Links 10/12/2021

Jerri-Lynn here. A message from Yves:

“While Yves knows that readers very much appreciate the links and posts that Lambert, Jerri, and Nick provide, she still feels bad about not minding the store this week after sneaking out for a sort of vacation in Maine in Sept. The reason for ‘sort of vacation” and this trip is that her hip replacements, which looked to be going spectacularly well at the six week mark, have gone into reverse progress-wise. So she didn’t get to do much (particularly what she enjoys most, walking and enjoying the scenery in Maine) and has gone to NYC to see her surgeon. The supposedly brilliant diagnostician she saw in AL was useless, leaving Yves to wonder if there is a code of omerta among hip and knee replacement guys (seemingly all men because orthopedic surgery used to require strength; even in the era of robot-assisted surgeries, women must get a memo that they are not to do carpentry, which BTW is the most male-skewed profession).”


Paul McCartney Doesn’t Really Want to Stop the Show New Yorker


A.Q. Khan: The death of a nuclear salesman Responsible Statecraft

‘Life Is Simple’ Review: A Blade to Shave Away Error WSJ

The Invention of “Xenophobia” Los Angles Review of Books

The genius of Jokowi Project Syndicate

3 US-based economists win Nobel for research on wages, jobs AP

The Impact of Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel Prize New Yorker. I don’t know his work. Readers?

Why Did It Take Scientists So Long to Fully Understand Genetics and Mendel’s Laws? Literary Hub

Smart Parrots Need More to Keep Their Minds Busy TreeHugger

The Stench of Corruption Leads to Kurz’s Sudden Resignation Der Spiegel


Masks Are Changing How Kids Interact Atlantic

Texas governor bars all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in state, rips Biden for ‘bullying’ Reuters

COVID Variant Medical Detectives Deploying To San Francisco International CBS SF Bay Area

Thailand to reopen for some vaccinated visitors on 1 November BBC

Covid response ‘one of UK’s worst ever public health failures’ Guardian

LIVEReaction as report criticises UK lockdown timing BBC


Pandemic-related supply issues send US PC market into decline Ars Technica

America’s bare shelves: Walmart and Costco limit toilet paper sales while toy companies warn parents their kids’ Christmas gifts won’t arrive in time thanks to backlog at ports, rail yards and on the roads Daily Mail

Biden Administration

Bannon’s subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ The Hill

Who Will Step Up in Biden’s DOJ to Save Julian Assange? Consortium News

Health Care

New treatment destroys head and neck cancer tumours in trial Guardian

The Corporate Health Care Industry Just Detailed Some of Its Biggest Scams Jacobin

5 health tech startups working to address chronic pain without opioids Stat

Gasoline-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers to be banned under new California law Ars Technica

As drought worsens, California farmers are being paid not to grow crops Yahoo News

Class Warfare

Day Laborers Pay a Steep Price Working in California Fire Zones Capital & Main

Philanthropy Is a Scam Jacobin

Staff, Advocates Push for Better Conditions at Youth Jails as Rikers Steals Attention The City

Michigan tells majority-Black city not to drink tap water amid lead crisis Guardian

The Groves of Academe

Should Princeton Exist? The Atlantic. Christopher Eisgruber.

Thousands register for geophysicist’s lecture after MIT caved to ‘Twitter mob’ NY Post

The Supremes<

A Guantanamo Detainee’s Case Has Been Languishing Without Action Since 2008. The Supreme Court Wants to Know Why. ProPublica

Our Famously Free Press


German election chaos in Berlin — what happens now? Deutsche Welle

Who Won Germany’s Election in 2021? Counterpunch

How will a new German government shape its relations with the United States? Deutsche Welle

In Poland, Protesters Fear Court Ruling Points to EU Exit WSJ. Pexit?


Ministers plan to overhaul capital raising rules to boost London market FT


Bellingcat funded by US and UK intelligence contractors that aided extremists in Syria GreyZone

Afghanistan: Taliban meet with EU, US representatives Deutsche Welle

Waste Watch

]]A French company is using enzymes to recycle one of the most common single-use plastics MIT Technology Review


Coal shortages: Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar raise concerns, Amit Shah holds meeting with ministers Scroll

Poll crisis looms for Modi after farmers’ deaths Asia Times

Mamata Banerjee’s Bold But Risky Strategy to Position Herself as the Natural Choice to Take on Narendra Modi in 2024 The Wire

Climate Change Is Making India’s Monsoon More Erratic India Spend

Oxford unit kills off Indian democracy book Asia Times

A Tale of 2 Navies: India and China’s Carrier Airwing Development The Diplomat. Part 3 of a series.

India, China army talks to defuse border tensions fail Al Jazeera


The underwater arms race: China, Aukus and a deepening submarine rivalry South China Morning Post

In China, Home Buyers Who Went All In Say They Want Out NYT

Antidote du Jour. Tracie H “How I look when I sing in the shower. (Female Pin-tailed whydah finch)”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Lee

    “Yves to wonder if there is a code of omerta among hip and knee replacement guys…”

    This comports with my experience of doctors more generally. They are as a rule quite protective of one another and loath to criticize each other. OTOH, talking to a lawyer about a doctor will elicit quite another response.

    1. Randy

      My old job involved regulating health care professionals. There are a few exceptions, but generally yes most health care professionals (not just mds) will close ranks and refuse to “snitch” even if they will tell you off the record they think someone is a quack. Even the ones who do care about the state of their profession are typically looking to protect their state-given monopoly by weeding out the licensees who they perceive (correctly or not) make them look bad.

      To be fair I’ve seen street fights in youtube that looked less tame than when health care professionals get into a feud with each other and bring the knives out. If you think your competitor is going to trash you anonymously online and tell customers you’re a menace and sic high priced lawyers on you on drummed up defamation charges you’ll probably also think twice before taking the stand against them. Another pressure is these people, especially in the “elite” spots, all know each other and have to see each other at conferences and board meetings and other get togethers that are about establishing where you are in the pecking order. Most of the experts I dealt with were at the point in their career where they didn’t need to care about their reputation among their peers and if someone got mad and went after them they could weather it or go back harder.

    2. Ian Perkins

      So far as I know, in the UK, and I guess the US too, doctors need insurance, a condition of which is not discussing their own mistakes with patients, never mind other doctors’.

      1. Lee

        I have most of my medical needs, which grow in number with the inexorable passage of time, taken care of at Stanford Medical and its burgeoning affiliates. They’ve screwed up a couple of times causing injury during procedures—nothing life threatening or permanently disabling. But because I need to remain on good terms with a couple of Stanford specialists in particular, I keep a damper on my combative nature. Stanford has an in-house mediation department that is supposed to avoid litigation while providing redress for aggrieved patients. I’ve never used it and, just guessing here, I don’t trust that it would adequately address issues put before it, given who signs their pay checks.

    3. Shpedoikal

      There’s a lot of interesting info about how difficult it is to assess the actual number of medical errors leading to deaths in this episode [1] of Ralph Nader’s podcast.

      “Officially”, these errors are ranked as the #3 cause of death in the US, but if you listen to the authors doing the research, they’re convinced its actually far and away the #1 cause.


  2. Kevin Smith

    Speaking as a doctor, my usual response is:
    “Without knowing all the facts it would be hard for me to comment on that.”

    If I’ve had the opportunity to take a proper history, examine the patient and perhaps examine the old records, then I will generally say: “Based on what I know, this is what I think.” and proceed from there. Occasionally I’ll say: “If you want a medico-legal opinion, have your lawyer write me a letter and perhaps I can do that for you. This will cost at least several thousand dollars.”

    1. Yves Smith

      He got the entire set of notes from my NYC MD and all his imaging.

      I was referred by a local provider (PT manager, does patient assessments at the biggest local home health agency, she’s seen a lot of hip replacements and immediately reacted that what was going on with me was really not normal and suggested I see this MD for a diagnosis).

      AL MD didn’t even examine me. Didn’t take a history either beyond what he could infer from NYC MD’s records.

      1. Dave in Austin

        Here in Austin I’m lucky enough to be social friends with some doctors, but even with thier help I’ve had to do my own research on a hernia operation and two other things. So far I’ve never been faced with a serious diagnostic or surgical event. If I ever am I’ll do what a lot of doctors do- go to Mayo, no matter how inconvenient Rochester, MN is.

        All I can do for Yves is wish her good luck. Somehow I suspect she isn’t a whiner. The fact that her recovery went so well for a while makes me guess infection

  3. Sam Adams

    Re: Bannon’s subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ
    What about the Sargent at arms dragging Bannon to the Capitol and letting him sit in the basement? Was that option written off?

    1. Glossolalia

      It was probably written off because the Democrats understand that they don’t want that to happen to them after they lose the House and Senate in ’22.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes “let the food fight continue” seems to be their battle cry. And the article’s assumption that Garland will be careful and nonpartisan seems a bit of a stretch given his actions so far.

      2. neo-realist

        The republicans would make sure it would happen to the dems even Bannon wasn’t dragged off, so they might as well do it. But cowardice prevails at the upper echelons of the dem elites so I doubt they will do the right thing.

      3. Nikkikat

        Lol! That’s it exactly! Everyone gets off free of charge because either, their own corruption in the Dem party includes the same crimes or they were briefed on the crime, let it go on anyway and can’t then go after said crime because they were aware of the crime.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Scamming Philanthropists–

    Good article that increases our awareness of the dangers posed by institutions like the Gates Foundation. Teaser:

    Aiming as they do to uphold the class divide that brought about philanthropy in the first place, the philanthrocapitalists’ true enemy is not inequality but populism. Their version of politics, a kind of anti-politics, is endlessly self-obfuscating, but the vast majority of them essentially describe the kind of market-friendly, “socially progressive” politics of the Clinton Third Way. Rather than trickle-down economics as such, they propound the idea that well-informed and benevolent billionaires will consciously pour their money into the right places. Their justifications are cloaked in the language of collaboration and listening, but their guiding principles are nakedly technocratic.

    I linked the other day to one of these highly technocratic, “philanthropic” (remember that means a love for humanity) organizations, the people behind The Econmodernist Manifesto. At the time, I remarked that the future was boiling down to a battle between two groups. On one side are the technocrats who claim they can keep the party going using high-tech, expensive and preferably reiterative processes (like shooting sulfur in the sky every two years). On the other side are people informed by Deep Ecology with an awareness that ending GDP growth in the rich countries is essential to any real effort to avoid disaster.

    Since then, I came across the people behind The Meadows Memorandum. “Meadows” refers to Donella Meadows, the MIT systems thinker who headed up the Limits to Growth team in 1972. The “Memorandum” is an allusion to a document that was published a year after the Limits to Growth, the Powell Memorandum. The Meadows Memorandum is an attempt to lay out a broad strategy encompassing politics, academia, the media and other institutions to move the world toward actions and policies that will address our ecological catastrophe in a substantive way, including confronting the problem of economic growth, especially in the rich, WEIRD countries.

    The Meadows Memorandum is sponsored by The Wellbeing Economy Alliance, an organization that has sponsors and members too. I’d invite NC-ers to compare the Ecomodernist folks and their backers and board to the Meadows Memorandum folks. I believe organizations like the Post-Carbon Institute that sponsors and Schumacher College that provides a base for Fritjof Capra and his work differ from the Pritzkers and Google alums that populate the Ecomodernists. You may disagree, but I’m curious to hear your views.

    1. Roger

      Very well put, unfortunately it seems that the eco-modernist discourse can continue in the face of increasing facts that show what a scam it is. The worse climate change gets it seems, the greater the doubling down on eco-modernism. Hopefully quite soon the dam will break and we will start a real discussion on how to deal with climate change.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I did see that, looks pretty darn cool. I’d probably just rather build a desktop but then, that’s probably not a very enticing prospect with the chip supply issues right now.

      2. lordkoos

        The Framework laptop sounds great, although I don’t quite understand Doctorow’s remarks about Lenovo Thinkpads. Two years ago I moved from Windows 10 to Linux Mint (Ubuntu) and am running it on a 2019 T480 Thinkpad. I find the machine easy enough to take apart if I need to replace something and it runs Linux just fine. It did take awhile to get accustomed to Linux but as he mentions in the article, Linux recovery tools are superior should you mess up. That said, the Framework looks great and could be my next laptop when this one wears out.

        As far as building a desktop, I don’t see there being much of a issue there as far as parts unless you need the absolute latest and greatest components.

        1. Bob White

          Maybe Doctorow had a lemon Thinkpad…

          We have 3 Lenovos (2 Ideapads, 1 Yoga), all running UbuntuStudio with no problems for about 3-4 years now – and a generic desktop machine.
          Everything runs faster than with Windows 10, including being able to update what and when we want.
          (FYI – the Studio flavor is optimized for Audio, Video, and Photography work)

          The Framework laptop does look promising, though…

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I’m posting about this latest Microsoft right to repair decision today, so please check back later for some further thoughts.

    2. hunkerdown

      MSFT have a lot of form in entryizing movements hostile to the market-managerial demiurge with the embrace-extend-extinguish model. They tend to wedge themselves in with subtle tricks, like “open, standards-based” punctuation games, from which they must have stole the comma in the “parts schematics” they threaten/promise to generously offer the technician community. If MSFT can steer the world away from the Louis Rossmann gang’s hard core of “schematics or die”, they will have thwarted a lot of value maintenance and consumer activity no longer involving themselves in the form of board-level repair, and also escaped the embarrassment of revealing just how much of their “revolutionary device” was a Qualcomm or nVidia reference design or commissioned application engineering running an MSFT UI.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Sorry to hear of Yves problems with her hips, I’m sure she knows we all send our best wishes.

    Orthopedic surgeons do have a ‘reputation’ among other medics. It seems to attract the type who loves the notion of hacking away at bodies. And it may be worse in the US, I’ve heard accounts of UK/Irish orthopedic docs who were horrified by the cavalier attitudes of their US colleagues – encouraged, or so I’m told, by an unholy combination of easily available insurance money and patients anxious to get the latest intervention they’ve read about on the internet – for problems more often than not caused by lack of exercise and excess weight.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So sorry to hear that Yves is still going through the wars. Had hoped that by now that she would be on the mend but it looks like it is not over yet. You have had female orthopedic surgeons in the past at least. In a book that I have called “Making of a Woman Surgeon”, she describes one female ‘bone doctor’ who would set up everything in a operation but when it came to heavy duty work, would direct a male ‘bone doctor’ – usually an ex-football player – to do the heavy tugging. It worked because she was a good orthopedic surgeon.

        1. Carla

          I heartily second this. We miss you, Yves. But also, we thank you for leaving us in the very capable hands of Lambert and Jerri-Lynn!

      1. Guy Hooper

        Best wishes to Yves. Very distressing to hear. I have relatives who had good outcomes, but my sister in law is in terrible shape with joint pain and considering a replacement. We’re all nervous about what should be a routine operation with a known good outcome.

    2. paul

      I wish yves the best and knowing that things do not always work fine first time, they can be made good.

      In my limited experience, an uncle in law who had a knee replacement had to spend a year or two on tramadol (vivid night terrors,mood swings etc) due to the pain, he got it redone and he’s as good as new.

      A couple of years ago I was talking to a neighbour who’d wrecked his knee again playing squash and was looking forward to another operation, another neighbour happened by and asked who was performing it?
      DR X he replied, and she rejoined ‘you’ll be right with him’.
      He was and he is.

      That someone as informed and personally responsible as Yves is helpless in current arrangements is a powerful argument for M4A, or a national health service.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That won’t fix problems of (in)competence and (dis)honesty and cronyism and corporatization. Not even making all providers into employees of the national health service would do that first part. “Q: What do you call a person who got all Ds in med school? A: Doctor…”

        The amount of unwinding and rebuilding, in the presence of the predatory class and its urges and incentives, will be a big task. And who among us in positions of power is about to take it on?

        Best wishes and prayers for Yves, our national treasure!

  6. Harry

    My wife is drawn to carpentry, and I am hoping she will take it up. She has excellent hand eye coordination and wonderful attention to detail.

    Plus everyone could do with a carpenter in the family.

    1. Lee

      My first wife became one of the first two female union electricians in our county back in the 1970s. Yes, she experienced sexism and verbal sexual harassment. These many decades later I still keep on display a particularly fetching photo of her wielding a hammer while doing roof repairs.

      In case you haven’t seen it, there are several PBS Newshour segments, Work Shift, about the benefits of guys and gals eschewing college in favor of entering the trades.

      1. ambrit

        Without strong unions to back them up, individual tradespeople are doomed to peonage. The occasional tradesperson transitions to small entrepreneurship, but as with all business ventures, the success ratio is not very good.
        There is a very good reason why the formerly working class political party in Britain is called ‘Labour.’
        The above is also dependent on the labour laws not being rolled back to the status they enjoyed during the Robber Baron Era. (Just look at the incessant war against social programs waged for the last half of a century in America for an idea of how reactionary American elites can be.)
        There are also very good reasons why, a hundred and fifty or so years ago, America saw shooting wars erupt between labour and management. Those days can return. History is not a one way street.

        1. Objective Ace

          >The occasional tradesperson transitions to small entrepreneurship, but as with all business ventures, the success ratio is not very good.

          I’d be interested if you have any statistics on this. I was always under impression trade person’s wages appeared low was because any competent one would start working for himself and just create a simple LLC so his compensation didnt show up as wages.

          I always hear trades people can easily push 6 figures, but–as you note–that doent seem the case if we only look at wages

          1. Questa Nota

            My neighbor the electrician told me almost 30 years ago that he could bill over $1 million but didn’t want to use up his free time. With kids and wife, that recognition of time was vital. He said that the extra billings didn’t mean much after a while. He preferred to get paid on small jobs around the neighborhood with a meal or some select beverage. Other tradesmen had similar attitudes, and they often traded out, that is worked cashless, jobs for each other’s talents.

            1. Mantid

              I’ve often taught music lessons, especially to low income families, for food. It’s so much deeper than just payment or trading. The family would make a nice dinner the evening in advance and often the children would help. It became a “special dinner” that they would share with me the next day as “leftovers”. Lots of stories, lots of pride, and some darn good music. I feel this will be the way forward in the future as our planet shakes us free. Working together for bouts of joy and smiles as life gets more and more delicate and difficult.

              1. lordkoos

                I hope you are right about a future that has a greater sense of cooperation and community than we have today. The current level of divisiveness and general anger leave me less than sanguine.

                1. ambrit

                  Unfortunately, I echo your misgivings. Today’s economy is geared towards maximum competition at the middle and lower tiers. The top echelons seem to have a monopolist mindset in place as regards inter-elite business relationships. Every town has it’s “Old Boys (and now Girls) Clubs.” The places formerly known a “smoke filled back rooms,” where the deals are made. As has been famously known for ages, those places are very exclusive. Where else would the ‘footsoldier NCOs’ of the anti labour legions come from?
                  How to build a ‘community’ is a problem I do not even pretend to know how to solve.
                  Stay safe!

            2. Nikkikat

              We know a couple of people that work the same way. Trading skills and work for their needs or dealing in cash. They charge a fraction of what a big company would charge. They are in demand in the neighborhood. They do good work and don’t spend their money on fancy cars, vacations and huge ridiculous houses.

              1. newcatty

                That is commendable. Also, teaching kids for food, lovely. A question, are your neighbors, besides not spending money on “fancy cars, vacations and huge ridiculous houses” receiving government assistance? Noting that due to extended family living in same state, we know large families who trade work and deal in cash. Umm, they do have nice cars, decent or huge houses, take vacations, eat out at nice restaurants. They also have full freezers and pantries. They have quite the cash to spend, since their healthcare is Medicaid, receive SNAP, Aid for Dependent Children ( many women do not legally marry, so mo aid), etc. Many of their cohort are working poor, or middle income, who have crappified employer supplied health insurance. High deductibles and co-pays. As the society becomes more fractured and precarious, the neighbors and others may think that those full freezers look good. The grifters , as described, will proudly say, We got gunz and will protect our property and families. Yikes!!!

  7. Cocomaan

    Masks Are Changing How Kids Interact Atlantic

    The author spends most of the piece quoting doctors saying that the developmental risks are high but still sides with mask mandates. My guess is that the developmental problems will be long lasting and not at all obvious, or even treatable.

    But the mask mandates in school aren’t really for the benefit of the kids. Yes, kids die from covid, but kids are much more at risk for influenza or, for younger kids, RSV. And we never wore masks for those because kids benefit from face time.

    In my opinion, mask mandates for kids under ten is sacrificial: their development and well being is being sacrificed to protect their elders. It’s a transfer of wellbeing and vitality from the youth to the old. children do not consent, which is why it’s sacrifice, as opposed to martyrdom, which is consensual.

    I’m going to be home schooling. Or joining a pod.

    1. LaRuse

      I hear you, but also have this anecdote to add. In the past week, friends of ours from South Carolina just picked up their four new children – my friend’s sister got COVID last month, turned downwards and died very quickly. Her husband got it from her – died two weeks later. Their kids all got it and came through alright – just like most kids do (aside from the dozen or so U18s that have died in VA). Now the 4 kids are orphans and have moved from VA to SC to live with Aunt J and Uncle T. The deceased parents were healthy, under 45 and were strongly opposed to masks and vaccines.
      Masks cause problems with development? Maybe, possibly. Orphaned kids also tend to have difficult to treat development concerns too.
      Tradeoffs in everything.

      1. cocomaan

        95% of people who have died from Covid were over the age of 50. Last time I checked, and I did, a woman getting pregnant at age 35 has roughly the same chance of dying from pregnancy as she does from Covid. The risk is within a few basis points.

        There’s of course going to be cases like the one you mention, but they are outliers. As you say, it’s a conscious choice to save a certain group – mostly over 50’s – at the expense of child development.

        I think it’s worth being honest that this is the same as sending 18 year olds to war for the political decisions of their elders.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          LaRuse, so sorry to hear about your friend’s nieces and nephews losing their parents.

          I would like to see studies/information from countries where mask wearing when sick is culturally accepted and has been for some time.

        2. voteforno6

          How is it at the expense of child development? Do you have any evidence of that, other than your opinion?

        3. Basil Pesto

          You have missed the point of LaRuse’s post. You have failed to meaningfully compare the effects on “development” of children being made to wear masks at school to protect them and their family from infection and disease, to the effects on development/mental health/maturation/whatever you want to call it, of junior bringing home a virus from school that happens to kill one or both of their parents, or grandparents. Of course, no such comparison is yet possible, as it has not been quantified, and nor will it be (nor, incidentally, has the impact on their development of their understanding that they’re apparently mere statistical outliers been measured). Thus this cliché, barely worthy of a high-school level debating, will continue to have legs.

          As with all covid-minimisers, you have chosen to ignore the long term effects of covid, which can impact both children and adults. That you are doing this nearly two years into the pandemic makes you look either stupid, or malign, or both. The full extent of the risks of long covid in children (or indeed adults) is not yet fully understood but it is real, and its attendant impacts on child development make mask wearing seem like babytown frolics.

          I think it’s worth being honest that this is the same as sending 18 year olds to war for the political decisions of their elders.

          I think it’s worth being honest that this is specious and fatuous bullshit.

          1. Yves Smith

            Asian children have been wearing masks and I have yet to see anyone try to claim that they hurt their development, particularly since Chinese and Japanese children routinely do way better in measures of concrete skills, like math and reading. This “development” argument is ridiculous.

            1. Cocomaan

              If we are going to point to East Asian nations as examples when it comes to treatment of children vis a vis masks, maybe it’sa good idea to talk about how Japan currently has more suicides than covid deaths: South Korea has seen similar explosions in self extermination.

              Messing with human mechanisms of socialization probably has downstream effects.

              This idea that masking kids will somehow not create problems is weird to me. Minimization of mental health outcomes doesn’t seem to be a good look. I guess it will be a “pull yourself up by bootstraps” mentality.

              It will be interesting to see what happens down the line with this. My guess is that I’ll ultimately be proven right. It will be a Who Could Have Known situation.

              1. Soredemos

                I have sympathy for the nuance of the vaccine debate. I have zero sympathy for the mask debate.

                Also, pretty sure that being dead or having long-covid is also bad for the development of children.

                1. cocomaan

                  In the stock photo at the head of the article, I see the following:

                  Cloth masks and surgical masks, which I don’t take seriously as a prevention tool, more of a talisman. They’re incredibly easy to do badly.

                  What I assume is an N95 (without a respirator), which doesn’t look like it’s been fitted to her nose

                  Two kids messing with their masks.

                  This picture really doesn’t engender confidence that masks are making much of a difference in the classroom when it comes to Covid spread.

              2. Laputan

                If we’re going to bring up East Asian nations as examples of “explosions of self extermination,” maybe use an example other than Japan. I bothered to actually look at the graph in the link and the “explosion” hasn’t even reached May 2015 levels.

              3. JTMcPhee

                So you infer that mask wearing in Japan, with all the other problems that culture bears, is a sentinel cause of suicide in children?

                I’ve heard children in America say, before Covid even, “IF I grow up,” not “WHEN I grow up…”

              4. c_heale

                There are almost certainly other reasons for Korean suicides than just wearing masks (I live in Korea). Lack of job opportunities, nightmare exam systems, ridiculously long working hours, etc., etc.

            2. Mantid

              I’ll add to that, children are so much more flexible and “get over” problems much easier than adults imagine. I’ve taught children for many years and seen multiple divorces (from amicable to throwing wrenches) and other such traumas. The kids do pretty well. Scientists speak of neural plasticity and I’ve seen social and emotional plasticity.

              1. lordkoos

                This is true, but it depends on the individual and the level of trauma. Often childhood trauma is not fully realized or expressed until later in life.

                …a conscious choice to save a certain group – mostly over 50’s…

                The median age of politicians is 60, and 90% of billionaires are between the ages of 50 and 80+ so this is not surprising.

            3. Nikkikat

              I agree, my brothers mother in law worked in China and as a teacher and made the same observation. The whole developmental argument is BS. She spent more than 20 years there.

            4. QuicksilverMessenger

              You beat me to it- kids in Asia have been wearing masks for a long time. Also, my eight year old daughter and her little cohort aren’t fools actually- they know why they are wearing the masks, why they have been asked to, and are in fact in many ways more careful mask wearers than most adults I see. And probably smarter too

              1. Objective Ace

                There’s a giant difference between 8 and 2. There are mandates for children 2 and above to wear masks–its not just elementary school its also preschool. I think this is missing from much of this discussion. By 8 much of your speaking base is already set. Its only just begun at 2 and a large part of the development is seeing the mouth move in people who are speaking to an infant. I’m a little concerned and think the issue should receive more attention/discussion. Yves mention children in Japan routinely wear masks–is this the case for 2 year olds too?

          2. Objective Ace

            What is the point of comparing the effect of being made to wear masks with the effect of losing a parent if you arent going to also analyze the probability of losing a parent?

            Tons of decisions look terrible if you dont incorporate the odds of the bad likelihood happening. 450 people die a year from eating Sushi–but people still eat it

        4. FluffytheObeseCat

          “95% of people who have died from Covid were over the age of 50”

          As of this week about 715,000 U.S. persons are dead of Covid.

          715,000*0.05=35,750 dead people, most of whom would have been in early middle age at time of death. Your willingness to write them off rather makes a mockery of your concern for “the children”. Particularly since your worries are based on speculation. Both medical professionals’ unconstrained speculation and your own.

          “ I would like to see studies/information from countries where mask wearing when sick is culturally accepted and has been for some time.”

          So would I. I’ll bet there is a wealth of peer reviewed data on this matter in East Asian publications. Much of which is already in English. Don’t expect our “experts” to delve into it before spouting off on the issue however.

          Adamant opposition to both masks and vaccines is not something that arose organically in our population. They are closely related strains of conservative virtue signaling, driven by propagandists and sentimentalists….. who get value out of the disablement and death that comes from doing nothing to defend against contagious illness.

          The deaths and disablements they solemnize with smug talk of old school virtues are usually someone else’s of course, not their own.

          1. Mantid

            Out here in the US north west, the mean age of death is now down into the 40s. And as a side note, the breakthrough cases are up into the low 20%, and rising. The numbers are changing and what was perhaps true 6 months ago is now different (often worse).

            1. Angie Neer

              Thanks for that link. If you display it as death rate, rather than absolute numbers, it shows a very striking, decline in death rates over a number of decades. Did that happen because we decided to let the epidemic of auto deaths run its course? No, it involved a tumultuous, expensive, slow series of advances, mostly forced by government mandate. Billions upon billions of dollars spent over many decades. In many places, it includes laws that you can be stopped by law enforcement for failing to wear a protective device that, unlike a mask, protects almost nobody but you (a policy I don’t necessarily agree with, but it’s there). You’re correct that car wrecks don’t inspire the kind of general alarm that a pandemic does, but I don’t think that supports your point.

          2. Objective Ace

            >Adamant opposition to both masks and vaccines is not something that arose organically in our population

            I am adamant about self masking. I wear a vented n95 rubber fitted mask with a surgical mask overtop for others protection. However, I am concerned that my 2 year old (and his peers–including his teacher) are required to wear masks at daycare. Please dont conflate being concerned with masks with being concerned with children wearing masks.

            Its easy to dismiss the issue if you are childless or your children are already partially developed. The developmental issues and quality of lives down the road that will be faced by someone else’s child not you or your own.

            I’m not saying the costs of masks outweight the benefits. I’m saying its a legitimate questions that we should be addressing. 35,000 is a lot of deaths to be sure, but we put up with way more deaths for other arguably less worthwile reasons

    2. Chris S

      Fourth paragraph from the end: “None of the psychologists or teachers I spoke with is worried about long-term social impacts.”

      In that light, your claims about “sacrifice” seem over-leveraged.

      That is, unless your worries about long-term developmental problems can be substantiated by other sources. The Atlantic article certainly doesn’t support them – its thrust is that children’s socialization problems due to masks are cause for concern, but ultimately manageable.

      1. Cocomaan

        Sure, I could be wrong. Maybe this will have no effect at all.

        My guess is that it will, and it will have the result of creating what NC commenters hate in modern society: a non empathetic outlook on your fellow person.

        Kids who are only involved with screen time and non emotive faces in conversation are going to have a paucity of social cues that I think will have long term effects. Not a radical position, in my opinion.

        1. Greg

          Didn’t we have a whole article recently about the cultural specificity of facial poses in relation to emotions, and how different cultures place different values on different expressions?

          Outside of the US, the obsession with super big smiles looks really weird, for example. Fraudulent, threatening even.

          People can work out what other people are thinking perfectly fine with masks, and kids are better at adapting than adults.

  8. griffen

    Apologies if this has been covered or perhaps was linked prior to this morning. From the sports desk, cheap seats commentary: NFL (US football) Head Coach bares his soul, I mean his a**, in a trove of archived emails. His career has circled the bowl.

    Kiss goodbye to your 10 year contract! The dumpster fire is burning, hotly, for the LV Raiders (formerly of Oakland, Los Angeles, Oakland). This information is NSFW.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s missing, but the emails in question are addressed to the brother of former Senator George Allen who had his own comments controversy. In the case of George Allen, his comment came on the heels of decades worth of rumors.

      Of course, the Allens are linked with “The Washington Football Team.”

      1. voteforno6

        That part of the story made me laugh -.the reason this whole thing came to light was due to an investigation into the toxic culture of the Washington franchise.

      2. griffen

        Yes, the football franchise who has shall we say an undelicate history with race and race relations. And I’m not even getting into the rationale behind the mascot change. I think after the Red Sawx they were a close second to last at even attempted integration of their active playing roster.

    2. Wukchumni

      The NFLratting out one of their own is unusual, but judging from what Gruden e-mailed about Commissioner Goodell, revenge is a dish best served cold in an all-the-words-you-can-eat buffet line of circumstances.

    3. Objective Ace

      >Kiss goodbye to your 10 year contract!

      I’d be willing to bet he is still getting paid. That’s probably why he agreed to resign rather then taking his chances with arbitration

    1. zagonostra

      From the Article: “Yes, masks make some interactions harder, but kids are adapting.”

      Made me think of the Italian philosopher/academic, Giorgio Agamben, whose works I’m now just beginning to read and who has come under a barrage of criticism for daring to voice his opinion on the reaction to CV19.

      …the epidemic has caused to appear with clarity is that the state of exception, to which governments have habituated us for some time, has truly become the normal condition. There have been more serious epidemics in the past, but no one ever thought for that reason to declare a state of emergency like the current one, which prevents us even from moving. People have been so habituated to live in conditions of perennial crisis and perennial emergency that they don’t seem to notice that their life has been reduced to a purely biological condition and has not only every social and political dimension, but also human and affective. A society that lives in a perennial state of emergency cannot be a free society. We in fact live in a society that has sacrificed freedom to so-called “reasons of security” and has therefore condemned itself to live in a perennial state of fear and insecurity.

      1. newcatty

        I have many years of working with kids, and FWIW, extensive academic work in child development. Children intuitively pick up on the adults in authority, in their lives, emotional states. IMO, if kids are in calm and caring environments, then it’s likely to be accepted by the kids that the “normal” conditions at school is that masks are worn. If all adults wear one too, then the normality is reinforced. Kids are affected by fear or anger. Parents can often project their own onto their children. This is a new reality in the country. It is about health and a safe environment for schools. It is not about political winners or losers. Its not habitual to live in crisis, unless that is how it’s perceived and propagandized.

  9. Lee

    “Thousands register for geophysicist’s lecture after MIT caved to ‘Twitter mob’ NY Post”

    While acknowledging there are exceptions, as a general rule, by the time one gets to MIT or similar institution with exacting standards, the damage to many individuals of being born and raised in deprived circumstances has long ago been done and would be difficult to address by just a single institution in that later stage in life absent a time machine, which I assume someone at MIT is working on.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “A Guantanamo Detainee’s Case Has Been Languishing Without Action Since 2008. The Supreme Court Wants to Know Why.”

    There is an even worse case going in Guantanamo. So there was this Pakistani guy that has been rotting there since 2004. After being nabbed, he went through the CIA torture centers overseas before finally being sent to Guantanamo. But then back in 2014 they worked out that this guy was there by mistake and that he was mistaken for a high ranking al-Qaeda militant called Hassan Ghul. To make it worse, they captured that miliant and they were both in Guantanamo together. But then this militant gets released, goes back to being a militant and was killed by a drone strike in 2014. Meanwhile this poor jerk is still spending the best years of his life in prison but they won’t release him because reasons. I have no doubt that not only have all these stories made their way back to Islamic militants but western soldiers have been killed because of them-

    1. griffen

      If I’m understanding correctly, he has been detained in various facilities since 2002. And fathered a son, he has never seen or met. What exactly does the US say or confess to a person so wrongly, and long, incarcerated?

      Our bad. Somehow that doesn’t seem a sufficient answer.

      1. ambrit

        There is no good answer. Just let him go and pick up the pieces.
        the best answer is to say; “We won’t do this again.” and enforce that decision. Everything else is d—ing around.

        1. .human

          And incarcerating someone responsible for 10 – 20 years, without parole, as an example of good faith.

      2. JTMcPhee

        And then there’s Julian Assange. And lots of young black kids, and so many others… there’s only so much outrage to go around, and what remedies are there for arbitrary power.

        “Catch-22 — it’s the best there is!”

    1. Carla

      Thanks, flora!

      As Thomas Frank says, it’s incredibly hard to organize and build a non-partisan, socially, racially and economically integrated movement of ordinary people. But what else we got?

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Reliable Sources @ReliableSources
    CNN’s @brianstelter
    on how to restore trust in the mass media: “If there’s a solution to this — and I don’t know if there is, because we live in one America and two media worlds. But if there is a solution, it’s through reporting, it’s through reporting, not repeating.’

    If journalists actually told the truth instead of twisting it all out of shape and calling for censorship for everybody else, this clip might have made a mediocum of sense. But these days, people are more willing to trust a used-car salesman than a journalist – with good reason. That is why after Trump left the scene, the ratings for the main stream media dropped off a cliff. It is also why people will listen to alternate news sources like a Joe Rogan or a Jimmy Dore. The media never fight for the rights of average people but will carry water for the establishment instead. During this pandemic they could have pressed for healthcare but there was nothing to be heard but crickets – while mocking those without power. So now they are calling for censorship of everybody but them as they have nothing to offer. Saw a clip that I saved to show what so called reporters are like today-

  12. Carolinian

    Sorry about Yves.

    And health care scams, the nut

    Corporate insurers might put patients through hell and make hospital staff jump through insane bureaucratic hoops, but insurers pay hospitals far more for services than the government ever would. On average, hospitals bill people with private health insurance plans roughly two and a half times what Medicare will pay for the same services.

    One could say these two groups deserve each other except that we the public deserve neither. Somebody tell Nancy.

  13. Mikel

    There has been much speculation about “sick outs” and/or worker action based on vaccine mandates.

    I was wondering if it could become a cycle. The pro-vax crowd could actually do the same – refuse to work with non-vaxed people or place without a cax mandate.
    It could be a stand-off.

    It could be a three-way stand-off (like the end of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) when you count people like me that would want to stay away from any workplace not taking measures for mitigation thru better ventilation and air filters- shots or no shots.

    Could get REALLY interesting…

    1. Carolinian

      But, but…they’ve been vaxxed. Isn’t that supposed to mean they are safe from the dreaded unvaxxed? And if they are not safe why are we even doing this?

      Just FYI the head of the CDC has said that the vaxxed are just as capable of carrying Covid as the unvaxxed.

      1. Maritimer

        “There are known knowns [about vaccines]. These are things we know that we know [about vaccines]. There are known unknowns [about vaccines]. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know [about vaccines]. But there are also unknown unknowns [about vaccines]. There are things we don’t know we don’t know [about vaccines]. [Get VAXXED!] ”

        Donald Rumsfeld, of 9/11 Fame and a Hero of Afghanistan, Iraq and other American Triumphs. (Let us not also forget Don’s FDA adventures with Aspartame. How sweet it is!)

    2. marym

      I saw an unsourced tweet that said 60% of people in the US support mandates and 80% of US adults have had at least one dose. Did some quick keyword searches. The first number seems to be the case (Gallup, Monmouth). CDC today: 78% of people ages 18+ at least one dose and 67.6% fully vaxxed. If there are substantial work stoppages it will also be interesting to see where there is either support or pushback.

      Of course both “sides” on the issue of vaccine mandates are failing in their own ways to support and promote alternative precautions.

      1. Yves Smith

        The CDC #s differ substantially from Lambert’s DIVOC, which is still below 60% for fully vaxxed. And we have people getting boosters while not saying they were previously vaxxed; this dates IIRC to August if not sooner.

        As to the polls, they have recently ranged from 54% to 60%, at least as of a week ago. Very much in line with # fully vaxxed.

        1. marym

          Yes, the adding boosters to the mix will add more problems in evaluating the reporting. The IL website currently has a lengthy FAQ differentiating between boosters and additional (in addition to Pf/Mo 2 or JJ 1) doses, and info on where to find them, but no breakdown in the stats so far.

  14. Tertium Squid

    Gasoline-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers will soon be a thing of the past in California.

    Can’t wait for the legislation banning private jets.

      1. Carolinian

        I use an electric blower myself. When the leaves get heavy I switch to rake and tarp.

        And banning, in effect, the riding mower dependent lawn care industry might be seen by the wealthy as almost as big a crisis as banning their private jets.

        1. lordkoos

          It’s not just the wealthy – here in our semi-arid region (which has been in a moderate drought for a few years now) there are plenty of middle-class types with 1/2 acre or larger lawns and many if not most own riding mowers. I see these people all the time when cycling around the valley.

          1. Vandemonian

            I mow our lawns with a push along petrol (gas) mower. Takes me about an hour, and my pedometer tells me I walk 3.5 kilometres. I wouldn’t want to do that with a push mower, or even a battery powered one – they’re narrower, underpowered, and the batteries rarely last more than three years. And in the time the manufacturer has probably changed the design, and a new battery will cost more than a new mower.

            Needless to say, I don’t have a gym membership…

      2. Blue Duck

        My neighbor who has a ride on lawn mower used to laugh at me cutting out lawn with a scythe. Now we have geese and I don’t even have to do that. Plus their poop is great in our gardens and orchards.

    1. Milton

      I know that private jets are wasteful and are one of the biggest contributors to GW and should be banned but, gas-powered lawn appliances are nuisances that are heard almost every morning and a ban on them would be welcome by most any resident within earshot. I welcome this legislation and give a rat’s patooty about landscaping company hardships. How ’bout we maintain homes like we did before the 80’s–by ourselves with not mechanical tools. There is something to be said of domestic economy.

      1. hunkerdown

        There is, and it is that the Internet of Shit is here to assimilate it into the market economy and scientific centralism. Their ideal: No good deed goes unmanaged.

      2. jr

        It’s not just the lawn care companies, it’s the drug dealers who will suffer as well. Years ago I worked lawn care in Orlando and meth use was rampant amongst the workers. One guy I worked with told me about his prior employer who would literally cut out lines of the stuff for his crew upon arriving to work at 5:30 AM. Then they would work like devils with no breaks or downtime for lunch.

        Another plus was that they got all their accounts done in a few days and were able to enjoy a very rare treat in their world: a three day weekend. As a bonus, no one slept that much and therefore they were able to do cocaine even longer. Until they dropped dead, I suppose.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Thank you for making the point I was going to make.. transportation is the number one carbon dioxide producer in the US. Until that is addressed you are just tilting at windmills.

      Banning gas powered lawn equipment is the equivalent of paper straws.

      1. Larry Y

        I agree with Milton. Ban is great, not for CO2 emissions, but for noise pollution, NOx, PM, VoC, etc. *uck the noise pollution and stench of partially burned oil and gasoline.

        “Operating a gasoline-powered leaf blower for one hour produces as much volatile organic compounds and NOx as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from New York City to Orlando[.]”

          1. chuck roast

            flora, the point for me is that these “off road” internal combustion engines emit a huge amount of noxious air pollutants. The EPA has for many years required “on road” internal combustion engines to demonstrate increasingly bigger reductions in the “criteria” air pollutants and associated toxics. And to your point, all of these air pollutants are addressed by continuous air monitoring and mitigation of “point source” air pollutants emitted from power plants of all kinds. Power plants, like trucks and autos are all permitted to minimize their emissions per the Clean Air Act. “Off road” sources escape the requirements of the CAA, and they are indeed filthy beasts. California, more precisely the California Air Resources Board, is doing the entire country a great service. Up the CARB sister!

            1. flora

              Oh indeed. I agree. I agree completely.

              My point, if I have one, is that moving more energy demand to the electrical grid without at the same time demanding the privately or publicly owned electrical grids update their power generation/carrying capacity infrastructure to meet the increased demand is short sighted at best. It is hand-waving at best. See for example: last winter’s electrical demands during Texas’s sudden sub-freezing temperatures causing rolling blackouts in the enter midwest – from Minnesota on south – because Texas’s privatized electrical grid could not handle the spike load of unexpected deep freeze temperatures. An entirely new sort of winter energy outage in the larger midwest. Prior to that, any winter electrical blackout would only occur locally if ice brought down local power lines. Suddenly last winter rolling blackouts in several midwestern states were instituted to feed price-sensitive electricity to Texas. Not quite an Enron-screws-Cali-and-Grandma-Millie, but close. You get my point about pushing new rules and attendant shortages to the ordinary people while leaving the big power cos held harmless.

      2. Nikkikat

        I don’t know where you live, but in California No one mows their own grass or rakes leaves in suburbia. My husband and I did our own yard work. Push mower and raking.
        Everyone on the street stopped by with their gardeners card because we didn’t have a gardener. By gardener I mean a mow and blow business. This meant maybe 15 minutes spent on the yard and then on to the next. We eliminated a lot of the grass and enlarged the beds and planted flowers and shrubbery over the years. The noise on certain days of the week was deafening the gas fumes floated all over the neighborhood. You could not open windows or sit out side for several hours almost everyday. To get theses kind of gas fumes alone would be similar to the rush hour traffic, bumper to bumper on the worst freeway (5). Believe me those damn mowers and blowers needed to go! Comparing them to vehicles…just doesn’t compare. I would also note the damage to the health of the exploited people that perform these jobs also needed to be addressed.

        1. JBird4049

          Gasp! An actual push mower? How passé.

          Honestly, having used one myself, I don’t understand why anyone would not use one on any random sized house lawn. The powered mower still has to be manhandled occasionally and its engine makes it much heavier. On a some wannabe baron’s yard, that I could understand. The only issue is getting the blades sharpened occasionally.

          1. eg

            Been using an old, second hand Gardenia reel-mower to mow our lawn for over 20 years now. I also have a newer Fisker should it become unusable.

            I used an electric on my parents lawn in the 70s, but much prefer the reel-mower.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Better to ban the damn greensward “lawns” on all those “properties,” and mandate kitchen gardens and food forests. Will do away with most “market” for the 2-stroke terrors.

        Gas-powered or even electric (corded or battery) “yard blowers” are so quintessentially American — whoosh your yard wastes, including dog and cat poop, pesticide an d phosphorus fertilizer-laden clippings, onto the neighbor’s yard, the public parkways, the public streets and sewers. A patent “F*** you” to each other…

    3. Glossolalia

      Reminds me of my county where they banned lawn pesticides and herbicides but exempted golf courses.

      1. newcatty

        My spouse and I worked in a uni research project that promoted water conservation. The cool thing is that grass, even low-water use grasses, were discouraged, except for small oasis for pets or kids. So called Xeriscape was promoted as hip and beautiful. A silly joke, Xeriscape is not Xeroscape. Any place can have landscaping for homes and commercial places, with plants that are either native or similar water requirements. Also, rainwater harvesting is possible. Wait! Droughts! Still, some water harvesting is possible. With drought, low water Xeriscape is more important than ever.

    4. Ned

      Notice how the CDC is testing for Covid variants at SFO, but still no mention of in spite of children forceably masked, vaccines, economic shutdowns, etc, there’s to hint of shutting down air travel, especially from places where variants arrive?

      It’s really looking like the pandemic crisis is not only not being wasted, but is being used, and even promoted and continued, to seize additional trillions, and eliminate more constitutional rights and gather more power.

      1. lordkoos

        When there is money to be made and power to be gained, no crisis goes to waste, with natural disasters possibly exempted.

    5. Grumpy Engineer

      @Tertium Squid:

      I can’t wait to see PG&E do line maintenance in remote locations with battery-powered chainsaws.

      I’m not fond of small engines. Heck, I recently bought a battery-powered push mower because I was so tired of battling startup problems on my old mower. But they do have their place.

      And California may end up reconsidering things when they get new quotes for mowing the sides of roads with battery-powered mowers.

  15. Wukchumni

    As drought worsens, California farmers are being paid not to grow crops Yahoo News
    Releasing water from upriver reservoirs into Lake Powell, paying downriver farmers to leave their land fallow, and buying land with water rights to eliminate them from taking water from the Colorado is the equivalent of burning a candle from 3 ends, are really the only options left in sourcing more precious translucent liquid we all so crave.

    If only there was virtual water conjured up on this contraption, Las Vegas wouldn’t need to resign all of the sudden, not unlike the Raiders coach yesterday.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “India, China army talks to defuse border tensions fail”

    On the bright side, both the Indian Army and the Chinese Army may see this as a great opportunity to test their extreme winter gear to see what works and what does not. The comments by both the Chinese and Indian soldiers are of course unprintable.

  17. Milton

    Perusing a photography blog site I was surprised to come across a well-reasoned post defending the author’s take on why they was not vaccinated due to they having been infected previously as well as other concerns. The author provided a link to a Jan 2021 LaJolla study-– funded by Fauci’s own NIAID whereby immunity granted was effective up to the study period (8 months) with little waning. The concluding quote:

    Several months ago, our studies showed that natural infection induced a strong response, and this study now shows that the responses last,” Weiskopf says. “We are hopeful that a similar pattern of responses lasting over time will also emerge for the vaccine-induced responses.

    With 20-20 hindsight, it seems the vaccines are struggling to be the equal of previous infection as far as immunity to Covid goes.

    1. Kouros

      Who can guarantee that being infected by Covid would guarantee surviving as well as no long term problems?

  18. Brooklin Bridge

    I’m very sorry Yves. It must be particularly irksome after such initial success. If you know any nurses personally, particularly if they are remedial nurses, they are a trove of good information to weigh against what doctors are telling you.

  19. Mantid

    Such irony. “Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resorted to hiring the former CEO of supermarket chain Tesco to try to solve the country’s own supply chain problems.” Can you imagine why anyone would hire the person involved in “the supply chain problems” to fix the problem? And in the U.S. Biden hires a general involved in Iraq and Afghanistan to run the “defense” department?? The general lost the war! Then again, he was successful in the profiteering, so that’s a positive aspect.
    Yves, the best to you as you slowly get well.

    1. JP

      Failure is an enormously good teacher. Anyone involved in the problem should have tangible insight into a solution. At the very least they would know where not to waist time. The fallacy is those trying to cover their ass.

  20. Blue Duck

    The wife and I did our kids Christmas shopping yesterday. Figured we’d give them one last Made in China Christmas before it fades into history.

    1. Wukchumni

      Away in a container
      No place for cargo
      The little plastic tchotchkes
      Have nowhere to go

      The elves in the middle kingdom
      Compensated with low pay
      The little wireless earbuds
      Not coming our way

      The cattle are mooing
      The public awakes
      But 87 not so little cargo ships
      Off San Pedro await

      I love You, consumer goods
      Buy more from the wi-fi
      And have overnight delivery
      Until availability is nigh

      Be near me, portable power bank charger
      I ask You to stay
      Close by me forever
      And last as least 6 months I pray

      Bless all the dear children
      May they not end up with coal
      And buy their presents early
      Giving them a gift card instead is an own goal

  21. Wukchumni

    Paul McCartney Doesn’t Really Want to Stop the Show New Yorker

    My coming out party pretty much coincides with the birth of the Beatles, me beating Ringo joining the Fab 4 by about 6 months.

    They did everything right, trying hard to never repeat themselves in improvising new ways to channel their abilities with no fear of losing their fan base in their avant garden.

    I listen to far too much of SiriusXM channel 18, and as per everybody else, have heard every song a thousand times, the soundtrack of the 60’s-stuck in time just like the Beatles, who never went on to take up residence in Las Vegas doing 5 shows a week at some casino, or bore us with iffy newer music from their 80’s and 90’s albums when it became obvious they were merely going through the motions.

    Will our descendants be listening to Beatles music in a couple hundred years, and which tunes of theirs would stand the test of time?

  22. JEHR

    Re: 3 US-based economists win Nobel for research on wages, jobs

    We Canadians are always watching out for all those Canadians that win prizes while they are in the US. That includes David Card who was born in Canada. I always think that the Canadian way of thinking is a bit different. Anyway, we love our Canadians no matter where they are!

    From Wickipedia:

    David Card has also made fundamental contributions to research on immigration,[12] education,[13] job training and inequality. Much of Card’s work centers on a comparison between the United States and Canada in various situations. On immigration, Card’s research has shown that the economic impact of new immigrants is minimal. Card has done several case studies on the rapid assimilation of immigrant groups, finding that they have little or no impact on wages.

    1. Milton

      3 US-based economists win Nobel the Swedish Central Bank prize where the Nobel name was surreptitiously attached so as to add legitimacy to the neoliberal viewpoint for research on wages, jobs

  23. jr

    Re: Occam’s Hacksaw

    The problem I have with Occam’s Razor is that it is misused. While it is in general a useful way to examine a phenomenon, it is oftentimes taken too far. Here is an example where good science was missed because of it.

    Recall the Oumuamua kerfuffle. Avi Loeb proclaims it to be an alien artifact based upon it’s shape and the lack of a cometary tail, plus a few other points. A pretty big claim and one that Billy Occam would not have approved of.

    Neither did another scientist who I heard interviewed on a Youtube show. (I cannot find the interview, sorry.) She dismissed Loeb’s claims and specifically mocked his proposed shape of the object as something like “theoretically ridiculous” or some similar language. She was applying Occam’s Razor to his claim.

    Well, it turns out the best theory on the table now is that Oumuamua is actually a big piece of frozen nitrogen:,the%20unusual%20shape%20of%20'Oumuamua.&text=In%20this%20scenario%2C%20'Oumuamua%20was,comets%20in%20our%20solar%20system.

    “The researchers found that one type of ice in particular, nitrogen ice, could explain the anomalies observed. It’s already known that it can exist on rocky bodies, since it is abundant on the surface of Pluto.”

    So the scientist who went with the most likely assumptions missed out on a major discovery. The shape, route, and lack of a tail (apparently nitrogen ice sublimates like a bar of soap that grows thinner and thinner near the drain of your tub rather than pluming like water ice) were explainable, one simply had to “step outside of the box” to see it. I would propose that for every little framed picture of Occam-like sentiments above the scientist’s, engineer’s, and philosopher’s desk this one should hang as well:

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    As to the UFO question, denying the existence of their existence comes with it’s own basket of assumptions. UFO’s are dismissed as unlikely but how unlikely do we know them to be? That implies we have a complete grasp of the workings of the physical world, turning science into a process of “divine recapitulation”. What if aliens employ stealthy craft that we cannot see or detect unless they wish it to be? What if they have the means to travel the incredible distances from star to star that we cannot even begin to fathom? The science and technology of a civilization a million years older than ours would, as one insightful thinker put it, appear as magic to our eyes. (Leave that alone, gentle reader!)

    It also ignores the anecdotal evidence that we have, modern accounts as well as the sightings that go back far into history. And no, I’m not talking about Alexander the Great’s “flying shields”:

    The jstor article, which I cannot access, mentions in the abstract that after modern examination of the accounts, a small “residue” remain that defy explanation. This is pretty much what modern UFO investigations have relayed.

    Now, here is a modern account to consider from astronaut Gordon Cooper when he was a fighter pilot serving in Germany in the 1950’s:

    A man with a place in the history books, a world-spanning reputation, providing a clear and exact account of UFO’s flying in formation with his squadron. Is he nuts? Hallucinating? Is he seeking even more fame? Does he not have a lot to lose in terms of reputation and standing? The answer is that all those points are possible, but are they the best assumptions to work with vis-à-vis Occam’s Razor?

  24. Raymond Sim

    Regarding professional omerta: Profession notwithstanding, isn’t anything else exceptional?

  25. Maxwell Johnston

    “The Genius of Jokowi”

    It’s funny how Indonesia slips under the radar screen. Yet it’s a seriously big country; number 4 in population, number 7 in GDP (measured in PPP), huge geographical area, very strategic location, number 6 in annual STEM graduates (ahead of Japan). And it seems they have a functioning democracy and a competent leader. More power to them, I say.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Thanks for the counterpoints. I was surprised by the praise showered on Jokowi in the article, since Project Syndicate is usually pretty independent minded, so I assumed a degree of credibility.

  26. Raymond Sim

    To our esteemed hosts: Am I a fragile flower? Assertions in the genre of “It’s basicaly only ____ that are dying.” strike me as different in kind from personal insults, or merely making merde up.

    I can’t instruct you on what must be a herculean task, and one I have no experience with. But “die faster” seems to be transitioning from black humor to policy actually being advocated in comments.

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