Links 8/7/2021

The Longest Story by Richard Girling review: Makes you wonder why animals put up with us Evening Standard (AE90)

Life-Sized Elephant Sculptures Take Over London in a Global Migration for Conservation My Modern Met (resilc)

Tokyo Olympics: German pentathlon coach thrown out for punching horse BBC :-(. Horses get the yips too.

The strange case of the dead-but-not-dead Tibetan monks Big Think (David L)

Offers flooding in after woodland hermit’s cabin burns down Fox

For The First Time, Researchers Just Watched How Plants Slurp Up Water ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

The Questionable Rewards of a Visit to Inaccessible Island Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Massive ancient lake across prairies emptied quickly enough to set off an ice age, study suggests PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Humans could recolonize Earth after mass extinctions with ectogenesis Science X (Chuck L)

Bottled water is 3,500 times worse for the environment than tap water, say scientists Euronews (furzy)

Family values outweigh politics in US Latinos’ climate beliefs PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Maritime shipping causes more greenhouse gases than airlines Yale Climate Connections

After Deadly Floods, a German Village Rethinks Its Relationship to Nature New York Times (furzy)

Microplastics destabilize lipid membranes by mechanical stretching PNAS (Chuck L)

We eat microplastics daily, but their effect on our health was a mystery — until now Ledger-Enquirer (David L)



New Data Suggest J. & J. Vaccine Works Against Delta New York Times (furzy)

CDC study shows 74% of people infected in Massachusetts Covid outbreak were fully vaccinated CNBC

Secondary bacterial infections and antimicrobial resistance in COVID-19: comparative evaluation of pre-pandemic and pandemic-era, a retrospective single center study Annals of Clinical Microbiology

Myocarditis and Pericarditis After Vaccination for COVID-19 JAMA. Still rare but ~5x higher than what was reported in VAERS


New metric shows COVID cut average lifespan by nearly a decade in parts of US UCLA (Robert M)

Yelp to let users filter which businesses require vaccination The Hill (Kevin W)

EXCLUSIVE: Scaled back? Not so much! Obama’s 60th birthday bash looks anything but intimate as massive tents dwarf the mansion and John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union arrive on Martha’s Vineyard ahead of the celebration Daily Mail. Here because superspeader event in the making

Don’t want a Covid vaccine? Be prepared to pay more for insurance Quartz

Where the C.D.C. Recommends Wearing Masks Indoors, State by State New York Times (Kevin W). No one in Alabama is listening. Even the pharmacist at CVS had his mask fully below his chin. But toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies are scarce again.

15 states are keeping COVID-19 breakthrough cases under wraps The Hill (resilc). Funny how The Hill fails to mention that in early May, the CDC said it would not be tracking breakthough cases. And accordingly, we have heard of local health departments telling doctors to STFU when they try to report breakthrough cases. So why should believe any of data when CDC refused to tally it and many if not most local health departments appear to have followed their guidance?

U.S. nurses’ COVID-19 grief pours out online: ‘I just don’t want to watch anyone else die’ Reuters. Resilc: “I am amazed Obomba wont leave the Martha’s Vineyard compound to lead a black vax drive. maybe after GW Bush leaves the birthday party.”

Even Snoop Can’t Save the Olympics Wired (resilc)

Florida May Cover Tuition For Students Allegedly Bullied For Not Wearing Mask Forbes (resilc)

Indiana University students urge Supreme Court to block vaccine mandate Reuters



China’s nanny state: why Xi is cracking down on gaming and private tutors Financial Times. Preening headline, gah.

US President Joe Biden offers ‘safe haven’ to Hongkongers escaping Beijing crackdown in US ABC Australia (Kevin W). Another US poke in the eye.

Dollar strength a double-edged sword for Asia Asia Times (Kevin W)


Two Myanmar men arrested in US for plotting to kill UN envoy Bangkok Post (furzy)


Taliban kill Afghan media chief in Kabul, take southern city Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

America Helped Hundreds of Thousands of Vietnamese After the Fall of Saigon. It Won’t Be the Same for Afghanistan. Slate

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

WhatsApp attacks Apple’s child safety ‘surveillance’ Financial Times

PSA: Apple can’t run CSAM checks on devices with iCloud Photos turned off iMore. This is supposed to make us feel better.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army Tanks Are Vulnerable Against Drones. Congress Wants a Fix, Stat. Popular Mechanics


Is Biden Screwing This Up? Rolling Stone (resilc)

Jane Mayer: ‘Dark Money’ Is Threatening The Elections Of 2020, 2024 NPR (David L)

Thoughts on Student Loans and the FRESH Start Act Credit Slips

Andrew Cuomo Is Actually, Really Finished Ross Barkan (UserFriendly)


Can Universal Curriculum Help Our Schools? Forbes (resilc)


Seattle man pleads guilty to assaulting police during Jan. 6 insurrection at U.S. Capitol Seattle Times (furzy)

Lawyer: Capitol Cop Who Shot Ashli Babbitt ‘Ambushed’ Her on Jan. 6 Without Warning Real Clear Investigations. Kevin W: “The lawyer for that cop has some ‘interesting’ claims why all those commands he said he gave were not picked up by those recordings.”

The FCC finally made a new broadband map of the US The Verge (resilc)

Redistricting in America, Part Three: The Republicans’ Southern Prizes Sabato’s Crystal Ball (UserFriendly)

Dixie Fire becomes largest single wildfire in California history Politico (Kevin W)

Our Famously Free Press

“People do not trust that Facebook is a healthy ecosystem” Vox (David L)

Trade Deficit at a Record High in June, Rises 6.7% Angry Bear

‘People think you’re an idiot’: death metal Irish baron rewilds his estate Guardian (AE90). Anti guillotine watch sighting.

Class Warfare

Canada Is Waging an All-Front Legal War Against Indigenous People CounterPunch (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Maine Coon cat-looking Bliss seated on a staircase with art elicited pix of other cats seeking photo ops from steps. From Jason A:

My wife was trying to take a pic of our newly installed spiral staircase. Our almost 1 year old kitty Demi noticed and decided she would grace the photo shoot with her presence. Yes, she’s absolutely posing for the shot.

And a bonus (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. The Rev Kev

        I thought that it looked a bit like a British Blue but it is clearly a Maine Coon as it is labelled so by Jason A. It certainly is a beautiful cat but having never seen a Maine Coon up close, is the giveaway on identification the tufted ears?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Maine coon cats are supposedly descendents of cats left by Vikings, and there is a Norwegian and Russian breed that have tufted fur and similar behavioral characteristics such as preferring to be directly involved with our lives as opposed to normal cat behavior, perhaps favored for boat life?

          1. Nikkikat

            I have a Maine coon mix. He is Maine coon and domestic short hair. He is the biggest cat that I have ever seen. He thinks he is a dog. He loves the neighbors pitbull mix. He follows her around, rubbing his face on her legs
            And loves to dig holes that the two of them lay in together. Super sweet, he loves everyone, even my female tuxedo cat that clearly doesn’t enjoy his attention. The cat in the photo is indeed quite beautiful.

          2. Swamp Yankee

            Yes, the Norwegian Forest Cat. They have very similar genetic material as the Maine Coon, similar anatomy (tufts of fur on the feet and ears, a fairly waterproof outercoat, for example) and habits — they are extremely social, loving, affectionate, and sweet-tempered animals. They would have been the most popular member of t he crew aboard the longships of old.

        2. presentbroketeacher

          That is not a Maine Coon. Maine Coons are gigantic and furry. That is a Russian blue.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Not only beautiful, but very savvy about choosing color coordinated and architecturally enhancing photo shoots.

    2. Jason A

      No idea what breed she is, we got her from a friend whose cat had a litter of kittens and told us this one was her favorite. She’s a total sweetheart to everyone in the family except our 85 lb German Shepherd mix, who she bullies mercilessly.

      Definitely not a Maine Coon – that was the earlier “kitty on stairs” antidote that inspired me to send this one in.

  1. Tom Stone

    I’ll lay odds that the Dixie Fire won’t be the largest fire in California History for long.
    By the end of 2021 it will likely be the second or third largest, and not by a small margin.
    The drought really is that bad and the fuel load is almost beyond comprehension.

    1. Nikkikat

      And PG&E will not suffer one bit from causing fires and killing people. The Public Utilities commission is a complete joke. Newsome will again rattle the chain but do nothing to force their responsibility.

        1. Michael McK

          Yes, and instead of becoming publicly owned when PG&E was worth less than 3 billion dollars in October 2019 it was given a new lease on life to continue inflicting a for-profit power monopoly upon the people of northern California.
          As long as profit is to be made from centralized power we will continue to live in the 20th century.

      1. Mantid

        PG&E is really just a symptom of a disease. They don’t cause fires, SUVs, RAM trucks, international shipping (air, land and sea), fracking, Houston chemical plants …….. Those are what cause Cali fires. We’re all so intertwined and “cooking with gas”. And you’re right, PG&E works hard at shirking responsibility. They have deep pockets and Newsome’s hand is in a couple of them.

        1. Glen

          Not to underplay the multiple and many fold causes of the climate emergency, but PG&E’s direct actions or lack of them (as in don’t do maintenance, it’s expensive) have directly caused many fires, and many deaths:

          How California Wildfires Forced PG&E to Declare Bankruptcy | WSJ

          In the video are examples of the equipment which failed due to neglect which caused the fires.

          And yet at the same time the company has gone bankrupt, the numerous CEO/executives are making millions:

          Several PG&E execs harvested big pay gains in 2020

          What we are witnessing with PG&E, the deliberate gutting of a corporation so that the executives can get rich is actually rather common in America’s mega corporations. Executives now manage companies so that they personally get rich, and if the company is a smoking hole in the ground when they are done – well, that will be somebody else’s problem.

          This wanton destruction via corporate liability shield will continue until we start holding executives personally liable and throw them in jail for their crimes. It can be done, it’s been done before:

          Hundreds of Wall Street Execs Went to Prison During the Last Fraud-Fueled Bank Crisis

          But you are may be correct that PG&E may have the governor in it’s pocket, and thus never be held accountable.

        2. a fax machine

          PG&E is a golf ball sized tumor preventing the use of a larger chemotherapy treatment. In my opinion, it should be safely bypassed – the state government is building a high-speed rail network across the state, which requires a small power grid for the traction power system. It is plausible to put a general-use power grid above it, and have the state build enough power plants to satisfy demand and get control over pricing. In this way PG&E can either sort itself out or safely collapse inward. It must be noted that areas with public power (Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles) are not having blackouts or major shortages.

          If action fails at the state level individual counties will start to move on it as the blackout season becomes regular. People are sick of it to the point of paying more taxes to fix the problem. I guess this is how we end up with a “microgrid” mesh network, counties that can afford to drop PG&E will do so if the state does not act.

        3. Darius

          The biggest cause of the California fires is 150 years of fire suppression leading to an enormous fuel buildup. A natural fire regime is antithetical to the modern concept of private property.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Irish restoration–

    David Bamberger did something similar on 5,500 acres in the Texas hill country. It was used as a case study in my Common Earth class this week where we learned that Bamberger took arid wasteland covered in mesquite and juniper, with no springs or creeks, and transformed it by first transforming the soil with native grasses. What I found surprising was that the first step was to cut down most of the mesquite and juniper. But TREES, I thought, we’re supposed to be planting trees, not cutting them down. In an earlier thread this week, Amfortas explained to me:

    both trees are water hogs….and both are also aleleopathic: they suppress germination and growth of other plants, like native grass, under their driplines.

    1. griffen

      Interesting article. My initial response to the headline was a 70s era metal band like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden was fronted by a landed Irish baron. An idiot level reaction I suppose!

      Get to the end of the story, and he mentions that new furniture might come from Ikea. Why would a person do that to himself?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I also thought from the headline that it might be a death metal performer who had bought an estate rather than just a fan. But that’s not an idiot level reaction at all – there is death metal for everyone from all different worldviews!

        Gojira is a French metal band with lots of songs with environmental themes and they have embraced environmental activism to the point the the Sea Shepard Conservation Society has named an interceptor vessel after them. Good on them I say for putting their money where their guttural growling mouths are. Here’s their latest on the destruction of Brazilian rainforests – Amazonia


        1. Josef K

          Just as. a N.B., Gojira is the original Japanese for Godzilla, a pastiche of gorilla and kujira meaning whale. Since, as we all know, gorillas and whales are frightening, deadly animals. The more enlightened aspect is Gojira/Godzilla as embodiment of the thanatos tropism of nuclear power/weapons.

    2. The Rev Kev

      In the book “Wilding” by Isabella Tree, when they started to rewild their 1400 hectare (about 3,460 acre) farm in Sussex, the local farmers were outraged that this land would not go back to being a regular farm too. It is a pity that those botanists from Trinity College Dublin could not have been there from day one to observe and record how nature reclaimed this land, how fast and how the new species inter-reacted with each other. You could imagine cameras installed to take an image every hour so that the footage could be combined into a videos on an annual basis. The interesting think is that he is not introducing old native Irish species but just getting out of the way of nature and letting it decide what should be done with that land-

    3. Larry Y

      Would the trees have been originally suppressed by fire?

      I know in California, the former grasslands were actively managed that way.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Not in Ireland – its only in the uplands that you get fire controlled ecosystems (heathland, and this is not particularly natural). Its mostly sheep that do the damage in Ireland and Britain, they stop the natural progression to woodland. Deer do as well if they are not controlled. Irish natural forests are temperate rainforests, they very rarely burn as even in very dry conditions they hold a lot of moist vegetation. The only exception is on high ground where high winds can dry out vegetation in early spring before the sap rises.

    4. kgw

      The Salt Cedars in Death Valley were planted by the Mormons as they traveled west…They are blamed for suppressing the native Mesquites.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Peatland restoration is happily very easy – just block the drains and keep sheep away. Intel are actually funding some upland peatland restoration in Ireland as they have an interest in keeping water quality up all year round for their FAB plants.

        Lowland peat is also relatively easy as the drains can just be blocked, although ironically when drained and the peat is mined it often develops into very ecologically valuable dense woodlands, which can be destroyed by flooding, so there can be a bit of an argument as to what is ‘natural’.

    5. Swamp Yankee

      The (I believe) original iteration of this kind of project was in the 1940s, when pioneering American ecologist Aldo Leopold bought a tract of worn out farmland in Sand County, Wisconsin, in the central part of the state. Extractive farming had made much of the land waste; as an area that was heavily glaciated, vast sand deposits underlay the region, giving Sand County it’s name (today, regions with lots of glacial sand like central WI or my own southeastern Massachusetts have to fight off frackers and concrete barons), so much of the land was actually bare.

      Leopold carefully tracked when and where species first appeared after letting the land revert to natural growth. It’s where we first get the idea of successional species (pioneers like birch, mid-level trees like oak, mature species like beech or hemlock), so far as I know.

      His Sand County Almanac is a wonderful read in which he describes the project.

      1. Late Introvert

        Sand County Almanac is a national treasure and should be read by every one on the planet.

  3. Tom Stone

    I’m off to the Laguna to watch the sunrise from a spot where no sign of civilization is visible.
    I need the beauty.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Word. I just checked 91-DIVOC and looks like Lambert has indeed been too conservative in his WC predictions this week.

      Yesterday we jumped to 254k and change, the sixth highest case count of the pandemic–only five days in January were higher.

      Judging from how steep the incline is looks like we’ll top our previous high.

      Such a distinction, to be again leading the world in something…

  4. The Rev Kev

    “EXCLUSIVE: Scaled back? Not so much! Obama’s 60th birthday bash looks anything but intimate as massive tents dwarf the mansion and John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union arrive on Martha’s Vineyard ahead of the celebration”

    Sadly, from reports that I have read, Harry – formally known as Prince – and Mrs. Harry failed to get themselves an invite to his bash.

    1. The Historian

      No doubt the Obamas invited the Queen though since they are now besties – not that she’d attend, of course. There was a video on you tube where Michelle put her arm around the Queen’s shoulder and the Queen put her arm around Michelle’s waist. I can remember the British Press getting all up in arms about that ‘horrible’ violation of protocol.

      1. GF

        Is the Daily Mail owned by the DNC? That article is huge (and hugely repetitive) and no PR firm could have pulled it off.

    2. Acacia

      Judging from the Daily Mail photos, there are lots of workers and guests arriving without masks at O’s estate — what could go wrong?

        1. Michael Ismoe

          If Dog does this one thing, I promise I will never, ever ask for anything ever again. The absolute Schadenfreude of these people all getting ill because of this egomaniac is just too juicy to contemplate.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      A tent that dwarfs the mansion in Martha’s Vineyard in the Summer? Isn’t the point to be outside? I imagine the ocean would take away from Obama’s celebration of himself. I wonder how many loyalist over the years Obama laughed at when an aide suggested the name.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I wonder what the carbon footprint of Obama bringing out a-listers to sit in a tent is.

        Climate envoy John Kerry took a private jet.

    4. skk

      One shdn’t wish ill for people but for sure this has the potential for a spreader event.

      I went to a wedding in England in July and there were 14 ( of 160? guests+staff) post wedding reported COVID +ves. This is despite being held outdoors , and all the guests would be educated, middle class+, almost half would be medics +nurses and to my knowledge, all except one, doubly vaccinated. And there were british rapid antigen tests available on arrival at the venue ( but not compulsory). Mercifully, all have recovered well and none of the 70+ year olds got it.
      Yeah I went positive too but that was a post-wedding exposure, with my time on a narrow/canal boat with my unvaccinated buddy being the likely cause. I can date this because national COVID-19 regs in the US and UK meant I was tested and certified PCR negative 5 times during the stay so I know when I was -ve.

      Why did I go anyway ? Well, the calculation was the permanent harm it would do to my relationship with my niece by not going to her wedding versus the risk of a serious harm from COVID-19 given doubly vaccinated by going.

      The bods at Obama’s 60th are no doubt doing a similar calculation. Though with that mercenary lot, the calculation is no doubt based on fame fortune considerations. Still, psychology leading to the behavior is intriguing.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Same. I feel no guilt in wishing ill on those who are causing ill to large parts of the world. I wish safety for the workers but the attendees can rot.

          1. tegnost

            They’re probably all being given a dose of some strangely effective but largely unknown prophylaxis…………

            1. skk

              bloody hell ! hadn’t thought of that.. There is indeed one technology available in the US – monoclonal antibody therapy. One now EUAed specifically for prophylaxis purposes, not just for post-symptoms-onset but still pre-hospitalization in regen-cov ( ). I’ve chased this for myself, just in case, after my doc didn’t know much about it.

              But I bet their doc’s do. An enterprising reporter should ask attendees about this – but the bloody MSM is so much in their pockets – nope they won’t ask.

              The USA govt bought all the supplies so its free but you pay for admin and supplies( cotton wool, the infusion chair I suppose etc ).

    5. Kaligula

      I am surprised at the slight tinge of surprise in the reactions to this. When I read the event will be “scaled back to family only”, the expression “yeah, just us and 500 of our immediate family” popped in my head – no change in numbers, just redesignate them as “Family” – there, now Covid can’t touch them, they are family, after all.

      The next expression that popped in my head was “ELITE COVIDIOTS” …

    6. DJG, Reality Czar

      Rev Kev:

      I note the faux folksy menu:
      The menu is said to include Spam Musubi made with plant-based faux-beef and faux-pork and Eat Just’s plant based eggs.

      Cheesesteak Eggrolls made with Impossible ‘beef’ and ‘cheese sauce,’ from Perfect Day Inc will also be offered.

      But for those wanting a real taste of what the Vineyard can offer has learned that there will also be stations with oyster shuckers to provide the best of the cape’s fresh shellfish.

      A pretty basic question to all: What is the purpose of this thing–this Trimalchio’s banquet?

      Does Obama know that he is advertising that he is a vacuous social-climbing slob? Or does Obama think that we are all playing eleventy-dimension chess and trying to game an invitation somehow?

      Given that Spam is an imitation of ham and the Obama Spam musubi will be faux-meatly, is Obama sending us a signal that he knows the he is a hollow man? Nonsense on stilts?

      Or am I back to Trimalchio’s banquet? (Aha. Maybe I have solved this after all, and I won’t have to go begging for faux spam musubi…)

      1. skk

        Given that Spam is an imitation of ham and the Obama Spam musubi will be faux-meatly, is Obama sending us a signal that he knows the he is a hollow man?

        Nicely done. I hope… nahhh I must not articulate what I hope for for that hopey-change liar and charlatan.

        1. newcatty

          Cheese steak Egg rolls made with Impossible “beef” …

          Where to begin…Impossible meat had a huge investment from, drum roll, Bill Gates. IIRC, when in some interviews he actually claimed it was to alleviate the effects of GW. Of course, it was disingenuous, though correct, in that Big AG and factory farms are contributing to GW. Just what is actually in an ounce of this processed product? Some mushrooms, oh, and GMO soy products. How about salt and other “flavor enhancers”? Anyone notice at a grocery store near you, that the Impossible “burgers” and other faux meats are positioned next to beef or other ground meat packages, so that you now can grab a “healthier and more sustainable ” alternative ? FWIW, I am not a vegetarian. We do buy organic almost exclusively. I relate to our vegetarian circle of people that fine, if you come visit us, we will happily cook real vegetarian food while you visit us. We often do, anyway. We will not allow faux Impossible meat in our house! Know many well meaning people who will eat their “veggie burgers and chili”, in denial that these processed “food products” are not their panaceas.

      2. Acacia

        Is it still social climbing when the O family has an estate in the Vineyard and funds on tap to throw this politico-glitterati bash? (John Kerry, mask under his nose, showing up with his dogs, ffs.) I mean, it’s not arrivisme — Mr. O. has definitely arrived at the upper floor, and it seems like he wants us all to know this and suck it up. That’s my feeling, at least.

        1. Darius

          Nobody takes personal branding to the insane levels Obama does. He must think it’s the point of living. The goal here is to be seen with the rich, powerful, famous, and most important, cool. And to show he has the juice to summon them all. What a grotesque fraud.

        1. Raymond Sim

          I love SPAM, but I first had it as a boy, living on Wake Island.

          My granddaughter’s first taste of SPAM was at a Hawaiian restaurant. It wasn’t really that great, so maybe it was mostly my enthusiasm, but she loves the stuff now too.

  5. zagonostra


    As one of those kids growing up that used to dig a lot of holes in a park near house where I grew up I’ve heard that expression more than once. The article made me think of that sense of “wonder” of of a youthful imagination that would think you could keep on digging and get to the other side. The wonder still exist when I hear alternative views of what constitutes the fundamental substance of nature, that is what Aristotle referred to as physis.

    Not to long ago I came across the “Electric Universe Theory.” This theory is not accepted by establishment academia, nevertheless it has interesting characters associated it with like Nikola Tesla. That we can look out at the universe and the way it “behaves” in terms of plasma and electricity, or however you want to describe the fundamental units of energy expands the imagination.

    Good article and break from CV19 and politics on a Saturday morning.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is surprising the number of people that does not even know what lies below their feet, but Hollywood does not help out here. In the 2012 film “Total Recall”, you had a sort of gravity elevator – “The Fall”- that would take you from the United Federation of Britain to the Colony in Australasia via the Earth’s core. They did show the weightless bit but missed out on the being-crushed-by-the-pressure bit or the burnt-to-nothing bit either- (1:16 mins)

  6. timbers


    Maybe China could respond to Biden’s HK safe haven by offering New Yorkers save haven from their leader’s predations.

    Or sponsor a U.N. resolution condemning US human rights violations from enslavement of prison folk in for profit prisons with lots of graphs showing how many millions are slave prisoners because profits in America vs the Uyghurs.

    Then top it all off with a joint Freedom of Navigation tour w/Russia in the Gulf of Mexico the same day Russia/China announce ginormous arms and missile sales to Cuba and Venezuela to deter US aggression.

    1. Debsharky

      Coma Joe will never please everyone. The Kamaleon, taking over from him will please no one.

  7. allan

    It’s Saigon time in Kabul:

    The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options. Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul. …

  8. .Tom

    Here in Boston the pandemic puppy boom continues as people who ordered theirs last year are delivered. A few of the ausies do not have amputated tails but most pups for which the breed standard specifies it are lacking a tail. Even some of the designer dog (including the extremely fasionable doodles and poos) pups that the AKC doesn’t recognize arrive in the neighborhood amputated.

    1. timbers

      Ordered puppies. Sheesh. if you’re in Back Bay/South End area they seem to have become a high end bubblesville though Back Bay already was that when I was young. Why can’t they get in their car and choose one in person? Seems meeting who you want around you for 15 yrs or so is essential part of the process.

      When I got my puppy about 4 yrs ago, did some light research on breeders/kennels and picked out mine in person. Went with Pacheco in Rayhnam, Ma. They trotted out various Labrador’s and of course I took to the first one offered. He grew to become the most extraverted outgoing friendly Labrador Retriever I’ve even owned. He “thanks” me every time I fill his bowl with food by hopping/slamming into or jumping onto me. Sometimes to show how happy he is, he runs up and slams into me from behind. I hear his approach and brace for it. I trained him not to jump into other people when greeting them…but he knows he get away with it on me.

      And would never even think of cutting a Labs tail even though they are at perfect coffee table height to wipe if clean with their friendly enthusiastic wagging.

    2. Judith

      Dogs use their tails to communicate, for help with balance when running, and as a rudder when swimming. Seems like cutting off a dog’s tail is quite disabling.

      1. CallMeTeach

        In Aussies, the tails are docked because they are bred to herd cows, and this reduces the incidence of their tails being broken when stepped on. Of course, most Aussies don’t herd cows now, though they’ll herd lots of other things. My Aussie girl is tailless, and I can tell you that she has zero issues with balance running or with swimming. I do have to wonder if those who ordered their dogs know what they’re getting into with Aussies. Many people want them for their looks and don’t understand exactly how much time and training they require. Lots of pandemic puppies are being dumped as it is. I can only imagine what will happen to those poor dogs once people realize what they’ve gotten themselves into.

        1. .Tom

          There were 25 dogs at the shelter yesterday. Toughest shift I’ve had. I couple of them may have been dumped pandemic pups but i didn’t have time to learn their sorties.

        2. wol

          We lost our second successive Aussie last year, neither purebred. Though we have two fenced-in acres and exercised them daily I wished we had something for them to herd. Best temperaments ever, for us.
          My fearless 73-y-o sis rescues strays full-time in a depressed area of KY. She goes into meth lab territories and trailer parks. After extensive vet health vetting and fostering she relocates the dogs all over the country through a rescue network. She also set up a program at a women’s pen for inmates to train spays for adoption. Huzzah!

      2. Nikkikat

        It’s really cruel to crop ears and cut off tails. This is mostly banned in European countries as well as letting any moron that wants to breed puppies, kittens or horses.
        It’s all tightly controlled and regulated as well as requiring spay and neuter by law. There are very few animal shelters or homeless animals. Here in the US, no one can even get these laws passed because of idiots claiming their “freedoms” or trying to make a buck off of breeding. It has improved here with the rates of euthanized shelter animals; but there is a long way to go.

        1. .Tom

          And the laws and advocacy that regionally had some successes also had some unfortunate outcomes. It’s hard to find a pup in the north east that is not transported from the south or islands (typically fearful , reactive and hard to handle) or from a commercial breeder of AKC or designer dogs.

          Getting a pup from someone in your neighborhood is frowned upon — backyard breeding.

          (My dogs are transports from the south .)

  9. Howard Beale IV

    Given that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, and Facebook is at war with Apple, it’s not surprising that they’d throw their two cents in.

    1. TimH

      The icloud article is BS though. Says “Contrary to what some people believe, Apple cannot check images when users have iCloud Photos disabled.”.

      Cannot == isn’t for the moment

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Also that’s just contrary to how it works. If you have your photos synced to iCloud, they are in iCloud. If you stop syncing them, they are still in iCloud, though you may not be able to access them. Unless Apple is doing some kind of secure delete of the data when a user stopes syncing, which I highly doubt, it still exists on their servers. It may not upload anything new from after you stop syncing, but the old data is still there. If they’re going to illegally rifle through the data anyway, I don’t see what’s to stop them once they have it just because you’ve stopped syncing it.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “We eat microplastics daily, but their effect on our health was a mystery — until now”

    This whole deal is reminding me of the deal with newly introduced chemicals. Scientists do tests on them and then release them onto the market because they find no consequences. Then, much to these scientist’s amazement, they relearn the concept of accumulative doses and find that that chemical causes people’s head’s to explode or something after ten years. Here we are learning that microplastics screw with red blood cells which is not good news. And I have no doubt that in the coming years we will learn more and more about how these microplastics are actually damaging our bodies. Think too how they are found in the oceans, in the Arctic, atop mountains so that they are everywhere. So let us postulate a question.

    Supposing that we recognize that microplastics are lethal to the human race long term. But through a bit of research, a biological agent is developed that will break down microplastics to their basic elements and what is more, it literally is foolproof. Once released, the winds will carry it to the four corners of the world consuming all microplastics until none is left whereupon this biological agent disappears. But there is a catch. It will consume ALL plastics. Plastics such as cups, computer cases, nylons, cars – all of it. I suggest you take a quick look around you to see the amount of plastic you have in your homes as an illustration of this. So, do people accept this and start to substitute older materials like wood, flax, cotton, metal, etc. or will people be up in arms at the consequences that it will have in their lives and what they will lose and demand that they can keep plastics?

    1. gsinbe

      See “Mutant 59 – the Plastic Eaters” a SF novel published in 1973 by Pedler and Davis…

    2. Jason Boxman

      If it wasn’t climate change, ultimately it would be the chems we’ve introduced into the environment over the past 100 years. The safe until proven otherwise approach the EPA seems to takes isn’t ideal.

      I’d wager climate change is probably the easier of the two to resolve; We can at least theoretically get carbon out of the atmosphere at scale. Chems scattered throughout the world? I can’t imagine how.

      1. Procopius

        Get carbon out of the atmosphere at scale? Maybe, if we get fully operational hydrogen fusion working, but that’s thirty years away. Always has been, always will be.

    3. AndrewJ

      It’s only over the past five years or so that I’ve learned to treat plastic like any other scroungeable resource – certain plastics and shapes do have their uses in crafting and re-use. It can be easily drilled, is great with water exposure, is an electrical insulator with good structural properties, and nothing cushions quite like foam. And if I want a waterproof tarp, the only alternative to plastic is waxed canvas, which scares the bejeezus out of me, what with essentially being a candle with a massive wick and huge surface area. I haven’t experimented into doping with borax to make it less likely to catch flame yet.
      That said, if all we had was 1920’s era materials, I’d be thrilled. Give me paper, natural textiles, metal, wood, and glass; we can really do without the plastic.

      1. lordkoos

        One reason we have so much plastic is that natural products have been so depleted — at this point there are far too many people on the planet for everyone to have things made from wood and metal, etc. That said, a huge amount of plastic is used for worthless packaging and unnecessary consumer goods.

    4. coboarts

      I once developed a concept I called, “thriving without permission.” I would suggest reconsider this part, “…a biological agent is developed that will break down microplastics to their basic elements… whereupon this biological agent disappears…” Biological, hmmm… It might just expand its options for food sources. Because, it lives.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The ties between the CDC and the Wuhan lab are far more interesting to me than whether the Wuhan lab screwed up and let the virus out. I am also curious what could possibly justify gain-of-function research into coronaviruses — or any virus for that matter — but especially viruses that are fond of infecting mammals including humans. The apparent subordination of the Times ‘news’ to what appears to be a sub-entity within the Federal Government is especially troubling.

      1. Paradan

        justify gain of function…

        to build a database of viral DNA/RNA that will allow rapid deployment of vaccines against future bioterror/warfare attacks. after all there’s too many god damned billionaires, and eventually a couple of them are gonna take it upon themselves to thin the herd.

      2. chuck roast

        Did the CDC have a contract with the Wuhan Lab or some Wuhan Lab facilitator, or did it not? If such a contract exists it will contain specific tasks that the contractee will be expected to complete in fulfillment of the contract. This would be a US Government contract and should be in the public domain…or down the memory hole.

  11. griffen

    The Olympics are everywhere when I flip through or channel surf. Albeit the programming I look for has rarely matched up to the time & listing. So I’m just not bothered much to keep searching. Laziness.

    By the way, Snoop has been famous for nearly 3 decades I believe.

  12. Ben S

    Re: Bottled water

    We should ban bottled water. Canned water would cover the (rare) necessary use with less environmental waste.

    Shortly before the pandemic, I sat in a conference room in Louisville KY and my boxed lunch featured a bottled water sourced from Ontario CA. I stared, dumbfounded, at water from distant arid plains.
    Was it perhaps diverted from the Colorado to be trucked to the heart of the Ohio valley?
    Who thinks that makes sense…

    1. freebird


      Add to that the bizarre ‘marketing’ of bottled water: you can get one cold bottle for $1.89, or a 24-pack (or 32-pack) for 2.99 in most groceries. Or a 6-pack (if you can even find one) for $4.99. ???? What is wrong with these idiots bottling water??? “I know, let’s sell them more than they can carry for less than it costs to ship it! That’s a great idea! We’ll encourage people to drink more bottles and make more waste, and we’ll make less money!”

      1. CanCyn

        “ What is wrong with these idiots bottling water???”… I would instead ask, “What is wrong with these idiots who buy bottled water?” If no one bought water in plastic bottles, those ‘idiots’ wouldn’t be making any money selling it.

        1. saywhat?

          I drink filtered (activated carbon) tap water but after Flynt, Michigan ain’t no way I’m drinking unfiltered tap water, if I can help it.

          1. skippy

            I use an Everpure Small Home or Office water complete kit : Premium – which can be DIY installed and for less that 200 AUD.

            Good coffee demands it.

          2. lordkoos

            When I lived in Seattle I sold my espresso maker to a guy who had just retired from the city water department. I brought the machine over to his small apartment and noticed that he had a five gallon water dispenser, like what you might see in an office. He told me he wouldn’t drink city water so I assumed he knew something about the water supply that I didn’t.

            1. Wellstone’s Ghost

              Seattle has some of the finest tap water in the world originating from the two reservoirs in the Cascade mountains that were created by damming the Tolt and Cedar rivers. The Seattle Public Utilities employee you dealt with must have been afraid of fluoride. We also receive in the mail once a year an analysis of particulates measured in our water supply. Seems perfectly safe and delicious to me.

              1. tegnost

                yes and seattle gets electricity from the dammed up skagit river.
                Pity the poor salmon, but yeah, you get water and electricity so you’re good. Oh by the way there are are probably some pipes carrying your once pristine water to your dwelling that are 100 years old…whats in them?

        2. freebird

          I don’t have access to reliably safe tap water, nor do I have excess water to spare for washing bottles. I normally refill gallon jugs from water machines, but I occasionally buy a few smaller bottles for hiking etc.

          If government entities didn’t allow water companies millions of gallons of free water, they might stop bottling it in giant-pig-size packs.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to say it but when I go to Maine, I get bottled water for the rental house…as does everyone on the island. Wells tapped out a long time ago. Water in the aquifers so full of metals that you can’t filter it to be potable. Even when you shower with it, if you wash your hair, you can’t get it clean. You can feel the film on it. The tap water is light beige.

    2. ProudWappie

      The reason for the existence of bottled water, is the poor quality of tap water in certain countries. Now, in The Netherlands in general, I would not even consider bottled water (there are some exceptions), and I use some bottles (NOT single use) filled with tap water if I go out. In Belgium, France and Greece, the tap water is, generally speaking, not that great. It’s heavily chlorinated, and that tastes pretty bad.

      In a documentary about water and commercial take over of water supplies (on Arte I recall), it was mentioned that not chlorinating water implies that you invest more in the quality of your piping, and that’s typically a more expensive and long-term investment.

      Now I don’t know much about other countries, but if there are commercial parties involved, well, we can guess what approach they will select.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No no. Fiji water is high silica water. Reduces susceptibility to Alzheimers.

        But indirectly to your point, I get my silica via dietary supplements.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Tokyo Olympics: German pentathlon coach thrown out for punching horse”

    Punching a horse is never a good look and usually gets you hated universally. About a fortnight ago a guy punched a police horse named Tobruk in Sydney in an anti-lockdown protest. At that point a ton of bricks proceeded to fall on his head and he found himself facing four charges (including animal cruelty) and was refused bail when he himself refused a Covid test. One person on Twitter said ‘I reckon horse-punch bogan has just become the most hated man in Australia. Scott Morrison will be pleased’

    1. Raymond Sim

      You know, there are horses, and then there are horses. I am guilty of having punched some of the latter.

      For what it’s worth none of the ones I punched seemed to hold it against me, in fact it was often the beginning of a friendship.

      I take it back, one uncut 14 month old did hold it against me, but he was a punk.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      From comments I’ve read from people who know horses much better than I do, it wasn’t just cruel, it was counterproductive. The horse needed to be calmed down, not wound up even more.

      But there does seem to have been an issue with the jumping horses at the Olympics, they seem to have chosen some particularly skittish ones.

      1. petal

        Yes, you are right about it being counterproductive. Punching a horse in the bum like that is a good way to make a bad situation worse. So stupid and wrong. One more reason for me to continue not watching.

        1. Raymond Sim

          He punches horses in the backside? I bet those cattle are a joy to work around.

          Clearly not wicked though. Punching a wicked horse in the ass would be like pissing on a shotgun being leveled at you.

            1. Raymond Sim

              Me too, in a manner of speaking, dozens of ’em. Don’t get me started on ponies!

              In my teen years I dealt with a lot of different sorts of horses, and a lot of different sorts of horse people. By and large the people were less admirable than the horses. But, so far as I was aware anyway, they were significantly less inclined to bite or kick me, even by accident.

              Judge Hannum’s wife jumped her hunter over me once. That was ungracious. But given that she had already gotten away with riding down a Pennsylvania State Policeman I was meek about it.

              1. skippy

                My uncle Bucky would use an old cowboy trick of twisting a horses ear to mount a ornery sort and concur on ponies, only thing that has dismounted me with intent.

                Ex grand champion pony cart pony that had been let to grass for a few years, cousin and myself decided to take it for a spin, but had no small harness, so improvised with a lead. So bareback and plow reigning around the feed lot, till it spied the feed truck go past its pen and then it went full gallop – in a blink of an eye …. only to throw out the anchor and do a 4 leg lock stop … next it lower its head so the neck was horizontal … needless to say I kept moving … so as I was bouncing on my backside … on the gravel … the pony flew past me to get its feed …

                On the other hand I wonder what the Olympian sorts would think of grapefruit orchard horse dragging – slip lariat over ankles with other end wrapped around horn, bit of cardboard between jeans and dirt …. be mindful of those 6″ high dirt berms to trap the water when the orchard is flood irrigated – need to lift a bit to get good launch and air time rather than – bang full stop experience. BTW this is a seasonal event only after there is heaps of grapefruit on the ground and dismount is when you get a hot sensation on your backside as it means you might be getting a hole in your jeans – walking back through the feed lot to the ranch house with fashion look ahead of its time.

                Gezz now you’ve done it … and whilst I’m having my morning coffee I’ve got flash backs of fortnightly rodeos/bbqs and my aunt gabby mistakenly grabbing the community spit can [Coors beer can] and taking a huge swig, seems just about everyone caught it just as she tilt her head back …. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many generational hard tack cowboys and cowgirls hit the ground rolling around in fits of laughter ever … took a half hour for some to pull themselves together after that … she wearnt* too good after that for a spell …

                I ponder what the ratings would be for the Olympics for these sorta events …

                Anywho … the whole place is a golf course near Chandler AZ now …

                1. Raymond Sim

                  Ponies people said were “trained to drive” often seemed to be especially clever, and often suprisingly reasonable, by which I mean they didn’t try to assert themselves over you unless they actually had the upper hand.

                  I remember one incorrigible escape artist and orchard raider who I’m pretty sure figured out how cart pulling worked on the fly, the first time he was between the shafts. He was already perfectly comfortable walking around with improbably large portions of fences around his neck. I think to him the cart was like a gate with training wheels.

              2. newcatty


                By and large the people were less admirable than the horses.

                Well, that goes for any person who “punches horses”.

                1. Raymond Sim

                  I never punched a horse that wasn’t either coming at me to bite, or showing as if about to do unacceptable violence to another horse. Or at least I never swung at a horse that wasn’t, I did once unintentionally punch a horse that was intervening on my behalf when I swung at a miscreant and missed. I don’t think she even noticed. She had serious mare business going on, what with this other horse trying to cut the dinner line and all.

    1. saywhat?

      From article:

      The analysis later goes on to conclude, “Memory antibodies selected over time by natural infection have greater potency and breadth than antibodies elicited by vaccination.”


      Interesting times …

      1. Raymond Sim

        Haven’t read the article yet, but I want to raise a red flag: SARS-CoV-2 evades immune memory in multiple ways. There’s been a consistent failure to come to terms with this in public discussion. Consistent, and systematic.

        If immune memory worked the way people seem to think it does, then here in the US we should have seen slowing rates of transmission and serious illness months and months ago.

        1. Raymond Sim

          Okay, read the ‘Federalist’ article. It does not address the key issues. I’m gonna call it fake news.

          On my way to check out the preprint.

        2. Raymond Sim

          I read the preprint, I hope others with greater expertise than myself will have a gander as well.

          In my opinion they infer too much from their results, and it’s for the reasons I mentioned above, i.e. they don’t reckon sufficiently with the virus’s active and passive measures to counter immune memory.

          Also they put a lot of weight on breadth of antibody activity, almost to the point of equating it with protectiveness. But once you’re at the point in time where you’re relying on immune memory, this strikes me as a weak reed.

          I think it’s like having armories stocked full with all the weapons you need to defeat the invader, but knowing that he’ll probably be on your territory, dug in, and jamming your communications before you have time to mobilize.

          I don’t discern anything fishy about the study per se, so I won’t call it fake news. But we’re an awful long way into dealing with this virus for these scientists not to be addressing the concerns I raised.

    2. Shonde

      I don’t know who to trust anymore. I have seen other research in the past that would confirm the news in your article.

      My question to all who may know more: Why is all the talk and push for booster shots related to Pfizer and Moderna and not to J & J considering the article in today’s links saying J & J is effective against Delta and no booster shot is needed. Why isn’t J & J being promoted for boosters considering the waning effectiveness of Pfizer information coming out of Israel?

      When the governor of Minnesota and a former governor received J & J shots plus the health commissioner, I wondered if they knew something the rest of us did not. I also remember epidemiologist Michael Osterholm saying very early last year that no one should be worried about the reported effectiveness of J & J since it continued to become more effective with time which seems to be the opposite of Pfizer. Yet, I haven’t been able to find followup research that would confirm this.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They were out earlier. Six months from my first shot is in less than a month. Coronavirus antibodies usually last about six months before humans forget how to make them again.

        I did notice the governor of Virginia, known for his attempted moonwalk, a medical doctor, waited for the J&J vaccine despite encouraging people to sign up.

        1. Raymond Sim

          “Coronavirus antibodies usually last about six months before humans forget how to make them again.”

          Please note that this is more truthy than true. If people believed this and acted on it that would be better than what we have now, but the problems with immune response after serum antibodies wane are worse than mere forgetfulness.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Don’t have time to read this now, is it substantially different from the preprint I addressed above? If not then it’s likely just high-quality hopium.

            I keep trying to get this across, and to be honest I think there’s a lot of willful resistance to even thinking about it: SARS-CoV-2 evades immune memory in multiple ways, one of which is to derange future immune response. Getting infected means letting it mess with your immune system. The quality of antibodies you’re able to produce when your immune memory is activated is nowhere near the full story.

            1. Dean

              I disagree that scientific publications are “hopium,” rather they provide data and usually interpretations of that data. If you read the preprint you saw the following statement: “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection produces B-cell responses that continue to evolve for at least one year. During that time, memory B cells express increasingly broad and potent antibodies…” The article I referenced above (and multiple others) comes to the same conclusion. It is difficult to understand how that could happen if SARS-CoV-2 messes with your immune system.

              What is “the full story?” Could you provide references. thanks

              1. Raymond Sim

                I think John Campbell has accessible tutorials on his YouTube channel. That might be a good place to start.

                The subject I’m addressing here comes under the heading of ‘Adaptive Immune Memory’ – I’m not sure how thoroughly Campbell treats it, but once you know who the players are, try searching on “aberrant T-cell differentiation.”

                The ‘full story’ is way too much for the skinny end of a comments thread, and I’m sure there are folks here who could refer you to more comprehensive treatments than I’m aware of, but this should give you the flavor of what, I reiterate, is only one of the virus’s methods of evading immune memory.

          2. neo-realist

            That may be true, but does one want to take on the risks of the potential health problems associated with covid-19 infection in the absence of vaccine inoculation, even if you don’t factor in death?

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            63 participants. And 1/3 had been vaccinated before the year was over!

            Among those, 26 (41%) had received at least one dose of either the Moderna (mRNA-1273) or Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccines, on average 40 days (range 2–82 days) before their study visit and 311 days (range 272–373 days) after the onset of acute illness (Supplementary Table 1).

            Bullshit study when the Imperial College data on ~100,000 pre vaccines has been extensively analyzed and showed neutralizing antibodies were strong enough to confer immunity for only 6 to 8 months, depending on who was reading the data.

            And memory B cells are not a first line of defense. Particularly with Delta infections progressing more rapidly than wild type Covid, B cell defenses have decent odds of not kicking in fast enough to prevent an immune reaction from doing substantial damage.

      2. Louis Fyne

        The CDC/FDA revolving door is heavily tilted to Pfizer, moreso than JNJ

        Circumstantial evidence glasses and tinfoil hat off.

      3. Lupana

        I can’t remember when I heard this but sometimes I watch / listen to Dr. Been and he speculated that maybe the second booster dose of the mRNA vaccines actually stops the full development of immunity from the first dose and he thought it was possible that one dose would be enough of those vaccines if they were just given time. I wish I could remember what his reasoning was but unfortunately it’s joined the increasingly nebulous mass of COVID information inhabiting my brain.

      4. Mikel

        “…The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine provides immunity that lasts at least eight months, and it appears to provide adequate protection against the worrying Delta variant, the company said in a statement Thursday night.
        “Current data for the eight months studied so far show that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time,” Dr. Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J’s Janssen vaccine arm, said in a statement.
        The company said one dose of the vaccine elicits both a lasting antibody response and generates immune cells called T-cells that last eight months, also….”

        They’ve been consistent and upfront about the 8 months since April.
        The other two companies, Pfizer & Moderna, seem to still be trying to nail the timeline, for whatever reason, but they know it’s not forever either…
        The media seems to twist everything the drug companies say into a narrative like these are sterilizing vaccines that prevent the spread and mutation of disease – so you should just go out and shop. None of them are that.

        1. Aumua

          “Current data for the eight months studied so far show…”

          And what study would that be? Oh you mean the one we’re all participating in whether we like it or not, if we took your vaccine? OK then. Would be nice if we got paid for this research or something.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I suggest you bother reading clinical trial protocols before going off half cocked.

            They require participants continue providing data for at least a year from trial onset.

            1. Aumua

              That’s fine. I was just ironically quipping about how we’re all testing these vaccines unofficially.

              1. Daniel LaRusso

                Can you please explain to me (bearing in mind I’m thick), how we are all testing these vaccines? My nieces are both doctors – and they simply don’t believe that when I say people smarter than me said so.

  14. Pat

    If I had won the lottery recently, I might want to run a lot of billboards and ads that say:

    NewYork, Where Governor Andy Cuomo Will Send Your Grandmother Off to Die As He Lauds His Own Leadership in a Book He Got Millions For.

    There could be follow up ads about his misuse of government to write the book, and about building a failing bridge.

    Somehow I doubt there would be news reports about those being banned.

    1. Anon

      But Cuomo will give your grandmother a big hug before he sends her off to die! That’s just the kind of swell guy he is!

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Humans could recolonize Earth after mass extinctions with ectogenesis”

    I think that something like this idea was featured in the new film “Voyagers” but it did not work out so well-

    Considering the time scales and the limits of our technology, I think that what we should do is arrange to leave a message on the moon that can be seen from the Earth by our future successors-

    ‘Dear new sentient race-
    Sorry about the mess we left. Little of us will survive on Earth by the time you read this but good luck with your own civilization. Hopefully by the time your end comes, you will meet it with more dignity than we managed to do with ours.
    good luck,
    the Human race’

    1. Maritimer

      Human, even though you are presenting Misinformation, I am not suspending your NC account.

      But, to be correct and factual, it is We, The Bots, who will be taking over. Thank you for creating Us—Long Live AI/GI/SI.

    2. Aumua

      “Like a bad penny, Humans could turn up again after causing mass extinctions with ectogenesis.”

    1. Louis Fyne

      to be pedantic, Covid is more like gangrene striking a chronically ill patient.

      US society is structurally broken (fault on both the left and right). covid was just the cement straw that broke the camel’s back

  16. Katy

    COVID report from the ground:

    CVS and Walgreens are both rationing COVID tests in MN. Also, Walgreens will not let you schedule an appointment if they know you are vaccinated. You have to “prefer not to say” whether you are vaccinated during the scheduling process.

    But you can purchase a rapid COVID test over the counter at Walgreens for the low, low price of $23.99 if you don’t want to drive an hour for the test and wait until Tuesday to get your result.

    On a positive note, the OTC test says my husband doesn’t have COVID. Just a summer cold I guess.

    1. Raymond Sim

      “Just a summer cold I guess.”

      Ack!!!! No!!!!

      None of the tests, none of them can tell you you’re not infected, they just do not work for that. A positive pcr test, is a strong indicator that you are infected, or recently have been, but none of the tests have the capacity to tell you you’re in the clear. That’s what quarantine is for.

    2. Nce

      Yep, I also had difficulty finding info about Covid testing in my county. I had significant symptoms (bad joint pain, headaches, nausea, etc.) 3 days before a dental appt, so I wanted to get tested even though I had the j&j. Anthem (through MediCal) said that they wouldn’t pay for testing unless I went to the emergency room at the local hospital. I wasn’t told and didn’t know that included a mandatory physical too, so I was directed to call 211 for information about free county testing. Well, the 211 line is still up but I didn’t know that nobody checked it until I called the county health dept, who isn’t answering their phones, either. 24 hours later I did get tested and it was neg, but I wonder how accurate quick results are, esp considering my symptoms.

    3. skk

      In Cali, I got my free one ( free at point of test, perhaps they cross-charged my Medicare insurance but its free for uninsured ) by first visiting
      and then using this:

      The registration questions are not really onerous but when you have under the symptoms it surely feels like a total drag ! I had to scout around to find a nearby Cali site that got me a next day appt. There were no same day ones.. BUT… when I went to the Filmore CA test site they had a sign saying “Walkins – this way”. Whether that meant people who walked up and didn’t drive up or people who were without appts – who knows. but its worth noting.

      These were PCR tests not rapid antigen. the result is stated as within 3-5 days, the tester told me 2 to 3 days, I got a call the next day !

    4. lordkoos

      My COVID report — as a musician I played a gig last night indoors in a somewhat ventilated space, and out of a crowd of 80 people, saw maybe two or three people wearing masks. People either think that it’s over, or more likely just want to have some fun after a lousy 2020. I can relate to the latter but it seems a dangerous practice.

      Then today at the local farmers’ market I saw this:

        1. chris

          You have no idea. The parents in my area are vigorously protesting against “face diapers”. They refuse to let their kids attend public school with a masking requirement. They have made all kinds of claims and quoted many supposedly reputable sources saying the harms of masking need to be considered. It gets loopy real quick.

          I don’t think mask mandates are going to work well. I know vaccine mandates won’t work well. I think we’re just going to have support people making their own decisions and hope for the best.

          1. Wellstone’s Ghost

            Not masking your kids when you send them to school is child abuse pure and simple. Children rely on their parents to make informed decisions about what is best for them. Where is it written or stated that masks negatively impact a child’s health? We as a society will end up paying for this ignorance collectively.
            I would rather have masking and social distancing for children under 12 at this point than vaccines.

    5. Aumua

      Covid report AZ:

      I’ve noticed a lot more people are masking up in stores around here lately. I had let my own masking lapse for a month or so, but now I’m back at it again. When in Rome, and all that.

  17. a fax machine

    My friend of mine made the comment that all history before 1965 is racist, and all history before iphones is irrelevant because, in his words, it won’t be recorded as everything is moved to digital books. I kinda laughed at him but I don’t think he’s entirely wrong, ask yourself how many history students are interested in history as something greater than an exercise is racial identity politics. By “students” I mean the paid type that attend 4-year universities and go to starbucks every day. Why bother having a 50lbs backpack full of books when it can be done online, and why bother coming to class for physical paper tests when it can also be done online?

    For example, let us suppose you wanted to read a book about the industrial development of your local town. Probably, this is very hard to find. I have about three, one of which pertains to the Spanish ranches that preceded annexation by the United States. Apparently, nobody knows about these things because… well, it’s not taught in school and the landlords were notorious racists anyway. There’s something lost in that discussion considering the boundaries they setup are still evident in road designs today, including road designs that people consider racist (an argument which I beilive there is merit in).

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      As far as I know, data and information stored on electronic media — hard drives, CDs, DVDs, floppies, memory sticks, magnetic tape, and so on — are much more ephemeral than paperbacks printed on cheap newsprint. Even if the electronic media enjoyed greater longevity, the devices for reading the media present problems — think 8-tracks or betamax video tapes. I suspect the iPhones and digital books will have little to offer future historians, unless the future means the next decade or two.

      The efforts to digitize our libraries and archive electronic copies of our books for posterity worry me. Besides their limited lifetimes, electronic media depend far too much on current technologies which might not be available in the not so distant future. Snowden’s essay, linked to yesterday, suggests another concern:
      “The easier it becomes to produce information, the harder that information becomes to consume — and the harder we have to work to separate the spurious from the significant.”
      Converting electronic media back to printed media will be like fitting the ugly sister’s foot into Cinderella’s glass slipper, but it will be much more difficult to decide what to keep and what to remove and discard. Even our Scientific and Technical literature is becoming littered with the spurious and insignificant. Current patent literature has grown in deliberate efforts to splay and obfuscate its disclosures.

  18. Mikel

    “New Data Suggest J. & J. Vaccine Works Against Delta” New York Times

    Time will tell with all of these shots. But I couldn’t help but notice that even with good news about the J&J shot the establishment didn’t miss a chance to pimp mRNA shots.
    They suggest the J&J shot people could get the mRNA for a booster if needed…never once suggesting the mRNA recipients get a J&J as a booster.
    Can’t wait until the non-mRNA Novavax enters the narrative. Grab your popcorn.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I did not read the Times article about the J&J vaccine. The Times is not a primary source for that kind of information, and the Times has long appeared ‘credibility challenged’.

  19. Mildred Montana

    Nice link to the article about Inaccessible Island. Thanks.

    For those interested in uninhabited islands, I suggest a reading of Vincent Bugliosi’s book “And the Sea Will Tell” about a homicide on the Pacific island of Palmyra (technically an atoll and due south of the Hawaiian Islands).

    “In 1974, Palmyra was the site of a murder, and possible double murder, of a wealthy San Diego couple, Malcolm “Mac” Graham and his wife, Eleanor “Muff” Graham. The mysterious deaths, including the murder conviction of Duane (“Buck”) Walker (a.k.a. Wesley G. Walker) for Eleanor Graham’s murder, and the acquittal of his girlfriend, Stephanie Stearns, made headlines worldwide, and became the subject of a true crime book, And the Sea Will Tell, written by Bruce Henderson and Vincent Bugliosi….” (Wiki)

    Palmyra gets an incredible rainfall of 175″ a year.
    If visitors don’t bring their own food they are forced to survive solely on the breadfruit that grows plentifully there. A dreary diet, which according to the book contributed to the murder(s) in 1974.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is a formerly inhabited island off the north west of Ireland called Innishmurray which is extremely hard to access, even today the only way is via a small boat and jumping onto rocks or pulling onto one of the small beaches. The small community there made their living distilling poteen (illegal whiskey), so when the government in the late 19th Century offered to build a quay they told the engineers the best location, which turned out to be where the heaviest waves hit, so it was functionally useless. This was to ensure it was impossible for the police to raid the island without the inhabitants having plenty of notice.

      Its uninhabited now, only accessible to kayakers or those who hire local fishermen who have the knack of getting to the right places you can jump off. I’m told its an incredible place to visit – a medieval monastery is very much intact due to so little disturbance. Allegedly, the monastery there was exclusively for monks on the mainland who were a little…. problematic in their behaviour. It kept them well away from trouble.

      Nobody really knows though about the motivation of the monks who sought out the incredibly isolated and difficult to access Skellig islands.

    2. GF

      Palmyra may be uninhabited but it has a big 5,500 foot runway (from Google Earth Pro image taken in 2016) that can accommodate jets. It is also a national wildlife refuge.

      1. Cuibono

        you too can use that runway!
        Make a large contribution to NC (that’s the Nature Conservancy Yves sorry) and you might get invited. 7 figures might do it.

  20. psmith

    Re: New Data Suggest J. & J. Vaccine Works Against Delta (New York Times)

    Michael Lin has a Twitter thread about the results of the Sisonke study:

    He comments that the 71% efficacy against hospitalization from the Delta variant seems “worryingly low,” and also points out that often-discussed metric of efficacy against disease/infection is not reported at all.

    My favorite tweet was:

    “J&J recipients who have been paying attention have been trendsetters. Because they expected their protection against infection to be partial, many J&Jers were more careful about reducing their exposure risk and more informed about Delta virulence.”

    I have been used to thinking of myself (I received J&J) variously as a worrier, anxious, germophobic, hypochondriacal, etc, but I never thought of myself as a trendsetter!

    1. Anon

      I received J&J. My Pfizer and Moderna friends looked down on me. Now I’m trendy! I’m all of the other things you mentioned too.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I can’t stand the J&J trashing. With Israel data showing that Pfizer is 39% effective after 5-6 months? And they better hope that they can pin that on Delta, and not the way protection declines regardless of variant.

  21. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Even Snoop Can’t Save the Olympics

    The problem isn’t with the content. The problem is NBC made it impossible to watch unless you pay to watch it live. Who watches live TV these days?

    Like most people under 50, I stream everything I watch. I have Comcast as my ISP, but don’t have their TV services. blocks me on all streams and almost all replays with some crappy error url. Cut and paste the error URL and it’s a message telling me I have to get Comcast Digital TV and subscribe to the right channel. No thanks. (I would need to get in my car a drive, stand in some DMVesque line to get some equipment… then have to do the same to return it.)

    I hear Hulu allows you to watch if you subscribe to their live TV package. But you still have to watch it live… I still wouldn’t be able to stream the replays, which is what I really want.

    I should have gotten a VPN, but I’m not sure which country would allow me to stream.

  22. Jason Boxman

    Remember when the Trump administration was incompetent and couldn’t govern? Oh, well, oops I guess.

    The report also notes that the Biden administration has barely begun to reverse the 100 or so environmental rollbacks of the Trump administration — it has only successfully reversed three of them, and started work on eight more. “At this pace,” the report determined, “the majority of Trump’s attacks on the environment are likely to stay in place through the end of Biden’s first term.” And it is far from certain that he will get a second one.

    The report’s criticism comes down to a question of speed — a tricky line to tread in federal rule-making, a slow, bureaucratic process that typically takes 18 months to two years to complete correctly. The Trump administration was unusually hasty in its rule making. “He forced all of the executive branch agencies to realize his agenda — no matter how stupid — in an efficient, timely manner,” Hartl says.

    (Is Biden Screwing This Up?)

  23. MichaelC

    NPR published an article today that I think NC readers won’t want to miss

    How a Gay Community Helped the CDC Spot a Covid Outbreak – And Learn More about Delta

    (Apologies I don’t know how to add the link from my IPad)

    Excellent rundown on citizen science in action triggering a rapid response from the CDC

    Be sure to visit the data site linked in the article (Covidid I’ve been looking for a site that compiles the information provided there for months

    1. MichaelC

      I still urge all NC readers to read the article for its content and messaging, but I realized after my initial enthusiasm in discovering that communities do still exist trying (and in this case succeeding) in speaking truth to power and accomplishing something positive for all affected communities.

      But tNPR, as usual, prioritized their ID pol agenda over the more pressing priority of broadcasting a tectonic shift in CDC policy that hopefully will alter the strategic course of the public health policies around this epidemic.

      Had NPR replaced ‘Gay’ with ‘Summer’ in the headline, the collapse of the ‘you’re safe if you’re vaccinated’ narrative would have been picked up by mainstream outlets immediately and gone viral and perhaps make the CDCs apparent flip flop palatable to those on the fence non-vaccinated sooner and provided a few weeks lead time in saving lives.

      Which should be their mission.

      I’m a gay man, and a covid stats obsessive, so I noticed the early reporting on the PTown mainly because it was close to home for me, but I despaired at the paucity of press coverage of the event until the CDC reversed course without highlighting the excellent work that went into convincing them to change course.

      But Covid’s not hetero or homo. If my homey homos once again step out as they did in the AiDs crisis ( I’m looking at you Fauci, Did you forget what you learned to earn Harvey Weinstein,s forgiveness) the CDC need to reassert itself to just call out I’d pol and move on from the masking policies debate and give us the info to allow us the freedom decide on how best to protect ourselves from an aerosol transmitted disease.

      Ptown could be the moment. It’s all aerosol, so if that means avoiding enclosed spaces w lots of folks we want to be with is the risk, Then Indon’t need no governor or any other public official to tell me that’s bullshit

      I need the CDC to tell me in no uncertain terms that congregating in close quarters is high risk. I’ll adapt.

      Hospitality business be damned till I’m ready to come back safe. Passport panaceas are gonna kill us if we’re all vaccinated and spreading Delta.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I was hoping a gay guy would comment on this. Thank you.

        When I realized the outbreak was in Provincetown I figured some sort of gay-themed minimizing of the CDC’s thundering incompetence/indifference would be the order of the day, but I guess I’m old. I was expecting “It’s the gays fault.” not “These plucky gays got together and put on a show!”

        1. MichaelC

          You are welcome Raynmond, and thank you too
          I’m kinda oldish too but not too old to forget that those plucky gays didn’t just put on a show:

          They did the research and the science that got Fauici and the CDC on track to a ultimately do the right thing.

          Not sure what’s taking him so long this time,

  24. bob

    Andrew Cuomo Is Actually, Really Finished Ross Barkan (UserFriendly)

    ” Melissa DeRosa and Rich Azzopardi and Alphonso David”

    Where does the Cuomo truth and reconciliation commission go? That would be a great start. Cuomo doesn’t just rule by himself, he has had plenty of help from people who only aspire to be as vindictive and mean as he is.

    The obituaries for Cuomo are premature. He still has plenty of power, and plenty of people under him who only have power as long as he does.

    “Cuomo earned his fate, as did his rapacious underlings. When Kathy Hochul, the lieutenant governor, replaces him, she should purge as many Cuomo hands as she can from the government. ”

    Yeah, sure. Cuomo has spent a decade making sure that everyone in any postion of power is responsible only to Cuomo. Including Hochul. She’ll all of the sudden go from willing enabler to hard core reformist. It always happens that way.

  25. Icecube12

    I thought I might provide an update on the covid situation in Iceland, which I wrote about last week. To recap, Iceland has a small population of about 370,000, we are about 70% fully vaccinated as a population, which includes more than 85% of the 16 and older crowd, and between July 6 and yesterday our 14 day incidence rate went from 2.5/100k to 427.9/100k, which is much higher than it’s ever been. All our cases since this wave began have been Delta variant. It is my understanding that all cases are genetically tested here, though that may stop if and when the system becomes overwhelmed.

    As of yesterday, 1822 people had tested positive for covid since July 9, with 69% of those people being fully vaccinated, and 49 people had been admitted to the hospital. Today we were told that about 1/3 of those admitted to hospital were vaccinated (imprecise, I know, but that is all that was said). I was doing some calculating based on the data provided on Iceland’s covid website (see, and if we presume that people are most often admitted to the hospital one week after diagnosis (I know it can’t be so neat as that, but for want of a better method), then if 32 unvaccinated people out of the 261 diagnosed between July 9 and 29 have been hospitalized, that is a rate of about 12.3%. If 17 vaccinated people out of the 754 diagnosed between July 9 and 29 have been hospitalized, that is a rate of about 2.2%. For comparison, Icelanders were reminded at the beginning of this wave that about 5% of cases had had to be hospitalized in past waves pre-vaccination. If we only look at those hospitalized now as having been diagnosed between July 9 and July 29, the hospitalization rate looks much the same, about 4.8%, though vastly different based on vaccination status. They were initially hoping this wave would see 0.5% get seriously ill. If my calculations are right, the vaccines do seem somewhat effective against Delta, and Delta would appear worse than previous variants.

    Only 5 people have been in the ICU so far though (we are told they were not vaccinated), and none have died, thankfully. Oh, and 262 children have been infected, about 18% of the total (based on Statistics Iceland I calculate that about 22% of the country’s population is under 18), but we were told a couple days ago that none had been hospitalized and I am presuming that to still be the case as nothing new has been said about it.

    I know I am making a big assumption about when an infected person gets serious enough to go to hospital (and someone more knowledgeable please correct me if I have gotten stuff wrong). I guess we just have to see if the trend continues as data continues to roll in. Which barring a miracle it will, as even though travel season will be winding down a bit soon (at least among Icelanders traveling domestically), schools are going back into session and no more infection control measures are on the horizon. We currently have to mask in indoor public spaces and keep a 1m distance, while travelers to Iceland now need a PCR test before getting on the plane and travelers with “connections to Iceland” are supposed to go get tested within 2 days of returning to the country, the presumption being that locals have more connections in society and infect more people, which we have always been told to be the case. The health system has said it is going to buckle if this keeps up and that it hasn’t been able to keep track of people with more mild cases as it used to (those infected are placed in outpatient care and have in the past been contacted by health workers fairly frequently to keep track of their condition). The finance minister, who is acknowledged as the one pretty much in charge of the current coalition government, said yesterday that if the health system can’t cope, it’s the health system’s own fault. I guess ICUs are usually run at like 95% or 100% capacity here. The chief epidemiologist said earlier in the week that he has provided recommendations to the government many times and the ball is in their court, and since then he has kind of disappeared.

    It’s frustrating because even though the health and political authorities have previously made decisions and calculations that I disagreed with (like not mandating masks indoors until end of October 2020 and often being slow in implementing infection control measures), I generally felt that the approach they were taking was decent enough. They were of course helped by Iceland being an island with limited ways in and a fairly compliant population. Now I am seriously worried about the health system for the first time since March 2020, and I am also worried about the social ramifications if the health system does collapse.

    *My sources are (in English) and (in Icelandic)

      1. Icecube12

        Thanks for that. I hadn’t realized how thorough Iceland Review has been in reporting on covid news and recapping the press conferences.

  26. FluffytheObeseCat

    “Lawyer: Capitol Cop Who Shot Ashli Babbitt ‘Ambushed’ Her on Jan. 6 Without Warning Real Clear Investigations.”

    Just like Breona Taylor, who was asleep in her bedroom when the cops broke in, guns blazing……

    Except not.

    There are people gunned down by the authorities nearly daily in the United States of America. Who never get one one-thousandth of the postmortem beatification that Ashli Babbitt is now receiving. Because they weren’t invading the joint chamber of Congress when they were shot down; they were simply engaged in daily life. And they weren’t all Black either.

    In light of the sheer numbers of those who are (much) more regularly first slaughtered and then slandered by our authorities… it becomes hard to see yet another article imputing she wore a halo while busting her way into the chambers. Real martyrs are young women asleep in their beds when they are gunned down with insufficient warning. And after brief spates of coverage we don’t read jack about them, because the most prolific whiners in this nation don’t give a d@mn about the genuinely maltreated. They only care about photogenic white folks who think, act, and look like them.

    Is the issue that federal police must be held to higher standard? Because at this time, most of our LEO are not. Not at all.

    1. workingclasshero

      So fluffy,give examples of cops just waisting americans for no reason at all during thw last 2 years.Were the just walking down the street and BANG BANG or maybe they just might have been resisting an arrest for some trivial thing or…whatever,please explain.

      1. lordkoos

        Really? You ought to easily be able to find examples on your own, there have been plenty of people shot in the back by cops.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Now we are going to politicize manslaughter? Anyone who voted teh wrong way last November deserves whatever.

      Breona Taylor didn’t deserve to die. Neither did Ashli Babbit.

    3. fresno dan

      August 7, 2021 at 3:32 pm
      I agree. It is perfectly obvious that the lawyer asserting that believes cops killing white right wingers is an outrage, while killing black people is the sworn duty of the police.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Thank you. I thought about responding to a couple of the replies but……. there was far too much fine whine in them for me.

    4. Gareth

      The narrative almost got out of control there for a moment, Fluffy. RCI is promoting a worldview that might help people see the truth about our shared humanity and the pain of injustice. Someone might have even used this event in outreach to educate others about excessive force. Good on you for stepping in to drive the conversation back to identity politics and partisan fighting.

    5. Lambert Strether

      > Is the issue that federal police must be held to higher standard?

      The RCI article structured as dueling quotes from the lawyers. From the evidence I can see, the standard applied to the Capitol policeman is quite, quite low:

      Also, Roberts said the officer appeared to lack trigger discipline, judging from photos taken by a freelance photographer inside the House chamber before the shooting down the hall in the Speaker’s Lobby. “He’s gunslinging like some cowboy,” the lawyer said.

      In one of the freelancer’s photos obtained by RCI, the officer can be seen advancing toward the door of the chamber while several other law enforcement officers had taken position behind a barricade. His Glock-22 is slung low at his side pointed in the direction of the other officers, whose backs are to him, and his finger appears to be on the trigger.

      The veteran Capitol Police officer who spoke to RCI on the condition of anonymity said his colleague was not following department firearms training, which requires officers to keep their weapons pointed in a safe direction while making sure of what’s in front of and beyond a target, and to keep the finger off the trigger until ready to fire.

      “His trigger finger shouldn’t be inside the trigger guard and the gun shouldn’t be pointed at other officers. He’s even pointing it in the direction of a member of Congress,” the fellow officer said, referring to Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), a former professional mixed-martial-arts fighter who had joined the scrum in front of the chamber doors.

      “I can’t tell you how many officers have contacted me to say that what that guy did doesn’t pass muster,” Roberts said in an extensive interview. “No one has come forward to say this was justified homicide, not even the Justice Department.”

      And then there’s this:

      “I’m not sure how he was justified shooting her when there was a SWAT team right behind her,” added a veteran Capitol officer, referring to three heavily armed USCP officers who had positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. “They saw no immediate threat.” The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. A Capitol Police spokeswoman would not say if the officer’s actions were consistent with use-of-force policies, which are not publicly available. In a statement released earlier this month, however, USCP noted that it is “increasing its use-of-force … training.”

      I don’t think it’s beatifying Babbitt to urge that at the very least cops should minimize the number of times they whack people. It’s not at all clear to me that this Capitol cop did that in this case.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Decades ago when I was a 19 year old kid in the army, part of the training was how to guard military installations against civilian intrusion. They went trough great pains to drill the proper procedure in our heads. The possible escalation of the situation should be stepped and controlled, and never end up with somebody dead if at all possible.

        Steps (as I remember them):
        1. with a very loud voice, tell the perpetrator to stop
        2. with a very loud voice, tell the perpetrator to stop or you will open fire
        3. with a very loud voice, tell the perpetrator to stop or you will open fire and make a big show of taking safety off and cocking your assault rifle
        4. fire a warning shot to a surface (tree, wall, whatever) away from the perpetrator to avoid ricochet and have proof of a warning shot for the following investigation (and also to verify you did not select automatic fire by accident)
        5. aim at the upper legs (not ground) and shoot one round
        6. begin first-aid and hopefully save the leg/perpetrator

        Of course, according to my trainers by step 3 the situation was guaranteed to de-escalate, since with conscript army it’s really likely the perpetrator has had the same training and realizes he’s against a nervous kid stepping trough a simple program that ends with him bleeding on the ground.

        Only once I was in a situation where I had to actually contemplate if I would take the step 5, and decided I would not. Just a personal experience, but I found it’s actually quite easy not to kill or maim your fellow humans, even if you have the means and “law on your side”.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        “ I don’t think it’s beatifying Babbitt to urge that at the very least cops should minimize the number of times they whack people. It’s not at all clear to me that this Capitol cop did that in this case.”

        My strong suspicion is that the shooting was unnecessary, although the post facto second guessing in the article is based on quotes from a biased, interested, source (Roberts). However, the specifics of the incident are not why this, and many other similar articles, are thronging our news feeds right now. The attention focused on her death stands in stark contrast to the coverage received by other, less aggressive, citizens who were gunned down over the prior year and a half. Coverage of Babbitt’s death is intense because a certain selection of Americans want a martyr to their gallant Cause.

        The responses to my comment above bear out the strength and petulance of this grievance drive. They want their lady martyr lauded in the news, and damn anyone who suggests she was among the least wronged of those killed by cop in the past year.

        Getting shot dead when cops bust into your bedroom while you sleep is far, far, less defensible. And the disregard for that example in the responses was….. telling. The only one who grudgingly acknowledged Breonna Taylor had also been wronged only did so after insinuating I initiated the politicization of manslaughter, and attributing false sentiments to me: “Anyone who voted teh wrong way last November deserves whatever.”.

        These swift to slander chip-on-the-shoulderists are the reason why Babbitt’s death receives the anomalously detailed, sympathetic coverage that it does. They aren’t honest actors. They don’t give equal weight to less photogenic Americans whose lives and deaths don’t thrill them sufficiently. They short shrift the lives of those who aren’t in their tribe.

        Tell me why they deserve deference they can’t be bothered to give to others.

  27. Soredemos

    >Army Tanks Are Vulnerable Against Drones. Congress Wants a Fix, Stat. Popular Mechanics

    The fix is to stop using tanks.

    1. Darthbobber

      Weapons are vulnerable to other weapons? Who knew? Most lucrative variation of rock-paper-scissors ever invented.

      1. a fax machine

        In this case, it is perhaps justified. ISIS pioneered the use of cheap chinese drones to drop grenades and large bombs capable of disabling tanks and killing infantry. Soldiers are not well trained in combating them and the average rifleman will have a hard time vs a shotgunner. Armored vehicles lack any sort of tracking or close-range system able to defeat them before they get too close. High speed + maneuverability more than makes up for the small payload; a grenade will stop a tank if it explodes in the right spot allowing an ambush to take place.

        The better question is: what horrifying monster of a weapon will be created to fight these things? Either we get automatic self-aiming/firing guns and lasers, as the Israelis are experimenting with, or we get combat drone wars which could be readily commercialized into something hellishly orwellian. The latter lends itself well given all the drone photographers who can train pilots – especially when such photographers are already used to make training videos (specifically the CDL College series of videos, which is very popular with Army officers tasked with training a lot of people on how trailers work very quickly).

    2. The Rev Kev

      We may never see a big tank battle again like Kursk or Easting 73. If it was a matter of a tank fighting off one or two drones it might stand a chance but different nations are going with drone swarms that will overwhelm any defenses. This may explain why they are developing tanks that do not need a crew. I am sure that the US 1st Armored Division is taking note.

      The development of drones a generation ago changed warfare and now the same is happening with this new generation of drones. The difference here is that you do not have to be a superpower to use them and in fact, it will now become possible to defeat a superpower with a relatively smaller investment. And these drones can be used in naval warfare too – in areas such as the Gulf. Warfare may now become more “democratic”-

  28. Cuibono

    that JAMA study.
    Note it is not done on teens. also it is retrospective. Good looks at safety should include prospective with close fu

  29. chris

    I’m sharing this TWIV link because I think it’s a good discussion that people here will appreciate. I will describe the content so as to help people decide whether it is worth their time to listen.

    This podcast and video show 4 well respected virologists going over the leaked CDC slides describing potential recommendations for the response to the Delta variant and the data behind those recommendations. A high level summary of their discussion is:

    *They do not agree with the CDC’s messaging on this.
    *They do not agree with the CDC concluding that Delta is more transmissible.
    *They do agree that there is evidence that Delta may be more virulent than the other variants of the original type.
    *They note that CT counts are difficult to evaluate from one person to the next and do not directly relate to how infectious a person may be, also the data available shows that vaccinated individuals only have comparable CT counts to unvaccinated individuals initially. Soon after infection the viral RNA counts drop precipitously.
    *They describe the logic behind vaccination programs and that they did not expect the vaccines to prevent infection, only hospitalization and death.

    They include discussions on several papers in the show. This paper may be of interest to the Commentariat, coming from the Lancet describing data from Scotland. The paper has a class based conclusion, which is that the people being infected with the Delta variant are not only younger but are more affluent too. Interesting to see that angle added to the analysis.

    Another detail they discuss is that while the data does show that the odds of being reinfected and developing COVID do increase with Delta, they don’t increase much.

    Overall, the discussion concludes that we should never have stopped masking, the vaccines are working well, and the media coverage of this new variant isn’t helping.

    1. Brian Beijer

      I am responding to this knowing that I am way out of my depth here. I call bullshit on the point that “they did not expect the vaccines to prevent infection, only hospitalization and death”. If that’s the case, then the entire medical establishment knowingly went along with the governments across the Western world when they told us that “If you take the vaccine, then you’re 95% safe.” Meaning, one is 95% safe from getting Covid 19, NOT that you’re 95% only from “hospitilization and death”. If these virologists (and presumably most others in the medical establishment) knew this from the beginning and said nothing while the governments were shilling this vaccine as the “end of Covid”, then they are just as culpible and untrustworthy. In my opinion, that one remark makes me doubt the validity of anything else they have to say. I am SO tired of everyone moving the goal posts.

      1. chris

        So, virologists and many others have been saying exactly that for a while. It is not hidden knowledge. Here is a simple website with an explanation of what vaccines do from back in January 2021. Yes, this does mean the explanations that the government has been giving us about these vaccines has been wrong. Yes, it means the Biden administration was describing what the effect of taking the vaccines would be incorrectly. Yes, that messaging and the suggestion that we need boosters is also acting to make it harder for people to want to be vaccinated. So, yeah, it was tragically stupid. More examples of Frank’s “F*ck-Up Class” at work I guess.

        As Yves and many others on this site have been saying since before we had the vaccines, you can’t get sterilizing immunity against a coronavirus. Yves in particular has been adamant that people commenting on this site not even conflate the protection afforded by the vaccines with the concept of herd immunity. That’s something the virologists in that episode of TWIV agree with too. But I expect your reaction is what a lot of people feel right now. It’s why I thought it would be helpful to post a link to that episode because the discussion around the CDC slide deck is really good and clear.

        There is data showing these vaccines may also give some protection against infection too. But, we know that protection decreases over time, and we don’t really know how effective that protection really is because we’re not collecting the data to discuss it accurately. I know I’m not alone in having issues getting tested for COVID reinfection after having recovered from it and getting vaccinated. The only way I have been able to get any tests in the last 6 months is because they’re offered through my employer. But they’re not free! And I know people here on NC have complained they can’t even get tests now even though they haven’t tested positive before. So we don’t know the real denominator in the ratio here. We don’t know how many vaccinated people are getting infected and developing COVID. We only know how many vaccinated people are being hospitalized.

        GM, IM Doc, and others have the medical expertise to explain all this much better than I do. I have gotten a lot of value listening to the TWIV people discussion these topics over the last year or so. I wanted to share this latest episode because I thought others might too. If you listen to the episode though, you’ll hear a couple of sour notes. Specifically when they mention policy or political issues. They clearly have no idea that the reason why we haven’t made progress on a single payer healthcare system in the US is because of the Democrats. I don’t expect virologists to know everything about politics though.

        1. Cuibono

          “they did not expect the vaccines to prevent infection, only hospitalization and death”. you fail to mention that this IS precisely what the ONLY RCTs done on these vaccines showed. This is not about narrative only. this is about what was said to be shown in robust studies!

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Do not make shit up.

            Clinical trials are held to a higher standard than mere RCTs. They have multiple phases, including the safety study.

            And it is also false to say that that these were the only tests done. They all tested for and had to report side effects. Moderna tested all subjects weekly, so they have data on infections. I believe AstraZeneca did too. I haven’t looked at the J&J study design.

            1. Brian Beijer

              Great! You’re on-line! So, you can correct me if I’m wrong here. Did the billboards you saw where you live adveritse the vaccines as being 95% effective against hospitlization and death? Maybe with an * that said “there is no garrantee that this vaccine prevents the infection or transmission of Covid 19”. Has anyone who has been vaccinated been told that these vaccines do not protect one against infection and transmission by a doctor or nurse before receiving it? Or received a form with this information? I am truly ignorant about this as I have not gotten the vaccine yet…and I don’t live in the US so I can only speak about rhe information we get in Sweden.

              1. chris

                In the hope of being helpful and continuing a useful discussion if you are really unclear about this… Here is what they were saying back in February 2021 in USAtoday.

                Again, none of what I said or what the people in the podcast I was referring to should be considered news.

                I have been vaccinated. Everyone in my family has been vaccinated. Including the children. That is a risk assessment my wife and I made given what we thought was coming in the form of another bad winter and many restrictions on what our kids would be allowed to do if they weren’t vaccinated.

                You are free to review the many, many, many, articles and discussions that Yves, Lambert, and others have graciously provided and make your own assessment of whether or not to receive the vaccines that have been produced to help with SARS-COV-2.


                1. Brian Beijer

                  I’m certainly not saying YOU are wrong in the research and information you’ve obtained about the vaccines. What I question is that “virologists and many others have been saying exactly that for a while”. and yet that information was not given to the public at large. And one can’t just ascribe it to government misinformation, if the medical community was in agreement about this for “awhile”. This is not about the TWIV video you refer to. I’m making a point about these virologists, and one can presume the medical profession in general, moving the goal posts with the public at large, despite what may have been published in journals or communicated amongst themselves. I don’t disagree that this information has been known by the NC community for months. What I’m saying is that no one in the medical profession bothered telling the public at large this until the evidence started being reported in the press. This failure to fully inform the public what they’re admitting they’ve known for “awhile” speaks to their culpability in the governments’ misinformation campaign. Therefore, it makes me question other positive information they assert about the vaccines.

                  I’m not attacking you or your desire to share with the community this information. I’m challenging the position of the virologists that this vaccine wasn’t intended to prevent infection and spread of the virus AND that this was widely known. It certainly wasn’t known to the public. And if it was known by doctors and nurses who vaccinated people, then they withheld that information. None of this speaks well for the medical community.

                  1. chris

                    I’m not sure how to respond to those statements? Of course the medical profession knew this. Whether they’re sharing it with all the patients, I have no idea. Whether that’s what you’re hearing in Sweden, I have no idea.

                    From a recent summary posted by the American Medical Association: “The three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States—from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson—are doing exactly what they were meant to do: protect against severe illness and hospitalization.”

                    Now, there are other details that have been discussed on NC at length which some people might not be aware of. But everyone has been told this basic detail about the vaccines not being a silver bullet. Especially those in the medical profession. Others might have a different memory of it than I do, but I seem to recall the Biden administration changing its narrative from what the likes of Osterholm and others were saying in February to the new “it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated” some time in May of this year. Then Dr. Walensky went on TV and cried. I think I remember feeling the throbbing veins in the foreheads of the people on this site through the comments and articles they were posting after that turn of events. Anyway, I can see why some might be confused. I can understand why some in government thought it was a good idea to tell another noble lie. But as it has ended up being counterproductive again… I really wish we could stick with the truth. I think people would handle our reality better if they understood their actual options. Especially since the virus is likely endemic in the US now.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      See my comments below. You need to stop reading ANY secondary summary and go to source documents, the actual study protocols.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                If you are going to attack what happened, you need to be accurate. I am sick and tired of lazy approximations.

                We and a few others criticized the approval of the vaccines being based on a small number of actual infections and “efficacy” for EUA approval purposes apparently having been based on hospitalizations and worse outcomes. That was NOT what was presented as the primary endpoint in the Pfizer or Moderna clinical trials. It was “immunogenicity” meaning: “mmunogenicity is the ability of a foreign substance, such as an antigen, to provoke an immune response in the body of a human or other animal.” (

                Moderna did test all trial participants for Covid weekly. Pfizer only tested those who reported symptoms to a study nurse and tested only approved for a test.

                So at least Moderna did get data on the overall effectiveness. But that wasn’t what they flogged…but the table had been set by Pfizer (with FDA/CDC all on board) going out first by redefining efficacy in a way not consistent with the study protocols.

                In other words, the goalposts were moved and you need to be accurate as to when.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  > Pfizer only tested those who reported symptoms to a study nurse and tested only approved for a test.

                  That is a horrible institutional weak point that a child of six can see is game-able. Yeccccch.

            2. Cuibono

              the RCTs were designed precisely to look for reduction in symptomatic infection. That WAS the primary endpoint. this is not a matter of opinion.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I told you to stop Making Shit Up. I mean it. You are already in moderation for previous violations. You repeatedly argue for the sake of arguing, even when you are wrong. I am not wasting my time again debunking your horseshit. If you persist I will blacklist you.

                Moderna tested all participants weekly.

                From Moderna, under Study Phase 3, Objectives, Primary:

                To demonstrate the efficacy of mRNA-1273 to prevent COVID-19.

                To evaluate the safety and reactogenicity of 2 injections of mRNA-1273 given 28 days apart.


                A Phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blind clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine in participants 18 years of age and older is ongoing in the United States (NCT04470427).


                This is from the Pfizer study description from

                Primary Outcome Measures…

                Confirmed COVID-19 in Phase 2/3 participants without evidence of infection before vaccination [ Time Frame: From 7 days after the second dose of study intervention to the end of the study, up to 2 years ]
                Per 1000 person-years of follow-up

                Confirmed COVID-19 in Phase 2/3 participants with and without evidence of infection before vaccination [ Time Frame: From 7 days after the second dose of study intervention to the end of the study, up to 2 years ]
                Per 1000 person-years of follow-up

                The fact that the FDA let Pfizer get away with testing only symptomatic cases is the FDA’s bad.

        2. Raymond Sim

          The relevant issues as I see them

          1) A vaccine that does not prevent transmission cannot be used as a substitute for any other public health measures, because, among other things:

          2) Permitting widespread transmission among the vaccinated is a recipe for catastrophic failure of the vaccine program via vaccine escape.

          3) At this point it’s clear that widespread transmission among the vaccinated is in fact occuring.

          Thus, to be confident in retaining the remaining protective value of being vaccinated, we will need a nationwide lockdown, pronto.

          This unhappy state of affairs was foreseen by, I don’t know, thousands of people? Probably more like tens of thousands. How about the TWIV guys?

    2. Lambert Strether

      > This podcast and video show 4 well respected virologists going over the leaked CDC slides describing potential recommendations for the response to the Delta variant and the data behind those recommendations.

      I listened to this podcast last night and thought it was good. It was good to hear people going over the paper in detail and calmly and respectfully.

      1. anonymous

        I have been watching TWIV, on the recommendation of someone here, maybe Chris, since the fall. It’s an excellent podcast. The participants also include an immunologist,  and there are what became separate episodes with a practicing MD, PhD infectious disease doctor who gives clinical updates. If you go to the TWIV website, each episode has links for the papers discussed with time stamps, so, if you don’t have time for the full podcasts, you could selectively listen to the discussion of a paper that interests you. (BTW, your recently pulled out a tidbit from a Nature article on Covid that mentioned the TMPRSS2 problem with hydroxychloroquine. That issue, that SARS-Co-V-2 can enter cells using TMPRSS2 and not just the cathepsin-mediated pathway with which hydroxychloroquine interferes, and that promising hydroxychloroquine studies used green monkey kidney Vero cells that lack TMPRSS2, which our lung cells do have, was discussed a couple of times on the show, when there were early studies in the summer of 2020, and again with the publication of a paper this past winter.) One of the episodes I particularly liked had Alessandro Sette from La Jolla explaining how T cells work and his T cell studies. The Rockefeller scientists who did the studies commentor Dean noted have also been guests. If you go to Vincent Racaniello’s YouTube channel, you will find that he also does weekly live Q and A’s – it gets a lot of silly questions, but could be worth tuning in if you wanted to ask him something. The TWIV team also answers emailed questions near the end of each podcast.

  30. Tom Stone

    In regard to the killing of Ashli Babbitt the laws regarding the use of force are pretty consistent across US jurisdictions.
    Lethal force is ONLY justified if there is an imminent threat of Death or Serious Bodily Injury.
    And the perception of that threat must be “Reasonable”, would a “Reasonable Man” believe that Ms Babbitt posed an Imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to an innocent person given these circumstances?
    And the character and past behavior of the shooter are also pertinent, the cop in question has a less than stellar record.
    Leaving his sidearm in a public restroom was the one that caught my attention.

    Due to their careful psychological screening and rigorous training law enforcement officers are held to a much lower standard than the general populace.

  31. VietnamVet

    The data from Iceland, Israel and even the USA are clear that there is transmission of the Delta Variant from and to the fully vaccinated. A percentage of the infected must be hospitalized. With the unvaccinated patients added, hotspots are overwhelming local hospital care.

    Local authorities may impose masking and social distancing but they are not staffed or funded to take public health control measures; universal accurate testing, contact tracing, and safely quarantining the infected. Americans are on the own. The unvaccinated must now consider every outsider to be a coronavirus variant spreader.

    There is absolutely no indication of any additional public health measures from the federal government. Vaccine mandates, shaming and blaming are pointless. But these are all that the Biden/Harris Administration is capable of doing. A significant number of coronavirus survivors will have Long-COVID and will need long term healthcare even if the mRNA vaccines significant reduce the number of deaths which has yet to be proven.

    The current political economic system is purposefully dividing Americans and does not protect or serve them. In addition, American towns are being regularly destroyed by wildfires and extreme weather events due to climate change. A divided United States will not long remain standing.

  32. skippy

    How its done …

    The Premier said she was proud of the efforts of Queenslanders in the south-east.

    “Queensland’s done a mighty job,” the Premier said.

    She paid special tribute to families of the seven Brisbane schools who spent the lockdown period in home quarantine and would remain there.

    “As of this morning, 11,177 people were quarantining at home,” she said.

    “This was to protect everyone else. We cannot thank them enough.”

    Of seven new cases linked to the schools cluster, four are related to Ironside State School — one a student and three household contacts.

    Two are related to Brisbane Boys Grammar — one a student and another close contact.

    The seventh is a household contact of someone who tested positive at an Indooroopilly karate class.

    “These students had tested negative when they first went into quarantine and have subsequently become positive,” Dr Young said. – snip

  33. Lambert Strether

    > Two Myanmar men arrested in US for plotting to kill UN envoy

    Crude even by Tatmadaw standards. Also would seem to vitiate one of ASEAN’s Five Points:

    Aiming to tackle the deteriorating socio-political crisis and to find a peaceful solution on Myanmar, ASEAN had agreed to a five-point consensus on 24 April 2021 calling on: the cessation of violence in Myanmar; the facilitation of constructive dialogue with the National Unity Government and other parties; the deployment of an ASEAN Special Envoy; the facilitation of humanitarian aid; and a visit by the ASEAN delegation to Myanmar to assess the situation.

    “Constructive dialogue” indeed! Not that ASEAN’s vital signs were all that good to begin with, both on the Myanmar question and generally. Also, I wonder if the FBI received a tip, and if so, from whom.

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