Links 9/29/2021

See where birds are migrating in real time, in one map Vox (resilc)

Desalination can make saltwater drinkable — but it won’t solve the U.S. water crisis Washington Post (resilc)

The country that makes breakfast for the world is plagued by fire, frost, and drought Bloomberg (fk)

Fertilizer Prices Soar Near 2008 Highs on Supply Shocks, Concerns Sprout Over Sourcing Enough for 2022 U.S. Corn Acres AgWeb. Troy P adds:

If you look at the drought monitor map the drought conditions keep expanding to the east and are now in major corn and soybean growing states. Since they are in a moisture deficit now they will need a wet fall and winter to replenish topsoil moisture for next spring planting. If they are still in drought next spring and there are fertilizer supply shocks things could get real ugly for the cost of food next year.

Physicists may have cracked the case of “Zen” stones balanced on ice pedestals ars technica (David L)

Canary Island Landslides and Potential Megatsunami Penn State (Chuck L)

People under 40 will experience ‘unprecedented life’ of climate change disasters, study says USA Today (David L)

Green growth’ doesn’t exist – less of everything is the only way to avert catastrophe Guardian (David L). As we have been saying…

Air Pollution Likely Cause of Up To 6 Million Premature Births, Study Finds Guardian

Alzheimer’s: ‘Breakthrough’ study finds likely cause Medical News

Is Aerobic Exercise the Key to Successful Aging? New York Times. My mother is 93 and describes herself as the original couch potato. Her exercise before she refused to get cataract surgery was reading a book a day plus doing crossword puzzles and solitaire. She recently had a “perfect” EKG, has great bloodwork, and is on all of one prescription med. My great uncle, on the other side of the family, looked like he was in his late 50s when I last saw him, at 88, and if anything moved better than that. He weight trained in the form of hauling lobsters half a day every day without a winch.



Seven symptoms jointly predict COVID-19 diagnosis MedicalXPress

Viral replication in human macrophages enhances an inflammatory cascade and interferon driven chronic COVID-19 in humanized mice. MedRxIv (guurst). Preprint.

Covid-19 Surpasses 1918 Flu to Become Deadliest Pandemic in American History Smithsonian (UserFriendly)


An NBA Star and New York’s Governor Show That Liberal COVID Discourse is Devoid of Science Glenn Greenwald

Safety Monitoring of an Additional Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, August 12–September 19, 2021 CDC. Can’t believe this is treated as serious data. This is only a bit better than an internet poll. V-Safe is vastly inferior to proper clinical trial reporting.

Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids May Not Be FDA Authorized Before November Wall Street Journal. Even if you believed in vaccinating children with a not-terribly-well-tested vaccine that does not reduce transmission much/at all (the main reason for vaccinating children!), Pfizer is the least effective of the three vaccines used in the US v. Delta.

What if getting a kids’ vaccine approved is the easy part? Wired

North Carolina hospitals group has sacked employees who refused vaccines Guardian

Getting A Religious Exemption To A Vaccine Mandate May Not Be Easy. Here’s Why NPR

South Carolina Ban on Mask Mandates Blocked by Federal Judge Bloomberg


The Pandemic and Capitalism Democracy Journal. Chuck L: “Don’t miss JG’s general comments near the end.”

In-person Zoom is the new norm for many workers returning to the office Washington Post


Power shortages in China hit homes and factories prompting global supply fears Guardian

Beijing is working behind the scenes to pull Evergrande out of danger, urging state-owned firms to buy the property developer’s assets Business Insider

Exclusive-U.S. has reached out to China about cutting oil imports from Iran, officials say Reuters (Kevin W). Do these officials have rocks in their heads?


So long, and merci for all the fish: New ‘Cod War’ brews as three in four small French boats are turned down for post-Brexit fishing licences Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

How serious is the shortage of lorry drivers? BBC

Trade unions blocked democracy for the UK yesterday Richard Murphy

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Met With Chelsea Clinton to Discuss Vaccine Equity Vanity Fair (J-LS). Kill me now.

Présidentielle 2022 : Macron en tête à 23% des intentions de vote, Le Pen recule à 16%, Zemmour rattrape Mélenchon à 13%, selon un sondage FranceTVInfo (Colonel Smithers)


The Monsoon Usually Withdraws in September – But Not So in the Last Three Years The Wire Science (J-LS)

William Jones and the consequences of Orientalism Scroll (J-LS)

The desperate cry of Ayahualtempa, the little town in Mexico that arms its children Zyri (resilc)

New Cold War


America is highly vulnerable to a missile attack Asia Times (Kevin W)


Five takeaways from the Senate’s hearing on Afghanistan The Hill

Afghanistan: Biden advised to keep 2,500 troops – generals BBC

Israeli Diplomat Pressured UNC to Remove Teacher Who Criticized Israel Intercept (Chuck L)

UAE moves and shakes in anticipation of US withdrawal Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Leaked Documents Show How Amazon’s Astro Robot Tracks Everything You Do Vice

Imperial Collapse Watch

A prisoner of conscience – Lt Col Stuart Scheller USMC Turcopolier (Chuck L)


Biden opposes changing Senate rules to raise debt limit Politico (Kevin W). Coward. There will never be a better excuse. Or else he does not have the votes.

Yellen Warns Congress that Debt Limit Must by Raised by Oct. 18 New York Times (furzy)

Left warns Pelosi they’ll take down Biden infrastructure bill The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

I don’t have a benchmark. Perhaps I should ask Mark Ames:

The Wall Street Journal Just Dropped a Bomb on the Federal Judiciary Esquire (David L)

NY Bankruptcy Judge Who Oversaw Purdue Ch. 11 Will Retire Health Law360

Facebook Efforts to Attract Preteens Go Beyond What Is Publicly Known, Documents Show Wall Street Journal

Electric car drivers suffocating on own smugness Daily Mash

Tesla sued by Texas cops after a Model X on Autopilot slammed into five officers The Verge (Kevin W)

Wells Fargo Swapped Some Digits Matt Levine, Bloomberg. Count on Wells to steal more egregiously than its competitors.

California treasurer often shared hotel rooms with employees SFGate (Jospeh R)

California’s largest pension system wants to make more private-equity bets and has big hiring plans to do it Business Insider

Investor Alert: The Gamification of DIY Smartphone Investing Apps Arizona Corporation Commission (Glenn F). When the state of casinos and brothels is worried…..

Swiss markets watchdog approves first crypto assets fund Reuters

Guest Contribution: “El Salvador exemplifies the surrealism of cryptocurrencies” Econobrowser

Guillotine Watch

Is this the boat Batman would sail? Yachting World (guurst)

Class Warfare

Most of Europe fails to guarantee access to abortion care openDemocracy

Antidote du jour (Bob H): Betsy and Tippy (in Maine?)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. voteforno6

    Re: “Prisoner of Conscience”

    This particular officer has only himself to blame for his situation. His initial statement got him relieved of command, rightfully, and I think he understood that could happen. After all, I highly doubt that he would’ve tolerated one of his own subordinates making statements such as that about him. Then he went on to compound his mistake by directly violating orders, and making some rather outlandish statements. This is someone who has clearly demonstrated that he should not be in charge of anything. Regardless of the merit of his statements regarding senior military leadership, this is not someone that can be trusted to be in a position of responsibility such as he had.

        1. Anthony Stegman

          Not even close to being accurate. The word treason has been bandied about as often as the word terrorist. The use of both words has been incorrect far more often than it has been correct.

          1. John

            The way in which the word treason is bandied about causes one to suspect that it is a synonym for “something I do not like and you are evil for saying it.”

            For the Marine officer to be facing a psychiatric examination called to mind the practice in the USSR of confining dissenters in mental hospitals.

            We have come to a pretty pass.

          2. Michael Ismoe

            Treason – the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.

            So where was I wrong?

            1. ex-PFC Chuck

              The Sec Def had contacted his counterpart prior to Milley’s first call. I’ll try to find the ref where I saw this; it appeared credible when I saw it last week.

            2. Procopius

              The Constitution restricts the definition of treason to “levying war against the United States or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Some people argue that “enemies” is any adversary or competitor, but I think the initial clause makes “levying war” the key element, so if we are not at war there can be no treason. Since the founding of the Republic only about 40 people have even been tried for the crime. I’m surprised so many people have no understanding of the word’s meaning.

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              Here is the U. S. Constitution saying what shall be considered legally defined Treason under the Constitution.

              Section 3
              Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

              To the extent that your ad hoc personal definition of what “treason” feels like to you differs from the text of the Constitutional definition of Treason, to just that extent you are wrong.

          3. Aumua

            I distrust anyone who uses the word treason as a serious accusation in any context, as a matter of principle.

    1. tegnost

      Regardless of the merit of his statements regarding senior military leadership, this is not someone that can be trusted to be in a position of responsibility such as he had.

      How can we have a neoliberal paradise if all these people refuse to shut up and get in line?

      1. David

        I don’t think there’s a single country in the world where it’s considered acceptable for junior officers (or even senior ones) to publicly criticise their leadership. Nor should there be.

        1. Andrew Watts

          It wasn’t his first video criticizing military leadership that got him into trouble. It was the second one after he was ordered to stop posting on social media. In that video he made some vague threats directed at his superior officers.

          “At several points in the video, Scheller also intimates that he has plans for senior officers in the military, using threatening language.

          “When I am done with what I’m about to do, you all are going to need the jobs and the security,” Scheller said in his second video.” –

        2. Tom Bradford

          Principle IV of the ” Nuremberg Principles” promulgated in 1950 declares:

          “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

          This is often redefined to state that one has a duty not to obey an order that would amount to a contravention of international law. If General Milley genuinely believed an order given him by his superior was not justified under International Law he was duty-bound not to obey it. Similarly although I haven’t read the article referred to above, its headline – prisoner of conscience – suggests that the officer concerned ‘fell foul’ of Article IV in the dilemma it sets up.

          The ‘Nuremberg Convention’, of course, was designed for a different world in which conventional, uniformed armies faced each other in the open. It was also retrospectively created to remove the ‘only obeying orders’ defence of those involved in the ‘Final Solution’ in that the latter had no military or ‘national defence’ rationale whatever unlike (arguably) the fire-bombing of cities discussed here yesterday. Moreover the question of whose morals are we talking about is highly relevant yet goes undefined – it becomes inevitably those of the victors, of course.

          The impossibility of reconciling Article IV with ‘warfare’ today is obvious. Do you target a missile at a car that might contain a civilian family rather than a bomb? What lever of certainty that it’s the latter rather than the former is morally permissible before pressing the trigger? If you believe your superiors have broken international law do you have a moral duty not to obey an order to keep schtum about it? How can anybody know who hasn’t faced the reality?

      2. Isaac

        The Uniform Code of Military Justice is much more severe and restrictive than civilian law, as all officers know when they sign up to be bound by it.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      His lawyer appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night and said that Scheller is sitting in jail, under a gag order, and with no formal charges against him.

      Maybe they can get Sweden to charge him with rape so they can keep him behind bars and quiet. For years. To protect our sacred democracy.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Sorry, not cynical enough. The plan is to infect him with Covid and publicize his protracted decline and eventual death. They’ll stop short of hanging his body from a crane in the public square, but the message will be made nonetheless.

      2. Zephyrum

        Scheller is just another example of the transformation of our democracy. The soviet version is well described here.

        That same night, the director of the paper factory was arrested and sent to prison for ten years. Authorities came up with some official reason for his sentence, but during his interrogation, he was told: “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding!”

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Marines have zero tolerance for officers breaking the chain of command, for whatever reason.

      They have their reasons for that of course: elite formations must often ask good people to throw their troops’ lives away without hesitation in pursuit of the mission. Needs of the many, all that.

      But when such people get used as bandaids to patch over institutional incompetence and fecklessness, well that’s when the legions about face and start marching towards Rome.

      Napoleon said that so long as he could hear his veteran grognards grumbling, discipline was still good; it was when they fell silent that was the sign of danger. The Ottoman janizeri used to flip over their pilav pot to signal discontent; the next step involved beheadings.

      Captain Royer said he had taken photographs of the Humvees in which his men had died to show to any official who asked about the condition of their armor, but that no one had ever inquired.

      Lieutenant Sean Schickel said he remembered Royer’s breaking the chain of command a meeting to ask a high-ranking Marine Corps visitor [Mattis] whether the company would be getting fully armored Humvees. He was told they had not been requested and that there were production constraints, Schickel said.

      Six days before Company E began leaving Iraq, Royer was relieved of command. General Mattis and Colonel Kennedy declined to discuss the matter. His first fitness report, issued on May 31, 2004, after the company’s deadliest firefights, concluded, “He has single-handedly reshaped a company in sore need of a leader; succeeded in forming a cohesive fighting force that is battle-tested and worthy.”

      The second, on Sept. 1, 2004, gave him opposite marks for leadership…. Royer’s defenders say he drove his troops as hard as he drove himself, but was wrongly blamed for problems like armor that he could not solve. “Captain Royer was a decent man that was used for a dirty job and thrown away by his chain of command,” Sheldon said.

      Today, Captain Royer is at Camp Pendleton contesting his fitness report, which could force him to retire.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Enough spreading knowledge of things like this might well reduce the number of people volunteering to join the armed forces.

      2. Procopius

        Minor quibble: If he’s a Captain (in the land forces) he hasn’t served long enough to retire. Retire is what Generals do. Captains either resign or are terminated. If you make Major you will be able to stay on active duty at least 20 years. It’s been a long time, but I think I remember that if a Captain is not promoted in two successive promotion cycles he can serve no more than fifteen.

  2. disc_writes

    I wonder if Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Chelsea Clinton realize that, every time they appear in the media with some feel-good message, they cause the ranks of the Deplorables to swell.

    Enlightened plutarchy, makes me puke.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I can’t imagine why anyone would read a sentence that starts with the words, “Meghan Markle said today…”

      1. Bart Hansen

        Pity the poor aides who after the meeting had to throw open the windows to relieve the smell of sulphur in the room.

      2. chuck roast

        Hear him, hear him!

        Hitting a home run is easy. You can trot around the bases. Hitting a triple may be the hardest thing in baseball. You have to really hustle to get to third base. Being born on third base? That’s the lowest form of cheating.

    2. russell1200

      The ” Kill me now” was never more deserving LOL :

      Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Met With Chelsea Clinton to Discuss Vaccine Equity Vanity Fair (J-LS). Kill me now.

      1. disc_writes

        At first I missed the additional sarcasm implicit in the title of the magazine – vanity fair indeed.

    3. METx

      They speak but say nothing. The public is tired of these elevated individuals who are treated like paragons by the media, but only seem to have “conversations”

    4. Pelham

      Good point. I find myself wondering what type of person would tune in to the pronouncements of these three. I can’t quite imagine. I know plenty of liberal types — maybe the target audience — who laugh these characters off. Deplorables and the deplorable-adjacent obviously aren’t paying attention. So who then? I understand that prince and wife sell tabloids, but that has to do with scandal and bitter divisions among the royals, not their thoughts on vaccine “equity.”

  3. Wukchumni

    Canary Island Landslides and Potential Megatsunami Penn State
    My mom was born in Bellevue, Ab. about 20 years after the nearby Frank Slide did its thing in 1903. More of a localized disaster-a megaslide with no potential worldwide ramifications such as the Canary Island in a coal mine.

    The Frank Slide is more of a metaphor for financial markets…

    The Frank Slide was a massive rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank in the District of Alberta of the North-West Territories, Canada, at 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903. Around 110 million tonnes (120 million short tons) of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain. Witnesses reported that within 100 seconds the rock reached up the opposing hills, obliterating the eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line and the coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom remain buried in the rubble. Multiple factors led to the slide: Turtle Mountain’s formation left it in a constant state of instability. Coal mining operations may have weakened the mountain’s internal structure, as did a wet winter and cold snap on the night of the disaster.

      1. Michael

        Went there a few years back. Very mountainous. Great cheese in Piave.

        Ignorance of local knowledge played a large part too.

        1. BillS

          Every valley has its special way to make cheese. I am very fond of the aged cheeses from the area (Agordino, Val di Zoldo, Val Sugana).

          Yes, ignorance – born out of a political arrogance that defined the Democristiani of that era. Also, during the Second World War, many of the mountain areas harbored antifascist partisans – many communist. In fact, many old partisans from all over Italy returned to help with the rescue/recovery efforts after the disaster. This history was not lost on the DC politicians who called the disaster “an act of god’s love” rather than a folly created by human beings.

    1. Ignacio

      So far a large landslide looks unlikely. Lava has just reached the ocean and is building there something that might get large and could possibly collapse. Hopefully not large enough for a megatsunami. I am crossing fingers because whatever happens could be damaging nearby.

    1. griffen

      The boat looked very cool but I’m not up to speed as it were on design vs necessity on a sea-faring vessel. To the small car, does it come in black? Ok perhaps not for even a mini me version of a very expensive vehicle. Can’t the rich parents just buy a pony?

      I foresee quite the 2nd hand market for the little version of that Aston Martin. A certified pre-owned can be yours for $75,000! Or golf cart conversions for use on the country estates.

    2. Maritimer

      Multihulls (trimarans and catamarans) were popularized in the Western world by amateur sailors who built their own boats. Some of these were US soldiers returning from Polynesia where they had seen native multihull craft in action. Polynesian naval design is radically conceptually different than Western design. Most of these amateur builders had little money so devised building techniques and used marine equipment suited to their skimpy budgets.

      Initially, the traditional, stuffy monohull sailors of the West ridiculed multihulls. But eventually they caught on and became popular. And, like most good and pure things, multihulls were taken over by the promoters and the wealthy and little resemble the original craft. Another good thing gone to the Dark Side.

      Arthur Piver was an original trimaran builder and promoter:

      And for a stunning nautical tale see Donald Crowhurst

      Crowhurst went mad at sea in a trimaran while sailing in a round the world race. He falsified his positions as he went as they were sent in by short wave radio. A real tale of ambition gone bad. Book and film.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Electric car drivers suffocating on own smugness Daily Mash

    I have a friend in London, a fairly wealthy single mom who daily updates me on her life by text (due to boredom I guess). She asked me this morning for advice on buying an EV to replace her very large SUV. She is not, to put it mildly, an environmentalist, so I was a little surprised. She told me that all the wealthy school moms are talking about getting EV’s as they are terrified that petrol shortages will mean they won’t have any means to get their little dears to school in the winter. She wants to buy one quickly before they sell out in the rush.

    Every cloud I guess….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The only people I know who act all superior about driving hybrids are the taxi drivers around my way, they love them, they save them so much money (or so they repeatedly told me back in the pre-covid days I’d take an occasional taxi).

    1. Ignacio

      Tell her about the beauty and practicality of SMALL cars. Everybody is in the game of buying the largest macho vehicle without need. We have downsized and are very happy about it.

      1. Mildred Montana

        FWIW: Two years ago my mechanic brother, who researches his major purchases very, very, very carefully, bought a Chevy Spark EV. Thus far he’s happy with it, so I consider that a recommendation from a reliable source.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      I know 3 people with Teslas in Reno, where they are unusually common due to the impact of the battery factory. Two are older women. One bought hers with part of modest inheritance from her late (ex) husband. The second retired recently from the county school system and used personal savings. The third is only 21, but has a good full time job with the National Guard, lives at home, and has a note she can handle with ease.

      All bought the Model 3. None are wealthy. All are female. None are smug. The youngest is solidly Republican, and the teacher is moderate. Only the eldest is left of center. All have modest socioeconomic profiles. Around here, the truly noxious doyennes of the upper middle class tend to pilot oversized G-wagons, or Escalades, not Teslas.

      The days when EVs were symbols of snooty, “left coast” wealth seem to be receding here at the leading edge of the EV trend. However I expect to continue seeing links to ‘humor’ pieces depicting all Tesla owners as insufferable Silicon Valley wives in Palo Alto….. because keeping a fair eye on the moving target of reality is actually an effort. A humbling effort that just isn’t all that much fun to engage in.

  5. Arizona Slim

    While casino gambling is legal in Arizona, prostitution is not. OTOH, props to the Arizona Corporation Commission for issuing a warning on gamified investing apps.

    1. Wukchumni

      While casino gambling is legal in Arizona, prostitution is not.

      So why haven’t the to the right of right of right politicians in the Grand Canyon state been locked up yet?

    2. Michael Ismoe

      While casino gambling is legal in Arizona, prostitution is not.

      You’ve obviously never been to the state capitol. It’s like whores in an Amsterdam window, but not as subtle.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Ya gotta point there, Michael.

        Matter of fact, one of my longtime mentor-friends IS a state representatives. She would agree with everything you just said.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Oops. My bad. My friend is a singular state representative, not plural.

          Wishing that there were more like her.

  6. Tom Stone

    I read the article about arming the children in Mexico with some interest, keeping in mind that Mexico has had extremely restrictive firearms laws since the 1930’s and banned the private ownership of firearms early this century.
    “Sensible Gun Laws”, only cops and the military can legally possess firearms.
    So the criminals have belt fed machine guns, rocket launchers, home made armored vehicles and whatever else they want to buy, from various Military and Police organizations as well as the US Dept of “Justice”
    Desperate ordinary people have craft built shotguns and the occasional craft built submachine gun, that red stocked carbine looks a lot like a craft built .22 full auto using a 10 round Ruger .22 pistol magazine.
    Perhaps the violence in Mexico has something to do with socioeconomic factors, corruption and insane US drug laws?
    Improv guns is a site that tr5cks the distribution of craft built firearms across the world and it is educational to see what people build in the Favela’s of S America and in various Indian States like Kerala.
    It is even more intersting to see what has happened in Oz, where 3D printed submachine guns have begun showing up on a regular basis.
    If you want to reduce violence create a more just and equitable society, anything else is just moral posturing.

    1. Wukchumni

      Mexican citizens are legally allowed to possess guns, but only in the home or for hunting or target practice

      They are allowed up to 10 guns which I realize is meager compared to our hand cannon fanciers, but there you have it.

    2. Kevin

      I worked in Mexico (Mexico City and environs) back in the early 90s for 3 years. I was planning stores for Suburbia and Salinas Y Roche. The good people from Mexico I worked with shared some advice on day one:
      “Do not, under ANY circumstances go to a police officer if you are in trouble. Always ask nearby citizen and they will take care of you.”

      I doubt this has changed.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Is Aerobic Exercise the Key to Successful Aging? New York Times.

    I recall reading a study on longevity some time ago that noted that all the known long-lived populations are characterised by lots of daily activity, with one exception – certain European groups of Ashkenazi jews. It was suggested that either there was a genetic component that ensured that they didn’t need exercise, or that there was something else at work. I’m inclined to think that when we see studies on things like food or exercise for longevity the results are often superficial and are not identifying the deeper causes as every time someone finds a common factor in longevity, someone else seems able to find a population group that contradicts it. There are studies that indicate that saunas and cold baths can have very similar effects on peoples health as exercise, so maybe its not the exercise as such, but the type of stress put on your metabolism. My personal anecdotal interest in this is that my mothers side of the family seem to drop like flies no matter what their lifestyle, while my fathers side seem impervious and indistructable in the face of chainsmoking, drinking too much, and eating whatever they like.

    There are also very contradictory studies on, for example, what impact diets with tlots of meat or dairy fat means for health and longevity. I suspect the real reasons are deeper and relate to things like gut health, the balance of oxidation in the body, types of inflammation, etc.

    1. Quentin

      Evidently sheer chance is not an accepted explanation for longevity. All too often the will, tenacity and exceptional character of the very aged are held up as an object lesson: if you die before a certain age you only have yourself to blame, you didn’t do ‘it right’. ‘Anecdote is not data.’ How many times have I read this quip on this blog. Only until today I failed to understand its meaning. By the way, the desperate attempts of some extremely rich kids to create relevance for themselves out of the misfortune of others is repugnant, see the quest for ‘vaccine equity’. The irrelevance of these people made a commenter above even ‘puke’.

    2. RockHard

      The NYT has a habit of printing contradictory lifestyle advice, particular for older readers. About a year ago they were promoting HIIT. Probably next year they’ll be advocating strength training.

      The NYT has some value as a news organization but outside of that, it’s basically People magazine with longer articles.

      1. John

        And as people’s magazine with longer articles, I scan the front page, whereas I once had a subscription to relished reading the newspaper, which is now denied to everyone interested in content that is not verbal pablum.

  8. Carolinian

    Re Greenwald, Hochul and “stupid”–as PeeWee Herman used to say, “I know you are but what am I?”

    She then said those who refuse to get the vaccine are not just stupid but have turned their back on God: “there’s people out there who aren’t listening to God and what God wants.” Gov. Hochul added that the vaccine “is from God to us and we must say, thank you, God,” and said to her “smart” vaccinated supporters: “I need you to be my apostles.”

    Seems to be out of the frying pan and into the fire for NY and its governors. Presumably Hochul isn’t really claiming she has been talking to the almighty but sees this as a clever rhetorical feint to convince all those deplorables. She’s wrong.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Are you [family blog]ing kidding me?!?!? She insults other people’s intelligence while invoking the invisible man in the sky as being responsible for the vaccine? What kind of idiot does that? I’m sure even the Xtian audience she was attempting to pander to could see right through it and probably didn’t much appreciate being talked down to. I swear, everyone has lost their minds.

    2. jr

      “a clever rhetorical feint to convince all those deplorables”

      Agreed, I think “Hierophant Hochul” is going to find such language blowing up in her face. I can hear the preachers on their pulpits roaring to their congregations about yet another sign of the coming of the Anti-Christ and the Mark of the Beast. What’s that line about “The Devil can quote scripture!”?

    3. Maritimer

      In my jurisdiction, fittingly, at the periodic Covid Dog ‘n Pony Alarm Show, our Dear Political Leader said don’t send him any videos showing the other side of vaccinations. Prefers to remain in his Bubble Of Ignorance.

      Kudos to Greenwald and Jonathan Isaac. Jon hit a downtown 3pointer!

      And shame on America’s Ethicists, Jurists, Philosophers and other Professional classes. The court is left to a basketball player to speak Truth to Power. Memories of Muhammed Ali.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder where they store those sets when they do not use them. Come to think of it, how many times have they used them in the past and nobody twigged? Pravda on the Potomac indeed.

    2. Craig H.

      Google search and google image search does not return that information from my ISP. I would imagine there would be a pretty high demand for it. Perhaps I am too inept at composing the right search string as I couldn’t find it with duckduckgo either.

    3. jr

      At some point, given the frequency of climate change disasters mentioned above and the bungling of our elites, the President’s handlers are going to use that set while the President is addressing the nation about the mega-hurricane or firestorm that is whipping through DC at that moment….

    4. Nikkikat

      Her statements are insane. However, she does seem to know how to climb the ladder in the democratic party. A likely candidate to run with Harris, because they will always pick someone dumber than the dummy who is running on the top of the ticket. In Harris case they will need to sink quite low.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        At least I don’t dela with the security hell that is Apple – plus, Samsung does some real cool cases for their phones.

    1. jr

      Once my older iPhone bites the dust, I’m back to Android. I don’t think it can be any worse. And no clouds again, never.

  9. Robert Hahl

    Re: Aerobic excise and aging

    My wife’s mom lost a husband and a brother on the tennis courts. She lived to be over 100. Her moto was: Never break a sweat after 60.

    Btw, Betsy and Tippy are pictured on the Maine coast in today’s Antidote.

    1. Carla

      Our dad, a passionate tennis player, dropped dead on the court at 61. Our mother, whose only consistent exercises were practicing the piano (she was a pro) and “running” up and down the stairs in her large, center-hall colonial, lived to 94 with her cognitive faculties intact. At 90, she would say, “Oh, I’ll just run upstairs and get (whatever). Be right back!” “Mom,” I would protest weakly, “don’t run!”

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Tom Brady attributes his his endurance as an elite pro athlete to his unusual exercise regimen. He doesn’t do weight lifting for strength training, as do most football players. Instead he uses those rubber band like things (don’t recall the actual name of them at the moment). He’s published a couple of books about his training practices entitled The TB12 Method. It remains to be seen if and to what extent this affects his longevity.

      1. Carla

        P.S. Both parents smoked all their adult lives… They also enjoyed a daily cocktail. Neither was overweight. Mom made sure a salad was part of the dinner menu every night.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Afghanistan: Biden was advised to keep 2,500 troops, say generals”

    And this is why I have railed in the past about officer selection in the US military. What we are seeing is a campaign by these Generals to cover their a**** by saying that they could have stayed but Biden didn’t listen to their counsel. Give me a break. The ‘”stabbed in the back” theory sounded pretty hoary a century ago and time has not aged it well. These generals have been failures as they could not win and had no solution but to keep the war going no matter the cost. Let’s do a quick sitrep from the beginning of this year.

    The Taliban owned half the districts in the country and as is obvious now, they pretty much were ready to flip most of the remainder. The only combat ops that US forces were really doing were raids, bombing and droning to avoid casualties. Meanwhile the attrition rate of the Afghan military was totally unsustainable and it was only a matter of time before they faded away. The Taliban was even able to put a crimp on the Afghan Air Force by killing pilots at home. So how would this have ended?

    Probably with the US/Coalition really only occupying Kabul, Bagram Air base and the corridor connecting the two and that would be it. If the Taliban put a stop to food deliveries to Kabul, you would have needed a Berlin Airlift effort to stop that city from falling. But even with this probability, those Generals would have said that we still should have stuck it out. These Generals are what Patton referred to as the ‘dancers and the prancers’ but now it is almost impossible to remove them whereas in WW2 you would transfer to some assignment where they could not do much damage – like transport.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      There was a good article in Harpers recently about the occupation in Afghanistan –

      Turns out it was the indiscriminate murder that the Afghan people really had a problem with.

      In September 2018, as part of his strategy to fight the then-seventeen-year-old war using “all instruments of American power—diplomatic, economic, and military,” Trump appointed the Afghan-born U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. The first of several rounds of peace talks between Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban commenced the next month in Doha, Qatar.

      By then, the military component in Trump’s strategy was already under way. In 2017, the Pentagon had relaxed its rules of engagement and escalated its air war. The following year, with some fourteen thousand troops in Afghanistan, the United States dropped more munitions from its aircraft than it had in 2010, when troops numbered one hundred thousand. “The entire purpose behind our air campaign,” a U.S. Air Force general explained in June 2018, “is to pressure the Taliban into reconciliation and help them realize that peace talks are their best option.”

      In Wardak, the increase in violence wasn’t confined to air strikes. Stories of brutal night raids, carried out mostly by a CIA-trained and funded unit known as 01, with the support of American Special Operations Forces, CIA paramilitary officers, and U.S. air power, had been spreading through the province since late 2018. The victims were rarely insurgents, but rather civilian families living in areas under Taliban control, or students of madrassas as young as eight. Wardak residents and government officials interviewed in 2019 described 01’s raids—arguably the most deliberately ruthless since the war began—as a campaign of terror that claimed dozens of civilian lives.

      Funny, I don’t recall Trump, supposedly the enemy of everything good and holy in the US, ever getting much criticism for that. In fact the establishment pretty much cheered him on every time he starting bombing and acting “presidential”. Funny.

      1. John

        I have no doubt there are 2,500 generals for which there is no real need. Good idea. Send then … but no staff. Let them salute each other.

    2. jrkrideau

      The Taliban was strictly observing its truce with the USA and not attacking US forces despite the fact that the US had failed to meet the original May withdrawal target. Leaving troops behind would have meant the resumption of attacks on US personnel, not to mention suggesting to the world that the US could not be trusted.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Fertilizer Prices Soar Near 2008 Highs on Supply Shocks, Concerns Sprout Over Sourcing Enough for 2022 U.S. Corn Acres AgWeb.

    The article makes the important point that what really matters in terms of food supply is not what fertiliser is available for next spring, but what decisions farmers make this autumn and winter in terms of what they will plant or raise. If farmers decide its too risky to plant crop X because of the possibility of not being able to get the right inputs, then next year we are going to have a shortage of X, whatever happens in the supply chains. The article is about corn and soy, but I could see, for example, many livestock farmers opting to focus on beef rather than dairy as the former is less dependent on grass growth and the availability of feed corn.

    This has been creeping up all summer, from China to Europe, as factories are struggling with energy supplies and costs – it was noticeable in both Europe and China that fertiliser, especially nitrate factories, were among the first to shut, as they are low value products highly dependent on energy inputs. History tells us that sharp rises in the price of food is very often the trigger for instability – from the French revolution to the Arab Spring, and numerous others.

    If governments around the world aren’t focusing on this right now, they certainly should be.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      It’s not that easy to switch from dairy to beef in short order. Dairy requires a lot of milking equipment for a farm of any size, and I can’t imagine farmers simply tossing that investment into a land fill to switch to beef. Also, old dairy cows don’t make for the best steaks, something I can personally attest to, so you’d need to start with a whole new herd. And while I’m more familiar with dairy farming, I’d imagine beef is pretty dependent on grass growth too – in the US at least large beef herds are pastured on government land so they can graze on the free grass. Fertilizer shortages likely wouldn’t be as acute for dairy or beef farmers to begin with since the livestock provides the fertilizer needed for its own feed in the form of manure.

      The article points out several legit factors affecting fertilizer prices, but every time I see reports about a spike in commodity prices, I have to wonder what Goldman Sachs and the like have been up to. Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve manipulated commodities to their benefit….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It depends on the system. Here in Ireland many farms are mixed (mostly because even small farms here can have very variable land types) and its quite simple to change the ratio of animals on a year by year basis. Some beef farmers will go ‘dairy’ for a few years when prices are high by doing deals with neighbours who have the milking equipment. Beef cattle are generally more resilient to poor grass growth, its dairy that need year round constant feed.

        As for old dairy cows not tasting so well, don’t tell the Spanish that, its a very high end delicacy there.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Interesting on the mixed farms, I’ve not run into that in my area where it’s pretty much all dairy. My family still runs one and when I was younger, they would butcher an older cow for meat and it was not good eating to say the least. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way I guess and at some point they stated raising two or three beef animals per year mostly for family consumption. Much better.

          The family recently decided to shrink their dairy herd from 60 down to 40 cows so there will be some extra room in the barn. I will have to bring up this mixed farm idea to them – could help them stay in business for another generation. It’s a very touristy area and I’m sure there are any number of restaurants who would buy locally raised grass fed beef.

        2. Wukchumni

          Here in the CVBB all dairies are of the CAFO persuasion with nary a blade of grass to intrude on the dirt enclosure they call home. Sometimes you’ll see a lawn maybe 25 feet past the fence as if to mess with them, see if you play your cards right Bessie, you have a real chance at eating something you’re used to.

          You’ll see billboards offering up tired milk cows for sale, and they tend to end up in Campbells chunky sirloin burger soup, or other canned delicacies.

    2. farmboy

      Corn, soy farmers make last minute switches often. I question how much inflationary affect any grain production, except rice, really has. In a loaf of bread there is about $.15 worth of wheat. 40% of US corn goes to ethanol, soy is livestock feed, worldwide 7% for direct human consumption. Beef, pork, chicken prices are a result of monopolies and so offer no elasticity to inputs.
      Rice is directly consumed by 85% of world’s population. Granted the Arab Spring was sparked by bread prices spiking in Egypt in particular, but the state buying agency, GASC and the Egyptian gov’t control amounts of wheat and bread prices

  12. Wukchumni

    MEYERS, Calif.—As the Caldor Fire approached this Lake Tahoe town last month, the flames burned 150 feet high and embers rained down from the sky. But not a single house burned.

    That is largely because fire crews had thinned the forests that surround the town, chopping down small trees, sawing low-hanging limbs and clearing the forest floor of combustible debris. With much less fuel to burn, the blaze was smaller and moved slower, making it easier to control.

    “When it hit this thinning, the flames dropped down to 15 feet,” said Milan Yeates, a forestry supervisor for the California Tahoe Conservancy, a state agency.

    Similar thinning protected a grove of giant trees in Sequoia National Park, including the General Sherman, the largest tree in the world by mass, when the KNP Complex of wildfires threatened it earlier this month.

  13. Tom Stone

    Rev, transport is the last place you want these preening turkeys.
    Professionals study logistics for a very good reason, no beans and no bullets means no Army.
    Give them ballroom dancing lessons and find them jobs as escorts on cruise ships.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I should have put a sarc tag at the end though I’m pretty sure that any old time soldier can regale people with tales of how transport let them down and was fouled up. But you are quit right about the importance of logistics. It is said that dilettantes study tactics, amateurs study strategy while real professionals study logistics.

      1. jr

        Here is a tale: when I was stationed at Ft. Hood many moons ago, there was an Apache helicopter unit that was suddenly called up for a full field training complete with their wheeled vehicles etc. Army pilots are known for their disdain for pretty much anyone or anything not directly related to flying. For example, C-130 troop transports are referred to as “garbage trucks”.

        Well, they may have been up on their chopper maintenance but when their trucks and Hummers tried to leave the motor-pool yard a significant percentage of the vehicles were inoperative. My 1st sergeant told me one of the bigger truck’s axle basically fell apart. The training exercise, a big one involving several units, had to be cancelled. Heads rolled like bowling balls on a Friday night, including the “full bird” who commanded the unit.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Too bad NONE of them (here in the West) study Sun Tzu in any depth — hence the pretty clear proof that Heaven is not favoring our Generalissimos. Shorter Sun Tzu: “Is this war necessary? Really?”

        Rather a lot of the Gross World Product goes to that undefined idiocy called “war.” You’d think the concept would get a little respect, but I note, again, that despite using the word hundreds of times in its hundreds of pages, nowhere does the hyper bureaucracy of the Pentagram set out a definition for “war” in its compendious DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. That Dictionary does define “insurgency,” with zero sense of irony, as “The organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region. Insurgency can also refer to the group itself.” Which pretty much defines and describes the role and activities of the Imperial military, the Alphabet Agencies, and the ancillary cadres like IMF and World Bank and the NGO suite…

  14. Carolinian

    Re Israel attack on UNC graduate student–bravo to UNC for not giving in (so far). Amazingly Dershowitz hasn’t yet weighed in but perhaps he has retired from the getting professors fired business.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Is Aerobic Exercise the Key to Successful Aging?”

    I use to do aerobics back in the 70s when it was a thing. People were into running big time and running was fun because for no other reason than while you got fit, you also had time to yourself to think. I still like to take up running from time to time. But since then, I have discovered a far better way to get a perfect body – genetics! (1:50 mins)

    1. Wukchumni

      I was into it once upon a time, but now spend more effort watching J-Pow do loan aerobics sessions attired in a 3 piece leotard…

      ‘here’s 10 trillion more, now 9 trillion, another 8 trillion, feel the burn!’

      In all seriousness, i’ve been walking all my life and its all the aerobics I need, although not recently due to my newfound couch potato status thanks to the KNP Fire.

    2. Questa Nota

      I did aerobics in the 70s and early 80s with my mates. We all signed up because the instructor was hot, and kept at it to rationalize the large pizza and pitcher of beer after class.

      Overall, there were several health benefits to our regimen.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I agree with your rhetorical point but would like to make a “forest view” assertion that this fertilizer shortage is a good thing. Part of what forced Gabe Brown to begin turning dirt to soil was that successive crop failures left him too penurious to buy chemical fertilizers. When he saw that the condition of the soil and even yields actually improved with time off from chemical treatments, he went further down the ecologically friendly route. Maybe some farmers will learn how to farm better in the same way.

      What about the short term? We already grow, by some estimates, twice as much food as humans need, even accounting for the outrageous amount of crops grown to feed the Big Mac machine. The problem is distribution, so if we can improve that, we can afford a transition period to ecologically sound practices without anybody having to starve. It might help if the rich ate a few less well-marbled Porterhouses.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think we have the same impulses inside of us. Why is it so important to Big Meat to keep people from photographing or filming their operations that they pay state legislators (essentially) to pass laws against it?

  16. Tom Stone

    For those that are curious I paid the next door neighbor a few $ to allow me to use their WiFi for a limited time.
    It is necessary fro me to find a safe place to live soon due to both the physical deterioration of the property ( A serious water leak that has flooded the cess pit and my landlord’s refusal to have it repaired is the last straw)and my landlord’s personalty change as of early this year, he is 85 and his behavior has been what I would expect from a malicious 5 year old with no regard to consequences or the law.
    Dementia, in all likelihood.
    He has not given me written notice which makes it impossible to recieve emergency housing assistance, I have contacted legal aid and hope to recieve injunctive from the courts in a few weeks which will make that possible.
    I have documented these events carefully and the behavior has been so blatantly malicious and illegal that I may eventually recieve some monetary compensation, if the stress doesn’t kill me first.
    Covid has put an immense amount of stress on both individuals and our remaining institutions, this is but one minor instance of the consequences.
    My crime?
    I told him I couldn’t afford to find him a new tenant for one of his rental homes in Berkeley unless he covered my actual costs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear that you are doing it so tough, Tom. Sounds like the sooner you are out of there the better. And before his addled mind comes up with the idea of suing you for some imaginary offense.

    2. Lee

      Have you sought assistance from the Berkeley Tenants Union?

      If the owner is maintaining an unsafe premises, one or another city agency might be of some help or conversely they might just condemn the building and turf you out. Sounds like the owner might be a candidate for a mental health intervention by either family or the local public mental health department. I’m not sure any of these measures would improve your situation, but they might be worth considering.

  17. The Rev Kev

    2021 – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Met With Chelsea Clinton to Discuss Vaccine Equity

    2022 – Meghan Markle divorces Prince Harry as he has now served his purpose.

    2023 – Prince Harry marries newly divorced Chelsea Clinton who then announce her bid to be President.

    2024 – Chelsea elected 47th President of the United States and once again a Clinton is back in the White House. The press swoons over a Royal Prince in the White house who, for reasons of his own, avoids wearing the royal blue in the White House.

    1. ambrit

      Would that be the “Little Dress Blues” or the “Dress Blues No Matter Whos?”
      I do wonder what sort of accommodation the Prince’s bodyguards would have to make with the Secret Service.

      1. John

        Rev Kev: A dystopian fantasy? but we have already seen one of those. HIstroy may not repeat but fantasy? Who can say/

  18. Bill Smith

    America is highly vulnerable to a missile attack

    These articles are so much junk.

    THAAD is one of the more reliable systems if you go back more than the last 3 tests. I would hope they have not yet deployed the new software — yet. There have been Patriot’s deployed in the US. There are pictures of them floating around, around Washington DC. The Aeigs system have also ‘deployed’ in US, whenever one of those ships in a US port or even near the US. The way these things are now networked, their organic radars don’t have to be able to see the target.

    All that said, and considering it, what country is not vulnerable to a missile attack in the double digits? Even the single digits?

  19. Tinky

    I’m delighted that Greenwald picked up on the Isaac interview, and used it as he did. It really was a remarkably articulate and compelling defense, let alone for a 23yo who simultaneously shattered some long-standing stereotypes relating to black athletes.

  20. Carolinian

    Re SC mask ruling–McMaster has said that he will appeal “up to the Supreme Court if necessary.”

    The ruling is based on the ADA and apparently on the claim that some disabled people are more vulnerable to disease and therefore not requiring all students to wear masks discriminates against them (under the current law you are free to wear a mask, just no mandate). Seems like a stretch to me.

  21. diptherio

    From the end of the article about the Texas cops suing Tesla:

    Last week, Tesla enabled access to the beta of its “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) program to more customers via a “request” button on Teslas’ dashboard screens. FSD is marketed as a more advanced version of Autopilot that enables drivers to use its features, like steering control and adaptive cruise control, on local roads.

    Safety officials have criticized the rollout. Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said last week that Tesla should address “basic safety issues” before expanding FSD, calling the company’s use of the term full self-driving “misleading and irresponsible.”

    This is insane. Telsa blatantly false advertising their tech and using the public roadways to debug it, and the only thing the chair of NTSB can do is complain about it? What a joke…a really, really bad joke.

    1. Carolinian

      Surely there is something they can do but perhaps they think going after Tesla will send the stock market into a tailspin. Priorities.

    2. LifelongLib

      AFAIK the NTSB is only advisory. In e.g. aircraft accidents it can recommend changes but it’s up to the FAA to require them. I assume the same is true for cars (don’t know what specific agency would be responsible).

    1. The Rev Kev

      After reading that article, I am willing to bet that the overarching theme for next years midterms is gunna be revenge. It’s going to be a massacre.

      1. flora

        Revenge is an emotional force but not a political principle. I expect more overt campaigning around the Constitutional limits on power, the Bill of Rights, presidential overreach, presidential failure, etc, with – yes – dog whistles pinging many subrosa emotion buttons as both parties do every election.

        1. Questa Nota

          The ads will practically write themselves, and the better more memorable ones will incorporate memes.

    2. The Historian

      I likes some of that article – I have always believed that vaccinations should be a personal choice and that it is way to late for mandates to work – if they ever would have worked at all. But I do have one bone to pick with that article: They say that Covid has a 99.8% survival rate. That may be true overall, but it isn’t true for people over 70. I looked at the two states’ data that I am familiar with: Idaho and North Dakota. For people in the 70-79 age range the death rate in ND is 4.8% and 5.5% in ID. For those over 80, the death rate in ND is 18% and 15% in ID. Don’t these age categories matter? And the Idaho website has a great graphic showing that the mean age of death has dropped from 77.4 in January 21 to 71.2 by August 21. To me that is highly significant – and scary.

    3. Carolinian

      From your link

      A correspondent writes as follows: “My wife is a triple board certified doctor in the Bronx. She worked at the hospital that had the highest Covid death rate in all of NYC. She went down hard w/Covid in April 2020 and missed two months of work. She recovered and went back. For 15 years she served the poor – underprivileged patients on welfare in the Bronx – none of them had private insurance. She resigned on Friday and I could not be more proud of her. She is not bowing to this tyranny. She tested her antibodies several times and they remain high. Please keep up this fight. Many many nurses took the vax against their will because they could not afford to miss a paycheck. These mandates must fail.”

      I’ve never heard of or whether it is right of center. But common sense is common sense.

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Monbiot on the end of growth–

    Good article. Monbiot doesn’t allow himself to focus exclusively on carbon in the atmosphere. This is a system-wide ecological crisis manifesting in many ways.

    On another front, I heard some interesting news on CNBC as they contemplate the energy situation. The reporter attributed part of China’s energy shortfall to a widespread drought that cut their hydroelectric generation. That I’d heard about before. But then he went on to say that Europe’s wind-generated power output was cut through the summer by below average breezes even as air conditioning demand jumped because of heat. Remember that Limits to Growth projection. Systemic breakdown is the inevitable result when the planet’s carrying capacity is exceeded as it already is.

    In that context, Monbiot’s call to end growth is really a call to manage the unavoidable degrowth that lies ahead:

    We have no hope of emerging from this full-spectrum crisis unless we dramatically reduce economic activity. Wealth must be distributed – a constrained world cannot afford the rich – but it must also be reduced. Sustaining our life-support systems means doing less of almost everything. But this notion – that should be central to a new, environmental ethics – is secular blasphemy.

    And remember “the rich” considered from a global perspective includes the American middle class.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I dislike Monbiots framing simply because he doesn’t define ‘growth’ in any meaningful way. Neither the economics definition of growth nor the general useage has much utility in measuring environmental damage. Its perfectly possible for a low density very ‘low growth’ population to do appalling environmental damage (for example, Polynesians by introducing pigs to tropical islands), just as its quite possible to have a relatively prosperous society while doing (relatively) minimal damage. To be honest, I don’t even know what it really means to ‘reduce growth’ (or reverse ‘growth’). How do you measure it in any meaningful way? The only real quantitive aims that are important are the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere, the number quantum of toxins in our soil and air and water, and the loss of habitats and species. Thats what we need to focus on. If we can reduce all those figures, we are winning, the GNP figures are irrelevant.

      When you push the idea that ‘we can’t have anymore growth’, the reality is that many people, especially people who don’t have a lot of money, will immediately think ‘oh, so you want us all to have a pay cut so we can’t afford cars or foreign holidays’. Its completely counterproductive, as well as failing to get to grips with the basic causes of ecological breakdown.

      Reducing everything to the single, poorly defined metric of ‘growth’ is neither useful technically, nor good messaging. Trying to ensure humans can survive long term on this planet is by far the greatest technical and political challenge every faced by humanity, at least since historical times. Even if possible to achieve, it will be very, very difficult and complex. It will mean giving up some stuff, and taking up other stuff. Giving up some things we do, and doing other things. Some will be hard, some will probably be good for us. The only metrics that matter are the ones that relate to the natural world.

      1. Bazarov

        One interesting way to bring about “degrowth” would by strictly limiting capital accumulation. The world could have businesses and a market economy without the sort of capital accumulation that spurs overproduction and market creation (in history, there have been market societies without much capital accumulation–I believe China is a notable example).

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I’d agree that Monbiot is less than precise in this piece, but then it seems to be more of a rant against the endless stream of apologists for Business As Usual and their various dodges than a careful argument.

        But others are making that connection between growth as conventionally measured by GNP and the level of damage we’re inflicting on the Earth. Tim Jackson, author of the recent Post Growth: Life After Capitalism, pointed me to the IPAT equation, a simple relation that says that Environmental Damage will equal Population times Level of Affluence times Efficiency as measured by the environmental impact per unit of production. Growth of GNP (i.e. “Affluence”) will eventually lead to overshoot, especially in a circumstance where population is also growing.

        But what about Efficiency? That’s part of the equation too. Surely that’s improving? Yes it is, but not nearly enough to keep up with the growth in both population and affluence. The Sloan School of Business at MIT founded Climate Interactive, staffed by MIT systems thinkers in the tradition of Donella Meadows. Climate Interactive has developed the EN-ROADS climate simulator that takes a broad-based systems approach to the challenge of keeping temperature rise from going above 1.5 degrees C.

        So what does the EN-ROADS simulator tell us about the interplay of population, affluence (measured as GNP/person) and efficiency as measured by the environmental impact per unit of production? In this series of graphs (need to scroll down to 5 small graphs), they show that current rates of growth in population and affluence will swamp improvements in efficiency even if the rate of improvement in efficiency increases from current levels (compare the blue and black lines in the energy intensity graph). For a further illustration of the effects of economic growth (i.e. GNP), you can also check out the climate simulator. I challenge you to find any slider on that fun-to-play-with model that has more impact on temperature, when considered alone, than economic growth–and that’s even with their imposed limit of “low growth”!

        As for the political challenges, they’re very real, especially when so much money has been spent (purposeful lack of agency there) brainwashing them into consuming more and more. Reality is bursting through the screen, though, and things will change whether we like it or not. The remaining question is how far will we fall, and a big part of the answer to that is how soon each of us wakes up to our situation and recognizes no deus ex machina is coming to provide the guaranteed happy ending nor is Elon “Buck” Musk going to save us from the Merciless Ming of overshoot. And the wake-up better come fast. In 2019, the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) projected that we would need to cut global CO2 emissions by 7.6% per year between 2020 and 2030 in order to meet the goal of not going over 1.5 degrees C. Thanks to Covid, we actually met that goal for the first year and then some. But with a renewal in economic growth? We’d need Merlin as a Special Advisor to the President.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          It has more to do with the birth of systems thinking in the 20th century than Malthus.

          The “Limits to Growth” projections have been tested against the most recent data. The result was that data was tracking closely with the Business as Usual scenario that leads in this half of the 21st century to collapses in food and other production and, eventually, even a substantial drop in human population.

          Is it Malthusian to contend that infinite growth is not possible on a finite planet? Have we not done real damage to the Earth in the past century with a rate of damage that’s increasing? What extent of damage must we see before we acknowledge that the way we’re doing things and the priorities we have are ultimately self-destructive?

          1. flora

            My consideration of the morality and the progressive view of The Club of Rome’s evaluations is probably best summed up (satirically) by Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, published in 1729, 40 years at least before Malthus’s writings, and by Malthus’s time an accepted point of view by all the “right thinking, well-to-do peoples of Britain.” The phrase “well-to-do” is important.

            Growth, and on what basis, changes over time. The Malthusian’s seem to think science and material progress don’t exist. imo.

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              Very true that Malthus underestimated the pace of technological progress and its effects. If you think nothing has changed in the last century, you might check out those EN-ROADS links above. Technological change has improved the efficiency of our use of energy and some other resources, but it has not kept pace with the growth in emissions. That’s self-evident unless you don’t believe our ecological situation is getting worse.

            2. chuck roast

              Malthusians defended the rentiers. The Corn Laws kept food costs high and the old fuedal lords in power. Science and material progress were on the side of early industrial capital. Cheap food meant cheap labor. Malthus vs. Ricardo…the battle of the titans!

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                And now it’s those who defend economic growth and claim its necessity who serve the rentiers. Just who requires economic growth as we currently measure it? Owners of capital and holders of debt. Without growth, the former don’t get their sacred return and the creditors don’t get their interest.

                And their insatiable demands bring on the ecological disaster that they believe their money and power will help them escape. Meanwhile, it’s the poor of the world, including here in the U. S., who suffer the most.

      3. Keith Newman

        Re Plutonium @12:37
        I stopped being a fan of Monbiot ever since he supported US+ destruction of Syria. Now I find he states the obvious without any useful solutions. Zero growth is a meaningless slogan without the policies to achieve it.
        Which policies? Greatly roll back the number of people in the wealthy countries, put an end to bank financed endless real estate expansion that encroaches on natural habitat, eliminate advertising for endless consumption, etc. It would mean the scaling back of our land use and large parts of the economy. If anyone thinks today’s Guardian will allow ideas such as those to be expressed in its pages they should give their head a shake.

    2. Guy Hooper

      I think that the Limits to Growth projection is truth. NC linked an article that put the LtG projection together with the current supply chain problems that are everywhere. For those who didn’t read the link, the thesis was that the supply chain stress (and then collapse) was exactly what would be expected if the LtG projections were to play out real world.

      The fact that LtG is “old” is not a reason for dismissal. The projection used a very intelligent approach and may have lucked into the correct way to aggregate disparate factors. In any case, LtG is worryingly accurate at this point.

      A Swedish scientist, Arrhenius, modeled climate change due to ‘Carbonic Acid’ (CO2) in 1894. Many current climate scientists say that old model is still pretty accurately predictive.

      If one were to think where the first fault lines would appear in the globalization model, it would be in supply chains. Many of the current disruptions in food, chips, mining, energy trace back to environmental factors such as lack of water due to drought.

      I am concerned that the LtG projections will play out in the real world.

    3. Maritimer

      “Wealth must be distributed – a constrained world cannot afford the rich – but it must also be reduced. Sustaining our life-support systems means doing less of almost everything.”
      Good start, George. But next question, when all the wealth is redistributed, what can you spend it on? Another SUV? A second home? Plasma Big Screen? None of the Greeners want to answer this Third Rail Question.

      Sounds like Mandates are in order.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I probably already live “lower-standard” than the American middle class, but rhetorically speaking . . .
      I will live the way people calling the American middle class “rich” want me to live when all the millionaires and billionaires throughout the Third World are all living that way first.

      Otherwise, not.

      I certainly won’t take that accusation seriously when I hear it from Birlas and Tatas and Carlos ” Slim” Helu.

  23. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to the link about Clinton, Markle and ‘Arry discussing vaccine equity, my doctor father, who has connections with Oxford University, had been wondering when Clinton, who has a doctorate in public health from the university, much to the disgust of most academics and clinicians there, and was the BBC world service’s go to expert, sic, on all aspects of public health would resurface. They, er, missed her, if only for the laughs.

    Her supervisor at Oxford, Ngaire Woods, also ex BBC, has just resurfaced, too. She opened a new wing of the Blavatnik school of government at the university last week.

    Keep an eye out for elite charity balls, polo matches etc. in the name of vaccine equity in the months to come. In the, er, good old days, the likes of Epstein and Weinstein would have been guests of honour at such gatherings.

    1. John

      Vaccine equity? Does that mean throwing open the doors on the process? Providing vaccines at cost? Providing vaccine to the world? Or am I being niave?

  24. ambrit

    You really have to admire the sheer brazeness of the MSM’s characterization of Senators Manchin and Sinema as “moderates.” In any sane continuum, both would be properly said to be right wingers. Someones are trying to move Overton’s Window rightward yet again.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I just got a fancy-dancy taxpayer-financed mailer from Kyrsten Sinema. My paper shredder enjoyed every morsel of it.

      Nice use of the franking privilege, Kyrsten.

      1. Wukchumni

        My far, far right brother in law and my sister in Tucson held an event for McSally in their home a few years ago, and when I related that McSally had asked people not to eat, and send the money they would have used for a repast to her campaign instead, he thought I was kidding…

  25. Wukchumni

    Desalination can make saltwater drinkable — but it won’t solve the U.S. water crisis Washington Post

    It took about 5 years for the Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad to come on line in Cali, and the drought crisis is right NOW, so yes it won’t solve the water imbroglio. I think they serve an important purpose in that if the California Delta gets compromised by an earthquake, all of the sudden the flow south from the huge dams in the north of the state would stop.

    Another desalination plant is planned in Huntington Beach, also owned by Poseidon…

  26. Wukchumni

    The country that makes breakfast for the world is plagued by fire, frost, and drought Bloomberg
    One of the cabin owners in our community has an awful lot of acreage all devoted to citrus, and in talking to him he told me that he had to pull out all of his Valencia oranges (juice oranges) because he couldn’t compete with newly ripped out Amazon citrus orchards that were undercutting him on price.

    Strangely enough though, the Navel orange which originated in Brazil and was brought to Cali in 1873, can’t be grown there now, so he’s devoted everything to that variety instead.

    1. Bart Hansen

      O.J. and coffee may be one thing, but Russia provides the most wheat to the world’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

  27. Bazarov

    The anecdotes in this comment thread about good ol’ mama living until 5,000 while ol’ running daddy died at 22 remind me of the late 90s, when everyone had a 100 year old granny that smoked 10 packs a day and a vegetarian cousin that died at 32!

    My grandmother, who died a few days shy of 94, was in absolutely horrible health for the last 20 or so years of her life. The illnesses and the injuries and surgeries that resulted from them were so gruesome that I wince to remember them.

    In those 20 years, however, were two where her quality of life was greatly, greatly enhanced. It was almost as if she transformed into a new person, one able to walk without a cane and without tottering–even able to “jog” (really a very fast walk) around the neighborhood. She was able to go out more often, and her mind was sharper (she was winning more at mahjong!).

    During these two years, she had a personal trainer. He was able to motivate her because he was extremely handsome. He had her first do exercises to improve her balance, and then he had her walking and then kind of old-person jogging around a track about three times a week–keep in mind she was in her 80s.

    Unfortunately, after a couple years, she lost her personal trainer (I can’t remember why). Gradually, she also lost the habit of jogging. It took only 6 or so months before her tottering, miserable, and increasingly isolating frailty reasserted. During her last few years, whenever I visited her, she talked only about her longing for death.

    There’s more to physical fitness than longevity, though I am convinced those couple years did prolong her life– perhaps regrettably, considering her wishes. By staving off illness and frailty, it can make people happier (or forestall increased misery).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      One of the reasons I am not keen about the aerobics fetish is that it’s a fast track to ruining your joints if you have less than excellent alignment. I got sprained ankles in less than a week of jogging. This was when I was in my 20s. High impact aerobics resulted in a foot/ankle injury that made it hard for me to walk for a year. An overly aggressive trainer (at a later gym, when he surfaced, his nicknames were “Johnny Kevorikian” and “007, licensed to kill), messed up one knee. It took nearly 20 years of extremely diligent searching to find treatments that worked.

      Eliptical trainers are less bad than anything that pounds but the movement is unnatural and makes you, as a trainer put it, “neurologically stupid”. And they now bother my titanium hips.

      I like rowing machines but I wind up over-using my arms (and thus stressing my elbows) due to very tight Achilles. The old Nordic Trac ski machines were ideal for me but just about not one has them any more.

      Shorter: I suspect the screen for aerobics in old age is false causality. It selects for people who have decades of pounding joints and haven’t suffered much/any injuries. I would hazard the more robust joints and excellent alignment is what helps quality of life, since it screens out overweight (carrying excess weight will wreck joints), people who’ve had anything more than outpatient joint surgery (like for an ACL tear) and bad backs.

  28. Raymond Sim

    Everything is Calpers, alas. How I wish everything could be Naked Capitalism!

    Today is a dentistry day for me, I won’t have time for much else, but I saw the paper on SARS-CoV-2 replication in macrophages, and thought I would post a link in comments, even though it might be a bit of a non-sequitur. But lo and behold! There it was in Links.

    Knowledge about both the virus and the disease it causes has been growing at a tremendous pace, even as the public discourse about it grows ever more ignorant. I’m not aware of any source for information about Covid that comes close to Naked Capitalism’s combination of accessibility and sophistication. If Yves and company aren’t practicing Right Livelihood, I don’t know who is.

    As for the paper. It looks to me like this probably settles it: The virus is worse than the mRNA vaccines. That’s faint praise for a modern vaccine, but this is a very bad virus.

    In fact I’m starting to think an analogy to variolation and smallpox may be apt.

  29. Mikel

    “Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Met With Chelsea Clinton to Discuss Vaccine Equity” Vanity Fair (J-LS).

    Vanity Fair occasionally has some in-depth articles that are worth a read. Then there are days like this when they remind you their magazine is called “Vanity Fair”.

    1. Jeff W

      “…their magazine is called ‘Vanity Fair’”

      I realized from your comment I had no idea what “Vanity Fair” actually meant. (I had wondered from time to time.) I did know it was the name of a novel by William Thackeray but that didn’t help. I had been thinking all these years, who knows why, that “fair” was acting as a postpositive adjective (à la postpositive adjectives in “flowers galore” and “times past”) but why, exactly, was vanity “fair”?

      So I looked it up—finally, after decades—and, mind blown, “fair” referred originally to, well, a fair that goes on perpetually in the town of Vanity and symbolizes worldly ostentation and frivolity, from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and, by extension, “Vanity Fair” (or “vanity fair”) is “a place or scene of ostentation or empty, idle amusement and frivolity.” Wow. The scales fallen from my eyes, I’m a bit chagrined at my previous misinterpretation and incomprehension.

  30. jr

    The “aging” article from the NYT’s is pathetic on more than one level. For one, using the term “successful” casts aging as a choice, no doubt possessing an MBA or owning a yacht would contribute to successful aging by this logic. But more pointedly, the article fails to mention wisdom or perspective as attributes of successful aging. Not to mention viewing one’s mortality with calmness or even a natural progression in the Great Chain of Being.

    I think an argument could be made that physical “success” at aging would in fact be deleterious to the concepts I listed above. We live in a culture that celebrates youth to the detriment of all else, that actively seeks to infantilize us through advertising and “entertainment”. It’s a lot easier to sell garbage to kids than to adults, let alone a senior who has seen it all and doesn’t give a whit for the latest phone or influencer on UToob. It’s not hard to imagine a world where 70-somethings are as naïve and shallow as a 16 year old, I see a lot of them here in NYC where wealth and privilege have sheltered them from much of life’s woes.

  31. jr

    The article about the town in Mexico arming their children brought to mind a video that was posted on UToob years ago that featured a black father and his son instructing the viewer on the best way to killed a police officer. I don’t remember the details and I can’t find the video anymore but it captured the relationship between PPD and the black community pretty much in a nutshell.

  32. dday

    Re federal judges and stocks. I would propose that our legislators should also have some rules too.

    In 2017 all 51 Senate Republicans voted for massive tax cuts for the wealthy. They all benefited financially from their vote. Perhaps there should be a carve out so that their votes do not benefit them personally, at least for some period of time.

  33. Wukchumni

    By the way, even if one accepts a role for one or two cryptocurrencies, the number that have been created is baffling: 6,000 or 11,000 (or as many as 70,000 tokens), depending what source one consults. The entire notion of the usefulness of money is that people choose to use the currency that others use, thereby minimizing transactions costs. They can’t evaluate and keep track of the creditworthiness of dozens of issuers. Money is a sort of natural monopoly, which is why governments long ago took over its provision.

    In mid-19th-century United States, private banks and other institutions issued an estimated 8,000 competing private currencies. As Fed Governor Lael Brainard has noted, that period “is now notorious for inefficiency, fraud and instability in the payments system.” This is essentially why central banks were created.

    These were known as ‘Wildcat Notes’ but now go by the moniker ‘Broken Bank Notes’ and a couple books will get you up to speed on them. They were kind of the opposite of cryptocurrency as they only existed in physical form.

    The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville

    A Nation of Counterfeiters by Stephen Mihm

  34. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Left warns Pelosi they’ll take down Biden infrastructure bill

    I need some help here since the goalposts keep getting moved. From the article –

    Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, is also seeking greater certainty surrounding the intentions of the Senate centrists.

    “Look, I want to be a good guy. My father told me when I was growing up there’s a fine line between being a good guy and a goddamn fool. I don’t want to be rolled,” he said. “And I think a lot of us want to make sure that we have an assurance that, in fact, there’s going to be a reconciliation bill.”

    I thought the deal was that the lefty wing of the party would only vote for the $3.5 trillion if the reconciliation part were already passed first. Which is how you prevent getting rolled. So are McGovern and the rest of the “progressive” wing saying that now they just need an assurance that there will be a reconciliation bill later and then they’ll agree to pass the $3.5 trillion now? Because if that’s the case, then McGovern’s father didn’t teach him very well how not to be a fool.

  35. David

    For those interested, here are a couple of quick comments on the France TV poll about the April 2022 Presidential elections.
    First, especially in France, polls at this distance are highly unreliable, and almost always predict the wrong outcome. The main reason, apart from the normal scope for errors, is that with so many candidates and complicated relationships between them, many different outcomes are possible.

    Second, Macron’s relatively good showing is based on name recognition, and the lack of a single obvious opponent. It’s also related to the sheer number of candidates running against him. He’s on his own as the Bloodless Managerialist with 23% (roughly what he scored in the first round in 2017), whereas both Left and Right are divided between at least three serious contenders. Macron still hopes to squeeze into the second round against Le Pen, but the latter is losing votes. That said, the poll also shows a much closer battle in the second round between Macron and Le Pen than was the case in 2017.

    Third, the Left, in its most generous definition, has less than 30% of the vote: pitiful compared to the days when the joint Socialist-Communist vote in the first round would reach 40%, with another 5% from the smaller parties of the Left. It’s hard to see any of these candidates getting into the second round.

    Third, the situation is equally confused on the Right. The “natural” candidate, Xavier Bertrand, is behind Le Pen and only just ahead of Eric Zemmour, the journalist and TV personality. At this scale, too much shouldn’t be read into single points, but it’s clear that the Right, also, could approach the elections with candidates that will simply cancel each other out. There are other potential candidates as well.

    Even if Macron makes it into the second round, it’s effectively impossible at the moment to guess who his opponent might be.

    1. Bazarov

      That poll seemed pretty wild to me. Could be an interesting election season.

      How did Melenchon pull off 13 percent? Is it because he was the only one who would debate Zemmour (I heard somewhere that millions of people watched that debate)? I was shocked to see him over 10 percent.

      It seems like anything could happen between now and the election–it’s even conceivable Macron could fail to make the second round.

      1. David

        Interesting question. I think the answer is that there’s 10-15% of the “Left” vote – about half, say – that moves around from candidate and party to candidate and party, largely depending on whom they have most recently lost faith in. Mostly, they are ex-Socialist voters looking for a serious political party. Most seem to alternate between Mélenchon and the Greens, with some of them going back to the Socialists (as others leave) and some swapping in and out of Macron’s mob. This demographic tends to be middle-class professional and socially liberal. Mélenchon went through a very bad patch last year after his disastrous embrace of “anti-islamophobia” just before the beheading of teacher Samuel Party. On the other hand, the Greens, who had a very successful set of local and regional elections, have been more in the public eye and their ramshackle policy ideas have been subject to a lot of scrutiny. In particular, the woman who nearly won the Green nomination, Sandrine Rousseau, has been loudly proclaiming that the environmental problems of the world are entirely the fault of white heterosexual males, and so the struggle against global warming is indistinguishable from the struggle against sexism, racism, homophobia etc. etc. This was a bit much even for the Green electorate, and she was narrowly beaten by the more “moderate” Yannick Jadot. In effect then, perhaps half the Left is made up of two rag-bag middle-class liberal dominated parties, neither of which has a coherent programme. LFI is essentially an extension of Mélenchon’s ego, and will take anyone who worships him. The Greens are a performative ecology-lite movement that spends most of its time campaigning on social issues and funding mosques for Islamic extremists. So at any point, disgruntled “Leftist” voters wander from one to the other. At the moment, more seem to have defected to LFI than the other way round. But this could change.

        I think Macron will be in the second round, and the greater the number of candidates, the better his chances. Remember that he only has to come second out of a field of perhaps six serious candidates and half a dozen who might pick up one percent each; He could arrive in the second round with as little as 15% of the vote.

  36. Anon

    Re: America is vulnerable to missile attack

    What the actual [family-blog]! Missile defense? Clearly we have our priorities wrong…

    I think it’s time we let the women speak for us… and not the Clinton, Rice, Power, Nuland, Albright types either. May well be time for the matriarchy.

    1. Raymond Sim

      “May well be time for the matriarchy.”

      Alas, the precedents are bad. Women just are not so uniformly naturally egalitarian and unselfish as we might wish they were. True matriarchy means empowered Mean Girls instead of the empowered would-be Chads patriarchy gets you. Mean Girl moms know exactly who their children are, so the ones on the top of the heap are even more into ossified class structures than guys are.

  37. Cuibono

    “Therefore, we administered a third 30-μg BNT162b2 dose 7.9 to 8.8 months after dose 2 to 11 participants 18 to 55 years of age and to 12 participants 65 to 85 years of age from U.S. sites in the phase 1 part of the ongoing pivotal trial (additional details of the trial are provided in Table S1 and text within the Supplementary Appendix, as well as in the trial protocol, both of which are available with the full text of this letter at Local reactions and systemic events after dose 3 were predominantly mild to moderate and were similar to those after dose 2 (Figs. S1 and S2). No unsolicited adverse events were reported in the month after dose 3.”
    Wow. 23 people. safety assured.

Comments are closed.