Links 8/27/2021

It’s National Dog Day! Here Are Some Of NPR’s Pups NPR (David L)

Blue Whales Return to Spain After 40-Year Absence: What Does It Mean? EcoWatch

The Mysterious Coral Cousin Swarming the Palmyra Atoll Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Storm Photographer Captures the Raw Elegance and Unpredictable Power of Mother Nature [Interview] My Modern Met (David L)

An immense mystery older than Stonehenge BBC (Chuck L)

Ocean heat ‘blob’ has wide-reaching impacts (rfd)

Carbon Costs Quantified Scott Alexander (UserFriendly)

Pipeline to Water Golf Courses in Drought-Stricken West Is US’s ‘Stupidest Project’ Vice

Geoengineering marks scientific gains in U.N. report on dire climate future Reuters (Chuck L)

MIT researchers develop inflatable mind-controlled prosthetic hand Dezeen (resilc)

More And More Humans Are Growing an Extra Artery, Showing We’re Still Evolving Science Alert (Chuck L)

When the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts Punched Mick Jagger Vulture (Anthony L)



Study confirms virus variants reduce protection against COVID-19 MedicalXpress (Robert M)

U.S. officials have loosened controls on high-risk, NIH-funded research that experts fear could cause pandemics, The Post finds Washington Post

Thousands of Covid Patients Are Being Turned Away From Japan’s Hospitals Bloomberg

Japan temporarily halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna vaccine doses over claims that tiny particles were found floating in unused vials Yahoo (Kevin W)

Coronavirus: Wuhan study finds nearly half of recovered patients still had symptoms a year later South China Morning Post (fk)


IM Doc vis e-mail:

In August and September of last year – Texas Florida and the rest of the south were getting killed – and then it kind of let up by October.

And just like last year – the action moved to the Northern Tier – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Dakotas, and Nebraska and the surge started right around Labor Day – and crescendoed through NOV and DEC – just like it is right now. In OCT and NOV last year – it began the surge into the upper Midwest and New England – and the West Coast – and then eventually into the South again –

We are starting just like we did last year –

And Texas and Florida are slowly receding just like last year.

And we are on a definite upswing here – almost literally the same week it started last year.

It is so far exactly like last year as far as the timing and geography. Thankfully – the case numbers and deaths are not as high so far.

US teachers unions campaign for opening COVID-infected schools WSWS

But maybe not: Florida COVID update: 901 added deaths, largest single-day increase in pandemic history Miami Herald (allan)

Hospitalizations Drop In Orlando Amid Water Crisis From Oxygen Shortage Forbes

Nurses Who Won’t Vax Threaten Staffing Shortages Bloomberg

Jail rewarding inmates with free ramen if they get vaccinated Boing Boing (resilc)

US doctor removed for ‘$50 mask exemption letters’ BBC


Supreme Court blocks Biden’s eviction moratorium The Hill


China Plans to Ban U.S. IPOs for Data-Heavy Tech Firms Wall Street Journal

Can The Chinese Diaspora Speak? Qiao Collective (Anthony L)

Australian public fed nonsense as country heads to “irreversible” decision. Matt Barrie (Scott L)

Old Blighty

When the flawed succeed: Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and the corrosion of morals Times Literary Supplement (Anthony L)


Military Contractor CACI Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Hurting Its Profits. It’s Funding a Pro-War Think Tank. In These Times (dk)

Biden Pledges To Strike Back After Attack Kills 13 U.S. Service Members In Kabul NPR

Who are ISIS-K? Here’s what we know about the Islamic State offshoot in Afghanistan accused of planning the Kabul airport bombing ABC Australia (Kevin W)

British Melodrama Over Afghanistan Withdrawal Masks Their Own Impotence And Irrelevance Michael Tracey (UserFriendly)

Banks in Kabul reopen, drawing crowds of cash-starved Afghans Al Jazeera (resilc)

The Unexpected Places the Taliban Got Rich From Before Taking Over Afghanistan Vice

Smuggling people from Afghanistan to Turkey DW

U.S. officials provided Taliban with names of Americans, Afghan allies to evacuate Politico

Who are the Islamic State in Afghanistan? Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Infographic: Lebanon is about to run out of water Al Jazeera

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The All-Seeing “i”: Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy Edward Snowden (flora, Kevin W). Lambert also featured in Water Cooler, but a must read if you didn’t have time to get to it.

Federal Software Can Trigger Revocation of Citizenship Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

The hidden costs of American imperialism The Week


Trumpism Has Entered Its Final Form Atlantic (resilc)

Herschel Walker’s entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race The Hill

NYC federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself to close New York Daily News (BC)

Planet of Cops Freddie deBoer (UserFriendly)

Does Theresa Taylor Represent SEIU or Marcie Frost and Matt Jacobs at CalPERS? Tony Butka, LA Citywatch

Now you can own a replica of the rocket that sent Jeff Bezos into space for just $69 Business Insider. Kevin W: “For an extra twenty bucks, you can get the sex toy version.”

Blood, labs and fraud: Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes is about to go on trial Washington Post, This is gonna be FUN!

U.S. judge declines to stop J&J from splitting talc liabilities from main business Reuters

Apple CEO Poised to Get $750 Million Final Payout From Award Bloomberg (BC)

SpaceX is running low on liquid oxygen which fuels the Falcon 9 rockets because hospitals need supplies to help COVID patients Daily Mail (Kevin W)

The dream economy (We Have Lift-Off!) LA Review of Books (Anthony L)

O Canada! Stay-At-Home Macro (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Rent-a-robot: Silicon Valley’s new answer to the labor shortage in smaller U.S. factories Reuters. Right. After a robot was responsible for the $1 billion Bolt recall.

Tiny Houses It’s simpler than it looks (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Blue Duck

    > US teachers unions campaign for opening COVID-infected schools

    If you want to see just how punishing COVID is for our teachers, check out the Teachers Subreddit. They’re literally putting their bodies on the line to help our kids. I can’t believe schools are open right now.

    1. jr

      My kid sister returns to that in a week or so. I’m worried sick. If the past year is any indication her district will organizing a cluster-fruck with wings in response to Delta.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, I’ve been noticing that the school buses are running almost empty. Could be because parents are driving the kids to and from school, or because the kids aren’t going to school anymore. I don’t know.

      But I do know one fellow — he works in the food co-op — who told me that he and his wife are going to start homeschooling their kids. He was beaming with enthusiasm and he said that the rest of the family was just as excited.

      Far be it from me to be against taking the tools of learning into your own hands. I gave this fellow my homeschooling reading list, and I’ll share it here:

      The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

      The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn

      Homeschooling for Excellence by David Colfax

      I also recommend Kendall Hailey’s book, The Day I Became an Autodidact.

      It starts with her decision to do early graduation from high school. After graduation, she went home and delved into the family library.

      Her mission: To start reading the earliest classics — Aristotle and Plato — then move forward in history. She was driven to improve her writing skills, and she figured that a self-directed course in Great Books would be very helpful. It was.

      1. Medbh

        Our district stated that it would only be offering in-person classes this fall. The school’s covid procedures were a lot of hygiene theater, with generic statements like “the HVAC system delivers clean air.” We were not impressed and decided to homeschool our younger kids.

        School is supposed to start next week, and yesterday the school sends an email message stating that “after reviewing feedback from stakeholders and family groups” it will provide a virtual option to families. I suspect they thought they could force families back to in-person school, and freaked out when the saw the number of families noping out. Doesn’t take many to have a large budget impact.

        1. Lee

          Doesn’t effective HVAC require some amount of intake of outdoor air? What if you don’t live where I do, where it’s always 70 degrees and the humidity just right (I exaggerate slightly)?

          1. Medbh

            Of the 20 page document, more than a page was devoted to a list of the surface areas that will be cleaned and disinfected. Air circulation is only mentioned twice. Once in noting that buses will have “appropriate ventilation” (but no description of what that actually means, especially in winter weather), and second, that masked students will not be considered close contacts if prevention strategies, such as “increased ventilation,” were in place.

            The sad thing is our district is considered extreme for requiring masks, as compared to the rest of the state (I’m in the Midwest). I find it amazing that this is what a liberal, highly educated, high-income school district considers acceptable. It’s like they decided that requiring masks made them part of the democratic “team,” and any protective measures of real substance beyond that weren’t even considered.

    3. Jackiebass63

      There was a lot of misinformation in the article. It failed to point out the many safety conditions the teachers union wants. The article implies schools should reopen and operate like prior to Covid. That just isn’t the case. My daughter who is fully vaccinated teaches in FL. She came down with Covid at the end of the first week. Fortunately her case was mild. She returned a week later. What surprised me was her not being required to be tested before returning. Only students in the front row had their parents notified. Her school districts plan for dealing with Covid is a joke.

      1. philnc

        The WSWS often undermines its own credibility that way. Reading one of their articles can be like mining mainstream publications: you need to constantly test for context and be willing to engage in serious fact-checking. It can be exhausting — and ultimately disheartening.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “Exhausting.” Good word.

          This article was nothing more than another pretense to bang an ideological drum. Long and hard.

          Philosophical question: When is a “solution” not a “solution?” Answer: When it’s this:

          The working class must fight for a policy of elimination and eradication of the virus. This requires the shutdown of non-essential production and the closure of schools, together with universal testing, contact tracing and the isolation of infected individuals. This must be combined with the provision of full income to workers and small business owners affected by the shutdown, and a massive infusion of resources to provide high-quality remote learning for all children.

          That phantasmagorical ship has sailed.

          1. Lee

            We are instead sailing on the plague ship in which “our” economy depends upon and insists that its workforce must generate profits from the production of materially non-essential goods and services, with all the attendant premature openings up, the price measured in losses of lives and health with be high. But Wall Street and the investor class will be okay, and that’s the main thing.

      2. Ian Perkins

        The article implies schools should reopen and operate like prior to Covid.

        That’s definitely not how I read it. It refers to the full reopening of schools as “a policy that will guarantee a massive growth of infection, sickness and death among teachers, children and the population as a whole.” It goes on to say “Sending children back to school under these conditions can only be described as criminal,” and “Far from opposing the mad policy of death, the AFT and NEA, which falsely claim to represent nearly 5 million educators and staff, are aggressively campaigning for it.”

        The article may have ignored or belittled conditions demanded by the unions, but it does not seem to me to be calling for schools to be reopened and operated as in 2019.

      3. megrim

        I used to be a high school teacher. I’m gladder than ever than I left. None of their mitigation theater is/would be comforting for me. Remote school until/unless we do the zero covid. I can’t stop thinking about moving to China lately. Or at least back to the sparsely populated area of New England where I grew up, because I could at least totally isolate myself there.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Remote school until/unless we do the zero covid.

          If current “trends” hold, I think you’ll be waiting a long time for “zero covid.” Like forever, unless the virus decides to burn itself out.

          “We” have hung our pandemic hats on a leaky “vax” that prevents neither infection nor transmission, “intended” only to reduce symptoms, with periodic “boosters” to maintain the illusion of control. So, people can just keep passing it around amongst themselves, assuming repeated mRNA injections doesn’t mess something else up which they’d never admit to anyway.

          The closest you’re going to get to “zero covid” is when the “news” media gets bored, stops bangin’ you over the head with it 24/7, and moves on to a different existential horror.

    4. marcyincny

      An instance of sanity here in NY state. One of the first things done by our new governor Kathy Hochul was to mandate face masks in all schools thereby taking the onus off local school boards. (She also added some of the COVID deaths that Cuomo had buried.)

      1. Laputan

        As much as the terminally online, basic liberal wants them to be, masks aren’t a panacea.

        If we were serious about combating COVID, we would probably a little more concerned with forcing everybody back to school and work when the two most significant variables in transmission are time and proximity to exposure. Instead, we’ve flattened the solution down to masks (which aren’t that effective) since that allows us to blame the nutjobs as opposed to those in power. You know, the ones who are actually responsible for mandating people to be exposed unnecessarily.

    5. Mikel

      “Weingarten is feigning concern about the emotional and educational impact of remote learning on low-income students. “Kids need the social and emotional environments that in-school learning brings,” she said in Cincinnati, Ohio….’

      Wow…low-income students were going to schools that were Shangri-La’s. Who knew?

      The most positive thing I reacall in reading about schools and low-income students these past decades was that it was a place that helped with food insecurity in so many cases.

      1. Nikkikat

        Weingarten is a huge sell out. She is a Democratic Party puppet and has been years.
        After Bernie’s campaign ended and they were working on a party platform that would support some of the initiatives from Bernie’s campaign. Weingarten was a Hillary Clinton pick for their side so to speak. The woman was rude and fought any changes or help for teachers. She was okay with charter schools! She is working for the Biden whitehouse the same way. I don’t bother with any of her corporate elitist Dem BS.
        Weingarten is a disgrace. She is in the same league as Neera Tanden.

    6. LaRuse

      Virginia has registered its third COVID death of a child under 18 in the past 10 days. VA also hit 10% positivity rate today; our county is running at 12%. That 12% is probably before the effects of school reopening this week is registering. I give it through Labor Day and we are going to be back to remote; I don’t see the will to keep schools open if children’s funerals become a weekly occurrence.

    7. lordkoos

      A friend who is a band teacher has resigned himself to catching COVID. According to him, the teachers’ union is aligned with school administrators who are in turn in bed with WA state government. “Normalcy” must return because the economy…

      1. Michael

        “While commanding the Artemis 4 mission I had an opportunity to see the Amazon Basics xEMU unit in action. Although the suit performed well for basic tasks, I was surprised when – in the total absence of oxygen, much less air of any kind – it suddenly sparked and caught fire, nearly killing one of my crew members during an EVA.

        “Needless to say, the suit failure occurred just past the 30-day return period.

        “One star…”

    1. Kevin Carhart

      Howard Beale. I just made the dubious decision to watch an eighties comedy film which wasn’t that hot but featured an enjoyable Network satire. The central figure has initials WAY, he’s known for parodies, he’s pedestrian yet goodhearted, and this is the first and last time he will ever be invoked on Naked Capitalism.

      1. hunkerdown

        To be fair, “Wheel of Fish” illustrated both grand rules of neoliberalism in a kitschy, relatable sketch format. Other than that, yes, he’s the age-appropriate edgelord for liberal tweens, all the better to introduce them to the reductive, two-dimensional glam of the mainstream and get them partying with the CIA.

    2. Stephen V.

      A must watch:
      The following morning, Twinkle destroys St Paul’s Cathedral and the Post Office Tower, as well as squashing Michael Aspel with his huge paw, and frightening various people and dogs.
      Thanks HB.

  2. John Beech

    I find it interesting pipeline critics (water for SW Utah) say it’s because they don’t need it as much as they do. Saying the 10 communities will use it for golf courses and ornamental grass (as the excuse the people in the south want it is BS). They’re mistaken in their criticism if for no other reason than because what they use it for is their business!

    Look, if you outgrow your resources, there are solutions. Like what? One that immediately comes to mind is; how about paying the people of SW Utah for their share? After all, money talks, right? Anyway, trying to change the deal after the fact won’t cut it. Not in America because a deal is a deal.

    1. The Rev Kev

      A deal is a deal? Maybe. I have to confess finding it very strange to have that water contract talking about it being ‘in perpetuity’ however. What does that mean? Until the United States is one day dissolved? Until the heat death of the universe? So imagine that in 1901 that the US Government signed a contract with buggy-whip manufacturers to purchase 50,000 buggy-whips annually to encourage local industry ‘in perpetuity.’ Would you have the United States continue to buy 50,000 buggy-whips each and every year? Remember that agreement was signed when Warren G. Harding was President, Charlie Chaplin was making silent films and “flappers” were a thing. Time for an update.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s 7x as many human beans in Utah compared to a century ago, Mother Nature might have a say in reducing to 1/7th, and even then there might not be enough water, but at least golf might survive.


    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Not in America because a deal’s a deal


      Besides geological impertinence, the only deal that’s a deal in “America” is, Heads, the big guy wins, tails the little guy looses

      That’s THE deal.

        1. The Rev Kev

          No, no. You were right the first time. Water is always part of the geology of a region and in fact shapes it e.g. the Grand Canyon

    3. John Emerson

      Existing contracts and existing law are not compatible with concern for the environment. Yes, in America a deal is a deal, even if it was made a century ago by people who are all dead now, but that is a major part of the problem. Nothing can be done that harms existing interests, and everything that is tried will be fought tooth and nail.

      1. JBird4049

        What about the existing people needing water to live? It seems that the existing interests of those pseudo people, the corporations, are prioritized over the needs of the actual people.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        A group called The Red Nation has announced “The Red Deal,” a friendly response to The Green New Deal. A key ingredient is a return of land to indigenous peoples, noting that for all of us now, it’s “decolonization or extinction.”

        The Red Deal:

        What we seek is a world premised on Indigenous values of interspecies responsibility and balance. We seek to uplift knowledges, technologies, governance structures, and economic strategies that will make these values possible, in the immediate future and in the long term, and which always have the future health of the land at the center of their design and implementation, Indigenous or not. In this sense, decolonization is for, and benefits, everyone. It also needs our collective cooperation to succeed.

    4. Objective Ace

      I’m sympathetic to the mentality that “a deal is a deal”, but in business–if the deal you made was ruinous you declare bankruptcy and the other party doesnt benefit anyway. Sounds like we need a Lake Mead and Colorodo River bankruptcy

  3. bassmule

    Two possibly illuminating paragraphs from Zeynep’s column in today’s NY TImes:

    All of this is not to say that boosters are useless, or that we should always wait for perfect data before acting, particularly in offering boosters to high-risk groups like the immunocompromised or the elderly. However, announcing that a third Moderna or Pfizer dose will be offered soon even to young, healthy Americans when millions around the world have yet to receive a single dose, requires more than a news release. And ordinary people should not be reduced to trying to decipher such issues by following debates between individual scientists online.

    Plus, while extensive data still shows that the vaccines remain remarkably effective against severe disease and hospitalization despite the spread of Delta, social media focuses wildly on vaccinated people with nasty breakthroughs, like those laid up in bed for a week. Even before Delta, we knew some breakthroughs were possible. It’s a lack of systematic data that makes these anecdotes harder to interpret and prevents scientists from knowing whether such infections have become more common and dangerous.

    Show Me The Data

    1. ckukjones

      +1 another part:
      To assess the need and effectiveness of boosters, especially for the elderly, a trial could have begun in May or June, when the protective effect of early vaccinations might have begun to wane. By now, we’d have real data rather than a news release from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department announcing that boosters will be available to all vaccinated Americans as early as September, while at the same time saying that is subject to evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If there’s data proving the need for boosters, where is it? If not, why did federal officials issue the news release?

  4. Glen

    Rent a robot. I wonder how that works. Who would be responsible for a recall in the event of a mistake discovered after 10,000 widgets are shipped? Who’s responsible for keeping them running? Or getting them running if they are down and the line is stopped?

    Robots in factories can be maintenance intensive, and eventually wear out, and performance degrades. Normally car manufacturer’s install a whole production line and at some point close the line and sell all the robots. Its not uncommon to go on Ebay and see a whole production line of used robots for sale.

    1. griffen

      Weyland – Yutani, building better worlds & better robots. Mileages may vary depending on make and model.

      Those older editions could be a bit twitchy!

  5. zagonostra

    >Politico sells to German publishing giant Axel Springer in deal worth about $1 billion

    Curious that a German publishing company is buying up U.S. news companies. It’s more important than ever to support independent investigative journalist.

    The acquisition grows the publishing group’s portfolio in the U.S. further, adding to its ownership of Insider and Morning Brew. Axel Springer is the German publishing giant behind major news outlets like Bild and Die Welt in that country. It recently went private and continues to invest in U.S. digital media companies.

    1. Carla


      Thanks for the info, I guess. You’re right about supporting independent journalism, of course. I think FAIR is one of the best orgs in that business…

    2. hunkerdown

      Springer is known for being a neoliberal-right outfit. I seem to remember Germany wanting to invest foreign policy effort in promoting American private property democracy. The acquisition fits with such a plan.

      Time to get those samizdat pipelines set up.

  6. Ian Perkins

    Geoengineering marks scientific gains in U.N. report on dire climate future

    The article mentions squirting sulphate into the stratosphere. Calcite is another possibility, which, it is thought, would not have the effects on stratospheric ozone expected from sulphate.

    1. zagonostra

      You can find many scholarly articles on geoengineering using aluminum, barium, strontium for solar mediation. I know people don’t want to hear it, but they been testing and conducting geoengineering and weather modification for a very long time.

      1. Aumua

        Well if they had been spraying those things for the past 25 years (that’s how long the chemtrails CT’s have been saying that it’s been happening) then how would you know? Because stratospheric injection of any of those elements would certainly look nothing like the vapor trails that follow ordinary planes, and any aerosol that I can think of would never persist, thicken and spread out the way that water vapor contrails do sometimes, under the right atmospheric conditions.

        So once again: you make the claim with such certainty, but how would you know for sure that Al, Ba and/or St have been tested as solar mediation? Can you even say how such a thing could be tested accurately?

        Also if they have been doing this all long for decades now, apparently it isn’t working.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Those who think to win the world
      by doing something to it,
      I see them come to grief.
      For the world is a sacred object.
      Nothing is to be done to it.
      To do anything to it is to damage it.

      Tao te Ching #29 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

      Lao-Tzu must have been a systems thinker because schemes like this are classic examples of unintended consequences bound to happen. What will be the effects on photosynthesis on land and sea? What will changes in stratosphere wind patterns–as just occurred–do to the distribution of these human-spewed particles? Remembering our vaccines, is this a one-time deal or will it require repetition with ever-increasing chances for blowback? With this kind of “fix,” will we keep ignoring the need to quit putting more carbon into the atmosphere? Party on, Garth!

      So human technology threatens to make human civilization impossible? Great idea: don’t back down on the technology but double down. Really?

      Or we could recognize that the Earth is a huge and incomprehensibly complex system whose natural equilibrium over the past few million years has happened to be more or less in the wheelhouse of the human organism. The wonders of evolution! Screwing with that system at large scale without unintended consequences is beyond our capacity. We don’t know enough to “engineer” this planet.
      We can’t accurately predict the weather 10 days in advance. These kinds of schemes can only hasten the coming of the catastrophe.

      Now if you want to include carbon sequestration by natural means like restoring forests and prairies as a type of geo-engineering, then go for it, but even there, let the precautionary principle reign supreme.

      We have to keep from dreaming up ways to avoid simplifying and de-technologizing our lives.

      1. Ian Perkins

        For the world is a sacred object.
        Nothing is to be done to it.
        To do anything to it is to damage it.

        There may be a lot of truth in that, but we’ve been doing stuff to the world for ages. Abandoning agriculture, water management, towns and cities, fossil fuels and whatever might help undo the damage we’ve caused, though that’s far from certain. It would effectively send us back to the Stone Age.

        My guess is more and more people will start seeing solar radiation management – sticking reflective stuff in the stratosphere – as at least worth investigating in the coming few years, as the severity of the climate crisis becomes more apparent, though principal researchers in the field, such as Harvard’s Prof. David Keith, are well aware of the danger of it being used instead of reducing our emissions.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “Harvard’s Prof. David Keith”

          Another Oppenheimer?

          There is no need to go back to the Stone Age. If the world’s top 10% would stop consuming like they were modern Pharaohs, and we quit trying to robotize agriculture, that would help a lot. Giving up on perpetual growth is a sine qua non.Check out the EN-ROADS simulator and see what reducing growth does to the climate target.

          The other problem is that “solar radiation management”–a new level of hubris–treats one symptom of what we’re doing to the planet. Under the best of circumstances, it will do nothing to halt increasing ocean acidification nor will it have any impact on the destruction of soils and fresh water supplies. It’s nothing more than a diversion that misdirects us and excuses us from business as usual.

          The verses from the Tao te Ching reflect Le Guin’s input as well as Lao-Tzu. A less hyperbolic translation of the same verses (Wu) reads as follows:

          The world is a sacred vessel which must not be tampered with or grabbed after.
          To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp it is to lose it.

          We’ve learned here on NC, our window on the world, that humans we considered hunter-gatherers have been fiddling in forests before grain was ever grown along the Euphrates or Nile. Our footprint then was light because our numbers were few and our technology limited. Now our footprint on the Earth, viewed from space, almost overwhelms the natural beauty of the planet, while from here, our view of space is increasingly obscured by crowds of satellites performing just what absolutely essential service for whom? “Going back to the Stone Age” is the same kind of strawmen we were treated to in the defense of nuclear power, and even that, as much of a threat as it poses to the planet and us, is at least something we’ve done before. “Solar radiation management.” Wow.

          Are McMansions, SUVs and Caribbean cruises really worth it?

          1. Ian Perkins

            Your less hyperbolic translation of Lao-Tzu perhaps doesn’t necessitate a return to the Stone Age (not that that’s possible today; we already have 7 billion people and the results of our technology everywhere).
            Your original quote, “For the world is a sacred object. Nothing is to be done to it,” certainly seems to preclude agriculture and a whole lot more.

      2. jr

        I blame Star Trek for this! No, seriously, was there ever a greater promoter of techno-utopianism? Hundreds of millions of nerds being saturated with notions of problem free energy, food materializers, and a classless society, whose goals are knowledge, brought about by it all. Where dating seems more likely and everyone wears militarized leisure suits.

        Not to mention the aliens were always clumsy metaphors for human traits. I like my aliens inscrutable.

        1. JTMcPhee

          On classless Star Trek — not if you were some schlub “security guy or gal,” and of course all the enemies of the United Federation of Planets, each of high is pretty hierarchical with a definite top and bottom. And the UFP seems to be the apotheosis of the PMC structure, growing as it did out of Cold War political thought. Here’s one take on it:

          Always and everywhere, class divisions even in a fake world of superabundance…

          1. jonboinAR

            Remember the Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen? One of the characters was named “Guy” (IIRC). It was a play on his played-up unimportance. He lived in terror of the next battle sequence because he understood that, as an unimportant character, he was bound to be the first one sacrificed. This seemed to be a deliberate poke at the original show Star Trek and its vaunted classless-ness.

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘IM Doc vis e-mail’

    Said in a comment some time ago that what is needed is a map of the United States with a visual representation of how this virus is spreading. It may be that I have a weakness in statistics but a visualization may show trends not obvious from the stats. And with this map, the stronger the infection rate as it hits and then re-hits each area would have to be shown by the intensity of colours. A running calendar should be displayed and perhaps something to show local temperatures as well. Here is a map showing a very simple visualization of the spread of the Back Death as an example- (6:06 mins)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks. That is the sort of thing that I was talking about. Notice at the 8-second mark how it has already jumped inland? Had to be air travelers from New York that did that.

        1. montanamaven

          Air travelers from NYC to ski resorts in Utah and Denver and Montana is what I thought when I was on a flight from Montana to NYC in February 2020.

          1. juno mas

            This type of air transport was confirmed in Sun Valley, ID (ski resort) when Covid appeared during the 2020 ski season. The origins, through tracing, was determined to be vacationers from Seattle, WA

      2. Medbh

        That was a really neat visual. Covid really does move in waves, both in time and location.

        It also reminded me of how people were arguing last summer about Sturgis starting infections across the plains and Midwest. You’d think if covid was going to take off it would have hit the largest Midwest cities first, but that’s not the impression you get from this map.

    1. Mikel

      Off the cuff observations and thoughts here….

      1) Checking the reporting procedures and policies for states on cases, hospitalizations. Likely able to be done. Variables easier to asses.
      2) Checking weather/climate patterns. Can be done, but more variables.
      3) Checking migration patterns of peolple. Would involve contact tracing. Not much data for this to be able to be done.

    2. Mikel

      I also wonder how the media induced “vax wars” among people will affect family gatherings for the holidays.

    3. Rick

      I’m happy where IM Doc is it isn’t as bad, out here in Oregon it’s worse, much worse in the smaller counties.

      The timing isn’t exactly on the one year mark but it’s close.

      If anyone is interested, there are graphs and other visualizations here for Oregon, including a comparison of the small counties and the large ones (plus some graphs of the economy if that is also of interest):

        1. Rick

          You’re welcome. The animated ones remind me of Lambert’s phrase “tape-watching”, have to wonder what’s coming next.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Pipeline to Water Golf Courses in Drought-Stricken West Is US’s ‘Stupidest Project’”

    Want to know when people will be taking this issue of water pipelines seriously? When you have the equivelant of the North Dakota pipeline protests but for water pipelines. That particular protest in the past few years has seen one death, 300 injuries and nearly 500 arrests. When you get that level of protest over a water pipeline, then you will know that water access is finally being taken seriously-

    1. Questa Nota

      Add in the water export via southwest desert crops like corn, (corn!) to more deserty areas like Saudi and that increases the revulsion.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Corn is (way) bad enough, but there are Saudi-owned irrigated farms in the Southwest exporting alfalfa and hay back home. It’s madness on so many levels as to be dumbfounding…

        1. Wukchumni

          Any way we could come up with a corn & timothy based cocktail to enjoy on the 19th hole, to fill in all the blanks?

  9. John Steinbach

    “U.S. officials have loosened controls on high-risk, NIH-funded research that experts fear could cause pandemics, The Post finds”

    Incredibly, the Washington Post has an actual old-fashioned investigative report about “gain of function” research funded by NIH. Lead author is Pulitzer Prize winner, David Willman.

    “The Post identified at least 18 projects that won funding from 2012 to 2020 that appeared to include gain-of-function experiments. Reporters examined research summaries in the database, along with articles published in scientific journals, and conducted interviews with experts.
    Funding from NIH for the 18 projects totaled about $48.8 million and unfolded at 13 institutions. Eight were approved after the review committee’s power was weakened in 2017.”

  10. Wukchumni

    For what its worth dept:

    I’m noticing that many online fishwraps are now offering 6 months of their product for a measly buck, whereas the offer used to be 10-12 weeks.

    In this age of inflation on damn near everything, newspapers are bravely bucking the trend, even if the woeful ones such as the SF Chronicle tend to leave stories up for weeks at a time.

    1. tegnost

      I am bandwidth restrained and one of the many great things about NC is that it loads almost instantaneously. If I go to any newspaper it takes a long while to load…what are they doing in all that time…as I sit there waiting and thinking about that I usually bail unless there is something I really want the mainstream take on, which is rarely. sfgate and the like are among the worst offenders, and as you point out, the stories are stale.

      1. .human

        Your personal data is being dissected and disseminated while you are being served the “correct” advertisements.

    2. Mildred Montana

      @Wukchumni: “online fishwraps”

      Oxymoron alert!

      Just my experience, but I’ve found that no matter how much I maneuver my computer monitor I can’t get the online article to wrap my fish adequately.

      I suppose I could print it out and then swaddle my cod, but what a waste of money. After all, free flyers are…well, free.

      By going online, mainstream publications may have deprived us of the last use of their product.

  11. Tom Stone

    The assumption of impunity by TPTB both in regard to Covid and Global Warming is striking.
    If not outright insane.
    Delta and Lambda are bad enough, but there seems to be no recognition that more mutations are inevitable.|
    Or that the Virus does not care about the size of your pocketbook.
    Supply chains are being held together with bubblegum and duct tape, we have Millions of homeless about to hit the streets desperate and frightened in the middle of a resurgent pandemic…
    and the plan is for the right people to make a killing.
    They have a plan, you betcha, it’s UNDER CONTROL.
    Just trust the experts and do what you are told.
    What could go wrong?

    1. Ian Perkins

      I think the virus does care about the size of your pocketbook. The wealthier can afford to isolate, work from home, and so on, and afford better treatment if COVID does find them.

    2. bsun

      >Delta and Lambda are bad enough, but there seems to be no recognition that more mutations are inevitable

      Is there any decent (or even better, accessible) research on the likelihood of new variants and what they could do? Is it completely random? The other day while talking to a friend, I brought up the possibility of new variants as a reason why case numbers do, in fact, matter. He said something like “that’s not really a concern because this coronavirus actually doesn’t mutate that quickly.” But I don’t really know how these things work.

      1. CloverBee

        That kind of research is the gain-of-function research that is now such a hot controversy. While the initial wave didn’t mutate quickly, the mutation rates now seem to be picking up swiftly. I think Lambert called for a reset on what we know about COVID, because most “facts” have changed since the beginning of this, when everyone was paying attention. Your friend appears to have been working with an older set of information.

  12. WhoaMolly

    The Snowden article ‘All Seeing i‘ is extraordinary.

    He explains clearly why the new Apple policy is an irreversible disaster.

    iOS 15 will turn every iPhone, iPad, and other Apple device into a powerful computer that constantly surveils your media and reports to the cops.

    What media will it examine? When? The misgivings of encryption scientists? All objections airily waved away by slick Apple media people as “confusion”. The underlying message? “We’re gonna do it anyway, you ignorant prole.”

    I hate android, but it looks like I have to make the switch. This is a catastrophe.

    1. urblintz

      does the new law in Australia make the iphone scandal look quaint? Any insights from down under?

      “The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) will now be able to access the computers and networks of those suspected of conducting criminal activity online, and even take over their online accounts covertly, under the Identify and Disrupt bill, which was passed by the Senate on Wednesday.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        This has been a trend for a very long time with both parties in on it. Only the justification changes so it started with terrorists when they were popular and now we are up to China as a reason. Here is a brief Honest Government ad from 2018 which talks about this trend- (2:12 mins) – swearing alert.

    2. R

      Try Fairphone. It is an Android OS from the E-Foundation with the Google spyware ripped out.

      However, as another NC poster pointed out, the website requires cookies… :-(

      Plus, my cynical bet is that the E-foundation is a cut-out and the Google spyware has been replaced with something less brash by the CIA etc. But I’d rather be stalked by Uncle Sam than Jeff Bezos.

        1. WhoaMolly


          Also need to check the cheap phones at the grocery store. They will still have GPS, but not much more.

          Maybe the only realistic option is a simple phone that comes with a bundle of minutes.

          1. Glen

            LineageOS is another Android option. It is based on the open source version of Android. You have to be careful what you install for the Google Apps or you could put the spyware right back on your phone.

            They have a list of supported phones with installation instructions on the website.

    3. Questa Nota

      Nice iPhone ya got there. Shame if someone was ta brick it if ya don’t upgrade yer iOS when, er, requested.

    4. David

      Snowden, like a number of others, seems to be confusing (or conflating) two quite separate initiatives, announced (rather ineptly, I think), by Apple on the same day. One is an enhanced form of parental control. The other is a system for automatically checking uploaded hashes of pictures against those of a child porn list. And like most other commentators I’ve read, he’s not arguing against the initiative itself, so much as the hypothetical consequences at some time in the future. There’s much use in such stories of words like “could”, “might,” “possibly” and “future.” Snowden’s argument is that Apple has set a “precedent,” and that, at some stage in the future, it might possibly lose control of it. Well, possibly, but that ignores what’s already happening.

      A number of governments (including the European Commission) are known to be already looking at ways of forcing internet companies to proactively search their databases for various types of material. This will affect anyone who has an email account or uses any kind of cloud service, whether you have a smartphone or not. There’s been some speculation in the technical press that Apple was aware of this and was trying to get out ahead, by introducing a very minimalist system. We’ll see. But it’s governments you ought to be worried about here, not manufacturers and operating systems.

      1. Tom Doak

        “Guns are not the problem, it’s only a bad guy with a gun that’s the problem.”

        And the tech companies have all shown ample willingness to do what the government asks them to do, in return for being allowed to make their large profits.

      2. hunkerdown

        An audit of the private memory of a tangible personal effect is more intrusive than an audit of what are clearly “business records” under surveillance law. That claim of “public” jurisdiction over personal papers and effects is relatively novel in living history, smacking of the old days when teaching slaves to read or merely possessing a Holy Bible without proper credentials was a capital offense.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > That claim of “public” jurisdiction over personal papers and effects is relatively novel in living history, smacking of the old days when teaching slaves to read or merely possessing a Holy Bible without proper credentials was a capital offense.

          A dead letter:

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    5. Sawdust

      This just seems like a perfectly logical development of modern technology. Power does not go unused. Devices that can be used for surveillance will be used for surveillance. You can have digital technology or privacy, but not both.

  13. Wukchumni

    I’m wondering when we start seeing ‘Kabul Strong’ bumper stickers festooned on back fenders all over the ‘stanbox, as that’s our approach to bad things happening here, usually as a result of guns & bombs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You think that they will bring back yellow ribbons again for all those Americans that will be left behind in the sandbox next week? I heard that it was big in the 70s- (3:20 mins)

      Truthfully though, when the military pulls out it will be the Taliban left with the job of rounding them up and putting them on commercial aircraft to a neighbouring country where they can fly on from there.

      1. Keith

        For the Americans and Europeans, but i suspect they will need to make a couple examples of Afghans not supporting tge home team.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      And Wuk, we’ll count on your song parody skills that we enjoy around here to come up with the appropriate musical accompaniment. Something Neil Diamond related.

      1. Wukchumni

        Girl you’ll be wearing a burqa soon…

        Love you so much, can’t count all the ways
        I’d die for you girl, and all they can say is
        “He’s not your kind”

        They never get tired of puttin’ me down
        And I never know again when i’ll come around
        What I’m gonna find
        Don’t let them make up your mind
        Don’t you know

        Girl, you’ll be wearing a burqa soon
        The matter is out of my hand
        Girl, you’ll be wearing a niqab soon
        Soon you’ll need to do it for the Taliban

        I’ve been misunderstood for all of my life
        But what they’re sayin’, girl, just cuts like a knife
        “The boy’s no good”

        Well, I finally found what I’ve been looking for
        But if they get the chance, they’ll end it for sure
        Sure they would
        Baby, I’ve done all I could
        It’s up to you

        Girl, you’ll be wearing a burqa soon
        The matter is out of my hand
        Girl, you’ll be wearing a niqab soon
        Soon you’ll need to do it for the Taliban

  14. Carolinian

    Re WaPo does something right–in other news Fauci defended his decision to fund Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s experiments on the effects of lightning storms on human reanimation. Said Fauci, “the notion that these important experiments can be anything other than beneficial are the fantasies of Hollywood scriptwriters and 19th century lady novelists.”

    1. megrim

      Did he seriously just take a crack at Mary Shelley??? I guess it goes along with the Scientific American article that waved away menstruation-related side effects as “obviously just another one of those things that women are incorrectly worried about, if they’d stop stressing about the covid, they’d be super regular.”

    2. CloverBee

      Loved this quote: “The pandemic potential of these viruses is clear, but they also are vulnerable in the early stages of an outbreak to public health intervention methods. . . . GOF [gain of function] experiments are a documented, powerful tool.”

      Um, not if you don’t implement them! (masking, stopping int’l travel, quickly alerting the public)

  15. Eclair

    “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
    President Joe Biden, responding to the oh-so-convenient attacks at Kabul airport and Baron Hotel. While the US is in the midst of a total withdrawal. He could have intoned, “Remember the Maine!” Or, invoked the Gulf of Tonkin. Nah.
    It’s just my cynicism and almost complete distrust of the US corporate/government complex. He should have remarked, with a wink, “Follow the money!”

    1. David

      I doubt if Biden had much alternative, politically. He had to say something of the kind, even though he must have known it was pointless. As Jason Burke, who knows what he’s talking about, remarked:

      “The US … has just dismantled its intelligence networks and hardware, pulled out its staff, and paid off or evacuated its sources. Now the US is relying on what President Biden calls “over the horizon” counter-terrorist capacity. Yet no neighbouring country is likely to be enthusiastic about helping; and, though undoubtedly impressive, the US intelligence’s long-range tools have their limits. These cannot alone produce information of the same quality as that garnered by people on the ground.”

      In any case, the US was not the main target here: they were basically collateral damage, and they’ll be gone in a couple of days, anyway. The real target was the Taliban, and its pretensions to rule the country effectively and to provide security. The ISKP regard the Taliban as apostates and traitors because they don’t support global jihad, and they have enough fighters (somewhere between 2000 and 5000) to make life very difficult for the new rulers. Whether Burke is right that the Taliban will be able to track them down and destroy them, and whether there will be a de facto alliance of the Taliban with western powers to get rid of the ISKP, are interesting questions, to which we won’t know then answer for some time.

      1. Synoia

        Now the US is relying on what President Biden calls “over the horizon” counter-terrorist capacity

        Oh, “over the horizon” appears to be a reference to the US Space Farce.

        1. JTMcPhee

          More likely to mean B-2s and B-52s loaded up with stand-way-off cruise missiles and ‘smart bombs,’ I think. GBUs, CBUs, maybe even another MOAB if there is one currently assembled, to deposit on some declared-to-be-ISKP headquarters. There have to be corridors, free of “overflight restrictions” and antiaircraft missiles able to reach the B-52s’ altitude, through which the Big Ugly Fat Fellas can “reach out and touch someone…”

          In the meantime, the CIA will be assisting “counter-insurgents” of the right flavor to harass and interdict Taliban structures of governance…

          There is no end game in the Great Game… not even an actual goal, other than more of the same and worse, plus big wealth transfer. Like the war contractor complaining that the Great Withdrawal is impacting its profits and how that will be fixed by setting up a “thank tank” to re-start the profitable hostilities.

      2. Ian Perkins

        The Taliban probably stand a much greater chance than the US of tracking down and destroying ISK, as they speak the local languages, understand the culture, and have numerous widespread and reliable sources of information. The US never seemed to know if the limited intelligence it received was genuine or part of a feud over the opium industry.

        1. David

          That certainly seems to be the consensus, and it’s true the Taliban have all the advantages you mention, and have fought well against ISKP in the past. But there’s always a problem when rebel forces try to transition to government armies (South Sudan is a particularly awful case) especially when they have to do counter-insurgency. It’s clear that ISKP have changed their tactics: defending against suicide attacks is almost impossible unless you have very good intelligence, and even then it’s pretty tricky. If yesterday’s attack is any guide, the Taliban could be in for a difficult time.

          1. Keith

            Could be a good thing for them. Those soldiers that have been in war all thier lives wont transition to peacetime easily. Having a bogey man to hunt and kill will provide a needed distraction for them.

        2. Bill Smith

          The Taliban already say they caught 3 of them. (People associated with the suicide bombers..)

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Taliban caught one at the airport a coupla days ago and he was ‘encouraged’ to tell them about upcoming bombings. The Taliban gave the west a heads-up which lead to that warning two days ago for US, UK & Aussie citizens to stay away from the airport.

    2. Stephen T Johnson

      My guess? Send in the special forces, they’ll kill someone or other and we can all pretend they’re the bad guys – who knows, it might even be true.

    3. jr

      “ “We will hunt you down and make you pay.””

      Isn’t this what got us into Afghanistan, Joe?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. officials provided Taliban with names of Americans, Afghan allies to evacuate”

    If the US wants to get their people out, then that is the way that they are going to have to go. It tells the Taliban who is genuinely trying to get to da chopper – oops, sorry – get to the planes. But with the UK, it was just a stuff up. When they abandoned their Embassy they left all sorts of papers laying around, including names and addresses of Afghans working for them-

    They had days if not weeks to sanitize that Embassy of any such information but didn’t. On the other hand, the Taliban are being quite decent about the whole thing. In fact, they have promised “to protect the embassy and any portrait of the Queen they found from looters.” That’s jolly decent of them, old boy-

  17. Wukchumni

    It’s just my cynicism and almost complete distrust of the US corporate/government complex. He should have remarked, with a wink, “Follow the money!”

    Joe’s got an eye for an aye, Krupp’d like the rest of Humordor.

    Of course, if he had mentioned that although a horrible act, we weren’t going to let it deter us from leaving, oh the hell he’d have to pay for that statement, without invoking revenge.

    That is sadly where we stand as a country.

  18. Raymond Sim

    While I’m glad Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger, doing it in a hotel room is kind of lame. Just another example of the Kinks being the real deal.

    1. barefoot charley

      The version of the assault I read in the NYT obit told it like this: Mick bursts in at 5 in the morning shouting “Where’s my drummer?” Charlie replies “I’m not your drummer, you’re my singer!” and punches him in the face.

      Now that’s punchy.

    2. lance ringquist

      yea and dave was caught in a compromising position in high school with a fellow female student, he got the boot i think:)

  19. Mikel

    “The dream economy (We Have Lift-Off!)” LA Review of Books

    Curiosity and imagination can lead to great things, but hype is going to be the end of us all.

  20. zagonostra

    >Apple CEO Poised to Get $750 Million Final Payout From Award Bloomberg (BC)

    Makes me so proud of our free market when hard working CEO’s are rewarded with 3/4 of billion dollars. We should all applaud our democratic system over Xi’s attempt to redistribute wealth and evil communism.

    1. Tom Doak

      Also interesting timing that this goes through immediately after Apple announces plans for the spyware back door.

  21. Wukchumni

    It looks as if South Lake Tahoe will be wiped out by the Caldor Fire, and who really heard of Paradise before it burned to a crisp, but Tahoe is a different flavor, in that its a popular leisure destination with lots of well heeled types, not that a fire respects money.

    I’m hoping that at last it’ll be a wakeup call-this slow playing tragedy, to clean our forests and thin them out & reduce the tremendous amount of duff on the ground, by burning it on our terms.

    All we do is react to fires pretty much, we have to be much more pro-active in our approach.

  22. s.n.

    The curious case of Sadigh Gallery and the long-time coming arrest of its owner

    In April 2019 the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum cancelled the opening of its Rosetta Stone exhibit after University of Iowa Associate Professor Bjorn Anderson wrote to them about his concerns that 90 of the 125 objects in the exhibit appeared to be “either definite or very likely fakes.” The questionable items had been purchased by Marty Martin, the CEO of the Origins Museum Institute …

    Sumerian scholars complain that some artefacts listed as Sumerian, once depicted on the gallery’s website, are not actually written in Sumerian, or anything that even resembles that ancient language. Cuneiform scholars, in turn, reviewing cylinder seals, have reported that the writing on some suspect pieces is nothing short of nonsensical gibberish. Others have reported that some Egyptian objects and their accompanying translations have simply been copied from authentic, published museum pieces.

    I suggest that he deserves a medal for separating fools from their apparently overly-ample funds for decades

    1. Wukchumni

      Back in the day, it was all about religious relics and Mark Twain reckoned in The Innocents Abroad he’d seen enough pieces of the ‘true cross’ that he could’ve put together dozens of them.

      Nowadays everything is a religious relic or at least treated like it.

      I was listening to the Beatles channel on XM and they devoted an hour to some fellow who bought Ringo’s drum skin from their first American tour in 1964, holy, holy grail it was.

      I perpetuated fraud only once in such regards…

      My buddy Steve is the biggest Warren Spahn fan you ever met, and @ a coin show about 25 years ago, Spahn was there to sign autographs, and Steve gave me an 8 x 10 glossy to have him sign, and I totally forgot about it and felt so guilty, that is until I started practicing his signature as I felt he would do it (I had no no idea what Spahn’s signature looked like) and a few days later Steve was all smiles.

      I’d guestimate an awful lot of relics aren’t what they claim to be, fraud is the rule rather than the exception.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Good point about the commodification masquerading as sacralization. And just as we busily work to desacralize everything that can’t be commodified.

        Spahn and Sain and pray for rain. I guess you guys don’t need to be short-handed in the starting pitching department to be invoking anybody listening to make it rain.

      2. lordkoos

        After the Beatles played in Seattle the local top 40 radio station KJR bought the sheets they had slept in at the Edgewater Hotel, and then sold them to fans for something like $1 per square inch.

    2. Maritimer

      “The Prevalence of Fraud in the Art Market

      Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, estimated that forgeries of various kinds made up about 40 percent of the art works in circulation globally. Hoving was skilled at sniffing out fakes; he was the author of False Impressions: The Hunt for the Big-Time Art Fakes, a definitive text on the subject of art fraud.”
      Hoving, my friends, had pedigree—he should know.

      A lot of museums are also full of stuff that they bought when it was “hot” and then went out of fashion and then sent to the basement.

      Provenance in this racket is everything and it is bought and sold. (S&P, Moodys move over!) There is a BBC show Fake Or Fortune which, if you watch it with a NC/skeptical eye will give one a good feel about how the racket works.

      1. jr

        It’s a gem! I’m glad you liked it, here’s another independent movie “Cthulu” which is a. actually about a Dagon cult b. available to buy, rent, or watch for free on Youtube, and c. contains the truly cosmic horror of Tori Spelling:

        and here is the inestimable professional storyteller Morgan Scorpion reading a chilling Lovecraft inspired short story:

        “Black Letter Day”

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Does Theresa Taylor Represent SEIU or Marcie Frost and Matt Jacobs at CalPERS?”

    I have seen people like Theresa Taylor before. Remember those big teacher’s strikes and how they were all going out in unity but behind their backs, the union leadership was trying to make secret deals with the States that would mean that the teachers would get zip? Yeah, that is the sort of union leader that Taylor reminds me of.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Military Contractor CACI Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Hurting Its Profits. It’s Funding a Pro-War Think Tank.”

    Did a double-take when I read this headline. Anybody know of a major think tank that is not pro-war?

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      In a recent article Pepe Escobar used an apt acronym I hadn’t seen before – he said:

      The “forever war” may have been a disaster for the bombed, invaded and impoverished “Afghan people,” but it was an unmitigated success for what Ray McGovern so memorably defines as the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Counter-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex. Anyone who bought stocks of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the rest of that crowd made – literally – a killing.

      1. Eclair

        The Mickey Matt complex! Too good.

        How would the Sunday morning talking head shows survive if they had to drone on about one million new trees planted this week, one hundred small farms helped to go organic with government subsidies, amazing increase in numbers of beaver dams. Oh, and butterfly sightings are astronomical!

  25. Brooklin Bridge

    An interesting if somewhat one sided debate about Ivermectin that I don’t remember seeing in links (and hope that’s not because it was deemed baloney or past it’s sell by).
    From June 26th, so a little bit out of date.

    I say one sided because the gentleman taking the negative side of of Ivermectin (not enough “quality” studies) had a very hard time with his English first off and with his general oratory skills second which made things lop-sided. That said, the doctor arguing the pros of Ivermectin was excellent. Quite a bit of information and also a good defense of observational studies and saving lives in the trenches.

  26. cocomaan

    My favorite part of Biden’s speech yesterday was when he implied that the intel community had undertaken the attack:

    “The terrorist attack that we’ve been talking about, and worrying about, that the intelligence community had assessed, had undertaken, an attack by a group known as ISIS-K.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      > a group known as ISIS-K

      Oh, great. A new acronym we can all use to perform knowledgeability and savviness. We’ve been short on those lately, so it’s good to have a new one.

      1. Cocomaan

        The K stands for Khorasan allegedly.

        ISIS – I for “US Intel agency money” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  27. JTMcPhee

    On that Vice article on Taliban behind-the-scenes financial activity:

    I thought Weasel Pete Buttigieg, when he was not bravely daring the Insurgents to Threaten his Lily-White Life by driving a truck “outside the wire” in Kabul, was exercising his McKinsey Talents for the US military interdicting the funding of Jihadi activities:

    Can’t hardly wait for him to sort out the US transportation system Gordian Knot…

  28. LarryB

    “Japan temporarily halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna vaccine doses over claims that tiny particles were found floating in unused vials”

    Silly, those are just the microchips.

  29. Michael

    “U.S. officials have loosened controls on high-risk, NIH-funded research that experts fear could cause pandemics, The Post finds”

    I had a feeling Saint Anthony of Fauci was behind the 2017 policy change, not knowing the precise nature of Collins role as NIH head. But lobbying to publish the details of how to make a killer super-flu?

    Fauci and Collins responded by working privately to reverse the biosecurity board’s recommendation — while publicly defending the need for the research, according to interviews and records.

    As the late, great Neil Peart said “Science, like nature, must also be tamed…”

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s far better to have that knowledge widely distributed than being the exclusive property of elites who will never earn it.

  30. RockHard

    General thoughts on masking:

    1. I do some volunteer work at a local school. All teachers and staff must wear masks, for students it’s optional. Very few students wear masks.
    2. I’ve noticed the same thing at local businesses, employees are masked, customers not so much.
    3. A friend works for a local arts organization. They decided to require masks for the audience. She texted last night that she received a huge amount of very rude pushback from patrons. Now this is a large scale arts complex, this is theater, comedy, opera, the orchestra and ballet – highbrow stuff, this isn’t bubba getting all in arms, it’s wealthier people.

    The overall sentiment seems to be that masks are for employees, not free people.

    1. Keith

      In my neck of the woods, the state has mandated masks again. It is not being enforced by businesses. I dont bother with tge masks because if no one is updating tge ventilation, there is no point in wearing the masks.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I would reconsider. My understanding is that no one single remedy is sufficient to protect you. These precautions, ventilation, masks, and distance are layers of protection and are cumulative though even then not perfect.

      2. Carolinian

        Mask signs are back up here in SC. Spotty compliance compared to previous. It was never enforced.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Yep. My area too. Biden’s Mission Accomplished accomplished a nasty mission though it’s not all his fault. If convenience were God, the country would be on another spiritual plane altogether or at least so it seems. Of course our corporate minded CDC, FDA, WHO, and last but never least, our bobble-headed beyond shame main stream news media don’t help any.

    3. CloverBee

      I see the same thing in my area, and hear it from those I know. I blame the “if you’re vaxxed, ditch the masks” messaging. So family blogging stupid.
      My own mother was all about it, until I sent her articles (she watches her news), and explained she could get her grand kids in the ICU.
      I have a sister (we were very close) who won’t speak to me because I said magic vaccines aren’t working, and kids are not safe. She disinvited her in-laws from coming to visit since the kids could get sick at least. At least she is masking her kids again. Someone mentioned they wonder how this will all effect family gatherings in November, there you go.

      Honestly, the back and forth on public health measures is so so bad for the public.

    4. Ian Perkins

      All teachers and staff must wear masks, for students it’s optional. Very few students wear masks.

      We had precisely the opposite here, until schools were closed back in March. I thought it bad not just medically, but educationally – what lesson were students drawing from it? That they were potential sources of infection, while staff and teachers were not? The few I asked had vaguely assumed it was for their protection, but I very much doubt that was the motivation for the teachers who went maskless.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Alas, my delight in their misfortune has the after-taste of sawdust, but thanks for the link. You’re right about nailing them.

    2. Carolinian

      He’s still raving at length about “fascism” and Trump. I don’t get much out of Street.

      1. The last D

        Yeah, it can’t happen here. Hey, how about bringing me my bible and .357, gonna be fun, you betcha. And my beautiful photo of President Trump, all draped over Old Glory, like Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in The Manger. I think I left it in the can. Oh Jesus, Jesus!

  31. Soredemos

    >An immense mystery older than Stonehenge BBC

    I knew before even clicking on this that it would be about Gobekli Tepe, and that it would claim something to the effect that it ‘rewrites’ our understanding of the history of civilization. But in reality the only rewriting going on is that every Gobekli Tepe article is just the same one endlessly regurgitated.

    Gobekli Tepe doesn’t fundamentally alter anything. In fact it fits in perfectly with the general theory of how settled civilization happened. We don’t know specifically what Gobekli was for, and likely never will (Klaus Schmidt claiming it was the “world’s first temple” was just speculation); it may have been a religious site, a ceremonial site for some other purpose, some sort of government (or proto-government) site, or an annual meeting place for trade. Most likely is was a multi-function site that did all these things at once. But it appears to have mostly been a place used occasionally for some purpose, while the people largely lived the rest of the year elsewhere. This is exactly the type of thing you would expect to see as part of a gradual transition from pure nomadism to permanent cities.

    The recent discovery at Gobekli of some signs of permanent housing is interesting, and also what you would expect to see if it was an important site that needed to be maintained. Some people stayed there year round.

    A big deal is made about how nomads building things before the first cities supposedly doesn’t make any sense, but these aren’t the first permanent structures built by humans. We have evidence of Magdalenian culture villages large enough for hundreds of people going back as much as ten thousand years before Gobekli was built. These were mostly along rivers, so they were probably bases for fishing, and may not have been permanently inhabited.

    Humans likely knew how to plant crops for a very long time before ‘civilization’ started. They just didn’t do it because it was tedious and hard and not really worth the effort when you could just move around and live off of a consistent diet of forage and inconsistent big influxes of protein from successful hunts. However, they figured out rock carving and how to build things long before cities, and used these first for small villages, then for impressive monuments that served some social purpose. For me it’s not hard to see a direct line from the pilgrimage site of Gobekli Tepe to the permanent palaces and temples of the first cities thousands of years later.

    This may have been the path humanity continued to develop along except that someone figured out just how much food you could grow (or, perhaps more importantly, could make other people grow at spear point) along fertile riverbanks and permanent farming became worthwhile (well, worthwhile for some who accrued wealth and power anyway). And even then it seems most people had to be forced to give up their nomadic lifestyles. Against the Grain by James Scott is a very bleak book that basically suggests that ‘civilization’ was founded on slavery. In his telling, most of humanity continued to live as hunter-gatherers for thousands of years on the outskirts of the cities that left behind ruins and written records that we’ve come to think of as ‘civilization’. Essentially, most of humanity lived outside the cities and were healthier and happier, and people from the cities regularly fled to live with the ‘barbarians’. The nomads would regularly raid the cities to get manufacturers they themselves couldn’t produce. This pattern endured for millennia, even as settled life slowly became the dominant form. We still have remnant nomad cultures to this day.

    The length of human history actually makes my brain hurt if I try to ponder it for too long. It’s ultimately arbitrary when you decide to start the clock, but if we say that the first anatomically modern human is about 300,000 years ago, the entirety of written history is only 1/60th of that time. The gap between Gobekli Tepe and the first Sumerian cities is nearly as long as the time from those cities to now. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 4600 years old and would have been ancient to most of the people we think of as ancient Egyptians. It was already 1300 years old when Ramses II was fighting Hittites at Kadesh.

  32. Wukchumni

    I heard the location for the big Fed conference was selected based on the concept that they could toss accumulated debt accrued from the past year in a hole in Jackson, interestingly not all that different than the plot to Dumb and Dumber where the duo writes IOU’s and places them in a briefcase as they spend money taken from same briefcase that isn’t theirs.

  33. Howard Beale IV

    Turns out wearing a mask is Biblical (Leviticus 13:45-46, NIV):

    [45] “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,[a] cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ [46] As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That’s a great find. I guess the Christian anti-maskers would counter by saying: 1) Covid is not a skin disease; and 2) the mask requirement applied only to those visibly “diseased.”

      Nevertheless, that’s a fascinating precedent. And where did the idea come from in the Iron Age?

    1. Soredemos

      There was no “wave of anti-Asian violence” in the United States in 2020 and 2021. The prostitutes in Atlanta were killed because of their profession by a sex-obsessed religious nutjob, not because they were Asian. We’ve seen almost exactly this kind of media generated scenario before, when everyone ‘knew’ the Orlando nightclub was targeted because it was a gay club, then it turned out during the trial that it was just the first convenient target the shooter found (not that this has stopped people just repeating that it was a targeted anti-gay attack).

      The ‘wave’ was entirely a media created fiction. You could actually see them making it up in real time. It’s why they put so much focus on the percentage increase in hate crimes. Because once you looked at the raw numbers you saw things like a jump from three hate crimes against Asians in NYC in 2019 to twenty-eight in 2020. That’s not a wave; that’s a modest increase from a handful to a larger handful. That’s not something systemic.

      Also, the implication was always that this was a plague of racist white people unleashing their hate, because ‘Trump’s America’ and all that. But then you had things like the video of the black guy stomping on an elderly Asian man’s head, which obviously didn’t fit that narrative.

  34. Ian Perkins

    Biden is threatening Iran with ‘other options’ if it doesn’t submit to US demands.
    “We’re putting diplomacy first and see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options,” he said.
    I was under the impression diplomacy meant something like talking, not what has been touted as one of the harshest sanctions regimes ever, looking the other way when Israel attacks, and assassinating Soleimani.

  35. Alex

    Re tiny houses article, I find the statements “for $x (0.1% of budget of Y)” we could end homelessness” not very well thought-through. Perhaps Philadelphia can afford to give its current homeless decent houses. When the word about it gets around, wouldn’t many people travel there to get free housing? If it’s done on a national scale, there is the same issue with migrants: the reward for coming to the US becomes much bigger. Maybe there are ways to mitigate it but these questions are just never asked.

    1. Soredemos

      Why is that supposedly a problem? Is it really so bad to just made housing a human right? If you want to end the plague of people without houses, the most obvious first step…is to give them houses.

      Implicit in your comment is the belief that some of these people are just lazy and want free stuff. We shouldn’t ‘reward’ people for coming by giving them housing. This is an extremely common meme among the bougie about the homeless, which I can only assume is born out of having no conception of what it’s like to be homeless. In reality one sane would willingly choose to be a vagrant, certainly not in the hellhole that is the United States.

      ‘Is it practical or affordable’ isn’t the actual concern of critics. Their actual concern is moral revulsion at the very concept that the ‘undeserving’ might be getting something for free, particularly if it’s paid for by their tax dollars.

      These very same people will then turn around and complain about the homeless wandering their neighborhoods. Never out of any concern for the homeless, but out of outrage that it’s impacting the aesthetics and property values of where they live.

      I say this as someone who is solidly middle-class: the middle-class despises vagrants. They despise them like they despise almost nothing else. The middle-class invariably thinks of themselves as good people, and will even do things like give to charities. But those charities must operate out of sight and out of mind. The problem must always be kept at a remove from the cushy neighborhoods. This is the real reason people always complain that the cops can’t arrest vagrants anymore.

      I volunteer at a homeless charity that gives out food and clothes and provides showers, that is located right in the middle of a middle-class suburb. The homeowners hate it, and do everything they can do undermine it. Just recently they contrived to get it denied status as a warming shelter in the winter (after the charity coughed up $5,000 to apply for the permit). Well, if another snap-freeze happens this winter and the neighborhood wakes up to the frozen corpses of homeless people scattered around the streets, they don’t get to complain about anything. Inevitably they’ll still complain though.

      1. hunkerdown

        We shouldn’t reward people for coming, period, especially not while in the middle of a cold civil war and when they haven’t been specifically invited to stay. Who are you to impose material obligations on me, anyway? That’s where all that internationalist no-borders discourse goes off the rails: it does not solve the problem of labor exploitation, the totalism of middle-class thought, or inadequate public services because a) entrants self-select to perpetuate the problems b) it devalues place because PMCs don’t believe in it c) it’s idealistic and therefore not serious.

        Rights have to be asserted. Homes aren’t something over which the USA has significant intellectual property rights. People can assert their rights anywhere, with or without the American origin mythos.

        1. Soredemos

          “Who are you to impose material obligations on me, anyway?”

          Then why bother having a society at all? Universal material benefits by definition impose an obligation on some. You’re basically making a libertarian argument (though libertarians will never fully commit to it. If you ask them “who are you to impose a property claim to the exclusion of others?”, they have no response other than vague allusions to ‘natural law’).

          1. hunkerdown

            I am indeed making a left-libertarian argument, and while I value his polymathic contributions toward the deprecation of myth and conceit, I “am” not a Marxist. I am making an argument from consent: that open-ended debts are by definition odious, and that you have no warrant to export our surplus to people who did not in any way participate in producing it, and are in danger of losing your rights as a class to dispose of our surplus. I further submit that any valor you receive from imposing debts on me is stolen.

            Yes, that ruins the entitlement to relations of command. Literally nothing of value is lost.

      2. Alex

        I don’t think you have engaged with my argument. It was very simple: providing free housing will attract people who don’t have it currently, so you need to deal not only with current homeless but also with everyone who is going to come in future from elsewhere. I think this makes such policy unfeasible on a city or state level, unless you suggest to set up checkpoints on the border and turn away all newcomers.

        I don’t have experience being or working with homeless, so maybe I’m missing something. I’m genuinely interested what kind of policies you would suggest to prevent the problem I described, or why it would not occur in the first place.

  36. juno mas

    RE: Gobekli tepe (11,000 year old paleoarcheology site.

    The site , originally discovered about 20 years ago, is not accurately described geographically. The article describes it as a mountain top. It is not. I Google Earthed the location and the site is actually not nearly the high point in its locale. It’s in a canyon (of sorts) and the site is more a small hill or mound.

    It is clear to see (in GE) that the site likely was part of a wetland area (stream flow) when the climate was wetter 11,000 years ago. A major river course north of the site has been damned for modern agriculture today.

    I would imagine the elevation of this mound site kept it above any flooding while providing protection from intruders and access to abundant wetland habitat (like in areas of Iraq (near the Gulf).

    The archeology is fascinating, for sure. (The civilization created sculptures (not just pictures) of extant animals.)

    1. Milton

      Using an Esri topograhic basemap, the site is indeed on a bluff–higher than the surrounding area, with only one other point in the immediate vincinity being about 3 meters higher. It could be, when looking in a steroscopic view, you are encountering a similar issue as when viewing bridges that look flat or concave. You will get a better idea of the site by using streetview.

      1. juno mas

        Yes, it is on a “bluff” higher than the land that is immediately adjacent. Now, zoom out from the site so that you can view the large dammed reservoir that is north of Gobelki tepe. You can see that the site is actually surrounded by much higher ground and that the regional topography indicates the site was likely part of an ancient (11,000 years ago) natural water course.

        Answer this question: How was the site covered with earth (soil/dirt)? It is an excavated site, Was the deposition airborne or waterborne? It certainly was not gravity borne (landslide). These are questions that can be answered through geological examination of the site.

Comments are closed.