By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, ProtonMail broke down at a critical point in my process. More soon! –lambert UPDATE All done!
Bird Song of the Day
Rock Wren (Northern), Oaxaca, Mexico. Last week I got sidetracked into the Wren-Babblers. Here is a Wren proper.
Lambert here: One reader suggested changing these quotes; I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I need to think about it. I don’t want to be too doomy — we are not short of inventory in that department — but I don’t want to go all chipped and Pollyanna-esque, either.
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson
“Understanding How The January 6 Riot Unfolded” [The Onion]. • Handy map.
“POLITICO Playbook: White House slams ‘out of step’ liberal activists” [Politico]. “Kate Bedingfield, the outgoing comms director, with a statement making waves online: ‘Joe Biden’s goal in responding to Dobbs is not to satisfy some activists who have been consistently out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party. It’s to deliver help to women who are in danger and assemble a broad-based coalition to defend a woman’s right to choose now, just as he assembled such a coalition to win during the 2020 campaign.'” • Activists like who? Planned Parenthood? Bedingfield must be big mad, to hurl a grenade like that.
“Biden’s pitch for Eric Schmidt-funded fellowship raised red flags” [Politico]. “This past spring, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, received the ultimate gift: a straight-to-camera endorsement from the president of the United States. In the video, the most powerful man in the world touted Schmidt’s “Quad Fellowship”— a new scholarship for American, Indian, Japanese and Australian graduate school students that is operated and administered by Schmidt Futures, the charity arm that Schmidt uses for a variety of initiatives in science and technology… Behind the scenes, however, there were concerns within Biden’s administration about the president endorsing an initiative of an outside entity founded by Schmidt, one of the richest men in the world, according to two people familiar with the matter who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak about the internal dynamics.” • That not “authorized to speak about the internal dynamics” is one of the best rationalizations for anonymity I’ve seen. I think it’s new!
* * *
UPDATE OH “Democrat Tim Ryan chases after Fox News viewers in Ohio Senate race” [NBC]. “Titled ‘Fox News Friends,’ the 30-second spot is stuffed with clips of Fox personalities heralding Ryan’s ‘moderate ideas,’ including during his brief run for president in 2020. Even Tucker Carlson — a commentator reviled on the left who has frequently hosted Ryan’s Republican general election rival, J.D. Vance — makes an appearance via a 2019 segment in which he encouraged his viewers to take note of how Ryan positioned himself to the right of other Democrats on border security. Carlson’s on-screen headline: ‘Not Everyone in the Dem 2020 Field Is a Lunatic.’… ‘Even the most conservative voices on TV agree: Tim Ryan is a voice for commonsense policies who stays focused on the issues that matter most to Ohioans,’ Ryan spokesperson Izzi Levy said in a statement announcing the commercial, which is part of the campaign’s ongoing, eight-figure advertising blitz.” • Maybe President Manchin is all used up, and we need President Ryan to replace him as the revolving villain.
UPDATE “If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no head; if you aren’t a socialist after twenty-five, you have no heart”:
young people don't want to get rid of biden because he's old, they want to get rid of him because he's terrible at his job. https://t.co/hNG7IhWC1p
— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) July 11, 2022
Read left to right along the generations. Amazing.
“64 percent of Democrats want someone other than Biden to be 2024 nominee: poll” [The Hill]. Same poll. “The New York Times/Siena College poll found that 64 percent of Democrats questioned said they would prefer a different candidate. Twenty-six percent of Democrats said they would still support Biden in the next presidential election. When asked why they would support a new candidate, 33 percent of Democrats cited age as their main reason, 32 percent said job performance, 12 percent said they will prefer someone new and 10 percent said Biden is not progressive enough. Forty-four percent of all respondents said they would cast their vote for Biden if the 2024 presidential election were held today, while 41 percent of respondents said they would vote for former President Trump if he is a 2024 presidential candidate.” • But on age vs. job performance, see the breakdown above. (And a three-percent difference between Biden and Trump? Trump, as we all know, has overcome such obstacles before.)
UPDATE “Eric Adams, the Mayor Who Never Sleeps” [MoDo, New York Times]. Actually a supportive piece, amazingly enough. Worth a read if you can fight through the paywall. “He continued that when he’s in a room with billionaires and celebrities, he can see the ‘scared children’ in them. ‘I look across the table from you, I see exactly who you are. You have your own insecurities, you have your own concerns. ‘Does my wife still love me?’ ‘Am I still appealing?’ I may be mayor but I’m still this child that just wants to do right.’ So which animal in the jungle are you? He laughed. ‘Clearly, I am a lion. I am meant to rule the jungle.’ Underneath the swagger, beyond the swank parties, the serious parts of the job are never far from his mind. ‘Listen, I got to live up to the job,’ he said. ‘I got to turn around the economy. I have to make the city safe. I have to educate children and there’s no excuses. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, you are a Black man. We’re going to give you a pass.’ No, I don’t want a pass. I’m responsible for that woman being shot today. My job is to make sure she could walk down a block pushing a carriage without being assassinated. I’m going to live up to my responsibility, but don’t stack the deck. Highlight where we are successful. We got some real W’s.’ The press and critics, he complained, laughing, ‘only talk about, ‘Hey, did you eat a piece of fish?’ ‘Did you?’ ‘Yes.'” • Honestly. I missed the moral panic about the fish. My bad.
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
UPDATE “Sen. Joe Manchin May Not Be Kingmaker In West Virginia For Long” [The Intercept]. “[E]arlier this month, a grassroots slate of over 50 Democrats took control of the West Virginia Democratic Party after winning a majority of seats on the executive committee and ousting party leadership, thus ending Manchin’s de facto control of the state party apparatus. Now, after a six-year organizing push, every old guard party apparatchik — save for the treasurer — is out of office, replaced with activists from across the Democratic spectrum set on revitalizing the state and forcing renewed support from the national party. The June 18 victories mark the beginning of the end for an era defined by atrophy, nose-diving voter rolls, and just a single Democratic statewide representative: Manchin.” • Maybe. Did the Old Guard steal the money and give it to the DNC, like Reid’s operatives did in Nevada?
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Neoliberal Order Breakdown Syndrome”:
New Yorker, NYRB & many magazines have been suffering from "Neoliberal Order Breakdown Syndrome"
— Albert Pinto (@70sBachchan) July 26, 2021
NOBS up to 11?
UPDATE Wait. Class isn’t a subjective feeling? You can’t think and grow rich?
If someone makes up an identity grounded in nothing but subjective feeling and a state recognizes it as constituting a protected class, subjective reality becomes immune to challenge and the ultimate political contest becomes to control what feelings are recognized by the state
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) July 9, 2022
“Whose breath are you breathing?” [RNZ]. A must-read. Testing the CO2 on a bus ride: “Although high levels of carbon dioxide can be dangerous, there was something I was more worried about. CO2 levels can be used as an indicator of the risk of catching Covid-19; we breathe in air and release CO2 when we exhale. Covid-19 is spread via aerosol particles breathed, coughed or sneezed out by infected people. These can drift several metres and linger in the air for hours. The higher the CO2 readings, the more virus particles are potentially in the air…. . I texted a friend: ‘OMG, the readings are so high I may as well let the other passengers lick my face!’… ‘You can think of it as spit particles, tiny spit particles are what you are breathing in,’ says University of Auckland aerosol chemist Dr Joel Rindelaub. ‘It’s breath backwash that gets people infected.’ He doesn’t endorse passenger face-licking, but when CO2 inside the bus is 5737ppm he jokes, ‘it probably wouldn’t even hurt, right?’ The level of CO2 outdoors is about 420ppm. Rindelaub says a good indoor reading would be anything below 800ppm. This is also the level suggested by the United States Centers for Disease Control for indoor spaces as a benchmark for good ventilation. When readings get above 1000ppm there could be a high risk of Covid-19 transmission if someone in the space is infected. ‘If you’re above 2000, then that’s a huge red flag.'” • Now that’s a personal risk assessment. I really think that if CO2 measurement were taking place on a mass basis, we could get some leverage over airborne diseases like Covid. Perhaps we could form a political party: The Air Breathers’ Party. Because as this article makes vividly clear, breathing is a social relation.
• A review of the Aranet4:
One thing that I learned was how surprisingly wrong is my intuition wrt ventilation. So that's a plus.
Another plus is that device is highly reliable. It runs on the same batteries for months now nonstop.
So if everything is good why it is a lost opportunity?
— Yaniv Erlich (@erlichya) July 6, 2022
Containing this brilliant suggestion:
Ideally, CO2 monitors should be part of your phone or on your smart watch (if feasible by CO2 sensor). But dreams aside, I would like to see something that is much smaller, perhaps credit card or keychain size.
This will increase adoptability.
— Yaniv Erlich (@erlichya) July 6, 2022
OTOH, since China has not already done this, perhaps it is not so easy.
“BA.5, Chapter 2” [Eric Topol, Ground Truth]. A must read: “That gets me to the lede in the Washington Post’s BA.5 report today: “‘America has decided the pandemic is over. The coronavirus has other ideas.’ … There’s clearly more room for the virus to evolve, get more fit, gain advantages as an immune escape artist and more efficiently infect cells. Yet we are watching its accelerated evolution akin to the behavior of a Formula One race car lapping around the track with humans in the stands. At best, there will not be a BA-5 specific booster until November or December and that represents , knowing full well that BA.5 will not be the dominant circulating virus in 5 to 6 months. We need to get ahead of the virus, stop acting as bystanders with ‘hope and prayers’ that it will not get worse than what we are dealing with now. No, BA.5 has taught us once again, the virus doesn’t just get milder and fade away. While the virus revs up its mutations under selection pressure, we’ve ironically become immutable, more resistant to taking an aggressive stance with second-generation and nasal vaccines that are clearly in our reach.” • “America” might well have “decided” differently if elites hadn’t decided on a Vax-only stance (plus treatment) and then run a massive propadanda campaign in favor of culling the herd, and denigrating non-pharmaceutical interventions at every turn. Perhaps when the elites discovered they were all infecting each other at their superspreading events they decided to change course. A little late. Ah well, nevertheless.
• It’s simple math:
This graph is a draft for a Long Covid paper I'm working on. The paper will be a while, but I think it's important that people – and policy makers – understand the implications now.
It is *very* serious. pic.twitter.com/SV9xgmcK8s
— David Steadson 🇦🇺🇸🇪🇺🇦🇪🇺🌍 (@DavidSteadson) July 11, 2022
Meanwhile, if they can manage to resist our thirst to infect them, China will have a labor force — indeed, an entire population — healthier, and more mentally agile, than our own. Something to ponder, natsec goons.
• But not simple enough:
Steve Price on the panel the only person to argue the common sense position, that society has to bring infections under control. RW shock jocks are now closer to public health practice than some notable doctors. /end
— 💉💉💉 Henry Madison (@RageSheen) July 11, 2022
• Ah, memories:
We had the exact same situation in Hunan bus. China has CCTV on *ALL* of its inter-city busses. So they knew from the CCTV of the 4 hour bus ride that the index patient _NEVER GOT UP_.
Otherwise we'd very likely have heard it was fomite.https://t.co/cMc6k4LfXW
— Jonathan Mesiano-Crookston 🌬️🔅#COVIDisAirborne (@jmcrookston) December 2, 2020
This is the South China Morning Post story that tipped me off to aerosol transmissionl, but was subsequently disappeared.
If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.
• ”COVID Data Tracker” [CDC]. “Beginning July 4, 2022, COVID Data Tracker will discontinue daily data refreshes 7 days per week, and will instead refresh data Monday through Friday.” • Psychos. Yes, I only work Monday through Friday, but I’m not the world’s premier public health agency, either. To be fair, why on earth would anybody want current data when planning their weekend travel?
Case count for the United States:
Slight rise. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~102,300. Today, it’s ~107,200, and 107,200 * 6 = a Biden line at 643,200 per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.
Regional case count for four weeks:
Florida and Texas are just trolling us. What’s with this trading leads, thing?
7.1%. Hoo boy. Looks like a lot of people came back from the Fourth of July barbecue hacking and wheezing. The Covid train always leaves on time! (I also wonder if there’s a Keynesian Beauty Contest effect, here; that is, if people encounter a sympotomatic person, whether in their social circle or in normal activity, they are more likely to get a test, because they believe (correctly) that it’s more likely they will be infected. What we are seeing here is the steepest and largest acceleration of positivity on Walgreen’s chart.
NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.
• For grins, here is “Community Levels,” the CDC map I only track after I’m put on my rubber gloves:
Even CDC’s obfuscatory map shows we’re in trouble. Hold onto your hats.
• And also for grins, the CDC is tinkering with its community level verbiage, without making it any less deceptive and dangerous:
After intense criticism, CDC has quietly changed their website. For months CDC said the transmission map (the very red map) which shows the actual amount of virus in a community was for use by healthcare facilities only. The original is on the left. The new on the right. pic.twitter.com/dhztxzNHsm
— Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD) July 10, 2022
So, hospital infection control — a department often infected by droplet goons — should make use of community transmission (see below), and not you, when making your personal risk assessment? Really?
Status quo, i.e. it’s a not-over pandemic.
Lambert here: Thanks to alert reader CR, who found where CDC had interred the “Community Profile Report.” NOTE: The file name is “Community Profile Report 20220707 (1).pdf.” That’s how a filename looks when it’s uploaded twice, the second time generally by accident, so it does indeed look like there was a kerfuffle of some kind yesterday when I went to my usual CDC link and discovered an abomination. (I’m not taking back “sociopathic, democidal shitheads,” though. Too much else speaks in its favor.)
NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 7:
Good job. Since the report moved over to healthdata.gov, everything has gone swimmingly. Just get the effing reports out on time. How hard is this?
NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 7:
Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 18:
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 18:
CDC has restored the button that lets me turn their NowCast button off. Doubling behavior moving along quite briskly, but I would rather calculate slash intuit the rise myself, and compare that to Walgreens, than use CDC’s model, which is probably broken anyhow.
• ”New coronavirus mutant raises concerns in India and beyond” [Associated Press]. “Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. It’s unclear whether it could cause more serious disease than other omicron variants, including the globally prominent BA.5. ‘It’s still really early on for us to draw too many conclusions,’ said Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. ‘But it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase.’ Whether it will outcompete BA.5, he said, is yet to be determined. Still, the fact that it has already been detected in many parts of the world even with lower levels of viral surveillance ‘is an early indication it is spreading,” said Shishi Luo, head of infectious diseases for Helix, a company that supplies viral sequencing information to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest mutant has been spotted in several distant states in India, and appears to be spreading faster than other variants there, said Lipi Thukral, a scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi. It’s also been detected in about 10 other countries, including Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. Two cases were recently identified on the West Coast of the U.S., and Helix identified a third U.S. case last week.” • Good info. So do I have Helix to blame for the miserably slow variant reporting? Or CDC? Or both?
Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 19, 2022 – Jul 03, 2022:
Lots of orange, some red. Not good. This chart works a bit like rapid riser counties: “This metric shows whether SARS-CoV-2 levels at a site are currently higher or lower than past historical levels at the same site. 0% means levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% means levels are the highest they have been at the site.” So, there’s a bunch of red dots on the West Coast. That’s 100%, so that means “levels are the highest they’ve ever been.” Not broken down by variant, CDC, good job.
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,044,557. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a nice, simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.
There are no stats of interest today.
The Bezzle: “‘Uber Files’: Huge leak of confidential documents blows open murky background of ride-hailing app” [Sky News]. “The report reveals the extraordinary lengths that the company undertook to establish itself in nearly 30 countries, becoming one of Silicon Valley’s most familiar exports. The company’s lobbyists – including former aides to President Barack Obama – sought to persuade government officials to drop their investigations into the company, rewrite labour and taxi laws and relax background checks on drivers, the papers show. The investigation found that Uber used ‘stealth technology’ to fend off government investigations. The company, for example, used a “kill switch” that cut access to Uber servers and blocked authorities from grabbing evidence during raids in at least six countries. The Uber Files team reported that during a police raid in Amsterdam former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick personally issued an order: ‘Please hit the kill switch ASAP … Access must be shut down in AMS (Amsterdam).'” • Well, it’s not like the executives weren’t prosecuted. Oh, wait….
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 28 Fear (previous close: 29 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 24 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 11 at 1:32 PM EDT.
Rapture Index: Closes down one on Wild Weather. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) I’ve been waiting for the Rapture Index to hit the all time high again. Now it has. UPDATE And now it retreats. Really?!
Police State Watch
Obviously, we should give cops more money:
Actually very reasonable from de Blasio. The de Blasio case helped move me from a theory of “state and local Dems don’t want to reform their police departments” to a theory of “state and local Dems can’t reform their police departments because they’re gangs that will retaliate” https://t.co/udR12UYVuK
— Jake M. Grumbach (@JakeMGrumbach) July 11, 2022
Read up on “the March on Rome,” per John Ganz:
Ezra Pound seems to have gotten one of the insights of MMT right:
Dear Ezra Pound “of Shite”! A genuine 1937 gem from Patrick Campbell, @IrishTimes Literary Editor. My emails have just got to get sassier! Discovered in Beinecke by Karl O’Hanlon of Maynooth University, who is working on his first book, Official Voices: Poets and the Irish State pic.twitter.com/OZFD7t4fSX
— Martin Doyle (@MartinDoyleIT) July 10, 2021
He was still a fascist, though, despite his wonderful ear and editing skills.
“The Suburban Lawn Will Never Be the Same” [Bloomberg]. “Homeowners from Las Vegas to Sydney are swapping real grass for artificial turf as climate change forever alters what a normal yard looks and smells like…. [Judy] Dunn opted to install an artificial lawn, a choice being made by more and more residents of Southern Nevada—one of the many places that’s getting drier as the planet warms. For some, it’s the cash-for-grass rebates being offered by local water agencies. For others, it’s the realization that the classic lawn is increasingly unsustainable in a time of megadrought. And then there are the residents coaxed into the shift by the water notices or fines…. The most obvious environmental problem with artificial grass is it’s rooted in the biggest climate nemesis of all: fossil fuel. Synthetic turf is made from a stew of petroleum-based components, making it nearly impossible to recycle. At the end of an artificial lawn’s useful life, which is about 15 years, it will likely go to a landfill or be incinerated.” • Heaven forfend there should be rebates for xeriscaping! Anyhow, since I’m long stupid, and artificial turf is the stupidest possible solution for the suburban lawns, I’d go long there, too. No doubt Homeowners Associations are already thinking about which shades of green are acceptable and which are not. More commentary:
and I’m here, to remind you of the grass you left when you went away… 😂 https://t.co/3ISMFESryx
— Alanis Morissette (@Alanis) July 10, 2022
“First time on a yacht? Avoid these 7 amateur mistakes” [CNBC]. “While most of the travel industry struggled to get back on its feet, the yachting industry had a different problem during the pandemic: serving everyone wanting to charter a boat…. ‘A big percentage of our business is first-time charters,” said [Crom Littlejohn, chief commercial officer of the yacht brokerage company Northrop & Johnson]. ‘They’ve had the ski vacations … they want to try something different.'” That’s nice; nouveaux riche from the pandemic. More: ‘Onboard Monaco’s de Kern advised travelers to greet the crew at the beginning of the trip. ‘Ask for their names, shake their hands and show some respect for the captain on board,’ she said.” • I agree. Treating the servants well pays for itself.
“Even at $25 an Hour, Key Tampon Factory Can’t Keep Enough Workers” [Bloomberg]. That’s a damn shame. But if they can’t fill slots at $25 an hour in Maine, yikes. “What’s happening at P&G’s tampon plant is emblematic of the wider squeeze felt by employers across the country, from restaurants to oil drillers. With nearly two open jobs per every unemployed worker, the increased competition has driven up wages and added to inflation pressures, prompting Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to recently dub the labor market ‘unsustainably hot.’ Labor force participation may never fully bounce back to its pre-pandemic strength, something that could make filling positions an ongoing challenge in the years ahead.” • I’m not sure we have a theory of labor force participation rate (which was slow to recover during Obama’s years-long “recovery” too). Opiods (a problem Maine has?) Long Covid? Working conditions in the plant (closed, crowded, close contact)? Everybody learned to code? Everybody’s gone on OnlyFans? Everybody left the state for the bright lights of Beantown? I don’t have an awful lot of sympathy for the Fed’s open lust to beat down worker bargaining power, but I would also like to know what’s happening.
It could be worse:
Imagine working in an industry where this is a frequent and accepted occurrence – you will be detained for however many hours, without pay, and just told to sit in your vehicle.
And at the end of the week, of your accumulated hours, well over 40, you get no overtime. https://t.co/9oIYl3ja41
— Early Morning Rain (@LogHauling) July 8, 2022
Hmm. A proxy for stupid money?
Weird index. Scale must be wrong. They like only $50 on canal street.
— Chris Arnade 🐢 🐈⬛ (@Chris_arnade) July 11, 2022
News of the Wired
“The Preposterous Logistics of the Loot Train Battle (Game of Thrones, S7E4)” [A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry]. From 2019, still germane: “Jaime is moving this food in wagons, which is absolutely the most efficient ground transportation option he has. Let’s assume each wagon holds around 1,400lbs of food, pulled by two horses. We could make this more efficient with different draft animals and bigger wagons, but I’m trying to keep these figures fairly simple; moreover if we were doing that, we shouldn’t be assuming (as we are) that the food is all nice, neat portable and high-density grain, and we’d have to talk about loss and spoilage – let’s just say that our fairly simple set of assumptions here favors Jaime (because they do). So Jaime needs to move 9,400 tons of food in two-horse, 1,400lbs wagons. Let’s start doing some math. Assuming 1,400lbs per wagon, that means we need 13,500 wagons, with 13,500 wagon drivers and 27,000 horses. That’s…a lot of wagons. Now the roads we see Jaime moving down are limiting him to a single-file line of march with his wagons. How much space does that take up? Well, a wagon of this size is usually around 10 feet long, plus maybe another 8 feet for the horse, and we should assume while moving a few feet of clearance before the next wagon, so let’s say 25ft of road-space per wagon – note that we have not yet added the army to the road. This is just the wagons full of just one month’s food for King’s Landing. Now, Jaime’s wagons move single-file (in part because of the bad roads), but let’s make things even easier on him, and double them up, so we fit two wagons in each 25ft space, meaning the wagon train – again, no army yet – covers 168,750ft or 31 miles.” • I like this very much because it’s similar to the sort of analysis that Andrei Martyanov does; he reminds us that there is a scientific, or at least an engineering, aspect to warfare. We are dealing with materiality, with things that can be counted, measured, timed.
Many, many questions, with answers:
'Do you think that being left cold by AI-generated/assisted literature/art and feeling the need for a human to have played a role is a conservative or somehow incorrect position?'
I tbh think we're gonna have to walk back tons of anti-humanist bravado real soon
— Peli Grietzer (@peligrietzer) July 9, 2022
Generational analysis among the dinosaurs:
— Dinosaur Comics! (@dinosaurcomics) July 11, 2022
As reader know, I strongly deprecate treating (fuzzy-bounded, marketing driven) generations as entities with political agency. (Where is the Boomer lobby on K Street? Does it really make sense to throw a stooped-over, white-haired Walmart greeter into the same bucket as Warren Buffet? And so forth.) That said, there are experiences that people of one age cohort (we’ll call it) have, that others do not. For example, an old-codger like me cannot imagine going to a school with metal detectors at the door, or active shooter drills. (No doubt, if I went to Phillips-Exeter, I still would not.) Similarly, I can’t imagine my (male) gradeschool classmates being drugged for hyperactivity. And on and on and. Similarly, I was able to enter and then exit the world of factory work; I don’t think things are so flexible today. I was also able to enter a complex technical field simply by learning it. Readers?
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From RH:
RH writes: “Skunk cabbages.” Green!
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:
Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:
If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!