Links 11/2/2021

These are the health benefits of showering in cold water World Economic Forum. Wake up, take a cold shower, then bugs for breakfast!

Google’s ‘Be Evil’ business transformation is complete: Time for the end game The Register

US bond tumult risks triggering stock market volatility, analysts warn FT

Don’t Kill The Sacred Cash Cow The Heisenberg Report

Cheat sheet: How regulators want to rein in stablecoins American Banker

Musk Says Hertz Sale Not Done Deal After Surge Past $1 Trillion Bloomberg. Wowsers.

COP26/Climate Change

COP26: World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030 BBC

White House announces new methane regulations, kicking off global pledge NBC

Modi Urges $1 Trillion to Help India’s Transition: COP26 Update Bloomberg. We’ll have to ask President Manchin about that.

Growing coalition of nations demand zero emissions targets for shipping Splash 24/7

A Green Deal at COP26 Can’t Be a Green Light for China Foreign Policy


America Has Lost the Plot on COVID The Atlantic. Has it?

Kids Covid vaccination program will be ‘fully up and running’ next week, White House says CNBC

NYC begs for volunteer firefighters from Long Island and Upstate New York as close to one-third of FDNY staff remain unvaccinated ahead of November 1 deadline: 26 firehouses close Daliy Mail


How China’s property crackdown is being felt in a remote city steeped in Communist Party lore South China Morning Post

China tells citizens to stockpile food as Covid controls are tightened FT

‘Ordinary people suffer most’: China farms face climate woes AP

Laos–China Railway The People’s Map of Global China. From September, still germane.

Guardians of the forest Mekong Review


‘Information combat’: Inside the fight for Myanmar’s soul Reuters. Thread with reporting that didn’t get into the final story (dk):

More to the point:

US Hopes Richardson’s Quiet Visit Can Produce Results The Irrawaddy

Myanmar Junta Chief Calls for Self-Reliance Amid Political Woes Bloomberg

Myanmar’s hidden hunger The New Humanitarian

Philippine fintech Mynt hits $2bn valuation after fundraising Nikkei Asia

Indonesia Sets 2024 Deadline to Move Its New Capital to Borneo Bloomberg


In Punjab, mandis are the means to survival People’s Archive of Rural India


The Pentagon quietly removed more than 130,000 Afghanistan War photos and videos from public view Task and Purpose. A thread on this topic (dk):

Sudan and the UAE: Pulling Sudanese strings The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. UAE was one of Neera Tanden’s donors at CAP. Sounds like she must have had a stressful time dealing with them.

The ex-aides of a messianic, sex-convict rabbi fight from within to cast him out The Times of Israel


The Media’s Love Affair with New Labour Tribune

Biden Administration

Dems on the verge of a trial separation Politico. “… progressives now sound ready to heed [Manchin’s] instructions….” His instructions? A famous story:

A freshman member of the House is getting shown around by a senior member on his first day, and the freshman asks about the other party. “I want to meet the enemy,” he says. “No, son,” says the old bull, “they’re the opposition. The Senate is the enemy.”

Just as Madison intended….

House Democrats brush off Manchin The Hill

Biden delays release of secret JFK assassination files Washington Examiner. Dude. 2021 – 1963 = 58.

Court seems inclined to let abortion providers pursue their challenge to Texas law SCOTUSBlog

Scoop: FEC lets foreigners finance U.S. ballot fights Axios

Supply Chain

Ports of L.A., Long Beach can start fining shipping companies over container backlog KTLA but Shippers fear ‘catastrophic’ fallout from ‘crazy’ California port fees Freight Waves

Long Beach port sending containers to Utah by train to ease congestion KSL TV

A Brutal List of Ingredients and Products Restaurants Can’t Find or Afford Washington City Paper (DCBlogger). DCBlogger: “This is Washington, DC, so this will affect the power structure. DC restaurants are often owned and operated by refugees from failed states, so they have the right skills for this situation.”

Health Care

ACA Call Center Company Healthcare Coverage More Expensive for Employees Than Plans They Help Others Access Eoin Higgins, The Flashpoint

Our Famously Free Press

Who did this:

Police State Watch

The Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops NYT. Law enforcement for profit, just as in Ferguson.

E-Bombs: The Allure and Peril of High-Power Microwave Weapons Interesting Engineering (ctlieee).

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Jes Staley’s Reign at Barclays Was Haunted by Ghosts Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

Unlimited Sand and Money Still Won’t Save the Hamptons Bloomberg. That’s a damn shame.

Class Warfare

The Migrant Workers Who Follow Climate Disasters The New Yorker

How the brain navigates cities MIT News

Surprising Limits Discovered in Quest for Optimal Solutions Quanta. No kidding!

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. Wukchumni

    A Brutal List of Ingredients and Products Restaurants Can’t Find or Afford Washington City Paper
    Our local pizza place has run out of brown cardboard boxes with their name on them, and for now is using flimsier white ones out of desperation as that’s all they can procure.

    A pizza box is arguably as important as the food within, from a take out perspective. If they run out of boxes they’re pretty much only a dine-in restaurant and half of their sales go away.

    The tales from DC eateries almost remind me of wartime conditions when ersatz ingredients filled in. The inflation #’s bandied about in the article make a mockery of official inflation #’s emanating out of Humordor, incidentally.

    Real world inflation @ the food wholesale value looks to be 20-40%, and frankly we haven’t seen anything yet. How would 200-400% inflation do in terms of closing down the lions share of restaurants across the country?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m sure it won’t be long before pizza restaurants start promoting Calzone in a Pouch take-outs.

    2. Eclair

      Ummm ….. reusable pizza boxes? Optimally, NOT plastic. Kinda like growlers, but for pizza.

      Gotta think outside the box!

    3. The Rev Kev

      I would never have thought that manufacturing brown, cardboard boxes would be so hard. Have they been importing them in the past or something? I looked up a video online how it is done and it is not exactly high tech. I am sure that if a manufacturer said that they could only do plain boxes, that restaurants would be cool with that- (4:33 mins)

    4. IM Doc

      Anecdotes from a very remote area – the end of the supply line – and where my family and I live – I guess we are going to feel it first because of the remoteness.

      We do not eat out that much – but this was a holiday weekend – and so we ate out on both Friday and Saturday. Not many national chains here almost all local.

      Friday night – a very nice upscale American cuisine type place. The first thing that gave me shivers because of a flashback to my 1970s youth was seeing the menus covered in little sticky papers so the prices could easily be changed between menu printings – talk about a flashback to the 1970s.

      The waitress arrived – and went through a laundry list of items that were on the menu that were not currently available – like 20 things. Anything having to do with calamari, seafood, pork were the three I remember the most. We all got hamburgers – and that was that. No mayonnaise available – and each patron was given one pack of ketchup – no ketchup bottles available. The people at the next table ordered pizza – and we heard the waitress telling them cheese only – they cannot procure any of the processed meat like pepperoni at this time.

      The next night we went to the local Mexican place. Chips were brought but no salsa and no queso. The dip brought with the chips was some kind of Mexican cole slaw. Lots of cabbage and not much else. Asked the waiter – where is the salsa? – we got 1 box of tomatoes instead of our usual 12. All tomatoes are being used for the entrees. No queso because we have no processed cheese. And they too had begun to use the sticky price approach on the menu.

      Went to the grocery store on Sunday – again very minimal canned vegetables and fruits. Interesting that all the fresh varieties of the same seemed to be in abundance in the produce area….Are people hoarding the cans? Or are we having some kind of problem making or distributing cans? Who knows? The pharmacy area looked like it had been looted. OTC meds, shampoo and soap largely empty.

      Our grocery always does a turkey promotion this time of the year – not this time. No free turkeys. And when you got to the turkey area where historically there would be freezers full – there were two. And I mean big ones – that only grandma would dare to cook.

      This has been going on for weeks….I am starting to get a little alarmed. And so thankful the family and I spent our summer canning our garden stuff. Multiple 50 lb bags of flour and sugar and rice all stored safely and ready to go.

      1. Jason Boxman

        That sounds apocalyptic. Out here 40 minutes from Asheville I haven’t noticed any overwhelming shortages on shelves at the grocery stores yet. Fresh meats and vegetables are as fully stocked as I can tell from a distance. I never eat out lately, so I can’t comment on that.

    5. John Beech

      Swung into McDonald’s at my grandson’s request. Dollar menu fries were $2.19 and decided against paying that. Better for us, anyway.

      Did get $1.39 chicken sandwiches. Tasty.

      Bottom line? No huhu, we’ll adapt.

    6. Rainlover

      Went to Trader Joe’s yesterday to buy the precooked meatloaf that I enjoy. Used to cost 5.99 which was a bargain. I could make at least 4 meals from one package. Yesterday the price was 8.99. Needless to say, I left it there. Sigh.

      1. lb

        See also:’s forums. I’ve been using a modified form of one of their reverse-engineered famous pizzeria recipes for years. The whole site is an amazing resource. Last year I stocked up on canned tomatoes of a preferred brand, flours and accumulated cheese. I had home-cooked pizza for months and months.

    7. lyman alpha blob

      We started buying from a local meat share for the first time this past year and it contains everything from breakfast sausage meat at the low end to very nice porterhouse steaks on the high end. The whole lot contains chicken, beef and pork with an average price per pound of about $9-10.

      When we signed up I thought it was a little on the expensive side but I wanted to support food being grown locally. Now it looks like a bargain, especially since the quality is also much better than what you find in the average supermarket.

      I would highly recommend signing up for one if there is availability in your area. There will likely be a wait list to take part, but if enough people keep signing up for this type of thing then local farms will presumably expand to meet the demand and maybe we can finally get off this crazy train of staples being shipped in from thousands of miles away which works great until it suddenly doesn’t.

      1. lordkoos

        A couple of years ago we bought 1/8 of a cow from a friend when someone else defaulted on it. Packages of ground beef, steaks, and various cheaper cuts. We enjoy red meat but don’t eat a ton of it so it lasted us a long time, and it was good quality — organic and local. It’s just the two of us so it doesn’t make sense to buy more than that but I would love to be able to do it again if we could find enough people to go in on it. Without buying in bulk prices for local organic meats at our farmer’s market are crazy high.

    8. lordkoos

      Why can’t restaurants make people bring their own containers for take-out? It might not work for something like pizza but for just about everything else it shouldn’t be a hardship.

      Pizza boxes are made out of dead trees, reusable ones would be a great idea.

          1. Ben S

            But not the environment. I bring my own Tupperware and order at bar, transfer it there and avoid styrofoam. It’s after transfer so I assume liability I guess. No restaurant has complained.

    9. Mark

      The Montana state prison shut down license plate manufacturing last week because they ran out of aluminum. They hope to be resupplied in December.

      1. BMW DOG

        Montana license plates used to have stamped on them…

        Prison Made

        But they quit doing that for some reason.

  2. Frank

    “White House announces new methane regulations, kicking off global pledge”

    From: The definitive CO2/CH4 comparison post

    “But methane’s role in atmospheric chemistry and as a source of stratospheric water vapour means that it has a bigger effect on climate than just the direct effect of its concentration. Methane emissions have a feedback on its own lifetime, serve as an ozone precursor, and reduce the production of sulphate and nitrate aerosols (and consequently indirect cloud-aerosol effects), all of which amplify its net warming effect to about 1.2 W/m2 (to about 60% of the CO2 effect since 1750). There is also a very small impact of the CH4 oxidation to CO2 itself for any fossil-fuel derived methane. ”

  3. zagonostra

    America Has Lost the Plot on COVID – The Atlantic.

    It’s the sub plot that I’m more interested in. For instance many thought that Trump’s handling of CV19 undid him, and maybe it did. However Biden’s handling of the CV19 has destroyed the Democratic Party. People with long memories will always remember the “night of the long knives” and now when video clips of Fauci, Pelosi, and Biden all saying Mandates would never be imposed is juxtaposed to them saying the exact opposite after they were (re)nstalled in office will forever be mistrusted.

    So America needs a new Plot on COVID. Well there are many to choose from, you just won’t like them very much. All you have to do is veer to deplatformed sites and and you’ll get some juicy ones. They don’t have to be real. You can select a mystery, thriller, farce, comedy, take your pick.

    But theatrics is one thing and real life is another though they do tend to interpenetrate each other and change roles now and then. NYC firefighters who lost their livelihoods, and others coming up against a mandatory vaccine requirement will never forget what the Democrats have done and they will never forgive. And the collateral damage will include MSM, ACLU, Unions, and organizations that consider themselves “Leftist,”, like Jacobin and sites like WSWS.

    1. SE

      I hope you are right. Regarding fast approval for vaccination of you children, everyone should read this story about a child in the 12 to 15 trial who is now paralyzed as a result.

      There has been no trial that demonstrates that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for children, and yet no doubt it too will soon be mandated in many schools. Maddie’s mother is speaking at a rally of vaccine injured people at the Supreme Court today.

    2. Cocomaan

      It might be the undoing of Democrats but it also might not. People will twist themselves into a pretzel in order to be partisan true believers.

      1. Fred

        It’s going to be Pharmageddon for the Democrats.

        Maybe it’s deliberate, to hand everything to the GOP before the

        BidenHarris Depression kicks into high gear.

    3. Sawdust

      So who’s going to end up exploiting this widespread disillusionment as a path to power? As many have said before, Trump was just the preview. All we can do is guess. The Bolsheviks and the Ayatollahs were fringe weirdos even during the revolutions that eventually put them on top.

      1. BrianC - PDX

        The election of Donald J Trump reminded me of this quote from Tacitus the Elder:

        Welcome as the death of Nero had been in the first burst of joy, yet it had not only roused various emotions in Rome, among the Senators, the people, or the soldiery of the capital, it had also excited all the legions and their generals; for now had been divulged that secret of the empire, that emperors could be made elsewhere than at Rome.


        Trump, wasn’t even the opening act. He was just the sound of the orchestra warming up in the pit, before *real* opera commences.

        1. Jon Cloke

          Exactly. Plus, Trump wasn’t anything new or different, he was just the culmination of all the bads that have built up in the US political system being performed openly by the same guy… challenged only by a Democrat party corpse so weakened and rotted that it would make The Mummy look like an Olympic athlete.

          As Robert Graves had Claudius say, Trump was just “all the poison that lurks in the mud” hatching out.

          And in the meantime, somewhere in the US body politic as the centre collapses inwards, some “rough beast, its hour come round at last,. Slouches towards DC to be born”

      2. Captain Obious

        Maybe the Democrats will be perfectly happy controlling the cities of America since there’s so much action thereby. In every election here in Connecticut, one would think he was in a solidly Republican state, until the votes from Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven are counted…

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      Counterpoint: the tribalism the Democrat party has coasted on for ages combined with “there is no alternative.” I’m not saying you’re wrong. What you’re saying should have an impact, but the last half dozen crises the Dems intentionally blew should have as well, as the 2016 primary should have, as the failure of the Obama administration should have and so on and so on. All this should matter, but history has proved time and time again, ultimately, it does not.

    5. Pelham

      What struck me about the Atlantic article was the only bare mention of long Covid. Once again I’ve seen the figure that 30% of those infected with any degree of the disease come down with long Covid — often meaning severe, Alzheimer’s-like brain fog and lung function impaired to the extent they can’t even walk across a room.

      So that’s nearly 1 in 3 cases. If Covid is going to be endemic, can we afford to have 100 million Americans utterly disabled for months or years? Or would any rational person individually want to run that risk?

      On the brighter side, there was no mention of some possibly encouraging developments in the pipeline, including sterilizing vaccines and vaccines that work against all viruses as well as nasal sprays designed to block Covid in its tracks.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Laos–China Railway The People’s Map of Global China.

    Great article, its rare to find one that dives so deeply into the financing and politics of railway construction.

    Laos is a classic example of a country suffering from a very weak set of institutional structures, making it all too easy for its neighbours to get the better of it when it comes to financing major infrastructure. Previously it was the Thais, now its mostly the Chinese and Vietnamese. Many years ago I talked to a development expert there who predicted that Laos would simply cease to exist in a couple of decades, as it is eaten up by its big three neighbours. I hope this railroad doesn’t provide the mechanism for this. Maybe the Laos have learned some lessons over the years, but its hard to tell with such an opaque government.

    As for the railway, if the connection with Bangkok ever gets finished, then it will prove to be a very useful link. Unfortunately, the history of much road and rail infrastructure in SE Asia is that its proven more useful for colonialists or big neighbours to extract resources rather than build up development.

    1. Roger

      Better than being bombed and mined by the US, after being colonized by the French. Transportation links such as this tend to provide a big jump in GDP as travel times and costs are massively reduced, so the debt should not become an issue given the probable GDP expansion. The biggest problem I can see is the natural environment being overwhelmed with tourists.

      Its part of the larger rail network designed to tie together South East Asia, greatly helping the development of the whole region and of course tying the region more tightly to China and away from the ex colonial powers.

    2. Josef K

      I was in a small town in Laos about 17-18 years ago. There were three men who introduced themselves to me as Chinese engineers staying at the same guesthouse–one of those large, beautiful hardwood Lao houses with polished wood floors. Family owned and run, lovely people. These guys had maps spread out on the large table in the common area upstairs where the rooms were, and when I strolled in they made an effort to cover up certain areas, in a nearby natural reserve, clearly marked such in simplified Chinese, with areas within highlighted. Illegal mining, I could see at a glance. So I played dumb and walked on after exchanging small-talk with the one who spoke English well. I’ve had to pretend I didn’t speak any Chinese any number of times, and I could tell they couldn’t tell I could.
      Around midnight that night there was loud knocking at my door, and when I cracked it open, both I and the guy knocking got a shock–I because he was in a high-ranking Lao officer’s uniform, and he, I would soon learn, because I wasn’t a Chinese engineer. He huffed out a “sorry” and I closed the door, but left it open a tiny crack and watched him try another room, then the three stooges room, and get let in.
      The next morning I walked out to this area to find a number of cops standing around, including a couple in plain clothes. I asked one what was up and was told $6k in USD had been stolen from the CE’s room, and the cleaning staff, consisting of the owners’ two teenage girls, were suspect.
      There was just no way they would have done that. Impossible. I wrote out and signed a testament to that effect. It’s obvious the money was bribe money that was better declared “stolen.” Out of simple self-preservation instinct I didn’t offer the episode from the previous night as evidence, which was unfortunate. I never found out what happend to that family.
      Insult to injury which I from my experience sums up a lot of the behavior of the Chinese towards their neighboring SE Asian nations. One belt to rule them all.

  5. Samuel Conner

    I skimmed the article on the Hamptons that started with the (temporary) beach restoration.

    The thought occurs that the funds in view, $1.5B for a 20 mile stretch of coast, are similar in scale to (but larger than) the cost of the control structures used at “Old River” to prevent diversion of the flow of the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya. That’s another inevitable defeat with the only question being “when.”

    But the eventual failure of those control structures will be far more consequential to US (and the world) than abandonment of the Hamptons would be. Funny thing (or not), how mitigation $ get allocated.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      A key difference (not always appreciated) with coastal/flood defences is that there is a very big difference between passive and active systems. You can build a dyke or empoundment to control a river long term and its pretty easy to cost this, but active coastal geologies require constant dynamic intervention, even when you don’t take climate change into account. Its not just a case of having to intervene long term, but dealing with the ‘downstream’ impacts. Reducing erosion on one coastal system may mean that another beach 20 miles away runs short of material and starts eroding. When one beach has very connected, wealthy people gaining a government commitment to protecting their property, this can lead to runaway costs.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It depends on the river and the geology. Most will find a new equilibrium pretty quickly if you block its route in one direction. Coastal systems are generally far more complex to model.

          1. juno mas

            Yes, the shoreline of the Atlantic is a complex natural system with dynamic movement of sediment (sand, mostly) accomplished littoral, tidal, and climate (hurricanes, etc.). However, river systems are often the source of the replenishing sand that make it appear that a beach is “stable”. Erosion on the hills leads to the production of a sandy beach, over (lotsa) time.

            Attempting to maintain a beach with sand while the sea level rapidly rises is a fools errand.

    2. The Rev Kev

      For anybody interested, here is a history of the storms and disasters that have hit the Hamptons. Of course the weather patterns have now changed (and probably for the worse) but one thing that I am sure of is that all the wealthy people in the Hamptons have their insurance agents on speed dial. And as somebody said once, nature bats last-

    3. Ben Schoe

      Weird thing about that, the delta mud would protect the wetlands, but environmentalist sentiment is to keep the poison water out, so bonnet carre never open on purpose…

  6. PlutoniumKun

    How the brain navigates cities MIT News

    I need to show this to my hiking buddy, who is a relentless ‘straight line’ person. She repeatedly insists on hiking in a straight line to a destination once she has it in sight, ignoring tracks and trails and very obvious obstacles. When I object, she insists I’m boring to go the way everyone else has gone before.

    She may have a point, but I’ve had to pull her out of gorse bushes or bogs often enough to think that I have a point too, not that she’d ever admit that.

    1. Wukchumni

      All of your life, someone is pointing the way, directing you this way and that, determining for you which road is best traveled. Here is your chance to . . . be adventuresome. Don’t forever seek the easiest way. Take the way you find. Don’t demand trail signs and sturdy bridges. Don’t demand we show you the mountains. Seek them and find them yourself. . . This is your birthright as an animal, most commonly denied you. Be free enough from intentions to find goodness wherever you are and in whatever is happening. Here for once in your life you . . . can now live by whim. . . Here’s your one chance to get lost, fall in the creek, find a beautiful place.

      Randy Morgenson

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Elegantly written, by a man who has obviously never tried to navigate his way through an Irish bog.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            A slough sounds like a terrible place to build a railroad, but I guess that one worked. We usually only use the term ‘slough’ here for dry drainage channels, which are very common on limestone lands.

            Bogs are fascinating things – usually they were commonage, and even in ancient times they were considered quite literally ‘no mans land’ as they were boundaries between peoples. Occasionally they tried to build railways across them in the 19th Century, and the ramains of these lines can be fascinating to walk across, as its impossible to walk across a raised bog in anything but the driest weather.

            The biggest nightmare here in hiking are peat hags – the remains of broken eroded upland bogs. They can be 12 feet or more high and form a mix of broken climbs and deep pools and very muddy patches. It can take many hours go get across even a half mile or so of hags. Navigation can be very difficult as many a promising route leads you to an impassible bog pool.

            Oddly enough, more peat hags looks like being a Brexit effect. For years, sheep numbers have dwindled on Irish uplands, resulting in a visibly healing upland bog habitat. But high lamb prices now is encouraging more stocking – I’m not looking forward to the effects in a few years time. Once an upland blanket bog starts to break up, the results are never pretty.

            1. Wukchumni

              The only thing that stays wet awhile in the Sierra Nevada is meadows in the higher climes, and they used to be wet until August 50 years ago, now most are pretty dry by July, sometimes sooner.

              Meadows are relatively rare in the grand scheme of things and unless there is a trail through it, you always go around them.

              Heck, mud is rare in the Sierra, there’s so much granitic rock ground into gravel and dirt that just soaks up water like a sponge.

              Saw an unusual sight on the weekend, a slab of pink granite deposited on a scree field after gravity had it’s way with it. Sometimes you’ll see pinkish granite but only on the surface, this one was pink throughout.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    E-Bombs: The Allure and Peril of High-Power Microwave Weapons Interesting Engineering

    Back in the early days of the internet, in the mid 90’s, I knew two anarchist anti-globilisation hackers who insisted that it was possible to remotely disrupt computers using rigged up microwave ovens. They have a detailed description of how it was done and when they’d done it (they gave up as they found that other forms of hacking were arguably less likely to result in prison time). They said that while they couldn’t damage systems, they could cause random disruption.

    I’ve no idea if they were full of it or not, but they seemed pretty serious (both had electrical engineering backgrounds) and both had a successful history of direct action using slightly more legal methods. Since I’ve never heard of this since, I assumed that modern systems are more resistent to external disruption from anything with domestic power levels, partly to insulate them from 3G and 4G interference. But presumably the major defence and intelligence establishments have looked into this. I do wonder what is out there that we don’t know about.

    1. YankeeFrank

      My understanding of microwave technology is that, like other waves such as radio, wave dispersion is the problem when trying to create a focused beam. It just doesn’t work, and those tricksy Russians gave up on this stuff a long time ago just like the CIA. As the Dept of State report said, its probably crickets. Crickets and hysteria.

      1. Paradan

        MASERS exist, though just like lasers, they disperse, and also just like lasers you can focus them to increase the range.

        Phased array radars are also capable of producing a beam.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      A quick surf of the net led to this piece on EMPs from Mitre Corporation entitled “Electromagnetic Pulse: The Dangerous but Overlooked Threat.” As noted EMPs have the potential to disrupt equipment and infrastructure from micro electronics (think computers on a chip) to continent-wide electrical grids such as occurred in Quebec in 1989 caused by a coronal mass ejection. Electrical grids in the northeastern quadrant of North America are uniquely vulnerable to EMPs because the underlying granite of the Canadian Shield makes it difficult to install low impedance ground connections. Some of the utilities in this area have invested extensively in research to determine how best to address this problem.

  8. Henry Moon Pie


    The words and actions of our global elites gathered in Glasgow remind me of the behavior of the addicted: addicted to luxury; addicted to lazy, in-the-rut thinking; addicted to feelings of superiority. Rob Hopkins, the British founder of Transition Network, likens elites’ failure to deal with climate change as “Five Stages of Grief” behavior:

    Bargaining is where we find most of the people sitting around the table at COP26. It’s where most businesses are right now, and most of the companies who continue to invest in and finance the climate emergency. It’s beyond denial, it’s (mostly) beyond the anger, but it’s now about trying to make deals with physics. The UK’s current version is “we’ll accelerate the move to electric vehicles, and give grants for air source heat pumps, but we want our expanded airports and our new coal mines” (the UK’s recently-published ‘Net Zero Strategy’ summarised beautifully for you there). It is profoundly unimaginative. As prison-abolitionist Mariame Kaba puts it in her book ‘We Do This ‘Til We Free Us’, “we live in a system that has been locked into a false sense of inevitability”.

    Hopkins also takes apart the “look over there” so-called “goal” of Net Zero 2050, truly Cop26’s cop-out. “Net Zero” is a dodge that allows Business As Usual to continue by pretending someone will invent a magic vacuum that will remove CO2 from the atmosphere safely and at scale. What must happen is zero carbon emissions (not “net zero”) after 2035 to retain a chance at staying under 1.5 degrees C.

    Why is 1.5 degrees important? Beyond that temperature rise, several tipping points like the loss of the albedo effect (reflectivity of polar ice) and the melting of the permafrost with the attendant release of CH4 will kick in. It’s a classic case of overshoot resulting in a destruction of carrying capacity.

    So these fools, playing their finger-pointing games and lying to keep the mopes from getting riled, whether from addiction or from a failure to deal with their grief over losing their privileges, are sending us straight to Jackpot.

    1. Eclair

      What should our demands be? (Think: ditch hereditary kings; free the slaves; votes for women; abolish racial segregation, all threats to power structure, all ‘unthinkable,’ but all ultimately successful, more or less.)

      No new pipelines or drilling.
      No airport expansions, or new airports. Looking at you, Seattle. (Improved train routes domestically.)
      No highway expansion Improved mass transit, biking/pedestrian routes. More localized food production.)
      Carbon tax (with better name) at source, combined with distribution of proceeds to individuals to subsidize increased prices for transportation, home heating.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I’m not crazy about a carbon tax with rebates, but otherwise those are all good ideas. It is nuts to be pouring a bunch of concrete that will only draw more cars. I hope that Manchin’s Billionaire Bonanza Bill fails.

        How about we do some triage with some existing activities. Compare the carbon footprint with the social benefit. We could focus particularly on some things with a high footprint and low social utility like:

        1) private jets;

        2) multiple homes;

        3) air travel in general;

        4) hospitality industry;

        5) fast food industry.

        Cut the military by 75%.

        Rapid and radical transition of agriculture away from industrial ag to restorative ag with much high inputs of human labor and much lower inputs of fossil fuel, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

        But you know what would be the most important thing that elites could do? Quit stalling. Quit gaslighting. Quit pretending. Level with us about the real severity of the problem and admit that it’s going to require a lowering of the standard of living (as it’s perversely measured now) among large portions of the population in the WEIRD countries.

        1. orlbucfan

          The collective IQs of the so-called “elite” make a humble rock an Einstein. Wonderful ecological ideas which have been around for decades. The science and warnings about climate chaos have also been around for decades. How come nothing has happened on an international scale? Will someone above my IQ level kindly explain to me how the same idiotic (mostly malignant) yahoos constantly rise to the top of the power heap?

        2. Mildred Montana

          @Henry Moon Pie

          2) multiple homes;

          Thank you for mentioning one of my biggest peeves. As far as I know, ???? ??????? is the only species on earth that takes more than it needs. ????? ?????????? (the American black bear) never says to itself, “I’ve got a den, now I want a vacation den!”

          1. Barry

            Urban foxes typically have more than one home. If disturbed in the daytime they know exactly how to dash to their next hiding place.

        3. Eclair

          All good suggestions, Henry. I’m thinking of a small number (3 or 4) demands, easily understood, all with alternatives that are more ‘climate-friendly’ and more beneficial for the overall social good. And, that have repercussions downstream that are beneficial as well.

          For example: if one goal is the reduction of air travel, then slowing down the production of fossil fuels plus a ban on new airports and expansion of existing ones, will have that effect. And, this will have an effect on the hospitality industry, as people will find it more difficult to jet off for weekends in Paris.

          And, where is our military without a reliable and cheap source of fossil fuel? And, what happens to the fast food industry without cheap fossil fuels to produce fertilizer to grow corn and soybeans to feed cows to make gazillions of hamburgers?

          Our economy is like (or ‘is’) the supply chain: tightly knit, lean. Pull out or limit one or two key inputs and you have the mother of all port backups.

          Of course, the social chaos resulting from these inevitable ‘shortages,’ either planned or unplanned, is the unknown factor. But, shortages are going to happen (are happening) sooner or later. We either let the overlords grab it all for themselves, decreeing austerity for the masses, or we decide to use the power of the masses and solidarity to steer the crash. Choose a soft landing in some trees, rather than a 737-MAX nosedive.

          And don’t expect ‘the elites’ to quite stalling, stop gas lighting us, or level with us about the real severity of the problem; they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          1. newcatty

            One thing I keep seeing when it comes to analysing the elites is that the continuing evaluation of their callousness, greed and sociopathic actions are so outlandish and destructive for the planet and inhabitants that they must “be “stupid” or idiotic. Uh, mostly no. Many a sociopath are of, at least average, or high “IQs”. It’s not that most don’t realize or know what they did or are doing. They are interested in their world’s as they see them and will fight to maintain them. Their children and grandchildren are protected, as they maintain that world view. A future world will be a scientifically and tech brilliant world. Virtual reality is better than real. Also, exciting to think about Mars and asteroid colonies! Of course, this may not come to pass. How I don’t know. I would love the wonderful ecological sustainable earth world to manifest.

  9. russell1200

    E-bombs are somewhat analogous to the “dirty bomb”: a high explosive used to spread radioactive materials in an area denial attack. It is difficult to get an explosive to spread the materials much further than the envelope of the explosive. Since blowing stuff up tends to cause a lot of terror and area denial, why bother with the dangerous to handle radioactive materials.

    The much touted (in prepper circles) nuclear EMP is a very dubious proposal. There are physics papers out there showing that (rather obviously) a typical nuclear bomb doesn’t have the ompf to create the electromagnetic disturbance (we are leaving the explanation had a suitably hand waving level) but that is no fun. The study that showed the effects of electronic pulses on vehicles, electronics, etc, doesn’t actually show what the effects the typical described scenario and the appendix to the study, which makes this very clear, has been removed from most copies you can find online. Which is rather funny because the report doesn’t make a ton of sense without the appendix. But that is the level of seriousness that is brought to the discussion.

    And yes there is a Carrington effect associated with solar flares, and yes that could be a disaster, but again, the effects aren’t as usually stated, and the most likely disaster is that our satellite systems get fried. Not that our cars stop working.

    And also yes, there are graphite bombs (using a cloud of carbon fibers) to short out transformers, but these are highly localized in their application, and could easily be duplicated in effect by using high explosives. We didn’t want to pay for rebuilding the Serbian utility grid from scratch and kill too many civilians, so we used graphite bombs.

    1. Watt4Bob

      There are physics papers out there showing that (rather obviously) a typical nuclear bomb doesn’t have the ompf to create the electromagnetic disturbance (we are leaving the explanation had a suitably hand waving level) but that is no fun.

      On the contrary, we have a long and exhaustive testing and development history, including a wide variety of nuclear powered and high-explosive powered weapons quite capable of creating effective EMP damage.

      See my comment below for more details.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Kids Covid vaccination program will be ‘fully up and running’ next week, White House says”

    Is this wise? I was reading that Eric Rubin, professor at Harvard University and also editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, was saying things like ‘But we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes.’ and things in a similar vein. Here is an RT article that I got this quote from-

    But there is a link to a WaPo article there that delves into this much more. Not exactly a confidence builder this-

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that Lemmy. That quote reminded me of the time that Senators had to pass some important bill in order to, as they put it, find out what was in it.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Of course that quote comes to us from Nancy Pelosi, speaking at the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties during the windup of her pitch for the Affordable Care Act.

          The clip also includes applause lines such as “It’s about diet not diabetes.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The parents of these children could put a stop to this in a heartbeat.

      This “approval” is an Emergency Use Authorization.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        According to this Kaiser poll, about one third of parents with children 5-11 are ready to get their kids vaccinated. Another third have a “wait and see” attitude and the remaining third are in the “definitely not or only if required” camp.

  11. ChrisFromGeorgia

    It seems that zero emissions targets for things like shipping or aviation are just another scam.

    “Sustainable aviation fuel” is just waste oils from a biological origin or agricultural production and does not take into account externalities like how much energy it takes to produce the “waste.”

    The real answer is to stop importing goods that can be produced locally with a lower energy budget, but nobody wants to talk about any kind of sacrifice.

    1. Carla

      Maybe the real answer is to stop thinking about producing goods locally as a sacrifice. Although it’s hard to convince rich people of it, self-sufficiency is real wealth. A lot of ordinary people know this, or used to.

  12. BillS

    @PK E-Bombs – Microwave oven radiation is very effective at interfering with many WiFi networks. The ovens operate in the 2.4 GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band. This band is shared with low power radio links like WiFi as well as other applications like amateur radio and radar systems. Communication systems operating in ISM bands must be able to tolerate interference from ISM uses, but ISM systems must limit their radiation to avoid unnecessary disruption of radio service. Intentional interference can get you jail time and/or fines that you will not forget. Systems like GNSS, cellular communications are fairly well hardened (or should be) against interference on this band since microwave oven leakage is ubiquitous.

    That said, very high power level illumination of electronics with microwave oven radiation can be destructive. The amount depends on the type of radio you want to disable. A Wifi radio frontend can be fairly easily wrecked by having it next to a leaky microwave oven, whereas a cellular radio operating around 2.1GHz will not be noticeably affected unless exposed to very high power levels (inside the microwave oven, for example) because its front-end filtering blocks the 2.4GHz band.

    What the article seems to be hinting at is the use of wideband pulse generators for damaging electronic systems. The most straightforward non-nuclear source uses a conventional explosion in a flux compression generator. The instantaneous power levels involved are orders of magnitude higher than anything produced by a microwave oven and the wideband nature of the pulses means that power couples easily into many types of electronic devices, potentially causing damage.

    1. brian

      The people that work in broadcast trucks have used microwave as a weapon for a very long time. When a TV truck is on location, it used to have to broadcast a signal from their microwave device back to the station line of sight. So what do bored producers and engineers do when they aren’t actually working? Interfere with the other TV trucks around them by directing the microwave transmitter at them so they can’t send or get very hot as the waves raise the temperature.
      Habana Syndrome indeed.

    2. Glen

      Years ago while installing 802.11a wifi in the factory, we discovered that the older microwaves used in the break rooms were very effective wifi jammers. As soon as break started and the mechanics went to the lunch room our wifi crashed.

  13. LawnDart

    The Demand For Money Behind Many Police Stops

    I appreciate the map found in the article, although it would be more handy to have a zoomable one where you could identify the towns and roadways where rule enforcers and revenue rats run rampant.

    The comments on the article were worth a gander as well: not uncommon is the feeling amongst drivers of being preyed upon, of being victims/potential victims of a shakedown, even when doing no wrong.

    1. JTMcPhee

      My family was returning from a vacation and Mom, who was driving, chose to take the Outer Drive, Chicago’s nice lakefront route, to get home. We were in the ‘64 Ford Country Squire “family’s trickster,” with most of our luggage in a roof rack. We got stopped by a pair of Chicago cops, stopped in the right-hand traffic lane because there are no breakdown lanes in that stretch, so exposed to a heavy flow of other vehicles. The cops stated the offense we were stopped for, and for which my Mom got a $200 ticket and fine, this lady who had never had any tickets or accidents in her life, was that she was “operating a commercial vehicle on the Outer Drive” which was verboten. She fought the ticket, having to drive into the City, but the hellhole that was the Traffic Division of the Circuit Court just rubber-stamped the cops, so she ended up paying “court fees” as well.

      I had two occasions to be stopped on.spurious grounds by Chicago cops. Both times the cop sat in his car with my license on his clipboard, mumbling “I’m waiting, I’m waiting” when I asked what I had supposedly done wrong. So I said just issue me a ticket, because I did not want to be charged with bribing a police officer — what they clearly wanted me to do. At least both times they ended up just giving me a “verbal warning,” and sending me on my way.

      Another town where the “rule of law’ is arbitrarily applied for profit is Pearsall, TX. Is that on the map?

      One of the worst things in the world is having a cop pull in behind you and turn his cop lights on…

      1. juno mas

        Traffic citations, parking tickets, and the like not only fund the City coffers, but also the court system in California. My local community college safety officers (non-trained) are allowed to give parking citations and generate ~$400,000 per year in revenue for the college. As if going to college wasn’t already stressful.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “These are the health benefits of showering in cold water”

    There is an alternative, This article talks about the benefits of taking cold showers but the only time I found that to work was in an outdoor shower in summertime Greece. But over the years I have heard of another approach and that is to have a hot shower and right at the end when you rinse off, turn the taps to cold. This is suppose to have several benefits and when I think about it, the Romans alternated hot and cold rooms when bathing. Here is an article talking about this technique-

    1. Kristin Brown

      This Norwegian who grew up in Minnesota enjoyed when the family rented a hotel room in the winter for swimming but then most importantly, sitting in a very hot sauna which was close to an outside door and then jumping into the snow afterwards..

    2. Jen

      A friend of mine tried to convince me on multiple occasions to participate in a local polar bear plunge. Saw a hole in the lake ice, dive in, climb out. Oh yeah, and be sure to wear sandals and gloves because wet appendages adhere to ice when you’re climbing out.

      He swore, and his then girlfriend concurred that he never got sick after taking the plunge.

      I remain firmly in the “no thank you” camp on that one!

      1. Wukchumni

        About 20 years ago I was with a couple friends and we made it up to Precipice Lake, which is the subject of a famous 1932 Ansel Adams photo, and the lake often has ‘icebergs’ in it leftover from the winter as it’s shaded nicely.

        So one of my friends asks that I and another friend swim out to the glacier about 20 feet away and when jumping from shore you have all the momentum you need to get there, take the cheesy photo, and then the hard part comes as we had to swim to shore from the berg no chance to push off it really and I think if the distance had been 40 feet away we would’ve froze to death, because as it was when we got back to the shore, both of us were just about gone, knackered.

        1. juno mas

          Did something similar on Fin Dome in Kings Canyon NP! Not a good idea to get in over your head in a very cold alpine lake. Especially if you allow your head to be immersed. Soon you’ll be disoriented, or dead.

    3. Expat2uruguay

      I do this, but only on my legs, where I have circulation problems due to varicose veins. I have one of those removable shower heads and I gradually change the water from hot to warm to cold. I started my feet and work my way up to the top of my legs. It does leave me feeling quite energized. And the part that feels the best, the very very best, is running the coldest water on the top of my feet. Don’t know why, but it feels really good!

      1. tegnost

        The old surfing trick, which I have no scientific backing for, is to splash the cold water on the back of your neck as you enter the water…supposedly it helps…brrrr…

    4. MarkT

      Washing the face with cold water achieves positive outcomes equivalent to meditation. Wash the remainder of the body with cold water and you achieve the adrenalin response described. Do both together, and the results might not be good. Didn’t I read this on a link posted on NC?

    5. Procopius

      Saw a YouTube vid that was made by a couple of guys who claimed to be Navy SEAL officers. They didn’t specify starting with a hot shower, but recommended finishing with a cold shower to stimulate circulation. I sometimes do it and it seems to reduce my aches and pains some, but not so much that I’m motivated to do it every time.

  15. Watt4Bob

    Very curious how the article on ‘E-bombs‘ frames the topic as a mysterious weapon of the future, when in reality, we’ve been making the things since the dawn of the nuclear age.

    I read up on electro-magnetic pulse, or EMP weapons several years ago, after I read about a congressional report on the danger faced by our country from EMP attack.

    The military confirmed the fact that nuclear weapons generate an EMP while testing the weapons in 1945, in fact they had made a great effort to shield electrical equipment near the test site because an EMP had been predicted by Enrico Fermi.

    The US weaponized EMP after the war, and designed an assortment of the weapons, ranging from a size that could be carried in a back pack, one that fit in the trunk of a car, one that required a truck, and so on.

    These smaller EMP weapons were powered by high explosives, the really big ones were powered by nuclear weapons.

    IIRC, EMP land mines designed to cover the size of a battlefield were deployed by NATO in the logical paths likely to used by Soviet tanks invading Europe.

    Seems very strange to find the reporting on these weapons so vague, bordering on mis-information?

    In reality, those pictures of ‘bombs‘ in the article could just as well be described as 1950s designed EMP weapons encased in modern smart-bomb cases, the only thing ‘new’ about them being more precise delivery.

    IIRC, an EMP weapon powered by high-explosives, and capable of destroying the solid state electronics in area the size of a city could be delivered in the back of a pick-up truck.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I wonder whether there were some way to convert an old microwave oven into a station-house interrogation tool, something like the pain inducer used to test the mettle of Paul Atreidies. I recall reading that it would be necessary to shift the frequency from 2.4 GHz to 70 GHz unless you wanted to cook the hand under test. Think of all the fun local police departments and school vice principals could have.

      There is a company in Pennsylvania that uses high power microwave generated using a Gyrotron to rapidly soften glass for shaping car windshields. I recall roughly 8 GHz as the best frequency to use for common thicknesses of glass sheets. [ ]

  16. Wukchumni

    COP26: World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030 BBC
    Just started an interesting book called: A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization, by John Perlin.

    He repeatedly makes the historical point that cultures that cut down their forests aren’t long for the world, and quite often said forests never regenerate. Lake Tahoe is a good example in that the eastern hillsides were denuded of trees for timbering for the Virginia City silver mines 150 years ago and there isn’t a whole lot of trees which have grown up to take their place.

    We’re in the midst of denuding our forests out west vis a vis flames with scant effort being done to save them before conflagrations wipe them out (and our state and federal treasury) and I know the local politicians will be happy, as they derisively refer to trees as ‘straws’ using water resources that Ag would prefer to have.

  17. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Wolf Blitzer and geography

    I figure he’s so stupid everyone assumes he has dirt on important people.

  18. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to the media’s love affair with New Labour, the author fails to mention that the likes of Mandelson, Campbell and Philips, all still prominent in the fourth estate, came from the media and had no anchor in the labour movement.

    This love affair is supposed to keep the Blairite flame burning and Socialists out. This includes the rewriting of history, so the break away by the Social Democrats, John Smith’s 20% poll lead over the Tories just days before passing away suddenly and the European election victory led by Margaret Beckett and her adviser, the economist Ann Pettifor, are rarely mentioned.

    The author is a doctoral student at Oxford. Up the road from there, on the way to Chipping Norton, Soho House has an outpost where the decadent media, including the above Blairites, gather. The locals are kept out.

  19. Wukchumni

    Nice antidote with Joe Manchin showing his obvious contempt for oodles of free money given out willy nilly. He’d look so much more fierce holding a rifle as well, though.

  20. Jason Boxman

    I’m glad someone is finally talking sense:

    But in addition to hospitalizations, Gounder suggests we should also consider the risk of long COVID. “I think for people that is the big question. We just don’t know enough,” she says. Preliminary data suggest vaccines do reduce the risk of long COVID, but exactly how much is unclear given the uncertainties in diagnosing it.

  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Scoop: FEC lets foreigners finance U.S. ballot fights Axios

    In a 4-2 vote in July, the FEC ruled ballot initiatives are not “elections” under existing federal law, and therefore the foreign donation prohibition doesn’t apply.

    jeezus h. christ. “Vaccines” are not vaccines anymore, “inflation’s” not inflation, and “elections” are not elections. What’s next?

  22. Nordberg

    Report from my polling place in Central VA. I went with my wife to vote around noon today. We were in line with one other person. I saw three others filling out ballots. So either low turnout or there was a good amount of early voting.

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Several interesting breakthrough cases.

      ” Another unusual incident according to Lo was case No. 16,529, a Taiwanese woman in her 40s, who received two doses of the AZ vaccine and two doses of the BNT jab between April and September of this year. Despite being fully vaccinated with both brands, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Nov. 2.”

      “Taiwan has also reported a case of a person who received four doses of BNT and still tested positive for the virus.”

  23. Chas

    “We intend to pass both bills through the house in the next couple of days.” — Pramila Jayapal.
    Either The Hill story above missed the big news here, or I’m missing something. However, it seems to me that if the house passes the reconciliation bill in the next couple of days, before the senate takes it up, then the reconciliation bill is dead. Manchin and Sinema will have no incentive to vote for it in the senate. Also, Jayapal willing to rely on Biden to tell her when 51 votes are ready in the Senate could be a big mistake. Joe has no morals. He wouldn’t hesitate to lie to Jayapal. “Kristen changed her mind. There was nothing I could do.”

  24. lance ringquist

    the article on the u.k. labour party, could also be the u.s. nafta democrat party. they will never ever admit its the policies stupid.
    no self reflection, and they will ride those policies down till they are irrevelant.

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