Links 8/31/2021

The government is raising an army of parasitic wasps to fight invasive beetles Popular Science (Re Silc).

Yes, the IPCC report was bad. But we can still salvage a livable planet. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

New Orleans-area levees provided mix of good and bad responses to devastating Hurricane Ida Times-Picayune

The Great American Science Heist The Intercept

Russian cosmonauts find new cracks in ISS module Reuters

Want To Find Planet Nine? Here’s a Treasure Map. Syfy Wire


The Hard Covid-19 Questions We’re Not Asking Joseph G. Allen, Helen Jenkins NYT. “We think much of the confusion and disagreement among scientists and nonexperts alike comes down to undefined and sometimes conflicting goals in responding to the pandemic. What are we actually trying to achieve in the United States?” The adults in the room have been in charge for nine months. One would think that would have been a sufficient gestation period for a coherent Covid policy. Unless, on policy, what we see is what we get. Good, well-meaning pair of writers, but come on, man.

Mob Morality and the Unvaxxed Charles Eisenstein. Though I disagree with some of the author’s views on “the science,” I think this piece’s views on “social contagion” are spot on.

* * *

Experimental investigation of indoor aerosol dispersion and accumulation in the context of COVID-19: Effects of masks and ventilation Physics of Fluids (Dave in Austin). From the Abstract: “[T]he apparent exhalation filtration efficiency is significantly lower than the ideal filtration efficiency of the mask material. Nevertheless, high-efficiency masks, such as the KN95, still offer substantially higher apparent filtration efficiencies (60% and 46% for R95 and KN95 masks, respectively) than the more commonly used cloth (10%) and surgical masks (12%), and therefore are still the recommended choice in mitigating airborne disease transmission indoors. The results also suggest that, while higher ventilation capacities are required to fully mitigate aerosol build-up, even relatively low air-change rates (2h−1) lead to lower aerosol build-up compared to the best performing mask in an unventilated space.”

Impact of Delta on viral burden and vaccine effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the UK (preprint) medRviv. From the Abstract: “We investigated the effectiveness of the vaccines in a large community-based survey of randomly selected households across the UK…. With Delta, infections occurring following two vaccinations had similar peak viral burden to those in unvaccinated individuals. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination still reduces new infections, but effectiveness and attenuation of peak viral burden are reduced with Delta.” Pfizer (BNT162b2), Oxford, AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1), and Moderna (mRNA-1273).

* * *

CDC Panel Unanimously Backs Pfizer Vax, Fortifying FDA Approval MedScape

Inside Pfizer’s labs, ‘variant hunters’ race to stay ahead of the pandemic’s next twist STAT

Why the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Is Called Comirnaty Smithsonian. Community, immunity, and mRNA. Somebody was paid a lot of money for this. I don’t know why they don’t just stick with “BNT162b2,” which has many more possibilities for graphic treatment, reads like the name of K-Pop band, and is appropriately dystopian. Embrace the suck, as it were.

Booster shots won’t stop the delta variant. Here’s the math to prove it. WaPo

New Covid variant detected in South Africa has already been found in England as scientists warn it is the ‘most mutated variant so far’ Daily Mail. C.1.2.


Xi Jinping says Big Tech crackdown is making progress, calls for Communist Party to ‘guide’ companies South China Morning Post

China on Monday announced a drastic cut to children’s online gaming time France24

Senior Beijing official was guest of honour at Hong Kong hotpot dinner that broke Covid rules – report Hong Kong Free Press. Was it a birthday party? A fund-raiser?


China Doesn’t Want Myanmar’s NLD Dissolved: Informed Sources The Irrawaddy. No doubt.

China Opens Rail Line With Access to Indian Ocean via Myanmar The Irrawaddy. The conscience of the international community:

Soldiers arrest family of politician, 79, vowing to go out guns blazing against Tatmadaw Coconuts. Like I said, wake me when a Tatmadaw unit goes over to the NUG. Myanmar fighting:

Myanmar Crisis (PDF) The Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. Special issue of “a professional journal of the Department of the Air Force.” Still worth a look.

The Fall of Afghanistan Echoes in Myanmar The Diplomat

Indonesia schools start cautious reopening after devastating COVID-19 wave Channel News Asia

Australian state warns COVID-19 hospitalisations to peak in October Reuters. Gladys, good job.


Nobody Cares Who Lost Afghanistan Washington Monthly. The warmongers in the Acela Corridor care, and they are sharing their feelings with us, at great length and in high volume. Talking heads got hit right where it hurts: In the wallet. And little Madison needs their dressage lessons!

The Completion Of The Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Nothing To Celebrate Caitlin Johnstone. Taliban in Kabul:

Can readers speak to the discipline shown by the Taliban, especially with regard to their guns?

AfPak takes on a new meaning with the rise of the Taliban The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Afghanistan and the weaponized immigrant life cycle Yasha Levine


Schools told to prepare for food shortages The Grocer

Mistreatment of transport workers adds to supply chain pressures FT

Where France’s Covid-19 ‘health pass’ is now mandatory France24. Handy chart:

Polish court to rule on primacy of EU law amid deepening row with Brussels Reuters

The Caribbean

Venezuela: Making the Most of the Mexican Breakthrough The Crisis Group

UN Peacekeepers Fathered Dozens Of Children In Haiti. The Women They Exploited Are Trying To Get Child Support. Buzzfeed. And then there’s cholera.

Biden Administration

Biden meets grieving families and honors troops killed in Afghanistan attack LA Times

Powell Dodging a Tantrum May Have Been the Easy Part Bloomberg

AOC, Tlaib and Pressley urge Biden to replace Fed chair Powell Axios

Health Care

In reopening Tennessee penicillin plant, Jackson Healthcare relieves the US’ dependence on China-made antibiotics Fierce Pharma

Police State Watch

This State’s Legislators Want to Overhaul the System That Lets Law Enforcement Keep People’s Money Pro Publica

One Day—and One Night—in the Kitchen at Les Halles The New Yorker. From 2000. Shame about the venue, but Anthony Bourdain!

Class Warfare

QR codes replace service staff as pandemic spurs automation in US FT

The rich get richer and rates get lower FT

The Death of the Starter Home? A Wealth of Common Sense

My Weird Obsession With the Dark Underbelly of Amusement Parks Jezebel. Defunctland:

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Sawdust

      The Bulletin piece offers basically nothing in the way of specifics. The closest it gets to discussing how emissions might be reduced is by mentioning that the price of renewables is going down. Renewables have been getting cheaper for fifty years and carbon emissions have only grown in that time.

      1. solarjay

        I really like Chris Hedges but he also gave michael moores thoroughly and easily debunked film a glowing interview. This is another one of those terribly poor interviews. Ignoring for the moment all the lies/mistakes/untruths ( solar panels don’t last, don’t pay for them selves, wind is bad, diesel good, electricity is only 20% etc) what maybe someone else can tell me is what they didn’t really answer. What is their solution?
        I don’t disagree at all that we in the US especially need to reduce our energy/material footprint by a large amount. Remember that the pandemic only reduced our energy consumption by 7%.

        So again what are they proposing in concrete steps?

        PS the one part I did like was the fact that they pointed out that reducing your electrical consumption to 0 carbon is not being 100% green. Yes that’s correct.

        1. KLG

          Thoroughly debunked by whom? Yes, the film was a polemic that pounded on more than a few PMC nerves, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong. The best part, or worst depending on your point of view, of the film was Bill McKibben’s utter dissembling when asked who funds He looked like the complete shill he decries. And I have read and admired his work since The End of Nature (1989)…

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Numerous ‘facts’ in the film have been thoroughly debunked, there is a full list with links on this site. Even a former fact-checker employed by Moore has criticised it. The documentary is a disgrace, there are far too many simple and easy to check factual errors, and many of its ‘insights’ come straight from the Koch Brothers institute of truth. There are plenty of grounds to criticise the mainstream environmental movement, that film is not one of them.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I watched “Planet of the Humans” a few times now. I guess I should watch it again tonight. I read the critique at Climate News and the critique it pointed to at Yale Climate Connections — I think I must have watched a different “Planet of the Humans” than that watched by either of those critiques. The “Planet of the Humans” I watched looked like a series of different versions of the scene in “Wizard of Oz” where Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal the Great Oz.

              The Yale Climate Connection had a short list of false claims in ‘Planet’: “…that renewable energy sources aren’t any better than fossil fuels (they are!), that the environmental movement has sold out to those energy interests (they haven’t!), and that the real problem is population growth (it’s not!).” As I recall Planet never claimed that ‘renewables’ are no better than fossil fuels. Planet did not claim that the environmental movement has sold out to energy interests. It showed how many icons of the environmental movement have embarrassing ties to Big Money. I recall population growth received minor mention in Planet.

              Examine the critique’s claim that Planet made a “shallow dismissal of electric vehicles.” Planet pointed out that electric vehicles must rely on the Grid which is and appears set to remain powered by fossil fuels. To me that pointed to the “assume-a-can-opener” quality of the Green assumptions of magical creation of energy storage and a smart Grid to move to all renewable energy.

              The long list of sources for “Fact-checking climate and clean energy claims” demonstrates to me that Planet gored some very large Ox. Little or nothing the little people want has much play in u.s. politics. Given how little the environmental movement has accomplished in roughly fifty years — neatly captured by the name of as the CO2 ppm moves toward 420 — leaves me wondering where the “Green New Deal”, “renewables” … and the “Net Zero” hoopla comes from.

              1. Soredemos

                Regardless of whether individual claims can be nitpicked or not, the underlying point of Planet of the Humans, that we’re screwed, is accurate. And most people don’t want to hear that. Most people want to believe that a Green New Deal or Biden’s pledges to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2035 are sufficient. Hardly anyone is talking about the fact that we need to substantially alter how we live. This isn’t a problem that can be solved with band-aid fixes (build better houses, build more wind farms, buy electric cars, etc). Carbon emissions haven’t just held steady, they keep going up year after year.

                Also population is the single most important underlying problem. Not necessarily the absolute number of people, but that so many people want to live as Americans.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > Also population is the single most important underlying problem. Not necessarily the absolute number of people, but that so many people want to live as Americans.

                  Those two sentences are very far from equivalent.

              2. lyman alpha blob

                Longer comment with links got caught in moderation, but I agree. Not the best “debunking” with those three bullet points – the first is a straw man as you noted and the other two are correct.

                We’ve seen reports for years about various environmental groups partnering with the corporations they are ostensibly fighting, enabling them to do some greenwashing while the climate keeps getting worse. The Sierra Club notes a partnership with Amazon(!) on its website right now.

                And of course we can’t keep adding people to this planet indefinitely and expect “green technology” to save us. Overpopulation is the #1 problem. If we had 7 million people burning fossil fuels it likely wouldn’t be a problem, and neither would many other issues like water shortages, etc. But have 7 or 8 billion people doing it, well you get a world that’s on fire like we have right now.

            2. Pelham

              Re that full list: Some examples yes, some maybe not. There have been lots of “debunkers” of the film, as well as supporters, but as someone who’s only moderately well-informed on the subject (probably more so than 90% of readers), I’ve been thoroughly fed up for a number of years now.

              When it comes to debunking the Moore film, for instance, the sheer quantity and virulence of the pro-sustainables arguments in the context of profoundly negative progress over the past few decades in actually reducing CO2 in the atmosphere suggests something is radically wrong not just in fixing climate change but in the entire discourse around the subject. To take another example, the argument that the cost of wind and solar is steadily coming down and we’re about to turn a corner rings hollow when we’ve long since zoomed past the 350 ppm corner and are barreling into uncharted climate territory.

          2. lance ringquist

            they are frauds.

            you cannot be a environmentalist and a free trader at the same time. when has he ever spoken out against free trade?

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Like you, I like Hedges, but when he gets onto environmental matters he is out of his depth. It amazes me that people who declare themselves to be part of the left will (apparently unconsciously) directly repeat Koch brothers and Exxon talking points.

          1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

            So is is your contention, contra Hedges (and Moore, et al), that consumerism and perpetual geometric economic growth are possible through the correct investment in and application of non-ff based energy sources?

            It seems to me that’s what Hedges is contending is not possible. in fact I think he says as much in the opening of the segment.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              No, it is not my contention.

              But to discuss the problems, you need to have some understanding of the technical and scientific issues we face. Hedges makes enough pretty basic factual errors (as solar jay has outlined above) to show that he really hasn’t bothered to learn about them. Since he can’t be bothered, then I can’t be bothered to listen to anything he says on this particular topic.

              1. Pelham

                But the technical and scientific issues as I’ve explored them appear to lead down an endless rabbit warren of arguments on either side. I feel like a marble on an animated roulette wheel that’s (purposely mixing metaphors) pursuing a set of constantly moving goalposts.

            2. Henry Moon Pie

              Thomas Neuburger, whose post on the carbon offsetting scam just proceeds these Links, has an excellent essay, “Can We Have Both Industrial Civilization and a Habitable Planet?,” that is relevant to this discussion (and wherein Yves is quoted).

              He identifies the following positions on our present and future relationship with the Earth: Deep Greens; Lifestylists; Bright Greens; Environmental Managers; Cornucopians; Transhumanists. Check out the definitions to see where you fit, but this thread seems to involve the first three or four categories.

              As much as our media is obsessed with PermaWar and IdPol, this is the debate that will shape our future.

          2. Nikkikat

            The Koch brothers do not exist. There is a Koch brother. Charles Koch is very adept at seeing where to make a buck. Like cutting down trees to make wood pellets for fuel. Destroying the trees we need and and filling the air with more poison. I seriously doubt that Chris hedges is as out of his depth as you think. I have seen him lecture on environmental issues for years. If anyone is spewing lies or out of their depth it would NOT be Chris Hedges. Again, it’s too late for solar panels and Elon Musk is laughing his way to the bank, selling his electric cars to fools who believe Bill McKibbon and Democratic Party talking points. I would have to wonder why Texas has so many wind turbines if it’s such a good thing.

            1. Futility

              Capitalism is nothing else but a huge machine for the destruction of the world. But one cannot point this out in polite company. It simply does not compute for most people, since it requires abnegating one’s way of life and everything that seemed possible just a little while ago which is the reason the ff industry and others fight so hard to keep the image going.
              The lockdown during the pandemic was able to make a small dent into our consumption but we reverted back immediately as soon as seemed feasible. The visceral reactions to masking were only a small prelude to what would ensue if this discussion were really be opened up.
              The only maybe feasible solution would be to actively take CO2 out of the atmosphere. All other efforts so far did not make a dent into the ever increasing amount of carbon the huge numbers of humans spew into the atmosphere every day (of which the small fraction living in industrialized nations is responsible for most of it, and of those the upper 10% contribute the bulk.). Having a virtually inexhaustible supply of energy shining down on us every day should make this possible. But it could also be techno-optimism that gets the better of me and we simply are thoroughly (family-blogged).

        3. Nikkikat

          Believe what will solar jay. However, Moore is mostly correct. The solar/electric industry and fake environmentalist like McKibbon and others won’t be our saviors. It is too late for that and they know it. So go ahead with your feel good electric cars and the rest of it. Our gooses are cooked along with the planet.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              About those organizations. From Pk’s link –

              As for the integrity of the environmental movement, while there are always bad actors, Bill McKibben and the Sierra Club are not among them.

              Calling them ‘bad’ actors may be a bit of a strawman – I don’t think anyone is claiming the Sierra Club is out to thwart the environmental movement – but ‘compromised’ definitely seems apt.

              Their own website notes a partnership with Amazon, as if having your toothpaste special delivered in a cardboard box and other packaging is going to help the environment as long as the Sierra Club gets a minuscule kickback:

              And there have been many other reports over the years about the Sierra Club going for the big corporate money, seemingly against its original mission. A quick search turns up this one:

              Perhaps they stopped because they got caught?

              My spouse fights similar battles against the environmental organization she is employed by, trying to stop the directors who came from the corporate world from partnering with the likes of Amazon, etc. who are only too happy to kick in a few bucks for some nice greenwashing PR.

              I have to wonder how many of those who are so quick to debunk Planet of the Humans actually watched it. While they may be incorrect about some of the technological specs, they are not wrong in concluding that “green” technology is not going to save us from catastrophe. That’s going to take a severe reduction in the amount of energy we all use, solar or otherwise, as well as a reduction in population.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Backcountry rangers I know tend to loathe Sierra Club groups almost as much as Boy Scout troops, so it isn’t just what the ‘club’ is doing to the environment, they tend to be jerks in the wilderness as an added bonus.

                2. Ping

                  I long ago became disillusioned/suspicious of many so called environmental orgs.

                  Especially while participating in a highly publicized pitched objection to helicopter netting bighorn sheep from other herds and transplanting them to a mountain ridge bordering Tucson to a habitat rated low-fair —billed as species conservation.
                  Approx a third of the sheep died from transport or subsequently and never established very well as a herd while mountain lions were eradicated to reduce predation.

                  It was not hard to discover Tucson headquartered Safari Club International secretly funded much of the bighorn operation, (thru Arizona Game and Fish whom SCI controls), prized for trophy.

                  In the course of research I was disheartened to discover how many national and international so-called wildlife advocacy orgs embraced or accepted the Safari Club mantra “we have to kill them to save them” like National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund and many others. I imagine that is not hard to do with money and clout.

                  I know of no major environmental org that takes a principled stand against the SCI machinery influential in state and federal wildlife policy specializing in weakening or eliminating species and environmental protection to fuel elaborate competitive vanity trophy hunting that has now killed millions of animals including rare and endangered and on behalf of corporations that seek to privatize public lands.

              1. Anthony Stegman

                One of the main issues mainstream environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Nature Conservancy, and the like have is they think they can make progress by taking the middle path – accept corporate funding while still pushing a so-called Green agenda. As we’ve seen with Clinton and Obama the “Middle Way” will not get you there. We need bold steps, radical steps, revolutionary steps, not little baby steps. Electric vehicles are baby steps; they may be worse than that.

          1. John

            The IPCC report doesn’t acknowledge what I call the ” Mother Nature ” climate plan or cause and effect. Eventually all the slow walking to carbon abatement will arrive at the natural shutdown of the sources. Hurricanes, fires, inland and coastal flooding will shut down industrial civilization to the point where the man made carbon sources will mostly stop. It’s herd immunity applied to climate change. Let the corpses pile up, as Boris said. Mother Nature doesn’t care.

            1. lordkoos

              Not to mention there will be a huge hit to food production due to increased warming, drought, and the disappearance of reservoirs and glaciers. We are already seeing the front edge of this in places like California.

        4. haywood

          “Debunked”? Nonsense.

          Planet of the Humans surely has debatable stats or even false claims. But the movie is a smart inquiry into an environmental movement funded by billionaires, energy companies, and hedge funds. The instant attacks by Tesla environmental activists and academics was an organized campaign to discredit the movie and suppress its reach. I’d do the same if I was them because that movie clearly lays out how their work is funded by dirty money that’s more concerned with the interests of capital than the interests of the environment.

          This article does a pretty good dissecting the opposition campaign and the interests that are at play.

          1. BeliTsari

            Thank you for the link. Several of us cited a sane review, actually flagged & removed on Common Dreams; as insufficiently cherry-picked, spittle flecked upscale vehemence, devoid of flaming strawmen. Any number of us had cycled glass well used containers to organic food containers to coops, in used clothing, carefully sourced efficient, well… EVERYTHING; cognizant of how PV, batteries, LEDs, geothermal, wind, hydro-electric & PHEV >5 decades; as all vary as to carbon footprint, extractive & toxic waste issues. But the offending impudent question was, cui bono? Supplanting pragmatic solutions with BS, industry friendly boondoggles and delaying mitigation with virtue-signalling charade, then announcing, “too late, HIPPIES! Maybe Gates, Bezos, Bloomberg & Musk will save us all, with geo-engineering, GE monoculture agribusiness, carbon sequestration, water privatizing & bailing out 45-60yr old reactors? If you ‘pologize, like I know you’re going to?


            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I read the review of “Planet of the Humans” that you referenced. I have the same problem with that review that I have had with the other reviews I have read panning the film. The film did very little arguing. I heard many questions and suggestions to elicit answers — without pressing a point. I heard various interviews from people — possibly selected to present a point of view — but I remain naive enough to believe that the filmmaker Gibbs was asking people on-the-ground to answer questions he brought without an ax to grind. I am so naive that I trusted what the solar panel salesmen interviewed at the sales convention told Gibbs. There were moments in the film where Gibbs became a little preachy toward the end — the very part of the film that occupied a large part of the review you referenced. In my point of view, the film and its filmmaker Gibbs made no false claims. I also believe, again naively perhaps, that Gibbs was asking questions he came to without prejudice. The visual images spoke for themselves. I also believe Gibbs might have made a very different film had he received different answers to his questions. Did some of the people Gibbs interviewed exaggerate their claims or make plainly false claims? I do not know. At this point I am ready to view the various accounting tricks used by both sides to promote one figure of merit or demerit versus another as a project akin to sifting through the claims of two teams of Anderson Accounts reporting measures of a firm, one team praising its performance and the other panning it.

        5. Roger

          Their solution is called degrowth and severe limitations on wasteful consumption (yachts, international tourism, consumerism in general), all complete anathema to the growth-oriented “official” green movements. The latter are selling bunkum, that technology will magically replace fossil fuels with renewables in a relatively seamless fashion.

          This is the “pretend and extend” formula of the Dems (and Liberals in Canada); pretend that you are actually doing something meaningful about climate change (switch coal for gas which is just as bad when the fugitive methane is taken into account, buy a Tesla, go for a march/stroll against climate change and feel good about yourself by “extinction rebelling” like well behaved apolitical “rebellious” children etc.) while facilitating the ongoing survival of the fossil fuel industry (like Biden increasing drilling permits while mouthing off green platitudes). The movie got a lot of people butt hurt, because for all its failings it pointed out some discomfiting truths for the official greens, such as

    2. Synoia

      Yes, the IPCC report was bad. But we can still salvage a livable planet.

      But we won’t. Too many industries (Especially Oil, Chemical and Transportation) would have to be banned, IMHO it would require a rollback to the pre-industrial age, which would require significant population loss.

      The population loss is probably baked in. I postulate human extinction is also baked in, as very few humans have hunter/gatherer survival skills.

      1. lordkoos

        The people who survive will be the so-called “primitive” populations who have retained those basic skills.

        1. Wukchumni

          A place like the Andaman Islands should do well.

          Primitive people who realized what was happening when the sea started retreating during the 2004 tsunami and they all fled to higher ground.

          The Onge tribe, for example, have lived on Little Andaman for between 30,000 and 50,000 years and, though they are on the verge of extinction, almost all of the 100 or so people left seem to have survived the 26 December quake and the devastating waves which followed.

          Their folklore talks of “huge shaking of ground followed by high wall of water”, according to Manish Chandi, an environmental protection worker who has studied the tribes and spoke to some Onges after the disaster.

          “When the earthquakes struck, the Onges moved to higher ground deep inside their forest and escaped the fury of the waves that entered the settlements,” he told the BBC News website after talking to some of the inhabitants who knew some Hindi as well as their own ancient languages.

          He said another aboriginal people – the Jarawa on South and Middle Andaman – also fled to higher ground before the waves.

          “There’s clear evidence that the aboriginals know about tsunamis and they know how to deal with them,” he said.

    3. Soredemos

      The thing with the IPCC reports is that however bad they are, they always represent the baseline. They’re inherently conservative (as in cautious and restrained, not as in right-wing) documents, both because that is the natural inclination of scientists, and because these reports are highly political and need to be signed off on by dozens of different actors. The reality is worse than they deem likely.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The IPCC reports are a baseline for guiding experts and politicians in what is acceptable in statements about Climate Chaos. The many climate models the IPCC works with, do include nonlinear effects — variously modeled and known — the predictions attributed from nonlinear effects are correctly deprecated. Although much is known about the Earth’s climate much is unknown, or at best known without precision. I believe the IPCC uses this uncertainty to promote the gradual linear effects driving Climate Chaos suggesting relatively slow gradual changes — the “Carbon Budget” exemplifies this intent. I fear the Earth’s climate will soon manifest accelerating nonlinear effects, some of them tipping points. I would amplify the conclusion of your comment: The reality is much much worse than they deem likely.

  1. Tom Stone

    I pay attention to both Muzzle discipline (Is the muzzle of the weapon pointing in a safe direction at all times?) and trigger discipline.
    Is the trigger finger on the trigger or alongside the frame of the weapon?
    Those two questions are the key to safe gun handling.

    I’m grieving this morning for the loss of both of my favorite places to camp this year, Domingo Springs in Lassen and Silver lake on Hwy 88.
    My family has camped at Silver lake since 1922 and I first camped there in 1954 at less than 1 year of age.
    I had 3 days there earlier this year with my Daughter and extended family, she also has camped there since she was 1 year old.

    I will find out if Plasse’s still stands in the next few days.

    1. Eric

      Generally speaking, the individuals in the video displayed decent trigger discipline (the one guy who went from finger on frame to finger on trigger while being video’d seems to have done it purposefully). Muzzle discipline was also not bad – most had the weapon in a muzzle-down position. I trained my children from an extremely young age (though they don’t shoot) to follow the four rules of gun safety no matter what: always assume every gun is loaded; never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to kill; always know what is behind your target; never place your finger on the trigger unless you intend to pull the trigger. These Afghan troops seem to generally adhere to at least two of these rules.

      1. russell1200

        Agree. Not perfect, but better than the typical crowd that goes to a Walmart carrying ARs to prove their point about how they have the right to open carry.

        1. jr

          And a bit better than these two lovable scamps:

          Literally taking his hand off the grip to point in anger, meanwhile she holds her gun at nearly the right angle to blow his brains out.

          In the Afghan video at 26 seconds, the guy with what looks like a belt fed machine gun could blow away his buddy on his left and the cameraman if he sneezes, most of the others seem to have it right

    2. Wukchumni

      I’m grieving this morning for the loss of both of my favorite places to camp this year, Domingo Springs in Lassen and Silver lake on Hwy 88.

      Sorry for your loss, the new normal sucks!

      All of the national forests in Cali are now closed through September 17th, so we can expect way crowded conditions here in Sequoia NP-which is a bit smoky, but nowhere all that close to a conflagration and unlike Yosemite NP, you don’t need a reservation to get in.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Wuk, I know you’re an advocate for controlled burning as one way of addressing the forest fires out your way. What do you think of this article describing Native people’s “cultural fires:”

        The land that colonizers encountered was abundant because Native people looked to the future and built an environment that was sustaining and life giving.

        Fire is a prime example of this ingenuity. While the diverse California Native cultures use fire for different purposes, cultural fire practitioners around the state have used low intensity, controlled fire to reduce pests in acorns (a key traditional food staple), stimulate regeneration of native plants, reduce invasive species, increase water use efficiency, create habitat for wildlife, and improve the quality of basketry material.

        These benefits of cultural fire stewardship have been documented by Native people as well as researchers. In the midst of catastrophic uncontrolled fires, climate change, and traditional food shortages, cultural fire has the potential to increase the health of Native communities by protecting healthy traditional foods such as acorn, salmon, and huckleberries. Access to traditional foods is crucial in communities that are food deserts and where rates of diabetes and heart disease can be three times the national average.

        And that mention of acorns brought to mind Octavia Butler’s Parable series that becomes more prescient almost by the day.

        1. Wukchumni


          Acorns were 2/3rds of the Native American diet here, oh so very important, and oak tree savannas such as the one that has me surrounded @ the moment tend not to burn like pine forests do, its leaves being a poor substitute for pine needles in terms of catching fire.

          We had a fire here 4 years ago of about 500 acres that raced up a steep embankment dotted with 200-300 year old blue oak trees and it hadn’t burned in donkey’s years, and a week later after the conflagration ran it’s course, I looked up @ the ridge with a pair of binoculars and not 1 tree had perished.

          In the Water Cooler, there’s an account of an 1875 wildfire in the Sequoia grove here where John Muir more or less hung out in the midst of, which you’d never catch me doing. It gives you an idea of the lack of intensity, only 25 years after we forbade the Native Americans from setting fire to the understory every fall without fail.

          1. IF

            The NPS allows people to hike and backpack during some controlled burns. It certainly is memorable to walk over still smoldering ashes and see some giants burning inside like pizza ovens.

    3. jhg

      In regards to weapon discipline, These individuals seems average about it. They are pointing their weapons generally up and maybe towards people, the weapons are most certainly loaded and with a round in the chamber. The guy on the left put his finger onto the trigger of his AK purposefully while still pointing in the general direction of the photographer.

      I also assume they don’t spend a lot of time on the range with qualified instructors. To me, they look like experienced irregular fighters who are very comfortable with their weapons and don’t spend much time worrying about trigger discipline.

      I was taught never to point a firearm at anyone, always assume it is loaded and prove that it is unloaded, never chamber a round and put your finger on the trigger unless the firearm is pointed downrange and you are ready to shoot.

      1. kgw

        These folks aren’t on a range…When I participated in practical pistol shooting courses on ranges, the firearms were either unloaded, slide locked open on a surface or else holstered. At rifle ranges, during the break between open firing, the action was open, no cartridges in the rifle. There were range officers to maintain these rules.

        Personally, I would never let a muzzle point at me: stepping out of its way, and reminding the offender to mind the muzzle of the firearm.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    the UK “food shortage”…looks to be a labor crisis.
    but that’s little better than implied, here
    then:”FWD is continuing to call on the government to look again at introducing a temporary visa scheme to allow HGV drivers from the EU to fill vacancies and relieve the pressure.”

    anything but pay people more and treat them right.

    waiting on links to arrive, i rambled around…and read this:

    while more or less on the money about the Jobs Suck epiphany, it too sort of glosses over the hostility towards working folks…for as long as i can remember for the low wage/service—but now rapidly climbing the ladder, along with precarity.
    vibe antennae say these writers may be biting their tongues, as it were.
    i’ve spoken before about the disbelief i encounter when i talk about my poor-people problems with my pmc relatives…even had a big thread hoisted about it.
    one relatively positive effect of this weirdness we’ve been living in since the pandemic began is that people like my brother have suddenly realised what people like me have known all along….jobs suck, and your boss(however disembodied) hates you.
    here, at the end of empire(it is to be hoped), when “all that was solid melts into air,” i hope that “we” can finally take a hard look at what we’ve been doing to ourselves.
    prior to the politicisation of the pandemic, and what followed, a majority of the small-c conservatives i’m embedded in were ready for just that kind of conversation.
    it saddens…and only somewhat surprises…me that the discourse has devolved so far that wearing a mask during a pandemic is seen in some circles as akin to wanking in church….sufficiently egregious to justify violence.
    weaponised propaganda and mindf&ck, by “both sides”, nixed what could have been a golden opportunity to forestall, at least, some of the more dire side effects of an imperial retreat and/or paradigm shift.

    1. Eclair

      ” …..the hostility towards working folks…for as long as i can remember for the low wage/service—but now rapidly climbing the ladder, along with precarity.”

      Amfortas, I have noticed this summer, among my ‘liberal” women friends (voted for Biden, NPR-listeners, all Black Lives Matter, etc.), a deplorable tendency to disparage workers. They constantly bring up stories of friends who can’t find ‘reliable’ employees, tales of long waits at restaurants due to lack of staff, etc. Combine this with constant kvetching about county road repair workers ‘standing around, leaning on their shovels.’ (County jobs, while they don’t pay that much, actually have decent medical and retirement benefits.) I gently remind them that unless these laggards were out there plowing roads in the below-freezing dark snowy 3AM nights of January and February, they would be stuck in their houses for days. (My brother-in-law, bless his heart, worked the night shift in winter for decades.)

      These friends are working class, or small business people. One couple, in their 70’s, still works, cleaning houses for rich people at a local, nationally-known, gated vacation community. They have worked all their lives, raised five kids, have a big garden, raise chickens and pigs for their food, but still don’t have sufficient retirement funds. Yet, they idolize their wealthy clients and talk about how the young folk just don’t have the same work ethic. I remind them that wages have been stagnant for 30 years, while medical and education costs have sky-rocketed, all while the incomes and wealth of the top 10% have quintupled, but it doesn’t seem to sink in.

      A do believe there is an insidious propaganda was being waged to demonize the working class. They just don’t deserve a $15 dollar minimum wage, the slackers.

      1. John Beech

        Eclair is spot on, in my opinion, with the last comment vice insidious propaganda regarding slackers not deserving $15/hr. I, too, have noticed this. Funny thing how people who vote Republican largely shouldn’t, yet do.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i caught this phenomenon while visiting my dad some years ago…he had inherited a small manufacturing business in houston…but it was not the 80’s any more.
        so he sold it off and had an office, no shop, and a stable of welders and whatnot…each with their own tools…to call upon when there was a job.
        he was kvetching that his top welder wanted a raise to pay for his new(ish) truck….you know, “the nerve of the guy!”,lol.
        i looked at him and reminded:” this guy has to haul around materials and his own tools, including a welder and torch, and go all over houston for you…he needs reliable transportation, and that costs money. it is NOT 1970…where a truck could be had for very little, could be worked on, and everything else was cheap relative to wages. quit yer bitchin and give the dude a raise…you don’t need a bigger boat.”
        he was, to say the least, taken aback.
        but he gave the guy a raise.
        just needed reminding where he came from.

      3. JP

        In the course of my career I have employed a fair number of people at various skill levels. Employees come in lots of flavors. Are there slackers? Well yeah but they are most often policed by the rest of the crew that has to pick up their slack. In my experience if you want cream to rise to the top you need to impose a gravitational field. There has to be a path for advancement and an opportunity to learn skills. If the work place is simply drudgery, who can blame the disinterested. In my one foray into corporate structure I was appalled by my CEO’s directive that he didn’t want me cross training employees because they would want more money. But make no mistake, if you want good employees the disinterested must be sorted out. You can’t build a successful team out of people who do as little as possible or have no commitment to the outcome.

        That said, most people who grouse about workers have no idea what it is to actually work. Those that not only know how to work but often fine some joy in it were programmed thus by their parents.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “In my experience if you want cream to rise to the top you need to impose a gravitational field.”
          in my case, with these kids, its that they can do more….sans the bullshit motivational language they’ve heard all their lives.
          simply that i believe in them.

          i’ve overlooked some pretty major flaws in their work to this end(leaks in chickenhouse roof…i put a bunch of gutters under them, that i liberated from the dump…that now feed into a barrel, that waters the chickens, and overflows into the Main Run.)
          they, in turn, learned that they are more than the shitbirds they were lead to believe they were , by every system in this country.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            one of these kids in particular, whom we sort of adopted when he was 10, when we lived in town for a time, i’m pretty damned proud of.
            mom died in prison, dad died in a drug bust, lived with his grandad as a polyp, aunts treated him like a polyp…until we got him.
            he works for the city now…getting his CDL…etc.
            he knows i’ll make room out here for him, if he ever needs it.

            1. JP

              It seems one of the primary achievements in life is growing up. We do what we can to mentor the youth. There are successes as well as failures. After all we live in an evolutionary universe.

    2. jonboinAR

      I’ll quibble in a minor way with you. I’ve never had a boss who quite appeared to hate me. They just jollily behaved as though they were doing a big humanitarian favor paying me anything at all, and that we were all on the same team, all in it together, etc. Then he (just drawing a picture of one), would hop into his bitchen’ Porsche, and roar off to the next job-site he had. Maybe he secretly hated us for taking his money, but he seemed to think more that he had a good team of guys and everyone was doing great, even though the rest of us drove older trucks, and mostly rented (He owned a nice condo in Malibu.) I don’t know if these observations make any difference…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        perhaps its more the nature of bosshood…i’ve had “good” bosses, after all…even some i liked to hang around with.
        but that power relation is always there, and known…even if covered over with niceties.
        i try mightily to be a good boss when i can afford workers out here…paid lunch on me and a six after work and everything…but i’m still the shotcaller, and the guy who hands out the money.

        most bosses i’ve had…and there were many, because i was in the habit of firing them when i’d had enough…were selfish at their cores…and justified by the worst parts of the bible, and the whole anticommie cold war craziness one would expect in an exurb of houston in the 80’s.
        all that bootstraps, baby…and that peculiar Geckoan Religion(“greed is good”) that was everywhere back then…
        bosses since then have been much the same, at root(like once you got to know them, so they felt comfortable running their mouth, or cheating you on yer check)…but with better PR skills…coincident, i might add, with the general softening of manner of the time that i’ve noted before, regarding overt racist behavior.
        it became uncool in their circles, and the broader mediated environment, to be assholes quite so openly as they had before.
        think transition from reagantimes to clintontimes.
        nevertheless, i stick by the assessment…essentially.

        1. lordkoos

          Like the relationship of landlords and tenants, the worker/boss relationship has built-in tensions that can never be totally resolved even in the best of circumstances. Worker-owned cooperatives are one solution… but that’s probably too close to communism for most Americans. And from what I’ve seen of local co-ops, as soon as they become successful financially they become um, co-opted… and end up with some MBA running the show for profit. I gave up my membership in the Seattle food co-op for that reason — I knew it was the beginning of the end when they started selling $80 organic cotton shirts etc.

      2. LifelongLib

        Your boss may have started out driving an older truck and renting, only getting the Porsche and condo later. He may well have felt that he earned them, and that you and your friends could too if you tried. I know many relatively well-off people who just aren’t aware of the role luck plays in life…

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          one must consider the time….
          i couldn’t do what my grandaddy did, today…start up a sheetmetal shop from a barn, and turn it into a minor player in houston industry.
          the conditions are not there.
          grandad never forgot how lucky he was, in this specific sense.
          many other…if not most…successful people do.

          they forget how much luck played into it…who they met and when, what they were doing and when…what were the general economic conditions at the time…etc.
          Papaw learned his trade in the army-airforce, in the Pacific Theater.
          he had the post-war american manufacturing boom to ride.
          he never forgot it.
          the specific conditions…and “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”.

          1. JP

            OK, simply not true. Someone with smarts and training can always find a way to go from start-up to successful business. I have mentored several people who have quit their job and gone into business for themselves and made a lot more money then I ever have. Luck is an under rated aspect but perseverance and the ability to learn from failure are more important. There is always opportunity for the ones who can.

        2. Even keel

          Re: food shortages:

          A piece of anecdata:
          My daughter’s school here in Oregon announced that their lunch program is suspended for the first part of the year. Their suppliers do not have food to sell to them.

  3. Richard H Caldwell

    Comirmaty. Most stupid pharmanym, or most creepy? I can’t decide. Classic example of under-ventilated, cloistered group-think.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I know you meant to type “comirnaty.” Easy typos–just another issue with this really stupid name, and on my screen, the “r” blends with the “n” to look like an “m” unless I bring the screen closer.

      Remember back when ibuprofen became available OTC, and the brief marketing duel between “advil” and “nuprin” began?

      The people “spoke,” and nuprin is no more.

      My prediction is that moderna’s “SpikeVax” wins this competition hands down.

    2. Wukchumni

      The worst part about a schvitzkreig by the germ’ans is the rapid movement of tropes as they bear down on you, and resistance is feudal in that some caterwaul over the imposition position.

    3. Mikel

      What was wrong with PBT19-1? Short for Pfizer/Biotech Covid 19 Vaccine #1.

      Would be easier for people, who are bearing all the risk with no legal recourse, to keep track of what is being talked about and offered at any given time. And when an actual new version of the shot comes out it would be PBT19-2, etc….
      Oh, that’s right. Confusion is the order of the day….

    4. Sawdust

      I can already hear “Brought to you by Comirnaty” in the voice of the NPR ad reader who sounds like he has a smile that goes all the way around his head.

  4. Ian Perkins

    Why the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Is Called Comirnaty

    It was quickly dubbed commie RNA by the usual suspects!

      1. Eclair

        Love me some “My Fair Lady” in the morning! Am now humming “Get me to the church on time …”

  5. zagonostra

    >Mob Morality and the Unvaxxed Charles Eisenstein.

    Fascism taps into, exploits, and institutionalizes a deeper instinct. The practice of creating dehumanized classes of people and then murdering them is older than history. It emerges again and again under all political systems. Our own is not exempt. The campaign against the unvaccinated, garbed in the white lab coat of Science, munitioned with biased data, and waving the pennant of altruism, channels a brutal, ancient impulse.

    Good article. Unfortunately, that primal root that is being taped into is not amenable to reason, logic, or deliberation. Were I to send this link to friends or family it would not sway them, I’m am guessing and I will test, it would not open their eyes to see the danger in mandating vax passports. The truth is there only for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

    Gustave Lebon is the father of “Crowd Psychology”, I’m surprised the article didn’t refer to him. Does a crowd even have a “morality?” Lebon argued that it has the potential for great acts of self-sacrifice and mayhem, the latter being the more common in spontaneous eruptions .

      1. Darthbobber

        Niemoller understates his “not speaking out.” When they came for the Communists and Socialists he was actively cheering, because he was a former Freikorps officer and an adherent of the stab in the back myth. The Socialists and Communists were traitors to the fatherland.

        When they came for the Jews he quibbled over the disorderly way in which the Nazis proceeded, but was on record as regarding Jewish influence as a “cancer” that needed to be excised from the body politic.

        When he finally opposed them it was over a comparatively minor issue of church governance.

    1. Carolinian

      That article does go on. Undoubtedly it expresses the attitudes common in some Dem quarters, but the analogy with pogroms etc fails when you consider that the potential targets are millions of fellow Americans and not a small religious minority. A civil war would be a lot more threatening to the perpetrators than a lynching.

      But if the pandemic fixation continues for another year who knows? Perhaps one reason we’ve had a surge this summer is from the strong public desire for the whole thing to be over.

    2. Maritimer

      I read Victor Klemperer’s I Will Bear Witness years ago. Klemperer wrote the book little believing it would ever be published. He was an accomplished linguist and a great student and analyst of how the Nazis used and manipulated language.

      Little did I know that like Klemperer I would live through similar times. Of course, it is much worse today with eighty years of scientific behavioural and other research to enable the assault on Humanity.

  6. Ian Perkins

    New Covid variant detected in South Africa has already been found in England as scientists warn it is the ‘most mutated variant so far’

    It’s not just the most mutated variant so far, as the title says; it appears to have the fastest mutation rate seen so far, which isn’t very comforting.

    “In their study scientists found the strain, which descends from the C.1 strain that was first spotted amid the first wave of the pandemic, has a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year.
    This rate is nearly double the current global mutation rate seen in any other Variant of Concern (VOC) so far.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      This is really disturbing this. In thinking about variations earlier, I had always assumed that the ones that would arise would be ones to make it more lethal or ones to make it more easily spread. But one to make variations appear more rapidly is a game-changer. At the rate that it mutates, you are talking about a new variation a week. Sure, lots of them will be dead ends for this virus but some won’t. What is this virus? It is so small in structure but it is like it has superpowers. If one variant evolved next year that would not only kill people but make them re-animate shortly after, I would not be surprised.

      1. Ian Perkins

        It is so small in structure but it is like it has superpowers.

        I think coronaviruses, even this new variant, have far lower mutation rates than many RNA viruses. Mutation is what living things do, especially when they make thousands of ‘babies’ at a time, and can afford to waste a few in the ‘hope’ one will have superpowers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          By small in structure I meant to refer to the size of its genome which is pretty damn small. Can you imagine what Coronavirus would be like if it was a tank on a battlefield? Every time you went up against it, it would having something new – thicker ballistics armour, longer-range guns, faster speeds, more powerful engines. And these upgrades would be ongoing and then faster?

    2. Glossolalia

      Whoever first wrote the headline, “Experts worried that new variant may be more deadly and transmissible” should have copyrighted it. They’d be rich by now.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its a known fact that affecting an insouciant and sardonic internet presence is a powerful anti-viral drug. Coronaviruses positively cower in terror in the face of sarcasm.

        2. TalkingCargo

          I can’t speak for the OP, but saying that the “new variant may be more deadly and transmissible” is logically equivalent to saying that the “new variant may be less deadly and transmissible”.

          But we gotta keep amping up the fear factor.

  7. Ian Perkins

    UN Peacekeepers Fathered Dozens Of Children In Haiti. The Women They Exploited Are Trying To Get Child Support.

    I read somewhere that the databases of firms doing test-your-DNA are being used to help track down fathers. If the father isn’t in one himself, a close relative often is. Of course, few poor Haitian women can do this themselves.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is a consistent problem with UN peacekeeping. There was a massive problem with HIV in Cambodia following the posting of UN peacekeepers there in the early 1990’s.

      I know a few officers who were on various UN postings, such as Lebanon and they say its possible, but very difficult to keep the level of discipline with soldiers to prevent this. Sometimes it involves giving them plenty of R&R in other countries (or on base, where comings and goings can be controlled). But this level of discipline is imposed by the national officers so there is a vast difference between different UN contingents. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to guess which countries armies are the worst offenders.

    2. The Rev Kev

      And will the UN deny that UN Peacekeepers fathered those children like they denied that they also introduced cholera into the island?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Why, yes they will.

        See the movie The Whistleblower, which is a first person account of an american woman’s experience with the rabid wild human animals, I mean u.n. “peacekeepers,” in Bosnia, and the “response” from he highest echelons of u.n. “management.”

        Spoiler alert: boys will be boys. They have “needs.”

        1. Ian Perkins

          An excellent movie, though not for entertainment. And the US State Department and UN had their ‘needs’ too – different, but just as indifferent to those of the trafficked women.

    3. Eclair

      Stories such as this make me feel more benevolent towards societies that practice purdah. Especially when their countries are occupied by UN and/or NATO forces.

      I can imagine a few organizational changes that would reduce what is essentially the rape and sexual exploitation of local women (and young boys as well?) Mandatory vasectomies for male troops sent on ‘peacekeeping’ missions. Or the development of a male birth control drug. Mandatory withholding of 50% of salary, to go into a fund for the support of future children fathered by the troops.

      But, the official hand-flapping and ‘boys will be boys’ attitude of the top brass and politicians will reign supreme. After all, a large part of the ‘mission’ of occupation is to inject the conqueror’s DNA into the local population. The fact that these DNA carriers, aka ‘half-breeds’ or ‘mixed race’ by-blows, will likely spend their lives rejected by the locals, just adds to the social and economic disintegration of the conquered.

      If this rant sounds bitter and cynical, it is. I’m just tired of relatively privileged white women whinging about having to suffer being pawed by their male bosses in order to get a promotion (and I have done that,) when we’re being so cavalier about poor, black and brown women being raped (yes, having sex with a soldier because you don’t have enough money to buy food, is, or should be, rape,) impregnated and left to raise their children in a devastated society.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Vasectomies and long-action birth control will do damn nothing to stop the rape and trafficking — maybe increase it as those would reduce the tiny frisson of fear that a few soldiers have of fathering an unwanted child. STDs are a big issue with the US and other militaries — “the troops” won;t even use the free condoms that the Brass make a show of passing out, along with those (chuckle) admonitory sermons by the NCOs about “safe practices…”

        And the variations and permutations are just kind of a fun look at human nature:

  8. fjallstrom

    A question for the commentariat.

    If the analogy to Covid is smoke, then does the standard square cloth masks actually help? If I remember correctly, in early 2020 within the droplet paradigm, the argument was to stop droplets from escaping the mouth, hence the line that a mask may not help you but it helps everyone else. But if the virus leaves the mouth and nose as areosoles and drifts like smoke will it not go around/through the standard square cloth mask of both the spreader and those it spreads to?

    I am thinking that unless a mask fits snuggly and filters out small enough particles (the kind of mask you wear around paint fumes or better), it is unlikely to help, and if it is unlikely to help there is the security theater aspect and the risk of false security. Now, I don’t see masks as a burden (for me), but it is a problem if we use a non-working solution.

    Am I wrong?

    1. fjallstrom

      Forgot to mention that the question is a reaction to the physics article, which I am a bit to tired to digest properly today. With the standard cloth mask with its 10% reduction, does it translate to cloth masks are barely better than nothing?

      1. Amfortas the hippie


        it is my understanding that Delta, being “more infectious”, causes one to produce and shed more virus “particles”, and therefore exhale more with each breath…so more of them have a shot at getting through a cloth mask.
        i still use a bandana for my ordinary running around(limited to feedstore, beer store, etc)…but i put on one of wife’s numerous hand made double layered jobs under my bandana when i go someplace scary(a hospital, doctor’s office, the dollar store(tightly packed, maze of junkpiles)
        this works for me, because i just plain don’t spend that much time at all in close proximity to anyone…and i have always been averse to people standing too close to me.
        the “proper” masks, like my wife’s, irritate me…my ears especially, and i am forever getting them tangled in my hair… plus i have a full suite of facial hair(beard and stash), which makes these problematic as far as seal, etc goes.
        so i’ll just continue to avoid the herd as best i can….and glare at those who stand too close to me(crazy eye makes this pretty effective, i’ve found)
        a benefit of those regular masks not fitting well, i suppose, is that i am reminded by the uncomfortableness to not linger overlong in scary places.
        i also wash my face with soap and water as soon as i return to the truck.
        your results may vary, of course…this is all based on my own risk assessment of my way of doing things.

        i’ll also note, again, that i regularly muck out 2 chicken houses while wearing goggles and a bandana…this is either a dusty or mold-infused affair…and i still haven’t had any adverse effects, after doing it this way for most of my life(for the uninitiated, chicken houses are really frelling nasty…especially if you put off cleaning for any length of time…mold, bacteria, virii, aerosolised chicken/duck/guinnea crap/mouse droppings/snake droppings, etc…mixed well with water if it rained last night, and is thus fermented and aromatic….)

    2. Basil Pesto

      You’re not, but not completely right either

      (this is my own understanding and I stand to be corrected by the better informed)

      Masks were being advocated by those who understood the aerosol theory early on last year (see: the experience in many east Asian countries, where the aerosol theory iirc was not controversial). The thinking went that masks would protect others sharing the same space because the physical barrier would alter the dynamics of the aerosols travelling through the air in a way that would limit their ability for the virus to spread. This worked (see for example the introduction of the mask mandate in Melbourne’s lockdown last year, several weeks after the lockdowns started – it was only after this step that case numbers declined).

      However, collectively we weren’t serious about getting rid of Covid and so now we have delta which, for reasons that I don’t fully understand personally, is more transmissible (does the virus survive longer in the air? Is it just more tenacious? I don’t know, not to say that information isn’t out there). This means that the effect I described above is less effective with simple cloth and surgical masks, which as you rightly point out have leakages; that is to say, more of the more transmissible virus gets in and out. Properly fitted N95 masks will offer more protection (both to yourself AND those you share a space with). If you can’t get an N95 mask, alternatives are double masking with a cloth mask over surgical, or using a ‘mask brace’ such as those available at , or the homemade option with instructions available from , over a surgical mask.

      Hope this is helpful and stay safe!

      1. Reader

        Using 1/4″ flat braided elastic and a toggle style barrel cord lock that I already had from a nylon jacket, my Badger Seal works with the KN95s that fold in half as well as with surgical masks. Very easy to make once you have the materials.

        For an out-of-state relative who’s having surgery, I sent ready-made ones and they arrived in 6 days from someone on the bay in Berkeley CA who appears to be (formerly?) affiliated with UW. A google search will reveal others including one from Madison if you don’t have time to make your own. I’d post links but not sure that’s allowed.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Thanks, I saw UW linked to someone selling the ready-made masks, but they don’t ship to Australia where I live. I have ordered the raw materials and will be making them and distributing them to friends, family, and small businesses in the neighbourhood that I frequent. It’s moronic that we have to grassroots this but that’s where we’re at.

          Here in Melbourne, case numbers just jumped to triple digits for the first time since last year. We’ll be told that it’s just not possible to stop the spread. Meanwhile, masks are highly leaky, often worn under the nostrils (!!!), and not worn at all on crowded exercise trails. I think Melburnians/Australians are overwhelmingly willing to do what it takes (mask uptake in the first place was broadly good, check-in uptake to assist contact tracers is uncontroversial), but if the guidance and knowledge is out of date, then they can’t adapt accordingly. Meanwhile, the federal gov’t is slammed for their slow vaccination supply. Rightly enough, I suppose, but the failure to manufacture and distribute N95 masks to all residents is every bit as serious, if not more so. It is agonising to see this happening, when we’re not even giving ourselves the best chance of stopping it.

          1. Reader

            I agree about giving out N95s. Seems like a no-brainer to invest in manufacturing enough for everyone.

            A razor knife works to cut the notches for the Badger Seal. If you can get a pair of cutters like in their instructional video I think it would be easier especially if you’re making a bunch

            Good luck and stay safe.

      2. lordkoos

        From what I understand Delta is more transmissible simply because the viral load is much increased with this variant. So if you are a carrier, with every exhale you are potentially breathing out aerosols that contain far greater amounts of the virus.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Thanks for filling me in. I concede to being a bit lazy when I wrote the post as I know I could have looked this up, but it was late and the necessary research would’ve been a long diversion.

    3. Ian Perkins

      I think the argument for masks is that they help. If they cut the infamous R-number from say 1.0 to 0.9, then basically an outbreak fizzles out. And if they cut it from 1.3 to 1.2, other measures may bring it down to below 1.
      Cheap masks probably also help with smoke, filtering out at least some of the larger particles, though I’m less sure about that.

    4. Richard Needleman

      This question needs an urgent answer from the health community given its central importance in our lives.

      We require data based on observational studies, not only lab tests of mask efficiency. I see many people wearing masks as a talisman, either improperly fit (i.e. loose, not covering the nose, or just hanging around the neck) and I am sure that you have the same experience.

      But yes, mask fitting is of great importance and health professionals are trained in using only N95 or equivalent masks, ensuring that they seal, and putting them on and off properly: If the US was serious in their masking guidance they would provide N95 masks free to all. The question of masks for children– if any– is a more difficult question.

      One should be highly skeptical of the claims that homemade cloth masks, especially as used, offer significant protection. But given the massive masking debate taking place in the world one might expect a vigorous scientific debate on masking efficacy rather than the changing and seemingly random diktats of the organs of state.

      There may already be such published studies, but if so, the fact that I am not aware of them is a problem in itself.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “There may already be such published studies, but if so, the fact that I am not aware of them is a problem in itself.”
        aye…the purposeful confusion and hypercontradictory nature of everything regarding masks is a big, big problem…from the Big Lie at the beginning, coupled with the ongoing legitimacy crises…and the righty idiocy of making masks some kind of rally point for battle…we couldn’t have done a worse job, collectively, at handling a pandemic.

        i’m fortunate to have lived where i do for so long…nobody, so far, has given me any sh&t for wearing a mask…whether from respect i’ve earned, or from my scary visage…, even though most people i have contact with are trumpers to one degree or another.
        I get glares and stinkeye from some of the more lumpenbilly rednecks, but they’re afraid of me, it turns out,lol.(or so i’m told)

    5. zagonostra

      Something that has me curious is the comparison in size between molecules that produce olfactory sensation and size of CV virus. I recently took a flight and I could easily (and not too pleasantly) smell the perfume of the lady sitting across the isle.

      1. c_heale

        Many molecules are much smaller than the virus. The virus has about 30,000 bases (proteins) so it is very large in comparison to a water molecule for example.

    6. Larry Y

      So, again, we’re fighting the 5 micron disinformation.

      Ideally, we’d want everyone to use well fitting non-woven electrostatic masks, but even regular cloth multilayer masks help because the way particles move.

      Regardless, masks with ventilation is what really needs to be emphasized.

    7. PlutoniumKun

      There are a variety of summary papers and meta studies on the science floating around. Generally, masks are considered to provide significant protection (of both user and the people around them), but there is a steep sliding scale of effectiveness from N95 and similar down to home made cloth masks. The important point though about masks is that in comparison to other approaches, they are relatively low risk and cheap, so can be justified even if the benefits are quite minor.

      Trish Greenhalgh is generally a very good source on masks, although as someone who was campaigning for masks from the very beginning she falls on the ‘pro’ side of the argument.

    8. John Beech

      In a restaurant a couple years back and someone forgot (purposefully?) the no smoking in restaurants dictate in FL and lit one up. Put it out within a minute as everyone nearby yelled at him (butt-hurt about it and smirking). Yet from 75′ the odor wafted our way within two minutes.

      Folks, no mask we routinely wear, N95, or not, would keep the smell of cigarette smoke out (and smoke particles are ones large enough for the virus to hitch a ride on). Not certain even the one I wear when spray-painting (rubber, fits well, two carbon cartridges on the side of the nose) would have kept the smell out for ‘sure’ but without a doubt none of those we wear these days would.

      In a similar vein, date night these days involves a pizza we pick up at Dominos and after a brief drive to the waterfront we enjoy it on a park bench. This waterfront is basically 2-mile wide spot on the St. Johns, which is referred to as Lake Monroe, but I digress. So we sit on a bench overlooking the water (city fathers approved spending on a nice riverwalk setup), which is nice. This was just three days ago and we’re enjoying our slice, no mask because we’re outdoors.

      Anyway, a fellow pulls up and parallel parks just behind us and maybe 100′ up the road. We’re downwind. They get out, him first and he comes around and opens the door for his gal and because it turned out she’s one of those women who bath in scent, we IMMEDIATELY (<30 seconds) smelled her. Don't know what she doused herself with but it was strong! So once we returned home, we horked brown water prophylactically to clean our sinus cavities (on the theory that 'if' she were infected, we'd breathed it in).

      Point being, this has changed my outlook vice wandering outdoors sans mask, and made me more keenly aware of wind direction. Note; I fly model aircraft with a local club and we stand around shooting the bull a fair bit. Anyway, I've been lax regarding wind direction. No longer. Word to the wise, eh?

    9. HotFlash

      OK, here is my reasoning, not based on any confusing research, just back-of-envelope calcs.

      1.) Cigarette smoke particles seem to be similar in size to CoViD particles. Anyone who has entered a bar, restaurant, club, or other smoke-filled room back in the day will remember the blue haze hanging 1 to 2 feet down from the ceiling. Filter/non-filter, didn’t seem to matter.

      2.) Say what you will about cigarette filters, they are thicker, better sealed, and better targeted than (most) face masks. Still a blue cloud, still cancer and other diseases. So.

      My conclusion is that masks don’t protect 100%, or even very much. They are only just barely better than nothing.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Well jesus, thank god we have your common sense, back-of-an-envelope insight to protect us from all that dauntingly confusing research.

    10. Skip Intro

      One factor the list of responses above this has missed is the speculative role that increased humidity in breath may play in reducing infectiousness.

  9. Sawdust

    I’m curious about how China’s gaming limits are to be enforced. And how does the system handle, say, two hundred million kids all logging in at eight o’clock on Friday?

    1. Ian Perkins

      I think part of the answer to your first question is that online game companies risk fines if they don’t enforce the rules.

      1. John

        The answer to the second part of the question may be that China has vastly superior internet capacity along with other vastly superior infrastructure. What? you say. Better than Amrika? How can that be?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The level of control of the internet in China is vastly greater than elsewhere. Its quite common to see WeChat messages automatically edited by censor systems ‘live’ while you chat to someone. If you need an ID to log on to these gaming systems (and they control non-Chinese ones access), then that would be the main method of control.

      However, when dealing with game crazy 15 year olds, it seems certain that someone will find away around this, or to game the system for their own ends. The restrictions on out of school tutoring are already being bypassed by using ISP’s and zoom for non-Chinese based teachers (a friend of mine is profiting from this).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        When the kids in Wuhan review bombed the app store to get the app they were supposed to use for homework, I was just inspired by the kids.

    3. Basil Pesto

      I made this comment earlier today in yesterday’s links comments in reply to another, but it was late in the comment cycle. Look at the first link for a lot more excellent detail on how this works (or doesn’t) operationally, albeit from 2019:

      It’s one of those stories you often see here in links about China doing things that are superficially impressive to self-hating westerners but which are in reality pretty weak tea. Gaming is truly massive in China, and limiting playtime for children will hardly make a dent in that, as most gamers are adults.

      As regards the hooking of children, I wondered if China has a law similar to Belgium’s law against lootboxes. Such laws against the cynical and extractive psychological para-games of game publishers (the likes of which, iirc, are extremely popular in China) are, imo, excellent regulation. Alas, as with much regulation in China, gaming regulation seems pretty capricious. Information about lootbox regulation in China from English language sources is pretty fuzzy (indications that they’re de jure kinda banned but de facto, not so much), but from what I can gather it seems pretty weak. It certainly doesn’t rise to the lofty heights of being ‘anti-capitalist’, whatever the morons on CNBC might think.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s a kind of one-drop rule, not unusual of an ideology in crisis. The Eisenstein piece about pharma crusaders sheds an intriguing sidelight on it.

  10. Tom Stone

    The timing of these Vaccine mandates is impeccable.
    Mandating their use is about Morality, not Science and certainly not about Domination.
    No sirreee Bob.
    It’s good VS Evil in its most pernicious form.
    Think of the Children!
    I am KAREN, hear me roar!

    At a time when the Virus is clearly evolving to escape the current Vaccines.
    I wonder what forms the cognitive dissonance will take when the portable morgues fill up, the surviving nurses quit and supply chains snap?
    Who will be blamed?
    It won’t be the Authorities, blaming them can have unpleasant consequences…

      1. hunkerdown

        “Baroquely decorated pathos”, hoisted from the video comments, is a massive understatement. The “Karen” is alleged to be autistic in other video comments, however, so this episode might be in poor taste.

    1. tegnost

      In my experience it was the natural progression from TDS. Those I know who had/have it bad think every unvaxxed person is a trumpy and the world would be better if they were dead. I pushed back against “horse paste” this weekend, that one can get a prescription from one’s doctor so whats the uproar about and it was conversation over, with prejudice.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Russian cosmonauts find new cracks in ISS module”

    The Zarya module that had the crack in it was ancient so was to be expected-

    ‘The Zarya is the first module of the ISS to have been launched, having been sent up by the Russian space agency in 1998. Zarya – which means ‘dawn’ in Russian – provided the initial electrical power and propulsion to the station, and guided the ISS through its early stage.’

    The long and the short of it is that the ISS unfortunately is showing its age so in a few years time will have to be brought down. And as the US is continuously imposing sanctions against the Russian space sector, the Russian have said that they will be out of there in 2025 and will launch their own modular station like the Chinese are doing. At that point the US can attempt to rent out space aboard to AirBnB or send it into the pacific. Their call.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Australian state warns COVID-19 hospitalisations to peak in October”

    If NSW hospitals are cracking under the strain of coping with 1,200 cases a day, then how will they cope when case loads run to a coupla thousand in the month after next? October, by the way, is when Gladys plans on opening the whole State as vaccination rates will be high enough. But what is really grinding my gears are these medicos occupying high public positions who go on TV and say that capacity is no problem and there is plenty to cope with expected case numbers. Lying b*******. But Gladys has a dream for the other States to open up to NSW so that-

    ‘We want Australians reunited with their families at Christmas time. My absolute goal and dream is to have every Australian be home for Christmas, whether it’s Aussies within Australia visiting loved ones, or Aussies overseas coming back home. Once we hit 80 per cent double-dose vaccination, NSW will continue to do what we’ve done during the entire pandemic – do more than our fair share of reuniting families, of having a compassionate approach, accepting we’re all Australians and that’s our absolute goal.’

    Meanwhile, in completely and totally unrelated news, Australian imports of Ivermectin have increased tenfold. Must be because we have so many cows down under-

    1. Vandemonian

      But what is really grinding my gears are these medicos occupying high public positions who go on TV and say that capacity is no problem

      To be fair, that was Brad Hazzard, the NSW Health Minister, who’s a politician, not a doctor. Most of the quotes I’ve read from actual health workers (doctors and nurses) say that hospitals are already at or over capacity, and it’s going to get worse.

      1. The Rev Kev

        No, not Brad Hazzard. This was an actual medico that had a high position spouting this. And he is not the only one doing this. Remember Dr Brendan Murphy who is still out there supporting everything that Scotty is doing? And I have seen others. Lots of professors who are thinking more about them finally being able to go on those trips to Bali again rather than the consequences of introducing a virulent airborne virus into a population. Hint. It involves mass deaths.

        1. Vandemonian

          Apologies, Rev, I stand corrected – don’t watch much TV these days. I have a theory that once a clinician reaches a position in the upper echelons of the executive, they stop being a clinician and turn into a politician. Some of the worst hospital CEOs I’ve seen up close were (originally) doctors.

  13. cocomaan

    Can readers speak to the discipline shown by the Taliban, especially with regard to their guns?

    Multiple guys in that video have their fingers on the triggers. Like the guy with the AK pattern rifles in the still image of the video.

    The BDU-wearing is mostly symbolic, they don’t look particularly comfortable and they seem to be wearing a mishmash of BDU’s.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Biden meets grieving families and honors troops killed in Afghanistan attack LA Times

    Not everyone was as impressed by the jill and joe show as the LA Times seems to have been.

    Kathy McCollum, the mother of slain U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum calls into the Wilkow Report, blames Biden for her son’s death. Calls Biden a “feckless, dementia ridden piece of crap.”

    I could be wrong, but I’d say there’s at least one “Gold Star” parent who won’t be praising biden’s “leadership” at the next dnc presidential nominating convention.

    1. Glossolalia

      Biden’s the Commander in Chief so fair enough, he gets all the blame. But is this woman reserving any anger for the rest of the chain of command who had 16 months to plan and execute this withdraw and apparently left it all until the last minute?

      1. JP

        No kidding, since when is the president responsible for planning an orderly withdrawal. Do you think he might have been set up by the war machine for pulling the punch bowl.

    2. petal

      Ouch. Either last night or this morning, the DM had an article about how he kept looking at his watch, a la “is this over yet?”. Sounds like some of the family members really let him have it-in person, even.

    1. Nikkikat

      Those three are always “Urging” something or writing “stern” letters or doing podcast and tweeting. No one cares, especially Biden, Schumer and Pelosi. What a gaslighting joke. Tired of listening to their nonsense, they will vote for whatever comes down the pike anyway.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Maybe they should try stomping their feet and holding their breath until their faces turn blue?

    2. zagonostra

      I find it is very telling that they, especially AOC, pivoted to abstract goals from concrete ones. Single Payer, Increase in MinWage, job creations, what exactly, Fed policy that favor GND and Racial Justice. The latter will be issues for many, many years to come. Meanwhile, tomorrow thousands will die or go bankrupt. Indeed, Pelosi who is no dummy, assigned AOC to lead GND exactly to mute her ability to galvanize the kind of changes she campaigned on, sad, but not unpredictable.

    3. PHLDenizen

      And when Max Blumenthal or another activist rolls up to “confront” power as AOC has repeatedly implored, you’ll see this:

      Only clips I could find and I realize JD is a polarizing figure, but you can FF to the inserts of Bush and AOC mugging, cowering, deflecting, and fleeing, using their handlers as shields.

      Bush, in particular, looks terrified and then scolds Blumenthal for having the audacity to ask her about a policy position in an “inconvenient forum”. He’s hardly threatening or obnoxious.

  15. JacobiteInTraining

    So it finally happened over the weekend: I had renewed ties with one of my old friends from elementary school. The kind of friendship you dont tend to ever make again in life, and 2 out of 4 of my besties from that era are already dead. I communicated occasionally and saw him off and on over the last 30 years, though face to face contact much fragmented by the fact I moved away from home town to Alaska, WA, and a few other places over the years.

    He served in Iraq, and I respected him both for doing that – and kicking a meth addiction. After one of our other friends killed himself a few years ago we started texting from time to time again, and then the last few months (since he seems to have a serious disease) we communicated a lot more.

    Now, I always knew he was a bit of a racist. He knew I knew, and knew i didn’t like it but at least to not hit me up w/any such comments. Though he made a *few* random comments against BLM (that could charitably be pooh-pooh-ed away as ‘jokes’, and that I chose to ignore) He finally hit me with some comments out of the blue about BLM, African-americans, Chinese, that just pissed me the heck off. Even texting one-to-one, my hypocrisy only goes so far and I gotta say it – that aint right dude. just. aint. right.

    So I finally threw a blast back his way early in the weekend. basically ‘No offense, but you know I don’t like this, I ignored them previously as ‘jokes’, i warned you that we shouldn’t discuss politics and such, and yet there you went – this bugs me greatly – no matter if they are your idea of ‘jokes’ or not, just stop…I do NOT want to hear it!’

    No response…Silent treatment since then.

    The part of me from elementary to high school says I should give him a call and talk it out.

    The part of me that knows very well they weren’t ‘jokes’, figures its time to just drop him like a hot tater and says ‘well, tough, buh-bye…call *me* back if/when you realize adulting doesn’t involve racism’

    TLDR: Drama from old friends. Worth it? Likely not…

    1. Glossolalia

      He served in Iraq

      How comforting to know that there were people like this as the face of America.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thats really sad. I think sometimes people like to test the waters with other people by throwing in the occasional bigoted comment. It can be a way of establishing if you are in ‘my tribe, or the other one’, or whatever. It reminds me in a way of stories I was told growing up of how families were divided in Ireland during the Civil War. There were numerous little ‘codes’ people could say to quickly establish who’s side you were on in the argument.

      Its another sign I think of how some societies are developing deep fissures that aren’t always apparent from the outside. It does not bode well.

      1. John Beech

        Happens in business all the time. Customer on the phone says something and waits to hear how it’s received. Me? I stay the fuck away from politics. Running a business. Not making friends. Business. Add to it, NOT my business what you think but it IS my business to focus on business. They get the message and we move on.

        Helps I make a product I don’t advertise because I’m selling all I can make, meaning I don’t have to cater to racists or idiots. But a lot of these wounds are self-inflicted (pillow guy comes to mind). Idiot basically eliminated half his customer base by getting publicly involved in Republican-politics. How stupid is that?

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        that kind of code testing has been evident for a long while in some places. i grew up in east texas klan kountry…just as that sort of overt racist nonsense was becoming more and more unacceptable in polite society(this is late 80’s/early 90’s).
        i’d get a job, and be working with some white dude who was obviously a klan leaner, at best(bad prison tats)…and he’d do as you say…tentatively make an offhand comment…not too racist…and never loudly…but very timidly.
        obviously watching for my reaction, to see if i was part of his tribe…which i wasn’t, of course, but sometimes i’d show no affect/reaction just to see what he’d do(being a perpetual lay anthropologist, and all)
        a few times, this led to near friendship, and the guy in question ending up revisiting his unexamined assumptions regarding race, sex, and etc…likely because i didn’t immediately set him on fire or cast him into outer darkness.
        but that takes some level of commitment and forthrightness…and it also takes time and a lot of patience.
        and of course, i came away with a better understanding of where such perversity comes from, and how it is maintained.

        conversely, if i met the timid tentative testing “joke” with obvious dislike, i generally had a near enemy at that job…at least for a time.
        those people have known that their ideological prejudices were on the steep slope to nothing for a long time.
        if only…”some people”…would stop pushing those particular mindbuttons…

    3. marcyincny

      It’s no longer worth it for me, even with my two brothers. Too many comments that reveal how little they know me or care and I’m never free to express myself, I’m always biting my tongue.

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      While I think your response was about as good as it gets and not replying further is the most respectful option you have in terms of each each other’s personal space, it is still deeply sad for such poison to get in the way of a friendship going back that far. So sorry to hear it.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I’ve decided to just let it go, and not get back to him. If he comes back some day with any contrition, ok, but if not…I’ve done my bit to respect the days of yore, his service, and sympathy/desire to be a ‘bro’ and help him emotionally with his disease.

        As others have said – his earlier comments were likely sort of a ‘test’ to see which tribe i was in, and by my not responding correctly – expressing displeasure with comments as they appeared – to begin with I failed in doing what i should have done: let him know it aint right. period.

        Poison, indeed. But if his chosen tribe wants to imbibe that poison thats his business. I aint gonna taste it no more. If he wants to think its me spitting in his face, so be it.

  16. Henry Moon Pie

    Mob morality and the unvaxxed–

    Thanks for the link to a discussion of this important topic, but Eisenstein relies completely on Rene Girard for his contention that the unvaxxed are being treated as scapegoats (See Leviticus 16), and that leaves this essay confused and confusing.

    The problem with the essay begins here:

    The original sacrificial crisis – the greatest threat to early societies – was escalating cycles of violence and retribution. The solution was to redirect the vengeance away from each other and, in violent unanimity, toward a scapegoat or class of scapegoats.

    This statement is wrong on two counts. First, early societies–and Eliade found the beginning of human sacrifice coincided with the advent of agriculture–faced at least two other challenges as great as maintaining internal order: crop failure and attack by external enemies. Second, early societies, like Babylon that produced the Code of Hammurabi, dealt with the problem of violence and escalating private retribution not with scapegoats or human sacrifice but by establishing the talion principle, an eye for an eye, as a way of limiting violence (See CH Sections 228-230 for the talion principle taken to an extreme). The ultimate solution was to grant the state a monopoly on violence, turning private retribution itself into a crime.

    Most scholars, contra Girard, find the source of sacrifice in the need to make peace with the gods or maintain the cosmological order. Castoriadis, for example, writes this about the Aztecs:

    And the entire Aztec nation considered it essential–for the order of the world, for the gods to continue to exist and for the Sun to continue to revolve around the Earth–that these victims be sacrificed.

    “From the Monad to Autonomy” in World in Fragments.

    While this is the predominate use of ritual human sacrifice, the rite can also be employed not to stem lawlessness as Girard and Eisenstein maintain, but actually to celebrate rebellion and increase solidarity among the rebels. (See Bruce Lincoln on the Cataline conspiracy against Rome in “Revolutionary Exhumations in Spain” from Discourse and the Construction of Society)

    There is a connection between human sacrifice and Covid. Texas Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, called on societal elders to sacrifice themselves:

    As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?

    Patrick was only saying the quiet part out loud, and even in that, he was hardly the only one. Early in the pandemic as the stock market was still “headed to zero,” I heard a New York physician interviewed on CNN relate that his father, also a physician, was opposed to lockdowns and ready to die so that all he accumulated in his life would not be lost. (It seemed that the son firmly agreed.)
    The closest parallel to that attitude is not found in a society overwhelmed by violence and runaway retribution but in a society faced with a famine-producing crop failure or a pandemic. Violence in a society with as powerful a central state as ours can be dealt with, but if a pandemic threatens loss of wealth and even eventual starvation, then it’s time to propitiate our new God, the Invisible Hand, with more Covid bodies.

    1. Mikel

      “I heard a New York physician interviewed on CNN relate that his father, also a physician, was opposed to lockdowns and ready to die so that all he accumulated in his life would not be lost. (It seemed that the son firmly agreed.)”

      Do these people have pharaoh-like tombs being built or ready?

      Good thing they don’t live too close to a volcano. They could be tossing in virgins as sacrifices to preserve their wealth too.

      1. jr

        “ Good thing they don’t live too close to a volcano. They could be tossing in virgins as sacrifices to preserve their wealth too.”

        I don’t know, sacrifice cults are pretty spiritual organizations according to my readings. These two sound like they are inert in that regard. Mere solicitors in doctor’s garb.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for the concise summary of a very complex subject, its comments like yours that makes the commentariat here so great.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      thanks, Henry.
      Eisenstein does go on and on, and he’s always been prone to running with a tasty bone.
      it’s been a long time since i was immersed in all that…and Eliade was one of my faves(all of his books are in my Library).
      i think the scapegoat was more of a tribal, pre-civilisation thing…the most famous being that of the hebrew(or proto-hebrew).
      while one can trace such features from tribal to early civilisation, it ain’t a 1:1 correlation.
      the two “levels” of organisation had different needs.
      to be sure, the practice, de facto, of scapegoating…or shunning…or banishment…casting the ostraka…is alive and well.
      i’ve experienced it myself, when i helped that girl that time…and her dad turned out to be a powerful local lord(as it were), and i was made a pariah..both to get me out of the way(i was outspoken and extemporaneous and pretty flamboyant in my rebellion)…as well as to expiate his own well known, but generally overlooked, sins.
      same thing happened to another guy in high school, due to the satanic cult panic…he was essentially run off, too…to fortify and maintain the unifying myths of the place.

      it’s funny, really, how Modern and enlightened we think we are…

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It does to be the consensus that hunter-gatherers shunned/expelled antisocial people, and how true that we do the same, only now the truly antisocial rise to the top, and it’s the dissenters and resisters who get treated as pariahs.

        “i’ve experienced it myself, when i helped that girl that time”

        Sounds like you got tangled up in blue.

    1. JohnA

      But will the Aussies let the players’ wives come with them? That is a dealbreaker for some of the England players for the proposed Ashes tour this winter/aussie summer.

  17. jr

    Total insanity in Sao Paolo: 30M$ in gold/precious metals stolen. 20 heavily armed men used drones to spot for cops, planted bombs around the city as distractions, and strapped hostages to their vehicles as human shields:

    14 bombs whose locations are unknown remain around the city.

  18. jr

    Shocking: Biden’s path to boosters may not be so straightforward:

    “ The CDC work group is discussing a booster-dose recommendation approach that targets long-term-care residents, older adults, and healthcare personnel, according to Oliver’s presentation.

    That appears to be setting the stage for a narrower set of recommendations than Biden administration officials have been promising. “We expect the rule will be simple,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said at a White House briefing last week. “Get your booster shot eight months after you’ve got your second shot.”

    I do not intend to take a booster but I’d bet a lot of people are waiting for them eagerly…

  19. Dr. John Carpenter

    I’ve been a huge fan of Defunctland and I also enjoy the work of photographer/urban explorer Seth Lawless, who I’d recommend for his photography of abandoned retail especially. I think it was growing up with all the post apocalyptic films of the 70s and 80s that has given me such a fascination with the documentation of this kind of fading consumerism. (The fact that we are going through the decay in real time probably helps too.)
    I think it was Defunctland that led me down a rabbit hole of Action Park, which I only knew as the title of a Shellac album. Learning about that place sounded like someone watched me play Theme Park Tycoon and decided that was a good model to follow for a real park.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      For lovers of decay, the (now sadly defunct) Spike Japan website (from which I got my nom de plume) has some great photo essays on the remains of the glorious 80’s boom.

  20. Wukchumni

    The battle for South Lake Tahoe will occur today, the forces of fire are bearing down on a wide front and the whims of wind will play a large part…

  21. t

    Can someone with a better background speak to the Physics of Fluids study? What I’ve been hearing is that this set-up makes no sense, if you compare their study to the way, for instance, people who provide PPE for dentists and doctors expect it to be done. (I’m on a total no-covid questions lockdown with doctors because they’ve had enough.)

  22. Mikel

    “…However, the latest data from the Financial Health Network said that American households with incomes above $100,000 a year were an exception — they spent 280% more per month on recreational activities and 70% more per month on travel last quarter compared to the first quarter of this year…”

  23. Wukchumni

    Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing absurdity.

    The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance.

    It is largely up to the politicians which social forces they choose to liberate and which they choose to suppress, whether they rely on the good in each citizen or the bad. The former regime systematically mobilized the worst human qualities, like selfishness, envy, and hatred.

    Václav Havel

  24. Pate

    Isn’t @The Great Science Heist” a “must read”? After all it not only is fundamental to an understanding of neoliberalism, it also finally explains the Kennedy assassionation …

  25. outside observer

    Regarding health pass in France:

    -Proof of having completed a vaccination programme (two doses of an EU-approved vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson)
    -A negative PCR or antigen test taken within the last 72 hours
    -A Covid-19 recovery certificate that is less than six months old

    Am I wrong in thinking that this is not too unreasonable in that there are options aside from vaccination? In the context of the vaccinated still being able to transmit, it seems that the last two criteria on the list alone would be more effective policy to limit spread than including the first one.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve been at times something of a sceptic about rapid testing, I thought it had as much to do with theatre as real public health policy.

        But the more I read about the type of policy followed by those countries that have so far been quite successful (such as ROK, China, Taiwan, Denmark, Norway, Vietnam), very regular testing seems to be a key component of their suppression strategies. Like vaccination, I don’t think its a miracle answer, but I do think it is an indispensible tool and I really don’t know why more countries don’t expand its use.

        1. Pat

          In the US’s case, I don’t think they want frequent testing for a handful of reasons. The major one being the top of the food chain political poohbahs were desperate to make their donors happy, and that they knew going in that their best bet, vaccinations being the answer, was a hail mary pass. Even they couldn’t ignore that the virus’s ability to mutate was known, these were not particularly well tested, and even the tests they had weren’t entirely successful. But they needed a return to “normal” and this was as good an answer as they had that didn’t involve too much proactive work on their part.

          But the other reasons are that providing pay and services for quarantined persons is too much. Contact tracing is too much. And after going all in on vaccines, they really really didn’t want people to know how often they were still getting infected. (Mild cases in a country with a multitudes of colds and allergies….easy to miss.) Hence the CDC even suppressing the numbers of breakthrough cases by refusing to admit they exist.

          This may still be blowing up in their faces, but notice that they are doubling down on an all vaccine epidemic plan. “We only need boosters!” Oh, a few public health officials are trying to remain pushing health above propaganda. But then there is Fauci, who is looking forward to his Nat Geo documentary…

    1. Glossolalia

      Perhaps someone can confirm this but I believe in France the covid tests are not free like they are in the US, and its not a negligible amount, either. A friend who recently came back from Europe (Spain and Belgium) had to get tested a couple of times for flights and paid between 50 and 140 euros PER TEST. So if you need a test every 72 hours that’s going to get pretty expensive.

      1. ProudWappie

        Which, effectively speaking, means that it’s an indirect way to force vaccination. Yay for informed consent, and also yay for people who cannot take the vaccine. And, that’s a feature, rich people can easily ignore the rules, and poor people are familyblogged.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Am I wrong in thinking that this is not too unreasonable in that there are options aside from vaccination?

      Yes. Not only do the PMC overlords want to insist that everyone MUST get an unapproved “vaccine” which is now clearly “nonsterilizing”. In other words: they don’t work. The insistence that absolutely *everyone* MUST put an unapproved, non-functional chemical in their body — when they don’t know what it will do to them — is an appalling level of Buck v. Bell-style ignorance.

      Vaccine mandates would be nothing but theater for the incompetent managerial crowd — if the ramifications weren’t so potentially harmful to the health of individuals and to the body politic.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “nonsterilizing”. In other words: they don’t work.

        Dude, if I don’t have to go to a hospital because of a vaccine, or even get seriously sick, it “works” so far as I’m concerned. I know that the public health establishment has constantly moved the goalposts on this, but that doesn’t matter to me as far as my personal practice goes. So let’s not be quite so binary in out thinking, mkay?

        I wish to heck I knew how the idea that there could even be a sterilizing vaccine for a respiratory virus took hold. How did we imagine — or how were we led to imagine — that a Covid vaccine would act like a polio vaccine instead of like a flu vaccine?

        1. Big River Bandido

          Oh Gear Dog. At nearly every level of government, for months we have been and are still getting bombarded with the false notion that the vaccines “prevent” Delta infection. When cornered on this with proof that it just ain’t so, everyone from politicians to bureaucrats to members of Congress all repeat the party line, and when that fails they just move the goalposts — just as you did right now.

          You are almost certainly correct that the vaccines probably “work” — in the sense of a flu shot. But that’s NOT how they’ve been marketed. Furthermore, in 54 years of living, I’ve never gotten a flu shot, never needed one — and I’ve never been forced to, either. It has always been MY choice to decide what drugs I’m going to put in my body. And yet, flu shots are at least (and it’s not much anymore, I grant) FDA approved.

          But here’s my employer, a world-renowned college: requiring all faculty to return to campus, period, or be fired; betting the farm on hygiene and nonsterilizing vaccine theater; doing nothing to ventilate classrooms; and with the highest entering class in history, exacerbating an already overcrowded campus in the midst of the Delta variant. You’ll have to forgive me for viewing this situation through the lens of corrupt, amoral public institutions using forced “vaccination”, eschewing scientific standards and rigor, pushing pharma windfall technologies with state-level propaganda, and all delivered with self-righteous morality.

          1. Basil Pesto

            When cornered on this with proof that it just ain’t so, everyone from politicians to bureaucrats to members of Congress all repeat the party line, and when that fails they just move the goalposts — just as you did right now.

            Lambert did no such thing. He pointed out that the vaccines being oversold does not mean that they are, as you put it, ‘non-functional’. This is trivially true. The marketing of Covid vaccines is not germane to Lambert’s point. Hence:

            So let’s not be quite so binary in out thinking, mkay?

            which, imo, is a good lesson.

        2. Skip Intro

          I think the word ‘vaccine’, for most people implies sterilizing. A ‘leaky vaccine’ would be one that was mostly sterilizing. It seems like the mRNA vaccines aren’t even leaky, they just reduce severity. I don’t think we have a word for a non-immunizing vaccine. And if it isn’t immunizing, then ‘breakthrough’ is also misleading. It seems to make sense to risk vaccine side-effects vs the worse severe-covid side-effects, but if the vaccinated believe they are immune, then the virus may actually spread more due to increased risk taking.

          1. HotFlash

            I don’t think we have a word for a non-immunizing vaccine.

            The US Patent Office called a similar ‘vaccine’ for HIV an “antigenic peptide” and refused to patent it. Katniss E linked/quoted some weeks ago, search no findy today (found it before).

          2. Yves Smith

            Come on. The most frequently taken vaccine in the US is the flu vaccine, which in a good year has only ~70% efficacy and too often it’s been more like 30%.

            There is a huge difference between massive overhyping and understanding of a how medical treatment works.

            1. Skip Intro

              But that 70% efficacy is still efficacy against infection/transmission, not the brand new measure of efficacy against hospitalization, right?

        3. Maritimer

          Here is the sterlilizing science from the Pharma Shill In Chief:
          ‘You’re OK. You’re not going to – you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,’ Biden falsely assured.

          Don’t know if the erroneous sterilizing idea “took hold” there but it was sure pumped, promoted and Mainstreammediased.

      2. Après Moi

        It is almost as if the efficacy of the substances were in the eye of the beholder (i.e., the ‘lowers-symptoms-keeps-out-of-hospital’ crowd). But there is a much bigger problem – ‘not sterilizing’ means that they do not kill the virus. Hence, mutations. Typically, more aggressive than the original. Way to go!

        1. Procopius

          Minor quibble — you hear more about more aggressive mutations, but in fact almost all mutations are unsuccessful, i.e. fatal to the offspring. Think about opening up an old transistor radio and replacing one random part with something you pull from your electronics junk box. I’m not a virologist, so I can’t guess how true it is that mutations tend to be more aggressive, but less aggressive mutations are likely to be more successful than more aggressive ones, because the virus can produce more copies if its host lives longer. It’s Lady Luck choosing, and Mother Nature doesn’t care.

      3. Juneau

        I am late to the conversation but wanted to share that in his last podcast on TWIV (youtube) the chairman of virology at Columbia, Dr Racaniello, said that there is only one vaccine in current use that is truly sterilizing, I think it was the HPV vaccine. Most vaccines are NOT sterilizing. I assume he would know, but perhaps they still vary in terms of how well they reduce transmission.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      Agreed. Aside from getting Covid and recovering, testing is the way to go (plus effective treatments and contact tracing, the proverbial 3 Ts). The question is: who pays for the test? IMHO, it should be free (govt sponsored), fast, and ubiquitous. Presently, the cost varies massively depending on where you are and how quickly you need the test result. I’m not anti-vaccine, but I don’t see vaccines as a savior.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Venezuela: Making the Most of the Mexican Breakthrough

    Have to say I really fail to see why this meeting is at all necessary. Maduro is the legitimately elected leader of Venzuela, and the fact that a pretender like Guaido is still walking around with his head attached to his shoulders ought to show that Maduro isn’t the ruthless dictator he is claimed to be.

    It must be infuriating to Guaido and his US handlers that Maduro has more or less ignored him for the last few years and gone about the business of keeping his country intact despite all the sanctions, assassination attempts, etc.

  27. urblintz

    “Two of the FDA’s most senior vaccine leaders are exiting from their positions, raising fresh questions about the Biden administration and the way that it’s sidelined the FDA…

    The bombshell announcement comes at a particularly crucial moment, as boosters and children’s shots are being weighed by the regulator. The departures also come as the administration has recently jumped ahead of the FDA’s reviews of booster shots, announcing that they might be available by the week of Sept. 20.

    A former senior FDA leader told Endpoints that they’re departing because they’re frustrated that CDC and their ACIP committee are involved in decisions that they think should be up to the FDA. The former FDAer also said he’s heard they’re upset with CBER director Peter Marks for not insisting that those decisions should be kept inside FDA. What finally did it for them was the White House getting ahead of FDA on booster shots.”

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Nothing like a good old alphabet agency turf battle to make sure nothing productive ever gets done. Not that I have an overabundance of trust in any of our captured and corrupted regulatory agencies, but it will be interesting to see if anyone goes after CoronaJoe for not following “the science” and trying to ban him from social media for getting out over his skis and making dangerous pronouncements.

    2. HotFlash

      “Two of the FDA’s most senior vaccine leaders are exiting from their positions,

      And where are they going?

  28. Carolinian

    That’s an excellent Intercept story on the privatization of government science. And it’s also highly relevant since one has to suspect that the huge profits being made, and to be made, on these mass vaccinations have some influence on government health policy as well big media honesty. Surely patents on drugs if nothing else should remain with the public.

  29. flora

    Writing as someone who’s spent decades in IT and Computer Science research, I’ve got a bad feeling about this – from Policy Horizons Canada, 2020:

    Exploring Biodigital Convergence

    Biodigital convergence is opening up strikingly new ways to:

    change human beings – our bodies, minds, and behaviours
    change or create other organisms
    alter ecosystems
    sense, store, process, and transmit information
    manage biological innovation
    structure and manage production and supply chains

    1. zagonostra

      Very interesting article and it came out just before March 2020. I found these excerpts very ominous.

      Governments may need to think beyond individual privacy and consider the concept of collective privacy, particularly when genetic data could affect the rights or freedoms of others.

      Biosecurity could be important in a world that depends on biodigital systems. For example, DARPA’s Safe Genes initiative seeks to develop tools to control, counter, and perhaps reverse the effects of genome editing, including gene drives, in biological systems

      There is also the potential for malicious, reckless, or accidental release of deadly lab-made viruses. For example, a virologist at the University of Alberta was able to use synthetic biology techniques to recreate horsepox (a virus similar to smallpox) by stitching together DNA ordered by mail to match the horsepox genome sequence published in 2006.

      Now, advances in software and hardware are removing these restrictions on biosciences and biotech production. The ability to control systems remotely and transmit instruction sets in digital form, as well as higher levels of automation, are shifting biology-based production closer to consumers

      My favorite excerpt is how “Policy Horizon” is looking foward to “collaborating with partners and stakeholders to develop policy-relevant foresight in this area.” Yes, they see the future and want to be cut in. You don’t have to watch Alex Jones to explore crazy theories, you can just read policy papers by government affiliated corporations.

      Thanks for posting.


    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I bookmarked your horizons link on Biodigital as a source for scary dystopian ideas for Sci-Fi short-stories. I had always hoped the Canadian Government and Canadians were more sane than the U.S. Government and us u.s.ians.

  30. Wukchumni

    Russian cosmonauts find new cracks in ISS module Reuters
    Isn’t it fairly obvious ISIS-K is probably the culprit?

      1. pasha

        twelve were said to be killed in the blast, a thirteenth died the next day, so we probably do know who was the last to perish

    1. Procopius

      JTMcPhee – Somebody announced that there are still a couple hundred Americans there. They evidently were waiting for the last plane out and got cut off from the airport. They were warned back in April and had many warnings since. For some reason they chose to delay. I don’t know if they’re in danger or not, but they apparently didn’t think so for a long time. But there is at least a possibility one or more of them will qualify as “the last American to die in Afghanistan.” Or the State Department spox who made the announcement may have been lying.

  31. John k

    Booster not effective vs delta…
    The assumption made is existing jab 85% effective. If this is true the booster would not be that useful; but israel reports 40% after 6 months. In this case the booster is needed, and what about after, say, 8 months?
    I’ve got plenty comorbidities so I’m ready, but can only get it now if I say I’m immune-compromised, which I’m not, so waiting for sep. 20.

  32. Gregorio

    RE: The Death of the Starter Home
    It seems to me like RV’s have now become the new starter home. No matter how glamorous the “Vanlife” and “Boondocking” crowd tries to make it look on Instagram, it’s a pretty sad commentary on living in America.

  33. IMOR

    Nailed it. Many people who worked inside them or regularly brush(ed) up against them know this. Jeff St. Clair has been slow roasting them by degrees on this Procrustean bed for 20 years.

  34. R

    That STAT article on the Pfizer vaccinebteam was hagiographically awful. All trite human interest and relentless American work ethic. These people have not slept in two years to make billion dollar profits!

  35. ArvidMartensen

    The rush to alternative energy is fools gold.
    Alternative energy needs rare earth mining and processing, and both pollute and waste a lot of water. Imagine 7 billion people driving electric cars. Lotta mines needed. We ain’t seen nothing yet.
    And at the other end, obsolescence. In the old days when the horse died it was buried and nourished the earth. Not so much with solar panels. Our system just died after 10 years of operation. Panels were taken off the roof. To where? No reprocessing sites anywhere near us.

    Limits to Growth is still relevant. Our planet doesn’t have infinite water, oxygen, minerals, coal, arable land or anything, but we are all deluding ourselves that it does because denial makes us feel safer.
    It’s too late. The parrot is dead. It’s gone to meet its maker. It’s a deceased parrot.
    The people who want to survive are neutered and powerless against the few people addicted to obscene amounts of money and power, which do appear to be infinite.
    Or, my analogy.
    I am being driven at high speed, at night, with no lights, trussed up on the backseat of my own car, by a hijacker with guns, high on meth careening to their next fix. And if I resist he said he is going to shoot me.

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