Links 10/13/2021

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: ‘Explosive sex’ wins top prize BBC (Rev Kev).

Two Decades of Data Show That Earth Is ‘Dimming’ as The Planet Warms Up Science Alert (AL).

Stagflation Echo Chamber Heisenberg Report

Freight rates drop on popular shipping routes in sign that supply chains normalise soon Hellenic Shipping News

Global carbon capture projects surge 50% in 9 months -research Reuters

Why Climate Policy Has Failed Foreign Affairs

Gradually, Then Suddenly Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. I think Ritholtz is confusing incremental change with a teleology of progress.

Why Do Species Get a Thin Slice of π? Revisiting Lewontin’s Paradox of Variation Vince Buffalo. Dense, but fascinating.

Nobel-prizewinning ‘natural experiments’ approach made economics more robust, say researchers Nature


Across America, students are back in school. It’s working — but it’s weird. WaPo. “Since school started, hundreds of thousands of students and school employees nationwide have been forced to enter one- or two-week periods of quarantine after coming into contact with children or staffers who tested positive for the virus.” Administration happy dance:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Screening and Mitigation Measures for Primary School Children Attending School in Liège, Belgium JAMA. Conclusions and Relevance: “Despite the implementation of several mitigation measures, the incidence of COVID-19 among children attending primary school in this study was comparable to that observed among teachers and parents. Transmission tree reconstruction suggests that most transmission events originated from within the school. Additional measures should be considered to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at school, including intensified testing.” Are we then exceptional?

Harvard Immunologist Champions At-Home Covid Tests to Beat the Pandemic Bloomberg

Chance encounter at sports bar causes anti-vax man to change his mind WFTV

Miasmas, mental models and preventive public health: some philosophical reflections on science in the COVID-19 pandemic Trisha Greenhalgh, The Royal Society. From a full, open-access issue on Covid-19.

US overtakes China as biggest bitcoin mining hub after Beijing ban FT


Will China invade Taiwan? Gwyenne Dyer, Bangor Daily News

‘Frozen Chosin’ Korean War Movie Set to Be Biggest Box-Office Hit of 2021

China trade: export growth stronger than expected in September but ‘instabilities, uncertainties’ remain South China Morning Post

China’s CPTPP push a gambit to break Asia-Pacific solidarity Nikkei Asia

In search for covid origins, Hubei caves and wildlife farms draw new scrutiny WaPo. The fact of the story itself is interesting.

Mongolia’s missing millions: What happened to a decadelong mining boom Nikkei Asia


Myanmar coup: ex-president Win Myint testifies he refused to resign, would ‘rather die’ Associated Press. “[T]wo senior army officers entered his room and solicited his resignation as president on the grounds of ill health.” Yeah, like he’d get whacked if he didn’t. Sopranos-level crudity.

No easy exit for investors from post-military takeover Myanmar Nikkei Asia. Not even diplomacy:

Since the United States has form, we know it would butcher the job if it intervened in Myanmar, so this may be a blessing in disguise.


Afghanistan: Taliban meet with EU, US representatives as G20 holds special summit Deutsche Welle

Beirut blast probe frozen again as judge issues arrest warrant Euronews

Why the Soviet Experience Was Not Useful to the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq Valdai Discussion Club

Crypto trading thrives in Nigeria despite official disapproval Channel News Asia


Roquefort makers feeling blue over nutritional scoring system that ‘defies heritage’ Euronews

Biden Administration

Big US businesses pledge to extend working hours to ease supply chain backlogs FT

Luria’s plea to give Biden full authority to attack China is folly Responsible Statecraft. Luria is, of course, a Democrat.

DHS chief directs immigration authorities to halt workplace raids and shift their focus to ‘unscrupulous’ employers CNBC

Intelligence Community

Feds to release nontoxic particles, gases in NYC subway as part of terrorism study NY Daily News. Oh.

From Russian revolutionary to CIA agent in one generation Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Fear Itself Forever Wars

Police State Watch

Oh Great They’re Putting Guns On Robodogs Now Caitlin Johnstone (Furzy Mouse). Furzy Mouse: “But of course!” Kill them with fire:

“Rare peek,” my Sweet Aunt Fanny. It’s a photo op, and they’re not rare.

Health Care

Talk to Your Doctor. TALK to Your Doctor. Talk to Your DOCTOR. Gawker

Groves of Academe

A University or a Billionaires’ Toy Academe Blog

Oppose the right-wing, racialist attack on composer Bright Sheng at University of Michigan WSWS (AC).

Enough Ranking Daily Nous

Pennsylvania’s state universities record biggest one-year enrollment decline in more than a decade Philadelphia Inquirer

“Every Payment I Have Made Has Done Absolutely Nothing” The Flashpoint. Student loans.

U.S. youth crisis goes way beyond Instagram Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Boston police arrested a Black man having a stroke. After $1.3 million payout, it’s unclear if anything’s changed WBUR

AI Is No Match for the Quirks of Human Intelligence MIT Press Reader

A leaky robot Couchfish

Class Warfare

On Eve of Contract Negotiations, Harvard Custodians Rally Against Their Own Union Leadership Harvard Crimson

It’s almost as if there’s such a thing as class warfare:

Working for companies owned by well-heeled private-equity firms can mean lower wages for employees NBC

NYC’s Public Libraries Eliminate Late Fees Gothamist

Community fridges are not a pandemic fad. They’ve become entrenched in neighborhoods as a way to fight hunger. The Counter

Hurricane Ida in Louisiana: Caskets, vaults still displaced AP

The power of Dionysus—Effects of red wine on consciousness in a naturalistic setting PLOS One. n=102. ” Red wine increased pleasure and arousal, decreased the awareness of time, slowed the subjective passage of time, increased the attentional focus on the present moment, decreased body awareness, slowed thought speed, turned imagination more vivid, and made the environment become more fascinating. Red wine increased insightfulness and originality of thoughts, increased sensations of oneness with the environment, spiritual feelings, all-encompassing love, and profound peace. All changes in consciousness occurred regardless of volunteers drinking alone, in dyad or in group. Men and women did not report different changes in consciousness. Older age correlated with greater increases in pleasure. Younger age correlated with greater increases in fascination with the environment of the wine bar. Drinking wine in a contemporaneous Western environment designed to enhance the pleasurableness of the wine drinking experience may trigger changes in consciousness commonly associated with mystical-type states.”

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. cnchal

    Re: Robert Reich – Tens of thousands of workers across the US are fighting for higher wages and better conditions. . . This is a massive uprising of labor. Why won’t the media cover it?

    Misdirection from Reich. Hundreds of thousands are tortured every day in Amazon warehouses, Bezos pays the MSM to look away. Were working conditions humane Amazon would be wildly unprofitable even though the government grossly overpays on purpose to have Bezos store their zeros and ones.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    1. diptherio

      Would have been nice if Reich had showed as much concern for American workers when he was Labor Secretary.

      1. lovevt

        Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Reich did not serve Bill’s second term. I assumed Reich wouldn’t serve because of the anti-labor policy considerations. But of course he may have not been allowed to serve since he was serving the “people”.

        1. diptherio

          Reich, then and now, has defended Clinton’s labor policies. He’s also served to run interference for the plutocrats, by claiming that corporations and the rich bear no responsibility for the inequality he supposedly cares about.

          Reich: People on the left tend to assume that big corporations and the rich are responsible in some malevolent way for widening inequality…These stereotypical assumptions are…fundamentally wrong. What I try to do in the class, and what the movie tries to do, is show people that there is a system at work here, and it’s a system over which we have, potentially, some control. Because it’s a matter of rules and laws, and if we understand what’s really going on, we have at least half a chance of changing those rules and laws.

          Don’t ask him how those rules and laws are actually created and enforced (or not enforced), as the answer would collapse his whole argument and support the assumptions of “people on the left” (which Reich obviously does not see himself as one of).

          1. lance ringquist

            he was and maybe still is a feverish free trader. when nafta billy clinton was busy selling out americas wealth to wall street and the chinese communist party, bob was on t.v. flaunting the factory of the future, where brilliant americans(after all, we are the chosen ones)would design consumables, send that information off to the little people(mostly of color)in the third world to do the grunt work.
            insinuating of course that those little people(mostly of color)could never do what the chosen americans could do. and the chosen ones did it from their comfy homes via the internet.
            of course bob never mentions the working and environmental conditions in those factories of the future, nor the fact that what would happen to americans who worked those factories.
            one wonders if it was bob that coined “why haven’t they learned how to code”, or they will just find another job, or retraining works!
            nafta billy and bob oozed white supremacy.

      2. GramSci

        I don’t have much use for Democrats, but credit where credit is due: I believe that as Clinton’s Labor Secretary Reich worked hard and sincerely for the average US worker. When Clinton ignored him, he quit.

        In 2016 Reich was one of the first Democrats with any standing to endorse Bernie. He said, “I have the deepest respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton, and if she wins the Democratic primary I’ll work my heart out to help her become president. But I believe Bernie Sanders is the agent of change this nation so desperately needs.”

      1. cnchal

        The non power steering in the Vette must have almost given him a heart attack, the drum brakes are really hard to push and that shifter tough to row. Next time he needs a workout he could head to the gym instead of being a hazard in the show and shine parking lot.

        A first class toe licker for the .001% Wall Street parasites.

          1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

            I just bought a 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan. It does have power steering and brakes, but not much else in they way of options.

            I am reveling in its lack of features.

        1. Wukchumni

          Read somewhere that 60% of Corvette drivers are women, and in my analysis of stalking them to get a better look the past few decades, the number might even be higher.

          That said, it was the vehicle every red-blooded 11 year old American boy desired in 1972, but settled for a Schwinn Sting-Ray.

          1. griffen

            You were stalking the Corvette to get the closer look or stalking the female cohort driving the Corvette? Granted, the distinction is obvious but I’m just needlessly weighing in.

            Inquiring minds and all that. Was the Schwinn a better option that the Huffy?

          2. lance ringquist

            i always wanted a 1968-1970 AMC, AMX. one day at the local drag race, i watched a guy in a 1968 AMX, with a small 290 c.i. v-8, coupled to a four speed tranny, whip 327’s on up, even got a huge jump and almost a win against 396, 390, and 383 big blocks.

          3. GramSci

            My unassisted recollection is that Corvette drivers were 90% male, but in the ads the drivers were 90% female.

      2. GramSci

        Ritholz seems to try to walk both sides of the street. Although he closes with a paean to financial innovation happening “gradually and then suddenly”, he does open by observing that is how bankruptcy happens.

        1. amechania

          I came to say that every headline is screaming ’employees are quitting at an unprecedented rate’

          Maybe they are just being classed as quitting, which is odd considering our unemployment laws being so pro-layoff.

          Clarity isn’t my thing, but the last two months plus have had alot of Chinese-focused interest stories. That and of course we can’t possibly pay our transport workers enough to fix the ‘supply chain’.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My suspicion is especially in the case of restaurants the problem is hours offered are too sporadic with customer behavior changes. Two hours and no tables isn’t worth working at a place for anyone. So the shifts restaurants use to bring in people for aren’t materializing. Is a person coming in because Thursday might be busy again? With regularity, sitting around for 4 hours doing nothing for waiting wages isn’t the worst thing in the world especially if you can clean up occasionally, but if you can’t. one will work.

            Then there are people changing jobs because of pent up demand for change.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Then there are teachers. Education is dependent on retired teachers and dedicated substitutes. Then there are volunteers and non teaching staff. Why put yourself at risk if you are near the end of the line? Besides, burn out will be off the charts, so openings will be coming up. Not working isn’t the worst thing.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Two hours and no tables isn’t worth working at a place for anyone.

              That and being screamed at by [glass bowl] customers, more than usual in general, plus over masking.

          2. GramSci

            “Maybe they are just being classed as quitting, which is odd considering our unemployment laws being so pro-layoff.”

            Isn’t it the case in Amerika that if an employee is laid off or fired for cause, the boss has to contribute to his unemployment benefits, but if the employee quits, the boss is off the hook?

    2. Procopius

      I don’t know how to run the numbers (mainly where to get them), but my intuitive feeling is that Bezos could double the pay of his lowest tier of workers, cut his C suite executives by 50%, and the accumulated capital he already has would continue to generate net income in excess of his annual spending. Even if the USPS raised his parcel delivery rates a little.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Carbon capture–

    So I clicked on this link and was very impressed with all those huge tanks and the real big truck.

    Then I went and checked what the EN-ROADS simulator had to say about “carbon capture” versus carbon sequestration in the soil. Here’s how you can check it out for yourself:

    1) Note the baseline temperature rise by 2100 of 3.6 degrees C.

    2) Click on “Technological” under “Carbon Capture” on the lower far right of the simulator.

    3) On the pop-up window titled “Technological Carbon Removal,” find the Use Detailed Settings button and slide it to the right. That makes all the individual types of carbon removal available.

    4) Scroll down the Technological Carbon Removal pop-up until you see “Direct Air Capture.” Move the button on the slider all the way to the right. Just below that slider is another for setting the year. Leave it at 2030.

    5) Now note two things: the graph at the right of the pop-up will now show a purple area representing the amount of carbon removed; and the 2100 temperature rise number at the upper right will reflect the change you made to the simulator (I got no change).

    6) Now set the Direct Air Capture back to “0”.

    7) Scroll down farther on the pop-up to “Agricultural soil carbon sequestration”. Set that slider all the way to 100% Set the year slider to 2030 just to be fair although we don’t have to wait for new tech or a lot of manufacturing build to begin carbon sequestration.

    8) Note the change in the graph at the left of the pop-up. Note the reduction in temperature rise at the upper right.

    Direct air capture with its huge tanks and trucks will have a lot of carbon footprint just building it, and there’s the pipelines they want to build to take this CO2 down to the oil fields to inject for tertiary recovery to get more of the grease out of the ground. Oh boy!

    Compare that to the clearly more effective soil sequestration that’s part of a soil restoration process that simultaneously reduces agriculture’s carbon footprint because of the no-till and no chemical fertilizer process.

    Why would anyone still push direct air capture? Look at those big tanks again. Think of the processes you could patent. Imagine the increased profit from the oil fields. On the other hand, all you need for carbon sequestration in the soil is some seed (diverse!) and a tip of the hat (no patent) to Nature for this marvelous, natural process.

    The relentless drive for profit will kill us all.

    You can use the EN-ROADS simulator to check out all the remedies for our carbon situation.

    1. Nikkikat

      Wall Street intends to make a buck off of it, the fake environmentalist can carry on about it and it will do little to nothing to save us. The oil and frackers will be pleased too. After all most people really want to believe in magic and they will be able to frack more and drill more and kill twice as quickly.

    2. Rod

      Excellent HMP
      You are such an asset to the commentary here at NC.
      And you are correct, the worldview of seeking profit through complex solutions has no appropriate place in the future we need-imo.

    3. Guy Hooper

      Totally agree. Carbon capture is performance art. Of course, it will be profitable for the usual corrupt few. So refreshing to see a comment that has the intellectual throw-weight of actual analysis behind it.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for the kind comments. I’d just like to see people learn to use that EN-ROADS simulator. It’s like a lie detector for these kinds of schemes or for the typical “everything’s gonna be alright” articles. And there might be people here with the facility with numbers who’d argue about some part of that model. For instance, Gabe Brown has much more optimistic numbers for carbon sequestration than the EN-ROADS model shows. It would be great if Brown or Ray Archuleta or some of the scientists they cite would make a case to the Climate Interactive people who created the simulator. Make it, or something better if it exists, the public, open-source lie detector for all the flim-flammers who are selling magic beans. Let’s avoid the ogre if we can.

        1. Vandemonian

          If only there was some biological solar-powered pollution-free option for carbon sequestration, where you could set it up for a small cost, and just let it run forever with no further input.

          Like a new Amazon*, for instance.

          (*The rainforest, not the choice of whip-cracking sadists)

        2. aletheia33

          i appreciate your participation/information here as much as the others who have said so.
          i’ve forwarded your EN-ROADS link to my partner’s son, a public school teacher age 50 who in the last 3 years has become very active in climate action, union building, and electoral politics in boston and massachusetts.

          1. aletheia33

            his response:
            “Thanks for sending this along–yes, I know it well! I know someone who does presentations about it for different groups. Very cool stuff.”

    4. Mantid

      Yep, simple as that when you write “all you need for carbon sequestration in the soil is some seed (diverse!) and a tip of the hat (no patent) to Nature for this marvelous, natural process”. I think you’ve mentioned and and I have as well – a great documentary called “Kiss the Ground”. Very interesting when they show CO2 emissions in graphs and pictures from space. When plants are planted, CO2 drops like a rock in a pond. When the greens (corn, soy, etc) are harvested and the ground is tilled/torn up (and not re-planted) the CO2 goes up like a helium balloon. So, put seeds in the ground, let them grow and sequester CO2. They’ve been doing it for quite a while and are good at it.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Green plants perform ” direct air capture” of carbon and they do it for free. They also assemble themselves for free.

      So the best ‘direct air carbon capture’ method is to grow more green plantmass and enhance still more the growth of still more green plantmass.

      And let the plants do the captured-carbon sequestering, either in their own bodies or in the soil or as peat if these are wetland plants.

      1. Vandemonian

        I’m loath to let any biomass leave our little plot. Tree prunings get put through an electric chipper and used as mulch under shrubs and trees; cut grass, autumn leaves, shredded paper, vegetable scraps and end of life annuals go into the compost, which is then spread on garden beds; and organic stuff I don’t want in the compost goes in the municipal recycling bin. They take food scraps including bones, food-contaminated paper and cardboard, and vigorous weeds that my worm-friendly compost won’t kill.

        The soil looks healthier every year.

        1. newcatty

          The soil looks healthier every year.

          A seemingly simple statement, but profound in its implications for supporting life. Healthy soils will support healthy plants.

    6. jonboinAR

      As I said on another site yesterday, “Plant moar trees”. Heckfire! Can we pay them to stop burning the Amazon? Will they accept ransom to keep it alive?

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the pipelines they want to build to take this CO2 down to the oil fields to inject for tertiary recovery to get more of the grease out of the ground

      Please tell this is is not put forward as a serious proposition.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think the first place I read about it was a NC link, but I couldn’t find that one. Here’s a very interesting one, however, that comes from a member of the Texas Railroad Commission:

        Whether the carbon is utilized for enhanced oil recovery to produce more fuel, repurposed as “recycled” products, or simply stored underground, CCUS technology is widely recognized as critical to reducing emissions while meeting our energy and manufacturing needs. Environmentalists want you to believe we must choose between emissions reductions or benefiting from the use of oil and natural gas. But that is a false choice: we can, and we have done both.

        The Texas Railroad Commission is the regulator of oil and gas in Texas.

      2. BlakeFelix

        I actually think that is a serious proposition, the pipelines might be in one of the bills. I might be wrong. May God have mercy on our souls.

  3. Underwater Ray Ramano

    On the subject of declining covid rates: since the South was the big driver and is now falling, is there a correlation to seasonal changes? The past few weeks, temperatures have been on the decline from high summer, leading to more open windows and outdoor activities, and less reliance on ancient and insufficient a/c systems. If this is the case, should we start to see a rebound in November as temperatures drive more people back inside?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The rate of kids being vaccinated will help as adults have stalled, but yes, increasing the number of people in shared spaces will spread. Yesterday’s water cooler has a rapid riser map. Upper New England, sans Vermont which has the highest vaccination rate,and the Great Lake states are the colored areas. Boise is red.

      Klain is trumpeting schools being open, but err…plenty of local schools should have been closing based on outbreaks. The other side is the flu as we let precautions drop. Minor cases might not be so minor while dealing with Covid or wear and tear.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Because human behavior changes so markedly with the seasons, for most contagious diseases patterns of disease transmission do as well. That’s seasonality.

      ‘Seasonality’ theories of Covid are thus significantly more reality-adjacent than astrology. But invoking seasonal factors to explain the periodic nature of the current pandemic require going out of one’s way to ignore specific characteristics of the pathogen and the selection pressures in its evolution.

  4. zagonostra

    >In search for covid origins, Hubei caves and wildlife farms draw new scrutiny WaPo.

    How is “The fact of the story itself is interesting?” From my perspective I found the timing interesting in view of some recent articles I read directly contradicting the WaPo statement that U.S. intelligence agencies told President Biden in August that the virus was not a biological weapon, but that natural transmission and a lab-related accident were possible origins. I thought by now the vast majority of scientist and experts were leaning toward a lab created origin for the virus.

    The story of origins only gets more and more interesting as you dig down in the details of the people involved and look at all the interrelationships and history. It gets really weird. The people doing this type of analysis are independent journalist and not WaPo unfortunately, we don’t have investigative journalist in the MSM that are worth a dime.

    1. voteforno6

      I thought by now the vast majority of scientist and experts were leaning toward a lab created origin for the virus.

      If anything, the opposite is true.

      1. ambrit

        I’m no expert, but I see it as; “If anything, nothing except the opposite is allowed to be disseminated.”
        There is a huge and pretty obvious program of manipulation of the data inputs of the “masses” going on.
        As an avowed cynic, I generally lean towards the most “conspirational” and or “self servingly idiotic” explanation as the most probable. Lately, I have seldom been disappointed in my expectations.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Funny you should mention TWIV, as I mention further down in today’s comments, I’d be interested in hearing what fans of TWIV made of what Moshe Arditi and Ivet Bahar had to say on the show recently.

            As I say in that comment, I regard TWIV as in denial of reality, that’s vis-a-vis viral evolution, vaccine efficacy etc.

            Frankly, they were worse than unrealistic regarding origins. If they weren’t deliberately trying to obfuscate or misdirect then I have to question their intellectual competence. Mainstream virologists and mainstream economists are alike in that way.

            I’m not sure I follow your final sentence. Do you mean people who favor natural origins can’t get media exposure? I do think that’s true at the moment, but it’s also a case of the biter bitten – nothing’s done more to obscure and discredit the case for natural origin than the antics of its most vocal proponents. There’s an honest case to be made, but ad-hominems and strawmanning made a lot of people smell a rat.

            1. gf

              I consider twiv my go to source.

              The one thing they may miss a bit is they may put more on droplets vs aerosol transmission.

              But they have good arguments in my opinion.

              As far as the lab leak goes i consider that total bs.

              Not bs from people here, we are just trying our best to wade through all this stuff to the best of our abilities.

      2. Mantid

        I disagree. From this article: one quote “This newspaper used Freedom of Information rules to obtain a cache of 32 emails about a secretive teleconference between British and American health officials held early in the pandemic. But officials blacked out almost every word before releasing the crucial documents.” These documents, to name a few, point to the fact that the scientists involved in the Woohan lab are hiding troves of information. They (scientists, Fauci, Danzak, on and on) don’t want people to know what they were doing. The Corona virus was created in that lab. The scientists and their backers/funders do not want to go to jail, lose their funding, or lose their positions of power in the government. Lots of money being made with this pandemic.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Yes I read some of those emails(or what was left of them) from Fauci et al and the tone was ‘Oh sh*t, we must have a meeting about this asap’. PR management?
          Now why would they be so alarmed if they had no links to the lab OR had not funded collection of bat viruses OR had not funded bad virus experiments OR had not already known about escape of one or more viruses?
          Juries convict on circumstantial evidence all the time because guilty suspects routinely refuse to plead guilty. And these days the punditscenti use betting shop odds to work out which party is going to win the next election.
          The court of (intelligent) public opinion can be a powerful light.

    2. Skip Intro

      A lab-related accident is different from lab-created origin. The implication may be that the virus is natural, but it may have spread widely to humans from an accidental infection in a lab working with a natural virus.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        This article was posted at NC months ago and it makes the best argument about the origins of the rona that I’ve seen yet:

        TL;DR version – in 2012 three men died from overexposure to a virus while shoveling guano from a bat cave in China. Samples were taken to a Chinese lab for research and in the course of that research the virus, possibly enhanced from its natural state by that point, escaped.

        1. GramSci

          For anybody who has come in late, as the link and other sources make clear, NIH research grants continued to fund bat guana collection at Wuhan until the pandemic shut operations down.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Big US businesses pledge to extend working hours to ease supply chain backlogs”

    Does the Financial Times even read their own article titles? Let us imagine what big US business would have to say further about this-

    ‘Yes, as we move towards a round-the-clock, seven-day-week model which though temporary we all know will become permanent, we do acknowledge some problems. Many workers will burn out, there will be an increase in accidents through fatigue resulting in deaths & maiming, that family relationships will be stressed as they see less of their families, that equipment maintenance will have to be deferred leading to future major breakdowns that those workers will have to work around but in the end, this is a price that we are prepared to pay.’

    1. Questa Nota

      But at least they can take comfort in knowing that their banking will be secure at long last. No more fretting or pacing the floor over that $600 transaction toward the old student loan. Innit great? /s

    2. lordkoos

      …but in the end, this is a price that we are prepared to pay.

      “We” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

    3. jrs

      Only if it’s things like the port in L.A., that is a heavily unionized workforce, that does fight back and strike. So they will be well compensated.

  6. jr

    re: Dionysus

    If you think red wine elevates consciousness, try praying to Him. Dionysus is my patron small “g” god. He watched over me when I was a mad, wandering satyr and He has given me many gifts.

    I was visited by Him once. I had a poem stuck in my head, at least the last line of it, for literally decades. One morning, about two years ago, I woke up and knew the poem was in my head. I lay down on the couch and began to write. The words flowed like wine. When I was done, the ecstasy began, waves of it roiling in my mind. My head lolled back and I went limp as the storm of joy surged within me. My partner thought I was having a stroke. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

    Go Dad!

    1. Jack Parsons

      I once took too much LSD and had a similar experience. I am not religious, but I could see how someone with a religious bent could have this experience and end up preaching on a street corner.

    2. skippy

      I would argue that taking mind altering subsistence regardless of its composition does nothing to change reality, even if, causally, the observer observes it differently e.g. the wall is not melting nor does the carpet flow like water i.e. its just the result of the optical influence of a foreign chemical into ones body.

      I would accept that such experiences are a mind hack short cut, but, that cuts both ways, heaps of humans are stuffed for life so they could enjoy or heighten some experience.

    3. Henry Moon Pie


      Have you ever read Hesse’s Journey to the East? It’s highly allegorical, but a recent pass through the book convinced me it’s about both the ecstasy and draining effects of creation.

    4. jr

      @ Jack – some would argue that simply being able to experience it is a religious experience, nothing necessarily special in and of itself.

      @ skippy- I agree, but I wouldn’t frame it as bit being real, rather as individualized versus consensus reality. I’m quite happy thar we cannot alter reality thusly; everyone would be dead or worse. However, we do consciously alter reality when we form neural networks.

      @HMP No but it’s on the list now.

      1. ambrit

        For a “left-wing in America with Agency,” head on back to ‘The Paris Review’ for an early example.

          1. psv

            I’m pretty sure ambrit meant that ironically due to just the connection you make, but providing a link is helpful for those who may not know of it, thanks.

            1. ambrit

              Yes. I should have provided a link.
              Sometimes, irony is the best way to expose the truth, by indirection.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        It would be painful to admit that there is a left-wing in America and the vicious cultural-maoist persecutionists infesting student bodies and professor cadres throughout first-tier academia are the left-wing in America today.

        1. ambrit

          As the PMCs of China of the times of turmoil discovered, a few years internal exile on a farm somewhere is quite “rectifying” of one’s preconceptions

      3. ArvidMartensen

        There is no “left wing” remaining in the five-eyes western world. If that means fighting for some share of resources.
        Fifty years of psychological and political warfare by those that have looted our natural, human labour and mental commons has obliterated and demonised almost all ideas of how to stop the looting.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that you might be right. Right-wing racists are not particularly known for being ‘woke’. Funny thing was his crime was for showing a classic film with a renowned white actor playing Othello who is a black character. So how about that recent British TV series on Ann Boleyn – King Henry VIII’s first wife – and who was depicted by a black actress? Was she guilty of cultural appropriation as well? Should she be cancelled and banned from all future acting roles?

      Maybe these ‘wokesters’ should chill the f*** out and appreciate good acting instead.

      1. begob

        But blackface? A British actress posed in whiteface as Princess Diana a couple of years ago – just to show the absurdity of the practice.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I’ll add a Tweet that I found that really says it all as far as Hollywood is concerned and it is great-

            ‘David Dennis Jr.
            Squid Game is the biggest show in Netflix history.

            Can we finally admit that it was a Hollywood lie all these years that you needed a white lead to do well internationally.’


            Some of the Tweets following on are pretty good as well.

        1. urblintz

          It wasn’t “blackface” it was make-up. “Blackface” is a deliberately offensive caricature apparent to anyone. Make-up is an essential part of transforming actors into the characters they are portraying. To not know the difference is willful ignorance. The entire premise of this imagined insult is ridiculous.

          Bright Sheng is a wonderful composer and a great guy. I met him while performing, with the NY Philharmonic, his chamber symphony arrangement of Bernstein’s “Arias and Barcarolles.” To accuse him of racism is as “beyond the pale” as believing the expression “beyond the pale” is insensitive/racist in origin. It isn’t and neither is Bright Sheng.

          I can almost forgive the know-nothing student for being just a student who knows nothing, but Sheng’s unexceptional and unknown colleague (Evan Who?) should shut his jealous composer’s pie hole…

          and the Dean (another PMC nobody) should resign.

          1. ambrit

            Thank you. Good to hear from someone with first hand knowledge.
            The NC commenteriat is the bestest commenteriat.

        2. Mel

          I read someplace that Patrick Stewart proposed a production where he would play Othello in his own Scottish skin and all the other characters would be black, or ‘black’. I seem to recall that it was performed, but I’m not sure.

          1. chuck roast

            MacBeth, that famous Black Scot is currently being played by Denzel Washington the well known American white guy…I’m getting confused…

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        The Rev Kev: Not black in the U.S. sense, if black at all.

        The Wikipedia entry has four long paragraphs on Othello’s ethnicity. The term Moor doesn’t apply only to Sub-Saharan Africans, and his ties to Venice indicate that he would have been of Mediterranean origin. For centuries, there have been Arabs and Berbers in Italy.

        So there is an irony to wokeness insisting on U.S. racial classifications, which then are applied to Shakespeare, whose ideas about race (if he even believed that there is such a thing as racial classification) must conform to U.S. racial ideas.

        I am reminded of the long, earnest, hard-to-take discussions in the U.S. of A. about whether Cleopatra is “really” black in the U.S. sense. These sorts of discussions would be pitiable, except that Bright Sheng has run into the buzzsaw of American puritanism.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          If the marble portrait sculpture of Cleopatra is genuine, then there is nothing distinctly African about her bone structure & in any case the Ptolemaic dynasty for about 250 years maintained their Greco / Macedonian bloodline intact by keeping it very much in the family – Cleo herself had 2 marriages with her brothers.

          Imposing modern values on the past is often it appears very selective in relation to actual facts.

            1. Eustachedesaintpierre

              Thanks for that – concubines also complicated the bloodlines of the elite Spanish Moors as they were kidnapped from northern Europe, all the way up to Iceland & whole villages in Cornwall also met that fate which was still a thing during Shakespeare’s lifetime, so I imagine that Moors were not very popular. perhaps why Othello also became something of a villain.

              Sulieman the magnificent at the height of the Ottoman Empire broke protocol & married his Eastern European concubine Hurram Sultan, with I think at least 3 other women following in a period of about 150 years called the Sultanate of Women.

              I did a bit more digging in regard to the portrait bust & it seems that it was sculpted in Rome while Cleo was visiting Ceasar, probably as a gift of which it seems the favour was returned as when the situation was reversed he had his own portrait sculpted in Egypt.


              1. ambrit

                The story of El Cid Campeador is a capsule version of what must have happened time and again around the medeterranean littoral. First one ‘side’ gains control, only to be supplanted by a rival ‘side.’ El Cid’s grandson was the King of Navarre around 1130 and on. We must remember that these petty lordlings fought each other for land and power, irrespective of “racial” or religious affiliation.
                El Cid:

        1. The Rev Kev

          Rats! My mistake. Catherine of Aragon was his first wife of course. Anne Boleyn was his second wife – or first replacement when you get down to it. Thanks for the correction.

    2. Randy G

      MK — It’s the World Socialist Web Site — Trotskyist in perspective — and everything they don’t like is “right-wing”. That said, all their articles are well-written and informative despite the ideological rigidity.

      The article on Bright Sheng is amazing stuff. The fact that some self-righteous freshman student was offended by the Othello film is hardly surprising in the current climate. Sheng, however, was subsequently denounced by Dean Gier and by Professor Evan Chambers, his replacement. When the faculty and administration also jump on the ludicrous cancellation bandwagon, pouring gasoline on the auto-da-fé, then the cultural rot is truly astonishing.

      Chris Hedges, notably, has repeatedly remarked on the bankruptcy of liberal elites who stand for nothing, and it seems very much on display in academia and corporate culture when the “adults” cave to woke petulance, rushing in fear to the front of the mob.

      One might imagine that a student group concerned with racism would have a little sympathy for a Chinese born composer — in light of the brutal racism that the Chinese and other Asians have been subjected to in the U.S. However, once he was in the cross-hairs, Sheng received no mercy.

      Professor Sheng apologized and prostrated himself before the ‘left-wing’ mob, but he was still cancelled. His apology, in fact, only incited the self-righteous mob into more of a frenzy once they smelled blood, which seems typical in these cases.

      Is this stuff left-wing, right-wing, liberal? Seems more like a religious cult as there’s a lot of self-righteous blather and ahistorical moralizing, denunciations, sacrifices, purification rituals, and scapegoating. The linguist John McWhorter has written on the religious element of ‘woke’ culture and he calls them ‘The Elect’.

      Judith mentions Sheng’s experiences with ‘The Cultural Revolution’ in China, which is ironic. At least the University of Michigan, so far, has not taken away his piano, and there are no plans for a literal auto-da-fé as of today.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        This stuff is left-wing. And the left-wing should admit it and own up to it. The radioactive toxic-waste
        Wokeflakes of the Social Justice Warrior left are the core of the left-wing today.

        And yet the SJW Wokenazi left-wing wonders why it is so bitterly hated by so many normal decent Americans.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > And the left-wing should admit it and own up to it.

          No, it’s not. The left puts the working class first. This woke crap does not, unless you think that college students at Oberlin or wherever are some sort of working class vanguard. All you have to do is look at the effects, which are (a) enormous divisiveness in any group that tries to organize itself along any but identitarian line, and not even then, because intersectionality is fractal as a data structure, dividing groupuscules into groupuscules all the way down (rather like Protestant sects), and (b) established academics getting fired. I hold no brief of established academics as such, but administrators — who are encouraging and managing all this crap –love to fire tenured professors and replace them with adjuncts whenever they can.

          In ten years, all these woke people will be on MSNBC and CNN, complaining about how hard their lives are and pitching their book deals. See, as usual, Adolph Reed on “The Trouble with Uplift.” Or on the CalPERS board.

  7. Judith

    Just a thought.

    Regarding the treatment of Bright Sheng, the professor-composer at University of Michigan. Given his age, I wondered if he was born in China and, if so, what his experiences during the Cultural Revolution might have been and how it might have affected him. The following excerpt from Wikipedia briefly describes his experiences then. I only know one person originally from China who was exiled during the Cultural Revolution and it left a lasting impact on her.

    Bright Sheng was born in Shanghai, China on December 6, 1955. His mother had been his first piano teacher, having started learning at the age of four.[1] When the Cultural Revolution began, his home’s piano was taken away by the Red Guards. Sheng went back to playing a year later, using his school’s since he didn’t have one at home. Shortly thereafter, he decided to play piano for the rest of his life, although he didn’t believe that he could become a musician since his family had no history of music.[5]

    Sheng was sent to Qinghai Province, China, which used to be a part of Tibet, and stayed there for seven years. He became a performer, playing the piano and percussion to not only perform,[5] but to study and collect folk music.[1] He also began to compose his own music.[5]

    Because Sheng had to teach himself how to play musical instruments and learn music theory to play, Qinghai folk music became and continues to be a strong inspiration in his compositions today. He used Tibetan folk music from Qinghai as a basis for his opera The Song of Majnun.[5]

    After the end of the Cultural Revolution, he got admitted into the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he learned both Chinese classical and traditional music.[5] There, Sheng earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition.

    1. Carolinian

      While some of us might quibble about how successful Olivier’s performance was, the intent was surely not racist. From WSWS

      In his autobiography, Olivier boasts that his black Othello was more genuine, more daring, more forceful than the ‘pale’—he might almost have said ‘diluted’—Othellos of his immediate predecessors.” Indeed, Olivier goes on to explain in that memoir that the dominant “coffee-colored compromise” had arisen “out of some feeling that the Moor could not be thought a truly noble Moor if he was too black and in too great contrast to the noble whites: a shocking case of pure snobbery.”

      To play Hamlet he went blond. His Richard III had a hump that was hard to miss. Olivier was always of the “outside in” school of acting (like Streep with her accents) rather than the method obsessed Americans.

      But of course the controversy isn’t really about the movie but about pretending to be victimized as a route to self aggrandizement. Some forms of acting really are sinister.

      1. Judith

        At the level of the individual, self-aggrandizement or thoughtlessness or a real lack of historical awareness.Whatever the impetus, no concern is shown about the impact on another person. But the fact that such behavior is increasingly becoming acceptable or even expected – that is the sinister part. I think of the movie The Lives of Others.

  8. Tom Stone

    I’ve been thinking about the centralization and the democratization of the tools of violence.
    Robodogs armed with remote control sniper rifles chambered in the hotness that is 6.5 Creedmoor (The original design criteria are interesting to anyone interested in precision riflery) are going to have a significant logistic tali and will require trained maintenance personel and a supply of spare parts..With those sensors they should be able to reach out and touch someone at 1,200 meters or a little more.
    Cheap drones and the FGC 9 Mk2 are on the other end.of the scale, you can make a real mess with a few commercial drones, as has been amply demonstrated.
    And you can built a select fire 9MM carbine and magazines for it in your spare bedroom, with parts sourced from hardware stores and a 3 D printer.
    Interesting times…

    1. tegnost

      I’m anxiously awaiting a drone swooping in to snatch up one of those dogs and drop it from 1,200 meters.

      1. ambrit

        I too will have fun seeing that. However, I hope to watch from a long distance away. Having one of those mechanical monstrosities fall upon one’s head from height will be a terminally interesting experience.
        I am wondering why Skynet does not censor all references to it’s prototype mobile units. The Singularity hasn’t happened yet?

  9. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Talk to Your Doctor. TALK to Your Doctor. Talk to Your DOCTOR. Gawker”

    Really good insights into the failure of the current health care system. At first glance, it is odd that people go to sources like radio and facebook for medical advice, but considering how the health care system has failed them, those are the sources of information available to them. It is almost like these ‘features’ where by design…

    1. tegnost

      The last time I went to a doctor, about ten years ago, she had to keep checking the computer screen for approved treatments. I kinda felt sorry for her. Peace Health… reminds me of the saying “never eat at a place called Mom’s”

      1. Craig H.

        My last doctor visit in ~2011 the doctor spent 5X more times looking at his laptop and typing my multiple choice answers to the exam tree questions than he did looking at me. Hands off exam although he did touch my chest with a stethoscope. His nurse touched my arm for the blood pressure wrap and my finger with the blood oxygen meter (which I ought to know what those are called but I do not.) If we had seen each other later that day at Starbucks we might not have recognized each other.

        If your malady isn’t in the top 40 branches of their exam tree they maybe lose money on you or something.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Before long the private equity guys will have us convinced that robot doctors are better than humans trying to pretend they’re robot doctors. That’s utopia!

        2. aletheia33

          doctors in my area have been quitting their practices for a few years now.
          i have often witnessed them struggling with, hating, and apologizing for those computers they are made to sit and type into for the entire session, and going “over time” reluctant to keep themselves to the time limits imposed by their managers.
          that plus the insurance paperwork is driving caring, responsible doctors out of medicine.
          simply, no time to do what they were trained to do and follow the principles of care they have dedicated themselves to.

    2. Pat

      Almost twenty years ago, I had to change doctors when mine retired. None of my the doctors my friends recommended were taking new patients. So I got a list from my insurance company and picked based on proximity to my then job. I am not big on going to the doctor, but at that point in time I still was doing annual visits and I did have a couple of problems over the course of the seven years I had that primary care physician. Here’s the thing, I saw that doctor once, at my first visit. After I never saw the same associate twice in a row. I had to explain why I was there every single time, to people who not only didn’t have the time to see me, but didn’t have the time to look at my chart. I lucked into a great primary that lasted about the same amount of time, due to a coworker’s recommendation. Now I am between again. From various anecdotes here and elsewhere, the former is increasingly the norm.

      When you never see the same doctor and/or they have minimal time with you and for you, how is it not surprising that people see them as a last resort, not the first one. And that doesn’t even consider cost and insurance hassles.

      I don’t know that avoiding doctors was intended, but I am quite sure that billing has the primary concern and care secondary for much of the medical community for decades. And that so called smart people are often gobsmacked when their marks get that they are being taken.

      My point being it is a crap

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom saved everything being a child of the Great Depression and some time ago she gave me her checkbook register for mid 1961 to mid 1962.

        It was $190 to deliver me, and there are a series of $6 & $7 checks and one whopper for $14 (must’ve been brain surgery) to Dr Evers-our family physician throughout the 1960’s, I remember going to him when I was a kid. The total paid to our physician for a family of 5 was $88.

        I asked my mom if we had insurance, and she related that there was only one in SoCal-the Kaiser health plan, and few had that, so most everybody was uncovered.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Until the early 1970s, US hospitals and insurance companies were non-profit only. I’m sure they had high salaries even then, but no finance guys skimming the take.

      2. Carla

        I occasionally saw the same M.D. (my so-called PCP, or primary care physician) over a period of 25 years. He was employed by one of the two major medical centers in my medium-sized metropolitan area (pop. 2 million). The last time I saw him in Feb. 2020, I noticed that he seemed to be “slipping,” and in June 2020, I got a letter from the medical center saying that he had retired, and I should find a new physician. That has proven to be much easier said than done. Since then, I’ve had a couple of mishaps that required me to go to the ER and then pursue follow-up care with specialists. My EMR (electronic medical record) continues to state that Dr. X is my PCP. I have told numerous clerks, nurses, and doctors that Dr. X retired in Feb. 2020, and spent an hour on the phone trying to inform the medical center that their own frigging doctor has been retired for well over a year, and they should know it. My EMR continues to list Dr. X as my PCP.

        Can you imagine if some other fact in my EMR was mistaken and needed correction? Well, that actually is the case in several instances I know of and surely others I do not. I have given up trying to get my EMR corrected.

        Why anyone participates in this charade called American “health care,” I know not. Now that I’ve been on Medicare for a few years after struggling as a free-lancer to pay for medical insurance my whole life, my interaction with the medical-industrial complex is limited to the ER, an occasional Urgent Care Center visit, and self-diagnosis and “treatment” via the Internet.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          > and self-diagnosis and “treatment” via the Internet.

          How about self-diagnosis via the Internet after urgent care?

          Last Thursday, I was stumbling dizzy and throwing up. Of course, the first thought these days is COVID — and, as it turns out, there are verified reports of extreme dizziness a few days before the more-common respiratory symptoms appear. After five hours, I called my nurse at the VA, who told me to go to the ER immediately. (She’s the one provider who has been consistent over the past four years and with whom I’ve had the most contact. I loved my PCP, but she left two years ago and they’ve only recently replaced her. Was scheduled to meet the new guy this month, chose him from available options based solely on my nurse being assigned to him).

          Anyway, called 9-1-1, they brought me to the nearest hospital, non-VA. Spent 17 hours in the ER waiting for a hospital bed, utter chaos. They did a CT scan and MRI, the latter showing nothing. One nurse said something about a stroke, but I never saw a doctor or had a diagnosis explained to me. I was discharged by a nurse practitioner, with a bag full of meds, no explanation what they were or why these particular ones were prescribed. It was only after I got home and did further research that I figured out it likely was a “mini-stroke,” or TIA. I called my VA nurse again on Tuesday. She said the meds they gave me are standard for suspected stroke and was very OK with my not taking them until I see the new PCP in a couple of weeks. They likely will refer me to a neurologist for more tests.

    3. tennesseewaltzer

      I live in a rural part of Middle Tennessee. Primary care physicians haven’t lasted long here. For a number of years now there has been no doctor available, only Nurse Practitioners or Physicians Assistants. And even those numbers have declined to less than a handful. The local hospital has been through several merger/acquisitions from large medical corporations. Its reputation is less than stellar and most often people with emergency admissions are transported to a large hospital an hour away. In a slightly larger nearby town there are a number of walk in clinics, all staffed by non doctors. Folks I know who still consult with a doctor travel an hour to a larger city or several hours to the medical complexes in Nashville.

    4. lordkoos

      When I lived in Seattle I rarely saw a real doctor, usually just a succession of physician’s assistants (although some of them were very good). When I moved to this small town I was lucky enough to see the same doctor for several years and it was a relief to have a person who could actually remember my medical history without having to look everything up on the laptop — and we liked each other to boot. Now I’m back to square one as in June she has moved away to take care of elderly family in another part of the state. Since then I’ve already had to “fire” one health care provider, and the doc I’m seeing now does not inspire a lot confidence either. I try to stay away from doctors as a rule unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I’m sure many Americans feel the same way.

    5. Maritimer

      There have been discussions at NC about One-size-fits-all Medicine. Well, that is true now of all systems.

      That is the way it is going: Humans must fit the systems. Get homogenized! Get Vaxxed!

  10. zagonostra

    >U.S. judge restrains United from placing employees receiving COVID-19 vaccine exemption on unpaid leave

    It will be very interesting in how contradictory State and Federal rules will play out on mandating vaccines. Right now there is only a “Press Release” that Biden made on 9/6 and no Federal legislation, so I wonder why companies like United, SW and others are rushing to institute vaccine mandates?

    The politics, let alone the law, is also quite interesting, especially with Trump’s latest interview on the 7th of Oct on Fox stating that vaccines should be voluntary.

    1. outside observer

      I too am surprised by the rush to impose the mandates absent actual written rules. I have heard of even federal contractors (don’t they have to meet a slew of requirements with regards to employee rights, benefits and disabilities?) demanding employees turn in onerous documentation of religious beliefs and detailed medical forms filled out by doctor with one week’s notice – knowing full well that few will be able to get their doctor to fill out a form within one week. As a vaccinated person, the invasion of religious and medical privacy by private employers is a disturbing overreach. If the government wants to mandate the vaccine, just do it outright rather than through the backdoor of private employers. And take the responsibility for any adverse reactions and lost wages.

      1. ambrit

        I think that the point is that, in America today, all “responsibility” is now the burden of the “masses,” or, if you wish, “the freedom loving rugged individual patriots.”
        America has become a factious and divided polity over the past few decades. The Covid “vaccine” mandates are just a way to formalise the divisions. Soon, the “divisions” will be “judged and found wanting,” all of them. The “war of all against all” will have become ‘official’ policy.

        1. Mantid

          Yes, this is the slippery slope argument. In our region and district, public school teachers must be vaccinated. I don’t understand why the general public is so into mandates – though I know how they’ve been duped to believe it’s a good idea. Why would someone mandate something that not only doesn’t work (does not not kill the virus), but also is sometimes dangerous and unhealthy. Isn’t there other things more pressing that could be mandated? Perhaps a mandate that any person holding political office from school boards to the president must reveal all sources of their income including donations? That mandate I would go for.

    2. Maritimer

      De Santis certainly is on a roll opposing BIGPHARMA/Biden and their mandates. One wonders how the FLA economy is doing compared to other states. In addition, the Unvaccinated who are mobile may move to jurisdictions which are more favorable to their interests and those of their children.

      Another consequence is that businesses which are anti-mandate may set themselves up to be beyond the reach of Federal law in agreeable States.

  11. jr

    re: AI

    Spot on article here. It belies those goofball MIT artists marveling at the randomly non-random “art” posted a few weeks back, the Jimmy Kimmel notion that a talking mannequin who appears smarter than he is “alive”, and that buffoon artificial intelligence scientist in the stupid hat who was chaperoning that same mannequin and it’s male counterpart “debating” by exchanging pre-recorded audio files:

    No AI is ever going to be inspired. It seems that a random, unprogrammed “idea” would be anathema to a system like that, a sort of stray bullet crashing through it’s logic-chains. It would shut down, no? What’s the term? “Cascade failure”?

    I would think a robo-Apocalypse could still be a concern. Maybe the robots wouldn’t start it. But some dumba$$ human very likely could and would.

    But an artificial consciousness, to be precise an artificial experiencer of consciousness, that is a different question entirely. Robots will never rise up. But replicants very well could.

    1. GramSci

      I find it ironic that the MIT trade press is pumping the mysterious problem of “insight”.  In terms of neural networks, that problem was largely solved by Stephen Grossberg by the early 1980s.  Grossberg found the key circa 1972 as an Associate Professor in Minsky and Papert’s AI lab at MIT.  Just after they published their dismissal of neural networks because of “perceptrons'” inability to compute XOR, Grossberg showed in a series of papers how networks in the human brain compute XOR ubiquitously.  They fired him.

      Grossberg’s architectures remain undeveloped in AI for two main reasons. First, they require a more complex architecture than Xboxes or modern tensor machines. Second, and more importantly, Grossberg’s architectures are capable of exhibiting free will, violating every Law of Asimov, not to mention military best practices.

      1. jr

        Sorry, I don’t buy it, but then I’m not a materialist. I won’t pretend to understand Grossberg’s architectures and they may have mimicked a free will but to actually experience a free will one would have to have a will in the first place. I don’t think the will is produced by the brain, rather it is received by and in turn informed by it, as consciousness precedes the brain. As it precedes all experience, in fact it is the genesis of all experiential reality. Not individual consciousnesses to be sure but rather the field of consciousness, of pure potential, hiding right behind the paper thin Markov curtain that is infinitely deep.

        As for inspiration, well, when a Grossberg architecture slumps over when overcome with ecstatic joy upon completing a work of art, give me a call.

        And thank you for the fascinating comment, I’m breaking my brain at the moment looking at XOR gates on Wikipedia.

        1. GramSci

          I don’t think it’s proper to call Grossberg a “materialist”.  Although he accepted funding from the Office of Naval Research, his work was primarily motivated by a desire to model and understand human thought.  (The Navy and MIT were motivated by other, more “practical” things, like “robots”.)

          Grossberg doesn’t use terms like “will” or “consciousness”. I think he would say that these are just “thoughts” and that they do not exist a priori. In this context, “will” and “free will” are simply the ability to choose among different thoughts and actions. They are related to “insight” insofar as “insight” is the ability to discover a choice one didn’t know one had.

          1. Grebo

            jr is referring to the belief that the world is made of matter and energy, not to a desire for ‘things’. Grossberg sounds like that kind of materialist, most scientists are.

            jr is an idealist; the belief that the world is made of mind and has no physical substrate.

            1. aletheia33

              i am sure that the world is made of/by mind, and that mind does take form as what we experience as matter and sometimes find to be very “hard”. for example, living as/in a body, requiring food, clothing, shelter etc., while simultaneously (or in rapid alternation) living as/in one’s heart, where love transmutes everything in ways equally beyond our understanding.
              what am i?

              1. jr

                If you believe that all of reality is within consciousness, you are an idealist. To be clear, not your individual consciousness. Individual consciousness are fragments, slivers, and in a very real way the senses of the underlying field of consciousness. One way to think of it is that consciousness is like a radio wave spectrum and we are transceivers of that spectrum. The material world exists independently of you but not of consciousness. All is within consciousness, all is of consciousness.

                Another way to look at is that all of this is the dream of God. The material world is the dream-stuff of God. Any living organism is a lucidly dreaming aspect of God. You get the idea.

                If you believe that all is within consciousness, all is of consciousness, and all is conscious, including the material world, you are a panpsychist.

                And you would be wrong. ;)

                1. GramSci

                  Actually, Grossberg sees everything as a cosmic resonance, but he doesn’t push the metaphor beyond neuroscience

        2. QuicksilverMessenger

          Underneath what you are rightly writing about is the most fundamental question- ‘what is a human being?’ our origins? our possibilities? even our ‘birthright’?

          So many traditions speak about this, but I think of the Vedas: ‘the gods reserve for themselves the power to ‘do’. But to the adepts whom they choose , this power is poured into them, and from them, flows into the world’.

          Presence, consciousness, and maybe most important, conscience (the consciousness of the ‘heart’) needs human beings for to manifest, to actually appear in the world. The human being is needed, literally, as a transformer in the ‘economy’ of creation.

          But as you say, most of what we call life is simply what is painted on this paper thin curtain, no one suspecting the vastness behind, underneath, above.

          So from a certain point of view, the Artificial Intelligence we get will be a mirror of the artificial intelligence we already embody because we don’t really understand what a human being is

          1. jr

            I suggest you read Kastrup’s work, starting with Rationalist Spirituality. He provides a rigorous philosophical framework upon which to hang the ideas you are discussing. It was a game changer for me, as was Why Materialism is Baloney.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘We got a rare peek at Boston Dynamics’ office in Massachusetts, where the team showed off 2 of the robots they are working to commercialize: Spot and Stretch.’

    That robot dog opening up that door in the video. Now where have I seen something like that before? Why is it so familiar? Oh yeah- (45 secs)

    1. Mikel

      “Boston police arrested a Black man having a stroke. After $1.3 million payout, it’s unclear if anything’s changed”

      Now the unaccountable tech will just shoot him. And it will be called “the price of progress.” Over and over again…

        1. JP

          A metal rod might do. I don’t think the current generation is at all well armored. A 3/8 rod in the front or hind joint might lock it right up. Certainly a flame in the forward sensors could also blind it.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Considering that the lawyer took his cut (it was one-third when I had an injury back in 2009, not sure what the standard percentage is now) plus expenses, what the poor guy ended up with didn’t even begin to “make him whole,” to the extent possible given his illness. No wonder the city wanted to settle out of court.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Jeremy Lent had an excellent article in Salon this past weekend titled “Solving the climate crisis requires the end of capitalism.” He takes on the Ecomodernists and their rosy promises of Green Growth and Business As Usual ad infinitum:

    As net-zero targets decades away are formally announced at COP26, built implicitly on a combination of corporate procrastination and speculative technologies, we can only expect the climate crisis to continue to worsen. Ultimately, as negative emissions technologies fail to meet their grandiose expectations, the same voices that currently promote reliance on them will lend support to the techno-dystopian idea of geoengineering — vast, planet-altering engineering projects designed to temporarily manipulate the climate to defer a climate apocalypse. A leading geoengineering candidate, financed by Bill Gates, involves spraying particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting the Sun’s rays back into space. The risks are enormous, including the likelihood of causing extreme shifts in precipitation around the world. Additionally, once begun, it could never be stopped without immediate catastrophic rebound heating; it would not prevent the oceans from further acidifying; and may turn the blue sky into a perpetual dull haze. In spite of these concerns, geoengineering is beginning to get discussed at UN meetings, with publications such as The Economist predicting that, since it wouldn’t disrupt continued economic growth, it’s more likely to be implemented than the drastic, binding cuts in emissions that would head off climate disaster.

    1. GramSci

      Thanks.  It’s a nice article, but I wish socialists would avoid casting their arguments in the easy but divisive cant of “capitalism” and “profit motive”.  As Michael Hudson has labored mightily to explain, if capital is invested wisely and if its profits turned to the betterment of the planet, there is nothing wrong with “capital” or “profit”.

      The problem is that the tradespeople in the local Chamber of Commerce are practicing this kind of productive capitalism, but the financialized media uses this fact confusion to split the Left from the Right.

      Divide et impera.

      1. Grant

        Why avoid an honest discussion on an economic system that is not sustainable? Who benefits from that? How does capitalism in any form exist when we are reaching the limits of growth regarding resource consumption and pollution generation, and when the monetary and financial parts of the economy face no such constraints? We know that markets cannot and do not monetize a wide range of environmental impacts, and the scale of these non market impacts is massive. Since it isn’t realistic to address this at the level of the consumer or the enterprise level, it is obvious we need comprehensive economic planning. Many people I see talking about the environmental crisis treat global warming as the crisis. It isn’t, it is one part of a much larger crisis, there are multiple environmental impacts at the crisis stage now. So, we avoid talking about the system causing this? Since banks create most of the money in circulation and since they cannot realistically take all of these non market impacts into account when lending and creating money, we have to also address their capacity to create money. I see no logical reason to run from this or a direct discussion on the capitalist system. If capitalism exists indefinitely, ecological collapse is certain. We can complain or deny this if we want to, we might as well do the same about being mortal. It is what it is, let’s face what is coming and move beyond the system destroying the planet.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Amen to all you wrote.

          As for economic planning, Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics is an effort to provide such a tool. Along the way, she does a very nice takedown of neoclassical economics, the “theology” behind the religion of capitalism.

    2. Susan the other

      Capitalism can be a useful tool still but decisions by free-marketeers is a disaster. And Bill Gates should be told to just be quiet… that twit could be promoting the next glaciation, which won’t help anything. But will probably happen anyway.

  14. Wukchumni

    US overtakes China as biggest bitcoin mining hub after Beijing ban FT
    {holds up oversized foam hand}

    We’re # 1’s & 0’s!

    Bitcoin is back up to $55k, and i’ll admit to phantom FOMO pangs especially after consulting my crystal ball, which shows the whole world economy runs on them in 2025 in that each Bitcoin contained an amazing amount of electricity in storage from the minting process, that half of the globe was powered by Bitcoin batteries.

    1. Skip Intro

      At the moment, each bitcoin represents future sustainability squandered today. The proof of wasted energy that validates them are like tree stumps.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘Frozen Chosin’ Korean War Movie Set to Be Biggest Box-Office Hit of 2021”

    I have seen a few trailers on this film the past few days so look forward to seeing it eventually – one way or another. For us, the Korean war earned the sobriquet ‘The Forgotten War’ but certainly the North Koreans never forgot it’s lessons. Nor did the Chinese forget either. When very young, I used to be uncomfortable about reading about wars written by people from ‘the other side of the hill’ but soon found them to be a source of fascination. The German and Japanese accounts gave them a depth of humanity missing from official accounts. And there was much of interest to be found. Let me illustrate with a Korean war example.

    Last year I was reading an interview of Maj. Gen. (ret.) Sergei Kramarenko who was a fighter pilot in WW2 and the Korean war. This was given not long before he passed away. I give the link to this interview below and he makes an interesting point that before the Korean war, the Pentagon had a plan to carpet bomb the USSR with atom-bombs if it came to a war but after the B-29s had been mauled so badly in Korea, had to drop the plan of using bombers over the USSR-

    This led me to his Wikipedia entry which revealed that the USAF was playing funny buggers with the official records when a plane that he shot down was recorded as ‘lost in an accident shortly after take-off’

  16. Pat

    Just an item in a the climate anomaly list. The typhoon that has caused at least 11 deaths in the Philippines has taken a turn. Now a typhoon in the Philippines is not so odd, they get about twenty a year, although there is a worry about severity.
    But this one just shut down Hong Kong with the longest signal 8 warning since 1978.

    There are two higher severe waning levels in Hong Kong’s system and had Super typhoon Mangkhut in 2018. Still this is second level 8 in less than a week.

    Signs are everywhere.

  17. Mikel

    “Oh Great They’re Putting Guns On Robodogs Now”

    This is what was meant by defund the police until provocateurs, propagandists, and actual defund the govt (‘anti-taxers”) twisted the message.

    The futrure is officially %×#! and no one has the guts to tell the children.

    1. Wukchumni

      You have the right to remain silent, roll over and play dead. Anything you say will be recorded for posterity and used against you most definitely, GRRRRRRRRRRRowl

  18. jr

    re: Goofily, then Stupidly

    Oh boy, it’s Barry with the “Big Picture”. I dream of the day he, Liz “the hip McChristian” Breunig, and “Ding-dong” Fong collaborate on a piece. I think my laptop will collapse into itself in a particularly dense singularity.

    Fortunately, Barry provides enough to sustain anyone’s sense of the ridiculous. The feast begins with the first sentence:

    “Incremental changes occur at a very deliberate pace.”

    A quick glance at the dictionary provides that both the adjective and verb uses of “deliberate” involve agency. Only a sentient being can either be deliberate or can deliberate. Now, this surely can be incremental. My guess most of Barry’s deliberations are incremental. Geologically so.

    Which leads us to his example of what specifically deliberates. Why, it’s the process of erosion. Not the mental erosion his inchoate musings instigate but that of water running across rock. At least the his ramblings involve some agency, of a sort. Unless Barry is a pan-psychist, his example is categorically incorrect. I don’t think he has the chops to telepathically communicate with his cookware, frankly.

    “Geologic timescales are very different than our usual frames of reference.”

    Usual? I think we can safely drop the “usual” from this sentence, unless there are times when humans can experience geologic timescales. Perhaps a live lecture from Barry would qualify.

    “It’s unlike the pace that Humans experience.”

    What’s with the capital “H”, Barry? Perhaps you believe there are humans and Humans? Meta-humans, like in the DC comic movies? I imagine he would place himself firmly in the latter group. “Finance Man to the rescue!” with a dollar sign emblazoned on his doubtlessly rock hard chest as he drives families onto the street in order to flip their homes on behalf of Blackrock.

    “Big changes are obvious…the intriguing changes are smaller…” So fire, the wheel, the printing press, and electricity are not intriguing? I guess when you have it all figured out, only the tiny details remain. And are we to believe that upon the genesis of these events, everyone knew how big of a change they implied? Did the first Homo erectus who utilized fire also envision Bic lighters? BBQ grills? The combustion engine? As for occurring without “your” awareness, well, speak for yourself Barry. On second thought, don’t.

    I’ve got two three word phrases that sum “it” up better: “In the beginning” and “The Big Bang”. And “Nobody knows anything.”, well, again, don’t speak for yourself.

    And after some automotive name dropping, he states he “knows cars”. I’m sure this is what he tells his long-suffering private mechanic time and again. As for the “spectacular” new cars he idolizes, well, try to find a replacement microchip for the vibrating seat warming function these days. Although, given the picture he provides, I’m sure his seats stay plenty warm due to his insulating mass.

    More car pr0n, then this gem:

    “Today’s cars are safe, reliable, efficient.”

    Right, the two ton panzerkampfwagens that consume more fuel than Barry at a seafood buffet, shut down when a 37 cent microchip blows, and are literally designed to kill others to save their passengers are the high water mark of civilization. Hey Barry, guess why there is more of that “deliberate” ice melting into water…

    “The same thing happened with investing” Now, here’s a leap of logic, nay faith, as wide as the image of the Grand Canyon he fumbled with earlier. And I’m willing to bet a lot of Barry’s ideological forebears were celebrating a “Golden Age” of finance in 1929 as well. And “alien” doesn’t inspire any confidence when we are talking about the “for better or worse” system of finance this card-shark of an economy boasts. And I’ve got a better “mantra” for big time investors like Barry’s clients:

    “I plead guilty, your Honor.”

    Addendum: I just noticed Barry had the absolute gall to quote C.S. Lewis in the sidebar. He must have had a book of quotes left in his doubtlessly well-appointed waiting room. I am only slightly acquainted with Lewis’s thoughts on morality but I would bet a trazillion dollars that what he meant by “We are what we believe we are.” has little to do with the delusional fog Barry wanders in aimlessly.

      1. ambrit

        Hah. Try an American panzerkampfwagen, the Abrams original version, the M-1, at 54 tons.
        As for road crumbling mass; we had a ‘local’ when we lived “out in the woods” in Louisiana who had a fully functional Korean war vintage M16 half-track. He used it to tow four wheelers out of the mud of the Bogue Chitto river bottomlands. He always did it at night because, as he explained to me one night, the parish wouldn’t allow him to run the M16 on the public roads. The metal tracks tore the cheap excuse for paving the parish contractors put on the local thoroughfares to bits. (Most tank like vehicles have rubber cleats that can be put on the tracks to minimize damage to roads. If you can afford the prices.)
        M16 [9 tons] (the original):,built%20during%20World%20War%20II.&text=In%20the%20Korean%20War%2C%20it,the%20U.S.%20Army%20in%201954.

        1. jr

          In a similar vein:

          An Army buddy used to fly one of these behemoths:

          and shared a tale once in which his unit was on maneuvers through the German countryside. A small town lay in their path and the locals were, for some reason, excited about them coming through. That excitement turned to dismay and then quickly rage when the vehicles turned off the main road and onto the centuries old cobble-stone streets. Apparently the cobble-stones were torn clean from their beds and tossed aside as the column advanced.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Hurricane Ida in Louisiana: Caskets, vaults still displaced”

    This is nothing new as I saw videos showing coffins floating in floods back in the 70s. After the past half-century, you would think that the least they could do is put in a metal ID tag inside each coffin telling their name, the cemetery that they belonged to and where they were buried in that cemetery. It would have helped here.

  20. Mikel

    “AI Is No Match for the Quirks of Human Intelligence “MIT Press Reader

    “They may change the kind of jobs that people do, but they will not spell the end of human existence. There will be no robo-apocalypse…”

    It was always going to be the peoole using and programming the machines that caused any “apocalyse”.
    That’s why there should always be transparency of the identity the users, programmers, etc because that is the agency comes from.
    Agency is being projected onto the machine and being called “AI”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “On Eve of Contract Negotiations, Harvard Custodians Rally Against Their Own Union Leadership”

    I’ve seen one or two stories like this and wonder if it is part of the whole Great Resignation movement. Lots of workers, who had time off the treadmill, pulled the plug on their jobs and got a better one with hopefully higher wages and less abusive bosses. Perhaps too some workers have realized that their so-called union leadership is working really for their bosses rather than the workers. Think back on the teacher’s strikes last year when the leadership of the teacher’s union were found to be trying to sell out those striking teachers to the State governments. So this may be part of workers deciding to change the rules now and make their union leadership accountable to them. At least, I hope that it is.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Kelloggs stuff is what I would expect out of a non union shop, but the presence of a long term union relative to the conditions means the leadership is fully captured. I would be concerned about where dues went too. It’s the same with the Hollywood strike.

    2. TroyIA

      So this may be part of workers deciding to change the rules now and make their union leadership accountable to them.

      Can confirm. Contract negotiations between Deere and the UAW has typically been kabuki theater. Negotiations would usually start in the middle of August and the company would fiddle around and present a joke contract in mid September which the union would reject and authorize a strike starting in October. Then the company would present their real contract and the union would stand down and make sure it was accepted by the rank and file.

      Only this time both the company and union leadership has badly misjudged just how angry and fed up the union members are. This time when they authorized a strike in September the rank and file truly meant it which led to the first contract to be voted down in 35 years by over 90%.

      T minus 12 hours until the strike begins.

      Over 10,000 Deere workers brace for strike, supplemental employees could be left behind

      More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers are hours away from a strike, a move that would send shock waves through the Quad-Cities economy.

      After overwhelmingly voting down a contract Sunday night, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America 281 recalled its bargaining committee, effectively ending negotiations, and set a hard strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. A picket-line roster is in circulation.

      The strike would affect workers in three states, including thousands in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Contractors, suppliers and other companies that do business with Deere would also become increasingly affected the longer a strike lasts.

      Workers say the agriculture manufacturer isn’t offering adequate wage and benefit increases as the company enjoys record profits. The company did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

      In its latest offer, Deere bargained for incremental wage increases over six years, equal to about a $1.20 raise in hourly pay at the end of the six-year contract, according to employees.

      For the 2020 fiscal year, Deere & Co. net income totaled $2.751 billion, according to the company. For 2021, income is projected to be $3.6 billion to $4 billion. John May, CEO and president of Deere, made a total compensation of $15,588,384 in 2020 and $6,005,692 in 2019, according to Deere’s SEC filings.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>In its latest offer, Deere bargained for incremental wage increases over six years, equal to about a $1.20 raise in hourly pay at the end of the six-year contract, according to employees.

        That must be some kind of joke. 0.20¢ less than the probable rate of inflation.

      2. Late Introvert

        Field report from Eastern Iowa: The local news had the Deere strike top story tonight. Interviewed a farmer worried about spare parts during harvest. Did not talk about what the strike was about. Ended the story with management pledging to get replacement workers.

    1. Vandemonian

      Thanks for the link, Basil. I have little interest in football, and skipped over the blow-by-blow news stories as the saga unfolded. Now, thanks to David Squires, I feel well-informed.

  22. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    “We’ve now succeeded in creating machines that can solve specific fairly narrow problems — ‘smart’ machines that can diagnose disease, drive cars, understand speech, and beat us at chess” according to “AI Is No Match for the Quirks of Human Intelligence.” We’ll maybe beat us at chess, but those other three require some serious asterisks.

  23. Eudora Welty

    Re: Harvard Health Plan

    “I am uniting with my colleagues because the health insurance that we are being offered is a scam,” he said. “There are many things it doesn’t cover, and there are a bunch of complexities in that insurance plan.”

    The article doesn’t explore this statement that the plan doesn’t cover many things, and is overly complex. That seems like an easy thing to ask about. A lot of people could certainly relate to the idea of an overly complex insurance plan that doesn’t cover the things you would expect it to cover. Basic journalism.

  24. PressGaneyMustDie

    Peace Health… reminds me of the saying “never eat at a place called Mom’s”

    Yeah, I worked for PH. The system that drove hospitalists to form a union. Or in the words of a co-worker nurse: “When I left PeaceHealth I realized it was like be married to my ex. A series of broken promises that ‘We’re sorry you had a bad night – we promise we’ll never do that to you again. Please come back.”

  25. petal

    NIH will present data at FDA meeting this week showing people who got Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine have higher antibody levels if they get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot
    “People who received Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine have higher antibody levels if their booster shot is from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, a new report suggests.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allegedly collected data showing that mixing-and-matching is more protective than getting two doses from the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company, a person who has seen the data told Axios.

    NIH officials plan to present the findings during a meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory committee on Friday.”
    More at the link.

    Why do I have a sinking feeling they are ultimately going to force everyone to get an mrna shot?

  26. PKMKII

    Regarding the article on EU diplomats meeting with the Taliban: What is with this game the Western powers are playing by not “recognizing” the Taliban as the current heads of the Afghan government? Who do they recognize, the guys who ran off with duffel bags full of $100 bills to gulf states in their helicopters? I get they don’t like it, but the denial just looks more and more sad with each passing day.

    1. David

      The normal test for recognising a new regime is that it has “effective control” of the territory. This has the advantage of not making value-judgements about whether you like the regime or not. The problem here is that we’ve been fighting the Taliban for twenty years, and anything the EU does, or doesn’t do, is bound to be seen as a political statement. So being awkward about recognition is one of the very few levers the EU has to extract concessions (or at least promises of concessions) from the Taliban.

    1. jo6pac

      What biden says will make the masses think he’s doing a good thingy. Those business and ports are already 24/7 operations.

      “doesn’t mean you get more labor”

      Very true

  27. DJG, Reality Czar

    The power of Dionysos. There is something thoroughly Portuguese, with their sly sense of humor, about the whole experiment.

    But let’s follow the science. Here is the drug being tested: “Participants were asked to drink two glasses (18.5 cl. each) of Quinta da Lapa Reserva Syrah 2018, a silky full-bodied red wine from the Lisbon region with 14° of alcohol (≈ 20.49 g of ethanol each). The choice of this particular wine was made by the producer and by the two sommeliers of the bar, where the experiment was conducted, based on their know-how of the market. It is a consensual wine with a new world profile and origin in a hot terroir, where grapes have greater maturation. ”

    So one gets two glasses of a “consensual” wine in a wine bar in Lisbon, with snacks.

    The whole article is delightfully earnest, as it has to be. Somehow, though, it makes one wonder: Why wouldn’t one sense the power of a god in a couple glasses of fine wine in a beautiful city listening to the smooth Portuguese language?

    Indeed the evidence has been there from earlier experiments and studies. Such as:
    Advice on Drinking from the Greeks
    Euboulus, fragment, “Semele or Dionysos”
    In the Greek play Semele or Dionysus, written around 375 BC, the god of wine delivers this speech.

    I mix three drinks for the temperate:
    One for health, which they empty first,
    The second for love and pleasure,
    The third for sleep.
    When these cups are emptied, the wise go home.
    The fourth drink is ours no longer, but belongs to arrogance,
    The fifth to uproar,
    The sixth to drunken revelry,
    The seventh to black eyes,
    The eighth to lawsuits,
    The ninth to anger,
    And the tenth to madness and the hurling of furniture.

    Note that the current experiment consists of two glasses: For love and pleasure, as the God himself tells us.

    Yet the delight here, too, is that this is science. Science is knowledge. We’ve learned something. (At a minimum, not to be a puritan.)

    1. Maritimer

      25 May 1886, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 4:
      “At the punch bowl’s brink,
      Let the thirsty think,
      What they say in Japan:
      First the man takes a drink,
      Then the drink takes a drink,
      Then the drink takes the man.”

      For more info see John Barleycorn by Jack London.

  28. fresno dan

    Well, my encounter in a bar/restaurnant wasn’t so chance. After my medical appointment I decided I needed a drink (2). Anywho, Jenn, who is an older woman who got back from a trip to see relatives in South Carolina was there. I had first met Jenn about a year or so ago when she was sitting at a bar reading a book about weaving in Massachusetts when they had dormatories of young women weavers, and we chat whenever by chance we both happen to be in the bar at the same time.
    So we chatted for a while, and by and by the conversation got to covid. Now, I am a former FDA employee from CBER (the group that deals with vaccines, among othter things) and a microbiologist.
    And Jenn was a geyser of misinformation – along the lines of all the people who were dying BECAUSE of the vaccine and the paucity of people who were dying BECAUSE of the virus. One thing Jenn mentioned is that THE MEDIA doesn’t report all the people who are dying because of the vaccine. I asked her if the media isn’t reporting it, how did she find out about these vaccine deaths? I only had one comment – every piece of information we get, we have to evaluate the source of the information. Why do we believe what we believe?
    1. I don’t care if Jenn gets a vaccine or not. She is an adult, older, but she has lived through the pandemic fine. Healthwise, I have suffered far more deleterious effects from eating meat than she from not getting a vaccine, but I’m not giving up meat, even if it does increase the time I am vertical (i.e., alive).
    2. Jenn doesn’t accept that she is responsible for spreading the virus by not getting vaccinated (the vaccine can diminish the spread, but how much is open to debate) Getting rid of all automobiles would certainly make a big dent in global warming and benefit people who don’t own cars but suffer because of global warming, but I doubt very many Americans would do it….
    3. One of the highlights of Jenn’s trip was visiting the Billy Grahm library. The library had the original Grahm home moved to the library grounds. In the barn of the house is a talking cow (I presume animatronic). AND Jenn’s relative loves the holiday of Holloween, and provides One thousand jello shots at his Holloween party – fortunately, he is such a good customer that the local liquor store provides free booze for the jello shots at Halloween. Humans are complicated. I note this because Jenn has her beliefs, and I have my beliefs.
    4. Because I like Jenn, and was glad to see her, I paid for her two Chardonnays – even though she is a bible thumping wino hypocrite spreading cooties…(on another rant, the price of Chardonnay sure has gone up)

    1. Objective Ace

      I’ll take a stab at the “how did she find out about these vaccine deaths” question. She’s using a proxy–censuring of legitimate questions and facts that she knows to be true.

      When you search #naturalimmuntiy on instagram and it directs you to CDC link on vaccinations which has nothing to do with natural immunity, or see Youtube banning actual scientists like Pierre Kory who are pointing to legitimate studies from other countries and the NIH–not to mention the Press Secretary of the WH calling for even more bannings–its not to hard to imagine theyre also censuring things you may not know about.

  29. Objective Ace

    A couple links in here today about taking to your doctor about the Covid vaccine.

    I’ve talked to multiple doctors about the vaccine and they have all been honest about the ambivalence of the data. Maybe my situation is different because I had Covid, but my situation has not been the same as these links suggest. Nothing clarifying, our doctors are just as confused by our public health officials as we are

    1. ambrit

      Not to knock your doctors, but around here, the major Medical Industrial Complexes are firmly muzzling their doctors on some issues. Several MDs and nurses have commented to me that they cannot even raise the question of “The Drug that Cannot Be Named.” Prescribing that drug other than for on label uses is shadow banned by management. “I’d get a very nasty call from up the food chain if I dared to prescribe this for you,” was how one medico put it.
      Doctors and nurses might be ‘confused’ about this, but insofar as they are not allowed to consider the use of the drug “off label,” they are being censored. They have sunk in their status from Professional Practitioner to Technician.
      Nothing overt has to be said for censorship to be effective.

  30. Raymond Sim

    I would be interested to hear what fans of TWIV as their takeaway from the episode with Moshe Arditi and Ivet Bahar.

    I haven’t heard the episode, having given up on TWIV as a source of information some time ago, as I concluded they were in denial of reality. If I get any response here though I’ll give it a listen.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Nobody? I’m honestly interested in what TWIV fans make of this – did it even make an impact?

  31. MonkeyBusiness

    Myanmar. The revolutionary government will have to stand on their own. Remember South Korea and the US backed dictatorships? The South Koreans had to get rid of those despots on their own.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      No ‘might be’ about it. A DC FedRegime refusal to get involved in any way in Myanmar is a blessing in disguise and a bullet dodged. The DC FedRegime has nothing good to offer Myanmar. Neither do the Neo-Wilsonian Missionary Imperialists.

      The Tatmadaw Regime is a Darwin Filter which the freedom-seekers of Myanmar will either pass through on their own, or die attempting to pass through on their own.

      Myanmar just isn’t big enough for both the NUG and the Tatmadaw coup regime to exist. One will march to victory on a road of the other one’s bones. American involvement would guarantee a Tatmadaw victory. If America were to offer assistance, the NUGies would reveal their Darwinian unfitness to survive by accepting that assistance. That too would be a Darwin test and a Darwin filter.

      Pray the NUG rejects any foreign assistance if any foreigners offer assistance.

  32. lyman alpha blob

    RE: ‘Frozen Chosin’ Korean War Movie Set to Be Biggest Box-Office Hit of 2021

    “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” made with input from the Chinese government, ignores any facts that might detract from the heroic story it is trying to tell.

    So in other words, exactly like “Zero Dark Thirty” and pretty much every other US-produced war porn passing as entertainment. Kind of ironic that failed to put in that context.

    And –

    So why should we all watch a movie that portrays Americans as the bad guys in the Korean War?

    Just spitballing here, but maybe because Americans were the bad guys in the Korean war, traveling thousands of miles to kill off somewhere around 20% of the entire population and turning the country into a parking lot.

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that article on earth ‘dimming’ . . . the writers are using the word ‘dimming’ in a very confusing way. They are referring to earthshine light reflection back to space reducing. But for years people have been using the word ‘global dimming’ to refer to less light reaching the surface because of particulate pollution reflecting some back into space.

    So the authors of this article should really call what they are writing about by the more accurate phrase ‘earthshine dimming’ or ‘albedo dimming’ to avoid that conflict with the prior meaning of ‘global dimming’ established for years and years.

  34. A. Wells

    Nobel-prizewinning ‘natural experiments’ approach made economics more robust,…
    And at the same time the economy got more fragile.

  35. Susan the other

    Lewontin’s paradox was a dreadful read. Couldn’t find the point. Was it “the interaction and inseparability of genotype and environment” or something else? Was it about how puzzling it is that we have any speciation at all since variability is so ubiquitous? So environment might well be the key. It would certainly be insane to think otherwise. But is there an invisible environment out there, like Rupert Sheldrake might describe in his morphological fields theory? Molecular variation is less variable. Proteins are bedrock. Indicates some undefined level of morphology, doesn’t it? I couldn’t take the math so I went on a tangent. I suspect neutrinos.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      (As spoken…)

      E to the X, DY DX,
      E to the Y, DY.
      Cosine, secant, tangent squared.
      C’mon Rupert! Give ’em the digit!

  36. drumlin woodchuckles

    About ChinaTPP, the fake spectre of China joining and dominating TPP is invoked to terrorise Americans into allowing the DC FedRegime to volunteer America into the same old TPP with the same old goal of further tightening Globalonial Corporate Colonialism against America. It will bring America under the jurisdiction of the same Korporate Kangaroo Kourt system designed to persecute and oppress state and local jurisdictions into giving Kangaroo Kourt Korporations free-hand permission to violate and flout every regional and local law they like.

    I hope Americans can torture and terrorise the DC FedRegime into keeping America out of the TPP.
    Let the others become part of the China TPP Co-Prosperity Sphere if that is what they want to become. Let America protect itself against TPP by protectionising itself against Corporate Globalonial free trade aggression.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The good news is that when the US pulled out of the TTP, the rest of the countries dumped the Kangaroo Court provisions and got on with the deal. This is probably why China would be more comfortable moving into the deal which the author of this article forgot was once called the ‘Everyone-But-China’ deal. So, if the US wanted to rejoin this new pact, would they insist that they will only join if the Kangaroo Court provisions are once more put back into that treaty? Would all the other countries agree? Because it wouldn’t be the same treaty anymore. This is like when Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuke deal. But now the US wants the deal back again, instead of just re-instating it, wants what amounts to a completely new deal that has absolutely nothing new for Iran but a whole cargo load of US demands that never made it into the original deal because Iran rejected them as unworkable.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    About strikes breaking out here and there, Robert Reich suggests it might be the early stage of a strike wave and asks . . .” This is a massive uprising of labor. Why won’t the media cover it? ”

    The media won’t cover it because the media is afraid that if workers who don’t know about it find out about it, that they will join it. And the media wants to suppress that from happening, and the media’s one weapon to prevent information-spread is to suppress that information from its platforms.

  38. Maritimer

    Why the Soviet Experience Was Not Useful to the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq Valdai Discussion Club
    More expertise!
    “Hindsight is 20/20.”

    “It is easy to be wise after the event.”
    ― Arthur Conan Doyle

    I vividly remember reading outcast, marginalized, unfamous,despised, traitorous analysts during the 9/11, Afghan, Iraq ramp up. Those folks were right about most of it. No hindsight there! But I guess they weren’t credentialed Experts.

  39. KFritz

    Re: Will China Invade Taiwan?

    The author’s bet against invasion is based on a rational calculus. Wars are rarely begin based on a rational calculus. The decision-makers’ emotions, national emotion, and domestic politics are often ‘deciding’ factors. A good question to evaluate decisions is, “What do leaders/leadership have to gain by declaring war?” The selfishness/ambition of the leaders is a key factor.

    The Taiwan Straits are indeed 100 miles wide at the narrowest, but the nearest potential military port of emarkation for a large PRC armada, Dinghai, is approximately 400 miles from Taiwan. Only one major commercial port, Xiamen, is on the Straits of Taiwan. A large concentration of military ships there would certainly telegraph an immediate intention to invade. Although thanks to modern technology it’s only a tangentially related comparison, the longest trip for any Allied vessel on 6 June 1944 was 110 miles.

    1. The Rev Kev

      China does not need to invade Taiwan. All they have to do is rattle off a few threats ever now and then and this will effect how and where coalition ships are deployed which makes them more vulnerable to an attack if there is ever a war. With those long-range “carrier killer” missiles that China has, you want to keep your ships at a distance but this way, they force these ships closer in order to be able to defend Taiwan. If there was ever a war, China could take on the naval threat and if they win, Taiwan would just fall into their possession without an actual costly invasion.

  40. Tom Stone

    With a carrier all you need to put out of action is the elevators and/or the catapults, something drone swarms would be good at doing.
    Small fast drones with cratering charges.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The new aircraft carrier USS Ford is doing work enough to keep itself out of action because of its elevators. After four years of delays, they think that they will be able to have all their elevators working by the end of this year. Maybe.

      For the USS Ford, not so much cratering charges as de-magnetisers perhaps.

  41. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Report.
    I had to go into my Health Clinic for a Wellness Visit. This seems to be a strategy to siphon money out of the Medicare system. This is in addition to my regular visits.
    Anyway, I had to fill out a new Personal Profile for the Clinic. [Paperwork as a proxy for “action.”]
    The questions were somewhat, to put it mildly, now fully “Woke.”
    One question was: Birth Sex of patient.
    Another was: Preferred sexual orientation of patient, with six possible choices. [Six! Sex was never this much fun when I was an eager participant!] I was tempted to write in after this question: All of the above.
    There were a few other questions of a similar absurdist nature.
    I asked the receptionist whether they took this that seriously. Her reply; “We don’t matter. It’s what management wants that we have to deal with.”
    Welcome to the “New World Disorder.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Ah, for the simpler days when they merely had the word ‘Sex’ on a line in a form leaving you the option to write in ‘Yes, please!’

      1. ambrit

        A buddy in University encountered the question: Sex: Male Female. He wrote in, “I’ll take anything I can get.” He ended up an officer in the Navy. He once counselled me: “If you’re on a ship and you get offers to show you the ‘Golden Nail,’ tell them that you’re saving yourself for someone special.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Robert Heinlein wrote of how when he was going to the Naval Academy, that the sadistic upper classmen would ask them trick questions to trip them up and which had no right answer. Things like ‘Do you think that I am ugly, pleb?’ and ‘Are you a virgin?’ For the later, which was tricky in that era of supposed innocence, Heinlein would reply ‘Yes sir! In my left ear hole, sir!’

  42. Jack Parsons

    The last time I had a mystical, Dionysian experience in public was when I ate a large chunk of chocolate cake. There was a chunk of theobromine in that slice.

  43. VietnamVet

    Periodically, articles appear with Dr. Michael Mina championing At-Home COVID Tests. After all, he is very credentialed and a Harvard Boy. It is likely he will be cited more often as it becomes clear that the mRNA vaccines can’t control the endemic SARS2 virus. The Bloomberg article even hints that the PCR test remains the standard in the USA due to the money flowing into the testing laboratories.

    The basic principal is that if an infected person knows that they are spreading the virus, they can isolate at home until tests the turn negative. This would stop virus transmission in its tracks. The problem is the apex social animal who lies to themselves and others. An individual, cost based, system simply will not work. Joe Biden’s $2 billion for tests enriches corporations for nothing. There must be reporting of the test results to a trusted institution, contact tracing to detect scofflaws, and paid safe quarantines. As long as there is no working public health system to protect and serve Americans, the pandemic will continue for years until humans and the virus adapt to each other but at enormous costs which will be much greater than taxing the rich now to make the USA healthy, once again.

  44. linearperk

    Jeeez can we put Gwen Dyer out to pasture. This article on China invading Taiwan is bizarre.

    Why invade? There’s deeper economic integration every year. Its already more than a third of the total economy.

    Just an incredibly bad showing from a journo that I remember respecting when I was younger. Maybe he had more spine back in 2001 or so.

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