Our Friend, the Couch Panther An Englishman in Texas (Tam L). Please read.
Otter-ly Adorable Climate Change Warriors May Save California’s Coastal Ecosystems Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)
Whee! Animals Have Fun and Act Silly in Award-Winning Photos TreeHugger (furzy)
Molecular analysis reveals the oldest Denisovan fossils yet Phys.org (Kevin W)
Redo of a Famous Experiment on the Origins of Life Reveals Critical Detail Missed for Decades Scientific American (Robert M)
Self-Driving Microscopes to Navigate the Nanoscale SpectrumIEEE (David L)
Study suggests Sun is likely an unaccounted source of the Earth’s water Curtin University (Robert M)
Rain to replace snow in the Arctic as climate heats, study finds Guardian. Resilc: “This all going teats up quick.”
This Map Shows the Pacific Northwest’s Nightmare November Rain Totals Gizmodo (David L)
How Plastic Shoes are Recycled to Make New Shoes YouTube (resilc)
Slaughterbots – if human: kill() YouTube (David L)
A Cure for Type 1 Diabetes? For One Man, It Seems to Have Worked New York Times (Chuck L)
To Be Energy-Efficient, Brains Predict Their Perceptions Quanta (Robert M)
How we became weekly aeon
Israel to host Miss Universe contest despite Omicron Reuters (resilc)
— Isabella Eckerle (@EckerleIsabella) December 1, 2021
Please read entire thread:
First we'll rewind a little to what was previously said in public about molnupiravir accelerating VOC evolution. Below, Haseltine explained his concerns while vague generalizations/guesses were presented for the other side (hardly assuring) https://t.co/iYATCfr0eV pic.twitter.com/wPxyV6NeTO
— Michael Lin, PhD-MD 🧬 (@michaelzlin) November 30, 2021
This is about how molnupiravir will create variants by accelerating viral evolution while not killing the virus.
Curiously, Gauteng was one of the places where they trialed it. That does not change the fact that the branch is very long and dates back to 2020. So if this was indeed a chronic infection, it probably started there. But what if this was an HIV patient that someone tried to cure with the drug and that gave it the final mutagenic boost? We will never know…
And yet the FDA approved it despite quiet vigorous objection by many on the panel pointing to precisely these issues
We are doing our absolute best to help the virus…
COVID-19 Omicron variant was in Netherlands nearly two weeks ago, says nation’s public health department ABC Australia (Kevin W). However, as GM pointed out:
What I said what that this is a B.1.1.X virus, and there has been no B.1.1 in a very long time; the closest sequence to this is from June 2020.
So most likely the chronic infection started more than a year ago.
Then sometime in August-September this year it hit the jackpot with the right additional mutations, from there it spread to other people, and it has since then been spreading very fast in South Africa starting in early October
In other words, finding it in other countries earlier than the first RSA sighting does not disprove Omnicron having originated in RSA, particularly given the early inferred timeline and the earlier B.1.1 sequencing.
Note the date (guurst):
Monitoring wastewater for viral load estimates outbreak size
In just a few weeks, in Pretoria S. Africa (north of Johannesburg) viral load detected in wastewater has reached similar levels as the peak of Delta
This at least indicates that transmission may be remarkably swift pic.twitter.com/TxR7DxsOuA
— Michael Mina (@michaelmina_lab) November 29, 2021
We reported a very long time ago, maybe a year if not longer, based on a study of UK REACT data (bloodwork on ~100,000 UK patients every 5 weeks or so) that elementary school kids were 2X as likely as adults to bring Covid into a household, and older children, 7x. But no one want to deal with the implications of kids being disease vectors.
Every variant we've had so far spread in schools disproportionately first, before spreading into the community. Schools are the first places strict mitigations should come in at this point. We've made this mistake so many times. I can't believe we're doing it again. https://t.co/8uOyHyFX1d
— Deepti Gurdasani (@dgurdasani1) November 29, 2021
More in the “As we said” category (see rest of thread);
Death from SARS2 affects a rather small minority anyway, from an evolutionary POV. But more importantly, when you die of COVID, you do so weeks after you're finished propagating SARS2.
The virus could care less.
It's moved on bro…
— Brian Hjelle, virologist (@hjelle_brian) November 30, 2021
I’m just a guy sitting in a dark room looking at whiteout images of Covid lungs as well Covid clots and Covid brains and Covid fibrosis wondering why some other people think this pandemic is over or made up or overblown or just like the flu. #TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/4KwJaqXouj
— Tomás Ó'Cualáin (@tomfolanmd) November 30, 2021
Boris Johnson contradicts expert advice to curb Christmas socialising Guardian (Kevin W)
How 2 Flights to Europe May Have Spurred Spread of New Variant New York Times (David L). Um, we reported this last Friday….
One big problem with cases in the UK being allowed to go *so high* is we don't have enough capacity to sequence (or genotype) all cases
Sequencing capacity is ~50,000 per week
We have around 250,000 cases per week
So we can't identify all cases (or probable cases) of Omicron. pic.twitter.com/3mmHb1xql9
— Dr Duncan Robertson (@Dr_D_Robertson) December 1, 2021
FDA advisers narrowly endorse Merck’s Covid-19 drug Politico (Kevin C). As I run the math, it has only 35% efficacy (original 50% reduced by 30%). Charming.
Kentucky v. Biden 11/30/2021 Order. Grants preliminary injunction v. the vaccine mandate for Federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing – 11/30/21 C-SPAN (Kevin C)
Bali Was Slammed With Tourists Before Covid. Now It’s Slammed Without. Wall Street Journal
O-RAN still not a challenge for Huawei or Ericsson Asia Times (Kevin W)
As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash New York Times (David L)
Who Are Kashmir’s ‘Hybrid Militants’? The Diplomat (resilc)
New Cold War
Putin lays down ‘red line,’ threatens retaliation if missiles placed in Ukraine New York Post (Kevin W)
Israeli settlers are establishing farms to push Palestinians off their land Mondoweiss (guurst)
Imperial Collapse Watch
Pentagon: U.S. military footprint staying right where it is Responsible Statecraft (resilc)
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
‘He’s to the left of Lenin’: Republicans fear Cordray at Fed would further ‘Biden’s federal takeover’ of U.S. banking system MarketWatch. Help me. Conservative Big Lie, as anyone in Ohio during the foreclosure crisis will affirm.
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) November 30, 2021
Police State Watch
“Y’all going to kill me?” Years apart, mother and son die in police restraints. The Marshall Project (resilc)
No one seems to like the Lincoln Project anymore Politico. UserFriendly: “That’s a damn shame.”
Spectacular flex from the Amsterdam Sephardic community here: pic.twitter.com/wD6i07Am5x
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) November 28, 2021
‘Sheriff’s office, safe to come out’: Moment Michigan school shooter, 15, tried to lure screaming students out of locked classroom after killing three and wounding eight, including teacher mom-of six who is now on ventilator Daily Mail
Our Famously Free Press
CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely CNN (Bob H). Kevin W: “CNN is throwing Fredo to the wolves to save itself.”
The Token Disconnect Stephen Diehl. UserFriendly; “lol this is good.”
When Multilevel Marketing Met Gen Z Atlantic (furzy)
Elon Musk to SpaceX: Starship’s Raptor engine crisis risks bankruptcy CNBC. Resilc: “Tesla is a big con.”
Users revolt as Microsoft bolts a short-term financing app onto Edge ars technica (Kevin W)
Ancient robots were objects of fantasy and fun Popular Science (resilc)
AI Is Learning to Manipulate Us, and We Don’t Know Exactly How Discover Magazine (David L)
Antidote du jour. I feel very guilty that I somehow missed this antidote, sent by reader Kenneth M a long time ago. I hope he is still reading and sees this:
For the ‘Dearly beloved but recently departed pets’ series, I offer Lady Jayne. She was a rescued border collie/Australian shepherd mix who reveled in life at the fullest extent of her leash, and never met a squirrel or other varmint she wouldn’t chase. A week ago that’s what did her in, when a squirrel [evil tree rats!] ran into the street to lure her in front of an oncoming pickup and she instinctively bolted after it. I can’t help but sadly harken back to the line in Bladerunner: “The light that burns twice as bright burns but half as long – and you burned so very, very brightly, Jayne.” Requiescat in pace
And a bonus (guurst):
3 orphaned brown bear cubs released on a remote shore of Lake Teletskoye in the Altai mountains by the team of local nature reserve. The bears went through rehabilitation program designed by late biologist Valentin Pazhetnov, founder of Russia’s 1st orphaned brown bears centre pic.twitter.com/ZMGCXRp7NM
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) September 25, 2021
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.