Links 9/23/2021

New genomic analysis sorts out when Polynesians reached which islands ars technica (Kevin W)

Coral Reef Protection in Exchange for Debt Relief: Could it Really Work? Credit Slips

Ghost forests creep up U.S. East Coast NBC

Boris Johnson: Time for humanity to grow up on climate change BBC

Metals supercharge a promising method to bury harmful carbon dioxide under the sea University of Texas at Austin (Chuck L)

Baby Poop Is Loaded With Microplastics Wired

‘We Need Software Updates Forever’ SpectrumIEEE

This Microchip With Wings Is The Smallest Flying Structure Humans Have Ever Built ScienceAlert (David L)

New optical ‘transistor’ speeds up computation up to 1,000 times, at lowest switching energy possible Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Chuck L)

Mathematicians discover music really can be infectious – like a virus Guardian (David L)

Infectious diseases go hand in hand with authoritarian attitudes ZMEScience

Is ‘the worst cold ever’ going around? BBC. Yours truly has a mild sniffle nearly all winter, which I tell myself helps me ward off worse infections (this really does seem to be true). I am sniffling a bit ahead of schedule.

People who eat more dairy fat have lower risk of heart disease, study suggests CNN (furzy). n=1, but my 93 year old mother thinks butter is a food group and has a “perfect” EKG. And she has correctly declared herself to be the original couch potato, so it’s not as if her heart benefited from years of strenuous activity.



Covid: Immune therapy from llamas shows promise BBC. Bob H: “I haven’t read this ariticle, I just like the pictures.”

Echoes Through Time: The Historical Origins of the Droplet Dogma and its Role in the Misidentification of Airborne Respiratory Infection Transmission SSRN

Infectious SARS-CoV-2 in Exhaled Aerosols and Efficacy of Masks During Early Mild Infection Oxford. Layperson key finding: COVID-19 is evolving to become more airborne, says recent study Jerusalem Post

Study Shows That Up To 8 In 10 Women Had A Miscarriage After Getting The Covid Vaccine Before The Third Trimester Evie. This is a right-leaning and lunatic-adjacent site with a Teen Vogue veneer. Magazine startups generally and right wing ones especially are often thinly staffed, and I think that is the case here. It has a professional look but does not go beyond the generic in the way that Teen Vogue or The Strategist do. Hence thin links, and also the willingness to take work from writers who will work for little or nothing, which includes writers with other sources of income, like mom and dad OR right-wing think tanks. With that big caveat, on a quick pass, I think they have the math right…The key point is they are correct to exclude getting vaccines in the third trimester from the computation of miscarriages. A miscarriage = spontaneous abortion when fetus not yet viable. Viability in the US is considered to be at 24 weeks, as in just before the third trimester.

Why India Still Has A 12-16 Week Gap Between Covishield Doses IndiaSpend (J-LS)

A new Chinese rejoinder in the origin blame game: COVID-19 highly likely circulated in U.S. in Sept. 2019: study CGTN


Covid cases among England’s schoolchildren hit record peak Financial Times


Australian police fire rubber bullets to clear demonstration at Melbourne’s war memorial as third day of rallies by anti-vaxxers turns violent Daily Mail (J-LS)


FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for older and high-risk Americans The Hill

President Biden Announces Donation of Another 500 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Overseas C-SPAN (Kevin C)


Only half of the people who lost jobs during COVID are going back to work Business Insider

Rep. Bush, Sen. Warren introduce bill to reinstate federal eviction moratorium CNBC

United Airlines employees sue company over its ‘draconian’ COVID vaccine mandate Fox (Li)


Eurasia takes shape: How the SCO just flipped the world order The Saker (Kevin W, Chuck L)

Evergrande deadline sends chills through $400bn Asian debt market Financial Times

Evergrande Group meets crucial debt deadline but another looms CNN (furzy)


Boris Johnson tells Macron: Donnez-moi un break over new pact BBC (Kevin W)

Looks like Macron has extracted his payoff. From the Politico daily European newsletter:

MACRON AND BIDEN VOW TO MAKE AMENDS: In a remarkable conciliatory statement after his call with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed regret over an Indo-Pacific security pact that enraged Paris.

How Biden says sorry 1: “The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners. President Biden conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard,” said the readout of the call released by the White House and the Elysée.

How Biden says sorry 2: Biden’s most concrete concession to France was a promise to reinforce America’s “support to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel conducted by European states.” Macron has long been calling for the international community — especially other EU countries and the U.S. — to step up their support to France’s mission in Mali.

Saying it in person: The White House also announced plans for Biden and Macron to meet in Europe at the end of October. In addition, the French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Étienne will return to his post in Washington next week, after being recalled last Friday amid the diplomatic row.

Europe doesn’t need a ‘Mega-Fab’ Bruegel. Readers? My default is that supply chain issues are making clear that being more of an autarky, at the cost of getting the best price, is worth the tradeoff. But the lead times here are not trivial.


Brexit caused huge drop in Great Britain to Ireland exports in 2021 Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

Country Britain dumped the EU for not interested Daily Mash

By crushing party democracy, Labour may sign its own death warrant openDemocracy


Images of Border Patrol’s Treatment of Haitian Migrants Prompt Outrage New York Times

Many migrants staying in US even as expulsion flights rise Associated Press

Guantánamo Bay: Biden administration to reopen migrant detention camp near prison Guardian

Number of Immigrants Detained by ICE Has Increased 70 Percent Under Biden Truthout

TikTok Users Watch Nancy Pelosi For Stock Trade Tips From Congress Disclosures NPR (TF)

Clinics in states neighboring Texas are seeing drastic increases in patients seeking an abortion Business Insider

Florida Proposal Would Ban Most Abortions, Mimicking Texas Bloomberg

California-Grown Cannabis To Be Judged At Next State Fair CBS Sacramento. Resilc: “4H: High, hazy, happy, hammered.”

Our Famously Free Press

Russiagate, More Like Watergate Matt Taibbi

Number of Environmental Advocates Killed in 2020 Hits New Record Undark :-(

What one city’s struggle to ban natural gas says about the challenge of electrifying buildings Grist

US crude at 24 month low, gasoline at 22 month low, total supplies at 42 month low Angry Bear

A record number of cargo ships are stuck outside LA. What’s happening? Guardian (David L)

Apple memo from Tim Cook denouncing leakers gets leaked RT (Kevin W)

Wagging the Bitcoin Dog Counterpoint. Yours truly was not cynical enough: “Living up to its deserved reputation as a tool associated with criminality, the Salvadoran move to Bitcoin is very much political theater.”

NASA’s top official says Blue Origin lawsuit could delay human return to moon Business Insider

The Fed is evaluating whether to launch a digital currency and in what form, Powell says CNBC (J-LS)

So BofA thinks their customers only rent their deposits?

Reclaiming Central Banks Ann Pettifor, Project Syndicate (Colonel Smithers)

Class Warfare

The Sacrificial King Charles Eisenstein (furzy)

The Global Housing Market Is Broken, and It’s Dividing Entire Countries Bloomberg. I was going to write this up….a very good, in depth account.

California governor signs legislation to protect warehouse workers Reuters

Antidote du jour (Leroy):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. JohnnyGL

      If the pelosis are getting into asset mgt, I wouldn’t touch a product like that. They’ll front run you and gauge you with fees.

      No way the insiders let you ride along with them and make money!

    2. griffen

      Her developer & husband has been pretty wealthy for quite some time. Not too shocking if he actually proves adept at positioning the “family office” investment portfolio. I’m sure there is nothing unseemly there.

      Okay I realize what I just wrote! \sarc

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Eisenstein’s sacrificial king–

    Eisentstein says a couple of things that some NC-ers might take issue with. First:

    Whatever their faults, the technocracy. billionaires, and political leadership are creations of a system more than they are its architects. They play the roles our reigning systems and paradigms cast for them.


    The autocracy of pre-revolutionary France was followed by the autocracy of Napoleon. The autocracy of czarist Russia was followed by that of Stalin. The liquidations of the elites cleared the way for new actors to occupy the same roles. We can do better than that. The time has come for a different kind of revolution.

    The two points are related. If we personalize our situation by blaming it on individuals in power, or even if we broaden the blame to an entire class, we’re going to accomplish little if the real problem lies with the construction of the vast and complex system that includes our politics and economics. If the current elites are loaded into the tumbrils but the system is left in place, new individuals or a new class (e.g. a “vanguard”) will step in, man the levers and pushbuttons of The System, and things will go on as before, maybe worse.

    If that’s the case, if we play the regicide game as Eisenstein says we are, all we are accomplishing is convincing the current elites that they are engaged in a life-and-death struggle that they must resist to save their lives. If the reality is that they are players in a drama scripted by The System, playing the regicide game misses an opportunity to convert at least some of the elite to the project of re-making The System at a fundamental level. We are sabotaging a chance to accomplish massive change more quickly with less loss of life in order to indulge our revenge fantasies.

    Now I find this vengefulness something hard to purge in myself. When I think of Lloyd Blankfein or Dick Cheney or Hillary Clinton, my blood pressure rises. But if we prioritize systemic change over the satisfaction of vengeance, we might do well to at least purge the talk of guillotines even if the emotions we feel in reaction to our elites are hard to get rid of.

      1. CanCyn

        Have to admit that I think a couple of key beheadings might help pave the way for the systemic changes we need.
        Seriously though, I don’t think many of the people seemingly in charge are truly architects of this mess in which we find ourselves. By luck or by guile they are able to take advantage of it. Rather than create, at best they perpetuate it, because they benefit so much and have convinced themselves that they’ve earned it. Engaging /sarc: If us plebs and deplorables would just get a better education and work a little harder we could get our share too.

        1. Eclair

          I like to think of the current crop of mega-billionaires and their symbiont politicians as mad builders. They found a blueprint of a system, then proceeded to haul the blocks of granite, forge, haul, weld and bolt the steel girders, mix and slap on the mortar and harness the energy of mighty rivers to power their express elevators to the top. Meanwhile, their debris piles and rotten tailings not to mention millions of trampled bodies (of all species), foul the planet.

          As a metaphor: The brick woolen and cotton mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts, lining the banks of the Merrimack River, were constructed in a matter of months. In the late 1950’s, as their owners emptied them out and fled to South Carolina and, later Asia, the City estimated it would take nine years to pull them down. They ‘repurposed’ them instead. That worked out well.

          We are, as a species, a society, between a rock and a hard place. There are no easy solutions.

        2. John Zelnicker

          September 23, 2021 at 9:40 am

          The mess we find ourselves in is the result of a 50 year conscious and coordinated effort to impose right-wing neoliberalism (redundant?) as outlined in the Powell Memo, first published on August 23, 1971.

        3. Vandemonian

          The Chinese will occasionally execute a big-time financial criminal. I suspect this make other oligarchs a bit more willing to go along with government-imposed constraints and changes in policy.

        4. Carla

          @CanCyn — Re: By luck or by guile they are able to take advantage of it.

          Most often, by having chosen the right parents.

    1. Questa Nota

      Oxford slipped in moral standing when it handed out, or had its arm twisted into, giving that honorary degree to her. Bill left there under a cloud, but all seemed to be forgiven if she was feted. Timing may be curious, nah, just coincidental I’m sure, when viewed together with the Taibbi article.

    2. begob

      You can add both the English revolutions, producing Cromwell’s Protectorate and the liberals’ monopoly on power. With the latter, as with the French Revolution, it’s too early to tell the result – except when it kills you.

    3. Ian Perkins

      Liquidating a few of the elite might ensure that the rest up their security, and that only the most ruthless attempt to join their numbers.

    4. Sailor Bud

      I mean, if we strip away all the Oceania-specific parts, Immanuel Goldstein’s ‘Theory and Practise of Oligarchical Collectivism’ from Orwell describes just about all the pyramid structures of history. It really does seem like the next step of social evolution is to limit power seeking, because the seekers themselves bring vile side effects nearly every time.

      That, and the section of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ where Winston visits the proles and tries (& fails) to get reasonable answers to his absurdly simple questions, is probably the most ignored stuff of the book when I see/hear people talk about it, anywhere. I found them just as true to the world I know as the Newspeak/memory hole/surveillance aspects.

    5. Josef K

      I’ve long advocated for half a revolution, so that we do a 180 rather than just end up with the same ole from different bad actors.

      1. LifelongLib

        I’m for making rich people so poor they have to get jobs, which seems relatively simple although not easy. With modern communications and financial tools we don’t need vast concentrations of personal wealth.

        Professionals and managers are a more difficult problem. Many here think they’re “bad actors” but we’re still going to need people doing somewhat similar things even after half a revolution. Presumably they’ll be beholden to society as a whole rather than just the rich?

    6. lance ringquist

      once you radicalize your people. its hard to get them back. i have said repeatedly to nafta democrats, you have so little time left to self reflect. they look back at me cross eyed, to ignorant of history, and to arrogant to understand my implications for their future.

      1. hunkerdown

        Meh, people are disposable. Just let the other party do a patriarchy and get those birth rates up again, she’ll be back to 3% groaf in no time. /NAFTADemocrat

    7. brian wilder

      To be strictly accurate, Napoleon’s “autocracy” was not nearly as arbitrary as that of the Bourbons.

      Napoleon achieved power by enacting a liberal, rationalist institution-building agenda, one that the more nominally democratic regimes between 1789 and 1799 had been unable to accomplish. He made a settlement with the Church, ending much horror. He established a central bank, long needed. The great rationalizing legal reform that bears his name was something to which he devoted considerable personal energy, and importantly advanced rational-basis equity and equality before the law.

    8. Amfortas the hippie

      Late to the party, again.
      I’ve been reading the whole of Eisenstein’s little series on scapegoats all day….on cig breaks as i continue to prepare for a bunch of people coming out here this weekend for Don’s funeral.
      I was that Scapegoat…a Folk-Devil, even…back in the day.
      and i’ve been witness to not a few Moral Panics, in my time.
      Both phenomena serving to bolster the status quo, locally: elites in charge of the clusterfuck(read as “Normality”)…subjects mollified by an enemy to hate on, distracting them from that ultimately ill-fitting “Normality”.
      but i’ve seen fit to write upon the refrigerator door , here in the Wilderness Bar, a paraphrase of something Charles said:”extreme order begets it’s opposite.”
      as a student of Nietzsche, since i was, like, 8…I’m very amenable to the Apollonian/Dionysian Dichotomy….parts of us…individually and collectively…warring inside us.
      hot water heaters have a blow-off-valve for a reason…and our current Boss Class has totally let that prophylactic societal release mechanism get clogged up with hard water deposits.

      everything Charles is on about, i agree with…including his healthy skepticism of the current Vax Uber Alles craziness.
      I think the whole dern series is worth a careful read…and prolly it’s own thread.

      ….oh…and the sinemas and manchins of the world should be taken behind the woodshed, post-haste, by chuck and nancy and biden….otherwise, i reckon the latters’ failure to do so will merely confirm my opinion of them…out of touch, bubble-dwelling, etc.
      in which case, they deserve the eventual lamp-post/liberty’s razor/long pork roast.

    9. Gulag

      “The liquidation of the elite cleared the way for new actors to occupy the same roles. What can do better than that. The time has come for a different kind of revolution.”

      If we are now in a structural situation where our economic system of capitalism and our political system of constitutional democracy is now largely encased within an unelected military–intelligence (public/private hybrid)–Central Bank monolith then it may be past time to look carefully at the origins of such a monolith.

      Way back in the mid-1960s Lewis Mumford wrote a book entitled “The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development.” in which he traces the rise, triumph, and fall of such historical systems of power and technology. Mumford died in 1990 before the internet or cell phones or AI but he predicted back then:

      “…that this new megatechnics of the dominant minority will create a uniform, all-enveloping, super-planetary structure, designed for automatic operation. Instead of functioning actively as an autonomous personality, man will become a passive, purposeless machine-conditioned animal whose proper functions, as technicians now interpret man’s role, will either be fed into the machine or strictly limited and controlled for the benefit of a depersonalized, collective organization.”

      Such a megamachine would be beyond left or right (i.e– the present U.S. and China as mirror forms of State-Capitalism).

      But what is most fascinating about his analysis is that he called such a megamachine a myth–or simply a popular story promoting a particular set of values like progress, universalism and the scientific method.
      He went on to say that such a story has historically taken external form if enough people told it to each other and believed it but such a story originated so long ago that we have forgotten it is simply a story.

      If such a machine, is, at its foundation a story then perhaps the first step to dismantling it is to stop believing the story, stop telling the story or teaching the story to others and to begin to search for a better story–to somehow walk away in both our hearts and minds.


      1. Amfortas the hippie

        this part of the quote:”…“…that this new megatechnics of the dominant minority will create a uniform, all-enveloping, super-planetary structure, designed for automatic operation.”

        …is a Toynbean formulation.
        Answer: Be OutSide as much as you can.
        “…avoid Imperial Entanglements…”–Obi Wan
        Look to your Dependencies, and whittle them away as much as is practical.
        IWe did without A/C for a whole Texas summer.

      1. icancho

        Quite a bit bigger: clouded leopards weigh between 11.5 and 23 kg (25 and 51 lb); margays weigh from 2.6 to 4 kg (5.7 to 8.8 lb).

  2. Ignacio

    RE: New genomic analysis sorts out when Polynesians reached which islands ars technica (Kevin W)

    This kind of studies are for me like magnets. I find these irresistible and this one in particular is very interesting. So it seems it all started in Taiwan, though the text doesn’t specify if via Indonesia or not. First Samoa and then a sequence of colonizations from IX to XIII century, to all polynesia and further to America… The evolutionary founder effect exploited to do the job.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is fascinating – I studied archaeology for a year back in the day and I remember how excruciatingly difficult it was to make sense of so much fragmentary information, especially as so often it didn’t tie up with other sources, such as ancient texts or linguistic analyses.

      But what we are finding out now from genetic analyses is amazing, it blows so many assumptions out of the water. I find it particularly interesting that it seems some Polynesians made it to the Americas, then seem to have decided that they preferred nice tropical island.

      1. lazycat1984

        So much of archaeology has been Victorian era just-so stories that continue on because of political factors. Egyptology is a prime example.

      2. Ignacio

        Or they found America heavily populated and prone to conflicts. Nothing to do with those isolated paradises (not always as paradisical as one might think) they were used to.

      3. Ian Perkins

        As I recall, the three-part documentary Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon reckoned some Amazonian tribes’ oral traditions, and I think some DNA analysis, are consistent with a Polynesian origin, though naturally this has usually been dismissed as pure fantasy until recently.

        1. Ignacio

          I think you are going too far. The Taiwanese diaspora has been shown to start about 5.000 years ago while amerindian populations in South America have a more ancient origin. This said, polinesians and amerindians might share haplotypes original from Southwest Asia indicating, at least in part, a common origin but much more ancient than the colonization of Polinesia.

          This other article is more general about what is called the Austronesian Diaspora.

          1. Ian Perkins

            As I recall, the documentary wasn’t claiming all Amazonian Amerindians are Polynesian in origin, just that a few tribes might be, which is what their oral histories seem to be saying and their DNA appears to confirm. But I watched it a while ago, and may be misremembering.

            But in the paper you linked to, I notice
            “The role of South Americans has recently gained greater prominence following the report by Ioannidis et al. (2020). They discovered introgression of small amounts DNA in eastern Polynesia traced to Columbian Indians (possibly the Zenu or their near neighbours). Contact with Columbia makes good sense as sailing to and from much of the rest of the South American coast is very difficult due to the strong northwards drive of the Humboldt Current. It remains unclear just who was sailing the boats that made contact.”

            1. Ian Perkins

              I ran out of time to edit that, but I thought Columbia rang a bell from that documentary. Thanks for the link; I’ll have a better look later – documentaries aren’t great on detail, and I don’t digest information from them so much either.

            2. Ignacio

              Yeah, there has been contact, but all of it seems quite recent and not as extensive as to explain the origins of whole Amazonian tribes IMO that by themselves are quite isolated. Other genetic links found in South America with Polinesians might be explained by earlier migrations that included genetic mixtures from Siberia, East Asia (possibly sharing an origin with later Taiwanese farmers that originated the austranesian people and languages in Polynesia) and others and not this particular diaspora, which is too recent IMO. It is dangerous to draw conclusions from a few isolated data. Finding a genetic marker is not enough, you need to compare full genomes and show how these markers distribute in the genome compared with other markers.

              In the end we (almost) all share some Neardenthal markers…

  3. bassmule

    The Herman Cain Award subreddit (Slate)

    “These individual stories do not produce conversions. These aren’t situations where anti-vaxxers learn their lesson, get vaccinated, and save themselves. Sure, there’s the occasional “Redemption” tag, awarded when a patient or relative regrets opposing vaccination and urges their friends to do what they can to avoid a similar fate. But those are rare. What this massive record of human suffering really illustrates (in all its startling, repetitive sameness) is how seamlessly anti-vax communities reconcile themselves to the deaths their convictions will perpetuate.”

      1. flora

        The Oxford still uses the older established definition, the one most people use when asked if they’re a this or a that.

      2. Even keel

        That article is amazing. I couldn’t find a date. But it cited a poll from “December” (presumably 2020?) that 79% of Americans opposed a mandate for the coronavirus vaccine.

        I can’t recall the numbers exactly, but aren’t recent polls almost the opposite? Some large majority supporting the vaccine mandate?

        Wild swing. I’d love to read a book about that topic.

        1. Even keel

          Maybe Biden is wily like a fox. Perhaps the entire course of Biden policy has been aimed at getting this switch to occur.

          Perhaps the adults in his room knew that the “no masks for vaccinated” policy would be a major flop and trigger another surge, but the goal was simply to create two classes of people, and use the resulting disappointment to drive support for forcing “them” to get vaccinated?

          Because that seems like a major event in the course of this switch. I wonder if there are recurring polls or something on this topic that might be used to correlate the winds of public opinion with developments in the pandemic.

        2. Even keel

          So, it turns out you can’t actually measure the swing. The questions are too different. The morning consult poll in the yahoo article asks whether a person supports or opposes this statement: “all Americans should be required to receive the coronavirus vaccine once it is available to them.” Note that it talks specifically about people.

          Later polls I found, discussed specific institutions should require participants in activities to be vaccinated. Eg, this fox poll:

          Even the poll questions specifically discussing Biden’s policy were not framed in terms of requiring a person to get a vaccine, but requiring an institution to do something (namely, require it’s employees to be vaccinated).

          So, quite interesting. I assume there was some “a/b” testing in the rollout and framing of the polls and the policy.

          But are the polls even accurate? Here’s one from pew research (done shortly before Biden’s announcement) that says there is less than majority support for an employer based vaccination requirement:

          The public was also divided over how U.S. businesses should approach vaccinations. Around four-in-ten adults (39%) said most businesses should require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, while 35% say businesses should encourage but not require it

          My Take away from this little research project? Polls are quite tricky. Done for purposes unknown. And the results are reported for purposes unknown. Often times you get a report at second or third hand, which obscures bother the context and the exact questioning.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          First is that PR works.

          Second is that it’s easy not to be opposed to a vaccination when you have been vaccinated. No one was vaccinated in December 2020. The approval rate is only a bit above the overall vax level.

          Third is the polls may exhibit bias in their wording or ordering. As someone who once did survey research, subtle-seeming differences in the statement of a question can boost approval rates by 10%.

  4. Cocomaan

    People who eat more dairy fat have lower risk of heart disease, study suggests CNN (furzy). n=1, but my 93 year old mother thinks butter is a food group and has a “perfect” EKG. And she has correctly declared herself to be the original couch potato, so it’s not as if her heart benefited from years of strenuous activity

    When my wife used to go on business travel I would subsist on steak, eggs, and cheese. Occasional fruit. Veggies in the eggs. Venison steak when I can get it myself but otherwise trying to get it from trusted farms. I never felt better.

    Grains can feed a lot of people but I’m convinced that after so much breeding over so many centuries they’ve become a lot like an overbred dog: good to look at, can run in circles well, but only for a short time.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Much the same can be said for intensively reared meat. The nutrient content of so much meat and veg has been degraded to a serious degree in the past few decades.

      It is pretty clear that the old model that saturated animal fats are bad is wrong. But its also easy to go too far the other way – there are health problems associated with the high fat keto diet too.

      As so often with these things, a little balance is needed. But not moderation (studies show that most people interpret ‘moderation’ as ‘what I do’).

      1. Bazarov

        I agree that it’s very easy to go too far in the other direction and write off saturated fat and high LDL cholesterol as risk factors.

        The “old model” teaches that generally high amounts of saturated fat, even from plant sources (thus junk food veganism), increases the risk of heart and vascular disease. A moderate amount of saturated fat, say at around 7-10 percent or less of daily calories, does not represent much of a risk, which is why the major heart associations of the world recommend keeping saturated fat at less than 10 percent–or if you have heart disease, less than 7 percent–of daily calories. I eat nuts and flax almost every day and have no problem keeping my saturated fat below 10 percent! But increase intake by three or four times the daily recommend amount, and the association is very strong between saturated fat intake and health risks over the long term at the population level, mediated by increase in LDL.

        There’s also been a big push to absolve dietary cholesterol all together based on misleading studies that claim that eggs don’t raise blood cholesterol, etc. These studies examine people with diets already rich in cholesterol. If I add a cup of water to a well, it doesn’t rise all that much. But add some to a dry depression, and it rises 100 percent.

        “One potential alternative explanation for the null finding is that background dietary cholesterol may be so high in the usual Western diet that adding somewhat more has little further effect on blood cholesterol. In a randomized trial, Sacks et al36 found that adding 1 egg per day to the usual diet of 17 lactovegetarians whose habitual cholesterol intake was very low (97 mg/d) significantly increased LDL cholesterol level by 12%. In our analyses, differences in non-egg cholesterol intake did not appear to be an explanation for the null association between egg consumption and risk of CHD. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that egg consumption may increase the risk among participants with very low background cholesterol intake. Also, we have limited power to examine the effect of high egg consumption (eg, ≥2 eggs per day).” (

        The healthier you are, the worst eggs may be for you, but if you already have elevated high baseline cholesterol due to the standard western diet, eggs aren’t going to make much difference to your cholesterol levels.

        Anyway, what I’m saying: cholesterol intake, saturated fat intake–the evidence is pretty persuasive that they represent a risk. I say this as someone who believed that cholesterol and saturated fat didn’t really matter–I was very skeptical, but ultimately, I was convinced to change my mind by looking into the evidence, especially the genetic studies examining genes responsible for familial hypercholesterolemia and the inverse genetic conditions that give rise to the naturally low LDL cholesterol that runs in luckier families.

        Thus, the strongest–as in most convincing to me–modern evidence for LDL as a major risk factor for heart disease comes from the Mendelian randomization analyses ( and; here’s a bit from these two in particular:

        “Adjustment for LDL-C levels by logistic regression or Mendelian Randomisation models abolished the significant association between rs2228671 with CAD completely, indicating a functional link between the genetic variant at the LDLR gene locus, change in LDL-C and risk of CAD.”

        “We have identified 4 novel loci associated with circulating lipids. We also show that in addition to those that are largely associated with LDL-C, genetic loci mainly associated with circulating triglycerides and HDL-C are also associated with risk of CAD. These findings potentially provide new insights into the biological mechanisms underlying lipid metabolism and CAD risk.

        Our studies have identified 3 novel loci (PPP1R3B for LDL-C, SLC39A8 for HDL-C, and AFF1 for TG) associated with variation in circulating LDL-C, HDL-C, and TG. We also provide strong statistical evidence for 6 loci that influence levels of blood lipids and risk of CAD. In addition to those that are largely associated with LDL-C concentrations, we show that genetic loci mainly associated with circulating TG are also associated with risk of CAD. Collectively, these studies potentially provide new insights into biological regulation of lipid metabolism and the etiology of CAD.”

    2. Ignacio

      May I suggest an easy additive for the steaks? I peel and cut an eggplant, submerge the slices for half an hour in salted water to reduce bitterness, pass them through some flour and fry for 5-10 min while doing the meat. This way I eat less steak and more veggie. I love it!

      1. Mantid

        Perhaps eggplant as a downright alternative to steaks. Mom taught us to appreciate eggplant when we were young. A “special” breakfast was slices of eggplant with an egg batter and flower or crumbs fried dyed and tossed to the side, for breakfast. It was heavy, rib stickin, and seemed like a special treat such as french toast. Moms are pretty clever. Also, if you can grow your own (depending on your climate) they are not bitter. Rolandia is my favorite and has a slightly shorter season so will grow in northern (or far southern) climates, at least for a few more years. Mangiammo!

    3. Lee

      I went on a high protein, high fat diet for awhile. My diet included a lot of cheese, meat, and berries. I lost weight and my cholesterol readings improved. Now in my misspent old age, if I’m not careful with my carb intake, the calories go right to my gut.

    4. jr

      I did a few days of beans and corn meals only as an experiment to see how long I could stand being on SHTF emergency pantry rations before I began chasing insects and squirrels. I did not include fat intentionally. No sugar either. I realize this isn’t a good plan, I was just seeing how it went.

      Day two, about 5 PM, I was feeling ok but….watery, thin around the edges if you will. Not really low on energy but then again not really energetic either. I probably could have gone another day but I felt as if I had my answer: I was missing the fat. FYI I have a very low BMI. Swimmers build, you know.

      Suddenly, out of the blue, a vision of a roast beef sandwich appeared before my eyes, alluring, seductive. A hunger as old as life itself cried out from within. Ancient instincts erupted into flame and I near-wantonly headed out the door to the supermarket. My discussion with the butcher about the thinness of the slices and my plans for the meat approached romantic intimacy levels. He wants me to call him later.

      When I returned with my quarry, I constructed an eidolon of a roast beef sandwich, a sandwich beyond space and time, a sandwich of great fame! With cheddar cheese potato chips, spicy mustard, red onion, and arugula on a hero. I fell upon it like the Golden Kahn’s horde upon a hippie music festival.

      Wow, what a difference! I immediately felt at 100% capacity, mentally and physically. The experiment had yielded valuable knowledge. And it put me in touch with my ancient hunter/gatherer ancestors, expertly stalking deli counter staff on the Pleistocene’s savanna. I immediately made several dozen sandwiches and have them stored in the basement as a bulwark against the hard times ahead.

      1. griffen

        A simple comment about chasing squirrels. I met a coworker in South Carolina, he had migrated to the US from Cameroon as a teenager. I commented one day, at the fat squirrels chasing one another on a few trees.

        “We don’t have fat squirrels in Cameroon. They get eaten.” He has a few other gems about being legitimately hungry, not just “hangry” when the lunch hour unfolds later than planned.

        Back to your comment, though, I find a bowl/cup of Ramen helps to assuage somewhat in combination with beans or peas. Others mileage may well vary.

      2. Vandemonian

        One interesting thing that may or may not be related: when you radically change your diet, the population of bacteria in the gut microbiome changes, adjusting to the food available. As I understand it, this takes place over a couple of weeks.

        Gut bacteria have an effect on the neuroendocrine system, and can affect mood.

        It may have been the bacteria in your gut demanding a roast beef hero!

    5. David

      I was amused by the rhetorical contortions the article went through to avoid acknowledging the obvious – fat is good for you. It’s like a longer-term version of the Covid aerosol story, where orthodoxy gets pushed back one step at a time, but can’t bring itself to admit it was wrong.

      For a good popular summary of the situation, with links to technical studies:

      1. Bazarov

        Some fats are certainly good for you. There’s very, very robust evidence, for example, that seeds and nuts (especially walnuts, for some reason) reduce all cause mortality. It was one of the most striking findings of the Adventist Study–and I believe its findings have also been echoed by other big populations studies like the Nurses Health Study and PREDIMED.

        Along with low fruit and vegetable consumption, low nut consumption probably results in a lot of untimely deaths.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Looks like Macron has extracted his payoff.”

    Gotta admit that I made a wrong assumption when I heard that Biden & Macron had kissed and made up. Figured that Biden must have given Macron something to keep him happy but I assumed that it would be a higher level of intelligence sharing or perhaps a few sweeteners along trade levels. Didn’t see stepping up support for France in Mali.

    That could mean anything. Maybe drones, mercs, satellite info, etc. So this is a job for Africom. But after getting out of Afghanistan, I did not think that Biden would welcome getting bogged down in somebody else’s war in Africa. Biden wants to concentrate on China. And after all, the last time America got bogged down with one of France’s wars was in Vietnam.

    Perhaps it would have been better if the US had made France a part of AUKUS pact. They already have a lot of territories in the South Pacific and they are already a nuclear power and so have a lot that they could bring to the table. But then I reconsidered. That would make it FAUKUS and you do not want to say that out aloud and too fast.

    1. Questa Nota

      Given all the manifestations on the streets around France, Macron could benefit from local information sharing in addition to any Afro-Franc area assistance. Think FVEY-adjacent.

        1. Ian Perkins

          According to that, the “yellowcake” (emphasis on the quotes) came from or via Italian military intelligence.

    2. Ian Perkins

      FAUKUS and you do not want to say that out aloud and too fast.

      They could have tried avoiding potential embarrassment with AUFRUKUS, perhaps leading to a surge in use for ‘fruk’.

    3. hunkerdown

      He got the French establishment to quiet down. Agreement? What agreement?

      A FRAUKUS leading only to friasco. Frantastic!

    4. David

      I doubt if Macron was offered anything tangible – it doesn’t work like that. What he’s got is an agreed communiqué where the US says We Screwed Up. This changes the political terms of trade between the two countries in an important way, and subtly alters the dynamics of the relationship.

      The French don’t want US troops in the Sahel. What they continue to want is intelligence support, satellite imagery and perhaps drones. The US will now give these things more willingly.

      1. IMOR

        Yeah. Like when they just wanted ‘cooperation’to stop Libya and north Africa from going off the French colonial currency system. What could go wrong?

        1. jsn

          I’m with you.

          And Biden’s got a bunch of unemployed mercenaries accustomed to impunity he’d rather not have at home, Haiti being a recent example of the kinds of fun that type likes to have.

          Better to have them mucking things up fr Macron in Mali.

  6. Hank Linderman

    I’m just getting over a really bad cold – so bad I got tested for covid. Negative, thankfully, but this was one of the worst colds I have ever had, and I haven’t had a bad cold in years.

    I think I got it last week by starting a clean up in a garage without a mask. Years old dust, spiders, and I suspect some lurking virus.

    The BBC story was strangely comforting.


    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Arizona, hantavirus is an awful disease that actually happens to people. It’s why I wear a face mask when I am doing a toolshed cleanup.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The question does beg itself. If general mask-wearing was still a requirement due to the Delta strain, would this have stopped that bad cold from circulating? Come to think of it, since mask-wearing was general last winter in the UK, could the implication be that this somehow encouraged this particular cold to develop and it is only now really starting to develop? That all those masks made a sort of super cold to develop to break though the masks and the social distancing?

    3. lordkoos

      I’m just getting over a bad cold as well, felt very fatigued for the better part of a week. Got a COVID test and won’t have the results until today or tomorrow, but I expect it will be negative. The day before I felt the cold I was hiking in a really dusty desert area near the Columbia river, and had driven to the trail with a younger friend. Began sneezing on the trail but didn’t feel ill until the next day. Not sure if it was the dust or from being in the car unmasked with the friend, who works with kids. Or it could have been some other source, who knows. I’m pretty careful and always mask up when I go out, perhaps this was a “breakthrough” cold that was more transmissible and more virulent.

  7. FreeMarketApologist

    “‘We Need Software Updates Forever’”

    Yes. This. I have a perfectly good iphone 6 which does everything I need it to (phones, some photos, half a dozen apps), but it can’t be upgraded to the current version of iOS, and thus cannot run NYState’s app that has my vaccination status, so I have to carry the paper around. Not the biggest problem in the world, but several of the other apps are insisting on upgrades, yet they need the new iOS as well, leaving the apps orphaned. And a couple new apps I was eyeing also want the new OS, so I can’t run those — none of them have such miraculous features that they would need the latest and greatest OS capabilities.

    Planned obsolesence, again.

    1. topcat

      pick up a used (older) SE, should only cost a few dollars and can be updated to OS 14.8 which is usually enough for everything right now.

    2. lordkoos

      The iPhone 6s can run the latest software. However you can simply take a photo of your vax card and keep that on your phone, which is enough to satisfy the requirements, at least around here.

  8. Ignacio

    Re: antidote,
    I believe this is an ocelot, ocelote (mexican nahuatl), cunaguaro (Venezuela), tigrillo, jaguarete, gato onza, mbarakaja (Guaraní), or Leopardus pardalis is, IMNSHO, one of the most beautiful felines of the world.

    As seen above it isn’t. Should I have looked carefully the back to better distinguish.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Silvia Killingsworth
    oh dear

    I don’t know how true this is but I heard that under Australian law, that the money that you have as a deposit in a bank is legally considered a loan to the bank which makes you a creditor though there are protections under local law. But a subscription? As a subscription is ‘an arrangement to receive something regularly by paying in advance’, that would imply that the meager amount of interest that you get is what you get for that subscription. So a question – what if down the track they bring in negative interest rates into the US (I know, I know that there are rumbles that they will be raising them by the end of the year), so that ‘subscription’ model breaks down as who pays in advance to deliberately get less money?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, the legal status of a deposit is you really don’t own the funds, despite the pretense that you do. But making that explicit is really really brand-damaging.

      1. flora

        Yes, any bank making that explicit would make me wonder what kind of financial shape that bank is in. I’d immediately make sure any of my funds are within FDIC insurance limits. I’d also move my account(s) after finding a new bank by checking bankrate ratings info and other due diligence. Literally, my 2 cents.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I remember the “Move your money” campaign after the odious bank bailouts. I moved to a credit union and haven’t looked back. (Much much better auto loan rates, among other things.) I do wish there was such a campaign at least every decade, maybe coinciding with the census or something.

          1. lordkoos

            We moved to the USAA credit union a few years ago (I had formerly been with BECU, the Boeing credit union) and are very happy with them. They have an efficient and easy to navigate website as well as discounts on all kinds of insurance. I highly recommend them.

      2. jr

        The fact that you lose ownership of your money when you deposit it in the place where we are told we should to make sure you don’t lose ownership of your money is a brain-breaker. We truly live in a world of illusion.

        “You can take that to the bank!” now joins “A man’s home is his castle!” and “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” on the Top-Ten list of popular delusions that are crumbling away before our eyes.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I really don’t owe the funds I deposited in a bank? Who really does really own them? The bank?
        If the bank decides it doesn’t like me any more, can it decide to “keep” the money on the grounds that I legally speaking gave my money to the bank and when I made it their money it wasn’t my money anymore? So they can keep it for any reason or no reason at all at any such time as I may want it “back”?

      1. Mantid

        Hear Hear. Credit Unions are the answer. Not for profit meaning they must put their “profits” back into the common bond of their membership. They can’t send their profits and gains off to the highest bidder. Worked in a Credit Union in the days where single moms could get a loan for a washer/dryer. Imagine applying for a $300. loan at Citi Bank as a single mom with two minimum wage jobs. Aint gonna happen. History of Credit Union’s birth in Germany among farmers is an interesting story.

    2. Ian Perkins

      As a subscription is ‘an arrangement to receive something regularly by paying in advance’

      That appears to be one of several meanings. Merriam-Webster (online) also gives

      1a : the act of signing one’s name (as in attesting or witnessing a document)
      b : the acceptance (as of ecclesiastical articles of faith) attested by the signing of one’s name
      2 : something that is subscribed: such as
      a : an autograph signature also : a paper to which a signature is attached
      b : a sum subscribed or pledged

      and for subscribe,

      transitive verb
      1 : to write (one’s name) underneath : sign
      2a : to sign (something, such as a document) with one’s own hand in token of consent or obligation
      b : to attest by signing
      c : to pledge (a gift or contribution) by writing one’s name with the amount
      3 : to assent to : support

      intransitive verb
      1 : to sign one’s name to a document
      2a : to give consent or approval to something written by signing unwilling to subscribe to the agreement
      b : to set one’s name to a paper in token of promise to give something (such as a sum of money) also : to give something in accordance with such a promise
      c : to enter one’s name for a publication or service Subscribe now and get your first issue free. And you can listen to this show anytime by subscribing to our podcast. — TED Radio Hour also : to receive or have access to something (such as a periodical or service) as part of an arrangement to receive a certain number of regular deliveries or a certain period of continuous access especially by prepayment the number of people who currently subscribe to the magazine/site
      d : to agree to purchase and pay for securities especially of a new offering subscribed for 1000 shares
      3 : to feel favorably disposed I subscribe to your sentiments

    3. Rainlover

      I do not understand why anyone still does business with BOA or Wells Fargo. Can you spell “sucker?”. Credit union user for decades me.

  10. Eduardo

    Re: Study Shows That Up To 8 In 10 Women Had A Miscarriage After Getting The Covid Vaccine Before The Third Trimester

    3,958 women. 104 spontaneous abortions.
    92 participants (2.3%) had received the vaccine before conception,
    1132 (28.6%) received the vaccine in the first trimester,
    1714 (43.3%) in the second trimester, and
    1019 (25.7%) in the third trimester. …

    3959 -1019 = 2950 women received the vaccine before the third trimester.

    104 / 2950 = 3.5% spontaneous abortions.

    Or, if you also exclude second trimester.
    104 / 1236 = 8.4% spontaneous abortions.

    1. Eduardo

      This is not meant to be a complete analysis but just a quick illustration that the headline is …. perhaps a bit … misleading.

      Using the completed pregnancies so far (for those vaxxed before the third trimester) as the denominator skews the result.

      1. Ian Perkins

        I agree. Evie’s “104 out of 127 women experienced a miscarriage” appears to be 104 spontaneous abortions out of 127 total abortions/miscarriages, not pregnancies.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It appears all of you and the NEJM have abused well-established concepts and terminology to try to defend the vaccines.

          There is no such thing as “spontaneous abortion” in the third trimester:

          Spontaneous abortion refers to pregnancy loss at less than 20 weeks’ gestation in the absence of elective medical or surgical measures to terminate the pregnancy. The term “miscarriage” is synonymous and often is used with patients because the word “abortion” is associated with elective termination.

          It is completely correct to exclude the third trimester and look only at trimesters 1+2.

    2. Redlife2017

      Yes, I don’t understand the 8 in 10 women as that would denote 80%. Thanks for doing the math!

      The 8.4% you calculate is not really a surprising number. The NHS estimates that 1 in 8 pregnancies end in miscarriage, which is 12.5%. And Mayo clinic estimates between 10 – 20%, with the number likely higher since women don’t always know they’ve had a miscarriage.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “I don’t understand the 8 in 10 women as that would denote 80%.”

        It’s easier to understand if you stop thinking of it as a description made in good faith. Once you identify it as frightening clickbait, understanding becomes simple.

    3. mark

      Or more specifically why is NEJM publishing a paper on pregnancies/miscarriage’s when a significant number of the study group have yet to reach term?

      1. Ian Perkins

        If the issue was less urgent, they’d no doubt have waited until all the data was in.

        But given that many women and their medical advisors want guidance now, isn’t it better to know
        “Early data … do not indicate any obvious safety signals with respect to pregnancy or neonatal outcomes. … Continued monitoring is needed to further assess … earlier stages of pregnancy and during the preconception period. Meanwhile, the present data can help inform decision making about vaccination by pregnant persons and their health care providers.” (pages 8 and 9 of PDF, 2280/2281 journal numbering)? Waiting for complete data would likely just leave many women scared stiff of pregnancy with or without vaccinations.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          And what exactly was the urgency about? It’s normally considered crazy to administer anything less than well-tested meds to pregnant women.

          This is based on eight weeks of data and includes women jabbed right before the cutoff date. The authors had to issue a correction and admit they could not conclude anything prior to the third trimester:

          No denominator was available to calculate a risk estimate for spontaneous abortions, because at the time of this report, follow-up through 20 weeks was not yet available for 905 of the 1224 participants vaccinated within 30 days before the first day of the last menstrual period or in the first trimester. Furthermore, any risk estimate would need to account for gestational week–specific risk of spontaneous abortion.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowesers, this is a very disappointing display of the analytical skills of the commentariat.

      Miscarriages, aka “spontaneous abortions” are very rare after the first trimester and by definition do not occur in the third trimester. They are then premature births. The fetus is viable at week 24.

      So administration of vaccines of in the third trimester by definition could not produce a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. You need to look at vaccinations earlier to determine that.

      So limiting the computation of miscarriages to vaccination is first two trimesters is the ONLY way to look properly at this issue. Vaccinations in the third trimester inherently could never produce a “spontaneous abortion”.

  11. Bemildred

    I am of N. European extraction and I laugh every time I read some article saying dairy is bad for you. It is my main source of fat and protein and has been all of my life. I can much more easily do without any and all kinds of meat.

    But most people are not like that, yet.

    1. Larry Y

      The dairy study really suffers from WEIRD. How do you even repeat the study in a population that lacks the lactose mutations?

      1. Ian Perkins

        Lactose tolerance isn’t entirely WEIRD.
        A surprisingly recent instance of human evolution has been detected among the peoples of East Africa. It is the ability to digest milk in adulthood, conferred by genetic changes that occurred as recently as 3,000 years ago, a team of geneticists has found.
        An interesting idea to discuss with milk-obsessed white supremacists, if you dare.

    2. ilpalazzo

      Hat tip to you Sir. I eat a lot of butter. I’ve been on LCHF diet since forever and I keep a cube of butter in the fridge at work and carry one with me when I travel. I order take-away at work but the meal is not fatty enough so I supplement it with a slice of butter afterward. I’ve become so accustomed to it that I literally feel my body crave for it as I eat it. I just LOVE the taste.

      It helps that we have excellent butter market here in Poland. Lot’s of small – medium sized Diaries that work as a farmers co-ops scooping locally produced milk. Everyone has it’s own brand and they actually differ in taste a lot. Even a small grocery has 4 different brand on offer.

      1. jr

        It’s not hard to make either. I used to do it for fun when I made ice-cream. We used to get 40% heavy cream, ice-cream cream, not the 34% you chumps get. Only calves and farming families get better. Liquid velvet, turns a cup of coffee into a sexual experience.

        Basically, whip the cream past whipped cream, past curdled whipped cream, and keep the pedal down for a good bit longer. You can salt it now or leave it plain. Eventually, the emulsion will collapse completely and the solids will separate from the liquids. You will have a waxy ball of fats and proteins and water. You can use the water for other stuff, I’ve heard. I would then take the waxy ball and wrap it in a clean cloth and squeeze the life out of it until I couldn’t get anymore liquid out of it. Basic butter.

      2. Bemildred

        Yes, small family farms are the best. You can get it straight from the cow. I grew up in dairy farm country, great place to be a child.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Mathematicians discover music really can be infectious – like a virus”

    I can understand the mechanics of how music can be spread like a virus due to the human factor. The thought then occurred to me that this is what it must have been like with books pre-computer days. People would recommend good books to their friends and you would have a few super-spreaders like local book clubs and book critics in major newspapers. Perhaps this could be reconstructed through book sales records and the like. The spread may have been slower but it would have still been real. Of course books like the Bible and the Koran would have counted as pandemics. :)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      When movie tickets were cheapest (the 50’s and the 80’s, it may be the 40’s) relative to other factors, the best performing movies were comedies or comedic that would run for 4 or 5 months. Their first weekend performances were so so, but word of mouth would keep them going as people talked about the movie.

      Songs might work if there are records of call in request shows of what songs were asked for when the stations had relatively more power over and diversity. Pogs. Those things were every where at different times.

      A few years back there was a article about the spread of 420 as an idiom.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        A lot of movies now regarded as classics took a while to find their audience by exactly the formula you mention. But, at least pre-pandemic, I’ve heard several film makers lament that the emphasis now is all on the first weekend. If a film doesn’t have a big first weekend, it’s seen as a failure by the studio and left to wither on the vine, more or less. This explains, in part, why we get nothing but sequels, franchises and reboots that are hyped to the skys anymore.

    2. jr

      My father had a collection of dirty magazines that would give Caligula pause. I used to steal them and then share them with my friends. Does this make me a literary STD super-spreader?

  13. Rod

    Baby Poop Is Loaded With Microplastics Wired
    The researchers found smaller amounts of both polymers in the meconium, suggesting that babies are born with plastics already in their systems. This echoes previous studies that have found microplastics in human placentas and meconium.

    should give everyone the puckers.

    And a very short, simple, why this matters so much, from Living on Earth
    (Transcripts follow the segments)

    Poisoning everything with the impunity we all are enableing.

  14. timbers


    Yesterday, read an article (libertarian oriented site) that the Fed can basically never raise interest rates – because the government couldn’t afford to pay all that interest on it’s ever increasing debt.

    For some reason, it dawned on me in this particular way – pardon many already may see this – that the government (Congress) would simply be authorizing debt of which the interest paid would go directly back to the government (The Fed). Assuming of course the Fed would the primary purchaser of government debt.

    The Fed is spending $120 billion/month on QE for purpose if inflating asset prices. It also has purchased government debt instruments. Other non government entities have also, of course. The Fed receives all that interest on the government debt it buys.

    So the whole belief that we can’t raise interest rates because it would contribute to the deficit is bogus, because the Fed can buy all of government debt if is so chooses. Every dollar of interest the government pays would be offset dollar for dollar by increased government income received by the Fed.

    What would happen is the Fed’s balance sheet would go up. The difference being the balance sheet increase would be used for the purpose of funding government…as opposed to it’s current agenda of inflating asset values.

  15. Stephen Bunnell

    *Vaccines do not cause miscarriage*

    Please stop with the vaccine fearmongering. The risk of spontaneous abortion if vaccinated in the first trimester is NOT 80%. Vaccinations started in very late 2020. The paper was published in April, based on data published through the end of February. 0% of women in the first trimester can successfully complete their pregnancies in the next 2-3 months. It’s impossible. The only way these women could appear among completed pregnancies is by miscarriage.

    The vast majority (80%) of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, and of all pregnancies ~12% miscarry. Thus, you would expect ~10% of the first trimester pregnancies to terminate by miscarriage, and to be captured by the study. Thus, from ~1100 first trimester pregnancies, you’d expect to see ~110 miscarriages. There were only 104 from ALL participants. Some of those will have come from women vaccinated later in pregnancy. Therefore ~1100 pregnancies with vaccination in the first trimester resulted in significantly fewer than 104 miscarriages. This is less than 10%, suggesting that, if anything, the vaccination prevented miscarriage (the data isn’t enough to prove this).

    In the follow up report directly linked to the NEJM paper, the authors follow up with the women who had been vaccinated in the first trimester. Here is what they found:

    “ Subsequently, we completed telephone follow-up for the 905 pregnancies and enrolled additional persons in the v-safe pregnancy registry. To determine the cumulative risk of spontaneous abortion from 6 to less than 20 weeks of gestation, we used life-table methods to perform an updated analysis, now reported in the Journal, involving 2456 women who received at least one dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine before conception or before 20 weeks of gestation.1 The estimated risks (14.1% overall and 12.8% in age-standardized analyses) are consistent with the risks of spontaneous abortion reported in the general population.”

    *Vaccines do not cause miscarriage*

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Please stop with the vaccine fearmongering…. Vaccinations started in very late 2020. The paper was published in April, based on data published through the end of February. 0% of women in the first trimester can successfully complete their pregnancies in the next 2-3 months. It’s impossible.

      Then please also stop saying that the “vaccines” have been adequately “tested,” and found completely “safe” for pregnant women, developing fetuses and resulting births.

      1. Stephen Bunnell

        They have been tested and found safe, and that’s exactly what the follow up study shows. The trail is easy to follow. The article in Evie gives the name of the study. From there, you can read the article, and it’s comments, see that there was a concern, and that the authors replied to it, citing follow up studies. The links are all right there. This kind of open response to criticism is how science works best and improves itself.

        Many other studies have been published and and have come to the same conclusion. is a great resource for ‘real’ research.

        Do a search for “Covid vaccine risk pregnancy” and sort by most recent.

        New England Journal of Medicine is rigorous and well-regarded journal. Here’s the conclusion of the most recent study of this in NEJM.

        “ As compared with data from two historical cohorts that represent the lower and upper ranges of spontaneous-abortion risk,2,4 the cumulative risks of spontaneous abortion from our primary and sensitivity analyses were within the expected risk range (Figure 1). Limitations of our study include the lack of a control group of unvaccinated pregnant persons, the homogeneity of the participants in terms of racial and ethnic groups and occupation, the voluntary enrollment of the population, and the use of data reported by the participants themselves, including some data collected retrospectively. **Nonetheless, our findings suggest that the risk of spontaneous abortion after mRNA Covid-19 vaccination either before conception or during pregnancy is consistent with the expected risk of spontaneous abortion**; these findings add to the accumulating evidence about the safety of mRNA Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy.5”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, they have NOT “been tested and found safe”. That is utterly false. This isn’t even close to clinical trial level.

          The standards of this study are very poor: self reported data from a V-safe, which is famously difficult to use and therefore not much used, a much smaller “V-safe pregnancy registry” from V-safe respondents, where the participants were contacted by phone and asked to authorize the release of medical records, but were apparently still included even if not, since the authors conceded the “pregnancy registry” could include “nonpregnant persons” and VAERS, which is demonized in other contexts.

          They specifically state:

          Despite EUA mandatory reporting requirements and CDC guidance on VAERS reporting, there is probably substantial underreporting of pregnancy- and neonatal-specific adverse events.

          And the study was only over a two month period, with study participants including ones who were jabbed right before the cutoff.

          And in a correction, they effectively conceded that they can’t make any conclusions about the impact of the vaccines on miscarriages:

          No denominator was available to calculate a risk estimate for spontaneous abortions, because at the time of this report, follow-up through 20 weeks was not yet available for 905 of the 1224 participants vaccinated within 30 days before the first day of the last menstrual period or in the first trimester. Furthermore, any risk estimate would need to account for gestational week–specific risk of spontaneous abortion.

          I am not opposed to vaccines. But giving medications that weren’t even subjected to anything remotely approaching normal clinical trial approval processes (and the steps skipped over were verifying the data and histories of study participants and the statistical validation, which alone normally takes a big team 6-9 months’; STAT was exercised about that) to PREGNANT WOMEN is utterly reckless.

      2. Stephen Bunnell

        In contrast COVID is **very** bad for women who are pregnant:

        “ Results: In the study sample, there were 938 pregnancies included without COVID-19 and 101 pregnant women identified with a positive COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 was significantly associated with a 2-fold increase in the risk of premature rupture of membranes and 1.5 times higher risk of preterm birth with emergency c-sections and lower APGAR scores. Also, significantly more newborns were given birth prematurely, with lower APGAR scores after the mothers were infected with SARS-CoV-2. ”

    2. Ian Perkins

      Evie at least got their maths right – 104 out of 127 is around 8 in 10.
      They didn’t make clear what the 127 is – it appears to be all abortions/miscarriages, and the 104 = spontaneous abortions.
      And while Evie reprinted Table 4 from the study, they omitted the accompanying notes, one of which undermines their claim and effectively says more or less the same as you:
      ‡ A total of 96 of 104 spontaneous abortions (92.3%) occurred before 13 weeks of gestation. No denominator was available to calculate a risk estimate for spontaneous abortions, because at the time of this report, follow-up through 20 weeks was not yet available for 905 of the 1224 participants vaccinated within 30 days before the first day of the last menstrual period or in the first trimester. Furthermore, any risk estimate would need to account for gestational week–specific risk of spontaneous abortion.:

      1. Zar

        No, the “127” figure is the number of women vaccinated while in their first or second trimester. From the Letter to the Editor that the article seems to be based on:

        As stated in the article, among the 827 participants with a completed pregnancy, 700 received their first eligible vaccine dose in the third trimester. These participants should be excluded from the calculation because they had already passed week 20 when they received the vaccination. The risk of spontaneous abortion should be determined on the basis of the group of participants who received the vaccination before week 20 and were followed through week 20 or had an earlier pregnancy loss.

        Stephen Bunnell has the right idea: the catch is that the study results were gathered long before most of the study participants came to term. The authors say that the ratio of miscarriage dropped to expected levels after later follow-ups and cite this article, though I haven’t read it to verify:

        1. Ian Perkins

          Re: the “127” figure is the number of women vaccinated while in their first or second trimester

          From Table 3:
          Timing of first eligible dose
          Periconception: within 30 days before last menstrual period 55 (2.6) 37 (2.0) 92 (2.3)
          First trimester: <14 wk 615 (28.8) 517 (28.4) 1132 (28.6)
          Second trimester: ≥14 and <28 wk 932 (43.6) 782 (42.9) 1714 (43.3)

          – the first number and percentage for each category being for Pfizer, the second Moderna, and the third the total.

          “among the 827 participants with a completed pregnancy, 700 received their first eligible vaccine dose in the third trimester”
          means 127 completed pregnancies among women vaccinated before their third trimester, which effectively means abortions/miscarriages, spontaneous or otherwise, of which 104 were spontaneous – if I’ve understood correctly!.

          1. ChrisPacific

            That’s my understanding as well. So the denominator is wrong and this statement from the article is false:

            This means the miscarriage rate of women who received the vaccine in the first or second trimester is actually 81.9%, or 8 out of 10 women – way, way above the national average.

            If they had added “who completed their pregnancy during the study” then it would have been accurate.

            They also didn’t mention the study duration in the article, which is a key piece of information (from the link to the original study, it’s two and a half months). So even a woman who was at the very end of the second trimester when the study began could just barely have reached full term by the end of it. Most of them would have been much earlier in the third trimester, or still in the second or even first. With that information in hand, it’s not hard to believe that over 80% of pregnancies that completed for that population had a negative outcome (and it would likely be true of an unvaccinated population with similar characteristics as well).

            The author does seem to have made a good faith (if not very successful) attempt to engage with the study findings and statistics, which is something.

            1. Ian Perkins

              “good faith” – I wonder.

              They’ve had three months to come up with their article, and it’s taken some of us a few hours at most to find enormous gaping flaws in it. There does appear to be a sustained campaign by some to twist, distort or misrepresent studies’ findings, and if that wasn’t Evie’s intention, they surely could have run it by someone who’d have pointed out what the numbers referred to, and what they didn’t. The abstract and conclusion of the paper both say, basically, no effects were observed, yet they nonetheless went ahead with a super-scary title about 8 in 10 women miscarrying. I’d never heard of Evie before, but the blurb with the link does say, “This is a right-leaning and lunatic-adjacent site.”

              1. ChrisPacific

                I say good faith in the sense that it’s based on a logical chain of reasoning that can be examined for consistency and critiqued. In this case it’s wrong, but because of the way the argument was framed it was easy for us to spot that and address it.

                Whether it was deliberately or accidentally wrong is another question, and probably a difficult one to answer. But I don’t find it too implausible that it was accidental, because people who aren’t experts in statistics do often get them wrong, and there’s also often a tendency to accept bias confirming conclusions at face value rather than subject them to critical scrutiny. The site also has a bit of a tabloid quality to it, so if they like scary headlines and are perhaps not all that scrupulous about backing them up with facts, I wouldn’t be too surprised.

      2. Zar

        In reference to an earlier comment I left, I’m not sure that the paper I mentioned actually includes data from the 905 remaining pregnancies. I’d appreciate it if someone would point out where I can see the results of the follow-up the authors say they conducted.

          1. Zar

            The letter itself is what inspired the Evie article (and many others like it back in June). The authors’ response to that letter is what caught my eye:

            Among the pregnancies that had not yet reached 20 weeks of gestation, there were 10 pregnancies with other outcomes before 20 weeks of gestation, including 8 ectopic pregnancies and 2 induced abortions. For the other 905 pregnancies, follow-up had not occurred to establish whether these pregnancies were ongoing past 20 weeks of gestation.

            Subsequently, we completed telephone follow-up for the 905 pregnancies and enrolled additional persons in the v-safe pregnancy registry. To determine the cumulative risk of spontaneous abortion from 6 to less than 20 weeks of gestation, we used life-table methods to perform an updated analysis, now reported in the Journal, involving 2456 women who received at least one dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine before conception or before 20 weeks of gestation.

            Had the original study proceeded for a few more months, these 905 additional pregnancies would have been added to the 127 that had actually completed, if I understand correctly. So I’m interested to know the other 905 outcomes, but I don’t know where that data’s located. The authors reference a study at the end of that quote, but it’s unclear to me whether that data is included in it.

    3. Cuibono

      to imagine that 905 pregancies is an adequate number to determine definitively safety in pregnancy is a real stretch of the imagination

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      The authors of the NEJM paper had to issue a correction and state they could not determine miscarriage risk. The study covered only eight weeks and included women jabbed right before the cutoff date:

      No denominator was available to calculate a risk estimate for spontaneous abortions, because at the time of this report, follow-up through 20 weeks was not yet available for 905 of the 1224 participants vaccinated within 30 days before the first day of the last menstrual period or in the first trimester. Furthermore, any risk estimate would need to account for gestational week–specific risk of spontaneous abortion.

      So the paper does not provide anything like the sort of proof that you assert it does.

      And the text reads as if the authors (part of V-safe at the CDC) were put up to write it and weren’t happy about having to front for such incomplete data.

  16. disc_writes

    The article about global housing prices is missing a section about the Netherlands. In August this year, prices increased 18% yoy, the largest increase since 2000.

    Press releases from the Central Bureau for Statistics are starting to sound like a broken record: price increases have been “highest in 20 years” for each of the past seven months.

  17. Don Pelton

    RE: Covid vaccine and miscarriages, here’s a sentence from the summary in the original NEJM study: * … calculated proportions of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in persons vaccinated against Covid-19 who had a completed pregnancy were similar to incidences reported in studies involving pregnant women that were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

  18. jr

    Naked Prepperism: Water Storage Experiment

    So I have managed to collect eight 5 gallon soap buckets from the supers as well as a box of trash bags, hopefully I’ll be able to grab more. Last night, I lined one with a heavy duty black trash bag, then lined that with a food grade brining bag, then filled it with water. I twisty-tied the brining bag tightly, tied the trash bag into a knot atop it, and rested the lid on top. I’m not putting the lids all the way on because it gives me a little more room for water. (I won’t be stacking them so as to avoid having them fall over.) Then I took it down to an out of the way corner in the basement.

    The soap the buckets used to hold is powerful stuff and the buckets are tainted with it, no matter how much I’ve rinsed them. I’m hoping with the heavy duty trash bag and the extra tough brining bag the soap will not be able to taint the water. I’m going to let it set down there for at least a week if not longer. I also retained the small amounts of soap left in the buckets, it can be used to clean dishes etc., a little goes a long way.

    If at the end of the trial period the water is still potable, I will have provided myself with the means to store around 37+ gallons of drinking water, give or take due to the plastic taking up space. This at a cost of around 10$ for the brining bags. I figure if pickle brine cannot get through them, the soap can’t, but we will see. If and when SHTF vis a vis water, I fill them all and they go onto the patio along with the 10 gallons in plastic jugs and the 10+ gallons in portable water bags. (Most of the prepper stuff I’ve watched or read recommends 90 days so I’m on my way.) Then the deck furniture gets set atop them in winter storage mode and everything gets covered in trash bags as camouflage. I will only access the water at night when no one can see me messing around with them. Gotta score some fresh bleach to purify it if necessary.

    Jack Parsons, if you are out there, my partner is coming back soon and we are going to try out that AirPhysio device for asthma:

    Someone mentioned batch cooking and worrying about it melting if the power goes down. Get these:

    And you can stuff them back into the freezer. The fridge will help a little too. If you have room you can use ice packs but choose food over ice packs because they won’t make that much of a difference, I believe. Even if the food starts to melt, you should have a two days or so where it will still be semi-frozen.

    Strange days. Yesterday, someone got into our lobby and tore open some boxes; it happened again last night at some point. As I was inspecting them, a young lady who lives in the building walked out and a look of fear flashed across her face when she realized what the mess was. I walked around the neighborhood looking for a bite and saw at least four homeless guys panhandling on the corner. An abandoned cardboard sign lay on the sidewalk, pleading to the blue for spare change.

  19. Dandelion

    Do women exist to the American Left analysing UK politics? Because the question: do women exist? Is a question roiling UK political parties and is contributing to Labour’s increasingly autocratic dictates. In 2019 Labour openly investigated, expelled, or invited women to leave the party if they would not agree that males who say they are female should have an all access pass to spaces females themselves fought for, marched for, created and funded long before government funding came into play. Female membership in the Labour Party has since dropped from 54% to 43%, and since the party has long relied on the volunteer efforts of women, now they find they don’t have sufficient staff to go door to door, to leaflet, etc.

    The LibDems got slammed when their previous leader Jo Swinson, asked on national television to offer a definition of the word “woman,” could not do so. She looked an utter fool. That error was compounded by the information that the LibDems had accepted over one million pounds from a pharmaceutical company that makes gnrh antagonists, otherwise known as puberty blockers, chemical castration drugs, or prostate cancer chemotherapy agents.

    Ed Davey, current leader of the LibDems just stated that it is LibDem policy that there should be no female-only spaces whatsoever that males cannot share on their say-so, and female spaces in the UK include locker rooms, rugby teams, multi-bed hospital wards, rape crisis centres, domestic violence refuges, Girl Guide tents, women’s hostel sleeping quarters, All Women Shortlists which exist on a limited time-frame to remedy lack of female representation in Parliament, and prison cells.

    The Green Party is currently facing a leadership challenge from Shahrar Ali, the first male politician to speak out robustly in favor of this “woman question” even being allowed to be debated, such as been the utter refusal of left-leaning political parties to do other than silence women.

    It is unfortunate for the Red Wall that only the Tories are standing by women, though it is true that Theresa May launched the problem by insisting the Tories would change the law to permit any male to be treated as female in law and policy by merely uttering a shibboleth.

    Jeremy Corbyn himself promised to meet with Linda Bellos, his longtime trades unionist comrade, a black lesbian who founded England’s Black History month, to discuss her concerns for women, and then he reneged on that promise.

    I suspect the problem is that American leftists only read UK politics through the Guardian, which is itself heavily influenced by American political money, due to its ongoing financial woes. It might be worthwhile to peruse Mumsnet, the largest online site for English-speaking women in the world, with over 40 million page hits a day, and a VERY active board covering women’s issues. Failing that, they could read Janice Turner in the Times, or the various substacks created by female journalists fired by or resigned from the Guardian because they refused to tow the editorial line set by Kath Viner and by the US Guardian that some men are women.

    But US politics do not map so neatly onto UK politics, and one way in which they don’t is the very robust socialist (as opposed to American neoliberal) feminist presence — women who actually have read Engels and are from a tradition which fought for and won sex-based rights American women have long-since given up on, such as paid maternity leave and All Women party shortlists to increase female representation in Parliament.

    Feminists in the UK have been physically assaulted by trans rights activists, have had their meetings smoke-bombed, have endured — at a Labour Party conference — male activists pounding on the windows and doors, banging metal together, etc. so that women could not hear themselves speak, have had a credible bomb threat investigated by the police (explosives found), have required security at Oxford in order to teach their classes, have been fired from their jobs, have been recorded as committing “hate incidents” without any kind of due process or even being informed that they now have a police record (which will show up on DBS checks) merely for stating men cannot become women because women are an ontological and political class of their own.

    But that is only causing women to fight harder and organise more widely, and that effort, which has now been going on for at least five years, is increasingly creating ramifications for party politics and leadership in England, Wales, and Scotland.

    For those interested in ground-game organising, women in the UK have organised around this issue via a kind of “hub-and-spoke” model, first with small meetings in and around London. The women who attended those meetings then organised meetings elsewhere in the country, and the women who attended those meetings created more meetings. Because of male harassment, much of the early work was sub-rosa. In fact, the first woman assaulted by activists (a 60-year old woman knocked to the floor, kicked and pummeled by 3 males) was assaulted at Speaker’s Corner, where women had gathered waiting to be informed where the meeting would actually take place, because it was not safe to announce that in advance.

    1. divadab

      The elevation of the unscientific and emotion-driven by the cowardly pleasers who set policy. It’s almost a general rule, strengthened by the policy’s ability to divide the polity.

      Thanks for your excellent summary of the rot at the top in the UK. Much similar to the idiocy that prevails on this side of the pond. And don’t get me started on simple-minded and unscientific “vaccine mandates” that exclude any consideration of natural immunity. At least we have Republicans, who are sometimes good for something.

    2. Ian Perkins

      I’m a man by most definitions – born one, registered as one, and still identifying as one – and I’m appalled at the idea that I can invade women-only meetings to give them my opinions. Many women I know or knew struggled hard for such spaces fifty-odd years ago, and I could all too clearly see why: if they spoke with men present, they were ignored, ridiculed, or otherwise put down. And that’s meetings and so on – now, as far as I understand it, I have the right to enter women’s locker rooms if I happen to be, or just claim I happen to be, feeling female at the time. Very definitely not a right I want or feel should be mine.

    3. jr

      Thank you for this comment. This is a misogyny of a new stripe. Having lived with and hanging around the queerfolk “community” in NYC for about 8 years now and since my early 20’s overall, I am pretty much convinced that a significant number of individuals claiming some kind of repressed status due to their sexuality, gender, what have you, are actually just power seekers looking for the cause du jour with which to excuse pushing around and dominating others. An excuse to be rude. The one’s who come out of the closet they were never in as soon as the dorm assignments are handed out and immediately begin to lay down the ground rules for everyone else. My old girlfriends used to call them “TOL’s, the original lesbians”, usually in their late teens to early twenties. The gays who vocally decry bisexuals as being fakes and tell them to “pick a side”. Self-confirming essentialism, “gayer than thou.”

      Or simply to look hip and edgy, “fashion queers”. Another honest cause hijacked by the mob for it’s own ends. Ask the older queers and trans-folk what they think of these kids when they come screaming and howling at the corporate grope-fest known as the Pride parade, waving their Bank of America rainbow flags. As one old lesbian pal put it “We did the fighting, they do the bragging.” Another lesbian friend, from Poland, used to turn to me, a cis-male, in amazement and beg me to explain what they were going on about. A lot of beers got drunk between us on those nights.

      I also think it speaks to a need for some kind of outlet for the rage and fear engendered by modern society. Not to mention a need to be “something, anything” real in an age of artificially lemon-flavored lemonade and naturally flavored lemon Pledge. I think this impetus finds a particularly fertile environment in the cultural, spiritual, and intellectual wasteland that makes up the Western mind, especially here in the Land of the Thief, Home of the Slave.

      A year plus back a trans-woman posted a revealing, reasoned comment about trans-women in women’s sports leagues. If she is still reading, I’d love to hear her point of view on this.

    4. Vandemonian

      Scotland’s SNP government is following this agenda full throttle, with their proposed Gender Recognition Act. The determined women who are pushing back have adopted the Suffragette colours (green, white, purple) for their ribbons (and police have investigated the tying of these ribbons to a fence as a ‘hate crime’, FF actual S).

    1. flora

      From the above Rice U. story:

      “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation came to us and said, ‘Hey, we have a real problem — knowing who’s vaccinated,’” said McHugh, who was recruited to join Rice with funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. “They said, ‘We go on vaccination campaigns where people get into Hummers, drive to a rural village, set up a tent and start immunizing people, but they don’t always know who’s been immunized before and what vaccines are still needed.”

    2. Ian Perkins

      It’s rather old news – 2019 – but what would you suggest instead in developing nations, which is where they proposed using it? (Educated parents in developed nations may know their children’s vaccination history, but elsewhere many vaguely remember health workers ‘doing injections’.) And “the patch with quantum dots only contains information about the vaccine received”, something that could presumably be confirmed by anyone with the appropriate customized smartphone – if they contained other data, that would probably become apparent quite quickly.

    3. Maritimer

      That is a wonderful tool for Herd Management. I wonder what the Informed Consent form looks like. B&M, like LB busy “doing God’s work”. Bless them.

  20. Wukchumni

    Gavin is supposed to show up in Sequoia NP in his march to the Sherman tree. It’ll be quite the coup from a photo op standpoint, he’ll look purposeful clad in nomex shirt and pants, hardhat, leather gloves and leather boots above the ankle.

    Meanwhile the KNP Fire soldiers on, 33,000 acres burned and no containment…

  21. allan

    US Attorney SDNY @SDNYnews

    Former analyst charged with $8 million insider trading scheme for front-running employer’s pending trades.

    9:47 AM · Sep 23, 2021·Twitter Web App

    This is what happens when you forget to give a naming gift to the U of C economics department.

    1. Wukchumni

      China has shown they are capable of doing things as of late the rest of the developed world wouldn’t dare do, imagine if we limited those under 18 to 3 hours of video games a week, that’s simply crazy talk.

      If they break the hegemon, we have bought it.

        1. Ian Perkins

          I remember, twenty-odd years ago, people – people of my generation – pointing to the tackiness of many Chinese products as proof they’d never make anything worthwhile. I often reminded them of the cheap and nasty Japanese transistor radios we all had as teens, and how Sony had since become a standard against which consumer audio is often judged, which sometimes led them to consider the possibility China might also become a fully modern nation quite soon.
          I think many Westerners still have an image of opium-addicted Chinese with long pigtails all growing rice, even as they swallow the line about the enormous military threat China now poses – cognitive dissonance knows few bounds.

          1. Wukchumni

            When I was a kid if I didn’t finish the food on my plate, my parents would admonish me to do so by telling me that millions of people were starving to death in China, and they were.

        2. Wukchumni

          I’m old enough to remember when we didn’t create endless oodles of money conjured out of thin air in order to put on airs.

            1. Wukchumni

              The Confederacy was the one putting on airs, Greybacks were issued in tremendous quantities, backed by nothing. It wasn’t uncommon for them to be repurposed as wallpaper in the south after Appomattox.

              At the same juncture, the Union issued over 10 million ounces of monetized money, which you could have traded in for a Greenback or vice versa.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The United States won the “war” part of the War, but then President Andrew Johnson threw the Peace away by rehabilitating and re-empowering the Plantationary Slaverist classes.

      1. ilpalazzo

        The limit is only for online games though supposedly. You can play old school offline games as much as you want which I consider to be in good taste actually..

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There is an excellent article by Adam Tooze in his substack today on Evergrande, plus some insightful commentary on this article by Michael Pettis.

      There is, in truth, very little more that can be said on Evergrande. Everyone is waiting to see what way Beijing decides to handle it. They will either get it right, or they will get it wrong. Most likely, they will do a few good things, and then kick the can a little further down the street.

      Personally, i think the current outbreak of Delta in China is more of a risk to the world economy. If they lose control of this it will have huge implications for supply chains that are already under unprecedented stress.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        I love this one, linked to Pettis’ thread.×900

        (the famed Woman Yelling At Cat meme)

        But this chunk of Tooze’s post is worth quoting:

        In terms of scale of investment, the Chinese real estate and construction sector is at least twice the size of its US counterpart and three times as important in relation to GDP. In cities it accounts for c. 17 percent of employment. Its share in local public revenue stands at about 1/3. Real estate accounts for c. 80 percent of household wealth in China, versus a share of around 30 percent in the US.

        As a private developer without direct state backing, Evergrande secured its position by being willing to invest in the second-tier cities and built a dense network of political connections there.

        Charles Keating, to the red flaming courtesy phone. I think Yves nailed it with the S&L analogy. Which I recall was a pretty big deal at the time (“Augh, we just spent the peace dividend!”), even though we didn’t know at the time that we hadn’t seen nothin’ yet…

    3. Larry Y

      There’s been some coverage. Michael Pettis, Wolf of Wall Street, etc. Right now, it’s just all speculation in between the breathless takes of “collapse” or “abandon capitalism”.

      It’s unclear what the Chinese government will do, but they do have options available to them that run contrary to neoliberalism, “freedom”, “markets”, or “billionaires know best”.

    4. Andrew Watts

      Evergrande has been a slow burn ever since the spring when they were warning of cash flow problems. While I definitely agree this will eventually be a yuge story I don’t think it’ll immediately play out.

      It’s crazy that some of the gossip on social media about Evergrande turned out to be true though. People taking out loans to get their bonuses or in exchange for junk-level debt. I guess the Chinese petty bougies aren’t familiar with ponzi schemes or bubbles based on land speculation.

      That’s the story of America baby!

  22. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Wagging the Bitcoin Dog Counterpoint.

    As always, watch what people do and not just what they say. If an individual wanted to anonymously and thoroughly loot the wealth contained in the commons that is the state in a digital world, what technologically better way is there, sophistication wise for those self interested actors ocupying positions of power and authority operating in a global ethical and moral sewer?

    “Shortly after the May 1 removal of Attorney General Melara, El Salvador’s National Assembly granted immunity to officials accused of mismanaging COVID-19 funds. In a separate move, the decision this week by the National Assembly—at the request of President Bukele—to authorize the use of bitcoin as legal tender, raises concerns that the approval of the unregulated cryptocurrency could make the country’s financial system open to manipulation and fraud. These developments should deepen concerns about unchecked corruption, the separation of powers and judicial independence in El Salvador.”

    “In Leaving Anti-Corruption Accord, Bukele Moves Close to Unchecked Power in El Salvador”

    “Corruption was the other force eroding El Salvador’s institutions. Both ARENA former president Antonio Saca and FMLN’s Funes have faced charges of embezzling millions of dollars, earning the former a 10-year jail sentence. Politicians of all stripes were exposed for channeling public contracts and cash-to-broker deals with gang leaders.”

  23. Pat

    I am a selfish person. Short of a miracle similar to that reported to be the circumstances of the birth of Jesus Christ I will not be getting pregnant. Miscarriage is not my concern.

    Meanwhile the Atlantic shares another version of playing with numbers with
    their latest defense of the vaccination mandate

    They appear to ignore the elephant in the room by missing the simple fact that the mandate is not being sold to the public as this lessens your chance of getting Covid, but subtly pushes the impression it means you are safe and can ignore all other precautions. While in the wild you may be more likely to meet and get infected by an unvaccinated individual, the gated community of vaccinated only venues are not the wild. Infected is infectious, and in those gated communities a breakthrough case or two can and likely will cause the disease to spread among the supposedly safe vaccinated. Change the parameters of the point of infection and the Atlantic’s conclusion no longer is valid.

    But for those who read the title or opening paragraph, they will miss what little recognition of this there is and continue to misunderstand that vaccination is not and does not allow for a return to “normal”. It will continue the campaign to squash any doubts regarding the effectiveness of our response.

    Misinformation is rampant from multiple fronts.

    1. Ian Perkins

      The Atlantic article appears to equate cases, as in those diagnosed with COVID, with infections, which require mass testing to fully discover. The data from New York City it refers to seems to do the same:
      Very few fully vaccinated New Yorkers are being infected and getting severely sick from COVID-19
      • As of the most recent week (August 7, 2021):
      o 0.33% of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
      o 0.02% of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have been hospitalized for COVID-19.
      o 0.003% of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have died from COVID-19.

      As I understand it, COVID-19 refers to disease, so there may be – and probably are – many infections that haven’t resulted in disease, or only in sniffles and sneezes, not disease that’s been confirmed as COVID. Those “diagnosed with COVID-19” are likely those infected with SARS-CoV-2 who’ve developed symptoms nasty enough to prompt a visit to a doctor, leaving many milder or asymptomatic infections unrecorded.

  24. Synoia

    Reinforce America’s “support to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel conducted by European states

    Should have shipped all that Afghanistan equipment to Libya or Morocco.

    How about a Jobs program in the Sahel? A Trillion dollar reforesting program would be appropriate.

    1. Ian Perkins

      A Trillion dollar reforesting program? I can see the contractors and NGOs eagerly drawing up their proposals: “Let’s see, staff, offices, vehicles, computers, communications, consultants, reports, liaison, publicity, monitoring and evaluation, have we forgotten anything?”

        1. Ian Perkins

          Both, naturally, pending studies into which better conform to the project’s presumed aims of diversity and inclusion. Now, was there anything else a reforestation program might need to consider …?

  25. Delrey

    “What one city’s struggle to ban natural gas says about the challenge of electrifying buildings”

    Let the municipality pay for converting people’s homes out of their general fund. Also, in a power failure, emergency generators, paid for by the town as a public utility can be in place, so residents can shower, cook and heat their all electric homes.

    This get rid of gas thing benefits the rightfully moribund nuclear power industry.

    In the PG&E fiefdom, we just got a mailer explaining their future safety power shutoffs all through fire season. Those with gas can cook, heat their home with gas and regular fireplaces, as long as it’s not a ‘spare the air day’ administered by the bureaucrats at the California Air Resources Board and they can take a hot shower. The voluntary all electric masochists can enjoy cold showers, cold food and cold weather in their houses.

    Oh, and forget your electric car or use of cell phones once batteries dead.

  26. antidlc
    Breakthrough COVID-19 cases expected to become more common in coming months

    COVID-19 cases are up to five times more common in unvaccinated individuals compared with the vaccinated, according to the CDC. But state-level data shows that milder breakthrough cases that do not result in hospitalization are on the rise among the fully vaccinated as virus transmission increases and vaccine efficacy decreases. And they’re expected to keep increasing.

    “It’s likely that everybody will probably get infected with COVID-19 [at some point] because it’s an endemic respiratory virus. The goal is to make sure that at that time, that infection occurs after you’ve been vaccinated so it’s mild,” said Amesh Adalja, a doctor and infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

    How many of these so-called “mild” cases will result in long COVID?

    1. Pat

      And if you escape without lingering effect the first time, how about the second?

      With our system as it currently is, the waning effectiveness of the vaccines, AND the virus’ rapid ability to create new variants it isn’t just everybody will get it once. This is likely to become an annual or biannual occurrence.

      1. antidlc

        Thanks, Ian.

        imo, that will be a lot of people suffering long Covid.

        Maybe it’s just me, but I do not find it acceptable. It’s seems that we’re just supposed to accept that “it’s the way it is”. There is so much more we could be doing.

        1. Ian Perkins

          There is more being done, such as nasal vaccines which might 100% (or nearly) prevent infection, thus confining the virus to an ever-dwindling number of unvaccinated (assuming such vaccines make it to less wealthy countries), and perhaps more should have been done in such directions earlier. But many of the COVID vaccines have been developed and rolled out in record time. Imperfect vaccines that haven’t stopped the pandemic in its tracks are, unfortunately, “the way it is” – at least so far.

          1. antidlc

            And we could be doing much more than just leaky vaccines.

            N95 masks.
            Lockdowns with funds ahead of time for those who need them.

            I do not accept the statement “It’s just what it is”. We still have too many cases, too many deaths. And we don’t know the long-term effects of these leaky vaccines.

      2. Objective Ace

        Does days after vaccination matter though? Based on the rise of other symptoms I would guess long-haul also increases with time since vaccination

      3. Basil Pesto

        this idiotically breezy (50% less likely!!!) reporting of long covid in the vaccinated has pissed me off no end.

        Long Covid prevalence has been estimated in various studies over the last year to be in the 10-30% range. If it’s 50% less likely when you’re vaccinated, the. that would be 5-15%. In other words, approximately a 1 in 10 chance of getting long covid if you’re vaccinated and get infected. Those are not good odds.

        The real answer, really, is “we don’t know yet”. But the even realest answer, really, is that all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.

        1. Ian Perkins

          You’re completely right, and we don’t really know yet. But 50% less likely seems one of the best estimates so far, even though the study in question is by no means perfect and definitive in every respect. (From the NYT article: “The study has limitations, the researchers acknowledge.”)

          Yes, 50% of 10-30% is still 5-15%, but that’s what antidlc was asking about. It’d be great if they’d found vaccinations totally prevent all cases of long COVID, but, unfortunately, that’s not what they found.

          As for “idiotically breezy reporting of long covid,” you make it sound like the researchers couldn’t care two hoots about the issue. I doubt if they’d have bothered with the study if that was really their attitude, and nothing in the paper seems “idiotically breezy”, or even just “breezy”, to me. Would you rather nobody investigated the effects of vaccinations on long COVID, lest they find results that aren’t the gloomiest possible?

          1. antidlc

            “this idiotically breezy (50% less likely!!!) reporting of long covid in the vaccinated has pissed me off no end.”

            Thank you, Basil.

            1. Basil Pesto

              We’ll see, but I find the study pretty unconvincing in presenting a lower bound estimate.

              Besides that, 2% in a population of 8 billion (we’re all supposed to get infected, remember) is no bueno.

              But also, this article and another along similar lines that I saw in the torygraph the other day suggest to me one of the social problems that will accompany long covid: attempts to minimise it per stories like that will inevitably lead to accusations of psychosomatics and/or malingering directed at those who do suffer from it (think of the cruel and unserious ways that various mental illnesses have been treated socially)

          2. Basil Pesto

            My comment was not directed at the researchers, it was directed at the journalists reporting the research, as denoted by my use of the verb ‘reporting’ in my original post.

            I have no reason to think that the researchers don’t take LC seriously, and research on prevalence of LC in the vaccinated over time is hugely important. But the headline ‘50% less likely oooweee!! USA! USA!’ is vaccine boosterism, not a serious attempt to help people understand the risks of long covid

  27. lordkoos

    Just ran across this on twitter —

    “My mom’s house sold for way over asking price. Found out Zillow bought it. They really are snatching up all the homes for ridiculous prices. The closing attorney said they do a closing ever hour for Zillow. Just their office alone. That’s wild.”


    Some interesting commentary from a real estate agent:

      1. Wukchumni

        Looked up Fanne Mae stock price, a whole 89 Cents now.

        Down from around $60 a share in the midst of Housing Bubble part 1.

    1. Ian Perkins

      It’s one view, partly based on the assumption that viruses “become less virulent over time as they spread through a population which was becoming more immune,” a disputed and debated assumption for which there’s little hard evidence. (Extremely virulent viruses might wipe out their hosts, and thus themselves – but many species have gone extinct, so that doesn’t exactly prove all viruses become less virulent with time.) That said, the evolutionary pressures on this virus would seem to be selecting for increased infectiousness rather than virulence, which wouldn’t confer any greater fitness.

      Professor Sharon Peacock, quoted in the same article, says, “If I was pushed to predict, I think there will be new variants emerging over time and I think there is still quite a lot of road to travel down with this virus.”

        1. ambrit

          Unfortunately, lying is the “new normal” for our Elites. It may have been so in the past, but back then, hiding rampant corruption was the “proper” thing to do. Now, the corruption has become blatant. Is it any wonder that the general public no longer respects the various Elites who pretend to “guide and protect” the public?
          A vicious cycle of opression and revolt is accelerating.

        2. Basil Pesto

          yup. I’m all for educated guesses. Science! Go for it.

          But governments making policy on the basis of the most optimistic consensus prediction is foolhardy.

    2. Kevin Carhart

      I’ve tracked this question a little bit since it’s flipping important. I have jotted down several people who say it does or doesn’t.

      There are a lot of places it can go. It does not have limited evolutionary moves remaining

      – David Wallace-Wells and Michael Mina, in August, New York magazine and Yves’ post. Dr. Mina says, “… but who knows when it will run out of tricks. And until we really see it run out of tricks, we have to be concerned that it will keep creating these new baselines… ” [in conjunction with saying that Delta is now the baseline.]

      – Independent Sage took this up in early July. Professor McKee is addressing “limited number of moves remaining.” Yes, it is not infinite but could be a large number yet to come. The ranges of moves that he names are “a large number or a very large number.”

      – Dr. Gurdasani from the Lancet letter/Cadwalladr group, “The Citizens,” mid July. She answered a question on the emergency press conference on the theme “has it exhausted its phenotypic options?” She said she doesn’t think so, there are so many combinations and there is no evidence that this is the end of the line.

      – Yves quoting GM, late July, “…the idea that the bias of mutations will be towards the virus becoming less deadly is optimistic…”

      Yes, the virus has limited moves remaining and will run out:
      – Gilbert
      – Dr. Campbell – he thought so several months ago when he was talking about mutation convergence in multiple parts of the world
      – Jason McLellan, U Texas prof. He’s quoted in a March New Yorker story by Dhruv Khullar I am having trouble bringing up now, but you can find it with the selector [But McLellan believes that it has a limited number of moves available.]
      – A Scripps or UCSD professor, pulled in by a commenter, but I don’t have this on hand now

      Hopefully I have not misconstrued people. I have copied and pasted quotes and snippets into a textfile over time. I’m commenting in the off hours, so maybe I will comment this upthread some time.

  28. Wukchumni

    The Global Housing Market Is Broken, and It’s Dividing Entire Countries Bloomberg.

    In LA in the 1880’s, there was a heck of a housing bubble with odd staging, in that oranges would be pinned to the branches of non-citrus trees as a selling point and like all real estate bubbles, it broke bad in the 1893 Depression.

    The LA housing bubble of the late 1980’s was a doozie even though under the old rules of engagement you needed a healthy down payment and were looking at an APR of 8%. When it went bust in the early 90’s it wasn’t even really a matter of prices fixes everything. Homes went from being loved to shunned, just like that.

    It was strictly a regional bubble, but that was then and this is now where every country in the first world is playing along.

  29. Objective Ace

    >Politicians are throwing all sorts of ideas at the problem, from rent caps to special taxes on landlords, nationalizing private property, or turning vacant offices into housing. Nowhere is there evidence of an easy or sustainable fix.

    I love that stop subsidizing rich people to buy up the housing stock isn’t one of the ideas. The Fed is most directly responsible for this and a whole host of other problems

  30. Andrew Watts


    The AUUKUS pact has been touted as a military alliance so the goal is presumably to base US/UK submarines in Australia. Washington can afford to cut the French in on the nuclear submarine deal.

    There isn’t any strategic ambiguity in which side the Aussies will choose in the Sino-American “competition”. They’re already hosting a US Marine base. A dozen nuclear submarines isn’t going to change the regional balance of power either, Especially when they won’t even be operational for a decade or more.

    But the US military is still trying to surround China will military bases.

    1. ambrit

      One of my favourate sources of information from the Astral Plane is “The Daily Lama.” Close perusal of that item bestows immunity from therapy.
      (Superman, however, works at “The Daily Planet,” a much more earthbound, dare I say it, materialist periodical.)
      I must admit to being amused by what is undoubtedly the first “Person Shooter” game I’ve ever seen. It reminds me of the Alternative 2nd Amendment, or, “The right to arm bears.”

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