Links 9/26/2021

The unlikely protector against Bangladesh’s rising seas BBC

Competitive Compatibility: Let’s Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Giants Cory Doctorow, Communications of the ACM. “But as with all technological questions, the relevant question is not merely ‘What does this technology do?’ It is ‘Who does this technology do it to and who does it do it for?'” “Who, whom?“, the eternal question.

America’s Overprotection Epidemic Will Have Consequences Zaid Jilani, Inquire

US and China climate commitments raise hopes ahead of COP26 summit FT

#COVID

ASHRAE Publishes Updated Ventilation Standard for Health Care Facilities Engineering News Record. From ASHRAE “guidance” (PDF):

  • Virus Most Commonly Spread Through Droplets – Contact Exposures
  • Aerosolized Virus Is a Limited but Possible Vector of Transmission*
  • Recognize That Virus May Be Aerosolized During Toilet Flush

Wrong on the science, though fecal plumes are real. (Amazingly, the “*” cites to a 2020 preprint from NEJM, and not, at the very least, to the final NEJM version. Shoddy!) I hate to be cynical about this, but translation: Your budgets are safe.

Scientists warring over how COVID-19 is transmitted: droplets/touch vs aerosols. Interview with Dr. Jose-Luis Jimenez, aerosol scientist, University of Colorado;

* * *

COVID vaccines for younger kids could be the secret to ending the U.S. pandemic Yahoo News

COVID-19 vaccine boosters could mean billions for drugmakers AP

Federal appeals court blocks NYC teacher vaccine mandate The Hill (the original class action lawsuit).

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 Testing Prior to International Airline Travel, December 2020-May 2021 (preprint) (PDF) Mayo Clinic Proceedings. From the Abstract: “Among 9,853 passengers with a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR performed within 72 hours of departure from December 2020 through May 2021, five (0.05%) passengers with active SARS-CoV-2 infection were identified with rapid antigen tests and confirmed with rapid molecular test performed before and after an international flight from the United States to Italy. This translates to a case detection rate of one per 1970 travelers during a time of high prevalence of active infection in the United States. A negative molecular test for SARS-CoV-2 within 72 hours of international airline departure results in a low probability of active infection identified on antigen testing during commercial airline flight.” The United States attracted 80 million international visitors in 2019. 80,000,000 * 0.05% = 40,000. Granted, that’s in the Before Times, but since we’re aiming for endemic status rather than eradication….

Association Between K–12 School Mask Policies and School-Associated COVID-19 Outbreaks — Maricopa and Pima Counties, Arizona, July–August 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. “After adjusting for potential described confounders, the odds of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak in schools without a mask requirement were 3.5 times higher than those in schools with an early mask requirement.”

* * *

Why Mandates Make Us Feel Threatened Harvard Business Review

When public health becomes the public enemy High Country News

China?

China Is a Declining Power—and That’s the Problem Foreign Policy. Perhaps. But China knows us all too well (PD):

Chinese military plans for Taiwan hampered by second island chain but China, US unlikely to have military conflict, Chinese think tank says South China Morning Post

SPEECH: China and Africa, W. E. B. Du Bois, 1959 Black Agenda Report. Still germane.

Chinese Fable Stories With Morals Thought.co (ctlieee).

Can We Harness Himalayan Hydropower? Yes, But It’s Risky Interesting Engineering

AUKUS

How AUKUS may damage NATO Asia Times

India

Kashmir’s Dal Lake choking with ‘huge amount of sewage’ and weeds Al Jazeera

UK/EU

My Secret Brexit Diary by Michel Barnier review – a British roasting Guardian

Starmer wins Labour backing for diluted leadership vote changes FT

After the Union Verfassungsblog. The structure of German political parties (different from US and UK).

Lithuania says throw away Chinese phones due to censorship concerns Reuters

The Caribbean

Thousands More Haitians Are Heading to the US-Mexico Border Vice (GF).

Photographer behind controversial photos speaks exclusively to KTSM KTSM (Furzy Mouse).

Haiti Asks for International Help to Investigate Moise’s Killing Bloomberg

Biden Administration

As Dems race forward, Manchin pumps brakes: ‘There is no timeline’ Politico. Meanwhile, “Progressive” pledges fealty to paygo:

Not commentary but it could be:

Democrats missing big picture on taxes FT. “Failure to reform inheritance will leave Gatsby-level inequality intact.” That’s not a bug….

Kamala Harris’s Appearance on The View Goes All Wrong Jezebel. Note the material on Haiti (Harris’s problem, one would think, immigration having been put on her desk).

Biden’s chaotic messaging on Covid-19 boosters is pitting the White House against the government’s scientific advisers STAT. Advisers. Not Philosopher Kings.

Pentagon Budget Got 3.7x More in Defense Industry Cash ReadSludge

Police State Watch

Among Those Who Marched Into the Capitol on Jan. 6: An F.B.I. Informant NYT. Well, I’ll be! [slaps forehead] The discrepancy between the FBI’s effective infiltration of the Whitmer kidnapping case (12 informants (!!)) and the bungling depicted here is odd (see Buzzfeed here, two paragraphs starting “But the similarities went only so far”). If I were not the trusting soul that I am, I’d suspect this story was a “modified limited hangout.” (One reporter, Adam Goldman, “was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for national reporting on Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.” So.)

Assets and Liabilities The New Yorker. On Whitey Bulger.

Our Famously Free Press

These four words are helping spread vaccine misinformation CNN. “Do your own research.” Perhaps instead of imposing censorship, we could — hear me out — focus on increasing critical thinking skills?

Sports Desk

The NBA’s Anti-Vaxxers Are Trying to Push Around the League—And It’s Working Rolling Stone

How the Premier League Helped the Super-Rich Take Over Football Tribune

Imperial Collapse Watch

Lions led by donkeys:

Or other than lions, I suppose.

Guillotine Watch

New York City’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’ residents say their 96-floor building sways, floods, and traps families in elevators, according to new lawsuit Business Insider. Wait ’til they experience the spaceships to Mars!

Mark Zuckerberg’s “Metaverse” Is a Dystopian Nightmare Jacobin (Furzy Mouse).

‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ Review: Denzel Washington Commands in Joel Coen’s Visually Transporting Shakespeare Movie Variety

Class Warfare

‘If Your House Is On Fire You Run’: Workers Strike for Safety At Understaffed Mental Health Center Labor Notes

Carpenters union pauses picketing in Seattle after wildcat strikes, dispute with Kshama Sawant Seattle Times

If Hollywood Workers Strike, the Entertainment Industry Will Grind to a Halt Jacobin

Why Do We Think That Inflation Expectations Matter for Inflation? (And Should We?) (PDF) Jeremy B. Rudd, Finance and Economics Discussion Series Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Chauncey Gardiner). See footnote 2.

Tree Thinking Places Journal

The Good Luck of Your Bad Luck: Marcus Aurelius on the Stoic Strategy for Weathering Life’s Waves and Turning Suffering into Strength Brain Pickings

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

140 comments

  1. jr

    Re: Why MBA’s and behavioral scientists make me feel threatened.

    This, the Coor’s Light dream-eaters, and that link posted yesterday about the robot with human rights are of a piece. Humans treated like robots. Robots treated like humans. And everywhere smooth-brained Masters of Business Attire, the sunlit peak of the mental mediocrity, and ghastly, ghastly behavioral scientists plying their vile trades. These people are the enemies of humanity, both literally and as a concept.

    As a spiritual outsider, I’m always alert for the day the McChristian leadership and their slobbering, slack-jawed hordes take to the streets. Now I have to watch out for numbskull “business leaders” and biological automatons in white labs coats who are trying to steal my mind. All of this goes back directly to the ideology of physicalism, the loop-d-loop branch of metaphysics that tells us we can’t ever directly experience the real world and then builds a grand ontological edifice as if we have. Can someone forward this to Reitholz? I need a flabby football to kick around.

    This world can’t burn down fast enough for my taste.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “New York City’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’ residents say their 96-floor building sways, floods, and traps families in elevators, according to new lawsuit”

    A swaying building, floods and dodgy elevators may be the least of their problems when you stop to think about it. Sure they could ask if wind tests did not pick up the potential for swaying before construction but I would be asking about more important things. For example, I would be asking if that building performs fire drills. Do they have fire doors installed where needed. Were duct-holes properly fire-stopped. Are the stair-wells pressurized to keep down smoke filling them. Will those elevators be called to a fire-engulfed floor if the fire melts the call-button. Fire is the most serious threat to my mind. And if they cut corners to get this building finished going by the troubles that they are experiencing, you wonder about what other surprises may lay in store. Here is a clip from the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno” that shows some of the aspects that may come up in a high-rise fire-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nItA_PSo9Fg (3:19 mins)

    Note that in this film the fire started on 81 but this New York building is 96 stories tall.

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      It all must be a shock to them as they probably in a ” Do you know who we are ? ” sort of a way, were likely under the impression that living in a crap & potentially dangerous building was only for the lower orders – maybe they should re-assess the reality of their status on the dog eat dog food chain.

      Reminds me in a way of how Aristo’s would bankrupt themselves trying to keep up with Louie XIV’s fashion parade at Versailles & nobles in England could also lose a fortune if Lizzie 1 & her court on one of their progresses turned up for an extremely large lunch with the best possible trimmings.

    2. samhill

      I’ve worked in these high rise buildings, the ones built from the 90s onward are just projects (ie low income housing) for rich people just taller, same level of sh!t construction where it matters but the bathroom tiles and fixtures were designed exclusively by Philippe Starck, you can choose btwn three different colors. It’s called Branded Living – that is supposed to be a positive. I cut into the sheet rock on an 80s high rise and I found a felt mat of black mold and a hurricane wind coming through the gap. Fire blocking? I’d say not much, entire building seemed a chimney but I’m no engineer, the later buildings are even worse built. 1950s-60s those are solid not all about plenums and soffits and systems risers for fire (and mold, mice, and roaches) to travel through. Spent 3/4s of my life in the metro area, have to admit don’t recall any high rise fires in the big city, so maybe not much of a worry and better thought out that would appear. Still, several million dollars on up for a ghetto project seems a bad investment to this peon, but you do get a nice view from ~25th floor on upwards. ~50th floor on up the view is better than valium.

    3. Yves Smith

      Super tall buildings have to sway or they snap in winds. I worked on the 95th floor of One World Trade Center. It would regularly move. I suppose that would be more disconcerting in a residence since it can happen at night. Accordingly, the elevators that went from the lobby to the “sky lobby” on the 78th floor (where you’d then take a second elevator to the higher floors) would sway in the shaft. Regulars were used to it and visitors would freak out. I was told they were the second fastest elevators in the world, the fastest were in a diamond mine in South Africa. When I heard this, WTC had been open for business for over a decade. The fact that these were still the second fastest elevators in the world said to me that they were a failed experiment in commercial construction.

      One WTC had very large internal fire stairs. Fire codes generally require: “at least two escape routes from every part of premises that are completely independent of each other.” I have a funny feeling that the developers greased some palms to have this rule interpreted liberally.

      1. Jason Boxman

        It certainly unnerved me! What was nice about the original WTC is it seemed to be less of a tourist attraction. When I visited the new towers you couldn’t even go up to the observation deck without going through a forced photography session so you could buy an overpriced photo after you descended again. It was really expensive, too, just to go up! Impressive view of the city, although it was overcast that day. I actually prefer the Empire State Building for views. Could never live in a building that sways though! Finally saw the Ghost Busters building in 2019… so much smaller than in the movie.

      2. rowlf

        I had to give a deposition against a crooked police precinct in one of the WTC buildings and the building movement was unnerving. I had been through Southern California earthquakes and my dog sense couldn’t handle the building swaying.

      3. Daniel LaRusso

        I went to the top of the Eiffel tower once and the swaying did me in. My legs went to jelly and I had real trouble walking down. What scared me the most was I’m no stranger to heights with skydiving and visiting CNN tower, twin towers, empire state, so my mind just assumed something was off. It might hae been becasue I was outside for so long that I felt it more.

  3. LadyXoc

    Chinese “moral tales”: the titles of these stories are reduced to four characters that form frequently used idioms in Mandarin that are the bane of students studying the language. These “four words” will be thrown casually into a conversation, and everyone native understands the backstory, but can be easily missed by the foreign student. I cannot overstate how integral these 4-word idioms are to spoken Chinese. Kind of like: “a spoonful of sugar,” or “a stitch in time,” but with a longer, morality-based message.

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      The “good news” is you just need to know around 300 idioms for daily conversation. Total number of idioms in the Chinese language is estimated to be more than 5000 ;)

      And it’s not just idioms that get thrown into daily conversation, you’ll also often hear phrases from ancient poems by Li Bai, Du Fu, etc.

      1. Louis Fyne

        as someone with zero knowledge of Mandarin/Cantonese, this reminds me of “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      If I might, I believe the expression “sour grapes” might be a little closer to the kind of idiom with allusive meanings the four characters of these fables convey. However, I suspect the ties to learning difficult Chinese characters adds a further layer to the allusion to a fable text.

      I sometimes ponder how to capture the knowledge we have now in a form that might be understood by someone a million years in the future. I believe the spoken forms captured in phonetic representations of language would be completely lost. Although more difficult to learn and master, I believe ideograms might prove more durable — although it would be important to preserve the maps between image and ideogram. But many root images make reference to animals, plants, or structures, which might not endure through a million years. I wonder then, how an alien arriving on this planet in a more distant future might read writings from our times — lacking context for much of what they find.

        1. Klärchen

          I would say, any similarity between shape and meaning is historical. Check out the characters for horse, mă; country, gwó (wall-enclosed territory); person, rén (stick figure); woman, nyŭ (submissive rén). There are many more examples.

          1. Klärchen

            (You can google them: “Chinese for horse”. Select Chinese (Traditional) [not Simplified] from the pull-down menu in the search box.)

          2. Larry Y

            Most characters are made of multiple components. Some components indicate meaning. Others pronunciation. This is not a hard and fast rule, but makes it help learn to read and write characters.

            Example, to build on your comment – one character for mother is made of female and horse. Female for meaning, horse for pronunciation. It’s pronounced “ma”, but a different tone. Other words are mu, and niang.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    News you can use!

    I sent one Jacobin link to our daughter whose husband is a member of the IATSE. They have a baby due in December (first grandchild!). Interesting times.

    I sent the other Jacobin link about Zuck’s evil plans to our son who just completed a weekend-long symposium with Oculus. They gathered about a hundred people to give them guidance about how to prepare and submit a VR project to Oculus (on Zoom; pre-Covid would have been in CA). He’s been working on VR as an outgrowth of his work as a music therapist because of the Covid-induced need to interact remotely with patients.

    And for myself, I enjoyed the piece about Aurelius and the Stoics. That line from Heraclitus through the Stoics does seem to escape a lot of the problems with dualism and human dominance found in most other Western thought and religion. When the article mentioned Alan Watts, I knew I was close to home. This Aurelius quote resonated:

    So then, whenever something happens that might cause you distress, remember to rely on this principle: this is not bad luck, but bearing it valiantly is good luck.

    Lao-Tzu pretty much in accord with an emphasis on not wanting as the way to avoid “luck” entirely:

    The greatest evil: wanting more.
    The worst luck: discontent.
    Greed’s the curse of life.

    To know enough’s enough
    is enough to know.

    Tao te Ching #46 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Maria Popova, the curator and writer at “Brain Pickings,” is awesome! Check out her book Figuring. Her disquisition therein on Emily Dickinson induced this nerd to buy a book of her poetry.

  5. Fritzi

    The Foreign Policy article seems another one going out of it’s way and twisting itself into a pretzel to preemptively try and make sure that when America provokes a war with China, China will be blamed for it.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      It caught my eye because the title “China is a Declining Power” is so counterintuitive. The article is completely bonkers and worth reading only as an insight into the thought process of the USA’s foreign policy experts. I only made it through the first few paragraphs, which included these gems:

      a. Germany started WW1; I thought the causes of that war were a tad more complex than that (re Clark’s “The Sleepwalkers”), but I guess the authors have read their Tuchman so that’s that I guess.

      b. Japan started the war in the Pacific in 1941; against the USA specifically, sure, but how quaintly America-centric of them to ignore what the Japanese were up to in China during the 1930s.

      c. Russia invaded two of its neighbors because of the post-2008 economic slowdown; setting aside the issue of why these ‘invasions’ occurred, I don’t see any link between them and Russia’s economy (which aside from a brief drop in 2009 was doing quite OK until 2014 when the oil price collapsed).

      I finally gave up after they accused post-1970s France of engaging in “anxious aggrandizement” (love that alliteration!) by deploying 14000 troops to its former colonies (which cover an area larger than the 48 US states, comment dit-on “thinly deployed” en francais?) and staging 12 military interventions over the next 20 years. Who would have guessed that the French (or Mitterrand, who famously did not allow the USA to overfly French territory in 1986 during the attempted waxing of Gaddafi) were such militarists? Incroyable mais vrai!

      Just couldn’t read any further. Wildly delusional.

      Unfortunately, both authors are professors at two of the USA’s top feeder schools for the diplomatic and intelligence services. Which does not bode well, methinks.

      1. Roger

        I am a scholar in the area of International Relations, and these delusional papers are par for the course – its like fish in water, the authors can’t see the ideology that their brains are so used to swimming in. Full of “liberal values”, a “rules based order” (as against one following international law and the UN), only “liberal capitalist democracies” can ever succeed (so therefore China must collapse, even though it has done the exact opposite for 4 decades). The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming. Then the self-aggrandizing simplistic references to Ancient Greece (the “Thucydides Trap”) and other mis-applied “historical parallels”. When Graham Allison (author of “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”) was asked whether or not he had studied China his answer was that no such study was necessary as the Thucydides Trap is timeless and universally applicable irrespective of the nations involved.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Gen. Jay Raymond
    @SpaceForceCSO
    Every winning team needs a uniform! We started with the female design and then created the male prototype. I’m excited to share the new look w/you today. #Guardians #SpaceForce’

    You would think that it would be easy switching the design of a female and male uniform. You just take it in at the top and let it out a bit at the bottom but apparently in the first version of this uniform, they forgot that. They are missing one thing though. Uniforms that you can actually wear in space which might prove useful to, uhhh, a Space Force. Fortunately your Rev is on the job. As they have already swiped so much from fiction, they should go a bit further and not try to re-invent the well. Thus-

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Starfleet_uniform_(2140s-early_2160s)

    And as for “Every winning team needs a uniform!” – Yeah, about that-

    https://twitter.com/cgberube/status/1440381208408461321

      1. The Rev Kev

        When that new helmet came out in the 80s, there was a lot of disquiet as it resembled so closely the Stahlhelm from WW2 Germany. In fact, the troops briefly nicknamed it the ‘Fritz’ before changing it the ‘Kevlar.’

        1. Nikkikat

          This is true, one more stupid boondoggle by another stupid administration. Just what the heck is a space force going to do, you know, as in a job. I thought we sold off and privatized the US space program to Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Wouldn’t the space force work for them? Lol! Like high priced Amazon employees?

          1. Soredemos

            “Just what the heck is a space force going to do, you know, as in a job.”

            Manage satellites, mostly. I’m going to reiterate what I said yesterday: we’ve had a formal space force since 1982. All that’s changed is that they’re pretending it’s now an independent branch of the military. If it’s a boondoggle, it’s at least not a new one. The whole Space Force still only has less than 6500 personnel.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Force_Space_Command

            Space has been militarized from the start.

      1. Mildred Montana

        @Michael Ismoe: “Every clown needs an outfit.”

        I laugh out loud every time I see old video of those WWI German military officials strutting around in their 𝘗𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘩𝘢𝘶𝘣𝘦𝘴 (spiked helmets). So pleased with themselves, yet doomed shortly to become laughingstocks. In a mere decade their headgear was already looking ridiculous (the Nazis went for completely different clown outfits) and a century later it looks like something from a world that couldn’t possibly have existed.

        (I humbly submit 𝘗𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘩𝘢𝘶𝘣𝘦𝘴 as the word-of-the-day.)

      1. John

        The diagonal placement of buttons across the chest leaves so much more room for the “tossed salad” of medals. Pass out more medals! More gold stars! Chicken hawk, video game space warriors. They don’t need no stinkin protection from the space vacuum. They are the space vacuum. James Kirk, you are just Elon’s b*tch now.

    1. JohnA

      Apart from the obvious tailoring differences due to chest/bust, waist, hip differences between the sexes, womenswear normally has the buttons the opposite way round to menswear (allegedly because women or more pertinently perhaps, ladies, were dressed by maids). But from the photo, it would appear the buttons and buttonholes are as in menswear. Which would seem to defeat the claim the original design was for women.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been in seance with Mr. Blackwell, in order to get an evaluation, and his take:

        ‘The tunics are just too much, and why the buttons worn on the right-do they speak of space might. and have they never heard of this new invention called zippers?’

    2. ambrit

      Here are a couple more.
      Forbidden Planet: https://recycledmoviecostumes.tumblr.com/post/77516891318/sometimes-a-film-will-not-only-reuse-one-costume
      Space 1999: https://www.thepropgallery.com/space-1999-moonbase-alpha-uniform-lsro
      Starship Troopers (this one is already being used by other uniits of the “Guardians of the State”): https://starshiptroopers.fandom.com/wiki/Federation_Body_Armor
      NASA is on the job: https://www.shopnasa.com/collections/costumes
      Barbarella (consent created!): https://www.life.com/people/life-with-jane-fonda-behind-the-scenes-on-the-camp-classic-barbarella/
      Humans can be so creative as individuals. Committees? Not so much.

    3. Soredemos

      I know you’re being facetious, but this is like saying the Air Force should only have uniforms you’d want to actually wear while in a fighter plane. So everyone should be walking around the office wearing flight suits? 99.9% of what the Space Force does will be on the ground.

        1. Acacia

          All black with a sprinkling of white dots, so that the enemy can’t spot you in space (after the airlock blows)?

        2. Daniel LaRusso

          I remember thi being a bone of contention in the UK military. There was a lot in the RAF that couldn’t understand why they had to wear shirt.trousers and shoes when the regiment got to wear combats (fatigues) as working dress. We understood that on ship/sub the navy needed fire retardent clothing, but the rest of the army/RAF could have worn combats in the office and kept their dress uniforms. It would have worked out cheaper.

    4. ChrisPacific

      It looks like authoritarian porn to me. Not just the uniforms, but the expressions: narrowed eyes, set jaw, staring at a hypothetical antagonist off camera. Some anti-war protester or civilian not following the regulations is about to have an extremely bad day.

    5. VietnamVet

      I couldn’t tell their Space Force rank. All the ribbons, they must be officers. Long ago, when I was walking around base, all my attention was spent avoiding officers and when I couldn’t; making a good enough salute to avoid harassment. At LZ English, the Officers would reply “Airborne”. I’d say “All the way. Sir.” On return, at Fort Lewis, I had a car and avoided them successful except for morning Reveille.

      With military contractors making up most of the personnel and Identity politics, I guess that visible ranks are not needed for Space Operators.

  7. Anon

    Re: metaverse

    The moment I clicked some buttons and a man would promptly appear at my door with a pizza, I realized the internet was merging with reality… that it is supplanting reality is disturbing, but this may merely be a Luddite longing for the ‘good old days’… akin to the lettered class mourning the passing of literature as a medium. Much is lost, but much is gained, it would seem? We evolve. May you find value and comfort in whatever we become.

      1. ambrit

        And processed, mediocre pizza at that.
        Our kids used to sing out whenever I’d show up home after a shift at the Mom and Pop pizza place I worked at nights for a while, (the owners let us workers have a pizza to take home at cost); “Lock the door! It’s Domino’s!”
        Working at a pizza place that made it’s own product from scratch every day was a real eye opener for me.

        1. Timh

          Reminds me of the chain sandwich places with sugary bread and your choice of 1/2lb of the cheapest meat that can be sourced.

    1. jr

      “Much is lost, but much is gained, it would seem?”

      You’ll have to check with Zuck, it’s his Metaverse, you’ll just be a subscriber.

      1. Anon

        I was trying to not anger SkyNet… the question mark was to indicate the deep skepticism embedded in my words.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m reminded of Edward G. Robinson on his way to the dog people food factory lying back and watching a screen filled with images of Earth as it used to be. Doing it with VR would make that process so much better.

      I think “evolve” is usually associated with the interaction between a species and the actual natural world.

      1. Anon

        I often consider, that mankind’s ingenuity was a natural occurrence… and maybe then so are its byproducts? We demarcate, because of our biological origins, and general inability to extrapolate beyond them… but from the perspective of some advanced alien civilization, our progression may appear perfectly ‘natural’: “Ahhh, this is the part where they blow themselves up…”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Why Mandates Make Us Feel Threatened”

    This article is incomplete. Nowhere is to be found the word ‘trust’ and that has a huge effect on how a mandate is received. If the person or organization has a track record of lying or being sparing with the truth, then how are you going to feel when they give you a mandate? But all this article offers as solutions is psychological tricks & manipulations. That should certainly increase trust that. I mean ‘Triggering the Brain’s Reward Mechanisms’? Do they think that people are stupid? That they will not be suspicious when management gets all chummy and goes into we-are-in-this-together mode? Where is the trust?

    Let me give you an example. Had an accident a coupla weeks ago and went to the doctor. Apart from a course of antibiotics, he had the nurse give me a tetanus shot. Totally no big deal. Why? Not only did I trust the doctor but I know that the tetanus shot has a very long history behind it and I have had it before. So we are talking about trust here. Sooner or later my wife and I will have to get vaccinated here thanks to “Tyhoid” Scotty. The three on offer here are AstraZeneca, Pfizer and now Moderna. The later two are mRNA vaccines which I do not trust so that will leave the AstraZeneca vaccine. Trust, as it turns out does count for something.

      1. TroyIA

        Prior Tdap or MMR vaccination offers a 20-30% reduction in COVID-19 severity.

        Protective heterologous T cell immunity in COVID-19 induced by the trivalent MMR and Tdap vaccine antigens

        Highlights

        T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2, MMR, and Tdap vaccine proteins are highly correlated

        SARS-CoV-2, MMR, and Tdap antigen-experienced T cells share identical TCRs

        T cells with shared TCRs have features of TEMRA, a memory anti-viral T cell subset

        Prior MMR or Tdap vaccination correlates with reduced COVID-19 severity

        Findings

        High correlation was observed between T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 (spike-S1 and nucleocapsid) and MMR and Tdap proteins in COVID-19-convalescent and -vaccinated individuals. The overlapping T cell population contained an effector memory T cell subset (effector memory re-expressing CD45RA on T cells [TEMRA]) implicated in protective, anti-viral immunity, and their detection required APC-derived IL-15, known to sensitize T cells to activation. Cross-reactive TCR repertoires detected in antigen-experienced T cells recognizing SARS-CoV-2, MMR, and Tdap epitopes had TEMRA features. Indices of disease severity were reduced in MMR- or Tdap-vaccinated individuals by 32%–38% and 20%–23%, respectively, among COVID-19 patients.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, in America “Trust is a one way street.”
      I had a manager tell me that in my mid 20’s and there’s a good deal of truth in what he said.
      When it comes to Fed Gov “Trust” is knowing that you can get in line or you can get hurt.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      “Incomplete” is the least of the article’s problems, Kev. To wit:

      To help people feel less threatened, managers can try to offer another form of autonomy. With the vaccine, this may mean allowing employees to choose when, where, or how they receive the shot. Any form of choice, especially if it is unexpected, will help reduce the threat to autonomy.

      I could ask whether they’re seriously that clueless, but it’s Harvard Business Review.

      Oh, and about those psychological tricks, my favorite:

      Research shows that even affording a little autonomy can go a long way: When employees at one company were given the opportunity to choose how to decorate their workspaces, their productivity increased up to 25%.

      Seems to me that he of the dessicated humor is just trolling us with this link.

  9. Ignacio

    Amazonian crocs settle permanently in rivers (well there might be occasions when they are pulled away) when they reach abut 1.5 m or about 4-5 feet in length. The Indian croc female looks the proper size to find a place to settle down, somehow big but now she has the chance to try.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “How AUKUS may damage NATO”

    Funny about this. There was a lot of moaning about how the French contract went from $40 billion to $90 billion but I just realized today. I have not heard a single solitary figure of how much these nuclear submarines are expected to cost us. Not once. Ever. And of course the media in Oz is too gutless to even ask that question of the government. Remarkable discipline that.

    1. jo6pac

      I think the cost will close the French subs. Amerikas merchants of death make their money in cost over runs and repairs that are needed do to bad designs. Think aircraft carrier G Ford, F-35 the gifts that keep on giving. It’s a great business model.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    They also complained that the trash chute “sounds like a bomb” and were upset about the increased minimum spending requirements on the buildings private restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef.

    From the article about the travails of those in the 96-story building on Park Avenue.

    I seem to recall reading an article (here at Naked Capitalism I bet) that the building was squeezed on a footprint that’s too small. In short, the whole design is faulty. Plus: there is the physics of a too-narrow building on too small a footprint bending in the wind. But greed was involved, so let’s not bother about the physics, eh.

    A pity about the required spending at the private restaurant. But Marie Antoinette believed that brioches were cheap, so let them all load up on brioches, which can be transported to their shaky abodes by means of the thundering dumbwaiter.

    1. Huey Long

      I seem to recall reading an article (here at Naked Capitalism I bet) that the building was squeezed on a footprint that’s too small. In short, the whole design is faulty

      Hmmm, the narrowness of the building isn’t really the issue; all the other 57th st. Luxury hi-rises are similarly narrow and residential buildings are almost always fairly narrow to maximize natural lighting. Nobody wants an apartment with only one window in one room.

      The natural light issue is basically why you’re able to have massive floor plates a la 55 Water st. in a commercial building but not in a residential building.

      The bottom line here is that there’s a lot of MEP, structural, and personnel issues whose sum total is a lousy building to live and work in.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “My Secret Brexit Diary by Michel Barnier review – a British roasting”

    The British should obviously have listened to their own Terry Pratchett more when he said-

    “If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

    And that cartoon image of the guy sawing the back of a plane off called ‘This is a metaphor for sooooo many things in life…’. Is that a young Joe Manchin?

    1. JEHR

      Well, you know “conservative” means something when it comes to health and it can be translated into political actions too. In Canada, two Conservative premiers (in Alberta and New Brunswick) have taken the same stance that has resulted in many more cases and many more deaths than should have happened. Whether they believe in aerosols or not they still are responsible for the cases and deaths in their different provinces. At first, I thought it was just the eagerness to get their relative economies moving that they proceeded to open up too early. But now, add in the differences in beliefs in the way the virus is conducted through the air and you have an additional problem. Children are going to schools that do not have proper and safe ventilation that takes care of aerosol transmission of the virus. Today, for the first time, our small rural school has children with covid! We have to get a grip on what conservative means in terms of both politics and healthcare.

    2. GramSci

      The ASHRAE Guidance doc (a PowerPoint show) does in fact note up front on slide 6 that

      COVID 19 is viable
      aerosolized for at
      least 3 hours

      but I can’t shell out $133 for the pdf to see if this is reflected in their “Ventilation Standard” …

    3. Huey Long

      I’m disappointed in ASHRAE here and won’t be renewing my membership despite my love of the food at the NYC’s bougie101 club where we met prior to COVID.

      The thing is though, the capital needed to retrofit existing structures to use more outside air would be MASSIVE as would the added energy inputs to condition that outside air. Damn near everything built post WWII is a hermetically sealed steel box covered in glass with an HVAC system designed for recirculating the same air over and over again with maybe 5-15% outside air being introduced.

      Many of these systems don’t have an air side economizer, meaning you couldn’t run 100% outside air even if you wanted too. The ones that have an economizer configuration can’t handle heating/cooling outside air because they were designed to take 80 or 60 degree return air and make it 72 degrees again. Taking 0 or 100 degree air and making it 72 is a non starter.

      You’d think ASHRAE would publish a standard that’d result in more work for its members retrofitting all of this old HVAC for better ventilation, but curiously they’re doubling down on droplets/surface transmission which is not the primary transmission means. Anybody have any insights into possible reasons why? I’m not seeing how this standard clicks with ASHRAE’s interests.

      1. steve

        Why? Fear of cost, liability for building owners, lack of qualified manpower and material shortages.
        The droplet BS isn’t taken seriously by anyone in the medical facility HVAC circles I travel, neither the Engineering or Medical side.

    4. chris

      That ASHRAE article is weird. Some of it flies in the face of the two white papers they’ve issued on airborne infectious diseases since February 2020, and dozens of articles they’ve issued in the monthly journal for members discussing airborne COVID. The slide deck linked to today also spends most of its time discussing different HEPA filter unit arrangements…which wouldn’t be necessary if the disease was droplet spread? I’ll ask some people in the organization who sit on the committees what happened. It doesn’t make sense to me now.

  13. DJG, Reality Czar

    The review of My Secret Brexit Diary.

    The article is worth reading because Powell admits to just about every mistake made by the English–and it was mainly the English who bumbled cretinously through Brexit, like some Monty Python skit gone wrong (or right?).

    The groundlings here at Naked Capitalism will note that Yves Smith took us through every weakness of the British position and explained why Barnier had the upper hand. It helps that Barnier seems to be considerably less absurd than the English politicos.

    Yet Powell, trapped in Anglo-American delusion, starts off being captious. Who cares about Barnier’s style? Who cares that the book isn’t really a diary?

    The last paragraphs on bathos and mutual loss are equally as obtuse. Powell thinks that he has acute powers of observation. I wouldn’t want him on my negotiating team.

    The English upper classes are incapable of learning, aren’t they?

    And now we see the same etiolated upper gentry thrashing around for a trade deal with the U S of A and hoping against hope that they can remain relevant with nuclear submarines and their own Opium War fantasies.

    And this!
    “As is always the case with him we rarely get into the substance of things,” [Barnier] writes about one subsequent encounter.

    That darn Barnier. Or was it Michael Palin who said that?

    1. Yves Smith

      There’s a great line from The Lives of Others that applies to pretty much everyone on the UK negotiating team:

      “To think that men like you once ran a country.”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese military plans for Taiwan hampered by second island chain”

    I was just looking at that map that shows those two island chains. I doubt that countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan will be happy about being in the first line of fire for far distant countries.

  15. Socal Rhino

    What struck me re the FDA was the reference to a dual mandate to protect public health and… Perhaps influenced by the use of the term with the Fed? Ensuring timely approval of innovative products should be a part of a single mandate to protect public health. That is done in multiple ways, but those ways are means to the single end. On the FDA web site approvals is listed among it’s primary responsibilities, as is combating terrorism (by protecting the food supply). But not as part of a dual mission or mandate.

  16. allan

    Fired-up Rachel Reeves takes her axe to Corbyn’s ‘magic money tree’ [Sunday Times]

    The once “boring” shadow chancellor has reinvented herself and claims Labour can again be trusted with your money

    … The shadow chancellor has been outlining her party’s plans to show that they are fiscally responsible. Has she chopped down the “magic money tree”, which seemed to govern Labour’s economic policy under Jeremy Corbyn? “I don’t believe there is a magic money tree,” she says, thankful to have been gifted a soundbite. “If you want to pay for things, you’ve got to explain where that money is going to come from.” …

    A message that will surely rally the troops.

  17. Fritzi

    Considering that swaying super luxury apartment ower, very nice when crapification comes home to roost on Billionaire’s Row.

    1. Tom Stone

      Millenium Tower in SF is a fine example of greed and stupidity.
      And it’s not the only highrise sitting on sand rather than anchored to bedrock in SF, there are dozens.
      If the light is right when the Hayward fault pops those glittering panes and shards of glass cascading to street level will be lovely.
      Just lovely.
      While they are falling.
      I wonder if the subsequent fires will melt it into interesting shapes…?

      1. Kyle

        You forget the swaying. On top floors, you or your bed, slides back and forth, before finally going out the window. It’s a long way down baby! Plenty of time to review the memories of your life before the splat.

    2. Huey Long

      I was almost hired to be the Chief Engineer at this place. The guy who edged me out for the job is a friend and described the place as a “horror show.” He only lasted a year, and from what I hear they have a hard time retaining quality maintenance & repair staff.

      Management’s lousy, the residents are lousy, the mechanical plant is quite complicated due to the height of the building, and there’s not much OT.

      Why work there if you can get a job in any of NYC’s hundreds of other hi-rises?

  18. jr

    ” On average, breakthrough infections seem to be briefer, milder, and less contagious. Among the fully immunized, catching the coronavirus doesn’t mean the same thing it did last year. “It’s a very different kind of infection than in people who are immunologically naive,” Lindsey Baden, an infectious-disease physician and COVID-19 vaccine researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told me.”

    Which coronavirus is Lindsey referring to? Aren’t there different flavors? Isn’t Mu already ignoring the vaccines? Lambda seems recalcitrant as well. Tell me I’m wrong!

    Oh wait, it doesn’t matter, my vaccination has expired anyway…

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/09/post-vaccination-covid/620140/

    1. Brian Beijer

      It’s interesting to see this idea being promoted in an English language publication. This same trend is showing up in the Swedish and Norwegian press. “Covid is now no more serious than the common cold or flu”. This sentiment, or theory, I’m not sure what you would call it, is in the press at the same time all restrictions are going away. No more social distancing; no more masking; no restrictions in public spaces; concerts, plays and sporting events are happening as before. Last week my workplace had their annual planning days- a two day conference where all 40 of us were packed into a poorly ventilated room for 8 hours each day. Of course, no one was wearing maks- that marks you as a conspiracy theorist. My boss excitedly told us the pandemic would be declared over by the end of October and that she has heard that soon the government will take away the advice to stay home if you are sick with Covid. Basically, treating it like the cold.

      It’s all so bizarre to me. At this point, I know I’m being passively forced to take the mrna vaccine even though I would prefer to wait for Novavax. We’re not given AZ or J&J as an option here. Novavax apparently won’t be on the market here until 2022 or 2023 though. I’m not sure I would live long enough to get it if I don’t vaccinate myself soon. I’m 51 years old and I’m really not looking forward to taking an annual booster for the rest of my life. I feel sorry for these young kids who will be taking 50-60 boosters in their lifetimes. As Lambert says, “Rule #1: Because markets”. Of course, Rule #2 applies to anyone that doesn’t follow the 1st rule.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > My boss excitedly told us the pandemic would be declared over by the end of October and that she has heard that soon the government will take away the advice to stay home if you are sick with Covid. Basically, treating it like the cold.

        If the CDC models are right, and a decline like last January’s, that nobody understands, happens again, your boss could turn out to be right, along with the press, which seems (again) to have shifted into triumphalism again (though not to the extent of “hot vax summer,” thank God.) But neither the CDC, the press, nor your boss will have shifted over into triumphalism by any reasoned process I can understand. Our World ranking for “full” vaccination shows that we are at 54%, just below Hong Kong, just above Switzerland. We’re #40! We’re #40!

        We just don’t know. And all our data is bad.

        1. Sy Krass

          What do you mean a decline no one understands? Why has everyone lost their minds to the point where no one can use simple logic? The curve went up exponentially, it went down exponentially. The “universe” of people that could be infected was X because of masking distance lock down vaccination, etc. Why is everyone trying to reinvent the wheel looking for a giant Rube Goldberg contraption to do the obvious – get vaccinated, start there and then philosophize. The only people who really should not get vaccinated are people who have a history of reacting to vaccinations.

          1. Yves Smith

            Wowsers. This is a remarkably ignorant comment. And you are already in moderation for previous site policy violations.

            Our overarching rule:

            You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

            -Harlan Ellison

            Have you managed to read so little about Covid as to have not found out that immunity either from getting the infection or getting a shot goes not confer lasting immunity, and that is why heavily vaccinated Israel is in the midst of a new wave of infection? That getting a shot does not prevent getting an asymptomatic case, particularly since the jabbed have been encouraged to behave recklessly, and transmitting Covid? To the extent getting a shot reduces transmission, it is so minor (at best 10% with the highly contagious Delta) as to significantly if not more than offset by lax behavior.

            1. Basil Pesto

              not to be captious (h/t DJG upthread for the vocab booster) because I agree with what you’re saying but I thought that that 10% figure spoke to the reduction in viral load in the vaccinated rather than transmissibility as a whole per se. As far as any possible reduction in transmissibility goes, I seem to remember reading that infection in the vaccinated has a reduced period of transmissibility, or some such? On the other hand, as you say, reckless behaviour in the vaccinated encouraged by health leadership and messaging takes things too far in the other direction. Not only that, but the virus’ ‘asymptomatic transmission’ superpower makes things even more perilous. Given the social factors it seems like the transmissibility of the vaccinated will, like R0, vary from region to region based on community behaviours. I’d like to see a clearer empirical picture of transmissibility in the vaccinated but I’m not sure we’re going to get one, and research to that effect is likely to he compromised in some way by cognitive biases. In the meantime though, I’m definitely not going to be assuming the best case scenario as far as vaccine transmissibility goes.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The curve went up exponentially, it went down exponentially

            So we’re agreed! Nobody understands it. Understanding — hear me out — is not the same as handwaving.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Sorry to hear the position that you are being put in. You make it sound like being a sort of lab-rat. But what I find most unforgivable is how the elementary precaution of wearing a mask against a virus spread by aerosols is being taken away from you as marking you as a conspiracy theorist. Forcing a person come to work while being infectious is just borderline lunacy. Try to take care of yourself.

        1. Brian Beijer

          Thanks Rev. The rule that one can come to work while sick (as long as one feels well enough to work) hasn’t been applied yet. It is what my boss has heard will be changing soon. As of right now, we’re still expected to stay home if we feel sick. Ironically, she informed us that the rule still applies as of this week over the coughs ans sneezes of half the employees in attendance. Of course, nothing was said to them.
          At this point in time, wearing a mask in Sweden marks one as a conspiracy theorist because of several factors. One, Anders Tegnell and FHM (our CDC) have never advocated for wearing masks. In fact, they both highly discouraged mask wearing for the longest time. Toward the end of 2020, they grudgingly became silent about people wearing masks, so I would say that they took a “neutral” position while implying they were unnecessary. Second, Tegnell and FHM still to this day do not acknowledge that the Corona virus is an aerosol. Nope. According to them, it is only spread by droplets and on surfaces. Therefore, we’re still encouraged to wash our hands regularly to not get infected. Finally, the time limited non-steralizing immunity of the vaccines has never been directly addressed by the government. They are offering boosters for the elderly and immunocompromised. But, for the rest they advise that it’s no big deal if one gets Covid after vaccination. It will be like a cold, and boost your immunity even further. So, it’s a good thing! They’re still doggedly attempting to acheive herd immunity, if you ask me. They want to prove to the world that they weren’t wrong. So, to your point, by wearing a mask one signifies that one doesn’t trust the government. In Sweden, expressing distrust in the government is comparable to shouting that one doesn’t believe in Jesus while in church. It just doesn’t happen. That’s how the government here has gotten away with so much more shit than even the US has domestically without anyone voicing dissent. These are just my thoughts and opinions about the reasons about what is going on here. They’re informed by my reading the news daily and my first hand experience of being “a stranger in a strange land”. Sorry that I’m responding to your comment so late. I hope you notice it by chance. Thanks again for your kind words.

    2. IM Doc

      I have dozens of patients who would be very happy to compare notes with Dr. Baden.

      I am wondering what they would think of having their cases described as being mild.

      I am not sure these people like Dr. Baden are actually taking care of patients.

      The vaccinated do seem to MOSTLY avoid critical outcomes. But oh do they ever get sick. Just as sick as all other patients this past 18 months.

      1. clarky90

        The Testimonies are spoken in Hebrew, with English subtitles

        https://rumble.com/vmpbh3-38132823.html

        The Testimonies Project was created to provide a platform for all those who were affected after getting the covid-19 vaccines, and to make sure their voices are heard, since they are not heard in the Israeli media.

        We hope this project will encourage more and more people to tell their story.”

      2. jr

        Thanks as always for your perspective, Doc. It’s not as bad here as BB describes his situation but people are to the point where my double masks get some very odd looks. Some guy was a second away from making a comment to me in a store the other day. A lot of people still mask indoors but a lot don’t and it’s sloppy protocol all around. The second some talking head says COVID has been cancelled it’s going to be a free for all.

        And this is still only Delta people are half-a$$ing. I don’t even know if Mu and Lambda are on their radar. What happens if we get off lightly as Lambert indicates, we drop our trousers, and then Lambda and Mu hit? I do know there was an enormous block party yesterday around the way, complete with live music. Ran about eight hours.

        1. Objective Ace

          Mu has been around essentially the same duration as Delta. I’m not convinced it will come to dominate since the vaccines are so leaky. If it would, you would expect it to have been accelerating faster than Delta at some point. Only time will tell I suppose

    3. Jason Boxman

      It would be interesting to see x-rays or lung function tests for these mild and asymptomatic cases. But we don’t do that sort of thing in the United States.

      I guess we’ll find out in the coming months and years, whether there is any subtle damage or how common long-COVID is among the vaccinated. Too bad the CDC doesn’t care to collect much in the way of data.

  19. jr

    Masters of the Metaverse!!: Virtual Chickens for a virtual universe!!

    “This 3D-Printed Chicken Breast Was Cooked With Frickin’ Lasers”

    https://www.wired.com/story/3d-printed-chicken-breast-cooked-with-lasers/

    Wow, lasers! Leave it to the cyborgs at WIRED to wreck their dainty’s over laser-fried cyberchicken! And if you criticize the State, the dishwasher will rat you on you and the lasers will burn your eyes out! But not to worry, you can get implants to play Fortnite with….on subscription of course. Platinum memberships get to use them beyond a three block radius from your sleep-work-cube!

  20. ambrit

    Just throwing this in here as an example of the Manufactured Zeitgeist.
    A Nextdoor reply from a mailperson:
    “Neighbors. I’m a USPS letter carrier. I apologize and am embarrassed by the poor service we occasionally receive, for which there is no excuse. Our mail was once processed and sorted in Hattiesburg. Then this operation was done in Gulfport. Now such operations are in Mobile – as of a couple weeks ago. I think this may have something to do with it. Again, no excuse. Also, we are short-staffed at the post office. This in itself has an effect on operations. Yet another explanation is management these days is often woefully inexperienced. Today we often have management that has little or no experience at the post office. So, I am sorry to say, the deterioration in service is not in your imagination. I’ve been at the post office 27 years and never seen such poor operations. Again, I am sorry, but felt you deserve an explanation.”
    It’s getting to be diseased, leprous turtles all the way down.

    1. flora

      I’m starting to wonder if our “great leaders” are trying to create Chaos. (Where’s Maxwell Smart when ya need him. ;) )

  21. BeliTsari

    We did our own research, right as I couldn’t smell, my sinusitis; my partner’s cough & our 02 levels dropping. Ask yourself: exactly WHAT did CDC, state or local health departments, kleptocrats or media get RIGHT. (We’d had to bypass virtually all the utter falsehood, Google SEO’d terrified victims. But Chinese, then other east Asian, a few Iranian, then Italian, finally NYC area clinicians, epidemiologists & of course totally exposed nurses, virologists, first responders’ tweets included MANY astute observations (a few guesses proved wrong; but the exact same people were right, over and over again (with curiosity as their underlying agenda). We never had a fever, it was aerosol, indoors, not fomite, we’d been using Quercetin, bromaline, C, D3, zinc, NRPT & nitric-oxide precursors, and a phyto-polyphenol rich diet; but circulatory & blood-oxygen issues were as predicted in Dec. Each and everything CNN (Cuomo, Trump & de Blasio) simply LIED about to fork “essential workers” to lethal, 1099 gigs, infecting loved-ones, coworkers, commuters; we’d found pretty damn accurate information, by mid April? Being surrounded by VERY affluent marks, with advanced degrees; sneeringly oblivious & speciously gullible; denial about sacrificing poor, mostly Black, LatinX, refugee gig workers, to fatten their disruptive NASDAQ portfolios, as they tried-out InstaPots, Gelato freezers, $320 coffee pots & Peloton machines dragged through terrifying, icy, ambulance jammed streets, really was like living in a bad 1970s disaster film. NY1’s smiling morons’ happy news on April 6, 2020 came right before our phones, tablet, pc alarms went off simultaneously; calling all medical professionals to report to the nearest medical center, at once.

  22. dday

    Re China as a declining power.

    China’s defense budget is $209 billion, so with a population of 1.450 billion, that means a cost of $144 per citizen. The US defense budget is $703 billion, so with a population of 333 million, that is a cost of $2,111 per citizen. I would argue that the Chinese military is well positioned to achieve its national goals at a per capita cost of 15% of the US.

    This article from Forbes projects that China will have double the US in STEM Ph.D’s by 2025.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/08/07/us-universities-fall-behind-china-in-production-of-stem-phds/?sh=42784ec46067

    China is using diplomacy and infrastructure to partner with countries around the world. China does not seem to be a declining power on several metrics.

  23. Jason Boxman

    When monsters fight. This Lab Charges $380 for a Covid Test. Is That What Congress Had in Mind?

    GS Labs is owned by City+Ventures, a real estate and investment firm. It started its first testing site last October and, at its peak, operated 30 locations across the country.

    “They try to paint us in a bad light when they’re the ones not following federal law,” said Kirk Thompson, another GS Labs partner. “Insurers have made a decision to ignore their obligations or justify not following the CARES Act.”

    Insurers describe the interactions differently. They say they are doing their best, within the bounds of federal law, to protect patients from unnecessary high fees that will ultimately drive up premiums.

    We’re the insurance company, and we’re here to help…?

  24. Jason Boxman

    Still. Gettin’. It. Wrong. The vaccines are not sterilizing. (COVID vaccines for younger kids could be the secret to ending the U.S. pandemic)

    Part of the equation is epidemiological. Any time you open vaccine eligibility to a new group of people, you get one step closer to reaching the sort of population-wide immunity threshold that makes it hard for the virus to find new hosts. Right now, 75 percent of all eligible Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, but among all Americans that figure is about 10 points lower. To push it closer to 80 percent, younger kids need to get vaccinated en masse.

    “We know that children can be vectors for spreading COVID to other individuals,” Wen explains. “This is something that very much affects people in their families as well as in the surrounding community — being able to contain or to prevent children from further spreading to others. It would be very difficult for us to reach herd immunity without children also getting vaccinated.”

    This fantasy that if enough people are vaccinated, we’re somehow done with the pandemic, is apparently a tough horse to stop riding hard. I guess at some point this means Biden will again declare victory and all future public health mitigations of any kind will cease, as immunity wanes in vaccinated individuals and variants continue to spread to the United States via unrestricted air travel. This must be aggressive pursuit of the endemic-endpoint.

    Wow, I should have kept reading, because now there is no doubt, it is stated in the open directly:

    The other part of the equation is ethical. At some point — perhaps when the Delta wave has finally burned itself out — the vast, vaccinated majority of U.S. adults will have to accept that their unvaccinated counterparts have decided to acquire immunity the hard way (and risk suffering or even death in the process).

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Wow.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the vast, vaccinated majority of U.S. adults will have to accept that their unvaccinated counterparts have decided to acquire immunity the hard way

      What a shame, all the deplorables will get the deaths they so richly deserve.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, but that liberal Democrats think this is sadly old news. I remember the crows from liberals after Trump was elected that once ObamaCare was repeated, they’re gonna get what they have coming. I think a post on dKos was linked here about that or referenced.

      2. jwillie

        So I deserve death, given my choice to pass on a medicine that offers no prevention from infection, a decent chance that it provides some temporary diminution of symptoms, but also presents a small risk of adverse consequences, unknown risk of long term consequences, and unknown risk from the requirement for recurring administration to maintain any symptom protection. Point #! – it doesn’t protect me from infection, or preclude me from infecting anyone else should I become infected.

        Why is it that I should take this medicine or deserve to die?

    2. Cuibono

      anytime someone brings up herd immunity at this point int time you should know better than to read no further

      1. Jason Boxman

        True, but I like to keep up with what the conventional wisdom is regarding the pandemic so I know just how cautious I need to be.

        The article also linked to a post at the Atlantic, which I thought used to have good Corona virus coverage, playing with statistical concepts to show that the vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus than the unvaccinated. It was a cute way of side stepping the critically important fact that, while the overall proportion of vaccinated people spreading the virus might be less, it says nothing about how infectious a vaccinated person might be during a breakthrough infection. And this seems to be a critical point in shaping competent public policy on this.

        But the gist of it was, vaccinated people (as a whole) are less likely to spread than unvaccinated and shame on you for thinking otherwise.

        Ugh.

        It seems people of all stripes must hate the thought of masking wearing as a valid, ongoing mitigation to this pandemic, and future ones. (See CDC on not needing to mask once vaccinated.) How short sighted a society this is.

  25. jr

    Re: overprotecting gun manufacturers

    I didn’t read past the excerpt but how is it that Zaid Jilani only mentioned gun control in the context of a gun control group that says school shooting trainings might not work? No space for….gun control? Is that overprotective too? Not letting kids get AR-15s?

    “the drills can serve as a training ground for would-be mass murderers.”

    Not if they aren’t armed with guns designed for mass murdering. I have no doubt the drills are over the top but seriously, not one mention? All those lawmakers scrambling to normalize mass shootings didn’t have a moment to talk about gun control?

    “Every life’s sacred, so why shouldn’t schools do everything they can to protect every child?”

    Yeah? Why can’t they Zaid?

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, it is hard to commit mass murder as an individual without a tool that allows efficient, rapid killing. And large magazines combined with a long rifle is such a great tool for this, we keep seeing.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” ASHRAE Publishes Updated Ventilation Standard for Health Care Facilities Engineering News Record. From ASHRAE “guidance” (PDF):

    Virus Most Commonly Spread Through Droplets – Contact Exposures
    Aerosolized Virus Is a Limited but Possible Vector of Transmission*
    Recognize That Virus May Be Aerosolized During Toilet Flush ”

    really? after all this time . . . aerosolized virus is only a ” Limited but Possible Vector of Transmission*” ?

    Is ASHRAE part of the conspiracy to spread coronavid virus to every single person on earth?

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Many believe AUKUS is a concrete example of this state capture. Many in China believe the US can only pursue strategic interests that serve entrenched interests such as the military-industrial complex and foreign policy establishment.”

    Many in China would be correct. And are.

    It would take something resembling a “civil war” at least in spirit to crush and destroy the foreign policy establishment and shrink the Mil-Ind Complex small enough to where we could drown it in the bathtub and to where they know we will do it if they do not behave.

  28. jr

    Katie Halper show presents Jemima Pierre, a Haitian-American scholar laying down truth about the roots and extent of the border crisis:

    https://youtu.be/VsEtQsNjGcE

    Thanks Obama! Apparently Barack began the “metering” process, forming an intentional bottleneck in Mexico by limiting the numbers allowed in at a time….oh, and there are a bunch of Haitian refugees in Tijuana as well, for years!

  29. The Rev Kev

    “These four words are helping spread vaccine misinformation CNN. “Do your own research.”

    ‘Perhaps instead of imposing censorship, we could — hear me out — focus on increasing critical thinking skills?’

    That would be the last thing wanted. Since the pandemic broke out, people have started to use those critical thinking skills and realized that their jobs suck big time. And now we have the Great Resignation as a result. If people really developed those skills, they might begin to wonder about other stuff. Like why are there only two main political parties. Why trillions can be given to the wealthy and corporations with only crumbs for the little guy. If there is an alternative to capitalism. Why the MSM is such garbage – especially CNN. No, they do not definitely want to go there. That is why they keep it out of the school curriculum and just go with rote learning & constant testing instead.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      There is something else happening more than before, I think. And that is that as more Americans accept the fact that the various Elites have put super-glue into most of the keyholes that might allow a way in to the American political system, more Americans will do para-politics, like this among other ways . . .
      https://www.reddit.com/r/byebyejob/comments/pvyti7/fedex_employee_outing_himself/

      Now , if this same “bearded guy spirit” could be transferred to a hundred million people doing what personal conservation-living they can, but in such a way as to target and destroy certain anti-conservation companies and industries, that would also be doing direct politics in the current situation where electoral and protest politics has been rendered somewhat performative and ineffectual.

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