Links 10/4/2021

Nobel prize in medicine awarded to US duo for work on sense of touch Guardian

The controversial quest to make cow burps less noxious Ars Technica

Blaze damages historic bridge spanning Tiber River in Rome AP

2020 babies may suffer up to seven times as many extreme heat waves as 1960s kids Science News

Rise in New Mexico Earthquakes Likely Triggered by Oil Industry Capital & Main

No confirmation yet that a 126,000-gallon oil pipeline leak causing a 13-square-mile slick in California is fixed: Birds and fish are washing up dead and mayor says Huntingdon Beach could close for months Daily Mail

‘Environmental catastrophe’: Massive oil spill fouls beaches, wildlife along Southern California coast Desert Sun

Poor countries must not be forced to take on debt to tackle climate crisis Guardian

B.C. funding caribou extinction through fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks: study The Narwhal

The decreasing cost of renewables unlikely to plateau anytime soon Ars Technica

Electric vehicles: the revolution is finally here FT

The Secrets of The World’s Greatest Freediver GQ

The Punctuation Marks Loved (and Hated) by Famous Writers Literary Hub. From May.

The Time to Buy Your Holiday Presents Is Now Wired


Fauci sees hope in new Merck drug Politico

COVID-19 long-haulers plead for government action The Hill

Alaska allows hospitals to ration care amid COVID spike AP


Op-Ed: A lesson from Ebola in 2015 will be key to ending COVID-19 LA Times


Coronavirus: Hong Kong-mainland China border unlikely to reopen before February, government adviser says South China Morning Post

Class Warfare


Pandora papers: biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful Guardian

LIVELondon’s tax reputation ‘not source of shame’ – Sunak BBC

Pandora Papers: Secret tax havens of world leaders, celebrities revealed Deutsche Welle

‘Most Americans Today Believe the Stock Market Is Rigged, and They’re Right’ Bloomberg.


Amazon Workers in Canada Are Getting Organized Jacobin

The Facebook Whistleblower, Frances Haugen, Says She Wants to Fix the Company, Not Harm It WSJ

Julian Assange

The Supremes

Abortion, guns, religion top a big Supreme Court term AP

In term-opener, justices will hear Mississippi’s complaint that Tennessee is stealing its groundwater SCOTUSblog

The Wild West of CBD products could end soon in California Politico

Health Care

Enough pink: We’re doing Breast Cancer Awareness Month all wrong Stat

Texas Aims to Crack Down on Abortion Pills Sent by Mail WSJ.

The New Abortion Vigilantism New York Review of Books

Waste Watch

California beverage makers struggle to meet upcoming recycled content requirements Waste Dive

Biden Administration


Blinken Faces an Awkward Visit to Paris, His ‘Second Home’ NYT

OSHA Upset with Biden – After 2 Workers Die in NC, UE Fights Back – Reno Bus Drivers Strike (AGAIN) Payday Report

Old Blighty

‘Only yourselves to blame’: UK’s shortages seen from abroad Guardian

Boris Johnson: petrol crisis and pig cull part of necessary post-Brexit transition Guardian


Church sex abuse: Thousands of paedophiles in French Church, inquiry says BBC

Algeria recalls envoy to France after ‘inadmissible interference’ Al Jazeera


Over Three Decades Since Reunification, Germany Is Still Fractured Jacobin


The Taliban in power: Pakistan torn between satisfaction and anxiety Responsible Statecraft

 Saudi Arabia confirms recent talks with Iran Al Jazeera

Turkish inflation rises to 19.6% after surprise rate cut Reuters

The Koreas

North Korea reopens hotline with South in bid to mend ties BBC


How Does China’s Military View India? The Diplomat

Evergrande: Share trading stops ahead of major announcement Deutsche Welle

US-China trade war: Washington set to exempt some products from tariffs South China Morning Post


Power crunch looms in India as coal stocks reach crisis point FT

UP: Six Dead After Car Runs Over Protestors in Lakhimpur Kheri, Farmers Blame Minister’s Son The Wire

Mamata Banerjee wins Bhabanipur bye-poll by a margin of 58,835 votes Scroll. A must win-race for her to continue as chief minister of West Bengal.

How weak drug laws are costing lives mint

What Kerala can learn from Tamil Nadu about protecting elephants Scroll

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Questa Nota

      Thank you for that link, a way to start off the week with good news. I am hopeful that the postal banking program may be expanded and lead to a contraction in the current payday predatory lending business racket.

      1. Carla

        With DeJoy in charge? I think Dave Dayen is way too optimistic about the prospects for postal banking with this pilot.

        1. jo6pac

          That was my thought also and demodogs seem to be no hurry to remove him and the rest of the trumpsters people. Strange but then may be not.

          Gift cards can be a scam. I received one from former employer didn’t use it for 1 year and it was no good. It timed out so I missed out $100.00.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          I think Dejoy would love this program because it isn’t postal banking, it’s just check cashing for a fee.

          After the fee has been paid the funds from the check go on a gift card, and to withdraw cash you’d need to pay a fee to a bank, or to spend it directly either you or the merchant (or both) would be subject to more fees.

          Rather than postal banking, which would give citizens an account to deposit their money into and perhaps pay some interest, this sounds more like a pilot program to see if it would make the Post Office more lucrative for a potential private takeover.

  1. russell1200

    Any discussion of the “reduced cost of renewables” that doesn’t at least comment on how it was initially driven by Chinese overexpansion into the market, is highly suspect. Maybe it will be just like the railroads, where investors lost their shirt in the mania, but the net result was a prematurely built out railroad system (and also like telecom much more recently) but that has yet to be seen.

    1. Zamfir

      That’s definitely an aspect for PV panels ( i am not sure about other technologies). It might take some time to see how that works out. Extrapolation from the last decade to the future may be suspect.

      On the other hand, it’s interesting to look at this article, from 2012:
      At the time, there was a very similar suspicion as today. The reduction cost over the previous might have been overstated, because Chinese factories were selling PV at a loss to buy market share, and they could not keep that up forever. Some firms indeed went bust, but the cost reduction was real, and continued exactly as before.

    1. cnchal

      I had never read about them before.

      It isn’t bizarre. It was fraud through and through and inwestors left to lick their losses.

      Why it matters: The story of Ozy became so viral so fast because it highlighted the worst parts of every industry in America: naive investors throwing money at poorly run companies, digital media outlets faking their numbers and over-zealous startup founders toeing the line between dishonesty and delusion.

      How it happened: Ozy Media was built on years of lies that together created a woefully false narrative about its business, financials and culture, according to documents obtained by Axios, and dozens of conversations with former employees, investors, business partners and advisers

  2. polar donkey

    Tying two stories from the links together. Mississippi is suing Memphis for groundwater while Valero is trying to put a pipeline over the aquafer. I reckon Mississippi may not want our poisoned water after Valero has an inevitable spill.

    1. ambrit

      That’s downright curious. I’ve been told by Tennessee refugees that Nashville and Knoxville consider Memphis to be part of Mississippi anyway. (I’ve also heard a person once call Memphis, North Southaven.)

      1. Wukchumni

        How interesting, Santee & Fontana (sometimes referred to as ‘Fontucky’) in the deep south here also claim to be part of Mississippi.

          1. ambrit

            Yeah, well, that’s nothing bro. Back in the 1920s, Bakersfield California had a strong Klan presence.
            Despite the underlying cultural bias of the writer of the piece, the facts are essentially right.
            As the Bon Tome says; “The deplorables you will always have with you.”
            Be righteously safe!

            1. Wukchumni

              A good many people in the CVBB came here during the Dust Bowl, and when they went west, they brought their evangelical christian religion roots with them-along with an awful lot of racism, Visalia was another hotbed of the KKK for a long time…

              1. Mantid

                Up here in Oregon, we got the “sloppy seconds”. Many dust bowl refugees couldn’t find work or accommodations in Cali and so headed north into Oregon and to an extent Washington. One can even hear the OK. accent, especially in rural Oregon. In one town, Cottage Grove, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the “Sundown” laws were repealed. No blacks were allowed to be on the streets after Sundown. Divide and conquer in action.

      2. TimH

        refugees to or from TN?

        I’ve heard that TN ain’t bad to retire, but presumably the devil is in exactly where. The house prices in Brentwood were… startling.

        1. griffen

          Sales tax is high. No state income taxes, so there’s one less form. I spent a lot of time visiting eastern TN, Johnson City and so forth which is an hour north of Asheville, NC. It’s beautiful in the spring.

          I believe that Chattanooga has experienced a mini-boom in the past 10 to 15 years. Knoxville had a reasonably convenient airport, but that was over 6 years ago.

        2. ambrit

          The term was meant to be ambiguous. Like so much else in our society now. Up is now down. Right is now wrong. Democrat is now Republican. Tennessee is now Kaintuck is now Ohio, etc. etc.
          As for ‘retiring’ to some rural hamlet ensconsed in a bosky dell, I’d point to Sam Peckinpah’s film “Straw Dogs” for enlightenment.

  3. Lupemax

    Fauci sees hope in new Merck drug Politico
    And at $700 a treatment he sees a lot of money too? while the drug that cannot be named is more effective and costs about $.07 a pill?

    1. voteforno6

      What evidence do you have that this other drug is more effective? Have any trials been done regarding its efficacy specifically against COVID?

      1. Nikkikat

        What evidence do you have that it isn’t effective other than mass media engendered hysteria.

        1. jo6pac

          It works I’ve used it. It’s very hard to get a Dr. to proscribe it. I was buying mine from India but will change to a new online site.

          1. ambrit

            Around here, (South Mississippi,) it is impossible to get a Doctor to prescribe it.
            The fix is in.
            When it becomes clear that profit is being allowed to cause unnecessary deaths, then that “beneficient boon” should be spread around, especially to the profitmaking class.
            I have a vague feeling that the absolute rate of misery in a population is not as important a factor in encouraging “civil and uncivil dissent” as is the percieved rate of loss of status and standard of living. We are definitely well into that territory.

            1. hunkerdown

              For years, one local pet store had a large kitschy frontier-themed mural on the side of their building. Over this past summer, they rebuilt their facade into 2.5-dimensional log cabin hyper-kitsch. IVM creates jobs, see? Just not the kind the PMC want created.

            2. Objective Ace

              It’s comical at this point. Statements like “Then wonder: If this drug worked, would Brazil be in such bad shape” with no similar introspection with respect to the vaccine

      2. farragut

        I’ll admit I haven’t been rigorously following the IVM debate (debacle?), but occasional articles come across my feed and this one seems (to my inexpert eye) to be a thorough & objective review of the Ivermectin situation to date:

        This 2nd article comes from MSN, so take it with a grain of salt! >:-)

        1. DataHog

          ​Yes, better than most…BUT still not “thorough and objective” because:

          I have three problems with Hollander’s essay.
          Most important, the HUGE overwhelming success in Uttar Pradesh (pop. 235 million) where their health authorities crushed, obliterated the Covid pandemic…is not examined. Their $2.65 ivermectin kits appear to be the the key factor that reduced their death counts…today…to zero (it’s zero many days) and their active case load today is 159. Today’s report, 6 new Covid cases in a state with 235 million people. !!!
          Is any ivermectin discussion that fails to examine Uttar Pradesh’s success using ivermectin a “thorough and balanced” report? In my opinion, NO!

          Second, it repeats a claim that “horse paste” is causing people to flood poison reporting centers with complaints about ivermectin. A commenter here on NC a week or so back debunked that propaganda with the then-current tally from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Look at their web site. Where is the ivermectin alert? That dog is not barking.

          Third, Dr. Hollander, the author worries about undisclosed ingredients A, B, and C in “horse paste.” Notice that dog isn’t barking either. If there were dangerous ingredients in “horse paste” wouldn’t the pro-Big Pharma propagandists have vigorously pushed that anti-ivermectin narrative in MSM? Where is that story? Conspicuously absent.

          As IM Doc pointed out, following highly-suggestive-of-success small trials, in the past such small trials quickly caused large well-run trials to be conducted. Hollander mentions one large trial that quickly was squashed. Other than that…crickets. Conspicuous absence.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            May have missed it, but I thought he scolded the FDA for it’s Horse Paste taunt and made it clear that it was over the top prejudicial as a way of discussing the topic.

            My complaint is more with the whole perspective of the so called referee who claims he or she can explain both sides of the argument neutrally. There is something intrinsically conventional and above it all in such a stance. The urgent need for a theraputic medication; one given after contraction of the disease, makes it somehow a little odd to be the sanguine referee as if “this will all sort itself out someday.” Hey Bubba, we need it now! Figure it out or shut the f up.

            Agree about skipping the success in Uttar Pradesh, and add he should point out more explicitly that the appropriate usage of Ivermectin does not, repeat not, obviate the need for the vaccines. A fully vaccinated person can get infected and can then take Ivermectin as therepy just as well as one who has not been vaccinated at all.

            I take issue with the fact he didn’t think there was any conspiracy on the part of Big Pharma but didn’t back that up with any evidence whatsoever; a practice he takes issue with when others do it. That a ridiculously cheap and safe drug doesn’t threaten a response from big Pharma, particularly OUR big Pharma, simply begs credulity.

            Finally, he rather tellingly missed the opportunity to make the point that due to Ivermectin’s remarkable safety profile (which to his credit he did explain), there should be little harm in taking it “just in case” as long as it is within recommended dosage or under supervision of a doctor. Which comes back to the question of; why the witch hunt if BPharma is so neutral?

            1. Lambert Strether

              > Congress acknowledged the redbacks’ collapse in 1842 by refusing to accept them at face value for payment of taxes.

              Agreed. Apparently, the Uttar Pradesh government distributed a Covid kit, and Ivermectin was in it.

        2. Cuibono

          A couple of thoughts.
          1) given the low overall mortality from Covid in most age groups trials that seek to assess reduction in death using something like IVM need to be really large to powered properly. That costs $ and takes significant manpower.
          2) It is hard to imagine at this point that IVM will ever be shown in a US trial to work. Simply too much water under that bridge.
          3) we now have strong therapeutic option in Mabs. Drugs like IVm might need to be paired with Mabs in any trial. and now problem #1 is even harder.

      3. farragut

        I just posted two articles responding to your question, but of course, it got hung up in the dreaded “Moderation”, so come back in about 6-8 hours to see… :-)

        1. JanJ

          From the article you reference:

          “I struggle to fathom the hubris of a tech platform which deems the need to censor someone for supporting a medication with an excellent safety history and a beguiling narrative on its behalf for a potential role in aiding a generational pandemic.”

          It’s not hard to fathom at all. Follow the money. There is no money to be made from widespread use of Ivermectin. In fact its widespread effectiveness in the US would lessen, but not eliminate, the justification for emergency use of the various vaccines. The most prominent doctors promoting Ivermectin are not against vaccines; they are clinicians who want to use all the tools at their disposal in order to help their patients.

          Also, the article fails to contrast the current approval of expensive but ineffective Remdesivir with the active blocking of a cheap, helpful, extremely safe medication. It is naive to present the disagreement are a pure difference of opinion. One side has an enormous amount of money at stake, the other does not.

          1. jsn

            Rule 1. Because markets.
            Rule 2. Go die.

            The neoliberal faith in markets turns every public good into a lucrative death trap. You are of value to the market so long as you have money, once you run out you are no longer of use.

            To act for some motive other than profit is damnable heresy, communism.

      4. Lupemax

        yes there are many many examples/trials for the efficacy of the drug that protects against covid (which cannot be named because censoring is rampant). Had it been made available much earlier it it could have save hundreds of thousands of lives in this country as it has done in more than 20 countries around the globe. The greed and corruption and propaganda that prevented its availability breaks my heart.

        Be sure to scroll down and read (and watch) everything linked here. It is amazing how much the mainstream media (owned by PHARMA?) hasn’t covered because they wanted to make ALL the money they could with their “vaccines.” Hence the bashing of the drug that can’t be named. It has saved lives all over the world – a medication specifically for humans (not horses).

        I think the new Merck drug is a tweaked version of the drug (for new patenting purposes?) that cannot be named. Merck actually produced the drug that can’t be named. And they could not put this tweaked version out there sooner because then their “vaccines” would not be allowed out there for EUA because there would have been a “treatment” for COVID. As the FDA specifies that EUA is not available as long as their are treatments available.

        I’m not a doctor but I think I’ve got it? As I say it breaks my heart the heartlessness of the drug companies in this country.

        Here are some of the links (feel free to try others):

        1. Mantid

          Please remember readers and commenters, it’s my impression that the the drug under discussion can be named here. It’s Ivermectin. One of the beauties of reading articles, links, and comments at NC is the variety of articles and subjects discussed and the freedom to do so. Excellent moderation keeps the discussion civil and focused. Personally, I’ve had my vaccine (“if I don’t get well no more”) yet also take Ivermectin, Vit. D, C and E, Quercitin, mask, gargle when leaving public places, etc. as a added precautions. Stay well and be cautious – especially when reading articles about wonder drugs for $700 a pop. Endorsed by Fauci, yikes, even more suspect.

          1. rowlf

            I tried to search the CDC website for “Vitamin D” but had no luck. Not sure if their search engine was weak or my search-fu was weak.

            Is there any US government guidance for improving virus resistance beyond masks, social distancing and sanitizing?

        2. Ian Perkins

          I think the new Merck drug is a tweaked version of the drug (for new patenting purposes?) that cannot be named.

          Sorry, no way, assuming the first drug is molnupiravir and the second rhymes with pectin.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “It decreases the likelihood of getting hospitalization [sic] or dying in people who early in the course of their infection take this particular medication,” Fauci said of the drug…..

      So, it’s actually another “vaccine” then?

      1. Objective Ace

        Except that you take it when you get Covid vs the vaccines where your are guaranteed to open yourself to harm (however low the odds) even though you may never get Covid… before the vaccine effectiveness wears off at least

          1. John Beech

            Wow, thanks for sharing. I am offended at medicine being a for profit activity. Enough so to switch to voting for Democrats if they’ll do something other than talk. But the recent ‘moderates’ debacle where pharma bought them off shows me we have limited options.

      1. ambrit

        The New product from Gramana! Gramana, the source of more profits for Pharma than any other! Tell your Doctor to prescribe you some dayto!

  4. RockHard

    Re: Pandora Papers

    I separately ran into a link on South Dakota now rivals offshore tax havens for financial secrecy, Pandora Papers say, I hadn’t heard of the Pandora Papers and went to search NC for mention, you didn’t disappoint.

    One interesting tidbit was the part about the king of Jordan was buying $60m in Malibu real estate during the Arab Spring. I’ve been reading Gurri’s “Revolt of the People” and he didn’t get into these details (likely in 2014 he had no way to know), but aside from reacting to the social media pressure, these world leaders were busily squirreling away assets.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I mean can you blame him. Father to son dynasties aren’t particularly long lived without strong councils ready to become parliaments. He would have been over 50. Elected leaders from stable countries are far more interesting, or US appointees in Afghanistan. The last President was a cartoonish choice. The guy had about as much connection as Pete ButButtigieg. Being respected on the world stage as a token Arab who doesn’t frighten Karens is going to wear thin after a while with locals.

    2. Bart Hansen

      My first take on Pandora is, Breaking: The wealthy hide their money in secret places. Also, why doesn’t the U.S. make the cut?

      1. Wukchumni

        My first take on Pandora is, Breaking: The wealthy hide their money in secret places. Also, why doesn’t the U.S. make the cut?

        Yes, that’s a curious point that few Americans were involved in the Pandora ‘boxing match’.

  5. Tom Stone

    That oil leak in SoCal is horrifying, but no surprise given how things (Don’t) work here in the USA.
    Four small quakes on the Hayward/Rogers creek fault in the last few days, from near San Leandro to near Santa Rosa.
    It’s been 153 years since it let go, it pops about every 140 years and the pics taken in Berkeley in 1868 are an eye opener.
    It’s California, Wildfires, Floods, Slides, Earthquakes, pipeline leaks ( Hey there PG&E ! ) and a nice climate, for now.

    1. Wukchumni

      Huntington Beach was my playground when I was a kid where we all learned to body surf. It was about a 40 mile drive on Beach Blvd to get to the waves…

      The oil spill is quite similar to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which generated a ton of ink happening at about the same time the environmental movement was becoming powerful, and the public took notice.

      This new one will be the largest oil spill ever off the coast of Cali.

      The Santa Barbara oil spill occurred in January and February 1969 in the Santa Barbara Channel, near the city of Santa Barbara in Southern California. It was the largest oil spill in United States waters by that time, and now ranks third after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills. It remains the largest oil spill to have occurred in the waters off California.

      The source of the spill was a blow-out on January 28, 1969, 6 miles (10 km) from the coast on Union Oil’s Platform A in the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field. Within a ten-day period, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels (13,000 to 16,000 m3) of crude oil spilled into the Channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County in Southern California, fouling the coastline from Goleta to Ventura as well as the northern shores of the four northern Channel Islands. The spill had a significant impact on marine life in the Channel, killing an estimated 3,500 sea birds, as well as marine animals such as dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions. The public outrage engendered by the spill, which received prominent media coverage in the United States, resulted in numerous pieces of environmental legislation within the next several years, legislation that forms the legal and regulatory framework for the modern environmental movement in the U.S.

        1. juno mas

          Well, not the oil from the 1969 spill.

          The continental shelf off of SB has a natural petroleum seepage that regularly found its way onto the sandy beach and rocky shoreline in the 60’s. That natural seepage has dissipated alot since the addition of many more offshore oil platforms since then. Today, the tourists happily lounge and play on clean sand. (Kept that way by weekly mechanical raking.)

          The Santa Barbara coast had a more recent small spill a few years back from an land based oil pipeline that simply infuriated the County Commissioners. After winning a large monetary settlement from the spiller they banned them from operation—Forever!

          The Huntington Beach spill is an order of magnitude smaller than the 1969 SB blowout. But there are many more people living next to the coastline there. Even the GOP friendly confines of Orange County are likely to get outrageously pissed over this environmental disaster.

    2. jo6pac

      I grew up on the Hayward fault up above the Hayward plunge. My grandmother lived on a street near a creek and the sidewalk was crazy. There creep meters there also.

      Hayward fault runs through pill hill in Oakland and think there is 4 hospitals there plus emergency services office building

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Sorry, Joe but maybe it’s been a while because the Hayward fault runs along Highway 13 thru the base of the Oakland hills, 5 or 6 miles from Pill Hill. It does run directly under UC Berkeley Stadium and the Lab though….

        Not that it’d matter much with the 7.0+ quake we’ve been expecting for 50 years now. Everything in Oakland will come down…very little has been retrofitted and there’s lots of unreinforced masonry buildings…

        1. coboarts

          The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab did some really great remote tours of its programs this past year. They are, of course, well aware of their location and are using radical construction measures to avoid damage to their facilities. A lot of the work they do there requires zero vibration. I wish them all the best, but if there is a big one it will test their best laid plans. 1969 my cousins (Long Beach) and me (San Diego) were surfing and body surfing all up and down the SoCal coast. I remember the Santa Barbara spill, well. The tar balls last and last, yeech.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Used to use Mayo to remove tar balls when I lived in Isle Vista….

            Works on pine pitch as well.

    3. Socal Rhino

      I’m not far south of this spill. Yesterday I saw environmental mitigation equipment being staged by the docks in Dana Point harbor, and people on social media asking if it’s safe to go in the water. The risk to wildlife is the immediate concern, would like to advise the harbor seals to take a vacation in San Diego.

      1. newcatty

        We have family that lives inland from Laguna Beach. Just read that the beaches are closed, as the “horrifying ” spill moved south. It would be hard to underestimate the tragedy of this catastrophe . IMO, the only solution to any futhur ones would be to dismantle all 20 something drilling and processing off the coasts of California. As Saint Lily stated, perhaps I am paraphrasing, Just when I thought I couldn’t be cynical enough. I read some whining about the awful”economic hit” from loss of business , especially tourism. Some biologists and environmentalists were decrying the impact on the unique wildlife and ecology, like wetlands and preserves. Honest question: Without enjoying the beaches for locals ( something almost anyone could afford), what does the region have to offer for a resident? Nice weather, often. But, but! Does anybody think there will be more refugees from CA in near future?

    4. Duke of Prunes

      The local news had a really poor report on this last night. It said there was a “bad oil spill” in “southern California”, and showed some pictures of oil on the beach, and interviewed someone who said there was oil on the beach, and showed a couple boats trailing booms. BUT, it did not say where in southern California, didn’t say what beaches were impacted nor what caused the spill nor whether the spill was still on-going… Only there’s a spill and it’s bad and it’s on unnamed beach somewhere in southern CA.

      This, once again, made me question why I even bother to watch the “news” when I could be watching a Seinfeld re-run for the ~30th time.

  6. jr

    One of the few benefits of societal collapse will be to read the desperate scribblings of the nitwits at WIRED as they try to normalize disaster and maintain their chipper consumerist ideological ravings.

      1. jr

        I knew a guy who worked for Conde Nast, one of the benefits of hanging out in NYC gay bars. Calling it a viper’s nest would imply a degree of reflectiveness and character that it doesn’t even remotely deserve.

  7. Terry Flynn

    CEO of Nottingham University Hospitals (UK) just announced her resignation. She has long-term COVID which they haven’t been able to treat.

    This is gonna be big. Came from insider.

      1. Basil Pesto

        What are the implications in your view? Further mainstreaming of the harmfulness of long covid disability? Or more specific public health consequences?

        1. Terry Flynn

          See my point below. This isn’t to do with HER. it’s to do with what NOTTM has been doing……BEFORE they had to admit “oh familyblog we cant cure the CEO”

          Mental health services? Eliminated.
          Local CCGs (groups of primary care providers) – allow them to stop prescribing meds that DIRECTLY contradicts secondary care treatment plans? Yep that’s fine.
          Allow cancer patients to die early because we can’t or won’t get hold of chemo? FINE.

          It’s in line with things NC draws attention to. It’s all fine til someone important gets ill.

    1. Count Zero

      It’s going to be big if you live in Nottingham I suppose. If you don’t… well it’s just another victim of Covid19.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Don’t blame you for thinking that but recently “a decision was made” (ahem) that all cancer patients receiving palliative chemo would cease to get it and would be moved to “immediate end-of-life care”. A whole tranche of cancer patients were effectively condemned to a death that was painful and awful and common last in about 1950.

        You see how this is gonna look in terms of the media? This ain’t about her.

  8. mikel

    “The Time to Buy Your Holiday Presents Is Now” Wired

    skip it this year.
    let supply chains get on course and see what “the narrative” becomes about “inflation.”

    1. Wukchumni

      About 15 years ago my wife and I told our family that we were done with the gift thing @ xmas aside from kids, and my sisters start preparing for the hap hap happiest time of year around December 29th, so the news was the equivalent of thrusting a shiv into Santa’s belly and then twisting the knife for effect.

      They’ve all come around now to our way of thinking in the past few years, and we’ve largely done away with the family potlatch, omission accomplished!

      1. Cocomaan

        The only group that need presents are the kids. And the older the kid, some money is great.

        Also, have to stop normalizing buying plastic crap for kids.

      2. Mikel

        Looking at the madness with supply chains, anyone participating who has to send gifts or get them delivered may want to go the way of gift cards with a long term date for expiration.

        Don’t deal with the shipping NOW – all at the same time.

  9. Mildred Montana

    “The Punctuation Marks Loved (and Hated) by Famous Writers”

    Not related to punctuation marks specifically, but to good writing in general. Here’s some advice from three famous authors on how to write well:

    1. Somerset Maugham: Clarity, brevity, and euphony (in that order).
    2. George Orwell: The right words in the right order. (See! Good prose is easy!)
    3. Stephen King: Avoid the adverb as much as possible. He suggested this, among other useful things, in his wonderful little book ?? ???????. I happen to think that King is a good writer, not pulpy at all, though he tends to trip over Maugham’s brevity rule.

    1. ambrit

      In King’s defense, he started out in media where the pay was by the word. When trying to pay the rent, what’re a few extra words among friends?
      Phillip K Dick writes about being poor enough when starting out as a writer to buying horse meat from a pet food supply, for himself.
      Dashiell Hammet said that he wrote his best stuff, and quickly too, when he was desperate for funds. When he finally “hit the big time,” his output slacked off a lot.

      1. Wukchumni

        One of the cabin owners in our community is a hot shot lawyer and if you had him describe the tires on a car in court, he would call them:

        ‘Inflated round rubber receptacles aligned with the wheel wells on either side of the vehicle.’

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      3. King cowrote a book about following the 2004 Red Sox with Stewart O’Nan, called “Faithful”. O’Nan fills the first few chapters as King checks out until mid May. O’Nan’s early part was good, but then King adds more as the write from their perspective. The drop off in quality from King to a successful author is crazy. If O’Nan wrote the book alone, he would have sold just as many copies because hey it was 2004. How do you luck out on that?

    3. Basil Pesto

      Of course the problem with these and similar such little gurgles of advice is that they aren’t actually about “how to write well” but “how to write like me” which, in the cases of the fiction of Orwell and King, hard pass (although Orwell’s advice, to his credit, is admirably and suitably modest in its ironic ambiguity – I like to think it was a playful answer to an inane question). Maugham’s work I’m not familiar with, alas.

      A doff of the cap to J-LS for staying on the literary beat (I notice!)

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Fbk was proffering my memories to me today. I posted this a year ago, and it is a quote from Plutonium Kun:

    “I’ve been referring to Coronavirus for a while as the worlds most effective stress test of institutions, maybe the biggest such experiment in history. It has unerringly found the weak link in every country and society its hit – whether that weak link being weak institutions, stupid politicians, sclerotic bureaucracies, religious nutcases, institutional groupthink, authoritarian tendencies or whatever. In the US its found not just one, but a whole series of weak links it can exploit. The results are not pretty.”

    This is still the most insightful summing up of the effects of coronavirus on institutions and, if I may add, on the Anglo-American world, where this is no such thing as society, just hardy individuals with well-honed opinions and constant evocations of forgiveness and redemption (evocations, not action).

  11. oliverks

    We had a rented car this weekend in the UK. It took some time to find, queue, and fill the car with petrol. When we returned it, the check in person was surprised we had fueled it up. Almost everyone is coming back in with non full tanks.

    Boris probably could devise a better plan to get people to move to electric cars.

  12. Blue Duck

    Turkish inflation rises to 19.6% after surprise rate cut

    My sense is that the looming economic crisis is going to look a lot more 1997 than 2008.

  13. Wukchumni

    Heard from a buddy that the main part of Sequoia NP might be closed until around Memorial Day, which means the 287 short term vacation rentals in town here will have no revenue for 8 months if that occurs.

    I wanted them to go away, but now feel a little sorry for the would-be Hilton types, who will be scrambling to find long term renters at a lot less money, a complete about face.

  14. Wukchumni

    Back when cold fusion was briefly a thing 30 odd years ago, the spot price of palladium was around $100 an oz and platinum was about $600, with the latter being used for catalytic converters, and then the big switcheroo to palladium happened and it got up to $2900 recently, but has dropped down to $1800 an oz, which gives you an idea of how hurting the auto industry is, who needs Pd when you aren’t making any cars thanks to no semi conductors.

    1. juno mas

      Electric cars don’t need catalytic converters. See today’s Links for the impending change.

      1. Wukchumni

        Couldn’t break through the FT great paywall, but I can tell you that 1 out of 250 cars on the road are electric presently, a tiny number.

        1. juno mas

          I understand that. It’s not likely that catalytic converters are going to be a growth item. VW AG intends to make all their passenger cars electric by 2025. Mercedes Benz as well. Ford and GM are determined to make EV’s a major portion of their production as soon as possible.

          I hate paywalls, too. (For a single article.) But I was able to read the FT on EV’s by not clicking on the screen and just scrolling through line by line. The end of the article gets to the crux of the matter in the US; charging stations. (Tesla has their own for their car owners.) The UK and the EU are planning to ban ICE vehicles around 2030. The EU saw a large increase in EV’s during the pandemic (according to the article).

          It seems the commodity that will be most in demand for the future is Lithium.

  15. Mikel

    I’m still jaw-dropped by the FB “whistleblower” exec talking about “controls were turned off”…like they had “controls”.

  16. antidlc

    The Bill For His COVID Test In Texas Was A Whopping $54,000

    The patient: Travis Warner, 36, is self-employed and bought his health plan from Molina Healthcare via

    Medical service: Two “COVID tests” for the coronavirus — a diagnostic PCR test, which typically takes a few days to process and is quite accurate, and a rapid antigen test, which is less accurate but produces results in minutes.

    Total bill: $56,384, including $54,000 for the PCR test and the balance for the antigen test and an ER facility fee. Molina’s negotiated rate for both tests and the facility fee totaled $16,915.20, which the insurer paid in full.

    Perfectly legal.

  17. Mantid

    Regarding the California oil spill. Oh my golly!! They didn’t seem to know it was leaking until oil washed up??? I am no engineer but it seems a fairly simple pressure gauge should be installed and when the leak occurs the pressure would change and an alarm would go off – then of course turn the darn valve. In fact if memory serves me well (pun intended) didn’t the pipe(s) involved in the Horizon leak in the Gulf of Mexico – not have a shut off valve???? Then again, who went to jail over that mess?

    1. juno mas

      It appears that an anchor from one of the 60 or so cargo ships “holding” off the Port of L.A. may have damaged the pipeline. If so, the leak may be relatively gradual, but large over time.j

  18. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Pandora papers: biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful Guardian
    Pandora Papers: Secret tax havens of world leaders, celebrities revealed Deutsche Welle

    “We are all in this together” is the great lie and manipulation of the modern age. The torpor of a lobotomized public mind is incapable of being aroused, unless it is either being entertained, or engaged in a frenzy of consumption and/or speculation, because to be fabulously wealthy is the secret dream of a heavily and highly indoctrinated working class. In this case, the capitalist doctrinal system, as state religion, has become “the opium of the people.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If that is correct, then the best any of us can do is to help create-and-evolve, and recruit recruitable people into, a dignified poverty green counter-culture. Reach those who are reachable, and all together try learning and teaching together how to craft a New Tech Peasant culture of survival.

      And let Darwin take those who will not adopt the New Tech Peasant green counterculture.

  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    So, Amazon workers in Canada are getting organized, eh? This is an opportunity for those Big Box Store-Chain executives who say they are losing billions of dollars worth of merchandise to professional robber gangs who then fence all these goods on a cynical Amazon’s cynically knowing platform . . . to get revenge.

    Even if they dare not support ” Unionize Amazon in Canada” in the open, they can set up secret channels to just straight-up give hundreds of millions of no-strings-attached dollars to the Amazon union organizers in Canada. ( And if those Amazon labor organizers were really smart, they would use most of that money, if they received it, to give the workers as-much-or-more money than they could make at Amazon . . . if they will quit. And keep giving new workers who join the same ” just as much money” to quit. And drive Amazon Canada’s workforce down to zero. And then set conditions for Amazon to surrender to in order for the movement to stop paying Amazon workers to quit.)

    Do they hate Amazon more than they hate Labor? If so, then this is their big chance to make Amazon feel their pain.

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