Links 7/11/2021

Branson Blasts Off: Mach 3 to Zero G in a Natty Blue Spacesuit Bloomberg


The Surfside condo collapse and NYC’s BQE NY Daily News

Greeks Bearing Gifts Lapham’s Quarterly. Simon Winchester.

True Bromance London Review of Books. Review of Ravi Shankar biography.

The Resurrection of Bass Reeves Texas Monthly

The Tin Man Gets His Heart: An Oral History of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ The Ringer

When evangelical snowflakes censor the Bible: The English Standard Version goes PC Salon (chuck l)

Sea otters defy our understanding of metabolism Popular Science (The Rev Kev)

Stonehenge: Did ancient ‘machine’ move stones from Wales? BBC (chuck l)

Billion Years of Tectonic Plate Movement in 40 Seconds Visual Capitalist (furzy)

On This German Farm, Cows Are in Charge. Or at Least Coequals. NYT


Covid: Pandemic ‘is not slowing down’, says WHO chief scientist, raises concern about Delta variant Scroll

Plagues, Liberal Society and the Future after Covid Settimana News (The Rev Kev)

‘Countries With Leaders Supporting Science See Better Outcomes’ India Spend


Watch | ‘Estimates Suggest 25 Lakh Indians Have Died of COVID, Not 4 Lakh’ The Wire

Germany Shifts Focus of Vaccine Drive to the Undecided and Skeptics Der Spiegel

South Africa ramps up vaccine drive, too late for this surge AP

Hong Kong risks falling behind competitors if strict coronavirus travel curbs remain indefinitely, business leaders warn South China Morning Post

COVID: Cuba approves emergency use of own Abdala vaccine Deutsche Welle


Their childhood has been stolen’: calls for action to tackle long Covid Guardian

England’s Covid-19 gamble as society reopens despite skyrocketing cases NBC (furzy)

Trish Greenhalgh: Freedom Day, but at what cost? The BMJ Opinion

Boris Johnson: The Prime Etonian Prospect

Class Warfare

Meet MacKenzie Scott, Our New Good Billionaire The Nation

Rent prices are soaring as Americans flock back to cities WaPo

The Ascension of Bernie Sanders NYT. MoDo.

Jewishness as property under Israeli law Mondoweiss (chuck l)

Health Care

Why do people hate universal health care? It turns out — they don’t. Capital & Main

‘This will shut us down’: HIV prevention clinics brace for Gilead reimbursement cuts NBC (furzy)

Sports Desk

Pause, rewind, play: Fifty years before Ash Barty – story of Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s Wimbledon win Scroll

Biden Administration

White House defends role in Hunter Biden art sale BBC

Top Biden ally pleads with him to scrap filibuster for election reform Politico

The Memo: Biden struggles to impose his will as problems multiply The Hill

In a sweeping executive order, Biden endorses importing drugs from Canada and orders a bigger drug pricing plan by late August Stat

Kamala Harris is mocked for claiming rural residents can’t get photocopies of their IDs to vote by mail because they don’t have ‘Kinkos or OfficeMax’ Daily Mail

How the FBI played a role in the capture of Princess Latifa of Dubai Yahoo News

Waste Watch

EU Bans Many Single-Use Plastics, But Will It Work? TreeHugger

‘That’s Lethal, Communities Completely Exposed to This Kind of Heat’ FAIR

Reservoirs are drying up as consequences of the Western drought worsen WaPo

California wildfire advances as heat wave blankets US West AP

Gas Sellers Reaped $11 Billion Windfall During Texas Freeze Bloomberg

Quest for “green” cement draws big name investors to $300B industry Ars Technica

Our Famously Free Press

TK Newsletter: Cautiously Optimistic TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Is the Rise of the Substack Economy Bad for Democracy? NYT


Majority of Brazilians support impeaching Bolsonaro: Poll Al Jazeera

Why Brazilian Workers Love Lula Jacobin

Covid 19 Scandal: Brazilian Military Threatens Senate  Brazil Wire


In Myanmar, the military and police declare war on medics AP


Coronavirus, poverty, Pakistan: India is under siege, but not ready for war with China South China Morning Post (furzy). Shashi Tharoor.

Ministers take the fall for Modi’s sagging image Asia Times

The Scream The Baffler

A young farmer leader on how seven months of protests created democratic spaces The Caravan

India’s trade protectionism and low-productivity vicious cycle Ideas for India


US-China tensions take an ominous legal turn Asia Times

China looks for ways to help fill void in Afghanistan without overcommitting itself South China Morning Post

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Robot bees–

    A comment from 2,000+ years ago:

    The more experts a country has
    the more of a mess it’s in.
    The more ingenious the skillful are,
    the more monstrous their inventions.

    Tao te Ching #57 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    Meanwhile, I’ll plant comfrey and borage and butterfly bush and watch it spread.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Bible translation–

    So what do two sociologists with no background in theology, Hebrew or Greek know about translating the Hebrew and Greek bibles into English? Not a lot.

    First, “bondservant,” especially in the current context, might be a more accurate translation of eved (Heb.) and doulos (Gk) than “slave.” Most people in bondage were “debt slaves,” in bondage for a limited time after having sold themselves (or their children) into servitude. People in bondage for a lifetime were usually captives from a war.

    Second, this:

    I haven’t detected any instances of Bible modification that are “pro-life” angles

    Perry seems to be completely unaware of the vigorous massaging of several passages in the NIV as that translation was completed more or less contemporaneously with Roe. Most egregious is a passage from the Book of the Covenant, a Hammurabi-like passage that is considered by many to be among the oldest in the Hebrew bible:

    If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely (Footnote “x” follows this word in the translation) but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands.

    Exodus 21:22 (NIV)

    Now the footnote is configured like a text footnote, i.e. a note to indicate that there is disagreement in the textual tradition over the word in the original, but in this case, it’s there to indicate a very unusual translation completely out of the mainstream of the history of translation of this passage.

    What does the footnote read?

    Or she has a miscarriage

    This is the usual translation, but it was unacceptable politically to the NIV translators who were working as Roe made its way up through the federal courts. The reason: if causing a miscarriage (i.e. abortion) is punishable only by a fine and not by the life of the perpetrator, what does that say about the biblical attitude toward abortion?

    So the NIV translators made up their own text and covered their academic shame with a footnote.

    I blogged about this nearly twenty years ago, and if Perry is unaware of it, he doesn’t know much about the history of Evangelical translation.

    1. saywhat?

      Interesting. Thanks. I almost thought Exodus 21:23-25 refuted you until I released that infants don’t have teeth!

      Now, got anything interesting to say about the redefinition of usury from ANY interest rate to “HIGH” interest rate in some translations?

      1. jr

        I once knew an earnest young fundamentalist Christian who told me that despite the Parable of the Needle, the rich could assuredly go to heaven because the Eye of the Needle was in reality a narrow mountain pass in the region where Christ taught. It was a warning to be sure but not a condemnation. Or so she thought.

        1. Yves Smith

          The version I heard was the Eye of the Needle was the smallest gate into Jerusalem, and someone riding a camel would have to get off and the camel would have to shimmy through on his knees. So the idea was the rich have to act like the humble people to get through.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          A Greek Orthodox person once told me that the word translated as “camel” in ” it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” etc. was really distranslated from the Greek word
          “kamilos” meaning “towing rope” as in “towing rope for ships”. So . . . . it is easier for a towing rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

          But since the King James Committee didn’t know how to translate ” kamilos”, they decided to translate “kamilos” as “camel” because “kamilos” sounds sorta like “camel”, kinda sorta.

          Well . . . that’s what he told me.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Translations of the bible can have consequences. So imagine that they are translating the bible the first time into English and come to the section about Jesus’s mother Mary. One translator turns to the other and says ‘Is that the word for ‘maiden’ in her description?’ and the other translator says ‘I think so. Tell you what, use the word ‘virgin’ instead. It will sound better.’

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The argument is usually over the Hebrew word “betulah” in the “Immanuel” passage in Isaiah 7.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I recently read — and re-read — Dan Price’s book, Worth It. Price is the co-founder and CEO of Gravity Payments, a Seattle-based credit card processing company. In 2015, he raised the company’s starting wage to $70,000.

      Among other things, he noticed a marked increase in the quality of job applicants.

    2. Jackiebass63

      Unfortunately too many businesses don’t realize that you get what you pay for. I have a friend that has a small business, a sub shop. He is constantly complaining about his poor quality help. He pays minimum wages to teenagers. I told him he would be better off raising the pay and hiring dependable people. His first response was he would have to raise his prices and that would hurt his business. I suggested to him that if he had dependable workers he could probably get along with fewer workers. His labor cost would probably be about the same or perhaps even less. He won’t change how he operates and still has the same gripes.

      1. saywhat?

        The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. from the much ignored Old Testament (Proverbs 11:25, etc, etc, etc.)

        I had a well-paid job once and I could pretty much set my own schedule; the only real requirement (besides not rocking the boat) was getting the work done. And I did whatever it took to meet that requirement …

        Not that working for wages should be the norm, per the Bible, but roughly equal ownership of the land by all citizens.

      2. hunkerdown

        Have you ever dealt with people who have a tendency to choose dysfunctional dating partners and blame the partners for the problems (while the problem follows the chooser)? Same sort of thing with the sandwich shop owner. It’s part of petit-booj culture to complain about the working class. It’s a dynamic. It’s drama. It’s how they define themselves as not the working class and it enables them to perform the social operation of abstraction of labor. How are the gentry, the moral instructionists in the Puritan class system, going to “train up” the rabble into Godly beings if they refuse to recognize their own deficiency (in our slothful opinion) and easily and quietly accept our total domination as representatives of our spook?

      3. Anonymous

        Two years before my retirement, I did not get a pay raise, which I thought I earned. I decided not to look for another job, instead, I adjusted my schedule and throughput to match my pay. I didn’t go above and beyond as I did years prior.

        My boss never understood why I changed. He didn’t fire me. I guess he got what he paid for.

        He thanked me for my service when I retired.

        1. eg

          I had a similar experience where my pay was frozen since 2012 (absent a sub-5% increase myself and my peers had to sue the Board for in 2017 — and we won the arbitration, but the process came with costs). Meanwhile, the outfit “across the street” was paying 6% more for identical work.

          I took the “hometown discount” by staying, but I made damn sure that I worked FAR less than the salary they “saved” by screwing me.

          Penny wise, pound foolish on their part, and I’m retired now. Of course I happily throw dirt on their reputation at every opportunity …

      4. lordkoos

        I attended a Democratic caucus in 2016 where Bernie Sanders was the overwhelming favorite. One of the few Hillary supporters in the room was the owner of a local pizza restaurant and several coffee shops, which are primarily staffed with students from the local university. This guy’s sole rationale for supporting Hillary Clinton was his fear that Sanders would raise the minimum wage. This guy and his wife live very well, own a nice house, a Volvo and a giant motor home. He has a high turnover of employees as the college kids come and go, but it has apparently never occurred to him that he could get better, more long-term workers and reduce the need to constantly train new people if he paid a little better. This seems to be a typical small-business mindset in my experience.

      5. jr

        Had an employer who would only hire culinary school grads for his bakery. I told him not to because they are just looking to learn what you know and beat it. We were on our sixth assistant or so at this point.

        “But they work for nothing!”

      6. Big River Bandido

        Unfortunately too many businesses don’t realize that you get what you pay for.

        This, in a nutshell, is at the root of the “demand crisis” which has mired the American economy in the mud for 30 years. And its not just businesses. Governments and the minds of average citizens alike have been poisoned by thinking cheap.

        Think about all those products and once-successful businesses…that people will not pay for anymore: music, films, newspapers, clothes, bling, electronics…everyone chases the cheapest, shoddiest “goods”, without even a notion that they’re being cheated into buying crapified commodities with all the quality materials, care and pride wrung out of the process, all to guarantee a lower price. The workers are the ones who get stiffed.

        When you don’t pay full price for things, eventually you’ll lose that item because people can’t afford to make a living from the business. This is at the root of what has caused the collapse of the music and newspaper industries. People just aren’t willing to pay for things anymore. They want life on the cheap.

        1. Anthony Stegman

          So true. I pay extra for well made clothing and shoes because they look better, last longer, and save me the hassle of constantly shopping for replacements.

        2. c_heale

          I think there is more to it than that. In music the big acts have always supported the smaller acts on major labels. But then the music industry has always been well know for ripping off musicians. Imo if the major labels are doing badly they more than deserved it. The problem is the same as always – musicians aren’t paid sufficiently well for recorded material. This may have even got worse with spotify and itunes, etc. A move to playing live (more profitable) has been stymied by Covid.

          Newspapers have themselves to blame. They stopped producing a sufficiently quality product and paying their investigative journalists well (their big stars). The collapse in advertising revenue and the fact good journalists (like Greenwald and Taibbi) haven’t been backed up by their newspapers, and have the opportunity to support themselves through the internet, has caused the newspapers to produce an even worse product. The problem now is that the major tech companies, backed by corrupt politicians are now trying to control all news.

    3. griffen

      Anecdotal of course to the Greenville & Spartanburg region, but see local restaurant locations advertising for help. Sandwich shop that adverts to “eat fresh” is offering $11 per hour. And another shop to eat more chicken is in that ballpark.

      Above locations are national chains but local franchisee owners, best I can tell. The Upstate region of SC is growing rather well, based on the local tea leaves.

      1. hunkerdown

        Interesting. Both those chains are known for a relatively low buy-in sum. Some green shoots are cheaper than others.

        Around here, there are a few national QSRs offering $12. One nearby Big M Steak House offered a $300 signing bonus, shockingly. Last time I was at my regular Thai place, they claimed table service would reopen TBD due to understaff. Probably hard to find southeast Asians willing to work for the tip wage in the west Detroit metro area. My semi-regular coffee place (cuppa once or twice a week, beans every other week) just reopened their lobby, including a plexiglas wall separating the bar from the aerosols of lobby patrons. About 1/3 of places are ignoring the invidious CDC “only the anointed may unveil their faces” guidance and requiring masks for service without exception.

        All this just as the US public have struck COVID and loaded it into waiting box trucks, as if it were another pop-up morality play in the park and not an ascendant variant. (“Coalition of the ascendant” = syncytia?)

      2. chuck roast

        I was in the local Stop & Shop last week, and over the intercom came this:
        “We are hiring for over 30 positions here at Stop & Shop. If you care to apply we will grant you an immediate job interview.” This is a union shop.

    4. John Zelnicker

      July 11, 2021 at 8:19 am

      I regularly go to a sub shop known for donating to first responders. They had an easel sign on a table inside that offered jobs for crew members at $9/hr. and shift managers for $12/hr.

      However, on a larger sign facing the front door the jobs were offered at $11/hr. for crew and $14 for shift managers.

      It seems they got the massage.

    5. fresno dan

      July 11, 2021 at 8:19 am
      There is nothing that raises my blood pressure more than CEO’s and the wealthy bitching about workers trying to make more money. You can’t read a business section or watch business TV without hearing about how the rich won’t DO NOTHING without incentives. Every law is designed to placate business and provide incentives.
      For decades now, government policy has been over whelmingly tilted toward Wall Street and the wealthy. So for 2 weeks out of 50 years and labor gets some pricing power and its like civilization is gonna collapse. Give me a break.

      1. Procopius

        As a student of language, I was interested to notice for the first time about 2010 that any rise in wages was called “wage inflation.” I don’t know how to research how prevalent that usage was before 2000.

        1. griffen

          Research should lead you to the high inflation of the middle to late 70s. Broadly speaking, annual wage increases among other key factors like price controls were contributing to annualized inflation. This for the US, by the way.

          Was enough to scare the FED out of their high falutin’ khakis.

    6. Ander

      I’m working in Bellingham for the moment, and between our local DSA socialists and a fairly strong union we won COVID-19 hazard pay on top of our $13 minimum wage.

      I’m making just over $17 an hour as a fry cook, with 2.5x pay on holidays. Never expected to make over $30 an hour working a fast food job, and probably won’t again, but while I’m waiting for my masters program to start Imma milk it for as long as I can

  3. griffen

    The link under sports desk is worth a look today. I was not familiar at all with the background of Evonne Goolagong…. remarkable to overcome those early life hurdles.

    In today’s world she could find her way to IMG Academies or something comparable. But that’s my jaded opinion of today’s sports environment.

    1. griffen

      Hooray!! My comment about the inspiration and story behind a noted Wimbledon champion made it through.

      I’m having a bit of mind-fart if I somehow tripped a comment wire.

  4. Pavel

    Re Harris and rural voters:

    HRC: I am going to run as the most unpopular Democrat nominee ever!

    Kamala: Hold my chardonnay.

    My early 2024 prediction (FWIW) is that Harris will be POTUS by then but be so disliked that she’ll face a primary challenge and whoever is the Dem nominee will probably lose to Trump or DeSantes. These incessant culture wars — needless to say, stoked by the Repubs — such as trans rights and CRT in schools (which isn’t really CRT it seems) are breaking the country apart and I suspect the Trumpistas will be far more motivated to vote than Dems would be for Kamala Harris.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      These incessant culture wars — needless to say, stoked by the Repubs…

      Wait, what???

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary’s Third Time is a Charm 2024 campaign is going to be dark.

      Harris won the state AG race when the incumbent collapsed right before the election. Then she became Senator from that spot, and it’s not like Cali’s state democratic party was covering itself in glory. Like Hillary, Harris has never gone out and won a hard election. It shows. Obama wouldn’t have these kinds of flubs. If he did, he never would have been the nominee for the Senate nomination in 2004.

      I think Kinkos is okay as far as flubs go. People move and may not notice, and it has a catchall meaning. But the dumb dumb rural voters demonstrates her problem.

      1. Isotope_C14

        IIRC Jack Ryan was arguably potentially ahead of Obama in the Senate race. Illinois sometime goes R in senate/house races.

        Then this happened:

        The Repubs brought in a last minute replacement that didn’t even live in Illinois.

        Was Obama’s campaign difficult against HRC? I don’t think so, she was hated in flyover country well before Putin built a time machine and got Obama the primary win.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        At least one of those “dumb dumb rural voters” did notice:

        ‘I live on top of a mountain on the WV/VA border and I can photocopy my ID. I mean I do it while moonshining White Lightning while dueling banjos play in the background but I can still do it,’ one person tweeted.

      3. Michael Ismoe

        She’s never met a “rural voter.” She thinks of them like unicorns and honest Democrats. Rumored to exist but never seen in the real world.

      4. c_heale

        Harris’ problem is that she’s fine with all the schmoozing and internal politics, but absolutely useless when facing the public. She has zero chance of making President unless Biden carks it.

    3. Sawdust

      I’m really looking forward to a couple years of media saturation about how President Harris’ unpopularity is proof of how deeply racist and sexist we all are.

    4. Chris Smith

      Meh, regardless of where it started, CRT has become the brand of “making your kids show their work in math class is racist.” This happened because the proponents of CRT failed to get out in front of the “show work = racism” crowd, and the conservatives were happy to douse that fire with gasoline.

      Anybody at this point telling us that CRT is just teaching in school that slavery was bad an racism exists is either wholly naive or completely disingenuous. I see people making this excuse lot. But yet, my primary and secondary schools managed to teach about slavery and racism back in the 70s and 80s with nary a mention of ‘centering whiteness.’

      I encountered critical theory in grad school in the 90s, and recognized its usefulness in evaluating social systems. For example, “we have neutrally applicable laws so why are so many more Black people than everyone else per capita in the criminal justice system?” That is a good question and it needs to be answered and addressed On the one hand, the idea of systemic racism explains a lot about how the civil rights movement did not get far enough. On the other hand, when the words ‘systemic racism’ flop out of someone’s mouth these days, I roll my eyes; because in my mind the onus is now on that person to demonstrate not only that they are not one of the “requiring work to be shown is racism” wokies, but also that they condemn said wokies. Think about that. Most people I know feel the same.

      Now of course a wokie will just tell me I am falling back on my white privilege. My answer to that at this point is “so what?” They never have an answer to that.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I was thinking that ” check your Woke privilege” might be a good comeback, but “so what” is even better if it jams their stupid brains and shuts their stupid mouths.

      2. SMP

        It is frustrating, indeed, when your grievances have been so long running without respite, that they become cliche.

        Think about that.

        I have divested myself of the slogans, for much the reasons you identify, but the message still rings in my ears. That you can not hear it is indeed a privilege.

        One might imagine that modern popular movements are easily hijacked by bad actors, and transformed into political grifts. The dems are good at this. I find most of their activism insufferable (Pelosi/Kente Cloth?) but try to bear in mind, that behind the manufactured flamboyance of ‘wokeness’: somewhere there is a mother crying for a lost child, or a man at his husband’s bedside in an ICU, etc etc

        We could all dial back the cynicism sometimes.

    5. Acacia


      Because in some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t – there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them

      Many moons ago, when I got a job at the Xerox corporation, I was given a small pamphlet from the company lawyers explaining that Xerox is a brand, that “to xerox” is not a verb, and that I should never use it as such.

      Anecdote aside, I look forward to more articles whose titles begin “Kamala Harris is mocked for…”

      1. Ook

        I never did understand why Xerox got so bent out of shape over people using their name as a synonym for photocopying. To me this is a recognition that Xerox’ products defined photocopying at the time, something most marketing departments would have killed for.
        I notice Google doesn’t go around telling people that they’re not allowed to say I googled it.

            1. Acacia

              I gather it was roughly loss of Trademark, yes, but I’m with Ook on this one.

              Xerox never figured out how to reach a broad market. This is, after all, the company whose executives actually gave Steve Jobs a demo of its personal computer and object-oriented programming language — against the strong protests of Adele Goldberg, one of its top research managers — and everybody knows how well that worked out.

              And judging from Kamala Harris’ language, at least, in the long run Xerox both lost the trademark and the world.

              1. Procopius

                I used to see laments that Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) never marketed the wonderful computer innovations the created (basically forerunner of Macintosh). What was overlooked was that before development of integrated circuits, a Xerox Star computer would have cost $36,000 in 1965 dollars, and there was no killer app for it, as Visicalc became for the Apple.

                1. Acacia

                  Regarding the Xerox workstation hardware, actually, integrated circuits existed when all of these machines where designed in the 1970s. The Alto used 7400-series TTL, and the Star used the Am2900. When it was introduced in 1981, the Xerox Star cost around $16,000, and its successor, the 6085 PCS, sold for around $6,000. By comparison, the rather wimpier Macintosh II cost over $5,500 when I bought one in the late 1980s.

                  Xerox’s failure to enter the PC market has been analyzed at length in a number of books. In effect, there was a very credible killer app already running on the Alto: “Bravo” — imagine MS-Word, but in 1974 — the page description language called “Press” and a variety of laser printers. I can say “credible” because I used this system to write and print articles for several years in the early 1980s. Bravo was co-authored by Charles Simonyi who moved to Microsoft, where he led the creation of Word and Excel. The careers of John Warnock (Adobe) and Gary Starkweather (Apple), are also instructive.

                  Speaking as a former developer at PARC, my summary would be just that Xerox both failed to distill the research prototypes into a viable product and failed to gauge the market for personal computers. The idea of selling anything in a quantity of one was quite foreign to the company and its marketing efforts. The imagined “customer” was thought to be an organization like the Pentagon, which was said to house around 5000 Xerox copiers.

        1. Big Tap

          Look at aspirin. Initially the word aspirin (salicylic acid) was the trademarked by Bayer. The word come into such common usage that Bayer lost the trademark for aspirin. I’m sure J&J’s lawyers are constantly defending the trademarked term band-aid which is a bandage. They don’t want to suffer the same fate as Bayer nor does Xerox.

          1. Zamfir

            Aspirin is a complicated example. In many countries, Bayer lost its trademark in or after WW1, as a German company that supported the German war effort.

        2. ChrisPacific

          From memory Google never liked it either (in the early days, when they were just a search company and people only knew about them because of Yahoo). They were just quicker than Xerox to realize that they were never going to stop it, and decided that they could at least make ‘Google’ mean other things as well. It certainly doesn’t seem to have harmed them.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “1 Billion Years of Tectonic Plate Movement in 40 Seconds”

    All those movements seem so random like crusts being roiled atop a stew. If you want to find out what the Earth is going to look like over the next 250 million years, here is a good video. Better strap in though as it looks like we in for a wild ride- (2:06 mins)

    And today’s Antidote du Jour looks like another woodpecker.

    1. Mikel

      Talk about “disruption”…

      And imagine what the plate movements do to the climate. I would imagine it changes it….

    2. Don Midwest

      This young philosopher I learned about on a Zoom broadcast this week. One of his books, published last year, is Theory of the Earth. Text below from wiki

      Lucretius: Our Contemporary

      Nail has written on the philosophy of movement, which he defines as “the analysis of diverse phenomena across social, aesthetic, scientific, and ontological domains from the primary perspective of motion.”[4] He argues that the philosophy of motion is a unique kind of philosophical methodology. It is related to process philosophy but is distinct from Whitehead’s discontinuous “occasions” and from Bergson’s vitalism.[4] “The difference between simply describing the motion of things, which almost every philosopher and even layperson has done, and the philosophy of movement is the degree to which movement plays an analytically primary role in the description.”[4]

      The philosophy of movement studies patterns of motion as they flow and intersect with themselves to create folds or kinetic cycles and junction points.
      From the perspective of movement, according to Nail, all seemingly discrete bodies are the result of moving flows of matter that continually fold themselves up in various patterns or what he calls “fields of motion.”[5] Nail’s philosophy of movement provides a conceptual framework for the study of these patterns of motion through history.[6][7]

      Nail, however, also claims his philosophy of movement is not a metaphysical theory of reality in itself. Instead, he describes it as a practical and historical methodology oriented by the unprecedented scale and scope of global mobility in the early 21st century.[8] In particular, he names four major historical conditions that situate his thought: mass migration, digital media, quantum physics, and climate change. He therefore describes his philosophy as a “history of the present”

    3. urblintz

      Excellent. And at 0:58 it looks like Australia is turning into the Sydney Opera House, ha!

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Himalayas are the result of the subcontinent of India slamming into Asia. Can you imagine the height of the mountains that will result when Australia slams into Asia as well?

  6. freebird

    Even if you hit the paywall and can’t read NYT articles, the headline still manages to smear honest journalists. They managed to put “Substack” and “Bad for democracy” in one sentence. No longer biased, into evil territory.

    1. Carolinian

      Try clearing your cookies if you really want to get past the limit.

      And the article does quote Taibbi at the end giving a pro Substack argument. As always mentioned here, the writers don’t write the headlines. The editors do. And the editors at the Times bring up something else said in the article

      History has shown that the economic basis of American journalism is deeply entangled with its style and tone,

      And who owns the NYT?

      1. chuck roast

        I can read the NYT (after clearing browsing data) with Safari which has no ad blocker. Can’t read it with Opera because it has an ad blocker.

        Anyway, my local paper (The Daily Snooze) has very little info of value. Circulation very low ten thousands. They won’t cover the city council because the real estate developers have that beat. They like to cover the sale of rich-guy houses because we all worship the haute-bourgeoisie here, and the presumption is that we all wannabe haute-bourgeoisie. So, we get stories of schools and about restaurant openings and closings and the travails of the local shop-keepers. Some of the wealthiest people in the country summer here, and the genius pols can’t figure out how to pay for a new public high school. Thank goodness for NC (and Substack).

    2. JCC

      I would really like to read their propaganda, unfortunately I’ve reached my “free limit”.

      They must have come up with a new way to count views, my cookie list in my browser is almost completely empty… unless google/gmail is chipping in to help out.

      1. Chris Smith

        And this is where out lords and masters have failed. Their propaganda is paywalled while RT is free for the reading. Epic fail.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Sotto voce: One of the best documentaries I have ever seen was produced by RT.

          “Trans Siberian Odyssey” tells the story of a railway trip from Moscow to Vladivostok and back again. Unlike most documentaries of its kind, it highlights the workers on the train.

          You can find it on YouTube.

        2. hunkerdown

          It’s hard to have this unequal of a society when everyone gets the same propaganda. Therefore, it is stratified. Caitlin Johnstone showed a concrete example in how every demographic, from Bernie Bros to the alt-right to mainstream liberals, got their assigned talking point against Assange having or deserving rights.

          NYT protected their slice of the propaganda against casual interlopers, that’s all.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Yes, clearing your cache no longer works. I put in a comment that gives a non pay-walled link, at least to most of the article, but it is in moderation. I took too long messing around with it. It’s a little disturbing that they have found a way to keep a persistent record of you. A new type of cookie?

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      I’m not sure if this link points to a non paywalled version of the same article, but it’s got the same title. Anyway, while it tries to hide it in pseudo “objectivity,” it’s pretty obviously biased in favor of traditional “news” industry; megalithic, high cost monopoly based dis-information systems where corporate bias is hired pre-hatched, then continually bought and paid for and yet never allowed to be admitted any more than the admission of the use of sex in advertising, but about as obvious nevertheless. The author tries to sell his or her bias as news being properly vetted, an expensive time and resource consuming process vs. the opinion pieces of certain subscription models.

      For verisimilitude, the author does give some “opposing” time to describing Matt Taibbi’s Substack subscription but it’s clear his/her heart ain’t in it. The NYT has become a frustrated version of the President’s spokesperson, wanting so ardently to come out once and for all as they truly are, utterly shameless stooges for big tech, big finance, big pharma, to name a few, but having nonetheless to keep a lid on it. Agony.

      1. Michaelmas

        The author tries to sell his or her bias as news being properly vetted, an expensive time and resource consuming process

        Not that the NYT does much nowadays of the above, given the poor grammar, lack of actual reporting, and simply incorrect ‘facts’ I continually see there.

        Out of curiosity — because while I’ve never believed that a ‘You supply the pictures, I’ll supply the war’ propaganda aspect has been absent from the NYT’s reporting in any era, I was curious about whether I’d mis-remembered it being substantially better back then — I went and looked at some old stories from the 1970s. The difference — the decline from then — is quite marked.

    4. ghoda

      I hit escape just before the paywall loads, and it works. Might be a perk of my slow internet.

      1. Paul Boisvert

        hey, that’s great, it worked for me too on a Chromebook for two different NYT articles. Will see if it works on other paywalled articles as well. Thanks!

  7. Mikel

    RE: “Plagues, Liberal Society and the Future after Covid” Settimana News

    “Liberal societies are fragile and autocracies are very strong.”

    Complex societies are fragile no matter what ideology is attached to them. Anyway, “liberal” societies that are oligarchial and plutocratic are walking the fine line with autocracy.

    “There is no answer as to why now young Chinese people want to lie flat. But presently, it’s getting harder to strike it rich, chances are getting rarer. Increases in salaries, which presently are already sometimes even higher than in developed countries, aren’t easy. Taking part in political life and change is also very difficult and risky, with little or no chance of emerging on top…”

    That’s “liberalization of the economy” for ya!! Or the results of China playing by the alleged rules of the “global order.”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Quest for “green” cement draws big name investors to $300B industry”

    So I was watching the telly earlier this week and they had an interview with a guy that said that instead of having gravel in concrete, they they should be using pellets made of recycled plastics as it would keep plastics out of landfill. Here is his company-

    Meanwhile, in searching for this guy, I found another link for this guy using recycled plastic as a mesh to go into concrete which means that it cannot rust and is just as strong-

    1. JP

      Plastic is not anywhere close to the strength of steel. The cheapest rebar you can buy is 40k yield. If you are pouring high strength concrete (over 4000 PSI) 60k is better. The recycled plastic is probably more like 4k. As far as agrigate goes, it certainly should exceed the compressive strength of the mix. That is one of the big problems I see with Florida concrete. It’s made with sea bottom. I see sea shells in the concrete, and beach sand is round, which makes inherently weak concrete. I have seen concrete in the Bahamas you can stick a fork in. Not because they didn’t use enough cement but because the agrigate is so soft. Mesh, however is always good because concrete has no tensile integrity, but I prefer steel mesh. With enough mesh you can build a boat hull out of concrete.

      1. ambrit

        Several oceangoing concrete hulled barges were built around the WW2 period. One was grounded on a reef in South Biscayne Bay to form an island. I’ve seen it and fished around it.
        Those reefs and blue holes are prime fishing spots in Biscayne Bay.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          They built concrete ships in WWI. One of them, the Creteboom, is still visible in the harbour of the River Moy in County Mayo, Ireland (hometown of some of Biden’s Irish ancestors).

          For decades the sunken hull of the Creteboom was a hazard to navigation – it was moved to a safer part of the harbour due to an ingenious system developed by an illiterate local handyman by the name of Johnny Frank Mahon. My father used to tell stories about him (he was something of a genius savant), but in my fathers version the ship was ‘full of concrete’. It was only later I found out that the ships hill was reinforced concrete.

          Incidentally, while plastic is not as strong as steel as reinforcement, it does produce a concrete that can absorb some impacts, such as vibrations more effectively. Fibreglass reinforced concrete is used in Iran for earthquake prone structures and is used for some types of military reinforcement, I would imagine that plastic reinforced concrete would have similar characteristics, if not quite as strong.

          1. wilroncanada

            Glenn Yarbrough, the tenor-voiced lead singer of the Limelighters, owned, among his many boats over the years, a concrete boat which he moored in Sidney, BC. He travelled the world by sail many times. I think the concrete craft was mostly for tootling around the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands.

          2. JP

            The problem is plastic may not corrode but does degrade in concrete. Adhesion is also a problem especially with fiberglass. You do want the cement to stick to the agrigate. There are several manufacturers producing micro and macro fiber specifically for concrete made from copolymers compatible with cement chemistry. I have used both but they are for specific (thin layer) applications. No one is going to use them to build bridges. Fiber is very good at reducing micro cracking. Micro cracking is the primary gateway to concrete degradation as it allows moisture to infiltrate. The rebar in sound concrete does not corrode.

      2. chris

        True! The concrete canoe competitions hosted by the ASCE are good fun to watch. They use glass beads as the aggregate in those :)

      3. chuck roast

        The downside of a concrete hull is when it gets holed the ship sinks like a rock.

    2. chris

      Without boring anyone by going into a deep dive on materials we use for civil infrastructure, the best way to think about cast in place concrete is as a composite. The sand, the rock, the cement, and the steel, work together to perform as required in the design. Alternative materials introduced as concrete components have to be able to work together in the composite. That’s one of the reasons we use steel rebar. It has the same coefficient of thermal expansion as the cement-rock-sand matrix cast around it.

      When something happens to make one phase of the composite act independently of the others, you get problems. There are many things you can do. We can use fly ash instead of a portion of sand. We can coat the rebar in epoxy. We make plastic rebar. We can add different chemicals to extend the working temperature and the cured strength. We can add fiberglass to increase crack resistance. We add chemicals to help it cure better when exposed to different chemicals or when installed underwater. Concrete is an amazing material!

      The problems we’re seeing lately show its limits. You cannot take the construction methods and inspection tests for granted when building with it. You also cannot forego all maintenance and inspections once you’ve built something with it. Concrete will be a much greener material if we enforce the building codes we have and stop wasting it. This is really a case of us failing concrete more than concrete failing us :/

        1. chris

          Thank you Lambert.

          But, no, trust me, after years of construction experience and years of taking classes about concrete at the undergraduate and graduate levels, this stuff is boring. The fun part happens when you design and build with it.

          In my humble opinion, what we’re seeing now are the consequences of people at all levels of society taking too much for granted with the built environment.

          They assume that they will never run out of materials to produce concrete. They assume they will never have to include concrete in the equations for what is contributing to global warming. They assume that something as imposing as concrete doesn’t need to be inspected and that it can be repaired easily. They assume you will be able to recognize a piece of a building that is going to fail before it fails. They assume the ground underneath the building isn’t changing. And for our politicians, they assume that they can keep kicking the infrastructure repair bill down the lane until someone else has to handle it. They assume they know enough about how something was built to repurchase and “harvest margin” later on, or extend its design life.

          We’re really just at the start of seeing the end of all that. If we see something like the BQE or another hugely important public structure fail it will really become apparent that we can’t keep ignoring all this work. I would rather we focus on that first and worry about how green we can make the process after we’ve made our built environment safer.

          1. chuck roast

            It’s my understanding that parking structures are typically not built over five stories because the reinforcement required reduces the payback. Five stories is good for an urban structure. You can walk up. The sun can shine on the street. Adequate density to support transit and other urban services. Walkable neighborhoods. High but not soul-crushingly high. IMO nothing wrong with height limitations. But, markets.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The Resurrection of Bass Reeves”

    This is one helluva story this. He scored the trifecta as a lawman – he was tough, intelligent and skilled. Wikipedia says that he made some 3,000 arrests in his career, killed 14 that tried it on with him and was never wounded. I knew that a large portion of cowboys were black or Mexican but this guy was something else. Makes me wonder why we have junk films like Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” when we could have a movie about this guy instead. Kinda funny how some people were uncomfortable about him arresting white people. Can you imagine what bystanders back then were saying when this happened?

    Cowhand One: “Say, is that fella supposed to be arresting white folks?”

    Cowhand One: “Nobody is game to tell him he can’t.”

      1. ambrit

        Jimson weed, opium, regular weed, those funny cactus buttons the “civilized” Indians use to talk to the spirits, they were all legal back then.
        Another famous “non-white” powerful person back then was Quanah Parker, the Oklahoma Cheroke leader. Later he was the chief representative of the Oklahoma Native groups. He went far in helping the Natives mix their culture with the dominant white culture, but never gave up his Native religion; which included ceremonial peyote use.
        America is a big place.
        Quanah Parker:

        1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

          “The evident unsustainability of the current legal system of peyote harvesting and distribution, does not bode well for the future of peyote. The unknown but increasing population of peyote consumers, with only minimal efforts to implement greenhouse cultivation to replace the peyote being steadily consumed, suggest a steadily declining supply of peyote for the future generations if there is no change in the current situation. In fact, one of the known peyote populations, from the Big Bend National Park, disappeared almost in front of our eyes, likely harvested into oblivion [62] and this is not the first time this has been documented [63].”

          “The Peyote Crisis Revisited”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I gather that peyote on its own roots is very slow growing, even under indoor potted plant treatment.

            But I remember that many long years ago “somebody I knew” once bought a peyote cactus plant and decided to try grafting it onto the cut-off-for-grafting-onto top of a san pedro cactus ( trichocereus pachanoi). The graft was not that well done, but it took, and the swelling peyote grew fast and then fast enough that its lower expanding “bottom end” pried it up and off of the weak graft union point. Oh well . . .

            So perhaps peyotes grafted onto san pedros would work well if done by masterful craftsfolk. And I have read that pereskia cactuses are also good grafting stocks for many kinds of cactuses, even though the pereskia is “primitive” enough to look almost like a more conventional thorn tree.

            Now, would graft-grown peyotes be ritually acceptable to religious practitioners? I don’t know. But they should be acceptable to mere tourists and recreational peyote consumers. I doubt that it is the religious practitioners who are over-harvesting the peyote plants in the wild.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Then again, also too as well, Trichocereus pachanoi itself contains some mescaline. Perhaps plant breeders could work to create high-mescaline varieties of the fast-growing Trichocereus pachanoi, to further take the “mescaline tourist” pressure off of peyote cactus in the wild.

              I remember someone once told me about how some half-bright lawmakers decided to outlaw Trichocereus pachanoi when they learned it had mescaline in it.
              But the indoor plantscaping lobby, who use Trichocereus pachanoi as an indoor plantscaping workhorse plant, got so loud so fast that plans to outlaw Trichocereus pachanoi were pre-abandoned. It is illegal to eat it for the mescaline, but as long as you are growing it for the indoor plantscaping effect, you have no legal problems.

              So perhaps breeders could develop a high mescaline type in secret and allow it to enter the trade very slowly and carefully to people who understand just what they are getting. Or maybe also get it to grow even taller, slimmer and straighter than the regular type, and call it “Pillar of Wisdom” nudge nudge wink wink.


    1. Craig H.

      That tarantino junk cost 100 million to make and sold 425 million of tickets.

      (This is the exact same wonderment as the labor shortage. For the right offer the universe of mouse trap manufacturers will beat a path to your door.)

      : )

    2. Aumua

      Makes me wonder why we have junk films like Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” when we could have a movie about this guy instead.

      Why not have both? Tarantino ain’t making documentaries, but that doesn’t make Django junk.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I should have clarified my comment more. Django is not so much a junk film as Tarantino is a junk director IMHO.

    3. Procopius

      There’s a comic-style movie called “Watchmen,” which includes the Tulsa Massacre in its story line, as well as lynching, and he figures in it. I don’t know if it’s true, but one scene has a young Black boy becoming enthralled with Bass Reeves from watching movies about him (before 1921?).

  10. antidlc

    RE: Covic pandemic not slowing down

    From the editorial staff of the Dallas Morning News
    Let’s celebrate Dallas County’s herd immunity, but tread carefully

    After a year of quarantines, the loss of many lives, the closing of many businesses and then the slow return to normalcy as vaccinations became available, it’s becoming clear that COVID-19 is fading as a daily concern for many of us, even as its impact will be with us for a long time to come.

    Marking milestones in a journey like this is important, and Dallas County has reached a major one: herd immunity.

    A community reaches herd immunity when 80% of its residents have either had COVID-19 or been vaccinated, meaning 80% of the population has antibodies that protect them against the virus, and transmission to unvaccinated populations is unlikely. Dallas County reached this classification with less than half of residents vaccinated; others sadly had to suffer with the disease to develop the antibodies.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Branson Blasts Off: Mach 3 to Zero G in a Natty Blue Spacesuit”

    ‘That’s one small step for a billionaire, ahhh, one giant leap for the 1%.’

    1. Glen

      It was heart warming to see all the “Billionaire Blasts Off To Space” stories, but I regard that as a misleading headline after I found out that he came back.

  12. Carolinian

    Re those otters–meanwhile when it’s cold outside small songbirds keep warm by shivering through the night–something to keep in mind as we toast in front of our fireplaces.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Why do people hate universal health care? It turns out — they don’t. Capital & Main

    The most recently approved version of the California budget for 2021-22 continues to move the state along a path toward health care for all. Included is a plan to open up Medi-Cal coverage to income-eligible state residents over age 50, regardless of their immigration status. The move, the first of its kind in the nation, would open the doors of health care to an estimated 235,000 undocumented adults in the state.

    It has been an evolution. In 2016, the state expanded Medi-Cal to include income-eligible immigrants age 18 and younger, and in 2019, with Gov. Gavin Newsom supporting new legislation, that coverage grew to include undocumented immigrants 25 and under. With the new budget’s inclusion of those 50 and older, a huge swath of residents will have access to health services. (The best estimates put the total number of undocumented immigrants in California at 2.3 million, down from 2.9 million in 2010.)

    IMNSHO, you can never be too cynical.

    Recognizing that overwhelming public support for a national healthcare system–shorthanded to “Medicare For All”–is not going away, is there a more insidious way to discredit such a system than to emphasize inclusion of illegal immigrants, and imply that the entire country will become like the mess called California?

    Medicare, the revered, comparatively functional “healthcare” program to which bona fide american citizens contribute from their very first paying jobs, has achieved almost legendary aspirational status earned through lifelong contribution, not to mention the pretty much existential struggle to get adequate “healthcare” pre 65-years-old for all but the most well-heeled.

    But now, in nakedly passive-aggressive. be-careful-what-you-wish-for style, we are reminded that “all” really does mean “all,” since a country is “better” and “healthier” when everyone has “healthcare.” As if that has ever mattered before.

    So go ahead. Pass Medicare For All, and watch all of central america cross the border to get their hips replaced and their Alzheimer’s treated, paid for by your 16-year-old slingin’ burgers to earn money for college. And remember, we told you so.

  14. Eric Anderson

    “Plagues, Liberal Society and the Future after Covid”

    Thanks for that link Rev. It was a thought provoking 300ft historical review. Couldn’t help but continue to think “conservatives” and “liberals,” for whatever the terms are worth, are evolving into two separate species.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Eric Anderson: What’s interesting is the source of the article, a web site supported by the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Italy. And yet they are engaged with the world. This quote from the center of the article is worth noting:

      “The present problem started after the Cold War, when the United States apparently forgot that the intricacies of the free market and society depended very much on a safe, sound, and delicate political environment. It took for granted that history had ended, and believed that the liberal world would impose its rules naturally and not thanks to the strenuous efforts of politics, and it thought that the main strife was not about affirming more solidly and firmly liberal values and markets that created development and wealth for everybody, but the clash of civilizations between Western and non-Western worlds.

      “Those theories were extremely “sexy.” They flashed out like a science fiction novel: ideas that would stick in people’s minds very easily and had all-encompassing explanations. Conversely, the effort of building and reinforcing fragile political liberal environments was drudgery, gray, not sexy at all, and boring. It was something that was totally unappealing in a world where the United States felt it had managed to impose its values against an extremely formidable enemy, the USSR.”

      [Yes. Maintaining a democracy means to stick to the knitting, to use an old phrase–which is why so many who find Bernie Sanders tiresome don’t realize that their own ideas are flimsy slogans of the moment and that Sanders has taken a long, “not sexy at all” view of how to keep U.S. democratic forms viable.]

    2. hunkerdown

      Bourgeois liberals have been using culture as an excuse to “speciate” (i.e. spin themselves) as moral elites for the past 50 years. Both of those ideologies are liberal, i.e. based on private property. They’re indistinguishable except by the narratives they manufacture to support their own existence and to create the appearance of distance from their co-criminals on the other side.

      They’re the same pincer movement against mass sovereignty, in other words, and both are worthy of absolute cosmological contempt.

    3. Soredemos

      I found it pretty delusional. It seems to view the world as a clash of cultures rather than of economic systems or powerblocks. It also has a ludicrously rosy image of the history of liberalism over the last four hundred years.

      A minor point, but this bit at the end really stood out to me:

      “The lying flat “philosophy” resonates in the Oscar-winning film Nomadland, by Chinese director Chloe Zhao. But there, in America, if one wants to get out of the rat race, that person has freedom and respect.”

      Nomadland is terrible. A lot of people seem to think it’s an honest portrayal of homelessness and vagrancy in the modern US, but within the context of the film the main character is repeatedly given the chance to stop being homeless, but chooses not to. It’s basically that particular style of liberal porn where someone voluntarily endures hardship because of some vague notion of going on a ‘journey of self-discovery’ or whatnot. They choose to slum with the plebs; it’s not a serious exploration of people with no choice in the matter and their material suffering. It’s the same tone the movie Into the Wild had, where the director clearly wanted us to be in awe of this ‘brave freethinking trailblazer’, whereas the original Krakauer book is much more of an investigation into a guy who probably had something slightly off about him and what drove him to starve to death in the middle of nowhere.

      Also, in what world does America respect people who try to get out of the rat race of modern life? At best you’re viewed as an eccentric weirdo.

      1. lordkoos

        If you can find it, there is a good BBC documentary from a several years ago called “American Nomads” that is much better than the Nomadland movie.

  15. bongbong

    the term “space race” used to mean a contest of which country was ahead in technology, and which regime in the world was “winning” in general.

    Of course those were the stated reasons, but as we all kmow it was really a way to keep the MIC well funded, and to keep ahead of the Soviets so we could continue to muscle our way aeound the world so as to steal whatever resources we wanted to.

    Now “Space Race” means which billionaire can get higher faster. From a battle of countries’ egos – to a battle of individual sociopath egos.

    How well they have progressed! Let’scelebrate their wonderful accomplishments with another round of tax cuts for them.


    1. Basil Pesto

      some enjoyable snark from Marina Hyde today:

      In space, nobody can hear Jeff Bezos. So can Richard Branson go too?

      But of course. Of COURSE Richard can’t cope with being the galactic Salieri to Bezos’s galactic Mozart. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: men are incredible! As is the 21st century. It’s wild to see the complex aspirations and vast rivalries of the 20th-century space race basically now reduced to a willy-waver between two taxophobic billionaires whose personality is “disliking ties”.

  16. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: ‘Their childhood has been stolen’: calls for action to tackle long Covid

    From the study:

    The CIS covers people aged two years or over living in private households in the UK. Self-reported long COVID was defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after the first suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else. Parents and carers answered survey questions on behalf of children aged under 12 years.

    I don’t know about the validity of this study. Self reported? “Suspected” covid? 339,707 responses? I mean it is a good start, but is it something we should be using to take action on?

    The artile exaggerates with “About 7% to 9% of children who become infected with covid go on to develop some long-Covid symptoms, according to Office for National Statistics data. ”

    Some long-covid symptoms? Like one? Two? Being tired? Which ones and how many? They cannot even test for long covid, how are they supposed to quantify it?

  17. Pelham

    Re the ascent of Bernie Sanders: If there’s any kind of complementary relationship between Biden and Sanders, it appears that Sanders is the realist who has a clear (or clearer) idea of the magnitude of the problems we face and the responses needed. Biden, OTOH, is the guy who ensures that every such response is watered down to the point of near insignificance, with a little help from bipartisan outreach, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and the Senate Parliamentarian.

    1. Vladimir "Shooting Tsars" Lenin

      At least part of the justification for the idea that the election was stolen from Trump was conservatives seeing what happened to Bernie.

  18. a fax machine

    California high-speed rail news: Biden ready to fund (half of) it, Sacramento can’t decide if they still support it. Socal politicians want the money needed for the Central Valley segment moved to LA first… also the HSR Authority still has parcels to buy within Bakersfield. This led to a silly debate over whether or not the trains should be electric (they need to be, per the bill that created the project) and certain politicians suggested the trains could be entirely battery-electric, which is not feasible nor economical given the constraints of the project. Also, the Authority is quietly building a northern splice into their system at a new Merced station, which will (inevitably) permit existing San Joaquins trains to use the corridor. Hence the talk about dual-mode diesel/AC-electric locomotives, the type of which New Jersey Transit uses.

    In question is the remaining $5 billion in authorized bonds which the Governor (normally an opponent of the project) wants to disperse to the Authority for track & power construction between Merced and Wasco (adjacent Bakersfield). Biden could add another $10-15 billion; most of which will be spent on tunnels between San Jose and Merced. If certain amendments pass in the bill, particularly those by Jim Costa of Fresno, then the remaining project will get around ~$4-8 billion/yr in additional funding thru 2030 which is how the LA parts would be built.

    This all relates to a local debate over democracy because ~60 miles of this system is still owned by the local suburban bus agency Samtrans, because SF and San Jose never paid them back for the route. Samtrans bought the route from it’s owner instead of allowing it to be demolished… although tragically not before the steel transbay bridge was scrapped by them. They want around $145 million (including the bridge easements) which is a small price given the corridor’s greater value. This is supposedly racist because this whole agency exists in the first place because nobody there likes BART due to the activities BART permits on their trains. Personally I think the job should be given back to Caltrans as that satisfies all parties but I digress.

    1. gc54

      Inevitably a substantial chunk of this money would go to SNC-Lavalin based in Montreal, an outfit behind every (light) rail budgetary fiasco from Honolulu through Calif. to Durham NC that will be sure to pop up again when M. Trudeau faces Canadian voters.

      1. Procopius

        Not certain if it’s the same company, but Lavalin was the company, owned by a Hong Kong financier/rentier, that had the contract to build the “skytrain” in Bangkok. They kind of sat on it for thirty years. To be fair, the elite were obstructing them to extort a bigger taste, and there were problems with land acquisition. When Thaksin Shinawatra was appointed Prime Minister the first time, he abrogated the contract, put the job in the hands of some of his cronies, and it was done in two years. I was flabbergasted at how quickly they did the job and how well it turned out.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given how energy-wasteful super-highspeed trains are compared to merely fairly fast trains, why even build a prestige high-speed railroad at all? Over some of the best farmland in California?

      Why not use that money to build or rebuild a network of merely fairly fast trains connecting all the significant population centers of California and also rebuild all the missing or destroyed mass transit systems back into towns and cities in California that still don’t have them?

      Does the AmTrak to California still stop at Emeryville, necessitating a bus-ride from there into San Francisco? Why not find a way to connect AmTrak all the way into San Francisco? ( Unless it has been done and my old legacy knowledge hasn’t kept up).

  19. Pelham

    Re the Guardian story on long Covid in kids: Beside the EXTREME debility these kids experience and the possibility that these impairments may never go away, this popped out: “About 7% to 9% of children who become infected with covid go on to develop some long-Covid symptoms, according to Office for National Statistics data.”

    I’ll concede that I may be overstating the case, as the idea that either my wife, my daughter or I might end up in this particular kind of prolonged hell frightens the heck out of me. But adding up the consequences and prevalence of long Covid, it sounds to me like a global emergency well beyond the scale and gravity of even what we’ve all been through so far. It would seem — in my estimation — to demand the most extreme and coercive countermeasures, even if these measures themselves ultimately prove to have their own negative consequences.

    1. Mantid

      Well, here we are again. Ivermectin….. (not extreme or coercive) a great countermeasure. Negative consequences = none. I challenge anyone to find documented proof of death via Ivermectin. I’ll watch and wait with bated (garlic) breath. Links anyone?

  20. Mantid

    In reply to this article from yesterday’s Links: Does Ivermectin Work for Covid-19?

    It’s link:
    Chad had shared this with us and called it “worth considering” .

    Chad, were you serious? It’s worth considering but only as a hit piece. Examples: After the author frames Ivermecin with “passionately fierce adherents”, “furor on social media.”, “sensationalist headlines”, “First we had hydroxychloroquine” (trying to associate IVM with Trump’s idiocy). “endless cavalcade of supposed cures”, and more.

    I didn’t see such dismissive text surrounding the “science”. When mentioning the WHO or “public health experts” there was no such inflammatory (pun intended) scaffolding. He could have written “the public health experts” and continued with “that initially said no masks, then yes masks, then double masks as well as 3 feet distancing, 6 feet, 10 feet……. nor the pubic health experts who decide it’s good science to stop counting a variety of cases. Now that’s data we can trust – I call BS.

    After reading his obvious bias, there was no reason for me (or anyone else looking for answers and “trustworthy science”) to continue his article.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I thought this was interesting:

      Both of these papers were written by people who have been outspoken for the last 12 months about using ivermectin to treat coronavirus infections, and they both argued that the drug should be used as a treatment for Covid-19.

      This is exactly the same argument Amazon used to try to discredit Lisa Kahn: Holding prior view is a conflict of interest.

    2. CoryP

      I’m pretty unqualified to interpret epidemiological curves. Is there a succinct explanation for why the drops in cases and hospitalizations shouldn’t just be attributed to behavioural change or “what goes up must come down?”

      Sorry if it’s a stupid question.

      My main experience in Ontario is seeing the curves go down every wave while seeming to observe no substantive policy changes, nor fewer people out and about.

      The whole thing baffles me and it’s beyond my pay grade. I’m not trolling and I do really hope ivermectin is as good as they say.

      (I guess the clinical evidence is something separate. But my question is, how much can we infer from these curves?)

      That recent Weinstein interview with the billionaire and the mRNA guys seemed to me to be so full of hyperbole and unwarranted confidence that it kind of soured me on using him as a source of info.

      I’ve listened to the FLCCC guys talk but I still honestly don’t know what to think.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > behavioural change

        Speculating freely — experts correct me — the concentration (i.e., the potential dosage) of viral particles from breathing, speaking, shouting, etc. goes down exponentially, not linearly. So even a small change in average social distancing behavior might produce disproportionate effects over time at scale (like standing six feet apart in line, not two or three feet).

  21. Michael Ismoe

    For those of you who are interested, here’s a copy of The Ashli Babbitt Song.

    I have to say I expected a country and western feel but the song itself is a revelation all by its lonesome. I can’t see it as a rallying cry yet (55000 views in six months) so let’s see what happens when Toby Keith makes his version. The Deplorables National Anthem. Coming to a stock car race near you.

    1. ambrit

      Time to invest in the Brown Shirt Uniform Company; ticker symbol: BSU.
      Watch for when the Neo Brown Shirts begin to recruit ex-military and police.
      Oath Keepers can quickly become Oath Enforcers.
      It’s interesting to note that the “poor white’ and “poor black” cultural mixes are converging.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > The Ashli Babbitt Song.

      That’s extremely interesting.

      1) It’s rap

      2) The singer is extremely careful to say he did not go in the Capitol; he was only observing. So I guess he has lawyers…

      Quite a list of grievances. I loved the “Ashley Babbitt: Say Her Name” poster…

  22. DJG, Reality Czar

    Evangelical snowflakes article or how to make the bible palatable and politically useful without out having to repeat the sulfurous Book of So-Called Revelation all the time.

    Quoting the article:
    “Transitivity is not my word. That was come up with by a scholar named Brian Malley, who is a cognitive anthropologist. About 20 years ago he wrote a great and, I think, very underrated book called “How the Bible Works.” One of the things he writes about is how evangelical Bible study isn’t really an attempt to get meaning out of the text, as if people were coming to it like blank slates. What happens within a group context is that groups come to the Bible with theological presuppositions. They already have an idea what the Bible is. What they do together is they basically try to explain how the text that they are reading affirms what they already believe.”

    [Or: The Quelle Surprise Prize in Biblical “Exegesis.”]

    Or as I say, I’m all for prayer in public schools so long as it’s the Ave Maria (at noon, Angelus hour) on M, W, and F, plus the Three Jewels of Buddhism (refuge in the Buddha, in the Dharma, and in the Sangha) on Tu, Th, and Sat.

  23. Carolinian

    Re yesterday’s Trump lawsuit discussion–Dershowitz has come out saying that Trump could conceivably win his suit on the basis that Facebook and Twitter are not the same as other companies due to their government granted lawsuit shield. I’m not enough of a lawyer (or any kind of) to opine whether this makes sense, but I believe he may be making a bit of a point that a free speech defense of Facebook as a private party ignores the fact that private parties are also subject to libel and other laws that Facebook is protected from.

    Maybe a real lawyer could weigh in?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Repeat after me:

      Trump is bad.
      Biden is the new FDR.
      We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

  24. DJG, Reality Czar

    The article in the BMJ by the esteemed Trish Greenhalgh is definitely worth your while. It is a laconic description of our current circumstances (given that the US of A is now hardly different from BoJo’s Big Opening BlackMondayGanza).

    The eleven footnotes alone are worth your time.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Greenhalgh is fantastic. She has (and still is) subject to a lot of abuse, the price of being consistently right when very powerful people have been wrong.

      Rates are rocketing in the UK now, and following tonights final, likely to go off the charts.

      The political ‘thinking’ seems to be that the government can survive a huge summer surge, and then claim credit when a newly herd-immunised country has a relatively normal autumn and winter while the overflow of Delta hits Europe. Its a massive gamble with peoples lives.

  25. fresno dan
    from the article:
    Somewhere deep down, almost all Americans feel guilty if they mess up. The European sense of guilt, post-religion, is incomparable. Most of us accept failure as inevitable and intuitively understand decline. Americans do not. And the further you fall in America the guiltier you personally are for the condition you are in. The reason of course is the cult of meritocracy: the all-American sense that hard work and talent gets you to the top, even when, pretty obviously, it often does no such thing.
    A more grounded view of poor America — Chris Arnade’s Dignity comes to mind — will reveal that the conceit of American meritocracy is in part predicated on reducing the life chances, the self-esteem, the very soul of the poor. Arnade’s point is that a system that prizes economic success and education at the expense of community, integration and pride will have this effect: “those at the bottom,” he writes, “are guaranteed to feel excluded, rejected, and most of all humiliated.”
    The most telling passage of The Tolls of Uncertainty comes at the end when Sarah Damaske is trying to get a woman called Tracy to tell her what her ambitions are. If she could have any job, what would it be?

    Tracy doesn’t know. She doesn’t really care. She wants something with good pay. The idea of betterment, ladders, glass ceilings, corner offices, is gobbledygook to many Americans at the bottom of the pile. The author manages a slightly reproachful explanation: “Tracy had not had a life that let her have such imaginings. She’d always needed to work ‘for the money,’ and that didn’t allow her to indulge in some fantasy with me about what she would want to do.”
    Too right. I imagine Tracy raising her eyes to the ceiling when professor Damaske’s Toyota Prius had left the Dunkin Donuts parking lot: “What was she on?

    There is, after all, another Great Resignation in the American psyche: people are resigned to their inability to make progress. The upper middle classes have successfully sealed themselves off (through college and inherited wealth and marrying only each other), so there is little real mobility on offer. For many Americans getting by is quite enough, thank you very much. They are not agitators for change.

    It’s a state of mind that sees the world as infinitely malleable and your inability to make an impact on it as your fault. You didn’t listen in school. You are too stupid, too weak to make difference. Even if Joe Biden gets to reform American employment over the next few years, that mindset will remain. It is, for better or worse, still the American Way.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Interesting comment that and the punishment of “failure.” It put me in mind of something I saw once back in the 80s. Being bored one day, I had the telly on and it had a tennis match with Jimmy Connors and some kid in New York I think. I wasn’t really watching it until the end when Connors won. He was quickly in the middle of a throng of well-wishers and it was like about one or two hundred people. Amazing. But then the camera cut to the kid that lost and I was shocked as he sat by himself with nobody approaching him and he had his head down. If I was never a fan of tennis before, that made my mind up. There was not one person consoling him or saying ‘No matter, you get the b****** the next time.’ It was very disturbing to watch this going on.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        1st link is 7:55, discusses how American obesity decreases competitiveness with China and how you just need to go to the library if you are poor. I restrained myself from commenting on this video but it struck me he is probably suffering from a combination of youth and a form of survivorship bias.
        2nd link is about 10 minutes and briefly mentions how he is making 30k a month(if I remember correctly), but mainly discusses how he is making that dough as a YouTube persona.
        I posted the first link as a supplental anecdote, but it does have 99k views in three days. I don’t know if it had occurred to him that we cannot all be YouTube personas…

  26. DJG, Reality Czar

    Even more religion! That darn commie pope Francis.

    Today in Repubblica and in La Stampa:
    Il Papa si affaccia al 10° piano del Gemelli per l’Angelus: “Il servizio sanitario gratuito è un bene prezioso, bisogna mantenerlo”

  27. lordkoos

    Regarding the hi-tech pollinators — the idea that mankind can replace bees with tiny drones is some kind of ultimate hubris. Banning chemicals like glyphosate would be a lot easier, but we can’t risk cutting into Monsanto’s profits.

    1. hunkerdown

      Does anyone else ever get the idea that they’re more interested in preventing non-market plant consumption by humans than ensuring adequate supply…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        absolutely feel that way.
        i obtained around 4 tons of horse and cow manure from the evengelist ‘bring yer horse to church’ neighbor.
        done this many times, as he generally obtains his hay from our other rancher neighbor, who grows his own, and doesn’t use herbicides…including the persistent kind.
        but this winter, apparently, second neighbor didn’t have enough, so first neighbor bought a few round bales elsewhere(hay is fungible).

        so we haul all that manure, distribute it by hand with wheelbarrows into the new garden beds across the dirt road…and every single tomato plant(about 50) grew out weird…like they’d been sprayed with 2-4-D.
        so even with my best efforts, one cannot avoid this problem.
        so i read through a million pages from everyone from the epa to the composting council, and it was obvious 20 years ago that these herbicides should be banned outright…..they have de facto ruined ‘organic’ ag…as well as would be jeffersonian yeoman farmers like myself.
        when not only the manure, but the well composted manure is herbicidal, that looks to me like a direct attack on self sufficiency and on anyone attempting to compete with Big Ag.
        i’ve been aware of this problem for 15+ years, and it terrifies me.

        (i was out here in the bar the other night, weeping into my beer over this issue, having ripped out those damaged toms…and decided to go through the problem….accepting that it ain’t going away. so i called the manager of our local feedlot, and learned to my astonishment that he was not only aware of the problem(persistent herbicides), but commiserated with me that it had ruined organic ag, and was affecting his very conventional ag bidness, as well….since no one wants his abundant manure anymore(used to be common to spread it on everyone’s pasture)…so they haul it to the landfill.
        i said i’d take a moon-sized pile or 20…just lined up in the pastures and wherever.
        the compost council and others determined that with our soil type and climate, etc, it should take about 3-5 years for the herbicides to break down enough to grow something besides grass(confirmed by my own experimentation)…so may as well start the clock now…and that adding abundant biochar speeds up that process. so i’ll be building a couple of these:

        …and running the bamboo and invasive cane(arundus donax) through it, along with the cedar elm branches i get covered up with every winter….and mixing all that into the manure(i have intended to ad biochar to my process for a long time))

        1. Eclair

          Yes, amfortas. I bought a bag of ‘local’ compost this spring from the garden store and used some to start a few late tomatoes and two different varieties of peppers. They germinated, then hung there for weeks, finally producing their first true leaves. I repotted them, using a different compost and they have grown …… very very slowly. Now, after almost three months, they are about 8 inches tall.

          When we lived in Denver, a friend started a ‘turn your lawn into a food plot’ business. The second year, he bought a load of manure from a local stable and spread it on a dozen lawns. Nothing grew. Turns out the horses were eating hay that had been contaminated, somehow, with herbicide. He had to scrape off all the soil and lost a growing season. And, probably, a few customers.

          On pollinators, we have seen only 2 or 3 honey bees this year. There are some bumble bees, but not as many as previous years. I have not seen one hummingbird moth this year and the bee balm has been in bloom for a week; they love the stuff and have appeared regularly as soon as it flowers.

      1. norm de plume

        Wow, 1957.

        I wonder if Charlie Brooker had that in mind when writing this episode of Black Mirror, about ‘a spate of deaths targeting the subjects of social media hatred, at the hands of Autonomous Drone Insects (ADIs) that have been deployed to combat environmental catastrophe as bees near extinction’

  28. Sailor Bud

    The reason Hunter Biden didn’t suddenly become an avant-garde pianist: You still have to know how to play piano to do that, and quite well too.

    Avant-garde painter? All you need are connections and art materials. No prior training or talent required.

    I was that kid who could draw and paint better than all the other kids in my high school, and I never went into fine arts because I didn’t want to hustle and schmooze, or deal with all the gallery charlatans. Here, the president’s son just encapsulates that sad decision so beautifully in our “meritocracy.” I should have been an artist. He should have been, at best, a car salesman.

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm…. Who will be Hunter’s Suetonius?
        I can see it now in my mind’s eye. “The Twelve Reagans” by Court Historian and Astrologer Ambigua X Meretrixia.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have sometimes thought that our version of The Twelve Emperors is The Twelve Free-Trade Presidents. ( In reallty it could end up being less than twelve, or more than twelve. I am just maintaining a sort of literary balance for the purposes of comment).

          Perhaps centuries from now, someone writing about some little corner of the Decline and Fall of America will write a little history of The Twelve Free-Trade Presidents. ( Or however many there are or will be, technically).

          Or call it The Carter ReaganBush ClintoBushobama Presidents.

      2. Phillip Cross

        He should have just released his willy pics as NFTs, he may have gotten more money!

  29. Cuibono

    From Greeks:
    “Japan introduced the bullet train, the Shinkansen, in 1964, some 134 years after William Huskisson became an unfortunate casualty of the introduction of what was at the time a new kind of technology. No accident attended its first journeys, nor in any of the journeys in the years and decades since. These days the Tokaido line, running between Tokyo and Osaka, sends ultra-high-speed trains in each direction every six minutes on average, 130,000 of them each year. Four hundred and twenty-five thousand passengers are carried every day along the three-hundred-mile route, at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour. The average delay is just twenty-four seconds. Not a single person has ever been killed on the line.

    The passengers who gaze out at the rice paddies and temple gates and hand-fashioned wooden structures that flash by do so in serenity and with a certainty that at least this one aspect of advancement is both safe and beautiful—and occupies a place in the spectrum of Japanese society that is no less important, and, crucially, no more important, than all the others that make the country uniquely worthy of remark. Technology has its place, and knows it. Which is perhaps just as it ought to be.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      > sends ultra-high-speed trains in each direction every six minutes on average, 130,000 of them each year. F

      Tell me how you’re from the United States without telling me.

      I misread “130,000” as referring to passengers, not trains.

    1. Massinissa

      Next time, talk a bit about whats in the link in your post. The video is over an hour long.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Dr David Martin presents his evidence that SARS-COV2 is not a novel virus and its origins can be traced back using patent records and licensing deals.


        funnily enough I watched Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ last night. Reminds me of the Jude Law character.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > So important I had to share with NC readers

      We discourage dropping a link in Comments with no further explanation; lots of us don’t have time to sit through some video hoping it arrives at the point you think is important, whatever that may be.

      We have said this over and over again, yet here is your comment.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    So Clyburn wants Biden to support “reform the filibuster” . . . ?

    A President Sanders might do such a thing. But a President Biden? Well . . . we’ll see.

    If Biden supports leaving the filibuster as-is, will Clyburn face the fact that Clyburn got what Clyburn conspired to achieve when Clyburn ” clyburned” the runway for Biden during the primaries?

  31. SteveB

    Listen to the first 5 minutes… You’ll get the gist..

    Dr David E Martin is claiming Corona is NOT novel and it was released to basically make money.
    He lays out by patent numbers and dates (which he claims are publicly available) the case that SARs COV2 (spike protein, ACE2 and cleveage) have been patented many time since early 2000’s

    1. Yves Smith

      This guy is full of shit.

      The ACE2 is part of human cells. More specifically:

      Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is an enzyme attached to the membrane of cells located in the intestines, kidney, testis, gallbladder, and heart. ACE2 lowers blood pressure by catalyzing the hydrolysis of angiotensin II into angiotensin.

      And using two handles is sock puppeting, which is a violation of our site Policies.

      It can’t be patented.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      works for arthritis as well, although fire ants are more readily available.
      just don’t be allergic…and “moderation in all things”, etc/

  32. The Rev Kev

    “In a sweeping executive order, Biden endorses importing drugs from Canada and orders a bigger drug pricing plan by late August”

    I can see the Canadian headlines now –

    ‘In a sweeping executive order, PM Trudeau endorses limiting exporting drugs from Canada’

    Canada has roughly one tenth the population of the US so it is not possible to meet the needs of the US so this is a Biden misdirection stunt. He could repeal that law that stops the US government from negotiating drug prices but won’t. He could tell Big Pharma that they will no longer get free drug research courtesy of the US government without a fifty-fifty split but won’t. He could do a full investigation of ‘evergreening’ patents but won’t. Biden is just being Biden here.

    1. RMO

      Considering that pharmaceuticals became substantially more expensive after a Mulroney government change to the drug patent laws it really says something that they’re still much cheaper than in the US.

      (That change was 25 years ago and in return for the giveaway to the drug companies they “promised” to invest large amounts in R&D here in Canada – which they didn’t do to any noticeable extent of course. Now the old fraud is pimping another IP giveaway with an EU/Canada agreement. Instead of just going away and hiding under a rock somewhere as he should)

  33. The Rev Kev

    “California wildfire advances as heat wave blankets US West”

    If this is going to be an annual problem, perhaps all the western States should get together and see if they cannot pool ideas, plans and resources to deal with this ferocious heat. It would have to be better than just having each State deal with their own problems here. When I was reading about all the heat in the north-western States, I pulled a book from my shelves from an Aussie writer making a trip in the late 70s to the western coastline along with his wife (“Down Under to Up Over” by John O’Grady) . Flicking through it, I see a common theme – rain. Again and again they go through all sorts of rain as well as cold. Hardly sounds like the same region. :(

    1. curlydan

      I think it’s likely to be a fairly annual event. As I was looking at the dam levels across the west, I saw the Oroville dam listed. Just a few years ago, it was in danger of busting wide open due to too much water–a rare problem than the more common droughts now. But if I had to make a prediction, I expect we may see a few booms with water but quite a few more busts.

    2. a fax machine

      CA already has a pooled idea: the state fire dept. Problem is, most counties cannot support a full-time full-pay seasonal staff to fight fires. This has been especially short in recent years, as the amount of volunteer firemen recede to just trainees as licensed firemen are now forming their own fire protection companies. Hence the turn to prison and parolee labor, which is also in short supply due to the partial prison “shutdown” (for the lack of a better word) due to Covid. Then there’s the supply chain… even if enough firemen can be had there’s not enough firetruck-rated drivers and not enough truckers willing to do 100+ hour weeks delivering water, foam, fuel and food. The state government refuses to consider options besides banning more firestarting devices, a useless endeavor when the danger is from a lack of fire code enforcement and a lack of personnel.

      Then there’s another perception problem: recently, a Cal-Fire capt. was arrested for AR-15 ownership. Regardless of our opinion of California’s Assault Weapons Ban, once this man is convicted he will be banned from most Cal-Fire roles, unless he goes on as a volunteer. I mention this because giving volunteer firemen the AWB exemptions cops have would be an effective way to encourage enlistment.

      This all relates back to a more basic concept of trust between people and the government. In rural places, this trust is often minimal because the police keep taking away guns but not guns illegally imported by illegal immigrants. Thus, fire policy is compromised because not only will people not help with a collective effort they will call the police if they see fire inspectors inspecting off-duty (relevant when things like fireworks and welding are considered) and will not yield to police or fire officials’ warnings when they are issued. More importantly, they will vote against new taxes for effective fire control.

      I’m certain people can see parallels to other instances of trust in Oakland, Minneapolis, etc. When the system fails people, people fail the system back.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > I mention this because giving volunteer firemen the AWB exemptions cops have would be an effective way to encourage enlistment.

        It’s not clear to me that encouraging people who seem to connect AR-15s with effective firefighting are the sort of recruits we want.

        Far better, it would seem to me, would be to remove all legal barriers to California prisoners who paid their debt to society by fighting fires actually becoming firefighters.

        1. JBird4049

          First, allowing prisoners who are already trained and experienced as firefighters to actually have real, paid jobs as firefighters is really an excellent idea. A really excellent idea, which is probably not going to happen until another city burns down.

          Secondly, while I am not really sure as how AR-15 ownership directly connects with firefighting myself, the local gun laws, and much else, has to go through the often capricious, politicized, and corrupt government, police, laws, and judiciary in California. Whatever one’s position is on guns and the Second Amendment, the laws in California are extremely politicized, often used to get donations and votes, instead of having a rational policy. An endless number of hoops to jump, with the laws not only (deliberately) very complex, but often changing to make what was legal, illegal. If one doesn’t check often, the yearly changes, one can easily become a criminal. Even religiously following the laws, one can still somehow get in trouble.

          If gunz are The Evil, why not look at Kamala Harris’ California Justice Department trying to keep prisoners in prison because they are a handy source of cheap, slave labor? And yet, there has been a decades’ long struggle to have prisoners who have served their time to work as firefighters because, IIRC, lobbyists for the firefighters have fought against it. California does have a shortage of firefighters and has been burning regularly for millions of years, yet every major fire season, it is such a big surprise, a shock each time. And nothing changes.

          California policing has been corrupt and brutal, not everywhere, but it’s far too common. San Francisco, Oakland, Vallejo, Los Angeles, and in small towns and sheriff’s departments everywhere. Then add the failure on unemployment insurance, or the epidemic itself, by California’s state and municipal governments. Now the endemic corruption of the Democratic Party in California and the insanity that is the Republican Party (Really, they make the Senate Republicans look good) I can add my own experiences with the state and county with public “assistance.”

          I am in a comparatively well funded area with a functioning government and decent police, yet I still have had problems and still have to mind my ps and qs dealing with county H&HS or the police. Jumping through hoops and being real nice to those who can ruin my life. I do not want to think what it must be in the many California counties and towns in the state’s periphery without decent funding, or often bad, or inadequate, government and policing.

          The worst areas during the fire season are in the Red periphery. Not only have some of them drunk the Republican cool aid, many have good reasons for not trusting the government. Any government. Especially California’s, which gave us Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom. Trust is lacking and this makes dealing with the fires much harder.

          Crud, I can hardly wait for August, September, and October. Same old arguments, same old non change, and me huddled with the air cleaner. Having a functioning government would be nice.

  34. VietnamVet

    Kamala Harris is a symbol of Elite cluelessness. Ashli Babbitt is a symbol of the divide in America. The Sackler Family are criminal enablers free from jail keeping their ill-gotten billions. Two men with so much money they can race to space.

    At this point, bridges and condos are collapsing. A steel railroad trestle got so hot in a regional wildfire it melted:
    Union Pacific says it will reopen in September. Until then their rail traffic up and down the West Coast is diverted through Salt Lake City.

    Tragically highlighted by the Coronavirus Plague, the corporate state is not working to the benefit of its citizens. Unless there is restoration of the rule of law and equity, the system is so fragile now, the next straw will break the camel’s back.

  35. ProNewerDeal

    I notice:

    1 91-divoc has United Kingdom at 45.5 COVID cases/100K people (7-day average).

    2 Today Jul11Sun it appears in London both Wimbledon tennis & Euro soccer were soldout without masks.

    3 IIRC most current new COVID cases in the UK & many (most?) nations is of the Delta variant, a more dangerous varaint in hospitilization/death risk than original COVID.

    Is outdoors transmission risk as low for Delta than it was for original COVID? What am I missing? My guesstimate is that a good faith & skilled true subject matter expert like IM_Doc or Dr Eric Feigl-Ding would say this is a Crazy/Stupid policy for public health.

    1. RMO

      That’s impressive. And frightening. A rough calculation shows that is near double the rate of the third wave case peak we saw here in BC a little while back (with a very small percentage of people vaccinated) which didn’t drop until there were quite a few restriction put in place. With under 50 cases a day in a 5.2 million population masks have just become “recommended” instead of mandatory and I think we jumped the gun on that – at least grocery shopping trips show me better than about 85% masking still being common in my area though. I’m still wearing an N95 and unless we get down to multiple days of zero cases I’m going to keep doing so even when I hit the two weeks after my second dose of vaccine mark.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Is outdoors transmission risk as low for Delta than it was for original COVID?

      That’s a good question but I have seen no epidemiology on this (which makes sense, since it takes time to do such studies).

      Speculating wildly, I don’t see how changing the shape of the spike would affect a Delta variant’s behavior as an aerosol (lingering in the air longer, for example).*

      So the increase in “transmissibility” would come after inhalation, perhaps immediately after (suggested by the “fleeting contact” aerosol episode in Australia).

      The only thing I can think to do is double-mask/improve masking. Speculating wildly again, perhaps nasal sprays or nose plugs in addition to masking).

      NOTE * I suppose Delta could have opened up fomites as an effective transmission path, but there’s nothing at all to suggest that, no studies or news stories.

      1. Basil Pesto

        John Campbell’s speculation, having checked in a bit on his Youtube this month, is that it is greater risk of transmission outdoors. He discusses it in the last minute of this DW clip, citing a case of 5 Danes who caught it at the Euros. I suspect we’ll know more on this in the coming weeks, with key data coming from the football matches.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks to the Euro2020 final, we’ll now have plenty of data to assess whether it transmits outdoors.

  36. Procopius

    … it sounds to me like a global emergency …

    I wonder if somebody intended that to happen. Something I learned when I stopped drinking alcohol — if you’re worrying about something, ask yourself what you can do to solve the problem right now. If there is something you can do, do it. If not, turn your thoughts to something else. Takes practice, but I notice lots of people spend lots of time fearing or worrying about things they can’t do anything about. “That which hath no remedy should have no consideration.”

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