Dear patient readers,
Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.
And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.
P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:
Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.
Drug design can be twisted into weapons Nature (Dr. Kevin)
“No-Code” Brings the Power of AI to the Masses New York Times (Robert M)
A Potential New Test For Diagnosing Lyme Disease Eurasia Review (David L)
Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Why Evolution Favors Symmetry Eurasia Review (furzy)
Pretty sure the number one sign that covid is over is that people keep getting it.
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) March 16, 2022
Antigenic evolution will lead to new SARS-CoV-2 variants with unpredictable severity Nature (guurst). Cue Jaws theme music.
insane: 5% of hong kong covid cases are lethal
must read thread https://t.co/hmMJ8wCLbI
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 16, 2022
FDA ‘slow-walking’ Novavax authorization: Expert Yahoo. fk: “‘Whatever it is, there’s some dynamic other than science going on,’ he said.”
US unprepared for rise in Covid cases, warns White House Financial Times. Gee, why does the White House and CDC keep sending anti-mask messages (“scarlet letter”), ignore ventilation, and tell the public Covid is over, and then talk about lack of preparedness when they made the situation worse? This is like someone who murdered their parents asking for sympathy for being an orphan.
.@DrEricDing it’s much worse than than that. 20 million doses of Pavlovid is what the government said they were going to buy but they actually only bought 835,000. I guess declaring an end to the pandemic & need for masks no longer looks like a winning approach for getting votes. https://t.co/On2VtqOaG7
— Nicolas Smit (@PPEtoheros) March 15, 2022
Aargh, this is NOT DATA. It is a MODEL:
⚠️BA2 DOUBLES IN ONE WEEK—New @CDCgov data shows that #BA2 has now ~doubled to 23.1% from just 11.6% last week (revised 13%). This is a horrendous acceleration from just 7% prior. England surge started when BA2 hit ~half. April increase likely. #GetBoosted https://t.co/amAjDWufhr pic.twitter.com/rU7xHOw0qf
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 16, 2022
Pandemic-Era Politics Are Ruining Public Education Atlantic (resilc). Um, they were ruined long ago.
People Deserve to Know Their Houses Are Going to Burn Atlantic (resilc)
The World Has One Big Chance to Fix Plastics Atlantic (David L)
Karnataka state’s hijab classroom ban upheld in Indian court, could set national precedent ahead of next year’s elections ABC Australia (Kevin W). Hoo boy.
New Not So Cold War
Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales Wall Street Journal (Li). Lambert had in Water Cooler, important not to miss.
Say hello to Russian gold and Chinese petroyuan Pepe Escaobar, The Cradle
Washington and Moscow Vie for the Stupid Prize Paul Craig Roberts (Vikas S). This is not quite right on oil, since oil is not fungible. The US would not be trying to make nice to Venezuela if it didn’t miss Russia oil. It needs some of the heavier grades for the purpose of diesel and home heating oil. It is possible that Russia wants to win the war first, see if the West tries to go quietly into Emily Litella mode, and if not, then impose retaliatory sanctions. IMHO the US is way too dug in to retreat, but the EU is a much better bet.
International Ship Classification Body Withdraws Russia’s Membership qCaptain (guurst). Not sure this is as consequential as it sounds. From John Helmer via e-mail:
The flagging of Sovcomflot’s [Russia’s largest shipping company’s] vessels is Liberian, Cypriot, etc., not Russian. One of the reasons for this is that the international banks financing newbuilds, the insurers and the class societies have more or less insisted on non-Russian flagging. It was one of Putin’s early policies for Sovcomflot, circa 2000, that Russian oil should be transported to market on Russian-flagged tankers through Russian ports. It was a policy that honoured only in the breach until after the war started in 2014.
Six reasons why backstopping Russia is an increasingly unattractive option for China Bruegel. Amazing how “experts” can ignore what is right in front of their face. And it’s pretty discouraging that yours truly has to rely on Alexander Mercouris to provide updates on official readouts of important meetings (not that there is anything wrong with what Mercouris is doing….but why is this not done by at least some of the MSM on a routine basis?). Mercouris reported yesterday on the much-hyped US dressing down by Jake Sullivan of China’s national security adviser for supposedly agreeing to provide military support to Russia in Ukraine…an idea based solely on leaks from US officials and immediately denied by the Chinese. And it was separately nonsensical, since the war is almost over and any new materiel deliveries to Russia could come too late to be put into service. Notice the lack of follow-on stories? Apparently the US posted a revealingly, in a bad way, short readout on what was a very very long meeting.
Dollars or Rubles? Russian Debt Payments Are Due, and Uncertain. New York Times. This article remarkably ignores that some of Russia’s recent sovereign bond issues allow for payment in roubles, see: The Alternative Payment Currency Event Clause in Russian Sovereign Bonds Credit Slips
Ukraine conflict has major economic implications with impact on energy prices: Jaishankar https://t.co/RIrMvDnFIA
— Republic (@republic) March 16, 2022
A False Flag Is Coming Gonzalo Lira, YouTube
Russia Deploys a Mystery Munition in Ukraine New York Times (Chuck L)
Russia’s ‘Dead Hand’ Is a Soviet-Built Nuclear Doomsday Device Military.com (JTM)
"People need to stop coming here. It's a trap, and they're not letting you fucking leave." pic.twitter.com/nEK7oOePA2
— Heshmat Alavi's Trenchcoat (@UrOrientalist) March 15, 2022
Temptations of War Michael Moore
Apec will face economic sanctions if war continues Thai Armed Forces (furzy)
Ukraine threatens rain on Indonesia’s G20 parade Asia Times (Kevin W)
The Cancellation of Russian Culture First Things (Anthony L)
Imperial Collapse Watch
Anti-Trump Republicans lining up for 2024 shadow primary Associated Press
Big Four Accounting Firms Come Under Regulator’s Scrutiny Wall Street Journal
How An Uptick In Censures Among Local Republicans Signals A Growing Radicalism FiveThirtyEight (resilc)
The Fear Factor and Crime in New York New York Times. Sorry, this is not even remotely like the 1980s. This is worse. In the 1980s, crime was crime against property. I was pickpocketed three times. I had lots of nice pens stolen from my desk at Goldman, I assume late at night when I was out of town. Many of my friends in non-doorman buildings suffered break-ins. But in the middle-class-ish ‘hoods, you didn’t worry about physical harm even at night if you stuck to areas with other people on the street.
Oil sanctions and recession Menzie Chinn
Google “hijacked millions of customers and orders” from restaurants, lawsuit says ars technica (Chuck L)
The Superpower Of Admitting the Obvious Ian Welsh
Tire Fire Left Louisiana Prisoners With Migraines, Breathing Problems Intercept. Resilc: “Wouldn’t happen if Ukrainians housed there…….”
3 days ago this man performed a ? guitar solo at a deserted strip mall to draw attention to the atrocities committed by an outfit called Western Dental. He got FOUR MILLION views, because even the algorithm believes private equity in health care is bad. https://t.co/ej3l9KinD0
— moe tkacik (@moetkacik) March 15, 2022
To Keep Students in STEM fields, Let’s Weed Out the Weed-out Math Classes Scientific American (David L)
Antidote du jour. Timotheus: “The writer is my cousin in Story Lake, IN.”
During the month of February, the Swanson’s made weekly trips to check on the lake. Because the water was solid ice, they only remained a short time each visit. Again on March 2nd, we saw our resident pair checking out a couple of open spots free of ice. Then, earlier this week a pair of swans was near the channel and remained in that distant area. A few days ago, we observed the two of them flying around the lake before landing. On Thursday last, in a matter of hours, the remainder of the ice cleared off the lake allowing the swans to swim closer to us. To our surprise, the pair of swans on the lake is a Mute Swan accompanied by a Trumpeter Swan.
Only one swan has come over to eat corn at our shore, and from all accounts this is Big Daddy [their long-time resident swan]. Although he is a bit standoffish, he is familiar with us and the typical feeding spot. The trumpeter has not approached. This begs the question, where’s Mama? Having seen her on March 2nd, and seeing Daddy with another companion, it’s concerning what has happened.
While there might be a simple explanation, such as an early nesting, her absence is highly questionable at this point. Never in our remembrance has one mate arrived in the spring without the other. If this condition persists, I may have to prep the boat and launch an exploration of nesting spots in search of Mama Swanson. We’ll keep you informed.
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here