Links 12/28/2021

Dear patient readers,

Big big thanks for your thoughtful and moving words about my mother’s death, both on the site and via e-mail. It means a lot to me.

Yesterday in Water Cooler, some of you converged on the idea of having “an NC mini-fundraiser in honor of Yves’ mom.” That is not only exceedingly generous, but also a way to help preserve the health of this community. The drift of the thread was that this would be for the site, but if some/most of you were thinking instead of giving to a charity in her name, please pipe up, because I don’t want to offend based on a difference of understanding about what seemed to be a largely shared view in that discussion.

This week I am already sleep deprived due to having to make a lot of decisions (including managing relatives), so it is also becoming clear that even with what ought to be a simple estate, the moving parts I have to deal are going to require a lot of greasing. So a fundraiser would help support having Lambert, Jerri, and Nick step up as needed when I face estate crunches. In other words, I am inclined to take readers up on this very sporting suggestion, but I hope you can give me a few days….since this is yet another decision. :-)

Climate change: Lapland reindeer gone astray in search for food BBC :-(

Why the lake growls on a winter’s night Twin Cities (Chuck L)

How to Survive a Killer Asteroid Wired (Dr. Kevin). Duck and cover?

Tree of Life Explorer OneZoom (resilc)

Amazing Maps (Kevin W)

First, do no harm: An argument for a radical new paradigm for treating addiction ars technica (Chuck L)

Study finds abrupt decline in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among older Americans (Kevin W). Yours truly has long had the theory that Alzheimers must have a significant environmental component. If you look at historical descriptions of senility, they show poor memory, not the eventual erasure of personality found with Alzheimers.


A Swedish Firm Has Created an Under-Skin Microchip for COVID Vaccine Passport The Insider (furzy). This is not quite as alarming as it sounds. Sweden has had bizarrely had some enthusiasm for microchipping for yet more consumer convenience.


Pfizer Covid pills for Covid symptoms may be risky with other drugs NBC. Resilc: “This will leave out 75% of USA USA.”

New Omicron variant fills up children’s hospitals CNN (Kevin W)

Forecasting the Omicron winter: Experts envision various scenarios STAT

Brace Yourself — Omicron’s Going to Be Worse Than You Probably Think Umair Haque (Dr. Kevin). From a week ago but has some key history.

A Myth is Born: How CDC, FDA, and Media Wove a Web of Ivermectin Lies That Outlives The Truth Rescue (Chuck L)



Hong Kong is clinging to ‘zero covid’ and extreme quarantine. Talent is leaving in droves. Washington Post. We would say that now, now wouldn’t we? GM independently had to clear his throat:

Hong Kong isn’t budging for now (and probably never will as long as the mainland sticks to its guns)

And I actually don’t think they will suffer.

I have watched how academic research is falling apart in slow motion over the last two years with increasing desperation and silent horror. Many people still don’t notice it, but if you are actually paying attention it is inescapable. Many labs just disintegrated during the lockdown and have not been able to reconstitute themselves because it has been wave after wave of disruption ever since, collaboration networks have been disrupted, there is little of the vibrant exchange of ideas that happened in the hallways back in the days because people are scattered, etc. The place essentially stopped being what it once was prior to March 2020 — it is now a collection of fancy shiny buildings and (some of) the people are still there, but that intangible factor that made it great is no longer present.

Really, really depressing.

I can imagine that R&D in the tech companies has been hit hard too from all the WFH but that too is not being widely understood yet. There is no substitute for two or more very smart people brainstorming in front of the whiteboard around midnight. You only understand that once you have been at that board past midnight and have seen the fruits of such exchanges.

Meanwhile I see all the time papers from China that do things we had planned to do at some point but could not because of the whole disruption.

And they are actually attracting talent, exactly the opposite of what is claimed — a lot of world class Chinese researchers who worked in US universities just went back home and they will stay there. Loss for the US, gain for China.

I am starting to see even non-Chinese people going there. For now it is cases of people who have some connection, e.g. a Chinese wife is a typical cases, but expect that to change over time as the realization slowly sets in about what the future holds and especially if the Chinese make some efforts to make the process of cultural adjustment smoother.

Of course it matters what kind of “talent” you care about — do you want to attract actually productive scientists and engineers, or does your definition of “talent” center on financial parasites?

GM added:

And this the “scientific establishment”‘s position:

Lambert’s response:

When they say “our country,” that is exactly what they mean, just like “our democracy.” The dude is a Dean. Of a School of Public Health. Naturally, and naturally.


‘He’s trying to avoid blame for his incompetence’: GOP hits Biden for saying ‘there is no federal solution’ to COVID despite previously promising to ‘shut down the virus’ as cases hit highest level since January despite mask and vax mandates Daily Mail. Lead story in US version. I wonder if this is also a messaging shift in anticipation of decent odds of a Supreme Court loss or significant curtailment for the vaccine mandate.

US runs short on blood due to pandemic RT (Kevin W)

US officials recommend shorter COVID isolation, quarantine Associated Press (Kevin W). Our Covid brain trust was pretty exercised about this….I hope to cobble their takes into a post tomorrow.

Apple closes stores to customers in New York City due to surge in Covid cases CNBC

Two College Bowl Games Are Canceled Because of Covid Cases New York Times (resilc)


China closes ranks in battle for rare earth control Asia Times

US Wants China Visas for 18 Officials to Attend Olympics Despite Boycott Antiwar (Kevin W)

China complains about near-misses with SpaceX satellites RT (Kevin W)

Chinese citizens slam Elon Musk online after space station near-misses Euronews (furzy)

Chinese scientists develop AI ‘prosecutor’ that can press its own charges South China Morning Post (Dr. Kevin)

Why Bragging About Your Wealth In China Can Get You Censored New York Times (resilc)


India freezes accounts of Mother Teresa’s charity Bangkok Post (furzy)


Brexit Impact Tracker – 26 12 2021 – Year II of Actually Existing Brexit: Détente or Deregulation? Gerhard Schnyder (guurst)

Read the entire tweetstorm:

New Cold War

2022 — Year of Major Power Conflict Over Ukraine Scott Ritter, Consortium News (Chuck L)

THE MISQUOTATION Russia Observer (guurst)

Clouds on the horizon (OPEN THREAD) The Saker (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Military Is a Machine of Impunity Intercept (resilc)

How Strange It Feels to Watch Your Country Die Jacobin (Chuck L). Not ours but instructive.

US Space Force reveals recruiting ad (Watch it here) YouTube (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

#WLDragnet Part 1. Social Media Mercenaries: CIA & DoD-connected Organizations Mapping WikiLeaks Supporters Talk Liberation (Chuck L)


Trump Advisor Lays Out How He and Bannon Planned to Overturn Biden’s Electoral Win Daily Beast (David L)


Federal judiciary: The remarkable speed with which Joe Biden is seating judges. Slate (furzy)

Border wait times swell as staffing shortages plague inspections booths San Diego Union-Tribune

Our Famously Free Press

Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021 Associated Press (resilc)

Declassified FBI records connect dots about Saudi government ties to 9/11 Florida Bulldog (Chuck L). Quelle surprise!

2021 Bye Bye

Best Op-eds of 2021: Teen Vogue’s Favorite Opinion Pieces Teen Vogue (Dr. Kevin)

The 10 Worst Americans of 2021 Intercept (resilc)

Ever-expanding list of banned words at Quebec’s National Assembly offers a portrait of a distinct province Globe and Mail (Dr. Kevin)

Record Beef Prices, but Ranchers Aren’t Cashing In New York Times. Resilc: “Same with logging. Logs are near worthless, lumber is dear.”

Bitcoin’s Volatility Is on Display Again in Slide Below $50,000 Bloomberg

Bankruptcy Filing Rate Is Lowest Since Bankruptcy Code’s Enactment–The Question Is Why Credit Slips

Burdened by Books The Baffler (Anthony L)

Remembering When Mrs. Claus Cracked the North Pole’s Glass Ceiling Atlas Obscura (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

“This used to be a great job’: US truckers driven down by long hours and low pay Guardian (resilc)

Desmond Tutu, Fierce Opponent of South African and Israeli Apartheid, Dies at 90 Defend Democracy

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Lost Ending – SNL YouTube (furzy). The awesome. And William Shatner too!

Antidote du jour. Stephen H: “Best wishes to everyone from Dashiell on Christmas Day.”

And a bonus (guurst):

And a second bonus (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, its crazy to see, but it does seem to be theatre. I wonder what they are spraying – Chinese cities regularly use some pretty heinous chemicals to spray the sewers to suppress cockroaches, it may well be the same stuff (they were doing it in Wuhan in those long lost days of innocence 2 years ago). It almost certainly causes more harm than good, but it is an effective way for the government to say ‘this is serious, and we are doing whatever is needed’. It may also be a good way of keeping people in their homes (when they use it on cockroaches, the dying cockroaches make a beeline for the surface, so people usually end up desperately swatting them to stop them coming into their apartments).

    2. Lee

      Why China is still trying to achieve zero Covid

      This article gives a pretty comprehensive description of Chinese disease control measures, which are at often breathtaking in their scope. It is worth noting that China with a PPP income of $17K is apparently able to afford to shutdown a significant portion of its productive capacity by quarantining at times millions of its citizens, while in the U.S., PPP $66K, resistance to such measures is based in large part on economic considerations.

      I’m engaging in some speculative spitballing here, well outside my ken, but there is a certain line of thinking that keeps coming up for me.

      I don’t know what percentage of the Chinese workforce is engaged in materially essential production but I’ll bet it is higher than the 60% of the U.S. workforce (EPI). So, 40% of the U.S. workforce could not show up for work and material privation, beyond what is currently being experienced in the U.S., need not be the result. And yet we are hell bent for leather to keep everyone on the job at all times and at all costs.

      But the stock market keeps going up so I guess everything is jake.

      1. DanB

        Covid deaths in China: approximately 10,000 in a population of approximately 1 million (many Western media claims these are phony statistics, I do not).

        Covid deaths in the USA: approaching 900,000 in a population of 340 million.

        1. Lee

          I was just looking at Cuban stats and they too seem to be doing remarkably well compared to the leader of the Free World™. They also have their very own vaccine, Soberano, which our MSM seems to assiduously ignore.

          1. Alex Morfesis

            Cuban stats…right up there with honest politicians…Cuban cuzzinz insist Cuba (via their own still there relatives) is a covid nightmare with folks “disappearing” and everyone understands why…and dare not ask…

    3. Pat

      Hygiene theatre? Wouldn’t be that difficult. We don’t do hygiene theatre we do vaccine theater. For it to be hygiene theatre we would have had to have kept some semblance of action beyond bribing people to get vaccinated. Hell we even dropped reminding people to wash their hands, useless as that is. Nope it was if everyone is vaccinated we are home free alone. Now we are pretending that tests and maybe masks maybe might be necessary until every has their monthly shot…nothing hygienic about it.

      1. John

        “resistance to such measures is based in large part on economic considerations.” Isn’t everything in the US based on economic considerations? Can’t allow a little thing like 840,000+ dead get in the way of the last nickel of profit. I am fed up with the only consideration being economic. When the wealthiest bulk up their fortunes while 50 % do poorly, 30 % okay, 10% comfortably, 9.9% beyond their dreams of avarice, and that 0.1% double up. What kind of country is this? It sure isn’t the one I grew up in. What is to admire about the fact that a majority are one paycheck away from the street? Alright, I am ranting. I am also deeply angry and looking at a dystopic future economically, socially, and culturally, but it may not matter if the war party gets what they think they want.

  1. Mikel

    “Brace Yourself — Omicron’s Going to Be Worse Than You Probably Think”
    Umair Haque

    Lots to unpack there.
    Not necessarily with consideration of Covid only, but I want to know other people’s thoughts on the author saying South Africa has a healthier population and then saying only about 5% of the population even reaches over 60 years of age. Many things contribute to longevity, but it is something interesting to think about.

    1. David

      I make it a rule to never believe anything Haque says, unless it’s backed up by verifiable sources. Actually, he doesn’t quite say that only 5% of the population reaches 60 (which would have surprised me greatly if it were true). He does say that only 5% of the population is over 60, which is wrong according to SA’s official statistics, summarised here. They show that the figure was 8.3% in 2018, expected to rise to 9.1% by 2022. They are now starting to be worried about an ageing population. Life expectancy has increased over recent years, and according to the WHO, summarised here, was an average of 65.3 in 2020 (higher for women, lower for men as usual). However, this is probably due to relatively high infant mortality, and life expectancy at 60 is another 18-20 years on average. So yes, a relatively young population because the population as a whole has increased substantially, and most of those who’ve been born recently are, well, young. But this can be over-stressed, I think.

      I’ve suggested before that climate and lifestyle has something to do with it. SA is a very open-air country. Even in winter the sun often shines all day, and people of all races spend lots of time outside. It also has a low population density, and outside the major cities you can drive for hours without seeing anybody. I’m sure that has something to do with it.

    2. Mantid

      It’s an OK article but a bit out of date in this quickly evolving pandemic/story. The quality of Omicron is seemingly low, but it’s quantity seems high. That’s about all we know right now. In countries with good health care and young populations, it seems to be less dangerous. Now, in the U.S., we will see what we will see.

  2. Wukchumni

    How Strange It Feels to Watch Your Country Die Jacobin

    I woke up after 9 AM, and my parents were speaking in hushed tones about something I could not quite grasp. Of course, they always whispered if there was a sleeping family member in the apartment. Since my younger brother was still asleep when I got up, the quiet voices of my parents did not alarm me at first.

    But when my brother got up and we tried to turn on the TV, our parents told us not to bother. Our Rassvet television received exactly two channels, and both showed the ballet Swan Lake.

    Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with Swan Lake, but something felt wrong about how the regularly scheduled programming on both channels had been replaced with a ballet for no apparent reason. And my parents kept whispering — even after my brother woke up.

    Anytime something bad happened in the USSR, be it a space disaster, Chernobyl or whatnot, the powers that be always went to the classical music card…

    What would be our tell?

    By the way, Biden pretty much saying every state is for themselves now as far as Covid goes, might be thought of as the moment the USA splintered into a commonwealth of independent states, not unlike the immediate post USSR world.

    The phrase was coined on 25 October 1989 by Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov. He was speaking to reporters in Helsinki about a speech made two days earlier by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. The latter had said that the Soviets recognized the freedom of choice of all countries, specifically including the other Warsaw Pact states. Gerasimov told the interviewer that, “We now have the Frank Sinatra doctrine. He has a song, I Did It My Way. So every country decides on its own which road to take.” When asked whether this would include Moscow accepting the rejection of communist parties in the Soviet bloc, he replied: “That’s for sure … political structures must be decided by the people who live there.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps groups of states with something in common could start practicing now by setting up Interstate Compacts for this and that.

      The Great Lakes States already have the Great Lakes Compact to co-ordinate Great Lake Basin Watershed concerns and affairs and actions. I don’t know whether Canada’s Great Lakes Provinces are also in, or allied with, the Great Lakes Compact.

      1. Late Introvert

        I can’t see the Midwestern states ever doing that. Illinois/Wisconsin/Minnesota/Nebraska/Iowa/Missouri? Maybe they could agree to convert all the corn to ethanol.

  3. Lee

    “The CDC cuts isolation period for positive people to 5 days”

    According to news I heard, they are not requiring a second test at the end of the 5 day period of isolation. WTF are they thinking?

    1. Nikkikat

      Almost like they want to make lots of people sick. Next move vaccine transport cards for domestic flights. Then everyone can take their mask off! Yippee! Saw a YouTube video with Walensky
      Telling Senator Cassidy Nov. 4 2021 hearing. When asked she had no idea how many CDC employees were vaccinated. When asked how many still work from home she also didn’t know. She also didn’t know why they were vaccinating people that already had covid.

      1. Lee

        “Almost like they want to make lots of people sick.” Particularly so in the case of the unvaccinated and therefore more susceptible to fatal outcomes. Maybe it’s an election strategy born of desperation. Too bad about all those unvaccinated kiddies and other vulnerable groups though.

        1. Mantid

          Yes, if actions speak louder than words, they do want more people sick – more money for big pharma (who writes the CDCs paychecks). The also don’t want to lose this wonderful opportunity for mandates and more control over the population. It’s not incompetence, it’s planned – and well planned so far. My hope is the groundswell of opposition and questioning of the narrative will overwhelm the MSM. Gonna be tough, but it may happen.

            1. ambrit

              I am beginning to give that theory more credence as information becomes available.
              Not so much what has been done as what is not being done.

    2. jackiebass63

      They aren’t thinking. Unfortunately the CDC has become political. The people are losers because bad policy happens when this happens.

    3. Tom Stone

      A five day isolation period clearly makes sense to someone in authority,just as FDA approval of Aduhelm and Molnuparivar do.
      Put yourself in the shoes of a narcissist with psychopathic tendencies….

    4. Lina

      I’ve been a long time reader of NC, occasional commentator. I stopped all news last spring because the stress was too much to handle. Started reading again recently , this is my first post in a while. I am driven to post because I’m infuriated about this decision.

      It’s all about the economy. Unbelievable.

      I have an 8 year old in school. She’s half vaccinated; I’m not giving her the second shot for 8 weeks under the Canada guideline (I live in the US, but at this stage I trust the Canadian government more than the US).

      This decision will drive more infections. Guaranteed. I have no options this year to temporarily remote her. It’s all so upsetting.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In the US, we are basically the third trial. The know it’s safe, but the three and four weeks separation would have been addressed in normal trials. Some would be at six weeks or months apart to address dosaging. I think the blood work done in countries where getting the second shot in 3 or 4 weeks wasn’t happening produced better outcomes when they did get the second shot.

        1. Lina

          Yes, they found that spacing the doses apart more than 3 weeks gave people a more robust antibody response and it lessened the chance of severe side effects (heart inflammation).

          As well, “immunity” lasts longer. Whatever that means.

          I’m most concerned at this stage of the kids in school. With kids and teachers coming out of quarantine in 5 days, cases are going to explode. Unless I’m missing something and simply being an alarmist?

          1. Mantid

            Lina, you’ve likely read here that there is new information coming out of the UK. Of course, the UK has many parallels to the US and Canada (health, obesity, winter, general culture, etc.) and coming out of England are up to date numbers and assessment of risk. This is an in-depth article that debates the vax or no vax question and includes stats like this …. “UKHSA also reported that 715 of the 3083 total adult deaths, within 28 days of a positive test, were people who were not jabbed. This represents 23.2% of alleged COVID-19 deaths. With 28 deaths attributed to those with an unknown jab status, the remaining 2340 were jabbed. The jabbed represent 76% of all alleged COVID-19 deaths.”

            The vaccinated are just as likely to get Covid as the unvaxed. Here’s the article:

      2. Jason Boxman

        This is correct; the goal of decision making regarding our pandemic response in the United States seems geared towards ensuring the status quo ante persists at any human cost. This seemed to be the case over a year ago, but it’s glaringly obvious now.

        An honest power broker would just plainly state that capitalism as it has been is more important than any citizen’s life in the United States; Actually wasn’t it the Lt Gov of Texas that said it plainly quite a while ago now, that older Americans should be proud to die to keep this country open. So, there it is. I wish Biden and his administration were as honest.

    5. antidlc
      Delta CEO asks CDC to reduce quarantine times for breakthrough COVID-19 cases

      Tue, December 21, 2021,

      Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Tuesday asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to shorten quarantine guidelines for breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in people who are fully vaccinated.

      Delta medical adviser Carlos del Rio and chief health officer Henry Ting joined Bastian in asking CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to reassess the current recommended quarantine time of 10 days when it breakthrough coronavirus cases.

      They argued in their letter that these guidelines were developed during a time when effective COVID-19 vaccine and treatments were not available and thus the rules should be changed in light of medical developments.

      Looks like Delta got what it asked for.

      1. Parker Dooley

        “Looks like Delta got what it asked for.”

        Delta the airline or Delta the virus? (sounds like a win for both).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since I remember hearing on NPR news a couple days ago that Delta was demanding from CDC a ruling that 5 days isolation was enough so that Delta would not have so much staff shortages, I would take this as ” Delta the airline ” got what it wanted.

          One more reason not to fly.

    6. J.

      They are thinking everyone in the hospital will be out sick at the same time unless people have to come back while they are still sick.

      It’s not just the hospitals either. Several restaurants near me are closed right now because so many of the staff are sick.

      Just wait til the kids get back in school. Whee!

    7. Samuel Conner

      Two phrases from Peter Turchin’s line of work come to mind:

      * elite overproduction

      * popular immiseration

      He thinks the combination of these two is a recipe for significant instability in “the order of things.”

  4. The Rev Kev

    A fundraiser to help support having Lambert, Jerri, and Nick step up as needed during this difficult time? Yep, I’m up for it. Maybe name the fund after your mother which she may have appreciated.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      “My mom died. In lieu of flowers, send me money”? Am I the only one that finds this fundraiser notion gauche, Trumpian? Send your money in, if you want, in the usual way, perhaps via the water cooler button. But having Yves ask for it, which is what a fundraiser hosted on NC would be doing? No. Please don’t put her in that spot. I know your heart is in the right place, but, please. Stop.

      1. Lee

        Passing round the hat to collect money for a bereaved is a common practice—a kindness. I don’t know how to send Yves flowers, so I sent a modest amount by check with the memo “A Modest Offering In Memoriam.” While the bereaved do not as a rule pass their own hat around It seems perfectly okay to me that others do it for them.

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        We give our employees 3 weeks off with pay on the death of a family member, so far mostly for parents. They can choose when to take the time.

        This is the same situation, there is a great time suck dealing with other family members, paperwork, etc not to mention the emotional stress.

        Consider this a time off benefit for Yves. I’m all in.

  5. Wukchumni

    Was @ the local pot shoppe in the CVBB and they have a new strain called Omicronic, with the claim being that one inhalation will knock you out, it’s that potent.

    1. Wukchumni

      Watched one of the Omicron Bowls over xmas which pitted the mighty Kent State Golden Flashes with a 7-5 record versus the Wyoming Cowboys with a 6-6 showing on the season.

      You’d be out of the playoffs in the NFL with crappy records like that, playing out the stanza headed for Palookaville, but that shoddy showing for both teams gets em’ in a cheapened Super Bowl, er Potato Bowl.

      It was played in Boise on a blue field which was a bit disconcerning-the faux dichondra look, not dissimilar to those awful blue flocked xmas trees of my youth, now hopefully outlawed.

      I don’t watch any college ball, but 1 thing is clear in that there’s an awful lot of nekkid lower leg showing on the field of play versus not hardly any allowed to be seen on fully clothed players in the NFL, must be verboten and perhaps considered lewd.

      1. RockHard

        “must be verboten and perhaps considered lewd.” – or the pro players have learned the hazards of playing on turf and put on more protective gear. The pro game is a lot faster and the hits are a lot harder.

        1. John

          I don’t know about the lewd aspect, but bowl games are all about the $$$$. The way it is going there may someday be a losers bowl matching teams that are 0-10. Organizers of such things have no shame.

          1. Wukchumni

            There was much lascivious behavior on the sidelines watching the Dallas team cavort and carry on in a coordinated fashion with matching halter tops, leaving not that much to the imagination.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not that I get out much, but the lack of masks in Charolottesville was disturbing. Cville and Albemarle County had high rates vaccination and UVA has a mandate, but it felt like no one was masking. Even worse than the grocery store right before local out breaks.

      1. LaRuse

        Richmond, too. I saw fewer masks at the grocery store on Sunday than I think I have since late Spring 2020. When Northam opened his mouth and Youngkin’s “No mask mandates are further needed” last week, it seemed everyone believed him.
        I have my N95s at least.

        1. LaRuse

          Sorry, that was to say “Northam opened his mouth and Youngkin’s words came out to say…” Lousy proof reading skills on my part today.

      2. Nordberg

        If you lose the People’s Republic of Charlottesville what hope is the in this great commonwealth? My wife tested positive on Christmas Day. She thinks she got it from her mother who is one of those at the F@$& it stage. Unlike my Irish wife I don’t hold grudges professionally. So glad she is hanging in there so far.

        But to your point I have seen tons of people and workers not masking up here in the PRC. Seems like a two week shift , especially for the workers. Have they given hope?

  6. jackiebass63

    Academic research has been falling apart for decades. It is because of where funding comes from. Traditional funding slowly disappeared and was replaced with special interest funding. This special interest funding came with strings attached. It no longer was unbiased but designed to produce a pre designed outcome. Sadly it is now difficult to trust research outcomes.

    1. Randy

      I didn’t know we even did scientific research anymore, unless figuring out how to connect juicers to the internet or otherwise financialize things counts as research.

    2. KLG

      “Academic research has been falling apart for decades.” Yes, it has. I got my first full-time job in biochemistry in 1975 as a very junior technician. Funding was always a difficult proposition but not impossible, and I had some good fortune along the way. Now? Writing a grant proposal is a fool’s errand if you are not in the club. If you are in the club, your grantsmanship will often carry the day, but the Hunger Games are beginning for them, too.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “US Space Force reveals recruiting ad”

    I predict that the Space Force will be the only branch of the US Military that will award Purple Hearts for Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). The Guardians themselves, because most of them will be sitting at computer monitors all day long muttering ‘pew-pew’ under their breaths, and the Space Force Generals who will be spending all day long thinking about how to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars which will be eventually coming their way.

    1. The Historian

      I can see it all now!
      The Guardians will be designing satellite killing satellites which they will test (the military does like to blow things up!) – until all the space debris they create starts killing the satellite killing satellites – which, of course, they will tell us is a good thing because it stops aliens from getting too close to earth. But in the meantime, Musk and Bezos will get trillions from the Federal Government to design a space vacuum to suck up all the debris.

    2. Craig H.

      They wear camos, not star trek uniforms. The you tube commenters said there is a law that all the servicemen have to wear the same thing. Are there any spaceships on TV or in the movies wear the sucker is painted black with twinkle twinkle little star lights on them?

  8. T T T

    News from petri-dish (formerly airstrip) one.
    Yesterday afternoon as I awaited, with baited yawn, the latest government edict, or lack thereof, I received an All CAPS shouting text telling me to get boosted, NOW. The fact that I was boosted a month ago suggests that this was a blanket message, like the one that announced the first lockdown. It also suggested that there was no need to refer to a news source to know that it’s vax vax vax…. Party outside, if you can…. If not, open a window, if you can…. Oh just do what you like, we don’t care.
    Thankfully, from what I’ve seen, the general public, or at least those over 30, seem to be taking their new found personal responsibility seriously, with masks and distancing. Meanwhile, even the tame government scientists appear to be getting restless, I guess there’s a limit to having your advice ignored.
    I watch with detached bemusement. Stay safe , everyone.

  9. Wukchumni

    If you make camp on the right continent, in the right environment, and you seek out the right kind of shelter, at the right altitudes, at the right times, you might stand a chance, says Charles Bardeen, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who recently modeled the asteroid’s fallout for the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Of course, even if you are on the opposite side of the world at the time of impact—which is the only way you can hope to make it out alive—he recommends you act quickly. As soon as you hear its sonic boom (don’t worry—you’ll be able to hear it from the other side of the world), get yourself to high ground and find underground shelter. Immediately.

    I can vainly make the claim that i’m more asteroid proof than anybody within the breadth of my reach, not that i’d relish the aftermath where I emerge from one of around a dozen caves & mines i’m aware of anywhere from 4,000 to nearly 10,000 feet in Sequoia NP, which might be called Caveland National Park if it weren’t for those pesky redwoods, there being around 250 caves scattered about.

    The one i’d ideally like to get to (the asteroid has to hit in the summer) with a bit of warning would be a copper mine just off of Mineral King road that goes straight back and curves about 60 feet before they gave up and went no further circa 1875. It has water a few inches high throughout so ideally you’d want to bring some wood pallets to lay on boulders you found outside the mine to allow you to sleep w/o getting wet and a place to keep things dry. I could load a month worth of provisions into the cave with say 12 hours worth of advance notice.

    And when I went out to meet the brave new world, what then?

    Pillage through cabins hoping cabin owners left food in them and make my way down from the purple mountains majesties to a wrecked world on the formerly fruited plain below, America.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Pfizer antiviral pills may be risky with other medications”

    ‘However, one of the two drugs in the antiviral cocktail could cause severe or life-threatening interactions with widely used medications, including statins, blood thinners and some antidepressants. And the FDA does not recommend Paxlovid for people with severe kidney or liver disease.’

    Well that could be awkward that if I even considered either of these drugs. Not for those using blood thinners? I’m on them now as I took the AZ vaccine and they help prevent blood clots. But severe kidney or liver disease? Would that include all those people who had a bad virus infection that left them with organ damage? Because that would mean screening those people for such damage before dispensing those new pills and I am betting that there would be a lot of people in this category.

    1. Lee

      A thread from yesterday:

      Bart Hansen
      December 27, 2021 at 11:44 am

      On the Pfizer antiviral pills, the list of potential drug contraindications is lengthy:

      “The medications include, but are not limited to: blood thinners; anti-seizure medications; drugs for irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications; immunosuppressants; steroids (including inhalers); HIV treatments; and erectile dysfunction medications.”

      Good luck to any citizens taking the pills who are over 40.

      December 27, 2021 at 1:02 pm
      Based on the list of interactions Paxlovid is either contraindicated or if taken it might possibly harm tens of millions of us, me being one of them. The age group most susceptible to serious Covid outcomes coincides, as you have noted, with the age group most likely to be taking the medications on the list. Brilliant!

      And Molnupiravir is another risky bet, being only about 30% effective in preventing progression from infection to serious illness but which could possibly cause cancer and birth defects.

      Desperate pharmacology and governance in service of saving lives or maintaining an economic status quo in which only about half of us are engaged in materially essential production and therefore actually need to be on the job? Hard to tell.

      Reply ↓
      December 27, 2021 at 1:43 pm
      The big criticism of Molnupiravir that I have seen from some doctors is that it will likely spur new mutations.

      Reply ↓

      December 27, 2021 at 3:51 pm
      Yes. It only “cures” in about 30% of the cases. In the other 70%, is is happily mutating and multiplying, which seems a spectacularly bad idea, unless you are a Merck shareholder.

      In which case it is fabulous.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Just search on ‘top 10 prescription drugs’ and you’ll see most of the families of meds on the lists posted above.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          No kidding. I’d go so far as to say those antiviral drugs are virtually worthless as a u.s. income stream for big pharma given that at least one of those contraindicated drugs are in virtually every medicine chest in the land. (I once read that statins were so “valuable,” putting them in the water supply was being considered! )

          I was listening to the “Pod Save America” podcast yesterday–it was first aired just before Christmas. andy slavitt was being interviewed and the new antivirals were brought up as “game changers.”

          slavitt concurred with that characterization, but cautioned that the supply of the new antivirals would be “limited” in the u.s. in comparison to the availability of “vaccines.” His gist was that the developed countries had hogged the “vaccines” and not shared with less developed countries, were chastened by the ensuing criticism, and would not make the same “mistake” with these drugs. He made no mention of the myriad contraindications in heavily drugged america.

          When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, if the purpose of this new antiviral is to create a semi-porous Darwin Filter for new mutants to squeeze through as they evolve, then this new drug will be very valuable . . . for the creation of new mutants “needing and demanding” new vaccines and new boosters.

            It all depends what the real agenda really is.

    2. Mantid

      Yep, and I, along with anyone over age 50 ish, regularly take an 80mg aspirin to keep blood a bit thin. Hmm, aspirin or phizer. Easy call.

  11. Maxwell Johnston

    “New Cold War”

    All three links are excellent and well worth a read. Scott Ritter nails it as usual. “The Misquotation” is correct that VVP’s statement re the demise of the USSR was translated incorrectly and then repeated ad infinitum. Even the Saker is pretty good today; a solid and restrained analysis. I wish the overall take of these three posts was more positive and less indicative of a rough upcoming 2022, but here we are. Sigh. Fasten seatbelts.

    1. Susan the other

      Yes, I agree. They were just saying on some media somewhere (?) that English had the most words of any language and I kept thinking, That might not be a good thing because in English lotsa adjectives and nouns and verbs can mean one thing and a second, completely opposite thing. So, it’s true things are defined by their opposites but they shouldn’t be the same word! Not to get too lost in the weeds here. I think we make translational mistakes intentionally, to suit our own plans. Especially when it comes to Russia.

    2. ptb

      Excessively alarmist. 2021 ended with an unusual amount of chest-thumping.

      But NATO has already quietly distanced itself from backing a military action on the part of Ukraine. Russia has dug in firmly on maintaining the status quo there, and any action otherwise wouldn’t be useful to the stated Russian objective of limiting any more NATO expansion. And EU has acknowledged that it can’t afford a round of economic warfare with what should be its lowest-cost gas supplier, at least not until some progress is made on the issue of energy — which runs right into the other big NATO priority of containing the main supplier of solar energy equipment. Save that one for next year.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “A Swedish company has created a microchip that allows users to carry their COVID vaccine passport under their skin”

    The fun and games start when somebody works out how to hack those COVID vaccines passports to show them as ‘Unvaccinated’ as they walk by them with a hidden device. And you would have to be able to change the data held on those chips as vaccine status would have to be updated with each new shot.

  13. ambrit

    Here’s a heretical thought.
    Since most of the money for medical research and education is underwritten by the government, and considering that the primary responsibility of government should be to the citizens; make all medical school graduates do a minimum number of years of “community service” at a base line pay rate in exchange for not only the expungement of their school debt, but also the license itself.
    Secondly, make medical ‘profiteering’ a capital offense.
    Finally, if the government will not do this, I fear that the public well might. Not necessarily in an organized, directed manner, but in a patchwork of ‘individual sanction’ operations.
    Nick Cassavetes 2002 film “John Q” comes to mind.
    Scroll to the bottom of the small wiki page and see that the film has been re-made in other countries since it’s initial release.
    One overriding ‘message’ of the ‘hostage’ films I’ve seen is distrust of “Officials.”
    We are living through such a moment.
    We are the hostages.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘make all medical school graduates do a minimum number of years of “community service” at a base line pay rate in exchange for not only the expungement of their school debt’

      Hey, that was the basis of that doctor in Northern Exposure who was ‘legally contracted to practice medicine for four years in Alaska according to the terms of a student loan underwritten by the state.’

      1. ambrit

        Exactly. One of my maternal uncles was sponsored through medical school by his church. He repaid the obligation by being a missionary doctor in Uganda, back in the “colonial” days.
        I am thinking more along the lines of the “community service” being mandatory for all medical school graduates. (If that’s Socialism, well, I’m all in!)

        1. Procopius

          The Armed Forces furnish student loans/scholarships to lots of college students. My best friend in high school financed his pre-med degree at Wayne State University through a Navy ROTC scholarship. I think he agreed to serve 4 years as an officer, really not a bad deal. He got into aviation, became a pilot, and I think decided to stay in the Navy. Most military doctors are on similar contracts. I think a doctor has to serve five years, but no left over student debt. I haven’t checked on the current status of the arrangement, so I hope I’m the practice endures.

      2. Nikkikat

        I loved that program Rev Kev. Hadn’t thought about it in along time. Interesting characters like life itself.

        1. Nordberg

          I know someone that went to med school on scholarship and her repayment was to work in eastern Kentucky x number of years pay for it.

    2. Mantid

      Yet, the government is underwritten by the WEF, the largest corporations (Blackrock for one example) and of course our friend big pharma. If that’s true (which it is) should we offer up community service to the corporate overlords? Now that would be a good example of public/private partnership. Count me out. I do like your ‘individual sanction’ operation idea. I also think we’re slaves more than hostages. Good post.

    3. Maritimer

      I’ve had the same Family Doc for over twenty-five years. Over the years we have had some very frank conversations. Last time he told me: “The healthcare system is crap.”

      He is a gateway into the system of specialists and a low level pill pusher. When you see him, he is sitting at a computer terminal. He once told me he spends $3500 per year on diagnostic and prescriptive tech. So, you tell him the problem he runs it through the software and does what it says. One can imagine how Big Pharma and other Healthcare companies have infiltrated that software. I would imagine similar software exists for specialists.

      In short, a lot of medicine today is just by rote, what does the box say, then do it. Not much training needed there. For low level stuff, you can do as well or better yourself on the Intertubes.

    4. Lupana

      “Since most of the money for medical research and education is underwritten by the government and considering that the primary responsibility of government should be to the citizens; make all medical school graduates do a minimum number of years of community service at a baseline pay in exchange not only for the expungement of their school debt but for the license itself..”

      While that sounds like a good idea in theory, in practice it unfairly targets those who have to take out loans for school because their families are unable to pay for their education. My daughter is a medical student and is going through rotations. She works up to 70 hours per week. She has had food thrown at her, had to endure verbal abuse, worked for a pediatric office where when she became ill they refused to even administer a covid test for her – they said she was on her own. All this while studying for exams and trying to live a somewhat normal life on little sleep. After this, she will graduate with $400,000 in student debt and hopefully enter residency where she will again work long, stressful hours on little sleep while trying to pay off this horrendous amount of money. There are programs where she can theoretically have her loans paid in exchange for community service but needless to say they are very competitive. It isn’t medical students who are the problem or doctors for that matter – it’s the financialization of everything and the lack of concern or sense of generosity the current generation in charge has for those who are younger. They are all just a source of money. She would I’m sure jump at the chance to have her loans expunged as well as the chance to open her own office where she can really get to know her patients and develop a true relationship with them but that opportunity just isn’t there unless you are very lucky and get into a loan forgiveness program (and the government actually keeps its promise), come from a wealthy background or can take over a practice from a family member.

      1. ambrit

        The financialization of everything is indeed a major stressor in today’s society.
        We knew a medical student who was doing her residency at Charity Hospital of New Orleans. She was subject to such excessive demands on her time and body as you mention. Several times we had to carry her upstairs to her apartment, part of a subdivided house in New Orleans, and put her in her bed. She physically could not climb a flight of stairs after working a triple shift at the hospital. This was back in the late 1970s.
        Can anyone from England tell us how the National Health handles this?

      2. skippy

        Fair has nothing to do with it. Its a system build on extracting the most from your productive years and then give you the flick, save a few poster people to burnish the “I” got to the top narrative. The Smithsonian had an old article on Jefferson’s nail shack that might assist you in understanding, at a deeper level, of what I am suggesting.

        Per se I started off in the Army Rangers at low military pay, physical and mental extremes, very little time for a social life due to being in the field most of the year – very high divorce rate, death and disability are a constant risk, and the best bit is after all that it transfers to merc or some level of security work. Although many just went to take advantage of the G.I. bill and go back or start collage and move on after some extreme ironing board challange sans the ironing board.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Hong Kong is clinging to ‘zero covid’ and extreme quarantine. Talent is leaving in droves. Washington Post. We would say that now, now wouldn’t we? GM independently had to clear his throat:

    HK is finished, there is a huge drain of people and businesses and China has no intention of stopping it. HKers basically have to decide if they want to be Chinese or migrate elsewhere. Its not in China’s interest anymore to have HK as a sort of financial stepping stone between it and the outside world. And China has stopped pretending that it would be nice to the Taiwanese if the country unifies, so there is no more benefit to the whole ‘one nation, two systems’ messaging.

    As for science, I don’t think there is much doubt but that China is benefiting enormously from zero covid (so far), along with the increasingly hostile attitude to Chinese expertise in the US and elsewhere. But there has also been a reverse drift in the other direction – many non-Chinese have been leaving China over the past 10 years ago as the country has become more and more hostile to even very well qualified immigrants. The government – perhaps correctly – decided that they were no longer essential and it was beneficial to gradually push people out. But on balance I’d think that China is a net beneficiary of the flow of qualified people. However it is also suffering from getting cut off from the mainstream information flow as the internet is increasingly walled off. Chinese science risks becoming increasingly isolated. I guess it will be an interesting experiment to see what really matters when it comes to developing technology and science. My money is on ‘the rest of Asia’ as the long term winner, not China or the US.

  15. flora

    re: Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021 Associated Press (resilc)

    au contraire. Look at the rise of substack journalism sites. Me thinks the public is still interested in news but isn’t much interested in continuing ‘orange man bad’ porn and fear port and ‘russia russia.’ What was it someone said? ‘The NYT is the FBI mouthpiece, the WaPo is the CIA mouthpiece, Fox is the GOP mouthpiece, and MSNBC is the Dem mouthpiece. All narrative all the time.’ / ;)

      1. John

        Maybe the Israeli’s use some of the $3.8 billion we send their way each year to keep Congress and the Media subservient. How often is it that a client state ends up controlling its patron?

        Do the words Israel and Israeli always trigger moderation?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, lets find out. Lets find out right now.

          Israel. Israeli.

          ( Well, not this time. Those two words didn’t stop this comment from sailing right through. So the answer to the question is: not always.

          Now, I don’t have the patience to try it over and over and over, so I wouldn’t guess at the percentages.

          I suspect your brush with moderation, as with so many, was due to random rolls of the digital dice.)

  16. Tom Stone

    When I observe a person or an organization behaving consistently in a manner that causes me to scratch my head and think “You’d have to be nuts to do that”, it’s a clue.
    They very likely are insane.
    St Anthony Fauci comes to mind, throughout the AIDS crisis and this pandemic he has acted in narrow self interest and been amply rewarded.
    No empathy,no regard for the truth or the harm done to others or Society as a whole…
    And he is but one example, the CDC and FDA as a whole exhibit similar behavior.
    That’s what these organizations ( And many others) select for,Narcissism and Sociopathy.

    1. Watt4Bob

      From Microsoft News;

      Tesla CIO Hilary Kramer says “Tesla is over

      She says all Tesla’s technical people have all been recruited by other large manufacturers because Elon Musk doesn’t understand they are vital to his company.

      Without his technical staff there is no customer support.

      She mentions lack of Service, and Parts, and cites that guy in Finland blowing up his car rather than pay $22K for battery.

      She says Elon thinks “a good story” is the point.

      1. flora

        $22k for a battery. Yep. Batteries last about, what, 5 years? You can buy a hella lot of gas or diesel for $22k. The people I know who bought an all electric car decided at new car time not to buy another electric, for whatever reason, and all purchased a regular, small gas engine car. (If you keep your car longer than five years, say for 10-15 years, the overall ownership cost goes way down on a gas engine car.)

        Wonder what the battery costs for one of these babies. / ;)

          1. ambrit

            Second hand electric cars will be sold with the notification at the bottom of the ad, in teeny tiny letters: “Batteries not included.”

        1. Mantid

          Well, the percentage just changed as I (indirectly) know you, which is good, but we’ve had an EV for 7 years and will never go back. We also have a small 90s truck for schlepping. So one of the people you know is staying with electric. Not one “tune up” in 7 years. No oil changes, fluid leaks, no radiator to heat during the very cold (it gets below zero here), faster than snot. Even in gandma mode, putting the pedal to the metal will “smoke” all but the fastest cars. Solar panels give us free “gas”. Driving an EV actually can make you money.
          When we drive to the coast, we need one “re-fill” on the way and when we get there, we plug it into the weed eater outlet (110) at the hotel and get a free “tank” overnight.
          Been a mechanic for years but there’s nothing to “fix” with an EV. Oh, wait, I did buy new tires.

          1. Watt4Bob

            My comment is not about the EV as such, it is about the fact that Elon Musk, the grifter, is being outed for prioritizing appearances over substance. His own CIO is explaining he is allowing his high tech experts to be pilfered.

            Musk has found the USA to be an easy mark for the grandiose con.

        2. cnchal

          > . . . The people I know who bought an all electric car decided at new car time not to buy another electric, for whatever reason . . .

          I do wonder what those reasons are. As for keeping a car decades, that is my principle.

          The last car we got rid of went to the scrap yard, still running but rusted badly and it was replaced by the same model, an 01 Accord with only 120,000 miles on it. I consider it the modern equivalent to early Volkswagen’s theory of evolution.

          In 1956, Lloyd Stoffer famously stated “The future of plastics in the trash can.” At the time, this was considered a very controversial statement, and he got in some trouble for it. Stoffers sentiment comes during a period where industry was facing a unique problem. The Volkswagen theory of evolution (left) was to build something to last, without versions, fashions, and make it easy to fix. So when someone bought it, that was it. They only needed one. With this mode of production, markets were saturating. The opportunities for growth and profit were diminishing and reaching stability.

          Companies and industries that wanted to grow, that were premised on growth and profit started to intervene at a material level and developed disposability—planned obsolescence and fashion supported by a regime of advertising. They designed a throw away society. People bucked against this design. They had just come out of the Depression in the United States, and an ethos of saving, fixing, and stewardship was the norm. Industry was designing a shift in values.

          The used car market prices that Honda at a few thousand dollars, I could buy about five or six of them for $22,000 and drive for three lifetimes. To me they represent the pinnacle of automotive evolution and it has been downhill ever since. There is only one caveat. Get the stick shift.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        How ” over ” is it? If he harvests more money from it than what he spent on it, then it will have worked out just fine for him. And if it becomes “over” for others, the others he got “over” on; then that will just have to be their problem. And their loss.

        ( You know what I wish? I wish that when Musk had said “to” Sanders . . . ” I keep forgetting you’re alive” . . . . I wish Sanders would have thought to say ” Isn’t Musk a little young to have Alzheimers?”

        1. Watt4Bob

          I think the story is about the ‘reality‘ of the company as a legitimate enterprise as opposed to a gigantic con.

          His CIO isn’t saying the con is over.

  17. PlutoniumKun


    Brexit Impact Tracker – 26 12 2021 – Year II of Actually Existing Brexit: Détente or Deregulation? Gerhard Schnyder (guurst)

    Read the entire tweetstorm:

    What I find striking from a brief scan of the UK media is that most UKers seem to be almost entirely oblivious to what is happening to their economy from Brexit. From the regular bleatings of businesses it seems that only a handful – and I include some very large businesses – really understand the implications of the existing deal as restrictions bite. I wonder how many people in the UK know about the enormous damage that will be caused on the 1st January as the new customs rules kick in? I wonder if even the retail industry understands, given their previous obliviousness. It won’t be long before transitional arrangements kick in for the construction industry which will have a very serious impact for all British (not NI) exporters.

    I suppose you could say the Tories are lucky in that the damage can be attributed to omicron. But given that the NHS is looking down the barrel of a nightmarish January, that may not be a good thing. The BBC is, incidentally, reporting that Omicron is no longer a problem. From the Guardian:

    Omicron is “not the same disease we were seeing a year ago” and high Covid death rates in the UK are “now history”, a leading immunologist has said.

    Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and the UK government’s life sciences adviser, said that although hospitalisations had increased in recent weeks as Omicron spreads through the population, the disease “appears to be less severe and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital”. Fewer patients were needing high-flow oxygen and the average length of stay was down to three days, he said.

    “The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago of intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely, that is now history, in my view, and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue,” Bell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    Sir John Bell, incidentally, is the person who assured everyone that everything would be fine by spring – in November 2020. The BBC still treats him seriously (I guess it helps when you have the title ‘Sir’.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘GM: I am starting to see even non-Chinese people going there. For now it is cases of people who have some connection, e.g. a Chinese wife is a typical cases, but expect that to change over time as the realization slowly sets in about what the future holds and especially if the Chinese make some efforts to make the process of cultural adjustment smoother.’

    This may have another effect down the road. So I use to own a set of books about the history of science by Isaac Asimov. There was one oddity I noted in it was the number of Noble science prizes won by Americans. But when you read further, you found that they were born in England or India or from a whole series of countries. Obviously this was because if you wanted to do big science in the 20th century, you went to America because you had the educational setup, the grants, the trained scientists, the money and all the rest of it. Scientific research was something that 20th century America invested in and it paid off big time and is still paying off. But now there might be a shift to Asia as the times have changed. Financialization has taken charge of education and has really run down scientific research. Also, Chinese scientists are looked upon as spies or whatever so fewer are coming to America to add their talents to the American scientific pool. So perhaps in the coming years we may see a whole series of Nobel science prizes awarded to Chinese scientists who will include more than a few who were never born in China.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Perhaps, but cultural norms matter. Shatner in the linked SNL sketch calls Frank Capra an American genius (ugh, I didn’t think I could ever hate the Shat but Capra movies are sentimental garbage). Capra was an immigrant, and I doubt the writers or Shatner, a non-American, didn’t know that given the nature of Hollywood.

      “Truth, justice, and the American way” is the iconic motto of a fictional immigrant.

      1. Wukchumni

        He owns a ranch here in tiny town but i’ve never glimpsed him, seldom seen Shatner.

        For the past decade or so until Covid hit, his ranch foreman would throw a party in March where everybody brings the food, booze and music. Atypically a tenth of the town would show up, 200 people having the best time in the promise of spring (the best time to be here is October-June, summers suck when its 100 degrees for 100 days) with wildflowers abundant, oh me oh my.

        I’m ready for my close-up should it ever come…

        I’ll hit up Shat with a TJ Hooker question and then segue into Star Trek, what should I ask him?

        1. ambrit

          Try the one from the SNL send up of Trekkies, with Shatner in attendance, from season 12.
          “What was the combination of your safe onboard the Enterprise?” (Asked by, if I remember correctly, Dana Carvey.)
          Shatner’s classic answer to all these questions from the Trekkies was: “Get a life!”
          Stay safe up there!

        1. notbored

          Not to mention IAWL is a defense of fractional reserve lending, i.e. “Your deposit is available on-demand even though we lent it out.”

        2. Jermy Grimm

          I like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and watch it every year at Christmas. I have also watched and admired Leni Reifenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will”. I have also watched and enjoyed movies by Eli Kazan. Does the ‘quality’ of the person who creates great work detract from or increase the quality in their work, and does the ‘quality’ of a work reflect back on the quality if its creator? I believe the ‘quality’ in each is quite independent from the quality in the other.

      2. Kfish

        Frank Capra was a propagandist who knew his role. Early in WW2, so the story goes, he watched Leni Reifenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” which portrayed Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. His opinion: “If we can’t do better than that, we’re going to lose the war.”

    2. flora

      re: GM comment. I’m seeing the same thing at my uni research outfit and other campus research outfits. This is the end result of the “no taxes” and neoliberal “let the Market decide” goons influencing state and national govts with campaign “contributions” aka bribes, and other… uh… considerations. The endless budget cuts due to cuts in state and national funding has left my research outfit basically cannibalizing itself for the last 20 years. And now the Market has moved to China, the neolib goons having eaten all the seed corn and purchased almost all the US pols.

      This 6 minute utube clip of Joe Rogan talking about Pelosi’s press conference where a reporter asked her if congressmen and women should be barred from trading stocks with insider information, aka insider trading. Her answer: NO. (It’s not like congress regulates wall st and has early knowledge of govt coming regulations or anything. No conflict of interest there. right.)

      1. flora

        Adding: I know one scientist we lost to a better offer from China. She was never looked on as a spy. We tried everything we could do to keep her after her very productive 20 year research career at my outfit, but there wasn’t any way for her to advance her position or salary here, what with shrinking dollars and other aging resources. China made her head of a research dept with a great lab, lab assistants, and a full teaching professorship and a great salary. Here, she would have been stuck as an assistant professor/assistant scientist until she retired , always scrambling for resources. It was a big loss to my outfit and to the state.

        1. Watt4Bob

          See my reply to Tom Stone above.

          All Tesla’s tech people are jumping ship, Tesla CIO Hilary Kramer says “Tesla is over”

          1. jo6pac

            musk been selling stock he must know the party’s over. Then why keep expense employees when you can save money right up to closing up shop.

            1. ambrit

              I wonder whether the Space Force, (“Get Lost in the Ozone with, the Space Cadettes!”) is there to go and apprehend Musk when they flee to Mars, or whether they are there to protect the Billionaires from ‘Truth, Justice, and the (Imaginary) American Way!’

              1. John

                Return of the “Rocketeers” or perhaps Flash Gordon with the Russians/Chinese standing in for Ming the Merciless. Persuade me that this is not a bad joke.

                1. ambrit

                  The quality of the ‘humour’ on display here depends on where you are in the “Heirarchy of (Financial) Values.”
                  The history of Zaharoff and Vickers Arms in WW-1 is the classic cautionary tale. The short lesson here is that some people will sell out literally everyone and everything they know for financial gain. Such people are what firing squads were created for.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              To fool people into thinking Tesla is still a business. If the captain wants to sneak off the ship before the rats and the passengers and the crew do, the captain has to act casual till he has made good his escape.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Ahh, the “Costa Concordia maneuver”. The Captain shoots through on a life boat to “coordinate” rescue from land and running down people in the water in the process – but remembering to take his dog.

      2. Wukchumni

        This 6 minute utube clip of Joe Rogan talking about Pelosi’s press conference where a reporter asked her if congressmen and women should be barred from trading stocks with insider information, aka insider trading. Her answer: NO.

        Had another nightmare with Livia Soprano & Nancy Pelosi as the protagonists of rival family outfits. One was in the waste disposal business and the other in the haste disposal business on Wall*Street, although it was hard to discern one from another aside from perhaps the $74,563 too much worth of plastic surgery work performed on the Nancy in my dreams.

      3. VietnamVet

        Nancy Pelosi has to be in the know about the looting that pilfered America’s industrial base and profiteering of the working classes by the privatization of education, healthcare and human addictions. This is how she gets rich.

        The interesting thing about the current pandemic – economic travails is that if one has the money and avoids super spreaders, survival in suburbia with electricity, amazon logistics, and garbage collection is possible; until it isn’t. Isolation makes humans go mad. The mounting divisiveness is obvious when Americans are forced together into aluminum tubes at 30,000 feet wearing face masks.

        Either good governance is restored, or the U.S.A. splinters apart.

        China has the best chance of human civilization surviving the coronavirus pandemic and economic collapse if they avoid being destroyed by the sick disintegrating western nations armed with nuclear weapons. Ukraine never broke the Russian encryption and shipped their nuclear weapons back to the Russian Federation. 2014 would have been lot different if Kiev’s elected government could have used them to threatened the destruction of NATO (EU/USA) for instigating the Maidan revolution.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Study finds abrupt decline in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among older Americans (Kevin W). Yours truly has long had the theory that Alzheimers must have a significant environmental component. If you look at historical descriptions of senility, they show poor memory, not the eventual erasure of personality found with Alzheimers.

    This is fascinating – rare good news. But what’s even more interesting is that nobody seems to have an explanation. The article seems to attribute it to rising education, but as Yves points out, that makes little sense. If it was, then alzheimer’s would have been rife in traditional farming societies for millennia, yet clearly this was not the case. Something happened in the 20th Century to cause Alzimers, and whatever it is, has now gone. I wonder if its a byproduct of the increased use of medication to address cardiovascular disorders. Or possibly just the wider availability of year round fruit and vegetables.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When I first read that headline, I briefly wondered if the cause was that so many older people had died in this pandemic that it was actually skewing these figures like it has others.

    1. Kit

      I would love to see a world map showing the the highest concentration of useful inventions being originated by its natives or people from there.

      I bet Scotland would be larger than China or all of Africa, Asia and Latin America combined.

      i.e. Carnegie, even though he did his work in America. Bessemer etc.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was a reason that Gene Roddenberry chose to have a Scotsman as Chief Engineer aboard the USS Enterprise and it was exactly that.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        We would have to include basic inventions like “corn” and “wheat” and “cows” and “turkeys” and the “spear thrower” and the “bow and arrow” as well as all the fancy modern gadgets of the last 100 years.
        If we are going to count up ALL the inventions of mankind.

  20. DanB

    Re: The Burdened by Books essay about college students and book reading: I teach at a small private college near Boston and I described to a friend the students in this just ended fall semester as collectively in a zombie state. As a sociologist I should invoke anomie or alienation, or even disenchantment, but “zombie” was my visceral sensation.
    Hardly a week passed without at least one student informing me that they were dropping out to go home or visiting the counseling center due to mental health crises. Their classroom performances suffered, with one class having no A students and a truckload of Ds. Intro to Sociology is geared to teaching students about the Sociological Imagination, the ability to connect personal troubles to larger social problems, which are generated by institutional failures. From their exams, it was clear many of the did not do assigned readings or misunderstood what they were reading. I repeatedly told them to view their personal situations through the lens of the Soc. Imagination, and gave them many examples of how to do this throughout the class. Overall, I feel this semester was a failure for me as an instructor.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve noticed that young adults aren’t burdened with having to remember things-as was the style previously for the past 70,000 years, so as to leave them with what i’d term ‘fortnight memories’, as they can think back a week or plan forward a week, but that’s it. Their attention spans resemble angel hair pasta in width.

      To read a book is to remember the plot along the way and if a computer did all your memorizing for you, reading a few hundred page tome must be a burden not worth bothering over, a bridge to learning too far.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > I’ve noticed that young adults aren’t burdened with having to remember things-as was the style previously for the past 70,000 years

        I’m not sure that’s true. Some video games require extremely sustained attention.

        1. ambrit

          But what percentage of “young adults” play video games for more than an occasional hour every week or so?
          As for video game play requiring concentration and memory skills, could one be ‘selecting’ for the other?

      2. Nikkikat

        I find young people to be quite ignorant. They have no critical thinking skills or intellectual curiosity. This includes several nephews of mine. They never read books, have never seen a movie more than a year old and even then seem to not remember anything in it nor can they explain the characters actions. When I recently went to Barnes and Noble to order the RFK book, I had to Spell Fauci several times to the young lady typing the order. She clearly had no idea who Fauci is, she could not pronounce the name either. I have neighbors that are in early 30s. Any problem they have such as mice in the garage, they come to us for answers. I go to the internet and then tell them what needs to be done. Seems strange they can’t do this on their own.

        1. Kevin

          I am always reading and hearing older generations denigrating today’s youth without so much of an ounce of self awareness.

          The young are the fruit of those of us that came before them – they didn’t create themselves, they did not make the world they are living in. All of that is on us.

          If we have complaints about who they are, what they do, how they behave – we need to ask where we went wrong. We need to look hard in the mirror.

          But that isn’t easy to do, especially since there is no heavy lifting involved to just blame it on them.

          Yes indeed, the young may be bad fruitage. But bad fruitage comes from rotten trees.

          1. Wukchumni

            It isn’t only young adults whose memory retrieval system is highly suspect-everybody’s brains have been rewired to accept the new normal which i’ll term ‘just in time thinking’.

            The difference being that the parents and grandparents of their progeny both learned via rote memorization before being corrupted, whereas it is all a young adult has ever known.

        2. flora

          Teach-to-the-test. My wonderful old grade school teachers would have hated teach-to-the-test. They saw their pupils and future adults, not as monkeys to be trained. I know many k-12 teachers now who hate teach-to-the-test. They aren’t allowed to teach. They’re allowed to train.

          an aside: people wonder what use is learning cursive writing in the grade schools, beyond being able to read one’s grandparent’s letters. It teaches careful (and difficult) hand-eye co-ordination. It teaches patience and practice. It teaches attention to detail, and mastery of detail with practice. But who needs that in the computer era? right?

          1. flora

            adding frivolously: Imagine a surgeon thinking they should be able to suture a body opening at the same rate they can type letter in an email. Yikes! Or as Daffy Duck would say, “Yoicks! And away!” … right before he slams into a tree.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            One area where things are improving is in language teaching. When it comes to the more difficult languages for English speakers its striking how many people with language degrees are functionally incapable of using their second language for ‘normal’ activities. They can recite off all relevant grammar rules or write an essay, but not clearly express their feelings to a native speaker in a social situation (unlike many who learned a second language informally). But gradually more input based learning (i.e. encouraging intensive reading and listening) is becoming a little more common in schools and universities, but there is still a long way to go.

        3. Procopius

          I remember when I was in high school I was reading a book on the history of mathematics, that claimed an Egyptian papyrus from about 1500 BC complained that, “The young today are rude and ignorant.” As for critical thinking skills, I’ve been astonished at the near universal refusal to admit there is absolutely no evidence that has been presented to support Russiagate. The Democrats have made no real effort to understand why they lost in 2016, nor why they did so badly with Blacks and Latinos in 2020. I don’t expect any better from Republicans, but Democrats once gave us the New Deal. Something bad happened around 1970, that led to creation of the Democratic Leadership Council and the turn to neoliberalism, and I don’t know what it was.

      3. fresno dan

        Kids now a days. When I was a kid, I had to get up before I went to bed, work 36 hours in molten lava, got eaten by allegators 3 times a day, and only got dinner once a week, consisting of only poison and a mouldy crust of bread….
        and you tell that to young people today, and they won’t believe you

        1. flora

          Yes, and when I was in school, in the wintertime I had to walk through snow drifts a mile and a half uphill, both ways! / ha

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wait! Wait!

        Wasn’t the whole Harry Potter series of books read by . . . young people?

        As to young adults in the digisphere, aren’t digital devices designed to stimulate the anti-attention anti-span parts of the brain? So if this is true, isn’t this a triumph of digital device driven brain engineering?

        1. Nothing

          While a great series, the Harry Potter books are quite old now, the first book having been released in 1997 and the final book being released in 2007.

          A more interesting question may be are there any book series’ in the last 14 years that have reached the popularity of the HP series, and if not, why not? I seem to remember Hunger Games (published 2008-2010) being immensely popular, although 10 years on it doesn’t seem to have left a legacy like Harry Potter did (unless when friends asked you what Squid Game was about, you said “basically it’s the Hunger Games except it’s a K-Drama”)

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The older generation would have said ‘Hunger games is like Battle Royale, without the gore’.

      1. juanholio

        My son and his friends absolutely loved the time off of from school. It’s not the Manhattan Project they are working on in there.

        I think these “think of the children” covid memes ring very hollow, and are driven by parents, who hated being the with their kids, and also (of course) the chamber of commerce and their groupies.

        1. flora

          you think that. the suicide rates are what they are. for a lot of kids the school is their release from “difficult” home environments, it’s their escape from ultra-stress into normalcy for 7 or 8 hours a day. glad your kids aren’t in that situation.

          1. Basil Pesto

            for a lot of kids the school is their release from “difficult” home environments, it’s their escape from ultra-stress into normalcy for 7 or 8 hours a day.

            For a lot of kids, it can be an exact inversion of that, of course.

            Covid is devastating for kids – both in terms of its externalities and as it evolves to more effectively target children. Covid policies are to the extent that we are needlessly prolonging the pandemic. Children may well be distraught by the inability of adults to get their shit together, and turn a once-in-a-century pandemic into a culture war issue.

            That child suicide rates are up is cause for alarm, but to blame it on ‘covid policies’ (that is, attempted covid mitigation) is a knee jerk sophism like blaming inflation on public spending. A fuller picture is required before jumping to tendentious conclusions.

          2. juanholio

            Since the suicide rate fell in 2020, the stats seem to agree.

            I would wager that youth suicide is being driven by hopelessness in the face of social media generated, unrealistic expectations about life, rather than getting a few weeks off from school during a pandemic.

    2. Arizona Slim

      They may be lacking in the experience of assigned book reading. Case in point:

      One of my local colleagues sent her daughter to one of Tucson’s most highly regarded parochial high schools. During said daughter’s four years at this high school, she was required to read six books.

      That’s right. Four years of high school. Six required books to read.

      I don’t think she’s doing all that well in college, and I don’t mean that in the academic sense. Although Mom doesn’t come right out and say it, I think the daughter is experiencing some major league emotional problems.

      1. ambrit

        Good Heavens Arizona Slim!
        Our required reading for AP European History was more than that. One class for one year. Multiply that by six or seven classes a day over three years, divide by two to make allowances for the “hard” sciences and you have, a H— of a lot of reading. I enjoyed it, many did not. However, even the “dull normals” (of which I was one, even if I did not want to admit it to myself,) made it through.
        Strangely enough, I found the Middle School and High School teachers to be much more helpful and accomodating than even the best of the College instructors. The one truly exceptional College teacher I encountered was denied tenure on a technicality. He moved on and the Department he had enlivened for a while returned to ‘Institutional Normal.’

        1. Elizabeth

          @Arizona Slim: would that well-regarded high school be Salpointe H.S.? I graduated from that H.S. many years ago. It certainly wasn’t considered a “slouch” back in the day.

          1. Arizona Slim

            It would indeed be Salpointe.

            And, to be honest, I was surprised when my colleague told me about her daughter’s light reading requirements. ISTR when Salpointe wasn’t a “slouch” school.

          2. dday

            I too am a Salpointe Lancer, Class of ’68. Back then there were lots of Carmelite priests and Brothers as well as three different orders of nuns, Carmelites, St. Elizabeth of Seton and Dominicans. It was a pretty good school I think back then.

            Now it’s an athletic powerhouse, not so sure about the academics, and I think most of the nuns and priests are gone.

            As for the Lancer part, at football game halftimes, two students on horses would run at each other down the entire football field with ten foot lances.

            1. Elizabeth

              I was never into sports in high school (hasn’t c hanged) – if sports has surpassed academics, I guess it’s like most other schools. Sports brings in big money.

      2. flora

        Long form text reading moves at a different pace from Teach-to-the-test common core reading requirements. Long form reading in each 100-year generation style moves at a different pace from each other earlier (and later) generation of writing. Kids innately learn this pacing as they’re exposed to it one step at a time in the higher grade levels. (Oh, how we mocked “The Scarlet Letter” in high school. But we learned something, beyond the waffling of the good Rev. Dimsdale. ha.)
        This pacing idea aside: here’s Taibbi on modern k-12 schooling.

        They had a theory. What could go wrong. / ;)

      3. rivegauche

        Catholic h.s. late 1960s Atlanta

        Religion class (I think), where middle-aged Fr. Kemp and a younger priest had us go over the basics of Sartre and other philosophers like Kant, Kierkegaard, and others. Required reading.

        It was in this class that a heated discussion of reality (after learning of existentialism) ensued for what seems like days on end. The powers of the mind were argued by Lynn (RIP), who used a Christian Scientist friend’s experience as an example. The nature of reality was examined by several. For example, the atom was discussed and how it is essentially “nothing there but empty space and an electron with protons and neutrons”, yet atoms are the core of matter.

        The question was, is matter real or just our perception? Are our desks real? How can they be when atoms are made of nothing but an electron, protons, and neutrons? How does this tie together with eastern philosophy (Buddha, others) where perception is reality?

        I thought it was fascinating. And in a Catholic high school, no less. Those priests were Jesuits. It led me to tons of reading material, but I didn’t discover Stephen Hawking til many years later, then Hugh Everett (many worlds), Brian Greene (string theory), and others.

        And only a few years ago, I discovered the mind-bending work of theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. Rovelli gives us many clear examples of that long-ago question in that high school class: how quantum physics shows, over and over, that philosophers, both recent and ancient, had the inside story on matter and the nature of being.

        It was also Fr. Kemp who arranged for us juniors to view Marshall McLuan’s “The Medium Is The Message”. He gave us his tip prior to viewing: “It’s ‘massage’… the medium is massaging your minds”. Priceless.

        In the early 1970s the diocese sold our ancient school building, convent, and annexes to an Atlanta developer. A super-sized parking lot sits on the site nowadays, so I’ve been told by those who still live in the area.

  21. Stillfeelinthebern

    Why the Lake Growls….

    We live on a small lake and our ice sounds are more like the pew-pew of a Star wars blaster. Sometimes they are so loud we can hear them indoors! Below article has a video with sounds.

    I love winter. Having crystal clear ice is better than any glass bottom boat and the skating is fantastic. Watching ice shoves on the big lakes is an unforgettable experience. That’s just a start. Eternally grateful that my parents love winter and the outdoors so much and shared that with me. The peace of a still winter night always reminds me of them.

  22. Mikel

    “How to Survive a Killer Asteroid- Wired.
    Duck and cover?”

    Speaking of duck and cover…I think about those old videos that can now be seen via streaming. You know the ones from the 50s or so and showing a nuclear attack and a kid jumping off his bike and diving into a ditch for cover, kids under their desks.

    I think about those nuclear propaganda films everytime a new Covid variant comes out and some immediately (before even two weeks have passed) announce it’s “mild” although it’s already had to graduate from variant of non-concern to one of concern to even be discussed widely.

    “Duck and cover, it’s just a “mild” attack.”

    1. Nikkikat

      We starting doing duck and cover when I was in second grade during and after the Cuban missile crisis. They also made sure we saw a mushroom cloud on film. I clearly remember being under my desk and thinking how is this desk going to save me from a huge bomb? These people are idiots. It was also clear to me that it was all a bit ridiculous to believe that the Russians would blow themselves up just to blow us up.

      1. Jen

        I remember hiding under our desks for a “regular” bomb drill, and in the hallways for the “nuclear” bomb drill in NYC in the early 70s. I had the same reaction.

        1. ambrit

          What’s curious about that is that today, as I found out when I “inspected” a grade school for the Grand Jury, school children are still being subjected to “Bomb Drills.” Additionally, they have Fire Drills, and Armed Intruder Drills, plus, for our area, Tornado Drills.
          It all seems designed to create a population of fear ravaged citizens.
          Remember, fearful people make bad decisions. Thus, they can be easily led.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      In US Army basic training back in ’63 & ’64 we had a short session on prep for CBN (chemical biological nuclear) war. When my platoon Sergeant Rowan finished the N segment he closed by saying “That’s what I’m supposed to be teaching but all you can really do is bend over at the waist, put your head down between your legs and kiss your a$$ goodbye.”

    3. Procopius

      I think about those old movies every time the State Department pokes Iran, Russia, or China with a sharp stick. I’ve been thinking about them a lot since Hillary was SecState and promoted Victoria Nuland. I have fear a huge proportion of the neoconservatives think it was all propaganda, that nuclear weapons are just big bombs, and that we could win a nuclear war.

  23. Screwball

    ‘He’s trying to avoid blame for his incompetence’: GOP slams Biden after he said ‘there is no federal solution’ to combating COVID despite previously promising to ‘shut down the virus’ as cases hit highest level since January despite mask and vax mandates

    Sounds like Biden has capitulated. I hate to say this but what would the narrative be if Trump said this? We all know the answer to that. But this will be a good example of how political tribalism works. It will be curious to watch how the Biden base, the PMC clas, and never Trumpers, turn this news into blame game against….somebody, and how Joe did the right thing. Count on it.

    There are already Tweets showing the Biden/Harris statements from the campaign trail saying they would take on the virus yada yada yada. That is what they ran on – and won on – even if by a small margin. Trumps handling of the pandemic was his undoing in many peoples opinion. Now this from Biden. Biden’s handling of the pandemic is as bad as Trumps, if not worse at this point. I am lost for words and mad as hell.

    I’m old, I try to stay as safe as possible while teaching school (retirement job) and risking my own health in the process. I am sick of dealing with all the stupidity from the schools, the experts, the politicians, and anyone else who tells us what to do. We are frankly on our own at this point. We might as well accept that fact and do what we have to do to protect ourselves – because nobody else gives one good flying ****.

    All that is left is to watch this country continue to spiral downward into the unknown. It will not be pretty, it will not be fun, but we still have the blame game to keep us amused while the boiling water gets hotter. Because that’s all they have at this point – no plan – no balls – just blame.

    Yes, of course the GOP will be blamed, like in the headline. I’m guessing they will also blame the un-vaxxed scum because if all the deplorables would have just taken the shot(s), this would have been over long ago. So what is Biden suppose to do? If only the mouth breathing red neck Trumpers wouldn’t take the shot we wouldn’t be in this mess. I saw a meme yesterday that said “Let’s go Brandon is code words for I take horse dewormer.” Of course it is. /s

    Politicize, divide, blame, excuse, rinse, wash, repeat. Follow the science my ass.

    FUBAR. Take care of yourself. As Carlin said “they don’t give a **** about you.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      But just, always, remember that “the right people” will prosper …

      Eat the rich. More than a good idea.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I wonder that myself. We’ll know if we hit a stubborn peak, like a stuck needle on a car going too fast and out of control.

      So I’ve been thinking about this today, and I’d say we’re at a worse place than we’ve ever been in the pandemic to date:

      – Overwhelming evasion of any previous immunity, whether it is by vaccination or acquired infection or some combination
      – Limited availability of effective treatments; we’re down to just one monoclonal antibody treatment that is in short supply (And the recently approved treatments are also in short supply, and have their own sets of widely covered issues)
      – Insufficient testing capacity, which is necessary for all kinds of things, like timely intervention with the aforementioned treatment(s)
      – Increased transmissibility of this variant, by an alarming amount
      – Lack of sufficient at home testing
      – Increased transmissibility and severity for children
      – A thoroughly discredited, dysfunctional public health apparatus
      – A thoroughly exhausted, disillusioned populous
      – Lack of sufficient PPE, and indeed devastation of local suppliers that stepped up in the early days of the pandemic and today cannot compete with GPOs that prefer less expensive suppliers in China
      – Ongoing lack of acknowledgement that SARS-COV-2 is airborne, including an own-goal by the Biden administration having OSHA stand down on what would have been serious regulation of indoor air quality
      – Bad data collection, which is ongoing
      – And unwillingness to seriously invest in alternative detection methodologies, such as wastewater testing and sniffing dogs
      – Thorough rejection of air travel quarantines
      – Our health care system is entirely overwhelmed at this point, beset by exhaustion, retirements, hopelessness, neoliberalism profit motivation, sickness and quarantines, and Omicron is just beginning

      And I’ve probably missed a dozen other items. The only positives I can think of, is we do more genetic testing than we have in the past, and it is undeniable at this point that SARS-COV-2 is airborne, even if the CDC refuses to acknowledge this. Moreover, we’ve seen that government making bets on industry, an industrial vaccine policy if you will, works, and could be applied to testing, treatment, and other ventures by a functional government, should we ever get one. There’s also a wealth of valuable public health information available outside the official corridors of power, on Twitter, NC, and elsewhere that is timely, accurate, and surely saving lives.

      Stay safe out there!

    2. Young

      Maybe, just maybe, MSM will admit that vaxvaxvax failed if we reach 1M death and 1M new case on the same day.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Only if a significant number of MSM members and their significant others die themselves. Then they will say : ” Houston, we have a problem.”

  24. allan

    The overlords of gig workers don’t like to be gig workers, even for one day a month:

    San Francisco-based DoorDash is requiring engineers to deliver food — and they’re furious [SFGate]

    DoorDash, the food delivery app based out of San Francisco, is requiring all its nondelivery employees, including CEO Tony Xu, to do a “dash” once a month — and some employees are seemingly furious. …

    An engineer with a reported total compensation, or TC, of $400,000 a year griped about the responsibility of having to do a once-a-month delivery. “What the actual f—k?” the engineer wrote on the platform. “I didn’t sign up for this, there was nothing in the offer letter/job description about this.” …

    Silly management. They should have branded it as something to boast about at your next party
    or put on your résumé, like the Davos refugee camp simulation.

    Sadly for Mr. 400K, he will soon learn that he is just as disposable as the drivers.

    1. amused_in_sf

      They should have just called them “monthly mini-offsites” and they would have gotten better buy-in.

      [For those blissfully unaware of SV vernacular, offsites are recess days tech companies give their employees. Paintball, go-karts, zip lines, etc. unless you have a bad manager, in which case you might have to do goofy “team building” activities.]

  25. Wukchumni

    An epic snowfall in the Sierra is in the cards if we keep getting pummeled by one storm after another with a respite in between (a lot of blue sky and innocent looking clouds on the drive home the other day) with the next storm of length coming in a week, adding to the already adequate deposits on hand in the First National Snowbank of the Sierra, and as mentioned yesterday the deposits are under water, which could lead to liquidity & bank rupt by avalanche or flood as they don’t nickname the goods around these parts ‘Sierra Cement’ for nothing, as powder is rare. You hear about avalanches in other states-not so much in Cali.

    The only way to ski these days is to buy a season pass and my Ikon pass has blackout dates such as xmas break, president’s day weekend, etc.

    That is precisely when you don’t want to go, long lift lines major waits and too many people on the slopes, yeah no thanks.

    Haven’t skied in a couple of years but they tell me its like riding a bike-that is one without wheels, handlebar, gears, body or brakes. There’ll be a steep learning curve-probably from the top of a blue run.

    But does a week in wallhalla happen starting January 6th, will the ski resorts all shut down on account of Omicron in spite of enough snow to last them the rest of the season-a dream year compared to the last couple of puny efforts where 6 inches had to be meticulously groomed to be able to offer skiers and boarders something if not next to nothing.

    If shift happens and they shut em’ down, I still have free heel skiing possibilities up the yin yang among Giant Sequoias as long as the NP’s are still open, and yes I realize these are first world problems of the nighest megatude, but I am ready to walk the planks, and if snow falls from boughs above as in the linked photo, we call that ‘being pissed on’.

  26. Pelham

    Thank you again for the cautionary notes on Omicron. We should add as well that there appears to be a high risk of long Covid from any degree of infection, even asymptomatic.

    Apparently Covid is unique or nearly so in its ability to spread to every organ of the body and wreak debilitating havoc over months, years or the remainder of a lifetime, affecting anywhere from 10% of Covid victims to more than half. And from what I’ve read about it, long Covid sounds like a combination of advanced Alzheimer’s and black lung disease.

  27. Carla

    In the hopes of saving some fellow NC-er’s from suffering salmonella poisoning, I’ll just drop this here:

    Here in NE Ohio, we can get Gerber Chicken, processed in nearby Kidron by a company that is still family-owned and operated. Having gotten used to it, I’m not tempted to try cheaper alternatives. Or more expensive ones, for that matter.

    1. Jason Boxman

      And at the end they have a link to a database they created where you can lookup any poultry that you buy by P number to see where it is processed. And they have a form to submit data from your own purchases. Citizen public health at its finest!

  28. Sordo

    Hmmm. Mis-c. Perhaps I should jab my healthy six-year olds. A very difficult decision with respect to efficacy, ethicality etc.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        There’s a fair bit of material in there that is inaccurate because it’s cherry picked from the press and the media has been so gawd awful. Like it or not, Pfizer’s Comimaty did get FDA approval. The apparent low Covid rates in Africa are a data artifact; South Africa has ~70% seropositivity, for instance, which is not what the embedded chart even remotely shows. The only part of Africa that actually does have a low case rate is Western Africa, and that is a bit of a mystery.

  29. Susan the other

    Thanks for the SNL clip of the long-missing (misplaced) end to It’s A Wonderful Life. Interesting it took so long to find it. Almost 80 years. ;-)

  30. Anon

    I once knew a Romanian gal… she was a preteen at the fall of Ceausescu, naturalized to the US in the late aughts… she spoke to me of life under ‘communism’. She said there wasn’t much in the form of consumer choice, but recalls fondly the simplicity of it all… specifically that there was mandated vacation time, and no question of whether it could be afforded, you either went by the water, or the mountains, and that was that. There was poor heating, but there was always a roof overhead. Etc.

    She was curiously less decided than one might think, as to whether her cosmopolitan Miami life was an improvement.

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