Links 11/26/2021

The Elephant Who Could Be a Person The Atlantic

How dogs became humans’ best friends: from Neanderthals to now Nature

The Secret Broker: What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Stockhead

Corporate Profits Hit a Record High in the Third Quarter AEIR (Furzy Mouse).

Pension Funds Should Never Rely on Correlation (forthcoming) (PDF) Ronald Lagnadoy, Nassim Nicholas Taleb Journal of Alternative Investments. From the Abstract: “The central decision for a pension fund is the allocation between stocks and bonds, often relying, for intellectual backup, on metrics and methods from Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). We show how, historically, such an “optimal” portfolio is in effect the least optimal one, as it fails to protect against tail risk and under-allocates to the high-returning asset class. MPT fails in both risk control and real-world investment optimization.”

How Your 401(K) Is Helping Destroy the Amazon Rainforest The Intercept

The Terror Of Electronic Money Ian Welsh

‘Super jelly’ made from 80 per cent water can survive being run over by a CAR — and could pave the way for soft robots Daily Mail

Thankgiving Wrap-Up

Stouffer’s Targets People Spending Thanksgiving Alone With New Single-Serve Frozen Family The Onion

How to Talk to Your FoxNews Loving Relatives at Thanksgiving! The Big Picture. From 2019, still germane. You can apply over the leftovers.

An American Holiday Forged in War War on the Rocks and Lincoln and Thanksgiving National Park Service


Fake Reference Prices Truth in Advertising. Self-protection for Black Friday.


How the weather shapes history (unlocked) The New Statesman


Heavily mutated coronavirus variant puts scientists on alert Nature. See Yves’ post on this new variant, B.1.1.529. The deck: “Researchers are racing to determine whether a fast-spreading variant in South Africa poses a threat to COVID vaccines’ effectiveness.” My heuristic for the word “racing” is that the first causes of the race are always endogenous to whatever system the article describes or alludes to, and unstated within it. In geopolitical terms, if worst comes to worst, note that powers in the Anglosphere — defined as the US and UK, and their former colonies, South Africa and India — aren’t doing well on the optics right now. This would be the third time — Kent, India, now South Africa — where Anglo incubation reservoirs spilled over into floods of infection. China could consider itself fully justified in never “opening up,” with obvious consequences for a “return to normal” in the supply chain.

* * *

Interactive Ventilation Tool CDC. I love this. Not only did CDC put this up one day before Thanksgiving, so people had no time to prepare their home ventilation strategies for guests, a year into a pandemic known to be airborne, too. Oh, and no mention of Corsi boxes, showing nobody at CDC researched ventilation measures people on the ground are actually taking. (A single result for “Corsi” on the CDC site, and that irrelevant.) I repeat my call for CDC to be burned to the ground, the rubble plowed under, and the earth salted.

* * *

The Best and Worst Places to Be as Covid Reopening Gathers Pace Bloomberg. Even leaving Bloomberg’s business-centric conception of “best” aside, I have the feeling stories like this are going to look pretty stupid in a few days.

Relationship among state reopening policies, health outcomes and economic recovery through first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. PLOS One. Final paragraphs: “The idea of fear as a primary driver of the sharp reduction in consumer card spending during the emergence of the pandemic is supported by the data and related literature. On the other hand, our main finding is that the recovery in consumer card spending following the first wave of the pandemic was more related to state decisions to reopen from the lockdowns than the trends in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 at the time. In this case, reopening decisions are a powerful mechanism to influence population behavior, and the timing of these decisions may affect both the economic and the health outcomes in the current and future pandemics. This correlation explicitly indicates the importance of planning and implementing resilience in governance strategies to assure appropriate management of future pandemics.” Whatever that means.

Why Retailers Are Fighting a Vaccine Mandate Before the Holidays NYT. Ka-ching.

* * *

The forgotten Covid jab that might have no side effects in kids: Novavax vaccine made in Teeside set to become fourth approved shot and UK has 60million on order Daily Mail


A new variant of the Covid virus discovered in southern Africa, experts warn: its power may exceed delta What China Reads

Supply-Chain Crisis Only Getting Worse With China’s 7-Week Port Quarantine Bloomberg. Paraphrasing, the CCP should risk workers’ lives so Western rentiers can make bank (and Western consumers consume). Let me know how that works out.

China Evergrande soccer stadium taken over by government -source Reuters (Furzy Mouse).

Crumbling decor and ‘refugee zones’: These ‘Syrian style’ cafes are China’s new trend France24


ASEAN Invites Minister From Myanmar’s Shadow Civilian Govt to Climate Conference The Irrawaddy. Meanwhile:

Plain-clothes security guards in an upscale mall.

Covid-19 Surges Back Vietnam Weekly


India to tighten Covid-19 testing for tourists amid new variant concerns Straits Times

Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed vows to lead army ‘from the battlefront’ Al Jazeera

African nations mend and make do as China tightens Belt and Road Reuters

In Africa, Blinken sees limits of US influence abroad AP


New, New Labour:

Post-Brexit Britain needs friends to halt Channel crossings and French police face ‘titanic task’ as smugglers up their game Politico

France cancels UK invitation to migrant crisis talks after Johnson letter FT

A public mental health model in Italy earns global praise. Now it faces its demise NPR


It Wasn’t a Hoax David Frum, The Atlantic. No, not Iraq WMDs, silly.


Israel, Iran, US: Playing with Fire Tikun OIam

Qatar’s migrant workers have faced exploitation and servitude. Now they’re fighting for change. NBC

World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA AP. America’s intelligence community is metastatizing.

Supply Chain

Poor conditions and low pay for truckers helped fuel supply chain crisis NBC. Risk off:

Sudden Freeze-Up Disrupts Supply Chain on Russia’s Northern Sea Route Maritime Executive

The Groves of Academe

The Goldstrike Is a Fight for the University’s Soul Tribune

Our Famously Free Press

‘Bitter,’ ‘Angry,’ ‘Enraged’: Reality Winner Blasts the Intercept After 4 Years in Jail Rolling Stone

Zeitgeist Watch

Flash mob smash-and-grabs continue at high-end stores in Los Angeles LA Times. Reminiscent of the Tiflis bank robbery, but somehow I doubt today’s version of Joey Steel is behind it.

Class Warfare

The Left’s Covid Failure Unherd. Speaking of which:


Thanks, PMC, good job (modulo PMC expatriates, of course).

The Unvaxxed Lefties Hiding in Plain Sight New York Magazine. I love the “enemy within” framing in the headline. Anecdotal, but telling (about the author, too. The enforcing begins in paragraph nine).

Will social democracy return? Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality

The Reshoring Imperative American Affairs

Antifa And Its Origins The American Conservative. Two sentences struck me: “Unlike the modern left, traditional Marxists prioritized the welfare of the working class against bourgeois owners of capital.” Meaning, to me, that the “modern left” is just another flavor of liberal. And: “Despite his authoritarianism, Il Duce was considered a leftwing reformer until his alliance with Nazi Germany.” Well, er.

Individuals matter Dan Luu. Yes, this is from 2021.

“Work Lunch” The New Yorker. I don’t know what’s come over The New Yorker. This is actually good.

Antidote du jour (via):

Musical interlude:

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. zagonostra

    >It Wasn’t a Hoax David Frum, The Atlantic

    The article ends with a most revealing/concealing paragraph.

    So by all means, follow the trail…But be mindful that much of that trail was prepared by people who want to misdirect and mislead. Take care how far you step along that trail. Be alert to how the twists of the trail block your view of the surrounding landscape. Otherwise, you may discover too late that you have also been misdirected and misled, and that in setting out to explore a small truth, you have become a participant in the selling of a greater lie.

    If ever there was an inversion…Is this what Jungians’ call “shadow projection.” When you have to warn your reader that there is honest reporting containing “little truths,” and “big lies” you know what’s coming.

    Frum and the minions of MSM journalist have been perpetuating THE big lie of Russiagate and can’t afford to take a step back they have to double down, or they will go down. He even has to throw in Seth Rich at the end for good measure. The casuistry and chutzpah of these clowns is truly colossal.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “How to Talk to Your FoxNews Loving Relatives at Thanksgiving!”

    You know what is needed? A parallel article called ‘How to Talk to Your Daily Kos Loving Relatives at Thanksgiving!’ Frankly I despise both. From time to time I take a flick at the Daily Kos Comics to see what they are like but after one read, give it up as a bad job. The last time I looked, it had the line on it ‘Children can get vaccinated, and hopefully one day babies will too!’ Jesus wept!

    1. petal

      The US Dept of Health and Human Services has been running radio ads saying “your future engineer, athlete, etc etc etc can now have their future protected by getting vaccinated for covid!” And BioNTech/Pfizer is running ads on the New England sports radio station(WEEI) flogging the vaccines. Still having a hard time getting through to my mother and younger brother-they are happy to believe everything MSNBC, CDC, etc, tells them. It is gospel. Good fun.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        And all the while I’m waiting for one of the debunker organs to explain away the rash of deaths amongst European athletes- having coronaries on the field. Nothing to do with mRNA of course. How will they spin it? Not vaxxed enough. Or ‘statistically unremarkable’

      2. IM Doc

        Has it not been interesting that,unlike every pharmaceutical known to man, a long-list in a rushed hurried voice reading off side effects has not been at the end of all these ads.

        From what I know, this listing of side effects is federal law. I cannot see anywhere that this has been rescinded. Especially now that Pfizer has been “FDA approved”.

        How or why did these products get an exemption?

        1. John Zelnicker

          IM Doc – First, an enormous thank you for your invaluable contributions to the COVID discussions here.

          I think it’s more likely that Pfizer didn’t get an exemption, but that the regulators don’t care. If all you have is vax, vax, vax you don’t want to give anyone another excuse not to get jabbed.

        2. petal

          Oh, very good pickup, IM Doc! You are totally right. There was none of that at the end of the various ads. I was so disgusted by the spots themselves from both parties, and wanting the football back on asap that I didn’t notice at the time. I almost wonder if they have been given an exemption if the spots are being considered a public service announcement. I think BioNTech/Pfizer “sponsored” the vaccine announcement for adults. I’ll keep an ear out for the exact wording next time it comes on. The DHHS one, well, it’s the government. sigh.

        3. Basil Pesto

          Might it have something to do with the fact that the companies in question have been granted immunity from liability for adverse reactions, thereby obviating the (legal) need for such disclaimers?

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Or it may be that many of the ads are “public service announcements” and not ads paid for by the manufacturer. Someone who knows the relevant law would have to speak up on that.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If you are correct in your guess, then these “public service announcements” could be considered shyster-legal. Shyster-legal means bending the law until it cracks without quite actually breaking it.

        4. Mike Allen

          Is there a site that is compiling side effect data? Fatigue, brain fog and a just plain weird overall feeling has been the order of the day since 6/27/21, the date of my second Moderna shot. My doctor won’t hear of it being Covid vaccine related. Has to be anything but…

          1. Michael McK

            This hour and a bit discussion about long Covid and long vax effect might help you out.
            Short story: Rogue long lived Monocytes keep presenting the spike protein antigen and your body keeps reacting to it. They suggest a treatment protocol including Iver, Vit. C, aspirin and something I had never heard of, CCL5 antagonists such as Mataviron.

        5. Martin Oline

          I read somewhere that the drug tests were stopped because it was thought to be immoral to get a control group placebos instead of the ‘vaccine.’ If the trials were stopped there would be no side effects to warn the public about. Can anyone clarify this?

      3. Fiona

        And the future mother can now be sterilized by messing with her estres…think of the childcare savings!

        1. John

          I see all this stuff about side effects and I do not doubt that there are side effects, but there was the ‘vaccines cause autism’ thing that engaged and convinced a great many and while it has been thoroughly debunked, it has not gone away. Is it not possible that there is some signal and much noise in the many claims of side effects? The fact that these vaccines were rushed into production and use and that Moderna’s and Pfizer’s were based on an untried? experimental? not fully tested? method only adds fuel to the suspicions that something dangerous has been foisted upon us. Add to that the “large” profits the companies are reaping and the billions from the government, you and me, that funded research and production and their demand that they be relieved of liability and finally what I see as a “dog-in-the-manger” attitude toward sharing the production method with everyone in the face of a disease that is spread around the world, leads to questions, hostility, and fear.

          Seeing this present situation and recalling that the discoverers of insulin therapy essentially gave it away, shines a bright light on business ethics, if that is not an oxymoron, in this year of grace.

          I have had a J&J jab and a Moderna booster and so far so good; at 85 it may be hard to separate side effects from the vicissitudes of age.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      As noted, this article was written two years ago. The time has come, I think, to abandon the notion that “FoxNews Loving” is legit rhetorical code for knuckle-dragging ignoramus that must have his/her thinking reprogrammed.

      Some of the crazier minutia notwithstanding, and both left and right media outlets are guilty of peddling crazy minutia, what major theme has “FoxNews” been proven wrong on?

      That the steele dossier and the Russiagate it spawned was a clinton campaign / security state plot to nullify the constitutionally elected Trump? That flooding the economy with tens of trillions of dollars to alleviate any corporate covid inconvenience whatsoever would exacerbate income inequality and cause hyperinflation? That unrestricted illegal immigration would cause a massive crisis at the border? That excusing looting and destruction by blm “protestors” would lead to wider, more brazen lawlessness? That obamacare was a bad idea that would make “healthcare” less affordable for normal americans? That a guy who sauntered around the “capitol” in face paint and a halloween viking costume does not a “violent insurrection” make? That fauci is an unrepentant serial dissembler, wholly unqualified to manage a public health crisis that he helped create? That Kyle Rittenhouse was, in fact, defending himself with a legally-carried weapon?

      That joseph robinette biden is not in full possession of his faculties?

      Time to update the references and rethink exactly whose “minds” need to be changed.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Katniss Everdeen – As Lambert would say, “Where’s the lie?”

        (To be clear, I don’t like Fox any more than the rest of the MSM.)

      2. Basil Pesto

        That flooding the economy with tens of trillions of dollars to alleviate any corporate covid inconvenience whatsoever would […] cause hyperinflation?

        Yes. This is wrong. It has been discussed here at some length and in some depth. Moreover, the theoretical basis explaining why this is wrong has been discussed regularly here for, what, 10 years now? Creation of money is an attempt to mitigate the effects of a crisis that has also, separately, lead to inflation by, inter alia, wreaking havoc on global supply chains. We have no proof that the former caused the latter. What we have instead is a weak correlation.

        Furthermore, on the inequality point, the immense emergency spending initiated by the Trump admin last year, misdirected and inadequate though much of it was, actually directly improved the lot of many living in poverty in the US at the time. Couldn’t let that continue though, can’t be giving the uppity proles any ideas.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        That ” global warming” is a liberal hoax.

        There’s one Fox News Big Lie I can think of just off the top of my head.

        1. Sailor Bud

          That everything is socialism…

          that conservatives hate government…

          that capitalism has anything to do with “freedom,” (while they fence everything in barbed wire and ‘no trespassing’ signs)…

          And anyone can simply look up Fox lies, or use their own memory. Fox helped plenty to get us into all these wars. It’s not some secret or anything.

          Lots of lies from that crowd.

      4. NotThePilot

        As someone that lives with older family & sees a lot of Fox, I think this is giving them way too much credit by accepting their framing.

        Some of the crazier minutia notwithstanding, and both left and right media outlets are guilty of peddling crazy minutia, what major theme has “FoxNews” been proven wrong on?

        Pretty much every military & foreign-policy issue ever, climate change & the environment, police militarization, deregulation, unions, austerity, culture, the real risk of COVID, etc. Even their reporting on energy policy is really dishonest; Keystone XL won’t suddenly make Canada the global swing producer & natural gas killed US coal, not the EPA.

        Even among the examples you gave, Trump appointed Powell, approved most of the pandemic bailouts, & even nagged Powell into backing off rate hikes during the 2018 taper tantrum. Except for Neil Cavuto, Fox overwhelmingly cheered it all on as long as Trump did it. Immigration was also on a major upswing until the pandemic, and AFAIK Biden hasn’t actually removed an inch of the wall, but that would mean the wall isn’t working.

        I’m not taking Fox to task in order to defend any of the other news networks or DNC talking points either. My reasons are much simpler & more personal. I don’t think most people that watch Fox are uniquely hateful or crazy. But I’ve definitely seen it make my own family more unpleasant on the margins, and I’m not even the one that brings politics up. And of all the people that might, for example, accost people I care about in public for wearing a hijab or threaten me if I join a picket line, I’m pretty sure they aren’t watching CNN.

        Yes, I’m being tribal and divisive in my own way, but that’s life in America today. C’est la guerre, and even if the rest of the media (including some of the independent outlets) often act like a fifth column, Fox is very much in the enemy camp.

      5. skippy

        I would proffer that there is no/zero left or right Corporatist MSM, but only targeted marketed branding operations, furthermore these are not attempts to go after preexisting consumers, but an attempt to create out of whole cloth a branded viewership that has devotional tenancies. These devotes then can be used for long term income streams and lead around by the nose [thinking not required as the vassal is filled] for whatever suits the desires of those in charge.

        Akin to opposite numbers politicians taking strips off each other in public and then call the other in the evening and then laugh about it all … hay mate you really got me good today … watch out old sod I’ll return the favor tomorrow.

        Actual occurrence here in Australia back in the day.

        1. Norm de plume

          Well, I like to see friendships across the aisle, those based on mutual respect for opposing views and the quality of the people involved rather than those constituted from mutual interests and ultimately, a mutual class of paymasters.

          Gough was great mates with Jim Killen and some of their correspondence was hilarious. But the one that touches me is the autumnal friendship between Gough and the man who stabbed him in the back, Big Mal Fraser, who visited the great man regularly up til the end. Magnanimity from one and humility from the other. Call me old fashioned but I dont see much evidence for that sort of thing any more.

          1. skippy

            Its just an income stream and any social ramifications are never considered albeit when things do go bad it can always be hived off to the individual consumer and not those that spewed the Agnotology of self interest/s[tm].

            Its nuts because investors play the game both ways ….

      6. Procopius

        I agree with most of what you say, but I have to object to “hyperinflation.” The mild price rises we’ve had this year are not much more than a return to normal, and what I experienced through most of my life. “Hyperinflation” is when prices are rising at more than 100% a day, for not less than a month. Oh, and I don’t think Biden’s faculties are more impaired than is normal for his age, certainly less than Reagan in his first term (before the Alzheimer’s became so noticeable). He still owes me $600, though, and I wonder who persuaded him that he could get away with claiming credit for money that came from Trump.

    3. Lee

      It’s pretty much daily practice for me to drop in at Daily Kos and cut and paste stuff from here over to there. Sometimes these go over like a turd in the punchbowl, and have even got me timed out and threatened with being banned a number of times. I take great pleasure in annoying the centrists there. But more often than not these offerings are welcome to the subset of progressively minded who still show up at that site and by linking back to Naked Capitalism I hope I’m making a modest contribution to increasing the readership here. My biggest recent hit over there was derived from a post by Yves:

      Enrolling in Medicare & Considering Medicare Advantage Plans? Caveat Emptor

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Supply-Chain Crisis Only Getting Worse With China’s 7-Week Port Quarantine”

    Suppose that the new variant gets so bad, that countries everywhere are forced to adopt this system? Does that mean that Amazon and its next day delivery becomes Amazon’s next month delivery instead? Meanwhile, Bloomberg fails to convince China to throw their own people to the wolves like most countries have done so that Wall Street can meet this financial quarter’s targets.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It appears that the ChinaGov has not bought into the jackpot design engineering plan. If the ChinaGov remains opposed to jackpot design engineering, then the Overclass Plan to kill 7 billion people over the next century and make it look like a series of accidents will have to find that 7 billion among the non-China parts of the world. Which will make China the what’s-left-of-the-world Hegemon by default in the next hundred years.

      1. ambrit

        Well, since diseases are not observers of political borders, China is going to have a rough time of it. Pekin might have to copy their Tibetan vassals and become a “Hermit Kingdom.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The ChinaGov might decide that becoming a Hermit Kingdom might be better than letting contact with the pro-covid Western Word “jackpot” 500 million Chinese in the long term.

          Or they might try to store up enough survival materials and survival money to seal off their own economy and let zero product emerge just long enough to torture outside world countries into adopting the ChinaGov approach to exterminating covid from the human population.

          Perhaps they will tell the “outside world” that ” we don’t have to outrun the bear. We just have to outrun you” , and dare the outside world to prove them wrong.

  4. Louis Fyne

    re. Blinken and Africa

    Have zero sense one way or another, do the average man-woman on the street and local elites in Africa associate the US with Patrice Lumumba or Hollywood movies?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      That was almost 60 years ago with plentry of issues since then that would take precedence. My guess is Blinken’s line about “what we do” not “what I say” was indicative that the Chinese option means there is a new era of negotiation for local elites where they aren’t at risk of being executed in the “people’s revolution” and the US isn’t the old colonial powers or possesses that kind of power imbalance with the locals.

      Given Blinken’s poor behavior on the world stage to date, he likely started with lectures and was simply asked if he knew what country the US was, pretty much ending negotiation attempts as the US is run by deluded believers in nherent American goodness.

      1991 which followed several years of stark declines on the world stage well was long time ago. The US is simply hasn’t adjusted. The street view isn’t at an extreme. That is what matters versus what extreme the might be near.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

        I’d like to learn how to make mead. I have a friend who raises bees in upstate NY. He keeps me supplied with excellent honey. Do you mind if I ask Yves for your email so I can shoot you a message (that is, if you would be willing to share your methods and recipe)?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Crumbling decor and ‘refugee zones’: These ‘Syrian style’ cafes are China’s new trend”

    I don’t think that ‘Syrian style’ cafes would ever work in paces like New York or London or a lot of other western cities. It would not take long before somebody would point out their government’s involvement in creating the original ‘Syrian style’ cafes back in Syria and that could get embarrassing that.

  6. Rod

    From: How the weather shapes history (unlocked) The New Statesman

    The first such episode of abrupt climate change took place around 4,200 years ago. In one of the most extreme climatic events of the Holocene, a century-long mega-drought brought widespread aridification to the previously verdant lands of Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, while at the same time submerging China and Peru under floodwater, provoking the collapse of some of the first great river valley civilisations. In Egypt, green fields that had once teemed with fresh produce were swallowed by the advancing desert; sprawling cities and vast temple complexes were left buried under layers of dust and sand.

    I was trying to get smarter and came across Prof Eric Cline discussing the same event(Collapse of Bronze Age about 1177BC) here:

    An incredible lecture–without an ummm or ahhh throughout–that posits we should/could learn much today from ‘yesterday’.

    1. John

      Indeed there is much to learnfrom yesterday and Professor Cline is excellent. The article from New Statesman was thought provoking as well as yanking one out of the present moment and providing perspective. The subject of climate must be examined with a multi-disciplinary perspective. The Mauna Loa CO2 record shows an indisputable increase since 1960. The arctic is warming faster than lower latitudes. Ice cover has shrunk dramatically and thinned as well. And yet, the Northern Sea Route has frozen earlier than last year and with ships fast in the ice, it appears to have caught those most concerned by surprise. A recent research report I saw the other day has evidence that warmer Atlantic water has been pressing into the Arctic for a longer time that thought. Have the astronomers weighed in on changes in orbital mechanics that effect climate. Probably they have; it would be news to me. I do not regularly read the relevant journals. Beyond doubt one cause of the warming world is anthropogenic. What else contributes? What factors, trends, go in the opposite direction? How comprehensive are the models? Think of this: Is there any other species of large animal, other than humans, numbering over seven billion? What is the effect of that imbalance? Is it an imbalance? Would we be better off not loading the atmosphere with with our exhaust gases? I think so. Can we stop doing that and continue to live as we do now? Doubtful. What’s the solution to that? And so it goes.

      1. Norm de plume

        ‘Beyond doubt one cause of the warming world is anthropogenic. What else contributes?’

        My climate change doubtful brother sent me a link on research into the cycles of activity in the earth’s molten core (related I think to variations in rotation around the sun) which expand the amount of hot magma escaping upward and hence warming the seas from below. Cant find it now but an intriguing idea.

        Yesterday I watched a lecture by Prof Stanley Ambrose on the effect of the Toba eruption 74,000 years ago. Glad I wasn’t around then:

        1. Yves Smith

          The seas are not warming from below. Land heated first, then there was a slowing as oceans as heat sink caught up, then land heating picked up again.

          Plus we have ocean acidification, big time.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          There is absolutely zero chance that global warming can be attributed to magma. Heating the lower levels of the ocean by even a small amount would cause an enormous shift in currents (by disrupting the horizontal ocean thermocline zones) and would be immediately noticed by geologists and oceonographers. That the upper levels of the oceans have been warming faster than lower levels is something thats been observed for decades.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The what is easy. Less carbon skyflooding and more carbon skydrainage. The how is politically and culturally difficult. The Lords of Fossil Carbon will have to lose their power to defeat and prevent plausible solutions and approaches. The “wannabe green” parts of the country will have to create their own separate survival economy in the teeth of obstruction and opposition from the fossil-fuel captured Federal Government. And if the “wannabe green” part of the country can achieve their own separate survival economy and society, they will then have to figure out how to use that separate survival economy to degrade and attrit the pro-fossil fuel parts of the country into deep enough poverty and weakness that these parts of the country lose their power over the Federal Government which they currently use to bring heat death to us all. All that will be hard to do.

      3. Rod

        The Mauna Loa CO2 record shows an indisputable increase since 1960.
        and that eastern Artic Ocean freezeover caught my eye also…

        And for a great visual on the worlds oceans and carbon capture circa 2021:
        blue = less/red = more/grey = ?

        as an aside, besides my interest in surviving as a species, i have been trying to understand something perplexing me that I’d read in the Genesis Chapter of the Bible.
        after many decades I’ve apparently lost my green thumbs…

  7. Randall Flagg

    ” I repeat my call for CDC to be burned to the ground, the rubble plowed under, and the earth salted.”
    Would it mean that land could now be classified as an EPA brownfield? Contaminated by toxic waste? Qualify for superfund clean up dollars? Maybe they could put solar panels on it.
    Sarcasm off.

  8. Roger Blakely

    OMG. Was last night’s cranberry sauce too bitter? We have The Kev Rev openly hating on his liberal and conservative relatives. We have Randall Flagg calling for the CDC to be razed and the ground salted.

  9. Carolinian

    Excellent Unherd article and thanks for the link. The article starts by asking why the capital L Left has deserted it’s traditional defense of civil liberties in favor of bureaucratic authoritarianism in the Covid crisis.. It then puts them on the couch for analysis

    But perhaps the Left’s response can be better understood in individual rather than collective terms. Classic psychoanalytic theory has posited a clear connection between pleasure and authority: the experience of great pleasure (satiating the pleasure principle) can often be followed by a desire for renewed authority and control manifested by the ego or “reality principle”. This can indeed produce a subverted form of pleasure. The last two decades of globalisation have seen a huge expansion of the “pleasure of experience”, as shared by the increasingly transnational global liberal class – many of whom, somewhat curiously in historical terms, identified themselves as on the Left (and indeed increasingly usurped this position from the traditional working-class constituencies of the Left). This mass increase in pleasure and experience among the liberal class went with a growing secularism and lack of any recognised moral constraint or authority. From the perspective of psychoanalysis, the support from this class for “Covid measures” is quite readily explained in these terms: as the desired appearance of a coterie of restrictive and authoritarian measures which can be imposed to curtail pleasure, within the strictures of a moral code which steps in where one had previously been lacking.

    Translation: the PMCs have made up their own new religion in which they get to be the priests. A bit much perhaps, but a self described left that despises the working class while turning a blind eye to plutocracy isn’t what it used to be.

    1. Basil Pesto

      lol, quite a lot of things can be ‘quite readily’ ‘explained’ from the perspective of psychoanalysis, if you’re so inclined. I guess a lot like how a lot can apparently be explained from the perspective of whichever inane political tribe or subculture you happen to belong to at a given point in time.

      There’s some interesting stuff here, a lot to agree with, but it’s mostly navel gazing and hand wringing about ~the Left~ and the authors’ place in it. Who cares? If something like a pandemic comes along and you try to rely on your limited pre-existing political framework to make sense of and determine how to respond, how is that going to be intellectually useful in actually solving the actual problem? It’s very hard to take seriously people who are more concerned about the implications for ‘The Left’ rather than, yknow, the actual pandemic itself. Again, as with vaccines, as with ivermectin, I have no interest in people who are more interested in taking a pro- or anti-lockdown stance than an anti-covid stance. Instead what we’re getting is *checks notes* oh look, it’s divide and conquer pandemic identity politics! Are you pro-masks? nice job, fascist – don’t you know masks are literally child abuse. Oh, you’re anti vaxx? More like actual Hitler. Anti-Ivermectin? Nice job carrying water for big pharma, you spineless shill. Pro-Ivermectin? Actual Hitler, but in horse form. Ventilation? That’s for cuck simps.
      Why don’t we try using our heads a bit, and try engage the totality of the tools at our disposal in a sensible and responsible way to get out of this mess?

      to that end, the article also misrepresents or ignores those of us who think lockdowns can be a useful tool to the extent that they are inevitably going to have to be a necessary part of any serious ‘elimination’ campaign within any given country or jurisdiction (which, it should go without saying, is not an easy or trivial thing to ask people to do. Nevertheless, it leads to the best possible C19 outcomes). It thus ignores Victoria’s major 2020 lockdown, which lead to elimination (Fazi can’t be ignorant of it; he’s a regular co-author with Bill Mitchell). It proved: lockdowns, in combination with lockouts, (improved) mask mandates (including mask supply) and other measures including, crucially in Victoria’s case income support for those who couldn’t work (present in 2020, abandoned in 2021) can and have lead to elimination. Most vitally elimination precludes subsequent lockdowns. No virus, no danger, no need to lockdown (subsequent spot lockdowns of 1-2 weeks may be required to nip an outbreak in the bud, the necessity for this might diminish over time as quarantine practice improves). The virus, which up to August in 2020 had been threatening to spiral out of control in Melbourne, did not just randomly say “bugger this” and decide to break the habit of a life time and stop replicating and transmitting. And if one wants to play the whole But Was It Good Left Praxis? card, it struck me as a fairly unambiguously progressive, universalist victory which tapped into real community solidarity. It was an achievement we could all be justifiably proud of regardless of class background or whatever.

      This changed with NSW and Vic’s severe 2021 lockdowns, which did not (meaningfully) have the goal of elimination but of instead keeping things locked down until we reached vaccination KPIs – let er rip – which is plainly not the same thing. European lockdowns, it seems, have been similarly unsuccessful and aimless. This is why I have been saying to compatriots: “I hope you like lockdowns, because embracing the Let Er Rip strategy all but guarantees them indefinitely for the foreseeable future” unless we decide to go with UK-style misery. It absolutely bears repeating: a lockdown, in combination with other tools and strategies and in pursuit of elimination, which is achievable, is a defence against future lockdowns, which nobody actually wants to go through. Whether the Unherd authors understand the difference or not, it’s not clear (in their defence, it seems like they’d hardly be the only ones.)

  10. lordkoos

    That version of Baby Elephant Walk with Lawrence Welk’s band is the perfect goofy soundtrack for these times. Of course they take the tempo much too fast, effectively removing any slight amount of funk that might have originally existed in the tune.

    1. ambrit

      My favourite bit about “Baby Elephant Walk” is that it is from a John Wayne movie; “Hatari.”
      Another example of the talent of Henry Mancini.

      1. Danco

        Blimey! I’m envious, so much incredible music created there. Was more of a doof fan back then, appreciating the more laid back tempo these days. Great driving music, hard to get uptight listening to Alton Ellis and the like.

  11. antidlc

    Theatre update:

    Performance of “Hamilton” in Dallas cancelled due to covid breakthrough cases in the company:

    Breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been detected within the company of Hamilton. Because the wellness and safety of our guests, cast, and crew are our top priority, tonight’s performance, Tuesday, November 23, is canceled. All future performances of Hamilton at the Music Hall are scheduled to go on as planned.

  12. Tom Stone

    A question for the Commentariat: Where to emigrate?
    My Daughter and her Fiancee’ are planning to emigrate from the USA when they both graduate, her next year, him in 2023.
    His degree will be in Aerospace Engineering,from Cal Poly SLO and he’s on track to graduate near the top of his class,he is monolingual.
    Her degree will be in International Business with a minor in Mandarin.
    She is fluent in Mandarin and can get by in Korean, French and German as well as English and she is on track to graduate with honors from the honors college at the University of San Francisco.
    Somewhere in the EU is preferred,but that is not set in Stone.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Go somewhere most survivable in the coming Global Warming Heatup. Try understanding the progress of global warming well enough to make some good guesses about where that is.

      Somewhere far enough away from India and China that you will be too far from a billion or so climate refugees to reach you.

    2. jim truti

      There is no better place than USA for a young couple, opportunities abound.
      I lived a bit all over the world, now I am in SoCal and there are many things you can criticize but it is light years ahead of EU countries any way you look at it.
      The romantic view americans have of Europe will evaporate in the first month of bureaucratic nightmare, taxes and cost of living. Visiting is more than enough.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        20 year expat here:

        1. I would actually agree with JimT: the Western USA is still the best place to be for young technorati starting out. As they build careers, better expat opportunities (management) may arise in the future.

        2. In French and German tech firms, the natives get the fast track, not foreigners. There are also lots of brilliant Spanish and Italian (and Greek and Eastern European) ‘brains on a stick’ willing to work very cheap in expert roles.

        3. Singapore, my current home, is keen to hire talent into hi-tech sectors (although they are also turning away a LOT of foreigners these days), but wages tend to be very low at junior levels. Young Singaporeans live with their parents and there is also intense competition from highly qualified Indian graduates who will take nearly any wage to get themselves out of India.

        4. The UAE is trying to diversify out of oil into tech, but all their expat jobs, except at very senior levels, get flooded with South Asians (sorry, just telling it like it is).

        5. There is a thriving tech sector in Taiwan; they welcome foreigners and Mandarin is a great asset. I’ve considered going there myself, I love it, it’s what the rest of China ought to be, BUT the intellectual side of me cannot rationalize away the risk of exposing my family to a ringside seat for World War 3…..

        6. A wild card might be Vietnam, they are utterly hell bent on becoming the technological leader in ASEAN, overtaking Thailand and Malaysia, and unlike much of the rest of Asia they are still eager to learn from Westerners. However, it would be easiest to go there with a Western company; unlike Singapore or Taiwan (or Bangkok). It is also NOT “Asia lite”, even in the expat ‘bubbles’. Be ready for some culture shocks and only a minority of the people speak any English at all.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Canada

        I would advise becoming serious about (Quebecois) French, if this is their decision. Canada’s immigration system is points-based, and with their youth and skills, they should be a mortal lock. I don’t think there’s a language requirement (check) but even so, some French would really burnish their halo.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Do they qualify for any passports? Usually, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain are the most generous for anyone with some ancestral links. Because the US does not do reciprocal visas a lot of companies in EU countries are reluctant to hire US citizens as visas can be a headache.

      Portugal has become very popular for expats – its more visa friendly and actively encourages various types of freelancers and has a great quality of life if you have a job. France would be the biggest aerospace engineering base in Europe, although French companies have a reputation for not being very expat friendly. Ireland has a lot of big US companies, but getting a visa can be an issue – there is a big aviation support industry in the west of Ireland around Shannon.

      China has become very unfriendly to foreigners, most seem to be leaving, but I’ve heard good things from people who have moved to Singapore, although others find it very suffocating. I believe Taiwan is also quite open for skilled immigrants.

    4. juno mas

      CPSLO alum here. Have him think about Mars. Musk is hiring aerospace engineers apace and intent on getting to Mars. You could go on CNN and give background during his journey.

    5. Irrational

      They should probably check out some expat forums to see
      1) if tax advice is readily available for Americans in the country of their choice, since they will have to file in the US forever.
      2) if financial institutions allow anything beyond a current account. Usually it is impossible for Americans to invest in anything in the EU – even second and third pillar pension schemes – due to a combination of US and EU legislation. If you have a couple of million the story is different.
      They will also have to declare any account with over USD 10,000 at any time to the US Treasury.
      In short: the amount of paperwork seems designed to deter Americans from living abroad and if you are stuck between the tax exempt threshold and millionaire status without competent tax advice it is not fun. Not saying don’t do it, just go into it knowingly.

      1. jim truti

        correct , thanks to Obama’s FACTA now its almost impossible for americans to open an account abroad. No bank want to deal with the paper work and potential punitive damages from the US so they simply chose not to open bank accounts to americans, its a nightmare if you dont have another citizenship.

  13. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    What in the heck is this? I know we learned nothing from the GFC, but really?

    “Last month, fried chicken restaurant chain Church’s Chicken sold a $250 million securitization backed by franchise and royalty collateral. Golden Pear Funding recently securitized litigation fees related to financial settlements on everything from personal injury cases to wrongful convictions. And Oasis Financial priced a similar deal linked to payments on medical liens.”

  14. Rainlover

    Yikes! The Lawrence Welk clip. Thank you for that. The perfect antidote to Yves post on the new covid variant. I haven’t laughed so hard in months.

    It’s a commentary on American culture that this type of entertainment was not only popular, but was on TV from 1955-1982. And it highlights the American habit of infantilizing animals and their behavior (Disneyfication). A sobering companion to the Atlantic’s unhappy tale about Happy the elephant and personhood for animals.

  15. Maritimer

    FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow in 1961: Television is a vast wasteland. Downhill from there. Today’s electronic and digital heirs of television are that wasteland on fentanyl. Much of this predicted by such books as Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman. Many other such books. Very easy to understand why we are where we are today.

      1. ambrit

        The Neo-liberal Eightball; both at once. Like having two screens going at once; one on Fox, one on MSNBC. The literal cognitive dissonance is deafening.
        Like the Eightball, the desired effect of the MSMs today is a manic numbing.

    1. eg

      Oh, it’s very real. Quebec is the OPEC of maple syrup. The warehouse is part of a price-supporting supply management program.

  16. juno mas

    RE: Welk, “Elephant Dance”

    I probably watched that particular show “live” back in the 50’s. The handsome young man in the choreographed couples segment is, I believe, Bob Eubanks. He’s one of the “talking heads” during the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Be sure to watch New Year’s Day!

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    Reading “The Reshoring Imperative” gives me a glimmer of hope in the progress of some intellectuals’ thinking. It is too bad that the authors still call Protectionism “mindless” when it is what allowed America to industrialize in the first place. But at least they are retreating from Free Trade worship.

    They still assume that America needs to “compete”. They haven’t yet considered the possibility that the less America needs to buy from overseas, the less America would have to sell overseas to pay for the less we would be buying from overseas. If everything that could be made in America were made in America, and competing production from overseas were simply banned, then we could export almost nothing because we would need nearly no money from trade to pay for the almost nothing we imported.

    Or we could ban imports from countries with lower costs and standards than we have, and permit imports from countries with equal or higher standards. And we could focus on selling to those countries.
    And if countries with higher standards than we have banned our exports until we adopted their higher standards, we could swallow our pride and raise our standards and our conditions of living up to their level. And then have strictly reciprocal trade with them. That would create a forced march to the top instead of the race to the bottom which Free Trade is designed to cause on purpose.

  18. eg

    Yesterday Toronto talk radio was on fire about the South African variant (now dubbed “Omicron”?)

    Of course, thanks to NC I already knew that it was coming …

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