A Baby Elephant Tries to Make Friends With a Dog Laughing Squid
The Other Side of a Mania Compound Advisors
Collapse of the Liangzhu and other Neolithic cultures in the lower Yangtze region in response to climate change Science. “The Liangzhu culture in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) was among the world’s most advanced Neolithic cultures. Archeological evidence suggests that the Liangzhu ancient city was abandoned, and the culture collapsed at ~4300 years ago. Here, we present speleothem records from southeastern China in conjunction with other paleoclimatic and archeological data to show that the Liangzhu culture collapsed within a short and anomalously wet period between 4345 ± 32 and 4324 ± 30 years ago, supporting the hypothesis that the city was abandoned after large-scale flooding and inundation.” Speleothems. We’re on loam.
Rethinking Multilateralism for a Pandemic Era Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and Lawrence H. Summers International Monetary Fund.
To plug these key gaps in global public goods, we must invest collectively on a scale much larger than we have been willing to in the past. Using the best cost estimates by the WHO, McKinsey & Co., and other sources, the G20 HLIP estimated that the world needs, at an absolute minimum, additional international investments of $15 billion a year in these global public goods to avoid future pandemics.”
But this is Larry talking. So, make that $30 billion minimum?
How HIV and COVID-19 Variants Are Connected Foreign Policy
If humanity wanted to give a coronavirus a golden opportunity to circulate, adapt, and evolve inside the bodies of human beings, eventually taking on a form that threatens all—rich and poor alike—it couldn’t do better than to ignore the estimated 38.7 million people living with HIV, especially the roughly 10 million who remain untreated, most of them residing in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection associated with emergence of the Omicron variant in South Africa (preprint) medRxiv. From the Conclusion: “Population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection. In contrast, there is no population-wide epidemiological evidence of immune escape associated with the Beta or Delta variants. This finding has important implications for public health planning, particularly in countries like South Africa with high rates of immunity from prior infection. Urgent questions remain regarding whether Omicron is also able to evade vaccine-induced immunity and the potential implications of reduced immunity to infection on protection against severe disease and death.”
Implications of the further emergence and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 variant of concern (Omicron) for the EU/EEA – first update (PDF) European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. From the Executive Summary: “The presence of multiple mutations in the spike protein of the Omicron VOC indicates a high likelihood of reduction of neutralising activity by antibodies induced by infection or vaccination. Preliminary data suggest that the Omicron VOC may be associated with increased risk of reinfection in South Africa. However, the full extent to which the Omicron VOC evades or erodes existing vaccine- or infection-derived immunity remains uncertain in the absence of in vitro neutralisation data, vaccine effectiveness data, and further data on reinfection in populations exposed to different SARS-CoV-2 variants during previous pandemic waves.”
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COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Among Persons Experiencing Homelessness — Six U.S. Jurisdictions, December 2020–August 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. Only a matter of time before we evolve our own variants.
Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination: guidance for healthcare professionals UK Health Security Agency. “[T]he long-term consequences of this condition secondary to vaccination are yet unknown.”
Lyophilized, thermostable Spike or RBD immunogenic liposomes induce protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in mice Science. “Freeze-dried” vaccines (Furzy Mouse).
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Analysis of overdispersion in airborne transmission of Covid-19 (preprint) medRxiv. From September, still germane. From the Conclusions: “Overdispersion leading to superspreading events is a major driving force of the Covid-19 pandemic. Understanding the factors that lead to overdispersion in individual infectivity are also considered long standing scientific problems. Coupling an aerosol mixing model with real-world inputs: exhaled aerosol size distribution for speech and breath, measured viral load distribution, occupancy information from SafeGraph for full-service restaurants in major US cities, realistic ventilation rate distributions, we explore the overdispersion in the number of secondary infections per infector. The simulated results demonstrate that aerosol transmission route is consistent with the overdispersed individual infectivity with viral load variability being a dominant factor that controls secondary attack rates alongside ventilation rate, exposure time, and speaking time.” Overdispersion (concealed by averages) is a statistical effect created by the epidemiological reality of superspreaders.
Heterologous infection and vaccination shapes immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants Science. From the Conclusions: “[T]he inference from this cohort is that populations infected during waves of different variants carry distinct immune memory, with implications for differential protection against future VOCs.” Hysteresis?
China’s property tax causing sleepless nights for homeowners as Beijing walks the ‘tightrope’ South China Morning Post
Laos opens Chinese-built railway line Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse).
U.N. committee decides Taliban, Myanmar junta not allowed into U.N. for now Reuters. Myanmar’s current civilian UN ambassador stays.
Myanmar Companies Linked to Regime Leaders Bid to Acquire Telenor The Irrawaddy. Meanwhile:
#Myanmar civilian @NUGMyanmar government has declared all oil & gas deals with #military administration null & void. Many citizens, rights groups have been lobbying foreign investors to suspend payments & contracts during this coup https://t.co/v26X3xyQ82 #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar https://t.co/rVHEaDuKpG
— May Wong (@MayWongCNA) December 1, 2021
Hastings RNLI lifeboat crew ‘blocked from going out to sea’ by people angry at them rescuing refugees Hastings & St Leonard Observer
New Cold War
Russia issues threat to GPS satellites GPS World
Russia has ‘no right’ to establish a sphere of influence, NATO chief says Euractiv. Because Eastern Europe is an American lake?
Obituary for Russiagate Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News
Supreme Court indicates it could eliminate a core element of Roe v. Wade The 19th. Fetal viability. For comparison, here is European law on this topic.
The Justices Are Having An Open Fight About The Legitimacy Of The Supreme Court Buzzfeed. IMNSHO, Supreme Court hasn’t been legitimate since Bush v. Gore in election 2000, when Justice Scalia selected Bush, I presume because of the type of justice that Bush was most likely to nominate would be congenial to his jurisprudence, especially prospectively. And here we are!
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Biden outlines winter COVID-19 focus on vaccination, testing Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
Biden asks businesses to proceed with vaccine mandate after omicron variant arrives in U.S. CNBC. Administration flips; flops; now flips again. Note that OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (the “get vaccinated or tested” mandate), if it were in force, would have a December 5 deadline for employers to determine their employees vaccination status, nicely timed for omicron. Looks like the businesses that just went ahead are better off. Weird to think of a “mandate” as a form of jawboning, but (again) here we are.
Top 10 container shipping lines on track for $115-120 billion 2021 profit: Alphaliner Hellenic Shipping News
L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein
Our Famously Free Press
It’s only a matter of time with Twitter:
— Temür (@realsteelmuslim) December 3, 2021
(ASPI sponsor list). The timing does make me wonder if @jack was defenestrated.
Those Cute Cats Online? They Help Spread Misinformation. NYT. Cats? Wait ’til the Times finds out about children.
Groves of Academe
Another ‘Sokal’ Hoax? The Latest Imitation Calls an Academic Journal’s Integrity Into Question Chronicle of Higher Education (TF).
Playing the Bullshit Game: How Empty and Misleading Communication Takes Over Organizations Organization Theory. From 2020, still germane. From the Abstract: “Why is bullshit so common in some organizations? Existing explanations focus on the characteristics of bullshitters, the nature of the audience, and social structural factors which encourage bullshitting. In this paper, I offer an alternative explanation: bullshitting is a social practice that organizational members engage with to become part of a speech community, to get things done in that community, and to reinforce their identity. When the practice of bullshitting works, it can gradually expand from a small group to take over an entire organization and industry. When bullshitting backfires, previously sacred concepts can become seen as empty and misleading talk.”
Give Me Slack Cory Doctorow, Medium. “My parental worries, ca. 2021.” This is very good.
Antidote du jour (via):
— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2021
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.