Links 9/15/2021

Paper wasp nests have a secret fluorescent glow Popular Science. Only after the second martini.

New company is trying to resurrect the woolly mammoth to combat climate change The Hill

Widespread lapses in climate risk reporting found in company accounts FT. “Sun Slated to Appear in East.”

KNP Complex of fires grows, crosses Highway 198 in Sequoia NP Wildfire Today

Digital Currencies Pave Way for Deeply Negative Interest Rates WSJ

For the Most Pronounced CBDC Enthusiasm, Look to the Underbanked Morning Consult

Senators demand cryptocurrency regulation guidance from SEC Chair Gary Gensler CNBC


U.S. judge blocks N.Y. vaccine mandate for healthcare workers Reuters

An underrated way to boost global vaccine supply Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring. “We need western regulators to cooperate with Chinese producers.” He’s not wrong!

* * *

Effectiveness of the first component of Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) on reduction of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed infections, hospitalisations and mortality in patients aged 60-79: a retrospective cohort study in Argentina The Lancet. From the Abstract: “The results of this study carried out in real life settings indicate that the first component of Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine prevents 78·6% % of laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, 87·6% of hospitalisations and 84·8% of deaths at 21–83 days after vaccination in a population from 60 to 79 years of age; this data is consistent with previous knowledge on the issue… Undoubtedly, the complete schedule of vaccination should be the standard of care since it confers maximum effectiveness. However, if the first dose has an acceptable performance in decreasing infections, hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19, delaying the second dose will allow vaccination of a higher proportion of the population in a panorama of vaccine scarcity.”

Autoantibodies neutralizing type I IFNs are present in ~4% of uninfected individuals over 70 years old and account for ~20% of COVID-19 deaths Science. n= 3595. From the Discussion: “We report that at least 20% of patients over 80 years of age with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia carry circulating auto-Abs… These auto-Abs provide an explanation for the major increase in the risk of critical COVID-19 in the elderly. This increase with age is consistent with studies of various auto-Abs since the 1960s… Our findings have immediate clinical applications.” Also in Science, in the vulgate: “Rogue antibodies involved in almost one-fifth of COVID deaths.”

* * *

A conversation with Bill Gates on how public health has fared in the midst of the pandemic STAT

Covid-19 and the new merchants of doubt British Medical Journal

How Walgreens’ sloppy Covid-19 test registration system exposed patient data Recode


Wall Street Chiefs Meet China Officials Amid Market Turmoil Bloomberg

China’s embattled Evergrande tries to pay bills with parking spots Channel News Asia

US Coast Guard spots Chinese warships off Alaska South China Morning Post

Exclusive: Wikipedia bans 7 mainland Chinese power users over ‘infiltration and exploitation’ in unprecedented clampdown Hong Kong Free Press

Luxury Mooncakes With Exotic Ingredients Are Selling Out Fast Bloomberg. Or, as we call them in the West, “fruitcakes” (heavy, inedible, passed from family to family over the years with the packaging intact).


U.S. and China Reach Deal to Block Myanmar’s Junta From U.N. Foreign Policy. That wasn’t on my Bingo card!

Myanmar violence mounts after shadow government embraces ‘war’ FT

Myanmar’s new “People’s Defensive War” Asia Media Centre. A review of the bidding.

Laos Authorizes Cryptocurrency Trial Program The Laotian Times. For this, they’re damming the Mekong?

Indonesian intelligence agency compromised in suspected Chinese hack The Record


India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive: key challenges and resolutions The Lancet

India considers resuming vaccine exports soon, focus on Africa, says source Reuters

Indian Stocks Outpacing World by Most Since 2018 Emboldens Bulls Bloomberg

The Koreas

South Korea successfully tests submarine-launched ballistic missile: Blue House Channel News Asia


Netanyahu corruption witness dies in Greece plane crash Deutsche Welle. Oh.

Larry Ellison, Netanyahu Trial Witness, Offers ex-PM Seat on Oracle’s Board Haaretz

Iran is a MONTH away from having enough fuel for a nuclear weapon, International Atomic Energy Agency warns: Pressure grows on Biden to act Daily Mail

EXCLUSIVE WHO-backed vaccine hub for Africa to copy Moderna COVID-19 shot Reuters

What Tigray Portends: The Future of Peace And Security in Africa War on the Rocks


UK to offer Covid vaccines to 12-to-15-year olds as part of winter plan FT

The Caribbean

Venezuela’s New Lettuce-Based Economy Is Good Enough for Now NYT

Charges against PM Henry, now banned from leaving Haiti, requested in Moïse murder Haitian Times

New Cold War

U.S. reassures allies over Nord Stream 2 but says it’s a ‘reality’ Reuters

‘The Leftward Turn Is Inevitable’: In Lenin’s Hometown, Russian Communists Strive for Soviet Revival Moscow Times

Biden Administration

White House releases $65 billion pandemic preparedness proposal Science. “It calls for an Apollo-like ‘mission control’ center to coordinate the many branches of government already involved with pandemic preparedness. Nearly 40% of the money would go toward vaccines, followed by just under 20% for treatments.” At last, a recognition that CDC is entirely out of its depth. Still, yet another layer on top of an already broken system?

Unusual Progressive-Centrist Alliance Wins Universal Child Care Subsidy The Intercept

Alleging ‘Unprecedented Scheme’ to Thwart Federal Courts, DOJ Asks Judge to Block Texas Abortion Law National Law Journal and Justice Department seeks injunction to stop Texas’ fetal heartbeat abortion law from being enforced Dallas Morning News

Yes, They Are “A Bunch Of Partisan Hacks” The Daily Poster

Recall Election: Voters Resoundingly Defeat Recall Of Gov. Gavin Newsom San Francisco Chronicle. You can’t beat something with nothing.

Democrats en Deshabille

Once Again, Everyone Is Talking about What AOC Is Wearing Vanity Fair

Trump Legacy

Gen. Milley feared Trump might launch nuclear attack, made secret calls to China, new book says USA Today. Commentary:

Class Warfare

The Teamsters File for First Union Election at an Amazon Warehouse in Canada Vice

Five Recent Labor Struggles You Should Know About TESA. The media blackout on the Warrior Met strike has been a little too obvious.

The Great Divide: Education, Despair and Death Anne Case & Angus Deaton, NBER. From the Abstract: “Concurrently, all-cause mortality in the US is diverging by education—falling for the college-educated and rising for those without a degree—something not seen in other rich countries. We review the rising prevalence of pain, despair, and suicide among Americans without a BA. Pain and despair created a baseline demand for opioids, but the escalation of addiction came from pharma and its political enablers. We examine ‘the politics of despair,’ how less-educated people have abandoned and been abandoned by the Democratic Party. While healthier states once voted Republican in presidential elections, now the least-healthy states do. We review the evidence on whether or not deaths of despair have risen during the COVID pandemic. More broadly, excess mortality from COVID has not increased the ratio of all-cause mortality rates for those with and without a four-year degree, but has instead replicated the pre-existing mortality ratio.”

What animals think of death Aeon (AL).

A Wrong Number, Whoadies, and Whispers in the Night The Bitter Southerner

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote (Furzy Mouse):

Double Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour  here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jessica

    In the September 14 Water Cooler, ROWLF asked if a previous vaccine had ever been rushed through like the covid vaccines. Actually, few remember this, but there was an incident involving multiple deaths early in the rollout of the Salk polio vaccine back in the 1950s:
    This was a problem in manufacturing, not in the vaccine itself, but rushing the vaccine into massive production does seem to have played a role. This was long ago and it is said that lessons were learned.

    1. Acacia

      > it is said that lessons were learned

      Indeed, and now in addition to contamination having been found in the Moderna vaccine, there was news yesterday from Japan of contamination being found in the Pfizer vaccine. Evidently, there are still some kinks in the manufacturing process, though perhaps that’s an overly charitable reading of the situation.

        1. Jeotsu

          You’ve stumbled onto the great secret of the pandemic!

          Every time Microsoft sends out a Windows update, that signal is detected by the 5G chip floating around inside you, and that provides instructions for generating new variants of Covid-19! Which means more people need more vaccines, spreading the Bill Gates Control Chip(TM) around the world!

          That’s the best holistic crazy-pants conspiracy theory I can think of. :)

      1. Jessica

        The difference between the 50s and now is that the quality problems in vaccines this year were detected before people were injected with them. That does seem to be improvement.

    2. fresno dan

      September 15, 2021 at 7:06 am
      Way back when I worked for the FDA in the biologics section, I transferred from the sterility lab to working in the regulation writing section. One thing I had access to was the policy memorandums between the public health agency (the biologics group went through a plethora of different names and agencies before finally ending up in FDA) and the Justice department (back than agencies did not have their own lawyers). Back than, and it reminds the case today, was that the lawyers in the Justice department thought that the scientists in biologics were not tough enough on enforcement and were too naive about business not following standards. (I have to say, I agree).
      Just an observation about how culture determines how a group acts and how difficult (?impossible?) it is to change it.

  2. Richard H Caldwell

    “Luxury Mooncakes With Exotic Ingredients Are Selling Out Fast” — I gotta say, having consumed “luxury mooncakes” at the source (banquet with mayor of Shanghai), that they bear no sensory resemblance (taste / texture) to the lousy commercial fruitcakes you reference, having consumed same. That said, I agree with your characterization of said fruitcakes as fetishes to be re-gifted, not eaten. Luxury mooncakes, however, are divine…

    1. Larry Y

      I dislike Cantonese style mooncakes.

      Go for Suzhou (crisp flaky crust with either sweet mung bean or savory pork filling) or Taiwanese (look for mung bean, taro or mochi fillings).

  3. Cocomaan

    an Apollo-like ‘mission control’ center to coordinate the many branches of government already involved with pandemic preparedness

    Reminds me of how the Director of National Intelligence office was created post 911 in order to consolidate intel activities.

    DNI does things like write the presidents daily briefing which we now know, after the idiocy in Afghanistan, is filled with nonsense, lies, inveighling.

    Same thing will happen here.

      1. ambrit

        I’m afraid that I must disagree. The CDC is a necessary institution for the preservation of the public health. No other institution has the potential authority and resources to deal with regional, let alone national, health crises. The CDC must be seriously reformed somehow. The alternative is for the public’s health to be at the mercy of the Medical Industrial Complex. That would be a true horror show; the health of people being determined by their Wealth Extraction Index.
        No Grand Conspiracy Theory is needed. Just factor greed into the decision making process and you come up with what we are headed towards.
        Stay safe!

      2. fresno dan

        September 15, 2021 at 12:02 pm
        We need to get rid agencies like CDC. They’re overrun by corporate power.

        We need to get rid of the republican and democratic parties – they’re overrun by corporate power…
        Seriously, getting rid of CDC, PHS, FDA etcetera root and branch will do no good if the problem is the kind of people appointed to the agencies by EITHER dems or repubs. And the whole philosophy is that public health should be subservient to market considerations.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps what we need is to disinfect and decontaminate agencies like CDC. Getting rid of them is the Steve Bannon goal under the name of “deconstruct the Administrative State”.

      4. Skunk

        I have visited the CDC and conducted research there. It’s a great institution. The politicized depiction is not an accurate one, and you should probably not be judging on the basis of a few figureheads.

    1. farragut

      I agree; a good find! Scrolling through her/his previous posts, s/he does a fantastic job of skewering the US/UK. My favorite so far:

      #BREAKING The oil-rich Middle Northern kingdom, where nonagenarian Queen Elizabeth II, has clung to power for 7 decades, has seen flavour imports dry up following last year’s Brexit deal, with even hardliners starting to question return to traditionally bland, teeth-eroding diet.

  4. Ian Perkins

    An underrated way to boost global vaccine supply

    The article seems to imply, though it’s not entirely clear, that Covax isn’t delivering Chinese vaccines as it’s waiting on approval from Western regulators:
    “And Covax, the big global vaccine purchase and distribution agency for poor countries, is specifically counting on the FDA, the EMA, Australia’s TGA, Swissmedic, Health Canada, and the UK’s MHRA as their go-to SRAs on this.”

    It appears that Covax is already distributing both Sinovac and Sinopharm COVID vaccines:
    “BRUSSELS/JOHANNESBURG/JAKARTA, Aug 26 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s pandemic programme plans to ship 100 million doses of the Sinovac (SVA.O) and Sinopharm COVID-19 shots by the end of next month, mostly to Africa and Asia, in its first delivery of Chinese vaccines, a WHO document shows.
    Of the 100 million Chinese vaccines, half will be provided by Sinopharm and half by Sinovac, with deliveries planned for “July to September 2021”, a WHO document dated July 29 says.
    About 10 million Sinopharm shots had been shipped by mid-August, a spokesperson for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), which co-leads COVAX along with the WHO, told Reuters.”

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Funny, the headlines I’m scanning this morning make it sound like this is more or less an endorsement of the status quo. (Shocker, I know.)

      1. BeliTsari

        Yeah. Are we beginning to see a pattern, YET, of disappointed “progressive,” credentialed or social activist Democrats; who’ve cultivated denial and specious obliviousness as an alternative lifestyle? Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not lie or prevaricate under oath & Biden’s last rip&read truth was that, fundimentally, nothing would change! So NU?

        1. Asgard Trondheim

          Newsom campaigned on promises of single payer in 2018. The California Democrat party has a supermajority in the legislature that can pass any bill they want without a single Republican vote. He has had 3 years of opportunity including 1 year of a global pandemic that could have provided additional justification for passing single payer. The state also had a $75 BILLION surplus this fiscal year that could have provided the start up funds or a nest egg for single payer in the state.

          Given all the above, anyone who believes that Newsom is going to pass single payer is mistaken.

          1. Otis B Driftwood

            Yes, all stipulated. But the nurses know this too and will pressure for action after supporting him on the recall. Lobby your state senator and assemblyperson. Let them know your support should not be taken for granted. Don’t give up.

        2. ambrit

          You forget one of the tenets of the propaganda business: “The average person only reads the headlines.”
          The Headlines are the Narrative Control.

    2. Wukchumni

      My conscience is clean, in that once I saw Denver Stoner as Governor material on the ballot, how could I resist even though he’s a copper that woulda busted you for possession not so long ago.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      C’mon, man. This is about as “status quo” as it gets.

      … Leading up to the 2018 gubernatorial election, Newsom campaigned on single-payer health care, telling supporters “you have my firm and absolute commitment as your next governor that I will lead the effort to get it done,” and “single-payer is the way to go.”

      In office, though, Newsom has distanced himself from that promise as he has expanded the existing health system, which relies on a mix of public and private insurance company payers. For instance, he and Democratic lawmakers imposed a health insurance mandate on Californians and expanded public coverage for low-income people, both of which enrich health insurers.

      Then he went to an expensive birthday dinner “celebrating” the very people who want to kill “single-payer” dead.

      And yet “activists…are standing behind him [newsom] because he represents their best shot at obtaining it [single-payer]. “Best shot” fer chrissakes. How perfect that he calls on the guy who guaranteed $2000 for the “right vote” and then comes up with only $1400 to “vouch” for him and his “principles.”

      With a gubernatorial election next year, these so-called “activists” once again passed up an opportunity to punish a sorry, posturing POS politician for campaign lies and calculated inaction. What a weasly lot they are. I’m sure newsom will cave now that he knows how much it will cost him if he fails to take their “demands” seriously–absolutely nothing.

      Permanently tattooing “Kick Me” on your back. Great strategy.

      1. jr

        Like dogs to their own vomit. How many times do “activists” have to be roundly disappointed before they get the message? Or maybe they do and it’s all about a career in NGO’s with an option to go corporate for playing ball with the Democraps…

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps the game the two party leaderships play is this: the Dems offer a bucket of tepid sewage and the Reps offer a vat of boiling tar and they compete over which offering the voters would rather soak their feet in. Including “activist” voters.

          Keeping the boiling-vats-of-tar party out of government buys time for activists to do something real. But what, when and how?

          And when the voting majority decides that an end with horror is better than horror without end, time will have run out and what will an “activist” do then?

  5. Ian Perkins

    Wall Street Chiefs Meet China Officials Amid Market Turmoil

    “The high-level meeting comes after investors were unnerved by a regulatory onslaught from Beijing targeting its biggest technology companies and other industries as well as a pledge by President Xi Jinping to create “common prosperity.” Billions of dollars in potential profits are at stake for Wall Street.”

    It says a great deal if Wall Street is unnerved by a pledge to create common prosperity.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “US Coast Guard spots Chinese warships off Alaska”

    Anybody got a clue what the Chinese is for ‘Operation Two Can Play This Game’?

    1. Ian Perkins

      What about those treacherous Russians, sneaking up on the USA?

      “The narrowest distance between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 55 miles. However, in the body of water between Alaska and Russia, known as the Bering Strait, there lies two small islands known as Big Diomede and Little Diomede. Interestingly enough, Big Diomede is owned by Russia while Little Diomede is owned by the US. The stretch of water between these two islands is only about 2.5 miles wide and actually freezes over during the winter so you could technically walk from the US to Russia on this seasonal sea ice.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        When the water freezes up between Big Diomede and Little Diomede islands, do they set up a temporary customs post?

          1. The Rev Kev

            It could get worse than that. They may have to stop Americans seeking to run the border into Russia. Why would they do that? Because they have universal healthcare there. In fact, the Constitution of the Russian Federation says that it as to provide all citizens the right to free healthcare. They may not always succeed but hey, at least they are trying.

            1. Wukchumni

              Flee Harvey Oswald?

              The only American i’m aware of who has become Russian is Steven Seagal, and i’d like to say that Russia’s gain is our gain, on that deal.

            2. Industrial Culture Handbook

              Healthcare in Russia is not free. The gov’t taxes income for state insurance with limited coverage. The state pays 48%. Private insurance is popular in urban areas since the economy cratered in 2014 degrading state hospital conditions.

              1. The Rev Kev

                And that is why I said try and not did. Can you imagine that system being implemented in the US though? Can you imagine a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing universal healthcare? No, I can’t either.

              2. Zephyrum

                My Russian father in law contracted cancer, which was detected during normal exams and confirmed with modern imaging equipment in central Russia. He recently underwent surgery for removal of a tumor after which he had two weeks in the hospital convalescing. The hospital issued a bill to the insurance for 15,000 rubles, which is a little more than us$200. The only limitation for coverage that my Russian wife has encountered is that she opted to pay about $10 extra for dozens of extra lab tests during her last physical. And everyone has health insurance, without any specific tax on your income. You have this insurance even if you have no income, or are retired. Neither of us have heard of private medical insurance, but wealthy people often choose to go to boutique private doctors and private clinics. They are certainly fancier than the typical spartan Russian facilities, but not necessarily so very superior by the track record.

                1. ambrit

                  Hmmm….. The second part of your “handle” wouldn’t be a phonetic version of a word, originally from the arabic, denoting the opposite of “Truck Nuts?”
                  [No aspersions were cast in the production of this comment.]

                  1. lordkoos

                    Lord Koos was a Jamaican guy who ran a local sound system/disco and a record label. It’s a long story…

      2. jrkrideau

        I had not realized the Bering Strait would freeze there. I thought one would need a kayak to make the trip.

        The islands make for a good trick question though. “What is the closest country to the USA after Canada and Mexico?”

          1. Wukchumni

            We in the Palinstinian Movement take great umbrage to talk of our doyen not having a great vision for this country we so love and adore! (insert fanned phalanx of old glories and reasonable facsimilies of bald eagles in the background)

          2. Daniel LaRusso

            Robin williams had a great line about that when she said I can see Russia from fmy house. He quipped “..yeah I can see the sun from my house … but that doesn’t make me an expert in solar energy.”

      3. rrrrrrrr

        resident alaskan NC reader checking in-

        The community on Little Diomede is really small, about 98 people, and almost entirely native Alaskan. They have strong ties to the folks from Big Diomede but they have been displaced to the mainland by the Russian military. There are stories of “defectors” but it is mostly people taking small boats across the strait to visit family. It is much less common for the strait to be frozen entirely now in this new climate regime, which is unfortunate for Little Diomede as it has no airstrip due to the steep topography of the island. In the past they could land cargo planes on an improvised strip on the stayed sea ice but now must rely on helicopter flights from Nome or the occasional, improbable barge landing on a steep, rocky beach.

        It’s a beautiful place, rich in some ways but mostly a poor subsistence lifestyle. I’ve only passed through the area aboard a research vessel, but my partner has been many times to work on their water treatment center.

    2. Oh

      When our destroyers and carrier are in the south China sea they’re referred to as the seventh fleet or such. But Chinese naval ships are anywhere in the world, they’re warships!

    3. Maritimer

      Sarah Palin apparently saw them over by Russia and called CG.

      Assuming CG was at the coast, Chinese warships are roaming around without US War Machine knowing about it? 1941, Pearl harbor?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      The Miami Herald seems to have some actual real live investigating journalists on its staff, a rarity nowadays. IIRC, it was Miami Herald that got the ball rolling on Jeffrey Epstein. And of course, the Miami Herald features Dave Barry’s must-read Year in Review every (late) December.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Miami Herald seems to have some actual real live investigating journalists

        They do. That’s why I’m especially peeved that Google’s algo, which suppresses local and state-level venues, suppresses them, too.

        1. lordkoos

          Why do people still use google when there are other search engines available such as Qwant, duckduckgo, etc?

  7. lyman alpha blob

    RE: For the Most Pronounced CBDC Enthusiasm, Look to the Underbanked

    …CBDCs could eliminate the need for a bank account through a traditional bank by providing one directly with the central bank instead.

    I know it’s a crazy idea, but couldn’t we just give everyone the bank account but without the digital currency?

    1. Carla

      Re: CBDC — anybody who sees an un-paywalled version of the WSJ article on this leading to deeply negative interest rates, please post a link to it for the poor peons who still have money in banks.

          1. Ian Perkins

            I must have been running an old version. I’ve just installed it via that link, and now it gets the WSJ again.

    2. Wukchumni

      CBD -Currency, yes we cannabidiol. The first paper money proven to sooth calloused hands with every transaction, infused with essential oil and a dash of potpourri.

  8. Ian Perkins

    EXCLUSIVE WHO-backed vaccine hub for Africa to copy Moderna COVID-19 shot

    The headline should read
    “WHO-backed vaccine hub for Africa hoping to copy Moderna COVID-19 shot”
    Moderna has decided not to enforce its patents, but isn’t cooperating on technology transfers. As the article concludes,
    Healthcare analysts doubt the plan can be mobilised quickly.
    “There are many steps which will require lots of iterations before they can be ready for prime time commercial grade production,” said Prashant Yadav, a global healthcare supply chain expert at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

  9. Wukchumni

    Digital Currencies Pave Way for Deeply Negative Interest Rates WSJ
    After cash had been phased out in 2022, those clandestinely holding folding were saved by the aspect of the currency being worth the stated face value, a Benjamin was always worth $100.00, not $87.47

    1. griffen

      Should the Federal Reserve instead begin production of higher value $US currency? A check of the interwebs, and I find they ceased a $500 note back in 1969. I never knew that was available.

      Clearly they’ll never quit minting stupid pennies! \sarc

        1. lordkoos

          $100 is now worth exactly half what it was in 1991. That we aren’t allowed larger denominations is just another method of control. When you have to take an enormous wad of cash with you to buy a used car from someone you realize how much the dollar has shrunk.

      1. Wukchumni

        There were $500, $1000, $5000 & $10000 FRN’s, most were taken out of circulation way back when, and all have collector value now, worth around $1500, $3000, $30000 & $50000 each.

        I used to supply coins & currency for a lot of movies, and the prop guy for Disney asked if I could get him 10x $1000 notes in a hurry, as they needed them for a scene in Father of the Bride, where Steve Martin gives the money to his daughter. After a flurry of calls across the country later to other numismatists, I rented out the thousands from my sources to re-rent them to the studio.

        Time was an issue, so they asked if I could deliver them to the set in Alhambra, and the director thanked me and implored me to go get a bite to eat at the food truck, gave them back to me 30 minutes later and back across the country they went from whence they came, enriched by the experience.

        1. ambrit

          I read that one could get pallets of $100 USD bills in Irak for dirt cheap. Just go see the cargomaster at Baghdad International. Ask about ‘Bremmer’s Billions.’

            1. ambrit

              That could be arranged. [We live in the North American Deep South after all. Bannanna Republics ain’t got nuttin on us!] The blowback from those ‘missing’ funds must have been enormous.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    My Kevin is on the outs with the teetotaltarian leader who used to call him my Kevin but the fact is he’s been my Kevin since 2007 sadly, so i’m not sure we get him to do the announcing in some dusty locale in the CVBB, Biloxi may be a better venue. That said, he apparently had 300 peeps attend his last rally in a place that held 10,000, so maybe the spark is gone?

                    Donald Trump ranted about getting “in a family way” by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) because McCarthy initially blamed the ex-president for inciting the deadly U.S. Capitol riot, a new book claims.

                    1. ambrit

                      We could always structure it as a “Pay Per Vote” sortition series.
                      Biloxi has a pretty big Air Force base, Keesler. That would be perfect. Mix in Neo Feudal Ism, Warrior Worship, (big Down South,) and Good Ol Boy imagery (GOB is coming to be equal opportunity here,) all set up on a big base and we will have a ‘Bumblin Stumblin Rumblin Celebration!’
                      All I want is the beer concession.

        2. Jeff W

          “from whence”

          Whence itself means “from what place, source, or cause” so “from whence” is redundant. (To illustrate the point, the lative eqivalent “to whither”—e.g., “to whither are you going?”—would be equally redundant.)

  10. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Some info on Ivermectin safety from TrialsiteNews as a reaction to the media frenzy connected to one hospital, obtained from the AAPCC ( American Association of Poison Control Centers ).

    Basically AAPCC have so far received 1,143 reports, Deaths 0, Major Effects 11, Moderate Effects 91, Minor effects 148, all of which required no follow up.

    The above all against a background of a rise to 88,000 prescriptions per week from doctors of the human version.

    Video 10.20 mins –

      1. TroyIA

        CDC Health Alert Network

        A recent study examining trends in ivermectin dispensing from outpatient retail pharmacies in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic showed an increase from an average of 3,600 prescriptions per week at the pre-pandemic baseline (March 16, 2019–March 13, 2020) to a peak of 39,000 prescriptions in the week ending on January 8, 2021.1 Since early July 2021, outpatient ivermectin dispensing has again begun to rapidly increase, reaching more than 88,000 prescriptions in the week ending August 13, 2021. This represents a 24-fold increase from the pre-pandemic baseline.

  11. Skip

    Re: An underrated way to boost global vaccine supply / To booster shot or not to booster shot

    My daughter’s social work tasks take her into the Covid wing of a rehab and long term care facility.

    She was among the first groups to be vaccinated, (Moderna). Yesterday she went home sick, still awaiting her test results. Two of her colleagues recently contracted Covid, (as they were vaccinated, a facility requirement, it didn’t hit them too hard).

    In any case, I want my daughter to get a booster shot as soon as is feasible.

    In the District, we have vaccines coming out our ears, with many still adamantly avoiding taking them. As a result, many vaccines are going into the expired bin.

    At least in the District, do not feel bad about getting a booster, or a mix and match if that’s your choice. You’re not denying a vaccination to someone in Bangladesh. You’re just denying a vaccination to the expired bin.

    Anticipating possible travel abroad, perhaps Nicaragua, and encounters with who knows what, I’ve done mix and match, Moderna and J&J. Maybe my attitude is too cavalier, but we’re all guinea pigs now. Roll the dice, buy your ticket and take your ride.

    Maybe unfair, but I wonder if there’s some fashionable virtue signaling about avoiding boosters because of the many abroad who aren’t vaccinated. It’s a very different question than if we should be providing taxpayer funded research at a reasonable but low royalty, or free for impoverished countries, and helping them set up the technical infrastructure to manufacture Covid vaccines. We should, as should other more fortunate countries with vaccine technology. That, and cranking up production from every source, is what would reap results abroad, more so than doing Hamlet over boosters.

    1. lordkoos

      I hear more and more stories about vaccinated people getting COVID, for example our neighbors son who is in his 40s is quite ill at the moment. His first test was a false negative, he has the classic symptoms, loss of smell, fever etc.

  12. Questa Nota

    Is there some scorecard to tell who has to get vaccinated and who doesn’t?

    Congressional staffers, no.
    Bus drivers, some yes.

    Layer in states, occupations and random factors and it gets confusing.

    1. Maritimer

      This would seem obvious for the Covid Convincers to do but, for some reason, they have failed to provide vaccination rates amongst key groups. A recent study, for example, claimed that the biggest group of Unvaccinated were PhDs. So, much for the dumb, unwashed, illiterate arguments.

      In NYC, we do have this, as of September 10, 2021:

      “Just days earlier, the NYPD — which has struggled to get its vaccination rate to about 50 percent — rolled out a plan to have unvaccinated officers provide proof of a negative COVID test on a weekly basis on their own time.”

      So, since vax has probably been available a long time to NYPD, there are some serious refuseniks, dissidents in the force. It is also interesting that NYPD police officers living in one of the most jaded cities in the world, probably have a good eye for a scam. Street Smarts over Science.

      If these are figures for police officers what are they for Doctors, Nurses, that is the ones that cannot be coerced and threatened.

      Looks like these statistics are managed by the Covid Noble Omissions Department.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. reassures allies over Nord Stream 2 but says it’s a ‘reality'”

    It’s a funny thing about the Nord Stream 2 project. Right now, gas prices are skyrocketing in Europe and is at about $960 per 1,000 cubic meters or more and climbing. Between things like the weather in Europe and the oncoming winter season, the price could go even higher which would be putting a lot of pressure on the economies of the EU. But with Nord Stream 2 shortly to come online, it will be able to deliver about 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually which will stabilize gas prices just in time for winter so you would call that a win, right? Not so fast. It is reckoned that the EU will take about 4 months to issue the appropriate certificates which means early next year before any gas is delivered – after Europe goes through this winter – and some eastern European countries are still unhappy that there will be any gas delivered at all-

    Just wait till they start breaking ground on Nord Stream 3.

    1. Carolinian

      Apparently Russia has said that their upcoming gas deliveries have been allocated and Europe won’t be getting any extra other than existing contracts. Despite Nordstream.

    2. Darthbobber

      I’m sure Zelensky and co find their minds greatly eased by reassurances of this sort:

      “I am 100% confident that we will do everything we can, and that the Germans are committed to do everything they can, to make sure that that transit continues.”

      That’s about as noncommittal as one can get. Half a step from “I feel for you, I really do.”

      What leverage the Ukies think they have is beyond me, as Turkstream has already largely displaced their pipeline as a source for the Balkans, and Nordstream is higher capacity and faster. The old “Friendship” pipeline that transits Ukraine (and which the US also opposed at the time), is technologically obsolescent at over a half century of age.

      The Gazprom/Naftogaz contract running through 2024 is just that-a business contract. When asked about Ukraine’s transit status going forward from that date, Putin made the fairly obvious point that this would be driven by European demand for the product.

      Given the various disputes involving transit through Ukraine from 2006 through 2014, some of which led to wintertime shutoffs of supplies to the EU, you don’t have to look far to find reasons why not only the Germans but others in the EU might prefer a route less subject to such political and economic disruptions.

      Friends are friends, but business is business, and Ukraine is only a friend by courtesy anyway.

  14. Wukchumni

    KNP Complex of fires grows, crosses Highway 198 in Sequoia NP Wildfire Today
    I was soaking @ Saline hot springs with the incident commander for the 2017 Pier Fire (36k) south of us in the Tule River drainage (where Lucifer’s Hammer was set) and he was an old hand, had seen everything a fire could do, or so he thought.

    In our 2 hour conversation he emphasized how he’d never seen a fire that didn’t go to bed @ night, that is except for the Pier Fire, which had a bad case of insomnia.

    We had another community meeting in regards to the KNP complex yesterday after too much smoke didn’t allow an aerial assault pretty much the past few days, as the fires advanced on all fronts, it does what it wants (with apologies to Eric Cartman) and the hand of man is bound, nothing we can do, crazy steep terrain and endless oodles of burnables everywhere in an area that has likely never seen a bootprint, as there would be no good reason to be there, for you’d have to navigate through groundcover which often comes with thorns and things that go sting through the thigh.

    If there is an upside to the fire, it will have cleared out everything to the right of Castle Rocks, an area that would be famous with climbers, if it wasn’t such an ordeal just to get to the approach. But that was then and this is now.

    The Castle Rocks Massif, perched on a ridge above the Kaweah River, is one of the most pristine, high quality and impressive granite climbing areas in the state. It’s climbing history is sparse and only includes a few short climbs on the back towers in the 1940s, the first ascent of Castle Rock Spire in 1950, a few climbs on the Fin in the 1980s and sporadic attempts and first ascents in recent decades.

    Despite all of this, the legendary approach has kept all but a few adventurous climbers away. There are two options, neither is easy, and each has it’s own set of challenges. Depending on your choice you may get to enjoy poison oak, no water, large elevation gains, bush whacking, difficult route finding, heat, ticks, and a whole lotta’ fun!

    Now the downside, talked to the Sequoia NP Superintendent and he told me that this fire has been staying active all night, it made a big run starting just before midnight the other day, and that the situation will get worse before it gets better, as a larger fire fighting force is coming to our rescue starting Thursday. There has also been a run on firefighting equipment, as most every fire agency with anything to spare has given it to other firefighting groups battling fires earlier in the summer. Yeah, more shortages of stuff, how surprising.

    A map of the action:,-118.84229&z=14&b=mbt&a=modis_vp

    1. MT_Wild

      Covid has also had an impact. I have one buddy who’s IMT team had to be sent home early from a fire assignment due to a covid outbreak despite the majority of them having been vaccinated. Three people hospitalized, one of whom subsequently died. It’s assumed the individual who perished was unvaccinated, but since no one’s officially tracking such things, no one knows for sure.
      From talking to people on other teams, this is not a isolated incident.

      I know on my own team, there were a lot of older team members who chose not to come out this year. There are a lot of retired people who work fire on the IMT teams to supplement income. I think for a while the vaccines helped to keep those people working, but I think a lot of them are now having 2nd thoughts about the risks they are taking.

      1. Wukchumni

        Good point, always the specter of Covid lurking among those working & living close together at all times.

        Thanks for your help in the past and into the future…

        Fire is really our enemy now, we ought to orient the military to be firefighters first, soldiers second.

  15. griffen

    Thought the article from the Bitter Southerner was good reading. I live nowhere near New Orleans, but recall well all the aftermath of Katrina. The failure of the local, state & federal governments on full display. How the author managed graduate courses while also housing his parents, sister with 2 kids is pretty remarkable.

    Also timely as that region cleans up once again after devastating storms.

    1. ambrit

      We did live near New Orleans before, during, and after the Hurricane Katrina Experience. We stayed and lived through the aftermath ‘in place.’
      The groups with the most ‘positive’ effects on the aftermath of the storm were the National Guard, and various small NGOs. By small, I mean, a food truck sent by a congregation of Evangelicals from Kentucky, (they walked the walk,) a clean up crew of Mennonites from Pennsylvania, (small town values done right,) and a medical team of several RNs and MDs from Texas who set up camp in the remains of the local Middle School, (they were later run off by the local health authorities for not having “up to date” State credentials, which action was later proven to have been done at the behest of the local medical establishment. After that group left, the small town that we lived in had no medical facilities for a year. The closest medical facilities to there were 23 miles away. Many people in our town had no transportation, and public transportation is a sick joke in the best of times down there.)
      I began my radicalization concerning attitudes towards the Medical Industrial Complex then.
      Stay safe!

  16. jrkrideau

    An underrated way to boost global vaccine supply
    “An unfortunate reality about the government of the People’s Republic of China is that they are not as forthcoming and cooperative as one would like. They have not conducted a large-scale trial that includes plenty of elderly people and would let us get a really strong assessment. ”

    I believe it is difficult t do large scale Phase III trials when your definition of a large outbreak is 20 cases in a city of 10 million.

    AFAICS, China has to carry out all Stage III trials outside of China.

  17. Wukchumni

    Joe (longtime friend of firemen he stressed repeatedly) stated in Idaho the other day that their pay will be a minimum of $15 an hour, which seemed niggardly, as the McDonalds in Farmersville in the 6th poorest county in Cali was offering $15 for hired hands, whose potential exposure to fuego was limited to a grease fire.

    In Joe’s favor, he repeatedly strung together complete sentences during the 26 minute presser, which curiously cut off the Chief Executive in mid-speech at the end, which was weird. Who cuts off a President talking?

    1. Glen

      It strikes me as stupid or strange that the nation has not been taking action to increase the number of firefighters, or provide additional people that can aid fire fighters because we know we need many more. The same is true for doctors and nurses; we are burning out our health care workers. I see the same with truck drivers, and whole host of workers that are really essential to our society. It, of course, goes without saying that our elites have worked very hard to crappify these jobs.

      It reminds me of when I worked at the Navel base during layoffs, and I somehow ended up in a meeting where ten managers were arguing about how to manage the three people that they managed – yes, you heard me right, we had ten managers managing three workers.

      I’ll bet right now if we look that the organizations that are understaffed and completely stressed are prioritizing hiring managers to manage the workers they are trying to hire (but not getting because the pay no longer lines up to the work in even any reasonable way.)

      Rule of thumb – the PMC does not lay itself off, and the PMC will wonder forever why slave wages and horrible conditions no longer gets them an endless supply of dupes.

      1. Yves Smith

        It takes a long time to produce MDs. You can’t just order them up.

        And the profession has become much less attractive between the continuing ever escalating costs of higher education (which = lots of student debt for most) v. the increased corporatization of medicine, which we’ve written about here for years. Doctors increasingly don’t practice medicine, as in use clinical judgement, they follow protocols set by their employers. Many older MDs are quitting because they are sick of the hassle of dealing with the bureaucracy, either of their employer, or if in a smaller/solo practice (there are still some in NYC), fighting with insurers to get paid.

        As for nurses, the backbone of hospitals are CNAs. I have found that many LPNs and RNs won’t do hands-on work, like changing diapers on patients who are so sick or debilitated that they can’t get to the bathroom, or even assisting mobility-limited patients in getting to a toilet. CNAs are quitting hospitals in droves because many perceive they aren’t being paid enough to do the usual scut work plus take Covid risk.

        1. Glen

          We don’t order up any of these people. We have to provide the proper incentives in our society to empower people to have the drive and dedication to make these critical choices to contribute to our society.

          And as you point out, this is years, and years of work.

          1. Daniel LaRusso

            that’s where immigration comes in from poorer countries …. which is a deliberate tactic from the elites. It can be a terrible job, with crap pay and conditions … as long as it’s better than where they came from.

  18. TroyIA

    Fire at UK-France electricity subsea cable triggers new price surge

    A large fire at Britain’s main electricity subsea cable with France has reduced imports to the UK, pushing up prices at a time when tight supplies have driven them to record highs.

    National Grid said the fire had broken out at the IFA1 interconnector site in Sellindge near Ashford in Kent, with emergency services in attendance.

    Natural gas prices in the UK, which had hit a series of record highs in recent weeks, soared more than 18 per cent on the news with traders calculating that gas-fired power generators would need to run harder in the coming days to compensate for the loss of imports.

    . . .

    Glenn Rickson, head of European power analysis at S&P Global Platts Analytics, said the disruption due to the fire was likely to be an issue “for weeks, maybe months”.

    “It couldn’t come at a worse time for the UK,” he said, adding that the fire outage was already evident in the daily auction prices for peak electricity demand, which reached £415 per MWh on average for Thursday delivery, just under Tuesday’s record, he said.

    The UK has experienced record electricity prices in recent weeks as strong gas prices have fed through to the power market, while inclement weather has cut wind power generation and also led to some coal-burning plants to switch on ahead of peak demand hours.

    Rajiv Gogna, a partner at LCP Energy Analytics, said the UK would struggle to quickly replace the 2GW capacity — approximately 6 per cent of peak demand — that was lost in fire. “Unfortunately we are going to see more high and volatile prices which is going to feed though to consumers,” he said.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      A lot of people are praying for a windy winter.

      Here in Ireland they closed down the main coal powered plant last year as it had hit the end of the road, but in Spring the two largest gas generating power plants shut down, blaming Covid based delays in getting parts. They said that it would take a year to repair, although they’ve shortened that by 6 months. Its not clear to me what the problem is, and whether there may be a certain amount of blackmail going on from power operators, it seems very strange to me that two independent plants go down at the same time – CCGT plants are normally very reliable. Gas supply shouldn’t be a problem as Ireland is a usually a net exporter of gas.

      But the situation is likely to be critical if the winter is not windy, as there will be a severe shortfall in peak supply without those two gas plants. Ireland generally exports a significant amount of electric power to the UK in the winter (mostly surplus wind), so this will put a little more pressure on the UK system.

      There is a lot going on in the background, its hard to find out the real reason for all the quite sudden stresses in the system. But if there is a real supply issue with key spare parts for power infrastructure, things could get very unpleasant very rapidly if a few key plants go offline.

  19. Michael Ismoe

    Senators demand cryptocurrency regulation guidance from SEC Chair Gary Gensler CNBC

    Of course they want regulations, we’re talking their money that’s going to be invested. We don’t have elected officials anymore but “designated insider traders” who get to play the market with impunity.

    “Tax the Rich” – especially when they are calling their brokers and don’t notice which bill comes up for a vote.

  20. Carolinian

    A peace dividend after Afghan withdrawal? Surely you jest.

    Gordon Adams, a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said Americans “shouldn’t expect any spending in or on the Afghan army,” in the final version of the bill, but that some of those dollars are likely to “be allocated to the unanticipated costs of the evacuation operation.” The rest of the money devoted to maintaining the Afghan Security Forces are likely to “disappear” in the final bill, but will be diffused in other military operations and maintenance, Adams added.

  21. Michael Ismoe

    Gen. Milley feared Trump might launch nuclear attack, made secret calls to China, new book says USA

    That should get those “Deplorables” motivated to vote in 2024, huh? Um, I am so old I remember when the military ran on chain of command.

    1. Wukchumni

      Hello?… Uh… Hello Xi uh hello Xi Jinping Listen uh uh I can’t hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn down all that manufacturing noise just a little? … Oh-ho, that’s much better… yeah… huh… yes… Fine, I can hear you now, Xi… Clear and plain and coming through fine… I’m coming through fine, too, eh?… Good, then… well, then, as you say, we’re both coming through fine… Good… Well, it’s good that you’re fine and… and I’m fine… I agree with you, it’s great to be fine… a-ha-ha-ha-ha… Now then Xi, you know how we’ve always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb… The bomb, Xi… The hydrogen bomb!… Well now, what happened is… ahm… our Chief Executive, he had a sort of… well, he went a little funny in the head… you know… just a little… funny. And, ah… he went and said a silly thing, so we’re hiding the launch codes underneath the floorboards in the Lincoln Bedroom.

    2. QuarterBack

      Is this intended to be a Hollywood remake of the 2020 movie “The Courier” with Milley cast in the part of Oleg Penkovsky?

    3. Sy Krass

      Right of Milley or not, how do you stop a rogue President, I mean really rogue, the answer from everyone seems to be follow the fuhrer’s orders at all cost. Nope not me, I understand why Milley did what he did. Technically, I don’t think he did anything illegal, talking to a counterpart to reasure them isn’t disobeying an order. Again though what if an order was given that SHOULD be disobeyed? (i.e. launch that ICBM into mid-town Manhattan ???????????????)

      1. saywhat?

        Again though what if an order was given that SHOULD be disobeyed? (i.e. launch that ICBM into mid-town Manhattan ???????????????)

        You haven’t seen “Failsafe”?

  22. David

    The Daily Mail headline about Iran doesn’t make much sense as given (this is the Daily Mail after all) but what the story is trying to say is that the Iranians have been enriching uranium to a higher level recently. So far as I can see, the story is probably based on a recent IAEA report, whose contents are well summarised here.

    Enriching uranium to 60% doesn’t give you a useable nuclear weapon, but it does mean that you could generate weapons grade uranium relatively quickly. Quite what “weapons grade” means is not really defined, but most experts would put it at about 90%; That said, it has been argued that a crude nuclear device could be manufactured at a lower percentage, but would require more uranium. In any event, of course, a supply of weapons grade uranium is not a weapon. You need a warhead, a guidance system and a delivery system, none of which, so far as I know, Iran possesses. This is best seen as a piece of brinkmanship, at which the Iranians have historically been quite good, upping the ante at a difficult time.

    1. Ian Perkins

      The IAEA’s Director General Grossi recently met with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and it was “agreed that IAEA inspectors will now be able to service the Agency’s monitoring and surveillance equipment in Iran and replace their storage media.” So yes, probably something like well-played brinkmanship, pushing in one direction while giving in another.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Why do nuke nations put all that effort into ICBMs? All that’s needed is a shipping container or truck with a closed body to “deliver” a nuclear weapon.

      Globalism = porous borders, and massive supply chain flows make container-by-container search and inspection efforts impossible.

      The genie is out of the bottle. Amazing that so far, with all the accidents and errors, , those two early US bombs erasing Japanese cities are the only actual hostile deployments. Though let us remember how many nukes were detonated during the decades before the test ban treaty — see this scary video, a reminder of how f))king stupid humans are:

      And we mopes continue to suffer the effects of radiation from those thousand-plus detonations, an ongoing RCT of the whole human population.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Obviously, a uranium only warhead isn’t likely to be very much use in a real conflict, except for symbolism.

      I would have thought that the Iranians were capable of delivering a fairly crude warhead as they have ballistic missiles capable of delivering a 1000kg or more to a target, within the ME at least. I would guess that for their own safety they would not make the move to a warhead unless they had demonstrated at least a theoretical capacity to hit the US. Presumably, they are not stupid enough to develop a warhead without a delivery system, as the gap between developing the two is where Israel/US/SA would be tempted to attack.

      Its interesting that the ROK have developed a SLBM without saying anything about nukes (and they are being obliged by an international press that isn’t asking that question). I assume the purpose is to send a message around the Pacific that they could rapidly develop a nuclear capacity if they chose, so maybe don’t mess with us. I wonder if the Japanese will follow suit.

      It seems we are entering a world where many mid sized powers are deciding that allowing some ambiguity over nuclear ambitions is a sound geopolitical move, even if it costs a lot of money.

      1. Zachary Smith

        A 20-100kt explosion is symbolism?

        Regarding a capacity to directly attack the US, that would seem to me to be the very worst of ideas.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Uranium bombs are very physically big – a few metres long and a few tonnes – its the delivery thats the problem against any country with fairly advanced defences. Throwing a nuke at a country like Israel and failing is not likely to end well for anyone.

          What I meant by that is that from the Iranian perspective, the US might not see a bomb hitting Tel Aviv or Riyadh as a disincentive to take military action against them. They sure would if there was even a 10% chance of hitting Washington. This is presumably why the North Koreans have focused on missiles that can hit the US, not just Seoul or Tokyo. The point of a deterrent is that you can hit whoever it is that has the ultimate power to attack you, not their allies.

          1. Zachary Smith

            Little Boy (9,000 pounds, ten feet long) was an overbuilt kludge.
            I’d appreciate a link to information indicating this was the ony way the 235 isotope could be used.
            On the face of it, I’d suppose any design using Pu could be modified for U.

            Regarding North Korea, I’m of the opinion they have designed their nukes to be for high levels of EMP, and those don’t require any fancy missiles or guidance.

              1. Michaelmas

                If you can enrich enough uranium to the required extent, anybody can build an old-school A-bomb/fission bomb like the US dropped on Nagaski and Hiroshima in 1945. Even South Africa did it in the late 1980s. As some have alluded to here, they’re so physically big they have to be delivered by plane or truck.

                Nuclear weapons that can be minaturized enough to be mounted as warheads on the tops of missiles, on the other hand, are thermonuclear weapons — H-bombs or fusion bombs, which is actually a bit of a misnomer as the explosion is a three-stage process in which the second stage of fusion is only briefly achieved for a few fractions of a second and serves to boost or amplify a fission explosion.

                H-bombs or fusion bombs are also known as Ulam-Teller devices, after their primary designers. They are, relative to fission bombs, very complicated, the technology remains classified — I don’t understand it — and they took seven-eight years of work by some of the smartest people who ever lived (alas) to make them happen.

                (Indeed, we have computers, and the internet and Naked Capitalism, because John von Neumann — who also came up with the implosion refinement that made A-bombs work — had to spearhead development of the first digital electronic computers to model the explosions (early machines like ENIAC, MANIAC, JOHNIAC, through to your laptop today are all based on the von Neumann architecture).

                Still, once you’ve mastered the technology, you can build bombs producing an enormous range of possible explosions in terms of size, shape, types of radiation release, etc. Ted Taylor, who worked with Freeman Dyson on Project Orion (a proposed nuclear-powered spaceship design during the 1950s) once lit a cigarette with a nuclear explosion —


                Thermonuclear weapons, or H-bomb technology, are what’s required for missile warheads.

                To the question of Iran’s capability —

                Firstly, Israel is living in the past because in 2021 Iran can already level Israel with the enormous number of conventional missiles it has ringing Israel. No nukes necessary.

                Secondly, Iran has physicists just as capable as Israel’s. Besides enrichment via centrifuges, there’s now an alternative technology called laser isotope separation (LIS) that can be hidden in a space the size of a small warehouse. It’s difficult, but Iran has physicists who understand it (when Israel was assassinating Iranian physicists a few years back, the hits were all on those who understood LIS).

                (For that matter, a thorium reactor can be adapted to make the best little plant for producing fissile material for bombs you can imagine. This is a point that’s insufficiently understood about thorium reactors. I would not be promoting their widespread introduction.)

                So, yes, all the current hoopla about enrichment is just the Iranians showing some cards to prepare for any upcoming negotiations. If they really wanted to do it, they would have already done it and we wouldn’t know. Between that, Iran’s strategic agreements with Russia and China, and their missiles ringing Israel, Tel Aviv has effectively already lost the game and so has the US.

                1. Ian Perkins

                  That doesn’t sound right. H-bombs contain a fission bomb to get the reaction going, as you say – “the second stage of fusion is only briefly achieved for a few fractions of a second and serves to boost or amplify a fission explosion.” So why would they be smaller than a fission bomb and easier to fit in a missile? And I think India and Pakistan both have nuclear missiles, but no H-bombs.

                  1. Stephen the tech critic

                    Nuclear reactions in the bombs are driven by high energy neutron flux. Neutrons are the neutral charged particle sharing “space” with protons at the center of atoms. When an atom is split, neutrons are ejected which bombard and split adjacent atoms. Whether this leads to an exponentially growing chain reaction (known as “criticality”) depends on the spatial concentration of the neutron emitters. Once the materials are too dispersed, which happens *very quickly* in an exploding bomb, they no longer exist in enough concentration to sustain the reactions.

                    This tiny fraction of a second is everything. Inferior bomb designs waste most of the fissile material by blowing it all apart before it can undergo nuclear fission. Conventional explosives are used to trigger U/Pu bombs by confining the material in a critical state for as long as possible.

                    In the “H-bomb”, a smaller “inner” fission bomb is used to compress a core of tritium (which has 2 neutrons for every proton!) to induce fusion, which in turn causes a burst of neutrons that dramatically improve the fission yield from the material in the outer “bomb”. Energy wise, the fusion contribution is negligible compared to the boost in fissile yield from the neutrons it provides.

                    As I said, a tiny fraction of a second makes all the difference. Even a tiny design flaw can cut yield by factor of 10 or more. With that said, I agree it’s not clear how fusion allows for smaller bombs.

            1. Grumpy Engineer

              On the face of it, I’d suppose any design using Pu could be modified for U.

              Probably so, as all modern nuclear weapons use implosion-based designs, and there are designs that permit varying blends of U235 and Pu239. [Per section of the Nuclear Weapons FAQ:] Weapons with uranium cores require larger “pits”, but not radically so.

              Only U235 is suitable for gun-type designs like Little Boy (as it is less susceptible to pre-detonation), but nobody does that any more. The yield in such designs is significantly lower for a given amount of uranium.

          2. David

            The challenges of actually developing a functioning ICBM, based ultimately on fifty year-old Soviet technology via North Korea, are tremendous, and may actually be insoluble, given the technology they are likely to have access to. The Iranians have shown they can make accurate short-range missiles, but ICBMs are another story: because blast effect falls off with the cube root of distance, a Hiroshima-level warhead would have to be directly on target if it was to do any real damage. Much of the US being empty space, the chances of doing such real damage would be small.

            But Iran is engaged in what called “weak against strong” deterrence, which is to say that all you need to be able to do is to inflict on a possible enemy damage which is disproportionate to the gain they hope to make. I’ve seen suggestions that the Iranians might destroy and pollute Gulf oilfields for example, or that they might simply use a nuclear weapon against a direct attack. No US government could possibly tolerate that level of casualties. Another option is to use the EMP effect to take out all the electronics in the US armoury (and perhaps most in the region as well. But of course this ambiguity is precisely the point: the Iranians are playing mind-games.

            Incidentally, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more coverage of the S Korean SLBM announcement. SLBMs are second strike weapons – they have no conceivable utility against N Korea.

            1. Ian Perkins

              SLBMs are second strike weapons

              “Because of improvements in the killing power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, those submarines now patrol with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos.”

              “The revolutionary increase in the lethality of submarine-borne US nuclear forces comes from a “super-fuze” device that since 2009 has been incorporated into the Navy’s W76-1/Mk4A warhead as part of a decade-long life-extension program. We estimate that all warheads deployed on US ballistic missile submarines now have this fuzing capability.”

              “Russian planners will almost surely see the advance in fuzing capability as empowering an increasingly feasible US preemptive nuclear strike capability.”

    4. Zachary Smith

      You need a warhead, a guidance system and a delivery system, none of which, so far as I know, Iran possesses

      We appear to have different information about these issues. I’ve read quite a lot about Iran’s large and highly accurate IRBMs. In fact, they demonstrated some older models of their missiles to the US right after Trump murdered the Iranian General.

        1. Zachary Smith

          Titles then.

          How Precise Are Iranian Missiles? Analysis Of Missile Strikes On U.S. Military Base In Iraq
          How a ‘quantum change’ in missiles has made Iran a far more dangerous foe
          Iran’s Missile Strikes in Iraq

          The last one is at the Arms Control Wonk site.

  23. Jabura

    “A conversation with Bill Gates on how public health has fared in the midst of the pandemic”
    Thought it was an Onion article – when did this @*&$% become a vaccine expert? Wonder how much he “donated” to STAT? Trying to buff up his image perhaps after association with Epstein? Last year Gates bragged about convincing Oxford University not to open-license its vaccine, which was their full intent. Gates leveraged his $750 million donation to the university for vaccine research—even though its vaccine was developed in a publicly funded lab. And don’t get me started on university research patents usurped by the corporatists. Another bipartisan ripoff.

  24. IMOR

    Walgreen’s bad security.
    As someone who got his first non-public health administered Covid test at a Walgreen’s 18 days ago, let me be the first to thank Recode for its gentlemanly self-imposed delay in reporting Walgreen’s massive info exposure failure!
    May or may not have been timely originally to help me, but would have saved, what? Hundreds, dozens of others for each day of bow-down?

  25. Mildred Montana

    “New company is trying to resurrect the woolly mammoth to combat climate change” The Hill

    From the article: “Ben Lamm, a serial entrepreneur who has worked in the tech industry for years, is also a co-founder [of Colossal].”

    Ben Lamm, the serial entrepreneur. For me, serial ???????? has an unpleasant ring to it. Strike one for Ben.

    From a CNBC article about Lamm: “By the time he was 9 years old, Ben Lamm had visited more than 50 countries… ‘I had a very middle-class, totally typical American upbringing’…”

    Strike two for Ben. If he thinks his upbringing was typically American middle-class, he is clearly deluded.

    Another liar, sitting on another hole, looking for venture capital or an IPO and strike three he’s out?

    1. Maritimer

      Science, Tech do not screen for socio or psychopaths. As Science/Tech become ever more powerful and dangerous, it does not seem to occur to any Scientist that they might want to take a scientific look at this danger. Ah………’ll be ok.

      “Hey Dr. Frankenstein, hold my joint while I regene this coronavirus.”

    2. Michaelmas

      George Church has been incubating the woolly mammoth resurrection effort as a side-project for a decade and has referred to it as essentially “performance art” for his lab. It seems to me quite doable if you’re George Church with the resources Church has. But I really don’t see how there’s much money in it, which is why I presume it hasn’t gone faster.

      So, yes, Ben Lamm — whoever he is — is climbing on it for the PR and the potential of hyping it into an IPO.

  26. Randy G

    Moscow Times does a piece on the Russian Communist Party and manages to get their guy, Navalny, into the article twice! As someone who finds Russian and Soviet history fascinating, and has actually traveled around Russia and Ukraine, I find conversations with fellow Americans on the topic startling.

    For example, I can’t enumerate the number of Americans who have told me that they hate Putin. When I ask them if they would be happy if the main opposition party defeats Putin in the national elections, they are almost gleeful at the prospect. (Many of them have heard of Navalny in the last few years and recall his name.)

    When I explain that the main opposition party that will replace Putin is the Communist Party, they react with everything from slack-jawed confusion to angry defiance — “The Communists are gone — they got rid of the the Communists!”

    This is one of the wonders of the American corporate propaganda system: even basic information will be consigned to oblivion if it potentially ruptures the preferred narrative. People who have spent years clinging to every word of Rachel Maddow’s rants on Russia, will not have the slightest idea of what actually goes on in Russia.

    Few know that the U.S. intervened blatantly in the 1996 election to cram Boris Yeltsin down the throat of desperate Russians for another 5-year term, by defeating, you guessed it, Gennadi Zyuganov of the Communist Party. (There’s substantial doubt that Yeltsin even won the election fairly.)

    Western journalists aren’t required to extoll the Communist Party, but if they can’t even mention that it garners 8 to 10 times as much support as Western love-child Alexei Navalny, then that is deception by omission and much more akin to propaganda than journalism.

    1. Late Introvert

      Thanks Randy G, great comment. Would love to hear more citizens of Russia speak on this board (not suggesting you are, or not).

  27. Procopius

    Yeah, there’s something wrong with this picture. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are not in the Chain of Command, so if the story is true (which I doubt) he would have to have been conspiring with the operational commanders to essentially commit mutiny. It would not be treason, by the way, because it wouldn’t be “waging war against the United States,” but the word has become so debased since 2016 that I probably should stop objecting to its misuse. We really need to find some way to force Congress to (a) rescind both the AUMFs, and (b) rescind all the outstanding “states of emergency” from prior years that give the executive branch additional authority.

    1. Procopius

      This was meant to be a reply to the comment about the story about Gen. Milley’s call to Gen. Li Zuocheng. I had seen elsewhere further details that he supposedly had contacted the operational commanders to ask that they not commit to any attack until they had talked to him, which would be a conspiracy to mutiny, since he does not have command authority over them. There probably is less to that story than appears. Anyway, the call to Gen. Li is perfectly normal. That’s why we established a hotline with the Kremlin back in the ’50, for goodness sake. Especially if we have intelligence that a nuclear armed potential adversary is feeling nervous about our intentions. Surely it would be the duty of somebody in the government to try to defuse tensions.

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