Links 11/10/2021

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Peruvian family dog turns out to be Andean fox BBC

Paleontologists Unearth the Oldest Evidence of Herd Behavior in Dinosaurs Smithsonian

Secret real estate purchases are a driving force behind the offshore economy ICIJ

The Intrinsic Futility of ES(G) Investing Advisor Perspectives


Climate talks draft agreement expresses ‘alarm and concern’ AP. There seem to be three texts:

The fate of our planet depends on the next few days of complex diplomacy in Glasgow. Here’s what needs to go right The Conversation. Not to be cynical, but “our planet” reminds me of “our democracy.” Let’s not gloss over material conflicts about ownership with gauzy appeals to the unity of humanity, which elites don’t believe in anyhow.

COP26: Shipping industry must ‘upgrade; climate targets: IMO chief Hellenic Shipping News

Climate is the ‘biggest single opportunity’ the insurance industry has ever seen, CEO says CNBC


The Brain Has a Special Kind of Memory for Past Infections Scientific American

Association of Self-reported COVID-19 Infection and SARS-CoV-2 Serology Test Results With Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA. n = 35,852. From the Abstract: “Findings suggest that persistent physical symptoms after COVID-19 infection should not be automatically ascribed to SARS-CoV-2; a complete medical evaluation may be needed to prevent erroneously attributing symptoms to the virus.” The testing was serological, so “erroneously” is doing a lot of work, there. In a country with universal health care, this might not matter so much….

* * *

Our Worst Idea About “Safety” Slate. “Risk compensation.” Important.

Getting Back to Normal Is Only Possible Until You Test Positive The Atlantic (nvl). Well worth a read.

After a Year With Vaccines, Do We Always Need Masks? Bloomberg. It’s extremely important to discredit and stigmatize all non-pharmaceutical interventions, so that when the next respiratory virus-driven pandemic strikes, we fail to learn the same lessons all over again.

* * *

De novo emergence of a remdesivir resistance mutation during treatment of persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection in an immunocompromised patient: A case report (preprint) medRxiv (GM). n = 1. From the Abstract: “SARS-CoV-2 remdesivir resistance mutations have been generated in vitro but have not been reported in patients receiving treatment with the antiviral agent. We present a case of an immunocompromised patient with acquired B-cell deficiency who developed an indolent, protracted course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Remdesivir therapy alleviated symptoms and produced a transient virologic response, but her course was complicated by recrudescence of high-grade viral shedding. Whole genome sequencing identified a mutation, E802D, in the nsp12 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase which was not present in pre-treatment specimens.” GM comments: “Never underestimate the power of evolution.”

The removal of airborne SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bioaerosols by air filtration on COVID-19 surge units (accepted manuscript) Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Abstract: “Airborne SARS-CoV-2 was detected in a COVID-19 ward before activation of portable HEPA-air filtration, but not during the week of filter operation; SARS-CoV-2 was again detected when the filter was off. Airborne SARS-CoV-2 was infrequently detected in a COVID-19 ICU. Filtration significantly reduced other microbial bioaerosols in both settings.”

* * *

Moderna took NIH money and help for its covid vaccine. Now it wants to leave government scientists off a lucrative patent. WaPo

Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals’ CNBC


China’s Communist Party on cusp of history as Xi Jinping sets stage for landmark resolution at sixth plenum South China Morning Post. Backgrounder.

Lying Flat and the measure of all costs FT Alphaville

How Long Can China Chase Covid Zero? Here’s What the Experts Say Bloomberg

Medical Wastewater Treatment In COVID Times China Water Risk. Important. This is from 2020. Do any readers have more current data or anecdotes?


U.S. Policy Toward Myanmar’s Military Junta War on the Rocks. Check with the locals (1):

Check with the locals (2):

Electricity Office in Myanmar Capital Targeted With Bomb Blast The Irrawaddy

Telenor’s sale of Myanmar unit to M1 sidelined over junta’s opposition FT

A Communist Delegation Went to Karl Marx’s Grave, Then Were Fed Gold Steak by Salt Bae Vice. The deck: “There’s nothing more 2021 than Salt Bae feeding a communist party official gold-plated steak after a climate change summit.”

The Koreas

Seoul to offer metaverse-based administrative services by 2026 Aju Business Daily. I don’t see the point. If I want never to reach a human, we already have customer support service via telephone for that.


India’s black fungus epidemic spread through hospital air-conditioning, new research suggests


Iran wants U.S. assurances it will never abandon nuclear deal if revived Reuters. Maybe Biden could emulate Game of Thrones, and put Hunter up as a hostage.

Mapping Afghanistan’s untapped natural resources Al Jazeera


Britain’s game of Brexit chicken will end badly FT

Euronext to ditch London Stock Exchange for clearing by 2024 Reuters

Purge of the Corbynites: Four Labour MPs may face reselection battles Jewish News

EU accuses Lukashenko regime of ‘gangster’ behaviour over migrant crisis FT. Commentary:

These Parents Built a School App. Then the City Called the Cops Wired. Stockholm. More from Sweden:

Nicaragua’s Elections Are a Referendum on Social Investment Policies NACLA

Chilean Deputies agree Piñera needs to go through impeachment before the Senate MeroPress

The Pandora Papers Are Back in the Spotlight in Ecuador CEPR

There’s an Actual Mountain of Trashed Fast Fashion in Chile Mic

Biden Administration

US non-intervention in Nagorno Karabakh was the one thing it got right Responsible Statecraft

Supply Chain

Shipping is broken. Here’s how to fix it. Vox. A lot of bright ideas, but the only numbers I’m seeing here are for ships at anchor. Surely some clever labor economist could come up with throughput projections were wages and working conditions for truckers and warehouse workers to be improved? A topic that most of the sources quoted seem to dance around….

Our Famously Free Press

The 1619 Project and the Long Battle Over U.S. History Jake Silverstein, NYT. Manages to frame the critique as coming from the cranky right, while erasing the comprehensive review of Hannah-Jones’s “scholarship” at the World Socialist Web Site (no doubt the only site that would cover the 1619 Project comprehensively, given the level of censorship). To be fair, the Times has a number of profitable 1619 spin-offs coming, and so a marketing piece like this is appropriate. These days.

Groves of Academe

I’m Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken Niall Ferguson, Bloomberg. Ferguson on the administrative structure of “The University [sic] of Austin”:

To those who wonder how a new institution can avoid being captured by the illiberal-liberal establishment that now dominates higher education, I would answer that the governance structure of the institution will be designed to prevent that. The Chicago principles of freedom of expression will be enshrined in the founding charter. The founders will form a corporation or board of trustees that will be sovereign. Not only will the corporation appoint the president of the college; it will also have a final say over all appointments or promotions. There will be one unusual obligation on faculty members, besides the standard ones to teach and carry out research: to conduct the admissions process by means of an examination that they will set and grade. Admission will be based primarily on performance on the exam. That will avoid the corrupt rackets run by so many elite admissions offices today.

“Sovereign”? Really? Like sea-steading?

Imperial Collapse Watch

Washington scientist admits to fabricating steel-strength results for US Navy subs for over 30 years: Took ‘shortcuts’ because she thought safety test criteria was ‘stupid’ Daily Mail

Class Warfare

China’s path to common prosperity puts pressure on private enterprise South China Morning Post. The rich are donating to charity. But given that China is a Communist country, perhaps they could — hear me out — give consideration to the idea of giving the working class control of the means of production?

Striking Truckers in Asia Threaten to Add to Supply Chain Snarls Bloomberg. It’s almost as if the working class is… international.

Worker-Led Alternatives in the Global South Grassroots Economic Organizing

Video: Howard Schultz Compares Selflessness of Starbucks to That of Holocaust Prisoners Vice (Re Silc).

Politico Recognizes Union, Extending Wave of Media Labor Win Bloomberg. Some background.

Largest psilocybin trial finds the psychedelic is effective in treating serious depression STAT

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Donald

    I tried to comment on the NYT piece about the 1619 project, but the NYT didn’t print it. My comment wasn’t rude. I just said that while I had no sentimental attachment to the American Revolution, I thought it was a gift to the Republican Party that so much attention is paid to these culture war issues. It won’t help people pay tie bills and it does nothing to eliminate brutal racist cops if we all manage to get everyone disillusioned about the racism in America centuries ago. If we all agreed that Washington and Jefferson were hypocrites we would not be one step closer to paid family leave or an adequate policy on climate change.

    The reality of the American Revolution matters and is worth debating, and even who should have statues honoring them is worth debating, but politically, the more these debates become central the better it is for corporate types because they love emotional culture war issues that get people riled up and not talking about policies that might actually change lives today.

    I said this, in somewhat different words, but all of it polite, and they didn’t print it. That almost never happens to my comments there. I think they are very protective of their 1619 brand.

    1. Hank Linderman

      NYT comments moderation is spotty – sometimes your comment is approved in minutes, sometimes it takes hours and hours, even when there are only a few comments on the piece. I get the feeling it has more to do with staff availability. They aren’t exactly transparent, so it’s possible that the writers get some say, but that’s just a guess.

      And, occasionally your comment just never gets approved. No explanation…

      1. Donald

        It’s been over 24 hours and I should have been one of the first commenters. I know they sometimes take hours, but in my experience it usually doesn’t take a day. It’s not an important issue–my comment won’t change anything, but I think they are not very honest about some of the criticism they’ve gotten. They want it to be about white fragility regarding criticism of America’s sordid past. Much of the critique does come from that direction, but not all.

      2. lordkoos

        I think it’s not only a matter of approval — sometimes comments simply are lost in cyberspace for whatever reason.

    2. jsn

      Biden and Pelosi have both said repeatedly how important it is to have a “strong Republican party.”

      The symbolic hall of mirrors that is the 1619 Project is very effective at keeping the pressure off provision of real, material benefits to voters, diverting the political debate from the fact that the entire American Enterprise Institute agenda from 1982 has been implemented, mostly by Democrats since then.

      The Liberals at the NYT are baiting the Republicans like Hamilton did Madison and Jay in the Federalist Papers, to keep discussion away from the likes of Paine, who advocated real, material benefits.

    3. PKMKII

      I don’t know much about the 1619 Project, and I don’t think there’s much to be gained materially from condemnations of particular or all Founding Fathers as being Bad People. But we are talking about the folks that wrote the Constitution, the legal document that determines the scope (and thus the limitations) of our current political economy. Their material and economic interests weighed heavily on how that document was crafted, so yes, that is relevant to our current predicaments and what can and can be passed as law, either due to de facto or de jure reasons. That cannot be dismissed as a culture war issue.

        1. PKMKII

          I think we’re talking about two different things here. The 1619 Project may be, in the way it represents (or misrepresents) the revolution, acting as a culture war lightning rod. But that does make all discussion of the impact of the Founding Father’s economic positions on the Constitution a culture war issue. After all, it was a bourgeoise revolution and so the crafting of the new legal state was fundamental a bourgeois project, and that’s class, not culture.

        2. Ben S

          From the socialist web site book preamble…
          “As Eric Hobsbawm laconically observed, “The socialists … who rarely used the word ‘nationalism’ without the prefix ‘petty-bourgeois,’ knew what they were talking about.” [16]

          Replace nationalism with identitarian and the project is fully explained. Would be aristocrats, positioning for crumbs dangled by the rich.

  2. Lupemax

    Re: Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals’ CNBC

    Here’s an excellent article on how truly ‘corrupt’ Pfizer is re control of advertising and so-called ‘news’. BTW the US is one of only two countries that permits advertising of drugs on tv. (New Zealand is the other). Lots of details (well documented). Well worth your time to read.

    1. zagonostra

      Well Big Bird, Elmo and the gang at Sesame Street are not people, maybe we can hire them to voice some of the information being canceled/censored.

      Interesting the establishment (I don’t know what else to call it, cabal?) started with ice cream, movie tickets, beer, cannabis, lotteries, etc, and shortly after shifted from persuasion to propaganda (“pandemic of the unvaccinated” to coercion (work vaccine mandates) in less than a year – plenty of time for some frogs to feel the quick temperature change and jump.

    2. HotFlash

      Dr. John Campbell (retired prof of nursing, Cumbria U in Scotland) put a video out yesterday in which he presents an analysis of Pfizer’s ‘new’ drug compared to several ‘old’ drugs including our old friend *mectin (spoiler alert: the I-drug works better, and is cheaper) using studies of the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic actions of the various antivirals. His explanations are clear, his citations all publicly available and authoritative. In view of the current situation, I would advise anyone interested to check it out at Dr. Campbell’s Youtube channel before it gets memory holed. The video was originally circumspectly titled “Interesting Video” but now is straight-up “New Pfizer drug and ivermectin” so I suspect the clock is ticking.

      1. Lee

        I’m a recent fan of Campbell’s. In addition to the clarity and accessibility of the information he presents on data and medicine, I absolutely love his hand-drawn visual aids to his explanations of molecular mechanisms of action—a good example occurring about 15 minutes into his discussion of the potential therapeutic role of fluvoxamine.

        1. begob

          His voice is a touch ASMR. To his credit, a while back he had a Vit D expert on who flatly contradicted him on pretty much every point on that topic, concluding that supplementation was useful only for the relatively low proportion who are genuinely deficient, and that there is no significant evidence to show a role in combating coronoviruses. I still decided to supplement for the winter.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Didn’t change his mind about Vit D & although I didn’t see that video, John has consistently & recently criticised people for the stance that you describe above.

            Carlisle is in England but only just about as it is on the Scottish border which was once Riever country before the Act of Union, back during a time when family clans from both sides of the border made a living from rustling livestock. The Nixon’s & Armstrongs were 2 clans of wild renown & both Richard & Neil are descended from them.

    3. Mikel

      This is the kind of bull that is turining me against their shots. Not at all about people’s health. This is all a power and greed play.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals'”

    Found this to be very extreme until I remembered who he was talking to – the Atlantic Council of all groups. You don’t get more Deep State than that. But where he said “Those people are criminals. They’re not bad people. They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives.” what I think that he meant to say was that “They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of dollars of profit.” Fortunately his Pfizer put out a tweet that explained it all though it seems that comments have been locked-

    1. Nikkikat

      Pfizer CEO was spreading a little misinformation himself claiming his magical endless vaccinations every 6 months will end the pandemic and as Rev Kev points out he believes it cost his company millions. Can’t have that!

    2. griffen

      Reminds me of the character Gru from Despicable Me, just a bit. Even has the foreign accent to be evil sounding (not a requirement per se, more like a bonus on the evil spectrum).

      He’s trying to take over the world. These meanies don’t agree to my every command. \sarc

    3. JTMcPhee

      The thinking that underlies ISDS is deeply sunk into the DNA of Corporation ™. “Rights” to make obscene profits (ignoring externalities) and “remedy” to be provided by “rule of law.”

      Burn it all down.

  4. ObjectiveFunction

    Ha, I think you’ve just found the NC Spirit Animal for the 2021 fundraiser! Move over, baby ocelots!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Got just the caption for it-

      ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Sometimes though, it’s the snowstorms.’

  5. Bridget G

    “I’m Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken Niall Ferguson, Bloomberg. Ferguson on the administrative structure of “The University [sic] of Austin”: …”

    So “home schooling” comes to the University level? Just a note, Niall is associated with the “Hoover Institute” which shows how “left” and “woke” Stanford is.

    1. marym

      Here’s a link with some history of right-wing universities, connection to conservative homeschooling, censorship and lack of due process at these universities, and background on some of the Austin participants.

    2. juliania

      My interest was piqued by first announcements here a day or so ago on this — back in the shrouded mists of time I attended St. John’s College, so the appointment of its recent president caused me to read the above description of what this new university/college intends to be. The following extract suffices to suggest Bridget’s description of ‘home schooling’ hits the nail on the head:

      “In short, the beneficiaries of today’s gilded age seem altogether more tolerant of academic degeneration than their 19th-century predecessors. For whatever reason, many prefer to give their money to established universities, no matter how antithetical those institutions’ values have become to their own. This makes no sense, even if the principal motivation is to buy Ivy League spots for their offspring. Why would you pay to have your children indoctrinated with ideas you despise?”

      My understanding of what a liberal arts college such as the one I attended strives to do is give students every opportunity to think for themselves. St. John’s College, back in the day, did that for me and I am grateful.

      This is not that.

    3. chuck roast

      Maybe Niall will teach economics. I can see him in his intro class leading off with Stanley Jevons on why sunspots cause economic depressions.

    4. Eudaemon

      I love how the quote discusses a very tightly controlled authoritarian structure that is somehow supposed to promote freedom.

  6. Tom Stone

    A comment about LLC’s and trusts.
    If you own a valuable property holding title in an LLC and the LLC in a trust has a number of benefits both from a tax and liability standpoint.
    Those benefits were put in place to benefit the very wealthy, unfortunately ( From the viewpoint of the very wealthy) they also benefit the upper middle class.
    Who have a tendency to “Put on airs,” much to the disgust of our overlords.

    1. Regulus regulus

      As a historical labor conflict reenactor by trade, I suggest conveying your real state into a trust and placing your LLC as manager of that trust. Flip it the other way around. It looks cool, feels cool, and gives me the confidence to sing, “This land is my land, and this land is my land!”

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Washington scientist admits to fabricating steel-strength results for US Navy subs for over 30 years: Took ‘shortcuts’ because she thought safety test criteria was ‘stupid’”

    This reminds me of something that happened several decades ago The US Air Force had a few aircraft crashes with at least one pilot killed. After exhaustive analysis of the wreckage, it was found that they were all caused by how (I forget the minor details) a sub-assembly was installed in those aircraft. A USAF investigative team went to where they manufactured those aircraft and they soon tracked it down to one worker. He had read the specs on how he was supposed to install some part but thought it wrong and just went ahead and did it his own way based on his experience with assembling earlier aircraft.

    1. griffen

      That is pretty alarming and unbelievable. Come to think of that situation, it correlates pretty well boil to one of our favorite topics and punching bags: CalPers. Yep fake the strength / endurance tests and no one gets hurt. Results will happen so far into the future that I’ll be gone.

      However unlike a CalPers, or Wall Street / white collar crimes, that woman is going to prison and paying a fine. I’d call what she did belligerent, willful incompetence.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The Japan Air 747 flight 123 crash in 1985 had a similar cause. An engineer doing repairs thought he knew better than the Boeing manual.

      Of course, some safety tests are over the top or unreasonable, I’ve heard the complaint many a time by site engineers that some test was developed by a desk jockey engineer who had no idea what it was like in a real factory or construction site. But usually there is a pretty good reason for them, and that reason isn’t often apparent to even the best engineer or mechanic.

    3. cgregor

      That was the F-100 Super Sabre, according to Chuck Yeager’s autobiography. He tried a roll and realized something was jamming, but worked himself out of it. Investigation when he reported the problem revealed some bolts in the flaps had been installed in the traditional manner– tails aft– rather than according to specifications. This had been done on a number of the planes by a worker who knew the right way to install bolts.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks cgregor. I have been trying to think of where I saw that story and I am sure that is it as I have a copy of his autobiography.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        The F-100-A had a far more serious problem than that. According to George Coram, one of John Boyd’s biographers, the plane was known as the widow-maker. 1/4 of those manufactured went down in accidents:

        “The Hun was one of the most unforgiving airplanes ever built. It had to be flown every second; one wrong control move, one moment of inattention and the F-100 would ‘depart flight’; that is it quit flying and assumed the aeronautical attributes of a brick.”

        Coram goes on to describe the details of the ‘adverse yaw problem,’ and how Boyd developed training methods enabling other less skilled USAF pilots to fly the F-100 more safely.

        1. The Rev Kev

          A minor bit of history connected with that plane. During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, very few American pilots got off the round. Two who did were Kenneth Taylor and George Welch who shot down several Japanese aircraft. Both men later became aces and George Welch married an Aussie girl when stationed in the pacific. Welch later went on to work as chief test pilot, engineer, and instructor with North American Aviation. When they developed the F-100 Super Sabre, Welch was charged with testing it but was killed in a crash with that aircraft. I too would develop a sudden yaw and roll problem-

    4. jonboinAR

      Way back in the ’80’s I knew a guy who was a commercial aircraft mechanic. From hanging with him at parties I knew him to be a pot head. I’m pretty sure random drug tests weren’t really a thing, yet. Now pot heads make little mistakes as they go along. They’re slightly “spaced”. They just are, and otherwise often fairly functional. Not good enough for an aircraft mechanic, IMO. From that time on I’ve had a fear of flying.

    5. JCC

      There is no doubt she screwed up and should not have taken this decision upon herself, but I would really like to hear from an engineer as to why the steel making up submarines needs to meet a specification of -100F

      Isn’t that a little bit of an overkill?

  8. Otis B Driftwood

    Abby Martin confronts Nancy Pelosi at COP26.

    Funny that Pelosi calls on Martin, who is masked, and obviously does not recognize who she is until it is too late.

    Martin asks why 1. We increase war budget, and 2. Why the US military, the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses in the entire world, is exempt from and reduction goals.

    Rep. Frank Pallone cannot explain increase in war budget. Pelosi follows with rambling, incoherent answer and then abruptly shuts down press conference.

      1. Craig H.

        I am amazed that Pelosi’s security detail didn’t know where Abby Martin was at all times. The inside story on the aftermath of that might be interesting.

        Largest psilocybin trial finds the psychedelic is effective in treating serious depression

        This story was even more interesting to me. The last time I asked a psychiatrist about a natural depression remedy–St John’s wort–he immediately responded that you cannot patent a natural medication and so there is no market incentive to do clinical studies and so it’s out of his bailiwick. Kind of like Aaron Rodgers’ remark to Pat McAfee that nobody is interesting in keeping people healthy unless there is profit to be made.

        Re: the photo in their story. Is it legal to sell mushrooms now in CA?

  9. polycarpus

    In making the whole process “lean”, aircraft engine (military and civilian) manufacturers pushed the testing of materials back to suppliers. When I started working in a materials testing lab, we tested incoming parts that would be assembled into engines. Management later pushed more of the approval testing back to suppliers, but also sending metallurgists to on-site aaudits.I know of two occasions when the new program would have let non-conforming material be used.
    That was 15 years ago; and how lower altitude products were tested is beyond me.

    1. Glen

      Happened where I work too. Downsized and outsourced.

      We still get bad parts – we find them because the dimensions are bad (don’t fit properly when we are trying to install them.)

      Material properties? Who knows?

    1. JohnA

      Towards the end of his piece, Snowden writes
      “The public body is like Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds. Millions of handmade, ceramic seeds—identical from afar, but unique if you stopped to look, unique if you stopped to care—were poured into the bank-like lobby of the Tate Modern in London. Visitors could lie in them, they could touch them, they could roll around in their bounty and be renewed.”

      By the time I went to the Tate Modern to see them, the hall was closely guarded and the area with the seeds cordoned off by security. Apparently, the people Snowden says could lie in and touch them, could also not resist also taking home one or more seeds aas souvenirs.
      From the distance of a metre or so from the cordon, it was no longer possible to see that they were all unique.

  10. Elmer

    I think the headline for “These parents built an app…” is click-bait. BUT:
    The story’s theme, to me, is how software too is influenced by Right-To-Repair. Too often, social responses to such issues as those provoking such parental behavior is “Nerd Harder!” Rarely is that operational advice. In this case it advanced the cause. Color me perplexed.

    It is in such countless examples we see the potential of an ameliorating social effect when such source code is published under an Open Source license. Consider Open Source as a cornerstone to Right-To-Repair while you still have a choice.

    The story also illustrates why Open Source “free as in speech, not free as in beer” should be considered part of the net’s supply chain.. Those of you reading this post via a non-free browser should consider the consequences of losing an open-source choice when connecting to the net.

  11. Questa Nota

    Risk Compensation Article:

    It’s an idea that comes from the study of road safety and posits that people adjust their behavior in response to perceived risk: the safer you feel, the more risks you’ll take.

    You as consumer may adjust and compensate but what does the modern producer do?

    That is right, he looks for compensation from taking on risk. Offload, paper over, immunize through legalese, force arbitration to limit, if not eliminate, risk of exposure to the harsh light of day. If When done right, that game becomes zero sum for those others. They don’t stand much of a chance, but there remains hope.

  12. polar donkey

    Sorry, this doesn’t have a direct connection to any link today. Basketball season has started. Here in Memphis the arena is home to an NBA franchise and university of Memphis Tigers. There is a proof of vaccine or negative test requirement to attend games. Attendance is down 40%. Games that had 9,000 to 10,000 have 5,500. The U of M team is the best it has fielded in 15 years and the NBA is decent as well. Attendance this low while allow the NBA team to break it’s contract with the arena and city and relocate. Memphis has either the lowest or near the bottom rate of vaccination of any NBA city.

    1. griffen

      Some of us here follow a good variety of US sports, college and professional. It could be interesting this year, for college basketball; a lot of narratives now that transfers are in full swing and coaching changes are always up to scrutiny. Interested to see what Hardaway can do there in a full, or more normal season.

      I can’t recall the ownership for the “Griz” readily, but where are they really going to go? I suspect the attendance issue is not limited to just Memphis for NBA teams. Teams in the NBA that are really bad are increasingly awful, as they horde draft picks several years into the future.

      1. polar donkey

        In 2018, Memphis’ NBA franchise was interested in going to San Diego. That got blown up when the city had a vote on whether to build a stadium for the Chargers. Voters said no, Chargers went to LA and with no prospect of a publicly financed arena, the team stayed in Memphis. Louisville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Seattle all have been courting the Memphis and New Orleans teams.
        Additionally, the Memphis franchise a couple years ago told the city it needs to $400 million in upgrades/refurbishment to the 18 year old arena. Recently, franchise came back to city and said the arena really needs $560 million in upgrades/refurbishment. If the city says no, the team can leave. If attendance doesn’t reach a certain minimum, it can leave. Memphis can’t afford $560 million and they will not be anywhere near the attendance minimum this season. Did I mention the city has to buy the ticket shortfall. The city has an inferiority complex and terrified of loosing the franchise. We never could afford a pro team, but that hasn’t stopped us from trying. Memphis is the smallest market in the NBA.

        1. griffen

          Thanks for the additional details. I can see that franchise or another city’s team moving to Vegas in the next 5 years. The barriers against having a pro team in Vegas are breached, now that the Raiders moved into town. I do not recall the NBA or it’s commissioner having a specific stance against Las Vegas, aside from gambling within the sport you play is bad, very bad.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Lately, I have been asking my if attendance at this or that event is worth a shot in the arm or a poke in the nose. I have yet to answer yes.

      1. Sutter Cane

        Lately, I have been asking my if attendance at this or that event is worth a shot in the arm or a poke in the nose. I have yet to answer yes.

        Same here, Arizona Slim. Prior to the pandemic, my usual haunts were assorted dive bars around town where live bands could be heard. These are generally small, windowless places with poor ventilation. For the bars that have survived, shows are starting up again, but I have been making the same calculation. Previously, I would have gone to see this or that local band just to get out of the house, even if I wasn’t particularly a big fan.

    3. Carla

      Ahem… from Scotland:

      Health expert describes vaccine passports as ‘discriminatory’ and says they make no sense


      I try to explain this to my Democrat friends and they just look at me uncomprehendingly. “PMC says vaccine passports good. Therefore, vaccine passports good.” “And anyway, Carla, they don’t hurt anything.”

      I despair. Everyday, I despair.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Iran wants U.S. assurances it will never abandon nuclear deal if revived Reuters.”

    ‘Maybe Biden could emulate Game of Thrones, and put Hunter up as a hostage.’

    Got a better idea. The US should send a whole plane load full of people like Hunter, Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, etc. Any funny business and Iran flies them back to America.

    1. David

      I suspect that the Iranians, who are pretty wily as a rule, are well aware that they are asking for a commitment that no state can ever give, including themselves. There’s a diplomatic principle that agreements should be entered into in good faith, and respected when they are in force, but there’s also a convention that states can and should be able to withdraw from agreements under certain circumstances, depending on the nature of the agreement. It’s also a settled principle of constitutional law in most countries that, as the British say, “no government can bind its successor.” (Brexit, anybody?)

      I don’t think it’s too much for the Iranians to ask that the US should return to the JCPOA and abide by it, but they can’t seriously expect an undertaking that a future US government won’t do what Trump did. Come to that, I doubt if the Iranians themselves would give a comparable undertaking either.

      1. JohnA

        The Iranians first asked for a binding agreement but Biden said he could not bind any successive government. Iran then asked Biden to at least be prepared to honour the agreement for the length of his presidency. Biden then said he could not even commit to that. The US is unagreement capable as more and more countries appreciate.

  14. svay

    Medical Wastewater Treatment In COVID Times

    The article quotes The National Health Commission & State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine as saying “the novel coronavirus can be isolated in faeces and urine”. Is this true? While SARS is believed to have spread partly through aerosolised wastewater, I think in the case of SARS-CoV-2 only viral RNA has been recovered, with no recorded cases of transmission via this route.

    1. Skunk

      Certainly it’s pretty well-established that SARS-CoV-1 could be spread by fecal aerosols. The mysterious spread of virus through multiple floors at Amoy Gardens was eventually explained by defective bathroom traps. This is the accepted explanation after a very thorough investigation by the world’s top epidemiologists. Granted, SARS-CoV-2 is not SARS-CoV-1, but they are similar coronaviruses.

  15. Mikel

    “I’m Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken”

    There has been much written about broken higher ed from across all walks of life and disciplines.
    But this is another level of fool:

    “Admission will be based primarily on performance on the exam. That will avoid the corrupt rackets run by so many elite admissions offices today.”

    The testing has been found to be just another corrupt racket and one prone to corruption.

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    I don’t know how you can have any discussion of “Neutron” Jack Welch’s tenure at GE without using the word, “Fraud.”

    GE’s numbers during his time in charge were almost as unnaturally uniform as Bernie Madoff’s.

    Full disclosure: I worked at GE Transportation Systems during Neutron Jacks time at the helm.

  17. Wukchumni

    Climate is the ‘biggest single opportunity’ the insurance industry has ever seen, CEO says CNBC
    The insurance on our home went from $3100 last year to $5800 this year, representing the ‘biggest single opportunity’ to gouge us we’ve ever experienced, and making a mockery of the Fed’s ‘inflation is always 2% tops’ blather.

    Part of me thinks, ‘hey, most everything above us burned pretty much in the Castle & KNP Fires, and an oak savanna is a much lessened fire risk compared to pine forests in the higher climes, what if we went naked and just pocketed the nearly 6 grandidos instead?’

    I think i’ll pay the piper this go round, heck, the insurance company might make my decision easy next year though by not renewing us, and so it goes in this best of all possible world.

    1. Lee

      Have you asked what if any risk mitigation measures you might take to reduce premiums? I assume some of them, such as a metal roof, could be quite pricey. When my premium got bumped because of a small claim, I got the premium down a bit by raising the deductible. Even so, they recovered the amount they paid on the claim after about a year of charging me the increased premium.

      1. Wukchumni

        The insurance company sent an expert in WUI to assess our abode and surroundings a few years ago, and we did a number of things on his wish list of making our home more fire-proof, but you almost get the idea they were more along the lines of assessing potential risk to them, not us.

    2. Blue Duck

      Sonoma county east of Sebastopol is all scrub oak, and that is what is burning when we have fires. I’d be very cautious relying on oak savanna to protect you.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve spent well over a decade on the all cats & no cattle ranch getting rid of everything bigger than a #2 pencil and dead on the ground, along with whatever dead limbs on live trees could be trimmed off with a 14 foot pole saw.

        It has been my ‘insurance policy’ for a rainy day…

        Neighbors on 3 of 4 sides have done similar measures.

        The real issue is pine needles which burn like the dickens, oak leaves, er not so much.

  18. A. Wells

    China: “give consideration to the idea of giving the working class control of the means of production?” That is what they used to have and it didn’t work well enough. Better idea would be profit sharing. At least 50% owners/workers split and fix managerial compensation to reasonable levels. Would probably work wonders here as well. Exempt for start-ups, maybe 10 years to get established?

    1. Grant

      You claimed China allowed the workers to control the means of production. When exactly? State control, management and ownership doesn’t necessarily mean worker control. You can have a hybrid system, like what Yugoslavia had, but even in that situation there is a debate as to the actual extent of worker self-management. There was never widespread worker ownership of the means of production. State owned enterprises and township village enterprises have been pretty dominant since 1949. That has changed over time, and SOEs and TVAs are less prominent now, but SOEs in particular still have commanding control in many markets.

      According to World Bank data, the average life expectancy in China as of 1949 was about 37 years. Most of the country couldn’t read, had no access to things like running water, basic healthcare and sewage systems, and China’s share of worldwide GDP (according to Angus Maddison) went from about a quarter in the early 19th century to about 6-7% in 1949. They went from that to having the largest economy in the world now according to the IMF when PPP is taken into account. But, actual economic democracy is a problem and I don’t know of a period where it was dominant. Agricultural cooperatives are far more widespread than worker cooperatives.

      Worker cooperatives actually have higher survival rates than traditional firms, tend to pay higher wages, are internally more equitable and of course they are very democratic. Large cooperative sectors in places like Spain, France and Italy. The cooperative sector in China is actually pretty large now and growing, but not dominant or the norm. I personally prefer outright cooperatives to ESOPs.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Our Worst Idea About “Safety” Slate. “Risk compensation.”

    Its a long time since I took a deep dive into the world of risk compensation (mostly because it ends up in fruitless arguments about bike helmets), but I think this article is more than a little selective. Risk compensation is very well attested in numerous studies when it comes to traffic behaviour, where most of the research has been carried out. The safer a driver feels, the faster he goes, it really is that simple. And there is plenty of evidence of risk compensation in things like extreme sports, etc. There are also more subtle effects in that behaviour can alter according to perceptions of risk. As one simple example, quite a few studies have shown that drivers will give less room to cyclists wearing lycra and wearing helmets than, say, a person on a regular city bike. Any cyclist who wears both can attest that this is a very real phenomenon.

    The problem is in extrapolating the concept more widely. As the article correctly points out, there is very little research on how peoples behaviour can be altered through perception of personal risk in health scenarios. Its likely to be a very complex area (not least because there are lots of anecdotes of disease experts behaving as if their expertise made them immune to the disease). In the case of masks, this was simply wishful thinking by anti-mask activists, an idea they simply took out of the air, or out of their asses if you prefer. It was a classic case of someone adopting an argument to suit their pre-existing prejudice, its not an argument against the use of risk compensation in any analysis.

    1. Irrational

      Noticed it in skiing – the more helmeted and armored the faster they go, no matter what their level of ability. On top of it, I am convinced the helmet wearers can’t hear well, so lose an important sensory input

      1. petal

        I grew up racing and we were required to wear a helmet for GS and above, and when I had a helmet on, my hearing was like…muffled. Definitely couldn’t hear as well with it on, and it also messed with my peripheral vision. It was a weird feeling and I never got used to wearing one. Hated wearing it. This was back in the 90s, though, so maybe they have gotten better since. I don’t mind wearing a helmet when horse riding, but they’re a totally different design-doesn’t affect my hearing or vision.

        1. Wukchumni

          I skied for almost 40 years without a helmet on-a few of them wearing a Sony Walkman in the early 80’s which would’ve rendered my hearing to be non existent other than that Doors cassette I was listening to… and have been wearing one on my noggin for 4 years now, and the hearing has been fine-especially with the upper vents open-with the biggest bonus for me being the warmth factor when wearing a balaclava underneath.

          No recreational skiers ever wore helmets until Bono* & Kennedy died with their ski boots on as a last resort. I’d guess its around 95% or more of all boarders and skiers wearing one now.

          * What was the weather forecast the day Bono died?

          Cloudy in the morning, Sonny in the trees in the afternoon.

    2. Andy

      The safer a driver feels, the faster he goes, it really is that simple.

      I guess that depends on what you mean by feeling safe. Wide, straight roads result in drivers going fast regardless of the posted speed limit. Designing roads and streets with complexity built in e.g. in the form of traffic calming measures makes drivers slow down because they are forced to pay attention to their surroundings.

      The urban planning YouTube channel Not Just Bikes covers a lot of this stuff.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I saw that they mentioned the HPV vaccine which is of interest to me. It was actually developed in my own State here in Oz and people thought it a great development. HPV vaccine is currently provided free to both boys and girls aged 12-13 years through the National Immunisation Program – for girls in 2007 and extended to boys in 2013. It’s a life saver. But when it went to America, it came up against a cultural barrier. Some people thought it better to have those young girls risk cervical cancer later in life than risk more sexual behavior now. It was bizarre that those people had any influence a all or that they were listened to.

  20. Wukchumni

    For want of an ale a bar sale was lost;
    For want of hops intoxication also lost;
    For want of intoxication beer goggles were lost;
    For the failure of inebriation an opportunity was lost—
    All for the want of an ale

  21. BillS

    Niall Ferguson starting a University?? He does not even see that he is part of the problem. Run!

    Bring back the old guilds of students and masters in the style of those that would assemble in Paris or Bologna in the Middle Ages. Let’s revive the old Medieval type public disputations where the public could participate with much merriment and learning. Enough of these insufferable neocon social engineers who have turned universities into Taylorist corporate sh*tpiles.

      1. R

        Some still are. Technically each Cambridge college is a corporation owned and governed by the Master, Fellows and Scholars of XYZ, with a legal personality distinct from its members. From memory, all three constituents are required for decisions. In practice, the scholars no longer decide very much, everything being run by the Fellows in various College offices, who are appointed by the Fellowship and Master as a whole.

        My understanding is the arrangements are similar in the Latin Quarter of Cowley.

        The corporations are formed by royal charter and therefore do not appear at Companies House where mere companies limited by shares are recorded.

        Moreover, the colleges paid a stipend (regular payment, equivalent to modern salary) and a dividend (from the profits of the College). This was worth having at some, e.g. Trinity, and not at others….

        The Universities were similar to their colleges, but the ultimate decision making body has disenfranchised the alumni and the academic vote only hangs on barely. Everything is in the power of the officers. However in theory a single academic can still frustrate the passing of a Grace with the phrase “non placer” (it does not please). So obviously not much is allowed to go to a vote….

  22. Pookah Harvey

    Slightly off topic but very interesting.
    Peter Doshi is an associate editor at the British Medical Journal and assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

    His research focuses on policies related to drug safety and effectiveness evaluation in the context of regulation, evidence-based medicine, and debates over access to data.

    Last Wednesday, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson held a three-hour panel discussion in Washington D.C. with doctors and medical researchers who treat Covid vaccine injuries.

    Doshi gave a very interesting 7 min. presentation on critical thinking concerning the pandemic.

    1. urblintz

      Not a bit off topic.

      Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
      Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
      Everybody knows the war is over
      Everybody knows the good guys lost
      Everybody knows the fight was fixed
      The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
      That’s how it goes
      Everybody knows

      And everybody knows that the plague is coming
      Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
      Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
      Are just a shining artifact of the past
      Everybody knows the scene is dead
      But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
      That will disclose
      What everybody knows

      – Leonard Cohen

      1. pjay

        Thanks for this.

        On Doshi: that video has been making the rounds. It is pretty good, but given the time constraints it is fairly general and probably won’t sway anyone who is not already somewhat skeptical. In my view his BMJ editorials have been even more powerful. I’d strongly recommend them – and (as always), I would love to see those with the relevant medical or biological expertise address or refute the questions he raises.

  23. Wukchumni

    Lack Friday is but a bit over a fortnight away and I know i’m making a list of all the things I won’t be able to find @ any price despite camping overnight outside the mall, ensuring that i’ll be one of the first through the doors.

    The hope really is that the food court bucks this trend and I can procure lunch.

  24. Pelham

    Re that Bloomberg article on China’s go-it-alone zero-Covid policy: It clearly assumes that, well, the only realistic, reasonable course is to learn to live with Covid and then proceeds to assume that China will eventually have to come round.

    Really? The robotic, lockstep assumption that Covid must now be accepted as endemic is all the more alarming for its robotic locksteppedness. If it’s true (as growing evidence suggests) that quite large percentages of people coming down with Covid end up with long Covid, then China may be pursuing the only realistic course while the rest of the world wallows in wishful thinking anchored in willful blindness.

    Long Covid is utterly debilitating, and it’s uncertain how long it lasts. Could our economy or medical system cope with tens of millions of people perhaps permanently disabled by a disease that also, and just incidentally, seems to be evolving rapidly to be even more destructive the longer we keep it percolating in the population?

    In any event, even setting aside this plausible doomsday scenario, just the constant line in the media about “living with” Covid and passing from pandemic to endemic should be enough to ping on anyone’s radar.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In any event, even setting aside this plausible doomsday scenario, just the constant line in the media about “living with” Covid and passing from pandemic to endemic should be enough to ping on anyone’s radar.

      If I were the CCP, and my people had been infected and killed with variants that democidal elites like Modi + Johnson + Trump/Biden* + Bolsonaro had incubated — and spread to the whole world, mind you — on the theory that There Is No Alternative but to “let ‘er rip,” I would be very unhappy. And anxious to share my unhappiness with others.

      * Trumpen?

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    Before I read about the Communist Delegation and the gold covered steak, I will venture the guess that this was a Communist Chinese Delegation. I can’t imagine any other communists being worth anyone’s time or attention, let alone a gold covered steak.

    Now I will read the article and see if I was right or wrong.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    Well, Vietnam. Not quite China, but still . . . . a real country with real importance. Therefor, having important Communists to send.

    But I will admit, I was wrong. Vietnam is not China.

  27. Cat Burglar

    The Successor Ideology (if that is what we want to call it) can’t mention class for a couple reasons.

    As a labor market ideology, it cannot both name class as oppression, and justify a claim for higher status. Back in the 90s, a friend engaged in academic disputes always countered gender- and race-based attacks by pointing out the class position of his opponents (“In a University, almost nobody scores high on all three,” he used to tell me) — that weak point has now been rectified. Back in the 70s, the Politically Correct foremother ideology held that the accession to power of politically conscious members of the oppressed would bring a just restructuring, however opportunistically that happened. In those days, I was willing to accept that as part of the messy work of what was then called Social Change. Not anymore — this stuff is about preserving the status quo.

    The coin finally dropped during the Clinton campaign against Sanders: “Medicare For All won’t end racism.”
    (I think Neera Tanden said it. Adolph Reed,jr’s response: “Oh, so that’s how they’re going to play this.”) How they were going to play it was, Divide And Rule. A couple generations of political professionals, faced with precarity and a contested primary, remade such intellectual material as they had, and fashioned a weapon. The ideology mobilizes voters, cordons off other alternatives, but sustains ethnic divisions, and leaves the ultimate basis of power untouched. A brilliant and desperate (How am I going to hold on to my job?!) formulation that effected a dialectical reversal in the political direction of the ideology. Obama and Clinton were perfect exemplars.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Successor Ideology

      It has occurred to me that “successor” makes the careerist aspect quite clear (as we’ve seen at the Times and academe).

      This mish-mash of identity politics has been around for awhile, but I’m having a hard time pinpointing a time when it became top-down and dominant, instead of the tool of a party faction in the NGO segment (aspect, component, node) of the Democrat Party; when successor-compliant content started appearing on the front page of the World Economic Forum, for example.

      We have seen enormous changes in the composition of capital in the last several crisis: The GFC, Covid, and now supply chain. The vulgar Marxist in me wants to connect the emergence of the successor ideology to those changes. This is the only form of politics that is allowed; this is the only form of collective action permitted. (I have often visualized identity verticals as rods, bundled together into, well, a fasces. The axe being loss of career with a descent into real, material precarity, instead of a precarity driven by access to “positional goods” like sending little Madison to their dressage lessons). But I am not sure how to work this out.

      1. Cat Burglar

        The successor ideology is a tool being used by our handlers to manage the crises. To some extent we are stuck with the post-WWII political system, encumbered by all kinds of calcified interest groups — it does not work as well as it used to for managing conflict.

        I think the political class are getting desperate; they know their legitimacy is weak. (A great example of that is the collapse of political support for foreign intervention on the political right, which is maybe the greatest opportunity for anti-imperialists since the 60s.) What they can do is to spread confusion and animosity among potential challenger groups, and at least remain on top, and that is where the successor ideology comes in. Consider the results of BLM — what did the Dems do about qualified immunity? They did jack, despite having strong multi-racial public support. It disappeared from coverage by the woke media. Instead of laws and a change in the structure, we get neo-calvinist inspections of the white soul designed to demobilize white BLM supporters of real change, blow off pressure from African-Americans, and consolidate opposition on the right. Our rulers may be desperate, but they are not stupid, and I imagine the function of their tool has been considered from every angle. Perhaps I attribute too much intention to the process, but just like tangling with incompetent medical insurance administration, you have to ask, why does the result of each accident always benefit one side?

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