Links 2/1/2022

Crows Trade Cigarettes For Food Hackaday. Resilc: “I’d feel much better for USA USA’s future if we had 535 crows in Congre$$.”

Ranchers Seek Remedy To Black Vultures In S.C. Drovers (resilc)

Rhinos: Back from the Brink Reason to be Cheerful (resilc)

A new ‘Einstein’ equation suggests wormholes hold the key to quantum gravity Science News (Chuck L)

Giant dying star explodes as scientists watch in real time — a first for astronomy KVIA (Chuck L)

Scientists estimate 9,000 tree species are still unknown to them Business Insider (Kevin W)

Number of Earth’s tree species estimated to be 14% higher than currently known, with 9,200 species yet to be discovered PhysOrg (David L). Um, still doesn’t change the fact that we’ve wiped out a ton.

‘I Cloned My Dog—They Have Completely Different Personalities’ Newsweek (furzy)

The New Lysenkoism: Scientific American’s broadside against E. O. Wilson fits a fashionable, science-denying trend. CJ (resilc)

Socrates on the Blessing of Being Refuted Antigone (Anthony L)


‘I wanted my art to resonate’: The Zimbabwean sculptor responding to Covid with creativity Guardian

‘Mark of the Antichrist’: Greek holy men sow vaccine mistrust France24 (resilc). We warned of the Mark of the Beast concerns…but the objection among US evangelicals is not to vaccines but mandates…This is much broader.

Economic Survey Glosses Over 2021 COVID-19 Horror, Key Details on Health Schemes The Wire (J-LS)


Please read the full thread:

Study on long COVID finds hidden lung abnormalities not detected in routine tests Times of Israel

Mild COVID-19 cases still lead to attention and memory issues: study Reuters. Money quote:


GM: “#nottheOnion”:

Scarcity of a Covid drug sends patients on a ‘Hunger Games hunt’ STAT (martha r). From last week, still germane.


Freedom Convoy: Trudeau calls trucker protest an ‘insult to truth’ BBC (resilc)

Trudeau reappears to denounce ‘Freedom Convoy’ truckers RT (Kevin W)


The record $1 trillion trade deficit doesn’t even count hundreds of millions of small packages mailed directly from China MarketWatch (resilc)

Alexa whistleblower demands Amazon apology after being jailed and tortured Guardian


India Will Lose 101 Billion Labour-Hours a Year to Global Warming’s Effects The Wire (J-LS)

India UnderSpends On Nutrition, New Nutrition Programme Yet To Be Implemented India Spend (J-LS)

Gandhi assassination: Why Nathuram Godse was allowed to read his hate-filled accusations in court The Scroll (J-LS)

Portugal’s ruling Socialists win re-election with outright majority France24

Fruit pickers lured to Portugal by the dream of a ‘raspberry passport’ Guardian (resilc)

New Cold War

Russia provides written response to U.S. proposal for deescalation as Biden’s Ambassador to the UN claims Moscow is preparing to send 30,000 troops to the Belarus-Ukraine border: State Dept orders home family members of government workers in Belarus Daily Mail (J-LS). Wow, someone really wants this war.

Most Americans Don’t Want War With Russia. Where Are Progressives? American Prospect (Kevin C). Depressing amount of pushback on a big mailing list with a lot of press and academic names.

US Naval Presence in Black Sea More Than Doubled in 2021 Compared to 2020 Antiwar (resilc)

Dumping on Germany: Do US pundits ever consider the cost? Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Could Take a Wide Toll New York Times (Kevin C). I am not in a position to make an independent assessment, but with the US hitting Russia with various sanctions since IIRC 2014, it’s hard to see that there is much ammo left in that weapon. And Russia has had all this time to become more of an autarky.


Israel calls on Amnesty International to not release report accusing country of apartheid PBS (David L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How IBM’s Watson went from the future of health care to sold off for parts. Slate (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The F-35C’s Radar-Absorbent Skin Is Looking Pretty Rough After Months At Sea The Drive (Kevin W)

ERCOT Projects High Electricity Demand During Cold Snap NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth (J-LS)


Islamophobia and the Capitol Insurrection Juan Cole, TomDispatch


Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines New York Times (furzy). Pretty tenuous. Weighing a proposal to rob a bank is not robbing a bank. But politically, sure not a good look.

Fascism isn’t coming UnHerd (resilc). From last year, still germane.


Does the Biden administration have an economic worldview? Asia Times (Kevin W)

Cotton threatens to block DOJ nominees over refusal to defend US Marshals in 2020 Portland Antifa riots Fox News

Joe Biden’s Saigon Atlantic (resilc). Military-industrial types will not stop beating this dead horse….


Manchin ‘anxious’ to confirm Breyer’s Supreme Court successor The Hill (Kevin W). Is it just me, or does this strike you as a mindfuck?

The Supreme Court’s Christian conservative revolution is upon us Vox (resilc)

Democrats en déshabillé

Rhode Island Dems On Track to Hand GOP Midterm Advantage Intercept (resilc)

Fearing catastrophe, national nonprofit asks Broward to ban LNG shipments at Port Everglades Florida Bulldog (Chuck L)

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew’s Costly U.S. Court Battle Puts Strain on Finances Bloomberg (J-LS)

Police State Watch

Miami Beach commission directs city to appeal dismissals of criminal ordinance cases Miami Herald (J-LS)

Does the Mafia Hire Good Accountants? SSRN (resilc)

Inside Kazakhstan’s giant crypto-mine BBC

Progressive Crypto Skeptic Set to Join Consumer Finance Watchdog Bloomberg (martha r). Missed this last week. Occupy Wall Street lives!

Guillotine Watch

Woman rents tent on her Zürich balcony for $540 a month Boing Boing (resilc)

Class Warfare

The Nursing Home Slumlord Manifesto American Prospect (martha r). From the formidable Moe Tkacik.

Teachers are quitting, and companies are hot to hire them Wall Street Journal (resilc)

More than 50 Starbucks stores now petitioning to unionize The Hill

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Sandy’s Beach Shack near the foot of the pier in Huntington Beach (CA) welcomes dogs.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Samuel Conner

    Don’t be too hard on Mayo Pete. He’s scratching the itch he can reach.

    And the amusement value is quite high.

    1. ambrit

      The cynic in me wonders if Pete’s CIA “handlers” aren’t trying to set up a “legend” for the man prior to his re-run for president or vice-president in 2024?
      For those who are not spy book afficionadoes, a “legend” is a made up ‘life’ for an agent with which to give an illusion of ‘reality’ to a completely bogus ‘product.’
      Next, I expect some internet “influencers” to begin posting ‘happy time fables’ concerning Pete on a graduated but progressive timetable.

      1. Wukchumni

        Pete’s auto neurotic fixation gives good cover for him blacking out any inefficiencies he might be harboring elsewhere, I mean to say who wouldn’t like less deaths by chariot, swing low?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        They tried, but the office warriors at the CIA ran with Pete being a driver for officers on base. That’s hard core for them. As for their people on the ground, they wouldn’t trust them.

        Besides Buttigieg is more of an aspirational candidate. He likely has backers who believe him with deep pockets behind his dark money group, expecting to be named ambassador to France or the UK, not dissimilar to Ted Cruz’s backers. Like Rubio, he’s a rich, out of touch old man’s idea of what a young person should be. Rubio and Buttigieg’s height probably lyrics attracts donors who think they would run the White House.

        There was an article in probably politico about donors abandoning Hillary for Obama. One guy put his name in the article and simply gripes about how Hillary didn’t call him enough. Obama took his calls.

        1. Mary

          “It’s time for a new mentality for roadway safety.”

          What’s planned are mandatory and preinstalled GPS, speed and data recorders in all new cars, and perhaps older ones when registered or insured.

          Police, attorneys, advertisers and who knows who, will have access to the data. Such a McKinsey Solution.
          Buttgag me with a silver spoon.

        2. amechania

          A note from a future speech.

          “I, Pete Buttigeg, will be suspending my presidential campaign, and endorse candidate X … for the good of the party and the nation.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Mayo Pete said ‘We would never tolerate 3,000 deaths per month on America’s airlines or subways, but on our roads we act like it’s normal.’ but you will never catch him saying something risky like ‘We would never tolerate 30,000 deaths per month in America’s hospitals or homes, but under both parties we act like it’s normal.’

        1. Craig H.

          He needs to team up with Musk and claim we are going to have transporter units by 2035. Transporter units to Mars. Transporter units to that space ship ordering Saturn I keep forgetting the name to.

      1. flora

        I’m starting to think of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy… where Mayo Pete is not Mr. Bergen. / ;)

            1. ambrit

              Me, I’m “rooting” for Pinocchio. The nose knows. (There are too many risque puns available here, but I have enough “Troll Points” as it is.)
              [When I accumulate enough TPs, do I get a bridge to lurk under?]

              1. The Rev Kev

                Your “rooting” for Pinocchio? Has that Antipodean colloquialism made it’s way north then? :)

                1. ambrit

                  Well, Rev, I wasn’t looking for truffles.

                  Q: What do you call a Tory pig with lipstick on?
                  A: Ask Boris.

                    1. Terry Flynn

                      The half that when I was 1mm over the divider on a road into which a tradie driving a ute was turning into yelled “you stupid c-word” caused me to roar with laughter.

                      Swearing is much funnier when done with an aussie accent. Alas I never picked it up properly and now sound thoroughly British again.

                    2. ambrit

                      I had to ask, didn’t I.
                      It’s really funny that G B Shaw’s quip about America and England being two countries divided by the same language also applies to many more places, persons, and things.
                      Stay safe!

                1. Wukchumni

                  We didn’t do Clarabell out west, more of a Bozo crowd.

                  The whole idea with Bozo was to attempt and make some horribly hard little physical trick to win a giant bin full of toys.

                  Who would be our Bozo?

        1. Nikkikat

          Lol Flora! I still laugh about Trump calling him Alfred E Newman. Trump never said anything I though particularly funny, but that was pretty good.

      2. Nikkikat

        Given the covid death toll on a daily basis, this statement really is one of the more stupid remarks Pete has made.

      3. Pelham

        Yes! Absolutely, something like this came to mind when I saw the quote. Thank you.

        Separately, there was barely a media ripple as we passed 900,000 Covid deaths. I suspect they’re busy anticipating how they’ll artfully ignore the 1 million mark when it clicks into view.

    3. QuarterBack

      Timing is good to leverage the talking points to expedite some wish list items of the elites.

      Monetization of a problem to fund executive branch piles of steady cash. Since fines and fees are not “taxpayer funds”, at the Federal and many state and local levels, they have far fewer restrictions and oversight for how these funds are spent or reported.

      Building the surveillance infrastructure to further shred privacy and further monetize personal metadata, and build mechanisms for restricting travel or piling on additional costs on competitors to monopolies of industry or political agendas.

    4. Pat

      I am almost as appalled by the numerous replies declaring that Tesla has the solution as by the original tweet. Of course those replies make it clear that Pete and his handlers understand much of the electorate better than I do.

      1. Carla

        So depressing. I know numerous people whom I would have thought well-educated and relatively well-informed, who are calling for Buttigieg in ’24. Boggles the mind and pains the soul.

        1. jonboinAR

          Well if Trump was a reasonable choice for President, and then Biden was a reasonable choice, well then…

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘The recall shows that Tesla programmed its vehicles to violate the law in most states’

          The stupidity. It burns!

      2. JBird4049

        >>>understand much of the electorate better than I do.

        Cult leaders do tend to understand their members marks better than anyone else. Since the Democratic Party is a cult…

  2. Michael Ismoe

    Rhode Island Dems On Track to Hand GOP Midterm Advantage Intercept (resilc)

    Good Lord, these people are greedy. They are worried about a Rhode Island seat that is D+17 as not being blue enough? They must be expecting a blowout of epic proportions.

  3. The Rev Kev

    The New York Post not naming the cop who was at the heart of the fake vaccine card scam? Maybe they knew it was not a good idea to get them offside as they are based in New York. And the sight of thousands of cops packing a New York street would have reinforced this thought. That is why you need a Susan Sarandon to highlight that tweet. After all, as she has admitted herself, she is a very powerful woman-

    1. jsn

      For my 36 years in NY, the Post has always been the Cops paper.

      They do, on occasion, cover some stuff the polite society of NYT and WSJ sociopaths won’t cover, usually regarding readers or writers for these more tasteful propagandists.

    2. Larry Carlson

      These days, any major media outlet seems to largely follow a party line — it’s easier to maintain your subscriber count just by pandering to your base. I tend to glance at the NYT, WSJ, and NY Post daily just to get fuller coverage. Decades ago, I was more comfortable reading just the NYT and leaving the Post to the morons interested in celebrity trivia, but the fact-to-opinion ratio in the NYT has experienced a sharp decline, perhaps due to a combination of pandering to the base and the high cost of actual reporting compared to opinion columns.

      The Post is amusingly schizophrenic in its COVID coverage, alternating skeptical opinion pieces with the occasional vaccine propaganda article (“Unvaxxed Mother of Four Dies of COVID; Last Words Were If Only I Had Been Vaxxed”).

    3. Maritimer

      Always love that “One rotten apple in the barrel.” A few more than that.

      Serpico and the Knapp Commission in NYC:

      One of the few books ever written in the US about corruption, cop Leonard Schecter in On The Pad:

      I remember Schecter writing that if there was a code over the radio for a shootout the cops would head in the other direction. Code for a Dead person at a swanky apartment, cops would race to see who could get in first and get some loot. Grab the loot and then head out undetected via fire escape.

      And one of the most prized jobs was Narcotics Squad where you could shake down rich dealers for loot even protecting them so they could be cash cows. Leave them on the Street like a living mortgage.

      With the demonstrable corruption from Wall Street, things are probably way worse now than they were in the 70s.

  4. Samuel Conner

    Here’s the preprint on the “SARS-nCov-2 in brain” study in macaques that was mentioned in the Anthony Leonardi interview linked yesterday,

    This hasn’t passed peer review, but the study design looks (to me, admittedly a ‘lay’ assessment) straightforward enough that I think one has to regard it to be concerning.

    Keep those N95s on.

    Given the current cumulative COVID mortality count and the rising rate, the total count will approach 1 million by March 1, the date of the upcoming SOTU address. I wonder if this was considered during the deliberations on ‘when to deliver the Address.’

    One would imagine that the Rs are preparing their “response to the SOTU” remarks with this reality in view. Will DJT deliver his own ‘rebuttal’?; one would think that he has some choice JRB quotes to pick from and turn against their speaker. Of course, there’s always Reagan’s famous question.

    Campaign 2024 is underway. Perhaps more ‘head down’ moments to come.

  5. Eudaemon

    Hey readers/moderators. I’d like to know if you think it would be worthwhile to draft a research paper (hopefully readable and not turgid like most academic pieces) that takes a thesis (actually it’s a hypothesis) and follows the evidence both for and against the central theme or idea.

    Here’s the thesis statement: The core of the right wing media apparatus that is focused on growing suspicion of “big pharma” among the conservative user base is for the specific purpose of selling “alternative medicine” and is, at root a form of grift. The same grift that we’ve seen in previous eras — snake oil and the like.

    Why do the research? I’ve not seen anything that clearly ties together all of the players and the money (if it’s public) that is involved. I’ve seen lots of boner pills, gold ads, neutriceuticals or other Doc. Oz type players and completely bogus medicine with bogus claims for so long and I think it should be easier to tie it all together in a coherent piece. I’m not a journalist, though, and would probably need some idea of what would fly from a legal perspective. It would probably be better if a good investigative journalist organization like Mother Jones or ProPublica took it on, but I’ve no idea how to pitch the idea to them.

    I feel it’s on the same sort of level as the NFT phenomena that mostly preys on teens and ill-informed investors. But the costs are much greater as there are probably many people who wind up worse off health wise or actually dying. So on the spectrum of good versus evil, and with a lot of grays, the snake oil salesmen is even worse than time share salesmen to my mind.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Just my opinion, but I think there’s a “both sides of the coin are the same” problem in that the portions of the media ecosystem that don’t promote skepticism of Big Pharma are arguably operating in ‘for profit’ mode to earn advertising income from the drug makers. Is this advertising socially useful, or in fact harmful? I think one has to assume that the large sums spent on drug advertising are influencing the sales levels of the advertised products — which ought to be disconcerting. My views incline toward the ‘advertising of drugs is not socially useful, but rather harmful’ position (and in living memory, Pharma ads were not permitted on broadcast television). I think it’s uncontroversial that US population is overmedicated, and there are health consequences to this.

      A useful subsidiary question might be ‘which is more harmful — population distrust of for-profit Pharma or overprescription of advertised medications?’. It’s not clear to me that the former is more harmful than the latter

      I think (again, just my opinion) a more useful study would be to elucidate the cash flow connections — the incentives structures — that underlie both the ‘pro Pharma/approved drugs advertising’ and ‘anti-Pharma/alternative “medicine” advertising relationships. These incentive structures may extend all the way down to the prescribing of approved medicines for both on- and off-label uses.

      I think that both are instances of the same thing, and if that thing could be corrected, it would be highly beneficial to population health.

      Of course, that would require a functional regulatory State. But one can dream.

      1. griffen

        Picking up on the last portion of your 3rd paragraph above…”incentive structures may extend…prescribing of approved medicines for ….uses.”

        We had perhaps a 15 to 20 year epidemic of opioid abuse and prolific levels of prescribing for the pain killer known simply as oxy, aiding to enrich the Sackler family. This happened well within the purview of what you accurately suggest as a “not functioning” regulatory apparatus.

        Not to hijack the points you propose. Pharmaceutical companies, can they truly be trusted.

    2. jsn

      A potential thesis with more explanatory power:
      The provision of “public goods” by for profit economic agents will destroy social cohesion by converting social trust, wherever found, into private profit through processes of misrepresentation and betrayal (the grift you focus on).

      This applies to Public Health, Public Transportation, Public Education, Public Housing, etc. and nominally liberal and conservative American political economics equally.

    3. Eudaemon

      Thanks everyone. Appreciate the comments. When it comes to pharmaceuticals and suspicion related to profit motive, I think there is reason to be concerned. Personally speaking, my concern does not rise to sweeping claims that Americans are “overmedicated.” Who is overmedicated? I.e., which conditions give rise to medication and should patients basically be turned away when they have legitimate medical concerns and doctors diagnose them prior to issuing a prescription.

      SSRIs and other drugs used in mental health treatment comes to mind. It’s often said that people are overprescribed these drugs. If one looks at the percentage of adults taking them, without knowing intimate details of all parties, I think that is at least possible. Relying on the fact that people once went without them as our guide for whether or not they are overprescribed isn’t the best approach, given the average material and social experience of people in decades or centuries past. Life was brutal and I have every reason to suspect that the interaction and social conditioning may have made someone “tough” but it also may have made many if not most more brutish.

      One could say, “well, it is only a drug that acts as a pacifier. It doesn’t address root cause.” Readers in this forum may rightly point out that the material conditions of life are still brutal, albeit in a different way. Whereas people who once experienced rough lives and turned to alcohol (and still do), now they are using other forms of “treatment.” You could further say that the drugs are not only overprescribed due to profit incentives, but perhaps also in an effort to keep people employable — the Marxist labor reproduction and reserve army of labor idea applied to assign some ulterior motive to the parties and activities in play.

      I’ll just say that, personally speaking, I’d like to start with the facts. Then analyze the players, and then offer some forms of speculation as to the motive. Start with the concrete, then work up to the fuzzy. Maybe these astute readers have already done that and can say with much greater confidence than I as to what incentives and motivations are the primary drivers.

      In any case, a genuinely holistic look at the entire industry would probably be a worthwhile thing for a, preferably, unbiased researcher who can publish an honest account. As I see it currently, there’s reason to be suspicious of most books being published on the topic. Primarily because the “self-help” industry also has its own incentives and motivations.

      Thanks everyone again.

      1. Eudaemon

        I will tack on that it’s easier for me to conclude the motive of someone selling a sham medicine that hasn’t been tested and offering unreasonable or unsupportable claims. That sort of person — the shameless charlatan — has also always existed.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    The New Lysenkoism: Scientific American’s broadside against E. O. Wilson fits a fashionable, science-denying trend. CJ

    Sad to see Scientific American go this way. The article linked is awful, full of unsubstantiated assertions. Its many years since I read Wilsons’ Sociobiology, but there was certainly nothing in there that made any racist assertions.

    What gets me is that the term ‘racism’ can be thrown around so casually, essentially tarring the target (conveniently recently dead so he can’t defend himself) as racist. Apart from being potentially libellous (morally if not legally), this is straight out bullying behaviour of the ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ type argumentation. From what I know of Wilson the man, he was always gracious and respectful when engaged with those people who disagreed with him – as many did. To lump him in with another group of alleged racists without any substantive evidence is disgraceful.

    1. Carolinian

      Hey he was from Alabama. He must have been racist, right? I’ve already mentioned here the recently out Richard Rhodes bio called Scientist. It’s worth a read, and talks about a 1970s reaction to Wilson’s social ideas that would fit right in with today’s cancel culture. Or, if one wanted to cast a larger “nothing new under the sun” net, there’s Brecht’s Gallileo on how the Pope took the news re Biblical inerrancy.

      1. Carolinian

        From the City Journal article

        It’s high time for academics to take a stand on the matter instead of cowering under their desks. Without genetic differences, all humans would be clones, like some vast colony of bacteria. Because of the ceaseless process of evolution, populations in different regions of the world have accumulated their own genetic differences over time, and these regionally varying populations, all minor variations on the human theme, are what we call races. The results are evident to anyone who has noticed that babies resemble their parents, not people of other races. As for the insistence that gender is just a social construct, it’s on the same plane of absurdity as the campaign to abolish the word “woman.”

        Or in other words cults need an excuse for their “othering,” and internal consistency is secondary. After all what is “basket of deplorables” but an insistence on the irredeemably genetic (they’re white) and cultural source of moral and intellectual inferiority. Lack of close familiarity helps along with the condemnation of these likely hillbilly residents.

        As the above “minor variations on the human theme” asserts, the truth about genetics doesn’t change the fact that we humans are a lot more alike than we are different. Perhaps the true PMC beef against Jefferson is for the Declaration’s all are created equal. Regardless of how much he meant it, as an aspiration it’s tip top.

        1. Aumua

          As for the insistence that gender is just a social construct, it’s on the same plane of absurdity…

          Depends what you mean by the word ‘gender’. How do you define it?

    2. Laputan

      CJ missed the best part of the Scientific American article:

      And the descriptions and importance of ant societies existing as colonies is a component of Wilson’s work that should have been critiqued. Context matters.

      I don’t know if it’s malicious careerism or sheer stupidity on the author’s part, but to give the Scientific American imprimatur to this kind of claim is insane. Taken in the best faith possible, it betrays a sophomoric understanding of the world. Words oftentimes have different meanings and because one can take a giant leap in making tangential associations to one of the definitions; that doesn’t render its use worthy of critique.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i went and read the offending sciam article, and it reads like about a million facebook screeds sent flying from Oberlin dorms.
        turns out the recent issue of sciam contains more than just this one article along these lines:
        it’s bluecheck city.

        i’m doing only fly-by’s today, since i’m busy hunkering down for the coming ice age…so i don’t have time to peruse all of them….and to be perfectly clear, when it comes to scientists, i don’t give a rat’s ass how much pigment they possess, nor what’s between their legs…nor who they like to roll around with…i care about the results of the science, the rigor of the methods, and, yes, the “content of their character”.
        i find it not just sad, but odious, that sciam has fallen into this particlular pit, but perhaps it was to be expected.
        the woke inquisition has even come to this far place, after all…big teacher powwow, regarding “microaggressions”…and hilarity ensued with all the white redneck coaches having cometojudith(butler) moments and promising to do better….lots and lots of stuttering and unfortunate malapropisms…comedy gold.
        all of this, because 2 half-black young women(sisters) have apparently grown overlarge toes, that noone can help but trample upon.
        one of them, at least according to her socmed, envisions a future in democratic politics.
        of course, these youngun’s, bless their hearts, have no memory of how it was even 15 years ago…nor how much things have improved out here, regarding racism, sexism and even homophobia….due to simple exposure, over time.

        my half-mexican youngest son laments that his long term nickname…”Bean”(little kid version of “Ben”)…is now verboten.

        i predict that, out here at least, this eruption will have the opposite of it’s intended effect: the remaining actual racists(yes, there are a few) will be emboldened, and the Nword will be heard more often in the halls and locker rooms.

        1. Mary

          Add to the Once Great Magazine trash heap,
          National Geographic, which is now a glossy polished turd on clay paper, representing funders and special interests, rather than investigatory truth.
          i.e. The blanket endorsement of GMOs.

          Their new editor, Susan Goldberg, is a disaster.

      2. NotThePilot

        As more of a math person, I personally thought this line was the real kicker:

        First, the so-called normal distribution of statistics assumes that there are default humans who serve as the standard that the rest of us can be accurately measured against.

        Umm… I think if you’re starting to invest statistical distributions with political agency, not the people that use them, something’s gone very wrong in your worldview.

        The whole Scientific American article is pretty out there. For one, she actually doesn’t even say what supposedly horrible thought-crime makes Wilson a racist. So he was a biological determinist; I personally don’t like it philosophically either, but I highly doubt he saw inborn characteristics as the only biological mechanisms. If someone’s read the book, please feel free to correct me.

        That said, I think the CJ article is sort of doing the same thing with the digs at Gould and Lewontin. Notice he conveniently just calls them “academics”, leaving out that they were also well-regarded biologists. There’s usually an overlap between worldview and one’s stance on open questions in biology: the individual vs. group selection debate arguably goes all the way back to Darwin (the aristocrat) and Wallace (definitely not an aristocrat).

        Apparently that’s cancel culture for you: some other scientists with different priors publicly critiquing your work and allowing you to respond is totally the same as Stalin sending people to the gulag and starving the country. /s

    3. David

      I think a large part of the problem is that this term “racist” is at best subjective and at worse utterly meaningless. Once upon a time we had “racialism”, which meant a belief, widespread in many parts of the world, that there were actual genetic differences between people of different countries such that Poles, for example, were genetically gloomy, whereas Italians were genetically excitable. By this logic, different “races” were in competition with each other for benefits and even survival, and we know some of the consequences that led to. Ironically, it’s precisely modern genetics which has disproved this nonsense. After that, we had “racial discrimination,” which meant treating people of different “races” differently, either officially or privately. This was outlawed in most civilised countries from the 1960s.

      “Racism” is neither of these things, if indeed it’s a thing at all. “Racism” hunters use a concept in which it is not necessary for words to be spoken or acts to be carried out for there to be “racism.” In the end, “racism” is wrong thinking about racial issues, or issues that could conceivably have racial overtones. It is, in effect, a new and modern form of heresy, and is an excellent weapon for destroying your political opponents, and even more your political friends.

      A case in point. Fabien Roussel, the sensible and articulate leader of the (now tiny) French Communist Party made a speech recently decrying the awful quality of food available to poorer French people: Wine, beef and bread were part of the French tradition, he said, and should be available to all. He was immediately and violently attacked by vegetarians, of course, but also called a “racist”, not only for recommending French food, but for potentially offending Muslims by mentioning wine, and for not mentioning couscous as well. What’s even more depressing than the lack of discrimination and intelligence on offer is that such stupid attacks on nonexistent problems both divide what remains of the Left even further, and take energy away from actual problems.

      1. JP

        Race = a small number of genetic traits that are claimed to differentiate peoples but are in reality often present but not expressed together in other peoples. I may be blacker then you are but who could tell because we both look nordic. I prefer to attack those others by celebrating, I mean appropriating, their culture. I especially like mixing French and Chinese cuisine.

      2. jonboinAR

        I don’t know what to make of it, this term “racism”, and how it’s being used nowadays. First of all, there’s no even slightly clear definition for it. Does it mean some kind of discrimination against persons of different skin color, otherwise differing genetic background, or does it include or mean anyone who favors anyone of their own cultural or ethnic background? Can a person of WASP New England descent be racist against a southerner of Scots/Irish background, for example? These not even very precise levels of definition seems to depend mainly on how the user of the word chooses, ala Humppty Dumpty, for it to mean.

        The way it mostly seems to be used, is that anytime a white person makes any sort of observation that either intentionally or by purest accident can be construed to have either given praise to white people in general, to have singled out a group for praise that somehow only included white people, or mostly white people, to otherwise have left out any other “race”, or to made any sort of complaint that by any logical leap can somehow be construed as critical of any kind of group that includes non-whites, that person is “racist”. That person is then invited to commit ritual seppacu, or if they are already dead, like Thomas Jefferson or this E.O. Wilson fellow, they can have their statues torn down and ritually destroyed. If their names are included at all in any history books, it will be sure to be noted that they were “racist” and are not to be venerated. My observations about the actual, practical, current use of the term may seem ridiculous and extreme, but that’s how I mostly, maybe completely, see it being applied.

        Meanwhile, unchanged regarding any other race, they are all still free and encouraged to praise and talk up their own ethnicity, genetic background, national heritage, all these things, unchanged as these these topics have been going into the past. When one talks up any ethnic group other than white, I think, the pride demonstrated is as unabashed, unembarrassed, and natural, as it always has been. The term “racism” does not immediately fall like a hammer.

        All of which, as one of those dreaded, presumed evil, white men, is starting to make me feel a bit paranoid. Anyway, that’s my observation on the term “racism”, and it’s practical definition, as far as I can see it. It mostly seems to be a weapon, to be used against one particular, I don’t know, “race”, ethnicity, cultural background?

    1. ambrit

      I prefer their “Legend of a Lost Mind.”
      “Creepy Joe Biden’s dead,”
      “Oh, no, he’s outside, looking in.”

  7. Stephen V.

    Who knew? With 2 former bosses in a Federal Pen, I am re-working my resume.
    (Snip) We find that firms serviced by accountants with OCG (Org Crime Group) connections have higher quality audited financial statements compared to a control group of firms serviced by accountants with no OCG connections.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe we should let those accountants that work with organized crime groups set the standards for modern accounting. We’d probably get more honest accounting standards.

      1. Stephen V.

        Ouch Rev! Here’s Cory Doctorow beating the same drum:
        But he also gives a dishonourable mention re: Economists:
        High-priced, ultra-respectable firms of economists generate millions in billing every year ginning up plausible-seeming, opaquely complex “analyses” that monopolistic firms use to bamboozle regulators into allowing them to undertake anticompetitive mergers that destroy the real economy, communities and jobs:

        1. Duke of Prunes

          I always like this definition of Economics: The science of explaining why you were wrong.

          I’m not sure where I picked this up… it could easily be N. Taleb, but it definitely wasn’t me.

    2. NotThePilot

      I had never thought of this, but once I read the abstract, I realized it didn’t really surprise me.

      I don’t know much about accounting, but I imagine a really professional one is good at compartmentalizing, which is also exactly what you want in a mafia front-company.

      1. Late Introvert

        It occurred to me that a) the money was good and b) a little fear keeps the fingers on the right keys

  8. Wukchumni

    I’m not sure how it happened but I ended up behind enemy lines in the War On Cash and when taken prisoner, all I gave them was rank of denomination and serial numbers as my handlers laughed at me for being just another HODL, along with smirky comments in regards to 2 of the 7 dead Presidents not even being Chief Executives, oh the hurt from these innuendos, it smarts.

    I was sent to a POW camp which in reality was more of a re-education camp in that it only took plastic and after a while you got used to the camp’s Starbucks and ease of e-payment and disdained the debt infected germ laden pieces of paper life as per the wish of my captors, but unbeknownst to them-had set up an ad hoc offset printing press and was printing 1-ply guerrilla promissory notes under their very noses out of flush paper.

  9. t

    A discussion of siezing voting machines? What’s next? Limiting polling locations? Making it difficult to register? Disqualifying registered voters by the the thousands? Closing polling locations while people are in line? Could get ugly.

  10. YuShan

    “Woman rents tent on her Zürich balcony for $540 a month”

    This is not expensive at all. Even in the English countryside do I easily get charged more than that to pitch a small tent, let alone in the middle of an expensive Swiss city like Zürich. I reckon Swiss campsites charge multiple times this amount nowadays.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I was amazed when cycling through the national parks in Alberta, Canada, that the going rate for a pitch was $25 a night (and wild camping was banned). They had power outlets of course, but thats not particularly useful when on a bike. The views were usually nice, so long as you didn’t end up with an EV parking on each side.

        1. Carolinian

          Allowed but often on designated sites. At least that’s true back East–Western forests may have different policies.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          Wilderness areas sometimes require permits to enter and these are metered to avoid overcrowding. A case in point is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness in NE Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park immediately across the border in Ontario during the summer months. The fall months can be beautifully uncrowded but the weather can get iffy. As I and the rest of our party of five found out 30 years ago when we were frozen in in mid-October by an early Alberta Clipper. Had to be flown out with only what we were wearing. Our gear was taken out by dog sled after the lakes and streams had frozen solidly.

      1. Carolinian

        $25 for a powered site might be cheap these days. There’s a huge Covid related camping/RV surge. Most US state parks also have “primitive” sites that are cheaper. Market segmentation.

        When I biked through parts of Europe years ago free wild camping was considered normal. But then I believe the continent used to be more socialistic.

  11. Mildred Montana

    >Freedom Convoy: Trudeau calls trucker protest an ‘insult to truth’ BBC (resilc):

    “In June 2015, Trudeau vowed that the federal election of that year would be the last conducted under the first-past-the-post system. In February 2017, as prime minister, he decided to walk away from that commitment.” (CBC)

    In September 2021 here’s what he said about the issue: “But that’s not the priority, and this is the first time in 36 days that anyone has asked me about about electoral reform.” (CBC).

    Since nobody has asked him the question in 36 days, he is insinuating that it is a stupid one and the reporter who asked it must be stupid too. The arrogance. And how does he know it was exactly 36 days ago? Has he nothing better to do than count the days between embarrassing questions about broken promises? The pettiness.

    “Truth” and “Trudeau”: Two words that should never appear in the same sentence.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      well. that’s disappointing.
      not surprising, however, in the least.

      any noticeable bruising of the arms, or obviously disjointed shoulders?

      what stands out to me about the story of that particular bill, was the blatant and shameless bigfooting by the “healthcare” lobby.
      more so than previously…usually its through astroturf “consumer advocate” groups and the like.
      not right out in the open.

      oh, well…it likely would have been sabotaged by committee during implementation anyways….inducing idiotic failure cascades, thus rendering it useless for something to point to when wrangling heartless texas pols.

      lack of decent healthcare has long been a tacit tool of herd management.

    2. Tom Stone

      “Who pays the piper calls the tune”
      If you want to know who that is look at whose Birthday was being celebrated at the French Laundry and who was seated on either side of Gavin Noisome at that party.

      1. tegnost

        yet another poison pill from big pharm.
        The sports radio has had a commercial going re how pig pharma is saving the world and if ever gov gets involved the end of the world will be known to be right around the corner. Any M4A or the like bill will be designed to fail.

        I still expect the dems to crash it.
        Biden imo lifts the mandates on march 1, time to get to work keeping america great! as a place for monopoly corps.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Californians just need to elect more and better democrats. You would just be embarrassing Obama. Give the Democrats time to fix ACA. Republicans would be mean. Putin! Stop wearing masks, they make me sad.

    4. howseth

      I live in California – 20 years now – (Wow! that has gone by fast).
      My wife and I have actually had good fortune with the current Medi-Cal healthcare system since the ‘Obamacare’ days. (And not the Blue Cross/ Anthem private healthcare days previously) Because…

      … We were shunted over to the Medi-Cal program (due to our income level) from the regular Obamacare (ACA) bronze, silver, gold programs. Here in Santa Cruz County – MediCal it is run fairly well. I was nervous when at first we were put on it – but pleasantly surprised. The local provider is called – ‘Central California Alliance for Health’ run much better than the private health care we were on before – including the Anthem Silver plan – (Horrible). Also the county health care department is more responsive then the awful private insurer reps we were dealing with previously. (Putting one on hold for hours – lying about coverage – and which doctors were in their network)

      When I heard about this California Single Payer plan up for a vote – I – weirdly – got anxious for a moment. Will it get rid of our Medi-Cal coverage? Ironic. (My wife is still on – I’m older at 67 and now I’m on Medicare…)

      Then I thought – duh – lets go for it! California at the vanguard of the nation!! Then I thought this won’t get through the state assembly because of taxes being raised – and the usual suspects freaking out -i.e. Chamber of Congress..

      Not surprised it did not come up for a vote: hard to get change from the crappy status quo.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Israel calls on Amnesty International to not release report accusing country of apartheid”

    As that old saying goes ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.’ They once had a delegation from post-Apartheid South Africa go to visit Israel and the territories back in the 90s. When those black members of the delegation saw how things were, let’s just say that they they got real uncomfortable like.

    1. JohnA

      The recently deceased Desmond Tutu was very critical of Israel as an apartheid state. The gushing obituaries in the British media almost to a medium, skipped over that aspect of his life.

  13. griffen

    It’s forecast to be cold once more in Texas. Good to see that ERCOT has the crack PR team to front run any bad news or horrible outcomes this go around.

    On a more somber note I trust all Texas correspondents have made preparations just in case, ya know, the government and electricity engineers didn’t really winterize equipment. Or that the government is positioned to prevent spot prices from spiking. Again.

      1. griffen

        Thanks for linking to the above article, which is incredibly thorough. As with so many things now, money talks louder than words and one can see who is helping to fund political campaigns. An ounce of prevention would or could save lives, but these supposed company leaders just can’t be bothered. Death from hypothermia should not really be on the table in these modern times.

        I will have to read up again on the actual purpose of the PUC. Just paper pushers, even that seems too high a compliment.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Manchin may be polling well enough in WV to pretend he is going to be reelected. He’s not, but the dude doesn’t want to wind up there. And he doesn’t want to be a pariah. And even his defenders have more or less called him an ally of the klan in senate speak. Even Mark Warner.

    I wouldn’t the surprised if he is an easy yes vote. He won’t be back down on other matters because he spent almost a year digging himself in, and Biden won’t do anything other than Senate speak.

    Sinema is a legend in her own mind.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Could Take a Wide Toll”

    Well this could get interesting. If I lived in Europe, I would run out and buy as many blankets as I could for a start as I can personally testify that European winters can get cold. The Russians won’t keep on shipping their gas west for free and I know that they will find a ready market with China – but without the political games and hatreds. And China won’t leave them out on a limb either as they know that the next step will be a “China is about to invade Taiwan because they have troops near Taiwan” media blitz. I’m not saying that such a radical move might push the world into a recession. Well, maybe I am. But would they be stupid enough to pull the trigger on this stupid idea in Washington because they haven’t thought it all the way through? I am here reminded of the story – not true – of the mad scientist who invented a device that could destroy the world instantaneously. The problem was he did not know if it would work or not. After humming and hawing about this for months he could no longer stand it and so flipped the switch – and never found out the answer.

    1. JohnA

      And if relations really hot up, I wonder how many of the fleet of LPG tankers that come from the US to Europe would meet with some mishap or malfunction.

      Still waiting to hear the official explanation of the complete breakdown of the Australian navy ship to Tonga.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Last December Russia and India signed energy cooperation agreement (re-asserting previous agreements) for Russia to provide India with 15 million barrels of crude this year. India invests in development and expansion of three Russian oil and gas fields and Russia invests in a refinery in India.

      Considering that India and China can consume pretty much anything Russia can deliver, Russia can survive without European market. Of course, both China and India also prefer long term contracts and the stability they bring. And it doesn’t hurt that both kinda need Russian diplomats to mediate between the two whenever this or that remote, godforsaken mountaintop becomes an issue big enough to hinder SCO.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It wouldn’t be that simple for the Russians, Their pipeline infrastructure is heavily focused on Europe – they just have one pipeline going to China and that is at capacity. They don’t have a particularly big port infrastructure for oil and gas as they don’t sell to many customers using tankers (and they don’t have much control over the tanker market). There is also an issue with refinery capacity. It would take years and investments of billions to substantially increase exports to China and India. And that supposes that China and India won’t want to play them off against the Gulf states and Iran. They have their own interests and may push for a deal that the Russians would not want to swallow. Russian oil is not as cheap to produce as Gulf crude.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Of course it’s not simple, and there are problems, like you point out. But nevertheless, the two countries did sign an agreement to significantly develop “the energy bridge” between them.
          I think last year India already made a 20 year deal of LNG shipments from Russia. Which may be why Russia is building those new atomic icebreakers. They want to keep the Northern Sea Route open all year are a building required infrastructure. Apparently Modi is willing to put some $50 billion into that by 2025. India kinda has to, since it will be world’s third-biggest energy consumer by 2030.
          And it probably benefits India to draw Russia to Far East as much as possible to be able to balance it against China, while securing multiple energy sources is also smart policy.

    3. Zamfir

      The Russians won’t keep on shipping their gas west for free and I know that they will find a ready market with China – but without the political games and hatreds.

      This is not as clear as it might seem. The Altai gas line has has been “under discussion” for the last 2 decades already, even though it is not incredibly expensive. Similar to the Nordstreams, for a similar capacity – both of which were built after the Altai was first supposedly agreed with China. I don’t know what’s causing the delay, but apparently China is not overwhelmingly attractive as customer.

      They did build the ‘Power of Siberia’ line to China, a much more ambitious project. But this gas comes from a field in the far east of Russia, without competition from European buyers. Presumably China gets a sharper price on that one.

  16. timbers

    Hypocrisy at the Federal Reserve in favor of the rich and their very self-interested selves:

    “You always want to go gradually, in the economy. It is in no one’s interest to try to upset the economy with unexpected adjustments,” Kansas City Fed President Esther George told the Economic Club of Indiana. (Esther was cautioning against raising interest rates and/or reducing QE too quickly)

    Gradual? Since when has the Fed been gradual? The interest rate cuts and ginormous QE were not gradual but in fact deployed at light warp speed to bail out the rich.

    1. griffen

      Just did a search on FOMC projected increases 2022. The CNBC headline was just after the announcement last Wednesday; seems like 3 rate hikes are baked in with potentially a fourth. A December headline also from CNBC suggested majority of the members would forecast 3 hikes for 2022. A few leading brokerages forecast more than 4 increases to the short term target, I believe.

      Since late 2021, yields have increased for the 2yr UST, 5yr UST and 10yr UST; the increases are doing a decent amount of lifting, but far from any heavy lifting. High flying equities (low on value, high on future prospects and eventual/projected earnings) have taken a good knock.

      1. Wukchumni

        The inflation feel today of things everybody buys is roughly what Volcker was dealing with @ close to 20% 40 years ago, but on the other side of 17% inflation back then were CD’s offering 15%, versus approx bupkis now.

        It’s a War on Savers!

  17. jr

    Wow, there is a lot going on in that piece about E.O. Wilson. Right off the bat, it’s a refutation of the “Much ado about nothing!” argument employed by Wokesters. “It’s only a few academics sharing ideas!” someone said to me once here. This stuff is obviously widespread and pernicious in whatever form it takes.

    “ The theory instead attributes any deviation from equality, whether in occupations or income, to discrimination. At one blow, the hope of a merit-rewarding society is destroyed, to be replaced by a distribution of wealth according to wokeist rules.”

    Whoa! The “hope” of a merit-rewarding society is the best we can hope for under the current paradigm. Currently we have a “cherry-picking” system that strip mines individuals it finds useful and leaves the rest to rot. Wokeness surely is a kind of meta-idiocy and I trust it’s redistribution schemes not one bit but visions of Avalon aren’t helpful either. How about we distribute according to need?

    All that said, I had no idea things had metastasized to the point where genetics and heredity are being challenged. Wokeness truly is the ideology of the idiot, a field of intellectual faux-endeavor that allows fools and dullards a chance to play theorist. Debating the Woke must be like wrestling with a ball of taffy; no solidity, just entanglement in a sticky ball of misunderstandings and confusions.

    “ Second, the liberal order on which a democratic society depends rests ultimately on reason, not ideology. Science is the guardian and embodiment of rationality. If editors, the gatekeepers of the scientific forum, do not defend science against the power-hungry nihilism of identity politics, who will”

    Ok, now we are well and truly over the rainbow. Once again, appeals to the “faire citye upon yon hill”. It all sounds great on paper but man, when the rubber hits the road in the “democratic society” the writer laments, democracy is the the first thing to go. And if science is the “guardian and embodiment” of rationality then why does it take a philosophical argument to make that claim? Because it’s not, of course, rationality is the guardian of science and the many-limbed tree known as human rationality is the province of philosophy.

    “Science is respected because it pursues objective truth and ignores ideology.”

    More fantasies about some pure state of being known as “science”, the outlines of which are no doubt carved in white marble in the mind of the writer. Science cannot pursue objective truth because of course it is not objective itself. (I personally don’t think anything is ultimately objective but that’s another point.) It is as objective as the minds that wield it, which is to say not at all. It is an ongoing process of modeling the world and reconceptualizing those models as new information and realizations come to light, within the subjective boundaries of the human mind. Science is never the whole story, it cannot be because it too is only a story, albeit one with a sound internal methodology around which to construct it’s narrative.

    “As soon as a drop of politics contaminates the scientific pool, science loses credibility.”

    I guess this guy doesn’t have to attend department meetings. But he means political politics, not office politics; sadly he is still incorrect. There isn’t anything human beings do that doesn’t have a political aspect. What about science’s support for the Cold War? For neoliberalism? For eugenics? This guy must think he and his colleagues walk around in white togas or something.

    “ But instead of disdaining the intellect of others, the academic profession might instead wonder whether it is itself to blame for condoning absurd wokeist theories that have spurred the rise of Trumpist anti-intellectualism.”

    This is no doubt true but don’t blame anti-intellectualism on Wokels and in turn Trump. They are both just capitalizing on it in this “democratic society” that resembles the war-camps of Conan. Take the heroes of the writer’s liberal democratic pantheon who decry doing one’s “own research”, an idea which disposes of the notion of reading even media accounts about COVID, mainstream ones included, as that constitutes research itself. By those lights, one should stick to reading headlines alone and digesting single soundbites in an effort to avoid committing “research”.

  18. ChrisFromGeorgia

    On teachers quitting … and joining Corporate America, doesn’t sound like a win for society. Sounds like more cannon fodder for the “bezzle.”

    Anyone remember in the 90’s when I think the Clinton administration encouraged young people to go into teaching?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Like favoring more established union workers over newer ones in contracts, Bill favored teachers in his anti-union efforts to use as political ammo against “dinosaur unions”. The NEA embraced short term benefits, but unions were weakened across the board. See, Bill isn’t anti-union, he helped increase teachers pay. It’s just those dinosaur unions would need to learn to code. Bill was a big Teach for America guy too. Any idiot can teach, even Tony Danza before you start a real job, right?

      1. ambrit

        [Sarcasm alert.]
        Wait. Wait. “Any idiot can teach even Tony Danza?” That’s not giving the poor man enough credit. You try and maintain a career in Hollywood. It ain’t beanbag.

      1. Late Introvert

        @lance ringquist, I dig your relentless take-downs of the rapey Bill Clinton. The Paula Jones story still pisses me off.

  19. Wukchumni

    Sports betting advertisements now bolster the bottom line for holders of broadcast rights, with their commercials popping up during game stoppages and branded drops read on air by analysts who gush about parlays and point spreads as part of the game action.

    Casino ads can be spotted in all corners of the biggest stadiums. You can place bets on games inside stadiums in Arizona and several other states, and some venues have even sold their naming rights to betting operations.

    That’s a far cry from the hard-line stance against gambling the biggest pro sports leagues maintained for decades. Football, basketball and baseball all steered well clear of the gambling world, partly out of fear players would get hooked and end up throwing games to win big or clear debts with bookies.

    As far as I know, the last American professional athletes to be caught throwing a game were the 1919 Black Sox.

    The obvious slant towards gambling on sports in particular in tv commercials is so crass and a good way for the pro leagues to be in a no mans land if another fixing scandal comes along as it must.

    You don’t think all those impressionable 20 and 30 something year old exorbitantly paid players aren’t getting as hooked on gambling as their fans?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Throwing a game will raise questions. The point shaving scandal of “Goodfellas” fame largely revolved around BC against teams they knew they could enforce their will, like Saint Directional State and Teaching College. The Battle of the Sexes was probably a similar case.

      Jordan was asked about it once, and he said the opponents are too good in the NBA to try that. I largely believe him given his proclivity for gambling. Guys being drugged makes way more sense. Maybe prop bets.

      1. griffen

        When Jordan said that about the NBA, it was generally a true statement. Heck even the league’s doormats could be somewhat competitive for most of the games. This current NBA season features at least one instance where the losing team was defeated by historical margins. In theory, the OKC Thunder remain a professional franchise!

        Of course I might be an old coot, and telling the kids to stay off my lawn. Three point shooters today would find the floor hurts a lot if they played either of the ’88-’91 Pistons or early 90s Knicks team. Good teams too, just tough to play against.

        1. ambrit

          Yes. Once upon a time, basketball was a full contact sport.
          (Time to sing a rousing chorus of “And the Ref Said Play On!”)

    1. judy2shoes

      Thank you for this link. The work really is beautiful, and I appreciate the artist’s explanation of how the piece came into being.

  20. Tom Stone

    A question about timing.
    The BA.2 variant is apparently out competing the original Omicron strain and prior infection seems to provide little or no immunity to it.
    The SOTU address is scheduled to take place 3/1/22 when the Omicron wave will have receded somewhat and I suspect the plan is to announce “Mission Accomplished”, situation normal, go back to work.
    Is BA.2 likely to have a big enough foothold by March 1st to make that a hard sell?

  21. Mildred Montana

    >How IBM’s Watson went from the future of health care to sold off for parts. Slate (furzy)

    AI (Actual Intelligence) 1, AI (Artificial Intelligence) 0.

    My father was an (old-school) doctor. According to my mother he was an excellent diagnostician. But then, he took time with his patients, wrote a detailed history, did a thorough physical exam. When was the last time ???? doctor smelled your breath? Well, my father would have.

    Many years ago, my three-year-old sister had a persistent rash on her hands. After several doctor visits, no answers, no treatment, no cures. My doctor father happened to visit us (he and Mom were separated) and he looked closely at them. After a minute or so of humming to himself while looking (I guess that was his way of taking it all in, of ????????), he recommended potassium permanganate soaks.

    My sister’s rash disappeared in a couple of days. Her purple hands lasted a while longer!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting article. These two questions / answers reminded me of what’s going on now with regard to covid and the “vaccines”:

      It’s very hard to listen to you and not think about Theranos, even though this is not a one-to-one parallel in any way. When you are trying to move by leaps and bounds with technology in the health care sector, it feels like a reminder that all things are not created equal, that making big leaps with people’s health is a MUCH riskier proposition.

      That underscores the central theme of this story: When you try to combine the bravado of the tech culture and the notion that you can achieve these huge audacious goals in a domain where you’re dealing with people’s lives and health and the most sacrosanct aspects of their existence and their bodies, you need to have evidence to back up that you can do what you say you can do.

      Why did they continue on trying to rescue this product that they seemed to know internally was failing?

      I think they had so much invested in it that it really was, for them, too big to fail. It had 7,000 employees. They’d invested so much time and energy on marketing in the success of the product that they really needed it to succeed.

      Alrighty then.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        Hard to believe that all the Watson marketing couldn’t fix the product. I mean if Bob Dylan can’t fix it, who can?!?!

        Kind of reminds me of the Dems favorite push back – “better messaging”.

  22. jr

    Grim news from the Groves of Academe in Pennsylvania. A friend who taught at a state school has informed me that the state system is being consolidated; my old school is being blended into a super-school system with two other schools in the region.

    This means -gigantic- departments. My friend is a historian and he said the combined history department will number 35 professors with one (1) department head to oversee the lot. At the news, a number of his colleagues decided to retire. He had seen the writing on the wall and left a year prior. This and the weight of dealing with the administration’s prior insanities ,plus a student body that yielded serious students as often as rummaging in the couch yields a 500$ bill, drove him from the school he loved. He recently accepted a position overseas at a major university.

    The opportunities for new history majors in the state system are shrinking rapidly. Of course this applies across the humanities. The philosophy departments won’t be offering a major anymore, only a minor and electives I believe. The general trend is towards hybrid and online humanities courses. The war on critical thinking is building up momentum.

    1. Pelham

      Hmm. Maybe our universities aren’t the best places for the humanities, the most precious of all civilization’s inheritances. Let’s start thinking about alternatives that can richly reward professors and those they teach and leave universities to training (not education) in the hard sciences and other stuff that pays off for them.

  23. CaliDan

    >Fascism isn’t coming

    Judging by the commentary on UnHerd, the article seems to attract a very specific crowd, i.e., the anti-woke, leftists-are-the-real-facsists, Biden is Hitler party. As for myself, I find the “Stop worrying so much––it’s your fault, you see––and instead look at something else” remedy the author proposes questionable in today’s blooming Weimar-like ambiance.

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: Joe Biden’s Saigon

    I can’t help but be amused by the complete lack of awareness in Washington. I called it on August 13th right here that the war was over and these very serious people were apparently oblivious to what was about to happen.

    I never explained why I thought that either. It was clear that the former government in Kabul was making a special effort to hold onto Kandahar for no other reason than to deny the Taliban a symbolic victory. They sent their best troops there and what I assumed was most of their reserve manpower to Lashkargah. Perhaps if they had used their reserves to secure Kabul, or any of the smaller provincial capitals surrounding it, things might’ve turned out differently. That’s a rather dubious prospect to consider ’cause once the Americans peaced out the various individuals and groups would inevitably cut their own deals with the Taliban.

    Although that’s not going to stop people from ascribing all the blame they want to. It doesn’t change the fact that the aftermath could’ve gone better or even worse. The airport in Kabul isn’t exactly a defensible position. There was no way that everybody who worked for the Americans and the coalition was going to get out of Afghanistan regardless. The war ended exactly how it was going to in spite of the details.

    1. Late Introvert

      “the Americans peaced out” LOL

      My theory is the generals wanted to punk Biden, they had years to plan and chose NOT to. My evidence is how quiet Joe was about it. Pwnd.

  25. Kouros

    The scientists watching a star explode in real time, couldn’t in fact do it in actual, “real” time, since the star is 120 million light years away. The actual explosion happened 120 million light years away or less, if we consider the dilatation of the universe…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good thought that. We are actually watching that happened 120 million years ago and there is something almost poetic about that. Our closest star – Proxima Centauri – could have gone blooey back in 2018 and we would not know about it yet.

  26. Dave in Austin

    Last week the US called for a UN Security Council meeting on 1/31. The transcript of the 1/31 meeting at says: “A procedural vote was requested by the Russian Federation on whether the Security Council will hold an open meeting on the situation in Ukraine, which was called for by the United States.” “By a vote of 10 in favour to 2 against (China, Russian Federation), with 3abstentions (Gabon, India and Kenya), the Council decided to proceed with the debate.”

    “VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that the deployment of troops within his country’s territory is a domestic affair, not a threat to international peace and security, rejecting the reasoning of the United States request for today’s meeting. His delegation has refused unfounded accusations repeatedly. Calling for a meeting in an open format represents “megaphone diplomacy”, which will not help bring the Council members together. Such a request has put delegations in an extremely difficult position. Ukraine’s top officials, including the President and the Defence Minister, have stated that they do not see the Russian Federation’s activity as a threat. He urged all Council members not to abuse the Council’s rostrum. The Russian Federation, during its presidency next month, intends to hold an annual Security Council discussion on 17 February to discuss implementation of the Minsk agreements in the pursuit of a settlement to the situation in Ukraine. The United States can fully express its views during that meeting, he said, asking Council members to reject that delegation’s provocative motion. “

    So this is a move by the US to hold a public meeting before Russia takes over the Presidency on 2/1. Public meetings at the UN are rarely if ever anything other than a propaganda blast by one side or the other. The big news is the 2/17 Annual Security Council conference on the Minsk agreement, which the US wants to forget about. Minsk should be moved forward and implemented regardless of of which side decides to throw the mortar shells this week

    For a good, dreary explanation of the conflict and the collapse of the Minsk agreements see:;

    And for the underlying language and ethnic issues the interesting case of the city 400,000 person city of Maripol- ethnically mixed, Ukrainian controlled but mainly Russian speaking see:

    If this looks a bit like Beirut and Sarajevo don’t be surprised. The Russians have no reason to attack with the gas crisis running in their favor, the Minsk agreement on the front burner and even the Ukrainain sources saying foreign investment has dried up.

  27. Ignacio

    Tim Spector’s tweet:

    So it seems that after dropping for about three weeks in the UK, incidence has stabilized at very high levels and might be rising again. I have the feeling this omicron wave will be different from previous waves. It will go down eventually but it could take much longer and punctuated with new peaks. Wondering if omicron-omicron reinfections could be occurring.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Wondering if omicron-omicron reinfections could be occurring.

      Me too, or more accurately, I wonder how much more prevalent short-term homologous reinfection is in Omicron versus Wuhan.

      It’s unknowable of course, but my hunch is that early spread and reinfection during the first wave looked a lot more like the Omicron spike than most people would imagine. However the Wuhan variant was, you know, milder (in some ways) and so it wasn’t as noticeable.

      But what the heck happens when you’ve two whole new clades, with one almost seeming to slipstream on the other? I really wish we weren’t going to find out.

      1. Ignacio

        IMO, omicron is way more pathogenic than Wuhan’s original and early mutants but less virulent with an average outcome (at least in the current vac. status) milder than in the first wave. It is so and in most cases of mild Omicron it barely triggers immune response or just little antibody boost. Which possibly means that once the virus is cleared there might be a short time in which immune cells are also cleared (weeks?) and you are again equally susceptible.

        Pathogenicity = ability to cause disease
        Virulence = degree of disease severity

        Pathogenicity and virulence are sometimes closely related but not always.

  28. Susan the other

    Science News. ER=EPR makes perfectly good sense. (I think.) The bit I missed was that entanglement is the mechanism that also emerges spacetime. Seems to indicate that what nature splits apart also gets put back together. That does sound like entropy. I’m always frustrated over why we can’t actually feel these processes happening. Thanks for the article.

    1. Late Introvert

      It is us and we are it. Plus we are not currently in a worm hole, that requires falling in to a black hole I think. I like the idea you come out the other side.

  29. Maritimer

    Scientists estimate 9,000 tree species are still unknown to them Business Insider (Kevin W)
    Kudos to those smart trees for having escaped the scientific predators. They, at least, have a good sense of self preservation.

    Meanwhile, another species, Humans, don’t seem to be doing very well escaping the attentions of medical scientists like Fauci, Collins, Daszak, Doctor Gates and others.

  30. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding Russian sanctions: Russia is the one largest agricultural exporters in the world, even more so with regard to staple grains.

    A lot of poor people are going to starve if (for example) SWIFT gets shut down without an alternative.

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