Links 1/17/2022

How did birds like penguins evolve into some of the world’s best swimmers? ABC

Walmart Plots ‘Super Intense’ Crypto, Metaverse Push, Filing Suggests Heisenberg Report

An Explosion Felt Round the World New York Magazine


Get Ready for More Volcanic Eruptions as the Planet Warms Scientific American

First the Fire, Then the Fungus Small Things Considered


Mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause multi-lineage cellular dysregulation and myelin loss in the brain (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “the findings presented here illustrate striking similarities between neuropathophysiology after cancer therapy and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and elucidate cellular deficits that may contribute to lasting neurological symptoms following even mild SARS-CoV-2 infection.” Thread from a co-author:

US Insurer Spending on Ivermectin Prescriptions for COVID-19 (research letter) JAMA and Column: A new study calculates the incredible cost of ivermectin stupidity Michael Hiltzik, LA Times. $130 million. If our health care system had a couch, $130 million would be pocket change under the cushions. Come on.

Texas scientists’ new Covid-19 vaccine is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free Guardian (Furzy Mouse). Corbevax.

Making Paxlovid Science

Argentina’s COVID Miracle Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate


Omicron Reaches China’s Political, Financial and Tech Hubs Bloomberg and Supply Chain Woes Could Worsen as China Imposes New Covid Lockdowns NYT (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Feds jacking up rates should fix this.” Half the press is rooting for China’s #ZeroCovid policy to fail, the other half is wringing its hands about the supply chain….

China’s birth rate drops to record low in 2021 Channel News Asia. Commentary:

Worth clicking to enlarge the fine print.

Is this the end of the line for China’s big belt and road funding in Africa? South China Morning Post

The bleak, snowless landscape (apart from the fake stuff) that begs the question: Why HAS the Winter Olympics gone to Beijing? Daily Mail (Re Silc).

Chinese researchers claim electroculture works as theorized


Monks flee temples in eastern Myanmar amid intense fighting Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse).

Myanmar Democracy Group Look to Tether After Failure of Myanmar Dollar Project BeInCrypto

Philippines says ‘indispensable’ Suu Kyi must be involved in Myanmar peace process Reuters. The NGOs and the “international community” may believe this, and even impose it, but events have moved far beyond Suu Kyi (and in any case, the Rohingya massacres occured on her watch).

Japan’s Shift to the Right: Computational Propaganda, Abe Shinzō’s LDP, and Internet Right-Wingers (Netto Uyo) Asia-Pacfic Journal. Computational propaganda.

The great Japanese toaster problem FT


Kazakhstan, like Ukraine, spotlights the swapping of the rule of law for the law of the jungle The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Iran After Trump: Can Biden Revive the Nuclear Deal and Does Iran Even Want to? (PDF) Middle East Brief

Hadassah hospital opens Israel’s first pediatric ICU for COVID-19 patients Times of Israel (MR).


Key pillar in the UK’s border control upgrade programme ‘lacks a systems integrator’ The Register

Vulnerable woman starved to death in NHS hospital following ‘unacceptable’ failures Independents (MR). MR: “Interesting that all the comments are outraged, no one saying ‘she was a loser’ as you so often see in comments these days.”

BBC licence fee to be abolished in 2027 and funding frozen Guardian (Furzy Mouse).

Ahead of election, Macron banks on rosy French economy, new jobs Reuters

The Caribbean

Ex-senator Joseph arrested over Haitian president’s killing Al Jazeera

Venezuela’s environmental crisis: ‘the beginning of a wave of destruction’ FT

New Cold War

Is War Inevitable if Talks With Russia Fail? The National Interest

Russia Issues Subtle Threats More Far-Reaching Than a Ukraine Invasion NYT. The deck: “If the West fails to meet its security demands, Moscow could take measures like placing nuclear missiles close to the U.S. coastline, Russian officials have hinted.”

CD244: Keeping Ukraine (podcast) Congressional Dish. Fun topic, fun podcast.

Russia will maintain its energy stranglehold on Europe for decades Quartz. Yes, it’s called “delivering a good product for the lowest price.”

Biden Administration

Democrats call on Biden to step up virus response The Hill. You had one job…

Hope on the Horizon Matt Stoller, BIG (GF).

Supply Chain

Russia’s container shipments hit record high amid global logistics crisis Hellenic Shipping News

Democrats en Déshabillé

COVID-19: Democratic Voters Support Harsh Measures Against Unvaccinated Rassmussen. This is Rasmussen. I’d like to see this result confirmed elsewhere: “Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications.”

Glenn Youngkin reminds Virginians what GOP governance looks like MSNBC. Youngkin moves immediately to fulfull campaign promises. Democrats should consider doing that. Although I don’t recall Youngkin promising this:

Republican Funhouse

The state of Florida promised her help with rent. Then she was evicted. Tampa Bay Times

Groves of Academe

Variants Fuel Decline in Student Mental Health Inside Higher Ed. Surely not the administrators’ responses?

Without paid leave, the South’s COVID school policies cause a terrible trickle down for families Scalawag

Imperial Collapse Watch

Guantánamo Notebook The Intercept. If we had a military like the Romans had, we could crucify like the Romans did. Sadly, or not, we don’t.

Martin Luther King Day

The Economic Message Behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Dream’ Speech Investopedia

The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King Jr. In These Times. From 2018, still germane.

If MLK Were Alive Today The American Conservative

Back To Normal Isn’t Enough The Defector. A must-read and worth the click-through. It would be interesting to describe the queueing behavior described here with queueing in the last days of the USSR. Again, why does it take a sports site to get writing like this?

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ignacio

    The swan looks like a male in full hormone driven ‘get out of my territory’ mode. By the ending position of wings and neck. Great video!!!

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      I saw a lot of that many moons ago when while waiting to start at a design studio, I got a summer job as a park attendant at a local lake with an adjacent wildlife park reclaimed from an old industrial site. Sadly for the old fella who was the main man there, he had become an expert at removing fishing lines & lead weights which mainly got tangled either around their feet or wings, with cygnets being especially vulnerable. My job was to hold onto the swan’s neck while he removed the potentially lethal entanglements while straddling the bird, but sometimes we would need the help of a friendly local vet – I think lead weights were later banned

      One of the best jobs I ever had except for the first thing in the morning clearing the carpark of used condoms in an area where I was apparently conceived.

    2. chuck roast

      White swans are beautiful creatures, but they are an invasive species in my neck of the woods. The story as I get is that some rich woman on Long Island imported a few of them for viewing pleasure around 100 years ago. Being very aggressive critters they spread along both sides of the sound and became the ruling class in any pond they took over. Naturally the indigenous pond species did not take kindly to this invasion, and their numbers have been on the decline ever since. Wildlife officials have been known to go from pond-to-pond during breeding season shaking the eggs of the nesting swans so they don’t hatch and lay another clutch.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Japan’s Shift to the Right: Computational Propaganda, Abe Shinzō’s LDP, and Internet Right-Wingers (Netto Uyo) Asia-Pacfic Journal. Computational propaganda.

    The (fictionalised) use of armies of supporters of the LDP on social media as a tool in politics is actually explored in some detail in the film and more recent spin off Netflix Japanese series ‘The Journalist’. One plot line is when the unnamed political party uses civil servants to dig up dirt on unfriendly journalists, and then any information is then handed over to the online army to amplify.

    I think one issue – not unique to Japan – is that when a political party or movement tries to develop online social media armies, the volunteers are usually from the more hard core base of the party, so this can have the impact – intentional or not – of shifting the party to the extremes. When a party markets itself as part of the broad centre, especially centre right as the LDP does, this can have the effect of mobilising those elements it usually tries to keep hidden.

    1. WJ

      Japan’s Shift to the Right: Computational Propaganda, Abe Shinzō’s LDP, and Internet Right-Wingers (Netto Uyo) Asia-Pacfic Journal. Computational propaganda

      I’ve been listening to a very good historical account of the rise of far right ideology in early twentieth century Japan. Programmed to Chill podcast by Jimmy Falun Gong. Fascinating stuff for those interested in the long historical perspective.

  3. ArkansasAngie

    The democratic party’s politicization of covid policy will be one of their 2022 mid term death nails.

    The idea that the democratic party is for discrimination against non-vax’ers seals their fate. The 25-30% of the population who are NOT vax’ed have a real incentive to get out the vote and un-elect them.

    Unity? Ha. Yes. By golly … they are succeeding. Just not what they had hoped for.

    1. tegnost

      While I agree in principle, 48% of likely dem voters is probably a relatively small number inflated through the use of percentages

      1. Big River Bandido

        Given attitudes I’ve seen among “liberals” in my own family…I’m not so sure.

        I think we’ve entered Woodrow Wilson ca. 1918 territory.

        1. Pat

          If my friends and acquaintances are any measure, the last weeks have brought that number down. People who were all in on blaming the unvaccinated have gotten that some of what skeptics told them was right and that much of what they were led to believe was so much bull. Going to a gathering where everyone was vaccinated and most boosted and having anywhere from three to most end up getting Covid can be clarifying.

          The double talk coming from the Biden administration on their preparations, the help the government has promised versus the reality and yes even the updated standards that are clearly not based on reality and experience have also shaken a lot of my more “Vaccine! Vaccine! Vaccine! tribalist friends out of their complacency.

          Whatever the number, it is still too high, but if things keep up as they are displaying the administration’s incompetence, they will not hold up.

        2. tegnost

          Biden got about 80 million votes, a lot of those were independents or other…a pollster is looking at likely dem so i’ll speculate 60 million dem, 50% of which is 30 million largely trump deluded russiagaters who can’t let it go how they have been failed and wish to apply the lash. The squeaky wheel, in colloquial terms

          1. Screwball

            I find it amazing how many are still on the Russia blame game thing. But those same people are probably like a guy who just the other day told me that Maddow was a first-rate journalist.

            Maddow and journalist shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.

            These are the same people who say the covid deaths are ALL Trumps fault (the deaths are all anti-vax republicans), and what is poor Biden suppose to do?

            PMC class = yes

      2. Mikel

        It’s a fringe group. Consider the number of adults not registered to vote and that neither the Repubs or Dems can get 50% of those even registered.
        But a fringe group that has an ampliflier…

    2. jefemt

      So, will your local slate have a bunch of new candidates promising a soft-landing Jackpot path, social justice and profound reform centered on the least-among-us,
      pearl-clutching Neocon DINO’s, or
      wing-nut radical right?

      Will you vote, or with Citizen’s United, abstain and stay home?

      A conundrum coming to a theater near you!

      1. Big River Bandido

        I’ll vote for whatever candidate is most likely to keep the Democrat out of government, and I don’t care who or how right wing cray cray they are.

    3. whatmeworry

      How can you be sure this is not exactly what they hoped for?
      it will put another nail in the coffin of true progressive politics for at least a generation.

    4. Still Above Water

      The Archdruid John Michael Greer has been hosting a well-moderated series of COVID posts where people can discuss things as long as it’s not parroting the official propaganda or sounding too crazy (e.g. Bill Gates 5G). A recurring theme is people saying that they’ve always voted Democrat and will NEVER vote for them again.

      If I recall correctly, IM Doc has commented on this blog that some of his patients have said the same.

      Based on the anecdata, I am expecting a bloodbath in the midterms. I hope it has the same effect on the Pandemicrats that the 1852 election had on the Whigs.

    5. McDee

      I was approached yesterday here in Santa Fe by a woman with a clip board. She asked if was a registered voter and if I was a registered Democrat. I answered yes to both questions. Then she asked if I would sign nominating petitions for two local Democratic candidates.
      I answered ” No. I am no longer a Democrat. Just haven’t changed my registration yet.” Her response startled me. “You’ve had enough?” I told her “Yes. Between Manchin, Sinema and Biden’s dithering, I’ve had enough.” It makes me wonder if she had been receiving responses similar to mine. If so, that does not bode well for the Dems. And this in Very Liberal Santa Fe.

  4. Ignacio

    RE: Mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause multi-lineage cellular dysregulation and myelin loss in the brain

    I think this is important. Head ache is common symptom in Covid (not less with Ómicron) accompanied with fatigue and both are symptoms of something going on in our brain. Something wrong, of course.

    This study links Covid with damage in brains particularly with microglia activation that might be linked with memory loss so frequently seen in Covid inpatients. The study also sees high level of several cytokines in brain tissues (as well as in blood) that suggest inflammatory processes during infection.

    It is no secret that vaccination also leads to head aches which might also be related with inflammatory processes in brain tissues. This link underlines head aches, fatigue and the like and increased odds of cerebral venous thromboses (CVT) and they interpret this as a ‘red flag’ for Covid 19 vaccination.

    This should be researched in depth given particularly the push for repeated vaccine shots it is a risk that should be carefully investigated. Another study detected also higher CVT incidence after Covid 19 vaccination in UK with the Oxford vaccine. Incidence might not be still too high by the date of that study but I am wondering whether repeated exposures to Covid and vaccine shots might make this problem larger than we think it is already.

    I am wondering if there is real vigilance on this outcome or if the push for extensive and repetitive vaccination is silencing incidence/reports on this. If anybody knowns of any exhaustive study on this I would appreciate a link.

    1. Cocomaan

      Can someone put some context to the brain fog findings, like whether this is similar to any other disease? Do people with influenza type B ever have brain fog, for instance? Or microglial involvement with the disease, etc. I just don’t have context for these findings.

      1. Juneau

        Gez Medinger who has LC describes it as being chloroformed. It’s like being drugged or having a very high fever. Anecdotes but I can verify that is a good description.

        1. Tom Stone

          Anecdotal, but one of my Daughter’s favorite professors at the USF Honors College has retired due to the cognitive difficulties she experienced as a result of Long Covid.
          Her memory is shot and she can’t focus six Months after “Recovering” from a mild case.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m currently(I think!) on the mend from a bout with omicron(pcr today, FWIW)
        the thing that distinguished this from the normal january sinus infection was the headache and the brainfog.
        qualitatively different from anything i’ve experienced before.
        (i’ve had fibrofog/arthritisfog from hurricanes–but hardly ever experience headaches, even from wine hangovers)
        in addition to wife’s positive test, and reasoning that , welp, i tended to her, this is the main thing that told me that i had covid.
        so now i’ll OCD about Long Covid from here on out.

        i felt a lot better yesterday…enough so that i went out and did some necessaries(cut up wood to fit stoves, etc)…then felt like crap again around sundown(echoes of the boys when they were sick when they were little)
        …and woke up this am feeling even better…so we’ll see.

        the shittiest part of it all is the sea of confusion surrounding this disease, after 2 years.
        when wife tested positive last friday(?–my usual timelessness is even worse), they told her that she was eligible for the monoclonal whatever…but that sadly, there weren’t any…so go home and take vitamins.
        since she was, and remains, subjectively on the mend, we just continued what we were doing, including the vitamins.

        i suppose it’s better that casting chicken bones or coating ourselves in pigshit.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and this twitthread from a link in the original linked thread:

          comparing covid brainfog to “chemobrain”, as wife calls it.
          i only noticed it when she was actively on chemo, and maybe a day after(she’d go get 4 hours of infusion and come home with a pump, which i would “de-access” after 36 hours or whatever). i’d catch her standing in front of the kitchen sink, having forgotten what she was doing. echoes of great grandma when she was entering her dementia.
          it’s all very worrisome.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I hope that you and your wife take care and get through this quick. It certainly is worrisome but at least you are in the countryside where you have instant access to fresh air and lots of sunshine which has to count for something. Those trying to cope in a crowded city environment might have it worse trying to deal with I fear.

          2. griffen

            Echo what others have written, and well wishes to your dwelling and all who live there. Cancer and the necessary treatment is a real beatch. Your insights are routinely informative and helpful.

            Be well where you’re at.

        2. Wukchumni

          the shittiest part of it all is the sea of confusion surrounding this disease, after 2 years.
          when wife tested positive last friday

          I’d previously mentioned the pretty much complete lack of Covid protocol @ Alpine Meadows & Mammoth ski resorts… it didn’t seem all that different from the last time I skied in February 2020.

          In theory you had to wear a mask on inside the dining hall, but ever try to eat with one on?

          Lift chair loading didn’t differentiate with singles combining with others often.

          Anyhow there were 8 (and as many as 10 at times for dinner) in our merry band of those that walk the parallel plank-in tight quarters in our rental condos for a week, and before the trip I knew the Omicron goods were odd, but odds were good i’d get it, and I feel fine but so far 4 out of 8 have tested + with sore throats being the worst of it so far among those so afflicted. Going in for a test today to slit my risks of spreading.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yah. i’m fixin to go to town to wait in the parking lot of the clinic(once was a hospital, where my wife was born) to call on my cell, and wait for the nurse to come out covered head to toe and stick a thing up my nose.
            they’ll bill me, presumably.
            could be a day or so before the results come in…and it’s already been 6 days since onset of my symptoms…and this test didn’t catch my youngest son’s after a similar amount of time.
            reading the Defector thing…”normal isn’t enough”…and that looks like a landslide winning platform to run on, right there…even the frothing itaintrealers out here can get behind such sentiments, when they’re separated from the bewildered herd for a time.
            and like she says, this is all an own goal…all of it…in all it’s extravagant complexity is the result of choices made, by human beings, that relegated most of us to being simply expendable parts, to be cast aside when no longer useful.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i came back negative, in spite of what i experienced.
              i’m an old hand at objectivity…and i reckon i’ve controlled for this.
              i’m going with my experience.
              tests are fer shit.

              which means that we’re all screwed.

              they really are trying to kill us.

              (eat them, eat them!!)

        3. johnherbiehancock

          “the shittiest part of it all is the sea of confusion surrounding this disease, after 2 years.”

          I’d echo this statement; I think I just got over it as well. Fully vaccinated and boosted (mid-December).

          Started feeling a little queasy one day in the office (week and a half ago). Was wearing a mask most of the time there (though few others were). Kicking myself for going in when I could’ve worked from home, but I’m more productive there, and had a busy week back after the holidays.

          Day 1 of symptoms felt like a cold, as did days 2-6, when I felt like I was slowly improving. Cold didn’t progress down to my throat or lungs. Had some mild dizzyness if I moved my head fast, but I get that during colds as well. I often get colds during the winter, so this is not unusual for me. Suspected it could be COVID, but not sure.

          Day 3 took free PCR test at county site (STILL have not received results, well over a week later)

          Found out Day 6 one of my kids tested positive & had a mild fever and sore throat (the other never got it or even got sick somehow, despite the fact that they spend almost all their free time playing together).

          Day 7, took rapid test at clinic (paid $50). Came out negative. Later Day 7, developed abrupt nausea and vomiting… which strangely enough cleared out all the nasal congestion and sinus pressure immediately.

          Day 8, mild nausea and headaches all day. Felt like the after effects of a bad hangover or food poisoning.

          Day 9, felt 99% better; got into see my doctor, who ordered a PCR test. Got the results from that PCR on Day 10, and it was negative.

          SO who knows what I had? I’m feeling almost entirely recovered, other than some lingering drainage in the morning.

          My doctor said the risks of Long COVID are low, and mentioned I was fully vaccinated and my symptoms were mild to support that. Said it’s not unusual for viral infections to take 4-6 weeks to really recover from, and so any diagnoses of Long COVID would have to be after that timeframe.

          But I want to know what I had!

          If Omicron is as contagious as they say, and I did NOT have it, then I need to keep my guard up. But if I did have it, then at least I can relax a little bit about going to the store (still masking up), and meeting with people.

          1. Roger Blakely

            The zombie-not-zombie model of infection and immunity is killing us. It doesn’t matter if you are vaccinated. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had it before. It doesn’t matter if you are immune. This virus is always causing trouble.

            If I am indoors and not in my own house, I am wearing a respirator and goggles. That is the only way to stay healthy.

          2. Janie

            I had a similar experience last fall, not so long-lasting: brief, severe intestinal bout, followed by persistent cough and fatigue, no availability of testing. The intestinal bit was especially odd, nothing eaten that others did not share and I never have had such an experience before. Makes me wonder…

          3. Phil in KC

            I started having symptoms a couple of days after Christmas. Everyone at table on Christmas was vaxxed, but two only had just had their first shots days earlier (an 8 year old and a 14 year old). Sore throat, cough, fatigue, aches, and chills. I stayed out from work for two days. Got a test, negative. Was on the mend after the third day. Guess it was just the regular cruds? And I had flu shot in September.

            I have been reading more and more accounts of neurological damage resulting from long Covid. It would seem Covid passes through the blood-brain barrier. This is bad news. The best (i.e., most realistic) prognostication now says that we will all get Covid sooner or later. If so, and even if only 3% of all cases results in long Covid, that’s millions of people with chronic, long-term disabling conditions. How are people supposed to cope with that with crap insurance?

      3. Lee

        The similarities between long Covid and ME/CFS are worth noting.

        If the current estimate that 2% of the entire population of the U.K has long Covid , and that 37% of Covid patients may develop long Covid are any indication, there should be a lot of available study subjects.

        Whether or not there will be more money devoted to research and treatments for these conditions is unclear to me. Research into ME/CFS has not received much funding. Indeed, for many years ME/CFS sufferers not only had their symptoms to contend with but were for quite some time accused of malingering by members of the medical establishment. While those days are for the most part behind us, and mitigation of symptoms has become possible in some cases through trial and error use of off-label medications, no complete cure has been forthcoming.

        I suppose a great increase in the number of people suffering from post viral syndromes might send a stronger “market signal” to our masters on Wall Street. On the other hand they may, after doing a cost/benefit analysis, just continue to consider us all to be an acceptable loss.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘If the current estimate that 2% of the entire population of the U.K has long Covid , and that 37% of Covid patients may develop long Covid are any indication, there should be a lot of available study subjects.’

          I’ve wondered about this point. So assuming that at present 2% of the population of the UK has long Covid, would that not increase with each successive wave of this virus? Especially if so many people are left weakened after a bout with it? Unless this virus magically disappears, there must be a future point in time when the number of people effected would go into double-digits.

          1. Lee

            To my knowledge there are no data on Omicron and long Covid. The source cited was published in December, 2021, so it is limited to the cumulative effects of previous waves, including the period when vaccines and newer treatments were unavailable.

            There remain many uncertainties. Will Omicron and/or future variants produce similar incidence of long term illness as have the previous waves? Will subsequent waves cause fewer incidence of acute disease because a greater degree of immunity exists within the population? To what degree are severity of disease and long Covid causally related? It is being widely assumed that universal exposure is inevitable so to what extent do previous exposures and/or vaccines provide some degree of protection against long Covid among the infected? In any event, the number of people with lingering debilitating effects from Covid is already significant. It should provide a considerable challenge to our overpriced, crap healthcare system here in the U.S.

            1. jsn

              There is a developing suite of countries with both effective medical systems or high state capability or both and high quality research. China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan spring to mind.

              In these places political incentives will support the kind of research you describe. Political incentives in the West mitigate against such research the closer one gets to the neoliberal core. And it’s not just the incentives that point the wrong direction here, there is an accelerated decay of both public and private capabilities, long in the making, compounded by the pandemic.

              I expect the political fog here (core of the neoliberal West) to become impenetrable as elections approach so will be looking abroad mostly for science.

            2. Lemmy Caution

              From Mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause multi-lineage cellular dysregulation and myelin loss in the brain:
              Page 6

              “We had the opportunity to examine human cortex and subcortical white matter samples from a cohort of nine individuals (7 male, 2 female, age 24-73) found to be SARS-CoV-2-positive by nasal swab PCR at the time of death during the spring of 2020 (March – July 2020).”

              Page 10

              “The incidence and severity of cognitive impairment following COVID-19 caused by newer SARS-CoV-2 variants such as the Omicron variant, or as a result of breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals, remains to be determined.”

          2. Sub-Boreal

            Another knock-on effect: in jurisdictions where the omicron wave has overwhelmed the official testing capacity (e.g. some Canadian provinces like British Columbia), people who discover weeks or months from now that they are stuck with Long-COVID may have no official positive test. If they acquired the original infection through workplace exposure, this lack of a test result may make it harder to get some kinds of employment-related benefits, such as workers’ compensation.

    2. Dean

      The link between CVT and vaccination may be the adenoviral vector.

      It appears that platelet factor 4 binds to proteins on the surface of the adenoviral vectors (both chimpanzee and human). This association of PF-4 and virus can lead to production of autoantibodies in some individuals if small amounts of the adenovirus enter the blood at injection site.

      From the Science article:

      “PF4 undergoes a conformational change, facilitating the binding of more common, lower affinity antibodies specific to the PF4-polyanion complex. This creates a positive feedback loop as antibodies bind to increasing copies of PF4, stimulating further platelet activation, culminating in the activation of the clotting cascade.”

      So the risk may be limited to adenoviral vectored vaccines but not mRNA?

    3. Parker Dooley

      Hi Ignacio–

      I posted these questions the other day in response to a post by GM, but didn’t get any responses, so I’m reposting them to you (or any other covid braintrusters who may be listening in). Hope I’m not violating the rules by doing this, but some of these issues have really been bothering me (as a humble retired primary care doc).

      Some items that have been puzzling me:

      What, if anything, is known about the evolution and pathogenicity of the (I believe 4) coronaviruses that are said to cause 15% of “common colds?

      PCR tests apparently detect COVID RNA for lengthy periods after symptoms and viral shedding subside. This has been attributed to “viral debris”. However several articles about mRNA vaccines have emphasized the fragility and short duration of injected naked RNA due to RNAses, and the need for protecting the mRNA with lipid or lipoprotein envelopes to allow it to function. Does the persistence of pcr-detected RNA post symptomatic infection suggest a long-term subversion of cell mechanisms causing prolonged manufacture of viral RNA, perhaps without functional capsid and accessory proteins?

      As I understand the mRNA vaccines, they cause cells (presumably myocytes) to produce whole or epitopes of the spike protein, leading to activation of the humoral branch of the immune system and production of circulating antibodies. How long does cellular production of the antigen last ? Also, I assume these cells express the spike protein on their surfaces, so are they subject to attack by the cellular immune system (particularly after rechallenge with repeated boosters)? It seems that these cells would appear to the T-cell system as infected, and therefore subject to destruction.

      1. Ignacio

        Regarding the first question, the interesting bit is that almost all changes seem to be immune escape-driven changes. It seems that decade after decade there is a noticeable antigenic drift in at least some of those other coronaviruses, apparently without much change in pathology, or at least nothing that I have read as noticeable. The rate of change is slower than in Influenza or others.
        SECOND: No, I think that it is just that clearance takes time (with some possible late replication in the last village resisting the Romans). But who really knows.
        THIRD: I don’t know the kinetics and duration of mRNA antigen production that would depend on both mRNA stability and Spike protein stability. During re-vac the cells expressing mRNA would be recognized and treated as infected and B-Cells re-stimulated for stronger humoral response. These would be recognized also by T-Cells specific to Spike epitopes explaining stronger reactogenicity after boosts. For what i know it seems such reactogenicity is, as you suspect, essentially associated with cellular responses.

      2. Dean

        I think Ignacio answered your questions. However I believe your last question needs some clarification. It is unlikely that myocytes expressing spike protein will be targets for T cell destruction.

        T cells, specifically CD8 cells do not recognize intact proteins on the cell surface of their targets. Rather, the epitopes they recognize are peptide fragments (usually 9 amino acids in length, 9mers or sometimes 8mers). These peptides are generated by incomplete proteolysis in the proteosome and are released into the cytoplasm. The peptides can be transported int the endoplasmic reticulum where they can bind to the groove of newly synthesized MHC class I molecules (AKA HLA A, B, and C). The peptide loaded MHC I migrates to the cell surface where it can become the target of CD8 cells. When bothe the CD8 cell T-cell receptor recognizes the peptide and the CD8 protein recognized MHC I the CD8 cell initiates killing of the target cell.

        So why won’t cells expressing spike be targets? The spike protein is expressed on the surface of cells and kept there by a transmembrane region. It is essentially stuck to the cell plasma membrane. It will probably be degraded through endocytosis of membrane vesicles, fusion with lysosomes, and degradation of the trapped spike by lysosomal proteases to free amino acids. It is highly unlikely that the spike protein would be found in the cytoplasm where it can lead to peptides and the MHC I pathway.

  5. Wukchumni

    Goooooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    The unit was out on patrol when the VC (venture capitalists) had us trapped in a F.I.R.E.fight between columns of a McMansion, and you just knew all the supports amounted to were stucco slathered over Tyvek and particle board, no rich Corinthian columns or I dare say Doric, but still you had to admire them, for that abode and many others were the bedrock of the country, our financial facade.

    The unit had been recognized in dispatches @ Bretton Woods for valor over all other currencies, a distinction it still holds to this day.

    1. Janie

      Wuk, for you
      There was a young fellow named Yorick,
      Who was able in moments euphoric,
      To produce for inspection
      Three kinds of erection:
      Corinthian, Ionic and Doric

  6. PlutoniumKun

    China’s birth rate drops to record low in 2021 Channel News Asia.:

    This has been predicted for many years. The demographic pattern in Asian countries as they develop (Japan, ROK, Taiwan, Singapore) has generally been a very steep drop in family size, down even below the replacement level has followed a very predictable curve. The one child policy took a bite sized chunk out of China’s population growth, but predictably did little to alter the overall pattern.

    The reasons are quite easy to see, and this is reflected in most developed countries, particularly in Europe. When you combine the need for both partners in a marriage to work very hard just to stand still during their prime child rearing years, and you don’t supply good cheap child care, and you undermine the wider extended families that would once have supported big families, you end up in this situation. Some countries (such as the US and UK) mitigated this through very flexible (i.e. uncertain) employment markets that allow women to take longer career breaks (this is often not an option in Asia where you are expected to stick with a job for life), along with immigration. Some European countries provide extensive support for childcare (Scandanavia) and this helps. It seems independent of culture – even very child friendly cultures such as Italy have suffered from this.

    Its good news of course for the planet, but its seriously bad news for China’s economy, which will face a rising dependency ratio just as it attempts the transition from middle income to high income. Its also of course even worse news if you are a Chinese builder of apartments, and the last thing they need now is to run out of future customers.

    Expect the Chinese to start even stronger exhortations to people to have bigger families. The problem is that this won’t happen unless they fundamentally change the way employment and social markets work, and there is no sign yet that Beijing is willing to grasp this nettle.

    1. Roger

      China is still at a relatively low level of GDP per capita (US$18,000 at PPP) and has very strong investment in the technology sector (including huge numbers of STEM graduates) which should allow it to keep significantly increasing its productivity. The EV sector is a very good example of the kind of breakthrough state-directed markets can achieve (just like Japan until it financially deregulated and muzzled MITI in the 1980s and early 1990s). So yes, the 18-64 age group may decline a bit each year, but the increases in productivity will far outweigh that. In addition, there are increasing technologies (e.g. exoskeletons) to allow older workers to maintain their productivity better.

      In Japan the population is declining, but they are maintaining a very high level of GDP per capita and seem to be carrying out a somewhat controlled management of the population decline. Also, the better respect for elders (than in Western countries, although it has declined in recent years) facilitates the continued beneficial (to both elders and others) utilization of ageing individuals through such things as being extra “parents” to children and also having young people earn credits towards education etc. by working with elders. Things are nowhere near perfect, but it shows a different way of viewing ageing than the standard neoliberal “dependency consumer” model.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Japan’s Shift to the Right: Computational Propaganda, Abe Shinzō’s LDP, and Internet Right-Wingers (Netto Uyo)”

    Maybe slightly off-topic to this article but Japan’s shift to the right has left it in a very exposed position. They have been making military agreements with other countries but somebody pointed out that none of them were neighbouring countries. The US? That is on the other side of the Pacific. Australia? That is at the bottom of the Pacific. India? It is in its own sub-region and does not come into it. So I checked to see what countries that Japan is near and why it does not have alliances with them instead. Russia? Japan wants the Kuril Islands back so US military bases can be established there but Russia says that Japan signed a treaty after the war giving them up. China? We all know that is a non-starter. South Korea? They have never forgotten how they were treated by Japan when the Japanese occupied them for decades. Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, etc. Same thing when Japan occupied them in WW2. So if Japan continues to move to the right and re-militarize, they will have few friends and none nearby which means that they can only look forward to being “Airstrip Two.”

    1. Patrick Donnelly

      What about the Plutonium that Japan has held onto? Its fast breeder reactors product was meant to go to Europe…..

      1. The Rev Kev

        They must have acquired that since the war. I came across an old 1946 “Life” magazine story which showed how the American occupation forces dealt with Japanese nuclear research just after the war. They carted all their equipment onto a boat and dumped it into the ocean when they were far enough off-shore.

        Since Japan is now no longer pretending that their aircraft carriers are just helicopter-carriers, they may also admit that their nuclear energy program is now also for nuclear weapons. Trouble is, if they go that path, then I am willing to bet that South Korea will also do the same which Japan would not want.

        1. bwilli123

          If China does actually manage to bar the US from the Western Pacific both Japan and South Korea will go nuclear in short order.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Agreed. And I bet that it would be a matter of months rather than years to do so for both countries.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          According to Robert Wilcox, author of Japan’s Secret War, the country was much farther along in its wartime nuclear weapons project than the allies realized at the time. The science piece was located mainly in the home islands, and the industrial activities were in what is now North Korea. It was the Soviet army that conquered that area in the final days before the surrender and what they didn’t send off to the home country remained in place and became a head start on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

          1. R.

            Thank you exPFC. I have been looking for the title of this book for years. I could not remember where I read it.

        3. Dave in Austin

          Thirty years ago Japan used to take all the commercial reactors’ spent fuel, ship it to France for reprocessing, then take it back reprocessed into two components- fresh fuel for the reactors and “byproducts” which included all the Plutonium. The shipments back to Japan from France were for many years, according to a report I think I read at the time in one of the power industry periodicals, guarded by American frigates.

          At the time I calculated how much Plutonium Japan had and came up with 200+ lbs, enough for 50 bombs. And getting the Plutonium is the hard part; designing and constructing workable bombs is the easy part and the huge advances in modeling software since then make the “never tested” bombs very likely to work.

          Israel apparently followed a similar route. An Israeli-connected businessman got the contract to reprocess the fuel from US nuclear submarine power plants at a facility in Pennsylvania during the early 1960s. An inventory of the plant during the Johnson administration indicated 200+ lbs of Plutonium was missing.

          The NYT, citing the usual unnamed sources, speculated the material was deposited in the plant’s piping system. The owner was called in for an interview but headed to Israel and never came back. When the plant was taken apart no report was published. The Johnson Presidential Library in Austin has some files dealing with the episode which I think I copied in the 1990s.

          200 lbs of Plutonium neatly matches the estimated 50 Israeli bombs. The Dimona plant out in the Negev desert was a small, 17 mw research reactor and is now credited with having taken raw uranium, using it as fuel and producing the Israeli Plutonium. But that amount of plutonium took 200+ plant-years of 1,000 mw Japanese civilain reactors to produce, so a small plant in the waterless Negev was very unlikely to have produced anywhere near that much plutonium.

          Korea and Taiwan may have followed the Japanese path, but I have not tried to follow the recycling contracts and numbers in 20 years. Taking spend civilian reactor fuel, dissolving it in acid and separating out the Plutonium is a well understood process and not hard for an industrial nation to do… especially if the nation is willing to put a few determined, patriotic citizens at high risk of dying.

          One final thought; is a potentially nuclear armed bunch of Asian democracies such a bad idea? Nuclear weapons have turned out to be the ultimate defensive weapon available for small states to fend-off big states.

          1. Zamfir

            I think your numbers are somewhat off. A typical 1000 MWe nuclear power plant produces hundreds of pounds of plutonium every year, though not of great quality for bombs. Japan has about 50 tonnes of plutonium, most of it in France and the UK (

            A plutonium-production reactor (like in Israel) produces about 3 times more plutonium per thermal watt. I cannot find reliable sources on the size of the Dimona reactor (this topic seems to attract conspiracy nuts), but 50 MWth is a rough order of magnitude. Could be half that, could be double. 50 MWth would produce about 30 pounds of plutonium per year.

      2. Zamfir

        Japan still receives shipments of MOx from France (perhaps also from the UK in the past), together with shipments of reprocessed waste. This is based on shipments of spent fuel (from regular reactors) to Europe from many decades ago

        I think Japan stopped shipping spent fuel to Europe in the 90s, in anticipation of their own Rokkasho reprocessing plant. That plant is now more or less finished, but they keep postponing its startup. Perhaps under US pressure, but that is pure speculation.

    2. Dftbs

      Yes, it’s very interesting how tone deaf to the concerns of their neighbors the Japanese are. In particular their recent statements about “defending” Taiwan. Their government seems overeager to use their islands as pincushions for Chinese and Russian missiles if Uncle Sam wills it. Something many Chinese may see as the “bean in the mooncake” if it came to war.

    3. Kouros

      The problem with Japan is that it was too coddled by the US after WWII.

      Germany NSDP party had to be expunged from the minds of German people due to socialist propensities in its ideology (not that much in practice). Japan had no such propensities and thus, from an American perspective, it was pure as white snow.

      Also, Germans were forced to look at the mounds of cadavers from the concentration camps. Japanese civilians and house wives were never forced by their occupiers to watch documentaries about the Rape of Nanking and what not… Obviously, for the American occupiers, the Chinese or other brown people in Asia did not count as humans… Or at least that would have been the logical conclusion a Japanese military man or an outside observer would have drawn.

      1. dftbs

        I think that’s largely right. MacArthur certainly seems to have made “Americans” out of them, if at least in their inability to countenance their ugly past.

        1. Oh

          The Japanese are taught revisonist history about the wars – the rape of Nanking was taught as something the Chinese did wearing Japanese soldier uniforms did to blame the ‘poor” Japanese. The Korean slave-women are still called “comfort women”. After the defeat in world war II, the Japanese easily took to the profit motive. Ayub Khan the Pakistani dictator in the late sixties called Japan “an economic animal”.

    1. lordkoos

      The LA Times is fully on board with the propaganda — “…ivermectin, the anti-parasitic treatment being promoted by a clutch of conspiracy-mongering mountebanks as a COVID-19 treatment.”

      1. Wukchumni

        As much as I respect Hilzik as a potential triple letter score on Scrabble in the variant where proper names are encouraged, the LA Times is largely a pile… a pale version of the fishwrap I grew up on, where the lead was often buried on page 9, and they had far flung correspondents hither and yon across the globe.

        They seemed to get scooped by the great train robbery in their very own backyard, I wasn’t all that surprised.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Back to Normal Isn’t Enough.

    Yes. It is worth your while. Kelsey McKinney describes what went wrong, what continues to go wrong, and how there is no effort to stop it.


    Time does not run backwards. The virus exists now and will continue to exist. But in order to continue underserving the people they represent, elected officials need us to believe that the past was an idyllic time to which we should want to return. They need us to look at the cotton gin and praise American innovation, instead of seeing an instrument of violence. They need us to idealize the past because the system blithely fails most people in the present. They need us to feel like it is our fault that the things schoolchildren are told make the United States different, and great, quite obviously no longer work at all.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      And this: This anecdote is what U.S. life is like these days. It is the triumph of “management” over the thing being “managed.” It is analysis for the sake of analysis. It’s breaking things down into their smallest parts to that someone can skim money off each part.

      The Quote:

      for months I have been fighting with my insurance. I need to take 450 mg of a drug. My initial prescription was for three 150 mg pills, but the insurance I pay so much fucking money for argues with the pharmacist every single month because they want me to take one 300 mg pill and one 150 mg pill. The prescription has been fixed to this inane, ridiculous requirement for months now, but still the insurance flags it and creates some kind of problem that the overworked but very kind pharmacist then has to solve for me. Every single person in the line in front of me had an issue like this.

      This might as well be quote from 1984 and Winston Smith waiting for some preparation to help him with the ulcer on his ankle.

      1. Bart Hansen

        The 150s are probably made in Israel or Slovenia while the 300s are from China or India, that is, involved in some such price differential.

      2. Detroit Dan

        Or from the Walter Kirn interview with Matt Taibbi:

        There’s a scene in Catch-22 in which a doctor, Doc Daneeka, he’s sitting there on the shore, looking out at the ocean, and a plane crashes into the ocean. And someone has a chart showing that the doctor standing next to him is on the plane. He mourns the death of the doctor, giving preference to the chart over the man in front of him, saying “I’m right here. I’m not on the plane!” There you have the bureaucrat’s preference for their numbers or their forms, or documents, over the reality. … The great conceit of the whole novel is that the bomber base is slowly turning into a capitalist hell.

        1. Soredemos

          I’m sorry, but that’s a terrible interview. Kirn is effectively denying there’s a pandemic on because he personally can’t see it in the small number of places he’s visited. He also thinks the boosters are basically arbitrary technocratic drivel, when the point is that with coronaviruses the active antibodies don’t last and need to be periodically refreshed. It’s not a good solution, and we don’t know what the long-term consequences of it will be, but there is a sound rationale behind it.

      3. Soredemos

        The assumption that a whole system can be made to work better through an assault on its conscious elements betrays a dangerous ignorance. This has often been the ignorant approach of those who call themselves scientists and technologists. – The Butlerian Jihad, by Harq al-Ada – Frank Herbert, Children of Dune (1976)

        People really shouldn’t ignore the later books in that series.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Good article except for all those “deserves” at the end. That’s a word to avoid.

      And the cotton gin history was very interesting:

      Ever since I learned this, I haven’t been able to hear the word “innovation” without cringing. Who is the innovation for? Whose lives will it ruin, and what exactly will it make better in the world? This, I am coming to realize, is the fundamental flaw with capitalism as we live it. If it does breed innovation, that innovation has no inherent ethics; left alone, it could ruin more people’s lives than it helps.

      Lao-Tzu had some thoughts about that:

      The more ingenious the skillful are,
      the more monstrous their inventions.

      Tao te Ching #57 (UK Le Guin version)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Eli Whitney is supposed to have invented two very key-historical things in America.

        The cotton engine ( ‘gin) which ended up fueling the Slaverist economy to the point where the Slaverists thought they could start and win a Civil War.

        And the applied concept of “interchangeable parts” which was fairly key in the Northern and Midwestern industrialization which ended up helping the North and MidWest develop the population and production advantage which allowed the North and MidWest to win that Civil War. ( Well . . . win the “war” part of it, anyway).

    3. Steve D

      I suspect this feeling is shared by many, and many of those people simply cannot see a way to reform things short of a genuine blood-in-the-streets type revolution. In my own case, the 2016 election cycle was a means of exposing the unreported and largely unseen way in which the two parties, especially since 1992, have strangled the freedom out of the electoral process. And there is no conceivable way of reforming it from this point, because reform would have to be enabled by those whose livelihood depends on reform never happening.

      But it does suggest an effective campaign messaging strategy. In the same vein as “Yes we can / No I wont”

        1. ArvidMartensen

          And we pretend that the US is a democracy, not a rigged casino.
          And we pretend that those in charge don’t assassinate and obliterate anyone who works to make the country fairer and more livable for the ordinary people.

      1. antidlc

        The other day I mentioned to a family member that we should start the “I Give a *&(% Party” (expletive deleted).

        Messaging would be:

        I give a &(% about people, not corporate profits.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      This link seems to assume that the CARES Act was passed for the benefit of ordinary people. Michael Hudson details a very different view of the CARES Act and who were its beneficiaries: refer to “US coronavirus ‘bailout’ scam is $6 trillion giveaway to Wall St – Economist Michael Hudson explains” As I recall this was a post on NakedCapitalism as well. A post from earlier this month further elaborates who benefited within its discussion of the inflation effects of the Government giveaways: NakedCapitalism “Michael Hudson: What is Causing So Much Inflation?”

      Normal was bad and getting worse, but as a consequence of the CARES Act and follow on giveaways to the FIRE Sector there will be no Normal to return to. The restructuring of the u.s. housing market is ongoing. If something is not done, which seems likely, this promises to be an interesting Spring as various housing moratoriums end.

  9. Wukchumni

    Last year, Walmart began offering Bitcoin at some of its in-store kiosks. “Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase Bitcoin,” Walmart’s communications director told CoinDesk at the time, explaining the program.

    Full Disclosure: I invested my entire $4.01k @ a Coinstar @ Wal*Mart in Bitcoin when it was in the low $50k’s and i’m down almost 20% to $3.25

    1. Craig H.

      When the shoe shine boy is talking about stocks it is time to exit the market.

      (Substitute the coinstar machine at walmart. Nobody works as a shoe shine boy any more and the coinstar machine will achieve sentience before the end of the decade if he or she or it has not done so already.)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. Sounds like we may be entering the “dump” phase of this “pump and dump” grift.

        1. ambrit

          That’s a classic case of voting against your best interests.
          Said shoeshine boy definitely has “a hole in his sole.”

      2. Skip Intro

        “A bull market is when you get stock tips from your barber, a bear market, when you get a haircut from your funds manager”

  10. Retaj

    On mobile, I am unable to read posts because the ad network that you are using serves an ad for a phone scam. It’s nasty because it does a large number of nested forwards. FYI.

    Also, I am unable to contact the support email due to my emails being classified as spam.

    1. Old Jake

      I use Firefox on my mobile and have no problems with ads, I don’t see any. On desktop, which is my usual mode, I explicitly enable ads to provide extra revenue to the N.C. management, but only see a few rather silly ads, usually for some pump and dump scheme. So: try Firefox and definitely blow off whatever came with the mobile, whether it be Safari or Chrome (Google).

    1. Michael McK

      And if early treatment with a drug with a long, very safe history of use were regularly prescribed to people when they tested positive and kept only 5% of them from needing the hospital or getting long Covid how much money would that save the insurers and the economy and how many people from suffering?

  11. griffen

    Wal mart entering the metaverse. Well naturally, cue up the list of virtual goods to be sold or exchanged in a virtual landscape and you must have the giant, land-locked dominant retailer in the mix. As compared to Amazon without a true bricks and mortar roots.

    I pulled a quote that sums it up nicely. “…everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space.'” The quote is from a trademark attorney. Elsewhere, in the related CNBC article I pulled this from, same attorney called it “super intense”.

    I am “super stoked!”. Phillip K Dick would be impressed.

    1. Wukchumni

      The self checkout ‘corral’ @ Wal*Mart somewhat resembles a bovine intervention where 2 legs goods dutifully do the work and can kind of look in the mirror-like surface of the monitor and mouth ‘thanks for shopping @ Wal*Mart’ to yourself, before being let out via the cattle chute on your own recognizance.

      1. Carolinian

        They still have checkout lanes which are honestly a bit more like a chute. Cameras there too I think.

      2. griffen

        It is eerily similar. At least they let us walk out, as opposed to the slaughterhouse(!). Instead it is death by a thousand cuts. And for the record, security cameras will watch you even elsewhere and not just the check out queue.

        Speaking of cattle, I have started into the series Yellowstone for season 4. Talk about an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Mean as rattlesnakes.

        1. Carolinian

          death by a thousand cuts

          A bit melodramatic, eh? I’m sure lots of people resent the cameras (me too when they introduced them as part of their mega self check scheme). And yet Walmart made the calculation that it wouldn’t hurt their business and that has proven true. We also accept massive spying elsewhere in our lives and most especially here on the internet. One might even argue that when it comes to spybotting Walmart is simply playing catch up to their Internet competition.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve surrendered to surveillance and feel they are onto me, in that I only go there because it’s one of the few places that has the bubbly, er Topo Chico. And it gives me a chance to gawk at the clientele.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              As a regular Walmart shopper, I’m always amused by the put-downs of Walmart “clientele,” and Walmart in general, by the “better” people who always “only go there” because they have a good reason. (Like buying “topo chico,” whatever the upper crust hell that is.)

              As if buying the same fresh pineapple for $3 instead of $5 somewhere else is not a good enough reason and deserving of mockery.

              And just by the way, gawking is rude.

              1. Wukchumni

                I’ve gawked at us all of of my life, so far. We’re really fascinating.

                If I could buy everything @ the Grocery Outlet that’d be ideal, but it is strictly hit & miss, but a lot more fun, you never know what you’re gonna find.

                1. Wukchumni

                  ha ha…

                  Funny thing in the cat food aisle the other day, the only thing they had in dry goods was bags of Meow Mix, which must be the shit. 90% of the aisle was empty.

                  The catiphate here has been quiet aside from a few bird dismemberings post par avian into windows… no gophers scurrying around in orange jumpsuits wondering where they be heading either.

          2. griffen

            If that is literally what I meant to say, which it is not, I would phrase differently. It was more of a Charlie Brown “good grief” thought in my response..

            I’m a bit less sanguine about the surveillance. In Texas, the tollway systems recorded my license tag for each entry / exit point. It is all, to a degree, far too close to Will Smith and Gene Hackman from “Enemy of the State”. But I knew they did so.

            It is what is. YMMV, possibly.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              aye…texas tollroads.
              trying to get into north austin from the north, down 183…and it turns into a tollroad…that doesn’t take cash.
              signage was atrocious, and i found myself on the damned thing with no way to get off.
              (jess a cuntray boy…which is something all texas government should just figger into their planning)
              finally found an exit, and no human, just a bunch of scanners(for my nonexistent eztag) and cameras all over.
              got the ticket almost a year later and didn’t know what it was about.
              all because rickfuckingperry and whatever foreign conglomerate he bedded with to build that thing couldn’t be bothered to install adequate signage.
              the continuing process of Enclosure takes many forms.
              as Adm Akbar said, “It’s a trap!!”.

              1. griffen

                Instead of a Star Wars analogy, I would opt for a JRR Tolkien and middle earth analogy. Even in the shire, the evil of Sauron is always and ever watching.

                Crappy signage from the DOT or a toll authority is not exclusive! Joke here in the Carolinas has long been that the DOT orange barrel is the state flower.

  12. Mikel

    “Texas scientists’ new Covid-19 vaccine is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free” Guardian

    Scientists like Bottazzi exist and we have to listen to fibbing Fauci?

    1. Anonymous

      I’d prefer that the sub-unit produced were not the infamous “spike” or at least that the spike was inactivated or attenuated.

      So I guess for now I’ll stick to being part of that increasingly persecuted control group, the unvaccinated (not so difficult a choice since I’ve already had Covid and recovered).

    1. Mantid

      I started reading it and stopped after the first or second sentence. If someone writes this as an intro sentence, I can only imagine what’s coming – a load of Bee Ess. Here it is “free money promoted by a clutch of conspiracy-mongering mountebanks as a COVID-19 treatment.” Or “excellent French wine promoted by a clutch of conspiracy-mongering mountebanks as a COVID-19 treatment.” “Medicare for all promoted by a clutch of conspiracy-mongering mountebanks as a COVID-19 treatment.”
      Regardless of the subject or point, true journalistic drivel. And people wonder why I read NC.

      1. Carolinian

        Sorry. Oddly I couldn’t seem to find a link to Hiltzik’s actual column in favor of mocking the dying unvaxxed. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough. It was either this or Fox news. But his column is big buzz in certain quarters. I’ll stick by the Kimmel speculation.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “If MLK Were Alive Today”

    I have no doubt that by now that he would have been de-platformed by Silicon Valley for either criticizing the wars that America was involved in or else saying how people were being thrown to the wolves in the middle of a pandemic while the wealthy got even more wealthy. Certainly his idea of judging a person by the content of their character would see him rejected by modern ‘liberals’ because it was either racist or not inclusive enough. But even at 93 I am sure that last year that he would never have suggested that the answer to America’s problems was to just vote for Joe Biden. And I am sure that we would be seeing him on Joe Rogan holding his own.

    1. griffen

      As a white southerner, this is territory best left for experts. However, I analogize much progress in the sports world after his death. At the time, highly visible sport stars were taking of unions, pushing for rights as US citizens, and even in protest became infamous (1968 Olympics) only much later to be heralded for their stance. This listing below is a really, really shortlist.

      1. Professional athletes have rights and union negotiated contracts
      2. Coaches and assistant coaches have won on their sports’ largest stages. John Thompson, Georgetown. Nolan Richardson, Arkansas. Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, NFL Super Bowl winners. That’s a short list.
      3. A sport that at first rejected Arthur Ashe, has two sisters that dominated their sport for nearly 20 years. The Williams sisters did remarkable things
      4. See #3. Tiger Woods owned his sport, golf, from 1997 to 2010 arguably dominating at a level never seen before.
      5. Major southern based college sports teams hired minority coaches. See Tubby Smith, Kentucky. See Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State.

      There is much still wrong with and about the college sports industry, with influences and agents at odds with the actual pursuit of a higher education.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Key pillar in the UK’s border control upgrade programme ‘lacks a systems integrator’”

    Well to be fair, the UK has only had 5 years and 7 months since the Brexit referendum vote back in 2016 to get this stuff sorted. And Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. /sarc

    1. ambrit

      So, who will it be to stand up in the House of Commons and end his or her speech with “Calais delenda est.”

  15. Mikel

    “Walmart Plots ‘Super Intense’ Crypto, Metaverse Push, Filing Suggests” Heisenberg

    “CNBC, which flagged the filings on Sunday morning, cited a trademark attorney who called the plans “super intense.” The same lawyer suggested Facebook’s rebranding effort sparked a veritable gold rush for virtual real estate in the metaverse…”

    Trademarks, patents, rushes to claim real estate, etc…
    “Metaverse” is a word that sounds expansive and inclusive. Big enough for everyone to have a place in it.

    But it’s stacking up to be another world of engineered scarcity as an indicator of value.

    1. Mikel

      “Vulnerable woman starved to death in NHS hospital following ‘unacceptable’ failures Independents (MR).”

      The woman reached a point where there wasn’t going to be a way to address her mental problems with the physical state she was in. As much as it was desired to have a facility dealing with both at the same time, it seems like she should have been in a hospital and not a mental institution in her state.

      1. JBird4049

        IIRC, it can take a month for a physically healthy person to die of starvation and something like a year for malnutrition. I find it really, really hard to believe that it was impossible for the hospital to find a way to feed her properly, or at least enough, during that time. Yes, mentally ill people often have issues with eating properly, and she did have a gastric bypass, but she was being involuntarily confined in hospital, so it is not like she had agency or that the hospital did not. This is just a case where the people in an institution did not want to bother with the extra, out of routine, work to care for her.

        1. Wukchumni

          She starved to death in the UK, is it possible she was limited to only localized food sources such as watercress sandwiches sans bread, and the like?

  16. Tom Stone

    A few more book recommendations.
    These two are Thriller/revenge novels with female protagonists.
    Thomas Perry’s “A very small town”.
    He’s been working on his craft for years and it shows in the way he ends this book.
    And he’s good ( For a man) at writing about women.

    Barry Eisler’s “Livia Lone”.
    Also good at Women’s characters,for a Man.

    Any of the late Peter Bowen’s Montana mysteries featuring Gabriel Dupree’.

    Stay sane and stay safe.

    1. Soredemos

      Livia Lone is terrible. Despite ostensibly being about outrage over the sexual commodification of girls and women, the character is herself a male sex fantasy: the avenging, gun-toting action girl badass who rides a motorcycle while wearing tight leather, seducing criminals who ‘escaped the system’ (because as we all know, the US justice system lets career criminals who aren’t ultra rich off all the time /s) at bars with her ‘tight body’.

      She’s also yet another Punisher-style vigilante who goes outside the system to hunt down people she ‘knows’ are guilty. One day someone will write a character like this who ends up killing someone whop was actually innocent, and has to deal with the fallout of that. But that would actually be interesting.

      1. Mantid

        Great comment – reminded me of a clear difference I learned between American and French culture. Neither is “better”, just different. Low income and living in France I needed something to pass the time so I looked for a “paint by numbers” at FNAC. One I saw cracked me up. It was of a guy on a chopper with a sexy rider on the back, topless, suggestive, and quite the “girl badass who rides a motorcycle”. Vive la difference!

    2. LifelongLib

      “Also good at Women’s characters,for a Man.”

      Supposedly a woman once complimented G.B. Shaw on how well he understood women, and he replied with puzzlement that all he did was describe how he himself would feel in the situation he was writing about. The differences between men and women are greatly exaggerated…

      1. Soredemos

        This is also the Josh Olson school of writing women: he just writes people, and some of them are women.

    3. someofparts

      Speaking as a female, Larry McMurtry gets my vote for a guy who does a great job of creating female characters.

  17. flora

    re: COVID-19: Democratic Voters Support Harsh Measures Against Unvaccinated – Rassmussen.

    I agree with this guy:

    It’s a psychological wonder to realize there’s a growing number of people who believe you should be force injected with something that doesn’t protect them and that may cause you fatal harm. If that wasn’t crazy enough, these people also think their position is the virtuous one.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that there is a ‘2nd order’ group protective effect of vaccination in that it can reduce the severity of disease in the infected, which alleviates stress on the medical system (‘flattening the curve’, which has been in view since almost the earliest days of public messaging re: the pandemic).

      “(generic) You not getting sick enough with COVID to require hospitalization frees a bed in case I need it”

      That’s not to justify the attitude, but to attempt to understand what might motivate it.

      1. Carolinian

        So fire the unvaxxed nurses (even if they, being nurses, have already had Covid) and then say one has to be jabbed with experimental vax because there aren’t enough nurses.

        Definite Joseph Heller material.

        Ever since I read here at NC that the vax would be non sterilizing (as they say) and therefore no cure for the epidemic I assumed that meant they weren’t going to make you take it. Meanwhile they suppress the study of ivermectin which may indeed keep people out of the hospital.

        It’s hard to see good faith in any of this. Which is why it has launched many conspiracy theories.

      2. tegnost

        While that is true, the critical failure was/is mask policy, imo used as a political/economic tool (see zients post) by the same who promised to “follow the science” but instead unsurprisingly followed the money. Proper mask use probably is equally preventive compared to vaxxed peeople who can spread the disease. The as yet untold story are the ecstasies of the actuarial and quant class.
        Also, less bad might not be all it’s cracked up to be…

      3. Samuel Conner

        > “(generic) You not getting sick enough with COVID to require hospitalization frees a bed in case I need it”

        > That’s not to justify the attitude, but to attempt to understand what might motivate it.

        This looks a great deal like paragraphs 4-6 of Lambert’s recent analysis of the 12/13/2021 Biden speech. Maybe people are listening to him, after all.

    2. cnchal

      It is getting bad out there. A Toronto Star article written by a reporter / journalist / morality queen equated vaccine refuseniks as a part of death cult.

      What part of non – sterilizing doesn’t she understand? Apparently all of it.

      Disclosure – I got my two shots of Pfizer goo moar than a half year ago. Am I still vaccinated? I never thought I was. So far I am hesitant to get a booster mostly because I never did trust the “authorities” nor the pharma companies and now the story keeps changing, with Bourla and his deception that two shots were never going to be enough and his claim that only continualy being shot is on order for the daze ahead.

      Whenever I see that guy on Tee Vee I picture a prisoner’s tag hanging around his neck with the number $10,000,000,000 on it with the words “I too want to be a multi billionaire” underneath.

    3. marym

      I imagine polls would also show the psychological wonder that among the people who oppose the mandate are also those who think that masks are tyranny. A poll comparing the numbers would be interesting.

      Biden’s mandate for employers includes a testing alternative. There are no doubt reasonable arguments that the availability of tests, and paid leave support are inadequate to the alternative, or that vaxxed people should also be tested, but this factor should at least be part of the discussion.

      It would be psychologically and politically wonderful if there was polling showing that a majority of people opposed to a vaccine mandate were also in favor of masks, testing, ventilation, and paid leave, but “both sides” seem to have failed on supporting these measures.

      1. flora

        I agree with your general point. Another question I have about the R poll – (because I can’t believe the % of all Dems agree with the calculated % in the poll, at least I hope note) – is how the poll was conducted. I was called – on my still existing land line – by a poll taker on Friday, but I never take polls and declined. My question about R’s poll is how was conducted; was it conducted by only calling people with land lines – a shrinking number of households, particularly among the younger households ? So, was it conducted only on the subset of voters who still have land lines? If so, that’s a problem with all these polls. But, I don’t know how this poll was conducted. I just hope the real Dem voting base isn’t what this poll suggests.

        1. Mantid

          Thanks for still having a land line. If there was a poll that you and marym are imagining, I’m vaxed (luckily only once with j&j) and I am for mask usage and against vax mandates.
          Regarding a land line, we are involved in a “map your neighborhood” group. We meet (AKA met, not lately for Covid reasons) and connect to learn who has chainsaws, medical experience, wood heat, tools, various skills, etc. in cases of emergency – to help our neighbors. I’m tempted to initiate a non cell phone subgroup. We’d learn to anticipate what to do when either there was no cell coverage and/or how to communicate and do “money” transactions if our social credit scores didn’t allow us to access the corporate state run digital monetary system coming in a few years.
          Sorry, got a bit high on the chance to dis cell phones and digital currency.

      2. jimmy cc

        not a republican.

        will wear a mask, and do. will not get vaccinated.

        but mostly i agree with your assessment.

        1. marym

          I wear a mask, I’m vaxxed and boosted, don’t support a mandate for these vaccines, don’t oppose public health mandates including vaccines in general, don’t support anti-maskers whether of the pro-vax or anti-vax cohort

          1. jimmy cc

            if the mandate was passed by legislation and upheld by the courts it would make the mandate legitimate.

          2. Carolinian

            Remember at the beginning of the summer when Biden said you can take off your masks now because you’ve been vaxxed? The ever shifting rights and wrongs make your head spin. Supposedly Biden even opposed the vaccine before the election–back when it was Trump’s idea.

            As I’ve said here before I wear a mask in public but I’m not a fanatic about it. I don’t think children should be required to wear them in school because there may be repercussions we don’t even know about. Adults get to make choices. They don’t. The ultimate precautionary principle is “first do no harm.” Needless to say medicine, which in the 18th century may have killed more patients than it saved, is shakey on this one.

            Biden and all the politicians should butt out. But it’s probably too late.

        2. HotFlash

          Not vaxxed and won’t be if I can help it (so far, so good). Reason? 1.) The mRNA technique is experimental, and not in any way that induces confidence in me (the trials were shockingly holey), and 2.) it’s not a vaccine. I am not an anti-vaxxer per se, but have from the first doubted that any corona virus can be vaccinated against, and it seems I am right.

          I take seriously my responsibility to protect myself and others, outside my home but especially in it. I go out seldom, don’t stay out long, avoid crowded places/times, double mask, distance 6 to 10 feet, cross the street (but wave!) to protect my neighbours and, er, um, ventilate. Here at home there are another two nonagenarians, one severely compromised with COPD and dementia (or maybe a stroke, they are not sure — doh!). I take supplements (eg., D3 and zinc) to support my immune system and have given them to friends and neighbours, thanks to early, early advice via NC. I respect anyone’s right to make a different choice re vaxx or whatever; we are in difficult times. Surety does not seem possible, the ‘authorities’ seem unreliable, and we all have to do the best we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbours.

          I also respect the right and duty of physicians to treat their patients as they see fit, allowing of course that patients are “partners in their healthcare”*. That we are only now being directed to use quality masks, and the official resistance to any prophylaxis, whether vitamin and mineral supplements, environmental (eg, ventilation), or pharmaceutical, as well as many promising treatments, some of which may start with I, is a crime against humanity. I mean this most literally.

          * Per many signs at my local hospital. I have found that, in practice, they seem to by far prefer silent partners, but that is another topic.

    1. Wukchumni

      Luckily the rink will still work as advertised, allowing Joe to show his stuff, and he’s been skating on thin ice since day one, so the forlorn hope is that the President’s seasoning has him ready to mount the medal podium despite flubbing the triple dough loop in practice.

      USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

    2. gc54

      That picture with brilliant composition must go in a time capsule to be opened with question “what’s snow?”. Just bury it at the 50 metre contour to allow access without gills.

    3. ChrisRUEcon

      Can’t wait for the Caribbean to host its first Winter Oympics one day! :-)

      #CoolRunningsPartDeux #TheBobsledComesHome

    4. jr

      Thanks. You cannot make up stuff like this. This is going on the list with the commenter who couldn’t get fresh vegetables while living in the middle of toxic Big Ag country, the nuclear plant on the fault line, and the air scrubbing plant that you would need a zillion of to make any difference. Cosmic lunacy, a metaphor that hits you like a sailing brick…

  18. Dftbs

    Mideast soccer on Kazakhstan and “swapping the rule of law for the law of the jungle” doesn’t even attempt to address the lofty thesis in its title. It’s a now stale, if histrionic, account of the events of last week which ignores the glaring fact which makes its title moot. The CSTO intervention was done under the guidelines set out by international law, not the whims of some imaginary “rules based order.”

    All the handwringing about the collapse of the US led liberal world order belies the fact that it has already collapsed. There is nothing we can affect in the real world, physically or economically, to resuscitate it. All that’s left is the narrative control which firmly holds that 15% of the world known as the collective West, hence all we get is tantrums throughout our media space.

    1. Wukchumni

      Going to war is a proven method to cover up gross inadequacies after being a lame duck in reverse this first year of his term & add 15 to 20 approval points in a jiffy, giving Joe an approval rating approaching 50%, reassuring the chief executive that they were his better half.

      1. dftbs

        Going to war, perhaps. But losing a second one (Afghanistan being the first) on your term, and this one to a peer competitor is a sure fire way to get yourself on a gallows. Perhaps literally.

        There was some commentary earlier in the week comparing the last Russian-US summit in Geneva to a possible “Munich”. This of course because the historical vernacular of western thought leaders is very limited and they fetishize the importance of that event. I imagine the Russians see it more like Potsdam, but I see how that may seem too triumphalist or defeatist depending on one’s sympathies. Perhaps it’s more like another German city.

        After the disastrous invasion and retreat from Russia, and the defeat at the battle of Leipzig, the Sixth Coalition offered Napoleon a sweetheart deal. The Frankfurt proposals would allow the Bonaparte dynasty to hold France, and at its natural borders which were defined as the Pyrenees, Rhineland, Savoy and Belgium; far larger than today’s France. He refused and the rest is history.

        Now the Russians are giving us a similar deal, “you keep what you have and stay there, we’ll stay here.” I fear our imminent refusal and the confidence they have in effecting more onerous terms the next time we negotiate. These aren’t people known for bluster.

    2. Davein Austin

      Maybe we and the Russians should make a deal; we will send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan and they will send them to Haiti.

    1. lordkoos

      There is some evidence that the omicron wave has already peaked in places like NYC and Boston. If this holds true then it may be over in most of the USA in a couple of weeks. If our county in WA is any indication, it has already gone through many communities — I personally know several people who tested positive for COVID in the last week, either being asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

      1. MichaelC

        I’ll believe the NYC Hopium once they release wastewater data as Boston does.
        Twin Cities waste data shows continuing spike as does Michigan’s state data

  19. Howard

    Thought Experiment:
    What would be the US institutional response if the next Covid variant was highly contagious and fairly lethal but only for the wealthy(top 10% say) and their immediate family? I’m certain “let er rip”, “ herd immunity”, and “in person school!” would be jettisoned. Let’s call this variant kmarx.

    1. wendigo

      “fairly lethal except for the wealthy who can buy testing and early treatment options unavailable for the rest.”

      Let’s call this variant “because markets”.

  20. Gumnut

    Denmark sitrep:

    – cases are remaining stable, but still mighty high (2k per 100k case rate)

    – the Danish SSI has successfully mixed the 95%+ omikron case data with the 5% delta data to get rid of the omikron being overrepresented in the double-vaccinated (being roughly 2x more likely than a completely unvaxxed to get omikron) and is full speed on everyone get boosters

    – both recovered & vaccinated EU QR-code coronapasses now expire at 5months (even though SSI data itself shows that reinfection risk after vax is 90% (10% protection) at 9 months and 20% (80% protection) for unvaccinated). Just yesterday 900k greenpasses (1/7th of the population) expired. 3 times weekly spending 30min in test queues or just get another jab.

    – one a personal note – going with the traditional Danish disease vector = Kindergarten, our little one brought omikron home & now the whole household is sick. Mostly just a shitty 24h of fever & headaches followed by mediocre enjoyment fatigue days, but all recovering. Even got to try out me horsey medication (didn’t feel that I needed it, but just to squash tail risk).

    – due to the expiry of the needed QR greenpasses (if you work in ed or health), we have friends chasing sick people to get an infection ‘booster’ – he’s a Pharma PhD working on RNA and him & family has refused to take ‘experimental/ EUA products’ all the way. Peverse health incentives.

    Much ink has been spent on writing about the false dichotomy of the bipolar view that either you are fully down with the official covid narrative OR you are a rightwing nutjob who believes covid is not real. I would like to present a threatmodel with 3 poles:

    1. Covid (the disease). Long covid, weird long-term disease, brain damage, the lot.

    2. The Medical Industrial Complex: profit motive, enough money&incentive to engage in corruption.

    3. The Authoritarian State test-drive: Greenpasses, surveillance, QR codes, propaganda & population control by fear.

    1 isn’t going to go away anytime soon. 2 is still making money and will make even more by the now ‘safe&approved’ psychologically reduced barrier to entry of other mRNA medications and 3., well ‘they’ always like a little more power and all handy when jackpot scenarios start appearing at scale.

    1 I can at least affect on the household level, 2 I could usually evade if I deemed it to be predatory, but if 3 & 2 gang up, then man, then one ends up in a sh*tty corner to fight out of.

    I know this ‘model’ does not make for optimism points, but it let’s one get out of either you are with us or against us false causal relations type of discussions. Just my 2 cents.

  21. kirk seidenbecker

    Just thought I’d share this bit of random information here… I suffered a kitchen burn on my thumb last night, a bit more painful than normal – usually run afflicted area under cold water but this time, after a YouTube search,I kept my hand in a bowl of sugar for @ an hour…. Today – no blister, almost no pain..

      1. Mantid

        And aloe vera, the plant. Beautiful cactus type plant readily available in many stores. Great for a house plant. Break off tip of a leaf and wipe the pulp on skin. Painless and healing, but don’t use on an open wound such as a deep cut. Not bad, just not real effective. Very good contra burns. Get well Kirk.

  22. Ranger Rick

    The cynic in me knows that nobody is going to learn from the China supply chain debacle, or if they do learn something, it’s that they didn’t diversify in Southeast Asia enough. Sigh. Same thing goes for the semiconductor shortage. Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, at least, recognizes that their unhappy customers might invest in their competition that manufactures a little closer to home.

  23. fresno dan

    Vulnerable woman starved to death in NHS hospital following ‘unacceptable’ failures Independents (MR). MR: “Interesting that all the comments are outraged, no one saying ‘she was a loser’ as you so often see in comments these days.”

    I click on the article and I get a message: Sorry, we can’t find that page

  24. allan

    Never eat at a place called Mom’s … and never buy food from a place called …

    Amy’s Kitchen says its food is made with ‘love.’ Some at the factory say the job has left them injured.

    … Amy’s Kitchen declined to comment on the specific accounts given by De La Luz and four other workers interviewed by NBC News, citing company privacy policy. “It saddens us to hear that a few of our employees may be having a poor experience with us,” Chief People Officer Mike Resch, who spoke on behalf of the company, said as part of a statement. …

    And don’t do business with a firm that employs a `Chief People Officer’.

    1. griffen

      The working title for Chief People Officer. I’m sure the Linked in profile page is fascinating. I assist in the humane management and overseeing of our human capital. I am available also to assist in the mitigation of peer to peer relations and best practices for our “factory floor minions”, er, factory associates.

      Why does that conjure this thought from Dilbert? I just can’t help being cynical.

  25. Dirk

    “Get Ready for More Volcanic Eruptions as the Planet Warms Scientific American”

    Yes, possibly, only in areas currently covered with glaciers. Time frames not applicable to human lifespans. Most volcanoes are not coved by glaciers.

    Just more climalarmism to put an extra one dollar a gallon tax on gasoline as soon as the next session of congress?

    1. Mantid

      I disagree. Wouldn’t all the displaced weight of the water from ice caps, glaciers, etc. melting change and move the pressure on different parts of the Earth’s crust? Just like taking a few steps and standing on a rotten board – it’s gonna break. The board wouldn’t have broken through if no one had stood on it. “A pint a pound the world around.”

  26. chuck roast

    “Hope on the Horizon”

    Most people are unaware that there is a highly profitable “auction cartel” extant on a national level. Everybody knows of Sotheby’s and Christies at the top level. There are mid-level houses like Doyle’s, Bonham’s and Freeman’s and regional auction houses like Skinner, Brunk and Grogan’s. Typically these businesses act in lock-step on both seller charges and buyer charges…20% for the former and now increasingly 27.5% for the latter.

    So, if you put up a modestly priced collectable at one of these houses for action a very, very large chunk of the purchase price will carved out for the house. Let’s say your piece sells at auction for $1,000. You know that the buyer is willing to pay $1,275 for the lot. The buyer may have to pay sales tax as well. The house remits you $800. So, you get $800, and for doing little or nothing the auction house gets $475. Nice work if you can get it. Only a few years ago the buyer paid 15% on a lot purchase. I’m waiting for a Silicon Valley genius to “disrupt” this comfy little scam.

  27. Kris Alman

    Regarding Corbevax, it’s stunning that we didn’t take this simpler route sooner.

    Genentech developed and Eli Lilly licensed and marketed recombinant DNA technology using yeast to produce human and synthetic insulins 4 decades ago. In 2014, 300 biopharmaceutical products, including therapeutic proteins and antibodies, had sales exceeding USD100 billion.

    Corbevax vaccines are possible through mass manufacturing the spike protein using a yeast factory (as has been successfully done with Hepatitis B vaccines). Then the antigen antigen is injected with an adjuvant for the immune response.

    Why did big PhRMA take the complicated route to inject SARS-CoV 2 spike protein RNA into our cells to then make the spike protein?

  28. Wukchumni

    Due to a semiconductor shortage, Sequoia NP has been closed for nearly a month now, with entry into the Giant Forest expected to start on January 21st.

    The old usual animals in the forest for the trees were pretty unreliable, so some years ago as their species started dwindling, animatron black bears, deer, chickarees and most everything else on 4 legs were introduced by NPS in lieu of the real thing. Nobody had noticed and it’s best to let sleeping AI dogs lie, but when they start going out and a buck-buck fifty chip can’t fix it because you can’t find any, there was no choice but to shut down the park in the meantime.

    Well, that sounded plausible enough… but the real reason is debris flows and lots of snow and water all around the Generals Highway from the KNP Fire. You can drive up to Hospital Rock for now.

  29. jr

    David Chalmers on the blessings of virtual reality:

    This guy is an idiot, “hard problem” formulation aside:

    “Advances in technology will deliver virtual worlds that rival and then surpass the physical realm. And with limitless, convincing experiences on tap, the material world may lose its allure, he says.”

    Now reality isn’t real enough. How much more can these people degrade the human experience? There was that humanities professor mocking ancient divination rights, behavioral scientists swapping out your dreams for a Coors Lite 6-pack of pi$$, now a philosopher who is bored with things and wants to live in a pair of goggles. Sickening!

    1. LifelongLib

      If you want to, you can already spend all day reading novels or watching TV. Not as immersive as VR but basically the same thing. What Chalmers proposes just takes being a couch potato to a new level.

  30. Tom

    “Back to normal isn’t enough” . Hard to muster up sympathy for a people that voted for Biden and now is realising it was a mistake.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      The media buildup that Trump was Hitler when really he was bargain basement Salazar(that’s Portugal, bub) and that Biden would somehow ‘heal’ America. Did people believe it? Or has the education system failed that spectacularly to instill some modicum of critical thinking? Probably both.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is sympathy and sympathy. The guy who was behind the Onion Biden regrets it because it helped create the perception of Biden as some “git her done” kind of guy, inuring him from his real problems. Then for the most part, everyone was simply too nice. Yes, he was arguably the best part of the Obama administration (its Sotomayor), but for too many doofuses, he was relatively innocuous.

  31. NotTimothyGeithner

    Paul Begala thinks the Democratic elites have a problem with the voters. Then he doubled down. No wonder he seemed like the most dishonest Crossfire host, a show featuring James Carville, Bob Novak, and Tucker Carlson.

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