Links 8/10/2021

China’s wandering elephants may finally be heading home AP

The scaly-foot snail’s shell is made of actual iron – and it’s magnetic Australian Geographic

A World Awash In Capital Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. Must-read.

The economics of climate change Swiss Re. From April, still germane. Note the source.

Monday’s IPCC report is a really big deal for climate change. So what is it? And why should we trust it? The Conversation (Furzy Mouse).

Time is running short to avert ‘hell on earth’ FT

As Dixie fire nears half a million acres, containment is still weeks away Los Angeles Times

Lawn renovations could play major role in conserving water in West, experts say  ABC News

Robbing the soil, 1: Commons and classes before capitalism MR Online

The Mirage of Carbon Markets? Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will The Sooty Empiric

International Cat Day

Under the tyranny of the urgent, we sometimes forget the important:

Turkey’s ‘Dr. House’ gives hope to animals with hard-to-treat conditions Yeni Safak

At the Library: Purr-fect reads for International Cat Day The Westerly Sun

The crowd cheers the cat on:



Can we predict the limits of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their phenotypic consequences? (PDF) Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. UK. Haven’t these guys ever heard of the concept of a “title page”? Or headers and footers? It’s bizarre. Well worth a read regardless.

We should not dismiss the possibility of eradicating COVID-19: comparisons with smallpox and polio British Medical Journal (RS).

Only private businesses can end the pandemic now. They just might do it. WaPo

Is the cure really worse than the disease? The health impacts of lockdowns during COVID-19 British Medical Journal. From the Summary: “It is unlikely that government interventions have been worse than the pandemic itself in most situations using data collected to date.”

* * *
COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures in Workplace Settings: A Rapid Review and Meta-Analysis International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IM). From the Abstract: “Comprehensive COVID-19 IPC measures incorporating swift contact tracing and case isolation, PPE, and facility zoning can effectively prevent workplace outbreaks. Masking alone should not be considered sufficient protection from SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in the workplace.” Swiss cheese model.

What we have done @UCSanDiego to create a safe University environment during COVID-19 Kimberly Prather. I would be flabbergasted to discover that all or even of a majority of our colleges and universities have used the summer months as constructively as the University of California at San Diego did. “5. Wastewater testing. We tested wastewater in all building.” Are all universities testing wastewater as a matter of course? Because it’s cheap and effective? I doubt it.

* * *
Florida grapples with record Covid surge as school year set to start for some NBC

Metro Atlanta schools report more than 1,000 COVID cases in first days Atlanta Journal-Constitution

* * *
Top scientists remain puzzled over how and why Covid spreads (Wayback Machine) The Telegraph. Commentary:


Singapore’s breakthrough infections:


I’m not sure to what degree these results can be applied, say, the United States. Singapore’s population is 5.7 million and it’s ~281 square miles in size. And then there are considerations of the vaccines given, time between doses, physical plant, population compliance, etc. Still, it’s a fun map!

‘I’m not gonna get it‘: The fight to vaccinate one of New York’s hardest hit communities Politico

Ohio judge orders man to get a COVID-19 vaccine as part of his sentence USA Today. Marketing 101, totally.


China sticks with zero Covid-19 approach, leaving borders closed for now South China Morning Post

SoftBank’s Vision Fund vows to keep investing in China despite crackdown FT

Radiocarbon-dating an early minting site: the emergence of standardised coinage in China Antiquity

Austin Accomplishes Two Missions in Southeast Asia CSIS


Anti-junta groups attack regime targets with bombings, shootings but Junta seeks militia help in fight against PDFs in Shan State Myanmar Now

Myanmar says alleged plot against U.N. envoy was nothing to do with the country Reuters

Myanmar Junta Pushing Ahead with China-Backed Kyaukphyu SEZ and Port The Irrawaddy


US probe finds Iranian drone attacked Zodiac Maritime-operated tanker Splash 247

Pakistan urges look into ‘meltdown’ of Afghan forces as Taliban advances Reuters. What did we think was going to happen?

Germany rejects calls to send military back to Afghanistan Al Jazeera


Polish far-right group enters orphanage to stop Covid vaccines for children Notes from Poland

Biden Administration

Sen. Bernie Sanders: It’s time to protect working families through $3.5 trillion budget ‘reconciliation’ bill FOX

Here are the key parts of Democrats’ $3.5T budget resolution The Hill

Infrastructure Bill To Fund 11,000-Mile-Long Detour Around Nation During Construction The Onion

Pentagon to require all troops to get coronavirus vaccine by mid-September The Hill

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew is SUED by Virginia Roberts in lawsuit claiming he sexually abused her at Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion and other locations when she was under 18 Daily Mail

Imperial Collapse Watch

World Order Consortium News

Guillotine Watch

Elon Musk to launch a satellite that will beam advertisements into space The Hill

Class Warfare

Epistemic injustice in academic global health The Lancet. Despite the forbidding title, this is an interesting paper.

I Need To Stop Scrolling Galaxy Brain

I’m a Luddite. You should be one too The Conversation

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote (or possible anti-antidote):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Amfortas the hippie

    first, the stadium cat.
    ummm….that’s not how you get a cat out of a room.
    numerous opportunities to, like, open a gate, and get the hell out of the way and let the cat do what cats do…but i guess that’s too passive a response,lol…as shown by all those guys running at the cat, attempting to grab the cat(and then what?!), and basically doing everything in their power to get the opposite of the result they were aiming for.

    meanwhile, in Texas:

    and , yet, Texgop’s moral and rational compasses are stuck in Opposite Mode, where N is S, and so on:

    and, to cap all that with a shitstained avocado:
    Texas Republicans, known for their gentle natures, weep and rend their garments about those mean old democrats actually growing a spine and not just being carpets in the Chamber like they’re supposed to.

    I say once again, I’m so frelling proud to be a Texan I could get drunk and burn my laptop.

    1. LaRuse

      Re: Stadium Cat – Did you note the game score was like 7-1? I don’t follow baseball but I am assuming that meant the game was beyond dull. Keeping the cat on the field (although I feel so sorry for the poor kitty who was so scared) at least brought something interesting to the game.

        1. K.k

          I could feel the poor cats heart thumping out its chest when the crowd would intermittently give it a thunderous applause.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Yes, the cat, obviuosly a disgruntled fan, was offering a commentary on how well the Yanks played the field that game.

    2. Daryl

      LBJ Hospital in Houston is now adding tents because they do not have enough beds, so we’re basically back to where we were late last year.

      The cities and school districts seem to have finally decided to push back on Abbott’s continued asinine executive orders — some are offering distance learning, others are mandating masks (keep in mind that both will result, at least according to the as-yet-untested edicts of the state gov, in a fine). Dallas is suing the state to get the ability to require masks.

      Things are getting pretty grim.

  2. allan

    Ritholtz writez:

    … there is a Cambrian explosion of value creation coming from this massive pile of capital, the results of which may be hard to see from here, other than to note its speed and size.

    I’m thinking more Chernobyl than Cambrian.

    Take billions of dollars, put them in the hands of wealthy institutions and sophisticated UHNW individuals. They will seek to generate a return on capital that is attractive, but in the process, move forward a raft of sectors via technology and ingenuity. …

    When have UHNW individuals ever steered us wrong?

    Admittedly I haven’t read Ritholtz in years, but this is pretty shocking.
    Who kidnapped him and what did they do to him?

    1. Watt4Bob

      So, the folks who ‘family-blogged’ everything they’ve touched for the last few decades, in part by misapplication of mountains of cash, are now going to save the planet because they have even bigger mountains of cash to continue financing their dreams?

      Jesus wept.

          1. Pate

            He does that. As if he wants us to complete the thought … (and I think the NC commentariat is doing a bang- job!)

          2. Carla

            @JEHR — my reaction precisely… then I wondered why Lambert flagged it as a “Must read.”

            1. jsn

              From my perspective, it’s a window into the point of view of the winners in the current game of Monopoly TM.

              Pace jr above, “Where’s the hotel?”, well, they have them all, and all the houses too, and all the best property, and after 1.5 decades of QE a stupid amount of cash they can’t figure out what to do with because the Bank has a laserjet and a bunch of colored paper and keeps making the stuff while they already own everything.

              And even with that stupendoud concentration of wealth, the trickle down is just barely keeping the wheels on a system that with trillions in cash injected more or less directly this year still can’t approximate prior employment levels and thus core demand. This is what it looks/feels like at the winners table while the floor below starts to collapse.

      1. Pelham

        My thoughts exactly. If this were working the way Ritholz suggests, we’d all know it and be happy as clams.

        1. Wellstone's Ghost

          Taxing these people just doesn’t occur to him.
          His commentary really hammers home that poverty in America is a policy choice not some intractable problem without a solution.
          I wonder if he steps over or walks around the people laying in the street in New York on his way home from work.

      2. chuck roast

        A week in the Maine woods with a bunch of sociopaths…“paging Steven King, paging Steven King.”

    2. Paradan

      all this capital looking to make a profit, which has to come from somewhere, but since all of the worlds wealth is sloshing around looking for investments, there’s no wages being paid that will get spent buying this glorious innovation. I mean seriously WTF? It’s like this guys think money just gets created out of thin air…


    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “….sophisticated UHNW individuals.”

      There’s that word “sophisticated” again. Seems to be popping up a lot lately. Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but who cares? It can, apparently, buy “sophistication,” a new and improved aspirational goal.

      PS. For those as unsophisticated as I, I looked up UHNW–ultra high net worth. Clever.

        1. TMoney

          “Sophisticated” is investment banker code for rich and stupid – Doctors & Dentists & Athletes.

          I’ve got these AAA rated sub-sub-prime MBS for you…
          I’ve got this hot IPO for you…
          I’ve got a Picasso for you…

          Let’s you be cool while your pocket is picked. A first world problem if ever there was one !

          1. tegnost

            yeah, they save the really valuable stuff like student loan debt for bezos buffet and bloomberg…when you have as much money as they do it’s really hard to find productive uses of capital that also impoverishes their low wage workforce as they march to mediocrity…

    4. Still Above Water

      … there is a Cambrian explosion of value creation coming from this massive pile of capital, the results of which may be hard to see from here, other than to note its speed and size.

      I think a Cretaceous–Paleogene explosion of value extinction is more likely.

  3. zagonostra

    >Anti-vaccine protesters storm BBC HQ – eight years after it moved out

    The BBC has had to deal with an increasing number of verbal and physical attacks on its journalists by anti-lockdown protesters, with Newsnight’s political editor, Nick Watt, targeted outside Downing Street earlier this year.

    Were they really “anti -vaccine” protestors? With rare exception news reports do not make the distinction between those who believe vaccines can be beneficial but have concerns that medical passports and other policy decisions being made that place restrictions on individuals could result in unforeseen negative consequences to civil liberties.

    It is easy to poke fun at “luddite” protestors in front of a vacant building, it’s harder to deal with two imperatives colliding, safety of the group, freedom of the individual.

    1. voteforno6

      It is easy to poke fun at those protestors, because what they did is pretty funny. Maybe they should be more careful about information they find on the Internet.

      As for balancing safety of the group vs. freedom of the individual, sure there’s a debate to be had, but in the end it’s the virus that gets final say, and I doubt that the virus is all that impressed with people proclaiming their individual freedoms.

      1. tegnost

        the virus probably doesn’t care if wall st hits an air pocket either, esp. since wall st is primarily responsible for the spread (is that a pun? I’m not sure…)

      2. Terry Flynn

        Indeed. The loudest critics of the BBC have traditionally never been the most informed. Certain youtubers have tried to get a defund the bbc hashtag going. These are generally people from the USA: errr, you have the choice not to watch or pay for British TV so familyblog off. Plus they are certain people who are “fighting the noble anti-SJW fight” in shows like Doctor Who /s*

        There are some really important reasons why we should be criticising the BBC: the way that they reinforce across 99% of their news and current affairs and radio phone-in stuff a neo-liberal agenda that screams “the government can’t pay for it!” Occasionally someone like Stephanie Kelton will be allowed on, will annihilate the opponents, the BBC interviewer/moderator will summarise correctly that MMT holds in the UK. Then literally the next programme will return to the neoliberal cause. I never watch any BBC news/current affairs these days by choice – I am exposed to it via my mother unfortunately and my father keeps tabs on it in some sort of masochistic drive so he can fume at their complicity in neoliberalism….maybe that’s why his energy levels remain so high despite his age!

        BBC drama can be second to none. Inside No. 9 is one of the best anthology series ever made IMHO. Line of Duty was obviously exaggerated, increasingly so as it progressed, but was a rare example of “must-see TV” that got people talking the next day, in a way I can’t remember about a TV programme since the 1990s. Deeply subversive stuff has originated (particularly through comedy and satire shows) on the BBC. So the BBC simply has good divisions and bad divisions.

        * I was only a regular viewer of Doctor Who back in the Tom Baker days. I’ve kept up with events since it was resurrected and know whose opinions to trust and see the viewing figures compared to its competition. (Raw numbers are meaningless as TV/streaming evolve). Doctor Who is just badly written soap opera these days with a terrible show-runner and a mis-cast lead. That’s the problem. You don’t need to bring identity politics into it at all. But YouTubers are becoming more and more strident to get more eyeballs. Some have even let the cat out of the bag that the ad revenue from YouTube has suddenly fallen and they don’t why. But they don’t read blogs like this one…..

        1. Michaelmas

          Terry F: ‘BBC drama can be second to none.’

          ‘Edge of Darkness’ is a six-part series from the BBC back in the 1980s that’s the best dramatic presentation I’ve ever seen from TV.

          Brilliant writing and you’ll recognize many British acting stalwarts of that era. It absolutely gets the politics of nuclear technology (bombs and power), the plutonium economy, and the UK deep state of the time right, down to Joe Don Baker as an increasingly rogue CIA agent charged with backing Green groups in Europe so as to promote US anti-nuclear proliferation policies instituted under Carter (true; that happened). Every plot development ratchets the the scariness and spookiness up till you can’t believe it can get any more tense and disturbing. But it does.

          Avoid like the plague the 2010 Hollywood remake featuring Mel Gibson.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thank you so much for suggestion! Carer duties plus “post-viral” stuff (heaven forfend they use the phrase long covid) mean I love to lose myself in books and TV.

          2. R

            Seconded. The original Edge of Darkness makes your adrenal glands ache every minute. Eerie synth music, sepulchral lighting. Boo!

            It is the same feeling watching it as an adult as cowering behind the sofa at Tom Baker in Doctor Who as a child.

            Do not give synapses to the remake. The same for House of Cards, the original was much better.

      3. zagonostra

        “In the end it’s the virus that gets the final say?”

        Does the virus have a vote in parliament? So you’re cool with mandating CV vaccine or making it so difficult for those who refuse an injection that they can’t earn a living, get insurance, access restaurants, etc. Well, I’m not too impressed with your understanding of the danger of slipping into a totalitarian dystopian future once the genie(wonder if the word shares the same cognate with gene) of passports and other instruments of regulating a populace is instituted.

        Maybe they are protesting because the DO search the internet and see what the lies the BBC has been spewing for years (Assange). And yeah, I like their not political programming as much as the next person. I also like NPR music but can’t stand their news reporting. Funny? Only if you look at the surface of things.

        1. marym

          genie < Semitic JNN
          gene < Indo-European *gen

          genie (n.)
          1650s, "tutelary spirit," from French génie, from Latin genius (see genius); used in French translation of "Arabian Nights" to render Arabic jinni, singular of jinn, which it accidentally resembled, and attested in English with this sense from 1748.

          1. zagonostra

            Both the Greek origin of “gene” and the Latin “genie” have birth implicit in derivation. So I think the answer is, yes.

            From German Gen, from Ancient Greek γενεά (geneá, “generation, descent”), from the aorist infinitive of γίγνομαι (gígnomai, “I come into being”). Coined by the Danish biologist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen in a German-language publication, from the last syllable of pangene.[

            late Middle English: from Latin, ‘attendant spirit present from one’s birth, innate ability or inclination’, from the root of gignere ‘beget’. The original sense ‘spirit attendant on a person’ gave rise to a sense ‘a person’s characteristic disposition’ (late 16th century), which led to a sense ‘a person’s natural ability’, and finally ‘exceptional natural ability’ (mid 17th century).


            1. marym

              gene < Greek < IE *gen
              genius < Latin < IE *gen
              jinn < Arabic < Semitic

              I think it may have been the jinn in the bottle, not the genius, though the jinn may have been a genius! ? Anyway, thanks for a fun few minutes thinking about languages, not pandemics.

        2. Grant

          I am sorry, but you refuse to take into account social externalities. This isn’t just about your freedom to do something if you can get my kids sick. I didn’t consent to you doing that, and so your personal decision could negatively impact me and my family. Your freedom to not get a vaccine clashes with me wanting my kids to be free of the virus. Our freedoms clash, only an authoritarian mindset fails to take that into account. Beyond that, you can have a deeply authoritarian system with no state if society is highly inequitable and those with immense power and wealth have no time for justice. Adam Smith talked about the indivisible hand in the theory of moral sentiments and he talked about land owners treating those they dispossessed in such a way that they would be no worse off than if they owned the land. It was an assumption that highly inequitable ownership of land and capital could benefit others if those that own the land and capital acted altruistically. Well, capital and the powerful don’t care and they are just as concerned with power as they are wealth, since power is often the means of obtaining more wealth and capturing the value that workers create with their labor. You can have a deeply authoritarian society BECAUSE the state doesn’t do anything to address massive inequality and massive power differentials.

          And I am sorry, but are some that are anti-vax informed? Sure, never met or seen one, but I am sure there are some. Some are concerned about some things in vaccines. Fine. But, I don’t think that is a general rule, at least not based on what I have seen and based on my own experience. The people are often under the influence of some fraud grifter, and those people are dominated by those on the right.

          Beyond that, if you cared about a dystopian future, you would as the left has been trying to do for decades now and fight the most authoritarian capitalist institutions and agreements and fighting for alternatives. The WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, the BIS, deals based on the NAFTA model, austerity, mass privatizations, mass deregulations, commodifying nature, etc. We have been drifting towards authoritarianism as the state has retreated in many aspects of our lives. You pick a pandemic to fight against authoritarianism, using this logic? Give me a break. I don’t deny some of the dangers of giving the state this power, but your logic isn’t convincing and I find the target to be absurd given the society we live in. Fact is, those in power have tied the hands of the state to control capital, increasingly so. I would have less reservations if we had more popular control of the state, and if planning and the economy was more democratic and equitable.

          1. Yves Smith

            I don’t like libertarian arguments against getting vaccinated. However, there are vaccines generally v. these Covid vaccines.

            The flaw in your logic is that the Covid vaccines do not appear to be terribly effective preventing infection and transmission, at least of Delta. Data from Israel shows Covid cases in the vaxxed v. unvaxed proportional to vaccination levels, even when stratified by age….showing the vaccines are not preventing cases. CDC has said it found the same viral load in the nasal passages of vaccinated v. unvaxxed cases. Earlier studies claimed to have found lower nasal viral load in the vaccinated, and argued that that would reduce the transmission rate.

            The Singapore study did not sequence the Covid among the infected, so they can’t be certain who infected whom. And how is the author of this study to know if an asymptomatic person came in contact with those in a cluster if they weren’t tested? So there’s an assumption of completeness of data which doesn’t hold.

            Now maybe there was some reduction of transmission in the first couple of months after vaccination, but that appears to have waned.

            And I know many people down here personally who have not gotten vaccinated. Only one is ideologically opposed. The others have seen too many people they know spend a day or two in bed, and their financial/family situation makes that impossible. And that’s before individuals knowing someone who had a serious side effect. One of our aides wound up in the ER, and the ER docs attributed her bad case of vasticulitis to the vaccination, there was no other plausible explanation. And the ER docs said if she had gotten there much later, she would have had a serious problem. How many people who were fence-sitting or just slow to get a vaccine would decide against it based on someone they know personally needing to go to the ER? Oh, and of course losing work too.

    2. marym

      If anti-vax or anti-vax-passport protesters aren’t wearing masks they have struck the wrong balance, imo.

  4. Old Sarum

    The cat on the field is about the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen in a game of spit ball (as it is in my mind for some reason).

    Pip Pip.

  5. The Historian

    A World Awash in Capital

    “Take a moment to contemplate the net results this massive influx of cash, innovation, and labor is in the midst of producing. It’s enough to turn a curmudgeon into a capitalist.”

    Well, this curmudgeon isn’t impressed by a bunch of rich guys playing in the State of Maine who don’t even have the intelligence to figure out where this capital is coming from, like from all the laborers who aren’t paid a fair price for their labor, like from the corporations not taking care of their own garbage but polluting the earth with it, like from the billions of people who are losing their few precious assets to people like them.

    Apparently they’ve never heard about what happens when you kill the golden goose. I guess that story isn’t taught in private schools.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I had Ritholtz bookmarked for a while, but finally removed it. He writes extremely well and his pieces are both well-organized and concise (edited!), unlike a lot of bloggers who feel free to rabbit on for pages.

      But there’s surprisingly little ‘a ha’ there. Well stated conventional wisdom, nothing like as Captain Obvious! / namedropper / reductionist as the Mustache of Understanding(R), but a bunch of factoids I kind of already knew, and not much ‘why’.

      For insight on where hot money is flowing and why I personally get more bang for my buck out of Matt Levine, Scott Galloway or WolfStreet. But YMMV.

      P.S. If anyone else has some recs on investment commentators who aren’t too ‘burn it all down’ ideological (left is fine, just trying to understand the mechanics), I’d be happy to hear them. I will of course nod to NC’s own Nick Corbishley.

        1. christofay

          Epsilon Theory has a new essay up now, ‘At the heart of the Nudging State is the intentional misuse of language. You’re not using “counterspeech” to say what you actually believe’, but I’ve reached this months limit of free essays so can’t say what it says. Definitely worth to go checkout

      1. cocomaan

        The piece was a little short on specifics (what tech is being invested in? what are these benefits?) but it’s also nice to read something that isn’t a doom and gloom piece about the end of the world.

        It’s contrarian today to say that things are going to get better and that the future is bright.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          It’s contrarian today to say that things are going to get better and that the future is bright.

          Oh I have no doubt that things will get better technologically for those that can afford it. The trickle down for the rest of us will be restriction of information and thought via technology.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Also, the trickle down for the rest of us will also be reduced lifespan and degraded healthspan due to ubiquitous pollution and nutrient deprivation through nutrient-free virtual food becoming the baseline standard of food quality more and more and more.

            Some people might be able to take individual evasive action against this generalized pollution and de-nutrition trickle down arranged for Our Class Of People.

        2. ChrisPacific

          ‘A little short’ in the sense that there were none. We’re just asked to take it on faith, as always (and in defiance of recent history).

          I could summarize the article as “I spent my summer holiday with rich people and now I’m convinced that giving them even more money is good for the world.”

      2. farragut

        I defer to our excellent hosts, of course, but I submit that “today’s must read” is the ConsortiumNews article on the looming different world order. Big changes coming, albeit at a glacial pace. To complement this article, I’d add the following one from Nikkei Asia, wherein they interview Ken Rogoff about the imminent multi-polar, multi-reserve currency world.

        With all that capital (I’d call it liquidity, but I’m not an economist) flooding the system and no sign of abating, what happens to the value of the USD should demand wane?

        1. Pate

          Thank you for the link. Dollar Supremacy a favorite subject for mongo (moi). (As you probably know, Wolf Richter is another good source on the status of the dollar as reserve currency and often linked to here at NC.)

        2. Keith Newman

          farragut @ 9:21
          I totally agree re the Consortium article.
          Unfortunately the Rogoff you link to just exhibits his continuing lack of understanding of monetary issues similar to what he displayed in the embarrassingly stupid “study” he co-authored a number of years ago entitled “This time is different”.
          To get an actual understanding take a look at Michael Hudson’s writings on how and why the US economy is falling behind China’s.

      3. ObjectiveFunction

        This looks quite good, many thanks.

        Like many here, I try avoid registering on sites, even when free and directed to my ‘spam filled’ email account, but I suppose the man’s gotta eat somehow.

        ….As noted, I don’t mind a metanarrative that The Fix Is In, And It Is A Fraud And A Cheat On The People, so long as the moneymaking dynamics of said Fraud are also intelligently described, using language familiar to those involved in it.

        NC of course already gives us so many great links of this type; they go well beyond the outrage dopamine hit.

      4. Mildred Montana


        Prompted by your comment, I just now visited for the first time in many, many months one of my former favorites (NC has become my de rigueur site).

        Covid and finance articles. Not a “burn-it-all-down” site in my opinion, just a “fix-it” one, although it’s always bullish on gold.

        Sadly, the writer there that I most enjoyed (Bill Bonner) has been silent for four years now. He’s written several books and is a very witty guy. Eg:

        “We approach investments cautiously, as a man approaches a woman in the early morning.”
        “If everybody’s thinking the same way, nobody’s thinking.”

    2. Wukchumni

      In the midst of the Great Depression actual money was really scarce, to the point where local scrip was used in lieu of lack of lucre, here’s some from Florida:

      We’re closing in on the golden anniversary of money not being tied to all that glitters, and for many decades we didn’t go hog wild conjuring FRN’s backed by nothing if you read the fine print: ‘This Note Is Legal Tender For All Debts, Public & Private‘, for if we did the citizenry would notice there sure seemed to be a lot of money out there in the usual way hyperinflation crashes a financial party…

      The progression since we largely did away with ‘show me money’ is nearly complete as digital money accounts for 96% of all transactions in the ether and/or in person.

      For those playing the long game historically, the raise in creating vast new amounts of money out of nothing is eerily similar to the Assignats issued in the run-up and during the French Revolution. I can now mention the word ‘trillion’ in missives. This was simply unthinkable before the turn of the century.

      The poor bastards didn’t have computers to hide their handiwork via hocus pocus as our Major Major Major Majordomos have done, perhaps cooler heads wouldn’t have prevailed if so availed?

      1. Grant

        “there sure seemed to be a lot of money out there in the usual way hyperinflation crashes a financial party”

        Explain “the usual way hyperinflation crashes a financial party”. Are you arguing that it is money printing and that commodity based money or cryptocurrencies are the way forward? Based on what logic? Explain how you think hyperinflations happen.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m only arguing that we’re in a new aegis, unrelated to tangible economics that once ruled, and i’m not sure the mechanism that brings it down as it once did with coins & paper money many times over the past few millennia.

          In those past instances of hyperinflation, it took awhile for things to come a cropper, we’re talking a year in Weimar to a dozen years in the case of Mexico, or the ongoing nearly 40 year saga in Venezuela.

          Every instance is different, for Mexico it all started when oil crashed in the late 70’s-along with them owing Wall*Street et al a large fortune, not dissimilar from all of the other South American countries that hyperinflated around the same time.

          1 Mexican Peso was equal to 1 US $ a little over a century ago, and now it takes the equivalent of 20,000 old Pesos to = 1 buck. Is there any wonder why we have so many Mexican immigrants, especially since the 1980’s when you only used to see them in the border states.

          The various countries got tricky by renaming currencies in the midst of their mutual financial downfalls, Soles became Intis in Peru, Cruzeiros became New Cruzeiros and then Cruzados in Brazil, while Argentine Pesos became Australs…

          …all while being devalued @ a rate of 1,000 old units for 1 new

          Amazingly the star performer in South America up until Black Friday in 1983 was the Venezuelan Bolivar, solid as a rock.

          I think we’re more likely to see something awful happen all of the sudden, you know like pulling off a bandage from a sucking chest wound?

          What replaces make believe money going forward?

          Sadly in our country, probably bullets.

      2. Procopius

        Money is “backed” by the goods you can buy with it. Gold is just one of those goods. You can still buy gold if you want. It’s just that the price of gold is no longer fixed. Brad deLong put it well. “We are not able to buy goods with money because it is valuable, money is valuable because we are able to buy things with it.”

    3. ChrisFromGeorgia

      I couldn’t help but compare that article to the one just below it from the Financial Times – “Time running out to avert hell on earth.”

      So all that hot money is going to fund more consumption which leads to … more climate problems. Perhaps someone should step on their air hose.

    4. freebird

      I normally benefit from Ritholtz’ musings, but this piece made me want to smack him upside the head. All that capital was stolen and cheated from working people, made to do without and scrimp and work 2 jobs and not know their schedule from one week to the next and face medical bankruptcy.

      The greedy slobs awash in capital need to give it back or at least go solve major problems with it, like pay off the student loans, or clean up the waterways. But they won’t, they’ll fund development of self-driving laundry carts or new ways to spy on people to make their lives worse.

      1. bassmule

        +100. I’ve been following Ritholtz for years; this stands out as possibly his dumbest commentary ever.

      2. Mildred Montana


        Exactly. What Ritholtz fails to realize is that money is cheap precisely because there are no good investment opportunities at the moment. If there were, demand for money would be high, and so its price (ie. interest rate). Instead, all the Fed-generated capital today goes into 50-year boondoggles and pie-in-the-sky schemes like space tourism, AI, and self-driving cars. Great for fleecing investors, not so good for the economy.

        Under normal circumstances, capital in an economy is allocated efficiently. Excessive liquidity (again, look at the Fed) leads only to misallocation, speculation, and sometimes outright fraud.

    5. Maritimer

      “…rich guys playing in the State of Maine.”
      “There goes the neighborhood.”—-Bullwinkle

      Considered moving to ME back in the early 90s but passed on it. Too much $$$ there already and certainly much more now.

  6. Wukchumni

    Cats attempting to steal thunder from the purr-seids is typical of them, and yeah it’s hard to show a nearly 5 minute video of a shooting star playing coy @ the celestial fallgame, so there’s that.

    Felines are usually all sprint and rarely do laps, then came Bronx in.

  7. Mikerw0

    Swiss Re has a long history of research into the impact of climate change. Importantly, they understand the implications for the P&C industry. Not saying they are perfect, but they built one of the world’s most environmentally conscious buildings in London.

    That said, and admitting I haven’t had the chance to read this report yet, I can report from industry insiders that the insurance industry is mortified by climate change and is already acting. Try getting fire coverage in California. Flood coverage has been cut back and nearly nonexistent in most geographies. The big reinsurers that are crucial to this coverages are keenly aware that frequency and severity has dramatically changed. They are altering policies in accordance. This will leave governments holding the bag after events.

    1. urblintz

      “This will leave governments holding the bag after events.”

      and the bag, the same one from which they pull 1 trillion a year for the Pentagon, will suddenly be empty.

      But no worries, Valerie Jarrett will come to the rescue by asking for donations from the working class.

    1. 430MLK

      Always nice to see a Wendell Berry quote to open a soil article. Berry, who just turned 88 I think, has been writing and thinking and farming with an eye to soil regeneration for about 50 years. His place on the Kentucky River, which some friends of mine and I were lucky enough to camp on during one of our paddling trips about ten years ago, is truly beautiful. Not Let Them Eat Cake beautiful, but Lifelong-Tending-Affection beautiful.

    2. Pate

      Them pesky commies. Organoponics? What will they think of next, a world-class, not-for-profit health care system with the capacity to export health care around the world? Loved the “unexpected side effects” of organoponics – good health and healthy habits.
      430MLK – god bless Wendell Berry!

  8. Reality Bites

    I rarely read HuffPo but a friend sent me an article about COVID. While it is a personal story, it highlights the appalling state of testing and the withdrawal of even the limited free services that were available before. While the author lives in Alabama, I’d guess the issues he’s facing are similar in other states. He also calls out the CDC for its failed tracking.

  9. Henry Moon Pie


    For an interesting inter-temporal comparison and a deeper history of the Luddite movement, check out Thomas Pynchon’s op-ed in the NYT titled, “Is It O.K. To Be A Luddite?” It was published a few days before Ronnie Reagan was re-elected in a landslide. Pynchon rightly discusses Byron, Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft and Frankenstein in this context, but gets off track in his assessment of Romanticism, but it’s still a fascinating read.

  10. ProNewerDeal

    I am uncertain of the near future. What will the US be like on Sep 1, in terms of health metrics, NPI restrictions, & economic effects from the current Delta wave? If there is a lockdown, will economic relief temporary measures get reinstated or extended, including extended unemployment, eviction moratorium, student loan deferral.

    It appears that even non-essential entertainment events are proceeding & scheduled as if there is no Delta wave. It appears short-termism of US capatilism is worsened & fugazified to where focus on the current quarter revenue & profits has become focus on the current week.

    How will the major financial asset types acts under the US Delta wave, eg stocks, REIT stock index, 10-year US Treasury, gold, oil, Case-Shiller residential home index, bitcoin, etc

    Will there be ongoing future COVID waves after the current Delta wave? When does COVID “end” at least in terms of major waves that cause major health & economic damage. Is it possible to get COVID prevalence permanently under 1 daily new case/100Kpersons, & if so when?

    Is it possible that at least for high-risk indoor activities such as gym, bar, restaurant, church; should be avoided or at least done with a real/N-95-type mask indefinitely or until 2023 at the earliest?

    My crystal ball is very cloudy.

    1. Mikel

      “Is it possible that at least for high-risk indoor activities such as gym, bar, restaurant, church; should be avoided or at least done with a real/N-95-type mask indefinitely or until 2023 at the earliest?”

      I don’t have a date but I suspect alot of scrambling and panic coming from offices and schools in the coming months. Businesses are about to step kneck deep into crap with mandates based on the current narrative about the shots.

      1. Not Even Wrong

        “…mandates based on the current narrative about the shots.”

        This is already the case in NYC. Whether the mayor had the legal authority to mandate EUA vaccination for 12-and-up to enter private businesses, businesses seem to be pro-actively complying.

        [Blocked, link to MSN describing the “Key to NYC Pass” policy and “NYC Covid Safe” app.]

    2. Lupana

      I would be beyond shocked if there were to be another lockdown. I think as Americans we’ve shown repeatedly that we’re willing to put up with loss of any type and dimension with little pushback so why would the government risk anger from the business community to save lives?

      1. MK

        Agreed – no more lockdowns – that ship has sailed.

        What will return will be the mask mandate while in public – which will probably make a few folks that got the vaccine only to unmask start to question the whole charade.

        1. John

          It would take deaths on the order of London 1666 to trigger another lock down, but I am a teacher and I expect to be wearing a mask and that the extreme ventilation, open windows and fans even in the winter months, of last school year will continue. I hope most of the 12-and-ups are vaccinated and that the younger ones and their families are sensible. Fingers crossed and away we go.

          1. jr

            Don’t forget the Betadine:


            I gargle for 35 seconds for two hours of protection and for 35 seconds to cleanse when I get home:


      2. pasha

        “shocked if there were to be another lockdown”

        as Yves has pointed out many times, when hospitals overflow to the point of losing functionality, lockdowns are the only mitigation. we saw this in new york, boston, and detroit during the first covid wave. further, while hospitals are getting better at treatment, they are losing workers at an alarming rate. it seems to me that some local or regional lockdowns are thus inevitable

        1. Raymond Sim

          Yep, the lockdown haters are the ones who keep guaranteeing us more lockdowns.

          If London 1666 is what it’s going to take I don’t want to hear a bunch of crying and whining when spikey obliges.

          A lot of folks here must think GM’s talking through his hat about how high the CFR could eventually go. He is not.

        2. Lupana

          I very much hope you’re right but I’ve lost quite a bit of faith in caring or common sense prevailing among those who make decisions. I just don’t get the feeling there’s any kind of cohesive plan for victory so to speak.

  11. Tom Stone

    The prediction that the Dixie fire will be contained in a couple of more weeks is optimistic, but possible.
    If the rains arrive in early October as they usually do we have two more months of extreme fire danger.
    Two months…
    Maybe we’ll get lucky.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe it is because I live in a different continent, but when I check news stories daily I really do not think that the Dixie fire is getting the attention that it should be. It is mentioned but not to a great degree. Probably different if you lived in California though.

      1. Wukchumni

        Dixie is laying waste to a scantly populated part of the state where i’d daresay few Cali’ans have ever been.

        Its kind of similar to when many thousands of dry strike lightning bolts hit around the same area a decade ago and caused a ton of wildfires but didn’t get the coverage of last year’s pyro techniques south of San Jose.

        1. tegnost

          scantly populated part of the state where i’d daresay few Cali’ans have ever been.
          That’s why once in a while on my trips to sd I take the back road to susanville from mt shasta, 89 to 44 to 395…it’s getting torched now though…

        2. freebird

          “a scantly populated part of the state where i’d daresay few Cali’ans have ever been.”

          where all their WATER comes from.

      2. freebird

        I check for news of the fire too, but not much out there except whatever might be behind the Los Angeles Times firewall. Been getting updates from “Plumas News” and Inciweb.

        Apparently not enough jillionaires at Lake Almanor to warrant wall-to-wall coverage as happens when a fire hits Malibu?

        In KANSAS now and a thick haze dominates the sky. Can’t imagine what the smoke is like in Quincy.

      3. Synoia

        I live in CA. What is this “news” of which you write?

        TV here is generally car chases, shootings, and stories of Pop-Tarts.

        1. Anthony Stegman

          CBS had Guy Fieri showing off his apple pie hot dog. Climate change is rarely mentioned, and when it is it is usually late in the broadcast when many viewers already left the house.

    1. The Historian

      I learned something interesting about lawns this week. I bought a house in a subdivision that has very small green spaces – I could cut my grass with a weed eather – but lots of ornamental rock all around the houses. I love the look of the ornamental rock but it turns out that those are actually French drains. Apparently we get some serious rain at times and turf grass is not a good way to deal with the runoff – it just doesn’t allow the heavy rain to soak into the ground – instead it goes into places where it is unwanted, like garages and basements! The French drains prevent that!

      I wonder how much rainwater is lost to storm drains because of the big lawns I see everywhere!

      1. Samuel Conner

        I suspect that the chemical treatments used to keep the lawns thick, green and weed-free are not great for the subterranean fauna, in particular the earthworms.

        Turn them into deep dug garden beds and I reckon the subsurface infiltration would improve.

        1. John

          Yes. The sweet corn frames the tomatoes interspersed with marigolds fronted by the deep green of beet tops with onions and garlic bracketing the low bush green beans. Much more visually interesting than grass and much better tasting.

      2. cocomaan

        I’m in PA, so we’re ruled by varieties of hickory-oak hardwood and white-jack pine forests here.

        If you have a section of forest in your yard here, you’ll find it remarkable how quickly rain seeps into the ground in those areas vs turf grass. The leaf litter allows permeating without flooding and the trees drink it all up. I can’t recall exactly how much water an oak drinks in a day, but it’s remarkable. You do get flooding in low level areas, but that’s why hollows/hollers/drains are formed: they’re for draining water off the hill and mountainsides. People can go ahead and live in valleys, doesn’t change the reality that valleys are where water passes through, plain and simple.

        The mat of turf grass might as well be a mat of plastic for all it does to drink up rainwater, especially when rapidly applied in a downpour.

        1. R

          Farmers know that trees in pastures improve soil porosity around them and also retain moisture when the rest of the pasture dessicates.

  12. The Historian

    Great story on Luddites! I, for the longest time, had the wrong idea of what Luddism was all about. But it turns out, the Luddites were absolutely right when you look at how the Industrial Revolution severely changed societies and what it means to have a good life. The Industrial Revolution is a sad story of what happens when capital is more important than people.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i languished in the conventional definition of Luddism, too…until i learned better.
      Now, i consider myself a Luddite in both senses…finding them more or less complimentary, rather than anathema.
      I use tech like the Amish…only after careful consideration under the Big Oak.
      Of course, I’m the same way with Debt/Credit, too…so maybe too much of an outlier for general use.
      …and I’ve never had a Boss that I didn’t end up Firing, with cause.
      wacthing “Fringe” on prime(i know, i know) in my down times…”free with ads”, sigh…ad that keeps recurring, with motivational soundtrack reminiscent of REO Speedwagon…about some online legal service(“zoom”?)…who’s tagline is “Let’s make it official”…which just rubs me the wrong way all over.
      I try mightily to AVOID Imperial Entanglements!
      and here, they’re making plugging in to the giant machine of extraction and rapine a selling point?

    2. Xquacy

      An indispensable reading on the subject, also mentioned in the article is David Noble’s “Progress without People: New Technology, Unemployment and the Message of Resistance.” The first chapter of the book is also distributed as a pamphlet; “In Defense of Luddism.”

    3. marieann

      I have been a Luddite for years…..and proud of it. Sadly people just call me old fashioned and living in the past…I’d love to be insulted by being called a Luddite.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our mountain cabin’s only electricity is what comes through the landline, which goes to an old Princess phone.

        This past winter a friend and his 13 year old son and another 15 year old boy from their hood hung out for a few days, and asked him if my wife and I ‘we’re like stuck in the 1950’s or 60’s’ for we were the only adults they knew who didn’t have smartphones on them at all times.

        I took it as a compliment…

        1. John k

          I own one, but never have it with me unless wife thinks I might need it on the rare times I leave the bunker to go to the store. All that comes in is a rare junk call.

  13. IM Doc

    Good Morning.

    I have endeavored to share all I could about what is going on on the ground in my world. I have had a very emotional past 10 days – and sometimes on the ground reporting as a physician is going to have to include very emotional things. This current situation has really taken a turn for the worse. The patients who are getting to the stage of critically ill are very very ill indeed. It seems they are not responding to things that were useful in previous waves. I am not sure what that means at this point. And although, we have not seen any kids here that are critically ill, I know this is happening to some degree across the USA. Furthermore, I have now seen with my own eyes cases of other viruses that should be confined to winter now making people very sick right now. I fear that our COVID friend may be learning some new tricks.

    We now have multiple doctors and nurses on quarantine because although fully vaccinated they too have fallen ill, just as I did a few weeks ago. So I am going to be very busy and this will be the last report for a long while.

    I have two brand new students with me starting this past Monday. As I always do, I start their rotation off with a very simple statement – THIS IS STILL A NOBLE PROFESSION. I endeavor always to make sure they know that through their entire time with me.

    I have a lot in common with them as they enter their careers in this COVIDtide. When I was 25 and a brand new doctor, AIDS was raging. Death and dying hung in the air. But what kept me grounded back then was the other aspect of being an intern in that era – taking care of the WWII generation as they hit their 70s and 80s. As I always tell my students, go through your life learning more from your patients than they ever learned from you – and those WWII folks could not have been a better font for a young man.

    One of the mystical things about being a PCP is the opening up that happens much of the time right as people know they are about to leave this realm. It happens all the time. I was 24 back then. I do not need to watch Saving Private Ryan to know what life was like for a 24 year old on D Day. I saw it repeatedly in haunted eyes and words as these men were dying generations later. I did not need to watch Judgement at Nuremberg to know what it was like to see the Nazis being executed one by one – I lived it out through memories of a 24 year old who was there – spilling his soul years later to his 24 year old doctor as he lay dying. I could go on and on with kamikazes, Iwo Jima, the USS Missouri, and Pearl Harbor.

    I have also realized that patients will tell me in all kinds of ways that they are ready to go. And I best not stand in the way. And the thing that has become so important to me – this process can be just as mystical as watching a baby being born.

    And as I have learned so many times in the past, life lessons are often given to me as their physician as they are dying – it is one of the greatest gifts of my life.

    This happened this past weekend. A very elderly woman, fully vaccinated, told me in her own way that she was ready to go. This has been a very difficult struggle for her, but she took it with all the grace and dignity that I know she has. Her family has been here in this area for generations and she is as tough as nails. She gave it everything she had. But it was her time to go.

    That morning, when I walked in the room, she looked up at me – “Doctor, there are angels in this very room – Do you see them? – They are all around me. They are getting ready to take me home. I am not afraid. They are standing right behind you and have their hands on your shoulders. Take their strength. They are trying to lift you up. Let them.”

    One lesson I have learned is to not get in the way. When people are talking like that, they are indeed ready to go home.

    And I walked out of her room, and promptly fell to the floor and I started weeping like a baby. I am no longer 24, and this gets harder and harder every year. I also think there is just an overall exhaustion at play. This whole thing is really taking its toll on all of us in the hospitals. There is also some PTSD at play with me personally. Abandoning people to face this moment alone was common in the AIDS era. It was horrible then. I thought I would never see it again – but it is happening all over again now. People dying all alone.

    But her family and her church family were just not going to let that happen. A few minutes later, as I was doing her note, a chorus started to ring out from the windows in the room – an old American hymn – There were about 50 people outside her room letting her know they were right there.


    And they kept right on going with another African American hymn —





    It was a joyous occasion. And as has always been the case – I learned many many lessons.
    But the reason I bring this story up – I think we can all learn lessons.

    That last song is from an ancient story sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It has a message that should be visible to even agnostics and atheists.

    I will sum it up for you like this –
    Americans – time is running out. We need to begin to realize we are all on the same team here. If we fail to do so, it will likely lead to 40 more years in the wilderness. If we find it in ourselves to start working together, the milk and honey will be flowing. We are going to do this together or not at all.

    If you are high risk, get vaccinated NOW. All of us should be eating well, exercising, out in the sun, losing weight and getting the stress off. We should all be looking for moments in our lives that are transcendent like I described above. It is very important for all of us to know that there is a higher purpose and we must get there together.

    Live not by Lies
    Live not in fear.

      1. Shonde

        I second that especially since it explains an urgent Tweet on the FLCCC Twitter which I check out once or twice a day since I use their prevention protocol. .

        I figured here must be even more we are not being told about by the medical establishment since suddenly the FLCCC has a tweet that, in scary yellow, says that “Early Treatment is critical” Then, in scary red, the tweet basically tells patients to begin the FLCCC treatment protocol at the first sign of symptoms since “the Delta variant is more virulent and patients are deteriorating to the hospital more quickly….”

        I had been wondering what prompted that Tweet. Now your post, IM Doc, tells me why they posted that Tweet with such urgency. So thank you and all the best to you and your family.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      IM Doc: All the best to you. Thanks for this report.

      With regard to your patient seeing angels: As I often tell people (having sensed it many times in my own life), it is important not to seek transcendent gods, because the divine is immanent, close by, signaling its small presence. Which leads to angels. Once the god no longer has to be transcendent, the divine can come down to Earth to do some good.

      There is a church in Rome, very old, not very big, called Santa Maria in Aquiro. And what is it decorated with? Angels. Many angels. Angels playing musical instruments. The church is strangely beautiful and strangely not quite orthodox Catholicism–and it evokes ancient religions in which the divine manifested in daily life. Even musically.

    2. Jen

      I have a lump in my throat and there seems to be something in my eye.

      Thank you so much, IM Doc, for all you have shared with us. Thanks also, for letting us know why we may not hear from you for a while.

      1. campbeln

        Me too.

        Thanks IM Doc. Like many others have said, your words have been invaluable to me and mine to navigate this… debacle of Americana.

        And for what’s it’s worth… we’re all there with you in spirit. Stay not strong, but strong enough to weather the storm, taking help when you can and when you need it.

    3. cocomaan

      All of us should be eating well, exercising, out in the sun, losing weight and getting the stress off.

      Americans are extraordinarily unhealthy as a group. Public health officials should be furiously pushing reductions in sugar intake and increased exercise. But both of those are free and aren’t making anyone $$$$.

      Maybe I can start a 100x leveraged ETF shorting my fitness regime, giving myself incentive to get off my ass more often.

    4. Kristin Brown

      Oh IM you made me cry…I lost my dear husband last Oct 4 to stage 4 cancer that had spread to his spine..A Vietnam Vet who we learned many of his shipmates were all succumbing to the same thing due to exposure to asbestos. Was so difficult to take care of him at home the last 7 months with Covid having closed the VA and hospice centers.
      But, like you said about your dear patient he “saw” things as well…carpenters building things in the night around his bed..
      He however did not want to leave and the night he did, I was told this is not uncommon, he waited for me to leave his side at 1:30am and passed after I went to bed just less than 2 hours later.
      Earlier that evening I had called his hospice nurse and told him I was scared, that I feared he was going to die and could I dare catch some sleep….
      They often wait till we leave as well I was told later by my chaplain.
      The Docs and nurses and I took care of him for a total of 17 months…7 of those at home.
      I also think it’s true that as a PCP and myself as a Chiropractor we in the field learn so much more from our patients than we could ever return.

      Thank you for your wise and kind words…May we all come together and stop the bickering.

    5. John Zelnicker

      Thank you, IM Doc, for all you have taught us during this pandemic. Words are barely adequate to describe how important and invaluable your posts and comments have been to me and, I believe, to everyone who comes to Naked Capitalism.

      I wish you all the best in your continuing efforts to take care of your patients and educate those around you.

      Be well, stay safe, and take good care of yourself.

    6. Carla

      What extraordinary gifts you give to all of us through your commentary on this site, IM Doc. Perhaps because I’ve been blessed with good health, I’ve never encountered a physician like you. Thank you for training the next generation of doctors. Please, first and foremost, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Our country and the world need you.

    7. Carolinian

      Thank you for your sincerity. Having spent years coping with an aged parent I have some experience of doctors. And it has occurred to me that their frequent affectation of a crusty impersonal shell may be as much a coping mechanism with the sort of situations you describe. Of course in some instances it’s not an affectation but good to know that there are those in your profession who do feel our pain and don’t just view us as “cases.”

    8. The Rev Kev

      Thank you for all your reports. They have been really appreciated and listened too. Tough times ahead no doubt but please take care of your own health as one thing that this world does not have enough of is good people.

    9. petal

      IM Doc, thank you so much for all you have done for us. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Will be sending good thoughts your way. Very, very grateful.

    10. Anon

      IM Doc, your comments today brought tears to my eyes. When I was working in a nursing home, I grew accustomed to knowing when a person’s time was near. I remember a 101 year old woman who announced at lunchtime one day that she was going home to Greene County (a rural county in another part of the state). Healthwise, she seemed fine. But when I left that evening, I knew she would be dead when I returned the next day. Sure enough, that night, she went home to Greene County.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s a beautiful story, but sadly a minority in my experience ministering to the dying. Maybe the problem lies in part with our monotheistic religions that view death not as a natural part of life but as a curse (Genesis 3). It may have been an effective way of incentivizing becoming a believer, but it has made death harder for believers and non-believers alike for quite some time. (Was Ezra a nudger at heart?)

        Funny the way our minds work, but going home to a rural Greene County in the context of death reminded me of the Green River in Kentucky and another fellow who’s now gone home:

        When I die
        let my ashes float down the Green River.
        Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester Dam.
        I’ll be halfway to heaven
        with Paradise (Ky) waiting,
        just five miles away from wherever I am.

        John Prine, “Paradise

        Which brought me to another:

        Now I’m old.
        My dreams, they wander
        far away in yesterday.
        I’m going home to the Merrimack County
        And find the grass that hides my grave.
        So let the birds fly down the valley.
        Let the storms roam on the sea.
        I was born to the rainbow circle,
        stony mountain that’s home to me.

        Tom Rush, “Merrimack County

        I’ve loved both of those songs for 50 years, partly because I was a country boy living among the cosmopolitan movers- and shakers-to-be in a big city. But there was something even deeper because I knew those lines about death by heart like the rest of those songs. Maybe it was those songwriters’ intuitive wisdom that death is a return.

        The return to the root
        is peace.
        Peace: to accept what must be,
        to know what endures.
        In that knowledge is wisdom.
        Without it, ruin, disorder.

        Tao te Ching #16 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

      1. Mantid

        Yes, blessings to IM Doc for the guidance, updates and reflections such as today’s. But also thank you fellow NC commenters, Yves, Lambert et al. This place has been an inspiration both intellectually and in it’s appreciation of nature via the bird calls, animal pictures. etc.

        I have a question. I also, as a teen, went down the tunnel, saw the powerful light that was so bright it was almost clear, pure love and nonjudgmental. It told me I had to go back – and it’s worked out pretty well. My question ….. because I doubt that humans will last long on Earth, what will happen with all of the wonderful spirits and angels that have been here so long? Will they (which is we of course) “go away”? If so, where is away? Is it another planet? Were our spirits and energy from previously failed planets? Will we rest and awaken in billions of years when/if Earth re-populates with new beings?

        I loved Pierre Tielhard’s Phenomenon of Man and his proposition that spirit evolves alongside matter. Wen I passed away and then returned, I read much less philosophy because I’d discovered that love, patience and joy were the answer. After that, who needs philosophy or religion?

        Just musing and wishing IM Doc and all of us joy in these very troubled times.

    11. Pate

      A long list of admirers. Count me in but with one tiny complaint (not really): you’ve me weeping like a baby, too. God bless you!

    12. Bob Tetrault

      Thank you, Doc.
      My mother was a flight nurse in WW2, floor supe years later in a cancer ward. Her stories of graceful death were legion.

      Best wishes

    13. 1UnknownSubject

      Thank you for sharing your story IM Doc. I look forward to reading them whenever you get a chance to post.

    14. Ping

      I was in-patient hospice trained many years ago, a very profound experience that included seminars by all the medical and psychological disciplines that assist in patient transition. These professionals all reported frequent ethereal occurrences when a person is “ready” and experience presence of spiritual beings, perhaps beloved persons already passed with an enormous sense of peace and comfort at last. Often an illuminated glow was visible.

      The hospice trainers emphasized that these frequent experiences were universal and not specific to any belief system including agnostics; seeming assurance that a much more refined world exists beyond the course densities of our conflicted existence here.

      Yes, take care of yourself IM Doc

    15. zagonostra

      Uplifting, I got a chill up my spine on reading of the account of your patient seeing the angels in the room.

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry he home

      I looked over Jordan and what did I see
      Coming for to carry he home
      A band of angels coming after me
      Coming for to carry me home

      If you get there before I do
      Coming for to carry me home
      Tell all my friends I’m coming too
      Coming for to carry me home

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

    16. saywhat?

      Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
      Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?

      Did I hear you say he was meeting you here today
      to take you to his mansion in the sky?

      Thanks, Doc.

    17. Nikkikat

      IM DOC thank you for all of your wisdom and the love you have for your patients and us. Your missive today spoke to my heart.
      God blessed you with a purpose and an ability to do his work here. We look forward to hearing from you and everyone here will keep you in their hearts as some of the shared grace of the lord. He is working through you.

    18. shinola

      Not much I can add to the to the above comments except another heartfelt Thank You! for your “Reports from the front lines” so to speak.
      I hope you get a bit of time for some much deserved R&R pretty soon.

    19. Temporaryreality

      Bless you, IM Doc, for all you have done to help your patients and educate and inform the rest of us. I hope you feel the angels’ support.

      1. newcatty

        Dear IM Doc. Bless you and keep you in these times that “try men’s souls”. Angels come in many guises . You , and other care givers like you in spirit, are as has been said : Angels among us. Thank you for your kindness and dedication to your work. It would be good, if in these times, that people could embrace kindness as a manifestation of that essence that is what some call God, Goddess, with many names. The dividing of people into their respective creeds, beliefs, dogmas is starting to become more clear to people. I believe in angels. I have had a mystical experience . It doesn’t matter if someone I knows states that they are agnostic or atheist . I think what is important is how they live their lives. If kind and compassionate then that is important. If not, then any professing of their religion, or good works, are hollow.

    20. Not Even Wrong

      Thanks for sharing the personal side of your experience with us, and reminding us we’re bound together by our humanity.

      A while back on NC, someone (was it you?) recommended we read Wm. Osler’s Aequanimitas. I think for us on NC boards, you embody that much-needed balance between reason and compassion.

    21. pasha

      thank you. throughout this pandemic, your missives have been inspiring as well as informative, helping to dispel some of the terror and despair

    22. Skunk

      Thank you so much for all you do, IM Doc. I have heard similar accounts of the spiritual aspects from doctors who worked in hospice care.

      Also, to the people who posted earlier about lockdowns, wanting to avoid to lockdowns is understandable, particularly for small business owners. However, the workers who pay the price for this are often the health care workers. When the health care system is overwhelmed, it leads to the type of exhaustion that IM Doc describes. Maybe we need to strike a balance between the needs of small business owners and the needs of health care workers.

    1. newcatty

      Yeah! I am getting inspired to send some pictures of my two kitties.
      BTW, we have our monsoon( so to speak) back after a couple days without blessed rain. We are in Northern AZ. So far, no flooding in our town, but it has happened in the past. Close by there was an actual “tornado cloud” in our last storm. Spouse says that there is one in same place as before. It’sa heavy rain, with lots of lightening and thunder. Now, some heavy hail. Be safe and sound.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “China sticks with zero Covid-19 approach, leaving borders closed for now”

    Meanwhile the West is shouting to China-

    ‘Forget it. Come on in. The water’s fine!’

    (Que ominous music) Da-Dum… Da-Dum… DaDumDaDumDaDum…

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      A friend just flew into Changi airport, Singapore and is now doing his 14 days. He says the airport is like something out of the Andromeda Strain now, bunny suits, special ventilation, sealed taxis.

      A couple days ago someone alluded to a what-if-a-Covid-mutation-had-a-35-percent-death-rate? The Singapore authorities already know exactly what they’ll do, slam the gates shut, and airtight. It’s all in place and ready, and entrepot be damned. I am feeling very lucky to be here right now.

      As our dear IMDoc advises us so movingly above, get on the stick, America. Wishing misery and death on your own fellow citizens is the quickest way to the charnel house for you too. Jesus taught that.

      This train don’t carry no gamblers, no, this train….

        1. Brian Beijer

          Geez. Your and Objective Function’s comments make me envious of those fortunate enough to live in China’s sphere of influence. If only we in the West had a functioning, competent government that could make decisions without the blessing of big business and the stock market. If that were the case, it’s likely we wouldn’t have had a pandemic to begin with. Sigh.

        2. Skunk

          MERS has been crossing over from camels into humans for many years now. It hasn’t learned to spread person-to-person. But if we’ve learned anything from SARS and COVID-19, it’s that coronaviruses can sometimes emerge very rapidly, so it’s always something to keep an eye on.

      1. JEHR

        It is strange to read about closing a country up tight when we in Canada have just opened our border as wide as the heavens and invited so many in even in spite of the fact that those fully vaccinated can also transfer the virus. Very strange, we human beings!

        1. CanCyn

          Strange is one word for it. I just watched the latest presser from Ontario’s new head health doc. I cannot get over the acceptance of the inevitability of this next wave. We didn’t have to re-open gyms and restaurants, etc. Or our borders. Or allow bigger gatherings. I also cannot get over the emphasis on vaccinations. It is pretty clear by now that they alone are not going to save us. And the reporters are not asking any hard questions.
          I recently read something about the Titanic and learned that there was a bigwig from the shipping company who built the thing on board who wouldn’t allow the captain to slow the ship down in spite of the numerous iceberg warnings the were getting from other ships. He was bound and determined to get to New York on time to show off the new ship. We all know what happened (why I didn’t see the movie). This feels like the same thing. TPTB want things open again and goddamit they will be, damn the consequences.

  15. m

    While back friend sent article about Israeli drug to treat cytokine storm, trial in Greece looking good.

  16. ProNewerDeal

    ACA purchase deadline is Aug15. I had mistakenly thought it was Aug31.

    Does some ACA how-to “Buyers Guide” exist?

    I grudingly sense it is pragmatic to pick the least-bad ACA plan available Lesser of ~25 Evils, with 1 of The Worse Evils being without coverage.

    1. Pat

      What is offered depends on where you live. And it is almost impossible to tell anything about some of the most important items, network and which doctors and hospitals does it contain as they rarely have up to date information available.

      The only advice I give anymore is if you have a doctor charm or if necessary bug their office and find out which, if any, of the ACA policies they take. If you have a good relationship with the office, see if they will give you any advice off the record.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      like Pat sez, it depends…and not only on where you live.
      I’ve never had health insurance…so, pre-obamacare, i tried to sign up…
      remember, i taught myself Latin and Greek…but i couldn’t make heads or tails of the forms.
      worse, i simply didn’t have a lot of the information they demanded…when you’re cash only, precarious for 20 years, and moving around a lot(and often living in the car), one doesn’t necessarily keep every scrap of paper one should.
      but i was supposed to go through that and be denied before i could even apply for state help.
      from what i can tell…via wife’s experience…they haven’t simplified anything…and being in Texas just makes it worse.
      the gap between medicaid elig. and the lowest rung of subsidies for obamacare is wide and deep…and the pseudoenglish and coding and obfuscatory jargon throughout all but ensures that you get screwed in the end.
      to make matters worse, Rick Perry, when he was gooberner, essentially outlawed Navigators in Texas.
      we finally found one who works with the spanish company that owns all the clinics, and dialysis and whatnot out in this part of the hinterland…and she’s been super helpful with all of wife’s stuff.
      don’t know where you are, but if such saintly people are to be had in Texas, they’re surely there wherever you live…it’s just finding them.
      Good luck.
      …and there’s always the reverse mariel boatlift option: steal a boat and go to cuba…put it all on youtube.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Germany rejects calls to send military back to Afghanistan”

    So they should. This was Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s bright idea and she has plenty of them. For example, she wants the Nord Stream 2 deep-sixed and more arms exports to Saudi Arabia so you can see is just a neocon. As it turns out she was not alone. Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary also wanted to convince other nations to stay in Afghanistan after the US leaves. I have no idea what those forces could do except to provide the Taliban with target practice. Somebody should send them a memo explaining that when it’s over, it’s over-

    1. Synoia

      Lord Roberts, a UK General. from the Victorian era became a “Lord” because he extracted Britain from Afghanistan, twice.

      I refer Ben Wallace to the cockney expression “Up the Khyber pass,” which describes a situation so messed up that the is no sight of redemption or order.

      However he is Parrot, apparently echoing the words of his master, the US , with caring about the consequences of his slavish devotion to malign motives, and offering to kill British, and other, Solders.

      He would be better if he prompted a healthy scattering of many health clinics and schools.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I refer Ben Wallace to the cockney expression “Up the Khyber pass,” which describes a situation so messed up that the is no sight of redemption or order.

        Are you sure it’s not rhyming slang?

  18. petal

    Nine staff members at Maine Medical Center emergency department test positive for COVID-19
    Snip: “The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak at Maine Medical Center.

    Hospital officials said nine staff members in the emergency department tested positive for COVID-19, including some who were fully vaccinated against the virus. Those test results were reported to the Maine CDC on Aug. 5…

    The Maine Medical Association, an organization which works to support physicians, said in a statement, “Maine’s physicians first hope none of the Maine Med cases are serious. The best way out of the pandemic is vaccination. Period. We’ve been encouraged that Maine hospitals have recently announced mandates, including Maine Med. It’s shocking that they are necessary for health care workers. The vaccines are not only very safe and effective but critical when your job includes caring for sick people.””

    1. Mantid

      I love this part, “an organization which works to support physicians”….. “The best way out of the pandemic is vaccination. Period.” Yet they don’t seem privy to much of the most recent information being that vaccines are failing left and right. Even I, a humble simpleton, can link to many studies that show vaccines don’t stop transmission and have a limited “shelf life”.

      They say “The vaccines are not only very safe and effective but critical when your job includes caring for sick people”. So the nurses who are trying to care for sick people are now themselves sick, because they put all their eggs int the vaccine basket! I just don’t get this logic, or lack thereof. Wow!

  19. Don Midwest

    As always, thanks for the update IM Doc

    Schools reopening: it is a crime not to be using ivermectin for everyone. Seeing democracynow and past president of AFT talking about masks, and politics, but not knowing about the FLCCC protocols.

    By the way, Kory tweeted last night

    I hope this tweet from FLCCC comes through

    and here is Kory

    Pierre Kory, MD MPA
    @PierreKory · 14h

    I have experienced and am getting reports from FLCCC Alliance members that Delta variant patients crashing into ICU’s… are not showing responses to MATH+. We are demoralized and frightened. Early treatment is CRITICAL. Every household should take I-MASK+ upon first symptoms.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Ohio judge orders man to get a COVID-19 vaccine as part of his sentence”

    Not the first time that stuff like this has happened. I was looking for a reference to how after Pearl Harbour, judges in Hawaii would give defendants a choice between prison or donating blood. In doing so, I found that this still happened with the latest one happening in Alabama in 2015-

    1. HotFlash

      I thought medical experimentation on prisoners was illegal. Maybe just unethical and immoral?

  21. marieann

    To add to the must read cat books
    The Travelling Cat Chronicles
    Hiro Arikawa

    A very nice read.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Elon Musk to launch a satellite that will beam advertisements into space”

    This is as bad as it sounds so desperate times call for desperate solutions. It’s us or them. Apparently the Russian S-500 ‘Prometey’ missile system has the capability of hitting targets in near space. I say that we all get a GoFundMe account and kick in money for the Russians to use one of their missiles to lock onto that satellite and take it out. If we don’t stop them, it is only a matter of time before we see the night sky lit up with laser lights from satellites advertising Coca Cola or messages on the moon’s surface with some corporate logo. As far as they are concerned, it is just one more commons that they can take away from us.

    1. marym

      fwiw (???) there’s a law:

      “(a) Licensing.—Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or any other provision of law, the Secretary may not, for the launch of a payload containing any material to be used for the purposes of obtrusive space advertising—
      (1) issue or transfer a license under this chapter; or
      (2) waive the license requirements of this chapter.”

      “obtrusive space advertising
      (12) “obtrusive space advertising” means advertising in outer space that is capable of being recognized by a human being on the surface of the Earth without the aid of a telescope or other technological device.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        And a Musk or a Bezos cannot have such a law changed if they want? Or maybe just ignore it? The Artemis Accords were the big wake up for me as they contain concepts that are alien to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Such as where you can establish a commercial venture on the Moon – and then establish a massive “security zone” around it to stop others from being able to access that part of the Moon either.

  23. tegnost

    Take billions of dollars, put them in the hands of wealthy institutions and sophisticated UHNW individuals. They will seek to generate a return on capital that is attractive, but in the process, move forward a raft of sectors via technology and ingenuity.

    At some point aren’t they just passing the money back and forth among themselves? I wonder what these poeple’s private opinion is on “herd immunity” because ending the restrictions was the paramount goal of wall st adjacent, which is what all these people are regardless of their opinion about trump, who in spite of the rhetoric woven into the kente cloth, did them all solid. Actually I’d say this article had very little real value.

    1. Carolinian

      But won’t all those toilet bowls swirling in the wrong direction be disorienting? Plus they have weird stars.

      We Northern Hemisphere loyalists will be staying put.

  24. Mikel

    A big part of the story for me is this part:

    “In Texas, where roughly 9,500 patients are currently in hospitals, Gov. Greg Abbott is asking healthcare workers from other states to come and help deal with the onslaught and has urged hospitals to postpone non-emergency treatments, the Washington Post reported….”

    The underlying issue remains unaddressed: Well-staffed and well-funded healthcare systems. TX won’t be an outlier.

  25. Pat

    Here’s something to add to the too much money sloshing around discussion, something to pair with wine and art. Today is the second day of the Fasig Tipton yearling sale at Saratoga.
    The prices paid for untried and untested baby horses based on their sire and dam is mind boggling. Yesterday one went for well over a million. There were numerous at half a million plus, and more at a quarter plus.

    While some can make money no matter what, selling micro shares of a horse happens, many of these horses will barely or never see a race track and will be a large loss for the buyers. This is also a factor in some of the questions about the brutality of racing, looking at the number of deaths of horses in Baffert’s barns, well insurance is apparently a way out.

    Quite honestly this makes buying a lottery ticket look like sane financial investment.

    1. Anon

      The moratorium on politicians who have neglected to pay rent ( tithe their 10% to the Big guy ) expired last week; so Cuomo being in an arrears of some magnitude and vintage with the party who actually grants his residence in the Governor’s mansion, is being evicted by the end of the month..

  26. Bazarov

    China appears to be close to a working thorium salt reactor, having solved one of the major problems that arose in the 1940s and 1950s: the super-heated salts corrode reactor piping. Chinese scientists claim to have designed a new alloy of “nickel and molybdenum and silicon carbide” that can withstand 1000-degree molten salt without cracking.

    Moreover, technical developments in other fields over the past 70 years greatly increased the chances of success this time around. For instance, salt pumps have come a long way, as they’re used to cool solar arrays. Chinese engineers need only modify already existing pump technologies for use in specialized nuclear-thorium contexts.

    A working thorium reactor is a major breakthrough in climate change mitigation, especially for arid regions of the world, which do not have access to water needed to cool traditional reactors (thorium reactors are salt-cooled).

    Construction of the 2MW proof-of-concept reactor is set to be complete in a month, with tests beginning as early as September. The Chinese have invested billions in nuclear research, which they see as essential to meeting their carbon reduction goals.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i don’t have time, or mindspace, to dig into this, but if it plays out, that is good news.
      it’s my understanding that thorium reactors can play a part in cleaning up a lot of the spent fuel from ordinary reactors, too.

      of course, Jevon’s Paradox still applies.

      1. saywhat?

        Surely there’s a limit to Jevon’s Paradox since even the very rich can only consume so much. Plus rationing can be applied to rein in the very extravagant.

        Nice try but hair-shirts are not the ideal for mankind but a pleasant living.

        1. Charger01

          I first heard about this tech from Karl Denninger, about the Oak Ridge thorium system. Apparently it was scrapped because it wasn’t “dual purpose” for power and weapons.

          1. Michaelmas

            Charger01: Apparently it was scrapped because it wasn’t “dual purpose” for power and weapons.

            Not really true.

            Firstly: You can convert a thorium reactor into the jim-dandiest little plant for producing highly-enriched fissile weapons material imaginable. Here’s how —

            So a thorium molten salt reactor can’t melt down. Where your usual nuclear power reactor creates highly-pressurized boiling water, a thorium reactor uses a liquid fluoride solution at eight-hundred degrees Fahrenheit that’s already melted down. And since that liquid fluoride isn’t pressurized, it can’t explode, and if there’s a breach in the containment vessel the liquid simply drains out and cools.

            BUT the related talking-point re. the thorium reactor’s ‘safety’ is that since its fuel is thorium, which is only weakly radioactive — ‘fertile not fissile’ — that mitigates against proliferation. HOWEVER, that thorium still needs a small uranium-233 seed to start its chain reaction, which then breeds more U-233. In a normal thorium reactor this is useless for making a nuclear explosive device, because uranium-232 is generated alongside that U-233 and immediately decays into other elements which emit hard gamma rays that destroy any nuclear device’s electronics

            Unfortunately, a thorium reactor can be adapted to do continual chemical processing of its liquid fuel to filter out only U-233, which possesses the same critical mass as plutonium.

            See forex: –
            ‘Thorium fuel has risks’

            Secondly, the thorium reactor was originally developed for U.S. Air Force general Curtis LeMay’s nuclear-powered bomber project back in the late-1940s-early 50s.

            The idea was that just as the Navy had nuclear subs that cruised sub-surface for six months or so, Curtis’s SAC would have nuclear bombers that cruised in the stratosphere for six months or so without landing. For this to happen they needed a reactor weighing much less than your standard BWR. So they built the thorium reactor and actually flew it on a testbed plane. But they didn’t run it, because massive lead shielding was required to insulate the human pilots in the cockpit.

            So that was a big problem. In fact, the Soviets had their own nuclear-powered bomber project and they got around the problem by, essentially, dispensing with shielding. By 1963-64, every one of the 27-odd Soviet flight crew attached to the project was dead from some form of cancer created by the radiation.

            What killed the US nuclear-powered bomber project as much as the shielding-weight problem, though, was the arrival in 1953-54 of the possibility of putting fusion bombs — H-bombs — on top of ICBMs. It killed Curtis LeMay’s empire at SAC, too, and they bumped the old monster upstairs to the joint chiefs. Good thing.

            1. saywhat?

              Given the need for access to a research or power reactor to irradiate thorium, the most likely security threat stems not from terrorist organizations but from wilful proliferating nation states. [bold added]

              So not a terrorist threat, to put things in perspective.

              1. Michaelmas

                So not a terrorist threat, to put things in perspective.

                Nation states are likeliest to be able to manage this kind of conversion of a thorium reactor, yes. You wouldn’t want to see one in the hands of North Korea or Pakistan, for instance.

                1. saywhat?

                  Except North Korea and Pakistan are already nuclear powers and haven’t used nukes yet.

                  Having nukes, even if not obviously deliverable, essentially says “Thou shall not attack our country unless you have a major city or two you care to risk in exchange.” In other words, they tend to keep the peace.

                  But hey, if we see global climate change as a lesser threat than nation-states defending their sovereignty, then paranoia is not without costs.

  27. Elizabeth

    IM Doc – thank you so much for sharing your experiences and wisdom with NC. You are an incredible physician and the world needs more like you. Your last post left me teary-eyed and brought up memories of my mother’s passing – similar experience. Please take care of yourself. I look forward to reading your future postings. May God bless you and your family.

  28. Raymond Sim

    I’m short of time – if anybody’s read the paper on the Singapore outbreak would you be so kind as to tell me how the “asymptomatic” in “asymptomatic transmission” is being defined?

    If “asymptomatic transmission” doesn’t include “presymptomatic transmission” then who cares if it’s rare? If it does then it being rare in this outbreak would indicate a difference from earlier variants.

  29. ddt

    Over a generation there in Afghanistan and the reason for the overabundance of recruits for groups like the Taliban, Isis what have you were the madrassas – schools funded by the rich (saudis or whatnot) that led to fanaticism. If the west wanted real change, they could have funded alternate, more secular schools for the poor… Instead the pallets of money were for warlords etc.

    Of course the west didn’t want to address the issue. Gotta keep the forever wars going.

    1. Charger01

      Three cups of tea was a non profit way to get there, but the guy who founded it was a fraud. Jon Krakauer did a pretty lethal investigation, and discovered lots of double dealing and payoffs to locals for nonexistant schools.

  30. CarlH

    I’ve been out of the military since 1992, but I am trying to imagine my platoon’s, troop’s, and regiment’s reaction to mandatory experimental vaccines. This is going to cause turmoil of an unimaginable level throughout the ranks I suspect.

    1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      Seems like trouble for sure. Especially since the myocarditis complication affects the age group of young men that go in the service. Seems like the shots plus the rigors of basic training could be a big problem.

  31. AndrewJ

    On “Only private businesses can end the pandemic now. They just might do it” from the WaPo – this is straight up delusional, correct? Even if enough businesses enacted mandates gave us a vastly higher vaccination rate, with everything we are seeing with breakthrough infections, the virus will continue to spread from vaccinated to vaccinated.
    With all the vaccination mandate theater, I feel like I’m a sane man looking dumbfounded at a crazy world, except to the world at large I’m the crazy one.

  32. chuck roast

    Let me see if I understand Adam Tooze here. He says that there are two ways to reduce atmospheric carbon: 1.) a universal carbon tax, and 2.) a market based cap n’ trade system. 1.) Taxes are tricky, but extremely effective. This would be my view. 2.) cap n’ trade is a dead end subject to manipulation. Also my view. Our genius-boy economists overwhelmingly favor cap n’ trade. They are demonstrable geniuses.

    He says that the Paris 2015 agreement is a “bottom-up, light touch” approach to carbon reduction. OK…I had no clue, but it sounds about right. The book Making Climate Policy Work is a comprehensive critique of carbon pricing…OK. So, this book recommends a “bottom-up” approach through carbon pricing in four basic sectors of the economy. He says that the criticisms of this approach are that it is subject to “greenwashing” and manipulation. Anyway, “the spirit of the Paris deal was not to argue over a finished scheme, but to generate collective movement in the right direction.” Looks to me like they have agreed to agree.

    But, lets back up the truck…apparently “[the authors] actually favor carbon taxation as a simple and direct means of shifting resource allocations. Their criticism is directed towards cap and trade and the fantasy of markets.” What? The author’s favor what amounts to a cram-down, but propose a soft-pedal? The describe cap n’ trade as “Potemkin markets.” Nice turn of a phrase there. So, according to Tooze, the author’s completely discredit the cap n’ trade nonsense. Never the less, it appears that incrementalism will due.

    Tooze blows off the 1992 Kyoto Agreement as an “if pigs could fly” solution because China was never going to sign nor was the US Senate. In my estimation, Kyoto was the last chance to avoid what is clearly impending doom. The will of the people was there and Clinton and his hack cronies chickened out. China be damned.

    Mact nichts. Soon low tide will be lapping Washington Street, and the kids will stop looking at their hands and start figuring it out. Then the academic debates, political half-measures and adult supervision will all be swept away in the kind of fury that we only wished for in the ’60’s.

  33. R

    On the SAGE link, substance over style please!

    More worryingly than an aversion to Word formatting templates, my friend on SAGE tells me that after Matt Hancock was fired and Sajid the Banker was installed, all future scheduled regular SAGE meetings were promptly cancelled. It looks like cautious Matt and Data not Dates were both sacrificed to Freedom Day….

    On a brighter note, SAGE produced this handy table of vaccine efficacy, Pfizer vs AZ vs Modern, for the delta variant.

    I am surprised there is so little comment on this or on the UK press articles tonight that the vaccines are not sterilising and have significant leakage and herd immunity is a mirage.

    And finally, was it a joke that WHO said they would name variants after astronomical features if Greek letters ran out? Because we are going to hit the Andromeda strain pretty quickly….

  34. campbeln

    Oh my. The same team that the WHO has hired to review evidence on transmission of COVID *still* says it likely spreads by droplets and contact, rather than being airborne. (Competent countries’ scientists had concluded it was airborne in February of 2020.)

    Fauci, the CDC and the rest of the public health establishment in the US are INCOMPETENT BY CHOICE.

    So, what are their REAL ends, then?

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