these e-mail requests.

        Reply
  20. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Drivers Of The New UFO Narrative Keep Absurdly Saying They Could Be Dangerous ETs”

    “It is the Rabbit-Hole down which we fell into and to him who has gone down it, no queer performance is strange.”

    1. “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”

    2. “Just about everything that is popularly believed about UFOs has been exploited, shaped, and, at times, generated by people working for the U.S. Air Force and the intelligence community.”

    “I am today transmitting to the National Security Council a proposal (TAB A) in which it is concluded that the problems connected with unidentified flying objects appear to have implications for psychological warfare as well as for intelligence and operations.”

    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2010/09/16/the-truth-behind-ufo-sightings-and-the-us-air-force

    https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000015338.pdf

    3. “Docs Show Navy Got ‘UFO’ Patent Granted By Warning Of Similar Chinese Tech Advances”

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28729/docs-show-navy-got-ufo-patent-granted-by-warning-of-similar-chinese-tech-advances

    4. ” U.S. Navy Laser Creates Plasma ‘UFOs’”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhambling/2020/05/11/us-navy-laser-creates-plasma-ufos/?sh=238b44721074

    5. Disinformation: “any government communication (either overt or covert) containing intentionally false and misleading material, often combined selectively with true information, which seeks to mislead and manipulate either elites or a mass audience.”

    Reply
  21. tegnost

    Re California water
    I drove to long beach california last week for work and it was as dry as a bone.
    Everywhere except the “family farms”, which were greenest of green…
    https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/08/lynda-stewart-resnick-california-water/
    Lots of signs along the way that “we” need to build more dams because… ummm…. well it’s a desert basically
    and rice paddies, which at least somewhat mimic the wetlands that would be there around colusa/williams and north of there.
    Shasta lake was pretty low and shasta itself had some meager snow cover, not much, but not nothing. The burn area south of shasta was pretty extensive with a variety of degrees of torchedness…really hot burns leaving sticks of black trees in red clay, lower temp areas with recovering undergrowth, and low temp (IMO) where the fire blasted through treetops but didn’t get to the low growth. Medford, the entirety of bear creek seemed to have burned but is recovering, and there was signs of that massive fire on the road from ashland, but overall when I crossed the siskyous it was like being in a different country, snow covered mountains and standard lush green springtime, fir now…

    Reply
  22. Tal

    Just in Time problems;

    Los Angeles has a two day supply of food and even less water within its earthquake prone confines. Throw in a major quake extending up the fault to the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, and you see why prepping is mandatory.

    Reply
  23. Mikel

    Re: “Hackers attack world’s largest meat processor: Work disrupted in US & Canada, deliveries halted & thousands sent home in Australia” RT

    Hackers would want to be careful about attacking too many meat plants.
    In tough enough times, they could be classified as “meat” themselves.

    Reply
  24. Alfred

    Apologies if I missed coverage of this here:
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9642205/AMC-shares-soar-nearly-23-fund-buys-flips-230-mln-stake.html

    The move by Mudrick Capital Management to flip 8.5 million shares of the movie theater chain immediately after buying them in a private placement from the company is unusual, and significant.

    It shows how Wall Street is getting bolder about making a quick buck off a trading frenzy that has helped fuel big rallies in several stocks favored by small-scale, ‘retail investors’.

    AMC said earlier Tuesday it issued 8.5 million shares to Mudrick, the chain’s latest share sale this year, as it cashes in on a big jump in its stock in 2021.

    Reply
  25. Solar Hero

    So what news is this clearly non-organic story type (UFOs) intended to push out?

    Clearly that we need the Space Force!

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Maybe we should just go along with the gag.

      (In George Hanson’s voice): “Yeah, them Venusians sound real dangerous. Sounds like we better team up with the Russians and the Chinese if we want a chance to survive.”

      See how those space hawks respond to that idea.

      (In Uncle Victor’s voice): “Don’t you worry, Harold. We red-blooded Americans can handle those green men without any help from those godless Commies!”

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I kind of feel like its less a planned op and more just this is the kind of garbage intelligence agencies fed to outlets abroad but Obama ended the ban on domestic propaganda, leaving them to include US outfits in its usual activities.

      Reply
  26. Mikel

    Re: “Drivers Of The New UFO Narrative Keep Absurdly Saying They Could Be Dangerous ETs” Caitlin Johnstone (Tom D). So what news is this clearly non-organic story type intended to push out?

    Confusion and division psyops. Too many people worried about injustices and getting paid more money.

    Really…IGNORE IT.

    Reply
  27. David Mills

    What’s creepier than the differentials in the studies on hydroxychloroquinne is the total blackout on Ivermectin. For an excellent, albeit technical discussion, watch Bret Weinstein’s interview of Pierre Kory on the Darkhorse podcast. Kory’s group is the FLCCC.

    Reply

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